Having sent from on high, O King of all, and taken the blessed infant, like a pure bird unto the heavenly nest, O Master, Thou has saved this soul from snares of many forms, and has united it with the souls of the Righteous who are enjoying the delights of Thy Kingdom. ~ From Jacob's memorial service

Purpose of my blog...

And so here I am...10 months post my son Jacob's unexpected death and writing a blog. I am not sure what I think about this but I do know that as everyone lovingly, yet haphazardly, always asks how I am doing this is the only way to sincerely and honestly let everyone know without spewing it all out each time. In person, I usually say the standard and most comfortable for others "I'm fine...how are you?" but here I can truly be honest. This is all very personal but I have found that an event such as the death of a child is still such a taboo in this society that people have lieterally no idea what this experience is like or how to react, help, or handle it when it happens to a freind, loved one, or even themselves. Selfishly, this blog is also a way for me to find my way through the fog of this year and try to figure out where I am. I have hesitated writing this as I don't want to be thought of as self-indulgent or a total bitter woman but I pray that in sharing, for someone, it will make it easier to understand how this experience has affected and continues to affect me and our family and maybe help someone out there to be a little more compassionate and kind to someone that they know that finds themself going through the same thing. So, for those of you that are still reading to this point and really want to know...well, here it all is...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Silas John

How does one even begin to describe saying goodbye to your Godson?  Adams face below says it all.  This was our sweet Silas John Hays.  He fell asleep in the Lord on Thursday September 4th after a long and brave fight with cancer.  I share the next part because it renews my belief and faith that we are never alone and especially not at the time of our death and I hope it gives everyone reading this the same faith.  

Silas, in the arms of his mother, with his Grammy there looked up and reached out  his arms to what he saw as his mother told him it was "okay to go".   "Mommy will be okay and Grammy will be okay."  And in peace, Silas left this broken world for one with the angels where there is no pain and no suffering.  He was not alone and he was not afraid.  I believe even more fervently now that Jacob was not alone either even though we did not get to see the angels that came to be with him at the time of his death.  I will be forever grateful to Silas for this.  There is so much we can't see.  

As I sit and type this Adam is playing church from the top of the stairs singing, "Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death..."  He is right. But for now, I am sad.  My heart is broken again.  There is a space left that can't be filled.  Our dear friends, who I thought would be spared from such a loss, just simply by knowing us and law of averages, they have lost their son too.  Noah has lost his brother and Adam, Allie and Elena have lost a God brother as well as a brother.  In a sweet monastery cemetery, four hours from here, lay four children we know in a row.  Micah & Isiah, our sweet Jacob and Silas now behind him.  How bittersweet.  

We sang the "Last Kiss" again and as I waited in a long line of friends and family to give Silas his last kiss, as he lay in another coffin Dan had to build,  that Dan was honored to build but never wanted to for any child, much less our Godson, I saw Silas' baptismal cross around his neck.  The one we gave him at his baptism.  How different things were those few short years ago before any of our sweet babies lay in a cemetery.  I long for the day we are all reunited, but until then this world is missing a sweet sweet boy who has, in his short life, touched so many lives and will be remembered and dearly missed by so many of us for many many years to come.  May Silas John's memory be eternal.  
                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                    


Bottom left, Isiah & Micah Weesner, followed by the white cross which is Jacob's with Silas directly behind him.  


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Two years and a dream...

Yesterday does not only mark what would have been Jacob's second birthday but it marks the beginning of a dream that I've had for almost the entire time he's been gone.  I actually held off on it as I just wanted to believe that we would not know any other babies that died.  This was unrealistic but it's how I felt and a mother always hopes and prays for the best, even a miracle.  Sadly, Dan recently was asked to make a small coffin for a little baby, Owyn, who was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 during pregnancy.  He was not expected to live long but the doctors were not sure, you never can be, and unfortunately Owyn did not make it.  When Dan finished making Owyns small coffin, the first full size one he's needed to make since Jacob's, it rekindled this desire as we just could not bear to give them a bill after experiencing such a huge loss, a loss we've been through ourselves.  We donated Owyn's little coffin to their family, through Jacob's Memorial Fund that many of you contributed to after Jacob died...so in a way, you all blessed this family with a donation at a very difficult time, so thank you for that, for letting us give to another family by way of Jacob's unexpected death.

