Monday, June 4, 2012

Learning Experience

There is nothing that happens in our lives that God can't  use to make something good.  By human standards, it's an absolutely crazy concept, using the failures and hurts of our lives for good.  But God is in the business of restoring things, making them new.  He's a miracle worker even today and I continue to be in awe of Who He is and what He is doing. 

On my life's highway, I've come across many friends and family members who've lost a baby.  My earliest memory of miscarriage was that of my aunt and uncle losing two babies.  One, their daughter Megan, was stillborn.  Their pain was and still is incomprehensible to me.  Megan had been alive, my aunt had felt her movements. Even today, twenty something years later, she remembers Megan on her birthday and longs for her. 

One of my closest and best friends suffered four miscarriages.  One mothers' day, after the last, I wrote her a note to let her know I was praying for her and knew it would be a difficult day for her.  She went on to have a full hysterectomy at an age way too young. Many would say she'd been dealt a bad hand.

And still I have friends who desperately long for children but haven't been able to conceive. I dare not claim to know their hurt.

But in all of these, God is good. He is working and using these ladies and their spouses to give hope.  To show,at least me, that this is not the end.  This life is too short and the Lord has so much more He still wants to do in our lives, to bless us, to bless others.

I'm honored to have for a friend and humbled by her faith in action, Holly.  She is my friend mentioned above who has four precious ones awaiting her in Heaven.  Prior to her losses, she and Jeff gave birth to Bryan and later adopted Ellie, from Ethiopia.  Had their four babies survived between Bryan and Ellie, they may have never been lead to Ellie and on to the clean water project they've become a part of for the people of Ethiopia. Not only has God done this work in them, but He has also ministered to us through them to offer healing, comfort, and encouragement.

Like Holly, my aunt and uncle first gave birth to a son, Matthew, and, after their miscarriages, another son, Isaac.  They've shown me that God brings new joy--Isaac's name means ' laughter', after all.

And my friend who is still hoping and praying to conceive, is being used by God to teach me perseverance and selflessness and joy.  Selflessness? Perhaps she even wonders about this one. ..When Geron and I found out we were expecting for the third time and had gotten over the initial fear and dread--because we hadn't planned this--we reached the point of excitement and I was eager to share the news with friends.  I was hesitant, however, to tell friends, like this one, who I knew had either miscarried or hadn't been able to have children of their own. (YET, sweet friend.) I felt guilty for not wanting this baby at first and thought it unfair that we were not only expecting but also had two beautiful children already.  It turned out that word got to my friend before I did and she was soooo excited for us.  I was floored by her reaction.  God used her to show me selflessness.  She has experienced incredible hurt, yet she rejoices with her friends and does not dwell in a pit of pain.   She continues to allow God to fill her with joy. And God is using that for good, my friend.  I am encouraged and reminded to rejoice in each new day that The Lord makes. And I pray for you as you love your school and church 'children' and continue in expectant hope of your own.

Why did God allow us to lose our baby? Cohen so desperately wants to be a big brother.  He is crazy about babies.. We don't know.  But we do know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called to His purpose.  Perhaps we,too, will be able to comfort those who've lost. To encourage the hopeless.  To remind God's people of His good future  He has planned for them.  To restore joy. 

Perhaps the phrase has worn out it's effectiveness, but I'm reminded of this call and response:

God is good--
All the  time.
All the time--
God is good.

He Is.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Unexpected: unforeseen, not expected, not looked for, etc.  

Unexpected turn of events.

This year has been full of the unexpected for us.

My dad's cancer diagnosis.
Blood clots in my lungs.
Cohen's eye surgery.
Pastoral change.
Unexpected pregnancy.

There, if I hadn't told you already, now you know.  We found out about 3 weeks ago we were expecting our third child. Unexpected.

Two years ago, I saw my OB and discussed with him the possibility of Geron and I having another baby.  At that time he told us "Go for it!"  We'd been considering the option but weren't sure if we were ready or wanted to have another child.  Cohen was almost 2, Cora, 4.  We put the idea on hold but didn't close the door.  

Fast forward to December 2011.  I'd been sick for a few weeks with what I thought might be Pneumonia.  Not crazy about going to the doctor, I kept putting off making an appointment.  Geron called me at work and said "I called your doctor.  You have an appointment this afternoon."  He was tired of not getting sleep from my hacking, I'm sure.  That afternoon, my doctor examined me and put me on asthma meds--inhaler, advair, and an oral steroid to fast forward the recovery process.  All week, I took the meds consistently, using my inhaler 3 or more times a day.  At my follow up appointment, December 19th, the doctor suspected that something else was going on.  I was sent for a chest x ray and blood work.  X ray came back clear.  I received a call around 7 p.m. from my doctor saying the blood work was NOT good.  She suspected a blood clot.  "Get to the E.R. right away.  They know you're coming." . Not wanting to mess with the kids' routine, I drove myself to the hospital.  Geron called his parents and they came to the house so he could meet me at the hospital.  Maybe 2 hours later, the E.R. doctor came to my room and said something to the effect of "Today was probably your day to play the lottery....You have blood clots in both your lungs." 4 days were spent in the hospital, getting used to blood thinners, learning to give myself a shot OR at least let Geron do it. Then we were sent home and on a journey to discover what had caused these clots to occur in the first place.  Visits to the hematologist, weekly lab visits to monitor my cumadin level, adjusting meds.  

