Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Conversation

Sometimes I imagine a conversation with God that I've never physically had, but because He knows what I would say, we may as well have.

I say, "God, I want a baby, please. I'll do anything for my baby."

And He says, "Okay. I have the perfect little boy for you waiting for a family."

I say, "Great! I'll do anything for that to happen!"

And He says, "Okay. He needs a mother who will carry him so he can recieve a body."

I'm nodding eagerly. I'm thinking that's what I've always wanted.

"And he needs a mother who will watch him go."

And now I'm confused.

"He needs parents who will endure when he dies after just a few weeks in his new body. He needs parents who can receive the bad news and stay close together. He needs a mother who will deliver his body even though he will no longer be occupying it. He needs parents who can withstand the grief and pain of missing him while they remain on the earth, so they can continue towards the Celestial Kingdom to be with this little boy again. He needs parents who will love him through all of this."

I imagine my mouth has dropped by now.

And He says, "Do you still want this baby? If you're willing to do that, he's yours. But that's what this baby needs. It's up to you to decide. If you aren't up to it, that's ok. I'll give him to someone else. But I know he would be perfect for your family."

Of course God knows I'm going to say yes. That's why we have never actually had this conversation  (that I know of...). He knows what I would say, so he's giving me what I would have wanted. I just never knew I'd have the strength to do it until I had no other choice.

Now that I'm thinking of getting pregnant again, I'm getting really scared. I'm not sure I want to go through that again knowing what I know now. Knowing happiness isn't guaranteed at the end of nine months. And knowing being pregnant again will never bring Liam back, even though it was how I brought him into the world the first time. But I don't want to be scared. That's not fair to my second baby. I want to be everything I was for Liam for this next baby, too...

"God, I'd like to have another baby."

"Okay. This baby needs a mother who will carry her so she can receive a body. I know that will be hard for you now. She'll need lots of attention, and it will make it difficult for you to find time to grieve. But she also needs wise parents who will love her, and I know you'd be able to do that."

And I said it before, and it would be a lie if I didn't live up to it now.

"I'll do anything for my baby."

Monday, May 25, 2015

What I Believe

...wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them...

...teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.

And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism...

But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!

Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell.


For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism.


And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.

Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy.

And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption.

-From the Book of Mormon in Moroni Chapter 8 verses 10-20.

When I first lost Liam I felt like this scripture was somewhat comforting, because at least I knew Liam wasn't being punished for never having been baptized. But I also wished it spoke more to my situation. I know birth is a pretty important aspect of God's plan for His children, and I also knew Liam's spirit left his body before his body was born. So what did that mean? Did that mean he'd never really been born? What would that mean for my baby's salvation? Yeah, ok, he didn't need to be baptized. That's good. But that wasn't enough to calm my heart.

I am sure Liam's spirit had been with us. There have been times I've doubted it, but I've always come back to the thought that if he was never really here, why did I feel so much like something was missing? I'm not talking about missing the possibility of having a baby or the excitement of being pregnant. I've mostly come to terms with giving those things up (at least for now). I miss a personality that slipped into my life so tenderly and so slowly that I didn't realize how much I had felt him with me until he was gone.

For a while I just trusted in my own testimony of God's love and thought whatever the answer was about Liam's salvation, it had to be loving and fair. I didn't have much to go on, but I reasoned that there were only two possibilities. Either Liam had been here, or he hadn't. And if he had been here, God had to be taking care of him now. And if he hadn't... that wasn't possible, because I already knew he was. (If anyone can tell whether a baby is really a baby, it's that baby's mother and father. No one could be more qualified.) So that left one possibility. Liam had to be safe, somehow.

Recently I gave a lesson in church on sharing your love for the Book of Mormon and challenged everyone to share something about the Book of Mormon. I decided to try to find a scripture for those who had been through a similar situation to my own. It wasn't until I reread these scriptures that I found support for what I already suspected to be true. I want to emphasize a few of my favorite parts.

...teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.
A promise that parents can be with their children again.

But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!
God is fair. He does not punish His children for things outside their control.

And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.
Christ loves all children, and all little children are saved.

And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption.
Because of His love for little children, God prepared a plan of mercy through Jesus Christ's atonement so they can all be saved, even without baptism.

My rereading rung in my mind as if Christ is pleading for the reader to understand how important these little children are to him. Almost as if to say, "How could you think something as trivial as whether a little child has been baptized could deny that child salvation? Have I not suffered enough to pay for something that simple? Do you not think I love my children enough to provide them mercy over a technicality?"

Another section of this chapter reads,

Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.

Which sounds incredibly condemning. But I have found many of the warnings in the scriptures describe natural consequences of sin rather than arbitrary punishments. I know first hand how much faith, hope, and charity living without my baby takes. To believe my baby was not saved, especially because of something so unfair as not having the opportunity to be baptized, would certainly cast be into a "gall of bitterness." And if I were to die still believing I could never be with my son again, could I imagine that future as anything but hell? Even this scripture seems to me to be a plea from Christ for each of us to "get it." Because it is so important to Him, and to us.

I know the LDS church doesn't have any cut and dry doctrine about miscarriage or stillbirth. And I don't pretend to know more than anyone else about it. But I do know that these scriptures are true. The Book of Mormon is meant for each of us, right now, in our own situations. This experience, among many others, is proof to me that it is meant for me in my life. Its words are true. Christ loves all of his children--all of us. He has suffered infinitely so that we can be with Him and our Heavenly Father again, forever. And all little children are saved. And to me, this includes Liam, my very little child.

I love the Book of Mormon. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. And I love my God, my Heavenly Father. I thank Him for blessing me with my little family and know He loves us and watches over us.


Feel free to ask me more about what I believe.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Last night I got the first sign that my cycles might be going back to normal, and it was a relief as I started to imagine the possibility of getting pregnant again. My sentiment about it has changed. I used to be excited about the miracle of growing a baby inside me--feeling the kicks, watching my belly expand, even the mourning sickness. I can honestly say that in some sense, I am not looking forward to being pregnant again. I am not looking forward to going through the first trimester again. I am not looking forward to the worry of wondering whether my baby's heart is still beating. I am not looking forward to telling myself not to feel guilty that someone new is occupying Liam's only earthly home. But I am looking forward to having another baby.

I keep thinking that. "We're gonna have another baby." Maybe not quite yet. But I feel confident that someday, somehow...

I want to be sure I'm clear about what "another" means to me. "Another" does not mean a different baby. It means a second baby. Two babies. That's all I've been able to think about all day. Two babies. How could I be so blessed to be preparing for a life in which I have two babies, when less than a year ago I was wondering whether I would ever have one?

Of course, it's still not exactly what I wanted. I miss Liam. But today I'm just grateful he exists. Grateful that I have one baby. Have... had... will have... There's something weird about tenses now.

Ever since losing Liam, I've started to believe time is somehow different from how we feel it. I don't know what that means exactly. But some days I focus on how I had Liam, and some days I focus on how I will have Liam again. But today I'm focusing on how I have Liam right now. And maybe it's that confusion of tenses that has the back-of-my-mind voice whispering "I have two babies," all day today. Because I obviously don't have two babies. At least not in my arms, or even in my belly. But I feel like somehow, I do.


Of course there are still things I worry about. I'm not overly excited about re-entering the world where disappointment is met with a tissue and a tampon. And on top of the agonizing two week wait I know too well, I will have to learn to breathe through counting down the days of a nine month pregnancy. But mostly I worry about being a good mother.

Every mother wonders that. I still struggle to remember that I am a mother and my motherhood counts. But if motherhood is defined by how often you ask yourself "if you're a good mother," I count like the vampire on Sesame Street.

Around 2 am last night I found myself praying that if we do get pregnant again, I will be a good mother to both of my children. And if I am blessed with a living child, that I will have the strength and talents I need to mother both a baby on earth and a baby in heaven. I don't want either of my babies to feel like I love one less than the other. It's inevitable that they will not be getting attention in the same ways. I was already worried about my adequacy when I was pregnant with Liam. But this is a situation I had never even considered preparing myself for.

My sweetest and strongest answers to prayers have often come as thoughts I wouldn't normally have on my own. This was the case last night. For someone with as many doubts as I have, the voice of confidence and reassurance that came to my mind last night certainly wasn't mine. That thought blessed me with the feeling of being in the right place at the right time. Which is a welcome change.

So, I feel pretty good today. If you can't tell from the Sesame Street joke. (Goodness, I hope that you got that, or I will be really embarrassed.)

Of course I still miss Liam. But I miss him with hope. I have a firm hope of being with him again and seeing him smile and run and grow. But I'm still learning to hope. Today I'm learning to hope for a sibling for Liam. For two babies.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Things that Happen to Other People

Our CEO pulled me aside today and told me he lost his oldest son 7 weeks after he was born, and he knew what we were going through was terrible. My initial thought was that that sounds so awful, I don't deserve any of his sympathy. Kam pointed out later that he wasn't showing sympathy, it was empathy, and that what we'd been through was essentially the same thing.

But sometimes I think about how we only knew about Liam for three months before we lost him. And sometimes I feel like that means I shouldn't be hurting as much as a parent who lost an older baby.

I can proclaim from the rooftops that I know Liam was here, and that he was real. But I don't always know how to admit that what I'm suffering through is a tragedy. Of course it is. I know it, and I feel it. But I often feel like I don't deserve to say it out loud. Like, if strangers knew how much I ache, they would think I was crazy. At sixteen and a half weeks, I feel like Liam was somehow either too young to count as a "real" stillborn baby (much less a real baby), or too old for me to identify with those women who have had to go through all the pain of miscarriage (not to suggest that loss isn't a real baby either). What do I know about missing a baby when other parents are missing babies who kicked more than just once, who had a crib already prepared,  who had graced the world with a tiny baby sigh? What makes me think I'm so special as to call out attention to my pain when so many women are experiencing miscarriage alone in agonizing silence?

I still feel like tragedy is something that happens to other people. The parts of my experience that were most tragic get locked up in a box in the back of my mind because when I take them out they hurt. So. Bad. Every time I think of that doctor's visit... looking at the ultrasound monitor and seeing our baby still, and slumped in that uncomfortable-looking position. I knew immediately that something was wrong and at the same time it couldn't be because that was something that happened to other people. Not. Me. And hearing the doctor explain, "that's the heart... you can see it doesn't look like it's moving..." That's the kind of thing that's never supposed to happen to anyone. But especially not. Me. Not to my baby. Not ever.

So when people ask me how I'm doing and express their condolences, I'm only remembering the bearable half of the story. The part that says, "Liam was here. They remembered." Not the part that says, "You saw your son's heart not beating. You saw the still heart on that monitor and knew your own heart, too, had stopped beating." I watch those memories like an all-too-familiar movie, where you know the ending and still, every time, wish that this time it will turn out differently. Maybe this time his heart will miraculously start beating again. Maybe this time the tech will come in to confirm and say the doctor had made a mistake. Maybe this time someone will be playing a cruel April Fool's day joke on us and our son is actually just fine and some day we'll tell him that story and we'll all laugh. But it doesn't.

That never happened to me. I hear the stories of empathy and think, "I am so sorry. What a horrible thing to have happen. I don't know what I would do if that were me." Because nothing so awful as my baby dying could ever happen to me.

