November 13, 2017

Jet Lag



It's 5:45 AM here in Shoreline, and we've been back for a few days now, but we're still adjusting to the jet lag. I don't remember it being so bad or waking up so early upon our return in the past, but I'm sure that's been the case. However, this time, I feel like the jet lag's been way harder coming home then going there, and I don't remember it being this hard ever. I mean the boys have been waking up at 3:30 AM like every single morning since we've been home. Some mornings we can get one of them back to bed, or both of them, and some mornings we can't. This morning they woke up at 4:30, or Ryan did, and Jack woke up shortly after. I can't help but wonder when they'll get back to their 7:00 wake up time.

Let it be known, I am NOT a morning person, and those early mornings are rough...especially the darkness, the complete and utter darkness for hours upon end, and then it just means I'm exhausted come 8 PM, which is normally my prime time for myself. So it's been interesting adjusting back to say the least.

But that's jet lag after returning, let me share about the jet lag while there.

It was fun to read over my last post I wrote about jet lag from January as it's wild to think it was so different this time around. We didn't have any really early mornings. In fact our first few mornings we slept till 10 AM! What in the world? When was the last time any of you slept that late? I can't even remember the last time I slept past 8. But it probably helped that we didn't get to sleep till 1 or 2 AM.

I don't think there was a single morning where I woke up before the kids or where I was up in the middle of the night because I just couldn't sleep, but none of us went to bed quite as early as we have in the past, which I'm sure helps with the sleeping late part.

This time around, I think we were way more relaxed about the sleeping thing and there were some nights the kids didn't go to bed till 11 or 12! It felt so strange and so wild, but I think Peter and I just realized we could spend so much of our evening trying to force the kids to bed at an early time, which takes away from precious time with his family, or we could just put them to bed late and make the most of our evening time with them. 

So the kids went to bed late the first few nights, but they'd fall asleep so fast, and the first few nights they'd wake up just a few hours as if they were waking from a nap, which was a bit of a pain, but then we'd just put a show on for them or feed them some food if they were hungry and just let them enter into our adult space rather than spend an hour or so trying to force them back to sleep, and then we'd try the bedtime routine again in an hour or so, and more often than not it worked!

There weren't too many nights where we felt like we were fighting the kids to go back to bed. But there have definitely been nights where we thought to ourselves, they're exhausted and they should go to bed, but the truth is, they'll probably just wake up in an hour or so.

After about a week, I'd say the kids fully adjusted to the time difference. I mean they'd still fall asleep in the car and what not at strange times, but that's okay. For the most part they'd go to bed pretty easily, but not quite as early as they'd go to bed at home, but again, I'm okay with that.

Anyhow, as I've said before, jet lag is a beast that takes far too long to tame and then by the time you tame it, you're getting back on a plane to go home! It's actually really helped to read through my past jet lag posts (here and here and here) as it's really normalized all that we went through.

But I think I forgot about the jet lag once you get home as that's pretty beastly too!

All that to say, don't let the fear of jet lag stop you from traveling internationally or domestically with kids, as it's all worth it in the end, and it forces everyone to become adaptable, and allows us to see just how adaptable our kids are!



November 8, 2017

Dear Jack {4.75 years}


Hi sweet boy,

I've just been thinking about you alot lately, and who you are, and wanted to write a little note to let you know just how proud I am of you!

You started at a new school 2 months ago, and you're there 4 days a week, and it's like a true school day, starting at 8:45 and ending at 3:15. And I was hesitant to sign you up for 4 days a week as the thought of not having those days with you broke my heart a little bit. And next year you'll be in Kindegarten 5 days a week, which feels like alot, but in all honesty, it's been a beautiful transition for you. And it was the first time I've dropped you off at a new school and you didn't shed a tear. It probably helps that one of your dearest friends is in your class.

Truly though, you inspire me with how you just enter into a space and wave goodbye and make friends, whether it's at school or the gym or Sunday school or wherever. I don't think I could do that.

Your dad was commenting a few days ago on your emotional intelligence. You are just in tune to the needs of others, exceptionally attentive and extremely affectionate. In fact, your teachers at school are always commenting on how affectionate you are, always hugging the other kids and declaring that you're a hugger! And I can't help but wonder how long that will last, will it always be a part of who you are? Or will that change with time? Will you always be kind and caring and compassionate?

I wonder how much of your 4 year old self will remain in your 14 year old self, or your 24 year old self, or your 34 year old self.

