Sunday, August 29, 2010

And grace, my fears relieved...

Today at church as I was walking up the stairs, I noticed 2 post-it notes on the floor.  I was not yet aware that they had put them all over the sanctuary to go along with today's sermon, but because I am a detail-oriented person, I took note of what they said...
If you look 2 entries down, you'll see that I mentioned  a couple of days ago that there were two lies that satan tries to tempt me with: That my God has forsaken me and that He doesn't love me.

These words were written by human hands, but straight from God to me.  I had wondered if the youth group kids had dropped them while they were at church this week.  It was not until I sat down that I noticed they were all over the place.  I mentioned to my friend next to me what had happened and she went out and picked them up for me.  The two that were revealed to me on the way in were the exact things I needed to hear to be reassured of what I know to be true:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified,  for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."  - Deuteronomy 31:6

If you ever wonder how humans could write the bible and say it's the words of God, well on a smaller scale, I just experienced that first hand.  He absolutely uses His people to speak His Truth.  The Word of God is alive - The Holy Spirit uses it to speak to us.  It is not just a good book, although it is the BEST book I've ever read, it is truly inspired by our Holy, Sovereign God who is in every detail of our lives...right down to the post it notes and where they fall.

 2Peter 1:19-21 says:  And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

How does your garden grow?

My prayer throughout the last month has been that God would continue to give me moments where I could not deny His presence.

Throughout the Spring and Summer, I daily spent time in my garden.  Sometimes hours a day as I made new flower beds and moved plants to places they'd like better.  I watered it every day without fail and closely looked at it every morning from the beginning of Spring on.  I brought the kids out constantly to show them as each plant pushed it's way through the cold ground and grew, inch by inch, until it showed it's full beauty to us in it's bloom, always giving praise to God for His creation. 

I have also used my garden as a way to teach the kids some of life's lessons. On many occasions, I talked to them about the effects of weeds in a garden.  I explained to them that if you don't pull the weeds when they are little, they multiply and eventually choke out God's beauty.  Just like sin does in our lives.  If you don't pay attention daily and get rid of it when it rears it's ugly head, it will eventually choke out God's beauty in your life. 

I LOVE my garden.  Flowers make me happy.  Anyone who has spent time with me at our home, knows this about me. Even when Samuel was hospitalized in July, I came home quickly one of the days to water my plants because I did not want them to die.  I don't tend to have a green thumb, so I have to work a little harder than some to achieve pretty flowers.  The day we found out about Rachel, I gave up on my garden.  I would look outside each day, waiting for them to wither because August has also been a really dry month, but I just couldn't muster the energy they required.  I knew flowers (& tomatoes!)  cannot survive without water.  Or so I thought....

I mentioned to Matt the other day that I had noticed that my flowers were looking pretty good for never watering them.  We also have been harvesting plenty of tomatoes - This might not be too odd with the perennials, but the annuals are definitely sensitive to abandonment.  I told him I thought this was one way God was providing for me through this because He knows how I love flowers and He knows I need some encouragement.  Well...yesterday we were coming home and on the side of the house where there is nothing but weeds (and two Spring bloomers that had already come & gone and I didn't like much)  I saw something red/pink peaking out of the tall weeds... I thought, Isaiah must have chucked a toy over there - and then I looked closer....
When Matt saw me with the camera & asked what I was doing - Desirae told him I was taking pictures of weeds...Nobody thought this was strange because they are used to me taking pictures and have learned that, that too, makes me happy. :o)  But I could not get over this!  A pretty flower growing in spite of the weeds that surrounded it. (this also reminds me of Rachel)  I have NO idea how it got there, and I don't care.  God was letting me know that when HE decides He wants HIS beauty to show, there isn't a weed big enough to choke it out.  It reminded me that He is in control and just like satan only has the power that God gives him, the weeds can only overtake what God lets them.  This also confirmed my earlier suspicion that it was Him making my waterless garden grow to love on me.  I decided to walk around the house and check out the other flowers...flowers that had stopped blooming 1 and 2 months ago, had flowers.  No joke.  We had been given a perennial with nice purple flowers on it from the church for teaching children's church last year and I put it in the ground and within days, it was withered and brown.  I figured that I had transplanted it at the wrong time and messed up it's blooming and hoped it would come back next year.  That was in June -  Yesterday that plant had nice purple blooms on it!  I was in awe.  All this time I thought my garden depended on me...God has once again gently humbled me, ever reminding me that all I need is Him. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

His ways are not our ways - and I'm okay with that

I had a hard time sleeping last night.  I woke up over & over with bad dreams.  God has graced me this morning with no memory of them (right now anyway) but I know they were about Rachel.  I fell asleep praying over her birthday and praying that her birthday doesn't have to be the day we also say goodbye. 

