Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why do bad things happen?

This is the resounding question. I have come across it over and over theses last few days. If God is so good, why did this happen to me? I believe the answer is because we live in a fallen world. Bad things do not happen because of God, they happen because sin exists and has since the beginning. I am not saying if you sin your baby will die or because I sinned my baby died.  I do not believe that for one minute. In fact, John 9 dispels such a misconception.
1And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
What I am saying is that because Adam and Eve were given a free choice and decided to eat that forbidden fruit, they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and thus made mortal. Being mortal means that they were subject to death. So when the bible says that The wages of sin is death, I think that means because we were made mortal due to sin, we are subject to death. In that same verse though it says but the gift of God is eternal life. That is my favorite part of that verse. That means one day I will see Jesus, I will see Eli and all of the others gone on before. That is God's promise to us if we accept it.
What God does not promise us is that we will not have storms in our life. He does not promise us continuous warm fuzzies. To tell the truth, I have felt anything but warm and fuzzy these last seven months. What I have felt is broken...torn...crazy at times...carried...shielded. God is no fairy tale, modern day OR medieval Robin Hood. Just like Satan is no pitchfork carrying, cartoon creature with horns and a tail. Sometimes I think what we want from God is all the good he has to offer without having to deal with the reality of God. I say we there because I have fallen into that more than once.
So, what is the reality of God? The reality is that He put us here to glorify him and to bring others to him. Why do parents have children? To carry on their name. We were put here to carry on God's name. Now, just like parents love their children, God loves us. Love does not automatically mean we get any and everything we want.
Let me tell you, yesterday was one of those days around my house. The boys could not go out and play because we had a good bit of thunder and lightening. So, they were bored. Bored children (boys especially) equal messes...everywhere. Every time I looked up I had to pick up shoes from the middle of the floor or toys were scattered or there were pop tart crumb trails everywhere. By days end I was frustrated and yep, I'm gonna say it...ready for bedtime. Then later on, of course, I felt bad because I sat and thought, "sure wished that I had a screaming baby in the mix of all of that..." Well anyway, I thought about how frustrated I was because the boys and little miss LR did not offer to help clean up any of THEIR messing. Even when I made them pick up, they did not do it like I would. I wonder if God ever feels that way with us? Even when He is frustrated with us, His love is continuous.
Even though He loves us, He does not say we will never go through trials. I have been thinking a lot about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three fellows were very smart, good looking, and well favored. Because of this they were taken prisoner by King Nebuchadnezzar and made to do things they knew were wrong. Nebuchadnezzar tried to make these guys bow down and worship a golden image but they refused. As a result of their refusal, Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into a fiery furnace. A furnace that was so hot it burned up soldiers that were near it. These men did not die in that furnace. Instead, God walked into the furnace with them and protected them. Nebuchadnezzar even saw God in the furnace with the three boys. There were four people in the fire when he looked instead of the three he knew were thrown in. Better still than that, these men were unharmed. God did not keep them from being thrown into the fire, but he did protect them from it. I fully believe that He could have shut down the furnace and  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would never have even gone into the fire. But he chose not to. Rather, He chose to show up in the fire with them and protect them.
I can not say for sure, but would be willing to venture a strong guess that these boys prayed desperately for God to spare them from that furnace. I can imagine that they begged God not to make them go through this. I also would venture to say that until they saw God in that furnace with them, they felt forsaken.
There have been times since we found out about Eli and lost him that I have felt forsaken. There are times now when I feel thrown into the furnace. I guess because we prayed so hard for him to be healed and that did not happen. My arms ache to hold him.  I ache to have him here. I believe in the power of prayer even still. So, what is different? Now I believe that God answers prayers, just not always like we think they should be. God sees the big picture and we do not. Okay, so Eli is not here with me, but he is healed. Eli will never have to worry about living in a fallen world. He will never have to worry about sin or the evil that exists here. He knows only beauty and love. What more could any parent want for their child? It depends on what me you ask. The part of me that misses holding and loving on him, the selfish part, says that I want him right here. The part of me that knows he knows NO pain, says until we meet again...

Now I must go continue to clean up pop tart crumb and toy trails which lead to a fort the boys have built in their room. I sure miss that screaming baby to complete my picture of joyful chaos.

