Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Un-Birthday?

Well, today is the day that Becca would possibly have been born had my cervix not given out on me. Hard to say, since babies aren't usually born on their due dates, but today should have been that day.

I don't have any huge, over-whelming emotions right now...just a sort of resigned sadness that comes with the acceptance of loss. I miss my daughter so much, but I can't go back in time and even if I could, I doubt very much that there is anything I could have done to change the outcome.

I also don't want to dwell on the loss of Rebecca Lane, nor do I want to delve back in and relive those two weeks in the hospital.

All I want to do is acknowledge her life and death, and share some very precious photos of her right after birth while she was still of my daughter living and with her heart beating....(*her coloring was due to her skin being thin from being so premature and from the lack of oxygen since her lungs were not developed yet. She was very much alive in these photos, and perfectly formed...she was just not finished growing yet...born too soon.)

Mommy loves you so much, Becca. Give Jimmy a kiss for me and tell him Happy Valentines Day. Thinking of you always....I read something the other day that sums up how I feel and it went something like this:

"I have heard that time in heaven as compared to time on earth is like the blink of an eye. This comforts me. I like to think that you are in heaven, running and laughing through golden fields with sunshine and happy and so distracted that by the time you think to turn around and look for me, I will already be there."

Sweet Jesus, heaven is going to be such a beautiful day I'll get to be with ALL my children and never have to cry or say goodbye again. I can't wait!

Loving you with all my heart today, sweet babies...Love Mommy.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fairytales By Email

We all get them...those emails that are mass-forwarded by a well meaning friend that contain some sort of miraculous story with a happy ending and a profound revelation or deep thought at the end, often-times religious in nature.
These emails are meant to bring a tear of joy at the "triumph-over-tragedy" and make us appreciate life/God/children/puppies/etc.

I got one of those yesterday and the main character happened to be a baby who was born too soon and after a night of prayer by the parents, the baby lived to grow into a beautiful little girl who brought a profound message from God to her mother. Trouble for me was, I couldn't see past the heartache caused by the fact that the little girl in this story, when born, was 3 days older than Becca (24 weeks) and only one ounce heavier (1 lb 9 oz).

I prayed for 2 weeks straight in the hospital...heck, I "prayed without ceasing" since the moment I knew she existed in my womb since we had lost Jimmy the year before and had a miscarriage in-between. I prayed and prayed and did not get my "miracle story with a profound revelation or deep thought and tears of joy."

Reading that story made me angry and sad! I prayed too, but my baby died!

And *story* is just what I decided that was. In real life, you pray and pray and pray and your baby dies anyway. In real life, you get pregnant again and whereas in a story you would get a living baby the second time around (and thereby your triumph-over-tragedy miracle story), in REAL LIFE you get a second dead baby...and a third...and who knows maybe even a fourth or fifth.

Real life is not full of miracles and happy endings and in real life bad things happen to good people. In real life, God doesn't always say yes, he says NO a good bit of the time. And God says no in situations where the storybooks have almost guaranteed us a after having a baby stillborn at full-term and a miscarriage at 2 months, the storybooks tell me that I DESERVE and will get a happy ending with the next pregnancy...but that was not the case. I had a baby literally die in my arms as I was praying for her life to be spared.


Fairytales should stop being told all the time...its really not fair. Or, at the very least, someone should be telling just as many real-life stories. In these fairytales, they always praise God for his love and kindness and mercy because he showed these things BY HIS MIRACLE that he bestowed upon the people in the story.

But what about when God says no? What about in the situations like mine? Where are the email mass-forwarded stories about the woman who has 3 dead babies who praised God anyway and whose "profound and deep revelation" is *merely* that God is still great and merciful and loving even when we are suffering and get a big fat NO instead of our "miraculous happy ending?"

Where are these stories??

Perhaps losing a baby 3 weeks before his due date, losing another at 2 months to miscarriage, and losing a baby an hour after birth because she was born to soon would have been just a little easier to bear if I had not had it ingrained in my head by fairytales that God shows us he loves us by giving us what we ask for or by happy endings or "being blessed."

So let me just say this from experience....even if God says NO, even if you are suffering, even if you think you cannot bear one more ounce of bad news, even if you did not get a miracle when you thought you should....God STILL loves you!! And yes, in real life, we still love God even when we are angry with him. (They don't tell you that in the stories, do they?)

In real life, we don't always get our tragedies turned into triumphs and wrapped up in a neat little story with a bow and happy ending that we can tell our Sunday school class or pass on in an email to everyone and their Grandma.

In real life bad things happen to good people and tragedies don't always make sense, but we trust that God has a reason for doing what he does and we praise him anyway.

Go ahead...forward this to your email group. You never know who might need to hear that God still loves us even when we don't get our happy ending.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Living With Chronic [Emotional] Pain

The date when Becca should have been born is coming up, so I thought I would print off a couple of her pictures and work on her scrapbook. I only printed off 3 or 4 pictures before I realized that I just could not do this. Looking at those pictures and thinking about her hurts too much.
Just like last year when I wanted to have Jimmy's scrapbook completed by his one year angelversary but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I guess it makes sense, because in the end, my babies will forever remain an unfinished work as well.

I started thinking about how irritating it is to try and get on with normal life, yet have all these sad and painful things lurking around in the back of my mind with my parents dead, my grandparents dead, and 3 babies dead...I remembered an article I had read a few years back about a guy who had some sort of back problem that medication could not touch and doctors could not fix and how he just had to learn to live with his chronic pain.

I began to wonder...isn't what I am trying to cope with here the emotional equivalent of chronic pain? I mean, it really makes sense. Its never really going to go away, I've just got to learn to live with it. And, for the most part, I have. I'm getting ready to go back to work (wherever that may be!) and I'm cooking special foods for the diet my husband and I are on, making preparations for my living son's 9th birthday party, started a band, got back in choir at church, working on a couple of guitar songs for Praise & Adoration....and doing everything I possibly can to learn how to live with this chronic pain.

I looked up an article on how to cope with chronic physical pain and the advice is much the same as I would give anyone who is suffering from chronic emotional pain:

1) Eat right and exercise
2) Prayer/meditation
3) Eliminate or reduce stress
4) Physical exercise to boost endorphins
5) Try to get enough sleep
6) Distract yourself with things you enjoy

The idea that one day I'm going to wake up and all this pain will be gone is just not true unless I were to die in my sleep and wake up in heaven! Some days are worse than others and some days are absolutely fabulous. (Thank you God for those days!!!) But for the majority of the time, I will go through my daily activities always carrying this pain with me. Realizing this and admitting that I am living with chronic pain makes me feel much better as it means I'm not a failure at life because I cannot make this pain go away.

I am a just a person learning to cope with chronic emotional pain...and I'm getting better at it every day.