Thursday, June 28, 2012

With Love, From Texas

One of Bryan's brothers, Mark, his wife Priscilla, and their two kids came up from Texas this past week to stay with Bryan's parents for a week. We always have such a great time with them. Priscilla is one of those people you just really like right away when you meet her. So fun and spunky and open. She's super good at just asking you how things are and expecting the truth. No need for false pretenses. When we learned they were coming, we were glad. But it's also hard to get really excited/happy about anything right now. I knew I would love seeing them and spending time, but I also had another "Samuel will never be apart of this" moment when we drove over to Hutchinson to see them this past weekend. It was the first time we have been with his family since the funeral. Hard to be happy when it should be a time of showing off our sweet new bundle and passing him around for hugs and cuddles. But we pulled ourselves together and went, and it turned out to be a nice time of being surrounded by family. I really like Bryan's family. We get along so well and I always have a fun time hanging out with his siblings and their families. (Bryan is one of seven kids). The happiness of seeing them is just another sad reminder that this is not how our lives should be right now. (I hate that so many things make me sad when they should be happy times).

I brought photo books of Samuel for everyone and got to see them looking at his precious little face. It was my way of "passing him around" to show him off. It's all I've got.

While we were there, Priscilla and I were talking and she told me she and her sister, Lanette, wanted to love on us by giving us meals. Since they both live in Texas, they couldn't exactly bring us meals so instead they decided to give us Let's Dish meals. I was so touched! (Let's Dish is a place you go to put together meals, package them and take home to store in your freezer. You can make a months-worth of food in a few hours, then you don't have to think about "what's for dinner" each night.) She said I could go if I felt up to it, or she would bring them to me if I didn't. I told her it sounded like a good time of being out of the house. (Highly unlikely there would be babies there, I figured). We set it up to go on Wednesday. We met for Starbucks first and talked for a while. Then, she treated me to a pedicure. (Listen, she knows how to spoil a girl.) After we finished, we went to Let's Dish and spent a few hours talking, working and making meals. It was really nice. I need to try to be "normal" and get out every once in a while. It's nice to go places where babies won't be so I can relax a bit.

The one dumb thing is that I get super tired, super easily lately. I also have a hard time concentrating. She was patient with me, even when I was moving slow. (There was a really weird moment when I was making things when I suddenly just felt so sad. I couldn't figure out why it was so out of nowhere until I realized the music on the speakers overhead was a song I play a lot lately when I'm sad about him. Crazy how my brain picked up on it and gave a surge of sadness without me realizing it.) After the whole day of being out in the real world I was a bit tired. But, by far, it was a great day with a special sister-in-law.

After we packed up my treasures in the cooler, we drove to our house so she could see Samuel's room, look at pictures and his hand/feet molds, and watch some of the videos we have (I may not have mentioned this before: my older brother, Ryan, took videos while Bryan was with Samuel in Rochester. I have videos of snuggles, bath-time, getting dressed and making molds/footprints. I cherish them.) It's always nice to share what I have of him with people. She cried and that means a lot to me. I know she cares so much about us and will miss him forever with us. I like knowing other people love him too.


Now I've got a day of good memories, a freezer packed full of yummy, healthy and mostly-prepared meals (Bryan will, once again, be well fed), and the comfort of knowing how much we are loved. It's nice to have a good day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Choices

When something bad happens to a Christian, everyone expects their response to give glory to God ("I'll praise you in this storm", and such). I guess that's what I "should" do too. "Oh, thank you Jesus for allowing me eight months with my baby. That's such a good gift". I shouldn't wonder why it's me that has to use faith to get those eight months when so many people go through pregnancy without a single thought of praying for their child. I shouldn't wonder why a loving and powerful God would allow my baby to die, despite my faith, but allow children to be born to single teenage mothers, or drug-addicted mothers, or mothers whose husbands beat them, or to mothers who don't even want them, on a daily basis. I should be one of those "good" Christians who says "I guess God needed another angel" or "God's ways are higher than mine" and then just go about my life without giving it another thought. I'm not one of those people. If God says something in the Bible, I'm going to take Him at His word. Then, if He doesn't do what He says He is going to, I'm going to call Him on it and be upset. If He says He is a healer, then why wouldn't I expect Him to heal? It's not about me being mad that He didn't heal Samuel because I think He owes me anything. I don't think God is a vending machine. You can just put in a prayer and expect a matching result. BUT, I do wonder why I can't expect Him to keep His word and be who He claims to be. That's where my loss of faith comes in. I have lost the ability to take Him at His word. Why? Because I have proof that it doesn't work like that. I think too many people just take verses out of the Bible and apply them to their lives (heck, I tried to do it too).  Those words were not written to us; they were written to specific people for specific purposes. When we try to make them fit for our situation, we are just kidding ourselves into thinking He cares about something He doesn't. I don't believe God is sitting up there, micromanaging our each and every decision and action.

