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

Friday, April 30, 2010

A huge one year ago...

April 29, 2009 - After Evan's second eye exam and being fully dialated. He spent the afternoon with these "cool" patches on. April 30, 2009 - EVAN'S ISOLETTE TOP CAME OFF!!! He was now able to maintain his body temperature without the help of the isolette!!! This was a HUGE day!! AND he got moved to BAY 5!!! In NICU terms "YIPEEEEE!! He graduated!!"
Peeking out from his blankies without having to look through a plastic top anymore!!
So, I was looking through the daily journal I wrote in specifically for Evan while he was in NICU. I wrote the days events in there every day!
One year ago today, the top came off his isolette and he was moved to Bay 5!! In NICU terms...HUGE DAY!!!! He was able to maintain his own body temperature without isolette assistance, and Bay 5 is the "HORRAY" Bay...before Bay 6...which is the REALLY horray bay. These bays give you the hope that you will one day (hopefully soon) be heading home!! I think Evan housed all 6 bays at one point!
My entry today was this:
"You got your isolette top off AND moved to Bay 5!! It is AWESOME! You look perfect here. One step closer to the door!"
Yesterday (one year ago I mean) Evan had his 2nd eye exam. He had these super cute eye patches on because he had been fully dialated. Not fun for a little bean.
Looking back at these pictures bring such memories. Very special, although trying memories. We still lived with fear. We still wondered. We still ached every day. We knew that things could still come up, and we knew that the final day we left that NICU would be a day so very exciting, yet agonizing all at once. We would get to bring our son home...yet forever leave the only place we knew Zac alive on this earth. We would be leaving with only one car seat, instead of the two we had purchased. We would see only one spot filled in our back seat where we had planned for two. But we still had days ahead to focus on, and still had no idea when the day we'd get to bring Evan home would happen.
Anyhow, I've been enjoying sharing memories of "one year ago" with Evan with all of you.
Here are a few more of those special pictures to share.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The cemetery...

Last night I went and hit some balls with my brother at the driving range. I became a convert to golfing after years of marriage to Brett...and now I've become quite the competitive golfer. Don't get me wrong, I'm not great by any means, and I'm often VERY hard on myself on the course...but I actually have FUN!! I love going with Brett and my brothers, because Brett keeps me focused and trying, but my brothers help me to laugh and relax!! So it's the perfect combination. Well, obviously I didn't get out last summer. And I don't think my body would have been too happy with me swinging a club while still trying to not only emotionally begin to heal...but physically as well. Sooooo, last night was rather embarassing!! I did get a couple really good drives, but my arms felt like MUSH!!! Uh Oh!!! Can we say "someone is out of shape!!" Anyhow, after our little outing I told my brother I was going to go visit my little angel and just check to make sure things were tidy around his grave site (we've had some rain and snow, so I always feel the need to go check on Zac). My brother asked if I wanted company. It was nice to have him ask to come. I've never been out there with anyone since Zac's burial. Well, Brett and also my mom. But other than that...I just usually go on my own. Of course, the drive there I was alone and able to shed my tears and swallow that all too familiar disbelief of where I was driving towards, but once we got there...I was actually able to keep it together...outwardly. Sadly, I see that Zac and his other angel friends have a new comer. And my heart broke. My mom had told me that she saw a picture of a little one in the obituary section of the newspaper and it had listed the cemetery Zac is at. As we walked to Zac's site my heart broke to a zillion and one pieces as I saw the fresh mound of dirt with flowers and a teddy bear on top. The grave that until this little ones name plate grave marker arrives is marked only by the tears of his mommy and daddy and family. I know that feeling all too well. It made me so sad to see this. Another new comer had "arrived" in March. His name plaque has arrived. He was one month old before he passed away. But seeing his marker there...reminded me of how sickening it was to have to see my own sons name in this way, yet relieved that now he was marked for all to see his beautiful precious name...ZAC. It makes me sad to think of these two new families who are now faced with the devastating journey of life without their child. With memories all too few and moments all too short. I am a part of a support group that deals with many aspects of life...infertility (primary, secondary), loss, grief, support, encouragement and praise, treatments...it's a wide range. ANYHOW, this morning I read a post of a girl whose friends had removed their newborn son from life support just 9 days after his birth. And every emotion and memory I had of our own sickening task of having to make that same decision for Zac...it all came flooding back. And my heart just cried out to these parents, who now have 4 children in heaven. I am so grateful for Evan. I feel so very fortunate to have him with me every day. I can not imagine one second without him. Even when I have to leave him with my mom for an hour or two...I ache for him because I miss him. It's not always the picture perfect ending. It's not always as simple as it seems to be for so many. I don't want this to be a "dark" post by any means. Just a reminder that so many are hurting. And I ask that even though you may not know of a specific person or concern...when you pass someone on the street...how hard is it to say a prayer of blessing for that person as you pass? They will never know. You don't have to publicize it. Just whisper under your breath "bless this person today"...you never know who or what you are blessing...and just how much of an impact that secret blessing may have on someone. And if you know someone hurting...don't be afraid to ask them if they are ok. Don't be afraid to show up at their door with some kleenex and a cozy blanket to share while sitting quietly outside. Don't be afraid to be a friend who may change a persons day. Don't be afraid that they might actually tell you how they are feeling. Let them. Let them for one moment feel like they are truly being genuinely asked "how are you?" Don't just assume that because you see them smile they must be "all better". You don't even have to bring anything up. Just go and pick them up for a walk or an ice cream cone or something! I must take my own advice. I must learn to live outside of my own grief. I must learn to reach out to friends who may be hurting as well. OK, deeper post than I planned, but I guess it was on my heart. I should go. Evan has physio in an hour and he is still napping!! He is going to need to eat before we go as well, so I fear I must wake my munchin up. I feel bad doing that...but I'd feel worse if he didn't have time to eat. It's already going to be rushed. Yikes. Hugs and prayers to you all.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More then and now with my little man...