Also, thanks to Penny, I have added more beautiful pictures to Eli's name gallery.
Much love,

Friday, June 25, 2010

In your mind's eye

We talked about heaven tonight at dinner. It was fun to listen to the kids talk about what they think heaven will be like. Truth is, no one really knows and that is just how God wants it. I'm alright with surprises for the most part. We always have favorite part of the day or favorite something time at dinner. Tonight's question from Cooper was what is your favorite picture in the house, which is in complete disarray much to my dismay. We are painting. My split pea green is going away :(, being replaced with a much more subdued color. Anyhow, back to Coop's question.  We all agreed that our favorite picture is this one.
It is the only picture of our entire family that we have. I love the tenderness on the boy's faces. This question turned from talking about pictures, to talking about Eli and then talking about heaven. Jay thinks Eli is probably fishing in heaven tonight. The conversation went from Eli fishing to are there fish in heaven...will we eat in heaven...will we sleep in heaven...Will mama and daddy live together in heaven (which I have a tough time with because the thought of not spending eternity with Jamie as my husband tears me up) and on and on. Jay suggested that we could just have sleep overs if we all did not live together. Ahh the minds of eight year olds. I think all of us have a picture in our mind's eye of heaven. My picture is a place of indescribable beauty. A calm, serene place that never knows darkness, complete with beaches, mountains and lush vegetation. Of course it's roads are paved with gold and there are many, many mansions. This makes me think of the song Mansions Over the Hilltop.

I'm looking forward to that mansion over the hilltop. I'm looking forward to falling at my God's feet and worshiping him face to face. I'm looking forward to seeing Eli and maybe fishing with him...for sure putting my arms around him and kissing his beautiful face. I long for the day that God wipes the tears from my eyes, never more to return. There are so many unknowns in this life...We are not guaranteed anything here on earth. We are however guaranteed eternity if we accept it.
How sweet it is!
Much love,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Four Months in the arms of Jesus

I remember the exact moment Jamie put Eli in my arms four months ago today.The moment will forever remain a memory. The time on the clock was somewhere between 6:40 and 6:45 the evening of February 21st. Eli came into this world at 4:47 and went straight to the NICU. I can see it like it was moments ago, Jamie walking into that room holding my sweet little fella. I can feel it like it was moments ago, Jamie putting him into my arms. I absolutely have no recollection of what I said to him, in fact, I had to ask Jamie what I said to him.  At one point I was afraid that I did not tell him how very much I love him. I knew I had but just did not have a visual memory of it. Jamie was there right beside me and he assured me I did. I am not sure why my mind blocked this out. It is crazy, I remember so many things but not that. I do remember when Jamie walked in the room with him and the way he grunted. He grunted several times, never any cries, just grunts and wiggles. I should say never any cries around me. Jamie said he did whimper a little when he was first born. But those grunts...they are precious. The grunts with a few wiggles was all he had left to give. Some days remembering those grunts and wiggles is what gets me by...remembering just how my arms felt with him in them. After a few grunts and very few wiggles he got so still. I knew then...I knew he had met the angels and was on his way to meet Jesus. I had him cradled in my left arm with Jamie sitting right beside his little head. He just went...there was no struggle, no fighting for a breath...just peace...calm...quiet...stillness...
About five or ten minutes later his  nurse came in and I put him up on my shoulder.  She raised his gown and place the stethoscope on his back and listened. She then shook her head at me and whispered "He's gone."  He was gone, but I knew that already. In fact, when she came in and told me that she needed to check him I told her there was not much going on.
The grief is not as intense today as it was four months ago, but the longing to hold him is greater. The memories are not a sharp as they were and that worries me, but  I guess that goes along with healing. I can't smell him anymore, that sweet sent of a baby. I have his bonnet that still smells of him, so I take it out and smell of it from time to time. I have the blanket that he was wrapped in and it still bears his blood stains. I have our pictures that I look at daily. I am scared of forgetting. It frightens me.
He's gone...

