Friday, October 30, 2009

Going Back

One of the hardest things for anyone who has experienced a traumatic event is to revisit the scene where the tragedy originally took place, and allow the experience to wash over them anew. Today, I went back to my OB/GYN office for my first appointment for Baby June not anticipating what an emotional event it would be for me. I have been back to this building several times, because our pediatrician also has his office there, and each time I enter the parking lot, I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Today I had to walk through the double doors, down the hallway, and enter into the office where I received the most heart-breaking news of my life.

Near me in the waiting room was one woman looking sick as she swallowed her drink for the glucose screen, the last thing I did before finding out about Eliana. While I sat there, another girl came in for her 6 week check-up with a new baby girl. As she was checking in, the baby began to cry and it just pierced my heart. I was there for nearly two hours, and spent the whole time holding back tears. Words, voices, images from that day in May, kept running through my head as I sat there trying to remind myself that I was there for Baby June. How do you simultaneously rejoice over one baby, when your heart is still aching for another? I have to wait for God to teach my heart how to do this. I love this baby already, but I am sad for Baby June, because I miss just being blissfully happy about pregnancy, instead of cautiously optimistic.

They did an early ultrasound, and I lay on the table just waiting to see the status of my Little One, and trying not to think of the last time I was in that room. I don’t ever want to hear “I’m sorry…” again while I am laying on that table.

Since I am 5 weeks, 1 day into the pregnancy, the tech explained it is very early to try to see anything. When typing out her report, I saw “probable gestational sac, no yolk sac, no fetal pole.” This was not reassuring to me at all. I asked her if this is normal at this stage, and her reply was:

“Yes, it’s very early to detect a pregnancy, and you may have ovulated later than you thought. They will do your blood work today to check your levels and make sure everything looks good.”

Again, not so reassuring when it’s my baby’s life in the balance! While no one seemed to be concerned but me, this put me on absolute emotional overload. After my blood work was done and we left, I was visibly shaken, and my husband decided to take the rest of the day off from work.

It’s not so much that we received bad news about Baby June. In fact, it appears there really isn’t anything to worry about at this point. I did get a call back from the practitioner this afternoon saying my levels are good, and they don’t need me to come back in until my next appointment. Now it’s just a matter of waiting 5 weeks, when I will be far enough along to hear the heartbeat and hopefully have a reassuring ultrasound.

I think it was just so hard being in that room again, going back to the scene of my greatest nightmare, and not being able to see anything that tells me Baby June is doing well. It just brought everything from that day back to me in such a fresh way, it was almost like experiencing it all over again. I still miss my daughter so much, and yet, for the sake of this new little one, I know I need to be strong, and stay positive, and send all the happy thoughts I can to let this baby know how loved he/she is, to help him/her to grow and thrive. At times I wish I could just hit fast forward to June, so I wouldn’t have to live in this uncertainty, but I know I really do need this time to continue to grieve, and to get to know Baby June before I’m ready to meet him/her. Until then I am relying on God to guide me through this journey of the heart; to give me the peace, strength, faith, hope, and love that is only found in Him, as I miss my beautiful baby girl, and anticipate her little brother or sister simultaneously. It’s a dance of love to which I am just beginning to learn the steps.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:5

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hello in There, Little One

Hello in there, Little One! This is what I keep thinking as I try to wrap my brain around the fact that I am pregnant! I got my first BFP a week ago, but it was more of a faint than a fat positive, and proceeded to disappear.
Today I decided to post, after I got my B-er, F-er P.:) This time, the preggo line came out way darker than the control line, and it was the control line that started to disappear, so I don't know what's with me and the disappearing lines.

I am without words when I think about how to post about this. I feel excited, hopeful, happy, and blessed, while at the same time anxious and fearful, to think that there is really life inside of me again. Somehow just a week ago, that concept seemed like such a remote, far away possibility. I've spent the last five months convincing myself, that "no, you are not going to have a baby," and averting my eyes from the infant sections in department stores to protect my heart. Now, all of a sudden, that is no longer the case, and it's time to open my heart to all the wishing, hoping, planning, and dreaming again! It's almost too much to take in! I already love this little one with every fiber of my being, and yet when I try to imagine actually holding a crying baby in my arms in June, I can only tear up, because it still seems like some distant dream. I know this time, it will be a one day at a time journey, as we love our baby every step of the way.

My husband and sons are beyond excited. My youngest son already gave the baby a nickname. After we explained to them the baby was expected in June, he said "Is Baby June gonna come?" So, Baby June it is, until we decide on a name.:) We are praying, hoping, and believing for Baby June to come wiggling and screaming into our lives next summer.

