Back To A New Reality.

 

back to work

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.           Deuteronomy 31:6

   Tomorrow I face one of the few things left before our lives return back to our new “normal.” Tomorrow I leave my house and walk back into the place where I held my little girl for the last time. Tomorrow I return to work. 

   I had imagined my first day back to work after my maternity leave. I thought I would be extremely sad to leave my one year old baby, but excited to be reunited with co-workers. I thought I would walk in with my head held high. Instead… not only am I walking in with a broken heart, I am walking in unprepared for the emotions that await me. Unready for the awkward silence and glances from the ones that do not know what to say. Worried about the first time something triggers my memory of that morning, or I come face to face with a doctor or nurse that was involved in her code.

    I have spent the last month counting the weeks, than days, and now hours until September thirtieth. I can not believe that the time has actually come. I am not ready…..or I do not feel like it anyways. I feel like just yesterday I had three girls and a whole year off to spend raising them. Now I have two and am back to long hours and days without them. 

The majority of my last few days off have consisted of being anxious, panicking, and crying at the fact of going back.  Panicking about how my life is going to go from the quiet comfortness of my home to a fast paced high energy nursing unit. That my crayons and building blocks are going to be exchanged for bandages and a stethoscope. The thought of taking care of others while I can barely still take care of myself seems like a horribly daunting task. 

I am fearful of how I will be perceived. I feel like I have changed so much will my co-workers even remember who I was. I wonder if I will be able to smile or laugh at all the simple little things that once helped me get through a long shift. I worry that the relationships I have spent years forming will be affected by the uncomfortable death sentence that now follows me wherever I go. 

    I feel like one of the biggest things I am afraid of is that going back is one of the final pieces of the puzzle, walking through those doors means that Audrey is really gone…..and that the world really is continuing on without her. I have spent so much of my time in a bubble in my home,  attempting to hold on and preserve as much memory of her being here as possible, that the thought of having to face the reality that the world has continued to spin, regardless of my intentions to stop it is gut wrenchingly painful. 

 I actually spent all of my day today trying to come up with a way to postpone tomorrow. I came close several times to calling and changing my start date to next week. Then I realized that the longer I avoid the situation, the longer I get to stress out over it. That next week would mean another seven day count down filled with panic. Eventually I have to go back. As much as I would like to, I know I can not avoid it forever.

 Tomorrow as I step out of my comfort zone. As I exchange my sweatpants and baggy sweatshirts for scrubs. I know that I am not returning as the same person as I was before. I wouldn’t go back to the old me even if I was given the choice. I may still carry a broken heart but I am stronger and more hopeful then I have ever been in my life. Tomorrow one of the final chapters begin. Only this time…for the first time in my entire life….I get to return to work, one hundred percent faithful in the one who is writing my book.

signature

 

 

Advertisements

Two Months…Too Long….

 

Audrey

 

Dear sweet little Audrey,

     Today you have been gone exactly two months and twenty days. Today means that you have officially been out of my arms for as long as you had ever been in them. It doesn’t seem like it. It seems like you were with us for so much longer than that.

    I wondered what this day would feel like. Truth is, it has felt like every other single day. No amount of time gone by will ever replace or take away from the time you were here.

    Some days I still feel like I can walk into your nursery and smell that new baby smell. Some days I still listen, hoping to hear your cry that tells me you’ve awaken from your nap. Some days I still panic when I look around for you and can’t see you, my heart breaking as I remember your no longer here to keep an eye on. 

    Other days it feels like you have been gone for so long. I yearn to still feel you near me. Every night when I go to bed I put my face near the spot where you last laid. The spot where you went to sleep in my arms and woke up in Gods. I still can’t figure out if that bed comforts me or haunts me. Yet  it is one thing that lets me still feel close to you.

    You would be five months old now. Closer to six. As I look on facebook at other babies who were born around the same time as you I wonder. I wonder if you would have been starting foods. If you would have liked carrots or spit them out all over everything. I wonder if you would be rolling over and trying to sit up. I wonder what your laugh would have sounded like. 

