When Your Only Child Dies

July 13, 2014

The waves of grief come and go.  Today I finally had the discipline to drag myself to church.  I went alone, to the one I grew up in (not our regular).  This is probably only the 5th time I've been since the loss.

During the worship service, I can feel the tears starting to come.  I love Him.  I do.  My roots are deep in my faith but there is still a lot of healing to go.  The words in the song "Have your way, rule and reign in me" I battle with.  The tears come because I'm tired of the "surrender" to His will yet they are also there because I know none of us have a choice/control in any outcome.  I cry too because He is good and after everything I can still bring my lips to whisper that and mean it, despites the pain.

The topic was on "Why does a good God allow evil/suffering?"  It started off with a video of footage from the Clackamas Town Center shooting, the Troutdale shooting, the Boston Marathon.  Tears again.  Why don't you stop this??? I find myself angrily asking.  Death and evilness around every corner, striking randomly. 

There obviously is no easy answer and the pastor didn't say anything I haven't heard before.  He reminded us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  On the first few days of creation (plants, animals, etc) he was happy but He wanted to be loved.  His heart was missing that.  The plants couldn't love Him back.  Animals react on instinct.  He had to give us choice-He knew it would be selfish to pre-program us to love Him to seek Him, to choose Him.  He knew that by giving humans a choice-evil could happen if they chose that route.  He did not want to force us to be robots that love Him because we know nothing else. 

And throughout time, several people have made the choice to not choose Him and goodness but to chose selfishness and darkness.  He allows their choices to play out and only promises to make things right, someday. 

This is hard to swallow.  I didn't do anything "wrong" to deserve to lose my children.  No one else did anything "evil" to me to make me lose them.  It felt like a personal attack or personal "denial" from the Creator Himself.  We cry out to heaven and all we hear is a door slam, several bolts lock, and silence (as described by C.S. Lewis).  The pastor reminded us that we don't see tomorrow and He does.  That He is good and all His actions are love.  That even evil things can be redeemed, made right, restored because of His love for us. 

Pretty heavy stuff to process on one of my first times back at church.  One of my mom's friends who I grew up with stopped me on the way out to say hi.  She brought up the loss and I couldn't have felt more loved.  She acknowledged the sorrow and hugged me (so much better than acting like it didn't happen).  I talked a bit about it, through tears.  I ended the conversation with telling her that despite the horror, Darren and I do not accept this fight is over.  Holding Jude only fueled the flames to keep moving forward and I told her that I hope that the peace and that the hope and that the fight to move forward is from Him.

2 popular songs on the radio really get me.  It's crazy how love songs can relate so much to babies.  The song "All of Me" instantly reminds me of Jude "All of me, loves all of you, all your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections",  I picture my favorite black and white picture of his gorgeous face with little bruises.  On the way home from church the song "Stay with Me" came on the radio on the way home and I lost it.  I really really hope that the next baby stays with me.  I cried in a good way.  The cry that helps release the sadness that slowly builds up over time. 

We later went to a family reunion at my parents to hold a casual memorial service for my grandma that died 10 days after Jude.  All my married cousins have kids.  I couldn't help but ache for Jude and Brinly when I saw the family pictures with all their children together.  I can't help but think all of my sister and cousin's kids met my grandma.

Today was a sad day for me and I actually feel ok about it.  I need these days, to process, to remember, to acknowledge and to work through the bruises in my faith.

I came across this article on Still Standing about the pain that comes with losing your only living child.  She says that some moms lose a baby/child but they still have 1 or more living-she explains how our pain is different/empty-but goes on to say she doesn't want to get into who has it worst, it's all worst-our child died.  Anyways, read it if you get a chance, it explains a lot of how I felt those dark months following the delivery.  I still can relate to several of her feelings.
(I took the bottom image from her article)
When your only child dies : http://stillstandingmag.com/2014/07/child-dies/

A Baby Monkey Nipped Darren

July 8, 2014

Darren and I got back from our 10 day trip to Puerto Rico and then Carribean Cruise to: St. Lucia, St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Kitts, and St. Marteen last week and things have been insane!  Everyone assumes that since I'm a teacher I "relax" in the summer, but I haven't even had time to catch up on the THREE episodes of the Bachelorette.

This summer I'm doing 3 jobs.  I'm teaching a education class Monday and Wednesday nights at Concordia University. The majority of my days involve hours of prep and planning to make sure my 3 teaching hours are as awesome as possible.  Starting today I will be scoring teacher portfolios from home from 8am to noon everyday until the end of the month.  I'm still teaching Spanish online too!  I'm actually more busy than I am during the school year.  The day we got back from vacation, I had 24 hours to get ready for my first class!  I'm actually looking forward to August (my last university day is August 6) and I'm in two of my best friend's weddings so it should be more fun.

