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Come and find solace as you get to know us who share in this journey of grief. We have been praying for you and extend our deepest and sincere sympathy. We “hope” you experience comfort and peace in this safe haven of love and support.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In the Word Wednesday...My Story (Ch. 1 of our study)

Welcome to our first-ever "In the Word Wednesday!" I am excited you are here. This week, we started a bible study of Becky Avella's book And Then You Were Gone: Restoring a Broken Heart After Pregnancy Loss. We have two small groups meeting for this study each week (see times on sidebar if you'd like to join). In addition, In the Word Wednesday will be devoted to our study and will feature posts related to the book as we read through it. The first chapter of Becky's book is her personal story of loss. Sadly, Becky experienced multiple losses, as may be the case for some of you as well.

I have to admit, reading or hearing the stories of others who have experienced loss often brings me to tears. Thus was the case in reading Becky's story. As someone who's been through something similar, I found comfort in being able to relate to her, but I detested that she had to endure any such thing. I feel the same way for each of you, as you are likely reading this blog because you too have a story of loss. I'm so sorry. Feel free to hop over to the "Hope Stories" page on this site and read the stories of others who've "been there."

As we reflect upon Chapter 1 of Becky's book and take in her story, I would like each of you to think about the following questions related to your own story...

In what ways can you relate to Becky's story?

What role has God played in your story? Think about the role He played prior to your loss, in the midst of your loss, and since your loss. What did you find?

What is your story? Challenge...write your story down!
There are a couple ways you can do this:
1) Just like Becky did...in a chronological, story-telling fashion; use hers as an example!
2) In the form of a letter...write a letter to your baby (or one to each of your babies if you've experienced multiple losses) and tell your baby all about his/her brief life

If you are willing, I would love to share your stories on our blog under the "Hope Stories" page. Please email them to teske@mommieswithhope.com if you want to share your story.

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I would like to further provide you with some relevant Scriptures. Below are just a sampling of some that have truly ministered to my heart over the years in light of my loss. Please feel free to add any of your choosing in the comments below!

Philippians 1:12 - Now I want you to know, brothers, that was has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.

1 Peter 1:6-7 - In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Romans 8:18 - I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 - For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Romans 5:3-5 - 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 disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

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Finally, I am providing you with an example of the "letter" form of sharing your story (as mentioned previously) below, as I write to my daughter, Riyah, whom we lost at nearly 14 weeks along this past November, which was my third loss.

Dearest Riyah Mae,

Words can't express the deep longing I have for you now. It was just over a year ago that we learned of your anticipated arrival into our family. You were due to be born in May, just two days before your big sister Chloe, who went to be with Jesus on May 11th, 2006, shortly after her birth. We knew your birthday would be special! When we found out that I was pregnant with you, it was such a wonderful surprise. Sadly, just a month before we learned of the news of you, we had experienced the loss of another baby. We don't know if that baby was a boy or a girl, but we loved that baby so much. To have two babies in heaven already is just heartbreaking. So when we became pregnant with you, I felt as though you were truly a gift from the Lord. I still do. Early in the pregnancy, I had a lot of doctors appointments to be sure things were going okay and everything looked great. Each time I went to the doctor I was able to see pictures of you and you were growing so well! I had a peace about my pregnancy with you and was confident that you would be born in early May, as planned.


One day, I went to the doctor for a regular checkup. Daddy had to work, so I went by myself. I felt so at home in that office. I had come to know the staff well since I had experienced so many pregnancies and received my care there. Kate, my nurse practitioner, was going to use her special tool to listen to your heartbeat. She even mentioned that she may not find it right away and not to be concerned. I wasn't. I was sure you would be fine. When she couldn't find your heartbeat with her tool, she left the room to see who was available to do an ultrasound so we could see your little heart beating. It wasn't until she left the room that I became a little nervous. I prayed in those brief moments and the only words I could muster to God were that "whatever happens, I will still love you God." I was happy to see that Emily would be doing the ultrasound. I had come to know her well and count her as a friend. Soon after the images of you illuminated the screen overhead, I knew. I couldn't see your tiny heart beating as I had before. Emily so tenderly said, "I'm so sorry" and then the tears and the wailing came. While your body was still inside of me, without the trace of a heartbeat, I mourned what might have been. I had so many plans for you and I couldn't believe the news. All the while, I can rest in the comfort of knowing and clinging to the truth that you are with your siblings in heaven. The only words I could say in those moments were, "I don't understand" and "I still love you, God." That is so true, even now...I don't understand, but I still love my God.


