All over the internet I am seeing stories. Women are breaking silence , and saying. I lost a child.
In the interest of educating people. In the interest of not hiding what God has done in my life.... I want to tell you a story.
A story of three miracles
A story of deep loss
And a story of Great Peace and Great Purpose.
First off, many know my amazing son, Connell.
What is pretty common knowledge, is that when Conn was born, I almost died. I'm not trying to be dramatic. I promise, in order to keep from getting too emotional, I'm trying to stick to cold , hard facts.
I was in labor for 36 hrs. Without dilating and I needed to have an emergency c-section. When my son was born, they found my uterus was hemorrhaging. They did all they could but in the end , the choice was take out the uterus or I would die from loss of blood in about 10 minutes. So they took it out.
We dealt with it. Even though I wanted to give birth to many children , I realized I was still here for a purpose. I was glad I was alive to see my baby boy grow, and share him with his amazing Soldier daddy! My #2 miracle. Life.
Number one thing about loss, no matter what it is. Life won't stop for anyone.. At times the days drag , taking forever, but then you blink, and you think, wow it doesn't feel like that long ago.
Well, a lot of life happened.
And two years later.
I found myself in a townhouse smack dab in the middle of a city, several miles away from anyone I was close to. Going through culture shock ( a western cowgirl doesn't fit in well with southern belles) , I was completely out of my comfort zone.
I remember the ONLY place I felt at ease was in the commissary on post. I used to count all the Army wives wearing jeans and REAL cowgirl boots, and try to imagine what it would be like to have a friend that was a cowgirl like me too.
And then I got pregnant.
But it wasn't supposed to happen! The doctors told me everything had been destroyed from the stress of my labor with my son!
But I knew. I was pregnant. And for about 10 weeks, my head denied it every day.
But my heart knew. I knew I had another life inside of me.
And I knew it was my daughter.
This was probably the darkest time in my life. Every pregnancy symptom I blamed on something else. But when my husband would ask me to see a doctor , I would refuse . I didn't want them to patronize me and chalk my own daughter up to "hormones" or irregularities. I didn't want medicine. I wanted the baby I knew was destined to die , to live. I wanted to see her face. I wanted to be just like normal 22 year old women that could carry their babies to full term, and deliver healthy!
I was in a constant state of insanity. I knew I was pregnant. But , I couldn't explain how it was possible if all of my " equipment" was completely inoperable!
I really thought that something had triggered an insanity switch , and just didn't know what to do, think, or act like.
So, I planned. If I was destined to lose her, I needed memories to cope with her loss.
I picked what her nursery colors would have been.
I started to accept that I was pregnant and I paid attention to every detail of the pregnancy.
I only wanted Zaxby's
I drank a LOT of sweet tea
And I listened to a lot of Celtic music
On January 1st my daughter saw the face of Jesus. She no longer physically lives in me. But we have our memories with her pregnancy. We named her Lila Tempenney Payne.
Our #3 miracle.
We got a necklace in honor of her
And I want to tell you something.
No one will have my exact experience.
If you've ever lost anything , you know that loss is different for everyone.
After Lila went to heaven I was changed.
I say that , to say this.
Loss changes people.
In the sense that it reveals who you are inside. Loss strips away a lot of the makeup we all use to paint ourselves better than we actually are . Loss gives you a choice. You have to choose what you're going to do for the rest of your life. At some point you will cry your eyes dry. You will stop repeating how you feel over, and over again.
Loss changes your whole perspective. You either embrace this endurance race of life. Or you standby . And watch others run.
And hey, listen! Loss gives you baggage! The heartache of losing someone you love , is like someone took the weight of the universe and said " take it ".
You get angry! I did! Especially when it came to people that seemed to treat pregnancy like the flu. I wanted to shake them, and say " you have a HUMAN LIFE inside of you"!!!
I would refuse to share my story with friends and family , because I just couldn't handle the skeptics. FEAR seems to rule you when you lose someone you love. My own daughter. I couldn't share her , I was afraid to wear her necklace and have someone ask about it.
My loss made me extremely aware of how women treat pregnancy, babies, and children in general.
It would cut deep when someone would say things like " be glad you only have one child"...... What kind of message are we giving our children when we say things like that?
But then, I had a turning point. I realized her very short life was a gift. A priceless gift that taught me to value life. She taught me to love so much deeper than I ever thought I could .
I look forward to heaven so much more than I ever did. When I'm in the choir , and we are singing, I can't help but think of my little Lila, in heaven with Jesus. And I HAVE to smile because she actually sees what He is, what He looks like.
The loss of my daughter gave me a closer walk with my Saviour.
Knowing she can see His face,knowing she can touch His nail scarred hands, knowing that He has her, safe and sound, and perfect...... Makes me love Him even more.
And let me just throw a lifeline out to someone who is drowning in loss right now. Jesus is your only hope. It's not in your friends, not in family, not in pleasure, not in yourself. :::: at some point all of us know we CANNOT " get over" loss on our own merit::::::: but with Jesus as our strength we can DEFINITLEY get through it.
And if we choose to let Him carry us through those dark times in our lives?? On the other side we can shout FAITH IS THE VICTORY!!!!
And the world will scratch their heads,while we point to heaven and say this;
I know that was tough, traumatic, horrible but I gave my burdens to Jesus and He carried me through the fire, He guided me through the storm. And He wants to do the SAME for you.
That is the great peace that I got to experience , because Lila was in my life. God used her to bring me closer to Him.
Yeah, I'm still defensive over my daughter, and her existence . And, it hurts so deeply when women treat their babies in or out of the womb like they don't want them.
But I've learned to turn it into purpose.
First I've purposed to love my son better. To build him up, to encourage him better. I realize more fully the precious life of a child. Now, I want to do all I can to help him realize his life is a gift from God.
Before Lila , I always wondered how I could love more than one child. Like, how did people with multiple children share the love?
After Lila, I realized I love both my children. I don't know how it happened , but it did.
We look forward to opening up our hearts to more children through adoption.
When the Lord says the time is right.
I have purposed to let my heart grow , and love those children , that for one reason or another do not have parents in their life.
This month as you see pink and blue profile pictures on FB, and story after story about the loss of babies.....remember each one is painful. But there can be purpose and peace. Only through Christ.
This is my story, and I hope that more than anything, you see Christ 💕