I have decided to leave this portion of the website just the way it is. It reflects more than two years of thoughts about pregnancy, life and loss. Does it mean I'm healed and all is right with the world? Nope. Today's the 21st. The 21st is always hard. Even after God blessed me with Zoe, who also arrived on the 21st. Man, does that help! So, I am making a choice to focus on my family, and the children I have on this earth.
To my Gabriel - may you continue to rest in peace. I know your days and nights are now filled with praising and worshiping our Heavenly Father. I still have moments of jealousy that you are there and I am here. But, I know that we will be together again soon. I love you with all my heart. I still weep when I think about the day you were born and the moment Momma and Daddy got to see your precious face for the first time. You will not be forgotten, little one. There are so many things on this earth that remind me of you. So many songs, so many little boys who are the same age you would be, your brother and your sister, and every single rainbow - especially a double rainbow. So many people still remember you too. I will continue teaching your siblings all about you and the precious life lessons you taught us with your short life. You were not replaced, you can never be replaced. I can only dream of the day I get to hold you again. Love, Momma
A quote I heard recently, "When you become a mother your instinct is to protect your child at any cost, but when that child dies in your arms, your instinct, instead, becomes to protect the memory of them at any cost."
I can't tell you how many times I've almost deleted this website. I can't tell you how many times this week, I've at least thought about leaving the site just the way it is, to not add another word. You see, for every 20 encouraging words I receive, there's one person using my words against me. One person twisting my words. One person discussing my blog, and what they're upset about, and what they disagree with, to everyone BUT me.
It can get old. It can be upsetting. But, I just have to remember all the people that I am helping. All the silent readers who have been faithful since day one. All the strangers who reach out to me just to tell me what my blog, and my story, and my son, has meant to them...
This week I created a Facebook Tribute page for my little man. If you haven't seen it on my news feed, just search "Remembering Gabriel." Thank you to everyone who has "liked" the page so far. I'm hoping it will be a way I can inform people about how we are celebrating our son's birthday/angelversary (in case they want to be involved, too) and also provide information about the annual Gabriel Walk/5K. Check it out! :)
Yes, here's ANOTHER song for you readers. I guess I feel like the lyrics of all this music just does a better job than I can do right now at explaining how I'm feeling... Enjoy.
Sorry I haven't been blogging a lot. To be quite honest, my pregnancy hormones/emotions are running high on an average day and when I stop and think about Gabriel I just turn into a puddle. Thus, the avoidance. However, I was on a Potter's support group site and someone brought up this song and it made me remember how I thought of my Gabriel the first time I heard it. So, I thought I'd share it with you guys too. Love you.
Was just reminded of this awesome song and wanted to share it with my other grieving mommas - Enjoy!
After receiving Gabe's fatal diagnosis, Kyle made a cd of music that really got us through that time. We often hear the same songs on our favorite station, The Word FM, but there is one song in particular that I would define as our Gabe Song. Our church started playing it, Revelation Song, during worship a few weeks ago, and the first Sunday we heard it, Kyle couldn't even stand. He quietly sat down and just wept. He later told me what he was thinking about, and it was so profound to me that I've been meaning to get on here to share it all with you...
First, here are the lyrics, straight from the book of Revelation:
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, Holy, Holy, is He.
Sing a new song, to Him who sits on Heaven's Mercy Seat
Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come.
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You.
Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and Glory and power be
To You the Only Wise King.
Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus, Your Name is Power, Breath, and Living Water
Such a marvelous mystery.
So, after church Kyle explained to me that singing the song obviously made him think of our Gabe. But, more than that, it made him think about the fact that Gabriel is in Heaven, and all he does all day everyday is worship God. Kyle said that singing the song, and worshipping God, made him realize that he and Gabe were doing the exact same thing at the exact same time. To him, it made him feel closer to Gabriel than ever before. It took my breath away...
Here's the video, a beautiful version, in case you've never heard it:
We miss you, sweet baby Gabriel. Momma still thinks of you all the time. I cannot wait untit the day when we can all be together as a family again. KISSES.
Our church is doing their Scars series once again. Last year at this time we were asked to share our story about Gabriel. They recently made a website to share all the scar stories in one place, and ours has been added! Just wanted to share the link with you all. You will see the video they shared (shot last year) and then under that is the written form of what Kyle and I shared on stage during that sermon. It was a great experience, being about to share not only about our son, but about how the experience changed our perspective and our relationship with God. Enjoy.
I was so fascinated by this, I just had to share it with you. In just a few days, Zoe will be two pounds and 14.5 inches long! I cannot believe how fast this pregnancy has gone! Can't wait to meet my little girl! I will be 27 weeks on Saturday, which of course has got me thinking about how many more weeks I will have left...
My dad and his girlfriend came over today, and since he purchased Zoe's bedding, we thought it would be nice to put her room together so that he could see it. Her crib came last week, a present from my in-laws, and we moved Joel's white antique dresser and changing table over. Kyle spend the morning putting the crib together and making sure the bedding was perfectly on display. Yes, I know we have three more months, but it's brought us so much joy to see her room come together. Hope you enjoy these photos!! :)
As some of my very devoted readers may have noticed, I deleted a paragraph I had in a previous blog about how other mommas use the term "angel" to describe the little ones they have lost. I went on to say that I didn't really think Gabriel was an angel, and that it's just a nice thing to say... Well, the comment upset at least one person, so I deleted it. Weeks later, it's still bothering me, so I thought I'd further explain my reasoning...
Do I call Gabriel an angel? Yes. Do I think Gabriel is an ACTUAL angel? No.
Confused? I'll go on... By definition, an angel is a "being" stuck between this earth and Heaven. If you don't know this by reading my blog already, I'm a pretty spiritual person, someone who tries to live within God's will for my life, someone who uses the bible as a handbook. So, it's somewhat hard for me to lightly use the word angel to describe my son. Why? Because of the amazing hope and awe I have for the fact that I will see Gabriel again in Heaven someday.
The original greek word for angel literally meant "messenger." This is a better definition of something I can get on board with because of the things I've learned about God and all the ways my relationship with Him has changed due to carrying, meeting and losing my baby. In that sense, Gabriel has very much been a "messenger" to me. The experience has revealed more of God to me, has kept me Heavenly focused, and has helped me have a different, more ETERNAL, perspective.
BUT, I don't believe Gabriel is hovering over me, or even guiding me. I don't think that August 21st is the day he "grew his wings." All this lingo is very popular within infant loss circles, and I am certainly not trying to offend. I will repeat, I am not trying to offend. The term "angel," and all the visuals that go along with it, is all very comforting right after a loss. And, in many ways I still love that we refer to our lost babies as angels. I have an angel hanging from my rearview mirror with Gabriel's name on it, the Gabriel Walk/5k logo has big, amazing wings on it. I still think it's crazy that we named our son AFTER an angel before learning about his fatal diagnosis. But, I believe my son is in Heaven, not a creature flying around with a halo.
I have put all my hope, trust, faith and love into Jesus. I realize that for some "Angel Mommas" this is a different perspective. Infant loss is totally different for the person that doesn't have a belief that they will ever see their child again. They see THIS LIFE as all that there is. This life is nothing compared to the eternity we will have in Heaven, and for that I'm so very thankful, cause this life can be hard...
This rainy dark weather reflects how Kyle and I have been feeling this past week. Kyle's been frustrated with school/work stuff, and we've both felt more sad than usual - unable to really pinpoint why...
When we were pregnant with Gabe, we made a cd of songs after we received his fatal diagnosis. Some of these songs come on The Word FM very often, and I've been happy to notice that hearing them has put a smile on my face recently, a physical reminder of how far I've come on this grief journey. But, this week, I would hear one of these songs and it would bring me right back to the sadness I felt when I'd listen to the cd. Remind me of how, even on good days, it would make me bawl my eyes out, pulling off the side of the road, or waiting a few minutes before going into the house or store or wherever.
