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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chasing a Rainbow : Evaelia's Birth Story - Part 2



For a recap read  Part 1 of Evaelia's Birth Story

I couldn't believe the end was closing in on this part of my journey with my precious baby wrapped in my womb. I had all sorts of emotions flooding my brain....even doubt. Even in such pain I doubted that this was really it. I couldn't fathom that after all the waiting that I would be holding my baby in a matter of hours.

Like I said, the contractions had gotten further apart after I ceased pumping. They went from 3 mins. apart back to 10 -14 min. apart and to start with, I was bummed, but to my surprise, they still came back fiercely and consistently! At first, I mentioned to Jeremy that this could be it and  I went on about my business, going through several contractions by myself. Praise the Lord we had put Ellie to bed so I could really relax and focus on my labor while I finished getting  things ready for the birth. A couple hours went by and around 11:30 pm. I called my cousin Angie, who is like my sister and  knows all the details of my life. We chatted while I was bouncing away on my birth ball. I was so chill and I calmly told her her how things were going. Knowing my history of  labors, I  chuckled and  said that it would probably be a while, but she thought very differently. She chuckled right back and said it would be sooner than I thought because she could hear it my voice. I guess I just didn't want to get my hopes up! However, by then, the contractions were consistently around 10 min. apart so I nonchalantly told her I'll would call her back later with any updates.

 12:00 am came and the contractions' strength had escalated immensely! They had went directly from 10 min.to around 8 min.apart, and they were potent! To all mothers who have been given the hellish drug pitocin without pain meds, you know what I mean when I say that the pain felt like I was at 7 cm with pitocin!! I kept thinking " Whew... how can it hurt this bad so early in the game?"  It was becoming so intense and at a rapid rate!  I  anxiously waddled into the living room where Jeremy  was and I smiled as I said " Honey..... if  I don't have a baby soon I will be the most surprised momma ever!"  He quickly perked up and I could see the anxiousness in his eyes!  Immediately he mentioned calling the midwife back to inform her of the progress made. She suggested trying to rest and if  the contractions picked up anymore to call her back.

During this time satan tried to flood my mind with all kinds of  fears. He attempted to make me rethink my home birth desires and tell  me that the baby wouldn't make it to me alive. I remember crying out to Jeremy in between the surges and asking him if he thought I would have a live baby. This being the same question that he had been asked at least 1,000 times since Zion's death.  He was so faithful to smile every time and remind me that I would deliver and hold a live baby very soon! I was a basket full of emotions, to say the least! Nonetheless, I'm thankful that the Lord over came every one of satan's attempts.  He caused my sweet baby to move and kick just in time to reassure me that she was still with me and that HE alone was in control of  life! And surely, the crazy course of contractions didn't give me much time to ponder on all the what ifs either!

Jeremy had to really help me through the contractions that followed. When I think back, it was so sweet how we worked through the early contractions all to the way to the last one, together.  I would scream out "Jeremy.....  I need you!" and he would come running to my side to scoop me up in his arms.  Every time I would heave all my weight upon him and it looked as if I was like a limp corpse he was embracing in his arms. We swayed and danced through each surge. When each one was over he would smile with such love and compassion, and I felt safe. He was so sympathetic toward me while seeing me in such pain, however, we still were able to laugh and enjoy each other.  Some of my fondest memories of the birth were the times when we were laughing through some of the hardest contractions as I shouted out cracks like " Oh ....it's coming out my butt!!" and " Hep me Jesus .... Hep me!!"  Oh....I love that man of mine with all my heart!! There is no one else I would rather laugh through the pain with!

For the next  2 hours we swayed, laughed, and cried together while timing each contraction. They had swiftly went  from  7 min. to 3 min. apart,  without much warning. Although I  had been through this 3 times before, labor had never progressed so quickly! At 2 am, after a really intense contraction, there was a crescendo in my voice as I urgently said to Jeremy " I need water.... and I need my midwife NOW!!" His countenance immediately changed and he fumbled as he grabbed the phone to call the midwife. I still remember hearing his voice shake as he made the call requesting her immediate assistance. In my mind I just didn't know if  the baby would wait until she arrived, seeing it would take her 1 hr to get here.

Stay tuned for Part 3 including some photos of the labor and birth !



Monday, November 25, 2013

Capture Your Grief : A Healing Photography Challenge-Part 4


Photo: CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF
Day 21: Honor 

We honor Zion & Selah by remembering them in all that we do. There is never a day that passes that we don't talk about them. I want all my children to know that they have a brother and sister in heaven and that their life is a very important part of our family. Ellie is the spokeswoman of our little family. We were recently at a local church sharing our painting ministry and the president of the group was introducing our family. When she stated that we only had 2 beautiful girls Ellie had to step into to make the correction." Umm..No...No..actually there's 3 beautiful girls and my brother, but my brother Zion and my sister Selah are in heaven now!" Yes... the tears were flowing at that moment,  but I must admit, I was so proud and she said what my heart was crying out on the inside! I am a blessed mother of 4 beautiful children!

 Every year on Zion & Selah's birthday we celebrate their life here on Earth and in heaven with family and friends. We also participate in  the annual "Walk To Remember" with other loss parents. Walking just says to the world that you have a child/children in heaven and that their life has great worth and value to you and your family!

I think that we honor them most by telling their stories. Breaking the silence about pregnancy/infant loss is definitely a passion of mine. I desire to live my life fully and and victoriously by remembering Zion & Selah, not as some unfortunate circumstances that happened to me or sad parts of my story, but rather as two precious souls that were made in love, and created with a great purpose. They make my life beautiful !

