Sometimes I feel like it’s all too much. It’s all too real. It’s all so overwhelming. As I stared up at Jimmie’s first birthday banner, proudly displayed in our unfinished kitchen, my eyes began to well up with tears. Because on that banner there are images of Jimmie from each month of his life. 15 images total that give a glimpse into his amazing, big, bright personality.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since my dad, Jimmie left this world behind. On this morning, one year ago, we were standing at his bedside singing softly “Be still and know that I’m with you…Be still and know that I am here…,” as he lifted his head and closed his mouth and peacefully went to be with the Lord. I was right there. I felt the peace fill the room. I felt the presence of the Lord almighty, there to bring my dad home and there to comfort us. Just over two months later, we would welcome our baby Jimmie earth-side, as we were again filled with the peace of the Holy Spirit. Two very different, but very similar experiences, knowing the Lord was with us, in the room, moving through us, comforting us and giving us peace.
Less than three weeks ago, on Valentine’s Day, my sister, Melinda peacefully went to be with the Lord. We surrounded her bedside and as my mom spoke The Lord’s Prayer over her, she took her last breath on earth. She was so beautiful and peaceful. God is good. It may not seem as though we would believe that, as we have suffered a lot these last few years and there have been many trials. But, we have not traveled here alone. The God who is and was and is to come loves us with an unconditional, forever, agape love and is right there with us …in every heartbeat, every breath, every song, every moment. How I am thankful for the peace of the Lord.
What a year it has been. I’ve been fairly quiet on my blog, as there has been so much to process this last year.
Now, here we are…another Mother’s Day. The second one without our daughter, Mary-Linda and the first with our baby boy…who will be birthed in the next couple of weeks.
I love to share the realities in our lives. But, some things over the last year, I’m just not able to share. I will say that we have endured a lot of unexpected change. And, I found myself with more time for high risk doctors’ appointments, kids’ activities, building relationships, rest for me and baby and more time to volunteer. These were unexpected circumstances that I have looked at as blessings. But, I also found myself questioning who my friends and chosen family were. Things I thought I knew, left me spinning.
Two months ago, when I was 7 months pregnant, my dear daddy passed away, after a week in hospice care in the medical center of Houston. I spent every spare moment with him and my mom and I am very grateful God gave me the time to be able to do that. I quickly learned who my friends and chosen family are. We had a village of friends who stepped in, brought meals, prayed with us, picked up kids, kept kids, took kids to activities and even brought food to the hospital. So many loved ones came to my dad’s service and continued to bring gifts, food and flowers. These acts of kindness are beautiful ways to express our sorrow when our loved ones experience great loss. And, the loss of our dad (and Grandfather) is great.
This Mother’s Day wasn’t exactly what I would have planned out for myself, if you were asking me a year ago. But, you know what?! I’m most thankful that I have four beautiful, living children and a fifth living child who is moving and kicking constantly and nearly ready for his debut. I couldn’t be more in love with this little guy. The reality report: my older children are far from perfect. I started this day crying because 1. I’m hormonal and 2. my kids were not being kind to each other and they didn’t stop and think how their fighting was impacting their pregnant momma. (Don’t worry. I let them know and things did get better)
So, as I share these beautiful photos that my sweet little cousin took of us in between Houston rainstorms this week, I want you to know that we are not picture perfect. We are real. This momma-life is hard. Life is hard. But, we won’t give up and we won’t give in. I’m very thankful that the Lord gives us strength to get through the hard things and we come out the other side. I feel very close to the other side.
Happy Mother’s Day, friends. I hope you had a peaceful day and were shown the love you deserve.
After over one year of trying and 12 cycles, we are pregnant! And, expecting our Rainbow Baby in May 2019! If you aren’t familiar with that term, check out this article from Parenting.com that explains where the term comes from. Basically, a “rainbow baby” is a baby after a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal loss- the “rainbow” after the storm.
We found out that we were expecting on our oldest daughter’s tenth birthday. We were “trying” so, that was a day I could test early and I did.
|Baby Shower, April 2019|
It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try to explain it the same way I did to my children at dinner tonight.
We celebrate so many of our living children’s milestones. We celebrate their birthdays, their half-birthdays, their hits on the baseball field, recital performances, cotillion dances, piano recitals, their lives here on earth. So, our Mary-Linda has two significant dates- her born-sleeping date and her due date.
And, a gluten free brownie in honor of our little girl.
As I sit in my living room, under the beautiful glow of our Christmas tree, it hits me like a giant wave. An overwhelming sense of loss. Sadness. For a moment, I see her face. Tiny. 17 weeks and 3 days old. Beautiful.
It’s my birthday week! Yay! 🎂 and boo 😒 !
I say that because…
1. I ❤️ birthdays so much. I love my family and their birthdays. And, I’ve always loved my birthday. Last year’s birthday was the best…multiple celebrations with forever friends and the most amazing family. My favorite part, sharing the news of expecting Mary-Linda and revealing her gender to our kids and the world on my birthday. It was THE BEST DAY ever…
2. I say “boo”😥 because less than three weeks later, my happy, perfect world would come crashing completely down when we discovered that Mary-Linda’s precious little heart had stopped beating in her tiny chest at just 4.5 months gestation. Some time in the weeks/days before that, she began to lose blood- for no reason. No explanation.We were told that it just happens sometimes. Sometimes there’s an accident or a blow to the mom that causes this. And sometimes it happens for no apparent reason. Which is what happened with us. It’s called Fetal Maternal Hemorrhage. She lost too much blood and her heart finally stopped.
Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to separate these times. But, this year, this time I’m thinking about how big we celebrated last year and how big we celebrated Mary-Linda’s life. I am beyond grateful for that. I would never change that.
So, for my birthday, I invite you to make difference in someone’s life. Be the joy. Be the light in their darkness. Be the hope of Jesus to a neighbor, to a friend, to a loved one.
Molly Bears provided us with a “Mary-Linda” bear. Weighing the same as Mary-Linda did on her “born-sleeping” day, with her name and a cross stitched on the bear. We love holding her and thinking of our baby girl.
M.E.N.D. Greater Houston, TX (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death) has given us support and care throughout this past year. We participated in the “Walk to Remember” in October, honoring many babies in the Houston area. And, the support group has been extremely helpful for me to think through tough situations before they happen.
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord