Photo by four year old Benjamin. You have a great future career as a photographer for the tabloids, Benj.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I went to Ruth’s today. I was nervous to go, not knowing if I would be able to somehow help, or if being there with Jonah would hurt. I am so glad I went.
Ruth has been my friend for a few years now. We met at a support group I host for women who have experienced a traumatic birth. Last year when Guy and I experienced our last miscarriage, Ruth had one a week later. Ruth and I became pregnant again just 10 weeks apart, and had enjoyed sharing our pregnancies; complaints, joys and all.
A few days before her due date, Ruth came to see Jonah for the first time. She was round bellied, tired, excited, and counting the days till she would finally meet her baby, who she had named Rhys (pronounced like Reese).
On the 15th Ruth called. Her hello didn’t sound very good, and I figured she was just plain exhausted from being 4 days overdue. I asked if she was ok.
“Rhys went to live with Jesus” she said, softly beginning to cry. I barely comprehended her. What did that mean? I tried to put it together in my mind, while my voice blankly responded to her, asking questions and echoing over and over, “Oh, Ruth, I’m so sorry…”
I hung up the phone, and sat in the studio for several minutes repeating her words in my mind. Then I looked down at Jonah, asleep in my arms, and it hit me. I burst into tears and sobbed endlessly. I called Guy, crying, and told him. His sincere shock came to my ear in a whisper, “Oh, no!” I didn’t have any answers for his questions of why, because I realized I had not heard a word of what Ruth had said after telling me of her agonizing loss. I told Guy of my lifeless response to her news, and decided I must call her back. Certainly she must have been pained by my distant response. When she picked up the phone, my voice tried to reach out to her through my tears, “I just realized, I am so sorry, I didn’t understand!” We talked and cried.
Ruth had gone into labor, and was excitedly looking forward to meeting her wee babe soon. She called the midwife and prepared herself for her homebirth. After a few hours Ruth realized that it had been some time since she felt the baby kick. When the midwife arrived, no heartbeat could be found. Ruth was hurried to the hospital where her worst fears were realized. Baby Rhys was born at 2AM, and Ruth and her husband Steve met their baby, then soon said goodbye.
I hung up the phone, weeping. I have wept, and at times sobbed, in the days since.
At Rhys’s memorial on Friday, I was so touched as Steve bravely stood before a room filled 300 strong, and spoke from his heart. “I refuse to let Rhys become a tragedy in my life.” He said. He spoke of the amazing outpouring of love to their family, of how relationships were being strengthened, friendships rekindled, all because of little Rhys. He encouraged us all to reach out to someone in our lives from whom we had grown distant. I came straight home and made a phone call to someone I deeply miss. That was what Steve asked from us as Rhys’s legacy, and I wanted to make that legacy start in my life.
So today I spent the day with Ruth. We cried a lot. We laughed quite a bit, too. She shared with me the beautiful portraits that had been taken for them by Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a group of photographers who donate their time to take the tender images of stillborn babies for their grieving parents. I tidied the house and fed the kids, but my small efforts seemed so weak in the shadow of my friend’s loss. Ruth held Jonah while he slept, and by some small miracle, he slept for hours, seeming to soothe her aching heart and empty arms. Small miracles are welcome in this home.
So this is my simple tribute to Rhys. I never was blessed to meet him. But I know that God knows him, and knows his mother and father. I know we will not understand why this sweet angel didn’t get to stay, or why his mother has to say goodbye in this life, but I know she will hold her son again, because I know God loves his children.
Ruth is in all of my prayers, and I know she would welcome your prayers, too.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
"Mama, I is like Cinderwella."
"Yeah, cuz I is cleaning da' floohr, only I don't have a dwess of wags."
Not 15 minutes later, Ellie came in to ask if daddy would be the one doing Jonah's blessing. I told her he would, to which she replied, "Can you tell him to lift Jonah up like in Lion King?" She struck a Rafiki-pose, her face stoic and serious, raising her arms to the sky as though she were holding up young Simba.
A few days later, Tessa got a cloth and went at the floors again, only this time she was really workin' it.
"Look mom. Dis is my upset face, cuz I am Cinderwella and I am sad washin' da floohr."
If there is a casting call for a Disney film any time soon, somebody should let these two know about it!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Jonah's doctor visit last week was, um, ok…I suppose. Doctor V. agreed with me that due to the blood I had seen in is dipe, Jonah likely has a food allergy . Of course, just like when you go to the mechanic because your car is making a weird sound, and the sound disappears while you are there, Jonah had no blood in his diaper when we were there. But the green mucus was still there, as was his reflux. The good doctor gave him some reflux medicine which seems to be helping some, but she also said the words I feared, “Well, he is clearly thriving, so I am not concerned about him. This will probably resolve with time, so we can just wait and see.”Yikes. Wait and see? He is in pain, I told her. To me, thriving or not, he deserves to have his pain investigated. She said give the reflux medicine a chance. What if it isn’t the reflux? I had asked. One step at a time, she had replied.
Dang. I don’t do waiting well, especially not when my baby is in pain.