I almost started crying in a random conversation at work the other day. I thought, "I can't start crying, because he'll ask me what's wrong. And then what will I say?" And the voice in the back of my head that speaks too fast said, "My son died. That's what's wrong." And then I thought, "Oh no, I can't say that. He'll assume my son was older and then he'll ask why I'm back at work already and I'll explain that he was stillborn, and he'll think I was overdramatic for saying my son died when really it was only-" and that part of my brain can't finish my thought and that voice in the back speaks up again and says, "But that's what happened."

My son died. What a horrible thing to have happen. I don't know what I would do if that were me. But it is.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Be Still, My Soul

My heart aches for my baby today.

I know he's safe and that I'll be with him again some day. In church today I received an answer to a prayer for comfort in the form of getting to sing two of my favorite hymns. The first was How Firm a Foundation.

Fear not, I am with thee. O be not dismayed. For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.

That one always makes me cry. I know it so well that as soon as I saw the hymn number I knew I would be crying.The second was Be Still, My Soul. I've always loved the music to this song but never really considered the words before. Today I listened to them in a way I never had before.

1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.Leave to thy God to order and provide;In ev'ry change he faithful will remain.Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly FriendThru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertakeTo guide the future as he has the past.Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;All now mysterious shall be bright at last.Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still knowHis voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning onWhen we shall be forever with the Lord,When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

It was during the second verse that I started to really listen to the words. I worry about the future now. I worry about whether my body is healthy and whether Kam and I will ever have living children and even sometimes I still worry about what will happen to Liam. But I have a goal written on my phone that I will go forward with hope instead of fear. It's hard some days. It's only a goal right now. But this song was comforting for that reason.

But it was the last verse that really got me. Sorrow forgot. That's what Kam sometimes tells me. How when we get to be with Liam again, it won't even matter that we had to go through all this to be there. That whole verse seemed to me like a testimony that that reunion will come someday. And it's not forever away.

Even though it feels that way right now. I miss my baby so much.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Update on My Status

The past couple of days of work have been a lot easier. Nothing big has changed, but I have started working on an exciting project and it's distracted me a bit. At first that bothered me a little. I felt like I shouldn't be distracted from Liam--that I should be thinking about him all the time. But it was also so nice to feel productive at work again. So here is my solution to that.

Those are Liam's feet. They're right next to my computer screen. It seems like a silly thing, but I feel like I can focus and be productive and actually enjoy working again without ever forgetting about Liam. So far I've had no comments about the picture except from my one good friend who knew I was bringing it in. But I kind of sit in a back corner, so I honestly don't think anyone has noticed yet. I'm actually okay with that. I'm okay with people asking, too. I just feel generally okay right now.

Just wanted to update since my last post was a little doom and gloom.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Going Back to Work

Work is the one place I feel like I can't talk about Liam. Not that I want to do it all the time, but with the exception of a few private conversations with my one close girlfriend and one short conversation on my first day back with a friend who had also recently had a baby, I haven't mentioned him at all. And it makes it really hard to be there.

I'm not usually shy about Liam (obviously), but there's a big difference between making people feel uncomfortable on the internet and in person. I often comfort myself knowing people can unfriend me or ignore my blog links whenever they like. And besides, how do you bring a conversation like that up at work at all? I remember being the one on the other side of grief in the past, and I had no idea what to do or say. So I know how uncomfortable I would make people. And it's not like it's just friends I'm making uncomfortable. My living depends--to some degree--on my relationships at work.

But I spend 8-9 hours there every weekday. I'm lucky to have Kam working there, too, so we can sometimes go out to lunch, especially when I need a break. But that's still a long time to spend pretending not to be thinking about something else.

And then there are the emailed birth announcements... I was really looking forward to the day that would be my baby. And now I have a baby, and instead of getting to broadcast it to the whole company, many of the people in my office don't even know I was ever pregnant. It wasn't a secret, but I had only just started showing when Liam died. The news had only just started to spread. So now when I run into people in the hallway and they ask how I'm doing I always have to wonder to myself whether they know or if it's just a polite gesture. When I'm unsure I give vague answers. When I'm sure they don't know I either say I'm doing good and leave quickly or I ignore the question and say hello instead. And then I sit down at my desk and a picture of someone else's baby pops into my inbox.

