Thursday, October 1, 2015

A letter to my neighbor

Dear neighbor,
I'm sorry about this morning. Seeing you at the doctor's office with a string of photos from your 20 week ultrasound really caught me off guard. I don't really know what my face looked like when you asked me if I wanted to see the pictures of your little guy. It may have seemed like I was horrified. I know I kinda froze. I didn't know what to do. I just realized that's what I should be doing right now and it hit me kinda hard. If there was ever a time for divine intervention I'm pretty sure it was then - the nurse calling my name right at that second. I kinda ran. I don't remember if I even said goodbye or anything. I was shocked and hurt. Not really by you - by circumstances. I know you're worried I was mad at you. I'm not. Hurt - but not because you are expecting a baby or I wouldn't want to see your pictures. I just suddenly realized I should be 19 weeks right now. And I'm not. There's no ultrasound pictures for me. No tiny flutters. The fact that I even had to be at the doctor trying to find out why I am still hurting so much from the d&c almost 2 months ago is awful. I didn't think I would run into anyone I knew, much less someone I knew due the same time I was. The doctor didn't find any reasons I should still be hurting, but I am. She said it could be a form of depression. It was not a particularly cheerful morning for me at the doctor's office.

I know you don't understand my struggles right now. It's not often we truly can understand another human beings struggles. That's what our Savior is for. He understands everything. And He will make it so all our pain is gone. You reminded me of that when you texted me today apologizing for being foolish. I didn't feel like you were foolish at all. You don't understand. And truthfully, I'm grateful you don't understand. It means you've never had this struggle. I hope you never do.

A friend and I were recently talking about when you lose a child you become part of a club. A horrible club that no one ever really wants to be a part of. As much as I wish that there wasn't a club, I find myself equally grateful that there are people out there who do understand. Oh, they don't truly know how I'm feeling, none of them are me. Even my dear husband who has been with me every step of the way doesn't truly understand MY pain. The Savior is the only one who can truly understand exactly how I feel. I don't know how he does it. But that is the promise and I believe it. I have good friends who know instantly when I say "I am sad today" that I mean far more than what I just said. Sometimes I need people who understand on that level. I cannot even express how much I love those friends I have made who understand. We hope and pray that no one else will have to join our club. But people keep joining the club. And when they do we open our arms for them and we cry. We hold them and cry for them, we cry for us, too. We cry because sometimes life is hard and we understand on a totally different level than a lot of people. I suppose there are clubs for every kind of trial we go through. If we are willing to open up to others we find there are others in the same club. Others who open their arms and share with us our burdens. It doesn't mean the burdens are gone, not by a long shot. But it does help ease the burdens to have someone willing to share it with us.

You've probably seen me posting pictures of flowers like crazy lately. That's what I get to share about my babies. I know there are people who think it's kind of weird, but that's the way I get to share my babies that aren't on earth. I try to keep Facebook pretty positive, but I can't ignore the fact that they are my kids, even if the world can't see them. They are mine, and I happily post pictures of them. I have a miniature rose for each of my kids. This is the first time this summer they've all had blossoms at the same time. So I braved a hail storm to rescue these 5 flowers. Yeah, I may be a little crazy...but it seemed like a good idea at the time. And my husband got a kick out of it, too.

Please don't be upset if I don't take you up on your offer to come hold your new baby in February. I don't really know how I will be feeling then - but I imagine it will be rough. I may not feel like I can bring my sadness to your house - I truly wouldn't want to take away from the joys of having a new baby in your home. There is something special about holding new babies. I got to hold two last week, my niece and my cousin's baby. And I truly loved both times. But neither time really made my heart hurt any less for my own missing babies. And sometimes, I am totally ok. I was this morning, even. But sometimes it hits hard and suddenly I feel like there's nothing I can do except cry. Grief is a funny thing that way. It's a roller coaster. Sometimes you get lulled into a false sense of security thinking you're doing ok - then suddenly your whole world is upside down and you might not even be sure how you got there. That's what happened this morning. I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable or upset. I truly wasn't angry with you at all. I just got caught a bit off guard. I hope you had a great time getting to see pictures of your baby. Those 4D ultrasounds are so cool, aren't they?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Daughter's Day

