Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm Pretty Sure I'm 40.

It dawned on me today that I am only 22. I feel at least 40, maybe older. I am only 22. How can it be that I'm only 22? I'm 22 and I have a 3 year old and a dead baby. Other 22 year olds are traveling the world. They are staying up late painting their toes. They are riding on the back of their boyfriend's motorcycle. I just finished the dishes and baked oatmeal for breakfast so I can sleep in for 15mins in the morning. I'm pretty sure I'm not 22. I'm pretty sure I'm 40.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Vase Attachment

Some days, like today, I still feel pregnant. I can't understand why. My body and brain both tell me I'm not but I find myself still preparing to give birth emotionally. It's so strange, but it's true. I look up music to calm me during labor. I laugh and cry as I read birth stories from other mamas thinking how wonderful my birth will be; only to remember I'm not pregnant. It's as if my heart can't stop preparing for a baby to care for. I constantly feel as though I've left something important behind. I haven't really; Asher's let us behind.
I Haven't been out to his grave since the funeral. I want to go....... But I keep finding excuses not to; I'll cry too much/ the snow's too deep/ it's too muddy/ I have Vera with me and I want to go alone but I don't want anyone to know I'm out here by myself so I can't drop her off because I'll have to give a reason about why/where I'm going....... the list could go on forever.  I wonder if maybe I'm just scared. Scared I'll feel too much. Scared I won't feel enough. Scared it will all turn out to be real. A real grave with Asher Benjamin Ritchie - November 12th engraved onto it.
Nolan picked one out with a vase attachment so I could bring flowers and leave them. The day they assigned Asher a burial spot we were looking around at the neighboring Babyland graves and my mom spotted one that was over 40 years old. Someone was still putting flowers on that grave. I will, every year until the day I die, put flowers on Asher's grave. Maybe one day 60 years from now some other mom will see some flowers on an old infant grave and know that she is not alone.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Anniversary of Discovery

Sunday (the 20th) is my husband's birthday. It is also the 1 year anniversary of the day I told him I was pregnant with Asher. He had been ready to have another baby for at least a year, maybe more. I'm quite sure he'd keep me pregnant until we had a brood to rival the Duggers if I'd agree to it. I was 99% sure I was pregnant but went to Walmart and picked up a pregnancy test for me and a birthday card for Nolan on the 19th. I waited until he went to work then peed on that little stick. PREGNANT! So I wrote in his birthday card Happy Birthday! from Samantha, Vera, and Julian Arminius (A boys name Nolan and I both kinda liked at the time) (Also how interesting that I wrote a boys name. I always had 'boy feelings' that whole pregnancy). I gave it to him the next morning when he came home from work. He opened it, read it, and then said, with a kind of hysterical look on his face, "What does this mean? Are you sure?!" I just nodded and held out the pregnancy test. He laughed and swooped forward to hug and kiss me. Oh, I'm crying thinking about that day. How beautiful, how glorious, how happy. So happy.
     I really love that pregnancy. It was so healing after the upheaval of Vera's pregnancy. There was never a day I wasn't glad to be pregnant. Never I day I wasn't excited. Never a time I wondered if I was ready or capable. I spent so much time loving him before I ever even knew he was a him. And I spent ever so much more time enthralled by the thought of a baby boy. My pregnancy was easy. By the end of  I was even excited to give birth. I was confident that everything would be perfect.
    I'm just so utterly shocked how un-perfect it all turned out to be. I'm just stunned at how this could happen. I'm the sort of person who is generally prepared for most circumstances....... but this, this was like walking from a dark house out into the bright sunlight where you can't see, but can feel the warmth and being suddenly punched in the face. There is nothing you can do except fall to the ground and wait for the pain to subside so you can try to get up again. Trying to stagger into an upright position seems impossible some days. Nolan says I'm wallowing. He seems angry some days that I'm not normal. How am I supposed to be normal? I won't ever go back to the old normal because I piece of me is in that grave with my Asher. I hope Nolan will understand one day.
   I don't give him enough credit, though. He's been the one holding my head above the water for so long now. He's who I run to when I just need to cry with no questions asked. He's the rock that has always kept me grounded. He lets me babble on but doesn't allow me to seep into despair. And I know he's ready for another baby.
    I keep thinking that being pregnant again would be nice, and I don't think God will take another baby from my arms, but He might. But he might not. And - in the recent words of a friend - if I live in the past, I may miss out on someone/thing amazing and special in the future.
Psalms 30:5 "Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY cometh in the morning." How sad it would be to miss out on that joy, because I refused to open my eyes for fear.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Song #9 Starry Night by Chris August

