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.


merry christmas!

our christmas gift has arrived! 

evan joseph tomaschko was born at 3:59 pm on december 22nd, weighing 8 pounds and was 21.5 inches long.

he is healthy and perfect.

we got to take him home on christmas eve.  God is indeed gracious and we have so much to be thankful for!


making plans

almost a year and a half ago now, we were making plans for our unborn baby boy, jonathan.

not the kind of plans anyone would want to make, though.  unfortunately, those plans included the course of treatment after birth (basically, how he would die) and funeral and burial plans instead of what colors his nursery would be or what he career he might choose when he grows up.  and even in the making of those heart-wrenching plans for his death and burial, i knew that i would have to go to a baby store in order to get some of the things he needed, whether he lived or died.  a blanket.  a keepsake baby bible, perhaps.  an outfit to be buried in.

we never knew when jonathan was going to be born.  his due date was november 30th, but most trisomy babies don't make it to full term.  we knew he would be small at birth.  and, it stays warm here in florida sometimes through october and beyond, so i knew i needed not one but two outfits for for the warmer weather and one for if a miracle occured and he made it to full term in the late fall.  i guess it wouldn't have made a difference what oufit he wore...but at the time, every choice we made for jonathan was made with careful consideration.  it was part of our desire to do the best thing for him in the big things as well as the small, for as long as he was alive.

jonathan was buried on a warm and rainy day in october in a cute little light blue sailor-themed outfit, which even though it was sized "preemie", it still dwarfed his tiny four-pound body.

which left the winter outfit, a beautiful (and way too expensive, but hey...) light blue cable-knit sweater outfit to be returned to the store. 

however, because it took me months to go through any of jonathan's things after he was gone, i didn't realize that i had missed the short time frame to return the outfit.  i was stuck with it.  i'll be honest, every time i came across it, it was hard to look at it.  but eventually i decided to keep it because it was one of the few things he left behind for us to remember him by.  it was tucked away into a box, up on a shelf.


pregnancy after a loss is full of ups and downs.  i think most people who have experienced this would agree.  one minute you're so excited and hopeful and the next, you're worried if there is something wrong you don't know about or that maybe the doctors missed on the ultrasound.  you anxiously await those pregnancy milestones...seeing the heartbeat at 6 weeks, making it past the "miscarriage risk" at 13 weeks, then the gender/body scan, then viability, then full term...and all the weeks in between.  the hardest thing i've experienced during this pregnancy is not the morning sickness, or the tiredness, or the pinched nerves and other aches and is the anxiety or doubt that comes creeping in at times.  throw in some crazy ol' pregnancy hormones and it's easy to become a neurotic mess. 

not to mention, i feel like i've been pregnant two years straight and still waiting on the baby to arrive.

oh wait, that is pretty much the truth.

but now, at 37 weeks pregnant, we're busy making plans for a new baby.  we've had to believe and trust that evan is actually coming home with us.  every single act of preparation we've made for him has involved a conscious decision to believe and trust God for this baby boy.  it is only by this faith that we finally have the crib set up and clothes hung in his closet. that the carseat is down from the attic and has been cleaned.  that the nursery is getting it's final touches.  that my hospital bags are almost completely packed.  that we are slowly but surely getting physically, emotionally, and spiritually ready to meet our newest son.

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." ~Isaiah 26:3

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ~Romans 15:13

there was definitely no "flip of a switch"-type of transition from one pregnancy to the next; it's certainly taken the whole nine months to truly accept the blessing of a new, healthy baby, as well as to realize that the acceptance of evan as our newest miracle doesn't mean that we have to leave all things jonathan-related behind in order to move foward.  i've reached a point in my healing where i have decided that all of what jonathan left behind is something to be shared and treasured, not tucked away in hidden places. 

and so, through the tenderness and timely provision of the Lord a year and a half ago, evan has the perfect outfit to wear when we bring him home from the hospital...


baby ailah update

i just learned that baby ailah passed away today after blessing her family with 28 days of life.

please continue to lift up her parents and family in prayer if you are so led.

thank you!


this just makes it all the more real...

this is not news to anyone, but more like reality settling in for me...we're gonna have a baby.  a very large healthy baby boy.  sometime next month!!!

a couple of weekends ago, a group of friends and family helped make this seemingly distant event become very, very real to me with each word of encouragement i received as well as with each baby blue item i unwrapped.

this is actually happening.  and it's time to celebrate...

the spread...

the amazing matches evan's nursery!

the gift centerpiece

the onesie says "I roll with Jesus" with a stroller on it!

hand-painted by my friend cathy!

group shot...unfortunately taken after a few ladies had already left.


me at 32 weeks (evan is measuring 3 weeks ahead!)

i'm so thankful for everyone who has sent me such kind words of encouragement and sent up prayers on our behalf for baby evan and my pregnancy.  we are blessed by you.


finally...'s here! 

after weeks of editing drawings and measurements, we are so pleased with the final product.  "gulf coast monuments" in fort walton beach did a fantastic job.

the top part says "our gift from God" because that is what jonathan's name means.  hence, the scripture at the bottom which reads "Every good and perfect gift is from above..." ~James 1:17

the picture we chose completely represents where we believe jonathan is the arms of Jesus.  i can't even explain it in words, but the feeling i felt when jonathan died in my arms and the moments that followed...i know with absolute certainty that there was a holy presence in our hospital room that night.  i've never felt it so strongly before in my life and i haven't felt it as strongly since.  God was with us.

and so, just over a year after jonathan's birth and death, the headstone also represents to us the final thing that needed to be done for our son, almost like a large granite bookend to the past year.  there's not much left for us to do now; maybe occasionally wipe off any dirt left from a rainstorm, or pull any weeds around his plot, and bring him seasonal flowers and other items.  sadly, this kind of maintenance takes the place of us caring for him like we would if he were here with us.  how i'd love to give him a bath, or have the opportunity to change a dirty diaper, or clean off his muddy hands or face after he had played in the dirt.  instead, we get to parent a headstone. 

wow, the perspective i've gained from all of this.


another goodbye

this time, i am saying goodbye to my paternal grandmother, "mimi", who passed away yesterday just shy of 90 years of age.  and even though she was almost 90, it was still somewhat of a shock that she passed away so suddenly, as she seemed to be in decent health most of the time.  her passing makes it the third loss in my family in just a year and a half.

