Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Somewhere only we know

Ever since Samuel died, I've had the urge to just run away. To just get in the car and never look back. I want to just start over somehow. The only problem with this plan is that there is no where I can go. There is no amount of running away that will change anything. The pain is in my heart; where I go, the pain goes also. Also, I'm too tired to even think of how I could possible start all over again. There is nothing I want to do for a living, no person other than Bryan I want to be with, no place that would bring me any joy. So I just stay here in my nightmare and try to keep moving forward.

A few weeks ago, when my mom was down to visit us, I mentioned to her about wanting to just get away somewhere. A place where no one knows us, a place where we could just hide for a while. A few days later, she called to say that she and my dad were going to pay for us to take a trip over Memorial Day weekend (the only time Bryan could get away since he had used all his vacation for Samuel.) She insisted they wanted to do this for us (after my protest that it was too much!) and we started talking about places to go. Our initial thought was somewhere warm - maybe an oceanfront hotel in California or Florida - but then we realized that would include a flight and there was no way to control if we got seated next to a baby for hours (something I would not be able to handle!) Bryan and I talked and realized we needed a place for adults only that was not too far away so we could drive. We love visiting Duluth each year, so we began looking for a hotel there. We quickly realized there would be the same problem with hotels; too many families with kids/babies. After some research, we found a bed and breakfast (adults only - perfect!) called The Firelight Inn. It looked perfect and it had tons of great reviews. They had the perfect room for us. A room with a king-sized bed, a jacuzzi tub, a fireplace and a great view of Lake Superior. Also, another great aspect of this specific inn... they bring breakfast to you in your room so you don't have to be around the other guests if you don't want to. How perfect for us! We could get away without having to deal with other people. My parents so generously purchased the room for us and even included some of the Inn's special extras - a cheese, fruit and cracker tray, a dinner of wild rice soup and bread and a tray of dessert and coffee. They really spoiled us!

I had some mixed emotions (what else is new...) as the day grew near for us to go. I realized if Samuel was alive we wouldn't be going. I feel sad doing things I know I wouldn't be doing if he were here. It felt strange to want to enjoy the trip knowing he couldn't be apart of it. But I was also really looking forward to "running away", even if just for awhile.

Because my  mom always goes the extra mile, she packed a bag for us with games, yummy snacks, drinks and even bath products for our trip. She also got me a beautiful little engraved coin with Samuel's name on it. It's a beautiful little thing I can hold in my hand while I'm thinking of him. It's very special to me.

On Friday afternoon, we packed up and left for Duluth. After a long car ride (thanks to the many others heading north for the holiday and lots of construction delays) we finally made it to the Inn. We pulled up to the beautiful brick home and immediately knew we had made the right choice. It is a historic home that was beautifully restored and obviously well maintained. As we walked up to the door, we were greeted by the owners, Joy and Jim, who felt like family welcoming us to their home. We were the only guests that night, so we ended up having the run of the place while they went out to dinner. It was such a beautiful home! There was a huge wrap-around porch on the front and side of the house with lots of comfy seats, tables with games and books, a beautiful fireplace and enormous windows overlooking Oregon Creek on the side of the house. Then there was the living room with a grand piano, couches, and another fireplace. The dining room led into a butlers pantry with things for our enjoyment during the stay. There were coffees, teas, sodas, water bottles, freshly baked sugar cookies and snacks all ready for you whenever you wanted. The next room over was a cozy - but not small - living room with an amazing fireplace sectioned out under the beautifully hand-carved staircase leading up the rooms. They had bookcases with movies, books, CDs and games for our use. During our tour, we got to see all of the guest rooms. No two were the same and we would have been happy with any of them. Our room was on the top floor. We got a suite with two rooms. When we opened the door, we were so excited to see how beautiful and well appointed our room was! There was a king bed with an awesome antique metal frame, a large jacuzzi tub right across from the fireplace, a private bathroom with shower (and handmade soaps the owner makes) a second room with a couch, table and chairs, an entertainment center and even a beautiful antique wardrobe for our clothes. There were many skylights we could open for fresh air and even one that opened on to a really cool metal walkway with a spiral staircase down to the lower deck. The room was so beautiful and clean. It looked like we were the first people to even use it.

Every morning, we would get a knock on the door and hear "Bryan and RaeAnne, your breakfast is served". When we opened the door, we would find a huge basket filled with wonderful things like a plated hot main dish (brie and Canadian bacon quiche the first day, ham and cheese strata the next and strawberry stuffed french toast the last day), a dish of some types of yummy fruits, a basket of muffins and other bakery breads/treats, coffee, tea, and everything else you needed for a great breakfast (including a daily newsletter with the days menu, the local weather and things to do around the city). We were spoiled with the amazingly delicious (and huge) meals each morning.

