Monday, April 30, 2012

Adoption Awareness

So, if you are new here, or just don't know that much about me, I am a huge proponent of adoption. It absolutely breaks my heart that children go to bed every night without someone to call mom and dad; without a family to love them. This is why Jonathan and I are foster parents and are also doing foster to adopt, although none of our placements have been available for adoption. There is an amazing family not too far from me who I "met" through their blog. I was referred to their blog when a friend asked for prayer for their family 2 years ago. At that time their daughter who they had adopted from Serbia six months before was battling for her life after having major open heart surgery. Chrissie went to live with Jesus on May 19 of 2010, but has impacted so many lives. This family is the one that told me about our foster agency 2 years ago. Since saying goodbye to Chrissie they have adopted 6 more children, some from the United States and some from other countries. They are amazing advocates for adoption and care of orphans. They are truly an inspiration to me. I hope that you will keep their family in your prayers (as the anniversary of Chrissie getting her angle wings approaches) as well as consider purchasing a T-shirt to support their orphan ministry.

Here is the link to their blog: All Are Precious In His Sight

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:
 to look after orphans and widows in their distress and
 to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

Sunday, April 29, 2012

An Award....For Me?

I was given this award from a fellow blog writer. Please keep her in your prayers as she is in the throes of infertility and the pursuit of her miracle baby. Her blog can be found here: Adrift on a dandelion breeze. Thank for giving me this award! So, I'm seriously excited about this. Does that make me a nerd? I really don't care if it does. Never in a million years would I have thought that someone would give me an award for my blog, so I am grateful and thrilled.

Here is how the award works. 
  1. Share who gave this award to you with a link back to their blog (above)
  2. Write down 7 random facts about yourself.
  3. Give this award to 15 other bloggers.
  4. Let them know they've won
  5. Pop the award on your blog 
So here are seven random facts about me:
  1. I've been blogging here for about 3 years but didn't realize it kept track of how many people have viewed my blog until about 3 weeks ago, and wow, am I amazed that what I have written has been viewed that many times. Thank You!
  2. I love to sew and am completely self taught, however I would love to learn some tricks from those who are so much better than me.
  3. I love baseball and have a dream to go to every major league stadium in the US and Canada. I've been to the following so far: The Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers), Yankee Stadium (NYC, the original), Fenway Park (Boston), Safeco Field (Seattle), Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Los Angeles). We are going to: Nationals Park (Washington D.C.), Camden Yards (Baltimore) and Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia) in the next 2 weeks and I am super excited!
  4. I grew up in a major city (Dallas, TX) but love living in a smaller town and don't want to go back to living in the city anytime soon.
  5. I have 2 dogs: a Newfoundland and a Labrador Retriever. I would love to have another Newfoundland and am not a "small" dog person.
  6. I love to bake, mostly cakes and cookies, and to decorate them!
  7. My first apartment when I lived completely on my own was furnished totally by garage sale finds (except for the mattress, that would be gross).
So there you have it, a few random things about little ole' me. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Birthday Surprise

We had given D a choice between going out to eat on her birthday or having a birthday surprise on Friday. She obviously chose the surprise. We did have dinner of her choice on Thursday with some friends at our house. Jonathan grilled chicken, sausage and corn on the cob and it was delicious. Friday we picked D up from school at her lunch time for her surprise. Here is the conversation her teacher said they had.

Teacher: D, get your bag and head to the office, they are here to get you
D: What? (With confused look)
Teacher: They are here to get you.
D: What? (Still confused).....(now excited) The Surprise! Surprise! (jumping up and down)

When D came around the corner and saw me waiting at the front of the school she ran up to me and jumped in my arms with the biggest smile on her face! It was priceless. She was so excited to leave school early for her surprise. We took her to lunch and to the movies before we had to take her to her family visit. She had fun and was sure to tell me that she had a good birthday.

Here is an update for D and A.
We are in the process of transitioning them back to their parents. We have been in this pattern for a few months now with extending unsupervised visits. They are now doing 48 hour unsupervised weekend visits. We drop them off Friday night and pick them up Sunday Night. The kids do pretty well with the transitioning to and from the visits. A gets upset sometimes, especially if he is overly tired, but most of the time they transition pretty well. The current plan is to have them reunited on June 1. We still have some concerns about them returning home and hopefully CPS is concerned about them too. All we can do is pray for them, make our concerns known, and pray some more.

