Our Family

Our Family
Fall 2015 - These are my people

Friday, October 4, 2013

My Sweet Boy...A Thoughtful, Loving Brother

As I was helping Buzz get ready for bed tonight, we had another very special conversation.  He was having some deep thoughts, as usual.  Our conversation went something like this...

I can't remember exactly how it started, but all the sudden Buzz was saying something about having three babies in a mommy's tummy.  I explained that those are called triplets.  And that two babies at a time are called twins.  (FYI...this mommy doesn't have any babies in her tummy.)

Eventually I said something like, "we have three babies here on earth and three in Heaven."

Buzz replied, "you had three miscarriages."

I then explained, "well, technically the first two were called miscarriages and then Solveig was termed a stillbirth.  The miscarried babies were so tiny.  I had just found out that I was pregnant with both of them and wasn't very far along at all and nobody could tell that I was pregnant.  I didn't get to see those babies and I didn't deliver them like I delivered the other four of you.  When I had Solveig, she was born still.  That means that she had died inside of me and she was still when she came out.  That is why it is called a stillbirth." (For those of you who've had late term miscarriages, I by no means was trying to diminish that by this explanation...those are so different than the early miscarriages I had...and I didn't know if a 5 year old could quite understand all the differences just yet.  When the kids are older, I want to explain more details about that to them so that they can have a fuller understanding.)

Buzz...silence...and then, "I miss Solveig.  I want to see her again.  I didn't get to see her very long."

Me, "I know, Honey.  You only got to see her that one day when you came to the hospital to see her and we took pictures.  Would you like to see the pictures again?"

Buzz, "Yes, I want to see them."

We looked at the pictures.  I told him, "you looked so sad, but you were such a proud brother."

Buzz, "I was very sad.  I was sad because I didn't want her to die.  I want to see her again."

Me, "You will see her again.  We will see her again in Heaven one day."

Buzz, "I bet that Solveig is older than me.  I bet that she is older than Squeaker too.  Maybe she's like three or something."

Me, "Maybe so, Honey.  I don't know for sure.  But I can hardly wait to see her again."

Buzz, "I like Squeaker too."

Me, "Me too, Honey!  He's such a blessing, isn't he?  I'm so glad that we have him!  I'm so glad that we have all of you!  You are so special to us!  And you are such a good brother.  You will always remember Solveig, and we'll always talk about her.  You can always ask me about her."

Tears were flowing between both of us.  He wanted to snuggle and I held him close...grateful for this child with such a tender heart, so full of love.

These precious moments I hope I never forget.  I hope I never get too busy to stop and take in these times that are meant to be treasured.  I need to help my kids process their thoughts and emotions about all things, including the loss of three siblings.

Erik and I both hope that the life experiences that our children are having and the fact that we are choosing to face the good, bad and the ugly head on will help them in the long run.  I don't want them to be afraid of death.  I don't want them to be afraid to live each moment to the fullest either.  Rather, I want them to run this race that is set before them...keeping their eyes on Jesus...the author and perfecter of their faith.  May He give us all the strength that we need each moment of every day, whether we are feeling weak or we are feeling strong.  We need Him.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fall Family Photos

Since we've had Squeaker, we haven't taken enough photos.  Life has been so busy, exhausting and good.  So, this past Saturday we had our family photos taken with my friend Heather.  (Heather is the one whose sweet little Briana was also born still and is buried next to our Solveig.  I feel like we're bonded for life and that is a special thing.)  On Heather's photography blog you can see a little glimpse of our family.

Click here to see the photos.  You have to scroll down a bit to see our family - we're the last family near the bottom of the page.

Squeaker is almost six months, Buzz is 5 and Bug is 7.  Me and Daddy are old.

Cheers. :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Shoes To Grow Into...

Tonight I was going through some bins of kids shoes in an effort to see what we have, to give some away...and apparently to reminisce and daydream.  When I got to the little girl shoes for tiny little feet I had a moment of realizing that our sweet Solveig wouldn't be wearing those shoes here on this earth.  The shoes that her big sister Bug wore will instead go to some other little girls.  And that is a really good thing.  But it's also a hard thing for me today.  I lost it.  The tears started rolling down my cheeks and my sweet Erik came over to hold me.  He is a great comforter and I appreciate him so much.

I decided that I will probably keep a few pair of tiny shoes for the sentimental factor and they will go in Bug's bin of childhood treasures.  There are some things like those shoes and the tiny baby clothes that have been so hard to part with.  I still cannot get myself to go through the preemie, newborn and 0-3 month size girl clothes.  And I don't know that I will be able to for quite some time.  So I guess they'll just stay in our storage area for now, and that is okay.  I'm learning to just let that type of thing be okay because it just has to be for now.

