Homesick by MercyMe

You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbye
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
To see you again

And I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now

Will You Be My Friend?

Please? Because there's a fairly serious shortage of people I can rely on right now.

It's sad, how those who were your most trusted companions can be unsupportive when you're going through a tragedy.

And how others can become your lifelines.

As one of my closest friends said, this is when you see what your friendships are made of.

That statement was practically prophetic.

Word gets around. And I heard how one of my "girls" was discussing this horrible situation at length with another girl who I completely do NOT get along with. And my "friend" was very verbal about how "I should be over this by now" and "I should definitely not be trying to get pregnant."

Funny, I don't remember asking her opinion. And I certainly don't remember asking her to spoon-feed her opinion to my husband.

Who, in turn, thinks I should be over this by now.

So, as you can clearly see, I have some openings (ahem, gaping holes) in my friends roster, and am looking for compatible subjects to fill those positions. Possible applicants will not be catty, gossipy, or disloyal. And will certainly not possess those horrible knives, the likes of which are currently sticking out of my back in a pattern reminiscent of a porcupine.


Better N' Cozy Shack Rice Pudding

1 1/2 cups cooked white rice ($0.50)
2 cups 2% milk ($0.50)
1/2 cup sugar ($0.25)
dash of salt (negligible)
1 egg, beaten ($0.10)
2/3 cup raisins ($0.50, and optional)
1 Tbsp butter ($0.10)
1 tsp vanilla ($0.10)

Simmer rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar, and salt over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until thick and creamy. Stir in remaining milk, egg, and raisins. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla. Serve warm or cold, nice with a dash of cinnamon on top.

Makes 4 servings, about $0.50 per serving.

Carpe-ing the Diem

When opportunity knocks, who wouldn't throw that door wide open and invite her in?

This morning presented a number on the scale that I hadn't seen in a year. No wonder, food has yet to look appealing. I think I'm probably able to choke down 800 calories a day. It's getting to the point where that pesky orthostatic hypotension is always catching me off guard. Not that it's too much of a challenge - my doctor visit two weeks ago revealed a BP of 100/50. Yikes.

Thank God for leftover pizza. It sure gets me off the hook when it comes to cooking. Because that's still something I have no desire to do. I wonder when the "old" me will be back?

And while I'm geeked about fitting into my old clothes, I'd do anything to still be wearing those Old Navy maternity tees I bought back in April.


My Little Lamb

I have a confession to make.

I'm 34 years old, and I still sleep with a teddy bear.

It was cool when I was pregnant. All of the sudden, I had an excuse to cuddle up to something. Sore ta-tas will do that for you.

But, since losing Leila, I'm back to being just a weird thirty-something with a seriously juvenile penchant.

Yesterday Andrew and I went to Build A Bear, on a mission.

The bag that held Leila's ashes still had some residue in it after she was put into her memory box.

So I wanted to have that put in a sweet, cuddly bear for me to snuggle with at night.

This lamb was perfect. We put the little bag into the stuffing, sewed her shut, and now I have a little bit of Leila to hold.

Either very comforting or a bit disturbing, you decide.

But right now, it's about what gets me through the night.

Adios, "Mother of the Year" Nomination

How is it fair that, amid all this grief and depression, I'm still expected to be a suitable mommy to Andrew?

Friday he felt a little warm. And started acting like a monster. Grexy, as they say where I'm from. A pain in the booty, we say here. Just crabby, super-sensitive, weepy.

We had the audacity to laugh at him while he was wrestling with us. He came running at my face with his fist up and destruction in his eyes.

I put my hand up to stop him, and accidentally clotheslined him. My 5-year-old!

It didn't go over well. Especially since lately he's been working hard, getting in touch with his inner drama queen.

Later, while brushing his teeth that night, I spot the enemy. A molar popping it's head out.

Then I was all, "oh, poor baby, let me get you some Tylenol."

And they all lived happily ever after......at least, until the next drama.


