Friday, November 15, 2013

Sunrise Baby

I was pretty darn sure we were done having children after Link. I even suggested to Jason that we do something about it permanently, though he said we should give it a year before we made any permanent decisions. However, I put away my pregnancy clothes with a ceremony of sorts - it felt final & I felt good about it.  I hadn't prayed about it, but with all the drama of the NICU & having to fly to Philly - not to mention, four kids was a good number and we finally got our boy! - I felt confident we were done.  

.... God had other plans. 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. - Isiah 55:8-9

Almost from the day that Link died, my thoughts swirled with incomprehension - I looked at our three children on earth & said "this is not how it was supposed to be. We always wanted more than three. This is not right. What is the plan now? Are we really done?"  In addition to those ceaseless thoughts, just the added grief of imaging that I would never get to see those last milestones - like someone had taken a huge pair of scissors and just cut me off from all those last firsts - made my heart ache even more for that answer as to if we should have another one or not. 

I brought it up with Jason a few times. We talked about it. We prayed about it. Finally, one day I woke up and said "I have to know. If we are done, I need to accept that and move forward -  focusing on the girls. But... but, if the Lord has another child to send, even if it's not right now... I need to know. A woman needs to know."  So - Jason & I headed to the temple. It was only the 2nd time we'd been since Link died and I was emotional the whole time. I prayed that above all, if we were to have another baby, that Jason would absolutely, positively know. Because, I knew that I would be a wreck and I would need his support. Thankfully, he truly got that absolute confirmation and we both felt strongly that the Lord wanted us to try for another baby & not wait. 

Finding out we were pregnant in August was different than our other pregnancies. It was more solemn than excitement. More thankful than elated.  Actually, I've had a lot of guilt, too. Just guilt that maybe we wouldn't have had this child if Link hadn't died. And on the other end of the spectrum, guilt that it seems like we are trying to "replace" him. Altogether, this pregnancy has been so very different than my other ones. Including my fears and anxiety. It is a constant battle between fear and faith with this pregnancy. Anyone that has lost a baby will tell you that your innocence is gone - you have that actual reality that a child can & does die and as one angel mom said -  while you don't expect that to happen again, you don't expect it not to happen, either. 

Speaking of angel parents, I hope they will forgive me as I choose a different symbol for this new baby. 
Most babies that come after a loss have the term "rainbow baby." I know that it is trying to change an understood term into a something completely different that no one will recognize, but I will try & explain myself. I LOVE the symbolism of the rainbow - the light and hope and color after the rain and stormy grief - and I associate that with Link. He was technically my "rainbow baby" - I had a miscarriage right before we became pregnant with him. Whenever I see a rainbow or hear about rainbows, I think of Link - of the brightness and color he brought into our lives while he was here - and also of how fleeting they are & his life was. His memorial bench is actually a rainbow and the poem (which is above in my header) is going to be on it. So - I am using the term "sunrise baby" for this new one. Just because, it has the same idea - light and hope after a dark night - but it's something I can count on. I can count on seeing the sunrise every day - just like I want the hope and reliability of being able to see my new baby live every day.  I have absolutely NO problem with angel parents using that term or even referring to my new baby as a rainbow baby. I will just be doing something different, and I hope that's okay. 

Now - onto the details... this sunrise baby is due April 10th. On Monday, we found out we are having another girl. I would be lying if I said that it hasn't been difficult to think that it's likely that I will never get to raise a boy on this earth. At the same time, though, it's amazing how your perspective changes. Before Link, I went to the "big ultrasound" - just not being able to wait to find out the gender - to now,  just wanting them to tell me that I will get to keep my baby. Doesn't matter if it's a boy or girl. Doesn't even necessarily matter if they are completely healthy. I just want to be able to keep my baby. I know even this is not a guarantee - and yes, there is a possibility that she could have what Link had. But the odds are 1 in 50,000 - and even if she did have hyperinsulinism, according to the autopsy reports, Link simply died in his sleep. Her ultrasound looked great - she looks healthy and strong at this point.

