Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Year Ago Today

As I sit here and type my sweet baby is laying next to me on the guest room bed and since he has just drifted to sleep I have decided to listen to the Holy Spirit's call and reflect a little on a year ago today. June 27th 2008 was the day Patrick and I lost our first baby. It seems these days more people acknowledge the tiny souls who are lost early in the womb, while before it was not talked about and swept quietly under the rug. Thankfully Patrick and I have been able to speak openly about our loss and been able to mourn (and for our lifetime will mourn) the sweet life that was given to us for such a brief but special time. The reflections below are a little disconnected, but nevertheless, they are all reflections on this sad but grace filled experience.

I won't go into too many details about the actual miscarriage besides the fact that our tiny soul was about 5 weeks when he left us and my doctor, who was Catholic, helped me through it that night on the phone, not only physically, but also spiritually. She explained that because we had what is called "the desire of Baptism" for our child that he would surely reach Heaven. It was the relief I hoped for. The physical pain was something I never in my wildest dreams knew women who miscarried went through, but now I have the grace to be someone to empathize with those who suffer the same.

Hope. For a long while after the miscarriage I had some problems, and might I add anger, towards Baby Jesus. Patrick and I had tried getting pregnant for 2 months and the 3rd month we decided to pray a novena to the Infant of Prague (Baby Jesus as King). On the day after the 9th day, the pregnancy test said YES. Two days later we left for Rome and I was totally in love with Baby Jesus. When we lost the baby my love had turned to anger until Christ reminded me that it was because He became man by way of a sweet innocent baby that I now know with certainty that my child was with him in Paradise. It was through my miscarriage that I grew to fall madly in love with my God. My child got Heaven because of the Incarnation... God as man. So, needless to say, Baby Jesus and I reconciled. I now carry a little peanut Baby Jesus with me everywhere I go.

Some consolations. Of course when you suffer it is only natural to beg for consolations and as Christ does, He granted them to me. I had been praying so hard and sacrificing so much for a certain soul that I really love and I had begged God to reveal to me anything else He would need for me to do or pray or suffer for this soul... months later, after the miscarriage, I realized that I had my miscarriage on this person's birthday. God reminded me that this was no coincidence and that now I had a lifetime of suffering to offer. He always answers. Another consolation was when I received a phone call one day from a really close friend. She called me in tears and explained that her and her husband were encouraged to have a baby and give God that chance to bless them because of our little life. That same month they became pregnant and just had their beautiful baby boy a month ago. Lastly, one of my good friends suffered a miscarriage about 3 months after me. When she called to tell me I realized what a consolation God has allowed me to be to her. I got off the phone and cried. For the first time I could thank God wholeheartedly for the cross I had beared.

Suffering is never easy, but it brings the good. We have discovered a great appreciation for fertility and the true beauty in being open to life. In today's world we are bombarded by so many obstacles and life is prevented until a house is owned, money is saved, jobs are secure, and everyone is feeling really comfortable. I wonder how many more souls would exist if eternity was considered more than things that are just simply passing?

Patrick and I decided to name our baby Peter. We have been told that having a name to the soul always has helped those who have lost a child. This way Gabriel and any other children God blesses us with will be able to ask for intercession to a specific person with a name. We purchased a statue of St. Peter last year and have decided to always keep it in our baby room as a reminder of his life. It's been so special for me to have it in there.

He is with me every day. A beautiful woman of great faith I know, who miscarried a few weeks before me, said that now she wakes up every morning and when she is on her knees praying she says, "Ok, this is what your mom needs today." It made me laugh and realize the reality of that statement. I do take advantage of my child being before the throne of God!

And he is always there when I receive the Eucharist, since this is the one moment we are united to the whole body of Christ. When I kneel down after communion the warmth I feel is insane.... it is the one moment during the week when our whole family is together... the Mystical Body of Christ is such a mystery.

It's amazing now to think that Gabriel would not exist if God wouldn't have taken our first sweet soul. It will make me wonder for a lifetime why this was the plan, but I am sure it was the best one.

In the midst of it all Patrick and I became so much closer. When you lose something that belongs to both of you, you truly suffer it together. Christ drew us closer and therefore our marriage is much stronger from carrying this cross with one another.