Much love,  

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Part III - The Daddy

As a little girl, I had an idea of the man I wanted to marry one day. He would be handsome, gentle, hard working, a prince among men, and above all a great daddy! It is no secret that little girls plan all of these things out well before they are old enough to actually get married. Her husband, her wedding, her house, how many children would be running around her house, what those children will be named, and every other minute detail of her life are written for no one to see in that journal she keeps in here mind. Sometimes she will doodle these thoughts on paper, but not often. I do not know about you, but my journal is full!
I knew what I wanted in my man and a good daddy was right up there at the top of my list. Jamie is a wonderful father to all of his children.
When Jamie and I first began talking about how many children we wanted and so forth and such, he made it very clear that he ONLY wanted boys because the thought of a teenage girl scares him out of his wits. So when we found out that Jay was a boy he was able to breath easy (until Jay started walking running around). Then we got pregnant with Cooper. I picked on Jamie quite often telling him that God was going to give him his little girl this time. Then we found out he indeed was a boy. Jamie was able to breath another huge sigh of relief. We were two for two at this point and then we got pregnant with Lucie Rose. If any of you doubt whether or not God has a sense of humor, I promise you he does. Jamie was so sure that he only had the ability to produce y chromosomes. He literally made Michelle, the u/s tech, check over and over again to see if there was anything she was missing. Life as he knew it was about to change. I do not think he had any idea just how quickly a little girl would capture his heart and wrap him around her little finger. I don't think I knew how fast a baby girl would steal his heart either. I am still so amazed at the difference he makes over her and the boys. Of course I have two mama's boys and he now has a definite daddy's girl. Every afternoon when he gets home, she gets her daddy time. She sits right up under him and they watch AFV. If I even think of coming close to sitting in "her" place she will tell me that I am in her way. From the man that didn't want boys...he eats it up. He also loves helping with the boys sports teams. Even during tax season when he is working a bazillion hours a week he finds time to help with their activities. He is a man who loves his children and loves to make sure they know it. He tucks the kiddos in every night and makes it a point to tell them he loves them. We have family dinner just about every night. During this time we always talk about our day. We tell our favorite part of the day, our most interesting part of the day, and sometimes even our worst part of the day. Jamie started this just to be able to know what his children were up to each day. It is now a must with every dinner. LR will not let us forget it.
When I was pregnant with Jay, every night Jamie would rub my belly and get him stirred up. He would talk to him and love only the way a father can. The day our little Jay was born Jamie was so excited. It was a long labor and finally around 5:30 am the next day our little guy was born. You should have seen the proud father holding his infant son. It was so amazing. Then ten months later we got pregnant with Cooper. Coop was and is a stubborn little fella. He decided he wanted to come six weeks early and we put him off with meds for about two more weeks. At 36 weeks our little Coop bug came into this world screaming and weighing 7 pounds 2 ounces. Once again Jamie was such a proud papa. Jamie was working full time and in school full time during this period and I know he was worn out. He never complained. He just picked up and did what any father would do. Then in 2007 we found out that we would welcome another little one into our family. This pregnancy was my easiest by far, if you exclude the 107 degree temperatures that summer. Lucie Rose was born in August. Jamie could not have been more doting than he was and still is of his baby girl. He was right by my side during all of our births. He has been just an amazingly loving father. He does it all... midnight feedings, baths, diaper changes, right there with me. When the kids wake up in the middle of the night and call for daddy, he goes.
Then we got pregnant with Eli. You want to measure the worth of a father? Here is an appropriate measure. Jamie has always taken an active part of my pregnancies. He has gone to every doctor visit, enjoyed feeling them kick and all of the fun things associated with being pregnant. Nothing was different about Eli's pregnancy until 20 weeks. When we found out our world would come tumbling down. Jamie stepped up even further. That first week after Eli's diagnosis, I did not cope very well. Jamie kind of had to play mama and daddy. He was crushed too but he did not stop. He literally kept me going as well as everything else. When the kids were at school, we would just hold each other and cry. He tried to make sure I was eating because he knew Eli needed nurishment. He took care of so much. I remember the first time he felt Eli kick. Because there was no fluid, movement was a great deal more pronounced. I have a very vivid picture in my mind of Jamie's face that night that I will never forget. It was pure bliss. This baby that would not make it outside of my womb was wowing us with his ability to fight. We developed our routine where once the kids were in bed we would lay on the couch with my head in Jamie's lap and he would rub my belly and get his "Eli time". Then in the mornings before anyone else, Jamie would get up, take his shower, then come and sit in the bed and wake me up so I could lay my head in his lap again so he could get some more "Eli time". We would spend time like this for about 30 minutes each morning. Those times were precious and I miss them. He still gets up early and I still lay my head in his lap, but I miss the "Eli time". Twelve weeks after we found out about Eli, he was born. This day Eli's father was a one to be proud of. He never left my side except to suit up for the OR. Once Eli was born, Jamie had to do one of the hardest things a father could ever do. He had to make decisions that only God could have directed him to make. Jamie became my hero that day. Other than doctors and nurses, he was the first to hold him. He held him long enough to walk down the hallway of the hospital, let his brothers take a peek at him and place him in my arms. He was right by my side when Eli slipped from this earth. He held him, loved on him, sang to him, talked to him, bathed him, dressed him, swaddled him in a blanket and ultimately did something I would never have been able to do in a million years. He handed his tiny little body to the man from the funeral home. I can not even imagine how difficult that was for him. He knew I couldn't, so he selflessly did it instead.
On Wednesday of that week, we got to go and spend some time with Eli's body. This I will never as long as I live forget. We were both so nervous. We were unsure of how he would look and the grief was more intense than you could ever imagine. He was still beautiful by the way. He looked like a little old man laying there. The first thing Jamie did was walk up to him so tenderly and pick him up and say "hey bud". He just held him close for a few minutes and then brought him to me. I do not know who was shaking more, me or Jamie. Neither of us thought we would ever get to hold him again after Sunday night or early Monday morning. Then Saturday we had Eli's funeral. We had decided that we would close his casket and not open it back up this day, but I had to hold him one more time. Jamie did too. So, after all of the visitors and family had been seated in the chapel, we decided to say our goodbyes once more. Jamie picked him up again and brought him to me at which point I just fell to pieces. This was by all means the hardest thing we have ever done. Then once I had said my very final goodbye, Jamie took him and cradled him in his arms and told him goodbye. He walked over and placed his tiny little body back in this casket. Then he kissed him. This man that will forever more be a hero to me was the last person on this earth to hold our little Eli.
I could go on and on about what a great man Jamie is. There are so many stories to tell. I know he is an amazing father. I just wanted you to know also!
Happy Father's Day Jamie Hill!