Yesterday I filed the Articles of Incorporation for a non-profit, born from the loss of Jacob, Jacob's Angels.  It has been my desire since we lost him to find a way to help other families that go through a similar loss.  There are so many amazing non-profit organizations out there that do an outstanding job already of helping in the days, weeks, months and years after losing a child and we have utilized many of them.   I wanted to wait and pray and find something that would be truly useful and beneficial to families that loose children like we lost Jacob and also do something that was not currently already being done.  It is my hope and prayer that in time Jacob's Angels will provide families that experience the death of a child, before or after birth, with a burial coffin at no cost to them through the donations of others.  We were so blessed in a very odd and unusual way that when Jacob died we both knew, without ever speaking it out loud, that Dan would make his coffin. However I don't know any other families that have that same option. I have heard countless stories of families that have lost a child and been tasked with, in the immediate wake of shock and grief, having to shop at funeral homes, online, or even at Michael's for a burial coffin or small box for their child. Some of these can cost more than $500 and some mothers may not have the time or energy to be "crafty" and make something of their own for a loss during pregnancy.  Some families that want to bury their children ultimately choose to cremate, not because that is their number one choice but because it is the least costly option.  To me this just seems so unfair.  If a family really wants to bury their child I just believe they should be able to and without spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars.  It just simply is not an option for everyone and if a family is not able to afford what they would ideally like for their child they can then also feel a great sense of guilt and shame that they are somehow "cheaping out" on their own child. I don't believe any family should be faced with having to put their child in anything they are not 100% comfortable with simply because of cost; as 100% comfortable as a parent can be in that situation alone. For those of us that have been through it, this is always a part of it, a hidden part of the tasks that must be done after a loss, and it's been a painful part for many. So I hope, as time permits, this will grow over the coming year and by next year, by Jacob's 3rd birthday, Jacob's Angels will be thriving and supporting other grieving families that follow us on this very unexpected path.  More to come but I just wanted to share...this is my birthday gift to Jacob and I hope it serves many of his friends that join him in Heaven down the road.




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

hit a landmine today....sigh

So today I have to get on the phone with an insurance company.  This is how the conversation goes with a woman who is only equipped to read from her list of questions and apparently can't listen to responses other than the exact one she is looking for.

Customer Service Person (CSP):

CSP: How many children you have had in the last 5 years?
ME: 4
CSP: please tell me the dates of each birth starting with most recent.  (...Lord, now I'm going to have to tell her about Jacob and what happened, I hate this)
ME: Elena May 5, 2013
CSP: Was this a normal birth or a c-section? (now I'm going to also have to say that he was footling breech)
Me: Normal
CSP: Any complications? (...and so now I will have to tell her he died)
ME: No. none.
CSP: Okay the next birth.
ME: our son Jacob.
CSP: When was he born?  (here we go...)
ME: March 17, 2012
CSP: Was this a normal birth or a c-section?
ME: Well he was footling breech but I did labor with him naturally.
CSP: Any complications? (ugh I.    HATE.            THIS.)
ME: Well, yes.  He was born with Tracheal Atresia which means he was born without a trachea and so was unable to breathe and died.
CSP: Is Trachea Atresia one word or two? (seriously lady?)
ME: Two
CSP: How do you spell Trachea?  (OMG)
ME: T-R-A-C-H-E-A    (might as well spell atresia too) A-T-R-E-S-I-A
CSP: I'm sorry (with no change of tone) And how long did he live?
ME: (seriously, did I not just say he died at birth????) He didn't. He died as soon as he was born.
CSP: And the next birth... (WTF)

Note to insurance companies that care (if there are any) if you are going to hire people that act like damn machines and computers, I suggest you save money and just use computers to ask questions and respond to the answers given.

