Why I still feel Blessed – My Husband

In closing out this year and some of my “why I still feel blessed” posts, I have to talk about the blessing of my husband. When Kerry and I started dating (14 years ago!), I don’t think anyone believe it at first. In fact, I distinctly remember having several people ask me if I was really dating Kerry Rosfeld (and I know there were those who asked him the same thing). We were, and still are in a lot of ways, opposites. Kerry was quiet and shy, I wasn’t. At. All. But here we are after over 10 years of marriage and we couldn’t be better matched. I am so thankful for God’s grace in giving me the husband He has. We may be opposite in a lot of ways, but we complement each other well.

The night we found out that Knox had died, I was so devastated. The girl doing our sonogram didn’t have children and while she was trying to be helpful said “At least you have 4 boys at home” as she told us goodbye. Kerry squeezed my hand tighter and without saying a word let me know he understood. He held me in the lobby of the hospital while I sobbed before we walked together, crying, to the car. He prayed with me in the parking garage before we went home to tell the boys.
Until that night I don’t think I’ve ever seen my husband cry. Not that he’s un-emotional, he just doesn’t cry. I’ve seen him stare in awe at our children after they’ve been born. I’ve seen him get a little shaky after each one and have to sit down…not because he gets grossed out, but because the gravity of the whole “we have another baby and how amazing is this little creation” thing hits and he sits down to take it all in. But he cried the night we lost Knox.
He cried the night he was born, he grieved the loss of his son. It moved me. It reminded me just how much he loves each one of our children before they’re ever born, before he can even feel them move. As a L&D nurse I can’t tell you how rare it is for dad’s to have that “buy in” to their babies before they’re born. But my husband loves each of our children from the day he finds out they’re coming, and I am so blessed by that.
He made difficult phone calls to tell loved ones and friends the journey that lay ahead. It wasn’t easy for him, but he did it because he loves me and he knew that I would never be able to do it. He didn’t have the words to describe how we were feeling or what was happening, but he asked for prayer and told our story.
He reached for my hand every time someone would walk into our room while I was in the hospital. We were occasionally asked by an unknowing person if we were excited about our new baby or if we knew if it was a boy or girl, Kerry would squeeze my hand and then hold me as I broke into tears when that person left. (I didn’t have the heart to tell those people why we were being induced so I didn’t…I just said we didn’t know and we were a little nervous about the induction). Kerry asked the nurse for a sign for our door to let staff know we had a loss so that I didn’t have to answer questions…he was my advocate.
When I was being induced, Kerry was my rock. He helped me labor during the induction. I wanted to avoid pain medication because I wanted to be as aware as possible of the things going on around me and when the baby came I didn’t want to be drugged. So I labored and Kerry supported me, he rubbed my back, he held my hand and he let me lean on him. He took notes about the events of the day, just like he has on every other day we welcomed a child into our family.
When Knox was born, I was nervous about how it would affect Kerry to be honest. Because I worked in labor and delivery I had seen babies born at 15 weeks before, I knew from a nursing stand point what was going to happen and what to expect. I can’t imagine going through that for the first time with the baby being your child. Kerry asked questions throughout the process, and when Knox was born…Kerry reached for him to hold him. He marveled at Knox, he counted his fingers and toes (and looked for the family trademark bent pinky that all of our boys have), just like he had for all of our other children. I was so blessed to see him cherish our son. Not that I expected anything else from the man I married, but it was such a blessing to me. The pictures we have from that night are so special, Kerry took some of them, but the ones I love the most are the ones of him holding Knox. The look of love for Knox on Kerry’s face is priceless to me. I have been blessed by a husband who loves me and loves our children.
I have been blessed by a husband who I can be totally honest with. I could be completely vulnerable with my emotions and I knew that even when he didn’t know what to say he’d listen. I am a verbal processor, so I needed to do a lot of talking and still do about the whole process. Kerry listens so well. But even more than that, he is able to talk to me too. He’s not afraid to let me know what he’s thinking or how he’s doing emotionally. I’m so thankful I don’t have to pry or worse yet…wonder.
I have been blessed by a husband to ministers to me spiritually. He prayed with me, read scripture to me and helped me find hope in a tough situation. When he was explaining to our boys what happened and about the events that took place in the hospital, Kerry continually turned back to scriptures. He used this difficult situation to show our boys the sufficiency of scripture for our everyday lives. I have heard Kerry pray with our children about healing our hearts and my body, they have thanked God for the doctor who cared for me, they have prayed for more children. I am so thankful for his godly leadership and the example he shows our children.
I have thanked God numerous times for bringing Kerry and I together. God has carried us as a couple through the loss of a child. He has used Kerry to bless me, to remind me of His love, to remind me of His grace. While we may be opposites in a lot of ways, we are a perfect fit and I am so thankful for the man God gave me to spend the rest of my life with.

Christmas Letter

Here is our Christmas Letter and picture for the year…I’ll be mailing some out this week too. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

MerryChristmas and Happy New Year!

It alwaysseems so hard to try to compress our whole year into a single page letter. ButI’ll try to hit the high points.

This pastspring (in April) Kerry started a new job with Manweiler Transports. Theytransport fuel of all kinds, gas, diesel, aviation gas and jet fuel (soundsexciting!). Kerry washes their trucks a few days a week. It’s not the mostglamorous, but it’s flexible, pays well and they really appreciate him. Thereis this “thing” among truckers called styling…they want the best looking truckson the road. Kerry helps them “style” I guess. Kerry is also still working asassistant pastor at our church. He gets to preach once every 5 or 6 weeks andwe are thankful for that opportunity. We are leading our high school AWANAgroup on Wednesday nights.

The boyshave kept busy with school and “boy stuff”. We took a spring field trip to Caveof the Winds and the Manitou Cliff dwellings. We had a great time learning andenjoying God’s creation. Gabe enjoys all things Lego and building things withhis hands. He is also an avid reader and enjoys “The Hardy Boys”, “Hank theCowdog” and anything that has to do with History. We make regular trips to thelibrary and always check out armfuls of books. Otto enjoys reading as well andis getting better every day. He tends to enjoy reading his Bible more thananything, but has also started reading “Hank”. Having boys who love to readmakes mom and dad happy because we enjoy it too! It’s heartwarming to hear thebig boys reading to their 2 younger brothers and it’s wonderful to hear themread our Proverb of the day some mornings during our Bible time.

Zeke isdoing well. We went to speech therapy this summer to help him put wordstogether a little more often and completely. He had a little bit of a delay,but the speech therapist attributed part of that to having 2 older brothers whotalk for him. We were able to wrap that up in July and he’s talking non-stopthese days. He is really excited to be old enough to be in Cubbies (in AWANA)this year on Wednesday nights and looks forward to saying his verses andplaying with friends each week.  Titus iswalking and making himself more vocal as well. He tries so hard to keep up withhis big brothers and watches them closely.

Erin isstill busy teaching. She teaches on-ground classes for Pueblo Community Collegeand online for several other schools. She enjoys it and is thankful for aschedule that allows her to be home several days a week. She has helped preceptseveral new faculty and Master’s degree students this past year and developed 2online courses for PCC as well. It’s kept her busy but she has learned manyvaluable lessons along the way.

In Augustour family was fortunate enough to go to camp! Gabe was a camper and Erin wasthe camp nurse. Kerry and the 3 younger boys came along for the ride. We wereat Covenant Heights Camp in Northern Colorado the first week of August. Gabeattended the last camp of the summer called “Adventure Camp”. The kids slept inoutdoor shelters and learned skills like shelterbuilding, fire building (this was a big hit), archery, and basic survivalskills. They also learned the art of not showering…apparently at Adventure Campyou don’t shower except for the day your parents come to pick you up, whichmade for some really dirty kids at the end of the week.  On the last night of camp the counselors andthe campers got to try out their skills in the wilderness. It was hard for thismama not to worry watching her little guy haul his stuff up on his back andtake off. But they survived and so did we. Erin enjoyed being a camp nurse, itwas a little different than teaching a group of student nurses, but in a lot ofways it was strangely similar. Kerry and the younger boys enjoyed being able tokayak, fish (we learned it’s better to feed the fish first…you’ll get morebites), and hike. Perhaps the best part of the whole experience was that wewere totally unplugged for a week. No cell phone, no TV and virtually nointernet (we had limited access which was enough for Erin to do her onlinework). It was DELIGHTFUL!

We wereexcited in September to find out we were expecting our 5th child. Wetold the big boys after a fall field trip to Garden of the Gods and a familypicnic and we greatly anticipated the little one’s arrival. Unfortunately,after a trip back to Kansas at Thanksgiving we found out our baby had died at15 weeks. Erin was induced on December 3rd and Knox Cornelius wasborn at 8:58pm that day. Erin had some complications after the birth, manyprayers for her recovery were answered and after surgery she was able to gohome the next evening. We are still grieving the loss of Knox, but trust thatGod has a plan and purpose for taking him early. We don’t have definitiveanswers for why Knox died as he was perfectly formed when he was born. There issome indication that Erin caught an infection (called CMV) that is relatively harmlessto everyone who gets it (and most people do) unless they are pregnant the firsttime they’re exposed. It shouldn’t affect future pregnancies if we are blessedwith them. We were incredibly blessed through this experience though by ourfamily, church family and friends who have supported us both with their actionsand with their prayers.

Weanticipate this next year Kerry will be looking for a full time ministry job,wherever that may be. We don’t always know what the future holds, but we arethankful we know the ONE who holds our future. We wish you and your family aMerry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Why I still feel blessed — Children

I am blessed with 4 wonderful boys here on earth and 1 sonin Heaven. For that we are thankful.  Enough said right? It would be so easy forsomeone who talks as much as I do. J

Losing Knox has reminded us just how blessed we are, to experiencethe joy of children here on earth and also the anticipation of being reunited withones we never got to see grow up here on earth.
I think having our 4 boys has made grieving the death ofKnox easier. They have helped keep me from being swallowed by grief, but alsoin their childlike ways have helped me see the other side of losing a child,the hope that often follows such a difficult time. In explaining what happenedwith Knox to the boys we were also able to explain the hope that we find in God’spromises and why we can look forward to meeting Knox when we die. We have had theopportunity to talk about God’s promises for those who honor Him.
We have also talked about the hope of having more children. Zekehas been the hardest to explain the loss to. He and Otto had been praying for ababy (a sister specifically) since August. The boys were so excited about a newbaby and delighted to hear what their new sibling was doing in my womb, whatwas growing and developing, how big he was getting and what he might look like.Zeke would always pull out the measuring tape to see how big the baby wasgetting. When we talk about Knox now, Zeke shakes his head and says “baby…no…inHeaven” and we say “yes, the baby is in Heaven…won’t it be great when we get tosee him someday?” Zeke, then says “yeah…baby…another baby…” and points to mystomach. He prays daily for “another baby” when we pray at meal time or duringour Bible time. We always respond with “yes, if it’s God’s will we will haveanother baby.”
One of the things I have been reminded of is how preciousour wonderful children are, and how precious little time we have with them. Godhas numbered each of our days, we don’t know how much or how little time wehave with each other. He has numbered our days, even when those days end beforewe are born. .. and even if the Lord allows my children to grow to an old age,they are only in our house for a short period of time, and they are little foreven less time. I need to make sure that I’m spending my time wisely as amother.
I have been blessed by the smiles my children have given meeach day. Titus thinks everything is something to smile about, and it warms myheart every time I look at him and he gives me a cheesy grin. I have beenblessed by the prayers of Otto and Zeke, their prayers for healing for mommyand prayers for more children if it is God’s will. I have been blessed by thehugs from Gabe, he is a young man with few words about the events that havehappened, but he seems to know when I need a hug.
I have been blessed to be reminded to delight in my childrenmore and get frustrated less. I have been blessed to have a reason to get up inthe morning. My children don’t wait for breakfast, even on the days when Iwanted to stay and bed and mourn the loss of Knox.
I feel so blessed to have the children that I do. Knowingthe joy of watching a baby grow and learn is such an awesome joy. There aretimes that it has been bittersweet to think of all the things I’ll misswatching Knox do, but in the same breath I’m so very thankful that I’ve beenable to see those things in the children I have here with me on earth. I can’timagine the pain of a mother who loses child after child before they are bornand to never know the delight of holding her own baby. I am so very thankfulthat while I have known the pain of losing a baby, I have not known the pain ofan empty womb.
I feel so very blessed to have the opportunity to bereminded what a privilege it is to raise children. What an awesomeresponsibility it is to bring them up to love God and love others. It’s like Isee my children in a different light since this happened. Not that I didn’tcherish them before, but somehow it’s different. I am seeing my family in adifferent light, I am blessed to see them through the eyes I was intended tosee them through. Through the eyes of that God intended a mother to have. Forthat I am thankful. 

Why I still feel blessed…Friends

In the days that followed Knox’s birth, I was continually reminded of how blessed we are to have friends and family who love us so much. I’m going to be painfully honest here (not that I’m anything less any other time), but in the months prior to losing Knox, Kerry and I felt isolated. Me especially. I’ve never been one to have really close friends that weren’t family, but I was really feeling alone. I just don’t have many friends, especially friends my age.  I *knew* I had friends, but I wasn’t sure who I would call if something really bad were to happen or if something really great were to happen. But…

God has used this experience to remind me just how loved and supported we are. The large majority of our family lives in Kansas, and we were thankful some of them were able to come and care for us after we got home from the hospital. Family is so important. 

In church circles you often hear fellow church attendees referred to as your “church family”, but in some churches they don’t feel much like family. In our church though, our church family really feels like family. Our lives are inextricably woven together and we are so very blessed to have 2 “families” we are part of.

1 John 3: 17-18 says:
17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
Our friends and family didn’t just love us with their words, but also with their actions. Our church family provided meals for us this whole last week. It was such a blessing to take a little stress off and be able to focus on healing.

But even more than that, we knew we were being prayed for a daily basis. We were checked in on a regular basis to see how we were doing. And not just “can I bring you anything”, but asked us “how are you doing…and we really want to know”. I could be painfully honest with those who were around me. I could cry, question, yell and just sit with them. I was able to be me without being judged or afraid of my emotions. It is a freedom that many in churches (or families for that matter) don’t feel like they have.
They were the “friends” I wasn’t sure I had before this happened. I was reminded time and again that I am blessed with friends who love me, care for me and are there for me, all the time.

I have to say, our church isn’t huge, but our church is genuine and cares for everyone who walks through the doors whether it’s your first Sunday or your 100th. We are blessed.

In addition to our church friends and family, I have been reminded of how much I am cared for by my “online” friends. One can joke about whether online friends really count…but, for the most part, I would say they do. Some I have never met, but we are tied together by the births of our children years ago or other major life events. Some our lives intertwined years ago and some are new friendships. But I have had several friends email or call to say they’re praying for me or checking to see how I’m doing. Some of you have shared personal stories, scriptures or just provided encouragement. I have been blessed to know that our story has touched others and that others are helping share our grief.

I feel blessed to know that I have a support system that many of us rarely discover except in times of tragedy. I’m reminded that God often cares for us through the ministry of those around us. I am blessed with friends and family who care for me.

Why I still feel blessed

The last 2 weeks has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through. Even in the grief of losing a child though, I have felt blessed. There have been many times these past 2 weeks that God has reminded me of His love, His redemption and His deliverance. For that I am so very thankful. So I’m going to share why, even with the loss of Knox, I still feel blessed…thankful…joyful and even hopeful. 

When I first started writing this post, I had thought I was going to be able to put all of the reasons why I still feel blessed into one post, but I’ve quickly realized that would be a really long blogpost, so I’m just going do post it in installments. So here is episode one…

I feel a little bit like I should start it like Tim Tebow starts every interview he does… “First and foremost I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. And it’s true.

The night Knox was born as Kerry and I sat there holding him, we couldn’t help but marvel at God’s creation. We were deeply saddened and mourning, but holding Knox, we felt blessed. Blessed that God had given us another son, blessed that He had created this perfect child, blessed that I got to carry him for 16 weeks. I can’t even find the words to adequately describe why, even when I was devastated, I felt so fortunate. But I did. I was in awe of the child my God created. I was thankful, even when I was hurting.

In the days that followed, I felt blessed again to know that God was right there with me. I have relied heavily on scripture to carry me through, to help me see the next step to take and to try to understand this all. I read my Bible daily anyway, but in the last 2 weeks many of the scriptures have taken on new meaning to me, they apply to me in ways that I didn’t always see before. I have been so blessed by the verses, songs and prayers shared with me by friends, family and through my daily devotions. There were moments when I was in such despair, when a line of a hymn or a verse I learned as a child came to my mind and spoke to my heart.

When I couldn’t sleep I read the Psalms (especially 30-61). They brought me much peace and comfort. I spent many waking hours praying fervently for my husband, my children and peace of mind. There were times when I would fall asleep and wake up praying.

I downloaded a devotional for grieving mothers here from Raising Arrows. And it has helped me through some tough days. 

Psalm 34:18 particularly ministered to my broken heart… 18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted 
And saves those who are 
crushed in spirit.

As did Psalm 37:4-5 4 Delight yourself in the LORD; 
And He will give you the desires of your heart. 
5 Commit your way to the LORD, 
Trust also in Him, and He will do it. 

Psalm 40:1-3
 1 I waited patiently for the LORD; 
And He inclined to me and heard my cry. 
2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the [b]miry clay, 
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. 
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; 
Many will see and fear 
And will trust in the LORD.

There were (and still are) days that I worry because of the unknown, I let fear weigh me down and pull my thoughts away from God and my family. I had wonderful prayer warriors who I could text or call and just ask for prayer…I could feel the anxiety begin to lift and I would become more peaceful.

When I would pray and ask God what he has in store for me, I consistently got (and still get) the same answer… “TRUST ME”. For those who know me, I’m not a big fan of being out of control. I like to have command of situations, I’m a planner, I like to know where I’m going and what is going to happen when I get there. I like to be in charge. Regardless though, of how much control I think I’m in…God is the ultimate authority in my life. He is sovereign, He has a plan and I have to trust Him. TRUST ME God says…Ok. It’s not easy, but I have been reminded time and again why I need to TRUST.

I feel blessed because I have felt God helping me through this trial. I have felt blessed because He made me a mother, He created a wonderful baby when He created Knox, He has a purpose and I TRUST that. I am blessed because I have a God that loves and cares for me. I am blessed because long ago when I was a small child I TRUSTED Jesus to be my Savior. I am blessed because God gave HIS son as a sacrifice so that when I die I can spend eternity in Heaven. HIS son died, so that when my son died, Jesus’ face was the first face he saw. What a wonderful sight that must be and won’t it be wonderful that when I die I will not only be reunited with Knox, but will also  see the SON that died to make that possible. 


I came across this poem today.

How quietly he tiptoed into our world.

Softly, only a moment he stayed

but what an imprint his footprints have left upon our hearts.


Today was a “good” day for me. We spent the day as a family and while I thought often of our Knox, I was peaceful today. I am thankful for that.

What do we say then?

What you can say…

So I realized after my last (angry) post I should probably post about some things that have been said to us this last week that have be helpful, or at the very least not hurtful. Let me start off by saying a couple things…

First, I know that sometimes people say things without thinking or thinking they’re being helpful but things don’t come out the way they wanted them to sound. I get that. I stick my foot in my mouth more often than I’d like to admit. I also know that sometimes it depends on what generation you grew up in regarding what is appropriate to say and what’s not. For example, when women lost a baby 40 years ago, it wasn’t talked about, she wasn’t expected to grieve and things like “at least you have 4 healthy kids” were supposed to be comforting.

Second, trying to find the right words to say to a grieving person is tough, especially when it’s the loss of a child. I get that. I understand that awkwardness that comes when you see someone for the first time after they’ve lost someone. You don’t know what you say…you don’t know how to respond and everything you can come up with seems so painfully inadequate. I don’t blame someone for those kind of remarks, I really do understand. My anger towards the comments made to us were coming from the fact that the comments came from someone who usually has a knack for veiling insults in things that sound like compliments…and that same person (who probably doesn’t even read my blog) has been more than vocal enough about our family choices. I just needed to vent…

So…stuff that was helpful…

“I’m sorry”. It was hard for us to know how to respond when someone said I’m sorry. Do you say “thank you?” or “yeah me too”? But either way…having someone say they were sorry at least let us know the person was acknowledging our loss and our grief.

“I have no idea what it must be like for you, but I’m praying for you/thinking of you/I’m sorry”. When I was in nursing school one of the things we were told never to say was “I know just how you feel” unless we really knew what it was like to walk in their shoes. I have had people, who have been through a loss like this, say “I know what it’s like and I’m so sorry”. That’s okay. Really it is to say to someone (at least is was to me). Again, for us, having someone acknowledge the loss and our hurt helped a lot. It was more painful when someone (usually a family member or friend) just wanted to talk about stuff like the weather or Christmas trees or whatever without acknowledging the loss of our son. It was like trying to step around a huge elephant in the room.

“How are you?”…While I didn’t always know how to respond or if the person asking wanted to really know I appreciated being asked. I have a friend who often asks… “How are you…and I really want to know so please tell me”. Along this same line a very dear friend asked “how is Kerry?” or “How are you as a couple” I don’t know why, but I appreciated knowing that someone else was thinking about my husband and how he might be grieving as well as thinking about how we as a couple were grieving. Right after I got out of the hospital, I was worried about how I was going to minister to my husband and kids in the middle of my grief. I was thankful that others were asking Kerry how he was doing and were helping me care for him.

I had a good friend ask me as I was laboring and recovering “how is your heart doing”. She knew how I was doing physically, but she wanted to know how I was coping emotionally. I felt like when she asked me that, I could be totally honest with her and she really wanted to know. I don’t think she knows how much that question meant to me or how much it meant that she was willing to listen to all of the emotions rolling around inside me.

I can’t tell you what a blessing it has been to have friends and church family bring meals this past week. I know it’s not “technically” what to say, but it has been so helpful. We had someone in our church organize someone to bring us meals every evening this past week. To not have to worry about what I was going to feed my family when I couldn’t think straight most of the time was a huge blessing. We has people ask us “what can we do to help?” or “what can we do for you?” The blessing behind those words is that we didn’t feel like we had to reach out and ask for help, we didn’t feel like we might be inconveniencing someone.

We were also fortunate to have family stay with us for a little while. My mom was here with our boys while we were in the hospital. It helped to have her send pictures of the boys while I was laboring and keep us updated about what was happening here at home. I didn’t have to worry about how they were doing. Kerry’s parents came to stay with us for a couple days after we got home. They helped us clean our storage room, play room and garage. Those were things that I wanted to get done, but was never going to have the time or energy for. And it’s so nice this last week to not have those huge projects staring me in the face.

With grief there are no magic words to say that will take it away. There is nothing that feels like the “perfect” thing and there are few people who can sit it total silence and have a complete conversation with you. I am blessed enough to have friends who fill different needs emotionally for me as I move through this part of my life. There are friends who are praying for me even though I hardly ever see them. They’ve emailed and called to ask what they can specifically pray for. I’ve had friends who have sent songs or scripture that they felt lead to send me, and I’ve be blessed by those messages of love and compassion. I’ve had friends who have sent me a message every day to let me know they’re thinking of me and my family. There are those who I can be painfully honest with, they don’t shy away from my grumpiness, anguish, fear or even my tears. I am so thankful for everyone who has done something, no matter how small, to help our family.

