Friday, March 14, 2014

Painfully beautiful

There are these moments....

His head resting on my chest in the middle of the night, as his breathing calms.

His proud smile as he turns to make sure I'm watching him climb the stairs for the first time.

His excited giggle and frantic "milk" sign as I settle in to nurse him before bed.

His intense concentration as he chases a bubble through the air with his chubby fingers.

The moments that make you catch your breath in wonder at the complete abandon with which this tiny person lives and loves. The moments that very nearly bring tears to your eyes with the recurring realization of just how precious a thing you've been entrusted.

I know all moms have them, not just those of us who have experienced loss. But in every one of those painfully beautiful moments with Peter I also have Jude on my mind. I feel this insistent need to not only treasure these moments, but to also store away some of that joy for Jude. Each new thing that Peter learns or experiences is something that Jude never did, and I feel that acutely. As I laugh with family while Peter enjoys his first birthday cake, I feel the need to treasure that moment for Jude as well. As I teach Peter how to color with crayons or turn the pages of his books it hurts me that I never did these things with Jude.

I've long since accepted Jude's absence, and come to peace with the fact that I will never have the opportunity to mother him in this life. It is still not always easy, but there is great hope in knowing we WILL meet again. I often wonder what our relationship will be like in Heaven though.

Jess and I had a conversation the other day about what our Heavenly bodies would be like. And as any conversation about Heaven does with us, it turned to Jude. Will he have the body of a child? Will we have the chance there to watch him grow and learn? Will we finally have opportunities to capture these painfully beautiful moments with our Jude dude? I don't have any answers to these questions. All I know is that if the answers are "no," it will only be because the reality is so much more incredible than we can fathom.

In the mean time, I plan on reveling in these moments with Peter. He is growing and changing so incredibly fast. Goodness. I love these boys more than I ever knew was possible.

P.S. Can you tell it's springtime in the valley? :-) We're enjoying our beautiful mountain state as much as we can before heading down south!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ready for change

What a wild few weeks it has been! In mid-December Jess matched into a residency program in Biloxi, MS where we'll be heading in May. On the 21st we honored what would have been Jude's 2nd birthday. Then: Christmas with all of my gigantic family in town, Peter got sick and Jess' mom flew into town, and then a new nephew was added to the family, then we celebrated our anniversary/New Years Eve, then Jess' mom left, and NOW I'm sick. Gee,... I wonder why.... woot. I'm exhausted.

It's been a month of many blessings; but something has become very clear to me in the last month or two. As much as I have LOVED living close to family, and as much as I'm going to miss them desperately when we move 1500 away; I'm so ready for the next phase. Living here has been awesome, and it has been hard. It has been completely lacking the medical community support system that we got used to in Parker. My family has filled in many of the gaps left, but it's still not the same as having support from dear friends that are walking the same road.

I sometimes hesitate to put things bluntly on my blog for fear of hurting feelings, but I'm just going to say it:

Our time in Grand Junction has been very lonely and we are ready to move on.

We dearly love our friends here and know that they love us. But we have found that even when people love you, if they don't understand the path your life taking, they simply don't have the means to offer the support that you need. And I think once they realize that, many people just stop trying. Our lives are on a beautiful but unique and often difficult path. Between having a child in Heaven, and the whole medical school process I think we are becoming harder for many of our friends to relate to.

Jess copes with it quite well as, even though he's the extrovert, he stays busy with school and rotations. I on the other hand, have had a hard time coping with the adjustment of being a (mostly) stay-at-home mom while simultaneously realizing that I'm being left out of more and more of my friends get togethers and activities. I place no blame,... it is simply the product of being an awkward introvert and not having much in common with my friends here beyond our children and church. But it is still hard. And it makes me ready to move on to the next phase of our lives,....

Even if that phase is a crazy busy residency in Biloxi Mississippi!

There will be opportunities for relationships with women who understand the process that we are undertaking. I won't have to explain the difference between rotations and residency over and over again. I won't have to describe the decisions we're facing about civilian vs. military fellowship. I won't have to explain what Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Critical Care (the specialty that Jess is pursuing) are. I won't have to verbalize the worries in the back of my mind over the likelihood that he'll be deployed multiple times in the coming years or that we will have to fight tooth and nail to keep our marriage strong when he's at the hospital 24/7.

There will be women there that get it.

And though it means moving so far from family and the mountains that we love, I know that God has great things in store for us there.

