This is the story of our precious baby boy, who was diagnosed prenatally at
17 weeks with a fatal chromosome disorder called Trisomy 13. Although
Jonathan's condition is considered "not compatible with life", we desired to give
him every chance at life. Our prayer is that those who are touched by our story
are drawn to God, who is Life Himself. John 14:6

To start at the beginning of our story, click here.


40 minutes

shortly after jonathan passed away in our arms, we asked our doctor and nurses how long he actually lived for.

"40 minutes!" was our answer.

it wasn't until later that we began hearing about the significance of such a number. thanks to our worship pastor who enjoys teaching on the significance of small things in the bible that might go unnoticed, such as numbers, dates, and more, we did eventually wonder about the significance of "40 minutes." he had already explained to us the significance of jonathan's birth date, the 8th of october (which would have been the 9th of october, israeli time.)

this is what i found summarizing the significance of the number 40 from a couple of good sources on the internet:
The number 40 holds particular significance in the Bible and refers to a precise number, not just a long period of time....A 40-something time period, whether days, months, or years is ALWAYS a period of testing, trial, probation, or chastisement (but not judgment) and ends with a period of restoration, revival or renewal. It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8). Thankfully, God is consistent, so the meaning of a number in Genesis remains the same all the way to the book of Revelation. Sometimes the spiritual significance is not revealed directly, but in the case of "40" and its many examples throughout the Bible, we can be certain of its importance and significance.

there are many events in the old and new testament regarding the number 40. here are most of them, without being repetitive:

~ it rained for 40 days and 40 nights when God wanted to cleanse the world and start over. (the story of noah's ark)
"And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights." ~Gen 7:12

~ noah waited another 40 days for the water to recede before he opened a window in the ark. "And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made" ~Gen 8:6

~ when jacob, the father of joseph, died in egypt, he was embalmed following the egyptian custom which required 40 days. they believed that this was the period of preparation of going into a new life, what they called the afterlife.
"...taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days." ~Gen 50:3

~ moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days before writing the ten commandments. "Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights." ~Exod. 24:18
"Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments." ~Exod. 34:28
"When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD." ~Exod. 34:29
"Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the LORD listened to me at this time also. It was not his will to destroy you." ~Deut. 10:10

~ it took the israelites 40 days to search out the promised land and bring back fruit for everyone to see.
"At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land." ~Num. 13:25

~ the Lord sentenced the israelites to spend 40 years in the wilderness.
"Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. For forty years--one year for each of the forty days you explored the land-you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you." ~Num. 14:33-34
"The LORD's anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone." ~Num 32:13

~ david killed goliath after forty days of his defiance of israel.
"For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand." ~ 1 Sam. 17:16

~ elijah, strengthened by food provided by an angel, went forty days and forty nights to mount horeb where the Lord passed by and he heard the voice of God."So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God." ~1 Kings 19:8

~jonah warned the city of nineveh they had 40 days until God would overthrow the city. the people repented in those 40 days and God spared the city.
"On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned." When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened." ~Jonah 3:4 and 10

~ Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness.
"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry." ~Mat 4:1-2

~ Jesus was seen in the earth 40 days after His crucifixion.
"After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God." ~Acts 1:3

~also, interestingly: eli, david, solomon, and joash reigned over israel for forty years each.


after looking up scriptures about the significance of "forty" and reading about the various trials and testing that happened, i was very encouraged to learn that no matter the length of the trial (days, months, years) or reason for the trial (testing, punishment), that the Lord was still very present in its midst. i see it in our trial, which thankfully falls into the category of "months" and not "years."

i look back and realize how difficult and stressful it was when we were pregnant and facing the unknowns, compared to now even though jonathan is not here with us. for now, we can see how the Lord lined up all the details to make for a very smooth delivery day. now, we can see how the Lord provided for us in our time of need, through Himself and through others. and now we know how the story ended, and how beautiful the story was. i don't know what i had to fear. the Lord promised us through many of the verses i've posted on this blog that He would carry us through, and He did. it was my lack of complete faith and understanding that kept things difficult and stressful for me. but He still provided, even in my moments of unbelief.

these scriptures about "forty" remind me how Lord was with us in our time of testing:

He didn't leave us alone to find our way. He led us through our time of testing, just as He had the israelites..."Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands." ~Deut. 8:2

several months ago, i wrote about how the Lord provided our "spiritual food", just like He provided manna for the israelites in their time of testing in the desert. "The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan." ~Exod. 16:35

we see now how the Lord has blessed us tremendously in our journey, and has provided for our every need. "The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything." ~Deut. 2:7

the Lord provided me a relatively comfortable pregnancy, in spite of jonathan's condition. even at 32 weeks and at high risk for pre-eclampsia, my feet had yet to swell once in my pregnancy. just as he provided for the israelites basic comforts in their time of wandering the desert: "Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years." ~Deut. 8:4

and finally, just as the Lord used the sign of a rainbow as a promise never to flood the earth again: "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life." (Gen. 9:13-15), i like to think of the significance of 40 minutes as a promise for renewal and restoration for us after our trial.

i do believe we are already in a period of renewal and restoration. perhaps it came in the abundance of peace we experienced once jonathan passed away, or perhaps it was in the relief of realizing that our period of intense testing had come to a close. i don't know exactly when it began, but i know it's here. every day i am a little bit closer to feeling healed and whole again after this trial. and every day i am more thankful and more joyful than the day before, knowing that jonathan is healed and whole in heaven.


a long overdue "thank you" note

there are angels among us.

when greg and i first embarked on this journey, we couldn't have forseen the wonderful and thoughtful deeds that would be done for us in our time of need. it has been a true blessing to see how our friends, family, church family, and even those we don't know personally, have lifted us up in every way.

a special thank you:

~ we truly believe that we could not have gotten better medical care anywhere other than with our obstetrician, dr. jennifer esses in sandestin, and with our maternal-fetal specialist, dr. jim thorp in pensacola. both doctors are incredibly gifted in their knowledge and skill, and supported us and cared for us with such kindness and compassion. we are so, so thankful to each of them and to their staff. a special thank-you to dr. esses, who not only was there for us as a physician, but also as a friend, prayer-warrior, and a valuable part of our support system. we appreciate you so much.

~ the hospital where we delivered both kate and jonathan, sacred heart hospital on the emerald coast (sandestin), was also wonderful. our nurses, jessica, crystal, deja, khris, and our social worker, dawn, went above and beyond their duties to help us and care for us in every way, including coming in on their own time and staying late past their shifts. we are so grateful to you for what you did for us before, during, and after jonathan's birth. a sincere thank you.

~thank you to our genetic counselor, beth, who provided us with all of the necessary information on jonathan's condition, who made herself available at anytime to answer our countless questions, and who supported us with the bad news and celebrated with us with the good news.