For the most part, we just spent time together in the room, just being together watching movies, reading, napping and talking. We talked about Samuel and how much we miss him. We cried at times, we dreamed together of what he was doing right at that moment, in heaven, and we talked about how we are going to try to live without him. We miss him so much! Although the weather was cold and gloomy (even thunderstorms and rain), it was perfect. We could just cuddle in the warmth of the fireplace and not worry about going anywhere or talking to anyone. Almost no one knew where we were so it felt like we could just relax and be alone. It was very nice and I hope we can make it back there again someday. I don't think we could have found a better place to go and we will always remember our time there. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Pit

It's been a bad couple of days. I'm so filled with pain. My heart is so broken. I rage with anger. I burn with hatred. I want to die but there is no way out.

It's like I was pushed down in a dark pit and left to die. I try to pull myself up and out, and sometimes I even make some progress, but the pit is too deep. I fall to the bottom again and again. There seems to be no way out. I look up and sometimes I can see the sun...I can feel the hope that things are good outside of the pit. I reach and climb for it, wanting so badly to be apart of the life outside the pit. But I can't make it. So I fall to the floor, curl up in a ball and wait to die. I guess life on the outside is not for me. Somehow, for some reason, I don't deserve the life outside the pit. Life outside the pit is happy mommies and daddies with their babies. Life outside the pit is not wondering why your baby had to die. Life outside the pit is enjoying a belief in a loving and faithful God. Life outside the pit is unending joy; a joy ignorant to the possibility of death. I don't get that life. I get the dark horrific existence at the bottom of the pit.

Today we went to see a counselor. It did not help. At all. It only left me feeling more hopeless. I go the impression he didn't have a clue what to say to us. No one can help. There is no way to feel better.

It didn't have to be this way but, for some unknown reason, it is.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Lawnmower

Today, while Bryan and I were driving to run some errands, we both saw a man mowing his lawn. He was pushing it towards us. Then, as we drove closer, he turned to change directions and we noticed his small son behind him, proudly pushing his own little plastic Fisher-Price-esque lawn mower behind him. Bryan and I both saw it simultaneously and laughed out loud because it was so cute and funny and heartwarming. Then,almost instantly, the laughter turned to tears as we realized how much we wanted our little Samuel to mimic daddy as he mowed the lawn. We pulled over to recover, then continued on our way because there is nothing else we can do.


Monday, May 21, 2012

I hate this

I hate that I'll never be the same again. I hate that no matter what happens in life, I'll always be missing my little Samuel. I hate that if we decide to have other kids, I'll have to wonder if they'll have the same condition, if they'll die, if they'll be born ok. I hate that I can't just enjoy a pregnancy ever again. I hate that any other children we have will have to live without their brother. I hate that if we want another baby people will think we're trying to replace him. I hate that any other baby we would have would get all of the things Samuel should have gotten. I hate that this happened. I hate that I have to learn how to live again. I hate that all we wanted was a family and this nightmare is what we got. I hate that I never get to hold my little Samuel in this life again. I hate that so many people just decide to have a family, get pregnant, have their baby and live happily ever after without ever even considering how amazing it is that their baby is healthy. I hate that every day perfectly healthy babies are killed because their moms aren't ready for them. I hate that I have to stay here while my baby is in heaven. I hate that Bryan doesn't get his son. I hate that I feel this way. I hate that every day I ask myself what I did to cause this. I hate that I have to wonder what I can and can't believe in the Bible. I hate that I have to wonder why God didn't step in to save Samuel...it would have been so easy for Him. I hate that when I have a few "okay" hours I feel like I must not have loved him enough. 

I hate this.

How did this happen?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A new normal

Yesterday was a day of healing for me. A few days ago, I had this desire for a bit of normalcy (is there such a thing now?) I just wanted to feel like a real person again; to do something fun. I know that part of the grieving process is to find a "new normal". Things will never be as they once were; there is no going back. We will always be without Samuel. The challenge for us now is to figure out what life will be like going forward (easier said than done). I asked my sister if she would be willing to have me and some friends over to her house for a little "girls night". Nothing big. Just some friends, some good food and some good conversation. When I thought of it, it sounded so nice to get out of the house, to be around people who care about me. After she readily agreed and began making the plans, I had some doubts. Maybe people will think I don't love Samuel enough if I'm ready to have a night out... Maybe if I don't think about him all night I'll forget something about him... Does having fun mean I'm over grieving him? Just the thought of being "over him" made me so heartsick! I love Samuel so very much! I miss him all day every day. I would still give anything to have him back. But he's not coming back. He's safe and sound with Jesus and I'm left here to try to figure out my "new normal". A few times I thought of ways I could "get out" of my plans. But I still wanted to try so I kept them.

