Friday, October 11, 2013

Family Life Update, YAY!

Update
So a good friend pointed out I really left the blog on a lousy note.  Fatigue is really rough on emotions so when you feel especially bad, try hard to get some rest.  Fast-forward to 2013. Here's the brief family update:  God has been good to us and we are unbelievably happy.  We don't have as many kids as we'd like and we've had some more failures to launch since then, but we love and enjoy Joel so much and we get to help people we may have never gotten to know.  Now with a few years separation from a tragic event, life is really great again.  Our marriage has never been better and even though being a parent turns you into the most clueless person ever, it is a blast.  Before kids, you know everything.  After kids you know nothing.

What's wrong?
I don't know.

Is he hungry?
I don't know.

What do we do now?
I don't know.

What day is it?
I don't know.






God's Answer.

For some reason one question people remain fixated on (both Christians an non) is did God cause this or allow it?  Did God kill your baby or someone/something else?  For a while it was a tough question for me too, but after a lot of praying and asking God answered my question.  I think somewhere even in this blog I said something like, "no answer will ever be good enough."  Amazingly, God answered my question directly to me and the answer was "good enough" for me.  Further than that, I can say it's OK if it happens again, because God's answer was that good and I understand now.  The answer He gave me will be of no use to you so ask, seek, knock.





There's Hope!
With time there is healing.  God answers prayers.  Losing William Robert hurt a lot at the time and for some time afterwards.  We still think of him almost daily, and miss him, but it doesn't hurt anything like it used to.  It was painful, but we are healed. We still have scars, but we have a great life!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Good Gifts

A family member called and asked what a good gift is for someone going through a similar situation. That's really an interesting question, because people are so different and there's never a "perfect gift" like for a birthday, anniversary, etc. However there were two gifts to us that were wonderful.

One was when people brought dinner and stayed to have it with us. We enjoyed getting to spend time with people who loved us enough to take care of us. It was some really special time, time to talk with friends, sometimes even make new friends, sometimes it was just a great distraction from 'real life.'

The other great present that we enjoyed were dining and entertainment/movie gift cards. As I write that it sounds bizarre, but they really were great. As I've said before, when you're in that situation you don't want to eat, you don't want to cook, you don't want to do anything after such an ordeal when the grief is fresh. Having the gift cards to go eat somewhere and then go to a movie where a wonderful, even if temporary, escape. I know a lot of people think gift cards are cheating, but they were wonderful to us because they provided a pressure release valve for us. When we needed, on our own time we could just go out, get away and everything was taken care of.

Those were two of the best, but really anything you can do to be present will be welcome. I still remember everyone who sent flowers to the funeral. I remember everyone who donated to a charity we support. I was surprised by some of them, I had no idea they would care, but I appreciated that they thought of me and will always remember them fondly.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Holding on to Sanity by a Thread

I'm in St Lucia working on a beautiful house, working long late hours and sometimes I wonder why. Many days -- for many days before I came to the islands -- it feels like I'm holding on to sanity by a thread. When several things go really wrong, I wonder some times why keep trying to create anything.

When it feels like I don't know what to do with myself or why try anything anyway, I don't want to do anything. Alas the realities of taking care of Rebecca and providing food and shelter for her keep me from doing anything crazy. Those of you who've known me for a while know I'm likely to go find the edge and do a back flip off it.

So I guess being married is some of what saves me. If not for the responsibility to Rebecca, who knows what I may think is an OK plan.

Thanks for the public therapy. I was sitting here wondering why not just swim across the bay and hang out in the hammocks under the palms, but thinking through things helps one from being too rash.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Most Common Question Ever

Just to put everyone's mind at ease, I'll go ahead and answer the one question absolutely everyone asks. I don't know why everyone is so concerned about it. It's bizarre (to me anyway) how everyone from family to strangers want to know, "well, are you still trying?"