Day 21: Honor

We honor Zion & Selah by remembering them in all that we do. There is never a day that passes that we don't talk about them. I want all my children to know that they have a brother and sister in heaven and that their life is a very important part of our family. Ellie is the spokeswoman of our little family. We were recently at a local church sharing our painting ministry and the president of the group was introducing our family. When she stated that we only had 2 beautiful girls Ellie had to step into to make the correction." Umm..No...No..actually there's 3 beautiful girls and my brother, but my brother Zion and my sister Selah are in heaven now!" Yes... the tears were flowing at that moment, but I must admit, I was so proud and she said what my heart was crying out on the inside! I am a blessed mother of 4 beautiful children!

Every year on Zion & Selah's birthday we celebrate their life here on Earth and in heaven with family and friends. We also participate in the annual "Walk To Remember" with other loss parents. Walking just says to the world that you have a child/children in heaven and that their life has great worth and value to you and your family!

I think that we honor them most by telling their stories. Breaking the silence about pregnancy/infant loss is definitely a passion of mine. I desire to live my life fully and and victoriously by remembering Zion & Selah, not as some unfortunate circumstances that happened to me or sad parts of my story, but rather as two precious souls that were made in love, and created with a great purpose. They make my life beautiful !


                                                                                                          


 Day 22: Words
This is a song that I cling to and it represents where I'm at on my journey of grief. Please take time to hear the audio of the song. I promise it will bless your heart! It is a great inspiration to have experienced suffering.



.
I come, God, I come

I return to the Lord
The one who’s broken
The one who’s torn me apart
You strike down to bind me up
You say you do it all in love
That I might know you in your suffering

Though you slay me
Yet I will praise you
Though you take from me
I will bless your name
Though you ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I’ll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I’ll know every tear was worth it all

Though you slay me
Yet I will praise you
Though you take from me
I will bless your name
Though you ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

Though tonight I’m crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You’re still more than I need
You’re enough for me
You’re enough for me

                                                                                                            
 Day 24: Artwork

Photo: CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF
Day 24: Artwork

This is a beautiful Christmas ornament my husband painted in memory of babies that are born sleeping. It reminds me of how precious life is and that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made. I also love the heart around the baby because it represents the baby being sustained and surrounded by love. To view more Christian artwork visit http://www.jeremysams.com/

This is a beautiful Christmas ornament my husband painted in memory of babies that are born sleeping. It reminds me of how precious life is and that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made. I also love the heart around the baby because it represents the baby being sustained and surrounded by love. To view more Christian artwork visit http://www.jeremysams.com/


                                                                                                       



 Day 25 : Say It Out Loud
Photo: CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF
Day : 25 - Say It Out Loud.

If I could say anything out loud about my journey of grief it would be that I would STILL choose my babies. Even if I knew what would lie ahead be it death, sorrow, grief, or pain.  I would still go through it all just to meet them and have them change my life forever. I would still choose this bittersweet journey if I knew it was the only way to them. Those precious months that I had with each of them will last a lifetime. I have been made a proud mother of 4 for a reason and I trust that God is in total control. I will never stop talking about who they are in my life. They are my children. I will choose to include them in all my family's adventures because I carry them close in my heart  everywhere I go. Only time separates us. No grief or sorrow could ever hurt so bad that I would choose to put them aside and remove them from my memories. Zion & Selah I would STILL choose you!

Please take time to watch this short clip. It's about breaking the silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. STILL is for those who grieve as well as those who want to reach out and understand. Grab your tissues!

http://stillproject.org/
 If I could say anything out loud about my journey of grief it would be that I would STILL choose my babies. Even if I knew what would lie ahead be it death, sorrow, grief, or pain. I would still go through it all just to meet them and have them change my life forever. I would still choose this bittersweet journey if I knew it was the only way to them. Those precious months that I had with each of them will last a lifetime. I have been made a proud mother of 4 for a reason and I trust that God is in total control. I will never stop talking about who they are in my life. They are my children. I will choose to include them in all my family's adventures because I carry them close in my heart everywhere I go. Only time separates us. No grief or sorrow could ever hurt so bad that I would choose to put them aside and remove them from my memories. Zion & Selah I would STILL choose you!

Please take time to watch this short clip. It's about breaking the silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. STILL is for those who grieve as well as those who want to reach out and understand. Grab your tissues!

http://stillproject.org/


                                                                                                       



 Day 26: Community

Photo: Trying to catch up again!
CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF
 Day 26: Community

I feel so blessed to say that from the very beginning of this journey we have had the love and support of so many great people. They have been there to hold our hand as we walked down this twisted and rocky road called grief. They have been a listening ear even when it was hard to take it all in and uncomfortable to hear at times. We are blessed with your love toward us and our babies in heaven! It means so much! We pray that  someone on this same journey of grief might find HOPE by us sharing our story. We also pray that they will know JOY through their sorrow and see BEAUTY for ashes , just as we have. We want to thank everyone that has ever selflessly ministered to our family! We love you and feel so blessed to call you friends!

I feel so blessed to say that from the very beginning of this journey we have had the love and support of so many great people. They have been there to hold our hand as we walked down this twisted and rocky road called grief. They have been a listening ear even when it was hard to take it all in and uncomfortable to hear at times. We are blessed with your love toward us and our babies in heaven! It means so much! We pray that someone on this same journey of grief might find HOPE by us sharing our story. We also pray that they will know JOY through their sorrow and see BEAUTY for ashes , just as we have. We want to thank everyone that has ever selflessly ministered to our family! We love you and feel so blessed to call you friends!


                                                                                                     

 Day :28 -Special Place



Photo: CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF:
Day :28 -Special Place 

The beach is a place where I think of my Zion & Selah every time that I go. Shortly after losing Zion I was so depressed. I remember trying to do anything to stay busy at the time and for me, there's no other place so serene as the majestic ocean. I remember watching the endlessness of the ocean and thinking of the One who created it all. The only peace that I had was knowing that at that very moment, that same omnipresent, sovereign God was holding my Zion, while at the same time He was holding me!

