Wednesday, March 30, 2011

34 weeks - Isaiah 43:1-4

 1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
   he who created you, Jacob,
   he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
   they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
   you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
   Cush and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
   and because I love you...

So many things changed 
after we found out about Amelia's condition
for me this verse became a reality 
not just some old text from the Bible 
in which God speaks to an unfaithful Israel.
It is text written in love for me.
God breathed scripture 
meant for me to discover
to unravel
to cherish.
These are more than words,
they are God's promise
to each of us.

Do not fear.
I will be with you.
I love you.
You are mine.

Monday, March 28, 2011

8 Months - We'll meet all 3

I don't mention it often.
Hardly ever actually.
And when I mention my miscarriage,
I never mention there were 2.

We had almost "forgotten" ourselves
until I read "Heaven Is For Real"
last week and my dreams became filled
with visions of the children we never got to meet.
They were with us such a short, short time
but we loved them - and love them still.

I still remember
when we went in for our very first appointment
we were so excited that we would be getting an u/s right away.
We had no idea what to expect;
we just knew we were expecting
and we were over the moon with happiness!

At first our ob saw only one little embryo
that had no heartbeat.
I remember him struggling a bit and then 
he found the second baby, heart beating beautifully.
You could see the relief in his eyes
as he turned the screen our way and described what we were seeing.
This happens sometimes he explained.
Without an early u/s you might have never known 
there were 2 in the beginning.
It shouldn't effect your pregnancy.

We left grainy u/s print off in hand.
Proud first time parents.
It felt strange, but we just accepted it as
something that happens.
We proudly paraded the photo,
explaining to some...there were actually 2
but one didn't make it.
To others were just pointed out the "top" and "bottom"
of our precious little "bean"

And then at 13 weeks
we we crushed to discover
that our bean's heart had stopped beating.
We'll have you do a confirmation u/s just to be sure
our doctor had said
so off we went to have our fears confirmed.
As he rolled back and forth over our dead baby
we watched eyes fixed on the large "silent screen"
at one point I had to turn away my gaze.
It hurt to much.
We were scheduled for a D&C.
The next few days were so hard.
They were so very hard.

It was surreal.
It hurt.
I felt empty.
But God healed our hearts
and just over 6 months later we became pregnant with Noah.
We held our breath at every u/s
until we were well into the 2nd trimester.
because, after you make it through the 1st trimester 
there is nothing to worry about right...
oh, how naive we were!
What I wouldn't give not to know what I know now.
I share this story today in joyful anticipation.
That's right I said JOYFUL ANTICIPATION.

anticipation of heaven and holding those sweet little souls
joy because I know that at this very moment they are in His presence.
There is nothing here on earth that trumps that.
They are safe and happy right where they are at.
And it won't be long until we are all together again.

So no, I 'm not angry.
No, I don't hate God.
No, I don't believe God has turned his back on me
or is teaching me a lesson out of anger or spite.
No, I don't want your pity
and I certainly do not want you to turn from God as a result of witnessing our losses.
That would break my heart into thousands of pieces in fact.
(that may be an entire additional post)

Yes, I get sad sometimes.
Yes, I miss Amelia and my babies
paticularly on milestone days like today
has it really been 8 months?!?! sigh
I believe we live in a fallen world.
I don't belong here any more than my children did.
Heaven is my home.

    7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  11 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 good gifts to those who ask him!  12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. 
Matthew 7:7-12

 16 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

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: 
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

33 Weeks - more on heaven

So that book really got me focused on heaven this past week...
so much so I might risk forgetting the blessing of being alive,
right here-right now! :)
In this life I feel so very blessed.
In my youth I recall something deep inside me always pushing for
more, more, more
Never settle
Never be satisfied

Looking back my mantra fit my goals
...the inner most desires of my heart.
Things have changed a bit in the past few years.
My mantra has changed - my heart has changed.
I no longer have the same goals.
I'd like to say the switch is
more cross sighted than my youth,
and it is, some days.

