I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord
Psalm 27: 13-14

Monday, December 27, 2010

Giving back to those who gave so much for our sons...

The last place any parents wants to be is the NICU.  Even though when needed...it is the best place for their little one(s) to be.  And the love and care that child(ren) receive from the amazing doctors, nurses and staff...it's undescribable.

So this year I couldn't think of any thing I'd rather do.  I wanted to do something for those parents in a position that I remember all too clearly.  And I wanted to bring some cheer to them and the doctors, nurses and staff.  To show that their efforts and their love will NEVER EVER be forgotten!

I spent two INSANE days baking like a mad-woman.  Two nights that led to the wee hours of the mornings.  But...it got done.  And boy, did it ever feel good!

Last week Brett, Evan and I packed everything up and headed to the hospital.  I had pre-arranged this with the NICU liason nurse (the most wonderful angel ever!  This woman is amazing!) and we met up and I organized the trays in the parent waiting room and then we took the baking for the dr's/nurses/staff to the staff room.  We also donated two nursing pillows for the NICU, and...I handed over the "graduation wall" photos page that I did of the boys.  Finally.  After almost 2 years of agonizing over that!  And admittedly...I miss seeing it in my house.  HOWEVER...it is where it belongs.

It was GREAT news to hear that the NICU was not that busy.  This is one area where that is a WONDERFUL thing to hear!  We met a couple of parents, and visited with lots of nurses who cared for Evan during his stay.  Some we hadn't seen since Evan was discharged...so the last time they saw him he wasn't even 5lbs...and ever so tiny tiny tiny!
A few got teary-eyed, but mostly jaws dropped with joy and shock by how wonderful Evan is doing, and how tall he is, how active, chatty...a little boy!

When we left...my heart was overflowing.  Later that day the NICU liason called me to let me know that already one of the three trays I brought in was eaten and how much the parents were touched that someone would do that.
I didn't do it for my own well-being.  I didn't do it for recognition. 
I did it because I know how much it would have meant to me.
And I did it because they deserved some holiday cheer.
I did it because I was there, and I understand.
I did it because there was nothing I wanted to do more than to help bring some joy to an otherwise scary time of life.
Some babies were just in there temporarily.  Some will be longer term.  And the reality is that some may not come home.
These parents deserved to know that there are others out here that understand and who are thinking of them, even though we don't have a clue who they are.

And it felt really good to do something to brighten up the dr/nurses/staff day too!!! 

Every Christmas I think about how I want to do something for others.  I don't want gifts for myself (although appreciate the thoughtfulness of my amazing husband!), and I just want to do something for others who Christmas may not be so joyful as everyone thinks the season should be.  We don't all live in a pain-free, joyful season...and that's just reality.  And I just want to be able to touch someones life and let them know that they are loved and cared for...even though I am a complete stranger and will most likely never meet any of these people.
To me, that is what Christmas is about.  Reaching out to those in need.  Remembering those who are hurting.  Giving to those who may not have anyone to receive anything from.  And trying to bring some joy to an otherwise not-so-joyful time of year.

What was the most special part of this was taking everything to the hospital with Brett and Evan.  It hurt missing Zac from this moment...but he was there.  Oh boy, was he ever there.
But it was so special to do this as a family.  To have Evan begin to understand Christmas is more than presents and "me me me, mine mine mine".  It's about doing something for someone else in need.

I am greatful for my family.  My family and inlaws who understand that OUR Christmas hurts as we continue to miss our 4 angels above.  That we miss having Zac's name on a gift beside Evan's.  That we miss our son, and we are not "better".  And they remember with us.  And the ones who speak Zac's name to me, the ones who tell me they remembered and wondered how I was doing...that is more precious than I can say.  This is YOUR way of doing something for someone in need...ME!  And I love you for it!! 
To share with us as we savour every minute and memory with Evan, yet ache for our son and children in heaven.

It feels good to remember it's more than just about us.  It feels good to do something for someone else in need.  So good that I would really like to continue with this for years to come!

Even though Christmas will always hold a sting, it was still a very MERRY CHRISTMAS because of the love of family and friends who have remained by our side.

I would also like to give a special thank you to the aunt of someone I used to work with, who lovingly made all these amazing tiny little knitted hats for the little ones in NICU.
They were so very appreciated!!!!!!
Thank you for doing such a wonderful thing!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Zac's Christmas Wreath...

It is year two.  Year two of placing Zac's wreath...at the cemetery.  Instead of a stocking over the fireplace filled with little treats for him to go through beside his brother.
For some reason this year I struggled to get the wreath done and put out.  I guess a part of me didn't want to admit that I was doing this again.  Part of me fought with reality.
Last year I had it out by December 1st.  This year...I put it out just last week on a really cold day.  My fingers were numb with fastening the wreath to the wreath holder that is permanently left out there.
Well, first I had to shovel a path to Zac's plot from the road way.  That's one thing I always have in my car now...a little shovel, so I can get to my son.
So I shoveled the path, shoveled off Zac's plaque and set up his area in Christmas decorations.
Sad thing is...I haven't even set up a Christmas tree in our own home!  Usually I'm all over that!  But there has been a lot of work happening in our basement and Evan and I are actually rarely even around the house...so I justify it by saying we can enjoy my parents tree, and Brett's parents tree.
Well, I do have a wreath on my front door!  And my mom gave me a few things to help spruce up the house a bit.
It's not that I don't WANT to be in the holiday mood...I just have had NO TIME!!
But next year...next year I will make it up!!!!  I am determined!!

