Thursday, December 25, 2008

ammendment to and so....

I forgot to add:

"This days been crazy, but everythings happened on schedule,
from the rain and the cold, to the drink that I spilled on my shirt.
You knew how youd save me before I fell dead in the garden,
and you knew this day, long before you made me out of dirt."

Table for Two- Caedmon's Call

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thinking of You

My little Angel,
We attended a christmas memorial service last week in memory of you and many other children that are no longer here with their families.We said a special prayer with the group- titled the prayer of Faith( how suiting) and placed an ornament on the tree for you. I have missed you ever so much -especially these last few weeks.We are facing our second christmas without you and it is still hard. This year is different than last though, and I am thankful for that. Last year grief bowled me over and knocked me flat on my back... it left me aching and searching... and barely able to face each day... and this year I am managing my way through the holiday season without having to run into hiding.These are baby steps I guess. We are taking it simply this year. Some decorations for Ethan and Olivia( and you) of course. The tree we got last year to start a new tradition.....and all of your stockings line the mantel. It felt good to hang five this year, with your satin pink one tucked on the end. ( your daddy and I will continue to tuck a Christmas letter inside for you this year)The holiday will be simple for us to help make it more bearable. No travel, few visitors, simply celebrating the days we have with your brother and sister, remembering the few days we had with you, and expressing our most humble thanks to God for sending his son into the world to save us.I love you so much, you are never far from my thoughts.


Prayer of Faith

We trust that beyond the absence, there is a presence.That beyond the pain, there can be healing.That beyond the brokenness, there can be wholeness.That beyond the anger, there may be peace.That beyond the hurting, there may be forgiveness.That beyond the silence, ther may be the word.That beyond the word, there may be understanding.And through understanding, there is love.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

and so..........

and so........ it has been quite awhile since I have written. My sincerest apologies to my loyal blog followers. Thank you for your patience with me.
I have no witty or creative postings for today, just a few lines to ensure that you know I am still here and ticking and living and dreaming and believing.
Life is a bit hectic-just the way I like it I suppose. I long for moments to stop and breathe and then when I get them i think I could pull my hair out from the monotony.
We are on the cusp of christmas- which has become something different to me in the last two holiday seasons. It has become deeper- more impactful - more somber.
Not in a negative or less thankful way- just different from the uptempo and exuberant Holiday I grew up with. Of course it is my own experiences in the last few years that shade the holiday for me- but I am thankful that God can use those moments in my life to teach me more of Him.
It was shared with me recently that Christs birth came at such a time of adversity...... born in a manger, at a time when all infant males were being killed, born amongst manure and dirt, along side the animals of the stable....... Christ was born in adversity.......
I think of my own life........ how God uses the adversity, the manure, the dirt, to mold and shape me...... how he delivers Life into me in the times that I am down and out........... what an amazing God that he can shape and mold us and make our lives blessed- even in the dirt.

And so that is where my thoughts are at these days......

Ethan is excited for Christmas to come and has been counting down the days. His joy in the season has brought me joy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

In the words of Wordsworth-


Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind—But how could I forget thee? - William Wordsworth

Sunday, November 16, 2008

a very piraty thing to say lassy!

Could arrrrrrg! be considered a first word? Did I give birth to a pirate??Sometimes, Olivia babbles out things that sound strangely like " Momma" "Daddy" and " I love you". She is just starting to talk and I will admit the title is misleading becuase she hasnt said her first official word yet- unless aaaaarrrrg is a word- which I dont think it is.But this lament, arrrrrggggg! Is her favorite thing to say. She will interject it in a quiet and serious moment, she babbles it from the back of the car as we cruise down the road, she says this in response to being placed in her crib after her early morning feeding, it is the new constant noise that accompanies all the other noises in our already noisy home. A sign of an adventerous spirit perhaps?
...............Or is she already a comical genius? Lord knows, I already have one clown amongst my children........
ARRRRRRRRGGGG! Matey! Pass the bottle er ye will be sure to walk the plank!

Monday, November 03, 2008

an anatomy of a breakdown

It was the fine hairline fracture that changed my future. I was adamently pushing myself to earn a BS in Nursing so that I could be a scrub wearing, pulse checking, booboo fixing nurse. It was my latest dream in a short but tasteful line of dreams. I had been fixated on this 'cure' for my future for several years and was convinced that it was the right direction for me.
So convinced was I, that in later years, including 2008 to be exact, I would wonder "what ifs?" about the nursing career I failed to successfully pursue.
I decided to take a discombobulated and unbalanced semester of courses, convinced that with determination and hard work I could make it through. Of course, I did not account for my nonability to do homework to drag me down- nor did I feel like my terrible study habits might be a hindrance to succeeding. I sure didnt know myself very well :) In fact, sometimes I laugh in the face of my former self.
I decided to take Spanish, Chemistry, an excelarated 8 week Human Anatomy evening course( with a 70% failure rate- D's and below!), and Sociology in the same semester. This was not nor could never be a good balance for me due to my intense lack of interest in the majority of science courses. I was incredibly overwelmed and I was too bored to do anything about it.
It started with the intense pressure I felt to ace my Chemistry class. My mostly unheard of and intensely foreign last name led to this first step into my breakdown. My mother, a thriving college student who returned to school in her mid thirties, had attended the same university just 6 years before, had become a star chemistry student and now led a successful career in the Environmental field with a degree in Chemistry. The teacher called me out during roll call the first day and stopped to ask me how my mom was doing. The entire class looked at me intently and I could see them mentally calculating my possible preformance abilities and trying to sum up if I would be the class genius. Little did they know that I was the least studious person in the room and soon set to receive my first F on my college transcript. To be truthful, the intense pressure I felt to like Chemistry becuase of my mother and the intense bordom that I felt each time the professor talked about ionic compounds, molecules, and the quantum theory was enough to do me in. But this was not the breaking point, just the starting point.
With swift determination and gusto I marched into my first night of the 4 hour course with my greys anatomy in hand and my anatomy coloring book. I had convinced myself that I would enjoy the course( ha! still with the not knowing myself!) and that the people who said an 8 week accelerated course that would teach me the entire skeletal, lymphatic, muscular, vascular, nervous, digestive, reproductive, and endocrine systems in just 16 days was difficult were crazy.
Then came the evening that we had to take dowl rods and place them on a model in place of all the skeletal joints and unions. We had one class session to learn them all and the next class session would be a test over the entire skeletal system. I drove home in a daze and saw my career as a nurse swirling down, down, down, into the drain of the toilet of life.
Human Anatomy and Chemistry were definitely not for me. And so I decided that Nursing was not the thing for me either. I promptly dropped the anatomy course and spent the next 3 semesters trying to decide what to do with myself. This led to a deep and confusing period of self discovery. The problem was that I didnt discover anything about myself.
And this was the moment that the breakdown felt complete. I was officially broken. I earned a code 99 on a career placement test at the career guidance office which officially meant- " we dont know what the hell you would be good at or enjoy doing" which to me translated to " good luck with college becuase you are never going to graduate at your rate you poor confused child."
This led to a string of courses off the beaten path which led to my enlistment in the United States Airforce. Still knowing nothing about myself, I decided to pick a science related job- Meteorology.
Of course, this too ended rather differently than I thought it would and due to a series of unfortunate events( OR SOME might say life saving) I decided against enlisting during the twilight hour.
I can offically state that I was enlisted in the United States Airforce but never fulfilled the basic duties of the job and therefore have some kind of discharge on my permanent record, and this, the recruiter told me, was like a black mark that would follow me wherever I go.
8 years later, black mark and all, I now say I hail from Stillwater Oklahoma. It has been a strange series of events that have led me to this place. It is a place I have grown to refer to with affection as " my home".
10 years after my pseudo breakdown and I could not be happier with where I have ended up.

And so time passed and I stumbled in the dark down a road that somehow led me to the here and now. A here and now that I have grown especially fond of.
And now let me just say how thankful I am for that breakdown and for the One who has guided me through the darkness all this time. What I didnt understand is that I didnt ever need to know my way, for the One had it all mapped out.
My creator could do more with a broken down me than a me of any other form or fashion.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Faith Constance- Your Song

I made up your nursery rhyme, just like I did for your Bubba and little Sis. I know you arent here for me to sing it to you, but every now and then I sing it anyway. It makes me smile. Singing is a refuge and healing thing for me. When you were in my belly I would sing songs to you everyday. When the days got really hard after we learned you were sick I would sing out, over and again, one song.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,May I reach Heaven's joys, O bright Heaven's Sun!Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.In those moments, singing these words gave me strength.... enough to make it through that day anyways. I often would think of a soldier or gladiator, preparing for battle.... and I would think of the family they would be preparing to leave and the hardship they might face.... and suddenly my hardship didnt feel so lonely in the world. Everyone faces hardships- all different kinds. I have never been alone in that- but still its easy to forget that we arent the only ones that face sorrow. Its easy to get caught up in feeling sorry for myself about all the things I miss out on with you- but one thing shines bright and shining like the sun above all those sour thoughts- and that is the joy of being able to love you and to be chosen by God to carry you for your short time here.When you were in my belly I would count your little kicks. You liked to lay on your left side in there and your persistant kicks would tap tap tap under my right rib cage. Once you were born you would shift your little body in your isolete to lay the same way.... curled a little and on your left side- with your hands resting around your omphalocele. It was sweet to see how you laid- as if you didnt know that the omphalocele is what made you so sick and was a delicate thing. After all, you spent your whole life in the womb with it just the way it was. You just rested your hands upon it as another extension of you- just as you would an arm or a leg or your face....... As I watched you lay there in that way I understood that you didnt know yourself any differently- that you would probably never see the difference- and that you embraced yourself wholely.
You would probably never know how different from normal you were.
All that you would know is that you were loved- deeply.And little girl- whew! Are you loved so deeply!

Friday, October 24, 2008

the perfect day

My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Nease, assigned us various topics for essay assignment. At the end of the year, she took those essays and put them together in a packet along with drawings we had made for our parents to keep. There were lots of interesting topics about our thoughts, about life, and our hopes and aspirations.
One essay was titled: The Perfect Day.

The rules were simple... write about one day- 24 hours total with no limitations or restrictions.
With Gusto I sat down to write my essay and quickly fell into a daydream to top all daydreams.
I filled up the entire sheet I was writing my essay on and had to pull out another sheet.
From my eleven year old hand I wrote out a detailed day of events that went something like this:
wake up and have strawberry pancakes with family and my friend Amanda Hagey and Autumn Summers
we will play boss and secretary( a pretend make believe game), unicorns, and barbies( I know- I know I was an eleven year old still playing make believe and dolls- dont tell Fawn about the barbies! I think she is too cool for that!)
We will have lunch at McDonalds and then my friend Fawn Porterand I will go to disneyworld after lunch.
After an afternoon at Disneyworld, a limo will pick up all my friends and we will eat pizza on our way to see: NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK IN CONCERT. After new kids on the block we will go swimming in the moonlight.

As you can see, I packed ALOT of things into my 24 hours. I definitely had to get as many things as I could done- becuase I only had ONE day to do it.

On Wednesday morning I woke up around 5am to get ready for the day. I didnt get to bed until late the night before so I stumbled through my morning routine and wished for more sleep( I would say dreamed of sleep but that is just silly :) At 615 I went into Ethans room to rouse him and was met with a fight. This has become more and more common these days and has prompted us to put Ethan to bed even earlier at night, but this has not squelched the morning crying and whining.
As I sat on my sons bed listening to him whine and watching him try to pull the covers back over his head... I remembered the long ago essay from 5th grade.
I decided to redraft the essay and this is what it would say:
The Perfect Day
Sleeping in until 9am.
Stay at home in pajamas with family
The End

Monday, October 13, 2008

repentance and rest, quietness and trust

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15

A few weeks ago I posted a scripture verse that was tied to my Lumos post. It was Hebrews 4:12, a post about the word of God shedding light onto the attitude and thoughts of our heart... about its ability to direct us.

I have been mulling the verse over since then... wondering about my direction, my aspirations, what I am doing, what I could be doing....... WHO I AM....all of those type of things......

Today a verse rang through my mind, a beginning of the answer to my prayer about my direction and my actions........
I have attached the verse above. I would have thought the words would read " in repentance and action are your salvation" But this verse speaks the opposite doesnt it? It says nigh of good deeds and speaks volumes about resting in God and KNOWING him. I knew the repentence part... but the resting part is new for me.
I have had so many outside influences lately that have pushed me to speak up to be louder, to push my way to the front and my heart has bucked against this advice for good reason. "in quietness and trust shall be your strength"
I dont think quietness speaks of not saying anything. Being quiet is not the same as being silent...
But it does say alot to me about trying to be the loudest one in the room :)

Thoughts anyone?

To My Fair Child

Dear Faith,

Hello my lovely fair haired child. My tuesdays child, whose life was full of grace..... God's grace that brought you to me and allowed me to be your mommy. I try not to think of how short our time was... although that thought follows me like a shadow some days... I remind myself that God chose me to be your mom, he brought you to me and no one else..... because he knew how fiercely I would love you....... and just how much you would teach me about life and Love... so much love.Today is 15 months since you left my arms into God's own. The sadness of losing you hung around my shoulders today like a winter shawl. Today I was drapped in the ache of it. I remember the silky softness of your hair under my fingers still...... and the warmth of your baby skin. I remember watching your chest rise and fall under the bili lights and thanking God for each breath I saw you take.I am watching your brother and sister grow before my eyes. Trying desperately to log every moment, every milestone, every look..... and remembering with each moment all the ones I miss with you. Your little sister is 3 months old now... and everyday is something new. What joy it brings my heart to watch her change and grow and learn about the world... and with each moment that my heart swells with joy... it aches with sorrow too.Aches for you. Becuase she has already passed so many milestones that you never hit.
Beautiful Princess, beautiful girl. Keeper of my heart- I made a song for your big brother and one for your little sister that I sing during diaper changes.... I think I will make one up for you too....Kisses and hugs,and just one hug more!!!!!
and one more!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Question

Last night as we were at the mall in Tulsa, something happened to cause my breathe to catch in my throat.... It was as if someone had shoved an egg in there- I couldnt seem to swallow it down and it made my chest ache to try.

Its gotten to be a familiar feeling.

On the drive home, in a moment of quietness, I asked Cliff " Do you think that feeling will ever quit? You know, the ache of knowing what you are missing out on?"

He responded simply and then quietness again. " No. It will ebb and flow, but it will always be there."

And so it ebbs and flows.

Monday, October 06, 2008


When I was a little girl, my mom told me I was born on a Thursday. "Thursday's Child" she called me, and then she would quote an old song "Monday's child is fair of face,Tuesday's child is full of grace,Wednesday's child is full of woe,Thursday's child has far to go,Friday's child is loving and giving,Saturday's child must work for a living,But the child that's born on the Sabbath day,Is fair and wise and good and gay." And so I became the child who had far to go... although my mother always made it sound as if I would go far.... I WAS GOING PLACES.
The years turn, the world was spinning, and 24 years after I became a Thursday's child, I had another Thursday's Child. In fact, I had my Thursday's child in the very same hospital that my mother had her Thursdays child.
But even after all this, Thursdays didn't seem any different to me than any other day. Nothing was different to me about Thursday than the hump day before it or the TGIF after it. Thursday was thursday was thursday.... and sometimes I didnt even notice when one came and went.

This all changed for me in my 27th year. On July 12 of my 27th year I held my little girl in my arms for the very first-and last- time. The world stopped- for a moment- and everything was rearranged. And every week to follow, for months on end, stopped on Thursdays and my world would feel as if all its pieces had been jumbled up... and couldnt be made smooth. Sometimes my heart would grow so heavy that I could feel Thursdays arrival before it arrived... By humpday my mind had dulled, my feet grew heavy, my voice became numb as I retreated into myself.
Sometimes, Thursdays were so heavy that they bled into humpday and TGIF and the weekend to follow. Sometimes Thursdays seemed to be connected to each other...... a seemless loop that led one into the other.
In the last few months I have managed to skip a Thursday or two without feeling so blue. The Thursdays now stretch further and far between.... and sometimes Thursday doesnt even fall on Thursday anymore. Last week it came on Wednesday and all I could think was how much my humpday felt like Thursday. So if you here me say "Today feels like a thursday..." well, you know what I mean. :)

Thank you Betty!

Occasionally, I find inspiration from unlikely sources. Last week it came from one of my favorite fluffy comedies- Ugly Betty.

Betty Suarez said, " You have to want something enough to fight for it!"

I had to pause a moment and reflect on the things I wanted. Was I fighting for them?

And if I wasn't, did I really want those things?


Thanks Ugly Betty!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Summer fun

Here is an image of Ethan at his birthday party on September 20th. If you look closely at his face you can see his excitement! The gym owner was having the children yell "booyah!" before going out to play one last time.
Ethan had such a great time at the party and I was really proud of him for being so grown up. He was calm as he opened his presents and thanked each of his friends for their gift. It hit me so hard how fast he is growing up.... and as a result of that, I am trying to slow down my time with him, trying to enjoy the little moments that we have together instead of rushing through them.
That night, after everyone had left, he and I went to jump on the trampoline that his Mimi and Papa got him for his birthday. When I was growing up I didnt have things like a trampoline, but I had friends that did and I remember jumping on them at sleepovers or slumber parties. As Ethan and I jumped around we laughed and giggled at ourselves. I showed him the fun jumps or tricks I knew and we took turns doing them as well as chasing each other around the trampoline. As it grew dark we took breaks to lay on our backs and watch the stars come out. We didnt stay out too late- Ethan had a long day and still needed a bath- but we saw about 6 stars appear in the time we were out there. As we layed there looking up, he would excitedly point out a new star and count them in the sky.... The smell of the trampoline, the softness of the evening air, and the glow of the sun setting brought back so many memories of summertime in my childhood. I smiled to myself as I thought of Ethan, on the cusp of being schoolaged, and at a point where he would start to remember experiences for the rest of his life. I was deeply thrilled at the thought of helping him to create happy, enjoyable memories... We got up for one last bounce and tried out all the moves before we headed into the house for bath. When it came time to read his beadtime story- instead of saying " pick out a little one- its late" I picked one of the longer ones that I could find. After all, he won't want me to read him stories forever....... and soon those days will pass by as quickly as our summer has.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sleepless in Stillwater

I am sitting here listening to Sweetie the chihuahua as she snores from the middle of my bed. She has taken up most of my space next to Cliff( all 4 pounds of her) and she is dreaming away. Occasionally a little yelping sound escapes her lips and I hope she is dreaming great doggie dreams of chasing something. As much as I would like to lay my head down to sleep and dream sweet dreams of my own.... shut eye is evading me tonight. It is moments like this that often prompt an impromptu walk along the gardens edge, peering through squinty eyes to try to see the plants new growth and blooms in the dark Oklahoma outdoors.( and avoid those darn garden spiders at all costs) Tonight I choose to listen to the hum of the computer and the whir of the fan overhead....... as I think deep thoughts that I cant seem to keep from swirling in my head.The air conditioner broke today. I dont know what ails the silent box. Perhaps it feels as ragid as I, worn out from too many long days of hard work and an incompassionate and unrelenting inner drive. When did I get to be so hard on myself?Of course, it is just a machine...... but machines can wear out too. And my broken machine is a reminder that even a cold and emotionless box will eventually break down... that no matter of hiding emotions, or burying feelings will save us from an occasional meltdown. And that is my food for thought for you today. Will hiding from the things we dont want to face or feel really save us from breaking down?Does it create an iron will ? or a cold heart?
Inquiring minds want to know

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

additional Lumos thoughts

Psalm 119:105Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Lord, may your word luminate my heart, cleanse me, heal me......................and make my clock tick tock like new.