   Your nursery remains exactly the same. Your clothes hung neatly in the closet and all of your pictures and knick knacks are hung on the wall. The crib that me and your daddy excitedly assembled is still made. As a mama you always think about having to take it down once your little one learns to climb and escape it. It’s a whole different feeling to have to take it down because there is no little one to escape.

   I still can’t imagine my future without you. I am still living day to day, moment to moment and am not sure when that ever ends. I am living, but there is still not a day…not even a minute that goes by that I don’t think of you. Not a day goes by that I wouldn’t give anything to have you back.

    Your sisters still talk about you. They still try to include you in everything and carry your stuff around the house. The blankets that once kept you comforted and warm, now do the same for them. There are a few we haven’t washed and we can still smell you on them.

   Our family has been going through so many changes. So many amazing things that I wish you were here to experience and see. As hard as it to accept, a lot of it has been because of your sweet little life and because of your tragic death.

   Your death has changed people. Your death has saved lives. As much as it angers me that you are gone I am so proud of what you have been able to do in such a short amount of time. I am so proud to be your mommy.

   I know that you are okay. That you are perfect. I know that with time we will be okay too.  When I really think about it, I know that we really are not that far apart. That as long as I can continue to believe, we really are being held…. in the same pair of arms together.

Miss you more than words!

Mommy xo

 

 

 

When It Just Doesn’t Seem Fair.

amelia

He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve -Psalm 103:10

   This past weekend I was excitedly getting ready for a church retreat. The retreat was going to give me a time to rest and allow myself to refocus on God. My bags were packed and at the door, and I was gathering the last few things when I heard a scream. 

   The scream was from my mother-in-law. It was a deafening scream that told me that something was wrong with my little girl. As I ran to the living room my eyes confirmed my thoughts. My middle child was indeed hurt, and once again I was terrified.

   Amelia had been standing in a wooden rocking chair. In the two seconds my mother in law had turned her back, she had managed to flip it over. The chair fell backwards with her fingers wrapped around the edge. The impact had severed the tip off of her middle finger and her ring finger had been crushed. 

   We arrived to the hospital where my husband was impatiently waiting. We once again ran into the emergency room desperate for help for our daughter. Her fingers were a mess and they couldn’t reattach what had been taken off… but the verdict was, that she was going to be okay. 

   The moment the initial panic and fear began to wear off I started to become extremely angry. As I sat in the emergency room where I had just sat a few months prior… the same place where the doctor told me that even modern medicine could not save my precious baby, I began to feel like I was being punished for something. In that moment I started to give up.

   As we were admitted and moved upstairs it only got worse. The panic I felt as we headed towards the maternity/pediatric unit was unbearable. After all I had just been there five months ago proudly holding my new nine pound, eight ounce baby girl. Now I was returning with one of my remaining two children who was injured. Again I felt punished.

   That night I sat next to Amelia in the exact same room that I had stayed in with Audrey only a week before she died. I remember once again feeling hopeless. Feeling like I was unable to protect yet anther one of my children. I remember asking God, ” Haven’t I’ve been through enough?” I had been making so many changes in my life and yet the more good I attempted to do…the more obstacles and pain got thrown my way.

   After Amelia fell asleep, I layed there beside her in bed and listened to the newborn babies cry. As tears started to roll silently down my cheeks I began to battle with myself. I thought about those moms in the other rooms, proudly holding their new bundles of joy. I started to compare and doubt myself as a mom. I wondered why they were allowed to keep their babies, when mine was taken from my arms. I couldn’t comprehend how I could now be lying next to my two year old who had suffered such an injury. I was lost.

   As the days went by I started to search for answers. I realized that my weekend away, my weekend full of strong godly women and meaningful chit chat may have turned into grey walls and bandages…. but it did not take away from my focus on God. That I didn’t have to go to a retreat to find him because he was sitting next to me in a hospital bed. That I didn’t have to go somewhere else to feel his presence because he was there with his arms wrapped around my little girl. 

   This weekend I realized that God is not punishing me. That I am not being tested or tortured for anything I have done. Yes, my child got injured but thankfully she is still here beside me. Through it all she has seemed relativity pain free and comfortable. Something I had continually prayed for from the moment the accident happened. Once again God had been there the whole time, and even though I had been extremely angry I was still desperately crying out for him. Despite what I had thought… I had never given up.

