Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Two Years

I never blog anymore. It was something I did as an outlet to express my thoughts and emotions, and keep friends and family updated on my pregnancy with our first child, Elias.

Yesterday was February 3rd. Two years ago on February 3rd I learned that he was dead. Two years ago today I went to the hospital and they induced delivery. On February 5th Elias Grey was born at 3:15 in the afternoon. And my world has never been the same, nor will it ever be.

In the beginning I didn't need to encourage myself to express what I was going through. My body didn't give me the choice. It was an awful, unimaginably dark time. I cried myself to sleep every night from February 5th until sometime in July of that year. I don't really remember how or why I stopped. But somehow I mustered the courage to find joy in the fact that I was pregnant with a new life. I still had frequent moments of sadness, but most days the dark cloud lifted, and I was able to see through the sadness.

December 19th, 2012 rolled around and I was overwhelmed with gladness. To this day I know she is the only reason I ever recovered. She's the only reason I am not still deep in sadness. Those nine months of pregnancy I had nightmares of delivering another dead baby...and I had dreams of delivering a screaming one. She has brought light back into my world in the most sacred way.

So what does two years after baby loss look like? Well, that's a loaded question.

His life and death makes me a pessimist and an optimist. His life and death makes me a better mom because I know what it feels like to miss your baby so badly you literally want to die. His life and death makes me ache for the redemption Heaven holds. His life and death makes me so, incredibly grateful. Because of his life, the pain is deeper and the joys of life are greater. I live in constant conflict between two worlds -- the one where my son lives and thrives, and the one where he is but a memory.

I wouldn't ever want anyone to believe that because two years have passed that I am all better. Some days it feels like a universe is between me and those two years. But most days, I can still smell the blanket he was laid on.

And two years later, after having a healthy, gorgeous baby girl, I still want a redo. I know all too well that if he had not died, I would never have Emmarie. But even still, I could never choose between the two. When I put myself back into that ultrasound room all I want to hear is "it's a miracle," not the horrible sound of silence.

I'll never be all better. Not in this life. But I'm learning to be okay with that.

I've wasted a lot of time, and I still do, wishing I even had the energy to worry about things like future birth plans or whether Emmarie will have more siblings or not. It seems to be the catch phrase of the century. Will you go natural? When are you having another baby? Truthfully the energy isn't there. Two years later I still don't have anymore courage than I did two years ago, and I simply want a living baby. I don't care how it gets here, I don't care how many. I think it's safe to say I'm completely content with my one living and breathing one year old, and I'm in no rush to join the masses in having 2 under 2.

Loss is bitter, and even when years pass the truth of what it is remains. Time doesn't fix a darn thing and it never will. And I've learned that real healing will never happen on this earth. But that's where hope enters the scene.

My son was the most beautiful thing that had ever happened to me on February 5th, 2012. I was completely in awe that I had been chosen to be his mother, just like any other parent is when they hold their child for the first time. I still wouldn't trade a minute of his life for anything in the world. His traumatic birth. Those long, awful weeks that we waited for him to die. And even the months, and now years I've lived without him. I wouldn't trade it for a life without loss. Because a life without loss would be a life without ever knowing Elias.

Two years later, not much has changed. Our family has grown and we're moving forward. But I still miss my son. I still wish it were different.

My sweet, baby boy. You're untouched by the pain of this world. You'll never know loss or hurt. You'll only know the love that we showed you while you lived, and now the love of your Savior in Heaven. I'm jealous. I ache to know you. But we are living our lives to the fullest because of you! You have brought more joy to this family than I ever thought possible. Happy 2nd birthday, our Elias Grey!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Singles Friday

Linking up today over at Kelly's Korner, since I actually don't blog anymore ;), for Singles Friday! How awesome that 9 couples have met and married because of this :)

So, meet Carrie.

She's my older sister, and she is precious to me. She's strong, lots of fun, and loyal to the core. She is a working, single mom who has put her all into raising her sweet 7 year old son, Aidan. Carrie is also a fabulous aunt to all her nieces and nephews!

Above all, Carrie has trusted her life, and the ups and downs, with our Savior. I have always looked up to her, not just because she's my sister, but because of the woman she is.

Here are ten random, fun facts about Carrie, and some possible ice breakers if you so choose to contact this beauty:

1. She has a dog that has 3 legs...yes, only 3 ;)
2. She once glued her eye shut.
3. She's lived in NC her whole life.
4. She's the second of 6 children.
5. She was homeschooled until 11th grade.
6. She became a Christian when she was 4.
7. She likes wasabi peas.
8. She's introverted, but hilarious.
9. Her middle name is Elizabeth.
10. She probably drinks about a gallon of water each day.
BONUS: She's 31 years old.


