No small thing.

I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – Isaiah 46:4

10398778_8392886988_2318_n(statue in Thailand, from one of our times there)

I see it on the news, on social media feeds, on newspapers, even if you were to avoid all of that – you still see it in the eyes of neighbors, or someone you pass at the grocery store: suffering and pain. This world overwhelms me with its incredible pain and suffering, and it isn’t ceasing, if anything it increases daily.

I sometimes want to turn away and ignore what’s before me. Whether it be something I see in our own neighbors or the homeless man whom we see almost daily near our home’s exit, or what I know is happening in my extended families, or what we’ve seen overseas from Red Light District in Amsterdam and Thailand to the streets of Indonesia and Malayasia, or maybe it’s in the stories we’ve heard of starving children in refugee camps.
THERE IS SO MUCH pain. Too much.
I felt overwhelmed this morning, angry even, crying out about the needs and brokenness I see. I was remembered this verse. It’s one of my favorites. And I know personally, His carrying, sustaining and rescuing doesn’t always look like what we might imagine, but He always does pull through, even if it’s simply His presence and peace felt in a season of chaos, ruin of dreams or lives, and even death.

There is a sense of peace that comes when remembering HE has overcome the world. HE has made, carries, sustains and rescues our broken souls, even our own and whatever “little” to big thing we may be walking through.

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(from my trip to Indonesia)

Every single soul we come in contact with has meaning and purpose.

Well, duh! We all know this, right?

There is something I’ve noticed in my own life. It isn’t pretty and it’s tempting to skip over this part.

Something can happen when you’ve traveled around the world and seen the things we’ve seen. What’s before us, here in front of us in our typical American neighborhood, can seem so small and insignificant. I once heard someone say that they couldn’t engage with others here (in America) because of the things they had seen overseas. They’d decided that the people’s problems were small and insignifanct compared. I was surprised by that perspective but then I had my own moment at a soccer game where I realized I too had this sense of entitlement, where I had decided someone’s story/life were insignificant.

A fellow soccer mom who I had engaged with throughout the soccer season, asked to swap numbers. I caught myself, and it hit me, when had I started thinking it was okay to decide  that someone’s life/pain was less significant or meaningful because they aren’t walking through the horror/tragedy I’ve seen others walking through? I feel like it was a moment that has forever changed my perspective. It’s like this,

“Saying someone can’t be sad because someone else may have it worse is like saying someone can’t be happy because someone else may have it better. ~Unknown”

Since Ted has been gone this quote had truly popped up in my mind SO many times. I had many, many, many people compare their life and circumstances to my own – without my husband here – and talk their own struggles down. And I constantly thought it and spoke it out when I could, their struggle or pain or exhaustion was REAL.

There story/life wasn’t insignificant simply because my own personal walk looked different than theirs. 

But what does this mean? To actively live this out, recognizing that every person we come in contact – along with their problems – is signigicant, does that mean we bear even more weight of the world?

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It would feel easy to get all wrapped up in feeling overwhelmed again. To either shut down and ignore it or try to carry it all. But friends, maybe it isn’t our job to carry all the weight of all the world, but instead lighten it whenever we can, in whatever capacity we can.

Is there any act of good that is small? I really don’t believe there is!

I immediately think of my own life, in this season since Ted has been away, and the seemingly small things that have had a huge impact on my life that others have done to take care of us. From meals, watching my kids, speaking truth where I’ve believed lies, a friend offering her husband to come over and chase my boys around since their daddy is gone, asking me how it’s going, inviting me to things, helping carry the weight of my husband being away. THESE ARE NO SMALL THINGS.

Listening to the neighbors or a friend that just need a listening ear, a word of compassion or encouragement. That is NO SMALL THING.

Making eye contact or even introducing yourself to another momma at the park. That is NO SMALL THING.

Giving a water and granola bar to the homeless man with kind eyes, who often stands at your home’s exit. That is NO SMALL THING.

Being a parent. Enough said, right? That is NO SMALL THING.

Asking others about their life, showing that you care and desire to know how they are doing. That is NO SMALL THING.

One of my dearest friends in one of the most giving and humble souls I know. She is constantly doing good, with whomever she comes in contact with – from her neighbors to the refugee center she takes her 3 small children too biweekly. It isn’t for other eyes to behold, her name isn’t shinning in light as she never shares it publicly. She simply does good for the sake of being Jesus to others. It’s unseen to others, but the people she’s reaching THEY see it. And that is NO SMALL THING. (I do love to read of the good others are doing elsewhere or here in my own town, so I’m not saying sharing publicly is an issue! )

What I am saying is that these good things that are done, even the seemingly insignificant ones, even the unseen ones, they are NO SMALL THINGS.

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(another one from one of our times in Thailand)

We are doing good. We are being Jesus. We might not even recognize it because it can sometimes feel it’s too simple, not significant enough to make a difference, not blog-worthy enough to write home about even, but it is truly significant. We are being light and goodness, even on a small-scale, it is impactful to the heart of that person.

Which is NO SMALL THING.

Take heart, friends. Do what you can. And remember Jesus has overcome (fill in the blank)__________. He is your Maker, your Carrier, your Sustainer, and your Rescuer.

He is also THEIR Maker, Carrier, Sustainer and Rescuer.

Be Jesus and let Him carry the weight of the world while you/we do good.

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365 grateful {week 4 & 5}

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For time with my dear friend, Chey. We went wedding dress shopping and found her dress on this day! I am so blessed to call this girl friend (more like my sister) and I am {beyond} ecstatic for her to be married this summer to an amazing man and also, friend of Ted :)

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At the time I took this photo and was grateful that my boys were better. They had both caught a stomach bug. Unfortunetely Shailo’s lasted for over a week. Throwing up and then a fever (sometimes 103.2) for a week straight (which is apparently okay! Did you know this?! Crazy!) Broke my heart!

485897_10151254567471989_1962110312_nFor a few days with my beautiful, Aussie friend, Alanna. The last time I saw her I was overdue with Chase. She left just a week before he was born. It was so incredible to introduce her to our boys and to spend time with her!

196312_10151256784431989_2055762599_nFor precious time with our friends Alanna and Josh – visiting the zoo, but of course ;)

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For a day of painting, crafting, laughter and Downton Abbey.

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For this messy little one even when it’s really hard. Chocolate popsicle (hey, it’s homemade and healthy ;)) and an empty medicine bottle he dug out of the recycle. Momma of the year today during this week (jokes, seriously)
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 For Ted helping me be strong when I feel helpless and weak. My heart was aching. One full week of my sweet shai being sick (viral crap & teething.) He was a little better but wanted to be held literally ALL day. And only by me. I am thankful for a husband who helped encourage me while we let him “cry it out”. My first time ever doing that as a momma. Totally not my thing but it was this or my sanity. My heart felt so torn as I listened to him cry. Bah…
62336_10151263579956989_802508135_nFor a skype sesh with our dear friends that moved away. Here is a photo of our boys playing snakes  “together” from afar. At one point they even said, “I love you.” on their own accord! So thankful for Skype and amazing friends.
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For the ability to dream again. I am in the process of writing a blog about this. I haven’t really dreamt much since we’ve lost Eisley. In fact, I had thought I’d lost that ability. I was wrong. So very thankful for dreams and the ability to keep dreaming (of future plans, what we hope for our family, etc)…
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For time with my Madre and for her help and calming spirit that was able to put my clingy, sick son to sleep. Oh so thankful.
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Ted pulled out our juicer and juiced for the first time (for him.) I couldn’t be more thankful and excited that Ted’s now on board with me in learning what it means to be healthy! (I’ve been praying for this, shhh ;))
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For beautiful weather, fresh air …46694_10151269556736989_1817490193_n…and tons of chalk dust and laughter. :)

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For the opportunity to attend To Write Love On Her Arms (TWOLHA) Heavy & Light Tour. Truly an amazing ministry that in the past, spoke to me and my sisters hearts. I absolutely loved this night with my baby sis Abie and Ted. Moved to tears multiple times.

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For this boy and his fun imagination. He’s truly a {joy}! He and Shailo were my little Super Bowl Sunday crew. We had our own little fun “party” which ended with me muting the game and browsing through our Thailand photos, researching the cost of living in Thailand and sharing our stories and dreams with Chase! 5 years ago we watched the Super Bowl while in Thailand! I ache for Thailand lately… oh so much!

What’s something you’re grateful today?

a {different} beautiful dream.

It’s a moment I will never forget, probably because it was one that would either scar a person for life, or move them to tears. It was the very first time I witnessed a birth, at the young age of 13. I was watching the kiddos of my mom’s friend while she labored away in their home. My mom was there and as the time of their daughter’s birth neared, they asked me if I would like to be in the room. I decided I did and I have never regretted that decision since. It was beautiful and I knew at the moment, that was what I hoped for some day. I always knew I wanted a family (being the eldest, I always did), but now I knew how I wanted to birth my children. In the peace of our home.

