A Grief Moment

So today I'm having a Psalm 13:1-2 kind of day.

Let me explain.

This was part of the passage that our pastor shared at Emilie's Memorial Service. When we talked with him earlier in the week, he asked what verses had been a comfort to me. I shared that I could relate well to Psalm 13 and Psalm 40:1-4. So, he expounded on these passages and I wanted to share a little bit.

“ 1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will you hide you face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, And my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.
5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”

The first two verses David (who, by the way, experienced the loss of his baby boy) cries out in PROTEST. It just seems like God is absent, like He was not there on Wednesday when Emilie all but stopped moving. My faith, like David’s, expected God to not just be aware of what was going on, but to DO something about it. And because He didn’t, I/We ask “WHY?” I cry out, “You could have fixed this, God! We planned for her to come home…I was going to watch her grow up, watch her giggle with her brothers, smile when I saw her snuggle up in her daddy’s lap, bake cookies and snitch the dough, go shopping… this was my little GIRL, my beauty for ashes…WHY, GOD?”

I was encouraged as I reflected on David’s complaints…this was THE man after God’s own heart, after all. He had Faith! He expected God to be ACTIVE, and when it felt as though God was absent, he questioned. This was not a complaint out of faithlessness BUT because faith existed. David, Job, and even Jesus show us by example that prayers of complaint can also be prayers of faith. I’ve been reading A Sacred Sorrow by Michael Card, and he says, “…Lament expresses one of the most intimate moments of faith – not a denial of it. It is supreme honesty before a God whom my faith tells me I can trust…Jesus understood that lament was the only true response of faith to the brokenness and fallenness of the world.”

In verses 3 & 4, David’s protest melts into PRAYER. David decides instead of continuing his complaint, He would as God for help. See, his faith never left, it just questioned, and that’s ok. God’s big enough for our questions! He realizes that God is our only resource, our hope. Despite his emptiness and confusion, David doesn’t stop pursuing God. He prays, “Consider me…Look at me…Be active in my heart.”

In verses 5 & 6, Prayer transitions to PRAISE. David remembers that God is Trustworthy. He has trusted in the past and knows/experienced God’s lovingkindness. It has been his rock in the past and so his heart will rejoice that this remains true - now and in the future. Like David and Job, we have wounds, marks, cuts, bruises, pains, and hemorrhages all over our soul, but it is not dead. We are broken but not destroyed. We plead for Him to show us His lovingkindness, and because we know He is faithful, we will sing again.

You know, I wish this process was quick, I wish it was a once-and-done kind of a thing, BUT IT’S NOT. Every day is different. I can be at the Praise phase and dissolve back to the Protest phase in mere seconds. I never know what will trigger the “Why’s” or the burning tears. So, I sit in a heap of ashes again and find myself fighting my way back through the Psalm 13 process…How long God?

Several things around the house have triggered tears lately…her room - the door closed; scratching some paint splatters off of the sink from when we cleaned out the brushes and roller; finding some plastic cups we bought months ago for grandmas house – a red, a blue, and…a pink one. There are constant reminders of having planned her into our family, into our future,

and we miss her...


...and that's just how grief is...

...it rears it's ugly head at any time...

...it's unpredictable, and let me just vent a bit...I HATE HAVING TO GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN! It's a road I'm intimately acquainted with, unfortunately, and I just wish I could jump to the other side where things are a bit more tidy, the tears are fewer, I see things more clearly, I can finish my sentences, and I can see a glimpse of some purpose in the pain.

But they don't call it the grief JOURNEY for nothing...and today,

I just don't like it!


Memorial Service

Memorial Service


Emilie Alyse Koning

Saturday, April 16
2:00 pm
Wallen Baptist Church

1001 W. Wallen Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46825

What happened?

Our hearts ache tonight.  For those of you who don't know or were confused by my last post...

Emilie Alyse Koning was stillborn.

We don't know why or what happened.

Wednesday afternoon/evening I was getting uneasy as I hadn't felt her move much.  She has been very active, so it was a bit troubling to this momma.  I mentioned it to Mike and I drank some pop with dinner.  It had been a busy day, so I keep talking myself down that I really wasn't paying that good of attention, I just needed to put my feet up or lay down because everything was going to be fine.  I debated back and forth whether I should call the doctor on call, or even pay the stinking co-pay and just go to the hospital to get checked out...KNOWING that the next morning I had a scheduled doctors appointment WITH an ultrasound.  I didn't want to be the paranoid mom.

