Friday, October 22, 2010

A collision course...or not.

I heard a song for the first time today on Melissa's blog that really spoke to me. The name of the song is Where Joy and Sorrow Meet. When I heard the song, I stopped and listened to it then went on about my business. Then this afternoon I just could not get that one phrase "where joy and sorrow meet" out of my head. I went to Playlist and listened to the song again and then went to Youtube and listened to it with the lyrics once more.

It got me thinking...Have I ever been to the place where joy and sorrow meet? Here is where my thoughts took me.

There have been many milestone moments in my 36 and 1/2 years. The day my brother drowned...lots and lots of sorrow there. There was joy in that he is in a place of perfect peace and rest with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I do not know if in those days and weeks that followed his death that I was able to find the joy. I was only fourteen when he went home and not really sure I could grasp that joy and sorrow could meet. I knew the grief of a sister that watched her parents in hopes that they would not fall and be unable to get up. I learned a lot about grieving with God during that period of my life. God was preparing me even then for the death of my child.

The day I graduated from high school...joyful for sure. I am not sure there was much sorrow on my part to be found... but a milestone nonetheless.

The day I got married...joyful beyond belief, but if I am truthful...There was sorrow there. The sorrow of leaving home...leaving my sister, who had been my sidekick for many years... the sorrow of missing my younger brother grow up from a birds eye view. Looking back, I would say that was a day where joy and sorrow met. The joy just seemed to overwhelm the sorrow and still does.

The day I found out that Jamie and I had conceived our first child only to learn that the pregnancy was not viable. Joy and sorrow collided that day. Sorrow seamed to overwhelm this time.

The second and third times that Jamie and I found out that we had conceived a precious child, to once again learn that these pregnancies were not viable either. Yet again there was a collision of joy and sorrow, where sorrow overshadowed the joy.

Then, there was the day that I discovered I was pregnant with Jay. Joy, joy, and more joy. That is until I began showing signs once again of miscarriage. I went to the doctor for and ultrasound and there was no heartbeat. Once again there was sorrow. I was scheduled for a follow up ultrasound and D&C the following week. There was unbelievable joy when we discovered that there was indeed life growing in my womb. There was a heartbeat... Then he was born...Joy beyond any sorrow imaginable.

The day I discovered my little Cooper was on the way...great joy. No sorrow to be found. Then Cooper was born. I may have thought twice about having an infant and 18 month old but I had no sorrow, only joy!

The same with finding out Lucie Rose was on the way and also the day she was born. Tremendous joyfulness filled my heart and house.

At this point in my life I remember thinking that I was blessed beyond all belief. Jamie and I even talked about the way God had blessed our lives. I thanked God everyday for ALL of His blessings in my life. Then we got pregnant with my sweet Eli. Wow, did I ever thank God for His blessings when we found out our family would grow by one more. We began making plans that included me being able to stay home with my children and guess what?  God was working it all out. There was no sorrow, only joy...until November 30. We found out news that would bring great sorrow to our family. Sorrow like I had NEVER experienced before. Sorrow like I hope I NEVER experience again! How could I possibly find a place in this storm where joy and sorrow would meet? Boy did I ever though. There is no greater blessing than feeling this baby kick and move and squirm around that would not live. Oh the blessings we found in bi-weekly ultrasounds and watching our baby grow. Then, then came Eli's birthday. I had no idea the joy and sorrow that I would experience this day until it was upon us. There is no greater joy than holding a baby and kissing him when he was not supposed to even be alive. There is NO greater sorrow than holding a baby as he draws his last breath. For me this is when joy and sorrow met. It is extremely difficult to feel both of these emotions at the same time because they are so different. It is completely overwhelming. Which is greater? The joy or the sorrow. I honestly can not answer that question.

I do know this, there is only one place that joy and sorrow can meet and that is at the throne of Jesus Christ. If I could not have gone to His throne for grace and mercy, if He had not been in my life to carry me, I would be permanently broken. I would have no hope. There would be no joy. Because of Him, I have that intermingles with sorrow. I am able to see the great blessing of Eli...God's will...His plan for our lives.

