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Harder than I thought….

I’m standing in the window, arms caressing my round belly as the sun shines on my smiling face….

Yep, that’s how I pictured it….naive I know…..a blissful, anxiety-free rainbow pregnancy. I thought that I’d be glowingly happy and free of any doubt…..resting in complete confidence that this little one would be coming home with us at the end of 9 months.

I was wrong. It’s much harder than I could’ve ever imagined.

I thought my biggest faith test was continuing to trust God in the midst of confusion and grief after AJ’s death. Instead, the test continues, and I’ve spent the majority of the past 21 weeks face to face with my fears and doubts…..

I didn’t feel him move as much today….Was I sleeping on my back last night? Was that a contraction? Where is my Doppler?Is his heart still beating?

Don’t get me wrong, everyday is not plagued with fear and panic. There are moments of bliss, happiness, excitement, and joy. I am so very thankful for this little one….but sometimes, after a big kick, I can’t help but think will this be our last moment together?

So there it is, I’ve laid all of my ugly fear and doubt out for all to see….but as scary and hard as this pregnancy has been, the truth still remains. God is good, and he is here. He is still with me as I travel this rough, terrifying road. He comforts me as I battle my fears and holds my hand as I continue to walk through the grief of losing Aj.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

Today I am 21 weeks 2 days and Baby E is a boy! I’ve tried to take as many pictures as I can…

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September 17,2013

Last year at this moment, I was sitting in Labor and Delivery. The nurses had just spent the last 10 minutes searching for my little boys heartbeat on the Doppler without any luck. They assured me, “I’m sure it’s ok. Let’s just wait for the doctor to do an ultrasound.” But I could see the sadness on their faces, and tears started to roll from my eyes. “He’s gone isn’t he?” No one responds. My doctor arrives, looks at me with a worried smile, and starts the ultrasound. We’re all looking to the screen. There, he is…but he’s not moving. The familiar flicker of the heartbeat is absent. “Sibyl, I am so sorry….” I’m confused. How is this even possible??

“We have to check you now?”
I’m unable to respond through the tears.

“She’s 1 cm dialated’,” I hear the doctor tell the nurse. I cry even harder. My body has betrayed me!!

I pull out my phone thinking, I’ve got to let Anthony know what’s going on, but I’m not sure how to deliver the news….Our son has died…..my phone rings, it’s my brother asking me what’s going on. “He’s gone….” That’s all that I can get out. The doctor then informs me that we will need to start the induction process right away……

I’m lost in the commotion, completely shocked…..broken. I hear women laboring beside me, and the loud thumps of their live babies on the monitor…..this has got to be some cruel nightmare! This is not fair! This has to be a mistake!! I am so scared….what happens next?? How am I supposed to deliver my boy like this??

Honestly a lot of the moments that followed the next couple of hours are a blur. Anthony arrived at the hospital pretty quickly, but I don’t remember actually sending him any type of message letting him know what was happening.

They started my induction at 6:00 pm…..We would meet our little Aj, 19 hours later.

To share or not to share?????

I’ve prided myself on being honest and transparent through out our journey of grief. I’ve been open about the negatives, anger, confusion, bitterness, and sadness. I’ve also shared the moments of hope, thankfulness, and growth. God has continuously showed up, and kept his grasp firmly upon me as I struggled to navigate the rough waters of grief…..every step of the way, God has been here.

Now, we find ourselves starting a new and scary portion of this journey. I’ve gone back and forth over the past few weeks, trying to figure out……should I share this news? Or should I sit in fear, anticipating terrible news?

Honestly, I’ve spent the last few weeks as a slave to fear. I’ve been worried, anxious, and full of doubt. I found myself preparing for something bad to happen, and even drafting a plan for dealing with the bad news. I just couldn’t picture things going well, and I didn’t want to get excited or too hopeful. I was also afraid to share the news with some family and friends, because I didn’t want to hear the negativity or judgements….especially if things didn’t go well this time. I confided in a few trustworthy people, and sought prayer from every prayer warrior I knew……and slowly the shell of fear started to crack. I was able to (slowly) release some of that overwhelming negativity, and start to embrace a bit more hope.

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I also started to focus on my Heavenly Father. Just as he has carried me through the last 10 months, I know with confidence, he will continue to do the same now, no matter what the outcome. All He asks is that I continue to trust and rely on his strength. And that, I will do wholeheartedly.

So, Anthony and I are excited to announce that we are expecting a baby Lilly.

