Journal Entry: May 30, 2007

I can't get over how good I've been feeling! Physically, not so much...but mentally pretty darn good!

Today Airenne graduated from 8th grade. That was weird. Seeing all of those kids all ready to go to high school kinda freaked me out. I 've been coming to the realization that I only have 4 more years to go until she leaves for college. Maybe she'll want to go somewhere local, maybe not.

While taking pictures of her and then waiting in the auditorium for things to start, I bean scanning through the camera to the old pictures. There was one of TyTy sleeping and there was such a strong resemblance to Charlotte. I had the photo album in my purse and turned to the picture of Charlotte that looked the most like him. I showed my mom and sister and they couldn't believe the similarities. It was really cute actually. And I didn't cry! I had a proud mommy moment and didn't bubble over. I wondered though if the people sitting behind me could see the pictures. I kind of hoped that they did.

I talked with Brian the other day about the whole Trisomy 18 idea. He doesn't think Charlotte had it at all. He thinks that she did have a faulty heart and didn't get enough nutrients to sustain her. As much as the acceptance of a Trisomy calmed me, hearing that Daddy doesn't think so also made me feel 100X better. I don't know why, it really doesn't matter. I honestly started to feel like I was throwing in the towel by accepting the T18 explanation, but I was ok with it because it relieved a lot of heavy stuff from my shoulders. I've been able to breathe like I used to and I've been able to reflect on Charlotte with a smile. I'm thankful that I can do that now.

Tomorrow will be a long day. I'm going to try very hard to get out to the Teen Mom program as I long to be with those girls. I need to make a consorted effort to be there, but now the school year is almost over. Hopefully, I can connect with a few girls over the summer. I might also join up with the Weight Watcher girls at the park. I really need to get my weight under control. I mentioned to Brian tonight that it sucks because I usually lose weight when I'm pregnant and even more afterwards from nursing...but this time I've gained weight after Charlotte was born. I think I looked ok even at her funeral, but now I've added about 6 pounds to my frame. Not too bad, but I can really see it. Brian chides me and says that there's more to love, but I know now is the time to get it under control. Uck, now it's in writing. I guess I'm on the hook now...

Journal Entry: May 26, 2007

Well today I submitted a half hearted query to a publishing company. I sent it off with a "kiss" so to speak and asked God to put His blessing over it and if it is His will that I should write more, then I would be willing. I had prayed several times prior to the submission that if God wanted me to do it, that He open the doors necessary. And this may just be a small step through one of the doors that He's opening.

So today I was helping my mom clean out her garage and my brother's friend came over. He was with his mother and she got out of the car to chat for a while. She said to me, "You know, the last time I saw you , you were pregnant. So what did you end up having...a boy or a girl?" What surprised me was my ability to talk about Charlotte with out getting all weepy about her. I told the woman that we had a baby girl but she passed away in December. It was just like I'd rehearsed so many times in my head! The look on the woman's face was sheer heartache, but more so, embarrassment.

She apologized profusely and honestly, the most awkward moment was when I had to say..."it's ok." Because it's not OKAY. It's not ok that Charlotte's not here, but I wasn't at all upset by her comment. But what else can you say to someone? I've tried to say things like..."thank you for your concern" or "well, I'm ok", or simply "thank you"... but really, what can be said? I end up feeling like I need to comfort other person. So I tried to make the mood a little lighter by letting her know that Charlotte looked just like Mathias, who was running allover the garage, except she had curly hair. Then my mom chimed in saying how fair her skin was and that she had very dark hair. It was a sweet moment that we were able to reminisce in.

So I found out something pretty interesting. A woman I am acquainted with had a son that she lost to SIDS 20 years ago. I had no idea about it, but I felt a huge desire to open up to her. I emailed her telling her that I just found this out and that I too have suffered a loss. I was careful to not compare my loss of Charlotte and her not even being alive outside of the womb to the son she looked into the eyes of for 3 1/2 months. She was unaware of our situation so I gave her the blog address so she could check it out more for herself. After later speaking with her again in person, I felt as though we were placed in the same "circle" as to glean from each other. Actually, that's not totally right. I think God placed us nearby as to allow me to see a few things. She has written a book, which she gave me a copy of and I read yesterday. And although tonight I can't remember exactly what it was, there were a couple of spots that really had the tears flowing. Not just for the sorrow of her own personal story, but for the similarities in my own. I really felt a connection that I wasn't alone in my feelings.

So I've been thinking about a new (well, not so new) story in the Bible. I was thinking about Abraham and Isaac and how he had to take him to the mountain to sacrifice him. What struck me was how it actually ended up as a story in the Bible. Can you believe that Abraham actually was going to go through with it? I mean, I know that's the crux of the lesson..that he was willing to obey God at all or any cost. But what is amazing is the fact that he had to tell people about what had happened to them on that mountain. Can you imagine what that must have been like??? He had to confess this to his friends and family that he almost killed his son. And I'm SURE there were people that thought he was crazy!