~a special thank-you to our friends jennifer, michelle, and lisa (and their husbands) who have done so much for us these past few months, including caring for kate, bringing numerous meals, putting together jonathan's "celebration of life", helping with the funeral, and who have been on their knees praying for us since literally "day one". thank you also to our friends, mike b., cathy and ken, and leigh ann, who traveled from different parts of the U.S. (and from another country!) to come support us and be there for us in our time of need. we love you all and are so thankful for your friendship.

~a special thanks to our church pastors and staff, especially pastor carey dean and sr. pastor carey olson and their wives, who loved us, counseled us, prayed for us, and provided for every need that we could possibly have during this time. thank you especially for all of the work that went into jonathan's funeral, including the hosting, officiating, the flowers, the childcare that was provided, the technical assistance, and more. we are so blessed by you. thank you.

~our large group of friends and church family: there are literally a hundred or more people we should be thanking by name, for the amazing acts of service and love that were done for us during our journey. greg and i want to express our deepest gratitude to those who brought us meals, babysat for us, sent cards to us and our families, gave us free medical advice, called us to check on us, and prayed for us, among many other acts of kindness.

~thank you to our wonderful neighbors who made themselves available to us in our time of need, who supported us at jonathan's celebration of life and funeral, who donated to charity in jonathan's name and who sent flowers and spoiled me with a pedicure and massage :) we appreciate you all so much.

~a sincere thank you to lindsey newcomer for taking maternity photos, and to deb haussermann, who took maternity/family photos and also spent several hours with us at the hospital taking pictures of us with jonathan. these pictures are priceless to us, and we will treasure them forever. thank you for donating your time, energy, and talent to our family in this way.

~to our prayer partners, including those who follow our story here on the blog: we could have not made it without you. we have heard of how faithfully you have been praying for us, even though many of you don't even know us personally. we have heard the stories of about how some people felt "an urge" to pray for us at certain times, which we later learn that that specific moment was so significant in our journey. we have learned of people waking up in the middle of the night, burdened to pray for us. these stories are a true testament to how the Lord has used you to lift us up in our time of great need. thank you for asking of the Lord on our behalf to answer our specific prayer requests during this time, especially the prayer that jonathan would be born alive, and for our peace and strength through this time. please know that the Lord has answered these prayers for us, and has blessed us abundantly. i believe that for years to come, greg and i, and perhaps others, will still be talking about the amazing things that the Lord accomplished through jonathan's life and that some of these things are yet to be revealed. thank you also for your encouraging words to us via email and blog comments. they have blessed us greatly!

~we thank all of our family, friends, and even those we don't know personally, for your donations in honor of jonathan to the children's advocacy center and to heart of the bride ministries, and also in jonathan's memory to heart of the bride ministries.

~thank you to thereseann from the "living with trisomy 13" website. because of your site, we were filled with much hope about traveling this T13 journey. thank you for reminding us that we are not alone, and that there is plenty of wonderful support for families like us. we have connected with some truly wonderful families via this site.

~thank you to laura with "string of pearls", whose keepsake box provided us with wonderful memories of jonathan to enjoy for many years to come.

~last but not least, thank you to our families. words cannot express how much your unconditional love and support means to us. thank you for all that you have done for us. we love you so much.

we are so thankful for each of you.

"I thank my God every time I remember you." ~Phillippians 1:3

with love,
lauren and greg


an exquisite grief

the weather here on the emerald coast has absolutely gorgeous this past week. it's been breezy and cool, and there hasn't been a cloud in the sky for days (until today!) when i'm outside in the fresh air, i can't help but think about jonathan.

did you know that two weeks ago i gave birth? i honestly have to remind myself of this. there isn't all that much to remind me of it these days. the physical pain of such an event is mostly gone now. i am back into my "regular" clothes, and all of my maternity clothes are packed up and put away. i am able to sleep better at night. physically, i have recovered pretty well, especially for it being only two weeks. i'm sure it was because jonathan was so small, and because the Lord has been merciful.

however, the grieving process has begun for me. it's hard to describe, because there is still that marriage of joy and sorrow that i am experiencing. joy, because i could not have asked for any more of God's favor on us during this time, and especially by meeting jonathan....and sorrow because my arms ache to hold my sweet baby again. the sorrow i feel in missing jonathan is incredible.

we were warned that this part, the grieving process, would be the hardest. i think that perhaps this deep sorrow was part of the many reasons some people questioned our decision to carry jonathan. they wonder why would we choose to do this to ourselves? as if the pain of terminating the pregnancy would not be as deep. but we chose to carry jonathan, knowing that it probably would be harder. we would bond with him even while he was in the womb. we would meet him face to face. and we would have to say goodbye. we knew this season would inflict suffering, and leave us with scars.

but we would not choose to do it differently, even now in the suffering. we didn't do it for the promise of any gain for ourselves, for we surely weren't promised any reward. we did it because we believe that we were called to walk this path for purposes that God alone knows. you see, we only had two options: terminate in unbelief, or to carry on and believe. i realize that this would be difficult for someone who doesn't know God or want anything to do with God, to grasp.

so yes, greg and i will probably always be scarred from this. but instead of the scars being reminders of the hurt and pain, we will consider them badges of honor, as we are so honored that the Lord would choose us to be jonathan's parents. therefore, our grief is exquisite.

i imagine that this is how the Lord feels about his children, but so much more. He is honored to be our Father, and bears the scars he suffered in order that we would know Him as such.

“Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.” ~Isaiah 49:16


i am happy to report that 6 out of the 7 days this past week were good days. days where i didn't cry very much, or at all. days where i felt more joy than sorrow. days where i felt like i was able to keep the right perspective in all of this. i noticed that on those days, i had plenty of rest.

after that one rough day this week, i decided to go alone to visit jonathan's grave. i wasn't sure how it would make me feel, if i would cry the whole time or not, or if it would make me miss him even more. it was a lovely day, and i spent several minutes taking in beauty of the place; the smell of green grass and fresh flowers, the cool breeze in the air, the sound of the windchimes, the bright blue sky...and i tried to comprehend what he must be seeing in heaven. i imagine the beauty of the changing season here must pale in comparison to the beauty he is experiencing. but soon, my eyes came to rest on the power lines out near the road and then there was the sound of a noisy truck passing on the highway that was a rude reminder of the world's imperfections. i didn't cry for jonathan that day, because i know he's so much better off where he is. he will only know beauty, and in more ways that we can comprehend here.

i also decided right then and there, that i would not make myself feel guilty about when or how often i visited jonathan's grave. i wasn't coming to visit him, because i knew he wasn't there. so it wasn't like i was neglecting him or something. i needed to realize that. instead the place is symbolic of a deeper relationship, the relationship i now have with the Father because of what He's done in my life these past few months. from now on, i will come to the gravesite not just to remember jonathan, but perhaps moreso to remember the gift He gave me, through jonathan's life.


