More children??

We’ve reached another small milestone in our journey. This past Saturday, January 18, marked 4 months since Aj was born. I looked back over photos taken of me in those last weeks of pregnancy, and it almost seems like a lifetime ago. I’m starting to forget how it felt when Aj would kick me in my ribs, or dance on my bladder. That breaks my heart, that those happy memories are starting to fade. But still, our first meeting is forever burned into my memory, and etched onto my heart. I know that day, those moments will never be forgotten. I miss my little boy so much.

With the passage of time, I’ve begun thinking about the possibility of future pregnancies. Because of the rare cause of AJ’s death, my doctor is optimistic and our chances of reoccurring stillbirth is pretty much nonexistent. My husband and I are on the same page. We would very much like to have another child in the future and the girls would love to have a little brother or sister to help take care of. We know that another child could never, in a million years, replace our son Aj, or the babies we lost before. Our family here on earth will always be incomplete, only to be reunited when we all meet in heaven.

After our 2 losses, the idea of another pregnancy is a scary thing. Most would think my biggest fear would be losing another child, but it seems my actual biggest fear is the loss of my fertility. I’ve always taken it for granted. I always felt ashamed when I would become pregnant “too soon” with each subsequent pregnancy. I’d prepare myself to hear You guys haven’t figured out where babies come from yet? or the sound of disappointment in the voices of those who heard the announcement. I took it to heart, I was hurt and embarrassed about my fertility. Looking back, I am full of regret. I am disappointed that I allowed what others thought, to steal the joy and excitement over the blessings of a pregnancy. That is a mistake I will not make again.

Going forward, we have no idea what God has in store for our family. We will continue to lean on him and trust in whatever plan and timing he has for us. I know that whatever the plan is, God has a good one!!! One far better than what I could’ve imagined.

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Image from google

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A needed change

Today’s post is taken straight from my journal.

12/20/2013

Today I wrote a blog post about waiting. I expressed my frustration with waiting 11 months to bring home a healthy baby, but to lose Aj in the end. Since AJ’s stillbirth, I find myself once again waiting, but what for? What’s next?? I don’t have any expectations to set. Why? Fear, that’s why. I’m afraid of hoping and expecting, but once again being let down.

I waited with hope from Aug 2012 until Sept 2013, and that hope was crushed. I could never fathom that Aj would be lost at 32 weeks, already fully formed, complete, healthy……..it’s crazy!! And scary!! I guess in a sense I feel betrayed. I thought that a healthy, living baby boy was what God had promised. We, myself, my husband and girls prayed for Aj every night and this happened…..he died.

I feel afraid to trust you completely God, and I’m sure you already know that. I’ve allowed myself to trust you, just enough but complete surrender…..how can I? I’m so afraid Lord. It’s interesting, I have faith in you. I know that you are the Almighty, creator of all, and able to give us every good and perfect gift. But I’m afraid those promises just don’t apply to me. Don’t get me wrong, I have complete faith that the prayers I offer for others will be answered, but me…..

In reply to my blog post, Elisha commented that she experienced similar feelings and gave me a link to a post she written earlier. (It’s a great post that you all should definitely check out..Elisha’s Post) In her post, she talks about praying during a time in her ttc journey. She described it as standing at a wishing well throwing in a few prayers hoping God might grant her one. That describes exactly how I feel. I’m throwing in prayers and thinking maybe God will do this, maybe….

She referenced this verse

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
James 1:6-8

Now mind you, I’ve read this verse several times, and even have it highlighted. In my lack of humility, I thought that these verses didn’t have anything to do with me. Wrong. I need to remove the big ole plank from my eye. Those verses were speaking loud and clear, directly to me. I ask, but I doubt every time that I pray for myself, every time!! I am tossed and blown by the winds, my situation, AJ’s death…..I should not think that I should receive anything…….I have been humbled..

So I know what I need to do. Ask, and believe without a doubt that God will come through. I need to truly embrace this faith I claim to have, and hope in God regardless of my situation. I want to do this. I’m going to do this. It feels crazy and out of control, but I want to have God’s promises, his blessings, and his favor for me and my family.

Thanks so much Elisha for sharing your post. My spirit was definitely convicted….and I needed to make a change in not only my faith, but my prayer life.

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Bad Day

Sunday was a good day, even possibly a great day!! The sun was shining, the message at church was great, and I was having a pretty good hair day. My mood was super upbeat and I was feeling the most hopeful I have felt since Aj was born. But then Monday rolled around…..

