Monday, May 11, 2015

A Gift From God

Everyone likes a happy ending.

A distinct start and a distinct stop to a story.

This is why we love movies and get so upset when the artsy/fartsy ones leave us hanging without a clear ending or an unhappy one.

I haven't blogged in a while. A long while. It's been hard for me. Not because I don't have anything to say. I just felt pressure to write a final chapter of some sort. My mind and heart were so confused on what to say and how to say it.

But I am ready to try. Tomorrow marks a month since Theodore Lee Elliott came into our lives. He came out screaming and I couldn't stop laughing hearing his screams. See I had prayed and asked many others to pray we would hear a cry upon his arrival. It was the hardest thing for us not hearing Claudie's cries and I just needed to hear his as soon as he arrived. Well,  I think I prayed too hard or asked to many people to pray because his cries turned to screams and he didn't stop. I kept giggling uncontrollably through the tears even when his cries stopped and contentment set in the moment he came close to my face and I could smell him and take in his incredible beauty.

We named him Theodore because it meant gift from God.  (Get it now? As in in Teddy Bear, hence Baby Bear. See I told you I already told you all his name.)

It was a magical day. The day started off stormy and i noted the clouds parting from the large window in my labor room right as I was being wheeled off to my c-section.

I remember thinking if there is a rainbow in the sky I am going to totally eat my words. For those who don't know there is a term called rainbow baby. It is for a child that is born after the loss of the previous baby. I have been vocal about my distaste for the term because first off not everyone gets their rainbow. Secondly, I feel it makes children interchangeable. As if one baby heartbeat negates the one that didn't.

The statement that goes along with rainbow baby is:

After every storm there is a rainbow.
The rainbow does not negate the storm, but is a promise of God's blessing to us.

 (this is one definition, there are variations)

But this statement simply isn't accurate. First off, Claudie was our rainbow and she died. Also, there are tons of people who simply will not have another child after their loss. Secondly, it is taken scripture a bit out of context. A rainbow is God's promise but he never says if I take a child, I will replace it.

I still feel this way but I have to say as the months went on with my pregnancy with Theodore I started to understand the rainbow term a bit more. The pain and suffering of our loss was being replaced with the promise of a newborn and a future with another child. The immediate moments after Theodore was born I felt like an idiot for ever thinking rainbow was a bad term. I was elated. I felt peace that had been missing since our first miscarriage in 2011.  I held him in our arms and I thought this is it! It was all worth it for this.
I began to believe it for the next few days. Theodore filled a void in our world. Big brother Henry and big sis Amelie were happier than I have ever seen them. Friends and family rejoiced in a way I didn't realize how deeply they had been affected by our losses.

Then as the days went on, something felt wrong. It hit softly at first. I would sob quietly as I fed my newborn in my arms in the overnight hours. I attributed it to hormone shifts. Then Mother's Day came and it hit me, HARD.  It was NOT all worth it. Teddy's life wasn't worth Claudie's life. They are two distinct human beings. Two separate souls. I felt guilty. Guilty for trying to replace our daughter. Guilty for not being able to give others our happy ever after they all wanted so deeply for us. I want so badly to have the happy ending, the final chapter to a long, pain-ridden story. This is not the way life actually happens though. Life is not a straight path with some ups and downs in between.

My mom knew she would die for one week before she passed. She knew this reality on Mother's Day three years ago and she had until Thursday evening to say things most of us will never get the chance to. Something that has struck me about that time with her is there was no final grand statement to summarize her life. Sure there were lots of profound statements to each of us and tons of intimate moments but no dramatic quote at the end of her book. Instead her last remarks were about the life that was to come.

I see it! The light. Do you see it? I am ready- my mom said faintly in her last few breathes.

It seemed to us as earth-dwellers that her book was on its last page, but as a Christian she realized her life was not ending but she was transitioning into something everlasting and beautiful.

I guess what I am trying to say is while Theodore is an incredible answer to prayer, he isn't an answer to our daughter's death. I wouldn't want that incredible burden for my a child to carry anyhow. He is another chapter in a book, another chapter in a beautiful, rollercoastered, loopied-looped, upside down, backwards, sideways book that will last forever and will reach its perfection only after we die--THIS is ever-lasting promise is that God gives in the form a rainbow!