one pound…

May 30, 2009

why does it feel  like some people somehow seem to ‘dismiss(?)’  luke ?  is it because of his weight??  is it because he was born at 30 weeks??  I can’t figure this out. 

I gave birth to a viable child.  he was taken from my body by cesarean.  he was alive for 80 minutes.  he was warm.  he was pink.

my girlfriend has 3 healthy boys that run around the yard and sing and dance and watch cartoons and eat snacks and cry and whine and everything else that healthy children do, and they were all  born around the 30 week marker (some earlier, some later).  they were all  small babies.  obviously this is a ‘doable’ gestational age.

I have no way to tell you how and when I feel this pain without possibly hurting others.  therefore … I say nothing.  I know no one is intentionally trying to hurt me and yet, it still hurts.  I need to just pray for peace, understanding, compassion … for all of us.

luke, and his 1 pound, is just as much my child as gabrielle, and her 39 pounds, or dawson, and his 82 pounds or cole, and his 55 pounds.

hand

Advertisements

lavender …

May 29, 2009

I was at the library with Gabrielle yesterday.  We checked out some nice books, lots of Berenstein Bears, some gardening and entertaining … the usual.  On the way out I glanced at the free papers and magazines and thought I’d take a few of those too.  There was, Minnesota Grown, Essential Wellness, The Christian Chronicle and Lavender.

 

blog 003

Yep.  That says ‘Gay Getaways’.  Now I did read this when I picked it up, but I honestly thought it just meant ‘happy’.  Like a happy little trip to the North Shore.  And yes, Brian and I might want to take a happy little trip this summer.

Needless to say, after I looked through a few pages, I started to wonder.  When I saw the big advertisement for a PRIDE parade in rainbow letters (why do they have to use the rainbow?? )  : (    I knew they weren’t talking about the same gay trip that I was thinking about.

I guess I won’t be picking up the latest copy of ‘Lavender’ anymore.  It was worth the good laugh that some friends and I had though.

may 09 002

this was my afternoon.  it was so beautiful outside, I sat out on the deck to do my bible study.  the sun shining, the breeze blowing lightly through the remaining lilacs … just me and ‘the word’.  a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

and then, boo (our cat) came to sit on the deck with me.  this caused the blackbirds, who must be building a nest somewhere close by, to through a fit.  all this squawking!  how can I enjoy the afternoon, let alone concentrate, with all this damn noise.

so … I armed myself with dawson’s ‘official Red Rider carbide action 200 shot range model air raffle’  (we watch ‘a christmas story’ around here), a B.B. gun in lay-mans terms.  I was determined to shoot that little bird the next time he swooped down and started squawking at me and my cat.  I’m sure I looked ridiculous sitting there with my bible open and a B.B. gun in my lap.

I didn’t ever actually shoot.  I got busy doing something else, and I didn’t want to end up shooting a neighbor or anything.

would Jesus shoot the bird?  would the bird be squawking while Jesus was trying to read?

still…

May 26, 2009

me 012

I still don’t want to see any babies.

I still come across pregnancy paraphernalia, like a maternity shirt somehow folded into a blanket we used this weekend or the sharps container on top of the fridge.

I still have an awful, awful ache in my arms, a great emptiness.

I still glaze over every now and then, my mind just wondering about him.

I still seem to see every pregnant women out there.  They even sit right in front of me at church.

I still have a deep ache in my abdomen from the C-section.

I still hear something about Luke everyday from the kids.

I still get the bills from the hospital and doctors with Luke’s name on them.

I still have snowflakes up in my house.

I still secretly hope there will be a sympathy card in the mail or someone will drop off supper.

I still cry randomly.

I still sob sometimes to Brian late at night.

I still wonder why………………………………

I still cry when I’m typing about him.

I still remember Dawson’s happy little face walking into the hospital room expecting to see his little brother, that he had wanted sooo bad, alive.

I still wonder about all the decisions we made along the way.

I still wonder if it could have turned out differently.

I still remember how my dad almost fell to the ground when I asked him to hand Luke to me from his little isolate in our hospital room.

I still think about how soft and warm his little forehead was when I got to touch him before they took him to the NICU.

I still think about how hard it was to walk through the mall looking for something to wear to my baby’s funeral … how slow I had to move because I still hurt so bad form the C-section.

I still try to act like I’m okay and I’ve got it together.

I still try to avoid anything with babies or pregnant women … TV shows, movies, songs, pictures …. my life.

I still remember Brian taking the playpen back.

I still have his blanket on our bed … I sleep with it sometimes.

I still can’t figure out when it will be a good day and when it will be a bad day.

I still don’t understand how everyone is just going about their business like nothing happened.

I still have hope.

I still believe.

the pentateuch….

May 19, 2009

SXCALK60GQCAA4727CCA1Y3T32CARHKIEBCA3AW7FKCANOV4EWCARFZSTLCAFK9C9BCAUGKNK3CAVBASE4CAGNNE1YCAN1D06ICAJ98181CA1R8BUZCANZPXEUCAOYKPP0CA5WL7O3CATT8VC8CAC10QRR

I’ve just finished the study of the life of Moses.  Amazing.  How do I best summarize all that I learned during the last year?

The first thing that I learned early on in the year, before all the trauma of Luke, was that even though there were many, many Hebrew parents that lost their little boys, it wasn’t because of their lack of faith.  And these little boys were of no less value to God.  For some reason God decided to do something different with their lives.  I also learned that it takes a great deal of faith to cast your child on the providence of God, to let go completely as the little basket floats out into the Nile.

The next precious pearl of wisdom I gained was that when you are completely trapped, with the desert to your left, the sea to your right, mountains against your back and an army descending upon you … God will make a way for you to pass safely.  As my favorite verse from this year says,

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”  Exodus 14:14

Not as easy as it sounds, as the next few months would prove.  There is so much ‘to still’.  My mind, my body, my fears, my doubts … the list goes on.

The next few months are a blur.  I read the lessons.  Did most of the notes.  Went to my group sometimes, or stood in the kitchen bawling with a number of wonderful, wonderful women who would hold me, get me a kleenex or make me some tea.  God made himself known to me, showed that He knew and was trying to comfort me through these women.  I learned that the body of Christ is able to carry you through, that good friends are there to hold up your arms when you are unable.

When I was able to come back and stay focused, ( I would still drift every now and then.) I realized how much whining and complaining was going on.  Even with all that had been provided by His own hand.  I also saw how much loving and forgiving God offered … over and over and over.  These were both good things to think about.  Over the course of this trial I have wailed out to Him of the unfairness, railed against Him in His perfect plan for me and failed (momentarily) in my love, faith, trust … … obedience to follow where my Father leads.  And yet, there He is.  The only One who truly knows.   Taking me back, forgiving me, loving me, comforting me …  

It has been a tremendous learning year for me.  What amazes me the most is that it seems like the more I learn, the smaller I feel.  The awe of His forgiveness, His compassion, His love for me is overwhelming.

One final crushing thought that I’ve come across in a book I’m reading.  When Job was tested, it was God who brought him up to Satan.

“Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? …..” Job 1:8

The part that is crushing isn’t that God would want to test me … it is the fact that he would actually think that my faith is strong enough to be tested!!  That He would know me, my name and find me worthy to be tested!!  This is how I know I am His……. and this is a good thing to have learned.

today’s the day…

May 18, 2009

there they sit.  my anklet and toe ring.  still in the little bag from the hospital, complete with my name and room number on the sticker.  they’ve been sitting there since the day we came home without a baby.

let me take you back~

I’m laying on a very thin surgery table in a very cold room.  there are a good number of doctors all scrambling around me, more than usual since this is a teaching hospital.  there is also a neonatal team waiting in one corner.  I can’t even begin to describe the emotions, the thoughts flying through my mind.  (I can feel my pulse increasing, my temperature rising and the queasiness right before you throw up coming on now, just remembering it.)

there is some kind of checklist and time chart being shouted out.  a nurse is counting towels and tools.  the anesthiesiologist is a kind older man telling me to breath deep and another nurse is patting my hand. 

‘she’s got an anklet on.’  I hear someone say.  ‘and a toe ring.’  (I know I said I would take them off, but that was a no.)  now a nurse, who I think was assigned to follow me through the whole process, says she’ll take them.  I don’t know who took them off.  they got bagged and tagged like some kind of evidence or something.

back to present day~

the bag got tossed on my dresser as my hospital bag got unpacked.  there they sit.  I see them everyday.  I pick them up and read my name and room number.  I debate about getting them out.  the whole scene replays in my mind………  and then I put it back down. not today, I think.  I can’t open that little baggie today.  It still has the same air in it that held all this tension, all these emotions … the only air that luke breathed.

……………………………..

……………………………..

this morning when I was getting dressed, I thought, ‘today’s the day.’.  I held the bag for awhile. (took a picture of it … I don’t know why)  then I got out my anklet and put it on.

the bag is still on my dresser with my toe ring in it.  I have no plans of moving it.  one thing at a time.  the anklet itself was a big step.

dawson turns 10 018

I think I will start a new series by Gabrielle, ‘I love you so much…’ . 

 Today she asked if we would die at the same time.  I said maybe, but probably not.  And she responded, with great conviction, ‘Well if you die before me, I will just stop breathing so we can go to heaven on the same day.’

drive me crazy!

May 16, 2009

 

look at those faces!! how can you not love them!?!  they really are good kids.  I mean that.  in general they listen, they have manners, they are kind and respectful … but sometimes …

they drive me crazy!

and then I feel a little bad, a little confused … it is a hard feeling to describe.  I mean, how can I wish they would just find something to do that doesn’t involve me and at the exact same time wish I had 1 more?  am I not crazed enough?  what do I do with these feelings?

  I guess I thrive on stress.  I work best when there is work to be done.  I think the most clearly when there are 3 kids in the back of the van, all trying to talk to me, as I’m driving way to fast, on the way to the emergency room!  punkin ..”am I going to have to have a shot?!!!” … dawson ..”but the sleepover starts at 6:30!!” … and cole squealing with glee because he thinks he’s the one that gets to go to the ER!!  no really.  he is so excited to head to the hospital, I can hardly get him to be quite so that I can try to get Punkin calmed down and reassure Dawson that he’ll get to his sleepover.  where would Luke have been?  in his car seat!  get him in the van.  no big deal.  with the way the night was going he probably would have been crying.  the four of them driving me crazy!  I’d at least like the oppurtunity to have 4 kids backed in the back of the van.  I’m 12 years in … I’ve got a PHD in crazy by now … it is just what I do. 

 

1044

arboretum may '09 006

today is wednesday, which all ready puts me a bit on high alert, and I have bible study, which means, there are lots of women around me that know about luke.

I arrived at bible study in a pretty good mood.  I even wore some of my favorite red heels.  I ran into my leader in the bathroom, we exchanged a personal joke about ‘bacon’ and I went to my seat.  I sat by another friend who asked how I was … like how are you really … I said I was okay.  we talked about church abit and then we started singing one of my favorite hymns, ‘May the Mind of Christ my Savior’.  my leader slipped into the seat next to me as we were singing.  (I love to sit by her because she sings alto and she sings well.)  the next song was #350, I wasn’t sure which one that was, but I had a sinking feeling. … … … and there it was … … … ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus’ … … … this is one of the songs from luke’s funeral.  I thought I would make it through, but I was wrong.  not but a few lines in and I lost it … no really … like sobbing … like hard to catch your breath … I turned and clung on to my leader.  I had to.  thankfully she just held on to me.  I cried all over her neck, her shirt … she had to have felt the tears on her neck (probably hoping it wasn’t snot), but she didn’t flinch or pull away.  she just held on to me until I could pull it together … which wasn’t until the song was over.  there are 4 verses.