The last few days have been such a blessing. I can honestly say I have never felt as much joy in my soul as I have yesterday and today; especially yesterday morning. I've been praying so hard lately that God would show me joy again. His abiding joy. A joy that transcends circumstance. Thursday had been a very ugly day. Not for any particular reason, just many small things piled up until I thought I would burst; the sun wasn't out, Vera cried when my dad picked her up before I went to work, I worked 10 hours, I missed Nolan all day and before he went to work, we had a row... ect, ect. I got down on my knees that night and poured my heart out to God. The next morning dawned bright and sunny. Nolan and I had a wonderful morning together before I had to get Vera up and out the door. On my way to work I put on some praise and worship music from the radio and the sun was just above the horizon and glinting off the crystalline snow-covered fields. Breathtaking. I could hear God say "This sunrise is just for you, beloved. Joy cometh in the morning." I knew my prayers had been heard. That gift of a sunrise on Friday morning was so overwhelming. I made it to my dad's house and took Vera inside. She didn't cry once and was off and playing before I even got out the door. I got back into my car and the song Starry Night came on the radio.
When they lyrics:
I''m giving my life to the only One who makes the moon reflect the sun
On that starry night, He changed my life. I'm giving it all to the only Son who gave me hope when I had none. So let the praises ring, Ohhhh Let the Praises Ring
I burst into tears. I knew that the God that made the sun and the moon loves me. I cried out, thanking Him for the supernatural hope, peace and joy that could only come from Christ. He sent the sun to rise in the wintery sky just for me that morning. I know some people won't understand this. But I can't imagine going through this without God. So daily, I am giving my life over to God. I'm giving back the control, because I can't make the sun rise, nor can I have joy without Jesus.
Finish the day I worked, but the time seemed short. And after work I went grocery shopping, picked up Vera from my dads and went home. When I got home there was a box from ProFlowers with my name on it. Nolan had ordered flowers for me; a dozen red roses and chocolates with a note that read "Darling, I love you. -Nolan". It was the icing on a cake filled day. God has been so faithful,... so real.
Starry Night - Chris August

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sporadic Thoughts and Confused Emotions

Today has been a roller-coaster of thoughts and emotions. I'm so uncertain about everything. One moment I believe everything is going to work out perfectly and all my dreams will be realized. Then next...well, I  can't believe that any decision I make will work to my advantage. I feel like I'm in a haze of confusion. I'm worried about school. I've worked hard to get to the clinical phase of things, but I'm halted by grades that aren't quiet good enough. I'm going to have to take some of the classes over and get A's instead of B's. I feel disappointed with myself. I've never NOT gotten into any school/program/club ect.. that I aimed to get into the first time. So many people said I'd never graduate college after I became pregnant with Vera in high school. And Nolan has worked for 3 years putting me through school at a horrid job. I desperately want to get him out of that place. I owe it to him to stop schlepping through school and get good grades and graduate, get a job. I want him to get back to his dreams that he put on hold for me.
Also we want to have more children, but if I'm going to work, I don't see how that's possible. I can't work full time and nurse a baby. I don't want to be away from my babies all day. I can't find a way to go to college, get a job, have children and get Nolan out of that horrible job.
I need a way to make money from home. Enough to support us. *Sigh.... What a crazy dream. This week I've been wondering if I just need to grow up and realize that people don't live like that. I just don't know what direction to turn.
And then lately Nolan and I have been discussing planting a garden this summer. I'd love to do that but it also scares me. It scares me that I'll fail. And I've already failed at so many things this last year that I don't think I could take one more thing. I know how to garden. I grew up doing it. My mom taught me everything she knows about gardening and she has a HUGE garden. There is no reason to think that I'd fail, but I just don't believe in myself anymore. I fail at keeping my house tidy. I fail at keeping the laundry done. I failed at school. I failed at....Asher... well... anyway, I've just failed too many things to keep thinking I'll succeed at something.
I want to try again. But I don't want to see the disappointment in the faces of the people I love.

