Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I had a bad dream. It wasn't even that bad of a dream. But somehow in the middle of the night as I woke up thinking about it, it hurt my feelings. I made one of many night trips to the bathroom and got back into bed. And started crying. And thinking crazy thoughts. I finally knew I had to wake up Dave even though he was slumbering so soundly. I turned to face him and for whatever reason (you know like the lurching and rocking of the bed as my not-so-little self heaved over, or the sobs) he woke up immediately asking if I was ok.

I told him I had a bad dream, what it was and how it made me feel. It feels sooo transparent to type it out. Imagine my uncomfortable pause here.

I dreamt that as I was holding Sammy immediately after he was born and didn't open my eyes to look at him (in hind sight, I have lots of dreams where I can't open my eyes...huh). That was the part of the dream that bothered me. So in my half awake state my mind started to worry that I don't love Sammy enough. And then I started crying. So my explanation to Dave went:
"I was holding Sammy but my eyes were closed. What if I don't love him enough?"

Dave, in his half awake state, told me that didn't even make sense and held me for a while as I cried. I laid there wanting him to say more. Finally he said:
"you know that's devil stuff right?"

ahhhhh. Yes. I know before I decided to wake Dave I tried to chase away the thoughts with all a bunch of scriptures, one being "perfect love cast out fear". So I called on the Lord's perfect love to get rid of my fear. I know I recalled a couple other verses (but can't remember them right now) and then woke Dave up. After he put together this middle of the night puzzle for me I asked him to pray, he did, and we were able to sleep a bit more before the alarm sounded.

Two crazy old songs popped into my head...one by Petra! LOL Called Love is patient maybe? It just cracked me up. Which reminds me 1 Corinthians 13 was one of the verses that I started thinking of in the night...

The other song was by DC Talk (I only know these things because I google search the lyrics that get stuck in my head - usually only a handful of words from the actual songs). After Dave prayed and I was falling back to the sleep the lyrics "I wanna be in the Light, as you are in the Light, I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens". That reminded me of Pastor's sermon the Sunday his mama was in town.

Light and dark cannot coexist. Impossible. So where am I and what truths am I relying on? Those of the Light or those of darkness. On my way to work I was thinking about all this and really felt that the only opening I've had lately for any darkness to creep in is while I'm half awake. Sneaky. And then I got mad that our house and specifically our bedroom was not protected from those sneaky thoughts. So Monday I prayed a big 'ol shield over my mind, bedroom, house, and classroom even.

Today I can see how absolutely ridiculous all my middle of the night thoughts and worries were. I was reading on another blog and playing there was a song I've heard a TON over the last few months called "I Will Carry You" by Selah (lead singer's wife carried a baby girl to term who had been given a fatal diagnosis). The last lyrics really got me though. I love Sammy more than makes sense to me. And even when it hurts I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am *honored* to feel him grow and kick. I am *honored* to be chosen to carry him.

If you don't know this song, I suggest you get some tissues now. I don't listen to it too often. In my searches just now Dave heard the opening bars and said "I heard the sad music". Cause he just knows that it makes me cry. Someday I will learn how to put a video on my blog so ya'll don't have to follow links but until then:

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2CnUtVY35o

There were photographs i wanted to take
Things i wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?
People say that i am brave but I`m not
Truth is i`m barely hanging on
But there`s a greater story
Written long before me
Because he loves you like this

So i will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And i will praise the one who`s chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But i know
That the silence
Has brought me to his voice
And he says

I`ve shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And i will praise the one who`s chosen me
To carry you

Sneaky thoughts or not. I love Sammy times a million. And the Lord loves us both times infinity. The end (or the beginning really :-).

lost window...

...of opportunity. I'm afraid my cute belly took about a week to become just a large and in charge belly. Seriously, today Dave took a picture and I think it looks like I swallowed a pumpkin.

I may still try to post a picture soon but at this rate of growth (nothing abnormal I'm sure) I'm not sure if it'll happen...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the one with all the parenthesis

What's this? Time to blog in the middle of the week? I can't believe it either but school is settling down a bit and, well, here I am :-)

Tomorrow is our hospital tour of Labor and Delivery. We are getting a personal tour and Wendy will be there...had to go back and check (people, the brain fog is only thickening) and I didn't tell ya'll about our meeting with Wendy last week! It was fantastic! I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with her, it's especially great in our circumstance but based on what she said about her role and how she executes it, I will want to use a doula every time I give birth. So many women I talk to say something to the effect of "and then, if I had been in my right mind, I would have said "let's do this!". But because I was in labor and couldn't think XYZ happened". And with this fog that is permeating and invading my brain, I can't imagine having clear thoughts WHILE being in some of the worst pain known to womankind (well, mankind too since we all know most women have a higher pain tolerance than the average man).

We sat in our living room with Wendy and talked for 3.5 hours. I feel like she has a good handle on who we are and what we want from this labor/birth and I know I feel good about how ready she is to handle anything that comes up and how knowledgeable she is about the topic of labor and birth. (side note - I am not exaggerating when I saw the medical system down here is messed up, Wendy's youngest 2 children were *home births* because of how jenky she thinks the system is.)

Basically for the last 3 years I've wondered why the Lord brought us to New Orleans. I have hated it. I have called it my Nineveh. And now all of the sudden, three years after moving to this god-forsaken (so I think) city, I feel like I'm getting a glimpse of why we might be here. At the time we moved it was about a job and knowing I wanted to teach in an urban school district. Detroit had nothing to offer, I applied for at least a dozen jobs and received NO calls for interviews. I got a job in New Orleans after passing their screening and having an on the spot interview. I had already processed through the list of reasons I moved to Detroit and how I had really done everything I moved there to do (and eventually I even got a bonus prize! a husband!). It seemed clear, Dave and I were to get married and move to New Orleans.

So there we were, finally found a fantastic church, despite my own internal battle about raising children here, we found ourselves starting a family, and I fulfilled my commitment to my old school district and was on my way to a better work environment. I had my family praying for "Dave's revelation" that it was time to leave for cooler climates.

da - dada - daaaaaaa - enter Sammy.

I'm still unsure about this city. And the weather here. But I guess I'm starting to see how the experiences we are having are shaping us into the people God wants us to be. As I was being prayed over last Sunday at church, the woman said something to the effect of "More is happening that what meets the eye, Sammy's life and this time is more than meets the eye". And I started thinking about how in life, there is nothing better than to be used by the Lord. What more could a person ask for? Hey, I'm still plenty sad and would give almost anything to keep my baby. But it just clicked, we were created to glorify God and can do nothing greater than be used of the Lord. Who else can take one of the worst things to happen in life and make it worth something?

I don't know how people get through losing a child without the Lord. I have been reading blogs for *years* of women who faced fatal diagnosis for their babies and were able to humbly and gracefully walk this path. Honestly, there are a few blogs I have not been able to read because I didn't understand where or how they found the peace they had.

I. Did. Not. Get. It.

I thank the Lord that I have so many people praying with me and for me because I can finally rest peacefully in Him. I know throughout these last few months I have asked lots of questions of the Lord and still have many brewing. And I have always felt an underlying stability in my foundation, even at my darkest and craziest feeling moments. That stability, thanks to all our prayers and the Lord's answer, has overgrown in my spirit like Morning Glory at 5516 University Place. *wink* trust me, it's an all consuming confidence that I can and will, not only survive this horrible situation, but be better for having gone through it all (I used to cringe when people wrote things like that or tried to tell me that about Sammy - this is growth!)

whew. That was a mindful. And I purposely left out many details. This is what I've been thinking about, you know, in all my spare time between growing a baby and teaching 1st graders.

thank YOU for the prayers. Time for our evening chocolate fix - Blue Belle Dutch Chocolate ice cream with coconut and mini chocolate chips.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I really love the way Sammy is filling out my belly :-) I'm serious, he's really cute in there. I'll try to get a picture that captures what I see when I look in the mirror.

Also - while he still doesn't like chicken, I am very happy that he likes chocolate. Specifically Milky Way's. :-)

Friday, August 20, 2010


Sometimes I feel off. Like someone flicked the off switch. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. I guess it's good when it helps me get through...

It was our first week of school with kiddo's this week and it went very well. And it was very exhausting. We also me with our doula, which was great but kept me up waaaay past my bedtime.

Early Wednesday we found out my grandma fell, fracturing both her arms, a couple vertebras in her neck, her nose was "almost scraped off" - according to the doctor. She had surgery and is back home but please keep her in your prayers as she is recovering.

And tonight we received a call that Dave's grandma fell and it seems like she broke a hip, possibly her shoulder, and she seems a little bit confused. Please keep her in your prayers as well.

Seriously?!? 2010 and I are officially on the outs. I declared that a few weeks ago but I'm soooo serious. As far as I'm concerned this year can't end fast enough. 'Cause, you know, all good and bad things are contained within the boundaries of a calendar year.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

i wonder if...