   As life continues to test my faith, and to make me question my worth and capabilities as a woman, wife, and mother, I will also continue to remember that I am never alone. That I am enough. I will remember that I am not being punished for some awful thing I must have done, and that I am not any more unworthy of being a mom to my children then any other women. I have found that our children are a gift from God, that they are lent to us for such a short time, but that ultimately they are his forever. 

   My faith used to be based solely on the fact that I believe in God and that he was suppose to be there to fix everything. That my God was suppose to protect me from all the hurt and the pain that this world consists of. Truth is I had it all wrong. He had never stated that we would be free from life’s struggles and pain. He never told us that he would protect us from the pain caused by poor judgement or sudden illness. In fact there are many times he talks about how our lives on this earth will consist of such.

   See….God never promised me that I would never fall off the rocking chair…. but he did promise me that he would give me the strength to get back up and the love to be able to heal.

signature

In My Daughters Eyes.

in my daughters eyes

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. – Psalm 119:18

    Each time a new baby girl  has came into our family… from each moment that they were placed on my chest and we locked eyes for the first time I have immediately began to wonder what they could see. Apart from the ointment placed in their eyes just after birth, and the knowledge that they cannot see color or more then a few inches from their face…as moms, we all end up in the same spot. We all end up sitting in that hospital bed with our face pressed as close to theirs as possible. Talking to them, singing to them, introducing them to their mommy. Finally letting them be able to put a face to the voice that they have been hearing for months. A moment that you have thought about from the minute you found out you were expecting. 

    As the days go on eye contact is made at every possible second. While nursing, while rocking, just in the every moment glances at this beautiful and perfect being that you created. You become the face they look for when there are in need. The face they need to see to feel loved and secure. You become the person responsible for their sole survival. You become their world.

    Audrey was different then any of my other girls. She had eyes that pierced into your soul from the moment she took her first breath on this earth. She would look not only at you, but somehow you felt like she was seeing into you. Our love was intense. We were inseparable. It wasn’t until she was gone and I looked back at pictures that I would get goosebumps remembering the feeling of joy and disbelief that I felt every second I was with her.

   After Audreys death I began to really think about how she had seen me. Putting all physical appearances aside, I thought about how she had felt to see me and about all the times she would start to cry when I placed her down, but the moment she saw my face and heard my voice, she would smile the most biggest smile I had ever seen. To Audrey I wasn’t just a brown haired, brown eyed, chubby face…to her none of my insecurities or my flaws mattered…because to her I was unconditional love. If only we as moms could see our worth and our beauty like our children do. If only we too could love ourselves the same way our children do….the same way that God does……through the flaws.

    I thought about how my face to her signified love, trust, and security. I thought about how it was a face she seen everytime her tummy was getting filled, or as her diaper needed changing. It was the last thing she saw before she fell asleep. Ultimately it was even the very last face she seen before she left this world. To her I was comfort.

  The night of her viewing I was standing over her casket, still tightly grasping her cold little hand and desperately worrying about her, when someone I had never met before, a tall  grown man approached me with tears in his eyes.  He told me that as he was looking at her pictures that there was something in her eyes that made him feel like he wanted to tell me that she was ok. Shocked I became speechless, I began to weep. In that moment I knew my little girl was more than ok, she was perfect.

   See what I am beginning to realize is that her innocent little being….her two and a half month old self has now seen and knows more then I could ever imagine. More then I will ever know while on this earth. The one thing I think about the most is that she has seen her sister whole, healthy, smiling, and alive. Free from deformities and deaths markings. All things which I had never got the chance to see.

   She no longer needs to see my face as her tummy is filled, or to provide comfort when shes upset because simply she will never feel those things again. She is whole, she is full, she is comfortable……she sees God. His face has become her new world. She has now truly seen the face of unconditional love. 

