Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year

This has been the hardest year of my life. But in so many ways, it has been the most beautiful.

Many of my friends who have lost their children this year have expressed that they are ready for this year to be over. They are ready for the next year to start because the pain of this year is too much, that maybe next year will be better. And I can totally see why they feel that way and I understand that completely. This is horrible, this pain.

For me though, this isn't the case. In some ways, I am ready for the next year. I am ready to take on the challenges of 2012. I am ready to welcome our second son into the world, and hopefully he comes out alive; breathing and crying. I am ready to see what the Lord has planned for us for this coming year. There are lots of things that God has laid on my heart for the future and I will be interested to see if any of those things start this year.
However, part of me doesn't want 2011 to end. This has been the most pivotal year of our life. And if 2012 comes, then that means the year Gideon was born will be over. I feel as though we are leaving him behind. Which I know is impossible, but his year is done. This is a year he was alive, the year I got to feel him move inside of me, the year we got to know him,  the year we got to hold him, the year where I got to see his beautiful face. This year is gone. Never to return. The finality of it is painful. It feels as if it is another door that is closing on the life of my son.

The first part of 2011 was beautiful. In Feb we found out we were expecting a little boy and we gave him his name. Also in Feb, I felt Gideon move for the first time. In March, Todd felt him move for the first time.  Todd and I were ecstatic. The last day of March was the first time I could see him move, I looked down at my belly and watched as he kicked. We took him many different places and wanted him to experience life. We brought him to the rodeo and to the zoo. I ate all different foods to see which ones he liked most (he loved it when I ate Italian food and he always loved when I drank Icees).We played music for him and I sang to him. In April, we celebrated my birthday with him. Also in April, he jumped around in my womb as the Gospel was being shared at my grandma's funeral. In May, we got to celebrate my first real mother's day with him. And as Todd and I sat in an Italian restaurant that we love, Gideon moved all around inside of me. That was one week before he died. Also in May, the day before he died, we had his baby shower. We loved him more than our own lives. Todd and I have never been happier than when we had Gideon with us.

However, the second part of the year, the days following May 15th, the day we were told he died, have been the hardest of my life. You cannot imagine the struggle and pain, unless you have walked this road. More tears have been shed in the past 7 months than in the rest of my life combined. More sleepless nights than I can count. More body wracking sobs than I can even tell you about. More pain in this year because a huge part of my heart is missing.

But I am so thankful for this year, thankful that I got to hold in my body and in my arms one of the most precious and beautiful creatures every created. That I got to kiss the face of a wonderfully made child of the Lord; a person who is a little me, and a little Todd. I am so thankful that we got to love that sweet boy. I am so thankful for who he has made us. I am thankful that he lived. And I am thankful that he still lives. Immense amounts of love filled this one year, and that is truly beautiful.

Gideon, I don't want to start a new year without you. I don't want to be further away from where you were. I don't want life to move forward because I want to be where you are. I want to be back with you when you were alive, here on earth. Mommy wants both her boys with her so much, but I know I cannot have you both with me on this earth. I recognize that time has to move forward. My little love, I hate that I have to walk through this next year without you here. However, I know I must, and I know that you would want us to live our lives with the joy that God grants and to serve Him every day. So, each day I will strive to follow the Lord and do what He wants. I will tap into the joy of my salvation and rest in knowing that you are safe with Him. I know that you are filled with an inexplicable and glorious joy. And that fills my heart with peace.

This coming year and every year after this, I will be a the best mommy I can to this little boy I am carrying and I will continue to be a great mommy to Gideon by honoring his memory. I will be a loving and giving wife to Todd and I will love Jesus more than ever. Every day I will love the Lord more and more. Gideon makes me want to be a better mommy, wife and a better child of the Lord. And this year, I will be all of those things.

2011 is the year I got to understand the depth of my love for our first born son. And I get to love him every year after this and every year this love will deepen and grow. And that is beautiful.

I am in awe of the Lord because of His works this year. He is good. And His love endures forever. Even when our hearts are completely and utterly broken, He will and is making something beautiful from this pain. I am so thankful that I can see Him working through and in the agony. Working good in the midst of affliction and suffering. He is so good. He will make beauty from ashes and give us a garment of praise and the oil of joy.

This is my prayer for our life for this year and for every single year of our lives. This grief will never fade, but I ask that the Lord will "...bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord  for the display of His splendor" Isaiah 61:3

Saturday, December 24, 2011

First Christmas without you

This is our first Christmas without you.

Oh my sweet Gideon. I know you are experiencing the most breathtaking Christmas today. I know it is as amazingly indescribable, like every other day you have experienced in heaven the past 7 months and like every day you will have for eternity. But mommy and daddy miss you so much. This day is not complete with out you. No day will ever be complete because you have part of our hearts with you in heaven. I want so much for you to be here with me and your daddy and your little brother. I miss you every second. I love you, my Gideon. More than my own life. 

Tears cover my cheeks and flow openly from my eyes as I miss you. I miss everything about you. I wish I could see your smile today. I wish I could kiss your chubby cheeks and tell you "I love you." I wish I could see you staring in awe at the Christmas tree lights twinkling. I wish we could hear your giggle as you tear open the paper on a gift, because the paper is more interesting to a 7 month old than the actual gift itself. I wish I could give you your first pieces of divinity and chocolate pie. I wish I could see you crawling around the house trying to keep up with your cousins. I wish your daddy and I could wake you up in the morning and say "Merry Christmas, Gideon." I wish I could watch as your daddy holds you and tell you about the birth of our Savior. I wish your stocking was filled with more than just dreams of what could have been.

