Friday, October 31, 2008

Writing in Sand

I asked my friend Emily, who recently moved to CA to do me a favor. While reading blogs of other moms who've lost babies, I noticed a trend of people who have written the names of their babes in the sand and taken pictures. This may seem like a weird or pointless thing to some, but for those of us grieving, seeing the name of our child anywhere means SO MUCH.

So on my birthday, I received a wonderful gift from Emily - these pictures. The note she wrote also touched me, as I'm looking for people to be impacted by Felicity, and here is yet another way her short life has had meaning to someone else. Here's what she wrote:

Hi Rachel,
I want to wish you a Happy 32nd Birthday! I hope your day is filled with love and some happiness.

I hope it is okay that I attached this message with your birthday greetings.

I went to Redondo Beach yesterday. It was a beautiful day. The tide was starting to come in and the sun was beginning to set. I took some pictures of Felicity's name in the sand. I think they turned out really nice. If you want me to take more pictures or change anything just let me know. I am very honored to have had the privilege to do this for you. Some days I ask myself "What was I thinking when I decided to move here?" This was another moment that allowed me to remember that God has a plan for all of us and that he is all knowing and loving even if we don't understand the path he has chosen for us. I just wanted to let you know that this experience has allowed me to become closer with God.
With Love,


Monday, October 27, 2008

Free Highspeed Internet Access y'all!

(Read the following post with a southern accent)

We're still "on vacation" and so far it's been a good trip. The kids handled the two day van ride well, thanks to the DVD player we bought at Circuit City on our way. So what if they watched more videos in those two days than they normally watch in three or four weeks at home. In fact, they watched pretty much everything we brought, which means they'll be watching the same videos on the way home.

We arrived in KY on Saturday evening and stayed at the Marriott, thanks to my dad's points he earns while traveling. So we had a $200/night room and it was nice. We spent a lot of the time there telling the boys not to touch this and that. We spent Sunday and today at the Creation Museum, which has been fun. If you haven't checked it out and live nearby (Petersburg, KY right near Cincinnati), I strongly recommend it! It's great for all ages. We're not sure what we'll do tomorrow, but the plan is to stay here tomorrow night before beginning the two day journey home.

Despite the distractions, I can't seem to let go and totally enjoy myself. Everything is a reminder of Felicity's death. We wouldn't be taking this trip if she hadn't died. Yesterday my body started to gear up to the fact that today was Monday, the three week anniversary of her birth/death. Then I start replaying the events of that horrible day and I just can't believe this is my life. I plan on posting Felicity's story in the near future. In my search for other moms who have lost a baby, I need to read their stories of loss in order to connect to them and so I want that to be available to others who find themselves in this horrible life journey.

Tomorrow is my 32nd birthday and I'm not posting this info. to get a bunch of bday well wishes (thanks Billi Jo for being the first!). I just can't believe another bday is here and that life is continuing to go on without me. That's the way I feel. I feel so stuck in my pain! Everyday we've been gone, I've had to pull out a couple of pictures of Felicity that I brought and stare at them. I miss her so much! My milk is letting down right now, just thinking about her. (Elijah is still nursing, which has been mostly a blessing.)

On a funnier note, doing the hotel thing with a very active two year old, is quite the adventure. We're in a Holiday Inn right now and Elijah seems to think the bathroom is his personal office. He keeps going in the bathroom and sitting on the floor with his magna doodle. At least until I realized that he could lock himself in. He seems fairly satisfied with my Caboodles (yes, I grew up during the 80s) propping open the door. He mocks me by saying "careful, careful, careful!" as he climbs over it to get inside the bathroom.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Raining Tears

I miss my baby! I feel so incomplete without her! Pray for me! I didn't sleep well last night for the first night since Felicity's death. I had dreams of other moms losing their babies.

I had to go to the dentist yesterday and have a cavity filled. Driving the 30+ miles to get there was my first time driving and my first time alone since Felicity died. I blasted the Christian radio station to fill the silence, but of course many of the songs had a line or more that made me cry. The scripture about "praying without ceasing" has taken on a whole new meaning for me. My thoughts are a constant conversation with God and despite the sadness I feel, I can hear God talking to me like never before.

The dentist read my chart and congratulated me on my new baby. I have played in out in my mind different ways to deal with situations like these. Do I say that I had a little girl and not tell about what happened or do I risk being vulnerable in front of people and say what actually happened. I want to acknowledge Felicity in every way possible, and so far, I've yet to just say that I had a little girl. I told the dentist she was stillborn and would you believe, the dentist shed a few tears with me! I may have even gotten a little extra Novocaine out of the whole deal as having my tooth drilled was so easy!

