Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween...4 years later

We spent the day with my mom and some friends in College Station. We went to eat lunch at Potbelly Sandwiches, we shopped for Aggie Outfits for Owen and Julia, we went to Step Off and then enjoyed the game. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we be Texas Tech. Paul and I took a picture on the field after the game "with" the babies. You can't ask for more.

We drove back to Giddings, and had dinner with my parents before heading home. On the way home someone cut Paul off, and he cussed at them. We joked about how if our children are born cursing it will be his fault.

As we laid in bed that night, I realized I hadn't felt much movement from the baby that day. I tried to chalk it up to all of the moving I did, but my stomach was in knots. We decided to call the OB on-call to get his thoughts on it, and he casually told me that it was normal to not feel a lot of movement at 18 weeks, but if I was really concerned I could go to the ER for peace of mind. Paul didn't want to go, but I told him it was better to go and everything be fine than to not go and regret it. My momma instincts kicked in way before my children were born. I knew something wasn't right.

We got up and went to the nearest ER. When you are pregnant and say that you haven't felt movement from your child/children...they don't make you wait.

We went back to a room, and a nurse came in pretty quickly to check fetal heart tones. She could only find one heart beat, but reassured me that the babies were still small so it is sometimes hard to find both of them. The doctor came in and said he wanted to get an ultrasound to see what was going on. He said we would have to wait awhile because they had to call in the on-call sonographer.

Paul and I chatted while we waited. We were sure that everything was fine, but we just wanted some reassurance.

Once the sonographer arrived, she came in to get me. She told Paul that he wasn't allowed to come back to the ultrasound. This was devastating, but we knew that I would be back quickly. She told me that she would let me watch the ultrasound, but that she couldn't answer any questions.

She squirted the warm jelly on my protruding belly, and began the ultrasound. She asked if we knew the genders of our babies. I told her yes. I told her we were expecting a boy and a girl. She first found Owen, confirmed his gender, did his measurements, and checked for a heart beat. I never saw a heart beat on the monitor. I never saw movement.

She moved on to Baby #2.

She confirmed that we were having a little girl. She immediately got measurements, a strong heart beat, and I saw LOTS of wiggles (this little girl still wiggles).

She told me we were done, that she was taking me back to my room, and that a doctor would be in talk to me shortly. I asked if her there were two wiggly babies and two strong heartbeats. I was hoping that was I saw was wrong. She simply said "I'm sorry. I can't answer that." The doctor will be with you shortly.

I knew in my stomach that something was right, and I wanted desperately to be wrong.

As I went back in the room, Paul looked at me and said "Is everything okay?' I looked at him and whispered "I didn't see Owen moving. I didn't see his heartbeat."

A few minutes later the ER doctor walked in, and he looked like he had seen a ghost. He was very solemn. He sat down in the chair, and with tears in his eyes said "I'm sorry. One of the babies doesn't have a heart beat."

I felt like someone stole all of the air out of the room. I couldn't breathe. He said "I'm going to call your OBGYN and see what they want to do."

After he left, I felt like the room was spinning. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't cry. I couldn't think.

I looked at Paul and told him we needed to call my parents. As soon as my dad answered the phone I burst into tears. My dad knew something was terribly wrong. He calmly said "Cynthia, take a deep breath. What's wrong?" Through sobs I mumbled "We lost Owen." He asked if I wanted him to call anyone and I said yes. He told me to let him know what was going to happen, and we hung up.

The doctor came back in and said that my OB wanted to admit at the hospital where I would deliver. He asked if I wanted to go by ambulance or if Paul wanted to drive me. We said Paul would drive. (It's crazy to me that in the midst of all that was going on I could think about how expensive an ambulance ride would be.) We then waited to be discharged.

As we waited, my aunt showed up and I just started bawling. She held me. Prayed for me. Held my hand. She asked if I wanted her to come to the hospital with me and I said yes.

Once we were in the car we knew we had to tell Paul's family. I called my sister in law and Paul called his mom. Both were at church, but answered their phones. I could barely speak the words when I talked to Jenny. Saying it didn't make it more real.

We got to the hospital, and I was admitted into labor and delivery. The nurse checked for contractions and monitored Julia's heart.

