Heart of Esther

"And who knows but that you have come to this position for such a time as this?" –Esther 4:14

Happy Birthday, Baby! October 15, 2012

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Yesterday was our sweet baby Andrew Zane’s birthday. 

We lost him one year ago. When I woke up one year ago yesterday, I had no idea that my entire world would be turned upside down and forever changed.  A year ago today, I was lying in the hospital receiving blood transfusions because I had lost so much blood and was so weak, I could not even raise my own arm or sit up in bed.  The nurses were telling me they had never seen anyone when I crashed with such low blood pressure still alive.  I remember lying in the sterile-smelling room, hearing newborn babies crying down the hall, a constant stream of tears running down my face, unable to even respond.   

I didn’t just mourn yesterday.  I’ve mourned heavily this entire month.  I allowed myself to slow down and not fight the grief.  All of it flowed freely-the anger, the sadness, the longing and aching.  I’ve just allowed myself to weep openly.  And the tears seemed as if they would never cease.  But it was healing. 

And when his birthday finally came, we made cupcakes-brown and blue sprinkles on top.  And the children enjoyed having a little birthday party for their brother.  My more sensitive one shed some tears with me, but mostly the whole thing was approached lightly. 

 

And we remembered you, Andrew.  We talked about how we used to talk about you and the silly little songs we made up for you when you were in my tummy.  We looked at your pictures.  Your perfect little hands clasped together by your face.  How sweet you looked!  We thought of how it would be if you were here.  How you would be crawling and sitting and laughing.  And we pictured you where you are now-never knowing pain or sadness.  And we sent our love to you.  Though my heart aches with sadness that is too deep to describe, I have hope in this-that someday I will hold you again, sweet baby. 

All my love,

Mommy

 

The Burden of Grief October 11, 2012

For those of you, like me, who are burdened by the heaviness of grief…and rest for your soul is hard to find in the tears and sadness, the anger and questions not answered…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
-Matthew 11:28-30

 

CALVIN’S HATS October 7, 2012

When we lost our little boy, Calvin’s Hats quickly sent a baby blue knitted hat that fit his gestation age perfectly.  We cherish that hat more than we can say.  Here is the website:  http://www.calvinshats.com/default.html

 

 

 

Heart Of Esther? October 4, 2012

Recently, I read my “About Me” page and I laughed bitterly as I read the introduction of a mother who was brave and strong and certain. Even the name of my blog seems to mock me. Esther was strong, courageous, and she appeared at peace. She changed a nation.

Here I am feeling battered and bruised by grief. Uncertain and fearful. I feel as if I don’t matter any longer. I’m just surviving every day.  Days spent in tears, not in victory.

But then I think, maybe I can have a heart like Esther. I can bravely face each day without the child I should have in my arms. I have not shut myself off to love-instead I have embraced my children even more strongly than before. I gaze into their eyes even more deeply, longing to learn and memorize who they are.

Every day, I can find strength I don’t have and courage that isn’t there to lay aside myself and my pain to take care of those in my care and do it joyfully.  I can find more compassion and grace in everything. And maybe I can change a nation-everyday I pour into others-especially those given in my care.

So maybe having strength and courage isn’t always some big thing that everyone acknowledges. Maybe its in the small things that make up our lives. A heart that has a sense of destiny-a heart of Esther.

 

GRIEF HAS CHANGED ME October 3, 2012

I wish I could say the past year has been horrible but I’ve been able to just bounce right back. I’ve always been a fighter, I’ve always looked at the positives in life, I’ve always felt I could take anything and come out on top. I’ve always been resilient…

But not this time. I’ve felt as if this past year has been me struggling for air, trying to find who I am again (because I honestly don’t know anymore) and trying to move on past all the heartbreak and trauma but never seeming to really be able to. This year has been a year of loneliness-mostly my fault because I’ve pushed everyone away because I feel so all alone-that no one understands me. Almost all my friends who became pregnant after our loss decided in their own heads that it would be hard for me to know they were pregnant, so they just avoided me.  Don’t they understand, hearing someone is expecting doesn’t change that my baby is gone. I want my baby, not theirs! 

