About Me

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I'm just a 28 year old woman that married the man of my answered prayers on July 18, 2009. We have our sweet Ella that was born in September of 2010 and our precious Charlotte that was born in February of 2012! On March 24, 2013, our first son was born, Josiah Warner. After a complicated pregnancy, he was born very prematurely and lived less than an hour before going to be with Jesus. Through life's ups and downs, I'm trying to figure out how to follow Jesus. I mean, really follow Jesus. The kind of following where things start to change. It's time to put action to the passion

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Roses Among The Thorns

Late last night, John said to me, "It's been a while since you've written a blog, right?" I laughed at the thought that 'it's been a while' for a blog has become a mere two days, haha. The past two days have been full of roller coaster ups and downs. For part of the day I'll feel great and the other part of the day I'll feel terrible. Dr. Peppy informed us that after the D&C it'll probably take 2 weeks before my hormones begin to equal out again. Two weeks will be tomorrow, so it'll be interesting to watch my moods the following week.

I have officially been in the anger phase of grief since about 2 days after the surgery. The funny thing is, I only have momentary lapses of being angry with God. I mostly just get mad at other people. The guy on the road that cut us off and laughed about it, the morons (excuse my name-calling) at Sears that could not seem to get their act together to help me simply get my oil changed so my mom could take me shopping to get my mind off of life, the retarded vacuum cleaner that I almost tripped over the other day, people's comments (even though they probably don't realize how bad it sounds) and the list goes on and on and on...In normal life, I can get pretty much keep my act together. But, right now, I feel like I need to purchase a punching bag to take out all of my anger. So, if you see me start to tense up, just run!! You might end up in my line of fire... ;o)

So, with all of the ridiculous-ness and my ticked off-ness, I have decided to make a list of all of the roses among the thorns lately. There have been so many tiny (and HUGE) blessings along the way that I can so easily dismiss when I start to get mad at the morons (whoops, am I still namecalling?) at Sears...

1) At 7 weeks 4 days, John and I rushed to the doctor's office because I had some bleeding and cramping. That's when everything was completely normal with baby Phillips. A strong heartbeat and growth on track. When the doctor had examined me before that ultrasound, he had told us that if we didn't see a heartbeat, we would not think the worst, but try to sit down and play around with the due date, maybe it just wasn't time for the heart to beat yet. If our little one's heart had not been beating yet, we probably would've had to wait at least a week for another ultrasound to check on the little one. That week would have been torturous, heck, that one day of questioning was terrible enough. So, John and I have both said how happy we were that our first ultrasound was okay.

2) We were both glad (doesn't seem like the right word considering the situation, but you get the idea) that we were blindsided with the situation in the best way. We weren't planning on the ultrasound that day and we didn't suspect one bad thing. I mean, John wasn't even going to come to that appointment! I told him to just skip it, I am so glad that God changed my mind to have him come to that visit. If we would've found out the bad news that first ultrasound, we were already a wreck so it probably wouldn't have been the best. But, the fact that we were blindsided, kinda helped us from wailing and making a scene in the doctor's office.

3) Also, I began to bleed a little right after that doctor's appointment (when we found out) and the very next night, the heavy bleeding began. I could not imagine the terror if our doctor's appointment was just a few days later, we thought nothing was wrong, and then I started bleeding and cramping so heavy in the middle of the night. God timed our doctor's appointment perfectly with us finding out the news.

4) As strange as this sounds, we are glad I began bleeding and had the baby at home the day before the D&C. We strongly felt the D&C was the right decision (and still do), but we were glad that the Lord let us experience both. That way, we didn't have any second guesses if our little one still had a chance or not.

5) God gave us a wonderful doctor that we had never even met 3 months ago. He has been excited with us, mourned with us, and cheered us on for the future. I actually shadowed an obstetric unit for a week in my pre-med days and I know how woman after woman comes in with miscarriages. I know that Dr. Peppy sees healthy pregnant women all the time and also has to break bad news to people all the time. Yet, it doesn't change his level of excitement or his level of grief for each individual baby. It's been nice to feel like a friend instead of just another patient. Is it weird that the only reason I have wanted to get pregnant again right away is to be back in Dr. Peppy's office? Don't tell him how weird I am :o)

6) John and I have the strongest marriage of any 3 month newlywed I have ever met! In our extremely short time of marriage, we have celebrated the excitement of having our first child. We dreamt together of whom our child will take after, will he or she have curly hair?, and how much we loved a clump of splitting and reproducing cells. And, we have also walked the torment of losing our first child. We never prepared for this road before we got married and I think we've done pretty good. We have balled our eyes out together, we've done our best to be strong when the other one is weak, we have had our arguments out of grief where we both just end up crying because we're just dealing with that anger I talked about, and we have lifted each other up before the Lord when the one doesn't have strength to lift their own self up. I had NO idea that I could ever love John more than I did on our wedding day. Wow, was I wrong! I thought I loved him then, but I would walk the lowest of valley's with that man any day (even though I hope for more mountaintops!).

7) Our housesitting gig, while completely crazy at times, has been a good thing. I had my surgery on Thursday and that Sunday was our first day of housesitting. It's been good to not be at home. I am a little scared to go back and be there every day, but God will give me the strength when it's time. But, our housesitting was at the perfect time to feel like I am on a mini vacation! It'll be even better tomorrow when I am finally allowed to go swimming in their pretty pool :o)

8) We kept our pregnancy a secret in the beginning for a reason. If we happened to miscarry we didn't want a million people saying how sorry they were (still feel that way), BUT our story has helped a lot of people. I have been shocked at how many texts, Facebook messages, emails, calls, etc I have received from people that have found some solace in these blog posts. Honestly, I began writing my feelings on here because it was easier to tell people to go check the blog rather than say our baby died. And, it's been helpful for me to think through my feelings every day and get them written out. And, we decided to make these journals public because that way I don't have to answer a hundred questions of how we are doing. Also, it's easier for out of town family to feel like they are walking this right next to us to know how we're doing everyday. But, I had no clue how many people would be encouraged in the Lord through some of my ramblings on here. And, the coolest thing is that most of those people are not dealing with a miscarriage right now but some have a husband that walked out on them, some are dealing with depression, some have a long term illness, some have just plain not been following Jesus in everything that they should, and the list goes on. So, even though I was really upset at first that God would allow us to tell people about our pregnancy and then a week later find out all of this, He knew what He was doing. He knew that people needed to watch us go through our grief so that they may grow closer to the One that created them (and our baby!). It has been crazy to see some of the responses and know that I am praying for you!

9) The Lord has shaken me up to realize my always constant desperate need of Him. My quiet times were haphazard during the pregnancy and my reason was because I was "just too sick". I think my prayer life kept up enough to par, but reading my Bible and my involvement in church dwindled. Now, while I do believe there is some validity to being too sick for some things and God understands, I knew I could have done more and God was asking me to and I didn't. God forgives and I have moved past that, but God has used this yucky situation to realize that I am always in desperate need of Him. Yes, I really do mean always...good times and bad times, just as much desperate need of Him. God is teaching me a lot and I am thankful for that.

10) Last, but not least, the Lord gave us the most precious first child we could have ever asked Him for. The last two days I have thought a lot about the fact that this child had the chance to go straight to Heaven. I mean, could a mother really ask for anything more? My baby never had to learn from me how to follow Jesus, baby Phillips now has the chance to learn from Jesus Himself. Of course I still wish I had the chance to teach Jesus to our little one, but our foremost prayer before this child was even conceived was that our children would come to know the Lord at an early age. While I never imagined this would happen, our first baby followed Jesus at such an early age! And, in the words of King David after he lost his baby, "But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me." (2 Samuel 12:23) Yes, I wish our baby could come back to me, but instead I will go to you one day baby Phillips.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Beautiful Weather Tries to Heal a Torn Heart

I am not sure that the weather could be any more perfect right at this moment. I just let the dogs out to do their business (still housesitting) and I didn't want to come back inside. The sun is beginning to set, so there's a perfect glow and a crisp wind blowing around. I can't believe how perfect those few moments felt. No near panic attacks (like earlier today at church), no saddened heart over what's been lost, no wondering what our next step should be, no avoiding phone calls like I've done the last 24 hours (I love all of you, I'm just not sure I have much to say right now), no sadness, just a momentary feeling like all was right with the world. I wish I could just bottle up this weather so that whenever I have a day like this one, I can at least have the weather to cheer me up. Even if it's just a few moments of feeling like my life isn't completely upside down, I'll take it!

Today was another day where I woke up and knew it wouldn't be good. But, I really did my best to push that feeling away and get excited for church. Yes, I have made it the last two weeks. John and I saw our senior pastor in the back hallway right as the service was beginning. He spotted us and the second he made eye contact with us, I had to fight tears. I was pretty close to losing it in the hallway. Golly, how quickly I can turn from holding it all together, to near meltdown. It just felt so safe to be upset right in that moment. Our senior pastor is an extremely caring and godly man, so it felt okay to have a weak moment in front of him. He told us he had been praying for us (he called John last week and prayed over the phone) and we are meeting with him tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to it, I think it'll be good. And, I still plan to follow my no mascara rule of the last two weeks, because I never know when I am going to cry! While black tears would probably accurately show how I feel, the streaky aftermath is not so attractive :o)

Church got me thinking today about joy. I sat down in the back row (so many back row Baptists jokes went through my head as we sat there today, but I digress...) and stayed in my seat while I everyone reached their feet and clapped over God giving joy in the middle of bad times. I am not joyful right now and I think that's okay. Follow me here...I have a lot to be joyful about and I am grateful to the Lord for so many blessings (including many blessings He has given through this storm). But, I am not to the stage of dancing around the building in rejoicing to the Lord. The Bible says to "Rejoice always and again I say rejoice", but, I also know that there is a "time and season for everything under Heaven", including grief. Like I said earlier, "weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning". Currently, I am still in the nighttime. And, I believe that God's okay with that. You know how I know?


Before He died on that cross, He asked the Father if there was any way that cup could be removed from Him. He wasn't exactly doing cartwheels of joy in the garden when He was getting ready to die for the sins of the world. The Father let Him know that this was the only way. And, Jesus did it. I don't believe He did through rejoicing that He was so glad He could through this. His rejoicing in those horrendous hours, were through His obedience. He displayed His love for God and for creation by simply walking where God told Him to walk, even when He didn't want to. And, that's what I am doing. I've already asked God if there was another way (after that dreaded ultrasound) and you know what? He said no. Is it the way I wanted to do things? Absolutely not. But, the only thing I know, is that I am walking the road God Himself has asked me to walk on. And, it ain't pretty. But, the cross wasn't pretty either. That tomb didn't start out very pretty either. But, because of the obedience of Jesus, that tomb AND that hideous cross, became the most beautiful symbols this world could ever see. Oh, praise God that Sunday came in full glory! My Sunday is not here yet, but I know that it will. I know that God has the ability to ask us to walk dark roads, but that ability also takes our dark roads and "works it together for good".

I've already seen small glimpses of God's 'working together for good' business, but I know there's more. I also know there's a lot more that I won't see or understand this side of Heaven. And, Jesus felt even lower than me at a point in time. Therefore, I think He was okay with the fact that I didn't jump to my feet with "hallelujah's" this morning. But, He sees my heart pursuing Him and chasing Him and just flat out needing Him right now. He'll bring the joy back in my life. He already gave me a glimpse tonight when I just stepped outside for a few minutes.

I am so thankful that Jesus gave me a true picture of brokenness. It's okay to be broken and to ask for a way out, but if that way out doesn't come, you walk that road. And, at the end of the hurtful road, God works it all out to be a beautiful picture of how He redeems things for good. Oh Lord, redeem this situation for good!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Check Out This New Setup!

My husband turned my blog into something pretty! I just love it! One more reason why I love my husband: he knows how to do computer stuff, while I just give up after one try, haha. So, thank you Mr. John Phillips for making my blog all beautified!

You know how some days you wake up and just know it's going to be a yucky day? That was me today. Literally, from the second I woke up, I felt sad. I mean, come on! Usually it takes a good 30 minutes or an hour until I realize that nothing has changed and my baby is still gone. But, this morning, my lovely brain decided to remind me of the truth within 10 seconds. I sincerely have moments where I freak out and think that these feelings will never end. For example, today I thought much about if or when we get pregnant again. Will I still miss my first baby this much? Every time I take my child to Sunday school or marvel at his/her first steps, will I wish that I also had the chance to see my first baby do those things? Sure, I believe that time will heal a lot, but will I ever really get over the fact that I never got to hold my first child? I don't really believe that there are answers to these questions, but this is just a dumb situation.

Today, John and I went to Disney's Animal Kingdom. I wanted to get out of the house and kick my sad attitude in the butt. Didn't work as well as I would have liked. But, John and I did share some laughs, so I guess it was still worth it. But, several times, when I saw a pregnant woman or a newborn I wondered why I didn't get the chance to have this baby? Once again, not the idea of being pregnant or having a baby (I am praying God blesses us with that in the future), but why I couldn't have THAT baby, my FIRST child. Luckily, those thoughts never stay long. Usually, pretty quickly, the Lord reminds of the fact that He's in control and He has a plan and purpose for every child He has ever created, including my baby. I have no idea what my baby's plan or purpose was, but I am sure it has something to do with teaching mommy and daddy some lessons in how to pursue Jesus on a greater level.

If today wasn't ridiculous enough, I can barely walk. That's right, I am hobbling around like someone that had leg surgery a week ago and not a D&C. Yesterday was a pretty good day, John and I just lounged around all day. It was nice to rest all day because the last few days were pretty tiring. I got the bright idea to begin my workout regimen again in full speed. I am officially insane! I can't even describe how sore I am right now! I did Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD yesterday and I think that my ultimate problem is that I used weights that were too heavy. Also, I just plain pushed myself too hard. For the first time ever working out, I felt extremely sick to my stomach. It took about an hour before I felt normal again. Originally I planned to begin the workout every day. But, there was no possible way I could have done that again today. As soon as I'm not this sore, I'll pick back up on the workouts.

Now, for the happier parts of my day! God provides blessings even during heartache. God is still good, even when I complain for most of the day. Well, I got my bracelet today!! Remember the one I told you about? It has three charms, one representing when we conceived (including a crystal in the color of the month we conceived, August), one representing when our baby was transformed (including a crystal of the month we miscarried, October), and one representing when our baby was supposed to be due (including a crystal of the month of our due date, May). I love it! It turned out so well and I am glad it's on my wrist already. Here is a picture!

Here is my new beautiful bracelet! I found it at www.myforeverchild.com

Another blessing today was a package I received from a family that recently moved away from Orlando. I was so blown away that they took the time to send us a gift! It is so precious and I am so taken aback that they thought of us. They sent us "The Clinging Cross". It is a cross that is shaped and formed to fit inside the palm of your hand. It was made to have a tangible way to hold onto the cross when you're going through a tough time. I love it! It fits so perfectly in the palm of my hand and I have no doubt that I'll use it a lot in the near future. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if I use it a bunch tonight. Thank you so much for our beautiful gift, Mr. and Mrs. Murray! Here are some pictures!

And, here's how it fits in the palm of my hand

I received even more contacts today of people that lit a candle for baby Phillips! Still so overwhelmingly blessed by all of you! And, if you did it and haven't told us yet, please let us know! I would love to include your name in our baby's scrapbook. As usual, we are so thankful for all of you. We'll keep you up to date and we are praying that God blesses each one of you this evening :o)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lit Candles

Wow. So many people have told us that they lit candles last night in memory of baby Phillips and all of the other precious babies that have passed on to be with Jesus. It has been so encouraging. I fought tears today as three of those people sent us pictures of their candles. We do plan to include those pictures in our scrapbook. I wanted to show all of you the pictures we were sent. And, I also want to say thanks to the people that did light a candle without sending a picture. There are so many more of you that participated and it's been overwhelming. We are such an incredibly blessed couple!

Here is Mary Margaret's candle

Here is the candle from the Chesser household (love the beautiful sign!!)

And, finally, here's the candle from Nana and Pop's house (John's parents)

Baby Phillips was one loved little child. It's been comforting to have people walk this with us. It's nice to know that there are people out there grieving with us. I am hoping to get my bracelet (that I talked about in an earlier post) this weekend. If not, I guess I can make it until next week. Love you guys and thank you again for thinking of all three of us last night!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today has been rough. Last night, starting around 1:00am we really started to feel yucky again. Yesterday, I had a fairly good day. But, once we were all settled in at home, we both had a tough time. We had a long conversation about what to do next and we still just don't have that answer. We know it'll come. But, when we woke up this morning, the feeling of despair was still hanging around. Ugh, what a terrible way to wake up.

I had a lunch with a dear friend today. We hadn't caught up since before the wedding, so it was nice to chat. I know I probably took over most of the conversation, but she didn't seem to mind. It was a real encouragement to have someone say that it's okay to feel this hurt over losing our first child. And, it was super fun to be distracted by the store opening of H&M at the Florida Mall. It was a confirmation to know that God must be exist, I mean, we have an H&M now!! Haha, no shopping, but it was fun to be there for the grand opening.

After leaving lunch and the mall, my feelings started to go south again. Oh well, I guess I should expect that some days will be better (yesterday and the day before) and some days I'll wish that I could just lay in my bed and cry all day. But, I just kept thinking about lighting our candle tonight in honor of baby Phillips. Here are some pictures...

