Thursday, December 16, 2010


I've had these thoughts rummaging around in my head for a bit now...just not sure how to voice them, and still not so sure--they are very jumbled thoughts.

We are 18 days and some hours from Luke's birthday. I can't even describe the joy and excitement I am feeling in anticipation.

Or the fear.
Or the anxiety.
Or the conflict.

So many people have told me that they guessed this pregnancy has draaaaaaaaaaaagggged for me, but for them, it's flown by.

In reality, it's not dragged for me at all. Well, in the last week and a half it has, but mostly, it's flown.

It's flown because I just cannot fathom how over a year has come between me and Matthew. I told Dr. Polko the other day that it might have dragged if it was a regular pregnancy where I wasn't worried about too much other than the 'normal' stuff...but trying to survive each day and then realizing how quickly those survived days have accumulated into more than a year just overwhelms me and sort of reminds me of the first days when I was just reminding myself to breathe.

I still have to do that sometimes.

Days like today remind me of then...cold and snowy...wondering how I'd make it through the next half hour without breaking down in tears and trying to haphazardly get things 'ready' for Christmas. Like then, I don't feel up to Christmas cards or letters this year. Pretty sure everyone on my list has a decent idea of how our year has been, and we just have so much going on right now that I'm pulling the pregnancy card and combining it with the grieving card and just not doing much more than the bare minimum of things needing to be done.

It's so hard to come to the realization that you've already had the best day you will ever have. By the time you were 36. I am sure some will find that a dramatic statement, and maybe feel that once again, I'm not giving enough credit to Luke and the joy he will bring because I am too saddened by the aching in my heart for my sweet Matthew.

Let them. I don't care. Walk in my shoes and then judge me.

Regardless of how dramatic the statement, it's true. I will have, God willing, many, many more wonderful and amazing days. I have had wonderful and amazing and miraculous days since Matthew died.

But the best one...the one where I don't know what it's like to own the 'rights' to a piece of property that contains my baby son's remains...that's already happened.

So, while I have just been extremely thankful for so much lately...I'm still struggling with the reconciliation of what's been lost and will never be again.

And I've started to get really, really aggravated with people who think another baby 'fixes' things. Is it just me, or does anyone ever pay attention to hearing about a woman who has lost a baby and then someone asking "Well, are they going to try again?"

Like that will fix it? Or, "She lost a baby a few months ago, but they plan to try again."

To me, 'trying again' implies failing at something and planning to be successful at it by attempting the same thing.

Like I got pregnant, but he died. Try again.
Like Matthew was born, but he died. Try again.

Like Matthew dying can be fixed with Luke living.

I just feel like whenever anyone is talking about a woman who has lost a baby, the subject of having another child ALWAYS comes up. I'm not sure why, because if a different family member or even friend were to pass, it would SO NOT BE APPROPRIATE to say, "Well, is he going to go get another wife?" "Are they going to try and find a new grandma?" "Well, when's she going to start looking for a new best friend?"


Of course LOTS of women who lose babies decide to get pregnant again and have another child. NOT TO REPLACE THE ONE THEY LOST.

Because pregnancy is amazing. Because one MISSES feeling the joy of little kicks and little jabs. Because it's just a miraculous process.

Or, because one wants to be a parent to a LIVING child. Don't doubt she isn't a parent. She just wants to parent a living child or children too.

The automaticity of questioning, "Are they going to try again?" after losing a child just bothers me. When the baby LIVES, no one immediately asks, "Are they going to have another?"

So why is it ok when the baby dies? I just don't think it is.

While there is NO doubt that Luke has brought such a tremendous amount of joy into our lives, it has in no way lessened the heartache or the loss I feel with Matthew being gone.

Those feelings, while diametrically opposed, absolutely can coexist. I'm proof, and I know a lot of other people are too.

As I said, very conflicting.

I read something a few days ago that was just so real to me. Mostly because I have really been dealing with the hard facts that come with Luke's sweet little life...while I will ALWAYS be able to say without a doubt that his life is PURPOSED and would not be in existence without the hand of God, that's something also that is difficult for me to reconcile.

We would NOT have done IVF if Matthew had lived.
We'd have transferred our little Yellow Fish and that would have been that, whichever way it turned out. And that little Yellow was not Luke and never would have been.

Those are just the facts.

So reading what I did was comforting. It was a viewpoint on Paul when he wrote that he was, "confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phillipians 1:6

The viewpoint was that the good work continued until the day of Christ.
Not until death.

In fact, this viewpoint argued, sometimes the purposes of God don't even get started until our deaths.

Which made me wonder about what more purpose Matthew's little life has...not IF there is more, but WHAT.

There's more. I feel it. I know it. I'm thankful for it.