Some of the last memories I have of Selah were while Jeremy and I were away at the beach for our anniversary that year. I remember going out to eat dinner and feeling her squirm and we rejoiced over her life, after we had experienced such loss. Those little moments meant so much because they were some of the last times that I ever felt her tiny body move inside of my own. 

I took this pic after I had lost Selah. It made me feel like we were all there as a family at the ocean that day. It was bittersweet but I smiled when the ocean washed the names out into the deep blue. I felt as though it was just like sharing them with the world. I will say that it still hurts to walk down the dusty dunes knowing that I am missing four tiny hands and four tiny feet. However, I choose to find joy knowing that I still get to hold four other tiny hands and watch 4 other tiny feet prints in the sand. Now I am blessed to say that there are 4 names that wash out into the deep blue and I choose to share them all with world!

The beach is a place where I think of my Zion & Selah every time that I go. Shortly after losing Zion I was so depressed. I remember trying to do anything to stay busy at the time and for me, there's no other place so serene as the majestic ocean. I remember watching the endlessness of the ocean and thinking of the One who created it all. The only peace that I had was knowing that at that very moment, that same omnipresent, sovereign God was holding my Zion, while at the same time He was holding me!

Some of the last memories I have of Selah were while Jeremy and I were away at the beach for our anniversary that year. I remember going out to eat dinner and feeling her squirm and we rejoiced over her life, after we had experienced such loss. Those little moments meant so much because they were some of the last times that I ever felt her tiny body move inside of my own.

I took this pic after I had lost Selah. It made me feel like we were all there as a family at the ocean that day. It was bittersweet but I smiled when the ocean washed the names out into the deep blue. I felt as though it was just like sharing them with the world. I will say that it still hurts to walk down the dusty dunes knowing that I am missing four tiny hands and four tiny feet. However, I choose to find joy knowing that I still get to hold four other tiny hands and watch 4 other tiny feet prints in the sand. Now I am blessed to say that there are 4 names that wash out into the deep blue and I choose to share them all with world!







                                                                                                   


  
Photo: CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF
Day 29: Healing

When I look at this picture I see  a mother who is being healed( present tense). Satan tried continuously to break my heart and crush my dreams by telling me that I was incapable of delivering a live baby. To me, this is not only a picture of healing, but also one of victory. I still cry when I see it! I smiled on the inside knowing that good does overcome evil and God always reigns! I am still in awe of it all. Now I really know what HOPE looks like because I hold it  every day! God is mending me just like he does so many broken things. He is more to me than my words could ever describe and I have no need to doubt Him now!  HE is my healing!

Day 29: Healing
When I look at this picture I see a mother who is being healed( present tense). Satan tried continuously to break my heart and crush my dreams by telling me that I was incapable of delivering a live baby. To me, this is not only a picture of healing, but also one of victory. I still cry when I see it! I smiled on the inside knowing that good does overcome evil and God always reigns! I am still in awe of it all. Now I really know what HOPE looks like because I hold it every day! God is mending me just like he does so many broken things. He is more to me than my words could ever describe and I have no need to doubt Him now! HE is my healing!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Capture Your Grief : A Healing Photography Challenge-Part 3


Day 16: Seasons

Spring is the season that really makes me think of Zion & Selah together. Their special day was April 2nd. It was the day we buried Zion and also Selah's due date the following year. The first signs of Spring always bring in bittersweet feelings. Our desire is to celebrate their new life with Jesus.

                                                                                                        

Day 17 : Time


It's been 2 yrs., 6months, 18 days, 5 hrs, and 37 minutes since I saw his sweet face for the first time. In those first few moments time stood still, death was put aside, and I wondered at my little baby boy. I even stole his first kiss.... as he stole my heart. Death couldn't steal my love for him away! My womb will never forget nurturing him and bringing him to me peacefully sleeping. He will forever be a part of who I am.

"There's a gentle comfort in knowing that on his way to heaven his soul had to pass through mine."
- Erika Medichian






It's been 1 yr, 11 months,4 hrs ,and 56 minutes since I saw her precious face for the first time. Her tiny body was born right into her daddy's arms and he felt what it was like to hold a real sleeping beauty. That day I was so broken to know that this was my story and that I was going to bury my second child in one year. Even so, her name was proclaimed and we praised God and rejoiced for His blessing to us. I was so in love as I held her tiny hand and thought of her holding her Creator's. She will forever be a part of who I am . I am blessed!

" She will forever be the turning point in my life. Who I was before she was silently born and who I was after her short life changed me, taught me, inspired me, blessed me."
Kristen Bailey


                                                                                                    



