All of these photos were taken by Kirk Chambers and I am sharing them with his permission. You can see his work at www.kirkrobert.com.
Looking through these photos, I cannot help being overwhelmed with love and joy. And while I do not typically share deep reflections about my personal life or faith online, I feel the desire to share about the Lord’s faithfulness to our family.
Two years ago today, Kenzo and I held the tiny, lifeless body of our stillborn daughter, Katherine Grace. We cried over her, prayed for her, and had to say hello and goodbye all at once. We had found out in a routine doctor’s appointment the morning before, that she was dead and decided to go into the hospital that afternoon for induction. The labor was far worse than either labors with my two sons. It wasn’t more painful necessarily, but it was longer, and we did not have the anticipation of meeting our child at the end of it. It was a long, 15 hour process – and I vacillated between trembling from being too cold, to breaking out in sweats. Fever and chills, nausea…all blended with heartache.
I was barely over 17 weeks pregnant, so she was tiny, 9 inches, 5 ounces, when she arrived. I pushed her out and it was then that we found out why she had died, the cord was wrapped tightly around her neck. As crazy as this may sound, when I heard that, I felt grace rush over my body . . . “it wasn’t my fault.” Against logic, I had convinced myself that she had died because of something I had done (specifically drinking caffeine), so finding out that she had gotten entangled in the cord, was the first sense of grace . . . from myself to myself, but also from God.
The process of grieving her loss, I would say, is still ongoing. At first, I felt sad, but okay. I felt the presence of the Lord. I listened to a lot of hymns and spiritual songs. “It is well with my soul” spoke to my soul: “when peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.” I also was reassured by scripture, “though sorrow may last for the night, joy will come in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Months later, when I was pregnant with Kyle, our now 13 month-old, I would experience some anxiety and might even go as far as to say PTSD especially when hitting the same place within my pregnancy. And there’s more, but I cannot put it into words. I think about her, love her, miss her and mourn her. I have visions of her and she makes me long for Heaven more than I ever have before.
But here we are now, exactly two years after the worst day of my life. And I look at these photos – my sweet boys, all three of them…and I sense His grace again. And His fulfillment of promises – that He walks with us through our pain, and often He brings us out of it to experience joy, even on this side of Heaven. I know that there are others who have losses like ours and do not get blessed with another child after the fact. And I hope that somehow, they still sense His presence and peace. But for me, personally, I know that Kyle would not be here, if Katherine was. That does not make me miss her less, but I cannot imagine life without this little boy and thus, am thankful for the way God has worked out all things for good. I look forward to meeting my sweet baby girl some day in Heaven, I truly do. I am also extremely grateful for the opportunity to live life here and now, with these three amazing people, who fill my heart with love and my days with joy.
Thank you for allowing me to share. And enjoy these photos of my sweet family!
(this is one of two versions I listened to over and over again…this one by Jeremy Riddle)