Friday, April 30, 2010
As much as I could write about all that we thought this day would be with Maelee here... I want to simply say that I love my husband. I love being married to him. God has blessed me with Greg and I am grateful.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
So we’re going with tough days and then tougher ones. Yesterday was tougher. Greg had to be up early and spend the day in Greenville for work. This one day a year he gets to be outside, not in a cubicle, handing out free water in a gorgeous park… normally a super fun day. But in the back of his mind was how excited he was for this day (it’s been on his schedule for months) coming home to baby and me. He had to face yet another unfulfilled expectation… no newborn to come home to and share the joy of his away-from-cubicle day.
I didn’t sleep well and was already in a missing-Maelee-so-much mood when I called the doctor about some weird symptoms and was told I had to go in that afternoon. That’s probably when the day went from tough to tougher. I now despise our OBGYN office. I would be content NEVER going back there. Not only is it where we had the worst moment of our lives, but it’s actually connected to the hospital where we delivered. And the office has pregnant people and newborns going for their 6-week check-ups… something I just can’t see right now.
Thankfully my mom-in-law is here and was able to come with me so I didn’t have to go by myself. But man, I hate that blasted place. Too many memories. I wish they could put a stamp on my folder that made everyone aware of our tragedy… or a “handle with care” sort of sticker. I know they are just doing their job and some of them can’t read patient files, but seriously, do you have to ask if I’m pregnant? It also doesn’t help that the doctors don’t seem to be very proactive… they have done their jobs and I’m not blaming them but let’s be a little more concerned and on top of things please.
Part of my tougher day was probably also due to the emotional remnants of going to the support group on Tuesday night. I think I’ll be blessed by the relationships I’ll have with the people from the group but probably not as much from the group meetings themselves. It’s just hard for me to open up and be totally vulnerable in front of a group of strangers. And so difficult, for Greg especially, to hear other tragic stories of babies dying. We still were reminded of some good things (like the fact that we all grieve differently) and it’s nice to have other people know more exactly what we are going through (sort of a fellowship of similar suffering). But I told Greg he never has to go again and he was very relieved.
The end of our tougher day was a little better. A few friends came over and prayed over us and loved us. They passed around Maelee’s hand print and foot print and little hair and I thought “we were supposed to be passing Maelee around the room for our friends to hold… not this.” And sweet Rachel and Jonathan gave us a beautiful frame with Maelee’s name engraved on it – an early mother’s day gift for me.
So that’s where our days are now: tough and tougher. Looking forward to when it’s just tough and eventually when it’s “good” again, knowing that our “good” will never be quite the same.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Especially those of you with young kids, you know exactly what we’re missing because you're enjoying new things every day—the first words, the first bite of chocolate ice cream, the first steps, the first whatever.
I know a lot of you have probably been holding your kids closer at night these past few weeks. You’ve probably been a little more patient with diaper changes and crying and whining and complaining and neediness … because you see that we won't get to experience that with Maelee. You don’t know what cha got, till it’s gone. It’s gone for us. You see that, and now you see that what cha got is a reward from God. (Psalm 127:3)
So read an extra story to your kids for us. Hang out with them instead of watching TV. Play dolls or house (or whatever girls like to do) instead of putzing around the house in passivity. Take some time to teach them about God and the truth of his Word instead of letting your kids' friends or TV or humanistic reasoning dictate that. Do for us the things we so wish we could do.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Thanks to those that have sent us Maelee's name in creative ways for her name book. I LOVE to see her name and can't wait to have a whole book of Maelee, Maelee Linn, MLK, Maelee Linn Kasowski. We will put a slide show of all the images on here eventually. Check out this blog our friend commented about if you would like to do something but need some creative ideas: http://wemakewords.blogspot.com
Thanks to those that have blessed us with food... we are very thankful. Our friends set up this web site where people can sign up to bring us a meal (who knew there were sites dedicated to this) but others of you that didn't get the email about the site have asked so here's the info:
http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/c/625424/ - Fill out the right-hand side of the form which is a "Request to Join the ". Once you've done this, Amanda will receive an email that will allow her to "approve" your membership. Once she's done the approval, you'll be added and sent instructions on how to sign in.
Sounds complicated and full of steps... so no worries if you don't want to do all that.
So thanks, friends and family, for all your help.
We could not go through losing Maelee without other people carrying us through... I know I wouldn't be able to make it. Tonight we are going to our first support group for those that have lost a child late in pregnancy... it's going to be incredibly tough but it will be good for us (hopefully) to be around those that have been in our shoes. Shoes we would never, ever wish on anyone.
I really miss her.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
The people out there don’t know the dark cloud hanging over me. I know the cloud will someday lift or lighten… but it’s going to take time, take healing for that. And I just can’t fake it. I can’t fake being happy or smiling about something dumb. I don’t have it in me to be nicey-nice when I don’t mean it.
