Mother’s Day

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I love Mother’s Day. It’s the perfect day to spend time with loved ones, get some yard work done, and make excuses for eating that extra donut (I’ve raised 3 kids, I totally earned it, right?). My girls are super festive-especially my oldest. They LOVE to celebrate. I can’t blame them, they get it from me. The very first thing Lane said to me when we woke up this morning was, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy!” In fact, I think I love this little holiday more and more every year.

I am so grateful for the family that God has given me. A loving husband, three beautiful girls. They give me all the warm and fuzzy feelings. All of them. I love getting to be a momma. It’s such a beautiful privilege. I have learned so much these past 5 years, and I wouldn’t trade being a mom for the world. Truly, I am so very blessed. However, on this day, I can’t help but turn my heart and mind to those babies that I’ve lost. Judah’s birthday is May 2, and my due date for the twins was supposed to be at the end of May, which makes this a particularly difficult month for us.

I don’t understand why my babies had to be taken away from me-I don’t think I ever will. I long for their arms around my waist and to hear their tiny voices whisper, “I love you” into my ear. How I wish I could have seen their grubby little fingers as they helped to plant our garden today, to see their muddy footprints all over our floors. These are things I will not have this side of heaven. And I don’t know why. I feel the weight of it every day. But particularly this month, and especially today. It’s not an easy road to walk, I don’t think it ever will be. I hear different things from different people. “It never gets any easier” “Things will get better, just give it time” “There will be good days and bad days.” I think they’re all true, in different ways. In some ways, it simply does not get easier. It is never easy to look at little boy clothes, or to hear about twins. Some things are truly better-my perspective for one. And while a part of me aches all the time, some days I simply ache more than others. Today is one of those days.

So for all of you beautiful women out there-those who have lost babies, and those who cannot have babies, know this: I’m right there in the trenches with you. You are not alone in your pain. And while I may or may not know you, I am praying for you. It’s ok if Mother’s Day is a hard day for you. It’s a hard day for me too. And my sorrow does not negate my joy. Somehow they are intertwining to write a beautiful story-one I could never write on my own. It is well known that there is beauty in joy, but there is beauty in sadness as well; a beauty all it’s own, a beauty we may not ever understand. But God is working, He’s painting a picture we can’t quite yet see. I yearn for the day when I can see my Savior face to face and He can show me the beauty that lay in all of my pain.

But until then, sweet friends, let’s cling to one another. Let’s pray for each other, lift each other up. Laugh together, cry together, rejoice and weep and celebrate and mourn-sometimes all at the same time. Let’s hold each other’s hands and walk this road together. Because, beloved, this road was never meant to be walked alone.

 

Our Judah Story-Part 7-Recovery

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It’s hard to say how long my actual recovery took. Even after the memorial service and burial, even after my release from the hospital, I still had to be watched. My placenta had been a poison to my body, and though it was no longer a part of me, there was still a chance that I would develop some serious side effects. For one, we had to make sure that none of the placenta had broken off and remained in my body. I don’t know how much you know about placentas, but normally they come out spongelike-you can pick them up. Mine was in no way, shape, or form, solid. It was basically a gooey mess. My doctor who has been  doing his job for over 30 years said he had never seen anything like it. For another thing, we had to make sure I didn’t develop cancer. I had lots of follow up appointments, x-rays, blood work and the like done. It seemed like forever until I was released from bed rest.

I delivered Judah on May 2, 2012. The entire rest of our summer I was still really weak. I couldn’t do normal things, and taking care of Lane took about everything out of me. Thankfully, my parents had bought a camper that year, and we went camping almost every weekend. There is just something about being outside, relaxing around a campfire. It’s good for the soul. Normally, I’m the type of person who almost never gets sick. I couldn’t even count how many times I got sick that year. My body was still so weak, it couldn’t fight off any sickness. I love to sing, and was on the worship team at church, but singing literally hurt my lungs-in fact, it was physically difficult to sing. To say it was a long road to recovery would be an understatement. And that was just my body. I haven’t even talked about my heart.

One thing that helped hold me together was a phone call I had received from Dr. Harry the day after I delivered Judah. He heard that I had delivered the baby and wanted to know how I was doing. “I can’t believe you delivered the baby so quickly” he told me. “The medicine simply doesn’t work that way. You know, we see miracles everyday, but the fact that you delivered your baby so quickly is truly a miracle.” He said I probably miscarried on my own and my body simply passed Judah-he didn’t think it had anything to do with the medicine. Even when things are terrible, God is still good. I kept reminding myself of this moment, because it helped me to remember that God still remembered me

Friends, this was the worst time in my life. I have seen some really, really hard times since, but this trumps them all. Losing my first baby boy. Almost losing my life. Having to relinquish my motherly duties to somebody else. Not to mention the impact that losing our baby had on our marriage. I have yet to see a darker time in my life. But dear ones, I can also say with total confidence that I felt the Presence of my Sweet Jesus so fully during that hard season. I have never had more peace than I did in that wretched time. You see, even amidst all the pain, and the ugliness, and the disparity, there is still beauty. Jesus is telling a story in my life, through my life. Jesus is using me. He’s using my story. He is using Judah. One friend had to explain death to his little boy when we lost our son, and it resulted in his salvation. That was only one victory. And I know there will be others. I know my Judah’s life was not in vain. I know there is more to the story and I am excited to see what is to come.

Jesus held me during that time. He held me in that hospital room. He held me through the labor, through the delivery, through the sickness, and the pain, and the loneliness and the confusion. He held tightly onto me. He was holding me together. I easily could have died. I know I was close to it. But my Lord and my God kept me here for a reason. For such a time as this. I can’t take that lightly. I can’t just let that sit on the shelf and collect dust. He gave me a reason and a purpose. And I am here to tell you that He loves you too! He has a plan for you. A purpose. There is a reason you are here. There is a reason for the painful things in your life. There will be beauty, there will be peace, there will be redemption. I’ve seen it. I know it. And it is just as true for you as it is for me. So take heart, beloved. For your Savior is near.

I won’t lie to you. This path is not easy. Yes, I have healed, but there is still healing yet to come. I still don’t understand why my son was ripped away from me. This side of heaven I may never know. I still have hard days. There are still times when Blake finds me crying on the shower floor. There are still days where it’s hard to pass by the boy clothes in the baby section. It still hits me like a ton of bricks every time I meet a little boy named Judah. It will always be hard to visit his gravesite and physically see him apart from me. I don’t think those things will ever go away. I don’t think a day will ever pass where I don’t think of him. But even still, my God is good. And He is on my side. And He is guiding me through. I promise you, He will guide you too.

Thankfully, I never did develop that cancer. My body eventually returned to normal. And right around November-December, I got pregnant with our sweet Raegan. I had a great pregnancy, and an awesome delivery. Rae was a perfect little baby. A sign of hope for today and for the future. All of this is only the beginning of our Judah story. I know there is so much more to come. Judah: praised. Let His Name be praised above all other names. Even when it’s hard. Even when it hurts. May His Name be praised. Joseph: He will add. He is not done with our family yet. He will add joy. He will add babies. He will add life. He will add…He is not finished with me yet.