Our Family

Our Family
Fall 2015 - These are my people

Monday, April 30, 2012

Castle In The Clouds...

A few weeks back, I had the privilege of spending five and a half hours visiting with Candy McVicar from the Missing Grace Foundation.  We bonded immediately over the shared loss of our daughters, both of whom died due to stillbirth.  While I was at the Center For Grace, the Missing Grace headquarters, I looked around in their gift shop.  There before my eyes, I saw the most amazing depiction of God’s castle in the clouds.  It was a painted picture of a little girl, facing the castle and looking so excited to enter into it.  For me, immediately I thought of my Solveig.  The picture reminded me so much of her and what she might look like as an older child.  Not only that, but it brought me comfort thinking of her entering into God’s castle in the sky.  It helped me to see from an earthly childlike perspective what my children might envision as they think of their sister and other two little siblings in Heaven.  Of course I had to buy a copy of this print.  Here it is:

I plan to hang it somewhere in our home, but have yet to figure out where.

Today while I was trying to rest but not able to fall asleep, I had a most beautiful vision from the Lord.  Much like the painting I described, He showed me my daughter Solveig…walking through the pearly gates with a huge smile on her face, giggling and ready to see Jesus.  She was walking on the streets of gold and the eternal sunshine was radiating onto her as she approached the throne of Jesus and His castle in the clouds.  Tears filled my eyes as I thought about this and joy spilled over into my soul.  Comfort came to my weary spirit and I thanked the Lord for this most incredible gift of knowing that my baby is with Him forever. 

Right before that attempted nap, I was reading in 2 Corinthians. Here is what I found:

“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in Heaven, not built by human hands.” – 2 Cor. 5:1-

I want to go to that eternal house in Heaven…the castle He has built in the clouds.

This song also came to my mind…as sung by the character Cosette from the musical Les Miserables.

Lyrics are by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel.

Castle On A Cloud

There is a castle on a cloud,
I like to go there in my sleep,
Aren't any floors for me to sweep,
Not in my castle on a cloud.

There is a room that's full of toys,
There are a hundred boys and girls,
Nobody shouts or talks too loud,
Not in my castle on a cloud.

There is a lady all in white,
Holds me and sings a lullaby,
She's nice to see and she's soft to touch,
She says "Cosette, I love you very much."

I know a place where no one's lost,
I know a place where no one cries,
Crying at all is not allowed,
Not in my castle on a cloud.

For me, that is a sweet childlike description of what Heaven might be like…and I just love hearing the song.  Here's a link to a video of it.  I've had several voice students sing this piece over the years and I always love working on it with them.  Now, it will make me think of my Solveig.  Maybe I can teach Bug the song...she'd probably love to sing it with her sweet, clear voice. :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Our Story - Part Five

Two months ago today she was born still.  I was sitting at Bug's church choir program this evening and happened to look down at my watch...April 29th...the 29th...two months ago, February 29th was Solveig's birth day.  It didn't cause me to burst into tears or anything like that, but just the recognition factor kicked in and I was reminded of her.  I like being reminded of her.  I like to think about her, because she is my daughter and she always will be.  I've had several great days of living life quite fully and having joy again.  This is a blessing.  I'm hopeful there will be more of those before the next wave swells up to shore in my heart.

So, the story continues...part five...

I left off in the funeral home.  We gave Solveig to our funeral director Dan, only about 32 hours after her birth.  I believe with all my heart that Dan and the other funeral directors, Sharon and Richard, took great care of my baby girl's body.  And I thank them for that.  They showed the utmost respect to us and we are so appreciative.  Thank you, funeral directors.

We walked out of that funeral home and I felt so strange, not having Solveig in my arms.  It was odd to not carry her around with me anymore.  There was something so "normal" about holding my baby in my arms, even if she was dead.  It made me feel like a mama to her.  But leaving her...that did NOT feel right.      I just knew that I had to do it, and I did.  Her weight was gone, which equals absence of an unwanted sort. Nobody wants to feel that type of absence, but God has allowed me and Erik to feel that.  I can tell you one thing...I hold my other two children more tightly now.  I watch them like a hawk.  Yes, I feel a bit of "helicopter mom" coming on.  And it's not because I want to be like that.  I think it's just an instinctual thing that has happened.  A fear I face now of not wanting anything to happen to my Bug and Buzz.  I don't know what I'd do if something happened to them.  And yet the utter reality I've been faced with is also that I am to continually present my children to the Lord.  They belong to HIM, not me.  They are just on loan to me for awhile on this earth.  Kellie talked about this the other day and it really sank in with me. Sure I've thought about it before, but after releasing our daughter to the Lord I understood it fully for the first time...the need to surrender.  We humans hate surrender.  We want to keep a tight grip on that which we consider dear and sacred to us.  But we are called to let go.  Such a hard lesson, but so true.

I touched on this before, but after we left the funeral home we visited three different cemeteries and finally found our sweet country cemetery.  I really like going there and I'm surprised I don't have the urge to go every day.  But I don't.  I love going there though and always treasure my moments near Solveig's grave.  I'm looking forward to ordering her a headstone.  Her grave will also be mine.  That is kind of an odd thing - to already know where my body will be laid to rest.  But for some reason, it truly gives me a peace knowing that my body will be laid with hers.  We will be together again physically, but we will be together again spiritually even before that.  When my spirit leaves my body and flies to Jesus, my baby will be there waiting for me.  I can hardly wait.  Okay...now the tears are coming.  See, I knew they would come sometime soon.  It's this writing business...it pulls out the good, the bad and the difficult...but I'm finding it so worth it all.  Such healing is coming through it for me.  So...back to the grave...one of the neatest things about the cemetery we chose is that it is SO small.  It is run by volunteers from a church, as it is that church's cemetery.  It is nice that we didn't have to be members of that church to use their cemetery.  The sweet people who volunteer their time are such gems of humanity.  I have met a few of them and have had the chance to thank them for what they do.  One of them told me that he really enjoys being out there, and finds it so peaceful.  Bless his heart.  There is a sweet pond that was frozen when we were choosing the cemetery so we didn't get to see it then.  Of course it has since thawed and it is adorable, and lots of birds gather round.  I like to sit on the benches near the pond and walk around it and think.

After leaving the cemetery, we came home and crashed.  Our parents were taking turns watching the kids, so we were able to relieve them and spend a little time with our kids and just rest in our own home again.  Of course it was bizarre to come home without our baby.  The law here in MN does say that parents are allowed to take their babies home from the hospital if they want to...but as I alluded to before, there are some challenges between the state law, hospital regulations and funeral home policies that didn't make it possible for us to bring Solveig home.  But in all honesty, I don't think I would have wanted to do that.  Some people really like to do that, and I think that's neat for them.  Some people like that they can bring their baby home and spend time rocking the baby in his or her room, visit with family and friends in a less stressful atmosphere, etc.  But for us it was okay that we didn't take that route.  We felt right about leaving her with the funeral directors.  And we knew we'd see her physical body again a few times before we buried her, so that helped a little bit.

