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

Thursday, May 20, 2010


The storm clouds outside my house this afternoon.
Some days I don't know what to say. Some days I feel like I repeat my emotions and feelings over and over again. Some days I wonder who cares. Some days I wonder if I'll ever be 100% okay with things around me. Some days I wonder about many many things.
Today is one of those days.
I'm sitting on my front step watching storm clouds rolling in, and can hear the faint roll of thunder. And some days...that is how I feel. Watching things hitting me and hearing the beating of emotions creeping up on me.
The only difference is that I LIKE thunder storms, lightening, rainy days. I really do. I'm one who would LOVE to go on a day of storm chasing with the professionals!
So why can't I appreciate the storms that hit me in life? Ummmm...maybe because I've never been struck by lightening or caught in a tornado, so I have NO IDEA what that would be like...yet...I know how painful the life storms can be...and are.
Ya sure, they help us become who we are. Ya sure, we have the choice on how we are going to react and survive the life storm. But what happens when one is so tired they just don't know how they could face another one?
Yet...like last night...once in a while...the storm creates the most beautiful after-effect...a gorgeous rainbow. To which we look to as a rememberance of God's promises to us.
Some times it's hard to remember the rainbows! Until we see them.
And last night, in the sky...there were two. And it was just what I needed to see. I needed a double-reminder of God's promises.
Not promises that I won't ever hurt, or that life is only going to be easy from this point on...but that He will always be here to hold me up when I do not have the strength.
I miss my Zac. I miss everything that we lost. Yet, I love every second with my sweet Evan. Through the storm of losing Zac...my rainbow shone...my Evan.
Yesterday while I was giving Evan a bottle, a baby chickadee flew in to my front window and fell in to a bush of mine that is covered in thorns. Beautiful shrub when in bloom...but also very painful when poked by the thorns! This poor little thing was so stunned and right in the heart of the thorns. So I got Evan to watch me out the front window while I went out to try help this poor little bird. I carefully pulled back one of the main branches and was able to stick my finger under the little birds tummy and it just climbed right on to the palm of my hand and just sat there. I just prayed that this little thing wouldn't die in my hands...I don't think I could have handled that.
Then I heard Evan banging on the front door and yelling "mamma", so I tucked the little bird in to the fold of my tshirt and opened the door so Evan could climb out on to the front landing. I wondered what I was going to do with this little thing, and wondered where its mamma was. But fortunately this sweet little birdie flew in to one of my cedars and sat perched until it had regained its courage to fly off.
Sometimes that's how I feel. And after I've colided in to the reality of my waves of struggles I sit there stunned and winded waiting to gain my courage to collect myself up and carry on.
It reminded me of something that happened a few years ago. It was an early summer morning and the dogs were outside and we were hanging out and all the sudden I could hear this horrid comotion going on. I ran to the window and noticed my dogs looking at something on the ground with two VERY ANGRY robins bomb-diving them. And then I knew. These poor robins were watching their little baby robin dying on the ground. I don't think my dogs did it...but obviously this poor little thing either fell from a nest, or had a flying lesson that ended very badly.
But watching the mommy and daddy robin attacking my dogs and watching how frantic they were...I burst in to tears. This was the summer after we lost our first twins, Jack and Ethan. So listening to these parent robins, and watching how they were trying to protect their little baby...it broke my heart to the very core. It was how I felt inside after losing my babies...and thinking back to that day...it's how I felt inside when I knew I was going to lose Zac. Frantic. Wanting to bomb-dive anyone in my way. Screeching my pain.
I remember thinking how I couldn't just leave this little bird on my lawn, and I also knew I had to "save" my dogs as they were frozen in their tracks from fear of the parent robins. But I knew they would try to attack me too, sooooo, I tracked down Brett's oversided golf umbrella and off I went to brave the attacks. And my heart broke as I held this little robin. I didn't know what to do or where to put it...but I knew I couldn't just leave it there of the parent robins would not stop their attacks. So I wrapped it up and put it in the garbage bin. It made me so sad to do that. I wanted to put it somewhere so it's mommy and daddy could be with it until they were ready to leave.
It blew my mind to watch birds react in such a human pain way. To see that it's not just humans who react to death like this.
So, the weather got really nasty outside just now. I went and stood in my front lawn and watched the crazy clouds flying around. And then it got a "tad" windy...so I thought I better be a bit safe and watch from my front door...where there was a handle to hold on to!
I get such a kick out of weather like this.
And the thunder was rolling non-stop. I'm glad that Evan managed to sleep through the rumbling.
Yesterday it was thundering for a while too, and he wasn't too sure about it. He'd come racing to me and cling to my leg. So I kept saying to him "that's just Zac banging on his drums for you in heaven! Like how you bang on mommies pots! He's just playing you some music!"
Well, like the post title says...this one is just babble. Nothing really specific.
I guess, through all the storms that life has pounded me with...I am greatful for my rainbows!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

My first Mother's Day with Evan last year in NICU
A visit with Zac on Mother's Day
Mother's Day snuggles with my Evan after a messy supper :)
A very different Mother's Day with Evan after last year in NICU!
I never did post about my Mother's Day this year.
Last year it was spent in NICU with Evan. Not the way I dreamed about it when I learned I was pregnant with twins again. None of it was the way I dreamed. I certainly didn't dream that I would be spending the last two Mother's Day without both my children...well, ALL my children.
But how truly blessed I was...AM...to have had these two Mother's Day with my sweet sweet Evan.
The morning began as the usual routine. Get up, snuggle with Evan, feed him breakfast, get him sorted out and myself.
I had mentioned to my husband the night before that I wanted to go to the cemetery in the morning...alone...to spend some time "with" Zac. How could I make it through Mother's Day without at least sharing a part of the day with my son?!