I don't know what I'm going to do when I get invited to the next office baby shower...

Sometimes I just want to send out an email of my own with my own pictures. But I am too afraid of the consequences. What if I do, and still no one says anything? What if I just get flooded with condolences? Will that really make me feel better? What if this affects my relationships at work? Will people stop trusting me to get my work done because they assume I'm grieving? Will they avoid me and giving me work because they assume I need space? What if they just don't get it at all, because he wasn't what other people think a baby should be? Will I have to confront that? Will I lash out? Will that affect my credibility?

And then there's the matter of importance. Everything seems so backwards. Yesterday I had to determine why a client had one more survey than they were expecting. One. Out of thousands. And since it was a big client, it was important. I can't see how that was ever important anymore, but I do it because I need to keep my job. But a lot of my work feels empty now in comparison to everything I just went through. All I want to do is go home and find some way to still mother Liam. Whether that's writing or knitting baby blankets for the hospital or looking for local volunteer opportunities. But I have to be at work, listening to people talk about all of these stupid things they think are important, and it makes me want to scream because no one is talking about the most important thing: my baby.

I know I'm not the only one to have to go through this. I know there are probably plenty of people in similar situations including women who have suffered miscarriages almost entirely in silence. My heart breaks for you. But how do you manage it? I'm honestly asking. I feel like I'm at the end of my rope, so any ideas are welcome.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

This isn't what I wanted my first Mother's Day to be like. I've looked forward to this day for years. When I became pregnant I thought, "Finally! I'm going to be a mother this Mother's Day!" And I was right. I am a mother. But today was supposed to be full of rejoicing that the wait was finally over. But the wait isn't over. It's just started.

And yet, today hasn't been awful. It's been better than I'd anticipated. Kam made me breakfast, and he got me my Liam ring, which I shined this morning. I've had good friends reach out to me and remind me of my motherhood. One of the leaders in my church ensured I received the Mother's Day gift they were handing out this year. I was asked to help take care of the nursery at church today, which was a nice break from adult life. I got to take joy in comforting children. And I saw children call out for their moms a few times. That was a bittersweet sight.

But the most rewarding thing about today was centered around a thought I had in the first hour of church. A speaker said something about the great impact mothers have on their children, and I thought to myself, "What impact could I possibly have had on Liam? He was already perfect, and that's why he couldn't stay. And I hardly even had any time with him. He never even got to see my face or hear my voice." And almost immediately I realized how wrong I was. Liam was always going to have a life that short. I truly believe that. But he still needed a mother to give him a body. He needed someone to be willing to grow his body for him and carry him for just a little while. And that was it. And by necessity, that would mean his mother would have to give him up. She would have to endure receiving the news of his death, and giving birth to his still body, and living every day with his memory. And missing him every day of her mortal life.

So what's the rewarding part? I feel like I can honestly say I do all of that well. At least as well as anyone can "do" grief. I may not have conciously chosen this path when Kam and I began trying to have children, but now that I'm experiencing it, and I've had the chance to know and love Liam, I would have volunteered. I think God knows that when he gives us trials. He knew I'd be the mother willing to go through the pain of losing a child in order to give my son a body. I didn't know it until recently, but he knew it all along.

And now I have the comfort of knowing Kam and I have given Liam everything he needs to make it to heaven. All he needs from us now is to make it there, too, so we can be together. It's just a relief to know I am parenting my son well, even when it sometimes feels like there is so little I can do.

