Friday, January 27, 2012

Giving him back...two years later

Two years ago today we loved, held, and said goodbye to our third child, Josiah...

As I type in almost every other post: time is slipping by.

The past week has been full of memories from the week prior to Josiah's birth, almost as if I'm in that week again. The memories are almost like clockwork, coming up on their designated days. Taking the kids with us to the ultrasound and feeling so excited about it (there was no indication that anything was wrong at this point). Sitting on the couch that afternoon, trying to digest what my midwife was saying while blurting out questions and trying not to cry. Calling Curt and telling him that our baby had "multiple genetic defects that didn't look good." The in-depth ultrasound two days later, with a diagnosis of hydrops. The dreaded amniocentesis. A Saturday visit from my sister and brother-in-law. Hearing the amnio results three days later, which showed absolutely no genetic defects and resulted in more questions with no answers. The specialist telling us he was 100% certain the baby wouldn't survive outside the womb. Growing larger by the day, unable to breathe if I laid in bed or sat down for too long.

Then there are the memories of this day - Going to the specialist and, after a nonstress test, finding out that the baby's heart rate was dropping here and there, and the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby had grown even more than the day prior. Being prepped (mentally, emotionally, and physically) for a c-section that wasn't in the plans. Lying on that surgery table, telling Curt that we never definitely decided on a boy's name and a girl's name (we did not know the baby was a boy), and making our choices minutes before the baby was born. And, after being told the nurses did all they could do, finally holding our second son.

Oh, the memories...

I also remember those two Sundays, one a few months after Danae was born and the other a few months after Caedon was born, when we dedicated out babes back to the Lord...when we verbally said before our family, friends, and church that we understood our children were not truly ours, but God's, and we were to raise them for Him and be willing to give them back when the time comes.

What a difference there is between saying it verbally and having to actually do it in real life.

I find comfort in knowing we were not and are not alone. So many family members, friends, church buddies, and even strangers walked (and continue to walk) that road with us. Some of you know firsthand what it's like to give a child back. Many of you loved Josiah just as much as we did and hurt deeply, too. Your love is felt, and we are abundantly grateful to you!

One day, we will see our Josiah again. We miss him, but we were so, so blessed to have him for even a short while. For now, I know he's having the best 2nd birthday anyone could have!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Retraction, clarification, and some other thoughts

After Joe Paterno's passing, I decided to post my opinion on Facebook. I'm not usually one to give my opinion on something that doesn't directly relate to a personal experience or something I strongly stand for, but for some reason I felt compelled to throw my thoughts out there.

I guess Facebook can do that to you.

My opinion-posting led to some good discussion (or typing, rather), with people offering questions and opposing viewpoints. I felt it was rather healthy...I love hearing what others have to say, and many times I learn and grow from it.

All too often, though, I witness people (myself definitely included) just "going with the flow" and quickly changing what they think so they fit in with friends or family. I'm the type of person that likes to get opinions from all sides, and then I'll make my own conclusion. Sometimes it's the same as what my friends and family think, and other times it's different. Most times, I only share if I find it necessary, and other times, I just put it out there for all to know.

Looking back, part of my posting about Joe Paterno was presumptive. Based on his life, I made the assumption that he did not have a relationship with Jesus and expressed my feeling that this was the saddest thing of all. That was me, looking in from the outside and not knowing him personally. His salvation would be between him and our Maker. Those of you who gently let me know that this is something that cannot be assumed just because he didn't outright express where he was with Jesus, I thank you and am grateful for your ability to speak up in a loving way. It made me think about how being a Christian looks and how many of us think it is "supposed" to look. Yes, we are supposed to live as Jesus did - having morals, living healthful lives, and loving people the best we can - but that can look different in various settings.

With that said, let me clarify the first part of my Facebook post...the part where I said I have a hard time overlooking Joe Paterno's lack of responsibility and concern for children and just focusing on his accomplishments at Penn State. In no way am I saying I think he was involved in the abuse. What I am saying is that he should have gone further to ensure the safety and well-being of those children. He didn't do the physical act...but his lack of action meant that it would continue. I often try to envision how others involved in the situation would feel. In this case, how would I feel as a parent of one of those children? Besides wanting to wring the neck of the abuser, how would I feel knowing that someone out there had knowledge of the abuse and didn't go further - or even inform me, the parent - to end it? That's when my maternal instincts would kick in, and I would be downright furious.

