September 5, 2017

Peter, You're my Favorite

Peter, You're my absolute favorite.

And today, I want to wish you the Happiest of Birthdays!

Thirty-seven years ago today, you were born. And rather than share all the things I love about you, I just wanted to share from the heart. And I should say now, this post may have started as a Father's day post many months ago, but I figured today would be a good day to finish it!!

I can't even begin to imagine how different my life would be, how different I would be, if you had not been born.

Thank you Jesus for his mother that birthed him, and for his parents that raised him, and to you for creating Him!

When I first met you 13 years ago I never would have dreamed we'd be where we are today.

But looking back now, I can't even imagine anything different.

So many of my memories lead back to you, so many of my life paths lead back to you.

And for that I am so grateful.

God has used you in such a mighty and powerful way to mold me and transform me and restore me and heal me, and I thank you Peter for responding in obedience to that call.

I thank you for speaking truth even when it's hard and even in my most stubborn moments.

I thank you for holding my hand and walking beside me in all the ugly and beautiful moments.

I thank you for holding my memories and my stories for me. 

I thank you for challenging me to think beyond myself and outside of the box.

I thank you for encouraging me to be true to myself, to speak truth and to live in that freedom and abandon as God has called us to live..

I thank you for your sincere desire to change the world, to change our systems, and to change our overall way of being.

And I thank you for challenging me to be a changemaker, to challenge the status quo, to challenge the way things are, it is intoxicating. And I love you for it.

And Peter, thank you for being my partner in every sense of the word.

Thank you for loving me and our children so deeply. 

You delight in them and they delight in you, and as I watch you with our boys, I get a glimpse of the Father's true delight in all of us. 

Thank you for this glimpse as you laugh with them, as you share things with them, as you teach and instruct them.

It's like my dad said, "I always knew you were a good man, but then you became a dad, and you my friend are a great dad."

You truly are a great dad. 

Being a parent is hard work, this you know, and its easy to lose sight of ourselves and each other in the shuffle and chaos of it all.

And sometimes I forget to look up and I forget to look beside me to see that the Lord and you have been there the whole time.

And lately I've been reminded of the blessing of this parenting partnership, no one else knows what these years have been like, the sleepless nights, the joy, the tantrums, the refinement.

You are the one who holds our memories for us, the good, the bad, the ugly. You've walked through it all with me. No human knows me better. And I'm just so thankful for you.

Peter, you're all of our favorites, but you're especially mine.

And it's so true. I love our children, but I love you so much.

There's no one else I'd rather spend time with, no one else I'd rather grow old with, no one else I'd rather share all of myself with. 

Thank you for sharing this life with me, for choosing me, for standing beside me in the brightest of moments and in the darkest of days. 

Happiest of Birthdays my love! May this next year be filled with so many beautiful moments of transformation and growth and may you continually look up and see His face and His hand in all of it.

We love you!



August 31, 2017

A Letter to my Little Star

To my Little Star,

I wrote this letter to you before I knew what the future held for your little life, before I knew just how short your story would be, before I knew just how numbered your days truly were. And as I reread the words below, dripping with hope and anticipation of meeting you, and as the tears cover my cheeks when I think about the past few weeks and how your story ends here on Earth, my heart breaks.
I knew I was pregnant with you before I took the test…I took a test days before my period was due, but it was negative, and still I knew. I knew that positive pregnancy test awaited me. And then when my period was late, I knew with more certainty. But if I’m honest, I was kind of in denial. So I gladly drank that margarita and joked with friends about the possibility of being pregnant and waited for the positive test to come.
Friends asked me what our thoughts were about a 3rd child, and what our timeline was, and I’d laugh and say, well I could be pregnant right now as my period is late.

See the thing is, it all happened so incredibly fast. Your dad and I knew we would love to have a third child, but we just didn’t know when would be the best time, but let’s be honest, there’s never an ideal time to add a baby to your family.

Your dad and I had turned down a trip to Rwanda in order to pursue growing our family, and when we talked about when we could start trying, I said well I think right now? Like today? Or next week? And then 3 weeks later, I peed on a few sticks and BAM…you were growing inside me.

This feels so different this time around, I know what to expect, but at the same time I don’t as I’ve never done this before…I’ve never been pregnant with 2 other children at my feet.