This first one I found still on my camera from the day that I surprised John with the pregnancy. I finally had gotten the surprise out (I didn't make it past 24 hours before constructing my elaborate scheme) and we made it home to relax. I believe this picture was taken pretty late that night, because we spent the afternoon celebrating and telling our immediate families

Here's our set-up before lighting the candle. Around 6:00pm we read lots of Scripture together and both prayed. As soon as we said amen, it was already 6:58pm.

Then, we lit our candle and honestly just sat in silence for several moments. There wasn't much to say and it was tough to know what to do next

The day of my surgery, we were sent a bouquet of flowers. The bouquet was all fall colors which I love. It was mostly gold and maroon colored flowers. But, there was one random hot pink flower in the bouquet. It doesn't match at all and honestly appears to be a huge mistake in the bouquet

The second I saw that flower I just had an overwhelming thought that it had to do with our baby. I told John later (not right away because I didn't want him to think I was totally nuts) that the pink flower makes me think that our first baby was a girl. It's funny because earlier in the pregnancy I told him that I thought we were going to have a girl. Do I believe 100% that our baby was a girl? No, there's not a way to know that. But, I do believe that God allowed that random pink flower to help me in my healing. You may think I'm crazy, but that's okay. If I get to Heaven and I see that we were given a precious baby boy as our first child, I doubt I'm going to be complaining to God that he gave me a pink flower in my bouquet. So, that's how I'm reconciling my craziness :o)

One of the many passages we read tonight was out of Job 3. It's been a big comfort this last week. Basically, Job is saying how he wishes he had never been born. And, in his rantings to the Lord, he tells Him that it would have been better for him to be a stillborn baby because at least he would have been in a place of peace. It's nice to know that my stillborn baby is in a coveted place of peace

After John and I talked about our baby for a while and how crazy all of this is, we decided to pull out our ultrasound picture. I hadn't seen it since all of this happened. It was nice to remember how precious that day was. It was so beautiful to see our little baby and the precious beating heart. John and I both talked a lot that day about our baby's little arms. They were so cute!

It's been a tough day and night, but my husband is amazing. Wow, God really gave me more than I could have ever asked for. I love him so very much and this really has brought us closer together. I am so glad that this terrible situation has drawn us closer rather than apart. He's a great man and I'm glad he's my baby daddy :o)

I wanted you all to be able to see the stuff we bought for our baby's scrapbook. On the left, I put the two different kinds of paper we bought for it. One is light blue with little green and brown polka dots. The other is light pink with different shades of pink stripes on it. The pages of our book will alternate between these two sheets. For the first sheet we brought a green page and the last page a teal one.

In closing, we read Revelation 21:1-7. Then, we blew out the candle. The candle is now on its stand and proudly displayed on one of our shelves above the television. One day, there will be no more pain and no more tears. And, Jesus will be highly exalted in His rightful place. I got the chills as we read that passage. Just to read the words that Jesus had conquered everything once and for all. I began to picture that day in Heaven. For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I greatly anticipate Heaven one day. Sure I have always been excited about it, but now is different. I used to live under the mindset that I just wanted to get married first, have babies, and have grandbabies before going to Heaven. But, Jesus reminded me tonight that He reigns supreme. And, I was reminded that His reigning is more glorious than anything I could ever find on earth. Also, of course, I am happy to know that when I do get to Heaven, I'll have my baby's beautiful face to greet me.

For all of you that lit a candle tonight, you were very encouraging to us. We love you and are so glad that you would honor baby Phillips and all of the other fallen babies of this world. And, we still covet your prayers as it has now been an official week since our baby was miscarried. But, Jesus is STILL fairer today!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Can't Imagine Heaven's Lullabies

Today has been a little bit better. I had my post-op appointment and it was great to see my doctor today. He is so precious and we are very thankful for him. He answered every question we had and he was so tenderhearted to us. It was a good appointment, although we had an interesting encounter at the reception desk. The lady said, "Oh, you're here for post-partum, where's your baby?!" She seemed so excited, I wasn't quite sure how to respond. It didn't make me upset at all, it never makes me upset to get congratulations. People are excited for us, they just don't know that we're not excited any more. I never know how to explain the truth of our situation now. I just don't want to hurt the other person's feelings. So, I just responded with an awkward, "Well, we miscarried our baby," and she seemed apologetic and quickly dropped the subject. I told Dr. Peppy about it laughingly and he felt sad for us. I told him that it really was fine.

I had one almost breakdown today in the middle of Target. Can we say awkward?? I randomly decided that I wanted a new pair of jeans for today. I already had a new top that I had bought on clearance before we knew anything was wrong with baby Phillips. It's nice and baggy (part of the style) and figured it would be a good one for a growing belly in our near future. Well, I decided I wanted to wear that today, but that I wanted some cute jeans to go with it. I figured that if I felt cute today walking into that doctor's appointment, it would help to know that I will conquer all of this sooner.

Of course I decided to go to Target when I only had about 20 minutes to shop before I needed to get home and get ready for the appointment. And, of course they didn't have exactly what I was looking for. Um, how in the world did I forget that I HATE going jean shopping on a really good day, so why would I go when I'm in the middle of all of this? I called John in a panic. I started tearing up and pacing around the store (I am sure I freaked out any nearby customers). He encouraged me to just get the pair that kind of fit and that if I didn't like them with my shirt, we could return them. So, I did. And, got a necklace in case the jeans were a bust :o) The jeans look great with the shirt and they will fit a little better when I lose my now remaining two pounds!

I didn't get the chance to tell all of you about what John and I did last night. I got a little sidetracked with letting everyone know to please not share their miscarriage story to us, unless I ask for it right now. And, I do still stand by that right now. Please try and understand. But, anyways, I digress :o)

We went to Michael's last night (with no coupon, blah! I was cringing!). We bought a beautiful white pillar candle and a cute silver stand for it. We plan to use it tomorrow, October 15th, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance day. The idea is to have people light a candle at 7:00pm in remembrance of all of the babies that have been lost and that there would be a candle lit all over the world the entire day. John and I will be lighting our beautiful, new candle tomorrow night in remembrance of our first child. I think it's going to provide a lot of healing. It didn't take us too long to pick out the candle and stand which I am grateful for. I thought I would breakdown during the process, but it was actually healing to pick out the candle to honor our baby with. We would love for you to light a candle tomorrow evening in remembrance of baby Phillips and all of the babies that have been lost due to miscarriage and many other sad things of our fallen world. And, please let us know if you participate, we would love to hear about it.

Also, we bought a beautiful baby scrapbook. We decided to go ahead and make the scrapbook of all of our memories from this pregnancy. I just remember thinking that this was the last time I could buy anything for this baby. What a devastating thought. But, I held it all together and it was such a beautiful experience to pick out pretty stickers for the book. Normally with scrapbooks, I pick the cheapest stickers and get whatever is on sale. This time, I went out of my normal clearance buying self and bought the stickers that I felt were just perfect. I also loved the fact that John helped to pick everything out as well. He did such a great job and contributed to so much of it. I loved that it was the both of us trying to figure out the best way to remember our baby. So, overall it was such a healing experience and just confirmed the fact that we are supposed to do the book. If we do have children later on, we will be able to show them the book and explain to them that they have an older brother or sister that is now in Heaven.

We love all of you very much! Seriously, I cannot even explain how precious all of you are. And, I have heard so many heartbreaking stories from so many of you, including many that are not pregnancy related. I am glad to know that the Lord is using our healing process to heal others of so many different things. Just keep praying for us as we are beginning to feel like we are actually able to get through the day now. Heck, I did my hair today and actually put some powder on my face! The pain still runs deep but there's been a comfort in the mundane things of returning back to the same schedule as before all of this happened.

I can't even begin to imagine Heavens lullabies, but am so glad that baby Phillips is experiencing it right now. We love you precious baby!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Morning Will Come

It's been one week since we found out about the news. I am shocked at how I made it through the day. I actually only teared up once today! That's huge, considering that I have cried at least once a day since the news hit us. John had a tougher day than I did, so I guess it's good that we both seem to take turns for the tough moments.