Years later, I was 24 weeks pregnant, I had a wonderful midwife and a beautiful birth story all planned out.  But they were telling me that I was Group B Strep positive and I was told that I wouldn’t be able to have the home birth I had always dreamt of (I later learned, you actually can be GBS + and still have a home birth, but thankfully He knew what we needed at the time). I was crushed. I mean, devesated. I balled and balled. Ted, who was never fully at peace with the idea of a home birth, finally felt peace and knew this was the best decision for us. Then, at almost 42 weeks they told me the likelihood of me having to have a c-section was great. Many factors that weren’t adding up. I felt like the biggest failure, frustrated with my body for being unable to have my baby naturally.

I won’t go into detail Chase’s birth story, if you’re really curious – just click here as I have written his birth story online once before. To sum it up, 42 hours of labor, 3.5 hours of pushing, making it all the way to 10cm only to have him get stuck and unable to fit and come out. I had him by c-section, totally exhausted and drugged up and unable to remember anything or hold him until a day later.

My perspective has greatly changed since we’ve lost Eisley. I have since realized, through our own life experience, that any birth story that is able to bring the baby to your arms, alive, is the really best birth story there is.

Words can’t express how incredibly thankful I am that I was able to have Eisley naturally (vaginally) 73 hours of labor later I met our sweet girl face to face. It wasn’t what I had dreamt when I thought of having a baby but I am so very thankful that I was able to hold my daughter, to see her precious face before we said goodbye, and because of that, I wouldn’t trade any of those 73 hours in for anything. (we just recently had the 2nd anniversaries or her death -september 14th and her birthday – september 17th. Blog post about those precious anniversaries, soon.)

I decided to schedule a c-section with Shailo. There was really no question in my mind. I knew I couldn’t go through another long labor that would potentially result in a c-section, again. And also, I felt a natural birth was too traumatic from going through what we had with Eisley just shy of 14 months before. So, in regards to a c-section, even though it was a dream lost – I was able to have two beautiful boys due to them. So very thankful we live in a day and age that it is possible.

I kind of digress, but I wanted to share a bit of my heart behind what I’m about what I am really blogging about. When I was pregnant with Chase, Eisley and Shailo I enjoyed looking through photographs of birth stories – home births, c-section births, hospital births… I was constantly moved to tears by them. In my pregnancy with Shailo I really felt that God gave me an incredible dream. I wanted to be a birth photographer. I wanted to capture “that moment” for another. You know, that one moment when the mother first meets their baby face to face. The moment when they birth their baby and he/she is placed on their chest. The incredible emotion, the overwhelming love… that moment. That specific moment was one that I was unable to have but I wanted to capture that for someone else.

And, the story beforehand and those precious moments afterwards. But especially the moment the momma (and daddy) first sees their little one.

The question, “How could you photograph…”that moment”… something you’ve never experienced yourself?” started to plague my mind. And while that makes total sense in a way, I had to battle that. I honestly think there will always be this yearning in my heart. Wondering what “that” moment would be like. And even without the experience of a home birth or a completely natural, un-medicated birth, I feel that yearning so strong that I am able to truly capture the moments I would believe to be beautiful – as if it were my birth story. What would I want captured?

Another thing that began to draw out insecurity from within me was knowing that I wasn’t a professional photographer, so how could I just jump right in. My wonderful hubby jumped on board with my dream and wanted to help me in any way possible. So he has been teaching me. :) I have a lot to learn but I can already see a change in the work that I do. And also, I don’t want to be a professional photographer, maybe not ever, right now I just know I want to understand the camera and how to best captures those moments for someone else.

So how do I begin?

I knew that I wanted to start with friends, but even with close friends… how do you ask something like that? “Hi, I’d like to photograph your birth story, what do ya think?” The first thought of many is most likely – “I don’t want …down there… photographed!” haha. Thankfully, I was spared that awkward conversation and just 3 weeks after I shared this dream with Ted (October 2011), a friend of mine called me. She asked if I would consider photographing the birth of their son, Seth. I literally got goosebumps and tears filled my eyes. I was honoured to shoot my first birth in April.

During the birth of my friend Brittany’s son, I was asked to shoot my second birth by another dear friend, Bethany. She was Brittany’s doula and a long time friend and inspiration of mine. The amazing thing is that when I had shared with Ted about my dream, I had told Ted that I wanted to ask Bethany when they got pregnant with their next baby. And not too long later, they shared they were pregnant with baby #7! On September 15th, just a few weeks ago, I shot my second birth – the beautiful birth of their 4th daughter; Lilyana Elaine.

I hope to share both birth stories here soon. Today I will be posting the birth story of Seth Tyrus Maxwell (with permission.)

I am hoping for more wonderful opportunities like the two I’ve had this year. So very thankful for this dream I believe He’s given me and can’t wait to see how He will use this and bless others with it! Possible overseas someday? We shall see!