 Day 18: Release


We were asked to share the one thing that we would desire to let go of on this journey of grief. If I were transparent and honest I would have to say anxiety. Like most mothers, I was a little nervous after giving birth to my little Ellie but I still wouldn't have considered myself "anxious". However, for me, there was something that the unexpected and sudden death of my child did to shake me to the core that day in March, 2011. I was forever changed. I was no longer that naive mother who was blind to death and only saw a perfectly healthy child and seemingly 100 more years to live. I became one who could no longer say "That will never happen to me." Sadly....that girl died that day too! Scrapes on Ellie's knees and her eating food that had made it's way to the bacteria infested floor was the least of my worries! I had been introduced to death in the most intimate way. They called me the 1%, since 1% of pregnancies end in stillbirth. That in itself made me anxious when I thought about it. I remember having anxiety to the max the week Zion died. I remember thinking each night that I would literally die in my sleep from a heart attack caused by severe anxiety and grief. Every night that I would live through I would praise God for it. Since then my anxiety has been like a roller coaster. About the the time I got it under control after losing Zion, I was hit again with losing Selah. Then I felt the same fearful emotions as I did when I lost him all over again! I was desperate and full of fears. A lot of people said to "Just get over it!" or "You're not trusting the Lord!" or the most common one, " Don't think bad thoughts , just think on the good!" To be honest , it's not that easy and that's not reality! The reality is... I have looked death in the face twice when I held my two sweet children. Death is one cold reality that will happen to all of us, even children, at our appointed time. Nevertheless, I never imagined my children dying. It's just hard to digest sometimes. Although we know they rest in perfect peace and we'll see them again, those of us left behind do mourn ,grieve, and go through all kinds of emotions. Every time I hear of someone's child dying I get a gut wrenching ,sick feeling and I know the pain that lies ahead for them.

Lately my anxiety seems much better. However, I did have some unrealistic thoughts of how I would be after having Evaelia. I thought if I could just have a live baby then my fears and anxieties would die. Not so ! There are times when I worry over Evaelia's out of character cries or even her severe quietness in her sleep. Every morning I pray before I look to see if she is warm with life. And this week when Ellie had a 105.1 temperature my mind wondered to that dark place where death is. Yes... death does something to you! It shakes you to the core and forever changes you. Thankfully, most of my days are good and the anxiety is at bay! I feel that the old saying "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" has a lot of truth in it! I have learned that these trials are a blessing and that through them we are made strong in Him. I know that all through these hardships and times of tribulation that God is in total control. He has an expected end to my story and it is glorious and beautiful in His eyes. I have no sad story to claim and I pray that no one ever feel sorry for what God has allowed in my life. I pray that I will continue to run to Him as His child when I am afraid of what tomorrow holds!

"But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head." Psalms 3:3


                                                                                                   

 Day 19: Support

Photo: CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF
Day 19: Support 

I feel  blessed to have been supported by so many special people during this journey of grief. Everyone's support and love toward our family has meant so much and will never be forgotten. Nonetheless, the photo challenge asked us to share a photo of support so I just had to share my most supportive and best friend! He's been so faithful since the loss of our children and has shown his love and devotion to me. His  love  never fails, even when I crumble and fall into an emotional mush. I'll never forget him holding my hand that night when we were told our first born son had died. I remember looking into his eyes filled with compassion and strength ,while I felt so guilty and weak. He cheered me on as I  delivered the son who would never be his shadow, a son that would never carry his name to future generations. He looked at me and told me how strong I was when all I could say was how sorry I was that I couldn't give him a live baby. I felt incompetent. Each day I would ask him if I would ever smile again or did he think I could ever have a live baby again .  His response was always "YES you will !" Even through the death of Selah he was there to steady my heart. That day when we were told she was gone all I could do was scream " I can't do this again! I can't bury another baby!" He held my hand as we walked out of that doctor's office knowing that I would soon deliver his second sleeping child, and yet, he still loved me. He cheered me on again as my body painfully labored to meet our sleeping beauty Selah. I wish I could have had a camera to capture the look on his face the moment she  was born into his hands. He was so amazed and it was if for a second, death was ignored and He saw only beauty when he looked at her for the first time. He smiled as if she had been born breathing and like any proud new father would. That expression  is forever etched in my memory. He tried his best to encourage me and assure me of how strong I was. And once again he held my hand as I walked out of those hospital doors with and empty womb and empty arms. 

Throughout the losses of our children he has never once left them out. No matter how difficult the situation, whenever asked how many children he has, he always says 4. That means so much to me! He has put his grief aside so many times to minister to me in my grief. I feel so safe when my hands are covered by his. He guards my heart! He's my strong hero! He's held my head up and wiped my tears so many times. He never fails to tell me how important I am to him and our little family. He is the epitome of what a Christian husband and father should be. He teaches me daily of the sovereignty of God and that I can trust Him fully. He has built me up and shown me what STRENGTH and  HOPE really looks like.  I feel abundantly blessed to say that I am his beloved!



I feel blessed to have been supported by so many special people during this journey of grief. Everyone's support and love toward our family has meant so much and will never be forgotten. Nonetheless, the photo challenge asked us to share a photo of support so I just had to share my most supportive and best friend! He's been so faithful since the loss of our children and has shown his love and devotion to me. His love never fails, even when I crumble and fall into an emotional mush. I'll never forget him holding my hand that night when we were told our first born son had died. I remember looking into his eyes filled with compassion and strength ,while I felt so guilty and weak. He cheered me on as I delivered the son who would never be his shadow, a son that would never carry his name to future generations. He looked at me and told me how strong I was when all I could say was how sorry I was that I couldn't give him a live baby. I felt incompetent. Each day I would ask him if I would ever smile again or did he think I could ever have a live baby again . His response was always "YES you will !" Even through the death of Selah he was there to steady my heart. That day when we were told she was gone all I could do was scream " I can't do this again! I can't bury another baby!" He held my hand as we walked out of that doctor's office knowing that I would soon deliver his second sleeping child, and yet, he still loved me. He cheered me on again as my body painfully labored to meet our sleeping beauty Selah. I wish I could have had a camera to capture the look on his face the moment she was born into his hands. He was so amazed and it was if for a second, death was ignored and He saw only beauty when he looked at her for the first time. He smiled as if she had been born breathing and like any proud new father would. That expression is forever etched in my memory. He tried his best to encourage me and assure me of how strong I was. And once again he held my hand as I walked out of those hospital doors with and empty womb and empty arms.

