Howdy! I come to you all yet again for help! I have had this burden of beginning a ministry blog specific to remembering those we have lost or honoring those we know we will lose. I will be including ideas that we used to honor and remember Jacob in order to refer others to the blog so they can take what is appropriate for their situation. I have come in contact with so many families who have appreciated how we celebrate Jacob's life and many of them gleaned ideas and now have magical memories of their own. This blog will help me refer these families to the blog and they can find what is appropriate for their situation and use it when they are ready. Please be in prayer for this as I gather the ideas, relay the information and even just think of a name an appropriate name for the ministry. Please, let me know if there is anything specific that we did in celebrating Jacob that stood out to you so I can be sure to share that with others. Post a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you guys and I will keep you updated!
Hi all, the other night, I did get a chance to speak with the mama and we were able to just talk about things. She shared so much and blessed my heart. I was able to share some of how we dealt with things with Jacob and it was a blessed conversation for both of us.
This morning I received an email from her, and she told me her baby girl's heart beat had stopped and she was scheduled for surgery today. Please pray how you feel led. Her baby is gone and now the grieving of her death and condition is in gear. Thank you!
Everything is going great here...really really great. We are enjoying our littlest one in a way only possible because of Jacob.
I come to you for prayer for a family I was just introduced to. A friend of my sister goes to church with a sweet couple who has received a T18 diagnosis for their little baby girl 15 weeks in her mama's womb. Her T18 conditions are severe and the couple has not been given much hope of a live birth. I am in the process of getting connected with the mother and would covet your prayers for the baby girl, for the mama and daddy, and for guidance in how Jacob can be used in their lives. I am always so thankful for the opportunity to be used, but the flip side is that there is another family with broken hearts.
All you who understand because you have walked this road of loss, please pray for this couple with specifics of what you know as only a parent of loss knows. Those who have not lost, pray with the awe of how you have no clue what it would be like to lose your child and the sheer fear of every having to experience it.
I will do my best to keep you updated if the Lord clears the way for me to be used in their lives.....but just be in prayer.
Anyone who has been given the blessing of a child knows that sitting and staring becomes a regular activity. I did this with all of my children. But there is something very different about this time with Jeremiah and we have Jacob to thank for that. From January 14th, 2008 until the morning of May 31st, 2008, I stared at a baby who was made with perfection, yet not made to be here for very long. I stared at a baby who's heart didn't beat to the same tune, who's breaths were few and far between at times, who's coordination did not allow him to suck and swallow milk from his mother or from a bottle, who's brain never allowed him to smile or laugh intentionally, who could not open and close his fist around my finger. For a few hours of my life on May 31, 2008, I held and stared at a body that no longer had a heart beat or took breaths and had no option to eat or to smile and laugh or grasp my finger.
Until you have not, you do not realize what you have.
Anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't change a single thing about Jacob....he was perfectly made to be used by God in amazing ways. Jacob has already impacted Jeremiah so much in the nine months in my womb and in these two weeks of life outside the womb. I stare at Jeremiah, not the same way I did when Joshua and Jonathan were newborns because they were before I went without. I have stared at them since Jacob with the amazement of the privilege it is to gaze at their very active bodies and invest in their eternal souls. And now this newborn that lays beside me....how he captivates me. How I notice his heart beats beautiful perfect music. How I notice his lungs sing of health with every rise and fall of his chest. How I notice his strong feeding abilities that cause me to just gaze in amazement of the preciousness I hold on my chest. How I notice his smile and sleepy laughs that rise up in me and bring smiles and laughter to my soul. How I notice as his stunningly long fingers curl around mine and grip. How I notice he is alive and well. I have learned. These are not things to go unnoticed and unappreciated as they had in the past. These are miracles. These are things to sit in amazement at. These are the things only a Creator controls. What gifts my children are. Thank God for them so I can see the beautiful miracle of creation. It truly is amazing.
Just sit, stare and be amazed at the miracles children are by just being.
So, it seems that I am a spoiled princess. My Heavenly Father not only provides me with every need but He goes above and beyond and blesses me with things that I just plain want! I LOVE photography. My home is decorated with images that professional photographers have captured of my children. In the past year and a half, God has burdened not one, not two, not three, but FOUR professional photographers to bless our family with their time and talents.
Chelse just joined the list this past week. She had run a Mother's Day competition where a dear friend of mine nominated me and Chelse picked our story as the competition winner....she liked how Jacob's story has helped others and we have used it to touch people for good. So, Monday we did a newborn session. She was so sweet and was great to work with....even with a determined to be awake baby! Chelse posted some teaser photos from our session on her blog: http://eieiophotography.blogspot.com/ . They are beautiful photos and I cannot wait to see the rest. Thank you Chelse for capuring this season of our lives!
Our friend Kelly just started a photo business (www.glimpsesofyouphotography.com) recently and she just dropped off the digital versions of the photoshoot of the family prior to Jeremiah's arrival. Thought yall might want to take a gander. Enjoy!
