Saturday, July 31, 2010

Movie night

I heart Netflix!!!
Our DVD player has been on the outs for a few days, so we just turn on the Wii and stream Netflix through that! Also, they don't get mad and make ugly phone calls when you forget to turn in a movie. I know we kept three movies for three for four months at one point. They were so patient with our scatterbrains. They just did not send us more until we put those back in the mail. Back to the DVD player...I figured out why it was not working. For some odd reason, like a 2 1/2 year old, there was a baby wipe stuffed in the VCR part of it. Once I figured that out and removed it...Wa-la... it works again. Good thing too, we were going through major Toy Story withdrawals. To infinity and beyond was not constantly running through my head. Yep, I actually caught myself telling Jamie I loved him to infinity and beyond one day. He promptly informed me that Toy Story needed to be hidden for a few days. Come to think of it...maybe he stuffed the baby wipe in the VCR. Surely not...
Anyway, now that the DVD player is up and running again we planned on family movie night tonight. It is great. We spread a huge blanket out on the floor, pile pillow and blankets down there, and get all comfy. Not so comfy as to not enjoy the Ben and Jerry's though. It's ice cream instead of popcorn around here. I figure that if I am going to spend the calories anyhow, I might as well do it without having to pick kernels from my teeth. I know, I know...TMI.  Well movie night did not work out with the boys tonight. They decided that they wanted to go spend the night with my parents and go to the farm with Papa tomorrow. So, it was just Jamie, LR, and me. And....we were out of Ben and Jerry's. So, we opted to settle for a blizzard from Dairy Queen instead. Reese's peanut butter cup, of course. Once all of the business at hand was taken care of, it was movie time. We decided to see a movie that I have been putting off for months, The Blind Side. Before you wrinkle your brow at me, let me just say, I have not been able to bring myself to watch it. I was afraid I would cry through the entire movie. I just have not been able to watch anything too heavy. Toy Story is about as heavy as it gets besides Food Network around here...and well House Hunters. So, I told myself that tonight would be as good a night as any to test the waters with a not so light hearted movie... and the other choices were Chipmunks and 2012. I am glad we finally watched it. It is an amazing and uplifting story. Yes, there were a few tears, but no sobs. I did not even need a tissue. I am proud of me. I just loved Sandra Bullock's character in that movie. She was really funny.
Tonight was a good night. I missed my boys, but I am sure they did not miss me.
I must leave you with another little funny tonight. Lucie Rose can be so darn funny sometimes.  She is bossy for sure! She was in a sassy mood a couple of days ago and she decided she did not like what I was doing at the moment. So, she told me about it or corrected me. Not the funny part. I looked at her with those mama eyes. You all know the ones. We've all seen them. Anyway, in a stern voice I said, "Just who do you think you are little girl?" She replied, "I fink I Elvis." (queue laughter now). Yep, I laughed too!
I mean really, she is 2 1/2. What does she know about Elvis?
Much love,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A peek into the past

