Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's a gusher

"so, are you back to normal?" along with "so, how are you feeling?", these are the questions that have come up the most the last few days. i am never sure how to answer these questions. the short answer is no, i am not back to "normal" or whatever you think that is and to be honest with you i am not feeling that great. sure, physically i am doing good, but mentally and emotionally i am a mess, even if i dont always show that to everyone. here is how i really want to answer those questions...

cut off your finger, pick a finger any finger, and it will gush and it will hurt like the dickens. slowly the bleeding will start to slow and will scab, but there will be a pain, a dull throbbing pain. sometimes, as we all know, scabs get pulled off and the wound will seep and try to heal again. eventually, months down the road, the stub that used to be your finger will have new skin that covers the wound but it doesnt look quite right. there will be nerve damage at times and there will of course be scar tissue. now, you are learning how to use your hand missing a finger, an integral part of your hand as a whole. you will learn to live and thrive after rehab, but still might have times of pain or discomfort. every time you look at your hand it is a reminder of what your hand is supposed to look like, what it could be. what used to be normal will not be normal because your hand is not the same. your life will not end, but it is different. people may not notice right away that there is something different, but you know, you will always know and feel that missing part of you.

that pretty much sums it up. we have to find our new normal, which can take a very long time. we are missing a big part of our heart. right now the pain is intense and makes us cry...for me that happens daily right now. i am praying that the pain will dull in time, but i know that we will never forget our Charlotte Jean. she has left a huge imprint on our lives and the loss of our sweet baby could take us a long time to go from a gushing wound to a scar with a dull ache.

Psalm 6:2-4 "Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long? Turn, O lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love."

thank your for your prayers as we are learning on this journey!

blessings, ALo

Monday, January 24, 2011

Seeking God

Matthew 7:7-8
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knock, the door will be opened to you."

Psalm 5:1-3; 11-12
"Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you i pray. In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning i lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield."

this year sure is off to a seriously rocky start...more like a boulder sized troubling year. there has been a situation in our lives, other than the journey with our pregnancy with charlotte, one that at this time i cant give many more details about, that we have been honestly and constantly seeking the Lord for His guidance. we were seeking, we were asking (begging at times) and crying out for the Lord to hear our prayers and answer them. He had brought the situation to us and we were certain He was leading us through the whole thing. especially after all we have been through with the journey for and with charlotte, we were certain that God was giving us something to be excited about. well, we got the answer today and we are devastated because the answer is no. why would God tell us to ask, seek, cry out and pray and then deny those requests. why bring us the situation and take it away. we have been devastated, literally, twice in one month! i am more than sad. on top of our grief over the loss of our sweet charlotte we are now frustrated. we are totally confused about what to do. we know that God has a plan, but when is that going to start playing out in a good way? i am not mad at God, please hear me again, i am NOT MAD AT GOD. i just do not understand!!! we will continue to seek God and ask for guidance, peace, and comfort. we know He has us right where He wants us, but i am getting super that the point God???

there are so many other things that are going on in the lives of friends and family around us that we are crying out to God for. we are praying intently for our dear friend, elizabeth, who is now facing her battle with cancer head on. we are thankful for a successful surgery last friday, but we are praying as she is preparing to start chemo. we are praying for our friend sarah's dad, marv sparks, who was in a horrible car accident last week. marv will be in the hospital for a while, but God is working in his healing. we are praying for my sister, olivia, who is giving birth to a baby girl tomorrow (1.25.11). we are praying for a healthy baby and a peaceful labor and delivery, as well as our reaction to the whole situation during our grief. we are praying for my new friend lisa and her family as they anxiously await the arrival of baby jaxton. we are praying to the Great Physician to heal jaxton completely, praising Him because we know that He is more than able! we would love for you to join us in prayer for these dear friends...praying the above verses...asking, seeking, crying out, and praying!!

my prayer requests for tonight...please pray for our hurting hearts, this answer of no does not help our hurt that we already have. please pray that peter and i use this to grow stronger in our relationship with God and with each other. thanks for your continued prayer and support!

blessings, ALo

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


peter and i have decided to read through the bible in a year. i am sad to say that i have tried to do this before i have always quit. today is day three and so far i am still really excited and on track! last night peter and i read the passages just before bed (we wont always read at the same time, but it just so happened that way last night). the nice thing about this plan is that we will read a passage from the old testament, psalms, proverbs and the new testament. this way we will break things up and not get too bored with some of those LONG passages of who begot who! :) anyway, last night we read matthew 2-3:6. in case you have not read that passage lately, it basically is when joseph is told to take mary and jesus to egypt to escape herod's tirade and insecurity. herod did not want to be upstaged or overthrown by a toddler, so he decided to kill all males 2 years old and under...oh my word!!! so, peter and i were talking after the reading and it is just unfathomable to me what those parents must have felt and went through. i know what i am feeling now and my situation is no where near that, i dont know...crazy! my heart just broke! after all that we have been facing i have found that i approach things differently, especially things with children. even though there are so many stories of pain and suffering in the bible, there are so many more of healing and joy...i cant wait to read these and be reminded of God's love for us. i am also so blessed to have a husband who has encouraged me to do this with him and has been a strong go to prayer partner the last week and a half.

thank you, Lord, for all that you have blessed me with. thank you for the small reminders throughout the day of your love. God, thank you so much for peter and his support in all areas of my life!

friends, please be in prayer for my new friend through blogging, lisa hussman and her baby jaxton. please click the button on the side (praying for jaxton) to see their story and what they need specifically! lisa has been an incredible encouragement to me the last few weeks and she has been on my heart today! thank you!

blessings, ALo

Monday, January 17, 2011


i know it has been several days, but i am sure that you will forgive me. peter and i have survived the first week without our Charlotte Jean...surviving is all that i would call it! the first few days were hell and as the week went i did not have tears on my cheeks all the time, just sometimes. we took a "trip out" everyday just to shake the shut in feeling (i.e test drove a new SUV for fun on wednesday). we even took an overnight trip, just the two of us, and were gone for exactly 24 hours. as the weekend approached i started getting that anxious feeling, a tightening in my chest and clenching of my jaw! i starting thinking about what i was doing the week before at each passing hour. friday at 2pm i had my first dose of medication, at 7:15 my mom got there, at 8:40am on saturday i had my epidural, at 12:20 my dad and brother walked in (i still cant believe my little brother was there, love you paco!), etc. with each passing hour i was getting more silent up until saturday at 1:10, when my body released Charlotte from her safe place...what should have been her safe place. of course this week, like last, that time passed with no fan fare, with no celebration, with no happy tears. again i processed that moment with tears, with sadness. my arms have never felt so empty, which is compounded by the fact that my belly is empty. all of this makes me a little jealous, ok very jealous. i know that we were told this would never end well for Charlotte, but that never stopped me from hoping and praying. so, i get jealous when prayers get answered around me and mine didnt (or so it seems to me!). i know that little Charlotte was not due until may, so i get jealous when i see or talk to people who are still pregnant, especially when i know that they are due around the time i am supposed to be. i still want to be pregnant with Charlotte!!!!!! i have a lot of "facebook friends" that are posting pictures or status updates about babies, babies that are here and going home with their parents soon...i get jealous, jealous, jealous! peter and i didnt just want to be parents, we wanted to be parents to Charlotte Jean! we wanted this more than we thought we would ever want anything. i am struggling with sadness and loneliness and straight up jealousy!

pray that i do not say something awful/mean to people who are insensitive (yes, i do know we can have other kids, but we want our Charlotte!) and dont know what to say to us (thats ok, dont say anything). please pray that i do not let other things (i.e. food, material possessions, other grieving mom's blogs, etc) try to fill the void that i feel in my heart. please pray that peter and i can continue to keep our line of communication open and honest as we grieve differently. and please pray for peter as he had to go back to work today...he hates leaving me alone at home while we are both navigating this land mine of emotions. thanks for everything!! we love you!

