Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Walk with me Wednesday - Down Memory Lane

So here it is. The post I've been putting off for over a week. (Two weeks?) It's probably gotten a WAY bigger build up than it deserves. One of the things I'm learning is that sharing the memories of what happened with Seth, the good and the bad, accomplishes a couple of different things for me. It validates and affirms those things happening (especially the good). Some of the negative gets blown up in my head and sharing it helps me to keep it in perspective.. and validates it as well. I shared a negative memory in an email today and was blessed to be encouraged and discover I was not alone in my feelings. But today's memory is a POSITIVE.

I want to share about the last few minutes we spent with Seth. Not before he died but the last time we had with the SETH we had come to know and love during the time we had him at home. Seth was admitted to the hospital the night before his second surgery. Leland and I, taking advantage of the "free" babysitting (my mom was at our house with our three "big" kids and Seth was well cared for by the nurses), decided to have dinner out. A belated birthday dinner for me and an early birthday dinner for Leland. When we got back to the hospital, a couple of our friends, Karen & Cathey, had come up to see us and we're cuddling on Seth. I was glad that he'd had that time and had been loved upon by others in our absence! Here's a picture of Karen & Seth. Can't you just see how much he adored her? Mind you, he knew her voice, she screamed at my belly for MONTHS! She loved him too.

Leland and I hung out with our baby boy for awhile and headed home. The next morning we were up at the hospital early to make sure we saw Seth before surgery. We followed him down to surgery in the elevator.

Once we arrived in the surgery triage area, we had quite a few minutes to wait. During that time, I held Seth. I did that thing you do with babies, you know, when you hold them up facing you? Seth was sitting on my lap. I held him under his arms (knowing I wouldn't be able to do that for weeks post op due to his sternum being opened) and spent LOTS of time kissing him on the neck and under his chin. You know, when you're holding a baby, facing you, and you kiss him on that spot just under his jaw? I spent lots of time doing THAT. Seth was JUST starting to figure out expressions. He wasn't quite to giggling but he did this squealing thing, more like when you inhale rapidly with your mouth open and it makes a squeaking noise. So I'm kissing his neck, he's squeaking, we're giggling at each other. It's one of those moments that I keep telling myself I'm going to remember forever. So often at home I didn't take the time to do that. I was so busy with Seth's needs and the other kids, etc. I'm glad that I made a point to do something sweet and memorable while we were waiting..

I don't have pics of ME doing that but I do have my mom demonstrating the above described technique. (Just in case you haven't figured out what I'm talking about). You can see the joy in Seth's face. He LOVED to be kissed upon like that.

Shortly after those sweet moments, the anesthesiologist came to get Seth. His daddy and I told him we loved him and gave him goodbye kisses.. I remember starting to cry and saying "I know, he'll be fine but I'm his mom and I'm allowed to be emotional." Of course, he wasn't fine, ever again after that. As much as we miss him, he's more than fine now in Heaven and we're left to cherish and be grateful for the special moments we DO have.

To read other people's precious memories, check out Lynnette's blog, "Dancing Barefoot on weathered ground".

Monday, January 26, 2009

In Other Words Tuesday

Take the first step. I have a very good friend who went to law school as a single mom (of three!). To say that was difficult would be an understatement. I was blessed to be able to encourage her during those challenging days. One of the things I would tell her regularly was "do the first thing first". Law school won't be finished TODAY. The whole project doesn't have to be done TODAY.

Faith is like that. I'm not going to figure it all out. Likely EVER but most definitely not TODAY. I don't have to. As a matter of fact, I'm not supposed to. I just have to take the first step. Do the first thing.

It would probably not surprise anyone to hear that God and I have wrestled a bit lately. (Well, I've wrestled... I'm not quite sure what God's done but I'm fairly sure it's not wrestle back..). I am INCREDIBLY grateful to have been where I am on this faith journey as we walked the road with Seth. (I wouldn't be this far, if I hadn't taken the first step!). Sometimes, it feels like I've gone a little backward. Lately, I feel a little more insecure and lost than I used to. Sometimes, I can't see the first step, let alone the whole staircase. Do you know what I"m learning to do?

Take the first step. I'm praying, I'm leaning into God. I can NOT, as much as I want to, do this alone. And I absolutely can NOT climb the whole staircase. All I can do is move one foot forward, lift it a little and take the FIRST Step.