Today I will watch your cousins open their presents and smile and laugh with joy. I close my eyes and picture your beautiful face smiling and laughing with joy in the presence of the Lord. As I listen to the bible being read this year and hear the story of Jesus as a baby in a manger. I know you are walking down the streets in heaven with that same baby as a man. As I sing songs of worship to the Lord at church tonight, I stand in the presence of God and I know that you are standing in His presence too. And that makes me feel closer to you, my precious son.

Today I will try to imagine what your face would look like. Today I will cry and I will laugh, but all day, like every day, you will be on my heart. Today I will close my eyes and think of the precious moments when you were in my body kicking me. Today I will think of the even more precious moments when you were in my arms. Today I will think of last year, the only Christmas we had with you and I will smile because that was the most beautiful, perfect Christmas I have ever had because you were with me. Today I will ask God to give me just a little glimpse of Heaven, so I can see you.

We are missing one little boy this year, and every year from now on. One little boy from every single picture will be missing. We are missing one present under the tree for this little boy. One little boy's laughter, one little boy's cries will be missing from the cacophony of sounds that rise from our home. However, we will not be missing the love we have for this little boy. 

My heart is torn to pieces today, but I will not let that take away the peace from the Lord. I ask that the Lord gives me and Todd His peace, which defies all logic. As I ask the Lord for His peace and for His presence to surround us, I am brought to my knees as I am reminded of why we celebrate today. We celebrate the miraculous birth of our Lord, Jesus. He came to this world, this horrible and broken world, to give us hope, peace and joy. In John 10:10, Jesus says "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Not just a life where we barely make it through each day, but an abundant life! What an amazing promise! And He came to this world to give us the chance to have an eternity with Him. He came so that we might live. He gave up His life to give us eternal life. Because of that, I rejoice with all of my heart! And because of the promise He gives us, I know He is walking beside us today. And every day.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 
 1 John 4:8-10

Thank you, Lord, for giving us the gift of our first son. Thank you for giving me hope and a promise that we will be with You for eternity and that we will get to be with Gideon again.

Happy first Christmas in heaven, my son. Know that our hearts are with you today. We love you, Gideon. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Baby brother or sister?

We found out the gender of the new baby!!!!

Gideon is having BROTHER!!!! Todd and I knew it! We knew in our hearts that we were having a second boy. And I think that for me, the Lord prepared me for that. It is much harder emotionally to have a subsequent boy when your first son died. It just is. But since I knew it in my spirit beforehand, it gave me a chance to think about and prepare for it. So, at the moment when I saw his penis, and knew he was a boy, I would be excited about the idea of having 2 sons, and not saddened by it. And I am not sad. I am excited and happy that he is a boy!!! I am so excited to get to be the mom of 2 boys. One here on earth and one in heaven. Todd and I love our sons so much!

 It is truly amazing how much your heart grows as a parent. I have these places in my heart dedicated to each of my children. And it is like my heart has grown to fit them (like the Grinch's heart!). I love them differently and yet the same and with a fierceness that can only be described as a "mother's love." Both of my sons, unique individuals, and I love them as such. They both own a part of me, as does their daddy. The three men in my life have my heart intertwined to their hearts. I love my boys. More than my own life.

This baby, our second son, is totally healthy. We got to see every inch of his precious body. The ultrasound was about an hour long and saw his little feet, his hands, his legs, his spine, his beautiful heart beating 156 beats a minute. We saw his kidneys, ribs and his brain. We could even see the vessels in his brain!! They looked at the placenta and umbilical cord. Gideon had an undetected problem with the placement of his umbilical cord into the placenta, which eventually caused him to pass. But at this point, this baby doesn't have the same problem with the cord. We are so very thankful for that. My doctor and the specialist I am going to are going to continue keep an extremely close eye on this baby and on me.

This child is so beautiful. If I may say so myself, Todd and I make cute kids! We were able to get some 4D pictures of his face. It was so incredible to get to see so much detail on his face, even at 18 weeks and 4 days old. It was pretty funny because apparently he had his face squished into the placenta, so it took them a long time to get a good picture of his face. When she told us that his face was in the placenta, my initial reaction was, "oh my gosh, he cant breathe!" and then I immediately thought "no you dummy, babies dont get oxygen through their noses." Ah, the crazy mind of a mommy who has had a child die.

 This baby, at this point, looks so much like his older brother. Todd and I saw it immediately.  When I showed these pictures to our best friends, that was what they thought too. It is so much fun to me that my boys may look similar. I love it when siblings look alike. Now, by the time this baby comes out, they may not look as much alike, but in this ultrasound picture he looks like his big brother.
Here is our precious Gideon so you can see how much they look alike.

I keep thinking about this verse " I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14. I think of that verse every time I look at my pictures of Gideon and every time I think of his beautiful face and body. Now, when I look at these pictures of our second son, I think the same thing. Both of my boys, fearfully and wonderfully made.

I wish with all my heart that Gideon was here with us. I want to be able to raise both of our sons together on this earth. I want to be able to have all of their arms around me, I want to snuggle both of them and read them both bedtime stories and tuck them into bed. I want to see them wrestle on the floor with their daddy and hear their laughter. I want to see them at church worshiping together and praying before meals.  I want to be able to see them together, who they would be together, their relationship as brothers. I will have to wait for that for when we get to eternity. But when we all get there, what a glorious day that will be.

We are so very thankful for the prayers from our friends and family. I am thankful that we get to be parents to 2 boys! And thankful that this baby, today, is healthy and alive. I pray that we get to bring this child home with us, where he will stay. I pray that this child grows into a strong man of God. That he follows the Lord all the days of his life. And I selfishly, pray that that is a long, long time. Mostly, I pray "Lord, I trust You." Because no matter what happens, I know He will never leave us.

Now we just have to name this little guy....and make it through the next 20 weeks!

"For You created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139:13