Teeny tiny little bean
On April 26, 2009, for the first time ever, I was able to start nursing Evan. Wow, what a day that was! Evan started walking behind things two days ago. Pushing ANYTHING that isn't glued or nailed to the ground!
Someone is mighty proud of himself!! And so are we!
Wow, time just keeps flying. It's insane to watch my little guy walking behind things now. And trying to climb up on the couch.
Insane to think that one year ago April 26/09 that was the first time since my boys were born that I was FINALLY able to start nursing Evan myself. Insane to think that it took over a month to do what most mothers get to instantly do with their baby after their birth. I remember that day feeling so..."wow" is the only word that comes to mind. And yet, as I nursed Evan, my emotions over came me and over took me.
It was beautiful, and heart breaking all wrapped in to one.
However, I was SOOOO fortunate to be able to do this with Evan. Lots of preemie mommies don't get the opportunity to nurse their baby. So I felt very fortunate.
Things are still going slowly with the sale of our house. I guess we just believed that it would go quickly. However, it has only just been 2 weeks...but that's how quickly we had hoped it would go!! Ah yes...the ever familiar "don't go in with high expectations or you just come out with egg on your face" feeling has returned.
I just really want it to sell. I hate this inbetween stage. Hate never knowing when I'll get a call for a viewing and when I need to race around like an insane person tidying up and sweeping, vacuming, mopping, dusting...over and over and over again. Packing poor Evan up for yet another mad dash, and packing up the dogs. All for a 10 minute viewing that without fail falls within Evan's nap times. Except for last night. We had one at 7pm, and that worked out pretty decent for Evan's schedule.
And yet...no news. No bites. No nothing. DARN!!
I need to start to feel settled already. I need to start to feel like I MYSELF have a routine and some normalacy to MY OWN life. I'm tired of this game and don't want to play any more! I KNEW we should have listed a while ago!! I KNEW it was going to take time!! Oh well, it is what it is, so no sense in crying over it.
I'd say lets just pack up and move in to the new house and then I couldn't care less when viewings were held, but there are still important things that need to get done in the new house that are holding us back with that thought.
UUUGGGHHH...I'm getting tired. I AM tired. Yesterday my heart was racing all day, my stomach was turning, my joints were aching beyond belief and my back was getting occassional spasms. Fun. No, not getting sick. Just getting really run down.
It's beyond just the moving. It's the past 3 years of my life. It's all building up.
I miss my babies that are no longer here with us. I miss being pregnant and feeling relatively confident I will never experience a non-assisted pregnancy. I miss my six remaining frostie babes that live at our Calgary fertility clinic, and wondering if any of them will produce a sibling for Evan here on THIS earth!!
See...I'm tired.
Evan is peacefully napping right now. I love watching him sleep. Lately I'll sneak in to his room just as he is beginning to stir and will lay beside his crib on the floor, and once he starts waking I'll peak over the edge...and my heart explodes as he focuses on me and gets this silly grin on his face and sticks his hand out between the crib slats and reaches for me. It gets me every time.
Yesterday he was looking at himself in the mirror, smiling and waving. And it was adorable and precious. And yes, my heart ached. I wish he could be waving at his brother. I wish he and Zac were waving at themselves side by side in front of the mirror.
Yet, it will never be that way.
I am forever, eternally grateful for my sweet Evan. To GET to watch him waving at himself and being silly in the mirror. To GET to listen to him jabbering, or humming to music and listening to him copy the sounds of animals. To GET to watch him grow in front of my eyes. To GET to hold him.
I am humbled and honored. And broken for the many dear friends who I have come to know whose little ones are no longer in front of their eyes, or in their arms. My heart aches and breaks, and my soul cries out for them.
I've come to realize, YES, we have eternity. But it doesn't stop the aching here on earth. I don't know if it ever will. And I find myself wondering what heaven will be like when we are reunited with our three other children. Will they call my mommy? Will they know me? What will they look like? How will they be? So many wonders.
But today I don't have to wonder with Evan. He calls me mamma. He knows me. I know who he looks like. I know how he is. I have many wonders about his future and his life and the man he will grow to be...but he will always be my miracle. No matter what, I will always be proud of him. I will always love him. I will always hug and kiss him. I will always tell him how grateful I am to his mommy. Even when he's 50!
And for today, instead of wondering about the future and what it holds...I will be thankful for what today brings. I will be thankful for my family and the friends who have stayed by my side. I will be thankful for the odd email or phone call saying "I'm just thinking of you today".
Today I ran in to a sweet friend whom I used to work with. We've stayed in touch. She stayed by my side through the loss of Jack and Ethan, and then the loss of Evan. She would come and visit and just sit by my side and let me cry if I needed to cry, yell if I needed to yell, and helped me to laugh...because I NEEDED to laugh. After I saw her today and we had our quick visit outside Starbucks (yup...needed my Americano!! GEEZ, I should just buy an espresso maker!!) I just felt my heart light up. Just seeing her sweet smile and planning to get together with her was exactly what I needed today.
I adore you my sweet friend! Thank you for always being by my side, no matter if it was through dark times or laughter. You have made a difference in my life! And I'm grateful to have you in my life!!
Well, I suppose I should get going and check on my sweet little peanut. He is having a good snooze...which is awesome for him! I like when he can have a normal day! Then lunch time, and off to drop off income tax stuff to the accountant. Yaaaa, NOT the best thing to forget to do!!! Nothing like last minute!!!
Praying for the many whose hearts hurt today for various situations.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


After a thorough cleaning with the good ol' Lysol wipes, Evan got to swing on a swing in the park! Then we went for a slide.
Can I just say...I have the MOST GORGEOUS boy ever!
So, last week we had a few gorgeous days of weather. One evening Brett and I took Evan and the dogs for a walk in my wonderful neighborhood, that I will miss greatly once we move!! :(
ANYHOW, on the way home from our walk we stopped at the little park that is just right around the corner from our place. Let me tell you...I have DREAMED of the day when I would be able to take a child of MY OWN to this park to push on the swings and slide down the slide with.
It has two swings, two dump truck rides, a rocket with two seats...do you see where I'm going with this? Yes...two of everything.
When we learned after our first round of IVF that we were expecting identical twins (and lost our triplet early in the pregnancy)...the first thing I thought of was this park by my house! I was finally going to be able to take my twins to this park and play with them. And then that dream brutally and cruelly ended.
After our second fresh IVF round and then learning of our fraternal twins...again, my thoughts went to this park (well...it was a good couple months before I let myself daydream of this park once more).
And again...I am faced that my twins are now twin-less. One twin-less in heaven...one twin-less on earth. And that second swing beside Evan will remain empty, that second dump truck ride will be unridden, that second seat on the rocket ride will go without Zac's bottom sitting on it.
Don't get me wrong...that day in the park with Evan was so unbelievably precious to me, and it took EVERYTHING in me not to burst in to tears of gratitude and thankfulness. Even though I battled the sadness of missing Zac...I was so thankful that Evan is HERE with us. He survived. My son was granted life with us. And after all these years of daydreaming about that park, I am able to take my son there.
Although, after we move it will no longer be a 2 minute walk around the corner to the park. And that kind of makes me sad. But...on to the next park.
I felt so proud pushing Evan in that swing! I felt so full of life sliding down that slide with him. Even though half of me ached so deeply...I was able to smile and mean it whole heartedly.
That moment, that day...meant the world to me.
Then on Thursday I was at Safeway getting a few things for a salad. I could hear this commotion going on and looked over to see two disabled people in their wheelchairs with some of the staff surrounding the one who was extremely distraught and saddened. Then I could hear "I lost everything. I lost my wallet, my watch...I lost everything." He either misplaced these items or had them taken from his backpack on his wheelchair. But he knew that he had these items with him when he left and now they were not there. He was so upset, and so scared.
And I stood there in the produce aisle, and tears just started to pour down my cheeks. In a second I thought...that could have been my son. That could have been Zac. Yet according to the doctors, he wouldn't have even been able to do anything independently, and certainly wouldn't have been able to speak.
And the thought went through my mind..."how can I be grateful that Zac did not have to live this life? How can I say that I am grateful that he was spared what the doctors were telling us? Because in being grateful...that means I am okay that he is no longer here in my arms. And for that...I am NOT grateful."
I am not grateful that his membranes ruptured. I am not grateful that I felt him losing fluid every day. I am not grateful that he had very little fluid and very little ability to feely move around inside of me. I am not grateful that every day was a ticking time bomb for him. I am not grateful that I lived in agony of fear for my sons for 5 weeks when I SHOULD have been proudly parading my huge belly around for everyone to see. I am not grateful that I went in to early labour. I am not grateful that I didn't get to experience my sons births. I am not grateful that I couldn't be with both my sons right after they were born. I am not grateful that I never saw them side by side outside of me. I am not grateful that Zac had to endure all that he did in his short three days of life. I am not grateful for the decision we had to make. I am not grateful for making the decision we made. I am not grateful for losing my son.
However, I am grateful that even in those terrifying 5 weeks...I got to hear both my sons heart beats 2 times every day. I am grateful for seeing them moving about on the ultra sound screen weekly. I am grateful for listening to Zac's hiccups during NST tests. I am grateful that he had "enough" fluid to thrive those 5 weeks. I am grateful for the nurses who saw me day one of my admittance and 5 weeks later and telling me each day how much bigger my belly was getting. I am grateful that I didn't have to listen to the nurses and doctors working to save my sons lives after they were born. I am grateful that I got to see Zac alive outside of me. I am grateful for getting to see those eyes piercing in to my heart and soul and watching him respond to my voice. I am grateful that even though we had to make the most sickening and horrifying decision in the world...I am grateful that I could be with my son and comfort him and love him as he lived his final moments on this earth.
And as mad as I am at God that my mustard seed faith wasn't enough to move THIS mountain, and my sons life was not spared on this earth...I am grateful that he lives more alive in heaven today than he would have a day on this earth.
I am beyond grateful for the life of Evan. I am grateful for his strength, for his determination, for his will. I am grateful for every moment we had together in NICU, and in awe that I was watching my son growing on the outside world when he should have been growing inside me. I am grateful for the care he received. I am grateful for the grace God granted in allowing us to keep Evan with us. I am grateful grateful grateful for my sweet, precious, amazing son. I am grateful that Evan has done so well, developmentally and physically and health wise. We have been blessed in those areas greatly...and how can I not be thankful for that!
I remember when I lost Jack and Ethan and one thought that I kept screaming out to God was, "why did you have to take them both? Why couldn't we have kept even one?" Not like I could ever pick and choose...but that was my mindset back then because I had to walk out of a hospital with an empty womb, and empty arms and no trace of my babies.
Be careful how you question God. Be careful what you ask. Because now I know that neither situation was ideal. Losing both, and losing one...it's loss. And loss is agonizing. And losing one twin and watching your other child growing up without their sibling...just be careful what you question God on. I feel like He is saying "there, are you happy?! Stop questioning me. Stop testing me. Just STOP!"
And yet I KNOW He didn't do this on purpose. I KNOW it wasn't to teach me some divine "lesson". I KNOW He isn't that cruel.
I DON'T know why, as He knit Zac together, why he would have chosen this path for us and that three days would be the life Zac would live. But I can't think of it that way. I don't understand, and it's time to stop trying to understand.
I am so grateful for Evan. I can't even express it in words. My heart does something when I look at him, smell him, hold him, giggle with him, read to him, love him...
My heart does something that I can't put in to words. I am so proud of him. I am so proud of who he will become. And I want to be the best mommy possible for him so that he grows in to a person who HE will be proud of. A person who will touch lives still. I know his life is a living example of grace, blessing and miracles. I pray that his life will continue in that way. But it is up to me, and to us as parents to guide him, teach him, develop him and allow him to grow in to the person he is meant to be.
Time moves so quickly. So much time can be stolen when we don't allow ourselves to move forward. Yet, grief and sorrow can hold a part of a person back. I get that. I get that all too well. But there comes a time when you HAVE to make yourself move forward because the past can never change...but you can sure change the future in the choices you make today!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Self doubt...it'll get ya every time!!!

