Wednesday, October 28, 2009


While planning the memorial service for my daughter, I decided I would like to have a piece of jewelry with Shyla’s birthstone, a sapphire. I looked online while I was still in the hospital recovering from my c-section and discovered there are actually pink sapphires. I found a necklace that held an angel charm and the angel’s dress was a pink sapphire. It was beautiful, but, there was no way I could get it in time to wear it to her service. I mentioned my desire for this memorial jewelry to my husband, and apparently, my mother, but told them it was ok if we didn’t find anything. You see, something beautiful about this already is that my wedding band contains sapphires, so, I was ok with not having something new, I guess.

The day I came home from the hospital, we stopped at my Mom’s house to pick up my son and to see my brother and his family who had come from Oklahoma to be with us. While there, my Mom and Grandmother ran out to pick up some food for everyone and when they got back, Mom handed me a little box. As I opened the box, I saw what I thought at first to be a delicate pink butterfly necklace and earrings. As I looked closer, I saw no, they were dragonflies. AND not only were they pink sapphire, my daughters birthstone, they also held two opals…my birthstone. I immediately knew that both my Mom and my Grandmother thought these were butterflies. They probably never would have bought them if they knew they were dragonflies. But I smiled. I knew this was a God wink. I told these loving women what I thought they were, and then they agreed, but were apologetic and wanted to return them if I didn’t now want them. No. I told them. They are perfect. I immediately began searching for the symbolism of the dragonfly.

This is what I found.

Dragonflies live a very short life. One of the shortest life spans among the insect world actually. From the time a dragonfly egg hatches, it can live anywhere from six months to six years…BUT it only lives about two months as an actual dragonfly. Most of the time is spent as a nymph in the water, unseen, before it “gets its wings”.

In some cultures the dragonfly is the symbol for new light and JOY! Other cultures believe the dragonfly to be the symbol of hope, change and love. I must say, this symbolism definitely means something to me.

I also found a children’s book called The Dragonfly Door. It is a book used to help explain death to a child. The story is similar to this one:
Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions. Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever. Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top. When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying. So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed. Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended. But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!

Isn’t God’s creation amazing? The symbolism of the dragonfly sometimes just brings a tear to my eye. I’m not saying that every time I see a dragonfly I think that it is my daughter’s spirit. I just love all of the symbolism, the analogies, the parallels.  Just like King David said after the loss of his baby, I know she can not come to me, but one day I will go to her and we will be together in Heaven.

I now have three different dragonfly necklaces. I am hardly ever without one.  When I am having a hard day I see my little dragonfly and remember someday I will get my wings and go to the other side of the water and no longer be a water beetle and be with my daughter again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Will Carry Her

I was reading Dr. Joanne Cacciatore's blog the other day and found something that really touched my heart.  Dr. Cacciatore, like me, is a social worker by degree and, also like me, has a baby girl in heaven.  She founded the MISS Foundation after the loss of her daughter Cheyenne.  Dr. Cacciatore recently wrote about a discussion with a colleague that spurred research into fetal microchimerism and what she found is amazing.

She found that research suggests that when a woman gives birth, she receives, in exchange for her sacrifice, a gift of cells that remain behind and protect her for the rest of her life.  These cells, like stem cells, may help repair damage when she gets sick.  One study suggests that women carry fetal cells in their blood for many years.  What she has to say is so beautiful, I may cry again just thinking about it.  Cells from both of my babies are in my blood and may help save my life one day.  I will carry Shyla in my heart both symbolically and literally. As a matter of fact, in Dr. Cacciatore's words, "Every mother who has lost a child has within her cells that belonged to that son or daughter."  Like I said, AMAZING!

Shortly after reading this, I found the song you hear playing (if you have your speakers on).  It is a song written by Todd and Angie Smith as they walked through the loss of their daughter, Audrey.  With the realization that I quiet literally carry both my children in my body, these words struck a chord in my heart that is hard to describe.  So I will let the lyrics talk for me.  Take a minute to reflect on the wonders of science that God is allowing us to learn and appreciate the beauty of His creation.  Listen to the song and read the lyrics. 

I Will Carry You
Written by Todd and Angie Smith
Performed by Selah

There were photographs I wanted to take

Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?People say that I am brave but I’m not
Truth is I’m barely hanging on
But there’s a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice

And He says…
I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen Me
To carry you

Friday, October 23, 2009

Over the Top!

