Thursday, June 24, 2010

Moving to My Dream House... why does this feel like a nightmare?
I'll tell you, I can't seem to stop crying.  As soon as we left the real estate office on closing day last week, I burst into tears.  I had imagined Will running through those fields with Adam...without that picture, I just wasn't sure I wanted the house.  It seemed like an eternity ago that we signed the contract on the property.   Two weeks after signing that paper, Will died. 
   I kind of feel like there was some sort of deal God was offering, but, as if in a warped (er?) version of  a Monty Python scene (something about deciding if a person was a witch or not), I chose the wrong answer.  As if God said, "House or baby?"  and I, not hearing the "...or baby?"  answered, "YES!  House!"...and then, whoooosh...the baby was gone.
  How weird is that? 
Now, I *know* that isn't the reality of the situation.  But still...the Lie Whisperer.
    I know a lot of people have been surprised after asking me, "Are you excited about the new house?!"  when  I answer, "Well, I have mixed emotions."  I know it's hard to understand.  After all, around the first of May, when we signed the contract on the farm, I was ecstatic.  But I would gladly live in a rental house the rest of my life if I could have my baby back.  The grieving heart doesn't necessarily make sense.  I have felt so guilty for not being thrilled to be moving.  It is a beautiful farm.  It is everything we ever wanted in a home.  I know this grief will pass and I will settle in the new place.  I just have to allow myself to not feel excited right now.  It will come.  I'm just not there yet.
     The last few days, I've been packing, packing, packing.  I keep coming across mementos of Charity and Will.  I was filing papers, and came across some lab bills from last Winter.  "Quantitative HCG"  "TSH"  It all reminded me of finding out I was pregnant and feeling scared, but excited.  Then, from March, I found the 18 week sonogram report, "Healthy  male."  We were so relieved that Will showed no signs of the tragic birth defect that sweet Charity had.
  Then, seven weeks later...another sonogram.  "Fetal demise."
How in the world can I go on?  This feels like childbirth--"I can't do it!  I can't do it!"  The Voice: "You CAN do it.  You ARE doing it." 
   One of the men at church said something a couple weeks ago that I keep coming back to.  There is a lot of hurt happening in our church right many people discouraged and in pain, heartsick.  Mr. R was speaking of Ephesians 6--
"13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace."

He pointed out that Paul didn't say, "Do this, then attack!"  He said to just *stand.*  Mr. R encouraged us who are hurting by saying that it's ok if all we can do now is stand on wobbly legs.  Just stand.  No need to run, or even walk--just stand.
   I'm thinking there's just enough Monkey Brain Grace to do that.  I can stand.  Barely.  No storming the castle...just standing.  Just like when the epidural was  wearing off. 

   That full armor is heavy.

Friday, June 18, 2010


...has been a *good* day.  Thank you, Lord, for a Good Day.

Reid took off today to help me get things organized enough to pack up.  Yes, I's pretty bad when you've got to organize yourself, just to pack things up.  But, that's just where I am right now.  And that's ok.

Thank you, F.O.T.E.'s for coming here and reading my thoughts, offering your kind words and prayers.  For this moment in time, I have hope.  I have confidence that, indeed, things *are* going to get better.   That whole, "hope and a future" thing.

Don't forget:

Y'all keep your wool dry!