I spent time with two precious friends today and their beautiful children. They were homeschooling and took some chunks out of their day to let me hang out with the kiddos. One of the moments that brought a chuckle out was when the little ones decided to talk about my pregnancy. That probably seems like it would have made me cry, but it actually made me laugh. The 4 year old said, "I heard you're pregnant!!" I had no idea what to respond, I didn't want to hurt his feelings. But, I just responded, "Well, not anymore." He seemed confused and I told him that one day I will have a baby. He said, "Oh yeah, one day," as though it made total sense. Then, several moments passed and the 2 year old said, "You having your baby on Friday?" I laughed at how random that was and said, "No, no baby this Friday." He then said, "You having it on Monday or Tuesday?" I laughed and said "No baby for a looooong time". Then, the 4 year old jumped back in with, "Yeeeaah, not for a long time!" I proceeded to tell them, "Look at my belly, there's not one there! I can't be having a baby on Friday when there's no belly there!" And, the 4 year old said, "Yeeeaaah, no belly! You have to have a belly!" He seemed satisfied with my response. I must admit that I was a little scared he would say that I did have a belly, haha. But, at least I'm still skinny in his eyes :o)

As funny as that story was to me, it made me happy to have a 4 year old and a 2 year old that understand me not wanting to have a baby for a long time. So many people have told me of their miscarriage stories. I am so saddened to hear them and that my story brings up prior pain for so many people. There are three women that I have asked to hear their story. And, each one is such a unique story, with three totally different outcomes. While I have been comforted to hear so many of your stories, I would ask that you please hold off on those right now. My heart breaks at what I have just asked you, but please try to understand. Please try to remind yourself of the pain you felt that first week after miscarriage (that's right, it hasn't even been a week! Baby Phillips was officially miscarried last Thursday). I have been very overwhelmed at so many stories. And, I am not sure that I can put my finger on it right now. Maybe my own grief is too deep that I feel like I can't bear the load of anyone else's story just yet.

I also think that part of it is that people get transported back to their own painful story and almost get lost in the recounting of their own prior grief. And, through that, they share their particular outcome. And, a lot of times it includes another pregnancy soon after their miscarriage. Praise Jesus for His ability to turn really bad things into good!! But, hearing those stories right now make me happy for that individual and then reminds me of my currently empty womb. I didn't just want to be pregnant, I wanted to be able to hold my first baby and I will never be able to do that. Currently, John and I are not planning to try to conceive when we get the okay from the doctor. Neither of us want the stress of "trying" and we also want as much time as we need to grieve this first baby of ours. If the Lord busted through that idea and gave us a baby, we would be SO grateful. But, right now, it just feels like that would just be us trying to make a band-aid for our current heartache.

I have heard several stories of people that had a miscarriage, got pregnant again soon after, and now they have that precious child. Isn't that just so cool of God to 'work all things together for good'? But, that's exactly what it is. God did not desire for baby Phillips to die. The reality is, we live in a sinful, fallen, and dying world. And, God allowed for our precious baby to succumb to the effects of that sooner than we would have liked. I find it hard to think that God "messed up" in creating our first baby and wanted to clean the slate to try again. Then, He would have us try to get pregnant again fast and let us have that baby because He didn't have that one die. I don't believe that people try to portray that with their story, but depending on how it's told, sometimes that is how I interpret it. Ultimately, it is just the depth of my own emotion right now (and the hormones that are shifting all over the place). While I am so very serious in that I have loved hearing your beautifully woven stories, I am too weak to hear them right now. Please know that my heart breaks for all of the lost babies in this fallen world, but unfortunately, I am just not strong enough yet to hear all of the heartbreaking stories.

I hope that makes sense without offending anyone's grieving process. One thing I have learned through all of this is how differently people work through grief and how that's okay. You may think it's crazy that I don't want to get pregnant right away after this and I may think I'm not strong enough to live your story of being able to try to conceive again right away. And, the cool thing is that God comforts us all and leads each of us in the way He wants us to go. I just pray that John and I will be obedient in whatever His next step is for us.

Tomorrow is my post-op appointment with Dr. Peppy. I have a list of questions (haha, poor guy) and am glad to update him on our progress so far. He is a great doctor and I am really hoping that he gives me clearance to start exercising and to start swimming! We are housesitting right now and the people have a beautiful pool that I am dying to try! And, I am ready to exercise to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. I am 4 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight (2 from the pregnancy and 2 from my comfort food this last week, haha).

Last, but not least, one of the friends I visited today gave me a book about miscarriages. I had asked her if she had any good books (because she has walked this before) and she gave me a copy of one she really liked. I just kinda threw it in my purse without looking at it. When, I came home, I instantly fell in love with the cover! That's right, I haven't even read any of it yet, but it's already encouraged me so much. The title is, "Morning Will Come" and it has Psalm 30:5 on the front, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." When trying to describe this season of life, it just feels so dark, pitch black. And, just the realization that the morning will come has overwhelmed me with excitement! I also realized that part of that excitement is because of Christ's death and resurrection. Oh, how dark it was on that Friday, pitch black. There was much weeping and it seemed like the darkness would never end. But, the light eventually came on that Sunday. And, everything has been better because of it!

I know that the morning will come and I am anxiously awaiting for it to get here...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh, How He Loves Us

Oh, how Jesus loves us. Notice that today's post is much earlier than usual. Looks like the darkness decided to creep up a little earlier today. Oh well. Our sense of time is so off anyways. But, regardless of what day it is or what time the hurt begins to surface, it's been neat to feel God's love. Even when I get so upset that I cannot think on Him, I know deep down that He's thinking of us. God never intended for things like this to happen. Oh, to take a time machine back to the Garden of Eden and beg Adam and Eve to just not listen to the serpent. But, hey, I can't blame them. I have listened to the serpent way too many times in my own life to even try to think that I would have done anything different. But, overall, I know that God understands my feelings of despair.

I read more of C.S. Lewis' book "A Grief Observed" today. Wow. A man that will always be deemed as one of the intellectual giants of the Christian faith even had moments of deep grief and despair. It's comforting to read the words of a great giant in the faith and to know that my own grief doesn't even compare to some of the words he has written in this book. It's helped John and I to know that it could even be worse than this (even though that's hard to believe). Here's an excerpt from the book that I found astonishing today...

"...don't come to me talking about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don't understand. Unless, of course, you can literally believe all that stuff about family reunions 'on the further shore', pictured in entirely earthly terms. But that is all unscriptural, all out of bad hymns and lithographs. There's not a word of it in the Bible. And it rings false. We know it couldn't be like that. Reality never repeats. The exact same thing is never taken away and given back. How well the spiritualists bait their hook! 'Things on this side are not so different after all.' There are cigars in Heaven. For that is what we should all like. The happy past restored.

...'Do not mourn like those that have no hope.' It astonishes me, the way we are invited to apply to ourselves words so obviously addressed to our betters. What St. Paul says can comfort only those who love God better than the dead, and the dead better than themselves. If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to 'glorify God and enjoy Him forever.' A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild."

Wow. He's a lot smarter than me! Haha, and a whole lot better at articulating the truth of my current pain. Sure, I know that my dead child is in Heaven and that I can still have my chief purpose of glorifying God. But, the motherhood I was planning to understand more in the month of May, is causing me the pain. Will I probably get to experience that at some point in my life? I pray the answer is yes. But, it just won't be the way I thought. All in all, it's an awesome book and definitely a lot of "Whoooaaa" moments. Amazing that such an intelligent and Christ-filled man felt so alone.

Today, I've thought a lot about last Monday. It was the last time I was pregnant and happy. As I already said in an earlier post, I went to the store to buy cutesy Fall decorations for our apartment door. As I walked the aisles I dreamed about adding to our seasonal decorations more and more for our precious baby to be able to experience all of the seasons as much as possible. And, I talked about how I wandered the baby aisle of the scrapbooking section and admired the baby stickers I would be buying very soon.

Also, on Monday, I met my mother on the other side of town in the afternoon. She bought John and I an antenna for our television. She was horrified at the fact that we had no television channels and took it upon herself to bless us with an antenna to get the local channels :o) On my way to meet her, I listened to two songs. The first was "Center" by Charlie Hall. This was the song sung as I walked down the aisle towards John at our wedding. I listened to the song and got teary as I prayed that God would make me a better wife. I actually talked with John later that night about how I felt like I needed to start to make more effort to be a Godly wife. Of course, he said I already was a Godly wife, but I confessed to him that I needed to cover him more in prayer than I had been our first 2 months.

The second song I listened to was "Fix You" by Coldplay. I started to really cry at this song. I was thinking about our baby at lyrics like this, "When you try your best, but you don't succeed. When you get what you want, but not what you need. When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep. And, the tears come streaming down your face. When you lose something you can't replace. When you love someone, but it goes to waste. Lights will guide you home, ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you." I cried and cried and sang this to my baby. I had no idea that there was something wrong that I couldn't fix. I didn't know that my baby had already passed the point of "fixing". Oh, how I sang that song several times through in the car that last Monday. And, I meant every word. I had pictured holding our baby as he or she cried and couldn't be calmed down. How I would try everything to fix the situation. I thought about our child's first heartbreak and how I would try to pick up the pieces. I had no idea I wouldn't get that chance.

But, the good news, is that Jesus knows how to fix that better than me. And, currently, He's been given the job completely and not me! I wish I could be the one He used to hold my baby and bring comfort and fix baby Phillips. But, God had different plans. And, I'm working on fully accepting that.