So how do I interact with this world now?
I can’t go around just being a jerk. But I want to be authentic. I can’t expect the world to all come under my dark cloud. But I can’t stand the thought of Maelee being forgotten. I can’t expect to never see babies or happy families or children laughing. But it hurts to see what I lost.
So apologies to the world*… I will not be a jerk (hopefully) but I will probably not look you in the eye. I won’t say more than a few words. I won’t spend time chit-chatting. I know that may come across as rude but my dark cloud just hasn’t lifted yet.
*World = waitresses, clerk at the grocery store, dude walking past me, other random people. To those of you that care enough for us to be reading this (not the “world” but our friends and family), I will hopefully be able to interact more with you than with the world (and interact more authentically). Just know I may not be “myself” for awhile and know I will never be normal Heather again. I have heard that eventually a “new normal” will come. But right now, I have no idea what that looks like.
PS- I just realized that you may be wondering where I went as I ventured out into the scary world. Greg and I took my mom to Charlotte on Saturday for her flight to MN and we went to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch. I saw a handful of strollers in our very short time there… I had to dodge my eyes so I wouldn’t start crying. I didn’t look away fast enough and saw the cutest little feet once. I ached. We came back to Columbia and I had a few hours of despair and sobbing – being out was hard, seeing my mom go was hard, seeing Greg get angry is hard. We also went to church this morning which was also tough… since we had so looked forward to bringing Maelee there, sharing her with our new friends.
I wrote a short story about my first few days back at work. We also just went back to church this morning. I’ve realized most people don't know what to say ... let me rephrase that ... nobody knows what to say ... unless you've been through this exact thing. I know you want to say something, but you just don’t know what. So, hopefully this story will help you a little.
There’s a big elephant camped out by my desk.
Most people would like to tip toe around him. But he’s just so dang big.
Some people want to move him out. But he's too dang big. “It would make us all feel a lot better if we could just get together and move him out. That way you wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore.” Sorry, a hundred thousand people couldn’t move this elephant out of here.
Acquaintances do it right when they walk by and say, “That’s a big elephant. Sorry he’s got to be there. We’re glad to see you back though. I will talk to you later.”
Friends do it right when they come by, sit down and pet the elephant. They don’t have to say much, just whatever they had prepared when they knew the elephant would be there. They don't have to stay long. They're friends, so they can tell how long to stay.
Some people completely disregard the elephant and trample on him. They try to put a big rug on top of him before they talk.
Hopefully, starvation will cause this elephant to slowly whittle away. Its carcass will always be there. But it won't be as much in your face. I'll always know he's there. But you'll probably forget over time.
So in layman's terms ... here's a quick guide for you on what to say:
Acquaintances: Just please acknowledge it's there. All you really have to say is, "I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm thinking and praying for you. It's good to see you back. I will talk to you later." That's it. That's all. I'd love that.
Friends: Something like this is just fine: "I'm so sorry about Maelee. I wish you didn't have to go through this. I want to fix everything and make it better, but I can't. I know you miss Maelee." And if you genuinely mean it, you can add) "I miss Maelee too. I was really looking forward to meeting her." (Then, if you've had questions about Maelee, you can ask those. We usually like to talk about Maelee. And yes, you can say her name.)
And finally, if you're reading this, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, for caring. That means more than anything. The fact that you don't want to hurt us by saying something stupid, that means a lot. I know it’s probably been hard for you too.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
My friend sent us this photo today with the following words:
"The post Greg did on April 19th of Maelee's name touched my heart. I don't know if this is something that you would like to do, but I thought I would share it and it may help. A family who lost their daughter three days after being born created a Name Gallery on their blog. They offered for friends and family to take pictures of their daughter's name (examples: written in the sand, spelled with blocks, written with ribbons). They posted the pictures on their blog and they are creating a book of her name."
I want to do this. I love this photo of Maelee's name in azalea blossoms. I love her name; seeing her name on anything somehow makes me feel connected to her. Today I cried seeing her name on the Bank of America statement that came in the mail. Another friend gave me a necklace with Maelee's name and birth date engraved on it... I'm wearing it right now and it is already becoming one of my favorite treasures.
So, family and friends, I hope you can get creative in helping us with Maelee's name book. You have been helping us by staying connected with us through our blog, praying for us, loving us... and now you can help us fill a book with images of her name (you can e-mail us and we'll put a book together eventually).
If you are worried that seeing her name will hurt us in some way, don't be. Both Greg and I love to see her name. It helps. And so you know, I almost always want to talk about Maelee. So if you stop by, don't be afraid to mention her.
Today has been rough, so hard, so raw with emotion. Yet when I see my daughter's name in flower blooms, I cry with at least some joy mixed in the sorrow.