I do realize my mistake in assuming where Joe Paterno was with Jesus. I do realize this man meant a lot to people at Penn State and that he influenced many things for the good and that he used his knowledge and skills to teach and empower many. I feel for his family as they grieve. However, abuse of this capacity is just gut-wrenching, and, unfortunately, his lack of complete action still has consequences.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Giving Back

Since my son's 2nd birthday in Heaven is quickly approaching, you might see more posts this month about him. As the mood strikes, I will write...but we will also be spending time as a family remembering Josiah, so it's possible I might not be around as much.

I'm always amazed at how quickly time goes by. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's came and went in the blink of an eye, and, for the most part, I feel the same about the past two years. So much has happened, yet I can clearly remember the events that took place the day Josiah was born, as well as the days leading up to his birthday. More on that in a later post...

Sometime in December, I was reminiscing about the love and care we received while in the hospital. We are so grateful to the hospital staff for all that they did for us and gave us (more on that later, too). One of the things sent home with us was the blanket that Josiah was wrapped in after he was born and cleaned up.

Many do not know the woman or the program that started this act of love and kindness. Stephanie Cole and her husband were expecting their first child, Madeline, in January 2007 when Madeline suddenly died in the womb, one week after Stephanie's due date. Out of this tragedy Stephanie started the Sweet Pea Project, which provides hospitals with blankets to give to bereaved parents, as well as a copy of Stephanie's book, Still.

Curt and I explained the Sweet Pea Project to the kiddos, who know full well all of the things we were given by the hospital after Josiah died. Danae and Caedon often look through the hair clippings, booties, blankets, pictures, and outfit, knowing their special nature and (at least for Danae) talking about the memories.

We barely had to explain that Stephanie Cole was having an art exhibit in January in honor of her daughter's 5th birthday, and that if you made a donation in December, Stephanie would write the name of the child you lost gave back to Jesus on a candle and have it brightly burning during the exhibit reception. Immediately the kids went to their piggy banks, selected their amounts, and put them together in an envelope, with Danae writing "For The Sweet Pea Project" on the outside. My, how my heart melted at their decision!

The reception was last Sunday, and while we didn't really choose our arrival time wisely (right after lunch, but on the cusp of naptime...which equates to being on the brink of a meltdown), we still spent some time look at the exhibit, meeting Stephanie, and seeing Josiah's candle, brightly burning next to so many other candles for babes who are in Heaven.

A piece in the exhibit, painted by Stephanie Cole

There's beauty in all of this, and there's beauty in being able to give back to something so meaningful and important.

(Yes, that would be Danae's middle finger - she wanted her red nail polish to show - and a lion sticker on my little boy's hand. It kept him slightly happy.) 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Welcome 2012...with a little bathroom project

Happy 2012, my friends!

I took a brief hiatus from blogging while we enjoyed Christmas and New Year's together as a family. Lots of game-playing, movie-watching, and snuggling were in order, and that left little to no time to do much else. Even though it feels like Christmas and New Year's came and went in a flash, we thoroughly enjoyed our extra family time together!

Having some time off from work also meant getting a little project done. Two years ago we took on our upstairs bathroom head-on: tub, vanity, walls, plumbing...the whole bathroom got a facelift. BUT, our paint color selection wasn't the best. After we were done, neither Hubby nor I really liked how the bathroom looked, and neither one of us wanted to admit it to the other. The truth finally came out a few months ago, and we decided to change it up.

Here are a few before pics (well, not really "before"...more like "during"):

 The wall color was called "Cracker Bits"...a little too graham crackery for us.
Chocolate brown trim...sounded good at the time, but made the room feel like a s'more.

A certain little girl loves to help her Daddy-O paint! 

And here's the final project - lighter walls, cream-colored trim, and a light blue shower curtain. Feels much more cozy to me!

Aaand I'm realizing that the pictures don't do Hubby and Danae's handiwork any justice. Trust me, we're much happier with this outcome! :)

On tap for this weekend: a visit from Nana, which means Danae gets her nails painted (a favorite thing to do with her Nana) and tonight is Date Night for Curt and me. Yay!