Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sometimes you get MORE

This is the final post in my Grief, Hope, and Miracles series. This series was inspired by Jessie and Tim Garvin, and the story of their baby Emma. I asked my sweet friend and fellow blogging mama from across the ocean to share her story of faith and love in the midst of grief for this series...I followed Janine's personal story of losing a baby and was so touched by her incredible trust in God through it all. I knew immediately when I started this series that I wanted Janine to share the hope that brought her through everything. I am as always, amazed by her incredible outlook on life and her appreciation to God for carrying her through.


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"Sometimes you get MORE" 
by Janine Robinson


I feel so privileged to be asked by Patti to share our story with you, because while our story is by no means an easy story to share and many might read it as a "sad story", for us, any opportunity to share Zac's story gives us an opportunity to share our journey of encountering God's tangible grace and "heart peace" (and besides - what mamma doesn't take any opportunity she can to boast about her precious children ;0).  


Our story starts about 3 years back. My wonderful hubby and I already had 2 beautiful little girls. At the time they were 9 and 5. By that point I kind of thought our family was complete, but on my husband's 37th birthday he surprised me by asking me to trust with him for a son. I still remember my surprise! I said to him that while I could trust for another baby, I didn't want the pressure of him expecting a little boy. Whatever God added would be the blessing. My husband was adamant. He asked God in absolute faith for a son and so we started trying for our blessing. Almost a year and a half later I fell pregnant, and you can only imagine the whoops of joy and laughter that rang out of that doctors room when we were all told that we were carrying a son! I will never forget the look of sheer joy on my hubby's face. 


My pregnancy with Zac was amazing. The doctors had warned me that he would be very premature as both my daughters were, but we went into this pregnancy trusting God for full term delivery. My body responded completely differently much to their amazement. Everything was going so well. Every scan was a joyful experience, and then at my 29 week scan our real faith walk began. The doctor felt concerned that Zac was underweight so he scheduled us for a doplar scan to have a more detailed look at the state of the placenta as he noticed it was starting to calcify quite early. We walked into that room without a care in the world, but in mere moments everything started spinning around us. Just like that we realised we were facing the biggest storm we could never have imagined. As the doctor was scanning, I noticed that she kept going back to his heart. Next thing she was talking about Zac's heart having some type of major heart defect, but she could not tell accurately to what extent except that it was very serious and she was so sorry and that hopefully they would be able to operate at birth. 


She was sending us to Cape Town for more detailed scans. It all seemed so surreal, like we were outside of ourselves watching this awful moment happening. I remember trying so hard not to fall completely to pieces as we had our little girls with us, but the tears came. When we got home Brett and I sat outside together to process what we had just heard and made a decision. Either we were going to allow the fear we felt clawing at our minds take over and imagine every worst case scenario, or we were going to lift our eyes and look to Jesus and hold onto His promises of heart peace for our little boy. 


And that's what we chose. We chose to lean entirely into all that He is and is able to do. With every detailed scan from there on in and every heart-wrenching doom and gloom prognosis we were told, we chose to look into God's promises and believe for a miracle. We chose to live in peace and allow His promises of hope to become a firm anchor to hold on to. 


Just going back in my mind to the various appointments we faced, all I can see is His supernatural grace that protected our hearts in what could only be a supernatural peace. Every day His promises settled the whirlwind of emotions that swirled around us in the face of such uncertainty. Some people asked us if we were preparing our hearts for the just-in-case-your-miracle-never-happens ... but we could not go there. We wanted Zac to be carried in peace the remainder of our pregnancy. Personally, we just never felt we could prepare to grieve when we had so much hope in our hearts. We were so fully convinced that God could heal Zac one way or another - whether in the womb or through surgery. There was no way we could even imagine that he would not be in our lives. 


The doctors could not see enough in the scans to know the full effect of the defects they were seeing. All they could say was that it was beyond a label. They were seeing multiple problems but kept saying we would have to wait for his birth to see the full extent. They put together a wonderful team of doctors in Cape Town for us who would be on standby and so we just had to wait it out. 



I carried Zac full term to the end of my 37th week. The doctor and nurses went out of their way to make it such a special delivery. It felt like everyone held their breath when they brought him out of the womb. They had prepared us for a blue baby who probably wouldn't cry. Our precious Zac came out with the most beautiful cries and with much better colouring than they had expected. He was also bigger than they had estimated. Our beautiful son brought nothing but sheer joy and peace into that room! The team was amazed at how well he was doing. I will never ever forget the wonder of this day and all the joy in our hearts.











What followed, was 21 and a half of the most precious hours of our lives. We got to simply love on our precious son! It was determined after his birth that the defects were too great and complex. Terms like "not compatible for life" were used ... words that no parent should ever hear. We knew that we were holding a miracle in our arms, and every second with him was a miracle to us. It still amazes me how long this brave little boy of ours held on this side of Heaven to give us the gift of time that we so needed. 


The doctors and nurses were so taken with this peaceful little boy and with all the love and joy being lavished on him. He never endured any pain, seizures or suffering. This in itself was a big answer to the many prayers that were being prayed over him. His every moment was being in arms of people who loved him. Even when he was taken from me for me to rest, he was held by others who prayed and sang over him. It is the greatest privilege of my life to be the one holding him when I watched him peacefully enter his Heavenly home. One moment he was looking into my eyes while his loving daddy was singing and praying over him and the next he was looking into Jesus'. It still makes me cry and long so much for those treasured moments with him. He impacted our lives and hearts so fully.


What has followed since the 1st October 2011 is a journey of walking each day with our hands firmly fixed in Jesus' hand ... encountering His daily grace to carry us through every emotion possible. We have grieved, cried, raged, questioned, laughed, found acceptance and had our eyes opened more fully to the reality of eternity. 18 months later and we marvel at how God continues to lead us through the maze of loss. I see healing in my daughters, husband and my own heart. That healing doesn't mean that we don't long for our little boy each day, but it means that we have been able to live with a certainty that he is alive and well and just a little ahead of us on the journey. We still shed our tears and ask the hard questions, and graciously He faithfully washes over our hearts with peace and assurance. He has taught us to look at life so differently. These are the gifts our precious Zac has given us. 


There is coming a day that we long for when we will all be in each others arms as a complete family.


For now ... we talk about him, share his story and marvel at the impact of his amazing life. While we were the ones praying for his heart healing ... he is the instrument God has used to bring us and many others true heart peace. My son points us daily to Jesus. His short time span this side of Heaven is having an eternal impact. Just 21 and half hours of him being alive so impacted a doctor who saw the love and joy he brought us all that he told us he would no longer counsel other gynecologists to encourage abortion in the face of major heart defects, because the time he had seen shared showed him how worth it even one small moment together can be. I can say with certainty that our lives are richer for all we walked through just to have what we had with Zac. He taught us what "heart peace" is and how to see Jesus so clearly in the midst of the storm. He taught me how to walk in peace even when all around me was so frightening. He taught me how to lift my eyes and find joy. He reminds me everyday to live my life eternally minded. 



People ask us if we aren't disillusioned because we didn't get the miracle we were trusting for. We have found true peace in choosing to see the many miracles through Zac's journey through life. Someone once said to my husband "You see. Faith doesn't always give you what you want.". He went away and really pondered it and tenderly heard God's whisper to his heart ... "Yes. Sometimes you get MORE." And that has honestly been our experience. Do we wish that Zac was with us each day ... absolutely YES, but we continue to see the MORE that Zac brought into our lives. We are so much richer for all the time that we had with our precious son. He is a big part of who we are and we will keep telling his story because to us, it's a story of LIFE and not just death. His abundant life continues to inspire us to live and love each day to the fullest! 



18 months later, Zac has recently become a big brother. 6 weeks ago I gave birth to our 4th child ... Gabriel Robinson. In him I see so many glimpses of his brave big brother. Some of my sweetest times with Gabriel are lying outside on the grass next to the beautiful memorial rose garden we planted in Zac's honour. His big sisters and I love telling him all about his brother :0) And every time I look out onto his garden and see life blooming, so my heart is reminded of my precious son. I am forever grateful for the "more" he has brought into our lives as a family.





All my love,
Janine


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P.S. Just wanted to share this heartfelt letter from Tim Garvin, and to ask you to continue to pray for their family...

Dear Patti,

My name is Tim Garvin (Jessie's husband and Emma's daddy). I wanted to contact you to say thank you. Thank you from her and thank you from me. The support you and your readers have given my wife has been a tremendous help as we go through this trying time and by doing that you have given me support and hope in the future. So I just wanted to say thank you and God bless you for making the hardest time in each of our lives a little easier.

Sincerely,

Emma's daddy
  

7 comments:

Mrs. K said...

Bless you and your blog Patti. You have given so many people an outlet, a place to share and a place to evangalize. LOVE YOUR NEW BANNER. Love that little ducky waddling in the daffodils.

Mrs. K said...

PS cannot believe how long Lily's hair is.

Amy said...

God bless Janine & her family. What a gift the hope of Heaven is - & what a blessing Zac's life has been & clearly continues to be.

Maureen Huizinga said...

Yes, some times you really do get *more*. Thank you for sharing their stories!!

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness. This melted my heart. Zac, you have changed so many people, including a doctor! What a special boy you are. You will always be remembered. I bet Jesus' arms are so strong and yet so gentle. Are you having fun playing with Baby Emma? Tell her we all miss her, too. But we will see you both someday..and we know that both of you are safe, healthy and happy. Maybe, Jesus, could you give Emma and Zac a kiss and hug from their mommas? And please reach down to earth and give both mommas a big hug, too. Thanks. Love, Laura

Rochelle said...

We too live for the "more". Beautiful! Thank you for sharing Zac's story.

Abbi rice said...

Your right momma! Sometimes, you DO get more! He's so cute!