Sunday, October 25, 2009

Moving ahead...not yet

I don't think I am able to move ahead in this devotional business yet. Lately I seem to be overwhelmed with tears. My friend Julie just celebrated her 2nd angelversary and it made me remember the days surrounding the diagnosis and loss of Cole. I just can't believe how much it hurts when I think of him and all that our family has lost. I think of all the plans I had and I think of all the times I watched my two babes on the ultrasounds.
Right now I am planning for our Christmas pictures and know that back a year ago it was a real focus of would I get all the pics done that we needed but more importantly what would they wear.
Why did we get chosen for this journey God? Why does my son have to grow up without his twin? If TTTS is so rare then why did it have to be me that it happened to?
Yesterday my mom was telling me about someone she went to highschool with who's children have had 11 pregancies between them and only 1 live baby to enjoy. She said 'I thought back to all we went through last winter with you and realized that there are people who have it so much worse....and that we could have had it so much worse and came so close'. I know she says it to comfort, many people say this to me. I say it to me and I know it's true....many other TTTS famlies that I've met online have lost both their babes in the last month or so. I KNOW we are lucky, I GET THAT!!! But I still ache for my son, I still long to see his face, smell his baby smell, feel his heart beating and enjoy the moments of love and adoration that I have with Cameron.
This week I talked to Theresa, the minister we love dearly....also the mom of twins who were born so very early and journeyed a long and trying journey in the NICU. We were talking about doing everything right and knowing there was no blame on our parts. Then we spoke about how having answers about the medical 'stuff' helps. We know that Cole had a poor cord insertion and very poor placental share...that if he'd survived TTTS he wouldn't have likely survived the growth issues and would have been born super early or died later on anyway. We know that the doctor did, for the most part, all the scans he needed to do and all the checking they should have been done. He should have sent me to a higher level OB but it wouldn't have made a difference. And so that means there was no blame on the parts of any medical professionals. And then that means that the blame lies with.....yup you got it God. He made the decision, he controlled how my placenta formed, he controlled when the fluids became an issue and ultimately he controlled Cole's life and his death. God also controlled Cameron's life and kept him from dying.
And so for now I will try so hard not to be angry, not to blame and to forgive. I will try to move ahead and rejoice in the gifts God has given just might take some time. And while I do it I'll just hold that little miracle that he blessed me with a wee bit tighter!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Devotion #19 - Forgiving God

The topic of forgiveness continues to plague me and seems to keep me from progressing on this journey of mine. I was and am so very proud of myself for being able to forgive and move ahead from those that caused me pain when we lost Cole. It is very hard to do this but it was something I knew I needed to do.
So then I moved into forgiving myself...another hard thing to do but once I realized (and remembered) that the guilt I was feeling was really surrounding my reactions to our news of twins and not really how I felt about their upcoming arrival....that I used the stress of it all as a way to prepare and ensure that we were ready and that I really was overjoyed at the news that I was carrying twins....I was able to move ahead and forgive myself..
And so the next chapter in the book was about forgiving God. It reminded me of how I felt and what I wrote on the chapter on being angry with God. I really truly thought I wasn't angry with him when Cole died. And even when I wrote the devotion on being angry with him I wasn't as angry as I was confused. Now I am supposed to write about what I haven't forgiven God for...and I thought this would be easy. But I wept and wept as I wrote and wept and wept as I read it outloud. And I realize I am so very angry at God and don't know how to forgive him for taking my son from me.
From the book Grieving the Child I never knew - "The concept of 'forgiving God' makes me feel uneasy. Yet anger and bitterness toward God are far more common than most would like to admit. If we are honest about our anger toward God and admit how we feel that God has let us down or has been unfair; then we can begin to heal."
And for me, it's not about forgiving God because I believe that is keeping me from a closer relationship with him...I'm not sure I am at that place yet as a Christian. For me, forgiving God is more about moving forward in healing....being able to cope with the pain and loss and seeing the positives in everything that has happened.
The book tells a story of a young woman who lost a baby and had a friend who gave her a helium balloon and a marker. She wrote all of her hurts, her disappointments, her anger and all that she blamed God for and then released it to heaven as a way to sooth her soul. I didn't have a balloon nor did I want to release my feelings towards God this way as eventually that balloon will come down and who knows who will find it.
Instead I wrote a letter and read it to God in Cole's garden

