Our Family

Our Family
Fall 2015 - These are my people

Friday, June 29, 2012

Four Months Later

Today marks four months since our Solveig was born still.  I miss her.  I realized this last night as I was sitting with my sweet new friends from "The Club."  This is a group of women who have all had baby losses, and we are connected mostly through college but also one friendship is through a mutual friend.  It's incredible how quickly I feel bonded with others who've experienced loss of babies.  There's a common understanding, and we just "get it" with each other.

This has been a good week for me, for the most part.  My hope in Christ remains strong.  I'm not just saying that - it's so true.  I have so many reasons to believe in Him and His goodness.  The loving arms of Jesus continually show up around me...so many continue to pray over us.  I hear from people I haven't heard from in a long time, and they tell me they are praying.  And other friends keep telling me often that they are praying.  We are blessed by these prayers and gain strength knowing that He has sent these earthly angels into our path to encourage us.

As the sun shone brightly this morning, I knew that I needed to make my way to the cemetery to visit my baby's grave.  I think of her playing on this bright, sunny day in Heaven.  She is happy - that is for sure!  Standing by her tiny grave I gazed down and spoke to her as though I knew she could hear me.

"Sweet girl, how I miss you!  I know you are with Jesus and I know He is holding you.  He has shown me that.  And I know that you are okay now.  I will always love you and I'll always think of you, no matter what.  I'll always be grateful that the Lord gave you to us for even a brief time.  I'll always be so glad that I got to feel you moving so much in my womb - how amazing that was.  What a gift."

We were talking last night in our club about our losses and asking each other what we've been learning through this journey.  My friend asked me if I was at a place of feeling grateful for our loss.  And I am. I truly am.  I'm grateful for our baby Solveig, and I'm grateful that the Lord has brought us through this difficult loss.  It really has been a blessing.  I'm no longer angered by our loss.  In fact, I don't know that I was really angry for that long at all...because God truly showed me Himself in the midst of the pain and I know that He has never left my side.  He continues to be near.  I FEEL Him with me.

I also know that we're still in the earlier end of this loss, and that it is possible that there may be harder days ahead which may bring us low.  But I really think each person handles loss so differently too.  And maybe, just maybe I'll not be in such a low, depressed way as some are.  I ache for those who face true despair in their losses.  I do think I had some of that in the beginning...which is NORMAL.  And I do feel sadness.  Believe me, I do.  But I see Him through it all.  I still see Him and I know that in my pain, He holds me up.  If I do face even darker days ahead, at least I can go into it knowing that it is normal and that I will indeed come out on the other side.  I hear that sometimes the middle-second half of the first year of loss is maybe the hardest.

I've been reading a really great book lately called Jesus Calling, written by Sarah Young.  If you haven't yet read it, I highly recommend it.  Sweet Sid and Char, some of our pastors, gave us this book after we lost Solveig...thank you dear friends.  What a blessing this book has been to me.  Each day there is a short devotional written as though maybe Jesus is talking to us and then some Bible verses are recommended to go with each reading.  Here's some of what I read today from the book, from the entry intended for April 5:

"As you go through this day, trust me to provide the strength that you need moment by moment.  Don't waste energy wondering whether you are adequate for today's journey.  My Spirit within you is more than sufficient to handle whatever this day may bring.  That is the basis for your confidence!  In quietness (spending time alone with me) and confident trust (relying on My sufficiency) is your strength."  

The recommended reading that goes with it is from 2 Corinthians 4, and I added a few more verses from that chapter that I love.

vs. 7-9, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed...."

vs. 16-18, "So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

May we fix our gaze on what is eternal and not seen.

There's a lot of other stuff on my mind today, which I will hope to soon share here.

May you have a blessed day.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Solveig's Boxes

When we walked into our room to prepare for Solveig's delivery, the nurses directed our attention to a green box that was placed on a table just for us.  They told us that it had been made by a family like us who had gone through the loss of a child and wanted to help others.  We opened the box, and I began to weep.  Inside were several items that would become so precious to us, and included...

*A hand and/or footprint mold
*A "tress press" -  a small acrylic box that had some plates inside between which we could place Solveig's tender locks of hair.
*Some resources about grief, including a book for our children about having an angel instead of a baby

I was overwhelmed by the fact that another family had taken the time to make such a box and that we were the recipients.  The reality that we needed to receive a box like that in that moment became so intense, yet it was so comforting to have these things that would help us to remember our daughter and to make our time with her so special.