Oh how did I end up here. I meant to talk about how there are changes available to our family and that I didn't know which door to walk through. Instead I've ended up giving myself a therapy session.
I also wanted to talk about how Vera has developed a strange stutter when she says the word "go". I have no idea how. And how I feel like she doesn't know enough of her alphabet. Or her numbers. She's got her colors down. And she's beginning to write and to recognize some words. But... Oh I just don't know. I used to be so sure of myself. So confident. So able.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Most Beautiful Thing.

Tears in my eyes tonight as I think of a friend of mine who brought her son earth-side this morning around 11am. She stayed home, the way its been done for thousands of years. She educated herself, prepared all the necessary goods for a homebirth, and equipped her mind and soul for the birth of this child. She waited with graceful patience the almost 10 long months it took to grow this baby. I'm so proud of her. She is but one of a wave of women who are taking back birth. Taking back the glorious, life-giving thing it is to bring a child into the world. Taking back joy and warding off fear. Giving birth is THE most beautiful thing in all the world. Nothing captures innocence, patience, hard work, pain, joy, wonder, and love better than birth.
   And I will get my chance. I am taking back joy! I am banishing fear!  

Job 8: 19-2119 “ Behold, this is the joy of His way,
      And out of the earth others will grow.
 20 Behold, God will not cast away the blameless,
      Nor will He uphold the evildoers.
 21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughing,
      And your lips with rejoicing."

The night is long, but the morning is bright. I will not always be filled with pain, but slowly I am beginning to see the beauty in life. I am choosing joy. I am choosing to see the good. I am choosing NOT to despair but to cling to the faith that God will restore the laughter in my eyes. 

This last weekend I was so angry with Nolan. We were driving down to see his parents when I felt a wave of sorrow engulf me. I wept while I drove and silently berated God for not letting me have my son. Nolan asked what was wrong and I told him I felt as though my grief was going to swallow me whole. And he shook his head and said, "Samantha, I wish you'd just trust God." I thought how dare he! I let him grieve any way he wants. I've been understanding and kind and gentle and here he is condemning me for having trust issues with the one Being who could have kept my son alive. How dare he?! Then I felt ashamed. I know in my head that trusting God is the only way to get through this, but I just didn't feel very charitable at the moment toward God. So next I lied to Nolan. I told him I trusted God just fine and that it is perfectly ok for me to question God. Job did after all. Then (I'm ashamed to admit) I turned it around on Nolan saying he must not even care that Asher died if he can so easily trust with out questioning. Just blind faith! I said a lot of other horrible things I don't want to write about too. But, now I see he is right. I do need to 'just trust God'. Isaiah 55:8-9 says "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. " I can gain an understanding of God through his word, but I will never be able to know the depths of the "whys" and "hows" of Almighty God. For some reason He allowed Asher to die. But he also allowed me to peacefully birth him, hold him and bury him. He allowed a wonderful pregnancy full of joy. He gave me friendships I may never have had if not for Asher. The three weeks after Asher's death were the best three weeks of my marriage in many ways. God has taught me about the peace that passes all understanding, something that I would never have known without Asher's death. I know it is only a short amount of time I have on this earth till I go to heaven myself and see my baby again. And I know that I don't want to spend it in despair.

In Italian, the literal translation of "to give birth" - "dare alla luce,"- is "to give to the light".  I want to give to the light. So I will choose joy. I will be pregnant again someday. I will face my fears of loosing another child. I will do the most beautiful thing. I will birth again. 

So, to Baby Q! Welcome to the light!