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.