After the dentist, I picked up my mom and we went to the thrift store to find me a few skirts or pants so I'd have enough clothes that fit for our trip. (We're heading down to KY to the Creation Museum) Shopping for clothes has never seemed so pointless. It's usually a fun activity, especially when the boys aren't with (they don't appreciate shopping), but it was just a chore this time. We went out for a late lunch (eating has become a chore too for the most part) and had a good chance to talk about what happened and how we were each feeling. It's been hard to talk details of what happened with the boys around when we're together. I cried at the restaurant too, but I don't really care anymore. My only concern about crying is whether or not I have kleenex nearby.

Well, I could ramble a whole lot more if I wanted to, but I've got a ton of packing and laundry to do, so I'd better get off the couch. Pray for safety for our trip and for sanity in being in the car for so long. Pray Elijah sleeps in the car a lot!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weakness or Sorrow?

I have to admit, the last three nights in a row, I've prayed that God would take the last 15 days (or however many he wanted to take) and make them just a dream. I prayed I would wake up and be pregnant again; my baby warm, safe, and ALIVE inside me. I promised God I'd do things differently. I wouldn't complain about the aches and pains of pregnancy, I'd revel in them! Of course, I believe God is sovereign, but I also believe He could do this. He could give me my baby back.

Some moments in the day, when I'm busy wiping noses, preparing food, doing school with Ethan, I forget for a moment what happened. Then suddenly I feel like I've been kicked in the gut and there's this deep hollow ache inside my body. It hurts so bad! Will I always feel this way, whenever I remember Felicity? I've done a ton of reading on the subject already, and everyone says that the intense feelings will fade.

We've gotten some pictures of Felicity developed and we're working on a collage frame. I want to see her face everywhere in our home. Some people might think that's weird, but I need to feel her close. That's all I have.

A friend gave us a special gift of money to be used toward something to remember Felicity by. We're going to put her birthstone (pink!) in my mothers necklace and we are going to order that painting from June Dudley that I posted about in an earlier entry. Paul actually talked to June yesterday and told her our story and she's going to personalize the painting with whatever we want!

Yesterday we went and ordered Felicity's headstone. Unfortunately, the granite company that makes them, shuts down around the 1st of Nov. due to the cold weather. So they probably won't even start working on her headstone until March and it won't get placed until May. We went to the cemetery on Saturday and saw her grave again. I know she's not there, just her body, but it still feels good to be "close" to her. Someone has been keeping the flowers alive on her grave. This morning it's incredibly cold, so they've probably died. I hate the idea of snow covering her grave in another month or two without a way to identify it.

We're planning on taking off later this week for a family vacation. Right now Paul's working half days from home and then next week he'll take the whole week for bereavement leave. We need to get away and make some memories with the boys. Pray for safe travel and family closeness.
We are so thankful for all your prayers. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are making it through each day. I'm sleeping well, no nightmares. Pray for better sleep for Paul and Elijah. Elijah has gone back to waking multiple times during the night and usually ends up in our bed by about 4 am. That's been interesting. Thankfully he's been sleeping until 7 or 7:30. Please pray that the boys transition well with daylight savings, and don't start getting up an hour earlier.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Weaving

My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me,
I may not see the pattern, but He knows what it should be;
Most times I do not understand and in my foolish pride,
Forget God sees the upper, while I the underside.
Sometimes He weaveth sorrows which seemeth strange to me,
But I'll just trust His judgment and work on faithfully;
'Tis He who fills the shuttle, He knows just what is best,
So I'll just weave in earnest and leave Him with the rest.
At last when life is ended and I with Him abide,
Then I shall see the pattern upon the upper side;
And I shall know the reason why joy with pain entwined,
Was woven in the fabric of life that God designed.
The dark threads are as needful in the Creator's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.
But not 'til the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the fabric and show the reason why;
--Author unknown

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Doing the Firsts

I've been dreading all the firsts that have yet to come since Felicity's birth/death: first trip to the grocery store, first trip to the library, first haircut, etc. Going all those places where I'm going to encounter acquaintances who are going to ask about my baby but don't know what happened.

Thankfully I've gotten two of these firsts done. We all went and got our hair cut (except Elijah) together on Tuesday. Okay, so we didn't go to the regular place and therefore I still have yet to talk with the gal who usually does my hair. It was still hard to sit in the chair while the new gal was putting the big bib thingee on and have her ask, "How are you?" How do I answer that question? It used to be so simple to say, "okay" or "fine" or "pretty good." But I'm not any of those things. Do I burden this stranger with my life and probably a bucket of tears? Maybe someday, I'll be able to answer truthfully and use it as an opportunity to share Christ, but right now I'm too caught up in grief.

