Wednesday, October 2, 2013

18 months - Just as We Are

Today marks 18 months since Isaiah was born into heaven.  Though grief ebbs and flows, overall if asked how I am doing I'd probably say, "pretty good."  Yet moving out of our house in the cities and leaving the place where he should've come home -- coupled with a move and the constant struggle of knowing how to share about his life with new friends in a new town -- combined with watching our sweet baby girl grow, yet wishing I could still be watching him grow, too...those things are hard.  So saying "we're good" can be a mixed bag.  We are good - but there are still hard moments tossed in.  This sounds familiar...I have a feeling this will describe much of the rest of our lives.

As this date has been approaching, I have been drawn to pause and remember those early days.  I must say that thinking on what we have lost and what Isaiah has gained still pierces my heart - even 18 months later (and probably always will).  It is not the same suffocating grief - yet when I really stop and remember the day we met and said goodbye - it still brings the same gut-filling ache as the moment I saw his still heart on the screen.  As we finally make our final choices on his headstone - on OUR headstone - I still stare at his name and am so sad that he is gone.  And yet - somehow - through the grace given only by God - there is still an overarching sense of peace...moments of joy.  It's not that I miss Isaiah any less...the grief just keeps changing. Somehow we have found a way to keep living.  Though it is messy and I will never be the same, at least I know that there is life past the depths of grief.  I would never have dreamed that could be possible 18 months ago. 

C - 18 months  
                                                                                  L - 18 months

At a milestone like this, it would seem normal to imagine what Isaiah would be like if he were here right now...a busy, 18 month old little boy toddling around the house getting into everything.  Though I do think on this sometimes, I much more often gaze at my 6 month old rainbow girl (who we are SO VERY thankful for and in love with) and wonder if she looks like him or what he would've been like at this age. 

                                                                                         E - 6 months.

Sometimes as I watch E grow, grief edges in as I re-realize that I have lost these moments with Isaiah.  In that sense, some of the grief is a little worse since she came.  Sometimes I feel bad about that - and I pray that I will never allow her to be overshadowed by his absence but will instead cherish those moments with her all the more.  On the other hand (and this may not make sense) - sometimes as I watch E grow and try to cherish those moments, it brings some healing to missing his.  Isaiah has helped me to stop and enjoy these moments with E...he has made me a better mom.  Even with the pain, I am so thankful that I was chosen to be his mom. <3

The kids and I were reading from Genesis for "History" class recently and in the listing of Noah's genealogy, the verses would list each person living x number of years and then dying.  But when we came to Enoch it said he lived 365 years and then was "no more."  The fact that he was no more and taken to heaven without dying made us all wonder why?  In digging a little deeper we find that God took Enoch from this earth before death because he was so pleased with him.  This also made me think of Isaiah (obviously not at all a good comparison, but it brought this to mind all the same).  Why was Isaiah allowed to go to glory so soon?  In trying to answer that question, I realized just how far I've come in 18 months.  Early on, many of my "why" questions related to me -- why he was taken from us? -- why God thought we would be able to endure this loss?  But now when I ask "why," I wonder more about him -- why this was allowed to happen to him? -- why are God's ways are so mysterious?  I honestly don't know that I could say that I wouldn't choose to have him here if I could, but on the other hand, I couldn't not want him to be experiencing heaven either.  There is such a mixture of feelings - but being able to trust God and know that things are as they need to be for now -- that has brought much peace -- even amidst continued grief.

So that is about where we are these days.  Keeping on - and always loving and missing you, sweet boy.  Always. <3

Sunday, May 5, 2013

One Year

With a newborn in the house, it has taken some time to finish this post.  Thank you for waiting for a post that has been on my heart for a long time...

April 2, 2013

One year ago today our hearts were filled with a simultaneous joy and pain.  As silence filled a room that should have been filled with a baby's cries, the internal cry of our breaking hearts was all we could hear.  Our beautiful child, Isaiah...born still...yet our joy and love for him was anything but still.  It abounded and continues to abound...our love for you, Isaiah...our beautiful son.

Today - remembering the sting of death that brought a dark, hovering cloud to our souls one year ago brings a sting of tears and memories of heart wrenching moments...but it is also a wonder to consider the months of processing, living, and healing that we have done since.

One year ago - I felt like I couldn't breathe.  My arms and heart literally ached from loss.  How is it that we have survived this year?  How could we choose to keep on seek an understanding of grief and seek some healing of these deep wounds?  Though it was tempting to constantly want to return to the rawness of Isaiah's death in order to "remember" him, it soon became apparent that I couldn't truly live in that state of mind.  Remaining in the that state meant that I couldn't live in a way that would benefit those still here - that I couldn't live out the purposes God had for my life.  Remaining in raw grief wouldn't really help others remember Isaiah in a positive way...instead it would do the opposite.  I wanted to honor Isaiah's life....not his death.

Even though God's love for us surpasses understanding, becoming a parent helped me understand what God's love for his children might be like.  Losing a child has helped me understand it even more.

I love to consider these verses - a prayer Paul prayed for others...

"And I pray that you...may have grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."    Ephesians 3:17-19

This year God has gracefully given us power to understand a glimpse of that wide, high, and deep love.  I KNOW how much he loves us and that he felt/feels our sorrow with us.   Even though he knows why Isaiah's death happened, it doesn't change the fact that it hurts him to see us endure it.  So many of our friends and family cried and mourned with us over the loss of Isaiah...and God, too, mourned with us.  He perfectly understands and feels our sorrow.

It is hard to explain, but understaning more of God's deep love has helped me deal with our loss.  I can't really put my love for Isaiah into words.  When I think about it, I can't breathe.  Since my love for my children is only a shadow of the perfect love of Christ for HIS children, how much more does he love us?  Even though he allowed us to endure this horrible thing and it hurt him to see us go through it...he loves us more than we can imagine.  His love is beyond comprehension!  When I think about it, I can't breathe.  It may seem valid to think that it isn't fair that we lost our son and to shake our fists at God...but gaining a better understanding of his love helps dissipate those feelings of anger and despair that are natural in grief.

As we live through Isaiah's first birthday in heaven, I want others to remember him and to know the depth of our love for him...but ultimately I want you to be able to grasp how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is for YOU!  In order to come to know God, you must choose to accept this love.  I pray that you will consider this.

As this year mark of Isaiah's birth and death passes us by, on one hand I am sad that the time of people readily remembering him also seems to be passing us by.  Yet I know that so many will continue to remember.  Though much healing has taken place, there is no end to grief.  There is no erasing the scar in this life.  Yet one starts to get used to shouldering the sorrow that we will carry for a lifetime.  I will always carry Isaiah...for a time in my womb...for a time in my arms...always in my heart.

I am so thankful that we can look back over this year and see God's grace, kindness, and faithfulness.  He is forming beauty in our hearts where there once were only ashes.  May we continue to be a testament to what he has done...for he has done great things!

"He has sent me to bind up the comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."    Isaiah 61:1-3

Monday, April 1, 2013

Welcome to the World!

Welcome to the world Elisabeth Susanna Joy!  

Born March 28, 2013 at 2:20pm
6lbs 15 oz, 20 in

We are in love with you, our rainbow girl, and are so thankful that God 
has entrusted you to us in this life.  You belong to Him. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reflections on Holy Week

I love Easter.  I look forward to it each year.  Easter helps me focus on Christ our Savior who is alive today - my savior and friend - who advocates for even who deserves NONE of it.  He died to save us from the sin that separates us from our creator.  I love Easter.

Holy week - or the week leading up to Easter - (along with the Lenten season) - is a great time to reflect on the events of the time preceding Christ's death and resurrection.  But last year Holy week changed for me.

I remember posting one word on my Facebook status on Palm Sunday last year...Hosannah.  Hosannah means "save us" - and it was shouted to Jesus as he entered Jerusalem on a donkey - just days before he was crucified (this story is what is remembered on Palm Sunday).  What I didn't realize was how much I would need to lean on Christ to "save us" in our moments of grief that began that night - when we discovered our unborn child - whom we were expecting to join us in this life so soon - no longer had a beating heart.  It was the day after Palm Sunday that our son, Isaiah, was delivered silently into this world...loved...cherished...missed by so many.  It was the week leading up to Easter that we planned a funeral and woke each day to the shock that our son had died.  It was the day before Easter Sunday that so many graciously gathered to love and miss our child with us -- while still holding to the hope of Christ and proclaiming our faith not only in the fact that we would see Isaiah again - but that we trusted God - even amidst this storm.

