April 2011

April 29, 2011

The Lily Lesson
Today in science class the students were dissecting flowers, lilies specifically.  These lilies have 6 petals.  One
student called out that his did not have six petals; it only had four.  God whispered, “Isn’t it beautiful?  Just as it is.  Just as I created it.”  It held beauty and mystery and simplicity.

Just as Jedidiah did.  Jedidiah was completely, 100% beautiful.  He was amazing.  He had the look of a grumpy old man, a sweet smiling chunk, and a tiny newborn babe all rolled into one little 3 pound, 11 ounce body.  God PLANNED him. He formed him. He knew him. He ordained for Jedidiah’s life to be beautiful, mysterious, and simple.

God is sovereign, and He made NO mistake with my son.  He will use Jedidiah’s life to glorify His name AND to bring peace and love and comfort to all who hear his story.

April 25, 2011

“Normal”

Today we return to “normal.”  Jim has left for work.  The boys are waking in order to get ready for school to begin.  I have exercised, dressed, and paid some bills that got ignored during the past couple of weeks, and I am now wondering if I can get through this day.  What is “normal” now?  Will I ever be able to look at a baby at
church and not see Jedidiah?  Will I be able to sit anywhere in my own home and not think of a moment during our pregnancy or the short time we had him here?  Will I ever stop aching to hold him, especially when I see empty blankets?  Empty blankets, empty arms.  “Normal?”  What is normal?  

I need to focus on living, but my heart is chilled.  I need to focus on the boys, but my mind wanders.  I need to
focus on God, but my perspective is selfish.  What is normal?

April 19, 2011

I don’t know what to say, what to feel.  I would never want Jedidiah back to feel pain, but my arms ache to hold him, to feel his sweet chubby cheek against mine.

April 17, 2011

Guilt
I am overcome with guilt sometimes.  Guilt for thinking early when we first got the diagnosis that it would be better for everyone else, perhaps even myself, if I just lost Jedidiah early.  Guilt for wanting to keep him with me as long as possible.  Guilt for napping those 45 or so minutes in the hospital while he rested in someone else’s arms.  Guilt for not holding him more myself.  Guilt for not sharing him more with others.  Guilt for feeding him when maybe that made it harder on him (I know, but guilt isn’t rational).  Guilt for strapping him to that dreaded car seat. Guilt for forgetting moments of being with him.  Guilt for reliving his moment of death over and over again.  Guilt for not having the body donation run smoothly.  Guilt for not being more patient with the kids.
Guilt for getting angry with some folks.  Guilt for not playing with his hair more.  Guilt for not taking more pictures while we were here at home.  Guilt for disappointments in others when they really had done nothing wrong.  Guilt for hating the molds-making time because it made him cry but then being so thankful for the molds after he was gone.  Guilt, guilt, guilt.

Living on Adrenaline and Grief

Numerous shopping trips, multiple email invitations sent out, printing invitations, edits on the program and other
papers, obsession about colors of balloons and clothes, attempts to carry on coherent conversations… some of my final words to Jim on Friday evening were, “What do I do now?”

April 15, 2011

I am writing about the service, but just like the last two days, I can’t seem to keep from being too wordy.  Will post this day when I get the recap finished.

April 14, 2011
I awoke early to get some cleaning done.  Correction, picking up.  I didn’t clean.  The news crew was due at 8 to film us eating our breakfast—“a day in the life,” I guess.  Of course, Jim cooked.  He made French toast and bacon.  Yum!  The boys were well behaved, and we sat down to the first family meal that we had had since the night before Jedidiah was born.  Wow, had we missed that.  With food coming in at different times, folks here at various times, and the randomness of grief, everyone had been eating whenever they felt like it.  What
a gift God gave us by having the news crew ask us to have a “typical” breakfast.  They got a special breakfast,
but a typical family meal.  How wonderful it was to sit and pray together, to pass food and laugh together, to make a mess together.

We got through the interview with only having to stop once for the emotion of the situation.  Being able to revisit our pregnancy, our delivery, and our time with Jedidiah was quite healing.  Another blessing…  hearing Jim’s answers.  I loved being able to truly stop and listen to what he was saying without interruptions, including from me!