So, after Evan and Brett were all sorted out, I was off for my visit. And as I drove in to the cemetery I was blown away by the cars and people. And it hit me...this isn't just a day for me to visit my son...it's a day where so many are visiting their mothers!! This isn't just a place where my child has been laid to rest...it's where many people who have been loved, and are missed, are laid to rest. I was touched by the number of people out on this day paying respects to loved mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters...
And it made me sad, too.
Usually when I go to the cemetery it is quiet and no one is around...but that day was a reminder to me that there are many people who hurt for a loved one passed from this earth.
I sat by Zac's grave side. I placed a new item at his name marker. I wrote my usual note to my son. I whispered words of love. I longed to have him in my arms this Mother's Day.
Does it ever start to feel real? Does it ever finally set in that my son will never be in my arms on this earth? Will it ever stop hurting so much that I will never see both my boys outside of me side by side on this earth?
I don't know. I don't see how it would.
I didn't stay too long. We had a brunch to be at over at my parents, so off I went after blowing all my babies kisses to heaven and wishing them all a precious day.
When I got home, I hugged my Evan. I kissed my Evan. I breathed in my Evan. I just didn't want to let him go. And I soaked in all the cuddles I received back from those precious little arms. I remembered the tiny itty bitty baby boy one year ago and our day together in NICU. And I wanted this Mother's Day to hold new precious memories for us. And it did.
We got to my parents for brunch...and the whole time it took every ounce of my being not to fall apart as I watched my son racing around after his cousins and seeing everyone with their children. But for me...I also saw an emptiness. Yes...only to me. Yes...of course I would, and always will. I smiled true blue smiles watching Evan having such a fun time with his cousins, and watching how he interacted...and blown away by how far he has come. I felt so blessed to be witnessing this. I felt honored to be a recognized mommy. Yet...I felt that piece of incomplete. It has nothing to do with Evan or Brett and my undying love for them...it has to do with the truth that 3 of my children are not here...yet, they were physically a part of me. So of course I feel that sense of "incomplete". I also felt unabiding joy and pride and gratitude and love and "WOW". You see...both ends of the spectrum go hand in hand for me. It's my reality.
I'm not "stuck". I'm not becoming what I am focusing on. I am a mother who lives two very separate, yet connected realities. I have love...but I have sorrow. I have joy...but I have sadness. I have smiles...yet I have tears. They are a both of who I am because that is what life has given me. And I am doing my very best with it.
I will not allow my sadness, my sorrow, my tears to overshadow Evan and his life and my love and joy and smiles for him.
But how can a mother who has held her dying child NOT be changed by that experience. That's what I'd like to know.
I am looking forward. I am trying to find renewed hope and faith in the future of our dreams. I know (boy do I know) that the reality is there will be more heart ache. It's hard to have that hope and faith when you have the reality of what could be. But I am TRYING! I WANT to have those back in my life.
Again, don't get me wrong...Evan has restored so much hope and faith. Good grief...how could I not have it when I look my son in the eyes and see the smile on his face when he sees me!? I melt over and over again.
OK...got away there.
So as the day carried on, I felt happy and honored to be a part of this day...OUTSIDE of the NICU and WITH my son in my arms. It was precious...it was a new memory.
Later that evening we went to Brett's sisters for supper, and that was a fun time too! Again, Evan had a riot with his older cousins. He loves being with kids. And it was special to spend time with Brett's family as well.
But the day was precious to me. The day was beautiful. Yes, it was my third Mother's Day without Jack and Ethan, and my second without Zac...but it was my second WITH Evan...and my second as a recognized mommy. And it was special. And my heart overflowed. And felt that little bit more restored.
I am blessed to hold my child. I am honored to hold the title mommy. I am mush because of the love I see in my sons eyes for me. It has been a loooooooong road, and even when Evan came home...it was scary. Even in those early months home...I feared everything. And I feared that I would never be "fixed" enough for Evan.
But you know what...I am! My love for him grows every minute of every day. Every breath I take, every beat of my heart...I ooze love and joy for my son.
Yes, I miss Zac with those same breaths and heart beats...but I can't, nor will I, ever let that take away from my love for Evan. Evan doesn't deserve that...and I could never do that to him. Evan is his own person. Yes, he is one of a set...but he is his own person. And I can't put my sorrow and missing Zac on Evan. That is something I have had to learn to do...and still do.
I don't EVER want to hear Evan ask "would you have wished Zac instead of me?" Wow...even writing that makes tears flow...because I could never, and would never pick between my sons.
Both of my sons are with me always in different ways. Life threw us heart ache...life made us face something we never thought possible...but life can't take me down, and won't pull me away from my Evan and my Brett. I know it's what the enemy wants...but it won't happen. My love for my family...on earth and in heaven...will keep me strong and focused.
Sure, there will always be days of tears and fist shaking at God...but I will also raise hands of thanks and a humble attitude of praise for the blessings I have been given.
I may have one son on earth...but I have an overflowing house full in heaven!
And right now...my Evan...you have my heart! You have my love. You have my pride, my joy...me wrapped around your little pinky! Our journey continues...and it will continue with an ever growing love and a bond no one will break! Thank you for a precious Mother's Day!!!
I love you!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The sale is finalized...the move proceeds!