Evan - April 22, 2009. Day two in a sleeper!! I LOVED this one and nicknamed it the "jailhouse" sleeper!! Evan a couple of weeks ago. I can't be doing THAT bad, can I?! I have a moment, so I figure, why not write something? But for the first time ever...I don't know what! I have nothing specific today. There's a forever swirling chaos of thoughts going through my head, and I usually know what I want to "talk" about...but today...I'm just on autopilot for some reason. I did catch myself beating myself up this morning thinking I'm hindering Evan. In the sense that I stay stuck in this preemie mode...and not "allowing" him to grow up! I say this in the sense of FOOD of all things!! Evan loves to eat, don't get me wrong! But I'm still confused as to...okay, he's 13 1/2 months, but corrected to almost 11 months so he should be "here" at this point...and blah blah blah. I realize that I'm still in this pureed food phase. OK granted, after Evan had the flu in March he went in to reverse and chunky textures made him gag and inevitably throw up...but it has been a while since then and I keep "catering" to the IDEA that he MIGHT be put off by texture...when in actual fact I'm probably hurting things by keeping him from what COULD bother him instead of letting him figure things out on his own. I watch other kids his age (actual age) and they are chowing down on table foods of all sorts...and here I am with the mush for Evan. OK, I'm not all THAT bad...I do let him explore and figure out things by placing items on his highchair tray and letting him decide what to do with it. Except it usually ends up in my dogs mouths!! I never thought I'd question myself so much as a mother (my mindset before having Zac and Evan), and thought I'd be this secure, stable and unhindering mother who wouldn't hold her child back. And now here I am...INsecure, UNstable and hindering my child!!! And this morning I felt like a failure! I felt like it's ME that is the reason for anything that MIGHT go wrong. I'm so stuck in the fears of the past and all that we have gone through, that I can't find the brave in me to get it together and allow my son to figure out life! Don't get me wrong...it's not like that in every area. Just the food for some reason!!! Which I find very bizarre since I've always been so focused on allowing Evan every opportunity to GAIN GAIN GAIN!!! I guess I feel lost as to what I should be introducing, how, and where things go with his bottle. He still has 3-4 bottles a day anywhere from 6-9 ounces at each. In my fear of not wanting to screw things up...I feel like I am!! I feel the doubt in myself, the uncertainty, the questions I never thought I'd ask of myself!! Yet I know I am a stinkin' good mommy! I KNOW that!! All I have to do is look at my son and watch him cruising around and climbing stairs and pulling up on everything and trying to be brave and stand between things. And yet here I am...comparing him to other children. Instead of just looking at this AMAZING MIRACLE of a child who went through so much to get to this point...I'm questioning myself. Shame on me! BUT on the other hand...I am now SEEING these traits in me and the things that I DON'T want to do...so I guess that's good that I can self-identify that so I can stop and make the changes!! And I have been the last week. I've been letting Evan taste what we are eating, provided it isn't spicy, and even found out that he LOVES lemon chicken rice soup!! Who knew!! And I guess that's what I have to keep on doing. He is big in to Cheerios with whole milk, but usually sucks out the milk from the cheerios and then I find the mountain of cereal ON him! This morning his face was covered in milk! It was quite hilarious! I guess what I have to focus on is that I'm doing the best I know how...and Evan is growing, thriving, developing, learning, laughing, loving, smiling...and even throwing temper tantrums all at the "right" times!! Yesterday he had THREE proper tantrums! Except I LAUGHED!! Whoops! OH, I think I mentioned that already! I have to learn to be BRAVE and SECURE and SURE of myself!! To look at this precious little child and KNOW I am doing good! Of course I will always question myself and have moments of doubt and uncertainty...but he is doing GREAT!! And I'M doing that!!! So, pat myself on the back! Anyhow, I think that's all for today. Of course, it's just a snippet of what goes through my mind, but for today...it's enough.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 20, 2009...one year ago with Evan...

