Saturday, October 30, 2010

Movin' and Groovin'

It's been quite a few weeks here in our house. Eliana has been keeping us quite busy! She is really on the move now... crawling, pulling up, and even attempting to take a step or two while holding on to something. Here's a little peek at how we found her in her crib last weekend after her nap. She is so proud of herself... it cracks me up!

Ellie continues to be such a joy. She loves people, is really outgoing, loves to talk and to laugh... she is just so precious. Be sure to check back in a few days for pictures from her first Halloween!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Infant and Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day

As I have shared the past few years, and as many o fyou already know, 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.

One of the reasons I am so anxious (in a good way) to get the Isaac Delisle Foundation up and running is that there is clearly a huge need for additional support for bereaved parents. 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 this 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. Spencer will be busy with the guys from our small group tomorrow evening, and I would like to take that time to pray. 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.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Isaac's 2nd Birthday

It's a strange thing to figure out how to celebrate the second birthday of your child who is no longer here. I am not sure I will ever feel celebratory on October 7th... bittersweet seems to be more accurate. The bitter reality that Isaac is no longer here coupled with the sweetness of memories of having gotten to meet him, to have snuggled him, and to have loved him his whole life.

Families who have lost a child often struggle to figure out what feels right for them in terms of remembering their baby on his or her birthday. Some families have parties and bake cakes, some choose to barely acknowledge the day and think of it as a non-event, and others establish traditions that don't feel very birthday-like, yet are still a way to remember and honor their child as they continue to weave his or her presence into the tapestry of their family.

For us, it looked like an "I love Isaac" onesie on Eliana...

And a family picnic at the cemetery...

It looked like sending letters to heaven on the strings of blue balloons...

And a family hike at a place very special to us when I was pregnant with Isaac...
(although the hike plans got deterred because of a serious stink bug infestation!)

Thankfully, October 7th was a gorgeous day here in Maryland... the first after several days of heavy rains. And just a few short days later, God even painted us a beautiful rainbow :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Two Years

I am amazed at how time can both simultaneously fly and crawl... how it feels like such a short time ago that I met Isaac, snuggled him, kissed his little face, and told him over and over how much I love him and how proud I am of him. Yet at the same time, it feels like forever since I last saw him. There is so much that I very clearly remember about this day two years go; and yet other details are starting to become fuzzy, despite my best effort to remember everything so sharply. Has it really been two years? Two whole years?

Dear Isaac,

I want you to know that I have not stopped thinking about you. While my head knows that you are healthy and whole, delighting in the fullness of God's glory, my heart still aches for you and longs for you to be here with us. I wish that you could be here to see your little sister and the amazingly beautiful, sweet, and fun little girl she continues to become. I wish that you were here to go to the pumpkin patch with us on Saturday, for me to pull you around in a wagon, to go down the slide on the playground. I wish we would be throwing a birthday party for you; instead, today we'll visit the cemetery and go on a hike to a place that was very special to me and daddy while you were still in my tummy. I miss you so much, Isaac. You are so precious to me and your absence is still very profound.

You have made such a difference in my life and in the lives of so many other people. You have made the world better because you were here. I am so proud of you. I am so proud to be your mommy. I love you so, so much, Isaac. I miss you...


Click here to view the slideshow of Isaac's birthday.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Stump

It's a brisk fall morning here in Maryland. The leaves have started to turn, and evidence of fall is all around. As I wrote the date on the board in my classroom yesterday, I had a hard time with the fact that another October has arrived. All of these things, and many more, are so tightly bound to Isaac. It is a strange thing to be able to marvel at the beauty of fall, and at the same time, feel the weeping rise up within you.

As is often the case, I received a timely email from a friend yesterday... another mom who knows the pain of losing a child. In fact, she has lost two: twin boys in March of 2008. She has been a tremendous encouragement to me over the past couple of years, and this email was no different. Having been sitting in a Starbucks reading Jerry Sittser's book A Grace Disguised, she wanted to pass along an excerpt that she found particularly comforting.

"But is it possible to live this way? Is it possible to feel sorrow for the rest of our lives and yet to find joy at the same time? Is it possible to enter the darkness and still to live an ordinary, productive life? Loss requires that we live in a delicate tension....

The sorrow I feel has not disappeared but it has been integrated into my life as a painful part of a healthy whole. Initially my loss was so overwhelming to me that it was the dominant emotion - sometimes the only emotion - I had. I felt like I was staring at the stump of a huge tree that had just been cut down in my backyard. That stump, which sat all alone, kept reminding me of the beloved tree that I had lost. I could think of nothing but that tree. Every time I looked out the window, all I could see was that stump. Eventually, however, I decided to do something about it. I landscaped my backyard reclaiming it once again as my own. I decided to keep the stump there, since it was both too big and too precious to remove. Instead of getting rid of it, I worked around it. I planted shrubs, tress, flowers and grass. I laid out a brick pathway and built two benches. Then I watched everything grow. Now, three years later, the stump remains still reminding me of the beloved tree I lost. But the stump is surrounded by a beautiful garden of blooming flowers and growing trees and lush grass. Likewise, the sorrow I feel remains but I have tried to create a landscape around the loss so that what was once ugly is now an integral part of a large, lovely whole."

I've spoken before about how much I loved this book. I not only love his authenticity, but his writing is so metaphoric. He is able to so beautifully articulate things I seldom have the ability to explain. But this explains it so well; and I am confident that others of you reading who have lost a child, or have experienced a significant loss of another loved one, can relate.

Almost two years later, the sorrow of losing Isaac is still there... and it is still great. As I watch all that Ellie is doing and find so much joy in her presence, my heart weeps for the little boy who I didn't get to share similar moments with. I find myself starting to tell Ellie, "We're all here with you!" only to be painfully reminded that that statement is false; her big brother is missing.

While the sorrow may be a painful part of our lives that will always be, God continues to faithfully show us how to integrate it into a healthy whole. I think about His provision with two golf tournaments, with the establishment of the Isaac Delisle Foundation, and with the playground that is soon to be built at our church in memory of Isaac... and I can see that each of these things are part of the garden of beauty that he is creating around the stump of sorrow.