Heather has nominated me for my first blog award!! It is called the “Over the Top” Award.  Thanks Heather!

Here are the rules for the Over The Top Award:
USE ONLY ONE WORD! It’s not as easy as you might think.

Copy and change the answers to suit yourself and pass it on. It’s really hard to use only one-word answers so try your best!

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse

2.Your hair? Brown

3. Your mother? home

4. Your father? lost

5. Your favorite food? chocolate

6. Your dream last night? None

7. Your favorite drink? Milk

8. Your dream/goal? Legacy

9. What room are you in? Living

10. Your hobby? Creativity

11. Your fear? loss

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? home

13. Where were you last night? Lexington

14. Something that you aren’t? Perfect

15. Muffins? ChocolateChip

16. Wish list item? Health

17. Where did you grow up? Kentucky

18. Last thing you did? email

19. What are you wearing? pajamas

20. Your TV? Movie

21. Your pets? Cat

22. Friends? Kind

23. Your life? Blessed

24. Your mood? Melancholy

25. Missing someone? Everyday

26. Vehicle? White

27. Something you’re not wearing? socks

28. Your favorite store? Lifeway

29. Your favorite color? Saphire

30. When was the last time you laughed? Today

31. Last time you cried? Today

32. Your best friend? Ben

33. One place that I go to over and over? Work

34. One person who emails me regularly? Ashley

35. Favorite place to eat? MeltingPot

I'm still new at blogging, so I think everyone I would tag has already been tagged!  So here is my challenge...if you don't yet have a blog, and you follow me...start one!

Jessica B.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back to Work

To die one's self is a thing that must be easy, & light of consequence;

But to lose a part of one's self--well, we know how deep that pang goes,
we who have suffered that disaster, received that wound which cannot heal...
It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man,
all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live.
It will take mind and memory months
and possibly years
to gather together the details
and thus learn and know the whole extent of the loss.
- Mark Twain, 1888, on the death of his daughter, Suzy Clemens

I went back to work on Monday. On one hand it was a welcome distraction, but on the other I never realized how mentally draining it would be to not have the freedom to let my mind wonder when it needed to. I find myself having to struggle to keep my attention where it needs to be. Monday was a busy 14 hour work day. What a way to start the first week back after almost 7 weeks off, huh? It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Everyone was so extremely nice and thoughtful. My wonderful coworkers brought me flowers and a cake (my birthday was Sunday) and I stayed so busy that there was not much time to think. But something just didn’t feel the same.

Some one once told me that a loss like I experienced was like an amputation. At the time, I really didn’t understand, but it is becoming clearer. Part of me is gone. I sit at the same desk, walk the same halls and see the same people, but things are very different. The last time I sat at this desk, I sat further away because my swelling belly would bump into it as I leaned in to answer the phone. It just feels so wrong. The halls feel different and while not one person at work has said anything rude or hurtful, there is still the knowledge that I am looked at differently. I will always be thought of as “that girl”. While, yes, I do look different than seven weeks ago, this is more like an amputation of me, of the person I once was. I still do the same things I used to, but I do them differently. I am re-learning everything. This I did not expect.  I remember how I used to think about coming back to work after maternity leave and how I would bring pictures of my new baby girl.  I had already made plans on where I was going to pump during my lunch break.  I try to avoid walking by that office now.  I know I will never be the same, but I wonder how long I will feel like I need twice as long to comprehend things.  I stutter and repeat myself.  I must sound really unprofessional.  Sometimes when people are talking, I feel like Charlie Brown listening to his teachers monotone "wha wha wha's".  Then I snap out of it and have to figure out what was just going on.  Ugh.
I bumped into a banister today and immediately grabbed my stomach. I don’t know what I thought I was protecting. All that is there now is stretch marks and a flabby tummy. When I realized what I had done, I looked around to see if anyone had noticed…I don’t think they did…I wonder how long I will feel like a crazy person

People say that time heals.  I disagree.  Time heals nothing.  God heals.  And God is with me.  He was with me at work today in all the hard conversations that I knew I would eventually face.  Although I did not think that three of them would happen in one day.  He has always been with me.  And always will be.  No matter how crazy I feel, I know God is with me and I will get to the end of this tunnel (or series of tunnels) in His timing and with the circumstances I chose.  God will never leave me or forsake me, so even in my craziness, I am not alone.  I find a comfort in that I cannot describe.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day of Remembrance

As I start typing this, it is still technically October 15, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness and Rememberance Day.  As I sat in a prayer service tonight and watched my daughters name appear on a screen during a slideshow of names, I thought about what I remember.  I do this often, so I wont forget anything.  There are some things I wish I could wipe from my mind forever, but so so so many things I never want to forget. 
It has been six weeks now since Shyla was taken from my womb and certain memories feel like they are already fading.  So tonight, I just want to think about what I remember.