I think 4 might be a favorite age of mine. You are a true delight, and we can have real conversations about life and death, about hopes and dreams, about joy and pain, about choices and consequences, and I love that.

You are an incredible little buddy, and I love seeing the world through your eyes. I love the questions you ask, and your deep curiosity for the goings on in the world and for the way things work. I love that you love to read and I love that you enjoy your time alone and I really love that you can voice your emotions and needs at such a young age.

I just love who you are as a being. I love that God has given me you to raise, and I love watching you grow.

My hope and prayer for you is that you grow up to know yourself, that you may be incredibly self aware, declaring what you need to the world, and responding with a compassionate heart to what the world and individuals also need. May you have eyes to see their hearts and ears to hear their pain and the courage to enter into it.

And may you never ever stop asking questions, and challenging the status quo and the way things are. May this quality serve you well in life and may you see God's face in the eyes of His people and may you love deeply because He first loved us.

I love you,

Mama

November 6, 2017

Dear Ryan {almost 3}




My dearest Ryan,

Your dad took Jack to the library, and you're napping, thank goodness for naps still as it gives me a chance to sit and rest and reflect. 

And any time I get a chance to write, I just sit back and think about how blessed I am to be your mama. Wow, such a gift, this role and this title is such an incredible gift. It's so hard, so incredibly hard, but it's so very good. 

Ryan, when I think back to your 2 year old self, I hope and pray I remember the sheer joy and determination you possessed at such a young age. I can't help but wonder how much of your 2 year old self will be reflected in your 12 year old self or your 22 year old self or your 32 year old self. 

I'd say terrible twos was a real thing with you. I don't think Jack tested me nearly as much as you do, but your stubbornness is out of this world and it sends me reeling some days. Like that one time we were in Dublin and we got on the train at 5:00, right during prime traveling time, and the train was packed and there wasn't a single seat in sight, and you just wriggled out of my arms and took off weaving through legs, screaming at the top of your lungs, I need a seat, I need a seat. And I chased after you, excusing myself, and declaring to people, Uhh, that's not my kid haha!! But lo and behold, you finally found a seat, and crawled up into it by the time I got to you, all the while I was sweating and laughing at your sheer determination. 

You knew what you wanted and you went after it. 

And Ryan, I admire that about you. I admire just how opinionated you are at such a young age, how your sense of self is steadfast and how you fight for what you want. 

And if I'm incredibly honest, I hope you hold fast to that part of your self, that you don't let the world tear that part of you down, that you never forget just how worthy you are of being loved, of having a voice, of being heard. 

I hope you never forget your boldness, your sense of fairness and equity. 

I hope you never stop laughing and that life always brings you so much joy. 

And I hope and pray that the joy of the Lord lives within your spirit always, that you are motivated in this life by the love He has for you and the love He has for others.

Love you,

Mama




Ryan Alexander: 2.5 years



Ryan by month 1 // // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15 // 16 // 17 // 18
// 2 years

Ryan, so it's November, and your 3rd birthday is NEXT month, which means I'll be doing a 3 year post in a few months, so I figured I needed to get on your 2.5 year post before the 6 months completely passed me by! Ryan, when I think back to your 2 year old self, I hope and pray I remember the sheer joy and determination you possessed at this age. It's truly incredible!!

Growing
// You weigh 32 lbs roughly. And I only know this because sometimes I can get you to stand still on the scale. I have no idea how tall you are, but I'm guessing you're growing as your jeans are starting to get shorter!


Eating + Sleeping // You are a great eater! You love quesadillas and noodles and peas and tacos and pancakes. and you just told me you like yogurt and peanut butter. You're only taking one nap and it's about 2 hours each time. You go to bed around 6:30 and you're up around 6:30. It still blows my mind that you go to bed soo early, but you're so tired come the evening, it's like a race to bedtime for you. And you just go and go and go, if we didn't know you better, we wouldn't have any idea you were tired. But as soon as we get you into your sleepsack and take your glasses off, you start rubbing your eyes and when we place you in your bed, you just say night night mama, and you're out like a light. And yes, you're still sleeping in your mini crib. And you're still obsessed with your lovie and your binkie.

Wearing // You are wearing a mix between 2T and 3T - most of your shirts are still 2T, but a few things are 3T and most of your pants are 3T but rolled up at the bottoms. And I think you're wearing a size 7 shoe. And you are wearing size 6 diapers, yes you're still in diapers!

