Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Funeral

We plan to have a Memorial Service to celebrate the life of Josiah on September 28th at North Point Community Church, Alpharetta Georgia.  The service will be held in the Attic at 11 AM.  We hope you can join us to remember him!   

We did have a very small family graveside service shortly after his death,  and it was so very healing.  The Care Ministry at our church helped us in preparing, and our good friend Steve Giddens officiated the service.  His words were so comforting.  The flowers were  beautiful, and Chad and I were both able to say a few words in honor of little Josiah.  

One of the best parts of the funeral was Chad’s idea.  We had a white dove release.  Chad released the first of 21 doves, as a symbol of his precious soul leaving us.  

As Josiah’s dove circles over the horizon, out of sight, we’ll softly whisper," look he is gone!'", but we can be certain that over that very same horizon, others will look to the sky and joyfully exclaim, "Look!  Here he comes!."    In the arms of the angels... may you find peace and comfort there.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Memorial Service Planned: Saturday, September 28th 11 AM

Our Family would like to invite you to a Memorial Service for Josiah Drake Caldwell:

Saturday, September 28th 2013
11 AM
North Point Community Church
4350 North Point Pkwy, Alpharetta, Georgia

We will spend about an hour together and remember our precious son with songs, video and speaking.
The Service will be held in "the Attic".

We would be honored if you can attend!


Chad, Amanda, Ashley, Luke, and Jacob Caldwell

Monday, August 12, 2013

A month after....

       There is just no good way of responding when someone that hasn’t see me in a while, asks me how the new baby is doing.  Usually, if Luke is with me, he will say, “Oh, he died”.   There is no way of getting around how awkward that is, for everyone involved.  After much advisement, we were told not to say confusing terms with our kids, like, “we lost him”, or “He passed”.  Using clear words takes out any mystery involved, although they do sound very blunt.  I honestly feel sorry for the people who ask without knowing what happened.  I know how I would feel if I were on the other side of that question.  What do you say next?  Usually I get blank stares, and that is ok.  I think I would respond the same way!

       It has been a month since Josiah went to heaven.  Well, to be exact, one month and 15 hours.  A lot has happened in the past month, but the aching in my heart has not gone away.  Actually, I feel like the shock has worn off and the reality that I will never see him again has set in.  I was talking with one of the kindest people that I was blessed enough to meet through this process yesterday.  She works in the Perinatal Loss Office at the hospital.  She said that you just have to go through this time, feel the pain, and not try to rush it.  Although I want to feel better and to move on, the reality is that my baby is gone and I can’t bring him back.  There is an empty place in our family, that the love of God comforts, but doesn’t take away.  Trying to figure out how to live and to grieve properly is exhausting, but just doing the next right thing is how I am trying to cope with all of this.  Initially, it was the loss of the idea of a healthy and normal baby.  After July 9th, it was the loss of his life.    

A friend sent me a poem that is very sad, yet so comforting to me at the same time.  It expresses how I am feeling right now....

I thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new.  I thought about you yesterday and the day before that too.  

I think of you in silence.   I  often say your name.   But all I have are memories and your picture in a frame.  

Your memory is my keepsake, with which I’ll never part.  God has you in His keeping.  I have you in my heart.

I shed tears for what might have been a million times I have cried.  If love alone could have saved you, you never             would have died.  

In life I loved you dearly.  In death I love you still.  In my heart you hold a place no one can ever fill.  

It broke my heart to lose you but you didn’t go alone for part of me went with you, the day God took you home. 

          I am learning that grief is very time consuming and requires lots of energy.  However, when I think about it, would I have asked God for none of the things of the past 11 months?  Would I have preferred to never have gotten pregnant?  Would I wish that Josiah was never woven into existence inside of me?  Absolutely not.... I know this is hard to understand, especially the chapter in the story when he died.  This is not how I would have ended the story.  Obviously, this was not my desire.  But when I think about it, I am SO thankful for the gift of time that I had.  I am so thankful for supernatural comfort that I received through a time that I never envisioned that I would be able to survive.  I am so thankful that I was able to see the love and support of so many people who surrounded us and encouraged us.  I was inspired by ideas of generosity and support.  My entire view of the world has been changed through his little life.   I would have rather had him for the 38 weeks and 36 hours that I did, than to never  known him at all.    Josiah had purpose and his life was important.  This is one thing that I know is true.  We miss him, ever so severely, but we are honestly ok.  We are coping and we will get through this together.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A YouTube video

A friend shared this with me.... I love this.....


I hope you enjoy it as much as I did....

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A few reflections....

