Monday, August 31, 2009

The Road Ahead

Reality sets in tomorrow as I go back to work after 8 weeks of being at home. This is NOT how I thought these 8 weeks would be. I'm REALLY having a hard time with going back to work. I guess I'm just scared to face it....the memories, the customers with the sad looks and "I'm so sorry to hear about your loss...", having to answer questions about what happened, having to put on a happy face because that's what my job requires. I really do LOVE my co-workers. I am VERY blessed that I am actually friends with most all of them, but I honestly just wish I was going to work somewhere else just so I don't have to face all of those things. I'm sure I will probably feel better after the first week...after all the shock of returning has subsided.

While this was not at all the way I thought life would be over these last 8 weeks, I am thankful that I got to spend so much time with my family. We've been to Tybee Island, to Dahlonega, to Stone Mountain, to Macon, to Blue Ridge, and to Helen. We've gone bowling, swimming, gone to the park, tubing down the river in Helen, played trivia, and celebrated my 29th Birthday. My arms have felt empty, but life has been full. I am thankful for that.

It's a long road ahead. Life after Noah.

....ready or not.

Friday, August 28, 2009

There is anguish, there is suffering, but there is HOPE!

EDIT to this post: I just saw that the ladies at (In)Courage have asked us to write a post about Hope. Since I just wrote this entry a few days ago about hope, I thought I would link to it on their site.

Yesterday (my birthday) was a great day. I really thought that it was going to be hard to smile, hard to celebrate, hard to think of anything but Noah. But God blessed me with a wonderful day. I was busy pretty much all day, spending time with friends and family. My sweet brother-in-law and sister-in-law sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I got all kinds of sweet cards and gifts and about 100 facebook messages wishing me a happy birthday. I felt very special and very blessed. It was a day filled with sunshine and a lot of laughter.

I'm about to get really honest, so if you can't handle it, don't read it. If you just want me to be happy and wish I would stop whining...don't read it....

I wish I could have gone to sleep AS SOON AS I got home last night, but I just couldn't. For some reason, guilt crept in. I felt like I wasn't supposed to be happy, like I shouldn't have laughed. I felt like I had neglected Noah because I had pushed away thoughts of him all day. David had already gone to sleep and loneliness crept in. I suddenly felt very empty. I cannot begin to explain the emptiness that a mother who has lost her baby feels. I want him back in my womb....I want the joy back of "expecting" him.

I walked in Noah's room and leaned over his crib and placed my hand on the soft, empty sheet. It's just appalling. He should be there. It's like the room is just waiting for him. I grabbed his teddy bear, wrapped it up in a blanket (like a crazy woman, I was hoping to relieve some of the ache of my empty arms with a teddy bear), sat in the rocking chair and the storm hit me so hard. Like a tornado. No real warning. I wouldn't have wanted anyone to see it. It was the ugly cry. The teddy bear was soaked after the 2 hours that I sat there and sobbed. I didn't want to wake up David. After all, he had to go to work. I tried to calm myself down. I pleaded with God to comfort me, to give me strength. It's been weeks since I've been that overwhelmed to the point where I really can't stop. There's really absolutely nothing you can do but give it to God and ask him for peace. Nothing relieves the ache. I just screamed into the teddy bear, "GOD I WANT MY CHILD BACK!!!! I WANT HIM BACK!!!!"

At 4:30am I still couldn't stop, so I finally woke David up. The thing I love about my husband is that he will just comfort me and hold me in his arms. He knows I don't need words in times like that. I just need his loving arms. I just need to be held. The sobs got softer and softer until I finally drifted off to sleep. I woke up at 8:30 when Ethan jumped in the bed with me. I have to start my day, I have no choice....even though the rain outside makes me want to curl up in a ball and just let the grief consume me. I have to pull myself together and in a few days, life really starts back when I return to work.

