Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Positive Challenge...


I had a rough day yesterday. What's new? Last night, as I went to sleep, I fervently and passionately prayed to God for the first time in a long time. I prayed for every mother I have *met* who has lost a baby. I prayed for every woman I *meet* who desperately, desperately wants to be a mom. I prayed with every fiber of my being for God to show Himself to me and continue to carry me through each day.

This morning, I made my FB status: Today is a new day that the Lord has made. I will be glad and rejoice in it.

And I was and I did.

My church morning was inspiring--literally with every note played or sung, my heart swelled. My Sunday School class focused on love. It was a lighthearted and fun morning dedicated to remind us that we were made to love--God and our neighbors. Oh, how I have been blessed with people to love and who love me!

Today, for the first time in a long time, 13 weeks and one day, to be exact, I was thankful to God for my life. I was thankful for my blessings. I remembered how it felt to smile when singing praise to God, and even though I teared up here and there, I smiled more than I cried.

So, when reading through my extensive Google Reader list, I came upon Katy's and Kristie's site and was asked this question:

What positive things have come from the loss of your baby?

SERIOUSLY? Positive things from losing my baby? That does not seem possible.
And yet--being reminded this morning that what matters most in the world is my relationship with God, I feel charged enough to admit (though shakily) that though I have seen the darkest days of my life since Matthew died, I have also seen wondrous, wondrous things.

For example:

*John and I have amazing families. For several, several days after Matthew was born and died, I don't even know how I got up in the morning. I don't even remember it. I just remember I always had someone getting me something to drink, taking my blood pressure, insisting I sit down, making my bed, feeding me, dressing me...literally and truly sustaining me. More than that, loving me--crying and laughing with me and helping me remember I am blessed.

*I have learned that there really is NOTHING that John and I can't weather. I know that people who lose children often end up losing one another. As I've said before, John is THE only other person on this planet who lost my son, and we realize more than ever that we would be lost without the other. There is nothing we can't deal with together.

*There are so, so, SO many wonderful people in this world. As if we were not overwhelmed with the generosity and kindness and envelopment from our church and the military and our community, complete and total strangers have sent us so many different little encouragements. Complete strangers. I have been reminded that the compassion people share is honestly the way God works on this earth and I have been specifically and dramatically touched by it.

Probably the most important...and positive....

*I have been and am seeking God more than any time I have ever in my life. I have literally been brought to my knees in desperation and have had nowhere to go but to Him. I have been questioning things I have always taken for granted and though I have never felt more vulnerable in my life, I also feel like I have never had more support and encouragement while being so. It's very strange--scary and hopeful at the same time. Though I toss and turn and question and wrestle...I feel like I'm right where I should be, considering Matthew is not with me.

I've often said that while this is a trial or test for me, I wonder why I had to be SO.KICKED.IN.THE.GUT for any points to be made. And yet...would I be at God's feet right now...literally begging for His mercy and His presence in my life? I'm hesitant to answer that...because the truth just hurts. I'm not ready to go there just yet.

But today I remembered what hope felt like and how precious to me it is. And that's pretty positive in my book.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

13 Weeks...

I know I write this all the time, but there are so, so many things always going through my head. Most days, I have about 5 or 6 different blogposts that I just can't choke out because I cry too much. So, they just swirl around in my head like little snowballs down a hill--building and building until they are just too big for me to do anything with save purposely will myself to STOP THINKING...just black out my mind.

That's not, nor has it ever been, something easy for me to do.

So...I ramble.

