Sunday, January 30, 2011

"You are not alone"

On Friday, I went to visit Rachel for her 8 week birthday :o)  Des was invited by Mrs. Marshall at Tri-City to stay after art class for a special guest they were having.  We have been so blessed by the support and love that everyone at that school has given us.  It is so apparent to me that God ordained her time there last year and has provided for us in so many ways through the staff.  We are so grateful to be considered part of their school and for all of their support, even as homeschoolers.  So anyway, because she was there for a while Friday, I didn't have to rush my visit with Rachel this week. 

Friends of ours, Brent & Naomi, live nearby the cemetery and told us that they planned on making it a family tradition to clean Rachel's spot for us every year.  They have been faithfully shoveling it out for us, including last week when the roads weren't plowed yet, meaning they made the same trip we did through the snow!  When I pulled up, I figured it would be somewhat cleaned up...  what I saw, yet again left me in tears of gratitude.  I cannot begin to explain how amazingly people have loved us through this journey.  Not only had Brent & Naomi cleaned ALL the snow off of Rachel's grave, the marker I made her and little name plate, (and they said someone else had done some cleaning up too) but the cemetery apparently plowed the entire area!  This spot that is plowed is not even a road, it's usually lawn, but they did this especially for us.  I am humbled by the ways people continuously bless us...  thank you all!



approaching Rachel's spot... this is how deep the rest of the cemetery is!

you can see her little name plate... they had even completely cleaned that off - right down to the ground!

It was nice to not have a time limit....but it made for a lot of tears.  I miss her so much.  I can't believe it's been 8 weeks...and then at times I can't believe it's only been 8 weeks.  I don't remember life before her...don't really want to. 

This spot is WAY bigger than I need and yet was given to me out of love and compassion from somebody that I have never done anything for and will never be able to repay. It says loud and clear "you are not alone."  Kind of reminds me of Jesus.  He has given me more than I could ever have asked for out of love & compassion.  I did nothing to deserve it and will never be able to repay Him.

For a time in my life that will most likely be the worst pain I'll ever endure, I am amazed every day at how much joy there is in heartache when you are walking the path with God.  He is ever reminding me, "you are not alone."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I Love My Auntie

My sister called me the other day and said "I was just looking at a picture of me & Rachel and I just wanted to say 'thank you'...I know you didn't have to let me meet her, but I'm really glad I was there"...

Meg was the only other person who was blessed to meet Rachel while she was still alive outside my belly.  Many people got to know her while I was carrying her... her personality shone through even as she danced inside my womb, and people close to me saw that...but by the time they met her face to face, she was already in the arms of Jesus....

I had struggled with whether I wanted anyone in the OR with us...  My sister & mom are always will us when I have a baby and I'm not usually a shy person, but I felt very conflicted about this decision.  I didn't know how I would feel or if I would want anyone there when Rachel came into the world.  They had said we could have 1 person, depending on the doctor who was there and how they felt about it.  We decided that as long as the anaesthesiologist (they're in charge in the OR) would allow her, we would have Meg there.  I had no idea that she would be the only one to meet her alive... I really thought I would have long enough with her that others would too.... that was hard in the beginning, but every day I realize more that God was protecting my heart.  He knows exactly what I need.  And since everyone has different needs, He meets them differently and therefore, we all have different stories.  Sometimes I hear of babies living days and get sad that it wasn't our story, but I know Rachel was meant to live for 43 minutes, in the arms of her Mama & Daddy. 

Meg's friend had given me a bunch of girl clothes when I was pregnant.  I washed them all and got ready for my girl.  I remember someone coming over and seeing all the clothes folded on the table and looking at me as if I was in denial that my baby was going to die.  Well, I changed that girl probably 4 or 5 times... and this outfit was a special one; it says "I love my Auntie"...  and that she does :o) 

I'm glad you were there too, Meggie. :o)  Thank you for recognizing the gift she was.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Caught Off Guard

My mom & I were talking yesterday about how grief can catch you off guard.  I was talking about how I hadn't had any trouble being around babies yet... there are lots of them in our church and a couple at Isaiah's pre-school.  I see lots of them in people's arms and in carseats and have yet to be anything but smiles when I do.  I love babies.   But on Sunday, out of nowhere, I got sad.  It was a baby boy, not a girl... that's not what I thought would happen, I thought only baby girls would be hard.  It caught me off guard that as I watched this mama and her baby, I got sad.  I realized it wasn't the baby that was making my heart hurt, it was the bond that she and her baby had that my heart is longing for.  She was totally loving on him, rubbing his head with her cheek...  that's what I miss.

Today I had another doctor appt... every time I walk down that hallway, Aug 4th comes back to me... the feelings are right there again, but today, I felt strong.  I saw a brief flashback in my mind of what I have come through over the last 6 months and how God carried me and I feel honored to have been a part of His plan.  I sat down and started reading a baby magazine... (I know, it's daring)  Every page I flipped had some headline that said something completely different to me than it would to the average girl...

 "Saving your baby's cord blood may be life saving for your family" (picture of chubby baby girl)
We donated Rachel's cord blood for anencephaly research...
"Dreft - turns preparing into caring" (pictures of pregnant mama cuddling a cute pink outfit)
Our "preparing" turned into funeral plans...I cuddle an empty blanket every night
"Life's better with Baby"
*Sigh* Not just any baby...
"Happy Hair Days - Losing a lot? This will help"
For once in my life, I wish my hair was falling out from nursing an infant...but it's not.
"I'll protect you - Babies feel the difference of our best sensitive care" (they're talking about wipes...I'm thinking about life)
I loved her from the start and would do anything for her... I know she felt my protection and care.  I know it.

They called my name, I put the magazine down and followed the nurse, impressed with how well I handled looking at all that stuff in the waiting room.  What's that verse... "Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”   yeah...

She handed me a postpartum depression questionnaire... 

First question:  How old is your baby?

I lost it....  totally caught off guard.

I told them they need a different form for people like me.  You can't ask a woman who just lost a baby, how old her baby is and then follow it up with "how often do you cry?" and think you're going to be able to tell if she's depressed.  You need a different form... if a form is ever really going to be able to see depression through grief.  Not everybody that cries is depressed... and not everybody that is depressed cries.  Then she told me I scored high on the depression scale... huh?  I am SO not depressed.... or in denial...

cry? yes.
want to go many places? no.
feel anxious? sometimes.
sleep good? not without help.

Could it be "depression"?  yes, if I didn't just have my baby die in my arms... 
Oh, and she is almost 8 weeks old... just for the record.  And although sad, I have never had more JOY in all my life.  I felt guilty that I didn't say that for Rachel.

Next time someone asks me how old she is, I'll be more prepared to answer.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Announcing...

Our beautiful daughter, Rachel Alice Aube...



I sent these out to our families and was waiting for them to get them first before posting it for everyone else... I got a thank you card today from Matt's Aunt so I think it's safe to share!  (Wish the scan would have come out better)

I just got another draft of her headstone from the stone company.  It's very difficult to look at her name on a stone... so I'm counteracting the pain of that with the joy of this...

I'm so glad we got to meet her.

I'm so glad Jesus was with us when we did.

I'm so glad that if she had to leave us, it was to go to Him.

How Many Tissues to a Mended Heart?

My friend Ruth told me that after she lost her boys, she started measuring her days in tissues... a "1 tissue" day was a "good" day...  Let's see, today...  I lost track of my tissues hours ago.