I have found myself unable to lay down and close my eyes so many nights these last few weeks. I am sitting here now thinking about birthdays. I have given birth to four babies and each time I have found that I miss having them in my belly. I miss feeling them next to my heart 24/7. I was thinking back to when Jay was born (Almost nine years ago. Where does time go?). There were so many unknowns... I was ready to have him when he came. I was done being pregnant. My rear hurt ALL of the time. It was hot. I had awful carpal tunnel in both hands. Then when I had him, I missed being pregnant like crazy. I missed feeling him kick box my ribs. I missed the hiccups. I missed everything about being pregnant. However, I had this amazing little bald headed baby to love and care for. Ten months later, I found out Cooper was on the way. Once again, I loved being pregnant. This time it was not as hot, my rear didn't hurt, and the carpal tunnel was very mild. I just enjoyed carrying him. He was very lazy and did not wiggle around too much. Wouldn't you know it, he decided to come early. I started going into labor with him at 34 weeks. I took meds to stop labor for two weeks and he finally made his appearance at 36 weeks. He has always been stubborn like that, still is. Once again I really missed being pregnant. Maybe this seems strange to some, I do not know. I can tell you having two children under 18 months is a lot easier when one is in your belly. Those were crazy days around my house. Jamie and I both worked an hour or so from home and Jamie was in school full time, at night. I still am not really sure how we maintained our sanity, except for my mom who kept the boys during the day for us and my sister who camped out with me when ever I needed her (which was often). Cooper was such a beautiful baby with a head full of dark hair and had the best temperament. He was so easy. He was sleeping all night by five weeks. Then I got pregnant with my Lucie Rose about three years later. I loved, loved, loved being pregnant again. I loved feeling her wiggle around in my belly. She was another easy pregnancy. It was beyond hot that summer. In fact the day she was born the temperature outside was a whopping 107 and we will not even talk about what the heat index was. But, I still enjoyed carrying her. Then she was born and turned out to be my easiest baby yet. She required little. She ate and slept and ate and slept. When I took her for her two week check up she wound up being put in ICU because she has Salmonella. Not really sure how or why, but she was severely dehydrated. I was nursing and she ate well but she had severe diarrhea. I called the doctor and they assured me that was normal for nursing babies. My instincts told me differently, but I assumed they knew more than me. That is really when I learned to follow my instincts more closely. I took 9 months for that ugly virus to finally leave her body. Despite all of that she was still so stinkin easy. As long as you swaddled her like a burrito she was content. Then we got pregnant with Eli. From the start this pregnancy was different. At first, I did not really know if I was pregnant or not. I spotted quite a bit and just did not feel pregnant. I was though and it was confirmed September 9, 2009. We had an ultrasound that day and I got a picture of my little butter bean. Each visit to the doctor was uneventful. I started feeling him move around 15 weeks or so. I never once realized anything was wrong until our 20 week ultrasound. Once we found out that Eli had Potter's Syndrome, we determined to make the most out of all of the time we would get with this baby. I was determined not to complain one bit because I was just thankful to have him in my belly. Jamie got to feel him move for the first time around 21 or 22 weeks. Without fluid his movements were way more pronounced. I loved everything about being pregnant with him. I will tell you that when you do not have fluid to cushion the baby, things can be quite a bit more painful. But I knew that it was worth it and even those moments of aches and pains are as precious to me now as they were then. I would have taken that and anything else just to know he was alive and close to my heart. I miss being pregnant with him more than any of my others because aside from a few minutes in my arms that is all I have from him. Lord knows I would love to be sitting here writing about colic or sleepless nights or sleeping in a hospital waiting room while my baby is in the NICU instead of missing him like crazy. I still have those phantom movements that stop me in my tracks sometimes.
As I type, I think about the two sweet mother's that gave birth today. I know they like me wished that they could have carried those little ones forever. My heart aches for them and what they have to face now. Being pregnant was so much easier than what is to come. I have prayed for them over and over today and then some more. Someone told me when I was still pregnant with Eli, that when he was born I would hold a piece of heaven in my arms and it was so true. I pray that these mamas and daddies are still holding heaven and memorizing every detail of their little ones. I also learned very quickly that when you have to stop holding heaven, heaven will hold you. My prayer for these families in the days to come is that heaven holds them close.
Much love,

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Urgent prayer request

My heart is heavy tonight for two sweet blogger mamas who will give birth to babies tomorrow.
Angelle will be giving birth to baby Alexander tomorrow. Alexander has Potter's syndrome (the same as Eli). Angelle went in for induction this afternoon. She will more than likely welcome Alexander in a few short hours and sometime thereafter hand him over to Jesus.
Melissa will give birth via planned c-section to baby Amelia tomorrow as well. Amelia has Anencephaly, which is also a fatal diagnosis.
Please lift these sweet mamas and their families up to our Lord and Savior. They are being asked to do something that no parent ever wants to face. Both of these women chose life for their babies despite receiving a fatal diagnosis. They chose to let God be the one to decide when they would be welcomed into heaven. If you get a chance and feel led, visit their sites by clicking on their highlighted names and let them know you are praying. These families need constant prayer to face the days to come.
My heart just breaks that other mamas and daddies should be faced with this.
Much love and many prayers tonight,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home is where...

