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Friday, March 25, 2011


the word alone sounds empty. fractured. sad. i've been given the honor of joining the women that have held a baby in their womb for too short a time.  something i never understood or had true compassion for. throughout the years i would often hear of friends and family that had miscarriages and my heart would feel saddened for them, for about 48 hours, if that. my life took over again and rightfully so, that's why it's called "my" life....i'm not living someone elses, just my own.

and now i am comforted to truly comfort. i never realized how quickly a Mother's heart is born. it only takes a few weeks to fall in love. in my case 7.5 weeks. oh, i had such anticipation in waiting to tell friends and family and you, my blog friends. to share the news of our "Spring Blossom" as I had endearingly named it.  I was going to take pictures of the pregnancy test standing upright in the dirt next to my other spring shoots! "My newest perennial!"  my mind was spinning with creative "announcement" ideas.  "My Edelweiss!"i love me some JOY and what greater JOY-FULL thing!?  We decided to wait until I was 8 weeks to begin telling people. So that's not been easy, sharing the happy news now married to the sad.

You, my "blog friends" feel very real to me. perhaps that's just because i invest a lot of energy into my blog, so when you comment or show up on this site i feel your presence in a way. my mom asked me with disapproval in her voice if i'm going to put it on my blog. it wasn't disapprovaing on purpose, i just don't think in "her day" you would talk about this kind of thing with many others, let alone strangers. well, even today, it's not something you really hear others talking about. that's not so much me though.  it's part of our story now, part of my life and heart and that's why i write. i write to share our world, our days, my thoughts and ponderings.

it was a difficult week to say the least. physically i never knew the trauma that some women's bodies go through after delivering the unformed, unborn baby. i reacted quite similarly, (though much less intense), to when i delivered my 3 full term babies. what a shock it was to me. each miscarriage is as different as each woman's birth story it seems. emotionally, just such a mixture of all kinds of things; questions, feelings, thoughts: "Was it my fault?"  "Am I working too hard?"  "Did I do something to make this happen?"  All very normal questions to have.  All untrue. There are so many "wives tales" out there~~and the fact is that most of the time there is something inherently wrong with the baby and this is Nature's way of taking care of it, (over 500,000 miscarriages each YEAR in America alone).  And just because you had a miscarriage doesn't mean it will happen again. a new level of grace has now been burned into my emotional well. our bodies are not meant to let our babies go too soon, neither are our hearts.

Last Friday i awoke to light bleeding, cramps, back pain throughout the day and by the setting of the sun, no more baby. i knew the moment it passed from me.  and that was a sad realization, that we were no longer one.  our time together was over

part of me feels really silly even "mourning" this death at all. i've seen the deep valley that several of my friends have traveled, delivering stillborn babies or watching their full-term babies take their final breath in their arms.  this pales in comparison to say the least!! Losing a baby this soon is a form of God's grace on my life, I mean it. I cannot imagine the heart-wrenching, soul-shaking, physical beating that takes place when you hold your fully formed baby in your arms just long enough to whisper goodbye. it's just not right.

the boys were so excited and all questions when we told them about the new baby on it's way. and so when Jake told them that the baby had died it understandably made them sad. and in typical childlike fashion they spoke some words and on with life they ran. Luke, my 4 year old said, "Why did the baby have to die Mom? I guess we have to wait for God to give us another baby." And that about sums it up doesn't it?

"Will the dust praise You?
Will it proclaim Your faithfulness

Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me,
O Lord, be my help.
You turned my wailing into dancing,
removed my sackcloth and clothed me with JOY,
that my heart may sing to Youand not be silent.
O Lord my God,
I will give you thanks forever
Psalm 30: 9-12

This is the verse that was spoken to my soul. Our baby will never praise on this side of heaven, but WE CAN~~~WE WILL. We are left to proclaim His faithfulness NO MATTER WHAT. And that is all I can give my baby, a legacy of praise. As I said earlier, I have seen this as a gift of God's grace on our life, our home, our family. As odd as that sounds, that's what it is to me.

Death is a part of life. I do not judge God for the way things happen, to me or to others. He is worthy of praise just because He's worthy, not because of what He does or doesn't do for me,
for us,
for earth.

I do not belong here, it's my passing through place. And I'm ok with that. I don't know how long I'll have any of my babies, or how long they'll have me. However I want to know Him Who placed me here today. March, Twenty-Eleven. I want to travel the unknown with Him by my side. Even though the way feels lonely and dark at times, how much worse for my SPIRIT and SOUL to fall into loneliness and darkness too. But for the GRACE OF GOD there go I.
Tyler's hand-picked flowers for me.
And it's not about my own strength either. I'm over that. At least that's my hearts desire. To no longer have anything of ME to trust in. My thoughts, my ways, my ideas, my judgements, my life experiences. For goodness sake, I can't even LOVE Him without His inner strengthening.

