Naming Our Son

We found out the sex as soon as we could with a blood test. We already had a name picked out, and we named him as soon as we found out he was a boy. No time to waste. This living person inside me needed a name as soon as possible. We called our families and shared his name that day. 

Why the urgency? At that time, I was only 3 months along. It is so important to me for my son to be named. 

After losing a child during pregnancy, you realize how precious the time in the womb is. This may be your only time with this child. The womb may be the only life on Earth your child experiences. For me and for many others who have experienced pregnancy loss, you want to do all you can to bond with your baby and make as many memories as possible. You want to know your baby as well as you can for as long as you can. Hopefully that means watching him grow to adulthood, but sometimes it doesn’t. 

I wanted our son to have an identity. I wanted others to start to know him and think of him as part of our family. We wanted to bond with him as a real living person. So we gave him a name. 

His name is Chester Thomas Jones. We call him Chet!

Chester is my father’s middle name, both my grandfathers’ middle names, and my great-grandfather’s first name. My great-grandfather also went by Chet. So many wonderful men in my family are named Chester; I had to keep the tradition going!

My great-grandfather Chet Dilley in 1929

We liked how classic and solid the name Thomas is. We also appreciated that it is the name of one of Jesus’s disciples. Thomas in the Bible is known for being a doubter. When all the other disciples were telling him that Jesus was resurrected, he said he’d have to see Jesus and touch his scars to believe He was alive. 

Doubt has been a big part of my relationship with God. Every time I’ve brought a question or doubt to God, he opened my eyes and heart to something new. When something doesn’t add up in my mind or I don’t understand something, I haven’t denied my doubts. I bring them straight to God. He has always shown me his scars – so to speak. He answers my questions. It may not be right away, but eventually he does. Every time, my faith is strengthened and my mind and heart are broadened. I want our son to remember that it’s ok to ask questions. Even though “blessed are those who believe without seeing”, Jesus will show you his scars. Don’t be afraid to ask.  

Chet Jones. The name of our son. The name of Ginny’s little brother. The person wiggling in my belly. Our 2nd firstborn. We love him and are so happy to share him with you. 

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:24-29


After losing someone, things that used to be unthinkable are believable now. Something happens in your brain when you realize the unimaginable can happen to you. You aren’t immune to difficulty. Suddenly the crazy things seem realistic and possible, like this pandemic. 

There are some other things that I’ve realized through loss that are coming in handy now in this time of uncertainty: 

  • Sometimes when we cling too tight to things in our lives (jobs, school, money, security, health, even loved ones), we are reminded we aren’t really in control. We can easily lose anything we thought was ours. Who knows what the future holds? We have to hold things loosely in trust. Hand it over because it’s not yours. 
  • There is immense strength in the human spirit. We are stronger beyond what we can imagine. I’ve seen this in myself, but I also witness it all the time with people who I’m around at work who are battling cancer. We can handle much more than we think. We can survive and thrive.
  • God is with us in times of trouble. He is not hidden from us.
  • There is opportunity for good in this time. That doesn’t make the hard things easier, but it does bring some hope. 
  • This time of stillness is a gift. We often struggle with busyness and being consumed with all the tasks and activities of the day. Now is the chance to embrace the stillness. Let’s not waste this time. This is an opportunity to realize who we are outside of our careers and activities and social life. Let’s experience God’s love for us and our families’ love for us outside of those things. Just based on who we are, not what we do. 
  • If we are fortunate enough to be quarantined with loved ones, let’s make the most of this extra quality time together. Let’s never take this time together for granted.

My heart goes out to those who are fresh in grief during this time. Things are already hazy and bizarre. I can’t imagine adding a pandemic on top of that. It must truly feel like a nightmare. With everything going on, let’s not forget to reach out to those who are grieving.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10

Halfway There

I’m 20 weeks pregnant. My mind goes straight to the thought that I have reached the cutoff between a miscarriage and a stillbirth. If I lose this baby, it will be considered a stillbirth. That feels like an accomplishment!

That’s certainly not something I thought about in my first pregnancy. At this point I had already felt “in the clear” for a couple of months now. I will never feel in the clear this pregnancy, but I do feel better than I did even a couple weeks ago. Now that I can feel him move, I get reassurance without going to the doctor’s to hear a heartbeat. I know he’s alive today. That makes me feel so grateful. I have today with him. 