Loving //  You absolutely love to dance and I love watching you with your dance moves. You love music on at all times and as soon as we get into the car you ask for dancing mama, dancing, and sometimes I look back in the rearview mirror and see you dancing in your carseat, with your little arms raised above your head. So good! And you talk ALOT, truly, you are definitely not a quiet child. You love to talk and you love to communicate with everyone you interact with. And you're starting to really love hats! And you love your brother and you love doing everything he does. And you love hide n seek and you just really love to laugh!

Loathing //
This is a tough one as I really feel like you enjoy alot of things! You really dislike when Jack takes a toy or messes with something you're playing with, but if I'm honest, quite often it's you messing with Jack's stuff.

Doing // So much, you love to jump and run and ride anything with wheels. 

Words // So many words! People are telling us all the time that you talk alot, and the truth is, you do, and you talk well, meaning people can understand you. I don't have to translate too much. But you're still saying carry you mama, carry you. And I'm sure there are a few things you say differently than you do even now, but I can't remember!

Milestones // 
You started at a new school and you actually transitioned really well. You did another transatlantic flight to Ireland, attended another wedding. First camping trip and first real experience with an easter egg hunt.

October 19, 2017

Siblings



I always knew I wanted more than one child.

I always knew I wanted to experience the growing and birthing and raising of more than just one.

And not only was that need for more than one purely a selfish desire, but it was also a need and a desire for the sibling relationship.

So when Jack was born, I always knew another one or two would follow.

And if I’m honest, the first 18 months of Ryan’s life, Jack just ran circles around him. They had their own schedules, their own interests, their own limitations on what they could and couldn’t do. And then truly around the 18 month mark, everything changed. Ryan was running circles around Jack, and they were interacting and running circles together.

I never in my wildest dreams could have envisioned just how good it would be to watch their relationship develop.

Good Lord, it's so good.

Watching the two of them is like magic. And ever since Ryan turned two, they’ve been truly inseperable, always watching out for the other one, always giggling and conspiring against me.

The other day, they took everything out of the cabinets, pots, pans, etc. and climbed inside, and I could hear them laughing and giggling and every once in awhile they’d pop their heads out and I’d act surprised to see them, and then they’d retreat back inside.

And a few days before that they were in the bath together, and I just stood right outside the door, just a little out of sight, and I just watched them as they poured water over each other, and just laughed and laughed.

I truly can't get enough of the chaos and the joy. My heart bursts as they call after each other from one room to the next, chasing each other around and around the house.

They are each others biggest fans and biggest tormentors! I have witnessed Jack's encouragement of Ryan to try hard things and seen the pride he has for his brother, always introducing him to his friends..."This is my brother, Ryan." And I have seen Ryan take things out of Jack's hands and run as fast as his little legs can carry him as he attempts to escape the clutches of his big brother.

And as I watch Jack care for Ryan - by bringing him his shoes or making sure he has a snack or bringing water to his room when he requests it or asking if he can sing Ryan night time songs, or crawling into his crib in the morning to be with him, my heart melts.

And as I watch them wrestle on the floor, tormenting each other, climbing all over the other, pining the other to the ground, and covering it all is tears and laughter, and more tears and more laughter, and I just think, this is everything.


This is why you have more than one kid.

This shared history, this shared life, it's such a blessing.

The bond they are creating is marvelous and beautiful and far bigger than anything I could have ever hoped for.

They may not remember these specific moments when they're older, but you better believe I will and I’m sure they’ll remember the laughter and the joy that infiltrated all of it.

October 5, 2017

My Dearest Ryan {2.5 years}



My Dearest Ryan,

I can't believe in just a few short months you'll be three. I look at you and you still feel like a baby to me, your little hands with the dimples in them, your toddler stance, and your little legs, but then I hold a baby, a real baby, and I realize just how big you truly are.

Just a few days ago we were driving in the car, and you declared I'm big mama, and I was like yes, yes you are big Ryan.

There are moments when I miss that 5 lb baby and the way you depended on me for survival. But if I'm incredibly honest, I've never been a huge newborn fan. Yes, I love that newborns are so cuddly and they'll just lay on you for hours! But they're also incredibly unpredictable. And that is hard.

And yes, two is a very challenging age, and you my child challenge every sense of my being, especially when your favorite word is no, but I love that you have such strong opinions and preferences and you can communicate those to us. And in this stage, I'm not exhausted from lack of sleep, but rather from the actual parenting, the discipling, the cultivating, the teaching. It's hard work, but it's good work and it's growth work, and I love every bit of it.

And every night, you ask to rock in the rocking chair. So we turn the lights off, and rock with you for a few minutes before we put you in your crib, and yes, you're still sleeping in your mini crib.