Yes, we never stopped unless ordered to by a doctor. There, everyone can rest easier now. ;)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Facebook is hell

It really is. I'm on Facebook with tons of friends and I love being able to catch up with old friends, make invitations, post pictures, etc, but really I haven't really had the stomach to use it much lately. Kinda of like my previous post, it now really sucks to go around and see all these kids I went to school with who now have like 5 kids and they have all their pictures up of them doing funny things, etc. It really just sucks. So if I haven't been responding on Facebook, I'm sorry, it's just painful lately. It's hell really.

It's Creeping In

It's creeping in and gaining ground... being wierd. It's getting harder and harder to feel normal and relaxed about not having any kids yet. Now when I see a little two year old boy being cute, it's really a lot harder to be normal. I used to be happy to see kids, and think to myself, "I can't wait 'till it's my turn." Not so much any more. I don't have as much hope as I used to. After the first couple failures, I still had hope, but as time goes on it's fading away. It's just harder to feel "normal." I used to enjoy kids, now more often than not it's more painful. It's just kind of creeping in.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Don't cry over spilled milk

...or chocolate milk for that matter. However, a clever engineer-type fellow might devise an especially efficient method for consuming the aforementioned spillage.
video

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What do you say?

For some reason lately I've been meeting a lot of new people. It's bizarre how every single person asks, "So, do you have any kids?" I always pause. ...Is this a person I'm going to talk to again, someone who might start telling me that I should really should have some because they're so great, someone who may care one way or another what actually happened? Most of the time I torpedo them. I say, "not any more and not yet." "What!?!" "Well, we had a boy, but he died and we've lost two since him, but we're still trying." They just sit there shocked for a moment then usually say something like, "I'm sorry to hear that. You should keep trying and you'll have one." Sometimes people have had similar experiences and have sympathy and hope to offer. Some are rendered speechless.

Most of the time I feel bad because they were all upbeat, happy to see me, thought they asked a safe question and they just got totally blindsided, but really I've found it's best for me, and perhaps the relationship, if I'm just honest upfront. When people don't know what's happened, they say all kinds of silly things that I really have a hard time tolerating.

What's the best way to break the news, "our baby died, and we've lost two since then. How about you?"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Construction Progress Goes "Crash"

In an effort to work out our feelings through construction, we have decided to remodel our master bathroom. While Micah is clearly the brains behind this operation, I am his chief assistant and general counsel. I make important decisions like which faucets to put in or how many jets I would like the new tub to have. This leaves Micah with the task of getting all those aesthetic decisions I made into the new bathroom. But never fear, his chief assistant is always available to help. Take this evening as an example. After helping my handsomely bearded contractor run the wire for the new lighting system, I decided to await further instructions while giving the new tub a dry run. Micah has captured my contribution to the labor of the evening and considers it an accurate portrayal...I am not so sure.

Friday, July 25, 2008

How we're doing now

Worn Out. I think that's the only way to describe it. It's almost like we're too tired to be sad any more. We've been sad for the last year and a half; we just can't take any more of it. This time, we were sad for about two days and then we were just done. Didn't have the energy to cry almost.

We feel like we have nothing left to say, and we don't really care to hear people tell us what God is going to do. And we're also not keen any more on hearing stories like so and so lost five babies, but then had three kids. The following analogy I think would fit and describe how we feel when we hear those stories. Let's say you've been in a bad car wreck and you're still a quadriplegic in a motorized chair. Someone comes up to you and says, "I saw this show a few days back about a guy in a wheel chair, just like you, and he said it was the best thing that ever happened to him because now he values life, he's overcome adversity and shown what you can accomplish with determination..." and you want to just drive over their toes and knock their shins. Those stories don't make us feel any better either.

Something we wish we could do better was talk to everyone who wants to talk to us. Many friends call, but we just don't have anything to say besides the same story: lost at 12 weeks, feel OK, very sad, yada yada. If we haven't gotten back to you we apologize, we just have a lot calls which we appreciate very much and don't have time or energy to call everybody back.

That's the hard part. The good part is that we thank everyone for their support. We do love getting the emails and voice mails that say, we're thinking of you, we're very sorry etc. We are so thankful for our friends and family. We're thankful that Rebecca is OK. They went and got the baby out, but no surgery was required so Rebecca is feeling much better this time.