Today we went to the grocery store. I shop at a little grocery store and have come to know the people who work there, not all by name, but certainly by face and I know they noticed my huge belly the last few months. My mom knew I was dreading this first trip, so she even called the grocery store and asked if they have a protocol for situations like this. Of course, they didn't, but the owner said that it made sense to him to have such a protocol and said that he would talk with his employees about how to address formerly pregnant women who come in without their babies. (They shouldn't ask about the baby!) Well, while checking out today, with a cashier I have talked with before, (in fact I know she's a single mom and I've told her I've been there too), she asked, "So how many kids do you have now?" (The boys were both with as was Paul.) I got choked up and said, "Two on earth and one in heaven. We just lost our baby girl." She obviously felt bad and punched my frequent buyer card twice as many as I deserved. She said she was sorry and God bless.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Sure I cried in front of people and while walking out to our van, but so what? It would be weird if I said that to her and didn't cry, wouldn't it?

We continue to hear of people we don't know that are praying for us and that's so helpful. Pray for Paul as his grief is different from mine, being the father. He feels the need to protect me and the boys and yet he is so sad too. Felicity was his little girl and that is such a special relationship. Pray for Ethan, to talk about how he is feeling and to be able to sleep more. We are all starting to feel a bit sleep deprived.

We did go to church last night which was a HUGE blessing! I was able to talk with my moms group and one of them has lost 5 children/babies! She was able to talk openly with both Paul and I and she just knew how to ask the right questions. She said Felicity's name, not just "your baby" or "your loss." We've gotten a few cards now where people have written "I'm sorry for your loss." It sounds like we lost something inconsequential. We lost our daughter!!! We also felt the love of our church in that people are bringing meals for us and leaving them in the church frig/freezer.

All in all, we're doing as well as expected. We still laugh and smile, though not as often. I notice that being in the car is weird, especially when the main topic of discussion is headstones and which way is the fastest to get where we're going. We let my mom go home yesterday so that I can try and do more. She is going to come back the minute I ask her to, but for now she needed to do stuff at home and I need to reclaim my role a little more. I'm feeling pretty good health wise so thanks for praying for that need.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Not for this World Alone

Felicity Faith was made not for this world alone, or even for this world mainly. She, like all people, was created in God's image to glorify our Father in heaven. She was conceived with an eternal destiny that God established from the foundation of the world. It doesn't matter that her soul went to be with Jesus prior to her birth; her significance is not diminished. Felicity Faith - who was swallowed up by this life - is fulfilling her eternal purpose in heaven. She is all that God created her to be - perfect, complete, unique - glorifying God in a role only she can fill. What a joy it will be to meet our glorified daughter in the presence of Jesus after we leave this earthly life!

Based on the writing of Laura Johnson

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Please pray for all those who have lost a child.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I Need A Time Machine. . .

Yes, a time machine, something even my engineer husband can't build for me. You see, I want to jump a year into the future and see what our lives are like. I feel so stuck right now it seems and I just can't imagine how life is going to be.

Thankfully I read an encouraging post this a.m. from and realize that it doesn't matter. I need to live for NOW, enjoy my boys TODAY, love my husband in THIS MOMENT. We are always going to be changed because of Felicity not being with us, but that's okay. Much like I'm not the same person since my first husband divorced me, I'm not the same person I was when Felicity was alive and well in my womb. And you know what, I don't want to be that person any more! I want to feel this sadness as hard as it is. And I want to eventually be stronger and more compassionate because of it. God will restore us, not to what we were, but to something even better, if we let Him have His way in our lives. Keep praying!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Letter to Felicity

Our Dearest Felicity,

We never thought we'd be writing a letter telling you good-bye before we ever really got to say hello. We wish you were in our arms right now, but instead you're being cradled in Jesus' arms. We love you, our precious baby girl and we waited so long to meet you! We now wish we would have treasured those moments while you were in Mommy even more!

You are so beautiful! We are going to miss you every day! We are going to miss all your firsts: firsts smile, first steps, first words, and especially the moment when you would have trusted in Jesus as your Savior. Ethan and Elijah are going to miss you too and we know they would have protected and loved you like only big brothers could.

We are so thankful that you are with Jesus. We long for the day when we will be able to see you again; to see you smiling and laughing and welcoming us home. Our hearts will never be fully complete until we are all together, but for now, we pray that God will give us "joyful faith" for the rest of our days on earth.

Until we are all together with Jesus, we love you!