Yesterday Brett and I attended a wedding.  We only knew 2 people at the reception so we sat with them and the pastor who did the wedding ceremony.
After the service and before the reception I said to Brett "when people ask if we have any children...let me answer."  I know Brett would just say "one"...and I just can't deal with that.  For MY sake.  I get where he is coming from and I know it's that he isn't wanting to recognize Zac...it just gets hard explaining to people.
But for ME...I always tell the story.  Never to make others uncomfortable (and honestly, I don't care if my reality would make them uncomfortable) but I always answer in a way that includes both my sons.  I just wish I had the energy to include my sweet Whisper, Jack and Ethan in that too...
Sometimes the opportunity comes about, but since Evan is NOT a singleton baby, it's not right to not mention Zac.
ANYHOW, Brett was fine with that. 
And sure enough, as we were in line for the buffet the topic of Evan came up and the pastor asked if Evan was our only child and Brett instictively answered "yes", but I looked at the pastor and said "well, not technically.  Evan has a twin brother, but Zac passed away when he was 3 days old". 
The other couple that we knew at our table knows of Zac and Evan so the conversation carried over and the pastor asked questions and so did the wife of the other couple.  And although it was so painful to talk about things so "matter-of-fact"...it felt GOOD to have these two people ask genuine questions and share their sadness of our loss.  To have people ASK and talk about our sons and the journey we have been on.  To STAY ON the subject instead of quickly changing the subject.  And you know what...I just realized something that I appreciate even MORE about that conversation.  NEVER ONCE did either of them say "but at least you have Evan".  Yes, I have heard that one before, and it's a zinger.
So now that I realize this...my heart feels even MORE full of gratitude for these two who let me talk about BOTH my sons and have the conversation go on more than my explanation and their quick and panicked "I'm so sorry". 
It felt good.
I felt like Zac was truly recognized along side Evan...and that does this broken mommy heart good!
These people did a very special thing for me, and they don't even realize it!
And my heart felt full of love, and I can smile because last night both my sons were awed over!
That was a perfect Christmas gift to me!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Graduation wall...

This has been almost 2 years since I have been able to find the strength to finish this project. 

When children leave NICU, most parents provide a "graduation" photo, page...something to mark the day.  The NICU has walls lined of photos of babies who have overcome the odds...and a wall for precious angels who did not graduate as parents would have hoped.  Not on this earth any way.
And I think that's why I struggled so much...because, where did I belong? 
Evan graduated from NICU and in to our home and lives.  Zac graduated...to heaven.
I couldn't make two separate pages.  I couldn't make one for Zac to be placed in the Angels section while Evan was placed in the graduation section.  I couldn't separate my boys again.  They HAVE to be together.
And although they graduated in different ways...they graduated together.  And so I have done their page TOGETHER.
This is the first time I've ever done any sort of "scrap book" page...so it isn't perfect...but it is to me.
And honestly...it is going to be very hard to part with this.
However...my boys belong on that wall.

And so doing this page, I have shed many many joyful, and bitterly painful tears.
Looking back at these photos of those first days of both of my sons.  Thinking of every one of those 5 weeks in the hospital before they were born, the night the boys had to be delivered, the days following...and weeks, months and now years.
So many emotions.  Two seperate ranges tangled in to one heart.

Yet the following verses will forever ring true...

"I thank my God every time I remember you"  Philippians 1:3
"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy"  Psalm 126:3

Both so true for BOTH our sons!  Regardless the outcomes, we are filled with joy.  We have been able to love our sons.  In Zac's short life, and with Evan every day.  I also got to be filled with joy the 28 weeks and 1 day that I carried my sons and felt them growing, kicking, dancing, hiccuping, sleeping...
Yes, I am filled with joy, no matter the pain that is included.

Anyhow, God gave me the strength to finally complete this project, and I just wanted to share this with you...whoever you are.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Three years ago today...we were faced with our first "good bye"...

Our 6 week ultra sound where we learned we had lost our little "Whisper", but were expecting identical twins!  This is the only ultra sound picture I have, and the only proof of their lives...therefore it is the picture I will post...again.

December 6, 2007 changed our lives forever.
December 6, 2007 we heard the for the FIRST time "your babies have died".
December 6, 2007 changed me.
December 6, 2007 is imprinted on me forever.

This was the day Brett and I joyfully entered my OB's office to see the 20 fingers, 20 toes, 4 eyes, 2 noses, 4 arms, 4 legs and 2 precious heart beats beating in sync.  I was around 12 weeks at this appointment.
Funny how looking back I was already numb before the appointment.  Looking back, even though I hadn't known I had miscarried...it was like my heart knew what to expect.  And as the doctor searched for our babies heart beats...the longer she took, the quicker I knew...we were doomed.  We had lost our first children. 
I had failed.