There is a charm that Harry Potter says to create a ray of light with his wand. "Lumos!" he will say and a ray of light will shine forth, making his path clear.
I wish I could take Harry Potter's wand and shine it at my heart. "Lumos! Lumos!" I would say so that I could see all that is inside me, each thought, each feeling, each need, even in the deep hidden folds of me.... and I would pour them out- out like water pouring from a broken dam, like wine flowing from an uncorked bottle, like snow falling in an avalanche. And I would lay it all out before me, like the pieces from a broken clock.......... and I would line every piece up, every groove, every wheel, every arm, every spring, every lever, until my heart beat in time- sounding forever on end- a smooth and simple and rythmic 'tick, tock' 'tick, tock'

How did I end up with a broken clock?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bittersweet Days

bittersweet days
I can't begin to tell you readers, how excited I am about today. Ethan turned four this week and we are having a big boy party for him at a local youth gym. The kids will be bouncing on trampolines, balancing on the beams, and causing quite a ruckus. He actually had a hand in deciding what kind of party we would have this year, from the location down to the kind of cake we would serve.We have been counting down the days and weeks for most of the summer.I just can't believe that my little boy, my first born child, is 4 years old now and on the verge of being SCHOOL AGED.
For all the joys I have over celebrating Ethans big day, I can't help but think about my little one that isnt here. I have been wondering all week what it would be like if she could be at the party. She would be 14 months old, old enough to toddle... would she be trying to keep up with the big kids? Would I be quite harried trying to keep up with her and my sweet Olivia too? Like their Papa always does, I am sure he would be carrying her around, keeping up with her as she rocks in the wooden boat, helping her grab onto the bars overhead, helping her bounce on one of the easier trampolines...... I am sure her red curls would be bouncing in the air... and she would be smiling with delight and determination as she tries to keep up to her 90 to nothing big brother.It is a bittersweet day. Full of joy... and aching in my heart too.
Yesterday, I attended a wedding in Enid. While I was there I got to set my eyes on the little boy of the couple who were getting married. He is about 4 or 5 months old and I have been waiting eagerly to see him in person.I caught a few glances of him during the ceremony and at the reception. As we got up to leave and tell his mom goodbye, he was cuddled in her arms. She showed him to me in his little tux- with his shiny soft sweet red baby hair. The same color as my Faith's own hair. For a moment my breath caught in my throat as I remembered stroking her hair at the nape of her neck. I wanted to reach out and stroke his soft hair, but I held my hand back, tightly clinching my fist. I said my goodbyes and began the long ride home, thinking of my family waiting for me at the house, and the little one that is not in our midst.On another note, returning to work has been both joyful and difficult. Another thing that feels so bittersweet. I love the interaction with other adults and I enjoy the work that I do.... but it is difficult to be away from the family so much, especially spending two nights a week closing. It feels like I dont even see Ethan and Olivia on the days that I close, and by the time I get home Cliff is in his own routine- getting ready for bed and winding down. I am really struggling with the adjustment and although I am able to talk with people all day long... there are moments that I feel so alone.The feelings dont always weigh me down and I do have so many moments to laugh and smile and enjoy myself...But the other moments are there too.Moments when my heart is heavy, moments I dont know how to muster through... but I do. I push on, wondering when I will no longer have moments that feel like this.I guess the reality is that there will be many bittersweet moments to come in this life.
I have to learn to manage them, accept them, and face them. And this is what I am not sure how to do.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Back in the groove

I am heading back to work on Monday and I am pretty nervous. I am also excited to be getting back to it... becuase I am happiest when I am busy and work keeps me very very busy.( not to mention all that social interaction!!!)
I am not quite the same person I was before I went out. I am now the mommy of three beautiful children and have once again got to practice some life skills that involve very little sleep, a crying person( a little one- but still crying!) and the fine art of communication. The practice of these life skills has given me a little bit more confidence when it comes to dealing with people( if i can learn to please and satisfy a baby that can't speak a word- imagine my newfound communication skills i can apply at work:) But also, there is another part of me that is not quite the same.I haven't seen most my co-workers in 11 1/2 weeks. The last time they saw me I was eight months preggo and exhausted! I cannot tell you what condition I was in when I went to work- including weither or not I was wearing contacts OR MAKEUP( oh the shame of it all! but seriously- at that time i did NOT care) I have lost all of my pregnancy weight( yippee!) but lets face it- I am not the skinny mini Barbie I once was- not even close.
So I took a deep breathe, winced as I pulled out the debit card and I went shopping! I got new clothes, new shoes, and made a last minute decision to get new hair. I wanted to go back to work and make a statement which is not "stay at home mom for the last 3 months- do these dress pants come in a stretchy cotton material like the sweat shorts i have on now? Will they go with flip flops?" but what I wanted to say is: " I am woman hear me rawr!" ( and not in a bra burning kind of way- but more of a" I am a professional and a hot mama!)
SO I did go a little more edgy with my hair- something that used to be typical of me back in my college days but not so much so in the last four years .....
I have decided I really like it- it looks FRESH!
Now if i could just get rid of the nervous jitters in my stomach and gain a calmness that matches my posh exterior... wink....

My new hair.........

And for those of you that are wondering just what two of the delights of my heart are up to... well here are a few photos taken this week.

here is Olivia on her daddy's lap

and Ethan trying to wear his dad's shoes.........

Thursday, September 04, 2008

14 months

Dear Faith,
Today you would be 14 months old. It is hard to picture what you would be like now. Perhaps an active toddler ambling around with spritely red curls and determined green? eyes. The truth is that its gotten increasingly harder these last few weeks without you. It all started about August 16th, your original due date from one year ago... of course this was the expected due date before we found out you were so sick.... and becuase of your sick body you came to us so much sooner. I think what really gets me down is when I start to think about some of the things that people say or imply about you and remembering you. I try not to listen to these things...try not to let others influence me... and I have to ask myself why they feel so compelled to try to influence the way I grieve when they have never lost a child themselves.... the truth is, baby girl, that part of this world wants me to just move on, to quit mourning you. They say I should remember you with joy only and be happy that you are in heaven with no more pain. And if I cant remember you with joy, perhaps its best to tuck your memory away. At the very least, I shouldnt be sharing it with the world. I should be living only for my living children.And it is my great hope that I can someday remember you with just the joy of knowing you... and not the pain of being seperated from you...But sometimes I wonder if that is a bit of a lofty goal? I keep trying though, becuase it is easier to live with courage and pray for God's strength than to throw the towel in. And how could I ever tuck your memory away??? Weither a child is alive or dead, as a parent, I think of each of my children a thousand times a day. My love for you didn't die with you.I watched a movie this last week called" We Are Marshall" It is a movie about grieving, about learning to live life after tragedy, having courage to move forward, and ultimately about creating a legacy and honoring the dead.( in the movie this came after many years)One of the characters tells the father of a boy who died in the movie " Nothing's going to change until you have the strength to face your pain." I had to stop when I heard that statement and really think about it. It reassured me that I am doing the right thing by remembering you and helping to create a legacy for you. It really hurts that you aren't here with me.... but I will continue to live life like a broken record if I don't face that pain and let your presence in my life change me into a better person. A more compassionate person I hope.. and more courageous too.One of the feelings that is hardest to live with and understand is the feeling that I can't do enough to take care of you. You have been gone almost 14 months and I still have such strong feelings that I need to take care of you. I still don't know what to do with those feelings but I try to pour them into other things. I ask myself how I am supposed to take care of a baby that isnt here( toddler now) and I don't have an answer to give myself. This is when I spend time working in your garden.... or pouring though your photos... or I start a new project around the house( like cleaning out the closet a few weeks ago.)Its been 14 months and the pain isnt any less... isnt any easier..... but I am learning how to deal with the pain.... and that is a start towards that lofty goal I have I guess.We still talk about you everyday. When Ethan and I pray at night we thank God for the time you were here. We show Olivia your photos and tell her a little about you. Someday we will share your full story with her when she is older. I will always wonder what life would be like for us if you were here... dream of being able to watch all three of my children grow..... and hope that I am honoring your memory in the best ways that I can.I love you so very very very very much dear one. kisses to you from afar.
Love, yours,mommy

