Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sore Fingers

Oh, How I love this little girl!!!!!

As I type this I am being careful with my right pinky finger, as that was the last lucky finger to be pricked for getting my blood sugar count. As the title of this post tells you, I have sore fingers. They are actually bruised from the four times a day pricking. Yuck. (It probaby wouldn't have been so bad, but I had to do it five times yesterday morning to get the thing to work right. I have received advice and hopefully that will not ever happen again!) I can't help but think that Thomas would be so amazed and happy that I am able to do this!
The day of diabetes training was really great overall. I realized why I have felt like I haven't had any energy (low blood sugar-not eating enough!) and the best thing I heard was that I did nothing to cause this. I didn't realize I was beating myself up a little about having this diagnosis until the nurse told me that. It isn't anything I've done! It's just the way my body is handling this pregnancy. She also told me that it will go away immediately after birth (even though in my research I've read there is a chance it will still be there--Google can be a good and bad thing for people!) I am confident that baby Thomas and I will be fine. My numbers have been looking good and I really do feel better now that I am making sure I eat more often and watch portion sizes and carbs. Thank you for your (continued) prayers and encouragement from those of you who have been through this during your pregnancies. It has all helped me so much these last few days.
I feel like I'm continually telling you to pray for this or that, but it helps me so much-I am going to keep it up-
This weekend is, of course, the fourth of July, another holiday without Thomas. I didn't post about Father's day. We got through it-we even went to church. I tuned out most of what was said and tried not to listen when I heard people wishing each other a happy father's day and talking about family plans. I didn't do anything particularly special to commemorate it. Caroline and I talked about some fun things that we three used to do together and I did get to visit with Thomas' parents which always makes me feel a little closer to him.
Anyway, not only is this another holiday, but Sunday is the sixth month mark of him being in heaven. I am really trying to let the 5th of each month go by without dwelling on it to much, but when I thought about this one being the half of a year mark it was a shock. How in the world has it been half a year?!!!! Half of a year since I last told him I loved him to his face? Half of a year since he kissed Caroline good night?? I guess everyone is right, life really does go on-whether you want it to or not. I told Becky the other night how since I am still pregnant it feels like I am closer to him, but realizing I only have a matter of weeks left scares me a lot (of course I can't wait to meet baby Thomas,) but that means I will be a completely different person in different circumstances than when I last saw Thomas. I don't know if any of this is making sense.
The two grief workshops I went to in the last four days has taught me some things:
  • Grief shared (with others,) is grief diminished. (Strange how I am finding this to be true just by the few meetings I've been to so far.)
  • I will never, ever, be the same person again that I was.
  • Sitting through a painful memory or moment or song isn't going to kill me.
  • Letting myself feel it or go through it, without putting up my trusty "wall," will help me to grow. That experience will only feel painful in that exact way, only that one time. The next time that moment, memory, song etc. happens, the grief/pain will be different-perhaps, lessened. Then eventually it can become just a bittersweet moment or, even a sweet memory, (instead of gut-wrenching!)
  • There are so many people grieving, but they put on a "happy" face to live in the world. Sometimes it is for themselves, and sometimes it is for everyone else around them.
  • It is okay that I haven't moved any of Thomas' clothing or shoes or shaving stuff.
  • I am so thankful I have God and an amazing network of family and friends to help me on this journey. I see the difference in how non-Christians grieve or those without a support system like I have.
One of the grief workshops that I attended was presented by ARORA (Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency) After learning so much from them this weekend, I want to encourage everyone to become an organ donor by simply stating it on your driver's license (also tell your family about your wishes.) Thomas and I actually had a conversation about it years ago, so we knew each other's wishes. It is a simple thing to do that can save or improve another person's life (actually one donor can help up to fifty people!) It is a comfort to know that Thomas was able to help out several other people by his willingness to give.
I pray everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday with their families this weekend. Don't take a holiday or a moment for granted.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Challenge

Caroline on her first horse at Vacation Bible School. Her face shows how I feel right now!

Enjoying her little pool in the backyard today.

So I left everyone hanging in my last post with the prayer request about my second glucose test. Well, I found out (finally) Tuesday that I failed. Not terribly, but enough that they are sending me tomorrow for a three hour gestational diabetes training (meaning: how to change my diet and how to prick my finger for blood sugar counting several times a day.) Anyone who knows me, knows that I have, in the past, passed out when having to give blood, go for a TB test or anything else that has to do with needles-so you can imagine how thrilled I am about this. After having Caroline, I have become SO much better with needles and I can honestly say that I will be able to do it. I am also ready to be a healthier eater (I did not think I was that bad to begin with, but of course, I could use improvement.)
I think what is hard about having this diagnosis is that it is just another worry. Having this happen has just brought up a lot of feelings that I haven't explored in a while. I knew I would face challenges without Thomas-I just didn't expect it so soon. It feels really lonely-even with tons of family and friends willing to help how ever they can. It just doesn't feel the void I feel right now.(Caroline and Aly at the Aquatic Center-They had a blast!)

