Thursday, November 17, 2011

About Owen part 1

I will permanently bear the mark of a woman who has lost her child.  Many of us are walking here - in the grocery store, at the neighborhood barbeque, at the movies.  We walk without necessarily recognizing each other, side by side and a million miles apart.  If you are one of these women, I want you to know that as I write these words, I am praying for you.  I am mourning for what you have lost in this life.  I am praying that God will  fill you as only He can, and that in time, you (and I) will be with our daughters and sons again.
-Angie Smith (from her book, I Will Carry You)

I realized, at some point this week that I went right into this blog without really explaining what happened to Owen...Everything was so sudden and unexpected that I'm not sure I even have a handle on it myself somedays.  This ended up being a much longer post than I thought it would, so I'll save part 3 of Spurgeon's sermon for next week.....

Owen Paul Marx was due August 23rd, 2011.   I never in a million years thought I would make it to my due date.  I was HUGE and both Braden and Addison had been early, although not by much.  I thought I would maybe be a week or so early with Owen.  He was my third so I thought maybe things would move along a little faster.  As I went into that last month, I felt great.... I even remember laughing when I was making those last several appointments and the receptionist scheduled me for an appt. on my due date and for the week after.  I thought, there's no way I'll be at those.  

Towards the end of the pregnancy I was having Braxton Hicks contractions like crazy....  Owen was head down and had been for some time.  Everything was ready.....  We repainted Braden's room because the boys were going to share.  We painted it a dark orange color, sort of like a basketball and I found sports stickers to put on the walls and he finally got his new curtains put up.  Braden was so excited.  I even found a super cool cribskirt that reminded us of a football.  I had the changing table ready and was having to remind Braden less and less to use it as a toybox  because we had to have room for baby brother.  I had all Owen's clothes washed and ready for him....they are still waiting for him in the dresser.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to take them out of there.  They are his.

On August 23rd, I went in for my weekly appointment.  My midwife was so suprised to even see me, she thought for sure I would have gone in by now.  My blood pressure was great, no swelling, good weight gain...I felt great.  We listened to his heartbeat.... it was 150...same as always.  I was still only 1-2cm dilated, which I had been for a couple of weeks.  Owen just didn't seem to be in a hurry.  I think he was my mellow baby.  I was so looking forward to that!  For any of you that know Addison, you would know why! HA HA HA  I love  her dearly but boy oh boy can she be something else.... she is our little princess, and she'll let you know it.

So, at that appt. on the 23rd, she said she would schedule me to have an ultrasound and a non-stress test on the baby for August 30th and if for some crazy reason I actually made it to that appointment we would plan on inducing me.  She said she didn't expect that I would make it to that appointment, everything was ready to go.  So, I left there figuring I would be going into labor SOON....

I went to bed nearly every night that week thinking I would be going into labor.  I was having contractions so frequently but as soon as I would lay down or change positions they would go away.  I was actually getting used to having them all the time, which is crazy :)    I wish now that I would have just enjoyed that extra week I had with Owen...if only I would have known that it would be our last week together.....

On Tuesday, August 30th, I was 41 weeks...  I was blessed to have an extra week with our baby.  Monday night into Tuesday morning had been hard.  I was having contractions from about midnight until 5:30am.  There were completely irregular. I would have a few... start thinking, this is it!  I should time these!  Then they would go away completely for an hour.  I would finally fall asleep and then I would have another one that would wake me up.  I would think... this is is!  I should time these!  Then they would go away....  this went on for a long time.  I was getting really crabby.  I couldn't wait for my appointment that afternoon.  I thought SURELY all these contractions have to be doing SOMETHING!  I got up at 5:30 or so and had to go to the bathroom.  Owen was moving around... I know it.  I remember him wiggling around.
That is really the last thing I can concretely remember about that day up until the ultrasound.  I know I felt him moving at 5:30am.

And now for that parts that I want to forget....

My appointment for the ultrasound was at 2:15pm.  I went in there kind of laughing with the ultrasound tech because we were talking about how big I was.  She was going to try and get a good gauge on Owen's size and make sure he was still in position.  The first thing she checked was his position.  She said, "that's good, he's head down...looks good".  Then she moved the wand up.  As she did that I remember getting a little panicky feeling because on the drive up to the ultrasound I had a fleeting thought that I hadn't felt him move in a while and I just wanted to see that heartbeat and see him wiggling around.  I was searching the screen for his heartbeat..I didn't know what I was looking for I was just searching and searching for it.  It seemed like forever, but it was probably only a few seconds.  In that same moment I heard those words that I wish I could forget.  She just blurted out... "Catherine....there's no heartbeat."    And I knew it.  I knew she was right....   Lord have mercy on us... I knew she was right.

Psalm 57:1  Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

Psalm 22:19  But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

Psalm 33:20  Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.

Psalm 38:22  Make haste to help me, O Lord  my salvation.

Psalm 40:13  Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me

Psalm 62:8  Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

The ultrasound tech was young....  I was asked later by someone if she was kind when she told me that there was no heartbeat.   What I remember is panic.  I think she was totally shocked and just blurted it out.  Then she ran to go get my midwife.  I remember asking her over and over again if she was sure...she checked a couple more times.  She was sure.  Owen was gone. His little heart was not beating.

The nightmare just goes on.  I went by myself to the ultrasound.  Derek was working and I just figured, if they had to induce me then I would just call him when that all got squared away and he could head over to the hospital then. I never dreamed something like this would or could happen.  Who loses their baby at 41 weeks?  Who?  Those things just don't happen.....  
All that naivete is gone now.

