Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Your first day of Kindergarten - a letter

My dearest Little Squirt,
Today is your first day of Kindergarten. Years ago when you were a tiny baby it seemed like this day might never come. But come it has, at last! We've been waiting for this day for a long time. All year we've been getting ready for school, haven't we? We've been doing worksheets till I'm about out of pages for you to work on. You really love working on worksheets. You've been practicing writing out anything you can think of, spelling things all by yourself, and learning how to make your own lunch. You told Aunt Terese yesterday that the thing you were most excited for was your lunch. You've been wanting to pack your school lunch for months. Remember a couple months ago when I kept telling you that the sandwich you made wouldn't still be good by August? Remember how I said you'd have to make a new sandwich for the first day of school? Today was that day!! And you were so excited to make yourself a ham and cheese (with nothing else but bread) sandwich. I love watching you learn things! I am excited to see how much you are going to learn in school. 

I could see this morning you were starting to get nervous. When the bus pulled up I could tell by the look on your face that you were not sure at all about this whole going to school thing. I was about ready to step in to hug you when you got in line and climbed on the bus and didn't even look back. I guess you are more ready to grow up more than I thought you were. You waved as the bus pulled away. Don't worry, we will be waiting when the bus brings you back this afternoon. I believe this is your first school bus trip where your Dad wasn't driving the bus. That's kinda cool. Not every kid gets to ride a school bus before their first day of school. We are missing you a lot. It is really quiet around here with you gone. No one is asking questions I can't figure out how to answer. I hope your teacher is good at answering questions. I know getting answers to your questions is very important to you. 

Today is a very special day for you. It's also a special day for me. This is the first time I've ever sent my child off to school. It's a big first for me. I'm so excited for you and at the same time I'm a little bit sad for me. I've been taking care of you all day every day since you were born. And now you're off to school to learn from someone else. It feels a little strange to me to send you off to learn from someone else. But I am certain you will learn so many great and wonderful things!! It will be so good for you to learn from someone other than me and Dad. You can learn something from everyone you meet. And that will help you be a well rounded person with great perspective. School is a journey and you are just starting today. It will be an adventure. I hope it's an adventure you will love, even though there will be rough days. 

I love you, little buddy! I hope your first day is amazing and that you find a true love of learning!

Love Mom

P.S.Did you notice your shirt, shoes, and lunchbox all match? I didn't until I was looking through the pictures we took this morning.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Two weeks

We've made it two weeks now. I keep thinking it's been a really long two weeks. Then I think it couldn't possibly have been two weeks yet...it still hurts a lot...surely two weeks is enough time to lessen some of the heartache a little.

This week we came across the pictures from the first ultrasound in July. We cried. One of the pictures shows the heartbeat. It makes me happy and sad at the same time. Baby Sam was a real living person. He didn't have a long life on this earth. But he is real!! The promise of being together in the eternities is wonderful, but waiting a lifetime for eternity is sometimes really hard.

7 week ultrasound picture and the blanket I started making several weeks ago.

Sometimes everything is ok. Truly, it is. People keep asking me how I am and I say "ok" or "fine" and they don't believe me. I can tell by the look on their faces. But I am ok, a lot of the time. Notice I don't say great or awesome. But ok. I am surviving. Sometimes I am ok simply because I have to be ok. I have three little people who need me. So even when it feels hard I still have to get up and take care of them. Sometimes I am just ok because I have to be ok. It's good though, to be needed. I might be tempted to stay in bed all day long if I didn't have anyone who needed me. Today I just wanted to finish the blanket I started for baby Sam several weeks ago. But turning on a movie and crocheting all day really isn't really going to make me feel any better. It will likely make me feel worse when the kids get into things and I have to stop what I'm doing.

So we went out this morning. We went to J and J garden center and wandered for well over an hour. I'm sure it sounds crazy to some people that I find a lot of joy in wandering around the nursery. But I do. It makes me so happy to see so many flowers. We found a cute little see saw for our fairy garden. And we found mini roses. I've been looking for mini roses for my kids for months now. I was so happy to find them for $5 today. I have 4 now. I just need one for Gavin. I planted them out front in the new rose bed we put in this spring. I'm loving how this flowerbed is turning out!! It looks so happy and cheerful. I find I am spending a lot of time weeding out there lately.

