To Read on the Journey

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

As i type Emiie is playing "Amazing Grace" on the piano.

10 years ago today i was amazed by Grace. 

10 years (i feel my heart clench within me).

10 years that i have missed my Caleb.


BUT 10 years closer to the day i will hold him... 



i was 8 weeks pregnant in August when the bleeding began.  The doctor told me the sack had not attached completely to the uterus. He said there was a 50/50 chance baby would make it.  With a 2yr and 1yr old in tow i went on bed rest.

Every time there was excessive bleeding i was in a panic. 

But i believed anything was possible with God (my own mother was born, 53 years ago, weighing 1lb something ounces).

There were weekly visits to the obgyn to monitor baby. Hearing the heartbeat every week brought me great relief.

On Friday Sept. 15th i was 14.5 weeks pregnant.

Michael took Noah and Emilie to the grandparents house then went on to work.

i had a weekly obgyn appointment that morning that a girlfriend graciously transported me to.
i wore a lavender t-shirt, denim overalls, and birkenstocks.
i waited in the waiting room with other pregnant women and a woman with her newborn.  i hoped again to make it another week(and then another, and another, and...).

moments later i was lying down, my belly exposed, with dr. peters measuring, then searching for the heartbeat.  i waited....waited...waited...looked at him with a desperate "Please" in my eyes... waited..."barump, barump, barump, barump, barump."  Tears of relief and joy!

i scheduled an appointment for the next week, and was driven home.

Obedient to bed rest, i arrived home and laid down for the remainder of the day.
It was a cool September day.  i left the front door open, letting the breeze find it's way through the screened door, and drifted off to sleep on the couch.

At 4:30 there was a knock at the door.   My dear friend, Cari, showed up unexpectedly (and yet expected by God. Tears).   i stood up, took a step towards the door, and fluid ran down my legs.

My water broke.

In that moment emotions attempted to surface, i was heading towards reeling into complete panic, BUT GOD took His place in front of my fears and questions.  As i asked, "is this happening?"  The Comforter said, "I have not left you alone, I AM with you all the way."

Cari now in the house, phoned Michael, helped me into some fresh clothes, and held me up before the   Life-Sustainer in prayer.

Michael arrived, and we made the 1.25 hr trip to the hospital.

There isn't a book titled "What To Expect When Your Not Expecting." (Nobody would want to buy it).  I didn't know what to expect.  I only knew to EXPECT GOD to be with me all the way.  I prayed, "Father go before us.  Let everything happen as you have already orchestrated.  You ordain our days, You've ordained this one.  Let us live every detail you have already written."

After my water broke, contractions began.  They were minuets apart when we reached the hospital.

We were directed to go to the E.R. (this policy should be changed).  There i demanded to go directly to a room. My labor and tears eventually convinced the receptionist to comply.

Once we were in the E.R. room i ran for the toilet (it's not pretty. it is what it is). The labor increasing. The moment to deliver was here.

And it was finished.

Labor was over.

My womb was childless.

The arms that should have been holding a baby, were childless. 

I found my way to Michael.  Sat on the E.R. bed.  So, So sorry that i had no gift in my belly, or in my arms as an offering for him.


A few moments later our nurse, Sheila arrived.  Sheila was sent by the Alpha&Omega (Beginnng & the End).  She found us defeated, and then gave us Hope.

Sheila retrieved our 14.5 week old baby from the "throne." She cleaned baby off.  She wrapped him in cloths, and laid him in a small tray. Then Sheila spoke the most beautiful words,  which are forever etched on my heart, "it appears that you have a son, and he has his daddy's strong chin." 



Our Caleb.

Sheila excused herself from the room, and from the Sacred to be shared only between mommy, daddy, and child.

i asked Michael if i might have some time with Caleb alone first.  It wasn't out of selfishness.  i longed to share in the beauty of this gift, our son, together.  Honestly, i feared what my expression would be when my "eyes saw his unformed body."  i wanted Holy.   Just as that Mysterious Unity from which we were derived had fallen on us in the hospital rooms when Noah and Emilie (and later, Josie) were born, i desired It here.

With Michael out of the room, i prayed, "God please make me to see Caleb with your eyes.  i don't want to miss a thing."  i unwrapped him from the cloth, and increased in love as my eyes beheld  "fearfully and wonderfully made."  

 Caleb was just barely the length of my small hand.  He had Michael's strong chin. His long fingers so delicate on hands no bigger than my pinky nail.  His 10 tiny toes were beautifully ugly (they are just like his great grandmother's, his daddy's, his sisters. no one loves those ugly toes more than me).  Then God took me past Caleb's physical body, and showed me his character.  He showed me integrity, tenderness, and a boy who suited his name, Caleb Michael.  In Joshua, Caleb is said to have "followed the Lord wholeheartedly."  That is my greatest desire for my children.  Caleb's journey had sent him on a course from my womb directly Home.

i held Caleb in my hand and sang over him.  Worshiped our Creator with my son. Though Caleb was born into Heaven, i believed that as i worshiped we were before the throne of God together.
I sang "As i look back on this road i've traveled, i see so many times He's carried me through, and if there's one thing that i've learned in my life, my Redeemer is Faithful and True.  My Redeemer is Faithful and True, and everything He's said, He will do, and every morning His mercies are new. My Redeemer, is Faithful, and True."
And I sang and cried, "How Great Thou Art," the enormity of every word magnified by the child i held...thinking, "Your works ARE WONDER-FULL, i KNOW full well! 

and Glory filled that room, and my mommy heart. 