I just wanted to share a little bit about the story behind this dream that I believe God’s birthed in me (pun intended ;)) Thanks for stopping by!

my dream; the perfect picture.

(balloon pendant I bought from Mayo Mahem on Etsy)

Saturday night I dreamt I stood on a tiny little box and held tight to thousands of pink balloons. They lifted me and took me high into the sky (like you know when you’re on an airplane and you pass the first set of clouds and it kind of looks like a plain of clouds? I got that high) but then a point came where I could no longer hold onto them. The wind tossed them so strongly that little by little I let go. And I fell and as I fell I watched the balloons fly higher and higher until out of sight. I was so upset that I couldn’t hold on, that I’d let go…

I fell into the ocean and came up for my first breath only to have this wave immediately hit me and pull me under. Every time I would try to catch my breath, another wave came and then another and then another. (This was the majority of my dream until I woke)

I can’t even begin to tell you how perfectly this dream mirrors how I feel. I mean, at first I didn’t think so. At first, I felt upset and panicked when I remember how I felt in my dream, when I couldn’t hold on to the balloons. I told Ted I was afraid it “meant” I need to let her go. He immediately told me, no he didn’t think that’s what it represented. He felt it perfectly represented losing Eisley and how we felt when we lost her. That resontated in me. I wept.

If I could take how I feel and put them into a picture, this dream is a perfect picture.

When we lost Eisley, I felt an array of emotions. I can’t really pinpoint one. But I can say I had an overwhelming desire to hold on when I knew I couldn’t. Watching the “balloons” slip from my fingers until I could no longer hold them. The to watch them fly higher and higher, away from me, out of my reach, my heart screaming “no, no, no!” when my mind knew so clearly I couldn’t do anything to get “them” back.

And then, before I knew it, the waves came roaring in with all of their might and strength and swept me under before I can catch my breath fully. Before I even knew what was happening. And then the waves keep coming. Here and there the “waves” calm and I’m able to fully catch my breath and brace myself for the next round.

I was talking with my friend Petra about my dream. When I shared my dream with her, she immediately shared something so profound with me. I was hesitant to even share my dream on my blog but the collaboration of my dream, my feelings and the things I and others feel it means. I just had to share because I just had this feeling this would really, really speak to someone else like it did me.

(image from pinterest)

“right now you are in grief
because of the trauma and the sadness
grief = the crashing waves
suffocating
stifling
that make it feel like you will never breath again
but they will begin to ebb …you will still experience sorrow and sadness
the waves will grow gentler with time
gradually the grieving season will end
not the sadness
not the sorrow
not the missing Eisley
but the grief
the heart gripping, gut wrenching grief
it will
i promise
i know right now it feels like you can’t breath
and i don’t know how long the grieving process will take
and i also think its really important you let you know that you can have the saddness without the grief
that there will be a time where it feels as if you have grieved
don’t feel like you need to do it again
and dont start trying just because the feelings arent as deep anymore
because the seasons are all important
grief is not the goal
and its not the end
it is a process and it is so VERY necessary to embrace it
and to let jesus and those around you help be your life raft
take your time grieving
if you don’t grieve her now
and take all the time you need
then you will again later
and again
and again and agin
again
and it will eat.you.up.
when you know the season of grieving is coming to an end…let go of that part
not of eisley
that’s not what you’re letting go of
by allowing yourself to move from grieving to the next season may feel like at times you’re letting go of her
and i’m encouraging you now not to feel that way
when the time comes.
right now you have…the ache from missing her, the crushed dreams, the grief from loosing a child, the trauma from her birth,etc…, all together
the ache won’t go away
ever
you will ALWAYS miss her.
BUT you won’t always feel it as acutely as you do now
you won’t always feel all these things all together; the grief and the trauma…there will be a time when they are replaced with joy and laughter
i know that might sound trite
its not like you will ever forget that those things happened
but you will have the grace to carry on
and be able to feel his joy being your stregnth
but that ache and missing her will still be present
Whew. I copied her words during our conversation and pasted them in a note on our computer because I want to put them in my journal, they just really resonate and help me to understand my grieving in a better way.
I’ve been battling and trying to understand how I would ever stop grieving when I ache this much right now. I don’t know if I could even clearly express with words this battle within me. Whenever I hear “time heals all wounds” or anything related to with time it will get better, etc… my heart is confused. How is this possible? I don’t want time to heal this wound. I will always ache and I want to ache. I can’t explain what goes on inside of me when I think of the future and what people tell me of grief and “the grieving process”.
Slowly the pieces are slowly “falling into place” inside of my head and my heart with grieving, sorrow, loss, aching and the future. I’ve let it really bring me down but realized that I need to be in this moment now without letting it completely control me but also making sure I am really allowing myself to grieve how I need to grieve. In a healthy way. This dream and what I (and others) feel it represents helps me to understand this even more.
I need to be in this moment.
And this might sound crazy, but right now, I’d rather be in the crashing waves, banged up and bruised; feeling.
I’d rather this than be numb or to be done grieving. I’m not ready to be done.
All the while, I am carrying her in my heart.
Not letting her go, because I don’t have to.
I can face grief full force knowing this.

reminds me of her.

