Friday, December 5, 2008
I almost feel like I'm a seasoned vet at being around death and at funerals. The first loss I experienced was when my older brother (and best friend) died. He was almost 12 and I was eight. That one was hard, but I was young enough that I didn't quite understand it all. After my brother died, it seemed like I went to a funeral every single year. Uncles, great-grandparents, cousin, grandparents, etc. It felt like the domino effect.
Then a month before I got married, my real dad passed away. Yes, my real dad made a lot of dumb choices, but he was still my dad. And I loved him VERY much. That loss was harder than most people realized. But I got through it. I always do.
I think all of my losses helped me know how to manage my emotions and feelings when Parker died. It was still difficult, but I think I had a better understanding of things since I'd been forced to face death before. And it's definitely nice to have the gospel of Christ to help put everything in perspective.
When my Grandma died almost a year ago, I was able to have some of the neatest, most spiritual experiences. I am grateful for those cherished moments.
Okay, so I'm just rambling now. In short, I'm glad I was able to attend the funeral today. Even if it did bring emotions to the surface. I'm grateful that I could remember my son today and feel a little closer to him. I'm thankful for all the angels in our lives.
Heavenly Father DOES have a special plan for our loved ones who pass away. There is a mighty work in heaven that He needs them for. What an honor to have had these people play a part in our lives.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
We had already had the funeral for my son and I was trying to piece my shattered life back together. Our bishop had attended the funeral and had been a great support to us.
After the sacrament was passed, the bishop got up and expressed his desire to share a few words. He said he felt incredibly prompted to read the words to the song, Count Your Blessings. He read:
Count Your Blessings:
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings; Name them one by one.
Count your blessings; See what God hath done.
Count your blessings; Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings; See what God hath done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.
So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
As he read the words, I broke down crying. No, not crying. Bawling.
I felt such a strong connection to that song. Although I can't be certain, I do believe that the bishop was prompted to read these lyrics for my sake. I felt just as the song described: tempest-tossed, discouraged, lost. I felt that my load was too heavy to bear. I knew that this song was giving me direction. It was telling me what to do! Although I was having an incredibly difficult time in my life, this song reminded me to "count my blessings" and so I did just that. My heart was overwhelmed with comfort and peace as I thought of the many blessings in my life.
Lately I have been going through some incredibly difficult struggles. Struggles that are racking at my soul and hurting my heart just like when I lost Parker. Before church a few Sundays ago I had prayed and prayed that I would feel peace during the meeting and that something might speak to me to help heal my heart.
Once again, my bishop (a different bishop than the one before - and a different ward), stood at the pulpit and expressed his desire to share the lyrics to the song, Count Your Blessings.
As he read the words, I wept again. I knew this time without a doubt that these words were for me.
At the two most difficult times in my life, the Lord spoke to me through His messengers. He gave me the same advice both times: Count Your Blessings. How amazing that the Lord really cares about little old me! How comforting to know that He is aware of my problems and that He truly does love me. If I will count my blessings, "every doubt will fly" and "angels will attend" to give "help and comfort" until my "journey's end." How comforting!
Friday, October 10, 2008
"How many kids do you have?"
For most people it's an easy question. For me it's full of heartache and hurt and longing. I still can't bring myself to leave out my son in the tally. But then if I add him in the tally then I am forced to explain that he died. And I most definitely don't mind talking about that, but it always makes the asker-of-the-question get uncomfortable. I'm sure anyone who has lost a child will understand how hard this is.
If I answer by saying, "One" then I feel like I am leaving my sweet Parker out. And he IS my son. I HAVE TWO CHILDREN. Granted, one might be in heaven, but I do in fact have TWO children.
I know it might seem like a little thing to you, but it's a hard thing for me. Maybe one day I'll get to the point where I can just answer the question without counting Parker so I can avoid having to explain anything. But as of yet, I can't do it. I don't want to do it. He is my son and he will forever be my son. So maybe it's not my problem at all. Maybe the person asking the question just needs to be more comfortable with how I answer it. Ha ha, what do you think?