If you haven't listened to the song that our friend Phil wrote yet, you should.  I put a link to it at the top of my blog... I don't listen to it often, cause honestly, I cry a lot when I do.  Because it was written with Rachel in mind and the lyrics are so personal., it really breaks my heart wide open.  I know I need that sometimes...but it's not a comfortable feeling.

Today I was putting it on the blog and listened to it....  1 tissue, 2 tissues, 3 tissues, 4....

And we'll follow that up with a really bad headache.  It left me wondering God, when will I not hurt so bad??  I decided to look up a verse that might make me feel better...  I typed "bible verse for sorrow" in google. (it's a quick concordance) :o)  And the verse that popped up was:
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18
It wasn't what I thought I needed to hear... I decided to go get my devotional book out instead.  The woman from String of Pearls (link on side of blog) had sent it to me after my sister contacted her to tell her about Rachel when I was pregnant.  It is called the One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie.  I started it when I first got it, but only got a few devotions in and stopped.  I brought it with me to the hospital and put Rachel's hand and footprint inside it, as well as inside the journal she sent me to go with it. I planned on journaling in at the hospital, but never did.  This was one of the things I came across, in my unpacked stuff, the other day that I had forgotten about (my room painting day)

Why am I telling you this?  Because I opened it up and the last day I had written in it was October 16; the day we had Rachel's baby shower.  It was a joyous day, celebrating our little girl's life... and at the same time making our impending loss that much more obvious. The title at the top of that day's devotionBut I Am Trusting  The prayer at the bottom says:
You are my God, and I want to trust you with the hurts of my past and the pain that may be in my future.  Today I choose to trust you and believe you'll give me the grace to trust you tomorrow, too. (underlines mine)
The title at the top of the page today?  Brokenhearted

The verse? 
the Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those who are crushed in spirit

The meditation says:
Quiet yourself in the presence of God, and meditate on the comforting promises of this verse.
Express your brokenheartedness and crushed spirit to God, laying it all before Him.
Ask God to make the closeness of his presence known to you, and open yourself up to his rescue.
I'm thinking that this was the verse that He had for me today afterall...even though I was expecting something different.  And considering the number of tissues I've been through while opening up my heart to this truth... I guess He was right.  Imagine that. 

So tonight, I continue to surrender my life to the One Who knows me, loves me, and cares for me... The only One Who can heal my broken heart...trusting that He is big enough and strong enough to carry me through this...I again lay my sorrows at his precious feet, keeping my eyes on His cross; knowing that He is aware of my suffering and treasures my tears.... and he knows how many tissues have soaked them up in my sadness.

AND...my husband just walked in with some pretty flowers for me. :o)  Said he thought I should have some on my desk... I love being Mrs. Aube :o)

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's almost spring

Well, our Christmas tree is still up...even if outside...in Rachel's memory.  My bright light in the dark days, just like her. The snow is so deep now, the tree will be there through February at this rate. We couldn't get it out now if we wanted to, but we don't want to, so it works out good. :o)...and with the 18" we're supposed to get on Wednesday, the fence will soon be covered!  I'm hoping for an early spring!  I know it sounds unrealistic to think that will happen with things looking the way they do, but hope does not disappoint us!  Never has, never will.



Jill stopped by Saturday night and brought some "spring" to my home...

When I went to bed, they were all flopping over and not too happy.  I almost cut all the stems shorter so they would stand up.  But in the morning, I walked into the kitchen and there they were... straight up again!  I can't wait to see what Rachel's tulips look like when they bloom.  I'm pretty sure they are this same color and there is around 130 of them just waiting beneath all that snow to break through the hard ground and show their beauty!  Come on, spring time!!

PS - It was still light at 5:30 today!!  More sunshine and some flowers... it's almost "spring". :o)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Painting my sorrows away...

Sadness is hard.  It always seems to catch me off guard.  I realized this afternoon that it's as if I just don't have time to grieve. 

I thought I was doing really "well"...  I even had told someone at church this morning that I was doing better emotionally.  I noticed last night that when I got into bed (at a decent time for once! AKA before mindnight) and snuggled up with Rachel's blanket, that I didn't cry.  I started to think I was finally (as if it's been long!!) getting past the hard part... 

This afternoon, I was feeling pretty good.  My sister came to church with us, which always makes for a great morning for me. :o)  Her & the kids came over for lunch and I cut her hair... I was feeling "normal".... look out whenever that feeling comes!  I decided I would work on a project I have been wanting to do with Rachel's footprints.  Again, feeling pretty good about it...  I opened up the laptop bag that I brought to the hospital and discoverd a bunch of things I hadn't unpacked yet...

I haven't been able to take everything out cause I'm waiting on getting this room done (floors & walls) before I unload everything... but without looking at her stuff, I rarely cry.  I'm too busy and it's easy to avoid.  I realized today why avoiding my feelings isn't good.  Because in about 2 secs flat I was deep belly sobbing.  I cried so hard that I got a bad headache almost instantly.  I was frustrated with the fact that her stuff is still all shoved in random baskets, that I don't have any of it displayed... feeling guilty that I'm not doing more with her things to make them special and visible.  Overwhelmed with the things I want to do...like scrapbook her pictures...  I hate clutter and this whole room is full of it.  Totally NOT what I wanted to do with this space. 

As I tried to explain all this to Matt through my sobs, I did what I do best... decided to do something about it.  I did feel (and probably look) slightly crazy when I stood up, still crying, and started moving everything out of this room... but I didn't care.  "Mama mode" set in and I can't take her stuff being boxed up anymore.  My amazing husband didn't question me, he just started working along side me... taking everything off the walls and prepping them for paint. (which, by the way we had picked up last night!) He ran to the store and bought a roller while I cut in the edges... 2 hours later, the room was done.  I still can't set up her stuff until the floors are done, but it's not out of sight, out of mind anymore... nothing is going back in this room until it's ready for Rachel.   I wish I would've been doing this all along.  She deserves a room. 

Isaiah came in and asked "Why you paintin' the waws?" 
"Cause this is what Mama does instead of having a break down"  I said, half joking.
"And this is how I love Mama" Matt added. 

Of course Isaiah wanted to help...


In case your wondering, we went with gray... totally not a color I would normally pick, but I needed something that would be good for an office...and a nursery.  No, I'm not pregnant.. but I hope that Rachel will someday be a big sister.  And now I'm gonna sound really pathetic... I went on line yesterday to see what color the "experts" recommend for a gender neutral nursery...they said gray.  I looked at a few different bedding sets...girl and boy ones to make sure they knew what they were talking about...I think they're right. I long for the day I need one - except I'll probably never use it cause I won't want to put the baby down.

Before we found out about Rahel I had a couple dreams that something was wrong with her... tried to convince myself I was just paranoid... well, the other night, I dreamed that Matt painted the office walls pink on accident.  I kept saying "but what if we have a boy?"  and he kept insisting that it wasn't pink, it was beige. (he's color blind)  I'm hoping that means I'll need pink accents someday, but I will happily take blue ones if I can actually use the room for my baby and not just his/her memories.  

I miss my girl.... I have a feeling I'll be painting something for the rest of my life....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Handprints on my Heart

From the first week after I found out Rachel had anencephaly, I knew I wanted to get a necklace that had two hearts...one that I would keep and one that came out of the middle for her to be buried with (that would leave a permanent heart-shaped hole in my heart, just like losing her)  I found what I thought was what I wanted, and when it got here was totally different... I didn't have time to order something else, so I went with it...but would never wear it (I thought it was silver, it was huge and ceramic!)  So, that's what she got buried with...one from me and one from Des.  Two days after her funeral, I found EXACTLY what I wanted, except two days too late. I had a breakdown in the store.  I bought it anyway, just in case.  I've been wearing my heart, and talked to the memorial stone guy about getting her side put into the front of the stone... 

Then the other night, before Matt had to go to the hospital, I almost lost it down the bathroom sink...it was barely sticking out and I knew if I touched it wrong, I'd lose it forever... I got my glasses on and prayed as I reached for it... I got it and as soon as I did, I cried...partly out of relief and partly because it's sad that all I have to hold onto is a piece of metal... My thought was "what I really want is her... "  I'm trying to hold on to her with stuff that is temporal...when she is eternal.  sigh.

About 2 minutes later the mail came...It was the handprint necklace I ordered. (2 weeks earlier than expected) They used her actual handprint to make this necklace... I thought about the fact that if that other necklace did fall down the drain, God had a back up plan :o)  He always does.  I put it on and will probably never take it off.  I love her hands... they were so perfect with really cute little dimples on her knuckles. <3



The Back
I also had made us (me & Rachel) bracelets...hers says "Mama" and mine says "Rachel"


Well, this has fallen apart on me too... she was buried with hers... and mine, although I only wear it when I go out of the house, it's already peeling and doesn't look so good.  Her hand touched it... she's wearing one just like it...if I ruin this one, I'll be sad...  even though it's just a bracelet... a temporal bracelet.

Tonight I noticed something on the side of my fridge...

I mean, other than a really cool drawing by Desirae... do you see it?  It's a chalk handprint.  I think it's Isaiah's, not sure, it could be Sam's... I love having a house that's all messed up by kids.  I noticed Sam's prints all over the mudroom window the other day... I don't wash them off.  It reminds me of the life in them...the joy they are in my home.  I will be sad the day that there are no more handprints on my stuff...

Rachel's hand wrapped around my finger.  She held onto our hands the whole time she was alive.  Her hands remind me of the amazing life in her.


But just in case I lose my necklace down the drain...










or if I miss my handprinted house...















brace yourself........











I got a tattoo... her actual handprint. A permanent bracelet.  I'm happy to say it can never be wiped off or lost down the drain.  And, it's going with me when I die :o)  In the ground anyway...I'll be busy dancing with my girl and worshipping at the feet of Jesus.  I look forward to that day.

I got this last week, but have only told a couple of people... it's very close to my heart so it almost feels wrong even sharing.  I'm not sure why... I'm not usually a private person, but I have struggled with this one.  If it wasn't on my wrist, I might have never shared it but it will be kinda tough not to!  When I showed Anne at our pedicures, she asked me if it hurt... I answered, "compared to what my heart's been through?...Nah" 

Matt went with me to get it and we went out for dinner afterwards.  Our waitress, Jessica "happened" to be a student midwife that was very supportive earlier in our journey with Rachel.  We had never met in person, just on line.  She asked if she could hug me.  It never ceases to amaze me the love I receive because of my little girl. 

While we ate, Matt & I talked about what a blessing Rachel has been.  I told him that although I'm scared at the thought of going through this again, I would rather have another baby with anencephaly than no other baby at all.  She might not have stayed as long as we'd have liked, but she brought so much joy.  She is still our daughter and still part of our family....and we are so glad we met her.  We talked about how many people she's touched the hearts of...the people she has given hope to.... the people who have come to know the Lord because of her.  We talked about the way people have come to our aid and walked beside us through this...friendships we have now... all the love we have received.  The people who have been encouraged and encouraged us.  This journey has been AMAZING.  In the sorrow, there has been beauty beyond measure.  All because of Rachel...

Jessica came back over and brought us coffee... she said "your bill has been covered" and walked away with a smile.  I could see that Rachel's legacy had left a handprint on her heart.

I said to Matt "See what I mean?" and hung my head to cry....tears of gratitude for my little girl who left handprints on my heart.  And hopefully yours too.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Playground Update!

We got another $195 in donations this week:  $110 in checks and $85 ($175 in sales) on the flower bulb fundraiser!  Almost 1/2 way there for her Ark!  So far, we have received $4,450 in Rachel's honor!   Thank you!! 

I Will Run the Race...for Her and for Him

7 weeks today... I miss her so much. 

I woke up to the snow storm and in a way was relieved because I knew I wasn't going to have to bring Des to art class... that left me more time for the cemetery this week, which I've been so desperately needing.

I had a plan... you know how those go, right?   So, my plan was, I was going to get school done, feed them lunch, get them all dressed for snow and go visit Rachel while they enjoyed the mounds of snow in the cemetery.  I thought it would be perfect... they will run around and I'll get to sit with Rachel for as long as I need.

I did the first 3 steps and then we got there.... The roads in the cemetery hadn't been plowed yet.  They were covered with 8 inches of snow.  I pulled over and got out to inspect, wondering if my van could handle it if I drove through it.  I was pretty sure I was going to regret that.  I spent the next few minutes praying that God would send a plow truck...to no avail.  I pulled over and called the cemetery. 

This cemetery has been such a blessing to me.  I told her who I was and that I was there to visit Rachel... She seemed to be familiar with us.  Rachel is a popular little girl :o)  I asked if she knew when the roads would be plowed.  She told me not until the streets were all taken care of; most likely by tomorrow.  She said that there was a burial scheduled for tomorrow so they would be plowing to that grave and would make sure they did Rachel's road too...  I am so humbled by this.  They deal with people every day who have a loved ones in the ground there.  She could just say "sorry, this is how we do it"  but she was compassionate.  I felt a little crazy as I heard myself say "But today is Friday" as I started crying.  She said "I know it's a tough day" as if to know what I meant.  I asked her if it was okay to park on the road and she wasn't sure... I was working on my "plan B."

God created me with a strong will... one that drove my mom nuts when I was little.  But it is that part of my personality that steps in when things like this come up.  It's what helped me to walk the road that has been set out before me with Rachel.  I believe God created me the way I am for these very things.  I think that is what "they" mean when they say He doesn't give us more than we can handle... it's more like He prepares us in advance for the trials we will encounter. 

I pulled my van over as much as possible with the snow...wrote out a note that said "Visiting my daughter in the cemetery, Be right back" and put it in the window (hoping to avoid a tow while we were gone!) and got the kids out.  Sam had fallen asleep in the back and was snoring away.  Where's his energy today?, I thought.  Rachel is pretty far down in the cemetery so I knew this could be a rough walk with just me and the 3 of them.  I just knew that not following through would hurt more... so I sucked it up and started walking.  I had brought my shovel to clear off her grave, but had to let that idea go... only so many hands!

Sam wouldn't walk, so I also had to carry him.  It's amazing what a mother's love can accomplish.  This is the first my body has gotten for exercise in months.  I always go big... sigh.  I strapped my camera and keys to my neck, picked Sam up and me, Des & Isaiah trucked through a 1/4 mile of snow up to my knees...their thighs! 

I can't explain how I felt at this point other than to say my heart was heavy...and so was Sam!

We got to her grave...the marker I made is working...it's up above the snow and her name is visible - yay!  We brought a couple flowers; a white one from Daddy, a purple one from Mama and three yellow ones from her bothers and sister.  I cleaned up her stuff and got everything pretty and I said "I would do anything for you then and I'll do anything for you now, sweet girl."  And I promised the others that I would do the same for them.

