Monday, April 1, 2013

39 Weeks and our Easter Lily

Well, I was secretly hoping for a little Easter bunny, but apparently this baby doesn't want to share his or her birthday. ;) That's okay though, because we got to enjoy a beautiful Easter weekend with our family. Saturday night, we had such a nice dinner at my parent's house with my brother and sister and their spouses, and Jake and Eisley got to do an egg hunt which they loved! On Sunday we went to church as a family and then enjoyed the annual Harrison Easter Bash at Josh's parents! That is always so much fun! The kids have a blast getting in their first swim of the season! We played some yard games and had a huge egg hunt and enjoyed the yummy food and weather. We very much missed Mike and Nicole as they are living in Thailand right now! It wasn't the same without them there! But we sent lots of pics and videos. :)

Here is a picture of our little family at church on Sunday. Last family pic before baby makes five!

As we try to do on every holiday, we made a trip out to the cemetery where Lily is buried. My mom had put together a beautiful flower arrangement with sweet little Easter eggs in it, so we wanted to put that over her stone and spend some time there praying and thanking the Lord that because of what Easter means to us, we will hold Lily again one day.

We sang a song in church that morning that really spoke to my heart as a mommy who's lost little ones.The song is called "Because He Lives," and if you've ever been to church on an Easter Sunday morning, chances are you've heard it. :)  It is an old song, I remember singing it in my very "old school" Baptist church my grandfather founded. (Like, we sang it straight out of a hymn book and everything...) ;) It's been redone by a few different bands, but the words remain the same. If you haven't heard it, I will put the lyrics below.

God sent His Son,
They called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives

Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future 
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain days because He lives

And then one day
I'll cross that river
I'll fight life's final war with pain
And then as death gives way to victory
I'll see the lights of glory, and I'll know He lives

To me, as someone who has not only royally messed up in her life countless times, but also has had some trouble facing tomorrow after I've had todays that are nearly unbearable, this song is such a beautiful reminder to me. God sent His Son, who lived and died to buy my pardon, for all of those countless royal mess ups in my life. And because of that, because I know Who holds the future, because I know my Savior lives, I can face my tomorrows, even after the most horrendous todays. Because He lives...I am capable of so much more than I would be if I did not have that promise, that hope, that someday, death gives way to victory, and we win. I will win. I will win an eternity with the babies that I lost a lifetime with here. Because of how very much my Savior loves me, I know that life is worth the living, even amongst the pain.

This is the song I was singing in my head when we spent some time at Lily's grave yesterday. To clear something up quickly, we don't visit her grave because we believe she is there and she might "feel lonely" if we don't go. We know she's not there. But the marker that honors her life and her memory is there, and that's what we go visit. We know that we buried her tiny body under that marker, in a beautiful wooden casket that my dad made for her. We know that's where her body is, but we know she isn't there. We don't visit that grave for her, we visit it for us. We go so that we have special, set aside moments where we can sit together as a family and reflect on her life and death. To remember what God has done through her very short existence. We think about what life might be like if she hadn't died, and there were no graves to go visit on Easter.

We pray with the kids and talk to God about our babies in Heaven. We ask Him to kiss them for us. We thank Him that Lily isn't in any pain, and that she never knew anything but love, never hurt or sorrow. We talk to the kids about why it is important to remember Lily, and not just move on as if she was never born. How God gave her to us purposely, not accidentally, and how God took her back purposely. That God had a purpose in it, and we need to honor that. We need to make sure we pay attention to opportunities where Lily might come up in conversation and be used to comfort another in pain. How God might have other plans for her short life that we have yet to discover.

Josh and I take some time and sit near her grave and just think. Think and pray. I don't know what Josh does during his time. Usually I just think about that day, the day she was born, how it was beautiful and horrifying all at once. How it changed me forever. This time I thought about how far we have come, that I am about to give birth and put my heart on the line once again for a child we desire so much. I thought about how good God has been to bless us with another baby after all we've been through.  And I thought about how we'd fit another tiny grave next to Lily's, if something goes terribly wrong this week. I asked the Lord to give Lily extra snuggles today, if He could pry her from my grandmother's grip. ;) And I blew her a kiss I knew she wouldn't see, but it made me feel better.

Josh usually just sits for a minute. I don't know what He thinks about. I'm not sure what goes through his daddy heart during that time. I just watch him, and hurt for him. I hurt that he carries his grief all by himself most of the time. He'll share it with me sometimes, but that's the extent of it. He doesn't have the support system I've accumulated after our losses. I'm free to talk or text through my pain to my close friends, or even blog through it! He doesn't have that support with his friends as much as I wish he did! But thankfully he has a shoulder to lean on in the Lord, and I'm so thankful for that.

Anyways, I just wanted to share a little about our Easter. Even though we have an incredible blessing coming up this week, we never forget what we lost to get here. We think about our losses even more the closer we get to being blessed with this baby. We appreciate it more, and we fear it more. We're so very excited, but also so very nervous. The last time I was wheeled into that same hospital to deliver my baby, I was wheeled out without her. You don't shake those feelings, ever.

But we are so hopeful that this experience will be nothing but dripping with joy! We're praying for that! And it won't be long now!

Here is the very last weekly preggo picture at 39 weeks! I might have Josh take one more just before they wheel me back, but for now, this is the end of it!

Me and the kiddo in our last week together!
So that is what almost ten months pregnant looks like! Attractive isn't it? ;) That's okay, we've had a grand ol' time together. :) I will miss so many things about pregnancy, but there are a few small things I won't miss! The baby has gotten so strong that its kicks and rolls now feel like inner assaults. They make me cry out randomly and give Josh the creeps when he feels them. I am able to play this game with the baby now where it kicks me with its giant foot, I can grab it and move it over, and then the baby moves its foot back where it was. I grab it and move it to a different spot, and it kicks back and moves it back to where it was. That's a true story, I would video it for you but Josh would probably say that's creepy. ;)

Tomorrow will be a big day! I have a lot of cleaning and packing to do! Then Josh and I are taking the kids out for a late "Last Supper" if you will, as a family of four. We are going to stay up late and talk and play games and have some fun. Then we all plan to sleep in on Wednesday and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face a HUGE day!!!

If you think of us, we'd appreciate your prayers for the safe arrival of this baby! For calm nerves, not only for me and Josh, but for the kids as well as our parents and siblings. We are praying for a wonderful hospital experience and great support while we are there. And that God will once again use the birth of this baby as a way to bring Josh and me so much closer together. There is something about going through that with your spouse that makes you fall in love with them all over again. Probably because you are both falling in love with the brand new person you just created!

Thank you so much for following us this far. We can't wait to finally have some joyous news to share!!! Stay tuned!!!



  1. I love that song! The lyrics you have here only include verses 1 and 3. Verse 2 is "How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
    And feel the pride and joy he gives
    But greater still the calm assurance
    This child can face uncertain days because He lives." Bill & Gloria Gaither wrote this song and the history behind it is "they were expecting a child again. They were going through some difficulties in their lives during this time. A sadness came over Gloria as she realized that this is a horrible world to raise kids in and she worried about this baby's future. Soon after, God gave Bill and Gloria the words and melody to this song." Neat, huh?

    1. Rhonda, I had completely forgotten about that verse of the song! What an amazing story too! I feel like God sent me my own little encouragement when I read that from you, thank you so much! I will add it to the blog. It's even more meaningful to me now!

  2. Your blog is absolutely beautiful! I love love love your perspective and cannot tell you just how similar our experiences have been. We lost our sweet girl at 22 weeks and I cannot agree with you more that sharing and remembering her daily brings so much healing.