A Box of Hope Arrives

2013-08-31 10.21.28
My new treasured friend Bethany sent me a box of hope.  A book about trying again after the loss of a baby, some ovulation test strips, some early pregnancy tests and some bath boys like her sons’ that I had coveted.  So many things that come in the mail make me cry with sadness, but this one brought tears of joy. Thank you, Bethany! You are such a blessing to me. I look forward to the time when we get to use each of those things.  Thank you for always encouraging me to hope.
Now I can get prepared for when the count-down to being able to try to conceive ends in 6 to 10 weeks!
The best thing that has come out of this horrible loss is the new friends God has sent who are on this path of loss with me.

Yucky Tuesday and Chipper Neighbors

8-27-13

Tuesdays must be bad.  Last Tuesday and this Tuesday I have just felt down.  Just kind of dragging and anxious for the school day to get over so that I can get home and just be sad.  There were some things today:

1)      I had finally ordered some prints of Luke’s pictures from snapfish.  They came in the mail yesterday.  I brought some of the best pictures to school.  Before school, I asked one of my classroom aides who was with me last year during my pregnancy if she wanted to see them and she did.  She looked at them for a long time and cried with me and said he is beautiful.  It was just the response I want.  But then I chickened out thinking about having to broach this subject in person with others.  I know at least a few people will want to see him, but it’s so hard to bring up.  So I sent an all-staff email saying I had them and if anyone wishes to see them, they can come by my room sometime this week.  One person came by so far.  She cried and said he is beautiful also.  I wonder who else will come to see him?  I almost feel like I am daring people.  If they don’t want to see my son, there must be something weak about them and they go down a notch in my book.  It’s silly and I know I’m probably being unreasonable, but it’s how I feel.   If they read the email and forget, or don’t care enough to come over, or are too chicken, then how good a friend are they really?

2)      I have wanted to make some new girl friends at church.  This summer, working at VBS, I had the start of a friendship with one girl.  We exchanged numbers.  She has a baby boy, so we ended up talking about baby stuff a lot in our first conversations.  I kept saying things like “Oh, I like his name, that was one of the names on our list too” or “we were looking into using cloth diapers too”, but not being able to say that we also had a baby.  I think she gathered that something was up from my awkwardness and getting a little teary once, but I think she thought we just had infertility problems as she said she would pray for us to be given a baby.  Then I decided to send her a FB friend request.  I figured that would let her in on our story. Luke’s foot is my profile picture and I have written a few things about his loss, in addition to almost my whole last year’s worth of posts being about him: ultrasound pics, pics of my belly, etc.  She liked one of my FB posts about the necklace my cousins sent with Luke’s name and date of birth on it, so she has to know.  I was relieved to get that big elephant in the room out there.  I looked forward to seeing her again and hearing her comforting words about our loss.  Christians are supposed to be extra good at that.

I ran into her at the Farmer’s market today, with her cute blond baby boy.  He was wearing an outfit embroidered with a frog, which was our nursery theme for Luke.  I have so many cute frog outfits hanging in his closet.  She said hello and made small talk, but said nothing about Luke.  I had felt like it was this huge reveal that she had been let in on, but she didn’t acknowledge it.  She kept the conversation short, it was pretty awkward, and we said goodbye.  Then as I walked to my car, I saw her bending over her baby boy, buckling him into his car seat and that just slay me.  I will never get to buckle my Luke into the car seat that we had ready for him.  I will never have to walk slow across the parking holding my baby’s hand because he has just started walking.  It hurts to see those things I am locked out of.

3.  When I got home and two of my neighbors were outside chatting.  I didn’t feel like chatting today, but they called out to me and offered me a zucchini from one of their gardens.  One of the neighbors is my favorite one from 2 doors down, who I talk to fairly often and who has taken walks with me and cried with me about Luke.  She is wonderful.  The other one is my next door neighbor, who I have always found kind of awkward, although she is nice.   In June, the next door neighbor gave Josh a card and a gift for me.  The gift was a book she found at the bookstore at her catholic church.  It is called “Mommy, Please Don’t Cry”.  It took me awhile to look at it, but when I did, I found it kind of cheesy.  It has pictures of kids doing fun things in heaven and each page says something like “Mommy, Please Don’t Cry.  I am playing in the field of flowers” etc.  It’s just not my style, but I appreciate the gesture.  She also wrote in her card that she lost a daughter to stillbirth, which was kind of her to share.  She said in the card that it was so strange that I lost my first baby because usually people have miscarriages in their first pregnancies and then healthy pregnancies if they make it as far as I did.  The daughter she lost was her second.  I thought that was kind of weird to say, but she’s kind of weird.

