Sunday, June 6, 2010

100th Post...All for the Boy

(This post is mainly about my living son. For those of you loss mamas out there who follow this blog, I completely understand if you do not want to read this post, but for me, having him here is an important part of my grief journey and not to ever mention him is to ignore that part of my life. I started this blog as a way to sort through my grief after the loss of my second child, my only daughter, but it has grown from that so much. I cherish each of you, your stories and your babies and I understand if you just want to skip this post. No hard feelings. Love you all!)

I have been putting off this post for a while.  The big 100th post!  I can't believe I have posted 100 times.  I really didn't know I had that much to say.  Boy, was I wrong.  As I contemplated what monumental thing I wanted to say in this post, I realized that I really don't talk a lot about my son.  I do mention him here and there, but as I have learned, sometimes it is hard for mothers who have experienced loss to see babies and children who may be the same age as their child who is in Heaven or even to see happy families.  Not that any of us would wish anything hurtful on these happy families, but it is a reminder of the hole in our own.  Sometimes it feels like there will never be another completely happy moment in our life.  Sure, there will be lots of really happy moments, but in those moments the sadness of a missing person is felt very strongly. 

Anyway, I'm rambling.  Last weekend was my little boy's 3rd birthday.  We did some of the things we had done for the past 2 years on his day.  We looked at photos of his birth day and of him as a baby, we had a special breakfast where he got to practice blowing out a candle and had a little party at the lake.  Each of these things was harder than it was last year at this time.  Last year, I was 4 1/2 months pregnant and the happiness in my life was so overwhelming.  My little man, growing up, healthy, happy, a daddy's boy and my little baby inside, growing, soon to be joining our family and making us feel the joy of a birth again.  Then, just a few months later, my perspective of birth changed as I held my daughter's body days after her soul had went to the Lord.

As I thought about this post, I want those who are still reading to know that eventhough I don't mention him a lot on this blog, my son, Ethan, is such a huge part of my life and my grief and I just wanted to tell his story.  Share about his birth and life and his role as a big brother to Shyla.

Nine months after getting married, my husband and I decided we wanted to expand our family and in late September got a positive pregnancy test!  The day after I took the test, I was due to leave for a three day training out of town for the job I just started, so we decided to wait to share the news until I got back home.  Ben decided to come spend some time with me while I was out of town and we stopped to see some friends on our way back home.  While at our friends house and just after sharing the good news with them (we are apparently very impatient people) I got a call from my mom saying my half-sister was just unexpectedly passed away.  I was heartbroken.  I didn't know how I was going to stay calm through this tragedy and I was afraid the little life inside was going to be affected.  But I made it through the funeral and through the whole pregnancy rather uneventfully.  I had to take the three hour glucose screening and we knew he was going to be big and breech, but besides that it was a picture perfect pregnancy. 

I was due June 8, but because of his breech position, we scheduled a c-section for May 30, my Dad's birthday as well.  This is me right before we headed to the hospital for delivery...

If I look uncomfortable, it is because apparently I was in labor!  When we got to L&D, they hooked me up to the monitors to prepare for surgery and called the doctor in.  My contractions were two minutes apart and he told me that one way or another this baby was coming today!  I only gained 23 pounds during this pregnancy and as you can see...the majority of that was in my belly! 

Everything went quickly and by 8:01 that morning, I was hearing his first cries.  The first time I saw his little face, I knew I would never be the same.  I knew he was a miracle.  I didn't know until after his sister was born just how much of a miracle this moment was. 

He weighed in at a whopping 8 pounds and 14 1/2 ounces and 23 inches long!  Miracle!  How did he survive the threats of the MTHFR and the Factor V? 

The only answer I have is by God's grace and love.  Maybe He knew I was not strong enough yet.  I don't know, but I am so thankful I have this boy.

Just four weeks after he was born, my Grandfather had a massive stroke.  It was 4th of July weekend and my brother and sis-in-law were coming in for the family reunion.  Instead, we spent three days driving back and forth 2 hours to the University hospital spending time with my Grandfather before he passed away on
7-7-07, just 7 days from his 77th birthday.

Ethan was what kept me (and my immediate family) sane during these days.  Having this new life that was so dependent on me was a welcome and needed distraction to the strongest grief I had felt yet in my life.  At four weeks old, he was exposed to death, tears and grief.  Actually, if you count from conception, this was the second time in his life that he was exposed to all of this.  But, the joy he brought to me and my whole family during this time was something that I will never forget.  The fragility of life was on display in the images of a newborn at a funeral and tears being shed with smiles.

Over the next three years, God has used this little boy to teach me so much.

So much about life and love and laughter.

How to celebrate, how to mourn, how to be silly

How to not hold back.

How to finish what I start.

How to smile when I am down.

SO many things...

He made the announcement when we found out we were pregnant with Shyla.  He would just rub my belly and try so hard to feel her move.  When he finally did feel her move, he was amazed!  He would try every night.  The evening after she was born, he sat up on the hospital bed with me and tried one time to rub my belly.  That's all.  I told him Shyla was in Heaven with Jesus and tried not to bawl my eyes out infront of this little boy.  He just looked at me and said, ok.  He never did that again.

He released 28 pink balloons at her service.  And said loudly as they floated away, "Bye Bye Shyla!  See you later!!!"

Yes we will honey.  Thanks for helping Mommy keep everything in perspective.

He helped carry Shyla's donations to the Pregnancy Help Center and put a smile on my face when I didn't want to leave.

He constantly asks if we can go to "Shyla's" and wants to take her flowers all the time.  It is so sweet to me that he wants to check on her special place.

He has been my rock.  He is so much like his daddy and he is SO extrememly loved.  I sometimes just want to hold him tightly and never let go. 

So if someday you are older, Ethan, and you have stumbled upon this blog...just know you were my first child, my son, the first one to teach me so many things.  I am so grateful to be your mom and so blessed to have you in my life.  You are one amazing kid. 


Marie W said...

Bawling. What an amazing miraculous little boy.

Lori said...

He is precious and I loved every letter of this very special post!!! Happy, happy birthday sweet little Ethan!!!!

belle said...

how amazingly tender! what a special story you have. thank you for sharing it!

he is so handsome:)

Stephanie said...

Teary ~ just reading how amazing he is. He is pretty special and so are you and your husband to have raised such a lovely little man.

You can just see him ooze LOVE!

Maggie said...

Mattie, what an amazing, heartfelt post!!! Congratulations on the 100th post and happy birthday to Ethan! What a sweetheart!

Andrea said...

What a special little man you have. I completely understand everything you have fact, I have lived it. The innocence and love of youth is such a gift if we are willing to open our eyes and hearts to it. What wonderful parents you are to have raised such a loving and caring son. Happy Birthday Ethan!

Lisette said...

I feel EXACTLY like you!!! Julian has kept me going day in and day out. We are very lucky to be blessed with such joys. Their little sister's must be so proud of them huh? Happy late Birthday to your little guy, big ((HUGS)) to you all. Oh yes happy 100 to you!

Holly said...

I'm glad you shared Ethan with us. I loved reading about him and how he loves his sister Shyla.

Jessica said...

your son is a beautiful child.