Friday, July 29, 2011

Turning Tables

I titled this blog Everything for a Reason. Everything I share comes from a deep passion for the order and purpose of things. Yet here I sit today with a bitter and completely broken heart. For what I was so certain was happening for a specific reason has turned out to be happening for a whole different reason all together. One that I do not yet know or understand and one that I most definitely wasn’t prepared for. I want to know why, what did I do to deserve more pain, but what’s the point? It doesn’t change anything. Whatever will be will be. Yet again my beliefs are challenged. I say “everything for a reason” but this, really, do I have to endure this with a huge smile and an“everything for a reason” attitude when all I want to do is cry and fight it kicking and screaming? The answer is yes. Yes I have to endure this, my heart is involved. Yes it is ok to cry, yes it is ok to silently kick and scream once in a while, that is part of allowing ourselves to heal. Yes, not everything I want will want me. And yes, everything really does happen for a reason, even in this time. I do not have the strength, nor the desire to do it now, but one day I believe I will be able to sing along with (and mean it) Garth Brooks when he says, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers”. I hope it happens sooner rather than later because my heart is so tired of being beat up. It’s time to say goodbye to turning tables, I just wish I knew how to…

-“Sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead” –Adele

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The 580

The 580 is Modesto's "gateway" to the bay area. You pretty much have to take it anytime you head out west to the bay. I spent this past weekend in Napa. On Sunday I headed back to Modesto and as I made my way from the 680 onto the eastbound 580 headed for Modesto I was flooded with some hard memories. The last time I was headed eastbound on the 580 was nearly one year ago, mid-September. Austin and I had flown in from Idaho for the weekend. I was about 9 weeks pregnant and there were still only about 3 people that knew what was going on. (He knew everything about my situation and still said he wanted to stay with me, so that is what we did until October) We landed at the Oakland airport where his sister and brother-in-law picked us up and took us to SF to help them with some wedding stuff. I knew that I was acting different and I knew that everyone could tell something was up, especially when I didn't order a glass of wine or a beer when we went out to lunch. I wanted to be my normal self but all I could focus on was not breaking down and crying. I wanted to get it off my chest and say what was going on, but what words do I use and where does something this big get inserted into conversation? This would be the feeling I carried throughout my entire weekend back home. (At this point nobody in my family knew) I was overwhelmed on so many different levels that I didn't know what to do. After lunch in SF Aus and I got dropped off in San Mateo to drive ourselves back to Modesto. The second we were alone in our own car I lost it. I cried nearly the entire way down that familiar stretch of the eastbound 580. Poor Austin. I was struggling with reality again, wanting so badly to make it go away and clinging to vain hopes that going home would make it all better but at that same time I was absolutely terrified of reaching our destination in Modesto, fearful that somebody would find out or that I wouldn't be able to bear the secret. As irony would have it, my niece and nephew were over and I don't remember what the topic of conversation was but my nephew walks over to me, puts his hands on my belly and says, "baby in here?" I think my heart stopped at that point in time. Kids say the darndest things ;) Thankfully nobody really took notice and I wasn't questioned about it. As it turned out, that weekend my mom and step-dad went out of town and by miscommunication I missed pizza night at my sister's. Austin was busy with being in his friend's wedding so I spent most of the weekend alone. I took that as a sign that I was not meant to tell any of my family during that trip. The timing just wasn't right for whatever reason. We left on Sunday and I would not return again to Modesto until July 6 of this year.

Last September, on the miserable trip down the 580 I was filled with fear and panic and the only thing on my mind was, "What am I going to do?" "How is this ever going to be ok?"  Nearly one year later, I was making that same trip down the 580, but this time I was thanking God for what he had done in my life over the past year, thanking him for Grace and Liz and Eric, and all the people he brought into my life. I felt joy and a so much excitement for whatever this next year may hold. This reflection reminded me that there will always be hard times in life, it is inevitable. But there will also always be joyful times in life, that is inevitable is well. And I think it is very possible to even find joyful moments through the hard times.

"Life ain't always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride" - Gary Allan

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Grace, God's Grace

As I stated in my previous post, Psalm 139 was our “theme” verse. And at about week 13 when I still hadn’t miscarried and my whole attitude began to shift to one more accepting of the situation, there was another theme that held me together: God’s grace. People around me, good well-deserving people, were having miscarriages. And me, the person not ready, willing, or wanting was carrying a perfect, healthy baby. If there’s ever a time you can clearly hear God speaking, this would be it. He had a purpose in this, he had a plan for this baby, he WANTED her to be here. There is absolutely no denying that. His grace brought her into this world and kept her here safe and sound, developing healthy and strong. His grace gave me the strength to endure this time, and His grace believed in me and saw me as capable enough to go with through with everything. His grace knew that in the end I would be a much better and happier person because of everything. His grace was woven through every part of this experience and became my hope, my light in a place that was so often very dark.