I am going to post something we give our first year nursing students helping them learn what to say to a grieving person. Like the sheet says…they’re not necessarily word for word statements, but things that reflect the state of our “heart” towards the hurting person. Regardless of whether you feel like you have a right words…it is easy do know whether the person talking to you is really genuine. You can also find a link to the table below here.

What You Can Say. . .

The following suggestions are not word-for-word statements to make, but rather a reflection of a heart attitude you should have in reaching out to your hurting person.



At a funeral

I’ll always remember…

I’ll come by with dinner tonight.

He’s so much better off in heaven.

If there’s anything I can do, call.

A baby died

I know how much being a mother means to you.

You can always have another one.

Be thankful you have Jenny.

At least you never got to know it.


The future must seem frightening. I’ll stay close.

I’m sure this is a lonely time for you–let’s have lunch.

I never liked the way he treated you.

There are two sides to every story.

Legal crisis

It’s not important what happened. I just want you to know that I care.

Will you lose everything?

Tell me how it happened.

Handicapped child

She has beautiful eyes.

She is so loving and precious.

What are you going to do with her?

If you’d taken better care of yourself, this wouldn’t have happened.

Elderly parent

I know how much you love her, I’m sure you’re doing the right thing.

How could you put your own mother in such a place?

Loss of home

I’ve been a part of some very beautiful memories here.

Remember our home is really in heaven.

Friend moving

I’ve seen what special friends you are. I know you’ll miss each other.

Well, you can always write.

Pet dies

I know she was important to your family. Sometimes this brings back other sad feelings.

It’s only a dog!

You can always buy a new kitten.

During terminal illness

How are you feeling about what you are facing?

I’ll take you to your next doctor’s appointment.

I know a lady who had the same thing…

Won’t you be glad to be with the Lord?

After death of terminally ill

Even though he needed a lot of your time, I know you’ll miss his company.

It must be such a relief now that it’s over.

Death of a spouse

I know how much he meant to you, and how you’ll miss him.

You were so lucky to have him for 30 years.

Loss of a body part

I’m sure this will take a lot of adjustment. I’ll be with you every step of the way.

At least you still have your mind.

Be glad it wasn’t worse.

You don't say…

I am amazed sometimes at how insensitive people can be to one another, and I’m going to vent about it for a minute. I lost my son Knox a week ago, the pain is still very raw. I’ve had some “well meaning” people make some really hurtful comments that I feel like I have to address in some fashion…So here goes…

First: I don’t care if you have 0 or 50 children…it is never okay to say “well maybe that’s God’s way of telling you (the mother) that you have enough children or that you shouldn’t have any more”. I don’t understand why so many people (many of them proclaiming to be Christian) are so angry towards families with lots of children. (I thought of this especially after I saw Mrs. Duggar lost her 20th child during her 2nd trimester this week and saw the hurtful comments being posted toward her.)

Children are a blessing (Psalm 127:3) and a reward from God. Most believers don’t disagree with that…until you have “too many” or it becomes “inconvenient” or “too expensive” to have children. I’ve said before that we trust God for our family size, we don’t ask God to limit our blessings in any other area (financially, health wise or any where else), so we don’t ask Him and don’t believe we should interfere with His blessing. I know not all Christians feel this way, and I don’t expect them to, but I don’t know why there is this huge animosity towards families who chose to trust God with this area of their lives. Seriously. If my children are loved and well cared for…what do you care if I have 4 or 40? And losing a child isn’t a “sign” that I shouldn’t have any more…it’s not a punishment or judgment. You wouldn’t tell a mother who doesn’t have any children that her repeated miscarriages are just “God’s way” of telling her she shouldn’t have children, so don’t say it to me.

I have been told this last week that losing our baby was “God’s way of telling me my body just couldn’t handle another baby” and “Maybe you should just be happy with the 4 children you have”. I found those comments incredibly hurtful and offensive. I was speechless to be honest (and most of you know how rare that is). A. I don’t believe anyone knows God’s will for my life but God. I believe that if I trust Him and follow Him he will guide my steps. B. I am delighted by the 4 wonderful boys I have, and I desire more children, because I view them as a blessing. I desire more because of how much I love and delight in the children I have. To insinuate that I’m not happy with the 4 children I have really irks me and is way off base.

Second: Do not tell me that it was better to lose a baby now than if it were at full term. While I (Praise God) have never lost a baby at full term, just because Knox was only 16 weeks doesn’t mean that I loved him any less than if I were 40 weeks pregnant. While physically it may be a little “easier” to give birth to a 16 week old baby and the physical recovery may be shorter…emotionally it sucks. I loved my baby from the moment I found out he was on his way. I started planning and dreaming about what kind of baby he would be. I was excited, I was delighted that I was pregnant and I was thrilled with the anticipation of another child. I grieve the death of my son. I can’t imagine the hurt a mother must feel who loses a child she has had the chance to know and hold. It is not easy to lose a child ever. Please don’t tell me it’s “easier” at any point, because it’s not.

Third: Please don’t say “He’s in a better place”. While I believe Knox is in Heaven, as a mother I can’t help but feel at times that the best place for him to be is in my arms. I rest in the fact that I will be able to see him again and I trust that God has a purpose for taking my son before he was born, but my arms still ache for him. I am selfish. I want my baby with me and I don’t understand why this happened, but I am leaning on the promises of my God. While Knox is in Heaven…and while it’s “technically” a better place than this sinful earth…it doesn’t make it hurt any less. It doesn’t make me long for him any less and it doesn’t make me feel better. So please don’t tell me he’s in a better place…he’s my son and I want him here with me. Period.

Fourth: Please don’t ask me “how long is it going to take to get over it” The answer is I don’t know. And please don’t expect me to “get over it” on your time table or anyone else’s. I know it’s uncomfortable for you…it’s uncomfortable for me too, but don’t act like I should get over this quickly. Grief is messy, it’s not a neat package deal, it takes a real friend willing to “get dirty” to help me get through it.

There will always be a hole where Knox should be in our family. I will always wonder what kind of child he would have been and I think I will always feel like something is missing. I can’t pretend like this didn’t happen, I can’t and won’t pretend like he didn’t exist. He is my son, he always will be. The grief may get less intense, but I don’t think you “get over” losing a baby.

