Wednesday, September 29, 2010

my heart divided

When I was still in the hospital last April 15,  I completely exhaustedly cried to Dan,  "I feel like the only thing that will ever take away this pain is becoming pregnant again"  and having the 5th child that we dreamed of.   If I could be pregnant by April's due date,   wouldn't that be even better?!" 

Desperate thoughts and prayers of a mother who wanted to catch up to where I thought I would be.  Feelings of a mommy who would always feel that someone is missing.

Fast forward 5 months and my desperate plea became truth.   Being pregnant again has brought about joy, hope and happiness,  but not exactly in the way I thought it would  when I spoke those words in the delivery room last spring.    

I tend to keep the grief of April's death separate from the hope of the new life growing within.    Being pregnant again does not bring April back.  I did not get to pick up where I left off at 17 weeks.  I am starting over and frankly,  that has been difficult.     It sometimes feels like in order to keep April's life and that pregnancy remembered I need to keep her loss and this new life on two separate sides of my heart.   I have been reluctant to let this new pregnancy assist in joy's restoration.   I have seen how this new pregnancy brings joy and delight to those around me.  It somewhat fills the void for them.   For us,  the void will always exist.

Recently,  after I passed April's due date I began to think that maybe I should let the two lives intersect.  Open up my mind to the fact that this new baby can be a part of what God is giving me to heal the pain of April's death.   I know that this baby will will not replace her,  but allowing myself to really grab hold of this pregnancy sometimes feels like it pushes her significance to the side, or eventually to the far, far background of our memories. 

my heart divided.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

above the bridge

This summer Dan and Chase and Grandpa Hopkins ventured to Canada on Chase's first fishing trip.
I am not sure how long ago this tradition started,  but perhaps on and off for about 20 years.

I will admit Dan and I have a track record of procrastination.   Included to waiting until the last second to get Chase a passport.    The border patrol? laws have changed since my pops and brother went to Canada back in the day.   Let's just say we were impatiently waiting at the mailbox in the days before the trip.

Chase did get his passport card... 2 days after he left.   As it turns out,  only his birth certificate was needed for this type of cross country adventure.  I was so glad.  I had visions of Chase sitting in some corner room somewhere with no snacks,  waiting for me to come pick him up at the border while the rest of the fishing gang went on!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Isn't that just like God?

I have something amazing to marvel at...

My due date for this pregnancy (March 28) is near or about precisely the date back in March of this year that our April passed away.

Isn't that just like God?

Let me say this...   God's ways are not our ways,  and I am not claiming to neatly tie up what still He wills for me-- but I sure love to ponder the significance certain dates have had for me during my child bearing years.   3 babies (Drew, Juliet & April) born/delivered on the same date.   Joy born on my own 28th birthday.   I would like to give Chase a birthday buddy to  and have  baby #6 born on his birthday (March 18), but perhaps that's getting a little nutz!

I am finding joy in this new life and in the significance of my new due date.    Sometimes it is the simple things like this that are such a gifts!

Tell me...
do you have a cool story such as this?  I would love to hear it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

a new hope.

This is my first and hopefully last pregnancy after a loss.

Realistically speaking,   gone is the giddy glee  (is that redundant?) of being pregger.    Gone are the days of just knowing that after the 40ish weeks of headaches,  fatigue, hormonal chaos and weight gain will be a living,  breathing blessing of a babe.      I have joined millions of women who anxiously count the weeks with cautious optimism.      Our last experience has convoluted my mind about the normal outcome of pregnancy.

This pregnancy didn't start out that way though.   Back in July in the oh, so nasty dirty grocery store bathroom  I saw that blue line turn into a plus sign!    I intentionally  looked up into the mirror and noticed something on my face I had not seen in awhile. 


In that moment,  and it was brief,  I felt the wonder and delight of knowing that a new life was forming within.   I didn't think about heart defects, stillbirth and grief.   I thought about the future.  I thought about things like holding this rainbow baby,   I felt joy.  Perhaps I should have stayed in that bathroom longer.

I wish I could say that from there to here I have been confident and free of worry.   The truth is the worry started to set in as I passed through the grocery store sliding doors.    It increased as I drove back to the cottage.   Panic rose as I sat through blood tests and ultrasounds.    The pain of losing April in the second trimester is still so fresh.   There are times my heart is consumed with fear at the possibility of going through that again.

I have to challenge what I feel with questions such as...  "Is fear really what God desires for me?"   and  "Do I glorify Him while constantly worrying?"
The answers are no,   and I don't.    
...and the nagging thought..."Is all this worry a display of ingratitude or ultimately,  sin in my life?"    

So these days  I try to balance the fear and the hope.   Some days hope far outweighs.  Other days fear and its cruel perpetrator seem to get the upper hand.    I understand this to be normal,   but I want to be back in the grocery store bathroom.

