Monday, December 16, 2013

Two years

As I begin this post, I'm not really sure what to say. I find that my emotions are all jumbled up and there's not really one overarching theme to them. I feel the pain of loss, although not as acutely as I once did. I feel relief that the pain is no longer so bad, and a smidge of guilt for feeling like I've "moved on" (even though I know I shouldn't). I feel sorrow for all the stuff I'm missing with Caroline, especially now that I have little E to show me what I could have had with Caroline if she hadn't had anencephaly. I feel joy for having little E to temper the grief.

I knew when Caroline was born on December 15th that Christmas would never be the same for me again. And that's true. Every time I unpack our Christmas decorations, I pull out the ones we bought for Caroline that year. I put up her stocking and put her ornaments on the tree. I remember doing all of this that first year and how I felt at the time. It just makes Christmas a little bit bittersweet.

In some ways, I can't believe it's been two years since Caroline came and went in a moment. In other ways, I feel like I've lived an entire lifetime since then. But it has most definitely been two years. Two years of remembering her instead of holding her. Two years of grief and healing. Two years of what ifs. Two years of amazing support from other ladies who have gone through similar things. Two years of passing along that empathy to others who have come after me in their loss journey. Two years of "my grace is sufficient for you."

I think one of the hardest things for me this year is pictures. I only have the pictures I have from the one day we were able to hold her out in the world. There are no more opportunities to take pictures of her and with her. I have no pictures of her changing and growing. No pictures of her with her sister. No pictures of her having a birthday, eating cake for the first time. No pictures of her learning to walk or eat. And I think that I'm feeling this loss so greatly right now because E is about to turn one. She's ten and a half months old, and in January, she'll have her first birthday. This entire year, I've taken pictures of her daily. Literally. I have pictures of her every day since she was born. I've mentioned in previous posts why I do this, but I think subconsciously, I knew I could never have enough pictures of Caroline, so I have made an effort to take them of E. I just finished taking a bunch of pictures for Christmas. And it puts a knot in my chest to know that I will only ever have a set number of pictures of Caroline. It doesn't bother me all the time, but at moments like this, it hurts a little more than usual.

As E grows up and hits more developmental milestones, interacts with us more, and just grows in general, it sometimes hits me in my weak moments that I won't ever have a chance to see any of that with Caroline.

All in all, I feel like I've mostly "move on" in life, as much as is possible without forgetting Caroline. I don't feel the loss quite as frequently as I used to. I can go about my day to day life without being weighed down by grief. But there are definitely moments, especially on days like her birthday, where it kinda all comes crashing back. I don't cry as much as I used to. And I don't feel the same sharp, pricking pain in my heart. I always kinda have a catch in my heart when I think or talk about her, but it's not as hard as it used to be.

I just wish she was still here.

Even two years later, I still wish I could have her back.

I have to just take a deep breath, pray for strength and grace, and then go on. I think I'll probably do that for the rest of my life. It might happen less and less frequently as time goes on, but I think there will always be a part of me that just wishes for the chance to know her here on earth. There is a part of my heart that will always belong to her and shudder to think of her loss. That's just my reality. Sometimes, I really don't like that it's my reality. I wish it could just go away, that all the pain and loss and grief could just vanish from my life, that I'll wake up and it was all a bad dream. Not wishing Caroline away, but wishing the pain away.

Alas, that is not to be. And I wouldn't really wish it all away, because it has made me who I am now. I am a much more compassionate person now. I'm a much better mother, I think, than I would have been otherwise. I had a very, very sweet time with Jesus through that whole time, and it changed me. So although it hurts sometimes, and although I miss Caroline a lot, I'm glad to have walked the journey to this point. I'm glad I'm still walking. I'm glad God has allowed me to support others with empathy who have had to walk a similar journey.

So today...Happy Birthday in heaven, Caroline. We miss you here on earth and look forward to seeing you again someday. Thank you for being my first baby girl and teaching me so much in your short time with us. I love you forever.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Who are we remembering today?

Once again, it's October 15th. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, stuck in the middle of pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. It's also just a few days after the two year mark of getting Caroline's diagnosis. What a day. To any mamas reading this blog who have lost a child, my heart goes out to you. I hope you have felt God's comfort in your loss, and that you are healing with his grace.