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I know this is a downer post, but I figure I can express my feelings on subjects like these on this blog more-so than my family blog. Plus, I'm really not one to share my business with others. I seriously hate it when people know that we are trying to get pregnant. We haven't ever told anyone when we were actually trying. I just hate the pressure. Because then every time you get together for family functions everyone is always waiting for the "big announcement," which in my case rarely happens. Or when you aren't feeling well one day everyone assumes you are pregnant. Grrr. But I figure everyone knows that we are wanting another baby since we already were pregnant and miscarried.
If life were easy then we'd all get pregnant when we wanted to. Hey, wait, some people actually can get pregnant when they want to. Don't you love that? It seems like some people just wash their underwear together and they get pregnant. I'm not mad at those who are lucky in the baby-making department, it's just hard to swallow sometimes.
If life were easy, it wouldn't be hard. But I guess in the "hard" parts of life that's when we truly learn and grow. I know that I appreciate my daughter tons more than if I would have conceived her right away. So I do understand why we each have our own trials. I understand that I've learned patience and trust and reliance. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for me and it's better than any plan I could have conjured up for myself. I am grateful that He sees things that I cannot and that He guides my life. I understand and appreciate all that. But I can't be strong all the time (hence, the reasoning behind having to vent in a post).
So even though I understand it all, I still long for a baby. I want one! I want one now! I feel like the bratty girl on the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie when she sings, "Don't care how, I want it NOW!" ...Of course right after she says that she falls down the chute to the garbage disposal...hmm...maybe there's a parallel there that I should be learning from. Nah, I want a baby!
Why does trying have to be so complicated and emotionally draining?
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I found out I was expecting in January of 2004. I was excited and shocked when I found out. We had been trying for over a year and I’d kind of given up on the possibility of me getting pregnant. Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise. I was due September 13, 2004.
Everything was picture perfect with the pregnancy. Of course I was sick and threw up almost all the time, but other than that everything was as it should be. Everything always measured normal and the pregnancy was everything I could have wished for.
In April we had our ultrasound and we found out we were having a boy. I was seriously SO excited. I figured we were having a boy because that’s almost all the Rowley’s know how to make! We were excited and started shopping for baby stuff.
I had a couple baby showers in August and we got so much stuff. We felt like we won the jackpot! The last week in August we decided to set the baby room up. My mom had bought us the most beautiful crib and I had painted signs with Parker’s name on. We had a blast decorating the room. I washed all of the 0-3 month size clothes so that I would be prepared for when my son arrived.
I felt good my whole pregnancy so I decided to work up until September 1st and then that would be my last day until a couple months after I had the baby. September 1st was my last day of work and I was counting down to the day! I was coaching a local high school drill team at the time as well as working at Deseret Book. The morning of the 1st I drove to the high school to coach for a few hours and then I worked at Deseret Book until like 4:00pm.
My mom had decided to come to town with my Grandma and Aunt (who were coming to see plays at the Shakespeare Festival). My mom stayed at my house and she was there when I got home from work that day. Feeling exhausted, I sat on the couch and just visited with my mom while she worked in the kitchen. After a little while I said, “I haven’t really felt the baby move for a while.” I adjusted positions and thought I felt some movement. We were pretty busy the rest of the night so I didn’t really give it much thought.
The doctor’s office called me and asked if they could bump my appointment up to early the next morning (I had an appointment for later the next night). I switched my appointment. My mom was supposed to head back to Salt Lake the next day, but she called and asked if my Grandma and Aunt could wait until after my appointment to leave because my mom was excited and wanted to go to my appointment with me.
On Thursday, September 2nd I woke up and got ready for my appointment. Daniel wasn’t going to be able to go to this appointment with me so I was very happy that my mom was coming. Plus, I was hoping that the doctor would say, “Oh, you are in labor – let’s have a baby!”
We arrived at the doctor’s office and sat out in the waiting room for a bit. The nurse came and called me back. My mom and I both looked at each other because we weren’t sure if my mom should come back or not. I’m a pretty shy person when it comes to my body and so my mom thought it would be awkward for her to come. But I was like, “Duh, come on back!” That in itself is a great miracle that she came with me.
