Crossroads

crossroads.jpg

Two weeks ago I sat here staring at a blank post, wanting desperately for the time I needed to write. I didn’t want to think about how long my little one would be napping or whether I should be checking things off my to do list. What I wanted more than anything was to connect with my grief and longing in the way I used to. I wanted to sit and wait for the words to come without trying to force the words out because I was pressed for time. My heart felt extremely overwhelmed.

Since the girls went to Heaven I have used this space as a way to connect with our memories as a family, share my heart through my grief and also share how, even in the deepest of suffering, my faith in God has allowed me to have joy. Through this space I have connected with so many people who have broken hearts just like mine, and I have always felt that sharing our story of love, hope and faith is something I should do for the rest of my days. God gives me peace each morning and I feel compelled to share that peace with others.

In the past couple of months I have also been feeling a nudge to share more of myself and my journey as a mom of a little one. Again, I have struggled finding the time to write and figure out how to merge both my present and my past together in words.

Two weeks ago as I sat staring at a blank post I came to a crossroads: do I stop writing in this space and ask God for peace in that decision or ask God to show me what I need to do to continue to write and share our journey, which now includes life with a little one?

I sat and prayed.

Later that same day, not expecting an answer so quickly, I saw a post by a friend of mine. She is a managing editor of a blog that is looking for new contributors.  Portland Moms Blog is a space to foster and support the community by connecting Portland-area moms to information and parenting perspectives unique to the city and region. Basically it is a collection of moms writing about mothering from their own unique and diverse perspectives, all living in the Portland metro area.

I sent a message to my friend asking if she felt it was something I could do. Her response was, “OMG, you SHOULD!!!”

Later that night the fear and anxiety of not being a good enough writer started to take space in my thoughts. I started to question how I would have time as a scheduled contributor when I didn’t have time to write on my own time for my own blog. I started to doubt and let that fear of the unknown make my decision for me.

Then it hit me. This wasn’t my decision at all. I had asked God for guidance and He was giving it to me. I just needed to trust that the door He was opening and be obedient. That is when the peace came and I thought about the mom that is out there suffering in the same way that I suffer. The mom, like me, that couldn’t relate to a mom’s blog because “those moms” still had all their babies. It became so clear to me that our story of grief is not the only story of grief in this area and that in writing in this new space I can give grieving moms a voice.

In trusting Him I know that I will also be able to find the time, find the words and share my story in a way that honors, not only my mothering, but the many other woman that mother through a broken heart as well.

Today I am honored to say that I am now a contributor to the Portland Moms Blog. I have no idea where this new venture will lead me but I do know that it is an answer to prayer.

Last Sunday there was a gathering of the contributors and leadership team of PMB. As I sat amongst these woman I couldn’t help but be grateful for the opportunity to not only meet them but also share stories of mothering with them <3.

Unicorn and Guardian Angels

Every little girl needs a unicorn and guardian angels to watch over her. Our little Alice is so loved. Alice and Unicorn black and white Mama and girls 1

This past week we have been snuggling, cuddling, loving and cherishing every single moment we have with our youngest daughter ~ she has brought something back to our home that was lost when the girls went to Heaven. It’s hard to explain what it is my heart is feeling ~ it is mixed with so many emotions.  What I can say is that what I’m feeling is filled with hope. It’s as though when I look into her bright newborn eyes I can see the love that has been passed from Heaven to our home ~ the gift of her little soul to our hearts.

Settling In

I told Tom yesterday I wanted to write a blog post hoping that in doing so he would keep me accountable to sitting and writing. There is so much I want to write about.

Instead, I found that snuggling up on the couch with him and our little girl was what we all needed. Writing can wait.

This past week has been beautiful in the way life should be. We are settling into a rhythm that feels so familiar in so many ways but one that also brings to the surface a new set of emotions.

Leaving the hospital was very hard, the last time we left the hospital we were saying goodbye and embarking on a journey neither of us wanted. As the nurse took my blood pressure for the final time I was teary trying to calm my heart of the emotions that were taking over.  I didn’t want a reason for them to make me stay a bit longer but I also was very scared about stepping out into the world with a life I was now responsible for ~ so many emotions.

The nurse put her hand on mine knowing of my heartache and told me it was perfect ~ we were free to go.

Since we have been at home I can’t help but feel that Alice is surrounded by so much more than her parents love for her. She is comforted not only by us in this space but also by her Heavenly Father and her sisters that I know sent her to us filled with secrets.