 

Hope this lightens the mood from the last post…
Here are some photos that remind me of Eisley and have really minister to us.
(click on photo for source)
Freedom. She is free of pain, suffering. She is healed and free.
This baby reminds us of her so much. She is at peace now and forevermore.
Ted and I both got emotional when we saw this one. WHEW. Someday, Chase will meet his baby sister. I cling to that promise that we’ll see her again someday.
I shared this before, but I just had to share it again. The girl doesn’t remind us of Eisley, but the idea of it does.
always.
yes.
Forever apart of me.
This is only half of what I’ve found on pinterest.com that reminds me of her. I’d love to frame them all :)

shatter, shatter, pause, repeat.

(Eisley’s ornament for 2010)

Shatter, shatter, pause, repeat.

Sometimes the “shattering” is so deafening I just want to climb into bed and sleep the days away so not to deal with any of this. This probably seems incredibly dramatic, but it’s the honest-to-goodness truth.

Before our sweet girl passed away, I would have break downs, but never fully shattered because I had {hope} that she would live. September 14th so began the shattering …and it didn’t end there. It follows me and sneaks up on me as I’m reminded of dreams we had for Eisley, or even in the little things,  like today when I watching Chase play by himself in the bath.

There is an Eisley shaped hole everywhere I look, in everything we do.


I’m walking a road I’ve never walked before this year;  the road of mourning the death of a loved one. I’m 23-years-old and this is the first time I have lost a loved one. I was still in the womb when my biological father passed away and even though it did affect me growing up, I still didn’t feel loss in such a way as I do now. I lost my great-grandfather when I was 2 and honestly I don’t remember much. I’ve stood beside my husband as he grieved the death of his friend Phil, which was heart wrenching for me but in such a different way. I still have all my great grandmothers, all of my grandparents, my siblings, my friends, etc.

My first time ever losing a loved one and I’ve lost my daughter, my Eisley. It’s completely overwhelming that I sometimes wonder how people survive after loss. Some days I struggle wondering if I will ever be able to move forward. I struggle with not letting my mind go to the “what ifs”. There is just SO much that swirls through my mind, so many questions…. Will I always grieve? Will this ache ever cease? Do I really want it to? What would life have been like with Eisley? Should I even go there?  Will I be the voice I want to be for my daughter? ETC.

Or things like, How do you cope with seeing reminders so often? How do you rejoice in others joys as you ache so deeply? How do you respond with someone downplays what you went through? How do you respond to people who wonder why we’re still grieving, as if Eisley wasn’t a life?

Or things like how I’ve overreacted;  to people who didn’t say a word to us throughout everything, like how I, the very day I got home from the hospital, deleted a lot of people from my friends on facebook just because they didn’t say a word to us. Or how I’ve allowed reading/hearing things affect me to the point I was in tears. Or how I’ve taken certain things people have said directly/indirectly to us when their heart intentions were probably pure.

I’m learning a lot right now, in my first time walking through loss.

It’s. so. so. so. overwhelming.

My mom just called me as I was blogging this and asked me how I was doing after the let down after the holidays. Oh…that might partly explain the sudden overwhelming I-don’t-wanna-get-out-of-bed feeling I had this morning.

I’ve been so busy making gifts for the past month at least, I’ve had a dear friend visit me and my mother-in-law come to town for a week, 3 Christmas celebrations, etc. It’s been busy, busy, busy and now it’s all calmed down. I never once felt completely okay over the holiday, but I also kept busy (sometimes intentionally) because I knew it would be hard to just sit still. I didn’t really think of after the holiday. I didn’t expect waking up this morning to be so difficult.

Bleh.

In November, I found myself in this pivotal moment where I knew if I didn’t pick myself up… I might never. So I began creating things for fall and Thanksgiving, and suddenly realized how therapeutic it was for me. I can’t explain it fully but it was so very healing. I realized that it was helping me and kept going and decided instead of giving up my goal of creating handmade Christmas gifts, that I would try. And I did it and it was {so} good for me.