And tonight, as I held you and rocked with you, I prayed over you and whispered God's promises and my hopes for you in your little ear.

May you come to know the Lord and have a relationship with Him.

May you desire to live like Him.

May you always know just how much you are loved by me and by your Heavenly Father.

May you live within the world, but not be of the world.

May you treat people with kindness and compassion.

May you be strong and courageous!

And may you experience full freedom to live into who God has created you to be!

And after I said the last line, your little voice whispered, "Okay" against my cheek and I lost it.

And the tears came.

And I just thought, this is what it's all about.

In the stillness of the night, a mama rocking her baby and pouring out her hopes and dreams for her child to the Lord and to the child himself, laying him down at the alter, releasing him to the Lord, again and again and again.

My dearest Ryan, you are not mine to hold onto, but rather mine to raise. And my hope and prayer is that you get a  glimpse of God's goodness, His mercy and His grace, in my laying down, in my raising up, in my own parenting journey.

May we cultivate your growth and your spirit in such a way that not only brings honor and glory to the Lord, but also honors who God has truly created you to be.

I love you so much Ry guy bear,

Mama


October 2, 2017

Grief and Hard Things

 


My heart feels so heavy this morning, so I turned cartoons on for the boys, made myself a cup of coffee and crawled back into bed with my computer on my lap.

Friends, this week as I have shared the loss of our baby with others and the grief that has come with that, I have heard some really hard stories, and my heart feels so heavy as I reflect on those stories.

One mom shared that they've decided to just have one child, so they were thinking about downsizing their car and remaining in their smallish home, and I thought to myself, I wonder how they came to that conclusion. And then as I shared with her about my miscarriage, she shared with me about hers. She told me about her babies, and the twin that died in utero right after the first trimester, while I looked at the one who lived as she ran around the playground with my boys. And she told me about the miscarriages that followed due to her rare blood disorder.

Her vulnerability and courage was inspiring, and her grief was palpable as her voice caught as she shared how she's still wrestling with the thought that her daughter will be her only. She asked me what it was like taking two kids anywhere and she asked about their sibling relationship, and my heart just broke. Here I am yearning for another child, a third child, and she is yearning for just two, for what I already had!
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for - Epicurus
And then just a day or so later I heard another story, and if the first story cracked my heart a little, this one shattered it, leaving pieces all over the floor. This story began with a waiting game of a year or so of trying to get pregnant, then came the sheer joy and excitement when it happened! And I'd love to say, that baby is now outside of the womb and in her mama's arms, but that's not how this story ends or begins depending on how you look at it. This baby was born about a month ago via c-section, and her life ended just 10 days later as she was born with an unanticipated brain injury. And while that chapter in the story ends, the mamas grief lives on. One story ends, but another story of deep, deep grief and healing and restoration begins.

As I sit here in that grief, I'm just overwhelmed by all those stories that I have heard and all those I have yet to hear, all those stories of hurt, of pain, of deep, deep grief that have eventually led to healing and restoration as they live into what is rather than hoping for what will be or what could have been.

And as friends share with me their pregnancy news, I rejoice with them and the story God is writing for their family, while yearning for God to write another child into our story.

And amidst the waiting and anticipating and releasing and laying down, I'm reminded that this is what life is all about. Life is full of challenges, trials and tribulations. We all walk through grief and hard things, and our response to those hard things lies in our own hands.

We can choose whether we will turn toward Him, allowing for something new to be born, for someone new to be born, or we can choose to turn away from Him, turning inward in our grief, spiraling deeper and deeper down into the depths of despair.

Will we turn outward and pour ourselves out, revealing our hurts and aches and pains, exposing our vulnerable souls, while allowing God to transform us and heal us, showcasing His work within us to the world?

Will we cling to the hope that He promises, or will we get lost in our own grief and forget about all those promises?

Will we turn outward?

Or will we turn inward?

God is at work in all of our lives. Yet, do we truly believe this?

Do we create space to show that work even amidst the grief and hard things?

Do we open ourselves up to Him to allow Him to use our story and our grief for His glory?

These are the questions I've been asking myself.

I wrote this post about Grief and Sad things nearly 5 years ago to the day, while I was pregnant with Jack, never dreaming that I'd be the one walking through the loss of a child, never dreaming that God would write that chapter into our story. But He has, and now we get to choose how we respond to that loss, while trusting that God is at work in all of it. 

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!

xoxo,

Malia

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,

Mama