The Ewe

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hindsight II

I called Reid to come start the van.  We laughed--it was supposed to be my "time alone," but I had to call him to get bailed out.
  I sat in the van, waiting for Reid.  I had bought chocolate chip cookies in the health store, so I had a few while I waited.  I sat and prayed for Will, still thinking he was just asleep.  Every now and then, I would feel a little twitch, and I thought it was a little kick.  I guess now, maybe, it was gas.
   After a few minutes, Reid and the kids drove up.  He had instructed the children to not acknowledge me, since it was my night off.  Ha ha!  I waved "hi" to them from the van.
   Reid used the jump box to start the van.  He came around, kissed me and told me I needed to go on a short interstate drive to recharge the battery.  I thought about telling him I was concerned for the baby, but decided not to.  I didn't want him to worry.
    I pulled out onto the interstate and settled in for the drive.  On the radio, a preacher came on.  He was preaching about Job.  The focus of his sermon was, "Though He Slay Me."   This reference is from Job 13:15, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."
     I got a little agitated.  That was our verse during Charity's death.  I didn't want to hear that.  "NO, Will is FINE.  I will NOT hear that!!"  Tears blurred my vision.  I prayed out loud.  I ordered Will to move.  I changed the radio station.
      I kept telling myself, "Everything's fine.  He's just asleep." 
     The new station played, "Your Love, Oh, Lord."  Another thing I related to baby death.
    "You gotta be kidding me." 
The tears turned into sobs upon the line:
                                          "...I will find my strength in the shadow of your wings."

I didn't want to need strength.  I wanted Will to be fine. 
But, I knew. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Time Warp

It's so weird.  Tonight  is the 4th week anniversary of Will dying.  I don't know how it's possible that my sweet son has been gone 4 weeks.  The pain is so searing, still, it must have been yesterday...but, yet...
  Everywhere is a reminder of him.  I nearly forget and park in the "Expectant Mothers Only" space at the local grocery store.  I remember the lady at the park sneering, saying, "If you're THAT big've got to be having twins."  Just a few days later, Will stopped kicking.  Not even close to twins.
   At the restaurant Reid and I frequent on date night, it had to just be last week that I barely fit in the booth.  But, it wasn't.  I remember so vividly saying, "A few more weeks and I won't fit here!"  The truth was, a few more weeks and fitting was no problem.
    I need to buy some clothes.  I had bought new maternity clothes this time.  I finally found some I liked.  Now, the billowing shirts just remind me of how empty I feel inside.
    I know this will improve.  Just gotta break out of the time warp...

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


I'm feeling peaceful.  I miss my son.  My heart is bruised.  But...there's Peace. 
The "minute by minute, eating the Monkey Brain bite by bite" approach is working. 
Got the sweetest encouragement today via email. 
I'm remembering to "hoe the row in front of me."

Gotta take The Troops to the dentist tomorrow.  One day at a time...

Getting the Big Three ready for camp.  Little by little...

It's all going to be ok...

Thanks for your prayers.


Don't forget to keep your wool dry.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

My Answer

I just woke up with my 3 word answer.
I had gone to sleep with my 1 word question:

How will I continue life?  How will I pick up the pieces?  How will I be the mother I need and want to be to the 5 beautiful, precious children I have the privilege of holding in my arms here on Earth?  How will I minister to the dear husband the Lord has put me with?  How will I get a meal together each day?  How will I get The Troops to the dentist?  How will I get the van to the shop for an oil change?  How will I pack up this house?  How will I unpack at the new house?  How will I learn to tend a farm (albeit a small one)?  How will I tighten the budget to do my part in getting this great little farm paid off?  How will I organize life? How?  How?  HOW?  HoW?  hOw?        how?

The 3 word answer I just woke up with?

Monkey Brain Grace

M.B.G. is a  Hallism  that came about after I read the book _The Hiding Place_ by Corrie Ten Boom.  In it, she tells of asking her father how to cope with bad things (I believe that is the's been years since I read the book).  Her dad asks her, "When we are taking a train trip, when do I give you your ticket?"  She answers, "When I'm about to step onto the train."  He explains that she doesn't need the ticket before then.
    Reading that passage those years ago brought to mind a conversation I was part of when Annie was a toddler. 
    A friend was explaining to me why she insisted her child try a bite of every new food that came his way.  Her reasoning was that God might call him to be a missionary one day (he was 6 months old at the time), and he would need to be able to stomach weird foods. 
   Well, that bothered me some.  Having had some struggle with eating disorders, I was (still am) uncomfortable with turning food into a battleground.  The difficulty was *not* with my friend's approach to her own child, it was the question of *my* parenting.  Was I handicapping my child by not forcing certain foods upon her?  What if God called *her* to the mission field?  It was a question I continued to ponder for many, many years. 
   When I read _The Hiding Place_, my fear about that was put to rest.  If God called her to eat monkey brains, He would give her--AT THAT TIME--the grace to do it. 