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Holding On and Letting Go

I threw it away today,and it felt like I was throwing away a piece
It was just a bow, made of guaze, frilly and pink.I was cleaning out the closet, the fourth place the bow had been tucked safely inside in the last year. The bow had been lovingly placed around a floral display that was delivered to your funeral. I told myself as I held up that bow to the light that I coudn't hold onto every little thing....that it would not be returning you to me by holding on so tightly....... and yet- it felt so hard to part with that bow.I shoved it down into the trashcan, as if the resolve to place it there would vanish if I didnt act so deliberately. I fought down the urge to pull it back out and pushed myself back to the task of cleaning out the closet.One of my fears is that the memories of you will vanish, that your presence will someday feel less real to me- that I could somehow forget- YOU.I came back to the room to finish the closet- instead I sat down and pulled out my little worn envelope- filled with pictures of you from your brief time here. As the tears began to fill at the corners of my eyes and that hard tug was felt in my heart- I was reminded- I will never forget YOU.
I love you so much little girl!!!! I miss you still!!!! Ever so much!!Mommy

Thursday, July 24, 2008

He Giveth and He Taketh Away

sooo.......... i have been mulling over this blog for a bit now :) I have been meaning to post to share with all of you out there how things are going now that Olivia has arrived. I want to take a moment to give you a glimpse of my heart and talk about what it feels like to have a child after experiencing the loss of another child.Let me just start with this: Olivia is a wonderful baby! She is pretty quiet and laid back, she sleeps well and eats well... she loves to be held...... she is tiny- just 6 lbs or so.... but for as small as she is, she fills my heart with a ton of love.(literally, a ton!)When she first came out and started to cry I was so happy that she was born alive! They showed her to me and she was so much smaller than I expected. Once I got some time to look at her and hold her... she didnt look at all as I thought. She has a much darker complextion than Ethan or Faith- in fact- she is our only child with dark hair. I had hoped a little that she would have her sisters curly red hair... but now as I reflect on that thought- maybe it would have been too hard.I am overwelmed with joy to hold her in my arms. I just want to snuggle her so close and kiss her little face all the time. :) I want to hold onto her and never ever let go. But sometimes, I am overcome with a bit of saddness too. Each time I hold her in my arms, I am reminded of how little I got to hold Faith. When she looks at me with her sweet almond shaped eyes( just like Dad) I think how I never got to see Faith gazing at me- becuase she never opened her eyes.It is so bittersweet- I am overwelmed with love for Olivia- and so saddened that I didnt get these opportunities with Faith too. It is the happiest time of my life and also one of the hardest times. I am reminded everytime I look at her how blessed I am- how much I have been given in life- and what I have lost. Although I dont know that lost is the best word- I know right where Faith is. We took Olivia to the cemetary when she was just 4 days old. It was one year and one day after Faith died- July 13th. We had planned to go on the 12th- her angel date- but an unexpected storm blew into town and kept us at home. I didnt think it would be so hard to go out there with Olivia to show her the grave... but my heart broke over and again with every step from the truck to Faiths plot. I wondered if I would be able to convey to my little girl how wonderful and special her big sister was. Would I be able to teach her about her strength and endurance? Or would she grow up only to know about her broken body? It overwelmed me in that moment to think about all the sisterly things that Olivia would miss out on knowing and I was insecure in my ability to teach her what a blessing Faith's short life was and is for me and for our family. I know there are many people that see no blessings or joy in what Faith had to endure- they see only the pain... but with all my heart I want to teach my children the joy of knowing her... to show them the few things that made her life valiant... I want them to see more than just sorrow........I could hardly speak as I opened my mouth to tell her about her beautiful copper headed big sister. I was at a loss for words even though I felt I had so very much to say. How do I share with her about things which I dont even fully understand?
The start I think comes with seeing the blessings.
It is true that in life there is a season for everything under the sun.But I am thankful for all those times... for the lowest of the valleys and for the tiny spots of joy that fall in even the darkest days... and for the great miracle of life that God showers upon me with the birth of each of my children.Life is precious.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Two thoughts have been rolling around in my head lately. the first is an exert from a book that Fawn lent to me called The Dive From Clausen's Pier. In it the mother and daughter are talking about life and actions and what our actions say about us and the mother said something very profound." What we do does not define who we are, who we are defines what we do." The second I heard many years ago, so long ago in fact that I dont remember where it came from or who said it, goes something like this: " The only way to understand ourselves is by what God is and what He does for us." This is written down somewhere in my jumble of journaling and notes and has a verse attached which is Romans 12:2
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect"new living translation)
I like the Message version of this the best and it goes:
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."So these thoughts have been swimming around in my head with the usual chatter- thoughts about who I am, how I fit in, if I am living life successfully, if I am really being the best I can be. Similar thoughts I am sure that we all have from time to time. Sometimes I reflect on the days and my words or actions and I wonder how those words or actions reflect on me, what do they say about me as a person? And I remind myself of the quote from the book.. it is not my actions that define me, it is my heart that defines my actions... but then the second thought has recently come into mind... and I remind myself that I am not even defined entirely by WHO I am in my heart, but defined by Christ who lives in my heart. I am not defined by me, but simply put, I am defined by the Creator and what he has done and continues to do. With those thoughts in mind I wonder why I spend so many sleepless nights and anxious days trying to understand why I will never feel like I fit in 100%. I keep trying to conform to the patterns of life around me, keep trying to find "my niche" in society..... but the truth is very clearly cut out for me that I will never find my definition there..... And your thoughts on this anyone?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Parting- Faith's story Part VI