"But I, BY YOUR GREAT MERCY, will come into Your house; in reverence will I bow down toward Your holy temple. Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies~~MAKE STRAIGHT YOUR WAY BEFORE ME."
Psalm 5:7-8

See, He does it all.

Please don't misunderstand this post. We are so sad and my heart is broken at what could have been. It's definitely been harder on me then Jake.  And that is common as well.  Men don't bond emotionally with the baby until later on.  Their everyday life isn't affected by a growing womb, nauseous mornings, name doodling and nursery plans.  However, if i can offer any encouragement to the four men that read this blog.....DON'T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR ABILITY TO CARE FOR YOUR WIFE EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND HER. 

Jake has been so beautiful to me despite his inability to really KNOW what's happening.  He arranged for me to have an in-home massage, he wrote me cards, kept the home in order, (as much as he knew how, bless him) and prayed for my heart.  He was/is such a comfort to me.  A refuge.  A hiding place. Reminds me of Someone Else i know.  However, I will say that one night he did put Paisley to bed without a diaper on.....a sign that he was in over his head a bit!  Oh, it was a funny moment Sunday morning when he found her just as sweet as ever in a drenched nightie and bedding!  You know, the stinky, soaking morning pee?   She didn't even cry through the night or anything.  Bless her dear soaked heart.  He graciously laundered the bedding and we had a good laugh about it!  

 It's NOT easy to trust the uncontrollable happenings in this life. I'm not trying to make it sound like it is. I'm just not sure what other options I have....or want. If He has my life, then He has ALL MY LIFE. "'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."

And so I go back to the "yearly theme word" for me. To GAZE upon Him, upon His grace taking on different shapes and forms and colors then I had ever imagined or desired. It's an adventure. It's a pilgrim's progress. In my post from this January about a yearly theme word I wrote, "There is a deep soul work that wants to bury down into me and I want to embrace that wholeheartedly, whatever it may look like. Easy to type out, hard to work out." More true today, then ever.
"Lord, help me this day to draw strength
from all that comes to me."
~unknown author~

A special THANK YOU to our family and friends for their VISIBLE support this past week. Flowers,(pictured above), meals, phone calls, cards, coffee drop offs, texts, chocolate covered strawberries, emails, caring for our children, praying for us, giving us space and time, keeping us near your mind.  We literally FELT your love.   I know it takes time to show you care and we have been humbled by your kindness toward our life and home! 


Anonymous said...


rosa said...

so sorry janelle. it's a sad thing to lose a precious baby so early. your post, as always, was inspiring, challenging, and lovely. thank you for sharing. will pray for physical healing to continue in your body and for God's grace to cover you.

Anne said...

Janelle, I am so sorry for your loss. I myself experienced a miscarriage about 3 months after my husband and I got married. It is natural to mourn the death of your baby, especially for those of us who truly believe that God knows our babies even before they are conceived. Unfortunately, death is something we experience because of sin. We were not originally intended for death but it happens, and how blessed we are to have a Father who walks beside us through it's somber valley, a Father who holds us when all we can muster the strength for is tears. I love you dear friend and am praying for you and your hubby today.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing today. It has been an honor (as you said) to join the other women who love babies who are with Jesus. My experience was rather violent ending in the ER with a late-night D&E. I am praying for you and your family today, especially. I pray you are comforted so that you can then go forth and comfort another.

Bess said...

Janelle, I love you and am in tears for you this morning. Baby Stoltzfus is SO lucky to be in the arms of Jesus and gets to see Josiah, Logan, and all of our other children who left too soon.

You are right: it's not easy to trust. But we aren't called to do what is easy, are we? We are to learn, grow, and trust through it all. Keep writing, keep talking, and keep allowing your heart to grieve. I love you, girl!

Angie Zimmerman said...

So sorry to hear about your difficult week. (Wow, that would have going on last Friday when we were together.) You have an amazing attitude, and God is so honored by that. I like how you said you are giving your baby a legacy of praise. Currently, you and your baby are just praising in different locations, but one day, you will have the joy of meeting your baby and holding him/her in your arms and praising together. Even though it's not an easy time in life right now, may your joy and strength be full and running over! My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Shar said...

i love you so much. you are such an amazing example to me! your perspective on everything in life is one that we all should strive to have! know that we continue to pray for you, that you would have peace! xoxo

Enjoying the Scenery said...