As I have mentioned several times before,
Amelia has changed several things about me,
how I see the world,
and how I want to exist in it.
But mostly, she has made me homesick.
I just can't wait for that day.
The question becomes,
what should I do with myself in the meantime.
Lucky for me, a 2.5 year old son, full time job,
church activities, a husband and a new little one on the way
are doing just fine at keeping me occupied. :)
Am I really this lucky?
I am still amazed at what God has entrusted me with.

While my heart seems in limbo
half bound here on earth
and half uplifted to the heavens,
I still have work to do right here in river city.
(sorry - just couldn't resist the obscure musical pun)
Seriously though,
I am still here.
and I have some seriously big baby booties to fill in my lifetime,
don't I!

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; 
I have come that they may have life and have it to the full."
John 10:10
  "Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; 
he will never leave you nor forsake you. 
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." 
 Deuteronomy 31:8

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

32 Weeks - Heaven is for REAL

A few months ago my Mom came across this text to purchase for her Kindle. She was intrigued both by the content of the book and by the setting. This true story takes place in western Nebraska, (Imperial/North Platte etc.) Places that, growing up in Nebraska, are more than familiar to us.
They are home.

She told me about the book right away
and I immediately put it on reserve at the Omaha Public Library.
I guess it's a pretty popular book
because I am still waiting in line.

Yesterday I received somewhat of a random email
from a gal that I lived with for one summer while I was in college.
Kind of a friend of a friend kinda thing...
We did not become close friends that summer. Not in the least.
It was a strange summer in more ways than one,
but that is a story for another day.

Anyway, she had emailed me shortly after Amelia's diagnosis
to say that God had put it on her heart to offer up her husbands photography services to us.
By this time God had already lined up a photographer for Amelia's birthday.
Now I think He might have had something else in mind
when he opened her heart to reach out to me...

She emailed me again yesterday.
She didn't know it was the one year anniversary of D-Day
but she had come across a link to a story about a little boy who had been to heaven, she saw my name in her address book and decided to send it my way. She sent the link to 7 people including me.
I don't know any of the other six,
but I hope they were as blessed by it as I was.

You see, when Colton goes to heaven
he has the chance to meet many people.
One of those people is his sister.
She had died as a result of miscarriage at just 2 months gestation.
Colton knew nothing about her
until he found him self smothered in hugs from her in heaven.

I know Amelia is in heaven. I do.
I know the babies we lost are in heaven.
But sometimes it just feels good to hear it.
He knows the world weighs us down.
Sin and Satan tempt us with fear and doubt.
He knows.
He also knows just when we need a little wink
and he always answers our prayers.
Yesterday, this boy's story was the answer to mine.

When my husband walked in the door last night
he had in his hands, this book.
We don't really exchange gifts.
(Not even at Christmas.)
So it is no exaggeration to say this gift was special.

Yesterday was a tough, tough day.
I miss my babies more and more each day
and long to be with them and Him more than I can say.

Yup, Heaven IS for REAL folks,
and you are definitely gonna' like it.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011


..Diagnosis Day
March 15th, 2010.
A day that will be burned into my memory forever.
The day we were told our daughter would not live.
Can it really be 1 year since we found out about our sweet Amelia's anencephaly?

So far this morning
the entire day has played in my head more than 10 times.
I have hummed the tune of "I Will Carry You"
at least 10 times more.
Honestly, I've tried to forget this day,
but it remains interlaced with joys
I treasure.
The day we saw her via u/s for the first time.
A first glimpse of each little rib- her perfect feet...
The first time we saw her suck her thumb
The day we were told, it's a girl.
The day we named her.
The day we knew we could not keep her.
It was not the day I had hoped it would be.

Part of me wishes I could just stream my memories onto this blank computer screen
and let you see for yourself the music video like memory I hold of the day.
There was a tragic, poetic beauty to the day
that I just cannot put into words yet.
Looking back I can see God's hand in it all.
I can see His arms wrapped around us as we waited to see the head of Maternal Fetal Medicine.
I can see Him carrying us out the doors of the hospital in a fog.
He was always there.