You let me down. You didn’t save Cole when you could have. You could have stopped TTTS from happening to my boys but you didn’t. You could have made the placenta perfect so that no growth issues would have happened but you didn’t. You didn’t have to separate my boys forever, you didn’t need another angel in Heaven. You took my baby from me before I could ever enjoy seeing him and feeling his soft sweet skin. You allowed me no time to be his mommy and to be the mommy of living twins. You did this to me and I have no idea why.
You could have intervened and allowed Geoff and I to have time with both our boys and have moments to hold them together. You could have given me courage, peace and strength to hold, touch and kiss Cole.
You could have allowed me to enjoy the pregnancy with my twins and eased my mind about my stresses but that didn’t happen.
If all these horrible things had to happen than the least that could have happened was for me to remain here at home with my other kids until it was time for Cameron to arrive….but that didn’t happen either.
I am so damn angry sometimes, I want to move on but really I just want it all to start over again. I hurt and I ache and I want my baby here with me. It’s been months since he died, months since I last saw him and yet it feels like just yesterday that I heard those fated words.
Take this anger and this blame…I offer it up to you and ask that you forgive me for feeling this way. Help me to release to You my unmet expectations so that I can continue to heal.

Then I burnt the paper....

And blew the ashes up in the air. They swirled around me and then scattered....some floating away to heaven and others falling gently around me in Cole's beautiful garden.
I can only hope that God can forgive me for thinking that I need to forgive him....he doesn't need forgiveness because he didn't do anything matter how hard it is for me to accept that Cole is gone and was never meant to be a part of our lives here on earth except as the angel he is, God is all poweful and knowing and has a reason and a time for everything. I don't think it will be as easy to move on as this...just scattering my feelings and releasing them to the wind. But hopefully I can begin to heal knowing that God understands how hard it is and is here for me whenever I need him.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A craptastic day....

I have been reading and posting on various websites lately that support babes with issues related to being identical twins. I am having such a craptastic time of it lately as I read about all of these babies that survive after such tremendous struggles. My heart aches for Cole and I want to be one of the lucky ones...why can't we be a miracle case with two survivors!!!
I've spent most of this week soul searching about my guilt and trying to forgive myself and I realized that maybe I am a whole lot closer to that then I thought I was. I wrote this in my letter to the boys on the anniversary of the day I learned I was expecting twins
"I have so often wrote about the guilt I have felt about not being excited about having twins. but when I look back I realize I was excited but I was also realistic. By being realistic and worrying about the things that were going to be hard I was beginning, early, to solve the problems we might have before they arrived. It seemed to me like I wasn’t enjoying my twin pregnancy when I first looked back at it but the more I think about it the more I realize and remember how much I marveled at all things ‘twin’. It was the most special time of my life and for as much as I wasn’t jumping up and down and showing overt excitement I know that I was so very happy, so excited and so eager to meet you both."
All it took was for me to reread this to remember, to think about the joy and wonderment that I felt when I learned about Cole and Cameron and how much excitement there was in being the mommy of twins.....oh how I wanted it even though it scared me so!!!
Which then tells me that although I've forgiven myself and don't feel the same guilt I thought I was feeling I am now grieving all over again. Doesn't seem fair does it. Why can't I be that twin mommy, why didn't we get to be the lucky ones? I don't even have to ask why it hurts so much because I know why...because I didn't get to meet my son, didn't get to hold him in my arms and caress his skin, have him snuggle up to me like his brother does, smell his baby essence and hold him like I'll never let go. It hurts because it's a loss that never goes away, a place of what ifs that never get answered and an emptiness that never gets filled completely. Life isn't meant to be fair or easy and in knowing this I know that I could let this emptiness consume me but what does that prove. How does that honour this special boy who's forever touched our hearts, who's kicks I felt in my womb, who heartbeat I heart so strongly and who loved me just as much as I loved him. And how does shutting down and letting it consume me show any respect for the little boy who survived and beat the odds? Or his big brothers who are such little miracles in their own rights?
And so, the tears are dried up....for now. I will try my best to not look at those survivors with such a jealous heart and try to remember how wonderful my life truly is!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Devotion #18 – Journey to the Snowdrift of Forgiving Yourself

