Sunday, January 6, 2013


I'm not sure if I've ever talked too much about this before....  but soon after I announced I was pregnant with Rachel (long before I knew she was a girl or going to die) around 8-9 other of my friends or girls in my circle at church also announced they were expecting.

And so soon after Rachel's diagnosis, I heard a ton of "it's a boy" or "it's a girl"...  and even worse... after her death, I watched one after another give birth - and keep - their healthy babies with nice round heads.  Even harder than that was listening to the complaints over no sleep, acid reflux, being bit while nursing, or my favorite - that they didn't get the gender they wanted.

I watched family after family stand up in church and show their new baby to our congregation, while my birth was completely ignored - except for to have a funeral.  I watched as they each did their baby dedications.  I watched as they covered up to nurse them or had to go downstairs because they were crying.  I heard the new cries, saw all the smiles and listened to many 'congratulations' that I never heard. 

And then I got pregnant with Asa... and while I had to defend my 'right' to still be sad over Rachel even though I was blessed with another baby again and constantly had people judging me... either for risking another Rachel or getting pregnant too soon or not 'seeing the blessing God had given me in this new life' or whatever the judgement might have been for that day -  the one thing I had was solitude in my pregnancy.  Because all the other girls who are still having babies around me were busy with their new babies who were alive and still nursing.  I feared many things while pregnant with Asa, including him dying for no reason at birth, but I never had to fear that I would have to be bombarded with other healthy babies and their mothers right after I said goodbye while my arms and heart were still bleeding to hold my own baby.

So here I am, 2 years after Rachel... and where do I find myself?  Pregnant.... and apparently it's been a 'good age difference' for many others because they are starting to announce pregnancies all around me. 

I wasn't scared of this.  I did just fine after Rachel.  It hurt like crazy, but somehow God gave me the grace to be genuinely happy for each person who carried a new baby home.  Somehow I might shed tears, but I was able to rejoice with them.  It was a blessing to my heart and I'm so thankful for that.  Not because it's nice to do for them, but because God did that for me.  It would have hurt so much more to be bitter and sad.  Babies are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.  I hold tight to that truth even when mine die and others get to keep theirs.

But about 4 weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I had someone tell me that they were pregnant and that they were nervous that they hadn't been on folic acid.  She said she looked it up and saw that she still has a week before the neural tube closes (wrong.) and was going to get vitamins on the way home so she could make sure her baby didn't have anything wrong with its brain.

And it all started. 

Not only was I horribly sad that the first thought on someone's mind when they got 2 pink lines was to make sure a Rachel wouldn't happen to them... but I was totally offended that she thought there was something she could do to make sure it didn't happen to her - which also means she thought I somehow failed and that's why my baby is in the ground and hers won't be.  She's also the same person who came here while I was carrying Rachel and told me I didn't have enough faith if I was buying Rachel a casket and planning her funeral because that wasn't believing God could heal her.... My baby already didn't have a head and I was preparing and was told it wasn't a faith filled thing to do.  I guess getting out and buying folic acid before it's 'too late' is having all sorts of faith that God is in control??

And so maybe it's just my pride... but all of a sudden, it became clear to me that some people think it's my fault.  I never thought that before.  I know ultimately that they don't think they think this.  I understand that the mind can be tricky... but really, think about it... if they can find the reason it happened to me... it makes it avoidable for them.  And if they know the reason, they can have control.  And if they know the reason, they can assure themselves that it won't happen because they did xyz.  And pretty soon, they are taking every ounce of credit for their healthy babies that only God deserves. 

Just for the record, they have been studying anencephaly for over 25 years and have found no conclusive answer as to why it happens.  Not even folic acid, although they think it contributes, they don't KNOW it does.  And when I got Rachel's diagnosis, I asked them to test my folic acid (my reason was so that I would know where I started out and be able to 'make sure' it was high enough the next time to 'make sure' it didn't happen again!) and they said to me "We don't usually do that".  Well, if you don't test folic acid levels in moms who have anenecphalic babies, how do you know that has anything to do with it??  So after arguing with them, they tested mine and it was great.  Perfect even.  I had been on my prenatals for over 4 years at that point, so that would make sense.  My folic acid level had nothing to do with Rachel dying.  And you getting your vitamins, eating well, exercising or whatever else you do to do it all 'just right' will have nothing to do with you giving birth to a baby with a head - or even a healthy, thriving baby.  I did all that with her too.  It was my 'healthiest' pregnancy I've ever had - on the outside.

This pregnancy has been less worrisome than Asa's so far.  I still have moments, but they don't dominate like last time.  That's awesome, but this time I'm dealing with something I didn't at all last time.  Or not that I remember anyway - maybe I did and my heart was still too focused on Rachel to care much?  But this time, as each new pregnancy gets announced, I hear this stupid comment about getting her vitamins before it's too late and I think to myself  "I have babies that die and these people don't and soon I will have to watch them all give birth to healthy babies... and take credit for the blessing of a nice round head... and I will be finding room on my grave stone for this baby's name and listening to everyone talk about how they are doing everything 'just right' and that's why they have a healthy baby who sleeps through the night".    And why does nobody see that for the ugly pride it is?

Maybe nobody considers this, especially after so much time has gone by, but does anyone stop to think that all these 2 year olds running around are a constant reminder to me of what I'm missing?  Does anyone stop to think that I don't picture Rachel as a little baby, but as my toddler who twirls around in her dresses and talks with a cute raspy voice like all my others have?  That it's not the baby clothes that break my heart these days, but the 2T dresses and size 7 cute boots?  Does anyone understand that it didn't stop for me after they came home with these alive children?  Nope.  Most never thought of it again after the first showing of their new babies.  Some not even then.  And they certainly aren't considering that while they are thinking about adding to their families because it's been the perfect time span, I'm just hoping for a head.  Just a round head. 