Is it strange that I "experience the day" more in my memory
than I was able to as the events unfolded in real time.
In the moment I was so detached and confused,
but the memory remains so real and the emptiness so painfully tangible.
She's gone.
It doesn't get any more real.

And still,
my heart overflows at the joy of being her mother.
God gave us you, Amelia.
God gave us you.

Until we meet again...

I Will Carry You - Selah

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I`m not
Truth is I`m barely hanging on
But there`s a greater story
Written long before me
Because he loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
I will praise the one who`s chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to his voice
And he says...

I`ve shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
I will praise the one who`s chosen me
To carry you

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

31 Weeks - the last speech

Thank you all so much for your prayers regarding our ultrasound this Monday as well as my speaking for the staff at Nebraska Organ Recovery (NOR). You already know about the results of the u/s.

As for the speech, It went fine.
I had two surprises at NOR
The first was sad news that our coordinator Todd was no longer with the organization. I was kind of looking forward to seeing him.  The second was a women, whose name I did not catch, who commented near the close of my time with the group that she had read my article.

At first I thought she was referring to the blog. But then she shared that she was in Glenwood caring for a hospice patient at the time the article written in The Opinion-Tribune (Glenwood, IA) was published. She recalled she had read our story and sobbed.
Small world.

I had typed up an outline of what I wanted to say in case I found myself too emotional to focus or at a lack of words. I was a bit more emotional than I have been in previous talks about Amelia (thanks to pregnancy hormones and a sweet heart recipient who spoke just before I did) but the words came and I never even opened up the folded speech in front of me. I was far from eloquent or verbose, but I was honest and open about our journey with our daughter. I pray that they walked away with a bit more than what they came to the table with that day. I pray that they left with a little bit of Amelia tucked in close to their hearts.

This was the last of my scheduled speeches about Amelia Grace.
I do feel a sense of relief,
but also a bit of sadness.
I love talking about her, telling her story
and having others recognize me as her mother.
It is such a gift to be "Amelia's Mommy."
God is so good...

Monday, March 07, 2011

Samuel Vern

It has been a whirlwind of days, weeks and months
leading up to what I am going to share with you today.

It is the story, from the very beginning, of our son Samuel Vern.
Those of you who have followed our family over the past year,
already know the story our sweet Amelia Grace
who went home to heaven July 28, 2010.

On our journey with and without Amelia
we have been blessed to gain new friendships
forged by a common bond
each of us wishes desperately that we did not share;
that bond is the loss of a child.
All of these women/men mean so much to me!
There is one women and child/ren in particular
who have a special place beside us on our journey.

For whatever reasons God had in mind,
He chose for us to find each other.
Jennifer and her husband/family lost their little Eli in 2010.
They too received a terminal diagnosis and chose to carry their son.
Jennifer blogs in honor of her son, which is how we first connected.

From the beginning I felt a strong connection to Jennifer and her son Eli.
Every time I saw or wrote Amelia's name (or my own) I would think of them
as the name Eli is inside the names amELIa and mELIssa.
Silly little connections like these kept popping up,
drawing me closer to this very special mother and son.
Definitely Godwinks my friends!

This past November Jennifer shared with me
the joyous news that they were expecting again.
She emailed me with a very special request.
She wanted to know if we would mind
if they named their daughter Amelia.
We of course had no problem with that,
and were flattered that she would extend such
an extreme courtesy in asking our blessing!
Jennifer's Amelia and Eli will (in part) share a name.
The two also share a due date just one year apart. sigh
(sound familiar anyone?!?!)

Wondering what all of this has to do with our little Samuel?
(oh and yes btw, IT'S A BOY!)
Allow me to explain...

It all started on the week of my birthday (Nov 9). I was in the shower and I started thinking/praying about Jennifer, Eli, our Amelia's. Out of left field it occurs to me - If I were to be pregnant right now (we have a habit of conceiving around my birthday..) that baby would have aprox. the same due date as Amelia Grace (1 year later) just like Jennifer's Amelia and Eli share a due date! Hmmm, I think, maybe we should name our baby Eli- wouldn't that be nice...and then all of a sudden (I swear I am not a crazy women-please believe me!) a firm voice in my head says, "no, his name is Samuel Vern." Ok, I think...that was random! I go about my day (no big deal right?!?!)

