Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Not polarized

My absolute favorite doctor in the whole world had a baby in February (well, his wife had the baby, but he contributed his part).

A boy.

A son.

Last Sunday, on Father's Day, I met him.

After church (have I mentioned we attend the same church?), I made a quick escape to the bathroom to, well, escape, but instead I ran into Dr. Wonderful in the lobby. When he spotted me, he started to run towards me. I am not kidding when I tell you that the man picked me up and gave the biggest bear hug I've possibly ever gotten from someone besides my dear husband.
I still think he may have mistaken me for someone else. ;)
Anyways, he asked me what was new and we chatted for a bit. Then I spot his wife behind him, who is standing beside a tiny car seat.
Hmm....the wheels are turning and suddenly it clicks into place.

I must meet his son.

I walked over to the car seat and peeked inside. I got as close as I dared (a safe three feet away) and took in the sweet perfection of his chubby face. He was awake and kicking his little legs with fierce determination. His mommy was talking to a friend and when he heard her voice, he squeaked with as much force as he could and stared intently in her direction. He knew her. He loved her.
My heart melted and broke at the same time. How is this possible?

I long for Owen. I long for the pain of our separation to be over. I long for life with my son in Heaven. I know I can't have Owen back here with me, but my heart still hopes and wishes, and breaks.

In the same breath, my heart hopes and wishes, and aches for more children. Children to raise and watch grow up; to show them God's great love and forgiveness as they learn to trust our Lord and grow in him. I know I can't replace Owen. I wouldn't dare try. Owen is his own person and will hold a place in our family forever.

My meeting, albeit short, with sweet little baby J. has healed the divide between desire for Owen and desire for more children. It is not polarized. It never was. They are connected.
In the same way a woman with two living children longs for a third, I long for a fourth and fifth and sixth. The woman with living children doesn't feel her love divide when the third enters. She is not patching a hole that was left unfilled by the other two. Her heart grows with each child conceived.

Owen's death did not increase or decrease my desire for children. On the contrary, his life increased my desire for children exponentially. My heart grew with him.

I can embrace both desires. Both good. Both right. And both point to a Savior who brings life.

*edited to add*
Thirty minutes after I wrote this post, I am running, running,
RUNNING away as fast as I can from a baby and his happy mom. I have no shame in this. I do what I can. And today, right now, I can't be near such a spectacle.

Let's talk pet peeves

From conception, you are a mother. A father.

From the moment life is born in the womb, you have a child. You are a parent.

It doesn't matter that no one can see him. It doesn't matter if his legs and arms have not formed yet. Before his heart starts to beat, he has a soul and his life is written out before him.

How precious he is in his Father's eyes. How precious.

Let's stop this mommy-to-be crap. There is nothing yet 'to-be'. Our lives are changed irrevocably the moment of conception and we have life depending on us. We are mommies. Just as we are. We grow with the lives we carry and we mother them with everything we do.

This is one of my greatest pet peeves. Maybe it's because calling a woman a 'mommy-to-be' until her baby is born devalues my son's life because he was born without life. I don't know...
But even before he died- on my first Mother's Day I was almost out of the first trimester and someone made a comment about being able to celebrate Mother's Day next year. I replied quite confidently that I already felt like a mother. And I was.
And I still am.

I am not trying to start a pro-life debate or call anyone out on this matter. Seriously.
I just hate the term 'mommy-to-be'. I really, really loathe it.

Let's start a campaign to end it. Anyone else game?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Are you pregnant?"

asked the girl behind the counter.

"Um, not that I know of...I don't know...why do you ask?" The words came out in a rush.

"Oh, sorry. Well, you were rubbing your belly. I just wondered." she replied, not looking nearly as embarrassed as I would have been had our roles been reversed.

"I was? Oh, well, I was pregnant. I guess it's just a habit." I smiled back.

We left the register and walked over to get our drinks. Chris looked at me and half smiled-half frowned. "I'm so sorry." He mouthed.

"No, it's fine, really." I replied. "Maybe it's a good sign."

And really, I am fine. I don't really believe in signs. But, hey. Maybe it is a good sign.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Vulnerable to circumstances

I just want to feel safe.

I'm not sure I can even define what 'safe' means to me, but I do, I just want to feel safe.

I am a born scaredy cat. Does being conceived near Halloween have anything to do with this? I don't know...probably (Sorry, Mom, but I can count backwards, you know).

Here comes the sentence I always use...and then Owen died...