Here is Carrie with her son Aidan at age 6


Carrie and I

Carrie and our brother Brent, her son Aidan, and my daughter Emmarie over Thanksgiving.




Carrie and our older sister, Maegan.


If you're interested in getting to know Carrie, would you mind emailing me? My email is trisharush11@gmail.com. Thanks!!! :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Lies About Fear

I have realized that pregnancy is a spiritual marathon. Especially after a loss. Trusting and praying, hoping and longing that the baby inside of you remains healthy and continues growing. When you don't have any other children you're chasing around, your focus is 100% on that baby. Has it moved enough over the past hour? Are you staying hydrated enough? etc. etc. You must pace yourself. Heaven knows you couldn't sprint to the finish line even if you wanted to! There's time, and less distraction. On the same note, there is time to keep your emotions and thoughts in check. Time to spend alone with the Lord.

I remember people saying that one of the things they miss about being childless was all the alone time they had. Although I can certainly say I don't miss it, I can acknowledge that this is a definite difference between having children and not.

Once that baby is born, things are totally different. There are diapers to wash, spit up dripping down your shirt, a crying newborn to console. There's dinner to make, a dog to take outside; for crying out loud, you need to brush your teeth too! There are so many things that need your attention that there is rarely a moment to just be by yourself. I had these visions of us having this perfect routine from day 1. I naively expected Emmarie to wake at the same time, sleep the same amount of time, and eat the same amounts every day. Like a beautiful clock the ticks steadily.

Excuse me while I spit water all over the keyboard from laughing. At my stupidity. ;)

There have been so many evenings that I've sat on the couch and realized that I've thought of nothing but a checklist since I woke up that morning. Sometimes I can't remember what was actually on the checklist, but in theory...you know?

The days just get away from you....

It's hard to notice it at first because you're so busy. But in between loads of laundry or feeding your child, those thoughts come into your mind. You know the ones I'm talking about. The kind you wish didn't exist. The thoughts that shouldn't even be an issue in the middle of complete mommy bliss.

But they are...

In the middle of the night, as you rock your sweet, innocent child to sleep, your mind wonders to all the possible what ifs. 

Fear.

It can drive us to be cautious and dig deeper with the Lord....or it can break us.

I don't think you just wake up one morning petrified of something horrific happening. I think fear is a lot like a lie. It starts small and grows until you truly believe it.

There is nothing as uncontrollably intoxicating as the love a mother has for her child. It literally swallows every part of you. God designed us this way, so it's meant to be beautiful. We're meant to love our babies this way so there is no shame in it. There are times when I can hardly take it...I have to pinch her. She's just that adorable. She's perfect. The love I feel for her makes the image of the cross that much more unfathomable. His plan was perfect.

But don't you love how the enemy takes this lovely picture and twists it? You love her so much that your life would incomplete without her....can you even imagine it? And that's how it starts. Small. Little bits of truth and lies that become one big fear over time.

Lately this very real fear has become a daily challenge for me. The endless scenarios. The thoughts that quickly steal the joy out of one of the greatest gifts in life.

And the second I begin to give that fear to the Lord, give her to the Lord, I get stuck. To be honest, sometimes I feel safer living in that fear than I do giving her and the fear up. As though having my grip on her will somehow save her life from whatever fear I think holds her destiny.

I have fought this battle for months, wondering why it's so hard for me to just let go. Let go of the fear that can rule our hearts in regards to our children. Then finally I realized...

The lie: the last time you gave a child to Him, He took him from you.......

And when the truth comes out...that which is really holding me back, I am mortified. Sickened by my own sin, and the lies I believe. Do I really believe that He will take her from me because I let go? Of course not.

You know, the first step to recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem, and figuring out the source ;). In this case, a little old fashioned therapy does us all some good...whether it's from someone with a license or with my keyboard.

These lies, whatever lie we choose to believe, can absolutely cripple us. They achieve the goal that was set out, which was to deceive us, to cause us to try and rely on ourselves, to become afraid, and ultimately to lose our Trust in the One who wants nothing more than to take care of us.

There have been times when I thought there was nothing I could do; I am a mom, fear is part of the game. And to a degree, it is. BUT, I'm learning that it just doesn't need to be that way. It never has, nor will it ever be okay to live a life in such a way.

Now, in the wee hours of the night, while I'm desperately trying to teach my 7 month old to like sleep, I will be praying this verse, believing this verse, and trust Him to help me live it out...

"For God has not given me a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Six Month Old Girl

Time sure is flying by for our little 6 month old. It's so hard to believe she's already hit the half way mark to finishing her first year of life outside the womb.

Our girl.

Have I told you how much of a stinker she is?

She makes us laugh daily with her grunts, scrunched up faces, and constant smiles.