I keep feeling the need to work till my exhaustion matches the pain and sorrow I feel. I want to work till I can hardly move. Then I'm sure I could sleep instead of thinking all night long. But I apparently don't understand how tired I already am. Last night I ended up in tears (that's been happening a lot) because my dear husband said I needed a break and he wouldn't start the lawn mower for me (it's been finicky and I definitely don't have the strength to fight with it these days). He was right. I was so tired that using something with a motor was probably not the best idea. It's a good thing my husband cares so much about me.

The yard is getting to where it's looking a lot better, though. I've been spending lots of time out in the flowerbeds working on cutting back the irises and planting any new things I find on sale. Flowers make me so happy. I am planting roses for my sweet baby Sam. I will be able to celebrate his day (August 6) every year by picking any roses I want. It is one of the hardest things about trying to celebrate Lily's day in December - finding lilies. They're not typically December flowers.

 Lily's mini rose

Caleb's mini rose

 Emmett's mini rose

Baby Sam's mini rose

Saying Goodbye....again

Today is the 9th of August. And it's already been a very long month.

August 1 we woke up to 3" of water in the basement. The "anytime" plumbers couldn't come till between 1 and 3. So we all had to leave the house for several hours since we couldn't use any water at home - it just kept ending up in the basement. Luckily we had some family reunion plans to keep us busy for the morning. I took the boys to the train station with my aunt and cousin and 12 other little kids. Almost everyone else ages 10+ went tubing down the Weber River with Weber Tubing - Sam's new business he started this summer. Sam went to help with the tubing trip. We were all supposed to meet for lunch, but there was a big wreck up the canyon - I'm talking a tanker truck carrying milk rolled, started a fire (which was put out by onlookers with the spilled milk), and closed the canyon till 9 pm. None of the tubers could get down the mountain the way they went, and most ended up going down through Salt Lake and we didn't see anyone. I hurried home to catch the plumber at 1 only to find they came at 12:30 and I missed them. I tried calling and they said someone could come out on Monday morning. I cried. It had been a long day already. I finally got ahold of Sam who called and got someone to promise to come out between 6 and 8. But Sam was up the canyon and couldn't get down since the road was closed. So we waited again for the plumber. Sam finally got home about 6:30 and we took turns taking trips to the bathroom - making sure someone was always here to meet the plumber. About 8:30 we called the plumber and found out he was busy. He called us at 9:15 saying he was stuck on another job and wouldn't be able to come till morning. Sunday morning I took 3 boys to church by myself while Sam waited for the plumber - who was, once again, late. By the time we got home from church the plumber had told Sam that to fix the plumbing that day would be $500. And to wait till the next day was $50. So we packed everyone up and went down to my mom's house for the rest of the day.

I kept the boys down there on Monday (8/3) and Sam came back with the plumbers on Monday evening and got everything fixed. I got a call on Monday that the doctor I was supposed to see Thursday had something come up - and could I come on Tuesday (8/4) at noon instead? So I drove us home, called a friend to watch my boys and left them all here with a dirty house and went to a doctor's appointment I felt strangely nervous about. I knew I should feel excited to see our new baby's heartbeat again at almost 11 weeks, but I just felt like I didn't want to go at all. I couldn't explain why, I just didn't want to go. When the doctor started the ultrasound she mentioned the baby looked small. She said that last time too. But 4 weeks ago there was a strong heartbeat and this time she couldn't find one at all. It was a horrible moment. I suddenly realized I didn't want to be alone. But it was kinda too late then. Sam was up the canyon (working Lifetime kayak stuff) and I couldn't even reach him on the phone. The doctor was kind and reassured me that it wasn't my fault. She tried to tell me the options but I knew I was just too emotional to make any decisions. She told me I could call any time I was ready to make decisions and ask any questions I had.