...and everything intensified. My fears, my anxiety, my scaredy cat-ness is all much much worse now. All my fears feel justified. Worrying is twofold: if I'm worrying about something so much, then undoubtedly it will happen or if I worry about something and pray/worry enough, then it won't happen.

And this seems to be the cycle of my daily life.

Fear of a bad circumstance. More Fear. Worry. Anger. Prayer. Worry. Worry. Despair. Prayer. Different bad circumstance. Fear. Worry. Anger. Worry. Dread. Despair. Unexpected bad circumstance....and on and on.

I just want to feel safe. If I'm safe in my circumstances, then I AM SAFE. But, if something bad comes up, then I feel I am no longer safe.
I guess feeling safe correlates to being loved. I'm not sure when this started or if this is something that everyone struggles with, but sometimes I just feel crazy with fear and worry.

When say, you move into a new place and it reeks of cigarette smoke and you freak out because it is yet another thing to cling to that seems to prove that God just doesn't like you. Is this harmful to me? a baby? Will it ever go away? How do we make it go away? Why is something else difficult happening?
Thus, said person doesn't feel safe or loved.

That's just one example, hypothetically speaking...

When will I learn that clinging to my circumstances and pinning my 'safety' on how safe I feel in my life at one particular moment or another is WRONG?

I am only safe and secure in the Lord Jesus. I am only safe in His love. I am only safe in my reconciled relationship with the Father.

I am thankful that I need Him so much and I am SO thankful that He is willing and able to save.

I wanted to share this song (this version isn't the best) for those of you who haven't heard it. It speaks volumes to me. Every time I listen to it, I change the words in my head...'I always knew you in your mother's womb' because it is one of the truest things that can be said of us.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In The Cross of Christ I Glory

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering over the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

When the woes of life overtake me,
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me,
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering over the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.


To the loving father of our children,

Chris, I love you.

I remember seeing you hold Owen for the first time. You were just a gentle and caring daddy. I knew how much your heart was breaking, but the look on your face was pure joy and such pride. I could almost see what you were thinking.

While I was recovering, you held Owen- not daring to put him down. I could hear you singing to him from where I was lying...

'Owen, Owen, Owen, my little boy, Owen, Owen..'

'In Christ Alone, my hope is found, he is my light, my strength, my song...'

I will carry that memory with me for the rest of my life.

Papa, there is nothing else I can say. I love you. I will love you forever. I do hope we can sit next to each other at the feast...I can't wait.


your ebe

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I know him and he is real

Stepping out of the sun into a room full of strangers, my sixth sense cries out in alarm. Out of the corner of my eye...I see him. He's tiny, so perfect and beautiful.

Sometimes when it feels like there is no room for more pain, it wells up in my eyes, and silently falls down my face. I turn away and walk back out. Please, no more chubby-cheeked reminders of what my days might have been...

And sometimes, I step self-consciously into the room and walk past him like my heart is not breaking. Like he is not a painful reminder, but something beautiful.

I walked past him today.

I walked past him and I smiled.

My son, did you know my son? He is even more beautiful...

"...blooming in richer colors and sweeter shades than those on earth." Richard Hooker

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

7 Things...

...from my week:

1. Cherry Coke and an internet connection are two of my favorite things. I can get through almost any afternoon with a C.C. and wifi.

2. Moving is fun!

3. Lying about how 'moving is fun' is freakin' hilarious!!

4. Nosy upstairs neighbors who stomp around at 4am and vacuum at 8am are my favorite kinds of people.

5. Spending several hours daydreaming about a massive get together for the wonderful women of blog-world is making me wonder if it's a possibility.

6. big is the U.S. anyways...

7. Living across the street from an ice cream parlor is dangerous.
Dangerous, yes; but delightful.

I commented on the last post as well, but wanted to make sure you all know how truly wonderful you are. I don't know what this road would be like without all of you. I love you.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I have a pregnant friend

Actually, I have four.

Only one of these friends has not had the experience of losing a baby, but oh my, does she have a truly sympathetic heart! She cried her eyes out the first time we talked. She had heard about Owen from some of my other friends and had wanted to talk to me since first hearing about him.
It wasn't one of those crying sessions where you feel obligated to make the other person feel better about something horrific that has happened to you. It was heart felt; a deep sympathizing with what we must be feeling since Owen has died.

She is now, I want to say, 34 weeks pregnant with her second child. Can I just tell you that I love her to pieces? I do. I really, really do.
If sunshine had made it past the 7th week of pregnancy, I would be 36 weeks. That is a strange thought. A really bizarre twisting of the mind.

