Sunday, July 25, 2010

August Approaching

As we are just a week from would have been Samuel's first birthday, I find myself thinking a lot about this time last year.  I remember how on July 20th Bryan and I went on the NICU tour at our hospital, so we could get a glimpse of what to expect in the off-hand chance the doctors had Samuel's diagnosis wrong, and he would need to begin life there.  The really funny part of that tour is that though I was 36 weeks pregnant (and measuring 43 weeks), I was pushing Bryan around in a wheelchair!  He had hurt his back and just that morning had gotten some pretty heavy meds and shots to enable him to make the tour.  I thought it was hilarious to be pushing him around on the tour, but I think he mostly felt emasculated.  I know he would much rather have been pushing me.  How I wish we had a picture of that day!  We got a lot of funny looks from new moms and dads.

On July 21st, I had one of my bi-weekly appointments, and Samuel was not cooperative.  He was not moving much, so my OB sent me to my perinatologist for another appointment.  There, Samuel was completely uncooperative.  He wouldn't move for the world, and my amniotic fluid was up even more.  The ultrasound tech later told me that she was pretty scared.  She absolutely could not elicit movement from Samuel.  So, the doctor sent me to the hospital for overnight observation.  We were prepared to meet Samuel 5 1/2 weeks early, which would have been much too early for a heart baby.  I had about 3 hours of continual contractions while there, but nothing came of it.  And Samuel was quietly moving again.  The next morning, after another ultrasound, we were released and relieved to be going home.  My OB told us that, in all likelihood, Samuel was going to make his appearance sooner rather than later. 

I don't remember much about that next week.  I know we continued to take our 2.7 mile hilly walks through the neighborhood, and I know I started praying for an August 1st birthday.  I am quirky about numbers and love odd ones.  I especially love birthdays on the first or thirty-first.  My birthday falls on a first, as does Joel's, and I thought it would be so cool if Samuel's did too.  In fact, both Caleb and Joel were born on my preferred birthdates.  (They also both came on their due-dates.)  I am often amazed that God has humored my quirkiness and given me something as silly and triffling as preferred birthdays.  He did it again with Samuel. But I will save his birthday story for later, in case I feel like writing about it.

As a family we've been talking about what to do for Samuel's birthday.  Caleb suggested making cards, having a cake, and spending Samuel's would-be birthday money on people in need.  That's exactly what Bryan and I had been thinking.   Sometime this week we will all shop together to bless others through Samuel's life.  We're also planning on going to Egleston as a family on Friday.  The boys and I will bake a lot of cookies to take to the doctors and nurses, and we're writing a letter to the CICU parents to go with a basket of prepackaged goodies for them.  We will stop and drop off some cookies for Dr. Videlefsky, too.  I am looking forward to going, but I am also nervous.  We haven't been back since December, and going in the summer will be a pretty major flashback.  I think it's a good thing for us to go -- and even wise, but part of me is certainly anxious about it. 

Tonight as I was tucking Joel into bed, he asked me, "Momma, do you think Samuel will have a jumpy house birthday party in Heaven?"  Joel's birthday party this year was at a Jump Zone with tons of inflatables, and he loved every minute of it.   I love that Joel imagines Samuel having a party as fun and wonderful as his was. 

Last week Caleb asked me, "Mommy, am I always going to miss Samuel?  For my whole life?"  I think that question sums up what I've been feeling lately.  As we near the one year markers, I don't feel a sense of relief that this first year is nearly behind us.  Instead I feel the vastness of a lifetime without Samuel still ahead.  I told Bryan I wish I could skip August altogether and go straight to September, but more than having a tough month ahead of us, we have a lifetime of missing Samuel to go.  Before Samuel's death, I never longed for Heaven, but now I do.  I long to be made whole again, and I long to be with my almost 1 year old.  I got choked up today rocking Joel in the glider after his nap -- something he hasn't let me do in a year and a half or more -- thinking that I would have spent this last year rocking Samuel in it if he had been healthy.  And then I thought about how if Samuel was alive, I would have a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a 1 year old.  I wish I could say that sentence when introduced to someone new instead of fumbling around and wondering how to handle the situation, instead of acquaintances introducing me as "This is Kathryn.  She has two boys" and me feeling a knife in my heart.  I wish it was as wonderful as having three boys who are 5, 3, and 1.  But that's not our story.  And we have a hard month ahead of us.  In a week, we will be in August.  In a week I will be in the place I have dreaded for 11 1/2 months now.  And somehow God will see us through it.  I already know He will be faithful to carry us through August.  It's a good thing because I definitely couldn't do it on my own.


  1. Praying for you all this week. Thanks for being so authentic in this journey and sharing these pieces of your soul.

  2. kathyrn, i am adrienne norvells sister. i have been following your blog for a while now and am always touched by your transparentcy and honesty. i too lost a baby, but mine was only 10 weeks old. i would love to tell people that i have 2 children as well... but so many would not understand. my "pickle" would be 2 this coming october. so i like to think that my baby and samuel are going to have a BIG jumpy castle birthday together with Jesus! i was teaching at the time i lost pickle and all of my pre-k kids were so attached to the baby so it helped them to think about pickle having a playdate with jesus and learning all about Him so that when we get there, it can tell us all about Jesus. i will be praying for you, your family and your precious sweet samuel this coming month. we have an azela plant at our front door to greet us and remind us of our pickle. olivia will grow up always knowing about her sibling. blessings on you sweet friend.

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  4. (i meant that i was 10 weeks pregnant when i lost pickle. sorry for the confusion)

  5. I hope seeing the hospital, CICU, the garden and all the wonderful staff will help usher in August for you and your family...while you remember and celebrate Samuel. My thoughts and prayers will be with you Friday!

    For us we will be making a small donation to Egleston in memory of Samuel...Lots of Love!!!

  6. Praying for you and your family - especially this week and this month.