Our little bean contemplating the days events!
44 days after having Zac and Evan...I finally got to feed Evan with a bottle for the first time (his second bottle of the day)
Evan's isolette temperature decreasing...steps closer to an open basinette!
44 days after Evan's arrival...he FINALLY gets to wear CLOTHES!!! My heart just burst at how cute he looked, and how HUGE everything was on him!!! Later that evening, daddy got a turn giving Evan a bottle!!
It's hard to believe how fast time is going. Hard to believe that this tiny tiny little boy is getting to be so "big"!! Life just moves way too quickly!
What a day today was one year ago!!! When I got to the hospital that day I learned that Evan had been given his first ever bottle!!! At first I was just sooooooooo shocked and excited, but then I felt a little disappointed that I didn't get to be there. BUT, the nurses said that usually when they start to introduce the bottle (they introduce that first before nursing) the babies tend to gag and "choke" a bit because this is such a new concept for them, and they aren't used to sucking and swallowing at the same time. Understand, Evan still wasn't at his full term gestational age here...so technically inside of me he'd be figuring out the suck/swallow of fluids.
So I let go of the disappointment and jealousy and bathed in the awesomeness of Evan hitting this milestone!
Later that day I got my turn to give him a bottle...and it was amazing! He had always been getting my milk for his gavage feedings since his birth, but it was cool to watch him drink it down with such enthusiasm from a bottle. They added a powdered form of calories to his feeds to in order to help with his calorie intake and beefing him up.
It was always such a sad feeling for me that here I was after aaaall these years of dreaming of a child and nursing my sons, I was forever attached to a pump and no baby in my house. Just the sound of that blasted pump and my dogs staring at me. But I've never been more dedicated to something so opposite of what I dreamed of. It was never how I imagined things. And that part will always feel a bit sad to me. EXCEPT I was VERY lucky to be able to produce milk for Evan for so long until he weaned himself!! Lots of NICU mommies don't get the opportunity to ever nurse their baby for various reasons. So even though I never dreamed things this way, I felt very fortunate.
THEN later that day when I returned after having some lunch I was standing there by Evan's isolette staring at him and his nurse finally said to me "don't you notice anything different Heather?" OOOOOHHHHH MY GOODNESS!!!! HOW could I have not noticed??!! Evan was in a SLEEPER for the first time in 44 days!!!!!!!!!!!! My son was finally CLOTHED!!!!
His nurse just laughed at me!! But I was just so intent on looking at his precious face that I didn't even realize! Aaaaand, truth be told...I was THAT exhausted! 44 days of running on empty and worry and grief and joy and ups and downs and infection from my c-section...on and on.
AAAAAND his isolette temperature was lowered a bit more that day too!!!! All the steps to working towards him being able to go to an open basinette! So many steps to get to that day. But being able to hold his own body temperature without the assistance of the heat from the isolette meant he was that much closer!!
From the beginning I started a journal of each day specifically for Evan. I would write about the events, and the milestones and the set backs. I would share my heart with him and just tell him how much I love him. On that day, this was my entry...
"Mon. Apr. 20/09
OH WOW EVAN, did you ever have a big day! I went for rounds early and hung out with you. Then got called in when it was your turn. Your nurse Chrystal said SHE GAVE YOU A BOTTLE at 9am, and you did GREAT!! Drank 17 of the 25mls! I got very teary and my mouth dropped! I was SO happy! Then after lunch I got back and when I saw you, you were in a SLEEPER!!! I just about fell over I was so thrilled! Your isolette temp is at 29.4 degrees. Then I got to give you a bottle at 3pm. You took 10mls before falling to sleep so we gavaged the rest again.
Now dad and I are heading up to see you! Daddy gave you your bottle tonight! It was fun to watch!"
I am so glad I did that journal. But that's me...I love to write and journal. And I hope one day Evan will have fun reading through the start of his life. I imagine it could be tough to read, but I hope that he will see the same thing we saw every day...a miracle.
Anyhow, I just wanted to share this with you all. My heart is just full of awe and wonder all over again thinking back to that day! Wow.
On another note...PLEASE keep praying that the right person/family will come along and that our house will SELL SELL SELL. It is getting a bit stressful for me!! Fingers crossed!!
And keep praying for my mom. She is on the mend, but still feeling weak and tired.
Thanks everyone.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Worst birthday card message EVER!!!!!!! :(

So, today is my husband's birthday. Yes, we are 3 days apart. Which is kind of fun! But earlier Evan and I went card shopping and as I was looking through cards for a dad, I pulled one out and started to read and something inside me was yelling STOP, DON'T READ THIS ONE!!!! And I should have listened. The outside said "Count your blessings dad... and the inside read the WORST most HORRID message I could have EVER read!!!! The inside said "I could have been twins". Even typing that out gives me the very same feeling I felt as I read that card. I stood there frozen. I could feel my body go weak and ice cold. I could feel myself wanted to rip the card to shreds and run out of the store with Evan and just scream. Instead, I felt myself die a little more inside. I felt myself wanting to track down the "writer" of this "card" and say...did you ever consider the hurting person who has LOST a twin?? I know I know...to that person this message was "cute" and "funny" and meant to be enjoyed. I found it offensive, thoughtless and brutally painful. I don't care who thinks I'm being over sensitive about this. Whatever, think what you want. But to me...a person whose twin son died in her arms...this card should be burned. I'm livid, I'm frozen, I'm broken all over again by reading that. And WHY would I have to be the one to pull out that STUPID card????? Why would I have to pull out the very card that would break my heart to a million MORE pieces?? Why, when I was looking for a sweet loving card from Evan to his daddy would I pull out a card that reminded me that Evan in a twin-less brother, and Brett is a twin-less daddy, and I am a twin-less mommy?? So for this year, Evan's name beside mine on my card to Brett will suffice. STUPID, DUMB, THOUGHTLESS, CARELESS, INSENSITIVE card writer...who ever you are...THINK NEXT TIME YOU THINK YOUR CARD WOULDN'T DEVASTATE A HUMAN HEART!! There is being cute and sarcastic cute...but how would it be a blessing not to be a twin. I guess to the singleton parent...maybe. But to parents who lost three of their four twins...this was not cute. OK OK, I can just feel my blood boiling now, so I'm going to stop now and try to walk away and forget I ever read this horrid, evil card. Here's a prayer request. It isn't for me. It's for my mom. She has the flu and is really wiped out. Could you (whoever you are) pray that she will begin to feel restored and healthy and that this bug will leave her system completely. And pray that my dad would be spared this bug also. Thanks. On that note, I'm going to sign off. I had TWO realtors show up unexpectedly today and my house was slightly disorganized. I was a bit choked by the one this afternoon because I had JUST put Evan down for his nap and he was barely asleep when the realtor when to the lockbox on our garage door and created a huge bark-fest from my dogs...resulting in Evan waking up crying and taking me an extra hour to get him back to sleep. This is so hard on Evan. Part of me wishes we could just move to the new house now and the realtors could show up at my house whenever they want. But with Evan and with living here...I NEED at LEAST a half days notice for a viewing! It's so unfair to Evan to have to constantly be uprooted and thrown off his routine. Yet I want to be accomodating because we NEEEEEEED to sell our house!!!!! So I had this second group leave for a bit and come back so I could FLY through my house and re-tidy it and make my bed and clean up bottles while trying to get Evan back to sleep! Yoiks! OH WELL!!! As long as it sells the house! Well, I'm off to catch up on some laundry.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This and that