I want to look in the mirror and see that unadulterated hope in my face once more. 
I believe this will be,  
but feeling today that I'm traveling a  new  long and winding road...   
 and I am riding down it in grief's company car. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flashback Friday

Ask any mother you know.

She remembers the date(s) that her baby is/was due.
She remembers if they came early or late or for a few of us-- right on the money.

It is a day you count down to from the moment the stick turns positive.    
It is the day you observe in agony when your baby passed away far too soon.   

Today I have finally reached my due date for our 5th baby.
Today I think on all of them.
Chase D...   due March 25,  born March 18, 2000

Andrew J.D...  due April 25,  born April 15, 2002

Joy E...   due March 10,  born March 1, 2004

Juliet L...  due April 15,   born April 15, 2008
April...  due September 17,   born asleep April 15, 2010

Baby Dieleman #6  due March 28, 2011 
 BabyFruit Ticker

With hope and trusting through our fears, 
we pray that we will receive the gift
of a
healthy baby,
full of life.  

  Not to us, O LORD, not to us
       but to your name be the glory,
       because of your love and faithfulness. 
Psalm 115:1

Thursday, September 16, 2010

a long time coming.

Nine months,  or 40 weeks.  However you want to count it,  pregnancy is a slow process.

So is living out a phantom pregnancy as I have been doing for the last 5 months. 

Tomorrow, I have finally reached the end.  It seems significant, if only for my own heart.

My feelings are mixed to say the least.  Since the moment I knew I lost April I yearned for this due date to come... I wanted it to be over with.  Why?  Because I wanted the future to arrive at my doorstep as a expedited special delivery.   I would open that package in and in it I would find healing and wholeness again.   You might say that I was wishing my life away.    It makes sense, right?   If time heals, and God is faithful why wouldn't I want to be months farther along in my life?

Honestly,  now that I've reached this due date the package at my doorstep is a big box of grief.    When I really let myself think about how this very night I could have been holding my living, healthy daughter my heart finds a new place to break.    The difference between now and last spring is-- I let my heart break a little when it needs to because I know that God's amazing love will fill the cracks.  I have learned this time and again over the long summer season that I wished so badly to skip through.  

I guess that is what the last 23 weeks have been about.  I had to live out this pregnancy each-and-every-minute-of-everyday-of-it to learn the things I have and to feel the pain I have-- and ultimately to experience first hand how true God's promises are!  

I am weepy and weary tonight,  but tomorrow is a new day!

John 16:20-22
20I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

the wheels on the bus...

go round and round.   (you know you just sang that! )

The second day of school brought to the end of our driveway-- a school bus!!!

For the last 5 years I have carpooled the kids to school.  It had its ups and downs.

This fall we had anticipated a newborn in the house and I had successfully lobbied Dan for our school's bus service so I wouldn't have to lug 5 kids out the door every morning.   Out of the pure love and graciousness in his heart,  he first gave me the go ahead on the bus when I was pregnant with April.    Out of a even larger and more generous heart,   the bus plan remained intact even though there is no newborn to care for this fall. 

It is a gift that keeps on giving every single day and I am deeply grateful.   
Here's a few pix from the first week o' school,  now that it is in the history books.

waiting... waiting...waiting...

yes!  it's finally here!


coming home much dirtier,  germier,  and smellier than when they left.

and of course,  I can't forget about this rascal....

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

What? It's not about me?

I've been so ticked at myself lately.

So many things I have desired to do in my process of healing after the loss of April,  in April.

I remember scouring the internet,  asking others for resources to help me through the pain of pregnancy loss and stillbirth.    I have these materials.   They sit in my nightstand,  just ready to be read and learned from.

I am ticked because there they sit.   My predisposition to procrastination lives on even in my time of grief.   You would think I would have done everything possible so far to move past the pain of loss,   yet I have not.

So in the midst of being annoyed at myself again,  for being me.   I took a step back to look at why I might not be doing these things I think will be so beneficial.

Oh, that's right.   I have 4 kids.   They were home all.summer.long.    They are needy, fun, beings that depended on me for meals, fun, and attention.  

I have family, church and friend obligations.   Generally those things do not fade away during times of sadness--even when, at times I could barely bring myself to participate.

Ultimately,  I am realizing that me, myself, and I am not solely responsible for my healing.
 God is. 

The way, shape, and form of the healing that He provides is not for me to determine.   My job is just to trust Him and go to Him.   Yes,  the books,  blogs and studies I have in my nightstand can be tools-- but God is the One who will do the work.

Certainly, He has.   In ways I prayed for,  in ways I never expected.   Still the road continues.
It makes me glad to know that I don't have to heal myself or be surprised by joy.   I thank you Lord,  for bringing me to this place!

Philippians 1:6 (Contemporary English Version)

God is the one who began this good work in you, 
and I am certain 
that he won't stop before it is complete 
on the day that Christ Jesus returns.