Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This is what I am talking about...

So, in the mail, I receive my American Baby magazine. (One of the many magazines ordered under a 3 year subscription, planner that I am.)

And my Infantino Recall notice. (Guess they didn't get my letter?)

And my Similac 4 Month Milestones packet: "Those conversations you are having with your baby aren't one-sided any more! Just listen to that cooing."

I think they mean crying. At least, that's what I hear at my house. Me. Crying.

And then, to top the day off, John met me at the Pass and ID place (because although I apparently am good enough to pay the taxes that fund that office, me looking just like the picture on my government issued ID is not enough to prove I am who I say I am and John in all his Major glory has to vouch for me) this afternoon. My ID is about to expire in 2 days. The base has been going through some big security check in the last week, and oddly enough, due to various situations, I have been on the base more in the last week than probably in the last three years. I have had my ID checked more times than probably in nearly 14 years with the Marine Corps. And yet, not one single person EVER stopped me and said, "Ma'am, your ID is about to expire." Not one. All those people 'checking my ID' for WHAT? That I had one and I look reasonably like the picture?

(Okay, I realize I am a bit disgruntled. I'll get to the point.)

So, when the lady takes my new picture and I compare it to my old picture, I realize I look OLD. Tired and OLD. Like I've aged a lifetime. And I have. My son's brief 8-hour lifetime. Over and over again.

I even said, "Wow, I look like I've aged a lifetime."

The lady said, "Oh, you just think you do. You look great."

"No, I really have had a lot happen since that picture."

"Oh, we always think it's worse than it is."

"No, my son died 4 months ago. I've aged a lifetime."

She didn't even skip a beat. She said, "Oh, now you're gonna make me sad. Have another. You just have another."

Seriously?

I didn't even say my baby son died. (Because, you know, somehow people feel like since it was just a baby, it couldn't hurt that much or mean as much as a 'real' 5 or 6 year-old kid, right?)

I just said my son died and she said, "Have another. You just have another."

THIS is what I am talking about when I say people say insensitive things. John said it was because I threw her and she didn't know how to respond.

How about DON'T? Or, simply say, "I'm sorry," and let that be that.

But don't act as if another child replaces my son. Or replaces the hurt in my heart. Or the ache in my arms. I ache for MATTHEW. My heart grieves MATTHEW. MATTHEW'S nursery is upstairs, full of MATTHEW'S things. Things with MATTHEW'S name and bought specifically for MATTHEW. Not another child. Not another brother or sister. MATTHEW.

I know that people are so hopeful for us to be blessed with another pregnancy. We are too.

Because we ALWAYS wanted children. Not a child, children. Whether Matthew had lived or not, we would have and still want more children.

But we want Matthew too. We wanted Matthew too. We had Matthew too. And there will never be another child who replaces him in our hearts or our memories or our love.

And that some people just don't get that hurts my heart.

No one would ever tell a mother who just lost her 5 year old child, "Have another."

So why is that ok to tell a woman who lost her newborn son? How is that comforting? "You'll have more. You'll be parents. It'll happen again."

I am a parent. I would love to have more. I pray it happens again.

But another child or more children won't make Matthew being gone 'better'.

Nothing will.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Four Months...

While yesterday was 17 weeks, today is the 28th. According to calendar dates, today would be the day I would prop Matthew up next to some cute little animal I had used every month since he was born to show how much bigger he'd gotten. Knowing me, he'd probably be wearing a shirt that had some wording on it, something like: "Four months rocks! Three is SO last month!"

Instead, his room is cold and empty. I'm not putting together an Easter basket for him, nor will he wear the sweet Easter sweater vest and hat that Mom and I got him several, several months ago. Our traditional family Easter picture may not even happen. I don't know that I'll be able to do it.

Like his room, at my core, I feel cold and empty too.

So I am so thankful that I have people who love me and check on me; call me and write me; continue to invite me to do something even though I often find some reason not to be able to; and simply just help carry me through.

You have no idea how thankful I am for each and every person in my life. I don't think I could sum it up any better than words that were sent to me by such a precious person (and I don't think she'd mind me sharing as they touched my heart so deeply today):

"My dear friend, I will continue to write you and tell you, but I know this is also a walk you must take in your own time. God knows that too. There is no rush. I will be just a few steps behind you as you take this walk. I will be your friend and I will watch for each stumble and for the times you fall to the ground. If the devil wants a spiritual battle...well, perhaps he doesn't know your family and friends."

I do. And boy, is he in trouble.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Remembering...

Last Saturday, I had the honor and privilege of meeting (in person) two friends I have come to know since we started our adoption in Kyrgyzstan. Ann is one of the dear 65 families who have met their little ones, wait for them with every second of their days and love them more than life itself from 7000 miles away. Trite as it may sound, I have often thanked God for only letting our hearts get as invested as they did in Kyrgyz before the country closed because I'm so saddened for those families who have waited 2+ years for their children. Not pictures on a referral email--their CHILDREN. Children who have families and homes waiting to shower them with love and forever. It's just so sad.


Jengish is an amazing young man who has dedicated his life to service of others. He works with people that many of us in our pampered lives would consider unworthy and untouchable. He looks for them, purposely putting himself in not so great positions just to help them and lead them to lives so much more fulfilling. He is such a great example of loving them like Jesus loved them and I have loved being able to call him a friend.

So, meeting up with both in Richmond last Saturday was a great day. Admittedly, I was having a rough week. Umm, lets make that two weeks. Heck, let's make it 16. My point is that Richmond was a two hour drive and drive time is think time and think time is not great time.


