Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 31 and FMF:The God who Never Leaves


I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Some people ask, where was God? Where was God when I was hurting, sick, in pain? Where was God when my loved one left this earth too soon? Where was God when my heart was shattered into pieces?

I know my God is here. I know He never left me nor forsook me. I know He was holding my tight the night my world fell apart.

Some ask what kind of God would take away a baby that was loved and wanted and precious and perfect?

I know that God works all things together for good. I know He always has a plan. I know my babies are not suffering, but are rejoicing and worshiping around the throne of heaven! What kind of God gives us that opportunity to be with Him in glory!?!

He has never left my side. He has never let me down. He has never forsaken me. He has held me when I cried and filled my heart with peace and joy when I thought I would never feel those things again. True healing can only come from the great Physician.

I read in a novel the other day that there are 5 kinds of healing: healing of our immune systems constantly fighting off illness, healing through medical treatment, truly miraculous healing, healing of our hearts and attitudes even as our bodies continue to suffer, and finally the ultimate healing of dying and being given a new glorious body that will never be in need of healing again. My babies have been given ultimate healing, while my grief is being healed in the fourth way - my heart and attitude are slowly but surely looking more toward Christ and less at the horrible pain left behind after loss.


Just a note - I found a new doctor. I love my new doctor. Seriously, even though he is expensive, he is worth every penny. He has ordered a whole new set of tests to try to find answers, and has given me a game-plan for what to try even if we don't get any answers, he's ready to throw everything he's got at me in hopes something will work. And after basically being told it was all a big fluke so we'll just watch and see, someone who is willing to DO SOMETHING is a breath of fresh air! And, since I just started my first cycle after losing Selah, it's time to try again! Praying that God will give us the desire of our hearts soon; praising Him in all things.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day 30: First

Day 30 of 31 days of healing. Joining Kate for a 5--minute free-write on the word FIRST


I have a calendar of June Bug's first year. It is full of colorful stickers of her "firsts." First car ride, first smile, first tooth, first words, first steps. All the way up to first birthday.

This year we celebrated her first day of Kindergarten, first ride on a 2-wheeler, her first book she read by herself, and soon probably the first loose tooth.

There's no sticker for the first breathe. No sticker for first cries, or first movements - those frantic flailings of arms and legs exposed to air instead of amniotic fluid for the first time. No. Those are so taken for granted, they don't even warrant marking.

There are also no stickers for first heaven day, or "crap-versary" as one loss Mama put it. No stickers for the first time someone asks you how many kids you have and you just stare at them and tear up as you debate whether to go into details or just lie.

And even in June Bug's case, there are no stickers for the day you found out your long-awaited and prayed for baby sister went to heaven instead of coming to play with you like everyone said she would.

And so we make our own way. We mark our own days. We make prayer flags in August and light candles in October, and will celebrate Heaven days in April and September. We will forge ahead making memories wherever and however we can, to honor our love for our babies.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Day 29: Words that Unite

Day 29 of 31 days of Healing, I'm joining up today with incourage to share that words matter!

Words are things that can bring people together or tear people apart. Going through my journey post-loss, I have seen numerous posts by various people of things to say or not to say to someone who has recently lost a child or baby. Words can encourage and build up, healing a broken heart, or they can tear down and add to the already overwhelming weight of a loss.

I will not offer a list of phrases to say or avoid, but I will say that words are very important. Speak to me. Speak the names of my babies. Do not skirt around the issue, because words shared with a friend can be a healing balm. Listen to me. Let me share my story. Let me put my love into words and paint a picture in your mind of the precious life I carried, though you never got to meet my baby.

I have been blessed by words shared by others, words that unite, words that let me know I am not alone, and the emotions that are boiling over in my heart are a normal and natural reaction from the intense fire of saying goodbye. Words that let me see the beauty that can blossom from the ashes. Words that give me hope for myself that the fire will not always be such a fierce and painful thing, but will settle down to a pleasant warming of love.

I offer up my own words here, both for myself and for others. I have always needed to process feelings through words, but I also hope and pray that my words might also bless those who read here as I have been blessed by the words of others. Most of all I hope that all of my words will point upward to the WORD become flesh who dwelt among us.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Day 28: Wake

When will I wake from this nightmare? When will I open my eyes and see the light of day has washed away the fears inside?

When will I wake and find that the ones I love are near, right here? When will I take them in my arms, safe from all harms, and hold them tight?

When will I wake and hear a cry and dry the tears from my baby's eyes instead of mine?

When will I wake with strength instead of the shaking sobbing grief that haunts me all the night long?