blessings, ALo

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another Day

people keep asking us how we are you really want to know
that answer??!!?? lately, i have just been saying "if i get up in the
morning and make it to bed time, i am making it." there is no handbook
for this, there is no checklist of emotions to get us through. plain
and simple it sucks. one minute i will be fine but 20 minutes later i
will just start crying, sometimes for no reason (thank you hormones!).
right now i am not ready to take care of Charlotte's things from the
hospital. they are sitting between the two chairs that peter and i sit
in. things like her baby blanket that we bought for her, ultrasound
pictures, arm bands from the hospital stay, etc. peter and i had
decided to hold off on a nursery once we heard there were
complications from the beginning. we knew that down the road, if the
doctors were right, packing up an unused nursery would be hell for us.
i did have a few things there, but not a full blown nursery. so, for
right now, the bulk of Charlotte's things, reduced to a plastic bag
from the hospital, will stay right by me. my milk came in yesterday,
which would be hard for uncomfortable! but this has been
very hard for me knowing that means Charlotte should be here. i wish
in situations like ours the body would know not to make it any worse
for hubby has to bind me up super tight with bandages, which,
i am sure, is not his favorite job because he knows it is not
comfortable for me. the whole milk thing then makes me think about the
things that we will never have a chance to do with Charlotte i.e.
dress her up, take her to the park, go to ballet classes, wipe her
tears, hear her laugh. yes, peter and i understand that Charlotte is
no longer sick and will never have to feel pain, but that does not
help us here, when we are at home without our baby girl. so, today, i
am sad. i am sad for peter and i am sad for me...we miss our precious
Charlotte Jean.

i have downloaded a song that Selah recorded after one of their
members and his wife lost their baby girl Audrey Caroline a few years
ago. peter and i are trying to cling to the promises that God has for
us and this song is helpful to me this morning. please continue to
pray for us as we are grieving Charlotte Jean.

blessings, ALo

I Will Carry You

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

Sunday, January 9, 2011


not sure where to start, so here it is. we were blessed with a very quick labor and delivery. as you know, we started the whole process at 2pm on friday afternoon. Charlotte was born at 1:10pm on saturday afternoon...not even 24 hours later! saturday morning i was experiencing severe lower back pain and we decided to go ahead with an epidural (not something i had ever considered, but we were in enough pain without me suffering anymore physically), which was placed at 8:30am. after that things progressed very quickly. i was very tired because i didnt sleep well friday with all the tubes, progress checks, cramps, etc. i was able to rest a little bit here and there after the epidural, which was really nice. at 12:15 my water broke (which was the weirdest feeling...i thought i peed all over myself, eww!). so, obviously, things progressed very quickly after that. i waited for dr. wood to arrive to deliver, he came into the room at 12:55 :) i was told by the nurse that i could have delivered much earlier, but it was important to all of us, including dr. wood, for him to be there. my family waited outside so that peter and i could experience this alone, which is what we wanted. i gave one tiny push to see if i could and one good push and Charlotte Jean arrived. she was quickly rushed off to the comfort room to get cleaned off and dr. wood continued with me. i was blessed to have my placenta come easily and in tact. dr. wood had been concerned that it may not with the situation, so a huge praise for us! not long after, linda, our nurse, came in to prepare us for little Charlotte's visit. we were told that she was very sick and did not look good. she still advised that we see and hold her. honestly, we were not prepared for what we saw, but i will never forget her beautiful little nose and lips. she weighed 1lb 7.4oz and 9in long. i will not share more of her looks as it truly was not easy to see, but we were blessed for the time we spent with her. everything was confirmed when we saw her about how sick she was...very, very sick little girl. praises again that we were both able to hold her and convey our love to her. a very emotional time for peter and i, but we are thankful that we had that time as a family of three. our parents did come in to say hello to Charlotte and spend some time with us. soon after our time with our extended family, our pastor don came with wife marcie to say a prayer and blessing for our little precious baby and family. we were so glad that we had that special time led by a close friend. we asked for time alone with our baby to say goodbye and our family said theirs on the way out. just as we were finishing my best friend, sarah maddox, was able to get there from indy (another huge praise). i had been waiting all day for her and we quickly ushered her in so that she could meet Charlotte briefly. i asked her to leave (i guess you are realizing i am not shy about telling people what i want/need) so that we could finish our goodbyes alone. this was the worst thing we have ever had to do. some of you may know that feeling, i hope that the rest never have to know that pain! the staff was great helping us and following our requests, which was of course very helpful in this situation. after a little alone time for peter and i, it was time to get cleaned up and start our goodbyes with our friend sarah and our family members. i am pretty sure that those people will never know what it meant for us to have their love and support right there when we needed them. we purposely kept things small and private, so please do not feel slighted if you were not asked to be there...i just could not do anymore, i am sure you understand (too bad if you dont :) )! after that things were pretty well finished and we decided to go home and forgo another night at the hospital. we left with our flowers from friends (thanks!) our suitcases and our little bag of Charlotte's things...of course we were so sad about leaving without her, it was downright awful (i cant write about that yet)! peter and i were home a little before 8pm, but to me it felt more like 3am...i was more than exhausted! i was in bed and asleep by 10:15, again a praise, and slept until about 7am. i was able to go in and lay with my mom for a little bit, which ended up being an incredibly sweet time for us. today has been an interesting day, but i am not sure what i was expecting. i am very emotional when i think about things, but that is "normal" i guess. peter and i are comforting each other as the day goes on...sometimes i am not sure how i have any tears left! peter will be able to spend the next week at home with me, regardless of what his employer says :) i will continue to blog as we find our way through this hard time, but i dont know how often those updates will come...we will see if writing helps me or hurts me. 

