bringing home baby…



Friday morning, while in the middle of a language lesson with Ethan, my phone rang. I always keep my phone away from where we are working on school and usually have the ringer off so we can eliminate distractions. That morning; however, I forgot to silence my phone. Ethan immediately ran to grab it for me. I looked but didn’t recognize the number, because of this I let it go to voicemail. Then the same number flashed up on my screen again so I answered it. The voice on the other end was one that I had been waiting to hear but at the same time wished I’d never have to. The funeral director was calling to inform me that Nathaniel’s ashes were ready to be picked up.

This was the last physical “piece of the puzzle” to the journey we have been on over the last month and we desperately wanted our sweet angel home.


From a young age I have learned that our bodies are merely vessels which hold who we are. Every one of us has a soul that lives forever. I fully and completely understand that once our hearts stop and we take our last breath, who we truly are takes its eternal journey to either heaven or hell. Our little blessing took that journey a little over a month ago. The evening of January 6th we held in our hands a lifeless body, our son. We were never able to hear him cry or see him move any part of his body but we know that shortly before we had him in our hands he was living in me. His heart was beating, his arms and legs were moving. We heard and saw this on the ultrasound just weeks before.
Our son was alive and our son has a soul. His body was in the middle of being formed with a purpose to carry that soul. We still question why he needed to be taken so early. We will never understand the reason but we know that we will see him again.

Attachment-1 (1)His earthly body, that vessel, was a physical reminder of his soul. We had two choices to make after his birth. The first was to give his body to the hospital and they would “store it” until they had enough fetuses, then they would cremate them all together and bury them in an unmarked plot at a catholic cemetery. The second option was to have him cremated and either bury him or bring him home. We decided without hesitation that we would bring our baby home.
We made the arrangements with the funeral home and were given the option of an angel urn or just a plain wood box. As we were filling out the paperwork, Justin noticed a heart shaped urn on a table by where we were sitting. We asked for the pricing of other options, specifically that one. The director told us that he would get that for us free of charge instead of the original two options. We chose to have the heart be white and we were able to have it inscribed. Both Ethan and Konnor have a favorite color, orange and green respectively. Justin, from the moment he saw Nathaniel has said that he sees him as white. White because he went from being pure, in the womb to being in the bright light of Jesus in heaven. It only made sense that we would have his ashes surrounded by this color as a constant reminder of that.

DSC_0151After each of our babies were born, Justin went to the gift shop at the hospital and picked out a stuffed animal for them. For Ethan he picked out “puppy”, for Konnor it was “bear” and for Nathaniel he chose “lamb”. His little stuffed lamb came with a small blanket. We decided that we would have him cremated with his blankey, we kept the lamb with us. I have been looking around at everything the boys own, scattered in every room of our house and I look at the one box and blanket that we have for Nathaniel and it makes me both happy and sad. Happy because we have those items which brings us memories of seeing him, but sad because that is everything and will always be everything we will physically have of him. The day before we went to the hospital to have Nathaniel, I went to target and picked out a big cozy blanket for him so I could hold him in it. The blanket still has the smell of him on it and I have it storeDSC_0169d away in a place that the boys can’t reach it. I have found comfort in holding it at times when memories of him fill my mind. It is the only material thing that I picked out for him that his body touched.

Back to that Friday….After the call came in, we received an email from the funeral director relaying the same information. Justin received that email while at work and started to tear up. Our moments of sorrow has become further apart but like any loss there will always be reminders that will bring the raw pain back to the surface again. I knew this call was coming and was bracing myself for it.

The boys and I finished school and near the end of the day we loaded into the vehicle and drove to the funeral home. Ethan was excited to finally be bringing his little brother home but Konnor had a complete meltdown when it finally hit him that  “baby brother” wasn’t going to come home in the form of a baby. He started to sob when I explained to him that what we were picking up was a heart shaped “container” that held Nathaniel’s ashes, there would be no “real baby” coming home.

We walked in and someone met us at the door, I told them who I was and why I was there. The man brought the boys and I into a tiny room. He then passed me a cardboard box which had a sticker on it that read “deceased : Nathaniel Craig Miller”. It was at that moment that I started to tear up. I signed the paperwork, held the box tightly under my arm and walked back to the car holding onto the hands of my other two boys. We loaded back into the car and I buckled in. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw Ethan on the right, Konnor on the left and an empty spot in the middle which I could envision a backwards facing car seat. Turning my head to the passenger seat I saw the box which held my third son. This was not how we were supposed to bring him home. He was not supposed to be placed in a small box that looked as if the UPS truck driver could have delivered to my front door. That was the moment the tears started to flow. Ethan asked me quietly “mom why are you crying?” to which I replied “I’m sad”. It’s as simple as that, I was sad.