That day as we prepared for Solveig, I met Annette...the wonderful nurse/grief counselor/care coordinator at our hospital who has since become somewhat of a mentor as well as a friend - a great help in our time of need.  Annette was able to help us a little bit to prepare for what we would experience with Solveig, since she went through a similar experience years earlier.

After we had Solveig, we connected with Annette through our grief support group at the hospital, as she is the facilitator.  I asked her who makes those boxes.  She explained that different families through the years first started a fund to make the boxes possible, and then families would take on the responsibility of collecting everything to put into the boxes, creating 100 over the course of a year.  She said also that she was currently looking for someone to take on this job, and asked me if I was interested and would consider it.  I thought about it and prayed over it for a good while, asking some friends to come alongside me and pray over it as well.  Well, the long and short of it is that I could not stop thinking about the boxes and just really felt the Lord leading me to take on this new job for at least a year!  So I have done just that!!!

I'm currently in the process of gathering the items that will go in the boxes, and will be working with friends and family to compile the boxes this fall.  My goal is to have all 100 ready by Christmas, with at least the first 25 ready by early fall.  It's exciting to think about and I am so glad that we can help other families to capture special moments with their babies who will be gone all too soon.  These boxes will go to families like ours who are in the hospital for babies who will be delivered through a miscarriage, stillbirth and also those who will most likely die shortly after birth.

Soon I hope to have some type of link set up for you if you would like to donate to the cause.  There is already a fund set up through our hospital, so you can give directly to that fund.  I just need to learn the particulars of that and then I'll let you know.  And soon I'll share with you what we plan to put in the boxes.  Whether or not we decide to list the donation link here publicly, you can send me a message and I will personally let you know where to send funding.  My estimation for the cost of each box at the outset is around $50-60.  The current sample box that I have cost about $50, and that was with many things inside coming at a discounted rate.  If you'd like to support the cost of a box or donate towards it let me know!

Last night at our grief support group meeting, three couples were there to share their experiences from the past.  Two of the three couples represented have been involved in the boxes in the past, so it was really awesome to be able to personally thank them for this wonderful blessing.  In fact, the family that made the box that we received was one of those families there - that was REALLY wonderful to meet them finally.  I had for so long wanted to thank them, and it was amazing that I could do that in person.  Their story of loss and moving forward was powerful and they were so filled with hope and strength.  I appreciated their presence as well as that of the other two wonderful families who shared.

Please be praying for us as we move forward with this project.  Erik is in FULL support of me taking this on and he and I both agree it will be a very healing venture in our journey of grief.  I know Solveig would want me to help other babies...I just know it.  I think she was a very bold little girl with a lot of energy and she'd be all over this project! :)

Thanks for reading and for your encouragement.
Blessings to you all.

Linking up with Tesha's Treasures today...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Buzz turned FOUR!!!

Our sweet little Buzz turned four on June 22nd!  It's hard to believe just how quickly the time has passed in his life.  He is a busy, happy go lucky kiddo who loves music, playing instruments, running and throwing and kicking balls, playing games, doing puzzles, painting, giggling, jumping on the trampoline, baking and cooking with Mama, riding bikes, blowing bubbles, reading stories and so much more.  We have a great time together and I just love my little snuggly guy so much.  He is such a blessing to us!

We celebrated Buzz' birthday with presents at home, just our family.  I was helping with VBS at our church this past week, and the last day happened to be Buzz' birthday.  Since I was leading preschool music for his class, I led the class in singing happy birthday to him.  I think he loved it!  For dinner, we went to our favorite burger restaurant that has a bird for a symbol...so much fun.  We love being in the birthday club there so that we can get FREE meals!  Then we played together.  Yesterday we went to a Swedish festival at the Gammelgarden Museum nearby.  VERY fun way to spend the day and to continue to celebrate our little guy!  It was such a nice time being together as a family this weekend.

Here are some pictures from Anders' first four years of life!

One of the best days of our lives - June 22, 2008 - Buzz was born!

Buzz & Daddy napping...so cute

Brother Joel and cousins came to visit

Big Sister Bug LOVED being with her new baby brother!

Buzz was such a rail when he was first getting going...he was hospitalized for a few days shortly after birth for an unidentified virus...we thought we were going to lose him, so he is really a miracle to still be alive.

My babies - I love having them in my arms

Bug and Buzz - always love being together

Sweet Daddy and his kiddos

So alert!

I loved this cow outfit. It was so cozy.  And I LOVE that smile!!!

My happy guy - such a smiler!  

Christmas 2008 - 6 months old!