After the interview, the cameraman wanted to get some other images, so we began talking casually with the
reporter.  Without realizing it, I sat in the same spot where I was sitting when Jedidiah passed away.  I didn’t think I would ever be able to sit there again without monumental grief, so I had avoided it.  When I realized what I had done, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cry for relief or cry because life had moved on, already.  Either way, I needed to accept what had happened right here in my own living room.

The kids were being picked up again by some folks from our co-op.  It had been so wonderful for them to have distractions throughout the week and so good for me to have quiet and time to get work done for the memorial service.  I was able to talk and not feel like running away.

We went to meet with Pastor Pat to work out the details of the memorial service.  After Jim asked him to do the message and shared with him what God had placed on his own heart about the message, Pastor Pat began to encourage Jim to do the message himself.  Jim agreed, and Pastor Pat was willing to read Jim’s words if he couldn’t make it through.

After more shopping, we rushed off to the church to run Darby’s DVD through to make sure that it would work on the church’s system.  Jim got a call.  A close friend of his had come in from Baltimore as a surprise and was standing in our driveway.  He met us at the church.  How amazing to be surrounded by the love of friends and family.

April 13, 2011

On Wednesday, I was struggling to speak.  I wanted the ministering that others were providing, but I couldn’t seem to find the right words to say, not that they cared, but I was struggling to put my thoughts together in a cohesive way.  I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood to laugh or cry.

Jim and I had some errands we needed to do to get ready for the memorial service, and we ended up eating out, meeting up with D.  At the restaurant, we saw a little one who was hold enough to hold up her own head but not enough to keep from wobbling a bit.  I looked away, reminding myself that all children are a blessing and reminding myself to focus on being thankful that that mama still had her little one.  At some point, the little one began to cry.  Although we were seated from far her, we could hear.

Again, we had folks coming to the house.  We love fellowship.  We have missed the fellowship during meals
greatly during this past week, so I didn’t want to miss the people, but at the same time, what should I say that wouldn’t overwhelm me or them?

Jim had to leave that afternoon for a short time.  I don’t take leaving well.  I try to realize that always making sure that a ‘last goodbye’ would be poignant if anything tragic ever happened is exhausting and, basically, keeps me in a constant state of worry about death as well as doing the right thing (so, yes, I have let that go, for the most part).  Also, when he leaves, sometimes I feel abandoned.  It will happen at random times, for some reason that I am sure psychologists and counselors would love to explore, but in this case, I knew why.  I felt he didn’t want to be with me, that he
didn’t care that I would have to face more people again, that he wanted to be away for a while.  The poor man deserves some time to himself, but in this case, it was something he had to do, not wanted to do.  He has ministered to
me and the children as well as to others who have needed it, even while he needs it.  But, my perspective was only my own hurt and internal struggles.

I got through, barely, speaking with the folks that brought the boys back home.  We needed to pick out a picture for Jedidiah’s memorial frame, and with Jim gone, but the computer briefly available, I had to look through more than 700 photos of our time with Jedidiah without his papa.  I hadn’t looked at the photos in detail since the day after his death.  But, now, I had to focus on each one, evaluating its quality, its angle, its lighting, and its
portrayal to the world (service attenders) of my son.  There were others around me, but I only wanted Jim.

When he returned, I behaved badly.  He had no idea what was going on inside me.  He had had a bad hour and a
half himself, and he got attacked the moment he came him—he got the look, a cold shoulder, and a wife unwilling to speak without venom in her voice.

I ran away, unwisely driving myself to a store to get some items for the memorial service.  After a productive trip and a “blow off steam” phone call with a friend, I realized that I had allowed thoughts that were untrue and past-hurts-driven to invade instead of facing the pain of losing Jedidiah and, momentarily, Jim.  I tried to make amends by being nice and acting as if nothing had happened, but I had inflicted hurt and pain, and I knew I needed to apologize.  That’s what I should have done, but I didn’t right away.  Oh, that I could take those
hours, those words away.  After a bit of arguing, I knew if I didn’t eat some humble pie and admit how wrong I was, my guilt alone would continue to drive a wedge between us.

After the emotion of the afternoon, Jim said he didn’t think that he could do the message at the service.  I wondered how much our difficult evening played into that comment.

We both admitted that we were spent, and we just couldn’t do anymore the following day, no planning, no running, no people.  Well, God had other plans.  The news crew texted around 9:30 that night that they needed to do our interview, if at all possible, in the next two days, or the story would have to be put on hold for a time.  We agreed.  I was really surprised Jim agreed.

April 11, 2011 (evening)

I had to take some medicine and use ice packs all of this afternoon and evening due to the pain of engorgement.  Then, as I was reading with Johnny before bed, all of a sudden I had the thought, “I need to finish up so that I can go downstairs, snuggle with Jim on the couch, and nurse my baby.” 

April 11, 2011 (afternoon)

72 hours after Jedidiah was born…

My milk is coming in.  When I awakened in the night, I purposefully did not look at the clock.  I don’t care
to pay attention to the exact time, not after awakening exactly 24-hours after Jedidiah’s birth.  Not when this is the third night in more than 30 weeks in which I am awakening without my son growing inside me and my arms are without him to hold.  Yet, the evidence of his life is still part of me, not emotionally like
everyone else, but physically.

My milk is coming in, and yet I have no baby to nourish, I have no baby to comfort, I have nothing to do but to feel the pain, physically, of losing him, all over again.  I had hoped to pump for some mama who can’t, but I am so sorry.  I can’t.  It isn’t that I can’t physically.  I can’t emotionally.  I hope the mamas whose babies need the
nourishment will forgive me.

April 11, 2011 (morning)

One of the ways God is watching over me…
Yesterday was Sunday.  Two short mornings after I had given birth to our beloved Jedidiah.  Jim had expressed
his desire to go to church, and since I have been do so amazing well physically after a birth, he really wanted me to go with him.  We needed to speak with the church’s liaison about scheduling Jedidiah’s memorial, so I agreed to go.  Yet, I had awakened at 2:30 that morning.  Had spent many hours grieving, crying, writing, crying, reliving my son’s moment of death, crying, crying, crying.  We went to the second service.  Many folks didn’t know what to say.  Some knew, some did not.

After dealing with condolences and unknowing smiles for almost an hour and a half, being disappointed that the area of the church in which I had wanted Jedidiah’s memorial service to be held could not be used by us at a time good for us, finding out that Jim was having such a blessed time with witnessing a man coming to know the LORD, bleeding more than I had in a day and a half, and simply being exhausted, I walked into the sanctuary, angry and unsure of who I am and my purpose in life.  Am I really a believer?  Do I really think my little man is in heaven dancing right now or is he simply dead and gone forever?  Is God really listening?  Is this something we have all made up to make ourselves feel better when reality sucks this badly?

I sat there, unable to sing, well, ok, unwilling to sing.  Since I didn’t know if I thought the words were true, why would I be a hypocrite and sing them?  Just so I would look like I was still so strong and so faithful. Yeah, right.
Thoughts of the memorial service and how things were still so completely outside of my control kept tumbling through my head.  I couldn’t choose when I wanted it; I had to think of other’s scheduling needs.  I couldn’t choose where I wanted it; it was already booked.  I couldn’t choose how I wanted it ordered; I needed to let his papa have some say in that (that one didn’t bother me all that much).  So, in anger and frustration, I sat there.  My husband’s arm securely around me or rubbing my back the whole time.  I kept looking away from the stage.
I couldn’t bring myself to watch other’s worship and other’s praise.  The baptism was wasted on me.  Jim had another idea for the stained glass frame.  A good idea yet another change from how I had wanted it to be.

I figured some decision just had to be made.  This weekend had seemed best for many reasons that I couldn’t think of at the moment (I even spaced that my close friend was coming to town, even though I had desperately wanted her at the memorial).  So, I decided it would be Friday evening.  I told God that He needed to find a venue.  I didn’t pray and ask.  I told Him that He would have to do it cuz I obviously had no control.

I figured we had to have a back-up plan though.  So, I called the church liaison, during her child’s birthday party, no less, how selfless am I?  I asked her to put us down for some place in the church so that I could move forward with the rest of our plans.  A windowless, no-natural-light place.  I just knew that was where we would end up.

God is faithful, even when I am not.

