Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Natural

My sister made me promise that I wouldn't post any pictures of Miss M.  I won't, but only because the hospital scared the crap out of us about posting pictures and information about newborns on blogs and facebook.

I guess the crazy lady in Texas proved to us all last week that you can never be too careful.

Stupid crazy lady. 

Because I have a really great photo of Mr. Thompson holding a beautiful little baby in his arms that epitomizes so much. 

Desire.  Longing.  Love.

So, to give you a picture...without giving you a picture... this  is the closest that I could find:


Desire.  Longing.  Love. (he loves backpacking into the wilds to go fishing)

Different.  Yet same.

So for the purpose of this post, just imagine him holding a really cute baby really close to his body.  While Mr. Thompson looks much the same in both photos...the baby and fish do not.  Not even close.

Where am I going with all of this?  (so glad you asked)

The real picture of him holding my new niece is burned into my mind.  Because if there is one thing that Mr. Thompson does not do....it is hold other people's babies.  Period.  End of Story.  Don't even ask.  For some funny reason, it's a standing rule in his life.  (Frankly, I think he's afraid of dropping the baby.)

But his standing rule quickly went out the window when he was asked if he wanted to hold a baby that was only hours old.

My sister told me that she'd crack him, and much to my amazement she did (with a wink and a nod behind his back).  So as Miss M settled into his arms he, too, fell in love.  As I watched them I was taken back to the previous 24 hours as I gazed in amazement at my brother-in-law who helped my sister through 16.5 hours of labor and delivery.  Without medication.  Without screaming.  Just quiet encouragement and love.  As a spectator to their sacred moments, I couldn't help but think the entire time about how equally amazing Mr. Thompson would be if we should ever be granted an experience like that. 

Oh boy, how I cherish that thought!

(much more than he cherishes his fish.)


Monday, April 23, 2012

Kiss Of The Rain


Y'all know that we're in this together...which is why I shed a big fat happy tear for Giuliana and Bill Rancic this morning.  How happy I am that the E! News host and her businessman (/reality star) husband were able to announce that they are finally expecting their first child through a gestational carrier after their long struggle with infertility/IVF. 


Thrilling I say!


They had two embryos which were banked before Giuliana received her recent breast cancer diagnosis so, like many of us who understand last chances, it was all or nothing.  Between you and me, I think that it is pretty incredible that those little embryos could be successfully implanted into a gestational carrier who will carry their biological child to term for them.  Infertility treatments, when they work, will never cease to amaze me.  And even when they don't...it's still amazing that you get the chance.


Speaking of amazing chances…


You should know that I am in love with a little girl named Maggie.  And although she isn't mine...she is.


My Maggie.


I was invited to her birth last Thursday/Friday by my sister as a gift. I was hesitant because I thought that it would be too hard. Too haunting. Too painful. Too filled with jealousy because Maggie was supposed to be my child’s name.


But at the last minute I decided to risk it.  I’ll never be able to explain that experience except to say that it was beyond beautiful and indescribably healing.  It filled me with an inexplicable sense of love and peace for what, just simply, is.


The outcome of my life may never change.  Mr. Thompson and I may never have a little girl of our own.  But in all the turmoil that I was feeling prior to last Thursday, I am somehow left with a peaceful feeling that everything will be okay.  A tiny little angel reminded me of that as she looked into my eyes right after birth.  I am grateful for everything that I have.  As it stands.  Right now.  Today.


Maggie was never supposed to be my name.


Yet it is.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Musings

This is what I've been thinking about today...


I am grateful for the reminder.

Amen.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, April 20, 2012

Enough

At 1:00 am this  morning I witnessed an amazing miracle.

Straight from heaven.

And if this is the only birth that I will ever get to see in my lifetime...

It will be enough.



Monday, April 16, 2012

The Climb

I'm not much of a Miley Cyrus fan...but I heard her song on the radio last night and it really affected me.

It came after a really long and emotional few days.  After not having much time off during the last few weeks because of a disaster assignment, I took Friday off with a plan to spend time completing my March sewing project so it could finally be delivered to the hospital.  I was disappointed when I couldn't deliver it on April 3rd and had been looking forward to having a day off so I could.

My mom traveled from out-of-state and my sisters wanted us to get together on Friday so we could complete our projects together...but my mom quickly understood when I declined the invitation.  There was something about mixing my baby project with theirs.  I just couldn't bring myself to sew cloths for dead babies while they were sewing theirs for quite the opposite.  I found myself really emotional and withdrawing at the mere thought.

So my mom traveled another 1 1/2 hours south and we spent Friday morning quietly sewing together at my house.  It was just what I needed.  Later that day, I drove back with them to my little sister's house where we all got together for their projects which went well.  However, the irony of it all still struck me and made me feel a little sad.

With Mr. Thompson in Las Vegas for work, I spent the night at my older sister's house in preparation for her baby shower on Saturday morning which I co-hosted.  The shower went great and we had a really fun "April Showers" brunch with her friends. 

Immediately after her shower ended, we jumped into the car to attend my little sister's shower which started less than an hour later.  I had a really good time but at one point had to marvel as I looked at a group of ladies standing together laughing...seven of which were pregnant. If I was being honest I would tell you that I was struck by something powerful at that moment.  So I excused myself to the bathroom.

Big mistake.

Twinges of jealousy quickly turned to a little feeling of sorrow when I discovered AF chose that day - of all days - to pay her monthly visit.  I swear that God has to have a sense of humor because there is no other way that I can explain it.  My life would make a good sitcom.

So I of course let a few tears slip out, dusted myself off after a few minutes, and went back to the party with a determined smile on my face.  Between you and me, I hope that nobody counted how many chocolate eclairs I ate over the next two hours because it may have been a lot.

