Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Just checking in

I apologize for the long blogging absence. 
 
 3 weeks old

It's not that I haven't had time to blog, because while I'm crazy busy during the day, my nights are usually pretty quiet. Boaz is the easiest baby EVER, and sleeps as predictably and soundly as our other babies did when they were at least 6 months old.

It's not that I don't know what to write about, because at any given time, I can think of at least a dozen topics I'd like to cover, and many of them are even in the "draft" stage.

He loves bath time.

I think my main hangup is that I want to finish up the blog post about the birth story before moving on to other topics. Yet, even four weeks after the birth, and with the post completely written up to the point of Jachin's birth, I find myself unable or unwilling to finish the story. Maybe it makes me too sad to think about it, or maybe I am not ready to close that chapter and turn the page yet, or maybe it's both. I'm in sort of a bubble, a vacuum, on autopilot. I seem to be waiting for something, though I don't know what it is.

All I can say is that losing a baby is really, really hard. Thankfully, the kids keep me plenty busy during the day. I cannot say enough about how grateful I am to have little Boaz. I never want him to feel like he is not enough, or that he is not a complete person all by himself. But yes, often when I am all alone, or just Boaz and I, the tears are flowing for his brother. Especially because he is so absolutely easy, I often find myself thinking "I could have handled two babies like this." It's hard not to constantly ask "why" and "what if". It's hard knowing that there is nothing I can do to change the outcome, no matter how desperately I wish I could. 

 1 week old. Stephen is absolutely crazy about him.

Times like these I am most grateful of all for the fact that I am a Christian, and that we can have hope and peace and confidence in Christ. Truly, we sorrow not as those that have no hope. I marvel how those without faith in God can make it through everyday life, let alone the storms of life. If I didn't know that "all things work together for good to them that love God," I don't think I could ever have a normal life again. So many of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ near and far have expressed their love and support to us, which really means a lot, and makes a huge difference. And of course, my husband has gone above and beyond in being nothing but supportive, loving, and incredibly patient.

So yes, I am doing fine. But I'm also still recovering. And while I want to talk about all the wonderful and fun things going on during summer break, I also want to finish the birth story post. Except that when night rolls around and I have time to sit down at a computer, I am usually too sad or worn to actually do so.

 3 weeks old

I hope the pictures redeemed this otherwise somber post. These are not things I would normally talk to anyone about, not even family. Maybe someone out there will be encouraged to know that nobody's life is all sweetness and light, that sooner or later we all struggle with accepting God's will, but that He in time can heal all wounds.

35 comments:

  1. We disagree on so many things. I won't go in to detail, but let me tell you - in many ways we are worlds apart.

    And yet, I read your blog. I am fascinated by your ability to manage eight children and have such a positive and upbeat attitude. I find much of your content engaging and enlightening. And, I skip over the parts I don't agree with. :-)

    I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that you will find peace and understanding & healing. We don't practice the same religion or see the same God, but I wish for you what I would want for myself and those I love - acceptance and peace. May you find that peace in the love you see in the eyes of your children, and in knowing that you will see it in Jachin's eyes some day.
    MD

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    1. Thank you. That was very thoughtful and kind. Blessings to you and yours!

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  2. I am so saddened to read your post. If it is not too presumptuous of me, I feel perhaps I understand your difficulty in finishing your story. It's a mother's greatest wish for her babies to live a full and happy life, and it is impossible to end the story with a promise of that this time. There is a part of you that is still waiting, wishing that Jachin's birth story will end with the same potential, and desperately wanting to be able to write a different ending. It is very normal, though of course painful, to experience this, and my heart hurts for your grief. I experienced similar when Hannah and Micah passed, as clearly as I knew the truth, it felt wrong, and too painful to close their chapters so soon, I put off writing diary entries about the end of my pregnancies for some time. Although I wrote of my grief and sadness, the actual stories of their births were some months coming. Perhaps this birth story is not one for public, but rather one for your memories alone?