Daddy, Mommy, Ethan, and Elijah
This marks the one week anniversary of Felicity's arrival and departure from this world! Help us Lord!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

No Words

Can hardly believe yesterday (the memorial service and burial) is over. Feels so surreal today; going through sympathy cards and gifts and trying to reestablish some order to our messy, chaotic household. Did this past week really happen? Did I just give birth 6 days ago? Did we really bury our daughter yesterday?

As the days progress, I'm sure most of my posts will be about Felicity and our grief. I find that blogging has indeed taken place of writing in my journal. It helps so much to write out what I'm feeling and even Paul can go back and read my thoughts.

We're trying to take time each day to "debrief" each other on how we're both feeling. It's been hard to even get that done lately, with all the planning we had to do. And yet, so much was taken care of for us. Our church family did so much! They had a meal for everyone after the service and played the music during the service. A friend even videoed and made us audio tapes of the service and we didn't even know he was going to do it. We are so blessed.

Two things that Paul and I will really need to work on as the days, weeks, and months pass are:

1) Understanding that each of us will grieve differently.

2) Don't contemplate "what if..." thoughts b/c they inhibit healing.

Thankfully, Ethan is starting to grieve a little. On Friday, we picked up the CD of pictures from the photographer who came to the hospital. She also gave us a DVD of the pictures. They are amazing and I hope to post the video on here soon. While watching it, Ethan wouldn't come into the room, but I noticed him watching from the dining room. Soon he was on the floor and his face said it all as to how he was feeling. I went over and sat on the floor and pulled him into my arms. Immediately he started sobbing. I'm crying now just thinking about it. I told him again that Felicity is in heaven and it's okay to cry and miss her. It's okay to feel happy one minute and sad the next, but if he's feeling sad, he needs to let it out. I also explained to him that what happened to Felicity is very rare (tightly knotted umbilical cord) and it wouldn't happen to the next baby we have. Maybe it's wrong for me to make assurances to him like this, but he needs to have that. I fear it's going to be very hard for him to get excited the next time if he doesn't feel secure.
Please continue your prayers! It's been such a balm to us knowing all the people who are praying, some of them we've never even met. Praise God for the body of believers!
The picture at the top of this post is the painting that was hanging in my hospital room. It makes me think of Felicity in heaven. The artist is June Dudley.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Born: October 6, 2008

In Jesus' Arms: October 6, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

In the Light of His Glory and Grace

We are so sad to announce the birth and death of our precious baby girl:

Felicity Faith
9 lbs, 15.3 oz and 21.5 inches long

She was born not breathing yesterday morning after an intense two hour labor. Her umbilical was knotted and despite heroic efforts by our midwife and emergency crew and a transfer to the hospital, it was determined that she went to be with Jesus before she ever entered this world.

We desperately need all your prayers right now! We are so thankful to the Lord for our little girl and wish that we could be holding her right now. Please pray for the boys; Ethan especially as this is obviously going to be much harder on him. They both had the opportunity to see their sister and hold her and we know that she would've been so loved by them! We are planning a memorial service to remember our daughter by and need prayers to complete this difficult but important task.

I long to remember my baby and everything about her! She had a head full of dark hair and sweet facial features, resembling Elijah so much. She had my long toes and beautiful fingers that curled around my finger so perfectly. She had chubby thighs and the softest skin. Her fingernails and toenails were incredibly long and at birth she was covered in vernix. She had beautiful rosebud lips that I will miss everyday the opportunity to kiss!

Thank you to those of you who have already reached out to us with loving words and thoughts and especially those of you who have shared that you have experience similar pain. I will be drawing on you in the future as we try to grieve and process all we are feeling. I never imagine or felt pain so great as what we are feeling right now!

Please love your children with all your heart. Hold them close in all things. Love your spouse and don't miss one opportunity to tell him/her you love them. Don't let petty thing separate you. And above all, call out to God in all your struggles as we are doing now. Let Him be your Comforter and Guide.

I find great peace in knowing that Felicity is being held in the arms of Jesus right now and that she is so happy to be in the Light of His Glory and Grace!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

41 Weeks and a Bit of Rambling

Baby is still inside. It's funny when Elijah in his 2 year old speech says, "Mama, what's your baby doing in there?" I wish I knew:)

My spirits are pretty good - for the moment. I went for a long walk in the cool fall weather. I love fall and the maples around us are starting to get so beautiful. I just wish I had more than one pair of pants and one long sleeve shirt that fits. The shirt is new and I'm afraid to wash it for fear it will shrink and no longer fit. Thank goodness for Target clearance!