Do you think we'll wear shoes in Heaven? I wonder what the weather will be like there.  I wonder if the ground will be such that people just won't need to wear shoes.  There are people like that anyway who don't wear shoes here in our country as well as in many other parts of the world.  But maybe it will just be that we don't need shoes, period.  I think that everything will be so perfect that we won't have to worry about stepping on sharp objects or tripping on sticks or stones or supporting our wimpy arches in our feet.

Her little feet are probably romping around the fields as she chases the cheetahs...how I long to run with her and tickle those little feet...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bedtime Snuggle Conversations

Whenever I can, I love to snuggle with my kids before they go to sleep.  These are special moments for us to connect at the end of the day.  And no matter how good or how challenging the day has been, these snuggle moments are times that I relish...times that I am able to slow down and breathe and remember that these little wonders that God has blessed me with are such gifts.

Tonight when I was snuggling with my Buzz, he said to me, "the miscarriages happened before me."  And I said, "no Honey, those were after you."  "Oh yeah, those were when I was two," he said.  How in the world did he remember that?  Then he said, "Mommy, I wasn't able to be there when you had the miscarriages.  I wasn't at the hospital."  I told him, "No, the miscarriages actually happened at home.  I didn't have to go to the hospital for those.  Those little babies were so tiny.  They just left my body more easily.  I just bled a little bit and they came out."  He said, "oh.  But some people have to have their miscarriages cut out their tummies.  They have to have a needle in their tummies and help get the miscarriages out."  I said, "yes, sometimes women need extra help when they are miscarrying and need to be in the hospital.  The doctor has to help clean out their tummy."

I'm not quite sure where that conversation stemmed from today or what caused him to think about it, but I do know that my little boy is a really deep thinker and seems to process things thoroughly.  He seems extra tender about our losses.  I hope and pray that God will use this deep thinker in wonderful ways.

Then I snuggled my big Bug.  She loves to cuddle too.  And both kids always have to have their butterfly kisses and eskimo kisses.  Bug said to me, "Mommy, I miss Solveig."  I told her with tears in my eyes, "Yes honey, I miss her too.  I will always miss her."  Sweet Bug girl then wrapped her arms around me and kissed my cheek.  She is so precious and so full of love to give.  I really appreciate that the Lord gave me that girl.  She has been so tender hearted and has encouraged me a lot.

I'm grateful for these kids.  Thank you God.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mom & Me Necklaces

**Wow...here is a long lost post that I just found!  I wrote this May 2012 for Mother's Day.**

A month or so after we lost Solveig, a beautiful surprise arrived in the mail.  Our sweet friends Jo and Toby had a necklace made just for me.  It is from The Vin_tage Pe_arl and I love it.  What's so special about it is that it honors all five of my babies...the two living ones and the three who are in Heaven.  (this should really say six babies, but of course it was written originally pre-Squeaker) The kids' initials are on tiny, silver charms.  Each charm is unique for each unique child.  And for my two miscarried babies who don't yet have names, Jo honored them with two tiny white pearls.

Thank you so much Jo and Toby.  This necklace is just stunning and I wear it a lot!!!

(I decided to not post the picture of my necklace on the blog as it has my kids' initials...AND, I just ordered a charm for our little "Squeaker" so that I can wear the necklace again in honor of all of our kids!)

I was so inspired by this necklace and decided that my mom needed to have one just like it to honor her and to commemorate her five babies that she brought into this world...three living, and two who are in Heaven.  Mom and Dad had conjoined twins that were miscarried at around four months.  Mom talks about how they were so tiny and she could hold them in her hands.  I can't wait to meet them in Heaven one day.  I've always wondered if they'll still be conjoined there or if they'll be in their own single bodies.

For Mother's Day, we gave the necklace to my sweet mom.  She has been and continues to be a blessing in our lives and I'm so grateful for her.  I love you, Mom.

Erik, Joel & Melody...and two small pearls for the twins...and one large one just
 because it came with the necklace.  My necklace is really similar to the one above.

Me and my mama...the sweetest mom I could ever imagine.

I made Paula Deen's Lemon Cake for Mother's Day.

If you or someone you know could use some encouragement, I can tell you that giving a piece of jewelry to honor that person or their loved ones is so special and can mean so much.  I'll always love my special jewelry that honors my babies, and I'm so grateful to have it.  You can find a lot of these kinds of things for very inexpensive prices nowadays - it doesn't have to be fancy or cost a lot.

Blessings to you.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

18 Months Later...

Today marks 18 months since Solveig was born silently into our world...into our lives forever.  There are a lot of months that go by that don't seem so significant, and I'll completely miss the 29th day.  But for whatever reason this month I have been thinking so much about her and thinking about how she would be a year and a half old.  Wow!  Last night it hit me really hard and I was so sad.  I've been noticing other little ones who are around that age, and I've enjoyed seeing them toddling around getting into mischief, playing heartily, smiling and laughing...all the things that our little one would be doing too.  It usually helps to see the other kids at the age she would be at.  I remember my friend Lea telling me that she will always notice children who are at the age her little Johnny would be at.  Johnny would be almost five and a half now...just a few months older than our little Buzz...he died when he was just four months old from heart problems.  I miss him too and think of him so often.  Hugs to you, Lea and Dave and family.

