Blessing #3’s Due Date Anniversary

 

Today has been another day spent pondering about how my life could have been so different right now.  September 10, 2013,  was my due date with Blessing #3. Would I be a mom of three boys, all born within 3.5 years? Would I have a one year old daughter right now? What would this little one’s unique quirks be? What would it feel like to snuggle this little one close? What would his or her voice sound like? Does this baby know how much I love him or her right now?

 

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One of the things I treasure about being a mom is not just watching and celebrating milestones, (and we all know I am slightly obsessed with this!) but the little things too…like knowing that I need to pull socks out of Joel’s pockets while doing laundry. When he takes his socks off, that’s where he puts them for safekeeping.  Or, how Micah loves to play with his hair while eats, it’s both endearing and gross, especially when we have peanut butter and honey for lunch.  But, we’re coming up with some creative yet fun-for-him solutions.

 

Micah

 

I know it’s possible for Daelynn to smile and stick her tongue out at the same time. It’s been so fun to watch her personality unfold this year.

 

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But as I question how my life would be different, I am at the same time, so thankful that I have Daelynn. She wouldn’t be here if Blessing #3 would have been carried to full term.  I’m not sure what to do with all of these feeling: longing, sadness, joy, and thankfulness.  It being one year after my due date I definitely feel less emotional but my longing to know this little one has remained the same.

If I could see this baby today, I would embrace him or her and not let go until I was pushed away. I would tell Blessing #3:

“I have missed, loved, and thought about you ever since Heaven became your home. I am thankful you are unconditionally loved and safe with our Creator.   I wish your siblings and Dad could know you and I’m thankful that we all have the ability to spend eternity with you.  Until it’s my time to join you, you will always have a piece of my heart. I love you little one.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A special ornament on our tree

We have had such fabulous fall here in the Sattler family and things continue to be fun and busy and we are now almost halfway through December, yikes!  In all of the excitement of this season, things are different this year.  I am so thankful to be carrying this precious baby girl inside of me, yet I have been remembering the baby that I lost in January.  He or she would have been about three months old and I would be enjoying sweet baby cuddles in my wrap as we go about everyday life and cold outdoor activities.  I wonder what this little person would have been like, how his or her personality would have enhanced our family, and how he or she would have reacted to all of the lights and sounds of Christmas.  It has been 11 months exactly since this baby went to heaven, and while much of the sting of the pain is gone, the fact that this little one will always hold a special place in my heart is clearly evident.

This precious Christmas ornament was made by a mother who experienced a tragic loss of her own this year. I have never met her, but feel very invested as I prayed for her and her daughter while she was still pregnant.  This sweet mother has reached out to others in her time of grief and made special ornaments for those who will also be experiencing their first Christmas without their baby.  Her faith and love for God and others is humbling.  Her thoughtful gift has brought tears to my eyes as I am so thankful to have a special way to remember our Blessing #3.

Merry Christmas baby, I bet the birthday celebrations for Jesus are pretty amazing where you are; I can’t wait to celebrate with you one day. I love you and can’t wait to hold you in Heaven.

With Love,

Mommy

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Mother’s Day 2013

As oddly as it sounds, this was an unexpectedly difficult day. The months and days leading up to Mother’s Day I naively predicted I would be even more thankful for the multiple mother figures in my life and for the fact that I had two wonderfully healthy boys.  I felt grateful as I predicted, but also, simply put–I  missed my baby.

My morning started off spectacular, Mel and the boys brought me breakfast in bed and had a card and balloon for an extra special touch.  Mel asked me a couple of weeks ago what ways he could make Mother’s Day most special to me (just needed to add that I love this man).  After thinking about it, I decided what would mean the most is a backyard photo session with my boys and not having to cook and clean up lunch after church, i.e. Chipotle on the way home.  That morning’s breakfast and the dinner he would prepare for his mom and me later that day, were an added bonus.

