Friday, January 29, 2010

hope and love

I think I've talked a little bit about my friend, Miranda. Her firstborn son, Caleb, was born still one year ago at 37 weeks. We met for the first time last May. She was a few weeks pregnant and I had just started ttc for the fourth time. She now has a sweet little 8 week old baby boy at home.

She came over yesterday afternoon with her precious son Elijah. It was so much fun. Elijah is super cute. I couldn't get over his adorable little grunts and squeals. I loved having a squeaky baby around. Something I don't talk about much is how quiet our house is and has been for the past two years and two months. It is unbelievable how much nothing has changed in three years. 2007 was supposed to be the year of change and it was...but in ways I never could have dreamed possible.
Our house is too quiet. Sometimes the quiet is so painful that it literally makes me ache with tension. I have to have the radio playing or a movie on in the background all the time.
I asked Miranda if her house was blissfully not quiet now that Elijah is home. I can imagine how much his tiny squeaks and grunts warm her heart. She told me how much she loves having his baby things everywhere and how her home looks like a baby lives there.
Oh, how I ache for that day.
I didn't realize I had his little hand covering his cute face. oops...

When Elijah was born, Chris and I went to the hospital to meet him. He was born at the same hospital Owen and Caleb were. Chris had not been back on the L & D floor since we had Owen, but I had been once about a year after Owen died. I helped with a Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep session; a precious little boy born still at 31 weeks. 
Elijah was the first newborn I had held since Owen. Sure, I had held babies since Owen, but not a newborn. He was a tiny little thing, warm and brand new. He was perfect. He looked so much like his big brother, Caleb. Chris wasn't sure about holding him just yet, but yesterday afternoon he leapt at the chance to get Elijah in his arms. It was like looking at the real life version of the picture I've had in my head since getting pregnant with Owen. 
He is such a good daddy. I have vivid memories of him holding Owen and singing to him at the hospital, and I absolutely can't wait until we're holding Hannah Mae in our arms. 

When Miranda left, I had that familiar 'let down' feeling I get after hanging out with my friends that have living children. I certainly don't begrudge her the happiness of having Elijah at home. Not one bit. I just ache for the day when Hannah Mae is here and being at home isn't so heartbreakingly quiet and lonely. I ache to hold her and hear her precious happy squeaks and change her poopy diaper. 

I loved being with Miranda and Elijah yesterday and look forward to spending more time with them before we head off this summer. I think Elijah and Hannah Mae are going to be an adorable couple, don't you? 


Oh, and I have to share something that one of Tonya's friends made for us. It seriously warmed my heart. I love them. Thank you, Leah. And no, I'm not freaked out at all!

I love having something with her name on it. I'm going to have to frame one for her room. 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our God is good

Tuesday night was amazing. It felt like three old friends hanging out.
I am in awe of how God can work through something like a blog and bring people together, people that may never meet, and give them a bond and closeness that goes beyond geographical location. It was such a blessing to my heart.

I got to Tonya's house and knocked on the door right away (after having to tell myself not to run up the walkway); Tonya's oldest daughter Jessica opened the door with her sister Emma Grace at her side, and with them was Anna, Sara's daughter. I had to keep myself from saying 'Anna! It's so nice to meet to you!' So, instead I introduced myself and asked what her name was. I felt like I knew her from her mom's blog. It was such a surreal feeling.

Being with Sara felt like spending time with a good friend that I hadn't seen in a long time. (By the way, I love your Wisconsin accent!) I'm struggling to put together words for how much I enjoyed spending time with these two ladies. Suffice it to say, there was so much peace and hope emanating from our time together that it was hard to go home, even after my caring husband called at 11:30 to see when I was coming home.




Towards the end of the evening, Hannah Mae was being particularly active (I think it was the sweet tea and brownie combination- who doesn't love sugar?) and I asked them if they wanted to feel her move. I think she was doing some punching exercises because the movements were coming from where her head has been situated for a few weeks. It was so special. I can't even describe how much it meant for the both of them to feel her sweet little movements. I know how emotional it can be to be around pregnant women after such a terrible loss, so it just meant so much that they both wanted to feel her and that Hannah Mae wanted to punch for them. I think she was trying to say hi, don't you?
She is usually so shy and doesn't want to move for anyone. Chris is the only one who has felt her move, and sometimes she even gets shy around her daddy, so it was especially sweet that she would let them feel her.

