Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Balancing Act

**A little update at the end of the post!**

I had a great doctor's appointment last week...but, I was very, very sad. I hate to even admit that and I've wrestled over sharing it here. It's true. I want to be transparent...sharing even the not so good times. I've done it before and I found such warmth in your words that I felt it was safe to do it again.

As you may imagine, this pregnancy has been a roller coaster ride. I have extremely high highs and just as extreme low lows. I've stayed away from the lows purposefully. I feel that those are the enemy's attacks on attempting to steal joy from me, from our family once again. It's still very real to me and, at times, can be overwhelming. That's when I have to stop and give it to God. He is, after all, the only One Who can handle it. Thanks be to God that I have learned that much!

It's not just in my mind though...even our precious five year old son has been burdened with worry and pain and he, too, has been reluctant to open his scarred little heart again to loving another baby for the risk of it being torn in two...again. I can barely wrap my mind around all that we've experienced in the past two years. How can I possibly expect him to make sense of it all? We haven't pushed this baby onto him and it's been very hard not to. This child is different and each of us has to allow him into our lives in our own timing. Wyatt used to lay his little head on my belly when I was pregnant with Annabelle and sing to her, talk to her and love on her so much. This time it's different. For 32 weeks, he didn't do any of those things. He actually came up with a new way to talk to Luke that was cute at first but we later realized it was due to the fact that he was afraid to get close to him. He would just yell down my mouth or blow kisses to him but never close enough to touch him. He would grab my neck for a hug but never my belly. It broke my heart to know he was that scared and that's the only way he could process it.

About a month ago, I began having some baby showers. The nursery gradually became more and more complete. We went shopping as a family for a new car seat/travel system and let Wyatt pick out the car seat toys for his baby brother. I got the boys a few (okay, maybe I went overboard a little) matching outfits and shared them with him...matching pj's included! The JOY has grown little by little. Wyatt has seen Scott and I open our hearts more at each tiny milestone. Just two weeks ago, I was lying on the couch just before Wyatt's bedtime and he crawled right up and layed his head on my belly for the very first time. Since then, he's began physically allowing himself to open up and love another baby...a hug on the belly for a second, a "hey Lukie Pookie" whisper, and, just recently, he began kissing him. My heart overflows when I see the progress that he's making...knowing it's so hard and it hurts even his little heart to make these tremendous steps. He's doing it...and, that inspires me to do it, too.

So, last week when my doctor asked me what time I would like to schedule the c-section, I just about lost it. She had to hand me some tissue as the reality set in. We are that close...and I don't have a clue how I am supposed to be. How am I possibly supposed to balance the grief of losing a child with the joy of expecting another? I am still processing the "you are going to have a baby with half a heart conversation from almost two years ago". It doesn't seem real at times that so much has happened in such a short amount of time.

With every kick to the ribs, I give thanks (and sometimes let out an "ouch"- he is proving to be an altogether different child even in utero). I am, in complete honesty, not ready for more change. I've never been a fan of it least I know that much. It's going to happen regardless and I have about a month left to prepare my heart even more. I don't think I would ever be completely ready but I am excited. I never imagined the JOY that Wyatt would bring to our family or the LOVE that Annabelle continues to challenge us to give and, already, we've experienced so much HOPE in expecting Luke. I commit to focus on those and know fully that God has promised good for those who love Him...I am just praying that it comes quickly!

**UPDATE: Only because (a) I felt like a goofball this afternoon & apparently Wyatt did, too (b) I know Laura Haley well enough to know she won't quit asking until I do this & (c) whatever she asks for she will get from me for the countless hours she cared for Annabelle when I couldn't...the picture you've asked for, my dear...


Anonymous said...

I think you have to be as gentle with yourself as you are being with Wyatt. The struggles you are having have nothing really to do with the love you have/will have for Luke. It is OK to have these feelings/ is the choice of what you do with them that matters. When you hold that sweet baby boy in your arms, when you are able to visually see that he is healthy, your heart will know...and your family will again take another step in the healing process. Annabelle is a part of you all...and she always will be. Luke won't replace that or change it in a bad way.
You say you have experienced the Joy of Wyatt, the Love of Annabelle and the Hope of rest in the Peace of Jesus that Surpasses Understanding and try to enjoy these last few moments before chaos begins! :o)
Blessings and prayers for you and your sweet family-
Laura from fl

Anonymous said...

Hey Rebecca- it's Laura Haley. Listen, when that baby is born, everything will be as it should be. I wouldn't stress about it. He is a different baby. A blessing. He is not replacing Annabelle. He is your third child. He will grow up knowing about his sweet sister and what she means to your family. He is just an addition to your beautiful family. You will be a family of 5. Even though Annabelle is in Heaven, she will forever be present in your home and in your heart. With pictures, stories, and Annabelle baskets, Luke will grow up knowing that Annabelle is a huge part of your family. You may not think you are ready for change, but God seems to think you are. Once he is here, I think that these feelings will disappear. Once Wyatt sees him, he will finally realize that this little boy is here to stay. Hand in there, girlfriend. You're almost there. I love you and am thinking about you! Oh, and i still need to see some belly pictures. Muah!