The next hours, days, and weeks were a blur. I felt so empty, yet again. But God filled that emptiness with a peace that only He can provide. I've begun to see purpose amidst the pain and hope beyond the heartbreaking here and now. I've drawn closer to Him and that's because of you. What a treasure you have let me, Riyah. You are so special! God loves you so much. He called home much sooner than my liking, I admit, but you are with Him and I find comfort in that. He knew you by name, knew the number of every hair on your head and knew each day of your life before even one of them came to be! Speaking of your name...I want you to know how we chose your name. We let Gabe help. He's such a special big brother. He liked the name "Ryan" for a boy, but since you were a girl, we came to "Riyah." Your middle name, Mae, was chosen for two reasons: 1) The month of May is special to us! You were due to be born in May and your big sister, Chloe (who I'm sure has shown you all the ropes!), was born in May. 2) You were named after your great-grandmother, Maedene. She was your daddy's grandma and he loved her so. Sadly, I didn't get a chance to really know her because she was in the advanced stages of a terrible disease that made her memory fade at the time when I met your daddy. He always spoke so well of her though, and I know it means a lot that you share a part of her name.


I want you to know that I think of you often. Just this past Sunday I sat in church and marveled at a little boy who looked to be about the age you should be. Tears welled up in my eyes as I imagined what you would have looked like at that age. Instead of sitting there with you in my arms, I sat empty, admiring a young father holding his son from across the aisle. Times like that hurt. I feel that way though because of my love for you. If I didn't love you, none of these things would hurt. They do hurt, though, and I know that's okay because I trust that there will be a day with no more tears, crying or pain. I look forward to that day with great joy in meeting Jesus face-to-face. And then, because of His love for us, we will be together again. All of us. Daddy will be there too. Your big sister, Chloe, helped him to see the love of Christ and it was shortly after she went to be with Jesus that daddy accepted Jesus into his heart! You babies are doing so much for God's Kingdom, even though you aren't even living on earth. I am a proud mama, Riyah Mae. I love you so much and miss you every day.


Until We Meet in Heaven,

Mommy

5 comments:

Jamie said...

As I read chapter 1 I too felt so sad that Becky had to endure such loss, but also I nodded in head in agreement to so many things she said- it was so ME in some of those situations or with some of those feelings. I am challenged to write my story down. I guess I was challenged after Thurs. night, when I thought I want to have it 'down' better, if that makes sense. Thank you, Teske, for sharing your letter with us and Becky, for allowing God to use your hurt in writing this book to help us who have been there.

Teske said...

Thanks for sharing, Jamie. I encourage you to get your story "down" in whatever way works best for you. It can be tough to do...I pray God would comfort you as you do.

And I too am so thankful for Becky her story and her heart through this book!

Becky Avella said...

Jamie and Teske- Thank you both for your kind words. I hope this book continues to be a blessing to all of you. These blog posts, and knowing you all are reading the book together in your hope meetings, is a gift to me. Teske, thank you for allowing me to be a part of all of this.

Writing my story was hard to do, and still hard for me to read, but also so therapeutic and helpful. I'm glad you've recommended that other moms do the same thing. After reading your letter to Riyah, I think I would like to do that also at some point. Your letter to her was so beautiful and really touched me.

I related to the part where you talked about seeing the little boy that would have been about her age. I do the same thing often. I like how you said, "Times like that hurt. I feel that way though because of my love for you." I've learned that loving can be painful but so worth the risk.

I also loved reading about how your babies have had so much purpose already in God’s Kingdom. I feel the same way about mine. What an awesome testimony to be able to say that your husband gave his life to Jesus because of Chloe.

I’m excited to be a part of this study with you this Fall!

Love,
Becky

Rachel B said...

girls! What a beautiful post and great first chapter of Becky's book.

My heart also ached as I read Becky's experiences. It is hard to understand why one person has to endure so much, but I am grateful that through it all Becky has the assurance that God is good, God is faithful and God does heal. This echoes my own feelings as well.

I especially related with Becky's third loss. I lost our baby at 11 weeks...and 2 weeks and 3 ultrasounds later they finally decided to do a d&c. Like Becky wrote, "...the procedure was so clinical. They put me to sleep and then woke me up. It was all over. I was empty, and I could go home." That day was so hard...the whole process so cold and numbing.




Anyway, I have written down some of my story, but not in a lot of detail. I would like to write more...and plan to do it soon. I think it would be very healing.

LOVE and appreciate this book...and will share it with other women. Thank you, Becky! Thank you also, Teske, for this blog and your heart for Mommies with Hope.

Teske said...

I can so relate to you about the D & C Rachel. I remember coming to after the procedure, still in the operating room, I believe. Tears were welled up in my eyes before I was even fully awake or aware of what was going on. I managed to utter the words, "I want my baby, I want my baby, I want my baby..." Not long after, I realized what had just happened, the tears steadily flowed, and heartbreak set in. Ugghh....then to have to bear the unending conversations of the nurses just beyond the curtain of my "recovery room," as they talked about baby names and decor and the like, as one of them was pregnant and nearly due. What a dagger to the heart.

I'm so thankful to have a God who heals, restores, and renews completely. He is my rock, my only hope, and my eternal salvation.