Monday, May 21, 2012

3D/4D Ultrasound & the beginning of a new series of "Happy Days"

So Thursday was my 3D/4D ultrasound that people (who are continuing to remain anonymous) bought for me as a gift.... I will admit, I was nervous at first. I was nervous because I didn't know what to expect. I have seen many pictures of anencephalic babies, and I have this perfect picture of what Gideon looks like and I didn't want that to be marred in any way. I wanted my imagination to still see him as perfect and normal and whole. So, to have a window inside myself and see him for what he is made me incredibly nervous.

I asked Kathy Rankin to go with me. She has really been a great filter for me for things like this. She has found pictures that she thought I would want to see, but has screened them for me prior to make sure that I wanted to (and could) deal with them. So I decided to take her with me in case it was going to be too much for me, because again, I didn't have a CLUE as to what to expect. It turned out being the most awesome girls day! I have had so many of those with my little sisters & love every second of them. But, this time was a little different... for me. You see, I see Kathy as the big sister I never had... & sitting there with her at lunch that day, talking about all the normal things that we always talk about, then talking about Gideon, too (of course) :-) was just wonderful. There was a time during lunch (at Chili's which was AMAZING!!) when I told her, "You know, I don't know what it's like to go to lunch with a big sister, but I'm pretty sure if I had to guess, this would be it!" :-) It was so fun! And she is just such a great friend! She's happy with me when I am happy, she's angry with me when I am angry, she cries with me when I am on the edge, she is just wonderful! She is seriously everything to me that I try to be to my little sisters! (Love you Kathy!!) :-)

So.... After lunch, we were driving the short distance to the office (with the help of Debbie, her handy dandy GPS thingy. LOL!!) and we both knew that the other one was a little bit nervous. So we get called back and I ask the lady (Missy, who turned out to be SOO sweet!) if she knew my story, and she said she knew about the anencephaly. (I was glad of that, I didn't want to have to explain it to her.) And Kathy and I started talking a little about our plan. You see, our original plan was for her to look at the screen and decide if she thought I would want to see... But once we got in the room, I knew that I was going to be looking at my boy no matter what. It wouldn't matter how good or bad it was, I was seeing my boy. He's precious and perfect and wonderfully made in God's eyes, and by-golly, he was gonna be perfect and wonderfully made in my eyes too! And Kathy agreed, there was no way, I was going to not look.

The scan starts.

She starts by looking at his heartbeat. She measures it and we listen to it (Strong, as usual.... Man I REALLY hope they will give that strong healthy heart to a baby that needs one!!). Then we see his legs and BOY are they long!!! Just like his big brother's! :-) And I ask her... Wouldn't it be neat if we could get a shot of his cute little butt cheeks? How cool that would be! :-) She tries hard, but Gideon is just NOT cooperating. He was moving and stretching and moving and dancing and just being crazy the whole time! Poor Missy had the hardest time, but I'll admit, it was fun to watch him squirm... It always is :-) So she kept looking at arms and legs and things and I told her... "I'm not afraid to see his head, I want to see him." Because I thought she was nervous about me seeing it too. But she just said she was getting some other things like she normally does... which ended up being fine. :-)

Then she found his precious, precious face. And man oh man does he ever look like Colt! I mean, it's like having a little miniature Colt inside there! It was amazing! He is the most beautiful baby I think there ever was (sorry Colt, lol). His little button nose and his little Colt mouth. All of it was just so precious... (keep it together Jenny, don't cry now, you're doing good! lol) ... She scanned and scanned and scanned for like 20+ minutes. I don't know how long my thing was supposed to go, but I probably could've just stayed on that table all day if she would've let me. :') It was the most amazing, precious, and wonderful blessing that I've had throughout this thing. To see my boy, to look at his face, his real face, what he really looks like, just warms my heart. And to have those pictures that I can look at any time I want, again... Priceless...

So... To those of you anonymous people out there that bought this for me. (I heard it was a group, but have no clue WHATSOEVER as to who the members are)..... Thank you. Thank you for giving me the gift of seeing my sweet, precious, amazingly adorable boy. And the ability to pop that DVD in whenever I want and watch him dance. And to look at his pictures whenever I want. You have no idea what that means to me. Yes, I was nervous at first. Very nervous... But I had no clue the blessing it would be to my heart. I had no idea the "warm-fuzzies" I would have for days and days after that. I hope you can hear the sincerity that I'm trying to pour out of my heart when I say, "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!" There are not words to express how much that ended up meaning to me! And I didn't even expect it, which makes it so much better! I don't know who you are (although I would like to)... but I love you! I love you for thinking of me so much and for donating whatever amount it was to give me such an incredibly amazing gift. You are amazing people and I pray that God would bless you a 1,000,000,000+ fold for what you did for me. Thank you.