My sister has become leery of sharing her ideas with me because I haven’t been the nicest person when I don’t want to hear anyone else’s suggestion on a matter.  Yet, thankfully, she suggested a church that she had attended a concert at a few months earlier.  So, the five of us piled in the van and went that way.

Oh, my.  We all felt from the moment we saw the sanctuary that it was the place. More than that, we felt that it was of God.  From the stained glass panels on the doors to the stained glass chandeliers to the wall and chair colors of the reception area, we could not have been happier with the look of the place.  However, it was the heart of His people that truly mattered.  With minimal information (why we were looking at the building), the administrator agreed to let us use the building and offered whatever help he could provide to make the service run smoothly.

I am still amazed at the sense of calm and peace that surrounded me in that moment when God whispered, “Yes, I do care.”

April 10, 2011

His Eyes

I was holding him while my mom held his oxygen, then my sister.  He was calm.  He was sleeping.  He was pink.
It had been a while since we tried to give him a drop or two of food, so I thought I would try.  I gave him one.  He stayed calm and peaceful.  I waited about 3 minutes and gave him another.  He opened both eyes wide with
terror, stiffened his arms down and straight (for the first time), lost his color, and I knew he was gone.  Jim came
to try to do what he had done before to stimulate him back to breathing but I knew he would never take a breath again.  His tiny heart continued to beat slower and slower until it could no longer go on.  Hearing his heart beat
confused me.  I thought for the briefest of moments that I was wrong, that I hadn’t seen his life end with that moment of last breath.  We always hear that a life ends with the last beat of its heart, but that isn’t true, and although I had been told what would happen and thought I understand, I really didn’t, not until that moment.  My son was gone from me in the instant that his brain no longer sent the message for breath.  The apnea episodes weren’t the same as this moment, not even close.  With those, there were gasping and fighting for life to continue, the fight was within himself.  With his final breath, there was only release, but the terror in his eyes is something I so wish I could have taken away for him.

Upon birth, he opened his eyes.  He looked at most of us.  His eyes were clear and sweet and precious.  He began to keep them closed, only trying every once in a while to open them.  When the apnea episodes began, he opened them again, but each time, they seemed frightened.  Only once after we got home, did he open them with calm and peace settled in them.  Jim, Jedidiah, and I went upstairs for some peace and quiet.  Jim grabbed a baby
washcloth and washed his little right eye that had become crusty.  Jim prepared the lights, I prepared the
breast pump, and Jedidiah rested.  Once Jim lay down and I began pumping on my left side, I placed Jedidiah to my right chest, and he moved his tongue and chin as if to nurse and grew relaxed.  As the minutes went by, the lights flashing and the sounds pulsing, he opened his eyes.  His just sat there, blinking some, looking out, so peaceful.  We were too soon called downstairs to begin the process of paperwork for hospice.  I never saw a look of peace in his eyes again.

I am so very grateful that my sister had some of his pictures printed off early the next morning.  Most of the pictures were taken soon after his birth.  What a gift from her and the LORD that I could see and remember that he had had many, many minutes of peace in his eyes.  If the images of fear had kept surrounding me, I would still be sinking.

April 8, 2011 (written 4/10/11)

His Birth

I was beginning to wonder if I truly am insane like so many people have told me.  I had had three unmedicated childbirths, so, of course, Jedidiah’s would not be any different.  But, I gotta tell ya, the last two hours leading up to his birth, I was rethinking that idea.  Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered.  During those last two hours, I was finishing cleaning up James from a dinner that hadn’t settled well, preparing the last-minute-take-to-the-hospital items, getting phone calls made, riding—uncomfortably—to the hospital for 30-plus minutes, trying to “help” Jim
find a parking spot, walking from the middle of the parking garage basement to the end of the hospital’s fourth floor labor and delivery unit, walking—again—to the OB triage area, stopping on the skywalk to realize how very close my contractions were becoming and how very far apart they had placed L&D and OB triage, signing in—yes, they had me fill out some stupid paperwork and get a copy of my insurance card (don’t they already have that on file somewhere!), walking to my room, getting monitored (for about half a second before I removed the stupid thing), waiting for the doctor to come to examine me—which occurred at 1:15 a.m.

