Sunday, March 31, 2013

Some days

Some days, you go to work and just never come home.

I don't mean that figuratively. I mean I remind myself of an old He-Haw song that if it weren't for bad luck I would have no luck at all.

We had a series medical and emotional emergencies in the house. I really thought we were past those. Then, end of January I wrecked my 12 passenger van. I can't remember if I ever blogged about it. It still makes me really upset that my custom ordered, van of my dreams, totally paid of 12 passenger van is GONE. I slip on a patch of black ice, and I crashed into a tree. I walked away in one very battered but not broken piece, but the van frame went from even lines to a parrallelogram. There went my van. We bought a min-van for cash because I refuse to take on two car payments and we'll buy a new (used) 12 passenger once II's vehicle is paid off first of next year.

However, Friday just took the cake of my bad luck days, even after all of the bad luck we've had in the last 18 months. When I got to work, I was fine. The other nurse was not feeling well and we were having a very busy day. For most of the morning, I did the patient care and the other nurse did paperwork. We joked that since she was the one who did all of the patient care and I did the paperwork back when I had my car wreck, I was just returning the favor.

Then, I went to lunch. I was still fine. When I came back, I needed to pee but very little came out. I felt a little like I might be getting a bladder infection. It was a pain, but I figured I would spend my weekend flushing it out and I would be fine again. Within an hour, the pain was escalating rapidly, all while I was coordinating patient care and two patients with issues we were having to contact doctors on. I stepped out and took some ibprofen quicklying, figuring it would help my pain level and if there was any inflamation it would take care of that too. Within a second hour, I had to tell the other nurse something was off about me. I was in tremendous pain but was focused on the patient needs so I could push through and ignore it. At that point, I figured I would leave work at 6 instead of staying until 8 (I'm allowed to use PTO and leave at 6 if we're done with patients but I normally stay until 8 and continue to work around the clinic). The patients all left suddenly just after 4pm and that is when I realized that I was WAY past functioning. I could not sit. My bladder was in a massive spasm I could not decipher. There was something behond that spasm that I could not put my finger on, nor had I ever felt previously.

I really thought I would head out at 6 and head for an Urgent Care. Within 20 minutes, we both realized I was not making it anywhere. I left work at 4:35pm and headed straight for Urgent Care. Ironic considering I work right behind our emergency room. However, I was still convinced it was something I could handle at home and I didn't want to pay an ER co-pay to hop over to the ER instead. In my defense, my co-worker and I conferred and we both felt I should go to Urgent Care but I should go to the Urgent Care with the CT machine. I think it was in the backs of both of our minds what *might* be happening. Mostly, I think we were both in a bit of shock. It came on SO suddenly and I had never had it happen to be before now.

The Urgent Care ran a CT scan. They didn't even bother to wait for their bloodwork to come back. Once someone looked at the CT scan, they sent me straight back to the ER. The ER was a bit confused. At one point, the Nurse Practitioner there asked if I was sent to the ER for pain management. I said NO, I was sent there to evaluate if the Urologist thought it was even possible for me to pass the kidney stone they found, or whether I was going to be admitted to have it surgically extracted.

So, 28 hours after I clocked into work on Friday, I found myself in the holding unit we share a door with, being wheeled up to the OR after spending the night being given liberaly doses of morphine every two hours since I hit back to the ER. By evening, I was dishcarged on post-op on pain meds and orders to rest and recuporate since I refused to stay inpatient any longer.

As I said, some days you go to work and never come home again!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


L is my firecracker. She was my oops baby who came when I was completely done having biological children and had realized that quiverful philosophies would be the death of me and destroy my family. After I had my third child, my thyroid crashed and I never ovulated again. Thus, I got lax about birth control over the years. My thyroid got worse and after bleeding for nearly five months, I finally sought out a new doctor to restabilize my levels. Within six weeks, I ovulated and found myself pregnant. Almost as soon as that pregnancy started it ended. I requested testing to find out why I had suffered my third miscarriage and we were preventing pregnancy, while trying to figure out a more permenant option for us long-term. That birth control failed and immediately after the miscarriage I got pregnant again. It certainly didn't help that I no longer understood anything that my body was doing in that brief window. My miscarriage bloodwork wasn't even back before I found myself pregnant again. However, it's completion a week after the positive pregnancy test likely saved L's life.