It Helps Us
BECAUSE WE CAN SOMEWHAT CONTROL THE GRIEVING
Back in the day, people would stop by in droves after someone’s death. It’s been tough to have a lot of people around. We have a few stop by here and there, and that’s worked out well. And when we’ve had too much social interaction for one day, we can just stop, without having to kick 25 people out of the house. If you’re a counselor, maybe you know if this is an unhealthy way of doing things. Maybe we’re supposed to always have people around? I don’t know.
BECAUSE IT INCLUDES EVERYONE, EXCLUDES NO ONE
We don’t know where to draw the line with e-mails and phone calls. Do we e-mail this person and not that person? Do we call this person but only e-mail this person? We just decided to put the information out there for everyone … and I mean EVERYONE. That saves us stress and social responsibilities that hinder the grieving process.
So if you know someone who doesn’t read this (and would like to) because they don't know what a mouse or keyboard is, would you please print out the posts for them? If you really want it realistic and traditional, you could copy and paste the text and then change the words to a scripty font. Then forge our signature at the bottom, I don’t care.
BECAUSE IT'S THERAPEUTIC
I kind of have an idea of who’s reading, but not really. That’s probably a good thing. Then I can be more transparent. That’s therapeutic. And I deal with words all day and enjoy writing. So putting together a crisp and clean web journal post makes me think I’ve accomplished something. I can organize the messy grieving process into a nice little box.
It Helps You
BECAUSE YOU'RE HINDERED BY DISTANCE
For those of you far away, I think it’s helped you. You want to be here with us, but distance hinders that. We’re trying to give you a picture of what it’s like inside our house so you feel like you’re here.
BECAUSE YOU LOVE US
I don’t understand why anyone would be drawn to this web journal if it weren’t for them loving us. This is some deep, dark, messy stuff. Who’s drawn to this without some connection to us? Who really wants to be dreary and depressed when there’s so much fun and excitement outside this dark corner? So it’s good that when you’re ready to read, you can read. When you’re not, you just stay away.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Throughout this process I’ve tried to prepare myself for what’s ahead. I’ve read some materials from the hospital, read some stuff online. I’ve had a hard time finding stuff aimed at men. Most of it’s focused on women. I, as a male, get one little paragraph in a 30-page booklet from the hospital. Grandparents got a bigger section. I do a Google search for “fathers grieving stillborn daughter,” and I get a couple of blog sites—but it’s poor writing and hard to follow. And it’s aimed at some muscular gruff-scruffy guy who wouldn’t even cry if you paid him a million dollars. And most of the people who post comments on these sites are women … go figure.
Maybe women are more verbal, and so they’re writing all the materials. You could probably make a case that women are more connected to the baby, so they’ll have a tougher time grieving. There’s probably some books out there for me, I just haven’t looked too deep into it. Maybe you know some good books for guys like me.
So all that to say, I learned I wasn’t prepared for today. No one told me about all the hidden expectations. A new dad, coming home from his first day of work, hot wife on the porch, cute baby in tow, both eagerly anticipating. That's been completely crushed. Today my arms are empty.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
They shouldn’t have to sit on their couch with Microsoft Word open and together organize their daughter's gravestone.
They shouldn't have to ever argue over what font to use for their daughter’s name.
They shouldn’t have to look at their daughter’s name engraved on the mock up of a gravestone.
People our age shouldn’t have to know that you need to choose a funeral home in the town of the funeral and choose one in the town of the burial.
They shouldn’t have to know what funeral home in town is the best. (Caughman-Harman for those who care.)
They shouldn’t have to decide between cremation and embalming.
They shouldn’t have to order a cemetery plot.
They shouldn’t have to find out how much an autopsy costs, or whether to even do one.
They shouldn’t have to know that autopsies are done at the morgue and not the hospital.
And they shouldn’t have to find out that fact from a lady in the Billing department at the hospital who makes you feel like an idiot for not knowing that fact.
They shouldn’t have to know how to open a memorial account at a bank.
People our age shouldn’t be able to outlive their daughter.
Monday, April 19, 2010
It's safe here. No people that don't know how much I'm suffering. No kids to see and cause me to miss Maelee more. No explaining.
But I can't stay here forever holed up. That wouldn't be healthy, eh? I'll have to venture out someday... but not yet. I need more time to be quiet. To not make decisions. To control my interactions.
Small victories for me include: making a joke, actually being hungry, making a decision about what to wear, sharing about Maelee with people.
Both Greg and I have gotten stress-related health stuff. Greg has some "acute stress reaction" that causes him to feel this lump-like pressure in his throat/chest (thanks to webMD for the diagnosis). I have this weird skin condition on my hands and feet (dyshidrotic eczema) that I've had a few times before but is triggered by stress.