We walked back (slightly up hill) and my legs were soaked and freezing.  Isaiah kept sitting down cause he was tired.  I stopped at the top of the hill for a minute to wait for them.  Sam had now fallen asleep again and was practically hanging off of me.  The snow was whirling around on my face.  I looked up and saw a big white bird fly over me, soaring softly above the trees.  I've many times seen big black crows there and have even felt like God has used them to answer different questions I've had (long story...) but today the white one just simply felt like a sign of life... "my sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow"  (check out lyrics to this amazing song Here)

As I trudged along, I kept thinking about the verse that talks about keeping my eyes on the goal... running the race that is set before me... on the way in , I focused on Rachel's grave.  On the way out, I focused on the van.  It became apparent to me that all these "little" trials are all part of my bigger trial... they all are part of my healing process.  My determination to let nothing stand between me & my girl today is the same determination that has helped me all along.  In the big picture, the "goal" is Jesus.  I need to be just as determined to let nothing stand between me & my Lord.  This is how I will be able to run the race set before me in all things.

I got 3 out of my 4 kids into the van (glad it was still there!) and we headed to go get hot chocolate, knowing that we would be "one serving short of complete." (see old post here) and as we left my 4th child again in the cemetery, I had a great sense of accomplishment that I had made it to her today.  I needed that.  I thanked Des & Isaiah for hanging tough with me to go see her.  I know she probably doesn't mind, but I just don't want to let her down.  I never will.


we brought the balloon today too. 



Sam was upset I put him down!

My Trooper

"white hot chocowate wif camel"  (Des giving bunny ears)

We came home and our neighbor had snow blowed our driveway... so blessed to have such amazing neighbors.  Thank you!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How are you today?

How are you today? 

That's one of those questions nobody asks cause they really want to know...and most of the time people don't answer truthfully, cause they are fully aware that it's not really a question that the person wants an answer to... strange American thing, I think... We tend to run out and get counselors so that we don't have to "dump" on someone close to us... people don't really want to be bothered and we don't want to seem like we don't have it all together...whatever "it" is...   It's sad.  Well, let me tell you how I am today...

Today was interesting... My cute little Samuel through a fit like you read about at my appointment.  About 45 out of the 50 minutes we were there, he was on the ground, hitting his head off things and kicking his feet.  When I tried to hold him and hug him, he head banged me.  I told them if I was allowed to spank him in public, this would have been over about 2 minutes into it... but apparently people think it's better for the kid to allow him to throw a temper tantrum and knock himself out on the floor... hmmm...  then you have the people who will say that you can make them stop if you do/say the right things... I'll let them come with me next time and try their tricks...and then after we waste time on that, I'll spank him and we'll be done.  Oh well...  I seriously regretted bringing them with me.  My mom is back to caring for an elderly woman that she works for and isn't on call for sitting anymore, so I tend to bring the gang everywhere.  It's a ton of work.  They asked me if my husband worked...  I said "yeah, not as hard as me!" :o) as I moved my head to prevent injury from Sam's thrashing around.  All this because I took his lolly pop away.  The woman was actually offering to get it out of the trash and sanitize it for me to get him to stop... are you kidding??  He'll be lucky if he EVER gets another lolly pop!!  

I got out to the van and cried...  I pulled out into the double lanes traffic, where there was apparently someone either in my blind spot or driving too fast and before I knew it, she was laying on the horn, swerving around and yelling so loud I could hear her in my van, windows up and music on!  Can you say road rage??  Calm down, lady.  I'm sorry.  I bet she's never done that before....  man.  If she only knew.  I just spent an hour getting a re-check after losing my baby, answering questions about Rachel dying, filling out forms that ask stuff like "How long do you plan to breastfeed?" and having to answer "5" when the answer really is "6" when I was asked "how many people in your family", all while my Samuel was abusing me (so that I don't get away with spanking him)  over a lolly pop.  ugh. 

Oh yeah, it was only 1pm and this was my 3rd trip out of the house... in between all this, I brought Isaiah to pre-school, picked him up, went to run an errand at the church, and I did Language arts, history, reading and writing, and gave Des a Math test..............

I got home at 2, put Sam down for nap, sent Des to read, and put Isaiah in front of the TV and I ate a piece of chocolate and drank some coffee...  ahhh....  I'll be okay.  I mean, other than my broken heart....

How am I doing today?  I'm fine, how are you?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An Eternity Between Thinking and Knowing

Sorry...this is a long one...

I thought I asked for a "boring" new year!? I wonder sometimes if we'll ever get a moment to rest...trying to "rest" in Him through it, but that's easy to say since my husband came home with me last night. I thought he was having a stroke - and since he hasn't been taking his blood pressure (genetic thing) meds for 3 weeks, and I had gotten "a bad feeling" earlier that day and called him at work to tell him to call his doctor, (they were closed - weather) when he said his arms were tingling and his tongue went numb...yeah, I thought he was gonna die.
 
I have had those moments before... you know, the ones where there is a few moments in between thinking there's a tragedy and knowing there is (or isn't)...both outcomes come to mind:
 
Isaiah wandered off one day while Jill and I were looking at my garden.  A few minutes later we realized he was gone.  I started calling his name; nothing.  I started walking around the neighbors houses; nothing.  The 10 minutes it took to find him felt like an eternity.  My mind went to the river at the end of the street...he's such a curious boy...what if he fell in the river? I thought, as I got more and more anxious. I began knocking on neighbor's doors, yelling "Isaiah's missing" and all you could hear on my street was people yelling "Isaiah?" with no reply.  The moments between thinking he was gone and knowing he wasn't felt surreal. When I saw him come walking around the house, I literally fell to my knees as my adrenaline level took over.  Thank you Jesus, he's still with me. 

Anyone with children knows this feeling...if your child falls, gets lost, runs into the street... until the moment you KNOW he's OK, you're not.
 
When Rachel was born, I had the a similar slow motion experience...the moments between thinking and knowing she would die... the moments while we waited for her to take another breath...and the moment when we realized that she wasn't going to.  The moments where we prayed for her heart to hang on...and the one when it stopped beating.  43 minutes felt like an eternity...an eternity of love and hope and peace all wrapped up in between the thinking and knowing. Oh, how I miss that girl....
     
Last night, it felt like an eternity waiting for the ambulance, Matt continued to get worse... my thoughts went to I'm going to lose my husband too. I couldn't help but think this was the "what was next" that I had been dreading. When they left with him, I felt better knowing he was in their care, but was not going to be ok until I knew he was.  Millie came right over so I could go to the hospital.  I got there, and they made me wait without any info for 30 mins in the waiting room and then finally let me in and didn't tell me anything.  He wasn't respoding to me...I asked if he was okay; nothing.  I touched him; nothing. 
 
The moments between thinking and knowing....
 
I prayed over him and called my sister (this is where you got the vague post - Sorry - I had no idea what was happening at that point.)  and she posted a prayer request for him...  I got out my journal and wrote something along the lines of "Are You serious God?  Where are You? 

*I need to insert my gratitude here...

Thank you Millie for coming right over in an ice storm... all I said was "can you come over right now?" - her answer was "yes".  and she did.  No time wasted, no questions asked, no explanations required.  She just came.

Thank you to everyone who prayed.... I covet your prayers on a daily basis, but especially last night.  I could feel the power of your prayers.   I am so thankful for our brothers & sisters in Christ who go before the Lord on our behalf....no time wasted, no questions asked, no explanations required...you just did.