Wow, on Tuesday the sale of our house became final. And I don't feel anything about it to be honest. Not "excited", not "giddy"...pretty much just feel like I'm going through the motions. Other than the fact I will miss my neighborhood...but whatever...I'll get over it. However...part of me DOES feel odd. Feels like I'm leaving the only home I ever knew Zac. The only place that holds the memories of everything we've been through in the past 10 years with infertility, treatments, IVF, pregnancies, losses...and the sweet sweet blessing of our boys and then bringing Evan home! I feel like leaving here means leaving Zac behind one final time. Ya, lots of people won't "get" that, and will tell me his memory is with me always...and it's very true...he is ALWAYS with me...but...that's just how I'm feeling about it. It's hard to hear "fresh start" or "new beginning"...because it just feels like those concepts disclude my son. Because other than the pictures I will put out of both my boys...this new home will have never "known" him. And I don't WANT to "leave" him "behind". Even though he is already gone. Ugh...how to explain without having people look at me funny or think negative things about me or try to tell me what to do. Sooo, I'll just leave it at this...these are just my feelings. However, when we are over at the new house, I can feel glimmers of hope again. Even though when I look out my kitchen window or bedroom window and see the treeline of the cemetery Zac is at...I want to feel hope. I know I've said this before, but seeing that treeline is oddly..."comforting". Except for when houses start to develop out there...then that treeline will be out of my view. And that makes me feel...sad almost. But who knows when that will happen, so lets not dwell on that. Evan is absolutely enamoured by the realization that we have a ceiling fan in our bonus room!! Whenever we are over there he heads STRAIGHT for the stairs to go up and watch the fan. AND he will take the controller, point it to the fan and start pushing buttons! He is quite the little "monkey see, monkey do"!! He has figured out the TV remote as well. OH BOY...at 1 year of age! But he loves buttons and feeling like he is in control. Oh gee...wonder where he gets THAT from (trying to be in control I mean!). The move will be a new beginning. As much as that term sits strangely with me...it's reality. It's all NEW! And each time I am walking through the rooms of the house I am sobbing out to God and begging him for precious new memories...and maybe a little less painful ones this time. I am begging him to help me find restored hope. Begging him for renewed faith. Begging him for the chance to watch Evan become a big brother. While memories in our current house held sweet moments...they also held soooooo many agonizingly painful ones. And in that respect I am relieved to leave here. Every time I step in to our bathroom...I am shot right back to January 30/10...the day I ruptured. When I look at the floor...I see the fluid pooling around my feet. I've wanted MANY times to rip up all the slate on our floor and put something different there. So yes, there are some memories I hope to be able to keep...yet tuck away in a more pain-less place. On the up side...I am PUMPED for my new kitchen!!! I actually have COUNTER TOP SPACE!!!! I can actually do my christmas baking and not have to use my kitchen table or any flat surface I can muster up!!! I have a pantry where items will no longer come crashing down on my head!!! I have linen closets that actually HOLD linen!! We hope to be completely out of our current house by the end of the month. If our deck was finished and the dog run up...we would move sooner. BUT, we are waiting for our stairs and the guys to lay the duradeck stuff. I also have to rig up the dog run. My poor dogs are NOT going to know what hit them!! They are used to free run of our big back yard now...and the new place will not HAVE a yard for....ooooooh, a while! Look out mom and dad...we will be overtaking your backyard many days this summer!! So I had talked about "the" playground by our current house in a previous post and how it has two of everything and how each time Brett and I took the dogs for a walk we'd go through there and I would picture our boys playing together...and how it just seems so wierd to me now. ANYHOW...yesterday was sooooo nice so Evan and I went on a FEW walks, but before supper I took him for a walk and we went to the park again. And this time...it didn't hurt so much. Once I scoured down the swing with my disinfecting wipes I popped Evan in, and we just giggled and laughed together. He had so much fun. And it did my heart GOOD. I took a zillion pictures of him on my phone and he would point up to the sky...and I would say "yup, Zac is watching you and giggling with you!" No tears...just fact. Well, I don't know if it's fact if Zac can actually look down on us...but that's my nice thought. And it's a nice way for me to share him with Evan. Then some lady who was walking round and round the park came and just stood and chatted with Evan and just stood there. It kinda bugged me. At one point a silly thought went through my head and I thought "is she going to crack me over the head and take my son??" Ya...I know...totally out to lunch! But seriously...it just started to get...wierd. She was nice enough, and didn't speak great english...but THEN the infertile/mommy-lost Heather kicked in...and I wondered "does she have children of her own? Has she struggled? Has she suffered loss? Is this letting her feel some happiness?" So it didn't bug me any more, and I was able to push aside the silly sadistic thought of her stealing my son. I don't know what her situation is/was. Maybe nothing at all. Maybe just being a person enjoying watching the innocence of a child exploring life. You never know. You never know about another person. You can't make judgements on them based on your own life and situations. Sometimes it can be too easy to "preach" to another person about how to heal or what to do...although never knowing the reality of that persons experience. Why not just encourage and love. Why not just be there for that person. Someone wrote something in general to no one in particular on facebook once and it sat really painfully with me. What was written was true...yet without a persons knowledge of the extent of lifes pains...I thought "how easy to write this when there is no understanding of the other side of things". But again...the basis of what was written is true...but the reality of life...I don't know...I just felt really strange and really torn. And it just felt like a jab to me for some reason. I don't know why. Maybe because of the painful truth. Maybe because it made me so very sad that it's so easy for others to say things because me looking in at their lives...everything seems perfect...so of course it's "easy". But...I of all people should know better...you can never tell what goes on in someone elses life. What may appear perfect and easy...may not be that way at all. OOOOR...it could be! Who knows! Anyhow, just rambling there. So, the past couple days Evan and I have both been coughing. It's really scary for me to listen to Evan cough. In all other ways he is doing awesome, and he doesn't have a runny nose or anything. But I've had a heavy chest the last while, and have been trying to avoid kisses with Evan or any close face to face proximities...but it's very hard to avoid it at all times. I know RSV high risk season is done, but there is ALWAYS a risk throughout the year. I don't know if it's a cold or what with Evan. I'm praying not, because like I say...a simple cold terrifies me because it could quickly and easily turn in to something so much more. So if you could please say a prayer of health and protection for Evan. I just don't want to see him sick. Well, I have about 2 weeks before we need to be out of our house. I wish our deck was done so that we could just move already. Yet...I've been LOVING all the walks I've been able to take Evan on in our beautiful neighborhood, and to the little park around the corner from our house. I almost feel like I'm in "stunned" mode right now and paralyzed and not sure what to do or what to pack or what to take to the new house. It's crazy! But...I should actually get my butt in gear!! Packing up this house, and packing up memories...it all seems overwhelming. BUT, I will look forward to new beginnings, new hopes, new dreams, new realities...whether they be bitter or sweet. Well, I better sign off and get busy here. Much to do in a short period of time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One year ago today May 11th...Evan came home

Our final walk through the NICU doors...this time WITH Evan! After 66 days...we were going home together. With Evan in our arms, and Zac forever in our hearts. After "doctoring" up Evan's seat with towels because he was under the minimum weight requirement, we were almost ready to go!