Mimi with Kate, a couple of years ago
but i know that the Lord ordaines our days and knows when they begin and when they end. 

and i am thankful that i got to grow up with a grandmother who lived nearby and loved having all of the grandchildren over to her house.  i have such great memories of spending time with all of my grandparents from as far back as i can remember.

i'm thankful that my children will have the same opportunity to spend lots of time with their grandparents as they too all live nearby.

i'm also touched that jonathan shares a birthday (october 8th) with my maternal grandmother, "nana", who passed away a few months before he did.  my mimi's birthday is on december 9th, a couple of weeks before evan's due date.  it sure would be interesting if evan were born on that day...i guess we will see.


baby ailah update

baby ailah (see blog post below) was born yesterday and is doing very well!  she is now 29 hours old.  she is 4 pounds, 2 ounces and taking bottles on her own.  what a little miracle!  please continue to pray for this precious baby and her family. 

thanks so much!


baby ailah

one of the many blessings that has come from jonathan's life is that i get to "meet" wonderful people, either in person or online, who happen share the common bond of a fatal prenatal diagnosis or the loss of a baby. 

my new friend darlene is expecting her first baby, a girl named ailah (pronounced "eye-lah") who has been prenatally diagnosed with trisomy 18.  darlene and i exchanged emails before meeting at our recent run for new life 5K.  there, we got to spend some time sharing about our babies and encouraging one another.  ailah has a very special mommy.

ailah is scheduled to be born in just a few days.

please pray that all goes well with ailah's delivery and that the family gets to spend some precious moments with their new baby girl.  so far, ailah seems to be doing wonderfully, in spite of her diagnosis.  please pray for abundant peace and comfort for this family in advance of what they are likely to experience, whether it be minutes or several days, after the birth of their daughter. 

"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." ~Psalm 23:4

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." ~Isaiah 40:18-31

"The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him" ~Nahum 1:7

i will post an update on baby ailah as soon as i get word.  thank you for praying.


jonathan's celebration

jonathan's first birthday has come and gone, but not without quite a bit of anticipation of this huge milestone in our lives.  once it passed, i actually felt relief. 

leading up to jonathan's birthday, i spent a lot of time thinking about october 8, 2009. i also initially put pressure on myself all week to put those thoughts into words and post it here as part of his "baby journal", but to be honest i really didn't know where to begin. usually to celebrate your baby's first year, you might post photos documenting the important milestones your baby reached throughout the year. or pictures of your baby digging into his first birthday cake. but i don't have any new pictures. i don't have anything new to share about what he's been up to, what he looks like now, or anything like that. celebrating your baby's first birthday when he died on the day he was born....i wasn't quite sure how to appropriately mark this occasion.

i also wanted to find "the perfect" scripture to post on his birthday blog but was having trouble finding exactly what i thought was the "right one." so i decided to let the pressure go with posting a blog and to just celebrate the occasion the way that felt most natural to us, and that included spending time with the people who were there when jonathan was born and supported us through the past year.

the night before jonathan's birthday, i picked up my bible to read that day's scripture.  i've been reading consecutively through the Psalms every night before bed, and interestingly enough, that night the one i read  was Psalm 40.  the number 40 has meant such a great deal to me since jonathan's death because i believe it has biblical meaning:  each time the number 40 is used in the bible, it marks a period of trial followed by a period of rest and restoration.  it also happens to be the number of minutes jonathan lived after birth.  coincidence?  i personally don't believe in coincidence. 

the first part of Psalm 40 reads:

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.

Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.

~Psalm 40:1-5

Psalm 40 perfectly describes our last year without jonathan.  how amazing (and timely) is that??


we celebrated the jonathan's birthday by meeting at jonathan's gravesite with a small group of some of our closest friends and family that evening.  our worship pastor lead a devotion and prayer time based on Psalm 111 and we gave all the kids balloons to release up to heaven.

Jonathan's marker...still no headstone on his birthday.

we then went out to a local mexican restaurant - the same one we ate at after jonathan's funeral - and fellowshiped over chips and salsa (and fajitas for evan.)

