Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy birthday

Well baby boy,
It's your third birthday. I find myself restless right now. I should be asleep, I should be dreaming sweet dreams and storing up on my sleep in case your brother and sister wake up before my alarm goes off. Your brother especially. But instead, I'm awake and thinking about you.

Your birthday snuck up on me this year, baby boy. I was laying in bed, thinking about tomorrow (which is now today) and thinking about all that would be going on, when it suddenly hit me. Your birthday. It was like all the air rushed out of my lungs for a second. How could I forget your birthday? What kind of mother am I?

And then I took comfort in what your grandma Joy says-- Life is for the living. I have been living, my son. But just because I'm living, moving forward, healing, it doesn't mean that you are not in my heart, that my heart doesn't sing to you with every beat that is within it.

Pastor Rich had his grandson dedicated a few weeks ago. Oh Henry, it was a wonderful affair! All the family gathered around to dedicate a child to God, to promise to raise him in a way that honors God. Afterward, your daddy and I talked about you, about how you were in our thoughts and in our hearts. I went and got out your pictures, baby boy. I pulled out your hand and feet prints and marvelled at the perfection of them. And even though I cried, even though my arms felt empty, even though my very being ached for you, I still had to praise the Father.

You see, I don't have to worry about you, dear child. I ache for you, but I don't worry about you.

For some reason, baby boy, whenever I think about you, I think about Grandpa too--- must be because you are his namesake. I was sitting the other day, and realized that I was sitting in my thinking position, exactly the same way that Gpa used to sit during the last days of his life. Elbows on knees, fists under chin, staring into space. I had to smile and shake myself a little.

One of the things that keeps me from losing it completely is the thought that you are there with Gpa. I have to believe that. I can't not believe it. I know some people think that religion is a crutch. If so, I'm leaning on my faith so hard right now. I've got to think that you and Gpa are in heaven together. I've got to believe that you welcomed your Great Great Gma this summer with open arms, as I know Gpa did. I've got to believe that you're praising the Father and giving him glory for eternity. So I'll hold on to that thought. I'll hold onto Jesus, til I see you again....

Wow, I feel so rambly tonight. But I can't seem to let go.

I look at your big brother and am amazed by the depth of love I have for him. I listen to him talk, watch him play games, and am just generally amazed by the child that he is. My heart almost breaks when I stop to consider how much I love him. And your sister--- oh baby boy. She is a trip. She's sweetly stubborn, beautiful, loves the spotlight, and is everything I could ask for in a daughter. My heart almost breaks when I stop to consider how much I love her. And you, punkin--- I picture you as a three year old--- I think you would have been my child with curly hair, with reddish hair, and greenish eyes--- your brother and sister take after your daddy so strongly in those attributes. I can see your smile in my head--- so sweet, so quick. And I can see your face as you pout, with big tears rolling down your beautiful cheeks. My heart almost breaks when I stop to consider how much I love you. I know that I'll never know what you would have REALLY looked like, what your personality would have REALLY been, but I'm content with that. Somehow, I feel like I do know, that God has given me the images I need in order to find peace.

Baby Boy. My child. Have a happy birthday. I will kiss your sister and brother many many times today--- after all, life is for the living, and I will make sure that they never doubt how much they are loved.

Monday, October 06, 2008

21 weeks

God help me, sometimes it just hits me how much I lost when I lost you, baby boy.

I got to listen to a parent talk about her miracle child, the boy who is in my class, last week. He was born when you were. 21 weeks gestation. They did surgery on him, matured his organs. Oh my son. He made it. He's beautiful, he's so beautiful. And gosh darn it if I didn't get angry inside when I looked at him. Why couldn't it have been you? Why didn't you live? I KNOW that they couldn't fix what wasn't there. I know that fetal kidney transplants are beyond the current capabilities. I intellectually know all of this. But emotionally, oh baby boy, emotionally, I just wanted you to be alive.

And Saturday, your aunt Jenni called me. Her little sister (the one who we used to torment as kids) just lost a baby who was around your age. Oh Henry, my heart broke for Elizabeth. I know what it is to lose your son. I know what it is to hold the lifeless body of your child in your hands, to know that this precious life will never be fulfilled. I know what it is to hold in the rage and grief because no one can understand the pain that comes from losing one so small. I know what it is to feel as though your heart will never heal, to feel as though you'll never understand anything ever again.

Baby boy, today I got to see my student's scrapbook. His hand and foot prints from when he was born. And I thought of you. All day. All day long. Oh my baby boy. I long to hold you, to kiss you, to smell you, to stroke your hair, to feel your smooth skin under my finger tips. Please understand when I cuddle this student a little bit and pretend that he's you for a minute. I love you so dearly.

Kiss Grandpa Duck for me. Your great great grandma is with you now. Cuddle her a little bit for me.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Thinking of you

I spent a long time talking with my step grandma about you, Henry. She too lost a baby at about the same age as you were. We talked about the differences. When she lost her little girl, she wasn't allowed to see her or hold her. I at least got to hold you, and have memories of you.

I miss you, Henry. Some days, the hurt is still so raw. I don't understand God. But I accept His plan, His will.

