Wednesday, December 29, 2010

21 Weeks - still perfect

I knew it would be a different Christmas.
Our first Christmas without Amelia. sigh
Maybe it was a bit of a self fulfilling prophesy,
but it was indeed a very difficult Christmas.

Christmas Eve Tim and Noah were both very sick.
Puking, diarrhea. Let's just say it was a messy morning.
Determined to spend the holiday per our Lorang family tradition  - we headed out to Tim's parents for soup, presents, cookies & Christmas Eve service at Mount Olive as a family. Sadly, Tim and Noah did not make it to church. As for me, the entire day was an emotional roller coaster. Between the morning sickness(why do they call it that when it lasts all day long?!?!), attempting to play nurse to Noah and Tim (sorry guys, I tried), and just plain getting through the day without Amelia, I found myself completely drained by 6:00pm.

All day long I felt as if I was watching myself carry out my day, my heart and mind separate from my body. I'm not quite sure how to explain that....

When Tim told me he was going to take Noah home and not go to church, I felt my gut twist up into the tightest knot. Selfishly, I was terrified of spending this service without them. Can you imagine being terrified to worship? on Christmas?!? Truth is I was counting on them. If I felt sad I was gona' squeeze Tim's hand. If I started to feel self pity I could look at Noah be reminded of the ways our Lord has blessed us through our children. How was I going to make it through this night without them?!?!

It was supposed to be Tim, me, Noah and our new baby girl squished into "our pew" between all of Tim's family.But it was just me in the pew with Tim's sister, brother in law and their two grown children.

I was terrified.

There I was, "alone" on Christmas Eve-

For the first time, in a long time, I felt like a stranger in my own church. Like some sort of misfit. Maybe it was better this way. Maybe it was best that I did not have Tim or Noah to lean on. Maybe it was best I didn't have my daddy's shoulder beside me in the pew to lean on. God plan was for me to come to church on Christmas Eve just as I was;
Broken and Alone.

It was a hard service.
Tears flowed and I found myself unable to sing the text or even hum the tune as the congregation sang "Away In A Manger."

To be honest, I hardly heard the message.
I could blame precious children's chatter in the pews around me,
but it would be misplaced.
I simply lacked focus.
I was focused inwardly,
distracted by self pity and heartbreak.
Grief is ugly.
Some days it just finds me
and I feel so powerless against it
I HATE it.

There was no magic moment or point in time during or after the service that my heart suddenly softened
or the tears threatening the edges of my eyes dissipated.

But it still happened, Christmas still came.
God's grace still found me, my heart still heard his voice.
Christmas was still perfect.
Christ is still perfect.

God is so good...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

20 Weeks - Baby's First Christmas


We never lose the one we love, they live on in our hearts.

This ornament was a gift from my dad's sister (and husband) Ellen.
They gave it to us as a memorial gift the day of Amelia's funeral.
We loved it then.
We love it now.
We'll love it always.

I can't believe it's Christmas - already.
I can't believe she's not going to be here...
there are no words.


Christmas in Heaven
by Wanda White

I see the countless CHRISTMAS TREES
around the world below with tiny lights like
HEAVEN’S STARS reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so SPECTACULAR please wipe away that tear
for I am spending CHRISTMAS WITH JESUS CHRIST this year.

I hear the many CHRISTMAS SONGS
that people hold so dear
but the SOUND OF MUSIC can't compare
with the CHRISTMAS CHOIR up here.

I have no words to tell you of the JOY their voices bring
for it is beyond description to HEAR THE ANGELS SING.

I know HOW MUCH YOU MISS ME,
I see the pain inside your heart
for I am spending CHRISTMAS WITH JESUS CHRIST this year.

I can't tell you of the SPLENDOR
or the PEACE here in this place
Can you just imagine
CHRISTMAS WITH OUR SAVIOR face to face

I'll ask him to LIFT YOUR SPIRIT
as I tell him of your love
so then PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER
 as you lift your eyes above.
Please let your HEARTS BE JOYFUL
and let your SPIRIT SING
for I am spending CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN
and I’m walking WITH THE KING


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

19 Weeks - more heartache


I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
Psalm 130:5

Carry each other’s burdens,
and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

So far this week has been filled with a lot of heart ache and waiting on the Lord.
The heart ache has not been my own
but heartbreak for some very special baby loss families
who are losing their little rainbow babies.
These families both lost their precious son & daughter
to anencephaly this past year.
We walked through the darkness side by side (and still do)
as we faced carrying our precious babies to term
knowing full well that they were never ours to keep,
but God's precious gifts to us
to care for for just a short while...
We all found out we were expecting again
within days of each other.
I was so moved at God's grace at work in each of us.