Back to the monkey that bit Darren.  This was by far my FAVORITE part of vacation.  The whole trip was perfect.  Sunny days, balcony room, unlimited food and dessert, gorgeous beaches, getting to spend 24/7 with Darren, etc.  But one day at breakfast I overhead that in St. Kitts you can get your picture with a monkey when you get off the boat.  I looked at Darren with a stern look and said "I'm doing this."  (He usually is opposed to anything that has to do with wildlife and actually dropped my new S5 when I was trying to get him to take a selfie of us both holding pigeons).

When we got off the boat at St. Kitts, there they were.  Tiny little monkeys (in diapers) and some even in dresses!  They are the pets of somewhat "shady" locals who origiannly wanted me to give him $10 to take 3 pictures with my cell phone!  As you are negotiating the price, they literally start putting the monkeys on you...I guess get you more excited?  We agreed on $5 for 2 pictures (eye roll).  Darren followed the rules and only took 1 picture of me and the monkey isn't even looking.  But the real treasure is the pictures (notice plural) I snapped of him.  The locals constantly feed the monkeys (I'm assuming to keep them from biting) but the little monkey was starting to slip on Darren's arm so he boosted it back up...which in turn, made the monkey think he was trying to touch his food, so he nipped him.  For some reason, every time I rethink the scenario of Darren getting bit by the monkey I feel really happy, amused, and to be honest, a bit jealous.  What a great story for those ice breakers where you tell two truths and a lie??

Last summer at this exact time I was gearing up for transfer #3.  Today is a weird day in regards to Jude and Brinly and their frozen siblings at OHSU.   July 8th, 2013 exactly one year ago was when my triplets made it to 5 day blasts and were transferred into me.  This being our 2nd full blow egg retrieval, we had 9 make it to 5 or 6 day blasts-the best two and the lowest score were the 3 we chose to transfer.  So from that cycle we froze 2 single embryos 4AB/4AB, a set of 4ABs and then a set of 6 days blasts-they joined 1 set of 4ABs from our first IVF cycle.  So crazy the start of J and B and all the other frosties was a year ago.  I'm grateful for the "hope on ice" that are waiting for me when I'm ready.  Next step is to plan Jude and Brinly's memorial for the end of the summer/early fall.  I think although sad, it will be another step towards healing and another step in this messy thing called grief.  They are in our hearts every second.  I wrote their name in the sand in the Carribean.

I read a long time ago at the beginning of my blogging that wearing red underwear on New Year's Eve helps increase fertility.  Any one know if monkey bites help?

Formal Night on the ship!

My handsome husband enjoying the balcony

View from our room!

Orient Beach

I was way happy about feeding pigeons in Puerto Rico.

 Best for last, this is the 2nd picture I took, right before he bit.  You can see the look in his eye.

Rainbow Baby Killed in Bike Crash

July 3, 2014

When I lost Jude and Brinly I was quickly welcomed with sad, warm, open arms in a very private and small groups called LAMBS.  Loss of all multiples.  This group has been my saving grace because it's a small collection of women who truly understand the horror and depth of loss and loss and loss instead of just trying to imagine it.  I can go here when I have a dark thought or have been hurt/offended by someone who I KNOW meant well but stung me.  Here the women validate my feelings while gently reminding me people mean well.

Cynthia Jenks is the name of group administrator.  She lost quadruplets in 1998 (identical boys/fraternal girls).  She has been kind and caring to all of us moms (and sadly the new moms each month that join due to losing ALL).  Today she posted in the group and said that she has never mentioned it in the group but that she actually had her rainbow twins (boy/girl) in 2000 (many of us women in the group really really are sensitive to twins/triples and hearing about other people's can trigger lots of emotions, that is why I'm assuming she never told us she has twins).  Anyway, last week, her 13 year old son and daughter where on a bike ride (with a group that trains teens to bike competitively) and he was killed, 3 inches in front of his teen sister, in a bike wreck.

I felt really numb reading her post.  Then I read it to Darren and the reality of the cruelty of life set in.  I'm not in charge but if things were fair (which we all know they are NOT), the pain, loss, nastiness would at least be spread out.  A mommy that had to bury 4 babies that she labored and delivered has put in her time in the suffering department.  To experience the rainbow boy/girl twins and then a sudden loss?  The article took me to her facebook page and just days before she was posting family pictures.

I think about the idea of "rainbow" baby all the time-They are the beauty after the storm.  Things being made right.  With my first miscarriage in 2012, I thought J and B were my rainbows.  If I ever am lucky enough to get my rainbow baby, the pain of losing him/her as young teen is beyond horrific.  I know it's beyond horrific for any family, any loss of a child.

I by no means want to be doom and gloom.  We all know we will die at some point.  I guess I write about her because it reminds me to hold those that I love even closer.  Just like the poem Amy wrote me when Jude and Brinly died Loss and Gratitude , remember to enjoy each and every second you have with the children you have or the husband and wife or friend or sibling.  My heart breaks for her today because I have an idea of the grief that lies ahead...

Olivia and Timothy at Open Water Zones 2013 Wisconsin

My Bucket List:

My Bucket List: