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Monthly Archives: May 2012

#40: Ready

Miss Molly is almost here. I am scheduled for a c-section on Tuesday, 5/29 and I already feel like she is clawing and kicking her way into life. She’s dropped so low I feel like her hands are scraping my knees as I walk. It’s almost time.

June 9th will mark one day since Alex left us. The anniversary of his birthday was really hard. I’m not sure what the anniversary of his angel-versary will be. I’ll be so crazy and sleep deprived from watching Molly I might not even notice. Actually, I think I’m taking Benjamin to a birthday party that day… The reality of the change about to happen to our family is settling in and I am amazed and overwhelmed about how much can change in just a year.

A year ago, I had no idea how much pain and loss we would feel. I had no idea how much healing our family would experience through faith, friends, family, therapy and hope. We’re here one year later and about to receive a most precious gift- a baby girl to love and care for.

I think about how caring for Molly will be different from caring for Benjamin or Alex. Will I be extra nervous to put her down or to let anyone touch her? Will I even feel comfortable touching her, knowing how fragile life can be? I think about all the ways I want to keep her safe forever, and I fall short, knowing that there was nothing I could have done to keep Alex with us any longer. Alex had a congenital heart condition that caused his death. He went peacefully in his sleep without any warning, We didn’t know. It wouldn’t have mattered.

We’re getting Molly a heart echo when we leave the hospital to see if she has the same heart condition. We already had Benjamin tested. It’s not genetic, so we’re not expecting bad news. The test should be an exercise that reassures us that Molly will live a long and healthy life. I’m not sure what kind of reassurance is possible. I feel anxious thinking about the prospect of nursing Molly and putting her down for a nap. I don’t want to wear the same clothes, do it in the same place, do anything that might replicate what happened to Alex.

It’s ridiculous. If I were in a car accident and totaled my car, I wouldn’t avoid buying the same car again because the *car* itself caused the accident. It’s the same with Alex. The circumstances around Alex’s death had nothing to do with the cause of his death. I believe that, but it sill makes me nervous.

We’re going into these final days before her arrival and I remember this whole process with Alex when he was born. It was just a year ago. Our final ultrasound, our final OB visit, all those doctors and nurses who have been reassuring us during this whole journey. I am so grateful. I am so humbled. I am so without words and full of tears… I can’t begin to express how much they mean to me, and to our family.

Each time I have an appointment at the dr, I am nervous that we will find something wrong. When we don’t, I breathe a sigh of relief and send a quick prayer of thanks that everything is okay. I’m especially quiet during these times, but I wish I could thank all our drs and nurses for taking such excellent care of our baby Molly. I know that we sometimes get a little extra attention, a little extra TLC and a few extra precautions because we have so many people cheering for the safe delivery of this very special girl.

Because I am waddling and so obviously pregnant, people will ask me 20 times a day, “Is this your first one?” When I smile and tell them this is my third pregnancy, I get a few smiles, chuckles and sometimes a few gasps. When they ask about the ages of my other two kids at home, I still struggle a little bit. I start by saying that “Benjamin is three and a half…” and then I trail off. Sometimes people don’t continue, but most people are confused by my response and ask “how old is your second child?” Sometimes I say, “he’s no longer with us.” Sometimes I say, “he died last year.” Either way, I feel bad dragging someone into that converstaion.

It would feel wrong for me to deny that Alex was here. To deny that I carried him. To not acknowledge how much I loved him. I can’t tell people that this is my second pregnancy. So, we embark on the whole awkward conversation, and I keep searching for an easier explanation to things.

Molly is almost here and her brothers will be very lucky to meet her. She has a whole group of family and friends that are excited for her arrival and a mommy that is literally bursting at the seams until she arrives. Until next Tuesday, every shove, kick and push she offers is reassurance that she wants to meet us too.

 

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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

#39: Perspective

I did something that I haven’t had the courage to do until now. I listened to the audio recording from Alex’s memorial service. It was about 53 minutes long. Surprisingly, it really wasn’t that hard to listen to.

There was a message from our priest, readings from the scriptures, beautiful music by a woman we had never met (sung slightly off-key), and there was the eulogy I spoke for my special little boy.

Parts of it brought tears to my eyes for sure, but the part that struck me most was the wisdom in the sermon and in the bible passages. In my grief-induced haze I don’t really remember anything from that day. In a clearer light, almost a year later, I can really take in the message that was being spoken. I can understand the words being said and they take on new meaning, when heard fresh.

My eulogy was filled with questions. Why did it happen, what were we supposed to learn, how would our family go on, what do we tell Benjamin? A year later I realize that I don’t have definitive answers to all those questions, but the uncertainty of it all no longer plagues me. I don’t go through life worrying about how I explain how many children I have. Sometimes, I just say 1. Sometimes, I say 2. Depends on my mood, depends on a lot of things.

What I know now, is that the answers are less important to me. When I stop trying to answer all the open questions in my mind, my head clears, and the things that are really important emerge. I don’t need to understand why Alex is in Heaven to enjoy and appreciate the family I have on earth.

I don’t need to have a perfect explanation for how many kids we have on Earth to know that I will always have special memories in my heart. It’s okay.

Molly will be here in less than 4 weeks. That’s great! I don’t need to wrestle with all the circumstances around Alex’s departure to be excited for her arrival.

The hour I spent listening to Alex’s memorial service was time well spent. It let me revisit the sadness of that time, but also reminded me of the progress we have made since then. I am not the same mother, wife, person I was when Alex died. Our family is not the same since he’s been gone. Regardless, I can appreciate who we are and how far we have come. The sadness of that day didn’t relegate us to a year of sadness to follow. We have lots of hope, love and life to share with our family and with others. I wouldn’t have believed that back then, but I see it clearly now.

I don’t have to have all the answers to have perspective on where we are, and to appreciate what we have.

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Uncategorized