~~From Angela~~

I'm afraid these few poems will have to do.
To get you through since I cannot be with you.
Strength is within always at a brew.
Bubbling away the troubling.
I promise your heart will sing, sing, sing, and sing.
My promise seems empty now, but this is all I can bring.
Keep love in, and anger out flying away on a storm's wing.

~Angela Makeever


Angel Wings
Today I heard the bells ringing
Ringing loud and clear,
For God called your loved one home
And I know you miss her dear.

I feel the pain in your heart
Because you want near,
There is no cheer in your eyes
As I watch the tears appear.

I know that deep within your soul
You struggle with great fear,
But if you listen closely
I know the bells you’ll hear.

So let your heart fill with peace
For every time a bell rings,
Remember this my friend
An angel gets its wings.

~Georgie M. Kusak


Angel Wings

Lea over at Nicholas' Touch is such a thoughtful, sensitive woman. I'm delighted she remembered Leila in her Angel Wing project. The tears rolling down my face don't know whether to be happy, sad, or grateful. Thank you Lea! You're awesome!

Soar, Leila......


Little Reminder, BIG Reaction

We all have those triggers. The song that takes you back to your senior year. The scent that reminds you of a great vacation, or a loved one. The book that is a porthole back to the labor and delivery unit....

Wait, What?

Yes, friends. Just got back from the library. And my first public meltdown.

It was Ricki Lake's Your Best Birth.

The book I was reading when Leila was born.

The book I took with me to the hospital to pass the time.

The book I had to stare at on my overbed table afterward. At 4am. And feel the sting of the irony.

Not only was I not able to give my baby the very best start in life. But I also couldn't do it drug-free, as I'd hoped.

I was begging the nurse for something to take away the pain. And when she pushed some medicine into my IV, I realized the physical pain was nothing. It was the pain of my heart breaking that was killing me.

So it wasn't a good time to see that book again. Looking for something light to read, and there's that familiar cover. Like a punch to the stomach. A ball off wool down my throat.

I feel like I'm dying. This pain will kill me.



My husband and I got in a heated discussion last night about how I'm dealing with losing my little girl.

He thinks I'm (dare I say) enjoying marinating in this stew of depression and hormones. That Emily with something to complain about is Emily fulfilled.

And having Leila's pictures in front of me, and blogging about my feelings, and talking about the situation are walls in between here and normal.

I can't erase her existence, that's my argument. I enjoy looking at those beautiful pictures. I can't help the feelings I have, but it really does help me to put those feelings into words. This is my therapy.

I finally understand those parting words from our nurse. "Don't let this get between you." I can see where that would be a problem. Probably not for us, because I'm pretty adept at repressing myself around my husband, but I get it now.

I don't want to be two separate people. The exuberant one who smiles and cooks and takes care of my boys, and the darker, brooding type who blogs under the cover of night.

But I don't see any other options right now. I've basically been handed my walking papers for grieving. I've been given notice that he's going to stop tiptoeing around me. Time to put up or shut up.



A Month Ago....

You came into this world, a stop-off on your way to heaven. A sweet gift, taken away too soon. I miss you....

The Second Step

When I think about marking time without Leila, my mind always goes "a week, a month, my due date, a year, two years," and so on.

Today is a month.

The second step.

It's so hard to explain how I'm feeling, a month away from the greatest loss of my life.

Mostly, I'm fine. I don't even feel sad.

I feel changed.

The person I was before May 21st is gone forever.

But I'm slowly fitting into the new role.

I'm not as fun to be around. But my friends are understanding.

I wish I never had to leave the house again. As "okay" as I feel, it's not easy to put on a happy face and go out into the world.

Andrew's not so understanding about that.

Somehow, when thinking about these steps, the second and third always seemed like the biggest hurtles. When losing Leila will seem the most real.

What does it say about me, that I'm okay now, already? That I didn't really care? That God is carrying me through this? That I'm just numbed, and the worst is still to come?

Because I read the blogs of others in this horrible situation, and they seem to be suffering for months after losing their babies.

Maybe the second step isn't about sadness - it's about learning to be a new person.


Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

I wish I had the faith to step out of the boat. But instead of relying solely on God, I turn to crutches instead.

After Leila, I started drinking. Not much by some standards, but a lot for me. A (very full) glass of wine every evening, enough to warm me up and take the edges off the pain. So many would say "pshaw, Emily, that's no big deal!". Maybe the wine wasn't, but my attitude was. I was all about "what if" and "just in case" God isn't enough to get me through this.

I'm so ashamed to say that, but it's the truth. The God I love and Who has promised me He would be there with me every step through this, I didn't believe Him. I didn't trust His Word. I may as well have called Him a liar.

I'm sorry. I've been convicted, and I'm penitent. And I'm so thankful we have a merciful God, one Who forgives us whenever we ask.

This past week, I'd had one night where I had a glass of wine. But I did it with a different attitude. And it felt okay to do that.

But now I have a question...do my antidepressants count as the same thing? I restarted those as soon as I came home from the hospital. And yesterday I went to the doctor to talk about adjusting the dosage, because my family is starting to fall victim to my imbalance.

What do you think?

Grief Makes Strange Bedfellows

It's funny how losing a child brings people together. Maybe it's the alienation we feel from the rest of the world that causes us to seek each other out. A desperate attempt at finding someone who understands us, can validate our feelings, or at least tell us what we're going through is normal.

I've made three special friends through this journey. Three women who have made me cry, think "I've been there" or "that's what I'm going through right now", shown me that life goes on when your baby's life doesn't. And for that, I owe them a debt of gratitude.

was the first person I sought out after Leila's death - and as it happens, the last person. The pain over the loss of her son Logan is so transparent on her blog. Her situation is like ours, in that she already has a healthy child (something that I fear people use to minimize my pain - it's not like I don't already have a child to love, right?). She's almost 5 months out from the stillbirth of her precious son, and still she struggles with the pain of not having him in her arms. Her lesson to me is that it's okay to cry over your baby, and there's no time limit on getting through your grief. It's such a blessing when I'm struggling to keep it together, and at the same time thinking "why is this taking such a toll? It's been a month already!" And I really appreciate that she takes time out of her own grief to coach me through mine. It's something I really hope to pay forward as soon as I can.

Kelly is a new friend who found me through a comment on Stuff Christians Like. She lost her little Leah three months ago, and is valiantly trying to get pregnant again. I hurt so bad for her, Leah would have been her first child. But she deals with her pain with humor, and she has been so gracious in opening herself up to me. I spend a lot of time asking God for peace and pregnancy for her and her husband. And I can't wait to get that news from her....

Last but not least is Sam. Long, long ago, I used to work with her at Pacer. When I'd left, Andrew was a few months old, and Sam had just had her son, Gabriel. She'd since reconnected with me on Facebook, and we spent a few hours on the phone last night talking about Gabriel's health problems and the circumstances surrounding his death 4 years ago. And listening to her breaks my heart. How do you lose a 17-month-old? How do you survive that? And she's so angry, and has turned away from God. How do you survive that without Him? I'm praying so hard for her right now. She needs to feel the peace that God provides, and she needs healing. Both her and her husband.

God has provided me with some amazing support here in Troy, people I can reach out to anytime, some who even understand what this journey is like. And I just love how He's provided more support, via the internet.

I feel so cared for.


A Good Day

Not every day is sad.

Today's been a good day. I've gone through the motions - showered, made some pizzas, chatted with Yasar. Finished a book. Had a water fight with Andrew and watched a few episodes of Popular Mechanics for Kids with him (which, BTW, is one of the coolest kid's shows out there!). I've listened to some Casting Crowns and Natalie Grant, and even sang along.

Not every day feels like emotional hell. But when those days come, it's never with warning. And they don't pussyfoot around. There's no easing into it. A bad day starts early and lasts until bedtime. A whole day shot.

So far the bad days outnumber the good. It's easier to keep track of the days I haven't cried then the days I have. But that's starting to change. Lately, it's been more "partly cloudy" then "thunderstorms". That isn't to say that I'm even close to being normal. I'm still all mopey and eeyore-like. But a day without tears is a step in the right direction.

