Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year: 2015 Scares the Crap Out of Me

     It's New Year's Eve, and my Facebook news feed is filled with optimistic people excited about the upcoming year and reflecting on the past, so I might as well join the party.

Here's some of the things that I have to celebrate about 2014:

  • Finished my first full year of teaching! That was a big deal. 
  • In June, we bought our first house! More of a cottage, really, but it's all ours. 
  • My husband and I tore out the 1960 kitchen- no lie, had NOT been touched since 1960- with our own two hands and put a lot of love and sweat and tears (mostly mine) into it. It's far from prefect, but I love that we did it ourselves. It was far from the relationship nightmare you hear about. It was actually kind of romantic! I have the best husband ever. 
  • In August, we found out we were pregnant- BIG surprise! But we were so, so, so happy. I think we spent a week straight just staring at each other and laughing at how happy we were. 
  • In October, we got the scary news about Evie's diagnosis; first her omphalocele, then her limb-body wall complex. We spent the rest of the year up until now kind of wading our way through that. 
     In January we have another doctor's appointment with the OB and the NICU doctor, and it's going to be a big one. We'll find out if Evie has a diaphragm,  and what her lung function might be like after she's born. Plus they'll probably schedule my c-section. Which is terrifying. 

     2015 is forever going to be about Evie, no matter what else happens that year. It will be all about the day she's born, the day she goes to heaven, and how to learn how to breathe again without her. The closer I get, the more I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff and someone's about to push me over. I'm trying to dig in my heels to keep it from happening, but there's nothing I can do; this little girl is going to be born at some point, and she won't be safe in my womb anymore. What happens to her and how long she lives will be totally out of my hands. 

     The past week or two, thinking about this has caused some near panic-attack moments. I'm trying to control and hold onto something that I can't, and I'm so afraid that the very fragile peace I've felt from Jesus these past few months will go away the second Evie isn't with me. I'm so scared I'm going to spiral into this deep depression and not be able to fight my way out. 

     Then I was talking to a friend who has gone through a similar situation with her pregnancy, and she told me about how before her daughter was born, she had so many people praying over her and the baby, and she felt this incredible peace as she was taken into the OR. As I thought about that later, I've realized I have been thinking about this the wrong way. So far Jesus has given me just enough strength for that day, every day without fail. Of course my Jesus is going to be there for me. I don't have that strength now, but he'll give it to me then when I need it. This year is going to be all about how Jesus gives me strength when I have none. 

     Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." This verse is usually on the wall of a locker room or T-shirt talking about how to be a great Christian athlete, which is so stupid.  That's not what that verse is about at all. In the verse just before that, Paul was talking about how he was in dire circumstances and brought low, and his friends and family in Christ came and helped him. "Doing all things" doesn't mean hitting a home run for Jesus, it means that whatever circumstances you are in, good or bad or terrible or terrifying, you can go through it because Jesus gives you strength. I don't have that strength right now, but I have faith that Jesus will give it to me when the time comes. 

     This song is so incredible for me right now. The God of angel armies is always by my side. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Maternity Pictures- Celebrating Evelyn

We had our maternity photo shoot yesterday! This is our first preview shot. Our photographer was wonderful- you can look at her website here! It was so neat to feel like a normal pregnant mom for a little while. It was really important to us to make sure we celebrate every day we have with little Evie, and our pictures yesterday really helped us to do that.

Liam was quite a trooper. He hates having his picture taken and anything even remotely "pinterest-y," but he didn't complain once, and we had a really great time. My favorites are the ones where he is in it with me. I can't wait to see the rest!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Death Has Lost Its Sting

My God, how many are my fears
How fast my foes increase
Conspiring my eternal death
They break my fleeting peace

The lying tempter would persuade
My heart to doubt your aid
And all my swelling sins appear
Much greater than your grace

Arise, O Lord, fulfill your grace
While I your glory sing
My God has broke the serpent's teeth
And death has lost its sting

But you my glory and my strength
Will on my tempter tread
Will silence all my threatening guilt
And raise my drooping head

And though the hosts of death and hell
All armed against me stand
No more will terrors shake my soul;
Secure within your hand.

Monday, December 8, 2014

On Joy

     All the good things in our life are so fragile.

     I've been thinking about the cruel irony that we didn't ask for this baby, then we fell completely and head over heels in love, and sometime soon we will have to say goodbye. How unfair is that? Oh, Jesus; how could our good, great, wonderful Jesus give us this great gift and cruelly rip her away?