A's birthday is next week! I love birthdays!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

D is 8!

Today is April 26. D is 8 years old! She has been in our home for 363 days as of today. Last year she didn't get a party with her family because she was supposed to have it the weekend she was brought to us. We had a small party last year with a friend at the lake that we threw together last minute and shared with her little brother. This year the party was all about her! I loved getting to plan her birthday party and trying to make it special and memorable for her. We had a slumber party and she invited a few friends from school. The girls were super excited to come, one even chose to come to the party instead of going to her grandmother's that night. D requested a "strawberry cake" which to her means cake, strawberries and whipped cream. She loved the one that we made for her! The girls played outside, played games, made tie dye pillow cases that I painted their names on, and stayed up late watching a movie. It was so fun to listen to her giggle and play with her friends. I love that she has good friends here. I so wish I could share her picture here so you could all see what a beautiful little girl she is.

You are an amazing little girl. I love your laugh and silliness. You are incredibly sweet and love everyone. You are a great big sister to A and are always looking out for him. You are smart and you love to see us smile when you are proud of your grades. I love that you now make all A's and love school. You have come so far in just 1 year. You have lost your front two teeth just in time for your 8th birthday and the way you look at us when we call you captain toothless is priceless. I pray that you continue to grow up into a beautiful young lady, inside and out. You have a heart for people and I hope that you continue to have that compassion. Watching you turn from 7 to 8 has been such a blessing to JaJa and I. I know that God has big plans for you and that you can do anything with His help. We love you our silly little toothless girl.

Here are some pictures of the pillow cases we made. I can't show her whole name so I will show a friend's name instead.
Before Tie Dying
Tie Dye Fun

Up close of the butterfly

HAPPY 8th Birtday D! WE LOVE YOU!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Emotions and Finding Peace

The emotions on this journey are so odd to me and sometimes it feels as if they all are there at once. It feels like constant ups and downs. Pain so deep you feel like you can't catch your breath at one moment but at other moments you feel love so much deeper and joy so much higher, all because you lost your baby. Sometimes you catch yourself smiling and laughing and then feel guilty for that, like you should be crying instead because you think how it would be different to have 3 little ones smiling and playing instead of just 2. Then you feel guilty again because you know that your little one is smiling and laughing, they are smiling and laughing in the best place possible, and it makes you smile again. You feel peace because you know that he is in Heaven and never going to know pain or sorrow. You feel helpless because you couldn't do anything about it but your his mom and you feel like you failed. You feel love, so much love for such a little person. You are more grateful for everything and everyone else in your life and you love them more now than ever before. Angry, angry that this happened and you couldn't fix it. Comfort because you know that God knows your pain. Compassion for other families who have gone before you, those traveling in the same part as you and those who are going to follow. Love, love and more love. I've made sure to tell Jonathan I love him more often and I tell others that that I love them more often now also. Grateful, so grateful for the blessings that we have. Empty, like a piece of you is missing. Fear, what if it happens again. Longing, longing for the things that could have been. Hope, I have hope because I know that right now is just a minuscule part of eternity and that I get to spend eternity with my baby and my creator.

God loves me. He LOVES me. What more could I ask for? He also knows my pain. His son died too, but His son died because He loves me. Sometimes I try to imagine heaven and what it will be like, but then I realize that my imagination is no where good enough to know what heaven is like so I imagine it the best I can and know that it will be 10,000 times better than I think. Revelation 21:1-4(NIV) says this: "Then I saw "a new heaven and a new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will be with them and be their God. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning our crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.""

I'm no biblical scholar by any means, but this is what I see in this verse. First, this earth, these bodies of ours, poof, they will be gone. God will usher in something so much more amazing. The new place, where  I will get to be because I know Christ, is going to be awesome. It talks about how it is dressed beautifully like a bride for her husband. I don't know about you but I love watching brides walk down the aisle and seeing how beautiful they look, imagine that, 10,000 times better. This new earth is going to be beautiful, to me it seems like it will be similar to how it was before the fall of man. Then it says that God will dwell right there with us, all the time, wow. Last it says that there will be no sadness or pain. This means there will be eternal joy and praise. I love it! Thank you God for your promises. I can't wait until the day when we are all in this new heaven, living together, without pain or sadness. Until then I will continue to praise God because I know these things are true. There will be a day when the emotions above won't all be there, instead they will be replaced by constant joy. This is a promise I cling to.