And so began my current "Happy Day Streak." Praise the Lord I am on Happy Day #5 and am just incredibly peaceful, blessed, happy, and feeling so loved. I hope that everyone out there can feel as loved and happy as God has allowed me to feel right now.

God Bless You All!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Discoveries & Happy Days

Ok, so I'm terrible at this whole blogging thing, I'll admit. I don't have internet at home, so I can only post when I mooch off of someone who does. So.... Sorry.

A lot has happened in the time that I've been 'away' from my blog. There have been many 'moments,' many happy times, and many discoveries. I want to share some of that.

I'd like to share some of my discoveries; because, if you remember, one of the prime reasons for me to have this blog in the first place is not really to keep family/friends informed (that's what Facebook's for, lol), it is to help other people who have to travel down this same road, or a road similar to this. I want to be a resource for them to maybe help them with something that 'hit me' before it 'hits them.' Because, I have found, that it's those 'unexpected' triggers that hit me the hardest. So... Here are a few of my discoveries:

Discovery #1: "I am never going to get 'better,' I'm only ever going to be different."
        This was hard. It was hard because I began to think about the person I was on January 31st at 2:00pm. I didn't know anencephaly was even an english word, let alone what it meant, and I had no idea that it was going to be a new part of my identity for the rest of eternity. I was just a happy wife and mom of a 13 month old, pregnant with a new little bundle of joy! I was as happy as I could possibly be. My life was seemingly 'perfect.' Then, about two hours later, my world came crashing down. I learned what anencephaly was and I learned that my beautiful, precious child was going to live inside of me, but couldn't live without me. What. a. day... Shoot... What. a. week...
       Then, 2 months later, I realized that I had been going through my "process" trying to tell myself that I would get "better" (You know, like when you scrape your knee, it hurts for a while, then it heals, but it really doesn't alter your whole universe... you get 'better')... Nope. Not this time. This time was going to be different. This is never going to "go away" ... this is never going to get better ... it's only ever going to be different.
        I am a totally different person today than I was on January 30, 2012. I'm not sure that person even knew what true sorrow was. She knew what sad was, but not sorrow. Not unspeakable, indescribable sorrow... She knows now. But thankfully, in the midst of all that, she has a God that has carried her when she couldn't carry herself, and has comforted her in ways she didn't know were possible. Glory to God!
        This 'discovery' has manifested itself in other ways too. I have learned that not only am I different, but it's making other people different. Some in good ways, some in not so good ways. But that's life... People grow and change. And sometimes you outgrow people, and sometimes people outgrow you. So goes life.

Discovery #2: "My Ring of Fire"
        I have always liked to come up with analogies to help me describe things. So, I've been thinking, these past 3+ months, about what this circumstance is like for us. This situation is like a little fire pit that Jarrod and I have to stand in, and the flames are sometimes blazin'. You see... It's like a circle, a ring if you will, of fire. We're in it, but the people that we love are still all around us (as they always are). The thing is, I know that this situation is practically "burning me alive" (at least it feels like that sometimes) but I also realize that it still makes my family and friends "hot" too (You know when you stand too close to a bonfire and it's really hot in your face, then you try to move and it's not as hot, but there's smoke in your face, what do you do? You are just uncomfortable. There are sometimes a few places where the fire feels good, but it's always shifting, always moving, sometimes growing, sometimes shrinking... kinda like that). This analogy has helped me deal with people. Because although I feel charbroiled, I know that 'my people' are hot and uncomfortable too, at times, and don't always know how to help me (because what do you do for someone who is burnt to a crisp? Give them some Vaseline? Dowse them in water? No... There's nothing you can do. You take them to the hospital).
        Thankfully, I have a hospital, and you all have a 911. If you don't know what to do... the best thing is to do nothing (You wouldn't touch a person that was on fire, would you? No, you'd call 911) Prayer is my 911. So pray for me when you don't know what to say. Pray for me when you don't know what to do. Ask God to comfort me in a way that only He can. Because really, only He can.  And my hospital is Jesus Himself. It's amazing how often I have felt 'held' by our Saviour. He truly is there for me. Yeah, yeah, yeah... It sounds great in the stories, I know. But it's even better when you get to experience it for yourself. Trust me on this. Thank you Lord for holding me when I needed you most.
        So there... My Ring of Fire. I'm sorry that everyone is hot, I really am, but the fire will go down eventually and just be embers. I'm sure it'll never go out completely, but I'm confident that it will subside.

