Thursday, July 30, 2009

Walt's Check-up

As I am finishing my 30th week of pregnancy I am SO happy to say that Walt is doing well. He had a great check-up, but because he is so active I entered the doctor's office far from nervous. He kicks so hard! He is stubborn though because as soon as his daddy's hand goes to feel him kick, he stops! He is already a momma's boy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Holding on to Hope

As we bring the summer to a close and August slowly approaches, my family is dealing with so many emotions. Yes, we are all excited about Walt coming, but his arrival will never take away the broken heart that we all have from losing our sweet Magdalena. August will always be so hard for that reason. I think that I am getting worse about dealing with people, situations, and just life in general. On top of being sad, tired, and hugely pregnant, I am on the edge and irritable. I say this because Noah wrote in the last post how nice it was to have Kim come and stay with me, but really it was a huge sacrifice for her to deal with me for a full week. Not only did I freeze her out of the house, she saw me at my worst. People usually won't want to see this side, this extreme, so I avoid it at all costs. But poor Kim. She got a week full of it. (Thanks for being a true blue friend, Kim!) I know that very soon I will be going back to work, and although this will be hard physically, I am excited/nervous about getting to focus on someone else.

Since I have been through all of this pain, I have been able to kind of "step out" of our church/society culture and see how "weird" we all are. It is not that we don't mean the best when dealing with other people and their problems, but it is that it usually makes us feel uncomfortable, so we may do something to make us feel good about ourselves or to make us feel comfortable. The difference is very obvious when you are the one hurting. I say this to warn readers of a lesson that I have learned, and that maybe if just one of you can benefit from it, it is worth it to share. Here it goes...speaking is overrated. It is okay to have silence in a conversation. Just listen. There are situations where you may not be able to relate to the person, but you can still be there for them. This means don't say what you think is "equivalent" to the situation. I think that I will give an example on this one...When I had recently found out about Magdalena's syndrome I was having a conversation with a woman who proceeded to tell me about when she THOUGHT something was going wrong in her pregnancy and how she ALMOST lost her baby. Notice the key words here. (All of her children are older and healthy) I can look back and realize that this woman was trying to relate to me in a situation that had pain that she knew nothing about. Fear of losing a child is different than knowing you will lose a child or you have lost a child before. My point here is that it is ok if you cannot relate, and sometimes just being there to discuss the difficult subject or not to discuss it is all that matters.

I just had to delete where I was going because I realized that my blog entry was turning into a list of "don't's" when I meant to go somewhere else with it. Please forgive my brain for going all over the page. My point is that a person's actions can cause further pain if there is not a lot of prayer in it before taking a particular action. Before Magdalena passed, a woman at church gave me a book "Holding on to Hope" by Nancy Guthrie. I don't remember all that she said to me, but I remember she asked first if it was okay she brought it to me. Then, she said something like, "This isn't for now". Her words combined with the fact that I knew her made her actions okay, and I see now (and if I can get there I will write) how they are assisting me. We do not share a close friendship and she has never lost a child, but I can truly see that she loves the Lord. I am just now picking up the book, but every time I saw it sitting on the shelf I saw her sweet, loving heart. I didn't want to read about death when we were celebrating her being with us.

Today I made myself begin to read the book. I am so angry with God some days, and as August comes sadness, hurt, and anger consumes my heart. I don't want to speak for everyone in my family, but I dare to say that we are all feeling those emotions right now. It is hard to understand these feelings to a certain extreme unless you have walked down the same path, but I read the first sections of the book through tears. Nancy definitely knows how it feels because it was as if I were reading my diary. I don't want to say, "Go buy this book for everyone", but I will say that if you know someone who has lost a child, YOU may need to read this book. It will help you to understand their pain. You don't have to be able to relate to someone's pain to help them carry it.

Just to give you a glimpse into the book and my heart...
"The day after we buried Hope, my husband said to me, "You know, I think we expected our faith to make this hurt less, but it doesn't. Our faith gave us an incredible amount of strength and encouragement while we had Hope, and we are comforted by the knowledge that she is in heaven. Our faith keeps us from being swallowed by despair. But I don't think it makes our loss hurt any less."

"It is only natural that people around me often ask searchingly, 'How are you?' And for much of the first year after Hope's death, my answer was, 'I'm deeply and profoundly sad'. I've been blessed with many people who have been willing to share my sorrow, to just be sad with me. Others, however, seem to want to rush me through my sadness. They want to fix me. But I have lost someone that I love dearly, and I'm sad. Ours is not a culture that is comfortable with sadness."

"At times I've headed into the building (church) with completely conflicted feelings. Part of me can't stand the idea that purhaps no one will say to me anything about Hope, while the other part of me dreads that so many people will say something to me about her."

Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
(Gosh, this is a hard verse)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Merida Again

This past week I went with a group from Huntsville, AL to Merida, Yucatan, Mexico on a mission trip. It was very hard to have to leave Julie for a whole week, but God was very gracious to both of us. Julie's friend, Kim (pictured), came in to stay with her all week and they had a great time hanging out with with their friend Aimee. I am so glad that Julie has such wonderful friends to be there for her. God really does provide for us and meets our needs!

I had an amazing time in Merida. It was so great to be able to see the old city where I lived for so long and where Julie and I spent our first year of marriage. As I drove around the city on various errands, it was very emotional for me as so many great memories came rushing back. Merida was already quite large but is growing steadily and prospering which is nice to see, but all of the new buildings and construction had me confused at times.

The group that I went with is from First Presbyterian Church  and they are an amazing bunch. They worked very hard and accomplished a lot in such a short time. I was impressed with how well they worked together and cared so much for the people of Merida. The VBS in the evenings was very powerful and so many kids heard the gospel and saw it lived out in front of them. The group is also actively involved in a ministry called Living Waters for the World which sets up high-tech water filtration systems in poor communities in several countries giving the people very clean and healthy water at a much lower cost than standard. It is also a way for a church or ministry to support itself by selling the ultra purified water at a small profit. Seeing this love in action was very encouraging to me.

I was also very thankful to be able to use a cell phone to call Julie every day. I hadn't expected to be able to call but perhaps email every now and then, but thanks to the generosity of Matt, who helped lead the group, I was able to call during free moments. It was such a blessing! Julie and I hadn't spent that much time apart since we got married and recently we have come to rely on each other in so many ways that I don't know how well we would have handled it all without being able to talk at least once a day. I missed her so much.

I had wanted to be able to bring some gifts back to Julie since Merida means so much to both of us. God allowed me just enough time to get around to a few shops and pick up exactly what I was looking for. I found the Belgian Chocolate makers only with the help of some of the wonderful school staff (thanks Ceci!), so I was able to bring Julie a box of assorted Belgian chocolates which were our favorites. I also got her a beautiful, small decorative wooden bowl thing (not sure how to describe it) which I thought would look nice somewhere in our house. It says Merida on the side and would cost three times as much in the States. The other things that I got were two items from a little place called Mayan Xic which is a store that we used to love. In the store, there is photo album with a great picture of Julie and her nieces all wearing shirts from this store. One of the shirts that I got is for Julie which says that she is 100% Yucatecan. The other shirt (maybe it is more of a jumper) is for little Walt and it says, "Can I give you a hug?" in a mix of Spanish and Maya. It is super cute.

I was informed that this article of clothing is officially called a onesie. Thanks, Lori. I should have known that.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Walt's 28 Week Debut




Today I am officially 28 weeks and 2 days, but Walt is growing so well that he is three days ahead measuring 28 weeks and 5 days. He is about 2 pounds 14 ounces, which puts him in the 58 percentile. Noah and I were so glad to see that sweet little face of his, and it is obvious that he is going to be a very active little guy. Now, I begin going to see the doctor every two weeks (until week 36 when I begin going every week), but unfortunately there are unlikely to be anymore sonograms. We will have to wait to see exactly what he looks like when he makes his grand entrance. As of now we are not sure whether or not he has Noah's little nose like Magdalena did, or if he will have a nose similar to those on my side of the family. He does have a little hair that we found on the back of his head! How cute!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Most Expensive Bean


The Ronald McDonald House sent us this picture of Noah when he dropped off the first batch of pop tabs. Now we have just as many so it is time to go again! (on the floor you can see a huge garbage bag full too!) This is amazing! And I am so excited about all of the families that will benefit from everyone collecting their tabs!