They say getting through something like this is literally "one day at a time". One good day, one exceedingly rotten day, it's still a day further than you were yesterday.

No Foot Too Small

For the record, Yasar thinks me keeping pictures of Leila in the foreground is disturbing.

I just find it comforting.


He's Sensitive About His Bald Spot

$123 later, Tiger is sporting a funky new haircut and an expensive new canned-food habit. But he's back to his old self, and we're so glad.

Now to get him used to being an inside-only cat. :)

Roads Marked With Suffering

...We accept the good that God gives us. Shouldn't we also accept the bad?"...
Job 2:10

Blessed be Your Name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be Your Name

Blessed be Your Name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your Name
~Matt Redman, "Blessed Be Your Name"

As I drove to the hospital on the evening of May 21st, K-Love was playing one of my favorite songs, "Blessed Be Your Name". My history with this song has always been painful (yet I still love it, isn't that odd?). It's one that comes up frequently during our church's worship service. And that line about suffering has always made me sniffle. Before. When I thought we were in the most terrible place - dealing with debt, financial issues, business issues. I had no inkling what was to come.

So, hearing that song on the way to the hospital left me with a sense of foreboding. Like God was trying to prep me. I remember feeling uneasy about it playing, yet I was still belting it out with all my might, right through my contractions. And I remember praying in the car, giving up whatever control I foolishly thought I had, handing it all over to God. But at the same time, praying for a positive outcome.

And we all know how that went.

But yet, after all this, I feel so much closer to God.

I am a person easily embarrassed by attention. But when Pastor Shawn called for those needing prayer to come to the front this past Sunday, it was as if I'd relinquished muscle control - God was literally yanking me to the front. And I knelt there, completely overcome. Not by my suffering, but in thankfulness to God. Which brings me to the book of Job. In Chapter 1, verse 20, Job had been notified that he'd lost all his earthly possessions, and his ten children had perished. And his response? "I was born naked, and I'll die naked. You give, and You take away. May Your Name be praised."

I relate to that. I hope that God uses Leila's life. To help me help someone, or relate to them, or to offer compassion. To magnify Him. Through good times and bad, in feast and in famine. Because, ultimately, isn't that supposed to be our goal?



There's so much going on around me:

Baby showers, work, the cat's at the vet,

my mind's whirling around the hospital room back on May 21st.

I still have questions.

What type of infection did they find?

Was Leila alive when she was born? Or was she a stillbirth?

Because I can't refer to her as a miscarriage.

She was 2 days from that line between the two.

Was there something wrong with her?

Is there something wrong with me?

Too many images, too many questions.

I prefer the quiet.

Where I lay in bed, curled up on my side, with a teddy bear held tight over my tummy.

Pretending May 21st never happened.

Waiting for those little flutters.

Loving my little girl.

And wishing things had been different.

Dance in the sunshine, little girl. Bounce on a cloud. Ride on a raindrop. Go get a hug from Gremom. Know that your mommy thinks of you all the time, and misses you fiercely.


Leila and her Peace Bear

No one plans to lose a baby. It's not like you know what's going to happen, so you gather your support system around you in preparation for the blow to come. When the contractions start coming early, and you're scared out of your mind, the last thing you think of is "what will I need...after?"

What we needed after was to know that we were understood. That someone out there in this crazy world has been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt and soundtrack. And, at a time when you can't formulate the thoughts or words to tell your family over the phone, and can't stop crying long enough to type out an email, it's comforting to be lifted by strangers and their calling.

I've already told you how wonderful the OB staff was in the hospital. Without their loving guidance and support, I surely would have made some decisions I would be regretting already. But what I really wanted to talk about in this post is the Peace Bear Project.