Michael returned He entered Holy.  He held his boy. He adored Caleb.  We prayed with Caleb  together, and pondered, "God's precious thoughts,"  and that He had so graciously given us our boy.

Hours later, we stole Caleb from the hospital (with Sheila's help).

We brought him home.

It was 3:00 a.m. when we wrapped his body in a piece  cut out of our wedding-gift-quilt that hung behind our bed. The name given to  the quilt is "Surrounded by His Love."
We laid his body in a cedar box that was a gift to me as a child.  It said, "Girl's Treasure" on top. i had finally found a treasure to place in it.  
We slept.
We cried.
We were enveloped in God's amazing grace upon grace.
We mourned.
We longed for Home.

The following day we took our Treasure to our family home to lay his body in the ground, and to release him to his Father. 

The moments of this day were also written by God. He went before us and lead us through every beautiful detail. 
 Flowers carefully picked by Caleb's Nana.  Slate lovingly made by his Gramps.

Today you will find us at Bass Lake. We'll be releasing balloons, watching them drift into the sky, hoping with a childlike faith that someday we'll arrive Home to find our son (and brother) in a room filled with our offerings (mine are the ones covered in lipstick kisses).  And as we release them we'll delight in Caleb, in God's mysterious ways. We will "look back, and hope forward" until that magnificent day when we finally make it home.

Photo taken September 15th 2007

May God be glorified.


Thea Nelson said...

Glory to God. Glory to God.

Home's Where My Heart Is said...

Thank you for sharing, Denise. Through tragedy I see God's beauty and God's glory. Praying you feel His peace and comfort throughout the day.

Anonymous said...

i've never heard the story in entirety before. beautiful and deep. thanks for sharing denise. now i have to clean myself up and explain why mommy is crying at 8 in the morning.
love you-

Anonymous said...

I lost my son Elijah at 15 weeks. I have been there. The way you write about this is amazing. Such peace and praise. :)

Simply Sara said...

i am a mess.
a big teary mess.
honestly. if you could see me....

but you were right.
caleb (and of course his RAD family) does bring glory to God.
crazy glory.

you are beautiful.

deb said...

I read this early this morning ,
and wanted to return with something fitting to say,
to offer,
and well,
I have only my heart, breaking and aching and singing for you.

You are truly remarkable , you know that?

to write this with such incredible beauty is no small thing. you humble me.

denise said...

Such grief and such beauty in your story. Thank you, thank you for sharing it.

Tasha said...

Thank you for your sweet story. Bless your family as you go and celebrate in Caleb's goodness and him being a beautiful part of your family. I love that you take balloons. I love that you do something as a family. I love that he is still part of you. I lost a baby at 15 weeks. We never knew if it is was a boy or girl. It is a difficult and hard thing. You wrote this so beautiful. Thinking of you today.

Lynn said...

Amazing. I'm 14 weeks pregnant now. I've lost two before, but in the really early, first few weeks stage....nothing to bury, just blood. You describe so well the feeling of emptiness in your womb.

I love that you were praising God in the midst of your tragedy. To HIM be all the glory.

Caleb's slate and flowers are beautiful. I love the thought and love you put into his burial.....and into remembering him.

Nessa Jasper said...

As you know my story Denise. I read this and remember my sweet Angle Baby. It was crazy, I was just thinking about him the other day and was filled with such joy and peace. We will someday see and meet our babies again with our Heavenly Father. Thanks for sharing Denise.

Stacey said...

Thank you so much for sharing this story of God's grace and glory, Denise. I also have a baby up in heaven and am so thankful for God's deliverance through that rough time in my life. Hugs and prayers to you!!

Cari said...

Caleb had his daddy's strong chin but you have your "Father's eyes". You are hope to me :D

Paige said...

I have been off the computer this weekend...but wow. My heart breaks for you and yet rejoices with you at the same time.

love you.

Sarah Markley said...

i know parts of this story but not like this friend.

i love you.

i'm sorry for your past grief. and your present grief.

love from me to you.

Jen said...

Thank you for this. I buried my 7-week old baby, Abel Ryan, earlier this month. I'm heartbroken. I'm also single, so Abel might be my only baby. Not enough people talk about this kind of loss. Not enough Christians know it can happen to a good, Christian single girl, too, who happened to make a mistake. How do I talk about it? Whom do I tell? I'm so sad. Thank you for sharing Caleb's story. God bless you.

Denise said...

jen, i am praying for you.
all babies are Gods. he loves and has a plan for each of them.
and according to the world i was a "mistake," but not to God.

may God magnify his grace upon grace on you. tell you the truth about who you are in him. may he lavish his love on you. lead you in his mercy, show himself to you, and give you peace.

and i hurt for you. wish i could wrap my arms around you, speak truth to you, comfort.

Sas said...

thank you for sharing. that was us too last november- i lost a baby at 12 weeks, the day before you 'share the good news'... i was staying over at a friends and when it all happened, i also ended up in ER cos' we didn't know what else to do. it was horrible. i will always remember the emptiness i felt walking out of that hospital to the carpark WITHOUT my baby. exactly like you said, my womb was childless...

i look forward to meeting my child too... in the meantime, the wait is agonizing.

thanks again for your post.

Lyli said...

I am not even sure how I found your blog -- I was on the InCourage site, and one of their authors linked to you.

I found out I was pregnant last December -- 2 days before Christmas I lost the baby during week 9. We named him Caleb Wallace. My due date would have been September 7th.

Your story has ministered to me. I prayed for you today.


hannah singer said...

i love you.

TDM Wendy said...

I don't know why I am just getting to reading this. Tears. Sorry for your loss and that your little guy bailed on you for heaven like our sweet Faith.