Then the following week I am devoting some thought to prayer and I am brought to a verse in 1 Samuel
As I begin to read the text I immediately notice the name Eli and then Samuel. Maybe you are familiar with the story of Hannah? ("For this child, I prayed.") Hannah wanted to have a baby really bad - so badly in fact, that while praying (to conceive a child) in the temple she was mistakenly thought to be drunk by the priest Eli...

 17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
 18 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.
 19 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. 20 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

As it turns out I was indeed pregnant
with a son.
A son conceived in the days surrounding my birthday
and the previously mentioned 'shower incident.'
A son due on August 4, 2011, precisely one year,
from the day we buried our sweet Amelia Grace.
Amelia's due date was August 2, 2010.
Call me insane, call me what you will,
but if you cannot see God's hand in all of this craziness
I just don't know what to say to you but

Still not sold on these Godwinks just yet?
No worries, there is more to tell!!!!
In January, in the midst of all these winks
about the name/gender of our little baby,
I received an email from The Baby Center.

The email detailed the top 100 baby names in 2010.
Of course I quickly scanned the list
to find out where Noah and Amelia's name's ranked.
I found Noah's name first. (#6)

Then I got to Amelia's.(#44)
I just happened to glance over to the
corresponding popular boys name and well...see for yourself.
(click on image to enlarge)
All of this being said,
we feel it would be ridiculous
to attempt to name our son anything other than
the name that was given to him at the time he was conceived,
Samuel Vern.

It is a very special name to us for several reasons (see above) :)
Samuel means "asked of God."
It could not be more perfect.
I cannot tell you how I prayed
for this pregnancy, this child,
before and each day since
we saw a plus sign on Thanksgiving Day.

His middle name, Vern,
is my Grandpa Raabe's first name,
and my father's middle name.
Noah's middle name is Rodney, Tim's father's name,
so it is fitting that our precious Samuel,
carry the name of my father & grandfather.

May God continue to bless and protect this very special gift,
our son,
Samuel Vern Lorang.

So without further adieu,
I am pleased to share with you
a picture of our dear son Sam.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

30 Weeks - big things

This week we passed yet another milestone.
7 Months since we held our daughter in our arms.
7 Months since we said hello and good bye.
7 Months since I heard her sweet little baby voice.
Words elude me once again.
Our grief is still so heavy,
in moments it seems that maybe the sting has lessened
I almost think to myself, was it just a dream?
But then reality finds me.
I can just be standing in our bathroom
and I find my eyes burning with tears
stomach knotted tight
and my lips mouthing,
"oh God Tim, our baby..."
and I am back right where I began
at the foot of the cross
crying out for mercy, forgiveness and healing.

We have some big things around the corner.
I am hoping you will pray for us as we prepare for the 2nd ultrasound in our nuchal translucency screening.
The ultrasound is this coming Monday, March 7th.
Pray for peace for us as we count down the days in anticipation.
That our Lord calm our troubled hearts as we battle our fears and place our trust and hope in the one who has our names inscribed in His hands. Grant our medical providers the skill and compassion needed for all those in their care. And please pray that no matter the outcome of this ultrasound and testing, that our Lord be glorified in every heartbeat, every tear and every whispered prayer.

I plan on taking the day off work that day.
I have been asked to address the staff of Nebraska Organ Recovery in Omaha about Anenecephaly, our experience with organ donation and carrying our sweet Amelia.
I will speak to them at 9:30am.
Will you pray for that speaking engagement as well?
Pray that my words and our story will open doors, minds and hearts of their staff, some of whom may have never heard of this condition. And again please pray that God be given the glory with every heartbeat, every tear and every whispered prayer.

My prayer remains the same,
the words are simple and I often just repeat them over and over again, "Use me Lord, use me."