We walked back to the room and the nurse had me jump right up on the table. She got out the machine to check for a heart tone. She lifted my shirt and placed the machine to my belly…silence. She kept moving the machine around and continued to get the same result…silence. She told me that maybe the machine was bad so she would get another one. She told me to go use the restroom because sometimes that helps babies move around so they can pick up their heartbeat. I used the restroom, washed my hands, and then dropped down to my knees. I asked that Heavenly Father please let everything be alright. I prayed that the nurse would be able to find a heartbeat when I went back into the room. I prayed with all my might that my son would be ok. I felt an overwhelming warm feeling of peace overcome me. I felt peaceful and wasn’t really worried that anything serious could be wrong with my son. I naively walked back to the room.
Another nurse came in with a new machine and tried to pick up a heart tone for what felt like 10 minutes. I asked her what was going on and she reassured me that their machines were probably malfunctioning. She left the room to go get the doctor.
The doctor came rushing into the room and put the machine to my belly for not even two seconds. He took the machine off and asked, “When was the last time you felt the baby move?” I started to sweat and told him that I really couldn’t remember. He rushed me into the ultrasound room and quickly started up the machine. My mom followed. He scanned my belly back and forth, taking measurements and looking at different angles of the baby. After what felt like hours of him looking at the ultrasound screen, he turned to me and said, “I’m sorry, but he’s passed away.”
My mom started weeping, “Jenny, no! I’m so sorry!” Tears filled my eyes and my heart sunk into my stomach. My mom jumped up to the table and embraced me. I felt as if my body went limp. The doctor hugged me and said some very comforting things to me. After a few minutes, he sent my mom out to call Daniel to come down to the hospital. They called Daniel but didn’t tell him anything.
The doctor continued to reassure me that I would someday know the rich blessings of motherhood but that Heavenly Father had a different plan right now. I felt great comfort in his words.
Next was the worst part – when Daniel came. I had done an okay job of keeping myself composed. I was crying, but I think I was mostly in shock. But then Daniel walked in the room. It was just me and him. He opened the door and saw tears running down my face. He ran to me and just held me. I started sobbing. I couldn’t speak for a bit. Finally I said, “He died.” My husband lost it and started sobbing and we just held each other as we felt our hearts break. Our dreams felt shattered and our bodies were aching for this precious little soul we hadn’t yet met.
After a while the doctor came in and explained that they would induce me first thing the next morning. I was still trying to fathom what had just happened. By the time I was leaving the hospital my aunt and grandma had already arrived. I walked out the door and they ran to me and hugged me. I sobbed as they held me. They helped me outside to my car and we drove back to my house. I made it home onto my bed and just cried as hard as my body would allow.
My mom and husband started making phone calls to inform family and friends of our situation. I’m glad I didn’t have to call anyone because I wouldn’t have been able to talk. I definitely appreciate the courage and strength of my mom and husband for making the calls to our loved ones.
My bishopric came over and gave me a blessing. They were very loving and very supportive. My brother-in-law, Kevin, also came over later that night to give me a blessing. I felt the Spirit so strong while Kevin was giving me that blessing. He told me that Parker was a very choice spirit of Heavenly Father’s. And that Satan would have tried very hard to get him. He spoke many truths and the spirit whispered much comfort through that blessing. I felt as though the hands of a thousand angels were on my head while I was receiving the blessing.
That night as I knelt in prayer I received more comfort. I wanted more than anything to pray for a miracle, but my heart and mind knew that a miracle was not part of Heavenly Father’s plan. I prayed for strength and shook in fear when I thought of having to deliver a stillborn son. I didn’t think I had the strength. I didn’t think I could do it.
The next morning was a very somber morning. We woke up bright and early and headed for the hospital. My stomach was too upset to eat. We walked in and the nurses immediately knew who I was and what I was there for. There was a special sign they put on my door so everyone would know that I wasn’t going to be taking my baby home with me. There were so many sweet nurses who cried with me and held my hand. I couldn’t have asked for a better staff.