  1. Beautiful post... I so feel what you're saying and couldn't have written it any better. Much love and hugs as we wait out these last few weeks together... Hugz.

  2. The labels you assigned to this post sum up the conflict...grief, joy. I'm nodding my head, and as usual, you write of the pain that others feel, too. I wish I didn't understand. Thank you for letting the gifts of Matthew and Luke inspire your words. Thank you for being our voice.

  3. For sure! I continue to have the conversations with my bedstie Rachel about how my friend Kyle's death is still so raw and present to me ... that I am still learning about him and other people. Not sure I would have learned most of these lessons without his death (but I kind of would rather be ignorant if it meant he could still be here). Still, Kyle will always be teaching and guiding me. I know that in my soul and it feels good to have him be a part of things, even now. Matthew continues - In stories and memories and hopes and dreams. In statistcs and medical records and in the beautiful form of this blog where his story has blessed people. I don't think Matthew decided to die so Luke could come, but I do believe that his spirit and life in Heaven are thankful that his brother can come to fill some of the giant hole left in your hearts. I imagine a Matthew shaped cookie cutter going right through you. Perfect and unique and empty and I imagine a Luke shaped cookie cutter trying to be shoved in to it. But it will never work, because the cookie cutters aren't the same. Luke can fill some of those places, but all the empty spaces are the permanent ones left by Matthew. And one day it will feel good to know that those places can't be filled by someone else. Can't be replaced and patched. People who don't experience it, don't get it. Matthew will always exist no matter what life brings and that is beautiful. That is love.

  4. I wish I could give you a hug! Keep holding on to the promises of our loving Lord! They will always get us through the hardest of times.
    Of course nothing will lessen your pain of the loss of your precious Matthew BUT I just have to say I CANNOT WAIT for you to have Luke and experience all that you will with him! I think I'm more excited about his birth than I am Christmas! I can just picture riding in that new minvan with that much loved baby boy! Of course your heart will never be the same but it WILL be soooo FULL of love for both of your boys!
    Interceding for you as you experience such a wide array of emotions this holiday season.

  5. How wonderfully you spoke the thoughts and feelings that I often have about losing Ian at 34 weeks and now being 35 weeks with another baby boy. I know I am already a parent and mother (I too wish others would remember that)--and while I look foward with hope to parenting this child. I know that is not something to take for granted. But I am so grateful that God blessed us with this little life to carry and I feel that God has a plan for us as his parents and for both this baby boy and his big brother too---and all of us living here on Earth and in Heaven as a complete family. Know that God inspires you to write and that others find comfort and understanding in your posts. Thank you. Praying for the last few weeks of your pregnancy with Luke to go wonderfully.

  6. You are so, so right. Thank you for being honest and sharing how you feel.
    My heart aches for your loss, but is also joyous for the blessing you get to meet in just 18 days. :)

  7. Lori, so much of this is well said and many of these thoughts are in my head and heart. You are right, they are not replaceable. It hurts sometimes when others think that they are. I cannot believe 18 days!! That is so soon. I cannot wait to meet Luke and to see him in your arms. Love you!

  8. PEOPLE ARE NOT REPLACEABLE. So, so, so so true, my friend.
    I get SO angry. I feel so bitter. Avery has given me so much hope in so many ways-but she doesn't take away the pain or the longing I have for my twins.
    The end of my pregnancy was so hard for me-I will be thinking of you so much in the new few weeks, holding you close in thought and prayer.

  9. wonderfully said.... :) you know i "grouch" about the same thing! one child DOES NOT AND NEVER WILL replace another. period, ain't happnin' margret! each child is so amazingly perfect and precious whether here or there..... errrrrrr.

    i think the next time some one says that to me, i might get snippy and ask which one of my kids did i replace with whom (meaning which one wasn't wanted in and of themselves but only as "replacement parts")and should i just return them to walmart?

    little luke- you are so completely loved and wanted and anticipated! you are prayed for and cherish and anxiously awaited.

    dear matthew, you are missed so completely that even i feel your absence. i eagerly await the day when i will meet you face to face, hold your hand and look at bugs and other boy things:) i pray that you have meet my children and are enjoying the wonders of heaven in the company of not only Him Who Made You but also the friends who are missed here on earth by their mommies who count your mommy as a beloved friend.....

    errrrrrgh! feeling feisty for ya, lori!

    counting down the days until i see luke's face on the outside!

  10. Lori,

    I child does not replace another. Or, in my case, a second pregnancy does not relace the FIRST. The bliss, excitement, joy and sheer over the moon feeling of that first time. People on the outside don't know our pain, they don't live it and they won't forever carry that gaping whole in the heart. It's sad. They want us to move forward, celebrate and be normal...what ever that is these days ;) Overall, I try to ignore the thoughts of well meaners who don't do us well, but do damage to the emotions. I do my earnes to live in "my moment" each day, whatever it brings, joy, sadness or fear...I just embrace it the best I can.