But it was worth it. So worth it! I was sort of embarrassed--born and raised in Virginia and I felt like such a loser because I couldn't remember much of Virginia history AT . ALL. (I had my trusty phone with me, though, so I was able to supply answers eventually.)

We had lots of fun photo ops (Ann and Jengish are real photographers...I just depend on my trusty green "A") and just a fabulous time getting to know each other (more)!


Ann told me that after Matthew died, a group of the waiting families wanted to get a tree or something like that for us to remember Matthew. I cannot tell you how touched I was by this. Actually, if truth be told, I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the kindness and compassion of relative *strangers* who wanted to do something special for me and John and our sweet baby boy.


Believe it or not, we came across a nursery right near the place Jengish was staying and after we dropped him off, we stopped there. I had no clue of what to look for--significantly overwhelmed. Ann and I started looking and just had no idea so we decided to ask one of the ladies there. I asked her for something that might flower in the fall, or at least be pretty to look at, and she showed us a couple of things. For each thing I asked how it looked during the winter (winter has officially become my most hated season EVER) because I didn't want anything that looked dead/dying. I have enough memory of that as it is. She then took us over to some beautiful camellias and said that they were evergreen even when not blooming. Then she said, "And they have beautiful flowers that start blooming in December."


Well, that was it. Ann and I looked each other, I started to cry and we both got goosebumps. Blooming in December. Just like my little Matthew would have.


I'm crying as I type this. John and I have been planning a memorial garden in a particular part of our yard so that we could have things to remember my mom and his dad and our grandparents. I never, ever, EVER dreamed I would be planting something to memorialize MY SON. My newborn son.


My heart is heavy.

But it is also encouraged. Encouraged by the support that we have in so many different people and venues. Encouraged by the blooms that I'll see every winter and remember how loved we are and how loved Matthew is. Encouraged that it can't always be this bad...and when it's not, I'll be able to look out the window and see those flowers and smile...at the memory of special people and the memory of my beautiful baby boy.


Thank you Waiting Families...our hearts have been so blessed.




Friday, March 26, 2010

"Population was a baby shy of 103,000 here"

That's the headline on my local paper today.

According to the article, the Census Bureau says that St. Mary's growth was the second fastest in Maryland over the last decade, with a total of 102,999.

That baby St. Mary's county is shy of is mine.

He was born here. He died here. He doesn't get counted here because he no longer lives. Filling out the census this year stung. A lot.

A baby shy...same as my house. Same as my life. Same as my heart.

A baby shy.

Grateful.

I know I should be more.

I know I have a ton for which I am.

It's just so hard to remember that when there's such a hole in your heart.

This weekend, we would have had a big birthday party for daddy and 4-month old Matthew.

Daddy won't be here.

Neither will Matthew.

In any event, I am very thankful for so many things. I am thankful that we have been surrounded by nothing but the most wonderful, kindhearted and well-meaning people and intentions. Yes, some insensitive things have been said, but never, ever purposeful...that I know. Honestly, those things said are perhaps less than 1% of the amazing support we've been given. Heck, less than half a percent. Sometimes people just don't even realize what hurts my feelings. *I* don't even know what hurts my feelings until it happens. I know, though, without a doubt--not one person has ever said anything to me with the intent of belittling my feelings or my pain. I am so grateful for that.

I have never had anything but the best doctors...caring, compassionate, kind and brokenhearted for us. I do not think a better Labor and Delivery exists than the one at St. Mary's Hospital. We were truly wrapped up in so much love and concern. I cannot imagine how much different it could have been.

I do not have any family members who literally break my heart more with their words and their feelings. In meeting others, I know that I should not take that for granted. It is not always a given that your family supports you, and I am grateful that ours does.

I have had so many friends surround me with support and love. Emails, phone calls, comments on Facebook or the blog....you have no idea how much they mean. I may not respond to them all...may not even answer the phone sometimes because it is just too hard, yet...people STILL KEEP TRYING. I know I am hard to support sometimes, I do not like burdening people and I often just end up curling up and wallowing on my own. That said, every call, email, comment, card and letter honestly keeps me going and I am so grateful for not giving up on me.

Most importantly, I am grateful that God has not given up on me. As I said, I know I am hard to support--I want my son. I want to hold him. I want to love him and know him. I want him right here, right now. And because I have none of that, well...I guess I'm pretty inconsolable.
And yet...He still tries. He sends comfort through others, even when I simply refuse to budge on what will console me. I've drawn my line in the sand.

But He keeps trying. I tell people about the strangest things that happen...things that can seriously ONLY be from God. Honestly--the things that the world may call coincidental but are really *too* coincidental to be coincidences. They have to be God.

I am just so stubborn.

And broken.

But He keeps trying.

And I'm grateful.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dear Infantino,

Do not worry. I will not be sending my recalled sling back. I will not be part of any class-action suits. I did not even get to take it out of the box.

My baby died before I even got to hold him. I don't know what that feels like and my arms ache.

Can you imagine if someone at Infantino got that letter?
I wouldn't send it, of course.

My heart hurts so much.
So much.

I wonder if people know that it is possible to smile and look "great" when you feel dead inside?
I wonder if people know that I bite my lip constantly to hold back tears?
I wonder if people know that this is literally unbearable sometimes, and all I can do is curl up under my blanket and hope that I get back to normal breathing again?

A dear friend told me I was such a trooper.
I told her that I used to be.
Now, I just survive. I try to make it from the start of the day to the finish...and can't even think about tomorrow because the thought of another today is just too depressing.