Losing a child. Sometimes, Henry, I wish that I had never had you grow inside of me. Sometimes I think that never having heard your heart beat, or seeing your face, would be better than having the feel of you burned into my hands and heart forever. I can still feel you in my hand, all 9 inches of you, all 9 oz of you. I can still see your perfectly formed body, your amazingly long fingers and toes. I still wonder whether or not you would have been my musician child.

But then--- the thought of never having you grow inside of me--- that leaves me empty too. I remember how betrayed I felt, how much of failure I felt like when I was trying to get pregnant, and how elated I was when I found out you were inside of me. I felt like I had succeeded, that I was a capable woman again.

Oh baby boy. I miss you. I really really really do. It's so unfair.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Happy Second Birthday, Son.

Dear Henry,

I know I'm a day late, but please don't think we didn't think of you yesterday. We did. You were missed and loved yesterday.

As we were riding in the car, on our way to the grocery store, I said, "Today Baby Henry turns two in heaven." Your big brother wondered if you saw your shadow in Heaven because it was Groundhog Day. Your Daddy and I told him that you probably did, while you were playing with Gpa Duck. We asked him what he thought you were doing in Heaven, and he said, "Playing his baby PS2." Of course. Because he loves his PS2 and wants his brother to be happy up in Heaven--- so that means having a PS2.

The pain of giving you up to God is lessening. Every now and then, between your brother and sister, I get glimpses of the child that you might have been here on earth. Somehow it comforts me when the pain grips my heart too tightly.

Everyone says that it won't hurt someday, that I won't miss you someday. But I think they're wrong. I think that my heart will always ache a little for you. I think that I will always see glimpses of you in your brother and sister and will always miss you.

You are missed, beautiful boy. Have fun in Heaven and tell Gpa Duck not to tickle you so much. He was terrible for that when I was a kid.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fifteen months old

I got a Huggies coupon pamphlet today.

It said, "Your child is 15 months old this month."

At first I was confused. Because Ethan is five years old. And Kara is 8 months old. Then it hit me. Right in the gut.

Henry would have been 15 months old this month if he had been born in June, on his due date.

Grief can strike at any moment.

But just as quickly, blessings can strike.

And I have a whole multitude of those. Including the screaming child at my feet. Life is hard. God is good.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Happy Birthday.

Dear Henry,
Tomorrow is your birthday. I really don't know what to say. Typically, birthdays mark another year of life for someone. For you, it marks a year since you were born and died.

I've missed you this year. My heart has broken many times over at the thought of all that I had dreamed for you and all that would never happen. I have looked at Sam, a little boy who was born a month after you should have been born and my heart aches and rejoices all at the same time. I see where you would have been had you lived. And I'm so happy for Sam because he is healthy and his parents love him. But I am so sad that you are not playing with Sam and experiencing life with him, as his mommy and I had planned.

I wonder how my life would have been if you had lived. Would I still be married to your dad? Would I be frustrated and tired because I would have another baby? Would I be getting a full night's sleep by now? Would your big brother be teaching you new things right now?

I know that I would not be having the baby that is growing inside of me right now. And my dear Henry, for as much as I love and miss you, I cannot imagine what my life would be like without this child that is growing inside of me, who will grace us with her presence in 16 days. I must thank you, thank God, for this gift of life that I am anxiously awaiting. It isn't fair that her life is at the expense of yours. I'll never understand that. I can't even begin to comprehend it. But there it is. There's nothing I can do about it. I can't make the choice to have you back, I can't make things any different than they are now. Sometimes that still makes me angry, my son. I want control so badly, I want to call all the shots. But I realize now, it's not always possible. And I've learned how to accept this.

When people ask me, "Is this your second child?" about this pregnancy, I hesitate. Because yes, she's my second living child. But I want to remember you. I want them to know that a piece of my heart is with you. And so I tell them that we had a son who was stillborn before this pregnancy.

I'm at peace with your birthday, Henry. That doesn't mean that I don't grieve for you, that I don't miss you. But I've come to accept what I cannot change. You live in mine and your dad's hearts. You will always be with us. Play a little with Grandpa Duck up there in Heaven, ok? Kiss him and tell him that your mommy misses him. Tell your Grandpa Tom that I wish I had gotten to meet him--- from all that I know, we would have gotten along like a house on fire. And I know that your big brother would want you to pet his cat, Lenny, for him.

My son, I love you.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

David and Goliath

"David knew he could slay Goliath because he had already faced the bear and the lion."

I wish our pastor would warn us before he decides to use us in a sermon. :) Today he talked about David and Goliath--- how David stepped forward to slay Goliath, because he had already killed a bear and a lion, with God's help.

Our pastor mentioned us in his sermon--- how we faced our Goliath in the last year. Our loss, our relationship, and finally, the blessing of this pregnancy. I cried. Oh, how I cried. What's interesting is that I didn't know what the sermon was about. And my Sunday School lesson that I taught today was about loss and suffering and how God is faithful throughout those times.

I dunno. I'm reliving this week, last year, in my head. It tears me apart, but I still think that it is only in exposing the wounds that they can be healed.