...your heart is. Wow, if that is so, then mine is torn. It is in two places. It is here where my husband and three living children are along with the rest of my family. My heart is also in heaven where my Lord and my baby are. I know that I will be there in a moment...

We are home from vacation! Normally coming home is nice but sad also. Sometimes I think that I could just live at the beach and be a beach bum for...ever. Who does not love the ocean, with it's waves crashing and rolling, and the beautiful sunrise and sunsets?  The beach is God's artwork at its best. Nighttime at the beach is breathtaking... the moon reflecting off of the ocean...watching the waves roll in and wash back out, but not really seeing them.
This trip was was bittersweet. We are different now. There is a constant air of sadness that surrounds us. We do have fun and enjoy ourselves...we did this vacation. The clouds that followed us around this time had nothing to do with the weather. They are ever looming clouds. The "Sonlight" penetrates them and because of His light (love) we are able to move forward and find enjoyment, peace, relaxation.
It was a pleasure to be able to go and take our family away for a week, but it was so nice to pull into the garage in the wee hours of the morning Saturday morning.  Coming home was a relief if that makes any sense.
I think about how good it felt for me to get home Saturday morning then I try to compare it with how it must have felt for Eli when he left us and went to his heavenly home. I imagine there is not much comparison. For me coming home was nice because it meant I got to sleep in my own bed, get back to routines, be in a familiar place, sit on my couch and watch my TV, and just do mundane things like that. I do not think there was much mundane about Eli going home. What could possibly be mundane about looking at the face of Jesus...meeting Paul, Peter, John the Baptist, Abraham, Elijah...being welcomed into heaven by those gone on before...being in a place of perfect peace and rest? Makes me homesick on a whole other level just thinking about it.
These are some pictures that we took our last night at the beach. We tried to make Eli a part of it as much as possible. The teddy bear in the pictures was given to him by my Aunt Beth. We used it along with a monogrammed blanket and flowers on top of his casket at the funeral. It is Eli's bear and is special to us.
This was made with Jay's feet.

I also wanted to update everyone on baby Wyatt. Prayers were answered!! He is now home. He can not be around people and go out in public for a while, but he is home!
Also, I would like to ask for special prayers this week for the Lorang family. Melissa will give birth to Amelia this week and they are not sure how much time they will be given with sweet little Amelia. Please pray that God would give them a safe delivery and provide unending peace.

Psalm 93 1-5
1 The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The LORD is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.
2 Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.
3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD,
The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their waves.
4 The LORD on high is mightier
Than the noise of many waters,
Than the mighty waves of the sea.
5 Your testimonies are very sure;
Holiness adorns Your house,
O LORD, forever.

Much love,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Good days...Bad days

I am still at the point in this new life that I have really good days and really bad days and yesterday was one of those really bad days. I have not had a out and out good cry in a while until last night. I always feel better after a good cry and last night was no exception. I looked back at my blog post from yesterday after that cry and think I really wished that I would not have posted it until after my cry. Perspective is one of those things that changes from time to time, sometimes with the wind. My perspective on life was much better today. Jamie was determined that today would be a good day and it was. We had a really nice time today. We went out on the beach, which was covered with tarballs, but still enjoyed the REALLY hot sand. The heat index was 106 at 10:00 this morning. We played in the pool, ate lunch, took a nap, played in the pool some more and then got in the hot tub (LR's favorite, she calls it a hot bath tub). Then we came in got all spiffied up and went down to the beach for photo time. We got some great pictures. I can not wait to get home and edit them to see how they turned out. The boys got to crab hunt, which they loved. We watched the sun set on the beach (well technically, from the beach) and it was beautiful. Then we went to the local Mexican restaurant for some great fish tacos.
I know that there will be days like yesterday for quite a while to come. There are a lot more firsts to deal with. I know and realize that I can not expect anyone to share those firsts with me. In a way that is special. Eli is mine and because of him I have become a new person. So much has changed because of a tiny 4 pound 7 ounce little miracle. But, because of that tiny little miracle I also have to deal with so many crazy emotions. If God gave me a choice between not having had Eli and doing it again...I would do it again, because that little boy taught me more in his short time than 36 years have taught me. That does not at all mean that I do not wish every moment of every day that he was here with me. I DO and that is a very emphatic I DO. So, I suppose that is why days like yesterday creep up on me.
So, I basically just felt like I needed to apologize for my whining yesterday and let anyone who might be reading my ramblings know that today indeed was a much better day. If you prayed for that, I need to say thank you and let you know that God heard and delivered.
Tomorrow is our last day and we plan to make the most of it, complete with a little retail therapy at the huge outlet mall in Foley. So for now I will say good night and thank you for letting me release a little sadness and frustration.
Much love,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Five months

