The key is this: meet today’s problems with today’s strength. Don’t start tackling tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow. You do not have tomorrow’s strength yet. You simply have enough for today. And that’s okay. // Max Lucado
Based on the size of the baby at my ultrasound, the tech was able to suggest which day it was that Penelope’s heart probably beat for the last time. My memories of that day are so vivid; I know just what we did and where we went and how I felt before we knew (happy... overflowing). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Looking back and realizing an angel came down and visited us at some point that Sunday to take Penelope to heaven makes me wonder, when exactly...? Was I asleep in bed when an angel’s wings swept over me? Did Jesus weep for us? Did heaven rejoice for her? Was I in church worshipping when her soul rose up? Was I cradling my son while I lost my daughter? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ These weeks have been hard. I’ve been learning lately to recognize the difference between what I FEEL at times and what I BELIEVE. I’ve felt, in tender moments, opposite things than what I know deep in my heart to be true. I’ve battled fear that God might take Cedric, too. In tears, I’ve wondered at God’s reasons and in vulnerable and heavy moments, felt her death seems purposeless and God, distant. The timing in this pregnancy seemed so perfect, so right, so happy... but I am irreversibly convinced in the goodness and trustworthy nature of God. I believe and have experienced firsthand that there is so much power in speaking the truth in and to our hearts when feelings like these flood in. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ God has a plan. It’s better than mine. He is present. He loves. He heals. He understands. There is a day coming when He will restore all that was lost. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ He is God and I am not. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Would I steal His pen away and write my own suggestions? Am I smarter, wiser? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death... you are with me.” “My soul will be satisfied... and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My soul clings to you.
On my way to the first family reunion of the season and just passed @penny_tree_events where Jasen and Lauren’s wedding was this summer!! 😍 I grew up just a couple miles from here on an acreage, so driving on the gravel roads by the cotton woods and wide open fields I used to race horses on brought back all the feels ✨ We lived in the country by a prairie reserve and I loved it... one day, Ben and I will find a little piece of land to call our own and our kids will run free. 🤗
After I got done telling Ben the results of the ultrasound, all I could get out between sobs was, “I’m so sorry.” I felt like I failed. Like my body had failed me. Like there was something I should have, could have, would have done if there was any earthly way to travel back in time and reverse this part of our story. Grief rolls in slowly but it slaps hard. It ebbs and flows on the shore of your heart; covers you, then leaves you wanting. A constant tug-of-war of joy and loss. I’ve felt guilt for losing the baby, guilt for grieving it “too much,” guilt for not responding to the hurt in what’s easy to perceive as a more “perfect” way. I can sit here all day and let the truth roll off my own tongue, reminding myself it’s not my fault and it’s okay to grieve, but the ache throbs loud. Maybe it’s the shift in hormones as my body adjusts, maybe it’s because I just gave birth to a dead baby, but my arms feel equal parts full and empty. I realize I’m painfully open here at times, but there’s plenty to this story that I keep private and close to my heart... I share because I know how meaningful it can be when people are willing to be vulnerable from time to time. If you have a friend who has experienced miscarriage and you want to help but don’t know how to relate, think of someone you know who’s experienced the death of a loved one and someone you know who’s postpartum and put those two together. Don’t worry about saying the perfect thing or giving advice, just take whatever small gesture may be on your heart and run with it. You never know how much it could mean. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ These have been some of the happiest and hardest months of my life and could I, would I have been able to go back and change them, I would have 1000x over still chosen the joy in celebrating the life of my little girl as she grew inside me even with the grief of experiencing her death as she left, over never having had her at all.
Cloudy with a chance of icy roads... GQ and I are staying home today by the fireplace! What are your plans? #cedrigram
I can harness energy on camera a LOT easier than I can fake it. Let your bridal party bring their wild, I’ll take it from there... 💁🏻♀️😉
“Mom, we will ALWAYS be together. ALWAYS. And be best friends.” - Cedric cheering my heart, one bedtime whisper at a time.