So Karen got up at 9am this morning contracting. Pretty good but spread apart. The boys had their baseball picnic and awards at 10 am so we went with our luggage in the car and with Gramma and Grampa already prepared to take Joshua and Jonathan should we have to exit early. Walking through the ball fields the contractions got closer and closer together. We were able to see both boys get their awards and play a little before Karen decided it was time to get closer to the hospital since we're a good 40-50 minutes away from the hospital we were supposed to deliver at. We drove in with contractions about every 5-6 minutes. They took us into the triage area and put Karen on the monitors and checked her cervix. She was still only dialated 3. How disappointing! But her contractions were still coming regular and getting harder. The doctor was hesitant to send us away so he convinced Karen to stay at least an hour and let him check her again. I got her some light food to eat since she was getting shaky since she missed the wonderful baseball picnic hotdog lunch! After the hour was up the doctor checked her again and she was still a 3! He advised us that he would discharge her, but if she could stay somewhere close for the night it wouldn't be a bad idea just in case! We were discharged at 3 pm. We made the trek home with Karen contracting all the way. We arrived home approximately 3:45 pm and spoke with the boys for about 5 minutes and then Karen went to take a shower. On her way up the stairs her water broke! We were back in the car heading back to the hospital by 4 pm! We arrived at the hospital at approximately 4:25 pm. ((Shhh... don't tell the police! It's actually fun when you have a good reason to drive at approximately 100 MPH and to go through red lights! How exhilerating!)) And it's a good thing that Dad drove fast because Jeremiah was born at 5:05 pm! There was no stopping that boy from coming out! We hardly had time to get into a room and we didn't even have time to sign all the paperwork! The doctors weren't ready ... but Jeremiah was! There was a flurry of about 12-15 different nurses and doctors going this way and that but Karen pushed maybe three times and that boy came flying out - making it difficult for the doctor to catch him! Half the doctors who were supposed to be there didn't even arrive until after he was born! :)
He is beautiful.
Sorry no pictures... I expected him to be a world-wide phenomenon by now, but I left the camera with Karen at the hospital when I came home to put the boys down for the night. Tomorrow there will be pictures. Promise.
Joshua absolutely can't wait to go hold his baby brother tomorrow. Jonathan fell asleep on the car ride home (much slower than the car ride there by the way!). Me and Joshua had a good conversation about Jacob and Jeremiah. Joshua recognized that we were at the hospital where Jacob was born and of course had questions about whether Jeremiah was going to grow up and be healthy or if he was going to live a short life like Jacob. It was a great time of talking about how God is in control of each of our lives - how He is the Giver and Taker of lives and that our lives are but a vapor that appears for a moment and vanishes away. We got to talk about how we need to live each day for God for we don't know how long we have on this earth. Joshua then asked me why Jacob wanted to go up to heaven, or why God wanted Jacob in heaven instead of on earth. While I admitted that I don't pretend to know all the answers to that profound question, I did offer to him this idea: Sometimes God puts things in our lives to change us to be more like Him and to rely on Him and to know Him better. I believe that Jacob accomplished that in his short life and glorified God in that pursuit. We shared about how Jacob changed us, and changed our family, and changed our friends and even how Jacob changed some of you all around the world! And if that's all that God did through Jacob, then that's enough for me. His legacy lives on... oh to know the impact that he has left on each life.... only in Heaven.
We are 4 days out from my due date and have yet to hold our sweet little man on this side of the womb. Our calendar is strategically empty due to the fact I had all my boys early. Our days are filled with enjoying our oldest two, remembering our third, and awaiting our active fourth. Jeremiah has been "knocking" for 9 days now....contractions consistent but not strong, then strong not consistent, then gone, then back again...perpetual labor. He keeps us guessing, waiting, excited, and reminds us that every day is a gift in womb or out!...so much like his brother Jacob! :)
So please keep us in prayer as we await the time to proceed to the hospital....we've attempted the trip once after 10 hours of consistent contractions but stopped short as they completely stopped on our way!....please pray for a safe delivery as we attempt a VBAC after 19 months, please pray for the big brothers as their lives take this step yet again into tangible brotherhood, please pray for us all as we await without anxiety but thankfulness for all the seasons life gives us. Thank you and we look forward to sharing Jeremiah with you soon. Love, Karen
I sit here on my couch, where I spent the first 4 1/2 months of 2008, currently covered and comforted by Jacob's
clothing. This is not some freakish expression of grief....it is more like a beautiful piece of memorabilia. About a year ago, I thought about what to do with Jacob's clothing.....I thought I could donate them to the NICU to use, but then I thought, "Um, no.".....I thought I could just keep them and maybe another baby would wear them, but then I would never wish to have such a tiny baby that would fit them!.....I thought I could just put them with all his other memorabilia, but then I realized how much room it would take up seeing he had a ton of clothes!...but then I remembered my mother's pillow made from her father's shirt....and I thought maybe someone with real talent (and guts!) would take his outfits and make a quilt! I packed all of Jacob's teeny tiny outfits into a paper box and dropped them at a dear friend's house. She had offered her amazing quilting talents to make Jacob's clothing into a quilt for us to enjoy and use. Let's just say, "easier said than done!" Just think about making the first cut!!!!....I can't imagine! She researched how to put a backing on the clothing so they would quilt properly, asked me what kinds of things I wanted, and thought about the pattern....it is not easy to get good size fabric to quilt from teeny tiny outfits! This was a high stress quilt! She apologized for how long it took but really I was fine with whatever she had to do and in no rush. I got the call last week to schedule a time to stop in and pick it up. So Monday evening, Jason, the boys and I, headed over. Let me tell you, it is beautiful....precious....comforting.....just perfect. The boys picked their favorite square and they pointed out how they remembered him in certain ones. Joshua's favorite piece is the tag on the back that says, "In loving memory of Jacob Ryan Fahmer, January 14, 2008 ~ May 31, 2008." I can't pick a favorite part.....everything about it is my favorite!.....I just look at the squares and think about my sweet baby boy in each one. I just love that his clothes now cover me and are usable and comfortable.
