Aug 8, 2010


If I have attended your party or other such gathering in the last 6 months, please understand how important you are to me.  As I've stated recently, social situations are still hard.  Small talk with casual acquaintances is anxiety-producing, and there's almost always a baby there who reminds me of the little girl I didn't bring.  If I've had a bad week, I usually cancel.

Thanks be to God, via Amy, and Jen, and Erin, and Melissa, and so many others for all the support around the Mary Madeline project, (You bring honor to God, to my daughter, to all things good) this was a good week, and I am very proud to say that yesterday I attended my first baby shower since the one my neighbors and close friends threw for me just days before Brynn died.

I ended up having to bring Shane, which I was at first sorry about and ended up being glad for, as he was the only other person I knew there other than the guest of honor.  I channeled my inner socialite that has been buried for some time, and both of us had a great time.  I won too many of the games, and was also rewarded with little kicks from within.  Shane was well-behaved and brave enough to go to a playground with the dad-to-be for most of the party.

It felt so good to be so normal that I spent time at our neighbors' cookout that evening, and I even held a baby boy named Lucas while I casually talked about my three pregnancies and how different they all are.

I've discovered that when I'm talking to an acquaintance I know who knows, it helps to just bring Brynn up.  Just to say something about her, nonchalantly allowing the subject to enter the conversation.

Tomorrow is my 18 week ultrasound, and I need to talk about another milestone before I find out if I'm carrying a boy or a girl.  In the beginning, I so boldly announced that this is a girl and shall be named Zoe.  As the weeks progressed, I slowly realized that just because I lost a girl, and this child is a miracle, and I really want my girl back, that I am not owed or guaranteed a girl.  And, if I'm honestly comparing pregnancies, signs point to a boy.

I have become more than fine with that.  I just can't wait to know!  I have beautiful and meaningful names for either.  Zoe's middle name will be Noel, which means on the day of birth, so appropriately her names together mean Life on the Day of Birth.  Never to be taken for granted again. 

My boy names are equally powerful.  In my little community of pregnant-after-stillbirth moms, our new, live babies are called our rainbow babies.  This term represents the gift of beauty after the long and tragic storm, God's promises of mercy.  It's funny, but we had already picked the name Noah before I knew any of this.  The name also means comfort, so appropriate for who this child is to me.  His middle name will be Matthew, after Jimmy's grandfather who is the salt of the Earth.

Reading Angie Smith's book, I Will Carry You has inspired another recent milestone for me.  She so boldly just kept on loving her child full force, even when she knew she couldn't keep her, that it really convicted me.  I had been trying to balance appreciating this baby in the now, knowing this is all I may get, while maintaining a protective emotional detachment, you know, just in case.

Guess what I realized?  This is so important.  Detaching emotionally does not decrease pain.  In fact, an emotionally detached life may be more painful to live.  So, I have decided to lean into it.  This week I put up the mobile above the changing table, I'm making a special frame for my 12 week ultrasound picture, I'm creatively and actively loving this child as dearly as I possibly can.  This feels like bold relief.  I feel closer to this baby than I did to Brynn in my womb, through the lessons I learned from her.  My daughter has many lessons to teach me, and I'm so grateful that death does not stop her. 

I want to leave you with a passage from Psalm 139 that I've always loved, but holds much more meaning for me now:

For you formed my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother's womb. 
I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Marvelous are your works O Lord, and that my soul knows very well. 
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, and
       skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. 
And in your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

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