Thank you to Jan & Pastor Glen for your support...for being willing to drive in the mess last night so that I didn't have to be alone.  I am so grateful for our church family.  I cannot imagine doing life without you all.  You come to our side in everything; no time wasted, no questions asked, no explanations required... you just do.

And last, but first in my heart...my amazing husband whom I adore... thank you for all you are to me & the kids... our servant leader, our protector, our provider.  We need you and love you very much.  Thank You Jesus, he's still with us.

We have had quite the year... I guess it's not going calendar style...(Come on, 2011!) I am finding it very difficult to not be on guard for what might happen next.  While I am so grateful for the peace that God gives through my trials, I can't say I'm not getting discouraged.  I guess this is where I should recognize that we were never guaranteed a pain free life with Jesus... Jesus certainly didn't have one.  But the truth is I'm afraid to have any more loss... my heart can't handle any more...  and so I worry.  I know I'm not supposed to, but I do.  I worry about how I would be able to bear another thing...even though I know it wouldn't really be me bearing it.  Jesus would, just like He has.

I guess I'm in between thinking and knowing.

I came across this video a couple of weeks ago that I made for Matt for Father's Day last year... I've been wanting to post it in "tribute to my husband" type post and I can't think of a better one than this.  At the end there is a note I put to him... I got sad when I saw that I included "baby" in the signature; we were too early in my pregnancy to know if she was a girl and we didn't know that she was sick.  The simple days... between thinking and knowing...  I wish this wasn't so old cause there's not much of Sam and none of Rachel (and they are both so proud of him too)... I'll have to make a new one :o)  But for now....I think it shows who Matt is to us. (pause player at bottom of blog first!)


video

Today, I am reminded again that I have so much to be thankful for... I pray that I can love the rest of my family with the same type of urgent love that I loved Rachel with...knowing that there are not a guaranteed 87+ years for any of us... there's never even a guaranteed 43 minutes... every minute is a blessing. 

Jesus, lead me cause I can't do this alone... 

We're Home...

Matt is much better. Thank you all so much for your prayers...We are so blessed to have such an amazing support system.  It's super late, so I'll update tomorrow...but we are grateful to be home together. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Please Pray For Matt

Stacy had to call an ambulance for Matt tonight. He is at the emergency room. Stacy is with him. Don't really know what is going on. Will keep you updated. Please Pray....

-Meagan

"Nurse Carol"

When I was about 7 months along with Rachel, Desirae wanted to play hospital with us... we all sat on the couch and she asked us questions and wrote the answers on a pad of paper.  I've seen it floating around the house here and there, but today read it... I love this child - it says (in nice cursive, I might add :o) - I left the spelling the way it was... )

HOSPITAL

2010 - Stacy Lynn Aube has a baby with Anencephaly.  She would like to have a seasection (she obviously didn't intend the pun...but how funny is that..I did kind of end up with a "sea")

SCEGUEL tomorrow at 7:00PM
----------------------------------
Nurse Carol

Whatever you do don't look it up on Google!  You'll get scared.  Have faith.  God with tack care of you!   Service Availabule At All Times!!

That's my girl...She doesn't miss a thing.  I am so proud of her.  I remember a teacher from Tri-City telling me that she would be a better woman for having walked this road with us.  When I look at the pictures of her holding her sister, with a huge, proud smile... I know it's true.  She had nothing but love for Rachel and in the matter of minutes learned more lessons than I can list.  It's very humbling to be a part of that...God shaping my little girl through such joy and sorrow at such a young age...realizing that I can't protect her from all pain...and trusting that He will carry her too and that his plan with Rachel included Des (and the boys) too...

Rachel's life has done so much in my heart; made my life so much richer.  I am so grateful that my children will be molded by their sister's life too...and am confident that it is for the better.

I took this one and think it really captures all of their personalities...
Desirae, proud big sister... Isaiah's trying to reach her hand and Sam was late for nap.
(click on it and it will get bigger)

Would have loved to watch them all grow together. 
She is so loved... and missed dearly.

Monday, January 17, 2011

4 Girls and a Pedicure, Part 2

I went to bed "early" last night...in my book that means before midnight... and yet, I woke up having a hard time getting out of bed.  I heard the boys playing downstairs and then Sam started crying.  I yelled down "Is Sam OK?" and Isaiah yelled back "He's OK, but he's still hurting"

Me too, I thought...

Tonight my friend Anne called me and offered to take me out to get pedicures!  I'm telling you, it's been a good year in the foot department. :o)  Thanks Anne!  I still had my polish on from the one I got with Harlee before Rachel was born and it was in rough shape.  I can reach my toes now, so there's really no excuse, other than the fact that wiping it off was going to be taking the memory of us "4 girls and a pedicure" (old post) away with it...We went while Harlee and I were both still carrying our little girls.. Rachel kicking the whole time and people asking if I was due "tomorrow" cause I was so big.  I miss my girl. 

So, I sat in the chair and watched him wipe off my memory and sighed at the idea of moving forward.  I looked over at Anne... I realized that we were 4 girls and a pedicure; part 2...  Our girls may not be dancing around in our wombs anymore; they may not be keeping us up at night hungry or poopy... but they are in our hearts and they take up quite a bit of space there....and we are honored to let them.  We spent a long time talking afterwards about them...it's a gift from God that He gave me a friend in this area that I can sit and talk with who gets what I'm going through. I hope Rachel and Rose are up there hanging together too... (are there pedicures in heaven?) and I hope they know that we never go anywhere without them.  We carry them in our hearts and will for the rest of our lives... we will not forget them and we will always mention their names... sometimes with smiles; sometimes with tears... but always...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

We Will Never Be the Same

Today, January 16, marks a few things in my life...

My Nana died 21 years ago today... she had just turned 56.  21 years seems like so long, yet even I can remember it like it was yesterday and I was only 10 when she died.  My mom never used to cry and when I got off the bus, excited that I had found a new business selling gumballs and found her at home crying, I knew something bad had happened... our family would never be the same...

January 16, 2001 was my last day of drug dealing... (I know I've been kinda vague around this topic, sorry for dropping it randomly like this, but there's no way around it on this one)  I got arrested on January 17...I was 22 years old and found myself with 7 felony drug charges... (should have stuck with selling gumballs!) I had a degree in criminal justice I'd never be able to use now, was facing 87 years in prison and had a drug habit that I thought was "normal" and had no idea I'd struggle to quit, but I did.  Everyone around me was devastated... the front page revealed over and over that our family would never be the same...

When I found out I was expecting Desirae, her due date was January 16...8 years ago and I remember it so clearly.  I took the test in a Dunkin Donuts bathroom while on work release from jail.  I was so excited to become a mother...filled with joy at the thought of my baby.  I had a new hope in my heart.  And as much as today's date revolved around sad things in my life, I had a feeling that the "coincidence" of it being my due date was a "sign" that things were going to get better for me...that my baby was a good thing... that my family would never be the same...

6 years ago today I got baptised and dedicated Desirae to the Lord.  Seems like so long ago, and yet I remember it like it was yesterday...  I had grown up without any idea Who God was.  I had started going to church ("cause it would be good for Desirae") in August, when she was 19 months old.  Matt & I were separated and I was trying to do the best I could as a single mom...and I thought church would be good...if you knew what I thought about Jesus (bad) and knew about Him (nothing) at that point, you would understand how crazy that was!  I had no idea what I was doing there...but God did.... I had a new Hope in my heart and our family would never be the same....