I was able to get my feet back under myself for the rest of the day, a bit of a headache hanging around, but not to bad.  the recovery time is getting  shorter. 

it makes a big difference to have someone just hold you up when you need held, or someone who will listen when you need to say a few things, or just go out and act ‘normal’ with you because you’d rather just forget the real situation.  so, I just want to suggest that if you are in the position to be a shoulder to lean on or to be an ear to listen … you should do it wholeheartedly because … ’tis so sweet to have a good friend’.

all my love to you julie~

So even when I do find myself not thinking about Luke, my body reminds me of where we’ve been and what we’ve been through.  Maybe it’s the milk that came in WEEKS after delivery.  Or how about the staples across my lower abdomen that didn’t quite absorb and now have to work their way out.  How about the postpartum blues and the baby weight.  Or how about today, like many other days, I find myself swaying.  You know how new mamas do … back and forth, back and forth … sometimes you even do it when you are just by another mom that is holding her baby.  I find myself doing this often.  Especially when I have nothing else to do.  Tonight at track, while I’m watching Punkin run … I’m swaying.  I’m not sure how long I do it before I even notice.  Awhile I’m guessing.  When I do realize that I am swaying, it is sad and yet comforting.

Luke is such a part of me.  Mentally, spiritually and physically.  Even when one part is distracted in some way, another seems to pick up and remind me.  It is so very hard and yet a great blessing.  It seems that I can’t and won’t forget.  I am thankful for this.  I don’t want to forget him or this trial.  Surely there is great purpose somewhere down this broken road.  I pray that I will learn all that I possibly can from this … even as I struggle with this body that has a mind of it’s own.

well, it’s almost over.  the day, I mean.  and surprisingly, it has been okay.  I even laughed … really hard.  (that doesn’t mean the grief is gone.)  I cried too.

I am not completely surprised that I made it through the day.  I know there were many friends praying me through.  and so it goes.  this seems to be true often.  the days that I think are going to break me are … okay.  and then that day that I’m not expecting anything to happen, I end up in a puddle driving in the van or standing in the middle of the store aisle. 

the day started with me sleeping in.  which is so bittersweet.  I should have been up nursing Luke. 

 the kids all gave me little presents that they either made at school or daddy helped them buy at the store.  but there were only 3 presents … not 4.

we went for a long bike ride on a new trail.  we all loaded up in the truck and drove to the reserve.  there is just room for 6 in the truck, but only 5 seats were filled.

when we got home, we went for our first boat ride of the season with our neighbor.  the first of many this summer that I will go along on … but would rather be home with Luke because he is just to little to go out on the boat.

we went out for supper and sat at the first table by the door.  we didn’t have to look for a more inconspicuous spot since I wouldn’t be nursing.

now we are home.  cole, dawson and gabrielle are all in bed.  I’m sitting here writing this blog instead of being cuddled up with Brian and Luke on the couch for a little time with ‘just the 3 of us’.

so, thank you all who happened to pray for me on this, my first mother’s day without all my children.  I know it carried me through.  I am so overwhelmingly thankful for each thought and prayer.  thank goodness that there is a God who is close to the brokenhearted, the crushed. 

Psalm 34:18  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 147:3  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

2Corinthians 4: 17  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

but…

May 9, 2009

I am very grateful for the 3 children that I have her with me… wheelchairs, stitches and all. 

But, this Mother’s Day, the 1 that I don’t have is the 1 that is on my  mind.

why did Luke die?  did Luke die in your tummy?  were you sick?  Luke would be almost 5 months old if he lived.  could you have another baby boy, and we could name him Luke so that we can remember him, and we won’t be so sad about our Luke that is in heaven?  how did they try to help him breathe?  Luke was born 10 weeks early.  why would God take our baby?  I just miss Luke!  did you get see him when he was alive?  why was he so little?  why was Luke an up and down cut on your tummy, but we were all across cuts on your tummy?  is your cut all better now?  I just wanted a little brother….

this is a typical ride to school for me with Dawson and Gabrielle.  all these questions, just today, on the way.  thank goodness the ride is only 10 minutes.  they ask me all these things while we’re trapped in the van together.  I have to come up with something.  most of the time it is just, ‘I don’t know…….’.  At least there was no crying today.

I always wonder if anything Iam saying goes into their little heads.  Do they remember the lesson they just heard at bible study?  Did they get that character building tip in the devotional?  Alot of times it seems like … no.  I’ll ask, ‘what did you learn today’ and get, “Mama, guess what!  We ate Cheezits for snack and we got to eat them outside!’ or ‘I don’t know.  Can we go to McDonalds?’  : /  You know, stuff like that.  But, when I hear ‘morning by morning new mercies I see.  all of my needs your hand has provided.  great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.‘ coming from the bathroom as Gabrielle waits for me to come and help her wipe … it makes me so proud.  I have to hold back the tears.

