Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Hopes and Dreams

When someone you love dies, you not only lose their physical being; you lose your hopes and dreams for the future.  Halloween is not my favorite celebration by any means, but I know the kids enjoy carving pumpkins, dressing up and, of course, getting candy.  Halloween sort of marks the beginning of the holiday season...and this year I am a little nervous about how we will get through it all. 

I had found an adorable daisy costume at a garage sale this summer for $1 so of course I picked it up, but that is now just another 'could-have-been' in a plastic tote in the nursery closet.  Right along with the outfit she was supposed to wear for her fall pictures, and the piles of pink onesies and sleepers.  Maybe now a days we are "too" prepared for our babies.  In my grandparents' days they didn't even set up a crib or anything until they knew the baby was coming home.  I used to think this was an extremely morbid way to go about things, but I suppose my opinion on that has changed now. 

We were so prepared for Harper.  We knew she was going to be a girl, the nursery was painted and the bedding on the crib.  I even had a plaque with her name on it hanging on the wall.  The diapers were opened and neatly placed in a basket on the changing table.  Her diaper bag was packed with her 'coming-home' outfit and sitting by the door.  The bottles were sterilized and placed in the cupboard, even the car seat was securely buckled in the van.  We were ready to bring a baby home.  We were not ready to not bring a baby home.  And that was one of the hardest parts...coming home empty handed to a house that was ready to welcome a precious baby girl.

Some people can't touch the stuff, they just shut the door to the nursery and don't look back.  And our nursery door was shut for a couple weeks, but it drove me nuts just knowing what was behind that door.  And so I packed everything up, less than a month after she was born.  It was hard, I had to pack up every hope and dream I had for my little girl.  No first pictures, no first Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas. 
With the holidays fast approaching it also brings back last year and how I thought things were going to be this year.  Last November we decided we were ready to have another baby and the first week of December we found out I was pregnant.  We decided that since it was so close to Christmas we would wait to tell our families until our Christmas get-togethers.  I had the kids hand paint ornaments with their pictures on them and then I did a third ornament that said 'Baby #3 is on its way-8.9.10.'  We wrapped up the ornaments and gave them to our parents.  Everyone was very surprised and it was such an exciting, happy Christmas.  This year I am doing memorial ornaments.  And it will be a very bitter sweet season.  Remembering the past year when Harper's tiny life came into existence and the months that followed as she was alive and growing in my womb.  Enjoying our children and our families and the birth of our Savior is such an incredible celebration, but my heart will be a little heavier this year.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Feels likes its happening all over again...

Today at MOPS we lifted another family up in prayer that is currently waiting to give birth to their 20 week old baby whose spirit has already gone to be with Jesus.  It just takes me right back.  My heart aches for this woman I don't know. It feels like its me all over again, laying in a hospital bed waiting to give birth to a baby I won't get to take home with me.  This is the fourth baby I have known about since I lost Harper, and every time its like its happening to me all over again.  I do not understand why this keeps happening.  I do not understand why it hurts me to my core every time.  Is this the way it will always be?  Everytime I hear of a loss, will it always take me right back to August 10th?  This was not an aspect of greiving that I was planning on. 

I know I have to keep leaning on God, now more than ever.  It seems that as things are getting "better" for those around me, its getting harder for me.  The "newness" of my loss has worn off and I am trying to find my way back in the real world again and its hard.  Really, really hard.  I take a couple steps forward and then things happen like today, and I get knocked down again. 

Please be praying for this family and the months of grieving that lie ahead of them, and please keep praying for me and my family too.  The pain does not just go away in a few days or weeks or months.  I know that I may look like I'm doing okay on the outside, but my hurt still runs deep.  Thank you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Its been hard to think of something to write about lately.  Things are the same.  I have good days, I have bad days.  I have good and bad moments in every day.  This weekend was hard.  I took a trip back to August 10th and its like I'm there all over again.  Sometimes I block that day and the events of that day from my memory, maybe its a coping mechanism.  But when my mind lets me go back there again it just reminds me how fresh and deep my wound still is.  I've been working on a new scrapbooking project and I find myself spending most of the time just staring at her pictures.  She was so beautiful and perfect, down to her cute little nose and teeny finger and toes.  I wish I could somehow lift her out of those pictures and hold her in my arms again.  Sometimes my arms physically ache to hold her.  Its hard to picture what she would be like now, almost 12 weeks old.  She would probably be cooing and smiling...maybe sleeping all night!?!  She'd probably be content to sit in her bouncy chair and be entertained by her busy big brother and sister.  As much as I sit and wonder what she would be doing and who she would become, I know that I will never know until Heaven.  And then I wonder if she knows what it would be like to be here.  Does she know how much I love her, does she know what it would be like to be a part of our family.  I hope so.  I did a little journaling in my scrapbook and on one page I wrote, "Lord, I waited to hold Harper on my lap and tell her about you, but since I never got the chance, will you please hold her on your lap and tell her about me?" I miss you so much baby girl...I long for the day I will finally meet you.  I praise God that you are perfect and happy and whole.  I don't know if this pain will ever go away, you have changed me forever.  I am a better person because I had the privilege of being your mother and I love you with all of my heart.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Desire~Jeremy Camp