Much Love,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Music To My Soul

How is it that music can speak to the very depths of our soul? I can hear a song and cry, laugh, sing along, smile, or even tap my toes. Dancing, not so much. I have a LITTLE bit of a rhythm, umm... issue. Babies love music as much as adults. It is often used to lull them off to sleep. The emotional response to music is born with us. Even en utero babies respond to music. I remember having an assembly at school when I was still pregnant with Eli and the Troy University Pep band came to play for us. It literally felt like Eli was dancing a jig in my belly. He would calm to the sweet rhythm of his daddy's voice. My heart beat a cadence that was familiar to him, all of these things like music to his tiny little ears. I can only imagine the beautiful music he listens to now.
I digress...wistfully.
God has used music to comfort me and calm me so many times during this journey we are on. I remember the drive home from our first trip to Birmingham. I was not at all paying attention to what was on the radio and about 3/4 of the way home I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin came on the radio. It was the first time I had ever heard that song. I just listened and let the music and message wash over me. I was emotionally spent with new waves of grief flowing over me constantly. This is the day we found out that Eli would only have a less than 10% chance of living outside of my womb. Dr. B. actually told us things were bleak. I have heard that song countless times since then randomly. Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath is another one that I believe God has used to provide comfort. The kiddos affectionately call that song Eli's song. They get excited when it comes on the radio.  Who am I by Casting Crowns has a message that I have loved to listen to. Of course I Will Carry You by Selah, which was written by a grieving mother of a Potter's Syndrome baby, is one that is so very special. That is the first song we had played at Eli's funeral along with Amazing Grace, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Be Still my Soul and Great is Thy Faithfulness. I know that sounds like a lot, but music really ministers to both Jamie and me.
Most if not all songs were written through some season in the writer's life. We had two congregational songs at Eli's funeral. They were Amazing Grace and What a Friend We Have in Jesus. It was sweet music to my ears to hear everyone singing those songs that day. Amazing Grace was written by John Newton in 1773. Talk about timeless, this one seems to span the ages. Newton actually worked on a slave ship and during one of his voyages the vessel he was on got caught in a storm. Newton thought he would not make it off that ship and cried out to God to have mercy on him. He eventually changed his ways, studied theology and wrote this song to illustrate a sermon he would preach. The song was based on his life experiences. What a Friend We Have in Jesus was written by Joseph Scriven who lived in Canada. His fiance was killed the night before his wedding and his mother lived an ocean away. He wrote this song about his life experiences, for his mother. Great is Thy Faithfulness was written in the early 1900's by Thomas Chisholm. Again, he wrote this song because of life experiences and the realization of God's awesome faithfulness. Be Still My Soul, probably one of my favorite hymns, was written in 1752 by Katharina Von Schlegel. It was written based on Psalm 46:10 during a spiritual revival of congregational singing in Germany. Who Am I was written by Mark Hall. This song came to him while driving his family home one evening in Alabama of all places. He was worshiping God on that drive and this song was formed in his mind.
So many songs...so many stories. Each of them bear a message that God has used over and over, for many people. These songs are someone's heart poured out on paper.  When you add a beautiful melody to a sweet message or sad story it captures our attention. It whispers to our soul. When my emotions are at their rawest, I will often hear a song that soothes and comforts them. I have had a few friends share songs with me, it seems, when I needed them the most.
Music is mentioned throughout the bible. Honestly, I think if it is mentioned that much, we should take note of its importance.
Psalm 32:7
7Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
Psalm 28:7
7The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
Psalm 89:1
1I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to
all generations.
Psalm 118:14 
14The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
Of course Psalm is not the only book of the bible where music is written about. I just think these verses are beautiful and relevant to my journey. I say my journey, really it is our journey. So many people are walking in this valley with me. I know there are others who have been comforted by music. Tell me about it. Leave a comment telling me about a time God used music to minister to your soul. I look forward to reading your comments on this one!
As a side note, the song playing first on my playlist is one of Jamie's current favorites. He heard this song not too long before Eli was born and shared it with me.
Much love,