Over the Top

Thank you to both Bree and Lea for nominating me for an Over the Top Award. Here are my "one-word answers," I just had to get a little "over the top" on a couple of them!;)

1. Where is your cell phone? charger
2. Your hair? down
3. Your mother? work?
4. Your father? heaven
5. Your favorite food? pizza
6. Your dream last night? crazy
7. Your favorite drink? water
8. Your dream/goal? healthy baby
9. What room are you in? office
10. Your hobby? crafts
11. Your fear? loss
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? bigger house with kiddos to fill it.
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren't? Bored!
15. Muffins? raspberry
16. Wish list item? House
17. Where did you grow up? Iowa
18. Last thing you did? baked pumpkin bars
19. What are you wearing? comfy shirt and PJ pants
20. Your TV? off
21. Your pets? none
22. Friends? absolutely
23. Your life? Bittersweet
24. Your mood? rollercoaster
25. Missing someone? Eliana
26. Vehicle? minivan!
27. Something you’re not wearing? Socks
28. Your favorite store? Target
29. Your favorite color? pink
30. When was the last time you laughed? yesterday
31. Last time you cried? today
32. Your best friend? True
33. One place that I go to over and over? grocery store!(twice in the last two days)
34. One person who emails me regularly? Mom
35. Favorite place to eat? Olive Garden

I am passing this award on to:

Franchesca at Handprints From Heaven
Rachel at Waiting for Morning
Amy at From My Point of View
Lisa at House of Collinsworth

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saying Good Night to My Little Ones

Tucking my youngest son Jayden into bed tonight, I just felt so strongly how much I am missing Eliana. I sat down on the floor next to his bed, and laid my head down next to him as we talked. He brought up Bob the builder, and some other fun topics on his mind, and nestled his cheek lovingly against mine. He stayed like that and began to breath deeper and settle into sleep. I was just overcome by how much I love him. I have hardly been able to look at my sons’ baby pictures without crying since we lost Eliana, but tonight memories of his babyhood just started flooding my mind. Holding, talking, nursing, rocking…you get the picture.

Suddenly it was as though his soft, chubby little cheek could have been Eliana’s cheek, and I could be laying my head beside her at two years old, reliving the same perfect memories I had spent with her. Tears started to come, but the angle that I was laying kept them from dripping onto Jayden and disturbing his rest. What I wouldn’t give to have even one memory of her, holding her in my arms while her sweet little spirit was alive within her body. I know in some ways, it would probably hurt even more, but in another way, it would hurt less. I haven’t dreamt of her yet, but maybe God will let me dream of her in my arms sometime soon.

I wonder if people who haven’t experienced this type of loss would be baffled to know how deeply we grieve for our babies, and how profoundly we are touched by their little lives. For me, the depth of feeling just shows again to me the reality that we are created by God, with a unique spirit, and a sacred quality to our lives because we are designed for Him, and designed for love.

When I carried Eliana, I could feel the weight of her soul within me. Some of you might have seen a little poem that says “your heart within my heart…your life within my life.” It is so true. To actually carry the spirit of a child within your own body, is a bond greater than any of us even realize until we lose one. Since her death, it seems I have felt the weight and significance that her life carries to an even greater degree. She has impacted me so greatly, that it would be impossible to ever carry on as the same person I was before I knew her. Some might say, “but you didn’t even know her at all.” In a sense, that’s true, but in another sense, we had that body/soul connection that can only come from the Creator God. I have to admit that as much as I knew I loved her before, and as much as I loved my sons in the womb, I really didn’t know the true depth of it until I experienced what it was like to lose her at that stage.

I am healing. At first it was difficult, but now I love to just laugh with my boys, and hug them tight. In the beginning, every little thing I did with them was a painful reminder of what I would miss with Eliana. Now, those thoughts come less and less often, and a lot of the time I can genuinely have some light-hearted fun with them. Then there are other times, like tonight, when I am just missing, missing, missing.

Her two older brothers sleep peacefully tonight, my treasures on earth. I know my treasure in heaven is probably not sleeping at all, but I can only guess at what glorious thing she might be doing at this very moment while I miss her.

Good Night, Eliana. Some bright morning, when this life is over, I will wake up with you.

Friday, October 9, 2009

5 Months of Memories

Dear Eliana,

5 months ago today, was the day we saw you for the very first time, held you in our arms, and sang to you. It was the saddest day because we had to let you go, but it was a precious day, because we got to see you for just a little while. Even though I was almost 26 weeks pregnant, I actually only knew about you for 5 months. I can't believe that I have now been living without you for the same amount of time that I knew you were alive. Those are months that I will hang onto forever, remembering until the day we are together again.