So much has happened in these last few years.  We lost three children to Heaven.  We gained one to our earthly family.  My brother died.  There has been a lot of grief and sadness.  And there has also been a lot of joy in the midst of the sadness.  After we lost Solveig, I wondered if I would ever be happy again.  I didn't think it would be possible to ever find joy again.  But I did.  I have.  Then my brother Joel died and I thought the same thing...will I ever be filled with joy again?  Why is there so much sadness in this earthly life we live?  Why do people I love keep dying?  Why does it have to hurt so much?  But God has given me new hope and new joy.  Our little Squeaker has been such a help during this season of hurt.  He has brought much joy.  He will never replace his big sister Solveig...he is his own person, and we are so glad that he is.  She will always hold a special place in our hearts.  We will always talk about her and remember her.  I think of her every day...sometimes with heaviness and sometimes with happiness.  But either way, I'm grateful for the place that she has in our family.  I'm so glad that we had her.  I wouldn't want to take her out of the picture, for she has shaped who I am today.  I'll never be the same.  Some of my innocence is gone, but there is a new awareness of life and its fragility.  There is a deeper sense of gratitude for the children who are here with us, for my husband, for every moment that we live and breathe.  These are all gifts from God.  I don't believe that I will ever take these gifts for granted.  I don't think I could.

Sweet Solveig, I hope you are getting into a healthy dose of mischief in Heaven today. :)  I hope that you are having a lot of fun playing with all the animals, spending time with family members and friends who love you, eating yummy food, singing songs and banging on instruments, hugging Jesus and enjoying the life that you have.  We sure do miss you here, and we can't wait to see you again.  I can't wait to hear you singing songs.  Thank you for changing our lives forever.  We're so grateful for you.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Missing Her...

We just got back from a lovely family escape to the North Shore of our North Star state.  It was so good to be away, becoming more rooted as a family of five on this earth.  The idea of the five of us is becoming more and more comfortable and right.  But there are still many days that the awareness of Solveig missing is apparent to me...and today is one of them.

In the midst of digging out my mess of an office space I came upon some more ultrasound photos from our sweet girl, dated 2/13/12...just 16 days before she was delivered still into our world.  I thought I had already placed all of the ultrasound photos in her scrapbook, but here were some more.  Her eyes were open, her face turned towards the camera, and I could see the cord near her neck, wrapped around it.  That darn cord.  Still some days I really struggle with that part, seeing the object that was supposed to give her life but ended up taking her life.  You might be saying to yourself, "but this loss happened a year and a half ago...how can she still struggle with that?"  True, it did happen that long ago.  But I will always miss my girl.  And the depth of grief and loss has not fully departed from me.  I don't think a person can just all the sudden stop grieving after a year, after two years, after however many years you want to put on it.  There just isn't a specific timeline for grief, nor should there be.  You must know that there are a lot of great days, even weeks and months where I don't feel really down over our loss.  But then it strikes like a bolt of lightning and catches me unaware.  And for a moment time seems to stop.  And I can't do anything for a bit...except to write.

She should be here too.

How my soul longs to reunite with our daughter, with our two other little babies that we never got to hold in our arms and with my brother Joel.  Heaven will be glorious.  I know it will be.  And I will look forward to being there.

For now, Lord help me and my grieving heart learn to live on this earth in the way you wish me to.  I need your help.  Amen.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Joel's Life and Legacy

Every time I have tried to sit down to write this post I have not been able to do it.  So today, I am going to try my hardest to get it done.

My brother Joel passed from this earth into Heaven for all eternity on Friday, May 31st, 2013 at the age of 41.  He had a long struggle with metastatic colon cancer and finally has relief and healing from his pain and suffering.  It was hard to see him suffer for such a time and to such a degree.  And yet, every time I spoke with him or saw him in person he seemed to handle his suffering with much grace.  He was usually more concerned with me and how I was doing than he was with himself.  And that is just the kind of guy he was - one to look out for others.  He exemplified love and compassion to all kinds of people and animals his whole life, and everyone who ever met him loved him.  Joel was a loving son, brother, husband, father and friend.  He is greatly missed here, even though we know that he is celebrating new life in Heaven.