Friday, June 11, 2010

Going back

I have been thinking a lot about going to the hospital where Eli was born and talking with our nurses...maybe visiting our room if it is not occupied. Then last night a friend of mine who has lost a baby messaged me. Her message was timely in that she expressed the same thoughts about visiting her room. Her message really floored me simply because this has been on my mind.
I then got to thinking...what is it about a cold hospital that makes us mothers want to go back and visit. Hospitals are a place of sickness and often death...sometimes healing... and even sometimes new life. The LDR ward can be one of the happiest places in the hospital, but it can also be one of the saddest. I really have no clue how many times the medical staff in LDR see mothers and fathers lose their babies. I would venture to say that they see more babies that do make it than not. They still have to be prepared for those times that babies are lost.
I know that not every experience with medical staff is positive and that truly grieves me. I can not imagine why anyone would not give grieving parents the respect and support that they need during such a time. That being said, we were very blessed to have some wonderful and terrific support when we lost Eli. I know that my doctor smoothed a great deal of the way for us. He made plans and talked with the staff at the hospital just so they would know what they were dealing with. He stayed with my family until he was called away to deliver another baby. He gave updates about Eli and me to those waiting. He talked with the Neonatologist and Jamie concerning Eli. He just went above and beyond. But you know, as much as he did to prepare and smooth the way, there was no way for him to guarantee the way others would respond to our situation.
When a baby dies it is difficult and uncomfortable for the medical staff also. I think that is the line where professional courtesy and compassion meet.
I remember so many things that the nurses and hospital staff did to make our situation easier on us. It really all began here in Troy.
That Sunday afternoon when Jamie and I arrived at the Troy ER those nurses jumped into action. We went in to the ambulance bay because I was afraid to walk. Everyone was shocked to see us there, but knew by the way we took that turn on two wheels it meant there was something going on. There is no L&D here at the Troy hospital, but I was in the midst of a situation where I thought I needed immediate help. I remember that there was one male nurse and several women and of course the ER doctor. The male nurse helped me on the stretcher there at the ambulance bay but I think from that point on it was just women (aside from the doctor). I was upset and crying and it all seems like such a whirlwind. I do however remember those ladies trying to calm me down and being so compassionate. I have since talked with one of the nurses that was there that day and she did tell me that the two main nurses on my case really rallied to have me taken to Montgomery for Eli's delivery. We were unaware that it was even questioned. It warms my heart that those women were looking out for my family that day. They really were just great! I can not say enough good things. There were women on the ambulance that transported me, one that had lost a baby herself. I do remember that I was really self conscience about flashing people while being transported. I am not sure why that was on my mind at the time, but it was. That is me, ever modest. They  made sure I was sufficiently covered. The doctor that rode with us, who is the chief of the ER was such a quiet comfort. He did not have too much to say, but just him taking his time to ride means so much. Even if we did have to stop along US 231 to pick him up in the median. Leave it to God to provide comic relief. Not that I laughed about it then, but I see the humor now. During this time Eli was alive, but I knew the end was drawing near and I was a wreck. I just remember saying to Jamie over and over, "I am not ready yet." I wasn't, but I never would have been either.
Once we made it to Montgomery, Dr. K., my L&D nurse, the neonatologist, and anesthesiologist were all waiting. We kind of had a conference so Dr. K. could explain the game plan to Jamie and me. This is really the only time that I had any cross moments with anyone. I pretty much knew at this point that I would have to have a c-section. What I did not realize was that I would have to be put to sleep. This was so not alright with me and I voiced that. That is when the anesthesiologist spoke up and told me that I did not have a choice in the matter in just those exact words. Really, because last I checked, I had to sign off allowing you to put me to sleep. Those were my thoughts that I kept to myself. I just cried more. I don't think she realized that that might be the only chance I would get to see my baby alive. I did not keep that to myself. Once that was explained she back off. She even helped me take my jewelry off and offered her camera phone for pictures. I honestly do not think she knew the situation she was dealing with. When I got to the OR, I had a different anesthesiologist. I am not really sure why.  I did not ask for a different one. This guy was really great. I could not stop the tears and he just rubbed my shoulder and let me cry. Then I went to sleep.
