Saturday, December 15, 2012

Can I brag on my Lord?

The day after the specialist confirmed the fluid on Gracia's lung, we planned to attend the Unashamed Tour and I bailed because it was the saddest day for me. My husband ended up taking his brother instead and Ben bought me a shirt. It was from Trip Lee and read "Can I brag on my Lord?" Remember, it was the saddest day for me so I was kind of annoyed because the last thing I wanted was to brag on Him. I was mad at Him.

I have been eager to share details of Gracia's delivery, graveside service and open house but He has made it clear that I am to brag on Him first. Which honestly comes with ease. Psalm 40:3 it says that He will put a new song on my mouth and He did just that. After a wonderful whirlwind at Gracia's open house Thursday night I came home and couldn't stop singing. Praise after praise. Even though I allowed my mind to think "Okay, this is odd. I buried my daughter today and here I am belting out worship songs." I still sang. He put a new song on my mouth.

Lord you are good and your mercy endureth forever
Lord you are good and your mercy endureth forever
People from every nation and tongue, from generation to generation

We worship You
We worship You
for who You are

You are good
all the time
You are good
all the time

What a precious offering worship is. We were given that special gift at Gracia's open house. Great friends of ours lead worship and read Bible verses. It took me half way through to realize that they were all verses that the Lord had shared with me over the past month. Truth poured over me and reigned at my sister's house. It was such a beautiful peaceful time. I know the Lord was pleased and we honored Him.

Years ago the Lord allowed us to be a part of a youth group where we got the opportunity to speak Christ into young lives. We gained many life long friendships from that time of service. One sweet sister, who is now a remarkable woman of God, shared her gift of singing and wrote a song.

Gracia's Song

I will never, ever leave you
Nor will I forsake you
You will not walk this alone

Lullaby don't you cry
I'm holding you, even now
Lullaby don't you cry
I'm holding you, safe and sound

Where I am the darkness must flee
So I will whisper my light
Where I am confusion must cease
So I will whisper my peace
Where I am the pain will subside
So I will whisper my life
I will whisper my joy

Though you can't hear it right now
I'm singing a new song, someday you'll sing it too
Though you can't feel it right now
My rhythm of grace will set you free to dance again

Doesn't that just give you chills? Don't you feel blessed just by reading those lyrics?

Sunday December 9, 2012

We arrived at the hospital around 3pm. As I was being admitted a friend who works at the hospital stopped by and asked why I was being admitted. I told her I was being induced and she congratulated me. I looked at Steve. I didn't know how to respond. I finally got the news out and she was quick with condolence. We got settled in our room and got my first dose of cytotec at 4:30pm. I got two pills every 3 hours. It took 5 doses before I felt any contractions.

Monday December 10, 2012

I started to feel some discomfort from the contractions and after my 10:30am dosage my water broke close to 11am. I was dilated to a 3 and the nurse suggested an epidural but the anesthesiologist was administering an epidural to another mom. My nurse gave me stadol which eased my pain. I progressed to a 10 quickly (less than 40 minutes) and my Doctor brought in the anesthesiologist for a spinal tap so she could do a D&C directly after delivery if she needed.  During the time I was laboring I held Steve's arm and hand and asked him to tell me a Bible verse from memory. He quoted Psalm 84:11. I heard "You are my hope and my shield" so I just repeated that over and over until the pain was manageable. I know some of  you out there prayed for a quick delivery, which was answered. But did you forget to pray about the pain?! I'm kidding :) With the combination of the 3 drugs I felt whacky. I signed the consent form the anesthesiologist handed me and I told him I didn't think I had that many l's in my name. My labor and delivery nurse coached me when to push. With a few pushes Gracia was delivered at 12:09p. She weighed 1lb 15oz and was 13 inches long. They laid her on my chest as the Doctor worked on removing my placenta. She was warm and heavy. The nursed handed her to Steve and the drugs really started to knock me out. We now laugh about how I asked the nurse to give me medicine to wake me up and how I had one eye opened and was trying to talk to him through the side rail of my hospital bed. I finally gave in to the drugs and fell asleep for 3 hours. I prayed that God would allow me to see Gracia before her body started to change. They gave her a bath and brought her in for us to hold her.  When the nurse placed her in my hands Gracia's body moved like jell-o. She was all cartilage and filled with fluid. She had the most perfect lips, perfect hands and adorable toesies. Her resting gown fit as if it were custom made. The hospital has a wonderful service where they take tasteful pictures of her, mold her feet and make a tiny tiny bracelet with her name. As I held her I couldn't help but think how much her body was just a shell. That may have been my daughter but I know that she is healed and even more perfect than my mind can think in Heaven. She is with her sister (the baby I miscarried in April), cousin and Aunt and most importantly with Jesus. I relish in that truth.