I always wanted to be a mother. But I never knew what it would feel like. The sweetness of loving a child is something I couldn't have accurately imagined for myself. I may feel like I missed out on a lot this first Mother's Day. But I don't have to miss out on the one thing that makes it all feel real.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Need to be Excited Again

I worry a little about posting this not because it's raw or painful, but because it's almost too hopeful. I'm afraid of a lot of things coming out of this... jynxing myself, having my beliefs challenged, causing concern over my coping mechanisms, getting flooded with conception advice, offending others who are still grieving... One of my biggest worries, though, is that others will assume this means I'm "okay" now. As much as I think we'd all like and might even expect that, it's not happening today. I'm not even sure what it means. Something I never understood before I lost Liam was just how present happiness and sadness can be in one heart at the same time. With all that said, I'm going to continue to be hopeful and post anyway.


Sometimes I imagine my next baby. I like to try to be optimistic and most of me really does believe that I'll have one. And if I really am going to have another baby, I'd like to get excited about that prospect, like I used to be excited. I used to be excited about all of the babies I imagined having, not just Liam. But now it seems hard to be excited about anyone else. On a good day, a really cute onesie just makes me hope heaven will have witty onesies and matching outfits for Liam and Kam. On a bad day... I don't want to imagine ever having another baby at all; Liam's the only one that can fill my void. So while scrolling through pinterest looking for "cute baby things" seems to be a lost cause (I've tried it. I want it to work.), I still can't help but think about the other babies that I believe I will have.

I feel like I owe something to them. But I also feel guilty about getting excited over them instead of crying over Liam. It makes it nearly impossible to do. But when I'm fair with myself I acknowledge that Liam would want for me to be happy and excited over his siblings as much as anyone else would. He'd be excited too, if he were here. Maybe he is excited.

I am their mother just as much as I am Liam's. I just haven't met them yet. And in a way, they're all equally far away right now. I just miss the one I know the best, and I know I'll have to wait the longest to see again. That's fair. But these other babies do deserve something from me. Maybe it's ok not to be excited about them yet. I know it's ok to mourn. But when they do come, I'll want to be excited instead of worried or afraid or angry. I want them to get all the attention I gave Liam when I was still naive and giddy about pregnancy. But right now it almost sounds like a burden. As much as I really do want to feel that way, actually achieving it seems unattainable.

But there is one thing that makes me hopeful, and almost excited. When I imagine my next baby, I imagine a little girl. She's brass and energetic and rascally. She doesn't sit still, and it's difficult to have a serious conversation with her. She's a rebel without a cause. But she's extremely passionate about life, and she loves deeply. She demands attention.

Honestly, she scares me a little.

She sounds exactly like what I need right now. And I don't know if that's because she's out there and she is what I need right now, or if my brain just knows what I want to hear at this hard time. Either way, I like the thought of having a baby who makes her own excitement and demands my attention. She wouldn't allow me to miss out on the other experiences I have always wanted to have, just because I'm holding out for one very important one. I hope she is out there. She would stretch me farther than I think I can go, but I think I need the pull.

And maybe we're just what a little girl like that needs. We're learning patience, and probably a whole lot of other things I don't understand yet. And there's no doubt she'd be wanted. She'd be prayed and wished and worried into existence. She'd have the perfect older brother watching over her, and I sometimes think she'd desperately need that. The idea that this could all actually be what our whole family needs and was meant to be, that actually is exciting. I know I thought my plan was better. Sometimes I still think so. But I'm happy to be wrong. I'd be very very happy to find out this is better than it seems, and even better than I planned.

So, while images of tiny dresses and pinterest parenting tips don't do it for me anymore, I am excited. If she's out there... Come down, baby girl, because I want to meet you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

This isn't what I wanted.

I try not to think that too often, because I know it won't change anything. But sometimes it creeps in and refuses to leave. Today's been an emotional roller-coaster. Numbness to hope to numbness to anger to fatigue. My level of faith right now is this,

"God, this isn't what I wanted. I sure hope you know what you're doing, because I sure don't. "

I'm too tired and hurt to remember why I thought everything was going to be ok. So I give up. I'm just going to hope God really will make it ok, and leave it at that. And try not to think anymore for a while.

