Seaside, Nov. 14

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Wow what a week!  We somewhat matched the circumstances of this winter - watching the cold front come in, excited for the snow, yet worried about the roads.  Our week started off with Mike coming home early from work becuase he didn't have anything to do . . . literally.  As we drove to go get a picture of a tree for a friend, we discussed our options.  We were intermittently interrupted by gusts of wind and the slipping of our tires.  

Then, everything turned in to hyper speed.  Mike called work and found that he could work from "home" and we decided to face the storm (we didn't know how big it would actually be!).  We frantically went home, packed, and left for Kent.  Thankfully we got out quickly enough that the Portland area was not requiring chains!  That didn't match the drive.  It took us quite a while to get to Kent . . . mostly because of chow people were driving related to the conditions.  

Our days were all screwed up because we had figured on being there Thursday, not Wednesday, so our entire week was confusing!  J's bachelor party was Friday, squeezed between waking up, and picking up B, and B the groomsmen.  Saturday came and went in a fury!  We all woke up, and then WHAM - not only did we have to get there an hour earlier than expected, but also we ended up being a bit late for pictures - hooray for the snow!  Poor J & J2 had very few people there because of snow cancellations.  J2 looked beautiful in her dress and the wedding was enchanting in the snow.  When we left, it was pitch white!  

And then, Mike and I did it all again!  We woke up on Saturday to go to a friend's wedding.  Hers was also a bit crazy cause of weather.  Unfortunately for pretty much everyone involved, a pipe broke in the room we were to eat dinner in, so the staff had to move all the tables to a different portion of the restaraunt!  In the end, she too looked wonderful and I'm sure the prince swept her off her feet! 

And then, Christmas came.  The days between wedding and X-mas were nice, but long too.  We actually had X-mas on the Eve because of flights out, J & J being able to be there, and other important facts.  Christmas Eve was anti-climactic this year.  It seems that all of us were a bit penny-pinched.  Although money isn't really the heart of Christmas, it does affect other things.  Presents were disbursed by funny B who acted like Vanna in presentation.  Some of us were smiling, others were not.  

When all was said and done, as much as I try to convince myself that Christmas is fun and I love it, this year didn't strike the chord.  It didn't ring true in my heart as much.  

It's really hard to be anywhere and realize, I should be nursing my baby girl while I'm talking right now.   I should have to go because it's nap time for my sweetheart.   I should have to walk out of the room because she's crying.  But in reality . . . I'm not.  Yes, I will someday if God decides to bless me with a child, but not now.  Christmas this year was not fun.  It had its moments - specially with the snow, but the whole picture wasn't what it should have been.

It wasn't special.


Priorities are interesting. There are those we are aware of, and those we don't even know we have; those we act out as habit, and those we must put our minds to.

For the most part, our days are built out of habit. Waking up, doing the dishes, going to work, cleaning the house, and the like. For me, this list is quite short. Brushing my teeth, making the bed, and, right now, looking for jobs. Sometimes, we are engrossed in our habits so much that they harm us without even knowing it. These tiny habits eventually turn in to a lifestyle.

Then, there are the priorities that we conciously want. For most of us - specially with the New Year approaching - these look more like losing the weight, making more money, and generally, achieving something. I definitely fall in to the category of "lose the weight". However, these consious priorities all dwindle down to motivation, whereas habitual priorities don't.

Motivation in so important in that one magical, or daunting moment when we know that we have to make a choice. Will we choose to motivate ourselves to stick to our priority, or not? Will we follow what we know is good for us, or ditch it for some other source of fleeting pleasure? When what we've set our sites on is either easy, or exciting, motivation is easy to come by. But what happens to us when our sites are set on something that takes work to accomplish? What happens when there is a deep heart pang that urgently resists what we know is good? Although we know that we can do anything we want, and we know that all of it isn't that beneficial (I Cor. 6:12 and 10:23), what do our actions suggest? Are we true to "not being mastered" as Paul suggests, or do we faulter?

My generation is so entitled that most of us just give up (if we even tried), and give in to the now (a conversation I had with my friend about finances and saving for things is a good example). Quite frankly, I find it to be quite a battle to resist the "now" and go for the "later". Somewhere in our "growing up DNA", we have been programmed to ditch priorities and just have . . . Have the big toys, go for the exciting trip, ditch the values becuase what's in front of me is just "better".

But see, for me, this entire entry seems messed up! It's hard for me. I have a daughter . . . I have a daughter. A daughter that didn't live very long, but was still and will remain, part of our family. As a mother, how do I make her a priority? Children are always priorities! All of the "other mothers" have it easy. They become accustomed to habitual priorities becuase they have to go shopping with their kids, make the meals, clean up after them . . . just be a mom. But for me, Arie can't be part of my habitual priorities because I can't take care of her. (But can I care for her?) I will never have the blessing of teaching her truths about our world.

