These four things are making me happy this week:
1. THIS BOOK BY RUSSELL MOORE:
2. THIS BOOK BY ANGIE SMITH:
3. THE REALIZATION THAT I CAN BREASTFEED MY ADOPTED BABY
4. EMBRYO ADOPTION (POSSIBLY IN OUR FUTURE)
I remember planning my wedding and stressing out over the many details I was supposed to care about. I was way more excited about marriage than I was the wedding, so it was kind of an inconvenience for me (is that horrible?) Anyway, one of the hardest parts for me was deciding on the verses to be read during the ceremony. I didn’t want a lot, and I didn’t want a sermon preached. I just wanted a couple verses that were very meaningful to us. There was one verse that kept grabbing my attention, so it was read during our wedding ceremony. I don’t remember the other verses I chose, but this one is bold in my memory, especially now.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
At the time, I had used this verse in reference to my many prayers and years of waiting for my husband, the right husband that God had picked out for me. There had been a couple of boyfriends who I really liked and who had come close, but I knew God had someone better for me. It was hard to end relationships, to go through heartbreak and trust God and wait longer. This verse was always a good reminder and an encouragement for me while I was single. I didn’t want to marry a man because it was the easy thing at the time, because he was “close” to being the right one. I wanted God to build my marriage and I didn’t want to labor in vain.
In one of my previous relationships everything was going well, I thought I was in love with him, he said he was in love with me, we were happy together. But God told me CLEARLY one day that He wanted me to break up with him. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I did it because I knew God wanted me to and honestly, I was scared of the consequences if I didn’t. I went through a deep depression that lasted for months and I lost 20 pounds. It was a very hard break up. I expected God to send me my husband shortly after that, since I had obeyed Him and trusted Him. I had to wait another five long years for Josh. Now, I thank God over and over again for making me break up with that guy. Sometimes I even have terrifying nightmares that I married him and I’m stuck in an awful marriage. I love waking up from those dreams to see Josh next to me in bed, to see the blessings that God poured out on me, to see the plan that He had come to fruition. It’s so much better than what I had expected. Unless the Lord builds the house, unless the Lord builds the family, those who build it labor in vain.
I used that verse in my wedding ceremony as a tribute to the way God had brought Josh and me together, but God knew that the verse would have a much deeper meaning for us in the future. I had some nice, simple blueprints for how I was planning on building my family. Wait a year or two after getting married and then have a baby (boy, hopefully.) Then have another baby (boy, hopefully) 18 months-2 years later, then another one (girl, hopefully) 18 months-2 years later. Maybe take a little break and then have two more babies (boy and girl) close together. Pretty much just like my Mom did it. We thought adoption was a nice idea if we won the lottery or somehow became rich one day and had a bunch of extra money and a huge house. Of course, the plans did NOT include stillbirth, miscarriages, anti-kell antibodies, fetomaternal hemmorhage, infertility, deep lifelong wounds or a huge age gap opening up between siblings.
I am a pretty independent person and I like to do things myself, I like to fix things myself. I am also stubborn and pretty rebellious at heart, so my first reaction to this “change of plans” was to fight against them. Actually, it has been an ongoing battle for me to let go of MY plans and accept HIS plans. I want to build my house and my family how I want, but if I do, I will be laboring in vain. I don’t want to work hard for no reason. Why should I spend all of my energy straining my muscles and exhausting myself if it’s all in vain? I can let God work for me and He has a better plan anyway. I am learning that He is a far more daring architect than I am and His plans to build my house and my family are so intricate and well thought out. The hard part is that many of His tools feel harsh right now, like pain, disappointment, and suffering. But He knows what He is doing. He is breaking the mold. He’s hard at work on my behalf and the finished product is going to be stunning. Do you have plans for your family? Maybe God has bigger and better plans. What if we all laid our own plans down at His feet and told Him to have His way with us, with our families, with our plans that we hold so tightly in our fists? Don’t labor in vain.
I can’t believe it has been a whole year since I lost my baby Lucy and saw her sweet face for the first and last time. February 8th was the worst day of my life, but it was the best day of Lucy’s life. How strange. Laboring and giving birth to her was extremely traumatic for me, knowing she was dead the whole time. I mourn that experience still, and will till I die. The wonderful thing is that Lucy was totally unaware of all of that trauma. I think about what she felt when she died and I am thankful it was peaceful for her. Instead of being born into a cold world of pain and sin, she was born into perfect warmth and light. I am thankful that she got to skip this dark place and go right to her real home.
I decided a few weeks ago that I am going to buy Lucy a birthday card every year, for the rest of my life. It was so hard to look through the cute baby girl cards, and I cried every time (you would not believe how many tears I have shed in public lately!) Most of the cards didn’t fit because they talked about the many milestones a baby goes through in her first year, and I missed them all with Lucy. But I finally found the perfect one the other day.
I love this card because Lucy really is having her birthday in the land of Royal Birthdays. God is the King of all kings and His kingdom is in heaven. Lucy is the daughter of the King, and that makes her a REAL princess. I bet she even has her beautiful crown of life on right now and is just sparkling.
Psalm 103:19 The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.
I also like that there is a castle in the background because I know she lives in the most beautiful mansion where God had her room all prepared and waiting for her when she arrived there one year ago today. I will be reading this card with the boys today, showing them “Lucy having her birthday in heaven.” I know they will love it. I also plan on baking Lucy a birthday cake and letting her brothers decorate it for her (I laugh when I think about this because I imagine Lucy watching from heaven and cringing as her brothers create their masterpiece.) Liam is very excited about it!
I am also planning on putting Lucy’s puzzle together with the boys. I saw this puzzle in a store right after I found out I was pregnant with Lucy. I had a very strong suspicion that I was having a girl, and her name would be Lucy. I put it in my shopping cart and then felt silly because I didn’t even know if I was having a girl or a boy, so I put it back. As I was checking out, I had a panicky feeling and thought, “I NEED to go back and get that puzzle.” So I got out of line and went all the way to the back of the store and got the Lucy puzzle. Now I treasure this sweet little puzzle so much, and you know what it is a picture of? Princesses in a castle! (And a random frog prince- I have no analogy for that one.)
Although I am mourning my deep loss today, I am also celebrating Lucy’s gain. Today is a celebration of her first day in heaven one year ago, the beginning of her real life. Since losing Lucy I have thought many times of a poem my Mom told me about. It has become my favorite poem. It makes me think of Lucy and I tear up every time I read it.
The Sailing Ship
What is dying?
I am standing on the seashore.
A ship sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object and I stand watching her
Till at last she fades from the horizon,
And someone at my side says, “She is gone!” Gone where?
Gone from my sight, that is all;
She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her,
And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her;
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone”,
There are others who are watching her coming,
And other voices take up a glad shout, “There she comes”- and that is dying.
-Bishop Charles Henry Brent
I love the thought that as Lucy faded out of my sight she appeared to her cheering crowd of loving family members in heaven waiting to scoop her up into their arms and kiss her chubby cheeks. And one day when my own ship arrives on the shores of heaven Lucy will be at the front of the crowd waiting and cheering for me.
Happy first birthday in heaven, Lucy Dair.
I don’t know how many more birthdays you will celebrate in heaven before I get to meet you, but I do know that the birthdays I get to spend with you will FAR outnumber the ones that we spent apart. I am rejoicing in that thought today. We miss you with every beat of our hearts, our forever first baby girl.
On this day five years ago my lifelong dream of becoming a mother came true when I met my Liam Joshua for the first time. That was one of the happiest days of my life. On this day one year ago I was told that my baby girl was dying and there was nothing we could do. How strange that this day represents the day that my dreams came true and the day that my worst nightmare came true too. Last year on this day I wasn’t getting decorations ready for my four year old’s birthday party, I was googling stillbirth to prepare for the death of my daughter.
Life is beautiful and tragic.
Happy 5th birthday to my biggest boy. You are the sweetness that God put in my life to balance out the tragedy. You brighten my days with your amazing brain, your sensitive heart and your fearless stunts. I appreciate the gift that you are, now more than ever before. You make me so happy and proud. I still can’t believe I get to be your mother.
As Lucy’s heaven birthday approaches (February 8th), we have thought about what we should do to honor her sweet life. We wish we could be buying her the fun baby girl presents we always dreamed of being able to buy for our daughter, but we can’t. Instead, we decided to make a “comfort basket” for another baby loss mom who has suffered a stillbirth.
I saw another woman who made one in honor of her daughter, Esther Kate, and I loved the idea. I asked a lot of other baby loss moms what they would have wanted in a “comfort basket” after they lost their baby. They all had so many good ideas, it was hard to decide what to include. I finally just made a list and started working my way down the list until my money ran out. Here’s what I put in the comfort basket:
I also wrote down some comforting Bible verses on notecards, in case she wanted to read them.
I know everybody isn’t “religious” and some people are offended by Bible verses, so I put a label on the top of the cards to let her know what they were. I wanted her to feel like she could read them if she wanted, or throw them away- it was up to her. I also gave her a card with my blog address and some other websites and grief resources.
Putting this comfort basket together was one of the most painful and most rewarding things I’ve done since losing Lucy. As I walked through Hobby Lobby searching for the perfect gifts, I kept thinking about this woman and her baby who was probably healthy and kicking at that very moment and I wept for them both. It is hard to accept the fact that so many other women lose their babies too. I have prayed for this woman so much and I cried in every single store I went in to buy these gifts. I wish I could protect her baby and shield her from the searing pain of losing her child, but I can’t. All I can do is try to bring some comfort and let her know that she is not alone. After I had Lucy I felt so absolutely alone in that hospital room because I knew there were women all around me giving birth to their pink, screaming babies at that very moment. My baby was cold and motionless and I had to leave her there forever. It was the most forlorn, the most desperate feeling in the world. I would have loved to have received one of these baskets from another mom who knew my pain. The other day, I called the nurse on the labor and delivery floor at the hospital where I gave birth to Lucy and I asked her if it would be ok to leave a basket for another mom who lost her baby. She said it would be great and that no one had ever done that before. I wish I could get one for every baby loss mom in that hospital, but I can only leave one.
If you have lost a baby, I want to challenge you to find a way to use your pain to encourage someone else. It feels so wonderful and it brings life and healing out of your pain and loss. I think it is a wonderful way to honor your baby’s life.
Proverbs 11:25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
If you want to make a comfort basket, it’s really easy. I actually put it off for a while because I had this weird idea that I had to go there and deliver it personally. But I don’t have to do that, especially since I am not emotionally ready to go back to the labor and delivery floor where I lost Lucy. I finally asked one of my friends who works at the hospital if she would deliver it for me and she said she would be glad to. You can put whatever you want in it, maybe the things you wish you would have had after you lost your own baby. And if you are not a baby loss mom, I still think it is a wonderful way to encourage someone else. If you know someone who has lost a baby, I think it is a great idea to make one of these comfort baskets and place them in honor of that baby’s life. I would have loved it if someone had made one of these on Christmas and donated it to the hospital in honor of Lucy’s first Christmas in heaven. You could also do it for the baby’s due date, birthday, etc. Here is a list of the many suggestions given to me by other baby loss moms (thank you!) of comforting things you could include in the basket:
So this year, Lucy’s birthday present will be comfort, love and encouragement for another Mama who has lost her baby. Happy birthday, baby girl. You make me so proud.
It’s amazing how dates cement themselves in my mind. As I get closer to Lucy’s birthday, I feel all the things I was feeling a year ago. Sometimes it feels like no time has passed and it was just yesterday that I was losing my daughter slowly, day by day, waiting until her heart stopped forever. A year ago today my baby Lucy was given a blood transfusion while still in the womb. She was extremely anemic and the doctors thought this blood transfusion could save her life. It was deemed a miraculous success, and everyone thought she would be fine. I never felt her kick again and I knew that it wasn’t a success.
I have written about it in Letting Lucy Go, but on this day a year ago I felt God ask for my daughter. It was probably the hardest decision of my life. I know that if I had said no to God, she still would have died, but I think it has helped that He asked first. I knew He was asking me to follow Him into suffering and I am thankful that He gave me the choice before He took her. I told Him He could take her if He needed to. Here is my journal entry from a year ago. I wrote down the truths that comforted me that day that I gave my baby back to God. These truths have comforted me throughout this past year and they are still true today.
I think my favorite truth is that I will have Lucy for eternity. I don’t know if I will get to keep Liam and Asher for eternity. They have to decide whether or not they will trust God and love Him. I pray that they will, and I think they will. But I know for sure that Lucy and Jude and Pax wait for me in heaven, and what a sweet promise that is. As I wrote in my journal a year ago today, He will sustain me and He has through the worst year ever. He has given me strength and courage to keep going and not give up, and for that I am thankful.
And by the way, I know God did not kill Lucy, but He did allow it. He could have saved her and He didn’t, so I trust that He has a purpose for allowing such a tragedy. My gain will be greater than my suffering, as was Lucy’s.
Here’s what I posted on Facebook the night before Lucy’s blood transfusion. I want to repeat it today because I think it is important:
As I sit here thinking about the fact that there’s a good chance my baby might die in my womb tomorrow, one thing keeps coming to mind…I have her for eternity. If things don’t go well tomorrow I know that I will spend eternity with her in heaven. If you don’t know God personally I challenge you to consider it. There’s just no better way to do life. God is real. He carries our burdens for us and offers peace and joy and eternal life. What could be better than that?
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart: I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We felt like God was calling us to adoption a few months ago, but being doubtful and fearful like I often am, I shied away from the idea. The main reason I was afraid of the idea is because of our financial situation at the moment. We are comfortable (we don’t mind a small home and old cars) and able to live below our means, but we don’t have a spare $21,000 to pay for an adoption. Josh is finishing grad school and I only work a few hours a day so I can stay home with my little guys. Anyway, God has been VERY clear about what He wants us to do, so we are doing it. It also happens to be what we want to do, so that is nice, and we know we can trust Him to provide.