Today, however, I'd like to get away from my own loss a little bit and share something that's been burdening my heart. This day is always interesting for me because of the significance of Caroline's loss. But it also brings into sharp relief another issue I've discussed before; abortion(see my post A Tough Subject for a more detailed explanation of my views).

The reason I'm bringing this up is because, well...I feel like our culture is extremely hypocritical when it comes to the issue of abortion. I'd like to explain, but first, please know that I am not here to condemn anyone who may have chosen abortion for any particular reason. Cameron and I made a choice not to, but I can and do love all the ladies who have lost children, whether by abortion or natural causes. But I'd like to get this perspective out there because I feel so strongly about abortion. God loves you and can rebuild that which is broken. So please, don't read hate, judgment, or self-righteousness into this post. That is not my intent in any way. I want to share God's love in the midst of a difficult subject. So. Here we go.

This day, set aside for women (and men) everywhere to remember their lost children, makes a big deal about the lives lost during pregnancy or shortly after birth. It is for anyone who has lost a child to miscarriage, still birth, or any post-delivery complications or medical issues. So basically, from conception on. It is a time to mourn the loss of a treasured life, a blessed child. And no one seems to say, "you can only mourn if you made it to 25 weeks gestation." People will argue until they're blue in the face that abortion is ok until a certain gestational age because it's a "fetus," not a child, but this day is specifically to mourn those same "fetuses," but as lives lost. So is it a child or not? Is it ok to abort the child because it's not wanted, but also ok to mourn it it is wanted? It just confuses me. Either it's a life or it's not. Either we mourn it, or we don't. Either we think it's ok to kill it, or we don't. If we can mourn a miscarriage at 6 weeks, why do we not mourn an abortion at 6 weeks? If we can mourn a second trimester loss, why do we not mourn a second trimester abortion? Is the difference really just that one is wanted, and one is not? And if so, how is that ok?

Getting rid of people no one "wanted" was what Hitler did in Germany in the 1930's and 40's. They didn't just kill Jews, who they considered an inferior people, but also people with disabilities, mental handicaps, alternative lifestyles, and political dissention against the Nazi Party. Anyone who wasn't "perfect" or "useful" was considered fodder for mass murder. We look back on that and shudder, hoping nothing like that ever happens again. How many people were killed by Nazis? The figure most often given is around 11 million. That's about the population of New York City and Los Angeles combined. It's horrific.

Since Roe vs Wade in 1973, there have been approximately 55 million abortions performed in America. 55 MILLION. Five times the number of people killed in the Holocaust. The entire population of America is about 314 million people. So 55 million is about one sixth of our country's population. Just to give you an idea of the numbers we're talking about.

Are you really ok with that? Think hard. Use your brain and not your politically correct lens. If you strip all this information down to bare bones, what do you really think? Is it a child or not? Pick a side. Yes or no. If it is a child, then we can mourn for them today, no matter their gestational age, no matter how they were lost. If it's not a child, and can be killed without consequence, then how can we mourn? I'm sorry if that seems harsh, but truly, how can we be so doubleminded on this issue?

I know it may seem to some people that I am oversimplifying the issue. But am I really? Is it a child or not? If it is, can there really be ANY reason to end that life that would be justified? To tackle the sticky issues...what about pregnancy as a result of rape? Let's say, for the sake of argument, that a man rapes a woman. He already has a child, maybe a 2 year old. Is it ok to kill the rapist's two year old just because his dad is a rapist? I would hope you would say no. Then why is it ok to kill a rapist's child in utero? I'm not saying, in any way, that it would be easy to carry that child. I'm not saying it wouldn't be extremely painful for the mother. But should the child really be killed for the misdeeds of its father?

What about a mother whose health is at risk? If you are already a mother, would you risk your own health for your children? Would you give them a kidney if they needed it? Even if your own life could be lost during the operation, would you risk it? If you saw a runaway vehicle careening toward your child, would you give your life to save them? Then why would you not for a child in utero? Are they worth less just because you haven't met them yet?

What about people in situations like ours, where the child has a fatal defect and will never live past a few hours or days, if they survive delivery at all? They're going to die anyway, so is it ok to just end their life early? If you had a two year old diagnosed with a terminal illness, would you just go ahead an euthanize them since they're going to die anyway? No? Then why do it to a child in utero?

What about children who will be able to survive but will have serious health issues or disabilities? Down syndrome, physical disabilities, etc. Is it ok to terminate their lives because they won't have perfect lives? (Think: low quality of life) Should we go ahead and just get rid of all the kids with Down syndrome? Should we kill off all the people with physical abnormalities? If we wouldn't do it once a person is outside the womb, why would we do it when they're still inside the womb? Look at Nick Vujicic ( He was born with no arms or legs. And look what he's done with his life. He's an amazing motivational speaker who communicates God's love to millions of people. Can we really decide, when a child is still in utero, whether their life is worthwhile? No. We can't. So how can we end that life based on a judgment we shouldn't even be making?

I am not saying this is an easy choice. There are some very difficult decisions made every day when it comes to children in utero. We had to make the decision with Caroline. I will never regret our decision to let Caroline live until God took her home. I got an extra 10 weeks with my first baby girl, 10 weeks for God to teach me, comfort me, and grow me. Ten weeks to appreciate life, no matter how fleeting. Did I suffer? Absolutely. But life is full of suffering no matter which path you choose. At least I know I did everything I could to give Caroline the life she had a right to live.

After saying all of this, I know it may come across like I am a close-minded extremist in our liberal, relativistic culture. I hope not. I want to be seen as a compassionate, loving follower of Christ, who loves all people, including babies in utero. He died for all people. Not everyone chooses to love Him back, but He still loves them enough to die for them. Can God forgive abortion? Absolutely. He would love nothing more than for a mother to come to him broken hearted and repentant about this issue. To seek His grace. To receive the love that He has already lavished on us. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) I am not perfect. I have many failings of my own, and I have to rest in God's grace as much as anyone. I have to trust His love to overcome my shortcomings. And I have to trust His Spirit to communicate what I cannot. But I also need to be obedient to His commands, His Word, His will. He loves children from before the time they are conceived, through their time in the womb, and beyond through eternity. If you have any questions about God's love and forgiveness, please don't hesitate to email me (see the contact tab above). Please don't send me hatemail. I understand this is a touchy subject, and one on which many people will disagree with me. That's ok. I just wanted to put this viewpoint out there. May God be glorified by my imperfect ramblings.

Today, can we remember ALL the babies who have been lost? Including the 55 million who have been aborted? They are precious too. God bless you all.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


So, it's been a while since I last posted. Having a baby around will do that to ya, I guess. It's hard enough finding time to get the laundry done, so blogging has found it's way to the bottom of the priority pile.


This post is something I need to write for myself. It may not be useful to anyone else, but it will be to me. I hope.

I've been struggling a little bit lately. Probably not any more than any other new mom, but I have been struggling. I'll explain how, and maybe I'm crazy, but I hope not.

I'm tired. Like soul-deep, no amount of sleep will help, I need a break tired. Such is life with an infant. I think we all have those times as parents. It's just a season we have to push through in raising our children. We recently have been rather uprooted. We traveled for a full month, visiting family and such. Then we had to move several states away. Let's just say I got really sick of suitcases. And boxes. And pack and plays. And...well, you get the idea. It is incredibly frustrating to feel unsettled. Especially with a baby. Our poor child has not had a really consistent schedule in months. I know she'll survive, but I don't like it. It makes me uncomfortable.

Because we just moved, I've had to sort through the mess the movers made of our stuff. I won't go into the headache of that, just suffice it to say they jacked some things up. Anyway, one thing I've had to do is sort through all our files. As I was sorting through stuff, I came across Caroline's death certificate and funeral stuff. Usually, I'm not overwhelmed by Caroline and what happened. But for some reason, seeing that stuff just hit me hard. I started crying and just lost it. I don't know why. I just was overwhelmed by emotion and needed a good cry, apparently. It was weird to have it just sneak up on me and hit me so hard. I suppose that my life will consist of many moments like this, where something will just hit me and make me miss her more than normal. I just wish I didn't have to deal with it.

