Wednesday, December 21, 2016

5 years

Hello dear ones! It has been 2 years since my last post. Honestly, I had mostly forgotten about my blog in the busyness of this phase of life. But I have recently had several new acquaintances mention that they had stumbled across this blog and that it had left them impacted and encouraged in some way. That touches my heart much more than I am able to express. To know that even 5 years later, Jude's life is still reaching out and touching people blesses this mama's heart.

Yes. 5 years. It struck me last night, that as Jess and I approach our 10th wedding anniversary we have spent half of our married lives missing Jude. I don't know why that seems so substantial, but it does. As his birthday creeps closer each year I still feel a certain melancholy mixed in with the joy of the Christmas season. While the sorrow is not overwhelming as it was those first few years, in some ways it is harder to balance now, with small kids at home, and so many other expectations. I give myself less grace to feel sad, or at least to show it, because I see how my emotions effects my family. I think there will always be certain challenges in this balancing act of honoring and remembering Jude, while joyfully fulfilling the responsibility of raising our other children. And what a privilege it is to be their mama!

God has been good to us through these taxing years of Jess' residency. We were blessed with our daughter Hannah Lyn in August of 2015. It was a difficult pregnancy with many ER visits and emergency surgery, but God protected both of us, and blessed us with skilled physicians that kept us both healthy.

She and Peter are SO different, but they have tons of fun together. I am incredibly blessed in how well they get along and play together. Peter is now 3, almost 4 and in preschool in the mornings. He is playful, sweet, and easy-going. His favorite things include trains, reading books, and playing outside. Oh, and cardboard boxes. This kid loves him a good cardboard box. We joke that next Christmas we're not going to bother with gifts for the kids. We'll just buy ourselves something big that will come in a huge box, and give the kid's the packaging. :-)

Hannah's 16 months now. She is the most stubborn little thing you ever met. She decided early on that she didn't want to learn to walk, and instead cruises around everywhere on her knees. She won't leave headbands on, and is our little thrill seeker. She's going go be a handful, but she laughs at every antic her brother pulls, and is such a daddy's girl. When Jess gets home in the evening she starts shrieking "DADDY DADDY DADDY!!!!!!" And doesn't stop until he's picked her up for kisses and tickles.

Jess is nearing the finish line for his residency, and we just found out last week that he was accepted into the Air Force Pulmonary Critical Care fellowship in San Antonio to start in July. We'll be moving in June. 3 more years of training, but then he will be done for good. We will owe the Air Force about 5 years after that and would love to go overseas. We will just have to see what the Lord has for us when the time comes. Then when we're ready to really settle somewhere we hope to head back home to Colorado. The mountains will always have a strong pull on us.

My days are full of caring for the kids and our home. I have never considered myself to be the homemaker type, but this is clearly what is best for our kids through these years of Jess working such long hours. I miss my work as a nurse, and plan to go back once our life offers more stability in other areas. I certainly keep busy enough with the kids, dogs, and running. Jess and I ran a half marathon earlier this month, and I'm doing another with friends next month. Never thought I'd be a "runner" but it has been really good for my health both physically and mentally.

That about sums up what we've been up to the last couple of years. This afternoon we plan on going to the beach and doing a balloon release for Jude's birthday as we do every year. Peter is starting to  ask a lot of questions about his brother. I love the little conversations we have about Heaven and Jude. My heart is tender today, and I miss my little man, but I feel immensely grateful for these two I spend my days with. My prayer is that Jess and I would be granted the wisdom necessary to raise them to love the Lord, and that our entire family will be together someday at the feet of Jesus.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lonely fall

Autumn has always been my favorite season. I LOVE crunchy leaves, pumpkin lattes, scarfs, and curling up with a good book or show under a soft blanket.

It still is my favorite in theory, but now it all comes covered in a thick layer of melancholy. I sometimes wonder if it will always be such a bittersweet season for me. This the 4th fall that has been different. Each year has gotten a bit easier, but I still have occasional and unexpected flashes of memory that are so sharp they take my breath away.

I can perfectly picture the shoes I was wearing to my 20 week ultrasound crunching through leaves in the parking lot as we left the hospital in a haze of fear and uncertainty.

Preparing my Thanksgiving menu, brings back moments of that Thanksgiving. We were with Jess' family, and I tried SO hard not to cry that day.

Babysitting a friend's toddler and watching the boys play together momentarily takes my breath away as I feel so keenly that there's really ALWAYS supposed to be two boys tearing through the house giggling.