I don't want anyone who reads my blog to misunderstand my grief. There is anguish, there is suffering, but there is HOPE! I grieve because my child is not here in my arms...NOT because I believe he no longer exists. I KNOW he still exists! I have the hope of Christ and I have the hope of Heaven, so I will see my son again! That doesn't mean that while I'm here on earth there won't be tears and there won't be hurt. There will be times that I am angry and there will be times that I am very sad. But I am held. God is holding me. Losing Noah would be the death of me if I didn't have the hope of Christ! I long for the day that Christ returns and there will be NO more weeping...NO more sadness.

I Thessalonians 4 says...

13 "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. "

Please pray for me this morning as I am going to have some bloodwork done and I'm really not feeling up to it today. I think I will keep Ethan home from daycare today. He always makes me smile.

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning" ~Psalm 30:5

God, please give me joy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Events & Special Occassions

Days of celebration are sometimes some of the hardest days for those who have lost a loved one. Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays, July 4th, Mother's Day, and Father's Day are supposed to be some of the happiest days of the year. Days we honor Christ or honor loved ones. But celebrating is sometimes the furthest thing from one's mind when they are grieving. All they can think about is how they wished that their loved one was there with them to celebrate.

Tomorrow is my 29th birthday. It's really snuck up on me this week. I haven't really thought that much about it. My last year as a 20-something. I just wish I felt like celebrating. I had wondered if Noah might arrive on my birthday. His due date is quickly approaching (9-9-09) and I'm feeling overwhelmed. I stopped by to see David at work for a few minutes this morning. We just hugged. I told him I felt totally overwhelmed. Starting back to work, my birthday, Noah's due date, having to move on with life. It's just a lot to handle right now. I also stopped by Noah's grave and was not happy at what I found! Let's just say that someone has not been cleaning up after their dog out there around my son's grave.....this does not make me happy.

David and I are both taking the day off from work on Noah's due date. It will be an emotional day for us and it's not something we can ignore...especially since it's a big day anyway since it's 9-9-09. Interesting...Noah was born 7-7 and his due date was 9-9. We will be keeping Ethan out of daycare that day as well and just spending some time together as a family.

I love the fall. It's my favorite time of year...especially since we are approaching the holiday season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, then another New Year. I could not wait to have another tiny baby to show off to family this Christmas. I thought about all the fun pictures I would take of Ethan and Noah together. I know I say it almost daily, but it's just so hard to accept this new reality. It really is. My mind replays everything over and over again. I keep thinking about the moment we found out he was's like watching a movie that ends badly that you've seen 100 times, but every time you watch it, you brace yourself at the climax and hope for a different outcome. If only life were like the movies and you could add an "alternate ending".

I haven't even started on Noah's scrapbook yet. I had planned on working on it this week, but it's just another thing that feels overwhelming to me. I have started learning how to make jewelry which has been really fun. I've made a few pieces to honor Noah...including this bracelet...

David and I have also started eating a lot better and exercising. I gained 31 pounds while pregnant with Noah. I've lost 17 of that. I would really like to lose about 34 more to get to my ideal weight (as I had already gained some of my weight back before I got pregnant). I lost all my baby weight a lot faster last time with nursing Ethan. It's a lot more difficult this time. I've started doing Pilates again as well as using the exercise bike we bought while I was pregnant. We are also taking Ethan on a walk every night. We hope to teach him the importance of exercise at an early age.

Speaking of exercise....I better get to it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ethan in Video and Pictures

I love my firstborn son. Ethan has his mommy's heart. He has such a kind, tender heart and if he loves you, he loves you deeply. Sure, he's a 3-year-old and can REALLY act like a 3-year-old sometimes, but he's so loving. When he wants to be rough and play, it's Daddy time and when he wants to cuddle, it's Mommy time! He LOVES his Daddy! David does this thing that he likes to call "Power Bomb". He will pick Ethan up, flip him around and (with me holding my breath) slams Ethan down on the bed or couch. Ethan will come running back, "Daddy, give me a 'Powber Bom' again!" And just about every single night we will put Ethan to bed and 5 minutes later he will walk into the living room saying, "Mommy, come sleep with me". When I lay down with him, he will rub or pat my back and every night since Noah died he says, "Mommy, you miss your baby Noah? He's not in your tummy anymore?" And I reply, "Yes baby, I do miss Noah, but Mommy loves you SO much!" And then he says, "But baby Noah is in Heaven with Jesus!" Then sometimes he will ask me if we can go see him and I tell him that he can't go to Heaven to see Noah until he's at least 100 years old!!!!!! :o)

Here are a few of pictures of Ethan and us...