Hush, hush, in a whisper>>>"Did you hear what Abraham did with little Isaac? Well he took him to the mountain because he said 'God told him to' and just as he laid him on the alter to slice his throat, a ram showed up! Lucky Little Isaac...he must have been terrified! What kind of father would do such a thing? That crazy old Abraham"...
Abraham was undoubtedly excited at the deliverance of his son. I can almost feel the emotion a parent would have as their child had been spared from death!; so who do you think he may have told first about his encounter on the hill top? The servant he left in the valley? His wife? His neighbors? Do you think many people were able to see past the obvious in that situation and drink in the providence of God? A ram stuck in a thicket? Like it wouldn't have been noticed otherwise? I wonder if people see things that way now in everyday life in the year 2007, or are their spiritual eyes not open?

I wonder how many times that story had been told before it was written into the Bible. (And thank goodness that it was!) What do you think people would say these days? That Abraham should have CPS called on him? That he should be put on medication for his illusions of grandure? That he was just a nutball? I just wonder...

Journal Entry: May 19, 2007

I'm feeling pretty good these past few days. Accepting the diagnosis of Trisomy 18 has actually helped me tremendously. Maybe subconsciously I was so scared to allow that to be what the problem was that I actually was making my grieving worse...maybe??

I don't know. But I do know that it still doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Her days were numbered by God and there is nothing more that I need to "know" about that.

So today was a blessing, but I became exhausted. Some of my friends and I did a "cooking club" type of thing and had a lot of kids underfoot. I thought about how this must have been what women used to do back in the day to get their chores done, like grinding grain and things like that. I had a really good time. At one point, 2 different people asked me how many kids I have and I answered 3. The first time, I surprised myself at how fast I said it then the second time I heard my voice crack. So I just kept right on dipping my chicken and rolling it in the Crispies, didn't look up as I felt my eyes get misty.

Then someone else asked if we were going to have more kids. It was such a normal question and I actually appreciated that someone was able to ask me and not feel weird about it. But I told them that maybe, whatever God has in store for us we're ok with.

It just feels good to get back into things. I hope this lasts for a long while.

Journal Entry-Mothers Day 5-13-07

It's so strange that I felt like I wanted to hide tomorrow. I was almost getting sick about it. I don't want to go to church as there will be baby dedications and I don't think I can handle that just yet. More so, I don't want to have to field the "I'm so sorry" things people are bound to say. That makes me cry just as hard as when I work myself up into a frenzy by thinking about her. But in a completely weird way, I want everyone to remember; but no one to mention it.

So... comfort came to me in the most unlikely place yesterday. I'd (kind of) decided to "get better" and focus on other things, good things, when I got an email from the Trisomy 18 Foundation. >>>I thought it was funny because all while I was pregnant, I didn't receive any auto emails or anything from them, but since Charlotte has died, I've gotten at least 2. And it seems like every time I make a consorted effort to not make this the center of my being, something gets brought up about it again<<<

Until yesterday I had really tried not to look at things involving Trisomy research because I didn't want to think that Charlotte had that. I don't know what I wanted to think she had. I believed that God would/had healed her from her problems, and that, like I wrote to my dear friend, all it would do is assign a name for what was to be the cause of her death. I still think that it doesn't matter what/if she had something because God is sovereign and her time with me was exactly what it was supposed to be... for the exact length of time. But I guess I felt , that if it had a name, it was bound to be true.

So instead, I stuffed it.

That's hard to admit, REALLY hard to admit, because now it's out there. I've let my secret out. I just realized while I'm typing that I was so tightly holding onto this little piece of whatever, that I was actually choking in it. I didn't want to believe that Charlotte could have something like that because God is so wonderfully beautiful (and He is...) that he wouldn't have given that to her. That was for someone else. I wanted to spiritualize every bit of everything to have meaning and significance, to show how marvelous the Lord is.. that He does create and take away, sometimes for His good pleasure, albeit without our "approval". And I do still think that. But if, in this earthly world, there needs to be a name of what happened, I guess I would probably say Trisomy 18.

The reason why I think that was not only because of the ultrasound findings, but because after looking at all of those other babies pictures and stories, there are many similarities. Birth weight is one of them and there are a couple others. But "naming it" doesn't take away her purpose or the fingerprint that she left on so many hearts. It's just naming it. Like I've said before, it's likened to how we as humans have found out what a rainbow is. A bunch of prisims that catch light. But God says a rainbow is a promise...and I still CHOOSE to believe him.