Yesterday afternoon, I got in the car and drove up to the cities. Since I don't get up there much, I tried to fill my time with many things I wanted to do while I was up there. My first stop was to visit my friend Traci who just had her baby boy a few days after Samuel. She is one of my favorite people and I've been missing her and really wanted to meet her son. I wondered if it was going to be hard to see him. I also wondered how it would feel to hold him. When I got there, I looked at her handsome little boy and felt ok. I can be happy for her because I know how much she cares about me. I know how much she hurts for me and how unfair she finds the situation. That allows me to feel safe with her and happy for her son. I got to hold him and snuggle with him. It was really nice. I had a moment of wishing I could do the same with Samuel, but it passed and I focused on enjoying the time of talking with a good friend and being happy for her.

After I left Traci, I met Jaimi and we went to get a pedicure. Another thing I'd been thinking about for a while was doing something nice for myself - such a a massage or pedicure - to have a moment of pampering and relaxation. Because my body is still healing from the c-section, a massage was out. So we decided to get a pedicure. Again, I wondered: does me doing something for myself mean I'm not loving Samuel enough? Does it say to people "I'm over him"? (There is much guilt in tying to find a new normal.) Again, I pushed the negative thoughts out and kept with my plans. I DO love Samuel! Nothing can change that. Again, it was so nice to be around a good friend and do something regular and "normal". We sat in our massaging chairs with out feet in the warm, bubbly water and it felt so nice. It's ok to do something nice for yourself, even in times of grief. (Maybe especially in times of grief.) We talked for a while, she looked at the photo book I have of Samuel, and then we headed over to Angi's (my sister who was hosting) house.

As I arrived, my immediate feeling was "oh no, what have I done...this is going to be bad". I thought this because I didn't know how to act. Should I be mopey and sad? Should I smile and be happy? Nothing felt right. I chose to just let the emotions I was feeling show. Everyone there knew about Samuel. It was going to be ok. Another good friend of mine, Adrienne, went in with Jaimi to surprise me with an "Edible Arrangement" (a bouquet of fruit, shaped like flowers). I've always wanted one! They are good friends to not only remember that I've always wanted one, but to get me it too!

As we all sat down to talk and eat, I felt good. It was nice to feel "normal" for a night! I didn't have to sit around feeling sad for myself that Samuel is gone. I didn't have to miss him terribly all night. I could have lots of  love for him in my heart and talk to friends about life and be ok. It didn't for one moment mean I don't miss him or love him. That felt so good. 

As the night progressed, we began to talk about Samuel and everything that happened. Everyone was able to ask me questions and listen as I told them what it was like. It was so good! I like to talk about him. I love to hear other people say his name and ask me about him. I liked knowing people wanted to hear about him. I like people asking me how I feel about things and what it's been like for me to go thought this whole situation of his sickness and death. The questions were good and overall the conversation was very healing for me. I got to say out loud how I was feeling and what I thought. I was so glad they asked!

Around midnight, when Bryan texted me to say "are you ok?" (I had told him I would probably be home at that time...oops!) we finally said "goodnight" and I left.

As I drove home, I felt so good. It felt so nice to feel happy! I realized something important. I have so many different roles in life. I'm a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, an auntie, a friend, etc. For so long, almost all my focus has been on being a mom. I almost forgot that I can be those other things too! Being one or the other doesn't negate the others. I can be a friend and a woman who needs time to herself and it's okay. It doesn't for one second make me less of a loving mother or less of a person who is grieving her son's death. It doesn't mean I love Samuel any less or that I've "moved on". It means that I needed a break. I needed to feel "normal" for a night. I came home, kissed Bryan and went to bed. I actually fell asleep quickly for a change! I woke up feeling the same amount of "Ok". I have so much love for Samuel in my heart. I miss him so deeply. I will always miss him until the day I get to see him again. I will still hurt for him and for me and Bryan, and I will still grieve that he's gone for now. Last night gave me what I needed: a break from the pain. A bit of the new normal. I'm so thankful for good friends!