How am I supposed to spend the rest of my life without my little boy? How is that possible? How? I am barely making it from one day to the next.

I just don't know how.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This is what aggressive looks like...



Well, my medicines came in today. I have to give a very, very big shout out to the FABULOUS lady at this pharmacy (good prices on meds AND a return policy!) and to Blue Cross/ Blue Shield. I am not questioning how it happened, but am glad it did: They covered the medicines! Not too long ago, I ranted about how they weren't going to cover the medicines because we were part of the Shared Risk program and if they don't pay for procedures they don't pay for medicines. Well, apparently Sally ran the medicines through and VOILA! $5000 worth of medicine for my co payment of $FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS! Thank God! We had planned on paying for those out of pocket anyway, so now the MAC is a done deal!!

I was sort of shocked at how much is here. 30 vials of Menopur. 30 vials of Bravelle. 6 boxes of Ganirelix. A box of Novarel. Some zithromax. Tons of needles.

Last year, we joked about how I could imagine what a drug addict felt like because I was putting tons of money into my body every day.

This is even more.

The plan is to be more aggressive since I am older. Do the perks of age ever stop? Dr. K said that based on my last cycle, we would definitely transfer 2 (provided we have 2 to transfer) and would consider 3. That worries me a bit.

On one hand, I tell myself that I was GOOD at being pregnant. A friend and I today just laughed at how I held such a loooong little boy in my tiiiiny little body for a loooooong time. How my doctor called me Ft. Knox and how Hotel Mommy was a super place to be. In that vein, I feel like if it were to happen, I *might* have some chance to safely maintain a multiples pregnancy.

On the other...in 16 weeks, I have seen so much heartache from so many multiples situations. I don't know that I could handle that. I hurt just thinking about it, knowing the hearts of so many other mothers.

The plus is that Dr. K is VERY conservative, so I know he will not lead me into anything he worries about for me. I also know that if something like that should happen, I have a crew of people ready and waiting to hover. So....I'll not worry today about something that *may* happen.

In 2 weeks and 3 days, I start the shots. Let the fun begin.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Moving forward.

Well...things move forward, don't they? Whether I want them to or not, they do. Not on, just forward. Which means that either I do also, or I wallow.

Lately, I admit wallowing has been my preference of choice. I sort of half joke when I say that it's pretty bad that I'm more worried about someone breaking into my house because I'd be embarrassed at what state the police would find it in rather than the stuff that is missing. Usually when John is gone, the house is SO in order because it's just me.

Not this time...which is my secret agenda way of telling anyone who knows me in real life that I'd prefer them not to just drop by for fear of them being overtaken by the dog hair furiously piling up in my foyer.

But since things move forward and I am *trying* not to wallow, we are going to do another fresh IVF cycle. My nurse called me today with my new protocol. Long story short, we will be starting the medicines April 9, a probably egg retrieval on April 21, a transfer between the 24-26th and the results in the first 10 or so days of May. I cannot say enough how grateful I am to be able to try to do this again, while at the same time, so heartbroken that I have to do this again.

Heartbroken that my Matthew will never know his brother or sister on this earth. Heartbroken that *I* will never know my Matthew more on this earth.

The weekend we start the medicines is the weekend we will be going to a retreat for couples who have lost a child and is held by Nancy Guthrie and her husband. I think it's pretty considerate of my nurse to be so concerned that this cycle would not interrupt that retreat because she thinks it will be important for us. Luckily, it worked out perfectly. I am looking forward to it, but would be lying if I said I didn't have some trepidation about it. It's one thing for me to read blogs and emails of people who have lost a child--I hurt for them, I cry for them. My heart breaks for them. But I can close the computer any time I want.

It's another to actually sit there with them...hear the crack in their voices and see the years added to their eyes. Watch them shake softly as they sob about their children. See them stare off as they imagine all the should-have-beens...

Or at least that's how I imagine it would be because I know that is exactly what people get when they are with me.

And I hate that for them. Don't get me wrong, I REALLY hate it for me. But I hate it for them because I feel like it's my life and my pain. It's not fair that others have to deal with it too.

I'm excited, though. I think John is looking forward to it too. There is no Internet access for TWO WHOLE DAYS! Do you know how many Facebook updates that is???

I know, I know...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Run. Just run. Run fast. Run now. Run.

Just this morning I said I thought it was important to not be a stumbling block, so I am not going to write all that I have been thinking.

I can say that though the Lord is my Shepard, I'd be lying if I said I did not want.

I want, Lord. I want.

RUN! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW! That's what I kept thinking in my head as I sat in church. I literally would have run out of there if I wasn't sitting where I was, which was not my usual spot.
So, instead, I just cried. I stood there, tried to sing and cried.

The music was overwhelming. So many of the songs were songs I had on my pregnancy playlist and sang to Matthew throughout my pregnancy. I had such a hard time. These songs were so significant to me. I wrote about them--and in trying to find this post, I cried some more.

"I sing for joy at the work of your hands." I couldn't swallow after that line--the work of His hands was SO magnificent. So amazing. So precious. Matthew was simply amazing.

Oh Lord, I want.

How can my soul ever be restored?

I sometimes get a little perturbed when people tell me that Job was rewarded so greatly for his faithfulness....all he had was restored and MORE!

Really? His 7 children came back? Because let me tell you, they SURE as heck are not replaceable.

I digress...anyway, as I said, I pulled up that post from September 20, and started to cry and cry. Sob. A lot. The type that *almost* made me pick up the phone and think of someone to cry to. (Almost.)