It is such a juxtaposed position that I'm in because I really believe that God had heard my prayers and answered them, because I was terrified to have a baby that was all "messed up". I know that is completely selfish. I know how harsh it sounds. And I even now, I would rather have Charlotte here with me today with a completely disfigured body than to not have her at all. Maybe that was the blessing that I got out of it. My "token" for a job well done. I was able to see and hold and kiss her and look upon her with beauty rather than fright. I doubt now if I would have even noticed any of her disfigurements if she had them...I have the eyes of a mother.

I declined an autopsy, I declined genetic testing when the Genetic Tech called said there may be enough placenta to do a partial panel test, I declined speaking with other parents that had children with a Trisomy. Then I saw this web page. I don't even know how to say about what I felt like seeing those babies. Some had very serious malformations, some looked perfect. Just like Charlotte. I didn't know what to make of it.

I was almost angry that they did look so perfect because these were "sick" babies. Why didn't they look sick? Charlotte didn't look sick either.

So today I've been pondering some more. I keep thinking of two things in particular: 1.) "If even evil men know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more then, will God give you the Holy Spirit if you ask (my paraphrasing) and 2.) Be careful of what you attribute to as blessings from God.

I'm still working thru those thoughts, mulling them over. What I think that means (of course I get it on the surface) is that not every "good" thing is from God and that I need to be mindful of that. Just because I perceive something as "good" doesn't mean that it is a blessing from God. I'm not sure how to diagram it to make sense, but that's what I've gotten so far. Like I said, I'm still working it out. ...Ok, so it's like when a begger asks for one more drink, or high, or whatever, and they score it, then say that God blessed them with it. That's not rue. So now I need to look at: what have I done in that area?

So now, tonight, I'm actually looking forward to Mother's Day. My family has come to visit and we'll be doing brunch. But I still am avoiding church tomorrow...

Journal entry: Five months already....

Before I even opened my eyes yesterday morning, I realized it has been five months. I wasn't even out of bed yet,and somehow, on the horizon of becoming conscious, I knew it had been 5 months. Maybe if I keep saying it, it won't be. But it has been. Five months.

Hard to believe because I feel somehow stuck in time, somewhere in January. But five months is a long time. I'm sure if Charlotte were with me, I would be counting down the time left of having to nurse her. I usually got bored with it around 4 or 5 months...just wanting to be "me" again. Wanting to fit back into my normal clothes and bras.

I've noticed that I'm really trying not to think about her. Weird to "think about" not thinking about something. It seems like everything else in my world has gone back to normal. It's good in a way. But kinda sucks. I wonder if people have forgotten her. I've noticed that people don't want to hear about her anymore. Or at least that's how it seems. No one has said it directly, but it's the vibe I get. So instead, I'll pour out my heart here and if people are still interested, they can look for themselves. I don't want to push us onto anyone, but we are still here. Well, I am anyways.

So generally speaking, I think I feel ok. I've had a few meltdowns in really weird ways. Not directly attributed to Charlotte, but underlying, I suppose. But they were biggies. Mostly dealing with Brian. I have never felt towards him the way that I did over the past 2 weeks. It doesn't help that sometimes he says really insensitive things to me like "aren't you happy with the 3 kids you have here?" Well of course I am. But I still have one missing. And so do you.

I was in making my bed a few days back and I just kept thinking to myself that I wouldn't care if Brian left me. Really. I felt like I wouldn't care. Go ahead, leave. Leave me alone. Take the kids. Just let me be. Then I could almost feel a tap on my shoulders telling me "No. I have blessed you with a husband and children. You will not destroy that." And really, I don't want to . I know that I love my family and have fought like hell for them, but occasionally I want to be by myself. And Brian hasn't tried to leave or said that he wants to, but I wouldn't blame him if he did.

The irony though, is that he has been so much more affectionate towards me, way more than usual. Telling me he loves me very often. I don't want to hear it sometimes. It almost feels like "too little too late". Where have you been in my hurt? Where is your hurt? I've asked him to not give up on me, even during my times of icky-ness. And when I start to feel better towards him, I'm ashamed of how I did feel because I know that we are grieving in different ways.

I am making myself get up and go, and do, and be; but that's exhausting. And when I am going and doing, I feel fine. It's when it gets still and quiet that that thoughts creep in. I found a grief support website that allows me to be me, in the moment. But I've realized that if I'm not careful, I could get sucked into all of that. I don't feel like I'm as distraught as some of the moms there, but I definitely get more support from them than from those who have never gone thru the loss of a child.

A friend of mine reminded me that this is just a part of who I am now. It doesn't have to consume me. I guess this is just a sentence in the story of Christine. I'm ready to turn the page,.