meet our precious gift

"I Will Carry You" by Selah

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?
People say that I am brave but I’m not
Truth is I’m barely hanging on
But there’s a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says…

I’ve shown [him] photographs of time beginning
Walked [him] through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love [him] like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen Me
To carry you

birthday, part three

(continued from birthday, part two)

an answered prayer
jonathan was born at 7:16 pm. "is he alive?" is all i wanted to know. "he's alive!" our doctor told us. i remember being so relieved and so happy, saying, "thank you, Lord!" and then, we saw him for the first time. his little forehead was wrinkled up and his mouth was open, trying to cry. he stretched out his arms and legs and even opened up one eye. greg cut the umbilical cord. and then suddenly, he was in my arms.

i hadn't thought about what i would say to jonathan beforehand. while i held him, greg and i were mostly speechless. we absorbed every detail about him. he had wavy blond hair, just like his sister, and tiny blond eyelashes. his skin was the softest thing i have ever felt. he had long feet and perfect little toes. he even had a bit of a double chin! he was so beautiful, so little and so...normal looking. i don't know how to put that eloquently. we just didn't know what to expect, knowing that he would have some abnormalities. i don't think we would have cared what he looked like, since we love him so much. but the only truly obvious sign of the trisomy 13 was a bilateral cleft lip. i remember thinking later, how easy that would be to fix. it was his inward parts that could not be fixed. after a few moments of just admiring him with teary eyes, we finally found words to speak to him. we told him over and over how much we loved him. we told him "happy birthday" and told him about all the people all over the world that were praying for him.

jonathan became very peaceful, and didn't move very much after several minutes. it was like he was sleeping. there was no struggling, no suffering. we had prayed so much for that, and had been assured many times by doctors that he wouldn't suffer. we were thankful to witness such peace. every once in a few minutes, the nurse would come check his heartbeat with the stethoscope. it was 50, then 40, then 30.... we showered him with kisses and "i love yous" through our tears. and then, 40 minutes after being born, at 7:56 pm, jonathan passed peacefully away.

40 minutes had passed like it was only 5 minutes. the entire time spent with jonathan was done with such intense focus on him that it was over before we knew it. but it was the best 40 minutes of my life. for 40 minutes, we were truly a family of four.

our little piece of heaven
once i knew that jonathan was gone, i did my best to try to imagine jonathan being gently taken from my arms by Jesus himself. i knew that the Lord was near to us, and gave us incredible strength to make it through that moment. i was sad, yes, but i was not devastated. the only way i can describe it is that we had such peace, and even a celebratory spirit within us, as we "let him go." i tried to imagine what jonathan must have been experiencing in that moment. perhaps it was the first moment of his life that he was able to comprehend something. i wonder if he knew he was face-to-face with his Creator. i wonder if he knew that we were his parents and that we love him so very much. i wonder if there were other loved ones in heaven to greet him. i wonder if he will always be a baby in heaven. thankfully, one thing we don't have to wonder about is if we'll see him again. thanks to jonathan, the Lord has reminded me that this life on earth is not what it's all about. heaven is what we should long for. and now I have my precious jonathan to look forward to seeing again, for we know that we will spend far longer in heaven with him that we ever would here on this earth. i am so thankful for this hope we have in Jesus.

"We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less." 2 Corinthians 5:4-5, The Message

"I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High." ~Psalm 9:1-2

making memories
we were able to spend over 5 hours with jonathan. most of this time was captured in photos, as our families and friends were able to meet him and adore him with us.

greg gave jonathan a bath to clean him up, and it was so precious to watch my husband carefully and lovingly bathe his son. greg was amazing with him; so proud to have a baby boy.

once i got jonathan back in my arms, he smelled so sweet, and i breathed him in deeply as often as i could, hoping to always remember how he smelled in that moment.

our wonderful nurses, deja and khris, along with our social worker, dawn, graciously spent several hours with us, helping us get footprints, handprints, foot molds, and other keepsakes. we dressed him in a light blue premie outfit, which dwarfed him, and tiny premie socks. close to midnight, deja swaddled him for us and we spent some more time alone with him, rocking him, talking to him, taking more pictures...before we knew it was time to let him go.

a little after 1:30 am, the funeral home came to get him. it was the moment i dreaded. the hospital provided a little basket for us put him in for the transfer to the funeral home. we tucked him into the basket just as we would have tucked him into bed. we placed his little blanket with him and kissed him and touched him for the last time.

and then he was gone.

"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." ~John 14:27

"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." ~Job 1:21

all through that night, i would wake up and look at the clock on the wall. he's been gone 2 hours now. 3 hours now. 5 hours now. it was the hardest night of my life. i just wanted to wake up to a new day with lots of sunshine and a healthy baby in my arms. thankfully, i was not able to dwell much on these thoughts, with God's help i'm sure. when my mind wanted to wander to those places, it actually took too much effort to stay there for long. i actually could not escape the peace that surrounded me. writing this even now, i stand amazed at how God provided so much strength and grace for me in what should have been my darkest hour.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." ~Psalm 23:4-6

i truly believe that once we come to realize that our children do not actually belong to us, they belong to the becomes so much easier to let them go. the Lord would not have required us to do it without His help, without His provision for our every need.

(i will post pictures today as well, in another post.)


what is normalcy?

greg and i are easing back into our "normal" lives now. i am still not sure what that means. a few days ago when we were so busy with funeral plans, i was looking forward to getting back to normalcy. but i realize now that it means "getting used to being without jonathan." we miss our baby so much.

we took kate to a local pumpkin patch yesterday. it was our first outing as a family in a long time. it was nice to have fun together, but we couldn't help feel that someone was missing. kate got to pick out a big pumpkin for herself, and a baby pumpkin for jonathan. she is very aware that she has a baby brother named jonathan. i am certain she remembers meeting him. when you ask her who her brother is, she always says, "baby!" and when you ask what the baby's name is, she will say, "jon-than." she also recognizes him from his pictures.

on the way back home from the pumpkin patch, we stopped to visit jonathan's grave. greg and i always note how beautiful it is where he is buried. the flowers from the funeral were fragrant and still blooming even though it had been several days now. the trees are still very green and full of life in spite of the falling temperatures. yesterday, it was very breezy, so the windchimes hanging all around the other graves were dancing and singing nonstop in the wind. there was a patch of sun right over jonathan's grave, as if to keep him warm. we could have spent hours there with him.

then today, we went to church for the first time since jonathan was born. we missed going for a couple of weeks there at the end of my pregnancy, since things were getting worse with jonathan. it was good to be back, and it did make things feel more "normal" again. afterwards, we again stopped by jonathan's grave since it was just next door. we wanted to make sure none of the flowers had blown over in the wind. when we were about to drive away, kate said, "bye-bye, jon-than!" in the voice of a sweet big sister.

i hope normalcy doesn't mean that kate forgets she has a baby brother. or that we try to fill our days with meaningless chores and obligations, in order to "take our mind off" of missing jonathan. or even worse, that we try to fill that "God-sized" hole in our hearts with anything other than God.

so i don't want to go back to normalcy. for how can we go back to the way we were, once we have met this little boy? how can we go back to who we were before, after we have experienced a greater love and emerged from this trial with a deeper faith? how can we be anything but changed for the better for what we experienced through this journey? we have been called to be better than what we were before jonathan came to be. so thanks to a little boy, who was deemed "not compatible with life" and only lived for 40 minutes....we have learned what life is truly all about.