I just don't know where 13 weeks has gone, but still...I still have the silverware we used for Christmas dinner on the dining room table. I still haven't taken the tablecloths off, or really gone into the dining room much at all. It's sort of frozen to me--really just the tangible proof that I lived through days I don't remember much of and don't have the energy to clean up. It seems that long ago, and yet that yesterday. I got around to the much-needed chore of going through my bedroom/closet to weed through clothes and just couldn't get far. I don't feel like trying everything on to see if it fits or not any more (and odds are it doesn't), hence making it harder to get rid of it. My closet and several drawers still have my maternity clothes--and though I have put much in a container, the container still sits in my room. I don't even know what to do with them--put them up so they don't taunt me or keep them out because I hope and pray to be using them again in the next few weeks and months. Be glad that if I get pregnant this month or next I wouldn't have to buy much in the way of maternity because I have all my stuff from this*very*same*time*of*year* last year, or dread the thought of wearing the same things because I'll remember the kicks and hiccups and wiggles my little monkey made as I wore them? People try to rationalize this for me by telling me that I would have used the maternity clothes again and would have given his hand-me-downs to his little brother (if we had another boy) had he lived. Emphasis on the HAD~HE~LIVED part. He didn't. And so yes, most moms I am sure would not blink an eye at reusing maternity clothes or even *hoping* for another little boy so those clothes could be used again, but for me--the sorrow of them not even being used in the first place puts a whole new spin on it. Seriously, I have had people tell me that they hope I get pregnant and have a boy because then that boy will be all set. Like I should be GLAD that I have an entire, fully stocked nursery just waiting for some baby boy, any baby boy, to use it.

You just can't understand unless you're here, and I get that. I just wish more people who haven't been here realized they've never been here and didn't feel the need to tell me how I should/could/would act. Losing your grandma, best friend, mom, dad, sister, brother, husband,'s not the same. I realize it is mostly well-intentioned, but it really just isolates me even more and makes me question why I purposely even try to re-enter the 'normal' world in the first place.

I do go into his nursery now and then. I look, I cry, I leave. His diaper bag still sits at the door, packed with all the sweet little things I planned to hug and hold him in. Most days, the tears cloud anything I see in his room, much like they cloud the words I now type. My heart still just weeps. It seems like I may not have as many days where my heart sobs; now it just constantly weeps, softly but surely, even as I go out day to day and put on my happy face.

That's why I hate the term 'grieving process'. I think to put a name for a 'process' you are supposed to go through when your world crashes is just psycho-babble. Process means there's a beginning and an dies, you go through all the 'steps' and then you've worked through the process and you're back to yourself.

Seriously? There is NO back to yourself. How in the world do I go back to the time before my sweet boy was born and died? How do I go back to the woman I was when I was a mother waiting for her answered prayer to be born?

I don't. And so, the grieving process is simply what the rest of my life is. The 'process' is simply how I deal with missing Matthew each and every day. I can imagine there will be a day that I don't even think of Matthew for but a few minutes...and maybe not even those will happen until the end of the night, as I lay my head down and close my eyes...but that will be a day where my sorrow was just a little less. The very next day might bring an entire 24 hours of heartache.

THAT'S grieving. You may be able to categorize different days and times of your life as ones that fit a mold of anger or denial or bargaining or depression or what-have you, but honestly, I feel like I may live every day of my life in acceptance (I mean really, what choice is there? Matthew's dead. He's gone. Death is final on this earth.) while still mourning him in some way. Whether it takes 15 seconds of my day or the entire day, I can be 109 and I will still mourn him every single day. I think that one of the (many) nicest things Dr. Polko told me at my post-partum check-up was this: "You are strong. There's a difference between acting in sad and depressed ways and being depressed. You lost your son. You will be sad a long, long time." She gets it.

It is now 4:56. 13 weeks ago this very minute my precious little boy was born. My heart is heavy.

And yet...I have quite the week coming up. I went for my ultrasound and bloodwork for our transfer on Thursday and my nurse said all was 'perfect'. My uterine lining is 11.3 mm (they'd like 8 or higher) and my estrogen was 945. Tonight I add progesterone in oil to my menu of hormones added (as if I needed more!) to my system. All in preparation for our little Yellow Fish to make him or herself home for a while. Matthew and his little brother or sister embryo were Red Fish (I think Matthew was Red) and Blue Fish and Cindy said that the one little embryo we had left had to be Sam-I-Am.

Well, we have since added a new dog to the family--a 'foster' we took in for the rescue and with whom John fell in love. How do you tell a man who just lost his son, "No," when he says, "He makes me smile?" You don't. So, Sam Ennis entered the picture. His tag even says (at John's insistence) Sam-I-Am, so I can't likely have two of them. Amber aptly suggested Yellow Fish.

How very, very sad is it that I am hesitant to use the boy or girl name we will give to Matthew's brother or sister because I know that even when your pregnancy brings you to the point you are OVERDUE, that doesn't mean you are bringing your baby home?

I don't know when we'll feel comfortable using a name.

Friday, February 26, 2010

And again, I say...thank you!

Thank you, Bree, for thinking of my sweet baby boy. I am always so deeply, deeply touched when women with broken hearts reach out to others..and in the middle of their devastation are able to pour their hearts out in compassion and love.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thank You!

Wow! I am always humbled by the stories of others and the beautiful words they use to tell them. I realize that mine are often inadequate. Katy, who honors her sweet little girl Hannah here at In Hannah's Honor, nominated me for a Beautiful Blogger Award. Thank you, Katy, for not just this, but for the encouraging things you do and say to more than you know! I obviously realize how much of your heart (and hurt) you share, and know how hard that often is. I am inspired by your courage.

The instructions that go along with this award are as follows:
:: Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
:: Copy the award and place it in your blog.
:: Link the person who nominated you for this award.
:: Tell us 7 interesting things about you.
:: Nominate 7 bloggers.
:: Post the links to the 7 bloggers you nominate.

So..7 interesting things about me? My guess is that in the two years I've been doing this blog, I've probably shared many, MANY things that I *may* not have, had I known that more than 4 people were reading (still can't believe that!) along!!! So, if I am redundant, forgive me...

*1. My wedding took place in the Baptist equivalent of a gym/auditorium/sanctuary. Known to many a Baptist the world over as the FLC (Family Life Center) or some similar acronym, I walked down the aisle (half-court line) a week later than originally planned (and printed, and reprinted on invitations) because our sanctuary was being remodeled and wasn't ready. Don't think I was not considering tossing the bouquet in either of the conveniently placed basketball hoops.

*2. I am a cleaning supply queen. If it has been advertised on tv and claims to do something miraculous in the way of cleaning your house, I probably own it. Maybe I own two of them.

*3. I love to laugh. Laughing has always, always, ALWAYS been one of my favorite things in life to do. I have missed that so much in these last 12 weeks and 2 days. Even as they were prepping me for the c-section, I was laughing because Dr. Finkleston guessed my weight at 160. I obviously was not aware of how emergent the situation was, but even if I was, I think that still would have made me laugh. I was 97 pounds when I got pregnant. I gained 47! I WAS big, but still, for me...160 made me giggle.

*4. I am a voracious reader and always have been. I was reading when I was 3. As a teacher, I have no doubt that *some* of my reading was probably memorized, but I also vaguely remember reading for purpose (the TV guide, for example!). At any given time, there are at least 25 books on my nightstand, and I read through them all eagerly and quickly.

*5. Yellow and orange do NOT look good on me. I look jaundiced. Really. They are NOT good colors for me.

*6. I always, always knew Matthew's name was going to be Matthew. In fact, I always knew I was destined to be mom to Matthew. Even when we were trying to adopt from Kyrgyzstan, I wondered if I made the right choice in requesting a girl because I have had the same dream about 5 times in my life...I don't remember much, but all the times I dreamt the dream, I was feeding a little boy spaghetti. He was about 18 months-2 years, in a high chair, messy as all-get-out and his name was Matthew. Over the course of 11 years, I had the same dream. That's how I was SO sure I was having a boy. That's why I was SO sure God had ordained Matthew and NOTHING was happening to him. A few weeks before Matthew was born, I even worried to John because I never had any other dreams and never saw that little Matthew older than about 2. I worried something was going to happen around Matthew's 2nd birthday.

*7. I HATE being "That Woman"...I know this isn't interesting, but it's certainly something I didn't think I'd ever be. "That Woman" whose baby died. "That Woman" who has been through so much. "That Woman" others are glad is me and not them (I DON'T BLAME THEM!!!!). "That Woman" people pity. I am grateful for the full and compassionate hearts that reach out to me and love me and take care of me, but I hate, hate, hate being the object of it. It's hard, it hurts, and it's very, very humbling. One of the best things I heard in the hospital was from a dear nurse, and I will forever be grateful to her. I told her and a couple of other nurses with her that I was hoping I'd be remembered as "That Woman" who brought chocolates and goodies for the nurses, NOT "That Woman" whose baby died. That dear nurse responded: We don't think of you as "That Woman,"...we think of you as "Matthew's Mommy." That woman is an angel.

Whew. Tired of reading? Again, I don't blame you.