It is tempting to lose hope
and gain bitterness at a God who would allow such heartache
to continue
and to multiply.
I am tempted to cry out It's just not fair!!
I am tempted to question God,
but I know the Truth.
Part of me hates the truth,
at least the part of it that includes Satan.

And still, there is just one place
to take this grief and heartbreak.
Broken, I find myself at the foot of the cross,
again,
and always.
I'm thinking I will just pitch a tent here. :)

Seriously though, please say a little prayer for these 2 families and all those trying so desperately to keep hope alive following so great a loss. I will be.







Tuesday, December 14, 2010

daytime nightmares

It is daytime but it's completely dark all around us.
I am standing outside surrounded by women
and we are all waiting for something,
we are all hopeful and desperate
we have all been here before
but started our journey in the light
not the darkness that surrounds us here.
No one speaks
but we all know why were are gathered here in this place
we don't have to speak,
we just wait
together.

Suddenly I feel a warmth in my hand
I glace down to see a small star cradled in my palms.
It's my turn...
Go, run as fast as you can the women surrounding me urge.
Go, go, you must go now!
I can't believe I got my star! - how long have I been waiting?
has it been moments, years?
I start to run, faster and faster.
My sides ache, my chest throbs.
All around me are women walking, jogging, running
some have stoped to check on their stars;
are they still a glow?

And then it starts to rain.
We all desperately try to keep our little stars dry
and glowing.
Some women hide,
some run faster into the darkness ahead,
others begin to wail.
They cry out for help, for light, for their star...
I can't even bare to check on my star.
Is is still a glow? I'm not sure.
I decide to just run, not look back, not look down
it's still warming my palms, so I just keep running

Some of the women beside me stop suddenly
they look panicked,
I gasp as see,
their stars are no longer lit.
They must return and wait
for another star to carry,
they are the broken hearted, broken again.
I reach out for them, just come with me,
your star still has some light, I say,
I can see it!
It just has to glow...
I long to return with them, but my feet only move
faster and forward.
With just the star in my palm to light my way,
all I know to do is pray;
Glow little star, please glow.





I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed
Genesis 26:4

In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
 
As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”

“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
1 Samuel 1:10-17

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Positive


As you can see we have a bit of news to share!
It's still very new.
It's still really unexpected.
It's still a bit scary.
It's still really exciting!

I have never been very good at keeping secrets.
I had hoped to wait to reveal until we were further along
or until we had passed some very big milestones
but I just can't.

As you can imagine my emotions are all over the place with this pregnancy.
It is such a blessing.
But it is indeed a bittersweet blessing.
This child's due date is Aug 4th, 2011.
One year, to the day, that we buried our sweet Amelia Grace.
Amelia was due Aug. 2nd  *sigh*

This is not how I would have planned it.
But then again,
nothing in my life lately is quite how I planned it,
but it is as God planned
and that's good enough for me.

Amelia - my first, my only...
you're going to be a big sister.
love you, miss you...


Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.”
1 Samuel 1:17-20

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

18 weeks - left undone

Has it really been 4 months since we kissed those sweet lips?

It has come to my attention that there is still much left undone.
It's December
and the holiday panic is nipping at my nose along with Jack Frost.
YIKES it got cold fast...I digress.

In all our planning and preparation for Amelia's birth
I wanted to be sure that everything was in place.
Not a moment wasted -
all that could be done in advance
just had to get done.

Now that she is gone
I find myself with a long list of remembering Amelia Grace to do's
and not an ounce of decisiveness to aid me along the way.

I used to be so sure of things.
What happened?

I can't decide on scrapbook designs
I can't settle on a layout for her marker
I can't even bring myself
to mail in the fingerprint impression we have
to be made into a necklace.
I have big plans for shadow boxes
filled with her things
and making a special place for her in our home
but can't decide...
should it be a corner?
a room?
a garden?

