Thursday, January 29, 2009

A quick left and an unexpected right hook.

I have been seeing a new doctor. I started going to him back in October when I got pregnant with sweet little sunshine. When I miscarried at 6-7 weeks, he decided to run every test known to man, since I had hit the unlucky jackpot of three losses and now insurance will cover all sorts of tests and procedures.

I have been officially labeled 'recurrent pregnancy loss'. Nice, huh?

I received a call from my doctor's office this morning. One of my test results came back abnormal.
I have developed thyroid disease and my levels are high enough to have made the nurse sound a little freaked out...
to be fair, I think R. is just a sweet, concerned woman who really, really wants to see us bring a living baby home to raise. On a similar note, I am so happy to be in a doctor's practice where they all know my name and seem genuinely concerned about me and hubs. They all go out of their way to do whatever they can for us. Such a different experience from the practice I was with when I was pregnant with Owen (that is a whole different and sad story).


So...here we go, down another scary and unknown path. I'm meeting with my PCP tomorrow, then I'm off to the endocrinologist for some help in managing my over active thyroid. Apparently, I really need to get it managed quickly because it can make me very ill. R. asked if I had been feeling sick...and I had to think about it.
Maybe I've just grown accustomed to feeling badly, I constantly feel anxious, irritable, weepy, over emotional, and tired, but unable to sleep. I just attributed these things to being a bereaved mom...one with three babies in Heaven and the worry that none of my babies will live.
I guess I was wrong. R. told me that these things can absolutely be attributed to my thyroid.

Huh. You mean, I don't have to feel this way all the time? That's just crazy talk...

I am anxious (big surprise) about getting this under control. I am anxious about what this means for us in terms of getting pregnant again.
I promised hubs I wouldn't google hyperthyroidism. I tend to freak out pretty easily...and that's all I need right now...to feel more anxious about something that I haven't even been fully diagnosed with by a specialist...to freak out more about something I don't know the full implications of in my specific case.


O.K. Lord, here we go again. When I woke up this morning, I didn't know I would be getting this call, but You did. You weren't surprised and You aren't worried.
I don't know what this means for us...and we still don't know the results from my other ten blood tests...but You do.
I need Your comfort and peace. I need help trusting You and Lord...I really want to bring my babies home. Please.



Psalm 13

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mother

The first day I knew I was pregnant (with Owen), I skipped to the store during my lunch break and bought a onesie and a plant.
Ok, you got me...but I did buy the onesie. I had it gift wrapped and gave it to hubs the next morning after I hit the jack pot (a positive pregnancy test). Yes, it is a cute idea, isn't it? The onesie was a little yellow thing with 'Homemade' across the front. Har de har har...hubs about fell on the floor...it is a great memory.

So, it was about two weeks later that I went out and bought my first plant. All those pregnancy hormones had done a number on me and needed (I mean, I really needed) a plant to mother. Something to take care of, something that depended on me and only me.
Can you see it up the far left hand corner? My first plant, a peace lily.
By the way, this was our first picture of the three of us (mom, dad and Owen).

As time went on, during my pregnancy with Owen, I acquired more plants. My mom gave me one of hers, my brother rooted his spider plant for me and ta-da, I had three plants. Then later, I found the most adorable little coffee plant that I just had to have.
See way back in the left corner is the cutest little coffee plant.ever.

This is the plant my mom gave me from her own collection (by the way, she has more plants than the Lowe's nursery). It didn't fare too well at my house, what with all the cats chewing on the leaves.
On top of the bookshelf is peace lily and her friend, spider plant.
Notice all the plants live in spots where said cats can't get to them.


Since Owen died, I have collected, been given and acquired more plants than I have 'cat safe' spots for; but it doesn't stop the impulse to buy a plant every time I spot one I just have to have...at the grocery store, Home Depot, Lowe's...just about anywhere that sells plants. I admit it, it is an obsession. Hubs understands/empathizes with my impulse...and I believe (or choose to believe) that he thinks it's a little bit cute.
Look it's coffee plant, who doesn't ever seem to age (or get bigger, whatever the proper plant vernacular is) and her little friends...my newest additions.

A new peace lily, Owen's birthday gardernia and oh, who's that in the corner? It's my mom's plant...oops, sorry mom. I told you, my cats hate plants.

