Friday, May 22, 2009

A Doorway Cut in Sod







Ever since Tuesday morning I have been wanting to write about our sweet time at Micah's burial. It was truly so very good for our hearts to be there and actually place him in the ground next to Molly. There was finality, yes, but it was a good sense of closure.

We arrived at the cemetery a little before 10 and began filling some balloons with helium. We had just enough for two blue and two white ones. After tying on some string, we followed Pam, the funeral coordinator who helped us with Molly's burial less than a year ago, to the foot of Molly's grave. It was a warm and sunny day, much like it was when we buried Molly. Pam had set up two chairs that faced a little pedestal with Micah's little white box on top. Beyond Micah we could see Molly's marker, just a foot away. It was a perfect setup, yet perfectly horrible at the same time. I could not believe that we were there, again.

Pam stepped away from us to give us as much time as we wanted before putting Micah in the ground. We prayed together, and with tears pouring from my eyes I asked the Lord to weep with us, to hold us close, to heal our hearts. After we finished praying, I picked up Micah's box and just held it in my lap. So light, so fragile, so empty feeling. And it was empty. Yes it had our son's body inside, but the best part about him wasn't there. His soul and spirit is with Jesus and with Molly. Again, I just cannot believe it. Cannot hardly fathom the reality of where we sat.

We took turns holding the box and capturing those moments on our camera. Something to remind us that this was not a bad dream, but in fact reality. That we had buried a little boy of ours. After some time we each wrote on a balloon. Jake chose blue, as it represented his little boy, the son that he had. I chose white, for the purity and holiness of Heaven, the reality of where our son was and where we longed to be. After writing on the balloons we read aloud what we had written and then let them slip away into the light blue sky.

Then Jake took Micah's box and after we both hugged it tightly, placed it in the ground, inside a small concrete box. I knelt on the ground, kissed my fingers, and placed them on his box, whispering my love and good-byes.

A concrete lid was placed on top and then Jake took a big shovel and put dirt in the hole. The caretaker of the cemetery helped him finish and when the piece of sod was placed on top, I placed a single white rose tied with a piece of ribbon on top. I also put another white rose with ribbon in Molly's vase.

Our babies were home. Where their lives have truly begun and they are experiencing the joys and delights of purity and holiness. They are held close by Jesus and sung to by a choir of angels, free from the sin of this world.

Oh how I cannot wait to be there with them both.

Take us soon, Jesus.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Place for Micah


Today, the 19th of May, we will be making the same trip to the cemetery that we did just less than a year ago to bury Molly. But this time we are burying our son, Micah Wiliam. This time we are taking blue and white balloons instead of pink.

I went to visit Molly's doorway on Sunday and when I got there I saw that there was already a place being prepared for Micah. At the foot of Molly's plot was an orange cone set off by several different colored flags. There's a chunk of grass lying a yard away ready to be put back in place after he's in the ground.

I am somewhat in shock that we are now going to have two babies buried next to each other. TWO. Not just one who we'd take our kids to visit one day, no, there are two now. Two babies to visit. Oh Lord, spare us from one day visiting more than two children in a cemetery. May it not be so.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A simple gift in the midst of our suffering


She fumbled in her purse for her wallet while her two year old daughter, looking adorable in pigtails and pink, asked impatiently for the cookie her mom was buying. I stood behind the counter in my messy apron and smiled at the little girl, thinking of Molly and what she would have been like. The mom, clearly irritated, glanced over her shoulder and out of frustration, told her daughter to stop asking her for the cookie or she wasn't going to get it. Looking back at me she mumbled, "I don't know why am I buying her a cookie. She clearly doesn't need one and is bouncing off the walls. So annoying."

Working at the bakery last fall and into winter, I came across many parents toting their kids behind them as they purchased a cake for a birthday, cupcakes for a party, or a cookie to quiet their shouting kid. Having just surrendered my only child made me more aware of how selfish we can be. I wanted to sit down with each mom that came through that door and share with them what I had lost and how they weren't appreciating the gift they had been given. As it was not my place, I never did.

I did encounter one young mom who inquired about the necklace I wore to work. A simple black and white photo of Molly that hangs around my neck on a thin silver chain. Mentioning her own daughter, she asked me how old Molly was. When I shared with her our story, her eyes filled up with tears. She asked me what she could do for me and I kept telling her there was nothing she could do. Then it dawned on me, here was my chance.

I told her there was something she could do for me: She could enjoy her daughter and the blessing of having her in her life. After telling her this, she nodded and affirmed my suggestion saying she would do that. I saw this mom several times while working at the bakery and each time she would ask how I was doing and thank me for sharing my story.

