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, January 29, 2010

Sigh...so it begins...

This was me...January 22, 2009 at 22 weeks with Zac and Evan. The final belly picture that we got to take at home before things turned upside down.
Well, as of midnight tonight, the one year heart ache markers begin. As of just after midnight tonight our worlds turned upside down. What I would give to have been able to "fix" the events of that very early morning. The morning my water broke with Zac...and there was nothing I could do. The confusion, heart break, fear, agony for my Zac and my Evan began. Hearing from a NICU resident "if you go in to labor we won't intercede and your babies will most likely die". Thank heavens for the few compassionate souls there that night/morning. The ones who gave me some hope. The ones who tried to calm my fears.
The wonderful antepartum nurses who cared for me those 5 weeks, my wonderful OB/G/peri, my wonderful family and those precious friends who came to visit and keep my spirits up.
I knew these "markers" were going to hurt. I just didn't realize how much they were going to affect me. For the past week I've been riden with "guilt", shame, sorrow, pain, sadness, grief. Reliving the events of this night, being in this house, being in my bathroom...it hurts. I have spent every day in tears...tucked away where no one can see me. I know people think that I should just be thankful for Evan...and please...don't start with those comments. Because you have no idea HOW thankful I am for my sweet baby boy. He is my reminder of miracles. He is my hope. No matter how thankful, blessed, greatful, honored I am to be Evan's mommy...I am STILL the mother who had to make the choice to let her other sweet baby son go. I had to say "OK". Do you know what that feels like? To say "ok...I will make the best of the final moments with my first born son". Do you know what it feels like to hold your son while his heart slows, his breaths slow, his body goes limp? Do you know what it's like to see your son look at you one last time as he recognizes your voice? And to wonder "what if?" What if we had just kept hoping? What if we hadn't had that decision to make. And the "why's" come pouring in. Why did this happen? Why did we have to go through this? Why does my son never get the opportunity to grow up with his twin brother?
Instead of just telling me to be greatful for Evan...yes...tell me that...but also acknowledge that the grief of losing Zac will remain. Remember that I had...HAVE two sons. Remember that this mother didn't get the story book ending of bringing BOTH her sons home.
I remember saying way back early in my pregnancy "after losing Ethan and Jack, surely nothing will go wrong with this pregnancy. After everything God has brought us through, surely we will not be tested again. After the pain of loss, and the years of unexplained infertility...surely we will be given our miracle of both our sons."
No, I'm not blaming God. What is the point. I will never understand, yet there will never be answers here on earth. Some people get the whole deal...the full miracle and gift of bringing all their children home...but some of us...well, some just don't.
I don't mean to sound bitter. I don't mean to sound like there is this preconceived notion that I am assuming what people think I should be feeling. And really, no one can. No one can judge me. No one can tell me how to feel. No one can say they fully understand.
Yet...I've never felt more alone and forgotten than I have these past days. Maybe to others the memories aren't as vivid...but to me...I am reminded every day.
I know that as the years carry on the pain will become less intense...but since this is my first year, and the REALLY painful markers are yet to come...please let me vocalize how I feel without judgement.
I had a good cry with my mom today. I finally vocalized why I've been feeling so sick this week. My mom had to watch Evan a couple of days because I was so physically sick from everything I was feeling. And I just had no strength. It made me feel like a shoddy mommy, but I needed to feel what I was feeling so that I no longer held it in.
Anyhow...thank heavens for MY mommy!!! Thank heavens for someone I could be open with how I was feeling, and that I could cry and know that my mom gets it. And thank heavens for my mom who told me that even through this sadness...we look at Evan with such great amazement.
Again...here is where that see-saw of emotion comes in to play. My grief and agony for Zac as of the 30th was also my grief and agony for Evan. My little boy who knew nothing of what was going on inside. He was okay. He was safe. There were no complications on his end. Yet...there could have been. The gratitude I have for my Zac is beyond words. He hung on, he fought for us...he saved his brother. Both my sons are amazing to me. Both fought a strong fight. Both won in different ways. I miss and love my Zac, but I AM greatful and love my Evan. My sadness and grief will remain, and my love and joy will continue to grow.
My heart goes out to you moms who know all to well the agony of walking in your home without your child. Yes...I eventually got to walk in my home with Evan in my arms...yet without Zac. Yet...in this circumstance...I see where others would think "at least you got to bring home one of your sons" and in that circumstance...I do feel for those of you...I do have compassion...I do ache with you. I don't know what I would have done if I had to have had to walk in my home once again empty armed.
In these moments of hard memories, there are memories of hope, prayer, praise, miracles. I had 5 additional weeks of the honor of carrying Zac and Evan together. I had 5 precious weeks of getting to see both my boys growing and moving, I got to listen to Zac's hiccups numerous times during daily NST tests. I got to see, touch, kiss, breath in my Zac those three precous days of his all too soon life. I watched both my boys...and as Zac began to slip away...Evan got stronger. I HAVE to believe that Zac was passing on what was left of his strength.
My greatest sorrow is that I never got to hold both my sons together, of have them side by side before we had to say good bye to Zac. I wish I had pictures of them next to each other. In those moments I wish I would have been more clear and realized how badly the loss of that opportunity would hurt down the road.
BUT, I can't change the past. The what if's will only eat me alive.
The memories will hurt over these next weeks. But I need to focus on the life of Evan...this amazing little guy who melts my heart every day. I've been so wrapped up in fears of the thought of ever losing him...and I think those fears became even worse this past week. I know I can't live in those fears. I know I have to trust that he will be okay.
The enemy has just been beating and beating on me this past while with memories, fears, feelings of failure, feelings of sadness...now feelings of inadequacy...
I ask that in these next weeks you would really lift me in prayer so that the enemy will be defeated, and I will be able to make it through the pain of these markers. I ask that my friends re-appear...even if just in prayer.
And as I walk these days of confused emotions...I pray for those special women who have become dear to my heart through the pain of also being a part of this ever unwanted "club" of loss. I pray for those who ache daily and who miss their precious little angels as well.
I will focus on the good of these days even in the days of tears. I will be thankful for what I HAVE been given, and greatful for the moments I had.
I will watch my son grow...and pray that I will be the strength he needs, the love he deserves, the courage to face each tomorrow. I pray that he will never back down. That he will fight for his dreams. That he will know what a blessing he is. I pray that in my moments of anger towards God that I do not stop teaching my son of His love for him. That we can be human and hurt and be angry...but we can not give up. We have to keep trusting and believing. We have to.
Anyhow, thanks for reading, thanks for encouraging, and thanks for praying.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter has arrived...

Wow...what an amazing pile of snow outside! We've been wondering when this would happen...and it's here. While I was making coffee this morning I saw someone snow blowing our walkway and a few others on our block. That was a nice sight...and very appreciated! Brett will be greatful! Now he just has to snowblow the driveway! It's strange how the weather affects me. The past few days have been so grey and gloomy, and it's really hard to stay "up" with no sunshine. Also, with all the snow I start to feel my chest tighten as I know when I go to the cemetery my little boys grave will be buried deep. **sigh** It makes me feel claustrophobic almost. I know Zac is in a much better place, but this is the visual I see here on earth...even though in my mind I can see my sweet boy running...healthy and happy and free. I'm also feeling so bad for Evan. This teething thing is no easy task, and he is going crazy. I try all the tricks and tips, but he is still hurting. Which means it is also that much longer with him not taking a bottle or drinking much during the day. I know I said I was starting to relax about it all...but I can't stop worrying about him. How?! I can almost feel myself getting physically sick because I've been worrying so much. I know he is doing well, and I know we are getting some fluids in him one way or another...but I seriously feel like I am the only one who has ever had to deal with this. Whenever I mention it to other moms, no one seems to have experienced this "dilema", and that's good...for them :) But it just makes me feel very alone and confused as to what to do. I know Evan's doctors keep telling me to just trust him and just watch for signs of dehydration...but just that word "dehydration" freaks me out. I get all knotted up inside before I try to give him a bottle. Yet I know I can't let him sense my anxiety. I know that as this passes (Oh God...pleeeeeeeeeeease let this pass!!!) I will feel silly for being such a nut about it...but Evan is my one and only. I feel like I only have this one opportunity and one chance to do things right. Yet I'm scared to do anything wrong. I know I can't force him to drink, and I'm trying to follow his lead...but it scares me...the thought of anything going wrong and us ending up back at the hospital. UGH! I'm driving myself crazy!! I'm sorry for being so repetitive about this whole teething thing. I think it's just a trigger to other fears and emotions. I know the enemy is using it to his advantage to bring me to doubt myself. I can hear "you couldn't protect Zac...and now you will fail with Evan". Yes, I know...awful lies and couldn't be further from the truth. I know I am doing my best with Evan...but I'm scared my best will not be enough because my best was not enough for Zac. I did everything by the book. I took every precaution up to that horrid day of my water breaking. I believed that God had given us this second chance after losing Jack and Ethan in 2007, and believed that if He had brought us this far with such blessings then nothing would go wrong...right? WRONG! I don't blame God any more. I don't assume that He caused our pain on purpose to teach us some "lesson". I don't believe that He dangled a dream in front of us and then ripped it away. I don't believe that He failed me...but I feel like I failed my sons. I don't understand any of it. And a lot of it has caused me to question myself, but I know that I need to use it as stepping stones to trust God even more. I know I'm the type of person who needs to know and understand, and I guess that's what makes loss so difficult. Even something as common as teething has me on my knees in tears. We'll get there. Anyhow...again could you please lift us in prayer. Still Evan with his teething and drinking. And me...well, you can decipher from above what I need prayer for. But mostly, please pray for confidence for me with Evan and that I will not question myself to illness. Well, I suppose I should sign off. I want to get to the grocery store so that I can actually make a few meals this week!!! Might seem crazy to make that trip today...but funny how something as simple as a grocery trip can lighten ones mood!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Feeling sentimental...