We've heard many couples that lose a child don't end up staying together due, in part, to all the stress. We don't want that to happen. I'm trying to make sure I don't lash out at Greg. We're in this together. I want to be here for him. He's been an amazing husband to me. And sometimes it's hardest for me when I think about how wonderful of a daddy he would have been able to be for Maelee. He would have made her laugh so much! He would have made up some great stories, played some great games, created some sweet songs. I ache when I look at him at times, longing for him to have those experiences.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Waking up in the mornings is tough. She’s the first thing that pops into our minds when we wake up. We usually just lay there and stare at the ceiling for awhile, thinking about her. There’s little motivation to get up. We’ve both been sleeping 10+ hours a night, with intermittent times of sleeplessness. I don’t know if that much sleep is a good thing or not.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
They have been here for us, grieving with us, crying with us, allowing us to not say anything, to hole away in our bedroom or Maelee's room... and they have been serving us by cleaning, fixing and doing projects around our home. I won't even start listing all they've done.
It's been nice to not have to think about taking my medications or fixing my plate or being alone. And just as I was starting to freak out about Greg going back to work at the office on Tuesday (graciously, he's been able to work from home for the last few days) and my mom leaving next week ... my mother-in-law booked a ticket to come back on the 25th and my mom may come back in May, too. Not having a job or school to distract from the fact I'm not home with Maelee.... well, needless to say I'm anxious about being all alone during the days.
And thanks to those friends who have brought and are bringing us meals. It has been a big blessing for not only Greg and I but for our family.
And thanks to all those who are reading our blog, posting comments, keeping updated on our grieving, remembering Maelee. We all check the comments often - it really does help reading them and the e-mails...though it's hard for me to respond quite yet. Like Greg said, it's not so much what you say, it's that you are saying something. Thanks for the cards and packages in the mail, too. It's nice to have something like getting mail for Maelee to look forward to each day.
And thanks for all the prayers... we need you interceding for us to help us get through this suffering.
Just that Maelee must know how much she is loved... we know how much we are loved. It doesn't make this less devastating but it does make it more bearable somehow.
Friday, April 16, 2010
I took these photos this morning and couldn't really focus because I kept tearing up. Those of you that know me know that I'm sort of a photographer. Every time we are around our nieces and nephews I take a bagazillion photos of them. I was really looking forward to daily photo shoots with Maelee... I actually had a plan to take a photo of her every day for the first month and do this sweet black and white montage of photos. I figured she would first recognize her mommy as this person with a big black thing on her face (my Nikon). So I mourn all the photos we will never have of her.
Here's our daughter's hand print:
Here's our daughter's foot print:
Our family likes to analyze who Maelee takes after... and it's nice to hear all the speculation. I imagine her as a perfect combo of all the family we love so much. She did have quite a bit of red hair and thankfully we have a small bit of her beautiful hair to look at, too.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I’m sorry that I never got to meet you
Or see your precious smile or hear your cry
Or see in you your dad’s great sense of humor
Or look at you and see your mother’s eyes
I’m sad for all you’ll miss with your great parents
For the things they dreamt of doing just with you
The memories you would have made together
Of long car rides or going to the zoo
I hate the pain they’re feeling now without you
The feeling that their world’s falling apart
The empty crib inside your pretty nursery
The emptiness inside their arms and hearts
I hate the pain they’re feeling now without you
I wish you could’ve met your future siblings
I know that one day they’ll wish the same too
You would’ve taught them all the things your parents
Wish they had first been able to teach you
I long for all the times we would have seen you
The joy we would have had to watch you grow
To learn to walk, to speak, to ask, discover
To learn the things we wanted you to know
I’m missing that we never got to teach you
About our Saviour that you now know well
You know far more about Him now than we do
But we wish we could’ve been the ones to tell
We look to Him to find our only comfort
We know that though we can’t, He’s holding you
We find great strength in knowing that He’s sovereign
We only ask that He would hold us too
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Greg mentioned to me that we are grieving more than one circumstance:
1. Losing Maelee. We grieve her. We want her. We miss her.
2. Not having any children now.
3. Not knowing if we will ever have any children.
And I can honestly say right now that I don't want another baby. I just want Maelee.
I just spent five minutes trying to figure out something sort of positive or super-spiritual to say so that my post wasn't so depressing... but well, I don't have anything right now.
Oh, my best friend Jillmarie sent flowers today. Most all the other flowers (except for the plant and bouquet that was at the funeral) died. But now we have a new beautiful pink bouquet. Thanks Jilly.
Some people have wanted to create something for Maelee and we would like that, too. Maelee’s grandpa Tysse is making a box where we’re going to put possessions that remind us of Maelee. Paintings, poems, songs, photographs, whatever.
Also, we will be having a memorial service for Maelee when we bury her in Buffalo, ND sometime this summer. We hope those of you near Buffalo will be able to come. Buffalo is where my (Greg’s) dad grew up. My grandparents live there. Both Heather and I will be buried there next to Maelee. We have had many great memories in that small rural town.