My bean story...
To liven up the summer I am cooking much more than I normally do (before I rarely cooked), and I am trying new recipes! Well, I found a recipe for apple, raisin oatmeal that cooks overnight in the crockpot. I was so excited about it because I just knew that Noah would love it! When he got home from work we went to Kroger to get two ingredients that I needed. Neither of us knew what a vanilla bean was, but we knew we needed it for the oatmeal. We ended up laughing in the isle becaue ONE bean was $11! We had no idea, and for a new recipe we didn't want to risk it. We kept thinking that maybe the oatmeal needed just a piece of the bean or something like it. We ended up going home without the bean, and we ended up laughing all night about that overly expensive bean. So if you see us growing a garden, you know that we will be growing vanilla beans!
The story may not be as funny when someone else reads what happened, but we were rolling!

Tomorrow we are going to check and see how Walt is doing. He is moving well, so that keeps me from worrying, and my only complaints are the normal ones for someone who is pregnant. I am hoping to share some pictures with you because we are getting a sonogram to check Walt's growth...just to be sure that he is doing well and that there is no reason to worry.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Looking for Something Perfect

Noah and I are still in the process of looking for the perfect grave marker for sweet Magdalena. It is hard for us to really spend a lot of time on it, and I don't think that either of us likes looking or thinking so long about it. All we know right now is that it needs to have balloons on it. When learning that we needed some help thinking about it, Magdalena's Gigi immediately recognized that we needed to put balloons on it. That is one of the most perfect items to describe her. She loved her balloons! But through tears today I was looking again and came across this poem that I thought I would share. I have to stop looking for now. It is just too hard, but reading these words was a good reminder.

I'M FREE

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard him call;
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way;
I found that place at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss;
Ah yes, these things, I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, I savored much;
Good friends, good times, a loved ones touch.
Perhaps my time seems all too brief;
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, He set me free.

Author: Linda Jo Jackson

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Happy 4th of July (a little late)

I never realized just how big I was until I saw this picture. As I watched the numbers on the scale increase I guess I thought all of the weight was hidden, but between the the weight gain and the swelling it was bound to show. It will all be worth it when I finally get to hold sweet Walt in my arms! Walt spent his first 4th of July celebration in Georgia, where Noah grew up. With all that has been going on in our lives, Noah and I haven't been able to visit in a while, but all of the details fell into place for us to go. I knew that traveling pregnant was going to be hard, but the night before we left I couldn't sleep. I kept thinking of all of the things that could go wrong while we were gone and what could happen to Magdalena's things. It is silly because you can't prevent such things from taking place, but I realized that there was nothing else in the house that I cared about except for what I have in 3 large Tupperware containers, pictures, and videos. Those things are irreplaceable. Noah asked me if I wanted to carry the things with us. I liked the idea better than leaving them, but I knew that I couldn't look at it the entire time. So who else would I call but Magdalena's Loli. They have a fire alarm and everything needed to protect what is so valuable to us. We were leaving so early that I knew she wouldn't be up, but thankfully Stephen leaves early for work, so I called and he let us bring the things over. I added some of her things that were not in the batch, and packed them to go. It was such a relief. I didn't have to worry about it the entire time like I knew that I would. I know that I can't prevent everything bad from happening, but I want to try on the small things. Her things are what they are...things...but they bring me comfort, sometimes sad comfort but comfort still the same. I like them hanging in the closet and around the room and I did not want to risk losing them.

Here is the picture of Noah and me on July 4, 2009 in our matching t-shirts.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Scrapbook Peek

As I promised earlier, here are some of the pages from Magdalena's scrapbook. I have only gotten to her pre-birth photos! There are going to be many pages once I get to see her sweet little face in the book! If you have a favorite scrapbook book page that I could get an idea from, please, send it to me. I am not very creative so I am always looking for ideas!