Monday, May 31, 2010

Change in Priorities

I've been thinking lately that when you lose someone you love--there are several things that change in your life.

I personally have lost interest in the tv shows that I used to love--I still watch them but they are not as important to me as they were before.

I also need to love and cherish those that are around me because I never know how long people will be here for. This may seem a little gloomy but it is true--our life here on earth is so short and we need to savor each minute we are here and love those around us.

When you have been through a loss I think you try not to complain so much about some of the things that happen to you. For example: even if Josiah is awake all night or is extra crabby I should be thankful that I have in my life because there are so many people who want to have kids and are unable.

I think the biggest thing that I realize is that this world is only temporary and that heaven is our eternal home.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I always thought for some reason that Jeff & Lisa would have the twins on May 17th and ....they were! Jeff called at about 11:15 on Monday night and told me that I was right. At first I didn't believe him but then he started to tell me their names so I figured it must be true!

Belladia Faith was born at 9:50 pm and was 4'11 and Gloriana Joy was born at 9:51 pm and was 2'15. They both are doing really well and will remain in the NICU. Lisa had to have a c-section and thankfully she had the c-section on Monday night because if they waited until Tuesday morning they might have lost both babies. We are so thankful that God provided a safe delivery for both girls and that Lisa is doing so well.

I had the privilege of going out to meet my nieces yesterday while my mom took care of Josiah. It was kind of hard to see them in the NICU but I am so thankful that they are doing well. I was able to hold Gloriana for a long time and talked to her about her "big" cousin Virginia and how much she would have loved to be with the girls. That was a little hard when I was talking with her about Virginia but ... I was also able to talk to Bella for a little bit--hopefully I will be able to hold her next time. I had a hard time leaving them--I would love to just sit there all day and talk to them and hold them :(

I am doing really well with the birth of the twins. It was a little bit hard for me on Monday night--especially since they were born two weeks after our baby. I am just so thankful that they are doing well!
Me with Bella

Me with Gloriana

Monday, May 17, 2010


While we were in the hospital giving birth to Virginia, we were given this memory box. In there we have some of the things from the hospital. We have some pictures that the hospital staff took of her. They are extremely precious because we can see her face and see her outfit and she is wrapped in the blanket that my mom made for her. We also have a couple of papers including the stillbirth certificate. We also have the little shell that Jeff used to baptize her with. We will always treasure this box that has some precious mementos of our time with our baby. They also included this little saying that is so sweet:

"This Memory Box provides a place to keep special items that you connect with your loved one. To hold, touch, and remember treasured mementos and memories is a healthy part of adjusting to a loss. The box offers a place to go to, to think about the individual, the good times, and the moments shared. What is put inside is up to you...there are no right or wrong things to include, only those things that are special to you and your loved one. Tying the ribbons is a type of closure, to untie them and open the memory box, is to open up oneself to remember that special someone". (Memories Unlimited--Olympia, WA)

The other item that holds so many special memories of Virginia is the journal that we bought for her when we found out we were pregnant. We also kept a journal with Josiah from the time that we found out we were pregnant with both of them. Virginia's is so special to us because it reminds us of the happy times before she passed away. We were sooo excited to be pregnant again after trying for over a year. It also helps us to remember of God's grace to us through all of this as we remember our difficult time with the induction and then God's providence in providing such a wonderful doctor. We will keep this journal until Virginia's 1st birthday--May 3, 2011--and will continue to record the events of the next year and journal our thoughts and feelings as we go through this grieving process.

Set apart

When we were in the hospital giving birth to the baby we had a picture on our door of a leaf with a drop of dew on there. Tim noticed the little sign and we talked about how this must be a sign to the hospital staff that we had suffered the loss of our baby.

Sometimes when we see people that we haven't seen since we had the baby we also feel "different" as if we have some kind of sign on us that we lost our baby.

We want people to know that we love to talk about Virginia--we plan on talking about her for the rest of our lives. We are willing to talk about any question that you have about her.