Even with God’s clear direction for our family, I was terrified when we sent our first adoption forms in. I know it is not true, but I often feel like a failure because I can’t bring my babies into this world alive. I was afraid that I would fail at adoption too. I doubted and worried and asked God for yet more confirmation that this was what He wants us to do. Thank goodness He is so patient! He showed me in two ways. One night I had a very vivid dream. I was walking through the dark and I had just left my warm, cozy house. Josh was at home with the boys. The doors were safely locked behind me and the windows were glowing with light. I was walking away from the house feeling thankful that they were warm and safe. I had a newborn baby in my arms, wrapped in a blanket. I didn’t look at the baby, but I knew it was my baby and it wasn’t Lucy. I held the baby to my chest and felt very afraid and protective. I hurried along, away from the safe house and into the dark. I was walking through tall grass; the kind I used to walk through as a child in Africa. The grass was up past my waist. Suddenly, I heard a sound to the left. I looked out into the grass and saw movement. I was terrified, but more than that, I was ready to fight for my baby. My adrenaline surged. I was going to kill whatever was out there. I would do anything to keep my baby safe. But suddenly, a huge lion leapt out of the grass with a terrible growl, right at me. I clutched my baby and woke up feeling frantic. I had the idea that the baby in the dream was my future adopted baby. I still felt the adrenaline pumping and I knew I had to fight for my baby. I’m ready to fight.
The second way God showed us confirmation was through a different baby. A couple days after we announced that we would be adopting, a friend of mine contacted me about some relatives who were in a bad situation. I won’t go into too many details because it’s their story, not mine, but there was a little baby who needed help. He was neglected and his needs were not being met. His baby blanket was full of cigarette burns. One parent was an alcoholic, one was a drug addict. We told them we were available and would be happy to adopt the baby. I wanted to save that baby so much. It broke my heart that I couldn’t help him. We never heard back from the baby’s relatives, but God used that experience to stir up my heart for adoption. This is why we are adopting, and this is why some amazing birth parents decide not to parent. We do this so that babies don’t end up like this other sweet baby that we couldn’t help.
God knows there is a baby out there for us, and maybe that baby needs us now, not in a few years when we have all the money saved up. Maybe God gave me that dream to put a sense of urgency in me, to show me that I need to fight to protect my baby.
After Lucy died, so many people approached us and asked us, “What can I do to help? Is there ANYTHING I can do?” At the time, I couldn’t think of anything besides asking you to share my blog with others. Now, just in time for Lucy’s first birthday in heaven, I know what you can do. You can support us in our adoption so that out of Lucy’s death another baby will be given a life. We have started a GoFundMe account to accept donations for our adoption if you feel led to give. I actually created the account a month ago, but I’m just now working up the courage to put it out there (pride is a hard thing to let go of.) The total cost will be over $21,000. You can see the layout of our fees and when they are due here. Our goal is to raise $15,000 through the GoFundMe account and through other fundraisers later in the year. We think we can handle the rest with our savings. Please don’t feel pressured to give if you don’t want to. I know a lot of people feel weird about giving money directly as opposed to through a fundraiser. That is fine! We would love for you to pray for us and our future baby or to share our GoFundMe page on Facebook. You can see our prayer requests here. Even if you don’t do any of that, we want you to follow us here on our blog to see the amazing story that God unfolds. You don’t want to miss it!
As Lucy’s birthday gets closer and closer I have been remembering all of the kindness that people have shown us throughout this past year. We have been showered with love and generosity and support. I try to think about every single act of kindness shown to us since Lucy died and I cry every time I think about it. I cry with amazement because I can’t believe how many people have joined together to help our family get through this darkness. I feel so blessed, so special. I think about Baby Weathersby growing up one day and looking at all the names of the people who contributed to bringing her home and it makes me cry again. Our baby is going to feel so loved and so special when she sees the army of people who fought for her and gave of themselves so that she could have a beautiful life. If you would like to be one of those people, we would be THRILLED! Our donation page is http://www.gofundme.com/WeathersbyBaby
We are so grateful for all of you, who support us with prayer, meals, sweet gifts, money and words of encouragement. You are some of the most beautiful blessings that have come out of our tragedy. Thank you, for everything, and thank you in advance from Baby Weathersby.
*A very important piece of information- Before you donate, we want you to be aware of the fact that we are still open to having a biological baby. We are not pregnant right now, but could be in the future (although it is unlikely.) We WILL complete this adoption whether we get pregnant and have a live baby, whether we get pregnant and lose another baby or whether we never conceive again. Our adoption agency knows of our situation and is willing to work with us on this. If we were to get pregnant the plan is to proceed with the adoption process until we find out if our baby has a chance at life, around 18 weeks. If we lose the baby, we will continue the adoption process. If the baby has a fighting chance, we will put the adoption on hold until our baby is born. Then, we will resume the adoption proceedings. You can feel confident that any and all money that you donate will go towards the Baby Weathersby Adoption Fund.