This song has become so powerful to me lately. I feel my soul just crying out these lyrics. I'm excited to see where God is leading me...I want to be used by Him.

P.S.  You'll have to pause the media player at the bottom of the page :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

"I want to make much of you Jesus"

GriefShare has been instrumental in my grieving.  If anyone has ever lost someone they love I really recommend going to GriefShare.  It is not just a support group, it provides Biblical application to help you through your process of grieving.  Last night we talked about the "WHYS."  Why did this happen do me?  I struggled with this a lot after my first miscarriage.  I remember just searching for answers.  I thought because I had disobeyed God, and gotten pregnant before I was married, that he was punishing me.  I think I believed this for a long time.  I think my mind knew this wasn't true...I knew plenty of people that weren't married and had perfectly healthy pregnancies.  But in my heart I really felt that I was being punished.  There were many people that tried to be encouraging by telling me that now I could do so much more with my life, and I hated to hear that.  That doesn't make a grieving mother feel better, but it just confirmed to me that losing that baby was my punishment.  And instead of turning towards God, I fell further and further away.

I realize now that my faith was weak, and I didn't really know who God was.  Dealing with the loss of Harper has certainly not been easier because of my faith, but I have been able to receive God's comfort more than I could with my miscarriages.  I have asked questions.  I don't understand why God chose not to save her, but I haven't really experienced the "why me?" questions and I believe that is because I have a better understand of God's character.

GriefShare confirmed my beliefs last night.  I do not believe that God caused Harper die.  I do not believe that God is trying to teach me a lesson.  I do not believe that this was God's will or God's plan.  God's original plan was for us to live in a perfect world in perfect fellowship with him.  But because man disobeyed sin entered our world.  We live in a fallen world and we are all subject to pain and suffering.  No one will ever escape this life without dealing with some sort of heartache.  But that was not God's intention for us. 

To have faith is to believe that the Bible is true and the promises about God written in the Bible are real.  If we serve a loving God, how could I ever believe that he wanted my baby to die or he wanted me to hurt?  That just doesn't line up with who I believe God is.  I do believe that God is in absolute control and that nothing happens to us that isn't "Father-filtered."  He allowed Harper to die, but I believe God is compassionate and it hurts him to see one of his children in pain.

I also do not believe that "everything happens for a reason" except that everything that happens to us can be used for a reason...and that is to draw closer to God and bring honor to his name.  God may have allowed Harper to die, but I don't think he did it for a specific reason.  God allows us to go through hard times so we can grow in our faith.  If things always felt safe and comfortable, there would be no reason to really lean on God and trust him. 

I will never understand the whole reason that this happened to me and my family until Heaven.  And that's okay.  I don't have to have all of the answers, I just have to fall into the arms of the One who does.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Harper's Garden

I couldn't get all the photos uploaded on my last entry, but here are more pictures of Harper's Garden.  The bunnies have been eating all her plants, and the spirea isn't doing so well, but hopefully everything will grow back nicely in the spring!

 The other little stone says, "Those we hold in our arms for a little while, we hold in our hearts forever."

This is the tree that started it all.  My grandma gave me a tree that was 21 inches tall, just like Harper.

I've been feeling like the blog I posted yesterday was maybe a bit harsh.  At that moment I was overwhelmed with disappointment, but I guess that's normal.  Grieving is a roller coaster of emotions, and those who have never dealt with grief before may not understand those emotions.  When I feel disappointed by people its only because of my own expectations.  When I take a step back and really look at the situation, I know that people really do mean well.  They may be unsure of what to say, or uncomfortable and not say anything, and although that hurts I can't help but wonder what I would do if the situation was reversed.