    Monkey Brain Grace. 

   I realized this morning that God is not going to give me the grace to deal with all these swirling needs and potential problems...until the moment I need that grace. 
   I don't have to worry about all these things.  I need to do "the *next* right thing."  These days, the need for grace comes moment to moment--not day to day.  I need the grace to make my bed.  The grace to fix breakfast.  I can't worry about tomorrow or even this afternoon.  The grace will come minute by minute.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (New International Version)

"9But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me"

I have never been weaker, but...

I will eat the Monkey Brain, one bite at a time, by His grace.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Still Here

Hi, Friends
I tried to post this morning, but Blogger was acting up...and I didn't get another chance today.
I am hoping to soon (tomorrow?) continue with the next part of Hindsight.  I may post a few pictures soon.  I have a lot to get written down.
Complicating matters is my extreme case of "brain fog."  I am having a terrible time concentrating.  I have always been a good typist, but now, I'm making so many mistakes, and keep having to go back and do a lot of correcting.  Everyday tasks are difficult to accomplish.  It is a worrisome affliction, but I seem to remember having some of this after Charity died.  I don't believe it was this bad, though.  ??
   It seems like I'm having a lot of "worse days"  lately again.  I guess I expected a gradual, consistent upswing, rather than the up and down of the first few days after Will's death.  I'm thinking this must be normal.  ??
  Anyway, I wanted you to know that I haven't stopped writing...I've had a lot going on the last couple days, and I've just not been able to.  Thank you for your continued interest in our story. 
   You all bless me.

Friday, June 04, 2010


I am grieving alongside my friend, J, who delivered a stillborn son last night... two weeks after our boy, Will was stillborn.
  I have called it, "A Painful Sisterhood."  After Charity died, I was stunned to learn of all the ladies--friends of mine--who had lost children.  Some losses had been decades earlier, but the pain was still there in those mama's eyes.  We never forget.
  When people ask, "How many children do you have?" I never quite know what to say.  In my heart, I have 9.  I have delivered 7 who were old enough to hold.  I've had the joy of raising 5.  So, how do I answer that question?  I usually say "Five," because I don't want people to feel sorry for me.  I don't know.  I may change that.  I may start revealing and rejoicing in  all my babies,  "Nine." 
   People have replied, even when I say 5, "Wow!  You must have your hands full!"

 "Nah.  Sometimes they feel strangely empty."

   I don't know what God's plan is.  I do know that there is a vast, wide membership in this "Painful Sisterhood."  There are even more of us who have never lost a child, but have yearned for one and couldn't (for whatever reason) have one.
   I also count in that membership those who have walked alongside families who have lost children.  The pain in watching someone else hurt and grieve is also intense.

   Today, I'm grieving with the M Family.  Today I'm missing Nathaniel.

Maybe he and Will and Charity and our 2 Precious Surprises are getting to know each other.  :-)

One day, there will be a glorious Family Reunion.  The thought brings a smile to my face.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Helping Families Who Have Lost

I wrote this days ago.  I posted it briefly, then got to thinking...then removed it back to "drafts."  I was afraid that it would sound self-serving.  Well, events of the last few days have caused me to reconsider having removed it.  Let me explain...
   Yesterday, I learned that a sweet friend lost her baby.  J was 18 weeks along and found, via routine ultrasound, her baby has died.  She is, today, in the hospital being induced.
  I also learned yesterday that a mother for whom I'd been praying, died.  (This prayer request came from our church's email loop.)  She leaves 4 children and a husband.  Such grief.
   I have learned since Will's death, of 2 additional families who lost babies about the same time as we did.
So. Much. Pain.
   So, if you find yourself thinking that the following post could be an attempt to garner anything for myself, please know that that is *not* the reason I am posting.  I am posting this because I hope it can help us all help each other.  I had no idea that any of this could be useful so soon...

I hesitate to post this, as each family is so unique, and different things help different families...but...I feel the Lord has provided us this opportunity to explore grief and infant loss, for a reason.  I am writing this to help myself remember (in order to help others in the future) as much as to share with you dear friends.
        Call, if you want. Most of us have caller i.d. these days.  If a grieving family is not up for a chat when you call, they may not answer, or may ask to call you back later.  Just understand, we have good moments and bad moments.  Or, perhaps better stated, at least in the first days, we have bad moments and worse moments.

       Feel badly if you just can't bring yourself to call.  Most of us understand that it is awkward to approach grieving families--no one has magic words to make it all better.  Try sending a letter, card or flowers.  You can do this quickly--as soon as the loss happens, or later, when other support may have waned.  A benefit to acting quickly is that in the first few days, the family probably feels like there is no way out of the darkness.  Any encouragement you can send quickly, can help them feel supported.  Maybe the best thing to do would be to make contact early, via flowers or a card or phone call, then later, visit or call to give them a chance to talk.  Sometimes, in the early days after a loss, all we can do is cry.  If you can stand it, call early and let them cry.  If it's true, just say, "I don't know what to say, but I'm so sorry."  A sweet friend called me the day after Will died and said just that.  Your willingness to put yourself into that awkward situation, just to show you care, can really mean a lot.

    Ask about their baby.  We mamas and papas and sisters and brothers *love* to talk about our babies. 

     Feel badly if they do not want to talk about the baby *at that moment.*  You did *not* "remind" them of their loss.  I promise you, the grief is ever present, especially in the first few days.  You can't "remind" them of it, because they probably can think of nothing else.  Don't take it personally if they can't talk right then.  Just say, "If you ever want to talk about him(her), I would love to hear all about him."  Most of us eventually want to share every little detail about the child we lost.  I know for me, I'm just now beginning to be able to share much about Charity.  Something about losing Will has just loosened my tongue regarding my babies in Heaven.

     Ask to see pictures, if there are any available.  What parent doesn't love to show pictures of their baby?   :-)   Be aware, you may not see images of a cherubic, plump, pink, soft little newborn.  In our case, Charity *was* that baby; Will was not.  The condition of the baby's body depends a lot on the circumstances surrounding his death.   Understand that, to the family, that baby is beautiful!  If you are curious about the baby's condition, ask respectfully. 

     Feel badly if you just can't bring yourself to view the pictures.  We grieving parents, of all people, know how upsetting the whole thing is. Try to  find other ways to encourage the family.

    Offer to bring a meal, if you are able.  After a loss like this, the family may feel so lost, it's hard to organize themselves enough to pull a meal together.  Not to mention, Mom has just delivered a baby, and needs rest.  Regardless of whether she suffered a miscarriage or a still birth or newborn loss, she must tend to her body.  Mama needs the best of care in these days.  Beef is very helpful in replenishing Mama's iron stores.  Leafy greens and other vegetables and fruit are also important.  Still, if your budget only allows for a pot of beans and pan of cornbread, they will appreciate it.  Ask if the family would like you to stay for a short visit, or if it is a bad time.  Personally, after losing Will, I am craving company and phone calls.   Also, I love having other families' children around.  For some moms who have lost, it is too painful a reminder.  You can ask ahead of time, "Would you enjoy having the children come, too, or would that be too much?" 

    Feel badly if you cannot provide a meal, due to finances or other reasons.  There are many, many ways to encourage and support the family.  Perhaps you could just make a pan of brownies or a loaf of bread?  Even slice and bake cookies will be appreciated.  If you can't afford flowers, send a note.  Work with what the Lord has provided you.  He knows what you need in order to support the family.  Pray and ask Him what you can do.

