Sunday, April 15, 2012

2 years

There are certain landmarks,  places in my everyday life
that when I pass by them...
I remember...

I am never so healed that I can't still feel the sadness.

Just a linger in my mind for awhile on a silent night brings me back.
2 years.

I am that kind of person that has to feel,  has to recall,  has to express.   I really couldn't let the 2 year mark of our baby's death and my delivery of her go unmentioned.   It was too important an event in our lives and even 2 years past I still get emotional at the thought of what we went through.
That is OK,  and good.   Freedom from hurt is not my goal.   Grieving is not some kind of ladder to climb and when you reach the top you are free.  That kind of freedom just can't be found on this earth.   Strange as it may seems, I am thankful for the scar.

On the evening of April 14, 2010 we were scheduled at the hospital for the induction and delivery of our 5th baby,  already passed away.   We pulled up to the emergency room entrance like we had done 4 times before.  This time was so very different.  There was no excitement,  only sorrow.   A smiling man came out with the wheelchair to escort me.    He didn't know why I was there. 
I didn't need a wheelchair,  but I sat in it anyway.    Someone wheeled me up to the corner room,   far away from all the other labor and delivery mothers.   My nurses that night already knew this was a case of fetal demise and I truly believe they were chosen by God to be at my side.

They. were. wonderful. 

I recognized the mauve floral print of the wallpaper and decor of the hospital room.   It used to be quaint and inviting.

It no longer was.  

I hated being in that gown, wearing those slipper socks.  I prayed about how I would find the strength to deliver a dead baby as my poor husband sat lovingly and helplessly by my side.

I just wanted to get it over with.  Why couldn't they just knock me out, I thought?
Why?   Why did I have to be conscious of what was about to happen.   Honestly,  I felt like a terrified child.   I cried and I cried.   I wanted that baby,  I wanted to carry her all summer,  and deliver her full and alive on or around September 17.   That was the plan,  My plan.

God's plan was different.
His ways are for my good.   Always.   It was a truth I knew even in those moments.
He would sustain me.   I just had to trust that.

April 14 turned into April 15 and at 4:12am,   almost unintentionally I delivered a very small  but incredibly real,  still,  baby.

I wailed.
Dan held my hand and encouraged me, and watched in somewhat disbelief as well.
Now what?

This is where the healing begins.

As with any baby birth,  visitors followed.   At first I wanted no one there,  followed by wanting everyone there to see the reality of it.   (I felt they wouldn't, they couldn't fully understand unless they saw her)    But then, again   I wanted no one there.

Our pastor visited us and I remember feeling bad that in the midst of a beautiful spring day he had to attend to and enter in to our sorrow.     He sat with us,   really let us be exactly where we were at,  prayed with us and ultimately encouraged me with his confidence that I would not lose my faith over this,  that I would certainly grieve but April's death was not a dealbreaker for me.   I was stronger than that, and most importantly God's love is strongest and I was firmly in His grip.   

Everytime  I pass by the church bathroom,   visit our family doctor and see that exam room,  drive the on ramp to the highway,  see the daffodils bloom,   wash Dan's black sweatshirt,   converse with our pastor,  hear specific songs (the one playing in the background)-  I go there.

2 years later I don't know why God chose to take her to him.   But I do have the gift of hindsight. Looking back I clearly see some of the ways God moved, lead, comforted.

In our hearts she leaves a legacy, in our hearts her very short life had value. In my heart I want to hold her again. Until then, I will continue to open the healing gifts that God gives.

Happy 2nd heavenly birthday, April.

Today we honor, remember, and thank God for you.

Friday, April 06, 2012

It's gotta be the shoes.

While sitting in the shoe store a month ago,  mesmerized by the brilliant wall of colorful running shoes I felt I was in a familiar place.  No,  the store wasn't  familiar for it was my first time shopping there, rather what felt familiar  was what was going on in my head.  I sat and thought as I waited for the sales person to hop over with that weird shoe trying on ramp.  I sat and thought...

Today isn't the first time I purposed to become athletic.
Today isn't the first time I wanted to be part of the team.
Today will not be the the first time vanity took victory...

Stroll backward with me...
As I was a budding young junior-higher I decided that sports would be my thing.   After all,  thanks to my genetics I was taller than most and I had a father who excelled in most sports as evidenced by the scrapbooks and photo albums my Grandmother so lovingly assembled.   Being a Hopkins was nearly synonymous with being an athlete.

Atheticism... Check!
Making the Basketball team... Check!  (did I mention there were not cuts at my school?)
Looking good while playing sport... Almost check.