On top of that, I've just been discouraged in general. I feel like I have no clue what I'm doing with E. Sometimes, I'm like, "Man, I am rockin' this mom thing!" Other days, I'm like, "Am I completely screwing up my kid?" I know every mom goes through that to some extent, but with the stress of moving, and the stress of having to move again in 6 months, and the stress of figuring out this parenting thing without my usual support (being in a new place kinda does that to you), it's just been really discouraging. I also feel like I'm drowning in baby care and not able to do much else. It's a struggle to get the dishes done, and the laundry. And heck, to even shower regularly. It's not always a time issue. Sometimes, I literally cannot get my bum off the couch during naptime to do anything but stare off into space because I'm just spent. If I'm emotionally spent, then I have no energy to do much of anything. And honestly, I'm emotionally spent a lot these days. Learning to be a mom is exhausting.

Sometimes, I feel like people don't understand that. I feel like I have expectations to be superwoman. If I have a spare 5 minutes, I feel like I should be doing something productive. But sometimes, I just...can't. I can't. I know I should be getting stuff done, but it's just physically impossible for me to do it. It's extremely frustrating to see the pile of laundry waiting to be folded, and to just know it's not gonna get done today. Again. I know it shouldn't matter, but it does. I hate feeling the pressure to get it done, or else it proves I'm not handling life well right now. Even if that's not true. I hate feeling like I'm not enough, even though I know I am.

So basically, I'm trying to remember what I learned with Caroline. Don't sweat the small stuff. God is in control. Children are a precious gift that we get to borrow from God for a while. There is a season for everything, and nothing here on earth is permanent. And God loves me.

I think that's the biggest one I need to remember right now. God loves me. Jesus died so I could be reconciled to Him, so I can ask him to help me not feel like a failure in my parenting skills. I want to feel better than I do right now. He's the only one that can help me get there.

Just so everyone knows, I'm not going to have a breakdown any time soon. Don't worry about me too much. I'm just having a rough few days, but God is with me and will get me through it. Hopefully this post will help someone and not just be me venting. Haha. Even if that's all it is, well...ok. I'm cool with that. I needed to say it. God bless you all.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It never ends

E is now three and a half months old. She is thriving, she is healthy, she is wonderful. I am so grateful for her.


She did not replace Caroline in my heart. She never will. The pain of losing Caroline has faded slightly, but it will never go away completely this side of Heaven.

I wanted to write this post, because, well, I think people need to know this side of pregnancy and infant loss. I've had a few people kind of act like Everleigh has replaced Caroline. That Caroline is no longer important because I have a living daughter to take care of now. No one has come out and said that so explicitly, but I know it's gong through their heads. And to a certain extent, I can understand why they think that way. For most people, Caroline is a nonentity. They had no emotional connection to her outside of her being our daughter. No one ever got to know her outside my womb.

Everleigh is here on earth with us, and people can know her and get connected to her. It's only reasonable to assume that she would take precedence in my heart because she's here. But that's not true.

I still attend a loss group (kind of a group therapy type group) through the perinatal hospice organization that Cameron and I dealt with. Some people have asked why I still go. Well...because I like to. It makes me feel better. It helps me with my loss, while I can simultaneously help others through their losses. Several of us have since had other babies, and having that first baby after a loss (what some call rainbow babies) is a unique experience. Those ladies understand all my mixed emotions. They understand why I still fear losing Everleigh more than the normal mother would fear. They understand that watching the new baby hit milestones is a reminder that the lost baby will never hit them. They understand that on the birthday or angel day of that lost baby, it will always be hard. They understand how bittersweet mother's day is because one of your babies isn't with you here on earth. They get all the weirdness that comes with life after loss.

And it is weird. If you haven't been there, it doesn't really make sense. That's ok. I wish I didn't know what it was like. I wouldn't want anyone to have to feel that way. But, I have lost, so I do feel.

For the rest of my life, when people ask how many kids I have, I'll have to think before I answer. Should I include Caroline and explain, or should I just include my living children for simplicity's sake? December 15th and Christmas will never be the same for me. Mother's day and Father's day will always be awkward. October, when we got her diagnosis, will always be a little strange. Watching Everleigh grow up will be a reminder that Caroline didn't get to. Family pictures will always be missing a person. There will always be a prick on my heart about all these things. So you see, the loss never ends. The pain is dulled, and I can rejoice in what I do have (and believe me, I do), but it never ends.

I take a picture of E every day. Partly because her grandmother (my mom) insists on it because we live so far away and she wants to see her grandbaby in any way possible. Haha. But there's another reason. I want to have a picture of her every day in case it's her last. It's hard for me to admit this, because it stems from fear, and I hate to be afraid. To me, it smacks of a lack of trust in God, and I hate feeling that way. But I can't help it. I can manage it, and I can make sure it doesn't overwhelm me and cause me to truly lose faith in God's goodness, but I can't help that I have a knee-jerk fearful reaction because of the loss I experienced. I take a picture every day, and I take lots of videos, because I want to have those memories in case something happens. I take videos of her just talking or playing on her activity mat. I take pictures of her sleeping, yawning, smiling, frowning. I have videos of everything I can. Because if, God forbid, she has to leave me before I want her to, I want to have those mementos of her to cherish. I never want to forget those precious baby coos and giggles. I want to know exactly what shade of blue her eyes are. I want to see how her mouth falls open when she's fast asleep. Loss does this to you.

I don't take these things for granted, my friends. I treasure them for the blessings they are.

When I used to write that Caroline changed my life, I meant it. It wasn't temporary. She still exists to me. Today marks 17 months since we lost her. I'll always love and treasure the one I lost as much as the ones I got to keep. It will look different, but it will be true just the same. I don't cling to the grief, or the pain, or the 2 yr old inside screaming, "It's not fair!" I cling to the precious blessing she was and is. I'm not overwhelmed by sadness and loss, but I can't forget one of my children. You see, she never ends, so my loss won't either. Not this side of Heaven.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rejoicing in Motherhood

It's been a few more weeks, and I have learned so much. So. Much.

I picked up E's birth certificate this past week. Talk about a reality check. I think it's still hard for me to realize, some days, that Everleigh is here to stay. I mean, I know there is no guarantee for the future, but we have to live with the assumption that she will be with us for a while. That is just so crazy sometimes. Having Caroline, then having to give her up immediately, was my "normal." So having E, and getting to take her home and take care of her, watch her grow, know that someday she's going to walk and talk and go to school and all those other things that are "normal" for everyone just blows my mind.

E is, so far, a pretty mild-mannered baby. She mostly only cries when she's hungry or needs something else. She's not a really fussy baby. She has her days, as do we all, but for the most part she's pretty mellow. She'll be seven weeks old tomorrow and is already sleeping pretty well at night (not all night, mind you, but not 2 or 3 hours at a time either). She's eating well, digesting well, developing well. It's all just such a blessing. And at the same time, so surreal.

I catch myself sometimes, thinking about how our lives are different now. I told Everleigh yesterday that I hope she finds Jesus early in life, that He loves her more than I ever could, which is a lot. Then I told her that she had to know Jesus in order to meet her sister, so she really needs to love Jesus. What an enormous responsibility the Lord has given us, to teach our sweet daughter about His love and salvation.

It kind of hit me then. Everleigh will never know her sister here on earth, but she will in Heaven. I knew that. It just hit home yesterday. It made me a little sad, that they won't ever get to do sister-y things together. That they won't even get to meet. But I'm grateful that Caroline is there waiting for us. I hope and pray Everleigh will love the Lord and accept his salvation. I never want to be eternally separated from my babies, and I don't want them to be eternally separated from God (and selfishly, me).

There are days where I am overwhelmed by motherhood. Not overwhelmed in the physical/emotional sense (although that happens occasionally as well), but overwhelmed in a sense of awe and glory. I feel incredibly blessed to be a mother of a baby that gets to stay for a while. It's teaching me a lot about myself, just as much as it's teaching me about E and parenthood.

It's a time for rejoicing. :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Welcome Precious Blessing

For all of you who have been waiting for little E's birth story, I'm finally getting around to writing it all down.  Having  newborn in the house has made it a little more difficult to get everything done.  :) we go.

I had Braxton Hicks contractions for a few months before Everleigh was born.  Apparently that made me ready for labor a lot more easily than normal.  By the time I went into the hospital to have her, I was 7cm dilated and 90% effaced, without having regular, intense labor contractions.  I had contractions for about 5 days straight that were relatively frequent and somewhat uncomfortable, but nothing like labor contractions.  My OB told me it was "the good Lord being nice to you."  I laughed and agreed.