And then the phone rang. I answered it.
And I wasn't alone in my crying. I was being asked to take limits off:

"I'm not a man, I cannot lie. I know the plans for your life.
I'm asking you to dream again, to believe again and take the limits off of Me.

I'm not a man, I cannot lie.I know the plans. They're My design. I'm asking you to hope again,and trust again and take the limits off of Me.

All I'm asking is take the limits off. Take the limits off. Release Me to accomplish what I promised to do. "

I was told my name wasn't forgotten:

"I am not forgotten. God knows my name. He knows my name.
Light over darkness, strength over weakness. Joy over sadness, He knows my name. "

I was told God knows the plans He has for me and they are good.

I was told He knows and counts every tear. (This being told to me as I am and was bawling.)

I was told He would restore my soul. Those very words. No prompting from me, we don't go to the same church and she has no knowledge of what was going through my head.

I thought, "HOW? Matthew is not coming back. I may be the mother of 18 one day and that won't make it better or me miss him less. How can it be restored without restoring Matthew?

And I was told restoration doesn't mean like I was. Restoration means renewed...meaning there will always be scars, but new hope.

Friends, there are no coincidences. I'm glad I was stuck in that pew because so much of what was going through my head was worked out in an amazing way from a 'random' phone call God placed on her heart to make to me.

Like I said, God, I'm listening. I may not be great at it, but I'm trying.
Church stung. A lot.
Thank you for continuing to reach out to me.
In 35 minutes, it will be exactly 16 weeks since Matthew died in his father's arms.

Every time I think my heart couldn't be more broken...I'm proven wrong.

I saw a little boy today...about Matthew's age...in an outfit that I have hanging in Matthew's closet...along with about 9 million and 6 other things of Matthew's...and I realized that the pain can and DOES go deeper.

Even when you think that you've hit rock bottom and the pieces of your heart simply can't get any smaller.

They do.

What's going to be left?

And do I even care?

Nothing there...nothing to hurt.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lord, last night I asked you to hold on to me.

Today, in the car, on the radio, You told me this is what it's like to be held.

I'm listening. It's hard. It hurts. I didn't get two minutes, much less 2 months. But I'm listening to you.

Please keep talking.


Dear Lord,

You must know how hard I am trying.
You must know how much my heart hurts.

Please, Lord, I beg of you...please wrap your arms just a teeny bit tighter? I feel like I'm falling off the edge, just out of reach. Please, Lord, I am trying to hold on for dear life.

I know you talk to me through certain songs.
I know you talk to me through dear, dear people--I know those have to be your words.
I know you talk to me when I am quiet, and staring...looking out the window as I think about how desperately I wanted to be rocking Matthew in that chair.
I know you tell me that you have good things planned for me.
I know you tell me your plans are for me to prosper and not to afflict me.
I know you tell me that your heart hurts for mine and everything is working for my good.

But Lord...I can't breathe! The blanket is so heavy and dark and I can't seem to get out from under it.
I'm afraid....you tell me those things, but you also tell me that it's hard.
You tell me that I'll be tested and tried.
You tell me that to die is to gain! I can't wrap my head around that.
You know death stings and I am trying to live through it.
You know I had NO doubt that my baby would be fine...and in that faith in you, I didn't savor that touch of skin. I didn't hold onto it longer. I didn't know that was all I would get. I believed you promised him to me. I believed you told me about him and promised him to me. Lord, I believed you. I believed there would be more...and there wasn't. If only I knew...

I did believe you. You know with every fiber, I did. I told every single person in that hospital you ordained him and he was going to be fine.

Lord, how could I have been so wrong? I am afraid because I believed with every inch of my being that you had come to me, promised him to me, and assured me he would be fine--I'm afraid I don't even know how to hear you or feel you if I was THAT wrong...Friends tell me I walked around like I was invincible and I felt like I was because I had YOU on my side! You tell me that if you are with me, who can stand against me???? You tell me that there is a strong man, but you are stronger....you tell me you knew the days of Matthew's life before they were written but I don't understand!!!!!

You didn't plan what happened to Job. You tell me you didn't. You tell me that you were propositioned, you offered an answer to that proposition, and you allowed it to be tested. And you were proven victorious because you are righteous.
But you planned for the strong man to question you and ask you to test your servant?
I do not understand, Lord.
I do not.

I am weary.
But Lord, I am here. I am at your feet, begging you to bring the peace you promise...the peace that surpasses understanding.
I'm begging you grab me tighter. There's too much slack in the rope, Lord...please, pull tighter.

And know my heart, Lord...please know my heart. Know I will promise to praise you every day. Understand if the praise is something I may have already praised you for because I may struggle remembering all there is to praise.

Lord, thank you for Matthew.

Thank you for letting John meet him, look into his eyes and hold his hand...to have his hand held back.

Thank you for making me a mother. The world may find it easy to not acknowledge that fact...and they may not understand when they in good faith and pure heart ask you to make me a mother and give me a child, they forget that I AM a mother and I HAD a child. They love me, and hurt for me, and it's so, so easy to forget those things when all I have are some pictures, a lock of hair and a pendant close to my heart but no child in my arms.

Thank you for women who let me cry and laugh in the same two hours.

Thank you for letting me remember I love to laugh.

Lord, I beg you to continue to convict my heart. It's my reminder you are who you say you are.
I'd prefer peace, but conviction works too.

Thank you for letting me cry to you.

Thank you for not letting me have a nervous breakdown today.

Thank you for so many people who lift me and love me.

With much love Lord,
Lori

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's not easy (seeing) green...

What. A. Hard. Day.