And you know what? That's all I have to do. I"m so grateful.

Click here to see what others have to say about this great quote.

Not Me! Monday

Better late than never, right? (I'm trying to get back on this blogging bandwagon).

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

So this week, I did NOT break our dishwasher. By falling. And landing on the door. Which was wide open. If I HAD done that, I would certainly NOT have done it because I was in a snit and annyed with my husband. And my dear husband would certainly NOT have made me feel even more guilty by saying "It's okay, honey, you broke it but at least it broke your fall." Uh Uh. Not ME. Not at our house.

I did NOT spend most of yesterday (Sunday. A day of rest and reflection. A day that's SUPPOSED to be dedicated to our Lord) in a sublime state of crabbiness. If I HAD done that, I would certainly NOT have followed it up by exhibiting the same irrational crankiness tonight. Uh uh. Not ME. Not at our house.

I have not created a 2 (almost 3, ack) year old tyrant at our house over the last three days. Of course, if I HAD created one, it would NOT be justified by the fact that she's been feverish and suffering with a double ear infection and I was so happy to see her intake ANYTHING that I let her eat popsicles at something like 6 o'clock in the morning. Uh uh. Not ME. Not at our house.

Of course, if all those above things HAD happened at our house (hypothetically speaking of course) I would know that it's because my "humanness" is showing and I would be greatful that His mercies are new every morning and tomorrow I get to start over. Uh HUH. THAT I will take at our house!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Just checking in

So, it's been awhile. Again. People keep talking about this "new normal" and I guess I just keep having to adjust.. We're hanging in there. I've had a "Walk with Me Wednesday - Down Memory Lane" post brewing in my head for two weeks. I haven't been able to bring myself to sit down and type it out. I know I just need to do it but it's been difficult.. It's about the last time we really spent with Seth.. In the meantime, I clicked on something (somewhat randomly) on my computer this am and look what I was greeted by:

Is that the cutest little baby face you've ever seen? My friend Chantelle (another heart mom) did that for me... I think while Seth was in the hospital last time. That picture was taken when we (Seth & I) went up to see her & her daugther in July when Taty had her Fontan.. We put London (Taty's little sister) and Seth on the bed and Chantelle clicked away. ::sigh:: Such a sweet face. We love you & miss you, little "tough guy" Seth!!

Oh, I wanted to add something about commenting. Several people were having difficulty with or didn't want to register. I've changed comments so you can now leave an "anonymous" comment. Just click on the little button beside anonymous. (After you type in your comment and do the word recognition). Since I've made it so easy, you should now all leave me a hello telling me how adorable that picture of Seth is! Seriously, I would love to hear from anyone who continues to read my blog after my periodic long absences.

Edited to add: If you DO post "anonymously", please consider signing your name, especially if I know you! If you're truly anonymous and you want to remain that way, I can respect that. If I spend too many nights laying awake, wondering who "anonymous" is, I'll just go back to requiring registrations. So. Tee hee.

'Till next time then!

Monday, January 12, 2009

In Other Words Tuesday - Kindness

Have you ever noticed how many memes there are in Blogger Ville? I mean seriously, you could find MANY for every day of the week.. I'm trying out a few (did you notice?) and we'll see what happens.. If you all think I"m overextending your limits of readership, let me know okay?

So today.....

(Picture from Susan's blog at Forever His. Click on here to check out the rest of the "In Other Words" participants.)

Kind words.. Have YOU been the recipient of kind words? Do you pass them along? I love the thought of how EASY it is to hand them out and what a blessing to those who receive them. (Okay, it's not ALWAYS easy, sometimes, when I want to yell at my kids, kind words are farthest from my mind, but what a blessing for them if I can pause, pray, and manage to be kind.)

When Seth was in the hospital, especially at the end, we were surrounded by family and friends, people who loved us. And for the most part, the majority of these people were nice and respectful. But oh, the blessings of the kind words. I don't know that I even appreciated all the kind words spoken at the time but oh, as they echo now, how I cherish them.

One evening, as we stood around Seth's crib, one of the nurses commented "I think he's the healthiest looking single-ventricle I've ever seen" and the others nearby agreed. Honestly, at the time, I remember thinking "For all the good it did us." That was my hurting heart speaking. Now, I cling to the words that nurse took the time to speak out loud. It cost her nothing. But oh what the knowledge that we did the best WE could for Seth does for my husband and I. And my dear sweet friends, I am blessed by women who came around me and in not knowing what to say, or fearing being UNkind, simply said "I love you" and "I'm hurting too". The kindness in words, spoken, and tongues held when appropriate rings in my heart.