* I remember taking a pregnancy test last March and just knowing it would be negative...but surprise!  Two little pink lines! 
* I remember taking a 2nd test because there is just no way the first one is right...but there it was again!  Those two precious pink lines.

* I remember the feeling in my stomach when I showed my husband those positive tests and the happy tears that followed.
* I remember trying to keep it a secret from my co-workers, making excuses to why I shouldn't lift that heavy box, or eat that lunch meat and sneaking out to my van to call and make the first Dr. appointment.

* I remember finding the t-shirt that my 2 year old would wear to make the happy announcement.

* I remember each persons reaction to that shirt after it finally sunk in.  Hilarious!

* I remember how sick water made me.

* I remember the relief I felt when I finally pasted the first trimester.  I thought I was in the clear and there would be smooth sailing from here on.

* I remember combing through baby names books and keeping lists of names I liked everywhere.

* I remember Ethan rubbing my belly and asking about "baby".

* I remember going to Oklahoma and standing under the survivor tree rubbing my growing tummy and thinking about the little one inside.  It was so peaceful there.  So odd that a place that was once torn apart with devastation could ever bring such peace and beauty.  I really thought about the term "beauty from ashes" in this place.

* I remember feeling her move so gently that I almost didn't recognize it.  It was like a quite ballet being danced inside.  Such soft motions made me think this just had to be a girl.

* I remember going to all of my doctors visits with a lump in my throat.  This pregnancy was just so different from the last. 

* I remember how when Ethan would climb up into my lap she would push on him.  It was like she knew it was her brother.  I knew I could expect sibling rivalry, but already? 

* I remember taking Ethan with us to the Doctor for the gender seeking ultrasound.  He was getting impatient so we gave him a sheet of stickers...he was covered before we left that office.

* I remember my husband's face when the Doctor said the baby is a girl.  He was so proud.  He is such a great dad to Ethan and now was going to get to have a Daddy's Girl.

* I remember deciding her name would be Shyla...but keeping it a secret.

* I remember just sitting and rubbing my belly.  All the time. 

* I remember the swelling.  It started in early August and before the month was half over, I had cankles and could wear only flip flops.

* I remember starting to get concerned, her little movement had stopped...what if...something is wrong?

* I remember telling myself it was in my head.  She had to have moved and I just missed it.

* I remember the 30 minute drive to the hospital to get checked out.

* I remember the three nurses buzzing around trying to find a heartbeat with a doppler.  There it is!...No, thats mine...

* I remember the doctor entering the room, asking for the blinds to be shut and touching the ultrasound to my belly...there is no red and blue pulsing...but maybe it was just my eyes...

* I remember hearing, "I'm sorry, but there is no..."

* I remember crying. 

* I remember so much being said, but no explanation.

* I remember making all those phone calls.

* I remember prayers.  LOTS of prayers.

* I remember not sleeping that night.

* I remember meeting my pastor in the parking lot of my Doctor's office the next morning to pray with us.

* I remember picking out a preemie outfit for her.  A white with pink polka dots sleeper that had, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" Embroidered on it.

* I remember actually sleeping that night.

* I remember the ride to the hospital the day she was to be born and hearing Third Day's Tunnel on the radio.

* I remember the peace that passes all understanding surrounding my husband and I as we waiting to be taken into the operating room.

* I remember the surgery, everything about it.

* I remember how eerily quiet it was.

* I remember the Doctor telling me when she had been taken from me, 1:26 pm.

* I remember seeing my husband hold her.

* I remember seeing her for the first time.  She was so tiny.  1 pound 11 ounces and 13.5 inches long. 

* I remember holding her.

* I remember hearing all the stories from women that had lost their babies.  We WILL hold our babies again!

* I remember saying goodbye to her.

