Wednesday, August 22, 2012

You never know when it will hit you...

You never know when it will come. You never know what's going to be a hard moment.

You might anticipate unpacking nursery boxes, setting up the crib, and arranging the furniture in the new nursery would be hard.

It wasn't.

You might think going through piles of clothes to find some to lend to Luke's 3-month cousin would be hard.

It wasn't. (Well, at least for me, but Baby Dallin's mom could tell you how it made her feel...)

You wouldn't think unpacking boxes of office stuff wouldn't be emotional . . . but there I was . . .sorting through books, papers, old text books to be sold, and other office odds-and-ends that still need to be unpacked, organized, thrown out, sold, or stored . . . and it hit me. I came across a particular notebook and an old calendar/day planner.

As for the notebook. I had used it for a while during pregnancy to chart what I was eating each day and to mark off my daily essential pregnancy routines (drinking enough water, pregnancy tea, exercise, birth class practice, prayer, scripture study, singing to Luke, etc.). As I turned the pages my charting ended abruptly and was followed with a new to-do list --funeral plans.

My heart ached to see these two sections of my notebook juxtaposed against each other. It was my life and my reality and I lived it, but seeing it written like that made it hit me in a new way. Or at least reminded me of what I did and what my life really entailed. I set the notebook aside with a heart of both hurt and love.

I picked up my calendar which happened to follow the school year Fall 2010 to Summer 2011. I flipped through it and it fell right open to February. Marked with a big heart was February 21.

Trevor and I were celebrating Valentine's Day that day since I had to work (two jobs) on the 14th. For part of our celebration we scheduled an ultrasound so we could find out Luke's gender, read the results together at a park at sunset, and discussed names over dinner.

Seeing that day marked with a big heart, I couldn't help but to weep.

I continued to thumb through the pages . . .each page marked with either actual pregnancy related events like prenatal appointments, birth classes, baby showers, and my little check-lists of things to do to prepare Luke's arrival or events that simply occurred while I was pregnant like my mundane work schedule, our trip to San Fran, and anything else that was written between November and August.

I wept.

I couldn't throw the calendar away.

I felt like I would be throwing away the only memories that I have with Luke.


I'm grateful for the memories. I am grateful for the nine months I got to be with my baby. I am grateful Trevor   was only gone to the store when I found all of these things so I could stand in his arms to cry some more once he returned. 


Still love and miss you, my son. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meaningful Flowers and Gift

Not only did my wonderful friends visit Luke's grave on the first anniversary of his birth they sent me these beautiful flowers.

I was so surprised by the unexpected arrival. As if going to the cemetery wasn't more than enough! These flowers were so meaningful to me because I knew that the flower choice had been selected particularly based on some of my favorites which had been in Luke's casket flowers.

Knowing this pregnancy has caused so much anxiety and fear, these friends also sent us fetal doppler as somewhat of a "birthday" gift. Trevor and I decided to give it a try for the first time Sunday morning (August 5, 2012). Luckily I'd been feeling kicks already that morning when we woke up as we laid in bed chatting, so I was sure we were going to find a heartbeat. Trevor is a pro and found it the moment he put the doppler to my stomach. It worked like a charm and we are so grateful for this gift that can offer us a little peace of mind in the coming weeks.

All that these women did for me to honor Luke and the 1 year mark of when I gave birth to him was so touching and I am forever grateful for their love, friendship, and service.

A Visit from Friends

Before the 1 year anniversary of Luke's birth my friend Jenny told me that some of my friends from Provo were planning to go to the cemetery since they knew I couldn't be there. She wanted to make sure I was okay with that and verify the location of Luke's burial place.

It meant enough to me that they remembered it was Luke's "birthday," and I was so deeply touched to know that my friends were planning such a meaningful excursion to the cemetery. I knew they were taking flowers and had requested they send me some pictures of their visit. I didn't really know who was involved and pictured just few people would go down there.

You can imagine my complete astonishment when Trevor and I were driving back from our evening hike and I was checking my email on my phone and pulled up this picture:

I couldn't quite tell yet who was who since the photo was small, regardless, I couldn't believe the shear multitude of people who were there! I felt so overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from these woman who are my friends. To see that each of them had taken the time and made the effort to gather up their children to go down to the cemetery (at least 30 minutes from where most of them live and much further for others) just for me and for Luke was so incredible to me. As I write about it now, I struggle to find the words to describe my astonishment and my gratitude. It's humbling to be the recipient of so much love and such a kind gesture.  My heart was filled with their love. I wanted so badly to be able to put my arms around each one of them and thank them. I hope they each know how much this means to me. 

The flowers, balloon, and teddy bear they brought cheerfully decorated Luke's grave. I couldn't have asked for anything better. I also love being able to see the beautiful sky and see what a beautiful day it was. (Ha ha! Upon enlarging this photo I just spotted a little crawler in the back ground! Love it!) 

Each of these babies pictured below were born within days or just a few weeks of Luke's birth. 

These are my friends who I went through pregnancy with. These are some of my experienced mom friends who I could turn to with questions about pregnancy, birth, and all things baby. It might be hard for some people to see a picture with their friends and their 1-year-old babies. For some people, I might imagine, it would elicit feelings of jealousy and pain. Yet, for me, it doesn't. Because not only are these my friends who went through pregnancy and birth the same time as me, these are some of my friends who cried with me and for me, who prayed for me, who let me hold their babies when I felt so empty-armed. These are women who I love and I feel so unbelievably grateful to have in my life. 