I also know this, there WILL be a day where Joy and sorrow meet and Joy will forever overcome the sorrow in this life. Our tears will be wiped away forever and redemption will take place.

Make sure to pause the playlist at the bottom of the screen before listening to this song.

Is there a time in you life where joy and sorrow have met?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Day For Remembering...

As if we do not remember everyday. He never leaves my mind, just like my other three children. However, yesterday was a special day set aside nationally, to remember all of the sweet little babies gone to heaven. It was a day for celebration. A day to celebrate that our babies are perfect, whole, and in perfect peace. Thank you to those who left comments with the names of your babies. I said a prayer for each of you, as I hope others that were reading did as well.
Yesterday afternoon, just before dusk, several families in our community came together to remember our little ones with a balloon release. It was a sweet time of remembrance. Some of the people present, I have know for a long time, some I have known for a short time, and others I had never met face to face before yesterday. There were people there who released balloons that I have known a really long time and never knew that the have babies in heaven. It was a sweet time! We came together, talked for a little while, prayed, and released our balloons in memory of so many babies. It meant so much to me to have every person there that came. Some even came to support the families of baby loss. That was certainly special! It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about the compassion that would lead someone to come just for support.
This is just as the balloons were first released.

The wind carried them pretty fast. This is not all of them, but the ones that I could get in my lense.

The children all tried to chase the balloons. It was really sweet!

Once they realized they couldn't catch them, they just stopped and watched.  
This is the last picture I got before they got too far away. They really moved fast because of the wind yesterday afternoon.

I think one of the sweetest things to see was the brothers and sisters of these babies releasing their balloons. The children were so excited to be a part of this. One little fella lost his twin brother and reading his card really touched me.  He wrote I miss you on the card. Makes me cry typing it!  My Cooper, well I guess you would have to know him to really understand why his card touched me the way it did. Cooper is a very withdrawn person when it comes to showing emotions and affection. On his card, he wrote "I love you, Eli". These losses have more affect of our children than we realize sometimes. I do think the children being a part of OUR celebration was very special. The whole event was just beautiful.

I want to end by saying that I so appreciate every single person who came to be a part of this time of remembrance. You all are very special people.

Much love,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That's A No-no!

Poor Lucie Rose, I think her first word was no. Why? Well, because she heard no-no so much, I think she thought that was her name. Conversations with her were something like this for a while. Lucie Rose, no-no, don't touch that. No-no, don't run in the house...No-no, don't put that in your mouth...No-no, don't go in there...No-no, don't mess with the plug...No-no, don't climb on that...No-no, don't open that...Well you get the picture. It is no wonder children learn to tell us no so quickly. It is a learned behavior. It is a learned behavior that they very quickly have to unlearn. Growing up can be so difficult sometimes.

Taboo is an action or behavior that is socially unacceptable. No-no is a synonym for taboo.

In years past, pregnancy and infant loss were considered a taboo subject. You know, even today it is still taboo in many ways. Here is a fact that is hard to fathom. Not so long ago, when women would give birth to a still baby or an infant that only lived a brief while, they were advised by their doctor to go home and forget about it. Move on with your life. I wonder if those same doctors offered any advise on how to go about this, because I can promise you, that is not at all likely to happen. As hard as that is for me to wrap my head around, I have heard stories (yes, stories plural) of women who never even got to see or hold their babies once they gave birth to them. It was thought by most that if these mothers did not see their babies, it would be easier for them to "get over the loss". I can not even begin to imagine the damage that one act would do to a mother who NEEDS to grieve her baby. There are certainly behaviors in our society that have to be unlearned. Society has made steps toward improvement, but there is more work that needs to be done. Pregnancy and infant loss is something that people in everyday life just do not think about. Really, who wants to think about it? It combines death and children. For most, those subjects just do not go together.
In 1988, then president, Ronald Reagan realized the need for awareness of pregnancy and infant loss. He proclaimed October 15, as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. What a wonderful step forward this was for such a taboo topic.