I have no, no, NO idea of how to pick 7 blogs for this because as I said, I am amazed at the stories I've come across and the hearts of people who have shared their lives--whether it was through the journey of adoption, or grief, or just life in general. I think that says a lot about the resiliency of the human spirit and how even when we feel alone, we obviously are not. I wrote today that it is OBVIOUS to me that I am not, because if I was alone, I'd never be able to breathe, much less survive. I thank God for that, because I know that it is through His grace alone that I do. The people with whom I share and identify for whatever reason are those placed in my life by Him specifically and I am grateful for them.

So, I'll make 7 *suggestions*, but hope that anyone who reads this and feels inclined takes the banner and basks in being a beautiful blogger as well. Opening your life and sharing it is really a risky thing, sometimes, and therefore I believe anyone who is willing to do so should be awarded!

My 7 *suggestions* are:
Jenny at Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer, Crazy
Heather at Prayer and Hope
Franchesca at Handprints From Heaven
Heather at In This Storm
Cindy at LaJoy Family
Lauren at Jonathan's Journey
Mala at Mixed Nuts (Thank you friend, for helping me remember laughter!--Jenny too!!!)

As I said...merely suggestions because you can look over at my blog list and see more special hearts shared...I am thankful for each one! Seven is just not enough.

In fact, since 7 is just NOT enough, and is causing me great stress in choosing, I am adding an addendum: If your blog is on my bloglist, you're a Beautiful Blogger too! Take the banner and run with it! (If you haven't already been nominated, which you probably have, because you rock!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

One gasp...

It has been a hard couple of days. For various reasons, too small to list, too numerous to be anything but difficult when bundled together...I have had a hard couple of days.

Part of it was that I started the delestrogen shots on Monday and really was bitter about that. I am trying to see the blessing of having the opportunity to be transferring our little embryo, but right now I am feeling bitter about doing it WITHOUT Matthew. I feel like I did my time, paid my dues. Over 10 years of trying, Kyrgyzstan closing, all the stuff with IVF the first time, a beautiful and perfect little boy...and still....back to shots almost a year later. Just really feeling the UNFAIR in my favorite mantra of 'Life is not fair.'

I picked up our medical records yesterday. There are so many things I just didn't know (and still don't because I am SO.NOT.A.DOCTOR) but as medical records are some of the few things I can have of Matthew, I wanted them.

They were heartbreaking.

Baby Boy Ennis is a 40 week and 4 day infant born to 36yo G1 P0 now 1 mom with blood type 0 pos....Conception via IVF...Pregnancy complicated by ultrasound concerning for right renal agenesis. Mom presented to L&D for induction.........Blah blah blah about stuff I don't understand and don't want to repeat....After IUPC was placed, fetal HR dropped to 50s and copious vaginal blood. Stat C/S performed. Infant had no HR, one gasp after delivery....

One gasp after precious son came into this awful world with one gasp...

And I didn't even hear it. He tried to fight the second he was born.

There's obviously more to the records, but right now, that's all.

That's all.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Poster Person...

I am, if nothing, an overachiever.

I always have been.

I think my propensity to defy the most amazing odds (twice in one pregnancy, if I claim the odds of Matthew having one normal kidney and one pelvic kidney) helps substantiate this claim.

So, imagine my surprise (not) when one of my therapists (yes, one...John and I have one we see together and I have one who calls me once every three weeks for an hour) told me today that I was her poster child for grieving. She meant this, of course, in a kind, appreciative and complimentary way.

Even in grief, I overachieve.

She's highly impressed with the mountains of books and resource sites I've read and continue to read. She's pleased that I am aware of and have notified John of what to be aware of with regard to symptoms of depression that would warrant aggressive treatment. She can't believe that I am going out to dinner engagements or other things with crowds and do so without breaking down at each one. (At John's Test Pilot of the Year dinner, I got the dreaded, "So, you have any kids?" Not once, but twice. I knew it would come sooner or later, and in a way, I am thankful it came at a dinner where some spotlight was on John and I just WAS NOT going to break down. PERIOD.)

She's tickled with the groups I've joined, the resources I access and utilize and the hurtful situations I expose myself to so that I can "feel" and "work through" my grief. She's FLOORED that we are going through the FET so soon. She's even happy that I seem to be effectively working through my grief in my dreams. She's just shocked and amazed that I am able to get up, get dressed, shower and function (me too) and gave me HUGE kudos for doing so. I was so glad to hear that...I don't think that people really realize what a MONUMENTAL chore it is--how much mental energy it takes--just to get up and function throughout the day.

She said the only thing she'd tell me to do that I am not already doing is to be kinder to myself.

In essence, she feels that I am doing such a good job of grieving, I may be cheating myself out of grieving.

That is to say, pushing myself to follow what society comes to sort of dictate grieving should be.

I thought about it, and I think she is exactly right. It has only been 11 weeks and 2 days since Matthew was born and here I was in a fertility clinic this morning getting ready to try and be pregnant again. While I want that pregnancy to happen, it *is* awfully soon. I refuse to do any disservice to Matthew by holding back one single tear I want to cry for him, ever. He was, and will always be, my treasured and precious first-born son; the answer to years of prayers and my hope.

When people tell me not to lose hope, or that they hope I don't lose hope, here's what they need to remember: Too late. I lost it already. I lost it with Matthew. And that's just the way it is. Psalms 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes a heart sick; a longing fulfilled is the tree of life." Matthew was my longing fulfilled, and heart is sick. I am not only allowed but expected to be heartbroken and is completely and totally normal for me to feel hopeless right now.

My. Son. Died.

The good news? Psalms 23:18 says, "There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off." So just because all the hope I had in and for Matthew is gone, I am not cut off for future hope. It's just not the same and no one should expect it to be. I know people mean well when they tell me to hang on to hope--but that's a lot easier said than done. When one grows and carries her heart's desire for 10 months, only to tragically bury him a week later, mind over matter doesn't necessarily apply. Suffice it to say that I am trying.

So here I am...stuck....refusing to mourn Matthew any less than I want or need to in order to fit some societal framework of how I 'should' be feeling right now, no matter how long that takes, yet refusing to be anything but grateful and excited about Matthew's brother or sister--whenever and however he or she comes into our lives.

Wonder what kind of poster THAT looks like?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

This and That...

So, being the reader that I am, I have bought a lot of books lately. A lot.
I mean really, a LOT! I think the UPS guy must think I do nothing but shop Amazon on a daily basis. (I sort of do.)

I've bought books on pregnancy's name it, I've probably bought a book about it in the last 11 weeks. I really think I have maintained my sanity the last few months by immersing myself in reading. Between the books I've bought, the non-stop Google searches I make on a regular basis and the blogs I stalk (and discover) daily, I spend a lot of time reading. Again, I emphasize A LOT.

I've made mention that we have gone back to Shady Grove and that Dr. Kiperzstock has recommended we transfer the frozen embryo we were blessed to have left from Matthew's batch. This has obviously led me to have a lot of apprehension as I am very well aware of the one billion and eight (exactly) things that can go wrong and end up very tragically.

All the books, blogs and research say this is to be expected. Even Dr. Kiperzstock himself told me that I was going to worry every single day. He also told me that's what I pay him to do, so I should try to let him as much as I can. Ha ha...I love that all my doctors appreciate and have good senses of humor.

The thing is, there's just no stopping the worry, so I am not even going to try. What I AM going to try doing, though, is being just as joyful, hopeful and expectant about this upcoming cycle and any others we may have to do if this is not successful. I look back to posts a year ago and can feel the excitement and joy I had.

I don't want Matthew's brother or sister to miss out on one bit of the same excitement and joy over his or her impending entrance to our lives. I want every day of his or her life to be infused with nothing but hope.

This is what the books say is tricky, though. The fact is, I have lost the innocence that comes with feeling invincible in pregnancy--that my child is destined to be on this earth for a lifetime and I am destined to raise him. I know that this is just not always the way it goes, even at 40 weeks and 4 days. On the way to the hospital, I remember thinking, "Well...worst-case scenario is that they have to deliver him emergency c-section, but if they have to, they have to."

Yeah, unfortunately, didn't think that one all the way out to REAL worst-case scenario. REAL worst-case scenario is that they DO have to deliver emergency c-section, and he DIES. And because I know that happens, regardless of how rare or uncommon it is, I will have to work on restricting my worry and thoroughly enjoying every second of another pregnancy.

How sad is it that one has to WORK at enjoying one of the most miraculous things in the entire world?