Getting ready to pack up our little boy to go home!
Home in Evan's own basinet!! What a feeling. What a sight!
Finally getting to snuggle with my son in my own home. What a feeling!
I remember the morning of this date one year ago. Wondering how the day would turn out. I did my usual routine. Call the NICU at an obscenely early time to see how Evan's night was, get the call that he was ready to eat, fly to the hospital to nurse him...and then stay put by his side. Also wondering if we would get the word on whether today might be "the" day, or if it would be
another delay. More blood work to ensure his count was normal. And then wondering when his surgery date would be set for his hernia repairs.
I have to admit, I was disappointed that he didn't get to have his surgery while in NICU, because I know how closely he would have been watched afterwards because of the nurse to patient ratio. I know how busy little peds is, and that the nurse to patient ratio is much more spread out...so I knew he wouldn't have that same attention in NICU. How did I know this?? Because I volunteered in that wing for a few years...so I knew first hand. Don't get me wrong...it wasn't that the children weren't cared for...it was just that they didn't get that same special attention due to the high volume of children to nurse. And I always felt bad for the nurses...so that is why I enjoyed volunteering there so much. It allowed me to love and care for a sick child for a few hours and give them the one on one attention they craved while parents were unable to be there...or just didn't come. It is sad to think that a parent just wouldn't come to see their child...but it was a true, and sad reality.
ANYHOW, I knew I would be with Evan every second of his stay when he had his surgery so I didn't have that concern on my mind. But I'll leave that for a later day!
The day dragged out. The frustration was mounting on me. Here I was, knowing that if it hadn't been for these hernias...we would have had Evan home a week ago. The only think keeping him in NICU was the funny blood count on his draws, and even then the doctors believed it was what commonly happens with preemies and their white count "roller coasters" without any actual concerns. But as frustrating as it all was...I was so thankful for the love and care Evan received.
He had become a "mascot" so to speak in NICU. Everyone knew him. But he was a long-timer...so it was hard not to get to know him!
I remember the moment I heard the nurse saying "the doctor will be by shortly to start his release exam". WHUUUUUUT!!!! They hadn't even pre-warned me!! Just suddenly he was about to get his release exam. However, keep in mind this was later in the afternoon. Much later. But suddenly things just started to happen like a whirlwind! I was SOOOOOOO glad that I had brought Evan's diaper bag (something I started to do daily since it was a daily "pins and needles" idea of "maybe today will be the day" and we wanted to be prepared). My mom had been with me, so I ran to my car and got Evan's diaper bag and called Brett to say "YOU HAVE TO COME!!! Evan gets to come home!!! They are doing his release exam!!!"
And when Brett showed up we just sat there in shock! Excitement, yet shock! Here we had been, 66 days in NICU, and the day was finally here. The wonder of "will Evan even be coming home with us??" was gone. He was coming home.
I remember being in a daze. The exam went relatively quick, but then there was all the discharge stuff. Papers, hand outs, teaching us how to "rig" the car seat since Evan didn't even meet the minimum weight requirement!!
And then...the time came. Evan was in his seat, we were all loaded up. OK, the tears are streaming here right now as I remember the day like it was yesterday. After almost 10 years of wondering if we'd ever get a day like this...after all the years of tears and sadness and questions...after the loss of Ethan and Jack...after the passing of our sweet little Zac.........our son was coming home. We would walk out those NICU doors one last time as patients. We would walk out the hospital doors finally with Evan in our arms. We would leave behind the only place we knew Zac alive.
And as precious, and exciting, and overwhelming and beautiful as that day was...there it was again...the bitter sweet. The joy of knowing Evan was coming home, but the bitter reality that once again...our Zac was not. And this time...I had to walk from the only place I ever held my son. The only place I ever saw his eyes looking at me, or his head turn to me when he would hear my voice, or touch him and kiss him and smell him and love on him.
So as joyful as it was to walk out those NICU doors...it also hurt so much.
On a day where we should have been walking out those doors with TWO car seats, TWO bundles of joy, BOTH our sons...we weren't.
But oh, how my heart overflowed through the sadness and the confusion of my emotions. How the smile shone through the exhaustion and the pain. We were bringing Evan home. No more running back and forth to the hospital through the night to nurse him. I would nurse him at home. No more sitting beside his isolette and basinet all day. I would watch him in his own bed at home. No more phone calls at 3am to see how he was doing. I would only have to look beside my bed to see his little chest rise and fall. No more hospital food!! That speaks for itself!!
For 5 weeks of my hospital stay, and then the 66 days following...from January 30th to May 11th...my life revolved around that hospital. It became my home. For over 3 months it was my surroundings. The nurses became my friends and my support system. And leaving them meant leaving my knowledge and support system for my teeny tiny baby! Although he was no longer a 2lb 9ou-not one ounce of chub/fat-baby...he was now just under 5 pounds with a BIT more meat on him...but I was still scared.
ME...the person who has never doubted herself with a child/baby...was scared. Again, it was not how it was supposed to be. I was supposed to have these term babies who were healthy and weighed at least double their birth weights. I was supposed to go home with hardly an emotional scar with dealing with NICU life.
