Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Just when I think I'm feeling pretty good....

Last night I was watching CSI. A lady on the show delivered a baby. Boy, did that stir up some emotions for me. I just bawled and bawled. Just when I think I'm doing pretty good something will come along and pricks my heart...and the tears flow.

The interesting thing is that not everything does that to me. The other day I was at the gym and ran into a lady I had got to know when I was working out all the time prior to the pregnancy. She was pregnant when I quit going and now has a little baby girl. She came walking down the hall and said, "Have you met my baby?" I cooed and ooed and awed over her baby. She then said, "I heard you were pregnant?" and I had to tell her that our baby was stillborn. She was apologetic and we had a really nice conversation. You'd think that would have done me in...but it didn't.

Grief is an curious thing.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

The Christmas Box

This is a quick read. I read it because I heard that it was written to comfort the author's mother, who had lost a child. As a mother who also lost a child, I didn't get much comfort from it - but it is a nice story. As a matter of fact, it gave me an idea for a Christmas story we can give as a gift to our family....but I shall not divulge the details there just yet.

What fascinates me most about this book is the huge success it has been. Apparently it is the first book Richard Paul Evans wrote. Wikpedia says: "the book sold by word of mouth with such success that it soon got the attention of the big publishing houses. A bidding war erupted which resulted in Evans receiving several million dollars for the publishing rights.

Released in hardcover in 1995 by Simon & Schuster, The Christmas Box proved a publishing phenomenon, becoming the first book to simultaneously reach the No.1 position on the New York Times bestseller list for both the paperback and hardcover editions. That same year, the book was made into a television movie of the same title starring Richard Thomas and Maureen O'Hara."

Imagine....isn't that every author's dream?! ...your first book makes you millions.

I have got to figure out that recipe and apply it in my own life.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Children's Theatre

I decided it was time for some fun for us. Recently Peirce was telling me some of his goals. He wants to get really good at swimming, make a cookie, and be in a real play. It's been a while since we've been to a real play so I decided it was time for us to get back on the band wagon. Tonight Allen had appointments with clients so Jill and Peirce and I went and saw a play at the Storybook Theatre called
I love to take them to plays like this. The kids all sit on the floor in the front and there's lots of interaction with the audience. It's as fun to watch the kids as it is to watch the actors.

This was a story about a rabbit named Pookie that had wings. He has a bunch of animal friends that don't believe in Santa and he's really bothered by their lack of belief. In the story he ends up meeting Santa Claus (want to feel electricity in the air!! Just hang out in a room with a bunch of 3-5 year olds when Santa shows up!) Pookie finds out that the magic of Christmas comes from your mind and your heart. When you don't believe the magic is lost....and so Pookie helps all his friends believe.

Afterwards the actors all park themselves out in the lobby and meet all the kids. That's as fun as the play I think!

Jill and one of the elves

Peirce with "Wiggle Nose"

This is Peirce and Pookie is in the background. Pookie was in high demand after the play so it was hard to get a good picture.

Peirce and Squiffytail Squirrel and Wiggle Nose

Peirce and Ooly Owl. Very impressive wings!

I think this is NommyNee

It was a fun night. Just what we needed, I think!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

The Looking Glass

Richard Paul Evans is a best selling author. His book, The Christmas Box, was a best seller. Apparently it was the first book he wrote. Nothing like blasting onto the scene! Since writing that book I understand that he has made writing his career. I think I'll put the Christmas Book next on my list of book to read.

The Looking Glass was a pretty good book. We read it for book club though - and I'm not so sure it provided enough for a great discussion. Mostly it's a feel good book. I read this book while I was in the hospital - which might have been why I enjoyed it. I didn't need any deep thoughts or philosophical reads....but a simple story was about all I could handle. It was the right book for the right time.

The Publisher Weekly Review summarizes this book well: Heartfelt but hackneyed, this ponderous new novel by the author of The Christmas Box carries heavy doses of spirituality. After "Presbyterian minister turned prospector and gambler" Hunter Bell is run out of Goldstrike camp (aka "Sodom West") in 1857 by a vigilante group that suspects him of cheating at cards, he strikes it rich in the Oquirrh mountain range in western Utah. Despite his material fortune, Hunter remains unhappy, haunted by the death of his wife back in Pennsylvania. (When his prayers for her recovery went unanswered, Hunter headed west "in search of gold instead of God.") "How quickly it is forgotten that Midas's gift was a curse, not a blessing," he reflects in one of the journal entries that precede each chapter. The chance for a new life comes when he discovers Quaye Mac Gandley unconscious in the snow, surrounded by wolves. Quaye has had a terrible time. At 14, she was sold by her impoverished father in Ireland to the American adventurer Jak, whose activities include murder, attempted rape, extortion, abduction, pimping and wife beating. We know Quaye and Hunter are right for each other since they share a love of literature, especially the sonnets of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The two tormented souls slowly recognize their mutual need via several incidents laden with homilies. Hunter eventually reaches a new, gospel-inspired level of understanding. "The measure of a person's heart, the barometer of good or evil, was nothing more than the extent of their willingness to choose life over death... the path of God was, simply, the path of life, abundant and eternal." In spite of wooden characters, pervasive platitudes and a predictable plot, this "story of redemption" will undoubtedly find its audience.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Destiny Dawn Ackroyd