I had to call Derek and tell him the worst news of our lives.  I couldn't even talk.  I was bawling and not making any sense... my midwife took the phone from me and told him what happened.  My poor husband.... he was up on a roof when I called him and then he had to drive 20 minutes to the office.  Then I called my mom... she was watching the kids while I was at my appt.  Then I called one of my two best friends in the world... I couldn't even handle calling anyone else and asked her to do it....  horrible horrible horrible.......  a day  I want to forget.
When Derek finally came to the office I just remember asking him over and over again how we were going to tell the kids.  They were waiting for their baby brother.  How were we going to tell them??  What were we going to tell them?  We didn't even understand it ourselves.

Psalm 46:1  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 30:10  Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper. 

Psalm 91:2  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

To be continued in my next post.....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Spurgeon Part 2

Psalm 73:28
But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

It's been a rough week here.... I think the reality of  "life goes on" is hitting me.  Babies are being born, babies are due soon and pregnancies are being announced.  Just makes me wonder why Owen isn't here with us.....   I know it's all in His timing and in His providence, but that doesn't make it any easier.

A pregnancy is LONG....  such a sweet anticipation over those 9 months.  And there's not only that... if you have ever had trouble conceiving, then you know full well that there is all that time of waiting and wondering each month added to those 9 months.  It took us a almost a year to finally get pregnant with Owen.  That is months and months of hoping and praying and disappointment and finally JOY.   We were so excited for Owen...    The beginning of my pregnancy was hard.  I was sicker than I had been with Braden and Addison and I thought many times, this is it!  Last one!  I can't do this again....     OH, if I could just go back in time so I could sit quietly with him while he kicked and flipped and did somersaults in my belly.  There's nothing quite like that.  I miss him so much.
I think I'll leave it at that for this week....  

I wanted to share a poem that was sent to me this week (Thank you Kristine!) and then under that will be Part 2 of the Spurgeon sermon I started last week on Infant Salvation.   I hope you will find comfort and encouragement knowing that God works ALL things for good.

The Cord

We are connected,

My child and I, by

An invisible cord
Not seen by the eye.

It's not like the cord
That connects us 'til birth
This cord can't been seen
By any on Earth.

This cord does its work
Right from the start.
It binds us together
Attached to my heart.

I know that it's there
Though no one can see
The invisible cord
From my child to me.

The strength of this cord
Is hard to describe.
It can't be destroyed
It can't be denied.

It's stronger than any cord
Man could create
It withstands the test
Can hold any weight.

And though you are gone,
Though you're not here with me,
The cord is still there
But no one can see.

It pulls at my heart
I am bruised...I am sore,
But this cord is my lifeline
As never before.

I am thankful that God
Connects us this way
A mother and child
Death can't take it away!

Author Unknown

Part 2:  Charles Spurgeon on Infant Salvation.  If you missed the first part, please take a look back at my post from Nov. 3rd.


First, we ground our conviction very much upon the goodness of the nature of God. We say that the opposite doctrine that some infants perish and are lost, is altogether repugnant to the idea which we have of Him whose name is love. If we had a God, whose name was Moloch, if God were an arbitrary tyrant, without benevolence or grace, we could suppose some infants being cast into hell; but our God, who heareth the young ravens when they cry, certainly will find no delight in the shrieks and cries of infants cast away from his presence. We read of him that he is so tender, that he careth for oxen, that he would not have the mouth of the ox muzzled, that treadeth out the corn. Nay, he careth for the bird upon the nest, and would not have the mother bird killed while sitting upon its nest with its little ones. He made ordinances and commands even for irrational creatures. He finds food for the most loathsome animal, nor does he neglect the worm any more than the angel, and shall we believe with such universal goodness as this, that he would cast away the infant soul.  I say it would be clear contrary to all that we have ever read or ever believed of Him, that our faith would stagger before a revelation which should display a fact so singularly exceptional to the tenor of his other deeds. We have learned humbly to submit our judgments to his will, and we dare not criticise or accuse the Lord of All; we believe him to be just, let him do as he may, and therefore, whatever he might reveal we would accept; but he never has, and I think he never will require of us so desperate a stretch of faith as to see goodness in the eternal misery of an infinite cast into hell. You remember when Jonah—petulant, quick-tempered Jonah—would have Nineveh perish God gave it as the reason why Nineveh should not be destroyed, that there were in it more than six score thousand infants,—persons, he said, who knew not their light hand from their left. If he spared Nineveh that their mortal life might be spared, think you that their immortal souls shall be needlessly cast away! I only put it to your own reason. It is not a case where we need much argument. Would your God cast away an infant? If yours could, I am happy to say he is not the God that I adore.

Again, we think it would be inconsistent utterly with the known character of our Lord Jesus Christ. When his disciples put away the little children whom their anxious mothers brought to him, Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not for of such is the kingdom of heaven," by which he taught, as John Newton very properly says, that such as these made up a very great part of the kingdom of heaven. And when we consider that upon the best statistics it is calculated that more than one third of the human race die in infancy, and probably if we take into calculation those districts where infanticide prevails, as in heathen countries, such as China and the like, perhaps one half of the population of the world die before they reach adult years,—the saying of the Savior derives great force indeed," Of such is the kingdom of heaven." If some remind me that the kingdom of heaven means the dispensation of grace on earth, I answer, yes, it does, and it means the same dispensation in heaven too, for while part of the kingdom of heaven is on earth in the Church, since the Church is always one, that other part of the Church which is above is also the kingdom of heaven. We know this text is constantly used as a proof of baptism, but in the first place, Christ did not baptize them, for "Jesus Christ baptized not."  In the second place, his disciples did not baptize them, for they withstood their coming, and would have driven them away. Then if Jesus did not, and his disciple did not, who did?  It has no more to do with baptism than with circumcision. There is not the slightest allusion to baptism in the text, or in the context; and I can prove the circumcision of infants from it with quite as fair logic as others attempt to prove infant baptism. However, it does prove this, that infants compose a great part of the family of Christ, and that Jesus Christ is known to have had a love and amiableness towards the little ones. When they shouted in the temple, "Hosanna!" did he rebuke them? No; but rejoiced in their boyish shouts. "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hath God ordained strength," and does not that text seem to say that in heaven there shall be "perfect praise" rendered to God by multitudes of cherubs who were here on earth—your little ones fondled in your bosom—and then suddenly snatched away to heaven. I could not believe it of Jesus, that he would say to little children, "Depart, ye accursed, into everlasting fire in hell!" I cannot conceive it possible of him as the loving and tender one, that when he shall sit to judge all nations, he should put the little ones on the left hand, and should banish them for ever from his presence. Could he address them, and say to them, "I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink, sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not? "How could they do it? And if the main reason of damnation lie in sins of omission like there which it was not possible for them to commit, for want of power to perform the duty how, then, shall he condemn and cast them away?

