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Heather's Parenting Journal

Entry Eleven ~ February 2007
~ Still Hanging in There

We are all healthy so far this month. I am hoping the nasty bugs have gone and left our home for good.

I had the cardiologist ultrasound of the baby's heart last week and all was well. She looked healthy and her heart was growing as expected. They did not see any reasons to be concerned with her. I think at this point I am released from the specialist care since from what they can tell the baby is fine. I am scheduled for my 20 week ultrasound at my OB's office this coming Friday. My pregnancy has been going great. The baby is moving and I feel her several times a day now. We've settled on a name Katelynn Joyce, after Brian's mom.

Brian's mom is still with us, but it is truly amazing. I wish I could tell you she is getting better and a miracle is at work here, but I really think this past weekend might have been our last visit with her. She is so weak. She is so skinny. She is so tired. A few weeks ago she made peace with dying and told us she was ready to go. It was a wonderful weekend surrounded with her family and people she loved. We all prayed with her, told her over and over how much we loved her, and we stayed by her side as much as possible. That was a comfort to us because prior to that she still asked for prayers to get better. Not that I ever stopped praying for her health to return, but I knew down deep more then anything I wanted her to at least be prepared to die and be okay about it. She is no longer afraid. This past weekend when we visited, I don't think she really knew Brian and I were even there. She looked so much more confused and tired. I think our last good weekend with her has come and gone.

Fortunately, my parents live close to Brian's mom, so the kids stay with them. We've always been close to Joyce, but with all of our moves and her lack of ability to come visit due to work schedules and such, they did not get to know her like they do my parents. Don't get me wrong, they love her and will dearly miss her, but they have not gotten to know her as well. We visit for Christmas and a few other times per year. I don't want them to remember her like she looks now. They are so impressionable. Joyce is in a hospital bed in her living room. She does not look at all like the grandma they once knew. Alex came once to see her in her bed, and all of them visited her in the hospital, but that is all. I'd prefer to remind them of the good times playing with her and for them to look at pictures to remember her.

My house looks as if I've had a lot of mental stress in my life. We have traveled back and forth to Ohio every weekend for months. We are always prepared for that phone call to pack up again and leave. We've had 2 such phone calls where they did not think Joyce would make it through the night, but she pulled through both. I even left the kids suitcases and clothes at my parent's house, along with all our funeral clothes just so that is a little less I have to think of grabbing when the time comes. I hate living like this. It is much happier to be on the other end of life and waiting anxiously to go into labor with your bags packed and such. But, it is kind of that same feeling. Funny how life goes full circle.

My husband took a new job through all of this. I truly don't know how he manages it all right now. But, they found him, recruited him, and made him a fantastic offer with an ever more fantastic opportunity that makes him so excited to get up and go to work. You can't put a price on all of that. He has to dive deep into his work in order to get this company up and running and I think it probably helps him a little. Although I feel like I see him less, what I see is such a happy man when it comes to his work. It is local so no moves are in our future any time soon.

All the kids are doing well. Death is a conversation that comes up, of course. But I don't bring it up. Hospice has some wonderful advice on how to help children cope. I think they are all doing well. Really only Alex and Maria are the most affected, but they all can be affected in different ways. Hospice gave us signs of depression to look for and so far they all seem fine. We talk very open and age appropriate about Joyce's soon passing. Our faith has helped with the knowledge and belief that she will go to heaven. We like to imagine what heaven looks like. Maria's heaven has many dogs with wings. Alex said he sees many colors and the most beautiful day imaginable is there all the time.

I am hanging in there too. I feel out of my comfort zone, and I am looking forward to that weekend where we have nothing going on, where we are not living out of suitcases, and we can just snuggle and play with the kids non stop. But I would not want to do anything else right now either. Soon life will settle down.

On a completely lighter note, we had 12 inches of snow here a few weeks ago. I am probably the only adult excited, but I was. The kids were so happy and played in it as much as they could. There were 4 foot snow drifts on our driveway. The kids made snow angels and snow men. Sydney liked eating snow balls. The dogs enjoyed jumping through the drifts. We are now melting, and after that one great big snow I've had my snow fill and I'm ready for spring to come.

Have a wonderful month and I'll talk to you all soon!

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