I have no idea if this baby inside of me that I'm falling deeply in love with more each day has a head.  And sadly I know it's possible, beyond anything I can do 'right', to not be given what I always thought as an automatic.  A head.  Or a heart that can beat strongly.  Or any other vital organ.  Or to live through birth.  Or to not die shortly after from something else beyond my control.  We take it all for granted you guys.  And it CAN happen to you.  And while I hope and pray it doesn't, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that at times I wish I wasn't the only one around me who knew (and truly believed) there is nothing I (or they) could have done differently.  God certainly knocked me off my 'good mother's pride' block when I got Rachel's ultrasound.  And then again when I fought for a c-section that didn't add much time, if any, to her life.  I found out the hard way that I don't have the control I liked to believe I did.  I wish He could do it to others without them having to actually bury a child.  I had hoped Rachel would have done that for people.  I never expected that some would just be examining me to figure out how they would do it differently and ensure their babies had heads - or googling how to make sure they didn't get a Rachel at the sight of two pink lines.

That just plain hurts. 

And I discovered, it's not all pregnant people I want to avoid... it's the ones who are full of false pride and think they are capable of something I'm not.... a baby with a head.  The ones who think if it was them, Rachel would be alive because my body failed her and theirs wouldn't have.  The ones who think they are beyond burying a child of their own.  The problem is that most of them don't know that this is them.  They don't see their hearts clearly or honestly.  And so I struggle to want to talk about this baby with anyone because I don't know who thinks what and the reality of my new realization of what people apparently think about this has done a job on my heart.

But maybe I'm just jealous.  I've been called that too.  Maybe it's just jealousy and envy as I've been warned.  Perhaps deep down, these people's pride is no bigger than mine and my pride is just hurt that I couldn't keep that 'I do everything right and so therefore I have healthy babies' status.  Maybe I'm just jealous that they get something I don't.  Or envious that they can still be just plain excited at the new expectation of an addition to their family.  Maybe I'm just jealous that my life is never going to be that simple again.  Maybe I need to just pray more for my envy - that I won't want their babies...

Please.  I do not want their babies.  I don't want their false sense of control and I certainly don't want to go back to the days before Rachel when I was that clueless and that insensitive and that careless with my words.  Good theory though. 

All I want is a healthy baby.  I want all babies to be healthy and for no mother to know the loss of their child.  I want an end to the effects of sin in this world.  I want heaven.  I want Jesus to come back and take us all with Him.  I want my family to believe in Him so they can all go with me.

In the meantime, I will take my painful, uncertain and powerless life with all my babies here and in heaven and I will love it for what it is.... a life that is led, controlled, and upheld by a God Who is good, loving and completely aware of my suffering.  A God Who will never leave me, forsake me or not make beauty out of my ashes.  And I guess I will just assume that God chose me for a reason to carry and love Rachel... and it wasn't because He loved me less.  It wasn't because He made my body in a way that would fail her.  I'd risk saying it might be the opposite.  The bible says that Mary was chosen and favored.  And when I think of Rachel and how I got to be such a huge part of her legacy and the amazing ways God used her life and death.... I feel favored.  I do. 

So while everyone else looks at me and her and they dread it happening to them....or while they wait for the confirmation that this baby has a head in fear and avoiding the thought of a new baby at all.  I feel sorry for that outlook.  I feel sorry for them.  Because this has been the hardest, most beautiful, and undeniably life changing - for the better - trial I have ever had the blessing to endure.  I would never want to be who I was before her.  Before knowing I had no control.  Before watching her die in my arms.  Ever. 

I'm thankful for this journey.  I'm thankful that I know only God can do this.  I'm thankful for the pain.  The fear.  The lonliness.  I'm thankful that I know like nobody else the way God can carry me through such a hard, long, dark valley.  I'm thankful to have seen Him so real, so true, so faithful... and in so many unexected places.  I'm thankful that I know the peace that you can only know in a room where your baby dies in your arms and it's okay.   I'm thankful for the questions, the doubts, the anger that all brought me closesr to Him as He gently reassured me of His presence and love through it all and patiently waited for me to return to His heart, while never letting me go further than I could handle.  I'm thankful that when I hold this baby and bring him home, I will take absolutely no credit.  That when he cries in the night and my sleep is disrupted, I will know it's a blessing.  That when I get puke on my new shirt, poop under my fingernails, or leak breastmilk all over myself in public... that I will know that it's a priviledge... and I will hold him tighter, love him deeper, appreciate him more - than I EVER could have before her... than I ever could have if I still thought I did it all right.  I'm thankful that God saw me fit to endure this lot.  I'm thankful for His favor.

I love you sweet girl.  Mama will be home soon. 

And as I finished this post, Asa climbed in my lap and I hugged him... I glanced over and saw the softly falling snow outside... just like the day you were born and I just knew... you are here - and now... Fernando Orgega just came on... "I will praise Him still"... the song we sang at your birthday.  Thank you God for sending me these confirmations - all at the same time!   I can't wait to see you again pretty girl...

"For the Lord our God is strong to save... from the arms of death, from the deepest grave - and He gave us life in His perfect will and by His good grace, I will praise Him still."

I can't even take credit for how I can praise Him... for how I can appreciate this journey... it's all Him.  He does this for me... for my good and HIS glory.  Thank You Lord.

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