In his last days and months, Joel was telling everyone he knew where his hope was.  He was telling them all about how he was reading 1 Corinthians 15 in the Bible and that his hope was in Heaven and the resurrection of Christ.  Oh to be so bold as he was...I am inspired and also encouraged.  When we lost our little Solveig, Joel was deeply saddened.  He couldn't understand why such a thing would happen to us.  And he wanted so much for us to be able to have another baby.  Joel was so excited when our little Squeaker was born this April.  We had prayed that God would allow Squeaker to be born perhaps just a little bit early so that he could meet his Uncle Joel before he died.  God answered our prayers.  11 days after Squeaker was born, Erik and I drove down with our little guy to see Joel and his family.  We had a really special visit...

There are more things I'd like to say about Joel and I hope to do so very soon.  Thank you to everyone for praying for all of us as we're grieving the loss of my brother.  Please be praying for Joel's wife and their three children.  The kids are here in these pictures.  We love them all very much and their loss hurts our hearts more than our own.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Celebrating New Life!

Much has happened in the last two months since I posted on this blog...the most important being that we delivered our precious little miracle boy into this world on April 12, 2013 at 10:13 PM via what I've been terming my "sort of emergency c-section."  Our new boy weighed 6 lbs, 2 oz and was 20.5 in. long!  His nickname which I will use on this blog and that we call him a lot in real life is "Squeaker!"  He squeaks all the time and it's pretty sweet.

Introducing Squeaker...

Mommy, Daddy & Squeaker :)

Dr. L, me & Squeaker and Dr. F

(Note - sorry this post is kind of long!  I just had to write out the details of our little man's birth story!)

In mid-March I had some preterm labor at 33 weeks and 6 days and was hospitalized for one night while I took medication to stop the labor.  It was such an interesting time of wondering if we'd have a tiny little preemie, hoping that he'd be alive and okay and also soul searching.  While I was laying in that bed really medicated, I had so much time to think.  I really had a lot of peace and knew that God was very much with me and my little boy.  Thankfully even though a test showed that I might have this baby very soon, I didn't and I was able to go home and continue the waiting game.

Truly I was almost shocked that I made it to 37 weeks and 3 days!  That was the day he came into our world...

It started like any other of my sort of normal days where I got my Bug onto the school bus, dropped my Buzz at preschool and then headed off to the coffee shop to get something tasty to drink.  Only on this day, I had brought along with me some reading materials and some things that I wanted to study.  The night before I had been chatting with a dear friend who lost two baby girls.  She was encouraging me to memorize some key Bi_ble verses that could stick with me during these days of waiting and during my upcoming labor...verses that I could rely on to come to the forefront of my mind...verses that could dispel the fear and anxiety which had been overwhelming me on most days.  Little did that precious friend and I know just how perfect the timing was for that bit of encouragement.  While I was at the coffee shop, I ran into a friend from college who said that he would be praying for me.  And then I went to sit down to drink my yummy beverage and pulled out some verse cards that I had saved from a Bi_ble study that I did a few years ago.  I had started going over the verses the night before, but right there in the coffee shop I poured over them several times just soaking in the truth therein and hoping that I could remember some of it...

At my dr. appt. that morning, the ultra_sound technician apparently noticed the umbil_ical cord around Baby's neck but at that time I guess it was okay.  She didn't tell me about the cord because she knew my history and knew that I would freak out.  But she did tell my dr. who was then very aware.  Then I had my regular N_S_T (non-st_ress test) during which I noticed the way the heart rate was very erratic and decelerating in ways that were concerning to me, the untrained yet all too aware mama bear who has now seen a whole lot of those test tracings.  My dr. came to me and said that I should go into the hospital for some extra monitoring that afternoon - that she wasn't worried and didn't want me to worry but she just wanted me to have some extra reassurance.  I gladly went into the hospital for this extra monitoring, and things were looking fine for awhile.  I even texted one of my friends who works at the hospital to say that I'd love for her to come over for a visit if she had time, and she came - thanks A.H.!  It was great to have you there with me.

Right after A came, I had a really strong contraction and Baby's heart rate decelerated rapidly into dangerous territory for two minutes.  I don't even know how low it went...they never told me and they turned the monitor down and away from me so I couldn't see.  Several nurses rushed into the room and shortly thereafter my Dr. came.  I was in a ton of pain with the contraction and could hardly breathe because I was so worried that I would lose my baby.  They quickly got me some oxygen which helped immediately to calm me down...as well as the reminder that I had to breathe.  It felt like a repeat of what happened with Solveig - I really thought we were losing this precious boy and I could hardly handle the thought of that.  I was paralyzed with fear in that moment.  But then God's peace washed over me and I knew that no matter what I had to trust Him.