Right now all her things are put away in her room in our house
and a room in my heart.
Inside these rooms
they remain a glorious mess of love and grief.
For now, I suppose, that is where they will remain.
Until I can find away to bring them out,
and into an album,
a shadowbox,
a corner,
and a garden.


But Mary treasured up all these things
and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:19



 I will give you hidden treasures,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
Isaiah 45:3

Sunday, November 28, 2010

4 Months - New Flowers

(click on this image to enlarge)

With some help from one of my floral accounts,
I made this cross for Amelia's grave.
Although by now, they know me quite well,
I don't think they have many customers who come in for flowers
and insist on arranging the flowers themselves.
Bless their hearts they showed me the ropes
and let me fumble through on this one.

My original intention was to have something different for her
for this Christmas
but I might just leave this for awhile,
I'm not sure yet.

On Thanksgiving morning
between putting the turkey on the smoker
and our 10am service
Tim, Noah and I took this new cross to Amelia's grave.
It was a bitter cold November morning at the cemetery
so we spent most of our time there just sitting in the car
looking out onto her spot
amongst the other babies who left to soon.
I couldn't help but think of the mother's of those children
whose names are engraved on my on heart.
I said a little prayer for them;
that their holiday would be gentle one.

Though it might seem a difficult Thanksgiving for us
it was filled with much joy and celebration.
We hosted both our families at our little house.
The turkey was a bit dry
and I made 3x's the amount of potatoes we needed,
(better to many than to few...in our family not enough potatoes is a serious offense. :))
but it was wonderful, precious time spent as a family.

There were some very special people absent from our table.
But we rejoice with thankful hearts
when we remember at whose table they are now seated.
There is much to be Thankful for.



Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
Philippians 4:4


Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

17 Weeks - Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving nears, Amelia Grace
remains foremost in my mind and on my heart.
God has given Tim & I such blessings in our children!
This morning I have no cute story to share or grief to release.
All I have is gratitude.

Gratitude for the lives of my children.
Gratitude for my husband & best friend Tim.
Gratitude for those God has brought into our lives in the past year.
Gratitude that God chose me to carry his saint, Amelia Grace.
I thank my God every time I remember you...
Gratitude to our Lord for His blessings and His compassion;
His direction and His peace.

God is good ALL THE TIME!



I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30

Then Hannah prayed:
“My heart rejoices in the Lord!
The Lord has made me strong.
Now I have an answer for my enemies;
I rejoice because you rescued me.
No one is holy like the Lord!
There is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
1 Samuel 2

I thank my God every time I remember you.
Philippians 1:3

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Precious in His Sight: Created to be Loved

I just had to share this recent post from a site dedicated to a baby girl named Anastasha, who like our Amelia Grace, passed away shortly after her birth due to Anencephaly.

Her family has moved me greatly as we walk the road laid out before us.

This blog entry linked below is breath taking.
Please read it if you have a moment.

Precious in His Sight: Created to be Loved: "A dear friend of mine from medical school emailed me a portion of his journal from the day of Anastasha's birth. It rings of truth and ble..."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Letter 2009


I work at a small town newspaper.
It's a newspaper that still does cute things
like run letters to Santa in the paper the week before Christmas.

Yesterday, while I plugged away on a couple projects at my desk,
I stumbled across a copy of last year's Santa letters.
The paper was conveniently folded to the page
containing Noah's Santa letter from last year.

When I read it
I was reminded of where we were at this time last year.

Oh, the tears at Jesus feet...

Dear Santa,
My Mom asked me to write this.
She said I should ask for a baby sister for Christmas.
She said it wouldn't come with my other toys
and that I'd have to wait.
Do you make deliveries in July?
Oh, and I am supposed to ask that she be a Red Sox fan.
Give your reindeer a hug from me!
Noah

How different I thought this holiday would be...
Some days I wish I could go back in time, and just stay there
in those days of hope, anticipation and excitement,
the days before we knew
Amelia would not be coming home with us.

Posted by Picasa(click this image to enlarge)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

16 Weeks - When the words don't come

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
Romans 8:26

Sometimes I think I made a mistake
only committing myself to blogging on Wednesday (Amelia's day).
It's gotten harder, as the days pass, to blog here.
Not because of a lack of material mind you...
I could talk/write about Amelia all day long.
She is on my mind & heart constantly.