Oh, how last Monday is seeming farther and farther away. Tomorrow I know I will wake up with the first thought that it's been a week since the news. But, I am going to think on last Monday as long as I can.

All of this sad talk is making me hungry for dinner. I think it's time to heat up the pasta shells that a dear friend made for us. Once again, we love all of you and are so thankful to have you with us!! It's been a tough road, but I know the sunlight will come again before know it. Until then, we're learning how to live life and love Jesus in the darkness. We genuinely hope that all of you had a great Columbus Day today! We enjoyed our day together!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Why Does The Night Stink So Bad?

I have no idea what it is, but when the sun goes down, it seems like any type of sanity I have left goes down with it. So weird. I almost wonder if it has to do with a hormone shift. I know in the evening your body begins to decrease in certain hormones to get you ready for slumber. Maybe my mood has something to do with that? Or maybe it's just that the nighttime reminds me of how dark things feel right now. Or maybe it's both!

We went to church today. John took the morning off, so that we could both go to the service together. We slept in a little bit and then got up about 30 minutes before walking out of the door for the 10:45am service. When we walked into the worship center the service had just begun. I had one moment of slight panic when we first walked into the service. It might have all been in my head, but it felt like several people had turned to stare at us (and, even if they were I am sure it was out of care for us and that they were happy to see us). I am not sure if I could have squeezed John's hand any tighter or walked any faster than I did in that moment. But, all in all, it was good to be in church.

I have been so overwhelmed at how many people have been reading this blog. There are so many more people than the ones that have commented on here. I have gotten so many emails and text messages regarding my blog posts. You are all so very sweet and caring to actually read these things. Honestly, lately it has been to just try and sort through my emotions at the end of the day. But, it is so nice to know that so many of you are following our journey through all of this. I have no idea if we're handling it right or not, but we appreciate your prayers and support.

One of the things that has made me laugh the most about some of the responses I have received are about "my strength". I always say to John, "Did they actually read the blog??" A lot of times I feel like I am showing so much of my weakness and my current fragile state. I mean, let's see here...I ran out of a restaurant yesterday and balled my eyes out in the car! The grief really feels like it's stronger than me right now. But, even if it is, I do know that Jesus is stronger than the grief.

One of my latest struggles, amongst many, is deciding what to do with our baby stuff. And, by that, I mean the ultrasound pictures, pictures of us headed to the first doctors appointment, pictures of us celebrating the news at Sonic because it was the only thing that sounded good to me at the time, the pictures from me surprising John with the baby news, the card I gave John when I surprised him, the pictures we took every week of my belly so that we could track the growth, the baby book that I began to fill out with information of our baby, etc. I was originally planning to begin the pregnancy scrapbook while still pregnant. I knew that once the baby came, I wouldn't want to focus on the pregnancy book, but rather the baby's scrapbook. So, now I am trying to decide if I still make a scrapbook out of what I have. I don't know if that's something that would delay the healing process or help me through the healing process.

The reality is and always will be, this was our first baby. We will never again be pregnant for a first time. This was our first time. I will never have that feeling like a train hit me when I read the positive pregnancy test and wondering what it is going to feel like to be pregnant. Sure, I may experience part of that feeling again, but never in a way of how it was for my first. Just like when I surprised John and he about passed out, he may experience that somewhat again but not like the first time. Therefore, I do want to honor my baby and not feel like I am just throwing pictures in a box to try to get it away to forget about it all. The reality is, I can't ever forget this. Sure, I hope the pain lessens over time, but this will always be a part of our story. John and I will forever live the story that yes we got pregnant 3 weeks after getting married but we won't have a baby to hold on our 1 year wedding anniversary. I guess I just need to pray through on what I should do to remember our baby. Whether it's a scrapbook or something else, I know we should do something.

Well, in closing, I have started to read "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis. He has always been a favorite author and I have been amazed at this book so far. He is so honest and his pain is so real. He wrote the book (well, really it was his journal, he never originally planned to publish it) after his wife died. It's comforting to read the words of a spiritual giant like Lewis while he walked through a deep valley. I have found so many of his words to be relatable to me right now. And, it's pretty easy to read (unlike some of his books). If you are going through any type of grief, I would highly recommend this book so far.

I think I am going to try and go to bed at a decent hour this evening. I doubt it, but it's worth a try. But, once again, thank you all so much for reading and for your precious words of encouragement. John and I are extremely blessed. Even if God did not give us one more thing, He has already blessed us beyond measure. And, for those of you reading that do have children, you hug on those precious kids extra tight today and tomorrow. When you have to get up at 3am again, just know that there is a man and woman in Orlando, Florida that would do anything to be waking up to hold their baby at 3am in May, but they won't have that chance. Love on those beautiful children and give them a hug from me!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Another Day

Just to show that we are so confused on the concept of time right now, John turned on the TV this morning and saw a bunch of cartoons. He was like, wow, there are so many cartoons on right now. I responded with, well, it's Saturday. Then, he said whaaaat? No way! I laughed and told him that at least one of us knows what day it is every other day. Too funny. Once he realized the cartoon time was almost over (we had another late night last night, therefore we didn't really get up until later), he said he wished he got up earlier to watch more cartoons. Haha, I must say that I probably agree with him!

Today was another of the same. Lots of laying around on the couch or bed watching TV with intermittent moments of the internet or crying. We had some friends stop by today to bring us lunch, I kind of had to laugh afterwards at the way I looked when they came over. I was still half asleep, my hair all over the place, no make-up, gym shorts on with a t-shirt. But, they were sweet enough to not tell me how ridiculous I appeared. I probably looked even more pathetic than I really am, haha.

Today I actually had some more physical pain than usual since the surgery. I woke up in a little more pain than expected. But, praise Jesus for motrin. I am really ready for all of the physical pain to be over. Every time I have a cramp or bleeding, it is just constant reminders of the reality that my baby is no longer inside of my body. Hopefully, I will only have a couple more days of the phase we are in now.

Tonight, I took shower and actually decided to style my hair! That's right, who knew I would be so proud of myself for throwing some hair products in and blowdrying my hair. I told John (very randomly) that I wanted to go to the Florida Mall. I honestly have no idea why. The more I've thought about it, I think it's because we never go there. The Florida Mall always makes me think of our engagement. So, I guess I wanted to feel closer to happier times. We didn't really go into any stores, we just walked. Which, that was actually probably pretty stupid considering I had more cramping today than yesterday. Oh well.

It felt good to be out, but not really. When we walked out of the mall, I told John that it felt like everyone knew what they were doing. Like, everyone knew where to walk, what they were doing that night, etc. But, I felt as though I never got the memo on what I am supposed to do next or how I am supposed to feel. Then, John suggested we go to a Mexican restaurant in Kissimmee that we've been wanting to try. I knew back in my brain I wasn't totally up for it, but figured I would be fine once we got there.

I felt really out of it when we got to the restaurant. But, we sat down and ordered. I was pretty quiet and wasn't eating much. I have no idea why, but when our food came out. My eyes started welling up with tears. I started playing with my food and thought about how I'll never get to take my baby out to a restaurant with us. I'll never get to teach our child how to use a fork or a spoon. Then, my mind started to race with all of things I'll never get to show our child or teach our child. It all hit really hard and I told John I had to get out of there. I grabbed his keys and ran to the car. He paid for the food and got it to go. John and our waitress were great, because it didn't take that long.

There I was in our car, seat back, and me balling my eyes out. There I am in the parking lot crying out to God with like three groups of people near the car all talking to each other and loving life. While they are all talking, I'm lying there begging Jesus to hold my baby tight tonight. And, to tell my baby that I am so sorry that I never had the chance to hold him or her. And, I'm sorry I never got to teach anything to baby Phillips. I just kept begging Jesus over and over to hold my baby and to tell baby Phillips how deep my love is for my child. Then, I just kept telling Jesus how dark things are right now. And, how I have never walked anything close to this terrible before. Then, I told Him how regardless of how low things are, that I do know He is close.

It's so strange that I find myself writing these things on this blog or that I post stuff on Twitter or Facebook. It's like, my grief is so thick, I can't even think through what I am saying. Sometimes, after I post a Twitter, I regret it soon later. It's like I'm not thinking when I say it. Oh well. I guess I'm just being honest. But, I have always tried to not be that person that makes really awkward posts all the time and airs way too much private stuff in public. Hopefully my rantings just cause people to pray and that it helps get me through.

Maybe tomorrow I'll post the Bible verses I found to comfort me. I have never really known where I stood on the whole do miscarried babies go to Heaven issue. I've never had any reason to research that. The Lord gave me several passages today to comfort me that I can know that baby Phillips is with Jesus. I am one of those people that can't just believe in something because it sounds good, I need strong Biblical proof to trust a theory like this one. And, now that I have done the looking myself, I am so grateful to know that I will see my baby again one day. It's been a great comfort today.