All I really want to do is close the blinds and snuggle deep into my bed covers.  But there is no rest for a weary, grieving mother of children.  There’s no escaping myself.  It’s hard to explain, maybe unless you’ve been there, but going through almost losing your life and losing your baby’s life, has left me with so much anxiety, at times I can hardly handle life.

I feel like I need help-but what can anyone do?  All of this is so very deep in my heart.  I keep waiting on Him to fix me.

Grief has changed me.

 

MOURNING

Those who are worn out and crushed by this mourning, let your hearts consider this:

this is the path that has existed from the time of creation and will exist forever.

Many have drunk from it and many will yet drink.

As was the first meal, so shall be the last.

May the master of comfort comfort you.

Blessed are those who comforts the mourners.

– Jewish Blessing of the Mourners

 

Not Forgotten September 29, 2012

There is a beautiful picture in the Psalms, of God collecting each of our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8).
mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15)

I know I’m not forgotten, Lord.

That you see my anguished tears in the quiet of the night.

You see my heart.

You know my anger.  My sadness.  My regret.  The emptiness I feel. 

You know how desperately I miss my little Andrew. 

How every day, I see him in my mind’s eye among us.  Or rather, the shadow of what should have been.

You record each tear (Psalm 56:8)

Bring healing, I pray.

Fill this void within me.

Help me never to forget what desperate pain feels like.  So that I may always have compassion and grace.

Remind me of my needs, so I can strive to help others in theirs.

 

 

Mommy’s Angel

Filed under: Baby,Family,Miscarriage,Pregnancy,Pregnancy Loss,Stillbirth,stillborn,Uncategorized — Heart of Esther @ 11:04 pm

 

Mother’s Day May 13, 2012

Filed under: Miscarriage,Pregnancy Loss,Stillbirth,stillborn — Heart of Esther @ 8:30 pm
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Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mother’s who have carried babies in your womb but lost them!  We will carry joy from receiving the gift of becoming a mother, but a deep ache of not having that child here with us now...

 

Crying Out April 25, 2012

I know my posts have been a bit few and far between these days…

It has been difficult for me to put so much into a few words.  And there has been much that is so deep and so personal and raw, that I cannot share it, but for a couple of souls.

I was so grateful to hear from a reader-you know who you are!  🙂 You encouraged me so much and reading your post was like a glance into my own soul.

Yes, life has been a battleground lately.   I’m at that place of true forgiveness…and yet, the evil one still brings those feelings up now and again.  There are days I feel like I’m back at square one.  There are days that I feel like more than a conqueror.   Days when I am resting in His perfect peace and nothing will ripple the calm of my soul…  

Lately, there have been many days of brokenness.  Simply crying out to Him.  There have been health issues, surgeries, and obstacles that keep getting in the way of my body healing from both losses.  It feels like the storm hasn’t ended.  I have felt like the disciples on the boat, in the middle of this terrific storm…wondering why Jesus is sleeping???   My anguish echoes David in Psalms “Attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.” 

And then I realize He wants me in that place.  To understand, for His Glory, that I am desperate and helpless without Him.  There are so many walls, so many layers.  He is renewing me.  It is a time of amazing growth.  Just as I have come up for air and feel like I’ve learned and been renewed (new wine cannot be poured into old wine skins), He seems to find it perfect to teach me more-and back under I go.  A time for peeling away the old-like an onion whose outer layers need pulled away.  I have been growing and learning and deepening my relationship with Him.  

It’s been a heart-wrenching time and yet, this time has held such sweetness in it as well… 

I know why I am at this place.  I am to be in a place where I know it is only God who delivers.  I know the Lord hears my cry “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15)

Throughout the Word, I see time after time that there was a period when individuals or nations cried out in desperation.  Psalms is full of David’s pleas-asking the Lord if He will not turn His back on him, if He will hear his cry.  

And I feel peace because I see that time and again, the Lord did respond.  He did deliver.  He did heal.  He answered.  He restored.   