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away." ~ Anonymous


we sang this song at church today, "you are good". it is such a fitting song for our journey. He is so very good.


birthday, part two

(continued from birthday, part one) greg and i arrived at the hospital right around noon, and we were immediately ushered into our room. it was a huge room at the end of the hall, and was a delivery and postpartum room all in one, which was nice since we would be staying in it the entire time.

our last pregnancy pictures with jonathan

things happened pretty fast from there. we met our nurse, jessica, and later our social worker, dawn, when she came to check on us. before i knew it, i was changed into a hospital gown and had an IV put in my arm. we took a few moments to unpack jonathan's keepsake items, and the nurses set up a nice "display" of them in the bassinet. unfortunately, i was not prepared to deliver a baby that day, so the only thing i had all day to eat or drink was a muffin and a diet sunkist. i was starving and thirsty, and all i could have was basically ice chips.

i love ice chips....ok, who am i kidding.

we are determined to spoil this baby, no matter how long he lives for!

my doctor showed up right after lunchtime and gave me a couple of pills to encourage my body to begin preparing for labor. i was already experiencing mild contractions at this point, just like i had for the past week or two.

soon, our room was buzzing with family members and i was in labor. it didn't take long for the contractions to get pretty intense. thankfully, i didn't ever have to be put on pitocin for the contractions. things were moving along well, so i asked my nurse and my doctor again for their opinion on getting an epidural. jonathan was still breech, and in case he got stuck for any reason, they would have to resort to forceps or my doctor would have to manually go in and pull him out. that scared me. i was assured that jonathan's health would not be compromised by the epidural, but it would for the other drugs that were offered to me. for this reason alone, i opted to get the epidural but no other drugs.

the epidural did not work completely for me, just like i had experienced when i got one during kate's delivery. apparently, it has something to do with the nerves in my spine. only one side goes numb while the other is completely normal. with kate, it happened on my right side, and with jonathan it happened on my left. i'm sure just feeling the contractions on only one side helps alleviate the pain a bit, but it was still pretty bad.

we occasionally monitored jonathan's heart rate during labor, just to make sure he was still with us. however, one time it was so high, it didn't even measure on the machine. later, it registered at 220 BPM or so. we were thankful to know he was alive, but i could tell that greg and i would be so, so disappointed if we checked one time and didn't hear anything. it would have really broken our hearts, right before i would have to deliver. so we ended up deciding not to listen anymore and just to trust in God's will for jonathan's life, if he was meant to be born alive.

our photographer, debbie haussermann, arrived and then we spent some time alone with our pastor as he read us verses from psalm 118 and from psalm 27 and prayed for us and for baby jonathan. it was at this time, he encouraged us with his observance of God's perfect timing in all of this. for greg and me, it is sometimes hard to see it, because we are the ones walking through this trial. so to hear about the many ways God's fingerprints were all over this very day, was amazing. we plan to share these details in a future blog.

"This was the LORD’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." ~Psalm 118:23-24

close to about 7 pm, it became time to push. i could tell that jonathan was coming, and i wasn't even pushing yet. i was pretty sure that i was feeling him kick as his feet were about to present, and now that we know he was alive when he was born, i am positive that was what i was feeling. my doctor showed up and the pushing began. after about 4 sets of pushing, jonathan was born at 7:16 pm! it was so much easier than i could have ever thought, with jonathan being breech. i'm sure the Lord was merciful on us with such an easy delivery. i was able to enjoy jonathan from the moment he was placed in my arms! be continued...and i promise lots of pictures of jonathan next time.

where joy and sorrow meet

it was dark and pouring down rain when i woke up yesterday morning. my first thought was, "oh no. i hope it doesn't rain during the funeral." i pictured us standing at the gravesite with umbrellas, just as you see in the movies. my heart sank a bit, because i was determined to enjoy the day as much as i possibly could, given the circumstances. rain would interfere with this, i was sure of it.

a couple of hours later, we were solidifying all the funeral arrangements with our pastor over the phone. he mentioned how i probably felt stress over the rain this morning. he went on to say that the day that jonathan was born, october 8th, was the last day of the jewish holiday "feast of the tabernacles", also known as the "day of salvation." after this time, the ancient jews would start praying for rain. rain, he told me, was symbolic of the Holy Spirit. so the rain we experienced in the morning was symbolic of the Lord being present with us on the day we would bury our son.

that brought me much comfort.

"Since in Israel the rains normally stop in March, there is no rain for almost seven months! If God does not provide the "early" rains in October and November, there will be no spring crop, and famine is at the doorstep. This ceremony, then, was intended to invoke God's blessing on the nation by providing life-giving water. It is in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles and this eighth day that the gospel of John records a fascinating event. John wrote: "In the last day (eighth day), that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-38). The Son of God was saying in the clearest possible way that He alone was the source of life and blessing; that He could meet every need of the human heart."


this past week has flown by. 7 days ago, i had no idea that we would be here. 7 days ago, i was still hoping we would have another month left with jonathan before being induced. 7 days ago, i would never have guessed what was ahead of us in the coming week. and now, here we are: having already given birth, experiencing 40 wonderful minutes with jonathan, loving on him when he passed so peacefully away, and then yesterday, celebrating his life and mourning our loss with a funeral.

greg and i have been so wrapped up with preparing for the funeral that it seems more like a month has passed, rather than a week. we are tired. we are somewhat just "going through the motions" right now. and we are looking forward to getting back to our "normal" day-to-day life, whatever that may look like now. we are now a family of four, except our newest member just happens to call Heaven his home. so we aren't operating like your typical family of four. but make no mistake, jonathan is very much a part of us.

