Monday, November 30, 2009

November 30

When I woke up this morning and saw the gray, dreary sky, I couldn't help but think how fitting it was. It seems like there's been a cloud hanging over us (or at least hovering nearby) since April. It didn't surprise me much that the weather outside mirrored that today. I was scared that we wouldn't be able to get our angel tree today due to the rain. It wasn't just that "oh, that was what I really wanted to do today" feeling of disappointment, but a more panicky kind of fear. I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to do anything for her today. I'm not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but, however irrational it might have been, that was my feeling this morning. Bradley and I had already made arrangements to be off from work so we could share this day together. We didn't let the clouds and scattered rain showers hinder our plans. We went to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch, then purchased lights and another angel for the tree that we didn't yet have. It was still raining as we drove to the Christmas tree farm, but it stopped when we arrived. We walked and walked, trying to find the perfect tree. During our hunt for the perfect tree, it started raining again. I will not lie--I stopped right there in the middle of all those trees and prayed that the rain would stop. I have never prayed for such a thing in my life. It rained on my wedding day, and I never once thought about praying for the rain to stop. I just don't really pray about the weather. But today I did. I asked God for the rain to hold off long enough for us to accomplish this task. And it did. We found the perfect tree, tagged it, and a man went to dig it up for us. They loaded the tree and we had our tree safely inside our house before it started raining again. What a blessing that was.

Getting the tree into the house was an experience, to say the least. I've never had a live tree before. Bradley's family had live Christmas trees when he was growing up, but never one with roots, so it was a semi-new experience for both of us. This is what we learned--Roots are heavy. Very, very heavy and much bigger than you would think. We laughed so much as we tried to get this tree into our house. He carried the bottom part of the tree and I tried to help with the top. It was absolutely hilarious. We haven't laughed like that in a long, long time. That was a blessing, too.

We decorated the tree together. Although the angels are kind of sparse, it really is a beautiful tree. We're adding more angels every day, and I hope that by Christmas it is full. I'm glad I thought of getting the roots. Planting it after Christmas will be so special.

At one point in time, I thought that I would never be thankful on this day. I thought that there was too much pain and grief in my heart to find anything to be thankful for. Although there are days when I still feel overwhelmed by our circumstances, I'm really trying to find the good in all of it. And today I have lots of things to be thankful for.

I am thankful that God allowed me to experience our sweet miracle, even if it was for too short of a time. I am thankful that He knew her before she was even formed (Jer. 1:5) and that He welcomed her into Heaven. I am thankful that I will meet her one day.

I am thankful for Bradley. He has truly experienced the "for better or worse" part with me. We experienced great joy and great sorrow within such a short time frame. I have leaned on him and looked to him for support and guidance during the last few months. He has been steadfast and has never faltered. I am so thankful for him and his love. He has reassured me when I've been afraid, and called me perfect when I only felt broken. I am so incredibly thankful that I am spending my life with such a wonderful man.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ornaments and a Book

It has been a good weekend. We had planned to go to the beach on Friday, but on Thursday I changed my mind. I'm not sure what it was, but it just didn't feel right to be away from home this weekend. So we stayed home and enjoyed ourselves here. We decorated the outside of our house yesterday and today we put up our Christmas tree. I love all the Christmas decorations and lights. They make everything look so pretty and happy.

I've decided to get a live tree with roots to serve as our angel tree. Not only will it be beautiful during the Christmas season, but we'll be able to plant it after Christmas has passed. I understand that the tree could die after it's planted, but it's worth a try. Bradley was hesitant to jump on board for the live-with-roots idea because of that possibility, but I assured him I will be fine even if the tree doesn't make it. It was sweet of him to worry, though. I think we're going to get the tree and decorate it tomorrow. I like the significance of that. I don't have nearly enough angels to decorate a whole tree yet, but I'm sure that, with time, I'll gather them. Until then, it can just be a pretty little tree with a few angels on it. I'm looking forward to having it in our home. :)

I'm thankful today for Marie, Angela, and Kesha. Marie and Angela came to visit today and gave us ornaments for our angel tree. They are beautiful! Kesha recently gave me a book--Don't Cry, Mommy--There Are No Tears in Heaven. It is a precious, precious book that I have read over and over again. It made me feel so good, so loved, so cared for to receive those things. Their thoughtfulness means so much to me. Knowing that they know, that they remember...it's just a wonderful feeling. I am so thankful to have these wonderful people in my life and I love all three of them dearly.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I never knew there were so many Baby's First Christmas keepsakes in the world.