Today we sang a song at church that we sang at Rachel's funeral....and also at my friend Jill's husband's funeral 4 months earlier...I was sitting with her this morning...such a "coincidence" (Matt was home with a sick Samuel again) and we happened to be in the front row together, just like we were at Corey's service.  The song came on and I was immediately brought back to that day. ( I started bawling) Corey died the day after we got the news about Rachel in August...Jill and I had both been hit with such a huge loss that week; barely able to see our way through the shock, and yet sitting there that morning, we both were painfully aware that our families would never be the same...

Then we sang a song that says these words:
Oh, Lord I feel like dancing.  It's foolishness I know...but when the world has seen the light, they will dance with joy like we're dancing now!  I could sing of Your love forever!
Obviously, at the thought of dancing, Rachel came to mind.  I felt a smile come to my face, my feet start to move and my arms go up... I was dancing... For a moment completely lost in God's love; remembering my girl... feeling content with her being with Him and the fact that our family would never be the same...

On this cold, Sunday in January... on a day with some sad and some sweet memories, in the past and even today... I sit here feeling so grateful for how God has brought me out of my pit and saved me from myself.  As I write, broken hearted, yet not without Hope, I am filled with gratitude that He didn't leave me in that place.  And for all the times I fail; do things wrong or imperfectly... in all the places I need to improve; the growing that has yet to happen... I rejoice in my confident hope (Romans 12:12, right Elisha? :o) )  that He will continue to gently guide me and carry me through all my loss, heartache, failures, sin... and that my family will never be the same....

Little Blue Daisies

For her birthday, my aunt paid for Des to get her ears pierced - so we finally went yesterday.  Jailyn got hers done too. They were both very brave and the girl working with them was named Rachel. :o)  It was fun to go together, and yet when Des got up in the chair to get hers done, I felt like I could puke... I had 11 holes in my ears when I was younger (half of which I did myself...yuk!), and also had my ears gaged (those big hole things) at one point and my tongue pierced... and still, when my daughter sat down to get holes in her ears, I was so nervous!  I'm like that when she gets shots too...still.  It's hard being a Mama sometimes. 

She got little blue daisies in memory of her baby sister... and has been nothing but smiles since.



Saturday, January 15, 2011

Beautiful Sound

You may remember that the girls from church rented me a hospital grade doppler so that I could listen to Rachel's heart any time I wanted while I was pregnant...  well, it came time to send it back and it was hard for me to box it back up.  This doppler had the ablitly to record and so I have a heartbeat recorded from August and one from Dec. 2nd, my last night with my girl.  When I sent it back, I put a note in it, telling them about Rachel; how amazing she was and how great our God is.  I asked them to take a second and listen to her heart before they deleted the recording...telling them that it was one of the most beautiful sounds I had ever heard.  I also included my blog...I hope they have checked it out. 



So, a couple days ago, I got little box from them.  I opened it; it said "a gift for you" and it was a pink CD with this on the front:

My Baby's Heartbeat
Name: Rachel Alice Aube
Date Recorded: December 2, 2010
Date Born: December 3, 2010

(don't forget to pause music at the bottom of blog so you can hear this!)


Apparently they liked the sound of it too cause they sent me a copy. I think you usually have to pay extra for that.  I am so thankful to have it on a disc...one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard. 
Thank you Baby Beat!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

6 Weeks Closer to Her

How many weeks do you count before you start counting months instead?   What about months before years?  Years before decades?

After each of my babies, when someone asked how old they were I'd usually tell them in weeks until about week 12 and then say months... 3 months, 3 1/2 months, 6 months, 18 months...

With Des I still counted months until she was almost 2 1/2
With Isaiah till he was 2
With Sam, well, as the 3rd child... I've been saying "he'll be 2 in March" since he was about 15 months.
With Rachel.... hmmm...

I feel like counting minutes would be appropriate... my heart has counted each one without her for the last 6 weeks...60,480 to be exact.  As the minutes turn to hours and the hours to days; the days to weeks... my heart feels every second of it.  The world goes on around me; the days pass by... my heart is still on December 3rd... particularly 43 minutes of that morning.

I went to her grave today... it dawned on me that my daily visits have turned to weekly visits...  sigh....Fridays....

As I pulled in, the cemetery people were there digging a grave... a deep, dark, perfectly rectangular hole.  They had their propane tank there to heat the ground.  I hate frozen ground.  I drove past them... Lord help me...   My heart has had about all it can take.  I wondered if I'd have to visit Rachel from the van since the cemetery was covered in 18 inches of snow all except for that hole... and then I saw Rachel's grave!!  I pulled up and saw that someone had shoveled off about 8 square feet around her spot.  It was the only spot in the place, other than the roads, that you could walk. Thank you!!  And someone had also left her a little angel wind chime on the lilac tree above her.  I stopped my van and started crying.  I am so humbled by how people love her.  It makes the last 60,480 minutes easier to bear.  Still full of pain, but definitely easier to bear.  I wish I would have had my camera for that one!

I brought a couple of bright yellow daisies that Matt bought me this week... put them on her marker and smiled at how they brought some color to the winter scene... I noticed a note hanging in a plastic bag and took it off.  I wrote a little note to her with a stick in the snow, remembering the minutes she was here...  "*43*  Miss You Sweet Girl..."

I opened my note and realized it was from Matt...  He had gone on his lunch break the day before the storm (without me asking!!) to take her tree down so it wouldn't get ruined when the snow came... and left me a little love note.  He wrote how he and Rachel both love me and reassured me that we're waiting to see her again...together.  This has been a hard road for us.  I am definitely feeling this to a different degree as the "mama" and sometimes it's lonely.  His thoughtfulness and love swept me off my feet today.  The paper was dated 1/11/11... I looked at the plastic bag and the masking tape that protected that piece of paper through a big storm and couldn't help but think how it represented Jesus...and the paper, our relationship...

We met in rehab before we knew Christ, and I was still in rehab when we got pregnant with Des. (weekend visits, in case you're wondering!)  I found out I was expecting while in jail for drug charges.  I got out at 5 months along and we attempted to be newly sober parents together.  It was a train wreck.  We split up when Des was 18 months old and were apart for 18 months, at which point I came to know the Lord.  We got back together and 2 months before we were going to get married, he accepted Christ as his savior. 

Since then, we have struggled with the baggage that doing things backwards comes with... and have been through some major trials...  all the while hanging on to our love, sometimes by thread... and sometimes with nothing by the "plastic bag and masking tape" protecting us from the storm.  Had we not had Jesus, I am certain that we would not have stayed together.  Our "paper" would have been ripped into shreds by the snow and wind.  We will celebrate our 5th anniversary on Feb 18 and I know Who deserves the credit for that... and it isn't us.  Thank You Jesus for covering us in our storms...

As I went to leave I said "6 weeks... the longest 6 weeks of my life...  can't wait to see you again, pretty girl"

I got in the van as I hit my shoes together to get the snow off and the song playing on the radio was on this verse:
I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You
I sat there sobbing with my head hanging, tears flowing and hand held high to my great God Who is worthy of my praise... even as I sit at my daughter's grave counting minutes, days, weeks, months, years, decades... until I see her again.

Clarification on my last post...

I am so sorry... I should clarify... my last post got some confused comments... I need to tell you that Options for Women DOES NOT support abortion.  I guess I thought that would be obvious if I put it on my blog and was supporting them.  I should hope everyone who knows me or who reads my blog would know that I am 100%, unwavering pro-life and would never ask you to "like" something pro-abortion.  I am very sorry for assuming.  Please know that Options for Women has the name they have so that girls will check them out when they are looking for options... and they are a faith based organization that is pro-life.  They do not perform or support abortion.  They do everything they can to educate women on the truth of abortion.  If a girl has an abortion somewhere else, they offer post abortion counseling and support because they care about the women and the pain they will have as the result...  please feel free to contact me with any other questions.  I hope this makes more sense now...