It turned out that I had a clotting disorder which required high doses of folic acid to compensate for my own body's tendency to turn my blood into sludge instead of well thinned fluid. I started the folic acid immediately. However, by my first ultrasound at a mere eight weeks, the doctors already identified placental insufficiency and intrauterine growth retardation. I didn't even know they HAD growth averages on fetuses that gestation yet we were immediately pegged in a high risk category and put under the care of a perinatalogist. My blood pressure and sugar were perfect, which were the only two common causes of what the doctors were seeing, but it would take most of the preganncy before the perinatalogist finally conceded that the only thing that could have caused L's IUGR was my clotting disorder and the only reason she could conclude that L was not lost but survived was from the fast response of getting me on high dose folic acid and baby aspirin when my primary doctor called to tell me I had the clotting disorder. Even so, I spent the entire pregnancy with L being told that once we hit 28 weeks, in any week that L failed to grow and thrive, she would come out immediately. She spent most of the pregnancy hoovering around the 5th percentile in size but sometimes jumped as high as 9th percentile, never bigger. After 26 weeks, we alternated full biophysical profiles and weight checks every single week until she was born. She as tiny but so long as she passed her tests and continued to gain weight, they left her inside of me.

At 34 weeks, something amazing happened. She jumped all the way to 12th percentile in size. Two weeks later, she hit 35th at 36 weeks. By 38 weeks, she as into normal size and they were predicting she would be around six pounds when she was born. She was born on her due date, the only one of my babies to do so. She was seven pounds and thirteen ounces at birth.

If anything, L's entry into this world would foreshadow her precense in our lives. She is the most adored and cherished little girl I have ever seen. She was saying words by six months and I was in denail until my sister heard her speaking. My sister is one of those pediatricians who don't believe in the myth that babies can talk that young. Mine had six words she was using consistently and correctly. She was speaking two to three word phrases by nine monhs and full sentences by eleven months. She was walking by nine months. By 18 months, her oldest brother had taught her how to dribble and pass a soccer ball. I always said that L hit the ground running to catch up because she was always afraid all of her BIG siblings would leave her behind if she didn't. She never seemed to understand that those siblings who refused to let me hold her, refused to let me choose her clothes or her cloth diapers had NO intention of leaving her behind. They were too busy hold her close so she could keep up.

L has always been the boss of the family. Even now, what she says her siblings follow. When Micah was alive, they were both convinced that L was the big sister and he was the little brother. When we went on Micah's Wish trip to DisneyWorld, the two of them rode the Carousel at Give Kids the World at least a half a dozen times every day. Every time, L would tell Micah what animal he was to sit on and he would comply. Micah wouldn't let anyone tell him what to do in his life....except for L. For years, she refused to speak to anyone she didn't identify as a "friend." I made the mistake of convinced her to let her first doctor care for her by telling her that Dr Wailey was her fwiend. We moved away from that beloved doctor three years ago and she still won't allow the new doctors to mess with her because they are NOT her beloved doctor and her friend.

She was an odd little bird then, as she is now. If she considers you a friend, she has no seperation anxiety and is the most heartwarming confidant. If she doesn't consider you a friend, wild horses will not convince her to allow you near her. She can be the sweetest friend but also has the fiercest temper. If she gets angry, her head and body spin like the child in the Exorcist while she jumps up and down and shrieks like a teradactyl. Her most memorable temper tantrum was one Thanksgiving when I got lost trying to cross Atlanta and drove six hours around the city before I could get home. She and Micah spent every minute of those six hours screaming and shrieking at each other, calling each other an asshole and tattling to mommy on the other one. Heaven knows where either of them even heard the word in the first place but once they started that day, there was nothing on heaven and earth that could convince either of them to stop. Mom and five siblings were completely traumatized by the pair of them by the time we got home. I literally just sat down and cried.