But what I do know is we are so incredibly excited to meet you and hold you in our arms. And I’m truly excited to be pregnant again, to feel your body move within mine. And your brothers, I’m so excited for you to meet them. Jack is just ecstatic and certain you're going to be a girl! We shall see!
And when I wrote this note to you, I was so filled with the hope and anticipation as to what awaited us, who you would look like, who you would grow up to be, I never would have dreamt I’d have to wait till Heaven to hold you, to hug you, to see who you would look like, to see who you would be, to see if Jack was right.  

I told everyone on Father’s day about you. I told your dads family via skype with a pregnancy test Jack brought into the room, and we told my family in person at dinner as my dad talked about us understanding what something was like because we had 3 kids, and I circled back and said, well we don’t exactly know what it’s like to have 3 kids, but we will in February!! And everyone’s responses were so priceless and so filled with excitement at the thought of adding a new baby to the family, especially Jack.

I get emotional every single time I watch this video of Jack!


And when we told your Dada and his family over Facetime! And you can hear the catch in my voice as the tears of sheer joy stream down my face.


And Guppy (my dad) really wanted to share the news with his clients in his Monday Morning outlook email he sends out, and when your uncle (my brother) sent me the draft of it, I just laughed because it was so obvious we were having a baby as he wrote, “Malia and Peter have some news, and they’re not moving, and they’re not changing jobs…what could it be?” And I told my brother to rewrite it as we didn’t know the future of your life yet.
And even then we were holding your life loosely.

And we awaited our first Dr’s appointment at nearly 9 weeks where we first saw your beating heart on the screen and realized you may not be measuring as you should.

We were confused as to why you were only measuring 5 weeks and 6 days when you should have been more like 8 weeks. I know I ovulate late, but I only know this because your brother’s gestational age didn’t match up with the gestational age from my pregnancy app! It’s always like a week and a bit off. I have always known when my last period was, but I have never known the conception date as I’ve never known my ovulation dates.

Anyhow, needless to say, it’s always been hard to gauge just how far along I actually am before my first appointment. But I was a little shocked to hear you weren’t even 6 weeks yet, and as the Dr. did some calculations, she was like so you conceived right around father’s day then, and I was like how is that possible if I had a positive pregnancy test on Father’s day?  And she said, you could have ovulated super late and you have a tilted uterus, so I may not be getting a good picture of the baby, but call us if you experience any bleeding and cramping as you’re not in the clear yet. 

And we continued to hold your life loosely. 

And then a week went by and your dad climbed a mountain and slid down an ice field and was airlifted off said mountain on a Saturday, and the night before I’d had a dream that something happened to your dad and I had a miscarriage. And in the dream, I remember thinking I was exchanging one life for another and having to reconcile the fact that I deeply love your dad and I’d choose him, but I also really desired you and wanted you, not another baby. 

And it felt so real and prior to getting pregnant, your dad and I talked about miscarriage and I’d talked about it since being pregnant and even mentioned it as a prayer item at bible study a few days before. But when I woke up, I just remember thinking God gives and takes away. I have no control over whatever happens.

And then I got the text about your dad, and I just knew what awaited me in the days to come.

So when I started bleeding Wednesday night, I thought, this is it, isn’t it Lord? This is my dream coming true. You’ve given me back my husband, and you’re taking this one to be with you. And I just knew.

And I contacted my Dr. the next day and she said she could get me in that afternoon. So I told my boss what was happening and I left work early and your dad and I went to the Dr. and she met us in the ultrasound room. 

And as I laid on the table, with my eyes turned away from the screen, intently scrutinizing your dads face, I just knew. I knew before the Dr. sadly uttered, “I’m afraid I don’t have good news for you guys as it doesn’t look like baby has a heartbeat.”

And I told the Dr. about my dream, about how I just knew, about how gracious God was to prepare my heart for this broken hearted moment. But your dads heart was not prepared for this moment, and even though his body had felt absolutely broken from his fall, cracked teeth and swollen face and sore limbs, his heart remained partially intact, but this moment, this moment broke that heart.

And then the space was filled with next steps and crying and sharing our hearts and our grief, and it was beautiful, heart wrenching to have her confirm what I knew, but beautiful. And as we walked out of her office, past the waiting room full of pregnant women, I remember thinking, this is not my time. And it pained me. And if I’m honest, it still does.