Some of my closest girlfriends
later, our families met at greg's parent's house and had cupcakes for dessert.

it was such a nice time without any tears.  we still just feel so blessed to have experienced jonathan's life, even for such a short time, and i'm so glad we celebrated it the way that we did.


a divine puzzle

check out this recent blog post about the details coming together for the "run for new life 5K" written by my friend (and OB) jennifer esses.  a divine puzzle, indeed!


happy birthday

happy birthday to our sweet jonathan today.  we know he is having a grand celebration in heaven today and keeping those angels on their toes, i'm sure.  we plan to send a few balloons up to the party later this evening.

in the meantime, we'll be remembering what a privilege it is to be his parents and an absolute blessing he continues to be in our lives.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above..." ~James 1:17


a huge success

this past saturday was the day our dreams, prayers, and planning of the first annual run for new life 5k came to fruition. was a huge success!  we had a turn out of over 170 runners, which doesn't include the many volunteers and spectators that also came out to support us.  it was a beautiful day and everything just fell into place, allowing for a very enjoyable time to be had by all.  we had this race covered in prayers and the Lord was so gracious to answer them.

the icing on top of the cake was definitely national christian artist heather williams' performance.  she has an amazing voice and amazing testimony that i'm sure touched many in the audience.

words cannot express our appreciation to everyone to came out and participated in this meaningful event.  thank you!!

below are some pictures from the event, or you can see all of the pictures here on our Facebook group page (you must have a Facebook account to access it.)

the organizers

packet pickup

me and my sweet momma who helped out

with the amazing Heather Williams

some of our wonderful volunteers

and they're off!

Heather Williams performing


baby evan update

yesterday, greg and i breathed a big sigh of relief after our appointment with our specialist, dr. thorp at sacred heart. not that we had too much to worry about since our baby boy has already pretty much been declared "healthy" a couple of times previously. however, at this appointment, evan would be big enough to really study his anatomy for more detail.  for me, anytime we visit the specialist, i just can't help but think back to jonathan and those bittersweet appointments.  while it was always wonderful to see him up on the big screen moving, sucking his thumb, and hiccupping...acting like a normal was also heartbreaking to see all of his problems and to be reminded that he basically had no chance of survival after birth.  those difficult memories come sneaking around when it's time to make the trip to the specialist.  even though dr. thorp and his staff are always so wonderful and kind to us, it's never a completely enjoyable event.  and now there's always the "what-if" factor with evan.  so, until this baby is safe in my arms, breathing on his own, nursing like a champ, and making huge messes in his diaper will i finally relax. (well, as much as you can relax with a newborn and a busy toddler in the house!)

we arrived at the appointment a little nervous and armed with a huge list of questions to ask about evan and about the pregnancy. most of those questions were based on the abnormalities either jonathan or i experienced the last time. basically, i just needed to be told that every detail of this pregnancy was normal and that evan had no issues that would make me wonder otherwise.  we had prayed for good news at this appointment for months.  so as we watched the ultrasound screen with big smiles and made compliments of our son that only adoring parents would make ("look at those cute chubby cheeks!"), our anxiety melted away and each question was answered to our satisfaction and reassurance.

so here's the latest with evan:  he weighs approximately 2.5 pounds (61st percentile) and has long arms and legs. he has the most adorable profile and chubby cheeks (if i do say so myself!) the ultrasound tech even pointed to hair sticking up off of his scalp! he is already in the head-down position, which i had figured since i have been feeling baby feet up near my ribs lately. he smacked his lips and sucked his thumb during the ultrasound, too. he is also "still a boy"...i had them check again since a friend of mine just delivered a girl after being told for months it was a boy!  in summary, evan is - as the specialist called him - beautiful and perfect. ahhhhh. that's the sound of weight lifting off of our shoulders!  we are so thankful for this news!

as far as my health is concerned, everything looks good that affects the baby. my weight gain and blood pressure is perfect. the only minor glitch is that i have a cyst on my thyroid, but so far it has not affected the baby. there is really nothing that can be done for it until after delivery. the cyst is probably pregnancy-related (i have been pregnant 3 of the last 4 years...hmmm) and will hopefully disappear on it's own in the next few months.  it's been mostly an irrelevant issue for me.

emotionally, i feel like i have finally gotten to a point where i have mentally separated my boys' pregnancies. especially after today. over the past couple of months, i have been able to bond with evan as evan and not compare him constantly to jonathan.  the only time i still compare is at doctors' visits.  i don't stress anymore over not feeling him move after a couple of hours, and i don't stress over the fact that i have yet to hear evan's heartbeat with my home doppler.  i've begun to make preparations mentally and practically speaking that we will be bringing this baby home. even kate is getting excited over her baby brother that will be arriving sometime around christmas.

so here's evan's growth progress over the past month or so and a sweet profile pic of his face...

21 weeks

22 weeks

23 weeks...Greg says I look like Barney the Dinosaur here!  :)

24 weeks

26 weeks
26 weeks and 4 days old...isn't he adorable???  :)


just when we thought it was already big...

....God is bigger!!

BIG news!  we just learned that national Christian recording artist heather williams is coming to our "run for new life 5K"!

we had no idea that our "little" memorial run would reach such amazing proportions.  as of right now, we have over 200 people signed up and now heather williams is coming to share her testimony of how she got through the loss of her baby boy, as well as sing two or three songs.

the way everything just fell into place for this to happen...well, it's obvious that God's hands are all over the details. 

if you don't know who heather williams is (she's relatively new to the Christian music scene), then check out her short youtube video:

if you want more of her amazing story, check out this video (be warned~ you will need tissues):

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." ~ Ephesians 3:20-21


"woven together" blanket

this is the last blanket i will probably make for my "woven together" project for 2010, now that i am focusing on sewing evan's nursery bedding and accessories.  as you may remember, under "woven together", i make preemie-sized blankets for babies who have been prenatally diagnosed with a poor or fatal condition. 

here's a quick peek at what the blankets look like:

The monogrammed side is minky and the other side is flannel.

and what the tag looks like:

this project is still in the beginning stages since my focus has been a bit interrupted with a new pregnancy of my own.  i plan to pick it back up in the early spring.

if by chance you are interested in following the progress on evan's nursery, hop on over to my sewing blog...


