Monthly Archives: December 2010

A Thrill of Hope in a Weary World

Oh Holy Night speaks of the dual nature of hope and suffering in life like no other Christmas carol.  It speaks to my heart and gives me reason to praise.  As I seek to sing in a season of remembrance and hope, the lyrics acknowledge I am often pining and weary and hurting.  It says He knows this.  He knows our need.  He knows us! And in knowing Him, our soul finds worth, even in the midst – and maybe especially – when we have trials.  We are loved, valued, treasured – of worth.  I will overcome my suffering, because He will overcome it – all oppression shall cease.  At the top of my lungs, in a pitch I can barely reach, I sing my heart out…
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O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angels’ voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim

The Most Awful Silence Part III

I was stone-still, my heart racing, blood pumping, body paralyzed when my husband Scott arrived shortly after I received the awful news.  In a flurry he came into the small dark room dimly lit by a single small light over the hospital bed.  Searching our faces, he looked scared.  Dr. B put her hand on his arm and said “I am so sorry Scott.”

He rounded the hospital bed to be closest to my side and grabbing my hand searched my face for explanations I didn’t want to give.

“We lost him” I said.

Tears broke and started streaming down the sides of my face, into my hair and onto the pillow cushioning my head on the exam bed.  My body was starting to tremble. “Our baby is gone.  He has no heartbeat.”

“No!” His face was pained and his voice started to choke as tears showed in his eyes.

Dr. B offered to do the ultrasound again so he could see for himself.  He looked at me and I said it would be okay not to.  I didn’t want him to have to live with that image.  He said no to protect me and I agreed to protect him.  As much as I dreaded doing it again, I wanted to, thought maybe the answer would be different.  I also desperately wanted to push rewind and have him with me in that awful moment.  I wanted to go further back than that; to this morning when he had hiccups, to Saturday when I had gone into labor and contractions were nearing 5 minutes apart but just went away after I had laid down to rest.  Why didn’t I just come to the hospital then?  Just moments, moments, sooner than this moment he might be with us.  There must be something I still could do, some way to turn back time.  We were so close, so very close to having him with us.  “Oh dear, dear God, how could this possibly have happened to my sweet baby boy?”

I prayed in vain; nothing, absolutely nothing could be done to change the awful truth.  It is hard to describe how utterly painful and terribly helpless a feeling; to have such a tidal wave of life-creating momentum over months and months, building and building and growing and gaining, to be at the precipice of the crest and suddenly, sudden-ly, out of nowhere, there’s flat, lifeless calm and it is the dark of night.  I could blow and cry and howl with everything that is in me and nothing, nothing will bring back the wave of life I was courting.

Hard questions were swimming around in my head as my body took on a new sensation of pain like none other I’d experienced before.  Deep in my chest, and at the base of my throat a hard mass of hurt was taking residence in my body that covered over anything blithe I ever had the luxury of feeling.

Dr. B talked about the rarity of the circumstances, which somehow felt reassuring, affirming.  It was so very wrong to have happened, I needed to hear it was uncommon. She said it had only happened once in all her time of practicing about 20 years or so prior.  She said we might be able to discover why once he is born.

“I took some homeopathic cough syrup, could it have been that?” I asked.

“No” she said reassuringly, “it wouldn’t be that.”

“I ate brie.  I carried my kids up the stairs.  I laid on my back at night…” I confessed my pregnancy sins, desperate and terrified to find out why, horrified at the thought that I may have done something to cause my baby’s death.

“Please God, don’t let it be anything I have done.” I prayed. I am not sure how I would survive the guilt of that.

I felt like a pregnancy pro by now, having done this two times before.  I had felt so self-assured, this pregnancy was so easy, so routine.  “I’m sure women in France don’t give up Brie” I would joke.  How terrible of me.

Dr. B said she’d give Scott and I some time alone and walked out of the room.  We held each other, starting to cry, still caught off guard and in shock.  We hurt so much.

All the statistics about how hard it is on a couple to lose a child flashed through my mind.  We’d already walked through our hard year as new parents after my second child was born when we weren’t sure our marriage was going to make it.  We’d done the hard work to rebuild a solid life-giving relationship and I couldn’t bear to go back to that lonely awful place.  As our embrace loosened I put a hand on each side of his face, looking into his eyes I said emphatically “I promise to be good to you through this” as serious as I was when I said each word of our wedding vows.