This time of waiting is hard.  We're going through all the stages of grief now, and  we will have a whole new level of that when we lose our baby.  It feels like a never ending road.  And honestly, I'm scared to come to the "end".  I am still begging God daily to heal her, although I am finding peace in knowing the truth of the passage in Isaiah 55:8-9 that says:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I have been utterly amazed at how God is carrying me through this time.  I know the near future will get harder, and I am confident that He will be carrying me then too.  It reminds me of the "footprints in the sand" poem.  Right now, if you looked from above, there would definitely only be one set of footprints and it's not because I'm walking alone. From time to time, the enemy tries to creep in and convince me that my God has forsaken me...that He's left me alone in this.  That I shouldn't have to deal with this and that God doesn't love me.  I am so grateful to the Holy Spirit for protecting me from those thoughts.  I am sure that this is something many people in this situation battle, but so far, it has not overtaken my heart.  I know that is the work of God, because left to my humanness, I would be believing satan's lies. 

How does a good God allow something like this??  It's simple - His ways are NOT our ways.  They are higher and they are better.  Not without pain, but better.  I am totally surrendered to His plan for my life.  It's a little harder surrendering my daughter to His plan since I, quite frankly, don't like it one bit - but we all have to do it.  Every one of us who has children have to eventually surrender them to God.  We do not have the control we like to think we have.  It's ALL up to Him.  I find great comfort in knowing that Rachel will never have a chance to reject our Savior and that we will see her again.  I pray that my other children will grow to follow the Lord and meet us one day in heaven, but that is something I won't know for years to come.  Rachel, however, I am certain of  - and that is a gift.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rachel's Cradle

Mr. Bill (a friend from church) had stopped by to bring me a rose off a rose bush we gave him last year. Desirae came running to give it to me and to tell me that FedEx dropped a package off while he was here...she knows how much Mama LOVES packages. :o)  I paused for a moment, as time stood still, and I asked if it was big. It was a day earlier than I expected, but she said it was big and I knew it was Rachel's casket.  I went downstairs and apprehensively opened the box.  I sat on the mudroom floor and cried. 
"I've never lived with someone before who's died" Des said... "me either" I replied. 

It's a beautiful casket.  Just not the cradle I was hoping for.

The day I have to lay my baby in that and close the top will be the worst day of my life.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Inquring minds want to know...

OK, Here's where I'm at... this is going to be a long one...
I have been feeling pretty strongly that I did not want everyone to know what Rachel's diagnosis is.  My reasoning behind this was to protect her from people giving up hope for her healing and from people thinking of her differently.  It was also to protect my heart and Desirae's heart from insensitive things people would say.  We had unfortunately already dealt with these things a day into being open about it, so I tried to pull in the reigns. 

What I have been frustrated with lately is that it seems that people can't handle not knowing - trust me, I get it - but it's been difficult to be patient and gracious towards people when I am in such a vulnerable state.  And let's face it, no Mama likes people messing with her babies!  Doesn't matter if they are in the womb or 40 yrs. old.  It's how God made us.

I have been praying about this and God has revealed to me that I am afraid.  I am afraid of people's opinions, how you'll view my daughter, the insensitive things I'll have to listen to in the name of "people don't know what to say" and that Des will hear these things.  I'm afraid that you'll give up hope for Rachel's healing - which I've seen already in the people who do know her diagnosis.  God is capable.  I have to plan for what we're being told, but we believe wholeheartedly that God could still heal her. 

But, God says we should not have a spirit of fear.

And on the flip side of all this, my hearts desire is that if someone gets this diagnosis today and goes home from the Dr's, scared to death and googles it, that she will not take the baby's life into her own hands.  I want that girl to find this blog and a message of hope.  I want her to see the blessing in her baby and even in the hard road she'll have to walk, seemingly alone, yet with God by her side. 

