Family Pictures November 30, 2008

We had our family pictures taken today. The last time we took pictures as a group, M was a little baby. Well, enough yapping from me... take a look....

Journal Entry: November 27, 2008 Something new in the Sweet Potatoes

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, [And] into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, [and] bless His name. For the LORD [is] good; His mercy [is] everlasting, And His truth [endures] to all generations..." Psalms 100:4-5

We have a family tradition. As much as tradition goes, it's not really noteworthy. It didn't start in a funny way, or really have a back story to it, but still, it's ours. We always have J & V here as well as whatever family is still in town. J & V started coming over because my friend, their daughter, would make the rounds at her in-laws for the holidays. It was just the two of them (later adding N to their clan) and it was just *our family* up here. It seemed only natural to have them join us. Afterall, I've been best friends with their daughter for almost 25 years. When this all started we still had our family down south. B has to work every Friday after Thanksgiving, so we have always had Thanksgiving here. It's grown over the past couple of years to include my mom and brother and now my sister and her family. Now it's "what we do". And we love it.

We've also come to love J & V very much and we share a lot of our life with them. I know they feel the same way. When we found out Charlotte was sick they, from a distance, loved us very closely. On Labor Day weekend, or thereabouts... while I was still pregnant with her, they hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner for us. Knowing that it very well may have been our only Thanksgiving with her in our world, they went all out. They had a full traditional meal (pies and all) just to give thanks to Him who created her. It meant so much to me. Much more than I think anyone knows.

Anyway, as with any tradition, there are the *usuals* that we eat. One of them being my own recipe for macaroni and cheese, praline sweet potaotes and my mom's recipe for ambrosia salad. These will be found at the *Big Three* holidays. Always.

But today, as I was making the sweet potatoes, I added a secret ingredient. Ok, not so much literally, but perhaps one small one... of my own tears.

I stood at the counter and was caught in the moment. My children were whizzing about the house, so excited for the *feast* that was to come. Little hands were being traced to make colorful roosters, my ears were filling with the sound of worship music and singing from my husband. I was totally immersed with thanksgiving. The baby in my womb, that occupies the place that my Charlotte did, was bouncing around, letting me know that yes, I am thankful for him too.

Tears were dripping, my heart was full. I was overcome with the emotion that... my gosh, I miss her, yet it is ok to go on. And as much as I want to be over it, I never will. B walks by and sees me crying and asks "are those tears of joy?". And in my heart I sing "Yes".

"Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God, Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains. He gives to the beast its food, [And] to the young ravens that cry.
He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy. Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you. He makes peace [in] your borders, [And] fills you with the finest wheat" Psalms 147:7

Thank you Jesus, for your precious gift of life. Both here on Earth and into Eternity with You.

Journal Entry: November 24th, 2008 Frozen

::sigh:: When I look back at the last time I posted, I feel a little guilty because I haven't written anything in a while. Meanwhile, there has been much to write, I've just been avoiding it.

I have some tweaking to do on this blog because I want to add links to other blogs but I just haven't been able to put myself out there to do it. Somewhere inside me I feel like if I stop now, then Charlotte and her story is frozen. When in fact, it's not her story that has been frozen, but my heart.

A few weeks ago I hit a stride of constantly being in fear over this baby I'm now carrying. I was embarrassed to admit it to others because I felt like people had an idea of me being so strong that it was shameful for me to worry.
So instead, I shut down and gave in. One Saturday morning, as B was going to a Men's Breakfast with the church, I told him that the baby had died. All the night before I laid in bed crying with him beside me, not making any noise as my heart was breaking in half because I was gripped with sadness that something bad had happened. When he woke up in the morning, he didn't understand why I looked like I hadn't slept in days. It was because I hadn't. Well, needless to say, the baby hasn't died. But my point is that I was scared and I couldn't push through my fear enough to even pray about it. Where was all of the faith I had months ago? I wasn't/haven't been working it out.

So about 3 weeks ago we had our big ultrasound. We opted to get a Level II straight away instead of the basic and waiting to see if something was going to show up. The whole way to Sacramento I felt sick to my stomach. B and I drove in silence a good part of the way there, both not wanting to mention the obvious.

We got into the Doctor's office and I could barely breath. All of the familiar things were still there, except the genetic counselor now had braces. Don't ask me why I fixated on that, but I guess I was looking for something.. even the slightest thing... to be different this time around.