They started the induction at 5:00 or 6:00am. I had a relatively peaceful labor until my water broke. Throughout my pregnancy, I had been planning on trying to do it naturally without any drugs. I had comforting/peaceful music playing and I was trying my best to relax. After my water broke the Pitocin was causing the contractions to come very fast and very hard. Most of my labor was in my lower back because my son was facing the wrong direction. At about 10:00pm, I asked for the epidural. It took awhile for the anesthesiologist to get there but it was so much better once I got the medicine. It had taken me about 15 hours to go from 0 to a 4 centimeters and after I got the epidural I went from a 4 to a 9 in like 30 minutes. It definitely helped me relax and my only regret is that I didn’t get it sooner.
As soon as it was time to start pushing the nurse asked me if I wanted to see my son right away or if I wanted her to clean him off first. To be honest, I was a little worried how he would look since he had already passed away. I was scared so I told her to please clean him off first. I pushed for about 45 minutes. He was born at 12:53am on September 4, 2004.. When I felt my son come out my whole attitude changed. As soon as he came out, my body was filled with this overwhelmingly powerful love for him. It’s indescribable how much love I felt for him in that instant. I didn’t care what he looked like. I said, “I want him! I want to hold my baby.”
They passed him straight up into my arms. He was perfect. He was beautiful. He wasn’t scary, he was my son. Ten fingers, ten toes - dark, curly hair and chubby cheeks. He was beautiful. He was perfect. He was mine.
As I held him and kissed him I felt so much warmth and peace. It really is so sacred to me and words don’t do it justice. Let’s just say that it’s the closest I have ever felt to the veil or to heaven. It is an incredibly powerful feeling - one of peace, hope, love, and eternity.
They bathed him, dressed him, and brought him back to me. We were able to hold him and take pictures. It was the most special two hours of my life. We were able to have a lot of family there. He honestly looked so perfect. He looked like any other healthy baby. The only difference was that his spirit was no longer in his body. We named in Parker Daniel Rowley because that was the name we had chosen for him before he died. And it was his name.
We had a graveside service for Parker that was very touching and special. We buried him in Richfield because at the time we weren’t sure where we’d end up and we wanted him by family.
The weeks that followed were hard and also very enlightening. It is crazy to think that I had to bury a child. I honestly never really thought that I would be faced with a challenge like that. But I have found such great comfort in the words of the Prophets. I have spent many a night and day on my knees praying for knowledge and comfort concerning the death of my son. I miss him like crazy and I think about him every day. I know that he is a choice spirit of our Heavenly Father and that all he needed was to get a body to finish his earthly journey. I feel privileged that I was honored enough to be his mother.
There are definitely times when I wish he were here instead of in heaven. It’s hard to see kids his age because I think about what he might look like or what type of person he would be. But then I think of the Master’s plan and I know that Parker is where he is supposed to be.
I can’t wait until the day when I can be reunited with my son again. It will be such a warm embrace. I can’t wait to hold him in my arms again and kiss his little cheeks. It was a hard journey but I’d do it all over again just to hold him for another minute.
I miss you my angel baby!
Us right before we left for the hospital to be induced. I like how the picture of the Savior is looking down on us.
A table of pictures and momentos we had set up at Parker's funeral.
Parker's casket. I think it was just beautiful.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
A picture of the plaque
Close-up of my favorite quote
The plaque overlooks the area where this doctrine was given
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Little one so sweet and dear
How we've longed to have you here
To hold, to hug, to make our life bliss
Though now we must leave you with one last kiss
And try to somehow understand
That keeping you here was not in the plan
For Heavenly Father knew better than we
He kept you near him to wait peacefully
Until the day comes when we together will be
Forever and ever throughout all eternity.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Every time (and I literally mean EVERY SINGLE TIME) I hear this song I cry. I relate to this song and it reminds me of all the hard times I've been through. It reminds me of the heartbreak and struggles that life can bring. Yet it also reminds me of the joys I have been blessed with.