When the kiddos (all 7 of them) were getting ready for bed, I thought I should leave as I didn't want to get in the way or disturb the bedtime activities, but try as I might, I just couldn't leave. It was such a wonderful night and I didn't want it to end. So...I stayed and stayed and stayed some more.
Finally, at 2 minutes to midnight, I hopped in my car and headed home after many hugs and promises to come and visit the Hintz family when we're in their part of the country.

There really aren't enough words to describe what it feels like to be with people who 'get' you. I mean, really really get you. It is incredibly freeing...and such a blessing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

lots of thoughts

Thank you all for your thoughtful suggestions about what to do with Owen's blue sheets. I'm thinking that what I would like best is a blanket/quilt that I can cuddle with...one big enough that Hannah Mae, her daddy and I can all cuddle under.


I have Owen's blanket (and yes, its name is 'Owen's blanket'), the one the hospital wrapped him in after he was born. I sleep with it every night and I even take it with me when we go on overnight trips. I just can't leave it behind. It's not as soft as it was when he had it. I still remember the silky touch of the blanket on my skin as I cuddled my little boy. It smelled like him for months and months, but now it has taken on the familiar smells of our home.
All this to say, Owen's blanket has been a security blanket and I have no idea when I'll be able to give it up (sleeping with it, that is) and I'd like to share something of Owen's with his little sister. That's why I think having his blue sheets made into something that we can all use and enjoy would be really special.

After going through all of Owen's things last weekend, I've been thinking a lot about the things that hold special meaning for us.
Of course, there's all the things we bought in anticipation of having him home with us. His dresser, crib, clothes, blankets, sheets and even his silly little bobby pillow.
There are the things we received after he died...the blankets he was wrapped in, his memory box, the pictures of him and us together, and the plants we received at his funeral.


There's something else that holds a lot of meaning for me. It's something that may seem a little weird, but it's my hair. I started growing it out the year I got pregnant with Owen.
I've always had long hair then drastically short hair. I like the growing out process and then the release when it all falls away.
That's what I had just done when in the months before I got pregnant with Owen, in the winter of 2006-07. I don't have a good picture of my short hair when I was newly pregnant with Owen, but here is one with me at 13 weeks with him; this is May 2007 (to be exact, this is May 8, 2007... Lord willing, Hannah Mae will be home with us this May 8).

My hair is now half way down my back. I've gotten a few trims; probably one every 4-6 months, but I haven't cut it since before Owen came into our hearts.






And I'm attached.

I have an emotional attachment to my hair. There...I admit it.

This isn't the best picture. It was taken about a month ago. Pay no attention to the sweatshirt and the goofy grin.


I've been thinking a lot about my hair lately. It's pretty long, and somedays, I'll admit it's unmanageable. Then there are the days when I don't feel like doing anything with it, so up it goes into the world's largest ponytail or my old lady bun, which by the way, I love.

Lately, I've been wondering what it's going to be like to have a newborn (practically speaking). I have no idea... and I often wonder, will my crazy long hair get in the way? Will she pull it? Will it get in the way when she's eating?

And here's the big question...do I still need my hair? Is it time for a change? Is it time to let go of the emotional attachment?

It's not a letting go of Owen or my memories of him. It's not a 'moving on' thing. Have I ever said how much I hate the phrase 'moving on'? I take Owen everywhere I go. He is a part of me like nothing else could be. Not clothes, or blankets or even hair. Hair is physical. It dies, grows anew, is cut and is constantly changing.
My love for Owen, my memories of him and most importantly the hope I have in seeing him again is unchanging and will never die.


I told my hairdresser (the one I've had for 4 years) that I was thinking about cutting my hair and let's put it mildly and say she had a small reaction to my thoughts. She told me that she never cuts a pregnant woman's hair other than trims. I guess I understand that. I mean, we have a lot of hormones running around and making snap decisions about something could take months and months to change might turn into a bad situation.
But I've been thinking about this for months. Probably since I found out I was pregnant with Hannah Mae. I still have time, 14 weeks time, so I'm still considering my options. Continuing to let it grow is one option, but for how long? Eventually, I'll have to stop the madness. I can't very well have hair down to my knees.
One very dramatic option, the one I've been turning over in my head lately, is to cut my hair the week before (or gasp, even the day before) my scheduled induction in May. I just don't know...