Mourning shall last for the night, but joy comes in the morning, on that glorious morning when I will wake and see His face and know at last I'm home for good,

once I have finally fallen asleep.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Day 26: Visit

Day 26 (Ok, so it's not actually, but I'm trying to catch up here!) of 31 days of healing. Joining Kate with a 5-minute free-write on the word VISIT


There have been 5 new babies born in our church family over the past month. After each one, a joyous email is sent to the whole church body announcing the name, details, and that Mama and Baby are doing fine. Then there is usually some comment about whether or not they are ready for visitors, and/or how to help out the new parents.

The pastoral prayer this week included all the new parents and babies, prayers of thanks for their health and blessings for their futures. It also included all the expecting mothers (of which there are quite a few!).

I can't help but think - what about the rest of us? What about the mothers like me who didn't get the fairy tale ending? What about coming to visit and bring a meal for the mother who doesn't have a cute newborn to show off? What about looking at the heart-wrenching but still beautiful photos of the stillborn baby? What about prayers for healing of the broken hearts of the mothers who got something they never expected?

It is wonderful to celebrate new life. I am genuinely happy that our church family has so many blessed little ones. But I can't help feel a bit forgotten. Yes, we are to rejoice with the rejoicing, but where are those to mourn with those who mourn?

When a father, mother, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, etc. passes away, there is always a throng of people sharing their memories, giving condolences, bringing comfort. 

When a baby passes away before it was born, there is often silence and a sense of loneliness. 

I have been grateful to find sisters online who have been through loss of a baby, but in real life there have been very few who have reached out to me in my pain. My mother and grandmother, and my former college roommate, and another friend from college who experienced a miscarriage around the same time as Mikayla was stillborn. 

We need to do better. We need to acknowledge these precious little lives that continue in heaven. We need to mourn with those who mourn even as we rejoice with those who rejoice. Stillbirth is still a birth, and a life lost before birth is still a life. 

Day 25: Enjoy

Day 25 (Ok, so it's not actually, but I'm trying to catch up here!) of 31 days of healing. Joining Kate with a 5-minute free-write on the word ENJOY


Sometimes it takes great courage to enjoy life. When it seems like there is nothing left to bring joy. When it feels like you are at the bottom of a well, surrounded by cold, wet, hard stones and left in darkness while the world carries on around you in light and warmth and comfort above your head.

Yet even in the bottom of the well, God has called us to rejoice in all things. There is joy to be found even at the bottom of a well if we look to our savior.

One of my favorite prayers comes from the Valley of Vision:

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold your glory.

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to posses all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision,

Lord, in the daytime the stars can be seen from the deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter the stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy JOY in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Day 24 and FMF: Dare

Day 24 of 31 Days of Healing, and Five Minute Friday

I realize it is Saturday, the 25th, and I am behind. My husband unexpectedly has a week off work, so I have been making the most of it to spend time with him and haven't gotten to blog the past few days.

So here goes, 5 minutes of free-writing on the word Dare.

When I was a kid, I would always choose the dare. I was fearless. I was the one who rode her bike down the biggest hills, feet not even on the pedals, skidding to a stop, heart pounding, with a grin plastered on my face.

Then something changed. I became the reserved one, always playing it safe. Always cautious and following the rules to the letter.

I've begun to find my daring side again. I guess after losing something so important to you, that you love so much, that hurts so hard, and seeing that you CAN still breathe, everything else loses the scariness.

Well, almost everything - I have become more fearful of June Bug's health and safety. Losing her would be the only thing more painful than losing Mikayla and Selah.

But everything else  - financial trouble, issues at work, worrying about what people might think. None of those things matter anymore. I will take the Dare and tell it to bring its worst, because it can't touch the depths of what I have already faced.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Day 20: Fear

Day 20 of 31 days of healing, joining with Kate for a 5-minute free-write on the topic of Fear.

Fear is something I battle against all the time now. Fear that I will never get pregnant again. Fear that I will, and will lose another baby. Fear that something will happen to June Bug.

I remember writing before about waiting for the other shoe to drop. Feeling like God had not protected me from the huge hurt of saying good-bye to Mikayla, so why would He protect me from any number of other hurts as well?

I no longer feel that way. I'm no longer holding my breath in fear. I am winning the fight, in His strength. I am choosing to trust when fear comes creeping in. I am learning to preach the gospel to myself over and over again and remember God's faithfulness and love.