I remember as newlyweds I had such great dreams for us. I thought everything would work out as I had planned it. I assumed we'd have the "fairy tale" life like I thought everyone had. I thought we'd get married, have kids, and be as happy as can be. I never could have imagined that we would end up burying our first child. I never could have imagined the years of infertility problems we would (and still will) face. I never imagined how hard life could be.
And yet, I never imagined how good it could be either.
Here are the lyrics for the song "The Good" written by Rachel Coleman. Hopefully I can figure out how to get the song on here one day. It is absolutely beautiful.
It was you and me and the whole world right before us
I couldn’t wait to start
I saw you and dreams just like everyone before us
We thought we knew what we got
And then one day I thought it slipped away
And I looked to my hands to hold on
And then one day all my fear slipped away
And my hands did so much more
So maybe we won’t find easy
But, baby, we’ve found the good
No, maybe we won’t find easy
But, baby, we’ve found the good!
It was you and me and a new world right before us
I was so scared to start
I saw you and dreams just like everyone before us
But how did they move so far?
And then one day I thought it slipped away
And I looked to my hands to hold you
And then one day all my fear slipped away
And my hands did so much more
So maybe we won’t find easy
But, baby, we’ve found the good
Maybe we won’t find easy
But, baby, we’ve found the good!
Monday, June 2, 2008
It seems like an eternity since my last post. I've been wanting to post for quite some time now, but haven't been able to put all my thoughts into words. I still don't know that I will be able to do that.
My last post was about how grateful I am for temples and the promises we can receive from keeping our covenants. I wrote that post just a day after we had attended the temple. We had done Sealings that day. As we were busy sealing children to their parents, I kept having this strong prompting that I needed to try to have another baby as soon as possible. I wasn't planning on getting pregnant again for another nine months, so this prompting took me by surprise. I shrugged it off the best I could.
The prompting scared me in a way because I absolutely hate the emotional roller coaster that follows me while attempting to bring a child into this world. I wanted to ignore the prompting because it reminded me of all the heartache I experienced while trying to conceive Parker and also with Hayley. The thought of "trying again" brings back all the raw emotions of months and months of taking my temperature and waiting for the right time; it brings back the sadness I felt seeing pregnancy test after pregnancy test with a big fat negative. It resurfaces all of the heartbreak I felt while trying to conceive Hayley. I would hurt every time I saw a baby and thought of my sweet Parker. I wanted a baby so badly after I lost Parker that it nearly felt like my heart would burst.
Back to the temple. As much as I tried to ignore the impressions I was having, I couldn't get rid of them. We went to the Celestial Room after we were done and Daniel and I were just sitting, staring at the beauty of the room. Daniel leaned over and said, "I think it's time to have a baby." I was like, "OH CRAP!" Ha ha, don't worry, I didn't say it out loud. I was just thinking, "I guess this means that I can't back down now. He got the prompting too!" And so from there, our journey was to begin.
I called my doctor and asked him to put me back on my medications that help me get pregnant. I started charting my temperatures again and the whole nine yards. Even though we both received the prompting to try again, I know that promptings are not always what they seem. Believe me, I learned that with Parker. I know that promptings may be guiding us down a different path or that they are intended to save us heartache in the long run or to teach us something we may not learn otherwise. I knew that just because we were prompted to get pregnant that it didn't mean that it would work out for us how we'd hoped.
To my shock and surprise, we conceived right away. I was shocked! It had taken us about a year and a half of trying to get pregnant with Parker and with Hayley. Everyone kept saying, "Wow, this baby is meant to be!" or "I guess Heavenly Father really wanted this baby to come to you at this time." Although I wanted to believe what everyone was saying, deep down something just felt . . . off. Even though two different pregnancy tests confirmed that I was in fact pregnant, I didn't feel like I was. It's a weird feeling.
As the weeks passed on, I tried to convince my head and my heart that maybe I was going to have a baby. I slowly started to tell family and friends our good news. As I told each person, I just had this weird feeling. I knew that I wasn't going to get to keep this baby. I tried to think positive, happy thoughts, but deep down I knew that there was nothing there. I was "pregnant" sure enough, but I could tell that there was nothing there to connect with. I felt ashamed that I wasn't "connecting" with the baby. However, I couldn't shake the feeling that this wasn't going to work out.
