In the months leading up to Amelia's birth
it was made clear to me what I was supposed to be doing.
I prayed night and day for God to lead us through the valley
delivering all of us safely to the other side.
It may sound strange, but during the pregnancy,
and even the first days following her death,
I was at peace.
I felt my life had direction.
I was clear what God was asking us to do with our lives and hers.
Were were focused on Amelia's time with us;
making every kick, every moment count.
We took it all in, lived in the moment,
and trusted entirely in the plans the Lord had for our family.
Though the path before us was dark and twisty,
God gave us "just enough light for the step we were on."
We didn't have room in our hearts and minds for
worry about where God was leading
we just followed His lead.
It was the darkest time of our lives, until now.
I have been shocked to find myself a bit lost.
We had such focus and purpose when she was here!
We had cause to move forward.
But now I find myself often feeling off balance and directionless.
Each day further from her birth
hurts a bit more.
Is it silly that I thought it would get easier with each day?
I know that I cannot live this way.
I cannot move forward
with my eyes fixed on where we have been
rather than where God is leading.
And so I do the only thing I can do...
I pray that it gets easier.
I pray for just a bit more light
I pray to remain cross sighted.
I pray that the Lord continue to use us to do his work.
I pray that the Lord continue to use Amelia to do his work.
Prayer of Release
from DaySpring Devotions - Roy Lessin
I know the one in whom I trust,
and I am sure that He is able to guard
what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return.
2 Timothy 1:12
Heavenly Father, I release to you the burdens that I have been carrying, burdens that You never intended for me to carry. I cast all my cares upon You, all my worries, all my fears.
Father, calm my restless spirit, quiet my anxious heart, still my troubling thoughts with the assurance that You are in control. I let go of my grip upon the things I have been hanging onto, with opened hands I come to You.
I thank You for Your promise to sustain me, preserve me, and guard all that I have entrusted to Your keeping. Protect my heart and mind with Your peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Father, may Your will be done in my life, in Your time, and in Your way. Amen.
Long story short, I decided to take a pregnancy test.
While I was waiting for the results I considered the possibilities.
Would I be scared to death if it was positive?
Would I be crushed if it were negative?
Are we ready for this???
It was negative.
I found myself just as disappointed as I was relieved.
Mostly, I realized
That I felt just the same as I had before the test…
I felt just as I have since Amelia left us;
I felt empty.
As I made my way through my Monday morning emails,
I noticed a message from Tim.
He doesn’t email me often, so I figured I had better take a peek.
He had forwarded me a daily hunting devotion he receives via email.
It always contains a bible study verse.
When I read it, I knew exactly why he had sent it to me…
So without further ado,
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
there are questions I don't even ask myself.
Correction - there is one question I don't ask myself...
Do you think you will have more children?
I can't even allow myself to think of being pregnant again.
And yet, I can't imagine Noah as our only living child.
We already have the family I always said I wanted;
one boy. one girl.
We should be done making babies.
That being said,
Tim and I have experienced a bit of a paradigm shift
since losing our sweet little Amelia.
We have learned
what it really means to trust in our Lord's plans for us
and for our family.
We have learned what it feels like to let go and let God.
It feels scary.
It feels foolish.
It is against our nature...
against our sinful, human nature.
I am still so amazed (though I shouldn't be)
at the ways in which God has blessed us,
and continues to bless us,
through the life and death of our daughter. He carried us through the fire.
If I cannot trust him now,
after all he has done,
I have learned nothing.
Just about 13 months ago,
our Lord entrusted us with his beloved daughter.
And then this July, he took her home.
She was amazing, absolutely amazing.
She was a gift we did not deserve.
Her absence will be ever present in our lives.
Will God entrust us with another of his precious children?
I really don't know.
I guess what I'm trying to say, is that
although I know the Lord will hear my prayer,
there are some things
I'm just too afraid to ask for.
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:9-13
As Halloween approaches,
I have begun to wonder how long I will be haunted.
Haunted by the "would have been" and "should have been's"
Daily I find myself chasing the shadows.
Today marks twelve weeks since Amelia birth.
If she had lived I might just now be returning to the office
pump bag in hand, ready to relearn the balance of working/nursing mother.
If she were here, we might be trying to squeeze in one last daytime play date with two of my Chi Omega sisters and their precious babies born in the weeks following Amelia.
If she were here, I would have a double stroller
with no empty seat.
If she were here, there would be a white crib in Amelia's room rather than the double bed we had waiting...just in case she got to come home for a few days.
There would be a rocker just for her at our house rather than at our church in her memory.
If she were here, I would have been bustling about
in search of the cutest & pinkest baby Halloween costume.
Her closet would no doubt be overflowing with clothes because
Gramma J just couldn't resist the little bows on this one, or ruffles on that one...
Maybe she would be sleeping through the night by now.
Maybe we would have a well baby visit to Dr. Moore's office scheduled today.
Would have been. Should have been. Could have been.
And still, though I remain haunted by so many things; would haves, could haves, should haves...
There is unending joy in the what is rather than what could have been.
Our daughter is in the arms of our Savior.
and though my arms remain painfully empty,
my heart overflows,
because I will never be haunted by what is.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Friday is a special day in the baby loss community. It is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
I would like to start a prayer chain here on Amelia's blog for all families that grieve the loss of a child. I have seen variations of this idea on my fellow baby loss blogging mama's sites and was moved to do the same. If you wish, please add your name and your children's names and birthday/loss date in the comments. As you add your name please pray for the other families listed here. I will be praying for each of you this Friday.
Tim and Melissa Lorang
July 28, 2010
Below I have compiled a bit of information I found about the day,
and what you can do if you choose to observe the day.
What is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day?
A day of remembrance for all babies who have died to soon, from early pregnancy loss thru infant death. First thought of by Robyn Bear, It is observed every year on October 15th.
Why have a day of remembrance for Pregnancy and Infant Loss? Because EVERY life, even the tiniest and shortest lived deserves to be acknowledged and remembered. The parents of these children never forget, we would just like one day of the year for everyone else to remember then too.
What can I do on this day?
We ask everyone to light a candle at 7pm in their time zone. Spread the word, increase support, educate and make people aware of pregnancy and infant loss.
Ideas for all of the Month of October
Tying pink or blue ribbons around trees in yards, neighborhoods, and parks.
Place signs and banners in your yard, neighborhoods, and parks.
Contact your local radio stations and television news stations to have them announce that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Write an article and submit it to your local newspapers.
Sponsor flowers in memory of your baby in a church service or hospital.
Have a t-shirt made that says I have an Angel, and have your child’s name put on it.
Ideas for October 15th
Light candles and display them in your windows.
Contact local Radio and News stations and have them announce that it is October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Drive with your headlights on.
Leave your porch lights on.
Sponsor a candle lighting ceremony in a park, church, or local hospital.
Send off a pink or blue balloon with your Angel’s name and/or picture.
I cannot tell you the day the change began. I cannot even tell you when I first noticed it, but what I can tell you is, that when I did notice it it, just for a moment, took my breath away.
click to enlarge this image
I received this 3 piece bracelet as a gift from my mother-in-law
not long after we were given Amelia's diagnosis.
I wear it most every day along side my broken watch.
Time and wear has begun to show,
as you can see for yourself,
on just two of the bracelets.
Though you can now see the wear on the phrases
"Through times of strife"
"The Lord will carry you,"
still shines as though it were
If I needed an additional cause to be touched by this gift
(which I didn't) ;)
I have found it over time,
in this gentle reminder
that Jesus love and grace
remains unshaken & untarnished
even on a simple piece of jewelry.
His perfect gift of salvation
through his son Jesus Christ
and endures longer,
than all the treasures of this world.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I recently saw a variation of this on a fellow baby loss mommy's blog and thought I would share it here. I removed some of her personal info but much of it I left in her words. So many people have expressed to me that they just don't know what to say or do to help us or others they know that are experiencing a loss. I must confess, before Amelia I felt the same... Please remember there is no effort made in love, that will hurt the grieving parent more than your silence.
How To Help A Friend Who Has Lost A Baby
Bring Meals to them. The last thing your friend will want to have to worry about is food. Organizing the meals or having one point of contact might be a good way to keep things moving and make sure the meals are coming on a regular basis. Having a list of people who will bring meals to their home in the days after the birth/loss will be a tremendous help. Some easy ideas for meals would be a pot roast, lasagna, pasta, baked chicken... anything they can reheat, too. If you don't cook, but you still want to help, gift cards for meals are still a great option.
Mail a card. Come to the service. Send a plant/flowers. These seem obvious right? Yet, I think our generation has moved away from these common courtesy's over time. Your efforts will be noticed. Doing nothing, saying nothing or not being present will also be noticed. Just remember, no one wants to go to a funeral or visitation. We go to show our love and support for those who are grieving, not for ourselves.
Call, email, send messages, write notes... but don't be offended if they don't respond. It can get overwhelming to get lots of notes, and they are so encouraging, but many times the energy is so zapped that she won't be able to respond to each message. Do say something. And don't give up. Your friend may not feel like talking to anyone. But she will want and need to know her friends still love and support her. In the days immediately surrounding her loss, she may feel numb and not even be capable of a response. Your notes of love and sympathy will not go unnoticed. Same thing if you are on Facebook... send her a message or post a note on her wall. I read every single comment I received. I have gone back to them since when I needed encouragement. Even if you don't know the person very well... go ahead and send a note.
Don't stop writing notes....or texting....continue doing this weeks or months after the baby is born. The mom hasn't forgotten, but lots of others have, or it's not at the top of their minds anymore. It is so nice to know that others still care, even after family has left town and things have quieted down. Make yourself a note to write to that person or even just give them a quick note, "I'm still thinking about you...I'm still praying for you."