Our kids were so glad to have us home again.  They needed their mommy and daddy, and we needed them.  I was so glad to be able to hold them in my arms again.  We started to read some of the books we had been given for children going through the loss of a baby sibling.  I'm so glad for those resources.  One of my favorite books for them isn't really about grief, but it's just about Heaven.  If you haven't yet read Heaven Is For Real, I highly encourage you to do so.  We had read it a few months before Solveig's death and have found it incredibly helpful for understanding perhaps a bit more about what Heaven is like.  There happens to be a kids version of the book which has GORGEOUS illustrations and has brought to life even more the reality of Heaven for us and for our kids.

The next day was Friday.  We woke up knowing that we would have a LOT to do this day.  The first thing we did was to go to my favorite store with the big red bullseye to obtain a replacement white blanket, identical to the one that we had purchased for Solveig to be wrapped in.   We then went to the funeral home to see Solveig again and to choose a casket for her.  We were able to spend a long time holding her again and looking at her tiny, beautiful features.  She was cold because she had been in the refrigerator.  I know, hard to hear, but real.  But again, it really didn't matter to us.  She still looked so pretty to us.  She was still our sweet girl...the one who had had been warm and had come out only two days earlier.  I wanted to cherish every moment that I could with her.  After holding her for awhile, we switched out the blankets.  I took the bloodied blanket that had held my daughter's body as I wanted to keep it with me forever, and we wrapped her instead in the identical blanket.

We were then presented with three options for a casket.  There was a tiny white one which wasn't really long enough for Solveig's eighteen inch body.  Then there was a white one that was a little bit bigger.  And then there was a beautiful marbled light pink one.  Erik and I were both immediately drawn to that pink one and we knew it was right for our girl.  It was so pretty.  I never knew I'd call a casket pretty, but this one sure was.  Sharon, the funeral director we worked with that morning, said that the pink casket was brand new and she decided to bring it along for us to see.  I'm so glad that she did.  Casket shopping for our child was so strange and definitely brought out a whole new flood of tears.  These are decisions that parents don't want to have to face.

After mustering up enough strength to yet again leave our daughter behind, we left the funeral home and went out shopping for more things.  Next up, we had to go back to the cemetery to actually choose a plot.  Sobering.  But Jerry, the sweet man who volunteers and helped us out, was so tender with us.  He had tears in his eyes and just a sweet, soft-spoken manner.  I appreciate him greatly.

Erik got a new suit as he hadn't gotten one of those since his first job interview. :)  Bless him.  We found a really helpful guy at our local department store who heard our story and immediately went to work helping Erik.  I thankfully have a closet full of black formals from singing, so there were a few options that would work with my swollen, just had a baby body.  I settled on one black velvet dress that I wore in college and have used several times since!  It has that timeless look, so I doubt anyone knew how old it was...but now you know!  Bug would wear her beautiful white dress which we bought for the hospital pictures, and Buzz would wear his black suit and tie from Christmas.

We also had to tend to the final details of our funeral program which we had been planning since Sunday night when we found out that Solveig was gone.  Thank you to sweet Lisa for working behind the scenes to make our program look AMAZING.  It was so pretty and delicate, just like our little girl.

This picture was on the front of the program...

I love this one.  It's so tender and soft and sweet.  I think our Solving had a sweet spirit.  I could sense that.  I think that she was also feisty like our other two kids, as she was constantly busy inside of me.  But sometimes I wonder if some of her busyness was related to her cord strictures...and that she might have been trying to move her way out of something that wasn't comfortable...we'll never know.  I'm just so glad that I got to feel her in me at all.  She was a miracle.  I'll not forget that.

There is so much more to share, but this post is already super long...so I'll save more for another day...thanks for reading and thanks for your continued prayers for our family.  We feel such a peace and strength.  The kind of peace that is perfect from the Lord.

The following was my mom's life verse while she was going through her cancer, almost 12 years ago...

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."
-Isaiah 26:2-4-

Saturday, April 28, 2012


For a few days I've been doing really well and haven't had any major meltdowns.  It has been nice to be living life with my family, enjoying my kids and being grateful for the safe return of my Erik.  He was gone for four nights on a business trip to the Na_pa Val_ley area of Ca_lifor_nia.  Nice, right?  :)  I'm happy for him that he could get away for a little bit.  It was so healthy for both of us to have some time to think and reflect.  But I'm SO glad that he is home again as I missed him a lot!

Today we had the chance to spend time with some sweet friends who are here from Sea_ttle.  It was a nice little reunion.  On the way home, I started telling Erik how my mind has been rehearsing what happened with Solveig.  Naturally, I think about her all the time.  And some of the time my thoughts are consumed with how she died and the process therein.  I will always vividly remember the 200 ticks that I felt in rapid succession.  I will probably always wish that I had called the Dr. right away to ask about that and then rush to the hospital to see if we could save Solveig's life.  But the reality is, even if we had gotten to her before she was completely gone, she may have been brain dead from having a seizure.  I really believe it was a seizure that was happening to her.  I'd like to learn more about this ordeal and really study it from a medical perspective because it is quite fascinating to me now.  I want to know as many details and potential scenarios from an earthly perspective as I possibly can.  That's just how I operate.  I'm hoping that I can get my hands on some medical journal articles about this type of seizure caused by the cord stricture, and I'm hoping to speak with some doctors about it.  People can tell me to get over it or move on or try to let go of it...but as a mama who has lost this little life, I think I'll always remember her last moments inside of me...and I'll always wonder "what if."  What if she had been spared...would she have health problems from her struggle?  Would she have been mentally or physically challenged?  Would she have been fine?  Would she have lived for a little bit and then died?  I'll never know.  And she's not here.  And I'm learning to live in the "new normal".

At the same time, Erik and I were talking about the sovereignty of God and how it relates to Solveig and her life.  I do believe that He knew what would happen to her.  And I believe He is sovereign.  He is the author of life, and the author of time.  "He giveth and He taketh away."  As hard as it is for me to comprehend and as hard as it is to say at times, blessed be the name of the Lord.  He has been bringing joy in the midst of this pain.  He has been helping me to think of my little girl being complete and being full of true joy in the midst of the Lord.  He has shown me His presence and His strength in my hurt.  And He has been bringing me peace in the midst of what feels like a huge gale.  I still love the Lord.  I still worship Him.  And I still miss my Solveig and always will...but He is still good, no matter what.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A New Friend...Isaiah's Mama

When we lose someone close to us, we join a club.  This club isn't one that anyone would outright choose to join, but it's just there.  The club of others who have also lost is full of members whose lives you may intersect at any given time and any given place.  One such member is my new friend, Becky.  She and her husband Matt recently lost their precious baby boy Isaiah.  He was also born still, just a few weeks after Solveig.  Becky and I went to the same college but didn't know each other until our lives were bonded through this club of loss.  And although the circumstances for our meeting are difficult, I'm incredibly grateful to know another mama who is journeying a very similar path as mine at a similar time.  Sweet Becky, I am praying for you and Matt and your little children as you miss your Isaiah.  May God be so close to you and comfort you as you grieve.  Please join me in praying for Becky.  And if you'd like to follow her journey, click here to follow her blog.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Little Piece of Heaven...