I long to be a giver of kind words. Furthermore, I long to be a giver of GODLY kind words. Lord, help me to boldly speak of Your will and Your love for others. Help me to be kind out loud.

Wha..? Wah.....

That would be my reaction earlier today when I read this. Well... that's not EXACTLY true. First I read an email from Lynnette and THEN I read that. Quick. click on it and go see. I"ll wait.

Are you back? Don't you think Kayleigh will be EXCITED? We won a BEAUTIFUL handmade doll from Baby Be Blessed! (Their button is over there on the side of my blog, check them out!). I"m hoping to have it in time for Kayleigh's birthday. Or maybe Valentine's Day. I haven't actually talked to the people at BbB yet.. MAYBE, just maybe, I can get the boys each one too. Wouldn't it be cool if they all had Seth dolls? With SCRIPTURE on them!! Did you know that about Baby be Blessed? ALL of their dolls, I believe all of their products, leave the shop with a scripture on them. What a wonderful way to share the Word of God. What a ministry. I"m so touched.

When I entered, it was Sunday night, I was comment #21. I really didn't think we had a chance to win. And I was okay with that. I knew if it was meant to be, God would take care of it. And here we are! Kayleigh will have a Baby be Blessed. I can NOT wait.

Stay tuned! I"ll be sure and share when we "meet" our little BbB darling!

Not Me! Monday #1

So, Not Me! Monday is this fun little thing MckMama over at My Charming Kids has got going.. Click on the button above to check out what she did NOT do this week (wink, wink) and the "not doings" of others.. In the meantime, keep reading for mine!

I did NOT get so distracted last week that I could not possibly get to the first "Not Me! Monday" of the New Year. I would certainly never blow off something I had been looking forward to that much.

I did NOT waste a ton of time on the computer this week following and catching up on other people's blogs. If I HAD been so inclined as to do that, I would certainly NOT have spent 75% of that time looking at the blogs of single ventricle heart babies born around the time Seth was. Because, really, am I that BIG of a glutton for punishment? I think NOT.

I also would NOT have been wasting above said time when I should have been bill-paying and thus would not currently be looking at late charges. (Because I AM more frugal than that and I am not that stupid.. or distracted.).

I did NOT spend an unusual amount of time crying this week because I most certainly know better than to let myself get all over-tired and emotional. (Mind you, if I HAD spent a bunch of time crying, I certainly have a decent reason).

I did NOT continue to put off grocery shopping resulting in weird meals and more eating out. I would certainly not make a habit out of doing that to my family.

This IS quite cathartic.. I bet I could go on & on but I"m thinking I should end this with:

I did NOT stay up way past midnight, knowing I had to work the next morning just so I could get my Not Me! Monday post written THIS week!! (And for those of you keeping tabs, I most certainly have NOT been playing the "3 months ago right now" game with myself most of the day today.. because that would be, well, pretty darn "human"!).

Friday, January 9, 2009

God is good.

All. the. time.

There are so many interesting (for lack of a better word) things to learn on this journey called "grief". One of the thing that amazes me is how I can be gob-smacked (I'm sure I've heard that word somewhere) out of nowhere. Like tonight.

I was at a sports practice of Sean's. Cary & Kayleigh were running around like little maniacs. A woman came in and sat down a little ways from us with her beautiful baby boy. Pretty soon, Kayleigh was over there; smiling at baby, touching him, holding his hand. Every now & then she would say something but from where I was sitting, I couldn't make out the words. I moved closer to keep tabs on the situation. Kayleigh ran off. The mom & I said "Hi", made some small talk. I introduced myself; here, we'll call her Mary & baby, N. I took a deep breath and asked how old baby N is.

"Nine months."
"So, March... ?"
"March 27th."

Silence. Honestly, I felt sucker punched. That baby is Seth's age. To. The. Day.

I sat there, debating whether or not to say anything. What to say anyway? "Oh, Your beautiful baby has the same birthday as my dead one." No, that's not quite right. "My baby was born that day too.." But then to explain where he is now?

Here's Kayleigh again, touching baby, holding his hand. She kept looking at him, like she KNEW that he should be/could be "her baby 'feth'". M said to Kayleigh, "You're very good with babies". Ah, here it is, my opening. I took a deep breath, "well, she had a little brother at home and he died".

And this is where God shows up, trumpets practically blaring! M had a baby boy die too and he would be two years old tomorrow. How amazing is God? I'm sitting there, sucker-punched, wounded, missing my baby boy so badly I almost can NOT breathe, and sitting next to me, is a woman who knows my pain. We had a blessed conversation from that point. She shared her story. I happened to have a little photo book (of Seth & family) my friend, J, sent me at Christmas which I shared. I have an open invitation to hold sweet N whenever I'd like to, and if I wouldn't, that's okay too.

It amazes me how God uses this journey. As much as it hurts, it's exciting to see where He leads and how this will be used for His good in our lives!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

It's been a rough week. I worked a couple of extra days and the weathers been yucky and it's just been hard. It's late but I want to do Thankful Thursday. I need the change of focus. So, here we go!

1. I am grateful I have a job. I work the two days a week that Leland is home so we don't have to worry about childcare. I won't go into the whole story but just landing the job was clearly from God and I'm grateful.

2. I am grateful Leland has a job! In this recession and difficult time, we know many people who have lost jobs or had hours slashed. I thank God that we haven't had to worry about that (yet).

3. I sm thankful to live where we do, in a country of such convenience. Ther are MANY places in the world where a person can NOT run down to the corner grocery store and pick up milk and bread. And if the corner grocery store exists, there are many places where people work DAYS to be able to afford milk and bread!

4. I am thankful for chocolate. Today was one of those days and a little bit of chocolate, a mocha, etc. was a lovely pick me up.

5. I am grateful for BloggerVille. I've "met" some good friends and been exposed to some amazing women. There's a pretty impressive community out there of pretty impressive gals!

Oh, there we are! That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be (although it DID take some effort). Thanks for joining me. Click the button above to find other Thankful Thursdays!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Baby Smiles - Walk with Me Wednesday

Welcome to my first ever, THE first ever, Walk with me Wednesday - Down Memory Lane. I LOVE the fact that Lynnette has decided to do this and open it up to all of us. I am a terrible historian, a lousy "record-keeper". I wish I were better at it, but I'm too much of a perfectionist. So, I'm THRILLED to have the opportunity (and excuse!) to do it here.

My first memory is a memory of mine but it also illustrates what a gift siblings are to each other. All of my babies smiled at about the "average" time, between 6 & 8 weeks of age. I remember Sean's very first baby smile. I was holding him on my lap, facing me. His little head in my hands, I was chatting away to him and he SMILED at me. I remember that giddy feeling, like when you had a crush in high school and the boy you like smiled at you! Sean was a very serious baby, we had to work hard for those smiles so they were all precious.

Three and a half years later, along came Cary. Sean was a big brother! And a great one, he was SO sweet to HIS "baby Cawee". It was obvious that Cary loved him too. Christmas Eve, 2001, I was holding Cary on my lap, he was facing sideways. Sean got up and came in the living room, walked over to greet us. He was SO animated with his baby brother! AND... Cary smiled at Sean! Sean was the recipient of Cary's very first smile! Cary was a much smilier baby than Sean, he handed them out like candy. But all those smiles were still precious and Sean got the very first one!

Almost four years later, along came Kayleigh! And how do you suppose HER first smile played out? She gave it to Cary! (You saw that one coming didn't you? Kayleigh was laying on her back on the couch. Cary came along to chat with her and pretty soon Cary's shrieking "Her smiled at me, her smiled at ME".. Now, I didn't witness it, but I did see smiles later that day and I believe it happened.

A mere two years later, here's baby Seth! One day, very shortly after coming home from the hospital, I was sitting on the sofa with Kayleigh and Seth. (I suspect the big boys were at school). We were just hanging out, having some cuddle time. Kayleigh was talking to Seth a bit. (And maybe he could understand her, I certainly couldn't at that point!). All of a sudden, Seth's face lit up. His eyes sparkled and he flashed a large gummy smile, RIGHT at Kayleigh! Now, in all fairness, Kayleigh was not quite as thrilled as her brothers had been when they received first smiles.. I suspect she didn't quite understand the importance of the moment. I was thrilled.. And excited that our family tradition continued. I think it's pretty darn special that all of my babies saved their first smiles for their next closest siblings. Something I always want to remember....