   I only hope that one day I too can experience such joy. But for now I will continue to look back at her pictures, and to cling to the peace, to the hope, and to the love that I can still see present….in my daughters eyes.

signature

Broken Together.

broken together

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

      After our third daughter Alexis was born still in two-thousand twelve, my husband began to pull away. Even though I had been dealing with her known death over the weeks before her birth, my husband had denied it. It wasn’t until he had her little body in his arms, that he truly knew what this all had meant. On that early Wednesday morning of May eighth his grieving process began.

     Our problems started around the time we actual had received the news that she had passed away. He started to find things to do…fishing, visiting with old friends, and taking drives by himself, anything he could do to be away from the house.  Anything at all that would keep his mind off of the reality of the situation. The reality that at any moment…we could be giving birth to our twin girls….but that one would not be coming home. 

    I on the other hand was the opposite. I didn’t want to go anywheres. I became a hermit. A shut-in. After all no matter where I went…..I had to bring her with me.  I was carrying her lifeless body inside mine. I remember truly feeling like a walking casket.  I began to resent my husband for being able to leave, for being able to avoid the situation, when I psychically could not. I could not avoid the new absence of kicks. I was trapped in the realness of it all.

    It was one of the hardest times we have ever faced as a couple. One that eventually made us stronger and showed us what love truly was. We were proud to come out out of beaten down, and exhausted….but also intact and together.

   When Audrey died people began to remind me about how people grieve differently. I remember at the time thinking I didn’t really need to listen all that well, because I had just been through this two years prior. I thought I was prepared this time, that the same things that bothered me last time wouldn’t bother me this time. That I would be able to know that it was just his way of grieving. Little did I know……I was so so wrong.

   The first few weeks we stuck together. Our meals were cooked for us. We had help caring for our children. The only real responsibility we had was to focus on our healing. He became like a security blanket for me. He was the person that stayed at my side at all times, protecting me from hard decisions, and question I didn’t have the strength to answer. I became dependent on him. If I was in a room full of people I would frantically wonder where he was if I lost sight. Our relationship became a lot of me taking from him, and not giving anything back in return. 

    It wasn’t until our friends and family returned to their lives, our fridge began to empty, and we were once again solely responsible for the two pairs of feet pitter -pattering around us… that we slowly began to unravel.

    See although I thought I was prepared for my husband to grieve the way he needed, I was not. It wasn’t until the first time that he walked out of the door that I realized how different things were this time. That how in letting him take care of all the yucky things for me, I was now unable to deal with them myself. In my grief for Audrey I had lost who I was. I had always placed my identity in who I was as a mom.

  Before Audreys death, my life revolved around caring for my children, making pintrest crafts, and baking cupcakes. All my energy was put in to trying to be the best mom I could be. The day that I was left alone with my children for the first time. The same children I had raised all my life…I was lost. Making sure they had meals, a bath, and bubble guppies on the TV was the best that I could do. With half of my children dead, I felt inadequate. I no longer felt I was able to protect or care for the two beings that had been my total focus in life just weeks before.

    I became angry at my husband for leaving. I blamed him for not grieving as hard as me. I would be upset that he didn’t cry as much as me. I remember thinking in my head, did I love her more. Why am I falling apart but he can go fishing. Everything that I thought I had learned before went straight out the window. My anger only worsened as I added my own insecurities to the fire. 

Although I was not prepared this time, God was. I began to be able to focus on him. To be able to lessen the burden I placed on my husband and instead give it to him. I learned that not only do people grieve differently but that each grief is differently. That the way we grieved for Alexis was not even remotely close to the way that we grieved for Audrey. That all this time I had thought I was ready to handle my husbands grief but ultimately I wasn’t even ready to handle my own.

    Grief changes you as a person. I know for me it stripped me of who I thought I was. Two and a half months later I am still struggling to put the pieces back together. I am so thankful that I was able to stop pushing away my husband and start rebuilding our lives together. 

   Death changes you. It changes your marriage. We are never going to be the same people we were the day we said I do. Life experiences begin to shape each of you differently, what has been the most life changing for me is our new combined faith in God, and the realization that in the end both of us are broken, but instead of being broken and alone….we have remained BROKEN TOGETHER.

signature

 

 

The Gift I Couldn’t Give Her.