As far as the rash goes, she suggested hydrocortisone cream and said it was likely a very bad case of cradle-cap. It didn’t make sense to me to treat the symptom and not the cause. I had read that cradle cap was the fungus (one that we all have a little bit of) that also caused dandruff. There is a special shampoo that I had begun using a while ago that has medicine in it to kill the fungus, but I had stopped because the rash was still there, and I started pursuing the food allergy idea at the same time. When Jonah showed some improvement on his skin, I had attributed it to the diet changes.
When we got home I gently exfoliated Jonah's skin with a pinch of salt granules and bathed him for two more days. His skin cleared almost completely.With all of the crying Jonah has also developed an umbilical hernia. His little belly button has become an outie, and a large purple one, at that. Again, her response was to wait and see if it resolves on its own. In this case, I am ok with waiting. I would hate to subject him to surgery that was not necessary.
She suggested I stick with the diet if it helps. So I haven’t really known if it is the food, reflux, or itchy rash that has had him screaming, but since the rash is gone, and he is on meds but still fussy, I am back to the food drawing board.
I abandoned corn two days ago. I am down to rice in its many forms, and a few fruits and veggies. Oh, and chicken. And prayer!
Monday, October 11, 2010
The only one who didn't cry, miraculously, blessedly, was Jonah. He started to rev up at the beginning and I just assumed I would be picking out my husbands voice from amongst the squalls, but he hushed, and only fussed for a moment once, when David smiled at him. It made for a great joke later.
At home that afternoon, we celebrated with so many loved ones, there was barely room to keep them! We ate and laughed and told stories. Everybody washed hands and passed Jonah around. The germ-phobe in me stepped aside and made room for the part of me that believes that it takes a village to raise a child. This is my village. These are the people who have supported and counseled us, grieved with us, and now at long last, share in our joy and celebration.
G'ma and G'pa H with our kiddos
Uncles are great for putting babies to sleep. Kenny is so tall he makes Jonah disappear on his lap. .
Thursday, October 7, 2010
We have a doctor's appointment today. Jonah continues to scream in pain and break out in a mystery rash. I have gone off of dairy, soy, gluten, citrus, nuts, tomatoes, chocolate (oh, say it isn't so!), bananas and pineapple. Rice is my new friend. My friends know I am not the type to run to a doc to solve my problems, but I am officially out of ideas.
Jonah will be content, even smiling, and suddenly, mid-smile he pulls is legs up, grimaces and screams. It breaks my heart. The rash flares up for no apparent reason. There has been blood in his diaper...
I pray that the doctor will listen to us. I hope that Jonah will show the doctor what we see at home. I'll keep you posted, no pun intended.
Your prayers would be appreciated.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Twice a year we have the wonderful opportunity to listen to a church conference that is broadcast from Salt Lake City. We stay home and watch the conference talks on the computer, all snuggled together in our jammies. It can be challenging to get the kids to sit still and listen, or to stay awake and listen (you can count the adults in on that second one!).
During the first two hour Sunday session, the little kids jockeyed for the best lap space, arguing over who touched who, while Ethan pretended to be “resting his eyes”. Adam and Ellie squabbled, and in general everyone was in a rather snotty mood.
I wondered if it was worth it… trying to get the kids to listen to “a bunch of old people”, as the boys put it, expounding on gospel topics. About halfway through, I sort of gave up on getting Ethan to stay awake, and just felt grateful that Jonah was staying asleep. 50% ain’t bad.
It's in moments like these that I begin to question how, as a parent, I can possibly teach my children the values that I hope to instill in them. How can I compete with the noise of the world, it's media, and it's call for excitement that puts them in peril? Will the lessons I try to teach them be heard above the din?
In the break between sessions, Guy made a brunchy table-full of food, including gluten free pancakes for me (and just in case you were curious, yes, you can use gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free pancakes as rubber insoles). Jonah woke and had his first cry-fest of the day, and everyone else woke up a little bit, too.
When the second session started, we settled in to listen. The kids began making paper airplanes, and as long as they were quiet, I figured it was okay. Perhaps some of the words floating through the room, over the sound of crumpling paper, would be able to penetrate their ears.
And then, there it was, evidence that it was not all in vain; Ethan began reciting aloud from memory the scripture being quoted by the speaker. The choir and congregation began to sing, and the kids all joined in; “I am a child of God, and he has sent me here, has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear…” Well, I don’t know how kind and dear we are, but I for one was feeling my heart swell as I saw my children casually folding paper airplanes and singing about needing to be led by faithful parents... "lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way; teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday".
The best came later as a speaker began telling a story, and the kids shushed each other, then grew more quiet and still to listen. Once in a while one of the boys would even comment, proving that indeed, something was getting through to them.
And again, Jonah slept quietly in my arms.
As the teenage years zoom toward me, I grow more fearful that the world will have a tighter grip on my children than I will be able to have. And though I know it is really up to them, and I have no real "grip" at all, I still wish I could hold them tightly and not let the world have it's chance with them.
Am I teaching them enough? Am I leading them and guiding them?
Today Tessa came into the room singing to a picture that she held in her hands. "A song I made up about Jesus" as she put it. Then she said, "Mom, Jesus is the son of God." (the phrase that she was assigned to recite in an upcoming program at church).