Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eden...the garden of the LORD.

Isaiah 51:3 .....Eden, .....the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

I read this last night on my journey through Isaiah. I've taken it out of context a bit, here Isaiah is actually talking about how he will comfort and restore the Jewish people (Zion). The full verse actually reads; 
            "3For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody."

I've never read this verse before last night and we've had Eden picked as a name for our second daughter for a long while now. I have often, this last year, felt like captured Israel, waiting on the Lord to restore me and revive me; to come charging in to save the day and make all things in my world right again. So many times I've said, "But Lord, my son is still dead. Are you JUST going to stand there and watch? You know, YOU CAN change all of this if you want to." Because God, of course, needs reminded by me of what He can and cannot do??? Um, no. But still, why then? Why am I fighting this battle if all he has to do is speak and all my trouble will be put to rest? The best answer I have is "I-dun-no?" I do know that out of the ashes (ha! no pun intended) of the last year I have grown closer to Christ. My walk is more beside Him, instead of running ahead or struggling to catch up from behind. I know that I trust his promises more fully now and have witnessed His faithfulness in my darkness and unbelief.

So if He promises to comfort and restore Zion, which is also a promise he gives to me, then I will believe Him. And it is no coincidence that this verse holds so much meaning to me AFTER we picked out Eden's name. Beauty, joy, gladness, thanksgiving and a voice of melody (which I take to mean a heart full of praise, rather than a beautiful voice); what more could I ask for in a daughter or in my own healing??

The book of Isaiah has been such a comfort to me during my pregnancy, it's taking a long time to read it all, but that is mostly because it takes so much time to process all the gems I've found there. The whole first half of the book is about how God will lay waste to the people of Israel because of sin, but then you come to a turning point when God decides that it is time for His children to be reclaimed and ransomed. God so perfectly balances wrath and mercy, righteous hate and love, justice and grace. I almost stopped reading Isaiah in the first half because I was so confused by how my good, loving God could choose and cause the desolation of the ones he calls His children. It's because justice, wrath, and righteous hate are each 100% of God's person just as mercy, love and grace are. And, frankly, if God isn't going to exact wrath on Satan and sin, I want nothing to do with Christianity. But He is/has/will, so I do want in.

Since it is so close to Christmas, I though I'd pick a Christmas song. O Come Emmanuel is one of my favorites and it fits this theme of God rescuing and restoring so nicely.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Will and Grace

For a long time I've thinking about Will and Grace. It's not what you think. What I mean to say is Free Will and Divine Grace, not the T.V. show. That is - the freedom we have to choose and the grace God provides when our hearts become rebellious toward Him and we do something stupid, i.e. sin. Lately I have been concentrating mostly on grace, how I express it to others, and the amazing lengths God has gone to show it to me.
   Now I want to tell you a story. There was once a young girl, beautiful, smart and full of passion for the things of God. She was a leader in her church among the youth and everyone had high expectations of her. This young woman did all the right things and said all the right things to all the right people. But somewhere in the mix of the world she allowed her mind to go astray. She began thinking wrong thoughts. And soon after, during her last year of high school she met a handsome man. This man fell in love with this girl and she fell in love with him too. But because the young lady's mind was already compromised and her heart was full of rebellion, she soon began to give in to temptation. Her lust for the young man turned into fornication. She was a genius at hiding it...... lying had always been an easy specialty for her so no one need be the wiser. But the Bible is always right and it promises in Numbers 32:23 "..... be sure your sin will find you out." And so it did, the young woman became pregnant just weeks before she gradated high school. So ended a respected reputation and many other things. It is now 4 1/2 years later, and God has been so good. She married her handsome man and has a new and better relationship with Christ built on truth and trust and much grace.
     Recently the young woman heard of a leader in a nearby church who's sin has found him out also. He and his wife are going through a divorce and their are rumors of an affair. Several affairs actually on the part of this man. As far as the young woman knew this was rock solid marriage between two Godly, Christian people. But like her own past life, it has been a facade for many years.

Now I get to the juicy parts..... the young woman is me (many of you already know this) and I do actually know a man in this position but he needs not to be named. We can all think of someone with a similar story. So insert whatever name that immediately comes to mind for you.

When I heard this story I was instantly 1)Shocked, 2)Angry, 3)Judgmental. That's right, I pointed the finger with the rest. And I'm ashamed for having done so. Out of all people I should have been the first to pray for repentance and healing for this family, I should have been understanding and full of grace. How quickly I had forgotten just what God brought me back from and where he has carried me to. What this man and his family need and will continue to need is not harassment or whispers or wagging of tongues, but compassion, grace, and prayer. They need kindness and forgiveness and to be able to come to their fellow Christians, even in their brokenness and find love. My daughter has a book with a poem in it that goes like this;

Little words can mean so much
When out hearts and lives they touch
Once little word none can replace
This little word is Grace.

It means no matter what you do
God's love is reaching out for you.
So if you've been bad today
God's grace is just a prayer away.

That is the best definition of grace I have ever heard. It is not making excuses for sin. It is not ignoring it. It's not condoning sin. It is not even allowing someone to continually hurt you with their sin. It is loving the person in the midst of their sin. No matter what you do, God's love is reaching out for you.

I saw Mr. Insert Name out shopping just the other day. He didn't have a cart, so he wasn't there to grocery shop. And he was walking around sort of aimlessly it seemed. If I were going to guess.... I'd say he was lonely and bored and just needed to get out of the house. And then I thought about the likely hood of his having spent Thanksgiving alone and how he will also likely be spending Christmas alone. There is always consequence for sin. This man would hardly look me in the eye and would barely speak to me, trying as best he could to avoid me. This is the brokenness and death of sin. I told him I was praying for him, but I wonder does he understand that my prayers are for healing? For those around him to show compassion, kindness, and grace? That someone will come along side him and reassure him that God still wants him, wants a new, better, deeper relationship with him? And even wants to one day use him again? I know that when people used to tell me they were praying for me I always thought they were patronizing me. Or were asking God to make me stop sinning, to be a "good girl" again. But maybe some of them were asking God to heal my heart and bring me back into a passionate relationship with Christ. Maybe some of them were asking God to show me how captivated He is by me and how much He loves me.

I am so thankful for my Free Will to choose Grace instead of condemnation. I am thankful that God allows me to choose to show others the love He has faithfully shown me. For what is love if it is a forced love?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Critical Mass and More Change

I haven't blogged for a while for several reasons... the first being this was a hard week, the second being I (almost) single-highhandedly blew-up a perfectly good day, the third being there have been several changes in plan pertaining to this pregnancy that I wanted to get ironed out before sharing here.

Most of you are already aware that we reached the one year mark last Saturday. Saturday was November 12th, the day Asher died, he was born early the next day. Saturday was sunny, windy and basically beautiful. I didn't feel a huge sense of sadness.... in fact I was happy all day.  I wanted to be sure the day was one where we celebrated the life God gave us to love... even if it was only for a painfully short time.  This is the part where I tell you I acted like a psycho and basically ruined the whole day.  Our plan (my plan that everyone else agreed to because they love me and they love Asher) was to take sky lanterns (see Disney's Tangled - it was my idea first, they stole it) and sparklers (not my idea, I stole it from another mom who had to bury her own son 8 years ago) out to the grave site just before nightfall. I wanted to draw or write messages on the lanterns and set them off and then do the sparklers. The whole day went fine until I needed to wake Nolan up (he works nights and hadn't gotten much sleep - 2 hours- that day) to leave. I had a really hard time getting him out of bed, and then when I did it took him awhile to actually wake up and get motivated to put shoes on and get ready to leave. So we were running about 30mins behind. Well... at some point I blew a gasket and went postal on him. Like the ugly, hateful, screaming insanity you see on Jerry Springer. It was pretty close to Carrie-style ridiculousness. So here we are finally in the car and I am letting Nolan have IT and I'm not slowing down anytime soon. He tells me to take him back home but I yell back "You can WALK!" So at the next stoplight he gets out and walks home which makes my pissed meter shoot through the roof. 