I texted a friend who just lost her own baby (due just days after mine) a couple weeks ago and the friend watching my boys. I called my mom and cried. And I wished I could even just call Sam. But he was out of cell service for the rest of the day. I drove home in shock. My friend watching the boys stuck around for a while, which I was grateful for. Sam finally got home about 6:30 (I had been able to finally call him about 5:30) and we cried together and tried to explain to our young boys what was wrong. They didn't really get it. My friend brought a pizza for dinner. We cried a lot that night.

Wednesday (8/5) I cancelled everything we had planned. I called the nurses to schedule a d&c for the next morning. It's awful to explain that over and over again on the phone. Even when it's nurses and doctors who likely have to have these conversations weekly. I couldn't tell anyone. I just couldn't say it again. My parents came and got the boys on Wednesday night. I cried because I missed them. Sam and I went to visit the bishop - we weren't quite on the same page with what we thought we should do. I wanted everything to be over and try to avoid a trip to the ER like we had last time. I think Sam was still holding out hope that the doctor was wrong. Our bishop lovingly counseled and gave Sam a blessing and that was the first time I saw Sam comforted during this whole thing. We went home and cried more. All day I'd been able to see a sweet little face in my mind. A little round face with lots of blond hair. A little boy. I'd already been certain this baby was a boy. I said we wouldn't find out the gender till baby came because I didn't want people to tell me they were sorry we were having another boy. But I just knew it was a boy. And now I was certain. He seemed to keep telling me not to worry about him, that he would be just fine.

Thursday (8/6) morning I suddenly decided this little baby needed a name. For some reason it was important. I decided the day before that I would plan roses for this little one. And every August I would celebrate his day with roses - they are in full bloom right now and well, flowers just make me feel happy. I decided I needed a purple rose for this little one who was supposed to be born in February. Either that or a dark red rose for a Valentine's Day baby. His due date was the end of February, but all my other kids have been early. I started making a baby blanket for him a few weeks back. It's grey, cream, and red. I called him my Valentine's Day baby. But I wanted him to have a name. And we hadn't agreed on any names, really, yet. We were still kind of in shock that we were expecting another baby - ok, I was still a little in shock. I never planned to have kids as close together as Gavin and this baby would be. I was just getting to the point where I wasn't trying to deny it. Every time I even just thought about this little boy I could see him in my mind. It was like one of those pictures from Harry Potter that moves, but isn't really the real person. He was standing next to a little girl (much bigger than he was) - but she didn't really move - more like she was a part of the background. I assume it was Lily holding her little brother's hand. He's very real to me. And to his Daddy. So we decided to find a name for him. We discussed (in a minute) about every name we'd thought of to use this time around. None seemed right. And suddenly I was thinking of my grandpa (whose 90th birthday we celebrated with the family reunion stuff before the plumbing problems last week). And suddenly I knew what his name should be.

Samuel Lee Robbins

My grandpa's dad was Samuel Lee Smith. His dad had the same name. My grandpa is Roy Lee Smith. I've always loved the name Samuel Lee, but I vowed a long time ago we wouldn't have two people with the same name in this house because that would make Mommy crazy. Sam has never wanted to pass his first name on to our boys - it just hasn't really fit as a middle name with the names we've picked. But this time, it was just the right name. And we both knew it. If he were here we would probably call him Sam. Such a sweet boy to be named after his daddy, and three of his great grandfathers. A lot of great men. And I'm hoping he got my grandpa's beautiful clear blue eyes. They are quite beautiful eyes. Handsome, I mean....handsome eyes.

We went to Smith's to buy a mini rose for our baby. We are still waiting to see if it is dark red or purple. But either way, it's his. I will plant it out front as soon as I am up to it. I also want to buy mini roses for all my kids. But for now, this was important. We headed to the medical center about 9:30. There was lots more explaining and I had to keep telling the doctor and the nurses I truly didn't want to hear it explained any more. I didn't want to hear it. It may have something to do with all the planned parenthood mess that's going on right now. It's just too descriptive. I remember being cold. They gave me socks and a blanket. And I was still cold. They did another ultrasound to confirm the baby was gone, but I already knew he was. The anesthetic worked fast. I remember being cold. Then I was waking up in a different room. It was hard, having two days to say goodbye. But it was a lot, LOT better than an awful evening in the ER like we did with Lily. I was out of it for a while. I remember crying because I wanted Gavin - I mentioned his cute cowlicks. I remember Sam trying to convince me the blankets were made of kangaroo fur - which I knew was wrong, but I couldn't figure out how he kept twisting my words. We got home around 12:30 and I was kind of out of it the rest of the day. Mostly I just kept missing the boys. My mom kept sending me pictures and videos of them.

