Monday, June 2, 2014

Love may cost us dearly

I'm not even quite sure where to begin with this post...

I'll start by telling you how excited I was for last week. One dear friend was getting ready to have a baby and another dear friend was getting married. This didn't make it that different of a week for us. It seems like any given week I know several people who are getting ready to have babies or a wedding. We are surrounded by a large and beautiful Catholic community and weddings and babies just come naturally with that package.

But these two...these two were on my heart all week for a different reason. Joy in suffering. I had been thinking about it all week, even thinking about how I could blog about it. Something held me back...laziness, maybe God? 

My friend having the baby lost her 1 year old son to cancer almost a year ago. It broke our hearts in a way we never imagined. It was awful to see our friends suffer like that. But then the news came that they were expecting again and I remember thinking...God is so good

My friend getting married lost his wife to cancer almost two years ago. This also broke my heart in a way I never could imagine. I remember going to the vigil and prayer service and seeing my friend put his head in his hands and weep for his wife. But then he reconnected with someone, who also happens to be one of my closest friends. I remember thinking again...God is so good.

I thought God's timing was so amazing that these two friends who had suffered so much were going to be experiencing new life in the same week. My friend's sweet baby girl was born on Thursday and my friends' wedding was on Saturday. When I got the news that the baby was here I couldn't stop the tears of joy. I texted some girlfriends the news and said...God is so good.

Then Friday came. We had our 18 week routine ultrasound. Routine ultrasound.

And just like that our lives were changed forever...

It seemed to start out normal. The baby was moving around and the tech was chasing the baby trying to get a good picture. She seemed to be doing the normal, routine measurements and checks. The baby's heartbeat was good. She said the baby's head was down and she couldn't get a good picture. She went to show the physician the pictures.

I am a glass half-full kind of person. My husband, a bit of a worrier, often has a glass half-empty perception. He immediately felt something was wrong when the physician came in. She said she needed to discuss something with us. 

Jason, my brave husband asked if there was something wrong. I would never be strong enough to ask because I would never want to hear the answer. She said there was something wrong.

She said a lot of words I wasn't really following. All I could think about was seeing that sweet little beating heart. She showed us a picture of the baby's head and started typing...


And I gasped and said, Oh no...I could hardly breathe.

She typed the rest of the word...


I had just recently learned this word because a woman from my church just experienced the same thing.

Without even looking at Jason, his head was buried in his hands, I asked her to tell us if it was a boy or a girl. She moved the doppler around and finally...


Instead of tears of joy, it was sobs of sorrow. God had finally given me a baby girl that my heart has always longed for, but I don't get to keep her.

For those of you that do not know, Anencephaly is a neural tubal defect where the baby is missing part of its brain and skull. Our baby will not survive outside of the womb. She is very much alive inside of me, but once she is born she will most likely only live a few hours.

My greatest fear has always been not being able to get pregnant.
My second greatest fear was having a miscarriage. 

I quickly learned that neither of these things were my greatest fear. ANENCEPHALY is my greatest fear. It's like knowing you are going to have a miscarriage every day for five months.

We drove home in silence, tears, disbelief. I have never felt such heartache as this.

My heart has ached for every friend or stranger that has suffered losing a child. I've had friends lose babies through miscarriage, illness, pre-term labor. I have a dear friend who cannot have children and my heart aches for all of them. 

I never thought I would be counted among these brave women. I never thought I would join their club.

I asked Jason if he understood what was happening. He said yes, but he didn't know why it was happening to us. I think it's a question that will haunt us the rest of our lives.

I laid down on our bed and Jason laid next to me. We couldn't really talk, we just laid there and cried. Jason went to go get Ted and I just stayed there laying by myself.

In that time alone, I wept. I begged God to not make me go through this. I didn't want to tell anyone because that meant it was really happening

I finally mustered up the strength to call my mom and sister. They were the only two I knew I could talk to. Through their tears they said all the right things. They joined me in mourning, they comforted me and told me I was stronger than I felt. 

I texted some close friends because I knew I couldn't call them all. But I knew I needed to tell them. I needed their prayers. I have never felt more alone and more loved all at the same time.

The weird thing is that when your world stops, everyone else's keeps going. We still had my friends' wedding rehearsal to attend that day. I thought about calling her and telling her I couldn't do the reading or go to the rehearsal. But then I remembered all the suffering that her soon-to-be husband went through and I knew that we had to go. I could hear God say to me, remember that there is joy in suffering. 