How is a grandfather, who just lost his granddaughter, Maelee Linn, who sees his son and beautiful daughter-in-law in heavy mourning, supposed to behave? Am I supposed to be this perfect old saint who always has words of wisdom, words that will soothe the ache in those he loves? I do not feel perfect. I definitely do not feel like a saint. I do not feel any words of wisdom. I just ache as my family aches.
I have waves of anger, then deep sadness. Anger at my wonderful Heavenly Father who has allowed my family to suffer like this. Sadness that I will not be able to rock Maelee to sleep; to use Grandpa’s patented “sleeper hold” when she is fussing or just not feeling good about life. Sadness that Grandpa will not be able to “spoil bunches” and then spoil some more.
But then, a wave of comfort and peace comes over me; knowing that God does not allow more than we are able to handle with His help. Comfort in knowing that all things work for good, for those who love the Lord. Comfort in knowing that Maelee is not alone. She is in the Lord’s arms right now, being rocked and knowing that the Lord has an even better “sleeper hold” than I; knowing that she is being spoiled, if that is possible in heaven, by her uncle John, her Great Grandpa Chris, and those in our family who have gone on before her.
I will always cherish holding her after the delivery and looking upon her beautiful face; a face like her Mamma Heather’s. I will always remember looking at her big feet; feet like her Daddy Greg; her long fingers with flat finger nails…like mine. Sorry… another melt-down time.
What does it mean that our Lord would choose Greg and Heather, our family, to experience this loss? I have to believe that He uses our experiences in this life to draw us close to Him and that He will comfort those who call upon His name; that everything that occurs is according to His perfect plan and purpose. God will meet us and comfort us so that we can be used by Him to comfort others.How great is our HOPE IN HIM! Thank you Lord! I love you, Maelee Linn.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I’m not hopeless, but I’m close.
It’s hard to think everyone is going back to, or were always living, their normal lives. Going to work, going to school, laughing, living. Greg commented this morning on how selfish grief is. I don’t want anyone else to have any fun, to laugh, to live normally. I want everyone else to care deeply and be affected that our baby is not living, not in my arms right now. That’s just being honest.
I haven’t been able to carry on a conversation with anyone besides Greg and occasionally our family. I can barely look anyone in the eye. I do treasure everyone’s comments (I was finally able to read them) and emails and cards… but I just can’t respond yet or think about seeing people (someday, friends, I do want to see you). But please keep commenting/emailing/talking – it helps immensely to know that Maelee is known by others. Please don’t forget her. Please keep saying things.
I love my daughter. I wake up every morning (never rested) seeing her face, remembering Greg holding her in the hospital and I just moan. I whimper for her. I want to hold her so badly, to be nursing her right now instead of the pain of my milk coming in. I imagine her years from now, her beautiful red hair… it was supposed to be us three. Greg, Heather and Maelee, family of three. She’s still a part of our family, I know, but I long for the memories we were to have.
I try to take a walk and I can make it two houses. Being on bed rest for a few weeks before and then all the grief leaves me completely without energy. Greg and I don’t have the motivation to brush our teeth. It all just seems so pointless.
I have no idea what life is supposed to look like now. The planner in me wants to have an idea of what to do, what the next step is and I have no idea. What am I going to do when Greg goes back to work and after family leaves? How will I face a whole day with just memories and could-have-beens with Maelee? After losing my job and not finding another one after months and months of searching, I figured I was supposed to just stay at home with baby. So now what? What do I do with my day? When I won’t want to get up or have trivial visits or think. How will I have the motivation to cook or clean or go shopping when that all seems completely pointless right now? How will I see other babies and children?
For all the comments and prayers from so many, some we don’t know. For our families for coming to take care of us. For friends making meals and loving us. For Greg who I can find delight in even during this. For Jesus that somehow will get us through. For Maelee, that I was able to have her in my womb for 38 weeks and for all the joy she brought. Maelee, you are worth the sorrow.
Oh that Jesus would come back soon so that death’s sting would go away.
Monday, April 12, 2010
I sort of scoffed at those that said “as soon as I saw my baby, I knew this was his/her name.” I thought there was no way that was possible. It is.
We had already pretty much decided on Maelee before we saw her sweet face. And as soon as I saw her, I knew. She was completely and perfectly Maelee Linn.
And her name ended up meeting most all of our criteria… it’s pronounced like “Bailey” with an M and it’s not easy to spell necessarily but it honors family and sounds great with Kasowski. And I’m ever so grateful that her name is unique enough that I won’t hear someone calling for their child one aisle over while I’m shopping at Publix.
I’m glad to honor Doris Mae, my grandma with Alzheimer’s. I’m glad Maelee will forever be a Kasowski. And I’m glad for our middle name.
Sherry Linn, my mom
Amber Linn, my sister
Alison Linn, my niece
Heather Linn, me
Maelee Linn, my daughter
I love to say her name, to hear Greg say her name, to type her name.
I just wish I didn’t have to see her perfect name on a gravestone.