*As I was finishing writing this, a package was dropped off at out door. It was a gift box with a note: "Because we know you've been feeling blue...here's some sunshine just for you!". It's a box full of yellow, fun things and treats. It's from some friends at our church. I'm so thankful that people care about us and that God puts people in our lives to show us His love. (And what a great idea for a gift!)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I'm not alright

Every morning with my very first thought, I think of Samuel. All day long, he is on my mind. Every night, with my last thought of the day, I think of Samuel. Sometimes it hurts so bad I just want to not think about anything at all. My brain is trying to make sense of something that is senseless. I lie in bed, every moment of his life,  birth and death running though my head. All the "what if's" and "should have's" trying their best to infiltrate my thinking. I can't go down that road. What's done is done. I hate it. How can my heart feel so empty and heavy at the same time? I hate that with each day I'm moving farther and farther away from the time I had with him. He will always be in my heart, but that's not enough. All I want is my baby. I hate that I have no choice but to carry on. What else can I do? I'm not alright, I'm broken inside.

Monday, May 14, 2012

One Month

My baby should be one month old today. I can't believe he's not here. My heart is aching to be with him. How on earth did all this happen? I wonder: would he be smiling? I wish I could see him smile.

Yesterday was my first Mother's Day. I had been dreading the day. I was so worried that no one would say "Happy Mother's Day" to me. I am a mother. I can't help it that my baby is not with me. That was not my choice. I thought of all the women who hurt on Mother's day. There are so many women who are mamas without babies. The day is supposed to be the day to honor the work of motherhood. And that's awesome...it is a lot of work! But for so many women, it's a day to remind them of what's missing. I know that's not the intention, but I know it's a day of a lot of pain and sadness for many women. Now, it is for me too. How do you celebrate being a mom if you can't have your baby? Are you still a mother even if you don't have the baby you so desperately want? I think so! There are plenty of women with babies who are not mothers and plenty of women without babies who are. I believe it's all a matter of their heart.

Everything is so backwards in our lives. How did it happen that the time that should be filled with so much joy is the time of so much heartbreak? Bryan said it and I agree: nothing in life feels right.

Bryan did his best for me yesterday. He made me breakfast and then we talked about Samuel. We looked at photos and watched the video of him. I tried to focus on the time I had with Samuel; just being his mama. I remembered singing to him, reading to him and rocking with him. I remembered how I would talk to him and he would kick in response. Those are the best moments of my life.

Some dear friends and family members called/texted/emailed to share their love for us. It helped. The messages were all the same idea: it shouldn't be this way...he should be here with us.

I remembered this song:

This is not how is should be...
this is not how it could be...
but this is how it is
and our God is in control. 

This is not how it will be. I need to keep my focus on this the most. This is not how it will be. When I am back with Samuel, all of the pain will be gone forever. I just need to somehow make it to that day. 

While I was pregnant, we started a small garden on the side of our house. Since Samuel was still with us at it's creation, we decided to make it his garden now. So yesterday we went to get flowers for his garden. While we were at the store, I made the mistake of looking around at people. So many happy moms with their babies. Why not me? I just don't understand. (This is why I don't go anywhere unless I have to). While we were waiting to check out, I looked in the cart next to us. I saw a baby carrier with a tiny little newborn foot poking out. That should be us. We should be the family with the tiny new baby. But we're not. We're the family with broken dreams and broken hearts, buying flowers to remember our lost love. It's all we have. I hate it.

I miss my Samuel...

(Here is his garden. It's blue and yellow flowers. I'll take another photo when they bloom. )

I found this interview with the Chapman family yesterday. There is some good information about grieving so I thought I'd share. I can identify so much with the mother's words: "I don't care who's lives are changed, I want Maria back." It's not about being uncaring towards others. It's about not wanting to trade your baby for the encouragement of others. When people tell me how Samuel has changed their lives, my first thought is "I don't care... I just want my baby back". But since the outcome is set, then I guess it's good to know that at least he has made a difference.