    I'm living this life for "me" and you do the same. Honor your sweet boy and hold him close always, as he is and will forever be your first born. Continue to talk about him openly and if it makes anyone uncomfortable that is their problem. He's YOURS and you've been gracious enough to share him with us.

    As for Luke, I pray that GOD holds both of you close. So many of us are praying for you and for peace of heart to find you in the moment when he is born. Lifting you always.


  11. This was a beautiful post, Lori. I have goosebumps actually!

    I'll never forget my first day back to work after losing Lily (I was out for 8 weeks because I had a c-section) and someone said to me "well, you can always try again." To be honest, I never looked at that person in the same light again. I was so overwhelmed in my grief that I was speechless that someone would ever find this sentence appropriate.

    You are an amazing woman. Your honesty is so awesome to me!

    18 more days! Gosh, I am so excited to "meet" Luke!

  12. yep yep and yep to everything you wrote. you won't get any arguments here honey. now i have to back up .... 18 days!!!!!!!! goodness lori, you are doing and have done a fantastic job to get to where you are in one piece. one thing i'm certain of....happy days will come. sending loads of love. 23 days for me and yes it has flown xxx

  13. Wonderful post, and I couldn't agree more!!! Its so odd how people who haven't experienced this type of loss think another baby just takes away all the sadness and grief. Thank you for so eloquently sharing the truth of what happens. Will be thinking of you guys so much in the coming days and hoping you are soon able to soak in the joy of Luke and looking forward to hearing that next part of your journey in this life ((hugs))

  14. (((hugs))) You are so right!! I was skimming through my early blog posts from Alyssa and all I kept talking about was how everyone kept telling me "You can always try again, and have other babies"...and I remember thinking how can they say that to me?

    I think like you, would I say "So, you gonna get a new grandma now?"

    I even wrote a post on Adrian's blog so similar to this on how can anyone think he will replace her? Sadly people will and do. They see a new life and they assume the joy we feel for that life is overpowering the sadness...if you read that post I say it very simply..Ive grown a WHOLE new heart for him...I feel like if you open my chest you will see two hearts in there. which is really hard to balance at times.

    I did not feel like this went fast for you, I mean we literally seen him grow from mini, to diamond, to possibly a girl, to becoming a little brother...and I am also really excited for the day he is born.

    Your anxiety is completely understandable after what you have been through and I will pray for you until he is home and healthy and happy...Im sure he WILL be happy, how can he not, you are an amazing mommy to him right NOW!!


  15. ear Lori,
    I feel the same way about adoptive parents who get upset with folks who say imprudent things, such as, "which are your real children?" to which they suggest saying, "they are all my real children." Sometimes you just need to give people grace. I don't think people are trying to suggest you forget Matthew, or even move too quickly past grief. However, I don't think you should be upset that people want you to be happy and hope that parenting a living child will ease your pain. Also, nearly every mother with one or two children will be asked right after the birth, are you having another (or, any more?). It is a natural question, and does not diminish your current children, living or dead. Just as friends will encourage a widower to date again, which does not diminish the pain of losing a spouse, friends that hope you will try parenting again should not be accused of being insensitive. They are trying to reach out to you, and even saying anything to someone who is grieving is so hard, you should give them points (and grace) for trying. Lashing out at those who blunder in trying to reach out to you is counterproductive, even if you do so in your private thoughts. I am sorry that this is so hard, and I do hope you will be able to manage the terror of facing the crisis of birth. I can feel how scared you are and wish I could say something to ease that, but, like so many other of your well-wishers, I've got nothing. I hope it's enough that I truly pray for things to go well and for your fears to be eased.
    God bless,

  16. Your "jumbled" thoughts make sense to those who have traveled down a similar road. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly and beautifully. Continuing to lift you in prayer, sweet friend! ♥

  17. Hi Lori !

    What a great post !
    And the responses to it are so good too !
    Blogging is fantastic and helps you cope , I dont know what I would have done without it.
    Its so hard to cope with our conflicts , I love the way you write about yours .
    You are such a beautiful person and so strong to be able to cope with what destiny has given you and yet to keep hope .

    I have another conflict now and that is that I fight with sadness and depression before Christmas - I want to keep going and be the best person I can be even if I would like to hide and stay in bed until next year.
    But I decided its not the right way to go to give in to depression .
    I decided to do my best and try to celebrate Christmas as good as I can despite the pain in my heart.
    I will try to be hopeful and thankful for what I have at the same time as my heart is aching .
    Its a strange feeling but I feel I have no other choice .
    To give in to depression is not the way to go.
    And I can see that you have hope and you keep fighting and thats beautiful even if your heart is probably breaking many times because of the conflicts in it .
    I keep praying for you Lori , for peace and a good , positive experience when Luke is born.