Me and Evan on my birthday last year!!
Where do I begin! I've not been able to post as much as usual now that our house in on the market and I'm forever being kicked out at moments notice! If it were just me and the dogs it would be okay, but poor Evan is just being thrown for a loop every day!!! And of course people want to come see the house during his nap times...so we've basically been living over at my parents place! Thank heavens Evan has a routine over there and will eat and sleep with ease. So that's good. Plus my dogs have been in heaven getting to enjoy play time with my parents dog and enjoying the yard and the sun. I'm sooooooooooooo glad that the weather has become beautiful once again so that my dogs can be outside more. Makes it some what "easier" to keep the house tidy. My house has never been more maticulous for consecutive days!! I'm embarassed to admit that! But usually there are toys strung from one end to the other, dog pillows at my front window, and dishes on the counter. BUT, my house has been looking wonderful!
My mom came and helped "stage" a few of our rooms...and WOW...THIS is how it should have always looked! But with two dogs that sleep with us on occassion (yes...we let our boxers sneak up during the night because we are too tired to push them off) I've never dared brave having white bedding. But man does it look sharp!!! I love it!!
Right now my dogs are crashed on their pillows on the deck basking in the glorious sun...which really, I should be grabbing the same opportunity...but I wanted to update the ol' blog!
So yes, the week has been busy. We started the week with one of Evan's physio appointments, which this time also included his OT that he hasn't seen for a couple of months as well as the pediatrician through this program. Things are good, and the pediatrician is MORE than happy with Evan's development, growth charts, weight, health. So that was good. I can't remember if I updated this in the last post, so for now I won't go in to detail. Bottom line...Evan is doing really really well, and we are thrilled.
It can still get tiring not being able to just enjoy watching him as any other regular child without having to listen to all the textbook jargon and textbook milestones. I appreciate the program, and understand this is for Evan's good...and I'm MORE than happy to oblige. BUT, the "sad" part of me just gets down time to time realizing nothing will ever be "normal". Although...it's getting there. On a day to day basis when Evan and I are doing our thing...it feels normal! So that has been a great feeling! I've even stopped obsessing over weights and things that once used to drive me to panic and fear. He is doing awesome...and I have to trust him and myself.
Last post I had mentioned about meeting with a company for a quote on my blinds. We got on the topic of children, and she asked about Evan and I got to share Evan and Zac's story.
It feels SO good to me to be able to do that. To be able to include Zac in our birth story, regardless of how painful the ending. It means the world to me that people just listen and don't offer any "at least your Evan is doing well". They just listen, usually say "I'm so sorry" and just leave it at that. When we met with our realtor his brother had come with him and once again I was able to share about Evan AND Zac...and the one realtor seemed genuinely moved and so happy for seeing Evan for himself after hearing the story. And that meant a lot to me.
In all the hustle of preparing this house to sell, all the viewings, the packing, the cleaning, the moving boxes to the new house and cleaning up the new house to move in...I realize how busy life has become and how quickly days fly by and how life is just plowing ahead...yet a part of me can't leave March 9, 2009. Part of me will never be able to leave that day. Not that I'm "stuck"...just that this particular day will always feel frozen in my mind. Holding my first born son whom we dreamt of for almost 10 years as he took his final breaths in my arms. How could a mother NOT feel a part of her frozen in that day. A part of her that passed away with her child. It is such a sureal realization and such a dream-like reality. Some days it just feels too complex to comprehend.
It was my birthday on the 16th. I was too busy to care, and almost forgot my own birthday had it not been for my sweet hubby and family! I just didn't care that it was my birthday. To me, it's just another day. But now as a parent, I realize how special that day is to MY own mom and dad. Especially after losing their twin daughters. And I realized that even though I wasn't up to celebrating the day...I know my parents were rejoicing for the life of their own daughter! And I couldn't love them more! I love you guys!
But I started to think back one year ago to my 34th birthday. I sat by Evan's isolette as usual from morning to night, only leaving during rounds and shift change. There was no place else I wanted to be. I spent my birthday in the NICU as I did every day since Zac and Evan's birth, listening to all the beeps, bings, dings and occasional chaos around us. I sat there thanking God for the best birthday present ever...our sons. Thanking Him for the opportunity to be a mom to our not just our twins in heaven, but to our Zac in heaven now also and to Evan right in front of my eyes. Even though I was so angry at God...how could I not still thank Him?
Yet fear still held my heart because I still had no idea if Evan would make it through NICU relatively unscaved or at all. We knew he was doing well...but he still wasn't even a term baby at this point. He was still based on gestational weeks, even though he was already over a month old. I was still no where near my due date...yet I had been watching my son for weeks already outside of me.
What a precious gift and miracle our boys are. What a precious gift and miracle it is to have Evan home with us! I feel humbled and honored, yet unworthy all wrapped up in to one.
It's crazy to remember Evan one year ago, and now watching him trying to figure out how to shuffle along with furniture that he loves to push around. Watching him cruise up stairs now (yes, he has mastered climbing stairs!!). It blows my mind. Yet I see every day the same determination I saw in him each day in NICU. He has always been a determined little guy who has always known what he wants! He makes me smile and lights up my life in ways I never knew possible.
Yesterday my mom had Evan and my nephew Mason. When I finished errands I went back and it was so fun to watch these guys playing and interacting. But for the first time in a long time...my heart suddenly felt so overwhelmed with that ever-familiar sorrow. Now that Mason is crawling and pulling up on things he is on similar grounds as Evan, and to watch these two crawling around and playing...it made me miss Zac so so so much. I always miss Zac, but there are days now where I can smile more thinking about him than crying...but yesterday took everything in me not to fall to pieces. I found myself wondering what it would have been like to watch my sons playing together and interacting together and screaming at each other. And in an instant...it was back...the bitter reality that I will never know that wonder of seeing my sons together. I will never have that feeling of a little extra pride pushing my twin stroller down the street, or having people "ooooh" and "aaaaah" over both my sons and continue telling me "doubly blessed".
Don't get me wrong...people still "ooooh" and "aaaah" over Evan...and how could they not!!! My son is quite the charmer!!!! :) This morning we went to Broadway Cafe for breakfast and Evan decided to start flirting with an older lady at the table next to us...and it was HILARIOUS!!! He had SUCH the flirt on, and such the grin and giggles!!! It was priceless! Then we walked across the street to Starbucks so I could get my serious coffee (in love with quad grande Americano's now!), and Evan was trying to grab the girl in front of us. I let him touch her arm and he got all shy and flirty again, but then the shy was all gone and he kept trying to "pet" her arm! She was a good sport and her boyfriend was funny too! He said to Evan "hey little guy...she's taken!" and Evan got the giggles! Oooooooh boy, I'm in trouble!! I have a little flirt on my hands who likes older women!!!
I'm glad our open house isn't until 2pm this afternoon and only to 4pm!! Evan has been able to go down for his morning nap, but I fear that we will have to make him miss his afternoon nap!! :( That makes me sad, especially since he didn't have a nap yesterday afternoon. HOWEVER, he had a really good sleep lastnight, so that was good! (thank you Danielle for the prayers last night!! They worked!!)
But I hope that we will get to enjoy the AMAZING weather anyhow! Evan LOVES going for walks regardless of how tired he may be, so we might just head down by the river and stroll. And it will be a good workout for me!!
Well, I suppose I should go and get a couple things re-straightened before Evan wakes up! I reeeeeeally hope he has a really good nap!! So far so good!
CROSS YOUR FINGERS THAT WE GET A BITE ON OUR HOUSE FROM TODAY'S OPEN HOUSE!!!!! There has been good feedback, but no offers yet. I know it JUST listed and today is our first open house...but we REALLY need it to sell quickly!!!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Busy and Exhausted