* I remember planning her celebration and trying to find the right songs, and being ministered to so much my two in particular.  The two we played.

* I remember God's comfort during the hardest times.

* I remember the kindness of strangers.

* I remember going to church the morning of Shyla's celebration and singing my heart out.
* I remember so many prayers that day.

* I remember carrying her casket across the cemetary for the service. 

* I remember the beautiful balloon release.  28 balloons.  One for each week I was blessed to carry in my womb.

* I remember my son saying, "Bye Bye Shyla!  See you later!" as those balloons drifted up and away.

* I remember seeing so many people who love my family and I at her service.

* I remember so so so so much about her, even though her time here was so short.

* I remember feeling so blessed to have a healthy son.

* I remember telling God I was ok if I never knew the medical cause as to why she is gong.  I know there are going to be spiritual blessings from her short life.

* I remember asking that in leui of flowers, donations be made to the Pregnancy HELP Center in our area.

* I remember the day that we took a lot of these donations to the center. 

I know in the big picture of things, these are not a lot of memories, but you see, I am not done making memories of my daughter and ways she has affected my life and the lives of others.  I know this is still just the beginning of things that I will be remembering on October 15ths to come. 

Today I put on my pink shirt and proudly placed my pink and blue ribbon with a gold footprints pin on my shirt.  This is my day to brag about my daughter.  She is beautiful and she is in Heaven right now crawling around the Throne of my Abba Father.  I know He will take good care of her (and me) while we are apart.  But we will be together again someday.  I am so homesick when I think about that.  Getting to Heaven and having Jesus place my baby back in my arms!  I am glad we have October 15th to remember, but I am also so excited to know that there is so much more to look forward to!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Is that what I sound like?

Recently, my 2 1/2 year old son has sounded like a broken record.  A lot of our conversations have gone like this;
"Mommy?  Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?" (Before I can get a word in...) "Mooommmmyyy?"

"Yes, Ethan?"

"Mommy?  Mommy?  Mommy?  Mommy?"

"Yes, Ethan, do you need something?"

He gives me a smile..."Mommy...."

And so on.  I admit it, I was getting kind of frustrated the other day.  Between his requests for juice, milk, a BeeNana (banana) and to watch his favorite movie he refers to as "Light Queen" (Cars) and his constant repeating of my much loved nickname all while I was trying to write an article to put in the local newspaper regarding October 15th, I thought I was going to loose it.  I was feeling kind of fragile and I heard his little footsteps getting closer to the computer desk, approaching from behind.  I felt like I was about to get ambushed.  He quietly came around to my side and placed his hand on my knee.

"Mommy sad?" he asked in the most sympathetic tone a 2 year old could muster.

What do I say?  His big blue eyes blaring, waiting for an answer.  I decided honesty was best a long time ago, so I answered his question.

"Yes, honey, Mommy's a little sad..."

"Mommy cry'n?"

"No, Mommy's not crying."

"Mommy happy now?"  His little forhead was wrinkled.  He was obviously concerned.

"Yes, Ethan, Mommy is happy now because you are here with me." I reached down and puckered up for one of the best kisses...a kiss from my boy. 

He smiled and kissed me and then turned away like his job was done.

And this is when guilt started to set in.  How could I even begin to be irritated by such a sweet, caring child.  He obviously doesn't repeat my name 50,000 times a day to annoy me.  He does it because he likes to say my name.  I should be honored, not annoyed.  And he doesn't rattle off a list of unending demands all day to be bossy, he does it because he knows that I will meet his needs (and often his wants) to the best of my ability.  Then it hit me...

Is that what I sound like to God?

Listing my needs and wants like a shopping list everyday.  Give me this and that and everything else I want?  Do I really sound like that?  I hope not.  Or at least I hope my Father doesn't react the way I do.  I hope I call on his name without asking anything, just to show Him how much I love Him.  Just seeking to be near to Him and get His attention.  Because I know that when my son calls my name, with no request following, it is simply because he  wants to be WITH me and wants my eyes to fall on him.  Aren't we blessed that God doesn't hate to see us coming and think, "Oh no, not her again".  I really don't want to sound like that to my God.  I hope my praises to him outnumber my demands, He deserves those and so much more.