20140727-174402-63842745.jpgYep, that little blob, has a heartbeat, and we are ecstatic. I know, that a lot of women shy away from sharing their early pregnancy news, but what Anthony and I have learned from our experiences with the twins, and Aj, is that there is never a “safe” time to share the news. So we are choosing to enjoy every moment that we have with this little miracle….so today, I am pregnant, and thankful.

10 months…..

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And my love is so BIG for my little boy. The time has snuck past so quickly, and here we are, just 2 short months until AJ’s 1st birthday. Wow, I miss him so much…we all do.

This journey has been rough. It’s still the toughest ever, and it is far from over. The hurt and grief from losing our boy hasn’t disappeared….we haven’t “gotten over” it. That would be impossible…..

We do not get over it
–We go through it

The pain goes away but the ache never does

Happiness and Joy do return — now they dance with my missing you

Glen Lord

In the first few days after Aj died, I couldn’t begin to imagine how we would be able to keep moving without him here. We had planned and prepared everything for his arrival. And so quickly, he was gone. We were left with an empty corner, which once held his bassinet, and a heart so broken I wasn’t sure it could be repaired…..but there in all my hurt, sadness, anger, and brokenness, was God. He was willing to take me in at my darkest hour, touch my heart, and comfort me with His love.

The last several months have been an honest testimony to the truth of God’s word.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalms 34:18

It is because of Him, and Him alone that I was saved from a different journey, into a darker place…..one that would have been full of crushing sadness, depression, loss of faith, and hopelessness. He is good!!

Today, as look back over the past 10 months, I am thankful. I’m thankful for the 8 months that Aj grew in my belly, and getting to know him as no one on earth ever will. I am thankful for all of my children, both in heaven and on earth. I am so blessed to be their mommy, and they mean the world to me. I am thankful for my husband. We are an unbreakable team! I am thankful for friends, family, and my church family, who have offered their prayers and support. And I’m thankful for opportunities that God has set into motion, that will allow his glory to be told through our story. Lastly, I am thankful for hope…..hope that doesn’t disappoint…hope that allows the sun to peek through the break in the clouds….

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(All images from google)

7 months

30 weeks…..210 days…..

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve written…Although I’ve been busy with my girls, and enjoying family time with my husband, it’s been a hard month. I’d heard from other mommies of angels, that the 6 month angelversary was one of the hardest, and they weren’t kidding…..

The last few weeks have been difficult. I’ve found myself struggling again with so many questions. Why did Aj have to die? Why didn’t I realize that he was in distress? Why didn’t I ask for an ultrasound at my appointment prior to his death? If I had been more aware, could I have saved him? Why did God not give me some type of sign so that we could prepare for this? Why couldn’t I give my husband a son? I thought that I had surrendered these questions to God earlier in my journey, but here they were again. I’d gone from complete acceptance, to a place where I accepted that Aj wasn’t supposed to live here on earth, but i wanted to know why. I felt either God had let me down or I messed up big time, and I wanted an explanation.

I needed God to tell me where I fell short, so that maybe I could fix it, and do better. Did I need to pray more? Be more patient? Maybe I needed to memorize more bible verses? Or maybe I was just too sinful? Were the losses punishment? Had God singled me out for my unworthiness?

I spent days reading, writing, crying, pleading with God to show me my error, or at least explain to me what was going on. I was so weary and frustrated. Of course, I never got the answer or explanation I was so desperate for, but God offered his comfort and love instead.

During my bible time, I found myself coming across verse after verse confessing God’s goodness and love…

For The Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalms 100:5

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting
Psalms 107:1

How great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast stored up for those who fear Thee, which Thou hast wrought for those who take refuge in Thee, before the sons of men!
Psalms 31:19

And I was reminded that all good comes from him…
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

Because of sin, death, pain, and sadness exist here in this world….but through God’s love there is victory.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Although the verses I came across didn’t answer, in depth, the whys? and hows? it did cause a change in perspective for me. It reminded me that God and his goodness are unchanging. He wouldn’t punish my sins or actions with death and sadness. His son Jesus already bore my punishment on the cross.

With this different perspective, I’ve found myself asking different questions. Why not me? How can I use our losses, AJ’s death and our lives to glorify God? Those are the most important questions right?? This is the journey I (and my family) have been given. There are patches of sadness, hurt, confusion, and fear, but there is also hope and unwavering faith in God, that I want to share, and I hope has come across in my writing.

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Although terrible things have happened, God has remained unchanged and true to his word. His goodness shows up everyday…from the sun shining in the morning to the happy chatter of my 3 girls and their daddy at bedtime. He is always here and continues to give us so many good gifts. There is joy here….love…happiness….so much more than sadness and loss.

7 months…..Aj, mommy loves you today, yesterday, and always….I look forward to the day we will all meet again.