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Friday, March 29, 2013

Loud Moments of Silence

How could I ever forget the morning of March 28th, 2011? I had laid awake most of the night in excitement for my new baby to come. It was often my morning routine to sit down at the computer, with a cold glass of  orange juice, and skim over the events of the day.  It wasn't long until I felt it coming. The baby had a wind up to their kicks so there was always a little warning. Then, I saw it and I felt it! The first kick of the day, and my thought was, "There's my baby!" I can still pin point that place on my stomach anytime I've looked at it since that morning, and I  remember my baby.

The rest of my day was spent in anticipation, to say the least. I did a  LOT of walking! Anything I could think of that would help with my labor was in the forefront of my mind. I was so happy that I thought that not even lil' slewfoot himself could've have taken my joy away. I remember everything about that day as if I had just experienced it. We spent time walking the aisles of  Walmart, and of course, my favorite store.....Hobby Lobby! I distinctly remember several people asking me that day "When are you due?" I would chuckle and say "Ummm... 2 days ago!" It felt so good to say those words knowing that I was so much closer to meeting my precious baby.

On our way home we decided to fill my hankering for Chinese food. So we made a quick pit stop, then to the house to rest. My mom had been tidying up the house and watching Ellie while we were out doing, what granny calls " galavantin' ". Well, I ate my Chinese and it never had tasted so good! The remainder of  the afternoon I spent resting comfortably on the couch. I sat there a good while when it dawned on me....."My baby hasn't moved in a while!" I kept sitting there thinking it quietly while going crazy inside. I tried to tell myself that I had been so busy that I just didn't feel it or the baby had little to no room. I couldn't take it anymore! So I stood up and tried to put myself together as I mentioned to Jeremy and my mom that I hadn't felt the baby move in quite some time. They insisted, just as I did, that my baby was just wrapped tightly in my stomach and that I had been so busy that day that I just didn't realize the movements. Tears filled my eyes and I had that "mama knows" feeling. You know, that internal instinct that the Lord gives us.

I tried to remain calm as Jeremy instructed me to call the midwife and I did. She said that the baby was probably just fine, but she would come over and check just to see how things were going. When she arrived around 7:30 I remember her coming in with a bright and beautiful smile. She was excited to see if I had progressed at all. I remember lying down on the bed that night. It wasn't comfortable at all and it seemed so awkward. She said she wanted to take a listen and check on the baby. When the doppler came on my heart began to beat out of my chest as she placed it on my stomach. Have you ever heard silence that seemed loud?? Well, it did that night! I kept saying "Is something wrong with the baby?"  She continued to search for a heartbeat with the doppler and said it was probably her battery, so she changed it. Then again, nothing! She screamed for Jeremy to run to the store and get another battery for the doppler.

When  I saw his face it was so pitiful and helpless. However, he quickly ran to the store to get another battery and she pulled out her feta-scope to try and listen, but only silence. Jeremy's trip seemed like it took an eternity. While he was gone, Ellie had stepped in to comfort me. She was my little doula. She kept saying "Mommy you're gonna be just fine", while she rubbed my head softly and continued to kiss me all over my face. My mama knew that I was afraid and I kept telling her "Mama, something's wrong with my baby!" She was afraid too because she knew her own baby and she had that same mother's instinct.

When Jeremy arrived back with the battery we couldn't get it in fast enough. Then, I heard it..... that dreaded silence again. I started screaming " Jeremy, something's wrong with the baby!!!" I was uncontrollable. I knew when I saw my midwife's face that it wasn't good. She wanted to call the doctor and  go in for an ultrasound. So she made her call.. After she spoke with the doctor she suggested drinking a big glass of caffeine and maybe the baby would move. Then, she even had me go outside the house and jog a little, in hopes to stir the baby up a bit. The whole time I was running I was crying and begging  "God please help my baby! This can't be happening!"