So, the next time I hear that little voice saying the name I answer to most, I hope I can see the beauty in his unspoken request to just see him.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thank You Cards

Wow, I can't believe it has taken me so long to finish my thank you cards.  So many people have touched our life in so many ways since the loss of Shyla.  I am still working on a few, but it is amazing how people react to loss.  Some wonderful ladies from our church brought us home cooked meals for a week and a half, we recieved SO SO SO many cards, and certain friends and family made a point to remember our 2 year old son in the midst of everything, bringing him coloring books and stuffed animals.  We also had so many people to donate to the Pregnancy HELP Center in Shyla's name.  We had requested that in leui of flowers donations of baby items be made to our local pregnancy center, HELP (Holding Each Life Precious).  It was such a bittersweet day when we took all of the donations to the center, including some of the items we and some of our family had bought specifically for our daughter.

As I sat writing all of these cards, I ran a large scale of emotions.  I was happy so many people had responded to our loss, we have so many friends and are so blessed.  Then sadness would come in, I should not be writing these parent should have to thank someone for their kindess during the loss of their child.  Then comfort, we know that we will see her again someday and that our Heavenly Father is holding us (and her) so closely right now.  Then heartache for all the parents that experience a loss like this and don't know Jesus and the comfort He provides.  Then joy that maybe one of these cards will be a witness to the person who sent it and open a door for that relationship with Abba Father.

I never knew writing thank you cards could be so emotional.

We will be sending out the majority of these cards tomorrow.  I pray now that they may touch the hearts of those that recieve them and give everyone just a little joy that I was thinking about them today.

For everyone that has touched our lives during this hard time, I just want to quote Paul in saying;
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy..." 
Philippians 1:3-4

I made these cards specifically for those who made donations.  They really did help leave Shyla's imprint on this world.  The stamp I used was actually almost the exact size of her little footprints..and I just love the quote.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I have been writing down Shyla's story, but it is so hard to put certain things into words. I know grief is a process and so is writing, so it may take a little longer than I expected to put it down on paper. I pray that I can find the words to accurately express everything we have felt and experienced.

So, for now, I will just write about where I am now.

I am working on a project that will hopefully help other parents that find themselves in a place no one wants to be, trying to cope with the loss of their baby. The hospital we were at was very helpful, but there were still things that would have been nice to have during our stay there. So, Ben and I are putting together care baskets to take to the hospital to give to parents when they find themselves with empty arms. These baskets will contain certain things that will hopefully make their hospital stay and the following days easier.

Some things I would like to include are:

~ extra soft tissues
~ two small matching stuffed animals, one for the parents to keep and one to leave with the baby
~ nursing pads- no mom who has just lost their baby will want to go to the store to buy these, but may still need them
~ a cloth handkerchief
~ some kindness cards
~ a special bereavement book for parents with pregnancy loss
I am also putting together a resource booklet to help with funeral planning. It will contain names and phone numbers of local funeral homes, a funeral planning checklist, lyrics to songs that they could play, poems and scriptures that could be read and creative ways to remember their child. Planning Shyla’s service was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do, so I hope I can help by providing these resources all in one spot.
These baskets are still a work in progress, but I think it is my way of helping others in their time of indescribable loss. Please be praying that I can put the right things in them to minister to these families and give them hope. 
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not dissapoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."  Romans 5:3-5

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I just wanted to share the song that is on my heart today.  You can listen to it by clicking on the song in the playlist at the bottom of the blog. 


By Natalie Grant

Two months is too little

They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held
This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held


If hope is born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior


This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held
We'd be held
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held

This is what it means to be held.....

Friday, October 2, 2009

...And then I smiled.

Today is the 2nd! 
Shyla's would have been one month today, so after a relaxing morning at home, we stopped at the cemetary.  As soon as we pulled up to the back gate of the cemetary Ethan said, "See Shyla?" Ben and I looked at each other and then to the carseat where Ethan sat.
"Did you tell him where we were going?" I asked Ben.
"No, did you?"
I just smiled, we both know we didn't tell him. He just knew. And as we walked to her small grave, Ethan almost running, he said, "Happy Birthday Shyla!"  God knows just how to comfort us doesn't He?  If ever there has been a time when we recognize how close He is to the brokenhearted is has been through the observations and comments made by our son over the past month.  We had mentioned to him early in the morning that today was Shyla's 1 month birthday, mainly because he just loves any reason to sing the birthday song, but I never imagined he would really remember or understand what we were doing today.