So today while I was putting Evan down for his afternoon nap, his teeth were reeeeeeeally bugging him and I had to go back in and bundle him all up in my arms and walk/bounce him to sleep. As I was doing that I felt suddenly catapolted back to NICU days when Evan was finally free of his isolette and wires, and free in a basinette. And when I was free to pick my son up whenever I wanted and walk the mere four feet of "freedom" in his bay and walk and rock and bounce him in my arms. The feeling of having him "free" in my arms...I'll never forget that. And I remember how I could hardly wait to have these moments after being able to bring Evan home with us. This teeeeeeeny tiny wonder...in my arms after all these painful years and after all our tears. Now my itty bitty 2lb 9ou baby boy is on the verge of 19lbs!!! And it feels like time is flying by. My sweet, precious baby boys who were ohhhh so early...and it has almost been a year!! I can't believe that in March it will be one year!! One year of so many mixed emotions, of joy and of sorrow. My little Evan is now in 12 month clothes and almost has 6 teeth in his mouth!! It brings tears to my eyes. We have come such a long way. It still feels so surreal. And it's in these moments where during this struggle of Evan not taking a bottle or drinking much during the day...all the frustration and fear I've been feeling about it...all passes away, because I see how far my little boy has come. Looking back at pictures of his first days of life until now...he is a fighter. He knows what he needs. I've always termed Zac our fighter boy...and he was. He fought sooooo hard to stay well within me those 5 weeks with little fluid in order to save his brothers life. But BOTH my boys are fighters! Evan was taken from me so early with no complications on his end...but he had no choice. And the disruption for him could have been oh so catastrophic for him too...but he fought every single day in the NICU and showed us all how to fight, and showed us all how strong he was...and how well his big brother took care of him! I miss my Zac every breath of every day...but I'm in awe of my little Evan...every breath of every day. My boys are amazing to me. They have taught me the meaning of "fight", "strength", "courage"...and I know Evan will continue to teach me these and so much more in our days ahead. I wish life included Zac by Evan's side...but regardless...Zac will always be by Evan's side. He will always be in our hearts. And as I continue to watch Evan growing and learning...I will not take these things for granted. He is a gift...and I am blessed.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On the rise...

Well, as of yesterday afternoon Evan has started to take some of his bottles during the day once more. PHEW! Strange how such a thing can dictate the tone of my day. I just worry about my little guy all the time. I'm relieved though that he is taking something once again. I took everyones advice and just tried my best not to stress when he struggled against the bottle, and just kept on loving him and smiling at him and when he'd screw up his face and push away the bottle I would just give him a kiss and say "okay...you lead the way today". It's always so hard not to worry when things seem to "change", but I guess I have to get used to that. Evan is growing!! He is going to change patterns and needs. I guess it's the unknowing of what to expect when that throws me off. But I have to start trusting that he knows what he needs at that time while I continue to encourage and offer. He is just becoming sooooo much fun!!!! But really...those 4 teeth that are working their way out are nasty. Yet he remains in good spirits. He doesn't get the typical teething issues...well, other than not wanting to suck on his bottle. He is seriously so crazy busy and is such a mover!!!! The last little while he is trying to figure out his knees and this morning came soooooo close to getting a bit more up there. He is ridiculously hilarious because he will grab my face and then make this goofy face where he is going to eat my nose...and then he tries to chew on my nose or my chin or my cheek. He does this look that reminds of a little vampire :) hee hee hee. He is becoming fast friends with Tag and Bailey (our Boxers). And Evan and Bailey are now in cahoots with each other during Evan's meal times (with food). Evan will get food on his hands and then will stick them under the tray of his highchair where Bailey (who is like a hoover vacuum) immediately offers a good cleaning! I know...most people would be so grossed out by a dog licking a childs hands...but oddly it's one area that I'm not so freaked out about anymore!! PLUS, I immediately wash off Evan's hands! The smile on Evan's face is priceless, and Bailey sure isn't complaining. Yet, she sure doesn't need the extra food!! I want my son to know he is loved. I want him to understand that all my life I dreamt of him. I want him to know that even in my sadness of missing Zac...I love Evan. And I am happy with Evan and in love with this little boy. I want him growing with fun memories of us together. I want him to remember that even in tough times he never questioned how loved he is. Today reading another grieving moms blog during the loss of her son I realized something...grief has become this constant, although unwanted, companion. And each day it's presence is varying degrees...but it's there. Some days I feel it rising above my joy, and other days I feel it just sitting on the sidelines. But no matter what...it is there. It is a part of who I am. Yet, I don't want it to become ALL of who I am. I believe that grief can co-exist with joy...it has no choice. I have no choice!! On the news today (U.S. news) I heard a gutt-wrenching report about a couple whose 2 month old baby stopped breathing on the plane during their