I'm always aware of Jude's absence and always miss him; but this time of year it just hurts more. And this year specifically it's a lonely hurt. We've moved again, and while several of my friends here know about Jude, none of them really KNOW about Jude. We're becoming more and more removed from the family and friends that walking through the pain of loss with us. No one here knew us before. No one knew us during. It sometimes feels that no one here really knows us at all,... because they don't know how the last few years have changed us.

And while Jess is doing fabulously in his residency, it keeps him very busy. Peter and I are alone most of the time. Jess and I barely have time to communicate about the absolute necessities, much less to talk about how we're really feeling, or reminisce about what it would be like to have an almost 3 year old in the house. I know he's thinking about it too, there just isn't any time.

It just feels particularly lonely this year. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Real Life of a DR's wife

Hello! As promised, here is the link to my new blog. Please come over to check it out and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

The REAL life of a doctor's wife

Or you can click on the button at the top right of the page! (I'm SOOOOO proud that I figured that out on my own!)

Also, if you blog please grab either or both of my buttons for your page. Thanks!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Life Phases and Sister Blog

Life is funny, ya know? Circumstances shape certain phases of life so intensely that in the moment you can't fathom that life will ever revolve around anything but what you are currently experiencing. Losing Jude was probably the most intense experience that has ever consumed my being. And there was a time when I truly believed that it would ALWAYS consume me. That phase of my life shaped me into who I am today, but it no longer consumes me.

In a way it feels like a confession. To say that losing Jude is not longer the primary lens through which I experience life. But it's true. And I won't let myself feel guilty for that.

This is certainly not to say that I don't grieve for him. I do. Every. Single. Day. But it's not the sucker-punch grief that takes your breath away and leaves you wondering how you will get out of bed and face the world.

It's a much more subtle grief. His absence is certainly felt; but we have learned to live with that absence. It is simply a part of our lives, and we have learned to embrace and find joy in remembering Jude. There will always be hard days like his birthday, and holidays (especially Christmas because it's so close to his birthday) will always be bittersweet. I will always have the desire and need to recognize that I don't only have 1 child. That no, Peter is not our first. I will ALWAYS hesitate to answer when people ask those questions.

These are the experiences of child loss that never go away. But the pain has waned significantly.

And while I will always identify strongly with the infant loss community, I feel my ability to relate to the intensity of that experience also waning.

So, my point:

I have wrestled about what to do with this blog. I feel as though I want it to stay up as a resource for women going through the immediacy of losing a child. Especially for people that get a Triploidy diagnosis as we are (Thank God) few and far between. I started this blog with the prayer that God would use it to touch and encourage women who may be going through similar situations and decisions that we did with Jude. And it has.

But as I'm sure any followers have noticed, my blogging has slowly become less and less frequent. My life has become so full of other things and I feel like I have fewer words to share with the audience I created this blog for.

All this to say that I'm starting a sister blog. I'll link the two together as soon as I figure out how. This new blog will be about life now. A life that includes infant loss, but is also about all the other parts of life as I see it. Being a Christ follower, being a mother to children both in Heaven and in my arms, being a nurse, being a doctor's wife, being a military wife, etc.

Thanks for reading.

You are what has made this blog worth writing the last few years. You have helped with my grieving and healing process. Thanks, and God bless.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Painfully beautiful

There are these moments....

His head resting on my chest in the middle of the night, as his breathing calms.

His proud smile as he turns to make sure I'm watching him climb the stairs for the first time.

His excited giggle and frantic "milk" sign as I settle in to nurse him before bed.

His intense concentration as he chases a bubble through the air with his chubby fingers.

The moments that make you catch your breath in wonder at the complete abandon with which this tiny person lives and loves. The moments that very nearly bring tears to your eyes with the recurring realization of just how precious a thing you've been entrusted.

I know all moms have them, not just those of us who have experienced loss. But in every one of those painfully beautiful moments with Peter I also have Jude on my mind. I feel this insistent need to not only treasure these moments, but to also store away some of that joy for Jude. Each new thing that Peter learns or experiences is something that Jude never did, and I feel that acutely. As I laugh with family while Peter enjoys his first birthday cake, I feel the need to treasure that moment for Jude as well. As I teach Peter how to color with crayons or turn the pages of his books it hurts me that I never did these things with Jude.

I've long since accepted Jude's absence, and come to peace with the fact that I will never have the opportunity to mother him in this life. It is still not always easy, but there is great hope in knowing we WILL meet again. I often wonder what our relationship will be like in Heaven though.