He often said how important those words were to him.  This was a promise I would keep to the ends of the earth, through hell and back, which was exactly where I feared we were headed.

When Dr. B returned she gave me the option to go home and rest for the night or go directly to the hospital to be induced.  Without a doubt I said I wanted to go then.  Scott held my hand and we both asked Dr.B when we could try for another baby.  We wanted our baby.  We wanted this baby. She gave a generic answer of a few months.  It felt like an eternity to wait, coupled with a whole nine month gestation all over again.  That felt so hard to bear, so long.

A wheelchair came to get me and my sweet nurse wheeled me over to labor and delivery while Scott went to get my bag of things from the car.  Thank God I had insisted on bringing my hospital bag.  I wondered if somehow I had known.  Somewhere deep in my body where my mind was yet to bring to my conscious awareness, had I known my baby was gone?  How could I have known?  How could I not have known?

And the long night of waiting, laboring to give birth to death began.  I secretly hoped, in the dark shadow that had overcome me, like a single pale star in an overcast grey night sky, that once my sweet baby boy was born he would be the miracle I longed for and take the deep life giving breath he was always meant to take, proving all forces of faulty human technology wrong.  And I would have the boy that I, together with my Creator, had worked so hard to give life to all these long days and months; the boy I already knew and loved with the depths of my whole being.


Treasure Immeasurable

There is a time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4)

On this day, as with many, we laugh and we dance.  Today we celebrate the first birthday and precious life of our baby girl.  Born 1 year and 10 days after the birth and loss of our baby boy, she was born not in the shadows of that loss, but in the light of her own precious life.  At 4:00 a.m. she took her first breath at the break of day, arriving at the fisherman’s hour when first light is about to hit the waters.  My fisherman husband was proud of her hour of arrival.   We were both overjoyed she was with us – healthy, alive, real – grateful beyond words for our treasure of immeasurable worth.  On the year’s longest night, she is our bright light.

“Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.  You have done such wonderful things.  Who can compare with you, O God?  You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore  me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.  You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.  Then I will praise you with music on the harp, because you are faithful to your promises, O God.  I will sing for you with a lyre, O Holy One of Israel.  I will shout for joy and sing your praises, for you have redeemed me. “ Psalm 71: 19-23


The Most Awful Silence Part II

My nurse was growing visibly frustrated as she searched and searched for the sound of my baby’s heartbeat with the small round disc.  I searched her poker face for answers, for emotion, for a sign of what to think and feel.  She never made eye contact with me until exasperated she asked

“Didn’t your OB do a doppler in the office?”

“No” I said timidly.

She left me to turn down the loud heartbeats coming from the other machines in the room.  I grabbed my phone to text Scott as quickly as I could like a high school kid in chem class, trying to squeeze it in before the teacher returned.  I felt like I was in trouble, like I was annoying her.  I texted:

“No heartbeat.”

Nearing the library, Scott got my message.  He was was scared by it, but confused as I had been, and deliberated about what to do being so close to completing his task and the threat of icy roads causing further delay. He too thought this was just some fluke thing; things always seemed to work out in the end, and we praised God to be sure, but felt a bit like life would always be good for us, before that day.  He drove one more block then quickly turned around and came to me as fast as he could in Seattle’s rush hour traffic amidst snow and ice.

Anxious and confused, I laid still as I could while my heart raced frantically within my chest.  In desperation she sent a new nurse to work on me.  A tall, sweet cheeked, familiar woman came in.  She had been my first nurse to orient me to this whole business of being pregnant 5 years before with my first daughter.  She knew me, my babies, my stories.  I needed that, I was so scared, felt so alone.

“Oh God, please let Scott come quickly!” I prayed

The first thing Kelly did was look me in the eyes and smile at me.  She said my name acknowledging that I was a human being in her care that needed to be treated as such.

“Now let’s find that heartbeat.”  She said with her characteristic slight giggle.

She was calm and happy.  I didn’t know if I could believe her words, but I appreciated them.  She felt around my belly with her hands, feeling the form of my full grown son and with a start said,

“Oh there he is, I think I felt him move there!  Now let’s get this machine to work.”