My dearest Lillian,

Did you know that the last Sunday in September is Daughter's Day? It's been going around Facebook the past few days. Lots of pictures with "Like and share if you love your daughter" or "Share so the world knows how proud you are of your daughter" or a hundred other ways people use to get people to like and share their pictures. I don't like people trying to make me do things. I just don't. When the blurb starts "You can't watch this without crying" I almost always skip the video. Cause I won't cry - mostly cause they told me to. Also, I am not so often moved to tears over things like cute puppies. Usually if I cry watching videos it involves laughing so hard I cry. Or a very spiritual experience sometimes does it - but not always. I wouldn't really classify myself as a crier. I digress.

I don't like people trying to get me to do what they want. Ask my brothers. They'll tell you the best way to get me to do anything as a kid was to tell me I couldn't do something because I was a girl. I climbed trees and caught snakes with the best of them. :) I still don't really like people trying to make me do things. So I never like or share posts like that. Truthfully, they annoy me. But this time it hit my heart to see all the mothers posting about their daughters.

Last night was the general women's broadcast for the church. Every time I find myself watching mothers and daughters and wishing you were here to go with me. I know, you technically wouldn't even be 8 yet - but in my mind you are a bit older than you would really be if you were here. Mostly, it's just something I wish I could do with you and I never will. I suppose life will be full of those moments. I realized it about prom dress shopping not long ago. And that opened a flood of things I never get to do as your mom. Oh, I'm sure in the eternal scheme of things most of them don't even matter one tiny bit. But on this earth, some of them feel like a big deal. I've noticed a lot of them this past year.

I was already missing you a lot. I'm sure part of the reason I feel emotional is that it's been a rough week around here. I spent a good portion of two days at the hospital. One to get a tonsillectomy consultation for Caleb, and Dad had a hernia repaired on Thursday. I had no idea how exhausting it would be for me for him to have surgery. Half the battle is making sure he doesn't overdo things. He is not a very good patient. It is a good thing he doesn't have to be the patient very often. Gavin's been up at night working on teeth and maybe an ear infection. Dad gets up 1-2 times a night to take medicine and usually that wakes me up too. It's been a long week. And I'm always more emotional when I'm tired. It's just the way I'm built.

Yesterday, knowing that today I would miss you a lot, I drove all over town to find pink lilies. For some reason they're hard to find when I am specifically looking for them, even if they were there just a couple days before. I finally ended up going to a florist and got a gorgeous bunch of lilies. She told me they were Stargazer lilies - which truthfully aren't quite the right pink lilies - but I was really tired of driving all over town so I agreed. I can't express my joy to find they were pink lilies. She said "They're not the official stargazer lilies cause they don't have as much white, but they're still called stargazers." I wanted to tell her that Stargazer is the name of the lily - they all have different names. But I didn't. I said thanks anyway and took my gorgeous pink lilies home. There are 5 of them open today and each one is about as big as my hand fully extended. There are at least two more that will open in the next few days. I love lilies!!! I hope you do to. If you don't, there will be a moment in heaven where we will probably laugh about how much you dislike them and I kept getting more to remind me of you.

I wonder if you think I've forgotten about you the past few weeks. I haven't. I've spent a lot more time thinking of your baby brother. I suppose I can't really help it. You've been gone for nearly 7 years. Most days I don't feel a strong heartache and loss when it comes to you. I was completely blindsided by going through this again. It's different this time. Some things are easier. Some things are harder. I still hate it. I just want my babies to be with me. A mommy isn't supposed to have to say goodbye to her babies. It's just....not fair. I know, I know. Life isn't fair and there's nothing anyone can do. Still - it's about the only thing I can think of to say these days. Still, I haven't forgotten you. I think of you often and you will be forever my sweet daughter.

