Monthly Archives: August 2014

Just a Cloudy Wednesday

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August 20, 2014

It’s 4:44 in the afternoon and I’m sipping coffee from my pretty new mug that was an anniversary gift from Jeffrey.  We just celebrated 11 years on Saturday.  So much can happen in 11 years.

I came upstairs to scratch out some thoughts on my laptop and sat on my bed to hear a crinkling noise.  My 4-year-old boy has left me a surprise under my pillow.  Drawings of buildings and super-heroes in action, leaping from high places.

Amazing.  I love him.  Lots of amazing things have happened in 11 years.  I choose joy.  Rebecca is kicking and I just commented to someone a few minutes ago that our girls’ bedroom is full, but I hope to get to squeeze Rebecca in there one day.  Knowing that only a miracle from The Giver will make this possible.

Some have remarked about how strong I am.  How inspirational.

But that’s just it.  In the amazing stories, it’s generally the weak and ordinary ones who get to play a lead role.  The ones who wouldn’t have chosen to be in this story at all. Would I have?  Just months ago, the thought of losing a child would cause my breath to stall, my knees to shake.  Lord, please don’t ever ask that of me.

But here I am.  I am not strong; He is.
I am not full of faith; He is faithful.

I am not an inspiration; He is altogether Lovely and Loving and inspiring and weaving something beautiful from the ashes.

Didn’t I just say that in an email to one of my best friends?  God’s story never ends in ashes.  I’ve had that written to me by at least three people on three separate occasions in the past week.  I guess it’s sinking in.



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Choose Joy


 “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man
who takes refuge in Him.”  Psalm 34:8

August 18, 2014

I haven’t sat down to write in a while.  The days are running together and flying by on the calendar.  And surprisingly, most of our days are filled with peace.  With joy.

It amazes me that I make it through each day feeling generally peaceful.  That we can accept a smiling “congratulations” from a check-out clerk at the store, while she beams at my belly, and I can genuinely be happy and say “thank you,” and mean it.  Because of that I know that we are utterly covered in prayer.

I have my moments of bittersweet when Carson kisses my belly and talks to baby Rebecca, or Liv peeks into the folded up pack and play and asks “baby Becca in dere?”

But I enjoy every movement and kick.  I smile when a smartly-aimed little foot or elbow is able to slightly ‘bump’ a book or coffee mug that is nestled up to my belly.

I am genuinely happy to be carrying this bright girl.  My heart aches to think of not getting to bring her home.  To wonder if we will get to meet her while she still has breath.  To know that my milk will come and she may never partake of it. But I am still happy to have her as long as she is loaned to us.  Be that years or moments, it will be miraculous.

When we first heard the news I was devastated.  The kids weren’t with us and I couldn’t even contain my crying, so I couldn’t see how I could possibly carry on a normal routine and meet the needs of my children day in and day out.  The first day is still a blur that God surely carried me through.

How does anyone go through this without the CREATOR carrying them through?

But it didn’t take long for me to realize, after crying out to God and spending a lot of time in Psalms – that I can choose joy.  I can wallow in pity and wonder why this is happening to us and think about how unfair it is that – without a miracle – we will leave the hospital without our baby.

Or I can look around me and realize how much God has blessed me.

I have beautiful, smart, healthy, funny kids.  They bring so much life and joy to our world.  And I have many friends who have lost babies and children.  Women all over the world go through this every single day.

I have a safe haven to call home, while many live on the street, or live in terror and threat to their lives because of their faith or their race or their caste.

I have a loving husband, grounded solidly in God’s Word.  And he loves us.  And he never complains.

I looked around.  and the more I began to thank God, and proclaim – to myself – His utter goodness, the more I wondered how I could possibly complain about this momentary suffering.

Sure, I can complain.  Or I can choose to see how good God is.

I can choose joy.

So in a moment of clarity and thankfulness early one quiet morning, I grabbed my notecards and my pretty sharpie and jotted out at least half a dozen little signs with a simple message:

Choose joy.

Because I knew I’d need reminding.  I would fall back into self-pity again and I would need to see that message to my soul again.  From the truck dash.  From the kitchen counter.  The coffee table.  The bathroom sink.  The night stand…

I would need to be reminded again and again to decide to really see His goodness all around me.

