Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bring The Rain..

Early in my pregnancy, I somehow stumbled across the blog of Angie Smith, called Bring the Rain. She and her husband, Todd, live in Nashville, and have 4 beautiful little daughters. They found out 20 weeks into Angie’s pregnancy with their fourth, Audrey Caroline, that she had poly cystic kidneys, a heart too big for her little body, there was no amniotic fluid and her lungs were not developing – all fatal conditions. Angie and Todd were given the option to terminate the pregnancy, and decided quickly not to. Angie started the blog right when they found out this news, and used it to communicate the details to family and friends. Audrey was born via c-section in April of 2008, and lived for about two hours and 45 minutes. The blog tells such an amazing story of the way that God worked through Angie, Todd and Audrey. [There’s a reason I’m explaining this… stick with me :)]. Todd is a singer for a pretty well-known Christian group called Selah. When they first heard the news about Audrey, he and Angie wrote a song for her called “Carry You”. MONTHS ago I put this quote from that song on my facebook profile. They were obviously writing this for a child that they knew they would lose, but for the most part it is appropriate for any new mother (or father)…

“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 whose chosen Me
To carry you”

So, I posted it to my own profile, fully expecting to have a perfectly healthy baby girl. I just thought it was sweet.

At the bottom of Bring the Rain is a little play list of music. One of the songs on that playlist was/is Glory Baby – the song we played at the beginning of Olivia’s service. I used to listen to this song over and over while I read about Audrey’s story late at night when Kurt would be working.

Angie’s blog now has thousands upon thousands of followers. When she delivered Audrey, radio stations across the country were announcing that she was in surgery. That day, her blog received hits from every state in the US and more than 90 countries. She still discusses Audrey there, but it has transformed into SO much more than that – this woman is doing some serious good, that she never would have imagined herself doing if it wasn’t for Audrey.

I told my mom about this blog, back then, and how amazed I was at the strength of this family – I didn’t understand how they could be holding their baby, KNOWING that she wasn’t going to be leaving the hospital with them, and still be singing, laughing, taking pictures of her, bathing her, etc. I was so blown away by their ability to be happy when they knew their baby was hours away from passing away. Every time I told someone that I was reading her story, they told me to stop because I was going to scare myself and make myself worry unnecessarily. I never worried, and I regularly checked it for updates all throughout my pregnancy.

One night while still in the hospital after Olivia passed away, I was in bed with my computer and Kurt was sleeping. I went to my list of Favorites, and clicked on the familiar link to Bring the Rain. As I was waiting for the page to load, I remembered that I’d put that quote from Angie’s song on my facebook. “How ironic”, I thought.

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting here in the living room, searching on Amazon for Christian books about infant loss. I had seen quite a few about miscarriage and stillbirth online and at Parables and had purchased a couple books that were geared towards all three, but I was trying to find something more specifically geared towards what Kurt and I experienced. And then I saw it – “I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy”, by Angie Smith… available for pre-order. (You better believe I pre-ordered that baby as fast as I possibly could!)

Are you kidding me? I couldn’t BELIEVE it!

Now I know why reading about Audrey’s story never scared me… why I listened to “Glory Baby” repeatedly, and why I felt the need to put the quote from “I Will Carry You” on my facebook. God Led me to Bring the Rain for a reason. It was not ironic, it was not an accident, and I didn't "stumble" across it as I thought I had. I was able to draw so much emotional and spiritual strength from these things without even realizing it… and had I never “found” this blog, I know that I could not have handled things as well as I have. I don’t know that I would have been able to make our time with Olivia a joyous time. [As for Kurt, I don’t know where he gets his strength from… maybe he’s just that amazing :)]. I also know that these past three and a half weeks at home would have been harder for me had I not been able to read Angie’s posts from back when she was first at home, recovering from her c-section after they lost their Audrey.

Thanks to everyone who just read all of that! I just put that all together in my head over the last few days, and I was so overwhelmed by it all that I felt I needed to share it. Please check out Angie’s blog. I linked to the main page above, but this one is to the beginning of their journey. (Scroll to the bottom to start at the beginning)

I want to end this post this morning with a quote from a letter that Angie wrote to Audrey. I re-read this the other day for the first time since Olivia was born, and it affected me totally differently (not surprisingly). Swap out the “2 ½” hours with “3 days” and it’s EXACTLY the way Kurt and I both feel about Olivia. People have been asking us how in the world we aren’t just a complete wreck right now. This does an amazing job of explaining, and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I cry for you often. I miss the smell of your skin and your perfect little nose. My arms ache from emptiness. I tell your daddy all the time that I just want to hold you again. I cannot see to write these words because my eyes overflow with the tears of a mother who has been asked to give her daughter away. I knew I would love you when I met you. I knew you would become a part of me. What I didn't know was that instead of feeling like it was a brief encounter, I feel like the world stood still. He somehow gave us an entire lifetime of memories in such a short time. I didn't feel like I lost a baby, I felt like I said goodbye to someone I had always known, who had been my daughter for years and years. Even now, as I write, it seems impossible that you were only with us for 2 1/2 hours. Thank you Lord, for giving us all the time we could have asked for with her. The clock was insignificant... we knew her deeply, a lifetime's worth.

Perfect Words.



Anonymous said...

I am daily reminded of the amazing strength of you and Kurt and the amount of Faith and Love you two feel towards each other, Little Livie, and God. Thank you so much for your words.

Abigail Rose

Anonymous said...

I was really touched by that post and am also truly amazed and encouraged by the strength you two have! You will both continue to be in my prayers!


Donna said...

You'll probably never read this because you poted it so long ago,...but I am sitting here in tears after reading it. Amazingly written and I know how you felt because you wrote it so well not because I have lived it before. I had a miscarriage years ago and very premature twins who did live, but even coming that close to losing them and loving them and their sister so dearly my whole life lets me know how hard it would have been to lose them. God's blssings for a sweet future!

Megan said...

I too read Angie and Audrey's story after my daughter was born with a heart condition. Little did I know that my precious baby girl would pass in a matter of weeks. I keep finding little things like stumbling across that blog that I feel prepared me for the loss of my baby.

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