And here's my sweet boy, just to make you smile:
Can't believe he's 10 months already!!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2 years

A Couple of weeks ago was Jude's 2nd birthday. I found again this year that the days leading up to his birthday were actually harder then the day itself. I'm not sure why that is. The day before is the worst though. I spend the whole day thinking back on what I was doing that day 2 years ago. Remembering the day of being in labor and anticipating his birth/death is worse somehow then remembering the actual day. And we do things to make the actual day special; which helps.

We did a balloon release again this year. We let Peter keep one of them to take home. That kid LOVES balloons. It was odd trying to make the day about Jude, with Peter in tow; and I imagine that will only become more challenging as the years go by. We got another angel ornament for Jude as well. I imagine that when Jess and I are old, we will have a Christmas tree heavy with Jude's angels. It will be lovely. For now there are just two. It is enough.

A few people remembered,... but mostly family. I wasn't expecting hordes to think of him on what should have been his special day,... but it still hurts my mama's heart that his day slipped by catching the notice of so few. The messages that I did get I cherish. It's one of those telling things about the state of a relationship. Some people we haven't seen in years,... and still they remembered. 

Overall it was a peaceful day. That's what I was praying for, and my biggest hope for his birthday each year. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013


2 years ago today I was getting an amniocentesis to find out what the future held for our family. I was preparing for the worst, and indeed, 2 days later we found out it was the worst. Triploidy, and a suspected molar pregnancy. My baby's body was failing him. And it was happening rapidly. We had huge decisions to make, and were forced to make them while experiencing crippling grief.

But while his little life was slowly snuffing out, the body of Christ had never been SO alive to us. We received an outpouring of love and support from our church family and friends that to this day humbles me and fills me with more thankfulness then I can express. Our fridge and freezer overflowed with meals for months. Our counters were covered in cards filled with hand-written verses and prayers. We received love, and even financial gifts from old friends all over the country. People we hadn't been in touch with for years sent their love and prayers.

At the time I was grateful, but was so emotionally drained, that as the tokens of support poured in  and we ran out of space on our windowsill, then our counter, I simply started putting them in a shoe box. I still have every single card, letter, note, and 3x5 verse card that was given to us. Jess and I were recently going through some of Jude's things, and I read through some of those cards packed haphazardly in that little cardboard box. It hit me that when the people of God act in the Spirit as one body toward a single purpose; it can calm any storm, and no heart is outside of it's reach. Even the broken heart of a grieving mama.

All that to say: Thank you. From the bottom of my heart to all the friends and family that gathered around us and carried us through that difficult season: Thank you.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

No words

Hi friends. I'm writing today to ask for your prayers for a dear friend of mine. On Friday night they lost their 3rd baby. It was their second full-term unexpected stillbirth. There are no words for the pain that they are feeling. Everyone is still just in shock that this could happen to them again. And I know that if I am struggling with the questions of how, and why God? Then I can't imagine what they are struggling with today.

Please keep them in your prayers. The parent's names are Lelia and Wayne. The baby's name was Kamani, and he already had 2 older brothers in Heaven.

My prayer for them:
Father I come before you this morning to continue to lift up Lelia, Wayne and their family to you. I hurt for them, and am struggling to understand how you could let this happen to them again. I'm struggling to understand why this baby is not in his dear mama's arms, and how one family can be expected to endure so much pain over and over again.

I just pray that you comfort them. I pray that your presence would fill their home like never before. I ask Father that through all the hurt, anger, and questions, they would turn to you. That they would draw into you for the answers and not pull away. I ask that you fill their spirits with the peace that is beyond understanding. That though they are in the throws of grief and despair that they would have a knowledge that you love them more then they can imagine and that you are hurting with them.

Father build up community around them. I ask that you give their family and friends the words to speak that will be a balm to their hurting souls. Help Lelia and Wayne be able to communicate clearly what they need from their support system, and help them feel the love of those around them. Help them to understand that they don't need to walk this painful road alone. Give them the courage Father to ask for help when they need it.

I pray God that as they are just returning home you would grant them the capacity to deal with all the the baby things in their home. I pray you give them the wisdom to know what will be the most healing way to manage the nursery.

As well as emotional, and spiritual healing Father I pray for physical healing for Lelia as she recovers from a C-Section as well as all the physical discomfort of dealing with a post-baby body when there is no baby. I pray that she would heal quickly. That her pain meds would be effective. And that her milk would dry up quickly with minimal discomfort.

Father I know that you can redeem all things. Even things so painful that they seem beyond redemption. We know that you see a picture far bigger than anything we can imagine. God we ask that Lelia and Wayne are able to see that big picture someday. That they are able to understand how these losses were used for the Kingdom, and understand that all of their pain and anguish was not meaningless.