11 months

today (the 8th) marks jonathan's 11 months in heaven.  i must say that as his first birthday draws near, i have felt more emotional about him than i have in months. 

once september arrived, the weather here cooled off noticibly.  the sky is bluer and not as hazy with humidity.  the days aren't as long anymore.  and the butterflies are starting to show up.

i remember in the days immediately after jonathan died, i would spend lots of time just staring out into my backyard, which basically backs up to miles of woods.  the sky was clear blue, the trees were still green and beautiful, and there were white and yellow butterflies everywhere.  and i remember how broken my heart was.

almost a year later, my heart is not as broken.  of course, it will always be broken because jonathan isn't here, but mostly i mean it is not as painful as it was for those first few months.  the promise of the Lord to heal the brokenhearted, to bind up their wounds (Psalm 147:3) is one of the many promises i've clung to over the past year or so as we've walked through this trial.  i know i'm not totally healed yet, but i believe i will be one day.

seeing all the butterflies the past couple of weeks brings back a flood of emotional memories.  but it also reminds me just how far i have come in the healing process after losing a baby.  i could not have done it on my own; it has only been by the Lord's provision of grace and strength (and so much more!) that i am at a place where i see so much blessing in my life rather than devastation. 

and sometimes, the tears fall not because of what i don't have, but because of what i do have, especially now.


"God is gracious"

it's been the resounding theme of our last year or so:  God is gracious.

from providing for us the daily grace and strength we needed in the beginning to get through every minute of the day, to His orchestration of every amazing detail of jonathan's life and our journey with him...God is gracious.

from meeting us at our deepest place of need, to exceedingly, abundantly blessing us with more joy and hope than we in our sorrow could ever have imagined...God is gracious.

through the tangible as well as the emotional and spiritual expressions of our family, friends, and church family, He provided indescribable love and comfort to us...God is gracious.

as jonathan died and we walked through the darkest hours of our lives, somehow there was still so much light...God is gracious.

in our daily struggles and sometimes failures to fully trust and submit to the Lord's plan for us, God gently drew us back to Him through His word and through His undeniable pursuit of us...God is gracious.

through the gift of pregnancy of our newest precious son, whose strong kicks and jabs bring me such joy and thankfulness throughout each day...God is gracious.

through God's provision of a special scripture (Isaiah 43:18-19), to reassure me when in my weakness i begin to feel anxious or fearful...God is gracious.

and that only begins to touch upon the many instances where God has shown us amazing grace in this journey.

therefore, it only seems fitting that we have decided to name our son "Evan", whose name means "God is gracious." 

(we're still working on the middle name...)

"He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion." ~Psalm 111:4


20 weeks

we're half-way there to meeting our new baby boy! 

...and i'm doing things i never got to do with jonathan.  for example, i'm thinking about what we'll actually need for this baby~  clothes to wear, a nursery to sleep in, toys to play with, and on and on. 

as you might remember, i only shopped for the absolute necessities for jonathan:  a blanket or two to wrap him in and an outfit to bury him in.

as the weeks go on and baby's kicks get stronger, i have been able to let myself daydream about the fun stuff and actually buy one or two things for him.  in fact, i just ordered the fabric i'm going to use to sew his crib bedding, window valances, and pillows. 

but because of where i've been, the fun stuff doesn't outweigh what's really important:  baby boy is healthy and growing wonderfully.  no material item can even come close.


run for new life 5K

after several meetings, emails, phone calls, and many, many other arrangements, the first annual "run for new life 5K" is coming together nicely!'s going to be much bigger than expected!  the response has been amazing from the beginning.

i've gotten several messages about how you can participate, either by volunteering, running, or walking.

here are the details:

the race will take place on october 2, 2010 at 8 am at rocky bayou baptist church, niceville, florida.  the course starts at the church and continues through the beautiful swift creek neighborhood, takes you past heritage gardens cemetery, and back to the church.

a registration fee of $15 covers your race number, t-shirt, and your chance to win door prizes.  our intention is to use any extra funds to support a relevant non-profit ministry.  the t-shirt will be a keepsake, with a place for you to write in the name of the person you are running in memory of. 

the oak tree symbolizes strength, the acorn symbolizes new life, and the picture of the leaf is the same picture placed on hospital doors during the birth and death of a baby.  it lets hospital staff be aware of the situation going on behind the door.  we had it placed on our door when we arrived at the hospital to deliver jonathan.

our race verse is Romans 6:4: "...just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

since it's our first go at this, we are just doing registration via facebook. here is the link to our event page.

if you don't have a facebook account and would like to participate, or if you have questions, please contact me via email.

packet pick-up will take place on friday, october 1, from 6-8 pm at rocky bayou baptist church.

we are looking forward to it and we hope to see you there!


10 months of heaven

happy 10 months of heaven to our sweet jonathan today.

this description of heaven found in Isaiah 65 encourages me greatly...i hope it does the same for you too.

New Heavens and a New Earth

17 "Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.

19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.

20 "Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
he who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere youth;
he who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.

21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the works of their hands.

23 They will not toil in vain
or bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the LORD,
they and their descendants with them.