Sure enough when I went to my first doctor's appointment, we found that the pregnancy had stopped developing. Blood work showed that I was doomed to miscarry. Honestly, I wasn't surprised or hurt when the doctor told me this. I just said, "I had a feeling you were going to say that."
I know that people must think I am crazy because I didn't mourn this loss. It's not because I'm heartless, it's because I knew all along that this wasn't going to be. I am thankful that Heavenly Father blessed me with the emotions I needed to go through this experience. It's amazing how He gives me strength and comfort at times when I need them most.
I am disappointed. I did want to have a baby and I was getting excited by the idea of having a baby this November. I am disappointed that we won't be having a baby as soon as we had hoped. I am disappointed that I have to try again. The thought of the emotional roller coaster sends chills up my spine. However, I know that we will be given the opportunity to parent more children. I am hoping that the Lord blesses us to have more of our own.
I don't know how long I will have to wait until we can try again. I am just enjoying the time that I have until then. I look at my daughter and I am so grateful for her. Tears fill my eyes when I think of others who have lost a child and are still longing for another to hold in their arms. I ache for them. When I look at Hayley I am reminded of how truly blessed I am. I will enjoy every second of her that I can. It really is amazing that any babies make it here. I am so incredibly thankful for the joy that Hayley brings into my life.
I am thankful for the life of my son. Although it was shorter than I ever could have imagined, how blessed I am to know that he's made it. He's where we all long to make it. He is saved.
I am grateful for the experiences that I have been given. I am even more grateful for the things I have learned from them.
The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Last night the Fire Department had a meeting for the Firefighters and their wives. It was a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing meeting. The lady taught us about the type of stress the firefighters have after some of the things they see while on a call. We also learned how to manage the feelings that arise because of the things the firefighters see. It was a very interesting meeting.
The most interesting part to me was when the instructor had us close our eyes. She peacefully talked us through what she wanted us to visualize. We were supposed to walk toward a door (any type of door) and slowly open it. Once inside the door, we were supposed to visualize a place. Most people chose to visualize somewhere that they had been before - a cabin, their favorite fishing place, their porch, etc. My place was a little different.
I visualized a place I had never been before. It was bright and sunny, with beautifully lush trees. There was green grass everywhere and I was dressed in white walking through it barefoot. It felt so good underneath my feet! And then rather than just imagining the place, I also imagined that Parker was there. I ran to him and held him in my arms. He was still an infant and I was able to hold, kiss, and rock him to sleep. I felt as if I were in heaven. It's the closest I've felt to him in a long time.
Then the instructor told us to walk back toward the door and come back to reality. I nearly cried as I placed my son back on the grass and walked toward the door. Actually, I did cry. It was one of the worst feelings ever. I thought, "How dare you bring me to such a happy place and then make me go back!" Ha ha ha!
The instructor had us open our eyes. She told us that the place we had just imagined was our "happy place" - a place where we will always feel peaceful and joyful.
Of course it is true. My son will always bring me peace and joy. I loved the experience I had and I was grateful to realize that Parker is in my happy place. I'd like to go there again!
Monday, January 28, 2008
Friday, January 4, 2008
I see the countless Christmas trees
around the world below
with tiny lights like heaven stars
reflecting on the snow
The sight is so spectacular
Please wipe away that that tear
For I'm spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year
I hear the many Christmas songs
That people hold so dear
O', the sounds of music can't compare
with the Christmas choir up here.
For I have no words to tell you
of the joy their voices bring
for it's beyond description
to hear the angels sing.
I know how much you miss me,
I see the pain inside your heart
but through our memories so dear
We're never far apart.
I can't tell you of the splendor
or the peace here in this place
Can you just imagine Christmas
with Our Savior.......face-to-face.
I'll ask him to light your spirit
As I tell him of your Love.
Then I'll pray for 'One another'
As you lift your eyes above.
So please let your heart be joyful
and let your spirit sing
for I'm spending Christmas in heaven
and I'm walking with the King.