Again, she checked for a heartbeat, but nothing, only silence. We rushed to the emergency room that night and it took a while to even get admitted. Walking to that labor room was one of the hardest things I ever did. I felt like I couldn't lift my feet to put them one in front of the other. As we were arriving to the delivery suite, I remember walking through that door. The nurses at the desk took one look at my face and they knew, I was "the one". They slowly walked me down the hall as if it were routine for them. Everyone was silent and grief was waiting.

The nurse escorted me in the room and up on the bed. Then the dreaded  doppler was placed on my stomach. I knew if we heard silence this time the reason could not be the battery, and I was afraid. Nothing but static rang through the room. She initialized an ultrasound and continued to try to find life on the screen. I couldn't look at the screen in fear of seeing something I didn't want to see. I kept saying "Is my baby ok?" and she wouldn't answer. She just kept digging. However, what came out of her mouth next still haunts me to this day. "Hon, your baby is dead." I still remember the wails that I made in that moment. I'm sure it was disturbing to the laboring mothers in the surrounding rooms, but I was just coldly told that my baby was dead. I really don't think that my reaction of  total despair would've been any different even if her words were different that night , however, I believe that my memories of that night would've been.

My doctor came in to check the status of the baby for himself. He was so compassionate and confirmed the nurses diagnosis. He asked could he check my dilation and I consented. As soon as he started the examination my water broke and gushed everywhere. He said I was 3cm and said they would induce labor. I begged him not to take my baby from me and he assured me that he wouldn't, because it wasn't best for me. He said that I was a healthy mother and that it would be better for me to have the baby as natural as possible.

The nurse then escorted me to the bathroom where she assisted me in taking off my clothes and helped me get a gown on. I was crying out to God so loudly "Why God? Why did my baby have to die?" My mind was raging with questions of "What did I do wrong? What did I eat or where did I go that caused my baby to die? What horrible sin did I commit?" Then the nurse quickly tried to silence my squalls by saying " Honey, God has nothing to do with this!" I continued with my pleas as she repeated herself again. In anger, I told her "My God is in control of everything!" I was traumatized , and then to have this nurse to try and quieten me. When evidently, what she needed was help in the compassion and bridle your tongue department!!

As I walked out of the bathroom door I looked at Jeremy's and my midwife's face. They tried to smile, but instead they looked so depressed and  helpless. I slowly made my way to the bed and I remember thinking  to myself,   "I won't leave this room with a baby this time." I was so devastated and I felt like I had let everyone down because I was supposed to protect the baby, and I didn't. When the doctor came back in the room he held my hand and told me how the process of delivering my baby would be. As he finished I looked at him, totally broken, and I said " Please... just let me die. I just need to die right now." You could tell he felt pity and he whispered to me that he couldn't do that for me. I'm being honest when I say that I really wanted to die in that moment in my life. I felt totally hopeless and a big part of me was dead all ready.  I just wished all the pain could be over and I could be out of my misery. I felt like I could never go on and live without my baby. My dreams were all broken as I thought of all the things I would never get to have or experience with this baby. The silence I heard never seemed so loud.

 Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.Psalms 94:17

Part 2 of the story is found here:  The Perfection of Beauty: The Day We Met Zion

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Walk With God

The morning of March 27th was a cool crisp Sunday. It had been another sleepless night for me after all the excitement of knowing soon, I would finally get to meet my baby. That day we mostly sat around and enjoyed our last little moments of "just the 3 of us" time. A lot of my day was consumed by daydreaming. Was it a  boy or girl?  Were their eyes green like mine and daddy's or the darkest brown like their sister's? Would they have all  the dark hair that I had prayed for? How long would my labor last? What was their name? We all guessed that day how much the baby  would weigh and how long they would be. The anticipation was killing us all!

I checked in with the midwife that morning and afternoon and nothing much was different. The contractions were off and on and I actually felt pretty good! We decided to go for a walk that afternoon through the woods behind our house. After all, in the 10 yrs of us living here I had never seen those woods. Jeremy was really familiar with that part of  the land because it was pretty much his "man cave". He showed me the place that he would pray most of time, and I must admit it looked like a great place to be alone with God. We walked through the marshy parts along the creek and saw tons of  tracks from deer and who knows what other kind of wild life. This seemed so odd to me knowing that we live in the city! That day I was just in awe of God's creation. I couldn't believe that all this beauty was literally, right in my back yard. I was so peaceful, and I can remember my little baby squirming inside and I talked to them. "You're here with us too, aren't you?" I whispered to them. I felt like my family was complete and I was so happy!