Tonight we're going to try to some positioning stuff. I'm having a lot of pain whenever the baby moves around and our midwife thinks baby is not in a very good/low position. Tomorrow we will go see the midwife for a checkup and then Paul has proposed we spend the day together while Gramma watches the boys. Maybe we'll go see "Fireproof." Have any of you seen it? If you haven't, I strongly recommend going. I haven't seen it, but the church in Georgia who made it, has made two other movies, "Flywheel" and "Facing the Giants," which are phenomenal movies! We own them and have watched them many times. Each time I get such a good feeling from them and I can watch them with my kids without ever worrying about anything bad in them. Ethan loves both movies.

On a totally different topic, the cows are going to market tomorrow. We can't keep them over the winter as we don't have any outbuildings and the weather has gotten so cold already. We had a really good frost the other night, so the cows are leaving a little earlier than Paul planned on. Unfortunately, low-weight beef is going for a lot cheaper than we hoped, in fact we will probably lose money. We're thankful though that we will be able to put that money back into savings. We'll see what happens next year, if we'll get more cows. So farewell Bossy, Clarabelle, and Buttercup. Hopefully you'll all meet some nice bull who will give you lots of babies in the future.

Favorite Baby/Kid Gadgets

I thought it would be fun to get some input on what you all like for baby/kid gadgets (I can't seem to think of a better word than gadgets). I'm always seeing the new stuff that comes out in the baby magazines and catalogs and wonder what works and what's really a waste of money and space.

We don't buy a lot of stuff for our kids. We don't even own a crib, but I like the smaller stuff. I am very anxious to use my "new" sling when the baby comes. I had a ring sling for Ethan and Elijah, but it's bulky (padded) and quite loud, so last fall I purchased a different style with birthday money that is stretchy fabric and not padded. I was also given a fleece sling to try in cooler weather.

With Ethan I had one of those plastic bath tub thingees (again my vocab is lacking) but never knew where to put it when we weren't using it. Then I sold most of Ethan's baby stuff to Once Upon a Child because I didn't know if I would have more kids, so when Elijah came around, I used one of those yellow foam bath things which we really like, but unfortunately didn't last for this baby. When I went to Wal-mart to purchase another, I saw these reclining bath seats for $2 more that have a mesh cover which is washable on a wire incline. I figured that it would last longer than another foam one, so it will be interesting to see how we like it.

I'm also big into diaper bags, or just bags in general that can be used for all the kid stuff a mom has to tote around. I don't carry a purse then when we are in the diaper bag stage as it just seems pointless when I can stuff my wallet and a few other items into the diaper bag. I find that the thinner the fabric of the diaper bag, the better I like it. The Eddie Bauer ones and those like it just don't work for me as they don't seem to hold as much as you think they will. I don't buy purses very often, so I figure my diaper bag fetish is alright. (I only own two different ones.)

Another great "gadget" I bought was a washable high chair cover. Our high chair originally had a vinyl cover and that of course began to rip fairly quickly. So on a trip to Babies R Us one time, I saw a washable one that is just plain navy blue. It is great! It can be wiped off easily with a washrag, or if your child has a blow out diaper while sitting in it, you can put it in the washing machine.

Finally, I do cloth diapers while at home. After two kids and trying various kinds of diaper covers, I have found that my favorite diaper covers are the Bummis Whisper Wraps. They are about $11-12 a piece, but last a long time and very rarely ever leak.

So, what are some of your favorite baby/kid gadgets? What works for you and your family?

Friday, October 3, 2008


For all 3 of you wondering, I'm still preggo. And crabby, tired, irritable, huge, ornery, swollen, emotional, sore, and itchy. I didn't shave my legs today!

I actually had my mom take a picture of me today and maybe I'll get around to posting it, but I'm too much of the above to do it now.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I lost my plug! Hooray! Contractions are back and I've had more today than I've had in the past 48 hours!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I never thought this would be an October baby, and yet here I am. Sure will be cheaper for Paul to add a stone to my mother's necklace now as September is a sapphire and October is that pink stone I don't even know the name of - and it's my birthstone!

We went to a park today to walk and play on the playground. They have three large slides there that go down a big hill. Two of the slides are open and have big bumps going down, and yes, I went on them multiple times, as well as walked up and down the steep hill multiple times. Okay, so the last time I was kind of crawling up. I was considering going down the other slide which is a tunnel slide and probably close to 50 feet long. There was a sign though that said it was for children ages 5-12 with adult supervision. So, I restrained myself, though I'm sure that it would've made something happen.

So the wait continues. Pray for me and those who have to be around me!