Monday, April 23, 2012

1 month later.....jumbled thoughts

How has it been one month since we said goodbye? How is that possible? As soon as we learned of Grant's diagnosis I felt like my world stopped but the world continues on. It has been just over 6 weeks since that awful day. Sometimes this all feels like a very bad dream. I'm back in regular clothes, actually my regular clothes are too big because I lost weight while pregnant. I physically feel pretty normal. What I wouldn't give to be tired again because of the life growing inside of me, instead of tired because I lay awake at night thinking of him. In the past month we have been back to the OB, received some lab results for Grant, picked up his death certificate and ashes, and had his memorial service. Details of his service will come in another post. I should be almost 26 weeks pregnant and instead I am one month post-partum. I miss him as much today as I did the day I said goodbye. Sometimes I wish I could hold him just one more time and then realize that all the time in the world wouldn't have seemed like enough. Oh how I love that little boy.

We had our post-partum appointment 3 weeks after I delivered Grant. It was so hard to sit there just 3 weeks after saying goodbye. Walking back into that office where we used to go with joy was so so hard. I have to say though that our OB, the high risk OB who did our ultrasounds and the OB who stepped in for our care since mine was on maternity leave during all of this, have been amazing. If you live around here and need an OB I would recommend all of them. Part of this visit was talking about how I feel, part was talking about how we are coping, part was talking about the results of some of the tests they did on Grant and part was talking about future pregnancies. It is so hard to talk about future pregnancies. First, I don't know how I feel about being pregnant again. The thought is exciting and terrifying at the same time. Will we be able to get pregnant again? It took us 3 years to get pregnant with Grant. Will the next pregnancy end in a healthy baby? If it doesn't can we survive losing another baby. If we have another baby will people forget about Grant? He can't be replaced. I loved being pregnant, really loved it and almost can't wait to be pregnant again, but then all of the above questions come flooding back. When do we start trying again? How long do we wait? Do we try on our own or go straight back into fertility treatments? See, I'm totally confused but it's a good thing I don't have to decide on anything right now. It's an even better thing that God knows the plans for us so we shall keep seeking God's will and follow Him.

The past month hasn't been all bad though, we have had good moments. I don't cry all the time anymore. Sometimes tears only fall briefly once a day, sometimes more. It's easier every day to get up and keep moving, although sometimes it hits you like a ton of bricks and you have to catch your breath.  D and A are always sure to put a smile on my face. Just because we have lost Grant doesn't mean we can stop being parents to D and A. We have had a slumber party for D's birthday and are planning A's 3rd birthday party. Oh how I love those 2. D is so very sweet. She will randomly come up and hug you and say "I love you like my real mommy." Lately during her bedtime prayers she has been telling God thank you for letting her meet us and letting her live here while her parents learn how to be parents. A's smile is contagious and how he has grown and learned in the past year is amazing. I wish I could share pictures of them so you could see how beautiful they are.

Lost. Yesterday I said sometimes I just feel lost, and I do. I have this odd feeling of not knowing what to do next. I should be out shopping for a maternity dress to wear to resident graduation and maternity clothes to wear on vacation in two weeks. I should be making lists of guests for my baby showers that should be coming up. Instead in the past few weeks I was planning Grant's service, but yesterday that was done too. It somehow seems so much more final now. Maybe it is because that was one of the last major things I get to do for him and it's done. We still have to order his headstone that we are putting at the foot of my grandparents grave and we are still going to spread his ashes at a place special to us but having his service made it all seem so final. I know that in Christ I am found, not lost, and for that I am so very thankful. I honestly can say that I don't think we would make it through this without our faith in God. Knowing that God knows my pain, he knows my sorrow, he knows what it is like to watch his Son die and that God hasn't and won't abandon us it what gets me through each day. He still loves us, even when we are angry and hurt. He loves us no matter what, that is true unconditional love.

It's been one month without my baby boy, but one day I will get forever with him.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Grant's Story

This is a long post. I'm linking up to Kelly's Korner so I decided I would try to share Grant's story in one post. I'm not exactly sure how this is going to turn out. I pray that Grant's story and his short life here on earth will allow me to be a blessing to others. I know that God has plans for us, we just aren't exactly sure what those are at this time, but I am praying for God's guidance as we walk this journey that no parent should have to walk.