I don't know if the fear will ever go away forever, but I do know now that perfect love drives out fear. When I look at the circumstances, I can't help but fear, like the disciples in the boat looking at the storm and crying, "Save us or we'll drown!" But like the disciples, I know where to turn. Jesus is my only hope, and it is resting in His love alone that will drive out the fear and fill my heart with faith.

I don't know what God holds in store for me or my family, but I do know that He is good all the time, and His love endures forever.


Ps. I would appreciate prayers tonight as my husband is having some hard conversations at work which could drastically effect the direction our family takes over the next few months and years. But I know that God is working all things together for good!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Day 19: Honor

Day 19 of 31 days of healing, and joining Kate for a 5-minute free-write on the word Honor


I consider it a great honor to have served as the only home my Mikayla and Selah ever knew here on earth. When I look at my still-pudgy tummy and my ever-more-sagging chest, I remind myself that this body has housed not one, but three miracles.

Miracles take room to grow. Even the ones that only stay for 8 weeks leave the mother they grew in changed forever, body and spirit.

Yes, it is an honor to be called mother. It is an honor to have been trusted with tiny miracles, even for a short time. It is an honor to have held precious little souls created and knit together by God in my womb.


Day 18: A Name

Day 18 (a little late) of 31 days of healing

Today when I opened my Facebook page, I found a pleasant surprise.

This photo:
 Look closely - go ahead, make it big. See there? Right near the top left corner? There it is! My baby girl's name. Written lovingly by Grieve Out Loud. Joined with so many other precious little ones who are dancing with her now around the throne of Jesus. I clicked over to their website, scrolled down, and there on the right down-curve of the S:

Selah's name, too! I had almost forgotten submitting them a few weeks ago, and it made me so happy to see them beautifully written in these precious memorials. 

And I realized suddenly, that seeing their names brought me joy. Joy alone, untainted by sadness. I was happy to see their names; to see them remembered and recognized. To know that there are others out there who believe ALL LIVES MATTER. 

And I realized that I am healing. Being able to feel pure joy without the shadow of sadness is a wonderful feeling, and one I haven't felt since Mikayla's heaven day. 

Thank the Lord for His blessings.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Day 17 and FMF: Long

Joining up with Kate here for another five-minute Friday free-write on Day 17 of 31 Days of Healing

Prompt word of the week: Long


This week was long. Very long. Getting home from work late every day long. Falling asleep myself as I put June Bug to bed last night at 7:30 long. I am grateful for the weekend.

Time is a funny thing. It is so subjective. Some things seem to last so long, and others seem to go by in the blink of an eye, even when really they take the same amount of time.

When I think back on my time on bed rest, the days felt so long to me. Part of that was being in bed all day left me forced to leave business behind. But I think it was also a gift that God gave me. He knew even when I didn't that I would have to say good-bye to my precious baby soon. I believe He gave me that time on bed rest and made the days seem long to give me the time I needed to prepare my heart for what was to come.

As I've said before, I spent a lot of the time on bed rest praying, reading scripture, and meditating on the truths of the gospel. I also spent a lot of time online, doing research, trying to find out what kinds of journeys I could be in for.

While I long for the day I will hold my babies in heaven, I am thankful for the gift of those long days on bed rest with my Mikayla and my God.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Day 16: Adjusting to the "new normal"

Day 16 of 31 Days of healing, 5-minute free-write on the topic: adjust.

As someone who moved a lot growing up, I am very familiar with change. Living in lots of different countries and cultures, I am very familiar with culture shock. I am familiar with dealing with change, and having to learn to adjust to a new way of life that is different from your old one. Not necessarily worse, not better, but just different.

Grief is somewhat the same way.

I remember after one of our moves when I was 9, I became very angry and hated everything about the new country I was living in. I hated the language they spoke there, the food, the way people dressed, just everything about that country. At the same time, I longed for and idolized my life in my previous home. I missed my old friends, my comfort foods, being able to speak without worrying about saying the wrong thing...

At first as I moved into grief I hated everything about my loss. I hated having conversations about children or babies or motherhood because I was always on the verge of tears. I hated the way my body felt, tired all the time, weak, and flabby. I hated myself for all the would have, could have, should haves. I longed to go back to a time where babies didn't die. At least not my babies. Maybe someone else's, far away. I wanted to go back to feeling strong and womanly, knowing my body was the home of a tiny human.

The thing is, you can't go back. You can only go forward, and the sooner you accept and recognize where you are and who has led you there, the sooner you can pick up the pieces and adjust your attitude and find things to love about the new, different, yes difficult, but also blessed, place you are right now. The sooner you can move on with adjusting to the new normal.