    Go slowly and be gentle on your heart. Whether Christian or otherwise, the loss of a baby is a life changing and devastating thing. However, it can be some time for this holding pattern sensation to ease, honour your grief and don't try to force your life to return to its usual rhythm before you're ready. Even now, I still see two spaces in family portraits, it never quite leaves you.

    Blessings as always, I wish you peace and love as you continue to grieve, heal and love. Annabelle

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  3. It can be difficult to understand grief from the perspective of someone else, particularly with differing beliefs to you. Perhaps the following will allow you to understand those who follow science as reason and explanation for life's happenings.

    You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

    And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

    And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

    And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen.

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  4. I lost a child at 17 weeks. I've grieved loved ones who died, but this was a different kind of grieving. I'd compare the grief to a wound that's raw & gaping at first, but then gradually with time becomes tender.

    Sister, you feel free to take as long as you need to write that post. It'll come when you're ready. :)

    "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

    I pray that you and your family will be comforted. I pray that during this time God will hold you in His everlasting arms.

    Thank you for your blog. Your decision to share your story with humbleness and sincerity is a blessing to me.

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  5. 3 weeks after a baby's loss, even though it's another baby's birth at the same time... it's just wayyy too early to go into details without tearing up wounds. Especially since, like you said, the deceased twin was the first to be born, and his little body come out into your hands. That must have been the moment when you had to face the fact that one of the babies is gone - and since it's a large part of the birth story, I was wondering how could you possibly have thought that writing up the birth story was going to be just as quick and smooth as any other of your birth stories...?! Impossible. It is just my opinion but it's "still" (3 weeks? geez) way too early for a mourning mother to talk about something that includes the loss of her baby! I humbly suggest you take all the time you need - and a bit more. This story is, the joy over baby Boaz notwithstanding, one of the saddest stories of your life. <3 Many gentle hugs to all of you. PS: Don't hold those tears back. Crying is an absolute necessity. (Why else would have God given us tear glands?) It washes our pain away, from the inside out. Never hold those tears back. It's been just 3 weeks. May Boaz bring an incredible amount of joy into your family.

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  6. Like Melissa, I too disagree with a great number of your posts. Similarly, my understanding of God and Christ is radically different than yours. All that being said, I too want to extend my simultaneous congratulations on the birth of Boaz and my sincere condolences on the loss of Jachin. I cannot imagine how difficult this journey must be right now and I am glad that your faith brings you comfort.

    My son was born with profound disabilities and I can remember the bittersweet and confusing emotions of joy over his birth and grief over his very complex disabilities and medical issues. While most mothers were sharing birth stories and scrapbooking adorable baby pictures in baby books I could do neither. Indeed, I didn't complete my son's baby book until he was about 7 or 8. Before then it was just something I could't cope with. I am sure you will write the post when you are ready - and grief has no timeline.

    My prayers to you and your family.

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  7. Mothers in your situation (a loss and a live birth at the same time) are in a peculiar predicament. There is an expectation (on a societal level, and perhaps even from yourself) that you should get over the loss more quickly, "because, after all, you have a live, healthy baby, so you should be happy." In some ways, it is like the "the only thing that matters is a healthy baby" mantra that is imposed on mothers suffering from abusive or traumatic births. While a mother (of course!) rejoices in the baby, the dual truth is that grief is there just as strongly - and it doesn't go away just because of the joy that is also present.

    Give yourself grace! You are a mama who has just lost a baby. Don't pressure yourself to "get over it" or "get back to normal." You deserve every bit of time you need to grieve and recover. Don't try to guilt yourself into feeling that you shouldn't have that space and that time! I can try to only imagine the difficulty and pain that you all are going through. I, too, am so thankful for the hope that we have as believers.

    Love,
    Diana

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  8. The honesty in this post is something you don't see in blogs anymore. Your post had me meditating for the fist time on what God the Father must have been feeling while Jesus paid the price for us those three days and nights. I can't even imagine what you are going through but God does and I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to comfort you. You are a wonderful mother and no one can argue that you did absolutely everything you could to save his life! He will not be forgotten and his memory will live on through his twin brother and while I can imagine that to bring pangs of sorrow, perhaps in time it will bring consolation and a reminder of who awaits you in heaven.

    Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

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  9. I'm reminded of something that Michelle Duggar said when she lost Jubilee. To paraphrase - she may have never seen my face, but Jesus she sees yours. I find comfort in that - knowing the baby I miscarried rests in the arms of Jesus, just like Jachin.

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  10. I can not imagine what you are going through, and I would never pretend that I could. You don't owe anyone any posts. Write what you want when you want and how you want. It is wonderful to see pictures of Boaz and to read that he is such an easy baby to take care of. Take time and rest as much as you can. You and yours are still in my prayers.
    Karen

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  11. Just wanted to let you know your vulnerability is appreciated. Praying for your spiritual and emotional recovery as much as the physical. Big hugs to you from California and blessings on your family. Your son is adorable, thanks for sharing the pictures.

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  12. A blogger of whom you have been critical, Tertia, went through a comparable experience. She had twins, one of whom- Luke- died in utero. The other, Ben, lived for ten days before dying in his mother's arms.

    I'm so sorry you have lost this little soul. God give you peace.

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    1. If I remember correctly, she was actually pregnant with quadruplets as a result of using IVF and transferring multiple embryos. She chose to kill two of the babies in the womb so as to not end up with four living babies. This selective reduction is what triggered her body to go into labor prematurely, ultimately causing the loss of the other two babies, as well.

      Personally, I do not think that someone who has an attitude of "I'm okay with killing two of my babies for no reason, but feel bad for me if two more die as a result of my actions" compares well to my situation.

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    2. No it does compare...it is your reaction and cold words that don't compare well....a loss is a loss and all parents can relate to that.

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    3. Wow. I had great sympathy for you for a little while. Had.

      And you're complaining about the characterization in that Alternet piece? Wow.

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    4. I agree that a loss is a loss, no matter who is experiencing it. Killing your own child is not a loss, it is a deliberate action. Has it suddenly become customary to express our condolences to unrepentant, post-abortive women on the "loss" of their child??? She had no pity for herself or her children. Am I expected to feel sorry for her about something she chose, and never regretted?

      I sure hope Tertia was grieved, she certainly should have been. If she had any natural affection left, her grief should have been compounded by guilt, knowing that her own actions caused the outcome.

      I wonder how people would react if my dog had a litter of puppies, and I decided to shoot half of them dead, just because there were more puppies than I wanted. People would be freaking out, not expressing their sorrow over my "loss." Humans are worth infinitely more than that!

      What I find offensive is that anyone would compare our situation to that of a murderer.

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    5. I pray this is your grief talking, but I fear it is not.

      This lady does deserve our condolences. She is grieving as you are grieving even if the pathways there were different (or abbhorent to you) does not mean this lady is feeling her losses any less than you are.

      Please dont be filled with pride. No one thinks you made a choice to save Boaz and sacrificed Jachin, maybe this is why you are so sensitive to being compared. I think the person making the original comparison was simply pointing out others who are grieving for the loss of their baby/ies

      I will continue to pray for your family, I am so sorry for your loss just as I am so sorry for anyone who has experienced the indescrible pain of losing a much longed for family member.

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    6. I did not mention Tertia out of devilment, and I've never read the Alternet article. I thought that it was worth pointing out that should you and Tertia ever end up in the same space, physical or virtual, you would know that you are in the same sorrowful sisterhood of those who have lost a child. In my experience of life, the happiest and saddest of times give us greater capacity for compassion, the better to help us reach out to others. We all need God's grace and understanding.

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    7. "Has it suddenly become customary to express our condolences to unrepentant, post-abortive women on the "loss" of their child???"
      As someone that wants to demonstrate to all people that Jesus Christ loved them and died for them despite the horrid sins in their life and offers them hope and salvation if they turn to him, YES 100% YES I express my condolences.