As much as the bible says, not to worry, it is way easier to read, than it is to live by it.
I'm just tired. I feel like I'm being beaten while I'm down. I also realize that God must see the need to refine me some more--it makes me nervous to think about what is coming that I'm going to need to be so strong for; I know it doesn't do any good to borrow trouble from the future, but it makes me wonder...
In bible class tonight we talked about praying the Psalms-oh how I relate to so many of them now. I am happy to say that I can be angry, upset or questioning of God, but underneath all of that I know without a doubt that God loves me and I love Him. It is comforting to see David-a man after God's own heart-have similar feelings to me and not feel ashamed to yell them at God. God can take it-even when I don't have the words, just the emotions.
Thanks for any prayers you can send my way as I am tested, yet again, with this new challenge and as we have a really hard grief group meeting tomorrow evening as well. It will be a long day.
(Caroline is really interested in money right now-notice her little purse. We were on our way to the Farmers' Market. She ate about a bag of blueberries by the end of the day!)

As a side note: Every time I look at Caroline or think about her and her baby brother, Thomas, it makes me feel like I can do it. I can live this life that has been given to me-I just need to focus on how to be the best mommy and Christian example I can be.
Love you all!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Father's Day 2009

Father's Day 2008-Caroline loved getting us to all sit together and wrap her arms around us.

After such a busy time the last few weeks and then a great "break" with Tara last week (see post below,) it gave me some time to re-group for another challenging week coming up. I will appreciate prayers as I have my second (four hour) glucose test Tuesday (Yes, I failed the first one. I did with Caroline also, but passed the second-so I'm hoping for a similar outcome.) This week I will also meet with my financial advisor/planner, which will be good, but also stressful. This week also begins my first weekly meeting with a grief group recommended by a friend at a local church. I pray that it will be a good experience for me and help me to feel like I am grieving the "right" way. I have been feeling even more intense feelings lately. Tara (from the northwest) wrote a blog that reflects a lot of what I'm feeling, so feel free to check that out.)

Hiking May '08

I am determined to try and do things for Caroline that I may not feel up to in these difficult times (and I am DEFINITELY feeling the third trimester of my pregnancy.) So, it is also Vacation Bible School this week that I hope to get her to it each day. To round out the week, it is Father's Day next Sunday. I really have been dreading this holiday for a long time and I am still not sure what to do or how I will handle it. Blessedly, God openened a door for me last month to make me reflect about the holiday and at the same time share a part of my faith with a broader audience through a local family magazine. I was contacted to write about our story for their Father's Day issue. I wasn't sure if I could do it or if I even knew how to approach it, but after reading the comments left at the Peekaboo website I feel even more encouraged and moved by the sweet words left for us.

Working in our first garden June 2008

Thanks in advance for the prayers.

Dear Tara in Texas,

I thought I would be cheap and not check a bag, which means I didn't have my camera! I will be borrowing all my pics from Tara's blog!

How can I thank you enough for letting us come spend a week with you and your family!!?? I definitely needed the away time and with a friend like you who cares so much for us. We had the best time and I was truly sad to leave. I leave with fun memories of Caroline's first airplane ride, Boomerang's, Watermark's awesome services, way yummy food (yours and Cafe Brazil-I dream about that hashbrown casserole,) "swimming," Caroline's first necklace made of stringing beads (I still can't believe she did it all by herself!,) Babies R Us (WHY don't we have one??,) learning about how to handle baby boy stuff that I did not experience with Caroline!, my awesome ring sling (I think it will be awesome anyway!,) funny Bailey sayings and prayers, watching the girls devour edamame, and most definitely our late night talks. I love you so much and I can't write more without getting emotional and I am really trying to hold it together. Love you, Bonnie

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Full Schedule!

Me, Caroline, Jacob and Tara (Micah was snoozing inside!)

I have been blessed with many Taras in my life! God gave me the opportunity this weekend to meet the Tara that is living a very similar life as mine. She lives over 1700 miles away, and yet was coming to my town for a family member's wedding! God is so amazing! We were able to spend quite a bit of time together and my heart is so full from talking with her, and yet it breaks that we were brought together under these circumstances. Let me backup and document the events of the last two weeks...