It is made up of 56 center 5 inch squares made from his clothing...she even included some of the
tags that say "preemie" on them and the cute footies and pockets and zippers and snaps. Surrounding the squares is a thinner boarder with a print of cute tiny hand and foot prints....this is also the fabric for the back. Then (get this!) the outside boarder is made of all his black and white fabrics I had bought him that he loved to stare at. All together, it is so perfect. It is so Jacob. It is so sweet. I just love it....I can't explain it. I just love it.
Mrs. De, thank you so much for putting so much love and care into something that means so much to our family. Words cannot express what this quilt means to us and we thank you for making it happen. Love always, The Fahmer's
So Jeremiah has been growing for about 35 weeks and 4 days in my body. Wow. He is so crazy in there and a joy to watch even now! Jonathan has been enjoying Jeremiah's hiccups and kicks and Joshua loves to rial him up and kiss him good night. They busted out Jacob's stethoscope yesterday and were trying to listen to my tummy for him....so cute (I took the above picture and that was not an easy shot to get....try and take a pic of your own belly!). The nursery is getting put together and we are figuring out all the things we have yet to get. This is not an easy task.....trying to move out the "in home care" papers, the "thinking of you" cards and the remains of a funeral to anticipate a birth???...not the normal exciting "getting ready for a baby" time....but this is our normal, and there is very little sadness about it....I thought it would be tougher than it is. Don't get me wrong, it is not easy, but deciding that this nursery is Jeremiah's, just like we moved Joshua out when Jonathan was coming, helps. We have moved the big brother out before and brought in the little one, so I can handle that mindset and be excited.
Joshua was riling up Jeremiah the other day and then he stopped and looked at me real serious and said, "Do you think we'll get to keep this one , Mom?" Oh, how my heart breaks for my boys? They lived 4 1/2 marvelous months with their baby brother, kissing him everyday as if it was their last moment with him. That has carried over to this baby already....and I want them to learn what it is that God has for them so I try not to interfere with those feelings...I can not promise them a thing with this baby....I cannot reassure them that we will get to keep this one......these feelings and emotions that God has allowed our situation to develop and magnify in my boys is building them into Godly men....I will not contradict what God has planted. I want them to be appreciative of their time here with whomever and envelope them in love no matter how long we have....they get that and that is a beautiful thing. So pray for them as we hope with all our hearts that we do get to keep Jeremiah and have him grow up in our family with his two oldest brothers who care for him so much because of how Jacob taught us to love. Our 4 amazing boys....oh, how I thank the Lord for them.
So, our summer is filled with tadpoles, dancing in the rain, jumping in the pool, riding bikes, picking berries, summer reading, gardening, baseball, and just plain fun. We have been enjoying it and appreciating our family times together. Life is really good.....really.....the other day I said to Jason, "You know things are going well when the heaviest thing on your mind is wondering when your tomatoes are going to turn red!" We are happy, joyful and loving life. I try to not let Satan rob me of our peace....the scariest days of our lives all began as regular normal days.....but we live with a marvelous peace of being under our Father's care and therefore nothing is to be feared. We need these peaceful times and thank God we are able to appreciate and recognize them....we know the side of worry and fear and without them, we would not know such peace as now....it is beautiful.
Thank you for your continued love and support. Your prayers for our family are not taken lightly and we appreciate them all. Pray for our future month....our little man adding the final touches on his growth, our boys awaiting their baby brother, Jason and me as we deliver our sweet little one....how ever you feel led to pray. Thanks you. God Bless!
Last week was another one of those weeks where I am overwhelmed with what God wants for Jacob's life. Jacob has "been gone" for over a year but this week I have had some serious "mommy moments"....these are moments that I get only from Jacob.....because I don't have graduations or championship games to go to for him.......I have a glimpse of where God reveals another way He used my baby boy to impact this world for His good. Who was it this week ?????.....about 90 sophomores in a New York State public school were touched by Jacob AND Beth Moore testified at her Living Proof conference in Pittsburgh, that every day since she met us 8 mama friends in Atlanta about a year ago, our stories impact her every word of Truth she uses. How did this all come about?