Throughout the losses of our children he has never once left them out. No matter how difficult the situation, whenever asked how many children he has, he always says 4. That means so much to me! He has put his grief aside so many times to minister to me in my grief. I feel so safe when my hands are covered by his. He guards my heart! He's my strong hero! He's held my head up and wiped my tears so many times. He never fails to tell me how important I am to him and our little family. He is the epitome of what a Christian husband and father should be. He teaches me daily of the sovereignty of God and that I can trust Him fully. He has built me up and shown me what STRENGTH and HOPE really looks like. I feel abundantly blessed to say that I am his beloved!


                                                                                                  

 Day 20: Hope 

Photo: CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF
Day 20: Hope 

My hope for the future of those that experience the loss of a child would be that more mothers and their families could find healing and hope.  Talking about my children has helped me heal the most in my journey of grief. I pray that more women will feel open and break the silence about their losses, whether they were 4 weeks or 41 weeks pregnant, or whether they lost a child after birth. I feel that women are oppressed by our society to believe that only time or breaths taken  outside the womb merit the rights to be deemed as a baby. It saddens me after  I've had countless mothers tell me that they've never been able to talk about their loss. Unfortunately, they are still not able to fully grieve because they've never felt comfortable or qualified to acknowledge their child, and now feel guilty, even after decades  may have passed. I want to offer HOPE to those women. I want walk with them as they move towards healing. I want them to know that it's ok and may be liberating for them to share their children and their pain without the fear of feeling senseless. 

I also want to extend much love and grace to those women who have chosen abortion at some time ,and now mourn their decision. They need to grieve their baby as well. As Christians , sometimes we may tend to shorten our arm of grace to those who have made such a  decision as abortion. I had one  of my dear friends that had chosen to have an abortion years ago say to me " I have felt so much condemnation without any compassion!" I was moved by that statement and it is my desire to show compassion to these women and pray that they be restored. I want to extend the love of our Lord as I  share the promise of His forgiveness to those who are broken and are truly repentant. These women desire healing and HOPE too.

Another group of women I want to extend my heart to are those who are dealing with "infertility". The term/label infertile seems so harsh and can sometimes make people feel incompetent. I want to offer HOPE to those women, because I can relate to them. I can understand and empathize with them because we share similar pains.  I know what's it's like to want a live baby so badly, and yet, feel like I cannot produce one.  It's devastating and takes a great toll on how a woman perceives herself. 

I guess it's the doula in me that wants to minister to other women in a special way. I feel that every event in my life has brought me to this place. A place in my life where I want to help those that are broken and  share my story of  HOPE and redemption in Christ. There is HOPE for their healing and HOPE for their future. I pray that I may point them to the only ONE who can give this HOPE and healing. I also pray that we may trust in Him alone to bring  us true joy, no matter what our lot in life may be. I wanted to post this pic of my Rainbow Baby Evaelia  because to me ,this is what HOPE looks like!

My hope for the future of those that experience the loss of a child would be that more mothers and their families could find healing and hope. Talking about my children has helped me heal the most in my journey of grief. I pray that more women will feel open and break the silence about their losses, whether they were 4 weeks or 41 weeks pregnant, or whether they lost a child after birth. I feel that women are oppressed by our society to believe that only time or breaths taken outside the womb merit the rights to be deemed as a baby. It saddens me after I've had countless mothers tell me that they've never been able to talk about their loss. Unfortunately, they are still not able to fully grieve because they've never felt comfortable or qualified to acknowledge their child, and now feel guilty, even after decades may have passed. I want to offer HOPE to those women. I want walk with them as they move towards healing. I want them to know that it's ok and may be liberating for them to share their children and their pain without the fear of feeling senseless.

I also want to extend much love and grace to those women who have chosen abortion at some time ,and now mourn their decision. They need to grieve their baby as well. As Christians , sometimes we may tend to shorten our arm of grace to those who have made such a decision as abortion. I had one of my dear friends that had chosen to have an abortion years ago say to me " I have felt so much condemnation without any compassion!" I was moved by that statement and it is my desire to show compassion to these women and pray that they be restored. I want to extend the love of our Lord as I share the promise of His forgiveness to those who are broken and are truly repentant. These women desire healing and HOPE too.

Another group of women I want to extend my heart to are those who are dealing with "infertility". The term/label infertile seems so harsh and can sometimes make people feel incompetent. I want to offer HOPE to those women, because I can relate to them. I can understand and empathize with them because we share similar pains. I know what's it's like to want a live baby so badly, and yet, feel like I cannot produce one. It's devastating and takes a great toll on how a woman perceives herself.

I guess it's the doula in me that wants to minister to other women in a special way. I feel that every event in my life has brought me to this place. A place in my life where I want to help those that are broken and share my story of HOPE and redemption in Christ. There is HOPE for their healing and HOPE for their future. I pray that I may point them to the only ONE who can give this HOPE and healing. I also pray that we may trust in Him alone to bring us true joy, no matter what our lot in life may be. I wanted to post this pic of my Rainbow Baby Evaelia because to me ,this is what HOPE looks like!






 

Capture Your Grief : A Healing Photography Challenge-Part 2

  Day 5: My Memories


The memory that stands out the most of my little Zion is his lips. When "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" came to take pictures of him they were so compassionate and they took many beautiful shots as tears trickled from their face. Nonetheless, I was devastated when I received my disc of photos and they were all in black/white. I lost it! It felt like I had lost him all over again! I couldn't see my little boy with his lips of perfect crimson. I was so desperate to see him as he was that I contacted the photographer and requested them in color. She wanted to warn me and inform me that as an organization they send all the pictures in black/white because of the appearance of the majority of babies that pass. I was ecstatic when she said that she would send me Zion's in color because he actually looked great. I was never so relieved as when the new disc arrived and I could see him again! My beautiful little boy! I could see his beautiful red lips that God gave him.