L is very girly girl. She likes dresses and princesses and pink. She adores My Little Pony and ballerinas. Somehow she's amassed half a dozen Bitty Babies but thus far is considered to little to get a real American Girl. Don't ask how she has half a dozen Bitty Babies. It's too many. All of my other children each own one Bitty Baby (yes, even the boys). Her Daddy and her siblings spoil this one like crazy.

As much as she does have a temper and a stubborn streak, most of the time she is a darling. She is sweet and friendly. She loves to cuddle. SHe is gentle and comforting to both little ones and special needs children. She loves to learn and learns things quickly. Academically she is highly advanced. She identifies herself as a GRITS even though we now live in New England. (GRITS = Girls Raised in the South) I sent her to preschool when we moved here because I wanted her to have something outside of the death watch for herself. I had never sent a child to formal preschool as a long-term homeschooler before. She thrived there and was adored by everyone. It was the right choice for her. After Micah died, I sent her to kindergarten as well this year. However, kindergarten is all day here. While her bus came after 8am, her siblings were waking her up when they got up at 6am. She wasn't getting home until 4:30 on the bus. She reached a point where all she could do at home as cry and cry and cry. She didn't hate school. She loved it. Yet, she was beyond exhausted with the schedule. She was not being challenged acadeically. The school psychologist saw her gifts with special needs children and placed her in the classroom where they were integrating all of the special needs kids to help them integrate. I understood her reasoning but it left L academically bored. Between the academic boredom and the physical exhaustion, L reminded me that for all of her maturity, and she is truly one of the most mature little girls I've ever seen, she was still just a very little girl. I brought her back to homeschooling.

I love watching this little girl grow. I watch her stonewall her art therapist every week and refuse to talk about Micah and I know that if his heart lives on in anyway, it is this sister who has lost her soulmate and grieves silently, not letting us touch her pain yet. I worry about her when she blocks it off, but I know that Micah was truly loved by this little girl. She is the best of all of us in all of her beauty and all her frailty. I used to fear we would spoil her rotten but all that ever comes is that she thrives and grows more beautiful by all the love we all give her. I could tell her siblings to stop making her the Princess of the family but they wouldn't listen to me anyway.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My baby

Five years ago this spring, I was having some health issues. My thyroid was still not fully stabilized. My sweet toddler girl was still nursing. I experienced an ovarian cyst the size of a very large eggplant that not only torqued but ruptured on Leap Day and resulted in five agonizing hours in an Emergency room and the surgery that filetted me from hipbone to hipbone to remove that cyst along with the ovary and fallopian tube it had consumed. We were working to adopt Micah and in the medical issues my body had expelled my IUD. Everyone was convinced that the accident was related to the cyst and its complications. So, at the follow-up appointment from that surgery, my doctor immediately put another IUD in place. I knew with bringing Micah home and all of the medical issues he would face (long before we knew of his behavioral issues), I was done having babies.

When I started throwing up in May, II joked that maybe I was pregnant. I remember upchucking nothing but an apple at a soccer tournament weekend and growling at II while hunched over in that parking lot that he was NOT funny. By the end of May, I had developed a consistent pattern that everytime I went into the sun and got overheated, I got very sick and started puking. On Memorial weekend, I made a point of staying in the shade, drinking plenty of water and sprinkling that with a bit of sodium throughout the day. It did me no good. I didn't actually vomit, but I was miserable sick afterward just the same.