Thankfully, things stabilized.  But my Dr. came to me and said that I would not be going home that night - that indeed we would figure out a plan and I would be delivered.  I was so glad to know that something was finally going to happen.  A little while later, my two favorite Dr.'s that I've seen during this pregnancy came in to talk to us - Dr. A & Dr. L.  They said that I had two options - I could go ahead with a regular delivery if I wanted to and they would very closely monitor me.  If things got out of control, I could always have an emergency c-section...but they acknowledged that it might make me too anxious, and they said that they were worried that Baby wouldn't be able to tolerate the contractions since they knew that there was cord around his neck.  It was also revealed to me at this time that indeed the tracing I saw in the clinic earlier that day had been what they call a "cordy tracing," and they could very easily see that the cord was in the way and being compromised.  They said that I could do a planned c-section and then I wouldn't have to worry if my baby could tolerate the contractions or worry that the cord would get worse - they could just take him out in a matter of a couple of minutes.  Erik and I had some time to think about it and pray about it.  It didn't take much to know and realize that we had to do the c-section - we just couldn't risk losing our precious son.  We wanted him out safe and sound.  (I want to write more about the c-section and the aftermath in another post.)

Everything felt so quick, even though we had some time to wait and process things.  It took a few hours from the time the dr. told us that we'd have the surgery until it happened.  But prior to the surgery, my sweet Dr. L who is a Chri_stian came into our room where she laid hands on us and prayed over us.  Tears of hope and peace washed over me, and I just knew that God was with us and would go with us into that operating room and beyond.  Thank you so much, Dr. L.  You have been a most amazing blessing to me and I'll always be grateful for you.

When it came time to go into the operating room, I had to walk down there alone without Erik and just with my nurse M.  Thanks M - you were just the person I needed that day - you calmed me down and also made me laugh.  When we got into the room, I had to sit on the end of the table and curl into a little ball as best I could for my spinal block procedure to begin.  I was petrified and began to cry.  M comforted me.  I was then asked to lay down on the table and put my arms out "like Jesus on the cross - just put your arms out and lay there and do nothing."  I don't know where this came from, but in that moment I ended up having the wherewithal to respond with "well actually, Jesus did a whole lot on the cross because He died for our sins."  Nothing was said after that, and well, I doubt that person who said that will ever say it again!  It was such an interesting moment, and I'm glad that I could share my faith in that way.

I laid down on that table and while I couldn't feel anything from the chest down, I all the sudden had such an amazing sense of peace and the presence of God.  I couldn't go anywhere - I was totally at the mercy of my medical team and the Lord's covering over me.  It's such a vulnerable thing to be in a surgery such as that.  My verses that I had memorized came to me and I was thinking over and over, "the spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me," and "do not fear, for the Lord your God is with you!"  (Thank you dear friend who encouraged me to memorize scriptures...that was such a wonderful blessing!)

Erik came in after I was all medicated, covered in his gown and mask.  The big surgical sheet covering my lower half was there and he was on the side with me and my head.  It didn't take long and they told me that they were taking Baby out.  Right after he came out and they sucked the goop out of his mouth, I could hear him scream and immediately I felt such great relief and joy!  I kept saying over and over, "he's alive!  he's alive!  I can't believe he's alive!"  I really didn't know how I would respond in that moment, but it was incredible and truly one of the most amazing and joyous moments of my life.  After just a short bit, my little guy was in my arms.  Erik and I sang lullabies and hymns to him while my dr.'s were sewing me up.  It was so amazing too because Dr. L was there doing the surgery as well as Dr. F who had helped with Solveig's delivery last year.  Both later told me that they had never had anyone sing during a c-section and they didn't want it to stop!  It was so sweet of them. :)  I felt like I could barely phonate at all as I was singing through my tears...but it felt so good to sing to my new little love. Erik even got to watch some of my post delivery surgery while the dr.'s were sewing me back up.   I assured them that he was trained as an EMT so he would be fine and they said it was okay.  He was so fascinated with it all and loved watching the surgery.

So that is the story of how our little man came into the world.  We are so incredibly grateful for his life and treasure him so deeply.  More tales of his life and his big brother and sister will come...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Her Room

It finally happened today.  We were able to go to our hospital and spend time in the room where we delivered Solveig one year ago.  Over the last few days, I called several times to see if and when the room might be available.  Each time I called it was occupied, which I totally understand.  However, this morning when I called it was open.  We quickly got ourselves ready to go to the hospital before the room would be occupied once again.  Thankfully, the nurse that I was working with said that she could save it for me for awhile this morning which was incredibly sweet of her.

Before we left, I made a new batch of frosting for some cupcakes that we baked the other day.  I really wanted to bring the staff a treat in honor of Solveig's birthday.  They weren't fancy looking, but goodness, they sure tasted great.  One of these days I'll figure out how to make cupcakes look more fancy.

The kids were in good hands with my parents who had agreed to care for them while we went to the hospital.  When we arrived, we walked in with cupcakes in hand as well as a card to thank our wonderful staff, a program from Solveig's funeral and the photo card that we sent out around the holidays.  Sweet Vicki, our nurse that helped arrange this time in the room brought us to the room and let us have some time to ourselves.

