Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Big Day

By the time yesterday finally drew to a close, I was left with no coherent thoughts or emotions. I didn’t have words to express the day or the energy to try and think it all through. Since we’ve started down this road I have not experienced such a day of physical, mental, and emotional overload. Crammed into my waking hours were more emotions that I can probably list, and while all were certainly not all negative, nearly every one of them was supercharged. As strange as how the sum total of all the colors in the spectrum creates white, the combination of all of these emotions had the effect of leaving me, ironically, unable to express any emotion at all.

November 14 is inherently an emotional day for me, not only because it is Marianna’s birthday, but also because it represents the most emotional day of my life. When Nathan and I went in to deliver Marianna two years ago, it was under anything but “normal” circumstances. My grandfather had been battling pneumonia in the hospital for just over a week, and the prognosis was getting bleaker every day. On Sunday, November 13 the doctors came in and told our family to begin preparing for the funeral, and at that moment, I realized what I had to do. In the midst of the greatest sadness of my life, we made the decision to have Marianna induced the following day so that I would be able to make the funeral, if Papa’s time was indeed as close as the doctors were predicting. I went in late that afternoon to Papa’s bedside and told him goodbye and begged God that he would still be there when Marianna was born. I cried and I grieved. And then the next morning I dried my tears and forced myself to commit the day to happiness as we celebrated Marianna’s birth. She was born by 4:45 in the afternoon, and after family had the chance to see and hold her, we sent them with the video footage of Marianna to Papa’s bedside so that they could show him his first great-granddaughter. Less than twelve hours after her birth, Papa went home to be with Jesus.

This is what I mean by “inherently emotional.” I simply can’t approach her birthday without a flood of emotions running over me from that surreal time in my life. These are the thoughts I awoke with yesterday as we prepared for the big appointment and the big celebration with Marianna. Our appointment was early, but as is typical with my doctor’s office, we didn’t actually leave until 1 p.m. The appointment brought both encouragement and disappointment. It is always a thrill to be able to see Poppy and hear her heartbeat. I don’t take it for granted that she is alive and growing, and seeing the evidence of that on ultrasound monitor is something I am extremely thankful for. However, we also learned that Poppy’s head has continued to grow and is now officially “off the charts.” This led to my doctor explaining that he will have no choice but to perform a vertical c-section. With this news came the diagnosis I had expected but dreaded hearing: this kind of incision will never allow me to have a child by any other way than c-section, and it will require us to wait one full year for it to heal before we can consider having another child.

As I drove home from the appointment, I searched my heart to try and sort out everything I was experiencing. Frustration came to the top of the list. Isn’t it enough that her condition is going to take her away from us? Does it also have to affect our future children as well? Disappointment also ranked fairly high. I wanted so badly to see a miracle on that screen. I wanted to see that God had stayed the accumulation of fluid and allowed her body to grow at the same rate. Instead, her head continued to grow while her body’s growth significantly waned.

I immediately began searching my mind for a person from the Bible to relate to, and almost instantly Joseph’s story came to me. If ever there was someone who could say “Isn’t enough, enough?” it’s got to be him. His brothers sold him into slavery, he was falsely accused and punished for maintaining righteousness, and he was forgotten and left abandoned in an Egyptian prison. This is a bad story gone worse without any question, and if anyone had reason to be disappointed over lost dreams, frustrated over unjust circumstances, and embittered over the seeming abandonment of God, it is him. And yet Joseph remained faithful, even before he saw the amazing plan God had in store for him. What an encouragement to me!! I am so grateful that God chose amazing people like Joseph and allowed them to go through unthinkable hardships, knowing the profound impact they would have in the lives of Christians for hundreds of years to come. I believe God knew even at the moment Joseph was sitting in prison that someday his faith and endurance would spur me to greater faith and endurance as well. God’s provision to me through His word and His people is something that will never run dry.

For the first time yesterday I prayed a prayer that Job uttered as he was in the midst of his darkest night. He cried out “Thou He slay me, yet I will trust Him,” and after finding out the additional bad news, I echoed this in my heart. As the pressures and concerns with Poppy build, and as we approach her birth in just three weeks, I know I will continue praying this. Even when it seems like what is happening is adding insult to injury, I know in my heart that I will trust Him. The Lord has promised good to me. I may not see it clearly now, but I can see it by faith. I will cling to this as the countdown continues.

Thank you for your prayers and for the many happy birthday wishes to Marianna. I believe she had a truly special day, and it brought Nathan and me much happiness in the midst of everything else going on to be able to celebrate with her.


Anonymous said...

Bless your heart. You remain in my prayers.

Anonymous said...


I do not know you and I may never meet you this side of heaven, but I am praying for you and your precious family. Joseph 's story has meant a great deal to me this fall. One of the things that is so encouraging to me is that through his story, his trials, the Bible states over and over, "The Lord was with him." I will be praying that you feel the loving arms of the Father wrapped around your precious family. Thank you for your honesty and your willingness to be vulnerable.