By the time I make it out to Garden's of Memory I was at critical mass levels of irate. I stopped the car and got out with the intention to be calm and normal. That did not happen. Thomas (my brother) got out of my parents van and said, "Do you need help?" I yelled back "No! I need a new husband!" And then I just started ranting again. I was crying and raving and shouting. At one point I yelled at Nolan's dad..... not one of my best moments to say the least. Later that night, after I'd calmed down, Nolan and I were talking and he very sweetly said "Don't you think you overreacted?" At first that made me aggravated again, but he quickly followed with "What would have happened if you hadn't gotten mad? We'd have been late, but there would have been no fight and I'd have went with you to the cemetery." So then I cried.  I didn't want him to be right. I wanted to be right. So I pouted..... I might have a hidden 14 year old inside - maybe. But eventually I saw that he really was right and that I had a lot of apologizing to do.

Moving on to Sunday - mostly because I don't want to elaborate to you anymore how nuts I became. Sunday was actually much sadder than Saturday. Sunday was Asher's birthday. I never even got one birthday with him. Sunday at church so many amazing women knew just what I needed; prayer, hugs, sitting with me. And one young woman knew that I just really needed to be somewhere else at that time. So so asked me if I wanted to go for a drive. It was wonderful.  They knew what I needed and gave freely.

I am blessed to have so many understanding people around me. Which brings me to my next announcement. We've decided through lots of prayer and research to switch care providers. This decision doesn't have anything to do with the care I was getting with my Midwife (she's been wonderful, and I will actually be seeing her for my post-natal care), but has everything to do with the fact that we decided we wanted a hospital birth because of the availability of on-the-spot interventions should I or Eden need them. We are healthy and there is no reason to suspect we will need them. But for our own peace of mind we have decided this is what we want. I looked at several hospitals and I decided I like Methodist because of their willingness to support natural birth. So I can have the natural birth I want with the medical stuff at the ready. I still hope to one day have a home birth..... but for now this is where things stand. I would love to know many of you are praying for a smooth, wonderful birth. And for labor to begin at or just before 40wks - again, peace of mind.

February can't come soon enough.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Being Real, Pride, and Many Hands

At first I wasn't too sure about posting this..... but it's part of the journey. Last Thursday morning Nolan and I had what should have been a tiny tiff, but in my head it was HUGE. Now I can't even remember what it was about, but I do know that I cried for the hour-long drive to see my chiropractor because I was so upset. And then I put on a happy face and had my appointment, when we left I cried for the hour drive back home. This was not a once-in-a-great-while thing, this sort of ragged sorrow had been raging for about 3-4 wks, maybe longer. And I was so anxious I started to question every decision I was making and even questioning some my core beliefs..... which is just NOT like me. Once I make a decision I stick to it - good or bad.
    When I came in the door I just put on an icy frontier and went about cleaning the house as normal.... but I just started to cry again. My poor husband was so bewildered. I told him that how I looked on the outside (a crying, freaked-out mess) was how I was feeling every minute of every day on the inside. I told him I couldn't take this anymore. We decided it was time to talk to someone and ask about an antidepressant. I was able to get a prescription sent to my pharmacy for Zoloft. As far as antidepressants go it is about the only one that would work for my symptoms and be semi-ok during pregnancy. There are certain risks that go along with just about every drug and the same is true of Zoloft. I was pretty nervous about taking it, but I also knew I could NOT go on feeling the way I was feeling. Feeling crazy, and so very sad and anxious ALL THE TIME was not good for Eden. It was also really starting to hack away at the relationships with my family. So I decided to take the pills. I took them for two days and had a weird side effect. I started shaking, like the kind of shaking you do when you shiver violently from the cold - except that I wasn't cold. I couldn't sleep because of it and (after much more research on side effects) decided not to take it anymore. It took another day for the shaking to totally stop.  I started taking extra B-complex vitamins and really upped my Inositol. These measures have really helped and I feel so very much better.
   I feel/felt so ashamed about saying that I was not in a good mental place. It was hard to even admit to myself that something was truly not right upstairs and that maybe I needed help. In the past I've been the level-headed, reasonable one. I've always been so proud of keeping it all together. But maybe then I wasn't being real with those around me. Maybe it was a front..... heck, I know it was a front and I know that I got really good at fooling others into believing I had it all under control. I think I was even proud of that....  Proverbs 16:18 - "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." And so I fell, hard. Lucky for me I have many hands waiting to help me back up.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Trying to Get Lost.

If memory serves me correctly, today was my due date with Asher. Or maybe it was the 28th?? Ask my mother-in-law, she will know. She remembers every date of every thing that ever happens (it's like a super-power.) I can't remember because I don't put a lot of stock in due dates..... and so I wasn't super focused on a day as much as I was a block of time. This is when everyone around me started getting nervous....... somehow they all knew something wasn't right. But not me. I was basking in the glow of my son. I distinctly remember how very nervous Nolan, my mom, and Nolan's dad - Jim were. They had no real reason to be.... I was feeling fine, Asher was acting fine, the ultrasound I had the Monday before I had him said everything was perfect.
These last few weeks have been hard. I feel angry and sad and happy all at the same time. Having these intense emotions has caused me to start shutting down emotionally. I can detach emotionally and go into autopilot mode if I need to. However........ at some point during the week it all comes crashing down and I  am a mess for hours. Last Saturday I started to drive home from my in-laws, but instead drove way, way out into the country. I drove for almost an hour down narrow country roads trying to get as lost as possible (I cannot get lost, even when I try). I just kept driving. I kept thinking that I wanted to go somewhere that wanted me. I didn't want to be with people...... people need something from you...... and i had nothing left to give. But heaven didn't want me, if it did I'd be dead. My empty house didn't want me. I had been a wreck to be around all day and felt like my family didn't want (to be around) me. So I just kept driving. Who wants an emotionally volatile, grieving, exhausted, pregnant woman????? I wondered, and wondered: mentally and physically. The sun was to my back and it lit the dry corn and bean fields with that long, golden autumn light, which hints at the cold winter to come. I turned down every road I could turn on - purposely not looking at the road signs. Eventually I came to a tiny, old church with a small, old cemetery right next to it. At first I was going to go into the church.... but then the weather-beaten headstones of the oldest graves began to beacon me. They said, "We want you. Come see us." It's so difficult to describe..... part of me is buried in the ground with Asher. Part of me will never be satisfied with this life, always longing to go to my real home, my forever home. And part of me is in every cemetery that I pass. I know that an untold number of tears have been shed in each one. I know the sane insanity of disbelief when standing over a tombstone you picked out and paid for. I know the draw to walk near the body of the one you put in the ground.
As I walked around reading about those who had been buried I gravitated toward the back where the really old graves were. I discovered among them a sad, and terrible trio. The headstones told the story of 2 little girls and a baby boy from from the year 1834. I like the way they marked the stones back then. Nanny Cull died August 27. 1 year, 3 days. 1834. Next to her was her twin sister who died the next day. And next to her was their 12 day old brother who died one week later. So a mother gives birth to a son, 5 days later both of her twin daughters are dead, and a week after that so is her son. Three babies in the ground in less than 2 weeks. Did she loose her mind?? Did she ever have any other children?? What happened?? Who held her hand as she stood exactly where I was 177 years ago?
I left soon after my discovery. Knowing that others have stood where I was and cried and were angry too was helpful. I am not the first mother to loose her baby to an early grave, and I will not be the last. I got in my car and drove back to my in-laws..... never did get lost.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"I Miss My Brother, Asher"

Tonight I held my baby girl while she sobbed into my chest. She said, "I miss Asher. I miss my brother, Asher. Can't Jesus give him back to me??" Don't tell me children don't understand death and loss. Don't tell me their little hearts aren't broken.
I told her we will see Asher again when we go to heaven. She said, "I don't want to wait, Momma. I miss Asher."
Me either, Baby, me either.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

When I Need to Laugh......

Some days I just need to laugh. I go in search of whatever sorts of things I can drown out the noise of the day in and just let out a hearty-har-har. There are lots of things I do...... without further ado (in no particular order).

Number One. Awkward Family Photos. Many of you already know about this little gem.... go ahead spend an hour. Giggle.

Number Two. People of Walmart. Now, I also recommend actually GOING to a Wal-mart just to people-watch. It's free and entertaining.

                    Also this related classic. Enjoy.

Number Three. Call grandma. Give the phone to your toddler. Sit back and listen. Good for at least 30mins of entertainment....... maybe more if there is a grandpa in the room near the grandma. :) This also works well as free childcare if you have a chore around the house that needs done and you need your toddler to be entertained.