At least...that's how I dreamt it before that awful January 30th morning.
However...when we drove up to our house and walked through our door...I cried. Both tears of joy and sorrow, gratitude and bitterness, and confusion. But mostly I just stared in awe at this unbelievably tiny baby in the middle of my kitchen floor asleep in his car seat. Brett and I just watched him, and looked at each other and just stared in this stunned silence. We couldn't believe that we finally had our son home. We couldn't believe that we finally held the names "mommy" and "daddy". We were parents. Even though we always considered ourselves parents after our first twins died. But we were parents of living children, and parents to our little Evan in the middle of our kitchen.
I think that's when things really REALLY started to hit me. Even though I felt my sadness and fear and joy every day after Zac and Evan were born...it all REALLY hit me. Because during NICU I had that to occupy my mind. I had the fear of day to day wondering if Evan would ever come home to preoccupy me. I had the racing back and forth to the hospital to keep me forever unrested. But now...I had silence. I had no more racing back and forth. I had no more wonder of my sons life. I had no more nurses to chat and laugh with and to watch Evan diligently.
It was us. It was me. It was silence. And that was something I was not used to anymore. Silence left too much time to think. Too much time to relive things. Too much time to hear the thoughts swirling in my head.
Yet, again, even though the ache of missing Zac was beyond breathable...I was in heaven with Evan. I still am. I still think of where we were a year ago. I still remember the fear of his life when Zac's membranes ruptured. The fear of the thought of losing both my sons once again. And the thought gives me chills as cold as they did that January morning.
And then the reality of how truly exhausted I really was set in. And then the fears of day to day life wondering if Evan was getting enough to eat and if he was going to stay healthy.
AND the knowledge that we would be returning to the hospital a week later for his surgery and the fear of that.
We also had the added stress of "reducing" Evan's hernias every so often. I couldn't do it. I would want to pass out at every time poor Brett had to do it. It didn't hurt Evan, but it was just wierd. And I would get angry every time because it was just one more thing we had to deal with that so many others didn't have to.
But wow...did it ever feel sooooooo good, so precious, to have Evan home. As much as I missed some of our nurses, it was nice to be the one finally feeling like a mom. The one caring for my own child. The one being able to hold him WHENEVER and HOWEVER much I wanted to!! And let me tell you...I did! I held him all the time! We were hardly ever apart. Except when I'd be blessed to have a nap while my mom took over :)
And what a time in sharing that with my mom. The person who sat with me every day in NICU and stayed by my side. Supporting me, getting me to laugh, making me eat! What would I have ever done without you mom?! You saved me through so many days where I wondered if I'd ever survive this. And dad...for everything you did...my heart overflows. I couldn't ask for more precious, more supportive parents in the world!
And Brett...for all he had to deal with. He didn't even get the chance to just sit and allowing everything to soak in. He had to keep going. While I was in the hospital before having the boys, he lived back and forth as well. I hated being apart from him. Hated not being able to share our boys with him all day. Hated that he had to carry everything on his shoulders. Yet, he did it without complaint.
Then after Zac passed away...there was hardly time to mourn. He planned the funeral while I was still recovering and in NICU with Evan. He did all the leg work. Picked out Zac's gravesite. He burdened it all. And again, thank you to his parents for supporting him through that. And thank you to my parents for supporting us through that. Who would have ever thought this would be our reality.
But TODAY, one year ago...was precious beyond words. I will never forget that day. I will never forget the feeling in my heart and soul. I will never forget the gratitude to the NICU staff and doctors. That place and those precious people will always have a special place in my heart.
And I will never forget the feeling of blessing to walk out those doors with our son. As much as I felt cheated out of a life with Zac...I was and AM blessed beyond measure by God for His graciousness to allow us the honor of being Evan's mommy and daddy.
I will never forget today...one year ago!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day tomorrow...

Well, on the 7th of May last year we were frustrated because Evan's surgery for his hernia repairs was cancelled. He was already back in an isolette with an IV run, hadn't eaten since 5:30am, all his wires were back on...they were ready, we came in early to sign the papers and WHAMMY...cancelled. I burst in to tears with frustration and an overwhelming, overgrowing feeling of EVERYTHING. I understood why they cancelled, but when we found out days later that there was actually no concern with Evan's blood work and we COULD have proceeded, it just compounded everything. It meant a possible set back in Evan's release, and we would have to face more time in the hospital. And I was just really at my breaking point. The only thing holding Evan from being released was this surgery. And the never ending question at this point...when would Evan come home? Looking back in my journal to Evan the end of the entry said "This is what I mean buddy. Life is so full of questions and disappointments. Mommy needs you to learn to be optomistic by example, but it's okay to be frustrated and have questions. But we have to move beyond that and keep being positive and hopeful. We can't stay stuck in the frustrations. No matter how hard it may be." Hmmm, I needed to read that and have that reminder for myself! Tomorrow marks our third Mother's Day without our first identical twins, and our second Mother's Day without Zac. It also marks my second Mother's Day WITH Evan!! Again, bitter sweet. Yet, however sad I feel in missing our three children in heaven, I am brought to my knees in tears of gratitude and blessing for Evan. I am honored to share this day with him. And even though parts of my heart ache beyond comprehension...a huge part of my heart overflows with pride and love. Not only for Evan, but for all my babies. Even though my Jack, Ethan and Zac do not get to call me mommy here on earth...one day they will. And even though I don't get to watch them growing and learning and being mischievous boys here on earth, I pray that's how they will be in heaven! I think back to last year with Evan. We spent Mother's Day in the hospital snuggling, cuddling, feeding, reading books and sharing our first Mother's Day together. In the hospital. Not the most ideal setting, and not what many lucky mothers get to experience. BUT the fact remains that I held Evan in my arms. That he was HERE. That for the first time ever I was being recognized