And in that, be anchored in the storm.


Break in the Clouds

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Celebrating Rebecca

“Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!”
Psalm 34:3

On July 22, during a 20-week ultrasound, we learned something was terribly wrong with our baby.  A week later, a specialist told us our baby has zero chance of survival after birth.  We are still waiting on bloodwork to show if we are looking at Trisomy or something else.  There are abnormalities with our baby’s heart and other organs, and the head is full of fluid, where little or no brain has developed. We believe God isn’t finished with this story yet, and we will praise Him no matter the outcome.

August 7, 2014

I got the phone call yesterday morning.

Maria, my doctor’s nurse was on the other end of the line and I knew she was calling to give me the results of the panorama blood work we’d had done almost two weeks earlier.

“Okay, I’m ready,” I said, leaning on the kitchen counter, picking at crumbs.

“I wanted him to be wrong,” she started…

The results showed “high risk for Trisomy 13” and the blow wasn’t so bad.  I told her it was okay, I understood, and she let me know that she would always be thinking of me and that at every appointment I could call her as soon as I was in the parking garage and she would get a room ready for me and let me come straight to the back without having to sign in or wait in the usual area.

Before I hung up, I asked, “What about the gender?”

“Female!” she said.

I was stunned.  Really stunned.  I had been so sure – 100% sure – I was having a boy.  I had told all the kids weeks earlier that if I was right, Daddy was going to buy me a sno-cone, and if I was wrong, I would buy them all ice cream cones.

Here we are having a GIRL.  This little one continues to surprise us.

The tears came a moment after I hung up the phone.  Happy tears for my little girl… sad tears for a “diagnosis”…

I stepped outside the laundry room and sat in the sun on the back steps and texted Jeff, “I owe all the kids ice cream cones!!! :0”

A few minutes later I dried my tears and went back inside and told the kids the news.  The girls cheered and Christopher offered a half-smile.

And four-year-old Carson wailed.

He’s already started praying that God would send us a baby brother.  Bless him.

Yesterday evening we took the kids to Dairy Queen to pay my debt – and to celebrate.  Some wise friends have encouraged us to really celebrate this little one’s life while she is with us, for however long she is with us– and make some good memories.

After all the kids were in bed, Jeff and I sat and talked about the names we had been thinking and praying about.  And we named our daughter.

Rebecca Faith Hosanna Hazleton

 (Yes, we are those people who give their kids long names… that’s a story for another time.)

Rebecca has a few meanings…. one is “captivating”.  This was special to me because t13 babies are often born with facial abnormalities.  But God has made her beautiful.

Rebecca also means “a cord tied tightly”…. Interestingly, my childhood friend Becca messaged me yesterday and said she was praying that “our rope would be tied as tightly as possible to the One who is the strongest.”

The middle name Faith is pretty obvious.

Hosanna, in Hebrew means “rescue/deliver us”… in the New Testament it is used as an expression meaning “praise God!”

So, if you string that all together, the meaning of our daughter’s name is “tied tightly in faith to the One who rescues, and we will praise Him”

I think her name is pretty fitting, don’t you?

Change of Course in 30 Seconds

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On July 22, during a 20-week ultrasound, we learned something was terribly wrong with our baby.  A week later, a specialist told us our baby has zero chance of survival after birth.  We are still waiting on bloodwork to show if we are looking at Trisomy or something else.  There are abnormalities with our baby’s heart and other organs, and the head is full of fluid, where little or no brain has developed. We believe God isn’t finished with this story yet, and we will praise Him no matter the outcome.

Thank you for following our story…

As I get ready to write this next part, I am suddenly thinking of the story in the Gospels (Mark 4:35…) where Jesus and His disciples get in a boat to cross to the other side and it seems quite suddenly “a furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat…” I love how Jesus was so unfazed by this that He was SLEEPING.  But at the urging of his panicking companions, he arose and “rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’”

And while I was just looking up that portion of scripture to read it, I realized the song unconsciously running through my head the past half hour or so is the lyrics from Rebecca St. James…

 “I see the waters rising
I feel the coming storm
When fear is overwhelming
I hear ‘peace be still’.”….

