Still Waiting | A Mother’s Journey, part 5

February 7, 1988

I’m still waiting. The Holy Spirit has given me two scriptures in times of dark despair. One from 2 Corinthians 1 — “The answer is yes.” And one from Psalms — “Weeping shall last for a night but joy will come in the morning.”

Both verses had to be looked up. I didn’t know where there were. They were really just given to me. I’ve been trying to learn, “do not fear.” I’m so human as I vacillate between courage and utter despair.

I’m 18 and 1/2 weeks pregnant. I can feel the baby move. I’m getting larger everyday, and we still haven’t told anyone. We will have to soon. I feel like this is one big exercise in faith. When you exercise everyday you get stronger, you get more endurance. I hope that’s the way with faith — “tribulation works patience; and patience experience; and experience hope.” (Romans 5:3-4)

These truths are becoming more real — thank heavens! I want to know God’s perfect peace and to rest in it. I want my churned up feelings to be calm and confident in God’s ability to love, care for, provide for, and nurture me. I need to know that God is working his will in me for my good — “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)


Of Tulips and Death, part 1

When Your Baby Dies, part 2

“Malformed Babies” and Dust, part 3

Waiting, part 4

Waiting | A Mother’s Journey, part 4

January 6, 1988

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

“Teach me Lord, teach me Lord how to wait.” That’s how the song ends. And I’ve sung it often. How do you learn to wait? By waiting. The same way you learn anything else. Practice.

Now I’m practicing.

At 10 weeks pregnant (Dec 10) I was bleeding and cramping… the doctor says we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. At 11 weeks — the same. At 15 weeks (next week) I’ll have another sonogram, go off my progesterone and wait to see what will happen.

Will I miscarry? And if I don’t miscarry, then I’ll wait 5 more months to see if the baby’s healthy. I’m nervous, anxious, scared.

I don’t think you can have a genetically abnormal baby, then spend two weeks at a children’s hospital and not know that sometimes things do go wrong. The odds are in our favor, but again, it’s only in God’s hands, not mine.

I’m trying to “cast my anxiety on him” — I just cant bear the weight of it.

But it’s hard to do.


Of Tulips and Death, part 1

When Your Baby Dies, part 2

“Malformed Babies” and Dust, part 3


“Malformed Babies” and Dust | A Mother’s Journey, part 3

November 6, 1987

Yesterday I was thinking about how the word “malformed” makes a mother feel; “malformed ears,” “malformed heart” — sick to my stomach.

That’s how Laura was described.

Today I went to my first parent-teacher conference for Jonathan. She used words to describe Jonathan such as “well-adjusted, “self-motivated,” “hard worker.” These make a parent feel so good. And yet I take no credit or blame for either description. With both babies I did everything within my power to ensure good health (good nutrition, rest, vitamins, exercise, excellent prenatal care) and yet the outcome was out of my hands. One was formed perfectly, one “malformed.”

As we drove by the cemetery the kids started talking about Laura’s bones — that’s all that’s left, they imagine.

I told them even the bones would turn to dust eventually.

I couldn’t help but think that almost a year ago I was so concerned about that little physical body that my physical body was nourishing. My body, not knowing that her physical body was doomed from the start, did everything within its power to build a healthy body for her. It’s good to be reminded, I guess, that only God is in control. We can do the best with what we’ve been given but it’s God who has control of the situation.