These days are what make living life after the death of your child hard.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Riding Tidle Waves

So, out of the blue, unexpectedly this is a hard day.  Not sure why, not sure if it's been building over time.  It just is.  Grief is such a strange and unpleasant thing sometimes. When your baby dies nothing is "normal" for a long time and you wonder if things will ever be "normal" again.  What is normal anyway?  But, over time I managed to find a new normal...all mothers who have lost know what I mean by this and I'm sure those who have not still can understand what I mean.  There is before Jacob died and after Jacob died. Some of the things that were "normal" before he died are still part of our lives now but they are just a little different.  I've been doing great I think.  Moving forward, started a business, hired some help around the house as this is almost necessary with three little kids and my sanity is worth the cleaning lady, Mrs. Barbie, once every two weeks, trying to focus on each day and not look too much into the future, coming to accept that this is just the way it is and there is no need nor benefit to dwelling on what happened because there is simply nothing that can change it.  I am no good to anyone when I'm looking backwards, not even myself.  I did that and I grieved.  I let myself be sad for what, to me, seemed like a long time.  So why today, why such a hard day?  I'm not crying in a corner...it's just this overwhelming feeling that I'm just keeping my head above water, barely.  Grief is like riding a tidal wave in so many ways.  It builds so slowly over time that I don't even realize what is building beneath me and eventually grows into something out of my control and then I'm here...stuck...riding this crazy wave out that I don't want to be on, never wanted to be on, was afraid of, am afraid of, and can't get off of.  I know the crazy wave will pass but being ON the wave is SOOO not my favorite thing.  I feel out of control, can't think straight, can't focus, it's hard to be "here" with the kids. I'm not thinking of Jacob and going woe is me, I am just different than I was before.  Sometimes I think I'm trying to prove to myself that I am OKAY still.  The fear of not surviving his death is still there I just try to not give it any credit or time.  But when on this wave that comes every now and then, it's hard to not go there and just be off for a day or three.  I so wish that this was not a part of it but it is.  I say all of this not to get sympathy, I hate that, but to be real in that this IS what it's like for me.  And to share, I think, is strength. It's being vulnerable and showing my weaknesses and I find strength in that.  In being real with myself and others about how life is after loosing your baby.  It may not be this way for everyone, but it is the reality for me.  Most days when I look fine I actually AM.  But today, this day, it's just a rough day.  And one final note....the only thing that has gotten me this far is God and the love he has shown to me through friends like you who are reading this, the love of my children and the love of my husband who is incredibly patient and understanding; I'm not sure why he's so good at being patient as I am horrible at it, but he is, and the strength of our marriage is, in many ways, credited to his love and patience.  Tomorrow will be a better day, and if not then the next one will be. Now I'm going to go love on little, big, Elena which is what I'm sure Jacob would want.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Working to help all NC families

I wrote the following today to some of our NC Senators who will vote on the licensing of CPM's later this month...Oh how I wish they'd listen and stop being bullied by big wig medical people who think they can make better decisions for our families than we can. 
 