I guess it's just about choices. I can choose now how to proceed. I can be upset with God and question Him and try to find my faith again. Or, I can just go with it and say "He loves me no matter what happened. He is with me and sad right along side of me. He didn't cause Samuel to die, and he's hurting that it turned out that way". Maybe I'd find peace in that path. My pride is not allowing me to take that path right now. I want answers that are never going to come. It'd be nice to shut off my logic and just go down that path of ignorance. I could be like the people who lose a loved-one and then start "feeling" them all around in life. People who see a butterfly or a rainbow and think it's their loved-one sending them some sort of "I'm watching over you" message. To me, it's just a butterfly or a rainbow. Maybe I'm to cynical. Maybe I should think that since we called him Bunny and there is a bunny in my backyard every day now, that it's Samuel's way of saying "I'm ok". Maybe there is some pill that would help me turn off my logic and just be a sappy like that. Then, would I have peace that he died?

All I know is this: It's super easy for people to look at this situation and think I should be content that I got what I did (at least I got eight months!) It's easy because those people are holding their babies in their arms while they judge how I should react. It's easy because they don't know loss like I do. If you lost something as precious as what I lost, you'd understand why it's hard to think God is loving. If you lost your love while you watch as everyone around brings theirs home, you'd understand better. If God is who He says He is, I shouldn't have to search to find Him, it should just be as He says. The truth should just be the truth. It shouldn't be something you have to really stretch to make true.  If He loves me, then why can't I just see it?

For today, I'm choosing to question and be hurt. Maybe tomorrow I'll choose to just give up the pain and believe God is with me no matter what happens.

Faith-less

Before this all happened, I did not believe in miracles happening anymore. When someone would say "such and such miracle happened to me", I'd make the obligatory "that''s wonderful" face and say something about how awesome it was. Inside, I'd be thinking "poor crazy person". I could always find a way to logically explain the event they considered a miracle from God. After Samuel was sick and we were told there were no further medical interventions possible, I found myself in a predicament: I didn't believe in miracles, but I needed one. It was my son's only hope. I decided to look for myself to see if I could find anything in the Bible to support the idea that God would preform a miracle if you needed one. I found verse after verse after verse describing how I could ask in His name, with faith, and it would be done. I decided to put all my effort and faith into those promises. What came from that decision was five months of happiness and joy. Five months of preparing for my healthy boy who would spend his life declaring the awesome power of a loving and real God. (He would be living proof). I spent hours and hours and hours reminding God of His promises and asking for Samuel's complete healing. I asked that his life would be a testimony of God's power and that He would use Samuel to show His love to so many people. I knew how many people were watching his story unfold and how many people were praying right along with us. I had a peace in my heart that can only be attributed to the faith I had in a powerful and loving God. For a mother of a baby with a fatal condition, I probably seemed crazy to so many people. Who creates a nursery for a baby that will never live in it? Who buys every single baby item on earth for a baby that will never use anything? Who plans a shower for a baby that won't live to meet any of the friends who attend? I did. I believed with everything in me that God was going to heal Samuel and use his life to change lots of lives. I had dreams of Samuel as a man, standing in front of a church and talking about how God saved him. I just knew he was going to be an amazing testimony of faith.

I was wrong. God never told me He was going to heal Samuel. I just decided He was going to and that was the end of it.

Now, I'm so hurt and mad and sickened by the whole thing. I don't feel I can trust God. How can the Bible say things so clearly, then not live up to them? If God is loving and merciful, it's news to me right now! He knew exactly how this was going to turn out and, clearly, He had no problem with it ending like this. He had no problem allowing all my prayers and faith to fall on deaf ears. He had no problem with me sitting here, brokenhearted and disgusted, looking like a fool to everyone who heard me say that God was going to heal my baby because He was a powerful and loving God. What a fool am I! I'm sure people did the same thing I used to. As I would tell them he was going to be fine, they'd give my the "oh how wonderful" face and inside just feel sorry for this poor sad woman who was just setting herself up for more heartache.

Now, I sit here unable to trust a God I thought I could trust wholeheartedly. Unlike many people who lose someone dear to them, I am not going to stop believing in God. I know He still exists. But He is not who I thought He was. He is not a loving father like I believed He was. I don't know what He is anymore. What sickens me is that He is holding my baby with Him so I have no choice but to keep on trying to live according to His rules. If I ever want to be with my baby again, I have no choice. To me, that feels really abusive. "I don't have to do anything I said I would, but you have to keep living by my rules if you want to spend eternity with me." 

People keep saying they will pray for me. I keep thinking, "good luck with that". I prayed desperately and diligently day and night for months and months and got nothing. If God wants people to believe in Him, a little bit of something to show His presence might help. I try to believe that God gave us more time and that because of our prayers we got to meet Samuel in person, but it just falls flat. There is a verse I found while pregnant that talked about how God wants to give us good gifts. To me, 10 minutes with my baby while he lies on a bed with tubes coming out of every inch of his body is not a good gift. To me, thinking back about how he had to spend over half of his time outside of me in a ambulance, with only strangers, is not a good gift. To me, allowing our dearly loved little bunny to die is not a good gift. What other conclusion can I come to?

God is still God no matter what I think of Him. I know that's true. And I know God doesn't owe me anything. He didn't need to heal Samuel to prove His power. I just really really believed He would and now I'm just hurt so deeply I'm not sure how to recover. I don't trust in His power, I don't trust in His word and I don't trust that He loves me. How can I?

People keep saying that God will heal my heart and bring me through this pain. I can't help but think "If he can do all that, then He could have saved my baby. He didn't, so why should I trust Him to do anything else?"

I find myself in a new phase of life, baby-less and faith-less. It's not where I thought I'd be.

Monday, June 25, 2012

That's not what they meant...(or so I'm told)

Yesterday, I was told I'll be a better mother in the future because Samuel died. This brought about 4,755 responses to mind, but let me see if I can organize a few of them to comment. First and foremost: How will you ever know that? I didn't really get the chance to mother Samuel, so how could you possibly say I'll do better in the future? That comments implies there was improvement needed. I feel sad to think this person believes I didn't do enough. Secondly, what am I supposed to say to that comment? "Oh, that's true! I knew there must be a reason! Thank goodness he died so I can parent future children better!" (read with loads of sarcasm). Thirdly, (and nonsensically) it makes me want to purposely parent poorly in the future, if only to show this person how much I loved Samuel and will not allow his death to give someone the right to say "look what a good mommy she is! It must be because she now realizes how valuable kids are". (Which brings me to another point: If I don't realize how valuable kids are, NO one does. This is not a result of his death, but just me knowing this to being with.) Lastly, it implies that I'll have future children to parent better. That's, as I've mentioned previously, no longer a certainty. It's also 407% up to me and Bryan if we even want to try again (so, everyone, please stop asking/commenting about future children). When you go through what we did, you're a bit "gun-shy" (to say the very least). (Nothing says "maybe we weren't supposed to be parents" like the death of your first child.)

Oh how ill-considered comments can throw me for a loop now... I have enough to think about without someone adding to the mix. Now I'll wonder for days if I didn't show my mothering skills well enough in the short time I had. Bryan says I'm overreacting. I guess it's just one of my biggest pet peeves when people say things about me that I have no way of correcting/proving. How can I possibly show this person I would have been a good mother to Samuel? I can't...it's just one more thing I was robbed of. (by-the-by, I thought I was a really good mother to Samuel given the circumstances. *sigh*).

This is just further proof to me that I should just be by myself right now. That way no one can say things I (according to Bryan) take the wrong way.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fast-forward

Last night I was watching a show and the main character's husband died. She was so heartbroken. The last scene jumped forward to the day when she died. It showed her spirit standing over her body and then turning around to see her husband's spirit standing in the doorway, waiting to hold her and kiss her and bring her to heaven. It was such an amazing moment to watch because you got this sense that nothing mattered anymore. All the pain of the world was gone. Everything was good and right and perfect...forevermore. I cried. And cried. And then cried some more. I can't possibly wait another day for that moment when I get to see Samuel in front of me, waiting for me to hold him and kiss him and never let him go ever again. I want that day more than anything else. If I was handed a remote with a fast-forward button for my life, you couldn't keep me from pressing it until I get to that day. (Thank goodness for my future self that remote doesn't exist.) I guess it should be comforting to know that day will come. But it's so ridiculously far away it doesn't provide much comfort. (Or, maybe not...who knows what each day will bring). Just like the song says "every minute takes and hour, every inch feels like a mile". Oh my sweet little guy! I miss you so! My heart beats for you and sometimes I'm sure it'll just stop because it hurts so much to have you gone.

It's day four of no sleep at night time. I'm up all night, then nap a bit during the day. I just can't get to sleep like I should. I miss him too much. And, really, it doesn't matter because I have nothing to do for the rest of my life. Who cares if I'm on a weird schedule? I should be raising my son but instead I'm nursing a broken heart and trying to put my life back together in some form. I just don't care enough yet. My house is a mess because I just don't care anymore and I have no energy. Our lawn is overgrown for the same reason. There are weeds in every flowerbed and I've given up on trying to water the garden. Nothing matters. Poor Bryan has been fending for himself food-wise because the energy to cook is just not there for me. I have the idea to make him a nice meal, and even look up a recipe, but the actual execution is where I fail. Poor guy. I wonder what it's like to have a dead son and useless wife. He just keeps on loving me... and I love him. I cry a lot at night and have been waking him up at crazy hours to hold me while I do so. He doesn't complain. He just holds me close and soothes me as best he can.

Is this really happening?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Remembering Samuel

Samuel's memorial service was April 28th. I've been wanting to write about it for a while, but what do you say about a baby's funeral? It was beautiful and horrific. Everyone involved did such a great job of helping us honor Samuel's short life. I remember waking up that morning with such a strange feeling. Is this really what I'm going to do today? Just another scene in the nightmare. When he was first diagnosed, and we had no hope, we sat down and planned his funeral. (Just thinking about it makes me so sick. No mommy or daddy should ever have to do that. EVER. But we did.) Then, when we decided to have hope instead of despair, we put it all away with the full intention of burning the papers when he was born healthy. (oh...false hope...). When he died, we pulled out the papers; sick to be using them, but grateful we didn't have to think much now that it was over.

We were blessed (there's that word again) to have so many friends and family members surround us with their love and support. We live so far away from most of them but they still came and it meant so much.

Here is the program we made.

Here are the songs we used during the service

Brooke Baker (my sister-in-law's sister-in-law) did an amazing job of performing this song for us. She has such a beautiful voice. She was accompanied on the piano by my mom's cousin who also was wonderful.

My uncle Ken, who also married us, gave the message. It was perfect. 

We made this video for him. It's really special to me, but also hard to watch right now.
video


I'm not sure what else to say. Here are the photos my sisters took for us. They can tell the story. 


A beautiful arrangement sent by Bryan's office.
Samuel's bassinet, buddies, blankie and outfit.
I'm not sure if people knew this at the time, but this tiny little box holds Samuel's ashes. 
This quilt was made by a special family friend, Dixie, just for Samuel.
The blankie I made for him and some special photos.


A family friend, Maria, who blessed us with some beautiful songs.



The molds of his hands and feet. The middle one is Samuel's hand in Bryan's. 
My sisters wrote a song for Samuel when I told them I was pregnant.


The program. We used the photo given to us by a special friend, Erin, who now has two babies in heaven also <3

A special arrangement sent from all of his cousins on Bryan's side. So cute.

This is the box we got to hold his special things.

Everyone wrote notes on balloons to send to Samuel.



I don't know who wrote this one, but I love it.
We actually smiled once that day when we imagined Samuel surrounded by his balloons :)
 

 My brother, Josh, took a video of the entire service. I can't watch it yet. Someday.

We wrote a letter to Samuel. It, along with the letters from my parents and Bryan's parents were read during the service. That was hard. Here is our love letter to Samuel.





Thursday, June 21, 2012

flaming arrows

When you get pregnant, you get put on lots of baby mailing lists. When you're baby dies, no ones takes you off the lists. So, almost every day, you get mail with pictures of mommies snugging their newborns and words like "Now that your baby is here _____ (insert some comment created to evoke your strong mothering instinct and get you to buy their product). I think this was a scheme designed by the devil himself as a way to shoot flaming arrows of hurt and despair, bitterness and anger at you on an almost daily basis. This, and also BabyCenter emails that won't stop despite your 7, 384 attempts to "unsubscribe". Today's email reminds me to "record the milestones of your baby's life". Yep...I should...but I can't...there will be no milestones. (where is the "my baby died, stop sending me emails" button?)

Gross. 

Sleeplessness

For the past few days, I haven't been able to fall asleep. Here I am, at 5:30am, feeling tired, but unable to go to sleep. I can feel so tired and my eyes so heavy, but when I actually lie down to sleep, my brain goes on overdrive and I can't stop thinking. No matter how tired I feel, the moment my head hits the pillow it's like the signal to my brain to start processing everything that's happened. Immediately, Samuel is all I can think of. Oh, how I miss him! I just want him back. That's all I want in life. Nothing else matters. But I don't get him and I hate that. I'm not sure if I can fully describe this, but I have this feeling all the time that drives me nuts. It's the nonsensical feeling that if I can just make it to this point - some undefined point in time - this will all go away. I hate that feeling. This will never go away. Maybe my logical brain needs to be informed that no amount of processing will bring him back.  The past few days have been really hard. I'm just so sad. The other night, I cried and cried and cried for hours. Finally, I went upstairs to Bryan, woke him up and just let him hold me while I cried. The poor man. He wants me to be ok so much. He kept tying to console me but I would have none of it. I just needed to sob for my lost baby. I can't say it enough: I miss him. I miss him. I miss him. I miss him.

Since I haven't been able to sleep, I've been looking up blogs of other "baby loss mothers" (I hate being apart of that group...I hate that there even is a group). I found a great one called Little Bird. She also lost her first baby (a beautiful baby girl named Charlotte) and I find her blog super helpful because she is so honest about what it's like. I like knowing it's ok to be so sad/crazy/angry/hurt. We love our babies and that's why it's so hard.

I got a message from our nurse yesterday saying the autopsy results could take another month. Really? Why on earth are they taking so long? I guess it doesn't really matter. It won't change anything.

My life is one big mess right now. Nothing matters to me. There doesn't seem to be a point to doing anything. I just move through each day like a zombie and each day just moves me closer to...well, nothing. Just more of my life without him. Days just come and go. Someday, it'll be the future and I'll just be there, unsure of exactly how I got there.

I hate that I'm coming up on thirty. I feel pressure to get myself together because we need to have more children soon if we want them. Bryan is almost 35. Times a' ticken... but I just don't care. I wanted Samuel. I don't want anyone else. Someday I will, but for now I don't. I think "how can I possibly be a good mother to another baby when I'm such a mess?" Like I've said so many times: it's all just ruined. And (once again) I hate it.

I hate that I need to lose so much weight again. I can barely find the energy to get out of bed each day, let alone find the energy to dedicate myself to a exercise plan. UGH. The last thing on earth I want to think about is losing weight. But I'm also sick of being so fat.

Sometimes I think about what it would be like if Samuel were here. Everything would be right in the world. No pain, no sadness, no tears. Just lots of snuggles and stinky diapers and late night feedings and cute baby smiles. That's when I get so sad. God, don't you realize that You could have stopped this? (duh, of course He knows). Everything would have been just fine...why didn't you heal him??

He didn't, all is not fine, I'm old and fat and can't sleep.    I miss him. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Samuel's Book

Here is a link to his photo book. He's one cute little guy <3


Click Here

Choosing life

I've been looking online for support a lot in the last few days. There is a HUGE "baby loss" community out there. So many, many mommies without their loves. But there are not many mommies who experienced the same thing I did. Not many mommies who decide to keep their sick babies and allow them to live for as long as possible. I guess people just kill their babies if they are sick. It's made me think, "I wish people would know that you don't have to terminate...there are other options!". When he was first diagnosed, they made it sound like the next step was termination. They didn't offer another option, it was just like "ok, when should we schedule the procedure?" (By procedure, you mean the killing of our son?) They suggested it over and over again until we finally said, "This is not an option for us, please never ask us again and make a note in our chart." (It's sick that we had to say that so forcefully).

I was thinking the other day, "If I could go back and do anything differently, would I?" (Obviously, if I had some way of making Samuel well, then a million-times yes, I would go back and change things). The answer is no. As much as I'm sad now, I'm so glad that we chose life for Samuel. I'm so happy we had eight months to love him and know him. We could have ended his life and then had to live wondering what might have happened. Instead, we saw it though and got to see him, and touch him, look in his eyes and hold him close. Yes, there are hard moments (and by hard I mean nightmarish) and yes, it's very hard to say goodbye. But I can't even begin to imagine the pain of never knowing what he looks like, or having thoughts of "what might have been". If you or someone you know has been told to end the pregnancy because it's not "compatible with life", just know this: you're not alone and you don't have to! You can make the most of the time you have! You can sing and read to your baby. You can take pictures and make videos of your time. You can choose life. No matter what is wrong, this is your baby. You can love them fully, even if you can't hold them outside your womb. And the memories of the time together will be priceless.

me: Good morning my love!
Samuel: kick...kick...wiggle...wiggle (Good morning mama!)

me: Mommy loves you, Samuel! 
Samuel: kick...kick ( I love you too mommy!)

me: Samuel, Daddy's home from work! He's going to read you a story. 
Samuel: wiggle...wiggle...kick...kick..kick (Yea! That's my favorite. I love daddy!)


Times like that were the best moments of my life.   <3

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The great chasm

When I was first pregnant with Samuel, the path before me was pretty straightforward. It was a path to family and life and happiness. I walked along the path, blissfully anticipating each new step. When Samuel was diagnosed, my entire world shook and I fell to the ground. When I was finally able to pick myself up and assess the situation, I realized where the path should have been, there was now a deep and dark chasm. As I stood on the edge and looked down, all I could see was death and destruction, depression and sadness. I knew I did not want to go down there, but it seemed the only option; I could not go backwards. I lifted my head and looked across the great divide and saw the remnant of my original path. The path of my unfulfilled hopes and dreams. I knew if I could just find a way across, all would be well again. I looked to my right and to my left. Again, there seemed to be no way out. My choices were to fall into the pit - not knowing how long it would take me to hit bottom - or to step out on faith that the path was still in place... maybe I just couldn't see it. I choose the path of faith. I took a cautious step and found that I did not fall. Hmm...maybe I could take another? For five months, I continued to take these steps. I was very cautious at first, but with each safe step towards my goal of life and happiness, I took the steps more confidently. Finally, the other side of the chasm was near. I could just about jump to reach it. I knew I needed to just take a few more steps and all would be made right again. But, as I reached forward, the world shook again and I fell to the bottom. Death and depression surrounded me. I looked up and saw just how close I had been to the other side and I was even more distraught; I had been so close! I tried and tried to figure out what had happened; where I had taken a wrong step. But I hadn't. I had no control over the world. I couldn't have known the earth would shake again. I couldn't have known I needed to jump the last of the way instead of just stepping. I lay at the bottom of the chasm and pain surrounded me. The wall was so high that it felt like I would never be able to get back up again. My new path would have to start at the bottom of this chasm. People on the other side tried to reach down for me, but it was too deep. I searched around and found a few foot-holdings to climb, but only could get so far before I would slip and fall down again. Hopelessness filled me. I looked again to my right and to my left and saw that I could walk a new path on either side. The path was still in the chasm, but it seemed to end up in a better place. So I took a few steps...then a few more. I realized moving forward - even if only small steps towards an unknown destination - was better than the alternative. So I keep moving forward. Small, tired, unmotivated steps towards my new path. What the destination looks like, I have no idea. I do know the fall has left me with scars and wounds that will never heal. But I keep moving forward. Someday I'll be out of the chasm.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Get over it