Number Four. Watch old reruns of The Cosby Show. You'll thank me later. Also watch Psych. Very funny.

Number Five. My husband works with all men. All these men tell him dirty-ish jokes. Occasionally he'll tell me one or two. And it makes me laugh. He told me one this very morning. No! I'm not going to tell you. You'll have to ask your OWN husband to tell you dirty jokes.

Number Six. Swap "Poop" stories with other moms of toddlers.

Number Seven. Swap "Crazy Huge Mess" stories with other moms of toddlers.
     (These last two also work well if you have children of any age with other moms.)

Number Eight. Get out your mom's wedding pics from the 80's or later. Again, you'll thank me later. Also ask her for Prom pics. : ) (I realize some of you who read this ARE the ones who are IN these golden-oldies pics..... but the rest of us just can't help but laugh.)

Number Nine. Find a teenager. Ask them to tell you about high school. This time with my brother and sister make me laugh so much.

Number TEN!!!! Think of all the funny things your toddler does.
  Example. Vera comes to me holding a new block of soap with a rubber duck stuck in the middle that she received from her Aunt Emily. I'm on the phone with my mom.
Vera (standing and staring at me): "Mom. I need a tell you sumpin. I tinken'."
Me (slightly confused, but she's so darn cute anyway): "Ok, honey, you just keep on thinking. Thats a good job." I continue to talk to my mom.
Vera (stands next to my chair for another 30-45 seconds): "Mooommmm, I said I tinken'!!!!!! Can you put me in a baff wiff my new soap???"
Me: "OH! You STINK and you want a bath! (then between laughter) Ok, go take your clothes off. I'll start the water."

Try some of these if you need a good laugh. Get your endorphins flowing. Laughter induced belly ache guaranteed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I Surrender All

   I was reminded this morning of a hymn we sang at Asher's funeral. I asked for it to be sung after my sister-in-law told me she had been singing it and praying for us. She said she was asking God to help us surrender everything we had dreamed of for our son. All our hopes and wishes, all the good and blessing we had anticipated. Before her note I had never looked at this song in this light. I had always thought of surrendering the bad things..... the unhappy memories. Or surrendering the life I have now for a better one  in Christ. It never occurred to me to think of surrendering my right to blessing and joy in place of God's sovereign will, in place of suffering.
   I sat next to my husband and while other's sang Nolan and I sobbed along with our families on both sides. I know that was one of the times the Holy Spirit prayed for me because I could not pray..... I could only sob.
   I got a fresh lesson on surrendering on Saturday. Nolan and I spent the day celebrating our belated 4th anniversary (It was really on Thursday). He went hunting in the morning while I finished up some homework, then we went out for lunch. After lunch we drove to the cemetery together for the first time since Asher's funeral. I held my dear Honey's hand as we walked around looking at the headstones of many new and old (some as old as 1943) baby graves until finally we came to our own baby. I had to surrender it all again. I cried into Nolan's shirt as I have so many other times this past year. He held my hand as we walked back to the car and barely choked out, with a lump-in-your-throat voice, "That sucks." Which is not something we say in jest or lightly anymore.....

These are a few pictures of his headstone that Nolan picked out. Every time I look at it I think of how much thought Nolan put into picking this one. And how he made sure to get one that had a vase because he knew I would want to bring flowers out there. I took these on the day I wrote the Cornflowers and Queen Anne's Lace post back in July.

   The second stanza of I Surrender All is the one (for now) I most identify with and it goes like this:
             All to Jesus I surrender;
                Humbly at His feet I bow,
                Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
               Take me, Jesus, take me now.

               I surrender all,
               I surrender all;
              All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
               I surrender all.

A few days ago my sister-in-law (she's so wise) sent me a link to another blog. This particular post was about cutting the bungee cords of the past so you can live in the now and not be continually bounced backward. I have been thinking about this and I know that I want to really live in the now. But I also know it is not as simple as just "cutting the bungee cords". I think it has more to do with surrendering. Surrendering my sadness...... my pain...... my longing to hold on to every little detail of Asher. And surrendering my fear of the future. It's easier, in a way, to live in the past. I already know what happened.... nothing to surprise me and turn my world upside-down again. I don't know what tomorrow holds or next year or in 10 years. I guess I will just keep surrendering and ask for the strength and courage to live in today. In His presence I daily live. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Some of the Things I Will Never Forget

Monday was our ultrasound. We are having a........................ HUMAN BABY!!!! Yes!! Score!! Just kidding, we're going to have a baby GIRL!

And she is truly already SOOO much like her big sis. She even lays in the same position already as Vera while I was pregnant with her. We don't have a name picked out yet but we do have a 'Master List', of which we slowly marking off names. She was so energetic under the wand. It was beautiful to watch her move. And the technician even mentioned how she was "rolling around" but not so much making huge kicks. She waved at us a few times and it warmed her mamma's heart. : ) This is the first thing I will never forget.... the feeling of wonder and privilege and blessing I felt while seeing my new baby girl. Peaking into her world and knowing that God has blessed me with one more. I have felt these feelings before and wasn't sure if I'd let myself "go there" again this time.

2) I will never forget the peace I had in the midst of learning my son was dead. I had heard others talk about the peace that passes all understanding but to experience it for myself was life changing. I was still terribly, horribly devastated, but I had peace. I cannot understand or explain it, but I had it.

3) I will never forget the kindness of my nurse, Anne. If you are a nurse, know that YOUR kindness toward a patient may impact their lives forever.

4) I will never forget being moved to the cancer ward after having Asher. The nurses didn't want me to have to stay in Mother/Baby when I had no baby. The first shower I took was in Oncology. When the warm water hit my back it reminded me that the last shower I had was while in labor. Back in this shower I looked down and saw a bit of bright red, post-baby blood run down my leg, across the floor and down into the drain. I sat down on a chair inside the shower and cried again. When we went to order flowers 2 days later I could not even look at, let alone buy the red roses. That color hurt my heart.

5) I will never forget the profound sadness of those around me. The hurt I saw in their eyes. I saw questioning in their eyes. For a moment even the strongest, most mature Christians I know were shocked with God's decision to allow the death of a baby. They too had to face the ugliness of sin and death and ask God again if he was truly good. It helped me to know I was not alone in my doubt.

6) I will never forget my dad holding Asher after his body had gone cold and saying while sobbing, "I just can't get him warm. I just can't get him warm."

7) I will never forget the instant fiery anger of my mother when she first arrived at the hospital.

8) I will never forget waking up to find my mother-in-law holding Asher and singing to him. For one split second I wondered if he was alive and I'd dreamed it all.

9) I will never forget explaining all of this to Vera and the fact that she was mad at us and didn't want to talk about it.

10) I will never forget the message my sister-in-law sent me. And how she cared for me up close when she could and from a distance when she's couldn't be here.

11) I will never forget the day of the funeral. It is eternally burned into my mind. Every single thing about that day. Nolan and I driving to the church. How the funeral home forgot to bring the casket spray. Riding in the funeral home's limo to the gravesite. Wishing I could shoot a paintball at every car that didn't pull over for the funeral procession. How the yucky gray sky opened up for just a few minutes and the sun shown down on Asher's casket. Laughing with good friends at the dinner afterward.

12) I will never forget the night Nolan went back to work. I laid down in bed with one of Vera's baby dolls and stared at the empty bassinet. Empty was and still is some days how I feel.

13) I will never forget this past year. The kindness and compassion of others. The surrealism of it all. The darkness of the nighttime. The swallow-you-whole grief. And the days of intense, almost shocking joy.

14) I will never forget my son. I don't expect anyone else to remember, it's beautiful when they do, but I don't expect it. But I will always remember.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Graceful Fish

I went to bed at 10pm and now it's almost 1am. I laid in bed for two hours having pretend conversations with people in my head (oh like YOU don't do that too), imagining what would happen tomorrow at the ultrasound, and deconstructing today's events. I have never been able to sleep the night before the Big Reveal, I just get too amped up. My brain keeps trying to power down but then I have another thought and WHAMM-O! I'm wide awake again. Our appt. is at 8:25am, and it takes and hour to get to where we are going (more about this ridiculousness later), so that means the alarm will go off at 5:50am. Incase you don't feel like doing the math that is less than 5 hours from now. Oh well.

