Tuesday, November 29, 2011

That Mom

At this time six months ago we were welcoming family and friends to our home in the anticipation of Palmer's birth. It was a happy time mixed with the fear of the unknown.

Since Palmer's birth, society has painted me into 'that mom'.

That mom whose baby died. Oh yes. Don't you remember me telling you about her. She is the one who had that baby that died. No. Babies don't just die. She must have had a miscarriage. Yeah. A miscarriage. That sounds better. If we call it a miscarriage it is easier forgotten. Besides no one actually knows their baby will die before it is born. So yeah. It must have been a miscarriage. There is no way she willingly carried him to term knowing he would die.

Oh no. Here comes that mom. Don't make eye contact. She might start talking about her baby that died. We can't let her bring it up or mention it at all. Quick. Turn the corner. Oh I hope she didn't see us.

That mom is crazy! Who thinks rain can make you feel closer to your dead child. I hope she feels comfort in all that delusion she is living in.

Oh. Its that mom. Oh poor thing. Well lets make sure we are super supportive but please, at all cost, we need to avoid mentioning her babies name. Christmas is coming and we just can't say his name out loud. We don't want her having a break down at the mention of his name.

That mom. *sigh*

I really hate to burst some bubbles out there but I am not that mom. Who I am, is that mom who delivered a full-term infant who was born with a beating heart. I am that mom who loved her son unconditionally, and yes, chose to continue a pregnancy knowing the end result would be death either during birth or shortly after. I am that mom who mourns her son in her own way and on her own time and will not be told that she is doing it wrong.  I am that mom who continues to embrace the plan God has for her son and who rejoices in the fact that she has an angel looking down on her from Heaven.

I am that mom who wants to talk about her son ~ especially during the holiday seasons and those special anniversary dates. The moment we stop talking about those we lost, is the moment we forget about them. I am not going to crack or crumble at the mention of his name, but I will if he is forgotten. I am my own person and will never let society paint me into 'that mom'. I am Palmer's mom.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What is Normal?

The last month has been a whirl wind in the Lees household... school, homework, class parties, doctor  appointments, work, work and more work it seems... but finally we find life starting to slow down a bit.

Three weeks ago we took Spencer to Children's Mercy in Kansas City for his testing. We anticipated the echo under sedation followed by a heart cath to fix a defect. Overjoyed is what we felt when his cardiologist explained in the post-surgery consult room that the area he was concerned about was normal and a heart cath was not necessary. This 'area' had a very obvious difference in thickness from the rest of the ovale... it trailed off to a very thin membrane. There is no danger with it being thin, all the area needs to do is stop the blood flow between the chambers in the heart. Scott asked him directly if it closed off on its own over the last three months. We were answered with a smile and misty eyes and told we could take him home as soon as recovery released him.

This was a huge weight off our shoulders. For the first time this year, we felt like we could finally relax. I didn't realize how stressed I was until about a week before his procedure. I couldn't focus on the simplest of tasks. I even left my car keys laying on a shelf in the mall... so out of character for me. The evening we brought Spencer home from the hospital was the first night I actually had continuous and rested sleep since January.

Three weeks ago also marked the end of Scott's travel time for the season. He is home now until May with his suitcase unpacked instead of waiting by the door. Our routine has started to fall back into place as we try to figure out our 'new norm' as a family. Most days I question what 'normal' our life is supposed to hold. Our normal consists of a five year old proudly proclaiming he is looking for the 'perfect shade of pink and purple' flowers to take to his brother. Or asking to buy 'awesome' toys in duplicate to leave at the cemetery so that his brother can fly down from Heaven to get them. Almost daily I get asked when I will grow another baby in my belly... a baby that won't go to Heaven right away. Try answering that one without crying... and then try to explain why you are crying.... then wake up the next morning and go about your day while you listen to parents complain about the 'trials' of pregnancy or how hard life is with a newborn. Normal is looking through Spencer's school work and finding the 'family' picture he drew. A picture that includes Scott, myself, Spencer and Palmer. On the outside looking in, we may appear normal... but our normal always takes on a different twist.

Our new life does not always seem to fit the typical family mold... in some ways... but we are doing our best to grow into it each day. The part of our 'normal' that will never change is love. The questions may be tough and we may not have all the answers, but our love will never falter. As Spencer said last night, 'Mommy. I love you all the way to where my brother lives and back again.' I guess that is even better than the moon....