❤ Melissa ❤

Samantha, my number 4, my daughter - the one who changed me forever as a wife, mom, sister, and friend.
At my 5 month check-up for Samantha, I learned the baby had no heartbeat. This was a complete shock to me. I hadn’t been feeling any pain nor had any signs of a miscarriage. I had been blessed with three easy pregnancies to date and this just seemed to be another one. I was numb when I found out and cried like I had never before - I was broken, scared, and in complete sadness. I was scheduled to go to the hospital to have a stillbirth. The next 48 hours were filled with emotions I cannot describe. Perhaps the hardest was to share the unexpected news with family and friends. And, packing for the hospital knowing I would be delivering my baby but not being able to bring her home. I didn’t want to have to go through it. The wait was hard. 

After almost ten hours of labor, Baby Samantha’s body arrived on February 5, 2010 at 7pm. She was 3.9oz and 14 cm long - like a little doll, just precious as can be with ten little fingers and toes. I was anxious to see and hold her, yet I didn’t want to. When I finally got the courage to do so, I fell in love and had an overwhelming feeling of missing her. Even though she was in my arms, I knew at that moment she was already in a better place and had a Father taking care of her better than I ever could. We held her until about 11pm. At that time we placed her in a beautiful paper mache casket. My husband and the nurse took her to a safe place until we decided where her burial would be.

The support we received from family and friends was amazing. We were so blessed and touched by the love shown to us. Our hearts were filled with gratefulness; however the most wonderful gift I received through Samantha was experiencing God’s abundant love for me. When I was alone at the doctor’s office, it was His peace that gave me comfort. It is the promises in His Word that encourage me. He is God of the universe yet I am His beloved, I am His, He loves me, He desires the best for me. His ways are not our ways, but His Love endures forever. Although Samantha never lived life here on earth, there is story after story of how the Lord used her short life to change others. I miss my Samantha dearly, every day I think of her, and sometimes the tears still flow. Every night when I go to sleep I hold on to a little beanie just like the one she was wearing when I held her last. She will always be a treasure in my heart. The Lord has been faithful and I will continue to Praise Him all the days of my life, until the Lord calls me home too.

❤ Kelsi ❤

I was 16 1/2 weeks pregnant with my second child when I nervously sat in the doctor’s office watching him search for a heartbeat. Having had two miscarriages before, I knew that this was always a possibility, but I was supposed to be in the “safe zone”. My heart began to pound a bit faster as the doctor continued to circle my stomach searching through the static for that precious sound of life. After assuring me that the baby was probably just in a bad position, he sent me to the ultra-sound room.
The nurse arrived and began the ultrasound. She remained silent and then left the room. I knew at that moment. I don’t remember the rest of the appointment. I don’t even remember who said the actual words to me or how they said it. I just remember being led down the back halls crying inconsolably.
The next morning I woke up unknowingly in labor. I delivered our baby boy at home. It was emotionally the hardest thing I had ever been through. I stared at this little baby, sobbing as I counted his fingers and his toes. I looked at his not yet opened eyes, his ears, and I thought he looked perfect. There was nothing wrong with him… why? What happened? What went wrong? What did I do wrong? Did I miss my vitamins too often? Did I exercise too much? Was the Lord punishing me? Had there been something physically wrong with our baby? I had so many questions that I wanted answered.

The first days were so hard. Normally I had considered myself a “strong” person, but the tears and questions would not stop. Feeling foolish for my emotions and trying to be strong I remember telling my dad that “I know God has a plan for this” and the feeling of relief that came over me with his response. “I know that you know that and we know that He does, but you don’t have to say that right now. You are allowed to grieve.”
While I still grieved, I had gone from questions and anger to a complete peace that I knew could come only from the Lord.

I didn’t know why it had happened. I didn’t know what the Lord had planned, but I did know that He was there and He would not give me more than I could handle. I began to see all the areas in which He had been there for me and I began thanking Him.

I thanked Him for allowing me to see that our baby’s heart was not beating before I gave birth. I thanked Him for allowing my husband to be with me. I thanked Him for allowing me to see my baby boy and have that memory that I have carried through every pregnancy since. I thanked Him for a loving, compassionate husband and family and friends who surrounded me with love and prayer. I thanked Him for our healthy son. Later I thanked Him for my daughter. I can’t imagine life without her and I realize that I would not have her if we had not lost our boy.

I thank the Lord that I have a child in Heaven right now, in God’s glory. I have thanked Him for every healthy heartbeat, every ultrasound, and for every pregnancy appointment whether I have to wait 10 minutes or two hours to see my doctor.

I also praised Him for a reason that I have never shared for fear of what people would think. Not knowing His purpose, but knowing that trials and tribulation grow us closer to God and build our maturity and endurance in Him, I thanked Him for taking my unborn son and not my two-year-old to teach me and accomplish this. It is scary to admit how weak I am.

Five and a half years have passed since that morning. I don’t mourn the day. I don’t remember it with sadness. If I share my story with tears it is not because I grieve but because I rejoice. I am not strong. The Lord is my strength. He used that moment to forever change my life, forever change my relationship with Him and forever change my passion for children and the blessings that they are. For all of these reasons I rejoice and thank the Lord.