When I first found out I was expecting you, I was so happy! It was getting close to Christmas, so I thought it would be a perfect present for Daddy if I could keep it a secret until then. Soon, my excitement won over, though, and I decided I had to tell him sooner. Grandma and Grandpa Kline were taking care of your brothers, so Daddy and I decided to go out to eat together. I told him I had one early Christmas present for him. I wrapped up a little baby carriage ornament and a baby bib. He was really surprised and so happy about you! Soon we told Caedmon he was going to have a baby brother or sister. He said "Is it really true, Daddy?!" He was thrilled to know you were on the way and would be here before his 5th birthday.

When we went out to eat at Long John Silver's, before telling the rest of the family, Caedmon announced loudly to the whole restaurant, "We're going to have a new baby!" Thank goodness no one was there who knew us!

At Christmas, we surprised my family by wrapping up a gift for Grandma Vicky to open. It was a box with some diapers that said "Another Little One to love and snuggle, August 2009." Grandma, Aunt Mary, Aunt Shanya, Grandma and Grandpa Bryngelson, and all Mommy's aunts, uncles, and cousins were so happy for us! People started saying, "Maybe it will be a little girl this time!" Here we are as a happy family on Christmas, full of anticipation to spend Christmas with you next year.

We let Caedmon tell Grandma Kline at lunch. He said "We have a surprise!...A new car!" (Your brother has a silly sense of humor) Then he said, "We're going to have a baby!" At the Kline Christmas, Aunt Sarah and Uncle Jonathan announced they were expecting too! Everyone was so happy about both you and your cousin, and Sarah and I were excited you would be so close in age!

You were with me on my 28th birthday when I made a wish for a healthy baby. My cake even had butterflies on it, and one of them is the one that Caedmon sent with you in your casket.

Daddy spent my birthday painting the house to put it on the market. We wanted to move to make more room for you!

On Valentine's Day, Daddy made a special cookie cake that said "K X 5" meaning that you made us a family of 5 Klines.

Grandma Vicky helped Caedmon make some Valentine people to look like our family, and when he made Mommy, he wanted to make the baby in Mommy's tummy too.

On March 11th we found out that you were a girl, and couldn't have been any happier. Daddy and I went out and bought some clothes for you. Everyone was so excited for us. Grandma Barbara reminded me that she still had a beautiful Christmas dress and a snowsuit in her closet that she was saving for my little girl. They would be just the right size for you this year. Soon after that I began feeling your little flutters and kicks, and a couple weeks later, Daddy could feel it too. I loved feeling you move throughout the day, and sometimes even at night I would wake up just to feel you swishing around. Also in March, we celebrated Daddy turning 30 with a big yummy ice cream cake. I know you loved ice cream just as much as I do!!

In April you were with us at Easter as we celebrated Jesus' Ressurection. Caedmon, Jayden, and your cousin Julia all had fun visiting the Easter bunny, and I looked forward to having you celebrate with us next year, wearing the lamb dress Daddy and I bought for you.

We had our first Snookies' ice cream of the year in April, and I'm sure you got a taste of Mommy's strawberry milkshake!

I was so happy to be carrying you through all our fun times and memories of those 5 months, and always looked forward to you joining us next year in all our fun!

Your last week with us was extra special. We did so many fun things together that week! We took you to Grandpa's choir concert and to the circus.

Caedmon had his last night as a "Cubbie" at Awanas.

On three different days we went to Waterworks park to enjoy the beauty of God's creation. Every year we love to go there while the cherry blossom trees are in bloom. These were our last special memories as a family of 5. Our times with you were some of the happiest of our lives, and we miss you and love you always!

Loving you with all our hearts, Baby Elli!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Walking through the Flames

As I sit here tonight, I am overcome with love, with joy, and with gratitude for the life of my special little girl. Even as I continue to long for her in my arms, and close my eyes to imagine the sound of her sweet newborn cries, I can still just praise God from the deepest part of my heart, for the gift He has given me in allowing her to come into my life for the short time she was here.

There have been brief moments when I have wondered, why did God give me the deepest desire of my heart, a baby girl, only to take her to heaven so quickly, before I even laid eyes on her? Wouldn’t it have been easier if we had just had difficulty conceiving, or in some other way had been spared the heartache of having her only to let her go? I know I am not alone in these thoughts, but I continue to move past them to embrace the truth.