as a MOTHER. After we lost our first twins...that didn't happen. And for many who lose their child/ren...we are left in this abyss of darkness because although we didn't get the good fortune to bring our children home...it didn't mean we were no longer mothers. We were just now faced with waiting for eternity to see, meet and hold our child/ren. I feel blessed beyond measure to be the mother of 4 precious children...3 in heaven, one on earth. I AM blessed beyond measure to have Evan with me. Oh how this little boy is changing me every day. He is filling my heart beyond what I ever thought imaginable. For almost 10 years I wondered if I would EVER hear a child call me "mamma"...and now I get that honor. It did not happen without years of tears, pain, procedures, wonder, confusion, sadness, shattered hopes...but it did indeed come. And every step of the way was painful, but hopeful. And now I watch my son. Every day learning, growing, figuring things out, laughing, loving, throwing temper tantrums (and even then I fall more in love with him as I try to hide my laughter!!). But tomorrow brings confused feelings too. How can I lie and say that it wouldn't? My Zac is not here. My son is not celebrating the day with us. And that will always hurt. I'm human. How would it not hurt?! Tomorrow I will kiss my son. Tomorrow I will start a new day together with Brett and Evan. And tomorrow I will blow a kiss to heaven for my babies who I allow myself to believe in my mind are looking down and blowing a kiss back at me. But tomorrow...remember that there are women...MOTHERS all around you who have empty arms and broken hearts and lost dreams with their child/ren. Remember them as you gush "Happy Mother's Day" to those with children in your arms. Remember that not everyone gets the perfect ending. Be considerate. Yes, celebrate those mommies around you...but remember that there may be an angel mommy on the other side of you who is dying a little more inside on this day. I ALWAYS hated going to church on Mothers Day as we struggled through each year of our unexplained infertility. Watching all the moms being asked to go to the front of the church and sing a song and then the congregation to clap in honor of them. I HATED knowing that every year with another negative pregnancy test and no more answers from doctors other than "we just don't know why...you are prefect on paper!", I was going to face this service and my heart was going to be crushed in ways most never have to endure. And then after we lost Ethan and Jack, I have NO IDEA what I was thinking in going to church that first Mother's Day. Was I insane????? Here I was...A MOTHER...without her sons. Sitting in a pew, crying my eyes out as I mourned the loss of my children and the loss of my identity as a mother. I did not matter to this service. To those around me...I wasn't a mother because I did not hold my children. As all these moms got to go up front...I sad there sobbing because of the pain of the loss of my children. I'm sure others up there had experienced a loss somewhere along the line too, but for me...that particular Mother's Day tore out my soul. Granted, I KNOW these services are meant to hurt anyone...but I don't think most realize how painful Mothers Day and Fathers Day is to so many. For those of us longing, hurting, aching...to have to sit there in the pew because we don't get the priviledge of walking up to the front because we don't hold the title Mother or Father...it hurts. It's not like anyone is purposefully out to "get us" who have lost children, or who are not able to conceive. I just wish there was a way to include those of us who have lost children too, or have never been able to reach the dream of pregnancy. I guess after all I've been through I just get really sensitive about lots that most wouldn't even think twice about. And like I say, no one does it to be hurtful...but none the less...it stings like crazy! So needless to say, even though I hold Evan in my arms...I won't be attending tomorrow's service. I am just not emotionally ready, and find it really hard because Zac will not be on my other hip...and my almost-two-year-olds, Jack and Ethan, will not be pulling on my leg or yelling my name. For those of you with children in your arms...I wish you a happy Mother's Day. For those of you with the lost dream of pregnancy...I pray for your aching heart and continued desires for a child. For those of you who have lost a child through miscarriage, still birth, infant death...I want to acknowledge that YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL MOTHER!!!! Others around you may not know it...but we know the children we hold in our hearts and the children we will one day meet in heaven. I pray for the tears that fall on such days as these (not like they don't fall any other day, but you know what I mean). I pray for the ache you feel as you think about how this day SHOULD have been (I do too!). I pray as we each try to figure out life from here on without our children. I pray for love and peace to overflow you today from those who know and love you. I pray for each of you now. And wish you all a precious day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Update on house...

OK, first of all...these are pictures I took with my phone last night after I got gas. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO cool!!!! Kay...I'm totally one of those people who would love to go storm chasing...but that's another story! I feel in love with these clouds, and I have NEVER seen clouds like this before!
Of course it had started to rain, and now today...it's snowing. Ugh!! BOOOOOOO.
Anyhow, on to the house.
We got a second offer last night. And it was from the original couple who had given the first offer. After a couple back and forths...we agreed to a selling price...and signed the papers.
It is still "open" until May 11th, and IF someone else were to come along and make an offer...we could potentially look at that and accept. However, I don't know if I really see that happening, and that's okay!
Ironically, the couple who bought our house have triplet daughters and one older daughter. Bizarre that our house that should have sheltered our two sets of twins will now shelter triplet little girls and their big sister.
I'm not sure how I feel about the sale. It's a good thing, obviously. But it's really strange for me because this was our very first home, and there are sooooooooooooo many memories here...good and hard.
I suppose this next thought can come only from the mind of a mommy who has lost a child, but...it feels like it's leaving all of Zac behind. I know...don't try to understand that concept. You won't be able to if you've never lost a child. BUT, to ME...this was the only home I ever had both of my sons with me. This was the only home that sheltered all my tears through our almost 10 years of infertility and many treatments and IVF. The happy moments of hearing we were pregnant...the sad moments of when we lost our first babies. The happy moments of once again hearing we were pregnant, and the agonizing, horrifying, heart crushing memory of waking and going to the washroom only to stand in a pool of amniotic fluid.