Anyways, I can't help but think, 'what if something happens to her little girl?' 'What if I'm drawn to her because her baby is going to die?' I just can't help my mind going there. Maybe it's the fact that I should be 36 weeks pregnant if sunshine had been made for this earth; maybe it's that she's almost to the point where we were when Owen died.

These thoughts sicken me.

And, really, because you're my friends and I know I can be honest with you, I have to tell you that with this friend, {and another friend, who's 37 weeks pregnant now and has experienced a first trimester loss} with these two women, it's the first time I DON'T want their babies to die.

What disgusting, horrible, and sinister person wishes other people's babies would die??!!


Friends, I am worse than even this. Promise.

Before I go on, I just want to make it clear that I don't believe in karma or voodoo dolls or the evil eye. I believe in our sovereign Heavenly Father, who has ordained all our lives before we were conceived. I can't change His plans for my life or for anyone else's lives based on my evil thoughts/wishes/ideas about them.
I don't think (AT ALL) that my feelings and thoughts about pregnant women are okay. I know it is wrong. Really wrong. SIN.

In my real life, a life full of pregnant women and babies, a life where no one was like me, I have felt isolated and cursed. Side aside and spat on. I have felt like the only one who has ever experienced the death of a full term baby (this was before I had a blog or knew all you wonderful women). In my real life, I was the only one. Well, there is one lady, who 20 years ago, delivered two of her babies still at term as well. Just one, though. ONE.

And me.

The church I attend is overflowing with pregnant women and babies. Those who make it past the second trimester ALWAYS get screaming, living babies. I assumed that it was guaranteed that your baby will live if you make it past the time of miscarriages and genetic testing. Healthy babies don't die. At least, they didn't in my church. Until Owen.

The first year after losing Owen was rough. I'm not gonna lie. I was lost. I felt so dejected and isolated; like a failure and a pariah. I must have done something wrong to cause God's wrath on me. I must have been deserving of punishment.

Why me, Lord? Why me? What was it about me that had caused my son to die?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

That was a hard pill to swallow. I guess, in some ways, I wanted to be the one to blame. Then, at least, I would have a reason for why Owen was dead.

It has been a long 19 months of the Holy Spirit convincing me of God's good sovereignty and His great, unchanging love...for me and for Owen.

I am brave enough (I think) to be honest that I have had thoughts of wishing other women's babies would die too.

I know, friends, it is disgusting. Who would wish this on someone else??

I guess the answer to that question is me. I would and I did.

I have sat alone, feeling like no one in the world understands the pain of losing a child in this way. I have felt humiliated by the continuous announcements in church about the live births of all the other women in church (and the announcements outside church too). What is wrong with me?

I just wanted someone, anyone, who was like me. I wanted someone to understand. I didn't want to be the ONLY one. I didn't want to face the horrifying truth (?) that there was actually something wrong with me that caused Owen to die...
What if there was something wrong with me? What if God was punishing me? What had I done that was worse than every other woman around me to cause God to take my son home to Heaven? ...

and then, it happened.
Tonya...Miranda,...women who lived and breathed in the same town that I lived and breathed in. I didn't know them before our babies died, but through God's providence, we have met and become life long friends.

They were just like me.

And I loved them. And I hated it.

The more I meet women in real life, women I can touch and see face to face, the more I hate that other women belong to this club. The more I hate that they are like me.

It is a paradox.

There is nothing, nothing, like having a person sit across from you and echo all your thoughts and feelings. Someone who was there with you...lying in the hospital bed, holding their child's body, recovering from labor with no baby to care for, feeling alone and isolated by society because the manner in which their child died is taboo.
There is nothing like it.

I love it and I have grown to hate it too.

Maybe everyone who is reading this right now is truly appalled by what I'm saying...maybe the other women whose babies died and were stillborn never had to deal with these feelings. If that's true, then I praise the Lord that they didn't struggle with these feelings.

But I did.

I have excuses, none are valid enough, and I have reasons (don't we all?) for my awful thoughts and feelings...but God is changing my heart. Dramatically.

I still struggle with the hurt and feelings of isolation when I am around pregnant women. I sometimes still feel like God is holding out on me, while He is giving everything to the people around me. But I see God working in my heart in ways I don't understand. I feel a tenderness towards pregnant women that I have not felt in 19 months. Passing by pregnant women in the mall or on the sidewalk, I turn my eyes away, yes; but I sometimes say a prayer for their baby's health and safety. I am saddened for my own heart, but a small part of me rejoices in the new life she is carrying.

I praise God for these changes. I am a wretched sinner, redeemed only by God's grace.

Romans 7: 15-25
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.