That's how I felt.  First I couldn't get pregnant without medical intervention.  Even though Brett and I were both deemed "perfect" on paper.  Second, we get pregnant...and I proceed to lose all our children...without even knowing it.
I felt like a failure.  Some days I still do.

These babies were wanted from the second they were fertilized in a petri dish.  These babies were prayed for every second from the moment they were transfered back inside me.  These babies were my dream for 8 years of trying.  These babies were a miracle.  They still are miracles.  They are still my babies.  Even if I only carried them for a short while before learning they were gone.  Even if I never got to see those fingers, toes, eyes, ears, noses, arms, legs, hearts...they are our children, and I miss them as much today as I did three years ago.

Yes...time softens the darkness that I felt those following days, weeks, months...years.  Yes, the tears are not as feverent every day...but they still fall.  And yes...Christmas is still tough because of the loss of our first children, and then Zac.

Love and joy have found a way back to me.  Don't get me wrong...it doesn't just happen.  That first year I wanted to give up.  After losing our babies I couldn't see past the blackness of my heart and the emptiness of my body.  But eventually I knew I had to make a choice...get up or give in.
And no matter what the future was to hold...I DID have a family in Brett.  We, even though at that time were a family of two...we were and will always be FAMILY.

The blessing of Zac and Evan was beyond our dreams, and we never would have imagined having to face a funeral of our own child as we never got to bury our first children.  Both were dark experiences. 
But we have been blessed with Evan.  Our hearts will always ache for our 4 other angels in heaven...but Evan is our angel on earth.  And for that I will smile, I will get up, I will fight for my today's and my tomorrow's.

I miss our babies every day.  But today...today was the day we heard the first experience of death in our own family.  Today, 3 years ago, we were told our babies no longer lived.

Yet...we know they do.

And one day we will all unite again.  And I pray that they will all love me as much as I have always loved them...even before they were ever conceived.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Updates updates updates...

 Chillin' after an afternoon nap.
 My hockey boy!!  Makes hockey out of ANYTHING!!  Look at that swing and follow through!!!!  He ROCKS!!

 "If Papa's shoes are good enough for him...then they are good enough for me!"

How's that for a Starbucks plug!!  Evan just wishes there was actually something IN it!  hee hee hee

So, it has been a while.  Life has been so crazy this last while that I'm finding it hard to update as much as I used to. 
We are finishing our basement, so it has been pure chaos!  Drywalling, taping, mudding, now spraying the ceilings and walls.  Fireplace is being finished off.
LOTS happening, and lots of noise and dust and...did I mention chaos?!
So Evan and I have been staying at my parents a LOT.  We have been here the past couple of days with all the sanding going on.  I didn't want Evan in all that.  He doesn't need to be inhaling all that junk!
Plus all the noise makes naps impossible...and that just won't do!
We are lucky we have a place to go!!
However...we miss home.  It's tough being away from Brett and the dogs, and tough to feel unsettled.  But it's for the benefit of Evan's health, and it should be over soon.
Why we never finished the basement with the upstairs...we've been shaking our heads on that one!!
That will never happen again!!

Evan has been doing great.  He has had a runny nose for a couple of days and a bit of a cough...but his spirits sure haven't slowed down at all!!  He is still ALL GO GO GO!!  There is no slowing my boy down!
As you can see in the above picture with him swinging away!  My hockey ADDICT!  LITERALLY!
Tonight I bought him a couple of hockey books for his age...and he "read" to me over and over. 
It went like this..."hockey...ummmm, hockey" (page turned) "HOCKEY....ummmmm, hockey".
Yup...he is ALL about hockey!! 

Yesterday Evan had his NICU follow up and a hearing test.  The hearing test was all normal so no need for follow ups with that.  Then while we waited to see his NICU doc Evan ran the halls in his sweater, diaper and socks...playing...you guessed it...HOCKEY.  And I kid you not...residents were all dropping jaws and asking "HOW old is he!!!!"
Evan had another glowing review.  He is in all normal growth rates for his UNcorrected age.  So that's awesome!!!  We don't have to go back for another year.
He is STILL stuck at 23 pounds...but it isn't a concern because of his height and how active he is.

We did some visiting while we were at the hospital.  Saw some of the NICU nurses, and our loved NICU liason.  It's always so emotional walking through those doors, and being flooded with the memories of each of those days!  And seeing parents who are there now, going through the emotions and fears that each NICU parent is familiar with...that's tough.
And as Evan and I were leaving, I saw so many kids who are dealing with major disabilities...and there it was again...the reminder of the life Zac would have lived...had he survived on this earth.  And my forever confusion of WHY it ever had to happen at ALL?!
My heart will forever break.

Our boys...ALL our children...are such a blessing to us.
We are blessed with how well Evan is doing!  He is a living miracle.  And he has a strength that puts me to shame!  I am so blessed to be his mommy.  And I know that I have so much to learn from him, with him and through him.

It is always such a joy to be able to give such wonderful reports on how Evan is doing.
He is growing so fast.  Learning so much.  Doing all the things that a toddler does!
He has such spirit, such personality, such wisdom for one so little!
He blows me away.
He humbles me.
He heals me.
He shows me that laughter can be easy :)  And with him...IT IS!!