In the hospital,  the hospitalist told us "You should not have children while on this medication.  You may not want to risk trying to have anymore." ....My doctor told me "You shouldn't have children on this medication...This may be a lifelong process for you...No more children." ....The hematologist told me "You shouldn't have children..."

The door was shut.  UNEXPECTEDLY shut.

After 4 Months on cumadin, being careful to follow doctors' orders, I found myself sick again.  I recognized all the symptoms from my previous pregnancies... and knew. It was the first time I took a pregnancy test, saw the results, and was disappointed at the positive sign staring back at me.  

Geron and I were terrified.  He called our parents and our former pastor.  Again, his parents came over right away.  My mother in law prayed with me about my fears/ concerns.  I knew there were possibilities of facial abnormalities, defects in the extremities, and even miscarriage. We prayed for God's will and for the strength to handle whatever would come our way. 

That evening I skipped my cumadin dose.  I didn't take it all weekend.  I saw my doctor the following Monday and we started the Lovenox injections right away. 

 As the week went on I began to get excited at the idea of another baby but still worried about possible complications.  I told a few close friends about the baby and asked them to pray for us. 

Its crazy how quickly you become attached to a baby once you find out you're expecting.  

We went to my OB the next week and had an ultrasound to find out how far along we actually were.  Geron and I suspected 8 weeks but the ultrasound was showing 4 weeks.  At four weeks, all you can see is the embryo stage, but still a space where the baby is developing.  I had some blood taken/ tested and was called the next day.  "Start taking progesterone and come back for another ultrasound tomorrow."  The progesterone idea was nothing new to us.  I was on it with Cora and Cohen.  But I didn't know why they wanted to perform another ultrasound already.  The next day, we went back to the doctor's office.  The tech measured us again and this time showed us measuring at 8 weeks as we'd expected.  She pointed out to us where the uterus was opening to make room for the baby and showed us the amniotic sack.  What we didn't see was a baby....

8 weeks...Right now, beside me on the desk are pictures from our first ultrasound with Cora at 8 weeks.  I can see the outline of her head, her tiny arms, her little feet.  And we could see and hear her heart beating at that time.  It was fluttering and beating so fast. 

At this time, everything feels so surreal.  I haven't had any signs of miscarriage other than what we saw on that monitor.  No cramping, no spotting or bleeding.  I don't know how to feel.  I've experienced a range of emotions already.  I've cried over the loss of our third child.  I've been relieved to know that we aren't going to have a baby with severe defects.  I've been angry at myself for even feeling the latter.  I've been heartbroken as we shared with the kids and saw how sad Cohen was for the loss. 

But I've also been thankful. (I'll never forget when the pastor shared at my Granny's funeral what a profound effect she'd had on him in saying "Whatever our circumstance, we can be thankful." )  I've found myself thankful for my two beautiful children I already have.  Thankful for a loving and supportive husband who has been so strong, though disappointed himself.  Thankful for parents and parents  -in-love who have prayed for us, listened to us, and even been excited for us. And thankful for friends who've been through this loss themselves or with someone close to them and have reached out to us and ministered to us in a way no other can. 

And now I've also experienced hope.  Because through this process, I've learned that there are other ways to handle my illness.  And there are other meds I can take.  And the door hasn't been closed to us having a third child if the Lord allows.  We know He is bigger than anything we can imagine.  He is stronger than any giant we face.  And He has a plan for us to give us a hope and a future.  

God has been in the center of everything that has happened to us.  When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I was scared to lose him. But God gave me peace that He would take care of Daddy and I know my dad has given his heart to the Lord.  The night I drove myself to the hospital facing what could have been my very death, God gave me immediate peace in my heart.  And sitting in the E.R. waiting room, it was no coincidence that when I looked up from where I sat there was a nativity scene of my savior's birth directly in front of me.  After Cohen's eye surgery, the church reached out to us and ministered to us...God's provision.  Pastoral change?  We are excited for our friends who followed God's leading to a new church and are encouraged by their obedience.  And we are prayerfully looking forward to who the Lord has in store for Grace church.  Unexpected pregnancy and miscarriage...this is a difficult road, but I am surrounded by God's love.  In His Word, in His people.  He has been faithful to me and nothing about Him is unexpected.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tree Construction Coordinator

Cora love to tell people what to do, I guess the ornament doesn't fall far from the Christmas tree

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Birthday Boy

Cohen is 3 today!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Our Star Performer

Cora sang in church tonight. The church kids are participating in a talent competition on Saturday, and tonight was the warmup. Baby Brother wanted to get up and sing too, so he fell too pieces when she started without him.