a little note of gratitude…

Two weeks ago, at this exact time I was nearing the moment when I would get to hold my baby. It is so surreal to look back and think of the feelings and anxiety that I was going through as the hour approached when both Justin and I would look into the face of our third son.

These two weeks have been filled with so many emotions and a multitude of blessings amidst the tears and heartache. We as a family, came face to face with an overwhelmingly heart-wrenching experience and in the thick of it all felt the peace of God holding us close.

To everyone who has extended their sympathies, we thank you. Justin and I are in awe of the amount of support and love we have received and are receiving still to this day. From flowers to delicious food, emails to cards, sentimental personalized gifts to warm hugs, we have felt love pour over us.

Words cannot express how thankful we are to those in our lives who have stood beside us and held us close to their thoughts and prayers. We understand that the loss we feel is a unique one, one that only those who have lived or are living it can fully understand. Regardless of that, the outpouring of support has been unbelievable and we realize beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are richly blessed with amazing family and friends both near and far, old and new.

This post is solely one to thank everyone for caring for our little family. We will carry this feeling of love with us forever.

Thank you. We are blessed. You are loved.

the boys are back in town..

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After a very physically and emotionally draining few days, Justin went to pick up Ethan and Konnor from my in laws on Saturday afternoon. It did our hearts SO good to see them again. I am so thankful that they were able to spend the week at their grandparents place, seeing and playing with their cousins.

When they got home I hugged them so tight and felt overwhelmingly blessed to have them in my life. I couldn’t imagine going through such a loss and not having little ones to love on during the pain. I know that others aren’t so lucky and my heart goes out to them.

We have pictures of Nathaniel that we took personally and then some that our nurse took. We did not want to show the boys unless they wanted to see. He was so small and obviously he did not look like a full term chunky baby so I didn’t want the boys (especially Ethan) to get “scared” or have unsettled feelings about seeing his little brother. Ethan has such a tender heart and he is very sensitive so I left it up to him on if he wanted to see.

We had the memory box out that we were given at the hospital which has small blankets, a hat and small outfits in it that the hospital gave to us after Nathaniel was born. Inside the box are also some keepsakes and photos of our boy. Ethan saw the box and without hesitation wanted to see everything. I started off by asking the boys if they knew where Nathaniel was. Konnor very bluntly said “he’s dead!” the Innocent of a 3 year old is refreshing during times of sorrow. Ethan then responded that Nathaniel was in heaven with Jesus. We wanted to make sure that he knew the pictures were just his body, but his soul wasn’t here and he feels no pain or sadness.

The first pictures we showed them were of his hands and feet, Ethan was so surprised by how small they were. He would examine each picture for a good minute or so before moving on to the next. When we made it to the picture of Nathaniel’s face, Ethan took a few extra minutes to look at it. He grabbed the little hat that was in the memory box and couldn’t believe how little it was but how big it looked on his little brothers head. Konnor looked at each picture with a very serious look on his face but he didn’t say a word. He then went through everything in the box and played a little bit with the bear we were given at the hospital as we awaited the arrival of our baby.

Shortly after we finished looking at pictures and talking to the boys about Nathaniel, Ethan said he wanted to color. The boys took out their crayons and markers and sat at the table. Konnor sat there practicing his shapes and trying to make people, then he started adding stickers and he ended up making quite a masterpiece! Ethan spent longer at the table coloring and when he was done he came up and handed me a card he made for me. The card had a picture of our house and then he drew a picture of our family, which included Nathaniel. It is very important to us that even though the boys will not meet their brother here on earth, that they realize that he is real and I think that Ethan deeply feels that he indeed has another younger brother. I am glad that they both acknowledge the existence of Nathaniel but I am also glad that they are young enough that the sadness of his death will likely not hit them as hard. Our hope is that they see how we are thanking God for the gift he gave us and that someday, Lord willing, they will meet and hug Miller boy #3 in heaven!

 

We have been very fortunate and blessed to have so many family and friends in our lives who have made things a little easier by sending messages, emails, cards, flowers, preparing meals and continually praying for us. This life event has shown us how blessed we are to have such a supportive and loving group in our lives. We will never forget the love that we’ve felt and we will forever be grateful for it!

This afternoon has been mostly spent playing with my boys. They have been wanting to be in same room as me all afternoon and I will never take for granted again how lucky I am to have that!

 

goodbye sweetheart…

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I prayed for you, God answered

I longed to hear your heartbeat, God answered….

