Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blessings - Blessed to be her Mother

I've been thinking a lot about Joseph this week.
Wondering what it must have been like to discover your virgin fiance is preggers with God's baby.
Yup, I'm pretty sure that would rock anyone's world. ;)

 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Matthew 1:20-30

There are moments in our lives that change everything. Whether we are aware of it as it is happening or whether it's not until we reflect back on smaller detours that we see the domino effect it has had on our lives. No doubt the news of Jesus impending birth was a huge blow to the life Joseph had in mind for himself and his bride to be. But what a blessing it turned out to be!

I am still hesitant to apply to old adage, "everything happens for a reason" to our loss of Amelia Grace. But as time passes and we stand a bit further from the day of our sweet baby's birth/death we have begun to see more clearly how God's plans for her life on earth to be so painfully brief, were indeed a part of his good and perfect plan. 

Thinking about Joseph's "situation" so many years ago brings me hope. It reminds me that God’s ways aren’t my ways. And that sometimes, in our greatest sorrows, we find our greatest joys and blessings.

Joseph got to be Jesus' earthly daddy.
He got to see God, hold God,
hug him, kiss him!
seriously, WOW!

It kinda' reminds me just how blessed I am
to be the mother of a special little baby. :)

Merry Christmas!
and may God's Peace and Love surround you now and always.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Where's Christmas at?

Warm temperatures and heavy rains have washed away any trace of the heavy blanket of snow that covered the ground just days ago. Noah and Sam's sitter has been sick, so the boys have been cooped up in the house for a few days with Grandma. So when we headed out the door this morning for Glenwood, Noah was disappointed to discover that all the snow had melted.

"The snows gone Mom!," he exclaimed, "Where's Christmas at?!?"

I giggled a bit as I reassured him that Christmas will come whether there is snow on the ground or not.

"It's Jesus birthday Mom, and God's and Santa's," he said part statement, part question.

"No, not Santa's birthday, just Jesus," I explained.

"He died for us Mom. He loves us very much."

I smiled, "Yes, he does love us very much doesn't he Noah."

"It's Christmas Eve yet Mom?"

"Not yet."

"OK, Mom."

As we continued our commute, I couldn't help but think of Noah's words, where's Christmas at Mom? I recalled a holiday breakdown I had had just yesterday, ashamed.

Several weeks ago I had ordered Noah's "Santa" gift (a train set) online from ToysRUs. One of the items had arrived safely last week but I noticed there was a tunnel that was missing. I figured they were shipping the toys in separate orders, but decided to call in a few days if the tunnel had not arrived.
It never came.
Yesterday, I called the customer service number on the packing slip, only to be told that they no longer had the tunnel gift with purchase and had I read the fine print, I would have noted the words, while supplies last.

The conversation turned ugly, fast.
I requested to speak with a manager, she told me they were all busy.
I announced, I'll wait.
She explained she couldn't keep me on the line...I'd have to try back.
Not good enough.
There has got to be someone who can talk to me. I'll wait, I repeated.
She sighed, and repeated herself, I can't keep you on the line Ma'am.
I'll wait, I said again.
she hung up on me?!?
Furious, I exclaimed, you've got to be kidding me!!! This is going to ruin my kids Christmas!!!
A day later, I am embarrassed, ruin his Christmas? Really? Does he really need the train tunnel...

Where's Christmas at?
is it in a beautiful snow covered lawn?
in a perfectly laid out train under the tree on Christmas morning?

from the mouths of babes, a reminder I clearly needed more than I knew....
He died for us, Mom.
He loves us very much.

Grinch: They're finding out now that no Christmas is coming. They're just waking up, I know just what they'll do. Their mouths will hang open a minute or two, Then the Whos down in Whoville will all cry, "Boo Hoo!" That's a noise, (the Grinch said,) that I simply must hear!
Narrator: So he paused, And the Grinch put a hand to his ear. And he did hear a sound rising over the snow. It started in low. Then it started to grow... But the sound wasn't sad! Why, this sound sounded glad!
[Whos singing]
Narrator: Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, Was singing! Without any presents at all! He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same! And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling:
Grinch: How could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags!
Narrator: And he puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blessings - Letting Go

Since Amelia's diagnosis
we have been blessed with several "lessons in life."
These lessons have transformed before our eyes from cliche
to the foundation of our lives and of our family.

Let Go and Let God is one of these lessons.
There was nothing I could do to save my daughter. simple as that.
Learning to Let Go and Let God in the loss of Amelia, surfaced a serious need for self examination of my desire to control the various aspects my life; my home, my job, my money.
I asked myself...
if I can trust my Lord completely with the HUGE things
why haven't I been trusting Him with everything else?

Recently I was prompted to reflect on a verse that moved me.
It reminded me so much of the sweet blessings revealed to me throughout our journey with Amelia.

 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us; 
Yes, establish the work of our hands.
 Psalm 90:17 (NKJV)

And let  Surrender to Him.  I often find myself too busy trying to control things and  forget to let go and let God. Even more so, I can easily buy into the ideology that somehow my plan, my idea of how the way things should be, is better than God's.
beauty Did you see her? She was beautiful. One of my worries while carrying Amelia was (shamefully) fear about her appearance as a result of her condition. In the end her physical beauty would not have changed the way I saw her; the way I loved her. It comforts me to think that that is just how God see me, with the love of a parent. Just plain wonderful isn't it!!!
the LORD our God our Creator, Amelia's creator...
be upon us  rest upon us. I felt Him with me every step of the way but never more so than in that hospital room as she rested upon me. I cannot explain that peace.
and establish only God can do it all. Letting go and letting God demands that you recognize just exactly who is running the show.
the work of our hands raising children, making a home, working at a job, following His calling...carrying Amelia
Yes, establish the work of our hands the blessings we are given, our talents, our time, our fortunes...they are all given to us to use in service to Him and to others.