Discovery #3: "Hurt people Hurt people"
        Eww... I hate this one. I hate it for what it is. I hate it because it's true. I hate it because I've done it.... I just hate it.
        I heard this in two separate preaching messages... by two separate people... in two consecutive weeks, and each time I heard it, I cringed. I cringed because I am a "hurt people" ... and the last thing I want to do is "hurt people." But... Unfortunately I am not like the Job of the Bible (who was without sin through his troubles), and I have not been successful in my mission to not hurt people. This stinks. I am so sorry if you have been on the receiving end of my hurt. In my heart of hearts I thought at the time that what I was doing or saying was right and biblical, only to find out later that I was so wrong. I know there people out there that I have hurt and I hope they know that I am truly, truly sorry. I know I've said wrong things and done wrong things and acted wrong ways in the midst of my pain and 'charbroiled-ness' and I promise to try really hard to keep those things in check. And don't say that "Oh Jenny, you couldn't hurt a fly." Or whatever... Because I could, and I know for a fact that I did.

Discovery #4: I have a responsibility in the midst of all this.
        One thing that I have learned through all this is (sorta like my ring of fire, but different) ... I have learned that people have no idea how to treat me, how to act around me, what's okay to say, what's not okay to say, what will make me sad, etc... etc... etc... I have learned that it is truly my responsibility to inform people of that. How on Earth can I expect people to know how to treat me if I don't tell them?! That's lunacy, and totally unfair to everyone.
        So... It is OKAY, seriously it's fine, to ask me how I'm doing, or how's it going, or what's going on... Those things are normal, and honestly, that's what I really want. To be normal. I want people to be normal around me. Because ... I am in the process of finding a 'new normal' (hence the discovery that 'I'm only ever going to be different')... How am I supposed to know what that new normal is if no one treats me normally and only treats me sorrowfully? Now... I understand that there is a time and a place for sadness and all that, but it doesn't have to be every second of every day, right? If I look happy, I probably am. If I look sad, I probably am. Just treat me normally, regardless. And if you still don't know what to say... I'm a hugger. Give me a hug... If I start to cry harder, just hug me longer. It's okay. It's not YOU that made me cry. It's really okay. Also... If I'm happy... Be happy with me! I like to be happy! Being happy is good! I want to encourage more happiness. :)
        But in all seriousness... Just be normal. Treat me like you always have. Talk to me about the things you always have (yes, even your pregnancies and new coming babies my fellow-pregnant friends out there). And there's something I want to say about that.... I want you pregnant girls out there to realize something... I have so much joy for you in your pregnancy and your baby. Yes, I am inevitably going to have some sorrow for the loss of my own, but the joy for you is going to undoubtedly outweigh the selfish sadness. Please don't be afraid of me. Even if I tear up a bit when I hold your newborn. Please don't be scared. I WANT to do those things!!! I don't want to be afraid of babies and I can't help but to be afraid if everyone shields me away from what they think will be too painful for me to bear. I can bear it. Well... Wait... I can't bear it... but Christ can bear it for me and can carry me through it, and I need to let Him. I know it will be hard, and I know that that part of the fire for you will be very hot... But please be brave. I need you. I really do.
       So.... ANYWAYS.... As I was saying... It's my responsibility to tell you how to treat me. And if after this post, you are still unsure... CALL ME! ASK!!! I will be honest with you... I promise you that.

Discovery #5: Do not resist pain!
        I think that to resist something that may be painful is to put off the inevitable. I feel like I would rather try to go through it now, then have to deal with it later. So... things like baby showers, friends that are pregnant, other things that seem scary... I try hard not to back away from them. I'm going to have to do it sooner or later, might as well face it head on. Although this has been a painful process for me (not resisting pain will be painful, ya know.) I feel as if it will help me more in the long run... I sure hope I'm right!

Well... I can't think of any more discoveries right now.... I'm sure there are more, I'm just not able to dig them up, lol. I hope they have been helpful to you if you're going through this, or something like it. And if you're not, I hope it has been helpful to have a little peek into my heart.


But now... Onto "Happy Days"

I have decided this week, to begin having "Consecutive Happy Days" I am currently on "Happy Day #4" (Praise the Lord) and I am loving it. I love feeling happy, I love being peaceful, I just love, Love, LOOOOOVE it!!!!! :) lol  But, to be on a mountain, you have to climb it... Here's what brought forth this "Happy Streak" ......

