Saturday, April 30, 2011

Noah's Party

Before too much more time passes, I wanted to post a few pictures of what we did two Fridays ago to remember our little Noah.

First we had a picnic in our backyard.  Tom got off work early and brought home Subway too share.

Then we all wrote or drew little messages on some balloons.  Sammy and Ben's first balloons popped (Sammy was so so sad.  He's worked hard on a little picture of him and Noah).  Thankfully Tom had bought five balloons so Sammy got to draw a new picture and release the balloon meant for Tom, and Ben added a couple of scribbles to our balloon and release that and there were no problems with Livvy's.

The kids wanted to sing 'Jesus Loves Me' to Noah.

Then, we all went to the Aquaplex to swim and have some fun in the water.

Over all it was a very sweet day spent as a family and to remember the little baby that we all love and miss.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Noah - One Year

Over the past year several anniversaries have come and gone. 

Mid-October was the year anniversary when we first learned we were pregnant with baby #4.   As I have written previously, I wasn't excited about the news.

Novemeber 4th was the anniversary of our first ultra-sound of baby #4.  I was around 8 weeks pregnant and the morning sickness that is typical of my pregnancies had unexpectedly stopped.  I was worried that the baby had died.  We went in for an ultra-sound and it appeared that everything was fine.  We got our first glimpse of what looked like a healthy baby with a strong heartbeat.

December 14th was that terrible day one year ago when I went in for my first OB visit and learned that our baby, the baby that at first I really didn't want, had anencephaly and wouldn't live.  Oh how I wanted that baby.

In February of 2010 we learned that our littlest baby was a boy.  We named him Noah Tobias, "Take Comfort, God is Good".

And now, now we've come to April. 
Arpil 13th.  Four months after we first learned that our little baby would die, he did.  A routine OB revealed that his heart had stopped.  I called my dear friends that had been walking this road with me/us and told them, "Noah's gone". 
April 14th.  We had pictures taken by a local photographer, Tom and I went out to eat (we ended up not really eating much), and that night we checked into the hospital to be induced. 
April 15th.  At 8 something in the morning, right after the shift change, my water broke.  Noah's body was delivered at 8:30am.

I remember it so clearly...and yet it seems like a distant dream.

How can a year have passed already?  How can Noah have been gone so long?  Wasn't I just carrying him?  Didn't we just hold his little frail body in our hands?  How can we be holding another baby in our arms now?  It's so hard for my feeble little mind to grasp the simple passing of time.

I have saught God time and time again to help me understand why He chose to take Noah.  Why He chose to create Noah with so many deformities. 

Rom 8:28 says, "All things work together for our good".  Really?  How?  I don't understand.  I don't see any good.  It doesn't feel good, even a year later.  My heart so easily lets my circumstances determine what I believe about God.  It's hard, but I need to let my belief in God reign over my circumstances, as the pastor of NewSpring church says in this sermon.

My very sweet and patient husband gently reminds me again and again that I need to trust God and His word, even when it doesn't seem to make sense.  How can God's way make sense to us ants?  He's God.  He's so big.  So much bigger than we think He is.  Hopefully He'll choose to let us see the good, to see the why and how.  But if not, He's still God and He's still good. Trust Him. year has passed since God took our little Noah Tobias.  I will continue to remember.  I will continue to mourn.  I will continue to try to celebrate his life and God's good plan.  And I will continue to try to trust Him in all things.

To celebrate and remember Noah and God's will being done we have a couple of things planned for our day.  The kids and I made cookies this morning.  Even though I had no intentions of singning "Happy Birthday" to Noah, the kids initiated it and so we sang.

Tom's taking a half day and will be home soon.  We'll have a picnic, release some balloons, and then go to the Aquaplex to swim and have some family fun time.  Last night when I told the kids what the plan for today was, specifically going swimming, Sammy said, "Maybe it's like Noah's having a swim party and he invited his family."  Yeah, it's like that.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

He's Here!

Thursday, March 31, 2011 around 11pm at night Tom leaned over in bed and with a smile he said, "It feels like some thing's come between us".  Something, actually someone, had come between us.  Lying between us was our 6lb15oz, 19" long baby boy.  He's name is Jonathan Thomas and he was born 3 hours earlier that evening at 8:20pm.

