Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why give, to take away?

He wasn't gone even a year.

I remember early on wanting nothing more than to be pregnant again. To somehow be able to get that feeling back- that old me. I remember being so happy, so in control, so 'normal'. The two of them moving and growing inside me... How good I felt then! I wanted that back.

But it was selfish.

It was for me. And the moment it happened I changed my mind. I learned a baby would come the morning of her funeral. My sweet Auntie Irene. Now in heaven no doubt holding her great-great nephew- then only 6 months old... I learned the baby would come and while there was nothing I wanted more, I was scared.

It wasn't like I hadn't thought it before- wanted to hit the pause button. Rewind. Go back.

What if I had gone in just a day earlier... Just hours earlier... would he be here?

I wanted to rewind- but being pregnant again didn't do that- it didn't change that- I didn't get the 'old me' back.

I remember not wanting to bond. Being afraid of loving this baby. As if loving meant hurting- meant making myself vulnerable to a heartache I didn't know I could endure again. I couldn't imagine losing someone I wanted so much to be in my life. I couldn't do it again.

And so I talked to God. I screamed at God. I wanted my baby back! He was mine! He was mine! Why did you give him just to take him away from me!

I was sitting in his garden. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and I was writing to him in a journal I kept (and still do). Letters to a son who would never actually read them- but I felt heard every word that crossed the page.

I was sitting in his garden. Crying. Writing. Pleading with God. Denying the life growing inside of me. Denying the truth that I loved this baby and wanted this baby. Denying.

At that moment, I looked to the cloudless sky, tears rolling down my face and suddenly I felt such a peace. I knew in that moment that it was o.k. It was o.k. I knew that I could love this baby as I had loved my others. I knew in a moment that peace- and the words I wrote- words of anger and fear changed. They changed to joy and thanksgiving. It was an amazing moment- one that I will never forget.

For in that moment I paused. I listened. And I learned something.

My babies weren't mine.

I had always used the cliche' that they were gifts from God- but until that moment I didn't really view them as His, but as mine. In that moment my thoughts, my beliefs changed.

God gave me these children to take care of, for as long as He wanted me to. He gave them to me and knew that I would love them and do everything I could to be the best mother to them. He gave them to me, but they were not mine. He gives them to us. But sometimes He takes them back. Someday He'll take me back. And it will be o.k.

Why did he give Andrew to me? To change me. To change you. To make me pause. To make you pause. I hope you did.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Maddison

It was my second meeting. It was just us. We hadn't known there wasn't a scheduled meeting in the month of December, but we stayed anyway. We stayed and talked and she shared her story.

She told me of her son. He lived longer than expected and she was so thankful for that. She was up north that day and the way she described it made me feel as if I were there. Not a cloud in the sky- it was just so beautiful. Can you see it too? She said it was so peaceful. It was so right. She held him as he left and she thought how nice. She looked to the heavens and thought, how nice. A straight shot home. Home to heaven.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. Spring come early. I looked to the heavens and wondered, would today be the day? Would today be the day that He called her home? It was so nice and so beautiful. A straight shot.
We prayed for her that morning and for the first time aloud I found myself praying for a different miracle. The miracle of death, the ending of suffering, peace for a little girl and a family that has been hurting for so, so long.

I can close my eyes and it's as if I can see her. Not as I had months ago- hair gone from the medicine- one leg gone from the cancer that took it. No. I can see her. I see her running through golden fields, the wind through her hair. Running. Running into the arms of a Savior who was with her the entire time. Him lifting her and spinning her around. What a sweet embrace- Can you see it? He was there always. Through her suffering and pain. The reason I know its her is she wore the same thing I always saw her with... a smile. A sweet, sweet smile. And it was that smile that made it so hard to fight back the tears, fight back the anger of why her? It was her smile. I often wondered how a 10 year old girl could be so brave. Could be so full of grace. I wonder still. And yet, that is who she was.

Her days were too short for us, and yet God surely extended them more than once as it looked like her days on this earth were coming to an end. Miracles many. I remeber my children breaking in random prayers for her, her family. Praying.

But now it is finished.
The suffering is no more.
Now she is home.

And I can't help thinking about her family. How while it is finished, there will be an odd silence. Though she probably hasn't been in their home for a time, there must be an odd silence. Knowing that one of their babies isn't there. Isn't coming home. Not to their house. That odd silence is what breaks my heart.

I know that the days will pass and life will continue.
And I know the thoughts will come and the memories will flow.
And I know that she will be running through the fields- completely full. Full of love and peace and the grace that sustained her while she was on this earth. She's always been full. Can you see her? Spinning in the sunshine and knowing there will again be a sweet reunion when one day- much, much later they are all reunited again.

Her chains are gone.
She's been set free.
My God my Savior has ransomed thee.
And like a flood, His mercy reigns.
Unending love, Amazing Grace.

God-speed sweet Maddison. While we only spoke a few times you have left an enormous mark on my heart and on my soul. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Baby E.

It's March.
Six months ago I had your heartbeat keeping time with mine. Six months ago my heart broke again when that heartbeat stopped. I fold my hands upon my stomach and it hurts me that it isn't swollen with your life, that you aren't stretching and growing inside of me, that we're not picking names. It hurts me that I never saw you, that I never got to say goodbye.

I was naive to miscarriage. I felt I had done my time. Losing your oldest brother at 39 weeks was enough. Looking at him, holding him, kissing him goodbye. That should have been enough. But it wasn't.

I was naive then. My first pregnancy- two babies growing inside of me. They called them baby A and baby B. I remember wondering who they would be- dreaming of them- imagining our lives together- our lives as a family. But my dreams didn't come true. Baby A left us. Baby A left us, but Baby B stayed.

Fifteen months later Sweet C was born. And while I feared losing another baby, I didn't. And then Baby D came and my fears were a little less. And then there was you, Baby E.

Baby E.
Baby E who came the moment we tried. Baby E who would be the finale', the end. Four children at home. A spring babe- Due in March. How I loved you from that moment I knew you were coming.

But from the beginning it was different. I wasn't as sick with you as I was with the others. But I went in and saw your heartbeat- that beautiful lively spark that cemented in my mind that this was happening- this wasn't a dream and that everything was o.k.

But it was different. A week later, I started to spot with you and I hadn't with the others. But I went in and saw your heartbeat- that beautiful lively spark that cemented again in my mind that this was happening- this wasn't a dream and everything was o.k.

But it was different. Something was different. I still was spotting but once again I went in and saw your heartbeat- that beautiful spark that cemented again in my mind that this was happening- it wasn't a dream and everything was o.k.

But it was different. On that September day I began to hurt, I cramped and I did feel sick- and I hadn't with the others. Suddenly I was doubled over with pain and for hours I talked to you. I begged you to stay. I begged you to hold on. I begged you not to leave.

But there was so much blood. So much pain. So much worry. But I saw you. Saw your heartbeat. I closed my eyes and I saw you nestled so safe inside me. Safe from the trauma. I tried so hard to keep you safe!

The pain began to fade and I talked to you. I prayed that I would see you that next day. Again see your heartbeat- that beautiful spark that would cement again in my mind that this was happening- it wasn't a dream and everything was o.k.

Were you there?

And then we saw the screen . And that beautiful spark- was gone. You were gone. You left. Another baby. Gone.

And it hurt so much. It hurt when you left. It hurt me and it hurt daddy. It changed us again. Another baby. Another loss.

But you were different. We didn't see you. We didn't hold you. But we did love you.
We didn't kiss you and we didn't name you. But we did love you.
We did dream.

Others were different too. You were "just a miscarriage." Everyone has them. They are so common. After the surgery, I'd feel better.

But I didn't. And I wish they would have seen you through my eyes. That they would have seen you as a child that would come home. That would live with us. That we would hold you and love you.
I wish they would have seen that.
I wish they would have seen you.
I wish I would have seen you.

But they didn't. And I didn't.

And now it's March.
And you're still gone.
And I still wish you weren't.

I imagine you and our Baby A together. I think of him holding you and kissing you and telling you our story. Telling you about our love since you had such a short time to experience it. Such a short time.

I love you so much. You are part of us. Our baby E.

If you want to know more about the day we said goodbye, click here.