A few days ago I got a message in my Facebook inbox from Carrie, a young mom I have met only once. I didn't even know she had kids until she wrote me on Thursday. Here's a bit of what she said:

"What I really wanted to share with you is how you have really taught me to be a better mother. Having these two so close together is not always easy, but the second Madison starts throwing a fit, or Noah hasn't slept all night, I stop in my frustration and think about Molly and Micah. In an instant, my frustration is gone and I look at them as the fragile blessings they are."

I know that I don't know the difficulties and frustrations that come with parenting. I do not share this to put myself on a podium as someone to be admired. I share it to encourage those of you who have been given the gift of children in your care, to enjoy them as much as possible. I would gladly give my suffering to be up late at night with a crying baby or in a bakery with a toddler demanding a cookie. I would also love to have the joys of holding them as they fall asleep, reading Dr. Suess in funny voices, and making cupcakes for a birthday party.

My heart longs for those moments and is tired of this suffering. It is my prayer that you enjoy the ups and downs of parenting, knowing that our kids are on loan to us, a gift from God.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Home

We are finally home, where we can rest without interruption and grieve as we need to. We were discharged from the hospital this morning and left around 10:30. My nurse told me that it would be hard to leave without our baby and I told her that while I agreed with her, I hadn't ever experienced leaving the hospital with a baby. I do not know the joy of holding a baby in my arms as I am wheeled out to the car. I only know the grief and sadness of leaving empty handed and with broken hearts.

We both slept when we got home, which was much needed and very good for our bodies. We are glad to be home and I am looking forward to resting up and getting healthy again. I really don't like being this helpless and needing to rely on so many people for so many things.

My whole body is incredibly sore, like I ran a marathon or went on a really long horseback ride. My throat hurts from the tube being down it during surgery and I just hurt.

Thank you so much for praying for us. We are so grateful and wish we could tell each of you personally.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Micah William Mutz

Psalm 139 proclaims "I am fearfully and wonderfully made. You works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Our son, Micah William Mutz, is no exception. His tiny body is fearfully and wonderfully made and loved by us and our Mighty God. We grieve his passing and eagerly look forward to the day when we can hold both our babies in our arms and never have to let them go.

We arrived at the hospital around 10 p.m. last night, May 12th. Sometime after 11 my doctor put some medicine in my cervix to help dilate and get things moving along. About an hour later I felt some back labor begin. After going to the bathroom and brushing my teeth, I was going to call my nurse because the pain was getting pretty hard to bear when my water broke.

Things escalated pretty fast and our baby was born at 1:56 a.m. May 13th. Just 11 months after his big sister came into the world. Because I was bleeding a lot (I had lost around 64 oz. of blood), Dr. Austin told me I had to go in for the D&C. The placenta did not want to come out so they had to put me in under and get it out fast. Before I went under Dr. Austin told me that he was going to try and and get the placenta out, but there was a slight possibility that he would have to do a hysterectomy. I was pretty scared, but just prayed as they prepped me, over and over for God to not ask me to give that up as well. He answered my prayers and the procedure was fast and successful, with my uterus still intact.

I've lost a significant amount of blood and my blood pressure has been down most of the early morning hours. Because of that, they want to keep me here and watch me over night. There's a possibility that, after taking my blood, I might be able to go home tonite, but we're just not sure yet.

It's been really scary and not something I want to go through ever again. In some ways, delivering Molly was easier because I had no fears and I didn't know she was going to die. This baby was difficult and I grieved off and on during the entire process. And I still am. I would have to say it was the scariest moment of my life. I was so afraid.

A praise or two: We have gotten to hold and see our baby. We've taken some pictures since Heather could not be here, and we plan on putting the little blue hat on and snuggling him up before letting him go to the mortuary. Another praise is that things did go fast. We had been praying all day yesterday that things would move quickly and with minimal pain. They did move quickly but not without pain.

Anyway, thank you for praying for us. Please continue to as we work to get out of here and rest at home where it's comfortable. Pray that my blood pressure gets to where it should be and that we can go home tonite. And of course, pray for our hearts as we grieve our precious baby boy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Little Hats



Little gifts of sweetness sit in the palm of my hand, waiting to grace the body of our tiny infant child. They are little hats, made for little people. They are so small I have a hard time believing that our baby will wear one of them.

Another gift, two soft white blankets wait to envelope our baby with warmth and care. They are knit together with love by two sisters. They are beautifully done and the perfect size for our baby.