We love all of you and are so grateful for you! Your prayers have gotten us through! Thank you for the words of encouragement, the meals, the gifts, and the overall support. You are one of the many blessings that God has provided through all of the yucky-ness!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Some Comfort on a Very Rough Night

Today has been okay. John and I have rested a lot. And, by rested, I just mean lounging around our home. Relaxing wouldn't be the word to describe our day, but it felt good to just lay in bed or on the couch. I have had very little concept of time since Tuesday at 1:50pm. The rest of it all has been one big clump of time. So weird. John told me this morning that it was Friday. I got so very confused by that. Seriously, it's Friday?! I guess I believe him, haha.

Isn't it funny that when you go through a trial and hear of other people living life normally, you feel so strange? It feels like the world is moving right on by you while it takes everything inside of you to just take a shower. It's almost been confusing for me. I don't even know how to explain it. It's not hurtful at all that people are living their life. It just feels like I am standing in the middle of Times Square. Like, everything is moving so fast and people are living life, while I am standing there in complete silence and no noise to be heard. Just there confused and not knowing where I am supposed to go or what I am supposed to do next.

I just keep thinking about Monday. I don't even remember my whole day that day. But, I woke up pregnant and thought of my baby most that day (like I did everyday since finding out I was pregnant). I went to Michael's with my 40% off coupon and bought a pretty fall Welcome sign for our front door. And, I bought fall leafy garland to outline our front door. Then, I planned to get a pumpkin sometime this week for John and I to carve. And, I kept thinking how next October we could take our baby to the pumpkin patch with us to take super cute pictures. I have always longed to start my own family and decorate for the holidays. So, I took forever in Michael's, wanting to buy the whole store out! I even wandered over to the scrapbook section to look at cutesy baby stickers. I had been taking pictures every week of my belly so that I could scrapbook the growth. I am glad that I ended up not buying any stickers. I decided I needed to finish the wedding scrapbooks before venturing to something new, haha.

But, overall, I just keep thinking that Monday was a day of being 24 and pregnant with my first child. And, Tuesday was the day I found out that wasn't the case anymore. Why? Can I go back to Monday and make everyday that day? I was telling John last night that from this point on, I will always have been pregnant at one point. I will have to check that box on medical paperwork of yes, I have had 1 pregnancy. But, do they have a box I can check that says, but I never had the chance to hold that baby? If, and when, we ever do get pregnant again, and people asked if it was our first, our answer will now be no. Then, they'll inevitably follow up with, oh you're second child! Umm, well, yes, but no? Just stinks.

Well, tonight I stumbled on a website that has remembrance gifts for miscarriages and pregnancy loss. Did you know that October is national Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month? Yeah, me either. How ironic for us? And, October 15th is National Pregnancy Loss and Remembrance Day. Apparently, it is asked that you light a candle on the 15th at 7:00pm so that a continuous light will shine around the world in remembrance of our precious babies that were gone too soon. And, that will be exactly one week after our baby Phillips was born. We will be lighting a candle here at the Phillips household. We would love for you to do the same at your home at 7pm if you feel led to do so.

This website, www.myforeverchild.com, also had jewelry for remembrance of your miscarriage or pregnancy loss. John and I ordered a bracelet for me. It was oddly comforting. It has three charms on it. The first says, "Life" and has a rosebud on the other side. It also has a Swarovski crystal in the color of the month our baby was conceived (August, the month I was born). The second charm is a butterfly to represent the day our baby was transformed. It also has a Swarovski crystal in the color of the month our baby was miscarried (October). And, the third charm says "Wish". It also has a Swarovski crystal in the color of the month our baby was supposed to be due (May). I can hardly wait to get it in the mail. It's supposed to take 7-10 days. But, I am hoping for sooner.

Also, this website had poems about miscarried babies and the pain that comes with it. Below are some of the poems. Some parts might be a little cheesy, but it helped me after a rough patch tonight. I cried through all of these, but especially this first one. I told John that I felt like I could have written it. It's like my thoughts word for word...

Just Those Few Weeks
For just those few weeks
I had you to myself.
And that seems too short a time
to be changed so profoundly.
In those few weeks,
I came to know you...
and to love you.
You came to trust me with your life.
Oh what a life I had planned for you!
Just those few weeks...
when I lost you,
I lost a lifetime of hopes,
plans, dreams and aspirations.
A slice of my future simply vanished overnight.
Just those few weeks...
It wasn't enough time to convince others
how special and important you were.
How odd, a truly unique person has recently died
and no one is mourning the passing.
Just a mere few weeks..
And no "normal" person would cry all night
Over a tiny unfinished baby,
or get depressed and withdraw day after endless day.
No one would, so why am I??
You were just those few weeks, my little one.
You darted in and out of my life too quickly.
But it seems that's all the time you needed
to make my life richer
and to give me a small glimpse of eternity.
~S. Erling

How do you love a person
who never got to be,
or try to envision a face
you never got to see?
How do you mourn the death of one
who never got to live.
When there's nothing to feel good about
and nothing to forgive?
I love you, my little baby,
my companion of the night.
Wandering through my lonely hours,
beautiful and bright.
What does it mean to die before
you ever were born,
to live the lovely night of life
and never see the dawn?
Ah! My little baby,
you lived like anyone!
Life's a burst of joy and pain.
And then like yours, it's done.
I love you, my little baby,
just as if you'd lived for years.
No more, no less, I think of you,
the Angel of my tears.
~Author Unknown.

Precious Little One
I'm just a precious little one who didn't make it there.
I went straight to be with Jesus,
but I'm waiting for you here.
Many dwelling here where I live,
waited years to enter in.
Struggled through a world of sorow,
a world marred with pain and sin.
Thank you for the life you gave me,
it was brief but don't complain.
I have all Heaven's Glory,
suffered none of earth's great pain.
Thank you for the name you gave me.
I`d have loved to bring it fame.
But if I`d lingered in earth's shadows,
I would have suffered just the same.
So sweet family-don't you sorrow.
Wipe those tears and chase the gloom.
I went straight to Jesus' arms
from my loving Mother's womb.
~Author Unknown

What Makes A Mother
I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today
I asked, "What makes a Mother?"
And I know I heard him say
A Mother has a baby
This we know is true
But, God, can you be a mother
When your baby's not with you?

Yes, you can He replied
With confidence in His voice
I give many women babies
When they leave it is not their choice
Some I send for a lifetime
And others for the day
And some I send to feel your womb
But there's no need to stay.

I just don't understand this God
I want my baby here

He took a breath
and cleared His throat
And then I saw a tear
I wish I could show you
What your child is doing Here

If you could see your child smile
With other children and say
"We go to earth to learn our lessons
of love and life and fear,
but My mommy loved me so much
I got to come straight here!"
I feel so lucky to have a Mom who had so much love for me
I learned my lessons very quickly
My Mommy set me free.
I miss my Mommy oh so much
But I visit her each day
When she goes to sleep
On her pillow is where I lay
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
And whisper in her ear
"Mommy, Please don't be sad today
I'm your baby and I am here"

So you see my dear sweet one
Your children are okay
Your babies are here in My home
And this is where they'll stay
They'll wait for you with Me
Until your lessons there are through
And on the day that you come home
they'll be at the gates waiting for you

So now you see
What makes a Mother
It's the feeling in your heart
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start
~Author Unknown

We miss you baby Phillips. But, cling tight to sweet Jesus. He will hold you until we get there to hold you

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jesus Makes the Woeful Heart to Sing

Once again, this post is probably going to be pretty raw. I think it helps for me to write my feelings out. It is a good way for me to process. And, it just makes sense to do it on here because then you can follow our story without asking us 100 times. I might get a little too graphic for some people in certain parts. If so, I am so very sorry. It is not meant to hurt you or to gross you out, I will try to be very intentional to include only what I feel helps you understand where we are coming from today.

On Tuesday afternoon, after we discovered our precious little one stopped growing, our AMAZING doctor walked us through our two options. The first being to let my body take it's natural course and pass our baby. The second being to have a D&C (surgery) to take out our baby. John and I talked about it a little on Tuesday but decided to wait until the next day to tackle the issue of what to do next. Wednesday morning rolled around quite abruptly (after 5 hours of sleep). I fasted breakfast that day and intended to at lunch as well, but physically couldn't handle skipping more than breakfast. There were lots of hunger pangs, so there was definitely a lot of praying that morning! Most of the prayers consisted of...

God, just let us know what to do...
I trust you, please give us peace...

I was really kind of stuck in the middle of both decisions by early Wednesday afternoon. Then, I asked John, if you had to make a decision right now, what would you say? He immediately said the operation. If I was somewhat leaning toward either choice, it was the D&C. So, I called the doctor's office, because I was ready to just get it over with.