11 months ago today, Faith departed this earth.I awoke that morning with a great internal heaviness. OUTSIDE the hospital walls the rain was coming down- literally in some parts of the state in floods. These were some of the biggest rain showers we had seen in years during the heat of the summer. It was strange weather for a strange time. INSIDE, my heart was breaking and flooding my body with great sorrow. I didnt know it was the day that Faith would part. She had been resting so well the day before and although it had been only days since we got the news of how broken her body was- she had been fighting so hard that I hoped for miracles of life. I didnt know why my heart was so heavy, but that morning I was so uneasy and so broken that I didnt know if I had ever felt any lower. For all the internal and emotional distress I was feeling, Cliffs body was giving him grief in another way. He awoke that morning with one of the worst migraine's he has ever had. It seems really that as her parents, our spirits and our bodies knew that something was occuring.I took my journal and book and went down to visit Faith in the Nicu. I tried to stay up beat, to talk to her and sing to her... but it was almost too much. I prayed to God to ease the heaviness in my hold the pieces of me together that felt as if they were falling apart. Eventually I wondered down to lunch in the cafeteria..... and it was after I finished my indian taco( i dont think i will ever forget the meal i ate that day) I got a call on my cell phone. It was one of the surgical residents and she said I had better come on up. I knew in my heart that this was the call. That things were bad.... I called to Cliff to meet me in the NICU and raced for the elevator. As I scrubbed in on the 7th floor my heart was in my lungs and beating so very hard. When I went into Faith's room the machines were sending an alarm which had been going on so long that someone had hit the mute button and the nurse and several doctors were in there trying to get her oxygen levels to return to normal. They explained that she had been desaturating for over 15 minutes at least and that they had attempted blow by blows..... did I want them to try anything else in an effort to save her? I knew this was the question that we had dreaded- the moment we hoped not to face. Cliff wasnt in the room yet but we had already discussed our thoughts and desires for her care. They were asking if they should attempt chest compressions. " No" I said as there was nothing more I knew to say. "My husband is on his way" The nurse told me I could hold her and still keep her on the vent awhile to allow my husband time to get there. I couldnt believe I was finally going to get to hold my tiny baby girl in my arms... and now it was time to say goodbye. I held her and talked to her through my tears. I told her it was okay to let go. Cliff arrived and he held her too... and we cried as we stroked her face, carressed her hair, and held her tightly in our arms as we had longed to do for so long. We told her over and again that we loved her. The medical team removed the vent... and by this time she was already growing faint. We held her in our arms until her spirit left her body. The doctor listened to her heart and called her time of death. I looked down in her face which was now slack and knew she was gone. The nurse helped us to give her the first and final bath... We cleaned her body and removed all the tape and wires and tubes.... and I got to see how beautiful my baby was without all those other things in the way.I didnt know how I was going to be able to leave that hospital and face the trip home, much less the days ahead. I reminded myself over and again that she already had a perfect new body in heaven, and that we would meet there again.... but my heart was still so broken. I had held my baby in my arms as she breathed her last breath. I knew in that moment that I would never be the same person. Faith had profoundly changed my life and taught me the greatest lesson of loving unconditionally.......and she will be forever loved.

In Memorandum: Faith Constance CarlsonJuly 3 2007 - July 12 2007- Forever nine days in our hearts

Monday, May 05, 2008

10 months since we met

Hi little girl,
Saturday marked 10 months since you were born into our lives... I have seen reminders of you where ever I go this weekend.We celebrated your life by expanding your memorial garden a week ago. Several people came by to help and it turned out beautiful. I like to go out there and sit on the bench for a moment alone. Some of the flowers have already started to grow and bloom. It makes me think of you in heaven and how much you are flourishing there. It was so hard to watch you struggle in your earthly body.Sunday morning in church we sang " I am free" by the Newsboys. Everytime we sang the course " I am free to run, I am free to dance" I thought of you up there in heaven dancing around..I still miss you so very much. I love you sweet girl. I am so thankful to God for placing you in my life.
Happy ten month birthday!!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Salutations Up There

Well friend,
I salute you once again this spring- as I do every spring- first on your birthday ( 2.23.79) and then on the day you chose to say goodbye (4.5.98). I still wonder why? I still wonder what your life would be like now, and I still wish I could just pick up the phone and call you. Even more so this year... I wish I could call you and tell you all my great and tiny thoughts about life and the journey...... and living and dying...... and surviving. I wish I could talk to you about surviving the most. I think about your family everyday and how much they miss you. How much they must struggle still in this wake. I think about your friends and dear ones..... and I wonder how much your life..... and death...... has changed who they are?I know it has changed me.What would you tell me this year if you were here? Would you have called, written, sent a card? Would you have found me a verse or song to offer some condolences and comfort in my own grief? Tell me friend, what would you say? You always offered sage advise- comforting words and wisdom. Esteban, I will always remember you. And I will always be thankful that through your life and death I made a new friend.( you know who- thank you for that)
Cowabunga dude.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Fighter- Faith's Story Part V

