Dear Aj

I’ve spent the last 2 months flooding everyone’s Facebook timeline and Instagram with pictures of your baby brother. I wish I had thousands of pictures to share of you. I haven’t forgotten you little one. I’m still so proud to be your mom. You’re one of the most handsome boys I’ve ever met.

20150502-075702-28622216.jpg

We made it!!

Today I am 32 weeks and 4 days pregnant!!! Baby E has made it past his big brother AJ’s point of loss.

My husband and I are thankful, excited, overjoyed….it looks like this baby boy willbe coming home with us from the hospital!!

Thank you all for the prayers and support. Please keep them coming as we continue to countdown the days until we get to meet Baby E!!

20150122-095322-35602493.jpg

20150122-095322-35602905.jpg

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

31 Weeks and 1 Day

20150112-201105-72665747.jpg
That’s how far along I was at my last appointment with Aj. It was September 12, 2013. It was a totally normal, routine appointment with my doctor. My blood pressure was perfect, and I was only up a couple of more pounds since my last appointment. I told my doctor I had started having braxton hicks contractions, my body was getting in some practice for the big day!! Lastly, she pulled out her pocket Doppler and found AJ’s heartbeat. He was moving all around…..such a busy little boy. And that was it, I scheduled my next appointment and headed to my Mother in Law’s house to pick up my 3 girls…….4 days later, I’d feel my little guy kick for the very last time.

20150112-201853-73133169.jpg I’m 31 weeks and 1 day pregnant with Baby E today……and honestly, I’m a mix of emotions. I’m excitedly optimistic, but completely nervous as I approach AJ’s loss date. Everything is going well thus far, and our little boy is measuring a little bit ahead, but…..I was at this same point last time with Aj.

Being a mommy to an angel baby, is sometimes a lonely road. It’s tough facing the reality that all pregnancies, even those that make it into the 3rd trimester, don’t guarantee a living baby. I struggle with expressing my emotions and fears, wondering if I’ll be misunderstood by those that haven’t walked this path of loss. I’m comforted by all the prayers and support….but sometimes the comments cut like a knife…..
Everything will be fine this time. Stop worrying, it’s not good for the baby. Trust God. You should use the faith that you say you have.

Enter Shame and Guilt.

I’m staring into the mirror, tears falling from my eyes. Is this really what they think? That I caused AJ’s death because I didn’t believe everything was going to be fine? Or because I worried too much?? Or maybe the reason Aj died was because I didn’t trust God enough or my faith wasn’t strong enough, so he punished me.

This rainbow pregnancy has been tough. Though I do wrestle with fear, it’s not due to my lack of trust in God. My faith is strong, stronger than ever and I trust in God and whatever plan He has for me and my family. His plan is only for good…..What I have embraced over the past 15 months is that my plan and definition of what’s good for me, doesn’t always match up with God’s plan. Sin in this world has caused death, destruction, and hard times….but God remains good no matter what situations we encounter.

This evening, as I sit and type this, I am so thankful. I’m thankful for the 32 weeks I spent with my Aj. I’m thankful for the rocky road of grief that God has held my hand through. I’m thankful for the dark moments, that God allowed his light to shine so
brightly through.I am thankful that what was meant to harm me, God has used to heal and strengthen broken pieces. I am thankful for Baby E who is kicking me in my ribs right now. I am thankful that I can profess that God is good all the time!!

20141104-183402-66842406.jpg

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…

20141104-182520-66320719.jpg

20141104-182518-66318836.jpg

20141104-182519-66319216.jpg

20141104-182521-66321797.jpg

20141104-182521-66321091.jpg

20141104-182521-66321436.jpg

20141104-182519-66319594.jpg

20141104-182549-66349332.jpg

20141104-183432-66872936.jpg

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.

20140727-173016-63016646.jpg
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…..

20140718-083512.jpg

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….

20140718-100109.jpg
(All images from google)