Just about as soon as church started the tears began to well in my eyes.  I had such a wonderful morning so far and had so much to be thankful for, but I couldn’t help but think about what I would have been experiencing had I still been pregnant that day.  Had I still been pregnant, looking down during worship would have resulted in me not being able to see my toes—because a perfectly round baby bump would have been in the way.  By 22 weeks, more than likely, I would have been able to feel my baby kick and move (I started feeling my boys at 15 and 14 weeks respectively). Instead I looked down at my wrist where I had been wearing my remembrance necklace recently.

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While I didn’t stop missing my baby that day, I also couldn’t deny another overwhelming realization.  In times like this, if I depend on Him, God is my reward.  For me, telling God that I trust Him and that I know He is good, has so much more meaning and power than when everything is “easy.”

When Mel’s parents came over that afternoon for a barbecue they also had the thoughtfulness to bring me this sweet gift.  While I might not have known this day was going to be a little more difficult, my dear mother-in-law thought it might be.   I think my husband must have gotten some of his awesomeness from them.

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Baby Judah

Once I passed the milestone of when our gender reveal ultrasound would have been, I thought ahead about the other potentially tough milestones in my future. I have learned that praying, before and during these events, has helped me process my emotions and not feel as burdened during the toughest times. So, after March 26th had passed, I began to realize another tough hurdle ahead.

 
There are only a handful of moments that have been seared into my memory with intense emotion behind them. Meeting my boys for the first time are two of those instances. It’s hard for me to describe with words how the anticipation while pregnant and intensity of labor culminate at the very second my babies left my body and were placed in my arms. Tears well in my eyes just thinking back to those special and intimate first minutes with them. I am so thankful that they were both able to spend their first hour of life so close to me; Micah was lying on my chest the whole first hour. I was able to kiss, talk to, keep them warm and comfortable all while I was falling even more in love. I grieve not being able to do the same with my third baby. Just thought of this made me sob. In this life I would never get to hold or kiss my baby, or gaze into my little one’s eyes telling him or her how much I love them.

 
I began thinking about some friends that were due around the time that I was, how would I be able to hold their babies and not become a crying mess? In that moment would I truly be able to feel joy for them or would I be missing my little one so much that I couldn’t enjoy the sweetness of holding a newborn? I began asking God to prepare my heart for these special times in my friends’ lives, that I would be able to share in their joy without feeling such strong sorrow about my loss.

 
April 13, 2013, baby Judah Saunders entered this world. For those of you who don’t know, this is the baby brother of Gloria Ruth Saunders, more about her story here. The Saunders family has always been special to us Sattlers, but I didn’t know that God would use this youngest little Saunders boy to demonstrate God’s healing in my life. As soon as we found out he was here, Mel and I found a way, with Micah being sick and Mel working all day, that we could visit the Saunders family in the hospital. Joel and I went into the hospital room first and saw that many other friends had the same idea. This family is loved for good reason. The others in the room were gracious enough to let me have a turn holding sweet little Judah. There is something so special about a newborn, their tininess, innocence, and dependence on others to meet every need that just melts me. I held him, probably a little too selfishly, for a good fifteen minutes until a nurse walked in to check on him. Soon it was time to go and get my kids to bed, but as I was walking out to my car with a smile on my face it hit me—God had answered my prayer that I started praying not even three weeks ago. While I did get a little teary-eyed in the room, it was because I was so thankful he was here, that God had blessed the Saunders family with a healthy baby boy, and that I had the privilege to be able to hold him in my arms.

 

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Mel and I didn’t get enough of the Saunders family that night, so they were gracious enough to let us come back. Here is a candid photo on the second night in the hospital we went to visit them.

Feeling The Loss

For the last couple of months I have started typing several blog entries and then stopped.  Even more “partially written posts” reside in my head.  This week I have a little more time and plan on posting one of these entries a day…today through Friday.  I write this as an explanation for the amount I post this week and for a little accountability too ;).