We've been overwhelmed with everyone's generosity in asking us if we need anything right now. It has been comforting knowing there's so many people for us here right now. The #1 thing we need right now is Maelee. We need her here in our arms. We need her sleeping in her nursery. We need her crying. We need her dirty diapers. We need her more than anything right now.
But nobody can do that for us, so I've thought of something practical. For those who will be willing to walk with us through this process, this series of posts will be helpful information for you. You can read the short version here. Almost every single word of these resonated with me as I read this morning. It will be incredibly helpful if we are not the "walking awkward" for the next five to 15 years. Heather coined this "walking awkward" term after she lost her job at CIU and every time she went back to campus nobody knew what to say or do or ask. You're just a walking ball of awkward that nobody wants to address or confront.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Easter Sunday was not that great, but I would trade that day for any day this last week or foreseeable future. It was bittersweet because I went to River’s Edge but Heather had to stay on bed rest.
It was beautiful outside. Cool in the morning, but warm by noon. No wind. Lots of pollen. For Easter we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ with some great songs:
• My Savior, My God
• Lead Me to the Cross
• Revelation Song
• Before the Throne of God Above
• In Christ Alone
• Marvelous Light
Jason preached from First Corinthians 15:19 about how we as believers should be pitied more than anyone else if we only have hope in this life. We're a bunch of pathetic people if there is no resurrection from the dead. It's complete craziness to believe that a guy died 2,000 years ago and not believe that he came back to life.
Anyways, later that afternoon my friend Doug came over and we all four shared an Easter meal. He made a leg of lamb and some asparagus with mushrooms. I made Connie’s potatoes. We sat around and talked and laughed and had a good time. Life was innocent then. There was anticipation and excitement.
• “We’re going to the nursery.” – I got our garden all prepared last Saturday for Heather. We were going to plant some stuff once she recovered from the delivery. Since we’re crappy gardeners, we were just going to cheat and get those pre-flowering vegetables, instead of using seed. So yesterday, our family decided they would go buy those at Seven Oaks Garden Center. Then, someone said, “We’re going to the nursery.”
Well, that starts a thought cycle of: yeah, Maelee’s nursery looks so awesome and she was going to love it. She’d love to be in her room. It’s where she’d fall asleep every night. I also thought about how I was looking forward to bringing her to the nursery at church. We’d check her in, or whatever parents do, and she would get one of those little name-badge stickers on her back so when she escapes from the nursery to try to find her daddy people will know whose wild kid is running around.
• “Yeah, books on tape, something, something, blah, blah …” – Somehow we started talking about books on tape. Then I thought about how I was so looking forward to taking a long car ride with Heather and Maelee. We’d drive the Blue Ridge Parkway on a Saturday afternoon. We’d turn on the tunes and she’d sleep in the backseat. Then she’d get antsy so we’d turn off at some random place and let her just run crazy till she gets tired again. Or, we’d drive down to the beach on a warm Saturday morning when she’s one and a half. We’d listen to a Matt Chandler sermon or Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. Then, she’d see the ocean for the first time. She’d let the sand go in between her toes for the first time. She’d squeal with delight. She’d run up to the water and get scared and run to me because it’s chasing after her.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Jonathan and Rachel made some cookies and brought them over for Heather last night because she's been craving cookies. We shared some laughs with them and family, but we can only do that for a limited time. Heather had to leave to go to the other room.
For the nurses reading, I thought I'd give a drug update for what Heather's taking.
--Amoxicillin - to help with the infection she got during delivery
--Darvocet - to help with pain
--Advil - to help with pain
--Ambien - to help with sleeping
--Zoloft - to help with the emotional onslaught of possible PPD and losing a baby
--Prenatal vitamin - the doctor said to finish up the bottle
I think I should answer the "why" question for people. I know it's been on many of your minds. The short answer--we don't know and we may never know. The coroner will perform an autopsy sometime in the next few weeks. That may give some answers, but the doctors said many times it doesn't. The nurses also drew about a gallon of blood from Heather, hoping to find something from the lab tests they'll do. We will go in for an appointment in 4 weeks and may find some answers there, but we're not going to expect any concrete answers.
So then we start to wonder about the spiritual "whys." Why God did this happen? Thinking we're some great stupid pious people, we've even sinned by thinking, "Why us who actually love you and not _____ who hates you and doesn't even want kids and will probably beat them and not feed them and yell at them and treat them like garbage?" God, I'm sorry for thinking this. That's just ugly religious piety.
We still have great hope though that God has a reason. We may not know this year. We may not ever know. But God's Word is extremely comforting through the "whys." It says, God is in control ... don't worry. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
But right now, every reason for "why" seems so trivial. In fact, everything seems so trivial. To think about proofreading, Heather's shopping and couponing, watching TV, having grass in my yard ... they're just all so completely pointless and stupid.