Lastly, I would like to share a prayer. This is what I read every morning for months because it gave me hope and I was consoled knowing that there is a soul up there before the throne of God who has the reflection of Patrick and I on his face... therefore God will never forget us and we have a someone daily intercessing for our family. It is a humbling prayer but one of great healing for me. Feel free to pass it on to anyone who may need it.

Prayer After a Miscarriage

My Lord, the baby is dead!
Why, my Lord dare I ask why? It will not hear the whisper of the wind or see the beauty of its parents' face. It will not see the beauty of Your creation or the flame of
a sunrise. Why, my Lord?

"Why, My child do you ask "why?" Well, I will tell you why.

You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind, he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty. He sees My face. He was created and lived
a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents' merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth."

I am humbled before you, my Lord, for questioning Your wisdom, goodness, and love. I speak as
a fool. Forgive me. I acknowledge Your sovereign rights over life and death. I thank You for the life that began for so short a time to enjoy so long an Eternity.

-- Mother M. Angelica

Totus Tuus. Lord, I am totally Yours.

Monday, June 8, 2009

All Squishy

One of my friends from college came to visit us this weekend for just a brief time and since she left I have been contemplating being a mom a lot more because of a question she asked me... it may sound silly for this one simple question to cause such a stir in my mind, but after a series of questions and answers about childbirth and breastfeeding and losing sleep at night, she asked, "And your belly, what is that like now? Is it all squishy?" My first response that came to mind was "I hope not!" But when I looked down, I remembered that I was blessed, unlike most women, to be free of stretch marks, but, "YES, my stomach was now, indeed squishy." That thought was followed by a quick moment of disappointment, looking at my body and knowing it would never again be quite the same. Soon after though, I began to take pride in my squishiness!

Life will never again be the same, but this is life I have always wanted. I envied the ladies walking around with big bellies and strollers and after my miscarriage last June, I desired more than ever to be a mom again. God granted me a greater appreciation of life through the suffering endured with that. So, now, I live my dream life. It contains 3am feedings where I am trying my hardest to stay awake, but assume that someone at that time needs my prayers (so I take advantage of being awake), dirty diapers, being drenched in throw up and having to change my clothes and his and my sheets, and never being able to leave the house without making sure the diaper bag is packed, his diaper is changed, and with one last look in the mirror before going, make sure I remembered to shower that day. It's all an amazing process... of being taught selflessness. People seem to be scared to to do that (I'm not saying I wasn't). But, now I have begun to discover the real joy in giving of myself.

Morning sickness, not fitting into your clothes anymore, waddling with a big belly, back pain, contractions, childbirth, recovery, feeding someone with your own body, smelling like milk, lack of sleep.... and the list goes on. It makes more sense now at Mass when I hear those words, "This is my Body, given up for you." We have no choice. Christ draws us closer to Him through our vocation as mother. And isn't that our goal anyway... so, squishiness, bring it.

Strike a Pose

Our little guy has decided to pose every time he falls asleep.
His hands always gravitate to his face.
We laugh every time because the pose is always different and unique.
Patrick says that these positions mean that he will be a great thinker. I agree!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Aren't I Sweet?!

Aren't I such a cutie?
So, no one can figure it out... do I look like my mommy or my daddy?
Every day they say I look different.
What do you think?
Vote above!

Monday, June 1, 2009

An Update on Our Peanut

Our little peanut had his 2 week check-up a few days ago and we have gained almost a whole pound since our birthday. We are now 6 lbs 12 oz and like my dad would say, "we are eating like a viking." Every day it seems he is changing, especially those amazing cheeks of his, that I could just eat! He has begun to make more noises and cooing and grunting, especially when he has gas!! It is totally hilarious. We have also discovered that his favorite part of the day is his bath. It's as if the world has stopped... he couldn't be more content. He loves to cuddle and loves to be naked. He sleeps like a champ and only wakes up to eat or for a dirty diaper, which is only once and sometimes twice a night... we are way too lucky. Patrick and I are falling more in love with him every day.

The pictures above make me happy... his BIG little feet are always scrunched up however close to his body he can get them and I LOVE when he lays on my chest and just looks around. So sweet. Below is a short clip of our first bath in the tub. I am the happiest mommy in the world.