Thank you again for your support. Even just you reading this blog is encouraging to us when we get to look at the stats and see that 2500 different people have read the blog and have visited from all over the world.

Take care, Micah

A little further down the road

Well, there's a couple things we've learned being a little further down the road after William. I'm not feeling very creative tonight so I'm afraid I'll default to a list.
  1. We never, ever forget him. Not a day goes by we don't remember William, the hospital, the funeral, ... the loss. We'll never be normal again, it's kind of like getting your leg shot off, you just can't ever go back and be a dude with two regular legs again.
  2. God has worked in us, Rebecca and I, through this process. We're kinder to each other and we're much more sympathetic with others. Even if others didn't lose their baby, they may just be having a bad day, fighting with a loved one or who knows, it's always important to be kind to people having a bad day.
  3. We don't value stuff as much, a friend spilled a chocolate milk shake on our wedding quilt and instead of getting quite torqued over it, which I'm really good at, we both just said, "oh well, we'll clean it up, no problem." Now we know stuff is just stuff, and that people matter so much more. Our stuff can't hug us, bring us food, help us clean our house, kick us off the couch or love us. It's just stuff.
I know there are many different areas; we feel like totally different people, but these are the highlights I remember right now.

Developments

Well, it's been so long I actually have several developments at once to share. First we got pregnant, YAY!! So we told our families, waited a few weeks, then close friends, waited a few weeks, told everybody, next day, lost the baby, BOOOOOOOO! We lost our third baby at just under 12 weeks.

The doctor said that everything operated "as it should." In early stages of development, cell splitting and what not, if everything isn't going along great there's a sort of auto-terminate feature built into babies, so they tell me. They also tell me this is common, about 20% of all pregnancies end this way.

As horrible as it sounds, in my world this is progress. For the other two kids the doctors said, "we have no idea what happened, this isn't supposed to happen," and "wow, I'm glad you [Rebecca] made it, what happened to you is usually fatal." So now for them to say, that everything operated correctly, self-destruct feature included, it's at least progress. I hate it, and I wish it had never happened, but they say you have to look on the sunny side of life or something stupid like that.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What I remember

I don't usually post here on Micah's blog, but since he asked, I'm sharing.

The thing I remember most vividly was how many people were there. I wondered how I could ever explain to everyone who came to the funeral how grateful I was that they did. There were so many people, many of whom came from very far away, that in my hour of deepest sorrow, I was also profoundly thankful.

Even while I was still in the hosptial, one of the things that I was most afraid of was losing all our friends, too. I didn't want people to not be around us because they didn't want to feel uncomfortable. To be honest, it's likely how I would have felt if it had been one of my friend's baby instead of ours. It's hard to imagine that losing our sweet son could have been any worse, but the truth is: it could have been. Instead of just crazy, we could have been crazy and alone.

The second thing I often think about was the indescribable way that God held our broken hearts in his hands. When I was afraid of being alone, He sent friends in abundance. When nothing anyone said/brought/did could bring back our little boy, our loving heavenly Father gave us hope.

To everyone who came, brought us dinner, sent flowers, e-mailed, sent a card, dropped by, went to the grocery store, vacummed or did one of countless other things to help us, I am more thankful than I can describe. When the world had come to an end, you helped us keep going.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What do you remember?

During the funeral and graveside service we looked around and have images in our mind that we'll hopefully never forget. We remember what our pastor said, and I play the song we played by Jeremy Camp, "I still believe" quite a bit. We remember a lot, but we would love to hear from those of you who attended, what do you remember? Please leave a comment.

Monday, February 18, 2008

There's Nothing Left to Do

Well it's been a year. His first birthday was January 30th. We had a party for him at Bear Creek. Rebecca made a wonderful white cake with almond, cream cheese icing and we wrote "Happy Birthday William" on it. We took presents and balloons and let the balloons go. It was surreal having our own little party with no guest of honor. We left some of the presents there with him and brought some back to pass along.