This morning, sitting in the space we have created for Alice to get to know her sisters,  I sat and prayed out loud for her. When I was finished I then talked with my girls (as I do often), asking for them to watch over their sister from Heaven. At that moment Alice opened her eyes and gave me a little smile ~ the kind newborns give after filling their belly with milk and feeling completely comfortable nestled against their mama’s chest. The timing was perfect for my heart ❤  She knew, as her sisters do, what her mama’s heart needs. That little smile was an answer to my prayers and a gift from all of my girls.

The Interim

I’ve avoided this space for a couple weeks ~ not because the words aren’t very present in my mind, but because my list of things to do has been so long that I haven’t found the time ~ something I’m a bit frustrated with because coming to this space is very important to me. I know in the weeks (maybe even months) to come arriving here will be sporadic  at best, but just knowing I have this space means a lot.

This morning I woke up with almost all of my “before the baby arrives checklist” crossed off and thought to myself, today would be a good day to write.

Here I am.

In two weeks (or less!) I will have a little baby in my arms…such a crazy thought. Sometimes I still can’t believe this is where we are, in our 40’s and parents to a little one.  The emotions that come with this fact are overwhelming to say the least. I feel so blessed by this life growing inside me but I will honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared either.

I’m not scared about being a mom, I have nine years of experience, but I am scared about the emotions that I will feel the moment when she is placed on my chest, when the physical pain of childbirth is washed away and I’m looking at our child for the very first time. I’m scared of what those feelings will bring, both a tremendous amount of joy and a tremendous amount of loss for the children I so long to be face to face with again.

For the past couple of months my PTSD has come in the form of the exact moment on October 20th when I realized Anna was gone. That exact moment when my eyes saw the white sheet being placed, the exact moment when my mind began screaming and the moment my heart completely broke forever. In that instance my life stopped.

Soon I will have a moment which is the exact opposite of the one I had on October 20th, a moment when life will begin as our little girl, breathing, is placed in my arms.

The deep suffering of the loss of the love of my life and the overwhelming Joy of a new soul to care for will collide in that very moment ~ the thought of those emotions coming face to face overwhelms my heart and my mind.

This week my counselor shared with me a blessing written by John O’Donohue. She said as she read it she couldn’t help but think about Tom and I, and our journey. It definitely speaks to my heart and the feelings I have been having lately.

For the Interim Time

When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,

No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.

In this wan light, even trees seem groundless
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems To believe the relief of the dark.

You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.

The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed to you.

“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”

You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk,
Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.

Everyone else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.

As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow your confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.

What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.

What is about to happen in our lives does not make me want to run and hide. I know God is working ~ I feel it in my heart and in my mind. He brings me to those deep places of suffering in order to transform me and draw me even closer to Him. I trust Him with every ounce of my being ~ how couldn’t I? Knowing, feeling and seeing the kindness and love that He has poured on me through my life. I have no doubt that there will be something so beautiful that happens in the depths of my own soul the moment I come face to face with our little one, I just wonder how much more my heart can take.

I trust God’s plan.

Permission

For two years the hardest place for me to go in our house is Anna’s closet. It was where she spent a lot of her time – which may sound very strange but it’s almost big enough to be a room on it’s own. It was not only her closet but her office, apartment, Baby Mary’s room and her hang out spot.  I have beautiful memories of both the girls playing house together in this space. Anna would be so thrilled to be “hanging out” with her older sister and Abigail was thrilled to be “playing” with her younger sister.

This space has gone untouched for two years.

I’ve been spending some time thinking about where to put our little one’s clothes. She is sharing a room with her big sister Anna but, after we made that decision, I also decided that the closet would be off limits, that’s Anna’s space. This morning, my nesting instincts in high gear, I found myself at a loss on where to store this littles belongings.

I then heard her faint whisper, “Mom, it’s ok she can use my closet.”

It was so clear that I yelled to Tom that Anna just gave me permission to use her sacred space for her sister. We both cried.

This morning I have been in Anna’s closet longer than I have in the past two years. I cleaned it, reorganized some of her things, put away things I know that she wouldn’t want her sister to get into (yet) and then made some room so that they can share this sacred space.

While cleaning out drawers and looking through half used notebooks I found new treasures which made it so clear to me why today, of all days, Anna whispered in my ear.

