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

Monday, April 30, 2012

The dream of the Glider Chair...

The Glider.
I dreamed of the day I would rock both our sons in this chair...

While home on a 5 hour day pass from the hospital after rupturing with Zac. 
Being pregnant was the only time I ever got to rock BOTH of my sons in this chair.
I cherish every single day I was able to rock them both, together, inside of me.

A much smaller Evan enjoying some rock time on his own :)

The first kiss from a girl...in the glider!
Evan and Marley...
How I adore this picture for so many reasons of these two true miracles!

Even after taking out Evan's crib and setting up his big boy bed, the glider remained!
Though hardly ever used. 

A few days ago when I finally realized the glider was taking up more space than was being used.
I tearfully (literally...tears welled in my eyes!) carried the glider up to our bonus room.
The blanket draped on this chair is one given to me from a precious friend in Scotland in memory of Zac.

I've always loved rocking chairs.  I've always loved being rocked!  My favorite childhood memory.  Being rocked and having my mom play with my hair.  Makes me smile right now as I think of it!

I dreamed of the day I would get to own my own rocking chair.  Dreamed of the day I would rock my own child/ren in that chair. 
So when Brett and I decided "the time" had come to start our family...that rocking chair was my goal :)  It was front and center in my mind. 
I couldn't WAIT for the day we would make this purchase that I had always dreamed of.

I never thought it would take 10'ish years of trying to have a family for the dream to become a reality.

When we finally got pregnant with our first twins, I was excited, yet guarded.  So...we waited to buy that chair.
The waiting ended in the loss of our babies.  And it hurt to have never had a moment in that chair with our precious, fought for children.

When we got pregnant again with Zac and Evan...this time I wasn't waiting.  I told Brett that this was the present I wanted for Christmas...even though we bought it before then :)
Brett bought me that chair.  We brought it home.  He set it up in our living room. 
And I glowed with joy and pride.
I finally had a rocking/glider chair. 
I would rock my sons in that chair!
And every single day of the time I had with my pregnancy...I rocked in that sweet chair.
I rocked my boys together inside of me.  I wrapped my arms around my fast growing belly and smiled.
I told our boys how very much they were loved, desired, dreamed of, hoped for, wanted.  How excited we were to bring them home!

I never imagined that this chair would never experience both of my sons, together.
I never imagined the story this chair would hold.
I never imagined the tear stains it would hold. 
I never imagined...

The days I was able to come home on a 5 hour day pass from the hospital during those terrifying days after rupturing with Zac...I would come home, and sit in that chair, and pray, and cry...and rock.  And wrap my arms around my crazy big belly, and feel my boys kicking and rolling around.  Still believing that both of our sons would come home through the end of this fear.  Still holding to hope that both of my sons would be okay.
I prayed that this chair would experience the tender moments of me with Zac and Evan together in my arms.  That there would be spit up from both my boys.
That as they grew they would sit and play in this chair together.
That this would become THEIR special spot for us to read together, to calm sad moments, to lay weary heads on my shoulders as they would both drift off to sleep.

The days after I finally came home from the hospital after having the boys, and Zac going home to heaven...I entered our house and I cried.  I went to that chair...alone.  Without EITHER of my sons. 
I sat there and cried that this chair would never again know both of my sons.
I sat there and cried in fear of whether Evan would come home or not.
I sat there and cried as I sat in that chair...alone. 

Yet...this chair brought me comfort.  Though my dreams were broken and my heart was a mess and life was forever changed...the chair still brought me comfort.

I thought of each of those days I sat in that chair.  Together.  With our sons.
I thought of every. single. one. of those short days.
Of the dreams I had, and now the prayers that my heart was screaming out to spare Evan's life.
I clung to the preemie outfits we were given for both of the boys before we knew the outcome.
I cried to God to hold Zac, Ethan, Jack and "Whisper" together in His arms, and to rock them together and tell them all how very much we loved each of them.  How grateful we were...ARE, for each of their short lives. 

When Evan finally came home 66 days later after the boys were born...that chair became OUR spot.  Mine and Evan's. 
So many cuddles. 
So many snuggles.
So many times I would rock Evan until he would fall asleep in my arms.
Content.  Loved.  Home.
So many tears I cried over Evan...tears of gratitude and joy and blessing.
So many prayers whispered over his little life.
So many giggles and laughs and stories read together.
Our moments.
In the glider chair I dreamt of.
Oh how I adore and cherish those moments and memories.
Tucked tightly in my heart and mind.