I have been expecting the arrival of April 2 next week to be a hard time.  The anniversary of Isaiah's birth/death would seem to be an obvious time to remember...and it might very well be hard.  But grief is so funny that way -- it attacks when you least expect it -- and sometimes the "obvious" times that should be hard just aren't.  I definitely wasn't expecting Holy week to bring back so many memories this year...yet it has.  The date of Easter will change each year - but I do wonder how much I will associate with Isaiah's actual birth date and how much I will associate his birth with Holy week.

Praise God that we have the hope of Easter - that Christ rose and is alive - so that we can count on him for salvation.  Without it we would not have hope...hope to be saved from sin...hope to know our Lord...hope to be with Isaiah for eternity.  This Easter - this Holy week - please consider the hope that is offered through Christ.  Without it - this life is hopeless.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sweet Dia

Sweet Lydia - you are 3 years old today!  How our lives have changed since you arrived three years ago...we are so thankful for you!  Your smiley nature brightens our lives...your active imagination brings fun to our home...your constant hugs and cuddles warm our hearts...and your sensitive spirit challenges and softens our spirits all at once.  We pray that God will give us the wisdom and patience needed to guide and direct you in His ways and to learn to love Him more each day.  We are so excited to continue watching you grow and learn!  Here's to many more birthdays, sweet girl!

Mommy and Daddy

Your years in review...

1 day

6 months

1 year

15 months


2 years

2 years

2.5 years
3 years

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Isaiah's Kindness Project

As I consider what I remember about my first two children when they turned one, I remember how much fun they were.  Teetering on the edge of learning to walk - immensely curious - increasingly independent - amazingly involved understanding of language - and just so much fun!

                                                C - 1 year                                    L - 1 year

As we've lived this year without Isaiah, of course we miss knowing him and getting to see him grow in these ways.  Of course we "see" him in the shadow of those sweet babies that are his age.  Of course it seems wrong that there is this hole in our family.  Of course I am desperate to keep fresh in my mind what he looked like and felt like...

...Yet amidst all of that, we praise God - that he has brought much grace, healing, and peace.  We will never "get over" losing Isaiah...we will never "move on"...but we will choose to embrace the peace and healing our Lord offers as we work through our loss.  We will celebrate his short life here.  We will celebrate the glory he experiences now.  We will choose to continue to live.  We will choose to remember.

Would you consider remembering Isaiah with us on his first birthday in Heaven?  I've heard about so many beautiful ways people come up with to remember their babies on their heavenly birthdays -- releasing balloons, donating books to the hospital, wearing pins to remind us to speak of their baby to others, writing and photographing the baby's name in unique ways...

As I thought about how I wanted to remember Isaiah, I realized that this remembering is really for us.  Isaiah gets to be a part of a perfect, beautiful heaven with our Lord - so what we choose to do here is really for us - to ensure that his life is honored and remembered.  Yet I also wanted it to be for others - and to honor God as well.  I asked myself - "what could we do to remember Isaiah here that would show the love we have for him and also show the love we receive from God?"

Over the next 2 weeks - between now and Isaiah's first birthday, which is April 2, 2013, we would love for our friends and family to consider remembering Isaiah by doing something kind for someone else.  It can be something large or small - planned or random - known or anonymous - to those you know or don't know.

I got this idea from the International Kindness Project, put on by the Miss Foundation annually on July 27 in honor of children lost.  They encourage this idea to be used year 'round, so if you'd like - you can print off one of these CARDS to give to the person you serve with kindness if you'd like to let them know that you are doing this in honor of Isaiah.  If you aren't sure of what you want to do, HERE are some ideas to get your thought process moving.  Just remember that no matter how large or small, we are extremely excited and honored that Isaiah will be the reason for some acts of compassion and kindness over the next few weeks.

If you are able and willing and choose to participate, please share your experience with us once you have completed your act(s) of kindness.  Feel free to share on the comments of this blog, through an email to me, or on a Facebook comment, post, or message so that I can compile them in a post here to remember.  It doesn't have to be long, but maybe write about what you you decided what to do...the impact it made on them or you...include a picture if it seems appropriate.