These are my kitchen plants. An orchid, a pegonia, a croton and a plant my cousins sent to Owen's funeral (I'm trying to resucitate it after a nasty run in with a kitten). If you look back in the corner of the dining room, you can spot my very first plant, the peace lily.
This is Maggie, the cat. For some reason, the cats don't bother the big bush in the background. Who knows...maybe it doesn't smell tasty. I'm not sure what kind of plant it is...we call it Owen's bush because we recieved it at Owen's funeral. The plant next to it came from hubs cousin on Owen's first birthday. I don't know what it is either, but the pot is self watering, which is very cool indeed.

Wait, how did this picture get in here?
It's just really cute. Oh, yeah...and there is a plant in the background.

This one...who loves the top of the refrigerator.
And spider plant...it's been through a few kitten attacks, but is recovering well and looks like we'll be having some spider babies soon.


What can I say?
I am a mother and I need to mother.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Broken

Hurt...


If I could tell you exactly what happened I would...but it is a long story and a complicated one at that.

To quote Elizabeth McCracken in An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination, Elizabeth recounts a very good friend (someone who emailed her on Mother's Day to validate her motherhood) who '...missed him like a person too,
I think.'

I wish everyone would do us this one simple thing. Miss him...miss him like the person he was. Not based on the days he lived or the amount of breaths that came from his lips...not based on anything other than his humanity. He was a person...why won't people see that?

I know you didn't know him like I did, but do you see his value? Does he matter? Is he important?

Ever so quietly, in the midst of the sound of my heart breaking all over again, someone whispered in my ear....
Yes, yes he has value. He is important and special. I know him and he matters to Me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Meeting With H.

H. is our pastor. He's the kind of man who tells you the truth forthright and has 'man hands'.
(Man hands: a gruff nature)

H. came over to our house last week to talk to me about how I've been doing recently. I wasn't at church last Sunday and well, he noticed (it doesn't help that hubs is one of the music leaders and is very visible in the church). He asked hubs if I had crashed. 'Crashed' is an interesting way to put things.
Was there a trigger to my 'crash'? I don't know. I don't know if it was one thing that knocked me over and when I got up off the floor I realized...wow, Owen's dead and this is the rest of my life.


We talked about a lot of things. Where I grew up (this is a long topic if you know me), what my college experience was like, how I've been processing things since Owen died, and how I'm doing now- 14 months since his death.

It was an interesting evening for many reasons. It felt good to be honest with him about my feelings toward God, the church and my life now. H. had some great perspectives to offer both of us. I'll be honest, though, for a while I felt like he was extremely frustrated with me and how I was doing. I kept thinking...this is hard! What do you want me to do? How can this NOT be HARD?!
But at the end of our conversation, he gentled his 'man hands' and told me how sorry he was that I was hurting so much, how much he didn't understand and that he knew I didn't want to stay stuck in the anger and bitterness but wanted to move forward. It turns out he was the complete opposite of frustrated with me; he was full of compassion and just concerned for me.

H. said one thing that has taken hold in my heart. He told us that we really need to move forward (o.k. so this is nothing new but the way he explained it was so soothing). We need to move forward because there is nothing in the past. Owen is not there. He has moved from the earthly dimensions of time and space and he is in Heaven, waiting for us.
Owen is not in the present. Yes, this one is obvious...that is why we are hurting. That is why life is hard; but we can't sit in the devastation and depression that is in the present because we have things to do, places to go and ultimately, we have one place we are going where (What's that? Can you hear a theme?) all things will be made right. Owen is in the future.

Maybe I've said nothing new to you, but wow, do you ever have those moments where the light bulb goes off, something snaps into place...and it is suddenly easier to breathe?
This was definitely one of those moments. I have somewhere to go. I have to move forward. It is not leaving Owen behind, because he is not there, he has what I desire, he is where I desire to be and I need to move forward.

*laughs and breathes easier*


I'll end my midnight musings with the note that tomorrow I may wake up and trip into the bleak pit of despair and sadness, but the truth is the truth no matter how I feel.
And that, my friends, is comforting.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Salsa and Sanity



I had a pretty good, productive day today. Laundry, Grey's Anatomy, plant maintenance, salsa making, bathroom cleaning and kitty wrangling...ok maybe Grey's Anatomy wasn't so productive, but it was good (it's also my Friday morning staple).

I find it really interesting to have a bad day followed so closely by a good day.
I define 'good' and 'bad' a lot differently than I previously would have. A 'good' day sometimes simply involves getting out of bed, reading the Bible, and e-mailing friends. That's all it takes. It's a lot more than what I do or don't do anymore; it's a sense of comfort and peace that comes only from the Holy Spirit...only from God.

Anyways, as hubs snores peacefully on the couch, I just thought I would share with you all my salsa recipe and some fun pictures. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 small can chopped olives
  • 1 small can green chiles
  • 1 bunch green onions (optional- I don't always use them)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3 Easy Steps:
  • Chop tomatoes (you can also use a food processor, but I usually do it by hand because it gives the salsa a better texture)
  • Combine all ingredients and mix well
  • Refrigerate overnight for best flavor




Now that you know my favorite party appetizer, (a.k.a. something I make for myself and devour all by myself) share your favorite recipes. Come on, you know you want to!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Perspectives and A Plea

I feel like I'm waiting around for something. Time does march on, but it feels like I'm at a stand still, again with the word stuck, waiting.

Oh, don't tell me...the name of my blog is 'Waiting For The Day' so I guess I am continually, perpetually, endlessly (in this life at least) waiting for the day when ALL things will be made right.

I also feel like I'm waiting for good again. Waiting for the part where God gives, instead of takes away.
Have you heard that song (or the inspiration for the song; the book of Job)? It always scared the bleepedly bleep out me before...um, still does.

You give and take away,
You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name.

Wow. I can't say I've been there a lot. My heart has chosen to say a lot more other than 'blessed be Your name'. I've said...well, I'm not sure I should go there, it is so easy to fall into the pit, you know? This weekend, I kept asking my hubs, "When will He give? When will He allow us to raise our children and stop burying them? Why does He give so freely to others and it is so hard for us?" The questions went on and on. My throat burned from the screaming and I wasn't sure I could stop. Lately I've fallen back into doubt and anxiety. I've questioned God's goodness and love again and again and again. 'Why' is a question I've grown to hate.


Back to waiting....
It does become dreary, monotonous....especially when my focus is on all that I am missing. All that I have lost. Owen...and two little ones I'll never name beyond chipmunk and sunshine.


I'm so afraid that Owen's memory will be lost, that no one will even remember him...and his little sisters or brothers, who will think to remember their short lives? I'm so afraid of losing again and again. I'm afraid of God.

Can you pray with me?

I've been praying for a few days now that God would help me trust Him...that's a completely obvious prayer...I'm feeling fairly insecure about His love for me.

But also, I've been praying for perspective, for a different attitude and a new focus. I want to take a look at what God is doing instead of constantly telling Him that He's wrong and that He doesn't love me or care about my life at all...instead of telling Him how He should have done things.
My children are in Heaven and they will NOT return to me BUT I WILL GO TO THEM.
It is no use telling God He was wrong. It makes no difference how I think things should have happened on November 5, 2007 or in April 2008...or 9 weeks ago. My children are in Heaven and I can't change that.

But I am so desperate to see the good. I want to see the blessings God has given me. Owen and my two little babes are blessings; I want to remember their precious time in our lives and praise God for them.
My children are doing what God has called them to do from their very conception...point us to Christ...and now...
they are with Christ.

I want to focus on the good.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Stuck

I have a friend who has this saying of "feeling stuckish".

Never have I been in more agreement than I am tonight. I am feeling stuck.

Stuck in this cycle of questions and no answers, pain and bitterness, jealousy and sorrow...hope and fear, joy and guilt, joy and sorrow...the sequence of emotions and thoughts swirling in my head is so exhausting.

Whining is my second job, in case you haven't noticed...
Trusting God when all I want to do is run and hide is my first.



Psalm 131: 1- 3

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;

I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Free?

Are we really free? By the way, what does it mean to be free?

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1


To be free...in my life, to be free means:

Sleeping until noon, unashamedly.
Making my hubs a sandwich for dinner.
Going on a date with hubs to see the movie
Twilight (twice?!)
Speaking my mind.
Arguing with hubs about whether or not to take a FREE piano.
Grieving my babies...however I want.
Staying home from church because I was sick yesterday.
Staying home from church because I did not want to go.
Reading my bible.
Not picking my bible up for an entire year after Owen died.
Drinking coffee for lunch.
Praying for more children...praying for children that live.
Wrestling with God over the little and the big things.
Crying for no reason.
Crying for my babies in Heaven.
Walking to my mailbox and calling it exercise.
Skipping laundry day for three weeks.
Spending two full days doing catch up laundry.
Asking God the hard questions.
Being angry with God that He's given me no answers.
Feeling unsatisfied with my life.
Blogging when I could be cleaning, reading, praying, etc etc etc.
Not returning phone calls.
Feeding discontentment with jealousy, bitterness and resentment.