When I woke up, I was in recovery with some really great ladies. The first thing they did was assure me that Eli was alive and fighting. They did not know that I had not had an epidural until I told them I felt like my insides were fixing to tumble out. I also told them that I did not want any medication that would make me go to sleep or be out of it. I would just rather be in pain if it meant that I would remember and enjoy any time I would get with Eli. They also did not realize that he would not live until I told them. I do not know how many nurses typically transport patients from recovery to their room.  I had I know at least three. They hung out with me and tried to make me comfortable until Jamie came to the room. The one nurse who was with me when I woke up told me that she would be praying and thinking about us.
The nursery nurses were so, so, so fabulous. My mom told me that Eli's nurse never stopped working with him. She told me she rubbed on him trying to stimulate him, talked to him, and just showed so much tenderness. Jamie said when he went in the first time to see him, he was unsure of what to do, but she encouraged him to talk to him and touch him. Eli did rally for a little while. His oxygen level went up to 80% and his coloring got better. They had called the Angel One unit from across town to come in hopes that Eli could be transported to a better NICU. By this time though the neonatologist had done xrays of his little lungs and they knew there was little if any development. It was just a matter of time for our little fellow. So, his nurse dressed him, did the handprint molds, weighed and measured him, and then called me to tell me he was ready for mama to love on him a while. I never got to meet this nurse, but I want to so badly.
This was all right in the middle of shift change so the new nurses came in to introduce themselves and we met Eli's  nurse "E" and my nurse who I have known for years and years. She was also my nurse when I had LR.
The first thing Eli's nurse had to do that night was tell us that he had no heartbeat. I know that was not easy on her. She also prayed with us. She was God sent that night.
We had a great deal of family and friends there so we were put on a hall by ourselves. That was really a good thing. The nurses did talk with Jamie about how WE wanted to handle everyone seeing Eli and they were great to clear the path for our wishes.
I would have two nurses during my stay in the hospital. My nighttime nurse "L" is the one that is a friend. She and "E" were so great to Jamie and I the night Eli passed away. They were not afraid to share their emotions with us and that means the world to grieving parents. I know at some point during the night, my L&D nurse came back in to tell us that she thought what we had done for Eli was the right thing to do and that we would be in her prayers. My daytime nurse "P" was so sweet also. Once she removed my IV she helped me get up and tidy up a bit. She found a toothbrush and deoderant for me, and just went out of her way to help. She would come in and straighten my room and just talk some. The ladies that delivered the meals discovered that I really liked the cranberry juice and crushed ice so they would bring in several of them at a time and make sure I had plenty of ice. Food was not something that I even wanted to look at but the juice was great. If I could have smuggled some home I would have because it just does not taste the same from the store.
The second night we were there, I just could not stop sobbing. "L" would come in and try to comfort me. She made plenty of coffee for Jamie and let him know when it was fresh. Bless her heart she gave me her scrunchy for my hair. They were all so patient and compassionate. They gave from their hearts.
The last person I had contact with before we left the hospital was the sweet lady that wheeled me out with empty arms and sobs. I will never forget her saying that she had requested to wheel me out. She was there the night Eli died and did not get to come in so she wanted to do this. She wanted to tell us how touched she was by Eli's birth and death and that she would be praying for us. It was so difficult to leave the room where my son had taken his last breath but we had to.
So, yeah I have an aching need to go back and see that room and those people. They are what surrounded us along with family and friends during the most diffucult time of our lives.
I know this has been and extraordinarily long post and I have more than likely rambled quite a bit but I needed to write this out. I needed to remember.
Much love,