I told II that I was absolutely certain that I was not pregnant, but something was clearly wrong. Since I could not remember my last period, not surprising with all of the stress of the medical situation combined with Micah's homecoming, I knew that was going to be my doctor's very first question. I didn't feel like paying the $30 he would charge to run a pregnancy test to prove I was definitely NOT pregnant. I wanted to skip over that nonsense and get straight to what the heck was going wrong with me. So, I told II to run out and get a pregnancy test so I could tell my doctor I took one and it was negative.

II knew I had a history of obssessing over pregnancy tests and trying to see lines that weren't really there. So, he splurged and bought one of those digital tests. He figured the "not pregnant" would answer the question once and for all. I took the test, tossed it in the bathroom and told him to please set a timer and read it at the appropriate time. I was so certain I was NOT pregnant that I didn't even bother to stick around to have it read. I was busy trying to make my appointment with my doctor for the next day. I truly thought II was messing with me when he came out with a puzzled look on his face and that test in his hand. HONESTLY, this was NOT funny anymore.

Except, for those of us who don't know the story, that digital test did not clearly read "not pregnant." The appointment with my doctor was traded for an appointment with my OB/Gyn, a doctor I thought I would only ever be seeing again for annual exams. The first ultrasound, done that same day, showed a baby about to enter the second trimester....and an IUD in my cervix. The IUD was never seen on ultrasound again, but that baby continued to grow and take over our lives.

I guess I could have been devestated. I had left quiverful mentality permenantly and was DONE having babies. I had already had my "surprise" baby when I had accidentally started ovulating after my doctor stabilized my thyroid. I had an 18 month old baby and she was definitely my last baby. She wasn't meant to be but she was my statistical "OH MY." We were good. Besides that, there hadn't been opportunity to do much more than pretend to be a couple since Micah came. There had certainly never been any true amorous adventure. I'm sure we all heard in school sex education that it doesn't take completion to make a baby, but who really ever believes that. Hadn't been my experience in years of marriage, that's for sure.

Yet, there I was. The test said "pregnant." The doctors kept laughing. My sister insisted I couldn't possibly handle another high risk pregnancy and Micah. My response to her was simple. I've obviously done everything humanly possible to not be in this situation, so I guess I now get to figure out HOW to accomplish this. I was pregnant...right after we brought Micah home, and with a body that just had no business sustaining a growing life inside of it.

When my perinatalogist sent me to the hospital for a medical induction when we all thought I was likely 37 weeks pregnant, her last statement to me was that she spent most of that pregnancy thinking she wasn't going to get both of us to delivery alive and it was an honor to know she had caught this high blood pressure that was starting to shut down my organs before it got bad enough that anyone would expect one of us to not survive it. Since we never knew when the pregnancy began, we also didn't know until after his birth that he was actually 33-35 weeks gestation. It wouldn't have mattered in the decision to bring him into this world early, since my liver and kidneys were showing signs of shutting down. My OB said she could send me home and put me on bedrest and give me one last week, but only if Micah was not in the home. Since we all knew getting rid of Micah by that point was not an option, she informed me I was having a baby that day.

My sweet baby J did not want to come into this world. He did not want to give up his safe and cozy home for the outside, and he did not handle that transition well. Knowing my preference to hold my body together, my OBs (a pair of Havard trained sisters) truly did everything in their power to give us a natural, or even a vaginal birth. Throughout that night, everytime his heartrate dipped, they came running in to manually scratch his head and convince him to wake back up. Yes, his heart dipped into the 40s, but it recovered when they scratched his head, so they continued to try to slowly coax him into this world. The next morning, his heartrate dipped back to 40 and this time he did not recover when they scratched his head. He hadn't been able to tolerate more than the tiniest dose of the pitocin for the 15 hours we had been there anyway. I knew in the same instant they knew that he was not coming anyway but surgically. I didn't know that I would bleed beyond the point of sustaining life, that it would take my OB 1.5 hours to save my uterus and to bring in the portable x-ray to try and find that IUD that went missing. Pregnancies that proceed with the IUD in place have a 50% rate of causing fetal death, and it's not always early in the pregnancy. It's a risk that is considered acceptable because the rate of actually getting pregnant while on an IUD is considered the stuff legends are made of. Everyone knows somebody who knows somebody who has an IUD baby. No one actually knows the mom of the IUD baby....except me. That the IUD went missing in the second trimester never made anyone feel better, because I did not see it come out, which meant it could be anywhere in me or him.