Don't get me wrong, I still miss the days of blissful ignorance before I knew what pPROM and MTHFR were, or that 1 in 4 women will experience some type of baby loss at some point in her life. But I am learning to be content to follow where he leads, and lean on Him for strength for the journey.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day 15: LIFE!

Day 15 of 31 Days  of Healing is very special to me and near and dear to my heart. I also LOVE that Kate's prompt for today is LIFE! I believe we have a God who is sovereign even (especially?) in the small things - even things like blog prompt words, so I know this is no accident!

Today is special because it is a holiday. Not one you'll see on many calendars, not one you'll get a day off work for, and not one that anyone ever really wants to have a reason to celebrate. It is a holiday I wish there was never any need for, but since we do live in a fallen world where babies die, I am glad there is a day set aside to remember.

Today, October 15th, is set aside as Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Remembrance Day.

The Bible talks a lot about remembering, and special times of remembrance for His people. They generally involve remembering God's faithfulness during times of trial and tribulation.

Today this is my day of remembrance of God's faithfulness to me in the midst of Mikayla's stillbirth and Selah's miscarriage. I remember God's faithfulness to me and my family in the days that followed. I proclaim again God's continuing faithfulness to me today and forever!

As part of PAIL remembrance day, people around the world light candles at 7 pm local time and keep them lit for at least one hour. The idea is that this will create a continuous  wave of light around the world.

I lit 4 little tea-light candles tonight. One for Mikayla Sophie, one for Selah, a third for June Bug: one for each of my babies. I wrote their names on their candles. On the fourth I wrote one word: hope. For me this candle represents the hope that God will bring more children into our family when His timing is right.

At one point tonight, I glanced over and all the candles had gone out except for June Bug's. I felt a bit like it was an omen of some kind, that only my living-on-earth child's candle had not gone out. I felt like it was a bad sign that the "hope" candle had gone out, especially!

But then I thought to myself, "What can you do when you start to lose hope?" I realized that the best way to rekindle hope is the way the writers of scripture so often did, by revisiting and remembering God's goodness, grace, mercy, and faithfulness in the past.

I looked at that June Bug candle still brightly glowing in the darkness, and it was very symbolic for me. June Bug is a living picture of God's faithfulness to me. So I used her candle to re-light the others.

As I did so I remembered that my hope is in God's faithfulness, goodness, mercy, and grace. I remembered God's faithfulness and grace in giving June Bug life that continues here on earth, and for giving Mikayla and Selah their brief lives here on earth followed by a life that can never be extinguished.

I thank God for LIFE. For June Bug's life. For Mikayla's life. For Selah's life. For the lives of the children He will bless us with in the future, whether biologically or through adoption or some other way of His choosing. I thank Him most of all for giving us eternal LIFE through His death and resurrection.

So today, we remember. We celebrate the LIFE of these little souls who came to us for a short time before returning to the giver of LIFE.

Day 14: Away

Well, on day 14 of 31 Days of Healing, Kate's  prompt was actually quite appropriate because I was literally away, so I'll do 2 posts today to make up and get back on track.

5 minutes on the word AWAY.


My babies have gone away. Nothing can bring them back.

But my God is still here. He has always been here. He will always be here. My God will never go away. I might feel like God is distant, or I am distant from God, but really He is always near and it is only my perspective that changes.

My love for my babies will never go away. His love for me will never go away.

"I love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my babies you'll be!" ~Robert Munsch


but never stop. Never stop going to the heavenly father with prayer and petition and thanksgiving. Never stop remembering. Never stop loving.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Day 13: 13 Revisited

Day 13 of 31 days of healing 

Well here it is again. The 13th. That date I dread every month. This month in particular because it is the 6 month mark. I cannot believe it has been half a year since I said goodbye to my sweet Mikayla Sophie. In some ways it seems like it was ages ago and I was a completely different person then. In other ways, it seems it was just yesterday the two of us were enjoying some hot chocolate together as I lay in the hospital on bed rest with multiple tubes running in and out of my body and I was so full of hope.

I think I am doing better now than I was 3 months ago. I have fewer bad days, and they are less severe when they do come. I am generally staying on top of things and beginning to find my equilibrium in the "new normal."

I do feel like I am healing, slowly, bit by bit, being knit back together.

Today still hurts.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Day 12: I will Give you Rest

Day 12 of 31 days of healing, joining up with Kate for a 5-minute post on the topic of Rest.

Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

God made the world to function in patterns of waking and resting, day and night, summer and winter.

Go knows so well that we, the people he created, need our rest that he led by example and reserved a day out of every week as the day of rest.