I wish I could have more memories of Selah than I do. Our time together seemed so short, however, I do have several memories of her that I cherish dearly. The memory that stands out the most of my little Selah is her tiny and wonderfully made hands. Often I post the pic of the hands in memory of her and what her tiny hands looked like. The day she was born we all were in awe at her little body and how it had grown. Her hands and feet were so precious and looking at her made you gasp at the thought that she could ever be considered only a fetus, and not a baby. I held those two tiny hands and two tiny feet and I knew she was walking on streets of gold and her hands were lifted in praise to the God who had created her. My beautiful little girl! That's when her name became Selah!


                                                                                             


 

In October we take the "Walk To Remember" with so many other loss parents. As a family we walk to celebrate Zion & Selah's life, their existence, not just to remember that they are gone from us. Whether we acknowledge it or not, each one that walks this journey of grief are all only able to walk it because God has given us the strength to do so. He is worthy to be praised!

                                                                                            
 Day 7: You Now



It seems like yesterday that I laid their little bodies to rest and grief became a part of my story. I know now why they call it a journey. I've come to a place now that I can truly smile again! That's something satan tried to tell me would never be possible. The good days by far out weigh the bad. However, some days are just bad! I had one last week when I felt so low. It was a day when I had taken Ellie to the park . I was watching her and so many other children run and play so free and full of energy and life .Then it just hit me! I was reminded that there are 4 tiny hands and 4 tiny feet that I will never watch playing and swinging high in the air. I will never hear their laugh or hear them scream for mommy's help. Yeah... that was a bad day! When I came home I just lost myself on Jeremy's big shoulders and all I could squall was " I miss my babies!!“ As always, his tender voice reassured me that missing them was ok! We will never get over what our children have brought into our lives. Now, we love deeper, live more compassionately, and we know more about true HOPE! We pray that we may help encourage others to embrace their children and their children's precious lives whether they be alive or in a heavenly place. They are a gift! We also pray that we may encourage others to see the beauty that God makes out of ashes!

My verse for where I'm at in grief now-"As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." 2 Cor. 6 :10


                                                                                            

 Day 8: Color
 


The color that reminds me of Zion is baby blue. When they brought him back to me after his first bath he was wrapped in this beautiful blue blanket and blue crocheted hat. Deep inside I always wanted a little boy that dressed in blue, played in the dirt, wore his cowboy boots with his jeans tucked in, and always into mischief like his daddy. I got my little boy that day, dressed in blue, however, I hate that I won't get to see him in all the mischief !! You know the kind where all you can say is "That's my boy!" and just shake your head and smirk. LOL! Every single time I see that color I can still see his masculine little body swaddled tightly by the blues. I love my baby boy, Zion Jeremiah Sams!

When I think of Selah, the color is burnt orange. It's my favorite Fall color and oh.... how I love Fall ! She was born in November and the air was chilly and windy the day we laid her to rest . I still remember all my family and loved ones gathered round as we celebrated her life and existence. It was a beautiful sight to see everyone that wanted to honor her. Everyone was wrapped up tightly. Burnt orange stood out that day because it was all around us. The leaves, the pumpkins, and my favorite, my best friend Jennifer 's beautiful crocheted hat. She was so pretty as she sang to my Selah . Burnt orange brings nothing but happiness my way because when I see it I always think of her, my baby girl!

                                                                                            
 Day 9: Music
 My song for Zion. This song stays in my heart and it's my testimony. It was sung at Zion's funeral by special friends of ours. I thought I would make it personal and I tried to sing it the best I could with my phone recording. Forgive my singing and just listen to the words.

http://soundcloud.com/sams-i-am/gods-been-good


A song for my Selah. This song reminds me of Selah because it was sung at her funeral by a dear friend. I tried to sing it here without choking up too much. It's words are so true for both my children in heaven. I will carry them in my heart until the day I can hold them in my arms.


http://soundcloud.com/sams-i-am/i-will-carry-you


                                                                                 


Day 10: Beliefs


This is a picture that Jeremy painted of Ellie when she was only 3 days old. It depicts a baby safe in the arms of Jesus. Little did we know that all of our children would resemble little Ellie, so it has great significance! Ok.. onto my beliefs.The challenge did ask for "our beliefs" so please...I pray that any one who may not share the same beliefs as me doesn't feel disheartened or offended.

* I believe that life is precious no matter what week of gestation and that each life was foreordained before the foundation of the world.
* I believe that all babies are children , not just fetuses or a clump of cells that did or didn't form.
* Because I believe babies are children I hate abortion because it takes a precious life.
*I believe that all men will spend an eternity in heaven or hell.
*I believe that my children both are in heaven and are worshiping their Creator at this present time.
*I believe that as all men do, they had their appointed time to live and die here on Earth, according to scripture.( Hbr 9:27)
*I believe that they only see beauty and perfection before them.
*It doesn't bother me when people say it but I personally don't believe that my Zion & Selah are tiny little babies in heaven.I believe this because in heaven there will be no needs. I'm thinking that they are at a prime age, maybe even 33 like Jesus was when he died IDK.
*I believe that God is totally Sovereign in all things! That means in TOTAL control!
* I believe that everything that has happened or will happen in my story is for my good and for God's glory!
* I believe that one day my faith in all these things will become sight and I will behold Him!


