Friday, January 29, 2010

Are You All Ready?

*** Update again--- I appreciate the good intentions of the comments left on this post. To be honest, though, I have found some of them to be a bit stress-producing. In an effort to protect my own heart and really seek the Lord's voice in how He would have us balance Isaac's place in our family, I have decided to close the comments on this post. If there is something that you would like to share that you believe would be an encouragement to me, you are certainly welcome to e-mail me. Thanks for understanding... ***

*** Update--- Just a quick update to say that as I have read through some of your comments, I have updated this post a little to better communicate my thoughts. :)***

With a 32 1/2 week pregnant tummy, I have been getting this question a lot lately. "So is everything ready?" people have been asking. "Are you all ready for Eliana to get here?"

I am already a mother, and thankfully, no one has phrased the question to me as, "Are you ready to be a mom?" I am a mom... Isaac is just not with me, though I deeply wish that he was.

With regard to being ready for Eliana to get here, the truth is, I don't know.

In some ways, yes... I am ready. I am excited to meet her! I am ready to hold her, I am ready to see whose nose she has and if her hair is strawberry-blond like Isaac's. I am ready to cuddle her and snuggle her and put her in all of the cute outfits we've been given for her to wear. I wonder what she will look like, how her personality will be, and whether she'll have as many hiccups out of the womb as she does in it!

In other ways, I have no idea whether or not I am ready. I have so many lingering questions and fears that I know all parents experience. Some of them are silly, like where do I put the infant bath tub when I bathe her? How will I know if she's too hot or too cold? What should I keep in my diaper bag? How many onesies do I really need? What if breastfeeding doesn't go as easily as I hope, or what if it doesn't really work out at all? What if I run out of diapers without realizing it?? :) Not that any of these are the things that really matter. And to be honest, I don't have a deep, profound worry about any of these things. It will take some figuring out, trial and error, and I am thankful to have such a strong support network of people who can help.

The place where I feel a bit stuck, and maybe not quite ready, didn't occur to me until a conversation with a good friend last night. Both she, and Spencer, have noticed how on edge I have seemed, and as we got to talking, she assured me that there will be times when I just won't have it all figured out. Times that Eliana will be crying, I will have tried everything, and still can't figure out what's wrong. She reminded me that really, we can do as much as we can as parents, but it really is God who ultimately protects us and our children. And I think this is where my hangup is.

Truthfully, I have been spending a lot of time preparing things around our house, making sure all of the paperwork for me to be out of work for the rest of the school year is filled out correctly... trying to make sure everything is just so. I guess trying to be in control. But in doing this, I am realizing that it is my way of making sure that Eliana will be okay, rather than believing God and trusting that He will look after her.

Because of losing Isaac, this is a really hard thing for me. Of course I know that from an eternal perspective, God will protect Eliana... but there's a part of me that struggles to trust Him for her well being in the day-to-day. I know deep in my heart that our circumstances don't change who He is... God is trustworthy, simply because He is. And I need to continue to step out in faith and trust Him.

So I would just really ask for your prayers in these last 4 1/2 weeks before we welcome our little daughter... that God would calm my fear and anxiety and provide His perfect peace, that He would daily remind me that I need to trust Him with Eliana's well-being, and that He would draw me into such close communion with Him.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Eliana's Song

A couple of months ago, after we had already named our daughter, a friend from high school left me a comment on Facebook that Christy Nockels, one of Christian music's finest, has a daughter named Elliana (spelled with two l's). While part of the group Watermark, they recorded and produced a song named after Christy's daughter, called Elliana's Song...