Oh, speaking of inductions, I had a pretty good dream last night. I was in the hospital getting induced with Hannah Mae. There was a lot of fear in the dream. Pretty vivid fear, but there was also so much hope and joy. We had made it!



One last random thought:
I can hardly contain my excitement as I'm going over to Tonya's house in a few hours to meet Sara ! How awesome is our God? It's amazing to see the bonds of friendship and community that started here on this blog and have grown into real life friendships.
Another sweet friend, Miranda, is coming over to my house tomorrow. I met Miranda through Tonya, and I met Tonya through our blogs. Miranda is bringing her 7 week old son too. We are overjoyed at his safe arrival, and seeing his precious face brings me so much hope for Hannah Mae.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blue sheets


This was the night Owen died. Technically this picture was taken 4-5 hours after Owen had entered Heaven's gates. He was already snuggled up with Jesus when Chris went around and took snapshots of our very cramped, very expectant apartment as we waited for Owen's arrival. We didn't know he was gone...

This past weekend we went through Owen's things. It's not the first time I've opened up the containers holding all his clothes, blankets, and sheets; but it was an extremely emotional experience because this time we were going through his things with the intention of getting out what we could use for his little sister. Taking his clothes, one by one, out of the container was such a surreal experience. He didn't get to wear anyone of them.

I remember picking out his clothes, washing and folding them, and putting them neatly away into his dresser...it was just the day before he died.
The day before he died, all his laundry had just been finished. I picked out the cute blue sheets with the cars on them. I thought he would like them the best. I could imagine bringing him home from the hospital and putting him to sleep in his crib, on these sheets. It was a beautiful daydream, something I thought would be reality very soon.

November 4, 2007 It was a Sunday night. We had gotten back in town from my parents in time to go to our (then monthly) Sunday night fellowship at church. When we got home, I decided that I was too tired to go. Really, I remember just being really excited and anxious to get Owen's things in order before Monday morning and the work week. My mom had done a lot of buying for her first grandchild, so we came home with a ton of clothes and things that weekend. Things that included blue sheets with cars on them. I folded his little onesies into the dresser and decided that I wanted to put sheets on the crib. I was ready.
Chris came home and I was so excited to show him all I had done. The clothes in the dresser. The sheets on the crib. The smile on his face was priceless.

The next day Owen was gone. Just like that.

He was dying when I thought he was playing around in my tummy like usual. I remember those last three kicks. I remember laughing at my silly boy. I thought he was just playing.
I carry so much guilt from that day. So much regret.


Four days ago, when I pulled out those blue sheets my heart nearly broke all over again. I dissolved into a puddle in my husband's arms. There were so many thoughts and emotions running through my head, I still can't articulate it all.

There's so much to say about the pain and the sadness, the ache that lives in my heart. Equally, there's so much to say about the little girl growing in my womb, the little girl who will wear her big brother's clothes, hand-me-downs that were never worn.



I would really love to do something with those blue sheets. My first thought was to make them into a blanket, but maybe you guys have some good ideas. I could use some help as my brain is functioning at a pretty basic level these days. I guess maybe it's in survival mode.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The silence

Yesterday at the high risk office, there was a family of women (one of them obviously pregnant) already waiting for an appointment when we arrived. Being the anti-social person that I can sometimes be, I avoided eye contact with them and checked myself in at the front. While I was filling out the requisite paper work, Chris noticed a sign that advertised a DVD of the ultrasound for only $5. When I turned the forms back in, I asked the receptionist about the DVD and received a blank one to take back to the ultrasound tech. The other family overheard us and also decided that they wanted one as well.
And then the conversation that I dreaded began.

How far along are you? Do you know what you're having? Is this your first?...