We continue to wait. Nothing major has happened. I saw my doctor this morning and have been given the first round of medicine to help my body get moving. I am praying for things to happen quickly and soon. I am praying that we will be able to hold and name our baby. I am grateful that this child will be laid to rest next to Molly, where we can visit them both. I am thankful for my loving husband, who holds me while I cry, tenderly rubbing my back or smoothing my hair. All the while, speaking words of love and praying over us during this time.

We will continue to let you know via this blog how things are going as they progress. More than likely nothing new will happen until tomorrow or possibly even later. There's just no way of knowing how soon things will move forward. So as you wait to hear the news that our baby has been born, please continue to lift us up in prayer as we also wait.

Thank you all.

Monday, May 11, 2009

In the days to come

Having been through grief so recently (or rather still in it) I have the hindsight of knowing what was helpful and what was not. As we begin anew this journey of sorrow and sadness I thought it would be helpful to share a few things that Jake and I have learned from our experiences in grief.

Before I share those things I do want to say that I believe each of our friends and family, and even strangers in Christ, have well meaning hearts and just want to help when they offer advice or stories or verses to us. In response, I have an opportunity to extend grace to those who say the "wrong" thing, just like I want grace from others when I say something "wrong". We are grateful that so many people are close to us through prayers and encouraging words and we appreciate your hearts in wanting to help us in this time of great loss.

The question we are asked most often is, "What can I/we do for you? How can we help you?"


To put it plainly, you can't do anything. Really you can't do anything that will take away the immensity of our pain and sorrow. Only Go can bring back our babies and give us that joy. So, I would encourage you to be ok with your helplessness. We don't expect anyone to arrive at our doorstep and make everything better.

So what can be done to help?

1. You can help by praying for us, fervently, for an easy labor and delivery process. That God would be gracious to me in those moments and spare me pain upon pain by allowing our baby to come quickly and with ease. You can sit with us after this is over and just listen. You can cry with us or for us. Tears were such a gift when Molly died and I know they will be a gift this time as well. You can pray specific scripture for us. All these things are good and helpful. Prayer might feel powerless to you, but we feel the blessing of those prayers and they are incredibly powerful.

2. Engage us in our pain. Ask us how we're feeling about losing a second child. If you've never lost a child before, ask us about it. We love to talk about our children and it makes our hearts glad when others ask about our kids.

3. I wrote in a post back a few months about the Hebrew custom: "sitting shiva". It means to sit with those who are mourning and just be with them. Don't feel pressured to fix our pain, just BE. Listen if we want to talk. Offer advice if we ask for it. Let us cry if we want to. Give us space if we need it. Just BE with us. And if the silence is too much, then pray for us as we sit quietly.

What should you not do or say?

1. In order to protect our hearts and minds, please do not share stories upon stories of others who have gone through hurt and pain. This world is full of sad stories like ours and even stories that would be so much harder than what we are going through. And while we are saddened by those stories, they are not helpful right now or anytime soon. It feels as if our pain should be less because of how hard it was for so and so. So please help protect our hearts by not sharing about someone else's loss.

There are some who've had personal experience in this area and who have shared bits of advice for our journey. That is helpful and wanted. Please do not feel as if I do not want to connect with other moms in this unwanted club.

2. Another thing that I have found difficult is trying to distract myself with empty things, such as shopping, playing board games, hiking, laughing with friends, and even baking which I love. Things that were once enjoyed now feel trite and empty. The best thing to do is think about what you are asking us to do and when before you ask it. While Jacob might thrive in certain activities, I might not. It's best to just think it through first. What is helpful to you in times of sadness might not be helpful to me.

3. While we encourage you to pray specific scriptures for us, please do not try to teach us or instruct us about how good God is and how He works all things for the good. Neither of us are going to lose our faith over this. We know ALL of those verses and believe them, still. But sometimes verses can be spoken as if they were a magic wand. God will heal us in time, but it won't be overnight and it won't happen through a verse or two.


Thank you for sharing our grief with us as we walk this road once again. We desire to be more like Christ through our pain and sorrow. We want God to do good things as a result of Molly and our second baby's death. We are so grateful for the body of Christ as you have brilliantly rallied around us a second time. We feel the prayers of so many and we know that we are not alone.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Update and a few praises

How could we possibly have something to praise God about in the middle of losing our second child? How could I find purpose in the details of preparing our baby's body for burial? Why aren't we utterly furious with God and His plan so far for us?

We are angry. We have and will continue to cry out in pain. We hurt beyond imagination. We ache for our babies. We cry out for them. We feel as if our hearts are being ripped to shreds. We feel utterly defeated and set back.