Dr. Peppy personally called me back within the hour and I told him we wanted the D&C. He was so understanding and said we could do it as fast as the next day or a week from the next day, whatever we wanted. I responded that if the next day (Thursday) was possible, I would prefer that. And, before I knew it we had an appointment at the Sand Lake Surgery Center for 11:30am.

Dr. Peppy had written me a prescription for a pill to take 12 hours before the procedure that would help soften my cervix to make the procedure easier. Therefore, I took that pill at 11:30pm. No later than 11:35pm my body decided it wanted to naturally pass our child. I started bleeding. I felt like it was such an illustration of God's goodness. He knew I had a hard time with deciding on the D&C, even though it felt like the best decision. So, He just gave me that much more confirmation that our baby was ready to leave the womb.

Right around 1:30am, shortly after I had gotten off the phone with a dear friend, the cramping kicked up. The pill I took was designed to give me some cramping (to open the cervix). So, between my body's natural cramping and the pill, it's like the pain was on overdrive. From here on out, the time of things get kinda fuzzy. But, the contractions began to come closer and closer and get more and more painful. I actually vomited twice from the pain. I got the chills as well. Right when I was practically screaming that I couldn't take the pain anymore, one last round of contractions came. And, at the end of that round out came our precious baby. Was it a mini version of the babies you see at the nursery in the hospital? Absolutely not. Really, it was just a big clump of tissue.

But, that clump of tissue was supposed to turn into the baby I was going to hold in May. Here I am, in my bathroom weeping like I never have before and looking at my husband, then at what we had created together. I didn't want to let go of the toilet paper that held my dead baby. It was the only chance I would have, this side of heaven, to hold him or her. And, I never wanted to let go. I am weeping now as I type this, just remembering that moment of despair.

I was not supposed to meet this baby that way. I was supposed to be in a hospital in May with my husband as we celebrated the life of our precious newborn. I wasn't supposed to be clinging to toilet paper and trying to remember the image so that I'll never forget our baby. I have absolutely never been in a darker place of my life as I was last night. Despair, hurt, pain, confusion, etc, seems like a severe understatement. I literally have no words to describe the depth of these emotions. And, I feel like I have walked my share of dark valleys through my life. But, this one has trumped all of those by a million.

And, writing this almost makes me feel like I want everyone to know about my baby. Not the pain that John and I have gone through, but that our baby existed. Since our child never fully developed, not everyone will get to know that a baby came to the Phillips household in 2009. I just want our baby's story to live, even though our baby never had that chance.

Okay, now fast forward...after our baby came the contractions stopped and I could hardly believe how the physical pain had diminished so much, so fast. There was still some cramping and still bleeding, but nowhere near the same. Somewhere around 6:00am, John and I tried to get some sleep. He got probably at least a good hour, which I am grateful that he did. I on the other hand, got a solid 20 minutes. Which, believe it or not, I was so thankful for that. After several frantic phone calls to friends and the doctor's office, we finally got word to head to the doctors office. We arrived around 8:15am? I had an ultrasound to see if I had passed everything and then a physical examination.

My uterus needed to be less than 10mm and mine was 35mm. Dr. Peppy told us that if we continued naturally, it would probably be at least another week of heavy bleeding and cramping. He advised us to go through with the D&C. We completely agreed. So, we ended up at the surgery center 30 minutes earlier than we were originally supposed to be there. While I was filling out paperwork in the waiting room, I began to feel like I was going to break down. My personal favorite question on the questionnaire, was the very last thing I had to fill out...

For Females Only (Circle One):
Y or N Is there any possibility that you could be pregnant?
When was the date of your last menstrual cycle?

Are you kidding me right now?? I left the question blank. I legitimately had no idea what to put there. I handed the paperwork back in. Then, I decided to go to the bathroom. I took about two steps in (it was a one person bathroom) and I just fell to the floor crying. Which, hey, that had to be grief, because the floor of a bathroom at a surgery center? Ewww. I cried it out for less than minute and then I was reminded, Jesus is good, He is still good. I peeled myself off of the floor and went to the bathroom and just kept repeating in my head, Jesus is good, Lord, I know You are good, Jesus is good, Jesus is good. Talk about overwhelming peace right when I needed it.

Then, it was time to go back. I first had to go in pre-op all by myself. John wasn't allowed to come back yet. Therefore, I almost lost it again. Here were the first three questions from the nurse (which is the same for everyone, just to make sure it's the right person and chart);
What is your birthdate? Who is your doctor? What procedure are you here for?

I literally responded with a, what? Huh? Can you repeat that?? I answered her questions and a tear fell with the realization of what procedure I really was there for. Then, I had to sign 4 papers that had words like abortion, disposal of fetal tissue, etc etc. I'm sure my signature is quite the scribble on those papers. At this point, the nurse (who was really sweet and meant well) proceeded to tell me all about she never had a miscarriage but how hard it must be. I mean, seriously, the entire time I was with her alone she talked. Putting my gown on, getting my IV in, putting my leads on, getting the blood pressure cuff, she talked about how she thinks the reason why so many people lose their first baby is because of their busy lifestyle and the busy world we live in today. Umm, I pretty much stayed silent with a small smile every other sentence.

Then, praise my Jesus, John was able to join me. What a wonderful husband my Savior has given me. He not only completely amazed me last night, but he sat next to my bed today with a peace in God that I wish I could say I had 100% of the time these last two days. He prayed for us and for Dr. Peppy and for our anesthesiologist. He prayed with such certainty of God's goodness. That even in our lowest of lows, our Savior still shines bright. And, how obvious He love is for us. Oh, the love my precious Jesus has for John and I has flooded over me the last few hours.

Then, after a lot of anxious waiting (can we say worst 2 hours of my life just sitting around knowing you are about to have surgery to get the remains of your baby?), it was time. Dr. Peppy walked into my little curtained off cubicle and I instantly started crying. He held my hand, squeezing it, telling me that he is about take care of the physical part of this miscarriage and that he will walk with us through the emotional part as well. The Lord has definitely skilled this man with awesome things to say at the right time and also made him a medical guru (in our eyes anyways!).

The anesthesiologist then gave me my first cocktail of goodness. Now, why couldn't they give me that sedative from the beginning?! They wheeled me back to the OR (which they said I probably wouldn't remember, but that I might and I remember it clearly). As I was being wheeled back, I kept thinking how I was being wheeled back to say goodbye to my baby. But, luckily that sedative calmed me down so that those thoughts didn't cause me to completely freak out. Then, I was in the room, I remember looking around and taking it all in. They switched me to the operating table. At that point, Dr. Peppy came up and told me I was doing a good job and it would be over before I knew it. And, it was! The last memory was the oxygen mask going on my face. Then, my next memory is seeing John in recovery.

I felt really good after the procedure and the Lord absolutely gave peace that surpasses all understanding. John and I knew it was absolutely the right decision. I had no regrets at all (which I was afraid about). So far, I have just had two weeping sessions since being home (one while writing this and the other was earlier when a friend that I worked with shortly on a mission trip shared her story that happened just 4 months ago). No abdominal pain, I had some pain in my legs, but that subsided after a good short walk. I am still bleeding but it feels like absolutely nothing compared to before. So, I am extremely grateful for that.

We are not going to lie to you, this sucks. Like I said before, I have never walked a valley this low before. BUT, I do know that there is a Savior walking that valley with us. And, no, it is not a made up spiritual entity to just make us feel better when things are junky, it is the only God. It is the God that created me, that created my husband, that created you, and that created my first child. He made absolutely no mistake when he created our baby. And, I will praise Him (even in the moments I don't want to) because He knew our baby would only live a mere 7weeks and 5days. But, that baby gave me 10weeks and 5days of joy. And, I will never forget my first child, ever. And, no, we do not plan to just hurry up and try to get pregnant. A new pregnancy will not replace this child or instantly heal my pain. Therefore, we are not planning on that band-aid just yet. We are just trusting Jesus and grieving our first child.

We love all of you! It's been a rough day but your prayers made it bearable :o)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jesus Is Fairer

Before you continue, please respect my wishes that I talk about in more detail later on. But, please do not write on my Facebook wall, twitter, text, call, email, or visit me about what you're about to read. If you feel led to show your support, please limit it to commenting on this blog post. Also, if you want to call or text John (please no Facebook), feel free to do so. He's my publicist right now, haha. And, he would love to hear from you. Don't feel like you have to treat me any different in person either. Thank you for understanding, that's why we love you!!

I never imagined that a week after announcing our pregnancy that I would have to go back and share some very different news. This is all very fresh and the feelings are still raw. So, I guess you'll really get a glimpse into my current stage of life. Today I woke up thinking everything was normal and excited to be going to my obstetrician. He is seriously the best doctor in the whole world and I have become so fond of him already! But, I had no idea that he was going to provide a piece of news that will undoubtedly change me and my husband's life forever.