Jason went with me because neither of us wanted to be alone. We tried our best to feel and act normal, but it was so difficult. It took every ounce of strength not to break down when I walked into the church. Somehow, by the grace of God, we made it through.

Their wedding was beautiful. Those words, joy in suffering and God is so good just kept swirling through my mind. I've never cried so much at a wedding.

Their second reading was the same one Jason and I had at our wedding just over two years ago:

Romans 12:1-13

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned.

For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.

After two years of marriage, our vows took on a whole new meaning. For better or for worse; in sickness and in health...

I couldn't get past the first verse...
"to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God." My heart ached. I was begging God to take this away from me and then I heard this. I still don't know how I will be able to do it, but this is how God is calling me to offer my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. I am my baby's life support. I will never understand why God is asking this of me, but He is.

This is the worst thing I could ever imagine, but I know there are still people who experience worse. My dear friend lost her first-born son. Another friend went into preterm labor. She had no notice, no time to prepare and accept her fate. 

I have the joy, smiles and laughter of a sweet, silly 13 month old boy that I know will carry Jason and I through this. I know that as difficult as this will be, our marriage and family will be strengthened. I never knew that my heart could break, but also grow in so much love at the same time. I know this child's life is precious and she will remind me every day to cherish every second with her brother.

I say this now and it may sound like I have it all figured out. The truth is I don't have a clue how I will actually do this. I know I cannot do it alone and I cannot do it without prayer. I ask you for prayers and for the intercession of all the sweet souls that were taken from their mothers too soon.

Bradley, Leo, Stella, Ethan, Oliver, Celeste, Marie Therese, Kolbe, Veronica,Teresa...
please pray for us and our sweet girl.

A little glimpse of the joy that comes after suffering: 

 A beautiful girl with a big brother in Heaven.

 A new covenant

And this sweet boy...
he knows exactly what his mama needs, whether a kiss, a giggle or a snuggle


  1. I cry as I read this. My heart aches for you. I'm so sorry you and your family are going through this. I am a brand new reader of your blog, but know that you and that sweet baby girl are in my constant thoughts and prayers.

  2. I can tell you after a devastating 20-week diagnosis with our fifth child that I did not find joy in the suffering. I found sadness and profound anger. Nearly five years later, I've come to find strength and an authentic relationship with God through the suffering. It took me a long time to get there and I learned to take my pregnancy one day at a time. When I started to think about more than that, or played the "what if" game I just ended up in a dark corner with a Kleenex. As you mourn, know that there are so many women who are lifting you up in prayer.

  3. I mourn for you and will offer my mass intention for you Kellie. While I have not experienced the challenge you face, I was there beside a couple friends who have faced the same diagnosis and found their suffering in grace to be an inspiration. You may find hope in their journey too:

  4. I love you my dear friend and so wish I was closer to you fearing this time. Already knowing before reading your blog it was still so painful to read. One day at a time and you will get thru it with Gods grace and love.

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  7. Hi Kellie...I'm also Kelley.

    We had a similar experience last year with our first pregnancy. In November I went for my 12 week US and our baby was diagnosed with Pentalogy of Cantrell. It happens to about 5 in a million babies completely randomly. He was moving around with a great heart rate, but he too would not live outside the womb.

    Little Malachi passed away on his own 2 weeks later (those 2 weeks sound like nothing in hindsight, but they were so very long, especially when we did not know it would only be 2 weeks) and he would have been born last week if he had not. I don't know what your future holds, but I am here and I understand. I wrote several posts about our experience if you think that's something you want to read at this point.

  8. Oh, I am so very sorry, and you and your family are in my prayers. If it would be helpful, you might want to hear about this organization that offers support to families who receive negative diagnoses about their children who are in utero: They are some wonderful, wonderful people.

  9. I too know this unimaginable pain. At our 20 week ultrasound we were told that our little girl had holoprocencephaly, no brain, just a brain stem. As a result of that she had many other disfigurements since as the doctot put it, there were no brain signalsbto tell what to develop where! I was beyond devastated. We now went from planning her birth to dreading it. From planning a shower to planning her funeral. She was born Sept 24th 2003, weighing just 8oz. It will get harder befor it gets easier but, it does get easier. God is good and He has blessed us with 3 beautiful, healthy little girls. They are 13, 9, and 6. I still don't understand why but I have learned that there is a reason and on the bright side of things its nice to know that when my time here has passed I will meet my baby girl and she will be whole! God is good!