During the exam, my water broke.  I tried to warn them that things would go fast.  Jedidiah had moved down and
engaged just before the exam.  I knew it.  I felt him.  The contraction pressure was no longer just above in the bottom of my “belly” anymore.  When she said he was 0 station, I had to ask what that meant because I
truly could not remember.  When they said he had to go to +5, I thought, “Are you serious?  This child has had me in labor for almost 23 hours (not to count the days of contractions prior to), and you are telling me I am only 7-8 cm, 90 % and 0 station!”  By the time they had my stuff picked up and everything prepared for us to move, I
tried to warn them again that they should move fast.  I started vomiting.

I remember the nurse asking Jim to take his hand off the gurney (she will push it) and her repeatedly telling me to please take my hands off the sides (I think she is the only Vandy staff member that, even from the first, I felt really didn’t get it, but I don’t think she really “got” labor at all, not just our situation).  I remember Kennedy’s sweet face, everyone stopping when the nurse told them they were going down the wrong hallway and Johnny turning while holding my green purse and something else (which was probably a good thing since that put everyone behind me instead of in front of me).  I remember thinking, “Man, that’s a long hallway.” It was the skywalk I had crossed a little while ago.  I remember screaming as he came out.  No one really seemed to pay any attention to that fact.  A door opened, and the same clueless nurse said, “Now, don’t push.” That’s when I realized that a sheet was over my legs and that they were all clueless!  I pulled back the sheet and said, “He’s out!”  I think they finally believed me then.  1:29 a.m.

April 5, 2011

Sunday morning I had some spotting, so I got off my feet.  I was 34 weeks and 5 days.  They won’t stop labor at this point for us, but I was really hoping my call Monday morning wouldn’t mean a trip to Vanderbilt.  Yep, they
wanted me to come in but were ok if I chose not to.  It was the constant, dull pain on my left side coupled with some fluid that made me think that something might be up.  Jim had to take 6 hours of leave (ugh) to come and be with me.  Well, my water is not broken, so home we came.  The pain finally subsided around 3, and I decided to nap.  Contractions, light but noticeable, finally stopped around 8.

Now, here at 2:30 a.m., I am contracting again.  This time, the contractions have awakened me.  After yesterday’s difficult exam, I am not surprised at the blood, but I really wish the contractions would stop.  You know, the “stop-and-breathe-thru” type of contractions.  The ones that you cannot deny.  Anywho, here we are wondering again if today will be today.  UGH!

I know that God’s timing is always perfect, but since it isn’t my timing, I have to pray and let go of my own agenda.  It was so much easier having a baby at home without a 40-minute drive to worry about and a team to
assemble.  I shouldn’t worry; I know that all things will work out.  I hope I can remember that as things progress, whether today is the day or not.

UPDATE:  Contractions eased around 6 this morning after growing consistent and intense for an hour.  I know,
labor can be many hours, but since my last was so short and our time with Jedidiah is expected to be short, I am too on edge for my own good!  Please increase my trust in You, Oh LORD!

3 Comments to “April 2011”

  1. 6 months later . . I am thinking of you.

    • Thank you very much. Things went down hill for me for a while, then God did what God does, and I am so much better. For the past few weeks we have had medical needs for extended family and then so much going on with the ministry. I hope to get the story of how God demonstrated His love for me on here soon. I pray that you and your family are doing well.

  2. Hi Kim,

    How dear of you to wish my family well. We learned that a dear friend of ours passed away today. Hadley, a 24 year old former student that I’ve known since he was 3 . . . in fact, I used to nanny for Hadley’s family before I was their son’s teacher. (He is a triplet.) He passed from leukemia.

    Hadley had severe CP and was perfect.

    I have no doubt you understand.

    These children God blesses us with have such purpose – we will never known all the ways they touch our lives.

    I’m sure you will write the most recent update of your story when the time is right. It makes a lot of sense that things went down hill for you recently. How could they not? Emotion only defines importance. Jedidiah is your son. I can’t imagine how hard today or any other day must be. Your strength, your faith, your journey, your ministry, and all the roles you play impress me greatly. Thank you for sharing your life and for allowing us to be Jedidiah too.

    Sher

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