When you leave the hospital without a child, it's a gut-wrenching moment. It's like you feel singled out, carrying out that purple satin box instead of the baby you dreamed about. Not needing a carseat. Having nothing but the bleakest days ahead. And, while nothing can really console you at that point, someone is trying. Sending you a teddy bear to fill your arms. In memory of the daughter they lost. The Young's have made it their mission that people who lose their babies in the Dayton area know that they're not alone. That they've taken their pain and channelled it into something positive. And maybe, just maybe, someday you'll be able to as well.

The Peace Bear Project offers hope. That, while you're at your lowest, something good can come of it. And someone cares about your empty arms, too. Even if they have no idea who you are, and what you're going through. It helps you to not feel so alone. And I was just blown away by this ministry.

What an amazing, inspiring thing to do for grieving mothers!


Or maybe bipolar is a better description these days. From curling into a ball and crying, to being drawn the front of the church at altar call and just thanking God for Leila.

Is this normal? Or am I just completely off my rocker?


Too Hard

It's too hard.

One of my closest friends is nearing the point in pregnancy where I lost Leila. She's sending out happy updates about her pregnancy. She's filled with dreams of the future of her child. She's excited to know what flavor she's having.

She's so fortunate to still have dreams instead of nightmares. And to be sending out her upbeat blog posts while I cry over the computer.

Not fair. Not fair. NOT FAIR! Do you hear me, God? NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!!

I just can't partake of her ultrasound pictures. And her excited news. I talk to her on the phone, and when she talks about her pregnancy, my mind turns her voice into that of an adult from Charlie Brown (wuh Wah wuh wah wah!).

Is it disturbing, how jealous I am of one of my oldest friends?

I just got done reading an online article about how the recession is affecting friendships. That people in better financial shape and less hit by the economy are losing friends not as fortunate.

I wonder if the same can be true for happily pregnant people versus those mourning their babies.

Maybe it's just too hard. Maybe it's asking too much of myself right now.

Cincinnati Children's Museum (and a side trip)

A very good family friend called yesterday morning to see if we had any plans for the day? Not no much, unless you consider crying and probably drinking too much wine appointment-worthy. She suggested the Cincy Children's Museum, which made Andrew eight different kinds of happy.

(We stopped at an Indian restaurant on the way down, too, which made mom eight different kinds of happy.)

Andrew in the cage (the short guy in the blue shirt). No kidding, this ball "cage" made me wish I was 25 years younger! You could hear the grown-up's plaintive cry "why didn't they have this back when I was a kid?????" Everyone would work together from different stations to fill the Big Bucket with balls, and every so often the buzzer would sound and the blue light start spinning, and the Big Bucket would empty itself and balls rain down on the delighted youngsters (and a few parents, too). What fun! Andrew spent at least an hour in there.

This is Andrew with his Aunt Jeanne and a painted pig. Jeanne has taken on the roll as substitute grandma for Andrew out here in Ohio. She's currently the enrichment coordinator for Riverside, which is the local MR/DD program. He couldn't have made a better friend, and we're so very fortunate to have her as well. :)

Andrew playing in their most awesome water table.

And moving "rocks" in the construction area. (sporting the leftovers from the water table - wet clothes!)

And then, once all the kiddie festivities were over, it was time for some retail therapy. In the form of Jungle Jim's - only the best grocery store EVER! I mean, have you ever been in a grocery store with lions impersonating Elvis? Talk about a funfunfun place! Especially to a wanna-be foodie like myself! We perused the extensive cheese section, the exotic meats (ground kangaroo, anyone?), their amazingly thorough wine cellar, and then it was off to the fun stuff. Ethnic foods! Only every kind you can imagine, from the ubiquitous Mexican, to the rare Holland and Sweden, this place is a treasure trove of interesting foods. I didn't take many pictures there, but there was one photo op I couldn't say no to...

Anyone who has spent some time watching Food Network or the Travel Channel will recognize this bad boy. This fruit is so stinky that many hotels expressly forbid entrance, as it will permeate the atmosphere for days! Why people would want to put something that stinky in their mouths, well, that's another issue altogether. I was just blown away to have seen one IRL! Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you....the Durian!

Thanks Jeanne! It was a fun day, I can't wait for all the other adventures you have planned for us!


