August 21. Today. International Conjoined Twins Day. It's something that parents and families of conjoined twins have put together and are trying to get passed as an actual day. They picked 8 (August) because if you turn an 8 on it's side, it is the symbol for infinity - our families are infinitely joined because of the bond we share, just as our children are bonded with their twin. 21 is the symbol for 2 people, 1 body. I love that. I have said so many times I wonder if Joshua and Caleb are conjoined in heave. I choose to believe they are. But I have had so many people over the years tell me there is no way they could be, because (in their opinion) heaven is perfect and without sin and they feel cojoined-ness (my made up word, don't you love it?!) isn't perfect. But I am here to tell you they were so perfect I can't even put into words how perfect they were, are. And as much as I love love love them, God loves them infinitely more. So why would he choose to send them to me in such a perfect form only to separate them in heaven? They were not separable. They shared a heart. You can't split a heart. They shared a lung, can't split that either. The rest may or may not have been separable but their chest was so tiny it wasn't even big enough to make a chest for just one of them, should we have considered separation at any time in the future. Now I know God can do all things, heaven is perfect, and we do not need our Earth bodies in heaven. But since I really can't wrap my mind around any of that, I see Joshua and Caleb as I saw them here. The same way I see Michael in heaven, or my grandparents. Although I sometimes (usually) see them older and bigger. I mean they are 4 years old, right? But I always picture them conjoined, I can not see them any other way. I am not claiming to know one single thing about heaven or how it will be or what we will see and do (other than I know we will be in the presence of Jesus but how that presence will work I have not a clue) but in my opinion, the boys are still conjoined. Today is about celebrating. Celebrating those conjoined twins who have passed on, those that are still here and still conjoined, and celebrating those that have been separated, too! There is a new reality show coming to TLC on August 28 and you can be sure I will be tuning in, at least for the first episode. It is Abby & Brittany who are conjoined twins and are about to graduate from college. I just pray it is done right. They have been pretty private until the last few years, so I hope this will just be something that gives them a nice way to make ends meet and doesn't make them look like a circus act. From the preview it looks like it will be done tastefully and I usually like TLC - minus a few shows. That's my take on today and conjoined twins and just so you know, this day is easy and fun and not hard like their birthday. I guess because I am celebrating what gave me them in the first place. If they hadn't been conjoined it would have just been another pregnancy like everyone else. But they were special and I was special because I was blessed to be their mommy. Their birthday is not only the day they were born, but also the day I lost them and I can't separate the two, just like I can't separate Joshua and Caleb.
Just a few pictures of my latest creation, Witchy Shoes for Halloween!
Hey guys. I am working on growing my business, JC Stitches. If you wouldn't mind, can you jump over to that blog and follow it for me? Here is the link to it: JC Stitches I started creating sweet baby clothes, burp clothes, dolls, napkins, and other cute gift items and I am working hard at adding new things every week. It is all hand made by me and super cute and one-of-a-kind, too! I will create something special just for you if you don't see something there that interests you. And you certainly do not have to buy anything, just follow my blog to help me get the word out there about my shop! This is just a way for me to help subsidize our income for special things like vacations and extra curricular stuff for the girls. Thanks to you all for your support, it really means a lot to me.
I just need to get this off my chest and then maybe I can finally move on. I am not nearly as thankful for my many blessings as I should be, or as I pretend to be. I secretly think angry, selfish thoughts ALL THE TIME! It makes me crabby with my family, and it robs me of the happiness I should be enjoying. I am still mourning the end of my pregnancy I never got to experience. I am still mourning that I didn't get to really nurse Harper the way I wanted to. I am still mourning that I am no longer able to bear more children. Of course I am still mourning Joshua and Caleb, but that is OK. They were real and beautiful and perfect and taken way to soon. But the other stuff that I feel robbed of never was mine to begin with. What is wrong with me? I am so blessed. I have two amazing children. I was witness to an awesome daily miracle while Harper was struggling just to survive all those months in the NICU. I get to witness daily her amazing accomplishments - I can't even tell she was a micro preemie except for her size! She is healthy, happy, and thriving. SO why do I still find myself crying over my losses? Why do I feel like a failure because my uterus gave up at 24 weeks? Why do I feel like a failure because Harper refused to nurse after 6 months? Why do I feel like less of a women because I can't have more children? That ship was about to sail anyway, I am almost 40 years old! So it is time to be honest with myself, accept what I can not change, and move on. None of it was actually my fault - even though it was my body that failed. I could not have done anything different to keep my uterus from rupturing. I wish I could have, but God had a plan and He was in control. Thankfully, God kept Harper safe and allowed her to grow and get healthy with the help of the nurses and doctors in the NICU. Why isn't that enough for me? Some people never get to even have one child, I have two healthy children. I should just be so thankful for my many blessings. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful and I am thankful every day. But it is just that there is always that little voice in the back of my mind that says "But...you don't get to have more." or "But...you should have made it to 40 weeks." or "But...you never really got her to nurse well." So how do I shut that voice up for good? I have stifled it, quieted it, but it always comes back and makes me feel terrible. I feel terrible about myself for being less than I should be, and then I feel guilty for feeling that way because deep down I know it is wrong and stupid. But I still feel that way. I wish at the end of this blog I could tell you how I figured it all out and I have this amazing answer for how to fix it for good, but I haven't. I know that I pray about it. I know that when I see others struggling with horrible problems, my feelings of inadequacy are pushed aside. I am able to celebrate others accomplishments and those of my family and myself. And I have truly happy, thankful feelings. It's not like this consumes me or my every thought. It's is just this nagging feeling that comes and goes. Some days it is stronger than others. Sometimes when I see a very pregnant women, I feel jealous - how awful is that?! And when strangers say "You don't even look like you just had a baby!" it makes me angry, my answer is either "thank you," or "Well, I was only pregnant for 24 weeks - I didn't get a chance to get big." But that just sounds like sour grapes so I try not to say it, unless I am having a bad day and I can't fight the urge. I guess that is it, I just have sour grapes and I need to get over it permanently and quit feeling sorry for myself and quit mourning what was never mine to begin with. We have no guarantees in life. I don't deserve anything more than I have. I actually deserve a lot less- I deserve nothing. I am not worthy. I am but a sinner and God has given me grace (Harper Grace) and saved my wretched soul. This all could have ended so much worse - I could have lost not only my
uterus but also my bladder or bowels, my sweet baby, my life. So no more pity party, no more feeling sorry for myself. No more mourning something that never was. Maybe my confession will bring healing and acceptance and I can finally move on. We are coming up on my due date, and Harper's corrected one year birthday. It only took me a year to come to my senses. Could be worse. So I forgive myself, and ask God to also forgive me. I accept what I can not change and what was never my fault to begin with. I just need to put my big girl pants on, grow up, quit being a baby. Easier said than done, but I am no longer going to let myself live in the past when my future is so bright. I am going to live for today and hope for tomorrow. God's grace is sufficient for me. I need to practice what I preach and stop pretending. I shared at Harper's baptism last Sunday the verse that God gave me the week before I had Joshua and Caleb, 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong." Sometimes I let myself forget that God has this, He has a plan, and He is always good. Temporary insanity, temporary selfishness. Luckily God is good and He forgives me and loves me through it.
We had an awesome experience this past Sunday in Johnson City at the church where Matt grew up. We had Harper baptized! It was wonderful and beautiful and I will post pictures of it later. We made a video to show of Harper's amazing 1st year and I thought you might enjoy seeing it, too.
So, Harper decided she had enough of nap time and climbed out of her crib today. And fell all the way to the floor. It was terrifying for me. I heard the fall and went running. It was hard to get there fast enough. Then when I got into her room, I could hear her screaming but I couldn't find her anywhere! So then I started screaming "Harper, where are you? Mommy can't find you!" I at first started to pull the crib out but then was afraid I would set it on top of her. Then I decided I would just climb over it. So as I hiked my leg up to crawl in and then back out on the other side, I saw her out of the corner of my eye in between the wall and the side of the crib to my left, under her huge stuffed zebra. She was looking up at me like "Here I am Mommy!" she stopped crying as soon as I dragged her out and picked her up. I was shaking and crying still. I stripped her down and checked every where for a sign of injury. She seemed fine, and even though I am still worried, I think she is fine. I went back in later to investigate and I think I figured out how she did it, and even though the mattress is low enough, we will be lowering it to the lowest possible setting tonight when Matt gets home. And taking anything that was close or in the crib, like her mobile which is how I think she got out, away from her reach. We really dodged a bullet. Thank God for watching over her and keeping her safe and injury free. I just keep thinking she could have hanged herself, or broken her neck, or injured her brain. But God is good and she is just fine. She is probably not getting a nap today, but hopefully we can fix the problem and make her crib safe for her again later today. Billie was twice her size and never once climbed out of her crib, the exact same crib - I am using Billie's crib for Harper. Now we know how she survived being so tiny at birth - she was born a fighter and I just have to be thankful she was! So to try to give her a nap, I put up the pack and play in her room and I have the video monitor set up so I can watch her because, of course, I am scared to death to let her get out of my sight now! Below is the video of her pulling herself up by her little teeny tiny hands, all the way until she is head an shoulders above the top rail! This baby can do chin ups! She is only 24 inches tall and 13 lbs 13 oz!! Boy, am I in trouble! Thank you God for the blessing of Harper Grace, my little monkey!
(It's a video of the monitor, so it isn't great quality, but it still tells the story!)