So when I was in Evan's room the other night (2 to be exact) cleaning up some toys and stuffed animals, I looked at the glider chair that has been mine and Evan's comfort chair since the day he came.  I realized that we have used it together MAYBE twice in the last 6 months at least.
And I realized...the time had come.
The time to allow Evan's room to become all "big boy", and that the time of the glider chair to live in his room had come to an end. 

The tears were literally welled up in my eyes as I carried that treasured glider chair up to our bonus room.
On that chair, a very special blanket given to me from a dear friend in memory of Zac.
That blanket remains on the glider chair.

Now the glider chair has become MY special place.
My place to go and remember days past and days lost.  Memories gained and memories treasured.
My spot to go and rest my head and feel the comfort of that chair.
With a special blanket I wrap around me and close my eyes and see Zac's eyes as he looked at me his short days of life.
The chair that I had dreamed of for so many years.

Do I wish I might have the chance to rock another child in that chair?
Yes, of course I dream of that.
Will it happen?
Only God knows.

But for now I am just so grateful for all that I have been blessed with.
And the memories that this chair holds.

I love that chair, and moving forward and taking it out of Evan's room was a HUGE thing for me.
Moving forward is never easy. 
It's scary to see how fast time passes.
It seems like yesterday I rocked with boys my sons growing inside of me.
Like yesterday that I would rock daily with Evan once he came home.

Man, I love that chair.

Friday, April 27, 2012

So many Thank You's...

Today was a special day. 

Each year around March 6th, I like to do something special for the NICU where Zac and Evan began their journeys in this life.  I like to do something in memory of Zac and in honor of Evan's birthday.  Something to find some peace in knowing only one of our two sons are blowing out birthday candles and being showered by friendship and gifts.  Something to find peace in my own heart and a goal to find some sort of "sense" without Zac here.  A goal and a joy to settle the stabbing ache in my heart as I prepare for a party that Zac will never be physically present at. 

Doing something for the NICU does that for me.  It provides a goal for me.  A sense of "peace" in the fact that Zac is not here another year.  A way to bring a small bit of healing in knowing I'm doing something to remember him and to share him with others.  Something to hopefully bring joy to another parent going through the NICU journey.

It feels good to drop off whatever donation has been gathered that year.  To say "in rememberance of Zac and in celebration of another birthday for Evan..."
It feels good to be able to say "thank you" to nurses and doctors who worked so very hard and with so much love to provide the best they could for BOTH of our sons.

I need this.  I need to have a way to celebrate BOTH of our sons.  To have a goal to celebrate BOTH of their lives.  To say thank you.

This year I was blessed by friends and family who participated in my donation collection of journals.
Journaling was my lifeline through each NICU day and still is. 
I began journaling shortly after Zac's funeral.
I would have started earlier, but for obvious reasons...my head just wasn't there.
But once I began journaling...I couldn't stop.  It's a journal of each 66 days Evan was in NICU, and then I just continued it to this day.  I hope one day Evan will be interested in reading them, but regardless...it was my way of working through the scariest days of our lives.
So, thanks to the idea from another baby loss mommy who's daughter passed away in NICU...I decided this journal collection was a wonderful idea.

Today Evan and I dropped off 43 journals, and a ton of little crocheted hats that my grandma made.  She still can't believe that a head can possibly be THAT tiny to fit these hats.  And is always asking if I'm sure she is making them the right size.  And I always smile and say "I'm sure baba.  I'm sure because it would have fit Evan just perfect!"

It was an extra special day for me as I met the new NICU Family Liason Nurse today.  Our sweet Doreen retired before I had a chance to talk with her one last time, so when I called thinking I was leaving a message for Doreen but ended up leaving a message for Shannon, I explained who I was, who our sons were/are and about the donation I had to drop off.
Last night I listened to my messages and Shannon had returned my call and said "actually Heather, it's me, Shannon...who was with Zac the first night the boys were born.  I was with him that whole night".  As I listened to that voice message I began to shake and my eyes filled with tears.  Brett looked at me and asked what was wrong and I said "It's SHANNON!  She's the new NICU Liason!"
Brett and Shannon had known each other way back when they were both in school in Moose Jaw...so when the boys were born and Brett saw her...I think it was really helpful to see a familiar face. 
And so when I saw Shannon walk out to meet me today, and I saw the tears in her eyes, I just hugged her and we both just started to cry.  It meant the world to me to see this sweet angel, and to now know that she is the new NICU Liason...the contact for each of my donations and Christmas baking!  That this person, one of the first, who was so lucky as to get to know my sweet Zac, was back in our lives.  I will never forget after Evan came home and on his 1st Birthday there was a card in our mail box wishing Evan a happy birthday and remembering Zac.  It was from Shannon.