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Of Tulips and Death, part 1

When Your Baby Dies, part 2

When Your Baby Dies | A Mother’s Journey, part 2

Read part 1 here.

~~~~~~~~~~ September 12, 1987 ~~~~~~~~~~

Laura died September 1. We brought her home Friday, August 28 after taking her off the ventilator. Everyone expected her to die then.

I know there is much comfort in having the memory of her dying in my arms at home rather than hooked up to the equipment in the hospital. It was very peaceful and I’m really grateful for these memories of her last days and final hour.

I have hesitated to write down my deepest feelings — somehow writing them down will make them more painful; like setting them in stone or something. Our house is still full and active and bursting with children’s activities (soccer, etc.) and music and friends.

The baby things are slowly being put back in the attic and that has not been as painful as anticipated. The things were used (the mobile) for 3 days and that makes packing them up easier.

My body is the worst reminder. Big and fat, ready to nurse a baby — 30 pounds overweight. It’s the worst reminder of all. Usually I have an unsightly body for 3 months but it’s balanced with the joy of a beautiful baby — not a high price to pay. Now it’s just the thought of having to lose the weight, wanting to get pregnant again.

My body, however, is so strong and healthy I hate to be too critical of it. After all, I had a baby, left the hospital three hours later, and went nonstop for three weeks. How can I hate a body that serves me so well?

Tomorrow is church. I’m already dreading it.

People don’t know what to say — what do I say? I’m fat, what will I wear? It’s terrible to feel like everyone is looking at you wondering “how you really are.” Are you going to crack up? I don’t think so. I hope I can reassure them of that.

Yesterday I went out with a friend and her new baby. A lady at the store asked me when my baby was due. I said I had had her and she had died. It wasn’t hard to say — it was just a bleak reminder of the truth.

I went through a pregnancy (never a fun event), had a baby, and now I don’t have one in my arms. And that is the saddest part.

Laura couldn’t have survived; I didn’t even want her to. Her body was not compatible with life and I was actually very much at peace with her going on to God and getting a new body. But that still has left me with empty arms. And I will live through that too. My hope is so strong for another baby. I don’t know when, but I feel like I know God has promised me a healthy baby and that hope gives me comfort and energy to get through these next weeks.

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Laura Beth Trotter

August 14, 1987 — September 1, 1987

Of Tulips and Death | A Mother’s Journey, part 1

My mom struggled.

She struggled with self-worth, body-image, and health fears.

She struggled with obedience to God and what that looked like in her real life and her day-to-day choices.

She had two kids and then her third baby, Laura, was born very ill and died as an infant. And my mom wept.

She felt her empty arms ache and she wrote about it. She journaled.

And she journaled as she got pregnant again and then was so very scared. Scared this baby would be sick too, never again taking for granted a healthy baby.

And then she had a healthy baby. Then a baby with Down Syndrome. Then twins. Then another baby.

And then, when she was pregnant with her last baby, she was diagnosed with cancer. She had a C-section and a mastectomy in the same surgery.

And then she died.


I’ve been reading her journals, and I think her ponderings and her wrestlings need to be read more widely. They’ve remained hidden in her journal for thirty years, but now I’d like to share them with you, bit by bit.

I hope you watch a woman grapple with God and faith and loss and I hope you’re encouraged.

If you’ve felt or thought the same things, I hope you see that you’re not alone, and that it’s possible to cling to faith even when that’s the only thing left to cling to.

~ Jonathan Mark Trotter, Kerry’s son


~~~~~~~~~~ August 9, 1986 ~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve been thinking about the different rates that we “come into bloom,” “reach our potential,” whatever. If the US Government says our life span is 70 years, then I probably will have 70 years to reach my potential. And yet isn’t the early bird always the one who everyone applauds? With children, it’s the early walker, early talker, etc., but with adults it’s the early financial success, the early doctor, lawyer, etc.

Is this how God wants us to view achievement? Is this even achievement in God’s sight? I hope not, since at age 32 I haven’t achieved much by the world’s standards. No great job, no great income, no great status. Just a wonderful husband, two beautiful kids and a nice home! And I’m so influenced still by the world’s value systems. God help me!

Different flowers bloom at different times of the year. The tulips are beautiful in the spring, June brings roses, August the wildflowers and Autumn brings mums. Is one more beautiful than the other because it blooms earlier?

I want to see my life from God’s perspective, not just from the short-term point of view.

I don’t know if this is possible.


At my mom’s funeral, I read this first page from her journal. And then I added a son’s reflections. If you’re interested, it starts around the 34-minute mark.