We also talked about too how we feel set apart because of the loss of our baby and yet in the same way we should feel set apart as Christians. Those around us should see something different about us because of our faith in Jesus. This is one reason that we do want to be set apart!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ten Days

I can't believe that it has been ten days since I gave birth to Virginia. It has been even longer since she left this earth and made her new home in heaven (22 days).

We are adjusting well to the changes that have happened in our lives in the last month. I think that we are still trying to process all that has happened.
-One of the things that I am thankful for is that our doctor's office does an ultrasound at 18 weeks--if we would have waited until 20 weeks we would have not had as much time to process that our baby was going to die (she was 21 weeks when she passed).
-We are still awaiting the results from the chromosome study. The doctor said that we may not get very much information from it because of the baby's condition. We are unsure of how much we want to know. We are hoping that the baby had a chromosome condition and not a genetic condition.
-We are looking forward to the birth of Jeff & Lisa's twins in the very near future and we look forward to rejoicing in their health. We know that this could be extremely difficult for us as well though since our little one won't be here. Our three girls should be close in age and we were looking forward to them all growing up together.
-Emotionally we have been doing well. For me rocking Josiah seems to bring up a lot of emotions thinking about what "should have been". I also find too that songs that I hear on the radio can be especially hard to hear. We are hoping to be able to get to church this weekend and then go to the cemetery.
-We are also hoping to do some gardening this weekend. We have been blessed with so many beautiful plants and bushes--so we are going to make a little garden for Virginia. We also have the beautiful angel statue to put in there as well

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Helpful Resources

We wanted to provide a list of resources that may help you if you find that your baby has been given a fatal diagnosis. We have listed them on the side so that you can get them quickly but I wanted to give a little bit more explanation on all of them.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep This is a wonderful organization that will come to the hospital to take pictures of your baby. This organization will come to the hospital when the baby is further along than 25 weeks

Haven Network The Haven Network is a Christian perinatal hospice out of Rockford, IL. I was connected with a wonderful nurse, Kathy, who has come alongside of us on the telephone since we received the diagnosis. They provide as much support as you are interested in. They would have come out to the hospital and taken pictures of the baby but we chose not to. They are a wonderful organization that provides their services for free. We are so thankful for their support to us

Perinatal Hospice This is how I found the local hospices in our own area. They have wonderful resources on their website as well.

Sherokee Ilse Sherokee is a wonderful person who has come alongside of us and provided valuable support to us on our journey. Pastor E. gave me one of her poems about pregnancy loss and it really touched me so I looked her up on the internet. I found this website and ordered many of her books and pamphlets. They have been extremely helpful to us. She also spoke with me on the telephone a couple of times and through e-mail to encourage us. We appreciate her support so much!

Mary Madeline Project This is also a wonderful resource. They provided us with burial gowns for the baby that were sent to us free of charge. We were able to pick the size and the gender and then we donated the rest of them to the hospital. The gowns are sooooooooooo beautiful and come with a little hat, stockings and blanket. We were so touched by this organization and the hard work of all of their volunteers. My mom is going to donate her wedding gown in memory of Virginia.

Our favorite songs

We have some songs that have really ministered to us in this time of loss.

Dancing with the Angels by Monk & Neagle. Even though this song talks about a person who has been alive for a longer time--we just love the chorus that talks about dancing with the angels. During the twelve days that Virginia was inside of me and we knew that she was no longer alive the chorus from this song would just come into my head and I would reflect that even though her body was still inside of me that her soul was in heaven dancing with the angels--what a comfort that was to me in this incredibly trying time.

A Visitor from Heaven by Twila Paris I love this song and the lyrics are absolutely beautiful.

Glory Baby by Watermark This is Tim's favorite song in regards to the baby. He thinks that it applies so perfectly to our situation.