So today was extra special and extra emotional, and when I got home...I just had a good cry and allowed myself to feel the emotions of walking back in to that unit and seeing this sweet girl! 

To each of you who contributed to this journal donation...I can't thank you enough.  It means the world to me that you have continued to contribute to these yearly donations...and it just really touches my heart that you choose to remember Zac and celebrate Evan with us. 

I know that these donations mean so very much to the staff, and to the parents whose lives are touched by them.  So I thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me in these moments.
Truly, thank you!!

A sweet moment was when Evan and I got off the elevator to the NICU floor, there was one of the house keepers in the hall whose face just LIT UP when she saw Evan and I.  She is one of the cleaners on the NICU unit...and so to see how happy she was to see us, and who remembers us so well...it just really melted my heart! 

I won't lie...I've been struggling these days.  The struggle of pure joy and gratitude and adoration for Evan and the pure sadness of missing Zac so very much has been pulling me in all directions.  I know it has been elevated due to our recent unsuccessful embryo transfer, and feeling really sad about that.  But the reality is, that tug-of-war of joy and sorrow is a daily part of my life.
But being back and the hospital, having every second come flying back to my mind as if we had just left there with Evan...tears have been shed today.  Tears of sheer thanks to God for sparing Evan, tears of sheer love and pride of BOTH of our sons and the fight they gave us, tears of missing my sweet Zac in my arms.
It doesn't help that a few of my favorite shows have been dealing with really tough scenarios. 
I love the Little Couple.  Watching their struggle with their IVF procedures, their miscarriage, their unsuccessful embryo transfer and now an unsuccessful egg retrieval...it breaks my heart, yet they are so inspiring too.
Yes, I also love Private Practise.  I do.  But this last episode on Tuesday night broke my heart.  One of the doctor's finds out her unborn baby does not have a brain...and this doctor is a neurosurgeon.  In one part she is yelling at her sister-in-law and saying "I would be mad at God, but there is no God.  No God would do something this painful".  The outcome for her baby is leaving this earth.
And now tonight on Grey's Anatomy, a resident gave birth to her son very prematurely.  25 weeks I think?  Anyhow, for the past few episodes it has gone through the struggles of a premature birth and they pretty much went through everything that could go wrong with a baby this early.  Sadly...I understood everything they were talking about.  But on tonight's episode, this baby undergoes surgery for another bowel obstruction only to find out they can not do anything medically.  This baby, Tommy, is not going to survive.  And the mother is left to make a decision I know first hand of how brutally agonizing it is.  To say goodbye.  To know your son is not going to make it, and to use those final moments to hold your child you've never been able to hold, and knowing that in holding your child in those moments, it is only to say goodbye to each other on this earth.
Each of these shows have been hitting on very personal cords.  And though it is heart breaking to watch these shows, I am so grateful that they are bringing light to what some of us are faced with.  It's not just a TV show script...it's real life for some of us.

But after today, after the joy I felt after dropping off these donations...I am grateful.  For a lot of things, including my scars.  And the wounds that are still trying to heal.  Though I wish desperately those scars did not mean such agonizing loss...without them, I would not have the children in heaven that I have.  I would not have the child I am honored to mother on this earth.

So to share some joy with others...has been healing.

Now...if only I could get to sleep!  I would be grateful for that too!

Journal donations and crocheted hats (by my baba) to RUH NICU in memory of Zac and in celebration of Evan.

My sweet Easter Bunny

Evan's new 2-wheeler with training wheels.  So proud of his new bike!

Seriously...SO ADORABLE!  He doesn't go anywhere without his Spiderman cap!

Me and my buddy!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"It is well with my soul..."

This weekend was a tough one.
It was my sister-in-law's mom's funeral.
I still find myself thinking...was that really real?  Is she really no longer here on this earth?

It happened so fast.  Her illness was short, but drastic and ultimately led her home to heaven.

And that's the thing with life. 

In the blink of an eye...and it changes. 

Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the glory of eternity.

But never the less...in the blink of an eye.

It was touching to hear the tributes of Sheila's life.  To learn a side of her I really did not know.
To hear the love of those around her.
To learn of her deep faith and desire to know God more.