24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but dust will be the serpent's food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,"
says the LORD.



the crossroad

being pregnant so soon after losing jonathan has been a blessing as well as a challenge.  i think the blessing part is obvious, and i'll be honest:  in our case, being pregnant has been healing for us in many ways.  of course, the new baby will never "replace" jonathan.  but we are excited about adding to our family again, and already love this new baby so much.

however, the challenge has been to separate this pregnancy from jonathan's.  with jonathan still so fresh in my memory, this new pregnancy inevitably gets compared at every milestone.  at every appointment i anxiously await the exam results:  is the heart beating?  is the heart rate normal?  are the measurements normal?  am i normal? 

since the trisomy 13 gene is not hereditary for us, there is no reason for us to think that this pregnancy would be anything but normal.  however, having had such a devastating experience as we did, as much as we try not to "remember the former things", sometimes we just do.  our scars are still fresh.

there is also the challenge of "moving forward" without feeling like we're leaving behind jonathan.  time just marches on relentlessly, and we get further and further from that day we last saw him and held him.  and yet simultaneously, the intensity of the grief is (thankfully) less and less as time goes on.  this concept of time is very paradoxical.  i despise it and appreciate it all at the same time.  and so even though there is nothing i can do about how quickly time passes, i do feel guilty for wanting to move forward.  for wanting to enjoy this new pregnancy.  for wanting it to be separate.

for the first 15 and a half weeks of this new pregnancy, our journey was still tightly knit to jonathan's journey.  and then finally, we came to a crossroad:  our first big ultrasound with my OB.


our baby BOY is healthy and growing perfectly!

our prayers have been answered and the Lord has restored our loss, double!  (1.  healthy baby, and 2. BOY!)

and while jonathan's journey will continue on the path purposefully mapped out by the Lord Himself, greg and i took our first steps onto a new road filled with great hope and expectation.


and of course our visit was not complete without God showing up in a big way.  i was telling my OB about feeling like greg and i were finally able to begin walking the new road that has been graciously laid out before us.

she asked me if i had done my bible study homework for that day.  (i've been meeting with a small bible study group led by my OB since june 22, which also happens to be a year to the day we found out something was wrong with jonathan.  we've been studying the book of Ruth.)

sheepishly, i admitted that i hadn't yet...i had been so consumed with praying for good news at this appointment the past couple of days.

she explained that our study and homework for that very day was about ruth changing out of her mourning clothes and putting on new clothes.  it was symbolic of moving past her loss and trusting God's plans for her new life.

i was amazed at the timing of this message!  but not as amazed as i was once i finally did my homework for the day. 

here is what it said:

"When we're wrapped in garments of mourning, we're unavailable for whatever else God has for us.  In a sense, we take ourselves out of the game.  Though we can't be certain what Ruth had on, we know her new dress signaled a change, a readiness, an availability to Boaz and to God for the possibility of something new. 

Please know that if you have walked Ruth's exact journey of a dire loss, I am not at all presuming on your grieving process.  My simple hope is when God has held us, healed us, and lifted our heads, that we'd be ready to move forward with Him; and though our hearts may always ache, we won't stay in our mourning clothes forever." ~ Kelly Minter, Ruth:  Loss, Love, and Legacy

and then, there it was, AGAIN.  i could hardly believe it.  at the end of that day's homework, we were asked to read Isaiah 43:18-19.  you know what it is by now:

"Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

and for the THIRD time in just a few weeks, God had my attention.  (apparently He knows i might not get it after just one time so He is gracious enough to keep after me!)

i can barely contain my complete and total appreciation, thankfulness, joy, etc., etc. i have that God would be so kind to me to give me that message (again) on such an important day.

"This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous to see." ~Psalm 118:23

"How amazing are the deeds of the LORD!
All who delight in him should ponder them.
Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
How gracious and merciful is our LORD!"
~Psalm 111:2-4


working on the *completely*

first of all, thank you so much for all the comments on my last post!  we are so touched by them all.  thank you for your encouragement and support. 

i am also so happy that our "secret" is out.  16 weeks of keeping such a big secret is quite hard.  the funniest response i've since heard from a friend was: "i hadn't heard you were pregnant, but i figured you would have taken care of a belly bump like that!"  that's right, baby number three means showing a lot sooner.  especially after just having a baby a few months ago.  i was down to my last few shirts that weren't maternity but still disguised the bump pretty well.  i'm very happy to be able to let everything just hang out now.  maternity clothes, here i come.


so obviously, while i'm finished writing in "parts", the story does not end there. 

two days after i learned i was pregnant, i attended the beth moore simulcast "so long insecurity" with some of my close friends, including my OB.  the only other person (besides greg of course) who knew i was pregnant at this point was her.  i had already let her know that i no longer needed that progesterone test and i also shared with her about the amazing scripture that was on my mind that morning (Isaiah 43:18-19.)

anyway, "so long insecurity" was fabulous.  while a lot of it was about combatting physical, emotional, and spiritual insecurity with God's Word, i knew in my heart what the message was for me:  dealing with my insecurity about my relationship with God; being *completely* sold out that He is trustworthy and His Word is *completely* true.  completely sold out means giving Him the reigns over every area of my life...including the lives of my children and trusting Him whether He chooses to give or take away.  had He asked my permission a year ago to let Him give my son a terrible chromosome disorder, then ask us to carry him to term with all the potential complications, and then take him from us shortly after he was born, but all the while saying it was for the best and that He would provide for us everything we need to get through it....well i just don't know if i would have chosen that road.  who would have??  but now, having been brought so far in my relationship with Him, especially after everything He promised came to fruition, you would think trusting Him *completely* would not be such an issue anymore.

alas, i am human.  what can i say?  i'm not proud of my issues.  it's hard for me to admit to them.  but i am working on them and God has been so sweet to me through it all.

sweet enough, that half-way through beth moore's teaching that day, she actually quoted the same exact scripture...Isaiah 43:18-19:  "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

OK, God, you have my attention.  it did not escape the attention of my OB either, as she reached over and touched my hand right as it was being spoken.  it was like a confirmation that indeed, He is up to something new.  and perhaps this verse is for me to cling to through it long as i *completely* trust what He says.


God at work, part seven: rivers in the desert

continued from part six  (read first!)

two days later....

it was 5:00 in the morning and after a restless night of sleep, i was lying half awake in bed and a particular scripture was running through my head.

it wasn't a scripture i had recently read or heard, but it was definitely replaying itself over and over in my semi-consciousness. 

this is what it was:

“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert."

~ Isaiah 43:18-19

i took note of it, rolled over and went back to sleep.

a couple of hours later, i was staring at this:


our hearts are overflowing with joy and praise for this precious blessing! 

remember my desire and prayer to have a baby sometime in 2010?  well, our due date is 12/31/2010.  it makes me laugh everytime i think about that.  isn't that just like Him to do that?

later that morning i shared with greg the scripture that was in my mind and we both agree in faith that it can only be God's reassurance for us as we embark on this new journey that is sure to include some anxiousness. 

isn't He good?  no, isn't He GREAT?!

thank you for your prayers and praise on our behalf.
lauren and greg


God at work, part six: silence doesn't mean absence

...continued from part five

i have been waiting for a couple of months to share the story about how the other idea i had to extend jonathan's legacy has come to fruition.

back in this blog post i shared about how the ministry "woven together" came to be (and i'm still working out some of the details.)

but here is the rest of the story.

awhile back, i wrote about how the six month mark was so hard for me.  i think it was partly because i came to a point where i didn't know how to extend jonathan's legacy, which of course, is of utmost importance to me.

after much prayer and consideration, i came to the conclusion that i am only really good at two things:  sewing and running.  how could i use these things for good?  the sewing part was obvious, and soon after, "woven together" came to be.  the only thing i could think about for running would be to have a race in memory of jonathan, that would raise money towards some sort of ministry, i wasn't sure what at the time.

then i got an email from a T-13 mom in canada who was inviting everyone she knew to join in a run/walk in memory of her son, josiah.  all of the proceeds would benefit their local NICU unit.  and this was so motivating to me.  this is what i needed to do for jonathan, and for the benefit of other babies like him.

however, the more i began to think of all of the arrangements and preparations this event would entail, i realized that such an event was more than just a one-family job.  if we were going to do it right, we were talking about dozens of volunteers, financial sponsors, t-shirts, race numbers, race event management, setting up a non-profit organization, and all sorts of coordinations with local personnel, such as EMTs for medical emergencies and police to handle traffic.  oh yeah, this was WAY above just me and my little dream for my son's memory. 

i felt i should just let it go as a lost cause, but something inside wouldn't let me.  i kept thinking about it and wondering what to do with it, but i still had no real direction.  besides, all of this was taking place during the time i felt that God was being more "silent" than He had with me previously. 

so late this spring, i had an appointment with my OB.  don't get excited, it was just for my annual check-up, and i was going to talk to her about the problems in my cycle that i had noticed.  and while i was there, somehow, the topic of extending jonathan's legacy came up. i explained that i had two ideas, but was probably going with the sewing idea because the running idea was out of my league.

and this is where it gets good.

after i went over my two ideas, she told me that for a few weeks now, God had really been laying on her heart that she needed to plan a race that would be in memory of the babies that had been lost by patients of hers over the last year or two.  the same idea also happened to be on the heart of another one of those patients.  she said that God had already given her a vision of the race route, which happened to include my church and the cemetery where jonathan was buried, and had given her a scripture to go along with the race.  she also said that the race would take place in october, which is national pregnancy and infant loss month (and the month jonathan was born.)  she already had sponsors in mind and other details in order.

i was in complete awe as she told me these things.  this is why i wasn't able to let go of the idea. my idea fit into her plans (God's plans!) perfectly, as now i would just be able to *help* others plan the race, and it didn't have to be some huge undertaking by just one person.

it was also amazing to me to realize that just because God had been silent with me, it didn't mean He wasn't at work behind the scenes. 

stay tuned for details about the first annual "Race for New Life 5K", coming this October!


so while i was there, of course, i talked to her about the problems with my cycle and showed her all of my charts to "prove it."  and because of where i was in my cycle on that very day, she decided to give me a pregnancy test.  if it was negative, the next step was to come back in a couple of weeks for a progesterone test.

it was negative.

but for some reason, i didn't feel down about it this time around. perhaps because of the amazing conversation i had had with her at the appointment, i didn't doubt again that God wasn't at work, even if i couldn't see it all the time.

 stay tuned for part seven....


9 months

happy 9 months of heaven to my sweet jonathan today.  it's hard to believe that now he's been gone longer than he lived here with us. 

the good news is that we're getting closer to actually buying him a monument for his gravesite.    i went into a monument store this past tuesday to check out the options.  we pretty much already know what we want, but we just haven't followed through with the order.  i was doing pretty good emotionally until i heard the sales lady talking to a man who was making a monument order for his baby boy that just passed away july 2.  i heard him say that his wife got to hold the baby for 6 hours. 

and that's when i knew that i wasn't going to be able to be as strong as i thought i would be.

i also sure felt sorry for the sales lady.  two customers wanting monuments for two baby boys in the course of 15 minutes.  probably not her ideal sale. 

so hopefully we'll complete the order in the next week or two and have the monument in place by his first birthday. 

and that will be the last thing we have to do for him, to give him everything he "needs."

the finality of it all is quite depressing.


God at work, part five: encouragement through scripture

continued from part four...

i have never experienced something so devastating as empty arms.  the pregnancy was difficult, but the empty arms afterward...indescribable.  the feeling has lessened over the last several months as we've healed emotionally, but there are times when it's still hard of course.   i'm sure it was the feeling of empty arms shortly after jonathan's death that greatly increased my desire for another baby. (i didn't necessarily want the pregnancy that comes with it, only the baby, if that makes sense.)   i guess it is because of the relationship a mother has with her unborn baby, but i felt i knew jonathan long before he was born; his habits, his movements, his personality, his food cravings, etc., and perhaps this allowed me the ability to "let go" much sooner.  i did most of my grieving during my pregnancy with jonathan and i believe that's why i was ready for another baby before greg was.  like most dads, greg only really began his relationship with jonathan once he was born...and therefore didn't have as much time to enjoy him like i did.  for many weeks afterwards, having another baby was not even on the radar for greg.

after a couple more months of waiting patiently inpatiently and praying for my husband as he grieved, finally we were both ready to have another baby.  but it also meant i would have to face my fears of being pregnant again.  after talking through some of the fears mentioned in the previous post, we both felt a peace about moving forward with family plans.  and soon, for me, the fear was replaced with a very strong desire to have a healthy newborn in my arms by the end of this year.  it also didn't help this feeling of urgency when so many women i know are pregnant right now.  i think the count to date is up to about 25 friends/aquaintances...seriously.  God has been busy. can imagine my disappointment when i did not get pregnant right away.  for some reason, i foolishly thought that after what we had gone through, we would have a baby in our arms nine months after we decided to.  and then, month after month of not getting pregnant has been a bitter pill to swallow also.  but each time, it has been like God is asking me (again), "so do you trust Me or not?" 

ultimately, i know that God's timing is perfect.  His ways are perfect.  "But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations." ~Psalm 33:11  but in my impatience and weakness, i determined that God needed help, so i did what i thought would help things along, so to speak, and i began reading fertility books and started "charting."  (not that there is anything wrong with this...but i believe i did it out of a lack of faith, which soon seeped into other areas of my life.)  and to make matters worse, charting showed me that i might have a problem with my cycle which could be an obstacle to us getting pregnant anytime soon...and a possible delay to the "timeline" i have going for myself.

it was then that i realized that i was spending more time reading those fertility and pregnancy books then i was spending time in scripture and prayer with the Creator of life Himself.

two years ago, i committed to reading the bible from start to finish. interestingly enough, as i was reading through the books on my own, often they would match up to things going on in my life.  for instance, i read about passover "coincidentally" just as we were celebrating passover at our church.  or i would read a scripture that was completely relevant to something i was experiencing in life at that moment.  it happened so often, that to call them "coincidences" would be ignorant of me.  i only took time off from reading chronologically while i was pregnant with jonathan and after his death since i studied scripture topically during that time.

and so when i picked up where i left off a few months ago, i feel like God has met me right where we left off, and has been using scripture to encourage me in all areas of my life, even in my journey to get pregnant.

here are a few examples...

back in march of this year and after finding out that yet, once again that i was not pregnant, i was reading through Nehemiah of all places.  the book of Nehemiah provides great illustration of how prayer and hard work can accomplish seemingly impossible things when a person trusts and obeys the Lord.   Nehemiah constantly prayed that God would remember him with favor for what he has done:  "Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services." ~Nehemiah 13:14

this scripture stuck out to me because i felt like it was something i could pray for myself; that God would remember what we went through with jonathan and He would look upon us with favor as we prayed for another baby.  now, i realize by saying this it may appear that i am boasting in "what i did" by carrying jonathan, or that i feel like i "deserve another baby" as a reward because we carried jonathan.  i certainly hope no one takes my words the wrong way.  we would have done the same whether a "reward" or "blessing" was going to be given at the end of it or not.  anyway, i know i don't deserve a single thing from God, but why not pray along the same lines that Nehemiah did?  it's in scripture for a reason, right? 

and then i came to the book of Job, which i was not excited about reading at all after what we had just experienced, but days after struggling through it, i finally came to the end and read about how the Lord restored to Job double everything he had lost.  God restored everything double!  whether that means literally double or just double the blessing, i decided why not pray for twice the blessing for ourselves after our loss?  can't hurt, right?  whether that means twins or just double the blessing for us, it didn't matter to me.

and finally, a very special person to me sent me this scripture she said the Lord laid on her heart for me during this time:  "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." ~Hebrews 10:35-36

no matter what the answer to my prayer would be, these scriptures were certainly encouraging either way.  never have i treasured scripture more in my life, and i know that this is harvested directly from my trial with jonathan.  i'm sorry that it took losing my son to draw me deeper into His Word, but now i am so thankful for these precious words that bring me such hope and encouragement.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." ~2 Timothy 16-17

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." ~Hebrews 4:12

and the journey part six.


God at work, part four: a new journey

i haven't spoken of this much, outside of my closest friends anyway, but i do feel like it is relevant to jonathan's journey:   the desire to expand our family with another baby and the various emotions that go along with it.

having another baby also happens to be something we get asked a lot about lately. well, not usually asked to our faces, but mostly filtered through our friends and family. i have learned to appreciate people's concern for us in this matter, as most truly just want us to see us move forward with life.

but this is exactly the issue i sometimes struggle with: moving on. without jonathan. with another baby. who isn't jonathan.

i think anyone who has experienced any kind of baby loss, whether it's an early miscarriage or an unexplained death of a completely healthy baby, can probably relate.  the months just keep marching along and there is still that void that jonathan leaves everyday. and a different void because our family is still not "complete", even though i gave birth to two babies.

so i assume it's normal to go through a myriad of emotions leading up to and during pregnancy following that loss.

for me, there is the guilt i've felt by thinking of having another baby; as if i am moving on without jonathan.  or replacing him with another baby, knowing good and well that he can't be replaced.

then there is an incredible sense of fear of carrying another pregnancy that would end in some kind of heartbreak again - that the proverbial lightning would strike twice. and, i've learned from others' stories that this is a very real possibility. (not necessarily trisomy 13, but some other kind of problem or miscarriage.)  i also have thoughts about whether my body was affected by working so hard to keep jonathan alive for 8 months.  so much about my pregnancy with him was abnormal...i sometimes wonder if my body can handle another pregnancy well. 

and then, of course, is the fear that we would not be able to have more children. we know this is always a possibility, as we're aware of a few friends' struggles with infertility.

so while these feelings probably seems reasonable, i also feel so wrong and guilty to feel this way.  after all that we went through and everything God provided for us, i have no reason NOT to trust Him in these matters.  in fact, i feel quite like an ancient israelite after feeding on manna in the desert, still questioning whether God is trustworthy.  and on a side note, i used to judge those israelites for doing that.  how could you not trust the God that you can hear, experience, not to mention actually witness the tangible provisions that He miraculously gave?  oh yeah.  now i know the feeling.

so God has been at work in my heart on this.  first, He gently brings it to my attention that perhaps i am not able to trust Him 100% with my children's lives, including future children.  and then He's been taking me on another incredible journey to trust Him with all the relevant details to having another baby.  it's a rather long story, so i'll be kind and break it up into segments. :)

to be continued...


i'll take it

i got a (seemingly legit) email the other day informing me that this blog (jonathan's journey) has placed #54 out of the top 60 "2010 Top Mom and Dad Blogs." 

Top Mom & Dad Blog

two things:

1.  i did not know this existed
2.  it's a good thing they consider the top 60 blogs instead of top 50, right?

but i'll take it. 

as this blog was only originally intended to be a place where family and friends could check in on our pregnancy with jonathan, it amazing and humbling that anyone else would even care to read about our journey.  it has truly blessed us, the encouragement and prayers we've received from around the world.  thank you.

if you care to know more about the site that does the awarding, you can click here.


sweet feet

just in time for father's day, we received this wonderful keepsake pillow bearing jonathan's footprints from the ministry "cherished soles."  It's a small pillow embroidered with jonathan's name and birthdate on white linen.  i presented it to my husband as his gift from his son. 

the footprints are actual size.  look how tiny...

it had been awhile since i'd seen these sweet little feet, even though they are stamped in my bible.

i had forgotten just how small they are.  just how perfect they are.  just how kissable they were.

but as always, i was reminded of the amazing miracle that jonathan was and continues to be, eight and a half months later.  and the "cost" of carrying him (too high, as perceived by many) was worth every heartache just to meet him and kiss those feet.  not a single regret, instead, just peace and lots and lots of love.  i am so thankful for these precious moments with my son.

happy father's day to my wonderful husband.  jonathan couldn't have asked for a better daddy. 

kate and i love you so much and are so blessed to have you in our lives.


7 years and 8 months

yesterday, june 7th, greg and i celebrated 7 years of marriage!  it seems crazy to me that so much time has passed.   but i guess that's what happens when you're having fun.  two and a half of those years have been consumed with the joys of watching our precious daughter kate grow up and then the last 8 months of living without jonathan has just flown by as well.  i'm not quite sure i remember what we did before having kids.  we must have been pretty bored.  and as the saying goes, having kids is like having your heart walk around outside of your body.  if so, then losing a child is being not quite sure you will ever recover from having that heart broken.


i heard the funniest thing at a baby shower the other day.  another mom was telling the new mom-to-be, "they say that when you are delivering a baby, that when the placenta comes out, it is actually your brain."  how true is that!  actually, i think once you are pregnant, you immediately begin losing brain cells that control your memory.  somehow, the baby just sucks them right out of you.  my husband would vouch for that one.

another time, i've heard someone explain it this way:   when you become a mother, there is always part of your brain that is devoted to and working non-stop thinking about your child(ren.)  i think this is absolutely true as well.  there is not a moment in the day when i am not thinking about something that has to do with kate or jonathan.  even though jonathan hasn't been here for 8 months, he is so deeply part of who i am, just like kate is, that he is always on my mind no matter what i am doing. 

it's true that i can be having a conversation with someone and making a list in my head of things i need to do for kate that day. just as it's true that i can be smiling or laughing and be grieving for jonathan at the same time.

talk about multi-tasking. 

and i won't even go into how draining it is to constantly think about/grieve for a baby that has passed away.  i'm surprised i even remember my own name some days.

but when i really consider my life and all that the last 7 years have held, i conclude that i am just so, so blessed.  i have a fantastic husband who is just as fantastic a father to my children.  we have unconditional love and support from our parents.  i have a daughter who makes the "terrible twos" look like the "terrific twos."  and i have a son who has taught me that even in loss, there is incredible joy and blessing throughout the journey.

i truly have so much to be thankful for.


greg and i celebrated in destin with a TON of sushi and hibachi and then took a walk on the beach, possibly for the last time before the oil hits.  it was right at dusk and in the distance all around were some incredible thunderstorms brewing, sending the occasional streak of lightning here and there.  we felt like tourists, taking in the white sand and clear green waters as if it was the last time we would see it for awhile.  and unfortunately, it just may be true for us. 

here are some of our beach pictures...