The First Moment My Life Changed Forever

I often think about a pivotal moment in my life when Kam and I were first getting to know each other. He and I had been on a few dates, and I really liked him, and I'd told him that. I also told him I was scared because I had just broken up with my last boyfriend less than 2 weeks before, and I wasn't planning on dating anyone seriously again any time soon. Kam was very supportive, and I remember he said, "Well, what do you want?" And I was surprised at the question and said I didn't know. He replied, "That's ok. Sometimes it's hard to know what you want. Just let me know." He made it sound so simple.

I spent the next few days trying to figure that out. I knew what I didn't want. I didn't want to have my heartbroken again. But I also didn't want to miss out on Kam. He was like no one else I'd ever met and I was sure he'd make some other girl happy if I didn't take this chance, and I really didn't like the idea of missing out on being that girl. But how could I know it wouldn't end the way my last relationship had? What I had just been through was the hardest, darkest part of my life up to that point (which almost makes me laugh now, but when I think back about the way I felt, it really was a big deal at the time). I couldn't imagine going through that again. I sometimes felt like I'd barely survived last time, literally. I was afraid I wouldn't be strong enough to handle it a second time.

But what if this was good? Would I always wonder what might have been if I didn't try this out? I could let him pass me by, and I'm sure I would survive. But how much would I have missed out on? Would I always regret that?

I remember where I was when I decided what I wanted. I remember walking to class, praying silently, "I'm going to try this. Stop me if it's wrong. And if it doesn't work out, and I'm just supposed to learn something from this, just please don't let anything really bad happen." Basically, I was just pleading that I would survive it. I know that doesn't sound like a very romantic way to feel about starting a relationship, but that's just how scared I was. And it took everything in me to decide I wanted the chance to be with him more than I wanted to feel safe. But that is what I wanted.

I honestly consider that the best decision of my life, not only because of how incredibly it worked out, but because of how much faith it took at the time. That moment changed a lot of the course of my life not only because it allowed Kam to be a part of it, but because it changed a piece of my character forever. It took a different kind of faith than I'd ever had before. I didn't have faith that everything would work out for the best. I just had faith that I could move forward without being afraid and that God would somehow allow me to survive whatever came next. That was all I asked for and all I expected. I remember asking Kam after we'd been dating for about a month whether he thought this was just a fling, because I honestly didn't know. (He was, of course, not very happy about that assumption.) I had decided to go for it even though I had no idea what was going to happen. And then God blessed me with more than I ever imagined. Because sometimes things do go right.

I've been thinking about this a lot today.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Thoughts on Blessings and Marriage

I realized today that losing Liam is a trial, but having him at all is a blessing. I don't believe there's any other version of the future where Liam would be born healthy in September like we planned. The trial and the blessing had to go together, and it's up to me to decide which I want to focus on more.

I also realized today that that trial and that blessing were picked especially for us. Kam and I have always wanted and worked hard to have a strong marriage. That was a priority to each of us before we even knew it would be with each other. I believe this experience is a testimony to us that we are doing a good job there. Though this trial has been painful, it hasn't harmed our marriage. In fact, it's made us stronger and closer. I believe this was the gravity of a trial that our marriage needed to be tested with, and to know God trusted us with something this huge is a privilege. But even more, I believe we were blessed to be chosen as Liam's family because we were ready to love him and parent him in our own way. That's an even greater privilege.

I saw an article today that I had shared on Facebook two years ago, shortly after we got married, that gave 3 points of advice surrounding marriage. The last was essentially, "The most important thing you can do as a parent is to love your spouse." Comforting words to someone looking for ways to parent beyond the veil. But also a reassurance that Kam and I are doing something right. That we were blessed with Liam because we're good parents, and not that he was taken away because we wouldn't have been.