I told Nolan this evening that I am afraid to get excited to see our new baby. And I actually feel apprehensive about going. I was crying out to God this last Friday and saying over and over "I can't love anymore. I can't." I can't take that chance anymore. This gaping hole is so deep and wide, I can't love anymore.  God just let me cry. I never expected to try and steal my heart against love. I never wanted to, and have always believed in the old adage; It's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, but right now that doesn't feel 100% true. I know I should pull myself up by my bootstraps, step back and look at the whole picture. I know I should see my circumstances through the lenses of Christ. I know I should.... but it won't come right now.

This baby is moving as I sit here blogging. He/She doesn't move a whole lot..... enough, but not a ton; this baby really only moves at night - or at least that's when I feel it most. Around 11pm or so I start to feel a lot of movement, not enough to keep me awake, but enough to remind me to breath because this baby is alive and okay tonight. It feels like a large goldfish inside my belly. They are not the sharp kicks and punches of a kung-fu fighter, but more the rolling, twisting, quick, yet careful movements of a graceful dancer. I wonder if this says anything about this child or if I'm just letting my mind lead me around by the nose again. Perhaps this child will be deliberate in their thoughts and actions. Perhaps if it is a girl she will have a natural fluidity that I have never possessed. Maybe other's will be drawn to her poise and grace. Or will she be gifted with the powers of silver tongue. Perhaps if it is a boy he will have the natural stalking prowess of his father. Perhaps this is a child who will walk and not run, converse and not shout, day-dream about adventure. I feel that maybe this will be a careful child, a pondering child. But, again, maybe my imagination is simply getting the best of me.

I feel like I can hardly wait to be done with this pregnancy. I just simply want so skip ahead to February. It seems like such a long time away. It will go by fast from here on out though..... October to February are always a whirlwind around here. I still don't want to wait. By waiting I feel as though I'm tempting fate to strike again..... giving death one more chance to pounce. But I will wait. And wait, and wait. And baby #3 will come sooner than it seems.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Disappointment and His Trusty Side-kick, No Hope

When I was small I loved Disney movies. I wanted to be Cinderella. Or Bell. Or Mulan. I wanted to have grand adventures with a handsome prince to save me when I got in over my head. I wanted to be loved so fiercely that nothing would stop my Love from getting to me. I wanted the evil witch to die. I wanted to live happily ever after with said prince in a beautiful castle. And for a very long time I lived in the delusion that life would most certainly turn out this way for me. That if I just dreamed hard enough my life would be a fairy tale.
     I still enjoy Disney movies, but not in the same way as before. Now they are merely empty stories. And this cynicism continues to grow. I don't believe in happily ever after. I just don't. Not in this life on this earth anyway. Disappointment has gotten the best of me. Things are not and have not turned out the way I thought they should or the way I planned. For so long I've tried to hold on to the hope that everything will work out, but it's not. And it won't. I turn the radio off when someone begins telling a story where good things finally showed up. Where a change happened. But I'm worn out with hoping and dreaming and wishing. If I don't hope and dream I cannot be disappointed. If I don't get up I can't be let down.
    It sure seems like a crappy attitude, but it's really a form of self preservation. I can't keep playing a game expecting to win only to loose every time. Eventually you just quit playing. My capacity to keep hoping is so empty, its like trying to fill a bucket from a dry well. It's not simply from loosing Asher...... it's loosing Asher on top of all the other things I don't talk about here because it wouldn't be appropriate.
   And the worst thing about my cynical attitude is that it doesn't allow me to rejoice when other people's dreams do actually come true. Always in the back of my mind is the thought that something will ruin it, something will turn the good into bad. They'll see.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Russian Mafia and a Bottle of Moscato d'Asti

Walking in this place I could tell my husband had put a ton of thought into dinner that night. It was dark, secluded, lit candles on the tables with barely enough ambient lighting to see what you were eating. Nolan, who was wearing a charcoal gray suite walked up to the hostess desk where, to my shock, THEY greeted HIM!
    "Hello Mr. Ritchie. Wine tonight??" I was in such shock I didn't even hear the rest of the conversation, but simply followed my husband to his "usual seat". Vera, our 3 year old daughter, was walking beside me and wanted to know when they were going to turn the lights on. I laughed and told her they didn't have anymore lights to turn on. Our babysitter had canceled on us this evening so we decided to bring her along. She was loving it.
   When we arrived at the table, another surprise awaited us. Our table already had 2 people sitting there. The woman was a short, with thin, square glasses. She wore her red hair in a neat bun at the back of her neck and a simple, long, black dress with short-sleeves. The man at the table was wearing a suite. But in the dark I couldn't tell if it was black or dark gray. His hair was black and gelled into a slick backward swoop - not attractive. He too wore glasses but they were clearly only for reading as he was looking down his nose through them, seemingly engrossed in a russian novel called под землей or Underground (I learned a bit of Russian in college, but nothing enough to speak it fluently)
   He looked up at us as we approached and with worry in his voice said, "Ritchie. Glad you made it. Sit down. Something has come up." 
   Next the woman (who's name I later learned was Jean) turned the computer she was ferociously typing on toward us. It was a video of a tank driving through a city and gunning down whomever happened to be there. Nolan covered my eyes just as a pregnant woman and her small child walked around the corner of a building into direct view of the tank. When he uncovered them again the video had ended and Jean was turning the computer back toward herself. 
   Suddenly Nolan started speaking russian in a low, dangerous voice. I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HE SPOKE RUSSIAN! I know he said 'wife' and 'daughter', 'danger', and 'night off'. Next Case (the man) and Jean started to argue back - not in english, thanks. My head was spinning by now, what in the name of all that is sweet and savory was going on?? That's when I spotted it... the bottle of my favorite wine, Moscato d'Asti. I grabbed it up, ripped out the cork and poured myself a generous glass. I downed that, and poured another; which I had the good sense to drink a bit slower. 
  While these strangers were arguing with my husband the server showed up again with a booster seat for Vera and she and I sat down. Thankfully I brought crayons and a notebook and that kept Vera entertained. Eventually Nolan also sat down, but the frown on his face went almost to his knees. I asked him what was going on, and who were these people. I should have drank another glass of wine before hearing what he had to say next. "Darling", he said (I nearly swoon when he calls me that) "I am a member of THE counter intelligence agency - as in CIA. And the people sitting across from me are my bosses. They have decided that tonight we will not be having a nice quiet dinner, but instead taking out the top 12 leaders of the russian mafia. 
   It took a few minutes of silence for me to process this. And yet, when I finally spoke, "Ok, but we have to feed Vera first. Otherwise she'll be cranky the rest of the night.", was what came out. Really?? Mom mode?? Always?? My husband is taking me on the first ever CIA take-out mission date and I'm worried about food?? Well, luckily Jane had already taken care of this. Immediately a server came out with 2 large bags filled with to-go dishes and a giant container of warm garlic bread. 
   In the blink of an eye Case, Jane, and Nolan had all swooped out of their seats, packed away anything that needed to be taken with us and hurried Vera and I out the door (I made sure to tuck away the rest of that bottle of wine) and into a white SUV that happened to be waiting for us. Our driver was a woman about my age with straight black hair. We piled in, (Vera's car seat was already strapped in???) and off we went. Vera and I were all the way in the very back with the food, so I proceeded to open the bags and pass things out. Vera snacked on bread while I passed out the rest. Jane and Case ate hungrily as if they had not consumed a bit of food for days. Nolan crunched through his food while reading the report on tonight's mission. While chewing through my wild mushroom and pumpkin ravioli it occurred to me that we were not IN Russia. Um, were we GOING to Russia? So I asked. As it turned out, the 12 men we were after were in the United States and planning another tank killing spree in the nations capital. But for now, they weren't even in D.C., they were holding a jam session in a bar just 20mins drive from the restaurant. As our driver, Case, Jane, and Nolan kept talking about The Plan, I began to feel sick. Really sick. What if Nolan got killed. What if Vera got killed. What if they killed everyone but Vera and then took her away to live in Russia?? What if, what if, what if......???? But I didn't have long to stew because just then the SUV slowed down and the three operatives jumped out. They were heading for an old style building with a lot of people inside having a meal and apparently singing. We kept driving, but slowly and in circles around the block trying to keep an eye on our agents. I wasn't sure what was happening, but suddenly I knew that something had gone wrong. The mafia had Case and were chasing Nolan and Jean in an antique black Ford. Jean ran toward us and I reached out the window just in time to grab the front of her coat and dress. I pulled her in through the window and yelled, "Where's Nolan??!!". She pointed to a fierce looking woman driving the vintage car. She had ahold of Nolan's collar and was dragging him along the road. 
   Just in front of us the rest of the mob had Case and were beating the daylights out of him. They threw him into the car and I shouted to the driver to run over the mob men. She did so and they tumbled like bowling pins. As we passed the car I jumped out of ours and into the Ford. Then I began to beat the fierce woman with every part of my body I could use. She let go of Nolan to fight me off. When her attention wasn't split she surely had the upper hand and began to bash me about the face. Fortunately Case woke just then and shot her in the head. The blood spattered on me.... at this point I threw my head over the side of the car and hurled. When I'd recovered, I noticed Nolan was holding my hair back. Somehow he'd gotten into the car and was swiftly taking out the remaining mob members who had survived the run down with the SUV; which was about 30 yards in front of us now. Once the mob was dead, we signaled to our vehicle to stop. Case, Nolan and I climbed out of the Ford and into the SUV. I hugged my baby girl and cried while Nolan held me until we got home. He first carried Vera in, she had fallen asleep on the ride, and then came back for me. I told him I could walk, but he just carried me anyway. He laid down in bed next to me and I cried myself to sleep. 

And this is why I never get good sleep. Because in my dreams I'm helping to fight the Russian Mafia because my husband is in the CIA. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nothing Deep to Say Today

Tomorrow I'm going to start an Art Therapy group at BSU. I have to have a meeting with the therapists first so they can make sure I'm right for this group and that I'm not going to hurt anyone once I get there. I'm VERY excited about it. I got the email about a week ago and really felt like it would be a good idea (and if it turns out to be dumb, I don't have to keep going). I was thinking this week that if I had gotten the email any earlier in my grief journey I may not have been receptive to it. I mean..... psh!, I've got my act together of course... I don't need anyone else's help or opinions. I certainly don't need some newbie shrink telling me to draw a picture of my grief or whatever. OK, so maybe I do alright? But don't tell anyone.

Anyway, I had a check-up last week and it went great as usual. My pee was perfect.... my blood pressure was perfect..... my uterus was perfect..... the baby is perfect. So, incase you missed it, I'm practically perfect in every way (name that movie!).  I so wish I could video tape a check-up/baby appointment with my midwife. It is SOOO different from going to the Dr. She wants to know if my body is healthy but she also wants to make sure my mind/emotions and spiritual life are healthy too. Mind, Body, and Spirit. Isn't that what I learned in 7th grade health class?? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I'll have my ultrasound soon.... I'll let you know when I have it and - if I can figure out how - I'll post some pictures too. :)

School has been cracking down hard core this week. Lots of homework and very little time to do it. That's why I'm avoiding it by blogging. ........ Hum, seemed like a good idea at the time. I'm only taking 2 classes (its all I need to apply to the program I'm trying to get into come spring) Comm 210 (speech class) and Chemistry 100.  Basic stuff, but the homework is dreadful. I have 37 assignments due by FRIDAY!!!!!! And 2 papers and a speech. Whoo Hoo! So now I should get off here and go to sleep so my brain will function enough to do my homework tomorrow. So, here's to Art Therapy and knowing that you're perfect.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm gonna level with ya. I'm afraid.

I'm not in a great place right now. Haven't been for about a month. I was just fine until we heard Baby3's beating heart. One would assume (I thought) this would take away much of my anxiety and worry. I was under the impression that hearing that tiny little 'paw-paw-paw-paw-paw' sound on the doppler would help me breath a sigh of relief. But it, unexpectedly did exactly the opposite. I am not sure why, but I think, MAYBE it was because before that, this baby wasn't concrete in my mind and soul and heart. That is one theory. I have others but I can't remember them right now.

For the last month I have had a migraine nearly every day. My midwife and chiropractor have been keeping me in amazing physical health. Both keeping a close eye on my body, and working in collaboration to find the source of this pain. While my neck HAS actually been out of alignment in a bad way, it is a physical symptom of an emotional and spiritual problem. It is outward pain caused by inward pain. Have you ever heard someone who is feeling stressed say, "I feel like everything is just piling on top of my head."? Well, that is how I feel and my body is reacting to those feelings by having physical symptoms of actual weight placed on top of my head. So pain in my neck, head, back, knees, and feet.

I have always known that when a person is under great pressure it takes a physical toll on their body, but I never imagined that a body could act as if it really were under literal pressure. And because Asher's death happened after the official onset of labor, I believe I will continue to feel this fear until a breathing, pink baby is in my arms.

A good friend of mine helped me see a bit of light this week. I was telling her about how afraid I am. And about how I so badly don't want to feel fear because I know that fear is not from God. And then she said this; God knows that you are going to fear. He knew how hard this was going to be for you. What He wants is when you feel those feelings of fear that you take it to him. Over and over again. (This is paraphrased, but as close as I can remember.) It was a lightbulb turning on. God doesn't want me to not feel those feelings that creep up on me, but he does want me to take it to him every single time. And not dwell in a place of anxiety and worry. And that is really where I have been. I have been physically ill and also taking my stress out on Vera and Nolan. This is not O.K.

Rush Limbaugh once said, "You don't need courage for the moment your are struck, but for the long climb back to faith, sanity, and security." I think this is one of the truest statements ever made. Truly this is a man who had experienced great struggle and grief and fear.

I fear 10-20 times a day that this baby inside me has died. I have compulsions to speed over to the E.R.
     and have an emergency ultrasound just to check on things.
I fear that God will take Vera.
I fear that God will take this baby. So I want a doppler to check on this baby every day, many times a
I fear that the economy will collapse and Nolan will loose he job and we won't have money pay rent or  
    buy groceries.
I fear that my stress because of my fear will kill this baby.

Oh how the list does go on; however I will not live and act from a place of fear. I will take it to the cross.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What Came to Me This Week - or - What Never Happened

     I was driving along in my car - I always do my best thinking in my car - when on the radio came a preacher talking about God's will. Specifically, are you willing to submit to God's will no matter what he asks of you. So my brain started thinking and I began to ponder what I have faith in. I'm not talking about a crisis of faith here. But more specific..... Let me back up.
     Earlier this week Nolan was laying beside me in bed and I was telling him how this week I've felt like I was experiencing the first few days after loosing Asher all over again. He hugged, and stroked my hair and just held me for a long time. And then we talked some more and somewhere in the conversation he said
     "I just don't know anything else to do, BUT trust God."
Then there was more talking and hugging. And then I finally had the courage to say out loud the burning question inside me.
     "What if this baby dies too??", I said in the tiniest voice I own.
     "I don't know." Came the reply. It was so humble, and so honest, and so perfect. Because I now know that I am not the only one saying over and over "I don't know."
     Now fast-forward again to the car. I thought about what Nolan said about trusting God AND about what the radio preacher said about God's will. And I started to wonder what does it mean to trust God?? Because I know that He - in his divine wisdom and perfection - may allow this baby to die also. So what am I trusting in exactly?? I'm not trusting that everything will be perfect. It might. I pray it will. It is even likely. But.... there's always a 'but'. I'm still not entirely sure what it means to trust. To trust God in the midst of difficulty. To know that if He wanted to, he could make my path easy. But he didn't. He hasn't.    
     But God has loved me through it all. God has never left me in this mess by myself. So maybe that is what I am trusting.... that God will NEVER leave me. Will always catch my tears. But, somehow....... this doesn't seem enough. I want God to ride in on a white horse and save the day. Save me. And slaughter the enemy. And I know He has also promised to do this..... but vengeance of the Lord comes in his own time. So....maybe I'm being impatient???? Like I said, I still don't know yet. I only know I do trust God to be God. It still feels confusing.

While I was in the car another thought came to me. The Lord was not surprised by Asher's death. He's never surprised by our circumstances. And a funny scene played itself out in my head while I drove. Its funny to me because it DID NOT happen. Nothing catches God of guard. I'll leave you with it tonight.