Even though my heart will always ache...it will also always love!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I don't know what heaven will be like.  I know what I've been told through bible stories and church sermons...but who really knows?  Streets of gold, angelic music...I don't know.

I know what I hope.  I hope it is true that as I am walking through heavens gates I will see the faces of all the loved ones gone before me.  I hope that they will look at me as though no time has passed, and with love and excitement to show me "home".  I hope that our 4 heavenly children will be right there to greet me and that I will hear "MOMMY, you're HOME!!", and that they will wrap their little arms around my legs.
I hope that all 5 of my children will finally play together and know each other...and Brett and I will see what was meant to be...in heaven.

I have a devotional book that admittedly I don't do daily, but it is called HOPE by Nancy Guthrie.  I was thumbing ahead through the topics and came across this bible verse:

"The day you die is better than the day you were born." - Ecclesiastes 7:1

I can see that.  I can see that from a faith-based perspective.  Earth...this is not home.  This is for now.  This is the place we get the chance to live out our lives the way God would want us to.  Not necessarily what WE want, but what God hopes to show to others THROUGH US. 
Yet still...as a mommy with 4 of her babies not in her arms...this is a tough verse for me because the day my babies died...were NOT better...for me.  For them...absolutely.  They are in eternity.  They are more alive than ever possible here on this earth.  But for me...a part of me died inside with each of their passing lives.

BUT...I know we will be together again.  I know that through the life of God's own Son on the cross...we will have eternity together. 

I try to remember this fact when my heart is low.  And still, my heart hurts.  But I know the truth. 

Then last night I took an hour to myself and let Brett have daddy-duty while I took myself on a "me-date".  I went to Scott Parable...love that place!  I got myself a couple CD's and a couple books for Evan, but a song on one of the CD's really touched my heart.  Well...MANY of the songs touched my heart.  Music does that to me.  If nothing else can reach through...put on music and my walls come down.

It's a song called Your Faithfulness by Brian Doerksen and the words are as follows:

I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing
or filled with longed for things

I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust your faithfulness

I don't know if these clouds mean rain
If they do will they pour down blessing or pain

I don't know what the future holds
Still I know I can trust your faithfulness

Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness

Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars will shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness

I don't know how or when I'll die
will it be a thief
or will I have a chance to say good-bye
I don't know how much time is left
But in the end I will know your faithfulness

When darkness overwhelms my soul
When thoughts are storms of doubt
Still I trust you are always
faithful, always faithful

No one knows what the future holds.  No one can truly plan for tomorrow.  But we can do our best.  We can live out the truth of our loving God.  I've shut Him out so much lately, and have felt silence from Him...only because I've shut out His voice and closed His word.  I've listened to lies from the enemy and have tried to blame God for all my pain, only because I've always been taught "ask and ye shall receive"...
Not always the best verse when it isn't accompanied with...it might not necessarily be what you are specifically asking for...but doesn't mean He won't make good from how He answers.
I don't understand God's answers to some of our pleas.  I am trying not to understand.  I am trying to remain in the mindset that no matter the answer, good or bad...He loves me.  This pain is for a while.  This pain is for this earth.  I will not take my pain with me.  But how I reacted to the pain...shutting out God or choosing to continuing to trust...that WILL come with me. 

I read another verse that I really needed to read:

"I weep with grief; encourage me by your word.  Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your law.  I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your laws." - Psalm 119:28-30

A few key words that I need to work on..."encourage", "lying", "privilege", "law", "CHOSEN", "faithful", "determined".

I have felt so DIScouraged.  I have been listening to lies from the enemy and lying to myself.  I have felt unworthy of privilege.  I have shut out God's laws.  I have not chosen to be strong and stay faithful.  I have not felt determined in my faith.

OK...so that's about as raw and honest and truthful and VULNERABLE as one can get!!  But I'm just being real.  I'm putting it out there, so that if there are others who have been struggling...you are NOT ALONE!!

Don't get me wrong.  I haven't turned away from God.  I haven't walked away from my faith.  But I HAVE felt very damaged.  And that is not the person I want to be. 
My sadness and confusion and disappointment has been blame towards God.  The God who moves mountains, heals the sick, raises the dead...I blamed Him because He didn't do this for me.
And yet...He DID! 

Once again...the bitter round-about of grief/loss and joy/receiving. 

On one hand I feel the above because of Zac's death.
On the other hand I saw miracles and SEE miracles in Evan every day! 

Now comes the choice to THANK GOD in both my circumstances, and trust Him, and know that all my babies are safe and sound in heaven above...and that I may not have a house full of noisy children here...but one day I sure will!!! 

Choice is a tough thing.  It sounds simple.  But it's not. 
But it's time to choose to stop listening to the lies, and remember the goodness of all God has done for us!

Pain will never fully disappear here on this earth...but joy will remain as long as we CHOOSE to let it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The mail no parent should have to open...