What the daughter says is also so true: it's like a winding road and you don't know what's around each turn. Sometimes you can be okay, then only moments later, you're not at all okay. My heart breaks for their family.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Everyone knows men and woman deal with things differently. It's nothing new. For me, I like to think of it not as a "man vs. woman" issue, but as a "every person is unique" issue. I don't like when people say things like "Bryan probably feels..." and then fill in the blank with some comment about how men don't grieve the same and that's ok. I know Bryan more than most - probably better than anyone else - and so I'm not looking for other people to tell me how he is going to react to Samuel's death. I'm looking to him to show me how he is going to react. Here is what I know so far: Bryan was such an amazing father to Samuel. He was put in a horrible situation. He had to be both a father and a mother to Samuel during those hours after he was born and I couldn't be with them. He had to do for me what I could not do. Talk to him, hold his hand, comfort him and caress his head. He never left his side. In Rochester, he would bathe him, dress him, snuggle with him, memorize him...all the things I wished I could do in that moment. He did it all with attentiveness, gentleness and so much love. As I watched him on Skype that night, I fell in love with him all over again. I'm not sure how many other brand-new dads would have been able to give so much of themselves in that moment, but I do know Bryan did it wonderfully. And I know he is missing his little boy.

Since Samuel died, our relationship has been strong but weird. I know Bryan was hurting so much just like me. But I also know he wants to be strong and keep going. In moments of stress, I would look at him and wonder: does he really feel the same way I do? Does he still love me and want to be with me? Has his opinion of our life changed? All these and more questions would run through my mind. I also wondered if he was getting the support he needed. (This is one of those times when the stereotypes are true: his guy-friends don't reach out to him in friendship the way my girl-friends do to me.)

Last night, for the first time in three weeks, we sat down and talked. Really, really talked. We've had conversations but last night we looked each other in the eyes and asked the hard questions we both have been wondering. Things like: What do we do now? How do we keep going? How are we feeling about everything? and so on. There were both tears and moments of laughter. We both realized we had been wondering some of the same things about each other. (Apparently, we both had dreamed that the other person left...how crazy!) It was a time of connection, acknowledgement, and a reminder of our commitment to each other. Oh, how I needed that! Sometimes even I forget that you just have to talk. Ask questions and wait for the answer.

We are both broken and bruised. In some ways the same and in others different. We both made a commitment to love and cherish one another no matter what came in life. I'm so completely thankful for his love and dedication to me. I know in my heart he will do whatever it takes to keep our marriage strong. Even in this time of horrible sadness, he will love me and protect me. Many days, it's only because I love him that I can keep moving forward. It's because I could never ever hurt him that I don't just run away and hide or lay down and die. We can get through the worst of this pain together. Last night confirmed it.

When Samuel died, we both died a little with him. Together, somehow and someway, we will carry on. I will love both of my boys for the rest of my life.<3

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A knife to my heart

Last night, as I lay in bed, I cried out to God. God, I don't even know what to ask for. I just need help. Please, Lord, help me to feel ok enough to get to a better place. Please God! After a while, the song I sang to Samuel came into my mind and I just started singing it. (It was a little song I made up for him. It's his and my song so I'm not going to share it - I don't even think Bryan knows it...) I remembered the times I would sit and sing to Samuel. I pictured him listening to it and feeling secure. It gave me some peace. I couldn't sleep, so I got up and took a shower. I use to sing to Samuel in the shower too. I decided to just sing to him again. (Maybe God would let him hear?) While Bryan slept upstairs, I just sang and sang to my little baby. I felt a sense of peace again. Thank you, God!

This morning, when I woke up, I didn't have the same overwhelming heaviness I've had for the past few days. With Samuel's song still in my head, I got up and actually did some things around the house. I even made Bryan lunch! While I won't say I was happy by any means, I just felt less burdened and more able to function than I have for the last few days. Then, it happened.

I had spent some time this morning sending notes to some people on Facebook, to thank them for the ways they have helped us in the past few weeks (I was going to send actual notes in the mail but the thought of buying cards, writing them out, addressing them and mailing them was just way too much right now. Plus, the words are what count). I've been meaning to do it for a while, but it had just felt too tiring before today. If people replied, I get a message on my phone. One of these messages was from a family member. In the last part of the message, she told me she was pregnant. That sentence was like a knife right to my heart. All the "okay-ness" of the morning was gone instantly. God, this is so wrong! I had to get outta there so I went outside to our backyard (maybe fresh air will help me process this better...) It didn't. I sat outside, sobbing and trying to make sense of it all. Samuel was suppose to be the family baby right now. Samuel was suppose to get all the coos and ogling and attention. He should have been the center of all their love right now. But he doesn't get any of it. Instead, this baby will get it all. It burns me to my core that all this was stolen from my baby. And it hurt so deeply because it felt like she was bragging..."you couldn't keep your baby, but I'm going to keep mine" (I know, it doesn't make sense and I believe she did not at all mean it that way...but it's how I was feeling.) I just can't imagine how someone so sweet and dear could possibly think now was the time to tell me this news. I sobbed for a while, then I realized I needed help. I called a friend and somehow choked out that I needed her. She came right over and helped me get it all out. After a while, I calmed down. She left, Bryan came home and we ate dinner. Bryan summed it up nicely when I told him about the news. "It's just not fair". (He has a way of getting right to the point.) He's right. It's not that we won't love our new little niece or nephew. And we know this person would never ever want us to hurt. But it's just so unfair. And that hurts so deeply.