For the next hour, Erik and I spent time looking at all of our photos from our short time with Solveig, listened to the music that we listened to during her delivery and afterwards, talked, cried and prayed together.  It was such a healing time for us and I'm so grateful that we chose to do this.  Erik said to me at one point, "it is so sad to think of this life that could've been."  I agree sweet man, and I'm so glad that you could verbalize that point.  It is incredibly hard and yet somewhat sweet to imagine what our little love may have been up to one year later.  Maybe she would have been getting into everything, crawling all over the place, pulling herself up on furniture, eating hunks of solid foods, giggling and talking, perhaps walking or preparing to walk.  But I think what my dear husband was more referring to was not just these baby moments.  I think he was instead probably referring to all of the phases of life which she is missing here on earth...the phases that we are missing with her as a family.  We aren't watching her grow up as we are our other children.  And often times when I see them doing different activities, I imagine little Solveig along with them and what it would've been like to have her along with us.  We don't get to see Solveig play the piano, sing in the children's choir, dance in a ballet, play soccer, create art masterpieces, run around the yard with the dog, ride a bike, learn things in school and so much more.  It's hard to imagine those things.

But I imagine also that she is watching us from the greatest castle in Heaven.  She is playing on Heaven's playground with different children and all kinds of animals.  She must be singing in the choir and playing instruments.  Or maybe she would have been tone deaf...who knows! :)  But whatever the case, even though we're missing out on these earthly moments with our baby girl, this life is such a blip on the radar of eternity.  When we are in Heaven forever, we will probably look back on this life here and wonder why we were so worried about so many things.  We will probably be so enamored with the splendor of God and His glory.  And our reunions with our loved ones will be so precious.  I can hardly wait.

We will see you again Solveig.  There will be no more what could've beens.  There will only be what is.  And that will be magnificent.  Until then, may you rest peacefully tonight and always in Heaven.

(I posted this picture before...but it is one that I found last year and still need to put up somewhere in our house.  To me, this is Solveig's castle in the clouds.  It reminds me of her in Heaven. :))

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Solveig's Birthday - One Year Later

Since Solveig Sofia was born on February 29th, the day that doesn't exist except for every four years, we decided that we would honor her life on the 28th unless it is a leap year.  Today was that day. It is hard to believe that it has already been one year since our precious angel was born into Heaven.  Some of the days we have endured in this year have seemed so long.  There were days I just wanted to crawl into a hole and not come out for a very long time.  And other days, particularly as we moved further into the year, I was truly able to find enjoyment and peace.  Overall there has been a sense of peace.  I really have felt God's presence with me and with us even in those darkest moments.  That is something that I am so grateful for, and something of which I never desire to let go.

So today, the big one year anniversary of our baby's birth and death, we decided to do some really special things together as a family.  Our hope was originally that Erik and I would be able to go to the hospital to the room where we delivered Solveig.  There is a need for me especially to make peace with that sacred space, listen to music that we heard during the delivery and afterwards, and just reminisce about our daughter in the place where we first met her...and where we spent the most time with her.  Unfortunately for us, the room that we used has been occupied today.  So we will hope to go there sometime in the next week if it works out.

Since our hospital date didn't work out, we slightly altered some of our plans.  We took the kids to our wonderful museum for young ones where we made homemade paper, worked on an assembly line, delivered mail, and swung through the jungle and went to the moon with the cartoon characters who speak Sp_anish.  It really was fun to do something joyful that Solveig would've also enjoyed if she had been with us.  After playing hard for a few hours, we made our way to an As_ian restaurant for stir fried goodness.  Then it was onto the grocery store to get some pink roses, or in this case today pink tipped white roses as that was all they had.  And we picked up six pink balloons from the party store.

We made our way to the cemetery in the country where the snow was covering the ground in a white blanket, just as it was almost a year ago when we first buried our little girl.  I noticed as we drove up that there was already a freshly laid flower at the grave and I was so curious about it.  With roses in tow, we walked to the grave where we found that beautiful pink rose and a note from my sweet friend Natalie and her family.  What a blessing to have friends and family who have been there for us through this journey and who have been remembering us with calls, flowers, cards, emails, etc.  We are so grateful.  Thank you dear Natalie.  And thank you to the many others who have shown us your love.