It's just -
when I try to sum up a week without her in one blog entry
I just can't do it.
I lack focus on any particular part of my grief or joy,
I start to type and just hope that some little jewel emerges
from my ramblings.

So I guess I will just dig in.

On the 13th I
(with the help of 2 other chicas, besties, BB Members, etc.)
threw a baby shower for my dear friend Jillian.
I have been planning Jill's baby shower,
 in my head, for the past 2 years. (maybe longer I can't be sure)
However, I had not been planning
to be planning her shower after I lost my own child.
I was scared at how it would be...I cannot lie.
I had nightmares about breaking down in tears
as she opened her gifts.
I was sooo afraid of my grief interfering with her happy day.
I could not live with myself if I ruined it for her.

It went just fine, by the way.
No tears...only pure joy
at the sight of my gorgeous, glowing, perfectly preggo Jilly Bean.
I am so happy for her and Jeremy
there is little cause for self pity.
I think it helps that Jillian and I are so close
and that she was such a comfort to me while I carried Amelia.
Her joy is my joy.
Now, strangers screaming
at their cart of kiddos at WalMart...totally different story. :)

As some of you reading this may know,
I often claim to be a bit of a psychic...
believe it or not,
not to long before I found out I was pregnant with Amelia,
I had a vision about Jillian's baby shower.
At the shower we were both pregnant.

At the time of this "vision"
Jillian was trying to conceive after a miscarriage.
It was, as you can imagine, a very tough time for her.
I called her right away and told her of my premonition.
I knew she was going to be pregnant soon.
Actually, I knew we were both going to be pregnant soon.

The outcome was a bit different than I had imagined.
I thought we would be raising our girls together.
As it turns out, my vision was not meant to be.

And still, the joys far outweigh the sorrows.
God is so good -- ALL the time.


Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100:4-5

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

just what I needed...

Raise your hand if you love Google.

This morning I needed a little help.
(a personal assistant is probably more accurate)
I thought to myself...you don't need help, you need a little Grace.
And I do, every single day.
Some days I think, I just need Amelia Grace.   sigh
But I know it is His grace that I need more than any other.

Like I said, this morning I needed a bit more grace.
So I Googled it.
I actually typed in the words,
"More Grace"

Google found this:

He Giveth More Grace Annie J. Flint

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Thank you Jesus,
I love you...
and I love Google.
Melissa

........................................
a little more grace courtesy of The Bible...

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

15 Weeks - there were photographs I wanted to take...

Noah at 3 1/2 Months

As the weeks before Christmas pass by,
I have been faced with the annual task
of piecing together our Christmas letter to our friends and family.
Typically we take a new family picture about now to include in that letter.
This year we will not take a new family photo.

As painful as it is,
this morning I allowed myself to ponder
one of the many "what ifs"
I push aside daily
in order to get through the day without her.
I allowed myself to imagine
what our family photo might have been like
this Christmas if she were here.

I often wonder, what would she look like?
I looked back at photos of Noah
at the age she would be now...
Unfortunately, she did not look like Noah as a baby.
She far more resembled her daddy. :)

No, this November we do not need a new family photo.
And although they were taken in July -
this year we already have
the most priceless family pictures we may ever have.

Truth is,
it's next year's Christmas card I'm worried about.
I just can't stand the thought
of Amelia not being in the picture.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Happy Birthday?

I continue to be caught unaware by things that trigger my grief.
There are the obvious Wednesday things,
Baby's First Christmas things,
Baby's First Thanksgiving things,
just straight up baby things...so, so many things.

But this morning I woke up and found myself again at a loss.
Today is a milestone in my life.
Today I turn 30.
I could blame my feelings of angst and agony at the day
on the roll over from my twenties
to my thirties...
but the blame would be misplaced.
Today I am heartbroken --correction remain heartbroken.

Today is not the Happy Birthday of my youth,
it's just another day without Amelia.

And still, the joy and sorrow cannot be separated.
Today I will laugh and cry, lots.
There is so much to be thankful for today.
Not the least of these,
today I am one day closer to her and to Him.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

14 Weeks - In The Word.


(click this image to enlarge)

Thank you so much to Shannon Brooks
for making this sweet pumpkin for our Amelia Grace.
You can see it featured in Amelia's Name Gallery too!
Posted by Picasa


This past weekend I had the privilege
of speaking our daughter's name out loud.