A few things hit me as we sat through the service.
The most obvious...mortality and what type of legacy I would leave behind came to mind.  I sat there wondering, "who would come to my funeral?  What would they say about me?  What memory would I have left behind?  Would people REALLY have known ME?  Would they have the memories of me that I would hope they would?  Would they know how much I love?  How much I care?  How desperately I just wanted to friend those around me?  That people in my life meant something very special?  That I prayed for each of them? "

I also found myself DESPERATE to be conscious of what type of mother I want to be.  The legacy I want to leave behind for Evan.  To have Evan know without a doubt how cherished, loved, adored, desired, prayed for, longed for he was and always will be.  To have him know that every night as I lay beside him while he falls asleep I lay my hand over him and pray the very best of all God has in store for him.  The hopes, desires and dreams that I have for him.  For his health, his happiness, his strength, his integrity, his wisdom, his love, his future wife and children (so should God have planned out for him).  For every cell, organ, bone, muscle, tendon...every inch of him is covered in prayers of protection and health and wellness.

For him to know that he is more than enough.  That no matter what...he is enough.  And my heart is overflowing with love and adoration for this much desired, dreamed of, fought for little boy.
That ever second of pain and disappointment and sadness on the journey to have our babies enter our lives...has been worth it. 

I never want Evan for a SECOND to ever wonder if I truly loved him enough.  I want to cover our little boy in hugs and kisses until he pushes me off and tells me I am embarassing him (though secrectly I hope that he glows inside). 
I want his memories of me to ones of pure love.  That his memories of me will be ones of strong parenting and friendship delicately balanced.  That there is never a question of how much every single second of our life together has been my greatest blessing and honor.

Of course, the other thing that raged through my mind during the funeral service was, Zac's service.
The memories of the days of Zac's life.  Knowing what it is like to witness your loved one's last breath.  The memory of knowing the moment Zac no longer took a breath while in my arms.  Knowing in that moment that he was home.  And that he would no longer hurt.
But also the feelings of sheer confusion.  WHY did his sac rupture?  He was a perfectly healthy precious little boy up to that moment.  It had nothing to do with HIM.  It was the sac around him, there to protect him, that ultimately failed him.  ZAC was perfect.  So WHY?  What purpose was there to such a thing.  And in this age of medical technology and breakthrough...how is it that there is nothing that can be done to repair a sac?  And for 5 weeks as each movement I made created a new rush of loss of fluid and knowing there was that much less to help Zac breathe...WHY would God choose not to allow a miracle of repairing that tiny tear in the sac?  WHY? 
Then the agony of facing Zac's funeral.  All the eyes on us as we walked in.  I still feel the eyes on us.
But the beautiful service.  Oh my, the day may be a blur, but I remember the feeling of the beauty of the service.  And the words spoken.  And the love in that room.  The love for a little boy no one got to meet and know.  The love for US in support of the loss of Zac.
How such a little life touched so many.
There are no answers sufficient for the "why".  I don't think I'll ever have the answer to the "why".  And at this stage...the answers wouldn't help anyhow.  It wouldn't change anything, and it wouldn't make it okay.  So I have to hold to just knowing that Zac is home.  And we will be together in again.

In the mean time...Sheila gets to hold my boy.  ALL my babies!  I won't lie...I'm a bit jealous.  But glad that she is able to get to know them all and tell them about me until I can get there too!

I also found myself thinking about who I am as a wife.  Wanting to just have my husband know without a DOUBT my love and devotion for him.  How PROUD I am to be his wife.  How BLESSED I am to have him as my best friend in life.  How DESTROYED I would be without him. 
I found myself thinking about all the little nit-picky things that can get in the way of joy and love.  I see the struggle and pain and sorrow we have walked through together, and have come through hand in hand.  Yet, how easily those same pains and sorrows could destroy a couple. 
I thought of my role as a stay at home mom, and wife.  How easy it is for me to get annoyed at socks dropped randomly through the house all balled up.  How much I wish I had central vac just to suck them all up, and for no other reason but for those socks :)
I thought about how frustrated I can get over piddly little tasks that really, in the big scheme of things, just don't matter and honestly...if I really wanted I could just do it myself.
The times where I found myself asking why I am the only one doing such and such. 
Well, seriously...it IS my job right now!  I may not get paid, or get a raise or get flowers on Professional Administration Day.  I may not hear "thank you" after each task.  I may not get a physical pat on the back.  But this is the role I have longed for.  The role I asked for.  And so it is with a renewed sense of my role that I change my stubborn attitude and face each task (as mundane and repetitive as it may be) and say "thank you God for the opportunity to have a husband to pick up socks after, a child to race around after, a dog to clean up after, a meal to prepare, a house to tidy". 
THANK YOU for the blessings of my life.
THANK YOU for the scars.  Though I wouldn't have chosen some (or all) of the scars...they make up parts of who I am today.  And without those scars, I wouldn't be the same.  I don't know if I would have the same fight within.

I choose to fight for the joys of life.  And be thankful of each of God's gracious blessings.