Sometimes it's really hard to not have you here. This weekend I kept wishing I could turn around and find you'd be there. You're always that close in my mind. Sometimes I wish the world could see you the way I do. Then people might quit asking me "are you going to try again for a girl?" when I venture out with three boys. I know I would ruin everyone else's day by mentioning you. So I don't. I remind myself I have you. I might even think an angry thought or two in my head. But I never say anything. I don't want to ruin anyone's day. And I don't want my boys to think I don't love them even if they're not girls. So I don't say anything. I say "I wouldn't know what to do with a girl" or "we like boys" or something like that. It's true, and maybe sometimes kinda flippant. But I wish people wouldn't comment. Sometimes it hurts like a slap in the face. And going out to do errands with three small children isn't easy. I don't need to feel like I've been slapped too.

Thank you for always being close to me. I hadn't realized how close you really stayed until we did this again. Baby Sam isn't as physically as close to me as you are. More often than not, I believe he's slightly put out that I wish he was closer. He's learning - but it's not just a natural thing for him, I guess. I didn't know how lucky I was to feel you so close almost any time my thoughts turned to you. Thank you. I don't know what things you're missing out on in heaven by staying so close, but it comforts me greatly feeling you are close.

I wish you could be here, my girl. I really do. I know losing you has taught me things I never would have learned otherwise. I know it has shaped my person to be who I am today. I suppose I am grateful, but I still wish you were here. Buying lilies when I'm thinking of you brings me joy, but it's not the same as having you here. I can't bring you here. But I can bring lilies home and it makes me smile and think of you. And so I do it. I think some people think I'm crazy. But it doesn't matter. I do what I do to make ME happy. And thinking of you makes me happy. I am grateful to be your mother. I am sure you are up in heaven doing all kinds of great work. I am certain you are happy. I am glad you can be learning from my grandma. I've been missing her a lot too. I'm glad you two can be together in heaven. I think she would love that your middle name is Jane. Rumor has it she wanted my middle name to be Jane. Either way, we gave you the middle name of Jane because of her always calling me Tasty Jane. I'm glad you guys have each other and baby Sam and Grandpa Fred - and I'm sure a lot of other people too. It would be really hard to feel like you were alone. It is my nature to take care of other people. I can't be there to take care of you so I have to leave it up to others.

I love you, Lillian. Happy Daughter's Day!

Friday, September 4, 2015

1 month

I'm not really sure where August went. It just kind all a blur. We did plumbing stuff for the first three days - then school started on the 25th and everything in between is just...I don't know - it feels like it's just gone. Today is one month since we found out there was no heartbeat. I'd never really been able to understand just how awful the words "There's no heartbeat. I'm sorry" were before.

I've been trying to figure out what I did for the last month.
I watched all 5 seasons of Leverage - again. I love that show - and I almost cried during the last episode. They sure did a good job with that one - even though I knew the real ending I still wanted to cry.

I played 238 levels of Angry Birds 2. I don't often play games on my phone. But when I do - it's because I need time for my brain to shut off for a while. I downloaded the game one month ago. And I've played like a maniac - often while watching Leverage.

I cried - a lot. It's not so much every day now - but somedays start out fine and end in tears. Yesterday was one of those days. I did so good all day to get up and get moving and get stuff done - but by the end of the day I couldn't keep anything together.

I hurt, a lot. I had a lot of cramps the few weeks I was pregnant this time. Enough that some days I took tylenol every 4 hours. It hasn't really stopped. Usually sitting down is worst - though laying down is bad sometimes too. I don't know if that's normal or not. Sometimes tylenol doesn't even work. I should probably call the doctor's office and ask if that's normal.

I weeded my front flowerbed a lot. It makes me happy to look out the window and see all the flowers. Since we put in a new flowerbed in April and it was totally empty for a while, I put all the annuals I bought this year there. The backyard is looking really bare and sad these days. And I don't even really want to take care of it because of that. I just want to take care of all the pretty flowers. My front flowerbed is really well weeded today.

I ate a lot of mozzarella sticks. It's been one of the only foods I've wanted to eat. I just don't care about food most days. And when I do get around to eating, at first it made me sick every time. And then things just didn't taste right. It's a good thing I have a family who needs dinner every night - cause I tend to not make food just for myself.

