When it Rains… God is still Good

I almost don’t know where to start because so much has happened since I spoke in this place. I keep waiting until I have time to write about it all, but I’m afraid if I continue to do that it will never happen, so I’m going to try to catch you up with where we are by quickly mentioning or summarizing some of the bigger occurrences.

Catching up

Miscarriage –  After finding out the baby’s heart was no longer beating on Friday, December 6th, I actually miscarried the next Monday, but things did not go smoothly. By Tuesday morning I was unable to stand up without passing out so Mark got me in to my OB.

My recovery was slow (two days after I saw my OB I was still unable to sit propped up in bed for longer than half an hour), but Mark and the children took great care of the house and little ones and I was able to get the rest I needed.

Mark took all the children to Dollywood while I stayed home with Grandma and rested.

Mark took all the children to Dollywood while I stayed home with Grandma and rested.

This was my first miscarriage and I struggled with the emotional part. “How can I grieve when I have been given so much?” “How can I be unhappy with the life that God ordained for our child?” “How can I be sad when God blessed us with this baby for 11 weeks?”

There is a difference between grieving and ingratitude and I was getting the two mixed up. I can grieve the death of my child, of course I can. Jesus grieved the death of Lazarus.  However, I know that in the midst of my grief I serve a good and loving God. Feeling sadness does not mean that I am complaining against God’s goodness and mercy.

Some of our best friends who have shared our burdens and made them lighter.

Some of our best friends who have shared our burdens and made them lighter.

In the midst of our grief we rejoice that this was His perfect plan for our baby, we are grateful for friends who help to bear our burdens and we have confidence that our child is rejoicing in the very presence of God. Beauty for ashes, indeed.

Whooping Cough - Back before Thanksgiving I had taken two of the older children to the doctor because I thought they might have whooping cough. He dismissed my concern offhand.

As I was recovering from the miscarriage, our two younger children began coughing. Eventually it became very obvious that our children did indeed have whooping cough.

This is not a video of our children, but this video shows what both Bella (3) and Valor (1) did about every hour, 24 hours a day for about 4-6 weeks.

Most of the children got whooping cough. Our two youngest had it most severely and several had just a mild case.

Blood clotting disorder -  On the day that we found out our baby was no longer alive, my OB said he thought I might have a blood clotting disorder that had caused the miscarriage.

At the time I thought he was jumping the gun.  I have carried 11 pregnancies to term without a loss and I am currently 41 years old. A single miscarriage at this point, can’t be cause for concern, right? He did mention that some problems can occur even after multiple healthy pregnancies, so we sent about a gallon of my blood off to be tested.

In the midst of our whooping cough days, I got the results.

I have two genetic mutations that are known to cause blood clotting problems (homogenous MTHFR A1298C and 4g/4g PAI 1, for those who are interested). The bottom line is that I am on a daily baby aspirin now and always and if/when I get pregnant I will have twice daily heparin injections.

Do you see God’s amazing goodness in this? I’ve had eleven uneventful pregnancies, I’m nearing the end of my childbearing years AND with only one pregnancy loss we have a plan to possibly prevent it happening again.

My OB wasn’t as jumpy as  I thought. Our baby’s tiny heart beat for two weeks even though it never got up into a normal range, and during those two weeks with a beating heart it showed no growth. This clued my wonderful OB off to the possibility that this was a problem with me and not with our wee one. I continue to be grateful for an obstetrician who values life, not just my life and the life of any baby I may be carrying, but he also values the lives of future children God may gift to our family.

My Grandma - During all of this my grandmother was living with us. Our family loved her time here with us. She, however, was bound and determined that she wanted to live in her own home, so at the new year she moved back home.

Carter (11), Valor (1), Nick (5), Grandma, Matthew (14) and Amber (17) prepping pumpkin for pies, soup and the freezer

Carter (11), Valor (1), Nick (5), Grandma, Matthew (14) and Amber (17) prepping pumpkin for pies, soup and the freezer.

 My Mom - Several weeks after my Grandmother moved home we got a call that my mom was in the hospital. The short story is that for a week everyone (doctors, family, etc.) thought that my mom was in the later stages of ovarian cancer. We were all relieved to learn that this was not the case.

Valor colby snow kingsport

Valor (1) with Colby (7) in the background

My mom did need major surgery and the 8 youngest children and I were able to spend a week up in Kingsport, Tennessee cooking and cleaning for my mom and dad while she recovered. A special bonus to this was that we enjoyed 10 lovely inches of snow up there, while here in Knoxville they had just a little.

Colby (7), Carter (12) and Alyssa (13)

Colby (7), Carter (12) and Alyssa (13)

Last week my mom was once again taken to the hospital she and remains there fighting infection and with fluid in her lungs (again). We would love prayers for peace and healing for my mother and for wisdom for her doctors.

Alyson’s death – When Mark and I were newlyweds and as we had our first several children, we regularly babysat for Alan and Kathleen. We stayed at their home and held down the fort when they went to the hospital to have some of their younger children, and spent many happy days ‘parenting’ those kids in a large and growing family. 

Alyson on right

Alyson on right left (I obviously can’t tell my right and left apart)

While my mom was in the hospital the first time, Alyson (23), Alan and Kathleen’s oldest child, was killed in a car accident.

God was definitely growing me and the one thing I kept saying as I grieved for Kathleen and Alan was, “God is good”.

He is good when our children are healthy and when they are diagnosed with cancer.  God is good when we are blessed with a new life and He continues to be good when our children die. The circumstances in which we find ourselves do not change the truth of who God is.

God’s goodness has been so crystal clear to me in the last weeks. As we walked through the miscarriage and the whooping cough, as we watched our friends deal with childhood cancer and the sudden death of a child, we saw God’s goodness and gentleness. He does not leave us or forsake us. We bear one another’s burdens and that bearing does indeed make the load lighter. It is not easy, but He remains good.

Currently

Tabitha – Tabitha continues to do well through both radiation and chemo. If you want to stay up to date on Tabitha (our friend’s 7 year old daughter who is battling cancer) you can follow her journey on her Caring Bridge site. Her parents’ updates also echo the theme of God’s goodness.

My sweet friend Debbie with her daughter Tabitha

My sweet friend Debbie with her daughter Tabitha

Safe Families - After a long break from hosting, we are thankful to be well enough to have foster children in our home again. We are looking forward to hosting a teen and her newborn baby one to two days a week starting this week.  

Chickens – We currently have 30 chicks in a brooder in our garage. Our ability to have chickens is a huge answer to a prayer that our children have prayed for years.

A tangible answer to prayer peeping and running around in our garage.

A tangible answer to prayer peeping and running around in our garage.

But our God is good and sometimes pretty amazing and Lord willing this summer we will have fresh eggs (as well as some fresh chicken dinners).

Colby (7) and Nick (5)

Colby (7) and Nick (5)

All of the kids continue to grow quickly and we are loving and learning more about homeschooling and parenting everyday.

So there is an update on some of what has been happening here and through it all, God has been graciously and mercifully good.

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