Five months ago today I said hello and goodbye to my sweet Eli.
One person remembered other than me of course. My friend Christie who lost her baby three days before me. I say one person remembered and I do not know if that is actually true. I do know that Christie is the only one to mention today's milestone to me.
Why does this make me so sad? I really can not pinpoint the reason. I know that life goes on. I know that others do not live my grief. I know that I can not expect others to live through all of the firsts with me. This is something that I have to do. Although it seems like I am doing this alone, I know that I am not. God has been whispering in my ear all day today. He has been telling me that he has not forgotten my hurt.
I guess I just feel so lonely today. I am surrounded by family but I just feel alone in my grief. I do not want anyone to think that my family has been anything less than wonderful to me, because I just could not have made it to where I am today without them. I really do know that I own my grief, I do. It is just so hard to explain. You know, I could have mentioned what today is to someone.  I just did not feel like I had to remind those that are close to me.
We are still at the beach. I should be enjoying this time. I thought it would be a time to be carefree again...a time to remember joyfully. I do not know if I will ever get to that point. I suppose I expected this get away to be just that, a chance to get away from it all. I guess grief jumped in my suitcase when I was not looking and traveled right down here with me. I  meant to leave it at home. I really did.
Much love,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Much needed vacation

We are finally here. I did not think July 18 would ever come. I heart the beach! It has always been my favorite place. There is peace to be found here. When we received Eli's diagnosis, one of the first things we wanted to do was go to the beach. I wanted him to experience it. A couple of weekends later we went for a day trip. Although it was in the middle of winter, it was still beautiful.
As I type right now, I am sitting by the door just steps from one of the most serene places on earth. The beaches of Fort Morgan, Alabama. Fort Morgan is a pretty secluded peninsula about thirty miles from Gulf Shores. This is where we vacation every year and it never gets old. We look forward to it all year long. This year, we were looking forward to introducing a baby to this little slice of heaven. Instead, he got the whole pie. Jamie reminded me yesterday while we were packing the car that we actually talked about needing to purchase a cargo carrier for our vehicle to make room for Eli and all of the things a baby needs in the car. Just like we did not purchase bedding, diapers, formula, new bottles and other necessary baby items, we never purchased a cargo carrier either.
 This is a very bittersweet vacation. I am sad that I could not share this time with him. I am sad that we did not have to come in from the beach for nap time. I am sad that there is no play pen in our bedroom. I am sad that I did not get to pick out a cute little bathing suit and sun hat for Eli. There was a couple at the pool today that had their six month old in the water. Eli would be a few days shy of five months. There was no comparing baby stories or introducing our little ones. It made me sad.
As I sat on the beach today watching the kiddos play and enjoy the sand, I closed my eyes and let the sound of the crashing waves, the wind blowing to and fro, and the sun that played peek a boo wash over me. I wasn't worried about them in the water because the tar balls pretty much kept us out of the water. So, the boys played Frisbee, baseball, and football, while LR was completely content to play in her huge sand box. I was actually able to relax my mind for a little while today. When I closed my eyes on the beach, I did not think of anything other than the sound of those waves crashing in on the shore. I am not sure why that sound is so peaceful to me, but it is. This is a place of solace, healing, and so much beauty. Even as the oil threatens to tarnish the pristine white sand and keeps us from swimming, I am comforted by one of God's most beautiful creations. So tomorrow, I will go back out and enjoy our little slice of heaven, all the while knowing that Eli is enjoying ALL of heaven.

Please remember to pray for baby Wyatt. He is improving. He is still in the NICU but has been taken completely off of the vent and the feeding tube has been removed. He is still on oxygen but his lungs appear to be clear of any infection. All praise be to God!
Much love,

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Prayer request - Update

Another update: My sister and her husband went up tonight. They have removed Wyatt from the vent but he is still very critical. The doctors told his parents that the next 48 hours would be critical. They are worried about him developing infection. His mommy was going to try and feed him tonight. Rachel (my sister) got to go back and see him and she said he is gorgeous. His parents are doing well under the circumstances. They cherish any and all prayer. Thank you again for the prayers.

Update: I found out today that baby Wyatt aspirated on meconium before delivery. He was a couple of days overdue and his mama went in for a check-up. He is still in critical condition, but the vent was removed a little while ago. They were going to try and feed him for the first time. I will update as I receive more news. My sister and Josh were going to go up tonight. Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray for baby Wyatt and his parents.

I would like to ask for prayer tonight for sweet little Wyatt Tanner Grissom. He was born yesterday. His mommy had to have an emergency c-section and when Wyatt was born, he had no heartbeat. The doctors were able to revive him and he is in the NICU. Wyatt has a long road ahead of him. I am not sure of the circumstances surrounding his birth. I do know that there had been no problems with the pregnancy until yesterday. Wyatt's parents are friends of my sister and brother in law. That family could certainly use all of the prayers that we can offer up. Please pray for Wyatt to gain strength and continue to improve. Also pray for his parents as they figure out what is best for little man Wyatt.

Much love,

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ups and downs

I'm on that roller coaster. You know the one I'm talking about. It is the one with extreme ups and extreme downs. I'm currently not a fan of roller coasters.
On the extreme upside...
My Cooper came home from VBS Wednesday night with the best news ever. He has accepted Christ and is bound for the promised land. I felt on top of the world last night and today. My daddy had the chance to lead him to the Lord and that is so very sweet to me. July 14, 2010 is now known as Coopers spiritual birthday. Of course as parents, we prayed for Cooper to make this decision. We did not push because it had to be between Cooper and God. It had to be when Cooper was ready, not when we were ready. Jay was certainly getting antsy for Cooper to make this decision and prayed as diligently as Jamie and I. We have even had to tell Jay that only Cooper could decide when his heart was ripe spiritually. Jay was so precious last night. He told us that the first thing he prayed for every night was this and that now he would sleep so much better. I just adore my Jay's giant sized heart! Honestly, I was worried for Jay. He prays so earnestly for things. My aunt told me about a conversation she had with Jay the night Eli was born. She said that she was sitting in the waiting room talking to Jay after Eli had passed away and he just could not understand why God did not answer his prayers to fix Eli. He told her he prayed so hard everyday for God to make him better and he just did not know why God did not heal him. How do you explain to an eight year old that God did answer our prayers, just not exactly how we thought He should? I'm not sure what my aunt told Jay that night, but I am sure she said what needed to be said in that moment. So, last night when Jay's prayers were answered, he had a renewed faith in God. He was every bit as excited as Cooper! It was so neat to see. Those boys fight like cats and dogs most of the time, but they do love each other.
I absolutely love those kind of extreme ups.
Then there are the down moments.
It was a madhouse around here tonight. I think Lucie Rose is trying to cut out her nap time because she has not had a good nap in a few days and well...SHE NEEDS HER SLEEP. She was more tired tonight than I think I have ever seen her and it was not pretty. She was inconsolable. The boys did not want to go to bed at bedtime. So picture it...
 LR, who has refused to eat dinner decides she is hungry, but will not touch what I have prepared. She wants something different. I am not willing to cook her something different. She has a complete meltdown. At this point I am feeling the pressure slightly. Her daddy picked her up and put her in her bed. She wants no part of kissing me goodnight. She does not like me right now. This really hurts my feelings, but I suck it up and continue cleaning the Kitchen. The boys are getting ready for bed, but far from sleep. LR continues her meltdown in bed. Jamie is back and forth from her room, the boys room, and the kitchen. I seriously feel like everything is spinning out of control right about this point. LR is screaming that she has to go to the potty in between the crying. I go get her up, take her to the bathroom, and try to put her on the potty. She digs her heals in and decides she is NOT going to go. I literally caught myself yelling at my 2 1/2 year old child. Wow... I did not like the mama I was right then. So now we are both sitting on the floor and I am doing everything in my power not to cry with her...not to have a meltdown right there on the bathroom floor. Jamie was able to get her to calm down and go to sleep, but my baby did not, would not kiss me goodnight. Who could blame her...I wouldn't kiss me goodnight either. The boys finally settle down after Cooper tears his toenail off in a quick and it bleeds a little. Tiny amounts of blood freak Cooper out beyond belief! Yes, this is the same child that carried a snake into my house about a month ago. He was so proud of his snake. Yeah, seems like blood (trust me it was less than a drop) wouldn't bother him so much. Anyway, it is now 12:50 and I am contemplating going to sleep. It is hard to go to sleep knowing that I will be winning no mother of the year awards based on tonight's stellar performance. In the midst of all of this chaos...I MISS MY BOY tonight.
Tomorrow is a new day...well, today is a new day.
Much love,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Have Mercy

