Good Friday and Easter Sunday are perhaps the most significant days of the church calendar, and yet, in a real sense, we live our lives on Saturday, the day in between. Philip Yancey

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wrapping It Up to Easter, Sunday's Coming

Having been encouraged to complete the picture, I went back and added the image of Lydia's post-surgical abdomen to the second post in this series. It indeed speaks volumes. View only if you wish. And now...

Welcome to part 4 of 4 for the family update. Here are links to onetwo and three

Far more of you have experienced expecting a baby rather than grieving a child. You know how it's never far from your mind, whether you are engaged in something totally unrelated or assembling the crib? While I now consider the two mental presences similar, I would not have said so regarding Amelia's twin. I didn't know the second baby in my womb even existed before its heart stopped beating. He/she was never part of my life or my anticipation and most of the time, I forget. 

Early after her death I was afraid that Lydia would follow the same pattern and disappear from my awareness. Instead, my mind quietly and actively engages with her memories many times a day. 
~I blow my nose and gasp thinking what a toll this gunky bug would have taken on Lydia. I'd be a bulb-syringe-torture-mama. 
~While out shopping I need to back my buggy through a tight space and think, this is strangely reminiscent of wheelchair maneuvering. I'm pretty skilled. 
~I make a new banana bread recipe that the family swooned over and I imagine Lydia would have loved the flavor. She could probably have even handled a bit without mashing it up in a cup with yogurt because it's so moist. 
These thoughts comfort me with the assurance that I will never forget. The lessening pain in the remembering means I can carry on in a manner that leaves those around me none the wiser to my tender musings. 

The beauty of kids is that they always voice these things. Josiah came up to me and asked "Was Lydia really my sister?" Yeah, that one gave me more pause but still, I treasure how they keep the casual conversation about their very 'real' sister alive.

The more recent fear we faced was telling people about the baby. We were bracing ourselves for much judgment and criticism. God is Sovereign in every conception, whether pursued by man or not. So, even though folks wanted to help us excuse ourselves by inviting that card be played, I didn't want to go there. More often, we weren't even asked to voice an opening statement for our defense. What was expressed to us was simply celebration, support, love and even tender tearfulness.

Thank you!

Of course, it's still a tad sticky. The most common question instead is "Are you excited?" If you read the first three parts of the update, you know my heart has been all over the place with stressors that have been crowding out processing of new baby logistics and health. A friend gave me permission to start answering honestly with the assurance that the impact of the seriousness of life on our emotions in no way reflects less love for this wee one. You may now hear, "The kids are over the moon. Jason and I are apprehensive but trusting God will provide the excitement for what we know is good."

The next two questions are: 
"Do you want a girl or boy?"
"As long as it's healthy right?"
The first is a no-win and the second is loaded. Two of those unhealthy have been born to us and we've personally learned what great value they hold. If we had all of one gender the expectation would be hope for the other. Four bio babies in and we've yet to see our genes on a healthy girl or B6 boy. My stomach drops at the thought of starting back up with early intervention therapies and more. Yet we've lived God's creativity being so much richer than ours. This baby is being knit together perfectly according to God's design whether healthy or not. Our hope is built on something bigger.

I suppose valuing better over easier and knowing how hard that can be makes it reasonable for short-term excitement to be slower growing. We're all in, just waiting for the feelings to catch up. God is faithful using His people to fertilize them. There was thoughtful Jennifer who volunteered to help me consignment shop (knowing Id be spread thin looking for baby, maternity and kids) and empathetic Lisa who kept Josiah for both hospital days after I scrambled for a current list of possible volunteers. Then came Kristen, the dental hygienist/medical mom, willing to bring up and talk through the genetic implications. The kids school teachers even (yes, public and private), among others, have reminded us that they have been especially praying us through the past couple months. Our B6 specialist is ready and willing to handle the blood test after baby is born, which will take a couple weeks to reveal if he/she is affected. In general though, the air of excitement breathed on us just means so much!

My nurturing instinct that is so dependent upon some level of emotions is reviving. I held on to the moment of watching this face and all the rest devour our new refrigerator oatmeal breakfast treat. (Seriously check out that recipe. It's great!) 

I was even inspired to get out my camera and capture it, another instinct that had largely fallen away from everyday moments because they just weren't enduring. Caleb and Josiah took turns finding their way into my bed to cuddle me awake on our lazy spring break mornings. Those boys are some kind of sweetness.

Josiah: God please help Jesus to feel better.
Sophie: Josiah, it's been years (the cross)!

Josiah: I ruff with Daddy but hug Mama. She is my sweetheart.

Si and I have become a pair on our Chick-Fil-A breakfast dates the one morning a week Amelia is at school. While I do my Bible Study he plays on the playground between mama-hugs and hash brown bites.

Caleb was the only child initially leery of the idea of a new baby. We made the mistake of trying to impress him with his older brother role, which made him sad about growing up and moving out some day. Oh tender one, you are still my baby who is just grown up enough to hold the doors so well for every lady that passes. 

Caleb's also a bit meticulous, as in his chocolate chips are ordered on the side with his waffle so he can do this:

As I mentioned on FB, on the way home from Waffle House Caleb was the one who said he was "thankful for the rules because they keep us safe". God knows the benefit of sprinkling a laid back compliant child into the mix!

That's where we are at 18 weeks and counting! Calendar-wise we are in the stretch of season of Lydia's declining health from now until July 5th. It isn't a strong presence. I don't even remember awareness this early last year but we also hadn't revisited so many locations, people and medical topics. Jason's mom remembers concluding the Palm Sunday service with a message that Lydia was back in emergency surgery with leaky bowels. I remember the family picture after Easter lunch while my mom was taking a stint at Lydia's hospital bedside.

Since she got left out, how about a fun pic of our only child Easter ten years ago too?

Grief and joy have certainly managed a handful of tantrums the past few months. On a daily basis though, they are both mere maturing undercurrents while we pick strawberries and make jam, find a homeschooling rhythm, play at the hot air balloon glow and reestablish kids' dish-washing and room-tidying routines. 

The big difference in these outings and the ones of 2011 is that these are for life-enrichment, not desperate kid distractions to lift some of the parenting burden. The contrast is welcomed. Saturday Living is more bearable with increasing glimpses of Glorious Sunday.

Easter blessings to you all!



  1. So many of your thoughts and emotions are similar to mind... I find that it's hard to know what to share, as the grief of losing my child is a pain that doesn't truly lessen by the telling, or get worse by staying silent.... yet I do long to share sometimes, to the right people. Easter to July last year was the period where we knew things were coming to an end. It's been a rough week, and I anticipate it getting worse until we reach the 1 year anniversary. Anyway, thank you for sharing your stories and thoughts.

  2. I just couldn't read it for a while. I am glad I was able to today. I would like to send it on to Luana and am not certain how but I will figure it out. It is amazing and healthy for everyone to read your thoughts. Thanks