Rest is so very important. And immediately following the loss of Mikayla it was the thing I struggled with the most. I would have a hard time falling asleep, then wake up multiple times every night. I found it hard to take naps. Sunday mornings in particular I was awake by 5am every week, feeling like a bowling ball had been dropped on my belly as I re-lived birthing my sweet girl who had already flown to heaven.

Now I have the opposite problem. Since I got a positive pregnancy test with Selah, I have wanted to sleep all the time. I go to bed early, hit the snooze once or twice every morning, and am ready for a nap when I get home from work pretty much every day. I didn't expect to still feel this way this long after losing Selah, but I still do.

Yes, rest is important, but too much is not good either. I am striving to find the balance between insomnia and constant sleepiness. It's hard.

But ultimately my soul finds rest in God alone, and He is the one that can stir my soul to action. I lean on Him to help me find my way, finding just enough rest under my savior's wings.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day 11: Resources

Ok people. It's day 11 of 31 days of healing and I am feeling very uninspired and can't think of anything to write about, so I decided to look at Carly Marie's Project Heal for ideas and decided to jump back to her day 8: Resource, and list some resources I have found that have helped/are helping on this journey through grief toward healing.

This is an awesome ministry which sends teddy bears to anyone grieving the loss of a baby. I ordered one for June Bug which she calls her "Baby Sissy Bear." I found this site after previously seeing Molly Bears and realized I would rather have a simple bear quickly and for free than pay $20 and have to wait possibly years to get a fancy bear. That's just my opinion, though.
This online resource is a great place to read stories by other parents who have had their children or babies die. There is a lot of encouragement and practical advice on there, as well as just the reassurance that I am not alone in feeling the things I feel or doing the (seemingly odd) things I do after loss. It is affirmation that though loss changes you for life, you can keep standing, and even begin to walk again.

Another resource that encourages healing and working through your grief in productive ways.

A great book that helped me explore where my loss and grief fit in with my faith.

Another awesome book that helped me wrestle with the hard issues of faith and God's love in the midst of pain.

  • My mother and grandmother 
Two amazing ladies of faith who experienced the pain of losing unborn children themselves. It helped to know that they have traveled this road before me, and went on to live happy, fulfilled and faith-filled lives and have more healthy children.

  • The Holy Bible
Through the work of the Holy Spirit helping me to see God's love and faithfulness, and through reading accounts like that of Joseph and Job and Jesus himself who went through great suffering through which God was still faithful and working all things together for good. I am thankful for a God who can take my hurt and brokenness and turn it into beauty.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Day 10 and FMF: Care

Day 10 of 31 Days of Healing and joining up at Kate's for Five-Minute Friday, a flash-mob of writing for 5 minutes on a given prompt every Friday. Come join us!

Word of the week: Care


Some days I find it really hard to take care of myself. I stay up later than I should, wake up long before my alarm goes off, and then fall asleep on the couch as soon as I walk in the door after work. Some days I find it hard to eat, or find myself eating everything in sight (as long as it's unhealthy). I'm still struggling with the whole exercise thing, though I have made some progress (twice a week is better than zero, right?), and if my husband wasn't so outspoken about personal hygiene I would probably go days between showers sometimes.

What makes me keep going through the motions? What makes me try to take care of this body that betrayed me and killed my children (yes, I am being a bit melodramatic there, but only slightly)? I have to keep reminding myself of these truths:

1. My husband expects me to take care of myself. I know he will ask me when he gets home from work about what I ate today, whether or not I exercised, and I better have taken a shower and brushed my teeth or I'm sleeping on the couch!

2. My big girl needs her Mama. As much as I wish some days that I could just lie down and die and go be with my tiny babies, I know I could never do that to my June Bug. seeing her anxiety and pain when I was on bed rest and in the aftermath of losing Mikayla when she was worried I was going to die made me realize how how important it is to carry on for her sake.

3. My little ones would want their Mama to take care of herself. In loving my body while Mikayla and Selah were with me, I was loving them by extension. I shouldn't do any less now that they are gone. I can still love the body that was the only home they ever knew on earth.

4. My future babies (D.V.) depend on me being healthy. If I give in to my desires and let my body fall into decay, I am only hurting my chances of having healthy babies some day in the future. I need to do the best I can to be the healthiest home for my babies so that they might (with the help of God) be able to live in my womb long enough that they can also live in my arms.

5. My God has given me this body as a gift, and it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I am called to care for what God has given me and use it for His glory to the best of my ability.