I would imagine that if you are reading this, you'd imagine that *I* would be consumed with anxiety about tomorrow. Especially if you know me in real life. And I know many of you do and are laughing this second and saying, "Yep."

You'd be wrong.

I *am* terrified about tomorrow, because I desperately would love for my little Yellow Fish to be happily growing and living within me but the anxiety is more in the KNOWING than the not. I know that sounds weird, as I keep saying that knowing will at least allow me to plan, and that's true. Knowing can also bring more heartache...no, WILL bring more heartache, and frankly, I'm sort of ok NOT knowing and still hoping. Hence my resolve of steel in not taking a test early.

I'm consumed, though...I'm consumed with heartache. It's torturous. It's wretched. I'm tormented.

I miss my son. I miss my child. I miss the little boy I carried and gave birth to. I miss John Matthew Ennis. Beyond belief.

I went to the cemetery after Bible study (Which, by the way, was absolutely humbling. If you have never had a group of women surround you with love and prayers, literally, I highly recommend it.). I took some new flowers (called a Garden of Hope bouquet) and the sun was glorious. It is such a beautiful day. And as I sat there at his site, sobbing more than I have sobbed in a while, I just couldn't get past the growth of the new grass, which I think was thrown down at the funeral. Soft and bright, kelly green grass. Beautiful and new little blades of baby grass.

And I thought, "This is the green I get for my son on St. Patrick's Day? This is all I get? The grass gets to grow but my son doesn't?"

And I wept more.

I'm consumed alright. I am so conflicted because I of course have been on my knees begging for a positive pregnancy test tomorrow, but that's been overshadowed by the fact that I miss Matthew. I sat at that grave, where I had to leave his little body 15 weeks ago and could not believe that this is my life. That that was HIS life.

And yet, I heard a term this morning that made my heart feel a little lighter. Beth Moore (LOVE HER!) was speaking about praise and talked about the kind of praise you give when your heart is broken. She called it the 'sacrifice of praise' and I knew exactly what she meant. Praise God even though your heart is broken. That we choose to praise Him even when we feel so crushed.

And I do. I praise Him every day for the miracle of Matthew. That He made me a mother. That He allowed me to love and learn about that precious little boy. I can, if nothing else, never have enough gratitude to God for the most amazing thing that has ever happened to John and me.

Little Yellow Fish, I praise God for you too. For the sheer hope in you that I have. I know that if tomorrow is negative, I will survive because I've already had the worst thing imaginable happen to me and I still breathe. But oh how I will rejoice if it is positive. Please know that though my heart just weeps because I miss Matthew, there is so, so, SO much room in it still for the miracle you would be.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Not feeling positive...

I know that I was not feeling very positive last year with Matthew--in fact, the day before my beta, I KNEW I wasn't pregnant, so I just had popcorn for lunch because that's all I felt like eating. I did notice some changes in my body, but attributed that to the drugs.

I feel the same way now. It's hard to note any changes to my body, seeing as my stomach shape is FOREVER changed with the c-section, and I just kept tossing and turning last night and feeling like the test on Thursday is going to be negative.

I love Shady Grove, goodness knows I do, but waiting for 14 days for a FET beta is excruciating! I'm on boards with women who did their FETs 2 days before me and have already tested positive! Most clinics say 9-11 days for a blast FET. Shady Grove still wants 14. I guess in a way, that's good, since John still isn't here, and the longer I can HOPE it could be positive without him being here, the better. The worst part will be KNOWING it's negative and him still not being here, so I'm sort of ok with it being pushed out. I'd just like to know so I can make plans...plans for school, plans for what to do for our next cycle, heck--plans for a new Mac because I am FED up with my laptop. My ancient 7 year-old desktop is working better than my laptop and we are both just DONE with PC, I think.

Not to mention, it would be nice to have some definitive hope. Rather, some tangible, definitive hope.

I pray every night for God to renew my hope in Him. I'm trying to be faithful to that. It's just so, so hard when I look at a closed nursery door day in, day out. A room never to be used for my Matthew. I really feel these days a lot like I did when he first died--just desolate and destroyed.

Destroyed. I'm trying very hard to fight that...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Warning: Do not hold me responsible for John's 'quirky' humor...

Well, I'll be honest and say that as I was in acupuncture this morning (to relax and ease anxiety, right? Ha ha...), tears just rolling down the sides of my face, I had QUITE the blog post roaming around.

It of course rambled, but the highlights were:

Progesterone REALLY intensifies the HECK out of my emotions these days. In ways I never DREAMED possible.
I feel like I have hit some sort of brick wall and the heartbreak I'm dealing with right now is just as strong as a week after Matthew died.

I'm terrified about Thursday.

I'm lonely, but don't want company.

I don't want to be alone, but am mostly glad I am.

And a ton of other things I can't even remember right now. However, I just can't bring myself to do it. To write it all out. I'm TIRED of crying. Just tired of it.


So, thankfully, my funny boy thought he'd tickle my funny bone in sending me another birthday card. In light of the fertility treatments that we have gone through and are currently going through, I must admit that I laughed and laughed and laughed some more. Thank goodness I remember how to do that without having to MAKE myself do it.


I think the funniest part about it is that on the doctor's labcoat, John wrote Dr. K's name....

Saturday, March 13, 2010

15 weeks, 33 minutes.

My heart stings like it was 10 minutes ago.

"I am worn out from groaning; all night long, I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears." Psalms 6:6 (NIV)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tough Week...

Man, seems like I say that all the time.

Wait, I do.