O.K. I could really go on and on, but I'll end it there.

Does being free mean it is okay to be angry with God? Is it okay to not go to church because I don't want to go? Is it okay to be bitter, jealous and resentful?
I won't patronize you...we all know that it's not 'okay'....but you know what? It is okay.

Because it is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free! It is not for rules or for punishment or for judgment that Christ has us free. It is for FREEDOM!

I am free to do all the above (and more)...and so are you. But does that mean that it creates a more loving environment, or grows relationships, or cultivates intimacy between our loving Father and ourselves?
Um...I plead the fifth.

If it is better for me...then why don't I read my bible every day, pray consistently, love my neighbor, love my hubs more than myself, make nutritious meals for hubs and myself, nourish relationships or go to church every Sunday to hear God's word???
.sigh. Well, because I'm a mess. Yep. I admit it.
But we all are. We're big heaping piles of messes, all of us.

I can't help but to struggle with the life God has given me. It is a hard life.
Compared to the woman living in rural Africa with no clean water and starving children...my life is grand. I have nothing to complain about...but I still complain.

So, where are we left then?

Free to complain? Yep.
Free to struggle? Yep.
Free to run away? Of course.
Free to sin? This is a biggie...but yes, yes we are free to sin too.

We are free to live a life free of judgment and condemnation when we accept Christ.

I need a Savior. I need Him more than air...more than coffee in the morning. I can't do anything without His strength working in my life. When I let go, run away, hide my face and scream at Him...He holds on. He holds me up when I cannot stand (let's face it, I am never able to stand without Him), and He loves me no matter what I have done or have neglected to do. That my friends is the Gospel. Isn't it wonderful?!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Restore Me


Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.


Psalm 51:12

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Comparisons

(edited to add: the girl I'm writing about (just to clear up confusion, and circumvent a call from my mom (HI MOM!) is fictitious and a generalized stereotype of pregnant women who have not experienced a loss)

I'm really, really tired of constantly comparing my life to other peoples' lives. It is getting ridiculous.
Here I sit, wrapped up warm in blankets, listening to my hubs play his guitar, enjoying one of those Saturdays where your only obligation is to remember to feed the cats (which reminds me) and I am stewing in jealousy.

All I've managed to do today is think of all of those other people who blissfully and naively have what I want most...but can't ever have. My whole family. My family of five.
I'm tired of myself. I'm sick of the comparisons.

There are a few women in my life who are pregnant, newly pregnant or very pregnant...and I'm sick of comparing my life to theirs. I'm so weary of seeing women with babies and feeling sick with bitterness and jealousy. I'm exhausted by the unfairness. Not just my own list of personal inequities, but all the women and men who have the rest of their lives to live without their cherished loved ones.
Compare my life to the girl next door (I'm sure you can think of someone in your own life who matches this description)...she's pregnant for the first time...a glowing pregnant woman with a beautiful baby boy, due in a few weeks. No complications. No worry. Biggest fear: the pain. (I can remember seeing my own reflection in this girl a few times). She's glowing with pride and excitement and every fourth word out of her mouth is baby.
Her baby is born (here's where our paths diverge) and he cries with shock...his mother cries with joy. Mom takes baby everywhere, proud and excited to show off her little bundle. Biggest fear: leftover baby weight.

Please don't misunderstand me. I don't begrudge her this joyous life.

I am simply exhausted by MY thoughts and comparisons. Why is she allowed to bring home her baby boy? Why is she allowed to get pregnant and be free from the worry and anxiety that plagues my every thought of pregnancy and delivery (by the way, the fear travels so far ahead, I don't see a reprieve from it as long as I live)?
I am tired of myself. I wish I could turn off this undesired aspect of grief.

If only I could understand God's love for me.
Why, God, why me?

If only I could reconcile my circumstances with His great, unchanging, LONG SUFFERING love for me.
All the same God, why, why me?

It is not my circumstances that dictate His love for me...it is His circumstances. His choice to die on the cross and be subjected to the wrath that we deserve. This dictates His love for me.

His love for me is not dictated by my circumstances.


And He does not love HER (you all know who I'm talking about) more than He loves me...
...her child lives on earth, mine live in Heaven...

But He loves us both the same.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rest

This post is inspired by an email a good friend sent to me yesterday with the following excerpt from Streams in the Desert, a devotional book by Charles E. Cowman (and Lettie B. Cowman).