Furthermore, we think that the ways of grace, if we consider them, render it highly improbable, not to say impossible, that an infant soul should be destroyed. What saith Scripture? "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Such a thing as that could not be said of an infant cast away. We know that God is so abundantly gracious that such expressions as the "unsearchable riches of Christ," "God who is rich in mercy," "A God full of compassion," "The exceeding riches of his grace," and the like are truly applicable without exaggeration or hyperbole. We know that he is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works, and that in grace he is able to do "exceeding abundantly above what we can ask or even think." The grace of God has sought out in the world the greatest sinners. It has not passed by the vilest of the vile. He who called himself the chief of sinners was a partaker of the love of Christ. All manner of sin and of blasphemy have been forgiven unto man. He has been able to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God by Christ, and doesn't it seem consistent with such grace as this that it should pass by the myriads upon myriads of little ones, who wear the image of the earthy Adam, and never stamp upon them the image of the heavenly? I cannot conceive such a thing. He that has tasted and felt, and handled the grace of God, will, I think, shrink instinctively from any other doctrine than this, that infants dying such, are most assuredly saved.
Once again one of the strongest inferential arguments is to be found in the fact that Scripture positively states that the number of saved souls at the last will be very great. In the Revelation we read of a number that no man can number. The Psalmist speaks of them as numerous as dew drops from the womb of the morning. Many passages give to Abraham, as the father of the faithful, a seed as many as the stars of heaven, or as the sand on the sea shore. Christ is to see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; surely it is not a little that will satisfy him. The virtue of the precious redemption involves a great host who were redeemed. All Scripture seems to tenon that heaven will not be a narrow world, that its population will not be like a handful gleaned out of a vintage, but that Christ shall be glorified by ten thousand times ten thousand, whom he hath redeemed with his blood. Now where are they to come from? How small a part of the map could be called Christian! Look at it. Out of that part which could be called Christian, how small a portion of them would bear the name of believer! How few could be said to have even a nominal attachment to the Church of Christ? Out of this, how many are hypocrites, and know not the truth! I do not see it possible, unless indeed the millennium age should soon come, and then far exceed a thousand years, I do not see how it is possible that so vast a number should enter heaven, unless it be on the supposition that infant souls constitute the great majority. It is a sweet belief to my own mind that there will be more saved than lost, for in all things Christ is to have the pre-eminence, and why not in this? It was the thought of a great divine that perhaps at the last the number of the lost would not bear a greater proportion to the number of the saved, than do the number of criminals in gaols to those who are abroad in a properly-conducted state. I hope it may be found to be so. At any rate, it is not my business to be asking, "Lord, are there few that shall be saved?" The gate is strait, but the Lord knows how to bring thousands through it without making it any wider, and we ought not to seek to shut any out by seeking to make it narrower. Oh! I do know that Christ will have the victory, and that as he is followed by streaming hosts, the black prince of hell will never be able to count so many followers in his dreary train as Christ in his resplendent triumph. And if so we must have the children saved; yea, brethren, if not so, we must have them, because we feel anyhow they must be numbered with the blessed, and dwell with Christ hereafter.

Now for one or two incidental matters which occur in Scripture, which seem to throw a little light also on the subject. You have not forgotten the case of David. His child by Bathsheba was to die as a punishment for the father's offense. David prayed, and fasted, and vexed his soul; at last they tell him the child is dead. He fasted no more, but he said, "I shall go to him, he shall not return to me." Now, where did David expect to go to? Why, to heaven surely. Then his child must ways been there, for he said, "I shall go to him." I do not hear him say the same of Absalom. He did not stand over his corpse, and say, "I shall go to him;" he had no hope for that rebellious son. Over this child it was not—"O my son! would to God I had died for thee!" No, he could let this babe go with perfect confidence, for he said, "I shall go to him." "I know," he might have said, "that He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure, and when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil, for he is with me, I shall go to my child, and in heaven we shall be re-united with each other." You remember, thus, those instances which I have already quoted, where children are said to have been sanctified from the womb. It casts this light upon the subject, it shows it not to be impossible that a child should be a partaker of grace while yet a babe. Then you have the passage, "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings he hath perfected praise." The coming out of Egypt was a type of the redemption of the chosen seed, and you know that in that case the little ones were to go forth, nay, not even a hoof was to be left behind. Why not children in the greater deliverance to join in the song of Moses and of the Lamb? And there is a passage in Ezekiel, for where we have but little, we must pick up even the crumbs, and do as our Master did—gather up the fragments that nothing be lost—there is a passage in Ezekiel, sixteenth chapter, twenty-first verse, where God is censuring his people for having given up their little infants to Moloch, having caused them to pass through the fire, and he says of these little ones, "Thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire," so, then, they were God's children those little ones who died in the red-hot arms of Moloch while babes, God calls "my children." We may, therefore, believe concerning all those who have fallen asleep in these early days of life, that Jesus said of them, "These are my children," and that he now to-day, while he leads his sheep unto loving fountains of water, does not forget still to carry out his own injunction, "Feed my lambs." Yea, to-day even he carrieth "the lambs in his bosom," and even before the eternal throne he is not ashamed to say, "Behold I and the children whom thou hast given me." There is another passage in Scripture which I think may be used. In the first chapter of Deuteronomy there has been a threatening pronounced upon the children of Israel in the wilderness, that, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, they should never see the promised land; nevertheless, it is added. "Your little ones, which ye said should be a prey and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it." To you, fathers and mothers who fear not God, who live and die unbelieving, I would say, your unbelief cannot shut your children out of heaven and I bless God for that. While you cannot lay hold on that text which says "The promise is unto us and our children, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call," yet inasmuch as the sin of the generation in the wilderness did not shut the next generation out of Canaan but they did surely enter in, so the sin of unbelieving parents shall not necessarily be the ruin of their children, but they shall still, through God's sovereign grace and his overflowing mercy, be made partakers of the rest which he hath reserved for his people. Understand that this morning I have not made a distinction between the children of godly and ungodly parents. If they die in infancy, I do not mind who is father nor who their mother, they are saved; I do not even endorse the theory of a good Presbyterian minister who supposes that the children of godly parents will have a better place in heaven than those who happen to be sprung from ungodly ones. I do not believe in any such thing. I am not certain that there are any degrees in heaven at an; and even if there were, I am not clear that even that would prove our children to have any higher rights than others. All of them without exception, from whosoever loins they may have sprung, will, we believe, not by baptism, not by their parents' faith, but simply as we are all saved through the election of God, through the precious blood "Christ, through the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit, attain to glory and Immortality, and wear the image of the heavenly as they have worn the image of the earthy.

