Saturday, March 8, 2008

Day 61

I hate that my eyes messed up what would have been a perfect picture. I hate that I love this picture so much I don't care that I just posted it for the world to see.

But it is gorgeous right?

I met a crystal methamphetamine addict today. She's young, but she looked worn and distant. Her skin was yellowy (She was Maori, so it should have appeared olive or brown) and yet she was very pale. Her eyes were sunken into her face and her cheekbones judded out. It was her teeth that gave her away. Where here teeth should have been there were rotting stumps, shards in some spots. She appeared to be between 20-25 years old. And she was 6 months pregnant with her fourth child.

We talked a bit about Joshua - she didn't realize anything was wrong - he was wrapped up in a blanket. She chattered away about her 7 year old, 2 year old, and 1 year old. I was polite, but distant with her. I have to admit I was relieved when she left.

I was angry. Not because she was an addict. But because she's screwing around with her body - feeding it poison - and she has 3, going on 4 healthy babies. And I never touched a drug, have had alcohol on perhaps a dozen occassions, have never smoked, and (in the words of my midwife) am "disgustingly healthy" - and my son's life is hanging in the balance.

To be fair, it's not about how healthy you are in relation to a neural tube defect - but it still makes me angry.

I care about my babies. I don't eat sushi when I'm pregnant. I don't drink when I'm pregnant or nursing. I try to stear clear of people who smoke. I try to watch my weight. I don't have epidurals (not a judgement on anyone, just my choice). I try to take my vitamins as best I can.

So why do I have a child who's dying?

I haven't been angry before now. And I think it's healthy that I'm finally angry. It feels better than self-pity does. And more real than numbness feels.


Joshua' s okay today. Matt and I got scared when Oceana fell on his cele, but it doesn't seem to have caused any damage. Heather (his nurse) had her son's wedding today, so we were trying to make sure nothing was wrong. We didn't want to have to call her if it wasn't urgent. He seems just fine.

Oceana's been puking all evening. Like twelve times in 5 hours. We're hoping it's going to calm down in 24 hours. She's just kept down a bit of water finally. Please pray Joshua doesn't catch it. I'm still breastfeeding him, thus I'm handling him... But I'm also doing the cleaning up for Oceana.

Thanks for all your encouraging words yesterday and today.
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  1. the picture is beautiful

  2. It is a beautiful photo! You can see the love written all over your face -- Matt's, too.

    Angry is o.k. You have the right to be angry.

    Glad Joshua is o.k. after the 'cele accident with Oceana. Isn't it amazing how something (the 'cele) that is so fragile can also be so tough?


  3. Susie,

    I asked myself similar questions about my little boy. It doesn't seem fair that someone on drugs can birth a perfectly healthy baby, and those of us who are very careful during pregnancies have things happen to our little ones. That's something I'll never understand, some things we will never have an answer to. I took prenatal vitamins months before I got pregnant, but my little boy still didn't make it. I just wanted to write you and tell you I understand. It's hard, but I trust God even though I still am upset it happened.

    Praying for you,

  4. I just wanted to step in (finally!) and say, "Hi, I'm a reader!" I somehow stumbled across your blog just before Joshua was born and have been reading ever since. You and I probably have about 2% in common in politics or philosophies, but I really respect what you're going through and how you're handling it. I can't imagine such strength coming out of myself in a similar situation.

    And I can't believe you're only just now getting angry. I've been angry on your behalf for the past 61 days :) It's healthy. It may not feel "nice" or "right" but it's natural. And I hope that as you continue in this process, you do whatever you need to do to get by.

    Best of luck from Brooklyn, NY. I'll keep sending all my happy thoughts and positive vibes toward NZ.

    - Jo

  5. Hey girl,

    I just changed our domain name to:

  6. I think that's a beautiful picture! And if you really want more "open" eyes and you know how to use photoshop, you could just paste some in! But I think it is beautiful just the way it is! Still praying for you all!
    Katie, MI

  7. The picture is gorgeous and one you'll treasure for years to come!

    As for being angry...I think that's a good thing. Even Christ was angry at times but did not sin in that anger. It's how you handle the anger that matters.

    You're doing great! I pray Oceana is feeling better soon!!

  8. Thank God Joshua wasn't given to HER to raise! Or Oceana. Those children will be motherless in the not too distant future.

    Hope Oceana gets to feeling better soon.

  9. Hi Susie,

    First of all, the picture you posted with the "eyes" you don't like looks perfect to me. And it is gorgeous and full of LOVE. It is just you, Matt and Joshua, your special little treasure and miracle from God, and a few birds on the empty shoreline. I love it.
    I am glad that you are able to feel anger after your encounter with the meth mom. It sure puts the reality of life right in your face doesn't it? And I am sure you snuggled Joshua closer to your heart while you chatted. These things in life don't make sense and are unfair in so many ways. But I do know that God chose you and Matt to be Joshua's parents because He knew He could trust you to love and cherish this little baby with all of your hearts. I read here every day and I can only imagine what each new day holds for you in caring for him, Oceana, and trying to move all at the same time. You guys are doing wonderful in the midst of it all. I pray for you each day and ask God to watch over Joshua as he thrives in living. He is such a miracle on this 61st day of his precious life. How amazing that he only knows love and safety and comfort with you. I thank God that YOU are his parents and trust Him to hold all of the answers to what doesn't make sense. His plan for your life is perfect and being worked out each day in you. You have my prayer support daily and you bless me. I am praying for the perfect house for you and plenty of help to move you in:) Sorry this is so long, but you got to me today with the drug story. I have run across many of these in my 60 years of life and they are all tragic and eye opening. Have a blessed weekend, full of love, joy, and gratefulness. God is pleased with you!!