He went out to the field one evening to meditate. Genesis 24:63

We would be better Christians if we spent more time alone, and we would actually accomplish more if we attempted less and spent more time in isolation and quiet waiting upon God. The world has become too much a part of us, and we are afflicted with the idea that we are not accomplishing anything unless we are always busily running back and forth. We no longer believe in the importance of a calm retreat where we sit silently in the shade. As the people of God, we have become entirely too practical. We believe in having “all our irons in the fire” and that all the time we spend away from the anvil or fire is wasted time. Yet our time is never more profitably spent than when we set aside time for quiet mediation, talking with God, and looking up to heaven. We can never have too many of these open spaces in life – hours set aside when our soul is completely open and accessible to any heavenly thought or influence that God may be pleased to send our way.
Someone once said, “Meditation is the Sunday of the mind.” In these hectic days, we should often give our mind a “Sunday,” a time in which it will do no work but instead will simply be still, look heavenward, and spread itself before the Lord like Gideon’s fleece, allowing itself to be soaked with the moisture of the dew of heaven. We should have intervals of time when we do nothing, think nothing, and plan nothing but simply lie on the green lap of nature and “rest a while” (Mark 6:31).
Time spent in this way is not lost time. A fisherman does not say he is losing time when he is mending his nets, nor does a gardener feel he has wasted his time by taking a few minutes to sharpen the blades on his mower. And people living in cities today would do well to follow the example of Isaac and as often as possible visit the fields of the countryside, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. After having grown weary from the heat and noise of the city, communion with nature is very refreshing and will bring a calming, healing influence. A walk through a field, a stroll by a seashore, or a hike across a meadow sprinkled with daisies will purge you of the impurities of life and will cause your heart to beat with new joy and hope.

The little cares that worried me,
I lost them yesterday,
Out in the fields with God.



I almost leapt out of joy and gratitude when I finished the passage. Oh my goodness.

I have never felt more unproductive or lazy as I have these last 14 months (to the day since Owen's birth). I tried going back to work after my maternity leave. I lasted all of one week. If that.
Sitting at my desk, reliving the last kicks I can remember Owen's little feet kicking. Replaying the events that transpired over the next few days. I couldn't get it out of my head, all the things I had tried to put away. I couldn't get away from those memories and the what ifs. What if I had gone to hospital straight away? What if I had KNOWN those were Owen's goodbye kicks?
It was insanely toxic.

So, what have I been doing since February of last year? What are my days filled with?
I spend a lot of the day in peaceful and sometimes not so peaceful quiet time. I'm alone most of the day, if you don't count cats...you don't? Well, then I am alone.
I read, I watch movies sometimes, I clean (did you know how catharetic cleaning can be? I didn't), and sometimes, especially at the beginning of my grief journey, I just laid on the couch or in bed, crying, praying, thinking about Owen, day dreaming about the life we almost had, crying out to God or really, sometimes I just laid there, thinking nothing, doing nothing.
Time passes by, amazingly enough. I also spent a lot of time on the MISS Foundation website. The ladies on the forums are just amazing. The second I logged on (you must be a part of this undesirable group of bereaved mommies/daddies/grandparents/siblings/family members to join the website and view the discussion boards) I knew I belonged. We cry, struggle, rejoice, comfort, and mourn with each other.

My good friend sent me this excerpt to encourage me, because she is also a bereaved mommy and feels very unproductive sometimes as well. She's told me from the very beginning of our friendship that right now, my job is to be still. To mourn and grieve. Nothing more than that.

BIG sigh of relief today. I will be still. I will rest.

Friday, January 2, 2009

JOY alongside SORROW

There is a lot more to say about joy co-existing next to sorrow, but tonight I am exhausted. Mentally, physically and emotionally.

The holidays were...good. A part of me, the part that wants to curl up in a ball and never breathe again because I miss Owen so much and living seems too painful, cringes when I hear myself say I had a good Christmas and New Year's.

But I am still living.

Here is some proof:

This is my youngest girl cousin and I, more like sisters though, with our best open mouth smiles.

Above is hubs and I at the High Museum in Atlanta, we saw the Terracotta Army Exhibition.
It was really cool.
Directly above is New Year's Eve with my parents, we had the best snacks ever...

Below is me and hubs making Christmas presents. We made our families stationary. It was fun; they turned out great.
I think we'll have to make ourselves some next.

The last picture is me and hubs at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta...it was cold; can you believe there were people actually playing in the fountain? Yep, hubs was one of them.