This is where bad thoughts happen and can spiral out of control. Thankfully, we haven't delved too deep into this one. But here's a couple going through our minds:
-What if we would have agreed with the doctor and delivered two weeks ago when we stayed overnight in the hospital when Heather had signs of preenclampsia?
-Last night as Heather and I were eating some veggies, she said, "What if I would've eaten more broccoli?"
-What if on our appointment the week before, when the first thing the doctor said to us was, "Wow, I'm really surprised you haven't delivered yet with all your preenclampsia signs." What if we would have just said there, "Yeah, can we just schedule a C-section for the next couple days?"
-What if I would've warmed up that food for Heather a little hotter on Saturday night? Would that have killed the bacteria that may have caused Maelee's death? Then I start to think about her being poisoned by some dumb plastic container that I heated up in the microwave and I can just see her struggling for life, and we're just innocently thinking she's kicking again.
No more what if's. Please pray for no more what if's.
Friday, April 9, 2010
I'm also learning how emotions like laughing and crying are so closely connected. For those who wish they could be here with us right now, I have to say that it's not all doom and gloom at our house. When the tears run dry for a time, we have had some fun conversations. I'll name two that may give you some emotional reprieve.
1) My uncle Tony is a catholic priest on an island off of Florida. He was telling us about all these crazy cat ladies who wander around the church grounds. Evidentially, cats are taking over the island because these crazy ladies feed the cats all the time and let them breed incessantly.
To solve the problem, the church set up a separate feeding station for the cats a ways away from the church. They also put up signs to deter the ladies from setting out milk and cat food all over the campus.
Well, the ladies still kept feeding them in the middle of night ... so the cats just multiplied even more because now they had two places to eat. We gave him a few solutions ... but I can't remember them all ... something about arsenic and guns.
He also told us about one of his first weeks at the church. When he walked past one of the crazy cat ladies, he made a comment like, "Man, there are a lot of cats around here."
The lady said back, "Yes there are. You like cats, don't you?"
"Yes, I love them! Stir-fried with lime."
2) Any pregnant woman knows about Preparation H and Tucks wipes. One ingredient in it is cod liver oil, or shark liver oil. Heather and I started thinking, who came up with that idea? Did some old seaman with bad hemorrhoids accidentally sit on a fish one day? ... "Oh, that's feels kind of good."
Side note: I got a call from some flower lady in Columbia, Kentucky. Someone ordered flowers for us but didn't know what state we lived in. It must've been someone from up north, who thinks all the states down here are kind of the same. Same with people not from the Northeast ... they all seem like just one giant city up there.
We were planning on greeting people before, but that was too tough. So we just went straight into the service. We had to sit in the car a little bit before to compose ourselves, but composure just goes out the window in situations like this.
Opening Comments and Prayer - Jason Williams
Jason (our pastor) prayed to open things up and made a few comments, which I can post later.
Scripture Reading -- Job 1:20-21
Then my dad read a few verses from Job. The final verse has been going through my head non-stop the last few days. It's really all I can comprehend spiritually right now. I have no answers. But I have hope. People who don't have confident eternal answers--how do they cope with situations like this? I would be in complete and utter despair.
I'm going to post the Job verses in complete context so you get an idea of what he went through, but still was able to say.
"There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.
His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, "From where have you come?" Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it."
And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?"
Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face."
And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and there came a messenger to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, "The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. THE LORD GAVE, AND THE LORD HAS TAKEN AWAY; BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD."
Song: Blessed Be Your Name
We had this song at our wedding. It's like vowing, "in sickness and health" to God. Today it was a bit of comic relief because it was an instrumental and the lyrics were printed on the bulletin, but no one was sure whether they were supposed to sing or not. I had envisioned some low-key, elevator music, but this version had the full band. Regardless, it was encouraging to think on words like:
Blessed be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be Your name
Scripture Reading: Robbie McAlister
"I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
"Death is swallowed up in victory."
"O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."
1 Corinthians 15:50-58
As my four-year-old nephew says, in the end, Jesus defeats all the bad guys, even death.
Closing Prayer: Robbie McAlister
There was another song that didn't make the memorial service, but Heather and I watched it minutes after we came back. My brother Matt and sister Jill put it together.
Riverbend supplied us with McAlister's Deli for lunch. My sister's flight was delayed last night and so she wasn't able to be here this morning. She comes in at 5 p.m. today. I know she is extremely frustrated, but it will be great to see her regardless.
Thanks everyone for reading and staying in touch.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Heather can't do that for very long though. She's stuck in this tough position of needing to relax/recover from the delivery and grieve emotionally. Grieving leaves you utterly drained and exhausted in every way--physically, mentally, emotionally. If there were a grieving triathlon to compete in, we are either building up our emotional stamina to win that stupid event, or we're just completely burning out. We usually get everything out emotionally in the morning, and then by 2 p.m. there's nothing left.