                                                                                         
 Day: 11 -Emotional Triggers 
           


I would have to say that my biggest emotional trigger would be watching my children grow. Seeing Ellie, Evaelia and her cousins grow makes my hear hurt a little sometimes.At times I just burst out into tears when I see family photos and their are two little faces missing. Watching children play just gives me a spiritual picture of how we should be in Christ, carefree and full of life! I see them run and play and think of my Zion and Selah and that they are carefree and full of life in heaven. Today when I saw Zion's best friend Judah running, playing, and being mischievous, it was so bittersweet. I imagined my Zion being by his side being a boy. Today I looked for at all the dark headed 2 yr. old girls and imagined my Selah. She was so beautiful in my eyes! So I guess all little babies /children just steal my heart and remind me of what I have in heaven and earth. I am reminded that I am blessed!

                                                                                                         

Day:12 Article

"Help My Baby Has Died" was a short read given to us by some special friends. It is a short leaflet type book but it was just what I needed at my time of loss. The main theme of the book is "There is indeed a God, and he is faithful and worthy of your trust, even now--especially now. He is the eternal, inextinguishable hope for grieving families."-Reggie Weems

Today we try to give these books out to those who experience the great loss of a precious baby. If you know anyone you would like for us to send one to let us know. We pray that God will grant us words of encouragement and HOPE to other grieving families!

                                                                                    
 Day 13: Book


This is a great book on the Sovereignty of God in suffering and the purposes of God in suffering. It is a book of comfort and I've found it to be a great help to steady my heart during trials and suffering.


                                                                                      


  Day 14: Family 

 


This is a pic from one of our latest family photo sessions. I think it totally depicts what we were thinking at the time. We are still in awe at the blessings of God. In this pic and the next few that followed I had to brush back the tears as I remembered. I remembered a long, pain filled journey that had brought me to this place of victory and confidence in the ONE who's all I need. My times of doubt were vanquished when she came and I got to hold His promise to me. I hold His blessings every day. I hold a husband who adores me, two babies that need me and will never outgrow my arms , and two babies that I will carry within my heart until I meet eternity. I hold tight to God's blessings and promises. The enemy would desire to sift us as wheat and watch us crumble beneath our sufferings but I have a mighty God who puts all our enemies under His feet. He picks us up from the rubble and dusts off the ashes that the fiery trials have left behind, giving us beauty for ashes. To God alone be the glory!


                                                                                       


Day 15: Wave of Light



This is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. We light this candle in memory of all the babies whose parents are unable to squeeze them tightly and kiss them goodnight because they are in a heavenly place far away from us. This is a candle holder that my Little Ellie made for me and I cherish it dearly. Today's grief challenge was light and so I thought hey..... this little light of mine....I'm gonna let it shine! As I burned it tonight I thought of the light that has illuminated my heart by my little Zion & Selah! It's a light not seen by the eye and not even death can exstinguish it. It is a part of me that will burn forever. Tonight I think of my children and so many others' that have gone on before them.They will forever be in our hearts and could never be forgotten.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Capture Your Grief : A Healing Photography Challenge-Part 1

 Day 1: Sunrise
 
This was a beach trip that my family and I took this summer just to let the children watch the sun rise on the ocean for the first time. I couldn't help but think of four tiny hands and four tiny feet that were not walking down those dusty dunes that morning to celebrate with us. I know their view of the Son is much more beautiful than anything my eyes will ever behold this side of heaven.

                                                                                                                                                                   
Day 2: Identity

Our little Zion Jeremiah Sams was born sleeping on March 29th 2011 at High Point Regional Hospital. He weighed 7lbs 9oz and was 2o in. long. We chose Zion because we love Hebrew names and his name meant way marker or sign. He has shown me that no matter how bleak it may seem, whatever God has written in your story is made beautiful in His eyes. He had a head full of black hair and full red lips and was such a masculine boy. He has made my life beautiful !



My little Selah Sams was born Nov. 17th, 2011 at High Point Regional Hospital. They didn't weigh her but we guessed that she weighed around 1 lb and was about 10 in long. I looked at her and I knew that I was blessed. She was fearfully and wonderfully made. This pic reminds me of her daily because her tiny hands captured my attention. They were so delicate and so intricately sculpted. Her lips were full and her eyes were almond shaped just like her sissy's. I touched her round face and knew that I had touched beauty. She had the same flat feet that I had passed on to her brother and sister. We named her Selah because it means to pause and praise and that's we did the moment we held her! We didn't want to give her a middle name because Selah says it all. She's my baby girl that's made my life beautiful!

Tiny hands that will hold our hearts forever.

                                                                                                                                                                   

Day3 : Myths About Grief  
 


I mentioned several myths about grief but I would have to say that "You'll get over it." is the one that sticks out the most. I actually had a preacher one time tell me to " Just get over it! " after my losses. I still haven't gotten over that heartless statement and I surely haven't gotten over the loss of my children. I know that the pain does differ at times and seems to change like the seasons. However,it's not just a "bump in the the road", also another heartless statement that this same man made to me. They are my children and there is a connection between us that not even death can sever! I understand that people do only believe these myths and can't fully understand grief if they have never been through such a loss, so I try to have mercy on them. I do my best to educate and encourage others to be realistic about death and grief. I pray that God would help me to reach out to the brokenhearted and show them Christ.


                                                                                                                                                                   

  Day 4: Legacy Your Children Left Behind


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chasing A Rainbow: Evaelia's Birth Story- Part 1

I think most people find rainbows to be very intriguing and one of the great wonders of God's creation. My little Ellie does, and she's a little rainbow chaser! She is looking for one after every storm. As a matter of  fact, we just saw one the other day and she was very inquisitive about how they are made. I went through a simple explanation of the process. Then, I asked  her " When do you usually see rainbows Ellie?" Her reply was so perfect, " After a BIG storm mommy!"