The joy of bringing Evan through our door to his home, but the agony of walking through that door without Zac.
There are so many fun, happy, joyful memories here...and just as enveloping are the tough, sad, life changing memories.
And even though Zac never entered this home OUTSIDE of me...it was indeed his home inside of me. And ultimately I know that it was ME that was his home...not this house. But it's this house that the memories are etched in to, as well as inside my mind and heart.
It will be a strange feeling to leave this house.
AND, like I whine about all the time...I will SERIOUSLY miss our neighborhood and the awesome acess to walk to 8th street and Starbucks and the grocery stores...and then the Farmers Market opens on Thursday!!!! And I won't be able to just walk there anymore!!! WAAAAAAA! Seriously...these are things that make me a bit sad.
Anyhow, it is a relief to have the house "sold", and to know we will be able to pay off some stuff which is always a nice feeling! And it's nice to be able to have a serious push to get a couple things done in the new house that I refuse to go to if they are not done! :)
A new chapter. That's life, hey?! Always a new chapter. It makes me wonder about the future. It makes me wonder about possibilities. It makes me wonder about the ups and downs that are in store for us. Hmmm, I almost can't allow myself to think about it.
Well, that's the update for the day. Hopefully no hiccup arrises in finalizing the sale! But for now I guess I better actually get more serious about packing things! There is a lot more we can take now that I have a date. The possession date on our sale agreement is June 5th or 6th. So I have a few weeks left in this one. Wow.
Off to make myself my morning cup of coffee!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Eye opening...

So yesterday we had an open house and some showings afterwards, so Evan and I packed up and took over my parents house while they were at church and a function afterwards. When they got home they were telling me how the Watoto Childrens Choir were going to be singing at the church that evening. I haven't been to church with Evan since Christmas. The biggest reason...RSV season was in full force, so I had to keep Evan from large crowds in order to reduce the risk of infection. So it was something I was fine to do. But I KNOW how much Evan LOVES music, and I figured I would take him and see what he would think. And guess what...HE LOVED IT!!!!!!! Even at his young age...he was mesmerized by the children singing and dancing...and then the drums!!!! LOOK OUT!! He was clapping along and bouncing and humming!! It seriously brought tears to my eyes. Now, you need to understand something. These aren't just happy go lucky run of the mill children. These are children whose lives were devastated by the deaths of parents due to AIDS and some from war. Children who were left abandoned on the streets as infants, babies who were left in outdoor toilets from scared teen mothers, others whose older siblings were too afraid of how to raise their young siblings. These children are from Uganda. Looking at them...you would NOT know the devastation they have been through. Their eyes are as bright as the sun! Their smiles are as broad as a rainbow. Their joy is infectious and...their love for GOD is unquestionable. Why? Because a couple (the Skinner's) decided to follow God's instruction and care for the widow, and the orphan. I won't go in to the whole story. I urge you to check out their website at http://www.watoto.com But a few of the children shared their stories. Shared how their parents passed away, and that they were left alone. But then spoke of the joy as they went to the Watoto village to meet their new family, and the hope, love and joy they were given through this. I watched these little children, and seeing how their innocence was robbed by the death of their parents, and how quickly they had to "grow up" before being "rescued"...I felt convicted. I felt something I haven't felt in a long time...hope that I could find that same renewal of hope and love for a God that I have blamed for so much in the past 13+ months. I sat there with tears running down my face as I held Evan, and thought of my Zac. Still feeling so angry and cheated by the passing of my son. But also wanting to feel hopeful again. To feel that even through the death of my son and the loss of our first twins Ethan and Jack...that maybe there is still hope for the future. But I realize that it can't continue to be on MY terms. And that it can't just be about what I DREAM for. YES, I want a living sibling for my son. YES, I want to experience pregnancy again. YES, I dream of a safe, full term pregnancy with a normal birth experience and then being able to take our child home a few days later. YES, I want my heart to heal. YES, I want to stop feeling jealous and angry and hurt by every other blessing of others multiples. But guess what...just because that is what I'm praying for and asking for doesn't mean that is what I'm going to get. I hate now looking back and seeing how I used bible verses to feed me what I wanted to hear...not necessarily what it was saying in full context. "Faith as small as a mustard seed..." "Ask and ye shall receive..." We read things how we want to see them when we need to see it. It might not be exactly what God was trying to tell us. But I guess that is what helps us through our times of need. NOT to say that God's word isn't truth. NOT to say that I don't believe what He says through His word. NOT to say that these miraculous miracles did not happen and could not happen. Just...sometimes I read something and don't pay attention to the WHOLE context because I'm pulling what I need to help me through a certain moment. Now I look at it as...ok, I can ask. And that is what God wants. He wants me to be able to come to him and ask. To be vulnerable in that sense to trust him with my requests. BUT...does it mean that I'm going to get what I want?? I wish. If that were true...we would be preparing our first twins 2nd birthday next month. If that were true...Zac would be napping in the same room as his brother right now. If that were true, my house would have my two sets of twins in it right now. HOWEVER...I can not say that prayers don't get answered. I can not say that faith does not exist and miracles don't happen. All I have to do is open the door to my sons room and watch his little chest rise and fall as he sleeps. God answered our prayers for Evan. God allowed a miracle through Evan. God answered our prayers by allowing me to experience pregnancy for a short time in 2007 with Jack and Ethan. God granted the miracle of a pregnancy that ended far too soon. God answered once again our prayers by allowing me to experience ANOTHER twin pregnancy in 2008 with Zac and Evan. God granted the miracle of a pregnancy that again, ended far tooooo soon, but at least this time I got to watch my belly move as the boys kicked and squirmed. I got to watch my body change each day. I got to hear my sons heart beats. I got to look at their eyes, I got to know BOTH of my sons. And the time I was granted with Zac before him leaving us...that was an answer to prayer and a miracle. Although far too short and bittersweet for me. Every day is an answer to prayer as I watch Evan grow and am granted to honor of being his mommy. Every day is a miracle with him. I will never forget how fast things could have changed for him...but he lives. And for that...my prayer was answered, and my miracle granted. We don't always get what we hope and pray for. Why? I don't know. I know there is always the standard "because we live in a fallen world broken by sin", and yes, I agree with that. But it doesn't make the hurting any less. It doesn't mean that we are okay with the prayers that go unanswered in the way WE want. But, whatever the reasons, there is much to be greatful for...no matter how painful the journey. I watched these children and watched the their joy and love flowing from their eyes and their voices and in their dance...and it opened my eyes a bit more. We will all hurt and suffer in some form. But it was good to be reminded, by young children none the less, that there is "bright hope for tomorrow". God does answer prayer. He carries us through each day. BUT, he is not a wish-giver. He is not just there to answer our desires the way we want them. Sometimes the answer we get is something we will never understand...but I truly do NOT believe it is because God wants to hurt us or break us or bend us to His feet. No, I don't believe that at all. Sometimes life happens...and in the hurt there truly is hope. I guess there are days where I feel like a child angry at her parent for not buying her a certain toy or giving her the pony she wanted. But just as my earthly parents...God loves me through the good and bad, and will not turn his back on me just because I'm throwing a fit. He waits, and loves and welcomes me back with open arms. He did not promise and easy life. He did not say I'd make it through life unmarked and unwounded. Nope...just that He will be there with me each step of the way. Today He holds my sons. All of them. Today my children are loved, even though it is not in MY arms that they are being loved. Today I look at Evan and say "Thank you God...for answered prayer."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

These next 11 days...walk along with me, will you?