Now remember, each visit the doctor/midwife would reassure me that everything was going perfectly.  I heard things like, "you've got a HAPPY baby", "you're doing so well!", "you know you really have to believe that everything is going to be fine this time!"  I had questions, and I'd share concerns, and time after time the doctor/midwife would tell me not to listen to any other voices than theirs...and EVERYTHING LOOKED FINE!

I didn't even call the office at 8 or 9 to see if I could get in earlier (my appointment was at 10:45), I just prayed everything would be alright and trusted that it WOULD be...everything is fine, I'm just over sensitive, right!

So, I left Mike at home to finish painting the last coat in the baby's room.  "After all, everything would be fine! I've done this lots of times!" I kept telling myself.  Mike had taken Trent and Drew to Grandma's house in MI Tuesday night for part of their Spring Break so we could have a few days to just relax before Emilie was to arrive.  (We were pretty set to induce the next weekend...like maybe the 15th)

When I got to the doctors office and told them I was a little concerned because Miss Emilie wasn't moving as much as normal, they were just as shocked as I was when they waved the u/s wand over my belly.  Our hopes and dreams for this baby were shattered...AGAIN!  I looked at the screen and knew right away my worst fear was now a reality...there was no sound and no heart PUMPING, no movement, NOTHING.  I said, "It's not beating!?!" The doctor whispered with a heavy sigh, "I'm sorry."  The rest is a bit of a blur.  I raised my hands up to my head and just cried, "No, no, no!"  The doctor grabbed the wand again and took another look...his words will haunt me..."there is no edema, it's probably only been a couple of hours."  That stung more deeply..."No, don't tell me that!" I said through my sobs.  "I can't believe this is happening...WHAT HAPPENED?"

The midwife came in and hugged me for a little while.  Then she moved me into another room...in the back of the office, brought me a box of tissue and a glass of water and left so I could call Mike.  The only words I could hold it together to say, "Mike, you need to come!"  I sat there in the dark room in unbelief, shocked, hardly able to catch my breath, scorching hot tears running down my cheeks.

Mike arrived and the doctor came in to make plans for the next step.  We agreed that we'd go home get some things packed and head back up to the hospital.  I wanted to see her as soon as possible, while she still looked as alive normal as possible.

She was born breech (so her head was perfectly round) after only about 4 pushes.  No problems with the cord or placenta...she looked perfect - inside and out.  Lots of dark hair, a cute little nose like Trent, long skinny legs, and a pinky toe that curls under just like mine.  She was beautiful!  I looked at her eyes later too...and was surprised not to see black, but the brightest blue.  Reminded me of the clearest bluest ocean.  So pretty!   No explanations, no obvious problems, no answers.  They'll do some blood work and test the placenta, but I don't think we'll ever really now what or why...and that's so hard to swallow!

I'll close for now...many more emotions and details are running through my head - some I may share farther down the road.

Know that we have not lost faith...we continue to cling to the HOPE that we have in the TRUTH that we believe!  We have not LOST her... we do know she is in the arms of Jesus.  The reality is that our hearts are broken, no, more like shattered...I really want her in MY arms...we're sitting in a heap of ashes and it's not pretty... it's really hard to see any beauty from here.  BUT we do believe in THE God that sustains, draws near, is acquainted with grief - a man of sorrows- and who is moved by our tears!

You have no idea how sorry we are to take you on yet another grief journey.  We are not naive to think we travel alone.  Your friendship, love, and prayer have meant SO much more than we could ever express!  You have been a true example, especially to our boys, of Galatians 6:2.  "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ."

Thank you for loving Him enough to sit in Our ashes!!


Behind the Name

Those of you who where curious…who asked…know that Mike and I had a hard time finding a name we both really liked. Even at the hospital I found myself looking at him and saying, “I think we’re going to go with…” When Emilie was born Mike said whatever you want…you decide. He favored her middle name more for the first name, but I couldn’t come up with a middle name I really liked. So for lack of time and any other options, really, Emilie Alyse stuck. I want to share with you about her name. I’ve always enjoyed researching the meanings and I wanted her name to “mean” something too. Although I wasn’t thrilled with the meaning of Emilie (industrious) it was the one name Mike and I agreed on. Alyse (noble) was a little better and when I put together and heard it flow, I just liked it. We talked with the boys about what her nickname could be and they both approved calling her Emi for short.