Father you know much better than I do exactly what Lelia and Wayne are feeling at this moment. You know exactly what they need right now, and I ask in your mercy that you grant them that. In Jesus name I pray,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15th

October 15th is Pregnancy/Infant loss awareness day.

This is a day set aside to recognize babies that the world doesn't. Did you know that according to my medical records, and SS I only have one child? We have no records of Jude's life. No birth certificate. Not even a death certificate. Because to the world, he was never alive. Because he never lived outside my womb.

But he lived. And his life and death made in impact on the world.

A guest missionary speaker at my church made a statement recently that will stick with me. He was speaking of missionary martyrdom, and serving God in potentially dangerous situations. He said this:

"As long as my life brings more glory to God than my death; I will live. But the moment my death brings more glory to God than my life; He will take me home." -Jeff Singfiel

Though the context he was referring to was very different, isn't it true for us all? Dusting off the catechism that I learned as a child: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." (My mama will be proud to know that I still remember that! Homeschooling done right!)

Jude's purpose was the same as yours and mine. The difference is that somehow, for reasons I may never know this side of Heaven, Jude had more potential for God's glorification in his death. This thought is so convicting to me. It leaves me with the charge to share Jude's story with as many as I can! For God's Glory! It also leaves me with a lot of hope. Knowing that his life and death were not in vain. Though God's plan for Jude on earth was very short; I know that it was purposeful.

As was the life and death of every baby that is taken sooner than we would like. So even though to the world Jude never lived; I know better. Because I have seen God work in lives and move hearts through Jude's story. I have seen God glorified as a result of Jude's "nonexistance."

So, if you are another parent of a tiny one in Heaven, my prayer is that these thoughts encourage you to share the life of your little one with those around you today. Glorify God through your babies. And if you are a friend/family member of someone with a baby in Heaven, share with them today how that baby's life or death has impacted you or has drawn you closer to the Savior in some way.

2 Corinthians 4:7-18
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fall is for Jude

As I sit down to write, I have that song in my head that goes: "time keeps on slippin' slippin' slippin' into the future..." (By Steve Miller Band. I know nothing about this band, other than having heard this song so I can neither endorse or condemn their music or lifestyles.)

This is what is happening to me! I just can't believe how quickly these days, weeks and months are passing. Jess has been gone 4 of the last 9 months for school which is part of it. Single mom mode leaves little margin in life for anything but giant bowls of ice cream and a quick episode of either Dr. Who, Duck Dynasty, or whatever cooking competition show is currently running before I fall into bed each night. (My true nerd-dom is revealed.) But he's done with his away rotations and residency auditions now. Yay! They all went super, and he creamed his boards exams. Come to find out I married not only a Godly, handsome, natural-born leader, but he's also pretty stinkin' smart to boot. :-) I'm just glad to have him home for more than a few weeks at a time.

All that to say, I have a little margin in my life again! I've completed several craft projects, cleaned out a couple of closets, and cooked a few REAL meals in the last week. That's some serious progress! Whether Jess is home or not though, my life is so blessed. I have only been working about 1 day a week and leaves 6 days to spend with this handsome little devil:

Though he can be a handful, he fills our lives with more joy and laughter than we ever thought possible for us again. 2 years ago, we had no idea what was in store for us. I've found myself thinking of that time a lot the last few weeks. October 22, 2011 at 18 weeks pregnant, we found out we were having our first boy! Our Jude dude. Oh the excitement and joy! Oh the naivety. This date was quickly followed by a cascade of other dates and events that I will never forget. The last of which being December 21. The day we said hello and goodbye to Jude.

Even as I'm spending my days reveling in every one of Peter's abundant giggles, I find myself wondering how many of those smiles would be for Jude if he were here. Fall seems to belong to Jude. Though he always comes to mind frequently, it seems to be more tangible and more painful in the fall.

Fall makes it feel fresh again. I miss him so, so much.

It would mean grimy toddler fingerprints on ever window and surface in the house. It would mean more midnight wake-up calls. It would mean sick days, and cleaning up vomit. It would mean twice the diapers to change. It would mean toys strewn over the entire house. It would mean even less margin.

It would mean twice the love, snuggles, bedtime prayers, Raffi music, giggles, candid photos, food dropped to happy dogs, bathtime splashes, books half-read,...

And while I am SO grateful to have all of the beautiful moments with Peter. Nothing will ever change my desire to share them with Jude as well.

Visiting Jess in San Francisco
Hitchin' a ride on his daddy's back

playin in the yard with dad

fall in the San Juan's

He does love his puppy!
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