All that to say, I’ve decided I am opening a Etsy store because creating is so very therapeutic for me. I feel like this is a really good outlet. I am hoping to get my Etsy store going soon. I think I need to because it’s healing. (Maybe it was perfect that I didn’t get the 2 nanny jobs I interviewed for?)

One thing that will help me immensely in the area of creating are a few of the gifts I received this year… I was pretty shocked to get a Cricut and a sewing machine plus Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabric gift cards! It’s so perfect and the best timing!

Please pray for me all around?

Thanks for loving me, even in my all over the place state.

Love, Jami

p.s. I’m doing a small giveaway on my blog this week. I will be posting it in the next two days and will announce the winner on 1.1.11!

back in september

(disclaimer: this post is really raw)

I keep reliving every moment. The good and the bad, mostly the traumatic. My heart and my mind still aren’t connecting in some ways. I just want everything to make sense and it doesn’t. Our little E was perfectly healthy. Perfect. What happened? What went wrong? “The placenta was too damamged by the bleeding”. How is that an answer? I know that even if I had an “answer” it wouldn’t be good enough.

I try so hard to understand, to try and make sense of everything and I let my mind go back to the first time I started bleeding and how terrified we were, to when they told us she was barely growing, to the first time on bedrest, to the first time they told us our chances of her surviving were slim, to the heart monitoring almost daily and then to the day I just knew something wasn’t right…

and it wasn’t.

I mostly flashback to the day, September 14th, when I realized something was terribly wrong. When searched for her hearbeat but only found mine racing because I knew she was gone. I flashback to the 3 days of labor and how often I’d ask them to drug me up not only so I wouldn’t feel anything physically, but because I didn’t want to feel anything at all. It was all too much. I remember as I was in labor and the tiniest part of me hoping for a miracle still. Hoping that when I delivered her, she would be screaming at the top of her lungs. That our daughter who we’d been dreaming of, and we’d all been hoping and praying for, would be alive.

I flashback to the moments we first held her. The first time I laid eyes on her and how beautiful she was. I close my eyes and cling to those memouries for they are all I have. I try and remember the peace I felt as I held her because I sure as hell don’t feel that peace now. I flashback to holding my beautiful, yet lifeless daughter…. and this is where I stay.

I feel stuck there. I feel as though I left her back in September and my life keeps moving forward at full speed. I need to go back and get her and bring her home… but I can’t. It’s like a horrible, terrible nightmare playing over and over in my head but it’s not a nightmare, it’s our reality. She is gone.

The mother heart in me is unsettled. As a mother you’d give anything to protect your child, to make sure they are nourished and well taken care of. You’d give your life for them in a second.

One day my fms sat us in her office and told me Eisley’s chances of living were close to none. She hoped that she would make it but believed that she would not. She told me I had a few options. 1. I could stay in the hospital doing what I was or 2. I could go home and live life like I was before and “let nature take it’s course”…

I felt so sick. How dare you even suggest that to me? The heart of a mother knew to keep fighting regardless of what the chances were, regardless of the heartbreak I might possible feel is the very thing we’d hoped for didn’t happen. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself had I chosen the second option. It wasn’t even an option for us.

We fought, and fought, and fought to keep her alive. And she fought, she fought a fight a baby never ever should. I am so proud of her and how hard she fought to live. They always told me she was “beating the odds” and “she is a fighter”.

I often think “why?”, “what happened?”, “what really went wrong” and have even ventured to the questions of “why us?” “why Eisley?”

I find myself in these really uncomfortable and sometimes terribly horrible places as I’m reminded of our loss. Our grief is constant and yet it’s also revisited with each flashback or reminder that she’s gone. Revisited as I suddenly remember the dreams I had for her and things I wanted to do with her and for her. Even silly things like the cute outfits and accessories and headbands and barretts that I wanted to make for her. How I’d imagine her first year photoshoot in a little tutu and pink converse. How I’d dreamt of her first canvas painting (like we did with Chase) in pink and orange paint everywhere and all over her. How I wanted her to be artsy and crafty like me. How I wanted to dress her like her momma. How I created teal and pink converse just so the two of us could be matchy matchy… the list goes on, and on, and on….from the tiniest and silliest little dreams to the biggest, most meaningful dreams.

I am also having a hard time differentiating truth and lies of people’s intentions towards me and it’s almost impossible for me to think clearly regarding this area right now. I am trying to find the balance in my heart and in my head of reading or hearing of what others write or tell me (when they know what we have/are going through) and somehow learning to not take it personally. To somehow let it go and not become wounded and bitter by everyone who writes whatever I read. (I wrote about it a it this post) I’ve even “removed” myself from the social networks for the most part and it’s helped a little bit but it all boils down to grieving and being envious. And the truth is I will always be reminded of our loss, especially right now in the thick of it.