Bottom line, when we Let Go and Let God work in our lives,
AMAZING things happen.
Beautiful things happen.

But now, O LORD,
are our Father;
are the clay, and You our potter;
      And all we
are the work of Your hand. 
Isaiah 64:8

 Be still, and know that I
am God;
         I will be exalted among the nations,
         I will be exalted in the earth!
Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Blessings - Time to Prepare

March 15, 2010.

It's a day I will never forget.
The day of our 20 week ultrasound.
The day we learned of Amelia's anencephaly.

The day itself was not a blessing, but that day and in the days that followed, Tim and I were blessed immeasurably in countless ways. For the remainder for our pregnancy we were given new perspective in the midst of our sorrow. As we prepared for Amelia's birth and death I often found myself thankful that we had been given time to grieve and to prepare. Knowing she wouldn't live, we prepared our hearts for moments rather than years. Our focus shifted from painting a nursery, buying a crib, registering for focusing solely on the gift that we had been given in our sweet Amelia Grace.

The season of Advent is upon us. As I sat in church during our Advent carols and reading service this past week, it occurred to me that, for the last three out of four years, during a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of our Lord, I have had the joy of being an expecting mother myself.

The season of Advent invites us to prepare for the coming of our Lord as a little baby in a manger. It wasn't to long ago that we were preparing to meet our little Amelia. Last year we were preparing our hearts for the journey of pregnancy after a loss with baby Sam. I had thought perhaps this year would be different, feel different, since I am not expecting, but it hasn't.

I am still thankful for this time I have been given to prepare.

And so for the third year in a row,
I find myself waiting in expectation.
Preparing for that glorious and joyful moment
when I see the face of a little baby
whose life and death will change mine, forever.

The Birth of Jesus Foretold
 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you![d]” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel[e] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.[f]
 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
 Mary Visits Elizabeth
 39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blessings - His Word

"I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 
Isaiah 41:10b (NIV)
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
 Matthew 28:20b (NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
 Matthew 11:28b (NIV)

Often on my journey carrying Amelia and even now, a year after losing her, people often comment on "how strong, I am" or say, "I just don't know how you did it." I've had to correct people, explaining, I am not strong, I am being strengthened. I know many of you BLM's have experienced this same thing...

The blessing I want to share with you today is a bit embarrassing for me. You see, though I have always been the church going, Jesus loving kinda' gal, I have not always made time (outside of Sundays) to be in His Word.

I think many people who grew up in a church going home, surrounded by Christ's love have made the same mistake I have in taking God's word for granted.

When we received Amelia's diagnosis, I needed to hear God's voice, more than any other time in my life. I turned to my Bible for comfort; I turned to His Word for answers. I got them.

Some days I would just open up the Bible and ask that God lead me to a verse I needed to find at that very moment (admit have done it to!!!) It was silly of me, but the truth is, there was always some special nugget of truth, love or comfort at anytime when I turned to Him and relied on His promises.  I surrounded myself with bible verses, posting them on my desk, carrying them in my planner...the Word was my shield. still is.

Not long after Amelia's death, I was asked to speak at an Iowa Youth Gathering. I wasn't sure I could do it. I wasn't sure what my story had to offer a group of high school aged kids. Then I found out the theme for the gathering was being In The Word and I knew exactly what the Lord was asking me to share. I hope they got the message. :)

My God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence.
2 Samuel 22:3 (NLT)

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21

Sunday, November 27, 2011

the King is coming!

I thought some of you might be interested in my latest project. I am attempting to take, edit and post a photo for everyday of the year. So far it has mostly been pics of Sam. (After three years, Noah is SOOO over having Mommy take his picture!) My plan is to do an "Amelia" pic on Wednesdays. Here is a link if you want to take a peek!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blessings - Friendship

After Amelia's diagnosis I immersed myself in information about Anencephaly.

I joined a Anencephaly support group for mother's carrying to term. I networked with Mom's that had traveled the same road with their precious babies, that we now found ourselves walking. The online/blogging community quickly embraced me and I felt supported and encouraged daily. In those first days, I'm not sure I can express how greatly those women helped me. They had the answers to questions I didn't even know to ask. It was somehow easier to reach out to these women than to my family and friends...I guess because I didn't have to face them and because they were the one's doing the explaining rather than me. They (sadly) had first hand knowledge of all that laid before me.

One of the comments I saw these other mother's make almost daily, was in regards to losing friends as a result of their loss. I was confused at the time, wondering how losing a child could possibly result in broken friendships. I thought, Surely that won't happen to us! As time went on, and we traveled the lonely road before us, sadly, I began to understand.

I can't say that I lost any friends during that time, but I did at times feel hurt and let down by people in my life that I would have expected to rally around Tim and I. It was difficult to sort through my disappointments at the time. It was hard to understand why I felt abandoned at a time when I needed my friends the most. In the end, I learned a great deal about my friendships, my family, about myself and about my Lord.

I learned that I had not been as good of a friend as I could have when my friends faced tragedy in their lives. In my ignorance, I had often coped out of offering love and support to them, saying to myself, "I shouldn't bother them at a time like this..." I had no idea how deafening silence could be.

I was also greatly blessed by my friends; loved and supported in countless ways. Friends and family grieved both for us and with us. Cards poured in and many sent thoughtful gifts, Facebook messages and emails. The editor of the paper where I work quickly began planning a blood drive in Amelia's honor. Strangers sent us gifts. I couldn't possibly list all the ways in which we were blessed by our friends, old and new. Today I am going to focus on one friendship that meant the world to me (and still does).