Tuesday December 11, 2012

We were discharged Tuesday and with my hospital bands still on Steve drove us to pick out a plot for Gracia. The cemetery director mulled over which plot we should take and I really didn't care. I knew her body needed a place to be put but the infant area was about 2x3 feet. We were mulling over inches.  When we got home I washed Gracia's resting gown. It took 32oz of hydrogen peroxide to get all the blood out. Blood and fluid just seeped from her very thin skin. Later that day we met with the funeral director and finalized details. Steve dropped me off at home and he picked up Keilah. What a sweet reunion. I missed my Keilah terribly. She was acting like a fool and I finally pulled her aside and said "Keilah, I know you're mad at us and I'm mad we were gone too. I missed you so much. But please don't act this way, use your words." She smiled and said "thank you" and sealed it with a kiss. Since then I've had to have similar conversations with her. The other day we were all mad and being nasty to each other and before prayer time I addressed our attitudes and Keilah said "We needed that." It amazes me what a little communication with a 3 year old will accomplish.

Wednesday December 12, 2012

Steve took Keilah to Bass Pro to see Santa so I could rest. I could barely sit, I had so much pain in my back from my spinal tap. I was able to get in with my massage therapist (for the most painful massage of my life!) and got an adjustment with our chiropractor. I almost cried. I was in so much pain. I questioned if the massage and adjustment would help. We met with the funeral director one last time to give him Gracia's resting gown, casket and wording for folders. The casket that Papi and my Mom made was beautiful. Covered in white satin with roses tucked with purpose and lined with pearl ribbon. Perfect for my Gracia. Keilah wanted to keep the casket for her baby doll.

Thursday December 13, 2012

I slept great! No nightmares (for me or Keilah) and my back felt great. I can now sit and walk with little pain. Steve took Keilah to school and he bought himself a suit. I stayed home and took my time getting ready. When Keilah got home we gave her a new stuffed pig to remind her of Gracia (before we learned of Gracia's condition I ordered 2 stuffed animals,one for each of my daughters, and I asked Keilah what Gracia would like and she said a pig). She loved it. We had lunch as a family and then headed to the cemetery. My anxiety was low but I still didn't want the attention and wished it was just the 3 of us. When Steve picked up Gracia's casket and walked it to the table Keilah ran to him.  I guess she needed to say her good-bye in private. Francis gave a strong word from God while Keilah threw her pig in the air, danced and jumped around. Francis read Gracia's favorite song.

Testify to Love

For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
I'll be a witness in the silences
When words are not enough
With every breath I take
I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love

A few tears fell, not because I missed Gracia but because God has used the chorus to be my life song.  Ben played the guitar and sang "How He loves" and "Jesus Savior Pilot me" (Rachel's favorite song). It was a short and God honoring service. The sun was shining and it was windy but I thanked God that there was no sleet, rain or snow. The best weather December could offer.

We headed back home for us all to rest before the open house. We arrived to my sisters and the house was polished with food arranged and ready to welcome our guests. From 4-7pm, it was a whirlwind. I'm sure at least 100 people came. As soon as I hugged a friend hello I'd have another friend to hug good-bye. So much love in that place.

As I was writing this blog post the Lord asked me to pause so I did and in that time I received a message from a new dear friend. I confided in her that I was worried about my bubble being popped. Referring to the peace that we have been covered in.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As long as my "bubble" is filled with God's peace and joy and abounding in hope by the Holy WILL NEVER pop! Thank you Jesus!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Love like a hurricane

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God the Maker of all things. Ecclesiastes 11:5


I don't understand His ways. I have been dreading today. The luggage is packed to head for the hospital and I don't want to go. I keep telling myself what I told myself in April and what I told Ben the day he buried his wife and daughter. Today is necessary and that doesn't make this any less painful. It's necessary to remove Gracia from my womb. It's necessary to grieve. It's necessary to bury her. But it's still very painful. But it's something that the Lord has asked me to walk through. And because I believe that I know that He will be walking with me. Sweetly guiding me, using His people to pray for me, encourage me and cry with me.