First off, a biology teacher at my mother's place of work (as well as my former high school) had her classes follow Jacob's blog last year because of the rarity of being able to see a live baby with T18. This year, although he isn't with us, her class used the blog as a reference during her genetics portion. Upon hearing this, I contacted the teacher to thank her for allowing my boy to be of such influence and offered to come and talk to her classes. She was enthusiastic and really wanted me to connect the kids with a real story that showed that these babies, regardless of medical advice, defects and less than perfect abnormalities, are not just items to abort but rather miracles of life that impact us and have worth. It was very easy for me to get up there and talk about my sweet boy for how ever long I had! I was able to talk to 3 classes and the students were so respectful and polite. I brought some of his tiny items, pictures and his pamphlet from his 'Celebration of Life' service. They asked questions and hopefully gathered information on how to parent from a loving perspective verses a medical/clinical perspective. These students got a glimpse of a mama who loves her sweet boy regardless of what the world's standards are for worth living. He was compatible with life and they saw that. I just keep saying, "90 kids in a New York State public high school?!?!......really God???... THANK YOU for an unheard of opportunity!!! :) " It is one of those things that you have no idea how impactful it will be but you take every opportunity, plant the seeds that may be watered by other situations and bloom into something that glorifies the Savior.
Next, one of my sweet mama friends went to see Beth Moore in Pittsburgh and with her brought a photo book of when we met Beth in Atlanta as well as various pictures of each families babies; with our babies that have passed as well as a picture of all of us with our "baby after". Every single one of us 8 mommies have a "baby after" and even though I had to send a picture of an ultrasound, Jeremiah was included since I am holding him in my womb! There is a video of Beth teaching (and Chrissy crying!) and sharing with Pittsburgh the story of how our babies and stories impact her everyday.
These are my moments. I get to sit and relish in what my sweet boy is doing for the Kingdom of God. God uses him everyday in my heart and in the hearts of others and that makes me a proud mama of a true champion.
Although we miss you, precious child, we know that you have been having the time of your eternal life in the presence of our Creator. There hasn't been a single one of the past 365 days that we didn't wish we could touch your soft hair, gaze into your blue eyes, poke your tiny scrunchy nose, and roll your pea-size toes....but we know that you have been made whole and live fully in the presence of the One who made everything about you perfect. We are so proud of everything you did in your time here on earth and your memory continues in the hearts left here. We miss you sweet boy (understatement).....Happy Heavenly Birthday.
So, here we are.....in the 51st week after Jacob's death (I didn't really count....I just know there are 52 weeks in a year so I did the math). There aren't many weeks that I play back in my mind, but this one is just too significant not to.....it was his week of lasts.....and although we were blessed with so many firsts and seconds and thirds, it's the thought of his lasts that overwhelm so many of those thoughts. His last birthday celebration where his older brothers leaned over his sweetly sleeping body and sang happy birthday ever so softly as to not disturb him. His last cardiologist appointment. His last doctor's appointment (of so many) where we expected him to overcome since that was what he always did. His last nurse's visit. His last bath. His last visitors. His last night with his mama on the couch. His last blog entry. His last boys night. His last snuggle on his mama's chest. His last kiss from his mama. His last breath.... (the thought of it....since I missed it). Overwhelming. Everyday it is overwhelming. Every night before I fall asleep I fight the overwhelming thought of "this actually happened." I don't need a date to remind me that I miss my sweet boy. I don't need a calendar to tell me when to weep....we just deal as we go. I just know that there is something missing. A mother's job is to be needed and busy among her children....I no longer have that earthly job with Jacob physically and I haven't for the past year but it is a job that I will forever feel I need to fulfill. So although he had all his lasts just about a year ago, his memory is forever lasting in the hearts of those who love him and who have been changed by his 138 days on earth. God continues to use Jacob's life for His glory even today, almost a year after he has passed. So Jacob hasn't touched his last heart.....he is lasting, remaining safe in the arms of Jesus, where he will be.....until I get there and snatch him up! :) And my precious boy lasts here in my heart and the hearts of others until our last days. I know my last tear has not fallen for my sweet tiny boy....there will be many more....I'm taking one day at a time, until we reach our last.
Well Hello there! The past few weeks have been so busy with lots of good things and I just wanted to let you all know that things are well. Our Baby Boy Fahmer #4 has taken on the name Jeremiah Gabriel.....the boys pray for him as Jeremiah and talk to him as Jeremiah so Jeremiah it is. Jeremiah is growing strong....his kicks are very noticeable inside and out, his heart beats are strong, his cardiologist says everything looks great, and we have no red flags. We understand that good reports from doctors doesn't mean God will give us another day with Jeremiah but it is nice to have hope of a baby we just may be able to keep. The boys pray for him to be able to grow up with them multiple times a day and love to take a shirt or pants they have grown out of and put it in the nursery for Jeremiah to grow into. I have been feeling well. The dramatic weight gain always takes a toll on any body so I am feeling that but I haven't been dragging and terribly sleepy.....I have energy! Jason is careful to make sure I don't over-do it outside with our boys or in our gardens or around the house....I am spoiled. I will be 27 weeks on Tuesday so I am into my third trimester already! Jeremiah measures right on time, my tummy measures just under 25 weeks (I have always measured small) and time is flying by as we approach summer.