And, in the middle of our pain and in the quiet moments of grace given to us by God, we are able to seek Him and we have found comfort in His presence. He weeps with us, even now. This was not His plan for our lives, but because of sin, I believe that He has allowed it to happen. And we both pray that we will understand God's purpose and plan for us in giving us this pain twice.

There's a verse we're using in Molly's book that clearly explains WHY we run to our Lord and Maker. Where else would we turn but to God? For there is none like Him and none that can heal our hearts like He will.

John 6:68 "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

Update:
Unless my body starts the process on its own, here is our plan for having this baby and saying our good byes.

Tuesday morning at 9:30 I have an appointment at the doctors office where they will get the process started. I will go back home and then check into the hospital later that evening where they will begin giving me some meds to keep things moving.

Here are the praises:

1. My mom will be here for the entire process. She wasn't able to be here for Molly's birth so I am extra thankful that she can be here for this.

2. Our dear friend and photographer, Heather Lilly, who took such amazing and beautiful pictures of Molly, has agreed to be with us at the hospital to take some pictures of our baby before we say good bye. She said it would be an honor for her. Apparently God has put us on her heart a lot over the past few weeks and I have no doubt it was to prepare her for this.

3. I called the cemetery where Molly is buried and spoke with the woman who helped us with Molly's marker and everything. I asked if we could have this baby buried in the same plot with Molly so that they could be together. She granted my request before I was even finished asking it. I am overjoyed that we will be able to bury our baby. Plus, what better place for this baby to be laid to rest than next to his/her older sister.

We are so grateful for these things in the midst of our heartache. It seems a tiny bit easier to bear since we are able to have some semblance of parenthood with this child.

We thank each of you for praying for us so fervently. We continue to need those prayers as we prepare for labor and delivery and then having our final moments. We are also still praying for a name for this baby and a verse as we give our child back to the Lord. Also, please pray for me as Mother's Day approaches. It is so hard celebrating this day in the midst of grief. I know I am a mother, through and through. But this is not the sort of mom I want to be, not at all. I want what I can't have and I ache for who we've lost.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Updates and our video at church

I just wanted to update everyone on how our second appointment went yesterday. The second ultrasound confirmed the first that our little one has gone on to be with his/her big sister. We are incredibly saddened and our hearts are breaking.

Please lift us up in prayer for these things:

1. That we would be given grace to walk through delivering our baby, sooner rather than later.
2. That we would be able to hold our baby and grieve his/her passing.
3. Our hearts, that God would hold us tightly as we mourn and grieve deeply.
4. Jake and I and our marriage. That we would cling to each other and lean on one another for help and comfort.
5. That God would give us a name for our baby, that we may have the privilege of giving our precious child a name.

Thank YOU, all of you who read my blog or keep up with us on Facebook. We are eternally grateful for your prayers and dedication as a body of believers. We are continually surprised at how quickly people have comforted us with prayers. Thank you so much.

Also, as I mentioned last week, Jake and I had the privilege of sharing our story about Molly at our church through a video. I have been checking the website all week and the video of that service is finally up. It's the Waste Management Series on Wasted Pain by Jim Burgen May 2-3. You can click HERE to watch it. May it bless you as our precious Molly has blessed us.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Safe in the arms of Jesus

It is with such heavy hearts that I write these words. We found out earlier today that our baby has gone on to Heaven, sometime a few weeks ago. Our baby is gone. Our baby is gone. Gone. We won't be bringing home a little one from the hospital in October. We won't be celebrating Thanksgiving by passing around a cooing infant. Christmas will be disappointing, yet again. Our sweet nursery will continue to remain empty and our arms ache yet again to hold and comfort our babies. Molly's doorway will mean more to us as we mourn another baby.

We go back for another ultrasound at 3 today to confirm that our baby really is gone. After that we are faced with such decisions as to do a D&C or to go through an induced labor and deliver our baby as we did Molly. Pray for us as we sort through the pros and cons and make a decision we don't want to make.

There will be tests run and things done to determine the cause of death as well as the gender of our precious one. We will name our baby and mourn him or her as we mourn Molly. Pray that we will be able to see our baby and mourn him or her for a few moments in our care.

"With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall." Psalm 18:29

Psalm 23.. especially verse 4 "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

Psalm 27:13-14 "I am STILL confident of this: I WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. [We WILL] Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

And so we wait. We wait yet again for the Lord to reveal His plan and goodness to us in the land of the living and in the valley of the shadow of death. Our sweet Molly has ushered her baby brother or sister into the presence of the Almighty God. I am so glad they are together and so grieved that we have been given this cup, yet again.

Pray for us.