January 11: I have just told Liz and Eric that they are about to be parents and the agency gave us celebration invites for the three of us to enjoy lunch at Bardenay. At one point in our conversation I asked them if they had thought of any names. They told me they knew what they wanted her middle name to be, if was ok with me. Of course anything they picked would be ok with me, within reason of course ;) And nothing could’ve prepared me for what the name they had in mind. They told me they would like her middle name to be Lindsay. It was so unexpected that I think it took a good minute for it to register in my brain. I was blown away! We all teared up and I told them I would be honored and they could use my name on one condition: it had to be spelled with an –Ay. Then they told me they had a couple first names in mind. The last name they shared was Grace. My face immediately lit up, that was it! That had to be her name! Of course, they were still thinking and I didn’t want to sway them one way or the other because she was their daughter so I did my best to hide all of my excitement and wishes and 3-4 weeks later they informed me of her name….Grace Lindsay.

There couldn’t have been a more perfect name for little Grace. Her name holds more meaning than anybody could ever know. And through my journal that I plan to give Grace I have done my best to portray to her the meaning and significance of her name. I hope she will always know how special and unique she is and that her name is more than just a name; it is representative of her whole life and the God we serve. I love this part of the story because it serves as yet another testament to God’s plan for Eric and Liz to be in my life and be Grace’s parents. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Heart of the Matter

I had my first ultrasound at 6 weeks. The tech wrote "baby" on the picture with an arrow pointing to the baby. It was a speck you needed a magnifying glass to see and all I could make out was a bubble that she informed me was the yolk sac, but there was a heartbeat going at a strong rate of about 130 bpm and I could clearly see that rate moving across the screen. And if it was not amazing enough that a heartbeat was coming from this invisible speck inside of me, it wasn't the first day her heart had started beating. Her little heart had been pumping away for three whole weeks at this point. I didn't yet have the courage to put the picture on the fridge, but I put the verse that would serve as a constant reminder of God's purpose and will and the encouragement I would need on a constant basis: Psalm 139:13-16; "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be". I read this at least 2-3 times a day. In a life that wasn't making any sense, this was the one thing I could lean on, the one thing that made absolute perfect sense. Everything for a reason. 

At my week 10 appointment I heard her heart beat on the doppler for the very first time. I don't know how to put into words how amazing it is to hear this little heart going a million miles an hour.

At week 18 I had my second, and the "big" ultrasound. Grace was being extremely modest, so we went to the bathroom and had a pep talk and when I came out she gave us just enough immodesty to let us know she was in fact a girl. YAY! This was the first time I was able to see her heart beating and hear it at the same time (and the tech recorded it and put it on my CD so I could listen to it whenever I wanted). At this point I hadn't yet felt her move, but I was able to see her and oh my she was all over the board! She posed for a perfect profile pic, sucking her thumb of course, and this picture was immediately placed on the fridge right above our "theme" verse and  it remains there to this day. I will take it down when I move and put it right back up on my new fridge one day.

At week 22 I had another ultrasound. Because I had had my "big" appointment two weeks before the normal time, they wanted to look at her heart one more time since it technically isn't more fully developed until after week 20. The tech told me that she had one strong and determined heart. I smiled and said, "she most certainly does!" It was at that same appointment that I felt her move at the same time I saw her little arm swing around in a right hook. 

At about 28 weeks, right after I met Liz and Eric, I invited them to join me for an appointment. Well, really it was a condition of them adopting Grace: Liz must be at every appointment. After all, as we liked to joke, she was in her third trimester and appointments were an important part of the process. (It was not an actual condition of their adoption, but I did state in my interviews with the couples that I would like them to be involved in the rest of the pregnancy). And they were completely ecstatic that I would allow them to be so it worked out very well :)

Grace's heart kept my heart going. From week three when I went to the bookstore and read that her heart was starting to beat at that point in time to week 39 when I was in labor and listening to her heart change pace with each contraction to watching her chest rise and fall after she was finally here. Her heart has always been strong and determined and it kept me strong and determined. I often wonder why God designed us with hearts that beat as early as three weeks. I don't have the answer, but I do know that, for me, it was an indication of purpose, strength, and His will above my own.