Thursday, June 26, 2008

Waiting to lose

One of the cornish cross chickens we are raising for meat was run over in the chicken tractor. Something happened to her leg, or wing or something. She can't walk, she just sits. We put her in a separate pen indoors, all by herself, because she wasn't able to get food or water in the pen with all the other chickens. We put the food and water right in front of her. She just sits there and eats and drinks, sort of. She's not growing, we find her in another part of the pen, she somehow she flapped herself into. Then we have to move her back to the food and water.

It's sad.

She's not growing, she looks bad. We've been trying to keep her growing until the butcher date next month but I just don't think she's going to make it. My husband and I were looking at her last night and discussing putting her down. Our daughter came into the pen area to look at the 'poor chicken', as she calls her.

Papa told her the chicken was going to die. I quickly looked at my husband as if to say, "Don't tell her that!"

Later in the kitchen, he asked me if I thought he shouldn't have been so blunt with her.

"No. We could just say after-the-fact that the chicken went away. She's only three, she wouldn't know or need to know. " Then I said, "It's just too sad to know something is going to die before it happens." And as soon as I said it I just wanted to break down right there. Sometimes I can't believe that that actually happened to us. But it wasn't a chicken. It was our daughter.

Aren't you glad you didn't know something bad was going to happen the day before it happened? How about 6 weeks before it happened? Because how could you cope or what would you do had you known?

It was terrible knowing that our baby would die.

I remember walking through the mall when I was almost 9 months pregnant, looking in the baby stores. To sales clerks and shoppers I looked like a pregnant mother searching for baby clothes.

And I was.

I was searching for a gown small enough to bury my baby in. The baby whose heart was beating inside me at that very moment. I was looking for grave clothes.

I wanted to scream out to the other happy pregnant mommies there shopping. They smiled knowingly at me as if we were on the same journey. We're all in the same club. We're almost through with our pregnancy. I wanted to tell them "NOOOOOOOOOO!! We're not on the same journey. You have your due date to look forward to but my baby is going to die!!!!"

Going through grocery store lines was very hard too. First of all, I'm pregnant. And nothing is more inviting to complete strangers to get into your business than a pregnant lady. Your stomach is free anyone. They always say, "Oh, when are you due?"

I just didn't want to go out and be in front of strangers, because those normal, innocent questions would always come up. What do I do? How do I handle it? Do I lie? Do I break down? Because if I answered truthfully, there was no question...I was going to fall apart.

One day as I was going through the line, there was a young cashier, very upbeat and cheerful.

"Hi! (huge smile). How are you?"

That's what they always say. The dreaded..."How are you?". I tried to be nondescript, but I was more like Eeyore. I just couldn't make myself respond with the usual "Fine" answer that is expected and required. I just could NOT say it. I don't know what I said, I probably just mumbled. A pretend answer.

She didn't let me off the hook. "Come on, what could be so bad? If there was one thing you could change to make your day good, what would it be?"


She seemed so proud of her happiness, almost daring me that things couldn't be all that bad, I was just grumpy to her. At least that is how it seemed to me.

I told the truth that day. I told her that nothing could make me feel better that day. My baby had no kidneys and was going to die after she was born.

I don't remember what she said after that. Probably nothing. It was like I slapped her in the face. And I wanted to slap her in the face for her innocent happiness. For treating me as if I had no reason to feel sad.

I wandered out of the store and drove home in tears.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Waiting your turn

I took this picture of my daughter today. She was watching the big kids play. She wanted to ride, but it went too fast for her. She stood off to the side and watched.

I thought it was sad.

As I looked at this picture, I saw myself, and probably every mother who has lost a baby. Watching other Mamas, whether it be at a baby shower, or in the grocery store pushing a cart around with a tiny newborn in it, is hard.

I remember for weeks after having Isabel, being fat, feeling sad, and seeing other new mommies. I wanted to ask them how old their baby was, swap stories with them, to tell them that I had just had a baby too. I went through everything they had, but there was no baby in my cart. To them, I was just a regular overweight gal, watching on the sidelines.

This is from one of my favorite books. It's called Welcome with Love. It's a children's picture book about home birth. In case you didn't know, I had our first three children at home and was planning on having Isabel at home too.

I bought this book for our daughter and all of us who were at the birth signed it to her and talked about the night she was born, sort of like a yearbook. It is a treasure to me. It has beautiful, colorful drawings and is tastefully done.

It was the pictures in this book where I first fell in love with the idea of handmade, colorful baby socks. To me they represent the hope of the baby who is expected. They are not your everyday socks that can be bought by thousands of other people at Target, they are one-of-a-kind, unique and handmade with love and anticipation of the little treasure who is coming.

I made a pair like these for a friend from church who is expecting baby Jewel. She loved these socks and told me she is going to put them on Jewel right after she is born.

I learned how to knit beyond scarves last year, after we received the news that Isabel would not live. I felt this obsessive compulsion to make her some special things from her Mama. I made these socks for her. *I* made them.

I can't tell you how it makes me feel to look at this picture. To see her little knee, her little leg, and her little feet being warmed by those special socks that I made for her, with her in mind. She has to know that she is special, she is loved and wanted.

She is ours.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bring the Rain

The following videos are about The Smith Family. Todd Smith is one of the singers in the Christian group Selah. Angie Smith has a blog called Bring the Rain where she has chronicled the pregnancy and short life of their daughter Audrey Caroline.

Please pray for the entire Smith family, just two months after they lost Audrey, their 10 wk old nephew, Luke suddenly died. I can't imagine.

I totally relate to what Angie said in this video about the fact that there is no such thing as a Plan B in God's world. It's only Plan B to us. And surrending to HIS plan is the hard part. Relinquishing our ideas about how life is going to turn out and accepting HIS plan.

Here is the letter Angie wrote to her daughter.

This video is of Audrey's birthday. I can't watch it without crying.