I've mowed the lawn. This probably sounds weird. But somedays I just need to work till my body is exhausted and I can't even think of anything else. Mowing the lawn does this for me. We have a lot of lawn to mow. Even if Sam and I are both mowing (it's been really nice this summer to have two mowers) it takes more than an hour. And usually by the time that hour is up - I'm exhausted. There have been days I've had to have Sam start the lawn mower for me - it's a bit finicky sometimes and my body didn't really have the strength it needed to get the mower started. Somedays he won't start it for me - saying I am too emotional to handle a power tool. He's probably right. But it's made me cry sometimes. One day he offered to get the chainsaw started for me. I told him I was feeling irrational and that I probably shouldn't handle things like chainsaws or we might not have any trees left - or I might accidentally get a hand or foot in the way - something that doesn't really happen with the lawn mower. I swear - mowing the lawn has been like therapy some days.

And I finished Baby Sam's blanket. Months ago someone sent me a box of angel baby clothes and blankets and there was one that had the coolest pattern - but no one had the pattern so I tried testing it out. I started it for our February Baby. It was a big blanket and the pattern isn't terribly complicated - but putting the pieces together is. The first several rows I did definitely weren't perfect. By the time I got the hang of the pattern I couldn't bring myself to take out the first several rows (maybe 6"). I did that while there was a little baby I was planning to wrap in it. I hate taking out my crocheting. Really, ask my mom. I HATE taking out my crocheting. Most of the time I need to take it out, I restart the project, then later go back and take out the old project. No joke. I hate taking out my work. But I couldn't bring myself to start over on this blanket either. Emotionally I was a lot more connected to this project than every other one I've done. I couldn't decide if I loved the pattern or hated it. I have people asking me to write up the pattern. I don't know if I can. This is a very special blanket - and putting all the pieces together isn't really very easy. But I finally got it done this week. And I love how it turned out.

I've been working on this blanket almost non-stop for weeks. Many nights I would tie off the blanket and take it to sleep with. It's something to hold. It's not the baby I want to hold, but it is SOMETHING. And something connected to Baby Sam. It's his blanket. It's something for me to hold when I miss him. And I do miss him.

You might think I couldn't possibly miss a little boy when I have three. Guess what? I do. I think about him every day. I feel like someone is missing. Now there are two kids missing in this house. I hate that. It's not like sending a kid off to school that you might miss for an hour or two. It's different, missing someone who never even came to the house. If you've never had this kind of experience (and maybe even if you have) I realize I might sound crazy. I don't really know any other way to explain it. I have their blankets. I have lilies and roses planted in the yard. Those are the physical things I have. Oh, and a couple ultrasound pictures of Sam - one that even shows his little heartbeat. I know there are a lot of people who don't understand why I am so open about all this. I realize there are people who think I am just plain crazy. I am grateful for those people who DO understand. That means you've probably been through this yourself and I am sorry you've had to be here too. It's a hard place to be. I appreciate immensely the people who admit they don't understand, but they are sorry. They don't question my sanity or my tears.

I have had several people lately who seem to be put off by me saying I've lost a baby (now two) and I get some of what they are going through. No, it's not the same as losing a child you've held. I know - it's a totally different situation. It's not the same as losing a child you've had several years. I DO know it's not the same. I didn't ever intend to imply that I completely understand your trials. I don't. Even people who have been through the same thing I have - I wouldn't say I completely understand. I might understand pieces, though. I have lost two children. I know there are people in the world that say it's not even close to losing a child to have a miscarriage. But it is to me. My little angels are very real to me. They are unique beings and no, they are not the same as my other kids. I've always thought of Lily as my perfect child I never argued with. She always listens every time I say something. I'm sure if she was on earth, it wouldn't be like that. This was the first time I ever felt like she was exasperated. I told her to keep an eye on her little brother. And he didn't want to be watched. And in my mind I could totally see the situation of the oldest sister trying to take care of a little brother who doesn't want to be taken care of. Maybe cause I was the oldest sister. But she's real. Sam is real too. He's learning these days. He's learning what it's like to be a mortal being - through me. He is having to stick close to me to learn. At first he really disliked that a lot. He knew he was fine and he didn't want me trying to talk to him and call him back from whatever Heavenly adventures he was having. He is his own person. He just had a very short life. These kids of mine are my kids. And a lot of people think it shouldn't matter this much to me, but it does. And I understand some of what it is like to lose a child. I don't know about planning a funeral or graveside service. I don't understand a lot of things, but I do understand some. Like my friend Amy telling me she totally understood why I wanted to mow the lawn till I was exhausted. Even my sweet husband didn't get that. He's been through the exact same trial I have - at the same time - the same babies - everything. But he is not me. We are all individual human beings and we all have our own unique lives. But we can understand pieces of each other.