Ashley is a college girlfriend of mine. We quickly bonded as college freshman thrown together by our new found sisterhood in Chi Omega at the University of Nebraska (Go Big Red!). Ashley and I found out we were expecting our "second" kiddos just weeks apart. I was so excited to have another preggo mama to share the daily joys and irritations of pregnancy with! When we received Amelia's diagnosis the dynamics of our friendship could have easily changed...after all, her baby was going to live - and mine was not. It would have been easy for her to pull away, perhaps in fear that her pregnancy would only serve to further wound my broken spirit. Instead she came to my rescue. She was always available to chat, genuine in her love for me and for Amelia. She was a gift from God.  
She walked with me, and I will never forget it.

I always felt like I was completely at ease talking with her about my daily trials and joys carrying Amelia, my disappointments, my planning for her birth and for her funeral. Her words were always so gentle, affectionate and honest. There were so few people I felt at ease and able to completely let my guard down around. It was such a relief to talk to Ashley. She was my friend, preggers buddy, prayer warrior and my sounding board. I can't imagine how difficult it was for her to hear me talk about funeral arrangements for Amelia as if was normal, when it was anything but! I couldn't ask for a better friend.

I am still a member of the Anencephaly support group that offered so much support in while I carried my sweet girl. It seems weekly I find myself reading a new mother's story, so much like my own. It breaks my heart every time. Our stories all begin and end eerily the same, but it's the middle that has one major variable, and that is the support offered to them by the friends, family and medical staff. I always say an immediate prayer for each new parent that joins our group. It goes something like this...

Dear Lord, I ask that you surround this mommy and daddy with your love and your peace at this tragic time in their lives. Lord, rally those around them to show your love and grace through their words and actions as they travel the road you have laid out before them with their sweet baby. 
Lord, please, give them an Ashley...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blessings - Renewed longing for heaven

Today's post/blessing is one that I have mentioned numerous times here on Amelia's blog.
That blessing is a renewed and intensified longing for heaven.
I just can't wait to get to heaven.
To see Him and of course to see HER!

This week I stumbled on an image of a little girl snuggling up with her blanket. The blanket was for sale and it was super cute but it wasn't the blanket the captured my attention, it was the girl. She looked a lot like Noah...and a whole lot like me.

I found my self wishing I could have seen Amelia (as I often do) at age 1, age 2, age 3...and wondering at how she might resemble her brothers. How different our family would look if she were with us. sigh

I guess all of our longing for heaven has rubbed off on the boys a little too...

This week Noah invented a new game for himself and Sam.
Each night when we get home at the end of the workday, Noah insists that I leave Sam in his car seat so they can go for a drive under our dinning room table (Noah's car). Noah buckles them up so "we can be safe mom" and proudly announces that he and Sam are going for a ride. Sam LOVES it.

"We're going to heaven Mom," he says bubbling with enthusiasm, "We're going to see my sister 'melia!"

"Hurry back" I say, "I'll miss you very much."

I miss her very much.

I'm thinking tonight, I might just crawl under the table and go along.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Blessings - Photographs

Posted by PicasaWhen you lose a child, the keepsakes, photos and the videos you have of them mean so very much. Long after my memory fails me, I have these images documenting the time I shared with my sweet baby girl. We have hundreds of photos of her thanks to a very special photographer and friend, from our church.
I will never be able to thank Steve enough for capturing her day.

These pictures have done more than just bless Tim and I. They have allowed us to share our daughters life with you all, here on Amelia's blog. They have served to send a message. These images can say things, express things to you that I cannot put into words.

How could I possibly tell you how loved this girl was (is)?
I may not be able to put in into words, but Steve got it on camera.

How can I describe how gorgeous she was; her face, eyes, LIPS and those adorable little feet and toes?
you can see for yourself...she was beautiful.

I can tell people a thousand times how much joy we had on the day of her birth and death,
but they might never understand if not for these priceless images.

I can say a lost an infant daughter,
I can even call her by name,
and people might easily discard her life as insignificant.
These images make it impossible to ignore her.
They tell the world,
she lived.

Friday, November 04, 2011

BLMs Please Help!

I have been asked for information about having a painting or image created using u/s and funeral photos. I know some of you amazing baby loss mommas out there have had something like this done...could you please email me or comment here on Amelia's blog anyone who you know provides this service?

Thank you so much! No one rallies together in support like you Mommas!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Blessings - Her Voice

Amelia's life has blessed our family in so many ways, I had feared it would be difficult for me to choose a specific blessing to begin this series of blog entries.
Turns out it wasn't.

I often brainstorm for my blogs while driving my 35 minute commute to and from the newspaper. Noah is typically content reading a book or watching a movie and I rarely turn on the radio unless Noah requests a sing-along to one of his Veggie Tales Cd's. It is my quiet time. Unfortunately, this week he was seldom quiet. :/ But I have to give credit where it is due, as he actually gave me the idea for today's entry. Noah was reading one of his truck books out loud (no he can't read, but he has an excellent imagination!) when he called out from the back the voice Mom, which is his funny way of asking me to read and be the voices of the characters in the book.

As we anticipated Amelia's birth one of the many things I prayed for was that Amelia be born alive. I desperately wanted to meet my little girl and to hold her even for just a moment while she was living. I made numerous plans for how I wanted the day of her birth to be. Photographs, foot and hand molds, her baptism, who would be in the room, outfits for her to wear, special blankets and keepsakes, were all thought out and planned in great detail, perhaps in part because I could not plan for the one thing I wanted most for my daughter and for myself...time.