You have to wonder if God feels the same about us, his children.  Surely He wonders, ‘Are they getting any of this?’.  But, in those small moments, when the genuine overflow of the heart comes out … be it in song or prayer or praise or even an understanding … I am sure that it brings Him great joy.

mom got it right…

May 4, 2009

I watched my neice last week.  thursday thru sunday.  to do this I had to meet my brother in a small town half way inbetween here and there, which would be … around minneapolis, mn and around sioux city, ia.  when we met on sunday to get lauren back to her daddy and mama, my mom had sent ‘a project for the kids’ with my brother to give to me.  (my parents live around sioux city too)

my brother gave me a flat box with 4 little green planters in it.  they each had a tag with a name on it.  cole, dawson, gabrielle and… luke.  it caught me off guard.  I hesitated.  I couldn’t look at them to long.  I just shut the trunk and kept on going about the other business at hand.

those 4 little green planters stayed in my thoughts the rest of the day.

today, gabrielle wanted to plant her little seeds right away.  so we got them out and started working on hers.  of course she has a hundred questions about luke.  ‘why did meme send one for luke?’ being one of the first.  I had to think for a minute, or rather gather my thoughts and how to respond. … … … well … … … there are 4 kids.  after thinking about what I said, I realize I am right.  I do have 4 kids.  my mom knows this.  even though it made me temporarily sad, it is far better to have her remember luke too than it would be for her to not remember him … like it didn’t happen, like she’s trying to forget and doesn’t want to remind me. 

as I go along on this path through grief, that I would rather not be on, I find all these little things out.  it is far better to have people, not just my mom, remember luke than it is to have people treat me like ‘normal’.  I just had a funeral for my 4th child … not even 4 months ago!!  even though bringing up luke also brings a good chance of making me sad or making me cry, not asking hurts much more.  the odds are I’m thinking about him anyway.  I’m sad anyway.  I might cry anyway.  it is kind of like the day we didn’t get any more sympathy cards.  it was very hard, very sad.  even though I don’t want to be getting sympathy cards, the fact that people are thinking of me and are feeling bad for me helps to lighten the load, helps me get by.  now I have to wonder … is anyone thinking about me … does anyone remember what just happened … don’t they see this cloud of sorrow that follows me around … all the time.  I understand that people are uncomfortable, this is an uncomfortable situation, but ignoring it doesn’t help me.

so here’s my advice to everyone, because this will apply to you at some point if it doesn’t right now.  if you’ve ever thought, should I mention ‘it’, whatever the ‘it’ may be, you probably should.  if they don’t want to talk about ‘it’, they will probably say, ‘I don’t want to talk about it’.  if you thought, maybe it’s to late to send a sympathy card, it’s not.  you might be the one that keeps the ‘last day of cards’ from coming.  if you were going to mention only the 3 kids, don’t.  mention all 4.

mom got it right.  she remembered I had 4 kids.  she sent 4 little green planters even though she was probably not sure if she should mention it and even though she knew it would probably make me sad.  even though I was temporarily sad, I found joy in remembering luke on this beautiful spring day as I planted seeds.  I would have been thinking of him anyway. 

 thanks mom~blog-0011

lukes-heart-0111I could go on and on and on and yet….  I’m speechless.  I’m in love with these pictures and yet…  I’m devastated.

I was just going to take a quick picture so I could write a post, but it turned into a regular photo session.  This angle, that angle. Close-ups and profiles.  I kept thinking to myself, ‘this is a little weird’, but at the same time it was comforting.  This is what I would be doing with Luke if I had him here, alive and well.  I’d be taking pictures every single minute.  This angle, that angle.  Close-ups and profiles.

This heart contains Luke’s ashes.  Our wonderful neighbor and good friend made it for us.  I don’t know if you have ever looked for an urn, but they are all ugly and urn looking.  We wanted something special.  Something unique.  Something that when we or others saw it, we or they wouldn’t think, ‘that’s an urn’.

With all that I want to say and all that I cannot put into words, I think this quote does well in capturing the feelings..

 

“Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased.  Nor is it etched in stone, for stone can be broken.  But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever.”