Emotionally, when I think of Jeremiah, I am excited and loving my everyday of having him to myself and hopeful of sharing him with the world. I have very brief in infrequent moments of weakness (or should I say reality) that I may not be allowed to keep him but I am not fearful. Emotionally, when I think of Jacob, I miss him....terribly. I fight the thought of the 31st this month and remind myself that it is just another day that I will miss my sweet boy and no matter the day or time, I will not miss him any more of less. Just this time of year, the boy is constantly on my mind. I spent last year in my garden while he slept at times and we would run in and check on him and then there were other times when we would bundle him up and he would spend the day with us outside in the fresh air and be in our yard in his stroller or on my chest. It is just funny how last Spring, just that one with Jacob in my lifetime, with spending my every day and night with Jacob conditioned me on what Spring feels like and now anything different than having him is just different....someone is missing and every fiber in me knows it and that feeling is in full bloom.
Mother's Day was so sweet. The boys made me breakfast in bed and showered me with homemade gifts that mean nothing to anyone else but mean the world to me :) And Jason helped the boys get me a beautiful picture frame with this poem on it:
"Dear Momma, If I could give you diamonds for each tear you cried for me, If I could give you sapphires for each truth you've help me see, If I could give you rubies for the heartache that you've known, If I could give you pearls for the wisdom that you've shown, Then you'll have a treasure, Mother, that would mount up to the skies, That would almost match the sparkle in your kind and loving eyes. But I have no pearls, no diamonds, as I'm sure you're well aware, So I'll give you gifts more precious, My devotion, love and care. We love you soo much Mommy, Joshua, Jonathan, Jacob and Jeremiah - 2009"
Talk about tears! They put a picture in it of Joshua holding Jacob's bear and Jonathan holding Jeremiah's ultrasound....my 4 boys.
We also had a vacation to Walt Disney World! My parents had talked for a few years about taking us and the time finally came and we all went for a week the first week of May. It was a great time! But talk about walking!....I can't believe I still gained weight after walking how ever many miles.....it was a great motivation to get me to walk more here at home. The boys loved the rides (they both did the big kid rides like Tower of Terror and Thunder Mountain Train Ride....and Joshua even did the Rockin' Rollercoaster!) but yet enjoyed the simpler rides (that I could do!) and shows, they liked seeing the characters and getting their autographs and pictures. My sister Juli was able to drive from the West Palm area to spend 4 of the days with us and that was great time for her and the boys just to be auntie and nephew....and she loves rides so that gave Jason a break! They just loved being at the hotel and jumping on the beds and swimming and racing up the stairs or elevator. One of the highlights of our week was at Magic Kingdom when Jason, Joshua, Jonathan and I wore our "Official Fan of Jacob" shirts and everyone asked us about him. The boys had "cast members" ask about Jacob and we had people standing in lines wanting to know who Jacob was.....it was a "magical" day that we got to spend talking about our sweet heavenly boy. It was an exhausting week, but a memorable one that we are very thankful that we were able to do.
So there is a quick update on us....I apologize for it taking so long! Maybe I will get better....but with the weather being so great and my gardens blooming, I just love to be outside with my boys and not inside on the computer....you all can understand that! Just know we are well and I will keep you updated as much as I can. Love you all and miss you all!
I will be updating soon on all good things that have been going on....but we just got back from vacation and need a vacation! Just know that things are well here and we will be updating soon! Love you all. Karen
This past week has been pretty cool. It always amazes me how God not only sent His Son to the cross for me 2000+ years ago but He also sends little love reminders throughout my every day. It's not enough for Jesus that he gives me hugs and kisses from my two older boys and allows me to relish in their successes throughout their every single day......it's not enough for Him to give me yet another beautiful child who I get to feel dance in my tummy.......He goes incorporates our precious Jacob's life in our everyday, not just in our hearts but in the hearts of others. God knows this is a source of encouragement to me and it reminds me how much He cares for me and my family. Here are some examples of how God is still using the life of our sweet boy:
*About a month ago, Jason was asked to speak at a new church plant about 60 miles away from our home. He was asked to speak on the topic of suffering. This past Sunday was when he taught. Now, Jason is a bright guy, wise, talented (I am biased) but his gift of teaching is one from God. I cannot find the words the explain what it means as a wife and mother to see my husband before a group, teaching God's Word that has been so profound in our lives this past year, and using my son's life as an example on so many levels. There are not many daddies who talk too openly about the passing of their child in public or in the home. So to see him up there, tears is his eyes, speaking the Word and words God wanted him to share....uuuhhhh...cool (understatement). I know it was meant for that church to hear and they applied it, but for me sitting in the front row, as his wife and mama to the baby who God used to teach him those things, it was a proud moment.....a treasured one. One that blessed my heart to witness and is a gift a wife and mother will cherish forever. How do I know Jesus loves me? Because He gave me a gifted husband who loves his family and wants to touch others with the life of his family's suffering.... an amazing daddy to all his boys here on earth and in heaven.