Let me just say here I NEVER ever wish what we’ve gone through on someone else (hopefully if you know me, you know that).  I am happy for others and their healthy babies yet I think it makes sense that I am envious. To envy is to have a feeling of discontentment and to be honest I do.  To be jealous of someone is to be resentful of what they have. I am really trying to not go down that path. Please pray for me. I don’t want to resent. I am envious because I miss our girl and the reminders and really hard. Someday they might get easier. But everyone and their mom is having babies or pregnant right now ;) so it’s especially hard.

Just the other night as I drove to pick Ted up from work  (just me), I screamed out the deep anger that’s been welling up inside me and cried so hard that my face was swollen badly and my voice was raw. I am so thankful that God can handle me in that state. I haven’t ventured there often but when I do it feels so… healing. And He is faithful to remind me of who He is, even still, even amidst.

Where am I at, one day prior to my daughter’s due date? I’m an array of emotions, most healthy and some unhealthy ones that I am working through. I am praying for peace, but I kind of recognize it’s okay that I’m a mess right now. While everything else is unsettled within me I know without a doubt God is with us, He is still trustworthy and my daughter’s life has changed us and so many for the better. I am going to move inspired by her little life. I hope and long to be the voice, the art, the song, the creativity for my sweet E.

I am writing and being pretty vulnerable because I need your your prayers, your love, your support and please, your sensitivity.

Tomorrow is Eisley’s due date. My heart breaks even writing that…please stand with us in prayer for our hearts.

Long before she existed…

One of my best friends drove up to visit me last week. We talked about memory she had of when I first told her of Eisley’s name. It was in the little apartment that we shared. I wasn’t even married to Ted yet, but here we were talking about Eisley. Obviously she didn’t exist yet but her name and what it meant to me did. The dreams I had for my little Eisley-girl did. I’ve been dreaming of having my little E long before she existed. Chey told me that when I shared Eisley’s name she thought to herself  “One day I’m going to get to meet that little girl.”  Such a precious memory that now we’ll hold very dear to our hearts.

Then 7ish years later, at our ‘Pink or Blue’ Party we screamed in delight as we found out we were having a little girl. Chey came to me and said to me, “Jam, your finally having your little Eisley!” As Chey and I talked about her, we both just sat crying bittersweet tears. Even though it wasn’t the way I had dreamt it would be, I did indeed have my sweet little Eisley and she’s changed my life forever.

Whenever I dreamt of having my first little girl, my sweet Eisley, I never once imagined losing her. When I dreamt of Eisley, I imagined a little dark haired girl with big brown eyes looking up at me, with her hand in mine. Never once imagined that would actually never happen.

I didn’t actually want to write a blog that was morbid or depressing, because in this moment, I feel so overwhelmed with how blessed I was (and am) to have had my little Eisley. My sweet little girl. Long before she exisited I dreamt of her, I feel like I’ve known her for years.

This is obviously not what I had expected, or dreamt of… yet tonight I sit with a full and thankful heart to have such precious memouries despite how short her time with us was;

  •  the first time I “named her” back when I was just 16-years-old
  • Ted choosing Antalya as her middle name, meaning “beautiful” and “break of day” long before she existed (September 08)
  •  finding out I was pregnant with our “surprise baby” 7 years after picking out her first name
  • the first time I felt her movements within
  • the first time Ted and I (at the same time) felt her movements from the outside.
  • the moment we cut the cake and found out she was indeed our little Eisley ( I feel like I knew the whole time ), to the first time I called her by name and how amazing that felt. My Eisley was here at last.
  • recognizing how perfect and fitting her name really was for her
  • her reacting to my voice when I sang “you are my sunshine” or the song I sang over her throughout our days in the hospital
  • the one day that her heart rate read “143” on the monitor, over and over again. This might seem so little and silly, but this actually was much more than a coincidence for me. “143” was Ted’s way of telling me he loved me before he said “I love you” to me. He always wrote me little stickey notes and put them on my desk at work, or in random things of mine. When I saw her heart kept beating at a rate of 143. I just started crying. She knew her mommy and loved me so. I know that with everything in me.
  • getting to see our baby girl so frequently throughout our pregnancy with her via ultrasounds. We {cherish} those memories so much. Our only time we got to “see” our sweet Eisley, alive and full of movements.
  • the night before she passed away, when Ted talked to her and she reacted to his voice. As if she was saying goodbye. (makes me cry even now.)
  • Even though the time in the hospital was so difficult, I was truly never alone. I got so much alone time with my sweet girl. I often thought that if she would have made it, the deep connection I already felt with her in my womb would have been incredibly strong outside of the womb.