I went to my OB on Tuesday January 29th, and was 6cm, 50% effaced.  In other words, I was halfway to where I needed to be to deliver.  But I wasn't really in labor yet.  My OB told me I could come in the next morning to be induced if I hadn't gone into labor naturally, because I'd be 39 weeks, and I was practically already ready anyway.  So I came in at about 7:45am the next morning, January 30th.  They got me all checked in and ready, and I was getting even closer to delivering, without really being in active labor. 

My OB checked me at 9:00am, and decided that if she broke my water, I'd be delivering within hours.  So she broke my water, and said she'd be close by for when things started happening.

An hour later, I was pushing, and at 10:34am, Everleigh was born.  I managed to deliver her naturally with no pain meds and no major issues.  She was 8lbs, 15oz, 20.5 inches long.  She was prefect.  She came out and started crying almost immediately, voicing her opinion already.  She is beautiful, and we feel inordinately blessed to have her here with us.

I can tell you, I was a bundle of mixed emotions going into the hospital that morning.  It was a Wednesday morning, and we got there just before 8am.  I went in with Caroline on a Wednesday morning around 8am.  Obviously the outcome was very different, but it was a little crazy to be having that kind of deja vu feeling.  God granted me a lot of peace throughout the whole labor and delivery process.  I was nowhere near as nervous as I thought I'd be, but I also felt a little detached from the whole experience, almost like I was watching myself go through it instead of actually going through it.  I think that might have been God's grace to me so that I wouldn't freak out too much.

My mom and sister were able to come in for E's birth, and that was special.  My mom is just such a great coach during labor.  I don't know what I'd do without her.  My hubby was also great.  He was there with me every step of the way and handled everything really well.  Seeing his face when he got to hold her for the first time was priceless.  After losing Caroline, holding our baby girl took on a whole new meaning for us.  It's always a miracle to watch a birth happen, and it's awe inspiring to hold that precious new life the first time, but for us, it was even more exciting because of what we lost previously.  We took so many pictures.  Haha.

Tomorrow, E will be 3 weeks old.  She has already become such an integral part of our lives that I can't imagine life without her.  We are exhausted and still getting used to having her home, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  She is so precious to us.

And without further ado, here are some pictures.  Thanks for sharing this part of our journey with us.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Almost there

I'm 38 weeks and 1 day pregnant today.  Holy cow.

I'm getting so close to meeting our little miracle.  I can't wait.  And yet I'm terrified.  Haha.

The more I think about labor and delivery, the more I remember what it was like with Caroline.  That was such a defining day in my life.  For a few months after she was born, I replayed that day over and over again.  It was my only day with her outside the womb here on earth.  And there was the "normal" parent awe of seeing your child born.  So that day was very meaningful to me, for obvious reasons.  After a few months, though, it was no longer on the forefront of my mind.  It was one of those ephemeral memories that you pull out on occasion to reminisce.   

Now that I'm drawing close to that day with this baby, it's making me remember again.  I had a relatively easy labor and birth with Caroline.  I have no reason to believe Everleigh will be any different, except for the fact that she'll be full term and bigger and all that jazz.  It makes me slightly nervous to think about it all.  I mentioned in my last post the concurrent emotions of fear/anxiety and excitement.  Definitely still have all that going on.  I am terrified and excited beyond belief at the same time.  I can't wait to meet Everleigh, but I am incredibly nervous. 

I had a check up with my OB this morning.  She told me I had progressed a bit, and that when I go into labor, it will probably be pretty quick.  That is both awesome and nerve wrecking.  Haha.  Since my mom is flying in from out of town, I would really like for her to be here when Everleigh is born.  If she's not already here when I go into labor, she might not make it in time.  Bah.  I have to keep reminding myself that God is in control, and Ev will come when she's supposed to.  If Mom is here, then awesome for me.  If not, then I'll manage with God's help.  :)  While my mom is an awesome labor coach that would be an enormous help, I've come to realize that this time around, I think I want her here for moral/emotional support as much as for the help during labor. 

I don't know that I can properly put into words what the end of this pregnancy is like for me.  It's all new to me, since I didn't get this far with Caroline, and her birth was slightly abnormal because of her condition.  The waiting for Caroline was hard in its way, because we knew it would be the end.  The waiting for Everleigh is hard in a different way.  I can't wait to meet her, but I'm afraid to at the same time.  I mentioned a lot of the reasons for that in my last post, so I won't go into that too much this time.  Suffice it to say that I am just a big ball of conflicting emotions. 