      Of course she should repent. But as I recall, God's love was there for me long before *I* repented of the sin in my life. I am glad he didn't turn away in anger before I had a chance to be saved.

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  13. I just wanted to let you know I have been praying for you and your family. I love Stephen's face while holding Boaz.

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  14. Thank you everyone for your kind words of support and encouragement. It really does help :) I think for the time being, I will just blog on other topics as they come up, and publish the birth story when I am ready to.

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    1. That's probably the best thing you can do for the moment being, keeping us updated and not beating yourself up over something you do not owe people - the birth story. Your grief is none of anyone else's business unless you decide otherwise, it's between God, you and your husband, your family and whomever you please to involve. You do not owe people a thing. Just because you have willfully shared your birth stories so far, you are not obliged to instantly or ever give out details of a story where you had to deliver a deceased baby. If you decide on never - then it's never, no questions asked. The thing that you must or shall provide your readers with a birth story, no. No one in their right mind would force you to do otherwise. Looking forward to the blog updates in the near future, esp. summer stories, I love them.

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  15. I'm so very sorry for your loss. I don't like you very much, but I feel genuinely sorry for you. For a second here, I thought maybe this traumatic experience had changed you a bit. And then I read your reply to the comment about Tertia and thought nope, still no empathy there, she still thinks she's better than others, so of course, she thinks her loss is greater, too. It's a shame, and I pray that one day, you will realize that Jesus preached love and forgiveness, not hate.

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  16. Awwwe, Boaz is sooooo perfect and kissable. So glad he is an easy baby for you. That is a blessing indeed.

    Sooooo sad and sorry for your loss. I know it is hard and beyond our understanding. I know the pain must be so deep. Keep looking up, friend. May the Lord bring you comfort and specific verses to bring peace and hope. So thankful for the hope you have to meet him in heaven one day. I am sure you are battling a million different emotions, that is OKAY. Take your time, and give it to Jesus. Love you guys and praying. Love,

    Jessica Argon

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  17. Sorry for your loss and hoping that you will heal soon. - Ok, this is now completely off topic: I found this german sewing blog and thought it might lift you up a little and inspire you to some new projects: http://schnabelina.blogspot.de/

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    1. Very cute! Thanks for sharing. Wow, I'm impressed, that lady is seriously good at sewing!

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  18. I really appreciate your willingness to update at all. I think your decision on what and when to post is best. I pray for continued peace and healing. Your family is so beautiful.
    Your sister in Christ, Tiffany F.

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  19. thank you so much for sharing with all of us out here in internet land. these things are so personal and difficult, but you are helping others more than you will ever know. i pray for blessings for you and the family. love the super cute pics!
    mary

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  20. I am so sorry for you loss. I am sure this time in your life is bittersweet. I admire your strength and faith and wish you all the best

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  21. How sweet and cuddly is Baby Boaz! I love his name! I know that God will definitely heal your hurting heart. Grief and crying are part of healing. Heaven will be such a sweet place when all the moms will see their little ones who never saw them before =). I am really confused why so many people who dislike you comment on your blog or spend their time reading it to be mean and hateful.......There are tons of bloggers out there whom I don't agree with but I don't spend anytime reading their blogs or commenting mean things. Great are your rewards in heaven!

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  22. Reading this post had me sobbing...I don't know what it is like to lose a child but losing my husband feels similar to your explanation. It is devastating and perfectly okay to leave that part of the story unwritten until you are ready Much love and prayers to you for strength during the tough times.

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  23. My heart just broke for you. Praying for peace during this season of your life.....so sorry.

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  24. While I am so happy for you with the birth of yet another gorgeous son, I wanted to tell you that I am terribly sorry for your loss - I cannot even begin to imagine what your heart feels like. Thank GOD you have your family and church during this time. I, too, sit here with tears in my eyes after reading your post. It's true. Life isn't always simple and happy. Continue to lean on your support system... Hang in there and congratulations on Boaz. He's beautiful.

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Your KINDLY WORDED, constructive comments are welcome, whether or not they express a differing opinion. All others will be deleted without second thought.