Okay…I think that’s all for my venting. It just seems to have piled up and finally gotten to me today. And for those keeping track…I think this begins my “anger” stage of grieving.

** As a side note…I wrote this post yesterday evening after I’d had a particularly difficult and angry kind of day. I feel much better today (read…not quite so angry), but still felt it necessary to post.

How are you?

I’m never quite sure how to answer this question when someone asks. I don’t know if they mean physically or emotionally or mentally or spiritually. And I’m never quite sure if they really want to know…the messy details, the pain that still sits in the middle of my chest, why I can’t sleep at night, my fears, my hope or how lost I feel.

Usually I just say “I’m fine considering” and for the most part it’s true. I’m fine. Considering…I’m tired and weak still. It takes 4-8 weeks to replace mature red blood cells so I expect it to take a bit before I feel physically “normal”. I’m taking an iron supplement (called Floridix).
I’m tired, mostly because I’m not sleeping well. I wake up in a panic thinking “Knox!” like “where is the baby?” kind of panic. It’s the same feeling I get when my babies sleep through the night for the first time. Then I realize why he’s not beside me and it hurts, I grieve, I pray and I read the Psalms. I have been able to nap some in the afternoons without waking up like that, so for those short sleeps I am thankful. I’m trying to avoid taking medication to help me sleep. I am taking an anti anxiety to help get me through the panic I feel when I wake up at night. It kind of helps. I just don’t like taking meds period.
Emotionally…I have moments. There are times when it hurts so deep that I can only choke out the words “God…please” before my grief and tears overwhelm me. Romans 8:26-27 says : 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” I trust that when I can only say “Please” that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me, that God knows my heart and can meet me where I am.

There are other times that my mind is so numb and I feel so lost that I can’t think straight. I keep telling Kerry it feels like my mind is only firing on half cylinders (and most times I feel like there were only 2 to begin with). During those times I can’t make sense of the thoughts or feelings that are running through my head. I pray for clarity, I pray for peace and I pray for “order” in my mind. Sometimes, I just put on music and listen…I can’t tell you how many times this last week during my cloudy moments, the words of a hymn or worship song have come to fill the “space” that seems to exist there. Putting words to the feelings that I can’t name.

Yet there are other times that I have a few brief moments
of joy and reprieve from the grief. I feel kind of “normal”. I glean some of that joy from my children…their innocence, their pure delight in little things. I can’t help but smile and delight with them sometimes. I have a 16 month old son, who thinks he’s the funniest kid when he plays with his belly button. I have a 3 year old who delights in dumping water over his own head during bath time. I have a 7 year old who used his hard-earned “Awana bucks” to buy me a ring and was so proud to give it to me. My 9 year old wakes up in the morning to hug me hello. He has no idea how important those “good morning” hugs are to me. I am thankful for the 4 wonderful children I have. They help keep me putting one foot in front of the other. They help me stay focused. They help keep me from getting lost in the grief of losing a child. Even if it’s for a few moments each day I feel “normal”. I am trusting that I will have more of the normal as I heal.

Grieving this kind of loss is new to me. I have been fortunate in my life time to have never lost someone this close to me. I don’t know what grief should look like. I know the “stages of grief”, heck I teach them. But I don’t know what those stages will look like for me. I’m such a system person…I like step by step… I like a check list I can complete…but I’m learning I can’t move through this step by step. I’ve found that I have to let each step happen…it’s not easy for me. I’ve also found that the lines between the “steps” blur, I will move back and forth, I have to trust that God will help me move through and navigate the path of grief that is before me. I trust that His will is being done in my life. He has a plan…He doesn’t have to tell me what it is…He doesn’t have to tell me why. I have to trust Him. I have to keep clinging to Him and seeking refuge in Him. I can’t rely on myself, or my kids, or my husband, or anyone else to bring me through. It is God who will guide me and heal my broken heart.

I have found great comfort in Psalm 34 today…
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

I will praise Him, even in my grief. He has blessed me and for that I am thankful.

4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.

I have fears about whether God will bless me with more children, I have fears about whether my body will be able to carry another baby. I am fearful about what the future holds. I fear that I will never heal from the enormity of this loss. But I will continue to seek God, even when it doesn’t feel like it, I have to trust that He will deliver me from my fears.

8 O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

Refuge means: to a place of shelter, protection, or safety. 3. anything to one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape.
I will seek my escape, my relief, my protection in Christ.

18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I am so broken hearted. My spirit feels crushed at the loss of Knox. But I am comforted knowing that God is close to me. I know that He is walking with me through this, His arms are around me. He is patiently guiding me and slowly allowing me to heal. He will deliver me to the other side of this hurt.

Philipians 4 reminds me…
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I trust in that. I will continue to heal both physically and emotionally. So yes, I’m fine considering…

What happened? Our Birth Story…

I write to process things that are rolling around in my brain and happening in my life. This last week has been the hardest week I have ever had to endure as a wife and mother. It’s something I would never wish on anyone. Ever. But I have had so many things rolling around in my head that I feel the need to process them by writing. What follows is our story leading up to the birth of our 5th son Knox. I write it more for myself, so that my child won’t be forgotten and so that I can capture what the events of the last week have meant to me. I plan to include these blog posts in his baby book. I share this story so that you can know too and that hopefully my journey and pain will help someone move through theirs too.