Once I was wheeled up to see Faith I got to see for myself what Cliff had been telling me. Not only was our little girl born alive but she was breathing on her own without machines... she was just hooked up to some oxygen. I was so elated to sit with Faith a moment and get to know her. Her hair was slightly curly/wavy and was a beautiful strawberry blond. Almost orange really. She had the tiniest little toes and fingers and her skin was so red and healthy looking. What a beautiful tiny little girl! She had Cliff’s nose for sure! And of course there was the"O" and it was big.... but not as big as we had once thought. I didnt stay too long the first visit becuase it was kind of scary to see her with so many tubes and so tiny in the isolete. I also knew she was working really hard and I wanted her to be able to rest. We were just amazed at the fact that it was almost 12 hours after our little girls birth and she was thriving. We really didnt know what to think when she was born but I had hoped for a few hours with her. And now we were getting so many more! I thanked God for those hours!And as time passed I was able to thank God for a day! Wednesday came, the fourth of July. Faith had a hard day and began to struggle a bit. This was very scary. But she kept fighting. She was outweighing the odds as each hour passed. What a strong baby girl! We listened to the fire works in brick town as they went off that evening from inside the hospital walls. And we prayed and hoped for more time with our dear Faith.On Thursday when we went to visit her there was some setbacks. As we were walking down to her room we had to wait to go in becuase she was being placed on a ventilator. The first ventilator didnt control her O2 levels well enough and so she was also placed on a second ventilator. It made her little chest shake with its motion and was a bit noisy. They said that she needed some extra help becuase she couldnt keep her carbon dioxide levels down. She had to be sedated while on the vent so that she wouldnt be in pain. But still, she continued to try to breath on her own about 30 to 40 breaths a minute. She was trying so hard!That night we went very late to visit her again. We couldnt sleep and just needed some time with her. I will never forget the fellow that was working that night. He came in while we were visiting Faith and took the time to explain so many things to us. He told us such heartbreaking news about her body and her condition. He explained that since her liver and some of the intestines had grown outside the body... they didnt fill up her belly during development the way they needed to support the lungs. Her lungs had formed longer and more elongated then they should and so this meant the first day and a half she used every muscle in her chest to breathe. She simply grew too tired to continue breathing unassisted on her own and this is why she had to go on the ventilator. He took us into an office and showed us all the xrays and scan pictures of her chest so that we could understand for ourselves. He also showed us that it appeared that she either had no diaphram to hold up the lungs or a weak diaphram that wasnt strong enough. Either way it could not be seen in the scans and the doctors didnt know if it was there. In essence, she would most likely not ever survive off of a ventilator. We were overcome with sorrow in this moment. We thanked the doctor for his time and spent a moment with Faith watching her sleep. We went back to our room for the very longest night of our lives. We cried and held each other and prayed. Eventually around 1 AM a nurse came in to check on me and when she saw us she sat down for a moment. She asked what was wrong and we told her. She offered to call a chaplain to come sit with us and a little while later the chaplain came down. We sobbed as we told him the difficult news we had recieved and he gave us many comforting scriptures and prayed with us. He also asked if he could contact our church to let them know we were there. We said this would be okay. In the morning we got up to go talk with the head of the NICU to find out what kind of treatment we should give Faith now. As we were about to head out the door Deanna from Lifechurch was coming in. The Chaplain had apparently called the church as soon as his shift ended at 8 in the morning and as soon as they heard the news Deanna had showered and driven in to Oklahoma City as fast as she could. She sat with us as we told her about Faith and her prognisis and she prayed with us. Then we went to talk to Dr Sakar about Faith. He explained that her body could not support the function of her living unassisted from a ventilator. We didnt want to take her off of the ventilator because we wanted to give her time but we didnt want her to suffer. He suggested placing a DNR in her file.... He said the hospital would continue to care for her as they had been but if she began to desaturated they would try providing blow by blow oxygen but would not attempt chest compressions. He explained that the chest compressions in an infant her size- a preemie- and with her internal organs not being intact could cause serious damage to the cartilidge in her chest. We never thought we would have to be faced with decisions like this! If our hearts were not already broken... they were breaking into a million pieces as we watched our little girl struggle and fight! And still despite the vents, despite the sedatives, she was fighting to breathe on her own!We told Dr Sekar we would think about it and we left for awhile to discuss it. We prayed and prayed for guidance- to ensure we were doing the best and right thing. It was the hardest decision we have ever made in our lives. The worst most awful kind of decision a parent would have to make.Cliff’s parents walked us over to the veterens center to get something to eat for lunch as we thought about what to do. As we were coming back over and preparing to go talk again with Dr Sekar we saw the pastor from our church waiting to go in the elevator that we were headed for. We had been two large hospital buildings away for a few hours and at the exact moment we went to go into one of the many elevators... there he was in ours. He followed us up to my hospital room and we explained everything to him. We talked and prayed for a little while. And his visit gave us the courage and the peace to go talk to Dr Sekar with our decision. In that moment I was so sad but also at peace. In our most desperate moment God had provided for us some comfort and peace in making the decision. He knew just the moments that we would need visitors the most and they were faithful to come.We placed the DNR in Faith’s file and we waited. We thought this was the end. However, she continued to fight. All through the weekend she continued to fight and we were able to spend much more time with her. I learned to change her diaper, check her temperature, and one of the night nurses Jackie even showed me how to cuddle her body with my hands... As close as I could get to holding her while she was on the ventilator.Then a new week was approaching and we were nearing Faiths one week birthday. I made a little sign for her isolete and we got her a little stuffed animal to go along with the mouse the Hospital volunteers gave her and the Koala that Aunt Dawn got her. Her weekend day nurse Diann took pictures of us with her and made her little signs to hang on the isolete. Jackie, her night nurse took her footprints and also made little signs. We sat with her as much as we could and her levels responded so well when I would sing to her or talk to her. I sang to her as much as I could.We celebrated her one week birthday on Tuesday. Our little girl, our fighter, was still defying odds. We had hoped for a few hours with her and had now been blessed with a week!She was even able to come off of the second ventilator for a short time toward the end of the week but by the next day was back on it. When the surgeons came to check her dressings on Tuesday they manuevered part of her intestines into the stomach cavity. They thought it might give her more support for her lungs.The next day she was so very still. She finally quit trying to breath against the machines and just rested. I was pleased that she was finally resting so well but also it made me uneasy. I didnt know that this was going to be her last full day with us.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Arrival- Faith's Story Part IV

The Arrival
In the final weeks before Faith's arrival her growth slowed so much that the Doctor thought she had a better chance to survive outside the womb than in. We began to prepare for an early C-section. I took steroid shots and we visited the Doctor weekly so he could check so many things. We learned all sorts of things about ultrasound and medical care at this point. They began to check cord blood flow, heartrate, movement, and something called the circle of willis. This is an area of the brain that conserves the blood flow if the body doesnt have enough oxygen and energy to survive. The brain will begin to conserve the blood. It was determined that we would try to make it to 34 weeks. We began to count down the days, the hours, the minutes. I could not sleep well, could not function well, I cried all the time. The date was determined a few days before the C-section and everyone in the family fell into place. Family and friends found a way to be there for us at the time of Faith's arrival. On the morning of July 3rd I awoke with the words to a song running through my head. It was Este es el dia.... the spanish version of the hymn "This is the day" I tried to rejoice in that! I took it as a sign of peace and we drove to the hospital to check in. We didnt know if she would be born alive, if she would ever be able to take a breath. We tried to prepare, tried to hold strong but we were SO SCARED. At 1:05 Faith arrived. At first she made no sounds. We had braced for this, I knew it may take a moment for her to be able to breath. But this is what I longed to hear.The NICU team went furiously to work and after a moment we heard weak little kitten cries. OUR BABY WAS ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cried and praised God in that moment. They wheeled her by so I could see her sweet baby face and then they rushed off to the NICU. Daddy followed close behind to watch her progress. After the Dr's got me cleaned up and back to recovery our family came by one by one. There were so many family and friends waiting that they filled an entire waiting room!!! How loved Faith was already! Cliff spent his time watching them care for Faith and escorting some family to the NICU to take a peek. I had a few people come sit with me but for the most part I was alone. Eventually someone came and showed me some pictures of Faith- I think it was Cliff, and I cried some more. She was breathing on her own, with help from CPAP oxygen. She was fighting!!!!!! That night I was able to get up out of bed and be wheeled down to have a formal introduction with my little girl. She was so tiny - only 3 lbs and 2 oz. She was on oxygen and breathing hard but she was trying! We didnt know what to think or expect and tried to prepare ourselves for the coming weeks and the adjustment that our lives had to make. How long would Faith be in the NICU? Months? And could she survive?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

6 months

6 months
Dear Faith,
I stayed up all evening after Ethan went to bed and watched TV until the time came for the 12th to be here. I just couldnt go to sleep, although any other given night I would be happy to crawl into bed at 9 pm. It is six months since you left. Life continues to move on and I am looking for ways to carry you on with me. I cant stand the idea of life moving on from you. I hold you in my heart wherever I go. You are in my thoughts everyday and it never fails at the oddest times that something will happen or be said to bring my thoughts back to you. It is that heartstring that attaches my heart to yours and although you are not here anymore, it still tugs away.I have been writing your story of course. Well, the story I know of you. It has not been easy, but it has helped to heal my heart a bit. I am trying everyday to remember you with gladness and with less pain in my heart. Sometimes its hard but we are determined to push on to a day that we can remember you and only smile. Your Daddy, brother, and I talk about you so often still. I try to mention all the positive and delightful things about you I can so that we will not remember all those sad moments. I show Ethan your pictures and then we look at his baby pictures and we talk about what you both were like as babies. I make jokes about how you both came out crying... although your cries were a little delayed. I asked him if he knew what kind of car you drive and told him you get to drive a cloud up in heaven. He sleeps with Sprinkles almost everynight and he asks at least a few times a week where you are. We try to always tell him the same thing but in different ways so that he can learn to understand. We tell him that your old body is in the cemetary and your spirit is in Heaven with Jesus. We tell him you dont have any pain anymore. We tell him you never cry or are sad. He says he is sad. He just misses you. We tell him we miss you too.Six months sure isnt very long, is it baby girl? Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago. I think about holding you in my arms in those last moments, about cuddling you in your isolete, about singing to you in the womb.... I still wish to fall asleep and dream of you at night........ maybe tonight will be the night eh?I love you dearest. My little one.Be careful driving that cloud around :) You are probably the youngest driver ever!!!
Love always and forever and ever with a big kiss and a cherry on top!


Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Waiting- Faith's Story Part III

Now that we knew about Faith's diagnosis, we began to pray and wait. And learn as much as we could. I joined a message board with other trisomy families. I studied and studied the stories of other children born with trisomy 13- looking for a link, a similarity, something.I tried to return to work as normal as possible. Somedays I would cry quietly at my desk. Or cry during my drive between stores. And Faith began to kick and move. In those moments I held her so tight. I would sit still as long as I could and talk to her, sing to her, and just feel her move. It was a dark time though. We knew there was a good chance that she could die in utero- stop growing. I could go into early labor- any day. I tried to remain hopeful everyday. I hoped and prayed for our little girl so ferverently!!!It was hard to stay upbeat though. Cliff and I were having difficult conversations I had never imagined I would ever have. Conversations about her care.. about what our life would be like..... and asking questions.... What if? What if Faith dies? What will we do?We cried everytime we entered these conversations... we could barely get the words out.... but we pushed forward and tried to prepare. I began to grow depressed. Faith's growth began to slow down and I was placed on bed rest. OH HOW DARK WERE THOSE DAYS. Suddenly my life grew very still. Ethan would still go to Aunt Serene's so I could rest during the day. I tried to sleep as much as I could. I was so lonely. I was used to being so busy. At work I would come in contact with many people everyday. I had very few visitors. I think I could count all the visits I had in that last month on one hand or two hands. I couldnt sleep at night...... I would stay awake until the early morning praying and quoting any bible verse or song I knew to pass the time. I cried rivers of tears. I was trying to stay strong but I didnt know how we could face this- how we could do this. I still don't. In the darkest moments I would sing out one song " Be thou my vision" I would sing it to Faith, sing out to God, and pray for strength, pray that my heart be focused on God alone. I wondered everyday so many times a day " will I meet my daughter?" "will I get to hold her while she is alive?" " will my daughter make it?" " can I give her the care she needs?" " Can I do this?" At night, when I couldnt sleep I would slip out of bed as soundlessly as possible so I didnt wake Cliff and I would slouch down the hall to the study. I cried out to God so many times as I sat in the dark in that room. I cried for Faith,I cried for Cliff and Ethan, I cried for strength, but most of all I cried that God's will be done and that I could accept that. My heartache was so strong it was physical. My heart literally ached inside my chest. I thought it could rip in two.Still I had moments of great faith. Moments that brought me peace. I know God gave me those moments of relief ALWAYS when I needed them most... always after I felt the most broken. I knew that God would hold us. That he would guide us as we walked this journey. That he was in control. And eventually the time came after all the waiting......... to deliver our baby girl....

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Specialist- Faith's Story Part II

We went to see the Specialist on March 26th. We had to wait 2 weeks from the initial call from Dr Smithton becuase the specialist didnt have any available appointments. I even called around to several other specialists to see if ANYONE could fit us in. After what seemed like an eternity, we went in on March 26th. Little would I know that this short 2 week wait would seem so very little compared to the waiting ahead. Cliff's parents came with us to the first appointment with the specialist and this started a trend. From this point on they were by our sides and at every appointment for the rest of the baby's life. We started the appointment with Dr. Elimian by having the best ultrasound ever. The technician was highly skilled and looked at every part of the baby. He confirmed that we were having a girl( although he also said it was hard to tell) and he showed us the giant "O"( this is what we began to refer to the Omphalocele as) Dr Elimian strongly encouraged an amnio becuase there was a 33% chance that our baby girl had a chromosome disorder. He did it right there on the the spot and they inserted a giant needle into my belly while he watched on ultrasound to make sure he didnt hit the baby. She did a funny thing as we watched the ultrasound. She swam over to where the needle had been inserted and put her hand up to the hole to feel for what had come in. I knew she was a smart little girl from the very start!Dr Elimian scheduled us for a follow up the day after Easter- 2 weeks away. We were told the amnio results could take 2 weeks to come back or they could be back sooner but we would go over them at the next appt. We went home with our hopes high and started another wait. I researched Omphalocele's as much as I could to prepare for the next visit and to decide on treatment for our baby girl. I learned that if she had chromosome problems she could have a severe type of trisomy such as trisomy 18 or 13. The majority of sites I visited assured that a baby that had this would be born severely mentally retarded and severely physically disabled. The sites said the baby would most likely die within a year. During this time Cliff asked if we could name our little girl Faith. "WE will need great faith to get through this" He said. I agreed. Our baby had a name.On the Friday before Easter I was off work. Ethan was staying with Mimi and Papa and I was beside myself wondering about Faith. It had been almost 2 weeks and the results werent in. I decided to call the genetics lab. They had to look around for her results and said they would call back. They called back a little while later. They told me Faith did test positive for a Trisomy. 13 but the cells were mosaic. Again I was in shock and didnt know what that meant. I wrote it all down. The genetic counselor asked what I was thinking? "How are you feeling? What are your questions" and talked in a very soothing and soft voice. I just repeated what he had told me about the test results and got off the phone. I got online to look up Mosaic Trisomy 13. I was shocked. I called Cliff crying at work and asked him to come home. He asked me why and I told him the initial results. He drove home in a wild state I am certain. We began to research Faith's condition. It was scary. As sites predicted mental retardation, possible miscarraige at anytime. Less than a month of life was projected outside the womb. We found one site that gave a ray of hope. There were children that were living with Trisomy 13. Children that went to school. Some children that danced and played sports. We printed off everything we had and decided to go home to Cliff's parents for Easter. We prepared as much data as we could to share with them. The drive to Elgin was long. The weekend was long. Everyone tried to remain in high spirits but it was difficult. I had to go off to myself several times to cry. I didnt know how we could make it. I didnt know how we could do it. I began to pray earnestly. Faith was now kicking and moving and with each Kick I held her so tightly in my stomach. "stay strong" I whispered. "I love you!"On Monday we went to the specialist with Cliff's parents. He went over the results with us and advised that we could still terminate the pregnancy. He said that due to her condition she was not going to be viable with life. I pulled out the papers from the website. I told him she could live. This was the closest I came to having an outright arguement with a medical professional. He left to have the nurse check my stats and came back in. He said he just wanted to be sure that we wanted to continue with the pregnancy considering the odds. That after 24 weeks we couldnt change our mind. Cliff and I reassured him that we would not be changing our minds. We will carry her as long as God allows!