So many memories and emotions are intertwined with revisiting these days one year ago...but instead of just the loss and sorrow, next year hopefully we will have new memories of these days...ones filled with beautiful acts of kindness because of you.

As the anniversary of the day we met him approaches, we want to remember the beautiful gift of our third child - Isaiah - and remember all that the Lord has done in our lives because of him.

Thank you for remembering Isaiah with us as he spends his first birthday in heaven.

The Kleinsassers

Friday, March 15, 2013

Isaiah's Story - Part Eight

Thank you for hanging with me as I continue telling Isaiah's story...I've been working on this post for quite a while, but am getting closer to having his initial story complete.  It is amazing how much energy and emotion it takes to think through the details of these days.

If you are just joining us, you may want to start at the beginning. Click HERE to get to Part One.  In case you have a hard time remembering what happened last time, click HERE to get to Part Seven.

Isaiah's Story - Part Eight

It was about mid-day on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 when we returned from the hospital.  It was wonderful to be home - yet it was so strange not to have our baby with us.  Our children were napping when we got home, and we brought in our bags and were greeted by our parents.

My parents slept in the guest room during that time and Matt's parents graciously slept on an air mattress on the floor in Isaiah's not-quite-finished nursery.  (This turned out to be a very good thing because we never really spent time mourning in his room.  Even after everyone went home, Lydia still napped in that room - and it was never a feaux pas to be in the room.  Seeing the baby furniture made us sad, but thankfully we didn't have to put lots of baby clothes away, etc., because we hadn't yet taken any out since we were waiting until delivery to find out the gender of our third child.)

We were so thankful that our parents were able to stay with us and help with the kids.  I really don't remember much of that day we came home other than holding the kids a lot.  It is a fog in my mind.  I know beautiful flower deliveries started arriving and we could already feel the love of many through meals, messages, and calls, but I truly can't recall much of that day.

The funeral home personnel graciously offered to come to the house the next morning instead of making us drive there, so we made arrangements for the kids to go to our wonderful friend A's house on Wednesday morning.  Our kids love being there - with kids of the exact same gender and ages - so almost as soon as we arrived they ran off to play.  A and I were also expecting our third children around the same time....her baby girl was about a month old at this point.  It was obvious that none of us knew exactly how to address the baby when we got there, but Matt had not yet had a chance to meet her, and we wanted to see her.  Matt held her first.

Watching him made me cry - and I'm pretty sure there were tears in A's eyes as well.  I assured her that I wasn't crying because the baby wasn't was just precious to see Matt hold her (as new babies are his favorite) - and it was so different from holding Isaiah over the past two days.  When I held her, watching her breathe was nothing short of amazing.  It was beautiful.  For all of you that have breathing babies -- don't take it for granted.  Their breath is a tender gift.  I know it must have been hard for A to have us there, too. With about 13 of our friends just having or expecting babies shortly, I knew it would be hard for all of them.  How do people conceptualize and work through a loss that could've happened to any of us?  I am so thankful for A - who graciously offered her friendship even in a hard, uncomfortable time.  It would have been easy to stay away, but her love was unceasing and so needed.  Thank you, my friend.

We headed home shortly after to meet with the man from the funeral home.  I wasn't sure how to approach this meeting, but on the way home I felt a resolve come over me to just get through it -- to just make the decisions we needed to make.  I had already imagined how horrible it would be to talk about details like coffins and embalming - burial and service logistics - but I knew that we just had to get through it.

The funeral director (the son of the founder) came alone, and he was not what I expected.  He was not extremely serious with a quiet voice, but instead had an enthusiastic nature.  He was very intelligent and respectful and thankfully shared our faith at a deep level, but he just wasn't what I expected.  Our parents sat in on the meeting and weighed in when needed.  I could tell some of them were having a really rough time at moments.  Matt and I didn't cry during the meeting...we just considered the facts and made decisions as we had to.  The hardest part for me was figuring out how to plan the service.  It was hard for me to call it a funeral, so we called it a memorial service instead.  We made the casket choice and discussed many details.  The director told us that we needed to have things like order of service, burial clothes, and obituary write-ups to him by the Thursday morning.  I really did not want to visit the funeral home, so my Dad offered to drive the items there.  Eventually the director left and we went back to A's to pick up our kids.  We had SO much that had to be done in the next 48 hours.  My head was spinning.