 Didn’t I say God gives us what we need… even before we need it?

I was clinging to Scripture the day we drove to Houston (Tuesday, July 29)  for our appointment with the fetal-maternal medicine specialist.

We dropped the kids off with some amazing friends who bend over backwards to help us and drove through the rain to get to our appointment early.  If you know us in person, ‘early’ never happens for us.  I hoped it was a sign of miraculous things happening.  (I’m just kidding, actually.)

Thankfully, I wasn’t nervous until about 10 minutes before we were called back to the ultrasound.  Jeff noticed I was fidgeting and I forced myself to calm my breathing and focus on Scripture.  Jeff, as usual, was a solid rock.  In these moments he totally lives up to the meaning of his name, “Divinely peaceful.”

We were ushered into a large room with the Dr. and three other assistants present and I was shown to “the table” while the Dr. confirmed some information with me and marveled (although not admiringly) at how many c-sections I’d had, as if I did this for fun.

Within 30 seconds we knew.

I had been told this Dr. was quite blunt (although compassionate) and I was grateful for that.  Blunt answers were what we wanted.  He performed the ultrasound himself and talked the whole time about exactly what he was seeing and what it meant.

The first and major problem: “this black space in your baby’s skull.”  He confirmed that we were not just looking at “a little fluid on the brain.”  He could see no midline structure and he zoomed in to show us that there was actually no brain formed except a tiny portion.

He moved on to show us that the heart did not look normal, and other organs also did not appear normal, but since the fluid around Baby was low, he had a hard time getting the baby to move into a better position for looking at things. This also meant we could not see the gender.  And could not get a glimpse of baby’s face either.  God still wants to enshroud this child in mystery, I suppose.  That is His right.

All markers we were looking at, he explained, pointed to a Trisomy condition, but this would only be confirmed through the bloodwork we are still awaiting, or an amniocentesis, which we will not have done.  The doctor allowed us to ask any questions and asked what I wanted to do… in other words, did we plan to continue this pregnancy?

Yes. Of course.

He was gentle and apologetic and confirmed for us that there was no hope of our child living after birth.  I didn’t take my eyes off our baby on the black and white screen, and tried to force my tears to wait.  But they came with full force quite unexpectedly as one of the assistants handed me tissues she’d already had waiting for me.

Again, we were leaving the room with no sweet ultrasound print out of our child.

I quickly wiped jelly from my belly and tried to hike my skirt up and my shirt down to appropriate levels while the Dr. said things to me I wasn’t comprehending like what my OBGYN would do next and follow up appointments.

My world was spinning.  We thanked them as they all apologized and we left the room.  We weaved down hallways to the scheduler’s desk, where a sweet woman tried to make small talk with me and ask if I was okay, but my throat was closing and I silently begged for her to hurry so I could get out of the public eye and completely lose it.

She handed me my little card with the date of the follow-up appointment, which Jeff had actually scheduled with her because my brain stopped working.

Then we had to go back out the way we came, though a waiting room full of eyes as I just let Jeff lead me since my vision was becoming blurred with tears.

Finally outside the office suite, Jeff took my notebook to hold for me and I found my way to a bathroom down the hall, where I locked myself into the handicap stall and tried to heave sobs as silently as I could.

Some sweet kid and her Mom were in the stall beside me, chatting happily and I covered my face with wads of tissue to try muffle my cries but I just shook and sobbed. Oh, how I wanted to just have my baby healthy and take him home to nurse and grow.

I silently mouthed my prayer to God, “this isn’t what I wanted, but I will walk through whatever you want me to, and I will still say that You are Good.”

God, I will still say that You are Good.

I finally gained some control and met Jeff back out in the hallway where we silently walked together to the elevators and out doors and to the parking garage… it was all just a blur of tears until he put me in the passenger side of the truck, reached over to start the ignition, and sat there with me and began to pray.

I still so distinctly remember the album we were listening to that day in the truck was Rebecca St. James’  “I Will Praise You” and the chorus playing that moment as I sat and cried and prayed with Jeff was one I picked up so clearly in that moment…

 “Almighty God… is a fortress..
He is with us….
God is with us…”

 I have never doubted it.