Blessings to you Janelle. I have had 2 miscarriages and had different emotions with each one! There is a garden dedicated to babies lost to miscarrige/stillbirth etc. It's close to Stoltzfus Restaurant in Intercourse. You enter through the developement. I went there soon after my first miscarriage and it was so healing to me. Praying for you as you grieve this little life.

Laura said...

Reading your post brought tears to my eyes. I, too, lost a baby between Charlotte and Landon. I was about 7.5 weeks as well. Give yourself the time to grieve, and allow your body to heal, emotionally and physically. There was a song I listened to a lot, by Travis Cottrell, called "I am Persuaded", and it brought comfort to me that whether in life or death, nothing separates us from the love of God, and that precious baby is awaiting our return to Heaven. He or she will know you. Keep hanging onto Jesus's hand. Much love and prayers....Laura

elaine said...

So sorry to hear of your loss.I,too,have walked that path.Take time to mourn.Through it all,God is faithful!

Elizabeth said...

Oh Janelle ~ You are so good with words. I also lost a baby too soon and it took many years to heal. It took longer for me because I was mourning the babies I would not be able to consceive. I had a tubal pregnacy. Time heals and you are richly blessed. I will be praying for you. ~~~Betty Bauder

Mark Buckwalter said...

Janelle, you expressed your heart so well. i felt the Father"s pleasure over your life as I read what you wrote. He is pleased with the posture of your heart towards Him even in the midst of pain and dissapointment. Be blessed today!

Anonymous said...

I will pray for u today! We don't each other but thats not that important...becuz i know a bit of the pain and its hard--some moments are full of tears of grief and others tears of joy when i think of a part of me (my Malachi)around God's throne praising and playing on golden perfect to wake to pure bliss and the face of their Creator!!! It blows my mind! God bless u with healing and peace!

Also i had come her to get in touch with u about your yard sale- was wondering if your full and if not would there be an available spot? dont feel like u need to respond right away...i understand now is not the time and almost felt bad mentioning it on this post. anyway...# is 768-7861 n
Lena Stoltzfus

Liana said...

Hi! I'm a fairly new follower and am just getting to know you. I have to say that I was brought to tears by your beautiful words...I can't image what you're going through. My mother has commented before that misacarriage is a death, and should rightfully be grieved as one. Just because others may not feel your pain as you do, since they haven't become attached to the little one as you have, doesn't mean that your grief isn't validated; embrace it so that you can move on.

My grandmother lost her first baby in 1950 after she had carried him full-term and delivered him. She was very petite (5' tall) and her pelvis crushed his skull during the birthing process. He had seizures for 3 days before he finally died. She would talk about it sometimes, but it would always bring her to tears (50-some yrs. later). She always felt responsible for his suffering and death; I can't explain how much I admired her strength...just knowing she had suffered through this and carried this great burden to her death. I have no idea how she was able to go on living after that. I don't know how I would handle it... I guess I'm telling you this because yes, you're right: it could be worse, but as my other grandmother says (who suffered several miscarriages and had to have DNCs), if it happens, it really is for the best. I'm sure you are familiar with Proverbs 3:5: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..."

I wish you happiness and pray that the Comfortor brings you peace through this difficult time.


Anonymous said...

I pray for God's grace to surround you and your family as you grieve your loss and that you will renew your strength and rise as on eagles' wings.
Thank you for being so brave, open and honest as to blog about it. Loved the way you wrote it. Very touching and beautiful!

Esther@fleurcottage said...

i'm sorry, Janelle!

tines said...

love you so much Janelle. thank you for sharing your heart. i love your honesty...and how you speak truth to yourself in hard times. you are an example to me. i am sad with you about your baby leaving us so soon. thinking of you & praying. xoxo

Aimee said...

Janelle - you have such a way with words and being able to express what you are feeling and experiencing!

I'm so sorry for your loss and can relate to your sadness. "Trust in God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding"

Love you girl!

FHCS said...

I am so very sorry for your loss and I feel so sad for you. The hurt will take some time to heal. You seem like you are such a wonderful person, it is hard to rationalize how things like this happen to good people, but it isn't our job to understand the plan right? I don't always get the chance to comment too often these days but I have wanted to tell you for a while that I love your blog, it is warm, wholesome and real and you have been on my sidebar for a few months now. Thank you for sharing your beauty! Sending you prayers and hugs through blogland...
Take good care of yourself!

Rebecca Z. said...

Janelle, tears for you as I read through your journey. thank you for sharing and even helping to bring understanding to others who have been through the same loss. It is hard to understand when one hasn't been though it.

consume me... said...