...God sighs at me or just has to shake his head some times.

1. Friday nights post was a mess. I revisited it yesterday and there is just no flow. Obviously that's how my brain is/was functioning. Scary.

2. I will compliment every pregnant woman I see for the rest of my life. It really helped my day along yesterday to have a complete stranger comment about how "small" I am for being due in September and a coworker comment on how "cute" I looked in my rounded out panda t-shirt. When it's hard to get comfortable in even the most comfortable of chairs (much less hard plastic ones) one doesn't feel small or cute.

3. God is good. Amazingly good. I-don't-deserve-it good. This isn't the first time in my life that I have needed other people to tell me what's right in front of me. I feel like I'm usually such a great processor and spend a lot of time thinking about everything. And then there are times like now when I think God might be shaking his head at my inability to see and while he's still shaking his head, he provides someone to help me put my puzzle pieces together.

Basically this morning God allowed my pastor's mom to complete my puzzle. In a couple different ways. The most basic being this - when me and Sammy are being prayed over, I don't cry, I'm not sad, I'm comforted and encouraged. The exact opposite of being in that pit that I talk about. Huh. Pastor sermon was on being "children of light", he talked about how light and dark cannot coexist. Riiiiight. So that pit, that is complete and utter darkness? Not of God. It was a great reminder that I need to shine some Light on the subject when I feel draw to that awful pit. Not that grief in and of itself is the pit, but I need to be careful about letting grief take me there.

Before the pastor's mom knew who I was (she was visiting from Houston and has been praying for us) she prayed for the release of a spirit of oppression that she sensed over me when I walked into the prayer room. At that point I was praying for the church and Pastor and envisioning the mighty warrior angels that were camped out in each corner of the church. As she prayed (or reorganized my puzzle pieces) I began to see that sometimes the grief is oppression weighting me down. During worship we sang a song with the familiar scripture that no weapon formed against us will stand because Jesus is on our side. Puzzle complete.

Those warrior angels? They are camped around me too (doubly since Sammy's angels are hanging out with mine) and there is no weapon, or pit, that can be used against me if I continue to seek the Lord, believing, hoping, and trusting on His promises. Freedom. Church was great today :-)

Pastor's mom (I'd call her by name if I knew it) also prayed that nothing is impossible for Jesus. Duh - right - but that takes on so many challenges that I had been cowering behind. Can Sammy be healed? Yes. Will I be able to smile the day Sammy is born? Yes. Will I survive this? Yes. Can I survive this graciously and peacefully? Yes. None of this is impossible. It might be hard, but if I'm calling on those promises and trusting the Lord to carry me through, nothing is impossible with Jesus.

I would shake my head at me, if I was God. And I'd probably sigh a lot. But I'm thankful for my God who won't give up on me and who provides other people to piece together my puzzle when it's just to hard for me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

this week's scattered happenings

Seems the pressure is starting to build up. After a couple weeks of waiting I was finally able to get into my classroom on Wednesday. With the help of some volunteers, my associate teacher (who will be in my classroom during my leave), and little bossing around from me, we are jjuuuuuust about ready for students. School was cancelled yesterday in anticipation of a tropical storm that was supposed to hit but as is usually the case, when we have time to plan for the storms, they dissipate and we get a rainy day off.

It was a much needed day off, Monday and Tuesday I worked 12 hours days. We had orientation in the evenings and let me tell you, this pregnant lady was tiiiiired. I was able to get a solid 11 hours of sleep (you know, by solid sleep I mean only up 5 or 6 times to use the restroom) and I got to spend my day (yesterday) off writing my scripted plan for the first day. I feel prepared for that - having spent 3 hours writing 11 pages of script (!!!!).

Ya'll, I'm not joking about my foggy brain. Monday and Tuesday were good days, but super tiring so Wednesday evening I remember having a little break down about something...but I don't remember what. Anyway, I cried. A lot. Got sleep and was feeling energetic and like I could tackle all my school planning on Thursday. Until our doctor appointment. *sigh*

(oh yeah, we didn't meet with Wendy yet because she had to go out of town at the last minute. We'll meet with her next week.)

Doctor's appointment. We must have been one of the last appointments of the day, the waiting room was empty. Something on the tv made me sad again...brain fog not clearing but it may have had something to do with a cute chunky baby...I do remember trying to sit there and distract myself.