Here are a few pics we snapped that day to remember this time in our lives.

Our happy little family, March 27th 2011

 By the end of the day my heart was filled with God's goodness and I was so excited to give birth. I really felt like I had no fear, and boy, do I miss that feeling a lot of days. I was just so happy to be alive and  to know that I was a mother and wife that had been blessed. I had many intimate times with God that day and night that I could never forget. Those thoughts and memories have helped carry me through these last couple of years, and for that I'm very grateful. I know now that God was preparing me for something much bigger and harder than I had ever imagined and that I would need His strength to make it through the days ahead.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Expecting: A look back at March 26, 2011

Saturday March 26th 2011
I had waited 9 long months to meet the new little person growing inside of me. The due date was March 26th 2011. I woke up that morning the same as I had the day before, but only this day I had more anticipation that this could be the day!!!  I went shopping and walking anywhere I could find with lively scenery. And of course the much expected "nesting" was a part of the great things I did that day to prepare for my baby. Going over my due date wasn't a big surprise, considering I'm known to cook my babies a little over. I had Ellie 3 days past my "guess date". I just wanted things to happen naturally and on their own time.

That morning I checked in with the midwife and told her how I was feeling and that nothing had changed much, just more excitement. The baby was still very active considering the 1cm of space they had left to move inside my overstretched bump they had carved out for so long.

My mom came over that day to help get all the baby clothes tidied, the baby room cleaned, and my room prepared for the birth. We made sure that we had every thing that was needed to have a peaceful and cozy birth, something I had dreamed of  for a long time. We hadn't decorated the baby room yet, considering the baby's gender was going to be a surprise. However, I had some pretty strong feelings it was a boy. So I had all ready bought a comforter that just screamed "cute baby boy". I don't know, I just had that feeling the day we took our first pregnancy test with this baby.   I did the same with Ellie. I'm 3 outta 3 by the way, working on 4 ! ;) We'll see!

The "cute baby boy"comforter.
My husband, Jeremy, had typed out some of our favorite bible verses to post on the bathroom walls to give me courage and remind me of the strength of God  I would have when I was weak. Those verses, all weathered and worn, still hang on my  bathroom walls today to remind me of God's strength when  I'm weak, as I have been so many days since then.

I  kept a journal for Zion just as I did with Ellie.These are the last thoughts that I jotted down before I got to meet Zion.

March, 25, 2011:

One day before your due date! I have been so anxious thinking you would come early, but you haven't yet.  Guess you'll be like your big sissy and keep mommy & daddy waiting! We thought you would come on Sat. the 19th because of the Super Moon( the closest to Earth in 18yrs.) but no baby. We even took our mattress out on the porch and slept for a while with Ellie and.........No baby! I did have lots of practice contractions that were 9 mins. apart though, but they stopped. All the rest of the week I continued to have contractions on/off but they quit last night! Whenever you come I know it will be in God's perfect timing! I love you! Hurry into my arms.

So there I was, on my due date, knowing that in just a matter of hours, or maybe a few short days, I would meet my baby. I was "expecting" my miracle. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Offering Hope To The Hungry

 I can't stand the thought of knowing a child has gone hungry. But the cold hard truth is, they do. Every day, all over America,  children will leave there schools to go home to unfortunate situations that are beyond their control. Unfortunately, one major need beyond their control  is getting proper nutrition. I am thankful to be involved with a great program in meeting those needs of unfortunate children.

Backpack Pals Program: A  program that aims to address childhood hunger in our community by providing school children at risk of hunger with backpacks of nutritious, kid-friendly foods to take home over the weekends during the school year.

