To the mother in the NICU this Christmas

Advice to the mother spending Christmas in the NICU or PICU.

I see you … you’re drinking Ronald McDonald coffee you smuggled into your little one’s room sitting in the middle of IV alarms, feeding tubes, ventilator equipment, and nurses chattering in the background. You’re spending Christmas in the NICU, PICU, or surgery floor. 

I see you smiling at your baby — thankful to be with her even if she’s in a warming tank or you’re wearing those noisy isolation gowns.

Despite your smiles I know you’re struggling with tears and questions — why do we have to spend the holidays here? Why do we have to endure this?

It’s okay; I know that your burden is very real and very heavy.

Can I give you some advice as a woman who spent 281 days in the hospital with her baby?

Mama, decorate your baby’s crib. Even in the middle of the storm, you need to find ways to make these days special.

If baby can tolerate stimuli, I hope you sing her your favorite Christmas carols and dress her in the outfit you got at your baby shower.

Eat the extra cafeteria sugar cookie and take a little time to look at the Christmas lights down the street.

Give your husband an extra long kiss before he goes back to work.

Please buy a tiny Walmart tree and set it up in your Ronald McDonald apartment and enjoy the free gifts they leave hanging on your door.

This is your Christmas.

This horrible, exhausting, lonely Christmas is your Christmas and one day it will end.

One day you’ll look back at this season and wonder how the days passed so quickly.

But until then, be easy on yourself. Find ways to make these precious days count.

You need to survive these days just as much as your baby needs to survive. You need to be gentle with yourself — after all, you’ve lost so much normalcy — it’s okay for you to grieve the loss of normalcy.

It’s okay. 

Love and blessings from someone who has spent the holidays in the NICU and PICU

Frannie

Grief and Beautiful Life Lessons

Grief in Your Miscarriage with AuthenticVirtue.com

Thankfulness equals healing (so do donuts and coffee but that’s a different story) in the grief of a miscarriage.

Losing something is hard. Two weeks and four days ago we were told our baby had died; over the last eighteen days God has rained goodness without end … and with little of my help.

Within the past two weeks I’ve done little to further and grow my walk with the Lord. I’ve been busy with out-of-town trips, preparing to move and settling into our lovely new rental. When I have been  home I’ve ran errands, unpacked, cleaned, and been down with flu-like symptoms. Spiritually speaking, I’ve done so little of what so many advised me to do: worship and draw close to the Lord through prayer and His Word.

I have done so little to draw close to my Maker and Keeper of my soul.

Yet, He loves me still. I haven’t done much to grow closer into His image, yet, He holds my soul in the safety of His nail-scarred hands. I haven’t done anything — yet, He carries me along, providing me with what I need to simply be. 

I haven’t done anything.

Yet, he does everything.

Thank You, LORD, for carrying us through the past two weeks. Thank You that despite my little effort You continue to hold me safely in Your arms. Thank You that you have given me the ability to do life through these last two long, sick-filled weeks. 

I do nothing for You, yet, You give everything to me. 

If I were to give advice to anyone in our situation I would tell them to simply be. Simply be what you are as you push your way through grief. The spiritual thing would be for you to read God’s Word and pray your way through grief. But that might not happen.

So, in those times, simply be. And, instead of being afraid that you’re not doing enough spiritually, choose gratefulness. Choose to see that you never could do enough to be enough. Even when you were pregnant you weren’t able to do enough.

But God is enough. He is enough to carry you through your grief — even when you don’t feel like reading His Word. And through Jesus, He has made you enough. I’m so thankful God is big enough, strong enough, and good enough to carry me through this season of life. 

Aren’t you?

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Losing Baby Duncan

You’re never really prepared for your pregnancy to end in miscarriage.

But that’s just what’s happened to our little baby. I haven’t really known how to share this with the my friends and readers (who are like family). As a blogger, I like to wrap my writings similar to Christmas presents: darling presentation full of glittery, exciting beauty.

But this is the furthest thing from exciting.

We went in for our 8 week ultrasound; the midwife and I chatted about her flower garden and about blogs and writing as she jellied up my stomach and began probing around with her expert hand. Almost immediately she saw that things were missing and not growing properly.

Folks, this is the hard stuff.

It’s been several days since we heard this news and adjusting to not expecting our baby this year is hard. It’s really, really, really hard.

But you know what?

God is so very, very good.

It’s been a hard week but God is the same God Who created Baby and then took him home. Jesus is the same Intercessor Who understands my numb experience like no one else. My Abba Daddy knows what it is like to lose someone precious to you. He’s carrying me like a mother lamb — even though, technically, I’m not caring for a young one any more.

I believe that God is great. And in the midst of this sadness and loss He is still great. He still knits people together and He still welcomes little one’s who never met their parents into his arms and kingdom.

I believe God is good so I believe, amidst all my sadness, doubts, fear and sorrow that this miscarriage is good. It is good because God promises all things to work together for our good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Here are some good things God has already wrought from our loss:

The first face our baby saw was the Lord’s. 

Increased understanding and relationship between Dalton and I 

An overwhelming amount of prayer and support from friends and family

Friends who have miscarried are seeing the Lord work through their loss 

Our compassion and understanding for women with loss is growing

My understanding of what good sympathy is and isn’t is changing

We now know that we can indeed get pregnant

My appreciation for Dalton is growing and growing (because he’s simply the best and the loss of his first child is proving that — he is honestly the strongest, best man and he gets more gem like every day. How blessed am I?)

Our baby is with the Lord — that means he or she is walking, talking and rejoicing in the presence of the best One Who ever lived. He or she is already far more sanctified, glorified, and purified than Dalton and I. He or she is already conversing with people like Moses, John the Baptist, and Corrie ten Boom. He’s singing with angels. He’s enjoying everlasting life and praising God for His great goodness. 

We haven’t lost anything — we just have to wait longer to meet him.

Don’t think I’m not hurting. It’s just that I’m called to rejoice in all things — even in the midst of intense grief — and I guess this is what it looks like.

Thank you to all the people who loved our baby with us. Carrying Ollie for 7 weeks (short for Oliver or Olivia) was one of the greatest privileges I have known. I’m glad God let the last week be filled with joy and maternity shopping and hope instead of the fear I had been experiencing. I’m glad for the people who are loving us and blessing us through the aftermath.

I’m sad. But I’m also glad because God is good and He has given us good things … even in our loss. It took me a while to feel at peace with sharing this intimate part of us — but I’ve had a quiet day full of tears and rest and simple, household chores and God has sent a tremendous freedom in sharing what is hurting most.

For others who are needing healing read my friend Angel’s words. They’re just right for someone needing to heal in the loss and gain life’s sufferings bring.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us to eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10,11

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie