A little over a week ago we received a surprise in the mail from my fabulous older sister. She had mentioned that she sent us a small something, so to keep an eye out for it in the mail. But it was definitely more than a “small something”! A great big box showed up at our door and inside we found an incredibly beautiful framed painting! Well, it’s actually a very nicely done giclee print of a painting, but still. 🙂
Husband and I were in awe of how lovely it is and how, even at first look, it seemed so perfect for our situation. And then I found out the title: She Will Find What Is Lost. It felt like this work of art must have been created just for me! Duckie was interested as soon as she saw a new box for her to play with, but then she noticed the painting and wanted to get a closer look. She pointed at the woman in the picture and stated that she was a mommy. She understands the concept of boys and girls, but still mostly assigns gender by calling people/animals a mommy or daddy, so I usually have to say that so and so isn’t a mommy/daddy, but maybe someday they will be, or that we don’t know if they’re a mommy/daddy. But this time I just told her that, yes, I do think that woman is a mommy. The artist, Brian Kershisnik, has actually never said much about the woman other than she’s supposed to represent everyone as an individual, and for me, that means that she is a mother.
I continued to talk about the painting with Duckie, saying that all the mommy’s angel friends where helping her. And then I noticed two angel babies in the painting and started to cry a little.
As I mentioned in my last post, I have been feeling lots of love and comfort lately. But most of that I’ve felt coming from friends and family here on Earth and from God, but I honestly didn’t even think about the possibility that there are sweet spirits who have already left this Earth who are sending love and comfort, too. But of course there are. What’s heaven for if not to help others? And seeing those two angel babies reminded me that our little Claire isn’t the only angel baby out there, and she’ll have other little friends waiting for her when she goes back to heaven.
A few days later, one of my aunts sent me this quote from Joseph Smith that she came across in a recent Ensign article: “The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again.”
Now, I was already familiar with this idea, and I do feel very much that Claire is very special and that’s at least part of why she doesn’t have to spend any more time on Earth. But this quote really hit home for me. Anyone who knows me pretty well, probably knows that I do often feel extremely discouraged about the state of the world. There is just so much evil and just plain idiocy that it feels like too much. How can so many people in the world all choose to commit atrocities? How can we still have killings and sexism and child prostitution and all sorts of abuse and it goes on and on? How are horrible choices not the very rare exception instead of every day occurrences? And how can I send my sweet babies out into this world, knowing about all the evil out there? Of course I try to fight the bad things out there and try to teach Duckie how to analyze and reject bad things for herself, but it never feels like enough.
So this simple reminder that my little Claire won’t have to deal with all the evils in this world is an incredible comfort to me. I still wish I could keep her with me, but I can rejoice in the knowledge that she won’t ever have to suffer because of other people’s evil choices.
Last week I had another ultrasound and appointment with the midwives. Claire is growing well. They can’t give us an approximate size/weight because the computer needs the head measurements to compute that, but the sonographer said that everything looked like it was developing well and right on track. I was grateful to have the same sonographer as last time, since she was so good. I had a few questions I wanted to ask the doctor, and I was really hoping to talk to Dr. Gloeb (the one we saw last time) because he was just so, so good and supportive. But apparently he wasn’t the doctor working with the sonographers that day, so I was supposed to see a different doctor. I don’t know anything about the other doctors who work there, so they may be just as good, but I was really worried that I’d have to talk to one who wasn’t so understanding (and honestly if they were insensitive or just plain rude, I was prepared to tell them that I didn’t want to talk to them and would come back later to talk to Dr. Gloeb). As it turns out, the assigned doctor had just gone in to talk with another patient and was going to be a while, but my sonographer had run into Dr. Gloeb while she was out after finding out that the other doctor wouldn’t be available for a while, and he agreed to come talk to me. That may seem small, but it was a HUGE comfort to me to be able to talk to him about the few questions I had. And, as before, he was very understanding and encouraging.
After the ultrasound, I went a couple floors down to my midwife appointment — the first after finding out that Claire has anencephaly. I was a little worried about how they’d treat me, but not too much since it was just a short appointment after all. It turns out I didn’t need to be even slightly worried. The midwife I saw was very caring and gentle without being pitying. She was interested in how we were handling everything. I talked with her about our plans and how we’re doing. She said she’d let the other midwives know everything, so I wouldn’t need to worry about anyone there not knowing and saying anything that could be hurtful. I’ve only met a handful of the other midwives so far, but all of them have been very good. One of them called me a few days ago to tell me that she worked with a patient recently who had a similar situation and handled it with the same attitude that we’ve been, and she even has a little toddler close to Duckie’s age. She had contacted that patient to ask her if she could give me her information in case we wanted to connect, and she (the previous patient) was very willing. I felt so touched by this midwife going out of her way to try to help me in any way possible. I’m not usually big on contacting people I don’t know, especially about something so personal and sensitive, but the midwife mentioned that she had also documented her story in a blog. I didn’t really have any issues that I felt the need to talk through with anyone, but I did want to contact this woman and read her blog. We’ve emailed a bit and she’s been very encouraging. She’s not even saying anything I don’t know, but it’s just different when it’s coming from someone else who *knows* what it’s like.
When we first moved here, I was really unhappy with having to use military health facilities instead of being able to choose our own doctors. The several check ups I’d taken Duckie to just made me more unsatisfied with the system (the doctor was ok, but Duckie’s last doctor in California was amazing, so my standards have been set pretty high). Then I got pregnant, and I hadn’t heard anything positive about being pregnant and giving birth at the army hospital here. That is until one of my friends mentioned the midwives there, so I opted to see them instead. Now I am so, so grateful that I get to go to the army hospital. The midwives are awesome. And there is no way we’d be able to have extra ultrasounds (certainly not so many) and not be charged for it at a civilian location. Plus, it’s really close to where we live and all of my appointments — seeing the midwives, or having ultrasounds, or getting lab work done, etc. — are all in the same building, so I don’t have to run all over town for every little thing. Isn’t it funny how sometimes the things we think are the worst for us turn out to be just what we need?
You may have noticed that I titled this post “Silver Linings.” All these things I’ve written about are just some of the silver linings in our storm clouds. I keep finding more and more good in a situation that at first seems like it shouldn’t have any good at all. And that in and of itself is another silver lining, isn’t it?
Oh, and one more quick blessing: did you know that you can get at home sonogram machines for only $45?! The midwife I told was shocked, ha ha. So now I can listen to baby Claire’s heart beat whenever I want. 🙂