Friday, August 17, 2012

This week, I met a beautiful lady who owns a bed and breakfast in Cle Elum. Her home and business is in the middle of the Taylor Bridge fires that are still burning this week. This lady was most precious and I pray her home is saved from the flames. We shared some stories of our babies. She had a Thalidomide baby - something I hadn't really heard of before. It's a drug still in use for other conditions, but used to be used for morning sickness. My friend lost her first baby at age 18 after having been pregnant for a WHOLE YEAR. Her belly was so tiny that the hospital didn't believe her when she told them she was pregnant and overdue.
I think I would be fairly furious if that happened to me, but under the circumstance, what could she have done? Her baby was born at a time where they would whisk the precious package away; for her sake, she said, they didn't want her to see the baby's body or face, which was evidently very malformed. It made me so happy that I got to hold precious Levi and cuddle and rock him and take pictures of our family together. I can't believe how far we've come as a country and as a profession.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

By No Coincidence

After our new refrigerator was installed this morning, I looked over to the counter to find this note (must have slipped behind the old fridge), written by my Dad for Levi's memorial.
Levi Wrangler Lee: What an appropriate name for Cameron and Sarah's baby boy. "Levi" is a Hebrew name that means "joined or attached". Levi was only here about 20 weeks and yet he has joined us together in an amazing way. Joined a family. Joined friends. Joined hearts. In the Bible, Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah. God later renamed him "Israel". Leah named him, saying, "My husband will become attached to me because I have borne him 3 sons." The nation of Israel began with Jacob. Of the 12 sons of Jacob, only one was chosen to be the priestly line - Levi. God chose the line of Levi to be the line of the priesthood. Not because of anything Levi had done, but just because He wanted to - God is sovereign.
For Levi Wrangler Lee, the name Levi represents his lineage to our Heavenly Father. "Wrangler" is a very American name. It means "a person in charge of horses". What an appropriate name for little Levi. Levi was an active little guy in the womb - taking after his earthly Father, Cameron and his Mother who both love the outdoors and both love Cowboy boots! Wrangler represents his lineage to his earthly Father and Mother.
"Lee" is an English name meaning "meadow or forest clearing". A meadow represents a place of peace. Somehow, through all the tears, all the sorrow, all the joyful memories that could have been, little Levi's life has brought us all a little peace in this world that is greatly lacking real peace. This name represents little Levi's early "Fathers" and "Mothers". His ancestry. The name Lee is even represented on his Mother's side of the family. My Grandfather's last name was Bakke but his brother chose the name "Lee" when he arrived here from Norway because he lived with a family named Lee and they treated him so well that he decided to adopt their family name. There was a man during the Civil War named Robert E Lee. Along with Abraham Lincoln, he is one of 2 men I most admire from that very difficult - really defining - period of our country's history. Lincoln was the great political leader; Lee was the great military leader. And I believe Cameron is directly related to Robert E Lee.
Here are a few quotes from Robert E Lee:
"Do your duty in all things, you should never do less." - Do what you are supposed to do. That's all.
"I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself." - If you want to be able to lead others, you better be able to control yourself first.
Here's one that surprised me a little bit: "I love whiskey and I always did, and that is why I never drink it." - Good advice.
"I have been up to see Congress and they do not seem to be able to do anything except to eat peanuts and chew tobacco while my army is starving." - Some things never seem to change.
And here is my favorite: "I tremble for my country when I hear of confidence placed in me. I know too well my weakness, that our only hope is in God." - Lee had a very humble view of himself.
I have a story I would like to tell you:
There once was man who had a dream about a little boy. The boy was his Grandson and he was not born yet. The man saw the face of the little boy and his brow was very furrowed. the man didn't understand if they little boy was confused - or worried - or concerned. The little boy was still in his Mama's tummy but the Grandfather could see him clearly, like he was looking through clear glass. Then the man awoke from his dream very startled. He didn't know what the dream meant, but he told his wife and his family and some of his friends about the dream. Then, shockingly, he learned a week or two later that they boy had dies in his Mama's womb. It became clear at that time that the little boy had been very concerned about his family, especially his Mother and Father. He wanted to tell them that he was OK. In fact, he was much more than OK. He was walking with Jesus on streets of gold. In fact, he was skipping with Jesus on streets of gold! If he could talk, he would say, "I will be waiting to greet you in heaven when you get here!"
I had that dream about a week or two before we found out that Levi had died in the womb. It was a startling, very real dream. Now, we know that Levi is sitting at the feet of Jesus, worshipping Him!
Thank you, Dad, for such a beautiful letter to encourage us and to share with our family and friends the meaning of Levi's name!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Crazy, Splendid...Life

Life has been crazy. Our 3 Chinese exchange students just left yesterday. For 3 weeks, we housed, fed, and transported our kids to classes and events. 'Parenting' three 11 year-olds is not easy, especially when they don't speak your language. Our biggest regret was that we took more than one child in, so they fell into their native Mandarin instead of practicing their English. This despite our constant insistence that they speak so we can understand. :) But, they were good, sweet children.
I have an ache in my heart. It seems my longing for children has never been stronger. With only 2 months and 4 days since we lost Levi, my body reminds me every day that it is not the same as before I was pregnant with my little boy. I can only imagine that this all would be easier if I were holding my precious bundle in my arms.
Lately, the urge to adopt has been on my heart. I think God is changing us for the better through this terrible situation. Cameron has talked with me before about his desire to adopt a child (or a few). He told me once that for every child God blesses us with biologically, he would want to adopt one. I do count Levi as 'our first biological child'. When my patients ask me if I have children, I tell them we just had our firstborn by stillbirth. It is not fun to relive that moment, and I could tell them "No, we have no children." But, it would be a half-lie; more importantly, it would deny my son his importance in my life. That little boy changed me forever. He created a longing in my heart to mother.
I told myself when we left the hospital that I would return to normal life and try my best to live as I had before. While that is a good goal, it is somewhat impractical. I cannot and will not forget Levi and our experience of losing him. My life WILL be changed. It is what I do with my loss that defines 'normal life' for me. And normal will never be the same again.