I'm having a rough day. I'm trying, trying, trying to be hopeful about next Thursday (and the 2ww is excruciating) and yet, torturing myself at the same time by looking up everything known to man about FETs, including images of blastocysts and comparing poor little Yellow Fish to good looking ones and not so good looking ones. I stopped doing that, actually, because he/she seems to fall in company more with the not so good looking ones and THAT'S not helping.
I can see mom rolling her eyes right this second about me being on the computer and telling me, "Get off the Internet!"

(Don't fret...I know she reads it...she's probably laughing because I bet I'm right!)

Today would have been my dear, sweet Grandma Gosnell's 97th birthday. I miss her so much, still. A year ago, I wrote about her. As much as I love her, I can't bring myself to do it today because I'm already stock full on things to cry about, and can't add to the load. I am guaranteed of this: If in Heaven, we are aware of the relationships we have with each other on earth, then there is no doubt in my mind that she has been stuck to my little Matthew like glue. Glue.

I have come across so, so many women who are suffering through hard 'anniversaries' in March and I am just overwhelmed. My heart breaks for them because I just know how much my heart hurts and I just weep for theirs hurting.

I am very blessed to be part of an amazing (though heartbreaking) Bible Study and seriously, last night, my heart just sobbed. Literally. I'm sure that all the hormones and missing Matthew certainly doesn't make me very tough when listening to each woman, but honestly...I was overcome with SUCH SORROW.

There is just SUCH, SUCH SORROW in this world.

I miss John. He has been a Marine for over 13 years. In all that time, I *may* be able to count on both hands the times that I TRULY was panicked and thought something was going to or had happened to him. I ALWAYS worry about him (especially since he's such an aggressive driver, and YES, that is a purposeful statement aimed at shaming him into not being so...) but when we got married and I realized I was marrying a man whose job was to defend our country (in a metal vehicle that defies gravity, no less) I made my peace with God that whatever happened, I could NOT worry about it or I'd literally go insane.

And, truthfully, I was naive. I know it sounds awful, but really... OTHER people's husbands die in the military. You pray for and go to funerals for OTHER people's husbands. Though you know there is always a chance, it doesn't REALLY happen to you, does it?

Yeah...well, that's sort of the same thing, the same innocence (protective shield, defense mechanism, whatever you want to call it) a lot of women go through with pregnancy. You *HEAR* about terrible and sad stories, but that won't be you, right? At least that's what everyone TOLD me.

I, unfortunately, have always lived my life waiting for the other shoe to drop.

When it does, you almost feel (and I know this sounds weird if you luckily live life NOT as Worst-case Scenario Sue) vindicated. You want to scream, "SEE! SEE! I TOLD YOU. I TOLD YOU IT HAPPENS. I TOLD YOU. I'm not neurotic or crazy, I'm realistic. Horrible things DO happen."

So now, experiencing something so rare that even our medical professionals are still in shock over, I have lost that comfort of knowing that odds are, John will be just fine.

Odds were...EXCELLENT odds, mind you...odds were that I'd be cuddling my 3 and a half month-old this very minute.

So not only do I miss John, I regularly wonder, as he walks out the door each morning, if I will ever see him again. If I will be left not only as a mother without her child but as a wife without her husband.

I'm not sleeping well...I fall asleep ok (after midnight mostly, so maybe NOT that ok!) but for the last week or so I've been waking up around 5 am and tossing and turning for a couple more hours. Anxiety. As I wake up, I INSTANTLY chant to myself, "Be anxious for nothing..." but then I realize that I was very, very anxious over the summer about Matthew because I'd just heard a heartbreaking story of a couple losing their firstborn to a cord accident at birth, and I just panicked. The next week, in church, we went over Philippians 4, and on August 9, 2009, I dated my Bible in my re-recognition of not being anxious about Matthew. He was going to be fine and that study of that verse that day reaffirmed that to me.
I still try to cling to that verse, but now...it's really, really hard to cling with my whole heart. In fact, I just can't...my whole heart doesn't exist any more--it's missing such a big, big piece.

I guess I'm just feeling more broken today than normally.

Little Yellow, I'm so sorry if you have dug yourself in and can't wait for me to take the test next week so I know that. I'm sorry that I'm doubting that will be the case, and I'm praying every time I close my eyes for you to be with me. I was on my knees last night begging God to help make the dream of you the reality. I begged Him to let me be pregnant with you and carry you, deliver you and raise you. I'm begging Him this very second.

Seems like I do a lot of that these days too...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Please don't be offended...

...but I have to say this or my chest will simply explode.

I do not think that my baby son died to teach me a lesson.
My God loves me.

I do not think that He planned for him to be born, only to die tragically 8 hours later.
My God loves me.

I do not think Matthew is an angel. God created him as my beautiful son and he is with angels.
My God loves me.

God knew my heart would be broken but He knew I had support and He'd get me through.
My God loves my son and would not let Matthew suffer.

I do not think God afflicted Matthew or me for a greater good.
My God loves me and my son and can make good out of any evil.

I just don't think those things. I just don't. In my opinion, they go against any picture of God we are given through Jesus. I readily admit that I am no spiritual or theological guru, but there are a few things that don't need any analyzing or maturity to know--and some are that God is good, God detests and battles evil, and God is Love.

Love is pure and deep and love is strong...which is why my heart hurts so much right now as I miss my son.

Most importantly, love never fails.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rambles...

I should start this by reminding one and all who read it that I am pumping myself up with hefty doses of estrogen and progesterone, so the melancholy is even more magnified. (Amber, I asked John. He said magniscope is not a word. I think it was completely fine. There goes the vocabulary neighborhood, huh?)

