In a way, today is the beginning of the end.
I was put on bed rest one year ago today. I haven't blogged about it before, the bedrest.
Because I feel guilty.
Guilty that I didn't obey orders 100%. Knowing that nothing I did or didn't do caused Grady's death. Or could have prevented it. But still.
I didn't obey...
Today, one year ago, was a Wednesday.
I went in for my last regular prenatal visit at 10:15.
I got my last 17P shot.
It was the last time that I heard his heartbeat.
My cervix looked great. I had gained a few more pounds (not so great!). And my blood pressure was slightly elevated. Not high, but up from what was normal for me.
I mentioned to Dr. Joe that the previous weekend I had experienced lots of swelling. I rested and kept my feet up as much as I could, and the swelling was completely gone by this particular day. Still, him being the cautious doc that he is, he took blood work for a preeclampsia panel and told me I was on strict bed rest until the following week, delivery week.
I had known bed rest was a possibility the whole pregnancy because of Emma Grace coming at 25 weeks. My wheels started turning about all that still needed to be done.
After I left the office I made a quick stop by Target (there is nothing close to us) to get him some newborn-sized clothes. I had nothing for him to wear home from the hospital. No newborn pants. Everything I had was a little bigger. Since he was coming at 37 weeks exactly, I expected him to be a bit on the small side.
No one wants to be stuck with ugly toenails (plus I had no idea when I would have a chance to go after he was born), so I got a pedicure on my way home also. I picked Emma Grace up from lunch bunch, and we came home. My next door neighbors brought over their recliner from their family room and set it up in mine. They insisted that they never really sat in it anyway, and I needed it more than them. How sweet and thoughtful was that!?!
Gib stepped up to the plate and took over as much as he could. He went into work late one morning to get the kids to school, which is huge for him! My friends came out of the wood works to help transport my girls to where they needed to be. Gib's co-worker's started sending food.
Things have been harder for me since the month of November started. But today has been the worst yet. I can't help but relive the moments and events of the days one year ago. They were happy times. Full of the unknown. But full of hope and promise of the baby boy that our family was to welcome.
I'm still full of hope and promises...just of a different nature this fall.
Speaking of hope, I must share a beautiful gift I received today.
I blogged about my new friend whom I called L. Well, her name is Leah, and she is a precious soul. I feel like I've known her for such a long time.
As I was getting her little boy out of the carpool line this morning, she handed me a bag with a present in it. I was already having a "teary" morning and just her thoughtfulness made the tears surface a little more. I was speechless as she told me it was a present for Grady's birthday.
She chose the paper very carefully and didn't use a generic one because she wanted me to know that Grady wasn't forgotten and didn't want his birthday to be "swept under the rug".
I took the above pictures (yes, Grady's crib is still set up, everything still as it was the day he went to heaven) and this is what I found when I opened it. I haven't taken the card off yet...
She has obviously spent a lot of time on my blog and knows how much I hang onto HOPE. The card attached is a note that her family made a donation to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep in honor of "Glory Baby Grady" in hopes that other families may continue to be blessed by the amazing service they offer just like we were. Thank you so much Leah, Chris, Jay and Les!
Please don't misunderstand my gratefulness. My thankful heart does NOT hinge on gifts being given to me. I am not a material person at all. Come look at my house and my lacking wardrobe and you'll see that very quickly. I do love gifts and surprises, but the phrase "It's the thought that counts" is ever so true for me. Just a hug and an "I'm thinking about you" means the world to me. The fact that people take the time and have the courage to speak to me about Grady touches my heart, beyond words.
Another friend of mine thought today was Grady's birthday. She brought a note to me at the end of the preschool day, and I read it when I got home. Through the tears, I read that she remembers Grady, he is not forgotten and she's here for me. We talked this afternoon, and I told her it wasn't his birthday but how much I needed that note. We both decided it was God's way of prompting her to write the note to give to me since I was having such a hard day. Thank you Joyce.
Another friend of mine was supposed to put a recipe in my mailbox today for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. She made them for me last year and they are delicious! About 4:45 this afternoon, there was a knock on my door. I opened it to her smiling face, a plate of cookies, the recipe and a card. Thanks Tish!
Tears fell again.
It's not even his one year heaven day (or birthday or anniversary or whatever you want to call it)...but already I feel the love of those around me. The support offered to me.
And I'm so thankful.
But, unfortunately, at the same time, I'm feeling myself start to pull away again. Similar to the time right after Grady died. Not wanting to talk. Not wanting to be around people. I wish I could just go to sleep and wake up on November 15th. I'm so glad that I have responsibilities and obligations to drag me out of bed and force me to put one foot in front of the other.
The pain is so great...
Remembering...the short time I had with him.
Wishing...it had a different ending...that he was here and we were experiencing life with him now.
Waiting...for the day that we do get to experience life with him in heaven.
Praying...for comfort and strength to get through this week and beyond. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
Allowing...myself to feel what I need to feel. To be what I need to be. To go where I need to go...physically, mentally and emotionally.
Trusting... in a plan bigger and greater than mine. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8 (NIV)
Hoping...for the future. "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Leaning...on a God who is bigger than all this pain and hurt. Longing for heaven where all of our tears will be wiped away...no more sorrow, hurt or pain. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4 (NIV).
This verse jumped out at me today as I was reading through a book Gib gave me for my birthday...
"There is a time for everything. A season for every activity under heaven. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance." Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 (NIV)
I'm telling you tonight that I'm definitely in a time of grieving for my baby boy. The one year anniversary of the deaths of my mom and dad were hard. But this is beyond words. I would ask that if you choose to read my blog (which I hope you do), you would meet me where I am. Please know that I'm not stuck. I have made great progress the last year, working through this tremendous loss and the grief that accompanies it. Part of the reason I'm where I am, I believe, is because I let myself feel it and work through it. If I suppress it, it does me no good as it will come back later with a vengeance.
Please don't tell me to be happy. I know you want the best for me, but the best for me right now is to accept me for who I am, the good, bad and ugly. I've thought a lot about happiness lately. I'm not ready to post my thoughts about it, but maybe I will after I get through this "season". It's okay for me to feel sad because while I'm feeling sad, there is still joy in my every day life.
Since I didn't have my blog a year ago, I've been feeling like I want to journal what I can remember about this time last year. So, as time allows and as the memories come to me, I'll be sharing my journey day by day, as it happened, one year ago.
I hope you'll journey along with me.