Thursday, July 26, 2012


A friend of mine said to me the other day, "hang in there, life won't always be this heavy".  That really stuck with me for some reason.  "Heavy" is a great description of how grief makes me feel and how our hearts feel each day.  Everything is just so heavy, the joy is gone, although I pray one day it will come back.  I think about how I felt on the days leading up to Polly's birth.  The weekend before I admit that I didn't even have her room complete.  I just had been so busy getting everything to the house that we needed and taking care of everything at work in preparation for my leave, that I hadn't put anything together.  I felt like a bad mother.  I slept in that Saturday, exhausted from the busy week of "preparing" and as I sat in the den eating a bowl of cereal wondering how I was going to complete everything in 48 hours, there was a knock at the door.  Whit's brother and sister-in-law had stopped by to see how we were and were offering to help do anything we needed.  I don't think they were prepared for all that had to be done.  For the rest of the day, and I mean until after dark, we all washed clothes, put together toys and such, and chatted with excitement about our futures being parents.  My sister-in-law at the time was 6 months pregnant.  I imagined returning the favor when it was their turn to met their blessing.  I wish I could go back to those days, back when things weren't so heavy and sad.  I wish I could go back to October 10th, when I was done with all of my preparing and we just waited for the doctor's appointment to see if I would be going to the hospital that day or the next.  I thought the labor and emotions were going to be the toughest part of this, but I was so wrong.  When we returned from Augusta, all of Polly's things were as they had been on October 10th, all brand new and ready to be used.  All I took with me was my diaper back and her carseat.  I remember telling my mom to grab it when we stopped by the house after I was discharged, thinking in my cloudy, medicated mind that we would need that for when she came home in a few days/weeks.  I never thought she would not use it.  It was too unreal to think of.  Too terrible of a thought to imagine.  Her room is still the same.  We can't seem to pack anything away, even her name is still on the wall.  I had 2 projects I wanted to do, because for some reason I felt like as her mom I had to make something to contribute to her nursery.  I still have all the materials and might make the little mobile and memory board I had been planning on making, but for now the materials sit in her room with all of her other unused items.  So I pray my friend is right, that life for our family won't always be this heavy.  That I won't always have to fight back tears when I see a pregnant woman or a new baby in its carseat or see a baby playing with a toy that I have but she never used.  Or that I will one day be able to feel the joy that I felt for that split second right after she was born, when I thought everything was ok and she was safe, that joy that only your child can bring into your heart.  I know I am a different person, I know I can't go back to being what we like to describe as "blissfully unaware", so for now I struggle to handle the heavy in my life.  And pray that with God's arms around us, that one day joyous days will out number the heavy ones.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fear and Faith

Haven't had much to say here lately and I just haven't felt like writing.  I have been reading a lot.  I have about a million books I have either bought or have been given to me and I have found them all (atleast the ones I've read so far) very helpful.  Most are about grief but one in particular I bought thinking it was going to be about something else, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed to read.  I will probably read it again actually.  It is called "What Women Fear" and its by Angie Smith.  I was introduced to her when a friend sent me her blog not long after Polly died.  Angie was pregnant with her third child when at around 20 weeks discovered that her daughter Audrey had serious complications that would make her "incompatible with life".  After they decided to not terminate the pregnancy, they started a blog about their story.  Audrey lived for 2.5 hours.  I was consumed by their story and have been reading their blog.  A sweet friend sent me her first book "I Will Carry You" about Audrey, which I have yet to read, and I bought Angie's second book "What Women Fear" because of the title and the fact that I enjoyed reading her blog so much.  I couldn't put the book down.  It was like it was literally written for me to read.  In it she discusses numerous fears that she has dealt with all her life.  As I read I realized that I have battled with many of the same fears, from being afraid of speaking in public to fear of death.  She covers many situations with bible stories and faith to back it up.  I learned that I fear a lot and in some ways it is ok but in others it is not.  There are healthy fears, like fearing in the Lord, but unhealthy fears are those that prevent you from being close to Him.  I was very fearful while I carried Polly.  I think I have mentioned that before, how scared I was, like I knew something wasn't going to work out just right.  My ultimate fear was that she would not make it.  I really do believe God was preparing me, because I think if I was 100% completely blind-sided I may not have been able to deal with it.  Then today at church I heard a sermon that definitely spoke to my heart.  I could tell that is spoke to Whit's too as he was writing down notes.  They talked about the story when Jesus is in the boat with the disciples and there was a huge storm and how Jesus was napping and didn't seem concerned with the storm, while they feared for their lives.  Angie spoke of this story too in her book.  Our minister went on to explain how fear and faith cannot be in the same boat together, which is exactly how the book "What Women Fear" looks at all of the different fears we can struggle with on a daily basis.  I felt like this message was for me, that I need to fear less and have more faith.  It seems when I am less fearful and more faithful, when I believe more, that I am actually closer to God.  Those intense days in the NICU I felt closer to God than ever before in my life.  I was broken, scared, and I was a first time mom and I couldn't even protect or help my baby.  Although I pleaded and I mean PLEADED, begged, prayed, screamed, all for God to save her to make her able to live in this world, for a miracle to happen, that was not His plan.  I don't know why that was not His plan and I never will, atleast not in this life.  And my worst fear, absolutely worst, was for something to happen to her, and it did.  Loosing Polly gave me a new perspective on life and what is important.  I don't have as many of those petty fears, but I still struggle with fears and insecurities daily.  But each day I know it is a brand new start to conquer those struggles.  Some days I do ok but the majority of the time I fall short.  I have learned that fear has a way of letting Satan creep in, all it takes is one idea one small fear to create doubt.  I have battled with this and am learning from my fears and trying not to let them become between my relationship with the Lord.  I would strongly encourage anyone who struggles with fear in life to read this book.  It has been a lifesaver for me. 

This month Polly would have been 9 months old.  I struggled with the fact that that is the same amount of time I carried her.  Grief has a way of making time not seem like it used to be and to have something to compare that amount of time to is very weird to me.  We miss her still every day and I still get overcome by missing her many days, but slowly those days have lessened in intensity.  The thing I struggle with now and if you would like to add it to your prayer list please do, is how Whit and I incorporate our grief into our lives.  I have read time and time again and finally beginning to understand that you never ever get over loosing a child.  Ever.  You have to go through the grief steps, and sometimes they are not clear cut, sometimes you take steps back instead of forward, but you must go through them and feel each and every painful part of it.  And then you learn to live a life with your grief.  It doesn't go away, but the rawness will lessen over time.  And I read somewhere it can take 2-5 years minimum for you to begin to feel this new normal.  I admit with each passing month I see things a little more clearer, but I am by no means over this, I never will be.  When a piece of your heart and soul is not with you anymore, you never get over it, only learn somehow to live without it.  And having a child changes you, even though we had her for 1 month, Polly changed us.  I believe for the better.  I think my greatest fear now is that people will forget her.  She will always be a part of our lives and I will make it my mission no one ever forgets her.  I admit it is hard to be that couple that lost a child, to see the looks of pity, but we are forever grateful to have had Polly at all, no matter how short.  Do I wish she was here?  Every single day.  Do I find comfort to know she is restored to perfect health and with Jesus?  I do, but not 100%.  I am a selfish human being who can't understand God's plan or the fact that God loves Polly more than I ever could.  But I know she is painless, fulfilled, and happy, which does give me comfort.  He provides things for her that I never could.  But she is my baby, she was our future, and she will forever be a part of our family.  Love you sweet baby girl.