I guess we should start at the beginning. Jonathan and I waited until we had been married for just over 2 years when we decided we were ready to start a family. We had discussed how we wanted to expand our family and we knew that we wanted both biological and adopted children but we wanted to have a biological child first so we began trying and trying and trying. During this time we became licensed foster parents and our first kids were placed with us in January of 2011. You can read more about that journey by clicking on the label foster kids to the left.

Here is the post I wrote right after our 19 week ultrasound, it's titled Baby Bybee, but for ease I copied and pasted it here: We learned in November after 3 years of trying that we were finally pregnant. We were so excited! I didn't care that the smell of Thanksgiving dinner made me want to throw up. I didn't care that I was so tired all I wanted to do was sleep, I was having a baby and was on top of the world. We found out just before Christmas that we were indeed only expecting one baby and got to see and hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time. We were elated. Right after Christmas we experienced a threatened abortion but the baby was doing fine and we got to see and hear the heartbeat once again. Things went well from there. At every appointment the heartbeat was strong, the baby seemed to be growing, and I even began to feel the baby moving in early February. We were scheduled for our big ultrasound on March 6 and we were so excited to see the baby and find out the gender. We had already chosen names for the baby and couldn't wait to call the baby by name. Our ultrasound got moved on Friday March 2 because our blood screen for birth defects came back concerning for Spina Bifida and they wanted a specialist to do our ultrasound. We anxiously awaited March 8th with excitement and a bit of nervousness. We knew that God's plans were bigger than ours and that we would love and cherish our baby no matter what birth defects it may have.

However, we were not prepared to hear what the doctor had to tell us. Our baby has multiple congenital anomalies. Some of these are consistent with Down Syndrome. We don't care that the baby has down syndrome, and love the baby anyways. The worst of these however is that the baby has no amniotic fluid. They think that there is an obstruction not allowing the baby to pee, which makes amniotic fluid, because the bladder is distended and the kidneys have fluid around them from fluid back up. Amniotic fluid is important for lung development. If there isn't amniotic fluid the lungs can't develop and the baby won't be able to breathe at birth, even with help. The kidneys will also be very sick and will likely fail because of the urine backed up. The fact that the baby has no amniotic fluid means that the baby won't survive. The bladder is getting larger and pressing on the heart which will eventually cause the heart to stop and we will have to deliver our cherished baby stillborn. We still don't know the gender because they couldn't see it on ultrasound.

We had another ultrasound on March 19. This ultrasound showed us that there was still no amniotic fluid and now the heart was larger and starting to fail. In just a week and a half the heart that looked so beautiful was now failing. The bladder and kidneys were still enlarged. I had been feeling the baby move pretty consistently by this time, especially at night when I would lay down to go to sleep. The last time I felt my sweet baby move was on Tuesday night, March 20. I had a procedure to start my cervix dilating on March 21. On March 22 we went in the hospital to begin receiving medicine to induce labor. We were told that we would likely meet our baby sometime that afternoon. Things progressed soooo slowly. By bedtime on Thursday night I was still only dilated 1 cm. They started giving me more medicine and more frequently hoping that it would make things speed up. I started taking pain medicine for the contractions sometime Thursday afternoon but could still feel them throughout the night. I didn't want to take too much medicine because I wanted to feel like myself when the time came to meet my baby. Friday morning I was finally at 3 cm. I went for a walk around the hospital and when I returned I asked for the epidural. It took another 5 hours for me to deliver my baby. 

Here is the post about meeting our son. Once again, copied and pasted for ease. On that Friday, March 23, 2012 at 2:32pm we heard "it's a boy" and knew that you, our son, would forever be Grant Oliver Bybee. Meeting you that day was beautiful and devastating at the same time. I didn't know that those two things could go together so well, oh but they do. You are the most precious, beautiful little boy we have ever laid eyes on. When we saw you for the first time you were already resting in the arms of Jesus. As I held you close to me and looked at your perfectly formed little body, I was completely in awe at the amount of love that I felt. I knew that I loved you dearly before I saw your sweet face, but I didn't know it was possible for my heart to swell to love you even more, oh but it is. We even laughed on that day. We laughed at how big your hands and feet were, just like Daddy's. You look so much like your Daddy and it is something that makes me smile. We will always treasure the few hours that we were able to hold you, kiss you, sing to you, talk to you, bathe you, dress you and love on you. We were able to share you with those we love, yet we weren't able to share you with everyone we wanted to, for you were only here for a short time. We are so sad that we had to say goodbye, yet we are so thankful to God that we got to know you for 21 weeks and got to hold you for a few short hours. You, our son, will always be loved and cherished by us. Grant, you are our first born, our son, our precious boy that we are so proud to call ours. God has truly blessed us by letting us get to know you, even if for a short time. We love you sweet baby boy and will miss you always.

It has now been 4 weeks since I looked at his beautiful face. In the past 4 weeks we have learned that he has no major chromosomal abnormalities. This is kind of good news because it means the chance that a future pregnancy will have the same problem is really low. We are waiting on more test results that will hopefully give us an answer as to what caused this.

His memorial service is tomorrow afternoon and my heart is so heavy but I am ready to celebrate his life. He is truly a gift from God, our first born, our son, and I can't wait to share him with others. God has been faithful and will continue to be faithful. I have felt a sense of peace and felt God closer than ever before during this time. I miss my baby boy every day and think of him almost constantly but I know he is in Heaven where there is no pain or tears. His obituary was posted in our local paper yesterday. You can read it at his website through our funeral home here: Grant's Funeral Home Page.

I'll stop with a picture of his birth announcement.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In Memory of Grant Oliver Bybee

This coming Saturday, April 21, is our son's memorial service. It will be 29 days since we said goodbye to him. We chose to have Grant cremated so that we could spread his ashes at a place special to us. I couldn't imagine seeing him in a tiny casket. Since we chose to have him cremated we had time to schedule and plan his memorial service. I think this is good and bad in some ways. It has allowed us to really think about what we want said, the songs we want played, design a slide show to honor his short life and try to make things just right. I think the reason I want this service to be perfect for him is because I don't get to do many things for him and the few things I do I want to make sure I get it right. The bad thing about waiting so long to have his service is that we have been thinking about it for what seems like forever and no one wants to think about a memorial service for their child.

I know that we have no control over what caused Grant to have no amniotic fluid. I do however know that I did everything in my power to do everything right while I was pregnant with him, and that brings me some comfort. I was the best mom to him that I could be while he was here with us and Jonathan was the best dad he could be, and for that I am thankful because I know that Grant deserves no less. However the thing that brings us the most comfort during this is our faith in God. We KNOW that we will see Grant again in Heaven one day and that until then Grant is living where there is no pain, no tears and no sorrow. We know this because the Bible tells us in Revelation 21:4 "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

My amazing sister made birth announcements for Grant that included his memorial service information. They turned out perfectly.


You can find more of Grant's story by clicking on the Grant label on the left of my blog. You can find his obituary through our funeral home here Grant's Obituary. You are always welcome to contact me at kristybybee[at]mac[dot]com if you want to talk.

I'm linked up through another blog that is featuring baby loss blogs today. If you are interested head here: Tesha's Treasures

Monday, April 16, 2012

To my sister and my friend...

I feel like I need to say thank you, however, I don't have enough words to say it adequately but I am going to do my best. This is for 2 very special women in my life. One is my sister and friend, another is to a friend who is like a sister. Jonathan and I are so very blessed to have them in our lives.

Your support during the most difficult time in our lives is such a blessing. From the moment we found out that Grant wasn't going to survive and you made phone calls to my colleagues you have been by our sides. You have done so many things for us without us even having to say we needed them done, and for that we are eternally grateful. To know that we didn't have to worry about taking care of certain things was so nice. Your prayers, listening ear, and taking walks with me when I just needed a friend to be there have been a blessing. To know that my friend, who I consider more of a sister, is standing by us somehow makes walking this journey a little easier. Thank you for everything you have done for us and more importantly, thank you for being a great friend and loving Grant and us. God has blessed me beyond measure with you and I love you.

You are the most amazing and talented sister a girl could ask for and I am so glad that you are mine. Your support, daily phone calls and text messages saying you are thinking of me, and allowing me to talk about Grant and cry are so special to me. I know that your heart broke also the day you found out about Grant, but you have stood by us and supported us every step of the way. On top of all of that you put your own self aside so that you could give us a gift, beautiful photos of our beautiful son. I know that taking pictures of him and then spending countless hours editing them so they would be just right, has been so very hard for you, but the end result has been so amazing and Jonathan and I love every single one of them. Your talent has given us something to remember him by, from the maternity pictures to the pictures of him on his birthday. Because of you we have beautiful pictures of him that show how perfect he is that we can look at every day. I love you baby sister and I am so glad that God gave me you.

Others have been so very supportive during this time. From prayers and cards to meals and a listening ear, we are grateful.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bedtime Routines

We have been parents off and on since January to our foster kids. We don't have children of our own. We have helped to care for friends and family members kids before but it's different when the children are your responsibility. One of our first placements was a 14 yr old and 2 yr old siblings. It was with these children that we began learning how to be parents, especially parents to children who have already had parents and rules and routines. I think parenting biological children would be a little different but I think the theory is still the same.

One of the hardest times of day for our foster kids seems to be bedtime. In our experience it seems that most of these kids are used to co-sleeping with their mom's and siblings as well as not having a bedtime or any sort of routine. We have learned that you have to establish the routine basically from day one. However we have learned how to "choose our battles" when it comes to sleeping arrangements. The rules of foster care in Texas are that children over the age of 5 can't share a bedroom with a child of the opposite sex and that all children are required to have their own beds. This doesn't mean that if they crawl into each other's beds in the middle of the night that you have to separate them. We actually choose to let the kids sleep with each other if they wish the first few nights they are here. However, they are never allowed to sleep in our bed, even from day 1. Starting day 1, sometimes day 2, because our children have all come to our house pretty late at night, we begin a bedtime routine. We choose a bedtime for them based on their age and developmental needs. For example, right now we have D who is 7 and A who is 2. They are in bed and asleep no later than 8:15 because D has to be up by 6:30 for school and we make sure we wake up A by 8am. A takes a nap around noon everyday. About a week into things, or sooner if problems arise, we separate the kids into their own beds. This allows us to put the little one to bed earlier if needed or let the older one stay up later on the weekends to watch a movie with just Jonathan and I. It also allows us to put them in different rooms so that when one wakes up the other doesn't. It is always hard the first few nights because they aren't used to sleeping alone, but within a few days it is no longer an issue, and actually everyone ends up sleeping better. I'm not a fan of co-sleeping ever. I think children need to sleep alone, learn to self-soothe, and have good bedtime routines to have good quality sleep and function the best they can the next day.

Letting a foster child "cry it out" is different than letting a bio child do so. Foster children often come from environments where they aren't sure if they are loved and they are in a new environment and often afraid of being abandoned. This is evident by the crying when someone leaves the house for work or walks in the other room, even if it is not an appropriate developmental age for the child.

Our bedtime routine typically consists of bath time, brush teeth, read books, say prayers, sometimes sing songs, and then sleep. If the child is a small child we will read books sitting in a rocking chair with them in our lap. Sometimes they have to be rocked to calm down, but we don't rock until they are asleep. We put them in their bed while still awake so they can learn to fall asleep on their own. We have had to sit next to their beds until they fall asleep and slowly start staying less and less time, which seemed to work well. Every child is different but every child needs structure. They thrive with knowing what is expected and what's coming next.

Our new kids are doing great. The first court date was today but it has now been postponed for another week. So court is now next wednesday.


Monday, April 9, 2012

A Hard Day

Two posts in two days, not something you should get used to :)

Today was a really, really hard day. It actually just felt like an extension of yesterday, also a really hard day. Maybe that is what made it seem harder, maybe not. Yesterday was the first holiday without Grant. There are many to come, most of which I am not looking forward to at this time. Yesterday evening was also hard for non-holiday reasons. Jonathan and I wrote Grant's obituary yesterday evening. Jonathan also wrote a beautiful piece for a class assignment that hopefully I can share with you at some point with his permission. It's a very odd feeling of accomplishment. You want to write these pieces and make them perfect for your son, but you don't want to write them because that means your son is no longer here. Finishing them and being proud of them brings you a sense of peace that you have done something right, that you've done something for your child. I really don't think I'm explaining this well, but oh well. Sleep was hard to come by last night, as it has been quite often in the past month. Then this morning Jonathan received a phone call from the funeral home letting us know that Grant's fetal death certificate was there if we wanted to pick it up. We had been waiting for this to be there so that we could pick it up at the same time as his ashes. Walking into that funeral home, the one I pass almost daily on my way to take the kids to school, to pick up my cremated son just felt so wrong. Standing there in the office of some very sweet people waiting for them to hand us a box, a tiny box, that holds the ashes of our son broke my heart and the tears fell. They handed us the box of his ashes and his death certificate and then approved the obituary we had written less than 24 hours later so it can be put in the local paper.  I left there and sat in my car sobbing. I'm ready for today to be over. Hopefully tomorrow will be not quite as hard.

Tonight I ordered the guest book for Grant's memorial service. I personally think it turned out beautifully. My little sister, the best little sister in the world, the one who took the amazing pictures of Grant, has designed a birth announcement for him with his memorial service information on it. I am so proud of her and her talent. She has given us an amazing gift in beautiful photos of our son that were taken with love.

Before I share a few more pictures of our beautiful baby boy I want to explain the picture at the top of the page. Bluebonnets are my favorite flower. They show me that spring is finally here and symbolize the beginning of everything that I love (baseball, flowers, warm days, thunderstorms, flip flops, fresh mowed grass, longer days, and that summer is just around the corner). The day that Grant was born was a beautiful spring day. The bluebonnets had been really blooming for a little over a week when he was born, but if your from Texas you know that they are at their most beautiful about 1 1/2 -2 weeks after they start blooming, right when Grant was born. The bluebonnets were so bright and bold when we went home from the hospital and I instantly knew that I would always consider them Grant's flowers. I told my sister this and she surprised me with the picture at the top of the page as well as a few others, see I told you she is amazing. Ok, here are a few more pictures of our beautiful son.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Today was our first day back at church since Grant went to be with Jesus. It just happened to be Easter Sunday also. I so appreciate Easter this year. I have always appreciated it, but I now appreciate it differently. Easter is about Jesus dying for our sins and then being resurrected to sit at the right hand of God. Since finding out about Grant's diagnosis and then having to say goodbye to my son I have thought a great deal about Jesus dying for me. God brought Jesus into this world knowing that his son was going to die for everyone else's sin. I can't even begin to imagine knowing for that many years that my son was going to die to save the world. It had to be an incredibly heart breaking thing to know, yet God loved us enough to let his son die for us, wow. Something that has brought me comfort over the past few weeks is knowing that God knows my pain. He knows so well what it is like to have his child die. He also knows what it is like to have his child live with him for eternity, and now he has my child with him too. One day I know that Jonathan and I will join Grant in Heaven where we will worship a God who is so amazing that he let his own son die for us. Knowing that I will see Grant again and knowing that the God that I serve and love is caring for my baby boy brings me such peace.

Going to church today was hard, so very hard. It is so hard to see all of the little boys dressed in their Easter clothes, running to their mommies and daddies after church, seeing families celebrating with their little ones and imagining what Grant would have looked like next year in his first Easter outfit. Knowing that I will never see him run to Jonathan with a smile on his face and a sparkle in his eye breaks my heart. I can't wait until the day when we will all be together again. Until then I plan to live a life to honor God and to fulfill the purpose that he has for me as well as the purpose that he has for having Grant go to be with Him so soon.

D and A have been doing really well. They are such a joy to have in our home. I love seeing their smiling faces each day and hearing their giggles. They are in the process of transitioning home. They have been having 24 hour unsupervised visits for a few weeks now and will transition to 48 hour visits over the next few weeks. The current plan is for them to go home once school is out for D, however we still have some concerns about them returning home and hope that these things can be fixed before they are reunited or that they won't go home. D and A have made such an amazing amount of progress since being placed here almost a year ago. It is truly a pleasure to watch them develop and grow.

Grant has been gone for just over two weeks now and we miss him as much today as we did the day we said goodbye. We are in the process of planning his memorial service for April 21. This is something I never thought I would have to do for my child but being able to take time to plan his service has been healing in some ways. I have had a lot of time to think and pray about what we want to celebrate Grant's life. The prayers and support we have had from friends and family has been amazing and we don't have adequate words to say thank you.

Sorry for the jumbled thoughts today, this is how I think right now.