   Avoid well-intentioned cliches, which may actually be hurtful.  Saying, "It was for the best," is never a good idea.  Perhaps the baby had severe defects that caused his death.  Most of us would have gladly dealt with a special needs child, rather than losing the baby altogether.  Don't say, "You can have another."  You don't know that.  Will is our 4th loss since our last live birth.  Only the Lord knows if He will again bless us with a child we get to raise.  Besides, you can never, never replace one child with another.  We love them *each* and we want every one of them.  If a spouse dies, we generally know better than to say, "You can marry someone else."  Just allow the family to grieve that one, precious child, without any predictions about the future.

   Beat yourself up if you have said one of those things.  Most of us know how awkward it is for people to know what to say.  Just keep loving the family, and try other ways to show your concern.

Well, I know this is long, but incomplete.  I don't know if it will help anyone in helping someone else, but I wanted to get my thoughts down as a future reminder to ME.  :-)  If you have further thoughts, please leave them in the comments.
   You dear friends and family have been champions at loving our family during this awful time.  It is from *you* I got these ideas for helping.  May God bless you all.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Friday, May 14 started like any other day around here.  Reid got up around 4 a.m...I followed about an hour later.  We each had a time reading the Bible; then we talked a while before he left for work.
  I ate breakfast, then sat down to read my email. 
Will was kicking and squirming, and I remember sitting here, thinking, "Wow.  I can hardly believe it!  Here I am, sitting here, feeling a baby kick!  And 25 weeks tomorrow!  I am *so* blessed." 
  I am thankful that  moment made such an impression on me, that I remembered it.
After prowling the WWWeb for a bit, I got up and began the day...fixing breakfast for Adam and Hannah...starting laundry, cleaning a little here and there.
   Outside, our neighborhood was cranking up for the annual "Yard Sale Weekend."  Many neighbors were set up in their driveways, peddling their goods.  Soon, they had to pull things into garages, because it started to rain.
   I started to get very agitated.  Every noise (and believe me, in *this* house, we *have* noise!) startled me.  I was irritated with the children, though they weren't really doing anything wrong.  I felt like my skin was crawling and all I wanted to do was run away.
   Reid texted me to see how my day was going.  I told him the truth.  He tried to help me figure out what was bothering me, but there really wasn't anything we could come up with.
   He volunteered to take the kids when he got home from work, so I could go out by myself--a night off.
    With that encouraging plan, I hustled around the house, working on chores, correcting children, cleaning, cooking...
   Reid got home and I took off on my "Night Out."  Right before I left, we retrieved the mail.  There was an aggravating letter from the state Dept. of Revenue, saying we had missed something on our taxes.  I told Reid I would plan to fret about that another day, as I was off duty.  :-)
   I went to the library to return some items.
  Then, I stopped for supper.  I ate a cheeseburger, and sat back, waiting for Will to start his post-prandial martial arts.
   After a few minutes, I noticed that he wasn't behaving like usual.  Fear began to rise up in me, but I kept telling myself not to panic.  I had had those scary moments sometime during every pregancy.  Still, Will wasn't moving.
   So, I began to my next destination, the health food store to pick up some more vitamins.  I started talking to the baby,
"WILL!!!  MOVE!!"   "C'mon, Baby!  Kick!"  He didn't.
   I still was figuring that he was just asleep.
   I went into the health food store, praying silently that Will was ok.  It was hard not to cry as I walked through the aisles, completely distracted by the sinking feeling in my gut.
   I went to the bathroom, and thought I felt a tiny kick while I was in the stall.  That helped me feel a little better, but it wasn't the nice, strong movement I knew Will was capable of.
   Finally, I gathered all my supplements and went to check out.
  The bill was high--$87.00  A chilling thought flitted through my mind as I swiped our health savings account debit card:  "This is a waste.  The baby's dead."  I wondered "who" was whispering that?  Satan or the Holy Spirit?  (I'm guessing the devil, now, as I know the vitamins are still important for *my* health, even though Will is gone.)
   I finished paying and went out to the van.

It was dead.