Yesterday we spent literally all day racing to get our house organized for today. Today realtors were allowed to come through the house and get an idea of what they were seeing. I packed Evan up and took him to my parents for the night (I followed muuuuch later on!) so that he could get a good sleep and be out of the paint fumes. Brett and I were up until 2am this morning finishing cleaning and getting the place organized. And then I headed over to my parents too...I just can't be away from Evan yet! Not yet. Too many nights apart already...66 to be exact!! But, the house got organized and I got 4 hours of sleep. When I got up I felt sick to my stomach...but had to get right back at it. I had to meet with someone at the new house to go through more blind samples, and then I spent 3 hours cleaning THAT house too...and only got a fraction done. You'd think everything brand new would be "easy" to clean...no way! Covered in saw dust, drywall dust, dirt...ya, not fun. And then I went and did some work at hubby's office. Needless to say...I'm DONE. I'm beyond exhuasted and in need of a shower!!! Evan is sound asleep, so I think I will soon jump in the shower and then in to bed. I still have more fine cleaning to do in our current house as there will be an open house on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Fun fun. I hope this place sells fast...although there is still lots that needs to be done in the new house to make me feel comfortable enough to be living in there, even with what I know won't be done. Anyhow...on to other things. Yesterday Evan had his appointment with his physio and OT, and also had a check up with one of the doctors through this program. He is doing great with all his milestones. Just have to start back with the hamstring stretches. The doctor was really pleased with his weight and height and all his developments. She was more than happy. I was more than annoyed because Evan sees three different doctors (with this one included) and everyone weighs him differently. My doctors office no longer undresses him, where this place does. So of course there is a weight difference. For some reason it just really annoyed me yesterday, and I found myself totally disengaging. I KNOW they are awesome and doing their jobs and are trained to find things in short visits...but what bugs me is that they watch him for about 10-15 minutes and then judge where things are at...and even though he was right on target with no concerns...for some reason it just really bothered me all the sudden. How can they properly tell about his personality and what he does at home throughout the day in their 10-15 minute assessment of him? I'm speaking more of the pt and ot. PLUS...his appointment was EXACTLY at his nap time and he was EXHAUSTED so of course he isn't going to want to "engage" with one specific toy for a long period of time. Ugh...why did it bug me so much?? Maybe because I just want Evan to get to be a CHILD already!!!!! No judging, no eagle eye watching, no stressing, no assessing. Just let him be a kid! Kay...I know my attitude is because I was just so tired, and when I'm that tired I get very emotional. Plus...I was really missing Zac too. I've been overwhelmed with other peoples good news on the term pregnancy and deliveries of their twins, and have really come to realize that 4 out of 4 of friends of mine have all delivered safely and gotten to take home BOTH their babies. And I'm just feeling like I'm going through the "jealous"/"angry" stage of grief all over again. I am beyond over the moon with Evan...and his life holds SUCH a story and blessings of miracles. Yet...there will always be "the other side" of what I have to sort through by myself. It is easier when I don't have to face shows, movies, magazine ads...whatever the case may be...that doesn't involve twins or multiples in general. I know that sounds just horrid...but it's the bitter reality of a mother who has LOST one of her twins. I will always live with wondering what I did, why I couldn't have protected both my sons, and wondering why we didn't deserve to bring Zac home. I KNOW Zac's life touched many people, and I hope his short life still does...but I wish there could have been more. I wish I could be updating on BOTH my sons. I wish I could be sharing about how tired I am trying to feed both my babies, hold both my babies, pack both my babies up in their carseats, chase after both my sons, listen to both my sons jabber away to each other. Don't get me wrong...I am happy for my friends. So very happy. My loss and my agony has nothing to do with them and I don't mean to project it on to their fortune. It's just that is really makes me face my reality...and my reality hurts more than I can breath some days...well, every day! But I think these people are so lucky, and so fortunate...and I truly am genuinely happy for them. And then another thought came to my mind the other day. Smiling. Yup...smiles is what I was suddenly wondering about. I have come to realize that I have mastered the fine art of smiling. I've always been one to feel it is polite to smile...even if it's just someone you are passing while walking down the street. I always thought how maybe MY smile could brighten someone elses day...and who knows what they are going through or hurting through. And wouldn't it be wonderful if MY smile made them think that maybe today was worth it after all. I was thinking about this because the other day I was out running errands, and I was just busy and overwhelmed and tired and sad...and I just didn't feel like smiling. And then a complete stranger smiled at me with true warmth in their smile and I thought "maybe I can get through today after all". I've learned that a person can flash a smile out of kindness without actually feeling the true joy behind the smile. And often in these past months I have become that person. A person who smiles out of habit and tries to pretend like everything in perfect and that there is no hurt in my heart. I've learned how easy it is to mask your true feelings with a smile. And how it can avert someone from asking "are you okay?" I've also come to realize that the question "are you okay" seems like it is laden with fear that the person who is being asked might actually tell them the truth of how they are doing. I've learned that "how are you doing?" has become a polite question without the desire to truly bare what the receiver of this question might actually have to say. I've learned this because I don't often get asked this question any more. And some times I wonder if it's because people are afraid I will tell them the truth, or if they just actually believe that I'm "okay". And I am okay...don't get me wrong. I'm okay. I'm not perfect, I'm not all "fixed" up, I haven't stopped shedding tears. But it's okay to ask how I'm doing. I might react with a bit of a tear welling up in my eye while I answer, but chances are I will give the "I'm okay" response. To be honest...I don't know how many people really do want to know how I'm doing. And that's okay. I know my life holds a burden more than most can understand. But some times it would be nice to have a friend just ask me "how are you doing today? I truly want to know." OK, I must be tired, because even I think I'm sounding pathetic. I guess I just feel kinda lost right now. On the side where my sweet Evan is concerned...I couldn't be happier! My heart overflows. I find even on days like today where I have to be focused on one or the other of my houses and I am away from Evan for the day...it kills me. It literally feels like a piece of me is missing...and it is. But at least with Evan I know I get to go and scoop him in my arms when I'm done my tasks. I know I will get to feel him snuggle in to me and wrap his arms around me. And I cherish that so very much. We have been having so much fun together the busier he gets. We chase each other around the house...more like me chasing him all over the house! And when the weather WAS beautiful I felt so rejuvinated and we had so much fun going on our walks. I find myself getting excited for the summer and all our adventures. He is truly a miracle. A true blessing in every sense of the word. Both of my boys are blessings and miracles. Forever and ever. Well, I'm getting really tired here, and still want that shower and to get in to bed before 10pm...so I better go. I don't know if I've made any sense at all tonight, or if this was to even make any sense regardless. I guess I just needed to ramble today. There is so much going on in my mind these days and I'm finding it hard to get it out of me. There may be a few days where there aren't posts as faithfully as I would like, but with trying to sell our house and get the new one finished...I'll do my best!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I talked to my awesome doctor. She spoke to Evan's neonatologist doc and he explained that Evan was hemodynamically stable in NICU and did not require the echo. My doc truly believes this is a Still's murmur that is common in soooooooo many children, but because of Evan's history and his special life she would rather be over-cautious than not cautious enough. I thanked her for caring for me and my son as much as she does. And now I am at peace about the echo. Of course, I still get tugged to the darker side of my thoughts, and how could I not with everything...but I will continue to believe that Evan is fine. He has been referred to the pediatric cardiologist, but apparently there is a huuuuuge waiting list, so he probably won't even get in for a few months. So no point in stressing it for that long! On another note, today we met with a realtor...and our house is going on the market on Monday, and they figure we will probably start to get traffic right away. There is reason to believe our house could possibly be sold within a few weeks. Which is the hope...yet WOW...do we have a TON to suddenly REALLY be serious about with getting packed and moved to the new house. There will be many things still unfinished in the new house, but it's all liveable and things that will be completed quickly. So, we have been going like mad all day today, and my body is aching beyond belief. I came to bed as soon as Evan went down, and now I'm going to shut down my computer and try to get some sleep!! My allergies are killing me from doing some sweeping in our new house basement. Ugh! So, lots on our plates. And I have a morning of appointments with Evan on Monday! Yoiks! Anyhow, just wanted to update about Evan's echo...but still please continue to pray for him, for the echo, and his health in general. Thanks everyone!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Prayer request for Evan...because I'm all out of words

Enjoying a wonderful day yesterday in the sun down by the river!! Self portraits are so fun!
Climbing boxes under the table
Evan's first visit to the weir on our walk by the river yesterday. SOOOO beautiful!!
Evan in his new big boy car seat!!!! LOVES seeing the world whipping by!! And I get a kick out of getting to see his face now!
So at Evan's last couple wellness checks at my doctors she has heard his heart murmur, but was surprised that he never had an echocardiogram while in NICU. He had this murmur throughout his 66 days in NICU and apparently it wasn't of concern not to do the echo. It was always termed an inncocent murmur because it would come and go.
My doc wants to follow up and have the echo done just to cover all the bases. I appreciate that, yet the other part of me just is SO TIRED of feeling like nothing will ever be normal.
I know most murmurs are innocent and nothing comes of them. My brothers and I were born with murmurs. I'm the only one that has Mitral Valve Regurgetation...but it's not a daily concern. So I KNOW that it could very well be nothing for Evan...but I don't know if I trust being able to say "I'm sure it's nothing" or "I'm sure everything will be okay"...because whenever I say that...the floor falls out from under me.
I found myself thinking yesterday, when will I get to stop living a Job life and finally be able to enjoy the life I have been given? When will we ever feel "safe" and "sure"? WILL we ever feel safe and sure? And especially knowing that with preemies (especially with how early Zac and Evan were) things often creep up over time. So that is always looming over my head.
Up to today I've lived in a relatively niave world believing that nothing will ever creep up on Evan...but am I just setting myself up for a fall? I don't know anymore. Not that I'll live every day with wondering "what could happen today". It's just hard to be faced with things that you think you are "free" of.
I know my doctor said not to worry and that she is just doing this as procedure...but WHY do it if there really wasn't anything to worry about? Or maybe "worry" is the wrong word. Maybe "concern" or "ruling out". I don't know. I don't know anything any more.
My problem is...I have no idea how to pray anymore. With all the years of our unexplained infertility, with our first loss of our twins, then with all that happened with Zac and Evan...I just really don't know how to pray anymore. I almost feel too afraid to pray some days because I'm scared that I will feel like an idiot in the end if things don't work out as I had "believed" or "claimed". And then this sets me up to sound like I have no faith, which could lead to why things don't get answered the way I prayed, which sets me up to look and feel like a failure in my faith, which makes me angry because I am just so very confused on HOW and WHAT to pray for anymore. I've just gotten to a place where God has it all lined up the way He has planned anyhow, so what's the point of praying for MY desires if it's only going to lead to heartache?
WOW...do I ever sound synical and totally faith-scarred. I don't mean to sound like I DON'T pray...it's just my prayers are so unbelievably shaky and weak because I'm still so broken.
So this is why I'm asking those whose prayer life and faith are a bit more strong than mine right now to just lift Evan up in prayer and bring us some sense of peace once the Echo is done knowing that everything is fine.
But I can't say that I'm sure it will be fine and okay...because I DON'T KNOW THAT!!! NO ONE knows that!!! So please don't say it to me. Just say you'll pray.
On a different, more up-beat note...
Evan and I had such a great afternoon yesterday! I had to run an errand downtown, and Starbucks was right across the street and I hadn't had my daily coffee dose yet, so I got a coffee and then Evan and I packed up again and drove and parked down by the river and went on a nice long walk in the sunny afternoon. Evan saw his first Canadian Geese and the weir and the river. It was so fun, and he had such a good time. He LOOOOOOOVES going for walks...which is definitely beneficial to me!!
But by the time we got home it was already time for him to eat. And so he missed his afternoon nap. Oooops! But at least he was in good spirits. He ate, played for a while and then went to bed early. Ya, that meant one early rising bottle, but then back to sleep until 7 this morning. Which after our last couple nights, this was a treat for me!
Anyhow, I better sign off. Evan is at the tail end of his nap and then will be ready to eat. And then I hope to pack him up and walk over to the bank and Starbucks (of course) to treat myself to a Quad Grande Americano. YUMMMMMM!!!!
Thanks for reading, thanks for caring, and thanks for praying!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

In these moments...

So Evan is now out of his infant bucket car seat and in to a toddler seat forward facing. He is quite proud of himself indeed! Yesterday we made a trip out to Costco to snatch up some new pj's for Evan and see what they might have for some summer clothes (not much at all I sadly say!). We had a fun mommy-son outing. On the way home I had my Selah CD playing and Evan was busy humming loudly along. I love that my son loves music. I like to think that I had/have something to do with that since I played music for my babies since the day they were transferred back to my uterus! Music is a part of us. I looked at Evan in my rearview mirror as he was jabbering and yelling away and I had to laugh because it was quite the sight. But once again...I was blindsided by the pain of who was missing by his side. The empty spot beside him where Zac's carseat should be. The quietness from that seat where additional jabbering and shouting should be coming from. And in a heartbeat...the tears just welled up in my eyes and the pain hit my heart so hard. I looked at Evan and felt overwhelmed with gratitude to finally be seeing OUR CHILD after 10 long years of pain, heart ache and loss. I was overflowing with love at the sight, and my ears rang sweetly with the screaming coming from Evan in his excitement. But the pain also hit. It will always hit. It's going to happen because it is reality. It's going to happen, because a piece of me is gone from this earth and from my arms. I let my tears fall as I watched to road in front of me. But I also thanked God for the moments with Zac. The gratitude to see his eyes look back at me when he would hear my voice. The love of being able to touch his tiny hand or foot, and to kiss his sweet head. I can never get him back...but I have memories...and as painful as days can be, I can also feel gratitude and love. Later in the afternoon I made a quick trip out to the cemetery just to say hello and have a quiet moment. Brett was home with Evan, so I knew all was well on the home front :) When I got to the cemetery there were three other people there...and it was the mom of twins...Preston did not survive but he has a surviving twin brother and other siblings. And Preston's Grandma and Grandpa were there too. As I sat quietly at Zac's site I could hear Preston's Grandpa telling him how much he misses him and loves him, and then hearing them all say how they would be back tomorrow (today) to visit with him. And again...the tears began to flow as I sat alone (don't get me wrong...I don't say "alone" in a downer way...I go often at my own desire and choosing!) by Zac's grave. It just touched my heart that after 4 years of Preston's passing...his family still makes him such a valid and treasured place in their lives still...if only by dressing up his gravesite and visiting and remembering him. My heart overflowed for them. Especially understanding the special bond of losing one twin. I wanted to introduce myself and share about Zac and Evan...but I just couldn't. I just sat. After they left I went to my car and turned on my Selah CD again to hear "God Be With You" and "I Will Carry You" once more. Those two songs have become so soothing to listen to while at the cemetery. And again...the lyrics washed over me and as hard as it is to listen to them with knowing WHY I'm listening to them...they soothed my heart. I was able to leave the cemetery feeling a bit more revived and just that tiiiiiiniest bit more strong. I always feel like I've been a part of Zac for that time at the cemetery. It doesn't have to be only a sad place. Of course naturally it IS sad...but I'm finding it helpful too! This is my healing process. When we lost Jack and Ethan in '07, looking in my rearview mirror killed me. The 100% emptiness that losing them left me. But even though that spot beside Evan remains physically empty...Zac is always there beside him, and always with me. On this Easter weekend, I think of my many hurting friends through each of their specific and personal situations...and I lift you in prayer. "God be with you till we meet again..."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thoughts during Easter...

My crazy little man trying to attack the camera while shouting at the top of his lungs!
Forever standing!!
I adore this picture!! While I was taking it my heart stopped, and melted. One thing I will always regret is that I never got to see my boys side by side after they were born. They never even got to be beside each other in the same NICU bay. Not even in the same bay. I'm always "haunted" by that regret and sadness of never getting that moment.
But in this picture...I see something that I never got to see. In the reflection of Evan...I see a glimpse of what I never got...a reflection of my boys together.
I love this picture.
It was time to take down the Christmas wreath and decorations at Zac's grave. So it was time to add some Easter cheer. It's strange how doing little things like this allow me a bit of healing each time. It's no longer ONLY sorrow I feel while I'm there...but I feel like I'm able to continue doing something for Zac as well. It has become HEALING, and I can even smile as I tidy up and continue to include our son in the holidays.
I was given a quote today and it just touched my heart. I have to add it to follow this final picture. "He who has not looked on the Great Sorrow will never see the Great Joy." - Gibran
Evan just makes me laugh so much! Thank goodness for that!! He just gets more and more goofy every day. This morning as I was getting him ready for Brett to take him for a visit with Grandma and Grandpa J, I was changing Evan's diaper and he let out the SHRILLEST, most glass breaking scream ever!!! He has NEVER done that before!!!! Ya...my 28 weeker baby boy's lungs don't seem to have been affected by his very early arrival!!! This morning prooved that for sure!! My ears were seriously ringing!! I couldn't stop laughing. Even now it's hard not to laugh about it!
Brett, Evan and I went for supper last night. To Moxies. Brett and I used to be the ones who would smirk as others children screamed and fussed at the table...well guess what...it's true...don't do that because it will happen to you! Evan was just DONE and was yelling and fighting to get free. I had to "shhh" him a few times! Yet, once again, I couldn't stop laughing. I just wanted to shout "I've waited 10 years for this, and have lost three children in the process...I am letting my boy yell if he wants to because it's music to my ears!"
However...to be polite, and to teach Evan manners...I shhhh'ed him.
Yesterday I had a few errands to run so while Evan hung with Grandma Mac I went and got my things done.
I went out to the cemetery as well. It was time to take down Zac's Christmas wreath and decorations. I had prepared an Easter basket to put in the wreaths place. Inside it held an Easter bunny, a matching tiny brown bunny that Evan has too, and butterflies all around.
I had also found a beautiful wire edging decoration that I HAD to include. It holds two butterflies on it. It was perfect.
I noticed though that there was a little bunny puppet at Zac's headstone. It confused me because I have no idea where it came from. But then I looked around and saw three other ones...and I knew. I knew where it came from. It came from Sadie's family. The grandma of Sadie that I met a few weeks ago while visiting Zac's grave through our one year markers and she and I shared stories and tears together.
When I realized that this is where this puppet came from...the tears just started flowing. Tears of pure gratitude and love for this woman. I was beyond touched that a complete stranger would show rememberance and such love for my son and for our family! My heart over flowed.
Yesterday wasn't about going and being sad and wishing for things that can never be. Yesterday was about continuing to include my son in holidays and in our family moments. I don't do these things to stay imprisoned in the past...I do them to be able to move ahead. Not forgetting, but also not pretending. Yesterday I sat and looked at Zac's grave marker and didn't look at it as a symbol of Zac's death...I looked at it as a reminder of his LIFE, and life he now LIVES.
Yes, a grave symbolizes that a life has ended on this earth, but it doesn't have to mean that life has ended forever. And I know that. I know that because of this weekend, and what Easter is about and because of the cross. Death does not mean defeat...death only takes a person away from this broken world to a life of what God always intended. And that is what I have to focus on. Because of the cross, because God bore our sins, because of God's death, because he rose again, because we have been given a choice...I know I will be reunited. Not only with my sons, but with my family and friends who believed what God freely offered us, believed in Him, and carried Him in their hearts. I will be reunited with each of them.
How such a simple act of me saying "yes, come in to my life, and live in my heart", I am given eternity.
Ya...the road here on this earth is so very full of trials, temptations, sin, disappointment, pain, death...but through the darkest of days...there is hope, light, forgiveness, redemption...and LIFE.
While I was visiting Zac's grave, I let the music play in my car and unrolled the window so I could hear the words in the quiet of the cemetery. I was listening to Selah's newest CD called "You Deliver Me". There were a few songs that brought tears streaming down my face. I've always been moved most by music and lyrics. I want to share two of the songs that really moved me.
The first one is called "Beautiful Terrible Cross"
There is a beautiful terrible cross / Where tho you commited no sin / Saviour you suffer the most wicked fate / On the cruelest creation of men / Yet on that beautiful terrible cross / You did what only You could / Turning that dark inspired evil of hell / Into our souls greatest good / We see the love that you showed us / We see the life that you lost / We bow wonder and praise You / at the beautiful terrible cross
There on that beautiful terrible cross / Tho darkness was strong on that hill / You remain Soveriegn Lord still in control / Your perfect plan was fulfilled / We see the love that you showed us / We see the life that you lost / We blow in wonder and praise you / for the beautiful terrible cross
We gain the riches of heaven / Jesus you paid the horrible cost / We stand forgiven and praise You / For the beautiful terrible cross
The other song is called "God Be With You"
God be with you till we meet again; By His counsels guide, uphold you, With His sheep securely fold you; God be with you till we meet again /
Till we meet, till we meet, Till we meet at Jesus' feet; Till we meet, till we meet, God be with you till we meet again. /
God be with you till we meet again; Neath His wings protecting hide you; Daily manna still provide you; God be will you till we meet again. /
God be with you till we meet again; With the oil of joy anoit you; Sacred ministries apoint you; God be with you till we meet again. /
God be with you till we meet again; When life's perils thick confound you; Put His arms unfailing round you; God be with you till we meet again /
God be with you till we meet again; Of His promises remind you; For life's upper garner bind you; God be with you till we meet again. /
God be with you till we meet again; Sicknesses and sorrows taking, Never leaving or forsaking; God be with you till we meet again. /
God be with you till we meet again; Keep love's banner floating o'er you, Strike death's threatening wave before you; God be with you till we meeet again. /
God be with you till we meet again; Ended when for you earth's story, Israel's chariot sweep to glory; God be with you till we meet again. /
Till we meet, till we meet, Till we meet ag Jesus' feet; Till we meet, till we meet, God be with you till we meet again.
These songs just echoed through the quiet of the stillness of the cemetery...but it was beautiful. It wasn't just being in a place where death surrounds you...it was being in a place where you are reminded that with God...life doesn't end here.
Even though the pain of being apart from loved ones on this earth hurts more than one can bare...there is faith in life eternal. And for that reason...I can't turn away from God in my pain of losing my children. I can't live in the questions of "why", and what I will never understand here on earth. I can't live in regrets and can't live in the pain of what I couldn't "fix" or "control".
I CAN live in today and tomorrow. In the faith and knowledge knowing that I will be joined once more with so many I love. With my Jack and Ethan who I never got to know beyond 12 weeks and one ultra sound picture, with my Zac who I have precious 28 weeks with and many ultra sound pictures and feeling him with his brother and getting to be with him for three short precious days. I will be with cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, SISTERS (I will finally get to meet my twin sisters Catherine and Michelle!).
Death hasn't defeated me...because God lives. Death won't destroy me...because my children live.
I live in the moments of joy now with Evan and Brett. I hold Zac forever in my heart, and will continue to make him a part of our days. But I know he lives!!
Blessings to you all hurting through this Easter holiday. As we all hold questions of why, I pray for peace for each of us. As we all miss children and loved ones passed...I pray that we will hold fast to the truth that we will meet again!