This past Sunday was a rough day for me (church days often spark something that makes me think, and that often makes me cry, so people that go to my church are probably becoming used to seeing a Red-Faced Jenny... *sorry about that*). The message was about sorrows. My thoughts were: "Yay. Just what I want to think about, my sorrow." (note the sarcasm) ... My response then was probably not what it should've been because I was sort of annoyed. I didn't want to think about it. I didn't want to ponder it, but... It was God's plan for me that morning. (I'm coming to realize that God and I don't always agree. He often wants me to do things that I don't want to do. Clearly.)
        Jarrod says I should've taken the message positively- That God will bring me through to the other side (and I know that He will), but Preacher also mentioned that sometimes God puts us through things to teach us a lesson if we're not serving Him right, or whatever the reason. I don't know, I guess a part of me wondered what I had done wrong. And I think a part of me still wonders that... Even though (again) I know there are sweet people out there that would say that's not true... But, why? Why is that not true? I'm not some perfect person. I don't serve Christ the way I should. I don't say, or do all the right things, or act all the right ways. Why should this not be a lesson? The hard truth is that... it could. It could very well be a lesson that I need to learn.
        But what's the lesson? To depend on God more? To prepare me for something even harder coming down the pike? To have more compassion on hurting people? To handle myself properly, even when I don't want to? To respect people and their opinions more? To be more thankful? To cherish my husband, son, family & friends more? To glorify Him more???????? I'm sure it's all of those things and MANY more. I'll never know until I get on God's side of Heaven. I also wonder to myself... Jenny. You dumby! Why couldn't you have learned these lessons on your own?! And even as I write those words 'on your own' I feel like part of the lesson hits me. "Duh... You dumby... Because you shouldn't go through life 'on your own' ... THAT'S THE PROBLEM!!! You need Me. You cannot do it without Me... Get it?!" (Wow... I literally just had a little revelation here with you. I just realized something as I was writing those words... I realized God saying to me: "Don't Do It On Your Own!!!" I've always known that, but just didn't think of it that way for some reason... Wow!!!)
        But I do rejoice in the fact that even though I may need to learn all these lessons (and more), He will never leave me. He gives me a crazy, miraculous, totally incomprehensible and undeniable peace sometimes. Most times actually. I'm often able to think clearly and to thank Him for what He has done and what He will do with Gideon and his life.
        All of these things came about at church on Sunday, in some form or another.

Then came Monday....

Monday ended up being another rough day, mainly because of Sunday. Sunday Jarrod and I had (yet another) difficult conversation about our different processes (and those are always hard). We have very different ways of handling this whole thing, and we are trying very hard to respect each other in those different ways. It's just hard. So I just woke up sad (which is the first time I can recall that happening... Just waking up sad). I was still pondering that conversation and all the things I had thought about on Sunday and I was just very "blah." I took Colt over to Kathy's and when I went in, Matt asked me how I was.... I said, "Alright." He said, "Just alright?" I said, "Probably a little less than alright, actually." And that's when my little mini-meltdown started. So I had a little meltdown there with Kathy (which, she and Kelly are often the bearers of my meltdowns... I'm sorry girls, but I thank God that you're there for me the way you are! I love you both!) and then I headed home.
        Once I got home I decided I was just going to hang out in my sadness for a little while and make some tough phone calls. I decided to call the funeral home & cemetery & the monument place and ask about prices. We're still hoping we won't need these things right away, because we want to do a whole body donation to some sort of research, or learning of some kind, but we're waiting to find the right avenue for that, if there is one. So, I thought it wise to have these decisions made beforehand so I wouldn't have to deal with them later if I didn't want to, so I made the calls. What a hard thing. Everything just costs so much. But, I have thought to myself... Think of it as decorating his room (in a weird way). This is the only money you're ever going to spend on Gideon. Might as well do it right and don't complain. But, unfortunately, that doesn't really make it hurt any less.
        So... that was the main part of my Monday. But... By God's grace, somehow he turned my whole evening around. Once I went and got Colt, and Jarrod came home, I was a new person. How that happened, I still have no idea. We had a really wonderful evening together as a family. Then after Colt went to bed, Jarrod and I watched some TV together and were joking around and goofing off like we used to when we were dating. It was fun. :-) It was quality time, but not the normal quality time that we always have, it was the best kind of time spent together... Just happy again. I'm so thankful that God turned my heart around because it would have been very easy to sit and wallow in my self pity all night and bring Jarrod down with me. But for whatever reason, I didn't, and boy am I glad!

And so began my "Consecutive Happy Day Streak!"

So... Today is Friday and I'm feeling happy, thankful, and blessed to be able to say that I'm having my 4th TRULY happy day in a row! These past 3 days have been peaceful, truly happy, smiley, and just wonderful. Man! Have I needed it! And how, do you ask, can a person in the midst of anencephaly be this happy? I don't know. All I know is that I have a Heavenly Father that provides for me the most in my time of need.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

WOW!!! What a great God we serve! That His strength is made perfect in weakness. This makes me feel as if I'm ALLOWED to be weak and the Lord will use that to His glory and for His honor. Man! That. Is. Cool! :)

I hope that you are blessed today and that God is glorified in this blog and in the things that I say... That is my ultimate goal.