I know it is purely a personal choice, but I decided a long time ago that when people ask me questions about my personal life (i.e. number of children) I would be candid about Owen; though how much I tell people is always dependent upon what kind of a day I'm having.
She (the pregnant one) was very kind to us and seemed extremely shocked. I wondered why they were here, at the high risk office, but didn't know if it was appropriate to ask. You find all kinds of patients at the peri, but she didn't seem the slightest bit worried about her appointment and was the kind of pregnant women that pregnant women like me avoid.
Naive, innocent, blissfully ignorant about all the horrible things that can and do happen during pregnancy. Well, she was ignorant until I burst her naive bubble. She chattered on about hiccups and getting fat and uncomfortable, all the while making me very uncomfortable. But I know...she didn't mean to and as kind as she was, she just couldn't understand.

I noticed her sister sitting quietly beside their mom during this interaction, but didn't know what to think about her silence. They were called back and we all wished each other well. About 15 minutes later, the sister came back out to the waiting room.

If you've ever met Chris, then you'd know right away that he's never met a stranger. He struck up a conversation with her right away. She asked what happened to Owen and said that her sister was really concerned about what had happened to him.
She then mentioned that she too had lost a baby. Early, she said. She said she was glad she didn't know what it was. The pain was so evident in her eyes, in her young face. I grimaced inside. Oh, that's why she was so silent before.
I couldn't imagine what it must be like for her to listen to her younger sister talk on and on about her pregnancy. She smiled slightly and said, 'that's why I had to leave the room. I just couldn't handle being in there any longer. They dragged me here. I didn't want to come.'
I asked if her loss was recent and she told us that no, her loss was not recent, but that she can no longer have children. My heart broke in two for her.

We spoke for a little while longer about our babies and Chris encouraged her to communicate to her sister and mom about how hard this is for her. You could tell she didn't seem like the confrontational type and she waved off Chris' words and said, 'no, no it's fine.'
'No, it's not fine,' I replied, 'Though they may not mean to hurt you, they just don't understand how much pain there is and how it never goes away.'


I'm still thinking about that young woman today, and the silence that comes with so much pain and loss.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Good appointments


First things first, Hannah Mae is doing beautifully. She is measuring right on track, weighing an estimated 14 ounces. She gave us quite a show, wiggling and moving all around. She even showed us how she can put her hands in her mouth. She is such a little cutie pie. We got to look at her for quite some time because we had a student sonographer who was logging in her ultrasound hours. Of course, we didn't mind at all.

Here's her profile again.

This one is my favorite. It's the only 3D picture we got today. She didn't really want to cooperate when we wanted to see her in 3D and we barely got this shot of her face. Her face is in the very bottom left hand side of the picture. She looks like she's smiling with her mouth wide open.
















I have a lot to say about today's appointments.

It was the first time we had been back to the high risk doctor since my second pregnancy when he gave us the final diagnosis of cornual ectopic. I can't believe it's been almost 2 years. The ultrasound tech remembered us and was happy to see us there under different circumstances.
Today's visit was the third time I've seen this particular high risk OB. Yes, that's right. I was referred to him when I was 19 weeks pregnant with Owen, because he had a 2V cord (instead of a 3V cord). And no, they didn't catch anything out of the ordinary with him or me. We were so relieved when we left his office that July day; I couldn't imagine anything being wrong with our little boy or his environment. They were very wrong. I know I can't expect perfection from human beings; they are not God. They can't predict everything or watch everything or do anything beyond their best ability. I only wish I truly believed that they did everything in their ability to make sure Owen was okay before dismissing him as a 'normal' healthy baby boy. The high risk OB's last words to me were, 'if you were my patient, I'd treat you as a low risk pregnancy. Everything looks great.'

Daily, I have to surrender these feelings and thoughts to the Lord because he is sovereign over everything, he doesn't miss anything or make mistakes.

When Owen was born, he was only 4 lbs. 1 ounce at 36 weeks gestation. This is significantly smaller than most babies his age. The pathology report showed he did not have a right kidney. Both my regular OB's office and the high risk office missed this on the ultrasound. His cord also showed a stricture, which is narrow part of the cord; a weak spot where my doctors suspect he suffered from cord compression and died. Being that he was only 4 lbs, they also suspect he was not getting adequate nutrition for some time. My belly always measured right where it was supposed to, or at least that was what they told me.