Our little Norwegian dude.

EVERYTHING is STILL a drum to this kid.  He's been pounding on everything since he was  really young!

Baby Dedication Day - June 21, 2009 - one day before his first birthday and also Father's Day!

2 years old!  Thomas the Train birthday cake - my curly top kid

Fall 2010 - 2.5 years old

At our church camp playing wiffle ball!  June 2011 - 3 years old

Mother's Day 2012 - almost four years old - how we've grown!  And still, such love for the big sister.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY BUZZ BEAR!!!!!!!!  May you always love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  And may His blessing be upon your life.

Love always,
Mama & Daddy

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Link Up & Blog Hop

Linking up with Tesha's Treasures today...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

This has been a tough but also good weekend.  I didn't expect things to hit so hard this weekend, but I guess they did.  Yesterday I had a good time of cooking and baking all kinds of things.  I find so much joy being in the kitchen, creating food for my family.  After dinner, we made our way to the cemetery.  I hadn't been out there in about a month, since we had brought a desert rose to place at Solveig's grave. The need to be there hasn't been as intense lately...but yesterday I so wanted to go.  So the four of us went out, and the dog even came this time.  We cut some day lilies from our garden and each of us laid a lily by Solveig's grave.  I also placed one at Briana's grave, the sweet baby right next to Solveig.  I find myself wanting to care for the other graves.  There are some that get lots of attention and some that don't.  I swept away some cobwebs on one other baby's grave and spent some time looking at the names and the beautiful flowers that are gracing the cemetery this time of year.  It's quite lovely.  Whenever I'm there, I find myself talking to Solveig a little bit.  I know she's not there, but it feels nice to say something to her.  Usually it's something like this...

"Oh baby girl, how I miss you.  Mommy so wishes you were here right now.  I wish I could hold you again, but I know that Jesus holds you now.  I love you Solveig, and I always will.  I look forward to holding you again one day in Heaven."

After talking to Solveig last night, all the sudden there was a rush of wind in the air around me.  It sort of caught me off guard, and it was wonderful.  I looked up at the heavens and I truly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in that place.  I know that the Lord was taking that moment to encourage me.  Tears streamed down my face and I smiled with joy, knowing that He was there with me.

It was a snuggle my pink teddy bear in Solveig's blankie kind of night last night.  Much comfort comes to me by way of snuggling that little bear.  Thanks Candy and Missing Grace Foundation for that bear. After having a hard time falling asleep, I asked Erik to pray for me.  Whenever he does that I feel such peace and comfort.  Thank you Erik for praying over me - that means more to me than you may ever know.  I'm so blessed to have you.

Today, we celebrated fathers.  I'm so blessed to have some in my life...my sweet husband, my own dad, my father-in-law, our uncles, my brothers, and some other men who have been like surrogate fathers to me through the years...so blessed.  Thank you sweet guys.

When we were at church this morning, I didn't know that it would be so tough to not have Solveig with us...but just like on the other holidays we've experienced to date, her absence is so profound on holidays...at least to me it is.  Mother's Day was tough, but I didn't realize that I would feel so deeply on Father's Day.  I kept thinking to myself, "I just hurt for my husband...that he didn't get to be a daddy to Solveig on this earth...he's such an amazing daddy and I know that he would've been so good to her and that she would've absolutely adored him!"

When I told this to Erik on the way home from church, he said to me, "she's in much better hands."

As hard as it is to accept that, it's true...and in that moment I could once again see her in the arms of Jesus...where she has been since late February.  She's safe in the arms of Jesus, and nothing can take her away from that protected place. This comment from Solveig's precious daddy caused me to have a flashback to the night that we were in the hospital finding out that Solveig had passed...February 26, 2012.  Right after Dr. M told us the news, Erik said to me, "she's with Jesus now, honey.  She's with Jesus."

I'm so glad that she is safe.  And as much as I want her in my hands, she's definitely in better hands...as her daddy said.

Holding our sweet girl...moments that we will always treasure.  I posted this picture of Erik because it was so touching to me to see him so saddened and tender at the loss of our daughter.  She grabbed hold of his heart in the few moments on earth that he had with her.  Solveig, your Daddy and Mommy loved you so very much.  We always will.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The What Should Haves...