For some students, the breakfast and lunch they receive at school are the only meals they eat. Backpack Pals meets the needs of these hungry youngsters by sending a backpack of  food home from school with the child on Friday afternoon. The child returns the backpack to school on Monday morning for community volunteers to pick it up, refill it, and return it to a designated location at school before Friday. The generic backpack keeps the food secure while protecting the child’s identity and dignity.

List of Foods Needed

Foods for Backpacks should be..... 

* Individually packaged servings
* Snack size
* Small cans with pop tops

Granola Bars
Cereal Bars
Instant Oatmeal

Fruit Cups

Juice boxes or Capri Suns

Cup of Noodles
Ramen Noodles

Ready To Eat Meals
Canned meat items (Vienna sausages, potted meat, Spam, etc.)
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Franks and Beans

Peanut Butter Crackers
Cheese Crackers
Pudding Cups
Jello Cups (non refrigerated)

 **If you would like to make a monetary donation,  checks can be made out to Pleasant Hill Baptist Church**

This has become a little mission for me. I want the bellies of those precious babies filled! So join with me in gathering the needed items for their Backpacks! I pray that we may all help in the work of  giving these children Hope by letting them know that taking care of them is important to us. Putting a smile on their faces and them knowing that someone cares and loves them will be worth it all! 
*I will be having 2 food drop offs this month at my house in Archdale and various ones at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Randleman.

Drop Off Times

At my home- 3816 David St. in Archdale,NC: 

Sunday, March 17th from 2pm-5pm  & Sat., March 23 from 9am-1pm

At Pleasant Hill Baptist Church- 650 Worthville Randleman: 

Wednesdays from 3pm-7pm & Sundays from 4pm-6pm ( Please feel welcomed to stay for our services!)

Other times may be available for drops offs. Call Jeremy or Crystal Sams to set up a time at 336-434-1172.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People

 A short clip from Pastor Voddie Baucham on why bad things happen to good people.

My Life As A Doula

 What is a doula?

 The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth. Postpartum Doulas provide in-home services to families, typically lasting from three weeks to three months, or longer with special circumstances. Some doulas combine the birth and postpartum roles, thereby offering continuity of care throughout the childbearing year. A Baby Loss Doula  serves the mother and family experiencing the death of a baby during pregnancy or soon after birth. The Doula's goal is to provide ongoing physical, emotional, and informational support to the family during and after their time of  loss.

The first time I heard of a doula I was giving tours at HP Regional Hospital for expectant parents. It wasn't unusual to have large groups of expectant parents come through my tours on any one night. However, on that  night I only had two women to escort down the hospital halls. I assumed that the relationship between the two were mother and daughter, but I wasn't sure, so I asked. The younger lady replied "No, this is my doula." Doula??? I had never heard of one before. So instead of me answering all of their questions, I had quite a few of my own. The doula tried her best to educate me within the short time we had with each other.  I had an immediate connection with both of the ladies. I would say it was a divine appointment! At the end of our conversation the doula told me why she was needed so badly to serve this young woman. My ears were peeled back and my heart was open! The young girl had quite a sad, but not uncommon story. Her boyfriend had moved her to this area from Rhode Island against her family's wishes. As a result of this decision, her parents and family had disowned her. Sadly enough, when she became pregnant her boyfriend kicked her out and she was living with strangers. So, there she was,  pregnant ,and felt all alone with no where to turn. She knew that the birth of her baby was something special that she wanted to share with someone that cared. So she found a doula.

That night, I went home,  walked in the door with tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face, and anxiously told Jeremy I had found my calling! He was like "Who? What? When? Where?" I spent the next couple hours being excited over something I knew so little about. All I knew was that God has placed these women in my path to show me His calling, and I was excited! The role fit me perfectly, seeing how I've always loved to serve and encourage women. I was on the breast feeding support team at the hospital, and I love birth! It was so easy to envision myself as a doula. So immediately, the studying, research, and training to become a doula began.