So that only leaves concious priorities. But then again, how is she a concious priority? I'm living my life, but she's not here. Yes, we strive for things that "aren't here", like falling in love again, but how do you pursue a lost child? It's really a contained incident that only has emotional ramifications. My tears are real, but she's not here. The weight I have to lose is real, but she almost isn't. I keep convincing myself that I actually do have a daughter and that I was actually pregnant. This is so hard. My heart wants Arie to be a priority, and so does my body . . . still. But she's just not here!

I guess I just live my life, adjusting to my new "normal" without her. How can she be a priority? I don't know . . . I just don't know.

With all of this silent turmoil, I must strive to continue making my husband a priority. He still works, bikes, needs food, and love. He still encounters "those days" at work and has a heartbeat. To make him a priority is of utmost importance to my heart. He means so much to me and if I choose, my actions could be "mastered" by what is easier instead of what is "beneficial".

Everything comes down to choice. Eve ate the apple and that was her choice. Every morning we wake up and have . . . choice. What will you do with yours? Hold it close and don't take it for granted for it quite literally could make the difference between life and death.

Monday, December 15, 2008

'Tis the Season

Christmas has alwasy been my favorite time of year. Joy fills the air and anticipation runs wild. The tree is always the best part! For as long as I can remember, I've gone out into a tree lot, hunted for the perfect green bush, crookedly sawed it down, and gotten all sappy hauling it back to the car. We've pulled out the string and roped the sucker down so it'd survive the ride home and endured the wind along the way. When arriving home, my excitement built as we cut the ropes, rolled it off the top of the car, and drug it into the house. Of course, there has always been quite a needled trail that needs to be vacuumed.

Once inside, the propping and straightening provoked tilt wars and blind adjustments. Who's going to hold the tree, who will adjust it, who's going to get all painted with tree sugar holding the base? It's quite entertaining really. And then, everyone gets to dig in to the decorations box as the lights go up to design this year's tree.

But this year, everything is different. I find myself swallowing hard and sucking in tears. The snow has finally come, something we wait for every year, but instead of sharing it with our whole family, we get to gaze into the whiteness and know that this would have been her first snow.

What would she have loved? How would I have bundled her up? How fun it would have been to see her as a "Christmas Story" puffball unable to even wiggle. Her nose would have been cutely red, and we could have dressed her up all fancy for Christmas Eve service. We would have gotten comments like "Isn't she just so cute?" and "How old is she now?"

Instead, I gaze at our treeless living room, vacant of decor. The bills from labor are just catching us and the joy of the season has quite a different feel. I still love Christmas and the time of year, but life is just . . . different.

Being in this position is very unique. Watching pregnant women walk around and wondering what normal should be like right now is quite soul-squeezing. Everyone else can live in happy, normal land, and we get to push through trusting in God's timing and childlessness. Christmas would have been so different and fun this year! Arie would have grown to love our traditions and eventually busted out of the puff-ball jumper in to, most likely, sledding, snowboarding, and fox-and-hound hunts through the snow.

Instead, we have so much going on, including two weddings--Mike's brother's, and a very good friend's, the mass chaos of a whole family Christmas, and two separate drives up to home and back. It's going to be crazy. Our pain and loss all must be put aside for the joy of our family and friends. We are so excited for both of them and seeing family.

It's so foreign to live in two different worlds. The depth of painful loss versus the excitement of new life. Wow what an oxymoron!

So 'tis the season for hectiness and joy. Someday soon, I'll be able to approach holidays with many less tears, and much more hope.

Thank goodness we have a God who has the volume to hold the beaches in his hand, and the tenderness to hold our tears.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Hapiness is an interesting thing. It can make us joyful, nervous, or even sick to our stomach! We can look forward to things to come in a patient way, or be so excited our tummies turn to jumping jello--something Mr. Pepto couldn't even calm.

Right now, I'm balancing the teeter totter between the two. My life is really a jumbled mess of emotions. We just had the most incredible loss, arguably, that anyone can have and are completely empty. There is nothing to replace losing a child before you die, and although I've heard that before and nodded, it hits such a deeper level now. Nothing can replace her or bring her back. And on the other hand, we still have to live our lives . . . which is why I'm in a confusing happy place.

I'm excited at the prospect of trying again. Although I haven't lost the weight, my emotional programming still wants to be a mommy. We've lost part of our family for now, but we are able to look to God for knowing her later. I'm excited about the possibility of a house. SOOO many things must click in order for this to happen, but it's a possibility. I look around and think about what I'd need to pack ASAP, how we'd get moved in, and how I'd set up everything. This is the part that is making me happy sick. I'm also thrilled about our growth. Being in a place of complete emptiness allows the Lover of our souls to drench us with love and comfort. Mike and I have been through, well, too much in the last 3 years. God has been weaving in new thoughts, habits, and friends. For the most part, Mike and I are becoming more concrete and are enjoying what God has been teaching us.

So, ya see, there are quite heavy weights on both sides of the fence putting us in a place of confusion. The pull between gut-wrenching pain and gleeful excitement is an odd place to be, but soon, things will calm down. I'm looking forward to that day :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Arie's Video

Finally, I have completed Arie's video! It has been very hard to finish and the computer didn't help at all. First the videos had to be cropped, then the pictures were too large. But, when I moved and cropped, the sound would get all chunked up :( In the end, she looks beautiful with friends and family.