Brett and I realized we had never received Zac's official Death Certificate.  For some reason that certificate is "important" to me.  We have his birth certificate...so we "should" have his death certificate as well.
So I sent in a request for Zac's death certificate a few months ago...and a few days ago...it arrived.

I knew it was coming.  I've been waiting for it, and frustrated each day it didn't arrive.  But when I finally did open that mail box and saw the envelope...I wasn't prepared for the sadness that it would cover me in.
Like it was the final piece to the nightmare.  The "unseen" face in the nightmare that never ends.

I opened it.  I looked at it.  And I felt raw.  Numb.  Empty.  Sad.  Angry.  Bitter.  Defeated.  Lonely. 
I saw one line that said "Marital Status - Never Married". 

I realize even more so now that instead of watching both of my sons find amazing mates and watching both their weddings and hopefully one day their own familes grow...one family will never be.  One wedding will never happen.  One batch of wishful grandkids will never come to be.


BUT, there is also a sense of "closure" for lack of better word.  That certificate was a final piece of the reality of what happened.  And the loss of our son.  And the final recognition of his short precious life.

I'm sad I ever had to open this.  But I'm "glad" it's finally done and here where it "belongs". 

I always dreamed of being a mommy.  For as long as I can ever remember.  I dreamt of the day I would become pregnant, see my child/ren, watch them grow...and have more children.  I never had a set number of children I "hoped" for...I just always assumed that it would happen.  And naturally.
I never once pictured that I would be the mother of more children in heaven than on earth.  I never imagined that it would happen to us.  I never thought we would struggle to conceive on our own.  I never saw this as part of our path.  Just goes to show that you can pray for your hopes, you can plan what you'd like, you can dream of the future you hope for...but you have no say.  It's not up to you.  It's out of your hands.  Yet...I can't let that go.
I still hope.  I still hold this ridiculously niave hope that we'll be one of the "lucky ones" who can say "oh yes, we conceived on our own after treatments"...but I know better.  I know not to hold my breath.  I know not to assume of dream of this.  I'm just riding it all out and seeing where life takes us.
I still have hopes and dreams of another child/ren...but I hold fears beyond excited expectations and dreams.
I have lost 4 of our 5 children...how could I not be afraid?  How could I not protect myself from more pain by not hoping for a future I don't know may ever happen.
But I'm praying for strength for whatever the future MAY hold.


As with every painful moment life throws at me...there is that precious renewal of joy that Evan brings.
This amazing little boy who is becoming quite the little character each day!!

I'm sorry if you are a weak-stomach person...but I just have to share this story because it made me laugh so hard my ribs hurt!
Evan has had a runny nose for about 5 days now.  He has learned the "farmer blow" or "hockey blow"...blowing his nose without a kleenex.  Ewww, I know.  But he thinks this is hilarious!  ANYHOW, we were coming home from an appointment yesterday and he was being SO silly and we were giggling away.  I realized he was "blowing bubbles" with his spit, and his chin and jacket were soaked...but then the little turkey decided to add in the "kleenex-free nose blow".  ALL OVER HIS FACE. 
OK...I've always (and still do) had a weak stomach with runny noses.  Just really grosses me out, but now I have no choice but to get over it.  But THIS...this made me laugh SO hard!!!  And I was saying "EVAN!!!"  and Evan decided to keep saying over and over "Eeeeevan!  Eeeeevan!" which made me laugh even harder!!
I had to pull over on the side of the road to wipe his face and the tears of laughter from my eyes.

It's intertwined...my grief, my joy.  And I've come to accept and realize that IT'S OKAY!!!!!!  It doesn't HAVE to be separated, because it never will!  I'm not a bad mother for feeling sad and missing Zac.  I'm not a bad mother for feeling the stab of sadness along with the surges of love and joy with my amazing Evan!
I'M OKAY to feel both, because I have love and lost...and my sons were a pair, meant to be together and grow together and live together...and I was meant to raise them together.  And in a wierd way...I AM raising both of them.  They are always a pair...a special pair :)  But Evan is not to be taken down by my moments of sadness.  I will tell him of his brother.  He will speak his brothers name.  We will do special things on Zac's "heaven day"...I will not hide the truth and reality that Evan has a twin brother.  But I will not make him EVER for a SECOND feel like he is any less loved just because I am open in my feelings.  I will never compare my sons.  I would never have if they were side by side today...and I never will. 
Yes, I will always wonder "what if", and how would they have been together, and what kind of personality Zac would have had.  But I will never have those moments overshadow my precious boy who I get the honor of watching grow and learn and who I get to love every minute of my life.

Good and bad...our family is a team.  And we will walk through life together.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One of those days...

 Smelling dried dill seeds
 Added a Dalmatian to our Boxer group!!  hee hee hee
 Trying to get a group photo with Evan and the cousins before Trick or Treating!
 Utter chaos!! :)
 Evan found a branch that looked like a hockey stick.  My boy is CRAZY over hockey!!
Trying it out in the little snow pile.
Enjoying a gorgeous day in the leaves!

Pictures of Evan just get more and more fun.  Watching him growing and all that he gets in to!  It's never a dull moment and always an adventure!