The days have gone on. We have had lots of happy moments, lots of laughter in our home, but sometimes I can honestly say that I am sad. I’ve had some comments given to me that suggest that if I’m feeling good, then it must mean I’m “over it”. I know these remarks come from ignorance of the situation and I brush them off as such. I have dug deep in my faith over this last month and that has brought me so much peace and I’ve been able to see light in this dark time. Because of this I have been able to experience happiness throughout the pain, however I will never be “over the loss”. Nathaniel will never be replaced in my heart. He will never be forgotten. We as a family and I as a mother will be able to move on. I will continue to live my life and enjoy the two children I have been entrusted with here on earth. I will however always have a piece of my heart attached to Nathaniel; who is enjoying the splendor of heaven. He will never be “something that happened to us” he is a part of this family. He had life, he has a soul and we have a third son.

DSC_0138Welcome home my sweet Nathaniel.

why we do what we do….homeschool edition



Five years ago, if someone would have told me that when my oldest son started kindergarten I’d be his teacher I would have likely laughed so hard there would have been tears flowing from my eyes.

Fast forward to now and voila! I have a kindergartner who goes to school at “Chez Miller’s”…say what?! How on earth did our plans turn out so very different than what we had envisioned?

Both Justin and I grew up going to public school. Justin, here in Indiana and me in Northern Ontario. Neither one of us had bad experiences, we both graduated from our high-schools and went on to acquiring associates degrees. My all time “dream job” was to be a wife and mother, so I can literally saying I’m living MY dream. Justin runs an IT company here in Fort Wayne with his long time friend and we had every intention to put our boys in public school when the time came.

When Ethan turned three we enrolled him in preschool. The first day I dropped him off I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that made me second guess everything. Many people told me it was “normal” to feel that way but the feeling never left.

Without going into details, we decided that we would find a private school for our boys rather than going through public school system. We are both firm believers in Christ and to send our kids off into an environment where everything seems acceptable EXCEPT God just didn’t sit well with us. We wanted an education with the Lord smack dab in the center of it. This left us with a couple options and we explored them.

Suddenly like a ton of bricks hurling from space, I was hit HARD with the thought of home-school. For weeks I tried to get the concept out of my head. I tried SO hard to ignore the thoughts that consumed almost every hour of my day and seeped well into the night. It kept me up and it stressed me out. Without ceasing I would tell God, “NO!, I will not be doing that!” Finally after a good couple of months I decided to stop fighting it; to set aside my stubbornness and to start opening my mind and heart to what God was trying to tell me.

It is so easy to go with the flow of how life “should” proceed. To do what everyone else is doing. Going to school at age five, being in a class of 15-30 kids and being taught by a different teacher each year is the way things have been done for years. Why couldn’t we just continue our family life like we had originally planned? The bottom line is, God did not want us to.


Soon thereafter we bought tickets for the state homeschool convention. We knew the Lord wanted us to put this form of education on our options list and we finally humbled ourselves to do so.  Justin and I headed to Indianapolis to hear more about the benefits of homeschooling. We wanted to educate ourselves as much as possible before making a decision that would affect the lives of our boys.  We both agreed before entering the convention that we would keep our hearts and minds as open as possible to what the Lord wanted us to hear.

When we left the convention we were both at peace with the whole “homeschool thing”. We didn’t know where to start, what curriculum to choose, what method of teaching was best for our family or how the outcome would be. We stepped out of there with nothing but peace in our hearts and faith in our Savior that this is the path we are meant to travel.

The last two years have been as a whole pretty great. This is the first year that we are following a curriculum. I researched for months on which one to choose and finally decided on Sonlight. I love having my boys education focused on the truths of the bible. I love that Ethan is learning about Adam, Moses, Noah, King David and every other history figure that is written in His word. I love that we were able to choose a math program that makes even us understand numbers better. We learn everyday, not just Ethan but ALL of us.


Homeschooling is not easy. It is challenging, some days frustrating, but on a whole it is extremely rewarding. We are beyond blessed to have found peace in this area of life. Education is very important to us. We do not in any way take this task lightly. It is TERRIFYING to stop and think about the responsibility placed in our hands on making sure our boys have a sound education. Whenever I get overwhelmed by it all, and believe me that happens often, all I need to do is pray and without missing a beat God brings me back to the basic truth that this is where we need to be and He is walking with us on this journey.

Like any road, this one may end. We may be called to enroll them in private school somewhere down the line, and even though I don’t see that now I know that anything is possible! We keep the lines of communication open about what the next year of school will be. Will we be walking this exact path next year? in two years? in five years? only God knows. I didn’t think we would be in this place to begin with! anything is possible and we have been richly blessed by following God. As much as I argued, pleaded and initially ignored His words regarding my children’s education I am glad that I finally put my fears and excuses aside and opened up my mind and heart.

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. Proverbs 16:20

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..


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…


I prayed for you, God answered

I longed to hear your heartbeat, God answered….




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.


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.