The last couple weeks have been really hard. It has been a year so pretty much all of the "firsts" have happened, first birthday, first steps, etc. Rebecca and I have been talking and we're ready to sort of move on. We feel like a year of the hard crying is enough. It's a hard balance, we'll never forget, but we also don't want to be stuck in 2007 forever. But the last couple weeks that seems harder than ever to do. No sooner than we get this great idea, it seems impossible.

The week leading up to his birthday I cried every time I was in the car driving to or from work. I should be going home to see him, but he's not there. He would be so much fun now, but he's not here. For some reason the last couple weeks it just seems like the hole left by his absence seems enormous.

During the funeral and for the first couple weeks afterwards there was a lot to do. We had a lot of family in town. We were busy taking care of Rebecca after the surgery. We got to see family we hadn't seen in a long time. Along with the trauma we had a lot of fun and really good times as well. We've done all the big tasks, we set his head stone, had his first Christmas. We went from counting by days to weeks to months and now to years. Now, everyone's gone home, there's nothing left to do but be sad.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Silent Night Indeed

It's Christmas Eve and it's a silent night. There's family shuffling about getting ready for bed and whatnot, but compared to what it should be, it's silent.

Silent Night has become the hardest song for me to hear this season. The very first verse says, "Holy infant so tender and mild" and I know exactly what that looks like. I have an image that springs to mind of when I was holding William in my arms. His little hands folded; so tender and mild. Then the very next line is "sleep in heavenly peace" and I remember laying him down in his crib and tucking in the sheets for the last time.

When hearing this song and thinking of my son, tender and mild, sleeping in heavenly peace, my heart breaks and the Holy Spirit reminds me that God's heart broke even more. So much so that He sent His son just to come and get me.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Remembering

When they wheeled Rebecca out of the delivery room to the OR a nurse came back and told me to put some scrubs on. If the doctors would let me in, I should be ready, she said. Then she told me to just sit tight until somebody came and got me. So I sat there in the chair having no clue what to do with myself. I called Rebecca's mother, or maybe she called me, and told her they had taken Rebecca in for the emergency C-section. She said something along the lines of, well, that's not what we hoped for, but it's not the end of the world. Then I was just sitting there. I couldn't think of anything else to do, and skydiving taught me panic does nothing but make things worse, so I just prayed for 20 minutes thanking God for everything I have. I thanked him for Rebecca, my parents, her parents, our siblings, our extended family, our health, our house, our church, my business, and all kinds of stuff. I said, God, you have given me all these blessing and if you take them all, I will still trust you. If I had known what was about to happen, I might have done a little more negotiating.

While I was praying, a nurse came in and said the doctor would like to see you now. She didn't look happy, but didn't look sad; just professional, in a soap opera-esque emotive yet emotionless sort of way. We walked down to the OR, which in hospitals is several long halls and corners away. We walked in the final door to the OR and the sea of scrubs just parted before me leading me to a little table with a little baby laying on it. This was not looking like a joyous welcoming party. It took about 2 seconds to realize he's not moving... at all. There were four little red dots on his chest that were puncture holes from the adrenaline they gave him. There was the little bracelet and knit cap on him, and he was looking kind of blue. The doctor standing behind me put his hand on my shoulder and said, "I'm so sorry, there was nothing else we could do."

What's bizarre about that moment is that from then on, there was pretty much zero thought going on, emotion was too overwhelming. They slid a chair in behind me so I could fall down. They asked if I wanted to hold him and I said yes, so I held him close and cried hard. They continued to tell me he wasn't breathing when he came out and they could breathe for him and pump his heart for him, but he never took over and pumped or took a breath on his own. They said Rebecca was doing great and that she was getting put back together. They said I should probably go back to the room and wait for Rebecca to get up to the recovery room. Did I want to leave him here or let a nurse take care of him and clean him up? Not on your life! I didn't let him out of my arms until an hour later I handed him to Rebecca.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The real deal

I've been reading back through my posts this morning and noticed a trend. When God has been working and teaching and when I'm excited and have something to share, I write. When I'm victorious in my struggle or having a breakthrough revelation, that's what I love to share. What there's not much of in my posts, is the other times in between those times, when life isn't so fun.