Her plot looks so small.  Someone had brought some pink and white flowers and placed them by her marker.  We brought a small bronze dragonfly garden decoration and placed it there (I will explain the signifigance of the dragonfly later) and after a few moments, we just looked at each other and knew it was time to go.  We turned to make our way back to the van, but when Ethan realized we were going to leave, he turned to run back saying, "No, see Shyla...see Shyla!"  He didn't want to leave.  He tried running back to her grave, but Ben picked him up and hugged him and we walked on to the van.  He was ok after that, but obviously he was not as ready to go as we were. 

We dropped him off with his Nana and made our way to Somerset for my 4 week post partum check-up.  We must have been anxious because we were there a hour before our appointment so we decided to go to the Christian Bookstore and look around.  We found a book called, I'll Hold You In Heaven, by Jack Hayford and decided to buy it.  It is referenced several times in a devotion we have, so I thought it would be good to read.  While I was browsing, I also saw a Bible case that had Phil. 4:13 stitched on the front with Ladybugs and Dragonflies scattered around the scripture.  That was my God wink today.  If any of you know me, you know that ladybugs are kind of my symbol.  I have collected them since I was young and anytime a close friend sees one, they automatically think of me.  Well, dragonflies are Shyla's bug.  But that is another post entirely.  On to the appointment.

It was odd being back in the office.  The last time I was there was the day before the surgery to deliver Shyla.  I saw on the ultrasound screen, lying there, motionless and thought that I may never smile again.  But I have.  I smiled today in that same office. 

The Dr. said I was healing beautifully.  Everything looked great.  Then he brought out all the tests results.  He listed each one.  Which after a minute just began to sound like, "Blah blah blah...Negative....Blah blah blah...Negative..."  I had been negative for any medical cause for my baby to not be here today...until...

"You tested positive as a carrier for Factor V (five) Leiden." found a cause?  I had become fully prepared to accept the fact that I would never know a medical reason why Shyla died.  Ben and I prayed before we went into the office today that whatever would bring Him glory is what we wanted.  Knowing or not.

The doctor went on to explain that Factor V is a genetic blood clotting disorder that is often found for the first time during pregnancy.  He explained that usually when stillbirths occur and the mother is positive for Factor V, a blood clot probably formed in the placenta or umbilical cord and usually a taking a bloodthinner in a subsequent pregnancy could amost guarantee having a successful outcome to pregnancy.  He also said that having this clotting disorder, if not detected in pregnancy, is usually not found until it causes a major problem such as stroke or pulmonary embolism (where a clot travels to the lungs or the right side of the heart).  Thats when it hit me...

Shyla could have just saved my life...AND...she saved the life of her future sibling(s)!

Wow.  Talk about being blessed by Shyla Joy. 

And then I smiled.

To read more about Factor V Leiden from the Mayo Clinic's website, click here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The first.

Today I decided to start this blog.  I have wanted to share the story of my family, but really haven't known where to begin.  Until today.  October 1.  One month ago today, I was preparing to deliver my baby girl, Shyla Joy.  This should have been a day of happiness, but instead grief was the main emotion.  On August 31st, we found out that Shyla's heart had unexpectedly stopped beating at 28 weeks gestation.  September 1st I saw my doctor and scheduled a c-section for the next day.  I wont go into all of the details tonight, but I will tell the whole story soon.  I just needed to start writing, today.  The first.  
I think is it important that I begin the first post to this blog by saying that first and formost God has been my Joy and my strength through my entire life, but never have I felt the Lord's peace and love as I have over the past month.  Everything that has helped me (and my family) has been a precious gift from the Lord that I will hold and treasure in my heart as Mary treasured all of the wonderful things that she experienced through her pregnancy and during her son's life.
The title of this blog, Creative Joy, is the meaning of Shyla's name.  Shyla meaning creative and of course Joy.  My husband and I decided from the beginning that we were going to use our daughter's death to help reach out and minister to other parents during their time of loss.  I hope this blog will be used to inspire the spread of creative joy.  Not just during times of loss, but in all areas of life.
Over the course of this blog, I will share Shyla's story, how creativity is such an important part of healing (at least for me), and hopefully share ways to inspire kindness and joy.  A social worker by profession, sharing resources is an important part of who I am, so expect to see resources posted now and then.
Tomorrow is the 2nd.  I pray that the 2nd is a peaceful day full of creative joy.