Ever since the loss of  Zion, and then the subsequent loss of Selah, I've been "chasing my rainbow", so to speak. This certain rainbow was also one that my whole family, and so many of you dear friends were chasing after right alongside me. I desperately wanted a live baby! For me, when my babies died I just felt like I was not capable of producing a live, breathing baby! Still, in my heart, I didn't want my story to end that way. I wanted to feel the joy of holding life in my arms again ! I wanted beauty for my ashes! I wanted my "Rainbow Baby!"  Babies born to families after the loss of a child are referred to as "Rainbow Babies." The idea is that the baby is like a Rainbow after the storm.
My Rainbow Baby's story started sometime in early September, but I wasn't aware of it until that cool, Fall day in October, when the two pink lines appeared! I was scared... to... death, and honestly, in utter disbelief! It seemed impossible for me to be pregnant! The dates just didn't line up, thus giving me 2 different due dates! We were so surprised, yet thankful, that God saw fit to give us another chance at holding a precious new life in our arms, and we knew it was the right and perfect time.
 
I will admit, in the beginning it was hard! My pregnancy with my precious Selah was so full of  fear and anxiety after losing Zion, and I didn't want the same for this pregnancy.  However, I believe that finding out about my disorder helped me to move forward and be less anxious about my pregnancy this time. God began to give me peace after hearing every perfect heartbeat, and after viewing every beautiful ultrasound. I actually enjoyed my pregnancy!  Needless to say, my poor midwives did get their share of  tearful conversations filled with my strong desires for a live baby and my concerns to do be as healthy as I could be. They were always so compassionate and  understanding of where my fear was coming from and they were great at reminding me of how beautiful this pregnancy would be. 
 
Most of you know that I am a lover of birth, and I have been alongside many mothers, and witnessed many beautiful births since becoming a birth doula.  All my own prior 3 births were traumatic in their own sense, but Zion & Selah's birth really made my desires for a different birth much stronger. I wanted this birth to be peaceful, unlike my previous births, so I switched doctors completely.  I began the long haul to Statesville, NC to  Natural Beginnings Birth Center, which is over an hr drive from my home. The doctor there, Dr. Susan Roque, was the same doctor that confirmed Selah's death and also the one that discovered my disorder. She was very confident that I was healthy and that I could have a live baby again. She also assured me that I was healthy enough to have the home birth that I always wanted, if  I so desired. If not, the birth center was always another great option.We had already decided that if we had to deliver in a hospital, and it wasn't an emergency, that we would deliver in Statesville with Dr.Roque.
 
My pregnancy was beautiful , and my baby seemed perfectly healthy and vibrant! She kept me up all night with her lively squirms, and she kept me sleepless during most of my days too! I loved sharing moments of her with so many of my friends and loved ones! She really was/is everybody's rainbow  baby! It wasn't long and  June 7th, my first due date, was right around the corner, and I was getting anxious to hold my new baby! Using Zion and Selah's death as tools, satan  tried to convince me that my baby would die and that my choices on where to birth would be detrimental to his/her life. However, I knew that the briefness of my baby's lives here on Earth had nothing to do with my choice on where to birth, nor my care providers. Throughout the remainder of the pregnancy we were very prayerful in our decisions on where, and how to birth our baby.We always wanted to have a peaceful water birth at home but just like before, we knew that things might not turn out how we may plan or desire.

Now on to the birth story!! On June 7th I still felt pretty good. I hadn't become miserable yet!  Remember, I'm known to go past my "due dates" at least 3 days.  June 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th passed, and still nothing much more than strong Braxton Hicks contractions. Before I knew it,  I was over a week past my first due date and soon approaching my 2nd one, June 18th!!  I'll admit, I was so anxious to hold my baby alive and in my arms!! I had people calling me daily to see if anything was stirring and to make sure that I hadn't had the baby yet. I had a whole week of on and off contractions that became very tiring , and to be honest, aggravating! They ranged anywhere from 8 min apart to 3 hrs. apart!! I was getting so tired that by that time, the only thing I wanted to do was hold my baby. It was June 15th, and was desperate, so I decided to go on a long, treacherous hike in the woods. The trail was over 2 miles long and was decorated with beautiful scenery!! I know ...I'm crazy but I went into labor with Ellie after running up and down hills at our local park , so I thought I would try it again!! LOL! I still laugh when I picture myself that day in that hot, July heat. I had on the thinnest dress I could find and my tennies running up those steep, rolling hills. Onlookers laughed and gazed, all while , my ever so inspirational husband coached me on! 
 
Just like then , I came home that afternoon and expected to feel something and.... NOTHING! The contractions had went from 10-14 min apart while hiking, to absolutely nothing! I didn't have another one until I made a phone call to my midwife. At her advice,  I decided to pump my breast for about an hour to see if  it could initiate stronger and closer contractions. A rush of contraction-causing hormones are released naturally into the mother’s bloodstream when nipples are stimulated!  There my crazy self  was trying to stim- MOO-late my nipples! Hehe!(Yes... I'm snickering!) So I drug out the old milk machine and thought " Hey... it's worth a shot!" Well ....good golly Miss Molly it was!! I  only had the pump on for  5 min.s and instantly  I was like, "Whoa...!!!" They hurt  and they became closer together and tons stronger!! Ba.....Bam... they just kept comin' !!  At 30 mins they had went from 5 mins apart to 3 mins. apart , and they were consistent! Wow.... I couldn't believe it! IT was happening! After those first 30 min I couldn't take it anymore!! I had went from 0 to 60 quickly and  I wanted to see if they would remain, so I stopped pumping. Then, they actually got further apart,  but they still had that same fierce strength to them! I knew this feeling well  and  I knew there was NO TURNING BACK!!  I was wondering how long this would go on considering I'm known to have 24 hr labors!!  I knew I was getting ready to meet my baby!
 
 ** Stay tuned for part 2 of Evaelia's birth story!**
 

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