Still we survived. I truly believe if my OBs had not been convinced I was serious about no more babies they would have taken my uterus to prevent a repeat. One sister did valiently attempt to convince me to get sterilized if they had to do surgery. However, given my health risks, I was not taking on even the neglible risk of the auto-immune diseases that can come with sterilizing me. We opted instead to have II sterilized or as I joke I had him snipped. I did not walk out of that experience without needing more than just recovery though. I actually needed the very substance of life I now fill my patients with every day that I work. I required three units of blood to recover. They wanted to give me four but I was nearly up to normal after three and refused the fourth unit.

My sweet baby J had an even rougher time surviving what happened that day. He was not ready to enter this world. He was what we call a late-term preemie and he had all of the issues they cite these babies are at risk for. He had jaundice. He had reflux. He still suffers from respiratory issues. Yet through all of this, I cannot imagine my life without this ball of energy. He's barrelling his way towards four and a half now, and he's just as amazing to me today as he was the day I first held him. He has been such a cohesive influence for his siblings. He's not spoiled as I believe his big sister would have been had she remained the last caboose. Furthermore, he alleviated my one fear of stopping with L, that she would grow up with no playmate of her own in this world, as a defacto only child with half a dozen older spoilers masked as siblings.

Last week, this bundle of insanity declared he was having a sleeping in day. He was NOT going to get up. I did later confirm that yes Daddy did read him Dr. Seuss before bed because he was not going to get up that day. We struggled to get him up. The babysitter struggled to get him to stop being angry that we got him up. He wasn't done being angry until the next day when he was able to have 'an undepants day.' I watch this sweetheart grow and I realize how fast and how completely my life is changing. He is potty trained. He sleeps through the night. He is self propelled. He's even learning to clean up some of the messes he likes to make. He has interests and likes and before I am ready will be all done with cuddles. I call him the last of his tribe. He is my last baby. Most days I am fascinated but excited to see this extra earthling be in our precense.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What I wish I knew

Today, two high school football players were found guilty of raping a young girl who was drunk at a party. CNN eulogized their lost innocence and childhood with nary a word about what this girl lost. Other news sources did a better job of expanding on a mountain town with a myopic focus on high school sports and the culture that created this nightmare, where children still don't GET that what they did was wrong, and aduilts excuse the behaviors of these children.

When I was in seventh grade, I lived in a mountain town. To be specific, I lived in Hickville Kentucky. Like most small, mountain towns, school social groups were structured fairly precisely. The rich kids were always the "in" crowd. With them were the athletes. Sometimes the athletes were also the rich kids, but they were also the kids the rich kids admired for their athletic abilities. There was a ring of periperhal students outside this core group, those who would sacrifice their morals and their individuality to try to play the game and be accepted by the "in" crowd. Then, there was the outcasts, the poor, odd, and left-over kids. I was always in the outcasts group. I honestly had no desire to be anywhere else. They were the only kids I found authentic.

However, in seventh grade, there was an in flux of county and private school kids who came into the city school for middle and high school. Most of the students were related in some way, had known each other their entire lives. When the kids whose parents could afford the tuition to the city schools came, there was a shifting in the social groups that had existed in the years since I had moved to Hickville. There was one private Catholic school but it stopped in middle school, so those kids came into the city school for middle school.

There was a girl who was one of the rich kids. She was kind of shy. She had short brown hair and brown eyes. Unlike most of the rich kids, she wasn't snotty with me, just quiet and shy. Seventh we were thirteen that year, all of us. The middle and high schools were basically merged. We interacted with the high schoolers in a regular basis. My sister was a senior and she was part of the "in" crowd that I didn't understand. This girl very quickly into our school year began dating someone in my sister's grade.

I remember thinking it was so weird that a seventh grader was dating a high school senior. They made a rule that you had to be IN High school to go to the Senior prom that year because of this girl dating the senior. Everything about that relationship seemed wrong to me. I was just barely a teen and I couldn't put my finger on what was so wrong about the situation.

Like this current situation, sports ruled our world in Hickville. The high school football team was the center of the school universe. It was only in reading the analysis about this current case that I could put real words to what happened that fall, what felt so wrong on so many levels that year, but not one adult ever did anything about what happened.

I think it was homecoming, but I'm honestly not entirely sure. What I know is that the "in" crowd was having a big party after a home football game. All of the seventh graders were trying to figure out how to crash the party. This girl was guaranteed to get to go to the party because her senior boyfriend was taking her. I went home that weekend with no thought of what was going on. I was majorily clueless about the social workings of the popular children in school.

Monday morning, this girl was missing from school. The rumors about the party were horrible. By the time she came to school on Tuesday, her behavior seemed to confirm what was being said about her. They said she got drunk that night and acted like a slut. They said she never came out of a back bedroom. They said she took on the entire football team on by one throughout that night. When she came to school, she seemed broken and sad. Within weeks, the rumors were that she went over the mountains to the city, like all girls in the school who landed pregnant, that she got an abortion.

This girl only made it a few weeks before she disappeared from school. Her parents sent her somewhere else for the rest of the school year. I wasn't her friend. I didn't get a chance to speak to her personally to confirm or deny the rumors. I know she as gone all the rest of that school year. I went to a different school the next year and came back in ninth grade. She came back that year as well. She was quiet but kind. She never spoke much. She came from money, so eventually everyone accepted her again. However, she was never the same again. She looked different. Her eyes were muted and sad whenever I saw her after that.

You know what I didn't do? I didn't tell an adult what was being said. I didn't tell a teacher or my parents nor anyone else who might be able to help her. I couldn't understand what was being said, only that it seemed wrong. Yet, I didn't understand then what I should have grasped. I didn't tell the guidance counselor, nor the Principal. I wish I had told someone. It wasn't my burden to bear, but I heard the same rumors everyone else heard. I should have told someone.

She was thirteen. I cannot grasp how or why her parents were letting her date a 17 year old in retrospect. However, even worse is that if the rumors were true, this girl was plied with alcohol at an age when she should have still be playing with baby dolls. If what was said was true, then she was gang raped by the entire football team. Not one person spoke about how she was hurt. Not one person worried about her and what was taken from her, if not by an attack then by rumors of an attack.

The reason I didn't tell anyone about the rumors was because the party was held at a teacher's home. I assumed everyone already knew what happened that night, since a high school English teacher gave the kids alcohol and let them party at her house all night. She was supposed to be there supervising the party. I assumed no one would react because the teacher allowed the party in the first place.

When I read the stories worried about the future stolen from these boys today, I remember that classmate. No one ever talked about nor cared what was robbed from her that weekend. No one helped her. No one called the police. When I see concern for two teen rapists, I wish I had done something different when I was thirteen. It's several decades late, but I can take a stand and say it is NOT okay to rape a girl who is drunk. Drunk is not consent for sex, and definitely not consent for multiple someones to attack you.

I keep my blog annonnymous. I won't tell the nam of the girl of that long-ago party. I still don't know if the rumors are true and she was gang raped, or if the rumors were lies and she was viciously bullied by rumors. I just know I didn't get angry and horrified enough long ago. Today, I know when to be horrified. Too bad we're still having to talk about it and remind people they are supposed to be horrified. If I could, I would tell that girl I am sorry.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Swirling, swirling

This weekend has been a time of massive emotions. March appears to be hard in and of itself for us. Micah would have turned 11 on this Friday, and we know now that will never happen. Just over a year ago, I had a very heated battle with God where I told him that if he took my son before he had the priviledge of turning 10, I would never EVER forgive him. That Micah made it four months beyond 10 doesn't make it hurt less to not get to see him make 11 this week.