flight. The parents and people around tried to revive this little life, but the baby passed away. The plane made an emergency landing in Massecheusets where they are now investigating. My heart just exploded in sadness and pain for what this couple has gone through, and will continue to go through. The questions, the pain, the guilt. I know nothing of the baby's health or if there were any underlying conditions, but I can only imagine that this couple were taking their precious child to meet family (that's how I have it in my mind), but now instead of meeting this healthy, robust, tiny baby...they will be faced with gathering at this childs funeral. Wow. The thought of it all just sickens me and makes me want to scoop Evan up from his nap and hold him tight. To me, Zac's passing was senseless. To me, it will never be right. To me, I will never understand. None of what happened will ever feel settled in my heart. Yet...here was this couple with their child just taking a trip...and they returned back empty armed. I don't think we all understand just HOW fragile life is. Not like we can sit and just obsess about life and death, but it's so easy to take it forgranted. But, in getting to know other hurting moms of loss...it is a common (yet horrid) experience to lose a child...at any stage/age. Taking home a healthy baby is the miracle. Yet for those of us who walk back in to our homes where we once thought there would be a child...but then that child has just as suddenly disappeared...how does a mother of loss exist?! That was me when we lost Jack and Ethan in 2007 my life and world changed. And I didn't know how to BE any more. I didn't know my identity. I was a mother...yet I wasn't to those around me. I was a mother of identical twins...yet no one knew. I walked in to my home empty armed after being at the hospital for my D&C. The final moment of carrying my children. And now after losing Zac...my life and world changed again. My home was to have two of everything. My house was to be filled with double the laughter and double the smelly diapers and double the food all over the floor for my dogs to joyfully clean up. We were to watch as our sons rolled together on the floor. This morning is just really hit because there was Evan rolling around and jabbering at sound shattering levels and it hit all over again...what would it have been like to watch him playing with his twin brother? And still sometimes when Evan starts crying in his sleep I wonder "do you know someone is missing?" I know I've talked about that before, and it might be repetitive...but it's my blog, so I don't care :) It's what is on my heart today. My heart goes out to hurting moms and dads. My heart goes out to this couple who just lost their baby on an airplane ride. Lets remember to pray for them...as they will need it desperately even though they have no idea who all is lifting them in prayers. The other night after Evan had gone to bed and Brett was busy with some stuff around the house I took my dogs for a walk. It was dark, and crisp...it was perfect. And tears began to roll down my face. In the fear of the past week and a bit with Evan's drinking I got even more angry at God. I guess I just don't know WHO to target my anger at...and unfortunately just like my husband often gets the brunt of my exhaustion and stress...God gets my anger. I found myself slowly starting to talk to God again. Asking Him to just reveal himself to me again. Thanking him for the way he lovingly stepped aside to feel what I need to feel and not condemn me or push me. I cried out for help. I cried out for love. I cried out for some form of peace. I no longer cry out for understanding...because that just will never happen. I asked him to hug my three heavenly children for me and to tell them that I love them. I asked him to teach me the way to be the mother that Evan so desperately deserves. I asked him to heal memories of NICU, and Zac's funeral and burial, the fears of the months after Evan came home and fears that I have now of the present and the future. Not to let me forget...but to find healing. And not like there was this immediate epiphany and washing over...but it was a step. It was a step back towards working on my relationship with God. There are more days ahead to my life...and I want to find a way to have those days be more full of love and life and laughter once again. Don't get me wrong...I'm well aware that there will be my friend "grief" tagging along beside my "joy"...and I can't say that I would want "grief" to disappear entirely....just not to be so intense and all-consuming. I really want to start a project that will carry on yearly in memory of Zac that will benefit other children. I want it to be special. I want his little life to touch others. I'm just so confused as to how to go about it or what exactly I want to do. BUT, I NEED to do something. Please pray that the right project will come to my mind. A project that will somehow move others in their times of trouble/grief/sorrow. Anyhow, Evan should be waking up soon. Please also continue to pray that Evan will keep back on this uptrack of drinking during the day :) And continue to pray for peace for me. thanks, and have a great day!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wow, what a week

Evan had gotten a taste of beets. He looks like he was just in a hockey fight...but it was just some fun with yummy beets! hee hee hee
Let me begin by saying...I LOVE my son. He is my everything. After wondering if we would EVER have children and being sad and broken month after month (year after year!!!) hearing "negative"...our boys finally entered (and Zac just as quickly passed on) our lives and changed us forever. I love all my children, my three in heaven and my little buddy here on earth. I am fortunate, I am greatful, and I am very full aware of how lucky I am.