Baby woman, tiny in stature now
But your heart is a treasure
Little princess come follow behind me now
I am reaching for you

Elliana, God has answered my prayers
Elliana, God will conquer my fears
To mother a daughter, to look you in the eye
To know that I had everything, to walk with you in life
To give you to Jesus that He would impart
The wisdom that I'm longing for to mother your heart
Elliana, God has answered my prayers

There will be others to lead and to guide you girl
But only one you'll call Mother, the honor is all mine
To show you what a woman's like
I'm so glad you're mine


Tenderness of God is twirling around
In our living room tonight
Lighten up your daddy's eyes
And know that he just wants to freeze you in time


I think I have shared before that Eliana means "God has answered." Isn't it beautiful? Click here to listen.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Time for Everything

It's an interesting thing when you get to pick your child's birthday... at least the day she is scheduled to be born. Of course, God could always be up to something else. I suppose it's that I want there to be a good story or meaning behind the day we chose, rather than, "Well, it was the only day that week we could get the first scheduled c-section of the morning, and I didn't want to have to wait around all day not eating or drinking anything."

I had spent time scouring scripture for verses looking for inspiration as to what day to select. Originally, we thought Eliana's birthday would be the week of March 15th. I looked up 3:15, 3:16, 3:17, 3:18, and 3:19 verses. Of course John 3:16 came to mind, but the one I really loved was Zephaniah 3:17... The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.

So when it was suggested we bump her delivery up two weeks, it caught me a little off guard. I know it is a good decision, but I hadn't really spent any time looking up 3:3, 3:4, or 3:5 verses ahead of time. After Eliana's delivery was scheduled for March 4th, I looked up 3:4 verses, and unless read in context, many of them are quite random.

Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. ~ James 3:4

Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" ~ Acts 3:4

For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men?
~ 1 Corinthians 3:4

When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do." ~ Ruth 3:4

Yesterday my mom emailed me and shared that she had stumbled across Ecclesiastes 3:4 that morning. Ecclesiastes 3 is the well-known "A Time for Everything" passage... how there's a time for everything under the sun. Verse 4 of this chapter reads,

... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance...

The New Living Translation of this verse reads,

... a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to grieve and a time to dance...

I was so struck by the juxtaposition of the opposing verbs. While I had always thought of this scripture as talking about a distinct time to weep versus a distinct time to laugh, or a distinct time to grieve versus a distinct time to dance, I couldn't help but think about how March 4th is likely to be a day of both. A day full of joy and dancing as we welcome our daughter into this world... yet a day of grieving that her big brother isn't here to welcome her, too. A day of laughing as we meet Eliana and chuckle at all the cute little things babies do... yet a day of grieving that our time with Isaac was cut so short.

Of course, this is how I am anticipating the day to be, and I really don't know what it will actually be like. In talking with other moms who have lost a child and since given birth to another, it seems pretty accurate. The joy of welcoming a new baby won't erase the ache of missing the one you've lost; both co-exist, as I've shared before.

As far as finding Ellie's verse, though, God led me 1 Peter 3:4...

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

What beautiful advice for a daughter... and for all of us women, really.

Thanks for holding us in your prayers as we continue to prepare with great hope for Eliana's birthday!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eliana Update

It has been a whirlwind of a day! I am 30 weeks today, and can't believe that we'll be meeting Eliana so soon... and sooner than we were originally thinking we would!

I took the day off work, and Spencer took the morning off, so that we could schedule a bunch of appointments all on one day. We started with a sonogram at 8:30 this morning at my perinatologist's office. Eliana looks great! She was wiggling around like crazy and was complete uncooperative as far as getting any good pictures are concerned. I am dying to see her little nose... Isaac's nose was a dead giveaway on who his ressembled, and I can't wait to see Ellie's. No luck today, though. She is measuring right on track, and her estimated weight is 3 lb 7 oz. I talked to the doctor about some concerns I had with waiting until 39 weeks to deliver. With a classical incision, the risk of uterine rupture is a bit higher, and clearly, we want to avoid that. He agreed, and suggested a 37 week delivery... two weeks earlier than we had thought!

From there, we went in for a routine OB appointment and my glucose screening for gestational diabetes. This month I surprisingly only gained 1 lb... but that's after a nice 6 lb gain the month before, and a 7lb gain (yikes!!) the month before that! I blame all the Christmas cookies... :)

Anyhow, we talked with my OB about our concerns with the 39 week delivery and my perinatologist's recommendation for a 37 week delivery. He agreed that with having had a classical incision, it would be a good idea. I'll be getting some steroid shots to boost Eliana's lung development in a couple of weeks. At the end of my appointment, we scheduled Ellie's delivery. Please be praying for March 4, 2010. It is sure to be a sacred day.