See, the hormones make me ramble as well.

I failed to mention a few things about my birthday. My amazing mother-in-law, who I couldn't love more if she was my flesh and blood, made me strawberry cupcakes with rainbow chip icing, per my request. She also has been cleaning my house, cooking for me, and making me feel horribly guilty as I've just been sitting on the sofa for several days now.

I got a lovely bouquet of flowers on my front porch when I got home from church. A very full bunch of pretty white daisies, but more special to my heart were the two very special roses also included. One was red, one was yellow. My heart melted.

Today, I got another beautiful flower arrangement...a beautiful yellow bouquet of daisies. The card read, "....I know you love red, but I am thinking of Yellow Fish too."

You know, some people just don't get it. They *think* they do and try to tell you things that DO NOT MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER. ("Hope Yellow Fish makes it and is a boy because then you'll be SET!") Seriously?

Some people don't get it, KNOW they don't get it and just don't say anything at all. I am so thankful for their silence in lieu of the wrong words.

Some people don't get it, KNOW they don't get it and tell you as much...while they tell you they love you and wish it was better. That love and wishing is priceless.

And then there are some people who may not get *it* but TOTALLY get YOU. I am so, so blessed I have so many of those people in my life. Both bouquets of flowers made my days.

John sort of forgot about my birthday. Well, I guess he remembered, and more sort of forgot to do anything for it, in light of the fact that he has been trying to get his aircraft out to Minnesota since January. (Good thing he makes pretty babies and cooks well, huh?)

Today, I got a FEDEX package. To save the driver the aggravation of my zealous hounds, I went outside and met him. As I signed for it, I told him that it was my birthday gift from my husband. He said, "Oh, happy birthday!" I told him it was yesterday. He said, "Oh. Oops. Funny, because it was supposed to be for Tuesday delivery...I just got it to you early."

Did I mention my husband makes pretty babies and cooks well? Oh, yeah, I did.

Anyway, he sent me a watch. (Which should make anyone in our family, or good friends of ours who read this, laugh seeing as JOHN is the one who has love affairs with watches, but I digress...) My current watch doesn't fit so well as my wrist has changed in size since my pregnancy (along with my hip size, my shoulder size, my shoe size and my rib size) and so he replaced it. Very thoughtful.

What I love, though, (and what redeems his lack of memory) is his card. It's a small, very colorful card with lots of little kids on the front. Inside it says, "The whole world is smiling." His words are what gets him out of hot water: "The more I look at greeting cards, the harder it is to find one that says the right thing. At least this card benefits children. (It benefits UNICEF, so we'll have to have a discussion on that later, but anyway....) Also, sometimes, when I feel very alone, especially now that I am away from home, but when I see how many people around the world care about you and me because of our story and your amazing ability to communicate, I feel like the whole world is crying, praying, hoping, feeling and yes, even smiling with us...." There's a bit more, but that's my favorite part.

So please, if you think of me or Matthew, lift John up as well. He misses his baby boy, he is away from home (without the pleasure of his lovely 3-ring dog circus) and it really, really means something to him (and me too) when we are lifted.

As for the disclaimer at the beginning? I cried throughout the entire writing of this. I miss that little boy of mine.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

On My 37th Birthday...

...I visited the cemetery.

One year and one day after I got the best birthday present in the world, I went to his grave.

How, oh HOW do SO*MANY*WOMEN* do this? Some days, I seriously feel like I will collapse from the weight on my chest, or not ever be able to swallow again because of the sheer size the lump in my throat occupies.

After church this morning, mom and I picked up flowers...I thought a bright, hopeful yellow bouquet was in order.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Real 1st Year....

One year ago today, at 11:39 am, Matthew became a part of my life and heart forever.

He was an 8-celled beautiful little embryo, affectionately known as Red Fish (little Blue Fish brother or sister didn't make it)... I don't know if there are any words that could adequately express the hopes and dreams I had that day.



14 weeks ago, at 4:56 pm, my hopes and dreams were actualized in the birth of my beautiful gift of God, my John Matthew. Eight and a half hours later, my world crashed. He was gone. In his daddy's arms...




We survived his first Christmas; partly because I had family and friends surrounding us but mainly because I was still just in shock. As I still sort of have been for the last 14 weeks.

I've read and been told that the first year was going to be the worst for me because I had to make it through all the 'firsts' without him.

Well, even though November 28 technically started that year, for me, today it starts. Today is the day that I can start saying my life was never the same after. Today is the day he became part of my heart and today is the day that will always be bittersweet to me.

Friends, if you pray for me, please pray for me for the next few days. Just inserting the two pictures for this post leaves me sobbing uncontrollably. I cannot tell you how hard it is to be so heartbroken at the same time you are *willing* yourself to be optimistic and hopeful. For John, I likened it to when my mom died and he came home from Japan for two weeks. On one hand, I had just lost my mother and was devastated. Truly, truly devastated. On the other, I was SO ecstatic to see John--I hadn't seen him in several months and had missed him so much. Trying to balance those emotions was seriously the hardest thing I had ever had to do...until now. This is sort of like that, times 5 million. It's one thing to be dealing with a baby boy shaped hole in your heart. It's one thing to be hopeful and prayerful and excited about a new little life growing inside of you.

It's really sort of hellish to be dealing with both at the same time.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The bigger picture...

...has been somewhat of a theme these last 14 weeks, hasn't it?

So, today, as my heart has been somewhat heavy missing Matthew, I did something I RARELY do on Facebook--I did the "On this day, God wants you to know..." application. I really do NOT believe in horoscope or anything like that, nor do I give much credence to any of the Facebook quizzes (which sadly, doesn't always stop me from doing the stupid things!) or applications.

