Tuesday, October 8, 2013

This was the day

Today 3 years ago was the day that was one of the most pivotal days of our life.

Today was the day I ovulated the egg that would a few hours later become our first son (I know this because of my almost obsessive charting of my cycle).

This was the day God opened my womb after years of infertility.

Today was the day God performed one of the greatest miracles of my life.

In the secret, quiet place, today was the day that God began Gideon's life, He began to knit him together in my womb. 

Today was the day that God breathed life and a soul into the tiny person of my son. 

This was today that the Lord gave us Gideon.

Today began Gideon's life, this earthy life that God ordained to last only little over 33 weeks.

This was the day the Lord gave us a sweet son who would be the source of extravagant joy and immense hope.

We didn't find out about Gideon this day 3 years ago, we wouldn't know about him for a couple more weeks. Little did we know at that time, but this was the day that our life was forever changed. For the better.

This was the day God created love inside of me.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:15-16

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Visceral Grief

Something in the air today reminded me of Gideon.

The heat. The humidity. The sunshine. The smells. Even though it is August, the weather seems so much like it did in those days in May surrounding his death and birth.

I am sweating and I can't cool down, like the last days of my pregnancy when I was filled with hormones. Like the days after he was born in this hormone filled body of mourning.

I even went to Target today. I used to go to Target all the time during my pregnancy. Its a different Target but the smells and sights are almost the same. I breathed in the smell of popcorn and pretzels at the snack shop where I got Icees multiple times a week my entire pregnancy. It brought me back to those carefree days. Those innocent days.

I can't put my finger on this sensation. There isn't a word for this. I am not feeling particularly sad. I actually feel joyful and blessed that he is my son, that he is part of my life. That he is with Jesus. However, today my body is reacting as it did in my early days of grief.

Anxiety, sweating, quickly beating heart, fear, nervousness, hands shaking. I breathe in and out with quick, shaky breaths. My skin feels cold and hot all at the same time. It seems that I need to cry, like my eyes want to spill out tears. 

Even my heart feels like the wound is fresh. I can acutely feel the hole that he left when he went to Heaven. The sensation in my heart and body is the same as it was during the moments when I laid on the floor wrapped in his blanket as I physically ached and cried for weeks on end missing our Gideon. My body feels tired and worn out as it did then.

My arms still want to hold him. They sting with pain today. They hurt and seem as empty as they did 2 years ago after they took his body from my arms.

When you love someone so much, they touch your soul. When they leave you, it forever leaves a mark on you. Love this deep will change you. So will grief. Grief has been a companion in my life for the past 27 months. Some days I experience it more deeply than others. Today I feel it in my bones and marrow. My body knows this grief well.

This is visceral grief.

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing." -C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

"This is part of the complexity of grief: A piece of you recognizes it is an extreme state, an altered state, yet a large part of you is entirely subject to its demands."-Meghan O'Rourke

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pictures from Gideon's 2nd birthday celebration

Here are some of the pictures I took of Gideon's 2nd birthday celebration.
On May 17th, Todd, Silas and I (along with my wonderful parents) went to the cemetery and then went and had Italian food and an Icee. That evening we had some of my family over and we had a cookie cake that I made and we released sky lanterns. It was such a beautiful day of remembering and celebrating the life of our first born son. It is amazing to me that he is so loved and always remembered by our family and friends. Truly a special day.

We love you so much, Gideon. More than words can explain. You are missed every second, but it is indescribable what it means to us that you are spending every moment wrapped in the presence of the Lord!

Monday, May 27, 2013


Celebrate good times, come on! Let's celebrate!

See, I told you they were beautiful! :) 
On Friday night, I went out with my friends to have a girl's night to celebrate my sweet Gideon's 2nd birthday. (It was a belated celebration, 1 week after his birthday) After the past few weeks I have had, I NEEDED a night out with my friends! We went to the Cheesecake Factory. There ended up being 8 of us ladies there. And one thing we all have in common, we all have at least one baby in Heaven. In addition to celebrating Gideon's birthday, it was my friend Stefanie's birthday so we were able to celebrate her as well!!

It is just really fun to be in a group of women, laughing and talking and to not be afraid to talk about your baby who died. When I am in a group of other people, they might get a strange look on their face when I mention Gideon. Or if I talk about him frequently, they start to shuffle away from me. Even with a lot of my friends from before he died, they aren't as comfortable talking about him as I am, or as other moms with babies in Heaven. So, sometimes it is more comfortable to be in a group of mommies who have babies who have died than women who haven't. I know that may sound strange but just like any thing, we feel safe with people who can relate to us and understand us.

So we went to the Cheesecake Factory and I was greeted by hugs and smiles (and I even happened to run into an old friend from college and talked to her for a minute, which was a sweet surprise!). We all immediately started laughing and talking about everything from breastfeeding and labor, to sex and short cervixes, to Jesus and our relationship with Him, to family issues and to our babies lives and deaths. Pretty much any topic was not off limits (our poor waiter had to listen to us! HAH!). We are a little nuts!

These ladies (among other amazing women as well) have become an integral part of my life, I cant imagine my life without their friendship. Seriously, the women I have gotten close to in the last 2 years have some of the most beautiful faces and hearts. I love them!

Before I tell you the rest of the story, I want to say this: our babies who have died are a part of us. They have forever changed us and they are more special to us than words can explain. Hearing theirs names spoken is like music to our ears. Many people identify very strongly with their name and our names are so important to our identity. And for me, it is always a little unfulfilling that I do not get to use my son's name more often. I say Gideon's name every day. There has not gone a day since we gave him his name in Feb 2010 that I have not said his name. But part of it is missing. I will never say his name at a baseball game, or hear it at his college graduation, or hear it at his wedding. There is a long list of events where I will miss hearing his name spoken among a crowd.

Back to my story, at one point in the night my friend goes up to the waiter and whispers in his ear. She wasn't hitting on him so I knew she was planning on having happy birthday sung for Stefanie. So I was expecting them to come up and sing to Stef at any moment. Well, they did. But they were carrying 2 ice cream sundaes. And the waiter announced to the whole restaurant something like "Today we are celebrating Gideon and Stefanie's birthdays! Happy birthday to Gideon and Stefanie." Then they all sang happy birthday!
Crying and smiling! 
 It was for my sweet boy and my dear friend! I looked like a lunatic with a huge smile on my face with tears welling up in my eyes. You can see evidence of my surprise/happiness/tears in these pictures. Having a whole restaurant hear his name and to hear that we were celebrating him was extraordinary!

 Having Happy Birthday sang to him in a restaurant was one of the things that we would miss out on since he died, but a little piece of that was given to me Friday night! His birthday was validated and his name was spoken in a room full of strangers!
That was one thing we didn't have to lose when he went to Heaven!I asked my friend who told the waiter what she said to him and she told him that this was a special night because we are celebrating the birthday of Gideon who passed away and he would have been 2 years old. And the waiter told her he definitely could take care of it! Wow. To have someone who doesnt even know me not think it was weird and to have friends who cried and smiled along with me, what a blessing from God!!! It really makes my heart happy to know that Gideon is loved by so many people.

It was a really exceptional night (and I think my stomach still hurts from laughing so much!).

One of the greatest gifts that God has given me since Gideon passed away has been the gift of the friendships of other parents who have a baby in Heaven.

Thank you, to my dear friends, for celebrating the short life of my sweet son with me!

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as incense and perfume. Proverbs 27:9 (NLT)