I also had a chance to meet with the birth advisor at the hospital where I will be delivering. We've gotten to know her a bit through our experience with Isaac, and she is delightful. She's a great listener, and the hospital is willing to really work with us to make this experience different. What will be the same is that the nurse who helped deliver Isaac and cared for us tremendously through our time in the hospital, and with whom I have been fortunate to maintain a good friendship since, will also be assisting in Eliana's delivery. I am really grateful for this. I know that delivering a baby after losing your first is going to be hard, and I am thankful for God's provision in the fact that we won't be anonymous. Our nurse will already know us, and knew Isaac... other folks at the hospital also have met Isaac and have heard his story.

And one final update, that kind nurse I was just talking about made the beautiful valance now hanging in Eliana's room! The lighting is a little off, but I think the green fabric turned out great and complements her wall letters really well!

Thank you for continuing to keep us in your prayers as March 4th approaches!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Grief at 15 months

It has been a while since my last post and to be honest, these last few days I have just been trying to hold myself together.

God has been really gracious throughout my pregnancy in really guarding my heart against anxiety. Sure, little bouts of worry would creep in here and there, especially before some of my appointments... but other than my 12 week ultrasound, I can truly say that I haven't been very anxious.

Somehow this week, that all is rapidly changing, and I am finding that my grief over losing Isaac is very intricately woven into my journey carrying Eliana. One always seems to be having an impact on the other.

Being 29 weeks and obviously pregnant, I have been getting a lot more comments from strangers about being pregnant, and undoubtedly I am asked if this is my first... to which I reply no, I have a son. I usually leave it at that unless the person, like the kind, unsuspecting checkout woman at Giant, asks more.

"Oh! I bet he just loved Christmas this year! How old is he?"

I wonder what Christmas is like in Heaven.

"Well, I wish he would have been here to celebrate with us," I say... "But, my son unfortunately passed away shortly after he was born."

Then there was the sweet woman at a holiday party who said, "Well, I see you're expecting! This must be your first since I don't see any other little ones in tow."

I wish it were that easy, and that that was a safe assumption.

"Well," I explain,"This is actually our second... we lost our son, Isaac, not long after he was born."
By God's grace, He has brought me to a place where I can just smile... thankful for the opportunity to even talk about Isaac at all.

There's this part of me, though, that when I go back and re-read posts from the day Isaac was born, I am just still completely shaken. I don't think I will ever be okay reading the words my dear friend Kirsten wrote after our doctor came out to speak with the family and friends gathered in the waiting room...

Family and Friends,
I sit with a lack of words.
Isaac Timothy Delisle was born and was with his precious mom and dad for 16 minutes and then Jesus welcomed him home.

So with Eliana's birthday approaching in no more than ten weeks, it's hard to even wrap my head around the fact that this time, the blog post could be different... that on her birthday, everything really could all go well and she could be okay. There's no reason to think that she wouldn't be, other than the fact that once disaster strikes, you become fully aware that you are not immune. Sometimes lately I feel like I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Recently in church we sang a song I have talked about on here before... "Blessed be the Name of the Lord." And as we sang, I just found myself stopping at the part that says, "You give and take away, You give and take away..." and I was just praying...

Lord, please give us our daughter for a while this time.

It is so true. The Lord gives, and He takes away... and really, whichever it is, is ultimately up to Him.

So this bout of anxiousness has caught me off guard. I would have thought that the pattern of not really feeling anxious, particularly in light of all the positive reports we have gotten from our ultrasounds, would have allowed me to walk confidently at this point. But the anxiety related to anticipating Eliana's arrival has started to increase, and I would really just covet your prayers in that.

Philippians 4:6-7 admonishes us,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I am so thankful for the promises in scripture...