Finally the other night, Kyle and I were discussing our feelings and he mentioned that it felt like he was sad due to an anniversary that was coming up, but the 21st of this month had come and gone. Then it hit me - April marks two years since we got Gabriel's diagnosis. Well, there it is! Now it all makes sense. It's still a little surprising that being pregnant with Zoe can bring us so much happiness, yet it doesn't completely heal our loss of Gabriel. We still miss him, long for him, ache for him, think of him, wonder what our daily lives would be like with him in it, etc.
A few friends have asked me how emotional I think it will be to physically birth Zoe, and whether or not that will bring up the pain of the day I had Gabriel. Well, we have a brand new hospital, and as my amazing MIL pointed out, it will be nice not to have to walk those same halls, be in a similiar room, etc. Having a new hospital is just one more way that we feel like we're starting over with this pregnancy. But, I can imagine that having Zoe will be very emotional for both Kyle and I. I'm sure we will still have thoughts about the last night we were welcoming a baby into this world. I'm sure that seeing her face will make us wonder whether she looks like me, Kyle, Joel or Gabe. I'm sure it'll be surreal that we will be able to bring her home with us. It all seems too good to be true...
I have cried over the most ridiculous things this weekend. Yesterday it was after failing at my attempt to make dippy eggs (which I don't even think I'm "allowed" to eat, but was craving them.) Today, Joel and I severely overslept and I was rushing around getting ready and after the fourth attempt to put on a very complicated maternity top (don't ask, don't judge, just believe me), I lost it. Like, bawling crying, yelling for Kyle to just leave and go without me. He came upstairs and laughed his face off. Which really put things in perspective for me and we both ended up laughing as he literally dressed me.
We spent the morning taking a drive into the mountains of PA, listening to amazing worship music, stopping to eat lunch at Red Lobster, and then headed over to Gabe's gravesite. It felt so good to clean off his stone, bring him his baby blue wind toy, and place the newly purchased solar lights around his angel. Joel was excited to go visit his brother; he loves to check out all the decorations in Angel Land, where the babies are buried.
I came home and decided to skim through "Choosing to See," by Mary Beth Chapman, and highlight some of the things I really loved about the book...
On depression, "It's a journey. I recognize the dark tides that can push and pull me to places I don't want to go. So I anchor myself to the One who can take me where I do want to go."
On control issues, she refers to herself "as the unofficial fourth member of the Trinity." LOVE THAT.
On what her husband said to the crowd of friends who had gathered at the hospital, upon realizing their daughter was gone, "As crazy as this seems right now...the only thing I can say to honor the life of my little girl and our terrible loss at this moment is to ask you, please don't miss this...we will all stand here one day and face eternity. If you don't know the One who can give you eternal life, His name is Jesus... you need to meet Him and you really need to meet my little girl in heaven... she's amazing."
An amazing quote by C.S. Lewis, "We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."
On honoring Maria, "Our whole family had come barefoot to Maria's service. It was our way of honoring her and proclaiming that we were on holy ground." I think we will do this for all of Gabriel's angelversaries, love this idea...
On how her husband grieved, "Steven was alone in the house. He took an extension cord and a pair of electric hair clippers out to the driveway, and buzzed his hair at the accident spot. In that time of deep grieving, the thought of just continuing on like normal, fixing his hair each morning, seemed like a travesty. He felt like Job; he wanted to do something as a visual representation of his mourning, like tearing his clothes or shearing his head." One of the most emotional parts of the book for me...
On comparing herself to Mary, mother of Jesus, "I wonder what it was like for Mary after her son's death. I know she saw him resurrected and was certain of the fact that she would see him again, but she was still His mom. Mary found favor with God; therefore, she was chosen to be Jesus' mom. But because God favored Mary, she was also chosen to suffer...She was chosen to carry a baby in her womb...She was human, she had a baby, and she raised that baby with the heaviness that she was to see Him suffer and thus she too would suffer." Reading this gave me huge understanding of my role in Gabe's birth and death. I'm forever grateful for the insight.
Spending time visiting Gabriel, thinking about him, and reading about someone else's loss has helped me to feel more grounded today. I knew that being pregnant again would bring up my grief, my profound loss of my precious baby - but taking the time to face these emotions head on has proven to be a worthwhile step.
Just think of stepping on shore, and finding it heaven
Of touching a hand, and finding it God's
Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial
Of waking up in Glory, and finding it "Home".
First of all, I know I've already blogged about this. But, obviously it is still a sore spot for me so I'm blogging about it again in hopes that I will have some clarity on the subject. It's the question moms and dads have to answer often and I haven't come up with the best answer for it yet. But, I will.
"How many kids do you have?"
I know what I don't want to say. If I can get mad at someone close to me for saying - "I can't believe you're about to have your second child!" when infact this is my THIRD child, because this means THEY are denying my son, then I can NEVER deny my son. Not to the MaryKay lady, not to the bagger at the grocery store, not at a playdate or a mom's group.
So yesterday I am at a group and, because we have new people coming so often now, we were asked to introduce ourselves and say how many kids we have. In the past I have had a few moments to prepare, but yesterday it was my turn right after the facilitator had her turn.
I said, outloud, "I hate this question! I never know what to say!"
I continued, "Three! I have Joel - a toddler, I'm pregnant, and I have one in Heaven."
The girl next to me said, so compassionately, "Did you have a miscarriage?"
I wanted to scream or cry or hit something. "No, he was fullterm."
She continues, "Oh, that's stillborn, then!"
"Um, he was born alive," I mumbled...
"That's even worse!" she continued... but I didnt' hear much else...
As upset as I was over this little interaction, I still knew that I couldn't share it with just anybody. Only people who have been in my shoes, or have a great heart of compassion, will understand why this was upsetting to me. So, if you don't get it, just know that you're not alone.
A dear friend of mine said it well - If my loss is a big enough deal to me that I am going to mention it to you, it is not necessary for you to catagorize my loss.
In the past when this question arose and I only mentioned Joel, I felt terrible afterwards. As much as I don't want a total stranger to feel sorry for me, or to make the focus of a group all about me during a simply introduction, I CANNOT deny Gabriel as my son. He was not a miscarriage. I have had a miscarraige and NEVER feel the need to tell people about it. I have not named that child. I don't think of that loss like I think about Gabe. And I even feel guilt about that when I hear other women talk about their miscarried baby by name. But, I guess for me, the loss of Gabriel was so significant that the miscarriage was so different, so insignificant, in comparison. For others, a miscarriage may be the toughest thing they have to go through.
In the past, I have tried to chose my words carefully by saying Joel's not my only one, without coming out and saying that I lost my other son. Things like, "I have one child with me" or "I have one child at home." Not only does it make me feel like I'm confessing my other child was taken from me by the state, it just isn't cutting it.
Another friend of mine, who is very pregnant with her rainbow baby and is often asked if this is her first, will respond by simply saying "no" and if she is asked how old her first is, she resonds that "he would have been 15 months old." At this point I think this is my best bet. I am acknowledging Gabriel. I am acknowledging the fact that he is gone.
So, how many kids do I have? Three. Joel is two and a half, Gabriel would have been one and a half, and Zoe is due in July! That was easier than I thought...
This week my email inbox has been flooded with prayer requests. I feel like everyone I know, in every different friendship circle, is going through a difficult time right now. Some are calling it spiritual attack, others bad luck. But everyone is starting to notice the "trend" that we are all in need of prayer.
It has only made me feel more blessed, that right now in my life I am so happy, so thankful, so content, so very blessed. It makes me remember how alone my hurt felt, how I felt like everyone else around me had it so good, when we were going through everything with Gabe - his diagnosis, being pregnant, carrying to term, having him, losing him, missing him. I remembered how easily I felt hopeless and helpless and that nothing would ever be the same. Well, it's not the same, but it will get better.