Well, today was more of the same kind of strange conversation.  I had been meaning to take over a thank you card, but hadn’t, so I made a point to thank her right away.  She got very excited and said in a very chipper voice, “Yes, it was just so perfect!  Probably the only book in town!  Now you have something to remember him by!” She was very joyful about the perfectness of her gift.   She wanted to know if I could still have more children and seemed to think that that fixed everything.  I am so glad for that, but it is not a blanket solution.  When I asked about the daughter she lost, she told me the story, but again without an ounce of sadness in her voice.  I said I had read that in past generations they didn’t let women hold their lost babies and asked if she got see hers.  She said, “No, I never saw her” and then just went on with her chatter about how her granddaughter is pregnant with her 3rd.  She did not seem sad at all.  I appreciate all that she was trying to do and that she shared her own story and I know her loss was a long time ago, but it was just weird.  How can you be so perky talking about something so sad?

Just a yucky Tuesday and I’m feeling worn.  I know I am too judgmental on certain things lately and that God who I want to follow is not judmental.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.  I feel sort of unstable because I feel pretty okay one minute and depressed the next.  Such a rollercoaster, this grief.

A Better Week

Work was better this week.  All the prayers coming our way have definitely helped, thanks!
I broke last Friday.  The first 3 weeks have been rough and I have been holding it together in public mostly, but crying when I get in my car to go home or sometimes at lunch or when the kids are out at recess.  After a very rough week, Friday was just over the top with multiple stresses and frustrations.  When the new school psychologist stopped me to give me a criticism after she observed my class (and me working my butt off with 4 difficult new students, 3 substitute classroom aides while my aides were at training, and a parent in the classroom making a surprise visit to observe), I just broke.  I went to the bathroom and sobbed for a minute and then went to my principal’s office.  I told her I didn’t know if I could do this.  I asked about switching to a different position at a different school.  She listened and then called the special education director and they talked to me on speaker phone.  They discussed the issues with me and decided to move one student to another class.  They said they would give me support.  I feel a little ashamed for being so emotional, but I could not help it and it has improved it a little bit.  Josh said “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  I try not to be a squeaky wheel too much, but I guess I really needed that grease.
There were some other exciting things this last week too.  My friend who is the speech therapist who helped me get my SLPA license, introduced me to two kids this week who are her clients that she wants to pass over to me.  I see them next week alone at their homes after school and start getting paid for doing speech therapy!  It will be good extra income.  That would probably have been enough to fix our budget, but then Josh also got a call from a company that he had interviewed with a couple of months ago, asking if he still would like to work there.  The guy who interviewed him said he has to fill out another application, but it sounded somewhat certain that he would hire him.  It would pay 40-60% more and would likely have benefits, so that would be a huge boost to our budget also.  Between those two things, we might actually have enough money to pay all of the over $3000 in hospital and doctor bills and to save for the next baby.  And to be able to go out to eat and to take some little trips:)   I’m excited and it has improved my overall mental state a little bit to have that hope, but I’m trying not to count the chickens before they hatch;)  Please pray for God to keep us on the right paths job wise and for Josh to get this new job if it is right in God’s plan.
I have also been thinking about how thankful I am that I had this loss in the current time and not in past generations.  It was very different just 1 or 2 generations ago.  I have read about it in books and heard it from people personally.  It makes me very sad to hear about all those moms having no support in such a hard loss.  Someone at work just told me that their mom lost 3 babies out of 9 she had.  I asked what happened and she said didn’t know because she never would talk about it.  My high school best friend’s mom lost a baby between her and her sister and she said her mom never talked about it, but that her dad always brought her flowers on a certain date in October.  I have heard so many stories of other losses, which is so helpful, but also so sad, especially those ones that just got glossed over or stuffed down.
This week, I was getting a lunch from the school cafeteria (I do this once or twice a week if I forget a lunch from home or they are serving something decent–they always have a good salad bar with lots of fresh veggies and fruit) and the head cafeteria lady stopped me as she was handing me my tray over the counter to tell me that she had lost a baby too.  She said when it happened, she just wanted her mommy, so she went home to Spain for the summer, and when she came back, she got pregnant with her daughter.  She wanted to tell me that she went on to have healthy children, that every pregnancy was different and that I would have more babies.  It was very kind.  I have not seen her to be a very emotive person and she has a reputation among the staff for being kind of a tyrant and difficult, so for her to share such a tender thing was extra special.   I think that makes 4 (1 of those 4 has not talked to me about I; I just heard it from my principal) people just at my elementary school who have lost babies late in pregnancy or after birth, not to mention how many miscarriages there surely are.   One of my new classroom aides, a woman in her 60’s, had twin boys her 1st pregnancy and they lived 52 and 55 days only because they were born prematurely at 6.5 months.  There are just so many stories!  I am thankful that God placed me in this current time where most hospitals encourage families to hold their babies and give them mementos and not in the days when they just took the baby away quickly and encouraged you to forget it.  Obviously there is still too much taboo attached to stillbirth and death and I am still frustrated about people not looking at Luke’s pictures or at least not saying anything to me about them if they did, but at least it is better now than it was for our mother’s and grandmother’s generation.  Thanks, God.
Lastly, a bunch of my cousins sent me this necklace this week. I have enjoyed wearing something to my honor my Luke all week.
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