Dear President Berger & Senators Brock, Brunstetter & Parmon,
My name is Nora Kowalcheck and I am a mother, wife and resident of North Carolina living in Forsyth County.
My husband and I have two living children and one that died at birth last March 17th of 2012, Jacob. We have one more due any day now. I know this is a long email but please bear with me.
Of my three children, not including the one yet to be born, two were born at home with the assistance of a midwife and one was born in the hospital. Only one died and that was our Jacob and the only of my children to be born in a hospital. The hospital did not cause his death BUT it also did not save his life either.
Hospitals are not the only option for safe birth and they do not prevent death. I am sure all of you sadly have experienced the loss of a loved one that died and not even doctors or the hospital could save them. Death is just a part of this life as is birth and Hospitals do not MAKE birth safe. Trained licensed professionals do the best at monitoring babies. Also, I would like to remind everyone that as much as hospitals are needed for emergencies and high risk pregnancies/deliveries babies still die in hospitals every day, even with all the equipment and bells and whistles. HOME BIRTH DOES NOT KILL BABIES. Babies do not just die because they were born outside of a hospital, nor do they live because they were born at one. This is a fact that no doctor wants to admit to. Some things simply are out of our control, and my son Jacob is an example of that FACT. He was born without a trachea and even the most advanced hospital or best OB doctor in the world could not have saved him.
I also birthed him footling breech without medication and he did not die because of that either. I was monitored the entire time and I gave him the last few hours of life by doing so. I do not regret any of the pain of that labor, it was the end of his life, I just didn't know it then. Having avoided a c-section, I was able to, after handing Jacob over to two men from a funeral home in suits at 6 AM, go home and hold my other children and grieve with my family instead of being confined to a hospital bed because I'd just had major surgery AND lost my baby unexpectedly.
We have come to know many families that also experienced infant loss and every other family that I know lost their baby at the hospital, or before doctors or the hospital even knew anything was wrong. Hospitals DO NOT PREVENT STILLBIRTH and infant death!!!! I wish, I so wish, they did for the sake of all the parents I know.
Hospitals and doctors DO NOT SAVE ALL BABIES. This does not include only OB's and Physicians but also experienced Midwives. My other two children are proof that healthy babies can be born at home safely. Most all of my friends have their babies at the hospital safely. All I want is the right to have my babies at home with a LICENSED MIDWIFE if that is what we choose. I am not against hospitals or doctors, I am just for this additional option that our surrounding states have already given their residents.

I will have this baby at home as well, "illegally", because that is my desire. I even qualify for a free medicaid birth at the hospital but my husband and I are paying out of pocket to birth at home. We feel that strongly about the level of care we have received from our midwife through each of our pregnancies to pay for this even though we could do it on your dime. Even after having lost my son, I still feel this is the best option for me and most importantly our baby. Should something go awry, like this baby being breech, yes I will go to the hospital then, but not all births are scary. In fact remember birthing is natural, women have done this outside of hospitals for thousands of years and why not allow women to have this one other option and licensing will prevent the ones who are NOT QUALIFIED to be weeded out. THAT IS IMPORTANT!!! We don't want untrained assistants but trained assistants who will know when it's time to go to the hospital and who will not be shunned in the process. If babies living is your main concern than there is no better option than to require Licensing of CPM's. People like me will continue to do this without the states stamp of approval and by allowing others to squash midwives out of the state you are jeopardizing the lives of these babies to come by in a way eradicating the help of those who are trained and eliminating the ones that are not.
PLEASE for the sake of our son Jacob, consider all I have said. If women have so many rights to do what they want when they want, have sex, abortions, pick their own doctors, why stop at allowing them to have even the option to birth at home. For a normal pregnancy this is a fantastic option for those that seek it. Please Please, give us the same rights that women in other states have. As a resident I hope you will listen and pass this bill even if it would not be your personal choice.
Sincerely,
Nora Kowalcheck
 
 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fear of the Home Stretch...

So here I find myself, 30 days from my due date and having Braxton Hicks contractions on and off every other day or so, sometimes every day and scared to death.  Talk about fear.  This whole pregnancy has been like a blur of time. After Jacob died I could not imagine the stress of going through another full pregnancy always waiting for the outcome, would we bring a baby home next time or go through the entire pregnancy only to hand another baby over to two men in suits from a funeral home.  This entire time I've been going through the pregnancy with my fingers in my ears trying to avoid any reality, "just make it till she's born, just make it till she's born" is what goes through my head over and over.  But now, in this final month, it's too real to ignore, I can't deny the pain of the contractions, the anxiety of, is this false labor or real labor?  Is my water getting ready to break or is this just my body practicing?  When will she come? Will she come early? Will she come late? Will she be breech like Jacob? If she's head down will it go too fast? Will it go slow like Jacob's did? Will we be able to do it at home?  Will there be complications that lead us to the hospital? Either way, will she be born crying and healthy like Adam and Allie or will she have some rare undetectable anomaly that we won't know about till I've labored and birthed again? Will we be caught off guard again? Will she sleep in the crib we have set up or will I have to strip that one day because she's not there?  This is the craziness of my head.  This is what life is like in my mind.  Faith, have faith, is my motto for when the crazy ideas/questions start rolling through my mind, but then I think, well let's be prepared for the worst as we were totally unprepared last time.  Still, I know fear does not come from God.  God did not make Jacob die. He was not punishing us, technically Jacob is still alive, just in the way that we won't be till we also die and get to experience whatever the eternal life is, God willing we make it to Heaven.  

But I REALLY want this baby to be here with me in this life.  I know that we can't always have what we want and that is certainly not what this life is all about.  But, still, the desire to hold this baby is so strong, to get to that moment when she just comes out and starts screaming, that the fear of it potentially not happening is just terrifying. And I have some 30 days or less to get through with all these thoughts. Sometimes I can calm them, usually I can, but every time I feel a contraction, which is increasingly more as we get closer, I can't help but think into crazy land.  Talk about a workout for the mind, an inner conflict, it is like a battle against God and Satan in my head and it's exhausting.  I've tried to fill my time by nesting and organizing, which is extremely hard considering we own about 4 baskets in this house and I think baskets are the key to organization with little ones! We plan to take advantage of Ikea to help remedy this one issue, but until then if it's cluttered I freak out more. At least though I can somewhat control the clutter.  The time this baby decides to come, is totally and completely out of my control and I think that is the hardest part.  When Jacob died it felt like I had no control over anything. Slowly I found things that I could make constant, and control to some extent.  But this, this time before the tragedy we experienced last time, the total lack of concern I had last time is so different from this time.  All I can do is try to be patient, calm, remember I have the caregivers that I feel the safest with, that I'm not alone and whatever happens I know God will help us through it, even if the worst happens.  I never doubt that.  I may need more drugs this time around should something go wrong and bottles of wine and extensive amounts of chocolate can be sent to us here at the house but I don't doubt that God helps us get through whatever unexpected things this imperfect life throws at us.  It's not easy but if we seek Him out, He's always there and I know that otherwise I would have left this life long ago.  

So looking at 30 days of something that is now out of my hands, not knowing when or how fast I will go into labor, not knowing which contraction will be the start of the end of this LONG journey and which ones are just practice ones, somehow I'll get through this.  Just like Jacob's funeral and burial that I didn't want to face, I don't want to face these unknown days but I will. I will pray and try to not freak out. I appreciate the friends I have that make me feel like a sane person because I am freaking out! I appreciate all the women I know that are in my boat right now and waiting too for the scream we all didn't get to hear last time.  The good scream, the one that will incite many many more for years to come, ones of joy and frustration that their brother/sister took their toys, annoyed them or touched them...that fist sound means so much more than this baby made it, but that this baby has a life here, however short or long and I will get to see her eyes open and close on their own, see her chest rise and fall with each breath, cry when she is hungry, smile when she's happy or gassy...if we can just get to there...surely after that moment I can finally breath again, really breath, and feel relief which I've only experienced in tidbits through the last 9 months.  Extended relief, oh won't that be nice! 

So below is for me really, to visually have proof of accomplishments we've made over the last month.  Before and after pictures of how we switched the rooms and finally decorated in preparation for this new life that we WILL have with this new baby girl...(thanks to a husband who is extremely handy and strong, not just physically but mentally to endure my insane nesting "must haves") I do feel more at ease now that their rooms are decorated, painted and mostly finished for them to enjoy and grow in! 


              

 



Saturday, April 13, 2013

The difference of a year...