We knew that our time would be short, but just how much time we would be blessed with, we had no way of predicting. It was agonizing not knowing if she would be born alive or whether we would have seconds, minutes, hours or days with her. All I knew is that it would never be enough. Yet I struggled with my prayers for time with her living. As I began to pray for days I would recant and add, but not if she's suffering. In the end I resolved myself knowing that God's plans for her were perfect.

On the day of her birth, we had almost two hours with her before she quietly slipped away in my arms. It has occurred to me in the months following, that the heart of my prayer; was that I would get to see my daughter and to meet her, to know her full of life. God knew the deepest desire of my heart was to see her spirit and to hear her voice. He knew all of that without me even being able to express it in prayer and he blessed us with the sweetest of baby voices any mother has ever heard.

Which brings me to the blessing that I have chosen to reflect on today, Amelia's voice.
We have several short videos of Amelia in the hours she lived. I have watched them several times since she passed and I am so glad we have them because those recordings captured more than her gorgeous face or her perfect ten fingers and ten toes. They captured her voice.

I could listen to her voice over and over again and never tire of it.

I prayed for her to be born alive.
God heard my prayer and he blessed us with 2 hours full of life.
We got to meet her,
we got to hear her voice,
blessed doesn't seem a big enough word.

Although I have yet to share the recordings
(very selfish of me I know) ;)
I believe that in sharing her story I have become her voice.
I continue to be blessed by people's willingness to hear her story and the privilege that I have in telling it.
What a blessing to to be her voice!

It still amazes me today just how loud one little voice can be.

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 
John 10:27-30

And the Lord spoke to you from the heart of the fire. 
You heard the sound of his words but didn’t see his form; there was only a voice. 
Deuteronomy 4:12

1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, 
and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.  
2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
       3 “ Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
       4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
       5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
       6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
       7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
       8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
       9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
       10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  
Matthew 5

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Blessings of Anencephaly (an introduction)

I have often said Amelia has blessed our lives in countless ways and continues to do so, even now. A year after losing her our family continues to be blessed by her brief but impactful life.
As we prepare for and celebrate Thanksgiving & Christmas we are reminded almost daily that there is one less baby to bundle up as the fall chill turns to winter freeze, one less rosy cheeked girl in family photos, one less high chair at the Thanksgiving dinner table, one less child wildly unwrapping their Christmas gift underneath our tree...

In my preparation for the holidays this year,
I would like to share both my heartbreak and my blessings with you all.
More specifically the blessings of carrying an anencephalic child,
the blessings abundantly given in our sweet little Amelia Grace.

Let me start by stating that there is nothing I would rather have than my little girl back in my arms again and to see her growing and changing. A piece of my soul will remain empty until I see her sweet face again. I would trade each of these blessings to see her smile, to hear her voice, or to hold her little hand. On this side of heaven, I will never know a "good enough" reason that she is not here. I refuse to believe that it was God's plan to let her die or to harm her in any way. I do believe that our Lord loves each of us and loves her fiercely. I believe our God is an awesome God who uses all things for our good and blesses us richly in both joys and sorrows. Our Lord had great plans for our sweet girl. So although, I prefer my plan of having her here with me, I know full well, that God's plan for her is greater than I can even fathom.

When Amelia was first diagnosed I found myself at a loss for how to pray. Yet, somehow even from that very first day, though I knew God could heal her if he chose to, I felt led to pray a very different prayer. I felt led to pray that God use her for His glory, that He use us. I would pray over and over again when I didn't have the words to express the deepest desires of my heart. Use her Lord. Use me Lord. Use us.
I knew He would answer my prayer, I just wasn't sure how.
It seems strange to me looking back I can only recall a few prayers in which I pleaded with the Lord to heal her and let her live. You would think that every one of my prayers in those months would have been for her healing! My only explanation is that the Holy Spirit was at work, holding me, carrying me and guarding my heart, leading me to a hope and healing that is not of this world; hope and salvation in Jesus Christ.

For those of you who know me only as a Baby Loss Blogger, it might surprise you to know that although I have always been a Christian, my faith is not something that I share out loud in my daily life as easily as I am able to share it here. My weakness in evangelism is not something I am proud of but I want to share it here because I want you to understand that I am no different than anyone of you reading this. I am not a pastor or theologian. I don't have all the answers.

Today, there is a song I want to share with you. The text is beautiful on so many levels. I hope you agree. :)
The song asks a question that we are all faced with when tragedy invades our lives.
What if your blessings come in tears, sorrow and heartbreak?
For me it asks, What if your blessing is a baby with a terminal prenatal diagnosis?
How should we respond to the blessings so intricately intertwined with struggle and loss?

I have been led to respond with joy, hope and with thanksgiving, and if you will indulge me over the next several weeks (each Wednesday until Christmas) I would like to delve into those blessings, one by one, here on her blog.You can think of it as me sharing my gratitude journal with you. I'm going to think of this time reflecting on the gifts the Lord has given through Amelia as a thank you note of sorts. A thank you note to God in anticipation of the greatest gift we will celebrate together on Christmas Day; salvation in His son Jesus Christ.

I can't wait to share more of my daughter's story (and His) with you.

Blessings - Laura Story 
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops

What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom

Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us

When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops

What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

to pause the music at the bottom of the page before viewing!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Monster" Prayer Request

click image to enlarge

Tomorrow I will be heading back to work,
which means these lil' monsters are headed to our sitter.
I love her.
I love working.
I DO NOT love being away from my boys for an hour
let alone an entire day!!!
I have not yet been separated from Sam for more than 2 hours.
I wouldn't have even done that, if a doctors appointment 2 weeks ago hadn't turned into a trip to the hospital but that's a story for another day...
(I'm was a kidney I'm not kidding...and no I'm not old enough!!!)