Moreover, how sad is it that one has to work so hard at that WHILE mourning the loss of her precious baby boy?

I know. Very sad.

In any event, in an effort to be excited and positive about Matthew's twin, I want to be sure to document all the goings on.

We saw Dr. Kiperzstock on Tuesday for the mock transfer. It was WAY more uncomfortable than I remember it being last year, but that's due to the fact I have since had a hasty emergency c-section (and not too long ago, either) and things are not as they once were. I am not looking forward to the actual transfer (which has tentatively been scheduled for March 4), because it will be more of the same, only with a very full bladder. Super.

I go in tomorrow for a baseline ultrasound, and will likely begin taking Delestrogen shots every 3rd day until the transfer. I will add progesterone in oil (yuck!) to the mix around the 26th and continue that until the beta test (probably on the 17th). If it is a positive test, I'll continue those for a while. Here's hoping I have to take those shots for a long time.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

11 Weeks...

"We are troubled on every side; yet not distressed; we are perplexed but not in despair." 2 Corinthians 4:8

Oh, Matthew...I am so very perplexed, but trying hard to not be in despair.

I miss you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Missing him....

It has been snowing for about 307 years. Or feels like it. I'm really hating this weather...I've never been a huge fan of the snow, but appreciated it for the occasional day (or twelve) off of school and the serenity the world seems to be under when it comes.
Not this year.

We had, in my opinion, a fairly mild fall. I was wearing capri jeans (one of two pair of pants that still fit) well into November. I do not really remember feeling cold, regarding the weather-sense of cold, until the day of Matthew's funeral.

It was cold, gray and rainy. As I sat in the chair in front of his tiny little casket, I shivered...not believing that to be my life and feeling cold for the first time in months and months.

Not long after Matthew died, we got the first big snowstorm of this winter. The East Coast was abuzz--a white Christmas!!! Excitement was all over-- even in our home (thankfully), with nephews and niece and dogs abounding.

But I HATED it. I hated every single snowflake that fell. I felt like each inch that accumulated was a personal affront to my heart. There I was, in the middle of the most devastating time I've ever heart literally feeling like it was breaking in pieces and I had to purposely tell my brain to breathe...and the world was covered in quiet--a calm and blissful ignorance to the hell I was going through. I had no idea how I was supposed feel the world was beautiful when MINE HAD CRASHED. It was just not happening.

And so...this winter seems to be purposely dragging--and taking my heart with it. Every time I go out into the cold, I associate the weather with that day. Every time it snows, and Lord knows it's been a lot, I remember how my little boy's life was book-ended by uncharacteristic snowstorms that brought nearly 2 feet each. I will be reminded by the snow, forever...and I hate it.
Cleaning out the office (a SO needed chore) was a great thing to tackle today, and in doing so, I came across a sonogram picture. I don't know why it wasn't in the folder I have for all the other sonogram pictures, but it made me smile.

Then it made me cry. I miss that little (huge) foot. I am so saddened that I never even got to touch those toes...much less give each little piggy a kiss.

I miss him.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Yes, I do count weeks still...

Why lie?
I do count weeks. Every Saturday, I think about how my life is so drastically different than I thought it would be. Every Sunday morning, as I get ready for church (or not, considering we seem to have been under THE.MOST.SNOW.EVER these last few weeks), I replay being wheeled down to the car....holding my bags and things in my lap and not being able to fathom how that could possibly be happening to me--leaving the hospital WITHOUT Matthew. I type that and am sickened at the memory.
Ten weeks ago my baby boy was born. Ten weeks ago he died.

I've mentioned that some songs just get stuck in my head, even in my sleep. Some songs I know I'll never sing again. Some songs I'll never be able to listen to without sobbing. Some songs will always be bittersweet but I'll sing. Some songs I'll never listen to again because there's just too much pain in them. But ALL songs stay in my head and I hate that I am not able to control their appearances or their incessant repetition.

So, they come. For the last week, three songs have been making the rounds in my head. In defense of my control of their presence, I have to say that one or all of them seems to be playing in my car nearly every time I use it.
Hold My Heart by Tenth Avenue North is one. More specifically, several lines from this song play constantly:
I'm on my knees, begging You to turn to me
I'm on my knees, Father will you run to me?
One tear in the dropping rain,
One voice in the sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breakin' heart?
One light, that's all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You're everything You say You are
Won't You come close and hold my heart.