I was in the car this afternoon hauling the kiddos around and we were listening to Selah. They are one of my all time favorite groups. Their  newest cd has so many songs that just speak to me so tremendously. The one that really got me thinking today was Depth Of Mercy.
Oh those days when we first found out about Eli, they were filled with a myriad of emotions. I can remember at first wondering if God was punishing me for my transgressions. I am a sinner saved by God's grace. That does not by any stretch of the imagination mean I no longer sin, just that my sins have been washed away or forgiven. So I think it is just natural instinct to wonder what sin God was punishing me for. This can be a very slippery slope to travel. It can be almost haunting. Jamie's sister, Tina and her family came over to our house the weekend after we received Eli's diagnosis and she handed me a piece of paper (which I still have tucked away). On the paper were these verses from the book of John.
John 9:1-3
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.
I fully believe that God used Tina that day to answer my questions, because, I was questioning myself and I have questioned myself since. Now when my mind does wander to that place, I open my bible to these verses or I take out that piece of paper that Tina gave me with these verses on them. This is assurance that God is not punishing me although sometimes, this territory does feel a little like punishment. Some days missing my child feels a little like hell on earth to be frank. I guess that is where God's mercy comes in and why that song made me think of this today. There is no way to measure the depth of God's mercy. It is too great.
I wanted to find that song and post it on here, but I could not find it. So I am posting another song by Selah that is equally as wonderful. The message in this song is so powerful. Make sure to scroll down to the playlist and pause it before listening.

Much love,

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A little lightheartedness

I do not often share my family on here because this is Eli's journey, but I thought that I would share a little about how we have been slowly adjusting to to life without him. It really has been difficult to participate in fun filled activities knowing that we had planned on having a little one around to enjoy in the fun also. There are constant reminders of our loss, but not every moment has been filled with sadness. The 4th of July is always a time when we get together with family and celebrate our country. We generally go up to Lake Martin where Jamie's parents have a place on the 4th. This year we went on the 3rd because the 4th fell on a Sunday. We most always swim, boat, jet ski, and enjoy BBQ. The boys actually got to have a little fun tubing this time around. I am not very comfortable around water and up until this year my nerves just could not handle it. I decided to give my faith a chance, put my nerves on the back burner, and just go with it. I did and all turned out well. The boys were overly thrilled and had a blast. Here are a few pictures to prove it.