It's so crazy to me all the things people do without considering how it will affect us. Let me help: if you are expecting a baby - I don't want to know. I can't possibly be happy for you right now. (The only exception to this is a friend who lost a baby a while back who is now expecting again. I can be happy for her because she knows). If you are super happy because you have a new baby and want to share him or her with me - don't. I can't be happy for you right now. If you know someone who is pregnant or just had a baby - don't tell me. I won't think it's great. I won't be happy for them. My baby died three weeks ago. My life ended in many ways on that day. I can't be happy for anyone for any reason right now. I just don't care and hearing about others happiness kills me because I wonder why I didn't get the same outcome. You just can't imagine what this feels like unless you've been though it. There are only a handful of people I care about right now, and if you're one of them, you'll know.I know how horrible this sounds, but it's just how I'm feeling right now. If someone husband dies would you tell them about your super romantic weekend getaway with your spouse? NO. So why tell a mommy who just lost her baby about your baby? It's the same concept.

One more bit of advice. If the words "I probably shouldn't say this" proceed what you're about to say, don't say it. Or if you think what your about to say will be the "thing" to help me get over this, it won't be. The only way you can help me now is to just let me know you're thinking of me. (A sweet friend did this very thing today). If you want to help, ask me what I need.  No one can take this from us, and we will never, ever, "get over it." We will live missing Samuel for the rest of our lives. 

Once again I ask myself: Where can I go? Where can I run to? Again I remember: there is no escape.

*As I read back over what I just wrote I feel bad. I love people and I do care about them. I hate that other's good news brings me so much pain. God, help me to love other people like I should. Help me to be happy for them in times of joy.  I know with all my heart this person would never, ever want to hurt us. I'm going to try to be excited for my new little niece or nephew.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Today has been such a crazy day of emotions. I'm starting to feel as though I'm losing control of them. Up and down, back and forth, round and round. I need to get a grip.

After my anger-fest this afternoon and my crying out to God for doing this to me, I remembered a sermon I heard a few years back. I really needed to hear it again today to get some perspective.

Why do we have such a wrong image of God? God is love. That's all. God did NOT cause Samuel to die. He is crying right along with me. He is faithful and will hold me as I try to cope. Why am I wasting my life with hurt and anger directed at Him? Why are Christians so quick to try to explain situations with words like "it's God's plan" or "God knows what He's doing." God did not do this. God is love...everlasting, unfailing, perfect love. If I can keep my focus on that, I can be ok. Samuel is so fortunate to only know of that love. He never ever has to know the pain of thinking God has turned against him.

Please take the time to listen. I believe this is the truth.


No place to hide

This morning, when I went to post my blog on Facebook, I saw that yet another one of my friends had their baby. As I looked at the pictures of the precious little face, I sobbed. I'm so angry. Why does it seem like everyone on earth is either pregnant or snuggling with their perfect little babies? Why did I assume that getting pregnant would mean I would get a baby? I must be stupid. I'm so angry. Next year, everyone will be talking about their baby's first birthdays. I'll be sitting here, still without my baby, trying to be happy for them, imagining what Samuel would have looked like, what he would have sounded like, how big he would be and what he would have been doing. They will all be trying to outdo one another with their over-the-top, keeping-up-with-the-Jones' parties and I'll be wishing I could just hold him close and sing to him while he eats his cake that I made for him. This is so wrong!

I just want to run away forever. I don't want to see another woman's pregnant belly or hear another "I'm so happy...we're going to have a baby!" notice on Facebook. I hate everyone who doesn't realize the value of their children. When I think about how many people have babies and then just stick them in daycare all day every day, I'm sick. I would give anything - everything - to spend all day every day with my baby. Where can I possibly go where I won't have to hear about people and their babies? There is absolutely no escape and I hate it. I imagine myself getting in the car and driving away; never looking back. But where can I go? There is no place I can hide.

I hate this... I'm just trapped. And once again, I have no choice. Even as I sit here in my anguish and sickened hatred of the world, I looked outside to see a daddy and his little toddler boy walking hand-in-hand down the sidewalk. REALLY?!? Are you kidding me God? When will you step in to stop all this?

