Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15.

Until this week...I didn't know what was significant about October 15.  It's infant loss, still birth, miscarriage remembrance day.

A few years ago...every day was October 15 for me.

And I am so not alone.

When Tirzah was 8 months old we got pregnant with baby #2.  Oh I was over the moon excited.  A few weeks later I will never forget the grief that consumed my soul as I laid on the floor wailing.  Dean took me for a long drive to drive to lift my spirits. I sat in the car and cried and cried.

The grief was multiplied by the fact that it took us over 2 years to conceive Tirzah....and fertility medication.  This baby was also conceived on medication and now he/she was gone.  All the "what if's" flooded my mind as I wondered if we would ever be able to have another child.

Fast forward several years to 2009.  Thanksgiving Day we announced we were having another child. This would be #5 biological as we were on our way to Africa to adopt our twin boys.  I was estatic. But scared...as I had no sickness whatsoever. Very unusual for me.

Then one night I woke in the night 7 times singing one line of one song. Yes I remember counting ... 7 times. The last time I was so frustrated with my interrupted sleep that I said...out loud...to God.... "please...tell me in the morning!".  As I was getting in the shower...I remembered. I fell to the floor in sobs. Please God...Please....no please...

The one line...from the one song was "Heaven is the face of a little girl..." by Steven Curtis Chapman.

And I knew.  I knew that I knew that our little girl was in Heaven.

The next morning I woke to the reality that she was gone.

Three months later...now having been to Zambia once...and one trip ahead of me...we tried again.

Again with medication.  Then one day I started to bleed. I panicked. I went for an ultrasound to see a baby with a heart beat.  The heart rate was weak. They told me to return in 3 days to see what it was like. It was again weak but stronger.  I opted for another ultrasound, ignoring the looming medical bills. I had to know for sure before going around the world to Africa.

I put a fleece out for God.  If the heart rate was above 130...then I would take that as His answer.

When the ultrasound tech told me the babies heart rate was 137 I burst into sobs. I couldn't even talk. I was so overwhelmed with emotion.

I was still bleeding. The doctor told me what he believed was going on and based on the latest ultrasound that showed a healthy heartbeat high in my uterus, he did not think the pregnancy was at risk.

The day before going to Africa, 5 year old Tirzah jumped on my bed. She said "oh mommy I had the best dream ever...." she went on to detail her dream of being in 'the castle' (Heaven). I stopped in my tracks when she told me 3 little girls came up to her and would not stop hugging her. They kept saying they were her sisters.

Oh...my heart. I didn't want to hear this and yet ... deep down...I knew.  I knew she had seen her sisters. One of which I was praying with all my might was still going to survive.

My first night in Zambia, I woke in the middle of the night and saw our baby.  Yes. I did. And with overwhelming numbness...not a tear fell. I don't remember sleeping the rest of that night. I was truly numb. It wasn't until a few days later that I was on the phone to Dean and the grief came like an enormous wave. I still remember that night in the small hotel room, creeping into the bathroom with a pillow stuffed in my mouth to muffle my sobs.  I turned the faucet on to dull the noise of my grief.  I was hot, sweaty...and broken hearted.  God is not this the ultimate surrender...? In Africa, without my husband and children, mourning the loss again...and yet I'm here on a mission...

That loss was so deep and hurt so bad that I was 6 months pregnant with Izrael and we saw "19 and counting" on TLC where their buried their unborn child. I left the living room and went to the bathroom and it all came back. I locked the door, slid down the wall, sobbing. Deep, gut wrenching sobs. Dean gently knocked on the door and all he kept saying was "Janice...I'm sorry. I'm so sorry...I'm so sorry".  It was the best thing he could say.  And I mourned...all over again.  I relived the moment. The hot bathroom. The song that came to me in that moment in Africa "can the maker of the stars...hear the sound of my breaking heart? Just one voice in a sea of pain..." and I knew He was holding me.

Infant loss.