You can see why I have mixed emotions about going back to the high risk OB (the only one in town). Today, the ultrasound tech was not the same one who did Owen's scan, so right away I felt more at ease. She was very thorough and positive about Hannah Mae throughout the scan, but all the emotions came rushing out when the high risk OB (let's call him Dr. PBM, for Poor Bedside Manner) came through the door for the consult. Thankfully, Praise God, as Dr. PBM was starting the scan, we heard Dr. Wonderful's voice through the door. He was out in the hallway asking which room we were in. He came bursting through the door, gave me a big hug and asked how I was doing. It was such a great moment. He didn't stay for the whole appointment, just long enough to ascertain that Hannah Mae is doing well and that I was hanging in there too. We have talked a little bit in the past about how I feel about Dr. PBM. Dr. Wonderful works with him a lot, as they consult each other medically about high risk patients, so he has professional respect for him but he also understands why I feel the way I do.
Dr. PBM has just that: poor bedside manner. He isn't very personable and isn't really the type that enjoys answering your questions. I had some questions I had intended on asking him, but he didn't seem the least bit concerned about Hannah Mae's development (sound familiar?) and was eager to get out the door.
Thankfully, I have an amazing (God-send) of a doctor who takes everything I say seriously and has answered all my questions in a way that I understand. Dr. PBM wants to see me back in 10 weeks to check Hannah's growth, so in a way, I'm glad I don't have to go back to him very often. Dr. Wonderful wants Hannah Mae to have growth scans every 3 weeks starting at 26-28 weeks, so I guess we'll have them in his office instead of Dr. PBM's.
I went over to Dr. Wonderful's office after the high risk appointment and talked with him again about my fears and worries. He is incredibly understanding. He has me scheduled for weekly heart tone visits until my next official appointment in 3 weeks. Hopefully going in every week will help assuage my anxiety. He also mentioned that if I needed to have one, I could get an ultrasound at that weekly visit.



*big deep breaths*  Praise God.



When we asked about possible induction dates, he told us that he thinks May 1 or 2 is the time frame for an amnio, so that means....15 more weeks to go!!!
And yes, I am doing a happy dance as I type!

Grow, Hannah Mae, grow!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Seasons

I've been wanting to blog, but not knowing exactly what I wanted to say, I have stayed off blogger this week. A lack of words shouldn't keep me from blogging though, right Tonya ?
Tonya and I got to talk for a while this afternoon and it was so good to catch up. Did you realize we talked for over an hour? Me neither!
She encouraged me to write more, and to document and write about sweet Hannah Mae. I want to. I really do, but I also want to be sensitive as I know that there are precious women of all stages of grief and in all different seasons of life reading my blog.
I care about you all. Even if I don't know you and you've never commented before and I don't know your name, I care about you and don't want to hurt you in any way.


I was thinking about how I've been blogging now for over a year. A year I've been musing and sharing my thoughts with the world wide web and it's really amazing to go back and look at how God has healed and restored and grown me in so many different ways.
I went back to almost exactly a year ago and read a post that I think about a lot. Well, I think about the inspiration for the post a lot. A conversation I had with my pastor. The conversation that helped me immensely to move forward in my grief and acknowledge that it isn't moving away from Owen, but moving toward him.
I'd really like to share it with you again. Maybe it's exactly what you need to hear tonight.

Here's the link , but I'll post the reader's digest version here so if you don't feel like reading the whole thing, you'll still get the most important part:


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.





Goodnight, friends. Have a peace-filled weekend.






Just wanted to add that if you struggle with the devastation and depression for the rest of your life and you never move forward, that is okay. You are free to struggle. God is still the same God and he will redeem all things. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Boxes full of 'noxes'

It's been almost four months of twice daily Lovenox shots and I'm think it's time to devote a post to my new friend, 'the nox'.

I need a little levity in my days and this seemed a good (or weird) way to do it.

I don't really look forward to my morning and evening routine of sticking myself with a needle and injecting a medicine that burns like fire, but I have come to love my new friend. I absolutely hate having a disorder that requires these shots, but because I do need them, I am so thankful to have them. Sometimes I (still) need a little psyching up to do my shots, so I stand there in the bathroom and think about my sweet Hannah Mae, who I'm sure wouldn't be big and healthy and alive if it weren't for these shots. I praise God for giving us the technology and the knowledge to have medicine like this. Did you know that Lovenox is derived from porcine intestinal mucous? That's pig intestines for those of you who need to look it up (um, like me). Who thought of that? It's amazing...
Praise God for scientists and researchers. Praise him for the gifts he has given us all.