I am teary already and I haven’t even started typing…as you can imagine, this is a very tough point in this journey of healing and faith. Admitting that I need to forgive myself before I can move on is tough….well maybe I should reword this to say that allowing myself to forgive myself, to let go of the anger and guilt is very hard. Sometimes I think it is easier to just feel this awful then to push myself to move on.
I have never blamed myself for the loss of Cole in the medical sense. There was nothing I could have done to prevent TTTS from robbing me of the ‘perfect twin pregnancy’…I did everything right and was healthier than I’d ever been with either of the big boys. But part of me has always felt like this happened to me because I didn’t want my twins enough….that I wasn’t joyful enough about their arrival, that I didn’t celebrate them enough and that when people congratulated me my most common response was ‘thanks I guess or I’m glad you are so excited because I’m not sure I am.’. I hate so much that I reacted that way. I hate that I can’t go back and take those reactions back. I hate so much that my children must have known how much their mommy wasn’t sure about being the mommy of twins. And yes, I do feel like maybe I caused this awfulness to happen to us by being this way. If only I had been happier, if only I been amazed at the miracle that was and is Cole and Cameron….if only I could have just been as excited as the people around me. I also feel tremendous guilt about how I felt about Cole after he passed away and after Cameron was born. I just was never really sure how he would have fit into our family, how we would have managed. I sort of felt…well feel still at times….that this was meant to be for those reasons not because God has bigger plans for Cole, for me and for our family.
Am I ready to forgive myself and move on. I don’t know, I honestly don’t know. Maybe part of me holds on to this guilt because it allows me keep grieving and being sad and in that keeps me holding on to Cole more. But that brings me back to things I said back when I started this blog…by not letting go, by wishing Cole was here and wanting to go back in time and change things then I am wishing for Cole to not be in Paradise and though I’d rather have Cole here, I know that his life is so great because he gets to go there sooner…none of the stresses, sadness, pain and trials of life will ever touch him.
My guilt, anger and self condemnation keeps me from God and things that keep us from God are ultimately sins. I need to forgive myself and ask God to forgive me for keeping myself from him. Am I ready for this…I hope so. I think by admitting it here that maybe it’s the first step to the end of this journey….and HUGE step forward.

God I feel so guilty for the way I felt in the early weeks after I learned of my twins existence. I often blame myself for the loss of Cole because I feel like I just didn’t want to be that twin mommy enough and wasn’t joyful enough about them. Although others try to comfort and console me, deep down inside I’m haunted by the thought that if I’d only been more excited about them, only been able to be only positive about their arrival then maybe I’d have them both here and wouldn’t have this label of being the mom of an angel and a survivor. I feel completely snowed in from my grief. My mound of self-condemnation is so high outside the door of my heart that I feel as if I’ll never be able to dig out. Help me God. Enable me to forgive myself. Dig through the snowdrift of my guilt and melt away my blame. You are the One who has the power to set me free.