Who doesn't "like" Options??

You may have noticed the link for Options for Women on my blog... they are a local pro-life crisis pregnancy center that I volunteer for and love dearly.  The way they support and love women faced with an unplanned pregnancy, as well as for those who sadly choose abortion, blows me away.  They love like Jesus for sure.  Could you help them get higher up on the search engine by going onto their facebook page (Options for Women, Dover NH) and clicking on "like" - and by asking your friends to do the same?  It is so important that when a woman is in a position where she feels scared and pressured to make a "choice" that she is given all the information about the choice she is making... and then loved through it no matter what.  Options does that for these girls.  It's important that the girls can find Options.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Options-for-Women/15406964854?ref=ts

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Would Have Been

I just got an email... Family Life Today is doing their "Weekend to Remember" conference soon... Last year Matt & I had been blessed by some friends to go to the one in Portland, ME - and it was at that conference I found out I was pregnant with Rachel...  April 17th... sigh.  It was a weekend to remember... one I'll never forget.  Didn't realized we'd also spend most of my pregnancy in Portland too...or that she'd be born there because of complications.  

Yesterday I called the doctor to ask a question.  When the nurse called me back she asked "how old is your baby now?"  Um... read my chart lady... (no,didn't say it, I only thought it) what I said was "she passed away... she would have been 5 1/2 weeks."

I also looked through some of her clothes from the hospital tonight... Matt & I sat here holding her little hand and foot molds.... and I smelled her hats and cried.  I cannot believe this is really happening to me.  she would have been 5 1/2 weeks...   sigh... 

Our First Fundraiser!! Please Help Us Build Rachel's Ark!

What better thing to do on a snowy day (we've had over a foot already and it's still snowing!) than look forward to spring!!  I have set up the first official fundraiser for Rachel's Memorial Playground... Denise came across this and I think that it fits so perfectly...

I have many times referred to my girl as my "little flower"... I planted 130 tulip bulbs in my garden this fall in memory of Rachel...hoping that in the spring the burst of new life and color will bring her to mind and a smile to my heart.  I was 8 months pregnant and told her all about it while I worked.  I'm glad she was with me for that and I'm pretty sure she liked the idea cause she was dancing when I told her. :o)  I am going to take some from my garden to plant at her grave as well.  I also have comitted to keeping fresh flowers (at least one always!) in my house to represent the beauty and uniqueness Rachel displayed and her permanent place in our home and hearts; she was a fragrant, rare, beautiful gift created by and cared for by God. Through this journey, God has continually used flowers to encourage me...to remind me of how he carries me - to show me beauty in my pain.

All that to say that I think it says "Rachel" very well to do a flower bulb fundraiser.  I am hoping that in addition to supporting our efforts at building Rachel's Ark, you will also plant some bulbs in your yard in her memory.  (and/or give as a gift for a friend's yard) I would be so honored to know that each year, as the winter fades and the spring returns, as well as in the warm days of summer,  you will be again reminded of my little flower and the joy she brought to this world in her short time here.

There is a song by David Crowder, "Wholly Yours"... I put it on as the first song so you can hear it...it's awesome.  Here are the lyrics to the first verse... the bottom line gets me every time.  I usually spend the entire song in tears every time I hear it.  I am just so undeserving of His love, and yet he offers it freely.  It's a beautiful thing. 
"I am full of earth
You are heaven’s worth
I am stained with dirt, prone to depravity
You are everything that is bright and clean
The antonym of me
You are divinity
But a certain sign of grace is this
From a broken earth flowers come up
Pushing through the dirt"
I guess in a way, I relate to the broken ground.  Not very pretty, not full of life, kind of covered with dirt... but I serve a God Who can make flowers come from that!   I will be reminded of that Truth every single time I see a flower... and along with that Truth, I will be reminded of my little flower...my sweet Rachel.

We will make a 50% profit from anything you order.  I have set a goal of $2500, obviously, I would love to go over that!  This fundraiser will close on April 17th, the day we found out we were expecting Rachel.   PLEASE pass the link along to your friends and family and help us make this a success... I would also LOVE to see pictures of your flowers when they come up! :o)  You know me & pictures...

You can order your bulbs online and it will ship directly to you.  Here's the link... thank you!
http://www.dutchbulbs.com/fg/rachelaliceaube  (I just figured out that it keeps track of where we're at and the number it counts is the portion we'll actually get towards the playground!) 

**As a little note of gratitude... this is the first "fundraiser" - and yet, we already have almost $4300!  That is from her baby shower, her funeral service and the donate button on my blog!  I am so humbled by your generosity.  Rachel is so loved.  Thank you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tonight's thought is brought to you by the number 1

I just looked at the clock... it's 11:11pm on 1/11/11 and my ticker thing says it's been 1 month, 1 week and 1 day since we said goodbye.  That's a lot of 1's..

Here's another... 1 baby Rachel, who just like that moment in time, can never be replaced or duplicated...

I have 1 broken heart.

Less Than Perfect...and Content with That.

Last night I cut out a picture of Rachel's handprint... and then compared it to a daisy I have here... wow, she was tiny.  It's about 1/2 the size.  I am so glad I have all these keepsakes to remember her because my memory will fail me.  I would love to have her finger wrapped around mine one more time...

I remember back in August, listening to someone on the radio talk about how a trial they had gone through made them a better mother...  That would make sense, I thought, but it just didn't seem to be happening in my life.  I wondered if it ever would.

As I walked my way through my pregnancy with Rachel, I so very often had to leave my kids with babysitters (although usually my mom or sister, which was great for their relationship with them) to go to my dozens of appointments, which took all day at least once a week; sometimes more.  I struggled to be everything they needed, while being everything Rachel needed (physically the hardest thing I've ever done),  and being everything Matt needed (failed pretty hard at this one) and being a stay home mom with all it's demands.  I very regularly felt like I was failing everyone, and sometimes even Rachel.  I just couldn't keep my head above water; I was drowning in my circumstances... my baby was going to die. 

After Rachel was born, as I recovered from major surgery while putting together my baby's funeral service, my mind and heart were again preoccupied with my circumstances...my baby has died.  I tried to love on my kids and ease the affect this would have on them, but even when we were sitting on the couch together, I didn't feel "here" with them.  Again, the guilt would creep in... I just lost a child, it should make me appreciate these guys more... I should be more patient, more gentle, more interested when they're talking... The truth is that it was on my heart to be those things, but I couldn't "make" myself no matter how hard I tried.  I knew Rachel had changed me, my heart, for the better... but it didn't appear that way on the outside.

Today Des & I went to our music lessons... on the way, nothing was going right, (didn't I say this would happen after everything going smoothly last week?)  I was totally aggravated and my bag falling and spilling everywhere just about sent me over the edge.  I apologized to her for being so outwardly aggravated, and she said "it's ok", but my heart was not happy about it.  This is not the kind of mother I want to be, I thought as I drove, wishing I could turn back time and hoping I don't ruin her forever.  After music, I dropped her off at Amy's for her dance lesson and hung out chatting for 15 minutes, only to get in the car and at 11:51 remember that I was supposed to pick Isaiah up from pre-school at 11:45 - and I was 15 minutes away.... I started crying... I can't even remember to pick up my son from school, I'd be better off if I never left the house, I thought as I tried to "make" the guy in front of me at least go the speed limit.  My anxiety level continued to rise... I thought I might have a complete breakdown thinking about Isaiah waiting for me there. 