A Farewell Kiss

I find myself sad, because my next blog post will put the picture of Leila's tiny toes into the archives. And I want her front-and-center, to get a glimpse of her every time I open this blog. My precious angel. I'm so glad I got the chance to kiss you.


Wishful Thinking

I thought I was coming out of the dark woods. I thought I was coming to terms with Leila's birth and death. I thought I was ready to rejoin the real world. Three weeks later, I thought....

What kind of idiot makes these kinds of assumptions?

I'm not even within bullhorn-shouting distance of okay. Today found me leaning over an extra-large trashcan at work, sobbing my heart out. What triggered that, you ask?

I called the WIC office today. They say you're supposed to call as soon as your baby's born, so they can either adjust your food for nursing, or start supplying you with formula. I apologized, it's been 3 weeks. But I haven't used a coupon since delivering Leila. I wanted to know how I should return the coupons to them. The lady on the other end of the phone was very nice, said how sorry she was to hear about our baby. Nothing remarkable, right? I agree. But I guess I'd been avoiding making that call, maybe because it would be admitting Leila's gone to the world. Facing the reality one more time. And this time, reality had teeth. It chewed itself right into my gut and made me experience all over again how hollow I feel right now. And the crying doesn't have that cleansing quality now, it just burns and stings, leaving me unfulfilled.

I just wish I could die. That some wonderful soul would come along and put me out of my misery. That Jesus would come RIGHT NOW and take me home to see my little girl. I know, I know, that's some selfish thinking, right? What would Yasar and Andrew do? And all the others who count on me blahblahblah. I didn't say I was going to eat a bullet, or have a nap in my car in the garage, or even chow down a couple of these Ambien the OB was so kind to give me.

I just give up. I surrender to the pain. I'll let it hollow me until I'm nothing but a husk. Then I'll pray for God to rebuild me.



I believe God has used the trials this last month to teach me a lesson that I didn't know was necessary. It's about being thankful for what He's given me. I never really considered myself selfish, but I've definitely been pushed to the next level.

First and foremost, I have a Savior who loves me. Who grieves when I grieve, and rejoices when I rejoice. Who has given me something so precious, that I've spent the last 30ish years taking for granted. Being saved and looking forward to heaven has a whole new meaning to me now. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you so much.

My husband is such an incredible gift to me. I always marvel that God chose a man for me from the other side of the world (a sentiment I had the pleasure of sharing with his cousin and her American husband this past weekend). The years it took for Yasar and I to grow into each other, while I didn't understand it at the time, were another form of blessing. Yasar has been pivotal in teaching me how to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and how following God's Word for your life is, in itself, an amazing blessing.

Andrew, you are the light in my eyes. For years, I never thought I'd have children. I was too worried about my genetic makeup, and how it would be better to not propagate that DNA. But you, you are amazing. Bright, inquisitive, energetic, sweet and loving, not to mention devastatingly handsome, just looking at you makes me want to bust at the seams with pride. I am so fortunate to have you.

My last pregnancy and my daughter Leila has been a lesson of hope. For years Yasar and I had hoped for two lines on the pregnancy test, only to be disappointed month after month. God's timing is not our timing, you know? But, way back in February, when that miracle news happened, totally unexpected, God showed me that He's solidly in control. And, on May 21st, when Leila went home to be with Him, God taught me a whole new way to lean on Him.

My family has taught me some valuable lessons in support. From getting the 5am "I'm thinking of you" emails from Chris to having a new connection to my husband's family, our trials have made some new bridges, and some not-so-new bridges stronger. My parents, who offer strength. My sister, who does sympathy so well. All my bases are covered with them, and I consider myself so fortunate.

