Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Beginnings

Last week I interviewed for a new job. It was one of those nightmare interview scenarios....3 people on one end of a boardroom table, me on the other, and a whole list of questions to answer. It was for a bookkeeping job with the school system. They interviewed a few people for it and I did NOT leave the interview thinking "I've got this in the bag". To be honest, it wasn't my best interview ever. Probably because I was so nervous. But to my surprise, my interviewer called me yesterday and offered me the job!!! I was SO excited about what getting this job meant. Of course everyone's first question to me is, "Does it pay more than you're making now?" The answer is yes. It's actually less hours, but pays more. I will be paying $180 less than I'm paying now for insurance for my family (but it's still just as good), I'll be working 7:30-1:30 (instead of 8-5), so once Ethan's in Pre-K next fall, we won't have to pay for after care (which will be saving us close to $500 a month). Not to mention all the benefits like having 21 paid non-working days, 3 days off for Thanksgiving and an entire week off for Christmas! I've done bookkeeping before, so I know I'll do a good job at it. This job means a new start, it means the possibility of finishing my degree, and the best part of all...it means more time with my family. I'm so grateful for this opportunity!!!

I've been working at the bank for a total of 3 years and 4 months (with a 13 month break in there after Ethan was born). I love the bank...I really do. I love my co-workers and it's all-in-all a great job with great benefits. So why am I leaving? Well, since Noah died I've just longed for a change. I put on a brave face at work, but honestly, when I go to work in a good mood and a customer asks me how my new baby is doing....well....let's just say that it's very hard to focus on work for the rest of the day. I just need a new start and I'm so excited about this new job!

In other news, I just saw that 2 of my blog friends are pregnant! Angie and Raechel both announced today that they are pregnant. This is kind of amazing....or maybe they planned to announce at the same time, I don't know...but I think that it's neat that both of their baby girls that passed away were born on April 7, 2008 and now they both announced today that they are pregnant again. I'm not sure how far along Angie is, but Raechel is over halfway there. I am so excited for these ladies and I'm praying for them as I know that even during this exciting time, there is probably a lot of fear after losing their sweet baby girls not so long ago. Please pray along with me for these amazing women and for the little ones that are growing inside them!

Also please pray for my co-worker as she has lost a dear friend of hers. Pray for the family of Stephen Wust who was killed in a motorcycle accident this morning.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Separation Anxiety

I've thought a lot about separation anxiety lately. I remember when Ethan was having a hard time when he first started daycare. I had been home with him for 13 months after he was born and then I had to go back to work. I would drop him off at daycare and his teacher told me that for about 30 minutes after I dropped him off, he would stand at the window and cry, just waiting to see if I would come back to get him. He would cry every time I dropped him off and would run to me every time I picked him up after work.

"Separation anxiety is a developmental stage during which the child experiences anxiety when separated from the primary caregiver (usually the mother)."

Symptoms include:
  • Excessive distress when separated from the primary caregiver
  • Nightmares
  • Reluctance to go to school or other places because of fear of separation
  • Reluctance to go to sleep without the primary caregiver nearby
  • Repeated physical complaints
  • Worry about losing or harm coming to the primary caregiver
I often thought about how it was going to affect Noah when I went back to work. I was only going to be home with him for 8 weeks after his birth, so he would be in daycare. I was going to be going from full-time to part-time though, so he would have only been in daycare 3 days a week.

This past Sunday I couldn't sit still in church. I got up to go to the bathroom and I heard Sarah (my best friend's daughter) crying. Her cry is so distinct and everything in me just ached to comfort her. I hoped I would not annoy the nursery workers, but I walked in and just held Sarah for a while to calm her. I cannot tell you how much I absolutely adore her! It's partly because I was present for her birth and her family is like family to me. So I feel like I'm her "Aunt Lisa"! :o) I finally put her down in a bouncer and left the nursery. A few minutes later she was crying again so I went to get Angela out of the service. Sarah was hungry. She needed her mommy. I overheard the nursery workers talking about separation anxiety and my heart hit the floor. That's it. It's separation anxiety. But it's not my child who is desperately longing for me to hold him. It's me....I'm the one with separation anxiety. I long to hold my child in my arms. I am the one with the nightmares, the reluctance to push through another day, the one worrying that something may happen to my husband or to my other son. It's not supposed to be like this. No mother should have to endure this. I have separation anxiety and no amount of crying, kicking, or screaming is going to bring him back.

