Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How We Pick our Childrens' Birthdays

A good friend recently asked me if it was a lot of pressure to choose your kids' birthdays.

The answer: YES.

Not in a stressful way, but in the sense that when they're older and they understand that Spencer and I actually got to choose their birthdays, I want there to be something meaningful, or a good story behind it.

When I was pregnant with Isaac, we decided on his birthday, October 7 by looking up all kinds of 10:7 verses in the Bible. None seemed to fit; but we came across Psalm 107 and in particular, loved verses 19-21...

"Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for man."

You see, we knew that apart from God's intervention, we knew the likely scenario. We knew that we'd be faced with the unthinkable task and heartache of burying our son. And in the midst of that, we clung to the hope found in these words... the fact that by His great grace... the grave would not be the end. We are still so grateful for that hope.

When I became pregnant with Eliana and knew that I would need a repeat c-section, we decided to continue the tradition of choosing our kids' birthdays based on verses in scripture. Her birthday, March 4, was picked based on 1 Peter 3:4...

"Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight..."

While I am not sure that I would currently characterize Eliana's spirit as quiet, she does have a gentleness about her that is simply precious. She comforts her baby dolls, is very tuned in to peoples' feelings, and even loves to give her little brother (aka, my stomach) kisses. It is so sweet.

Earlier this week I had a doctor's appointment, and tentatively scheduled my c-section with Jacob. (Did I even share his name with you all yet?!). We are hoping for a delivery date of December 28. There were a lot of 12:28 verses that jumped out to me, but our favorite is Hebrews 12:28...

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe..."

There is so much truth wrapped up in that verse, and it is our desire that Jacob cling to all of the truth and the hope that is found in these words.

So there it is... how we deal with the pressure of selecting our kids' birthdays. I hope that as they grow up, Eliana and Jacob would cherish the intentionality with which their birthdays were chosen and view them as incredibly special!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Infant and Pregnancy Loss Remebrance Day

As I have shared the past few years, October 15th is designated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Last year I shared some research on some statistics related to this and found the following...

-According to emedicine, the overall miscarriage rate is 15-20%. Some physicians believe this percentage may even be higher, as miscarriage can often occur before a woman even knows she is pregnant.

- Approximately 25,000 babies are stillborn each year in the United States, and according to the March of Dimes, about 19,000 babies die within the first month of life (called neonatal death).

- SIDS claims the lives of over 7000 babies each year nationally.
Many, many people are affected by miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. And if you are one of those people I want you to know this: your child matters.

So, once again this year, I would like to do a few things tomorrow, on October 15th.

First, I would like to pray for you. If you are comfortable, please feel free to share as much of or as little of your story in a comment below. Also, I would like to invite those of you reading to pray for the people who have courageously shared their stories.

Secondly, as the site has announced, you are invited to light a candle on October 15th at 7pm in your time zone to create a wave of light in remembrance of the child/children that you have lost, or in honor of someone else who has lost a child thought miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death.

So, I will start...

My name is Stacy. In the fall of 2007, we lost baby #1 to a miscarriage due to triploidy discovered at 13 weeks. On October 7, 2008, we met our precious son Isaac at 8:33 am. He passed away due to complications from a series of congenital birth defects 16 minutes later. He is deeply, deeply missed and so incredibly loved. In April of this year, we lost baby #4 to a very early miscarriage.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Isaac's 3rd Birthday in Pictures

{Leaving a pumpkin for Isaac}

{Eliana at Isaac's "special place"}

{Sending the picture she drew for Isaac "up in the sky" on balloons}

{Feeding the ducks with Dad at a park that was special to us during my pregnancy with Isaac}

{Eliana and I at the park}

Friday, October 7, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Isaac

It's not every day anymore that I think about the fact that we buried our son. Don't misunderstand... it's not that we don't think about him. We do. Daily. In one way or another, Isaac is mentioned in our home daily... often in the context of explaining to Eliana that soon she will have two brothers. It is so sweet to me that she recognizes Isaac's pictures, and when we remind her that Isaac is in Heaven, she replies, "With Jesus." What a gift that she knows that. Three years of after losing Isaac, most of our conversations surrounding him are filled with great joy and wonder as we marvel at the fact that Eliana seems to understand so much about who Isaac is in the tapestry of our family.
Yet every October 7th, the vivid reality of what we have experienced, and lost, resurfaces. The fact that we did bury our son; the fact that we did plan his funeral; the fact that the "natural" order of things feels completely altered and out of whack.
In the midst of it though, God has replaced our unanswered questions with a great sense of peace. And today, we celebrated Isaac's life as a family in ways that brought us great joy. This morning Spencer and I each wrote Isaac a letter and Eliana drew him a picture. We picked up some balloons and flowers (and Eliana wanted him to have a little pumpkin!) on our way to the cemetery. Once there, we let Ellie put the pumpkin down at Isaac's special place. We attached our letters and Eliana's picture to a few balloons and let them go. Eliana was fascinated by letting the balloons go "up in the sky for I-Kiss (Isaac)." It brought smiles to our faces to see her so interested in celebrating her big brother. Of course there were moments of tears... staring at your son's grave instead of his sweet face is never easy. But we know that we have been blessed by our son's sweet life, though way to short, and that his place in our family is not only something known to Spencer and I, but is something that Eliana is really seeming to understand as well. I am so thankful for that.
Sweet Isaac,

We miss you so much; but we know that you are in the most perfect of places. You have not been forgotten; your life and legacy continue to touch others... most especially your little sister. Please know that we think of you so often, and love you so much. I am so proud of you. Happy third birthday, sweet boy.