We took turns laying our roses at the grave.  For some reason, the kids decided it would be cool to place each of their flowers on top of the headstone rather than by the ground.  Then we got out our six light pink balloons, just like the ones we had last year when we buried Solveig.  (Six balloons were for the four kids, including this little one inside of me, and us two parents.  I didn't intentionally leave out our two miscarried babies - and now that I think of it, I wish I had gotten two more balloons.) We decided to release the balloons together as a group, but didn't think about the fact that the ribbons were sort of stuck together.  What ensued brought great laughter as our balloons flew up in the wind and got lodged into a nearby tree where one quickly popped.  We decided that the one that popped must have been Solveig's balloon, and that maybe she was kind of laughing at us!  Erik said that she might have been thinking, "hey guys, I beat you!  I got here first!"  Shortly after that balloon popped, one of the remaining five balloons let loose and flew into the sky.  That made me think of her spirit flying to Heaven.  We reminded the kids that the reason we did the balloon release and visited the cemetery was so that they could remember that our bodies are not meant for this earth, and that we will all die someday and we do not need to fear death.  We told them again that we have hope in the resurrection of Jesus - hope in Heaven where we can also look forward to being reunited with Solveig and our two miscarried babies.

After Erik and I hugged and we were chilled enough from the brisk air, we left the cemetery and headed with Bailey dog to the dog park.  It was fun to take a loop around the park with the kids and to see Bailey enjoying herself with the small pack that was there.  We promised the kids that there was something "chaud" for them after the dog park.  They didn't know that word in Fre_nch yet, but kept trying to figure it out.  Once we got home, we made some hot cocoa (our something chaud - "hot") and warmed up a bit.

After a rest, I made some almond buttercream frosting for the vanilla cake I baked yesterday and set out decorating the cake.  I just wanted it to be simple and had bought some raspberries to place around it.  I found some candy decors that I could use to write Solveig's name and placed one little pink candle on top.  We decorated the table with a simple pink tablecloth and some girly butterfly plates and napkins.  And then the feast began...hot dogs, baked beans and salad.  We just wanted to have something simple, and the beans and hot dogs we felt would've been enjoyed by a one year old.

When it was time to sing and have cake, I was videotaping and could barely choke out half of the words for the birthday song.  It struck me again that the baby we were singing to was not physically with us.  But you know what else struck me today?  Her birthday in Heaven must be much greater than any birthday could ever be here on earth.  I can hardly wait to join her there to celebrate more birthdays.

For now, we will continue to honor our daughter and celebrate her short yet valuable life here on this earth.

Solveig Sofia, I love you sweet girl.  Your mama misses you so much.  I wish I could hug and kiss you and feed you your birthday cake...and sing songs to you and rock you and lay you down in your crib to sleep.  We will never forget you.  Your life mattered and always will.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Unexpected Blessing

Tonight I attended my support group at the hospital.  This has been such a key part of my healing in the past year - going to support group and being encouraged because I'm walking this journey with other parents who are also going through similar things.  Our support group leader/facilitator Annette is so dear to me and has become a lifeline and friend over the year.  I'm grateful for her help.

After group tonight, I asked Annette if she would go with me to the labor and delivery unit so that I could double check where we delivered Solveig.  Sometime around her birthday, Erik and I plan to go to the room to remember her and our experience there.  It is so important to me to make peace with that space before I deliver another baby in that hospital sometime in the next few months.  Annette willingly went with me to the unit and explained who I was to the nurses on duty.  Right away, the nurse that we were speaking with said, "Oh, I remember you!  Wasn't your baby born on the 29th of February last year?"  "Yes," I said, "that was her."  The nurse Lori said, "I was the charge nurse that night and I remember you and your family.  Your story was so unique.  The nurses talked about you for a long time after that.  I saw your baby's obituary in the newspaper and I really appreciated that you wanted people to designate their memorial funds to Now I L_ay Me Do_wn To Sl_eep."  Annette told Lori, "Melody is making the boxes for the hospital now."  And Lori said, "Oh that's you?  Those boxes are amazing!  In fact, one woman who had a loss here and received one of those boxes was able to share about it with her friend who lives in W_is_cons_in and didn't get anything at the hospital she delivered at when she lost her baby.  She took photos of your box and gave them to her friend who is now is now making boxes like yours for her hospital!"  "Wow, that is just awesome!  I'm so glad to know that is happening," I exclaimed.  I was blown away by this response, and immensely touched that someone would remember and acknowledge us, our loss and our baby girl.  I was also so thrilled to know that because of the box project which started years ago in honor of a little girl named Olivia who was stillborn, that people are continuing to be blessed by the boxes which are now being made in honor of my Solveig.  Tears came to my eyes, and Lori said, "I didn't mean to make you cry."  I said, "no, it's okay!  It means so much to me that you remember."  Just down the row at the desk another nurse said, "I remember you too.  I was there."  I looked at her and totally recognized her!  "You're the one who took pictures, right?  I remember you too," I said.  "Thank you so much for taking pictures."