Having never been to a child's or infant's funeral, I had been scouring the internet for resources to help us plan and really had no luck.  Nothing in the book we received from the hospital was helpful, and the few planning resources I did find online had to be ordered and shipped, which didn't help us time-wise.  I had asked our funeral director during the meeting if he had any resources like songs, poems, scriptures, order of service, etc. for infant funerals that we could look at, and he said no.  I was shocked.  How were we supposed to plan an infant funeral?  We had never been to one and had no resources to help us.  I started to feel anxiety rising when thinking about the was so overwhelming.  The only thing I had in my mind was that I wanted something simple.  I didn't want 10 songs or a complicated service...I felt convinced that simplicity would reflect in some way how we wanted to celebrate the life of Isaiah.  Although Isaiah never lived outside of the womb, he lived!  Even though that was a simple existence, the entire reason we were having this service was to recognize his life.

Although I am a music teacher and come from a very musical family, I didn't even want the music to be complicated.  Thankfully Matt's mom came to the rescue as she calmly flipped through the hymnal and started making a list of songs that might be appropriate.  As we looked through them, we chose Great is Thy Faithfulness as our opening hymn - for the message of the lyrics and the fact that our kids knew it well - which we hoped would put them at ease at the service.  I loved the words of Children of our Heavenly Father, but we were unsure that the congregation would know it well enough for a congregational hymn - so instead we decided to list the words of several of the meaningful verses in the program.  We chose 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus as the closing hymn - during which the family would exit.

For the prelude, instead of having someone play the piano or something, I knew I wanted the people to enter listening to one of my favorite albums by Fernando Ortega - The Shadow of Your Wings.  This album has brought me through MANY sweet and hard times over the past few years.  If you are seeking peace, this album speaks the truth of scripture through song - and I highly recommend it.  It is dear to my heart.

Eventually Matt and I had to choose a song to go with the slide show that our nurse T had made to use for the service.  We went into our room alone to listen through several songs that I had found.  It is always hard for me to hear songs that speak of the hurt we are enduring.  After listening to several, we decided on "Glory Baby," by Watermark.  I had known it before and it was the one T had suggested when she made the slideshow.  I do have to say that I didn't know about the song "I will Carry You" by Selah yet -- and may have chosen that if I had -- but I have always loved "Glory Baby" and was really happy with that choice. (I'll post Isaiah's actual slide show in the next post.)

Time started to get away from us, and we realized that we still had so much to do.  Wed night we went to the closest department store to look for a burial outfit for Isaiah.  How does one do such a thing?  I didn't want a fancy baptism-like gown or anything cartoony - and Matt really wanted to be able to see Isaiah's feet in the was important to him.  So anything fancy, cartoony, or with footies was out.  We finally decided on a sweet blue outfit with some animals on it.  Later we did find another one of these outfits so that I could have one for a keepsake -- (another thing I never would've thought about -- buy two of any burial outfit right away -- a mom will want one to keep).

When I found out Matt wanted to be the Pall Bearer, I was unsure of what to think.  Every funeral I had been a part of used many nephews, grandsons, or cousins for such a task.  The funeral director said that it was customary in infant funerals for the father to carry out the casket, but I wasn't sure how I felt about it.  When I talked to him later about it, Matt somberly told me that he felt like this was the only thing he could really do for his son.  Of course I agreed to let him if he wanted to, but I just didn't want him to feel like he had to.  It seemed impossible that our son had died - and that the only thing we could do for him was carry his body to a safe burial and try to honor his tiny life.  It seemed like these things just don't happen to people - but they do.

Though we were so thankful to have our parents there really caring for our kids in a time when we didn't have the energy, our little house was very full.  I don't think I know how to be emotional around people - so all I really wanted to do was be in my room alone to grieve - even though I knew everyone there loved us and wanted to support us.  The only person I really wanted to grieve with was Matt - though I did know that everyone else was grieving, too.  It was a hard time.

