Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The View of the Valleys

Somehow Mt Ashland has become our family place.  Our bodies have seemingly instinctively ended up there for some pretty big moments of petition, and celebration.  In July of 2010 Brett and I spontaneously decided that a hike to the summit was in order.  At the top of the summit, on a perfectly sunny day, we began discussing our readiness to start a family, after which we found ourselves petitioning God to bless us with a baby.  We overlooked the valley, while fixated on the surrounding mountains, and felt ecstatic, confident in our decision, and strongly filled with faith that our God heard our prayers.  The very next month we conceived, and some short months later our beloved Scout entered our world.  The very next year, we felt it only right to go back to that spot and thank God for the incredible gift he spoke into existence, and entrusted unto us.  We were filled with such gratitude, and joy, knowing that our God heard us and was faithful to answer and provide.  The following summer, after declaring ourselves ready to continue growing our family, we made our way back to that spot with the sole purpose of petitioning our faithful God once again for the gift of another baby.  Once we prayed what we needed to pray, we descended the mountain feeling satisfied, knowing and trusting that our prayers were heard, and more than that, would be answered.  A few short months later, I conceived, which leads me to today.

Today I am a bit beyond 20 weeks pregnant.  I have reached the halfway point.  I have endured the plights of morning sickness, and have managed to come out the other side...alive...and not barfing (except for that break in my 7-year streak when I got the blasted stomach flu)!  I have a little sticky-outy belly, of which I am quite proud, for it indicates that I am growing a human: I am a mom.  Nope, I cannot button my pants, and I am so proud.  I find myself rubbing my tummy every now and then, whispering silent prayers of protection, health, well-being, and sometimes rubbing it just because.  I've admittedly found difficulty connecting with this baby, for some odd reason, and have attributed it to unfounded fear: fear that the baby will not make it full term, fear that the heart will stop beating for an unknown reason.  I've suppressed these fears, and have prayed against them, begging instead for the safety and protection of my baby.  I've confessed to God that my fear has been the result of a lack of trust, for which I've asked for forgiveness.  I've prayed that my fears would stop, and that I would, instead, know and trust that this baby is His to protect and grow as He sees fit.  I've found myself embracing my commitment to stop worrying, but it has been a very conscious choice to walk away from worry and fear, and choose, instead, to trust in God's goodness.  

Tomorrow marks the big day of the gender reveal.  It's the day that the pregnancy becomes really...real.  It's the day that I actually see my baby, and not some alien-shaped blob.  It's the day that I see my baby's nose, lips, eyes...the day that I cry because I realize that my growing belly isn't just the result of eating too much cake, but is, in fact, because I'm growing an actual person!  Sometimes, however, things don't go as planned.  Today is, instead, actually the day that I cry.  Today is the day that we don't see the nose, lips, or eyes; in fact, we don't even see the heart beat.  Today we see a black and white screen, and an unmoving baby: the heartbreaking discovery that our baby is no longer alive.  Today is the day that we realize that the plans we've had for our future are going to be incredibly different than anticipated.  

To say that Brett and I are sad is a supreme understatement.  We are grief-stricken, heartbroken, downtrodden...exhausted.  Is it possible to cry anymore?  Yes.  And yes.  And yes.   It's strange how discovering the death of our baby has somehow made us realize more fully that not only have I been growing and sustaining a baby, but I've been growing and sustaining our child, our baby.   Accompanying this realization is also the fact that while it is our baby, this baby is ultimately God's, and we must trust in God's judgment and plans.  While I had my lovely and beautiful plans for our baby's life, God has others.  Our God has both given and taken.

And yet we still praise Him.

Brett and I found ourselves alone in our car this afternoon.  There was very little decision-making involved before our car was making fast tracks south on I-5, and up to Mt. Ashland.  Up to this point, our times at the mountain have been joyous, hopeful, exciting, promising.  Today's visit, however, had a different, more melancholy tone.   We were unable to make it to the summit because of the snow, and I, in my skirt and cute flats, was not about to trudge through the snow, nor did Brett have the desire.  It was a cold, windy, gray day, which seemed perfectly suited for our state of mind.  All of my visits to the summit have resulted in my attention being brought to the surrounding mountain tops, as I have delighted in their beauty and majesty.  Being that my focus has primarily been on the peaks, the truth is that I have hardly noticed the valleys, as they seemed so distant...and insignificant.  Today, from the parking lot, inside our car, I found myself glancing at the surrounding mountains, but being more mesmerized by the shadows in the valleys.  We sat in shared silence, every now and then exchanging quiet words, gentle laughs, intermittent tears.  And we prayed.

It seemed only right to be at Mt. Ashland, to be in the space we've held so dear, from which beautiful and wonderful things have come.   It seemed only right to go to the place we initially cried out to our God and petitioned Him to bless our family.  It seemed only right to, in a way, return the borrowed gift of our child.  Today we found ourselves crying out to God, petitioning Him in a different manner, and instead praying for His grace and mercy to fall on us.  And we prayed with a knowing confidence that our God has called our baby back to Him.   

As I said, today I found myself fixated on the shadowed valleys, in which my feet seem firmly planted.  I am reminded that even in the shadows, there stands God.  I see the mountain tops in the distance. They're incredibly blurry, most probably due to the incessant tears, but they're there, and I know it is there that I will again find my feet jumping for joy.  But for now I am in the valley, trudging along...and that is okay.  We are not alone, in which we find great comfort.  We so appreciate our dear family and friends who are willing to stand in the dreary valleys with us, allowing us the time and space to endure and process this grief.  We are ever-grateful for you, and for gentle and silent reminders to find the beauty in the valleys, while also remembering the beauty of the summits.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  

Please keep us in your prayers.

Andrea & Brett


  1. God be with you both. I sure he is.

  2. I'm so sorry, Andrea. I can't imagine the grief you both feel. Thank you for taking the time to write such a beautiful post and to encourage others even in the midst of your discouragement and grief. I'll be praying for you both.

  3. Love you guys. the Laca Family

  4. This hurts. I am crying with you. I am also humbled and deeply moved by this statement: "And we prayed with a knowing confidence that our God has called our baby back to Him."

  5. Zundels, I am so sorry for your loss. I love you and will keep you constantly in my thoughts and prayers. -Byron in Long Beach

  6. Myers, B, Scout, & Gideon-

    You guys are amazing and we love you. Thinking of your family and sending positive energy your way.


  7. we've been thinking of you night and day, and praying for the very thing you wrote above -- that God would meet you in your sorrow and cover you with His love.

    i wanted to share this blog of a family friend misty, which i've been reading almost daily since their baby boy (38 weeks) went to be with Him last month. i hope it brings you into fellowship with others who understand what you're going through. http://charliessong.wordpress.com

    we love you guys.


  8. We are praying for you and your family. I am so terribly sorry for your loss Andrea. Much love. - Karis H