Obviously by now, you're seeing that I'm about to tell the "big secret" - hold your horses and don't jump ahead, I have some requests - bear with my type A personality for a moment.  Please read all the way through and try to avoid the temptation to tell everyone your version, but instead direct them to this post so that they could get my version first, since it is obviously more accurate.  I appreciate you respecting this wish, even if it seems dumb to you.  I am aware that there are many who have not agreed with how I have handled this from the beginning and I'm sorry, but it's not about them and I'm doing my best.

So here it is - this is hard for me...  Our precious baby girl has anencephaly.  This means that between day 24-26 of pregnancy, before we ever knew we were pregnant, the end of her neural tube failed to close properly.  She is missing the cerebellum part of her brain and the top of her scull.  She has her brain stem, which is making everything else function, but the remaining brain tissue she has is not protected from the amniotic fluid and is therefore being affected. 

I know you are going to want to look this up - google can be very scary and I would not recommend searching aimlessly.  I am providing a link to a site that is the best one to look at and has tons of info - as well as a link to the section that will tell you how to best support us.  This should help with the "people don't know what to say" excuse (that I am so tired of hearing) because if you read what I am asking you too, you'll know.  Please know that I do not expect everyone to do everything perfectly all the time.  I DO NOT want you to walk on egg shells around me in fear of hurting me.  Just please be responsive to my feed back.  I have talked to friends/family about something that hurt and had them really love me through it and I have talked to friends/family about something that hurt and had them make excuses or justify their actions.  One leaves me feeling better and the other unloved. 

I am not sure if this "not to do" is on that site - It should be somewhere, but just in case...
DO NOT ask us why were are continuing this pregnancy.  She is not a "pregnancy" - she is a baby and it is up to God how and when He will take her home.  Our job is no different than it would be if one of our other children got into an accident and was not expected to live.  Our job is to pray for a miracle and fight for her life while giving her every ounce of our love.  We will see her through to the very end of her God-given life, regardless of how short it is, or how much we have to sacrifice along the way.  This is not a decision we have made based solely on being Christians and because "God says" although those are good reasons...It is because we are her parents and love her with all of our hearts.  If you have this awful thought - please keep it to yourself, and remind me not to call on you if I'm sick... sorry, my sense of humor can be off at times - that and hormones can be an interesting combination.

Here is the site that we'd like you to look at should you feel the need to investigate:
http://www.anencephalie-info.org/e/index.php

Here is the one for family & friends -PLEASE take the time to read this:
http://www.anencephalie-info.org/e/whattodo.php

Both have a ton of info and anything you need to know.  I would ask that you try to stick to these sites.  I would also like to ask that you remember our earlier request to not fill us in on things you think we may have missed.  We are well aware of what's going on.  Thank you for your patience with me as I try to walk this road.  Your support is so appreciated and I don't want to sound ungrateful or critical.  I am hoping that now that you all know what you've been needing to know, that some of the gossiping will slow down and we can again focus on the life that is within me and what God is doing through her. 
Isn't she the cutest thing you've ever seen? 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

He gives us the desires of our hearts

Casket shopping has been tough, in more ways than one. We didn't like the only choice that the funeral home had, so he said we could look online. I spent hours trying to find one we liked and could afford. I found one that we really liked, but the site didn't have prices listed. I called and found out it was $575 and then you still have to buy a vault, which is close to another $200. We just couldn't do that, so I kept looking. I found another one we liked, but didn't like the vault so I sent an e-mail asking what other choices we'd have. The woman called me right back (at 10:15pm!) and answered all my questions. We decided we'd go with that one, which would be around $460 for both. This morning I got an e-mail from the same woman, telling me I should try another site (can you tell she's a Christian?, offering potential business another option because she knew it would be better for us!) She said they have a "fund" so that we could get a discount on a casket. I checked it out and they only had one choice...the same exact one we had originally had our hearts set on - and they are only charging us shipping! $30! That's much better than $575! We did give a little extra and have decided that we will continue to send money to this fund for people who need it in the future for their babies. All we need now is the vault. I ordered the casket and thanked God that He gives us the desires of our hearts. He is so good to us. One day we are looking at a casket, disappointed that it wasn't a possibility and the next day it's on the way to our house - and for way less than we would've paid for even the one we didn't like at the funeral home. Did I mention that these caskets are handmade by monks who pray over them the entire time they are building them? AND that the company plants a red oak tree in honor of every baby buried in one... AND they carve out a small cross from it so that we can keep a part of her casket with us.