"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose...all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." ~Helen Keller

yesterday was probably the second-most anticipated day of our journey, next to delivery day. we were very intimidated by it, but again, astonished by the strength and grace the Lord provided to us to make it through.

we were actually OK until we pulled into our church's parking lot and there, front and center, was the hearse. the walk from our car, past the hearse, and into the church was a very long and hard walk. and then, from the foyer of the church, we could see straight down the center aisle of the sanctuary the tiny white casket that held the body of our baby boy. it took several moments to compose ourselves, but eventually we went in alone to spend time together in front of the casket. it was a surreal time. it was hard to believe that we were actually experiencing this. that our baby was actually in there. but then, we reminded ourselves that jonathan was not there. he was in heaven, probably looking down on us, saying, "mommy and daddy, don't cry! heaven is awesome!! i'll see you soon!"


the funeral was absolutely wonderful. i know that you don't typically think of funerals being wonderful, but this one was. yes, it was sad. but it truly was a celebration of a tiny life that has touched so many people and has blessed us in ways that we can't begin to fully describe. we are truly so thankful for our baby boy, and i speak for both greg and myself when i say that meeting jonathan face-to-face was worth every hardship, every teardrop, every physical and emotional burden we experienced throughout this journey. we would make the same decisions again. we have no guilt, no regrets. we have experienced peace and love on an extraordinary level. it has been a blessing.

the "wish frame", where people placed scripture and messages to us and jonathan

a few of my former bosses from the sheriff's office


our wonderful social worker, dawn was there on behalf of some of the nurses who couldn't be

friends, cathy and lindsey

celebrating the day with JOY

our families

with my friend cathy's husband, ken

the ceremony was filled with songs we love, sung by our dear friends who have been right there with us during the journey, lisa, jonathan, and faith. the songs were "enough", "where joy and sorrow meet", "blessed be your name", and "since the world began."

during the song, "blessed be your name", three of my closests friends read scripture in between the stanzas.

we also played a slideshow that greg and i put together, with scripture and pictures of jonathan.

because both greg and i have several friends and family members who were unable to make the funeral and wanted to be there, we plan on posting clips of the songs and message as soon as we get around to uploading them.


since the cemetery in which jonathan was buried was directly next door to our church, greg, our pastor, and i rode in a golf cart behind the hearse in the short drive to the gravesite. it was ominously overcast and windy, and the thunder was already rolling in the distance. it reminded me of the day we came to the cemetery to make the funeral arrangements. the birds were still chirping in spite of the coming storm. by the time we reached the gravesite, it had begun to sprinkle, and then steadily rain harder as we walked to the tent over our son's grave. greg and i had decided that it would just be the two of us attending the burial, with our pastor. we wanted to spend that final time alone with our son.

after our pastor prayed with us, greg and i had a few moments alone with jonathan. by then, the weather had really deteriorated, and we were ushered to the safety of a waiting van. the lightning was too bad for us to stay out there under a metal and canvas tent. so unfortunately, our time spent with jonathan before his burial was cut short. my mind really wanted to go to those places where i question God, saying, "why would you let it happen this way," etc. but those thoughts were overpowered by the reminder, again, that jonathan was not there in that box. that would not be him in the ground. the time had come to say "good-bye, for now" and "i'll see you again soon."

even today, i like to think of the symbolism of rain being the Holy Spirit. we were definitely covered by it at the gravesite.


after the time spent at jonathan's grave, our families and close friends all went out and celebrated again at a mexican restaurant. this is fitting, because 1. jonathan had lots of chips and salsa while i was pregnant, and 2. who doesn't enjoy eating chips and salsa, surrounded by lots and lots of loved ones? it was the perfect meal for this day. i wonder if there is chips and salsa in heaven? jonathan would probably like that.

afterwards, it had finally stopped raining, so we went back to jonathan's grave with our families and stayed there until it was completely dark. i had another fleeting moment of guilt, leaving jonathan behind under cold, wet soil, but that thought was immediately conquered again. please continue to pray that we will stay strong in our moments of weakness and the Lord would continue to show us that jonathan is very much at peace with Him.


birthday, part one

all is quiet in my house at the moment. kate is with my parents and greg is napping, like i should be right now. my house should not be this quiet today. there should be the cries of a hungry baby. or the squeaks and contented sighs of a sleeping baby. but instead there is nothing, and it is deafening at this moment. how i miss my baby boy.

there is just so much to share with you about jonathan's birthday. i don't even really know where to start. i guess i will just back up and start at the beginning, and write it a little bit at a time when i feel up to it.


after our appointment on wednesday with our specialist, greg and i really felt like we should not rush into making a decision about an induction. we knew things were bad with jonathan, but like i have mentioned in previous blogs, we wanted the time of jonathan's birth to become clear to us as we waited on the Lord to show us when it was time.

i did not sleep well that night and i was up all through the night to listen to jonathan's heartbeat. it was still flying high over 200 BPM. finally, when i measured it at 5:30 that morning, it was down around 150 BPM or so. while everyone was still sleeping, i packed a few things in my hospital suitcase and took a nice long shower, just in case. during that time, i did feel a sense of peace about it possibly being the day we meet jonathan.

a few hours later, we were sitting in my OB's ultrasound room, listening to her read the specialist's letter to her concerning our visit the previous day. when she was through, she looked up at us and said, "i don't think it can get much clearer than this." [about what we needed to do.] she took a quick peek at jonathan's heart via ultrasound, and there it was, quivering away and completely surrounded by fluid. he was in heart failure. she didn't think we should wait even a day to induce. the day had come for jonathan's birthday.

and just so it was even more obvious that the day had come, when she checked me, i was already dilated to 2 cm. and that vacation she was planning for the weekend? she had already canceled it for reasons completely unrelated to our situation. she would be available to deliver jonathan that day. and the concern about vacancy in the birthing center at the hospital? they were in a "lull" at that time. we would be able to get a birthing/postpartum room at the end of the hall that we could stay in our entire visit. even the date was significant: my dear grandmother, who passed away earlier this year, was also born on october 8th.

so greg and i sat in the car outside of my OB's office, crying, praying, and making lots and lots of phone calls. we knew the day was coming, but we didn't expect it to happen with such urgency. suddenly, it was here. the time had come for us to cling to every bit of faith we had, in that the Lord would carry us through.

"They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly." ~Psalm 112:7-8

"I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears." ~Psalm 34:4 be continued

today's newspaper article

our sweet jonathan was featured in a follow-up story in today's local newspaper. you can read it online here and i've included it below. it makes me sad to read it because i miss him so, so much...but we are incredibly thankful for his "legacy."