  18. Lori,
    Love this post! :)I can't imagine all the thoughts/emotions running around inside. I'm praying for you, John & Luke as Luke's birthday quickly approaches.
    I too hate when talking about losing a child, people automatically ask if you are going to try again. I feel like slapping them across their smug face everytime. :( How could they ask something so insensitive? Babies are not replaceable...PEOPLE are not replaceable. And all those moments shared with loved ones who are gone can not be replaced either.

    Love to you,

  19. Lori - A beautiful, raw post. Thank you for sharing it. I know you know this, but: no one can tell you how to grieve. There's no wrong way. It's your journey.

    I understand your feelings about Luke. I try not to think about this, but I know that if our first daughter had lived, Brianna would not be part of our family. I can't imagine our family without her, but sometimes it's very difficult to understand how God works in our lives.

  20. What a beautifully, heart breaking post! I am feeling the exact same way about feeling like I have experienced the "best" of what is to come, because everything else will be "tainted" by the heart break of Ella Grace not being here. I am so proud of the way you have handled this pregnacy (and I know that sounds weird coming from a "stranger," but you have given me so much hope and strength and joy watching the way you handle yourself!).

    The countdown to sweet Luke is on and I am praying for you! It will be an emotional time, but know that you are covered in prayers!

  21. Oh my. I love love LOVE this post. The "you can have another" comments just kill me. I'm keeping my current pregnancy tightly under wraps just because I can't deal with the giddy reactions I know I'll get from some people. Even IF this pregnancy goes well, it will not "fix" me or change me back to the person I was before, which is often what seems to be expected in such cases. My babies are dead. They will stay dead and I will stay sad that they are dead. I just want some joy to balance out that sorrow.

    No Luke can NEVER replace Matthew, but he sure will bring you a lot of joy. 2 1/2 weeks! I'm SO excited for you!!

  22. nothing more can be said Lori.... you are right. I am just sending you so much love right now, hugs, love and praying for you all. Luke will be born and he will be a BROTHER to Matthew. A little brother, not a replacement as you say. Keep strong Lori. I know these last days are difficult, I am living it with you. Love always. Xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

  23. Getting angry and trying to stop myself ... trying to extend "grace" right now. I know you, Lori ... and you are so good at heart and so forgiving and know where people are coming from, but I am pretty upset right now. Just know that the rest of us know where you are coming from and we don't feel like there are any accusations being made. Feels all this as deeply as you want to and never be made to feel wrong about how conflicted you are as Luke's birth approaches. Love you to pieces, sweet friend.

  24. Lori, I suspect that this post resonated within so many hearts and minds...I know that it certainly hit home with many of my random, jumbled up thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it's so hard to put all the mumbo jumbo together in an organized post - you did a fantastic job here, and I agree with everything you have written! Much love to you, as always. Thinking about you each day now...I hope that Luke stays put long enough for you to get through the holidays. Keep us posted as we get closer to the 4th!!

  25. I so relate but in a different way...since we knew Jonathan would die once he was born, people would ask me about having other children while I was still pregnant with Jonathan. I always felt that was a slap in the face to him, as if he was replaceable. And now, about to welcome a new baby boy, I realize more than ever he is not ever replaceable. You spoke what was on my mind. :)

  26. I Love this post Lori. I couldn't have said it better myself. You have put into words what i've been trying to get many in my real life to understand. Thank you . Sending you lots of love.

  27. I hope the "if there was Matthew, there wouldn't have been Luke" stuff finds its way to a peaceful resolution for you as your boy grows. Hopefully once he's born you won't have to deal with insensitive "replacement" talk anymore...but that people continue to honor Matthew and his role just as much. Surely Luke can never fill the hole in your heart left by Matthew, but I bet he'll open up parts of it you never even knew existed (as does every child that comes into a family).

    Your boy and his "work" have already done so much good (which leads to the heartbreaking questions of how much he could've done if he'd stayed here for many, many years). Just look at the money raised in your name for the Pie challenge...a quantifiable amount that'll touch many people, who in turn could be inspired by the kindness of others to pay it forward to even more. And who knows what work Luke may do in honor of his brother. Matthew's "purpose" was not finished on November 29th.

    And...getting so, so excited for Luke's arrival! Like, giddy at the thought of you and John hearing his first cry, holding him for the first time, walking in your front door and greeting your dogs, etc. Looking forward to you sharing all that you want and understanding that some things are meant to stay just between the three of you.

  28. No, children are def not replaceable in any way. People may think that getting pregnant again is the easy fix but it's not. You will always love and miss the baby that was lost.

    And I know that every child who goes before has a purpose. I believe that they change at least one life that wouldn't have been changed had they not existed.