Anyway, I am posting tonight to ask for your prayers as I attempt to leave my boys and head back to the paper.
Specifically, please pray for:
a smooth morning as we attempt to make it out of the house (really early!!!) and drive the commute to our sitter and my office

safety and health for Noah and Sam while in the care of their sitter.
peace, contentment and easy transition for the boys as they attempt to navigate the day without their Mommy (I know they don't really NEED me, but it feels like it should be hard for them too!)

prayers for a clear mind and a calm heart as I try not to break down on the way, dropping them off, pulling out of the sitters drive, etc.

prayers that I can differentiate between my "normal" mommy fears for the safety and health of my kiddos throughout the day and my "irrational baby loss mommy" fears throughout the day.
(BLM I know you know what I am talking about here!!!!)

Thanks in advance.
Wish me luck...
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Potty Training?

(click on image to enlarge)
Somehow I don't think this photo needs much explanation.
Let's just say that potty training has not been going well. :)
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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Why Saturdays at our house RULE!

(click photo to enlarge)

I left Tim and Noah in the basement to feed Sam...
and I returned to find a trail of dead (stuffed) animals leading to 2 boys happily fishing the stream in their boat (bed).
Tim said it was all Noah's idea.

BTW...the top left photo is the guys "eating" their catch.
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Sam - 8 Weeks Old

(click image to enlarge)
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been awhile since I really posted...

In the beginning I had no idea how long I would be blogging here.
At some point on this journey I committed myself to blogging every Wednesday until Amelia's first birthday
and then to reevaluate after that date passed.
I thought I might still blog weekly,
and then Sam was born. :)

It seems each time I have sat down to write a little something here...mommy duty has called.
We are still settling into life with a newborn and 3 year old boy in our home.
To say I am exhausted might be a bit of an under statement.
A friend of mine recently commented,
"can you imagine having three?!?"
to which I calmly replied, "I wish I had three."
I can assure you that in my most overwhelming of Mommy moments with my boys I would welcome a screaming one year old if it meant we could have her with us.
So, yes, I can imagine having three. I imagine it everyday. ;)

I forgot how much I love taking care of babies.
And I am going to kick myself for admitting this...but I just love folding baby clothes and putting them away.
Baby stuff is just so darn cute. (even the boy stuff)
Sam is getting bigger and bigger by the second.
This kid LOVES to eat.
I prayed that nursing would be stress free for the both of us and boy oh boy did our Lord deliver! My freezer is full of milk and Sam has been a rock star nurser since day one. After all the struggles I had nursing Noah, it has been a huge relief. Our lives have been filled with joy, peace and a little bit of chaos (the good kind)
since we brought little Sammy home.
What a blessing!

And still, we continue in our grief journey.
Along with all the fun and joys of having a newborn in the house,
it is a constant reminder of the baby girl we never got to bring home.
I miss her every single day, and I wonder how long will the shadows of grief haunt me.
How long will it break my heart to see little girl outfits in her size?
How long will I feel a twinge of jealousy as people around me announce the arrival of a healthy little girl?
I am in a phase of my grief where I have begun to feel embarrassed that these things are still difficult for me.
Maybe that is one of the reasons I have been slacking in my blogging. Maybe I have, in part, bought into the ideology that there is a time limit on grief. (which there most certainly is not)
Maybe I am just tired of saying the same things...feeling the same yucky things.
I just miss my girl.
I miss Amelia.

So Moses cried out to the LORD, “Please, God, heal her!”
Numbers 12:13

“See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal,
and no one can deliver out of my hand.
Deuteronomy 32:39

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Amelia's Baby Brother

Introducing Him Birth Announcement
Personalized cards for babies, graduation, and Mother's Day.
View the entire collection of cards.
I had intended to send out birth announcements this time.
(real one's, you know, the kind you send in the mail)

I didn't with Noah.
I didn't feel right doing it for Amelia.
And, now I just can't decide on a photo,
or layout,
card for that matter....for Sam.

I guess my kids are just too darn cute for a traditional birth announcement! ;)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Noah can dress himself...sort of.

What do you get when you tell a 3 year old
he can wear whatever he wants?

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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thoughts on Sam's birth.

I've had a blog circling around in my head for the past two weeks
but have lacked the time or words to piece it all together.
This morning I decided it was time to try to say it...
everything I wanted to say didn't quite make it in this one.
I guess that means I'm not quite done blogging yet. ;)

While we awaited the safe arrival of little Sam
I wondered what it would be like after losing Amelia,
to hold him
to give birth at the same hospital,
to marvel over his tiny feet,
to smell him...

would it be healing?
would it just hurt and cover me with grief,
would the flood and mixture of emotions overwhelm me,
or would I just shut down.

I often found my self wondering,
when will the joy triumph completely over the fear?

The morning of Sam's birth as we drove to the hospital
I could sense Tim's excitement
but strangely, I couldn't feel mine.
I wondered what was wrong with me and confided in him that
I felt nothing.
Here we were, on our way to the hospital
to deliver our precious son,
and I was calm as could be.
I'm calling it my self-protect mode.
I think my "heart" knew it was to much to process in the moment.
Like if I allowed myself to feel
the excitement, the anticipation and the joy,
then I would also have to feel
the heartbreak, the emptiness and the sorrow.

I was not until in the operating room
in the minutes before Sam was born
as I prayed,
that I remember the shell around my heart beginning to crumble.
It's ironic really,
that as my body was numbed from the anesthesia
my heart began to ache, knots tightened my throat,
tears threatened my eyes,
I could finally feel.