IMG_1463

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” -Matthew 19:14

Dear Audrey,

   I miss you so much today. Actually, I miss you so much everyday. This week has been so hard. I have been really sick, and with already being mentally worn out from the constant grief, my illness just seems to be intensified. The physical pain and mental pain combined has placed me in a weird spot. A spot where I feel overwhelmed and depressed more than I have ever been.

   Lying around, being unable to stay busy…unable to stay focused on anything besides your death has been painful. I have found myself consistently wondering so many things about you….about heaven. I have questioned if you can see me down here. If you can see my tears and my desperate pleas to have you home. I wondered if you have met your sister, or if you even know that you have a family here on earth that miss you beyond words. I have even wondered if you have the ability to miss me too.

    I have found myself trying to explain to you somehow that this little life growing inside of me will never replace you. I’ve even had times where I’ve wished that it could be you in there again, that we could just repeat your pregnancy and go back to the life we had eight months from now. Anything that could take the pain away for just one moment.

   I guess what I had time to think about the most this week is the finality of it all. It is like my mind no longer believes the lies that I have continually told it for the last few months. The lie that you are just somewhere else. It finally has sunk in that you are really gone. Really really gone. That I will never hold your sweet little body in my arms again on this earth. 

  I have panicked as I have thought about how  I can no longer remember what your cry sounded like anymore. How I can barley hear your little “goos” and “ahhs” you used to make. I am already scared of how much I will forget over the years. I don’t want to forget any of it ever. 

    I remember hearing from someone that our children are never really ours. That they are a gift that is given to us from God, but that ultimately they are his. I want to be so greedy. I want to be angry at the fact that you didn’t get to stay here. At times I wanted you to just be mine, and no one elses. Not even Gods.

   But then I realized that my greed would cause you suffering. That of course I want you to be his. I am so thankful that the only other person that could take care of you and love you as much a me has you in his arms. I’ve clung to the fact that whether you can see my tears, your Daddys broken heart, or your sisters longing for you….YOU are happy. That no matter what suffering we have here on earth…because you are his you have none. That is a gift I would never be able to give you, a gift you have….. because you were always HIS.

The Beauty In The Darkness.

  bhu

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. -Ecclesiastes 3:11

     I was sitting with a friend at the table yesterday. Excitedly counting money we had been given for our ministry, when I heard our husbands talking. I could just hear one of them say, ” Now this could be a reason, this could be one of the reasons for our babies deaths. Our wives are starting this amazing ministry, A ministry that is going to help so many others.” As I listened I felt my tummy go funny. I looked over across the table at her and in that moment we both knew what each other was thinking. We didn’t want this to be a reason. Something that I was so passionate about….so excited about doing….could not be a reason for my daughters death.

    When I got home last night I thought about how God gave up his son for me. I know for me it used to be just something I knew, something I heard over and over during a church service. But before my childrens deaths, I am not sure that I ever really understood just how big that really was. That unfortunately I now knew just how huge, and just how painful that would have been. I thought about the fact that there would be no way that I would ever willingly be able to give my childs life for someone else to live. In fact, if any of my childrens lives were in danger I would trade my life for theirs in an instant. 

     I thought about how I would rather have my baby in my arms and not know what a child loss feels like, then to have a mother in them that I know is in the worst pain of her entire life. I felt guilty for feeling that way. For feeling like there would never ever be any reason good enough for her to die. That no matter how many people could be helped, I would trade it back for her. It took me a moment to realize that of course I can feel that way. That any mother on this earth would say the exact same thing in this situation. I am not a bad person for feeling that way…. I am not God. I am a human. I am her mother. 

    I realized last night that this ministry to help grieving mothers is a result from our babies deaths. That our husbands were right. That as much as I try and not put the two together they belong that way. That I am passionate about this only because I know the hurt, because I’ve been there., and because I know just how much it is needed. That as much as I would like to go back a few months and have her with me that is not going to happen. But that this ministry, this good..it can.

   My desperateness and longing for her will never go away, but I can choose to use that to help others.  I have finally let myself realize that I can in fact be thankful that God is taking our babies deaths….. our horrible experiences, and creating such a beautiful thing out of the ugliest of situations. That with him, good things…really can come from bad.

signature