Shortly thereafter, we made our way down the hall and confirmed our room.  There it was, empty at the moment, and I recognized it right away.  It didn't feel weird to me to see it.  This was the third time that I had set foot in that labor and delivery unit since our delivery last February.  And each time I've been there it has felt a little bit better.  I'm hoping that on the day we plan to go in to honor Solveig's life that it will be open and ready for us to spend some time in it.  That place is sacred for us.  Angels were there with us.  The care we received in that hospital was amazing.  And I'm incredibly grateful for the people who are working there.  Going back there and having a live baby, Lord willing, will be such a redemptive experience.

God chose today to remind me of His presence.  He showed me again how much He loves me, and that our baby girl's life was not in vain.  He showed me that her legacy lives on, and that what was such a tragic situation for us has now gone on to produce good in our lives as well as the lives of others.  We are blessed to be part of Solveig's legacy.  And I can hardly wait to see what God continues to do because of that little girl's life.

Thank you Lord for letting us have Solveig for such a brief time.  May we choose to continue seeing the good that has come out of her life.  And may you continue to be glorified.

Soli deo gloria!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

6 Months Have Passed...(a lost post!)

**This is a long lost post that never was actually posted, and it was from four months ago...

It is so hard to believe that it has already been six months since our Solveig was born still.  How I miss that precious little love and wish she was with us!

**Note: the below info. about the MGF walk/run is obsolete for the present time as the walk already happened.

Today I was thinking about her a lot, as I registered our family for the Missing Grace Foundation Run/Walk event coming up soon.  I cried while I watched the promo video, and I realized just how important this event will be to me and to our family in helping us to honor our baby girl.  Here is a link about it if you're interested to join us.  We'll be walking in honor of our baby, and our kids will get to do the "dash" just for kids.  Our team is called "Team Chloe/Solveig."  A girl I know from college days started the team in honor of her niece Chloe and she asked if she could also run in honor of Solveig...how cool.  I'm so honored that she is doing this.  Thanks, Alissa.   Even if you can't run or walk, if you feel led to donate to the team you may do that as well.  Here is the link to the donation page.  Once you get there, you can look through the teams until you find "Team Chloe/Solveig" and you can donate personally to our team.  All the proceeds go to support the Missing Grace Foundation, which exists to help families who have experienced losses such as ours, as well as to promote awareness of stillbirth/infant loss.  We've personally been blessed by Missing Grace and we're grateful that it exists.

There is so much more I wish to share about Solveig's Boxes, the project for the hospital.  I will hope to write about that very soon.  I will have information for how you can donate money towards the project.

Thank you for your support and continued prayers.  We still need your prayers.  Some days are very hard, and some days are so very good.  There seem to be more good days than bad right now, and for that we're grateful.  This is a long journey though.  Grief doesn't just go away...and our sweet girl will forever be a part of our world.  I just shared with a neighbor tonight that God has been so good to us through this very difficult experience.  Truly, our faith in Him has grown.  Sure there are days where we may question or it might feel harder to believe in the love of God, but there are way more days when I feel His love and His presence in such a powerful way that there is no denying He is over us.  I know the reality of Him much more now than I did before.  A gift, indeed

Here's a few pictures that I love of our Solveig Sofia that I want to share today...some have already been posted, but I want to see them again...

Need Blog Help

Hi Blogging World!

I'm calling out for some help.  I just tried to add a page called "Solveig Sofia's Story."  You can see the supposed title/link for it at the top of my blog, along with the "home" link.  The only thing is, when I click on either one I don't get anywhere except for the home page.  I actually did compose something for the Solveig page but I'm not sure what I did wrong.  I told blogger to publish it and it doesn't seem like it is available.  Any ideas how to fix this issue?

Thank you so much!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Red and Blue

If you know me well at all, you probably know that I am a dreamer.  Not only do I tend to have vivid dreams in color in my sleep, but I also am a dreamer in the sense of having big dreams for my life...places I want to go, things I want to see and do and ways I wish to improve myself.  Perhaps I'm often just a wishful thinker, but I think that having dreams for one's life is a way more interesting way to live than to be without a dream.

Well, a few nights ago I had a most vivid dream about our new baby boy who currently resides in my womb.  I dreamed that he was born and that he came out with bright red hair and bold blue eyes!  Both of us have red hair and blue eyes in our families, but they are definitely not dominant traits for either of our families.  Wouldn't it be fun to have a little red headed, blue eyed boy in our world?

It will be fun to see what he really looks like.  I'm guessing he'll have brown hair and brown eyes...or hazel eyes like Erik and I truly have.

Maybe we'll get to find out in about three + months...Lord willing.

For now, may this little one stay safe inside of me punching and kicking away.  I'm somewhat encouraged when I feel him doing just that.  Feeling life is a gift.

May you dream big in this new year.  May the Lord bless your dreams and your pursuits.  And may you not be without a dream and a passion.

As my college voice teacher and friend told me, "shoot for the stars!  God will place you where He wants you to be!"  I still love that and ascribe to live that way.