She has a temper and little priss, attitude that will make any momma scared for the teen years! But we love her all the more for her spunk.

She grows more beautiful everyday, and I can't believe something that pretty was born from me! (I'm only a little biased.)

She's hitting milestones pretty well. Rolling over both ways, "talking" up a storm, and very interested in her toys.

Our diva, girl ;)


6 months has brought along some hardships too. For a few weeks she was just not herself. She had been overly fussy, very frustrated while she ate, and not sleeping well. After about two weeks of this we headed to the doctor. I assumed she was only teething, but to my dismay, found out that she had lost almost two pounds since her 4 month check up.

As scary as this has been, we've quickly started her on donor milk and formula to pack on the pounds! In less than a week we've seen a huge difference -- not just in her thighs ;), but in her entire personality! She is SO much more content.

I've been surprised to find that I feel just as rewarded giving her a bottle as I ever did breast feeding. Although we're still doing both, I know I won't be breast feeding her nearly as long as I thought I would. I had always planned to breastfeed her until she didn't want it anymore, but I figured she would be well past a year. I have the same plan, but it could be weeks from now, instead of months and months due to her preference for a bottle. And I think I'm okay with that.

From the time I learned I was pregnant with her, I wanted one thing: a healthy baby. That's still our goal.

Six months has also brought a lot of fun things! FOOD! We are doing Baby Led Weaning with Emmarie. It's messy and sort of crazy, but it certainly takes the pressure off of me and her to consume a certain amount of food. She has control over how much she eats. For now, it's all for fun! So far we've given her avocado, sweet potato, and banana. I just cut her food up in large chunks and let her go for it! She's kind of like a cave man, picking it up by the fist and gnawing on it. Most of the time, though, it just slides through her little hand, and then the remnants wind up all over her face. Nice.

The goal is that as she grows, her little fingers will become more coordinated at getting the food into her mouth. But while we wait on that, she's going to be trying out lots of different textures, tastes and smells, developing a healthy palette and appetite, at her own pace!

I love you so much baby girl! I still cannot believe that I get to love and parent you. What a privilege! Being home with you is an absolute joy! Keep growing sweet, Emmarie Cate!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Time

I want time to slow down in the worst kind of way. Lately I've spent way too much time spilling over pictures and videos of my sweet girl from just a few months ago, and it makes my heart ache. How could she have changed this much already?

Her little cry, so sweet and new, has already turned to a baby's cry. Where did my snotty, grunty newborn go?


Her slender legs, fresh from the oven, were wrinkled with sweet goodness, lacking the fat so many babies earn as they grow. Where did it go?

It must have happened while we slept. While we dreamed of sleep, for sure, when sleep seemed forever away. It must have happened while I wished for her to sit up, or roll over, or coo for the first time. It must have happened while I danced around her, doing things only a mother would do, trying to achieve the first smile. It must have been then...

Was I not looking? Did I not keep my eyes on her the whole time?

I thought I meant to take captive every single expression she made, wrinkle of her nose, smell of her skin, and size of her toes. But somehow I didn't. Because here I am four months later, wondering what happened.

Last night we drove home from a birthday celebration. Night was pitch black, and the car was silent. A tiny bunny went bounding across the road, Ruben put on the breaks and we both stared at each other and smiled. A bunny. The symbol of our son. Our sweet boy, our bunny. For months after he died, I saw bunnies everywhere. It was God's reminder to me that he wasn't as far away as it felt. Has it really been that long?

Time. It replenishes, and it breaks our hearts all at once.

Watching our daughter go from a newborn to a baby reminds me of so many things. Sometimes I rock her and kiss her, and I just want to tell her everything. I want her to know that she is immeasurably loved. And not just by us. But by Him. The One who made her. I want her to know that she can stay a child as long as she wants. Don't grow up too quickly, love. And I don't mean just physically...

I want to tell her how hard her daddy works for her. Even if it's hard on us. I want her to understand, as I try to understand, that it's for us. For our future.

I want to tell her of a little boy that was once our only child. The boy I thought I would never stop hurting over. The boy she will meet one day. I want her to know his name, and say it often. My brother, Elias. I want her to know that our family includes that little boy. Always.



I want her to know about her future. Her victorious future. I want her to know that her future, and the One who created it, claims her as a beautiful treasure. I want those words to rule her heart. As she grows from a baby, to a little girl, to a woman...you are a beautiful treasure.

And my heart hurts because there are so many things I want her to know. To believe. And I feel like there's not enough time in the day for it all. I fear my slipping up and forgetting to pay attention will ruin it all. I fear my temper or carelessness will somehow mess up everything. I want to stop all the nonsense of this life, and just live the important things. But I can't.


At some point, I have to trust her with the One who loves her more than I. I have to trust she is in His hands. I have to trust that watching her grow up will be both a sacred and joyful experience, albeit bittersweet at times. I have to trust that my love for her will cover my mistakes; that He will cover my mistakes.


Is parenthood just some cruel joke? Some incredibly intoxicating experience that brings such joy, yet pain at once. My obsession with my daughter is so small in comparison to my Father's obsession for me. I can't fathom it. I will never understand it. But yet, it's true. To think of giving up my own daughter as Christ gave His son...that picture alone will make any mother shutter.


I think that's why He allows us to love our children as courageously as we do. How would we ever understand His love? It's really a beautiful picture.



And that's what I want her to know. And so much more...that my love for her is incredibly large. It fills every part of my being, until I feel so full that I might burst; but His love is so much greater. More complete than anything I could ever offer her.

Oh sweetie, just embrace it.

You have eternity's time...


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I Love Cupcakes

Cupcakes. I ate them almost weekly throughout my entire pregnancy. How in the world I only gained 22lbs is beyond me. About once a week me and my little charges would march ourselves over to the local bakery and pick out a cupcake. They loved pregnant, Trish. Who wouldn't?!

After Emmarie was born we realized she might have some sensitivities to dairy. Which, is awful. So sad. For me. Emmarie doesn't know the difference and will likely grow out of it, but I can no longer enjoy sour cream and cheese in a bowl of chili. It's tragic!

Initially, going without dairy helped, but she continues to have other issues. Really bad diaper rashes that seem to appear without cause, dry patches on her skin, etc. Soooo, I went to a lactation consultant to try and figure out what the issue might be. And the story gets even more tragic. I've been told to avoid gluten.

Gluten? You mean flour? Wheat? CUPCAKES?! Not cool, LC, not cool.

Did you know that gluten is in everything? Well, except for dairy...

Go figure.

SO, as I left the doctor's office, tummy rumbling, I began thinking about my various options for food.

Well, there's broccoli....oh, and spinach! And... milk, oh wait, that's dairy. So, okay, do legumes count?


And there you go. I officially can eat: beans, broccoli, and spinach.


All for this adorable face (and the tiny jeans gathering dust in my closet.)


[fyi, I am aware that there are other options! :) But in the midst of such great culinary loss, it's hard to see the truth.]


Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday.

Today has been a hard day. I'm struggling with being worn out, overwhelmed, and just typical new-mom stuff. Ruben is in grad school and it has officially become grad school, if you know what I mean. Just hard. Lots of writing. Lots of studying. Not a lot of family time.

I ordered Emmarie's Easter outfit about two months ago. I was pretty sure that ordering a 3 month outfit would fit her just right since she was on the small side. She'll be 3.5 months on Sunday, and would you believe, that sucker is too big. Awesome.

Financially, things are tough. I'm not working anymore (well, that's not completely true. I'll write about that later.) so we just don't have the income to make a lot of purchases. So little Emmarie has things to go inside of an Easter basket, but she doesn't actually have an Easter basket. Sad, I know. I realize she won't know the difference, which is why I decided to forgo the basket, but still...it was kind of part of the dream. The gorgeous smocked dress, the basket with her name on it, etc.

Emmarie's first Easter is becoming not quite what this momma planned.

Enter Reality Check:

This week I keep thinking about last Easter. I was so so sad. For some reason Easter and Mother's Day were some of my hardest days to get through. I actually sang on Easter Sunday and I remember standing behind the stage and just crying. I was so overwhelmed by the thought of Christ dying for me, saving me, and that Elias was already a part of the glory of Heaven.

I'm only a year from that point in my life, and already my outlook on Easter has changed again. I'm more concerned over my daughter's outfit than I am that she knows what Easter is really about. And of course that's not really true, but my actions sure don't speak any differently.

Emmarie's presence in my life has been so healing that I've forgotten how impossibly painful it was to be without her brother. If I had heard a mom complaining about something as petty as an Easter dress not fitting a year ago, I would have thought at least you HAVE a baby to put in an Easter dress.

OUCH. Reality is harsh.

Last year all I could think of was how incredibly thankful I was that I knew Elias had been saved; that he was with the Lord, and I need not worry about his eternity. Talk about huge peace and comfort.

This year. I need to pull off my earthly blinders and remember....today is Friday. He came for a purpose. He came to save my daughter -- my sweet, beautiful, sinner of a daughter. My job isn't to make sure her dress is the prettiest or bow is the biggest (although, it normally is.) My job is to teach her that Jesus carried and hung on a cross for her.

Lord, don't let me get so swept away in the treasures of this world. May I put her life in your hands, and plead with you to draw her sweet heart to yours. 

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