These are things I never imagined I would ever have to consider, let alone get excited about.

Sometimes while I'm talking to people, I hear myself talking and realize the depths of this trial. I often cry when I hear myself talking about what I want for my daughter...a cement or plastic vault, who will bring her to the funeral home, is 2 1/2 feet deep enough?, what will she wear to her funeral?, will we have calling hours the night before?, How will I show people how awesome she is if they never get to meet her?

The only explanation for how I am able to hold it together when all I wanted to do was pick out some pink clothes and decorate a cute room is by the Grace and mercy of God. Along with complete trust that He will give me the desires of my heart....sometimes that means He'll give me what I want and sometimes it means He changes my wants to meet His will. But He never fails. He has proven Himself time and time again in much "easier" circumstances. I am positive that this time will be no different. And we eagerly await that day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

We're expecting!


The girls from woman's bible study are renting me a hospital grade doppler!
Thank you!!
video



Please do not shy away from asking me the normal things you would ask someone who is expecting...I understand that it's hard to know how to react to a situation like this. This is why I sent out that original email asking that people celebrate her life with us, to not act as if she's gone already. I am trying to be understanding that everyone has their own feelings to deal with on this and at the risk of sounding selfish, I need to ask you to put those things aside for our family right now. It is more painful to walk in a room full of people and have them act as if I'm not pregnant at all, or as if this is a topic to be avoided, than it would be to talk about what's happening. I am not ashamed of my daughter. I am not afraid to talk about her and I am not afraid to cry for her or about her. And you don't need to worry about me falling apart. God is carrying me. When I said I would prefer hugs over talking details, I didn't mean I didn't want to talk about HER, I meant I didn't want to talk about her death all the time while she is still alive. There will be plenty of time for that. I'm really struggling with the fact that it has kind of turned into that. I wanted to avoid people telling us all their advice on how to handle this or throwing out all the pat answers about why we should be fine with it or telling us they know how we feel. I wanted to avoid the extra info from the internet, which is why we're not sharing the diagnosis. I believe God will reveal the details we need, when we need them. I never wanted to avoid HER...I am saddend that it seems every conversation has been all about what's wrong...can we please talk about what's right?? Can we focus on her LIFE? Can we talk about normal stuff? I am not shy, if I want to talk about the sad stuff, you'll know it. Someone asked me when I was due this morning and I started crying. Not out of despair, but out of gratitude. (Thanks Norma!) She knew about Rachel, but wasn't afraid to treat her as if she is still on the way...It felt so good to have someone look forward to her arrival with me. It seems everyone is so focused on her expected death that they aren't able to remember that we are still expecting our second daughter. I created this blog to keep people up to speed on what was happening so that I didn't have to rehash it all the time.

OK, I had no intentions of letting that all out - and I'm tempted to erase it, but part of the purpose of this blog is to show you that I am just another girl with real feelings - so there you have it. My feelings are hurt. Kind of feel like a little kid again, but what can I say.

PS - please pass this on...not everyone is following all this blog and it would be helpful if you could help set the tone for how people approach this. thanks!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Beauty and Sorrow meet

Some may think this has got to be the worst thing I've ever been through...it is a heart wrenching, painful time - and I may change my view on this the day I have to bury my baby - but last night God brought me back to the days before Him. I was in the throws of addiction without my God. Lonely in a room full of people, hopeless in every circumstance, trying to find something, anything, to make me feel better not knowing that there was only One thing that would...a relationship with Jesus and I was totally against the idea of ever pursuing such a thing. That was the worst thing I have EVER been through. I am so grateful that God pursued me.

This is the worst thing I've been through as a Christian, but I am not without hope in this. Hope does not mean that I like it, want it, would choose it or am not heart broken. My heart has slowly been being ripped into pieces day by day, but I know that my God is going to put all those pieces back together. He is close to the broken hearted. He collects our tears in a bottle (psalm 56:8) I don't know about you, but I collect things that are important to me. This tells me that my tears are important to Him.

I was so blessed by our worship this morning at church. We sang "Amazing Grace" (our wedding hymn) and "How He loves us" (the cardboard testimony song-if you haven't seen the video, you should check it out
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSGQfGh9-Hc) both reinforced what God had shown me the night before, reminding me of where He has brought me from and the beauty He brings out of pain. Another song had these lyrics:

I never knew death could be so sweet
I never knew surrender could feel so free...
I've never seen such beauty and sorrow meet
The blood of Jesus was bled for me

I think our baby has shown me what it means for beauty and sorrow to meet. In this way, she reminds me of Jesus.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

truth be told

I feel paralyzed this morning. We're supposed to leave in 15 mins to go to the funeral home and I can't even get myself to get dressed, never mind showered. The thought of picking out a baby casket makes me want to puke. I don't want to do this. I wish I would wake up and find this was just a nightmare - it certainly feels like one. God, give me strength

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Life out of Death

My Uncle Dale died yesterday at age 57 after a long, brave battle with cancer. In the last few weeks before he died, God made Himself real to him and 2 days before he died he told me he knew he was going to heaven and that when the baby gets there he will be there to meet her...there's something about death that makes you ponder life. God used his difficult road to death to bring him into eternal life.

Last night was our meeting with the cemetery. We were blessed by a friend at church who offered to give us the money we needed for it and we purchased 2 plots. One for me and one for Matt and the baby will share the top portion, between the two of us. We are having her buried next to our dear friend Corey Hampton, who passed away the day after we got the news about Rachel.

Corey and Matt were like two peas in a pod and played on the church softball team together and through their connection, God gave me my precious friend, Jill. Right behind the row they will be in, is an open field, that used to be a softball field. Jill had envisioned getting it back into working order in Corey's memory. A little at a time, my vision grew as God gave me a bigger picture...we told the man last night of our dream and he has given us his blessing! He is allowing us to restore the softball field in Corey's name and then put up a playground in Rachel's name - all on the cemetery property!!

We walked the grounds last night, picturing what it would be like to have men of God playing softball together, while their wives cheer them on and their children play on Rachel's playground... I closed my eyes, took a deep breath of the cool air and praised God that He is in the business of bringing life out of death. He did it with Dale, He did it with Corey, He's doing it with Rachel. My prayer is that we will be able to raise enough money to make this happen and that when it does, God will be glorified through it and that Rachel & Corey's death will continue to bring life to our friends, family and community.

*To see most recent posts, click on "home" located under "Rachel's Story" on left side of the page.*

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Prayer Vigil

My sister's in Christ held a prayer vigil Tuesday and prayed for us. Thankfully, they share the same love of photos as I do and sent me these to share with you.

They laid hands on us and prayed for healing. It was an emotional time for me. I prayed along silently and begged God to heal her. I have never prayed so fervently for one thing before. Believing that He absolutely can, but knowing He might not. It's a difficult, yet good, place to be - surrendering to His will and trusting in His goodness even though I don't want to do this. That's what Jesus did for us.


I could feel Rachel moving around, probably dancing again! She is so beautiful. I am sure she will love heaven... and I look forward to the day when I will dance right along with her. I will probably recognize her by her dance moves! I have fallen in love with her personality already - unpredictable and feisty, yet gentle and graceful. I wish I could make things better for her. Maybe my idea of better really isn't better. I would love to watch her grow up. Heaven seems so far away. But I guess we never really know, do we?