We found out we were pregnant with Knox on Labor day. We told the boys after we’d spent the afternoon at Garden of the Gods. They had been praying for a baby for weeks and we were excited to share the news with them. My early pregnancy progressed much like my others have. We experienced an early loss in 2009 at 6 1/2 weeks (prior to the birth of Titus) so I breathed a sigh of relief when we passed that mark. I usually don’t have a lot of nausea in early pregnancy, just a lot of fatigue and not wanting to eat, which is how this pregnancy was and how I felt. I made appointments with my midwife and chiropractor. My labs and exams were fine. We heard his heartbeat without difficulty at home around 8 weeks and at our 12 week appointment with the midwife. We prayed daily for the baby as a family. We prayed that the baby would grow and be healthy and be born at home. The two middle boys (Otto and Zeke) prayed for a baby sister and Gabe would pray for a baby boy. I started to feel the flutters of little kicks and rolls and I started to show around 12 weeks.
We took a planned trip back to Kansas over Thanksgiving week to attend the funeral of Kerry’s grandmother and spend time with our family. Just before we left of Thanksgiving I told work that I was expecting in May.
While we were in Kansas, I had this feeling that something was wrong. I couldn’t pin point it, but I told Kerry that I was worried. I hadn’t felt the baby move as much as I had been, but I passed it off as I was still early (about 15 weeks pregnant) and perhaps we had been so busy I hadn’t paid as much attention as I had been at home. I also noticed that my cravings for spicy food and food aversions had stopped. I passed it off as “I’m in the second trimester and I’m supposed to be feeling better”.
The night we got home (Sunday 11/27) I tried to hear heart tones, but couldn’t find them. I tried not to worry and thought maybe the baby was just turned. But I tried again several times on Monday and never heard even a hint of a heartbeat. I emailed our midwife and another friend of mine on Tuesday and started calling around to see how I could get in for a sonogram to check on the baby. Our sonogram was scheduled for Thursday evening at 5pm. I was so nervous going in. I was praying that everything would be fine, that it was just a defective doppler or something. Anything but what I suspected.
I could tell when the sonographer looked that something was wrong. The baby didn’t look like he had enough room, it looked really cramped and he wasn’t moving. She took some measurements first and then looked for a heartbeat. I couldn’t see the flutter I was hoping to see in his chest. Just empty space. Nothing. My heart sank. She checked again. Still nothing and reluctantly she told us there wasn’t a heartbeat. I tried not to cry. I could tell she didn’t know what to say. She was young and didn’t have children. We left holding each other. We stopped in the lobby and I sobbed. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t understand. I felt so empty, so robbed and so sad. Devastated. Even now, when I close my eyes and think about that sono…I see the empty chest, the gray screen and my heart just sinks. I try to squeeze my eyes harder against the emptiness. The heart break. But it lingers still.
Because I was seeing a midwife, I didn’t have a physician here in Pueblo. I called Dr. Growney on Friday and asked if he’d be willing to see me that day. We, as a family, went to meet with him that afternoon. I felt bad for him because he didn’t know what he was walking in to when he first came in. His nurse hadn’t told him why he was seeing me. He was so compassionate and caring. He was on call over the weekend and he was willing to do whatever we wanted in terms of induction or surgery or waiting. He listened to our concerns, our thoughts and our hurt. I couldn’t have asked for a better physician to care for me. It was such a blessing. We decided we wanted an induction the next morning, because my mom could come and stay with the boys and because we didn’t want surgery. (I would be happy to share our thoughts into why this was the best choice for us at another time).
We checked in to the hospital the next morning (12/3) at 9am. The nurse caring for us started my IV, I had blood drawn and took my vital signs. I have to say…I learned a lot about being a nurse by being a patient. My day nurse and I didn’t mesh well to say the least. I won’t get in to it other than to say she did not put me at ease at all. She made me incredibly nervous and she never acknowledged that we had lost a baby. I felt it was very insensitive.
I was given Cytotec to induce contractions and my labor. Cytotec is a medication that is often used for labor induction, but I was given higher doses because my body wasn’t ready for labor. I was 16 weeks and 2 days pregnant the day I was induced. The majority of the day was spent waiting. We had brought things with us to the hospital to do and read, but we couldn’t focus. I tried to sleep, but sleep hasn’t come easy. We spent a good part of the day staring at the clock or TV. We were just numb. I was thankful for the alone time we had to talk and grieve together as a couple. My contractions were really manageable. The nurse was surprised and kept offering me pain medication. I finally told her I would ask for it if I wanted it.
I was given the medication every 4 hours. 10 am and 2pm. My nurses changed at 6pm. My night shift nurse was a breath of fresh air. I could tell she was nervous (I think I was the first patient she’d had that had lost a baby), but she was calm and caring. She called Kerry and I by our first names (something our day shift nurse hadn’t done). She told us she was sorry for our loss and acknowledged how difficult this must be for us. She was exactly the kind of nurse I had been praying for all afternoon.
At 6:15 my water broke after a trip to the bathroom. I called the nurse and told her. She gave me another dose of cytotec and called Dr. G. I expected things to pick up a bit, but my contractions still stayed manageable. Kerry sat in bed with me for comfort. Around 8:45, I felt a really strong contraction and felt more pressure. I knew that the birth was imminent and called for our nurse. She also had the charge nurse with her, who was also really awesome. I knew her from taking my clinical group to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. I was so thankful for the staff that was with me.
I pushed twice with the next contraction and the baby was born. I asked Kerry if he was okay while the nurses wrapped the baby up. I asked if she could tell if it was a boy or g
irl and she said the baby was a boy. The nurse handed the baby to me to hold. He was so tiny, but so perfect. We counted his fingers and toes. We touched his feet, his hands, his face. We took pictures of our baby Knox and we were in awe of how perfect he was, even though he was so tiny. Kerry and I each took turns holding him and taking it all in. As strange as it sounds, while we were grieving while we holding him…we both felt so blessed. So blessed with another son…so blessed that we had been able to experience this pregnancy even though it was cut short…and so blessed that we have had 4 healthy pregnancies and births. God is amazing. While we don’t understand the purpose for the loss, we are still in awe at His amazing creation in our son. We could see on his fingers where his finger nails were starting to grow. We could see his tiny perfect ears and his little tongue. We could feel his knees and his legs, we could see his ribs and his spine. He is perfect. He is incredible. He is our son.