We spent the next couple days in a fog - writing obituaries, planning the service, buying funeral flowers, choosing our family's clothes for the funeral, and loving on our living kids.  Along with these emotionally exhausting tasks, recovering physically from birth and dealing with the physical issues of not having my baby there made the week even harder.  We also had never known how grief could truly physically affect a person (exhaustion, eating, sleeping, ability to think clearly, etc).  The more I read, the more I realized this was very normal...and those physical affects remained present for quite some time.

On Thursday my Dad drove the burial outfit to the funeral home and we worked on the service details throughout the day.  My Dad designed the program for the service - as he felt this was something that he could do for Isaiah.  They turned out beautifully.

After my Dad returned from the funeral home, he told us that the funeral director really wanted us to go to the funeral home to see Isaiah and decide if we wanted an open casket for the funeral or not.  He explained that they were having a hard time keeping his skin from breaking down because it was so fragile.  Matt and I were very torn about this decision.

We went to the funeral home on Friday morning, and I'm so glad we did.  There isn't much that I can say to explain seeing our tiny baby in his tiny white casket for the first time, but I am glad we were able to do it alone before the day of the funeral.  It was good for Matt and I to see him alone - and it took some of the stigma away from what the funeral would hold the next day.

Isaiah didn't look quite like himself.  I was really disappointed to see him "made up" like other bodies I had seen at funerals.  I was hoping they would be able to keep his body as natural as possible, but as they explained, they were constantly dealing with the breaking down of the fragile skin on his face and had to apply make-up often.  To them, he didn't look all that great - but we didn't care...he was our baby, and to us - he would always look good.

We still couldn't decide about the open casket issue, though.  We had made time for a family viewing at the funeral before the public arrived - which was most important to us.  My Mom and Aunt D were working on a beautiful spread of photos that would be displayed (thank you for making that Mom and D - it was perfect) -- and the funeral home was working on blowing up several pictures to display as well -- so we knew people would at least get a sense of who Isaiah was, but we weren't sure if others wanted the chance to see his body.  As we asked a few friends for their opinion, and it seemed those in our generation did want the chance to see him -- those in our parents' generation were split on the issue -- and those in our grandparents' generation were against it.  We definitely didn't want people to feel obligated to view his body, so in the end we decided that we would have an open casket before the service as long as the casket was far from the door where people could make the choice if they wanted to view him or not.  Matt and I would then go and close the casket before the service started.

On Friday, several of our family members and friends started arriving for the funeral.  Although distance or sudden illness kept some from coming, we were so thankful that all of our immediate family (except my sweet Grandma) were able to come to either the service in the cities or the service the following week in SD (which preceded the burial).  Since they all live out of state, most of our family members weren't around us right away when Isaiah passed - and though I knew they were sad, we weren't together to actually see how learning of Isaiah's death had affected them.  So even though there are many things that I remember about people supporting us, one of the most meaningful moments was seeing my brothers and their families when they arrived - and the fact that without saying anything, they just cried with us.  I don't know why it meant so much.  It would've been easy to try to be strong and just tell us how sorry they were, but actually seeing how losing Isaiah affected them meant a lot.  Thanks for being willing to share your emotions with us, family -- we love you.

During that funeral planning week, many people were writing us messages and calling, but keeping up with this wasn't something we were able to do.  We did realize that because the funeral would be on the Saturday before Easter, some of our friends and family would be out of town and unable to attend the service.  Because of this, our Moms suggested scheduling an open house at our house on Friday evening for people that couldn't come to the service to be able to stop by - or for friends and family to convene in order to show their support.  In hindsight, I'm very glad we did this - but at the time it was very stressful to me - only because we had so much to do and I felt pressure to then worry about the house, etc.  There were things around the house that our Moms wouldn't be able to just find a place for, so I had to do some of that.  But they took care of all of the rest of the cleaning and cooking, and it ended up being a really nice time.  Thanks for your love and energy in putting that on, Moms - we love you!  And thanks to everyone that was able to come.

God was so very near to us in this time.  We looked to Him and felt His strength, but to be honest, we were also very numb and in shock.  I am so thankful for God's faithfulness in upholding us in a time that we could barely function on our own.  As we prepared to remember Isaiah, we wanted God to be glorified in all things - even amidst this storm in our lives.  I hope that was so.