“There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains, no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. They bring us to God and we are happier; for nearness to God is happiness. Come, troubled believer, do not fret over your heavy troubles, for they are the heralds of weighty mercies.”- Charles Spurgeon

❤ Lauren ❤

When my husband and I married we knew we wanted to have children and probably would not wait very long after getting married to do so. Eleven months after we were married we were pregnant. I was excited to be pregnant but always prepared myself for a miscarriage since it seemed so common in my family and friends. I had not seen the doctor yet and already was in excruciating pain and figured I would miscarry. Much to my surprise, in the hospital emergency room I learned I was not going to miscarry but I was going to have twins! I saw my doctor and he reiterated that it is early and the possibility of losing one or both was still there. I prepared myself for that.

At twenty-two weeks I had my “big” ultrasound. We found out we were having two boys. My husband’s dream come true. The ultrasound technician said that the fluid on one looked a little low and so I went back to see the doctor. He looked and said everything was fine. At thirty-one weeks I went in and everything again was great. As I left the doctor said, “All we are doing now is putting weight on them, we will deliver you in 4 weeks”. How exciting, only 4 weeks away from meeting my boys!

On April 13th I was up early sitting on our recliner when I felt a commotion inside of me. The boys often kicked each other but this was different. After that, no one moved for the rest of the night. I was concerned but I had an appointment later that day. I went in and watched as the doctor tried to find the two boys on the ultrasound. I clearly saw one with a beating heart and the other without. The doctor wrote in my file and turned around and said: “I have bad news.”

I spent the next 9 days in the hospital waiting to deliver my boys. I prayed the entire time for a miracle. I had daily ultrasounds that reinforced that my son was not alive but confirmed that my other son was. I was told that my surviving son’s condition would be unknown until after delivery.

On April 22, 2009, I delivered Cole, my 7lb 9oz 21 inches long very alive baby boy, and Caleb my 5lb 19 inch very still baby boy. I heard Cole crying - I knew they were taking him out - and began to pray for Caleb to cry. He never did. A very gentle nurse introduced us to Caleb explaining that he was beautiful and had some skin slippage from the beginnings of decomposition. I could see the doctor's thumbprint on his cheek and he was a beautiful carbon copy of his living brother.

I think nothing in life can prepare us for having to hold a stillborn child. And there is no peace for anyone who has to do those things apart from God. Knowing that God is the caretaker of my son gives me peace. Knowing that my son, although never seeing my husband, his brother or me, now sees the face of God, and will never feel the pains of this earth, gives me peace. I know someday my husband and I will see my son again and I pray his brother and now little sister will one day also meet him in heaven.

❤ Rachel ❤

It was a Thursday morning and I was set to speak at a chapel for middle school kids. Before I left I took a pregnancy test, on a whim, but kept my expectations low. We had been trying to get pregnant for over 9 months, to no avail, so I went through this disappointing dance often. I learned to shut off emotions when the test came back negative. This time, however, there were two lines. I felt the most exhilarating joy I had ever known. Life changed in 5 seconds. Quickly, things would never be the same. I showed Sean and he about passed out. We stared at each other. We laughed and he left for work. Throughout the day we texted back and forth, sent emails to each other and shared our excitement over the phone. Thrilled was an understatement.

5 weeks later we walked to our car and cried. Both of us. I had never seen Sean cry like this. In fact, I couldn't remember the last time I had seen him cry at all. When you don't hear your baby's heartbeat, it's like your own heart is ripped from inside of you and shattered into a million pieces. A piece of you dies along with your baby. No one can make you feel better. No meal can warm your heart and no card can make the pain disappear.

Knowing you have a child in heaven is a bit like knowing you have a daughter or son in another country that is happy, thriving and fulfilled. You will never meet them, hug them or see their skin. You can't smell them or feel them in your arms and what hurts the very most is that they are so happy and you are so, so sad. It's the most bizarre feeling in all the world.
Isolating too.

At times, when the pain overwhelms me, I reign in my hurt for a moment and remember the only promise that keeps me from going crazy. The promise of life everlasting. Christ promises us a life that is abundant and one day... soon ... I will meet, run to, and hug my baby.

Until then, I will remember that losing my baby is part of the Lord's plan and purpose.

His ways are simply not our ways. Which is good.

❤ Andrea ❤

When my husband and I decided to have another baby we thought it would be just like the first time. We would try, I would get pregnant and then have a baby nine months later. Well, it did not go according to that perfect plan.

When I found out I was pregnant I didn’t really feel pregnant but chalked that up to it being really early. Then I started bleeding and I knew in my heart that something was not right. They did an ultrasound in the office and said they saw a baby with a faint heartbeat. I was very happy that they saw an actual living baby.

I went back a week later and the ultrasound showed a baby about five weeks gestational age, the same size as the last visit. It was at that point that I think I knew that the baby was not going to make it. How could that baby be the same age as a week ago?

Well, that week while going to the bathroom I am pretty sure that I miscarried the baby. Looking back I wish I would have looked more closely but I just flushed the toilet and tried to be in denial. I did not want to believe that it was really over. When I went back to the doctors they could not find a baby. I decided to allow my body to miscarry naturally. I started bleeding and continued to bleed for a whole week. When I went to my check-up the doctor informed me that I was getting an infection and needed to have a D&C that day and they were going to admit me to the hospital.

That is when I truly lost it. I started sobbing. Wasn’t it enough that I lost my baby… now I had to have surgery on top of that? So I went in, had the surgery and came home.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if we had that baby. However, when we tried again it took us two months of trying and then nine months later we had a healthy baby boy who I cannot imagine our life without. God always has a plan for us that we may never fully understand, but this whole experience has taught me to trust Him no matter what.