Heather hasn't been able to read any e-mails, comments, or facebook posts yet. But for me, I can't tell you how much they've helped. I've read and re-read them. By the third or fourth time I read them, I can actually read them in their entirety without watery eyes getting in the way. Just seeing people's names in comments, e-mails and facebook posts is great. It's not in what you say, it's that you're just saying something.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Heather is recovering quickly and will be sleeping soundly in a few minutes with the Ambien pill. Her blood pressure went right back to normal last night after delivery. She also had a fever during the labor process. But that broke last night. She's just been an all around super human being. I love her soooo much!
We had our family with us throughout the day. It's been a comfort to have them here. Jason and Robbie also visited and assured us of the great support we have from our church. I was greatly encouraged and confident that we will get through this tough process of grieving.
We will have a small memorial service on Friday with family and a couple others. We just can't handle a large group of people at this point.
Maelee Linn Kasowski was born still Tuesday, April 6, 2010 around 8 p.m.
She weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces and was 18.5 inches long.
"Mae" comes from Heather's grandmother's middle name. The "lee" is added to distinguish her from her cousin Marian whose Chinese name "May Lynn." Her middle name, "Linn" is the same as her mother's, grandmother's and aunt's. We also like the sound of "Maelee Kasowski" together. For more on her name, read this post or for more on her story read this page.
Heather is doing great. She was absolutely amazing through the entire labor. There was absolutely no motivation to deliver, but she still struggled through with a heavy heart and sadness. The drugs have masked a lot of her emotional pain, but I have shed enough tears for the both of us.
My parents made it to the hospital during the delivery but waited until an appropriate time to visit our room. The nurses cleaned Maelee up so we could spend some time with her. The photographer took some pictures which we will treasure always.
We got some good sleep last night. We finally got situated in our room at 1 a.m. We woke up around 6 a.m., but still feeling somewhat refreshed. Repressing the grief is really the only way to get sleep.
Heather's parents are on their way to the hospital now. They got in late last night. I will keep you all posted. Thank you for thinking and praying for us during this time.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Heather was induced yesterday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Then they let her rest for the evening. This morning at 7:30 they started the induction again. The doctors expect it to be an all-day process.
Thank you to those who told us about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. We will be doing that.
My parents come in at 7 tonight. Heather's parents and sister come in at midnight. I will try to keep everyone updated. Thank you for allowing us space and privacy as we grieve.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Heather has just been induced to deliver. The doctors are expecting a long labor over the next few days.
Our parents are both on their way and should be here tomorrow.
Please give us space for the time being. We will keep you updated when we can. Thanks everyone for your prayers and concerns.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
When we were coming home from the hospital with me on bed rest, I told Greg that he needed to take up his co-workers on their numerous offers of bringing meals. It was very hard for him to have to humble himself and say okay... but we are so glad he did! What a help it was to have so many dinners provided for us! And they were all so yummy (they even kept everything low sodium and heartburn-proof for me)! Greg didn't have to cook/do dishes on top of everything else he is doing. And we ate much healthier than if Greg was in charge of cooking the past weeks:)
Along with his co-workers, we've had many friends bless us with food and visits as well. I'm pretty sure this past week went by so well because I had visitors and amazing lunches with sweet friends. It definitely helped break up my couch time! Thanks friends - your kindness is so appreciated!!
I'm telling you these southerners are downright awesome! What a great culture where bringing a meal to someone is the norm! I embrace it fully!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
My appointment today went fine. My blood pressure was WAY up but is still normal when I'm at home. There's not a whole lot going on with my cervix. So the anti-climatic next steps are: more bed rest. One week at a time. If my BP goes up at home, then they will probably induce versus giving me blood pressure meds.
I did ask if it was necessary for me to spend $50 to see Dr. Smith every week and the doc said not really. So I will cancel that app't. They will check my platelets at my OB app't and can call Dr. Smith in if needed. So that's good for the wallet.
Baby, on the other hand, is doing great! Greg guessed her weight at the ultrasound today was going to be 6lbs 7ozs and I guessed 6lbs 5ozs... and she's right there at 6lbs 6ozs! Meaning she gained around 8ozs in two weeks and if she gains like that, she'll be right around 7lbs at her due date. All speculation, of course.
And we learned two things about her:
1. She's a thumb sucker. Already. Her little hand was by her face (just like last week) and she just plopped that thumb/fingers right in there and was sucking away!
2. She's got hair! I was convinced she would be bald but that is not the case! The tech gave us a close up that was very obviously a lot of hair on her head. She said we better get the bows ready to bring to the hospital! And now I know why I've had killer heartburn... the little stinker.
Her cheeks looked more full from last week and she was giving us seriously not happy faces...but it was still quite adorable. Greg doesn't fully get into it as much but says it will all make sense once he sees her. Agreed.
Back to the couch... hoping she decides to come on her own before my due date (is that too much to ask?!).