We went shopping today, and those things were absolutely everywhere. Everywhere. Stockings, ornaments, snow globes, picture frames....it goes on and on and on. In fact, a packet of information from Sears concerning baby's first Christmas pictures appeared in our mailbox. Lovely. I tore the envelope into a million pieces without even opening it. There is no baby, there is no baby's first Christmas. Sigh. How are you supposed to deal with this when the world just seems to be constantly shoving reminders in your face of what you've lost? I feel like I take one step forward and then two steps back. I suppose that's just how this whole process is going to be. It hasn't been a bad day by any means. We enjoyed our time together, found some really good deals, and bought Lucy way too much stuff. I just think both of us felt like something was missing today, and we both spent a lot of time thinking about how things should have been. We bought two angels for our angel tree today instead of baby's first Christmas ornaments. It's just not fair. I still wonder why, especially on days like today. Why did this happen, why us, why can't we get pregnant again. I know that we'll never understand any of it. I just try to keep thinking that there's a plan, a purpose. I tell Bradley several times a day that we'll be okay, that everything is going to be just fine. And, each time, as he murmurs "mmhm", I almost believe it.

Even on days like today, there are things to be thankful for. Today I'm thankful for my brother. Eric and I have always been close. It has always been so easy to talk and laugh with him, and tonight was no different. His carefree personality always makes me feel a little lighter, and I'm thankful to have him in my life.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving

We have had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for Bradley. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful husband. As a couple, we have lots to be grateful for--our family and friends, our home, our health...our list goes on and on. And, of course, at the top of our list is the sweet schnauzer. Right now Lucy is sitting in front of the TV and watching Hotel for Dogs. She follows their movements and barks when the dogs in the movie bark. Precious! I am also incredibly thankful that, this Thanksgiving, our house is finished. Last Thanksgiving our contractor was here and we were working so hard to get everything finished.


I hope your Thanksgiving has been full of family, friends, and, of course, delicious food! :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Today I'm thankful for organized kitchen cabinets and drawers. When we moved in almost a year ago, things were unpacked and put away, but not in the best places. (example: I had two drawers with spatulas, spoons, etc....and they were on opposite sides of the kitchen.) I spent a lot of time today emptying drawers, pulling things out of cabinets, and doing some rearranging. It may be silly, but I am thankful for the organized kitchen. It just makes me feel good. Maybe I'll actually do some cooking now. Ha! :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Today I am thankful for the love and support of our family and friends. Your prayers and words of encouragement mean so much!

Monday, November 23, 2009

An Idea

For weeks now I have wondered what to do to celebrate our baby girl's life. It may sound silly, but I need physical things to remind me of her. Not that I would ever forget her. No. Never. But it makes me feel better to look at something and say, "That is for her." The hummingbird feeder is an example of that. Anyway, I've been thinking. Hard. I thought about a necklace, but that just didn't feel quite right. I thought about a garden, but it's cold and we couldn't enjoy it right now. (However, a garden is definitely in the works for spring. With lots of color and whimsical things.) I thought and I thought and I thought. And today, it came to me.

What do we always, always, always do right after Thanksgiving? (Not a moment before though. I'm a stickler for giving Thanksgiving it's space.)

We put up a Christmas tree! (Bet you didn't see that one coming.) Since Bradley and I got married, I have bought a personalized ornament every year. I like them, okay? Call it corny or ridiculous or whatever, but I like them and I will do it as long as they continue to make ornaments available for personalization. I've already purchased this year's ornament, as well as a "Lucy's First Christmas" ornament (it's a doghouse!). And having a First Christmas ornament for a dog might be a bit ridiculous, too, but I don't care about that either. I am crazy about this dog and I'm entitled to be. When I bought those two ornaments, I also saw the Baby's First Christmas ornament and it was a sad, sad moment. We won't be buying one of those this year. I've seen "memorial" ornaments, but that just didn't appeal to me. They were just ugly to me. One little ornament on a tree just won't do for a baby that, though we never met, changed our lives forever.