So, on a crisp cold Saturday in March, March 23rd, I was with people from our church, just as I had been the year before.  This day was not like last year in many ways. This very day last year I was standing at a hole in the ground waiting for Jacob to be lowered down....This present day I was among many of the same women that had gathered together to celebrate Jacob's life the day I went into labor with him.  The difference is, I made it to this shower and the day went exactly as planned.  In fact, I was so focused on being happy for this baby and THIS shower that not even I, Jacob's mother, remembered until the next day the significance of the shower date.  Some things I have learned are too much and sometimes it's okay to just be happy for a change.  I still feel kind of guilty being happy, but on this day I truly was.  Surrounded by many women who have been such a meaningful part of my life I was able to celebrate our daughter's life.  She has been alive and with us for almost 9 months now, we still are not sure of her name, but it does not diminish our joy in every moment and every day we are given with her, even before we meet her face to face and can see the miracle that God has granted us.  I have learned that living in the moment is much more useful than daydreaming about the future, one that is unknown.  Still, to open gifts and see things that she will wear, sleep in, spit up on, they are all steps of faith towards the hope that she will be there to make all the memories we have already virtually placed her in.  It's impossible to not work these little unborn babies into our families and future vacations, holidays, trips, events, school spacing between the kids, visiting Jacob even.   We did the same for Jacob and as hard as it is to come upon those events and realize his absence,  those events that we had already worked him into, they keep him alive in our hearts and in our family.  

So for this day in March, very different in many ways than the day we buried Jacob, I was happy.  You can see it and although my dear friend Nikki, our photographer for the day (who should go professional) captured all the smiles I did have a near breakdown at the end thanking everyone for all they have done for us, Dan and I and the kids, to get to this day, this new joyful day.  Laughter and tears, they are usually partners in my life now, but to have friends to thank is such a gift I could never articulate it properly.  Thank you ladies for your love and celebration of this new life that will join our church soon enough:)  









Blanket for baby girl, made by Jacob's God Sister below...the sweetest gift a baby could get.
Made from pure love. 








Nikki, aka Photographer extraordinaire! Love these precious pictures...thank you so much!! 
To all these special ladies....you made this day, this year, one to remember and smile about:) 



Sunday, April 7, 2013

Third Sunday In Lent: Veneration of the Cross

So, today was another anniversary of sorts but not necessarily a bad one.  As Orthodox we go by the old calendar and therefor our Easter generally falls on a different day than the one that most everyone else is familiar with, hence we are still in Lent.  Jacob died on a Saturday evening but the next day happened to be the third Sunday of Lent last year, as today was for us, and on the third Sunday we commemorate the Cross.  "The cross stands in the midst of the church in the middle of the lenten season not merely to remind men of Christ’s redemption and to keep before them the goal of their efforts, but also to be venerated as that reality by which man must live to be saved. “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Mt.10:38). For in the Cross of Christ Crucified lies both “the power of God and the wisdom of God” for those being saved (1 Cor.1:24)." www.oca.org 