This is my Jay man. He loved the tube!
This is my Coop bug. As you can see he about wiped out on that last picture, but he held on and made it safely back. Uncle Ryan was navigating the boat and he took it easy for their first ride. Jamie was riding along just in case.
We had a really good day and everyone was tired when we ventured home after a leisurely pontoon ride around to see how everyone else was celebrating. Lucie Rose was not too terribly crazy about the boat ride, but she finally relaxed and almost went to sleep until her Opa dared to take his hand off of the steering wheel and she informed him that he should drive with two hands.

Today we went up to Tina and Ryan's to celebrate our annual Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-a. Tina is Jamie's sister and is one of the kindest people you will ever meet. She just has a heart of gold and has been a terrific sister in law. Ryan is her husband and is every bit as terrific. They have four amazing girls that have such hearts for God. Their two oldest are spending the summer working with a backyard mission group and are reaching small souls for Jesus. Yes, I am a proud aunt! The oldest young lady is the author of Eli's poem on my sidebar.  She seriously wants to be a missionary when she is grown and I have tremendous respect for her. Actually, I have respect for them all. They are great and so much fun to be around. We went up today and hung around a bit, then donned our spots and went to Chick-fil-a for our free (yes, I said free) supper. Here are some pictures of our wild and wacky day. I must warn you, Mamas will do just about anything for their kiddos and free food!

This is LR and her little cow tail!
This one is blurry because Cooper was running from the camera!
This is the crew (minus the guys, they would not play) before heading out.

This is Jay with the famous cow before eating his yummy meal.

Yes, we did have a great time and a very yummy supper. After eating we ran out in the rain and headed home to play Minute To Win It. I did not get any pictures of everyone playing but they would have been great to have. I would loved to have pictures of everyone playing chocolate unicorn, with cookies stacked on their foreheads, but I had them stacked on mine too. So....I have none. 

Honestly, we needed these times together. The trip up was a little tough today. I got behind an ambulance and the memories came rushing in on me. It is crazy, the things that trigger those moments. However, as you can see, we were able to really enjoy ourselves. Even if it was more than a little silly, it was great fun. 
Much love, 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This Unique New Life