The section took longer than I remembered with Noah or Amelia.
But it should come as no suprise when I say, he was worth the wait.
He was perfect.
A perfect mix of "Lorang" features...
Amelia's lips, Noah nose and cheeks,
Daddy's eyes, Mommy's ears.

Nothing could have surpassed the joy that filled my heart
when I heard his cry.

Alongside the overwhelming joy and love
there are some tough things.
These are the things that I struggle to put into words...

For me there have been several triggers
having a newborn that I had not expected...

When I am nursing,
I catch glimpses of Amelia in Sam's profile
and I long to see what she would have looked like
as a two week old baby.

When I change Sam's diaper
he curls his legs in tightly to his chest
I have vivid memories of Amelia's legs curled up in a similar pose,
muscles tightened by death.

Sometimes, when I kiss his cheeks
I can still remember how soft her skin was
and in turn I remember how different her skin felt
when I dressed her for the last time at the mortuary.
There have been some tough things.
And there have been so many joyous and wonderful things.

And still, we remain "in the grip of His grace"and
ever grateful for the blessings we have been given in our children,
Noah, Sam and especially our sweet Amelia Grace.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sam's First Photo Shoot

Meet Sara.
Well, the back of Sara's head anyway...
Sara photographed Amelia when she was safe in my belly.

I always love getting pictures taken of my kiddos.
Yesterday was no exception.
And still I could not help but think about the one year old girl
I am missing in pictures
and in my arms.

Miss you sweet girl!  -Mommy

And because people always ask when I show off pictures she has taken of my kids...
here is the link to her website. :)

Sara Rogers Photography
Omaha, Nebraska

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Photos of Sam

Amelia's Little Brother

Bringing Home Sam
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Monday, August 01, 2011

Sam is here!

and he is absolutely perfect.

Samuel Vern Lorang
August 1st, 2011
arrived at 7:47 am
weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces
21 inches long

"For this child we prayed."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Some Birthday Pictures

Noah telling me he has his "Amelia Bracelet" on.
Amelia's Memorial butterfly at the Henry Doorly Zoo
Amelia's birthday (cup)cakes made by Mommy

Three balloons on their way to Amelia...

Want to see all the birthday celebration pictures?
Here you go.

One year ago today, I held a piece of heaven.

Sweet Amelia,

It was just one year ago I held you in my arms for the first time.
One year ago today that I held a piece of heaven.

Words cannot describe how very much I miss you now, and how empty my arms, my heart, and our family is without you here with us. Not a second goes by that we don't think of you, love you or long for you. Not a moment that I don't praise God for giving you to me, my sweet blessing of rain drops and butterflies.

Today on your earthly birthday, I can't help but wonder what amazing things you have seen and are being shown to you today, as you sit at Jesus' feet. I pray that to you it will seem like just moments before I am with you again.

There is so much more on my heart today sweet girl.
Yet somehow, I know that there is no need to say a word of it, no need to send up a balloon with a message perfectly penned in love for you, no need to toil over the words until they are just so, because I know you already know all that is in my heart. We remain connected you and I; mother and daughter.

You are never more than a whisper away sweet baby.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

1 Year of Wednesdays

This week I have been bombarded with butterflies :)
and blessed with a couple very special gifts
from some amazing baby loss Mama's!

I still can't believe Amelia's birthday is here.
I will never forget July 28, 2010. It's hers.
It seems like just a moment ago I held her in my arms,
told her I loved her,
marveled at how beautiful she was,
kissed her adorable lips...
has it really been a year?
Have I been documenting my grief
and our journey for that long?
Days like today make it feel so painfully raw, real and recent.

I want to share with you 1 of the amazing gifts I received this week
from my friend in the journey, Stacy.
I know I have mentioned her and her precious Rachel here before.
When I received this package in the mail on Monday,
I hadn't even opened up the outer Amazon box before I announced to the guys
that it was a gift from Rachel's Mommy,
I just knew.

Birthday gift from Stacy and ^Rachel^
 The story behind the written by Stacy
"When I was at the hospital with my sister on the 15th, she brought me down to the gift shop to look at the willow trees to see which one I would like for my bday. I saw one I like (holding the forget-me-nots) but was wishing there was one with daisies. We went back to her room and I searched on line to see. And since I was looking at all of them, saw the one I sent you. It is called the "Freedom Angel". I immediately wanted to get it for you cause of the butterfly, but I was wishing it had a different name cause I wanted it to be more relevant for Amelia.
A couple days later in church, we sang the "Freedom Reigns" song that I have on my blog. That night as I was writing my post, "There is freedom" I thought of Amelia... and knew the name of that angel was perfect for your Angel. Here is the last 2 paragraphs from that post...
Where the Spirit of the Lord is... There is freedom...
If you're tired and thirsty... there is freedom...
Lift your eyes to heaven... there is freedom
Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face... there is freedom...
give your all to Jesus... there is freedom

It is a long road, but the Lord goes before me. He alone can fill me up. When I'm tired and thirsty, when I feel the rain start coming down again, all I need to do is lift my eyes to heaven and give my all to Jesus... and the rain will reveal His showers of mercy and grace - and that is where I'll find my freedom.

It isn't freedom from the reality of my pain on earth.... that's here to stay. The freedom of the Spirit helps me to keep going... when I feel like I can't go anymore... and to hold on to the hope I have in Jesus knowing I will eventually see my girl again. It's freedom to be sad, while still genuinely thanking God for even the hardest time in my life, knowing that this is His perfect will for my life and to know that Rachel (AMELIA) was not a disappointment. Her life was everything it was meant to be. Even if some don't see it. I am so proud of her and can't wait to tell her face to face. And because of the Lord, some day I (YOU) will. And on that day, I will find my eternal freedom of pain, tears, sadness, sin and earthly trials with Him (and her) in heaven. Until then, I will lift my eyes and give my all to Jesus and find my freedom in trusting Him."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sometimes other people just say it better than I can...