I tried to find three early pictures of my three babies as I was thinking about how they look similar and different.  The following are sort of random, but they're sweet to us. :)

Bug - born May 19, 2006 - this was about a week or so later...she looks like she's playing air guitar, doesn't she?
  For some reason we didn't get many good hospital pictures of her.

Buzz - born June 22, 2008 - he has such a sweet round head.  I'll never forget Dr. C who delivered him and said, "this baby has such nice big round head!  hahaha!  I never seen baby with such nice big round head!"  I love telling that story. :)

Solveig - born still February 29, 2012...I think she looks so much like her big sister and I often stop in my tracks to gaze at the Bug and imagine Solveig and what she would be like...I love this picture of her, because I feel like we can see her features most clearly on here and on one other one that we have.  She was so tiny...my hand totally covered her body...

Writing has eluded me the past few days.  My desire and inspiration just hasn't been there.  But tonight I feel like I can write again.  After a stressful weekend and just not feeling well due to an ear infection, I'm just starting to regain some strength again.  My body and spirit just had enough I guess after all the stress of the last eight weeks.  Eight weeks...today marks eight weeks since Solveig's birth.  It is hard to believe that so much time has passed when many moments it feels like time has stood still.  But life goes on.  Life has gone on all around us, and some of the time we have been able to partake in those goings on.  It has felt good to do some "normal" things again.  But there are still days when I can barely get up and get going. Having two cutie pies with me kind of keeps me going.  They're really helpful for that and I'm so grateful for them.  Our furry friend Bailey is a great companion too, and I'm glad that we've had her for almost a year now.  And my sweet man...he helps me too.  Thank you Erik.

Today we had a really incredible speaker at our MOPS group.  Her name is Kellie, and she and her husband Todd lost their daughter Makenzie almost three years ago to a really tragic car accident.  Makenzie was 18 years old and she was a beautiful young woman who loved Jesus and also was a professional ballerina.  Kellie shared some pretty amazing things today that really spoke to my heart.  (Thank you Kellie.  It was awesome to meet you today.) I felt like even though my loss of Solveig is very different than her loss of her teenage daughter, there were many things that I could relate to.  Kellie talked about the need to hold her daughter after she found out she had died in the accident.  She shared that she wasn't able to see her daughter for a couple of days due to the law and needing to investigate the accident.  When she talked about that, I completely broke down.  I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been for her.  But I could relate to the desperate need to hold and see her daughter who had died.  I'll never forget how intense that desire was for me...knowing my sweet girl was already gone inside of me and just wanting her to come out so that I could hold her and keep her close to me...even though her spirit was already gone.  Kellie also shared some very special truths that I wrote down in my little blue notebook which now goes everywhere with me.  She said, "God doesn't function on my life's to do list."  Wow.  Isn't that something?  We think we need Him to do things in our time and when it will work best for us...but friends, He doesn't operate that way.  His timeline is different than ours.  The other thing that she talked about was how everything we've gone through in our life up to the time of our difficult moment was preparing us for that difficult moment.   I could really relate to that one.  I can honestly look at my life and say that I see how God was preparing me for Solveig's death in so many ways...from the tiniest details to the more major ones.  For instance, I do believe that having two miscarriages prior to Solveig's death was helpful for me.  I already knew that life isn't just a given and that we cannot take life for granted.  I also believe that He helped me even with those miscarriages and Solveig's loss through knowing the story of my own parents' loss of conjoined twins who were born before brothers Eric and Joel and me.  I can hardly wait to meet them in Heaven one day.  And other things like having a background knowledge of funerals and the customs therein and funeral homes (from my dad working in the business)...that was very helpful as we were planning Solveig's funeral.  I feel like throughout my pregnancy with Solveig I was just hesitant to accept that it would go "textbook."  It wasn't textbook, that's for sure, and I knew that fairly early on.  I just kind of had a foreboding sense that something was going to happen and that I would maybe be called to sacrifice her to the Lord.  I never had a "word" from the Lord about that as some people might, but I just kind of knew.  I don't know how better to explain that.  One other thing that Kellie said that I will remember was, "God never interrupts your life - He knows every detail."  He knew.  He knew that Solveig would die.  I believe that it was part of His plan for her and for us.  Sometimes that portion is quite difficult to reconcile.  Sometimes it is hard to understand how His plan for my daughter and for us could involve her early departure from this planet.  But His plans are not for us to fully comprehend here, as much as we'd like to.  We will know fully when we are in Heaven.  I look forward to having these earthly mysteries solved one day.

Kellie talked about how Makenzie met Jesus immediately upon her sudden death.  For me, that visual was so real today.  And what a beautiful image that was.  Not only could I imagine this sweet young girl who had died, but also my precious Solveig.  Solveig got to meet Jesus, immediately upon her death.  She got to see Him face to face.  She is with Him now.  Today, I saw a little piece of Heaven when I imagined my  adorable baby girl being held by Jesus.  I long to be there too.  One day sweet Solveig...one day we will meet again.  For now, maybe Miss Makenzie is playing with you and teaching you how to dance on the streets of gold.  I know your big sister Bug will love dancing with you too one day.

I miss you, baby girl.  Your mommy will always love you and think of you...and I'll always be grateful that I had you here for a brief while...you had life.  You had life in me, and that was a blessing.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Our Story - Part Four

Big sister Bug loved her little sister Solveig...she misses her so much.

Last I wrote about our story of Solveig, I left off here.  The following is the fourth installment in the story...it's kind of long, but this is our story...

After our photography session with Jen and the family members, we spent a bit of time with the family and then they left.  It felt so quiet and empty when our family left us there.  Now it was just us three.  We would not realize just how tender those moments were until we would sit in reflection and gratitude that we continued our time with our daughter for almost a whole day longer.  It was so peaceful just the three of us, and Erik and I took turns holding and rocking Solveig.  We talked to her and sang to her like she was still with us.  I don't remember a whole lot about that evening, except that there was one point at which I just sat looking at our daughter and I once again broke down weeping in realization that she was gone.  Erik came and wrapped his arms around me and held me in reassurance and love.  He pulled out our computer and turned on the i_tunes and what he chose at that moment was so appropriate.  It was Steven Cu_rtis Ch_apman's album "Be_auty Wi_ll Ri_se," the one he wrote following the tragic loss of his daughter Maria several years ago.  The song, "Jesus Will Meet You There" came on and I wept...knowing that He would be with me, no matter how dark things were and would get.  There is great comfort found in music.  I encourage you to click on that link above and listen to that song if you haven't heard it.  I may be a classical singer, but I enjoy and appreciate almost every genre of music, including contemporary Christian.  And since I grew up with listening to good 'ol SCC, I feel like he's my buddy and I find comfort in the text of his songs.

That night after the delivery, we decided to stay in the hospital.  I probably could have chosen to go home as some people do following a still birth, but I really wanted to maximize my time with Solveig.  That, and odd as it may sound, staying at the hospital was in a way comforting.  It felt safe there.  And there was the knowledge deep in my mind that when we left, we'd be leaving our story and leaving our daughter and heading back into the world...which I was not ready to do.  Erik fell asleep pretty easily.  For me however, it was not quite so easy.  I was obviously exhausted physically and emotionally, but I wanted to stay awake with my daughter.  I didn't want the next day to come.  I didn't want to miss any minutes with her.  She was wrapped up like a little burrito laying next to me in the hospital bed.  I needed to be close to her...and this would be the only night that I would get to sleep with my little baby girl.  I wanted to keep her warm since her warmth was gone hours ago from her body.  The coldness did not deter me from wanting her near...she was still my baby...part of me.  I caught a few hours of sleep, finally.

Morning came all too soon and the barrage of nurses and doctors came too.  I was glad to see my sweet Dr.'s L & M again.  Dr. L with tears in her eyes hugged me and then held my baby girl in her arms.  The kindness of these two sweet women reached into my soul.  Their story will always be woven with mine and I'll always be glad for their place in my life.  Thank you dear doctors.

We had to meet with a social worker to discuss plans and sign some papers.  After a few phone calls, we got some things straightened out and made an appointment for our funeral director to come and meet us at the hospital to sign the baby out.  Before he came, however, our dear pastors Sid and Rich came and met with us to work through the funeral plans.  It meant so much to us that they could be with us in the hospital in some of our darkest hours, showing us love and support.  We had been planning Solveig's funeral service for a few days already, since we found out that she was gone, and it didn't take long to get things settled with the pastors.  They prayed over us and we felt like our time was so sacred with them.  Thank you, Sid & Rich.  You are dear men of God and we respect you immensely and thank you for meeting us in our need.

After our pastors left, the time was quickly approaching that we would have to leave the hospital.  We were by this point quite ready, yet at the same time my spirit was hesitant.  I knew that it was going to be difficult to leave our safe refuge in our room at the end of the hallway...but we packed up our things and got ready to meet our funeral director, Dan.  The plan that we made was that I would ride with Dan to the funeral home.  Due to hospital, state and funeral home policies not lining up, the best scenario we could come up with was that I could help escort our daughter in my arms if I was willing to ride in the car.  Having grown up around funeral homes and the funeral business, this really didn't bother me too much as I imagine it might bother many other people.  My dad used to sell music systems for funeral homes, so we saw a LOT of funeral homes growing up while we were on family vacations and he would make business calls.  In fact, the very funeral home that we worked with for Solveig's funeral is one that I got to see and tour upon its grand opening.  Never did I think they'd be helping me do a funeral for my own child.

Dan arrived.  Standing outside our door were two of our sweet nurses ready to help push me out in a wheelchair, a police officer who had to be there to make sure the dead body wouldn't get stolen or tampered with or something...interesting...and Dan, the funeral director.  It was such a strange and grim scene, and so surreal.  But it was real.  It was very real.  I held Solveig, wrapped in her pretty white blanket, and a blanket was placed over her and me so that people wouldn't know that I was carrying my dead baby underneath it all.  We went down a sort of "back" hallway so that we wouldn't have to go past the nursery...so grateful for that.  But while we were going out, there was a woman pushing a stroller, chatting away happily with her husband.  That was really hard. It was so extremely odd and different that instead of joyfully holding my new baby and heading to the car to go home, I was holding our deceased baby and heading instead to the funeral home...in the white Cad_illac...with my husband following behind in our car.  Dan was incredibly kind and respectful, as was the police officer.

I held Solveig in my arms all the way to the funeral home.  I was not about to let someone else take her and escort her any other way.  We went inside and made our funeral plans with Dan.  We wrote Solveig's obituary quickly so that it could make it into the paper for the next day's printing deadline.  We talked about cemeteries and caskets and burial plans.  Because our daughter was so tiny and had already endured much being born still and dying inside of me, we decided that we would not embalm her little body and would therefore not do an open casket funeral.  Growing up with funeral business being talked about around me all the time, I have come to agree with the idea that seeing the body of the deceased is an extremely helpful thing for people who are grieving.  Sometimes that is not possible, but when it is possible, it is so helpful.  When we can see the body of the one who is gone, we can more fully come to terms with their death and its reality.  When we don't have that chance to see the body, it can sometimes feel like perhaps the person never really died or maybe we'll see them again somewhere, somehow.  I didn't get to see my grandparents' bodies as I wasn't at their funerals, and I honestly think it was harder for me to come to terms with their passing.  Anyway, that's something for you to chew on and consider for you and your loved ones.  For us, at least some of our family members and our pastors were able to see our baby's body...so it was very real for them.

After a few hours with Dan, we had to leave Solveig.  It was extremely difficult for me to relinquish my daughter into Dan's loving arms.  He treated her with such respect and kindness...but I didn't want to leave her there.  I could hardly let go.  But I had to.  I'm sobbing as I write this portion because I can so clearly remember that pain.  Solveig's body had to remain at the funeral home until the burial.  After leaving, we went and visited three cemeteries.  Finally when we reached the third stop, we knew we were in the right place.  We love our tiny little country cemetery.  It just feels so comforting.  If you've never lost a loved one and haven't hung out in a cemetery much, you might not be able to relate to that part.  But when that day comes for you, you'll know what I mean...that you can find comfort knowing that your loved one is safely laid to rest.

How odd to have a baby and not rest afterwards.  But that was the journey we would be on for the next several days until her burial...to be continued...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bracelet Story Contest

Yesterday I went to the Bri_ghton store at the mall to see if they could help me with my charm bracelet which had a loose closure and also a lost stopper bead.  They immediately looked at the bracelet and said that they would just replace the bracelet itself as well as the stopper bead.  FABULOUS service, I tell you!  Thank you Bri_ghton and kind ladies at the store.

I went on to tell the ladies of my story and the significance behind my bracelet.  They said that they had heard about me from the other sales associates and they were so moved by the story of my daughter.  Then they told me about a contest through Bri_ghton.  The contest is for people to share their story of their charm bracelet and the woman that the bracelet is for.  They were cheering me on, saying that I absolutely had to share my story!  So, today I wrote that story.  Some of it I have already shared on here, so it was not too hard for me to come up with something.  What follows is the story that was just submitted this evening.  Also, I have to say that one of the ladies who helped us create the bracelet was there tonight.  Her name is Doreen and she's so sweet.  She gave me a huge hug tonight and said that it meant so much to her that I came back to the store and that I decided to share my story.  Thank you Doreen.  You really did make a difference for us.  Here it is!  I'm hoping that it will be selected for voting.  If it is, I'll be sure to let you know and I'll ask for your votes online!

This story is not about a woman, but about my stillborn daughter who would inspire me greatly.  February 26, 2012 my husband Erik and I received some of the worst news any parents could ever hear – our baby girl Solveig Sofia had died inside my womb at 33.5 weeks gestation.  We went home to prepare over the next day for the delivery of our daughter.  The hospital grief counselor encouraged us to find a special outfit and blanket for our baby, but also to get a piece of jewelry that would be in honor of her…something that we could touch to her while we were holding her and saying our hellos and goodbyes.  We made our way to the Brighton store at our nearby shopping mall and after explaining our story to the two ladies working in the store, they helped us through many tears to put together what has become a most incredible keepsake.  My silver bracelet has on it the three initials of my children, all on beautiful silver beads with tiny crystals.  I also chose a special charm for Solveig: a round circle with a cross on one side and the word “believe” on the other.  There are two silver stopper beads with diamonds on them to hold all of the charms in place.

Solveig was born on February 29 and we had photos taken with our family. We placed the bracelet near Solveig’s hands and feet for many of the photos.  For Solveig’s burial, we purchased duplicates of the “S” charm as well as the cross that says “believe.”  At her funeral service, those charms were displayed next to Solveig’s tiny pink casket along with her photo.  Two days later we buried her, with her little “S” and cross charms inside her casket.  Even though her spirit has left her earthly body, wearing my bracelet helps me to feel connected to Solveig in a special way, since we both have the same charms with us.  Since her death, I have worn my bracelet nearly every waking minute of each day.  Little did I know when we purchased the bracelet just how much it would come to mean to me.  When I look at the cross charm that says “believe,” I am reminded that our daughter is in Heaven with Jesus.  I believe He died so that she could be there, and so that I could believe and hope in Him, knowing that I will one day also be with her in Heaven.

Thanks again Jen for your amazing photos.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Solveig's Imprint

It has been a few weeks since we were given these wonderful photos taken by Jen Kelly on behalf of the NIL_MDTS organization. To us they are absolutely breathtaking still, even after nearly seven weeks...and they always will be breathtaking. Tomorrow it will be seven weeks since Solveig was born into the world, not breathing and not uttering one tiny peep. We miss her immensely. Sometimes the pain of our loss grips so tightly that the body wants to shut down and not go on. But there are so many reminders of why we must go on...one is dancing to classical public radio while I type, and the other is shoving delicious morsels into his mouth at the lunch table and trying to snuggle with the dog at the same time. They are excellent reminders of what is good and lovely and excellent here on Earth. And one other incredibly priceless reason is probably at a desk answering phone calls from colleagues and customers and typing away important data, working hard to take care of our family...I love him so much.

Right as we were beginning to take pictures with Solveig, Buzz started to lose it and didn't really want to participate. I think he was perhaps overwhelmed with sadness and confusion as well as lack of sleep and missing Mommy and Daddy. The look on his face is full of grief. Then big sister Bug has her focus solely on the precious baby sister that she wanted so much. Both kids were glad to meet little Solveig that day and they were not too stunned by her appearance which had already started looking a bit purple. Kids are fabulous that way. They just see the person...they don't care about particulars of physical beauty the same way that we adults seem to notice. Even with her skin turning purplish, our baby was still so beautiful to us. She will always remain beautiful to us in our memories.

As Erik and I sat together for our photos with our baby, it was such an odd place to be...so different than when we were taking photos with one whom we would bring home. For this precious one was already HOME for all eternity with Jesus. We were not to bring her to our earthly home...a fact which is still incredibly difficult for me to this day. But we could cherish her there at the hospital. (There is a way to bring home a baby who has died, but we chose not to do that...and it is complicated with hospital, funeral home and state legalities not quite matching up at this point.) We could have our photos taken with her, and we did. We created memories for a lifetime and we will never forget. She has made an imprint that is so deep and all the storms of time could not blow away the print that has been placed on our hearts.

We are forever changed by our Solveig. Now, the hardest part is learning to walk in faith with the Lord and not cursing Him, and not blaming Him, and not giving up on Him. Believe me when I say that I've had some very dark moments of not wanting to trust Him. But I keep coming back to Him. For He has never left me, even in the darkest of moments. One foot in front of the other...one day at at time...we must keep going. And He will go with us through it all.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Dark engulfed me for a few days...but the Lord slowly lifted me from the darkness, and has been showing me His light and goodness in the land of the living. There is much life to be had here on this Earth. He has me here for MANY purposes, two of which are currently playing in the other room. Praise be to Him for those little lives which are STILL here and to be celebrated, every minute of every day. Praise be to Him for the amazing husband that He has blessed me with...the man who said to me the other night as he wrapped me tenderly in his loving arms, "it is going to be okay. WE are going to be okay." I'm thankful for that man. And I'm thankful that the Lord is doing a mighty work in his heart and drawing him closer to His spirit, amidst the darkness which could so easily overtake us. We are praying for Him to be near us. We are praying for Him to show us His truth in this mess...and He is. Believe me. He is STILL good and His love endures amidst the flames. Erik and I are drawing closer through our trials.

THANK YOU does not even begin to express how grateful I am to all of you who are praying over our lives. Your love and prayer is palpable. Yesterday when I didn't know how I could possibly go on after I wrote that blog post, people began to let me know that they were and are praying. My spirit began to loose its grip on the darkness, or rather shall I say, the darkness began to loose its grip upon me. The load was lifted. You shared in this burden. We shared the burden and gave it to the Lord. For that I will always be so thankful. What a gift that when we cast our cares on Him He does care for us and does help us through and does lighten the burden from our spirits.

Spending time with some very sweet friends in the last few days has meant a lot to me. Knowing that people still love me and care deeply for me through this trial does help keep me going. Thank you sweet friends. You are dear to my heart, and the Lord will bless you for caring over me.

And of course, THANK YOU LORD for revealing yourself to me not only through the gift of friends and acquaintances the world over who are praying for us, but thank you for revealing yourself to me through your Holy Word. I yesterday opened up my Bible in the little room of the house where I can hide away from the small people in my life...and I literally came to a quite appropriate scripture in Psalm 27.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

Woah. There's food for thought, my friends. Such fear had taken over me...such anxiety...but I need not fear. He is my light. He is my salvation. He is my stronghold. What a blessing.

Then today, after trying to rest and not being able to fall asleep because so much is on my mind, I opened again to Psalms and was drawn to Psalm 40.

"I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts towards us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told."

Whew. That's incredible. He drew me up out of mire and destruction and my feet are secure on the rock. It makes me want to go and scale a mountain and sing praises to Him. I want to tell the World about Him. Your wonders are there, Lord. You are still there. Thank you for your presence and for your truth which keeps me alive. Thank you for your mercies that are new every morning. Thank you for drawing me into your Word.

Friday, April 13, 2012


The sky is dark, and my spirit feels dark. A weight of heaviness is pressing down on me and I have hit a wall mentally and emotionally. Anger manifested itself last night and I found myself crying out to God, asking Him why He would allow our baby to die when she was so close to living here on Earth. Why would he allow us to lose another child after having two miscarriages before Solveig's rather healthy pregnancy? Why wasn't that cord seen before her death and the subsequent delivery? Why didn't I ever have a 3D ultrasound where perhaps the cord would be more noticeable? Why didn't anybody suspect cord problems when we learned that Solveig had PAC - premature atrial contractions - sometime around 26-28 weeks? I cannot remember now exactly when that was...and in case you don't know what PAC is for an infant in the womb, it just means that there is sort of an extra heartbeat...but that is supposed to resolve upon delivery when the cord is cut and the baby's blood then completely flows on its own through their body. But I just read something which I need to verify with my dr. friends...that heartbeat abnormalities can sometimes be attributed to nuchal cords...and that true knots in cords often happen fairly early in the pregnancy. If those things are true, then why wasn't the cord seen in the gizillion ultrasounds that were taken of my daughter? There are so many mysteries that I'm trying to solve...and I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I will NOT be able to solve them all this side of Heaven. There are many things which will have to wait. That is excruciating right now.