I was encouraged to read Psalm 40 three times and today I finally did just that. A chapter of deliverance. The Lord delivering me and giving me His mercy and His truth and His love to protect me (vs11). I read of His deliverance the day I begin laboring for Gracia.

Psalm 40:3
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.

Amen! I hope many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. It's easy to give others credit instead of giving credit to God.  It's how we make sense of things when we don't know God.  We create an answer that seems to fit and makes us comfortable. He is the Maker of all things (Ecc. 11:5) All things.  Today I ask God to reveal truth to each of you that read my blog. May you hear His voice. May you respond to Him calling for you. He is jealous for you and He desires you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Your will above mine

On our way to a friend's house Keilah wanted a lunchable from QuikTrip for lunch (yes, she did request that) and while we were there like any toddler she needed to use the bathroom. While I waited for her to take care of her business I caught a glimpse of my large mid-section and asked her "Do you think I will hear Gracia's heartbeat today?" She responded "No. God sent an angel to ask Gracia if she wanted to go to God's house" I said "What did Gracia say?" Keilah looked at me like I was dumb and answered "She's a baby. Baby's don't talk. She was sucking her thumb."

I believed her. Remember, the night before I couldn't rest and to be honest I prayed that God would allow me to see the angel that would take Gracia to Heaven. Each time my eyes opened I searched the dark room. I really don't know if it's in the bible that God sends angels to take souls to heaven or not but I do know that God uses them as messengers often and so that's the conclusion I have drawn. Even though I wasn't excited about Gracia's death I was excited to be in the presence of an angel.

I met my sister in the parking lot of the hospital and we walked nervously to my appointment. I think both of us were fighting back the tears. The nurse searched with the doppler to find Gracia's heartbeat and at one point my eyes met with Mimi's when we thought we heard her heart beat. She gave up and sent the Doctor in. My DR quickly decided it would be easier to get a sonogram so we got walked to the sonographer's room. She tried so hard to find a glimmer of hope. My DR ignored her and pulled a chair close to me and told me that Gracia's heart had stopped. We went over a plan of action. I will be induced Sunday afternoon. She informed me that labor will take up to 2 days because my body isn't ready to deliver and that she'd probably need to do a D&C because the placenta won't detach on it's own. She expects me to stay 3 nights in the hospital.

When I got home her resting gown had arrived. It is simple and beautiful.

As ridiculous as it sounds Thursday morning I told God I wasn't ready for Gracia to pass because I had some things I wanted to get done. He answered my ridiculous prayer. Just in a way I didn't think of. I expected her to live through the weekend but instead my DR is out of town and I want her to deliver so He still gave me the weekend to prepare. Keilah didn't want to go play with anyone today, she wanted to be my buddy. My hairdresser (who I have to book a year in advance with) moved an appointment around and I got my hair colored this morning. If my hair is good, everything is good. I got some pantyhose for the dress I plan to wear to her graveside service, earrings and nail polish. We visited my best friends mom to order Gracia's casket flowers. I picked out rich colors, probably too serious for a baby but serious enough for a December funeral. Keilah picked out snacks to take to her Aunt's house while Steve and I move in to the hospital (joking). Papi is putting the finishing touches on Gracia's casket and I have been in contact with the funeral director to finalize arrangements.  I feel ready. There isn't much I get to control in my daughter's passing but by golly she will have gorgeous flowers, be dressed beautifully and her loving Buelo has made her a custom casket to rest in. Papi is a goof but he's such a sweetie at heart. When I first asked him to build her a casket he said no because she wasn't dead. Then 2 days later he told me that he was almost finished with it. Instead of using scrap wood he purchased new wood for his special grand-daughter. He even went as far to use metric measurements because she's his Spanish Grace :) And the man who usually makes trips to the hardware or auto store made a special trip to the fabric store to buy lining for her casket.  Words can't express how grateful I am for his loving gift.