If you could see me now by Truth I have always liked this song since I heard it about 16 years ago when my uncle passed away. It helps me to have the perspective of where the baby is and that she is perfect and whole now and walking streets of gold.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

Tim worked so hard today to make a good day for me. He let me sleep in this morning and he got up with Josiah. He made me breakfast and had a wonderful present to me which included a handmade card from Josiah.

Unfortunately, I had a really rough day today. This morning I had a dream about the baby--that she was in the casket and was alive--a wonderful thing of course but not so wonderful when you wake up and it isn't true. I spent a large portion of the morning with tears running down my face. We were planning on going to church and then going to the cemetery but decided that would be too much for me.

We had a really nice lunch together and then got some flowers for Virginia's grave. We just wanted some pretty flowers to put on her grave so hopefully we will be able to put those there this week. Tim and I enjoyed playing with Josiah outside today too. It was so fun to play baseball with him and help him "run the bases"--his giggle is just priceless.

Tonight he woke up crying and while I was rocking him back to sleep I started to reflect on how our lives have been turned upside down in the last month. I should be still pregnant and feeling the baby move inside of me. I should be wearing maternity clothes instead of being back to the regular clothes. I should still be taking my pre-natal vitamins instead of not caring too much about what I am eating or drinking. We should be talking about what we are going to name the baby.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Prayer Card

This is the front of the prayer card that was given out at Virginia's memorial service. We thought that it was a beautiful picture of a little girl angel in heaven.

The back of the card had this little saying on it:

God needed an angel in Heaven
To stand at the Savior's feet:
His choice must be the rarest
A lily pure and sweet.
He gazed upon the mighty throng
Then stopped and picked the best.
Our child was His chosen one
With Jesus she's now at rest.

Letter to Virginia

To our sweet little angel Virginia,
We miss you so much already and can not believe all of the things that we are missing with you. We wanted you to meet your big brother and all of our family and friends but instead you are walking streets of gold. We wish we were putting you in your going home outfit rather than deciding on a burial outfit for you. We should be publishing a birth notice for you rather than placing an obituary in the paper. We wish that you were here on earth dancing to Elmo’s theme song with Josiah but we know that you are dancing with the angels. We wish that you were here playing with your cousins Bekah, Evan, Kruesie, Austin, Daylia and Kaitlyn but we know that you are playing in heaven with Matthew, Jeremiah, Brianna, Grace, Joshua and so many other babies who have left this earth too soon.

Even though we are missing you so much here on earth we are thankful that you are completely whole and perfect in heaven. Daddy & I will continue to tell others about you and how you fought so hard to survive. We love you so much and even though you are no longer in our arms you will forever be in our hearts.

The story of Virginia

This was read at Virginia's memorial service:

We wanted to tell you all a little more about Virginia Rae. We found out that we were pregnant with her on December 23rd and knew that this was the best Christmas gift for us. We had been trying for a year to get pregnant and were so excited that Josiah was going to be a big brother.

The pregnancy was pretty uneventful except for the fact that I was a little bit more sick than I was with Josiah and more tired. We continued to pray for this little one as she grew inside of me.

On April 3rd we had our 18 week ultrasound and our biggest concern was that we could not find out the gender. Just a few days later we were in a fight for her life. We know too that Virginia was fighting because most babies with these diagnoses pass away much earlier in the pregnancy. We sought help from geneticists, obstetricians, hospice workers, friends, family, etc. We wanted those in the medical field to value the life of the baby regardless of her diagnoses. We wanted to see ultrasound pictures of her and know everything about her. On the ultrasound we saw of her alive she had her hand by her mouth just like Josiah.

Tim and I celebrated around this time that he was also able to feel the movement of Virginia. What a miracle it was to feel the baby moving and share that with Tim. It was also at this time that we finally decided on a name. We wanted her to be named after a woman who followed after God in every aspect of her life. We decided to name her Virginia after her great grandma Ida Virginia . We prayed that our Virginia would also be used by God to witness to other people whether through her life or her death.