    Love, Laurie in Ca.

  10. Maybe it's because Joshua needed way more love than that meth addict could have ever provided for him. Just by reading your blog, it seems as though you treat with love, and make sure he's never in pain. Can you be sure that the woman would do the same? Probably not, if she's spending all that money on her addiction and not on her kids.

    Keep up the good work!

  11. I've been reading your blog for a while (I found you through "Eva Janette") and have been praying for you a lot.

    I can completely relate to what you are writing about here--I too am "disgustingly healthy" and did all that I could during pregnancy to care for my baby, but my baby was stillborn 4 weeks ago. When confronted with women who, against all logic because of their lifestyles, have healthy babies, it is hard not to challenge God's wisdom. But He IS wise and just and loving. Remember that and be assured of that! You have many prayers being offered for your little boy and God hears them all.

  12. Hi, I just started following your blog after discovering a PG friend's baby also has an encephalocele (severe one, she won't make it, not even to term). I was looking for a support forum for my friend, who you understand is devastated and dismayed. She too never smoked/drank/did drugs, walked around on eggshells. She asked why this happened to her since she already has an ill child (tetralogy of fallot, severe heart defect, poor child has endured many open hears surgeries and faces more). I told her God doesn't "allow" these things to happen, but His promise is to be there to help you and pck you up when you fall. You obviously live by this mantra every day. Bless you and your family. I'd like to share this blog with my friend when the time is right. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I think that picture is gorgeous... I have the exact same look in 90% of our wedding pictures...nice right?! lol.

    I also think you absolutely have the right to be angry... It is part of the grieving process and I imagine you are grieving in one manner or another- grieving the loss of what you hoped would be a healthy little boy. Im glad Joshua is Okay after Oceanas accident and I will keep your family in my prayers.... also so that Joshua doesnt catch Oceanas bug... Hopefully he wont- breastmilk really boosts the immune system so he has that on his side :-)

  14. Hey Susie,
    I was just thinking. It is good that you are angry. After your confrontation with the woman addicted to drugs. I know that it is a struggle with Joshua- I actually can't really know and cannot even imagine losing a child. God did place him with you because he wouldn't want such a precious baby like Joshua to end up with a meth addict and get no love. I really truly believe that it is because of your love and your attention to him that he is here still today. God entrusted you with such a perfect boy. I am praying for you. He is blessed to have you as his mommy and Matt as his daddy. I love ya girl. I am so proud to have you as my friend.

  15. What a beautiful picture! This is one that I will truly cherish. Thank you for making such beautiful memories of Joshua and Oceana, you and Joshua, and this beautiful family that God has created through you and Matt. Tears, tears, and more tears. We love you all dearly!

  16. I do not know why God allows some things to happen to one person and other things to happen to another. I do know, and I am sure you know this as well, God never gives us more than we can handle. Joshua has touched more lives in the first 9 weeks of his young life than many people touch in 80. Everyday that he walks (or in this case is carried) on this earth is a miracle and a testament to the true wonder and awesomeness of God. I know that he has a bond with God and his angels that we cannot imagine and I am positive that he is living a happy and wonderful life with you, Matt and Oceana. God could not have provided your little man with a more wonderful family.

    You are amazing and I love all of you. My prayers are always with you.

  17. you have amazing readers...yet again I get teary by reading the comments.

    I hear you on the anger and was going to post that I too feel anger towards a woman currentll pregnant and still smoking a pack a day. She has a 2 year old that was born premature and have sever asthma and STILL she countinues to smoke. I, as you, did everything *right* and yet Sami did not stay with us.

    and then I read this:

    Maybe it's because Joshua needed way more love than that meth addict could have ever provided for him..

    who ever wrote that in your comment really got it. As unfair as it is. your Joshua and my Sami needed special parents - and they got it.

  18. Hi~

    I just commented on your 3/09 post, and I didn't think it was appropriate on that post to speak of the angry emotions. My angry emotions were stirred on the mentioned post in response to some people scoffing at the idea that God blessed you with Joshua because it led me into the horrible stares we received from some people, the "pity" that some wanted to dump on us, but at least they would come up and talk creating a dialogue so we could share our perspective that it wasn't what there's was for us.

    This is getting off the subject of this post, but I wanted to share with you what made some of me and my family angry.

    I just want to agree with you that it is healthy to be angry-it's a valid emotion.

  19. I get it. I'm as anal when pregnant and disgustingly healthy as you are and yet two out of three of my babies have been born with neural tube defects. Actually, even my healthy one required a surgery to repair her lymphatic system. Then her sister was born with gastroschisis. Then their baby sister was born with an incredibly special little brain that decided to stop forming somewhere along the way and made it possible for Miller Grace to go to Heaven after just five days. It IS hard to see people intentionally, and however ignorantly, causing harm to their babies and their own bodies. But I have to believe that God knows what He's doing and I praise Him that He would send these special babies to moms like you and me, who He knew would love them every moment of their lives. Life is not fair. It is not perfect. And that has everything to do with the reason we long for Heaven as we do. I am praying for your heart and for you to enjoy this time with your son, your son whose spirit is whole and perfect and who will, in His time, be freed from his chains and more able than ever to worship His God. You love your son well, Susie. Be blessed today.

  20. That is a beautiful picture. And, wow, what a difficult feeling to see someone throwing away the little life that God has entrusted to them when you would do anything to save your son's. So hard.