 

Then…

 

I saw your beautiful eyes, they did not see mine

Instead your eyes saw Jesus

 

I touched your precious hands, they did not feel mine

Instead you are being embraced by Jesus

 

I kissed your lips, your head, your heart, you did not in turn kiss mine

Instead you are being kissed by Jesus

 

I dreamed of you growing up with your brothers, you will grow no longer here

Instead you will grow with Jesus

 

I imagined you and dad smiling and laughing together, this image I will never see

Instead you will be joyfully living with Jesus

 

My baby boy, my gift from God, Nathaniel

I sorrowfully give you back to Jesus

 

My whole heart aches, is shattered and broken

I place my broken heart in the hands of Jesus…where you are

 

One day I will see you again, I will hold you, I will kiss you, and I will hear you call me mommy.

On that day, you can introduce me to Jesus.

 

I love you…

Nathaniel…the day we went from 4 to 5.

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Here in lies the intense desire to get this site up this year…my sweet baby Nathaniel.

Justin and I found out we were pregnant with our third baby back in October. We had prayed about it and left it in God’s hands on if He wanted us to have another baby. We honestly thought that as the year was coming to an end that perhaps a third child wasn’t in God’s plans for us.

To say we were excited to welcome another baby to this family would be an understatement. Sure we were slightly terrified and wondered how on earth we would be able to care for 3 kids but we were more excited about the adventure that would be waiting for us in June 2016.

When we told Ethan and Konnor about the baby, they were both excited. Over the last few months Ethan would randomly tell me how he would take care of the baby, he would sing to him or her if they were sad, he would help feed the baby and kiss the baby and help the baby however they needed it. His sweet heart was very much ready to be a big brother again.

Konnor very vocally would say that he wanted a brother and only a brother. He also named the baby “Luigi” and said that he would love him.

All of this excitement and anticipation for what this year was going to mean for us came to a very abrupt halt on Monday afternoon.

Justin was planning on coming to my regular OB visit but when he realized it wasn’t the ultrasound visit to find out the sex of the baby we decided he didn’t need to be there. From the experience of our last 2 pregnancies we knew the visits were pretty quick (aside from maybe waiting around to do a few labs).

I went into the room, my Dr came in and immediately took out the Doppler to hear the heartbeat. She kept moving it around my belly and she said “now don’t freak out! you’re only 4 months so it could take a minute, and your torso is long so I just need to find the baby”. After about 3 minutes of her looking she asked a nurse to bring in the ultrasound machine and told me that this happens often and not to worry and she would look for a heartbeat and the baby was likely facing the wrong way.

As I laid there I had a million things going through my mind but I was mainly repeating the prayer “please Jesus, let her find the heartbeat”. The ultrasound machine was old and grainy and she looked around for a bit and then told me that she wants to take me up to the other ultrasound machines and get a scan. She also then said something to me that I will never forget “I don’t have a good feeling about this…”

We walked up the back stairs and ended up in a room where they did my other ultrasounds for the other boys. It was the same room we found out that Ethan and Konnor were boys. The experience in there this time was however extremely different.

It was about 5 minutes of my Dr looking at the screen before the technician came in. They both looked at each other and then took my hand and told me there was no heartbeat. The technician then measured the baby’s head and it was determined that death likely occurred within the last week.

I grabbed my coat and purse and followed my Dr back down to her office where we made plans to be induced at the hospital on Wednesday January 6th. With the size of the baby she didn’t want me to deliver at home since I was in the second trimester and home deliveries are more likely to cause complications at that stage with giving birth to a baby who is no longer alive.

I left that office that day with my heart broken and my mind spinning. I didn’t know what to do or how to feel. As soon as the air hit my face as I walked outside tears started to fall from my eyes. The next thing I needed to do was call Justin and tell him that our baby was dead. I’ll never forget hearing him say “Hey!” as he answered the phone, knowing that he had no idea that I was about to change his life forever. We both cried that night. We still cry…

Wednesday came, the alarm went off at 4:30am. I got up and had my shower and cried the whole time while getting ready. Knowing that when I got home again my baby would no longer be a part of me. I remember standing in the kitchen with Justin before heading out the door and him grabbing me and hugging me and I said to him “I don’t want to do this…” to which he solemnly replied “I know…”

The ride to the hospital was quiet with only the sounds of sobbing. Justin prayed in the car before we headed in. We were brought up to the maternity ward and passed the nursery area, the same place we stood to look at Ethan and Konnor when they were babies. I was an emotional wreck to say the least. We were put in a back room, away from most of the other delivery rooms and a leaf was placed on our door to symbolize that we were going to have a baby that would not be alive.

I cried on the couch in the room for about 20 minutes. I looked around at the familiar equipment that was there to put the baby in after he/she was born.

When I was finally able to speak, the nurse came in and helped me get ready for what was about to happen. I asked for an ultrasound to “just make sure”… I knew the baby was dead but I didn’t fully want to believe it.