A few days after the news your dad and I went to one of our favorite spots, Richmond Beach, and we said our goodbyes to you. We read Psalm139.
You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

And we wrote letters to you, which we read to each other. Most of my letter is interwoven in this letter I’m presently writing, but your dad’s letter was my unbreaking. 

His words, 
Surprising, precious, gone too soon, too good for this world, a light flash that changed us forever, lost potential. I will never forget your little heartbeat on the screen. What would you have looked like or sounded like? What would your laugh sound like? Your brothers would have laid down their life for you. We eagerly look forward to meeting you in Heaven and we will look to the stars and be reminded of you. You were perfect and your life was ordained.
I should also say, he poured over names for you, and presented me with countless options and we finally landed on Sterling, meaning Little Star. Then we lit our letters on fire and watched the paper drift up to the stars and Heavenward. And it was so sacred and beautiful and healing for my broken hearted soul.

And then came the less sacred, less beautiful next steps which were filled with pills and cramping and bleeding, and more Drs appointments and more ultrasounds, only to realize 3 weeks later that I was going to need surgery in order to remove the last of your remains from my body.

And on August 15th, 3.5 weeks after they’d given us the news of your lack of heartbeat, and on our 8th wedding anniversary, your dad and I walked hand in hand into the Roosevelt Clinic. 

And I handed over my paperwork that stated 3 pregnancies, yet only 2 live births, realizing this will forever be my story. My pregnancies will never match up with my live births. And that’s okay.

The Medical assistant asked me why I was there, and my voice cracked as I stated, well I had a miscarriage and I’m pretty sure I’m going to need surgery. And then the Dr. walked in and looked at me with her kind eyes and sincerely stated, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” And my heart broke again, as I sat there in silence, gripping your dads hand for strength. 

And then came another ultrasound to determine what I already knew, surgery was necessary. And I undressed and put my feet up in the gurney, and they started the process, and the tears started coming and the kind Dr. again said, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” And as your dad squeezed my hand and as they numbed my cervix with a needle, I just cried and cried, and the Dr. asked, “Would you like me to stop? Do you need a moment?” and I replied with the bravest voice I could muster, “Just keep going!”

And I just thought it is finished, your life, this chapter of our story, this pregnancy is finished. It’s heartbreaking really. What I would give for you to have a different story, to feel the flutters of your little kicks within me, to feel the weight of your body heavy in my arms, but that isn’t the story God has written for you or for our family. And I trust His story with my whole heart.

My darling, I am filled with thankfulness for your short and beautiful life. May you always know just how much you were wanted by us here on Earth and by your Heavenly Father, but may you rest in the fact that your Heavenly Father wanted you more. And what better place to be than in His hands!

Thank you for allowing me to see just how much I desire another child, I wish it was you. I thank Jesus for your life, for claiming you as His. Yet it pains me to think about all the things we’ll miss out on with you, your birth story, first words, first steps, etc. But I know in due time our paths will cross in Heaven and I can’t wait for that day.

And as we shared the loss of your life with others, they began to share the loss of their own babies with us and it was powerful. And it was such a beautiful reminder that God writes our stories. He gives and He takes away, and we will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name. 

He has the power to bring me from a place of utter despair and absolute brokenness to a place of full restoration and healing. And I know and trust that as I move forward with each step, stepping out into this new life that looks different than the one I’d envisioned, I'll begin to walk lightly again.

When we are weak, He is strong, and I don’t think this weakness is more apparent than in our grief. But the grief strikes me at the most unexpected times. Just yesterday, your big brother Jack turned to me, patted my stomach and said, I miss my baby sister and a few days before that he grabbed you ultrasound photo out of my bedside drawer and kissed your picture and said I love you baby sister. (We had NO idea whether you were a girl or a boy, but Jack was adamant you were a girl!! and I got tired of correcting him after awhile.) He speaks about you as if he's met you, longing for you before God had even created you, grieving for you in his own way. Lord bless him.

And even though I truly believe that God writes our stories, I never envisioned miscarriage would be written into mine. And my hope and prayer is that He would be glorified and honored through the loss of you, that people would see his graciousness and His hand in our lives and in our story that He is writing.

I love you,