It is hard to know what to share... the experiences over the last week have been both the best thing that has ever happened to us, and in some ways the worst at the same time.  I am so thankful for so many things.  Most of all, that I got to hold our precious baby and he got to meet so many of you in such a short time.  

I began having some mild labor pains about 2:30 in the morning, on July 8th.  I was so hesitant to call the doctor, for many reasons.  One reason is that I didn’t want to go into labor.  I was in denial, I suppose.  I wanted to keep him with me for a couple of more weeks until my due date.  I was very uncomfortable, but it was worth it all.  Looking back on it, he was worth every bit of discomfort.  It was an honor to carry him.  

The labor went very quickly.  I think this was one of many of God’s mercies.  By 3:30, we were sure that the labor process had started and we were in the car at 4 AM.  I am so glad that Chad talked me into going.  I wanted to wait a little longer to make sure  that it was not a false alarm.  If we had waited, I am confident that Josiah would have been born along 400S, and that would have obviously not been a good thing.  Another “God thing” was that my sister in law had decided to come to Atlanta to spend a couple of days helping me with the kids.  She was at our house, so we didn’t have to wait on anyone to get to our place before we left for the hospital.   

By the time we got to the hospital, I wasn’t sure that I could make it inside.  The contractions were right on top of each other and they were intense.  Chad got me inside in a wheel chair, and I it seemed like an eternity as Chad checked us in at the front desk.  Again, looking back, I am so thankful that Josiah allowed me to experience labor.  I had always wanted to know what labor felt like..... our other three children were all induced.  I had hoped to have an epidural, but there was no time.  By the time I got to the room, I was dilated to a 6 and within a few more minutes of back to back contractions, I was fully dilated and he was ready to come out.  I remember the doctor telling me that they could not give me the epidural because there was no time.  She immediately asked me to push and sweet little Josiah only took 2, very painful pushes and he was out.  It was such a beautiful experience and I feel so honored to have had him naturally.  It has helped me heal so much faster and I was was able to walk around within 30 minutes of his birth without any pain.  I didn’t require any pain meds that would have possibly made me groggy or less alert.  Even though I was hoping to wait longer, I feel like the process was such a blessing.   He was born at 5:20 AM, less than an hour from the time we arrived at the hospital.  I hope to remember every detail of his birth.  It was one of the best days of my life.  

It was a very peaceful, yet intense.  I wasn’t sure if he would breathe, or how long he would breathe.  He was so beautiful, all curled up on my chest.  He was covered in blankets by the nurses and I must have kissed him hundreds of times as we waited to see what would happen.  I told him that I needed him to stay around for a while, because so many people wanted to meet him!  Especially his brothers and sister.    They were able to meet him around 7:30 AM, and the older two were able to hold him.  This was such a desire of Ashley, especially.  I am so thankful that her wish came true.  

I am have been very surprised over the past few days, how attached Luke was to Josiah.  I didn’t think that he really understood what was happening, but he was really developing a bond over the past 9 months.  He was so proud to be a big brother to Josiah.  He was so proud to hold his little brother.  

Please pray for their tender little hearts.  Telling them that their little brother had died was one of the hardest things that we have had to do.  There were so many precious little tears.  They loved him very much and he will always be a part of us.  We will never forget him.  The kids are slowly processing, but we are hopeful that they will be able to remember the three times that they visited.  Each time that they were there, Josiah’s breathing was calm and he rested peacefully as they held him.  This was such a blessing.   Just this morning, Ashley asked me if the people at the hospital did every thing that they could do to save Josiah’s life.  I assured her that everything possible was done for him.  The care that we received was very compassionate and thorough.  

There is definitely a void.   The kids have said many times over the past few days that their hearts are sad and they miss their brother.  Obviously, we feel the same way.  The grief is a very dark place, and I won’t lie,  it is intense at times.  Chad has been an incredible support as he has been leading us through this week.  He decided it would be best for us to get out of town.  As I right this, I am looking at the ocean and I can hear the peaceful roar of the waves.  I told him this morning that I don’t want to be happy right now, I need to be sad.  I need to feel the huge loss that we have experienced.  At times, my body feels like an empty shell.  I miss the life that was within me.  

My heart has been encouraged many times over the past few days.  At the very bottom of my sorrow, I know there is a peace.  I cling to the scriptures...

Psalm 29: 11 The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.

Isaiah 26: 3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. 4 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

Isaiah 41: 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2 Corinthians 12: 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

1 Peter 5: 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Psalm 46: 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  Selah  4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 

We have been preparing for his birth for so long, and it has come and gone... too quickly.  I don’t want people to forget Josiah.  I want people to talk about him, to remember him and to continue loving him, even though he is gone.  So when we return, don’t be afraid to speak of him around us.  We want to talk about him.  Even if I cry, you are not making me sad, I am just sad... so it is ok.  I know that as friends, it is hard to know what to do or say.  I think the best thing is not to try to make sense of what has happened, or to try to explain it in any way, but just to remember him.  Remember the complete gift that he was.  Our hearts are full of gratitude for what God gave us, even though his time was brief.  

I can’t end a post without saying thank you again.  It is times like these, that we recognize how many amazing people surround us.  We feel so loved and we are so thankful!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Josiah Drake Caldwell

Our precious, and dearly loved son... Josiah Drake Caldwell was born July 8th, 2013 at 5:22 AM.  He breathed, loved and brought us unspeakable joy for 38 hours.  He was being held and loved by his mother and father when he peacefully left this world.   

“The pain reminds our hearts, that this is not our home.  It is not our home.......”

We believe with all our hearts that he is rejoicing, with a whole body, in the presence of all the saints.  He is in the precious arms of Jesus.  

He will be dearly loved and missed and always a part of us. 

With Love,

Chad & Amanda Caldwell 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

38 weeks and counting

I am now 38 weeks, and getting closer to meeting our precious new boy.  I have been having lots of symptoms over the past week, that let me know that he is getting tired of his cramped area.  In fact, the symptoms were so significant that I finished packing my hospital bag and had to call the on-call doctor.  It was a false alarm, and for this I was relieved.  I want to keep him, all safe and sound, inside me as long as possible.  

The perinatal specialist recommended that I not go too long after next Thursday the 11th.  I have such mixed emotions about planning an induction.  I don’t want him to come out until he is ready.  I have never gone into labor on my own, but I am well aware of the reasons behind the doctors recommendations.  It is just a really hard place to be... knowing that his birth may lead to his loss.   For now I am enjoying his movements.  He likes to stretch his heel out the right side of my belly.  I love to rub it and hold his little foot.  I think that he likes it to!  I hope that he can sense how much we love him.  

I have such large emotions.... they come in waves, but the reality of how close it is until birth make them more intense.  Overall, I continue to have peace... we really appreciate all the prayers and calls of support.  I am in awe of newborns, I really love the season of new life.  I know that it is exhausting, but there really is nothing more precious than the smell of a freshly bathed infant.  The way that they curl up and fall asleep on your chest... the way that their five tiny little fingers curl around one of yours.  When I go to the doctor, and I have been going a lot lately.... I see walls and walls of new baby announcements.    Sometimes this makes me cry.  Not because I am not happy for  all of the people who have a new baby... not in the least.  It is because it is a visual reminder that Josiah is different and his life will be unique.  

This has been one of the hardest parts of this process,  the surrendering of my desires and my will to God.  I want Josiah to be able to nurse.  I want Josiah to be able to sleep on my chest and be carried around in one of the many slings that I have collected over the years.  I want to plan his first birthday party and make him a cake to smear over his little face.  I want to see him wrestling with his big brothers.  I want to see him grow up to live a long and fulfilling life.  I want to see him become a man.  

These are my desires and if I dwell on these, I could easily fall into a pit of feeling sorry for myself and the condition that he has.  I consider it a huge blessing to have known about the Trisomy since January.  The day that I found out, I went for  walk around our neighborhood.  I told God my desires.  I poured my heart out to God.  There is really no choice, but to know that God is God.  He formed Josiah perfectly, and he is a perfect gift.  Even if all of the things that I want and I desire never come to fruition.  This is God’s will for our life.  This process is difficult, but I know that good will come from this.  I know that Josiah is a blessing.  Having so many months to grieve has been really good for me.  I think that God knew that I have needed this many months to have some sort of acceptance of the situation. 

The past 10 months have given us a chance to be parents to Josiah.  We have cared for him in every possible way, and we have no regrets.  We have made decisions for him, and we feel really good about the opportunity to take him to the doctor, and to try to do the best we possibly can for him.  I am grateful for this gift of time.  

The biggest fear that I have at this time is the letting go, if he does not live.  Please pray for us that we will have great peace if we have to see him pass from this life to the next.    Please pray that we will be able to let him go, if this is God’s will.    The separation seems almost more than I could bare, but I am hopeful that I can be strong.  Chad and I have never been more together and in love.  I think it is because no one on earth loves Josiah more than the two of us, and this is a huge bond for us.  I am hopeful that we will continue to support each other through this time.  

I am not sure if I will make another post because the day is getting so close!   We will try to post on Facebook when he is born, and hopefully have some time to update the blog.  Thanks so much for all of your love and support!