Saturday, June 14, 2014

Thoughts on a Week of Loss

1. Your whole life can change in 15 seconds. I thought that was cliche, but it is true. On Monday our world crashed in the time it took for the doctor to say "there is something wrong with his head." That was the phrase. We had gone in for a confirmation on the sex of the baby and my final DC med clearance, but we left heading to the hospital to confirm the worst of our fears. It took one minute to go from "It's a boy!" to "there is something wrong with his head." I forgot to breath, or to feel, or to know. All I could do was look at the screen and my baby sucking his thumb.

2. I hate the word Ancephaly, because it was took my son away. There is nothing you can do to stop it. It comes before you even know you are pregnant, and prevents the top of the skull from forming. By the time our doctor saw it his poor brain was gone, all but the stem had been washed away by the amniotic fluid.  Even if she had seen it sooner, we couldn't have stopped it. There is no cure and it is always fatal. I will hate that word and disease for the rest of my life.

3. I have never been so helpless. I couldn't stop what was happening, and I couldn't protect my son, and I couldn't protect my husband, and I couldn't save myself. I never understood hopelessness, until I found myself falling asleep and waking up crying.

4. Tuesday, I had a whole day to wait for doctors to confer and discuss, and Justin had to go to school. I walked Minto Brown for hours, and found myself sitting by the Willamette with my bible and my journal. I  always find it easier to connect with God in nature, perhaps it all those summer camps, but there I met and raged against God. I hated Him, and needed Him, and lost it all to Him. I came away knowing that God had known this before he formed me in my Mother's womb. I walked away choosing to faithfully believe that God's plan was better than mine and his love for my son was greater than mine.  I chose faith. Faith is not easy. I don't have what it takes to do this alone. I chose to ask God to do it for me. I gave my life, my son's life, and my family to Him. I cried out to him and he came to me. He has carried me all week.

5. I am eternally thankful for the kindness the OHSU staff showed us. From the first moment we entered the confusing maze of a hospital they treated us as if we were the only people there. They ordered more ultrasounds, which were agonizing and amazing, explained things in detail, answered all of our questions and never once pressured us towards any decisions. They gave us the best information they could and let us decide what was best for our family.  Once they confirmed that Teddy's diagnosis was correct, they gave us time to cry. No one rushed us or seemed annoyed. They treated us with such grace and kindness, that I felt truly cared for.

6. My LaCreole/Dallas family demonstrated an unprecedented amount of love for us. I have always believed my district was special, but this week proved to me that I have the kindest and most generous co-workers. From the cards, the meals, to the text messages, we were uplifted. A special thanks to Jared for taking on my classes, and being the communicator. I am proud to be blessed to work where I do.

7. Our family and friends loved us and grieved with us. They proved that distance can't defeat love and their support was and is so important. Mostly, we never felt alone or abandoned. To those of you who reached out to share your own stories about losing your child, Thank You. We cry with you.

8. I don't know what the next step is, or how I will feel tomorrow. At the moment I feel it all at once. Angry, sad, anxious, depressed, okay, my emotions are a pendulum. What I do know is that "the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it." John 1:5.  My son will never suffer, he will never know fear, or anger, or depression, or guilt, but he will know love, and peace, and eternal joy. He will know that he was made by a glorious God, who holds him close to his heart. I know that our goodbye isn't forever, and waiting a lifetime to hold him is a blink in eye of eternity.

9. Justin and I had big dreams for Teddy. Baby snuggles, and family pictures, Harrison teaching him his favorite songs, family road trips, first day of school, countless holidays and sunny summer days. My sons playing soccer in the backyard. Father & Sons camping trips, his first school dance, the first time he fell in love, high school graduation, deciding what he wanted to be. Being proud of the man he became, loving the person he chose to spend his life with, thrilled with our grandchildren. Safe in the knowledge that when we went, Harrison and he would have one another. You start dreaming these things the moment you know your baby is coming. They are hard to let go of.

10. I am nothing, but a weak and broken woman who is bringing her pain to her creator. Any peace I have found, any hope I can see, any love I can rest in comes from Christ. He has surrounded us with love this week. He has gently guided us, and carried us. He has used our community to remind us we have much to be thankful for and are not alone. He found moments to let us know that there is other suffering. Tuesday, a local high school was the center of a shooting and two families lost their sons to incomprehensible violence. We had a chance to say goodbye to our son. He wasn't ripped from us. We have heard stories of people who lost their baby and never knew why. They have no disease to hate, no clear answer. Most of all, unlike many couples who suffer the loss of a child, we came home to our first miracle. He still needed us to parent him, he didn't complain when we held him tighter, and kissed him longer, and when we least expect it he makes us laugh. Thank God, for Harrison. Thank God, for the short time we had with Teddy. Thank God, we got to say goodbye. Thank God, for such a loving husband, who held me while he broke. Thank God, for all who have lifted us up. Thank God, we don't have to do this alone. Thank God, for continuing to carry us.

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