In all of this, though, I can tell you I feel a sense of the supernatural.  This is all one big amazing miracle to me.  Every fear is underlaid with the awe that I am not in control, that this is bigger than me.  Every feeling of excitement is laced with the incredulity that God has seen fit to bless us with another precious girl.  Every anxiety is undercut by the knowledge that God is the one in control, not me, so I can't screw up my kid enough to thwart God's plan for her life.  This is not just another labor, delivery, and all that comes after, to me.  It's a miracle that goes beyond me, Cameron, and Everleigh.  It's another way to point toward God and the Son He sent to Earth. 

So, as the hormones rage, the feelings march through, and the truth fights to be acknowledged, I am just doing my best to remember the greater things.  God is in control, He's got it all figured out, and I'm just along for the ride to give Him the glory.  As imperfectly as I'm doing that.  Pretty soon, I'll have my precious daughter in my arms and can rejoice in His goodness all the more.  I can't wait to see the face of this little miracle.  Thanks for listening to my rambling.  :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Full term musings

Holy cow, I'm considered full term today.  37 weeks.

Everleigh could come any day now.  For the next 4-5 weeks.  I'm going to lose my mind.

I am having a lot of unexpected mixed emotions.  I think I've been so focused on keeping her in for a while because of the craziness earlier in my pregnancy, that now I'm like, wait, what happened?  I can have her now?  Relinquishing that "Don't come yet." vibe is proving a little difficult.  At the same time, I can't wait for her to get here.  Cameron can't either.  He wants her now.  Yesterday would be preferred.  Haha.  He wants "his turn" as he puts it.  I've gotten to hold her for nine months, and now he wants to be able to.  It's rather endearing, actually, to see how excited he is.  I can't wait to see his face when he holds her the first time.

And comes honesty time.  Yeehaw.

I am scared out of my mind sometimes.  For many reasons.  I have the semi-irrational fear that I'm going to lose Everleigh at the last minute (cord accident, labor distress, etc).  I know it's unlikely, and I'm not overwhelmed by it, but the nagging doubt is there nonetheless.  I'm also scared of bringing her home and screwing up royally as a mom.  Also semi-irrational.  Now that I'm full term, I guess it's all just kicking in.  I've never had a chance to take care of a newborn.  I delivered a child, held her for a few hours, and then had to let her go.  This time...there's no letting go, in the physical sense.  I will be "stuck" with Everleigh until adulthood.  I am so incredibly grateful for that, but it scares me too.  Haha.  I think that's probably pretty normal.  What new mom isn't a little nervous about her abilities?  I have a feeling I'll be praying a lot in the near future.  Prayers like, "Lord, please don't let me screw up this poor child you've blessed me with."  :)

This is also bringing back memories of my delivery with Caroline.  While I've birthed a child before, it was a weird situation with weird results.  It was not a normal delivery/birth experience, even though I went through a relatively normal labor/delivery.  She was early, and therefore small.  We didn't have to worry about APGAR scores or billirubin counts or jaundice or breathing support or anything like that.  We knew she wouldn't make it before she got here, and because she was already with Jesus when she came out, it was really unnecessary to do much of anything besides clean her off and hold her for a while.  Now, I have a healthy baby coming.  I'm going to have to wonder if everything will be ok when she comes out.  She'll be bigger, she'll be more developed.  Labor and delivery will be different because I'm full term instead of at the beginning of my third trimester.  I almost feel like I'm going into this as a first timer because it's the first time things will be "normal."  It's making me a little nervous, even though I generally know what to expect.

I'm also ridiculously emotional.  I can thank the lovely pregnancy hormones for some of it, but not all of it.  It's kinda made me sad to think that we can't have Caroline there to meet her sister.  I was extremely tempted to buy a little outfit for Everleigh that said "Little Sister."  I decided not to, partially because I know that it would raise some questions when out in public that I wouldn't necessarily want to answer, but I might go back and get it anyway, and just use it at home.  She'll always be a little sister, even though she'll be the "oldest" at home.  It's such a weird dynamic, and it's so hard to deal with sometimes. 