With as long as the DR expects my labor to be we are tentatively planning Gracia's graveside service to be Thursday. We have chosen Floral Hills Memorial Garden off 50hwy and Milton Thompson Rd for her burial. We are inviting immediate family only to the graveside service and thinking we might hold it around 1p or 2p, hoping for the hottest part of the day because it's December.We want to keep the gathering small and intimate. Our pastor will officiate. You know, this whole time I haven't been able to visualize Gracia's first steps, first Birthday etc but I have been able to envision her funeral. Following her graveside service my sister will host an open house where the rest of the family and friends can come for a time of worship and fellowship. Our church and small group will provide the food. A normal service you spend time remembering the deceased and for our situation only God knows Gracia's quirks and personality. But we know much about our Lord and Savior and we plan to honor Him and let His Spirit dwell with us. As the week progresses we'll be able to give out more detailed information.

Later I asked Keilah if she saw the angel or if God talked to her and she said God told her. I asked her when He told her that and she said December five. I think Gracia passed December five too. Because that night I felt her kick at 10:30p and then I was restless the rest of the night. Deep down I knew she had passed.

Ecclesiastes 11:5
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.

Even though I had hoped to see Gracia healed on earth, God is still the ultimate Healer. Gracia is healed in Heaven. She's perfect.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I want to stay desperate for You

I love the tears of the saints.

Each of you that is broken with us, petition the Lord in prayer for us and cry for us. Thank you. It's odd to say that I love your tears but when I find out that someone has been touched by what God has been doing through us I find worth. It makes all of this worth it. And I would do it again.

I've had over 1,000 views on my three blog posts. 1,000 people who have heard the gospel. More people than I could ever reach in my own strength. Who knew God was so technically savvy. I barely know what a blog is. But He is the inventor of all things so why do I remain surprised by Him.

Last night I got the best E-mail ever. An E-mail from someone that grew up in the church and had fallen away and had been nudged by God to come back to Him but got caught up in the grips of the enemy. She's re-dedicated her life to Christ.  She said she's probably the only person asking me for prayer but asked anyway. I am so honored to pray for her. Even though she gave credit to how Steve, Keilah and I live life and gave credit to my faith through Gracia's death was all His doing.  People, He can use anything. He's used Gracia's life for another one of His daughters to reclaim eternal life. From the beginning of Gracia's diagnosis I begged the Lord to not waste her life. That whatever He's up to must be grand and must be known to me. He's answered that prayer.

Below are lyrics to one of my favorite songs. I'm not smart enough to figure out how to share the actual link but I did post it to my Facebook. I've realized when I feel so low and don't know how to pray or too weak to ask for prayer that putting in a CD and allowing the lyrics to reign in my home and wash over me is the best anecdote.

Phil Joel
Deliberate People CD

Lord, thank You for these days
Lord, thank You for these days
This has been the most trying year
Of testing and refining here
And I wouldn’t have it any other way
Lord, thank You for these days
And I will always choose to praise You

Lord, thank You for this place
Lord, thank You for Your grace
There is mercy in the midst of tests
An oasis in this wilderness
And Your light to lead my way
Lord, thank You for this place
And I will always choose to praise You

And I wanna stay
I will remain
For You

Lord I thank You for this rain
Healing waters when there’s pain
There are rivers of Your providence
Surrounding our obedience
In Your faithfulness, I put my faith
So Lord I thank You for this rain
And I will always choose to praise You

I wanna stay
I will remain
For You

Oh Jesus
For You Holy Spirit
For You O’ my Father
For You, for You
All my days I’ll sing Your praises

I feel his lyrics align with my story. Tuesday as I walked to the car after talking with Keilah's pre-school director I found myself crying out to the Lord to not stop. Please don't stop. I want to keep learning, keep using me as a vessel to bring others to you. I'm not ready for this journey to end.

I slept terrible. I kept asking God if I was awake for a reason, should I spend time with Him? Over and over I told Him that I love Him and that I want to rest in Him. Yet I still battled with sleep. The night before a Doctor appointment is the worse. An appointment that no matter the results will shape my future. 

Hebrews 4:14-16

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

When I woke up I secretly hoped for a text of scripture. I needed to hear from Him. But He had devised a much better plan.  Keilah walked into my room and we hugged. She told me she didn't sleep well and I told her I didn't either. I went on to say that I was thinking about Gracia's appointment today. This is what my three year old said to me "You know, God wants to forgive you?" As I went to kiss her forehead in thanks she put one finger up and said "One more thing. Did you know God loves you more than I do or Daddy or Gracia?"  There He goes speaking through my daughter again. The other day I asked God if He ever takes a step back and admire His handiwork. I think He must. I sure do, He continually amazes me.