     But really, do we deserve any of this? God gave us a beautiful baby. We didn't earn her. I didn't rack up enough points to finally earn a healthy baby. How many points do you need for that? Because whatever you have to do, I want to do it. But it doesn't work that way. God gives us free gifts, and he sometimes takes them away just as freely.

     God is good. Really, really good. Deep in my heart I know that; I can't deny his goodness at all. But JESUS, this does NOT feel good. This hurts. And I know- I really do-that everything happens for a reason. That all things work together for good for those who love God. That trials are here to test our faith, to produce perseverance, to draw us closer and closer to God and that we should "consider it pure joy."

     But guys, I'd be lying if I said I was feeling the joy right now. And I don't anticipate ever, ever feeling joy in this until I am in heaven and God has perfected me and I'm finally holy. I know that God has a reason for making Evie this way, but to be honest, I don't care what it is. If Evie's death saved the life and soul of every person on the planet, it still wouldn't be a good enough reason for me, because that is my baby. I would never choose to let my baby go, but God is going to. And I guess that's why God is God and I'm not allowed to make the decisions. I have to blindly and desperately trust that God knows better than I do.

     My joy is an intellectual joy. I have joy knowing that Jesus loves the little children, and that he loves Evelyn even more than I do and will be the first one to hold her in heaven (that is, if my sweet grandmas don't beat him to her). I have joy knowing that God has a purpose and a plan, and that his ways are bigger and better than my ways. I have joy knowing that I'll get to meet my little girl in heaven, and she will be whole and happy and never want for anything at all.

     It doesn't make it hurt any less, but somehow, it does. It hurts so badly now, and it will hurt even worse later when my baby is really gone, but it's good to know that one day, it won't hurt at all. One day, this intellectual joy will turn into real joy when I have the perspective of heaven and see God's face, and I won't have to trust blindly anymore.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


     When we first learned that we were having a baby, we had an insanely long list of names that we loved. It seemed like every day we had a new favorite. We picked names mostly based on how they sounded. Like everyone else having babies right now, we wanted one that was unique, but not weird.

     After we learned that our little girl had limb body wall complex, we decided that the name needed to be more meaningful. We took our top choices and looked carefully at the meanings, and one jumped right out at us. Evelyn. Life.

     When our doctor gave us our baby's diagnosis, she very gently told us that since babies do not survive with this disorder, terminating the pregnancy was an option we may want to consider. Before we even knew that we would ever have to make that sort of hard decision, we had already discussed what we would do if something like that was presented to us. We told her that absolutely was not something we wanted. There was no way we were ending our baby's life.

     For us, choosing life was an obvious choice, but it still didn't make it easy. I remember the days following "the" doctor's appointment thinking to myself, "I get why people end it. They're scared." I was scared. I am scared. Choosing life means we will have to watch and feel our baby grow and feel this incredible, beautiful gift that God has given us, and then give her right back. The thought of what God is going to ask us to experience in the next few months is enough to knock me down some days.

     But the joy of her little life outweighs the fear. Today I was going through a normal day at my job as a first grade teacher, reading with one of my students, and I could put my hand on my tummy and feel little Evie moving as though nothing was wrong. I get moments like that every day. I go to the doctor weekly to check on her heartbeat, and every time it blows me away. What would I do without those moments?

     God knit our little girl together in my womb, even with her physical defects. She is here, every day, for a reason. It could end tomorrow, or the next day, or a month from now, or hours after she is born, but she's here now. Who are we to end what God has put in motion? How could we miss out on the good things that he's going to give us through our baby, simply because we're scared?

     So our little Evelyn, our little life, is still with us. As long as she is, we're going to celebrate life.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Baby Evelyn

     We got to spend an hour today looking at our sweet baby!

     Those of you who know our story know that our little girl has a lot of problems, and it seems like at every doctor's visit, we learn about something new that she is up against. But today, we already knew the worst news. We know that she can't survive; our goal is to try to help her survive as long as possible. And I think we got fairly good news. Small good news, but we'll take what we can get. Everything seems to indicate that she's strong and growing, despite all her issues. It looks like we have a good chance of making it close to my due date in March!

     Our little girl is so beautiful. I think that it looks like she has Liam's nose! Medically speaking, she's far from perfect, but all I could think as I watched her move around on that screen is how perfect she is! Her little fingers, her toes, little knees, and little chin- I could see it all in such amazing detail. I was on cloud 9 all day. It was hard to go back to work!