Some days I hide in my house and I don't answer the door. Somedays I take the boys out and try to find something to do so we don't have to be home. Somedays I can't wait to hold a brand new baby. Somedays I can't pass a baby without wanting to cry. Somedays I want another baby right now and somedays I am certain I will never emotionally be ready for another baby. Sometimes I switch back and forth between emotions so fast it almost scares me. I swear I'm on a roller coaster - and I'm not a big fan of roller coasters. I want off. I really want to be normal again - though what "normal" is for me...I'm not really sure right now. It's a good thing I have relatively good instincts - I'm pretty sure that's what has kept my kids going ok these past few weeks. I'm glad they are here. I need things to keep busy and busy they certainly keep me. They make me crazy sometimes and sometimes I hide in my room and cry and wish things were easier. But the truth is I wouldn't trade them for anything. They truly have kept me going the past month.

We have made it a month. It feels like a weird milestone. We are going to make it. I know we will. And it's easier to handle than it was a month ago. But sometimes it's still hard. I suppose there will be days even 60 years down the road that are hard. Having done this before I know it doesn't ever get totally better. Losing your child isn't something you get over. It's like having a hole blown through your heart. You piece it together - but there is a part that is always missing. And if it's hit just right it feels like it will break into a million pieces again. But we keep trying to put things back together. And in the eternities, this will all seem like a very small thing. But right now it is almost life consuming. But we are a few days closer to eternity than we were a few weeks ago. We can make it. Today is a good day. I've even written this whole thing without crying (I cried a lot last night).

Sweet Baby Sam,
I always call you Baby Sam - to help keep track of which Sam you are. I suppose someday you will be all grown up and not like that - but Daddy has this thing about the name Sammy. He said we'd probably never call you that cause he always hated being called Sammy. I wonder if you mind. I miss you, sweet boy. I know, I know - you are doing just fine in Heaven. I'm not worried about you - I just miss you. Wish I could kiss your little round face and run my fingers through your blond hair. It probably seems like a silly thing to you - but that's how I feel. I know you're working to pay good attention to me while you learn about how to be a mortal being. I hope I can be a good example for you. I am trying. I love you very much - more than a bus. I know that probably doesn't make much sense - but it's something we say in our family. And you are a part of our family. We love you!

Monday, August 31, 2015


As human beings we tend to ask "Why?" a lot. It seems like we are always looking for someone to blame. And it makes me crazy - especially in politics. Sometimes we never get an answer to "Why?" and truthfully, most of the time, it truly doesn't matter. As my dad always says, "I don't care who is to blame, I just want a solution."And as Tom Hanks says in Sleepless in Seattle, "There was nothing anyone could do. And it's not fair. But if we start asking why, we'll go crazy." Can you see how these things go together? As I'm typing it out I'm not sure it makes sense - it is almost 2 am, after all. But I just got an answer of "why" and felt I needed to record it.

On the day between finding out our little baby, Sam, had no heartbeat and going in for a d & c we struggled....a lot. It is awful to have 2 days to think. It's awful to try to explain to your kids why Mom and Dad are crying and robotic and don't really care about much of anything you say. It's awful to see all the posts on Facebook talking about what Planned Parenthood is doing. I think there was a part of Sam that wondered if that's what the d & c was like. Maybe not. But it seemed that he was extremely distressed by the idea of a d & c. Maybe he just didn't know what that was. I know he desperately wanted the doctor to be wrong. We decided to visit with our bishop on that Wednesday night. It was a meeting with a lot of tears and a lot of compassion from our wonderful bishop. He gave Sam a blessing and that seemed to change everything for Sam. That was when I knew Sam would be ok. The bishop told us it was ok to ask "why" and, that if we asked in prayer, God would let us know in His time. I remember feeling like that was a weird thing to say. I thought "why doesn't matter" and "it won't change anything" and "there isn't anyone to blame" and probably a lot of other things too. But his words stuck with me.