It came on suddenly. The sun was no longer shining, instead it was rainy and gloomy. I was feeling glum and overwhelmed, and the icing on the cake, our refrigerator stopped working. It felt like the devil was working overtime, and I wasn’t doing a good job at fighting off his attack. I was moody, emotional, and feeling unappreciated. My dear husband can definitely vouch for my attitude. I’m sure I wasn’t the most pleasant to be around.

I spent that evening full of turmoil. In my mind, I angrily bombarded God with questions. Why isn’t the sun shining? Why am I so overwhelmed? Why isn’t our refrigerator working? Why couldn’t I have the twins? Why did Aj have to die too?! How much more do we have to endure? Why are you punishing me? I’m embarrassed to admit, but I was knee deep in a big old “Woe is me” pity party, and it wasn’t pretty. After I got the girls to bed, I continued to stew over our misfortune. God what did I do deserve this trial? I even had a good, angry cry in the shower. It didn’t help me to feel any better. I considered opening up my bible and reading for bit, but I didn’t. Instead, I had my tea and went to bed.

I woke Tuesday morning feeling bummed. I felt terrible about my bad attitude from the day before. I regretted not sitting down and spending some time with God in the midst of my bad day. I took a moment to send a quick email to my husband, to check in with him after my day as crazy lady. Then I sat down and opened a book I should have opened on Monday, my bible. I searched Hebrews for a verse I had read many times before…

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I read it over and over again.

Thank you God that you can empathize with me and that you understand what it means to be tempted and to endure hardship. You also understand what it’s like to lose a child, and the pain and sadness that goes along with it. I’m a mess. Thank you for loving me just as I am. I ask for your continued grace and strength, because I am far too weak to do life without you. Amen

I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have taken a moment to read my blog. I know that stillbirth, pregnancy loss, and infant death are heavy topics. I pray that AJ’s story and our family will serve as a testimony, that even in the chaos of death and grief, God will be glorified. It is only because of him that I have found the courage to share my journey, with transparency and honesty. I want to thank my wonderful husband and teammate, I love you so much. A Thank you to my cousin/bf, your constant support means the world. To all of the wonderful loss and ttc ladies I’ve met through this journey, I’m sending you big hugs and lots of prayers for a wonderful year.

Not What I Expected

On March 13, a trip to my Doctor’s office confirmed we were pregnant again after the loss of twins in November 2012. We’d actually gotten a positive on a test at home just 2 days before, but it was too faint for us to truly believe. Even when “pregnant” popped up on the digital pregnancy test, it was still pretty hard to believe. We needed the Doctor to verify that it was really true.

After a pregnancy loss, you lose the innocence and excitement of a positive test. You are now aware of the fact, you are not guaranteed a baby to take home in 9 months. I was thankful that my Ob got us in a couple of weeks later, to check and see that our baby was implanted and growing correctly. We were able to see a heartbeat at the first ultrasound, and that was so reassuring. I continued to go back for scans every 2 weeks until my 2nd trimester.

Once we knew that the baby was really there, I begin to pray constantly that the baby would continue to grow and be healthy. Each ultrasound confirmed that God was listening and was surely
answering my prayers.

20140110-173031.jpg On May 29, we found out that we were having a little boy. My prayers then changed a bit. I prayed that our son, Anthony Jr would continue grow and be healthy. The girls began to pray the same, that their little brother would grow big and strong. At the big ultrasound, AJ’s anatomy scan, once again it was confirmed our healthy little boy was growing well. God continued to answer our prayers.

When AJ’s heart stopped beating on September 17, we were completely shocked. Everything was so going so well, and no abnormalities were found in any of the scans. How on earth could this have happened?? In the days following his delivery, I struggled to wrap my head around it. I was so sure that God had answered my prayers, but there I sat, arms empty missing my son. I felt like God had let me down.

On November 12, our 7th wedding anniversary, we received the results from AJ’s autopsy and testing done on him and myself. The autopsy revealed a perfectly healthy 32 week old little boy. He had no chromosomal issues and all of his organs and blood vessels were perfectly formed. We were both free of any infections. His cause of death, a myocardial infraction in his left ventricle with no noticeable cause. His cause of death is so rare.

It may seem silly, or hard to understand, but these results brought me some peace. Aj was the right size for his gestational age, and formed perfectly. God had answered my prayers, just not the way that I had expected, I did deliver a healthy baby boy, just as I had prayed. Unfortunately him staying with us was not part of the plan, but I am still so thankful for him.

I prayed for this child, and The Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to The Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to The Lord.