On April 21st I felt a little bit different and called the doctors office. I went in for a heartbeat check and they were unable to find one either on the doppler or through the ultrasound. What a heartbreaking feeling it was for me to see my baby on the screen and know that the baby is no longer alive. We were so sad that our time with our baby here on earth had ended but knew that she was perfect in heaven and for that we were grateful. Our first induction was not successful and we were so disappointed. We did not like the next procedure that was to be done on the baby but were given no other choices.

Thankfully God provided an answer to our prayers through a wonderful Christian obstetrician, Dr. N. He came alongside of us in our darkest hours and provided Christ’s love to us when we were so broken emotionally and physically. He offered to give us a second chance on the induction. After much prayer we decided to have another induction that was scheduled for May 3rd. The day started a little slow but started to pick up at about 4:30 pm. The next couple of hours went by rather quickly as we were preparing to meet our baby. We gave birth to our baby, Virginia Rae at 9:13 pm. She weighed in at 8 ounces and 6 inches long. We are so thankful that we were able to deliver her naturally. We were honored that Jeff could baptize her surrounded by our family. We were also thankful that our family members were able to come and meet her here on earth. We enjoyed spending time holding her and talking to her on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Even though our prayers were not answered in terms of Virginia being restored to health here on earth we know that she has been restored to perfect health in heaven. We also know that God provided such an answer to our prayers in Dr. N. and his associates and the staff at E. Hospital. God allowed him to come in to our lives when we were at our lowest point and he was able to foster an amazing birth experience.

We were lovingly embraced by so many people who have unfortunately been on a similar road as ours. We are so thankful to those of you who have come alongside of us and shared your suffering with us and helped us along our journey. It is our prayer that no one else will have to walk a similar road but we will be here for anyone that needs us on this road of loss.

We don’t know why God allowed Virginia to have so much fluid throughout her body. We know that Virginia’s life has a purpose and that it is the responsibility of Tim and I to ensure that she is not forgotten. Even though she was only alive for twenty-one weeks we loved her from the minute we knew that she was inside of me. We were so eager to be pregnant again and were looking forward to seeing Josiah playing with his sister. We thought about this baby so much over the 21 weeks of her life and prayed for her so much. We can’t wait to get to heaven and see her again.

Virginia's slideshow

This is the slideshow that we showed at Virginia's memorial service on May 7, 2010

Virginia's burial and memorial service

Today we had Virginia's burial. It was so difficult to see the coffin that contained our little girl. We were able to spend a couple of minutes talking to her and introducing her to Josiah before we went out to the cemetery. Tim was able to carry the coffin to the car and then from the car to the graveside.

Pastor E. did a wonderful graveside service that meant so much to both of us. I was able to read a short letter to Virginia expressing some of the things that we were missing so much with her. Afterwards we each released a pink balloon into the air.

We had a short break before the memorial service so we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then went back to the funeral home. It is so weird to have a memorial service for your own child. Since the casket was already buried in the ground we had a beautiful angel sit where the casket would have been. The angel had been delivered to us earlier in the week from Tim's work. It is sooooooooo beautiful and reminds us so much of our little girl. Tim's work also sent a lovely bouquet of flowers. We had that bouquet of flowers and the roses from Tim's parents on both sides of the angel. Then we received some beautiful bushes from Tim's parents and from Jeff & Lisa which sat on the pillars.

It was so wonderful to have so many people support us on such a difficult day. We also met a couple of new friends who have come alongside of us and shared their stories of the loss of their babies. My brother, Jeff, also led the memorial service and did such a wonderful job--we are so thankful that he could minister to us and our friends and families in such a personal way.

Here are some pictures from the day:

The balloon release
The beautiful angel from Tim's work

Jeff's prayer and sermon

My brother, Jeff, led the memorial service for Virginia tonight. He did such a wonderful job and we wanted to include the prayer and the sermon for those who weren't able to be there.