If you know me, you know I love watching old videos. My parents bought me my first video camera on my 17th birthday (12 years!!!) and I have so many old videos. Of course I filmed Ethan a ton when he was a baby, so I thought I would share some old clips I have. These are just some videos that I love and that really bring a smile to my face.

First, one of the most popular videos of Ethan. Our pastor's son, Micah is making him laugh. I just adore Ethan's laugh! It's infectious!

This next video is kind of cruel. Ethan was saying, "Mama" (at least that is what I believed!) and I caught it on tape! The cruel part is that he is crying and wants to be picked up and I just kept filming!

Here's one that David filmed. Ethan was laughing at his Daddy!

Ethan the 1-year-old playing some hoops (his Uncle Jason & Aunt Esther bought his a basketball goal for his 1st birthday)

And Ethan LOVES to sing, just like his Mommy and Daddy...
Singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" with Da-da - Age 2

"Itsy Bitsy Spider" - Age 2

"I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin - Age 2 and 1/2

"God of This City" by Chris Tomlin - Age 2 and 1/2 (he sounds so country!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Heart Aches

I don't know what else to say today. My heart just hurts. It's my last week at home before I return to work next Tuesday and I just don't like the way things are right now. I wanted to go to work part time and spend time with Noah. I miss my co-workers, they are the best, but I just don't want to go back there. I have no choice right now. I know I'll probably be fine once I start back, but for now, I'm dreading it.

I just want my son back.

I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. All my longings lie open
before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. I wait for you, O LORD;
you will answer, O Lord my God. ~Psalm 38:8-9,15

So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. I spread out my
hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the
pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in
you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. ~Psalm 143:4, 6-8

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Todd & Angie Smith...the story of Audrey Caroline

I would like to encourage anyone who has ever lost a child to watch the testimony of Todd and Angie Smith on youtube. Todd is one of the lead singers of the group, Selah. Even if you haven't lost a child, it can really minister to you. We've all had hopes and dreams for how we wanted our lives to turn out. Sometimes it's really difficult to accept things when they don't turn out the way we thought they would. But this is just a reminder that nothing is a surprise to God. Their testimony is in 3 parts so make sure you see all three of them. I have posted all 3 below. Also, you may enjoy reading Angie's blog at Angie is writing a book about her experience and it should be out by summer of 2010.

My Rainbow....God's Promise

David and I met with a gentleman yesterday who will be getting Noah's grave marker made and installed. We are pretty set on what we want, just have to work out a few final details. The guy asked after our conversation, so are you sure this is what you want? I blurted out, "What I want is to have my son back!" The poor guy....I excused myself to the restroom to sob for a few minutes. It will take about 4-6 weeks for it to be ready and installed. It will be so nice to have a place to put flowers!

I went for my 6 week appointment yesterday. I did better than last time. I didn't break down until the nurse asked me if I was having any postpartum depression. think? They put me in a room and as I was looking around I noticed that the particular room I was in didn't have any of the pregnancy brochures or posters. Instead it had brochures about osteoporosis, mammograms, and menopause. Don't know if they purposely put me in a room that was void of pregnancy related things or if it was just a coincidence. Dr. Duhart came in and we chatted for a while. She told me some very encouraging news. She said she spoke with the pathologist personally who did the report on the placenta and cord and said that there was absolutely nothing that they felt would be recurrent. This is great news. It won't make me worry any less if I get pregnant again someday, but it's good to know.