We Walk by Faith, Not by Sight

I stumbled across another blog last night while looking for something else and through it, God gave me another glimps of hope. This woman's baby lived over 3 months! That's the longest I've heard yet. I also saw videos of her baby, doing all the things that Dr's say is impossible. In her earlier entries, she had said a lot of the same things I've said - one being that she hoped to at least be able to take her baby home from the hospital - and later, you see a picture of the baby in the carseat! A lot of the medical decisions she made, went against the Dr's recommendations - the same things that I have questioned repeatedly already. They do not offer people with this diagnosis the same medical options that they offer a routine delivery. The Dr's approach is from the standpoint that it doesn't really make sense to do any "extras" because the baby will die no matter what. My mother's heart says that is irrelevant. I would lay down my life for the children I have now and I would do it for this baby, regardless of how short her life is expected to be. I am resposible before God to protect her and love her without reservation, just as I would any other child He blesses me with, whether healthy, disabled, or dying. I know what their textbooks say will happen, but they are just Dr's - I have to depend on them for some things (mostly insurance coding!) but as for how long my baby will live and what I should do medically...for that, I am relying on the Lord. I never claimed it would make sense, logically - but we walk by faith, not by sight. I may have to plan her funeral before she's even born, but I am bringing a carseat to that hospital!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

It's raining, it's pouring - is the Big Man snoring?

The run down:
Last week, the day after we found out about Rachel, our dear friend died unexpectedly. We spent the week preparing for his funeral (the most beautiful one we've ever been to) Then, on Saturday, my unlce who has been battling colon cancer for 3 years, took a turn for the worse and was moved to a hospital bed that he'll probably never get out of, this side of heaven. We also had to bring Des to the ER because she broke out in a strange rash, that we think could be caused by stress. Yesterday, Samuel (18 months and struggles with fatal food allergies) spent hours in the ER because we gave him a different kind of bread and later hummus - we think he's now allergic to sesame seeds too. While he was gone, Des started having trouble breathing because we had gotten a sitter earlier so we could go see my uncle and she had a new kitten and Des played with it. I was giving her albuterol, hoping I wouldn't need to go anywhere b/c Matt had the van and his car is dead AGAIN. They came home, Sam barely better then when he left, after hours of waiting for a Dr. to see him and the nurses giving him steroids and benedryl. I had to set my alarm and get up in the night to give him breathing treatments. If this is rain - I'm drenched...
The "coincidence" (if you believe there is such a thing)
Pastor Bernie just preached yesterday on the story where Jesus calms the storm. He said "there will be storms"..."they will test your faith" - oh, not at that point they hadn't - I was very sad, but my faith was strong. He talked about how the disciples looked at Jesus, sleeping in the boat, and said "Don't you care?, do something!" As if he had no idea what was going on... WELL, last night, I wondered if Jesus was taking a nap. How much did He think I could handle?? (please no comments on the 'God doesn't give you more than you can handle' thing) I mean, did He seriously think it was a good idea to let yet another thing go wrong? And then I started to have fear for what He might be preparing me for - I wondered, would He take back one of my other children? Would it be Sam? Would it be tonight? My faith has officially been tested and I can't say I'm rising to the occasion. I want out.
my only comfort...
These earthly pains are not caused by God, they are caused by the sin in the world. Even as believers, there is no guarantee that we won't have struggles. Actually, it can be expected. But God is in control of it all and at any moment, He could stand up and calm the storm completely. The reason this is comfort, and not a reason to be angry that He's not doing it, is because I know He loves us. If I can love my children (in my human heart) so much that nothing they do could ever change that, then He, being the God of the universe, certainly hasn't stopped loving me.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Girls love shoes

Girls' Day out!
Our first stop was Tri-City Christian Academy, where Desirae went to school last year, for a used curriculum sale & uniform swap. We will be homeschooling again this year, but she will be doing extra-curricular activities there, so we got some uniforms ordered. Unfortunately, I didn't find what we needed for books, but we did get to talk to a couple of the teachers (who are all awesome, by the way!) and they cried with me as they encouraged me in our struggle.

Next stop...SHOES!! We went and bought Des some new shoes and Rachel her first pair of booties! I can't wait to put them on her. I hope they fit. Everything feels so final. I don't know how big she'll be and I don't get a 2nd chance to go back and get another size. Desirae was insisting we needed to buy these pretty white ones that "Rachel can wear to church". I stood there in the baby isle, tears flowing, as I tried to decide if I should buy them for her to wear to her funeral, probably her only visit to church. I can't help but wonder if she would have loved shoes as much as her big sister. I've been eyeing the cute girl clothes for months, hoping I'd be able to buy some soon. Now I can, and I don't know how.