You'll want to offer them advice... don't. I would almost go so far as to say, resist the urge to say something positive, too. Well meaning statements such as "You can have more children" or "God has a plan for you" just don't help. This applies if you know someone carrying a baby with a fatal birth defect or after the baby is born.Your friend doesn't want another baby-- she wants the one she just lost. She also doesn't want to hear about God's plan right now. Just like in the book of Job when his friends sat with him in silence for days, just being with the in silence often speaks more than any words could. Allow you friends to feel sad, be a listener. Ask them how they're doing. Tell them what verses in the bible you are praying over them.
Do something practical. Offer to help with the dogs. Maybe your friend needs her yard mowed. Remember, dads experience loss and grief just like the mom, but often in different ways. The last thing he probably wants to do is mow the yard. Ask if you can help her with housework, laundry... whatever. I would suggest offering to do a specific task, not just saying "if there is anything I can do, just let me know." They may not feel comfortable asking for help or suggesting anything to you. If you want to reach out and help, just do it-don't let your hesitations prevent you from loving through service.
Continue to invite them to things. Even though your friend will probably not feel up for being around lots of people, still invite her. Don't give up even when she continues to turn you down.
Contribute to a memorial fund. Sometimes, parents will set up a memorial fund in honor of their baby who has passed away. Sometimes, they may not have a memorial fund set up, but there is some kind of organization or fund you can contribute to in honor/memory of their little one. Be mindful of the families desires and beliefs when choosing a charity or fund they have not chosen themselves.
Remember the anniversary of their baby's death. Mark it on your calendar, so that when the one year anniversary comes, you can send them a card or give them a call to let them know you still remember their baby.
Speak their child's name. When you speak of your friend's child by name, it acknowledges that their child matters. You will not make them sad or add to their grief by mentioning their child by name! They will appreciate that their child has touched you and continues to be remembered by others.
Pray for them. And let them know you are praying for them. A lot of times, people will say as an addendum to a conversations, "you're in my prayers." Some people genuinely mean it, others just say it because it seems like the right thing to say. Whatever you do, if you tell them you are praying for them, do it! Here's an idea...write out your prayers and send them to her or suggest that you say a prayer together before you hang up the phone or part ways.
I cannot speak for all BLMs
(Baby Loss Mama)
but I think it is safe to say that when you lose a child
there is one thing that changes for everyone.
The bubble is popped.
The change happens
when your life shifts from a place where bad things can happen
to where bad thing do happen
and they happen to us.
We have stood in the fiery furnace,
walked into it, is more accurate I suppose.
I think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
would they trust again
if they had to face a second time,
the blazing furnace?
Last night as I busied myself in the kitchen
I watched from my sink window as my son Noah and his daddy
played happily in the back yard
while Tim monitored the meat cooking on the nearby grill.
For a moment, it felt like the family we were
before we lost Amelia...
Noah was giggling
as he stopped to say "hi Mama" at the kitchen window
before running out of site to the corner of the yard
where Tim stood chatting with one of our neighbors.
I had just grabbed a mixing spoon and spatulas
from the dishwasher
and as I opened the drawer to put them away
I noticed that it was suddenly quiet outside.
Something in my gut urged me to check on Noah.
As I poked my head out of our kitchen door
onto the breezeway that separates our back from front yard,
I saw Noah
chasing his ball down the front yard - headed for the street.
I panicked and called out his name, but he didn't hear me.
I ran frantically down our driveway yelling for him to stop.
He made it into the street.
His ball made it to the grassy median on the other side.
I made it just in time to swoop him up.
As we made our way safely back to the breezeway
I saw the spoon and spatulas scattered on the bricks and thought, what if I had put them away first...
it's no longer the what ifs, but the what wills that haunt me.
Back in the house, Tim echoed my thoughts as he confessed,
while he watched in slow motion, his thoughts were A car is going to hit Noah, not a car could hit Noah.
The bubble is burst.
Bad things do happen
and they happen to us.
So this morning, I find myself wondering
would I go back into the furnace
if the Lord called my name?
Will I trust that he will not lead me
where he will not deliver me?
Will I say, here I am Lord, send me?
If I have learned anything from our journey with Amelia,
it is to trust God's plan for our family.
Along with our sorrow,
God has provided so much joy and peace.
He gave us Amelia
and he took her home after two short hours.
It wasn't our plan, but it was his.
He led us through it all, and leads us still.
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
Tim and I found out we were expecting in November of 2009 and could not have been more thrilled! A little scared as to how we were going to handle a 2 year old and a new baby, but thrilled.
We have always known that God had special plans for our children. March 15, 2010, at a routine 20 week ultrasound, Amelia was diagnosed with Anencephaly; a fatal neural tube defect said to affect one child for every 1000 births and 3 in 10,000 live births.
Knowing her life expectancy after birth was only minutes to hours, we chose to carry Amelia to term and created this blog/journal to record her short time here on earth.
We hope to use this blog as both a journal and record of Amelia's time with us here on earth and as a way to share with family and friends the day to day joys and sorrows of this pregnancy. We believe that life is a precious gift of God and rejoice in the blessings God has given in our children.
God is good.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14
For a long time there were only your footprints and laughter in our dreams, and even from such small things, we knew we could not wait to love you forever. Brian Andreas