“In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”  (Psalm 18:6)
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” Psalm 34:15
“I cried to the Lord with my voice and He heard me from His holy hill…O Lord my God, I cried out to You and You healed me.” Psalms 3:4, 30:2
So here I will remain-crying out to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or think.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.”

Psalm 40:1

 

DUE DATE March 18, 2012

Today is Andrew’s due date.

I knew this day would come and I knew it would be hard.  The last two weeks have been terribly difficult-knowing I should have been delivering him soon.  I’ve tried to carry on with day-to-day life while fighting back tears all day.  I think it’s the most difficult in the moments you realize it actually feels like someone is missing in your family, in your home.  The face you aren’t kissing, the baby you aren’t holding, the one you aren’t setting a place for at the table. ..  

They say the hard times show you what you’re made of.  They peel back layers to reveal your true colors.  

I can say this-I’m still standing firm in Christ.  Though I have been shaken, I have not been moved.  

I have not allowed the ugliness of bitterness and anger to grow in my heart.  

I have chosen to not be offended by others.  

I have embraced surrender.  

I have forgiven.  

My heart aches daily. But I don’t want to walk away from this pain not having learned and grown from it.  

I value my relationships more.  I enjoy the living of life more instead of looking for what I can accomplish.  Our family has grown closer and stronger.  I admire my husband more than I ever thought I could.  I’m thankful for all the blessings in my life.  I am choosing to thank God for the ways He works in my life-even in the bad things-and even if I don’t always see the fruit yet.

It’s funny how hard times brings out others true colors as well.  The people who surround you who have been supportive and show they care.  Who have been there in any way they can.  The awkward ones are the ones the friendships have drifted apart.  And that’s all right.  

It’s like roses and fruit trees-when you prune them in the winter, they produce better and more fruit in the spring.  

And I am thankful for those God has brought into my life and made me who I am.  

I said to my good friend the other day-when you face opposition, where you stand becomes so much clearer.  Sometimes, you don’t even know where you stand until the opposition comes.  

So I surrender myself to the Potter’s Hands.  The refiner’s fire doesn’t burn so badly when I am willing to be more easily shaped and molded.  I humbly yield my rights to Him.

Andrew, my sweet baby, I miss you and love you.  I wish you were here with me.  

But I know the Perfect One holds you.  

And it will be all the more sweet when we meet again…

 

recovering February 1, 2012

Last week, we found out our little “peanut” (as we affectionately named it) had no heartbeat.  

Another devastating blow.  To be given fresh hope and healing only to have it so quickly stolen again.

I was still terribly sick everyday, even after our sweet baby had no heartbeat.  Talk about extra depressing.  To be throwing up all day everyday for no reason whatsoever.  Yesterday, I had surgery.  

Today, I am recovering.  

This has been such a horrible year.   Sigh.  Part of me feels like I can’t go on.  Another part of me wills me to look ahead to healing and to see what God has in store for us.  I will focus on good things.  Playing and enjoying my children.  Restoring my health.  Loving on my husband.  This past year has revolved so much around me, it will be refreshing to focus on my family and friends instead.  

Something good has to come out of this.  

It’s strange, on one hand I have never felt so alone.  It feels as if no one can possibly understand this pain.  The kind of pain that hurts so much, you physically can’t breathe.  Your heart literally skips beats.  To feel completely rejected by God.  To feel isolated from family.

And yet, I have felt more loved on this past year than ever before.  Close friends became closer.  My husband and I went through awful things and drew together instead of apart.  I saw the best in him and he took such good care of me.  

I treasure my relationships.  

Especially those who have been there for me to cry with, or just vent.  

And the ones who have loved on my children and watched them when I was recovering.  

The many, many meals that were so sacrificially brought.  

Those who came to be by my side when I needed them.  

Those who pulled me in as part of their family.  

The ones who just let me be…me.  In grief.  In pain.  Without judgement.

We haven’t even made it to our sweet Andrew’s due date, and we’ve already lost two babies.

I will recover.  Both physically and emotionally.  

But the grief will never end.  The tears will still flow.  My heart and arms will ache with emptiness.  And I will never be the same. 