Sometimes the what should have been scenarios sneak up on me and I start thinking about them.  All the things that would have happened with Solveig in our lives...all the things that are not happening with her.  Often what triggers the what should have sneak ups are the random encounters or observances I have at the store with the big red bulls eye, or at a park, or other places too.  Seeing baby products sometimes is hard.  Seeing huge mama bellies that belong to people I don't know...knowing there's a baby who is most likely still alive inside those bellies.  I sometimes want to run up to those mamas and say something like, "do you know just how precious your little one is?  Please don't take this life for granted.  Please appreciate every moment that your little one is alive, for there is absolutely no guarantee how many more seconds, days, weeks, months or years this child will be in your presence and you don't want to regret a single moment of it.  Just trust me.  Please be grateful that the Lord gave you this baby.  Please pray over your child and ask God to bless their life, no matter what the outcome. And no matter what happens, know that God will still be with you, through good days and bad."

Of course, I could never say such things to random strangers.  But I assure you, the urge to do so is very strong sometimes.  I think that sometimes what is the hardest to see are the people who seem to not  care or want the child that is within them.  That breaks my heart.  Sometimes I find myself praying silently or aloud to myself over random strangers, asking God to be close to them and to protect them and the baby within them. 

Seeing brand new baby girls is hard, and now seeing baby girls who are about three months old is hard...but again I say to you, if I KNOW you and I see you with your baby it really isn't that hard for me to be with you and your baby!  It's just different when it's people I know and they know my story than it is to be around strangers.  Does that make sense?

Yes, the what should have been's are rough some days.  She should be with us.  She should have been with us this morning when my Bug had her piano lesson with sweet Grammie...she should have been in my arms, or taking a nap in her car seat.  I don't always think about that when I'm over there, but today I did for some reason.  She would be smiling at this age, just over three months.  She'd probably be cooing and giggling.  And maybe she'd be starting to get some cute pudgy rolls.  She had NONE of those when she was born, because she was just 33.5 weeks and was so tiny and long and only 3 pounds 11 ounces...just like big sister was when she was born at 36 weeks and five days, just five pounds 2 ounces.

Sometimes I think about how the big kids would be playing with her, and how they would be so good with her.  They wanted her so much.  One thing I'm continually grateful for in this is that they still have each other and they love each other dearly.  They're together all the time and love to be together.  That really has been a blessing, especially in the midst of their and our grief.  I love that they can help entertain each other much of the time - that really does help free me up a little bit more.

My heart wants to be such a good mama to my kiddos.  But there are some days when I feel completely lacking in this area.  I want to love on them and be with them but my patience seems somewhat thinner than it was before.  I have to keep praying and asking God to give me grace with my kids.

There are times when I'm focusing on the what should haves and I'm reminded to have hope for the future.  The Lord still knows my future, even when I don't.  And although He certainly didn't promise that this life would be easy, He did promise to be with us no matter what.  So with that in mind, I press on and try to keep my eyes on Him.

We'd appreciate your continued prayers.  It's still hard a lot of days, but there are some good moments or days too.  Thanks for staying tuned.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Conversations With Kids

Weeks and days go by now without our kids talking about Solveig.  I'm sure that's a normal and healthy part of moving on in the grief process.  But every now and then the kids will say something about her, or ask a question.  We're more than willing to talk about Solveig, and we don't ever want her life and death to be a taboo subject in our home.  It's fine if they bring it up, or if we occasionally decide to talk about her in front of them.

Today at the table, we were talking with the kids about how we prayed and asked God for them.  Bug then said, "And after Buzzy, we prayed and asked God for another baby, and He gave us Solveig."

Wow...yes.  He did.  He sure did give us Solveig.  And it's so sweet that her big sister still thinks about her.  That warms my heart.

My response to Bug through the tears that started to warm my eyes was, "yes, and even though she is not with us on earth, we will ALWAYS think of her as a gift that God gave to us."

She was such a gift, truly.  I'll always thank Him for her life, albeit such a brief one.  And the fact is, we are so different because of her.  We'll never be the same.  She has changed us.  Or shall I say, God has changed us.  He has changed us through the experience of having her.

There have been so many experiences that we have had following Solveig's short life that we wouldn't have had otherwise which have impacted us greatly.  We have met people that we would have perhaps not encountered in other circumstances.  Our priorities for what is important in this life have changed.  We value our living children that we have with a much deeper intensity.  We value our other human relationships much more.  And our faith in God has grown, as we've experienced His presence with us so closely through this time.

Shortly after we talked about God giving us Solveig, Buzz said, "we can open up that hole and dig up the grave."  Oh...sting to my heart.  Sweet boy...I think he just so wanted to make things better and to help right the wrong that has happened.  My sweet boy wanted to get his sister back.  I had to tell him, "honey, I'm so sorry, but remember that Solveig died.  In the ground is her body, but her spirit left her body when she died.  We believe that her spirit is with Jesus in Heaven."  Big sister piped in and said, "I know that Solveig is playing with Briana in Heaven.  They're probably dancing in the streets of gold!"

I just love it when Bug talks about Solveig in Heaven.  I love the insights of children.  And I love that she remembers Briana too.  Briana is the little girl who is buried next to Solveig, and I've been getting to know her sweet mama H in the last few months.  Our stories are somewhat similar, as Briana was also born still late term.

Here's a picture at the cemetery that we took on Mother's Day.  We still don't have a marker for Solveig, but we hope to get one soon.  For now, we have some flowers and it's nice to have something there.  (Briana's grave is just a few feet to the right of our baby.)

I found the wreath at the craft store and added the pink ribbon - perfect for "craft challenged" me.  (I dubbed myself with that nickname at MOPS one time!  We have some awesome crafty ladies who lead us in fun crafts, but I often have to ask fifty five questions before I figure them out because of my craft challenged self!  Love you crafty friends!  Maybe when I'm in Heaven I won't be so craft challenged. :))

Maybe you can see where it looks like patchy grass underneath the heart wreath - that is the rectangular spot that was dug for our daughter, and just beneath it lies her body.  The sweet guys who tend the cemetery voluntarily planted some grass seed there since we don't have a marker as of yet.

It's hard to get our kids to smile for the camera.  But I loved that they were standing by the grave, and that Bug was trying to fix up the ribbon and make sure it was just so for her baby sister.  They really seem to understand that it is important to their mama to spend time there.

As a family at our baby's grave.  So glad that my parents were there with us to help take that picture.

There are some beautiful trees at the cemetery, and also some lovely little benches to sit on very close to Solveig's spot.  We're looking forward to taking a picnic out there sometime soon and sitting under the pine tree by her grave.

More to the story will come soon.  Thanks for staying tuned.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Singing and Composing Again

I'm linking up again with Tesha today.  If you are new, thanks for visiting.  You can read more about my baby girl Solveig Sofia by clicking on the labels to the right and/or previous posts.

I am a classically trained singer, but I also love singing other styles...pop, country, musical theater, etc.  Often times I sing along with the radio or my downloaded tunes and rock out.  Since we lost Solveig three months ago, I have had a hard time singing much of anything.  Most of the time when I would start to sing, I would begin to cry.  The desire just hasn't been there either.  It isn't until very recently that I've been able to sing without crying nonstop.  

Well, today I have a little bit of time to myself thanks to my parents helping watch Buzz for a bit.  And I wanted to sing!  I wandered over to my music library and pulled out my Brahms lieder book and began playing and singing a bunch of the pieces in there.  My heart became so full of joy as I was singing and I thought to myself, "I wish I had been able to do this sooner!"  It feels good to use the gift God has given me once again.

Another thing I haven't done in a very long time is to compose music.  I love composing and have written a bunch of different things through the years...a wedding song for my husband, a requiem lullaby for my friends Natalie and Steve in honor of their baby boy Aidan, lullabies for my babies and more.  The desire and inspiration to compose was missing in me for quite awhile.  After losing Solveig, I wanted so much to write her a piece of music but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  That changed this past weekend when we were at one of my very favorite places on earth - our church camp a ways north of here in MN.  Each year for the past few years we've been able to go up there with some of our friends from church to help set up the camp for the summer.  I love being there and find so much peace and tranquility in that place.

The first night that we were at camp this past weekend, I woke up suddenly and saw an angel next to our bed.  It has been awhile since I've seen angels.  The last time was at Solveig's birth when they surrounded us in the hospital room.  Well, this time I was startled but not afraid.  Erik prayed for me to be able to go back to sleep, but it took awhile for me to calm down and feel settled again.  Instead, my mind began reeling with song and I so wished I had my piano and recording equipment there as well as some manuscript paper for composition.  Next time I go on a trip I'll remember to bring some manuscript paper!  I usually do, because it's in other places that I'm often inspired to write.

In the morning I had some time to myself, and I sat down and began to write lyrics for what I hope will become Solveig's song.  I will have to spend some time with that again very soon so I don't lose the momentum of composing.  It's just exciting to have that desire to write.  And I think that angel that visited me that night may have just been part of this fresh inspiration.

When it's done, I'll try to share the piece on here somehow.

Thanks for your words of hope and peace.  I appreciate your prayers and love.