Not long ago I was visiting with my neighbor/visiting teacher/Relief Society president and she said the same thing - that it was ok to ask God "why" and expect an answer. She used almost the same words the bishop did. That's when I decided maybe I needed to ask "why." So I did. In the temple the other night. I prayed and cried sitting in the celestial room. I had already been thinking about how thin the veil is between heaven and earth and to be in that room just confirmed it. I prayed and told God what I had been told, twice, and that I wasn't sure it mattered if I knew why. But that if I needed to know, to please tell me. And I didn't receive an answer there in the temple. It wasn't until tonight about 1:30 after we'd been woken up by our dog when some neighborhood dogs came into our yard and caused a racket.

As I was trying to go back to sleep I snuggled the blanket I am making for baby Sam. I was thinking about what I had been told. Then suddenly, almost as if someone was talking, I heard/thought, "It was because HE needed this."

It may not sound like much of an answer. I suppose it really doesn't answer why this happened to me. But for whatever reason, baby Sam needed this experience. He was so perfect he only needed to be on the earth for 11 weeks. And this experience is at least as much for him as it is for me.

After we found out there was no heartbeat he was so close. Every time I even started thinking about him I could see his little round face and blond head in my mind. He was right there. Then after the d & c he was gone. I could still see the same background in my mind - but he was missing. That might sound creepy or weird. But it didn't feel that way to me. I guess it was the way I knew he was truly not on earth any more. I felt like he kept telling me not to worry about him. And, I felt him learning. I truly felt like he was completely gone for several days. Like he might even be slightly frustrated that I kept wishing he would be close to me. I kept trying to tell him I wasn't worried about him, I wasn't even sad for him. I was sad and worried for me. And he came back. He's not ever present in my mind now, but he is sticking close. I believe this was something he had to learn about mortal beings. It truly felt devastating that he was just gone. I often feel Lily close - but he was just....gone. And he didn't really want me to call him back. But I can tell he is learning. He has been closer lately. I don't really know how to describe it. I can tell he's there sometimes. Like right now. And now we both know that this trial happened to us because he needed to learn something.

That's not to say I can't learn anything from this trial. I certainly can. I'm not truly sure what I am supposed to get out of this trial, yet. And maybe that's what I can pray for next - when my spirit is ready to know. Truthfully, why doesn't seem to matter to me this time around. I remember wondering why a lot when we lost Lily. It didn't help that it was Christmas time and everyone kept talking about baby Jesus and his miraculous birth. I found myself focusing a lot on why could God save Jesus, but not my baby. I learned over a long period of time that it was a lot bigger than just why God didn't save my baby. I needed to learn from that experience - and I learned a lot. I never would have started a closet for angel clothes, written patterns for angel clothes, or joined Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep if I hadn't known there was a need. I needed to know there was a need that I could fulfill. Something I could do that not many people could. These things have brought a LOT into my life. And I wouldn't trade those things I know. That doesn't mean I don't wish my sweet Lily was on earth with me, I do. I wish she was here. But I know I wouldn't be the person I am today if she was here. And that knowledge gives me some peace. I don't know if it made sense typing it out - have I mentioned it's about 2 am - but it does give me peace. I finally found "why" to that trial after searching and asking for several years.

Knowing why doesn't change anything, but it can bring peace. And I have peace tonight. I know at least part of why we lost baby Sam. HE needed this trial. HE needed to learn about mortal beings, and since his life was so short, he is learning a lot through me, through being my child that I love and miss and wish was here with me. Someday I am sure I will have the eternal perspective that won't wish things were different. But I am missing that right now. I wish I could hold my perfect little ones (they are not babies in heaven - they are kids that are growing and changing). But I know that God has a plan. I try to remember that, and it's really hard sometimes. But someday we will all be together and this trial won't seem so long and hard. And until then, when I feel really down and needing to be with my babies, I can visit the temple where the veil between heaven and earth is especially thin.

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 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.