We dressed Evan as a Dalmatian for Halloween.  Figured we needed a new breed with our two boxers.  And wouldn't you know...that is the one picture I FORGOT to take!!!  Evan with our dogs!  DUH!
But we headed out to Brett's parents and saw family over there who all got a kick out of Evan's costume.
Then it was over to my parents with the cousins!  What a gong show!  It was hillarious!
And as you can tell from the pics...it wasn't a successful posed moment :)  hee hee hee.
Mason and Evan kept running in opposite directions.  It was so funny!!
Brighton and Fin were awesome with going door-to-door...Mason and Evan were another story...they just ran down the sidewalks!  So we just walked around the block.  It was fun!  Thank goodness it was a decent night weather-wise!

Evan is a hockey FANATIC!  I kid you not!!  He now owns EIGHT mini hockey sticks and 2 mini hockey nets, and the first word out of his mouth in the morning is either "hockey" or "stick"!  Priceless!!
The other day a hockey game was on TV and when Evan saw it he literally started SHAKING while he yelled "HOOOOOOOCKEYYYYYYYY!!!!!"
Yup...looks like I am going to be a probable hockey mom...but that's okay!  I don't mind at all!

Yesterday was a fun day.  Evan's cousins spent the day and then the night...and Evan was in heaven!  He just loves being with other kids...especially his cousins!  And it's those moments where I really smile with joy because he has them...but it also stings so much because Evan was not meant to be alone.  He was never alone a day of his gestational life.  So it makes it a bitter pill to swallow as I watch him just walk up to other kids ANY where, and how much fun he has with his cousins.  And like I say, I am just SO happy that he has cousins to play and grow up with!!
And when Fin and Brighton went home today I found myself getting choked up as I watched Evan stare as they left and then began playing by himself.  It really stung.
I know he is happy.  I know that we play together all the time.  I know he knows he is loved beyond anything.  I know that he will always know our love, and I will always do my best to fill a spot in his life that is missing.  The spot of his brother.

I find myself feeling the anger again.  It's the way it goes.  It's the roller coaster of grief and trying to sort through life.
But I saw a quote a while ago, and I have had it posted on my Facebook status...because it is so true to my life.

It is a quote by Jackie Kennedy:

"I have been through a lot and suffered a great deal.  But I have had lots of happy moments as well...the good, the bad, the hardship, the joy, the tragedy, love and happiness, all interwoven in to one single indescribable whole that is called life.  You cannot separate the good from the bad.  And perhaps there is no need to do so, either."

I love that quote.  I love how it emphasizes that good and bad often go hand in hand.  We can't escape it.  And that yes, even through suffering and hardships we can also have the happy moments.  The down moments don't mean we don't feel the happy moments.  And the happy moments don't mean we don't feel the down moments.  They are both there.  They are interwoven.  They are very much the essense of my life story.  My joy, my sorrow...they go hand in hand every day.

I hate that I have been feeling so jealous lately.  Jealous of "natural conception" birth announcements, jealous of the happy ending both babies (or more) all come home healthy and together, jealous hearing and watching twins (or more) growing together and the unique relationship they share.
Yes...I feel jealous. 
By no means does it mean I wish anything other for the lucky families of all the above...I just mean that in MY life at THIS time...I feel jealous, and I hate it.  I hate that even with the pure joy and contentment of life with Evan I can still be overriden with the fact of my forever label of "infertile" and requiring assistance to achieve a HOPEFUL child can weigh me down.

I know, as a Christian I shouldn't allow jealousy to come in to my mind/life.  But as a human with a whole heap of pain and confusion...it does.  So please don't condemn or judge me for my brutal honesty.
At this point, today...jealousy and confusion and anger and sorrow weigh me down.
What I need is encouragment.  What I need is prayers.  What I need is friendship.
I don't need condemnation or "tsk tsk...you are not being a Godly woman".

AND THEN, flip side...also today I feel joy, I feel comfort, I feel love and I feel honored to be blessed with Evan in our lives.  Every day is becoming more and more fun as he becomes more and more chatty and even MORE active (if that's at all possible!!)  Every day is such an adventure, and every day my heart just completely overflows with love, and a thankful heart for the blessing God has provided.
Tears often flow with the amount of gratitude I feel to God for sparing Evan's life.
The same tears flow as I question why He allowed Zac to die...even though I know he is very much alive and well.

The other night Brett and I went to dinner and a movie.  We haven't done that since we had the boys!  We tried once when I was pregnant but it was so uncomfortable for me to sit there and I was in the bathroom every two seconds thanks to the four feet pounding on my bladder :)
It was a nice night out...but the movie gave me an unexpected shock.
Two of the characters happened to be identical twin brothers.  And there it began...I began to wonder about OUR identical twins.  What they would have looked like, how they would have been...all the what if's from almost 3 years ago came flooding back.  Next month, December 6th, marks 3 years since we learned our babies died.  It's always a harsh time.  It always stings.  And I never forget.
And the movie certainly didn't help either.
But all in all, it was a treat to be out with Brett and just having some "old time" fun!  We appreciated the night out.  Even though the whole time I kept thinking about how I couldn't wait to get home to be with Evan!

