The past few days have been good. Reid and I usually visit Olivia twice a day - once during the morning/ afternoon and again at bedtime to "tuck her in" and say her prayers. :) She is still stable. The neonatologist told us that she's doing really well for a baby that's so small. Those words give us so much hope.
I've been battling a lot of guilt this past week (and I don't share this to try to get you to tell me I shouldn't feel this way). When it was time to leave the hospital last Monday afternoon several people said things like, "I bet you are so relieved this is over," and "Aren't you so glad you finally get to go home?" The truth is, I wish I was still lying flat on my back in antepartum. I wish I was still on magnesium in L&D. I wish I was still pregnant, feeling my babies move and kick inside of me. As nice as it is to be home, I wish I was still at the hospital. On Saturday when we walked in the hospital there was a birthing class that was touring the NICU. They were standing around talking about their due dates, their baby names, and I wanted to scream. I got in the elevator and cried to Reid, "I would give anything to still be pregnant." My pregnancy was perfect and I was so grateful to be carrying our girls. Still I have these feelings that I could have done something different. Something better. I play scenarios in my mind through out the day, wondering if I had done something differently would the outcome have changed. My doctor has assured me that there was nothing else I could've done. Aside from God ordaining their birth date before the beginning of time, my uterus was measuring beyond 40 weeks. My body did what it knew to do. I went into labor and there was nothing that was going to stop that. I also keep thinking about our girls. They were absolutely perfect in every way. If I had made it a few weeks longer would we be in a different situation? The "what ifs" play constantly in my mind. I know combating the guilt is something that will just take time.
In the last week I've heard several people refer to us as "heroes." If this is what it takes to be a hero, I'd prefer not to be one.
I think Reid and I are doing as well as can be expected. We've been making it a priority to get out of the house everyday and do something for ourselves - drive through sonic, have a lunch date, go outside with Samson. We went to church on Sunday morning which was really good for both of us. I thought it would be really hard and had even planned on us leaving early, but I had such a peace being there.
We finalized burial arrangements for Catherine, Madelyn and Mary Grace. I see the Lord's hand so clearly in the place He provided for them to be buried. If there's one thing I can say, as terrible as this has been, He has not abandoned us. It doesn't mean I haven't questioned His plan. I have. It doesn't mean that someday, as I work through this sorrow, I won't be angry with God. He is big enough to bear my anger. I would give anything for our story to be different, but through all of this horrible mess I can see He is still good.
Today my mom's life is being celebrated at a service in my hometown. I had planned to be there, but when it came down to it I just couldn't stand leaving Olivia for the day. If anyone would understand, my mom would. I made peace with her death a long time ago. The last time I saw her was February 26. We took pictures with the girls monogrammed burp cloths in the parking lot of the nursing home. I hugged and kissed her like it was the last time I would see her. When Reid and I drove off I looked in the side view mirror at my mom for the last time. That image of my dad bending down kissing on her cheek and wheeling her back inside will be etched in my memory forever.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV)
Beautifully written, Mare. All of it. And you also gave such an honor to your mom. As I fight my tears to see the keypad, I am praying for today's service, your hearts as you are with your daughter, and for strength and health for you all. SO MUCH love to you, friend!ReplyDelete
For someone who is generally good with words, I have fallen short over the past two and a half weeks. I may not say much, but I am still here beside you. Thank you for living out your faith and being bold enough to be honest about what you are feeling. I have prayed all day for your mom's service. The Lord has been glorified throughout the entire journey these past several years, and I am sure today will be an incredible piece to the tapestry He has written through her life (and yours). I love you so much Mare!ReplyDelete
I weep as I read your post. I hate that you even had to write it. I can't imagine the heartache that you feel over and over. I heard a quote on the radio last night from Joni Erickson tada.... She was telling God, " I can't do this...this is too hard...But I can do all things through You who give me strength." I know you have saught that too.ReplyDelete
i just wanted to tell you that, that feeling you had when you thought back to your pregnancy, feeling your girls kicking, and all was going well- these are the memories that will stay with you over time- these perfect times when they thrived and felt your love, felt each other, heard your and your husband's voices... these times are what made you a mother four times over, forever and ever. keep those memories vivid and strong in your heart and mind, and they will always be with you.ReplyDelete
you have suffered so much loss over such a short period of time. what choice do you have but to bear the weight of it and continue on? you are doing so well, in this moment. i just want to remind you that you don't have to do all of the grieving at once, there is no time limit... if it feels like too much, you can make an agreement with your heart to revisit the grief at a later time, so you are not so overwhelmed. its ok to do that.
i am so sorry for the loss of your mother. the photos that you have included, she was a beautiful woman, and you clearly had so much love for eachother. and, i am just so sorry that she was predeceased by any of her grandchildren. if there is a heaven, you can only hope and maybe find peace in the thought that your mom and her sweet granddaughters are keeping company.
is there a grief support group available to you? there is a website called glowinthewoods.com for mothers who have lost babies... when the time is right and if you feel you need it, it may be a comfort to you. just passing it along.
so glad to know that olivia is doing well.
Mare, you are incredible, inspiring to watch. God is using you through this to reach others (me included). I'm sitting here balling reading your post. You are a testimony to how big God is even in weakness and sorrow. I am amazed by you. I continue to pray for you all and for that sweet baby Olivia. Praying you feel peace today sweet friend.ReplyDelete
Mare, let Romans 5:1-5 be an encouragement - especially verse 3-5...ReplyDelete
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Praying for you and your family. So glad to hear Olivia is stable and doing well. Will continue prayers.ReplyDelete
Please accept concerned thoughts, prayers & sincere sympathy from this complete stranger. I have been reading your blog for several months now and can honestly say that I have been anxiously awaiting every update. Your strength and faith through the last weeks.... AMAZING!!ReplyDelete
On Saturday night before Easter, I attended an Easter service and one song particularly spoke to my heart. I don't know if you know it or not but over the past week and half I have listened to it repeatedly and thought of your precious family each time. It is 'Broken Hallelujah' (Mandisa) and I have attached the lyrics. Sometimes when we are at our lowest, this is all we have...and for this I am so thankful. Continuing to pray for you and your husband and your sweet Olivia!
Amy Hogue Baldwyn, MS
With my love and my sadness
I come before You Lord
My heart’s in a thousand pieces
Maybe even more
Yet I trust in this moment
You’re with me somehow
And You’ve always been faithful
So Lord even now
When all that I can sing
Is a broken hallelujah
When my only offering
Is shattered praise
Still a song of adoration
Will rise up from these ruins
I will worship You and give You thanks
Even when my only praise
Is a broken hallelujah
Oh Father, You have given
Much more than I deserve
And I have felt Your hand of blessing
On me at every turn
How could I doubt Your goodness
Your wisdom, Your grace
So Lord hear my heart
In this painful place
I lift my voice
Your Spirit moves
I raise my hands
I reach for You
Still covering you, your husband, sweet Olivia, and your family in my prayers. May the peace of God, that passes all understanding come over you. I pray that little Olivia continues to grow and thrive everyday and keep that little spunk!!ReplyDelete
Praying for you and your family. Here is a song that Kutless has just released that has helped ease those tough moments and the "what ifs" and whys. Hope it helps yours too.ReplyDelete
I am so proud of you for even being able to identify WHAT you are feeling...... that is so healthy for you to do, and I would think it is a very positive step in the long journey of the grieving process. Just remember most people.... (including myself) don't have a CLUE what to say during such a traumatic time but they all love you, Reid, and all 4 of the girls very very much. I'm proud of you re: your decision to be with Olivia today and I know your Mom is too. Hugs. CZReplyDelete
Your mom's service was beautiful today, Mare. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him..." I'm praying for you, Reid and Olivia regularly. Love you dearly. Jessica BrogdonReplyDelete
Love you Mare.ReplyDelete
I can't begin to imagine the strength God is giving you. A couple things hit me when I read about you. One is yea, God can handle your anger and it will hit, whether a small amount or large. I speak from experience on that. As we went thru many miscarriages, I became very angry. Then one day, randomly shopping with my sis-in-law, I saw a plaque that said, "God will fix your broken heart, if you give Him all the pieces". I bought it and read it everyday. It takes time but He does. Another is a reality check. We read about happy endings for most multiples. It hit me that we don't all get a happy ending. That said, I firmly believe that your happy ending is coming. Your faith in God will make it so. One day you will see your baby girls and you will dance with joy! We are praying for all of you and your sweet baby Olivia. I know how diffilcult it must be to write your blogs, but you are an inspiration to us.ReplyDelete
I just listed to the best song through tears and thought of your precious family! Thought it might bring some hope and joy to your hearts. turn it way up!! :) praying for you today.....ReplyDelete
Kati Jobe (acoustic version) of "Steady My Heart."
10 years after preterm labor and delivery, I still replay things in my mind. I always feel guilty and wish I could have held on a few days longer. But it doesn't change what happens, it just makes me sad. And you cannot help getting angry at not being pregnant and not having that perfect birth. It was a struggle for me and I remember even getting angry at the people in the NI who hadn't lost a child nor had to worry about death of their child. But I do remember that my counselor told me that anger and guilt were all parts of the healing process. Your strength amazes me and I pray God continues to give you that strength for this journey. It is a long one. I am praying for you daily and I will be here if you ever need to talk to someone who has similar paths.ReplyDelete
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You absolutely amaze me. Your strength through this whole thing has really brought a lot of emotion to me. You've helped renew God in my life. I've started thinking about my life and where I am spiritually. It saddens me how complacent I've become. I tell myself how busy I've been with nursing school and being a newlywed. My brothers lives being in shambles and grandparents health struggles have taken over. Through it all I still believe He is in control, but my day to day thoughts have been selfish. I feel some churches have 'turned me off' due to hypocrisy, but reading your blog has reminded me what it's like to be a 'true' believer. My heart breaks for you, but know you've always been a true witness to me even when we were kids. I miss all my LR girls. I'll be praying for you and Reid. Love you. I'd love to talk to you sometime. Call me if you're up to it at 501-472-3445. XO Stacy
Mary Virgina, I have so much respect for how you have handled yourself through this extremely difficult time. Thanks for sharing your heart publicly on your blog - the Light of the Lord is shining through you and Reid. I am praying for you and your sweet family!ReplyDelete
Rebekah Johnson Bloyd
I don't even know you, but I have been consumed since I found your blog through Kelly's Korner/Prayer Requests... I am praying for you, for your sweet Olivia. I have no words. I just wanted you to know.ReplyDelete
Hi, I am a friend of Lindsey's (a dollop of my life) & found your blog through her. I have gone through seasons of grief but nothing like this... i am praying for you & your husband & baby olivia.ReplyDelete
I am praying for Olivia After I kept reading I realized you had 4 little girls not 3. I am so very sorry lots of prayers for you, your husband and Olivia.ReplyDelete