Did you know that approximately 1in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. Twenty-five percent of ALL pregnancies end in some type of loss. It seems that women are just expected to deal with this. Miscarriage is one of those losses that is just not talked about. Do you know that I actually had a doctor tell me once (while I was suffering a miscarriage) that I just needed to get this one ( the pregnancy) out of my system and start fertility medication. By the way, this conversation took place on the phone only because I insisted on talking to him. This was my second miscarriage and I had yet to see or talk to the doctor, only his nurse. This is NOT my current doctor. I actually found Doctor K. the day after that phone conversation. As long as I live I will never forget that conversation. I do not think that I could even look that man in the face today and it has almost been eleven years ago. I know that miscarriage is common, but that does not make it any less of a loss to the women who are in the midst of the grief caused by it.

Did you know that there is an entire community of us baby loss mamas out here? I had no idea until Eli. There is an incredible, wonderful group of women, who just like me, have lost one or some even more children and are blogging about it. These women are courageous and do such amazing things to honor our babies. They have been a source of strength for me these past few months. These women have all taken steps to make this type of loss a less taboo subject. Through blogging, many of us hope to accomplish raising awareness as well as helping someone else who might be going through this storm.

This Friday is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. If you are one of those mothers or fathers who will be lighting a candle, or sending up a balloon, or just remembering your sweet little baby, leave a comment with your little one's name, date of birth, and date of passing. This will allow me and anyone else who is reading to pray for you on Friday.

I'll get it started.

Jamie and Jennifer Hill
miscarriage - 4/99, 11/99, 6/2000
Elijah Griffin Hill - born February 21, 2010 and lived for two short hours

Much love,

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fear and Faith

A couple of weeks ago, I sat through a message in church that I knew with every fiber of my being was wrong. I wanted to jump up and yell, scream, stomp out of church...something. I just sat there and did nothing but get more and more angry by the second. This time last year, I would not have thought as much about the message as now. This time last year my faith had not been tested to its limit. This time last year I was blissfully unaware that the baby growing in my womb had a fatal defect and would not live. This time last year I was as ignorant as my pastor on how fear and faith coexist.

Two weeks ago, the pastor of the church I attend preached a message on fear and faith. The basis of the message was that fear and faith are opposites. He said that if you have fear then it was impossible to have faith. He believes that someone who has total faith in God will possess no fear. At first, this made me question just how much faith I do have in God because I definitely possess fear. He preached from Exodus chapter 14, when Moses and the Children of Israel were release from Egyptian bondage and Pharaoh decided to follow them. The Lord led the Children of Israel toward the Red Sea and they were surrounded by impassable land and the sea. At this point in the bible it says that the people questioned Moses' motives. Why had be brought them this far to be killed. They had no faith that God would provide them a way out. In verse 13 of this chapter it says
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
The pastor pulled specifically from this verse. He said that because the people feared they had no faith. I question his thinking on this. I really question his thinking on this. I do not think that fear had anything at ALL to do with the lack of faith those people exhibited. I do not think their fear was a result of their lack of faith. I think even people with the strongest of faith have fear. Just look at Job. No one was more tested than that man. Through the fire, Job never lost faith. He did however fear. Fear is threaded throughout the book of Job. The bible itself tells us to fear God. Well I think fear is fear and you can not separate fear of God from other fear.
I have been through the fire, am walking through the fire, and I have fears...very definite fears. I also have deep faith and trust in God that He will carry me through the fire. Just because he carries us does not mean we avoid the fire or trials. Those trials do cause fear. They even produce more fear sometimes. At least that has been my experience. You know, I think a certain amount of fear is even healthy.

I am curious how others feel about this. Leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts on this. It will not hurt my feelings if you tell me I am off base. I know there are differing opinions out there. I am curious what yours is.

Much love,