After a long morning/afternoon of baby showers, we went back to my little sister's house to finish sewing projects, and then back to my older sister's house to unload gifts.  My older sister wasn't feeling very well so my 10 year old niece and I unpacked all her gifts into the nursery and tried to organize things. 

Mr. Thompson, having come back from Vegas, came to get me at about 9:30pm.  Not even a block from my sister's house I let out an unintentional but very audible sigh.  It was strange but it felt like the first time that I had breathed all day... and with it came a sharp pain that  just sat there over my heart. I held it for as long as I could until he reached over, gently touching my leg, and said "just let it go".  (I love that we can communicate like that.)

So I did.

No hiccups.  No snot.  Just silent tears with a pain hoovering over my chest as we drove home on a dark night.  Tears for a hospital that got my sewing project.  Tears for the laughter of seven pregnant women.  Tears for two sisters who I love beyond measure and have never felt a touch of jealousy towards - until now.  Tears for touching tiny booties and onsies as I placed them into a drawer that wasn't mine.  Tears for the highs and the lows of this journey.

When I could finally speak, I told Mr. Thompson that I didn't want to do it anymore.   After five years+ I'm tired. I'm a creature of hope and I've never known how to give it up...but right now, keeping it just feels too painful.  It feels like with hope comes a terrible pain.  A palpable grief on the downside that I can't explain.

Highs and lows.

And that's when the Miley Cyrus song came on the radio...


"The Climb"

I can almost see it.
That dream I'm dreaming, but
There's a voice inside my head saying
You'll never reach it
Every step I'm takin'
Every move I make
Feels lost with no direction,
My faith is shakin'
But I gotta keep tryin'
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
It's the climb

The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down, but
No I'm not breaking
I may not know it, but
These are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most
I've just gotta keep goin', and
I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on, cause

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
It's the climb

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
It's the climb

Keep on movin'
Keep climbin'
Keep the faith baby
It's all about, it's all about
The climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith.

I think that this song was sent as a reminder that any time you try embrace life, so fully, so wholeheartedly, there are bound to be highs and lows.

The process is what takes you on the ride.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Black Cats and Hocus Pocus

Happy Friday the 13th.

I think.

I appropriately woke up to a nightmare and was almost afraid to get out of bed.  In my foggy sleep deprived mind - the reason I told myself for the pre-dawn nightmare was because it's Friday the 13th. 
Which of course, worked for the nightmare...but wasn't much motivation to get me out of bed in fear of a black cat.

Like I said, I was foggy. 

And maybe more-than-a-little traumatized.  In said nightmare, I was 12 weeks pregnant and miscarrying.

Moral of the story:  I really need to stay off of blogger before bedtime.  I've really tried to be good the last few weeks and haven't been on my personal computer, but when I do there have been a lot of unfortunate posts coming my way.  More great ladies who are losing babies. 

I shed tears for one of my favorites.  Please pray for Lori Does Maryland.  After 10 years of infertility she suffered full term infant loss of the worst kind with her first IVF...had a blessed miracle on her 2nd (yay Luke!)...and just had a miscarriage after her third successful IVF.

At 12 weeks.  Pray for her. 

While you're at it, please add my name as a little footnote.  My sisters are both having baby showers tomorrow (separate) and I'm trying to figure out how I can get through them without making a fool of myself. 

I'm tired.  Really, really tired.  And when I get tired...

I get emotional.

I'm also premenstrual.  Really, really premenstrual.  And when I get premenstrual...

I get emotional.

(Apparently, I also have nightmares.   But happy Friday the 13th none-the-less!)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Springtime In Holland

Whew.  What a week! 

On March 29th, I got a call at 3:30am from dispatch for a 3-alarm apartment fire which displaced 146 Spanish-speaking residents.  Needless to say...it has been a very busy week for my Red.Cross team and although I'm so tired that I could sleep for the next 72 hours straight after 17-20 hour workdays...I did have tears in my eyes as I said goodbye to many of the residents yesterday as they left the shelter and transitioned into new apartments and their long-term recovery plans.

After all the hustle and bustle of the last ten days, it felt good to finally take some personal time this morning to regroup and refresh.  Imagine my surprise when I saw that my flowerbeds are finally in bloom!  So I picked flowers, went to the cemetery and reflected on the last four years.  It caused me to think about one of my favorite writings which sums it all up so well for me.

I posted it on Viva la Vida last autumn and loved it so much that I planted a gazillion tulips in anticipation of this spring. 




(don't judge me for the weeds...)


It was written from the perspective of raising a child with disabilities...but I think that it fits so much more, including infertility, infant loss, and changed dreams of every kind. 

I'm going to share it again with the hope that you can relate to it as well as we stop to feel the sunshine and smell the flowers this springtime...in Holland.



"I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland."
Emily Perl Kingsley.




Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Happy Birthday

(a BIG thank you to Carly Marie, who remembered our angel in a very special way this year on Christian's Beach in Western Australia.)



Four.

The thought takes my breath away. That little angel that I so lovingly placed into a casket would be four years old today.

Sometimes in quiet moments I try to imagine all the years in between, years of laughter and love. Years that could have been.

Diaper blowouts and bottle making. Sleep deprivation and morning cuddles. First words and sloppy kisses. Learning to crawl, walk, run, jump and skip. Riding a tricycle. Discovery and all of the wonderful things that little boys are made of.

It's strange how that child of my dreams is no longer a tiny infant in my mind. Time didn't stand still, but rather marches on as he grows in my imagination. From one pound he grew into a toddler. Now a preschooler. And you know what?...

When I get to heaven I will know him.

His smell. His touch. His dimples. Sandy brown hair and milky brown eyes, from dad. Gentleness and compassion, from mom.

Our heart. Our love.

I will know him.

 
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