Des was walking funny on the way out & I asked if they were too big - she said "no, children always walk this way when they first try high heals." I just smiled, I didn't want to break the news that they aren't high-heals - so please don't tell her. She is in love with these shoes! :o) My heart was singing as we walked to the van, my little girl feeling all grown up. She's precious.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Journal Entry

I came across a letter I had written to the baby when I was 12 weeks along. It's unbelievable how God was preparing me. Here's what it says...

"So far, nothing has gone "as planned" - 1st there was a light line on my HPT, then at our 1st ultrasound, we couldn't see you. At the repeat one, we could see you, but you measured smaller than expected - at my 1st prenatal, couldn't hear your heartbeat. (Dr's say this is all normal) And thru it all, I've felt peace. This is something I would not expect after losing a baby before, but God continually reminds me to hope in Him,even thru the unknowns (which I don't like). At my apt on Tuesday, I'm praying I'll hear your heart! I love you already - how could I not love a miracle from God??"

around 12 weeks...
"Why am I so blessed by God to be chosen to be your mother and to be part of your creation? What a gift. - heartbeat was 163 - Strong! Praise God!

and at 16 weeks...
"16 weeks now - time is flying by. Your sister and brothers keep me very busy. Sometimes I forget I'm pregnant. I felt you move on 7/3/10 - It was so cool. You must be strong. We can't wait to meet you!"

I am so sad that she'll never read these things I wrote to her and about her. I'm sad that she'll never know how much we desired her. Saying we'll show her now, just doesn't seem to be making me feel better, or seem like enough. I only find comfort in knowing that God will show her what I can't and more.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I used to like roller coasters...

This roller coaster isn't so much fun. Had a meeting with the Dr. today. Managed to hold it together while I went through my list of questions, that unfortunately she really couldn't answer many of, and then sobbed all the way home. I never have liked the "unknown" and there are so many in our near future. The only thing that seems certain is the one thing my heart is screaming to not have to do. And even as I write this I'm riding the ups & downs because I know that God is certain - regardless of my circumstances, He never changes. I know His character and I KNOW He cares. I just don't understand. After we lost our 3rd baby to miscarriage, I remember saying to God over & over, "I don't understand, but I trust You" - I feel this same way now, maybe more so, but back then I was grieving a loss that already happened...this time, I have to wait for it. And I'm not good at waiting either. I felt sick to my stomach as I dialed the number to the cemetary to reserve her spot. Our reality is painful.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Who's child is she?

When I was pregnant with Desirae, we had a family member tell us we should have an abortion. From that point on, God has put it on my heart to help people who are in a situation where they need to make a choice, and to help them to choose life. I can't imagine my life without my beautiful, talented, precious Desirae and I never want anyone else to have to experience the pain that comes with choosing death. Today at church a friend reminded me that our children aren't ours - this is something God had put on my heart while I was in the hospital with Samuel a few weeks ago. He sent me more peace when I just thought of how "ironic" it is that He would choose ME to carry His child. She is not my child that He's taking - She is His and He chose me to give her to because He has been preparing me with a heart for life. A lot of people get this news and terminate (kill) their babies. That was the 1st discussion we had at the Dr's- "options" they call it. He wanted her here for a reason and I am SO blessed to be part of His plan. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for choosing me.

Perinatal Hospice?

The hospital gave us a pamphlet on "perinatal hospice" - do those two words go together? Sounds wrong.
Talked to the man from the funeral home today. We talked about how to do this ahead of time. He was very gracious about it. He said we can get all the details set up so that all we have to do is make a phone call and it will be taken care of. He said "if you get your miracle, I'll be happy to shred the papers - we can throw a shredding party" I'm praying for a shredding party!! Planning her funeral while I can feel her kicking inside me is a burden I never imagined i would have to bear.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Why??

I had one of those moments today...a few times. Why God? This can't be real...How do I do this? I don't know how to do any of this - and I really can't say I want to know how. It has been a long week. I wish it was a bad dream.
Today I got a book I ordered called "I will carry you - the sacred dance of grief and joy" by Angie Smith. I'll start tonight. I'm carrying Rachel - The Lord's carrying me...2 huge blessings.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

God is good, even when life is not

It's been less than a week since we got the news...God has already shown up for us in so many ways. I am so grateful that I can see and feel His comfort.