The OB on call came in, and held my hand. He said he was very sorry. He told me he had talked to the doctor that was on call before, and he apologized for not having me come there. He said "we just couldn't have known."

Since I had seen the Maternal Fetal medicine doctor before, he let her take over care.

She came in, and did an ultrasound. She explained what had happened. She said it was a placental abruption. My sister asked if there was anything I could've done to prevent it, and she said no. These things just happen and we don't know why.

She said that I would need to see her throughout my pregnancy, and that Julia would need to be delivered between 37 and 38 weeks.

I tried to make jokes about how Julia would be stronger and smarter because she survived. You know the jokes people make about eating their twin and such. I wanted to do anything to make the pain go away.

I finally gave into crying. Then I started vomitting.

I made my dad take Paul to run errands so that Paul could talk and not have to worry about me.

He is so gentle. I knew he would avoid talking about how he was feeling to be strong for me.

I asked my grandma to come to the hospital. It was a moment that I just needed her gentle hugs. She sat and let me cry.

I asked if Owen when to heaven. No one could give me a straight answer.

The next morning my OB came by and expressed his condolences. He told me to come down for an ultrasound after I was released. He told me that I would need to come in more often, and for more ultrasounds. He told me I couldn't do anything for a week. I needed to be on pelvic rest.

That was 4 years ago on Halloween. 4 years.

My daughter arrived safely. She is healthy and happy. She loves dressing up and is excited about Halloween and getting candy. She has become a big sister. She is beautiful and brilliant.

She is so excited about Halloween that she has been wearing her costume for 4 days.

And all I can think about is that day, 4 years ago when I lost my son. I was never able to hold him in my arms. I was never able to see his face. And I dread having to take my daughters trick or treating.

A few weeks ago Paul said "I wish I had a son." And I know what he means. One that he could see, hear, smell and touch. One that he could teach about football. One that he could teach how to blacksmith and work on cars.

My heart sinks when I think about our son. Owen is our son. But sometimes it doesn't feel like it because we can't see him and hold him.

I often wonder what he would look like, what he would like to play, what his favorite food would be. I wonder if he were here if I would I want to try for another baby.

I wonder if every Halloween for the rest of my life is going to be this horrendous or if one day I will enjoy it.


Monday, October 13, 2014

It Isn't Just a Dollar

Last week I was out running errands with my girls. We went to the dentist, Wendy's for lunch, and then Target. While I was at Target, I looked through the dollar section and grabbed a couple of bath things for the girls. One was some bath wash in crayons (that I thought came in the color of the crayon, but it turns out are just clear. Not fun.), and the other was bath paints. I like for my girls to have fun in the bath.

We get home, and go about our day and a couple of days later I remember I bought these nifty bath things for $1 each and it would be fun for them to do in the bath. (Paul was doing something downstairs so I was in charge of bath time. For some reason this is the most boring part of my day. I digress). Anyway, we quickly learn that the body wash crayons are clear body wash, not colored, and they get bored with them. But the bath paints were a huge hit. They used all five in a matter a minutes. The girls are giggling while they paint everything around them.

I remember sitting there thinking that I would like these $1 paints to last longer than this one bath, but then I thought to myself...what does it matter? They were just a $1.

Suddenly, I felt this tremendous weight on my conscious as I thought about that $1. That day I had spent $3 on bath things for my girls. I didn't think about that money when I spent it. I just thought "Oh, this will be fun for them, and it's only $1". But as I sat there as they played I began thinking about the 2.2 BILLION people that live on less than $2 a day. I had spent $3 on bath toys that my girls didn't like or used up in less than five minutes when there are 2.2 BILLION people* who don't even have that for food or clean water.

I became an Ambassador for Noonday Collection a little over a year ago. I decided to be part of this company so I could create a marketplace here among my friends for artisans across this world to be able to live on more than $2 a day. For those artisans to be able to have access to food, clean water and medical care that I often taken for granted.

I have worked hard to try and spend my money as as wisely as I can when it comes to where I purchase from so that I know that what I am buying is being ethically made. These things have become important to me after meeting Jalia, hearing her story, and realizing that she came from NOTHING and each purchase that I make wisely has helped her create a pathway out of poverty for her and the other artisans in her group.