 

Faith January 17, 2012

Every day, questions run through my mind…

Will this baby survive?  Is everything all right?  What if I have to endure losing a baby again??  Can I handle it?

I am quieting the fears and worries of my heart.  I am enjoying each day with this gift I’ve been given.  I am thankful for the hope this baby restored in us after losing Andrew, even though I still shed tears for him every day.  

And I will choose joy.  It’s there, peeking through the clouds.  Will I be too timid to allow it to warm my heart completely?  

I have not been given a spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind.

“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.”

(Psalm 71:20-21)

 

our pain January 15, 2012

We can give our tears to God

because He is our Comforter…

our disappointments because 

He is our Confidence…

our pains because

He is our Healer…

our stress because

He is our Peace…

our heaviness because

He is our joy!

Roy Lessin

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Mathew 11:28

 

good news! January 7, 2012

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We have a heartbeat!!   We saw our little peanut on the ultrasound.  SO excited (and relieved)! 

I go in for more testing tomorrow to determine if I need to go on the hormone progesterone.  I hear it’s quite common although I’ve never needed that before.


To be honest, I have way too many emotions going on right now.  (Are they sure I need more hormone???)  😉

I feel at peace, though.  And I will do whatever it takes to help the baby. 

 

paralysed January 6, 2012

Filed under: Baby,Christ,Christianity,Family,God,Lord,Pregnancy Loss,Religion and Spirituality — Heart of Esther @ 1:38 am

My doctor’s office called this morning.  The labs I had taken came back low.

My hcg-low.  

Progesterone-low.  

So an ultrasound is scheduled for this afternoon.  In a couple of hours I find out if our baby is all right…if there’s a heartbeat.  I feel literally paralysed right now.  I should clean up dishes.  I should play with the kids.  I should vacuum.  I should read the Word.  I should do something.  But I can’t.  I’m sitting here waiting to find out if we lost another baby.  I cannot even begin to say what is going on in my heart right now.  

Today I woke up feeling pretty good and I thought-“oh, thank you, Lord for having mercy on me and helping me to not feel so sick this time!”  And then I found out why.  It wasn’t mercy or grace.  How ironic.  To have so much faith and peace but for nought.  

So, please, if you read this, send up a prayer for us.  That we will hear good news.  That we still have a baby.

 

aftermath December 29, 2011

I am sitting here in the aftermath of Christmas.  

The children playing happily with new toys, the tiredness of all the work involved with the holiday catching up to me, and the laundry and mess that’s piled up in the meantime.  

Cup of coffee in hand, I’m pondering the last few days.  Honestly, as the Christmas Season rolled around, I felt anything but the spirit of Christmas.  I wouldn’t have even decorated the house or celebrated much if it hadn’t been for the children.  So, my husband and I pushed past our apathy and decorated, put up lights, and made ourselves participate in the goings on of the holidays.  It seemed now more than ever that I needed to rely on our traditions because I didn’t have the enthusiasm to make it through.

Maybe it was because I had no expectations, maybe because we stayed home away without the pressure of extended families, or maybe because we had much to be thankful for-but it turned out to be the best Christmas we ever had. It was peacefully, happy, the real meaning of Christmas was deep within our hearts.  It wasn’t about the rush and the gifts and the commercialization of the holiday.  Awareness of our blessings, taking stock of the precious moments we had, and just a general sense of surrender to Him and resting in the Peace and deep meaning of Christmas.  Our friends gave us a wonderful break and took our kids for the day before Christmas Eve.  We shopped and wrapped presents and spent time talking-really talking.  I spent two whole days cooking up the biggest Christmas dinner!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we filled with meaningful family traditions.  Our hearts were so knit together as a family.  The children had so much fun opening their gifts and playing together.  It was a beautiful family Christmas-the one I always wanted (minus the snow).  And to top it all off-my Christmas present to the family-we are unexpectedly expecting! 🙂

I purposed to have no time frame in my head on when to get pregnant again.  I couldn’t do that to my heart.  I didn’t know if we could get pregnant right away.  I didn’t know what God had in store for us after losing Andrew.  But this has given us some hope and restoration.  And as we’ve learned-nothing is for certain and nothing is guaranteed.  We are praying for this baby-that it will be strong and healthy and go full term.  