*God also used that evening at that church to allow me to embrace yet another mother in sorrow. I had communicated through email and phone with a mother of a sweet baby boy who passed from Trisomy 13 last year. The church we were at was literally down the street from her and she came on out and we met face-to-face for the first time. She sat next to me as we listened to Jason speak. What a support to me to have another person there who I knew felt exactly what Jason was talking about! Any time I get to hug another mama of a baby in Jesus' arms, I just get the chills.....it is amazing how little you know about someone but yet this one thing we have in common (the loss of a child) can make us feel connected like nothing else can. It truly was such a blessing. How do I know Jesus loves me? Because he gives me opportunities to embrace other mamas and allows our sorrow to be of encouragement to one another.
*Tuesday, as I sat at my boys gymnastics class, I was talking with some other mothers about art curriculum. I shared how the boys have been having art lessons at home for the past year as a service a company provided because of Jacob. There was a mother there who I met for the first time this week and she asked about Jacob's story. She asked me what he passed from so I told her Trisomy 18. Usually, when using this term, I have to further explain what that is but she looked at me and told me that her 4th child (she had 6) passed of Trisomy 18 10 years ago. Talk about an instant bond. She was so interested in the connections I have made through the blog and the support we have received from all other the world. She shared some of the opportunities she has had to minister to others with her son's life over the past 10 years. She commented on how the interent was just not something you used for those purposes when she lost her son 10 years ago. God placed yet another mother here in my home town for me to hug and "get it". How do I know Jesus loves me? Because He gave me yet another mama who "gets it" and has traveled this road and has a beautiful story that touches lives 10 years down the road.
*Thursday I get an email from my "Atlanta Girls" informing me that Beth Moore wrote about our encounter with her in Atlanta in her newest Bible study Esther. Um, wow! As if that weekend could mean anymore??? Here is what sweet Beth writes about our short yet meaningful time together:
"Our purposeful God allowed this final week of Esther to follow a ministry event that reminded me afresh what a beautiful thing women studying together can be. Amanda told me a group of eight young women who'd been communicating online were meeting at the event and spending the weekend together. She knew I'd want to meet them. They have a deep bond none of us would hope to share. Each has buried a cherished infant in the last year. They met through a ministry blog and bonded not only in their loss but in their profound determination to glorify God through their enveloping grief. They were about my own daughters' age, and I could have held and rocked each one back and forth for a solid hour. Many of them entrusted me with pictures of their darling ones who are now safely and vivaciously in the playful, nurturing hands of Jesus. Those pictures are to my left now as I peck away at the computer. I asked them what they'd have me pray over them, then invited them to their knees so I could lay hands on them and intercede. How blessed we are to be women. By nature we like to do things together. Work and play. Laugh and grieve. Eat and pray. Live and die. A large measure of enjoying womanhood is enjoying a heart connection with other women."
Now, God took a weekend that I thought couldn't get any more perfect and he made it more perfect! He took my son's story, touched the lives of these 8 women and the world, who then touched the life of Beth, who so devotedly writes and touches the lives of so many others around the world! He just didn't have to do that. How do I know Jesus loves me? Because he encourages me that my son's story is being told by thousands to thousands. He gives me a glimpse of what amazing things He can do with a tiny boy I am honored to mother.
*Friday, we had our 18 week ultrasound for Baby Fahmer #4. I climbed onto the exact same table that I was on when gazing at Jacob's heart and having mine sink with motherly concern. The technicians were courteous of our experience with Jacob yet not overly cautious and dramatic....she was great. We stared at the TV monitor as it illuminated the amazing creation that danced in my tummy. We saw our baby drink, dance, wave, jump.....we gazed as the heart beat at 140+ beats per minute and 4 perfect chambers.....we saw tiny feet and toes dance across the screen.....we saw tiny ribs, arms and leg bones.....we saw a developing brain, stomach, kidneys...we saw facial features with a perfect nose.......we saw BOY parts and clear as day! Yes, Baby Boy #4 :) How do I know Jesus loves me? Because even though we are not guaranteed another moment with this tiny baby boy, God gave us those moments to gaze upon His miraculous creation that is housed inside my body and draws nourishment and strength from my body.
God has done so much for me, but this is just a glimpse of the goodness He shed on a heart that is mending. I know Jesus loves me because of the tiny things He just didn't have to do, yet did to say to me "I do love you."