I always new motherhood wouldn't be this picture perfect, never any stress life...but I never knew how crazy it could get!
This was a very difficult week. Since Monday Evan had decided he no longer wanted to take a bottle during the day. Our daytime bottle feeds turned in to battles, and inevitably with me bursting in to tears. I'm sure Evan is cutting more teeth, but it was almost more than that. I know he is tired of his formula. During the night and first thing in the morning he will take a bottle because he is too tired to fight it and too groggy to catch on. But during the day those little lips seal TIGHT shut and there is NOOOO getting that nipple in his mouth! And if it does...he only bites and chews on it and then starts howling! I tried Tylenol and teething gel, I purchased a variety of new bottles, sippy cups and "big boy" cups. I tried calm settings, I tried settings that would keep him distracted from the task at hand. Forget it. I don't know how much formula my sink got the pleasure of drinking rather than my son!
Then it happens...the total FEAR sets in. I'm a failure as a mother, a set-back is occuring, my son will end up in the hopsital again, he won't gain weight. Yup...those are the fears that go crashing in my mind.
I've spoken to his dietician a number of times and she has told me if he is getting a min of 18oz on MOST days then that's ok...but what happens when I can barely get him to take half that amount! Yesterday I finally spoke to one of Evan's NICU doctors and he said after hearing what's going on that it is sounding more like a battle of wills vs. a medical concern. And yes, teething may be playing a factor. He said that as long as he is staying hydrated and having proper wet diapers he'll be okay, but if his diapers start to feel less wet and he won't take any type of fluid, then take him to emerg for a hydration assessment. Ugh! I told him that I had (out of desperation) giving Evan a tiny bit of whole milk to see if he would take it...and guess what...he GUZZLED it!! BUT, I am not allowed to give it to Evan until he is at LEAST 9 months corrected age...which will be Feb 28th. Yet ideally older is what they would rather see...more like a year corrected. Ummmm, I don't think so. I understand that because his digestive system is that of his corrected age and not birth age it is harder for him to break down the proteins in cow's milk. But if he isn't drinking the formula then WHAT DO I DO!!??
I actually caught myself thinking...maybe this is God's way of saying..."see, not so easy is it!". I KNOW I KNOW...a TOTAL lie from the enemy! And even caught myself hearing the lie "how would have you handled BOTH your sons if Zac had come home?!" UGH, that thought, that LIE just makes me sick thinking I was actually falling for it. But I tell ya, the enemy knows my weakness. He knows I am so afraid of something going wrong with Evan that he is just firing all these horrid lies at me, and right now I'm weak enough to fall for them! I feel ashamed that I listened to those.
I just so badly want Evan to continue to doing well, and he IS! Even in all of this frustration this week and the lack of his formula intake he has continued to gain weight very well. He LOVES solids!!!!! He goes crazy when he sees me taking out the frozen cubes of premade food I do up for him. And he is so impatient for his food to warm up!
I started doing a trick that my older brother told me they did with their kids during teething...putting the fomula powder straight in to their kids cereal, veggies, fruit. And so far it is working, and I know that Evan is getting the caloric content and nutrients/minerals from the formula. Then we just work at what he'll take from a bottle/cup of his formula and now I just let him sip on water throughout the day so that he stays hydrated.
This morning was a success. He woke up at 1am and had a decent bottle, then another decent bottle at 8:30am. We went for breakfast and he munched on mushy banana, and now he is STILL sleeping!! I'm hoping that because he is napping so much longer and his feed time has gone past the norm that he will be willing to take his bottle...at least SOME of it! His afternoon bottle was a challenge, and then the same with his last bottle. I resorted to using a dropper out of desperation!! And sure enough he would drink it. I'm becoming more convinced it is his gums!
Every nurse/doctor that I've spoken to this week keeps telling me..."TRY not to be stressed especially while feeding him because he will definitely pick up on it!" UGH...I have been trying...but it's hard when in your head you just keep saying over and over "plllllllllease drink your bottle!"