As I sit here reflecting, the tears overflow.  Tears of  happiness and filled with hope because we have a new life to look forward to and yet mixed with sadness because my heart still aches for the precious boy we lost.  But I am thankful for the moment I’m in.  

And my heart is full.   

 

Christmas Hope December 25, 2011

“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.”

Psalm 71:20-21

So you may have hope this Christmas…

 

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and His Name shall be called

 

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6
 

Miscarriage, Stillbirth December 23, 2011

I do not like the name miscarriage for several reasons. I guess I don’t understand the label.  I think it puts the tragic death of a baby into a neat little word. It’s a word in our society that, frankly, if you’ve never experienced it, is often “just” a miscarriage. A medical term that downplays the existence of a BABY in the womb.  Women often return to work shortly after. Too often, no one even knows the baby’s life existed.  The grief  is thought to be not as real or as intense.  Many expect you to move on and get over it quickly or as if nothing happened.

“There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.”

I held my baby in my hands. I kissed his face.  He existed! I saw his beautifully made form.  His perfectly made tiny hands and feet.  His mouth and nose.  He wasn’t neatly and carefully washed away as if his life never made a ripple.  He was a baby.  From the moment of conception.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  

Psalms 139:13-14

 

 

expectations December 22, 2011

I don’t expect much from others.  At least, I don’t think I do.  

I believe my expectations are minimal and reasonable at that.  

I don’t expect them to know what to say.  And I do not get angry when they don’t.

I understand they may feel awkward with the subject, especially if I allow a tear to fall.  

I don’t expect them to say the right thing.  And I do not get offended when they do not.  

I don’t expect others to say or do anything to fix it.

I expect people to understand that even though I have other children, it still hurts just as much to lose one. 

I don’t really even expect anyone to have to listen to me talk or cry.  I haven’t expected or relied on anyone to be there for me.  I feel blessed to have a husband who has been so wonderful through this.  I’m genuinely touched by those who have had the courage to reach out.  I am especially thankful those dear friends who still seek out my company and don’t expect anything from me.  If I cry, that’s alright.  If I act normal, that’s alright.  

I don’t expect any “help” to get over this.  One thing I’ve learned is that there is nothing anyone can do to repair what happened or the way I feel.  

I, however, do have certain expectations for myself.  I expect myself to get out of bed everyday and take care of my family even when its difficult.  I expect myself to have a roller coaster of emotions, but to still have a center-a grounding, if you will-in Him that brings me back.  I expect that even though I get angry, its my responsibility to not allow the anger to overtake me, or the bitterness to set in.  I expect myself to count my blessings, and focus on what I do have and not dwell on what I’ve lost.  I expect myself to still try to be the best mother and wife I can be.

But is it too much to ask that a family member not call you crying and expecting empathy because even though they were “done” they are pregnant again???  Didn’t it even cross her mind how thoughtless and insensitive to complain to me might be right now?  And on top of it, get irritated with you though you’ve graciously listened and encouraged, when you point out that the morning sickness will only last a few weeks?

Or, even though you haven’t once called anyone when you were upset,  that maybe when you are angry and having a bad day that they be there for you-especially your own mother? 

Or, when you DO call another family member to cry that they would just listen to you instead of being offended at your hurt or anger?  And maybe not be so uncomfortable with the hurt that they begin talking about unrelated things to the point you do not even get in a word?

My days are filled serving others (gratefully-I’m SO thankful for my family) but sometimes, to just be able to rest…

or have a thought to myself…

Or cry without the children watching you, concerned…

Or be angry for one morning…

Or be able to sit down and do nothing because you are so sad that its difficult to do anything?

Maybe this is why I am filled with anxiety.  

Because I need to be able to release some of this hurt but it’s difficult to find an outlet?  


Are my expectations really too high?

 

 
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