"If You're everything You say You are, won't You come close and hold my heart?"
I cannot emphasize enough how many, many times I have said this to God. How many, many times I have been on my knees...BEGGING and PLEADING these very things. Most poignant to me is the "IF" before "You're everything You say You are..." because as scary as those words are--those questioning and heartfelt words--they are honest. I am always amazed when I look at some of the blogs of women who have also lost their babies because they seem SO SURE and SO UNSHAKEN.

I am so.not.there. I am shaken. I am desperate for God to prove to me He is there. Be it wrong, call it faithless...whatever it is, it is where I am. I always cringe inside when people are so kind and generous to me in telling me how inspiring I am or how strong I am because here's what I am really feeling...I'm challenging God.

Not too inspiring, is it?

The next song taking occupancy in my head on a 24/7 basis is Heaven Is the Face by Steven Curtis Chapman and specifically these words:
And God, I know, it's all of this and so much more,
But God, You know, that this is what I'm longing for
God, you know, I just can't see beyond the door.

But in my mind's eye I can see a place
Where Your glory fills every empty space.
All the cancer is gone,
Every mouth is fed,
And there's no one left in the orphans' bed.
Every lonely heart finds their one true love,
And there's no more goodbye,
And no more not enough,
And there's no more enemy (no more).

"And there's no....more.....enemy."
This line is on SERIOUS replay in my head. Probably one of the more repetitive lines I have encountered in 10 weeks. The other night, for the 4 and a half hours I tossed and turned in my sleep, this line looped in my head. In fact, I actually 'woke up' with a START at 2:47 and almost felt like I could HEAR the words. For the most teeny, tiny brief moment, I felt a sliver of peace.

No more enemy.

I may or may not have mentioned that in our Adult Bible Fellowship class (always Sunday School to me!) we have been going through a series entitled "Tough Questions" and the 10-12 weeks have appropriately been focusing on how God could allow evil and suffering. Each week is a different discussion topic. Topics have been based on questions such as, "Why do innocent people suffer?" and "Why doesn't God change things?" and "Does a loving God send people to hell?"

Seriously. There are mornings when I think there is NO WAY I can sit in on those discussions and there are mornings that I think there is NO WAY that I can't. And though they are HARD, HARD, HARD....we obviously are right where we were meant to be.

I've wondered, though, about one topic: "Is the devil for real?" I admit that I've sort of wondered why the reality of the devil is part of this series because it explores the actuality of a specific, purely evil and purposeful creature--not just the concept of evil, which is what seemed to be the bigger picture.

Some very, very relevant things have come from that discussion though. There IS an enemy. He is not looking to convert you to a hell-raising satanic devil worshipper. He doesn't have to.

He's just looking to steal you from God.
That's all. Take you from God.

And how easy to do so? How much easier does it get to do that than to plant one little seed of doubt. One little question of how God can possibly be real. And the snowballing begins.

Let me tell you this, friends. I have now experienced what I know to be the worst, worst, WORST feeling in the entire world. The scariest, darkest, deepest, most earth-shattering and devastating feeling in the world.

And it wasn't Matthew dying.

It was feeling abandoned by God. It is feeling unloved. It is feeling alone. It is questioning His very existence.

Checkmate for the enemy.

And I AM ANGRY! I am SO ANGRY that he took my beautiful and precious son. I am SO ANGRY that my miracle was TAKEN just to try and take me from God. I am FURIOUS.

Every second of my pregnancy was just inundated with thanks to God. Every second of my being, I gave thanks to God for the amazing life I had. I went NOWHERE without thinking of how blessed I was to have a wonderful husband, a beautiful home, wonderful family and friends...and my miracle, Matthew. And the ENEMY took it. With one fell swoop, he shattered my world, but more....he took away the only security I have ever had--God.

Or, he's trying to.

Which leads to the third song that has been prevalent in my mind--Follow You by Leeland:
And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.
Use my hands, use my feet
To make your kingdom come
Through the corners of the earth
Until your work is done

"I'll follow You."
That's all I can do.