The other part of this weekend is that is was so close to our last visit.  Our last visit where Lil' Pretty came in to our lives for a short while.  I found myself thinking back to each of those days over our visit and the trip out to pick up Lil' Pretty and coming home knowing we were coming home as 4 instead of the 3 we went out as.
So being back in the same city where our clinic is, was tough for me.  Confusing.  Sad.  And grieving this child I will never know on this earth.

Again, how quickly life changes.  In the blink of an eye.

One of the songs sung at Sheila's funeral was "It Is Well With My Soul". 
The story behind the man who wrote this song is utterly amazing.  Horatio Spafford, I believe.
A story of loss and tragedy...and then to read these words...wow.

"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way.  When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come.  Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed his own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!  My sin, not in part but the whole.
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul

It took everything within me not to break down as I held Evan in my arms with his head resting on my shoulder.  To feel the blessing of his little life in my arms, and the sorrow of the pain of loss in my heart...it was a tough moment.  And though there are many times where things don't feel well in my soul...I know they are.  I know it must be well with my soul, because my loving God loves me that much more than I could ever comprehend.  That my sorrows are His sorrows, and my tears are shed along with His. 

Life is precious.  Cherish each moment.  It is so easy to get distracted and caught up with all the silly little things and nit-picky frustrations.  But cherish it...because it ends all too soon. 

I want to leave a legacy of someone who loved fully.  Who cared deeply.  Who trusted God even in the most confusing moments of life.  Who lived my life well. 
I want to be a mother who leaves her child never second-guessing and feeling my love carry on even though I may no longer be present.
I want to be a wife who can see the pride, love and respect on her husbands face.  That when I come in to a room I see a light in his eyes and a smile on his face.  That I know I have walked this journey with him well.  And supported him and have had him know how loved he is.

And I want those around me to know my faith.  That yes, I may have reason to some to turn my back on what seems to be a silent God at times...but that they would see that is not the case.  That in those seemingly silent times it is then that God gives me the most strength to move forward and continue the walk of faith and trust and relationship with Him.  That He never fails.  And that my relationship with Him is worth every battle as well.  That I am a loved child of God.

And through the ups and downs of this earthly life I will say "It Is Well With My Soul".

Blessings to each and every one of you through the good and dark times of this life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm not going to lie...

Sometimes it's so much easier to say "I will be okay no matter what..." when you aren't going through the "no matter what" part.
Sometimes it's easier to put up walls around your heart so you feel "protected" from heart ache.
Sometimes life is rough, confusing, INFURIATING.

I'm not going to lie.  A few weeks ago, my mind was in the "I'll be okay no matter the outcome" mindset.  I was so logical and "brave faced". 
Now being IN the "outcome" point...I'm just not okay.
I WILL be okay...but right now, I'm not.  I'm disappointed.  I'm sad.  I'm heart broken.

We had a frozen embryo transfer on April 1st.  I guess my mind went straight to the "am I going to turn out the fool?" when I heard my transfer day.

I will say we were blessed by two precious embryos developing in to blastocyt stage.  I won't go in to explanation or medical terminology as to the difference.  Simply put, a blastocyt is further developed than an embryo.  In transfer language and stats, one blast is similar to transferring two embryo, but GREATLY decreasing the chance of multiples (which is where we are at.  We will never, ever, ever do a multiple embryo/blast transfer again as we are terrified of the risk of a 3rd multiple pregnancy). 

We did lose two sweet embryos in this process, but I fully believe that one day I will meet even these precious two little children one day in heaven. 

On April 1st we had our transfer.  And the 2ww (two week wait) began to see if this sweet precious little one would snuggle in.

I knew we had a strike against us.  My endometrial lining no longer wants to respond to medication, or thicken like it "needs" too.  My clinic prefers a minimum lining of 7mm.  But after 2 cancelled cycles due to poor response on my body's behalf, we came to the conclusion that .5mm under the "optimal minimum" would suffice.

It was all in God's hands.

I prayed He would grant this precious one life.  And for whatever time this little one tried inside me...he/she lived.  Even if it was minutes.

Yesterday was my birthday.  Another year older.  I secretly hoped I wouldn't hear the answer from my blood test from the weekend on my birthday.  I didn't want that to be something that would mark my birthday.  I was relieved that my doctor here does not work on Monday's, however, she must have been curious too because...I got the call.
When I answered and heard her assistant...I knew the results.  I knew it wasn't good, or my doctor would have called to celebrate.  Instead, the assistant called.  And my heart plunged to the ground.
What a great birthday present to hear that once again, your body has betrayed you and another little one.

I know, that's irrational and unfair thinking on my behalf.  I know that many women conceive and lose a child even without knowing.  I know that blaming myself and my body is not what I should logically do.
But when you hear nothing but "negative" year after year after year after (well, 11 years worth)...it gets really heart breaking and numbing.

Before our transfer, after and through the wait, I kept assuring myself I would be okay.  I was just relieved that we were able to go for the transfer at all.  The way things have been going with my body, we didn't even know if that was ever going to happen.  And transferring with a "lesser" lining...I knew it was a hit against us.  But I also knew that God is bigger.  I knew that if this little one was to grace this earth, God would be bigger and would be thicker than any lining I may need. 

I know God did not let me down.  I know He did not "take away" a miracle.  But I won't lie.  I feel hurt.  I just hoped.  And hope is becoming harder and harder to hold on to.

After I heard the news, I felt like I had doomed my little one right from the start.  Like I received this little one to an awaiting tomb.  My mom HATES that I call my body a tomb.  And she is right...it's not right to talk to my body this way.  It's just where my mind goes...because that is the lie that gets thrown at me.  Have I ever said how very much I love my mommy!  Seriously!! 

Before the "negative"...I think my gut always knew the answer, but I had really secretly hoped.  I generally REFUSE to let myself day dream or think of the future of a positive.  It is waaaaaay too dangerous for my heart.  BUT, for the briefest moment...I had day dreamed.  I had let my guard down.  And then hearing that this little one would never bless our home and family...my heart broke.

Please don't start thinking or telling me about how I am already blessed and that I should just be grateful for Evan.  I KNOOOOOW how blessed I am.  I am the FIRST to know.  Don't roll your eyes and release a big sigh about how ungrateful I might sound.  Don't presume to understand if you have not been in the same situation.  And do NOT try to tell me that this little one didn't really exist just because it did not implant.  This Little One was my DNA, my husband's DNA...this Little One was created, dividing, living, growing.  This Little One existed indeed.

The heart break I feel over the loss of this little one is unique to THIS LITTLE ONE.  It has nothing to do as a reflection on what blessings I HAVE been given.  It is not a sign of lack of love to Evan.  It is not a sign of my ungratitude or lack of appreciation that I have more than some.  I HAVE been that person dreaming and wishing I could be in another persons shoes wishing and praying I could at least have one child or a chance at a child.  I've been empty armed, I've walked away from treatments empty handed and broken.
I've silently screamed inside as I listened to women whining and complaining about pregnancy while I would have given my right arm for it.
I do get it.  And I do understand how someone might look at my situation, someone still hurting and longing, and maybe think I'm being over-emotional over this loss. 

I truly know how blessed I am.  I don't need to be reminded of that.  I just need the opportunity to grieve the loss of the Little One.  And then I will be able to process and move forward.

These losses truly do make me appreciate the gift and miracle of conception even more.  When you live in the world of ARTs (Artificial Reproductive Technology), you have no choice but to know when eggs have been retrieved, fertilized, transferred, and hopefully implanted.  You KNOW at the time of transfer that this little one was dividing and growing as it should.  But when you hear that negative...then you know, your body did not accept it.  And THAT my friends, it a very tough pill to swallow...no matter WHAT the reasons may or may not have been.  When you live in the world of ARTs...you come to realize how precious each little one is, and how surprising there are as many children conceived (naturally or OUR naturally - ARTs).  It's a fine dance.  I fine line.  You have no idea.

I look at Evan, I look at Zac's pictures...and I see that miracle.  That wonder.  That amazement of conception and birth.  I also see what all can go wrong, and what all can go right. 
I look at the one and only ultrasound picture I had of Jack, Ethan and where Whisper had been for a very short while...and you know.
Life is fragile and precious.

My grief over these lost FETs isn't because Evan is not enough.  By NO means.  But is it so wrong to have been given a taste of the joy of loving a child so much that we would love to share that love with another child, and give Evan the joy of a sibling!? 
It's because we know love. 
And because we have these little ones still.
And we would love to know them.  To experience them.  To have them a part of our family.

Yes, if our remaining 2 blasts do not produce a pregnancy or a living child...it too will be heartbreaking.  It too will be a loss.  Especially because after these two little ones are hopefully transferred (Lord willing my body will even ALLOW me to get to that point.  Lots of prayers needed there!), after the final transfer...that is it.  There are no more chances.  Our journey comes to an end.

I know that miracles and miracle conceptions happen.  I've been witness to a few extremely precious miracle babies...but someone elses story does not equate what may happen for us.  I'm not being negative and speaking "dark" in to our lives...I'm realistic.  I'm too grown up to live in someone elses blessing and miracle. 
What one person is blessed with, and one persons story is NOT a "sign" that it can/will happen for us.
And it's not about what we "deserve".  It's not that we "deserve" another child or that joy.  We'd LOVE it...but it's not like we are "owed" it.  Each person's story is unique. 