The very beginnings of labor had actually started 24 hours earlier.  Although contractions weren't painful they had progressively gotten to be closer and closer together.  At 2am when contractions got to be 5 minutes apart we had called Sierra our midwife.  My previous labors have gone relatively quickly (Ben's was 2 hours from start to finish) so we were anticipating another quick labor.  Sierra and Deana, another midwife, rushed over and got everything set up for our home birth. 

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, labor stopped completely around 4am and Sierra and Deana went home at 5am (I was 4cm dilated).  I took some Castor oil hidden as best as Castor can be in a chocolate milk shake and then went to bed.  At 7am I woke up with Tom and the kids, threw up several times from the residual taste of Castor oil in my mouth (the stuff really does work, but honestly I question my sanity for continuing to use it to help start labor - it's absolutely disgusting).

Random contractions started up again around 8am and so we called my good friend Sara who came around 9am and took the kids to her house to play.  For the rest of the morning and into the late afternoon I continued to have strong but not very painful contractions.  They were the kind that made me stop what I was doing and breath through it, but very doable.

We watched a set of DVD's by Mark Gungor, part of his Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage.  Although all marriages could use improving, we watched it because it's super funny and I had read that laughter can ease labor pains.  Here's a link to a section of one of his talks called Ask More Than Once.

Sierra came back around 2pm and just hung out with us for the rest of the day.  I was 6cm dilated when she got there and seemed to progress 1cm every 2 hours. 

Finally around 5:30pm labor intensified and Deana was called in to help assist.  I was excited to see that it appeared that labor wasn't going to fizzle out this time and that sometime soon we'd have our little boy in our arms.  After another 2-1/2 hours of painful labor my water broke at 8:10pm.  And with 3 contractions/pushes out he came, caught by dad.

I was so glad to be done.  I had suspected that things might go a little slower being that Noah's pregnancy and this pregnancy were only 3 months apart.  But, in all my dreamings about how this little guy would enter the world I never imagined that it would take as long as it did. 

Here's Deana and Sierra (on the right) weighing Jonathan.  I thought his feet sticking out of the end was so cute.

And here's the whole family.  My mom took the kids to a hotel Thursday night and brought them back home Friday morning.  They think that Jonathan is wonderful!  They were so happy that baby was finally here.

Here are some pictures I took the other day when Jonathan and I were home without the other kiddos.

Regarding Noah

When we first learned that baby #5 was expected to arrive April 1st my heart objected.  One because, April Fool's Day just doesn't seem to be a great day to have a birthday.  And secondly because I wanted April to be Noah's month.  Right or wrong I just wanted there to be some separation between their birthdays.  So, I prayed, as did some of my good friends, that this baby would come in March, not April. 

Towards the end of pregnancy when baby was measuring small, I let go of my March desires and was willing to have this new baby share April with Noah.  I'd rather have a healthy baby that came when he was ready, when he was a good size, than for him to come early and need some assistance because he was too small.

God sweetly answered my prayers by having labor start on its own almost the last day of March.  And with 4 hours to spare, he allowed April, at least for now, to be Noah's month.  For that I am very thankful.

I'm also very thankful that we had Jonathan at home. It was so nice to labor at home, especially because it was so long. I was able to choose any position that I wanted, get up walk around, and/or lie next to Tom on our bed. I didn't have to worry about nurses needing this or that.  I also got to birth in any position that I wanted. I had never envisioned giving birth on my hands and knees, but I was having really bad back pain and the very thought of having to lie down didn't sound good at all.

I've had really good experiences with birthing at a hospital, but because this baby was our first baby after Noah I needed a whole different experience. Friends would ask me how I was doing in regards to giving birth once again after Noah.  I too kept trying to anticipate what sort of thoughts or sad feelings I would have upon giving birth. It was just such a different experience that there was no comparison.  Joy verses sadness.  Pride verses shame.  Content verses regret.

As the days have gone by and as I look at Jonathan I'm remembering Noah more and more. Jonathan feels big to me, even though he's a little on the small side. Noah was small.

Jonathan's legs remind me of Noah's - long scrawny chicken legs.

Jonathan's bottom lip looks like Noah's, the only body part seemingly untouched by deformity. Noah's bottom lip was a rosy red and it extended beyond his upper lip on both sides. 

It hasn't escaped my mouth, yet, but in my head I've called Jonathan Noah...but we call Sammy Ben and Ben Sammy all the time, so I guess it's only natural.

I'm trying to really embrace all these little remembrances of Noah, especially this week.  To gratefully hold Jonathan and remember Noah at the same time is good for my heart and head.