Praying in North Carolina

Rebecca said...

Oh, Angie...

I'm sorry the news wasn't what you were hoping to hear.

Many, many hugs are prayers...


Fresh Girl said...

Angie, I spoke to your mom at your Uncle David and Aunt Kelly's shower a couple of weeks ago and told her my family and I were praying for all of you and how much this blog has been a blessing to me. Seeing your faith as you received the news you hoped you wouldn't hear and during such an emotional time for your family continues to inspire and humble me. Thank you for sharing this journey with...the world, really. I truly believe little Poppy and her parents are being used to change lives.

I want you to know, too, that my thoughts are with your family today. Your precious Papa was my pastor and I've missed every day of the last two years. He went Home on my birthday, so for the rest of my life, on that day (and many others), I'll remember and honor his life. Thank you for sharing him with all of us.

Laurie said...

God Bless you as you continue walking this road towards Poppy Joys birthday. I am so sorry for the disappointing news yesterday. My heart hurts for you and my prayers for you to be comforted and sheltered in Gods loving arms continue. Asking Him to shower you with His peace and hope today. You are loved.
Laurie in Ca.

PS. Marianna's picture is precious!

Brandi said...

Oh Angie,
I am SO sorry that the news wasn't good. I'm sharing in your tears, but I cannot imagine what you must be feeling. I'm continually amazed by your faith. I also admire your ability to choose to have joy in the midst of all of the sorrow you have experienced. I love you and am praying for you all the time.

Anonymous said...

i have been reading for several months are all in my prayers. i love the name poppy joy and i think of her often.

jeweljannie said...

I love you more than you will ever know. Oh how well I remember the events that transpired two years ago yesterday. I also cried my tears and then dried them off so that you wouldn't see my sadness in the labor room. "Surreal" is a very good word to describe what we went through.
I grieved so much for you that Marianna's birth was tinged with so much grief: yet, Marianna was what Grammy referred to as "God's blessed distraction." What an odd day for her. She chose a casket, a burial plot, and held her first great grandbaby all in the same day. Marianna was and is truly God's great gift of joy to all of us to help us rejoice in God's gift of life to us. She always brings a smile to my face.
I grieve that Papa never got to know her, and that she never will know him this side of heaven, but I believe that she is very close to his heart.
I remember going into your hospital room the first night after you had Marianna to wake you up to tell you of Papa's death. And then, you came home from the hospital to the funeral home to see his body. You were under so much. You just had a new baby, you were recovering from a C-section and trying to assimilate the monumental loss of your precious Papa. I was so worried about you. And yet, God brought you through, and I believe that Marianna was God's great gift to you to help you to make it through those difficult days.
In a way, I know that He is still using her to help your heart to heal through your present grief. Just to feel her chubby little arms around your neck and to hear her sweet voice say, "I love you, Mommy" must bring great joy to your heart.
You also have brought this same greate joy to my heart all of my life during my most difficult days. Your middle name is Joy the same as Poppy's. Surely, "Weeping endures for the night, but Joy cometh in the morning."
Today, once again. as I remember Papa, my eyes fill with tears, but it isn't long before I begin to laugh when I fondly remember all the good memories.
You are loved, Angie. God is holding you close, especially on the hard days. Love, Mom

Robin said...

I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and your faith totally amazes me. Bless you dear girl for setting such an example for the rest of us. I am so sorry you are going through this anguish. My faith has wavered under much less than what you are going through. Recently I had a prayer request that wasn't answered and I felt such disappointment with God. It took me a while to realize that I had actually been trying to manipulate God into answering a prayer the way I though it should be - I didn't leave it up to Him. So, even though I am sure you were disappointed that your prayer for your babies growth wasn't answered the way you wanted it to be, I know you also believe that God's ways are not our ways and His way is perfect. Joseph was one of only a few Bible characters that received an answer on earth for the question "why". You picked a wonderful example from scripture to relate to.
I will be praying for you and your precious family. May God bless you.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your news yesterday. You and your family are in my prayers daily. I think of you, Nathan, Marianna, and especially Poppy all the time. I will also be praying for your surgery as well as your recovery. I so appreciate your writings. It is so refreshing to find people who have removed their "mask" and can be "real." Thank you for sharing your journey and for being real.
Nicole Wilkes Eaton

Wade, Melanie, & kids said...

I just found your blog yesterday through a friend's blog. You and your family will remain in my prayers! My heart hurts for you but you are so right. We serve an awesome God and with your faith in him, you will get though this!
I pray for you and your family to have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Love, Melanie Smith

Elizabeth S said...

I am sorry you didn't get the news you wanted, but I know God is taking care of you and will continue to. You are such an inspiration to me. I am glad Marianna had a great birthday! The picture is precious.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your heart with us; y'all are such a testimony of God's amazing grace. You and Nathan are such special friends and we continue to pray for you daily.
Macy & Shane

Emily said...