Yesterday morning Evan had his 3rd round of his RSV shots. He knew exactly what was going on when we got in to the room, and when the nurses were ready and were approaching him he already started squirming. I always feel so bad with that holler of pain and then the sad tears...but it usually only lasts a short while and then he is okay again. But before his shots I had him lying down taking his pants off and I am SURE I saw three spots on his top gum where teeth may be working their way through. No wonder he doesn't want to suck!
They also weighed him for me, and since Monday he gained another 8.5 ounces...so that was really good! And helped to put my mind at some ease. He is now 18lb 9.5ou. It isn't so much the weight gain...it's the hydration.
Now, after everything we have been through...the struggle for children, the pain of a miscarriage of our first twins, the agony of pregnancy complications, the devastation of losing Zac, the emotional anxiety with Evan in NICU...I don't feel like I am allowed to have feelings like any other normal mother. I feel like I should only ever feel greatful and never have a moment of stress or frustration. I feel like I don't "get" to feel "normal". I feel guilty when I have a moment of frustration or anxiety. I feel guilty where I just need a good cry. I feel guilty when I need to get out of my house for a "break".
You have this perfect idea in your head before you try for children and then when you do...this perfect little place where there is nothing but good times and nothing bad ever happens.
Then when you do experience sorrow, pain and NOTHING normal or typical in the quest for a family...you feel guilty because a family is all you ever dreamed about.
Some days I feel very lost and forgotten. Some days I wonder where people are. Some days I wonder where God is.
Evan's feed tonight was a struggle, but sure enough...I saw at least 2 teeth trying to poke through. So I will keep that in mind the next time I feel my anxiety/stress rising during a feed. But afterwards Brett was off to hockey and Evan and I had an AWESOME night of rolling around on the floor, playing with toys, reading books and watching a baby einstein. OK...the movie was more occassional glances because Evan was WAY too busy to just sit still! He is so active it's insane!
As the boys first birthdays approach I feel myself feeling awkward and unsure as to what to do. Of course this is a big day for Evan, but I also want Zac honored and remember on his birthday too. I really want to do something in memory of him that will help others through the loss of a child, especially a multiple. I want it to become a yearly tradition. But I find myself feeling paralyzed when I actually start to brainstorm. I can't believe this is how I am to honor one of my sons! I'm just so afraid the day will go by without mention of my sweet little Zac. Yet, by no means do I want Evan overshadowed...because there is MUCH to celebrate and rejoice over with him!!!
Anyhow, if you could please pray for Evan and his poor little gums, and that while this is going on he will be able to stay hydrated properly and eventually get back on schedule with his bottle. And PLEASE could you say a prayer or two for me...for peace, for patience, for healing...for many things.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

10 months ago tonight

...our boys entered our world far too soon. 10 months ago tonight our lives changed. 10 months ago tonight my faith was taken to a whole other level. 10 months ago tonight I learned yet another harsh lesson in a fallen world...not every prayer has the outcome we hoped/prayed/"expected". 10 months ago tonight I felt like I had aged 20 some years in the moment of one breath. And 10 months ago I began the hardest journey yet...living hand in hand with great joy and great sorrow. It's hard to believe that it has been almost 10 months since Zac and Evan were born. Zac at 10:51pm and Evan at 10:52pm. It's hard to believe that life has carried on without Zac in our home...at least not in the way we dreamed, hoped and prayed. He will forever be a part of our lives, our home, our hearts, our memories, our past, our present and our futures. Just because he is not physically here with us does not mean he no longer saturates our family and our lives. Last night at Costco we ran in to a teacher from highschool days. We had Evan with us...and there it was "is this your first?" My blood always runs cold when I get asked that question, and between Brett and I, our answers always differ. However, I just kind of lowered my head and let Brett answer. My answer usually starts out "not technically..." That's when I wish the answer was already labelled on our foreheads before anyone even asked the question so we didn't have to figure out how we are going to answer people! Ugh. It will never get easier for me. And every time we/I are caught off guard and we answer "yes"...my heart explodes in to a million pieces. I want to scream and shout or show pictures or tell of Zac and Evan's story. And thinking about it right now brings tears to my eyes. Again. I always said that whatever the outcome I wanted Zac's life to touch people and that I wanted to honor him in being the best mommy I can be for his little brother. Yet...the journey hurts. The valleys can be so low, yet the happy moments are like standing on a mountain side looking at the most beautiful sunset ever. Yet it isn't just Zac's life I want people to be touched by. Yes...I learned a lot (and am learning still) through the heart break of losing my little boy. But I'm learning so much through the life of my precious son Evan. This little boy is every answered prayer that was spoken for on his behalf. This little boy proves to me that yes, some times miracles happen and sometimes miracles happen in hard and sad ways. Both of my sons are miracles and answers to prayer. And I will never disrespect that. This journey feels so lonely sometimes. I am