Today my daughter, once again, gave me reassurance that Heaven is so close and that both my girls will be very present when their little sister arrives home.

closet

Trust

We decided about a week before the appointment we were going to find out.  With Fall approaching we were both needing to know some more details so we can connect with our little one. I found out with Anna and I felt that on that day we began our mother/daughter relationship. I wanted the same with this little one even though the surprise on delivery day would have also been nice. We figured there would be a surprise at the ultra-sound or upon delivery….we chose the ultra-sound.

My pregnancy thus far has been seamless so I really haven’t had any reason to worry at all but since we’ve gone through one miscarriage (Feb. 2013) and now the loss of our girls we both were on edge till we saw our little ones heart beating on the screen.

Such a relief.

The technician moved the ultra-sound wand across my growing belly and there was a hand, another hand, hips (Tom thought that it was the face at first) and eventually 2 long legs stretched out, one kicking slightly.

We both were awe of this little miracle.

As the leg moved I felt the movement inside. It was amazing to see our little ones movements and then be so privileged to be the one who could also feel those movements. I always try to explain to Tom exactly how it feels but I know that it’s hard to be the one that just imagines what that would be like. I do feel blessed and honored to be the one carrying our child and I don’t take that lightly…I have a job to do these 9 months and I do it with honor for all of us.

She measured and documented all the specifics the doctors need to determine whether or not we are right on schedule ~ Tom and I both silently prayed that everything is good, the baby is healthy and right where it should be.

A profile of a little nose, small lips and head, “it looks just like you Tom.” We both laughed.

We let her know that we would like to know the sex, she had no idea the implications of this moment for us or truly how deep our hearts were engaged with what she was about to tell us.

Many people in our lives have predicted we are having a boy ~I think they want that for us, something different from what we lost, something that wouldn’t be a constant reminder.

Tom and I have talked a lot about our hopes and dreams and always came to the same conclusion ~ we wanted a healthy baby, boy or girl.

“It’s a girl,” she said very softly.

My first thought was relief, I know girls, I can do girls.

I then heard Tom quietly crying behind me and then the wave of fear came, “how will we do that?”

How will I hold this little girl and not see Anna and Abigail in her eyes, her lips or sweet nose and feel my loss over and over again. How will I hold her and not have my heart break into a million pieces. Little dresses, mix-matched cloths, hair pretties, baby dolls, art projects, dance lessons, a sweet little girl voice yelling Mama and Daddy ~ how will I do this?

As we walked out of the doctor’s office I asked Tom if he was “ok,” he said he just couldn’t stop thinking about Anna and Abigail and how much he missed them. That is why he was crying. I couldn’t stop thinking about them either ~ how were we going to do this?

We decided not to share with anyone for a while but rather let it all sink in, let God work on our hearts and show us His glory by giving us this little girl.

For the past 22 months I have fully trusted God and there is no reason for me not to trust that He knows exactly what He is doing now. He has shown a kindness and love that I never knew was possible. He has stood by us, held us, comforted us, loved us and provided us with a peace that goes beyond understanding.

Starting about a month before Mother’s Day I would sit quietly and beg God to bring me home. I know the truth, I know that Heaven is where my girls are and I desperately wanted to be with them.  I trusted God fully and knew that in His timing I would go home but I figured a little begging may move that along a bit. I was ready because the pain and longing got too great.  I prayed this prayer every morning, “Please God don’t let my time here last forever, I’m ready now.”

On Mother’s Day (I know that His timing wasn’t coincidence) He let me in on His plan, He needed me to stay because their was a soul that needed a mom and I was the lucky one. In that moment, as I stared at the pregnancy test, it all made sense; this little girl was always part of God’s plan for our family, she was a gift and she needed me here, our kids needed me here to take care of their sister and Tom needed me here so we could raise this little one together.

I can’t say for certain that holding this little one won’t break our hearts because of our loss but to be honest, I can’t say that it won’t give our hearts exactly what they need to mend a bit either. This little girl is our family’s blessing and one we will never take lightly.

In December our little girl will arrive and will complete our family. She will be her own person, have a unique smile, twinkle in her eye and have a laugh that is only hers. She will have her own likes and dislikes, she will have her own toys, clothes and will teach us so many things that we don’t already know about being parents. Like us, she will have an intimate relationship with Heaven and her sisters who live there, she will have a sister in college who is building a life for herself and will always be there for her and have a brother who will adore her and let her crawl all over him like a jungle gym.

She is our gift from God and we are blessed!

baby girl