God (sitting on his throne, smiling and enjoying the chorus of His angles, looks down and sees Asher.) "Dude! Asher! What are you doing here, man??!! I totally just finished knitting you together in your mother's womb!" What happened?? Listen, I don't have you scheduled to be here for another (looks at watch) 87 years, 43 days, 9 minutes and 12 seconds. Seriously, your parents are gonna freak if they find out I let this happen! You have to get ba....... see! That's them now!!! I hear 'em praying, they are really upset. Oh, man, I have to make a plan FAST!!!....................

No. This truly did not happen. I am thankful that NOTHING surprises God.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Grieving My Birth

A good birth experience. What does this mean?? To some women it is when a healthy, live baby is placed in their arms, with no regard to how it got there. Just the healthy baby. Isn't that enough to ask for?? Isn't that what we say?? "I don't care.... I just want my baby to be healthy." But to some mothers a good birth experience is something very different. It is a life altering experience. A strength and 'knowing' that transcends thought and bubbles up from a place long hidden until this moment. There becomes a depth to the contractions, surges that beckon to your innermost womanhood. Calling to that courage held deep in your soul. Your body responds to the call with a call of its own. The swaying of hips like the ocean tides and the deep guttural moaning which gives voice to the change taking place inside your soul. The change from a child to a woman. And, more often, the change from a wounded woman to one healed. There is pain, but there is also wondrous beauty. This is the birth I wanted. Still want. But I also want that healthy, live child.
I have spent almost 9 months grieving over loosing Asher, but I have spent no time grieving over my birth. I wanted a birth filled with joy. Instead a sonographer told me she needed to make an official record of my dead baby inside me. Instead a smiling Dr. shoved his non-dominant hand into my vagina. Twice. Once to check my cervix, and once to place the cervidil under it. After saying "Ow! Ow! Ow!" I looked up and he was smiling, telling me I was alright. I want to punch that man. Instead of laboring with my husband and my wonderful midwives in my warm home in a warm tub, I was at the hospital. Grabbing hold of the sink in a cold hard bathroom. With my lost-in-grief parents and in-laws. I didn't birth my child squatting or standing up, I was on my back, again. And two men who I had not met before that night lifted my dead baby up onto my chest and then one taught the other how to properly stitch up my vaginal tears. I wanted to scream "Don't touch me!" but I was too lost in my grief to stand up for myself. I can't believe a Dr. used the birth of my baby for a teaching moment. I can't believe how unfeeling they were during such a horrible moment. How can you possibly lift a dead baby out of a mother and not shed a tear. Not need a moment to compose yourself and ask to be excused.
To this day my throat closes up and I start to sweat when I have to go to Ball Hospital. The thought of going back there to birth this child sends chills up my spine and puts me in bad mood for days. I feel sick over it. I will not NOT go in the event of an emergency but it will seriously crush a part of me should I or the baby need to be there.
Part of me wants to have this baby alone. I want to birth so fast that there won't be time for anyone to get here. I want to hunker down in my own secret area and emerge triumphant with a glistening, newborn. I know that is probably not going to happen. And another part of me wants certain people there to share in the moment. I need to know that I can carry to term and birth a healthy, live child. I need to know this.
To some it probably seems shocking, even selfish, to want more than a crying infant in my arms. However I need to know. Labor pains dig down and build a new place for themselves inside your being, your core. They store themselves up, giving you the strength to move through the worst times in life. They say, "If you can handle us, you can handle the world."

Sunday, July 31, 2011


To believe in a God who loves without discipline and is gratuitous without boundaries is to have a meager understanding of love that becomes a prostitution of it. When we cry out to God to change our circumstances, to take away our pain, He hears us. Yet, He loves us so deeply that he sometimes refuses to heal our wounds and, seeing the bigger picture, is unwilling to give us less of Himself. He has however promised to never, ever leave us. I am not alone in my pain, you are not alone in yours. God will not bring Asher back to me. That is a scar I will forever bare. But through this pain I have drawn closer to Christ. My faith does much more abound. I don't believe that loosing Asher was in any way discipline from God on our family, yet the Bible is clear, death came about because of sin. Death (and disease, and famine..ect) here on earth is the result of man's sin. I don't want to be a part of that. I don't want to contribute to the madness. Being a child of God, I strive for righteousness. It doesn't matter how good I am, until Christ comes back and hurls sin into the pit for all eternity, evil will run rampant. However, I will strive to shine God's light into the darkness, God's love into the despair and hurt of mankind. Sometimes I blow it. Sometimes, I don't.
I was thinking this week about why God chose me. What made him look down from his throne and say, "Her." Then God started showing me the bigger picture. He told me that once, long ago, he looked down and pointed to another woman. A woman who was, by our societies standards, barely a grown woman. He sent an angle down to say "You." And she was called blessed among women. She bore a son. But her son, he was beaten in front of her. He was slaughtered, maimed, mocked, spit on. He was nailed to a wooden cross and left to die. Because of sin. God choose Mary to bare and raise a son, only to watch him mercilessly whipped and murdered. Why her?? If God was pleased with Mary, for the Bible tells me so, why did he pick her?? Because in the big picture God gained more glory this way. Because that was the day that God chose to exact punishment on sin. Through His Holy, blameless, perfect Son came redemption for me. For my sin. For your sin. Because in the big picture its not about Mary, or me, it is about God. And in His story God wants to live with his children (us) forever in paradise. But He had to deal out discipline on evil. He had to punish sin so that I will live. To GOD be the glory.
I love this song, and I think it speaks to some of what I talked about.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cornflowers and Queen Anne's Lace

I went out the the cemetery today, I didn't even realize that today is the 8 month marker. I just needed to be out there. My mom has tiger lilies growing by the side of her house so I cut some to take out there after I dropped Vera off. On the way I saw some Queen Anne's Lace and blue Cornflowers and decided to stop and cut some of those also. It is always a remarkable drive to Garden of Memory....... you pull into the parking lot and drive around the funeral home. Then you make a right hand curve and cross over a beautiful, old, red covered bridge. Next you make winding turns until you come to a special garden named 'Babyland'. What a name, it's haunting and sad and beautiful all at the same time. Asher's plot is all the way at the back, directly behind the last crabapple tree. I carried my wild flowers to his new marker and pulled out the vase that goes with it. Putting the flowers in, I realized I will never go out there without a flower to lay at his grave. Then I sat down and cried; and once again felt utter disbelief that I put my baby in the ground last fall. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that one of my children could die before me. Never would I have guessed that the grave marker beside me should belong to my OWN son. Its just so inconceivable. At some point I looked up and a red car drove up. It stopped near the 'Babyland' sign. I could just make out his face as he looked up at that tall, thin sign. I saw the look of profound sadness as he read the word and then comprehended what lay just beyond it. He looked at me and then looked down and slowly drove away. Then I laid back on the grass next to Asher's grave. Never in my life would I have believed that I would lay down in a cemetery next to a grave. But I did. And I just simply breathed. It was all I could manage. I'm not sure how long I stayed like that, but at some point I started talking. I imagined that I was talking to Asher - a more grown-up version of him, how I think he might look now that he has his perfect body and is in heaven. I told him about Vera and Vacation Bible School. I told him about the new baby to come. And I told him how much I miss him and that never will a day go by that I won't think of him. And then, I knew it was time to go. It was time to get up and keep going and live life and smile. It was like God gently pulled me to my feet and patted my bottom and said "Git! I love you, I am with you. This separation will only be for a short while. You can come back and visit another day, but right now you need to go on living."
So I wiped the last tears from my cheeks, walked to my car and drove on down the road. My stomach growled just then reminding me of the other life growing inside me and that I needed to feed him/her.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Um....subconscious worry much??

Here are a few more dreams I've been having. About a week ago I was napping at my parents house when I dreamed I was driving my dads big gold pick-up truck and hit a 10 year old boy on a bike. Woke up gasping for air.