The scan took a lot less time to do than they told me it would. Twenty minutes, in and out. I was told it would take an hour and a half, at least. They called the Doc into read it and I was irritated to see it was the male doctor we had seen before with Charlotte. He was the same one that delivered the blow about her condition. I set my appt with the woman doctor, but she apparently had a family emergency, so he was covering her shift. ::deep breath::
The technician was also a different one, very friendly and talkative. She said she was aware of the problems of our last pregnancy, but didn't know all of the details. Immediately when she said this my eyes filled. It took a lot of blinking for me to not let them spill over as I laid still. But then the Tech leaned over to me and whispered "it's beautiful...". Well then I lost it.
She sat upright really quickly and assured me that the doctor would come back in to go over the images she took. Silently telling me what I already knew.. that she wasn't supposed to say anything, she's only the tech. Soon after, the Doctor came strolling in. All smiles. I wondered if he remembered who we were. That he had seen us before. Did he recognize my tear filled eyes.. did he understand the gravity of the words he was about to deliver to me and my husband?
He sat down and looked over all of the images rather quickly. We'd already told everyone we didn't want to find out the sex of the baby, so the tech and the counselor wrote it down on a piece of paper for us, sealed it in an envelope, and handed it to B who placed it into my purse. At one point the doctor stopped on an image of the baby's butt and legs. I asked if that was the bum hand he said yes. He then looked (in an exaggerated way) past me over to B and then back to the image. He then said "I was wondering who's profile it had." hmmm...

His next words wwere like a cool breeze. He said the baby was "perfection" and "beautiful". By this time, I was sitting up, but I may as well have been lying flat because I was floored. A huge sigh of relief came out of me and B at the same time I think, but I didn't even look at him until we were walking out of the scan room. I know though that we both had tear stained faces.

B really didn't want to find out the gender, but I would have if he wanted to. I made a pit stop at the potty and came out to the elevator. I pulled the envelope out and held it up to the sunlight. B looked at me and grabbed it out of my hands. "What are yo doing?!?" he asked. Well I was only kidding, I wasn't going to really open it. But then he tore the envelope open. I was shocked! We hadn't even made it out of the building and we caved, lol.
He chuckled and tilted his head and handed me the paper. "It's a BOY! congrats..." was scribbled on it. I started to cry. B asks what's wrong...he's healthy! "I know, but it's another stinky boy!" is what I said...just as the elevator doors opened. A woman stood there laughing and says "I guess you already have a boy?" to which I replied... "I have TWO stinky boys!!". ::sheesh::.
It took me a good 45 minutes to stop the water works. Even the calls I made to tell family and friends were all "Oh." and "Well..." which didn't help my emotions about it. Honestly, I felt like I was disappointing a lot of people.
How dumb that I would be so upset that it' s not a girl. But the more I accept it, the more excited I'm getting. In a very weird way I am glad that it's not a girl after all... I could see how I may have had some misguided ideas about it being a girl, in regards to Charlotte.
So now my only living daughter is turning 16 in May. She wanted to go skydiving, something I was considering letting her do. But when we came home and told her it's a boy, she was all smiles, until I let her know that skydiving is now out of the question and she can also forget about planning her own wedding. She's the only girl. Too bad. She's got me all to herself. haha.
One thing though, I'd noticed during the ultrasound was that this baby's head and the division of two lobes was so much more clearly defined than Charlotte's. His hand is also much more visible than hers was. Not a big deal. but it reminded me of the little things I was searching for with her. Tell tale signs of being OK.
Now knowing that this child is a boy has actually made me relax a lot more. It really is a different pregnancy. A different child. But knowing the difference has also made me want to just get on with my life, in a way.
Charlotte's anniversary is approaching quickly. I've probably mentioned it before, but I could kick myself now for having so many *special* dates to remember. We were told November 11th thru ultrasound that she was ok. She died December 1st. She was born December 7th. She was buried on another date. You see, I feel over loaded.

Last year I decided I wanted to honor her birthday every year with a holiday party. We would do an ornament exchange and have a dessert social. The meaning and significance would be only known to me and a couple of other people, but now, a part of me doesn't even want to do it. Finances are a part of it. Now isn't a good time to have a party, but also, I'm weary. I know next week will be tough on me. Well, perhaps it won't but I'm bracing myself for the tears and darkness to come. I thought last year I would be OK and it was so much harder on me than I expected. So this year I will let myself feel what ever I feel.
I don't like that I feel like my life has gone on and that it's ok. I want to be more sad. I don't want to be ready for another baby, but I am. I'm so confused. That's what I mean about being frozen. She's like a little snowflake. If you don't take time to notice how beautifully unique and intricate she was, she will melt and you won't even know it.