I wanted to share something with all of you. Sunday night was a difficult night for me. I really broke down and cried out to God. I was pretty honest with God (which I know He can handle since He knows my thoughts anyway). I told Him I was angry with Him for allowing Noah to die. For letting us believe for 31 weeks that he was going to be a part of our family and we would raise him in our home and love him and nurture him. During my conversation with God I asked Him for something. I asked Him for a promise. I asked God to promise me that He would never take a child away from me again. I asked Him to give me a rainbow as a sign of this promise. I'm pretty demanding....I know.

Today a storm rolled in. It was the kind of storm that you could see coming from a distance and half the sky was blue with white puffy clouds while the other half was stormy with dark clouds. On my way to pick up Ethan the rain started to pour down. I picked up Ethan from daycare and put him in the van. I pulled out of the parking lot and as I approached the traffic light, I looked to my right and there in the sky was a huge, beautiful rainbow. I started to cry. Then the person behind me started honking because I was in a daze. I drove straight home and got my camera. The rainbow followed me all the way home and when I pulled into my neighborhood, you could see the entire rainbow from end to end.

So did God make the promise I hoped he would? Well, no. He never promised Noah that there would never be another flood. He only promised he would not destroy the whole earth by flood. He did not promise me that I would not suffer another loss, but God spoke very clearly to me in that moment and he said that this rainbow was a promise that He was there. That He understood. That He would never leave me. That He would hold me no matter what storm comes. THAT is the peace that passes all understanding.

So is it just coincidence that I prayed for a rainbow and 3 days later saw it?....I don't think so. So if you saw the rainbow yesterday, just wanted you to know that it was an answer to my prayer :o). It was for me.

Just like God sent a rainbow to Noah after the flood, God sent me a rainbow to remind me that He has my Noah in his arms...and he has me in his arms.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I've added an edit to this post below the last paragraph (but before the song)....

Today I took Ethan to daycare and then ran to Subway to get some lunch. David and I always go to the same Subway even though there are about 10 of them around town. We just feel like the food is fresher and the employees are nicer at this particular one. Also, one of the women that works there is the mother of one of the kids at Ethan's daycare. She always talks to me when I go to Subway and is usually very friendly. She always asked me about my pregnancy and how things were going. I walked in and saw her standing behind the counter and I sort of cringed at the thought of her asking me if I had already had my baby. Today I walked in and she said, "May I help you?" I gave her my order and she made my sandwich. Then she said, "Is there anything else you'd like?" I said, "No thank you, just the sandwich." And that was that. She acted as though she didn't even know me. Which honestly, I don't even know her first name, but she ALWAYS talks to me. It was as if she didn't recognize me without the belly. Either that or she knew that we lost Noah and she didn't know what to say. It was just weird and it made me uncomfortable. Just for the record, I would MUCH rather people ACKNOWLEDGE that Noah died than to not say anything at all.

I stopped by Hobby Lobby to find some stuff for the scrapbook I am making to put all of Noah's photos and keepsakes in. I walked up and down the aisles of scrapbook stickers and browsed through all the different "Baby Boy" stickers they had. How hard is it to just pick out some stickers? VERY HARD. I broke down in the middle of the second aisle. I was so thankful there wasn't anyone around that I would have to explain why I was crying over stickers. Stickers like, "A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities", and "A baby is a miracle sent from heaven into our hearts and our home"....quite the opposite actually. My baby was taken TO Heaven which ripped out my heart and gave me an empty room at home. I know, that's a little dramatic, but these are the types of things I was thinking as I was looking at these stickers. I bought the ones I thought I could use, but probably half on each page represent a healthy LIVING child, so they will be useless (for now). I plan on working on the scrapbook this week and will take photos of all the pages to share with all of you. First I must finish the 87 thank you notes that I have to write!!! I've only gotten about 15 done. This has been a long and difficult task....especially just trying to get the addresses of everyone I want to thank.