I just kept thinking about how I would give anything to hear my son in that nursery, crying for me. I stood outside the nursery just screaming to God in my head, "Why can't he just be here, God. Why??? I want him to be here. I want him to be in that nursery. "

After church we went to Noah's grave and then to eat. After that I stopped to do a little shopping for winter clothes for Ethan. While I was our shopping, my friend Nanci sent me a text. She said she wanted to hang her painting (of the angel holding the baby) in the church nursery in honor of Noah. I started sobbing in the middle of Kohl's. I told her about my morning and about how I desperately wished Noah was in that nursery. Her thoughtfulness meant so much to me.

I know this separation is only temporary. Just like Ethan used to run into my arms when I would pick him up each day, one day I will run into my Savior's arms...and my son, Noah will be there to run into mine...and there will be no more separation.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My New Friend

On Sunday my mother-in-law was at church and wanted to go see Noah's grave marker. We drove to the cemetery and it was a beautiful sunny day. While we were out there, I walked around the other grave markers (as I've done many times) and just prayed over them, remembering the families of those precious children. I've often wondered how their babies died....if they were stillborn like Noah. I've wondered how the mommies of these children are holding up and I've really longed to connect with at least one of them. David thought I was a little nutty, but I took photos of a few of the grave markers. I wanted to look up some of the names on the internet to see if any of the other moms had blogs similar to mine. I searched about 8 of them and found an obituary for one of the baby girls who passed away in March. I saw her parent's names listed, so I decided to look up her mother on facebook. I found her. With the risk of being seen as a stalker, I messaged her and told her that my son was buried in Babyland with her daughter. I told her that I was praying for her family. Turns out that we both have the same doctor. An instant friendship was formed....she's also a sweet sister in Christ. We traded several messages back and forth last night. I can tell she has a beautiful heart and I'm so glad that God prompted me to message her. I'm hoping she will visit our church soon so that we can meet! :o)

Please pray for my new friend as she has lost 2 babies in the last 2 years. She also has 2 precious children here on earth. Her blog is http://www.dawnsjoy.blogspot.com/.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sips 'n Strokes

Last night my friend Nanci and I went to Sips 'n Strokes to paint a beautiful picture of an angel holding a baby. We had such a great time! I really hope to go again soon! The painting makes me think of my Aunt Cindy (who died as a baby). I believe she would have had long dark brown hair just like her sisters (my mom and my Aunt Debbie). I imagine her holding Noah in Heaven. If you live in Georgia or Alabama and ever want to try it out...go to www.sipsnstrokes.com. You don't have to be an artist...most people in the class haven't painted since elementary school, but their paintings still came out gorgeous!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Noah's Grave Marker & Remembrance Day

I had no idea what God had in store for us today. I went to work this morning, thinking about Noah. Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. At about 10:30 I got an email from David telling me that Noah's grave marker was finally here. I couldn't believe it. All I could do was cry and thank God that he allowed it to arrive on such a special day as today.

Though we were both very anxious to see it, David and I decided we would wait and go see it together after work. Just a few minutes later a beautiful bouquet of fall flowers arrived for me at work. The card read, "David, Lisa, & Ethan - Just a little something to say we are thinking of you and remembering our nephew, Noah, and his siblings. We find joy in knowing they are all together in Heaven. We love you all! -J & E." I was so overwhelmed I started crying. Thank you Jason and Esther...the flowers are beautiful!

Just moments after that, my co-worker (that works at one of our other bank's branches) walked in on her lunch break. She has such a tender heart and I just think she is great! She gave me a sweet card and this beautiful Willow Tree figurine. Thank you, Lori!!!