So while I am tempted to just give up and not care and let myself get fat and lazy and sick, I will fight it. I will do my best to take care of this body God has given me for however long He sees fit to let me live in it, and then I will welcome the new body and new life He will give.

STOP (Actually I lost track of time, so that may have been more than  minutes)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Day 9: Join the Praise

Day 9 of 31 Days of Healing ; following Kate's prompt - "Join" for 5 minutes of unedited free-write.

Welcome to the club, Jenna. The club of mothers who have little ones waiting for us in heaven. We know that no one wants to be a member of this club. The rite of passage to get in is one of the worst you will ever experience.

One thing I must say, though, is that the members here are incredibly supportive. We all know how much it sucks and how terrible it is to say good-bye to your baby, so we gather around any new recruits with open arms and flowing tears to embrace you with love and understanding.

Your little Shane joins a chorus of precious little souls who gather around the throne of our heavenly father, singing praise without ending to the one who gave them the blessing of being carried in a womb full of love, for however short a time, and the greater blessing of living for eternity free from suffering, sadness, and pain.

Jenna, I want to thank you on behalf of all of us in this club, for being brave enough to share your journey. Thank you for speaking out and letting others know that your baby matters, and by extension, our babies matter. Your Shane has touched the lives and hearts of thousands, and though our babies may only touch a few in our immediate families, they matter. Each one of them has changed the world just by being here, even the ones who never took a breathe of air outside the womb.

So we join together, a club of Mamas missing our Little Blessings, to sing praises to our Father who allowed us to carry them wrapped in our love, and gave us the strength to survive giving them back so soon.

We join together to praise through our tears. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Day 8: Little Yellow Duck Feet

Day 8 of 31 days of healing

There is a bag up high on my closet shelf. I put it up there on April 12, 2014 after coming home from a children's clothes swap at church. I have only taken it down once since then, but after reading this article on Still Standing, I decided to get it down again tonight.

Inside there is a little yellow sleeper with frogs and turtles, and a little yellow duck on a turtle's back. There's a green-and-white sleeper with bumblebees. A sweet sleep sack with zoo animals, and an elephant that says "Little peanut," a yellow romper with a bunny rabbit eating a carrot, two pairs of tiny white socks that were so soft I couldn't pass them by. My favorites are a pair of orange, yellow, green, and turquoise striped newborn gloves to keep those tiny razor-nails from scratching a precious little face, and a pair of little white pants with yellow duck faces on the feet.

Mikayla's clothes.

These clothes were lovingly gathered for a baby I didn't yet know was a girl. A baby I didn't yet know would never get to wear any of these things. A baby I never would have dreamed would go to heaven early the next morning, on Palm Sunday.

If I had known, would I have done things differently? Probably not. Well, I would have added in a healthy dose of pink there with the yellows and greens and whites. I might not have taken the practical things like bibs and plain white onesies (which was the reason I took down the bag once before, to send those things to my brother-in-law whose wife is expecting a baby boy any day now. I didn't want to do it, and cried the whole time I was sorting through Mikayla's things, but my husband convinced me, so Mikayla's cousin will get to wear her clothes that she never got a chance to). I might have taken something with me to the hospital when I went to the ER with contractions, so that I could have taken a short while to be Mikayla's mother in some small "normal" way, dressing her and holding her tiny body close to my heart.

But I didn't know.

Now I do. Now, those clothes are incredibly precious to me. They, along with a positive pregnancy test and a single red rose that I dried are the only physical reminders I have that Mikayla ever lived here on Earth. For Selah, I have even less - only the pregnancy test and a blurry photo that no one but me would ever recognize as my baby held on the tip of my finger. But a person's a person, no matter how small.

I pray that God will allow me to put these clothes to good use some day, and Mikayla and Selah can look down from heaven and see a little baby brother or sister with little yellow duck feet, and their Mama smiling as she carries this baby in her arms, and two others in her heart.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day 7: Sore

Day 7 of 31 Days of Healing

Well, since Day 1 when I wrote about needing to exercise more, I have indeed tried to do better with that. Last night I did 20 minutes of Pilates, and boy am I feeling it today! My legs were aching walking up and down the stairs at work, and my arms are protesting any time I lift anything heavier than a pencil today!

But one thing I have noticed since losing Mikayla, is that I find myself getting sore whenever my grief is beginning to bubble up. Even (especially?) if I haven't done any exercise or anything to cause soreness, I feel my shoulders, neck, and upper back getting tense and just aching. I think it is a physical mirror of my emotionally aching heart.

I noticed it was very bad right around Mikayla's due date, and in the beginning it would happen every Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning as I marked another week without my sweet girl. This week I was really sore on Monday even though I didn't work out Sunday or Monday.

I wish I had money to get a massage every time this happens, but instead I try to find the emotions that are building up, and put them into words either here or in my journal, or sometimes just pouring them out in prayer to God. Then I take some time to relax and focus on the many blessing that God has given me. This doesn't completely take away the physical pain, but it does help to ease it, and does wonders for the emotional side of things. Of course, a nice hot shower or a soak in the tub helps, too!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Day 6: What I Know for Sure

Day 6 of 31 Days of Healing

In the wake of tragedy, so often we let our emotions run wild. Comfort and peace, however, are found in what I know about God and His plans for my life. I decided today to follow Kate's prompt: Know, and make a list of truths to repeat over to myself when I am tempted to give in to despair and anxiety and worry.


  • That God is on His throne  Isaiah 46:9-10  "I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’"

  • That He is working all things together for good (Romans 8:28)
  • That my babies are in heaven, free from suffering in the arms of Jesus Revelation 21:4 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
  • That He who began a good work in me WILL carry it through to completion (Philippians 1:6)
  • That I do not need to be anxious about anything, but rather I need to in everything by prayer and petition and with thanksgiving present my requests to God (Philippians 4:6)

There are so many things I don't know, and so many questions I still have, but I do KNOW that God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Day 5: Triggers

This morning I watched my beautiful June Bug sing on a stage, and she did such such an amazing job. Then they brought up the preschoolers to sing. It brought back memories of June Bug's first of such concerts, when she was 2 and got up on stage with her preschool class for their Christmas concert and proceeded to cry through the whole thing with her fingers in her mouth.

It also brought something else. The reminder that I won't get those memories for Mikayla, or for Selah.

In church this morning there were 2 different couples I knew were bringing their tiny babies to church, with everyone crowding around the car seats to coo over the sweet little bundles of joy, as I felt like a boulder had been dropped onto my stomach because those happy moments were ripped from my life.

Then tonight I was watching A Little Princess with June Bug, and when the main character said that her Mama was in heaven along with her baby sister it was all I could do to hold back the blubbering, knowing it was only by the grace of God that June Bug could only relate to half of that statement.

I don't know how long the rawness will last, or how often the scabs of my heart will be ripped off before the new skin finally grows back, leaving only the scar. Some days are better than others, and sometimes I am fine seeing pregnant women, tiny babies, etc. while other times something as simple as two sisters fighting in the supermarket can send me into all-out panic mode,

I am praying that God would work in my heart to help me count my blessings whenever the ugly green jealousy monster shows up. I am praying that He would help me overcome the envy and fill me up with love. I am praying that God would help me to cherish the moments I have with June Bug, without worrying that she may never get a sister or brother here on earth. I am praying that God would keep my heart soft and stop the pain from fermenting into bitterness, but rather blossom it into love and compassion for others.  

I can't stop the triggers from itching at my heart, but I can choose to look for the beauty and goodness of the Lord in all things, and to rejoice with those who rejoice even in the midst of my mourning.

And I will leave you with a poem:

Loved and Lost
Better to have loved and lost?
Even if your heart gets buried and crushed
Under the weight of snow and frost
In the winter of heartache where all joys are hushed?

Even if your heart gets buried and crushed
And all that remains are fragments and dust?
In the winter of heartache where all joys are hushed,
The naked trees whisper of Spring bound to come.

But all that remains are fragments and dust
And a shadow of a shell of a ghost.
Still the naked trees whisper of Spring bound to come,
"Better to have loved and lost!"

Day 4: Learn

Day 4 of 31 days of healing

I have always loved to learn. Since I was 4 years old and learned to read, I have devoured information. I can spout off facts about any number of subjects. However, there is a difference between learning and putting into practice.

I have read my Bible cover to cover several times, and of course favorite passages get read more often than say, Numbers or Amos. But it has only been in the past few years that I have truly learned what it is to be a Christian and what it means to take up my cross and follow Christ.

Thanks to the Holy Spirit and the encouragement of brothers and sisters in Christ, I am learning how to walk worthy of the calling I have received. It is not an easy road! It is full of bumps and potholes and scary curves, but I am also learning that my savior is better and sweeter than I ever imagined. He has drawn near to me in a way I never thought possible, and given me strength I could never have had on my own.