Parents had 40 minutes with baby Jonathan
Wendy Victora
Daily News

On Thursday, a baby was born.
His birth had been much anticipated, and more than a little feared.
With the beginning of life, would also come the end.
Of course, that’s how it is with all of us. From the minute we are born, we are moving toward death.
But instead of the hoped-for 70 or 80 years in between, Jonathan Tomaschko’s parents knew he would have only moments or hours. And he might not even have those.
God gave him 40. Forty precious minutes to spend with his mommy and daddy and other family members.
His “big” sister Kate, who isn’t even 2, said his name.
His mommy was “enamored” of him, as any mom would be.
Daddy wanted his picture taken with his baby boy and his baby girl.
Jonathan met his grandparents. As was the case throughout his prenatal months, Jonathan’s life was recorded on his parents’ blog,
A family friend did most of the posting on the first and last day of his life on earth.
Labor was induced around noon, she wrote. She asked readers to say prayers and wish the family peace. And to ask God to allow his parents, Lauren and Greg, to hold their precious baby before he died.
A later blog told us he’d been born. He had lived. During his short life, he gave great joy to those around him.
Jonathan’s life was marked by numbers.
At 17 weeks, his parents found out that he was a boy and that he might have something wrong with him.
Days later, they found out that he had Trisomy 13, a chromosomal defect. And that he had it in its most fatal form.
Incompatible with life, was the ruling. His parents chose that he would live every moment he had fully.
On Oct. 8, labor was induced.
At 7:16 he was born.
At 7:56, he died.
He weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces.
He had blonde hair and the hands of a basketball player, according to the blog posted by a family friend.
That’s all we know. But it’s enough.
In Jonathan’s short life, he taught others to live theirs more fully.
From the Tomaschkos, we learned that it’s possible to proceed with great courage, even into the face of unimaginable loss.
That trusting in God doesn’t mean getting the outcome that you might have wanted.
That it is possible to find joy and meaning in even the most painful parts of our lives.
What an amazing legacy for a tiny boy to leave behind.
Thank you, Jonathan.
And thank you Lauren and Greg for sharing your son with us.



Jonathan David Tomaschko was born on October 8, 2009 at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast.

Jonathan spent his entire life cradled in the arms of his loving parents. In 40 minutes, Jonathan's life was complete as he peacefully went home into the arms of Jesus, but not before leaving his tiny footprint in this world and on the hearts of many. Through his brief time on Earth, he was able to teach us a lifetime’s worth about God’s love and faithfulness.

Jonathan is survived by his proud parents, Greg and Lauren Tomaschko, and big sister, Kate Tomaschko, of Crestview, FL.

His loving family also includes maternal grandparents, Joe and Jill Bumgardner of Fort Walton Beach, FL.; paternal grandparents, Don and Suzanne Tomaschko of Niceville, FL; aunts and uncles, Jerry and Lindy Steindler of St. Louis, MO., and Michael and Stephanie Esneul of Niceville, FL.; cousins Michael Esneul, Christian Esneul, and Seth Steindler; and great-grandmother, Florence Dorroh of Mansville, LA.

A time of visitation will be held on Wednesday, October 14 from 2:00-3:00 pm at Rocky Bayou Baptist Church in Niceville, FL. A Celebration of Life will follow at the church at 3:00 p.m. with Rev. Carey Dean officiating. A private burial will be held at Heritage Gardens Cemetery, Niceville, FL.

Arrangements are under the direction of Heritage Gardens of Niceville, FL.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to Heart of the Bride Ministry of Niceville, in Jonathan’s name.


Church address: 2401 N. Partin Dr, Niceville, FL 32578

Heart of the Bride: PO Box 786, Niceville, FL 32588


funeral announcement

The funeral for Jonathan David Tomaschko will be held on Wednesday, October 14th at 3:00 pm at Rocky Bayou Baptist Church in Niceville. A time of visitation with the family will be at 2:00 pm at the church, preceding the service. All are welcome to come celebrate Jonathan's life.

A private burial will follow the service at Heritage Gardens Cemetery.

"I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." ~Jeremiah 31:13


thank you

dear friends,
i sit here with unspeakable joy in what the Lord allowed us to experience yesterday in 40 minutes. it was so much more than we could have ever imagined. jonathan was so beautiful and so peaceful. i can't wait to share the story and photos with you, when the time is right.

for now, greg and i just want you to know how much we appreciate you and your faithful prayers for us. just since yesterday, we have received over 250 emails and messages of love and support. your messages to us have brought much healing amidst heartache. we have read them and wept with thankfulness, because it is another reminder to us just how much baby jonathan's life has been a blessing to others. please know that while we won't be able to respond to every message, they mean so much to us. thank you for taking the time to write to us or comment on the blog.

with love and gratitude,
lauren and greg



A few snapshots into the life of Jonathan Tomaschko:

Jonathan was born at 7:16 pm and passed away at 7:56 pm on October 8, 2009.

He weighed 4lb 3 oz.

Jonathan is beautiful. He has blonde hair. He has the hands of a basketball player.

Mommy is enamored by him, as any Mom would be.

Daddy wanted a picture with his two kids, his baby boy and baby girl.

Kate kissed Jonathan and said his name.

The photographer was there to capture these priceless moments of his life.

There were tears and laughter in the room.

His precious life though short captured our hearts and has affected many lives.


God's Miracle

Jonathan Tomaschko passed away and went to be with his LORD and SAVIOR.

Jonathan lived for 40 mintues!

Jonathan's ALIVE!!!

We are Celebrating the Birth of Jonathan Tomaschko!

Jonathan was born alive a little after 7:00 pm on October 8, 2009!

Mommy and Jonathan are doing great!

Kate just went in to meet her little brother Jonathan! Grandparents just went in to meet their Grandson!

On behalf of the Tomaschko's and extended family they greatly appreciate your prayers for a smooth and safe delivery. And for praying in unison with them that he would be born alive. God answered our prayers. Praise Him!!!

Please continue to pray for Jonathan and his health.

Please pray that Lauren, Greg and Kate would have sweet extended time with their precious little miracle, Jonathan.

I will update with weight, length, etc as we know more about Jonathan.

Michelle for the Tomaschko's

Update on Delivery

The Doctor has broken Lauren's water and is progressing Lauren's labor and delivery of our Sweet baby Jonathan.

Please continue to pray for a safe delivery.

Michelle for the Tomaschko's

Delivery Day

This is Michelle writing on behalf of Greg, Lauren, Kate and Jonathan while they are unable to.

Lauren is being induced today around lunch time because Jonathan is in Heart Failure.

Please Join us in Praying the following:
The labor goes smoothly and easily for both Mom and baby Jonathan.
That Jonathan is born alive.
That the Lord provides for them complete and total peace during the entire labor process and delivery.
That the Lord will allow for them to completely enjoy and celebrate their time with Jonathan, no matter how long it is, and to not be sad or anxious.

Please no visitors.
Updates to Follow.