The Johnson Family said...

Annabelle will forever change the way you look at all of your children. You will worry more. You will be more cautious. But once you see that little boy's face you will love him more then you thought you could. The same goes for Wyatt. You will give these boys more then another parent because you truly know what the worse that could happen.

I love you sweetie and I know it's hard. I'm here for you if you ever need it.

Aunt B said...

In God's time, all things are made perfect. HE is LORD, and can take our hurt and turn it into the greatest ministry. You will find that on the day the baby arrives, you will have an overwhelming love that you have never felt before. Wyatt will surprise you; everyday he will gradually grasp and love Luke.

My cousin lost her son the day after Thanksgiving, a little over a year later they had another gift from GOD. Her story is amazing. Check out her

I will pray for you.

Anonymous said...

Rebecca, although your circumstances are different from mine, I had those same feelings when I was pregnant the second time with Ann. I thought I could never love another baby after my first was born. Then along came Ann and then 2 1/2 years later along came Greg. Each baby brought new experiences and different kinds of love for each of them and me. Now they are all grown and I have 3 wonderful adult children. They all touch my life in different way, but love X 3 is something we all should experience.

Luke is a blessing from God and will definitely touch all of your lives as soon as he takes his first breath. God loves you very much and has entrusted these babies to you and Scott. Treasure all of your time with them as they will fill your heart as everyday passes.

We love you and hope to see you and all your family after Luke arrives. Take care. I love the pic of you and Wyatt.

Jan Tompkins

The Hardy Family said...

Once again your words and thoughts just amaze me. Thank you for your openess and honesty. God speaks through you in so many ways. You, Scott and Wyatt are in my prayers as you approach the arrival of sweet Luke. God is going to bless your family in so many ways as Luke joins you. I love you my sweet friend!

Jess said...

I LOVE the pic! I have something for Luke and Wyatt. I need to get it to you soon! I can't believe he will be here so soon. Talk to you soon.

Avery said...

Such a beautiful post. I always leave your blog inspired to be a better person. You have so much good in you, so much hope and love. That baby boy in your arms will change everything.. Praying for you and so excited he's almost here!

Robin Cathcart said...

Just wanted you to know I am praying for your sweet family!

Rachaellh said...

I am praying that these next few weeks will bring you peace and reassurance. When I was pregnant with Emerson just 10 months after we buried Madeline I was worried a lot. I had to remind myself that God is in control and that His plan is perfect and my worrying would not change anything. Let me tell you, I think I gave myself that speech every day. When Emerson was born and I heard her cry I could not believe the joy and the burden that was lifted from me. Emerson is my 4th child but she is also the little girl that healed my heart. Because of her big sister I love in a whole new way with more intensity than ever before. I know that when Luke arrives you will be filled with such joy. We all can't wait to celebrate that day for you and will praying for you!

Rachael from Texas

Jonathan said...

You look beautiful Rebecca and Wyatt is so cute!
I know what you are going through agian. Tanner was the same way when I was pregnant with Case. He would say things like when this baby goes to heaven and so on. I would have to keep reminding him that this baby wasn't going to go to heaven. I think he was and maybe still is like how Wyatt feels. I can't say that I blame him and sometimes I am even scared of that. But God has a plan and a purpose for Baby Luke and Case. I was scared as well being pregnant with Case and feeling the same things you wrote about. My Mom shared with me yesterday that she looked up what Case's name means and it is bringer of peace. I was blown away when she told me that. She also shared a verse with me that she got on the the day Case was born. Look it up when you get a chance John 14:27.


Elaine said...

Dear Rebecca,

I have read every post you have ever written and through Suzie I feel like I know you...and have another daughter to love. Your other friends' posts are so beautiful and helpful that I almost didn't write. But I feel compelled to add my thoughts, maybe because even though I am a grandma, I still remember the births of my children as if it were yesterday. I have been present for the birth of my own grandchild and the relief I felt when he was born healthy and whole is imprinted on my brain.

So I just want to say that every single thing you are feeling is completely normal and understandable, as is Wyatt's reaction. You have all been through so much since you found out about Annabelle's heart and I would worry about you if you DIDN'T have all these conflicting feelings. Through your faith, your support group, your amazing family and friends, you have gotten yourself this far...and you inspired all of us every step of the way. You have handled every trial with grace and faith. Never in my life have I been as moved by a story, by a life, as I have by yours. Your writing really is worthy of a book!! Suzie NEVER would have been where she is now without your example and your support...I will never be able to thank you enough for that. Your love is almost visible...I feel like I can SEE it. You are truly a one in a million miracle...I believe God chose you to be Annabelle's mommy and to teach all of us these lessons. He will get you through this too.