And that is what is holding me together.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Day 3 and FMF: Making All Things New

Part 3 of my 31 days project, and a Five Minute Friday on the word NEW


So many people talk about finding the "new normal" after a loss. Real normal will never be achieved again, because losing someone you love permeates every aspect of your life. I understand better now how sin and death entering the world had such a profound impact on every single corner of creation, because I have experienced the way the entrance of death into my life and the lives of my husband and daughter has had a profound impact on every corner of our lives.

The good news is, we can and will find a "new normal." Inevitably we will find ways to cope with the waves of grief, develop new habits and rituals, and carry on with our daily lives even though everything has been turned on its head. 

The important thing is knowing where to find the "new normal" and how to go about establishing it. 

We could fall back on sinful desires and habits - drowning our sorrows in alcohol, drugs, or even just too many hours spent in front of a computer screen (Candy Crush, anyone?). We could allow worry and anxiety to take over, because of all people we are entitled to do so, right? We could seek meaning through our own works, starting a non-profit organization; making donations of goods and time in our children's names; rituals and traditions we create. 

But the better way is to fall back on the God who is making all things new - seeking peace in the Word; drinking deep of His grace; spending hours on our knees. We should cast all our cares on Him and in everything through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God.

(Time is up, but I want to continue...)

We ought to seek meaning not in our own works, but in His work in and through us, which very well may look like starting a non-profit organization, donating goods and time, and creating new rituals and traditions (raising Ebeneezers?). 

Sin and death may appear to rule the world at the moment, but Hallelujah! Our God is making all things new, including our broken hearts and lives.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day 2: Point of View

I'm back for day 2 of the 31-day writing challenge, and decided to also join Kate Motaung doing a five-minute free-write on the topic: View.


Why is it so easy for us to fix our view on the past, dwelling on what has already taken place, mulling over the "what if"s and the "if only"s. Wondering if maybe things could have, should have, would have been different if...

It's also easy to fix my view on the future, giving in to anxiety and dwelling on fears of the unknown. Fears that history will repeat itself and I will be asked to give up a baby too soon again.

Why is it so hard sometimes to view everything through the proper lens? The glasses that God wants us to put on?

Instead of wondering about and lamenting the past, I should be focusing on what I can and should be doing right now. Spending time in the word. Building relationships. Worshiping. Fishing for men. Making disciples.

Instead of worrying about and fearing the future, I should be looking toward eternity. Remembering always that this life is not the end, and my treasure must not be found here where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal and death snatches away life and seems to have the last laugh. Instead I should be building up treasure in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves cannot break in a steal and where LIFE has swallowed up death in a final and decisive victory.

Lord, grant me your point of view.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Day 1: Moving towards Healing

After Mikayla was stillborn, I had been bleeding for almost 2 months, and on bed rest for nearly a month. Add to that insomnia and grief, and I was pretty much zapped of all energy for a while. Even walking up the stairs to our apartment had me winded and weak in the knees.

I was feeling better by summer, but a month of vacation did little to motivate me toward exercise. Then I started a new job - busy, busy. Shortly after which I found out I was pregnant with Selah and first-trimester exhaustion kicked my butt.

Needless to say, it is high time I get back into a good exercise routine! I'm thinking of trying out some yoga, since I had been doing a prenatal yoga I found on YouTube while I was pregnant with Mikayla and found I really enjoyed it.

Anyone have tips for getting/keeping yourself motivated to exercise?

31 Days of Healing

I've decided to try and stretch myself a bit and join up with  to write every day in October. I may also join in some of the 5-minute free-write prompts at if I feel inspired.

I chose to name my 31 days project: 31 Days of Healing as I continue on my journey of searching for healing from the Great Physician in the wake of losing a daughter to stillbirth and another baby to miscarriage. I hope that it may also be a journey of physical healing as I may soon get some of the answers I so desperately searched for earlier only to be told "everything was normal" when my intuition screams that it wasn't and isn't.

I am glad to be a part of this project, and I know writing has been a big part of my healing journey thus far and will continue to be. There is a reason John refers to Jesus as the Word. There is power in words, and Jesus is the ultimate Word by which all my faltering lisping words begin to come together and make sense.

Happy reading and writing!

Day 1: Moving Toward Healing
Day 2: Point of View
Day 3: Making All Things New
Day 4: Learn
Day 5: Triggers
Day 6: Know
Day 7: Sore
Day 8: Little Yellow Duck Feet
Day 9: Join the Praise
Day 10: Care
Day 11: Resources
Day 12: I will Give you Rest
Day 13: 13 Revisited
Day 14: Away
Day 15: LIFE!
Day 16: Adjusting to a New Normal
Day 17: Long