During lunch I went to Hobby Lobby and bought several artificial fall flowers to go on Noah's grave. I was inspired by the bouquet that Jason and Esther had bought for us and I wanted Noah's flowers to look as similar as possible. So I put together a bouquet to put in his vase on his marker.

After lunch my co-workers gave me a card, a cute bag, and some little iron-ons representing each member of our family (including Noah). The card made me cry. It had a picture of a rainbow and the card said,

"God appearing at the strangest of places. Doing the strangest of things. Stretching smiles where there had hung only frowns. Placing twinkles where there were only tears. Hanging a bright star in a dark sky. Arching rainbows in the midst of thunderclouds.

Thinking of you and praying God will fill your day with unexpected blessings."

I can't tell you how perfectly appropriate that card was. God definitely filled my day with unexpected blessings.

I got a call in the afternoon from a floral shop saying they had left flowers for me at my front door at home. After work I drove straight home to get my camera and to get the flowers.

Another beautiful bouquet of lovely fall colored flowers. It made David and I both feel so loved. Thank you so much, Brien & Hannah!!! Thank you for thinking of us and our sweet Noah today.

I left my house and met David and Ethan at the cemetery. I pulled into the cemetery and saw beautiful geese walking around the graves.

We walked up to Noah's grave in the pouring down rain...and there it was...our sweet boy's beautiful name...

The vase is a temporary vase. Noah's vase will match his grave marker a bit better. They put this other one in temporarily until his arrives. About an hour after we visited the grave, Jason and Esther came to see it. They took a picture of us together....our first family picture.

It's a bitter sweet day. We are so thankful to have a place to remember our son. We just wish we had him in our arms instead.

I'm thinking of so many of you today who have lost a child. Love to all of you!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

5 Years Ago

Today marks 5 years since we lost our twins to miscarriage...October 14, 2004. I think that the heaviness of losing Noah just makes thinking about losing the twins even harder. I'm really sick of having these type of anniversaries. I want to be celebrating the birthdays of our children, not remembering the day we lost them. But remembering the twins reminds me that if we hadn't lost them, we wouldn't have Ethan. And I cannot even begin to explain to you the love I have for my son! I just pray that my love for him doesn't turn into complete paranoia and over-protection. Right now I have a hard time letting him out of my sight! He is our miracle and I thank God for him.

Even though it's been 5 years, I remember it like it was yesterday. David and I had only been married a year and we weren't quite ready to be parents, but we were still very excited. My belly started growing so quickly. And I was sick...really sick. David knew it was twins. Even at the doctor's office at the first ultrasound, David announced to the nurse, "Just wait and see...we are getting the two for one special...I guarantee it." And he was right. I'll never forget seeing those two little hearbeats on the screen. My due date was set....May 6, 2005. David was SO excited he could barely contain himself. He just thought having twins was so special and even though he was nervous about becoming a father, he was really excited about having twins. I couldn't believe we had two little babies in there! We surprised our families with the news just a few days after David's sister's wedding. A few weeks later we went to visit my aunt and uncle in Alabama. My aunt bought two little Alabama outfits for the twins. It was just a week after that when we knew something was wrong. I woke up in the middle of the night and I knew immediately what was happening. We were heartbroken. We went to the doctor the next morning and thankfully the doctor took me straight over to the hospital for the D&C instead of making me wait it out. I remember all the people that were there to see us and I remember waking up and feeling more empty than I had ever felt in my life. For the first time I understood that when a woman loses a baby (no matter how far along she is), it's not disappointing....it's devastating.

Even though we were terribly sad after losing the twins, I never imagined that this would only be the beginning of a series of losses. I've always been a pretty healthy person and never really had any problems. I just always assumed that having children would be simple. Only God knows the reasons for it all, but I can tell you that what we've gone through has made us more dependent on God, made us closer to each other as husband and wife, and given us a total unconditional love for Ethan. And God amazed us when Ethan was born right on his due date...May 6, 2006....the same due date as the twins, just one year later.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Noah's Name Gallery

Welcome to Noah's Name Gallery! If you would like to make an addition to Noah's name gallery, you can email me at Lisacollinsworth@hotmail.com and it will be added to the gallery. You will be able to access the name gallery at any time by clicking the link on the right side of my blog titled, "Noah's Name Gallery". You can write Noah's name in a unique way (out of rocks, sticks, written in sand, out of food, etc.) or you can write it on a piece of paper and take it in front of different places (at the beach, on vacation, etc.).

We would love to have pictures of Noah's name from places all over the world!

To start us off, my co-worker and friend Jennifer wrote Noah's name in the sand while at the beach.

Noah's Nana had his name made in blown glass while in Helen, Georgia.

Noah's Room

From my newest friend, Dawn, mother of Haylee who is buried in Babyland near Noah. Her son also helped put this together. Thank you!

Dawn's son also made this on his own out of dominoes...what a sweetheart!

From my sweet friend, Nicole.

From Jennifer, mother of sweet Bryston

From the Lehman Family while vacationing at Disney World...
Thank you Angela, Philip, Hannah, Micah, & Sarah!

This is one I made for Noah....

Thank you to Sarah, Richard, and Carly at "Rory's Garden" for making this beautiful photo of Noah's name (and thank you to my brother, Jason and sister-in-law Esther for requesting it for us!)

Thank you to Holly for this picture taken in Riverside Park in Findlay, Ohio.

A dear lady named Michelle sent me an email a few weeks ago. She went to Hayman Island in the Whitsundays (Great Barrier Reef) for 3 days with her husband and another couple. From there they took a helicopter ride to Whitehaven Beach. Her and her friends decided to write something in the sand and she yelled out, "NOAH!". She told them all about Noah (she reads my blog) and they decided to write Noah's name. She said the sun was so bright on the white sand that it was hard to get a good shot. She said they ended up using swimmers, beach towels, a beach hat, flippers, and stinger suits to curl up and spell his name. So from the other side of the world at Whitehaven Beach, Australia....

Taken by my dear friend Monica. Her and her husband, Ed are missionaries in Bosnia

Taken by our dear friends, Mike & Jen Ryan

Had this taken while we were vacationing in the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Nathan Lawrenson.

I saw this sign on the way to Lynchburg, Virginia and practically ran off the road.

I also took these next two when it snowed here in February

Taken by our friends, Levi and Amy Todd

Taken by David's aunt, Carmen Williams

These next two were taken by a sweet blog friend, Leanne Gehrke in Huntington, Indiana.

Our friends Greg and Kathy King made these letters of Noah and took them with them to the Grand Canyon where they took these photos. SO BEAUTIFUL!

Our friends, Jeremy and Trista Ross made this one...

My friend Courtney Goff took this one while on vacation
Very creative!

My blog friend, Holly Haas sent me this one

Blog friend, Leanne and her sister used sign language to spell Noah's name while in the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee

April & Dan Zizich wrote Noah's name with seashells while at the beach

My sister-in-law, Esther painted this and gave it to us...so beautiful!

These next 3 were sent to me by my friend, Shea Downing.

Our good friends Kevin and Jami Lynn sent us this one. I always love the ones of his name in the sand at the beach!

My very sweet and encouraging friend, Julie Coryea sent this one...so cool!!!!

Ruthie (my sister-in-law's sister) sent theses next two from Chicago


And my dear friend from Warner Robins, Jennifer Lipke had an evening with her girl's small group. She was unable to come to Noah's balloon release so she and the girls made several additions to Noah's name gallery and also release balloons in his honor the same day we had the balloon release here in Conyers. Thank you so much girls!!!!!!!!!!

And one of the girls in the small group girls - Kristen Kramer - made this one which is so pretty! It's so sweet that people who don't even know us were thinking of us and praying for us on Noah's birthday.

My friends Nanci and Shelby Stewart sent this from the beach! It's made of sand dollars!