Jess and I had a conversation the other day about what our Heavenly bodies would be like. And as any conversation about Heaven does with us, it turned to Jude. Will he have the body of a child? Will we have the chance there to watch him grow and learn? Will we finally have opportunities to capture these painfully beautiful moments with our Jude dude? I don't have any answers to these questions. All I know is that if the answers are "no," it will only be because the reality is so much more incredible than we can fathom.

In the mean time, I plan on reveling in these moments with Peter. He is growing and changing so incredibly fast. Goodness. I love these boys more than I ever knew was possible.

P.S. Can you tell it's springtime in the valley? :-) We're enjoying our beautiful mountain state as much as we can before heading down south!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ready for change

What a wild few weeks it has been! In mid-December Jess matched into a residency program in Biloxi, MS where we'll be heading in May. On the 21st we honored what would have been Jude's 2nd birthday. Then: Christmas with all of my gigantic family in town, Peter got sick and Jess' mom flew into town, and then a new nephew was added to the family, then we celebrated our anniversary/New Years Eve, then Jess' mom left, and NOW I'm sick. Gee,... I wonder why.... woot. I'm exhausted.

It's been a month of many blessings; but something has become very clear to me in the last month or two. As much as I have LOVED living close to family, and as much as I'm going to miss them desperately when we move 1500 away; I'm so ready for the next phase. Living here has been awesome, and it has been hard. It has been completely lacking the medical community support system that we got used to in Parker. My family has filled in many of the gaps left, but it's still not the same as having support from dear friends that are walking the same road.

I sometimes hesitate to put things bluntly on my blog for fear of hurting feelings, but I'm just going to say it:

Our time in Grand Junction has been very lonely and we are ready to move on.

We dearly love our friends here and know that they love us. But we have found that even when people love you, if they don't understand the path your life taking, they simply don't have the means to offer the support that you need. And I think once they realize that, many people just stop trying. Our lives are on a beautiful but unique and often difficult path. Between having a child in Heaven, and the whole medical school process I think we are becoming harder for many of our friends to relate to.

Jess copes with it quite well as, even though he's the extrovert, he stays busy with school and rotations. I on the other hand, have had a hard time coping with the adjustment of being a (mostly) stay-at-home mom while simultaneously realizing that I'm being left out of more and more of my friends get togethers and activities. I place no blame,... it is simply the product of being an awkward introvert and not having much in common with my friends here beyond our children and church. But it is still hard. And it makes me ready to move on to the next phase of our lives,....

Even if that phase is a crazy busy residency in Biloxi Mississippi!

There will be opportunities for relationships with women who understand the process that we are undertaking. I won't have to explain the difference between rotations and residency over and over again. I won't have to describe the decisions we're facing about civilian vs. military fellowship. I won't have to explain what Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Critical Care (the specialty that Jess is pursuing) are. I won't have to verbalize the worries in the back of my mind over the likelihood that he'll be deployed multiple times in the coming years or that we will have to fight tooth and nail to keep our marriage strong when he's at the hospital 24/7.

There will be women there that get it.

And though it means moving so far from family and the mountains that we love, I know that God has great things in store for us there.

And here's my sweet boy, just to make you smile:
Can't believe he's 10 months already!!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2 years

A Couple of weeks ago was Jude's 2nd birthday. I found again this year that the days leading up to his birthday were actually harder then the day itself. I'm not sure why that is. The day before is the worst though. I spend the whole day thinking back on what I was doing that day 2 years ago. Remembering the day of being in labor and anticipating his birth/death is worse somehow then remembering the actual day. And we do things to make the actual day special; which helps.

We did a balloon release again this year. We let Peter keep one of them to take home. That kid LOVES balloons. It was odd trying to make the day about Jude, with Peter in tow; and I imagine that will only become more challenging as the years go by. We got another angel ornament for Jude as well. I imagine that when Jess and I are old, we will have a Christmas tree heavy with Jude's angels. It will be lovely. For now there are just two. It is enough.

A few people remembered,... but mostly family. I wasn't expecting hordes to think of him on what should have been his special day,... but it still hurts my mama's heart that his day slipped by catching the notice of so few. The messages that I did get I cherish. It's one of those telling things about the state of a relationship. Some people we haven't seen in years,... and still they remembered. 

Overall it was a peaceful day. That's what I was praying for, and my biggest hope for his birthday each year. 

Copyright ©2011 Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved | Premade Designs at Small Bird Studios