We had our second counseling appointment last night with Grace. It's good that we are facing our issues head on...but it is extremely difficult at the same time. I know that in the long run it will be for the best. But going through the mire is the hardest part. We need your prayers. We need God to remind us of His presence right now...and His goodness...and His strength...He never will leave us or forsake us...a fact that it so hard to swallow in such a time as this...yet a fact that I have to choose to believe.

This morning I am taking some time to read, pray and maybe sleep. I'm exhausted and can barely think straight. This is where I am. He is still there...even when I am here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Our Story - Part 3

Some weeks ago now, I started writing the story leading up to Solveig's birth and finished writing through the birth itself. But I haven't been able to write more about it until now, six weeks later. I guess I just had other things on my mind that needed to be shared. But now I want to write more of the story...

February 29th - 8:03 am - Solveig Sofia entered the world in breech position, which again was just perfect for her since she was already gone in spirit and her body didn't need to arrive head first. After untangling her from the cord which engulfed her body in too many places, the nurses placed her in my aching arms. Just like with my other babies, it was incredible to hold her finally. Although it was so odd and difficult that she hadn't entered the world with a cry of life, the contrary was true - she was so peaceful. My baby had been through so much already, so much strife. And now she was at peace. As hard it is was to accept all that she had endured and all that we were to endure from there on out, there was a calm about the situation that could only come from the Lord who was covering us with His utmost presence. We were not without Him at any time. The room was filled with light and I believe that angels were in our midst. Even though I could not physically see angels, I truly did see white light all around...such irony in the midst of what could only humanly be understood as one of the darkest moments in a person's life. That in itself was an immense gift of the Lord. For us it was dark, yes it was awful, but yet filled with light and hope and peace. I still don't understand how God would allow this to happen, yet I know that my daughter's life was not in vain and there is vast purpose that has come already through her life and this difficult situation. It doesn't make it right. It doesn't make it easier. But it gives me hope that there is purpose.

We held Solveig and looked at her for a long time. Time seemed to stand still in those moments. It seemed serene and perhaps like a dream...a really tough, bad, yet beautiful dream. Our daughter was so perfectly formed from all we could see. She was amazingly beautiful. Oh how we loved looking at her, holding her, touching her dark wavy hair...holding her tiny hands with long piano fingers, and noticing her long spindly legs that may have danced across the stage and the fields with her sister. She had not one ounce of fat on her body as she was only 33.5 weeks in gestational age, and our babies typically are just not very big. Her skin had been torn in many places, as that is typical of babies who are born still...they get cut while they are washed about inside the wombs of their mamas and while they go through delivery...they become incredibly fragile when the blood stops flowing to them as it should and would with a typical baby. Her blood had stopped flowing and bringing life to her days before when that horrible knot was pulled tight for the last time...a true knot. How I wish I could have gone inside and untied my daughter from that knot...but apparently, some knots are not to be undone.

Solveig's little face was sort of round, but maybe not quite as round as me or Buzz brother. We think that maybe she looked a little bit more like Daddy and also like big sister Bug. Erik tried to pull back one of her eyelids to see her eyes...but her little eyelids were so delicate and there was already too much blood coming through her orifices...eyes, nose, mouth...sorry if that part is hard for you to read, but its true. That is what happens to a baby in this situation. We found ourselves dabbing away the blood droplets from time to time. Especially when we would move Solveig in a certain way or if her head would move at all, then we would see the blood. This continued off and on for the next couple of days and it was such a painful reminder of her suffering. But because we were her parents, we loved her through the blood and it probably didn't bother us as much as it might a nervous onlooker or other family members.

For the next few hours we spent time bathing our limp baby, studying every inch of her body, dressing her in her special outfit that I had gotten for her, and wrapping her in her soft, white blanket. It helped to do all these "normal" things that most parents do after the birth of a baby. It made her life seem more valid...more real...and extremely priceless. The nurses helped to capture her hand and footprints on plaster cast as well as paper. Little did I know at the time just how much those hand and footprints would mean until after she was no longer with us.

After having some time to be with our baby, we were moved to a different room on the maternity floor...again at the end of a hallway, maybe a little bit more distant to the new nursing mamas and their screaming babies. I think I only heard a tiny bit of crying in the next 24 hours that we were there. That was a relief.

The day of Solveig's delivery, we were bombarded with all kinds of people coming into our room...social worker, chaplain, children's grief care...not to mention our regular nurses and doctors. In all honesty, it was difficult to have so many people coming and going at a time when we just wanted to be more alone with ourselves and our family. I know that some of it was necessary, but it just became too much. I felt a maternal instinct, a need to protect the precious few moments that we had with our daughter...the moments which would all too soon end. It would be so nice if there was a way to limit the number of people coming and going. My feeling now is that the "check at the nurses station" sign should be mandatory for situations like this, because I didn't even realize that it was an option until later on. And maybe some of the people who are supposed to visit don't need to...maybe they could leave their materials at the nurses station if need be. There just needs to be more filtering in this kind of time.

Shortly before we were to take photos with Jen Kelly, our photographer representing NIL_MDTS, my friend Trisha came not only as a friend showing support from my amazing MO_PS group, but also representing The Mis_sing Gr_ace Foun_dation. Trisha brought with her a basket from Missing Grace that was filled with all kinds of wonderful things to help capture our last moments with Solveig and things to help us remember her. I still use the pink bear and weighted bean bag that were in that basket, wrapped inside Solveig's actual white blanket, on days when I'm really missing her and just need something to hold. At the time of our loss, I didn't know that I would actually need that bear...but now I so appreciate it. Trisha also brought me this book which has been the most comprehensive and helpful resource that I have yet seen regarding still_lbirth. It holds personal accounts of people who have been through stil_lbirth (including the perspectives of daddies, grandparents and physicians) as well as medical information, current research in the field and other helpful things to know. If you have experienced a still_lbirth or know someone who has, PLEASE read this book or give it to someone who needs it. Thanks Trisha and my MO_PS friends, and thank you Candy from Mis_sing Gra_ce...the organization named after her daughter, also lost when she was born still.

There is more to share in another post...stay tuned. Thanks for reading and for your prayers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Come and Gone

The due date came and it quickly went yesterday. It was a rather peaceful day that we were able to spend together as a family. Bug ended up having a fever Easter night, so we weren't able to send her to school due to the 24 hour fever rule. She woke up feeling well on Monday. I think that perhaps she is just getting ready to lose her first tooth, as she has been complaining of sore teeth lately. Here I thought she had just eaten a little too much candy from her Easter basket!