So, in talking to some mothers who have lost a child, I found that I tend to refer to this Baby #4 as "the child after"....just meaning a child after a loss. My tendency to get wrapped up in drama comes out more than I like. I am not a person who enjoys drama....ask my dear friend Kelly who's jaw hits the floor when I get straight to the point on things just to avoid what I categorize as drama. Anything that is unresolvable yet repeatedly brought up, anything that has a solution yet the solution is avoided to continue to wallow, anything that requires tiptoeing around the point causing time to be wasted, anything that most likely won't happen yet is openly and emotionally fretted, and I am sure I can think of others but my list would be quite dramatic then, wouldn't it? So why do I find myself falling into these dramatic feelings? Because that is just what Satan wants. He wants me to waste my precious time meddling over things that I can not possible know, he wants me to avoid bathing things in prayer because he doesn't want me to trust the Lord, he wants me to get caught up in dr appointments and testing so that my trust no longer rides on the back of the Creator but rather on the results from test tubes and technicians. Since finding Jacob's heart condition, beginning his blog, and his experiencing his death, my eyes have been opened to so many sicknesses, genetic "disorders", diseases, "malformations." So what has happened? In my moments of weakness, I have allowed my knowledge of what is out there influence my thoughts in a way that is unproductive. I allow "drama" to creep in. I see where others have difficulties in carrying their "babies after" and I think that I should have those same difficulties....drama. God has always protected me from certain difficult moments that happen after a child is lost....like seeing that mother playing with her baby when I cannot hold mine, like seeing those 3 boys when I am allowed to gaze on two out of three.....I see how they could be difficult moments, but God has given me a very special peace and allowed me not to struggle with these moments....thank you Jesus! But now, the past is not a struggle, but rather the future. I find myself seeing a mama ready to pop out a baby and I just hope to get there with Baby Fahmer #4.....why? I have never lost a single child before birth! I find myself being funny about going to the hospital where Jacob was born.....why? With God's strength I've been back there, went into the very room I stayed in the ICN, and gazed upon yet another precious baby with Trisomy 18! I find myself nervously anticipating the 18 week ultrasound.....why? I had no issues with a single pregnancy until I was 6 months with Jacob! I do not want to be paralyzed by moments that resemble my darkest days....instead of being paralyzed, I want to see how God has molded me through those times and made me who I am today. The facts remain: I was at that hospital when I found out what difficulties lie ahead for my son, my son died in my home on this couch, I sat in my parent's van as I received the news of my son's death, I kissed his sweet face for the last time standing in my driveway. Those are the most difficult moments I have ever encountered. But does that mean we find a different hospital, move from our home, burn our couch, never ride in my parents van again and never play hockey and basketball in our driveway? No! I will not allow those days to cause panic and discontentment in the present. God did not give me those moments at those places so I can be haunted, anxious, and struggle.....those are NOT things of the Lord. Do I think of those moments and days and wonder what in the world happened? Yes. Do I allow them to dictate my current actions out of fear? No. I will avoid the unproductive drama that I so easily slip into, and I will take what I have learned and be productive for the furthering of the Kingdom of God. It is a struggle at times.....memories of my sweet boy are all I have...the good and the tough....and I will not allow Satan to take a single one from me and use it to against us in the present. God gets this victory.
Hi All! My sister's friend Alana (yes, this is my sister's real life friend) is on a mission to send encouragement to a fighting child. Please read the email I received and act....here is a real chance to make a difference to a fighting young child. Get involved, get your kids and family involved, get everyone involved and make a difference.
"Hey everyone (literally!) My friend Kristy's son Conner is nine years old and recently found out he is having a recurrence of cancer. This time there are numerous spots on his spine, and treatment will be intense. I talked with Kristy this morning and she has requested we help encourage her little boy who is battling cancer for the second time in two years. Please pray and ask God to give you a scripture verse that would encourage Conner and his family. Write it down (do not e-mail it) on an index card or colorful piece of tag board and mail it directly to Conner at the following address:
Conner Newcomb 35 Hobbes Lane Rochester, NY 14624
PS: Kristy said she would love THOUSANDS of verses to decorate his walls, so don't hesitate to send one (or more) along! This is NOT a hoax or a chain letter. It is my [Alana (Helfrich) Brown's] real life friend, whose real life son is facing this illness in Rochester, NY. If you are not familiar with the bible, you can visit http://www.biblegateway.com/ and do a word search about comfort, healing, etc; and see what you find! I know God is faithful and will help you help Conner!!! PASS THIS ALONG TO ANYONE WHO WOULD HELP!"
Please pray for Conner and encourage him by sending God's Words to him! Thank you!
Well hello there....if there is anyone still out there!!! I know it has been a while since we have updated. Lots going on in my head, but not a whole lot coming out of it!
Jacob's birthday was a lot for me.....very strange day where I felt very lost in how to celebrate the birthday of someone no longer with us. But as Jason asked for the Lord's blessing on our meal and day, I was reminded that it was a celebration of the day the Lord grabbed hold of hearts and used such a precious instrument to further His purpose. January 14th 2008 the Lord graced me with the most precious gift he has given me since His salvation.....He allowed me to hold a piece of heaven for 138 consecutive days and that very first day, the very first moment of Jacob's life outside the womb that began a journey that changed me and so many others forever...that instrument of God was born in January last year and was celebrated this year. And everyday since then has been impacted by the sweetest baby boy this world could know. All to the glory of God.