I have prayed that prayer, "Though He slay, yet I will trust Him" through clinched teeth and floods of tears more times than I can begin to explain to you. Fight to stay there. Satan would love it if we would lie down, allow our sadness to overwhelm us, and our circumstances void of healthy babies, to steal our hope. You CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Poppy WILL be beautiful and is already amazing the nations. She IS fearfully and wonderfully made and EVERY day ordained for her was written long before any of us came to be. God is STILL on the throne. May He bless you for knowing that and may He continue to allow His grip that remains so tightly on your family be felt day and night. I am just an email away. My road is different, but similar enough to have given me a heart that understands more than most might be able to. It both humbles me and honors me to pray for you now.

Kim said...

Perhaps the news of the vertical section is an unexpected answer to prayer - maybe even a future prayer you haven't uttered yet! God is, by his providence, forcing you to take a whole year to love, remember, and cherish Poppy, to heal and to grow as a family, before you can consider adding more children to it. Perhaps that is His secret blessing to you - he's giving you permission to take a year to heal before you "move on," if you will.

Either way, I am so sorry to hear that the results were not what you wanted to hear. I am praying for sweet Poppy (I love her name, by the way!) and for your entire family.

Jena Baker said...

Praying for you today! As I read your post,my favorite verse comes to mind. It is has given me comfort in hard times and I hope you may find some comfort in as well. I will continue to pray for you as Poppy's birthday comes closer.

Jena Baker
Jeremiah 29:11-13

Kim ( said...

Dear Angie,
I started checking your blog this morning and just knew we would here good news. I am sorry that the specific prayer wasn't answered the way you/we wanted. I felt very discouraged for you and Poppy and honestly myself, so much so that I couldn't even write when I first read about the appointment. But the more I think about it the more I realize the miracle IS happening, through you and Poppy, God is being revealed so vividly and preciously to so many people. We know that God's plan is perfect and that God is working everything for your good because you LOVE him and are so faithful to him, even in the midst of this yuck! I continue to be encouraged by you and Poppy and continue to be uplifted by your courage and faith and preserverance. I read in Psalms today - ch. 91 vs. 2 - 16. "This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I am trusting him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor fear the dangers of the day, nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that stikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will CONQUER you; no plague will come near your dwelling. For her orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone. vs. 14 The Lord says, I will rescue those who love me! I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation".
I'm standing on the promises of God our Savior!!
I will continue to pray - God is in control and true to his word!
In his sweet and precious name,

Jana said...

love you guys.

Devin said...

You have many supporters. Bless you all.

sarahdodson said...

I'm so touched by your words, Angie. Thank you for sharing them with us. You are a woman of faith- a shining example to other women. May the Lord strengthen you and give you great grace and peace in the midst of all you're going through. You are prayed for!

Kim ( said...

Hi Angie,
It's Kim again. Poppy Joy has been heavily on my heart. I want you to know specifically that I am continuing to pray for the size of her head to decrease - we know nothing is impossible with God and that he has three more weeks to change things and even if he doesn't he will continue to be glorified. I do not know if it's even possible but if you can, insist that the doctors check Poppy's head size , even if at the last minute to maybe do things differently. I just felt so strongly that I needed to write this to you. We are praying praying praying for this!!!
We can never give up on our prayers!
With Faith, hope and love,

Kenzie Stanfield said...


I just got to your blog as I finished writing on mine about our appointment yesterday... the Lord must have put the same verse, the same cry on our hearts. I just wrote of Job and his cry "Though he slay me, I will hope in him." (Job 13:15) I feel that both of us, through our disappointing news, must still hope in Him~ I know you do and I am so thankful for that! I am sorry about the frustration, disappointment and feelings of being let-down, I feel like I know those too. Know that I continue to pray for you guys and that Deacon's 2nd b-day was a HUGE array of emotions as well, and I didn't even have all of the additional family circumstances. We'll talk soon!

Love, prayer and blessings,

jeanne said...

I love reading what's on your heart and mind. That is the cutest picture of Marianna by the way. What a cutie!

Livona said...

Angie - All I can say is that I'm praying for all of you. So many people love you guys and are praying for you. You have so touched my life with these blogs. God truly is using Poppy to change hearts. Remember we are here for you guys no matter what you need. Livona

Laurie said...

Just checking in on you this weekend to let you know you are so loved and completely covered in prayers. I hope this weekend is a peaceful one, allowing you the time to catch your breath after such an exhausting week.
And your mom's post here is so precious and from a mothers heart. May the Lord bless and keep you close to His heart today and the days ahead. Poppy Joy is perfect Angie, just perfect because she is in the Good Shephards hands, fearfully and wonderfully being made. Rest in Him today, He loves you to death.

Laurie in Ca.

Elizabeth S said...

The new pictures are AWESOME!!!