My sweet sister is accompanying me to my Doctor's appointment today at 1:30pm. I don't know what news I will receive but I ask that you join me in prayer to receive the news in a way that glorifies Him.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hope, rest and trust

December 2, 2012

We all woke up and got ready for church. Keilah asked her Daddy why we we're going to church and Steve answered "to praise God" As I wondered what people would think of us being there because we had every right to hide out, I reminded myself of Steve's answer. I am going to praise my God. What better place for us to be? Where else did you expect us to be? I so desire to be near my God. I depend on Him completely. He's why I can smile through my pain.

After church we went out for lunch and headed towards cemetery's to find the perfect spot to bury Gracia. As normal as I tried to make the day there is nothing normal about cemetery searching for your child. On the way Keilah said "Why are we going to cemetery's? God told me that Gracia's staying in your belly." I told her that they may be but we still have to make plans in case He changes His mind. As we neared the first cemetery she asked if we were going to Jesus' house. I told her that we have to be invited to go to Jesus' house and that we are just looking at a place for Gracia's body. The first cemetery was flat with no large tombstones so you could see all the fake flowers and Keilah gasped "Mama, it's beautiful. Look at all the flowers!" I felt sick to my stomach. I saw no beauty there but I was so thankful my 3 year old did. The second cemetery was packed, large tombstones everywhere. Keilah told us "You see that big sign? I'm gonna kick it over." We laughed. That would be awesome if she could kick over a 5 foot granite tombstone.

While we were putting Keilah to bed she told me very matter of fact "Gracia needs a dress." She was surprised to learn that I had already thought of that and purchased her a dress. As I described it to her she smiled. She then told me that she needs a jacket too because she doesn't want her to get cold.

I went to bed weak, dreading the morning.

December 3, 2012

This morning I woke up with 3 texts containing scripture.

Psalm 62:5-8

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress. I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God. He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times O people. Pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge.

Psalm 33:20-22

We wait in hope for the Lord, he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice for we trust his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us. O Lord even as we put our hope in you

As I read these verses I saw 3 things.

 1) Hope
 2) Rest
 3) Trust

It feels like instructions from Him. I love a good action plan and He knows that about me. I can endure this because of what He has done for me.

I haven't felt Gracia move since 11:30pm Saturday night. I called my local DR to have a sonogram (I see no point to drive to Overland Park). I was certain Gracia's heart had stopped. I got an appointment an hour before I was to be there. A dear friend text me and asked if I needed anything and it was the first time that I had realized that I was going there alone so I asked her if she could be there. She lives 30+minutes away and didn't think she could make it. I found a parking spot and headed to the hospital entrance with my box of Kleenexes (I like my Kleenexes bc my stupid gel eyeliner runs like crazy when I cry!) and I hear "Krystalle!" I turn around and there's my sweet friend! I was so thankful because a minute earlier I wondered why I allowed myself to go alone. I asked her how she knew where to park and she said she didn't...she just parked. I told her that God wants her here with me and we headed to the DR together. The sonographer pulled up the image of Gracia and much to my surprise her heart was beating, 145 heart rate to be exact. I was shocked. My Gracia is alive! The Dr said because she's so full of fluid and there's so much amniotic fluid I won't be able to feel her movements. Her condition is the same as it was Friday. She said there's nothing medically she could do but wait for a miracle. A miracle? But she has a death sentence? That was the first time in days that I felt hopeful. My DR called me about 20 minutes later to confirm that the specialist no longer needed to see me unless there was improvement in 4 weeks. Wait, what? If there's improvement? Again, I thought she had a death sentence? That was the second time I felt hopeful but this time happy as well. I finally feel like I can pray for a miracle. Remember, there is nothing the Doctor's can do but there is much that the Lord can do. His word says you do not receive because you do not ask. I haven't been asking for healing. He already knows what I want and now I'm ready to ask. He is my Father after all. I feel like I am at the place where I can ask for a miracle but my sanity doesn't cling to it.  Regardless if He still chooses to take Gracia home or heal her I will praise His name.