If you're squeamish, you might want to look away...


I wanted to have something to remember my friend by, so I asked Chris to take a picture while I did my shot one night. He captured it perfectly. Sometimes the needle really hurts, but mostly it's the medicine that hurts the most. The NP told me it would sting going in, but I think burn is a much better description.
But all the same, we love our friend, and our Father who's given us the means to bring home a child to raise.

I have to tell you about something my mom told me after watching me take a shot one day. 'Well', she said, 'you have a lot to pinch there, don't you?'
Um, thanks mom.

But, seriously, I had to laugh out loud. Coming from this former gymnast, I am so thankful to have so much to pinch. I have my precious Owen to thank for that.
I only wish I had known I needed these shots with my firstborn...
And this is a 20 week shot of our growing Hannah Mae; actually I think we took this picture right after my nightly shot.

I have no idea how much weight I've gained. I think somewhere around 8-9 pounds. I have another appointment with Dr. Wonderful and with my high risk OB next week, so hopefully both will go well and we'll see that we're both right on track.

I'm so excited about seeing Hannah Mae's cute little face again and hopefully, I'll get some good 3D pictures that I can share with you.




And thank you so much for your love on my last post. I think the funk has passed for now, but I know it is something I will struggle with until we go Home.

Friday, January 8, 2010

In a funk

Over the summer, I made a really dumb mistake on our computer and deleted all our pictures. Yes, you read that right. I deleted them all.  Not only did I feel like an idiot, but I was so freaked out about all the pictures we had taken during my pregnancy with Owen. Fortunately, I knew my pictures of Owen were safe because I had downloaded them onto an internet photo album thingy.
Chris took our computer to one of those computer genius type people and he was able to recover all of our pictures. Unfortunately, he put them into a folder in random order. I have been working for what seems like years putting all our pictures back in order on our photo browser. Yes, it does suck, thanks for asking.

I am so thankful that we were able to recover all our pictures, but going through them again has been really hard. Not just because it's giving me carpal tunnel and it's a freakin tedious job, but because I've been going back in time to 2007 a lot. So many of our pictures are from that year. The year we had Owen.
Owen's year.


The ones that hurt the most are the ones from the day Owen died. We didn't know he was gone. I didn't know...
I wanted Chris to take some pictures of us together that night. He was getting so big and I was so happy that we were so close to having him in our arms. I just didn't know...




I just keep running that whole day over and over again in my head. That night. That horrible night when I thought the world was just as it should be. My face in some of these pictures is pure bliss. I was so happy. I can feel my heart breaking all over again looking at the face that didn't know her son was dead. She didn't know that in 12 hours her life would over as she knew it.


I wish I could write something redemptive at the end of this post...I really want to.

But you all know the truth. I know the truth. Owen is alive and we will get to hold him in our arms again and see life in his eyes.


Tonight, I'm in a funk and can't feel anything but sadness and longing.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Holding the others

Remember when I wrote about this friend back in March? Her baby boy was born a couple of days before Owen's 2nd birthday. He is almost exactly 2 years younger than Owen.
And now he's 2 months old.

We went out to lunch with them the other day. All of them.
When they came in, my eyes immediately went to the car seat in their arms. My head flooded with emotion and I didn't know exactly how I felt. Mostly I was curious, I guess, to see how I would react when I saw him close up.

He's not the first baby boy I've held since Owen, but for some reason I was both eager and hesitant to get my arms around him. Each day that brings us closer to having Hannah in our arms makes me more and more eager to hold babies. Weird, right? It has been years since I've had the desire to even be around babies and now I find myself anxious to have the weight of a baby in my arms again.

He was soft and warm. A cuddly little guy with wide eyes and pink skin. I loved holding him...
and at the same time, it hurt. a lot.

Days later, it still hurts.

The longer I held him, the longer he was near me cooing and wriggling, the more my heart ached and pounded with emotion. As time wore on, I just couldn't handle being near him any longer. It was such a strange reaction since I had really enjoyed holding him close.