I predict that when you give birth to Luke, you will be crying, (well...DUH!!) probably a little more hysterically than the average mommy...with what Suzie calls "snot bubbles", to paint a really beautiful picture! You will be happier than you have ever been and you will be so thankful to God for this beautiful new baby. It will be a wonderful new "best moment of your life" and it will be the beginning of your new "happily ever after". You have found your way through many of the worst moments of your life, and Luke is going to bring you a new set of best moments. I KNOW Annabelle is coordinating all of this from heaven and she wants you all to be happy and to be at peace.

So...from a faraway friend in Michigan, I send love and prayers for a lifetime of happiness for you all.

Love, Elaine

Oh...PS: if you go to www.mlive will find a beautiful video of Lindsay's homecoming...if you look today it will probably still be the first video on the list on your left. If you don't check for a couple of days, you may have to search a little. (it is a very poorly designed website) If you can't find it, email me and I will send it to you:

Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought about writing a book? Maybe not now, but in the next few years.

Peace be with you.

Kacy said...

You are simply beautiful.

Evie's Story said...

Sweet friend
How deeply I miss you and miss hearing your heart IN PERSON on these matters! YOu know I am bathing the events surrounding little Lukes birth in much prayer. (and wishing I could be there!!!!) I know it will unleash new emotions. ....and thats ok! I remember my mother saying that babies are the best listeners. Luke wont mind a bit if you need to just hold him and cry your eyes out some days! Know it will feel good to have that precious "weight" in your arms again....even if the weight on your heart is still heavy!

Can you imagine how much fun Annabelle is having getting Luke all pink and pudgy to meet you? :-)

Lets talk soon - missing you!

Oh, and pregnancy looks good on you! Deffinately "glowing!"

Katie said...

Love that picture! So cute...looking forward to sweet Little Luke's arrival :) Hugs and love to you!!!

Sarah Leech said...

this picture is PRICELESS!!! you look amazing! glad to hear wyatt is warming up to the idea of welcoming another new little one & giving your belly some hugs & kisses! can't wait to see pics of mr. luke!!!

Andrea said...

That pregnancy picture rocks!! I love it!!! To answer your question about a camera...

I just got the new Canon Rebel T1i for my 30th birthday. I LOVE it because not only is it the newest SLR, but it also has HD video. Lots of bang for your buck. It came with the standard lens and I bought the 50mm 1.8F lens from amazon for $99. That's all I have, but I could spend a bunch more money in the future. It's great to snap a photo and have it look WOW as opposed to deleting 10 to find one good one.

I can't wait to see Mr. Luke! :)

Anonymous said...

YAY!! You are the best!! You look awesome! I miss you guys!


Ashlee said...

Hey Rebecca,
It's been a while, but I appreciate you being so transparent in your post. I know exactly how you feel. That doesn't make it any easier for you, but you know that you have a friend who has felt those same exact emotions. All I can do is shake my head "yes" as I read your post because I remember. I am so glad to know that Wyatt is opening his little heart to this new blessing. Fear and apprehension can have such a strong grip on us. The awesome blessing is that Luke is almost here! The scary part, though, is that Luke is almost here!! The change and the mixed emotions can be overwhelming, and sometimes you may feel almost guilty of being excited when you still miss Annabelle so much. But...this is how God planned it. It's what He wanted in the first place, and Luke is going to bless you in ways you just never imagined! I can't wait to hear that relief in your voice when he gets here! It will be so wonderful :) I miss hearing from you, but when school starts back I'll be better about keeping in touch! Take care, and thanks for your honesty and openness in your post! And I love the picture!! You look great, and Wyatt is hilarious!


Danielle @ Living Out Loud said...

Sweet Rebecca...

I've been out of town and just returned to get caught up on my blogs and once again, you have brought me to tears with your honest, heartfelt words. I wish I had some words that would bring you comfort, but the truth is that although I have never experienced the loss of a child, I, too, struggle with fear and worry. I, too, struggle with trusting God and not allowing the enemy to rob me of my joy. I understand those emotions, even if for different reasons that you.

I'm certain that your feelings, axieties, and worries are all very, very normal. And I'm certain that God is okay with all of them... He can take it :) I have a feeling that He is planning a hidden blessing as he continues to form little Luke in your womb... I have a feeling that little Luke will be so different and unique from both Wyatt and Annabelle that you will be able to love and enjoy him for who HE is without ever needing or wanting to compare him to either of your other children! And I bet you will love him in a completely different and unique way because of Annabelle and what her short life taught you.

Rebecca, my heart hurts for you and at the same time, rejoices with excitement for you. You are a special Mama... a Mama who will soon be showering her love on yet another little blessing!

Lastly, the photo is absolutely ADORABLE! You can see the special bond that you and Wyatt have... even in the picture! Thanks for sharing that!

Lots of people, including me, will be praying over you as the impending arrival of Luke draws near!

Love and prayers...

Miller Family said...

Love the picture!!! Priceless!