This has been a really tough, emotional few weeks. Funny as it sounds, it surrounds the wonderful things people have been doing for our family.
The week before Memorial Day I lost my voice and ended up on antibiotics. Lucky for me, I had Grandma Tracy and Mimi as nurses to help Caroline and I. It is too hard to be sick without help!
Memorial Day weekend Thomas' whole family came for the big Ditch Dig of 2009 in our backyard! Caroline had a blast playing with her cousins and despite the rain all weekend the french drain is up and running! I love getting all together because of the love that the family shares, but of course the absence of Thomas is hard to take.The only picture I took during the "dig!" Caroline and her cousin John Thomas enjoying capri-suns.

We ended up back at the house where we spent Christmas and I did not realize how hard that was going to be on me. Especially when Caroline went looking for daddy to help run the trains in their train room like they did over Christmas. Enough about that...
We then spent the next day and night with my whole family after Jett's first photo shoot. He's the cutest little baby boy ever! (Raye Law Photography)Once we got home we met with some drywall guys to work on our house and a plumber to help with our water heater. We were then ready for the painting of the kids' rooms to commence! Nick and Alisha, friends from our college years and the youth ministers from our church, were so nice to start on Thursday night during our bible study and work until Saturday night to finish both rooms!! Nick is meticulous and thoughtful about painting and I LOVE that because that is exactly how Thomas was about painting! Caroline was so fun about it. She would cover her eyes, yet totally peeking, as she walked into her room. The expression on her face was priceless. She would yell, "Nine-ey's room Purple!" (Nine-ey is the newest nickname she has for herself) and after a few seconds of admiring her room, she would then say, "See baby Thomas' room!" and run across the hall to see that amazing paint job. She has repeated this each day since Saturday! So cute. Thank you Alisha and Nick for your time, energy and love put into the beautiful rooms!!Sneak peek of Caroline's purple room! Her first nursery was also purple-click to see.

Saturday was also the day for Har-Ber High's Thomas Culp Memorial Scholarship Fund car wash. Becky, Jett, Caroline and I were able to stop by and see these amazing students working so hard in the hot sun to honor Thomas. I have mentioned this before, but at certain times, my circumstance hits me as being very real. Seeing Thomas' name on the posters they were holding was one of those times. I told Caroline that we were going to see some of Daddy's friends and students and she thought that was really neat. She's still saying, "Daddy's friends wash cars!"That evening Caroline and I went to what I thought was the Har-Ber science department's end of the year get-together. Turns out it was really a surprise baby shower for baby Thomas! When I realized what they had done, it was really hard to keep it together. I try really hard to put on a strong, happy face most of the time, but I could feel the wall breaking down. I am so blessed to be surrounded by people who truly care about us. Mr. Paul and Mrs. Marianna, also hosted and cooked yummy fajitas for us all, put this pool together just for Caroline! (The pictures from the shower were all taken by our friend, Kyle who is married to Lynsey who is a fellow science teacher of Thomas' at Har-Ber. We all became great friends over the years.)We received tons of gifts, a diaper cake and several presents from Thomas' students for our baby! I couldn't stand it any more! The last present was a drawing of Thomas and Caroline that one of his students took a month to complete. They had it matted and framed for me. When you look at the picture I took of it below, you can imagine how I reacted. Lots of tissues needed.
Caroline looking sassy with her pink "soccer ball" as she calls it. Even Caroline received gifts at Thomas' shower!

After a day of church activities on Sunday, I got to go with Lynsey (who is due with a boy on the very same day as me!!) to Central Junior High's end of the year assembly. Thomas did his MAT internship and taught his first year there. They presented Lynsey and I with a check from a fundraiser they held for the scholarship fund. After hearing Lynsey, on behalf of Har-Ber, speak to the school about all of Thomas' wonderful qualities, I found it hard to get my thank you out. Luckily, Caroline was cooperating and letting me hold her for strength to get through saying my thanks. The whole school stood up and clapped for us--it makes me cry now, like I did then just thinking about it. We were told they are going to hold this fundraiser annually!
Whew...what a week.So I've finally caught up to where I met Tara, Jacob and Micah! We were able to spend a long time here at the house talking and letting the kids play together on Saturday. After the assembly on Monday we spent more time together at the park and their Mimi's house. Preston's and Tara's family went out of their way to make me feel like a part of theirs. They are such a wonderful, Christian family.
Jake and Caroline (she LOVED the fairy costume Tara got for her!)

I feel like I've known Tara forever! We share so many of the exact same feelings, thoughts and fears-but best of all we both share an unshakable faith in God that He will see us through this forever! He won't ever get tired of our emotional roller coaster of feelings! That is so comforting. Tara, I love you and I love that God brought us together so that we will not feel lonely or isolated-He is taking care of us!

Blessed girls

Prayer request: Tomorrow is my glucose test for gestational diabetes. Please pray I pass the first time!!