I gave Chris the signal that I was ready to go and thankfully, he knows me well enough that he understood and we came home. Home to our quiet empty apartment.


Every night I pray that our quiet apartment will be alive with noise and joy and laughter in the very near future...
17 more weeks to go.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Not my first



     This is 19 weeks with Owen                                           This is 19 weeks with Hannah Mae
7/12/2007                                                                              1/3/2010

Maybe it's not as obvious in a picture but I am a lot bigger with Hannah Mae than I was with Owen. Anyways, I feel a lot bigger with this little girl than I did with Owen. I mean, seriously, I wasn't even really showing with Owen at this stage. I don't think I 'showed' until 25-26 weeks with him. I went to the beach at 18 weeks pregnant with him, wore my regular bathing suit (a two piece) and no one could tell I was pregnant. I could not get away with that now. Depending upon what I wear now, I can get by without looking pregnant (I think). There are actually a few people at church that didn't know I was pregnant until last week. There are probably still a few people that don't know yet, which suits me just fine because the stupid insensitive oblivious comments have begun and I'm not looking forward to getting any more of them. *sigh*

Over Thanksgiving, I was talking/venting to my mom about the crazy things people say and the vibe I get from people when they talk to me about Hannah Mae. I told her that I feel like people are acting as if Hannah Mae is my first baby, my first pregnancy (this feeling has only been validated not discredited by two comments from this past weekend).
Someone, who knows full well about Owen, actually told me after they heard she's a girl that their first baby was a girl too. Um...hello...my first baby was Owen. A boy.
I was flabbergasted. Luckily, God was gracious to me and this woman- I did not bite her head off and I was able to respond politely, 'No, my first baby was a boy, Owen. I had a boy first and now I'm having a girl.'
'Of course, of course' was her response.
Yes, well, that's not what it sounded like to me.


I know I need to be more gracious with people. I can imagine that I'm not the easiest person to talk to, but seriously, I am struggling to believe that these people are even trying to be sensitive and think about what's coming out of their mouths.

I could take up a few hours and vent some more about the crazy things people say, but I don't think I would feel any better and I know it wouldn't do anyone any good.

*big sigh*

Please pray for me as I attempt to be gracious in the presence of ignorant, well meaning people. I will pray for you too...

I have to try and remember that I was once in their same club. I didn't understand either. I most likely thought all kinds of crazy things and probably said some of them out loud too.




And because I need some levity in my life and because some of you really enjoyed my Maggie and me picture from last week...here's two more of us practicing our baby holding skills. It's not easy to football hold a cat, let me tell you. And as for the upside down cat one, I have no excuse.



Sunday, January 3, 2010

Soldiers





Am I a soldier of the cross,



A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His Name?

Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face?


Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
Sure I must fight if I would reign;


Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.
Thy saints in all this glorious war


Shall conquer, though they die;
They see the triumph from afar,
By faith’s discerning eye.
When that illustrious day shall rise,


And all Thy armies shine
In robes of victory through the skies,
The glory shall be Thine.





This is a hard post for me to write. I'm not sure if I'll get it exactly right, but here it goes. 


During church a while back, I sat down near the front (I like to be able to see Chris when he's leading worship) and a young (super) cute couple came and sat in front of me. She was pregnant. Pretty far along. I can only guess she was near the point I was with Owen when he died. They just looked so happy. Blissful is a better word. 
I remember being that way...


The last song we sang was Am I a Soldier of the Cross? Before the song started, we all stood up and I caught a glimpse of her huge tummy and felt the familiar pang of grief. It was so overwhelming. I was fighting back the feelings of bitterness, anger, jealousy, sadness- the familiar questions of why me, why Owen? I almost had to leave, but just couldn't. Chris started to sing and the words washed over me. The second verse shocked me back to the present and I thought about how this applied to me, to the life I've been given. 
I wondered, does God mean this for me too... Am I a soldier of the cross? 


Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease, while others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?


I want to get this right, without offending or misleading, so bear with me as I stumble my way through. 
I've said before that I don't like putting God in a box- I don't at all think that God wrote out Owen's life and death to teach us a lesson. I don't believe that God caused Owen's death to get my attention or 'pull the rug' out from under us (yes, I've heard this one before). 
Owen's life and death are part of a greater story than we can believe or see, but I think that if we can get a glimpse of this beautiful story, then we'd see a God who can redeem all things. A God who loves us enough that he would enter into our suffering and broken world to suffer with us. 


The first few times I heard this song, I couldn't help but think of missionaries living in hostile countries fighting for Christ and soldiers on a battlefield fighting for freedom. When I heard it again a few months ago, a different image came to my mind: 
A bruised and bloodied woman, her arms raised high above her, and her eyes cast heavenward.  
A mother with empty arms and pain lining her face. 
A mother separated from her children, crying out to God in her sorrow. 
She is a solider too. 




We may not look like the others around us and our lives may seem very foreign to them. We may not be very pretty, packaged in shiny wrappings with bows tied neatly around us. There may not be easy answers or answers at all to our suffering. 
We are soldiers, bruised and bloodied from the battle, striving toward Heaven with all that we are because of Jesus. We are fighting for a greater cause and we will conquer though we die. 




For days after I heard this song I kept thinking, what a privilege! What an honor to be called a soldier of the cross and what a disgrace that I should ask to be carried through the skies on flowery beds of ease while others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas. 


Please don't misunderstand, I am NOT at all happy that Owen died. I don't think God is either. He hates death. He hates this brokenness. That is why he is coming back...He is redeeming all things and he will make all things right. 


Seeing myself as a soldier of the cross has really changed the way I view the suffering in my life. Do I like it? Nope. I hate it. 
But what a privilege it is to be called a soldier of the cross. How beautiful it is to stand, bruised and bloodied, crying out to God in our suffering and brokenness. I can think of nothing else that we could do that is more God glorifying than to take our sorrow and pain and hurt, our questions and anger to his feet and lay it all down (yes, over and over again for the rest of our lives) and then stand and point to the God who loves us despite the pain and suffering in our lives. 


I think this makes us all soldiers. 

There is so much I could say

but all it really boils down to is that God covers us. He loves us.

I didn't really know what this could look like before Owen died, but now my cup runneth over.

I don't want to be cryptic; there's a back story to this, so I promise it makes sense and is not random at all...I'm just not going to post the whole story here. I know, me too. I hate it when people do that, but I promise it will make sense.


I prayed as we walked through the doors, 'Please God, please cover us. Please protect and comfort us. I trust you.'

Walking down an unfamiliar hallway, in a place we had never seen before, unsure of what life would be like when we walked out again...my hands shaking and with tears brimming my eyes, I met her. And she knew me. My heart skipped a beat and I felt such a peace that it was God. It was him who was orchestrating my story after all. It wasn't fear that had brought us here. Not random circumstances. Not even me and my worry, but God. I feel certain that he brought us there to remind us of his all encompassing power and love, of his good and loving sovereignty.

He has already written my story. He has perfectly intertwined Hannah's story into mine and she is safe with him. I don't have to worry about all the things that daily (hourly) take my attention. She is safe with him. I am safe too.

I hope this brings you as much peace as it brought my heart. And though I know that I will struggle to live in this true reality, I know that he is gentle to remind me when I forget.



Even though she told me not to, I have to say thank you to P., who is such a blessing to my heart. You will never know how much you touched us yesterday.




eta: Chris told me that I maybe should clarify this post with the information that we are all okay. Hannah Mae is doing really well. We all are.
I didn't want to worry anyone with the cryptic-ness of this post, but sometimes less is more.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The New Year

I wanted to post something on January 1. The first day of the new year...

but I find myself at a loss for words. I don't know what to say about 2010.
I don't really know what to say about 2009.

At midnight on the 1st, I was teary eyed again. For the third year in a row, Chris and I sat by each other- the two of us- and wordlessly wondered what the new year would bring. I wasn't necessarily sad to see 2009 go, but I wasn't as excited to welcome 2010 as I thought I would be.

I don't want to speculate on what this year will bring, though I pray it brings us many sleepless nights with a little girl named Hannah Mae.
I do however want to live in the now. The here and now. The only thing we have. I want to be more present minded.

So, as I'm trying out my present mindedness, I'll say, I'm happy for a lazy night with my husband, an active baby girl in my womb and a God who never lets me go.


Happy New Year.