Click on the above button to check out more Walk with Me Wednesday Memories. (If I get a chance I'll upload photos later)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Just for fun

New Year, New Meme, New Attitude
This is easily the most easiest meme, ever!

Easy peasy: Take the first sentence of the first post of each month in 2008 and post ‘em on your blog, along with a link to that post. (Let me know if you play along!)

The above was copied & pasted from: Bread Crumbs in the Butter

I haven't been posting for a year so I'm going to cheat a bit.. When I started this blog, I uploaded the emails I'd sent regarding Seth during our pregnancy and his surgeries; I'm going to use the first sentence of the first emails of the months I wasn't blogging.. And I'll link to the post.

January 2008 We saw the perinatologist on Thursday of this week.

February 2008 Week 31 - So, we've started the twice weekly non stress tests (Last week).

March 2008 Week 35 - Another good round of appointments

April 2008 During Norwood..It's 10:22 am here. Seth's surgery started (incision wise)at 9am.

May 2008 Seth is doing AWESOME!! We are SO grateful for how far God has brought us and for all of you praying for us during this time!

June 2008 I was trying to come up with a clever heading for this and I just can't so I'm being boring and just sending out an update. Blah.

July 2008 (nothing for July)

August 2008 So, Seth is hanging out, weight wise, at 5.90 kilos (fluctuating between 5.91 and 5.88 or so.. today he was down on our scale.. just something else for me to stress out about!).

September 2008 September 11 - Glenn surgery day.
Seth had his Glenn procedure this am..

October 2008 Wednesday already?I apologize for not sending out an update after yesterday's neuro consult.. I'm feeling rather drained today and so I"m doing tonight's update in bullet format just to get it done.

November 2008 Good Grief. It's already been a week since I posted.

December 2008 Still here. Still struggling. I"m not even going to attempt to apologize for my lengthy blogging absence..

Wow. What a journey the last year has been. I'm glad I did this. It was good to see the highlights. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with how it all turned out that I forget how we got here! Thanks for joining me!

Thankul Thursday 1/1/09 AND #1

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Well it seems appropriate to have my first Thankful Thursday ever also be the first day of a brand new year. Happy New Year! These are the things I'm thankful for as we enter 2009.

1. I'm thankful for Seth. It took me awhile to get there, and I still have days when I don't understand why (I never understand why). But for awhile after losing him, I really struggled with wanting to erase that he'd ever happened, his time here just seemed so short. I'm grateful for the time we did have to love on him, for the lessons we're still learning because of him and for the people God brought into my life through our time with Seth.

2. I'm thankful for Sean, Cary & Kayleigh. I know that if I didn't have them when we lost Seth, I'd have still had the Lord. But every day I have a reason to get out of bed as Kayleigh is calling out "I go pee... I GO PEE" and Cary is demanding to be fed. (Sean's pretty self sufficient in the am, as long as he's got NFL network or PS3 he's good!)

3. I'm thankful for our families. We would have had a much more difficult time managing everything with Seth over the last year without the help of my mom. When push came to shove, my sister, my mom & my dad, all left their homes & basically their lives, and came to help us. I don't think I express that gratitude often enough.

4. I'm thankful for our church family. We are so incredibly blessed to be in fellowship with a group of people who are trying to truly love as Christ commanded. I was going to start thanking specific people except every time I came up with one I thought "Oh, then I also have to thank so & so" and we'll be here all day if I start that! I'm sure they know who they are but I'm extremely thankful for their willingness to come alongside us during an extremely difficult time, even if it wasn't convenient or easy for them.

5. I'm SO thankful for the Lord in my life. The Saviour OF my life. All the previous things I've listed are gifts from Him. How amazing that I am loved that much just by being. Thank you, Lord,for this journey but mostly, thank you for Your presence on this road.

And there we are! You can check out other Thankful Thursdays by clicking on the button at the top of this post. (This was good for me. I hope I can manage this every week.)

Memes in the New Year

So, just for fun, I'm going to try participating in some blog memes in the New Year. I've picked Walk with Me Wednesday & I'm going to try Thankful Thursday and possibly Not Me Monday. We'll see how it goes. I reserve the right to throw in the towel at any point!