To be continued with part 3 in my next post

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Now what?

"Sadness is just love wasted.....
with no little heart to place it inside"

-Craig Cardiff, Smallest and Wingless

When I received Owen's pictures from the photographer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, she also put all the pictures she took and put together a slideshow.  The quote above is from the song, Smallest and Wingless, that she used on that slideshow.  The words to that song are heartbreaking because it reflects what we are going through, and yet at the same time, I love to listen to it.  I think maybe because it reminds me that we aren't the only ones to have lost a baby and so we aren't alone

Just this past week we passed the 2 month mark since we lost Owen.  It's been difficult, but I am thankful everyday for Braden and Addison.  I don't know what I would do without them.  I was so thankful when we were at the hospital having Owen that I had them to come home to.  What a blessing it was to have two little arms to hug and hold.  It doesn't make me miss Owen any less, but it made it a little easier to come home....

There are some days, when quite honestly, I just want to be sad.  I feel a cloud hanging over me, I can't seem to stop thinking about Owen or about the ultrasound where I found out he was gone.  Some days I'll just go online and read other women's blogs about their losses and just cry.  Other days, I'm not quite as dramatic but I still struggle.  I feel, at those moments, like I could be starting to come out of the fog a little bit.  Life moves on....  we have passed some of those events over the past couple of months where I was expecting to have a baby with me while we did such and such or went here or there and we have survived....I have survived.  I know the holidays are  coming here shortly and will be hard, but some of those early milestones were harder because his loss was so close at hand and I was planning those things around his birth.

I am trying to find my "new normal" each day.... a couple of days a week I go out to the barn to see my horse and "play" for a bit while the kids are in school.  It's been nice, but every time I think how nice it is to go out there in the mornings, my very next thought is, "but I'd rather have Owen...".  That is a reoccurring theme anytime I do anything while the kids are in school.... life would have been different with Owen here.  So this is my "new normal" and I'm still just trying to figure it out. But, I would rather have Owen here.  

Tuesday, on my way out to the barn I heard a song that I very distinctly remember hearing on the way to my ultrasound.  I remember it, because I love to belt it out in the car and I know I was singing it at the top of my lungs that day wondering if Owen was enjoying my serenade.  It seems that with each of my kids there is a particular song or cd that reminds me of when I was pregnant with each of them, so that was really hard to hear again.  There are instances like that which come up out of the blue and catch me off guard, but thankfully it is happening less and less....or I'm just handling it better.  I'm not actually sure which it is, quite frankly.

Anyways, that's the latest update here....   so in many ways, I'm asking myself "Now what?"  What is next for us....  I know that we will be grieving Owen's loss for months and years to come, and I have no idea what that will look like as time passes but I do know that God is faithful in all these things.  He has brought this trial to our door for a purpose.  Maybe He will use Owen's death to bring someone to a saving faith in Christ.  Maybe He is using it to remind me that I need to cling to Him.  Maybe we will never understand what the purpose is this side of heaven, though I hope we do....

In light of those thoughts, I would like to share a sermon from Charles Spurgeon that has given me immense comfort over the past couple of months.  It is on the question of infant salvation.  I'll break it up over several posts for the sake of space, so here is the first installment:

"Is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well"—2 Kings 4:26.