One thing I can say though is that I meant what I said yesterday, and God is faithful.  He proves himself faithful daily, I just have to keep my eyes on him so I can receive his blessings.  And the blessings have FAR outweighed the disappointments!  For every person that has hurt me, God has placed another in my path that has encouraged me and lifted me up! 

God has been blessing me today!  Not only did I get another card in the mail (that's two days in a row!), but the women at MOPS touched my heart so deeply today!  I have never been so encouraged and loved on by a group of women in my life.  They want me to know that its okay for me to be hurting, they want to walk beside me and share my story of Harper and God's goodness!  They presented me with the most beautiful stone today for Harper's garden.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What's waiting in the mail box?

Grief brings on an array of emotions.  My latest emotion has been disappointment.  I got Harper's "Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth" certificate in the mail yesterday.  I was so disappointed to see that it is nothing more than a pretty piece of computer paper with her name, our names, her date and place of stillbirth and the state of WI Dept. of Human and Family Services stamp on it.  There is nothing official looking about it.  I could have made it myself (and done a nicer job).  It just makes me feel like society doesn't look at her like she's a real person.  And because of this whole certificate thing we weren't able to collect any life insurance money to cover funeral expenses.  She would have had to have a Certificate of Live Birth, but because she died before she was born she doesn't get one of those certificates, therefore the insurance company does not recognize her as ever being a living person, so therefore she is not deserving of a funeral or a burial.  I just don't get it!  It makes me so sad.  How are we supposed to feel like our loss is significant, when society so clearly minimizes it?

Then today I got a notice from the monument place saying that they had poured the foundation for Harper's headstone.  So immediately I load the kids up in the stroller and we head to the cemetery...only to find no cement slab.  I called the monument place and they were baffled.   The setter guy swears he poured the concrete for her foundation and drilled the holes for her shepherd's hook, but I'm standing there looking at nothing!  Apparently someone else got her foundation.  How crazy.  Sometimes dealing with the fact that my baby's body is buried in a public cemetery across town is hard enough to deal with and then these unexpected dilemmas occur and it just disappoints me further.

Hitting the two month mark has been sort of a milestone.  It has been the harsh reality that everyone's life is moving forward, even my own life is moving forward.  It sometimes feels like people have forgotten me.  The calls have almost stopped, same as the cards.  If your reading this please don't take this as me guilting you into calling or sending a card.  That's not the point...its just the reality of the circumstances.  There was going to be a day that this happened...its just the inevitable.  And initially I was disappointed with "people."  How could people move on when I was stuck.  But God has helped me to see that its not anyone's job to be my support or comfort or strength, except him.  People are going to disappoint me...we are human.  But He is faithful...he will not disappoint me.  I believe God uses people to boost my spirits and walk beside me in this journey.  I have been blessed with so many people that have been an encouragement to me and He has proved himself faithful.  Just as I am feeling like I'm all alone and no one cares I open the mailbox to a nice note from someone at church, just letting me know she is still praying for us daily.  And I know that people are still thinking about us and lifting us up in prayer, but I have learned that my strength and comfort can only come from God.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Beauty for ashes

Isaiah 61

Good News for the Oppressed
 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
      for the Lord has anointed me
      to bring good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
      and to proclaim that captives will be released
      and prisoners will be freed.[a]
 2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
      that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,[b]
      and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
 3 To all who mourn in Israel,[c]
      he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
   a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
      festive praise instead of despair.
   In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
      that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

Well, today its been two months since I last felt Harper move, since I last heard her heartbeat.  She wasn't "born" until the 10th, but I know the 9th is the day she died.  In some ways I can't believe its been two months, but in other ways it feels like an eternity.  Grieving is hard.  Its physically and emotionally exhausting.  I'm so tired of grieving, I just want it to be over.  But I know that's not going to happen for awhile.  I think I am just getting used to this new way of life called grieving.  I don't like it but it has become almost normal for me now.  I still can't walk past her room without an ache in my heart.  I still can't stop thinking about her all the time.  I miss her just as much as I did eight weeks ago.  It's been hard to find beauty in this world, but yesterday while Emmerson was at preschool, Alton and I walked to the cemetery.  Usually when I take both kids we don't stay long because they run all over the place and I'm too busy trying to keep them off other people's stones.  But yesterday with just Alton it was so calm and peaceful.  We sat down on the ground right next to her.  The grass has pretty much grown back, but you can still tell where they buried her.  Alton sat on my lap and ate animal crackers and looked at ladybugs.  For the first time I could see beauty.  The trees were so bright and colorful and the sun was so warm.  The sky was so clear and blue.  I have never thought anything about a cemetery was beautiful, but yesterday my eyes were once again opened to the beauty of God's creation, sitting right next to the scar in the earth where my precious baby's body lies.  I haven't felt that close to her since I last held her in my arms.  I still can't believe she's not here.  I can't believe how much my heart aches to hold her.  I miss her every day.  In a world I have become so convinced is nothing but pain and ugliness, I'm so thankful God gave me that moment of peace and beauty in a place I least expected.

