Jurnal Entry: January 15, 2009 Cleaning out the closet

I figured today was as good as any to get the things done around the house that I had been putting off for so long. I decided it was time to delve into the closet and go thru Charlotte's things.

This closet is big. So big that I had considered transforming it into a mini nursery for this baby. And in it, is housed some things from all of my children. I have *A's* clothes and shoes and junk in there, the boys' tubs for seasonal clothing... as well as special baby blankets, this new baby's bags of wet wipes and clothes.... and about 10 boxes of clothing and bedding that were intended for Charlotte. One of the hardest things about going into that space (aside from the sheer volume of crap that is in there because of *A's* disinterest in keeping things tidy) is the markings of a name of a little sister, by a big sister, that will never be.

At some point during my pregnancy, *A* had written in magenta crayon on one of the shelves where the baby clothes were to be kept the word "Charlet". I hadn't ever considered spelling her name like that, but looking at it that way is so endearing to me now. I've left it there, despite the fact that's now the shelf for the boy's things. Every once in a while I'll go in looking for the next size up in play clothes and come across that inscription. It stops me in my tracks every time. You'd think I would be used to seeing it, but every time I do, it's like the first time her name has been whispered to me. I have to stand still and quiet to take it all in.

Well today I didn't go to that shelf (half way purposefully) but turned my attention to the boxes stacked behind me. About a week after she was gone, I had started to organize everything. I took out what I wanted, little things that were reserved *only Charlotte's*, some that I would love to see another daughter of mine wear, and some that I definitely could part with. Then I folded them all neatly and put them away. Could I really part with any of them? I mean, they've been in the closet for 2 whopping years already!

There were small things I did let go. Some blankets & outfits/sleepers that I gave to my nieces for their baby dolls (who still hold them dear as Charlotte's things) and some I gave to teen moms. But still, there are all of these boxes. At this point, they are taking up a lot of space I am needing to get this baby's stuff organized. So down they came.

I had already gone thru them and sorted them according to size. But today I was going to catalog them and take pictures to place them on Ebay or whatnot. I did it 2 boxes at a time. Layed each little outfit on my bed, starting with the larger sizes first. It was bitter sweet. I remember looking at all of these things for the first time two years ago and getting so excited because (at that point in time) we were told the ultrasounds were all clear. I couldn't wait to put my little girl in some of these outfits. It seemed as though God was reassuring us that everything was going to be ok. He provided above and beyond what we needed for her. I got excited all over again the night before our Level 2 ultrasound with this baby. I was SO SURE he was a she.

I'm glad I went thru them starting with the bigger sizes first, because it was getting hard for me to see all of the small things. The tiny mittens she wouldn't wear, the headbands with little bows on 'em... the awesome red coat. I put away what I could, but there's still more for me to do tomorrow.

I got a little teary thinking about how she didn't get to wear these things. And even more teary as I realized I probably won't ever get to put a daughter of mine in them. The boys would come in and out of my bedroom and ask what all of it was. They kept asking if the new baby would wear them. Uh, no buddy, wrong color.

So as I went in to download the pictures, I took a deep breath. I saw the ultrasound pictures. He is definitely a boy. Time to let the clothes go. But as the pictures were being loaded into the folder, I noticed it said there were 450 pictures transferring. WTH??? I know I didn't take that many!

So as I watched them surface, I was struck by what they were of. They were the birth of my friend's daughter Olivianna. I thought I was certain to have deleted all of the images after I gave them to my friend, so I was really caught off guard at seeing this precious little girl, being cradled in the arms of her daddy.

I, of course, lingered over the pictures for a while. Reminiscing over what that day meant to so many people. I know I haven't really spoken of the Grover Family before, mostly out of respect for their privacy, but also because it hurts.

:~: How it all started :~:
I was involved with a moms group while I was pregnant with Charlotte. During that time, these ladies sustained me. I would write lengthy email updates about what was going on and they all rallied around us with prayer and friendship. Well, there was a friend of mine there named Nicole. Eventually, Nicole left our group and started her own group at her church. One morning. about a year or so after Charlotte died, I got a call from Nicole asking if I wouldn't mind talking to another mom from her group. This woman was pregnant and had found out that her baby girl was very *sick* and would probably not live for very long outside of her womb. I was so scared. What the heck was I supposed to say? Don't get me wrong... I was honored that I was allowed to be able to try to show the goodness of Christ in the midst of my situation, but I was afraid I was going to fumble over myself. I tend to do that you know.. put too much of *me* into things.
Anyway, Nicole had recieved an email from Amber stating what was going on with the pregnancy, and she forwarded it to me (just so I was aware of the situation) and I was immediately struck by the similarities of Amber's writing and my own. Not so much in style, but in the overall tone of the letter as well as the obvious leading and peace given by the Holy Spirit. There were so many times that I would write and not really be aware of what I was writing until DAYS later, when I read it and said to myself "Woah! Did I write that?? I don't even remember where that came from." That's what I saw in Amber's letters too. Needless to say, since I had Amber's email address, I couldn't wait for a formal introduction by Nicole. I wrote to Amber directly.