I didn’t stop looking at her face, her ever-present dimples, her happy eyes.  She kept talking to me throughout, telling me what she was doing in a matter of fact but sweet way that soothed me.  I was calming but it was my quickened heartbeat that kept giving us hope and causing the trouble.  A baby’s heart rate is around 140 beats per minute in the third trimester of life.  An average adult heart rate is between 60 to 100 beats per minute, the difference is rather significant, usually mine is on the low end.    We’d jump and smile at one another when we heard the fast thump-thump and then both of us would realize it was too slow to be my baby’s. Then she’d gather more goop and go for another swoop around and around my belly before pressing the doppler in again at the ideal place on my lower abdomen his heart should be strongest and we would hold our breath to listen.

“Let’s just get you in for an ultrasound.” She said, again with a smile and a reassuring pat to my arm, “I’ll get Dr. B”

She left me alone again and I stole a glance at my phone.  Scott had texted: “I’m coming”

I was relieved.  It couldn’t be fast enough.

Dr. B, a slight 5 foot tall blonde woman, who makes up for her small stature in wisdom and experience, came just a few minutes later and looked at me with reserved concern.  In a kind but matter-of-fact way she said, “let’s see what is going on.”

She laced her arm in mine to help me off the table and her short legs moved us briskly down the hall.  I wanted to dig my heals in and stop all of this.  I looked frantically up and down down the hallways for Scott.  I had no idea where he was, when he would arrive. I felt like a wild animal being taken to my cage.

The office was barren, thank God, and the windows that displayed a beautiful view of the Seattle’s city skyline had gone dark from the early winter sunset.  Dr. B was quiet as she moved us quickly down the hall except for one question; “Have you felt him move today?”

That was the question I’d come to hate at each of my appointments, for no apparent reason whatsoever, when nothing was wrong.  When she asked it, my body went weak and I nearly collapsed if it weren’t for her strong arm holding me up.    The veil of confusion began to part and deep dark heavy reality crept over me.

“No,”  I stammered, “Well, yes, he had hiccups this morning…”

My mind searched for another moment and panic started to take hold.

“That was it, nothing else.  I haven’t felt him since. Oh God, no, no, no”  I whispered my desperate prayer.  It was starting to make sense to me that something might actually be wrong and I was finding it hard to breath.

As my body weakened and slowed, Dr. B’s became stronger and she urged me forward, around the corner and into the ultrasound room, shutting the door behind us.  I was was scared, anxious and searching around hoping for Scott to walk through the door.  Reluctantly, in slow motion, I got onto the exam table as Dr. B prepared the ultrasound machine and wielded the weapon that would seal our fate.

“Oh God please let my baby be okay! Please let him be ok! Please Lord, please!”

I prayed over and over fast as I could, hoping against everything this machine would make everything right and the whole thing would just be some error in technology.

The ultrasound room was dim, with a soft glowing light like a night light just above the machine to light up the keyboard and controls. Dr. B scrolled over the image of my baby, the outline of his body, his distinct profile with facial features I had come to recognize, fully formed arms, round belly, and large chest cavity where his full flesh heart had once filled and fluttered rapidly while arms and legs flickered and flexed.  His body was still, his chest cavity a dark void, and I knew he was gone before a word fell from Dr. B’s lips.

“Oh Heather, I am so sorry,” Dr. B’s voice was so soft, serious, “he is gone.”

And there I dove into the deep end of grief for the first real time in my life.  The unbearable happened and I hadn’t been able to prevent it, predict it, prepare for it or pray it away.  It swept me down and out into the cold dark waters where breathing gets hard and I wondered if the effort it takes to stay above water was really worth it.


The Most Awful Silence Part I

Pregnancy does me well.  I relish the idea of creating life and all that goes on in these miraculous months, from the formation of first cells to an entirely put together human being.  When I got my period at thirteen I was in utter awe of the whole situation.  I came out to the living room, plopped myself down by my mom on the couch and staring out in a daze said, “I can’t believe my body did that!”

“Did what?” she asked.

“Released an egg!” I said.

When I met my husband, I had a similar sense of wonder and excitement. I knew I wanted to spend my life with this man and I regularly feared the day I might lose him.  Since early childhood I have been inclined to fear the death of a loved one with a fair bit of anxiety.  I wasn’t sure how I could cope with such a fate.  Scott was, and is, the man of my dreams, love of my life, everything I ever hoped for in a life partner.

When we were brand-new newlyweds we moved from the safe suburbs of Spokane to the big unknown suburbs of Los Angeles for me to attend graduate school and begin our lives as a Mr. and Mrs.  We often enjoyed late night movies in those early years, even on mid-week work nights, which feels like a big luxury now that we are homebound by early evening for young children’s bedtimes.  In the land of entertainment, we could hit a movie as late as 1:00 a.m., streets still buzzing with energy and life. If ever there was a theme of death in a movie, which it seemed there always was at least some reference, I would end the night in tears.  I would bury my face in Scott’s chest sobbing, lamenting death altogether, upset with God whom I very much loved and believed in but just could not grasp why this horrible thing would be our inevitable state.  Cuddling into bed with no kids between us, I would testify to my undying love for him and plead with God to never take this man away from me. I feared I wouldn’t survive such a loss.

Then came the babies.  Oh those amazing, precious, fragile babies!  Rumor was they could suddenly stop breathing for no apparent reason in the middle of the night as they peacefully slept. I still sneak in their rooms before I retire to bed each night to listen to my children breath, give them a kiss and whisper one more I love you into their dreams.  Well beyond any risk of SIDS, it gives me peace to hear their breath and kiss their warm skin so full of life.  I sleep better. The thought of losing these little ones was unthinkable.

My third pregnancy was especially blissful.  With three behind me, the first ended in an early miscarriage, I knew by now it would be exhausting so I took my maternity leave 3 months into gestation.  I wanted to relish this time and nurture my baby’s growth as much as possible in this full season of life as a family.  With some scares in my previous pregnancy that put me on bed-rest I intentionally took a step back to give this baby life.  I felt calm, at ease, nothing to fear or worry about this time around.  My little guy in there was an energetic delight, similar to my 2 year old son, the boys were already full of energy in-utero.  I’d had one calm, serene, girl when my 2nd born little guy turned life upside down with his first top-of-his-lungs “vroom-vroom!”  It warmed my heart to think of my boys taking over the world, destroying it, and figuring out how to put it all back together again.  Inseparable buddies they were destined to be.

Six days after my due date I went in for my routine obstetric exam and to discuss birth options.  I always went overdue, 4 days with my daughter, 11 with my son.  My nurse and OB, who knew me well by now after nearly 5 years of routine appointments, and I laughed about that.  This was my normal.  Everything looked good that day but it was routine for an over due mom to have a non-stress test that checked the baby’s heart rate and my contractions, just to be safe. It was just a routine.

We were the last appointment of the day and it was starting to snow in Seattle.  Scott needed to return some books to his University library before it closed for Christmas break.  He asked how I felt about him running this errand and with absolute certainty gave him my blessing that this would be a great use of his time while I sat with monitors on my belly for the standard 20 minute check.

“No big deal” I said so casually, so naively confident, “Go get that done and we’ll grab a coffee together afterwards.”

Looking forward to our mini-date – precious stolen time together with two little ones at home – I waddled my way alone down the hall into my own curtain enclosed chamber to join the room full of expectant parents.  I had gone through this routine many times in my last pregnancy with my now 2 year old son.  I had early bleeding and contractions that warned us he might come too soon, so often I was sent for these tests to make sure he was okay and wouldn’t come early.  He was born 11 days late, at a hefty 9 pound 12 ounces.  It had all worked out in the end.

I huffed my big pregnant body onto the hospital bed with mint green and white polka dot sheets. The non-stress test nurse was a tall, serious faced woman with long dark hair who didn’t have much of the usual joy and excitement of the other OB nurses I’d come to know at the office.  Without much more than a simple hello, she got to business, slathering me with goo and hooking up the monitors, roaming around for the best spot to pick up Fisher’s signs of life.  She kept roaming.  And roaming, and roaming.  And roaming.


Remembering Days

Last year on this day we spread Fisher’s ashes and spent the day doing special things to remember him as a family.  We gave each other alone time and then reconvened at a park over-looking the water where we are reminded of Fisher.  The kids played and we got to smile and cry  and remember throughout the day.

One day that year, when Barley lost a beloved helium balloon and had started to cry, he soothed himself through is tears saying “now baby Fisher will have a special balloon in heaven.”

I was so touched by his remembering and loving thought towards his baby brother.  That kid has a huge heart!

So that had to be our special thing.  We each picked out a color we wanted to give to Fisher and wrote our special messages to him before launching them up to heaven.

In my time alone, the public beach dark at dusk and empty in winter, I cried out to heaven on the shores where his ashes were spread.  I was full and pregnant with my new baby girl due in a few days, anxious, hopeful, angry, heartbroken and hurting.  So much was the same, but so much was different in our lives.