Friday, May 1, 2015

28 Days

Yesterday I realized it was exactly 4 weeks since I gave birth to Liam. I've been worrying over when my period will come back, and I was noticing that would have been a normal cycle. 28 days. And I thought, how could it be 28 days? How could 28 days have passed already? Not just how could they, but how dare they? How dare time keep passing in a world without my son in it?

And I haven't been able to shake that feeling since.

Where have I been for the past 28 days? Now it's May and a whole month has passed since we got the bad news. And I don't even remember it passing. How can time move so slowly, and yet when it passes you, it's like it was never there at all?

I often wish I could just wake up. Find myself in my bed and turn to Kam and tell him about the terrible nightmare I just had, and he'd say, "It's ok. It was just a dream." And I'd look down at my belly, and Liam would be there, and it would all be ok. But I know I'm not dreaming.

The other night Kam and I were talking about how it's all really ok, even if it's hard to remember. We'll be with Liam again someday. And he's safe right now. Kam was saying it's like when you're little and you scrape your knee and at the time it hurts, but now we think back about being a kid and we aren't thinking about the pain of scraping a knee. It doesn't even matter now. That's what it'll be like when we're with him again. It won't even matter that we had to go through all this to get there. That'll all be healed, and it'll be ok again. And in that way, it almost is like waking up from a dream. I'll have my baby Liam back, and I'll get to pick up where I left off. I'll raise him like I always expected I would, and it'll suddenly all be ok.

But right now it's still hard. Your knee still hurts when you scrape it. And at least right now, this feels worse than a million scraped knees. And I'm going to be in this dream for a long time before it's ok. So what do I do until then?

I've always tried really hard to do everything exactly right, and thought that meant it would all be ok. But we did everything right in this pregnancy. And it didn't make any difference. And I find myself worrying now over things like getting my period back, and I haven't changed. I'm still trying to control everything, only now I know I can't. So the only thing left to do is just trust in God, but it is so hard to do. I can't just sit here twiddling my thumbs, waiting for God to work things out. It's not that I don't think He can. It's just-- what am I supposed to do while I'm waiting? What can I even do that will make a difference if I'm not in control anyway?

The only thing I can imagine doing is trying to make the world aware that my baby isn't dead forever. My baby isn't dammed or stuck or frozen in time. My baby isn't waiting as a helpless infant for me to come back to him. My baby isn't suddenly an adult in heaven whose life I've missed out on. My baby isn't waiting to be born to a different family or until I can just get this or that right.

My baby is a handsome, mature spirit. When I picture him, I imagine a young man. He's in heaven, but heaven isn't as far as I used to think. Sometimes I feel like he's nearby. I believe he's busy working hard, making his mama proud. I imagine he's probably helping our other family members we miss. I picture him smiling, all the time. A smile unique to him that I can't describe. I see him as calm and comforting like his father. And he's like me, too. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I feel like my voice is in there. It's somewhat surprising to think any parts of Kam and I could get put together to make a perfect little boy. But I know he is, and I also know he's ours. And then he's just unique him. I feel like he has a special energy that's all his own that I started to see on his 16 week ultrasound, and I still imagine him with it. Vivacious is the best word for it. He knows we love him, and he loves us back. He's eager to be reunited with his body so he can grow up in our arms like he was always meant to do. But he's not lonely or impatient. He doesn't feel the aching that we feel. He understands this whole thing better than we do. He's with our Heavenly Father. How could he not be ok?

So I might be sad and angry and hurt and confused. But I take comfort in knowing he's not.

When I got pregnant I often prayed, thanking the Lord and promising I'd love whatever baby I got. I imagined that might mean a baby with down syndrome or autism or just a really rebellious personality. But instead I got a baby whose life on earth was meant to be very short. There was no other way. Before he ever came to us, God knew that was what his life would be. I asked for a baby and told God I would love whatever baby I got, and Liam needed love. I am blessed that God trusted me with that responsibility. Loving him is easy. But missing him is hard.