Beautiful, honest words that mark another tally in your life's journey. Continue to gaze upon is evident He is soothing your wounds. Your family is precious to Him...
{I love that you have had moments of laughter in your home this week amidst the tears...isn't that just His way - reminding you He sees!?}

Just a little something from Judy said...

I am so sorry! You shared your heart in a profoundly beautiful way in this post. It spoke to me. Thank you and I promise to keep you in my prayers.

Melissa Stoltzfus said...

Oh, Janelle! I am so sorry! I know the void. . .my first baby was a miscarriage at 6 weeks, days after we had joyfully announced the pending arrival. I think each pregnancy has given me a greater awareness of the GIFT of LIFE and HEALTH and the promise of THIS MOMENT (only!). Even as I feel the life in my womb, I sometimes beg God to let her live and let me know her and see her-- is that weird?

Laurie said...

Thinking of you, Janelle. We also have a little baby in heaven from before Luke. It's true that miscarriages are common, but each life is incredibly precious, for as long as it's given. It's good to speak of it as you do because it allows other women to find comfort and company in the midst of loss of a baby before he or she is born. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Love and healing to you.

Anonymous said...

(I found you through Aimee Weaver.)

I just has to leave a note. I have just been through my 3rd miscarriage. You are so right, each one can be so different. This one was incredible. Incredibly much like giving birth. In my hormone response. The pain and contractions. All for only 5 wks.
I am not physically, mentally in a place that is in my comfort zone to be pregnant - much as I want more children. Dh and I prayed much and asked God to do the best thing for us. I had come to terms with being pregnant. In my gut I knew it was a girl. And then...
I have felt guilt for her death. Yet, Abba is the giver of life. We named her Hannah "...for the Lord hath heard my cry."

Ginger said...

Janelle, my heart began to ache as I read the title of your post. I've grieved the loss of two babies, both early on, like you. I struggled to grapple with the idea of grieving and missing someone I would never meet this side of heaven. I praise God for the grace He has given you to move through this part of the journey and the sweet aroma that your praise is in the midst of such heart ache. I had my first miscarriage October 2009, my second in March 2010 and just gave birth to my third baby January 2011 (he was early). God has a sweet way of making all things new again. I pray that you would find sweet peace and comfort in the Saviors embrace, celebrate the life that had formed and enjoy your boys all the more. Sometimes there is comfort in others stories. Here is the link to my post if you would like to read

Grace and Peace to you,

Heidi said...

Crying for you today. Beautiful Jannele---a gift of God's love to everyone who meets you. This is a pain I wish you did not have to know. Rod and I lost our first at 21 weeks. I remember telling God that if this is what I need to grow--I don't want it....but we take it, try to learn from it, try to comfort those who know the same pain.

Dream about little baby, name her/him. Celebrate the little life that you knew too little. Someday we will all hug our little ones and smell their wonderful golden baby smell.

God is good. All the time.

Praying for you and the family,
Heidi Stoltzfus

Janet said...

I "accidentally" (don't believe in them) ran across your blog. I am so moved with compassion. My first Grandchild was born on that same Friday. My daughter went through this earlier as well, though I am not her, could never feel her complete pain, I felt it anyway. I have smiled, cried and been inspired reading this. Your trust in our Lord gives me such strength, something that I need right now. Thank you for sharing, I am praying that you continue in your walk of Grace. WOW! God bless you and your family always. Love & Prayers, Janet xo

II Corinthians 4:8-9
[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.

HE LIVES! xoxo

Linda from Hatboro said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this diffucult time.

Livi V. said...

Praying for you during this sad time. Thankful that our God is your comforter. May He continue to hold you close as you trust in him with your heart.

Our Life Version 4.0 said...

I am so sorry for your loss! I am praying for you!

Alise said...

I'm here from Shawn Smucker's blog, and I'm so glad that I clicked over. You have told your story of loss with so much grace and beauty. May God continue to hold you in his arms as he's holding your little one.

Shawn Smucker said...

Janelle, wow. What a beautiful post. You are such an incredible woman of strength and wisdom. Thank you for being transparent and allowing all of us to join in your journey.

Anonymous said...

Hi Janelle! My husband and I were so excited to be pregnant for the FIRST time!! We celebrated, planned, told our loved ones, and praised the Lord for blessing us! Yesterday, the child went home to be with our Father. Oh my, this is so tough! I spent time at Womens and Babies and my dear doctor (Emily) recommened I check out your blog. Thank you so much for your encouragement!! Your verses really encourage me! I have claimed Lamentations 3 for this time of grief, "The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new EVERY morning; Great is Thy faithfulness!...For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness." Thanks again for your words of wisdom!

--Stephanie -- from around the corner in Ronks