I had been still enough yesterday to feel quite a few Braxton Hicks contractions and had the office assistants at the dr's office concerned by the way I was rubbing my tummy. I weighed, and was sad to see the highest weight I've ever seen on a scale. Only up 10 pounds since 10 weeks though so that's ok...and in spite of this being the most I've ever weighed we're pretty sure my overall shape has shrunk considerably (except the tummy of course) since this pregnancy started...end tangent.

As we waited I still tried to distract myself. Each appointment is now one visit closer to us saying good bye to Sammy. I do remember that makes me sad. Dr v started the exam and as he measured my belly (perfectly measuring between 32-33 weeks) this conversation takes place.

Dr. v: "do you have a pediatrician chosen yet?"

me: pause "do we need one?"

Dr. v: "yes, blah blah blah" (I quit listening, I understood he was confused, I didn't want to think about it)

me: "even though he has anencephaly?"

Dr. v: "oh. uh. I was thinking of something else. No, you won't need one, there will be a neonatal blah blah blah" (I quit listening again, sad and trying not to cry).

We made it through the appointment but I think all that coupled with the school stress...the pressure is starting to build up. I don't even think I cried about it all yesterday. I understand that doctors are human and make mistakes...it was the end of the day and he obviously had not looked closely at my chart, which is slathered with the word anencephaly, as it sat open in front of him. I also feel that it was just another reminder from the Lord that I can't *rely* on anyone but Him. The best doctor is still gonna make mistakes. *sigh*

This morning as I woke up I remembered a dream I had about the day Sammy is born and the tears started. It was a crazy dream, involving me actually being pregnant with quintz this whole time, all of them suffering from anencephaly, but I only had eyes for Sammy. I couldn't remember the labor or actual birth and I didn't even hold him in the dream but I remember he was adorable and I loved him so much. While remembering makes me cry some more, it's also reassuring to me. That all this time loving him through my skin will not be wasted.

I was beyond crabby for most of the day and there must have been a cloud hanging over my head because a few people asked how I was feeling or keeping up or wasn't it tiring doing all this work while growing a little human? The volunteers asking when I was due and the fact that I rushed through the answer and tried to look busy so they wouldn't ask more questions hurt. I *loved* talking babies and pregnancy before all this. On my way out of school I felt Sammy kicking and thought about how all I wanted to do was sit and spend time feeling his kicks tonight. Instead I have work to do and then I get sad that I have to spend so much time enjoying the kicks because I won't get to spend time with him after he's born...I kept it together until I got to the car today and cried for a good hour. It's not the Dr's fault he brought up some of the "norms" that I so avoid trying to think about (except it is his fault). I do love my job but the stress of a new year, new grade, new system, being pregnant, grieving...

Please keep me in your prayers. I'm excited for this year but have limited capacity to remember and focus. Did I mention the brain fog? I'm half grateful it allows me to avoid thinking about sad things although it's not helpful when I need to get work done. And apparently roller coaster emotions? Keep Dave in your prayers as he has front row seats to the show.

Grieving makes me feel crazy. I know I have to grieve but sometimes I feel like I spend too much time in that pit. I was reminded this morning of one of the songs I could actually play on my guitar back in the day.

You Are My Hiding Place (circa 1981 Maranatha! Music thankyouverymuch)

you are my hiding place
you always fill my heart with songs of deliverance
whenever I am afraid I will trust in you
I will trust in you
let the weak say I am strong in the strength of the Lord
I will trust in you

I know I will spend these next few weeks trusting in the Lord. Continually trusting for a miracle, trusting for peace and grace in this entire process.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

- good looking out - part 2

I had briefly explained what was going on with me and Sammy to the social worker (SW) earlier in the week so we didn't have to start the meeting with all that. But it didn't take long for the week's heaviness to settle in over me. She started telling me that she had contacted another person in her office who had more experience with grief and unexpected circumstances and that that person would be a better one for me to talk to so that her and I didn't have to worry about boundaries between a counseling relationship and our work relationship.

I was confused. I wanted to talk with her about how to talk to the children and their parents and it seemed she was offering *me* services. I asked, would I talk to her co-worker for me, or the kids? She gave me a confused look and said for me. She went on to say that there used to be a grief group for parents who had lost children ages 0-4 and repeated that her friend would be able to talk with me a lot more about grief, loss, and all the things I was going through.
At this point I was still a little confused but said I would take her co-workers number and call. I mentioned that I want to be a resource for people in the future who are going through something like this in the New Orleans area and the more information I had the better.

I picture God at this point shaking his head at me and the social worker still had a puzzled look on her face. She was great about saying that would be a good reason to call and somehow transitioned to talking about my needs.

The rest is kind of blur...I know I cried and did that horrible cry talk for about half of our conversation, at a couple points in our conversation it hurt to breath. I wasn't crying at that point, but each inhale was shallow and stabbing. I have so many people supporting me and letting me be me as I talk about Sammy and this whole process. But to hear from basically a stranger that I needed to take care of me first and that my thoughts and feelings were normal brought me such freedom that afternoon.

As I talked about my week and all the forgetfulness. She mentioned that for people who have faced an unexpected tragedy, that is all normal. She brought up that people who faced these situations can feel at times like they are outside themselves watching what's happening...I immediately thought of my lost sense of urgency and focus...

oh yeah, and the whole reason I wanted to talk to her, we basically decided to wait to make a decision. She told me I didn't need to tell anyone anything, and I definitely didn't need to make a decision right now. Or even before Sammy is born. More freedom. Except, I explained that right along with telling people face to face about Sammy now, the thought of facing the "normal" newborn mama related questions like "how's he sleeping? who does he look like? how big was he? etc" makes my heart hurt. My motivation for explaining something to the kids and their parents is to avoid those tough questions and the tears that I imagine would follow them. I don't want to dread my first day back to school after Sammy's born. The social worker was again reassuring. She told me it was great that I already recognized the triggers and that we could make those decisions later.

I just feel better. It feels better to know that my crazy is normal. It feels good to be let off the hook (my own hook, nonetheless) for not thinking about how to explain things to my students and their parents.

Good looking out God. He knew I needed some encouragement. He knew I would go searching out answers for how to take care of other people and find the answer for how to take care of myself. He knew I needed someone to tell me to take care of me first and deal with everything else second.

Thank you all for your prayers. The Lord is answering them.

Friday, August 6, 2010

- good looking out - part 1

Turns out, this whole week has been kinda rough. It started Monday morning when I told my team at work that I was going to start calling and setting up appointments to meet with the parents of my students. My co-teacher, the woman who will be taking over the class while I am out on maternity leave (or whatever it'll be called), asked what I was going to tell the parents...what did I plan on telling the kids...what did I want her to tell the kids if/when they asked questions.

A little back story here, I am starting a new job at a new school. By new school I mean the administration is new and 90% of the staff is new to the school. The curriculum and school environment is being set up in a different way then the last school I worked with. I'm excited about all these changes but it's a LOT of work. It's almost like being a first year teacher again. Only this time, I'm lacking any sense of urgency to meet deadlines and I know I'm lacking that urgency. It's one of those situations where I don't know what to blame it could be pregnancy fog, grief fog, the stress of all that and figuring out a new job...all I know is I'm not "me".

So I'm not sure why I was (and still am) surprised that I had not thought out how parents and students would be told about Sammy. I mean it makes sense to me that I would have avoided thinking about it and making that decision because it sucks to have to think about how to tell people your baby is gonna die. But it's not like the funeral home that I purposely avoided dealing with or the birth plan that sits unattended for the last few weeks because it always makes me cry...I didn't *plan* to avoid this planning.

I answered the questions the best I could and then decided to email a blogger I've read who faced a similar situation, started at a new school pregnant with a baby who had a fatal diagnosis. It was the email that pushed me over the edge into the "it's not fair" pit. I was able to get my composure and finish the day but it was not a fun evening at our house.

The rest of the week was full of wandering through the fog. Tuesday I sat in a meeting and thought of something I wanted to do at home that evening, by the time I dug out the paper and pen I forgot what I wanted to write down. Still don't remember. Wednesday I wanted to cry on the way to work because the songs on the radio were so musically beautiful (lifehouse and norah jones - really?). Thursday, I went to find some paper towel to clean up a spill. A half hour later, as I talked Science scope and sequence with the 2nd grade team and ate their pickle chips I remembered I was supposed to be getting paper towel for some spilled water. Oops.

Even in all that fog the Lord is good. My blogger friend wrote back and mentioned that the school counselor helped out in her case. Good idea! So I found the school social worker and asked to speak with her about how to relay the news to the students and parents. I warned her it was not a great week so we needed to meet at the end of a day when my cry face wouldn't offend anyone (or make them give me THAT look, you know, the look of sympathy that only makes things worse instead of better).

We finally were able to connect Thursday at the end of the day. And it was exactly what I needed this week and totally the Lord looking out for me.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I've met with two of my students parents this week and both were shocked when I mentioned maternity leave. Really?

Seems obvious to me!
31 weeks 3 days

(please ignore the half made bed that doesn't match the curtains)