NOTHING makes sense to me. NOTHING. Doesn't even come close. In fact, the only things that 'seem' sensible are awful for me to think about: God "CHOSE" me for this pain. God "CHOSE" to not save Matthew (though the more I think about it, the more I am grateful that my baby son does not suffer). God "CHOSE" to let the devil do this. God "CHOOSES" to remain silent to me.
So, knowing that none of that makes sense, and that I can wallow in that or choose to follow still...I choose to follow.

I don't know how. I don't know what I am to do. I don't know why I am to do it. I don't know much of anything these days.

But I DO know this:
Matthew was a miracle. Plain and simple. I have (and you've seen) pictures of him when he was EIGHT CELLS. EIGHT. They had to be magnified hundreds, maybe thousands of times to even picture them. Those eight cells turned into a wiggly, music-loving, chocolate cake and red-meat craving, dark-curly haired, huge-footed, chubby-cheeked, great sleep-patterned, soft-skinned, almond-eye shaped, dimple-chinned, LONG miracle named John Matthew.
And how else could that be without God?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Much Loved....

This has been a hard, hard week. I have missed Matthew more than I feel like I ever have. Mini-breakdowns happen for no reason, at random times, and with increasing frequency. I am afraid of what the coming weeks and months hold as I am really just at the mercy of my heart and my tears. It is a very unsettling feeling.

Just when I feel as if time passing may finally be helping, I literally stop breathing simply because I look at one of his pictures and I am overcome with sorrow. I just want to sob and sob some more.

This week has also been wonderful though...I have been blessed to call a group of women my dear friends for nearly 13 years! We all met when we were all newly married, and most of our husbands were in flight school in Pensacola. Hence, we call ourselves the Pensacola Girls. Yes, we know....very original. We spent the first few months-years of our marriages and lives as young wives together--in church, leisure and neighborhoods even! We have tried to get together every year since we all (but our home-base Jenny!) moved on to our various duty stations, usually at Labor Day. Sometimes the reunions are less populated than others, based on where people are and who can and cannot travel, but we are never far from hearts in joy and in sorrow.

These women have seen us through thick and thin and have been down the roads of our family-building with us. When Matthew died, these women rallied around me and lifted me constantly. I felt it, and knew it. Mandy flew out at a moment's notice to represent all at the funeral, and I can never express what it meant to have her there. When I saw her, I literally fell into her sobbing...I really didn't want to let her go and I just wanted to bury myself in her dark coat and have it all be a bad dream.

They all expressed interest in getting together...but really, knowing how close these women are to my heart was enough to make me very apprehensive. These are women who have known my heart's desire as theirs for me. These are women who love me so much that my grief truly is theirs. These are women who I could not imagine talking to without breaking down over the devastation of it all. More...what do I have to talk about but the same sad story??? While I can now share the experience of pregnancy with some of them, my experience then ends in tragedy. I have nothing new to share but the same disbelief, shock and horror of it all. I have nothing new to say but that I am heartbroken, don't understand and don't know how I can spend the rest of my life aching like this. I have no motivation to do much of anything, nor do I have control over my emotions and my engagement.

Really, as I feel in most situations in my life right now, I worried about them all going to the trouble of getting together because I just don't have much to give.

I just don't.

BUT....these are also women with whom I laugh and share so much joy. We came from all over; Pensacola, Jacksonville, Wichita, New Hampshire and cry over our broken hearts and to soothe them with just being together. I am deeply humbled and honored that they dropped their very busy and full lives to just be with me. I am touched deeper than anyone can ever know nor I can ever convey.

True to my new motto of "If It Can, It Will," we all met in Virginia Beach during what is being called "The Worst Winter Storm Of the Century," and that has made things interesting, to say the least. As I type, I am looking at a clock that will buzz its alarm in 4 hours so that I can get Jenny to the airport here and then get Salley up to Dulles by 10 in anticipation of her making it out before the world ends.

I couldn't go to sleep without letting the world (well, those who read, that is!) know what God does to help heal broken hearts. He sends His comfort in the form of five amazing women I love dearly.

I am much loved.

Matthew, your Aunties Salley, Jenny, Lisa, Tina and Mandy agree: You were one beautiful little boy and their hearts are broken with mine because you are not here with me. You as well are much loved.

The Pensacola Girls

Monday, February 1, 2010

I miss Matthew.