Recently Dean connected me with an amazing lady that he built a fence for. We went for coffee for hours. I have never sat so spell bound by anyone's life story.

Young. Happily married. She was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Fought through that trauma and of course this greatly reduced her chances of having children. Her lifelong dream. She always wanted to be a mom. Through 2 unbelievably failed domestic adoptions that had my heart in pain...they were introduced to the idea of surrogacy.  Finally...pregnant with twins.  Then the news that they miscarried. And their last chance...they were pregnant with twins again. Holding on to every hope that this was going to happen. These precious children would be loved beyond any measure.  Then that fateful news that they too...had passed.  

This was it. This was their last opportunity. No more chances to have biological children. Tens of thousands of dollars spent to make their dream of parenting a reality....here they were...

And as you read through a paragraph on a blog and shake your head in the sadness her story...this is someone's life. Someone's dream. Someone's horrific pain and grief.  Someone's stark reality they are living each day.

For them...every day is October 15th. Every day a reminder.  Their large beautiful house they built to raise their twins in....is empty.

The grief...was almost tangible as she sat across from me that day.  And I wondered how someone could face each day. Where does the hope come from? Where does new purpose come from when you truly believe from childhood...that this is your calling...?

Most of us...do want to talk about it.  Ignoring it doesn't make it go away.  These are our children. This is part of our life-stories.

Today reminds of us all the hopes and dreams we had for our children.  Today brings up, again, all the buried grief we lived on that day and the days to follow.

When I asked my friend what she wanted people to say...I will never forget her answer.  She said "there's nothing people can say. They know 'know', they don't 'understand'...I just want to hear... 'I'm so sorry'. That's all".

And I know that's all that helps. As Dean stood outside the bathroom door in a soft spoken voice saying "Janice, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry"...I understood.

Today...don't assume time has healed.  If you know someone who lost a child by miscarriage or still birth....remember them today. Tell them just how sorry you are.


Reminder :)

There's a blog post coming today but a reminder to please take 1 minute to vote for Azahria's video contest :) She would hug you if she could ;)

Oh..you can vote 10x a day from one IP address as long as you enter 10 different email addresses. You need about an hour between each vote :)

Thank you ;)


http://www.bittybabycontest.com/detail.cfm?id=12

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Great things".

We had some pretty exciting news in our family 2 weeks ago.  After 8 years of hard work running his own construction company, my husband sold it.  We have worked hard towards this goal for the last 5 years and are so excited to have reached it!  So ... yes...we have 10 children...but now we have him home full time!! Our business that I have done for 5 years part time around our crazy, busy life is now our sole source of income.  We are excited to work together both in business and in raising our family...which as you can imagine..is a full time job...and our most important one!

To celebrate this huge milestone, Dean secretly booked our family a surprise getaway.  Yes...yes he did.  And it just so happened to  be at one of my favorite places on earth.  Lincoln City, OR.  Oh..this place is almost perfect. Perhaps as perfect as it gets on the west coast.

He booked a house overlooking the ocean for 3 nights.  It was amazing. The cutest cabin ever...and yes we all fit! It was beautiful. And it truly truly overlooked the ocean. Not from a distance...but right there.

When we arrived I really had my hand over my mouth and was speechless. The sun was shining (miracle in itself) and it was ... really surreal.



What a welcome! So incredible!





Our second morning:


Outside the restaurant where we had an amazing lunch:


Taizi was given cool cement blocks to play with which was awesome...until he decided to try eating them..


The beach in the rain!

Lovely Tirzah 


Izrael was so sad that piggy was getting wet;)


All 10! The most amazing children...ever.  


Oh yes.  Ocean is pure splendor for me.  It's as close as I'll get to Heaven...this side of it.


Chazano is such a great big brother. Loves the little kids.


It was new. So Taizi didn't love it.  Here he looks calm but he screamed a lot.


Love.


A fave.


Yes. Seriously.  From our living room!


Little bliss herself. Miss Izrael Promise.


Eating m&m's while Daddy buys a kite for a windy day!


Izrael could hardly contain herself when Mommy drew piggies in the sand!


Love this picture of Dean holding Nazara


<3 p="">

And our last night we did an amazing fire on the beach.




This is the night.  The night we did the fire.  Dean had a very amazing moment when he left us by the fire and walked over to the waves holding Nazara.  Talking with God.  He came back and I knew it was our last night so I went.  Oh.

The ocean.  There must be an ocean in Heaven.  The power of each wave...is so much louder than any issue in my life and I feel so small and insignificant standing there.  

The noise as each wave crashes on the sand.

Perfect.

But this night it was windy. Cold.  Dark.  Spray was in the air.  I could still see the white caps with each crashing wave.

I looked out. As far as I could see. Water.  A mass of water I couldn't begin to comprehend. The sound of each wave putting me in awe of it's creator. 

"God...it's hard..." I began.  

And instantly He spoke.  That still small voice that is unmistakeable.  

"Oh Janice.  I have called you to great things..."

And I can still feel that moment.  My eyes got wider. My heart fluttered. I smiled on the inside...there's no doubt.  And while I'm briefly wondering what these great and mighty things are...

He spoke again.

"Great sacrifice..."  I'm sure my countenance changed.  "what...? Great sacrifice...?" and as I'm still talking I hear "Great surrender..."  ..."surrender...?"  

"Yes..and great faith".

And for a brief moment in time...standing in awe of such power...I got a glimpse of Heaven.  

The reward for great surrender isn't here.  It just isn't.  

The reward for great sacrifice isn't here and now.  It just isn't. 

And the reward for great faith most definitely isn't here. It just ... isn't. 

What a perspective change I had from just a few moments earlier.  

Wouldn't you love to hear God has great things for you? I mean...this was amazing.  I was so excited.  We all want great things.  My imagination was racing at full speed...dreaming...

and then He spoke and told me what those great things were.

And yes....with the strength of each wave that continued to come...I knew...perhaps it's only begun.  God has been gracious enough to let me think that the surrender was in saying 'yes'.  Oh...that was only the beginning.  

It's hard.  Taizi is hard.  Yet I've never once doubted if He called us to Him.  I'm not sure I've known why...why us.  Yes...he's a precious little soul.  There's no question.  There's also no question we have a full plate and he takes a lot of care.  

Have I viewed the daily surrender of myself as a 'great thing'...?  Hmmm. I doubt it. 

The daily sacrifice? The faith it takes each day...? 

No. 

My eyes were wet. Not just from the salted mist. Wet. With tears...of acceptance.  Again.  

If only that veil was lifted and we could see just how 'great' of things these really are.  

My dreams? My idea of 'great things'...? Definitely not. 

But I'll again take the leap of faith ... to trust Him that these are not only 'great things'...but the greatest of things.

I walked back to Dean...silent.  All night...in the morning...the entire drive home...I heard over..and over...and over...and over...that voice that I heard overlooking one of my favorite places on earth...

"Oh Janice...I have called you to great things..."




Saturday, October 5, 2013

Need your help!

A real blog post is coming tonight ... but I wanted to come on and post for our little Purple-Unicorn-Loving-Princess...Miss Azahria Peace.

A few weeks ago she entered an American Girl contest for little girls that own and love a Bitty Baby. She just so happens to love her baby Hannah.

It had to be 60 seconds or less and really just show her playing with and loving her baby. There's a very huge prize that of course she would love to win. The most difficult part is that it's by votes....and you can vote ONCE EVERY DAY and honestly..you have to in order for her to have a shot at winning.

So I'll post the link here...and will post little reminders as well. It's super simple. All you do is click on the link, click VOTE and enter your email address. Please feel free to share it on FB using the link provided when you vote!

She will be so excited that you are voting for her! :)

http://www.bittybabycontest.com/detail.cfm?id=12