THE SUBJECT of this morning's discourse will be "Infant Salvation." It may not possibly be interesting to all present, but I do not remember to have preached upon this subject to this congregation, and I am anxious moreover that the printed series should contain sermons upon the whole range of theology. I think there is no one point which ought to be left out in our ministry, even though it may only yield comfort to a class. Perhaps the larger proportion of this audience have at some time or other had to shed the briny tear over the child's little coffin;—it may be that through this subject consolation may be afforded to them. This good Shunammite was asked by Gehazi, whether it was well with herself. She was mourning over a lost child, and yet she said, "It is well;" she felt that the trial would surely be blessed. "Is it well with thy husband?" He was old and stricken in years, and was ripening for death, yet she said, "Yes, it is well." Then came the question about her child,  who was dead at home, and the inquiry would renew her griefs, "Is it well with the child?" Yet she said, "It is well," perhaps so answering because she had a faith that soon the child should be restored to her, and that his temporary absence was well; or I think rather because she was persuaded that whatever might have become of his spirit, it was safe in the keeping of God, happy beneath the shadow of His wings. Therefore, not fearing that the child was lost, having no suspicion whatever that he was cast away from the place of bliss—for that suspicion would have quite prevented her giving such answer—she said "Yes, the child is dead, but 'it is well.'"
Now, let every mother and father here present know assuredly that it is well with the child, if God hath taken it away from you in its infant days. You never heard its declaration of faith—it was not capable of such a thing—it was not baptized into the Lord Jesus Christ, not buried with him in baptism; it was not capable of giving that "answer of a good conscience towards God;" nevertheless, you may rest assured that it is well with the child, well in a higher and a better sense than it is well with yourselves; well without limitation, well without exception, well infinitely, "well" eternally. Perhaps you will say, "What reasons have we for believing that it is well with the child?" Before I enter upon that I would make one observation. It has been wickedly, lyingly, and slanderously said of Calvinists, that we believe that some little children perish. Those who make the accusation know that their charge is false. I cannot even dare to hope, though I would wish to do so, that they ignorantly misrepresent us. They wickedly repeat what has been denied a thousand times, what they know is not true. In Calvin's advice to Omit, he interprets the second commandment "shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me," as referring to generations, and hence he seems to teach that infants who have had pious ancestors, no matter how remotely, dying as infants are saved. This would certainly take in the whole race. As for modern Calvinists, I know of no exception, but we all hope and believe that all persons dying in infancy are elect. Dr. Gill, who has been looked upon in late times as being a very standard of Calvinism, not to say of ultra-Calvinism, himself never hints for a moment the supposition that any infant has perished, but affirms of it that it is a dark and mysterious subject, but that it is his belief, and he thinks he has Scripture to warrant it, that they who have fallen asleep in infancy have not perished, but have been numbered with the chosen of God, and so have entered into eternal rest. We have never taught the contrary, and when the charge is brought, I repudiate it and say, "You may have said so, we never did, and you know we never did. If you dare to repeat the slander again, let the lie stand in scarlet on your very cheek if you be capable of a blush." We have never dreamed of such a thing. With very few and rare exceptions, so rare that I never heard of them except from the lips of slanderers, we have never imagined that infants dying as infants have perished, but we have believed that they enter into the paradise of God.

First, then, this morning, I shall endeavor to explain the way in which we believed infants are saved; secondly, give reasons for so believing; and then, thirdly, seek to bring out a practical use of the subject.


Some ground the idea of the eternal blessedness of the infant upon its innocence. We do no such thing; we believe that the infant fell in the first Adam, "for in Adam all died." All Adam's posterity, whether infant or adult, were represented by him—he stood for them all, and when he fell, he fell for them all. There was no exception made at all in the covenant of works made with Adam as to infants dying; and inasmuch as they were included in Adam, though they have not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, they have original guilt. They are "born in sin and steepen in iniquity; in sin do their mothers conceive them;" so saith David of himself, and (by inference) of the whole human race. If they be saved, we believe it is not because of any natural innocence. They enter heaven by the very same way that we do; they are receivers in the name of Christ. "Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid," and I do not think nor dream that there is a different foundation for the infant than that which is laid for the adult. And equally is it far from our minds to believe that infants go to heaven through baptism—not to say, in the first place, that we believe infant sprinkling to be a human and carnal invention, an addition to the Word of God, and therefore wicked and injurious. When we reflect that it is rendered into some thing worse than superstition by being accompanied with falsehood, when children are taught that in their baptism they are made the children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven, which is as base a lie as ever was forged in hell, or uttered beneath the copes of heaven, our spirit sinks at the fearful errors which have crept into the Church, through the one little door of infant sprinkling. No; children are not saved because they are baptized, for if so, the Puseyite is quite right in refusing to bury our little children if they die unbaptized. Yes, the barbarian is quite right in driving the parent, as he does to this day, from the church yard of his own national Church, and telling him that his child may rot above-ground, and that it shall not be buried except it be at the dead of night, because the superstitious drops have never fallen on its brow. He is right enough if that baptism made the child a Christian, and if that child could not be saved without it. But a thing so revolting to feeling, is at once to be eschewed by Christian men. The child is saved, if snatched away by death as we are, on another ground than that of rites and ceremonies, and the will of man.

On what ground, then, do we believe the child to be saved? We believe it to be as lost on the rest of mankind, and as truly condemned by the sentence which said, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." It is saved because it is elect. In the compass of election, in the Lamb's Book of Life, we believe there shall be found written millions of souls who are only shown on earth, and then stretch their wings for heaven. They are saved, too, because they were redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. He who shed his blood for all his people, bought them with the same price with which he redeemed their parents, and therefore are they saved because Christ was sponsor for them, and suffered in their room and stead. They are saved, again not without regeneration, for, "except a man"—the text does not mean an adult man but a person, a being of the human race—"except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." No doubt, in some mysterious manner the Spirit of God regenerates the infant soul, and it enters into glory made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. That this is possible is proved from Scripture instances. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb. We read of Jeremiah also, that the same had occurred to him; and of Samuel we find that while yet a babe the Lord called him. We believe, therefore, that even before the intellect can work, God, who worketh not by the will of man, nor by blood, but by the mysterious agency of his Holy Spirit, creates the infant soul a new creature in Christ Jesus, and then it enters into the "rest which remaineth for the people of God." By election, by redemption, by regeneration, the child enters into glory, by the selfsame door by which every believer in Christ Jesus hopes to enter, and in no other way. If we could not suppose that children could be saved in the same way as adults, if it would be necessary to suppose that God's justice must be infringe, or that his plan of salvation must be altered to suit their cases, then we should be in doubt; but we can see that with the same appliances, by the same plan, on precisely the same grounds, and through the same agencies, the infant soul can behold the Savior a face in glory everlasting, and therefore we are at ease upon the matter.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

6 weeks and results....

"I would rather have had one breath of his hair..
one kiss on his cheek..
one touch of his hand..
than an eternity without it.."

Last week, I decided to call my OB's office to see if they had received the results of Owen's autopsy back yet.  My 6 week appt. was on the 11th, but I just wanted to know if they knew anything yet so I could prepare myself.  As it turned out, they had just received the results that morning.  My midwife was going to go over the report and then give me a call.  She called me the next morning....
The results were not exactly what I thought I wanted to hear, but now that I've had several days to let it sink in and reflect on what the report said I'm doing a little better with it. 

Basically, everything was normal...Owen looked perfect.  The report indicated that his death was a "sudden, unexpected event"  likely due to a cord accident.  It also showed that he had been deceased for less than 24 hours in utero.

At first I was kind of upset since I was really really holding onto hope that something would show up on the autopsy indicating that Owen had something genetically wrong which made what happened inevitable.  I didn't want to hear that he was perfect because that just leads to all sorts of second guessing. No matter what you know in your head to be true of God  and his sovereignty in ALL THINGS, it's hard not to torture yourself with what-ifs....  I'm still working on that. 

I am finding comfort and some level of acceptance with the results.... I am thankful that the autopsy noted that what happened to Owen was sudden and unexpected.  There was nothing I could have done from a human perspective...  my midwife said that it even could have been something that happened on the way to the office that afternoon for my ultrasound, it could have been that quick.  It's not like he was found tangled in the cord and had been struggling where I might have picked up on it.  I am thankful for that.   I am thankful that he didn't struggle and that the Lord took him quickly.
I am thankful also for that word, unexpected....  it was unexpected.  I really did have a picture perfect pregnancy.  I had no reason to think that I was going in to that appointment to do anything other than talk about scheduling an induction.  Everything up until that ultrasound had been so "routine".   I felt great.... no swelling, normal weight gain etc etc...  I just never in a million years thought I would be sitting here 6 weeks later without my baby.  Sudden and unexpected ...
I am also comforted by the autopsy's findings that he had been passed away for less than 24 hours.  For some reason that just helps me, because at this point the whole horrible day has become such a blur I can't even think straight when it comes to whether or not I felt him move much that day.  I remember feeling him moving around that morning, but after that I just can't remember....   I did have a fleeting thought on the drive up to my appt. that I hadn't felt him move in a while and thinking that I would be relieved when I saw him wiggling around on the ultrasound.  Little did I know...

Besides the autopsy results, the other hurdle I needed to get through this week was my 6 week postpartum appointment.  I was dreading going back into the office.  I didn't want to see any pregnant women,  I didn't want anyone who worked there who hadn't looked at my chart to ask me how things were going if they assumed I was there for a "regular" 6 week check, I didn't want to start crying the minute I walked in there.  It was rough. 
Thankfully in God's providence, it ended up being a good appointment.  There was no one in the waiting room when I got there.  I barely had time to sit down before the nurse called me back.  The nurse is one that I have seen at nearly every appointment over the past 9 months and I do remember seeing her as Derek and I were leaving the office the day Owen passed away, but I wasn't sure if she would remember what happened.  She did though and she was super sweet.  She asked how I was doing and if we had had a service for Owen.  It meant a lot to me that she acknowledged what happened.  I know it's easier to make small talk and not broach the subject when it comes to a loss like we have experienced, but it meant so much that she knew and remembered and asked about Owen.   I need to keep that in mind!
The nurse also let me know that my midwife had big block of time allotted to spend with me so that I could talk to her, which was really nice.  It helped when she came in to know that she had time for me. 

I am reminded again of God's providence in leading me to this office for this pregnancy.  My midwife, as I've mentioned before, had lost her third baby as well.  There is, unfortunately, a level of compassion, empathy and understanding that only a woman who has lost a baby can have in a situation like this.  I am blessed to have felt that deeply as I work through the loss of Owen.  God has put women in my path who have walked this road before me and have come alongside me in a way that has encouraged and strengthened me.  I was telling my midwife how thankful I was for everyone that we interacted with at Akron General including the midwife who "happened" to be on call that day.  She then told me that the midwife, Teresa, had suffered 2 miscarriages this year.  My midwife said that she actually came up to the hospital to relieve Teresa because she wasn't sure if she could handle it given the situation after what she had gone thru, but that Teresa really wanted to stay with me and deliver Owen with us.  That is completely amazing to me.  I was so touched by the fact that so many of the nurses and Teresa were crying with us as we were living a nightmare and I had no idea how close to home our loss was to them as well. 

In closing for this post, I wanted to share a poem that a dear friend of  Derek's mom sent to me a few weeks ago.  Again, in God's providence, she is another mommy who lost her baby. She sent me a book of verses from Amy Carmichael that she found comfort in and I so appreciate her sharing this with me.

In Acceptance Lieth Peace

He said, "I will forget the dying faces;
The empty places,
They shall be filled again.
O voices moaning deep within me, cease."
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in forgetting lieth peace.

He said, "I will crowd action upon action
The strife of faction
Shall stir me and sustain;
O tears that drown the fire of Manhood cease."
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in endeavor lieth peace.

He said, "I will withdraw me and be quiet,
Why meddle in life's riot?
Shut be my door to pain.
Desire, thou dost befool me, thou shalt cease."
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in aloofness lieth peace.

He said, "I will submit;
I am defeated.
God hath depleted
My life of its rich gain.
O futile murmuring, why will ye not cease?"
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in submission lieth peace.

He said, "I will accept the breaking sorrow
Which God to-morrow
Will to His son explain."
Then did the turmoil deep within him cease.
Not vain the word, not vain.
For in Acceptance lieth peace."

~Amy Carmichael

Friday, September 30, 2011

One Month...

"...the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
-Job 1:21

It's hard to believe that it's been one month since we lost Owen.  Whenever these little markers arrive I try not to think about them too much.....  One week, two weeks, one month.  It's unbelievable.  My ultrasound appt. was at 2:15pm a month ago when I learned that Owen was gone.  That is the one moment in time I would most like to forget about.  It is the ultrasound tech's voice I hear most nights when I close my eyes telling me that there was no heartbeat.  I don't think I will ever forget the panic in her voice or not relive the shock of it, much as I would like too...
Most of the day is a blur, but I also appreciate the many kindnesses that we experienced on that awful day as well. Our families, friends, church, and dear brothers and sisters in Christ have done more for us than I will ever be able to thank you for.  The support shown to us has been unbeliveable.   I know that I have said "thank you" a lot over the past month, but there are some that I haven't been able to mention yet until now....  it's been hard to think back to the day that we lost Owen, but here are some of the ones I think about: 

I am so thankful in God's providence for Akron General Hospital.  The staff in the Labor and Delivery unit are the most compassionate and thoughtful people I ever could have asked for.    I am so grateful for each and every person that we interacted with while we were there.  My main nurse, Ashley, was absolutely wonderful and I appreciated the tears she cried with me as well as the memories she made for us of Owen...from taking pictures of him to making the plaster molding of his little foot as well as putting together our memory box.  She was supposed to be "off" at 3am and she came back into my room at 3:30 am with the box that she and the other nurses had been working on.  Then, the next nurse, who "replaced" Ashley when her shift ended was just as incredible and kind as Ashley had been in a whole different way.   Her name was Trish and I will never forget the way in which she took Owen from me at somewhere around 4 am and cradled him assuring me that she would look after him while I tried to get some sleep.  I don't think I would have let anyone else take him out of my arms but I did her, because I knew that she meant it.  What a blessing in the midst of a flood!
I, in all my naivete, always thought that if I were a nurse I would most definitely want to work on the maternity floor so  I could be with all the babies etc....  never comprehending the tragedy that also takes place on that floor.  I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for the compassion shown to me by those nurses...and there are a couple more whose names I didn't get or don't remember but each one was as kind and thoughtful as the next.  I know that I couldn't do it, but I am thankful that there are women who do....

Because of our insurance, everything with Owen was different than it was with our other 2 children.  I had to switch OB's and hospitals which is how we ended up at Akron General even though I had delivered Braden and Addison at Mercy Medical.  I know even these things are in God's hand.... I am thankful for my midwife at the practice who I had been seeing each week.  She wasn't able to be at  the hospital when I delivered Owen, but she came the next morning to spend time with me and she shared with me that she had also lost her 3rd baby and we cried for her baby and for Owen.  I am also thankful for Teresa, the midwife who was providentially on call a month ago and who helped deliver Owen at the hospital.  I had never seen Teresa for my monthly or weekly appts. at the office but I am so thankful that she was a part of Owen's story.  She was absolutely wonderful...again, compassionate and kind.  I don't think I could have asked for anything more as I was trying to wrap my mind around what was happening.

 Delivering Owen was the saddest  and most surreal thing I have ever experienced.  It was almost total silence in between whispered bouts of encouragement while I was pushing.  And then, when he was born there was the awful silence of a baby who is already gone.  We never got to hear him cry or see him open his eyes, but he was beautiful. Absolutely perfect..... little fingers, little toes, lots of hair, he looked just like Braden and Addison did when they were born....   and I know in the back of my mind I was hoping that they were all wrong.  That once he was born it would be all right and he would start to cry and honestly, he looked like he should!  I just kept thinking that he looked perfect.... he just looked like he was sleeping and any minute he would wake up and this nightmare would be over.

In the mail yesterday I received the pictures from Amy, the photographer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, who came to the hospital at midnight to take pictures of Owen for us.  I didn't even know there were people who did that, but I am so thankful that there are!  Some of the pictures she took are the ones on this post.  She volunteers her time and then sent us a cd with all the pictures that she took for us.... she also made us a slideshow of pictures.  They are beautiful and I am so thankful to have these to look at....     If you get a chance, look up Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep online to see what they do.  It's not something that you want to think about but I am thankful for NILMDTS and the care that Amy took in preserving precious memories for us. 

Until we lost our sweet baby I had no concept of  how many families were touched by similar tragedies.  But again, I am thankful to each of the mommies who have taken the time to write me, email me, come and talk with me and share your stories of loss as well as listen to mine.  You each have touched our family in a special way and I am thankful that we are not walking this path alone even though I wish that none of us had to walk it at all. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Brick in my Pocket

“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died–you’re not reminding them. They didn’t forget they died. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift.”
-Elizabeth Edwards

I heard a quote recently during the coverage of 9/11, where a reporter asked a widow about the loss of her husband and she likened his loss to a brick in her pocket.  I think the quote is originally from the movie "Rabbit Hole", which I have never seen.  At any rate, she said that you might not think about it every day or every moment, but you never forget it's there.  You are always carrying this brick in you pocket.  For me right now, that is a good description of how I feel.  I have good moments and I have bad moments.  It doesn't take much for the tears to well up and there are just some days when I feel this cloud hanging over me.
It's been a tough week, things are kind of calming down and  last Monday was the first day since we lost Owen that I've really been "alone" once I took the kids to school.  It is during this time that I feel the loss of him the most because this was supposed to be our one on one time...  The house is so quiet without the kids and without out our baby.  It just stinks.....  

I made some phone calls this week as well to try and find out when we might hear some results from the autopsy.  I guess that can take 6-8 weeks to come back.  So, I feel like I'm on hold waiting for that....   I am just praying that "something" comes back.  I am holding onto hope that "something" happened to Owen that was inevitable and unpreventable.  I know that sounds crazy given the fact that I know and believe that nothing happens outside of God's Sovereign hand, and that even if I had asked to be induced a week earlier it wouldn't have changed His purposes.... but that fleshly part of me still thinks that if the results don't come back with some kind of genetic "issue" or congenital defect then I will be questioning those last days of the pregnancy and what I should of, would of, could have done....

Last week we went and picked out Owen's headstone...that was really hard.  I was feeling "good" about it and liked the little picture we picked out of a baby in a bassinet with an angel bending over it... then I ran into Kohl's for something and saw a woman with a newborn baby in a carrier and realized that I was feeling "good" about picking out a headstone!  I just keep thinking we "shouldn't" be doing this!  We "should" have our baby home with us and I "should" be taking him shopping with me instead of shopping for a grave marker.  I just don't understand what happened....  How could I make it through an entire pregnancy and lose him right at the end? 

So, all this is to ask that you continue to pray for us...    I am hoping for answers when the autopsy comes back, but there is no guarantee of that, so please pray that no matter what the findings are that we would continue to look to Christ, where we would truly find peace, comfort, and hope.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thank you....

I just want to say THANK YOU.....  I don't even know where to begin.  There has been so much kindness, prayer, thoughtfulness, letters, emails, texts, gifts, and comfort poured out on our behalf that is is overwhelming in its scope.  I want to thank everyone that was able to come and support us yesterday at the service for Owen and I want to thank everyone who couldn't attend but was praying for us and lifting us up before the throne.  It means the world to us to know that so many care for us and grieve alongside us as we navigate these waters.  So, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU....
Derek, Cat and Family

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Service for Owen

We would like to invite any family and friends who would like to attend a graveside service for our sweet baby boy.  It will be at 10 am on Tuesday, September 6th 2011 at Union Cemetary in Louisville, OH.  There will be a luncheon following the service at Faith Bible Church in Canton, OH.  We would be greatly encouraged if you are able to come and help us through what is going to be a very difficult day.
-Cat, Derek and family

Friday, September 2, 2011

Owen Paul Marx

Owen Paul Marx...precious son and much hoped for baby brother

Owen Paul passed away on his birthday, August 30 2011. His loss has been unexpected and unbearable. I have so much that I want to share about the last few days, but I am just not ready to talk about things too much and I thought it might be cathartic to be able to write things down as I think of them. I want everyone to know Owen and be able to meet him in some small way. At the same time I want to be able to grieve our loss and grieve for the baby brother that Braden and Addison are missing.

My husband was talking about Isaiah 43 to me yesterday and was mentioning the comfort that he was finding in verse 2 where we are told that the rivers will not overflow us because He is with us as we pass through the waters and I just found it incredibly reassuring in that moment because I do find sometimes that I will drown in all these tears and that they will never stop. Even I am amazed at how much I can cry.

Even so, in the midst of this flood, I am seeing each and every day the multiple blessings we have been given. I thank God for my husband. I know Derek is hurting and grieving as much as I am, but I am thankful that he is my rock. He holds it together when I am falling apart and I can see so clearly the true Rock upon which he is gaining his strength. It's been strengthening for us, when we have quiet time at night to cry and talk about Owen and how much we don't understand and how we will miss him forever. And I can see during this time how much he loves being a Daddy and how deeply he feels the loss of Owen. Even his name...Owen... that was the name that Derek has always wanted if we were blessed with another son. I remember him mentioning that 5 years ago after we had Braden and I always teased him about it and would pretend like we were still thinking about other names. But, it was always Owen.... Daddy picked that name out a long time ago and it was perfect.

I am thankful for our families. The support we have gotten has been overwhelming and I know that both of our parents and siblings would do anything and everything for us. I think back to how I have always been so unsure of myself and what the right thing to do or say for someone who has experienced a loss like this is and I now I see and feel that the right thing to do is to just be there. I don't even know what I need half the time and I am thankful for both of our parents that they are just coming over here and "doing". Braden and Addison love their grandparents and this time for them has been precious as well, even though they don't understand the reason for it.  I am thankful for my sister, who stayed with Braden and Addison until it was time for them to come to the hospital... I know she wanted to be there with us from the beginning and yet how precious was that time for Braden and Addison to be oblivious to what was happening and able to play with Aunt Amanda and Frank.  I am thankful for my sisters-in-law who stayed with me and talked with me and even mowed our grass!  It's all these little moments that make you realize how much family means. 

I am thankful for the dear friends that the Lord has blessed me with. I was told over and over again at the hospital over those awful hours how amazing my friends were. You girls know what you did and how much you mean to me. Things have been taken care of and thought of that I didn't even know that I needed. It has been precious and incredible to think over those long years of friendships and to know that the Lord knitted them together long before this tragedy threatened to overwhelm me. What a blessing in the midst of a flood!

I know also that the Lord has blessed us richly in dear family and friendships and that I have a ton of emails, as well as messages and posts on facebook. I am thankful to each and every one of you who has felt this loss with us and I am trying to steel myself to read all of those notes. I will hopefully get to it over the next few days. I will read them all and I know that I will be encouraged by the love and prayers that have gone up and continue to go up on our behalf.


I can still believe that
a day comes for all of us,
however far off it may be,
when we shall understand;

when these tragedies
that now blacken and darken
the very air of heaven for us
will sink into their places
in a scheme so august,
so magnificent, so joyful,
that we shall laugh
for wonder and delight

-Arthur Christoper Bacon (Thank you Kristine, for this....)