We came home and watched his memorial service, the video we made of his life  and fell into bed exhausted but full from a meaningful day remembering.

I would love to hear others’ ideas of how they intentionally remember a loved one on their birthday or on the day of their loss.


Loss and Hope

Writing has been a healing outlet for me.  Hearing other’s stories have been healing as well.  It would be such a privilegde if you would like to share your story or writing about loss and hope here too.  I envision my blog being a place where others can come and read stories that are similar or even very different but be able to resonate with the duality of pain and goodness that is life.


Hiccups

I remember with some clarity that last day of his life.  He was six days overdue.  I spent most of the morning at the kitchen table, most of the day in my pajamas.  I was tired, sick with a bad cough, large in my overdue time with a big baby boy in my belly.  I had been doing so much to prepare for him, to care for my 4 1/2 year old girl and 2 1/2 year old boy.  It was nice to sit.

I sat at the kitchen table decorated with green and red, messy from remaining breakfast and the odd craft project with my laptop in front of me.  I positioned myself with my back to the sliding door so I could take in the sights and sounds of the house and my beloved people.  We were all in waiting.

My mom, who’d arrived a few days before to help when he arrived, and my 2 1/2 year old Barley, so excited to be a big brother, were passing the time by making gingerbread together.  I took pictures of their happiness.

We were happy and playful that day.  It felt like a real Christmas Vacation day when you are a kid and it is so fun to be at home from school and yet you’re just kind of wandering around wondering how to make the best of all this time.  There is one picture burned in my mind when both kids stuffed their bellies full of their animals and my mom took a profile picture of the three of us.  My belly was huge.  Our smiles were huge, that day before everything changed.

Mid-morning Fisher had hiccups, as he had nearly every day before.  We felt his in those moments, having no idea it would be the last time.  Barley’s little hands moved below my big belly, my mom’s on top and mine guided each of theirs to the subtle bumps like a blind person adeptly passing fingers across braille words.  I knew just where to press to feel his little back for thumps, I knew him, inside and out.

Often his hiccups and kicks came at night, or that is when I was most aware of them.  I remember cuddling in my big queen bed with my little 4 1/2 year old girl Bug, her hands and head taking in the wonder of this little life inside me.  I remember the awe in her eyes, the smile on her face, explaining once again how it all worked.  She was going to be at the birth; she wanted to see him come out.

I was sitting at the kitchen table ordering a custom made stamp of his name for his baby announcement.  I’d gathered gray blue-green paper with clay colored stars, a stamp that said “Joy” and a silver star brad to hold his picture over red paper.  It was going to be a play on a Christmas theme, this son who was suppose to be born in the season of remembering our Savior’s birth.  I poured over fonts, this one or that one, measured out size and visualized placement.  I am a thoughtful decision maker, some, my husband mainly, would say slow.  I finalized the sale just in time to take a shower before my OB appointment.

It was late afternoon and snow was starting to fall in Seattle.  A hot shower felt good.

While Scott took his shower we had those few stolen moments to talk that parents of toddlers have. “When do you think this baby is going to come?” he said.

“I just don’t feel like he is going to, well not today” I said, “but I want to bring my bag for the hospital to this appointment though, just in case.”

In all my three pregnancies, I had never brought my bag of things to an OB appointment before.  In the steamy warm room I wiggled my naked round belly dancing around on the soft white bath mat.  “Maybe I can wiggle this baby out of me!”

We both laughed at how funny I looked.  How audacious of me to be so silly!  I often remember that last carefree moment.

I put a few more necessary things in my suitcase; a second outfit for Fisher, an extra blanket, two more cozy pairs of socks for me and a few toiletries.  It made us a few minutes late getting out the door, but I was determined to bring these things along, again, just in case.  Scott wouldn’t take my advice and left his things at home, he thought I was being overly prepared but obliged the “crazy pregnant lady notions.”  I like to be prepared for things.

The kids were napping and since my mom was here to watch them we let them stay sleeping.  We thought we might even grab a warm drink and a little time together after the appointment.  There is a Starbucks below the OB office and I fondly remember going there after many of my appointments with our first baby, when it was just us and we could do things like that, linger over a conversation and hang in the lull of anticipation without any little ones with needs at our feet or to quickly return to at home.

We’d been bringing the kids to all the appointments, getting them used to the idea of a new baby in any way we could.  They loved to hear the heartbeat on the doppler.  Thank God they were sleeping and that my mom was here.  Thank God.

The falling snow compounded our lateness as the traffic was not moving near our house.  I was anxious to get there and knew it was my fault we were late.  We re-routed ourselves and headed through downtown Seattle, where it wasn’t moving much faster.  I called my office to tell them how late we were running and offered to reschedule.  “No, just come in” the receptionist said “if you can get here in 20 minutes Dr. B will see you as her last patient.”

The last patient of the day meant the other pregnant women would mostly be gone. That was a gift from God too.

These small bits of provision on this most horrible of days gave me hope that Someone, a loving God whom I don’t fully understand or know how He works and wish above all else He had spared my son, but still, a loving God was taking care of me in all this.  In so many profound and often unexplainable ways, I was cared for.


The Head and the Heart (at Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Concert)

Music swathed over my parched dry soul tonight. I didn’t realize I was so thirsty.  Like a night of lovemaking after a dry spell, I didn’t know my body wanted this so badly.  Oh yes, this is good.   I was parched, and I drank deep from the flood of another’s God given creativity.  The opening band for Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds was The Head and The Heart.  I was mesmerized and amazed.
Sing it! Play it!  Loud! Fierce! Strong! So that I might feel it.  So that I can sing too.
Harmonies that elevated angelic, lyrics that spoke to themes universal yet seemingly only to me and as the pace of the song increased the woman who sang harmony and the rare solo started to bounce and clap, hard.  The music surged out of her so forcefully, so beautifully. That is when I started to cry; she couldn’t help it, neither could I. Her art resonated with my soul, but more I longed to live her passion; to sing out at the top of my lungs, body following, knowing, deep down knowing, this is what I am created to do.
I longed to be her, not the fame or the stage or the show of it, but to cry out the music of my life wholeheartedly.  It has been a long time since I have had a chance to worship; to sing out my praises and perils to God in song.  It is too simply stated that music speaks to our soul in profound ways.  I praise God for these gifts in others that pave the way for me to feel what has been clouded by the day to day.

Here is a sample of their sound, and fitting lyrics for this season and my season of life…


Due

Today was his due date, two years ago.  I might be able to conjure what I was doing, I am sure it is written in the journal I was creating for him, but I clearly remember what I was feeling.  Happy.  Hopeful.  Expectant.

I am not someone who wants pregnancy to end early.  I have a dear friend who, in response to the topic of procrastination put a positive spin on it by saying “I work well to a deadline.”

I resonate with that.  I seem to always have a mile long to-do list and work up to the last minute getting things done.  The gift of time is a true gift to me.  My due date had come and gone with each of my two older children, this was my “normal” and I appreciated the borrowed time.

I like to be prepared in life, especially for my babies, so there was no question of whether or not I would find out his gender. I want to know as much as I could about him and would often daydream about who he might be in our little family.  This being my 3rd, I knew even more that I needed to get everything in order ahead of time; I was determined to relish those sweet newborn days that stream into each other as one foggy haze of holding, feeding, spurts of sleep and overwhelming love at the miracle of life in my arms.  With a 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 year old to care for, everything else needed to be in order.

I love the process of baby preparations.  My creativity and nesting energies converge full force and I pour out all that love into whimsical, cozy and practical dwellings.  His clothes were all washed and put away in his newly painted sky blue dresser.  I spent hours searching for drawer liners to freshen every surface of our craiglist find and gave up when I found simple blue striped thick matte wrapping paper at a fancy stationary store.  I remember cutting each piece to size, spritzing them with baby perfume I bought in France and carefully fitting them to the boys’ drawers.  It was a ridiculous little detail, but one will find me wiping away tears in the laundry area of the Container Store and my heart will be breaking.

I painted the room he’d share with his big brother Barley with 8 feet tall blades of grass and tucked in various bugs playing peek-a-boo in shades of blue.  I put a few special ones strategically near his crib where he was to lie and look for so many hours of his lovely life.  I remember cuddling with my sweet  3 year-old son and looking over to see those bugs.  Forgetting how intentional I had been with that 4 foot stretch of wall, I was caught off guard a few months later when it came into focus.

Moments like that were like an unexpected punch to my stomach from out of nowhere.  I’d be caught off guard and suddenly breathless, sobbing over so many little triggers that opened up a deep wound reminding me of the boy I had spent so many days hoping for.

This was the day I worked so hard and so lovingly for to be ready for an entire lifetime.