1 Peter 1:8-9

Though you have not seen him, you love him and even though you don't see him now you believe in him and are filled with inexpressible glorious joy. For you are receiving the goal of your faith. Salvation of your souls.

 I may not have seen Him, but I see Jesus in my friends. God is the author of life, but you all are co-authors. You each have a written part in Gracia's life story and mine as well. I print off every E-mail and record every text that you all send. For you are the co-authors. He has also chosen you. He works through each one of you in specific ways. Years ago He placed me among people where I could see maturity in Christ in action, see how to be full of pain and feel abandoned. Those people helped to mold me to who I am today. He used their pain for good. And He will use mine for good as well. He recently placed us in a small group that loves us and prays over us, people that want to go through the ugly with us. Something that we haven't had in 3+ years. He cares deeply for me.

I see Dr. Lemberger again Thursday at 1:30p to check Gracia's heartbeat. As long as they can find her heart beat I won't get a sonogram. If I haven't already told you, my DR was on vacation the week I learned about Gracia and this is the first time I have seen her since. I think I gave her 18 hugs.

Pray for a miracle, not for our benefit but for God's glory. I get chills just thinking about what soul changes could happen because of it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

God chose Gracia and I choose God

My life changed 24 hours ago. As we waited for our name to be called I read all of Psalm 119. I didn't know what else to do. But I knew that God could calm my heart and He did.

We walked into Dr. Crowels office and she immediately got started on the ultrasound. I saw Gracia's heart working but it didn't look right and I couldn't see any of her organs. Everything was black. The DR told us our daughter was dying. The fluid was everywhere. There was nothing she could do. She was swelling with fluid and only her top 2 chambers of her heart were working.

We weren't expecting that news. We thought we'd have a one lunged runner that got dialysis every other day. But not this, anything but this. Two miscarriages in eight months. Four deaths in our family in eight months. Needless to say this has been a hard year. But God is so kind, so gentle and so patient. So near to the broken hearted. We could easily sit in self pity and by the world's standards we have every right to. But He's called me to a different standard of living. Not a life without heart ache or sadness but an everlasting joyous life. This life is just temporary. My pain is just temporary. Even though I am saddened over Gracia, how lucky is she to bypass this world? Any time a trial arises we have the choice to choose Him. I hope you do.

Habakkuk 3:17, Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

We chose not get the amniocentesis done because any information they could gather wouldn't save her life. As the news was sinking in I said a quick prayer because I could feel myself losing it and I wanted to stay in the moment and hear what the DR had to say. She told us that once she's delivered they'd be able to see if she had Turner's syndrome in which case babies fill up with fluid and die. She said it could be a virus or bacteria or a heart condition that they couldn't see on the ultrasound. She told me that they would ask if I wanted to do an autopsy, that would show any heart condition. But I know why she's dying. Because God chose Gracia.

The DR wants to see me weekly to check on Gracia but she said with the rapid rate that the fluid was growing that she expected that she'd die within 2 weeks. She said I will know when her heart stops when I no longer feel her movement. My body isn't ready (nor my mind) to deliver Gracia so I don't need to worry that I will go into labor at home. They will induce me at the hospital. Dr. Crowels walked us to a back door instead of walking through the lobby. I guess we looked worse than I thought.

As we drove home the song "He gives and takes away" played in my head. He holds the keys to life and death.

I bought a resting gown for her last night, made for micro-preemies 1-3lbs. I only know about them because of a book called 'I will carry you' by Angie Smith, wife of one of the band members of Selah. I've used it as a guide. I asked Papi to make her a tiny casket. We plan to have a small graveyard service with just family.

I told Keilah that Gracia is going to heaven to be with Jesus. And she'll get to play with her other sister (the baby I lost in April, we decided she was a girl), Selah and Rachel. She told me that she doesn't want her to go and I assured her that I didn't want her to go either. Later that night we threw away a broken toy and Keilah looked at me with serious eyes and said "Are we going to throw my sister away?" I knew at that point I'd have to explain cemeteries to her. That even though Gracia's spirit is in heaven there is a special place called cemeteries where we put bodies. A place where we can "visit" her. Last week I ordered Gracia and Keilah stuffed animals and I told Keilah that I have something special for her so she can remember Gracia. Pure excitement raced across her face.