The truth is, I would never trade one moment of the time I carried Eliana, and if I did I would completely miss God's awesome plan for her life and my life. It only took her 6 months in the womb to fulfill God’s pre-determined purpose for her precious life, and that purpose is still being lived out in us, who love her and have been deeply touched by her spirit. The Bible says in Psalm 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Before we conceived, God knew what would take place. He was fully in control, and allowed it to happen for a reason. We don’t understand all the reasons, but what we do know is, that He promises All thing work together for good to those who love the Lord, to those who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. He is using all of this for Eliana’s good, and wants to use it for our good. She will never know heartache, pain, rejection, or fear, only love and joy.

In the hospital, soon after hearing the news that Eliana’s life had ended, I had this amazing comfort in knowing that she was already in God’s presence, even as her body remained in my womb. It was strange to think about, but at the same time wonderful, that my own little daughter was already with her Savior and mine, seeing His face, enjoying His presence, learning amazing things, experiencing pure fullness of joy and endless light.

I was in anguish over how much I love her, and want to be with her, and God continually spoke to my heart “I love her even more than you do, and I love you both infinitely more than you can imagine.” It is hard to imagine a love deeper than our own love for our babies, but in our imperfection we can never match the depth of His love. Paul writes in Ephesians 3:17-19: And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. That is what happened in that hospital room, and that is what continues to happen in our lives as we swim through the sea of grief, we are amazed and perplexed by the love God speaks into our hearts.

I finally understand what it really means to turn my life over to Jesus. It goes far beyond turning away from sin. It is the daily surrendering of every single thing I could call my own, and making it His. He created us to love our children with all of our heart, and yet if we love Him we realize that they don’t belong to us, they are His.

To carry Eliana for 6 beautiful months was an incredible gift. To know her and love her has changed my life forever. It has changed our family forever. I pray that it has and will change many more lives forever, and all to glorify God and point people to Him.

I long for heaven more than ever before. Along with the awesome presence of God, it is amazing that I now have another tremendously precious treasure waiting for me when I get there. And yet, while waiting for heaven, I feel a greater sense of purpose on this earth than I have ever felt. I want to allow God to do anything and everything through me that He desires, to work His purpose and will for Eliana’s life and for my own life.

There are so many things that my girl has taught me. For someone so tiny, who never even took a breath of our air, it is amazing what she has already accomplished in this world. All of this is by the hand of God. There is nothing that we can experience that hasn’t passed through His hand first, including our deepest heartaches.

Losing a child was once my greatest fear, and worst nightmare. That was what I hoped never to experience, and I wondered if it could be the only thing from which I would never recover. Now, I am swimming right in the middle of this sea of grief, sometimes rising above the surface, sometimes barely treading water, afraid of drowning. In no way is the trial over, but I am profoundly aware of Jesus as my life preserver, never allowing me to sink. I love Isaiah 43: 1-3 Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God…your Savior.

Dear Father,

Thank you so much for giving me a precious gift, for answering my prayer with the blessing of a baby girl. I love how you are using her to draw me ever closer to You, and to impact the lives of others around me. She is a miracle baby, and you are the Miracle Maker. Whenever my soul aches to be with her, I know you are right here with me, and feeling my pain as only You can. You who gave Your only Son, holy and blameless, so that I could live, and so Eliana and me, and all those who believe in your name can be together one day with You for all eternity. Lord, help me to continue to trust You with my life, and Eliana’s life. Strengthen my faith in You as You continue working in our lives through this time of deep waters and burning flames. Because You carry us, I know we will emerge on the other side not drowned or scorched, but transformed further into Your image, carrying scars that tell a story of Your love and Your grace.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thank You

I feel so blessed to post two more special tributes to Eliana. Lea from Nicholas' Touch made these beautiful angel wings for her. They help me to think of how she is surrounded by angels in heaven, joining in the most beautiful songs of praise and worship to our great God. I like to think of her being carried to heaven by angels when she left my body, and being personally escorted directly to Jesus. What a lucky girl my Elli is, and I envy those angels who were priviledged to carry her! Thank you so much, Lea, what a beautiful thing you are doing!

I am so excited that Eliana has a butterfly now from my friend ,Bree! I love to think of Eliana whenever I see a butterfly, you can read more about this in my post from the butterfly garden. It really touches my heart to see how Bree and others are reaching out in their pain to help ease the burden of other's who share in the same tragedy. Seeing Eliana's name on Bree's blog is a true gift, to know that she is remembered and honored beyond the walls of our house. Through her butterfly project, Bree is honoring the life of her sweet baby girl Ella in such a meaningful way.