Everyone wants me to get over it. They want me to move on with my life and feel happy again. I wonder: What part of this should I "get over"? The fact that my son is dead? The fact that I can never ever go back to being naive about life? The fact that our family will always be incomplete? The fact that everyone else got their babies but I didn't? The fact that despite me putting all my faith in God's ability to heal, He ignored me? The fact that the God who "loves me" so much was totally willing to let me go through this much pain? Which one of those things should I "get over"?

I've been asked a couple times now when we're going to have another baby. The very idea of asking a mom who just lost her baby that question is beyond me. There seems to be this idea that if we could just have another child we'd be fine. I'm not quite sure how that's supposed to work. I guess I didn't realize children are interchangeable; you lose one, you just go get another. Sick. Nothing and no one can ever heal this wound. Samuel is a specific and precious boy. No other baby can take his place in any form. He was my little meat-loving, stay-up-late-sleep-in-all-morning, lover-of-daddy's-story-time, baby. He was my little fighter. He was my little brown eyed boy. Nothing about him is replaceable. He's gone and nothing will ever change that.

People say to me that part of what I'm sad about is that I didn't get to be a mother like I'd planed to. There is some truth to that. But I don't want to be a mom to just anyone. I want to be a mom to Samuel. No one else will do. Why would rushing into having another baby (which, by the way, implies that if you want a baby you just get pregnant and have one. Something I've clearly learned is NOT the case) help me? I don't get it.

Today is a bad day. I just hurt so much. I go over it again and again and I can't make sense of it. Why on earth did this happen? If God is so loving, how could He sit by and just allow it to happen? If "prayer changes things" then what did I do wrong? Now, whenever I hear or read someone saying "I'll pray for you" or something to that effect, I feel sick. I think " you can pray all you want; it won't do anything". I've decided that the purpose of prayer is to help you feel like you have control over situations where you really have none. Nothing will change except you and the way you feel about the situation. Maybe that's all it's supposed to do.

The bottom line is this: if you think you're in control of your life, you're wrong. You only get to make decisions about the small stuff. The real things that matter are not up to you. That's all there is to it. Get over it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Two Months

Waking up is hard to do. Every morning, my very first thought is something about Samuel. I miss him so very much! I wake up, remember he is gone, miss him, feel sad for myself and then wonder "what is the point of getting up?". Sometimes, I decide to just keep on sleeping. I don't have to hurt for him while I sleep. Other times, I get up and decide to try to get somethings done. More often than not, I do keep moving forward, just with a heavy heart. He should be here with me.

Today is the two-month anniversary of seeing his precious little face and looking into his beautiful eyes. Today is the anniversary of the moment I got to see my special little guy for the first time and realize just how much love a person can have for another. These are the good things about this anniversary.

Today is also the day I remember having only a few moments with my son. Today is the day I remember not being able to hold him close and kiss him. Today is the day I remember the moment I realized God didn't answer my prayers for healing. Today is the day I remember losing all the joy in my life. Today is a reminder of what I am missing. I should have a two-month old. Instead I have nothing but a huge hole in my heart and a lot of people trying to help me "get over it".

I realize the irony of what I'm about to say, considering this is a public blog, but I'm a very private person (in person). When I'm around other people, I have a hard time showing lots of strong emotions. (It's probably something I learned from my mother's side of the family - you keep things inside). I feel vulnerable when someone knows too much about my thoughts or emotions. When I'm around people, I don't cry. I don't show them how sad I feel. I try to put on a brave face to show that I'm moving forward and that I'm okay. I am a logical person. I can have "logic" conversations about Samuel's life. Then, I get in my car, or somewhere else "safe", and I cry. Then it's ok to feel deeply. I hope people never think I'm over him just because I don't cry in public. I hope they never think I don't love him so very much just because I can put on a brave face. I may try to hide it, and I may have moments of being "okay" but inside, where it doesn't show, my heart is missing a piece. And it hurts.

A few weeks back, some people were talking "postpartum depression" about me. The social worker I met with told me she thought I might be dealing with it, but would watch me before making a diagnosis. One week later, at my next appointment, she told me she was no longer worried, I seemed to be doing alright, and said "congratulations" to me for moving on. What a joke. I never had postpartum depression. I had "massive amounts of sadness due to my little baby dying". Who, in my situation, wouldn't? It irritates me that I can't just be a mess without someone trying to diagnose me. I would HOPE I'd be a mess. It means I really did love him deeply.

Thankfully, I have a good group of dear friends who help me move forward while also allowing me to be a mess. I have friends who make me meals and let me talk. Friends who ask me questions and let me answer. I'm so thankful for people who have shown me they care!

I just got back from a quick trip to Iowa to see my cousin, Sara. If you need a place to go where you get taken care of, her house is the place! She made me amazing food, let me take long baths in her huge tub and even pre-recorded some of my favorite shows on her DVR just for me. Her "mothering" is just what I needed. (She and her son, Lane, even put fresh flowers and some chocolates in my room to welcome me. Then they sent me home with some delicious homemade jam.)

Today is a day for remembering and missing my little Samuel. I wish I could have him with me instead.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Naive

I was so naive before this all happened. I use to believe (thank you 8th grade sex-ed class) that sex=pregnancy=baby. Now I realize how stupid I was to believe that. Now I know the truth. Sex=the slight chance (if you timed it right) that you may become pregnant. It can also mean another month of heartbreak when you realize, once again, your dreams are not coming true and all your efforts have failed. If by chance, you do become pregnant, then it's three months of "don't tell anyone just in case we lose it", followed by "Ok, we might be safe now...maybe". Then it's an ultrasound to see if you have somehow managed not to pass down some type of horrible genetic condition or if you picked up a "fluke" condition that will end the baby's life. If you manage to make it past all that, then it's wondering if the baby will live through the birth without a cord injury or some-such other nightmare. If you finally make it past all those hurdles and you hold your perfect little one in your arms, then - and only then - can you settle down and realize this one is probably for keeps. (Oh wait, unless there is some type of condition that was undetected on the ultrasound...) The fact that so many people have healthy kids is crazy to me when you consider all the things that can - and do - go wrong during pregnancy. I'm so sad that so many, many people are living without their babies for all those reasons. If you happen to be someone who has never miscarried, never lost a baby or never experienced infertility, then you can consider yourself the exception. (You must be blessed - BLAH). 

This week was a reminder that you just never know what the next day will hold. Overall, the past few days have been "ok". (i.e. I only cry a couple times a day instead of the entire day). I'm doing my best to make peace with the fact that Samuel is gone and I can't have him back. I have to move forward without him. I tried fighting it with all my strength and all that got me was a slight nervous breakdown. (the less said about that the better). When I decided to stop focusing on the anger and the horror of everything that happened, I found I could focus on what matters. I could focus on my love - so deep and unending - for my precious little guy. I love him so! I would do anything to hold him close and kiss his precious little face again. (Is it just me or is he one of the cutest little guys ever?!) Such a sweet little face...such a tiny cute little nose. Oh how I miss him <3.

Sometimes I don't think I can go on without him in my life. I miss him so very much. It's almost been 2 months. How can that be? I just keep going - day by day - and the time keeps moving forward.

How do you move on when nothing feels right? Everything I do feels pointless because he should be here with me. My arms feels empty all day long because I should be holding him. Everywhere I go, everything I do, he is missing. Somehow I'll figure out how to live without him. For now, I'll just keep missing my little love. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Good grief

People who know me well know that I use the expletive "good grief!" to express frustration with unwanted situations. I'm not a swearing person, so it's my way of getting it all out. "Good grief" is also the phrase I would use to describe the goal of someone dealing with a loss. Experiencing grief is absolutely normal. Ensuring proper movement "through" the process would be "good" grieving. Easier said than done, let me just tell you. These words describe exactly what's going on right now. I'm super frustrated with the situation right now. I also am trying to focus on changing my mind about the situation. Let me explain...

A few days ago I was in a very dark place. It felt like I hit the lowest point I could and I was so completely lost in despair I didn't think I would ever find a way out. The pain and sadness were so overwhelming there didn't seem to be any good in the world at all. I was consumed with rage - an all-encompassing hatred towards every person, every situation, every bit of life that I could not have - and it would not relent. It felt to me as if all the hope of the world had disappeared and all that was left was hurt and pain. I burned with rage. My focus was completely on myself and how unfair the whole situation was. I turned all my pain inward and let it fester to a very unhealthy point. After a couple of days of just marinating in so much hurt and pain, I thought I was going to explode. I had thoughts of death (it seemed to be the only way out) but also the realization that I was not a person who could actually hurt herself physically. I could never, ever do that to Bryan. That realization made me even more miserable because I do not want to think that way and because it was just another reminder that there is no way out of the pain. There was no escape.

On Thursday night, I was so agitated that I knew I had to just get out. I packed a bag, told Bryan I was leaving and got in to the car to go to my parents house. I didn't really know where to go; I just needed to get out of our house. Bryan called my parents as soon as I left and my mom called me to say "don't drive while you're so upset, we'll come get you." I turned around and waited for them. They picked me up and we went to their house. The next morning, I listed to my mom singing to herself in the kitchen as she made breakfast. Then I listened to laughing and joking as the rest of my family sat around to eat.  I felt so mad. It seemed like everyone was moving on from the sadness of Samuel's death except for me. Even Bryan seemed to be "just fine". I asked myself, "Am I the only person who still misses him?" That led to even more sadness. Later that day, I freaked out on my mom and sisters, and finally went back to bed. Since it was my sisters' birthday the whole family went out to lunch. While they were away, I got up from my restless attempt at a nap, and went to let the dog out of his kennel. For some unknown reason, when I went to bend over to open the door, I suddenly had a super sharp pain rip through my lower back. I keeled over in pain, tried to get up and hobbled over to a chair. I had thrown out my back. I sat there, in emotional and physical pain, and cried. "Really? This is all I need right now!" Good grief.

Bryan came to get me, we went home and I spent a restless night of not being able to sit, stand, lay down or anything else without lots of pain. I just sat up and cried most of the night. I couldn't believe it. What else is going to happen? (I'm sure it's no coincidence that all the stress of the past month manifested itself in a physical ailment). We looked online for a chiropractor open on Saturday, found one, and I counted down the hours until we could go. Finally, it was morning and we went. The doctor told me it appeared to be an old injury, flaring up to cause a pinched nerve and a ripped muscle. That was why it hurt so badly. Then he said "you need to come back every other day for the next 4-6 weeks and we'll get this taken care of". How incredibly defeating. I just barely got back to feeling normal (physically) after my surgery, and now here's this; a whole new amount of healing time required. We left and I cried. I can't keep doing this! is all I could think. We went home, I took some of my post-surgery pain medicine and I started to feel better.

Later in the day, I got a text from my friend Jaimi asking if she could come and see me. (Somehow she always seems to just know when I really need a friend). I agreed and a few hours later she arrived. It was so good to talk! I always feel my best when I can just talk and spend time with a person I care about. She had brought us a few meals (what a blessing) and just sat with me for a while to talk. For a few hours, I had some peace.

During the past few days, I've really learned a good lesson about grieving. I can't put all of my focus on the bad. Yes, there is a whole lot of horrific elements of everything that's happened and I do think that just about anyone would feel completely overwhelmed by all that has taken place. If I think about the past year as a whole, I think it's super justifiable to go a little nuts. We have been through more stress than we could have imagined. And, after all the stress and craziness of Samuel's pregnancy, we found ourselves in more pain than we expected with his death. We miss him so! It's been a ridiculously stressful, horrible, wonderful at times, and crazy mess this past year. Who wouldn't lose it? But the pain, despair and rage are getting me nowhere. I realized that with all my time focused on the pain, I couldn't really find the time or energy to actually focus on what matters the most: my love for Samuel. When I turn my focus back on him, his sweet face, my love for ever inch of him, and all the wonderful times I had with him, I can move forward in my grief. I can miss him dearly and just be sad that he's gone. No need for self-destruction. Just "good" grief.

So that's where I'm at right now. Making the conscious effort to focus on the good. Choosing to control my thoughts and not spiral out of control on a path of despair. Taking it moment by moment. Trying to remember the love I have and not waste my energy on pain. God needed to get be back on track and maybe He knew it would take something like back pain for me to stop and think. Maybe He can make something beautiful out of something so ugly. I'm going to try to believe that, and continue making "good grief" my goal.




Lullaby

The pain is so intense because the love is so deep.  

Mommy misses you Samuel. I would give anything to hold you close. I love you forever my precious little guy. <3








Friday, June 1, 2012

The nightmare continues

Apparently I'm the only person who is still truly sad about Samuel. Everyone else in my family has moved on to bigger and better things. I sit here, doing my best to will my heart to just stop and no such luck. Every day I just wake up again and face this nightmare. If I could figure out how to click the off switch on life, I would. But that would be too easy. Instead I have no choice but to stay here and keep on living. People always say "God's ways are higher than ours" and crap like that. That's just a cop out. The truth is that He doesn't involve Himself in our daily lives like we'd all like to think He does. When people say things like "I'm so blessed", it's only because things are going well for them at the moment. It's really easy to say that when all is well. When things go badly, should we say "I'm so cursed?" If so, then I'm really cursed right now. I've been doing everything in my power to keep believing God is a loving God. I've tried every thing I can think of to remind myself that God never leaves us even during tough times. Then I say to myself "Who cares if He never leaves us?" I'd rather have Him help us. Just being with me really does nothing for me right now. I'm so angry that I put all my faith in His healing power. What a dummy am I for thinking that, despite no one being healed on earth ever, somehow, someway, God was going to heal Samuel for us. What an idiot. God knew all along this was going to be the outcome; so much pain and sadness…so much hurting and despair. Apparently that outcome was ok for Him. “Someday we’ll know the bigger picture then everything will be fine.” (What a bunch of crap.)

All I want to do right now is stop existing. How do I do that? I can't kill myself because I would never want to hurt Bryan like that. He doesn't need more pain. But if I could just somehow disappear...that would be perfect. I’m so tired of people telling me someday it’ll get better. Yes, I know, someday I’ll have no choice but to move on and so I’ll have to force myself to feel better. But I’ll never be without this. I’ll never get him back and I’ll never ever get to be “normal” again. It’s all ruined – forever.