My hope is in God. Not a doctor or a miracle or even in Gracia. My hope isn't in what I think my family should look like. My hope resides in Him and Him alone. He can take away my Gracia and I will still choose Him. I don't understand why He did, but I do know it's for my good and He's using Gracia's life to tell a story. A story that doesn't show case my strength but His.

This morning Keilah sat in bed next to me and sang " The night comes early but the morning will be ok" A song that she made up. A song of comfort from my three year old :)

My Doctor said that my miscarriage in April and Gracia's coming death are not related. That there's a 2% chance of the same issue happening again. She told me that it is possible for me to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Although entering into another pregnancy would inevitably rise up fear, I am not about to sit in that fear and allow it to paralyze me. God is bigger than that.

Thank you all for your prayers petitioning the Lord on our behalf. It's so kind of the Lord to use His people to comfort us. Please pray for us as we figure out how to walk out the next few weeks. If you want to send a card, please use the address below. I will continue to write as long as the Lord leads.

1203 NW Sawgrass Drive
Grain Valley, MO 64029

Thursday, November 29, 2012


As of today I am 22.4 weeks along. Besides achy back and hips, I feel great. Other than Gracia's lung and kidney issues she is developing well. She has enough amniotic fluid, measuring right on schedule. I feel her move often and Steve's been able to feel her a few times. I am due March 31, 2013.

Steve took the day off tomorrow and will be taking me to my DR appointment at 1pm and we expect to get an amniocentesis done. It will give information on genetic disorders and/or birth defects. Because her sac gets punctured I will be on bed rest Friday night and Saturday. Her sac should heal and fluid be replenished within two days.

Keilah knows that Gracia is sick and I have to see a special DR. She practiced giving me shots in my belly :)

Nearly every day the Lord spoke to me through His word and His people, my sojourners. These are journal excerpts. I've chosen to bear it all for Him. My desire is that you join me in this journey. Regardless if God decides to heal Gracia or not I will not be shaken and I will continue to choose Him.

November 13, 2012

We went in for our routine 20 week sonogram and even though there was a little piece of me that thought maybe we shouldn't bring Keilah, we still did. At the time I didn't know if it was a mother's intuition or if it was fear creeping in from an earlier miscarriage. As soon as the sonographer pulled up an image of our baby I searched for her heart and saw all four chambers working hard. Relief. What I didn't notice was the fluid on her under-developed right lung. Instead of our celebratory dinner out, we grabbed fast food and sat at the dinner table quiet. Quiet until Miss Keilah May decided that she needed to dance to her hip-hop music.

That was the first time I heard God.

As I sulked in my burrito bowl I clearly heard the lyrics "engineered in my mother's womb for God's glory" It was truth. It IS truth. No matter how she was engineered, it was for God's glory. I believe that. I clung to that hope and still do. God didn't make a mistake. He didn't turn His back when He was creating Gracia and made an oopsy. He was very purposeful in creating her the way that He did.

A friend of mine shared this:
God knows how you're feeling so talk to Him about it. He wants us to show Him our vulnerability so you know that He is strong, not us. It's easy for us to take credit for being strong through our journey but there is absolutely no way that we could have had any of the peace and strength without Him leading us through.

Friends, you must know that the only reason I am calm through this is because of God. He grounds me.

November 15, 2012

As I head to bed tonight I feel like we'll hear bad news tomorrow (level 2 sonogram with specialist) but I'm also filled with hope. I don't think she'll be healed. I think God wants to stretch us more. If He heals her now it'll be too easy of a journey for us.

November 16, 2012

The specialist confirmed fluid on Gracia's right lung and also discovered some on her left lung. She also pointed out that her kidneys were dilated. Full of fluid. Gracia gained an ounce since Tuesday and was opening and closing her cute :) She suggested I take a blood DNA test to determine if Gracia has Downs, Patau or Edwards. I feel covered in His peace. Even though my daughter's condition is surreal I don't feel cloudy or dreaming. Steve and I found ourselves very thankful that Keilah is so compassionate and caring. If Gracia is born with an issue Keilah is the best big sister for the gig.

I feel chosen. A great purpose on His behalf.