Three weeks ago, when I was 7weeks and 4days, we had our first ultrasound. I had some bleeding and cramping, so the doctor told us to come in right away. That was a very tough day for me and John. I remember just laying on the bed and balling my eyes out. I cried out to God, "I'm so sorry," but I had no idea why. But, all of our fears were put to ease when we saw our precious little one on the ultrasound screen. A perfect heartbeat, 140 beats, and the cutest little arm we had ever seen :o) Instantly, all of our fears were put to rest. It still felt like the room was spinning, everything happened so fast. But, we praised Jesus for being good before our ultrasound and afterwards.

We had agreed to not reveal the pregnancy (expect to our immediate family and a few close friends) until after we had an ultrasound and saw the heartbeat. Well, check that off! But, I still wanted to wait because I was still shaken from the scare. Therefore, just after nine weeks, we decided, what the heck, I guess we might as well tell everyone! I didn't have any heavy bleeding and 9 weeks seemed like a good enough point in time for me. So, we announced that baby Phillips is expected on May 1, 2010! We have received so many congrats and positive encouragement.

Well, today (at what I thought) was our 10weeks and 3days check-up, we learned some very tough news. Thinking it was just a routine exam, I had actually told John not to even worry about making the appointment. But, 2 days before I changed my mind (one of many of God's blessings today). I read on all of these pregnancy message boards online (yeah, I'm that girl) to have your husband with you at as many appointments as possible to have another set of ears for any possible do's or don'ts. Of course, John didn't mind my flighty-ness and came with me today.

Have I mentioned that I love my OB/GYN?? I mean, seriously, who says that? But, I do. His name is Dr. Peppy and I highly recommend him to anyone. So, anyhow, he greeted John with the usual high five and me with a big hug. Then, he exclaimed, "10WEEKS AND 3DAYS!! Lay down, let's try to hear a heartbeat!! We may not be able to hear it, but you're skinny [yes, he said that, and yes I made sure to include that]" Then, he proceeded to search for the heartbeat. No noise. But, he (nor I) had any worry. With some women, you can't hear the heartbeat until 14 weeks. So, we just figured we couldn't yet. But, because he's super awesome, he busted out the portable ultrasound machine. He couldn't detect the heartbeat on there, either. Once again, not surprised. I have what's called a tilted uterus (I know, doesn't it sound like a joke condition? John and I have made fun of that a lot). Therefore, my uterus tips back towards my spine rather than the front of my abdomen. Dr. Peppy said he honestly wasn't worried about anything (which, I wholeheartedly believe he wasn't), but just wanted to squeeze us in the big ultrasound to double check on the peanut. They got us in right away. At this point, I'm thinking, score!! An ultrasound today and we weren't even expecting it! Everything seemed to begin fine, then...

complete, total, utter silence.

From my limited experience in the medical world, I kinda know what to look for on an ultrasound. And, I knew there was no heartbeat. Then, my thoughts started...

do i hold john's hand right now?? but, what if he doesn't know, i don't want to worry him.

is this really happening?

didn't we just see a heartbeat three weeks ago?

Then, the sentence that confirmed what I already knew...
"I'm going to go get Dr. Peppy to look at this with me"

Instantly, tears filled my eyes and they began to fall as he walked in the door. He looked at the screen very somber and talked, but I didn't hear him. I asked John later what he said in those moments. Apparently, he said, very respectfully (because he's awesome), "What we see here is no more growth from 7weeks and 5days..." At this point, I'm crying. Dr. Peppy and the precious ultrasound tech told John and I to take our time in the room and come back out when we're ready. They walked out and I broke down.

I thrashed up on the table immediately and did that weepy talk. You know, the kind where the person listening probably cannot understand a word you're trying to say.

But, we just told everybody, oh my...
Oh my gosh, I can't do this, oh my gosh...
Then, glancing up at the screen to see a still picture of our now still baby

Through power that can only come directly from the Holy Spirit, I was able to pull myself together relatively fast. John just kept hugging me and telling me he loved me. He's been great, but I'm not surprised at all.

After we walked out of the room that held our fate, the ultrasound tech led us to an exam room to meet with Dr. Peppy. Have I mentioned we love him? He gave me a big, long hug, which I will never forget. Then, he sat down and discussed how none of this is our fault. And, how we couldn't have done one thing different to change anything. Then, he proceeded to tell us how healthy all of my lab work was and how we got pregnant fast and shouldn't have a problem in the future. He said we have a 1 in 9 chance of having a second miscarriage in a row. But, he did also tell us about how there are women that have several miscarriages in a row and there's no medical reason for it. We felt like he did a good job of giving us hope, but also balancing reality. And, then he went on to tell us the options from there. Then, he got my personal cell phone number so that he could check up on me. He already called today right after office hours! He said that he was just checking on John and I and that we're in his prayers. Um, LOVE him!

So, yes, if you are trying to figure out the timeline, turns out the baby Phillips stopped growing the day after we had our first ultrasound. Dr. Peppy told us that statistics say 1 in every 3 pregnancies result in a miscarriage. This is why we wanted to wait to tell everyone. But, once there is a heartbeat, that drops down to 10 percent. I guess that our precious blessing wanted to fall in the unusual category. Break my heart :o(

I NEVER thought I would have a miscarriage with my first pregnancy. I know that miscarriages are much more common than we think. I guess I have always expected that I would have one in my lifetime. But, I never ever thought it would be my first. I guess I just thought, hey, I'm a healthy, young woman. But, the Lord did not ordain for this child to make it out of my womb. I wonder if it would be easier if we never did see a heartbeat. I wonder if it was better for us to have 3 weeks of ignorant bliss thinking everything was perfect. Who knows. But, I do know that God gave me Psalm 139:16 the day I found out I was pregnant on purpose. I kept dwelling on this verse. The fact that God already had our baby's days written in His book. God had already given me a peace then that no matter if the child had one more day or thousands, that I could rest assured that it had already been ordained in God's book.

After the doctors office, John and I went to Disney's Hollywood Studios. I didn't want to sit around at home. I knew I would just dwell on the sadness and probably freak out. Therefore, the happiest place on earth seemed like the only logical solution :o) We walked through the gates and immediately there were strollers everywhere and a pregnant woman. I panicked in my brain for a half second. But, it was oddly comforting. Each child today reminded that God purposed and planned for that child to live. God has a reason for that child's life and he brought that child to be on purpose. No doctor, no mom, no dad, nothing but God created those lives. And, for whatever reason, God has purposed for this child to not make it past 7weeks and 5days. I am glad God is the one that decides stuff and not me. Such a relief!

Two songs that were a huge help today are both sung by the one and only Christy Nockels. I have always treasured her worship and never knew that she would help walk me through one of my darkest trials. "Fairest Lord Jesus" off of the Passion Hymns album is a song we listened to a lot (through tears) on our way to our first ultrasound. Then, today we blared in praise to our Jesus. Oh, yes, He is still fairer today. And, another was "Glory Baby" by Watermark (Christy and her husband). They had two miscarriages (the first two times they were pregnant) and now they have 3 children. I have no earthly idea why, but I feel strangely connected to her now. I have always been a huge fan of her music and she's always been one of my favorite worship leaders. But, now, the words of a song they wrote to heal their pain is helping to heal mine. She's going to be in Orlando on Dec 2nd and I plan to be front and center :o)

I have had moments today where I have just wanted to fall on the floor, start crying and not get up until I had to. I have had other moments of total adoration of my precious Jesus. I have had many moments of deep love and respect for my husband. I know he is hurting, but yet he is carrying my burden as well. A friend of mine passed on some advice to me today, "You lean in. That's right, you lean into John right now. Don't let this pull the two of you apart. Let it gel your relationship even more. You lean into him." And, that's what I am doing. I am leaning on my husband. Am I leaning to Jesus? Of course. But, sometimes, when the pain hurts too much, my prayers are simply Romans 8:26. I just trust the Holy Spirit to pray on my behalf. And, now, I have a husband to lean on that will also pray on our behalf. And, when the hurt causes me to not pray or think as I ought to, I will rely on the Holy Spirit in myself and my husband to intercede. So, that is what I am doing, I am leaning

I would really appreciate it right now, if you didn't write on my Facebook wall, call, text, visit, or email me right now about this. Feel free to comment on this blog post though. When I am in need for encouragement, this is where I'll go. But, random contact, I am afraid will make it worse for. It is a deep pain and right now, having people comment on the pain in random moments of my day will only make it worse. That sounds harsh, but I want to walk through this with my Jesus and my husband right now. That is why this blog is so detailed. I want you to feel like you are a part of the story and know what's going on because we love you. But, I also don't want to share the story 100 times or answer the same questions over and over. I also already know that you are sorry for us and will be praying. And, we are SO grateful for that. We love you very much.