May 1, 2009 - Evan got his own basinet!! NO MORE ISOLETTE, and NO MORE WIRES!! May 1, 2009 - my little boy was freed from all his wires!
So, over the next 11 days (today included) I want to reflect back on the final 11 days Evan was in NICU before we heard the most amazing words in our 66 NICU stay..."Evan is cleared to go home".
Today, one year ago, Evan was moved to an open basinet! Yesterday one year ago it was the top off his isolette, but moving to the basinet meant REALLY moving forward to the goal line!
And not only was he moved to the open basinet...ALL his wires and monitors CAME OFF!!!! Let me tell you...after 56 days of watching his monitor, his oxygen levels, heart rates, signs of apneas and bradys...it was all gone! And I was TERRIFIED!!! Which is why from day one the nurses encourage you not to watch the monitors, but to watch your baby for the day the wires come off. So you know by watching what is going on. And I had really pushed myself to do that the past weeks prior to this day. And I'm glad that I did. But let me tell you...every night that I went home from this day forward...I was TERRIFIED that a nurse would be too busy to know that something was happening to my son. Terrified that I would get a call telling me the heart breaking news. Again...understand this comes from the terror of a mother who watched and held her son as he passed away...so my fears were understandable.
Of course, that call never came. But the fears never went away. I would have stayed there day and night if I could have.
But when those wires came off...it meant something big to me. Beyond the medical stuff. It meant that I was free to walk up and down that bay aisle without restriction of a foot of give-way from the wires. I could pick my son up and walk maybe 7 or 8 feet distance back and forth. I got to feel what so many lucky women experience often the day of their childs birth. Freedom. Freedom to hold their child and walk about the room. It took 56 days for me to experience what most experience the same day.
I was on cloud 9. I was in a daydream of joy.
However, the very day this joy occured...another set back arose. Typical, was the first word that entered my mind. During Evan's routine stat checks the nurse noticed Evan had developed hernias on both sides of his groin. Lovely.
Don't get me wrong, I was glad that it was discovered while he was still in the care of NICU...but it meant that surgery would become the next step. However, over the next weeks I'll cover all that as it comes up. For today, one year ago...it was a typical preemie issue that unfortunately occured. And with the way Evan moved and stretched and wriggled about since his birth...it wasn't surprising. The strength that boy had even at 2lb 9ou was incredible.
And every time he moved and stretched and kicked about in his isolette...I could feel it inside of me. Because that was exactly how he was inside!
All the milestones Evan was hitting were amazing, and we were so filled with joy and gratitude. We often wondered when the rug would be pulled out from under us. And at times...it did. But our little guy would bounce back stronger than before. We were unbelievably fortunate that his set backs were minor, compared to many in NICU. But to us, after losing Zac...minor was not a word in our vocabulary. Minor meant major in all ways for me. Minor meant a fear searing through my mind and body.
And even through all the joy of Evan's miraculous milestones and his amazing little life...pain always lingered. Tears were always there. Aching always wrapped itself up with the joy.
As full of love and joy as I felt for Evan...I also longed and ached for Zac.
Each step closer to leaving NICU meant one step closer to leaving the only place we ever knew Zac on the outside world. The only place we ever got to be with him and touch him and kiss him and hold him that one and only time.
But joy kept us going. And the joy of Evan's progress kept us hopeful.
Today my little man crawls at the speed of the wind! Today my little man giggles and laughs and imitates grandpa as he blows his nose, and copies daddy when daddy coughs. He is walking with things, he is growing like a weed. He smiles every morning I go to get him and lets me know when he is done with his naps. He is curious about life and everything around him.
This morning I just stared at him and thought..."wow, the distance you have come! The strength you possess! The life you give me! I still can't believe you are here, and you are mine".
OK...tears pouring here.
I just can't believe how far Evan has come. He had no choice in when he arrived. He had no knowing of what was going on and what was to come. He spent his last trimester in a world that he was not meant to be in yet. He just blows my mind. Things could have been so very different, and yet we are so lucky that they weren't.
I will be forever grateful. In joy and in sorrow...I will always be grateful for my sons.