Sometimes the greatest miracles come 
when God changes us and gives us joy in Him, 
even though our prayers aren’t answered 
the way we prayed they would be.  
T. Suzanne Eller
It has arrived.
Amelia's birthday week is here.
I can hardly believe it will be a year this Thursday
since we said hello... and goodbye.
I have "watched" several of my baby loss mommy friends navigate their way through the first birthday of their precious babies.
I hurt for them as they reflected, grieved and expressed their love and devotion for their babies as they passed this milestone.
I knew someday soon I would be standing where they were,
grieving as they had done,
celebrating as they were,
but I don't think I ever really processed 
just how much it would hurt,
to be standing here
one year later.

Miss you so much baby girl...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

update. (Sam's new c-section date)

We had our amnio this morning.
Unfortunately, Sam is not ready
so our c-section scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed.
That's all I really know right now.
I will post an update later today in this same post.


Sam is now "scheduled" to arrive in the early morning hours
on Aug 1st, via c-section.
As I mentioned earlier this morning
the amnio results concluded that Sam's lungs are not yet mature.
We expect that by August 1st (39 weeks 3 days)
Sam should be ready to make his appearance.
If he decides to come on his own before that day,
we will have a c-section done at that time.

I used to say I love planning.
I have to admit, I think I am done trying to plan anything in regards to this pregnancy.
How quickly I forget just who is calling the shots...

Tim and I so appreciate all the prayer and support!
Please keep it coming.
I am exhausted and so very done being pregnant,
but not so tired that I have any desire to risk little Sam's health!
So we will continue the course that has been laid before us,
we will wait
as (un)patiently as possible :)
for our precious rainbow baby.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.
God does it so that people will fear him.

Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Isaiah 53:5

“He was beaten so we could be whole
He was whipped so we could be healed.” 
Isaiah 53:5b (NLT)

This verse ended my daily email devotion this morning.
Yup, I just started bawling.
Anencephaly mommies will no doubt understand with little to no explanation what it means to hear so we can be whole....
that she is whole.

When I finally finished crying I only felt one thing,


the kind only God can give;
and He is so good,
so very, very good.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Will she be there?

Last week the date was set for my c-section
and for Sam's birth day.
Pending good amnio results our OB
has scheduled the surgery for Thursday, July 21st.
We had been planning on waiting until after Amelia's birthday
(if we were able)
but it appears that is no longer a possibility.
Hopefully this date will allow a safe delivery of a healthy baby boy,
and our family (including Sam) to be out of the hospital in time to do the things we have planned for Amelia's 1st birthday.

It would be impossible to describe the range of emotions that are sweeping over me as Sam and Amelia's birthdays approach, so I won't even try today...

There is however, one little thing I did want to share.
As Tim and I finalized our plans for our hospital stay
and c-section date
I wondered out loud,
"Do you believe she will be there when Sam is born?"
I rambled on, I mean do you believe she will actually be present? Will she be watching, do you think of her as a guardian angel?
Do you hope she isn't? Pray, praise and give thanks that she is blissfully unaware of the remainder of our earthly days while she rests peacefully in Jesus arms?

Maybe it will not come as much of a surprise
but I have to tell you...
As our conversation paused,
a single butterfly came into view along the roadside as we drove.
I love me some God winks!!!

Tim admitted he didn't have the answers I sought.
but, someday
someday we will.

I think our worldly nature pulls us to believe whatever brings the most comfort. Some people prefer to believe that "there are holes in the floor of heaven" or that their love ones are now acting as their "guardian angels."

I would have to say my heart and my faith leads me to believe that our Lord has revealed everything to little Amelia; the past, the present and the future. Time is irrelevant in heaven. She is completely happy in the presence of Jesus. There are no tears because she has already seen the ending of His story and each of our loved one's place in that story. She already knows Sam. She does not feel compelled to guard him. She looks to Jesus and knows - He's got it covered.

Will she be present on the day Sam is born?
In my heart of hearts, I don't think she will.
but that doesn't really bother me...
Will she be on our hearts?
every single second.

”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

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Blood Donations for Amelia

Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  
John 15:13

July is officially here!
Just wanted to put out a friendly reminder that we would be honored if you would consider donating blood  in Amelia's memory anytime in the month of July.  We can think of no better way to celebrate her life than giving life through the donation of blood. We're hoping you agree and donate!
You can call to schedule an appointment or to find a drive near you 1-800-RED-CROSS 
or go to

Please let us know if you were able to donate in Amelia's honor,
we would love the chance to say thank you!

Actually my heart broke a little as we turned the calendar over to the month of July.
In the same way Wednesdays have become "hers" in our home;
July belongs to Amelia.
Just one short year ago we faced the turning of the calendar knowing Amelia would soon be in our arms 
and then all to soon, that she would leave us.
This year the month takes on a new bittersweet,
as we prepare for both Amelia's 1 year heavenly birthday 
and our little Sam's birth day.
My anxiety level is high. My heart hurts so deeply.
My grief feels so raw and new...
I am attempting to ready our family for so much joy 
while navigating a thick fog of heartbreak.
I'm not sure I can put into words where I am at emotionally.

I can't believe it's July.
I miss my girl.
I'm anxious to meet my son.

I'm tired.
I'm hopeful.
I'm broken
and I'm relying on my Lord to carry me
yet again
through the storm
and deliver
a beautiful rainbow.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

47 Weeks - Missing My Girl

To all who mourn... 
"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."
Isaiah 61:2-4

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

11 months - My Stones

 Joshua 4
5“Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

9“Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.” 

