Two Years Without My Daughter

Today is the saddest day of the year for me. This is the day, two years ago that we went into the hospital for Lucy’s second intrauterine blood transfusion. It was a last ditch effort to try to save her, although we all knew she was already dying and there wasn’t much hope. I was numb. I was in shock. Her heart stopped and it felt like mine did too. It feels like it has barely been beating these past two years. Often, I wished it would stop. Last year on her first heaven birthday I think I tried to make it a celebration because I knew she was so happy to be in heaven. Of course she is happy. Every day is probably a celebration for her. I also wanted to start a tradition with the boys of celebrating their sister on this day. I bought her a birthday card, the boys and I baked her a cake and decorated it with pink icing and sprinkles and even attempted to sing happy birthday to her. This year I’m just so sad and tired and my body is coursing with pregnancy hormones that don’t make it any better. I don’t have the energy to celebrate. I feel quite desolate, actually. The ultrasound tomorrow looms over me with a weight that threatens to break me. I know that if I allow myself to emotionally go back to this day, two years ago, I will imagine that it is this baby that’s dead too. For today, my goal is to survive until tomorrow.

I hate that I have lived two whole years of my life without my daughter. How is that possible? Look at your son, your daughter…it’s hard to imagine living a week without them, let alone two years. I miss Liam and Asher if I’m away from them more than a day. I miss Lucy the same, and it is overwhelming to look at the rest of my life here on earth and know that she won’t be there for any of it. I wonder how it feels to have all of your children under one roof or in one room at the same time. I will never experience that. There is always a huge hole in our family and it goes with us everywhere. Every family photo is painful for me because it feels incomplete. She is always missing.

My precious girl. My beautiful girl. I wonder what you would have been like, what you would have looked like, if you would have had my crazy hair or your big brother’s amazing brain. I wonder what you would have looked like on your wedding day. I wonder who you would have married, what your children would have been like. I wonder what your laugh sounds like, what your cry sounds like, what your skin smells like. I won’t know until I’m in heaven and I CAN NOT WAIT to be there with you.

Last year for Lucy’s birthday present we made a comfort basket for another family who lost a baby to stillbirth. This year, I thought about doing the same thing but one horrible possibility kept coming back to me…what if I ended up being the recipient of the stillbirth basket at my hospital? Last time I had a friend drop it off and the nurses gave it to the next woman who lost a baby. What if I did the same thing and then I ended up being the next woman to have a stillborn baby? I feel like it’s something that would actually happen to me, like it’s something that should come next in my horrible life pattern of loss and tragedy. So, this year, in honor of Lucy’s second birthday in heaven, we (along with some sweet family members) decided to make a donation to Sav-A-Life here in Tuscaloosa. It is a non-profit, crisis pregnancy center that offers free and confidential services in a loving environment to families facing an unplanned pregnancy. Basically, they educate, support and encourage women who are dealing with a crisis pregnancy and they give them alternatives to abortion without being judgmental. Since losing Lucy, I have become extra sensitive and empathetic to women who have lost babies, and to the babies who are lost…this includes miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death and abortion. Out of all of those terrible tragedies, the only one that happens by choice is abortion. What I would have given to be able to CHOOSE life for my Lucy. I love that Sav-A-Life helps show hurting, scared women that they CAN choose life and that is such an amazing gift. How I wish I could just choose life for this baby growing in me now. I would give my own life in exchange for this baby’s life if I could. I think Lucy is probably pleased with her birthday present this year. I can’t wait until I get to spend her birthdays with her for eternity.

I know this has been a sad post. It has been the saddest, hardest, most desolate two years of my life. Today I am heartbroken but still thankful…thankful for my baby girl and for heaven. I’m thankful that my hope is only deferred, not gone, not demolished or destroyed, deferred for now.

Another Good Appointment

Thank you all for praying for my 14 week appointment on Monday. It went as well as it could have. I was nervous about confronting the doctors again and asking them to do something they’ve already said they wouldn’t do. They wanted to start MCA scans at 16 weeks and I wanted them to start at 15 weeks so I was asking them one last time to move the scan up a week. If they had said no, I was going to drive to Houston, Texas to have the scan done. I printed off a study done in Thailand with the information they needed to do the scan and they said they would do it! So, our big ultrasound is next Monday, February 9th. This is, by far, the most important ultrasound we have had yet. It will measure the baby’s blood flow to check for anemia. Please pray that the baby’s ultrasound results are normal with NO anemia. February 9th is also a very hard day for us because it is the day, two years ago, that I gave birth to Lucy’s lifeless body, the hardest and most traumatic thing I’ve ever experienced. We will celebrate her “Heaven Birthday” on February 8th, since that is the day we watched her heart stop and she entered paradise. The days leading up to this sad anniversary are very hard, especially with the stress of the first MCA scan coming up. Please pray that we are overwhelmed by God’s peace and we walk into that ultrasound room full of trust and confidence in Him.

The baby looked perfect again on the ultrasound, no signs of extra fluid building up. The heart looked good and baby was so cute moving around. The ultrasound tech made another gender guess but we are going to keep it a secret until we know for sure. We also kind of want to wait and announce the gender after we find out if the baby is ok, depending on the MCA scan. The news concerning our baby’s chance at life seems much more important to us and we want to focus on that rather than the gender right now. Here are a few ultrasound pictures of the baby.

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This one is a little creepy because it shows the baby’s skull/face bones, but I love that the baby probably has my cleft chin. Can you see it?

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We also got the results back from the genetic testing we had last week and the baby was negative, which means it’s very unlikely that (s)he has trisomy 18, down’s syndrome or spina bifida. What a relief. The doctors were a bit concerned about one thing, but it’s not major. Now that I’m in the second trimester, I have started losing weight, which is not good. I never gained anything in the first trimester but was able to stay around the same weight. Now I am losing weight so the doctors want me to work extra hard to not lose any more and start gaining some pounds. I am sick all the time, so basically every bite of food I’ve had since the beginning of December has been forced. I have to try really hard to keep the food down and I’ve been vomiting more in the second trimester than I was in the first. I think this is partly from side effects of the IVIG infusions. They make me feel exhausted, more nauseated and they give me migraines on a regular basis. My main concern is the baby, though, so I’m trying my hardest to eat more and stay healthy. Will you pray that I will start to feel better soon and the baby will have enough nutrients? Thank you, again, for praying for our appointment on Monday and for praying for the baby. Hopefully next week we will have another good report!

When I Was In a Besieged City

Yesterday I was feeling overwhelmed with fear for the baby and was even feeling scared of God. Sometimes I am afraid that His best plan for my life includes more suffering and terrible loss in the future (including the loss of this precious baby.) I was alone in a pretty courtyard while Josh took the boys for a walk. I had a choice- wallow in fear and dread or cry out to God. I cried out to God, which I am learning to do more and more throughout this difficult pregnancy. I felt like God wanted me to read Psalm 31 or maybe I read it because it was January 31st and I didn’t know what else to do 🙂 But either way, He lead me to Psalm 31. I was so encouraged by this chapter written by David. I kind of felt like it was showing me exactly what to do when I’m feeling overwhelmed by fear and doubt about God’s plan for me.

First, he takes refuge in God. I struggled with this a lot at the beginning of this pregnancy because I was skeptical and afraid to take refuge in God. I did when I was pregnant with Lucy and it ended in disaster. Slowly He has been drawing me closer, though, and gently showing me that He can be trusted as a shelter in times of trouble. I am the most comforted and the most confident when I turn to Him in my despair and take refuge in Him.

Psalm 31:1-4 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, and strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me; for you are my refuge.

Another thing I noticed was that David was HONEST with God about how he was feeling. He was deep in grief, he was afraid and he felt absolutely forgotten. Oh, how I can relate. I am so thankful that God wants us to be honest with Him and tell Him exactly how we are feeling. David says:

Psalm 31:9-12 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; and my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.

Even though David was feeling broken, afraid and forgotten, he still acknowledged God’s “abundant goodness” and “steadfast love.” Then, he ASKS God to bless him, to save him and to “make your face shine on your servant.” For some reason I sometimes feel guilty for asking God, again and again, to bless me with a live baby. Maybe this is a weird Christian thing, I have no idea, but I sometimes feel like I shouldn’t be asking God to send me good gifts. I feel like I need to just accept all the suffering and not long for more. I’m wrong, by the way, and I’m thankful for this chapter that is showing me clearly, that God wants us to ask Him for His love, goodness and blessings.

Psalm 31: 16, 19, 21, 22  Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! ….O, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! …Blessed be the Lord, for He has wondrously shown His steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.

When I read those last two verses I started crying. Those were the verses God encouraged me with on Scarlet’s due date, only two days after learning of Kailee and Peter’s betrayal. I truly felt panicked and cut off from God’s sight. I felt like I was back in the old besieged city of loss and terror and do you know what God told me on that day? He gave me these verses and told me that He was going to wondrously show me His steadfast love while I was there in that besieged city, that place of mourning. I heard Him and decided to trust Him but honestly, I thought, “How in the WORLD is He going to do that?” It seemed impossible, but guess what? This sweet little baby was conceived and brought to life only days later. He heard my please for mercy when I cried to Him for help. He has wondrously shown me His steadfast love and He will show you too if you want Him too. Thank you, Jesus, for hearing me and for giving me this precious sixth child who’s heart is beating away in my womb at this moment.

The chapter ends with one of my favorite verses in the Bible:

Psalm 31: 24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!

Don’t give up, even if you are feeling like David, forgotten and afraid. Take courage and take refuge in God. He will hear your cries. He will save you and show you His wondrous love EVEN when you are in a besieged city.