These days have been harder. February 14th of last year, I snuggled my baby boy in celebration for him beating the odds on his one month birthday. He will always be my Valentine forever stealing my heart. I will forever remember holding him, breathing him in, rubbing noses with him, and him showing his love for his mama as we wore red and celebrated with exchanging Valentines and singing Happy Birthday. I guess I have a difficult time explaining why these yearly holidays that were celebrated with Jacob last year cause me to have a knot in my stomach this year. I am not sure if it the disbelief that an entire year has gone by or the sadness of not celebrating with all three of my sweet boys.....it's still tough to sort and articulate it all. All I know is that I miss my youngest boy. I miss him more than I ever have. I have cried for him harder than I have since the night of his passing. His squeaks. His smell. His breath. His soft hair. His presence gave me such a grip on the things that matter in life.....he made doing God's work so easy (for lack of better term). And all these things I have in me forever but for them not to be tangible.....it hurts. For me not to be able to gaze into those strong blue eyes and actually see the value of time.....the world creeps in and I get lost in the day to day. I haven't forgotten, but what I am saying is it was much easier to remember what matters most when Jacob was here in my home, in my arms. I treasure my days with Joshua and Jonathan more than I ever have and I am thankful for their blue eyes I get to gaze into to remind me of the things that really matter and how to value time as their mama. They are such gifts.....and I know they are on loan just like Jacob was and that makes me act on things now and not wait until later....we just never know if later will come.
Joshua and Jonathan are such proud big brothers.....they talk of Jacob all the time reminiscing on the times we had with him here and how he is forever in our hearts. They and Jacob are big brothers to Baby Fahmer #4 who has taken up residence in my womb for the last 14 + weeks. They are very excited.....as much as their reality allows them to be. They have hope to be able to "keep this one" but yet they know that not every baby was not meant to grow old here. They preface their conversation about the baby with "if we get to keep this one" or "if this one lives" but then they proceed to share their hopes of summer time fun and days filled with loving on yet another sibling. They hope, yet understand we are not promised to hold another life. They are such big boys who have learned such huge lessons.....they have learned so much about life and know so much for a 6 and 4 year old. Their spirits are stunning and the refining continues, I know, but it is just amazing to me their grasp on it all. Children are a blessing.
So how am I with this all.....this will be a continuing topic....for the next 25 weeks! Pregnancy life is very different this time around....the realities of loss linger and the excitement mingles but it is all low key.....not like our previous pregnancies at all..... there are things that would have been discussed way before now that we "just aren't there yet" with this new one. Emotions are tough....grieving a loss mixed in with carrying new life is very hard to say the least. I have made it very clear that this is not the 3rd child redone.....this is our 4th....a separate creation, a separate soul, a separate journey, a separate story all wound into the Fahmer Family. This little one's story began 14+ weeks ago and every moment I get to mother them, outside or inside the womb is a moment that was gifted to me by God. Understanding that this baby is not Jacob redone is very clear but the lessons from his life and realities of never being promised another moment are just lessons you do not take for granted. It's not fear; it's our reality. There is no replacement for Jacob. I have held other tiny 4 pound babies and gazed upon another Trisomy 18 child and felt nothing similar to holding my Jacob Ryan....I have tried to simulate him in my desperate moments....it cannot be done....his body is laid to rest and his spirit lives forever with Jesus. Many of you may say that that is all without saying but I have spoken to mothers who's babies after a loss are their redeeming children....this baby does not carry any more weight on them because of their big brother.
Their big brother Jacob gave them more love already than any child could ask for.....Jacob was used to change us to love more and this baby will hopefully be welcomed into a home embellished with love. Joshua and Jonathan have loved this little one so much since the day they found out about them and I know they love more than before because of all they have learned.
So this conversation will continue for some time.....but for now, I must get off to bed. Thank you for loving us. God Bless.
Sorry it took a week to get you all pictures from our 1st birthday party for Jacob! Some sweet friends remembered us and sent flowers and gifts. Karen said that all the phone calls and deliveries to the house reminded her of the time we had with Jacob... never a dull moment! Of course we had to have a cake! It of course had Jacob's favorite color yellow on it. On the way to the store to get the cake our car got stuck in the snow and a yellow jeep pulled up and helped push us out! I think God sent that "Angel" just to remind us that He hasn't forgotten us!
We all wrote messages to Jacob on small slips of paper and tied them to balloons to "send them up to him." Here's a pic of Jonathan's message to Jacob:
It was well below zero outside so we had to bundle up and quickly release our messages to the skies!
Every Monday or 14th of his life here with us, we had some kind of birthday recognition for Jacob. We knew he wasn't made to have very many years so we celebrated his weeks and months with parties.....some of the weekly (every Monday) and monthly (every 14th) celebration videos are on the side bar but here are some pictures of him on those celebration days or days that we just celebrated. Towards the end, days were difficult for Jacob so our celebrations were a little less glitzy, but he was still with us and we still celebrated....as we pleaded with him to hang in there! But anyways....enjoy seeing how big he got and how we just enjoyed our sweet boy on his "birthdays".
"We miss celebrating with you sweet boy! We will do our best today here.....have a great day with your Creator and all your other sweet friends He has called home. Oh, how we miss you. Your light will never blow out here. We love you sweet boy and miss you. Love, Mama, Daddy, Joshua, Jonathan & all your other earthly family and friends"
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."