1 Samuel 1:27-28a

I’m not sure if AJ is the last child that God has planned for our family. I hope that this is not the end of my childbearing chapter. I will continue to pray, laying all of my hopes and desires out for God to see, and wait for the his response.

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A milestone

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This is the door that leads to the bonus storage room in our house. The room is full of totes containing clothes my girls have outgrown, stuff we never use, and my husbands ever growing “empty” box collection.😉 There is also another very special tote in that room. It is the one that holds the belongings of our angel Aj.

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I’ve been in that room over a dozen times since Aj was born. Usually I walk in and immediately turn to the left so that I can avoid looking at AJ’s stuff. A couple of months ago I opened his tote quickly and grabbed some little washcloths out, but didn’t take the time to look through it at all. Truth is, I was just too afraid to face all of the things inside of the tote. I was scared that once I opened it, and took a closer look, the heartbreak and disappointment would overwhelm me.

Over the 32 weeks Aj was with us, we had accumulated quite a bit of stuff. Being the great bargain shopper that I am, I had purchased a bunch of newborn to 3 month clothes. We had found a crib set that we loved, and a car seat for an awesome deal. I even started a nice collection of cloth diapers for Aj. We were so excited to be buying and planning for our first little boy.

On Sunday, I finally built up enough courage to face my fear. I took a deep breath and stepped into the storage room. I first peeked into the big Graco box at the little bucket seat that was to hold our freshly born son. Then I opened the tote and pulled out the bags of clothes. I took the time to look at each little outfit and bib. I ran my hand across the soft blankets and snapped and unsnapped each cloth diaper. I allowed myself to take it all in, and boy did it hurt. I cried as I imagined how things might have been if he was here with us. I never would have thought that my dreams or these things were to end up unused and packed away.

I put everything back into the tote, except for two special things we had bought for AJ’s room, the letters of his initials. Those I decided to display on a bookshelf in our upstairs hallway.

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Facing my fear of seeing and touching AJ’s stuff is just a small milestone in this journey. I know that with God’s help I will continue to find courage and healing.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Uncertain future..

The last couple days were tough. I thought I was doing “well” in dealing with my grief, but suddenly I found myself struggling to see any break in the clouds. I was feeling less than hopeful, and all around bummed. Since AJ’s unexpected passing, I see clearly my lack of control over my life. The future is uncertain and confusing, and that was seriously scaring me. I thought that I had conquered that fear, but it came rushing back.

Again I found myself crying in the shower and pouring my heart out to The Lord. I wanted Him to make this easier for me. I needed him to take away the uncertainty, and just give me His plan for the future. Or at least give a quick glimpse, maybe an outline or something. I needed Him to do this because the unknown is just too scary for me.

When I’d said all I could say, and cried every tear I could, I just let the hot water run over my face. I silenced my thoughts and stood there, still before The Lord, and waited, not really expecting a response. Soon the water started to cool. I thought to myself, I guess His answer is this silence.

But then I felt it. It was like a whisper to my spirit and a stirring in my heart, yet it was loud and clear. Trust me. Trust me. I know, but I’m scared. Just trust me. I felt a wave of peace come over me. The tension melted from my shoulders, and the weight of my fear lifted from my spirit.

Since that moment, I’ve been feeling hopeful and optimistic. Of course the sadness is still there, but I can feel the sun starting to shine through the clouds. I know that there is no room in my future for the spirit of control and fear. Again I surrender all of me, all of my life, all of my future to God.

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(Image from Pinterest)

Deferred

We all make plans for our day, and even bigger plans for our life. It’s always smooth sailing when God allows things to move at what appears to be our timetable. But then it happens……things don’t go our way. Our dreams don’t manifest as quickly as we’d like, and our heart’s desires are not fulfilled. Our whole world seems to be falling apart.

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It’s true, hope deferred makes the heart sick. In these past 15 weeks since Aj left us, I have cried out many times. My heart is shattered. I’ve begged God to take this pain and hurt away. I’ve prayed that a new season would began immediately. I’ve shouted, “I can’t handle anymore!”. I’ve wept, been angry, and felt defeated. I have even allowed others to come in an crush what little hope I was clinging to. It’s been hard. My heart is certainly sick with worry, doubt, and fear.

But this verse gives me a hopeful glimpse into the future. It speaks of hope deferred. Deferred means “postponed” or “delayed”. A hope or longing that is deferred, is one that is to come. This means that this season of mourning will end and give way to joy. It also gives life to the desires I have stored in my heart, those too will be fulfilled. God is good and his timing is perfect!

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