We are going on our first family vacation in three years to celebrate Micah's birthday. The children are skipping school, it's already been approved as an excused absence by their principals, as well as instructions on how to write the notes for their teachers and maintain their privacy. Friday morning, we are getting up and having red velvet cupcakes for breakfast. More than anything, Micah wanted red velvet cupcakes for his birthday. We had no idea as we moved from the South to New England that someone as common as apples in the south would be impossible to find up here. He didn't get his red velvet cupcakes last year. I asked a crafty co-worker where I could find them up here. When she heard why I wanted them, she told me that her daughter in law owns the best bakery in town, and she has her red velvet cake recipe. She is giving us the cupcakes and refusing payment for them. We'll release 200 red balloons to send to Micah and tell him how much we love and miss him. Then, we'll go to an indoor waterpark for the weekend, something Micah would have loved SO much he would have raged and pooped his way through the vacation. I can laugh now that his profound Autism caused him to respond to all strong emotions in that manner. He couldn't help it, but that's how he would have greeted this vacation.

Yesterday, we had an unexpected text from someone we knew several years ago. We made a connection when trying to help A set up for his Eagle project because he wanted to do something with Sierra Leone. The people we connected with through his soccer program run a school that A recognized instantly when he saw the pictures. It was the school he attended before he was placed in the orphanage, the one his siblings remained in when he was sent to America. That person remembered our story. He went to Sierra Leone to celebrate the 20th anniversary of that school. In the crowd, he ran into A's birthfamily. We lost contact with them several years ago when the Canadian missionaries who had served as intermediaries went back to Canada and we never found someone else to help us. Yesterday's text was a picture of three members of A's family.

What was elation for A was devestation for S. S wants contact with his birthfamily so badlly that he thought the contact was his. We are searching for his family. I consider it my job to help my children hold onto their pasts along with their futures. However, right now we have to tread carefully until his adoption is finalized. We also just got his details from the adoption agency that holds the records from the agency that placed him before they went out of business. Just yesterday I made contact with a missionary friend who is willing to start searching for S's family. It took years to find A's family. We've never found Ch's family. It won't happen quickly or easily for S, if it is even possible.

S finally worked through his big feeings only to have a second text with the cell phone numbers of A's uncle and his brother come to us this morning, as we drove to church. S spent church shut down, shaking, desperately needing someone to sit with him and help him process his grief. I made the mistake at the end of church of asking the minister if someone could help him with the processing, since times like that desperately need someone who is not your parent. Once again, the needs of our extraordinary children was trampled upon. In fact, what I was told was that the staff was quite busy running church so I should fill out a communication card and call the church offices tomorrow. Someone would try to help him then. He didn't need someone to try later...when it was convenient for them. It certainly wasn't convenient for him either, but this is where he is. I did not fill out the card. I did marvel that the consistency in how the church has responded to my children has not changed in the fourteen years I have mothered these children.

In the midst of all of this, I have been watching a transformation in II. I'm not sure I'm ready to speak of it. It's a change in his heart. A man who was a solid Christian, intending to head to the mission field, began to lose his faith with our first miscarriage. By the time he hit rock bottom in 2009, he had lost his faith entirely. I was okay with that. I love HIM. I can live with him whether he is atheist, egnostic or a man of faith. I have never pressured him, never argued with him, never pushed my faith upon him. In those darkest days, I did enforce the boundary that he would NOT attack me for holding onto my faith, just as I would respect his changes. He has come full circle back to his faith, despite the deep sadness of another church failing to love our special children.

As I said, it's been an emotional weekend. It's going to continue to be emotional this week as we face Micah's birthday without him. We're all hurting. We all miss him. The other things swirling around us make us stagger but we'll stand together as a family and focus on celebration and not mourning this week. It's all we have left to give Micah.