The ultrasound technician came in and we got to see our baby on the screen, motionless. Measurements were taken again and my Dr came in to see what position the baby was in.

I was then told how everything would happen and was given the drug to help me go into labor. I was told that it could take up to 24 hours since my body was not ready to deliver. It was about 5 hours into this process that I asked for an epidural. The emotional pain was so much to handle that I wanted to feel as numb as I could physically.

After the epidural I was able to get some rest. Justin curled up on the couch and he fell asleep. I slept off and on for a few hours. I was woken up once by the sound of a baby being born, my heart ached to hear that sound.

The nurses and hospital staff were all very compassionate and wonderful through the whole labor and delivery process. I thank God for that.

It wasn’t until 12.5 hours later that our baby was born. It happened so fast and I remember the nurse telling me the baby was here and it was a boy. We had already picked out names the day before. We had different names picked out for the baby but when we found out that we would welcome a sleeping baby into this world we wanted to have a name given to him or her that had meaning to it.

Nathaniel is Justin’s middle name. It is also Ethan’s middle name. I never knew the meaning of it until I was googling a couple days before “names meaning a gift from God” and that name showed up. It was without a doubt the name that we needed to use if we we were to have a boy.

It was such a bittersweet moment to hold Nathaniel. I am so very thankful to God that although this has been terribly hard, we were far enough in the pregnancy that I was able to give birth to my son and see him and hold him before having to say goodbye.

I had looked up online the night before, pictures of babies born at 16 weeks (4 months) and not one of them had a picture with the eyes open so I was very stunned to see Nathaniel’s eyes wide open looking at me when the nurse placed him in my hands. They were so big and blue and beautiful. His lips had almost a slight smile on them and his sweet little hands and feet were perfectly formed.

We have 3 sons. We will lovely care for the 2 we have here on earth and will rejoice when we can see and love on sweet Nathaniel again in Heaven.

This has by far been the hardest week of my life. When my mom died when I was 10 it was a loss that I still feel but it is so different on many levels. I don’t think you can compare losses on which is worse. All are hard.

The thing that weighs most on my heart is not so much the memories I had with Nathaniel but the memories that I will miss. The plans that we had as a family of 5 and how that will never come the way we envisioned. First cries, first steps, first words, playing with his brothers. Slobbery kisses, spit up all over the place, hearing him say “mama and dada”. All of these things I will miss and these are the things I grieve. I do not wish this week away, yes I wish that it didn’t have to happen but I do not wish a second of it away because everything leading to it let me see, hold and kiss my baby goodbye.

I do not want to forget about Nathaniel and I do not want to pretend that he was never “real”. He is as real to me as my other kids. I am sad that no one got to meet him. I am sad that his brothers will never know there little brother in this life. I do not want to dwell on that but rather take comfort in knowing that this life is so short, this life is only the beginning and we were made to live forever. How wonderful it is for Nathaniel that God  made him solely for Heaven. God made him and knew that the first thing he would see was not the dimly lit hospital lights but rather the splendor of Heaven. That is amazing.

Yes I am sad. Yes I have questioned why this had to happen. I do not think that I will ever understand fully. I will be grieving for my little man forever. I do however want to make his life have had meaning. I want this to draw me closer to God and I feel that it already has.

Justin told me on Tuesday what he is getting out of all of this right now is that we need to be joyful. We need to live in the moment, every moment. To not waste time on things that don’t matter. Spend as much time with our boys here as we can, love them and enjoy them. Enjoy others, build deeper relationships with family and friends. We will not take Nathaniel’s life for granted. We will rejoice in the 16 weeks that we had with him and let him be a constant reminder daily that life is precious. Life is a gift.

 

 

and so it begins

For the past year I’ve had it placed on my heart heavily to start blogging. About what? I wasn’t sure and I’m still not. I just felt like I needed to have a place to write down my thoughts, funny stories about my boys, my joys and struggles of motherhood and perhaps a thing or two about this crazy homeschooling adventure that we are embarking on.

Like most things that aren’t needing my attention at that exact moment the “blogging thing” kept being put on hold. I am now; however starting this “adventure” to have an outlet for everything going on in this “Miller life” that I live. I hope to, if nothing else; have a place to come back to and read my words and remember the events and moments in my life that seem small to likely everyone else but that are important to me.

The one thing I’ve learned this week is that life is too short to put anything off until tomorrow. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, we aren’t even guaranteed our next breath. I am learning to live life in a way that is meaningful and in a way that I can rest my head on my pillow at night knowing that I did not waste the gift I was given that day by not enjoying and delighting in the blessings given to me by God.