I know I will be okay.  My heart is beginning to heal from this.  I know I have two choices...sit in anger and self blame and self pity...or get myself refocused.  Focus on my relationship with my God, who I KNOW has great plans, whatever that may or may not involve.  I KNOW His love is beyond imagine for me.  And I KNOW that He wants the very best for us.  So...instead of continuing to allow myself to listen to the devil's lies and condemnation, I choose to continue to rely on God's unending love.  Yes, I'm sad that this Little One did not make it, but I know who holds this Little One.  I know that God's hand is protecting this little life until we meet again.
And I guess I can find peace in the fact that this Little One WAS with me, even for a little while.  In the warmth of it's mommy. 

I am so aware of how lucky and blessed I am with even the opportunity of doing these transfers for a CHANCE at another living child.  I am blessed. 

I am so aware of how lucky and blessed I am with the children I HAVE been blessed with.  Even if 4 of my 5 conceived children wait for me in heaven. 

I am sooooooooooooooooooo aware of how lucky and blessed I am to be HONORED with the GIFT of mothering Evan.  I truly never dreamed I'd ever get this chance.  I spent months after the boys were born watching Evan in NICU...wondering...would I ever get the chance to hold him outside of a hospital?  Would he ever come home?

So yes, I know without a doubt how blessed I am.  I am first in line to shout that from a roof top! 

Regardless...it's still hard to lose a child...no matter WHAT stage of life.

Like my title says, today I just can't lie.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Heart Break...

My sister-in-laws mom just passed away 2 days ago.  It was a sudden illness and a whirlwind of shock, and within a few short weeks...she passed away.

In one breath I caught myself thinking "oh to know what entering heaven's gates is like".  I feel such sadness for my sister-in-law and the family...but the idea of heaven, and NEVER EVER EVER hurting again or being ill or having a broken body...seems so precious.

My next thought was "Sheila gets to see my babies.  She gets to help watch over my Jack, Ethan, "Whisper" and Zac.  They are with her.  And I caught myself begging that she would give them all hugs and tell them how very much their mommy loves them.
And then yesterday my sister-in-law texted me and told me how before her mom passed away she asked her take care of Zac and all my babies until I got to meet them again.  How her mom cared so much, and read my blog.
And my heart broke, with sadness for her death, and for love that she cared enough to follow my blog.  It just really touched my heart.

A few years ago, my Aunt and cousin were in a horrible car accident.  My Aunt passed away beside my cousin, who survived the crash.  My other cousin was supposed to be with them that day but last minute chose to stay back.  Had he gone, he would have been in the back seat, which was completely destroyed.  He would have died.

I have not gone through the tragedy of losing a parent.  The very idea has tears streaming down my face right now.  My parents are two of my very best friends.  My anchors.  My support and my wisdom. 
Even to try to picture life without one of them makes my body shake with chills and my heart ache.

I have not gone through the loss of a spouse.  The very thought of that rips my soul out.  I don't think I could bare that.  My husband has been with me through the thickest and thinnest of life.  He has laughed with me, cried with me, longed with me, hurt with me, dreamed with me, supported me.  He is like my second lung...and how could I fully breathe again without both of my lungs.

Because I have lost 4 of my 5 children...I KNOW the pain of the loss of a child.  I KNOW the feeling of losing a part of my life.  And I KNOW how the enemy plays on that fear with bombarding me of horrible nightmares of losing Evan.  I know I have survived the miscarriage of 3 of my babies and the death of my son...but I know I would not survive should Evan ever be taken from me.  I absolutely could not survive. 

I have loved ones who have are are going through the pain of losing a parent...a mother. 
I am a mother who has and does go through the pain of losing her children.

And pain...is pain. 
Loss...is loss.

But eternity...that is our hope.  That is our reality.  That is what we long for and strive for. 

Yet, we are human.  The feelings and emotions we feel after loss are human. 
They are often times outside of our norm. 
They are often dark.
They are often...real.
And to me...that is just fine.
That to me is normal and right.
Loss is not fluffy, and so why should our pain be expected to be graceful?

We don't need to be slathered in reminders of heaven and glory and God's ultimate healing through earthly death.  We know that.  We know that this earth is not our home.  But what we DO need is people who are strong enough to sit beside us and feel and see and hear the "ugly" in loss.  And yes, help hold us out of the trenches of bitterness.  Because bitterness is not a place one needs to end up.  I sure did.  With our first miscarriage...I have NEVER felt so bitter and broken and abandoned.  I felt so lost, and my world just kept feeling more and more dark.
The fight out of that dark hole...was NOT an easy task.  And for those who gave me their hands to help pull me out...what a blessing.  What a blessing to just be loved and gently guided through that time.  Not with cliches.  Not with being hammered over the head with bible verses.  That came at the right time, and gently.  And gently...is what brought me back.

When Zac passed away...there are no true words to describe what I went (and go) through.  I felt like two separate people wrapped in one.  The grieving mommy was beyond broken.  Beyond anything I had ever known.  I felt the blackness swallowing me up again.
Yet...there was our sweet Evan, fighting for his life.  Our 2lb wonder.  And I knew I HAD to find a way to shine out my joy around my Evan in those dark NICU days. 
And being by Evan's side and oozing joy and love wasn't a chore.  It wasn't a forced action.  It was true and real.
Yet knowing Zac would never again be beside his brother...I still don't know how to appropriately express that feeling.  You just can't.  It truly is like night and day.

It feels like right now there are so many special people in my life going through loss.  And it breaks my heart.  The reality of loss is painful.  The fight to remain hopeful...that's the tough part.
Knowing the road to healing...it's a long one.  A road that needs so very much TLC.  Often times just an arm around the shoulder.  No words.  Words can't "fix" loss.  Words often times come out in a way a person never intended.  That's when it's the arm around the shoulder.

I know we have the ultimate arm around the shoulder.  I know God holds us.  I know He carries us.  I know He cries with us and hurts in our pain.  He will wipe away each tear.  Yet, He will also allow the reality and truth in our tears to flow.  He doesn't ask us to be brave and just smile and say "sure, I'm ok"...that's what we do to ourselves.  We think we need to put on the brave face.  I know, I've done it.  I do it.  I guess at a point in grief you just start to feel like you've "worn your welcome" for tears and sharing the struggle.  It's not right to feel that way, but we do that.  Yet, we don't have to do that with God.  He knows.  We can't hide the reality of our truth.  And that is okay. 

My heart is with each hurting person.  My prayers are with us all. 

Please pray for my sister-in-law and her family as the funeral for Sheila will be held this Friday.  Please pray for safe travels for those of us travelling to the funeral.
Please pray for comfort, for peace, for healing, and for acceptance of grieving processes.

I'm praying for so many tonight...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A day no parent should endure...

This morning there is a couple who are facing their baby daughter's funeral and burial. 
This sweet little girl was a surviving twin, to her predeceased brother.
This precious angel was born with severe heart defects, and she underwent surgery, and fought a brave fight to heal, but sadly she did not survive.

Hearing that news was agonizing.

And knowing that this moment these sweet parents and their family gather to celebrate her precious little life...it causes every single fiber in me to ache and wheep for them.

Knowing this day for them...it brings me back three years ago.  The day of Zac's funeral and then his burial.

Walking in to the church.  I still don't know how my feet carried me in.  Obviously God was in my shoes that day, because all I wanted to do was run.
Walking down the aisle to the front pew with everyones eyes on us...I just wanted to scream "please don't forget my son!"
Facing Zac's tiny white casket.  It still feels like a sick nightmare.

The service was beautiful.  Brett did a precious powerpoint presentation of photos and music.  The pastor read my tribute and thanks.  But in honesty...so much is a blur.
What I do remember is last moment leaning over to Brett telling him "I want to help you carry Zac out".  Brett was going to solely carry out Zac's casket, but in that last moment...I knew I had to be the one on the other side carrying out our son one last time.  And as much as that moment tore me apart, I am so glad that I did it.

Again, only by the strength that God can supernaturally provide. 

The burial...another "this really isn't happening" moment.  That tiny hole.  The cold weather around us.  I was supposed to be rocking my baby boy with his brother in a warm room...not standing by a grave site.

Yet, God provided the strength in that moment as we watched our son's casket, and then drove away.

The days after.  Relearning life.  Even now...I don't know how I do it. 
The joy of Evan allows me to breathe and to live.
The pain of losing Zac will never fully be gone.

The thought of what I would have done had Evan not survived?  I can't even begin to pretend to imagine.  Even going through the loss of Zac...I can't pretend to say I could comprehend what this precious couple are going  through as they grieve the loss of both of their babies.
It's not how life should be.  It isn't.

No parent should ever have to endure this type of pain.  No parent should be facing their child's casket instead of bassinet.  And yet, many of us parents must face this brutal loss and pain.

So today, as this couple endure the pain of their daughter's funeral and burial...can you please take the time to cover them with special prayers!  Because they are going to need every. single. one of them!