Two nights ago I dreamed Nolan came home from work but he had stopped at a bar first and got himself completely smashed. I was super mad so I punched him in the nose. He fell over and passed out. Then I got a terrible feeling that he had hit someone and didn't realize it, so I drove toward his work. When I got out to State Rd. 3 I found a car in the ditch all mashed up and steam/smoke was coming from under the hood. The driver, a woman, was unconscious and had a gash on her head. I knew I had to get her out and to a hospital b/c I didn't have a cell phone to call 911. So I heave open the door (btw I was like a week from giving birth) and pull the woman out. Suddenly I start hearing a whirring sound and I just know I need to get the two of us into the car and cover Vera with my body. I manage to haul the lady into the back  passenger seat in the car then I use my body to cover Vera. As soon as I get into position the wrecked car explodes. A piece of shrapnel  whizzes through the window and slices open my abdomen and uterus. I realize that I have to then give myself a cesarean  section! So I dig my hands into my belly (in real life I faint at the sight of my own blood) and scoop out this dark headed baby. I use my teeth to cut the cord and my hair tie to tie it off. Then I somehow manage to get out of the car and flag down a passerby who calls 911 as I collapse.  ----I wake up sweaty with pain in my stomach. ????????

And last night I dreamed that I went on a play date with this neighbor woman and her 3 kids. The youngest was a girl, about Vera's age. After the play-date we sat on the sidewalk and ate lunch. While we were eating lunch I realized that the house we were sitting in front of had a 'For Sale' sign in the yard. I decide to go take a tour. When I get to the door I turn around to see Vera and the other little girl riding their bikes up the drive following me. I tell them that they have to go back to the sidewalk. They obey and turn around. The drive is on an incline so they are pedaling down hill. I see a car coming down the road and realize that the little girl is not going to get stopped and will get hit by this car. I start running trying to save her but I miss by a millisecond and the car smashes her. I watch as her little body rolls up under the wheel well and then flys out again only to be hit by the back tires. The car screeches to a halt and I scoop the dead, mangled child into my arms and sob. The child's mother doesn't seem to care. She doesn't react at all. I just keep crying and telling her I'm sorry. Sobbing and sobbing. I just rock her little body and say "Sorry, sorry, sorry" over and over while i wept. Then I woke up sobbing.

I can not believe these dreams.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Yesterday I had my first appointment with my midwife. She's so awesome. Pretend that your mom (or someone who takes care of you all the time and that you really like and love) is who is in charge of your prenatal care. She's always got my back. Besides a Dr. is never going to ask your husband how your mood has Ok, sorry for the tangent. I meant to talk about how my blood pressure is great and my pee is also perfect. Also the peanut is actually about the size of a large peanut right now. Amazing.
    But also, this appointment was the first step of me connecting to this pregnancy. I drug my feet for a while not wanting to sit down and talk being pregnant. Not wanting to acknowledge that this is another baby whom I am responsible for caring for. I've been pretty laissez-faire about my nutrition and activity so far. I've not actively chosen pregnancy things.... even possibly going so far as to eat and do those things which may not be for the absolute best. (Not that I've been doing anything dangerous.... Nolan won't let me.) I think about how I did everything right with Asher, but things still went sour. So now part of me says why even try to be healthy and exercise and take your vitamins?? What point is there?? But I know these things need to be done. And having this appointment encouraged me to slowly connect to this baby as a separate, new, wonderful person. Deserving of as much love and care as I can provide no matter what the outcome. I still feel scared. Its so frightening to see that I may have to know such deep pain again. I wonder if it might break me. But I will not let fear strip me of the joy I can have while growing another child. I've said that I want to start memorizing scripture about fear and God's unyielding provision for his children; but thus far I have yet to do it. I WILL do it! I WILL! Because I know that only Christ can drive out fear. And here is the first passage I want to memorize.

Joshua 1:1-9

King James Version (KJV)

Joshua 1

 1Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,
 2Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
 3Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
 4From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
 5There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
 6Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
 7Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.
 8This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
 9Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

After the death of his friend and leader God calls on Joshua to step up. He wants Joshua to lead the people into Cannon, the land flowing with milk and honey. Look at all the promises God makes to him. And at the end God says "be not afraid.... for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

This is not a promise only extended to Joshua, but also to me. If God be for us who can stand against us?? Who can separate us from His mighty hand................???

So, please, post your favorite fear passages. I can use the encouragement. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rated "R" -- actually I think its "X"

I had some more super strange dreams.  I took a three hour nap this afternoon and had 2 really vivid dreams. In the first one I was dating the prince of Persia who had a mean cat and looked just like Nolan. While we were out in this tiny car we went to the store. I really wanted some squeeze iceing but we couldn't find any. On our way back to his house we discovered that the road had a big sink hole in the middle and a backhoe was down in it trying to fix it. But "the Prince" decided that he would just RAMP those machines and get to the other side. We went airborne and then realized that the road in front of us was covered in 3 feet of water. We landed and laughed hysterically because we were so cool. HA! And my mom came to meet him after a day at the petting zoo with his mother but she pulled a muscle in her ribs trying to catch a rabbit. lololol
 In the other dream I was riding a standing lawn mower around downtown muncie. I had Vera with me and  was HUGLY pregnant. lol But the lawn mower was going faster than normal. Eventually a homeless man flagged us down and told us that my lawn mower wasn't street legal but that he would take it to the BMV to get the license plate. I agreed and pushed a button on the mower. A skateboard popped out and we got on. So I skateboard around downtown Muncie holding Vera.  I was VERY good at it (I've never in real life even stepped on a skateboard) and kept making these amazing jumps so that Vera could see cool things going on through building windows (once we saw a man blowing glass in front of a blazing furnace). I kept using Vera as a counter balance! hahaha! Eventually we went into a museum that had a dance club attached to it. The new attraction at the museum was about 10 of these tall figures. They looked like the scary, white mummy in Pan's Labyrinth except they had varied colorful stripes on them and were bent at the waist in strange directions. Oh, and -I wish I could whisper this- they all had two colorful, bandaged-wrapped penises. ??????  Also they didn't feel scary, actually they made me in a good mood. Next we skateboarded down  to the dance-club/bar where the bar tender was really cranky. I told her the bathroom was flooded and she went to find someone to take care of it. While she was gone I stole like 30 peppermint patties from behind the bar. They were special peppermint patties, she was selling them for $4 a piece. The cookie part was white and translucent and the green mint filling glowed. And I also stole some of those vanilla and strawberry wafer cookies. And so huge belly and all I skateboarded out of that museum with an armful of loot. Then I woke up. I CANNOT BELIEVE these weird dreams.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Elephant in the Room

So I guess I'm gonna keep on blogging. It gives me a moment to reflect and put my thoughts down. I've said it before, but when I write the thoughts that float around in my brain settle down onto the paper. They quit whining for attention and let me get on with my day. My dad keeps telling me I should write a book..... but that is a HUGE undertaking. He keeps saying "Just start writing, the story will come." and I keep telling him that I'm in my incubation period - when the ideas begin to bounce around like fat molecules in heavy cream; if shaken for long enough they begin to stick together to form a solid mass. He's not buying what I'm selling. Anyway so its 8:30 in the morning which is about the only quiet time I get to myself lately so I decided to blog. Vera did get up at 7 and crawl into my bed; which happens basically all the time. lol. At dawn's first light she is still sleepy, but wants to see if I'm in bed where I said I'd be. Oh how I love her. When I think of how I love her, I can't breath from the gravity of it. Vera is so strong and tender at the same time, so much wonder wrapped up into a tiny body. I don't think she's yet convinced that I'm going to have another  baby. She knows in her head, but doesn't really understand what the big deal is since last time we told her this it was a bust. From her perspective a new baby means that Mommy's tummy gets so big that there isn't much room left for her on Mommy's lap. Then mommy gets a scared look on her face and goes to the hospital to be sick for some days and then comes home and cries. : /   I can see why she's not really too excited to jump on this bandwagon again. But Nolan and I and the rest of the family are going to try our best to help her be excited. I don't know what I'd do if I had to try to explain AGAIN that another baby died. Well..... I'm not gonna think about that sort of thing. 

As for how the pregnancy is going -- I'm great! Sleepy.... ALL THE TIME. But other than that, I'm great. Mid August I should start to feel a bit better. I just really want to get past the "Is she just fat or is she pregnant???" stage of things. Thats when I start feeling really good. The huger my tummy gets, the more beautiful I feel. I don't generally get horribly uncomfortably until like the last week of my pregnancy. But where the hormones really get me are my emotions. I am a hag. Unless I take my B-complex and inositol vitamins. Then I don't quite reach hag status.... I think. haha. I think I'll give myself another month-ish and I'll start setting up appointments to see my midwife, (Yes, I am still planning a home-birth. No, I do not have any doubts about the abilities of my midwife. No I do not want to hear your opinions on the matter.) I'm so glad we got that elephant out of the room.