On November 5 I went to the hospital because I had not felt any movement from the baby for a few days. The doctors were unable to find a heartbeat and asked me to return to the hospital the next day. On November 6 Destiny Dawn was silently born. We held a funeral on November 10

This is a talk I wrote for the funeral and had my dear friend, Patti, read:

A lot of people have asked me about what happened and why. I knew nothing of these things prior to this week – but I’ve learned a lot.

Destiny’s birth was considered a still-birth.

US statistics say a stillbirth occurs once in every 125 births. That stat sounded high to me – but the night I was I in the hospital there was another lady who delivered a still-born child as well. I could hear the woman’s cries down the hall. It was a sound I’ll never forget.

In only 50% of these cases are they able to determine a cause. When they are able to find a cause, the reasons usually fall into 3 categories:

1. child birth defects
2. placenta and umbilical cord problems
3. maternal conditions, such as diabetes, or other diseases, or drug or alcohol abuse.

We don’t know the cause in our situation. After Destiny was born we asked them to do an autopsy. They took her to the Children’s Hospital to do that. So far we don’t know of any medical reason that this happened. Maybe in time we will find out, and maybe we’ll be part of the 50% that never knows why.

Having a stillborn child does not automatically mean there will be problems in future pregnancies. The stats say there is a 97% chance future pregnancies will not end this way.

I wish you could have seen Destiny. She was perfectly formed. The footprints in the program are hers. She had 10 beautiful little toes and 10 tiny fingers. The picture on the front of the program is one the nurse took of her little hand. The teddy bear she’s holding is about two inches long. She had a nose like Jill’s and blonde eyelashes that were long like Peirce’s are. She only weighed 1 lb 11 oz. We all got to hold her. It was like holding a tiny doll.

On Monday morning this past week I told Peirce that our baby had died and that I’d have to stay in the hospital a couple days while the doctors helped me. His response was interesting. He told me that he knew that already. He had gone to bed Sunday night when we left to go to the hospital and so I asked him what he meant by that. He said that he always knew this baby wasn’t going to come to our house.

For me – well, I didn’t know that. I had plans for this baby and I so looked forward to getting to know her. Jill and Peirce are such interesting little people. I just knew she’d add an interesting element to our family and I was excited to see it all unfold. When I was in the hospital my heart ached. I wondered and asked Heavenly Father if I couldn’t just go to the other side of the veil for a moment to get to know Destiny more and make sure she was going to be okay all alone. It was made clear to me that she isn’t all alone. She was met by Nana Hyde and Grandma Ackroyd and all her other grandparents that have gone on before. I felt strongly that my cousin Kelly who died at age 5 would hold her hand and walk with her and tell her of her mommy and daddy’s love. I also knew my cousin Scott who died recently would play with her and help her to have fun, because he was always the king of fun.

I don’t know why this has happened. I can find many lessons in it all though. I’ve always been a little afraid to approach people that are grieving. But now I know how comforting it is to have hugs even from those who just don’t know what to say. I’ve learned how truly blessed I am. I have a dear husband who has cried with me and cried on his own. He’s been so strong through it all and has been happy to take care of the things I thought were just too hard. We are stronger together as a result of going through this. I also have a new appreciation for Jill and Peirce. They’re both grieving in their own unique ways and I admire them for their strength. I’ve also come to appreciate the layers of support we have: our parents, our siblings, our cousins and aunts and uncles, our friends at church and at work and at school. You’ve all been so kind and so wonderful. I marvel that God sent us two angels in the form of Virgnia and Maren to take care of everything at home while I was in the hospital and after I got home. Also, the nurses and my doctor were all amazing. Everyone was careful and kind and sensitive. My list of people to thank could go on forever. We’ve been carried by many people through all of this.

People always say “everything happens for a reason”. I don't care much for that phrase. I don’t know the reasons we had to go without the chance to get to know and spend time with Destiny…but I can accept it because more than anything I know that God loves me, as he does you, and one day when I sit with Him I will ask. Until then I will continue to walk by faith.

I pray each of you will have peace in your life and comfort in knowing that God loves you too.

....some people dream of angels...we got to hold one in our arms....

Jill holding Destiny

Peirce holding Destiny many unanswered questions...