Lord, we do not understand why this little one
Which we had hoped to bring into the world
Has died before birth.
We only know that where once was sweet expectation,
Now there is bitter disappointment;
Where once there was hope and excitement,
Now there is a feeling of failure and loss.
Nothing can replace this life, this child,
Whom we have loved before seeing,
Before feeling it stir in the womb.
In our pain we look to you, Lord,
To whom no life is meaningless,
No matter how brief or small.
Though our understanding may be limited,
May it not confine our faith.
Draw us close to you and to each other in our grief.
Heal our wounds and comfort our sorrows,
And raise us all from death to life;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Based on Psalm 139:1-18
As we gather together tonight, we are here with hearts that are heavy yet full of hope. We are mourning the life of a little girl that was too short in our eyes, yet a life that we know will continue on through eternity. Though we weren’t able to meet Virginia before she went home to heaven, we are saddened because she is already missed. Our hearts are heavy yet full of hope because we know – with the Apostle Paul – that though we mourn, we don’t mourn as those without hope. We have a deep-seated trust that this beautiful girl is already in heaven and already belongs to God – we know with unspeakable comfort that she is not her own, but belongs – body and soul, in life and in death, to her faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. That is our hope and our joy: that before even her first cry, she found herself in heaven, where we know that every tear will be wiped away.

You see, this hope and confidence we have – even in the face of death – comes because we know that God is faithful.

That was the first thought that I had when I came into the hospital room to visit with you on Monday night, the night when Virginia was delivered. You mentioned it in your telling of Virginia’s story, but it’s worth repeating here. After the ultrasound had shown that Virginia had passed away April 21, you braced yourselves for the next step – the induction of labor. You two – by the grace of God and with the prayer support of those around you – were handling it all extremely well. You had come to grips – after the initial ultrasound – that there may be something wrong with the baby. You were shocked by – yet accepted – that your child had two fatal diagnoses that likely meant she wouldn’t live very long. You admirably accepted that she had passed away… yet desired just one simple request: that you might be able to hold her for a while. That you’d be able to gaze into the face of this child that you seen on ultrasound monitors. That you’d be able to take pictures and cherish the time – be it ever so brief – that you would spend with this child on earth.

The induction process started on that Wednesday night, and our family was surprised that the baby hadn’t been born on Thursday morning. The process continued through the day Thursday and into Thursday night. Thursday became Friday and Friday turned into Saturday… finally, after 60 hours of unsuccessful attempts to deliver, you were told to head home and make arrangements for a procedure to take place, one that would likely not preserve the body of the baby, one that would take away the one bit of consolation, the one thing that you still wanted from the pregnancy: a chance to hold this little child.

You – along with many of us here this evening – were crushed. Disappointed is a much too mild word. It was a time of despair, a time of hopelessness, a time when we – out of faith in God – asked, “Why would God let this happen? Why didn’t God answer all these prayers that had gone up to His throne?” Tim wrote on facebook, “We're already spent, I don't know how much more of this we can take.” Laura wrote, “can't understand why this is all happening to us? It's too much for us to handle!”

Little did any of us know that those prayers would be answered not in the way that we expected, but in God’s timing and according to His plan. Incredibly, God hadn’t been saying “no” to our request that Tim and Laura could hold their baby, He was saying “not yet.” Because 12 hours into the second induction process, after Dr. N. took a leap of faith in their case, our prayers were answered: little Virginia Rae was born intact, was welcomed with joy and sadness into her parents’ arms.

That’s one of the reasons we trust in God’s faithfulness and His care for Virginia in heaven – because we’ve seen His care so clearly for Tim & Laura. What we see is what Psalm 139 teaches us – a psalm that we often think about in terms of God’s care for unborn children but one that also speaks of his loving care for us. The psalmist says that God knows us. He knows when we sit and rise, he knows our going out and our lying down, he’s familiar with all of our ways. The gospel says that God knew us and loved us so much that He didn’t spare his own Son for us. So we put our trust in Him, we place our hope in Him – knowing His great faithfulness.

One of the great blessings of your time on Monday night – following the delivery of Virginia – was that little brown box that you received at the hospital. I’m talking – of course – about the memory box. In it you have pictures that followed soon after Virginia birth, you have keepsakes that were gifts from the hospital, and you have the seashell that held the baptism water for Virginia. You give thanks that you have a place where you can keep those reminders of Virginia’s life, of the things you learned during this time, of the way that God answered your prayers to hold her.

But that memory box has shortcomings. It can’t hold the joy you had in your heart when you first found out that you would be having another child. It can’t hold the feeling you had when your hearts thumped along because you heard Virginia’s strong heartbeat for the very first time. It can’t hold the incredible memories that you have of falling in love with your little girl when you first saw her on the ultrasound. It can’t hold the tears that you shed as we remembered – on the night she was born – God’s promises of Scripture for His precious child. It can’t hold the full day of memories that you have from today; memories from the graveside, memories of loved ones visiting with you, memories of loved ones who are here now to hug you, cry with you, and be there for you in the long journey of mourning.
Those are all memories that just don’t fit in a memory box; no, they fit within your heart, and I know they will be cherished forever.

And Virginia, too, will be cherished forever. Though she measured a mere six inches long, she holds a large place in your hearts. Though she weighed only eight ounces, she’s placed a heavy burden on your hearts. It’s incredible to think how someone so small could have such a huge impact on your lives. It’s unbelievable how someone so little could be loved so much already. But even more astounding is that while your love for her is great, God’s love for her is immeasurable. While you have known her and loved her since the day you found out you were expecting, God has loved her and known she was His before the foundations of the earth were laid. While you’ve caught glimpses of her on ultrasound screens, God – verse 13 tells us – knit her together in her mother’s womb. While you heard moments of her heart beating from the Doppler machine, her frame – as verse 15 tells us – wasn’t hidden from God while he made her in the secret place. While you – as every good parents do – made plans for Virginia, God – verse 16 tells us – knew all the days ordained for her, and He wrote them in His book before one of them came to be.

And while we had hoped and prayed and wished and desired that this child would be healthy and strong and well, we see now that God has answered that prayer in heaven. Though we all wanted Virginia to grow with her mommy and daddy here, we know that she’s with her heavenly father right now.

May we all cling to that hope and comfort now – that Virginia is with God right now, that she is whole, healthy, and happy. And may we rest in the assurance that God – whose faithfulness stretches to the skies – is with us, too. Amen.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Today was a hard day. Tim's parents came up to meet Virginia. While they were there, Dr. N. came up and spent some time with us and prayed with us. He is such an amazing doctor and we are so blessed that he came in to our lives. We will be forever touched by his kindness and compassion to us in our darkest hours. After Tim's parents left, we spent some time talking with Virginia. We discussed with her how much we would miss her and also talked about who she was seeing in heaven. Here are some pictures that we took from this morning:

Tim's parents with Virginia

Spending a little time with mommy

Daddy's little girl

The bunny and the blanket will be buried with Virginia
The rose was from Tim's parents

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Virginia's outfit

This is a picture of the outfit that Virginia wore when she was born.

This outfit was sent to us by this wonderful organization-- --The Mary Madeline Project takes women's wedding dresses and makes them into beautiful outfits for families who have suffered the death of an infant. They send these outfits to families free of charge and they are absolutely beautiful.

She has arrived!

It is with great joy and sadness that we'd like to announce the birth of Virginia Rae. She came into the world at 9:13 pm and weighed in at 8 ounces and 6 inches long. The delivery was an awesome experience and I was so thankful to be able to deliver her naturally. My brother, Jeff, was able to come down and perform the baptism services--my mom and grandparents were also able to watch the baptism. Here are some pictures:

Great Grandma Ida Virginia with baby Virginia

Uncle Jeff baptizing Virginia

Grandma, Grandpa, Tim, me, Virginia, Mom and Jeff
May 3, 2010

The only picture of the three of us

Dr. N., me and our nurse