Friends came to drop dinner off, and flowers were delivered. And we got a lot of phone calls and messages. Truly, on a week as bad as this, knowing people loved us and were praying for us felt amazing. It was the best thing, since there was really nothing anyone could do to make us feel any better. We watched the Avengers. For some reason that was the only movie I wanted to watch. We kinda lived in a haze that day. But I couldn't see my sweet baby's face in my mind any more. He is gone now, I guess. I wonder what he's up to in Heaven. Is he off having adventures climbing trees like most boys do?? Maybe he is super busy being a missionary or learning woodworking from Grandpa Fred or looking up all the angel babies I have held the past few years. There are about 25. I can see the background around where his little face used to show up in my mind. But he is gone. I have memories, but that is all now. I know he's ok. I'm sure he is busy and happy. I am not worried about him. I am worried about me, sometimes though. It is hard to say goodbye. It's not easier the second time. I don't know that I could say it's harder, either. It is different. And it is still hard. I think I am going through the emotions a lot faster this time, and I don't feel as angry with God. I'm not really angry with anyone. I am sad. Very sad.

Just a few weeks ago - maybe two weeks now - at church we sang "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" (originally a poem called "A Stranger and his Friend") and I was thinking about how sometimes we are the stranger "left beaten, wounded, nigh to death" and sometimes we are the friend who helps. At the end of that particular verse the friend says, "I had myself, a wound concealed. But from that hour forgot the smart and peace bound up my broken heart." I thought about the many many angels I have held over the past few years. There have been a lot. Those days I go, I am the friend. Every baby I hold reminds me that I have a baby who is in Heaven too. But I almost always feel peace healing my wounds. I prefer to be the friend. This week I feel like I got thrown back into being the stranger - needing the help of my friends to survive. Oh, I wasn't physically inches from death, but emotionally I feel beaten and battered. There is a new hole in my heart. I know it will be healed at some point in time. There will be scar there forever, but I know I will be able to keep going. I've done this before. It's not easy, but I know I can do it.

I cannot possibly express my gratitude for the visits, phone calls, messages, food, gifts, flowers, and prayers everyone has offered. It's still kinda hard to talk. But my heart is extremely grateful. We made it through a couple rough weeks with a lot of crying. We are hoping to kind of return to normal a bit more this week.

Sweet baby Sam, we miss you. I know, you don't want us to worry about you. We know you are ok. But we miss you. Our sorrow is not so much for you as it is for us. Some people say 11 weeks isn't enough to feel attached - but we feel very attached to you. We know you are part of our eternal family and someday we can kiss your sweet face (even if you try to wipe it off) and hold you and yes, we will probably cry. You are loved, little one.

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

My dear Lily, every year on December 8th I buy pink lilies for you. And for me, because they are my favorite flowers, after all. And this is the way I remember you. The world doesn't have any way to remember you...no birth certificate, no photos, no headstone....nothing. But I remember!!

The flowers are beautiful. They give me something I like remembering. To tell the truth, I try to forget about that awful night 6 years ago when we had to say goodbye. I try not to remember the trip to the ER, that finals week, or all the things I hated about Christmas that year. There are a lot of things I try to forget. But you, my beautiful girl, I won't forget.

Today is a hard day. I miss you so much. I hope Grandpa Fred shared the hugs we gave him in his last hours on earth last week. I hope you are surrounded by a lot of people who love you today. I know I am cherishing every hug and snuggle I get today. It's not really like being able to hold you, but each one does seem to heal my heart, even if it's just a tiny bit at a time. I love you, Lillian Jane. I hope you have a day filled with love and peace and plenty of hugs from people who love love you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. The 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. I dread it every year. It hurts.

I find reminders everywhere I turn that I am missing my baby girl. And that others are missing their babies as well. I can't escape it. It hurts to be missing a baby. Somedays my heart is broken. With nearly 6 years behind us, there are way more good days than bad. But there are still hard days.

In the world of pregnancy and infant loss there is a term used for a healthy baby born after a loss; Rainbow Baby. I didn't know about this term when my own Rainbow was born. I was a mess of hurt and confusion then. If I could go back to any point in my life and change the way I lived, the first few months of his life would be what I would change. It was a really hard time for me. Looking back I realize now I should have sought help. I'm certain I had some postpartum depression and being barely a year out from my loss that I felt everyone expected me to just forget didn't help. I wish I had known about Rainbow Babies then. I wish I had been able to feel excitement of a new baby instead of just wishing for my missing baby.

There were days I would sit home with my new baby wondering why it was so quiet. Sometimes I felt like I should be searching for a toddler who was quiet because they were getting into something. It was the strangest feeling to me. And every time I bring a new baby home I have felt that same feeling that someone was missing.

When my next baby was born something changed for me. A lot of the hurting and aching were gone. There were, of course, hard days. But they were fewer and father in between. Shortly after his birth I heard the term Rainbow Baby for the first time. And it felt like he was my Rainbow. I didn't ache so much for my missing baby then. I guess I had come to terms with the fact that now was not my time to have with her.

This summer I got to bring yet another baby boy home. I was worried. I was so sick while I was pregnant I didn't care about much of anything. I felt so disconnected to the baby, my family, and everything else. We didn't find out the gender because I didn't want to hear people say they were sorry if we were having another boy. I was so sick that feeling sorry for myself was already easy. I didn't need more reasons to feel sad. I especially didn't want to hear that we needed to try again for a girl. I can't always explain that we already do have a girl, we just can't see her right now. I already avoid the pink sections of the stores as much as possible. I try not to look at all the little girl things I wish my daughter needed. I didn't even buy anything pink to possibly bring a baby home in.

Once baby was finally here all my worries slipped quickly away. How could I not be in love with this perfect little boy with the most gorgeous hair I had ever seen? He was perfect and wonderful and I was almost immediately done being sick. It was like he was my Rainbow Baby. I've decided that the term shouldn't just apply to the baby born right after a loss. It should really apply to every baby born after a loss. Because each one brings healing and beauty.

It's true, I have felt Lily missing a lot more the first few weeks after my boys have been born. This summer I even had a moment where I counted the kids and wondered who was missing. It only lasted a second or maybe two before I realized who was missing. I like to think she brings her brothers down to our family and stays to make sure they settle in. I like to think she is watching over us. Sometimes I feel her especially close. And I always miss her come October and Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. I miss her on December 8th, the day we lost her. I miss her in early July when the lilies bloom in my yard. She should have been born in early July. If she had been, she would have likely had lilies for her birthday every year.

Tonight there should be a wave of light as candles are lit for angels. At 7pm in each time zone for an hour there will be candles lit for angels all over the world. I've never done the candle lighting before. But I want to this year. I may have to light a few candles. I have met 16 angels since I joined Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep as a photographer in May of 2013. I have met countless people who have an angel of their own. These angels leave a mark on my heart. Sometimes they leave grieving marks and sometimes they leave healing marks. Sometimes they leave both. The little one I photographed last week was one that left both kinds of marks. It was my first session since my last baby was born. The first time I have ever had a little baby to snuggle when I got home. I held him close and stroked his face and thanked God for my new Rainbow Baby. I also cried for a Mommy who just had to say goodbye to her baby. I am really glad to be back with NILMDTS. It truly is a great blessing in my life to be able to serve families in a way few people can serve.

So here it is, October 15th in just a few minutes. I've been thinking about/dreading writing this all up for weeks. But now it is done. My thoughts and feelings in a jumble of words that maybe don't really make sense to anyone who hasn't experienced this. But I feel better. And sometimes, that's all that I really need from blogging.