The last several months I have learned how differently each woman can grieve the loss of a child through miscarriage.  The following are just a couple of the many examples I have heard.  Some friends have recounted their stories with realization that a child they now hold in their arms would not be here had their previous pregnancy gone to full term. For them, they feel like they are able to see a blessing come out of the pain.  Others have shared that the grief they experienced during the first year after their miscarriage made it difficult to even see others pregnant without the painful reminder of their own pregnancy that ended in loss. For those of you who shared your personal story with me—I am honored you shared with me and saddened by your loss.

Once I knew my baby was no longer living, I felt like I had a whole new battle to face—grieving the loss of this life.  Here are some of the emotions I felt and thoughts I pondered along with where I rest on these topics as of today.

Is it right for me to feel so saddened by a baby that was lost so early? This was difficult for me at first, while others were compassionate and comforting no one else was as devastated as I was and I began to wonder, was I was making the loss a bigger deal that I should? While I was struggling with this thought my answer came in the form of an email from a sweet friend. Here is a small excerpt of what she wrote, I think grief for the loss of this child is a way of glorifying the work God does in our bodies. He creates humans, and we as Christians know that babies are formed at conception. To not grieve would be to not acknowledge this miracle.”   Those words were powerfully freeing for me; I have not since questioned if I am grieving my baby too much.

What is the best way to honor this baby’s life?  I am an incredibly sentimental person, maybe to a fault.  I have carefully planned photo books for each of my boys’ first year of life.  I have regularly scheduled “photo shoots” in our backyard for appropriate milestones.  Yes, I’m going to admit it—I still have every positive pregnancy test from all three pregnancies (stored airtight in plastic bags) and even Micah’s umbilical cord stump. Joel’s was lost in the hospital otherwise I’d probably have his too.  I just can’t bear to throw those things away. With limited memorabilia from this baby I decided I wanted to have a necklace made that I could wear on days that were tough or whenever I felt like it.  I also ordered a little garnet heart that would go in the family birthstone locket I bought myself last Mother’s Day.  Also, when the timing is right, I will not shy away from bringing up this baby in conversation with my family, friends, or anyone else I meet.

Baby Number Three

Sometimes it’s easier for me to write than talk.  For the first month after the loss especially, I felt like it was so hard to have a conversation about the loss unless the setting was just right.  That often meant unless I was able to give my full attention to the conversation, I didn’t want to have it.  So, my kids had to be sleeping or happily under the care of someone else in my presence which meant a very small portion of my day.  I found it easiest to text or email during this time. It’s easier for me to have spontaneous conversations about my miscarriage but usually feel I can organize my thought and “speak” more freely through writing.  Let me be clear—if you see me in person, feel free to ask me how I’m doing or if there is anything I am struggling through.  Just be prepared for a much shorter response depending on how many children or responsibilities I have at that moment. J  This blog has also been a part of my healing process.  Being able to share with others about my baby makes me feel like I don’t grieve in silence.

What milestones or reminders will be hardest for me? The answer to this question has changed from month to month.  Most of the time, I could tell you how many weeks I would be if I had still been pregnant.  I would have been 23 weeks today. The days surrounding our scheduled gender reveal ultrasound at the end of March was hard.  I was so looking forwarding to knowing more about the baby inside me. Would our family have three boys? Or would my boys have a little sister? Part of me grieves that we don’t have a name for our little one besides baby number three.

I miss not feeling this baby move inside of me, especially a 23 week old baby.  At this stage both of my boys’ kicks could be felt from the outside but were not quite strong enough to make me wince in pain yet.

How will I feel on my due date, Sept 10 and the two weeks leading up to it (both of my boys were born almost exactly two week early)? I believe my heart and my arms will be aching during that time.

Mother’s Day hit me a little harder than expected.  I was crying almost the whole time during worship at Church. Not just because of my sadness, but also because of how amazing the goodness of God is during times like this.

What books should I read during this process? I’ve only read one—Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. During a few parts of this easy-to-read book I sobbed tears of joy.  I am open to reading more, if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them.