23 For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”

Living along the Missouri river, we are no stranger to flood waters these days.

The text above sites, in part, the story of how Joshua led the nation Israel across the Jordan River, it was harvest and the river Jordan was at flood stage. I'd ask of you to try to envision this day. For those of you living surrounded by the raising and fast flowing river waters I do, it may not be so difficult a stretch of the imagination.

Maybe your imagination will take you to a more loose interpretation of flood waters. Maybe the raging furry, the crushing power of those waters will take you back to a time in your life when it seemed there was no hope. A time when you felt God had abandoned you in the midst of the crushing waters of loss and heartbreak?

At least that's where my mind takes me...

I have often thought it must seem a bit odd from the outside looking in that I "celebrate" the milestones following the loss of Amelia.
No doubt it would seem strange to anyone that has not lost a child, to mark the months that pass, to throw a birthday party for a child that only lived on earth for a few short hours...or maybe never took a breath at all.

Maybe it does seem strange to you that a grieving mother would gather keepsakes such as a bit of hair, foot and hand print molds, keep blood stained baby clothing in Ziploc baggies, or purchase a duplicate of the outfit their child is buried in.

But as I read again this story of the crossing of the Jordan I am reminded of why these mementos are so very special. They are indeed treasured keepsakes of our precious and loved children. But they are more than that to me. Maybe I am not alone in this...

I have stones similar to the stones of the tribes of Israel.
They are memorials of my daughter. They are reminders of her, but even more so they are reminders of what the Lord has carried me (us) through. They are a testament to His mercy and His steadfast love for me in the midst of the raging flood waters.
And when I see these "stones,"
I remember so much more that the heartbreak of losing her.
I remember the gift of having her.
I remember how He carried me.
I remember the peace that filled the room on the day she was born.

I have a Moses Basket sitting in my basement.
I have often thought to myself (and aloud to Tim)
"What should I do with it?"
It is a painful reminder of our loss.
It carried her body to the funeral home.
It carried her casket to her grave.

I put her in the basket;
more to the point, my body failed her
and put her in that basket.
Thank heavens the basket means more to me that just that.

I chose that basket because it reminded me of Moses mother;
her trust that God would protect her child,
that He had a future in mind for him that was bigger than she could ever have imagined.
Through Amelia's life and death, God taught me to trust in that same way.
God gave me the strength to put her in that basket.
God gave me the strength to hand her back to him.
God let me put all my trust in him.
He did that.

We crossed our river Jordan
and find ourselves on the opposite shore looking back
knowing full well
he has not left us empty handed.
He left a pile of stones,
precious keepsakes, photos, blankets, jewelry...
so that in the future,
when my children ask me, ‘What do these stones mean?
I can tell them all about her, smile and say, He carried me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

46 Weeks - the darkness still finds me...

It's always tough to coordinate appointment times with my work and childcare schedule. This past week as I struggled to find a day and time to get in and see my eye doctor (4 months late and on my very last set of contacts!!!)
I found myself in the middle of an Amelia moment...

As I attempted to negotiate an appointment time with the sweet receptionist, she sensed my frustration and commented "...oh yes, you have another little one now don't you!"
I didn't see it coming.
I wasn't ready with my response.
I should have been prepared,
she always goes out of her way to comment on Noah. :)
She did SEE me pregnant with Amelia after all.

Working in a small community in a fairly public job I clearly have become accustomed to assuming people "know about Amelia."
My eye doctor is closer to where I live in Omaha. It is in fact, the same eye office I have gone to since I was in the 5th grade. They all know me there, so I guess it understandable that I would forget that they would have no idea that our sweet baby is gone.

All I could muster in response was,
"No, we just have one at home."
Oh, she said, I thought there were two, her voice trailing off.
I swear could hear the self-doubt in her voice.  
Was her memory failing her? 
Wasn't I was pregnant the last time she saw me?
I was tempted to explain, but didn't.
Now I regret it.
I should have just explained.
Particularly because when she sees my hugely pregnant belly at my appointment next week the topic is bound to resurface.
She's going to feel horrible.
And then I'll feel horrible for making her feel horrible...

Later that evening, Noah and I met up with my Mom to help her shop for a dress to wear for an upcoming wedding. I was really looking forward to a little retail therapy.
But as usual, there is no hiding from the heartbreak.

I should have steered clear of the baby clothes,
but I am having a baby after all!
I tried to avoid the girl stuff...but there it was,
an entire rack of the outfit my sweet girl is buried in.
I looked away as quickly as I could but my mind still went there...
down below the dirt
to my sweet babies body, in that outfit.
I just kept moving forward,
pushed Noah's stroller through the maze of racks and out onto the path,
it was all I could do to not pass out.
Was the store closing in on me? 
Suddenly I couldn't remember the way to the stores exit.
In an instant, it was Aug 4th; the day of her funeral.
I could see my hand fighting with the top button of that rose sleeper in an effort to adjust the ruffles to lay flat against her cheek in the moments before visitation began.

The moment passed.
My Mom was just behind me, had she seen?
Did my face go white? Had I stopped breathing?
It was just a moment.
Just an outfit.
Just her body.

Sometimes I can hardly believe I am still here,
was it all a dream?
Surely it was, there's no way I could have buried my baby girl
without insisting they bury me to.

The darkness still finds me, clings to me like my shadow
BUT the light does to
and just when I think I can't take one more step,
He carries me.

John 14  (NIV)

Jesus Comforts His Disciples 
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father
 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
    15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”  22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
   25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
   28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
   “Come now; let us leave.