i wanted to end with the perfect thing, but there is no perfect thing to say/write. the closest thing i have is what my sweet husband (he will be getting his own blog very soon, i am sure. i am more than blessed to say the least!) wrote on facebook last night. please just continue to pray for us as you are led...nothing specific comes to mind, too many things are running through mind actually. thank you all for everything! we love you!

"Today we said goodbye to a child we never knew, but whom we love more than words could express. Our baby girl Charlotte was not meant to know this world, but is now at perfect peace in the gracious and loving hands of our Lord, where she will feel neither pain nor sadness. Although the loss of her physical body will take time to recover from we have comfort in knowing she is experiencing inexplicable joy in the presence of her Creator and that one day we will see her again."

blessings, ALo

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sad day

today was the worst day of our lives. our little Charlotte Jean has passed away. during our visit with dr. wood this morning, he was unable to find a heartbeat. he told us not give up yet but immediately sent us down to ultrasound for a check. our sweet tech, kathy, also knew immediately that there was no heartbeat and our baby girl was no longer with us. peter and i chose to be induced ASAP so as not to prolong our waiting any more. we called our family and everyone has made the trip here to be with us, a trip that i am sure was extremely difficult for them. i was admitted at 1pm and they started me on a drug to begin softening my cervix at 2pm. so far, the staff has been great with us and we were given a very large private room. the last 12 hours since the drugs were started havent been least they havent been too bad :) i have a lot of cramping, especially in my lower back. to spare you all the gory details, my doctor has decided to begin giving me the meds orally so as not to put me in any more pain. this could be a very long process because my body is not ready to give Charlotte up (and neither is my heart!). when my nurse (third of the day...all have been SUPER sweet and so awesome to me) came in for my 2am check i had now progressed to between 1 and 2cm and Charlotte's little head has come down, but i am not opening yet. still not sure how much longer...we were told it could be anywhere from 24 to 36 hours total. i do want to mention something pretty awesome. i know that there are so many of you praying for us...THANK YOU! as mentioned above, we are now being treated by our third nurse, Jackie. if you know me, you know that i have never met a stranger! :) turns out Jackie just graduated from our little christian college, Cedarville University, and knows my best friend and her family very well! i had just gotten off the phone with my bestie and had to text her back to let her know the situation...small world! to make things even better, before Jackie left for a little bit she asked if she could pray for Peter and me...that gives me chill bumps thinking about it! what an awesome mission field God has given to these nurses, and praise Him for nurses like Jackie who are not afraid to show their faith in our Great Physician!