We are thankful to be welcoming another girl into this family. Her sisters are SO excited to have another sister - and being the sister to 3 other sisters myself - I have to say that sisters are pretty awesome & I am excited for her to have that experience.  Growing up with 3 other sisters wasn't always pretty, but we are now all best friends and I can't imagine life without them. The thing that's even more awesome is the knowledge that all four of my girls  will have their brother watching over them night & day. I always wanted to have a boy first because I never had a big brother growing up. So - when I had a girl first I thought I'd have to give up that wish. But now I know that Link is effectively their "big brother" & I know that he watches out & protects them - more than even a brother here on earth could. I am also so very thankful that he's got to spend some time with his baby sister - to prepare her to come to our heartbroken family. 

So - I waited a while to really "announce" this pregnancy. For a number of reasons, I think. But a lot because I knew some people might think we are just "replacing" our lost baby. Or they might think "Oh good! Now she'll be happy and have 4 kids again!" I just need to say here that we will never replace Link - any more than I could have "replaced" McKinley with Ireland. Each child is unique and different and Link will never EVER be replaced. Also - while I am VERY thankful for this opportunity - SO grateful for this new baby girl - it does not, can not just automatically take away the pain, grief, sadness, ache of losing Link. That will be something I will carry with me a lifetime. And I will never have "4 kids again" - this is our 5th child and that's what I will always say if you ask. 

Also - if you ask if this is our last, I will say what I should have said with Link - "We don't know until the Lord lets us know." 

A month or so after Link died, when I was praying about the idea of another child,  I heard this song and felt like the Lord was speaking to my heart:

Mindy Gledhill

Did you ever wonder who you are
do your ever wonder as you stare into the stars
Where you began
And how you got this far
from home?

Have you ever walked along the shore
Have you ever seen the water dancing back and forth
Did you look inside
To see if there was more to life

Theres a dream taking wings
Theres a voice that wants to sing
Even in the deepest darkest night
The Torch is raised to the sky
There are hands that hold it high
You were born to keep it burning bright
You were made to fly you were meant to shine
Child of light

You will never ever stand alone
You were never called to bare your burdens alone
Where there is fear
Love will take control

And lead you on

Theres a dream taking wings
Theres a voice that wants to sing
Even in the deepest darkest night
The Torch is raised to the sky
There are hands that hold it high
You were born to keep it burning bright
You were made to fly you were meant to shine
Child of light

We are looking forward to meeting you, our child of light, our sunrise baby. 


Lacie said...

As tears run down my cheeks I say thank you Heidi. Thank you for being amazing and thank you for saying things so beautifully. Saying things that are hard, but needed. You are a beautiful and wonderful blessing in my life.
Bless you heart and bless your family.
And Olivia is my sunshine baby, I didn't do the rainbow baby thing either.

val said...

I just feel love towards you. Congratulations on your sunrise baby. 5 children is a wonderful number or whatever your number might be. :)

Ryan and Shannan Hoffman said...

So incredibly thrilled for you!! Love to your family! I can't wait to meet her!!

Patricia Potts said...

A I sit here holding little Grace and read your post I think of our next little grand daughter on her way. I love the idea of Link's protective love surrounding her and McKinley, Ireland and Kezia. can't wait to meet her. ...cute picture...beautiful song. Love you Heidi

Tiff Meister said...

Love the post Heidi! Yes, sisters are pretty darn awesome and the girls have someone so incredibly special looking out for them from above. Congratulations! I can't wait to meet her and for Grace to have a girl cousin so close in age. Love you guys!

Anna said...

I love this post, Heidi! Congratulations. Blessed baby to be part of your family. I love the thought that Link will be the protector to all his sisters throughout their lives...I'm sure he will be. Love Anna

Breinholt Family said...

Hi Heidi, you don't know me. My husband actually went to school with yours in Richfield. He sent me the link to your blog and I was touched by your post. You see we actually lost our first son. I sit here now with our 7th child and am in awe with God's love. He gave us a trial to strengthen us and has blessed us immensely. Our little Ryan was never replaced and he still holds his spot in our family. Our children all talk of him as if he was here even though he came before any of them. I still ache to hold my little boy but I know God had a different plan for him. Now the pain is easier, it has been replaced with hope. I know the constant battle between faith and fear. I felt it with all of my pregnancies and still feel it each day as I send my children off to school and their many activities. But the thing I gained that is most significant through it all is that I learned to rely on the atonement. I can give the Lord my fears and he strengthens my faith. I pray that your family will be strong and feel God's love in your life. And I pray that all will be well with your sunrise baby. I know it will be!