And of course I went back and forth (usually while lying in bed, wishing my mind would stop going, and I would just fall asleep) about how to spell her name. I wanted it to be unique – I liked Emilie with and –ie, because when I look at it, it reminds me of “Smile” and I thought that would always be a good reminder for me. I chose Alyse (common spelling = Elise) with an “A” more because I didn’t want her initials to spell “Eek!” I know, right, I spent way too much time obsessing about the possibilities!

I really wanted to tie a spiritual meaning into her name since we didn’t choose a “biblical” name. I began thinking about what my prayer for our daughter would be. I thought industrious/noble…and thought humble servant, servant of Christ…that’s what I want my daughter to be! When I was clearing out the office room to make room for all the baby stuff, I picked up this big oversized pillow/bean bag my very first class of 4th graders made for me. Each student put there handprint on it and on the back one of the moms wrote out Ecc. 9:10 – which was the verse from the bulletin board I made for the beginning of the year. It says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Solomon reminds us here that we must grasp life’s opportunities and use them to the fullest in serving God. It was an “Ah, ha” moment – Yes, that’s it, that’s her name.

And I prayed…


Whatever Emilie’s hand finds to do, help her to do it with all her might – for YOU!”

  Born still
April 7, 2011
4lbs 6oz, 19 1/2in


Quick Baby Update...

It's been a while...I guess I'm going with "No news is Good News!"  Last week at my check up I was anxious/nervous to see if "Baby K" had turned.  She was transverse...enjoying laying sideways across my belly.  The midwife was excited to tell me she TURNED...head down!!  Needless to say, this momma was very happy!  I'm "measuring fine" and baby was happy with a heart rate of 148.  I could never tire of listening to baby's heartbeat...especially since Joanna's was so hard to find, masked under mine, and then just so slow.

I get a small lecture from the midwife each visit about how well this pregnancy is going and that I really can/need to believe that everything is going to be fine.  Most days, I'm totally on board and very excited...it's just that I know too much (of the what can happen's) for me to totally breathe a sigh of relief that everything will be fine.  So, in the meantime, I'm trusting daily that God's plan and timing is perfect...can't wait to meet this little girl!!

I go to see the doctor on Thursday and should be getting a final ultrasound!  Looking forward to one last peek on the black and white screen...will never tire of this pretty profile either...
I'm also looking forward to a couple days of independence...perhaps a pedicure...  Grandma is taking Trent and Drew for a few days of their Spring Break.  Mike and I will add a fresh coat of paint to the office/baby room...mostly because of Drew's lovely black scribbles that grace the off-white walls.  I look forward to my last days of SLEEPING IN...and a much overdue DATE NIGHT with Mike!!

Life is about to get really hectic here in a couple weeks :)  Can't wait...


Family Pizza Night

We drove downtown for the FAME festival a couple weekends ago.  Trent's school participated by singing a few songs.  It was fun to watch him sing and look at lots of artwork!!

We thought we'd just make a night of it and try a new pizza place, Pint 'n Slice.  Mike had heard many friends rave about it.  It was a quaint little space...we got to sit UP in the window.  Just as soon as we sat down and ordered a continuous flood of customers streamed in.  I snuck outside to snap a few pics.  It was good eats and good laughs...a night to remember for sure!!  I love my boys!!

A Gift, A Thank You

At the end of February, on a Wednesday evening...after coming home from church, Mike and I noticed a gift bag on the side of our driveway by the flowerbed.  Mike parked the van and I ran back outside to see what was there.  I picked up the bag and it was surprisingly heavy!  As I looked inside I saw 3 copies of A Gift of Time.  (I wrote a post about it here.)  I mentioned earlier this was the book for which I submitted Noah's Story.  I also mentioned that I wanted to donate a few copies to my perinatologists office.  Not only did I think it would be insightful for the staff, but more importantly they have a lending library for moms/families to utilize.
I searched in the bag for a card or note or something...NOTHING.  An anonymous gift?!  I was SOOO excited to be able to deliver these to the doctors office in memory of Noah and Joanna.  So, whoever you are...THANK YOU FOR BLESSING ME, and many other families who will read Noah's story as well as those of many other families who have walked this difficult road of loss!