There are little memories throughout that I will always hold dear to my heart. I am so thankful for such precious memories.

This week I was sorting through and organizing all of my crafty stuff and I found a scrapbook my mom had made (and I’m finishing) of when I was pregnant with Chase and everything I ever wrote/documented during that time. It’s incredible and so full. As I flipped through it, I thought to myself “Eisley will never have a scrapbook” but then immediately remembered all of the journal/blog entries I wrote while I was pregnant with her. I decided to put a scrapbook together of my Eisley-girl and our journey with her and how she’s impacted our lives.

I began it just a few days ago and I am already 8 pages in. I actually began with the blog posts/journal entries/letters I wrote after she passed away, which might sound morbid, but I was afraid to start with what I wrote when she was alive. I think it’s going to be incredibly hard to read everything again but this time, knowing she isn’t here with us.

I am putting “everything Eisley” into this album. I am putting my {whole heart} into it as well. If you come visit me, don’t be surprised if I pull it out to show you, so you can catch a snitbit of who Eisley was and is to us, to me. I have realized this week that there are so many memouries and SO many little things going into Eisley’s scrapbook even though she never made it outside of my womb. I am in awe of how many precious memouries we have.

Thank you Jesus for these precious memouries and dreams, even the ones long before she existed. Thank you for our sweet Eisley-girl.

Forever, her big brother.

Chase did his balloon release for Eisley a little after the service and it was something I think a lot of us will never forget.

 It’s true, he doesn’t know the fullness of the loss of his baby sister, but he know something has happened. We taught him to say “baby” when we learned I was pregnant with Eisley and he would give kisses to my belly. I know he knew something and I can’t say how much, but I can say that I am telling him about his baby sister Eisley and will continue to tell him her story until he understands. He will know her as his sister.

I still hard for me wrap my mind around her not being here to run around with him. My heart aches when I’m reminded of this as I watch him play.  Today we walked to a park with my sisters and I watched him run around and do and say things that make him suddenly seem so big. It’s really hard for me to watch him get bigger knowing she isn’t going to be growing alongside him. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but it’s one of many dreams I had for her that I have to let go.

It’s so hard to watch the dreams we had for the two of them disappear so quickly. I think we will ache often throughout the years as we watch Chase grow up without Eisley by his side and we’ll always wonder what it would have been like. Yesterday, watching him let the balloon go was memorable yet hard. Beauty intertwined with the bitter taste of letting those dreams go.

It might “get easier as time passes” but right now it is so very, very hard.

Jesus, be our strength as we ache and grieve the loss of our daughter and Chase’s baby sister.

Joy Amidst.

Chase is so very glad to have me home.

 

He follows me all around more then ever before. Wherever mommy goes, he goes.  And if he catches me headed to the back of the house to use the restroom or to our room, he freaks out. I think he’s afraid I’m going to leave again, which breaks my heart.

We’ve spent a lot of time outside together. He will run around and then run at me and literally throw himself into my arms. I love it.  Watching him run around, play, dance, talk, laugh at himself… He is my little joy amidst this deep sorrow I feel.

I decided the first day back home, that if I needed to cry in front of him, I would. Even though he doesn’t understand or feel the loss of his sister, he know something has happened. I know he does.  When I cry, he comes to me, climbs into my lap and reaches up to touch the tears on my face. He snuggles me more often and kisses my face when I cry or even just because. I was telling a friend that it’s like the sweetest poem come to life, if that makes any sense at all.

 

I have been in awe of how sensitive he has been to me. I think it’s God’s grace and love pouring out all over him and into me in this time.

He is such a joy.  And boy does he make me laugh. I mean, just look at that “squinty face”. How can you not laugh? Chase also learned to say “I love you” in his own way this week, which I find incredibly fitting in this time. He say “I (something in gibberish) you” or just “I you” and it means the world to me.

I wrote this in my previous blog, but I often think of Chase as Eisley’s big brother and the dreams I had for the two of them together. I ache knowing they will never happen but I know someday we will see her again. For now I am just telling Chase (and one day our other children) about his sister and the legacy she left behind. Teaching him of who she was as I got to know her deeply in my time with her. He will love her as his sister even though she will never walk this earth with him.

(When I took this photo and uploaded, I immediately thought of my two sunshines. My little sunshine Eisley in heaven and my sunshine Chase here on earth.)

Thank you Jesus for my babies. Thank you for the time you let me have with my Eisley-girl and for letting Chase be our little joy here on earth with us. I am cherishing every moment with him more than I ever have. I am so very, very thankful for Chase and Eisley and for being given this honour of being their mommy.