But today, I clicked on it. This is what it said:

On this day of your life, Lori, we believe God wants you to know ... that all is well.
All is going according to plan. Trust that there is a bigger picture. Trust that life is unfolding as it should.


Now, I'm going to go ahead and ruffle feathers. I have a problem (or two) with this statement. I believe Matthew is whole and though it is hard to imagine most days, I believe I will see his sweet face again and hear him call me Mommy. I DON'T, however, think that God's plan was to bless us with the miracle of Matthew only to pluck him away from us, leaving me with only 40 weeks of living inside of me, the back of his sweet little head and a brush of his cheek and shoulder. I just don't. God's plans for me are for me to prosper and not to harm me. I believe with all my heart that Matthew dying was God loving Matthew so much that He REFUSED to let him suffer on this earth as he would have. In grief, we are so often referred to the book of Job and reminded of the fact that GOD was not killing Job's family or ruining his life. He ALLOWED it to happen because we live in a world of free will. He even told Job that Job had NO IDEA of what goes on in God's realm and what battles with evil God fights, and therefore, he had NO place railing at God for things of which he did not know or understand.

Therefore, I don't think my life is unfolding as it should. I SHOULD be raising Matthew.

Before anybody feels the need to preach to me about the sovereignty of God, I beg of you to not. I am desperately, desperately, desperately seeking God in all of this, and I am in no way, shape or form questioning His sovereignty. I have NO doubt that He is. He created a world in which we were given the choice to love and follow Him or not. It is because He is sovereign that this is possible. I don't really even feel like going on about this, so I won't. I will just say this: to me, the spiritual warfare that was the basis for Matthew's death revealed God's mercy and love for my son in His decision to save him from incomprehensible suffering.

The point to all of this, though, is that I DO believe there is a bigger picture and I DON'T know what it is. I know it is a good one because God loves me and wants that for me. I pray that little Yellow is part of that, but if not, I will not blame God because bad things happen to good people, even (and often especially) to those God loves and for whom He wants good things.

But here's one thing I DO think God wants me to know: All is well. My heart hurts; I still have questions and I still just thank God each day that I made it through another day. But, I do so because He's held me in His hands...and all is well.

Sweet Matthew, I can hardly take a breath deep enough to recover from the aching I have for you. I would give just about anything in this world to have you here with me right now.

Sweet little YF, you have no idea how much joy and happiness it would bring me to introduce you to the world in 35 weeks as my second bundle of joy. Please, please make yourself at home.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

And now to debut...

Well.
(I start off that way a lot, don't I? Imagine me saying it with a sigh, feeling like I have 3,008 pounds of bricks on my chest, not necessarily knowing just what to make of things...it's that kind of 'Well.')
So, without going into all the various emotions (because that's just going to be too much, trust me), here are some details about the day:

I didn't have bad dreams last night. Thank you, Lord.
I didn't fret too much about the thaw.
It was a beautiful (finally) sunny day.
We got there right on time, in spite of traffic.
My before-acupuncture was very relaxing and the acupuncturist was very compassionate and encouraging.
I started to worry when they called me back 15 minutes later than my transfer time. (This is pretty exact science, so I thought there was a problem.)
The doctor was very nice and compassionate.
I told him about how one year ago yesterday the little embryo we were transferring was resting in Incubator 23.
I told him that two days from now was the one year anniversary of our transfer in the room next door.
He said, "Was it a boy or a girl?"
I told him, "Boy."
He said, "Super!"
I told him that Matthew died.
He looked horrified and heartbroken.
I told him it was vasa previa.
He looked mortified.
We got past that.
The embryologist came in and confirmed I was who I said I was. (I was.)
I asked for a picture.
The embryologist came back in with a teeny, tiny catheter and said, "One?"
The doctor said, "One."
He did the transfer.
The sono tech described it for us.
He gave some instructions and some best wishes.
I thanked them all profusely and told them I was ordering raises for them all.
They seemed to be pleased with that.
I asked a few questions.
They told me that it was a great thaw, all cells survived and were 100% living.
I was thrilled. Thank you, Lord.
I went back down for another acupuncture appointment.
We headed back home.

For the next two weeks, we will be on our knees praying to have a positive pregnancy test on March 18. Praying to learn that my second child will be part of our lives. Praying for peace as I remain heartbroken and hopeful at the same time. Praying indeed.

And now, to make his or her debut (hopefully the first of many, many, MANY pictures)....


Hello, Yellow!





Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This is (was) the day...

...one year ago--the day that our sweet little Matthew was touched by the hand of God and came to be. In incubator 23...along with 5 other little embryos. Today is the birthday of the sweet little Yellow Fish brother or sister we will transfer tomorrow and we pray in two weeks we will find out that YF will be hanging around for a long, long time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A letter to me...

Today, over two months since it was written and over 3 months since Matthew was born and died, I found this letter. To me. And cried. Because I am so, so thankful I have people who touch my life...even when I don't realize it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A positive challenge UPDATE

Isn't the way God works amazing? Just the day after I scoured my heart for positives (still doesn't sound exactly right saying that) in these last weeks, I got such a blessing today. You can read all about it (and still donate to such a worthy, worthy cause) at John's site. Be sure to congratulate him and Julie on the birth of their beautiful and precious grandson, Jonah!

Friends, if you honored our sweet baby boy's memory by making a donation for this, I just don't have the words to thank you. Please know how touched we are.

Click below to go to John's site: