How different I thought Mother's Day would be this year, 30 weeks pregnant and living in Michigan. How much has changed in such a short time. But I am thankful to be a mother, raising one here on earth and carrying one in heaven in my heart. The lyrics to a song come to mind, "I will carry you while your heart beats here, long beyond the empty cradle, through the coming years. I will carry you, all my life, and I will praise the One who has chosen me to carry you." Although I didn't get to mother Levi in the traditional sense, I surely have and will continue to carry the weight of being his mother, of being the mother to a baby born into heaven.
I got some pictures with my sweet boy...He seems to have changed from a toddler to a little boy in the past few months.
3 years ago, on Mother's Day, we announced that we were expecting Griffin.
Little did we know that we would have a new baby to announce this Mother's Day!!
That's right, my friends... The Lord has seen fit to bless us with new life, and we are so thankful. On Mother's Day afternoon, I was about to head out to the craft store when I got the crazy idea that maybe the Lord had a special gift for me this Mother's Day. So, I took a pregnancy test, having no symptoms, and no suspicion of actually being pregnant. After 30 seconds or so, it looked negative, and off I went to head to the store. On another whim, I brought the test with me [yes, I know...super weird], but in my defense...the test said to wait 5 minutes before reading the result. I set the still negative looking test in the cup holder [remind me to clean my cup holder hah] and drove off. I got a way down the street when I glanced down, and to my shock...A FAINT LINE! Of course, I called Oliver...no answer. I think I called him 20 times while I made my trip to Michael's. Finally, he answered and we both cherished the thought together and planned to have me take another test when I got home. Sure enough...another faint line! We shared the news with our moms that day, and began facing head-on the fears. Being pregnant again, I now know what it feels like to lose, and I, again, have so much to lose. I am petitioning God like constantly for protection over this baby and for the blessing of being able to raise him or her. After looking through the pictures we had taken of Griffin and I earlier in the day, I was struck with the urge to include all my children in a Mother's Day picture. So, here we are...Mama, Griffin, Levi, and the pee stick hahah...ahem...positive test:
Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of new life, the shafts of hope that are beginning to break through the clouds, the comfort and peace that you have poured into my aching heart. Thank you for your immeasurably sweet, unexpected gift to me on Mother's Day. I know that I am not promised a healthy, living baby in 8 months, but I am, only by the work of the Holy Spirit, hopeful.
A week later, we visited Levi's grave for the first time since his burial.
We cleared off his stepping stone grave marker, and spent some time sitting there under the weeping willows.
He is buried under these weeping willow boughs.
As I sat there at my baby boy's grave with a new baby growing inside me, I am beginning to see the beauty God is bringing forth out of the ashes of our loss. This little one would have never existed without Levi having died. But the reality that I knew intellectually, I now know in my heart: This baby does not, cannot, and should not replace Levi in any way, nor can he or she fill the void left by our loss. That, in some ways, will always remain and will yet be filled in other ways only by the fullness of Christ in me. But I have believed since the day we lost him that a future baby would be a path to healing for me. I know it will be a very long, very tough 8 months, working through and facing so many giant fears, so much recent trauma, but it is the road that God has set before me. I will not be alone. In addition, I know that I will have the prayer support of so many. I believe in the power, the real, tangible, felt power of prayer now more than ever. Please be in prayer for us. We are still grieving and yet we are celebrating. We're trying to heal and yet already facing many fears...ultrasounds, looking for the heartbeat, etc etc. I debated whether or not to share our news right away, but we want you all to be with us is this journey, sharing in our joy and hope, and also lifting up the health and safety of our baby and our fears and anxieties throughout this process. I have some decisions to make right off the bat, like where I will get my prenatal care and deliver. After the trauma of losing Levi, I am kind of desiring more close monitoring (not that even the closest monitoring could have prevented what happened to Levi) and a NICU right down the hallway if something were to go wrong during birth, but I love my midwife, the prenatal care she gives. This is a very hard decision for me, and I need wisdom, discernment in what will be best for me and the baby this time around.
I thought I was going to be 30 weeks pregnant on Mother's Day. Instead, I was 4 weeks pregnant! As I write this, my sweet, new baby is almost 6 weeks, the size of a lentil, and his/her heart is likely already beating...A beating heart within me again...[sigh] Thank you, Lord. May you help baby's heart to continue beating for years and years beyond mine.
A sweet friend of the family recently sent this cross to us for Levi. She made one like this for Griffin as well, hand painted and all. I cried when I opened it...Isn't it beautiful? I love the symbolism of the seasons. And I love that she made a cross for him too. It is so sad to me that he will in this life forever be left out of being included in our family in so many ways, but he will always be a child of ours to us. So, I love when people include him. On the back is written Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you." How beautiful. And I know the Lord knows our new baby too, just as intimately as he knows you and I, even as he is forming him/her in the womb. I will leave you with one final picture. My last post was about Griffin comforting me by bringing me my "Levi Bear" teddy bear. About a week ago, as I was putting Griffin down for bed, he asked for "beebee bayuh mama bed", aka baby bear in mama's bed, and he has wanted to sleep with him ever since. I love this picture of Griffin snuggling Levi the Teddy Bear during reading time before bed. Oh how I wish I could take pictures of Griffin with his arm around his baby brother Levi. In 8 months, Lord willing, I will be able to take my first sibling pictures. Please, Father.