Friends – if ever there was a time during this journey of grief and healing that I need your prayers, now would be it. I am really struggling right now as I admit what holds me back and try so hard to forgive myself and learn to not feel guilty. I have a feeling it’s going to take awhile to move forward from here and am not sure I’ll be able to do devotions for a bit as I work through the feelings evoked from this one. Thanks for your support, your love and your prayers.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Devotion # 16&17 - Hidden Unforgiveness and Forgiving Others

It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted…or atleast it feels that way to me. The next two devotions are about forgiveness and how that can get in the way of your healing. It is so hard for me to admit that my unwillingness to forgive some people about how they’ve dealt with our loss is keeping me from moving forward in my healing journey and keeping me from being closer to God.
I remember talking to a doctor at my 6 week check up about post partum depression…I mean lets be honest, I’m a pretty good candidate for it this time around you’d think. She said to me “well you seem to be doing very well, I’m not concerned about you at all. You are dealing with it all, talking about it and you look good”. My thought…boy I was fooling her. And I think I do that a lot. Sometimes I think people must think I am the most casual person when it comes to sweet angel boy. And then others seem to think I should be moving forward faster, focusing on the gift of Cameron more and not dwelling on the loss of Cole and what could have been.
But no one really knows what goes on in my head….including me. And when I ask God to help me, to guild me to see what is holding me back I know that one of the things that holds me back is ‘unforgiveness’.
I know I have come very far in this journey of forgiving. At the start the person who I’ve had the hardest time forgiving was the person I talked about the most. I was so very angry with him for making me feel like my loss wasn’t of any value and with his unwillingness to share our sad news with some people who were important to me. I told everyone about what he’d said and done and everyone agreed with me…the guy was an ass and the most insensitive jerk they’d ever heard about. The grief therapist we saw in December told me to write him a letter to tell him how I felt…but of course not to send it. It helped and I moved on somewhat but I never forgave him and even now it is so very hard to do this. But I realize, especially after speaking to someone this week about where his life has gone since I last saw him, that he is hurting so much and suffering enough already without me hanging any more guilt on to him. He has some pretty serious issues of his own and I’m sure those relate to why he treated me, my loss and my family the way he did. He is not where he wants to be in his life and not where he wants to be with God either I don’t think. By not forgiving him I am keeping myself from moving on but worse than that by being angry with him and holding him accountable for what he said and did I am putting more stress on someone who needs my prayers not my anger. And so there it is…I forgive you S.P….you deserve this and so do I. I pray for you that you will see how your actions have hurt others and that you will be able to find the help and support you need.
I also need to forgive those who I felt so ‘forgotten’ by when all of this happened to us. There were so many wonderful people who supported us through our entire journey and continue to support me…I hear from some them every week or two…they are so truly amazing. And unfortunately there are also those who just weren’t there for me, those who I was so certain would come to see me and call me often when I was in London and that just didn’t happen. I do not know if I’ll ever know why this happened but it did make me realize that we all change and grow as we get older and our friends change too. Sometimes it’s just time to let go of some friendships and learn to treasure new ones. So I forgive those who I felt so forgotten by, who I felt so unsupported by. It doesn’t matter anymore and it’s time to move forward.
The other area of unforgiveness lies with my doctor and isn’t too significant anymore though I think it was a few months ago. I know that he did what he thought was enough…enough ultrasounds, enough check ups. There really was no way to know what was happening within my body, within my placenta. Cole hid his complications and pain from us for good reasons and there really was no reason for my doctor to send me for better scans. I forgive him for missing the problems with Cole because I know that it was meant to happen the way it did.
And last but not least, I forgive all of those people who’ve said the unkind words that minimize our loss, those who just can’t understand that Cole is forever part of my heart and telling me that it was for the best isn’t EVER going to make me feel better. I forgive them in Jesus’ words “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”.

God help me to forgive these people and others in my life who upset me with their actions, words and lack of support. It is not my right to pass judgment on anyone nor is it my right to blame. Help me release my blame and move forward. Release me from my anger and fill me with Your love and forgiveness so I can continue my healing journey.