I was asked to speak at an LWML Retreat in Mapleton, IA
at beautiful Mission Central.
At first I was hesitant.
(I'm not a super experienced public speaker)
But then I felt the tug.

As I have experienced so many times
since learning of Amelia's condition,
I was brought to the realization, once again,
that there is NO LIMIT
to what our God can do with even the least of these.

So I shared our story,
our journey,
and our perfect daughter.

It felt good to say her name and to tell others
about the blessings,
sorrows and joys,
that she brought to this world-
how she left her footprints here.

I am still in awe of the ways in which our Lord
used our little baby, who lived just 2 hours on this earth,
to impact so many people in so many places.
She brought the love of Christ to hundreds
without ever saying a word.
My little missionary...
I have some seriously big baby booties to fill in my life.





But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.
Jeremiah 20:9

Monday, November 01, 2010

already there.


"They say that time in heaven
is compared to 'the blink of an eye'
for us on this earth.

Sometimes it helps me
to think of my child running ahead of me
through a beautiful field
of wildflowers and butterflies;
so happy and completely caught up
in what she is doing
that when she looks behind her,
I'll already be there."

~Author Unknown

Saw this quote on a fellow "Baby Loss Mama Blogger's" post (Brooke - Briar's Mommy) and just had to post it here. This is EXACTLY what I pray heaven is like for my sweet little Amelia.
 
Lots of tears at Jesus feet today when I read this.
Lovely,
just lovely.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

birthday wishes

Happy 3 months in heaven today to our sweet baby girl!
Mommy, Daddy and Noah miss you like crazy cakes.

Blowing kisses...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

13 Weeks - Lost.

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.

These days,
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...
keep praying.

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.


(thanks for this Lois...praying with you!)








Monday, October 25, 2010

empty.

I have been feeling a bit strange this last week…

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.
Habakkuk 3:17-18

Friday, October 22, 2010

Don't ask me...

These days,
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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

butterfly memorial

photos by Joe Foreman

We have received so many thoughtful gifts
and memorials in Amelia's honor.
Each of them is unique and so very special to us.
This one is just plain FABULOUS.

When I got word that her butterfly was up at the zoo,
I couldn't wait to share it with all of you.

We will be visiting the zoo this weekend.
It will be the first time we have seen it.
No doubt it will be bittersweet.

Thank you so much to
Pastor Jank & Susan Jank
and
John & Sarah Uhrich
for this lovely memorial gift
in honor of our butterfly baby.



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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

was I only dreaming?


I dreamt we walked together along the shore.
We made satisfying small talk and laughed
This morning I found sand in my shoe
and a seashell in my pocket.
Was I only dreaming?
Maya Angelou

12 weeks - Haunted

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.
Maybe.

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.
John 3:16

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."
Revelation 7:17

Friday, October 15, 2010

7 months ago

It was seven months ago today,
that we got our first real look
at our precious Amelia Grace.

Seven short months ago today,
we found out that our daughter
would not be coming home with us.

It was a day of complete devastation, confusion and grief.

It was the day we found out that a 20 week ultrasound
is not done to determine whether your nursery is painted pink or blue
but whether you should ready a nursery at all...

It was also the day that we named our daughter.

The weeks that followed that day
have brought us to a new understanding
of great love
and great sorrow,
the blessings of parenthood
and the grace and compassion
of our Lord and Savior.

Amelia Grace,
your short life has changed us
renewed us
blessed us
broke us
and saved us.

I carried you for 10 miraculous months.
You carried me for almost 20 weeks...
and you carry me still.

You showed us all -
There is no footprint so small that it cannot leave an impact on this world.

loved.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prayer Chain

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
^baby Lorang^
July 2007

^Amelia Grace^
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.
I hope that you will.  -Melissa


............................................................

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.
  • Release butterflies
  • Release Doves
  • 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.
  • visit http://www.october15th.com/ for more ideas or to learn more about the day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

11 Weeks - more changes


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"
and
"The Lord will carry you,"
the phrase
"Eternal Life"
still shines as though it were
brand new.


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
shines brighter,
and endures longer,
than all the treasures of this world.
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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.”
 Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, October 11, 2010

How to Help

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.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

pumpkins


click this image to enlarge
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10 weeks - facing the fire

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
and wonder
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...

After Amelia,
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.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 43:1-3

Thursday, September 30, 2010

a change

Back in August,
you might recall a post detailing the story behind
Noah's "ahhfly for sisa."

I am excited to share that
the butterfly we took to Amelia's grave
a few weeks back is still there
in the same spot,
but with one small change.

The rain & elements have begun to wash away its color.
It is a changed butterfly.
No longer a bright blue,
it is now almost white.

I had planned on waiting for it to be completely transformed
before I shared our new "white" ahhfly with you
but I just couldn't wait to show you
what God is doing.

In my prayers I had, selfishly & foolishly,
asked God to keep sending us butterflies (even in the winter)
He is still sending me butterflies.
And as if that isn't enough,
God is clothing Amelia's little butterfly;
in his color of choice,
white.
It's no miracle by any stretch,
or then again maybe it is,
but it means so much to me.

It's a reminder of the miracle God has already given us
in his son, Jesus.
He has washed away our blues.
He has clothed us in white;
a gown & soul bought and paid for
white as snow.

"For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ"
Galatians 3:27

“Come now, let’s settle this,”says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
I will make them as white as wool.
Isaiah 1:18

The Resurrection
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you." So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
Matthew 28

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

9 Weeks

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Do not stand by my grave and weep
For I am not there.
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am diamonds that glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush of butterflies in joyous flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there.
I did not die.

I Am Not There - Unknown

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2 Months today


Where Joy and Sorrow Meet
-Avalon

There's a place of quiet stillness
between the light and shadows reach
Where the hurting and the hopeless seek everlasting peace
Words of men and songs of angels whisper comfort bittersweet
Mending grief and life eternal where joy and sorrow meet

There is a place where hope remains
In crowns of thorns and crimson stains
And tears that fall on Jesus' feet
Where joy and sorrow meet

There's a place the lost surrender and the weary will retreat
Full of grace and mercy tender in times of unbelief
For the wounded there is healing, strength is given to the weak
Broken hearts find love redeeming where joy and sorrow meet

There's a place of thirst and hunger
where the roots of faith grow deep
And there is rain and rolling thunder
when the road is rough and steep
There is hope in desperation there is victory in defeat
At the cross of restoration where joy and sorrow meet

Monday, September 27, 2010

a little prayer

If you have a moment today I would ask you to please say a little prayer for me...

today is my first day back at work.

I'm not going to try and explain
all the emotions I am am feeling today
but I know so many of you
that read Amelia's blog have already braved
your first day back at work.
You know exactly where I am at,
you've been there before.

So please, if you would,
say a little prayer for me today.


 "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. "Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.
Isaiah 49:15-16 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

8 Weeks

Butterflies have taken on a new
and special place in my heart since Amelia's death.
They are often considered a spiritual symbol for life after death
because of their metamorphosis
from a caterpillar that crawls on the ground
to a beautiful, ethereal creature
that flies in the sky.

So many times since her death
I have been comforted by a little butterfly.
They have appeared at just the right times
and just the right places.
Baseball games, family outings without her,
on the day of Tim's Aunt's funeral.
They have comforted us so often in fact,
that the other day I turned to Tim and with complete sincerity
asked him,
"Do you think God will still send butterflies to us in the winter?"

The symbolic similarities between butterflies
and our little Amelia's passing are numerous.
Some obvious,
others I am just learning of.

The other day at the zoo
Noah and I, along with Lydia & Angee,
visited the butterfly pavilion.
I discovered something I hadn't known about butterflies that day.
I noticed a sign as we made our way through the exhibit.
The sign detailed how a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis.
I was so tickled to read that after emerging from the chrysalis
a butterfly then rest for 2-8 hours
allowing its wings to harden before it can fly.

I instantly thought of our little Amelia
who spent just 2 precious hours on this earth.
How lovely to think of her as a butterfly
that rested in our arms
just long enough for her wings to harden
before she spread her wings and
flew to the heavens.

I love butterflies
and Mommy loves you, Amelia Grace.
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