While we were taking it all in and cherishing our time with him, it became apparent that the placenta wasn’t coming like we’d hoped and I was losing a fair amount of blood. Dr. G came in and looked the baby over too, he was also concerned about the amount of blood I was losing. He ordered some additional labs and prepared me for the option that we might have to go to surgery to remove the placenta. He wanted to give us as much time as possible with our son, and so he was patient and allowed us to hold Knox and try to remember every nuance about him.
I started to feel a bit light headed and my blood pressure dropped quite low. At that point, and after looking at my labs, Dr. G felt that we needed to not waste any more time and go to the OR. I have never been under general anesthesia before and because my lab values were so low, it wasn’t safe for me to have an epidural so going to sleep was the only option. I said goodbye to our sweet baby, knowing that I wouldn’t see him again until we are reunited in Heaven. It was difficult for me…I wanted to hang on to him until the last second. It felt terrible to have him wheeled out of our room in his little crib.
It terrified me to be taken down to the OR. I was so afraid that the surgery would have complications. It seemed that everything that could go wrong…had gone wrong with the birth and I was afraid it would continue to go wrong. I knew our church and our family was praying for me. I knew Kerry was praying for me and I was praying. My nurse prayed with me before I went to the OR, I don’t think she’ll ever know how important that was to me. I know that she prayed for me the entire time I was off the floor. I was praying that if anything went right…it would be this surgery. I was so thankful for Dr. G. He knew I was scared and held my hand while I was put under anesthesia. I remember looking up at him with tears in my eyes while he held my hand.
The next thing I remember was waking up in recovery, crying. I felt like my emotions had caught up with me. I asked the medical student with Dr. G if I still had my uterus. My fear going in to surgery was that there would be a complication and that I would need a hysterectomy. She told me yes and I heard one of the OR nurses say “she just asked if she still had her uterus”. I replied “yes…because children are important to me”. I was crying and grieving my baby in recovery. The medication they gave me to relax, acts kind of like if you drank too much, so my “strong” facade had diminished and I was able to cry the tears I had been holding in. I felt so weak and helpless.
The doctor went up and talked to Kerry and told him that he (Dr. G) had never seen someone wake up so easily from anesthesia before. He said I was talking in complete sentences and was awake and alert. I was taken back to the room by about 2 am. I was given several medications in recovery to try to stop the bleeding and I was given more IV fluids and antibiotics when I got back to my room.
While I was in the OR my nurse and charge nurse made a memory box for Knox. They were able to get footprints and print some pictures for us. I was so very thankful they got the tiny footprints they did. They are precious.
I was so tired, but couldn’t sleep. Kerry was able to sleep for a couple hours, but I was restless. My blood pressure stayed fairly low and I wasn’t putting out urine like I should have been. My nurse was so wonderful. She made me feel safe and cared for. She hugged me before she left and prayed with me again before she left for the day. It made such a difference to me to know my nurse was a believer.
My day nurse from the day before was back on Sunday (12/4). I was kind of dreading that. But was hoping to go home. I was still incredibly weak and tired. My labs were drawn again in the morning and they were quite a bit lower from the night before. I was given a blood product substitute called Hetaspan to try to increase the volume in my body. About 10 minutes after it started going in my hands and feet started to swell and I started to feel really anxious, like something wasn’t right. I started to feel really weird and called my nurse. I asked her to turn off the infusion because something was wrong. She was hesitant to do it, but I told her to and to call the doctor. (She really drove me nuts).
Dr G came in to see me and talk to Kerry and I about 10am. He told Kerry I had lost about half of my circulating volume (so about 1/2 of the blood in my body). He said he thought I had an allergic reaction to the Hetaspan and to add that to my allergy list. He talked with us about the grief process and what to expect. He gave me some medication to help me sleep and for pain. He also talked with Kerry about how he, as a dad, will grieve differently and to care for himself too. I so appreciated Dr. G. He was fantastic. God answered prayers for compassionate caregivers (for the most part). He said the criteria for me to go home was to be able to get up and walk around without falling over.
I tried sitting up and standing a bit, but got really dizzy. I felt so weak and tired. When I stood up, my blood pressure stayed up by my heart rate went up really high (a sign that my body is trying to compensate for low volume). It was decided that I could probably use a unit of blood. So the infusion began around 2:00pm and finished around 4:00pm. I felt a little better, still weak but not quite as dizzy as I had been. I was able to stand and walk to the bathroom. We decided we’d eat supper and then go home. We left around 6pm that night and then went to get meds before going home.
We have been home now about 2 days. It’s been an adjustment. The big boys understand what has happened, but our tender hearted Otto is having a little trouble making sense of it all I think. He’s said several times “I wish the baby was still in your tummy” or “I wish the baby wasn’t dead”. He asked to by a stocking for Knox for Christmas this year. Right now his stocking is the only Christmas decoration we have up. Otto has asked several times to see pictures of Knox, but I’m not sure he’d be able to handle seeing them just yet. I don’t think he’s prepared for what a 15 week old baby looks like, but I know for him it may be important to see them in the future.
Our son shares the date with Kerry’s cousin Jenny. She went home to be with God 30 years ago on December 3 at 6 months. While it is a sad day for Jenny’s family, and ours, we are honored in a way that our children share the same home going day. That 2 very loved children will be remembered on the same day.
As a family we are t
rying to make it through. We are thankful for the love, prayers and help from our family, church family and friends. Sleep doesn’t come easy for me still. I’m tired, but can’t seem to sleep, even with medication. The grief and tears sneak up on me at weird times. I found myself laying down holding my belly where Knox once was…it felt so empty and I cried. I am thankful for the little ones I have…I’m thankful they still want to be held. I think if they didn’t I would feel even more empty than I do. I know that Knox will always be a part of our family, I pray that I will be able to trust my body again. I pray that the raw grief will heal. I pray that someday God will bless us with another baby, not as a replacement, but to help heal me.
I am thankful though, that God has surrounded me. He has answered prayers, He has protected my body and He will heal my heart. I do not understand why He has brought me to this trial. I don’t understand what lesson I am to learn from all of this. But I have found comfort in the following passage…

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

For now, I am learning to trust in Him. To trust that He will meet me where I am. He will guide us through this trial and we are blessed.