grateful for friends who have remained constant and present in my life. I am grateful for the words of encouragement I am given through an amazing support system I am a part of (Hannah's Hope - what would I do without this support site and these amazing women who have walked by my side...yet we have never even met!?!). I am forever blessed by the love of my husband and his strength and his patience and friendship and laughter...and tears. I am blessed by an amazing family, and by those who speak of Zac's name and even though tears may come to my eyes...you can see the joy I get in hearing his name spoken. I am FOREVER grateful to a few precious souls who included Zac's name in our family when we were sent Christmas cards! To see his name beside ours...you know...you know who you are, and you know how much that meant to me. Thank you thank you thank you. And to a special friend who sent a little gift with Zac's name on it too! Can I ever express how much that meant to me! You undestand that Zac is still present...and you touched me forever! Thank you! Today I've really been hit by the fact that over these 10 months...life has carried on. It doesn't stop in our joy or our sorrow. It doesn't pause for us to catch our breath along the way. It doesn't apologize for moving forward. It just carries on and makes us move forward with it. We somehow learn how to keep moving and keep living and breathing. We learn lessons from our yesterdays and sometimes through those lessons we can fear our tomorrows of what they might, or might not, bring. We have a choice. Live, or stay in our circumstance. Laugh, or lay down. Smile or hide our faces. Hope...or give up (not in the death sence...just give up on hope in general. Just want to clarify that!!). When I lost our first twins, Jack and Ethan, 2 years ago this past December...I couldn't move forward. I was terrified to go out on my own for fear that people would look and see that I had failed. Terrified that someone would look me in the eye and see the emptiness I felt. Terrified that someone would speak to me and I wouldn't know what to say. Because we lost our precious little angels so early on, not many people knew about them...and that was devastating. But...life went on. So many times I found myself not able to get out of bed. I was paralyzed by my grief and our loss. Then when I returned to work I just wanted to hide from people because hearing about others pregnancies and families were like daggers to my heart. I didn't know who I was anymore. I felt like a failure. Here it had taken so many years to even get pregnant...and then before I even knew our babies were gone...they were gone. I didn't know how to define myself as a person anymore. I didn't feel strong, I didn't feel hope, I didn't feel joy...I basically didn't feel...period! My husband, and my family lovingly came by my side and never left me. They didn't disapear even though their lives carried on too. They walked by me and loved me...and helped learn to live again. And...to hope again. My relationship with God moved to a whole other level. I was desperate to learn more and learn more of women from biblical times and learn how they moved forward after despair to be the women of God they knew they could be. I wanted that. I didn't want to define myself by my desperate desire to be a mother, and then to be a mother of loss. I didn't want to define myself as a failure any longer. I needed to pick myself back up and make a choice...hope again, or give in to the lies I was listening to. Live again, or lose everything that I already had. Believe that I am a woman loved by God, or believe satan's lies that I was worth nothing. I think that is why the loss of Zac blew me to my core. And yet, looking back, I know I always said that these were God's children and whatever the outcome I would be blessed to be a mommy once more. Lets not kid ourselves...when we get the blessing we've always dreamed and prayed for we always feel more strong in our faith and find it easier to make these statements. But when I ruptured with Zac...all that strength and faith was flowing out of me along with Zac's amniotic fluid. I couldn't believe I was being asked to go through such a test yet again. I couldn't believe that I was facing the very thing I was proclaiming "whatever the outcome, these are God's children and their lives are in His hands". And now here I am again...lay down and give up...or pick up and rejoice. I have a choice. CHOICE. Yet...why didn't I get a choice whether or not Zac's membranes would rupture? Why didn't I get a choice as to whether Zac would experience his brain bleed? I can't allow myself to go to these places, because I will never have the answers. I can't ask these questions, because there will never be answers. I CAN live each day feeling Zac's breath inside my heart. I CAN live each day knowing my son lives the ultimate life. I CAN live each day knowing that I am a child of God, and He of all people know what it's like to watch His son die. I CAN live each day knowing that I AM blessed, and I AM honored to be called mommy to all four of my children. And I WILL live each day honoring the blessing and gift that we have been given...EVAN! I WILL be thankful for answered prayers in his life. I WILL be thankful for miracles in this precious little life. I WILL live in awe and wonder as I watch this sweet little boy figuring out life around him. And I WILL teach him about his brother, and about God, and about life not always going the way we think it should. Evan has also had to learn a hard lesson about how fragile life can be...he has had to learn by the loss of his twin brother. Oh my, there will continue to be tearful days ahead. Especially as we begin to face the one year markers and the pain of figuring out celebrations without both our boys together here on earth. For example...their birthday. And then Zac's heaven birth date. I want to honor these in special ways. I want