As I had just attended and sang at my first cousin, J's, funeral just over a week earlier, I had said to Matt that day that if I was my Aunt and Uncle, the first thing on my mind the morning of the funeral would be that I just wouldn't want to come.  I wouldn't want to come to grips with having to say "goodbye" to my child!  Who knew that I would be dealing with a similar situation so soon.  This is definitely what I was feeling like the night before and morning of the funeral.  But like that meeting with the funeral director, a resolve came over me that we just had to get through it (the strength of the Holy Spirit, I'm sure).  As much as we didn't want to go at all...see anyone...say goodbye to our boy --- we had to.

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Same Age

It is amazing to think that I am 36 weeks along with our Rainbow girl.  It was during this week of my pregnancy with Isaiah that he was born into heaven...and born silently into our arms.  36 weeks and 5 days will come on Friday (March 8) for this little one.

I have been anticipating this week - the last time that our babies will be the same age - and wondering how I would feel about it.  Would this be a scary or hard time, or will the actual anniversary of Isaiah's birth/death (April 2) be harder?  So far, this week has been okay.  Though I am saddened to move past the age of what Isaiah was when we met him - I am relieved all at the same time that our baby girl is still doing well and continuing to thrive in the womb.

I have been wondering how each "milestone" of pregnancy would affect my grief...or how each stage of grief would affect my pregnancy.  For the most part, I have been amazed and grateful for the peace God has granted.  I have only had a couple of serious bouts of anxiety - and though there is a constant heightened awareness of this baby's every move, I am so thankful that I haven't had horrible anxiety (which everyone reminds me would be very understandable).  Some practical measures have helped.  I do have a doppler at home that I use occasionally, and we have been able to have weekly biophysical profiles (like ultrasounds) from 32 weeks until delivery to give peace of mind.  But mostly I have just continued grieving the fact that Isaiah isn't here and growing with us - and trying to anticipate the arrival of this baby girl with joy.  I do have to admit that this is complicated - and I'm not sure I'm doing a great job of either one - but I am doing what I need to in order to remain as calm as I can in this time.  PRAISE GOD that, for the most part, I have had peace (and thank you to those that have been praying precisely for this -- your prayers have been answered!).

As far as this week in relation to Isaiah, this is the biggest he ever got to be.  Yet I am still SO thankful for his life - all 36 weeks and 5 days of it...for the fact that God chose me to be his mom...for how his life has/continues to change me.

As far as how this week affects my feelings about this pregnancy, to be honest - it is still shocking to me that something horrible could happen to a baby this far along.  I am big.  She is full term.  We are ready.  She is healthy.  When she moves, I am excited that she is alive (but am painfully aware of the possibility that her life could be gone at any moment).

It is so easy to imagine the worst (and in order to guard my heart, I still have had to go through imagining some of those things - just in case).  But until there is a reason to worry, I try to focus on the best case scenario -- that we will soon be bringing home a healthy baby girl.  Though we know the realities of loss, we trust in the even larger reality that God has a plan for our little girl and already intimately knows the days of her life.  Mostly - we have to have faith and hope in Christ when we question the length of life...just like with our other kids and family members (even when trying to protect ourselves from the "what if" scenarios).  Whether our baby girl's life is meant to be 36 weeks and 5 days or 100 years, we will praise God for her life.

I am sad that this week is the last time that we will be able to think for our girl - "you are doing such and such, just like Isaiah was when he was this age."  But just as I am certain that Isaiah's short life had tremendous purpose and meaning, the purpose of this little girl's life - no matter how long or short - has just as much meaning.  I am thankful that we can trust that this is the perfect timing for her to come.  I am truly grateful that I have been chosen to be her mom - and I wonder how I will change with her presence in my life.

Some days I am so jealous of Isaiah -- that he is kickin' it with Jesus and able to understand the many mysteries, joys, and heartaches of life here that we just cannot understand.  Thankfully - someday we will understand, too.

Just as the roles of each member of our family are changing with the arrival of this little one, so is Isaiah's role.  He is becoming a big brother, and I know he is just thrilled.