Well,  I will end with one last quote that is helping to encourage me in my personal prayer life.

"The best reason to pray is that God is really there.  In praying, our unbelief gradually starts to melt.  God moves smack into the middle of even an ordinary day...Prayer is a matter of keeping at it...Thunderclaps and lightning flashes are very unlikely.  It is well to start small and quietly."
-Emily Griffin

Thursday, October 28, 2010


 Smoochies from my babe!
 Learning the value of "sharing"...
 Much to daddy's joy...Evan is a hockey ADDICT!!!
 Bath time!

Yesterday was one of those big days.  Evan had his KCC clinic follow up.  This is where he has been tracked for physio, speech language, OT and sees the Pediatrician.  Now, he has only ever seen the speech pathologist and the pediatrician twice...and OT has been done with for quite a while now.  But physio still checks in on him...although she has absolutely NO concerns about him as he is well meeting all his corrected age (and actual age) milestones!

Anyhow, yesterday Evan saw OT and the pedi, and both just had glowing comments...and no concerns...and no need to see Evan further!!!!  WOW!  This was huge!  They both felt that he is doing amazing, and that other than if I have any concerns in the future, we will not need to see them for further clinics!

As I sat there listening...I got so choked up and teary eyed...yet REFUSED to cry.  But hearing all this positive feed back, and hearing how thrilled they are to see how well he has done ESPECIALLY because the boys were born 12 weeks early...it just really choked me up.
It was a GOOD emotional day. 
Yet, of course there is always that "what if" factor.  What if Zac had survived and was plagued by all the ailments the doctors foresaw...even though we would have worked through each day and each struggle...what would it have been like?
Yet...I would have taken it.
Even though I felt so proud of all Evan has accomplished...there was still that twinge of anger wondering why Zac had to go through what he did...and why he couldn't be getting these great reviews along side his brother.
Why are not BOTH my sons getting all these praises and amazement from their doctor.

But we will never know why.

I truly felt so fortunate and so lucky to be hearing all these wonderful comments from OT and the Pedi.  It is an amazing feeling to hear a doctor say "thank you for coming in today, and for me getting to see how well Evan has done and is doing!"

I am the thankful one. 

We are the lucky ones.

And even though I know it is by God's grace that Evan has done so well...we still get to say "we were a reason for this!  We have been a part of him doing so well.  Our pain, fears, wonders, struggles and questions have been validated."

So yes, yesterday was very emotional.

And it was also another realization that life is moving forward!  This means we are less a few appointments, and more "normal"!
In a way it is hard to let go, because this has been such a part of our lives since Evan came home.  We have had this "comfort" or "safety net" in the support of these professionals.
And they are still there.  We are left as "open" to contact them if we ever have concerns.
But it just feels like chapters are coming to a close, and the future is broadening in to the way I always wondered it would...feeling some what "normal".

We will have another NICU follow up with Evan's neonatologist.  It is supposed to be some time in November.  These appointments are always big for me.  I always feel the nerves rise.  Because these are the people who have watched Evan from day one.  This is a doctor who has been such a part of our security.
And I know this MAY be our last appointment...and I can't help but feel a bit strange...or sad even.

All I've wanted was "normal"...but it turns out that this has been OUR "normal".  It's a strange normal.  It's a different normal.  But it's the normal that we know.

My tiny little boy is growing up.  My tiny fragile baby is a sturdy, active, intelligent boy! 

It's so true.  Time goes so fast.  We always wish for the next "big" event or change in life...yet if we aren't careful...we will miss what is happening now because all you have to do is take a moment and realize how much changes in even just one week! 

I am blessed by today.  I pray to be blessed in my tomorrow.  But I will focus on today and all that it holds for me. 

Yes, a good emotional day!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Family Photos 2010

 Although you don't see him...Zac is part of this picture!  This bear was given in memory of Zac after he passed away by the loving kindness of a mommy who understands the pain of losing a child.
Zac will always have a part of our family photos!  xoxo
We wish you were right beside us in these photos!!

 This picture absolutely makes me smile.  The way the sun is shining through the trees, and the way that the light is falling on Evan, I can't help but picture it being Zac shining down on his brother! 

 Evan loves his piggy-backs!  Sharing a moment with a ride and our piggy-back song!

 The gang.  xoxo

Needing a run break!

So, back by popular demand, we had photos done with WONDERFUL Lisa Landrie!  Check out her blog of other photos as well at www.LisaLandrie.blogspot.com

But Evan definitely gave her a run for her money!  As soon as he saw the camera he went TOTAL GQ!  There was not a smile to be found...except in moments where he thought it wouldn't get captured.
There are many more photos, but for now I'm disciplining myself to post ONLY five...for now!!  I love them all, and there are just so many great ones, but I'm trying to harness it in!  Last year I posted just about all of them!! 