I began grieving for my son the day we found out that there was a problem with his kidneys. I remember Michelle telling me that there was very little fluid around him and I just knew...I knew but could not make myself face it in that moment. When I was pregnant with Lucie Rose, I thought I had some fluid leakage before she was born. So I went in and had an ultrasound to learn that there were 11 centimeters of fluid surrounding her which was completely in the normal range. When Eli's fluid was measured, he had three centimeters. Two day later he had none. When we first discovered he had little fluid my mind began racing. What could this mean? I was sure there had been no leakage. Could he live with no fluid? So many many thoughts. I knew this was serious, but my children were in there and I did not want to scare them. I just looked at Jamie and said, "this is bad, this is not good, it is bad." There were some tears at this point, but I held off until I went to the nurse's office and I saw her face. Then, I knew for sure. I knew in my heart of hearts that this baby was not meant for me to keep. I've said it before, I'll say it again. I do not have any idea how I made it home the 50 plus miles I had to drive. I have little if any recollection, other than sobbing, of that drive home. Somehow about an hour later, I pulled into my garage. I walked into my empty house with my little girl surrounded by a hazy fog. Jamie had taken the boys to Upward for their first practices. This day began my "new life".
Eli's diagnosis was not confirmed until two days later...but I knew. I can not explain it to you how I knew.  I just did. Even though I knew in my heart that his time would be brief, I prayed desperately and deeply for a miracle. I prayed for God to let my little boy be the one to bring others to Him through his healing. It is almost like God was answering my prayers verbally by whispering to my soul, "not this one, he has a different purpose." Still, I prayed when I could. There were honestly times, and still are by the way, when I had no words to pray. I just had to let my heart cry out to God, because my mind would not. I have a theory about this and it may be completely off base, it is just what I think. I think that during those times when we can not pray for ourselves, God uses others to pray for us. He knows our innermost thoughts and knows that we need prayer, so he calls on others to lift us up to him. I went to work one morning and while signing in Mrs. Ellis, the secretary said, "Mrs. Hill, God had me up this morning at 2:30 praying for you and Eli." She said she woke up with the overwhelming need to pray for us. So, she did.
Somehow it was just wrong to grieve for a child that was so alive in my belly. I couldn't help it though.  I was grieving for what was to come, all the while trying my best to make the most of what time we had.  Dr. K even mentioned during a visit the our grief was not new so maybe it would not be as difficult then "D" day came. He did not say it that way, but that was the point he was making. I thought he might just be right until the most difficult day of my life was upon us.
I think until Eli was born and gone, I had just been scratching the surface of grief. You know, when we were still spending time with Eli there was a certain amount of peace. Our grief, although present, was somewhat contained. There were tears and heartache, sure, but we also had him, or the shell of his soul, to cling to. Once he was gone, the pain was unbearable...the cries guttural...the grief, more intense that one could ever imagine. There is only one way it could have been worse and that is if we did not have the hope of an eternity to spend with him and God's arms of comfort surrounding us.
This journey of grief that we are on now is different everyday...every moment sometimes. Not only is it different from day to day, it is also different for me than it is for Jamie...different not less. I have learned that grief is different for everyone. We all approach it differently. It does not mean that we are not hurting one as bad as the other, just that we deal with it diversely.
Grief has taken me down some roads that I wished did not exist.  I have never been really prone to anxiety before, but now it seems constant. I detest the way anxiety makes me feel. I hate how my arms ache from emptiness. I hate how the smallest thing will change my mood. I can not stand being scatterbrained and forgetful. It literally drives me crazy that some days I do not have the will to get up and do things that need to be done. I get short tempered with my children more often that I used to and that makes me more sad. I want to talk about Eli, but other's expect me to be moving on so I stop myself before sharing. I second guess myself more than I used to. I feel so alone sometimes. I have a gigantic fear of forgetting even the slightest detail of Eli's life. I could go one but I won't.
On the other hand, grief has given me many gifts. I find myself wanting to draw nearer to God. My relationship with Jamie has strengthened. I understand the fragility of life a little better. I have made new friends. I have been able to share Eli on this blog. I love that I have been able to meet other's on this road (although I hate they are on it). I have experienced the compassion of others. I know what it is like to feel surrounded in prayer and let me tell you, it is beyond belief. I understand the grief of others more clearly. I could go on here also, but I will not.
These experiences with grief are unique to me. That does not mean that other's do not feel some of them.  I just think that we all walk this path in different places. I have yet to feel anger, but that does not mean I will not. It just means it has not arrived to this point.  Honestly, I hope it does not.  If it does, I will deal with it. The great part is, I do not have to deal with it alone.
It truly surprises me how physical grief is. I expected it to me emotional.  I expected tears and heartache. I did not expect fatigue, nausea, my heart to race, a literal unexplained ache from time to time. Those things, I was not prepared for. Then again, how does one prepare for the loss of a child. You just can't because your mind will not go there until it is forced to.
Grief is hard work. It is something that requires rest, prayer, love, patience, kindness, compassion, and ________ (insert your word(s) here). So often society expects people to put aside grief for its comfort. People do not like to see others hurting. I get that. What I do not get is how anyone could expect a person just to put all of their emotions aside and go on with business as usual. You know another thing that grief has shown me? It has shown me that you never know what someone else is dealing with. If someone cuts you off in traffic, maybe they just found out that their baby would die, so their mind is not where it should be. If someone seems to blow you off when you speak, maybe they were having a moment right then and could not talk. If someone is rude, maybe they are angry because they had to bury their baby. You just never know.
Grief is a full time job sometimes. At least that has been my experience so far. 
While I know my grief has been consuming at times, it still is not as bad as it could be. I cannot and would not even want to imagine being here without God. I do not know where I would be today if it were not for his arms of protections.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Much love,