Last week we had the targeted anatomy scan. I was anxious for what the results could be, but I also anticipated a magical moment watching him wiggle around like Ginny’s anatomy scan. I underestimated the heaviness of the dark room and quiet sonographer. I’m glad Daniel’s parents were with us. They were able to bear some of the tension in the room. I guess because I am high risk, the sonographer spent maybe one minute on his face and profile and the rest on his heart and other organs that I couldn’t make sense of. At one point she apologized for being so quiet, “Sorry some of these measurements are really hard to get. I have to focus.” That didn’t make me feel better. My mind was wondering what could be wrong. At least I could see his heart beating. I saw 4 chambers; that’s a good sign. 

The mixture of flashbacks of Ginny’s last ultrasound, the long wait for the doctor, and the disappointment of realizing we were only getting two pictures was enough to overwhelm me. The ultrasound pictures of Ginny are the only pictures we have of her alive. I look at those pictures all the time. They are what I will look at for my whole life; they are priceless to me. What if I only get these two pictures of this baby? What if that’s all I get of him?!

The doctor came in. Everything looks good! That’s a big relief. 

She goes on to say that the next ultrasound will be scheduled for over two months from now. What?! I thought I was getting more monitoring. Two months is a long time to wait when you feel like your placenta could stop working at any time! The doctor explained that there is not much they can do prior to 28 weeks. But after 28 weeks, I will get growth ultrasounds and non stress tests. I feel helpless until then. I asked for more pictures. The doctor was going to ask the sonographer if she could send more. 

Daniel and I then met with the receptionist and scheduled appointments out until July. We finally left after 3 hours. 

I felt so exhausted. I felt overwhelmed. I was glad that everything looked good, and our baby boy was measuring on track. I was disappointed that the appointment wasn’t the amazing experience we had at Ginny’s anatomy scan. I was frustrated that there isn’t more we can do to protect our son. I was upset at myself for not asking to spend more time looking at his face and hands. I felt guilty for not being happier and more grateful after getting a good report. I still felt afraid. 

As soon as we got in the car after the appointment, I broke down crying. It was all too much for one afternoon, and I missed Ginny. 

I’m realizing this is the reality of pregnancy after loss. You want so badly to be positive and cheerful and enjoy every moment, but there is an emotional barrier that can’t be ignored. Fear gets in the way, and grief is part of all your experiences. Hope is still there though. It is harder to see always, but love brings it to light – love for both children. 

Balancing Trust and Trust

“Just trust God.”

Pregnancy after loss…well actually anything after loss can be very scary. Knowing that bad things do happen and they do happen to you is a realization that can cause so much fear. 

Often the advice is to trust God. But I do trust God more than I ever have! But now my trust looks different. There are two types of trust I’ve experienced…

  1. Trusting God used to mean trusting that everything will work out and that our prayers for health and blessing would be answered. I would pray with faith that my requests would come to pass. I truly believed! 
  1. Trusting God now means trusting that God will be with us no matter what – good or bad. It also means that we believe we have hope beyond our Earthly desires. Those Earthly desires include health and blessings here. The hope extends past this life into eternity. 

I don’t think either type of trust is wrong. Although after losing Ginny, somehow the first type of trust feels selfish. 

At first, I couldn’t pray for health or protection or life. I could only pray that His will be done. Now when I do pray for health I fight the feeling that I’m being selfish or short-sighted. I remind myself that it is not wrong to want my child to live on Earth with me. It is still a struggle though. 

As this pregnancy gets farther along, I feel myself being drawn from the second type of trust back to the first. I’m starting to believe that this baby may live. I pray for his life. But along with that comes a desire for control. Prayers, practices, and even faith start to feel like superstition. I start holding my breath in hope for his life. The trust feels conditional. It changes from an “even-if” to an “only-if” faith.

How do I balance the hope that this baby will be born alive and healthy while maintaining the belief that God is good no matter what happens?

I’m still trying to figure this out, but I think the answer is in surrender. When I feel my need for control taking over, I need to remember I have no control. I need to surrender to God. God loves this baby more than I do. I need to let go and have peace in that. 

I focus on the fact that this baby boy is here with us today. I also remind myself that, like Ginny, this baby boy will be part of our family forever, whether here on Earth or in heaven. That’s not changing, and that is certainly something to be joyful about! 

Each day feels like an ebb and flow between the different types of trust. When fear and control creep in, I remind myself to surrender. Love fills that surrender with peace. 

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through rivers, they shall now overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2

“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.” James 5:15

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalms 139: 13-14