  10. Kellie, Jason & Ted,
    My heart aches. Please know that my thoughts and many prayers are going out to you daily. xoxox, Tera

  11. This was one of the most beautiful blogs I have EVER read Kellie. Your faith and bravery and grace inspire me. You have an incredible community who will rally around you every day,minute and second of this journey. You and Jason will be in our prayers....

  12. You're an amazing woman and mother and wife. Love you friend.

  13. Oh my goodness. How courageous you are. Anencephaly is my greatest fear as well. My family was not given the cross of Anencephaly, but we also learned out baby had a NTD during our 20-week ultrasound. There is so much I can relate to in this post. It is devastating.

    My heart hurts for you but it soars at the same time. You are walking through hell to become a saint. I will hold you and your sweet girl in my prayers every night. Please don't be afraid to contact me if there is ANYTHING I can do to help, in any concieveable way.

  14. Your sharing in this blog entry is incredibly anointed. You are anointed . You've expressed that you cannot imagine why God has asked this of you. You also cannot imagine the power and love of the Holy Spirit that will infuse you. You will not be overcome. You have an army of love in the body of Christ and in the communion of saints.

    Thank you for allowing so many to carry your suffering in our hearts to the throne of grace.

    Please give my most sincere assurance of prayer for your family to Jason as well. May a legion of angels fill your home with heavenly peace. monica

  15. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I came upon a link to your blog post in my Facebook feed, I don't know you. I know God is good, I know that things come to us for reasons. Women from all over the country send me their wedding gowns, a symbol of love, I take these gowns and remake them into angel gowns so that families such as yours can wrap their precious little ones, gone too soon, in this beautiful symbolic item. I usually send gowns in sets to hospitals to use when the need arrives, but feel moved to offer one to you if you would like one. Angel Gowns never cost the family a cent. my email is if you would like to reach me. Many blessings to you and your family.

  16. Please try to re-member your precious cargo as a fully-formed child of God the good. There is joy in that remembrance - every member of His beautiful kingdom already intact for it is he who hath made us and not we ourselves. We parents are designated for carrying the representation here on earth of the child whose full identity is already known, cared-for, created and fully membered in Christ. Love to you, feel God's presence alive within you and everywhere. Expect a miracle, this is the law of God. Amen.

  17. Oh Kellie, my heart is breaking right now. Thank you for sharing your story. You are so brave, you are such an amazing, strong woman of God. God is asking the world of you and I am so inspired by your humbleness and graciousness. Ahhh this post is incredible. We love you guys so much.

  18. I'm so sorry Kellie. Prayers for your family.

  19. Kellie and Jason, My thoughts, my heart and my prayers are with you during this oh so difficult time. May God give you strength and your friends and family comfort. Michele Edison

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  21. We will be praying for you and your precious Lily Frances. You are chosen to give her life to the fullest and be her beautiful Mommy. May the Lord give you peace, comfort, and strength to hold this heavy cross. God Bless all of you.

  22. Dear Kellie,
    I am sorry that you are suffering in this way. I have not had any children of my own, so I can't imagine the pain how difficult this must be for you.
    However, when I read your blog, I was reminded of this recent interview on the Catholic Conversation, with Christine Accurso. She is talking about miscarriage, and although what you are experiencing is somewhat different, I think there are some beautiful things which Christine says that you may find comforting. You can find it here:
    I hope this will be a help to you. You are in my prayers. God bless you,

  23. I am deeply saddened by this news. I understand your bewilderment, and I understand that there are moments when you can scarcely even 'breathe'. I experienced that when my little Emily left us only 3 months after birth. Let Jesus fill the 'void', that will always be there, but will soften over time <3

  24. Dear Kellie and family, loving prayers for you all, your writing about little Lilly is beautiful and I thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Blessings and strength prayed for all of you in the coming days-Joi

  25. Dear Kellie and family, I am just now reading your story so I don't know all that you have been through and are still going through, but I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Every child is a precious life for however long or short time we have with them, I know this after losing my 2nd child due to a miscarriage. We love them from the moment we know they are with us. I pray God will get you through this and strengthen your faith as only He can do. Love, prayers, sorrow, and comfort go out to you and your family in this season you are in. God Bless You~ Carole

  26. So sorry for your loss. Sending prayers and including your family in our prayers from this day forward...