So here is my fantastic idea.
I will have a separate Christmas tree this year. I will still put up our "regular" tree, but I will have a different one for her. Just for her. Always for her. I will decorate it with angels. Lots of beautiful angels for our sweet angel baby. Given that her birthday would have been less than a month before Christmas, it seems perfect. Perfect.




Today I'm thankful for this idea. This is the first thing I've been excited about in months, and I am so thankful for that. I will begin hunting for angels tomorrow. :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Still Thankful

What a wonderful day! We enjoyed a lazy morning around here, had Chinese for lunch (my favorite!), and saw New Moon. A simple day, but it was so nice! It seems like there's always something to do around the house (laundry, cleaning, replacing the baseboard corner that Lucy chewed this week....sigh....), errands that have to be completed, or places we have to be. It was nice to spend a day just doing what we wanted to do.

Today I'm thankful for my "date" with my husband. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thankful

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It seems like good things always happen around Thanksgiving for us. When we learned of our baby's due date, it seemed so fitting. But we all know how that turned out. With Thanksgiving being less than a week away now, I have thought about being thankful. I feel like I have always been a thankful person. This year, though, a lot of bitterness has replaced the thankfulness that was once there. I feel very guilty about that. We've struggled with infertility, we've lost a baby, our home is still empty....but there are things to be thankful for. When I step back and look at everything, we're very blessed people. Good things are still happening to us, and we have much to be thankful for. Maybe this isn't the life we planned for ourselves, but it's still pretty wonderful. I suppose you just have to take the good with the bad and do with it what you can. So, to remind myself to do just that, my new resolution (a Thanksgiving resolution, perhaps?) is to find something to be thankful for everyday. I don't mean just saying "I'm thankful for my family" or something generic like that. I mean that I will find one thing to be thankful for each day, name it, and identify why I'm thankful for it. I'll start today.

Today I am thankful for the way Lucy makes us laugh. Like when she walked through the living room today with her head stuck in a round toy. She's a funny little fur baby. :)











Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November

It's November. The month that was hoped for, longed for....and then dreaded.

I had prayed that I would be pregnant again before November. I knew it would still be a sad time, but I thought that if I had something to be hopeful about that it might be just a little easier. I didn't know how hard the miscarriage would be. It was incredibly difficult at the beginning, but I thought I would recover quickly. And for awhile, I think I almost did. After the D&E, I was anxious to try again. I had a positive outlook and was incredibly hopeful. I thought it would work again. But it didn't, and I think that with each failed treatment cycle the hole in my heart widened. The grief I felt for our lost little girl became deeper and more ingrained in me with each passing day. She was our miracle, and we lost her. No more miracles were being sent our way.

Most days I manage to stuff the grief deep inside, but it's always there. It never leaves. It's what takes my breath away when I see a Baby's First Christmas stocking and realize that I could have bought one of those this year--a pink one. It's what keeps me from attending baby showers or walking through the baby section of department stores. It seems to be a part of me now, just like our Peanut was. I know that people expect me to be over it. After all, I never held her or knew her face. But she was mine, and I lost her. How do you ever get over that? I can't imagine a day when I won't think about her and what could have been. What should have been.

I am trying. I am trying to find a way to deal with this. I am trying not to be bitter or angry or resentful. I am trying to be happy for others when they announce their pregnancies. I am trying to tell myself that everything will be okay, that there is a plan, and that one day we will have the family we dream of. But it is hard. Reality is a crushing force that weighs on my shoulders. The reality that our sweet miracle died. The reality that the four cycles of fertility treatments after the miscarriage were failures. The reality that there's no guarantee that the next cycle will be a success. The reality that what happened to our first baby could happen again. The reality that we may never have children. The reality that Bradley's insurance does not cover infertility anymore. The reality that the higher cost of the next treatment will limit how many cycles we can do. When we started thinking about having a baby, we created a budget to make sure we could afford it and provide a good life for our child. Over two years later, I look back at those people and almost laugh. We never thought to figure in what it would cost us to get pregnant. That's one of the saddest parts of our struggle. I envy couples who are able to get pregnant on their own. I wish we were like them. They have no idea what it's like to have to sit down and calculate how many times you can try to have a baby in a year. You give things up, you move money around, you determine what's important and what's not. You spend everything you have and then you realize that there is still no baby. Reality is a tough thing to acknowledge. Accepting it is even worse.