With the Bug and Buzz we decided to venture out to do something fun, as we felt like Solveig would have wanted us to be celebrating. Our attempts at visiting a few special museums downtown were not fulfilled as both museums were indeed closed. Bummer! Alas, we thought we should go and walk around the beautiful cathedral in the city. It was so pretty in there, but not as quiet as Buzz would have liked. There were some construction workers trying to fancy it up a bit and their jackhammers were quite noisy. I lit a candle for our little Solveig while we were there, just because. It was so tiny and sweet, like her.

In an effort to find some pretty flowers, trees or shrubs to plant in honor of our baby this year, we went to a nearby greenhouse and enjoyed walking around and meeting "Baby" the beautiful parrot who greeted us with repeated cries of "hello" and "hi!" Bug was so entertained by that cute bird. A few of the options for plants/flowers that really seemed to jump out at me in their beauty and potential were the Bleeding Heart and the Azaleas (?). I know that second one has another name which I am briefly forgetting as I type...but I love the vibrant shades of both plants. And isn't the name of the first one so befitting? I sure think so. It was great to get some ideas. Now we have to figure out what we want, and wait for the frozen tundra to stop freezing before we can plant.

The restaurant where kids get to wear crowns beckoned us next for lunch and playtime in the tubes that I like to refer to as a virtual cesspool of germs. But the kids think that the cesspool is amazing and they love to go there occasionally. After our greasy spoon lunch and playtime, we headed to the grocery store to pick up some roses and headed on our way to the cemetery. It was a windy yet sunny day, and although it was a bit cool, at least it was MUCH warmer than the day when we buried our daughter in early March with snow covering the ground. Having the kids with us was so special. Solveig's grave is still fresh with dirt as the grass seed has yet to be planted. Erik pounded our little easel stake into the ground and on it we hung a cute heart shaped wreath that I found pre-made at the craft store. Remember, I'm what I like to refer to as "craft challenged," so for me to find something that was cute that I didn't have to make myself was just perfect! Now there is something adorning our daughter's grave site and I'm so glad that it is there. We laid our roses on the ground next to the wreath. And we talked about our little friend B who is laid to rest next to Solveig. She was also born still, almost five years ago. Bug said, "I bet Solveig and B are playing in Heaven together right now! They're probably having so much fun!" I love the insight of children. And I'm so glad that my little girl thinks of Heaven so positively! That she can imagine it with joy in her little heart. That is beautiful to me.

Up to this point in the day I had been doing fine emotionally and really wasn't upset. However, as we drove away from the cemetery it really hit me that she was missing. Solveig wasn't with us in the physical sense. It hit me that she would have been riding with us in the car...that we would have been taking her places and that people would be holding her and passing her around...that she would be experiencing life with us and us with her. And now she is absent in body. But I so believe that we always feel a bit of her presence with us on earth, even though her spirit is with the Lord in Heaven.

The tears continue to come occasionally, but I am not crying constantly. I am not in despair. I wonder if I ever will be in full despair over this loss...other than how I felt at the initial loss. So much hope has risen up in me, and so much peace over all. A peace that passes all understanding. A peace that can only come from the Lord. I miss my little girl. I'd love to have her back. But I will go on. Life must go on. And I will continue to grieve her loss, perhaps the rest of my life. But joy will return. The journey continues...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Due Date...

Tomorrow is Solveig's due date. A few weeks back I didn't realize just how hard this approaching date would be for me. Bug and Buzz didn't come on or near their due dates, but rather a few weeks prior...so I've never had a baby who made it all the way to the due date. But just the fact that it still exists in my mind and on the paper in my calendar is enough for me now be challenged by the fact that it is there.

When we figured out that Solveig was due the day after Easter, it seemed like no small coincidence that God had chosen to show us a bit of life through her little life, so close to the celebration of Jesus' death and resurrection. For you see, we had already experienced death two times with our little miscarried babies...who will be receiving names VERY soon...because now I cannot stop thinking about them. We felt like He was showing us new life through Solveig, and reminding us of the new life we gain through Christ when we accept that He is our Savior and Lord and has cleansed us of sin through His death on the cross...a death that was well documented in history.

Some may think that because Solveig died there would be no way that we could continue to believe in His life and resurrection. That perhaps we would choose to deny that such a thing could've happened, because now our precious baby has died and it not with us...and that is not right, in our earthly mind and perspective. It just isn't. We miss her terribly. There is a definite gap in our family. But He is still who He says He is. He still died on the cross for my sins. And He still showed us new life through our daughter. She lived in me!!! She was FULLY alive in me from the moment she was conceived! I saw her on the ultrasound monitor from her early gestational age of 8 weeks, again at 18 weeks, and again MANY other times after that up until the week she passed in my womb at 33.5 weeks gestation. She had LIFE in me! And I thank God for the life that she did have. I thank Him that I could experience her moving in me. I thank Him for blessing me with that incredible gift. Having Solveig living in me was such a reminder to me of the Lord's love for me...that He would allow this little one to be in there, even for a few short months. May I NEVER forget that blessing, even in the pain of my loss.

So tomorrow, as we think of Solveig and remember her on the day in which she should've been here with us or close to being here with us, I need to remember that she WAS with us...and that she WILL be with us again in Heaven one day. Tonight as I walked the dog under the starry, clear sky, I felt like God was showing me a tiny glimpse of my daughter in the stars. I felt like maybe, just maybe she is looking down from Heaven seeing us here on this Earth. And that brought comfort. And as I continued to peer at the night sky, I noticed a string of three tiny stars in a straight line. I'm sure they were part of some particular constellation, but not being very knowledgeable in astr_onomy I don't know which one it might have been. But for me, in that moment, I felt like it was a special reminder of my THREE little ones who are in Heaven. The other two babies who were miscarried so early in their pregnancies also carried weight in this world. I won't forget them either.

Thank you Lord for reminding me of your presence today. And thank you for the resurrection in which I place my hope and trust. That is how I get through each day.

He is risen. He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


How I long to be near Him right now. My heart does not want to be stationed here on Earth, but rather in Heaven with the King of Kings and my Solveig. For on the Earth we feel too deeply the pain of our sorrow. But when we are with Him in Heaven, we will no longer feel that pain. We will no longer have tears and anger and frustration...but rather we will be filled with complete joy and be in awe of the savior of the world.

Today I'm having a hard time feeling Him holding me close. There are many days that I do feel that but today is not one of them, at least not yet. Lord Jesus, please come close. Please help me to draw near to you so that you will draw near to me. I know you are there, but it is hard to feel you in this moment. This is precisely the moment when I need to have faith that you are who you say you are...that you do not and will not leave or forsake me. In that promise I must trust.

My Auntie Dar shared something quite amazing with me yesterday that I've been clinging to ever since. We were with the kids shopping at one of our favorite craft stores and all the sudden Auntie Dar said, "last night we were at the Maundy Thursday service at church. Solveig was there. She was there. I looked up and saw her next to the cross." Warm, salty tears came to my eyes as I barely choked out, "really?" Auntie said, "Yes, she was next to the cross, with Jesus." Oh my goodness...that is just an awesome vision that my Auntie had! How I would love to have one of those visions or dreams of my daughter. Perhaps one day I will. I've been asking the Lord to show Himself to me in that kind of way. But for now, I will take heart in knowing that He showed himself profoundly to my Auntie. That is the blessing that I must remember today.