But I sat there the other day throwing away money on things that my girls can survive without, and I didn't even think twice about it before I spent it. I very easily could have said "I would like to spend this $3 on bath stuff, but instead I will talk to my girls about those living in poverty and we can save it to support a child through Compassion International or put it towards our adoption fund." I could have taken that moment and made it a teachable moment for my girls. (Can I just say that my girls didn't even ask for these things...this was something I did.)

I know that I live in America and things are more expensive here than in many other places, but I also strongly feel like I should think about where I spend my money and what I spend it on.

Because for some people that $1 could change their lives.

*information from http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This Little Light of Mine

Yesterday as I was reading through the She Reads Truth devotional on "The Sermon on the Mount" my thought process changed a little. You see the reading was over Matthew 5:13-16 where Jesus talks about believers being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. I think you know what I'm talking about (here's the text):
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

While I was reading this I started thinking about this skit I did in youth group. There were 8 of us standing in a line, holding candles, singing "This Little Light of Mine". As we sang, someone pretended to be Satan and he would go around each one of and list off sins and then blow that person's candle out. That person would stop singing. This happened to every person down to the last singer when that person said "Romans 8:1 says 'There is therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.' In the name of Jesus Christ, Satan be gone." And then that person would turn to the next re-light their candle and they would start singing again. 

This reminded me that Satan wants to accuse me. He wants me to believe that have no value because of my sin and the sin done to me. He wants me to believe that because I was sexually abused, masturbated, sought out boys to make me fee valuable, had sex outside of marriage, lied, manipulated, feel anxious, doubt, judge others, etc. that I have NO value. And he wants to blow out my light. A light that Jesus lit. And I forget that I am NOT condemned because I am in Christ Jesus. I have value and worth not based on anything I have done or will ever do, but because I am a Child of God and 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells me that "If ANYONE is in Christ He is a NEW creation. The old has passed away and the new has come."  When God looks at me He sees that new creation. He doesn't see who Satan is talking about. He sees me as holy and blameless because Jesus paid my debt in full!

So if Satan is lying to you about who you are, rest in the word of God. Remember that You do not stand condemned before you Heavenly Father...the old has passed away and the new has come.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On Being BRAVE!

I'm not sure where to start this post. I'm not sure what all I want to say here in this space. I have so much to say, but I don't know where the words are to say it.

I do know that I'm finding my voice, and I'm not going to let anybody stop that. I want this to be the time that I find the strength and the courage to use my voice to claim truth. To use my voice to encourage others to find and use theirs.

I feel like when it comes to sex we allow our voices to be quieted. We allow shame to come in and take root, and we allow our voices to be silenced. What we need to be doing is being BRAVE! We need to talk and talk and talk until we feel better. And then talk and talk and talk until we feel even better and then keep talking because we have found our voices, we have told the shame and the guilt to  "Go to Hell!", and we help each other heal.  (Thanks Ritz!)

In January, I decided I was going to do a word for the year and I chose the word BRAVE. When God laid the word Brave on my heart I thought He was asking me to adopt, go to Haiti, go on a mission trip...

I didn't realize that when God asked me to be BRAVE this year it was because dealing with sexual abuse was going to take every amount of courage I could muster and then some. I didn't realize that I was going to need my friends and family to stand in the gap for me when I had no bravery left. I didn't realize I was going to have to be brave by sharing my story with those people who are standing in the gap for me. I didn't realize that it was going to take being brave to tell God how I really feel about who He is because it's easy for me to look at Him as a far off impersonal God not one who weeps over the sexual abuse of His child and then continues to weep as the effects of sexual abuse continue to hurt for many many years. And I am learning that He cares about what I have to say when it's good, when it's bad, when it's honest. He is big enough to handle my doubts, my fears, and my anger. And He can help me overcome it.

So if you are reading this, and thinking "I get this! I feel this way!" use your voice and be BRAVE. Start with God. Start by being honest with Him, and then keep talking to everyone who will listen, and even those who won't because your voice is beautiful and your story is valuable and you never know what that person will hear and how it will encourage them.

Be BRAVE!!