Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Half-birthday

Dear Luke,

Today you would be 6 months old. I can't believe 6 months have gone by. In some ways I feel like it's been years since you left. I feel so old, like I've aged forty years in the past six months. But in other ways it seems like it was only yesterday that you left. Some days the pain is still as raw as it was that first week. My memories of seeing your face are so fresh in my mind that I feel like it only just happened.

I remember when Dad and I decided that, despite our terrible odds and the very real chance of having another preemie, we should have another baby. I won't tell you all the details of what lead us to feel that you were meant to join our family - the experiences leading us to believe that are too sacred to share at this time - but just know that we knew without a doubt that we were meant to have another baby. We were meant to have YOU.

Along with this feeling that we were to have you, we also had a small itching feeling that there could be complications and that perhaps you would not live a "normal" life. Perhaps some would think us wrong to even get pregnant if we felt that we might be putting our baby's life in danger of extreme prematurity and the risk of cerebral palsy. But everything in our hearts told us that, no matter the outcome, this was the right decision.

Your pregnancy was kept secret for quite some time. We feared others response to our pregnancy. Not everyone felt it was the wisest choice. But mostly, we just weren't ready to share you. Everyone in the world, it seemed, was involved in Sam's pregnancy. I had to have someone in my home at all times, not just to help with Halle while I was on bedrest, but to help me so that I didn't have to get out of bed. Dad was terrified to leave me alone for fear I'd start bleeding again and not be able to get to the hospital. So that left me with family members, church members and friends at my house around the clock. And then when I was robbed of my pregnancy too soon, I had to share Sam for a couple of months with nurses and doctors. I felt that I was hardly Sam's mother at all. So while I was (and still am) so appreciative for everyone's help, I was certain that your pregnancy would take that route too and I wanted to enjoy every moment with you before the multitudes came in to take over my duty as the mother and caretaker of my three children in one form or another.

I became very possessive and protective of you. I didn't talk about my pregnancy with anyone that I didn't feel was absolutely overjoyed about your existence (I guess that hasn't changed). While on family vacation with extended family, I refused to do any sort of physical activities - hiking, four-wheeling, etc - not wanting to do anything to compromise your health. You were always foremost on my mind.

It was easy to focus on all that could go wrong during the pregnancy, but I was determined to ignore them all. We knew you'd never make it to 40 weeks and, wanting to enjoy every moment of what we felt could be a shortened pregnancy, I made a paper chain. Kind of like the ones you hang up at Christmastime to count down the days until Santa came, but in reverse. Each day we hit a milestone - 16 weeks, 18 weeks, 24 weeks (that was the big one - we felt nothing could go wrong once we hit the "age of viability" ha!) - I would record it on a piece of paper and add it to our chain. When something noteworthy happened - I first felt you kick (at only 15 weeks), the first time Halle kissed your belly, the first time Sam talked to you - I added it to our ever-growing chain.

I loved your pregnancy. It was actually a very sacred time in my life. Looking back, I think my soul knew, even if my mind didn't, that I was carrying a spirit too perfect for this life.

(As a side note, I still have that paper chain I made while pregnant. In fact, we still add to it. I added a paper for our first balloon launch in your honor, for our first "Angel Ceremony" we attended, and for the first time Halle prayed for you and Sam told me what you were doing in heaven. I'm hoping that by the time we are together again, your paper chain will be miles long and full of the moments that we thought of you.)

Dad and I had accepted the fact that, if born early, you could have health problems and possibly even long-lasting problems. We decided that it didn't matter one way or another to us. We would love you with the same intensity as we would if you were healthy and perfect. We would make sure you experienced the wonderful things in this life, even if we had to push you around in a wheelchair to do it. We had decided long before we even knew you were a boy that we would accept you in whatever form the Lord gave you to us, because we knew that Heavenly Father wanted you to be in our family and we wanted you too. More than I could ever express.

As it turns out, Dad and I were right when we had that impression that you would not have a "normal' body or a "normal" life. But we misinterpreted that as you having a body stuck in a wheel-chair or walking with a limp. We couldn't possibly have imagined that it would mean that your body would lay peacefully in the ground while your soul returned to our Lord. But we had promised God that we would love you, no matter what. And that is what we are doing. You have been given to us, perhaps in a very different form than we had anticipated, but you are ours nonetheless. And I am determined to love you just as much in the form of a heavenly angel as I would if you were a perfect little baby or even a baby with severe CP.

I think I focus way too much on what form you are in. But what I should really be focusing on is the part that you are mine and I will always love you. And nothing, not even death, has changed that.

I love you tons!

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