And just like last year...it was still hard for me emotionally.  I was so excited for the day of photos, yet there was this ache so deep in my heart and my stomach.  And even though the smile is big and bright (and REAL!), it took a lot within me not to break in to tears.
I am sad that Zac is not in these pictures.  I am sad that we are not sharing these moments with our son.
Yet, I am touched that I had a special something to include Zac in these photos.  A gift from a fellow baby-loss mommy who creates and donates teddy bears to parents who have lost a child.  She does this in honor of her daughter who passed away.
To be honest...this teddy bear hardly makes it out of the special spot in my closet beside all of what were Zac's belongings.  I am so scared that it will get tattered or ruined.
But it meant the world to me to have a couple of shots with this special bear included.
And really...no one would understand the significance of this bear without me saying.  They would just think it's one of Evan's special bears...and it is...but it is more mine, to hold when I am missing the feeling of Zac in my arms.  You'd think that bear would be sewn to me! 

However, we had a wonderful time.  Evan was tired and grumpy...but he was a good sport.  I love his serious face though!!  We did get a few with some cute grins and smirks, and I'll post a few of those later, but for now I just wanted to share a couple.

It's wierd to watching how time has gone on with us, and watching Evan growing...and reflecting on all that has happened.  It's wierd posting pictures knowing 4 of your 5 children will never be seen by anyone on this earth.  It's hard knowing that people see these pictures and those who don't know our story don't know that Evan is missing his twin brother by his side.
But it is amazing to see how Evan is growing.  How well he is doing.  And the joy and love that I hope is evident on our faces as a family.

And it is a joy to be able to share these with you.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Some days you just have to be thankful for the mischief...of dogs!!

 "WHUT!?  I didn't do anything!!"
 "You're lying!  I see it!  And for once you can't pin this on me!!"
 The proof is all over the floor!  Oh my!
Well, if you can't beat 'em...join 'em!!

So this morning Evan and I ran a couple errands and then went to get our flu/H1N1 shots.  Evan is far too familiar with the smell of the alcohol swab, and knew what was coming before it even came!  He started to cry when he saw the nurse cleaning my arm with the swab and kept saying "no no no!"  Then when it was his turn...he wanted OUT OF THERE!  The tears happened, but quickly passed as I said "ok, lets go running!!"  And off he went happy as could be to be free. 

When Evan and I got home I was greeted with Bailey (our younger boxer) acting rather suspicious.  And then I noticed Tag (our older boxer) hiding sheepishly with a rather "cakey" face and front legs!!  I KNEW I had closed the pantry so I couldn't figure out what he had gotten in to, but then it hit me...and I burst out laughing.  Brett had brought up a container with a few bags of quick cooking rolled oats and a few other odds and ends and had left it by our front door.  I of course had forgotten to deal with the items.  So right away I ran to the box and sure enough, a bag was missing. 
I went up to the living room and just burst out laughing.  There on the floor was a half eaten bag of Organic Quick Cooking Rolled Oats.  And there plastered all over my dogs face was the evidence that HE was indeed the culprit!!!!

I used to always automatically "blame" Bailey for these indiscretions...but now the light is dawning who the true instigator has been!!  This time he couldn't hide the evidence from me!

Evan saw the pile of oats and decided he may as well get in to the action too!  He was whipping oats faster than I could vacume them up! 

Honestly...if it weren't for days like this where my dogs and child make me laugh so much...I don't know if I'd ever make it through the sad times.

While Evan and I sat for the 15 minutes after our shots I noticed a guy who obviously had disabilities...and for some reason it just hit so hard.  Those moments when I see others with valleys to live with, even though to them this is their life and they are making the most of every day...it also makes me think of my sweet Zac.  It makes me miss him so much.  Even though I know the doctors said that he would never walk, talk, eat or anything like that on his own IF he made it through his brain bleed and other issues...I just always find myself wondering "what if".  Maybe that's the selfish mommy heart that wishes for another ending.  Even if it meant with a life of hard work with Zac's disabilities.
I don't know.  I guess it's not something one can "what if".  The fact is...Zac is not here on this earth.  The fact is...he will never struggle a day.  The fact is...even though he lives a fuller life today than one I could have ever attempted to provide...my heart still aches.

And then I watched as Evan ran around laughing and saying "hello" to every person he saw.  Blowing kisses to strangers.  Watching how his sweet actions lit up peoples faces.  He brings me to my knees in gratitude every day.  Yet, I just always wonder...what will he think one day?  What questions will he ask?  How will I be able to answer them?  How do I explain the decision we had to make? 

But today, I revel in the love and laughter that Evan is to me.  Every day I know I am blessed.  Every day I know how precious life is.  Every day I know how fast life can change...and I want to make the most of every day.  I want Evan to always have good memories together with us.  I want him to ALWAYS know how loved he is.  And how proud we are of him.  He is so precious.  So special. 

And when the day comes when he asks questions, or if he feels sad...I pray for the wisdom and the words to answer him, and to help him through. 

But today, I will smile as we go picking up every rock off the ground, and watching the ducks and geese land in the water behind our house, and as Evan instantly perks up and says "choo choo" when he hears the train passing by...and when I watch the mischief spread all over his face as I try to interpret what is about to happen :)

Today I will surround myself by the love of those in my life.  Today I will make the effort to be the friend I seek.  Today I will not make the excuse that "life is just so busy"...because life is also so very short.
And today I will work a little harder at seeking God for His true comfort and constant presense in my life!