I really don't even remember what I said at first contact, but what ended up happening was a beautiful and deep friendship was cultivating between Amber and I. We sent letters back and forth. I tried to reassure her, give her space, be a support. But what she may not have known was how much she was helping me too.

I was able to share Charlotte and the miraculous things Jesus had done with someone who "got it". Amber understood what I was saying without me having to explain it or defend it. It was liberating. A few weeks into our correspondence, we finally decided to meet in person. She was amazing. I marveled at her ability to keep herself together. I remember crying a lot while talking to her on the phone and in person. But there was nothing for me to hide behind. Nor did I need to.

I offered to take pictures for her of the birth of Olivianna, and she and her husband agreed. I was so elated to be allowed to be there for this event. I know this sounds selfish, but I got to be a part of a birth AND a homecoming that even their own family was not privy to. They had their family all at the hospital, you could feel the love surrounding them all day... but I got to meet Olivianna. The actual birth was beautiful. What I remember most clearly was Amber calling on the name of Jesus in her pain and the praise she was giving Him as Olivianna emerged. It only took a few moments and He delivered her.

Olivianna lived for a little over 11 minutes. She was held and loved on by her mommy and daddy the whole time. Her father was so strong. At one point it seemed as though the room was silent and all you could hear was loud sobbing. In all reality, it wasn't that loud, but it seemed like it. It was her daddy. The weight of the world was placed on his shoulders as he was beginning to say goodbye. Olivianna struggled to breathe, but it wasn't something that I would describe as pitiful or gut wrenching. It was more like she was leaving this world behind, as her breath was taken away by the sheer beauty of her seeing her Savior for the first time. It was such a peaceful moment. I will never, ever forget it.
I was able to make a video montage for them to play at her funeral. Even that was cathartic for me. But watching Amber go thru the stages of labor and delivery, I had set my mind on the idea that I was not wanting to have anymore children of my own. (It hurts!!) You tend to forget how bad things hurt after you have a child, but watching Amber do it, I resigned myself to the fact that I was done. Up until this period of time (June '08) I had been unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant. For 9 months I tried, cried, and died inside every month I got my period. I reluctantly was accepting the fact that I must make broken babies; as I too, was broken.

I came home that afternoon with my head spinning. I couldn't wrap my head around the idea that the world was still going on around me. Lights still turned green at traffic signals, dinner still needed to be made. Why couldn't the Earth stop spinning for even a minute to recognize what just happened? And then I though of how hard the next few months will be on that poor, sweet family. They are now in this dreadful "club".

I remember on that Friday I invited a few of my friends over to my house. Nothing formal or with an adgenda. I don't think any of them even knew what I had done a couple of days before (taking the pictures for Amber), *B* was out of town and I needed some support. My girlfriends came over and hung out with me and I felt better.
About a month later, I found out I was pregnant. God has a real sense of humor, huh?

Journal Entry: January 13th, 2009 He's in the details

My aunt passed away last week. She had a very aggressive case of breast cancer. I saw her last in October, when we took a make shift Thanksgiving dinner up to my grandmas' house, figuring it would be the last bit of time we got to spend with each other. I'm so glad I did that. She got to sit and visit with my children. I was able to kiss her supple cheek goodbye. At that time we thought she had 6 months to 1 year before she would go. It was only 3 months. Oh how I wish I knew if she were in heaven that I could see her again. That probably sounds horrible, but I didn't know her well as an adult. I never spoke with her about the things of God. I never heard her say that she's trusts Jesus to be her Savior.

All I know about her life is that she was raised Mormon and was married the first time in the Mormon temple. Later, when I was about 5 yrs old, maybe, I vaguely remember going to a church service where she was baptized. I remember her "goin' in the tank." I knew that we weren't in a Mormon church, but that's about it. She was always the ONE person in my family that I felt I had gotten some of my physical attributes from. I may have looked like a cousin or someone from both sides of the family, but I always felt I got my height from my Aunt Barb. Height is a rare commodity in our family. I was taller than most of the males in the family for a long while. I always clung to that with her. And now too, her having two rambunctious boys that she was raising. I think about that all the time when I see my two guys wrestling or needing a trip to the emergency room. But if Aunt Barb could handle it, then so could I.

This is my dads sister. The second one to die, now he is left to care for his mom. His other sister died about 9 yrs ago from a brain tumor. He has had prostate cancer. The pressure must be heavy on him. But he has mentioned several times that Aunt Barb is in heaven. He seems to be satisfied with the knowledge of her trusting in Jesus. So in a weird way, I have to ride on his coat tails on this one.

This brings me to the point that I want to make. I don't want there to ever be a question of whom I adore, of whom I trust. I want to live my life in a way that everyone who meets me knows. It's not fair for there to be questions from those left behind as to where the dearly departed are now. It agonizing. I know that God only knows the hearts of men, and He is the author and finisher of our faith, but there shouldn't have to be the lingering questions.

"Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." 1 Timothy 4:14

I had a doctor's appointment today. I was going to be seeing a midwife for the first time. I was a little nervous about it, seeing a midwife rather than a doctor. But I'm so glad I did. I scared myself pretty good last night. I had started coming down with a cold or flu bug or something a couple of days ago and I finally went to the store and bought some (what I thought would be) relief. I took the medicine as directed and started to feel better. I did get a bit loopy/dizzy from the antihistamine, but my sinuses started to feel better rather quickly. Well, the longer I sat in my haze, the more nervous I got. The baby was bumping around a lot until I took the pills, then about and hour later, he became less active. These are the things you notice when you've had a child die inside of you. Every nuance becomes the most important part of your day. Every wiggle is a reassuring sign that all is well. When the activity changes, you notice.

So all night long, the medicine I took to give me relief and respite only made me stay up and count kicks and rolls. I tried to sleep, would doze off, but startle myself awake wondering if I had killed my baby. He was so quiet. My upper sides were very uncomfortable, I would toss and turn from side to side, then worry that I was tossing too much and laying all of my weight on him. I wanted to lay flat on mt back for a while just to stretch things out, but I wouldn't because I know that can compress things. So back and forth, to and fro, right to left. At one point, I laid on my right side and was pushing downwards near my diaphragm, thinking that his foot was lodged in my ribcage. I rested my hand on my hip, trying to drift back off to sleep and felt a pulsating throb under my thumb. It was the first time I'd ever felt it. Mental note, it's about 4 am and there is still a heartbeat. You know, just in case it stops, I can know when I'd felt it last.

When it was finally time to get out of bed, I sat a little longer just to see if he bumped around. Nope. Not much. I showered, still not much. By the time I was driving and sipping my iced coffee and he wasn't moving, I was getting more and more nervous. I prayed in the car to have God shift him. And he did. He woke up and I could feel him squirm. Whew. But that was a long 7 minute car ride that's for sure!

After I arrived and they took me in the back and weighed me, which to my chagrin, I have gained almost 6 pounds in 2 weeks. Yikes! But it puts me at only 7 pounds over my starting weight (not including what I had lost in the beginning). I'm not usually much of a numbers person, but this just makes me think that he's gonna be a fat baby. I had a dream the other night that he was a 9 lb 3 oz bundle of chub. It was the first dream I've EVER had being pregnant that I could actually see the baby's face. and you know what? It was beautiful. And a girl. hahahaha. Guess I'm still working thru my feelings on that one. lol. We called her Sophie. That's not even one of my favorite girl names. Go figure.

When the midwife came in I was fine. She asked about the baby by name, which is nice and also asked if I was doing ok, all of the typical things. I'd mentioned about my little freak out the night before with the meds but followed up with now he's moving, literally right at that moment, so I knew he was ok. Then with the most compassionate voice, she said "You know it's not your fault what happened right? You didn't make your baby die". I know that. And I'm sure I've heard it before, but somehow, when she said it, it lifted the heavy burden I'd been carrying.

We chatted about Charlotte and this baby. And in that I learned she is a Christian. I cried even harder. What a blessing. She measured me and all is well. Except for the fact that he has moved again into a transverse position. Ugh. Well, that explains why I've been feeling so much discomfort on my sides. I thought so, but didn't think he'd flop over again!! She suggested that if I rub my big toe there is a pressure point that is said to help turn a baby.

After I left the office (with much higher spirits), I stopped by my mom's salon. She kept insisting that I get a pedicure (She gave me a gift certificate for Christmas). I didn't mention to her about the rubbing the toe thing. But I wanted to wait until closer to when the baby is due to get one, but she told me that she'll treat me to another one, but that I should really make an appointment soon. So I'm going on Friday and I'll have the girl really give my big toe a workout, lol.