Pray * Pray * Pray



have you ever had a moment where you just wish God would write the answer to your question in the sky? or at least just come out and tell you? after today's specialist appointment, we really need prayer about making the right choice.

we learned today that jonathan's condition is worsening. now there is fluid in his lungs, among all the other conditions (fluid in his brain, fluid around his heart, not to mention the same complex heart and kidney issues we are already aware of.) in the hour we were getting the ultrasound, his heart rate ranged from 97 BPM all the way to holding steady at 214 BPM, which is extraordinarily high. the placenta is also twice as large as it should be, which can cause problems as well. my amniotic fluid levels are still low at 4.6 where ideal is 10+. (this is actually up from last month, when they were at a 3.)

it seems our options are: 1. to deliver him now, while he's still alive and can possibly be born alive, or 2. take a wait and see approach. if he was born now, his lungs would not be able to function and it would surely mean death shortly after birth. however, his condition isn't going to get any better from here on out. waiting to deliver him means that he may not be alive by the induction date.

can we get a third option, please?

thankfully, we have another appointment with my OB tomorrow. we have a lot to discuss.

so after the ultrasound, i was waiting to get my vitals checked and i thought about the previous blog i posted. at first i thought, "guess i should have waited to post that one!" since i talk about how i felt God was preparing me to carry jonathan to full term. but then i decided that maybe he was just preparing me to, and not going to require it of me. now i'm just confused.

on the way back from the hospital, greg and i talked the entire time about this new choice we were facing. two very interesting things came up. first, i told him about this verse that has been on my mind for about a week now: "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." ~Psalm 27:14 i had no idea why this verse kept coming to my mind...until today. the second thing was that i told him basically what i posted in my previous blog, about feeling that jonathan would make it to 37 weeks. i didn't know why i felt that way, but i just did. greg said, "hmm, that's interesting..." and proceeded to tell me about a conversation he had a week ago with someone about how he just really felt that jonathan would make it "37 weeks." he didn't know why he felt that way either, he just did.

either way, we do not feel at peace inducing jonathan anytime soon. God may not speak audibly for us to hear His answer on this, but i do believe He will give us peace for one decision over the other.

we are asking for your prayers concerning these things:
~ that jonathan would make it to the original induction date of november 7. he would be 37 weeks.
~ we would like it to be very obvious that the time has come for jonathan to be born. there are things that can happen to make this obvious, such as my water breaking, or going into labor, etc. all while jonathan still lives.
~ that our doctor would be given divine wisdom on how to proceed, considering jonathan's worsening condition
~ that jonathan would be born alive and we would get the chance to hold him during that time
~ that a breech delivery would not take any toll on jonathan' health during labor and delivery
~ that if an earlier induction date is suggested to us, that the Lord would grant us much peace about it if the date is part of God's will.

thank you so much for praying!!

i found the following on the internet, regarding "waiting for the Lord":

"As we go through life, we come to understand more, when we grow closer to Him and become more focused on Him, that there are some things in life that we need to wait for. Why? Because God's timing is so different from ours. This doesn't mean that if we ask for something or are planning for something to happen in our lives and it doesn't come quickly or the way we thought it would, that God will never give it to us or bring it our way. God's ways and timing are always different from ours. He knows our wants and desires, but He also knows when it's best to give to us.We must mature in believing that God will give us what we need and bring answers to prayer at the perfect time. He will always work in perfect timing. We cannot understand that at all! That's because we are humans and we aren't perfect. God works in ways we cannot see. He's working right now, at this very moment, in your life and around you. You'll be so amazed at how He works through you and gives to you when you least expect it.If we wait on the Lord and be strong and take heart that He knows what He's doing, He will really surprise you and amaze you with His perfect timing and wonderful plans! Trust in God and wait on Him!" ~Zach Wood

in other jonathan news, he now weighs a whopping 3 pounds, 12 ounces, up almost 2 pounds from last month! this is the 30th percentile. his body and head measurements are about where they are supposed to be for his age. he is still breech, of course, sitting indian-style and with one hand across his forehead and the other in front of his mouth. i don't think we've ever seen him without his hands over his mouth. we were also able to get some pictures and short video clips.

this video clip is of his face. it looks like a pretty clear shot, but because both hands are up over his face, they had to try to "go behind" them to get the shot. so it's not incredibly clear or anything. but good enough for us!


another lesson from the journey

i wanted to share another aspect of my personal journey with jonathan, but at the risk of appearing completely shallow. however, i feel that i should still write about my experience and hope that women out there reading this can relate in some way or another.

i used to be a runner. not just a jogger, mind you, but a runner. it was something i took pride in (can you tell?), having raced locally and in school events literally all my life. it paid my way through grad school. it was my stress relief. it was my main source of exercise and kept me fit. i even ran a marathon right before i became pregnant with kate. yes, i am one of those people who actually enjoy running for fun.

however, i am not a naturally thin person. i don't even look like a runner. i struggled with my weight most of the time i was in school and only really became at peace with my body after the college years. the benefit of running i most enjoyed was that it helped me maintain a healthy and lean figure. i think most women can relate to the struggle of feeling good about how they look and being fit.

so now, after confessing how important it is to me to maintain my "figure", i want to show you how much the Lord has been working on me with this.

we are celebrating 32 weeks with jonathan this week. i am 32 weeks pregnant with a baby not expected to survive. jonathan's condition is not obvious from the outside. in fact, my body is going through all the normal changes because it just knows what to do when pregnant. my belly is large. my bones ache from my body preparing to give birth. i am getting quite uncomfortable now. for so many other moms out there, this is just part of it. it all becomes worth it in the end when you are holding that precious bundle of joy. for me, i don't know if there is that same "reward" at the end of this. and if i told you i didn't think about this when we were diagnosed at 17 weeks, i would be lying.

at 32 weeks, i am doing OK...still no swelling and i haven't experienced any more problems with my blood pressure lately. however, i am gradually experiencing more and more pain when jonathan moves. i have a feeling it is due to the lack of amniotic fluid. there is just not much to cushion the rest of my insides from his little kicks and stretches. i am having a harder time being on my feet since the pressure of him being pulled down by gravity sometimes takes my breath away. there is also a nerve that runs down my inner right leg that is getting crushed occasionally, sending shockwaves through my body.

on top of that, my belly is extremely tight and hard as a rock most of the time. it is very obvious where jonathan's head is at all times (still just below my ribs) and if i even slightly touch my belly there, it feels like a deep bruise.

but i don't tell you all this to make you feel sorry for me. yes, i'm uncomfortable, but i'm still thankful for it all. for when jonathan moves, it brings pain and reassurance all at the same time.

tomorrow we have our final specialist's appointment in pensacola. i remember at our last visit in september, after finding out all that not-so-great-news, that when the receptionist was making our appointment for october 7th, i honestly did not think we would make it that far. and here we are!

so tonight i was thinking about our visit tomorrow and suddenly i was reminded of a feeling i got a couple of months ago when i was wondering about how long i would get to keep jonathan with me for.

i was only 22 weeks at the time and i remember learning about a young girl going into labor with her trisomy 13 baby at only 23 weeks. it caused me great concern, because although i knew that it was just normal with these pregnancies, i was not prepared to lose jonathan that early. and while i was in the bathroom getting ready one morning (the only place i can be alone!) i remember this feeling, like God Himself was telling me, that i would go the entire way in my pregnancy.

i couldn't figure out why i felt this way, because i wasn't even sure that was what i wanted back then. at times during this journey, i have felt that perhaps it would be "easier" on me, emotionally and physically, if i didn't go all the way to full term.