I keep thinking of the words to the Shania Twain song - It only hurts when I'm breathing:

...it only hurts when I'm breathing
My heart only breaks when it's beating
My dreams only die when I'm dreaming
So, I hold my breath--to forget

If I could just stop living, I'd be ok. But instead I sit here in my own private hell. There is no escape...no place to hide. 

Just like so many other times, I think to myself "Thank goodness for Bryan". He keeps me from losing it completely. He gives me reason to stay and reason to live. At least I still have one of my loves. <3

Back and Forth

God is the strong and silent type. Satan, on the other hand, doesn't shut up. As I sit here and try to figure out how to carry on, I imagine God next to me, looking with love, and whispering "I know love...you're hurting. I'm here when you want me". In my pain, I turn away. Satan creeps up next, words pouring from his mouth. "This is your fault. This is God's fault. You can't go on without Samuel. You'll never be able to cope. You should just lay down and die with him. How dare God not heal him on earth. You were robbed of all that you cared about! You should hate everyone who gets to be pregnant. You should hate everyone who gets to keep their baby. You should just hate everyone." In my pain, I wrap his words around me like a blanket, slump to the floor and cry out in misery. I choose to hate everyone. I choose to believe life can't possibly go on without Samuel. I choose to hate God for allowing me to go through all I did and end up with nothing.

All the while God is still there, quietly watching me with love in his eyes. When He catches my gaze for a moment He once again reminds me "I'm here when you want me". The blanket falls from my shoulders for a moment and I consider His offer. "Maybe I can be ok someday. I know Samuel is safe and so happy. He's fine...maybe I should try to be ok too". I try to stand up. "Ok God, I need you." He pulls me up and holds me close. All I feel is His love and comfort. I picture Samuel, so happy and full of love. How can I possibly be upset that he is gone when I know how amazing his life is in heaven? It's only a matter of time until I can be with him forever. Maybe I should try to make the most of my life without him. I will see him again. Maybe I can go on... For a moment, I feel ok and I try to move forward. But Satan and his lies and hurt are never far away and in moments of weakness, when I turn from God's grasp, he is right there to cover me with the heavy blanket of grief and pain.

This is how the past few weeks have felt. Back and forth between the two. Some moments are filled with so much pain, sadness, loneliness and emptiness; I think I'll never get over it. Other moments are ok. Yes, I miss him intensely, but there is nothing I can do, so I should just try to pick my life back up and move forward. Back and forth. Okay, not okay.

I started to put away some of his things. I don't want to put too much emphasis on his things, lest I become a hoarder. I want to remember him. I try to imagine myself in different situations; things I may do in the next few months. There is always something missing. My little Samuel is always missing. Will there really be a day when I don't feel his absence? Will there really be a day when I can remember him without the ache inside?

All I wanted was a baby. What I got was the most love I've ever felt (my time with him) then the worst pain I've ever faced (missing him forever). I hate this. One day at a time...one moment at a time. It's already been three weeks.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Storm

God, today I woke up with such a heavy heart. I miss my baby so much! Why did you take him? Why did you allow him to die? Why do I have to live without him? How can you possibly think this is a good plan?

Last night, we had a tornado warning for a few hours. We went downstairs and tucked in for a evening of watching the weather channel and waiting for it to pass. I had the weirdest sensation the whole time: I wanted to protect Samuel. It makes no sense; he is safer than I am!, but it was there nonetheless. I guess it was my mothering instinct. It kept happening all night. The sirens would sound and my heart would beat faster as I longed to hold him close and speak calming words to him. My brain could tell me he wasn't here but my heart kept looking for him. I felt like I had nothing to do with my hands. They should have been working to protect and comfort Samuel.

I also realized we now own things that are unreplaceable. For instance, the little box of his ashes, the disks of his photos, and the molds of his hands and feet. I snatched those things up as we went downstairs. I also had this thought of his room being destroyed and it killed me. I hate that I now have so many things that feel so irreplaceable. It's just a crib...but it's his crib. So now what? Do I buy a vault and keep it all locked up forever? I need to try to separate him from his things so I don't go nuts trying to hang on to them.

Much later in the evening, after the storm had passed, I was in bed trying to go to sleep. I began praying for some things when I had this overwhelming sense of discouragement. I actually thought "What's the point?" I cried because I finally realized how much I feel let down by God. I know I can trust Him, but I don't feel I can trust Him. I hate that. I stopped mid-word in my prayer and said to myself, "He's just going to do whatever He wants anyways." I hate that I feel this way. I'm just so confused. He knew how much pain this outcome would bring. How could He possibly think this was the best plan?

Each day is a new emotion (sometimes even each hour). Just when I feel like I can take this on and make it through, a new wave of sadness or loneliness hits me. I'm so disgusted that I have so little control over my life now. I guess none of us have as much as we believe we do. It can all be taken away in an instant.

So many people are trying their best to help me. There is nothing anyone can do. There are no magic words that will bring me comfort, there are no ways of caring for me that will leave me feeling secure, there are no amounts of time spent with me that will take away my pains of missing him. There are only two people I want to be with - Samuel and Bryan. I care about people and I don't ever want to hurt anyone. I just want to be alone. All I want is to stay in bed all day. I don't want to try to listen to what anyone has to say. I can't fathom trying to care about anything. I'm tired just thinking of spending time with anyone. Maybe I'll just turn off my phone for a while.

It's just another day for everyone else. For me it's another day without my love.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Changing My Perspective

At my two-week post-op appointment on Friday, after a "everything looks good " (surgery-wise), we got a copy of my file to take home. I was a bit hesitant to read it, but I did - page by page - for about an hour (needless to say...it's LONG). It made me realize something I guess I haven't allowed myself to consider: Samuel was never going to live. (Not from a medical standpoint, anyways). Despite having to look up many (many) of the words in the reports, I realized as I read that he was up against too much. Page after page has words and phrases that indicate just how bad things were. The words "grim outcome" and "fatal" are used often and much. The many effects of his condition were listed out and the list was much longer then I realized. Nevertheless, in almost every report beginning in November, each different page and doctor makes some reference to the fact that "[baby] is still growing and developing, despite the grim prognosis". (My favorite line includes the words "even making breathing movements"...my baby was a fighter!)

To read my file is to know that God truly gave us a gift when he gave us eight months with Samuel.

This doesn't suddenly make it ok with me that he died. I will never be ok with that. What is does, however, is give me a new perspective. One where God is not a God who doesn't keep His promises, or who misleads us with the words in the Bible, but one where God is a loving and merciful God who knew the outcome but allowed us to have some more time with our little love. I got to look in my baby's eyes and tell him how much I loved him. Daddy got some very special one-on-one time. I have hundreds of beautiful photos of my special boy. Those things are a gift that we may not have received if God was not at work in the situation.

I was talking with a friend last night and she helped me remember how at our very first Rochester appointment, after the specialist had confirmed Samuel was very sick, the nurse had given me a page of miscarriage symptoms and told me to call her right away when I noticed them. The key word here is "when"...not "if". From the notes in the file and the words we were told that day in November, it's very clear they did not think Samuel would live for even days more. But our God is a loving and powerful God. He knew we needed more time. He knew how special the time we would have with Samuel would be for us (and many others). So He gave us five more months to love him. Five months of joyful anticipation and deep unending love. Despite some bad days (who wouldn't have bad days all things considered...) we mostly had great days filled with so much happiness. We felt him move, we watched him grow and we were confident he heard us love on him.

So what does this all mean. Well, it means God has given me a glimpse of why I have felt some peace. It means I can praise God for being merciful to us. It means I can realize that Samuel was a miracle. His very short life was a precious gift. The list of things we did with him and for him in those five months is long. I even think, if he had died back then, we would have had to deliver a lifeless baby and would have never known what he really looked like. I would have never seen his eyes and his soft hair. We wouldn't have gotten any of the photos we have of him. (They are so incredibly special to me.) It would have always felt like I was cheated out of the pregnancy. But God changed all that. He knew we needed more time and He said "ok". (Yes, I do whole-heartily wish He would have said "ok" to a life-time). For now, God has given me a tiny glimpse of the "why". I'll take it.

Side note: some old hymns have been going through my mind lately. We have gotten away from using them in church, but the messages in them are often so true and to the point. What great reminders of the simple truths of the Bible. (If you ever get a chance to hear the story of the author of "It is Well with My Soul", Horatio G. Spafford's life, it's absolutely amazing.)
  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.
    • Refrain:
      It is well, with my soul,
      It is well, it is well, with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.

  1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!

    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
  2. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful,
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness;
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  3. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there.
  4. Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
    Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
    May we ever, Lord, be bringing
    All to Thee in earnest prayer.
    Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
    There will be no need for prayer—
    Rapture, praise, and endless worship
    Will be our sweet portion there