Thank you Lord for the cross of glory which gives us great hope, even when we don't feel it. And thank you for your promise to draw near to us...

James 4:8 NIV says, "Come near to God and he will come near to you."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Some Joy

The last few days have found me with more joy than sadness. What a refreshing change. It's too dark walking around through the tunnel of death and depression. Granted, it's normal, perfectly normal for what I'm going through as a grieving mom. But it is not a place I wish to dwell the rest of my life. And for that, I'm grateful. Part of me wonders if I should feel guilty for experiencing joy and happiness right now. But then I really don't think I should. That guilt is not warranted, and it is most certainly NOT from the Lord.

I can honestly say that I've felt some moments of happiness in the last couple of days. The Lord has blessed me with some precious friends who have been incredibly uplifting. One sweet friend Becky slipped a note in my purse at church the other day, telling me that she's praying for me, and also that she thought of a specific verse for me. Thank you sweet Becky. Another friend Aleeta brought me some coffee and a scone the other day when she delivered a meal. That totally made my day. Thank you Aleeta. Four of my friends from MOPS came to help clean our house the other night - so awesome. Thank you Alisha, Heidi, Lexi and Peggy. You lifted my spirit and our house looks so much better thanks to you. Yesterday, my friend Heidi shared her story of losing her son who was born still seventeen years ago. It brought me comfort talking with another mommy who has been down a very similar road. Thank you Heidi. And my "natural girls" friends and I went out last night for dinner and we laughed so hard and shared good conversation. Thank you Christin, Jackie, Joy and Liz. Today I talked on the phone with my sweet friend Amy. She's like an older sister and advisor to me, and I so appreciate her counsel and encouragement.

There are so many others who have blessed me lately...the above are just a sampling. I'm immensely blessed with these friends. Thank you Lord for showering me with your love through the gift of friendship.

If you're going through a deep, dark valley right now, I encourage you to seek out the encouragement and love of friends during your trial. Don't be afraid to ask them to pray for you, or to sit with you while you share your story...don't be afraid to accept the help which they may offer you through meals, child care, cleaning, etc...they want to bless you and by accepting their help, you are allowing them to serve you as they desire to do.

You will be encouraged if you allow others to encourage you. But you must allow them in...

2 Corinthians 13:11 - "Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you."

May the Lord bless you and your family this Good Friday. Because of Christ's death on the cross, we have victory from death and sin. We have victory and we can have eternity with Him if we so choose.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What is Unseen

Sunlight in our surroundings...this is healing for the soul. We are grateful for the beautiful weather today, and trying to soak it up before the air turns muggy. Spring blooms are beginning to encroach on the land and they remind me of new life. Thank you Lord, for these gifts from you.

In the midst of the beauty are reminders of the little one who is no longer in our immediate midst but is instead watching us from Heaven above. My heart ached for her this morning when we were at the grocery store. Our sweet cashier told me how adorable my little Buzz is and how beautiful his eyes are. She was so taken with him, and I am too. He really is such a cute kid, and my big Bug is too. We are so blessed to have them. Then the sweet cashier said, "he is so adorable and you really should have more kids!" Silence on my end. There were no words with which to respond in that exact moment. I had no idea what to say and just gave a tiny and perhaps fake smile in response. Oh sweet cashier, if only you knew my present pain...a pain which I did not need to divulge to you at that time. You were only speaking innocently and genuinely, and I so appreciated your thoughtfulness towards me and my beautiful son. If only you knew dear one that my little man just lost his baby sister five weeks ago today...that my baby was taken from my womb and her spirit soared into Heaven several days prior to her birth. That she is with Jesus in His glory for all eternity...a mystery and a gift all at the same time...but one that I would not necessarily wish upon any other mama on this planet...for the earthly pain which we mamas who have lost is so intense. Yet that pain is such a refining fire for the spirit. Who chooses to be thrown into the fire? No one would choose such a path. But alas, here I am. And the Lord is showing me His goodness here. I mean that, in all sincerity. There is a deep pain - incredibly deep. I would love to have my little Solveig in my arms right now. She should be there, really. I ache for her every day, throughout the day, all day long. But He cares for her better than I could ever do here on Earth. He knows my pain. But He holds her. And He holds me here.

Not sure if I posted this scripture recently, but it really reaches me in the depths of my soul right now.

"Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 -

Thank you Lord, for the truth which you convey to us through your Holy Word. Thank you that we have truth and eternal hope upon which to fix our gaze.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Our awesome photographer...

I wrote about her before, but now I get to write about her again...Jen Kelly, our photographer extraordinare who represents the very special organization with the acronym NILMDTS wrote a very special post about our family on her blog. Click here to see it. Her work is phenomenal and we are forever grateful. I'm going to write more about it very soon, and will post more pictures from our special time with her in the hospital. Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Born In Me

Just before Christmas, I downloaded a really great album onto my iT_unes and enjoyed listening to it. Little did I know just how much a few of the songs would come to mean to me less than two months later when Solveig was born still into our world. One of the songs that I have been playing over and over and feel that I can relate to on some level is "Be Born in Me," sung by Fran_cesca Batt_istelli. It is the song of Mary as she prepares to birth Jesus, but some of it feels like my song too. She is wondering why God chose her to carry the son of God and yet she fully embraces it. There have been moments when I wondered why God would allow me to carry a baby who wouldn't see the light of day...but then I realize that I was immensely blessed to hold her inside of me...and to hold her adorable, limp body for awhile outside of me. Carrying Solveig was a calling on my life that I did not realize I would have, but am so grateful to have had. It has forever changed who I am and who I hope to be. And like Mary who will one day be held by Jesus when they reunite in Heaven, I know that just as I held Solveig here at the beginning and end of her life, she will hold me in Heaven one day. Isn't that beautiful to consider? I sure think so. And that hope in Heaven is what is getting me through every day here on this Earth filled with good and evil. I know that this life here is just a mere blip on the radar of what God has planned for all eternity. And I praise Him for that. I know that there is something MUCH better ahead in Heaven...no more pain, no more tears. I cling to that. And I hope for you that you can find hope in Him too. Hope in the resurrection of Jesus.

Enjoy this text. May He be born in you and in me. And if you haven't heard the song, I encourage you to find it and soak it in...here's a link to the song set to a music video...

Be Born In Me

Everything inside me cries for order
Everything inside me wants to hide
Is this shadow an angel or a warrior?
If God is pleased with me, why I am I so terrified?
Someone tell me I am only dreaming
Somehow help me see with Heaven’s eyes
And before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees
Holy is He. Blessed am I.

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I’ll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

All this time we’ve waited for the promise
All this time You’ve waited for my arms
Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected
So we might know that Love would go that far?

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I’ll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

I am not brave
I’ll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I’m just a girl
Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours

Be born in me, be born in me
I’ll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me