I must say a huge thank you to lots of people . . . Emma, our photographer and friend, was gracious enough to take Arie's pictures, edit them, and get them back to us. She has been wonderful throughout this entire process and she actually introduced me to her husband as Arie's mother. It was heart-melting to just hear those words. I don't get to be a mommy to often, so moments like these touch my heart so deeply.

I also have to thank all of you, my friends and family, who have been so supportive of us. When at the hospital, we were never alone unless we asked. You were on the floor, hard chairs, hard benches (otherwise known to the hospital as "beds"), and surrounding my bed. Phone calls I didn't want to make were taken care of, and I could feel all of your love. I got lots of hugs and sympathy. Your flowers, cards, and sentiments all helped cushion the blow. Without you, Mike and I would be in a completely different place.

Although nothing can take away the pain of losing our baby girl, God has shown us so much. Whether or not you know it, you have all been part of our growth and memories.

On a different note, there are a couple pictures and moments that touched me during our stay at the hospital.

The most defining for me was when my dad hugged me . . . long, and more than once. In the past, he has been at a distance and I don't blame him. He lived in a house with three crazy chicks for 20+ years! That's gotta drive a man nuts :) But in this moment, he met me on a deep, deep level and reached out to me. I love him for that.

That weekend was a ball of mess. In the video a woman named Susan shows up a few times. We had met at church, , I think, all of once to talk about baby rooms and the excitement. I really didn't know her at the time, but she has such a caring heart that she showed up in my hour of need. Her compassion and love was intense and real. She has since become a good friend and we've shared tears and laughter.

Really, there are gazillions of stories to tell, but not enough time to get them all out. So much happened that weekend--some of which I don't even know yet. Just believe that ALL of you have made a difference . . . yup, believe it or not, even you nurses!

I love all of you for everything you have helped Mike and I with and hope that the future will bring siblings for our baby girl.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cheers For Friends

So I'm sittin here waiting to go get Mike. He's coming in at almost 11 and I was up until 2:00 last night. While in limbo, I've gotten a wind of get-er-done and am just now getting in to cleaning the place so when he gets home, it'll be clean. I really enjoy having our house clean--specially because Mike loves it too. In my resting moments, I can sift through my day.

I was able to visit and care for one of my friends today. She has basically changed my life. In short, she's been what a friend really means--honest, loving, blunt at times, yet eye-opening. I've really enjoyed getting to know her! Today, while driving around doing errands, we were able to talk and we spoke about everything . . . from a simple--how are the kids doing, to deep--tendencies I have with friends.

Some of her insights have brought a bit of understanding to my life. I find it very interesting how we are so innundated with our own struggles, problems, and pains, that life is difficult to weave through. We can look through our own black and white glasses, but God has the advantage of color. We have built-in blinders that keep us from seeing the whole picture, which leads us to God and others. There is such a huge reason God made us that way! We need other people in our life. People we can laugh with, and people we can share with. People to hold our tears, and people to smack us upside the head when our newest idea leaves out HUGE details.

Cheers for friends!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just Another Tuesday

As I sat in our small group, I realized that today was over and Mike was in Long Beach. My stomach groweled. I spaced out, and although people talked, I glazed into Arie-land.

It's hard to undrstand and wrap my mind around her being gone. I do believe that she was here for a short time, but in another way, I feel that she wasn't here at all. I felt her kick, but I never swaddled her. I could see her legs and arms move, but never outside of me. It all seems so . . . weird. As though the last year didn't happen. Kind of like it was a real dream.

For the time she was alive, I dreampt of holding her, tickling her little toes, kissing her nose, and loving her all her life. I didn't realize, or even imagine, that I would be taking her home in a 5 inch marble urn. My thoughts of saving her first moments in pictures, and documenting her life on film are gone. I never got to share our excitement with our parents. We have video, but I was never able to share it with them.

My heart aches. It is now almost 3 months after that fateful day, and I still crumble. There are days I wake up and my cheeks are saturated with tears. No trigger. No warning. Just tears.

There is something so deep within me that yearns to hold her again. The moments I did, I was in such a different place. It scares me to grasp that I don't remember what it was like to hold her. One of my good friends blessed me with a Build-A-Bear that she filled with flaxseed to Arie's meager 5 lb. weight. The closest I get to holding my coveted daughter is snuggling up to a stuffed animal. Right now, all the love that should be pouring in to grimmacing through diapers, trying to get enough sleep, and planning how to visit friends around nap time, all vanishes into thin air. There is nowhere for my love to rest.

As the world moves on, my world circles. Everyone gets to continue their life, with their normal. I silently scream inside knowing that Arie will never again be here. I don't get to have "normal". However, I do hope for the day I get to see her again, smiling in the arms of her Daddy and running toward me. I hope for the day my tears are of joy and I hear "mommy" from her mouth.

I miss her. I miss my baby girl.