Zac to be honored and remember too. I don't want to pretend we are celebrating only Evan. I can't. Even though this will be a special day for Evan and for us...it is still a part of Zac's life too. As is his passing date. I will not accept Zac not being mentioned or honored too. I am so blessed to be Evan's mommy. There are so many times where I wonder if I'm being a good enough mom, and some days where I feel like the worst mother in the world. But I watch this little guy growing and learning and laughing and loving. And I know we are going to be okay. I am blessed to have met so many women who, sadly, understand. And to have this support in a way that only a parent of loss can support. Not that support from all our friends and family isn't as strong, oh my, it is...but there is something about being a part of this sad unspoken "club" so-to-speak. Especially when someone has lost a multiple. Even though we understand the bottom-line pain...no one can fully say the "understand" because each persons pain is so individual. But in this common thread there is a support that we each need. I am learning so much through Evan's life. This little guy makes me laugh so much, and reminds me how much I can love and believe and hope in the past, present and future. He is reminding me of the person I want to be in my faith. The person I was before the loss of Zac, and the person I will evolve to once again. And once more, there it is...CHOICE. Am I going to continue to live in anger and question God and blame Him...or am I going to finally concede to the fact that death is a part of this life, a part of a fallen world. God does not DO this to us to bring us to His feet, He helps us through it in the palm of His hands. Today I feel strong. Tomorrow I might not feel AS strong. But I owe it to my children to live the words I have spoken through these past couple years, especially these last months. Life will always hurt, but in how we heal is up to us. And my fight to find my way back to God's arms and strength is back on. I hope you will continue on this journey with me. Thank you for being a part of our lives and thank you for prayers, support and love along the way. This journey is not over! "And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:10-14 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Continue on the journey with me! Blessings, Heather

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year

Breakfast fun! This was from this morning. Evan is NOT a fan of cereal! So prefers to mash it all over his face! hee hee hee
Evan is TOTALLY in to biting his upper lip!!! It is the most hilarious thing I've ever seen!!
It almost looks like Bailey ate Evan and now Evan is trying to escape!!!! AH HA HA HA HA
Reminising - This was December 25/08 with Zac and Evan! Ahhhh, I miss that belly of boys!
Reminising - December 25, 2008 with Zac and Evan still blissfully inside! I was 18 weeks.
Wow, I can't believe it's 2010. It's hard to believe that this time last year I was still blissfully pregnant without any knowledge of the events that were soon to transpire. I have to say...I almost forget what it was like to be pregnant having missed my third trimester!! And to be honest...I MISS being pregnant! I miss every discomfort and every bulge and every movement and even every sleepless night! After almost 10 years...you cherish the things that a lot of people "complain" about. And even though you "complain" too...you do so with so much gratitude and thankfulness, and then remember to stop "complaining". It is everything you ever dreamed of and hoped for. You don't want it to stop before it's supposed to! And when/if it does before it should...you miss everything you should have kept experiencing. And it's hard to watch those who carry on to term because you wonder what it would have been like.
Anyhow, I'm unbelievably grateful for what I DID experience. I cherish each day of those 28 weeks.
New Years was fairly quiet. But that's good with us. We've never been ones to make a huge deal of New Years. We prefer to hang with friends and just enjoy each others company. But this year we just hung out at home so Evan could sleep. Ordered pizza and watched the Canada/US hockey game with my parents. OK, well Brett and my dad watched...mom partially watched...and me...well, whatever...I don't often get in to watching hockey on TV. So I started crocheting a little blanket for Evan. We'll see how that turns out!! Could be one of those funny keepsake kind of things!
Evan just keeps getting more and more active and more and more curious about everything around him. The other night Brett and I were watching him trying to figure out attempting to get up on his knees...which quickly turned in to a faceplant on the carpet...but it was crazy to watch the wheels in his head spinning! I know he wants to get places quicker...and once he gets crawling...WATCH OUT!!! I'm going to be racing all over the place!!
He is still working on his third tooth to totally come through. I can see it, but it's not completely there yet.
He is absolutely enamoured by music and when he hears it he starts doing this humming thing!! Maybe I have a singer on my hands!! Except Brett told me he was already looking at hockey sticks for Evan the other day! Heee hee hee hee. That's okay...I'm TOTALLY up for being a hockey mom, or whatever sport/activity Evan chooses!
The last couple of weeks have been nice not having appointments to race to with Evan. December was pretty crazy! We have a couple of appointments next week. One is his standard appointment with his physio and OT, and then his 3rd round of RSV shots. But other than that, we have a pretty appointment-free month. PHEW! It will be busy enough with packing up our house and getting it ready to sell! We aren't that far off from the new house being ready.
Anyhow, on that note I should sign off and get back to thinking about the packing I plan to do today!! I am TOTALLY procrastinating!!!!!!