My friends are truly a gift from God. It's like He knew exactly what I'd need in my time here, and He had a different friend fill in every gap. Brenda is good at taking my mind off my problems, and keeping my kid busy for cheap. Christine is helping me get over my reluctance to be around babies, but in the most sensitive way. Shari brings the food - her role is pretty hazy now, I thing she's really uncomfortable with the whole pregnancy loss thing, but I have no doubt that God has plans for her. Jeanne loves to send me e-cards along with her support. Lisa is my rock. Having gone through something similar, she's almost like a guide, but also a soft shoulder. Joy just keeps me distracted and laughing. Melissa and Amy both push me into reality, that friends are going to keep having babies, and it's going to be okay - I'm not going to break by rejoicing with them. I also need to mention my cyber-friends, Tricia, Sheryl, Julie, Heather, Retriever, you guys and your comments get me through a lot of hard times, too. Thank you. :)

My support system has really gotten us to understand why God chose Troy for us. The people in our church are so incredible, their love and support seem to know no bounds. We've gotten so many cards, and offers of help, and baskets of cookies, and emails. And the OB and nurses who bore witness to Leila have been an incredible gift from God. Amazing that these people stay in touch, and continue to lift us up in prayer. We don't feel alone, even being so far from our families. That was God's plan, I guess.

So, thank you, God, for this ongoing lesson in thankfulness. I'm going to concentrate on seeking the silver linings in situations that would usually leave me in a negative place. If nothing else, I know that You're in control, and all things work together for good for those that love God (Rom 8:28).


Jennifer's Graduation Party

Pictures from one awesome party!

1. The proud graduate (headed for Pitt! Woo-hoo!!!!!!)

2. Andrew rockin' the debke.

3. Andrew on a time-out from dancing, hanging with me.

4. The family - Philip, Laura, Sommer, Jennifer (the graduate), and Christine.

5. Yasar after 2 beers! Ha!!!!



My dearest Leila,

I love you so much. I fell in love with you the moment that test came back positive. I was enchanted with the first pictures of you at 6 weeks. You became part of our family with each new update on how you're developing. My heart belonged to you with those first tiny movements. My heart broke when you came too early, and we lost you.

Now I have to let you go.

I've cried the tears, felt the emptiness of my tummy and arms. I've plumbed the depths of depression and insomnia. I've tested the waters of pity. I've turned to alcohol and rented movies to numb the pain. I've asked God to take it away, then took that request back, because without the pain, I have lost you entirely.

Now it's time to move on with my life. I'll always keep you in my heart. I'll always remember the dark-haired, brown-eyed little girl of my dreams. I'll tuck away the fantasies of you in your pink onesie, first ballerina dress, beautiful wedding gown.

I'll cherish the knowledge that you'll meet me at the gate. I'll always look forward to that.

But until then.....

All my heart,



It Only Hurts When I Breathe

When I can breathe, that is.

When it doesn't feel as if the oxygen has been sucked out of the room.

I can tuck away the thoughts of Leila, but I still can't shake that empty, knot-in-my-throat feeling.

Is that how loss feels? Like you're slowly strangling on a frozen lump of tears?

And you just want to climb under the covers and go to sleep forever? Is that depression?

I wish I could go back to two weeks ago, and paid attention to my changing symptoms.

That I called the doctor when my spotting changed.

Or that I held my daughter until she went to Jesus' arms. Is that regret?

Is this ever going to end? Am I going to survive? Will I ever be happy again? Will I ever stop crying over that precious little girl? Will I ever go back to "normal"? Will I ever want to?


Life Goes On

Graduation parties. Vacation planning. Grocery shopping. Bill paying. Work. My body returning to it's pre-pregnancy state. Time is marching on.

Here, it feels like Leila's birth and death happened just last night. It still has that dream-like quality. Nightmare-like. I keep waiting for the reality to hit me. Maybe I should be glad it's not.

Yesterday was our return to church. That was so scary for me, facing all those people. Some who didn't know we were pregnant, much less that we'd lost our precious gift. The first person we ran into, she said in a happy voice "I heard your news!". Last week's news. There's been an update. Of course, I started to cry. The people at our church are amazing, generous in their love and support. I suppose I should be grateful for that, but it doesn't stop the aching in my arms, my heart. Only time will blur the sharp edges from our grief.

Life goes on. And so will we. Just with the weight of another scar on our hearts.