I needed Basketball shoes.   I concocted the belief that whatever sport I played in my Jr. High career needed the appropriate shoe.   No run of the mill MTA Pro tennis shoe would do.   I needed legit Basketball shoes!   There was one girl who was leaps and bounds more talented than anyone in a decade at Moline Chr. school.   She wore Nike Air Basketball shoes.    I needed Nike Air Basketball shoes!
Knowing me as they did,  My financially unstable yet generous and loving parents sprung for this exact pair:

With my Basketball shoes securely fastened I was ready for a season of layups, free throws and Wins!
The truth was my small school was known much more for its farm fresh smell than dominance on the courts.   The truth was I just couldn't get that jump shot right.
But,  you know what?

I didn't care one bit that we lost nearly every game!
I had the shoes!
I was part of a team!
I looked good (or so I thought) running up and down the court with my hair in my eyes.   (far be it from me to wear my hair in a ponytail for the games-- I looked hideous that way , or so I thought)

Back to present day.
A little history on what brought me shoe shopping.   I have come to a point in my mid-ish 30s where a realization hit me.    No more pregnancies,   no more excuses.   It is time to get in shape.   For health,  for energy,  for life!   I had purpose.

Another inspiration are two of my girlfriends that have been running for some time now.   They talk of things like treadmills,  workouts, and 5ks.   It intrigued me.   I wanted in.   I wanted to be on Team Running!

So, one day I found myself at the aforementioned wall of running shoes.  The sales girl fitted me with the most amazing pair of pink Nike Zoom Structure + Triax 15 running shoes.    

I felt as great as these pink shoes look!  The pink shoes made my size 10s look positively dainty!  

It was an amazing trifecta!  

Atheleticism was on the horizon.
I was about to become member of the running gang.
I had THE shoes.

What followed that high was an unwelcome discoveries.    12 years of birthing and babies does not a runner make.   The amazing pink shoes were not so amazing as they squished to my toes into a state of numb.    How could this be?   They look so good!  The Couch to 5k program was about to go go back to the couch.

I was told to head back to the shoe store.    With a proper re-fitting I was offered a slim selection of shoes that only a cheapskate with a wide foot and mild to moderate over pronation could love.

They certainly weren't pink.  Defeated and disillusioned ,  I made the exchange at the register and the sales girl offered up one last sales pitch/life lesson.

She said and I quote:
"You're just going to have to get over the fact that they are not pink."

"The nerve!"  I thought as I scanned the parking lot for my minivan.

As I talked to my husband about the incident I began to see the truth amongst all the silliness that was I was creating.   If I want to get healthy,  and accomplish this running goal (a 5k with my friends)  I needed to let vanity lose,  and lose hard.

There are so, so many lessons I am learning through this process.   One of which is taught so beautifully in the following scripture...

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  
 Hebrews 12:1 

False identity,  vanity,  materialism.  May I be stripped of these weights and run the race.


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

march means milestones

In the past the month of March is always a whirlwind and this one was no exception.

Joy and I kicked off the month with our shared birthday.   For some time Joy has wanted to get her ears pierced,  but just never really nailed down a time or age that she would find the courage to do it.   After her younger cousin got her ears pierced for Christmas she decided that her 8th birthday would be the day.  After school Grandma,  Joy and I went over to the local mall and I proudly watched my oldest daughter experience this rite of passage.     She didn't wimp out,  or even shed a tear (even after I told her she could)   The crying and whining was to follow a few weeks later when the novelty wore off and she still has to clean her ears.

Next up that month was a trip with our beloved small group to Great Wolf Lodge.    I have a terribly old camera that uses a thumb tack for a shutter button!  Unfortunately,  that caused me to miss out on a lot of good pix on this trip.  Thankfully,  I have talented friends with great cameras to capture the moments!
here's a sampling...

Oh,  I'm not done yet...
We celebrated the birthdays and the life of Chase turning 12 and Naomi is now 1.   Family parties and plenty of fun.   The only thing missing was Dan.  He was working away out of state (more on that in a later post). 

I might have to do a whole post on what it means for me for this gal to turn one year old.  
Stay Tuned.

Apparently the rule in this house is that you get a friend Birthday party when you turn 8.
This was Joy's year!   We wandered to the local bowling alley and she and 11 of her school friends bowled and giggled,  created plenty of drama for a Friday afternoon.   It was a fun time and it's always special to see your kid in her element.  

 Joy with her Grandmas- I was so thankful to have them there!
 Grandma H. and Dewey take a break from all the girl power.

Despite all the fun, there were many menial as well as challenging moments in March.    At times when Dan was gone --if I didn't laugh I would most certainly cry during particularly overwhelming times with the fantastic 5.   We survived and thrived March 2012 despite what this last photo implies...

Juliet's beauty shop.