[A side note on God's provision here... when I dropped Isaiah off this morning, for "some reason", I said to him "if Mama is late picking you up, don't worry, I'll be here... just read a book and wait for me"  He replied back in his sweet little raspy voice "ok, Mama, if you awe a wittle wate, I will just wait for you" - I had been 5 minutes late the week before and he gets really upset if I'm not there on time.  I was so glad I had said that to him cause when I got there 20 mins late, he was totally calm, playing on the chalkboard.  Thank You Lord!]

So, what's my point?  Well, I'm never going to be "the mother I want to be" because that mother is perfect.  And without God in my life, I won't even come close... With God, maybe a little closer, but still so short of perfect.

But this afternoon, I read to Sam and rocked him to sleep... read with Isaiah and rocked him...and when he looked up at me randomly and said "I'm a sugar fiend... cause I wiwwy wove sugar", I laughed out loud and kissed his cheek... we laid down together and snuggled... and then got up cause he was hungry again (all this boy does is eat!)  I realized that even when my day goes "all wrong" I still have joy... I know that my journey with Rachel did change my heart.  It brought me closer to God.  I know He can cover all of my shortcomings with his grace.... I know that my kids have the exact mother they were supposed to have... and it's me.  I may not be perfect, but I love them with an everlasting love and am faithful to them - and they are certain of my complete devotion to them.  As I sat here this afternoon, once again becoming content with less than perfect,  I thought to myself I'm a better mother than I used to be... thanks to Rachel.

Monday, January 10, 2011

He's Not Done Yet!

I spent a couple hours on my book this afternoon.  I think this is going to be another walk of grief and joy.  It's hard to read some of the stuff...brings it all back to my mind and heart.  It's also hard seeing the things I questioned; knowing now the way everything played out in the end. It's difficult to be reminded about the people who have let me down or hurt me and the struggles I have gone through alone, or with added stress during this heartbreaking time.  And then there's the blessing in seeing how God provided in so many ways to fill the void left by the humans in my life and how He carried me through this. It's also really encouraging to see how many new and better friends I have now than ever before; the people who have really loved me through this. 

When I write my posts, I am usually pretty engrossed in my emotions; trying to be an open "book" so that my journey with Rachel can truly help others and I'm not sure that could happen to the degree it is if I wasn't transparent (as scary as that can be at times)  I've also really tried to follow God's lead on my posts, so sometimes what I start out to write and what actually gets written are two totally different things...That's why I never give it a title till the end! :o)  (that's actually happening to me right now if you can believe that!!  I "planned" on writing about how I am in a funk and don't have much to say!)  But that makes it hard to remember what I've written and so looking back, I remember the events and feelings that I wrote about, but wouldn't if I didn't have them written down.   My heart is blessed to read about my ups and downs because as much as it hurts, it also reminds me of all the amazing blessings that Rachel brought to my heart - in a way, it also validates my feelings of sadness and pain because, let's face it, this has been a long, hard road. 

Some people actually think that my daughter dying carries the same pain and grief for them as it does me - and that therefore, I should be acting "better" by now cause I had time to prep for this, and if nothing else, I should be comforting them too, cause they lost a baby too and they're hurting too... I know when I look back over the past 5 months that there is no truth to that.  I know I am right where I "should" be.  I understand that others have been affected by Rachel's death...honestly, I'm truly honored that people care, but it is not the same for them as it is for me as her mother; never could be...  This is not something I need to get over right now anymore than I can. It can be hard to listen to opinions like this though without wondering if I'm overreacting... <--- huh? crazy talk. 

I read back through more than half my posts and as I did, I just kept saying to myself "I can't believe I have really been through this" It almost feels like I'm reading someone else's words... the bottom line is that I am just not the same person I was before Rachel.  The moment I knew she would die soon after birth, my entire life changed... with every ounce of pregnancy joy and pain, my heart was being reshaped...and the day I held her in my arms until she passed to the arms of the Lord changed who I am totally; completely and forever.  I will never be the same.  I would not want to be. 

Writing this book is going to be healing for me... and I pray that it will bring hope to everyone who reads it; knowing that there is joy in this painful journey.  That a "fatal birth defect" - or whatever struggle you find yourself in - is not beyond God's reach...not out of his sight...you are never alone.  God works everything for the good of those who love him, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 - this verse was on our wedding favors! Imagine that...)  Rachel had a purpose beyond anything I could have ever dreamed up myself...When I walked down that isle, I would never have guessed I would ever go through something this hard. Sometimes I look at our wedding and honeymoon pictures and think about how clueless we were about life....and death.  But God has brought healing to thousands of people through our intimate experience with both in Rachel - and I know He's not done yet!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Desirae's Party and her Castle

This morning Des & I headed out to get the stuff for her birthday party.  This was the first year she has had just a "friend party" and it was great.  She was so excited.  It was much less stressful on me too and she had surprise drop-ins from my family all week long so it seemed like her birthday lasted for a week.  I'm not sure why I didn't do this years ago...could have saved myself some trouble.  Anyway, we were leaving the driveway and "My Girl" came on the radio.  I've got sunshine on a cloudy day...I've even got the month of May with my girl...  sigh...

Matt brought Des & her friends out to Chuck E. Cheese's, while I stayed with the 3 boys.  When they returned we had pizza, ice cream shakes, popcorn and watched a movie.  Now she has her cousins sleeping over and they are going with us in the morning to church.  Isaiah was excited that he got to have a friend sleep over too! :o)
Girl's just wanna have fun!

The 3 Girls!  A gift from Mama for her new room

Showing everyone her new room
 And speaking of which... New topic...  I was waiting to show these pictures cause I ordered a new quilt and valance (her bday gift!!) and apparently got ripped off on line, so now I'm trying to file claims and all that fun stuff and it could be a while...see what I mean about things just not working out?  I ordered it 3 weeks before her birthday so she'd have it - and she doesn't.  I'm blessed that she's not a greedy kid cause she hasn't complained once.  But this castle is what our friends Denise & Kelly helped us build for her. She had no idea it was coming!  It was so fun.  Plus, we switched their rooms around, which she didn't know was happening either.  This used to be Isaiah's room, Isaiah & Sam are now both in Des' old room and I have Sam's room for my office and Rachel's stuff.  I've been very busy! :o) 




the boys' room... used to be pink!!  Isaiah saw this and said "Mama! Orange is my favorite color!" :o)  I've been working hard.  No wonder my incision isn't happy.  But it's kept my mind busy... Oh, and check out the floors that Brian helped us with!  Love them! It used to be black carpet!  Papa (my Dad) got them the bed as one of their Christmas presents.
OK, so that's a glance into my home.  I was sad that I'd never be able to do the room stuff for Rachel...I love this stuff, but I decided I'm going to in a different way.  I have some space in the spare room where I am going to hang her stuff out and a dresser I'll use to store the rest.  (knowing me, I see a fresh coat of paint coming too!)  I feel better at least having a special place for it; a place where it doesn't just go unseen.  I have some organizing to do, but projects are good for me...hence the playground! :o)  I told someone the other day that if I didn't have my 3 beautiful children (and all the things I do for them) to keep me busy, I think I might have died from a broken heart by now.  These daily things with them keep me going.  I am so thankful I have them and for all the joy and love they bring into my soul.