Later, I went to get my hair cut and highlighted. The last time I went to the salon was just a few days before Noah died. In fact, my last photos of being pregnant were taken the day of my last haircut. The girl who cuts my hair has become a great friend of mine (Stephanie). She and I were pregnant at the same time when I was pregnant with Ethan and her with Summer. Then this time I was pregnant with Noah and her with Kylee. It was so great seeing her today and talking with her. She has been another one of those friends who has really mourned with us. Having had Kylee just under 3 months ago, her heart really breaks for us. She can just imagine the pain of our loss. Thank you for your friendship, Stephanie!!! Also, if all of you would please say a prayer for Kylee tonight as she is having some problems with her tummy. Pray for God's healing. Thank you!!!

I must encourage all of you to go get Selah's new CD, "You Deliver Me". It wasn't supposed to come out until August 25th, but Lifeway had it out today so I picked up a copy! I absolutely LOVE this CD!!! Selah's music touches my heart so much (and of course I love Todd Smith's voice, so it's really wonderful!!!) The song that Todd and Angie wrote for their daughter is on the CD (I Will Carry You) and there is another song that has truly encouraged me. It's called, "Unredeemed". I've written the words below and you can also listen to a live recording of it by clicking HERE. I've already listened to it probably 50 times, but today as I listened to it, I started crying and just praised the Lord as I really thought about the last few lines which say, "Places where grace is soon to be so amazing. It may be unfulfilled. It may be unrestored, but you never know the miracle the Father has in store." I thought about the children we may have in the future that may have never been had Noah not died. David and I know that we would not have Ethan if our twins had survived. And Ethan is such an amazing miracle from the Lord. No matter what happens, I do believe that the heartache we are experiencing will one day be redeemed.

EDIT: I got a sick feeling after I posted this blog entry that I might be Noah can NEVER be replaced. I would never have given up Noah for another child, but I guess I just pray that someday I may be able to view the loss of Noah as God paving the way for another miracle in our lives...whether that be through having another child or by the impact we can have on others' lives through the story of our sweet Noah. Hope that makes sense! Ok...maybe I can sleep now.

The cruelest world
The coldest heart
The deepest wound
The endless dark
The lonely ache
The burning tears
The bitter nights
The wasted years

Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed

For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every lie that gave up hope
We live in the shadow of the fall
But the cross says these are all
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed

Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But you never know the miracle the Father has in store
Just watch and see
It will not be
Just watch and see
It will not be unredeemed

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ethan, road trips, and more....

Ethan and I had a great time visiting my parents last week in Blue Ridge, Georgia. We took Ethan on his very first train ride and he was so thrilled! Thomas the Train is his favorite show, so he called this train "Thomas" the whole time. I had a difficult time leaving our house to go to Blue Ridge. It sounds ridiculous, but I felt panicked, like I was leaving Noah behind. It took me a while to actually walk out the door. Once we got to my parent's house though, I was fine. We really had a great visit and I enjoyed spending a whole week with my son. Just another reason that I am NOT looking forward to going back to work in 2 weeks.

We had a great weekend. We went to Macon to spend some time with David's family. It was good to be able to talk about Noah without bursting into tears (well...all but 2 times). David's dad and stepmom gave us a Bible that they had bought for Noah. It meant so much to both of us. There are days when it feels like it's getting easier, but then suddenly it will feel unbearable again. Yesterday we had a GREAT day at church. I was fine all day. No break downs. Really, I felt happy. I felt normal again. I felt like I could talk to people and I had some really great conversations. But then last night after we got home, I just felt awful again. It's in the quiet moments that I start thinking about Noah and thinking about how I don't have him in me anymore and I don't have him in my arms either. There are still moments that I think, "Is this real?.....did this REALLY happen? Am I REALLY not pregnant anymore? Is he REALLY gone?" David just held me last night and let me sob in his arms.....with my whole body shaking and everything. David said he had times like that while Ethan and I were in Blue Ridge. He understands. He hurts too. And I'm SO thankful that this has brought David and I closer rather than ripping us apart.

I'm going to try to do some cleaning around the house today and hopefully keep myself distracted. I will leave you with pictures from our trip to Blue Ridge......

And I took these when we got home...he actually sat still, smiled, and let me take his picture!