I have my hospital bag packed, and one of the things I'm taking with me is my Caroline Bunny.  If Caroline can't be there in person, then she'll have a surrogate in her bunny.  I know for some people that might sound silly, but it is what it is.  There will be amazing joy when we get to meet Everleigh face to face.  But there will be a hole there, too.  Our missing daughter.  The one who's gone on to our eternal home, so she can't be here in our temporal one to meet her sister.  It won't be the main focus of Everleigh's birthday, but it will be a part of it.  There's no getting around it.  Hopefully my bunny can help me feel a little better about it all. 

I know having a baby is an emotional thing regardless your history.  It's a miracle, and it should be emotional.  If you feel nothing when you're expecting, delivering, and raising a child, well...I don't know how that's possible.  I also know that because of Caroline, we're probably slightly more emotional in some ways.  I've done my best this whole pregnancy to place my fears and anxieties at the feet of Jesus.  It hasn't been easy to do.  I've failed on many occasions, and allowed the feelings to rule.  But I know God is sovereign and has everything under control, even when I don't behave as if I believe it.  I'm having to lean on that now, as I face a delivery that is coming sooner than later. 

I miss Caroline these days.  I wish she was here to meet her sister.  I feel a little cheated sometimes, that my family will never be "whole" here on earth.  There will always be someone missing.'s the path we've been given to walk.  It's the path Christ has allowed us to walk to give Him glory in our suffering.  So I want to keep glorifying Him in my response, even though I'm imperfect and frail.

And while I do have a lot of fears and anxieties, I am ecstatically happy to be so close to meeting Everleigh.  We feel enormously blessed to be having her.  I can't wait to see what she looks like.  I can't wait to meet her and hold her.  I can't wait to bring her home and make her a part of our lives.  I can't wait to show her off to all the people who have showered us with prayers, encouragement, gifts, and love.  This precious miracle is going to be the recipient of more love and rejoicing than she will ever know.  I'm so grateful to have so many people who love us and support us. 

So...after saying all that.   I am so happy to be full term.  I can't believe it's almost time to meet Everleigh, finally.  I can't wait, even though I'm a little nervous.  To God be the Glory, great things He has done.  Thank you Lord for our precious blessing. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

It's officially 2013. 

We've been through our first full year without Caroline.  We're starting the year when we'll get to meet Everleigh in person.  Quite an eventful year coming up.

I will never forget Caroline.  I've said that many times before.  And it's true.  I have no desire to forget her.  But I will say that as time goes by, it's getting easier to face the day to day without her.  This Christmas and New Year season has been a little difficult because we were remembering last year at this time, when we were dealing with Caroline's immediate loss.  She was born on the 15th of December, her memorial service was on December 29, and her funeral was on January 7.  So...there's been a lot of remembering. 

I also had to kinda deal with the feelings of "unfairness" that we weren't getting to buy her Christmas presents, and we weren't getting to take Christmas pictures of her.  Last year, I signed her name on our Christmas cards, and I didn't this year.  There were a lot of times where I really missed her in that regard.  It wasn't an overwhelming pain or anything, just a lot of twinges of "what might have been." 

It did, in a lot of ways, make me look forward to next Christmas, when, God willing, Everleigh will be here with us to celebrate.  It's made me look forward to this year in general, because we'll have most of the year with her.  If she comes on or around her due date, she'll be born barely over a month into 2013.  I can't wait.

If you're reading this post and have recently lost a child, hang in there.  I know that it's difficult, especially at first, to look forward to the New Year when you've lost someone precious.  Just know that you're not alone.  There are many of us who have been where you are.  I'm always willing to hear from you (see the contact tab at the top of the blog).  Last year, New Year's was hard for us.  Our loss was very recent, and we were just ready to be done with 2011 and move on to 2012.  And we weren't really sure what 2012 would entail.  Now, looking back, it was a pretty good year.  We definitely had some challenging times, and there were times that I wish would have been easier, but ultimately, everything worked out like it was supposed to.  I am so grateful God has brought us through our first year without Caroline, and is now allowing us to look forward to another special blessing. 

I hope that you all have a wonderful year this year.  Even if it's a difficult year, just know that God is still there, and there are people who can support you through it.  God bless you all in 2013!