Now I've sat her for almost 30mins and it really is time to get the day going. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Of Acceptance and Other News

In one week we will hit the 7 month mark. This last month has been a huge moving forward time for me. I can clearly remember each phase of my grief. I remember the shock, the denial, the anger, and the bargaining. I can clearly look back and see when I went through each step and when I was transitioning to the next. I'm not saying that never is there a time when some moments are spent regressing to a different step, but overall I have moved forward. And in this last month I believe I have reached the acceptance stage. A small part of me is scared to move to this stage.... scared that people will forget, scared that I won't actually come through it all in one piece. However, a much larger part of my soul knows that it is time to let go. Its good to remember how much I love Asher. Its ok to think about him, and talk about him without feeling pain. I know that I will always have my sad days..... but I also know that it is ok to feel joy and happiness. And that its ok to let go of my dreams for Asher and trust God with him.
A friend of mine recently said that she struggled to understand how God could use anything like this for good. I told her about a story I heard on the radio of a woman who was dying from bone cancer. She said that if her suffering could bring one person to Christ then it would all be worth it. And this is how I feel. If, by suffering one person can come to know the forgiveness and comfort that I know in the arms of Jesus then it will all have been worth it.
So many people have been such amazing an encouragement to me, but especially my pastor's wife. She lost a daughter and her words came from a heart healed by Christ. When I would pour my heart out to her, with tears in her eyes, she would say over and over, "God will be so faithful to you. He will be so faithful." And she's right, He has, and will be for the rest of my life. Even on the days when I turned my back to God and shook my fists He was right there showering me with love and grace. I praise His Holy Name. God, YOU reign.
And in the midst of acceptance came a wonderful surprise...... I'm pregnant again. :) Due mid February. If I were not to this place of acceptance I would not be able to feel so ready to have another baby. I am already so in love with baby #3 and I've only know I'm pregnant for 3 days. So I will pray for a healthy child, and perfect labor and delivery. I will hope for the best, and I shall not fear, or at least I will remember that God says not to fear and do my very best to obey.
This may be my last post for a while..... or maybe not. At the beginning I felt like I HAD to write, but that need has gradually decreased. I try to keep you all up to date with our life, and thank you all for reading. It means the world to me.
And so I'll end today with one more song.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Psalms 77.....Hath God Forgotten to Be Gracious??

Today I HATE Satan. Some days the jealously monster rises up in me. I know (in my head) that we should not compare ourselves to other people (for me other stay-at-home moms who have many children or are pregnant, are amazing house keepers, and are a healthy weight, and have finished college). I know that our 'meter stick' is Christ. But sometimes Satan really wants to rub my nose in those things I am not. And he asks me if I REALLY believe God loves me. Lucifer lets himself in and curls up beside me. Whispering terrible whispers; "You are such a disappointment to God. Who could love one like you?You are too ugly, too outspoken, so lazy and useless. Doesn't God say that he protects the ones he loves??? God doesn't love you, Samantha, he wouldn't even save your son. He lets you wallow in this pain while the women he does love, abundantly have healthy babies. "  Terrible whispers. And some days.... some moments.... like right now, I struggle to believe. But I will think on those things that are true. Truth will set me free of my unbelief.

Psalms 77
7 Will the Lord cast off for ever?    
And will he be favorable no more?
8 Is his mercy clean gone for ever?
Doth his promise fail for evermore?
9 Hath God forgotten to be gracious?
Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies?  Selah.

10 And I said, This is my infirmity:
but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.
11 I will remember the works of the LORD,    
surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
12 I will meditate also of all thy work,
and talk of thy doings.
13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary:
who is so great a God as our God?
14 Thou art the God that doest wonders:
thou hast declared thy strength among the people.
15 Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people,
the sons of Jacob and Joseph.  Selah.

God is an everlasting God and sees the length of time much differently than I. God loves even me. God does not reluctantly love me, but with the full force of a hurricane. He is the knight in shining armor to my damsel in distress. God loves me with a love that crosses all boundaries - space, time, resources - to get to me, where ever I am.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

When Will I Subconsciously Remember I'm Not Pregnant?

Today, AGAIN, I shopped for maternity clothes. I don't even know how it happened. I was online looking at dresses (I wanted to get a new one for mother's day) to see if it would be worth the trip to the mall. All of a sudden I was looking at stretchy pants and shirts with extra room in the breasts and belly. I was sitting there thinking, "I wonder if they have this in stock?" (looking at a pink number with a belted waist above the tummy). Suddenly I remembered I am NOT pregnant. At first I tried to rationalize, "I'm shopping for Jill (my pregnant friend)." I thought, "She'd like that." Then I got real with myself and was like "No you were not. She would really hate that. Get ahold of yourself, you are NOT pregnant." It is such a strange thing to be pregnant for almost 10 months, give birth, and NOT go home with a baby. My subconscious brain can't understand it. Almost 6 months out, and I still don't get it. I sure hope this is normal. Maybe it is normal for me, and that's all I can hope for.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mother's Day

I think I need to start out by talking about Easter. The very first Easter that is. The Bible says that Mary (the mother of Jesus) and Mary Magdalene went early to Jesus' tomb on the morning of the third day after Jesus was killed. Early. Thats what it says. I've never given it a second thought until this Easter. I know why they went early. Mary - his mom - cried herself to sleep. Curled in a ball in bed, wondering how all this could have happened; finally falling, exhausted, into sleep, but waking every hour or so. Eventually she gave up on sleep and started gathering up spices and incense to take with her to the tomb. She woke Mary Magdalene who wasn't sleeping well either, and asked her friend to please come with her because she didn't want to go alone. Then Mary - mom - broke down into tears and the other Mary held and cried with her till that episode ended. Both heartbroken. They finished getting ready and started out the door. They both swallowed hard as they rounded the curve toward the burial tombs but determinedly kept walking. Each sniffling and wiping tears with their hankies. As they drew near they could see the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. Surely not they thought. Surely no one would dare disturb this tomb. But..... wait! They realized, with shock and horror, the stone really has been rolled away. Then they started to run. Running toward that tomb wondering what could be going on. Stumbling into the cave-like tomb, out of breath, they frantically looked around searching for Jesus' body. But it was no where to be found. Mary - mom - spun around looking out of the tomb, angry, hoping to spot the thieves. She was ready to lung at them. Kick them, bite them, fight until they left his mangled, injured body and left. How dare they!? He's already dead, what more could they want!? But she saw nothing and no one. Spinning around again to stare at the spot where he had been lain, an amazing sight filled her eyes. Two angles, one at each end of the sepulcher. They asked her why she was looking for the living among the dead. He whom thou seekest is alive!

(The reason the Bible doesn't include all this is because it was written by a man. This is not a bad thing, men just think and write differently than women.)

-- At least that is how I imagine it...... If I were ever to come upon Asher's grave and see someone had dug up his grave and took him out of the casket I would hunt them down like a wild animal. And then to be told that her Son was alive.... why, I'm sure she almost didn't believe it.

This Easter I think it finally hit home that my son, also, is alive. I won't have the pleasure of knowing him here on Earth, but I will go to him one day. I will stand in the presence of Jesus with my son. What a thought. How my heart sings when I remember God's promise of eternal life.

And yet, event thought I believe it, today was hard. Today I thought about Mother's Day (May 8th). Last year on Mother's Day was the first time I felt Asher move. 4am Mother's Day morning. I was hungry, so I got up to eat. I was 14wks along and I felt a strong flutter, and then another. Today I thought about how I will not sit in church on Mother's Day with both my babies. And I will watch all the other moms...... and I will feel a pang of jealousy because I am still human; and knowing God's promises does not make me less human. And I will remember all the other moms who have children in heaven, and wonder if they, like I, will privately shed a few tears that day.

Parts of this song - esp. the refrain and the end. - resonate deep in me. "Life's like and hourglass glued to the table.... just breathe."