I looked her right in the eye. I needed her attention. I was kind, but determined.
We had a really hard day on Tuesday. It started out by going to a funeral home and choosing a resting place for our little girl. No mother should ever have to walk around and stare at tombstones while her child hiccups and shifts within her. It was the most unnatural, horrible feeling I can think to describe. As we met with the director, we made our agenda clear. “We don’t have the final say on this baby. If God chooses to heal her, none of this will be necessary. We just want to have this taken care of in the event that…well, you know.”
She nodded the nod that means that she didn’t really understand. She told me how difficult this must all be for me, and yes, I agreed that it was. For some reason, though, I was handling it better than I thought I would. I had dreaded this moment so much, and now that I was in it, it wasn’t what I thought it would be.
I think she wondered how someone could be going through all of this and not be hysterical. It’s not that I don’t cry…I cry several times a day. Sometimes to the point where I can’t breathe and I just feel like I am drowning. But not here. Not about this.
She asked a few more emotional questions to lead me into the “deep place” where they must try and help people get to. As we flipped through catalogs, it started to make sense in my mind..somewhere between the gravestones and the “cadillac of caskets,” I felt that voice rising up within me that doesn’t settle back down until it is heard.
“If you are wondering why we are approaching this the way that we are, please allow me to explain. We are not emotionless. This is the hardest season of our lives up until this point. But I need you to understand that we don’t believe that she will be in this box. Because of Who we believe in, we know that what we are choosing here is somewhat irrelevant. She will be in heaven with our Lord. I hope this makes sense.”
I think this kind of threw off her sales pitch. But I wanted her to know. I get the feeling they don’t see themselves as “Plan B” very often.
We went to the OB after that…it was, to put it mildly, completely shocking. After further discussing the delivery options, we have unanimously decided that a c-section is the best and safest way to deliver Audrey. Based on what I am physically feeling (and it’s not pleasant), she may have shifted herself a little…probably into a frank breech position, but possibly head down (which would be a MIRACLE and would change our approach to delivery dramatically). There were graphic details that neither of us were prepared to hear, and we are both still processing those. It seems like when we can’t take any more, God asks that we do. I am so down today…physically, mentally, spiritually. We were supposed to meet with our pastor this afternoon, but we canceled because I feel like my body needs to be still. He called me and we talked through some things. He is the gentlest, kindest, humblest person you will ever meet, and he ministered to me by just being available and dedicated to listening. Thank you, Pastor Scott.
I do want you all to know that we have set a date for Audrey’s birth. She will be delivered on April 14th at 12 p.m.
There are many, many reasons for this decision. We have prayed and prayed. Because my body does not have a strong history of “doing pregnancy well,” we needed to make a decision based on when Todd was going to be home. Neither of us would be able to live with him missing it. I will be almost 34 weeks by then, and they are anticipating that she will be 2 pounds or less, which means that I will have to have a “classical c-section.” Let’s just say that it isn’t optimal as far as future pregnancies, and it has certainly given us more to be considering.
I dropped a wooden puzzle on my foot today, and I screamed out in pain. It wasn’t a scream equivalent to a bruised foot, but the scream of a woman who feels like she cannot take any more. I fell on the floor, and Abby and Ellie jumped down from the table. Abby patted my head while Ellie asked if she should get daddy. Kate glanced down at me from her chair and then resumed trying to fit a triangle into a rectangle spot on her puzzle. She gets really irritated when the shapes don’t self-adjust to her specific desires at that moment. I have no idea where she gets this temperament from…hmmmm…..
I laid there for a few minutes, talking to God. Actually, I was throwing a temper tantrum in my head.
Enough. Enough. It is ENOUGH, Lord. I can’t do it anymore. You chose the wrong servant.
I finally did get up, and I continued my conversation with the Lord. He lead me quietly back to a place where I feel a little more safe. A little more alive.
I want to mention something else to you all that is incredibly emotional for me (in a good way). I have known for a couple days, but needed to pass it along to a few other people before I could share it publicly. I thought it was really interesting that someone posted here and asked if I knew the song “Held” by Natalie Grant. I do know (and love) this song. I have also had the privilege of writing with the woman who wrote the song. Her name is Christa Wells, and she is an angel of the rarest sort. She was a kindred spirit to me the moment I met her, and I have treasured her gifting and her very presence in the times we have shared. She lives out of town, and shortly after we found out about Audrey, she called to set up a songwriting appointment with Todd and me. I explained the situation to her assistant, and when we met up in person, we cried and hugged and wrote.
What came out of the session is a song entitled “Carry You.” It is deeply, profoundly meaningful to me. I mentioned several postings back that we had recorded it with Allan playing piano, Amy and Todd singing, and Jason producing. We planned to play it at Audrey’s worship service, and I wanted to post it here for others who have walked through losing a child. We begged God to use it for this purpose…to make it meaningful to people. We were not at all prepared for what He had in store…
Todd called me while he was on the road. Amy and Allan had come to him with what had been an ongoing conversation that we knew nothing about. They had decided that the song should be on the upcoming Selah record, and they explained that they wanted it to be more than that. They want to have several pages in the CD booklet dedicated to her, have the girls come in and talk to her on microphone, to start considering bereavement conferences where they could sing and I could speak (Um, yeah, paralyzing stage fright…not quite here yet…). It went on and on.
I literally fell into a heap on my desk. I couldn’t even talk to Todd, the words simply would not come. There was a gratitude, a sense of joy that overwhelmed me. It was so completely unexpected…it had literally never crossed my mind that they might want to do that. All of a sudden, I saw it for what it was.
She is going to have a legacy.
Long beyond what I can give her, what I can speak on her behalf, she will live in the notes of a song that was written in the purest form of love possible.
Amy, Allan, Jason, Shawn…thank you for loving her (and us). What you do in the name of Christ is far-reaching and true. He has heard the praise of many who came to His feet because of your dedication to serve. We are honored to be a part of the family.
Christa, thank you for your heart, your tears, and your “mother’s love.” We are so blessed to have been able to share this hurt with you…you have helped to make it beautiful.
This is longer than I meant for it to be. I am a bundle of emotions today…thank you for standing alongside me, and for listening. May God return the love you have shown our family tenfold in the days to come.