but at that moment, in the quietness of my bathroom, i felt like reaching full term with jonathan was what God was requiring of me. my body was "not my own anymore." for me, even giving up my own body for God's purposes was necessary.

it was a moment in which i realized that this cup would not pass from me too easily. it was a moment in which God was requiring me to let go of something i placed too much importance on, in order that He could accomplish something much greater with it. i must die to myself. Lord, i do this for you.

even when my belly feels heavy and uncomfortable. for you, Lord.

even when my back aches and my feet hurt. for you, Lord.

even when i knew there was the possibility of my skin scarring from stretching too much. for you, Lord.

even when i knew i would face complete exhaustion. for you, Lord.

even when i gain weight that will eventually have to be dieted off. for you, Lord.

even when i know i will experience pain during labor and birth. for you, Lord.

even when i know my milk will come in and i won't get to nurse my own baby. for you, Lord.

even when i know i will not be back to exercising for several more months. for you, Lord.

and especially when it means that there may be no baby to bring home in the end, after all of this.

for you, Lord.

so here i am, with another month to go. it will probably only get more uncomfortable from here on out. but i know i will enjoy every moment i have with jonathan.

and if i had to, i would do it all over again. the life of my son and the lessons i've learned from this journey are worth it.


"the Lord will Provide"

lately i have been studying the story of abraham and isaac in genesis 22. it's an amazing story of obedience and trust in God, things i desire to gain more of in my life. now, keep in mind that i am not a biblical scholar or even close, so these are just my very simple musings on the subject.

"Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." v. 1-2

i confess that these two verses alone tempt me to question "what kind of God" would test someone in this way. but the more i learn about who God is, and understand a bit of the context of the story better, it makes more sense to me. perhaps the testing of abraham's faith was necessary, since God would honor him as the patriarch of the family line that Jesus would eventually be born from. just like the testing in our lives is necessary, as christians, in order to be strengthened in our own faith, and to be more useful in service to God.

just in these two verses alone, we see the deliberateness of God's command, and the equal deliberateness that abraham must display in order to obey: the sacrifice must be abraham's son, the son he loves. the place, mt. moriah, is a few days journey, so abraham must surely be deliberate in obeying so that he isn't tempted in not finishing the trip. and finally, the method of sacrifice God commanded was complex in how it must be followed in order to be accepted (Leviticus 1.)

amazingly enough, abraham obeys deliberately and willingly, with what had to have been complete, total trust in the Lord. and in just the right moment, God stops abraham and provides him with a ram for his sacrifice.

"Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." v. 13-18

i believe that God commands us to step out on faith and part with an "isaac" at times in our lives, whatever that "isaac" represents. for me, in this season of my life, i believe he is requiring me to relinquish the life of my precious jonathan in submission to His will, for purposes we can't begin to understand. yes, jonathan with his complex heart and kidney problems, is not expected by doctors to survive long anyway without a miracle. some people might say that because we don't have a choice in jonathan's fate, then there isn't really a sacrifice to be made. however, i believe that on a much, much lesser scale than what abraham displayed, there was a still a willingness to submit in our choice to carry jonathan to full term, and a willingness to let go of those cherished hopes and dreams i have for my son to grow up and live a long, happy life, and my desire to enjoy him as my son for the rest of my life. our willingness to submit to God's will, no matter the heartbreak of what He is asking of us, is what we have to offer. it is not easy. it is a daily surrender.

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." ~Psalm 51:17

i am learning, too, that when we are willing to surrender the "isaac" in our lives, God promises blessings by the thousands (v. 17-18.) it is not something He is asking us to do in vain, although we should be willing to, regardless. i believe that the ultimate representation of abraham willing to offer up his son isaac, and our (yours and mine) willingness to offer up our own "isaac" is that God willingly provided His only son Jesus as a ransom so that we may have Life...

"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." ~John 10:10

i have received several comments and emails encouraging me to believe in the healing power of God for jonathan, and i appreciate them all. i must tell you, i have really thought and prayed on this. i do believe that God can heal jonathan, and i pray for this, but i think at this point, my submission to His perfect will for my life and jonathan's life outweighs my focus on his healing. perhaps His Will does include healing, if it should bring Him the most glory. either way, my desire is just to fully submit to His perfect plan, and trust that He will provide. He has greatly provided for us thus far.

"'After waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised' (Heb. 6:15) and so will you. The moment of your greatest sacrifice will also be the precise moment of your greatest and most miraculous blessing." ~FB Meyer


note: the place of Abraham's sacrifice happened on the same mt. moriah that eventually became the place where the holy temple was built. i briefly touched on this at the end of my blog "the threshing floor"...just thought it was interesting, again, how God has connected these places and events in history.


conversations with strangers

pregnancy is a very public condition to be in.

when i was pregnant two years ago with kate i learned that people love to talk to pregnant women. complete strangers will carry on conversations with you about your baby-on-the-way, and they will also go out of their way to help you unload groceries, open doors for you, etc.

i also had an awkward experience when a complete stranger came up to me in wal-mart and rubbed my baby bump. it was a sweet older lady who had a grandbaby in tow, and she struck up a conversation with me. before i knew it, i saw her hand coming toward me as if in slow motion and i just froze....and my face turned really red. (seriously, what do you say after that?!) it was completely awkward, but i can laugh about it now. people know it's a happy time for the mom-to-be, and i imagine that seeing a pregnant woman brings back happy memories for those who have been there, done that.

there is no difference being pregnant with jonathan. for the past few weeks now where it has been completely obvious that i am pregnant, it seems that everywhere i go, i am asked about my pregnancy. at first this was uncomfortable for me because i knew it would eventually happen, and i just wasn't sure what the appropriate thing to say was. i soon realized that i don't need to say anything, because it just might ruin someone's day if i told them about jonathan's condition. i just smile and try to maintain eye contact and try to be as vague as possible with my answers while still being polite. i feel that not only do i have to protect myself from becoming emotional, but i have to protect the innocent person just making friendly conversation.

this is the conversation i have at least twice a week, almost verbatim:

friendly cashier: "when are you due?"
me: "well....(long pause)...the end of november."
FC: "WOW! you're not showing very much!"
me: "yeah, he's a little guy."
FC: "you're so lucky! i was HUGE when i was pregnant!"

again, not sure what to say to that. i don't consider myself "lucky" although i do consider myself "blessed" in ways that are hard to explain in such a casual encounter.

here's another amusing/potentially awkward conversation i had with a stranger recently:

this nice lady was asking me all about my pregnancy: so, do you know what you're having? what's his name? when is he due? is this your first baby? how far apart will your kids be? what's your daughter's name?.....and so on.

i told her my daughter's name was kate and we were naming our son jonathan. "hmmm..." she said, and after a long pause: "oh no! you'll have a jon and kate! like jon and kate plus eight!!"