i am not sure that i will be posting again before everything is over and we say good bye to our baby girl. please continue to pray for us! please pray that peter is able to rest for the next few hours. please pray that my body will respond to the medication and that this might be a somewhat "easy" labor for me. please pray as we prepare our hearts to say good bye to our sweet Charlotte Jean, that God will lead us through this horribly sad time. thank you again for all the prayers and support! 

blessings, ALo

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Charlotte Jean

Peter and i decided on a name tonight for our sweet baby girl...Charlotte Jean. originally we had a completely different name picked out for a little girl, but it just didnt suit this baby. i wanted something that was characteristic of her! charlotte means "little girl or petite and feminine", perfect for our little one. jean is a family name on my mom and both grandmas have jean as a middle name, what an awesome legacy for her to follow! all of those women are strong women of faith and love...again perfect for our little one!

the last two days have been insanely hard for both peter and myself! emotionally we are all over the place and mentally we feel totally discombobulated. i just keep thinking about what we are going to possibly face tomorrow at the doctors visits. if things go as they normally do we will get more bad news and be told to just wait it out. my fear is that there is very little room for more bad. i am scared, more than scared, that this will be the worst and we wont be ready. i am not ready for everything to be finished. therefore, i am begging you to pray right now that tomorrow we will get some good news. i know that God is more than able to heal our Charlotte Jean. i want this more than i have ever wanted anything in my entire life! please pray that she is able to stay in there for several more weeks to come. please pray that the extra fluid in her body disappears. please pray that God would give peter and me the strength to get through tomorrow, it will be a long day (OB appointment at 11; meeting with NICU doc, labor and delivery staff, Dr. Wood, and social worker at 1;  ultrasound at 2:30). we know that God is using all of this for His glory. we know that He is caring for Charlotte Jean in the way that she needs right now! but, please pray that He heal her completely and take away any abnormalities! thanks for praying!

i have been doing alot of searching of God's promises lately and i keep coming back to Hebrews 11, the following few verses always stand out. if you read the entire chapter it highlights of the faith of the old testament believers and what their faith brought about..."HE REWARDS THOSE WHO EARNESTLY SEEK HIM!"

Hebrews 11: 1, 2, and 6:
1. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2. This is what the ancients were commended for. 6. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

blessings, ALo

Monday, January 3, 2011

the new year

usually when the new year rolls around, i am excited and ready to make resolutions (which never last past february!) and peter and i think about all the things we want to get accomplished. this year, as i was sitting in the glorious sunshine on marco island, florida, i couldnt help thinking about the year ahead. i am soooo blessed to have the most supportive family, immediate and extended...biological and in-laws! i know that everyone of them is sending up so many prayers for us and for our baby. we are also blessed beyond most people can imagine to have 100's of others praying for us, friends, friends of friends, and plenty of strangers. THANK YOU!!! i cant go anywhere without someone stopping me and telling me how much they are thinking of us and would love to do anything for us. i wish i could tell someone what to do to help us. i wish there was something i could do to help us, but knowing that others care so much and are being so supportive is GREATLY appreciated. going back to new years, i keep thinking about how right now, peter and i live in two week increments...based on the frequency of doctors appointments. i am not sure if that is how i am supposed to live, but i dont know what else to do. i dont like living that way, but sometimes it is very hard for me to see much past all of this. i am trying very hard to give up my fears and anxiety...that is my resolution. i know that God is in control; i know that He  has us in His hands, guiding us where He wants us; and i know that He has an awesome plan for me and for peter and for our family. my problem is that sometimes knowing all of those things do not make it any easier. i want to be in control, i want to know whats going to happen, i want to...ugh...i guess this is me being human. i am trying though. today i was thinking about everything (after a surprise lunch date with peter!!!) and a song came on the radio. several years ago Potter's Hands by Hillsong was very popular and i liked it alot, but today when i heard it i had to stop and listen all over again. this is how i want to be this year...molded and shaped by God. of course i want to have my baby in may and be able to bring her home, but i understand that may not happen. regardless, i want to have a passionate, fearless relationship with our Creator. 

i hope that this song brings you peace (like it did me), knowing that God is totally in control!!

blessings, ALo