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Identity

Last night at GriefShare we talked about not letting your loss define you.  Stillbirth is not my identity.  I'm really struggling with this because I do feel like my loss defines me and stillbirth is my identity.  The group leader reassured me this is okay because my loss is so fresh and new, but once I get "through" my grieving (this is different than getting "over" it...I will never get over it, but I pray that I will get through it.) I cannot let it become my identity.  My identity is in Christ.  I think right now I have multiple identities.  I am a child of God.  I am a grieving mother.  I am a mother of two healthy, energetic children.  I am a wife.  I am a daughter.  I am a sister.  I am a friend.  But right now my loss is in the forefront.  I feel my identity in that the most right now, and I am so glad to know that that's okay for now.  But it cannot be my primary identity forever.  I cannot define me forever.  I has changed me and I will never be the same, but my loss does not define me.  And I cannot use my loss for God's glory if I'm stuck in it.  More than anything I want Harper's life to mean something.  I want to grieve as healthy as I can and focus on using her life for good.  I have to give myself time to grieve, but I refuse to stay stuck in self-pity.  My beautiful baby girl deserves so much more than that!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Not my home

I once thought this world was a safe and secure place to live.  Things used to seem so certain to me, but lately nothing seems certain.  Nothing feels safe and secure in this world.  I don't understand why babies die, I don't understand why young fathers die or kids get molested.  I don't understand why money becomes more important than family or why I have to forgive someone who has never asked to be forgiven.  I just feel like there is this blanket of ugliness covering this world and right now I can't see past it.  I just want to take my kids and run to a safe place where we will no longer be subject to ugliness, but no such place exists here.  This place is not my home.  I don't want it to be my home.  I have never felt that way before, until now.  I have never felt more in my life the longing for a place with no more tears, pain, or suffering.  This world and its pleasures are fleeting, they will not last.  I long for the place that will satisfy my every need, where there is no more ugliness.  I long to be with my baby again, I long to have my family all together.   I have never felt more urgency than now to be praying for my kids and their relationships with Christ.  Our lives are just a vapor and then its over.  This life is too short to get caught up in the things of this world.  We are citizens of heaven.  I know I can't protect my kids from the junk of this world, I can't protect myself from it.  All I can do is try to instill in them the importance of eternity...and the hope of a better place.  I don't understand why God sent his son to this ugly place to die for me.  I don't deserve it, but he did it anyway and I'm so thankful he did.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Grieving Sucks

There's really no better way to say it...grieving sucks.  I don't want to hurt anymore, I don't want to deal with the pain.  I want to feel normal again, but I know I will never be normal again.  A little piece of me died right along with Harper and I will never get that back.  She will always be missing.  She should have been here tonight for Alton's birthday party, but she wasn't.  And I survived.  I threw together a decent party for my little boy, even though a piece of me was missing.  Even more than the pain and the hurt, its the guilt I don't want to deal with.  It makes me feel terrible that I couldn't just be 100% happy for the party, its not fair to Alton.  My grief is robbing my kids of the mommy they once had, and I honestly don't think I'll ever be the that mommy again.  I know that I won't be grieving forever, and that joy will return to my life, some days I even feel it already.  But losing Harper has impacted me so deeply I know I will never be the same.  And as much as I want to be the same for my kids, I can't do anything to change it.  I love my kids with all of my heart, I would die for my kids.  And there are moments that feel normal.  We sat in the toy room tonight and played with Alton's new toys and it was one of those moments of joy, but she is still in the back of my mind.  I just have to believe that moments like that will come more and more often, but I don't know if there will ever be a day that she is not on my mind.