Yesterday I felt overwhelmed by the amount of people I physically needed to prayer for, and I subconsciously tried avoiding it all afternoon. I was literally restless. I couldn't do anything. God was making it so obvious to me that I couldn't do another thing, not even a nap, until I stopped and lifted these requests to Him. I even thought to myself, there are so many at this point, God knows about them all, what's the point in telling him myself? And just like that I was immediately aware of the importance of always praying for my friends. Just like that I knew that not only would I want someone to pray for me when I needed it, but that the act of humbling myself before God and submitting my requests to him was going to improve my intimate relationship with God as much as it would help my friends feel more at peace.
So, to all my friends going through something really tough right now, I really feel like this is from God, not from me: Remember that this is a season. We all go through tough times and there is a choice in it for us to make - allow this circumstance to draw you closer to God, or become more distant and attempt this hard life on your own.
I hope that this blesses someone today...
Hello readers! Just wanted to check in with you about how I'm doing lately. This pregnancy has been very unlike all my others, which would explain why my gut instinct was telling me that I was baking a different gender!! I have all the classic wives' tales for carrying a girl: skin breaking out, belly looking wider instead of out in front, craving sweets, feeling uncomfortable, etc. So, it's been a little rough in comparison to carrying my boys - sleeping has been difficult, the heartburn has returned, general achiness and lower back pain... BUT I still feel like I don't have any right to complain, or much of a reason to! We are just so thankful to be having a healthy baby, a little girl who is getting more active by the day. Thanks for checking this site so often, whoever you 200 people/a day are!! :)
We found out today that this baby is a GIRL, a healthy GIRL. A girl with plenty of fluid around her, complete with a bladder and both kidneys! I have literally been floating all day long. I am in awe of the goodness of God. I was praying for a healthy baby, and was excited that Joel might have a baby brother and I literally feel EXTRA blessed to find out that she's a GIRL!
We've decided on the name Zoe Elizabeth, which is biblical just like our sons' names. It literally means "life/fullness of God" which I thought was particularly amazing since one of our favorite bible verses is John 10:10, "I have come that they may have LIFE, and have it to the FULL."
As I feel this new life moving inside me, I can't wipe this smile off my face, and I can't keep these tears from forming. Thank you all for your prayers!!
A few months ago, I was "introduced" to a friend online because she received a fatal diagnosis at her 20 week ultrasound. Found out today that she had her precious baby yesterday, a baby with a beautiful name, a baby who died moments after being born.
A few weeks ago I found a Momma on my Potter's Syndrome BabyCenter group who is pregnant with her second Potter's Baby. She had three healthy girls in between. They did everything they were supposed to. Were told it was a fluke. Again.
A dear friend of mine is married to a wonderful man, a man who was diagnosed with brain cancer.
None of these situations are "fair." Spiritually speaking, I "get" why God "allows" such things to happen to us. I understand that we live in a fallen world and that if horrible things such as these DIDN'T happen, we humans would not feel like we had a need for a Heavenly Savior. I fully grasp that sometimes awful things have to happen, in according to His will, and that in turn, it draws us closer to Him. No really, I get it.
But, the empathetic/social worker side of me actually FEELS for people when I hear about their situations. I ache when I think about the mom who woke up this morning, wondering for a split second if it was all a dream. No, I did actually birth my baby yesterday. And that baby did die in my arms.
I'm anxious for newly pregnant friends. I know what "worst case scenerio" looks like. And I was called "Negative Nancy" and "Worst Case Wanda" BEFORE I lost my Gabey. It's just how my mind functions. A nice way to explain it is that my "spiritual gift is mercy." Now, doesn't that sound better?? Anyway you want to say it, I feel for others.
I'm so sorry to any of you, all of you, who are going through a similar situation. All I can do is pray, pray, pray.
Psalm 94:19 NLT
"When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer."