Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The purpose of it all


Many people have asked this question throughout this journey with Carleigh, including myself. Every day I feel I get a little bit closer to understanding the answer, although I will never fully know until I get to Heaven myself. I know I have made mention before how I felt God was preparing me for Carleigh before we even decided to try for another child. You see, I am a member of a group on Cafemom that debates about abortion and I had made a post along the lines of "if you knew you child had a condition where they would die what would you do?" I put a link in the post to a story about a family who continued with a pregnancy and it just so happened that their child had anencephaly. During the time I had posted this in the group I read many stories about families carrying their babies to term and I decided right then that if my baby were to ever have a fatal condition that I would carry to term (but of course at that time I was certain it would never happen to me!). I also found a book called Waiting with Gabriel: A Story of Cherishing a Baby's Brief Life by Amy Kuebelbeck that for some reason I just felt the need to read. However, I didn't purchase and read the book until after Carleigh's diagnosis. Plus, I think God had other intentions besides just me in mind with this book. I actually sent my copy of the book to a mom, Jenn, who I met through Cafemom. Her baby girl, Cora, was diagnosed with HLHS like baby Gabriel in the book and it really helped her. She had wanted to get the book but was unable to get a copy of it. I think God crossed our paths for a reason! Oh, and please pray for Jenn and her family as baby Cora is in Heaven with Carleigh.

So I was no stranger to anencephaly. I knew exactly what it was. I remember the exact moment I found out. It's still very clear in my mind. I remember reading the word "anencephalic" on the ultrasound report and knowing that my life would never be the same again-and it hasn't! While many would think this diagnosis would break me, it has only made me stronger. I knew immediately after seeing that word that I would carry Carleigh to term exactly like I had said I would. I actually kept myself together pretty well. I had that immediate crushing feeling but I pulled myself together, grabbed my daughter, and met my husband to go "find out" from our doctor. Even though I already knew I didn't tell Anthony about our baby just in case for some reason I read wrong, even though I knew I didn't. So really, I got the diagnosis twice and it hurt both times. My doctor gave me my "options" but I really don't like to think about it. I don't like that I had a choice to end my daughter's life but I know she legally has to give all those "options" to me. I told her that I wasn't terminating and that was that. Right away I felt that God was with me and I knew I wouldn't be traveling down this road alone. I'd always have the love and support of the Father to carry me through it all. This made things so much easier to bear. I put all my faith and trust in Him. There is the saying that goes "The will of God will never take you where the grace of God won't protect you." I believe that to be true.

After the diagnosis I did research anencephaly more. I wanted to know all I could. I found a support group on Yahoo called Anencephaly Blessings From Above and it has been absolutely wonderful group for me and many other mothers and I recently joined Anencephaly Support. These are groups where I know everyone understands exactly what I am going through. We help each other in so many ways. Through this group I found out several moms had created blogs about their journeys. I thought that was really neat and decided to start one of my own. Thus, Caring for Carleigh was born on January 6, 2009! I put in a lot of back entries to tell of our journey so far. I originally started the blog so I could always remember my journey with my daughter and to keep family and friends updated. Then I realized that my blog could help other families going through the same thing as me or something similar. I made sure to include as many details as possible for all those reasons.

Slowly word spread around about my blog for Carleigh and more and more people began to follow, both publicly and anonymously. So many people told us they were thinking and praying for us. I'm sure there were many more that we didn't know about. I've written many posts about many different things-appointments, gifts, poems, letters from family, my feelings, ultrasounds... I could probably go on. Throughout this journey person after person has either told me personally or written me and said how much Carleigh has impacted their life. They see our faith and our strength and are amazed. Sometimes I am too! What I see is that people are looking at their lives differently. They are seeing things in a different light. They are cherishing the smaller moments and counting the blessings God has given them. Many have said they have felt closer to God because of our journey with Carleigh. Do you realize how wonderful that makes me feel!? Just thinking of all the lives that have been changed for the better because of my precious daughter fills my heart with so much joy. She has accomplished much more than I ever could in her very brief life. I believe these are just some of the many reasons she was sent to me. God saw it all when I couldn't.

You know, I honestly can't wait to get to Heaven and hear Him say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."


Celia said...

Amen!! This is our hope with Noah as well. That his short life will touch lives and forever change hearts. What more could we ask for? And while my heart cries out that a miracle healing would be such a story, the likes that would be sure to change lives, so is Noah's expected short life. His, as well as Carleigh's, Isaac's, Seth's, and so many others are stories that will change lives and touch hearts. And thank the Lord for that! God is so good.

Becky B said...

What an incredible testimony. You surely are an amazing woman, And Mom and servant of our Lord..
Bless you. Carleigh knows she was a very lucky little girl.
Becky B.

Betty said...

Exactly right. Your story has touched our entire family in so many ways. I am so thankful you are in such a healthy place with all of this! It is an answer to a good many prayers.

Penny said...

Thank you for being a support to others! Never think that your journey was in vain, she will lead many.......

I have been blessed through your blog and have hopped to be there for you to pray for you and be a support just like so many other did for me when our angel went to heaven.


Andi Soergel said...

As a mom of a baby with anencephaly I appreciate the way you pour your heart out on your blog. I feel like I know you and the other moms who have blogs I follow and it is so nice to have people who know what it's like to go through what we go through with our special babies!

Jake and Stephanie Perrin said...

Holly, I found your blog through Misty's and i have been following you for a the last few weeks. I am inspired by your strength. I dont know if i would be as strong and you and your family if i had a trial like this in my life. Im not that strong but you give me hope. Thanks for all your wonderful inspirations and may the Lord continue to bless you!! Take care and thanks for letting us read the stories of your precious Carleigh.


Anonymous said...

What a great post! Finally I can comment you again the weird box went away :)!!! Anyways, I think about you everyda and last night I actually had a dream about Carleigh! It is wonderful to see all the comments from people and how Carleigh has touched everyone's lives :)


Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

Dear Holly,

It is so nice to "meet" you and your sweet Carleigh. I'm so glad you left a comment on my blog, and I can't believe we haven't "met" sooner. Your site is beautiful. Your testimony is beautiful. And your sweet daughter is beautiful. I am so sorry for the sorrow you have endured...but so grateful for the beauty of your faith and the grace that shines through your words as you share your family's journey. I would have definitely sent you a Dreams of You Memory Book if I would have known about your sweet Carleigh. And, even though you were given another book...I would still love to send you one if you would like. (You can email me anytime @ sufficientgraceministries@gmail.com) We are a non-profit organization and we do not charge bereaved parents for our services. We will be praying God's continued comfort and sufficient grace for every step of this journey as He carries you.

In His Grace,
Kelly Gerken
Sufficient Grace Ministries

Bryan and Lauren said...

You are an AMAZING person and a great role model for us all! May God Bless YOU and YOUR FAMILY (as if he hasn't already :) but may he continue to!

Alissa said...

Oh, Holly you have a way with words! Carleigh has changed my life more then I think any one will ever know. You are AMAZING and I thank you for chosing life over death and sharing your sweet baby girls life with me! Thank you for showing God to me, Thank you for showing me that life gose on after death and that a mothers love never failes- I love you Holly!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. ~Dawn

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