Lord, give us, bless us, I beg you, a healthy Gracia. Thank you for seeing me fit Lord. You are wild and you amaze me. I am honored to be your daughter. Please don't let our circumstances, Gracia's life, be wasted. May others fall to their knees in worship and many more followers be "born".

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. Lord be with you

November 17, 2012

I've never been so desperate for a miracle before.

I just feel broken and wish everyone and everything was in ruins with me.

Job 3:25 What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil

Lord, sustain me. Show me how to be angry but not sin. I know you've given me emotions for a reason. And I thank you that I can feel. Lord, I just hurt. I know it's for my good but please sustain me. Don't let me sit in this pain, heartache, hopelessness for long. I feel like my pain could start a movement. I've already learned to not rely on people but to run to my God.

Isaiah 63:9 In all their distress He too was distressed.

November 20, 2012

Today I served a Thanksgiving feast to Keilah's pre-school and I served with a lady that works at Centerpoints NICU. I had no idea they even had a NICU. That's where my DR has rights to deliver and that's where Keilah was born. If I deliver there knowing there is a NICU gives me peace of mind.

Then I picked up baby bracelets from an old church friend and found out that she's a nurse at Children's Mercy on the kidney floor. She does dialysis on newborns, crazy!

Sunday, a friend of a friend (yes I know how dumb that sounds) has one lung and ran cross country.

I'm realizing there's hope beyond Gracia's ultimate healing. That He can choose to give her one lung, dysfunctional kidneys and she could still be a living walking miracle. Whether she can be healed in the way we see fit or not she will be a testament to You.

November 22, 2012

I feel like I've not given Gracia enough of my time or enough of my prayers. I've been trying to not forget about others. So many people care for us and pray on our behalf so I want to pray for them. I don't want to be selfish and use all my time on my own requests. I don't want to forget how to care for others.

I know I don't control God with my prayers. No where does it say that I must pray for her "x" amount of times in order for God to heal her. Yeah, that guilt was from the enemy. Thank you Lord for revealing that.

November 23, 2012

I get so caught up on not knowing how to pray. But I do know that Jesus intercedes and I am so thankful that He fills the gap.

Hebrews 6:18-19 ...hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

November 26, 2012

Yesterday I went to church by myself because Keilah was sick. I had such an urgency to go. The sermon was great. About our gracious God. The music was medicine for my achy soul. The last song we sang was "How great is our God" I courageously belted out the words. So much meaning, such power. "All will see how great He is" I felt like God was saying all will see how great He is through Gracia's story. "Name above all names" His name is greater than anything that she could be labeled with. As the tears started to flow the music continued. God's people sang over me. I was overcome wtih emotion. I felt so taken care of, so cared for by the Almighty.

Today dishes were piled up and my house was cluttered but God asked me to sit, pray and meditate. So I did.

An hour later my phone rang. It was a 913# so I said a quick prayer to help me receive the news (specialist is in Overland Park, KS). I answered and quickly tried to decided if it was the DR (bad news) or a nurse (good news). Unfortunately her voice was old so I assumed her to be the DR until she said her name was Grace. She told me that my test for Downs, Patau and Edwards syndrome came back negative. An answer to prayer! Why doesn't it feel like good news? She said I should go into my appointment Friday expecting to get an amniocentesis done.

Clever that the Lord would have Grace deliver the news about my Spanish Grace.

November 27, 2012

Talked to Keilah's pre-school director today and she said I need to rest in His peace and trust Him. I feel His peace but its hard for me to trust Him. He makes me feel so comfortable that I'm scared that reality will come like a blow and knock me down.

November 28, 2012

Trust your unknown future to a known God.

I feel like a mess today. I don't know if I should yell, cry or hide. I wish I could say that I'm not stressed but that would be a lie. Stressed about getting the house and meals in order (while I'm on bed rest after procedure) babysitter arrangements etc. I can't breathe.

God, I'm nervous. I'm freaking out!

As I headed to meet a friend for dinner feeling sick to my stomach I asked another friend to pray for me. She sent Isaiah 26:3. At the next stoplight I opened my Bible and read it.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

I had a duh moment. Well of course my minds a mess because nothing I am stewing over is about Him. Clarity washed over me and my appetite returned.

November 29, 2012

Isaiah 64:3 ...You did awesome things that we did not expect

Psalm 18:28-31
It is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God - his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
For who is God, but the Lord?
and who is a rock, except our God?