I have been a birth & postpartum doula for about 3 and 1/2 years now and it has been such a blessing in my life. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving others and supporting their births. Since my losses, seeing the miracle of birth has never amazed me so much. I rejoice with those that rejoice and I mourn with those that mourn . I am a doula.

I pray that I can serve families and assist them in having a blessed birth experience. I also pray that I can minister to those who are alone, hurting, or suffering from great loss so that I may be a testimony of the love of Christ.

"I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Lives That I Will Carry

There are several precious lives that I have carried throughout this journey called motherhood. It's been a blessing to know that God has chosen me to be called their mommy. But today has been a day when tears, grief , and joy have flooded this soul of mine. I'm dearly missing my Zion & Selah and I remember what they have given me. My most prized gift they've given me has been a more intimate relationship with One that they now see face to face.

At the end of this month we will celebrate Zion's birthday. I can't believe it will be 2 yrs since I met him and I saw his face for the first time. Then, Selah's due date will  follow just a few days later. All that being said, I'm sure this month  will be full of emotions for me.

 I have joy and my life is sweet when I think of them and how they make my life beautiful.  I am privileged to say that I know for sure that I will see them again, never to be separated anymore. What joy I'll have on that day when I finally get to see them smile for the first time and hear the words I've longed to hear, "I love you Mommy!"

It's such a blessing to be a mother and to know the love of child. I have been blessed to carry babies in my womb, in my arms, and in my heart wherever I go. Each life being very precious in itself .  Only the Lord knows how many lives I will carry on this journey called motherhood.  However, I know that there are two lives that will have to be carried in my heart and in my memory until our glad reunion day. Thank God for that blessed Hope in Jesus!

I have no sad story to claim, but only one filled with  the blessings of a loving and merciful God that has carried me and has been faithful to keep His promises! To God alone be the glory!

*A video that I made as part of a grief  project this past year in memory of  Zion & Selah.*

Friday, March 1, 2013

What Hope Looks Like

Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or the act of  looking forward to something with desire and reasonable confidence. Have you ever pictured what Hope looks like? In my mind, it can look like so many things. However, right now in my life, this is my picture of  Hope. It's the precious picture of  our little baby Sams due this June. Speaking from a mother's perspective, it's one of the most heart warming feelings to see your own unborn child alive and look forward to the day when you will get to hold them safely in your arms. Something that I've desired for quite some time now.

I know the feeling of  hopelessness and depths of it's despair. However, I'm  also well acquainted with it's opposite, and I'm now in a state of  Hopefulness. It's a true hope and desire of my heart to have a live baby placed in my arms one day. Greater still, I hope for so much more than that. Most of all, I  look  forward to seeing the glory that God will receive, regardless of the outcome for me or my family. It's a struggle in this human flesh to be hopeful of things that may or may not benefit us. However, I feel that it should be our desire to want  God's will to be fulfilled and His glory revealed, no matter the cost.

This thought reminds me of  the day when my heart was pierced with the words of one of Ellie's prayers. It was a few days after Zion died and we were so heartbroken, including little Ellie. Her heart was so crushed as she cried out to God in her prayer. Then those words that have forever changed me came ringing from her tiny lips. She cried "God we really miss our baby Zion........ but God.....we still love You!" It broke my heart to hear her love and devotion overwhelm her pain, when, at the time, my view of God seemed so foggy. She was so hurt, yet, even she knew that her only Hope was in God. Out of the mouth of babes right?

So here I sit....writing this and thinking that same thought. I really miss Zion and Selah.....but God...I still love You! I want, and dearly hope for a live and healthy baby, but if not God, I still love You! In this life I've  come to the realization that He's the only reason I have been given so much Hope.  And in knowing that, I can truly rejoice! This life is so precious and I want it to be filled with so much  joy in Him alone, not only in my desires being filled.  I pray that we may all place our hope and confidence in the only One that is worthy of our trust.

 God has blessed me with this precious baby to be a reminder of the Hope that is within me. I thank the Lord that by our sweet baby's pictures we have been given a  glimpse of what Hope looks like.

 "And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee."  Psalms 39:7

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