Now, every time between my posts has not been horrible. There have been many great times as well as trying times that I haven't written about. I just don't know how to, or want to at times, give an accurate description or play by play. Especially when things are bad, I don't have the urge to post, "Life sucks, I don't know what's going on, news at eleven." When life is no fun, I really don't want to be whiny. Similarly, my faith has grown through this experience, and through many other experiences leading up to this, but to only represent that it has always been strong is just untrue. My life this year has not been characterized by peace, tranquility and joy. It's no fun admitting weakness and pain, but along with the victories, that is the real deal.

This has been harder than we expected

This year has been hard. We're over ten months away and it seems like all we do is see how deep the rabbit hole goes; how hard it can get. Thanksgiving and the holidays have been especially hard and it's kind of caught us off guard.

First, we planned a year and a half ago to have Christmas at our house so that we wouldn't be traveling with a youngster. Well, everyone is coming to our house, but we don't have a youngster. It's a kick in the gut every time I think about it.

Second, now that's it's been a while, baby's close to William's age are now old enough to be out traveling and it just seems like we see them all over the place. We know he would have been about this big, he would know his name, he would be close to walking about now, he would be cuddly, he would be so cute and he would be so fun.

Third, It's been really hard seeing our parents be such great grand parents. When we see our parents take care of other kids our hearts cry, "they should be taking care of William!" We don't begrudge anyone else their joy, but we can't help thinking William should be on that wagon, high chair or lap instead.

Fourth, it seems like injustice continues to taunt us. As time goes on we hear of more and more people who don't "deserve" their baby, but they get one...and we still don't. Some people complain incessantly about the pain and inconvenience of having a baby. Some people have one and don't take care of it. Some people don't want the one they have. Some people have one and want one, but don't deserve it. (I understand the danger of using the word "deserve," especially considering the context of some of my other posts, but it best describes the emotions we feel) Sometimes these events put me into a crying, screaming rage! It's just so unfair!

Finally, we're coming up on Christmas. A time of hope, that just seems ironic. We think back to last year and all the fun we had with him kicking; the hopes and the dreams. I remember rubbing Rebecca's tummy, sleeping with the windows open in the winter, trying to keep toilet paper in stock. What do we have to hope for this year? We've lost two babies this year, with even less probability of success now than before. It's just a whole different ball game, that's no fun to play.

As much as we try to be aware of troubling times ahead of time, we just can't predict how awful it can end up being. We try to prepare for times we know will be stressful, or remind us of him, but we continue to be amazed at all the different directions pain can come from. This has been harder than we expected.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One of the coolest things I've heard in a while


Rebecca and I were watching TV the other night: Man vs Wild on Discovery channel. It's a show where a guy gets dropped off in the middle of no where and has to find his way back to civilization. He was running through the rain forest then stopped for a split second, looked up and said something like, "look at this flower, it just proves the extravagance of God. This flower may have never been seen by anyone, but its gorgeous, it's extravagance!" Then he scrambled on down the path to catch a piranha with a hand made bow and arrow.

Stop every once and a while, look around, and you too can see the extravagance of God!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Long Time Learning (God Pt III)

God has been working on me for the last couple months and all the pieces didn't come together until last week. First I'll give you the big lesson, give you all the points and small lessons along the way, then give you the big lesson again. The big lesson: I control nothing, I deserve nothing, when I am at my best I depend on God for everything.

First off, I control nothing. This has been a big theme of this year. No matter how good we are, no matter how right we are, no matter how many risks we eliminate, we are not in control. Rebecca was so prepared for William it was just amazing to me. In the end though, there was no dieting, exercising, vitamin taking, technique learning enough to control that situation. It's just not possible. Same thing last couple weeks, we had absolutely no control of an ectopal pregnancy bursting and causing surgery. Even in my business, I realize I have no control. I can do my best to take care of my customers and I still may fail, or I may succeed and they may want to sue me anyway. I just do not control any situation really. I have control over my emotions and actions and that is pretty much all.

Second, I deserve nothing. This lesson came to me first towards the end of an interesting book from my brother in law. It's called Me, Myself and Bob and I highly recommend it. But one of the stories he tells is about thinking that because he worked hard all night, that he deserves what he receives. Then when he saw another man getting on the train going to what the author suspects is his first job at 4am to probably very unfulfilling, unapreciative work and then to a second equally unrewarding job just to barely support his family. At this moment the Holy Spirit revealed to the author that he didn't deserve better just because of who he was, but that the foot of the cross is level: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23. God has repeated this lesson for me as well. For the last couple months the Holy Spirit has been taking opportunities when I sin, worry or become proud to gently remind me that I have fallen short and don't get what I deserve, which is life without God, but rather I get to take part in full communication with God because of the gift of Jesus Christ, which I have done nothing to deserve.

Finally, given the other two lessons, I control nothing and I deserve nothing. The best thing I can do is simply say, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Luke 18:13 (follow that link, it's good in context) When this is what my heart crys out, I have peace and joy. I am in the palm of the Creator's hand, helpless and I couldn't be happier. It's when I crawl out of His hand and start taking on the world like Don Quixote as if I could do something, get something more or even just expect something more, that I get stressed out, unable to sleep and generally unhappy. God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Latest Events (2007 sucks)

Well, the last couple weeks have been quite eventful for us. Since I haven't run this story by Rebecca I'll keep it quick. Maybe she will fill in more details later.

Three weeks ago Rebecca thought she had a miscarriage so we went to the hospital and they said, yup, you were pregnant and now you're not. Then the next Saturday, she had intense abdominal pain so we called 911, went to the hospital, found out she had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy that ruptured and had emergency abdominal surgery to stop the internal bleeding and remove the ruptured tube (everything else is still fine and in place). So for the second time this year we're one week in to a 3 month recovery after significant abdominal surgery again.

2007 sucks

Sunday, September 30, 2007

What it's like

Well, I have some new perspectives I'd like to share; just some random things I've learned lately. One is that people in grief may just not know what to do. I know many times we just had no idea what to do with ourselves. For instance, I was holding William in bed and then a camera came out and I smiled. I wasn't happy, I just don't know, it was a camera and you smile for the camera. What else should I do? So when encountering grieving people, don't expect them to know what to do or even behave normally. If you are the grieving person, just expect to be without your wits and it's totally OK. It's just what happens.

When we grieve we are exhausted. It's similar to stress, when something is going wrong our brain just runs all night long working over details, what ifs, etc. and we can't sleep until we're totally exhausted, then we wake up late and tired and it's just a bad cycle and it totally snowballs. So that's why at times we're totally exhausted. It's not rocket science, it's just something I wouldn't have expected, but it totally hits you hard.

Finally, what's it like to be us? One of the best analogies I've found is that it's like getting married, but bad. Take the emotional amplitude and invert it and the time line fits pretty well. The first day is a blur, it's crazy. The first week you are on the honeymoon and completely outside real life: it's great. Then you get back to real life, but you're keenly aware that life is radically different . After some time the new situation becomes a little normal, but it's still entirely different than before, it just feels more like normal. Similarly, no matter how much time passes you never forget that you're married, it's just part of normal. That's why this blog is called "The New Normal."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I haven't forgotten to write

I haven't forgotten to write, I've just been out of town and extremely busy the last couple weeks. I've been gone for 3 weeks straight: a week in Gulfport/Biloxi, MS; a week in Denver; and now I'm writing this while on board a 161' yacht I'm finishing in Ft Lauderdale, Florida and once I finish here, I'll be in El Paso for a week (no yachts in El Paso though :( ).

I have been thinking about William a lot and have plenty to write about, I just don't have the two hours it takes me to write two paragraphs. So once life settles back down in a little bit, I'll be back to writing.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.