It’s been said, “A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. There is no word for a parent who loses a child. That’s how awful the loss is.” Possibly one of the most challenging things about a miscarriage is how differently it’s perceived than when we lose someone everyone else knew. We prayed for years for this baby and even by name all summer. When we found out we were expecting, I returned thousands of dollars of retainers and referred my clients to some of my most trusted colleagues and friends, turning away dozens of brides with full expectation I would happily be viewing their pictures online while cradling my newborn daughter in my arms. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But I’ve not only lost the newborn, I’ve lost the 2-year-old, the 4-year-old, the 12-year-old she would’ve been... I will never hold her, watch her take her first steps, teach her to read, tuck her in bed, or watch her walk down the aisle on her own wedding day. That loss is irreversible, leaving me with empty arms and a body that’s still figuring out I’m no longer pregnant. Packaged up with all that, though, are these internal questions that I think a lot of moms experience who lose their unborn baby, like... “Is it okay to grieve my baby so much even though I was only [6 weeks] [11 weeks] [20 weeks]?” You don’t have to look far to find someone who lost a loved one at an older age or in a more traumatic way, yet grief doesn’t run on comparison. It is deeply personal to you and your own loss. You have still lost YOUR child and your due date will come and go quietly. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you’ve miscarried and maybe no one else even knows, consider this your permission from one mother to another to have good days and hard days. Joy and sorrow can co-exist and both are merited. The loss is deep and painful and worthy of your tears. The joy in knowing you still gave life is also worthy. Feel both. You will never forget while the world moves on. 💗
It was a GIRL. We’ve named her Penelope Ava. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “Penelope” means “Weaver” and comes from a legend of a faithful wife who waited for her husband to return from war for 20 years. Little did we know when we picked out “Penelope” that it is US who will be doing the waiting for her... God weaved a deep desire in my heart specifically for Penelope and I’ll share more on that later. But just like He gives and takes away, He can weave and unweave a dream or weave something dark into something beautiful. His ways are not ours, and we may never fully understand them on earth, but we can trust Him even when it doesn’t make sense or hurts so badly. As Ben put it to me today, “Our life or death doesn’t preclude God’s purposes. He made us. He gets the call.” He knows loss more than anyone, and our grief is not unfelt by Him... He puts our tears in a bottle and writes them in His book. (Ps 56:8) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The day Ben called to let me know he’d arrived safely in Kuwait, the birds over there were singing SO clearly and so sweetly in the background while we talked. It was such a contrast to the still coldness late October brought back home that I couldn’t stop commenting to him how warm and happy they sounded during that call. I could picture them flying around freely with each other and it just felt so poignant, but I didn’t know why... Later, of course, we found out the day Ben landed in Kuwait is the day Penelope’s heart beat for the last time. Now the birds make me think of her... so Ben found the name, “Ava,” which in Hebrew means, “Living One” and in Latin, “Bird.” Have you ever noticed how hard it is to catch a bird and keep it in your grasp? Cedric tries but they always lift their wings and fly upwards towards heaven.
Not a day has gone by in the 2 1/2 weeks since finding out our baby’s heart stopped that I haven’t talked to Ben over the phone and fallen apart. But also not a day that someone hasn’t knocked at my door, delivered fresh flowers from across the world, shared coffee on my couch or left packages reminding me of the incredible power of community. I was able to miscarry naturally at home without a D&C and have been recovering... this journey has been one of shock, disbelief, intense grief, emptiness, hope, brokenness, peace, and most consistently, an overwhelming sense of the beauty of God’s presence and the love from each of you. The graciousness, generosity and love extended from family, clients-turned-friends, “followers” here on Instagram and even perfect strangers has meant more than I know how to say and I feel forever changed by it. Thank you for celebrating this life with us; for the happy tears you shared when I posted the video telling Ben we were pregnant and for the sad ones you shed when we weren’t. We’re so glad we took every opportunity we could to celebrate our baby’s life while it was with us... the joy in sharing this pregnancy with all of you will live so closely alongside the grief of losing it. Thank you for acknowledging this little one as part of our family that we will so terribly miss. Your prayers, gifts, messages, emails, voicemails and cards are all wrapped up in these early days of grief as memories I will always look back on and cherish. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The day before Thanksgiving I got a call from the hospital giving us test results back that let us know whether our second child was a boy or girl... do you have a guess? 💕