I remember the time that I realized what had been commemorated at church that Sunday we were not there and hearing it was the Cross and thinking, "Well that is fitting". Seeing as how I'd never been given a bigger cross to bear it seemed fitting Jacob came hours before this particular day at our church.  We were not there last year but we were there today and I was glad to be there.  The 30 seconds of the sermon I was able to hear since Allie had her eye on a piece of bread in the hall, was something that our priest, Fr. Christopher said. I can't quote exactly but it went something like, Beware of the reward without the cross, or something to that effect.  Which to me means that all the greatest gifts in life, they generally come by way of sacrifice and hard work, in other words a cross of some sort.  Now a hard day at "work" for any of us, mom's especially, is one thing and very much a daily cross and some days are crazy challenging, but the cross of losing one's child and having to live for the others you may have, or that we were blessed to have, and STILL live through the crazy mom days is a far harder thing than I had ever known.  I guess looking back, I always thought that we got to somewhat control the crosses we bore or chose to bear but it seems to me now that the biggest crosses I have faced in my life have been the ones that I had no control over but that I had to carry.  To face your worst nightmare and have to walk into it I think is a huge cross and it makes it all the more meaningful when you go forward without even the strength to do it.  That is where I found God, and that was about all I found.  Even in the dark somehow I knew He was there, but in all honesty it was dark and for a long time.  Sometimes still, the cross of losing Jacob, not having him here and having to keep going on without him, feels like something I can't do and I fall down A LOT trying to do it.  It filters into so many aspects of our daily life I could never have been prepared for,  but maybe that is what life is supposed to be?  Having to constantly face what we can and can't do and what we can do if we ask for help from the One that really can help us. I think I'm rambling because I hate to get all preachy and hope this is not coming off as such but  I just have so much respect for others now that are taking up their crosses that have been placed in front of them. I don't think the feeling of not wanting to bear one's cross is a bad thing or detracts from the dignity of carrying it, whether you have a good day of carrying or a bad day and have to put it down to rest, regroup and try again, you are still taking up your cross and trying and THAT I think is the beauty, the work and the veneration of the Cross. It's not meant to be carried with perfection but with struggle and faith.  I don't get through every day with strength, I can probably count how many days I've felt strong since Jacob died on one hand, maybe two, but it's not about that I think.  It's just about moving forward at whatever pace I can.  My cross will always be there, whether I want it to be or not, but I have noticed that when I give myself a break and try to pace myself instead of running full speed I generally do better for longer.  It is hard to not run full speed to this delivery date for this baby, I am so overwhelmed with trying to organize, clean everything in my path, all those little crosses are starting to weigh me down.  It's been a long year of just survival and now I feel like I really need to get my super mom cape back on and be ready for this new baby, try to make everything "perfect" for her and for us, but really what is that? What is perfect? Maybe just having her healthy and breathing in my arms is the only perfection I should be worried about? I have no idea.  Life goes on and I know I have to face adult things like cleaning and entertaining the kids but maybe I'm being too hard on myself.  Maybe the best thing I can do for me, my family and this baby girl is to just relax and to trust God, take one day, one task at a time and just go slow.  Super mom probably does not exist but I sure do keep trying to be "her".  

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Last of the Firsts....

Well today, March 31st, not only marks Easter for most of the population but also the last of the "first" anniversaries for us with Jacob.  Today was Jacob's original due date.  It was one of the first milestones we had to face after he died and only two weeks after he died.  It was hard then and surprisingly to me it's kind of a hard day today too; I mean what is a due date really?  I don't count on them as none of my children have ever been born on their suggested due dates, yet still it marked a date we'd been anticipating 9 months with Jacob and so it's forever part of his short life and now our future as a result. 
 
We were asked to be God parents for our friends son, Peter John, and were/are very honored.  Originally the baptism was supposed to be in December but as usually happens with things, plans change and so his baptism ended up falling on today.  It really didn't occur to me that it was a "Jacob anniversary day" until this past week.  I think for survival, I try to block some of them out just for mental health, but this one was interesting just because Peter John is a boy, and a cute one at that, with lots of dark hair, like Jacob was born with.  Holding him through the service reminded me of what it's like to hold a baby and hold a boy.  It feels like it's been forever in some ways since I've held a baby and so it was surreal in that aspect.  It's hard not to think of what might have been or what Jacob's own baptism would have been like.  Still the energy it takes to "hold it together" sometimes is more exhausting than I am ever prepared for and sometimes, like today, it really sneaks up on me and catches me off guard.  It's hard to be faced with the reality sometimes that as wonderful and joyful as things can be, as baptisms are full of joy and new beginnings, there is also heartache and memories.  As a mother who's lost a child, there are so many times like this.  In fact, it's often the most joyous of moments that the realization really hits that our Jacob is really gone, we can't have him here and it's just the way it is.  It makes for an interesting emotion that seems indescribable and I was never aware of until Jacob died.  An emotion not of happiness or sadness but both wrapped up together in one package.  I would not even know what to call it, can't think of anything to call it.  Surprisingly the last baptism we were God parents for was for our friends and their daughter, our God daughter, Cassie. I was 8 months pregnant with Jacob during that baptism and am 8 months pregnant now.  I can only pray that that is where the similarities stop. 
 
As we finally move forward into a new phase of life, the phase after all the "firsts" without Jacob and onto anticipating and preparing for our new baby girl; Adam, Allie and Jacob's new sister (still yet to be officially named) I can only hope that God will give me the ability to focus on this new life that he has given us, for whatever time we have with her.  Selfishly, I pray that God can, if need be, preform a miracle if anything is wrong with her and that she can live a long and joyful life here with us on Earth and not one with her brother in Heaven.  I want to trust God that he will not put us through the loss of another child, but as I write this I know of more moms than I wish I did who have suffered more than one loss.  No matter how many we loose here on earth I know one day our family will all be together and it is because of Easter, the resurrection of Christ, that I believe this with all my heart. It is honestly the only thing that has really kept me going through all of this, other than Dan and the kids, the belief I have that one day, in the future, I WILL see Jacob, it WILL happen I just don't know when or how long from now.  I have to confess that every time I hear thunder or a weird storm sound, part of my heart leaps in hope that maybe the end of the world is upon us...I listen for the voice of God or angels to sing, a clap of thunder lounder than any I've ever heard, but as of yet, the only thing that follows is a normal storm and a slight sigh that today is not the day to see my sweet Jacob...not yet...not yet. 
 
So on this rainy Sunday, one year later, with the baptism of our newest God son Peter, I hope that I can find renewed hope to get me to the end of this seemingly endless pregnancy.  Our forth childs birth will be a step onto a new path and I hope that this new path holds a lot of joy and a new horizon that a year ago just seemed black and empty.  May you too, find hope in today and may you all be blessed. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The girl at TJ Maxx saved my day....

So, out of the most unexpected places, I found myself stumped in a good way today. The day started out awful, I won't go into detail but just drama and that was all before church.  Church was, as usual, just a time where I say "Shhhh" and "No" and "Stop" over and over and over again to the kids along with running after Allie who I swear is faster than a fox.  Came home and after resting, sort of, made my way to the grocery store...something I detest and as a mom I find myself grumpily going there more than I ever want to.  So, I decided to stop at TJ Maxx to look for a new purse...you know, since what I've been using (my free Similac formula purse from getting 3D pictures of Allie) was ripping apart at the seams, yes, I'm sooo trendy, NOT.  Anyway, no luck on the purse but did find some other things and as I approached the cashier she said the familiar "Oh! When are you due?"  May I said... "Oh great....boy or girl?" Girl I said and then she asked if this would be my first to which I said this sounding like an idiot..."well this will be my third....well, really this will be my fourth." and knowing I sounded crazy since I had no idea how many kids I had, I started to explain expecting the all to common look of horror that washes over strangers faces as I tell them the truth about Jacob and that he died at birth.  To my GREAT surprise as I told her and explained, "Well, this will be our fourth. Our third died at birth about a year ago and so...." The fabulous TJ Maxx stranger cashier didn't skip a beat in telling me "Oh I know all about that.  My aunt lost a baby at birth.  Only got to hold him for 20  minutes but she did hear him take his last breath." I was so shocked that I was having a NORMAL conversation about babies dying with a complete stranger and we continued talking as she scanned my items.  "Oh and my sister lost her son and now she's pregnant again....etc." And on she went about all the babies she knew that has passed away and then said how much she was looking forward to her next neices' arrival later this year, as if we were talking about normal things.  Sometimes these strangers really catch you off guard and when someone allows you to feel normal and okay to share your loss and shares their own experience it breaks all the anxiety I carry around with me all the time still when I'm out and about.  I could not articulate it to her as I was in so much shock because this type of conversation so rarely occurs for me, but she managed to make what has been a very emotional week end on the best of notes.  I felt normal and part of a world where it's okay to talk about Jacob and not feel like I've just terrified another person by bringing up my "dead baby".  What a gift she gave me in the most unlikely of places.  People, good people, do exist and I am ever so grateful that God placed me at register #1 with a lovely honest cashier!  

Now if anyone knows where I can get a purse that the kids can spill milk on that is not over $50 let me know! I'm not spending $149 on a purse that will be inevitably stepped on, spit up on or cut with craft scissors.  Have a great week everyone:)