Friday, June 4, 2010

His resting place

We went to visit Eli's resting place yesterday. Honestly, I hate the thought of his little body in the ground. When he was first placed in the earth, I would sit and imagine that he was cold and that thought about drove me crazy. I remember in the hospital when I first got him, he was so warm. Once he went to his heavenly home, it did not take long for his little body to get cold. We kept him swaddled in a blanket because the thought of him getting cold was just too much. Babies are supposed to be warm. Babies aren't supposed to die...
But the reality is, they do. Ours did. I hate it..it hurts.
The monument company called to tell us that Eli's marker was in place. So Jamie and I went to see it yesterday afternoon when he got home from work.

The footprints are actually Eli's. They took copies of his prints and sandblasted them in.
I wished that I could say something meaningful here, like LR is pointing to heaven where her brother really is. But... she spotted an airplane and was showing that to us. It is still a cute picture.

This is a community cemetary. He is not out here alone as it appears here.

In fact, there are way too many young people resting out here.
Directly in front of Eli rests Mitch. Mitch is my 1st cousin. There were four of us growing up in a small, tight knit community. We were like brothers and sisters. It was Ray Wilkes, Mitch, Jennifer (me), and Beverly. We were as thick as thieves, inseparable. I remember when Mitch and Beverly moved away. It was like taking a brother and sister from us. Mitch moved back when he was in college. He was 24 when he died. It was June 5, 1997, just five days after Jamie and I were married. In fact, the last pictures taken of him are the day of our wedding. He was killed in a tragic accident at the saw mill his daddy took over after my grandfather died. All that is left of our four is Beverly and I. Beverly did all of the music at Eli's funeral. She is amazingly talented. David, Mitch and Beverly's daddy, is a preacher. He delivered the most beautiful message at Eli's funeral. David and my daddy are brothers.
Beside Mitch is my granddaddy, Ray Floyd Sr. He lost his battle to cancer in June of 1993. He was the kindest, most gentle, hardest working man you have ever met. Then beside My granddaddy is Ray Wilkes Floyd III. I have told you about him. 
In front of Ray Wilkes is Leslie. She is another cousin who was raised in our little community. She was killed at the age of 19 in a horse riding accident. She passed away just six months before Ray Wilkes. Leslie was the oldest of us cousins. Leslie loved children, so I imagine she is loving on Eli daily. In fact after she died, we talked about how all of the little babies and small children in heaven were in for a treat with Leslie. She would love and care for them so wonderfully. Not only was she a sweet heart, she was beautiful. 
If it seems to you that our family has been through the fire, that is because we have. Sometimes it feels like we are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. But, you can not live your life that way. We just have to rely on God, HEAVILY! The great thing is that no matter how heavy we lean on Him, He is strong enough to bear it. I have had so many people tell me that God will not put more on you than you can handle.  That is such a false statement, because believe me when I say...I can not handle much. However, I do believe that God will not put more on me than He can handle. He is my strength, my shield, my comforter.
Psalm 28:7
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

Much love with a heavy heart,