My dear friends, 

I wish I could wrap my arms around you and thank you each individually for your love, prayers, support, and thoughtfulness. I love and admire you all so much and feel so blessed to be acquainted with each of you. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sympathy from Children

We had dinner at our family's house and my niece presented me with this drawing. I love that my nieces and nephews know that we have a son, Luke, who is not with us, but that we'll see him again. I love the simplicity of a child's words: "Sorry your son [died]." What a tender and caring six-year-old. Her drawing means so much to me.

Loving Grandparents

Grandma Barb and Grandpa Jim sent us this beautiful arrangement.

It arrived on Saturday the 4th. Like I wrote about here, Saturday was the day of the week Luke was born. My mind was full of reflection and coming home to flowers and a note from Trevor's parents couldn't have been more perfectly timed.  

Grandma and Grandpa Banks took fresh flowers to the cemetery on Sunday the 5th. It means so much to us to have fresh flowers on Luke's grave. I love that my mom picked out blue delphinium (like the ones that had been in Luke's casket arrangement which I picked out for him) and bright, cheerful yellow flowers. 


Luke, you have such loving grandparents who continue to show their love for you even though you are not here with us. We feel so blessed to be part of such a loving family. 

A Tribute to Luke Ray Fitzgerald

Our sister-in-law, Maryanne, created this video for us. She sent it in an email which we read while on the metro. We waited until Sunday morning to have a quiet time together to watch it. 

I'm pretty sure I cry each time I watch it.

Thank you Maryanne for being so thoughtful and for take the time to put together such a beautiful video.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

1 Year

As I wrote about ...last week brought my mind back to the events that took place and lead up to Luke's birth. Because it was leap year this year the days things occurred were misaligned with the date by two days. So even though Luke was born on Saturday morning on the 6th, this year the 6th didn't happen until Monday. Nevertheless I thought through the events on the days they happened and continued to think about the events of last August through Monday.

We knew Luke's "birthday" was coming up and Trevor was supposed to be working out of town on the sixth, but he opted to not be gone and worked at the DC office so we could be together in the evening. We weren't really sure what we wanted to do. I felt like it was similar to planning Luke's funeral. We've never done this before. We don't know what's normal. This isn't something that's normally done. So there's no precedent. No expectations. No predetermined plans of first birthday cakes or presents. I've read about things other people have done for their baby's "birthdays," but we had to do what felt right for us, for our family.

If we had been  in Utah I would have gone to the cemetery. The cemetery is a quiet, reflective, peaceful place for me to be. I thought the closest thing to that here would be to at least be in nature and suggested we go on a hike. We're not familiar enough with the area yet to know about any trails. Trevor found a trail for us to go on 35 minutes or so from our home, but we didn't really know what to expect from it.

We were quite astonished to discover that this trail lead to a spectacular view, which we were able to catch just in time for the sunset. It was beautiful and we couldn't have planned it better. 

Reflecting on things I thought of these words by President Joseph F. Smith that are quoted in Richard G. Scott's most recent conference talk and was able to pull them up on my phone and read them: 

“I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. … We are closely related to our kindred, to our ancestors … who have preceded us into the spirit world. We can not forget them; we do not cease to love them; we always hold them in our hearts, in memory, and thus we are associated and united to them by ties that we can not break. … If this is the case with us in our finite condition, surrounded by our mortal weaknesses, … how much more certain it is … to believe that those who have been faithful, who have gone beyond … can see us better than we can see them; that they know us better than we know them. … We live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us; … their love for us and their desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves.”

Luke, your dad and I still can barely wrap our head around the fact that all this unfolded a year ago. We may not have you with us here, but the influence of your brief life on earth has forever impacted us. We strive to live our lives so that we can receive the eternal blessing of salvation that are made available through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Oh how imperfect we are! But continually striving, indeed. Any help and protection you may offer our family, we may never really know or understand in this lifetime. Nevertheless we are so grateful that you are ours. We love and miss you still so much and look forward to the day when our whole family can be together . . .  and as per your dad's request, eat Wacky Chocolate Cake. It seems funny to call it a birthday because birthdays usually equate to an increase in age, presents, cake and ice cream; however, August 6th was indeed the day you were born. So in that regards, Happy Birthday Luke. We love you!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

This week a year ago . . .

Yes, August 6th will mark one year to the day that Luke was born; however this was the week that it all happened and in my mind the details of the events are more connected to the days of the week than the numbers on the calendar.

Each day this week my mind has turned back and thought through the events that unfolded on each day.

Tuesday: That was my last prenatal appointment. The last time we heard Luke's steady heartbeat. That was the night we went to Cafe Rio in Spanish Fork to celebrate being 41 weeks pregnant. That's the night I sat there after dinner and vocally thanked my baby for being a good mover so that mommy knew everything was okay...

I know what I was doing each day until Friday night when I was induced. I know what I was wearing. I can still replay my emotions and thoughts that took place on each of those days.

Last night I couldn't help looking at the clock - at this time I had been induced for about an hour and a half. And then, in my mind, I would reconsider that, because my clock is showing me Eastern Standard Time it would be different. So I would role back the clock to what time it was in Utah. At this time last year I was calling my mom to tell her why I was going to the hospital to be induced. 

In my mind it is so easy to just turn back the clock. If only we could actually turn back time, but it doesn't work that way. I can never actually go back to my time with Luke. Time only presses forward. So forward I must look.

When I remember how painful it was to swallow the reality of having to give birth to my baby even though he was no longer living, I remind myself of the glorious gift I gave him of a physical body that will be his to claim again one day. When I think of the heartbreak of having to let go so soon, I must remind myself of the joy that we will experience when we are reunited one day. When I think of the tears I couldn't contain as I put into words in a text that our baby had already returned to heaven and requested the prayers of my friends, I must remember the countless prayers that have been offered on our behalf and the endless love and support from friends, family members, and even strangers. When I think of how hard it was emotionally to labor for the birth of my baby, I must remind myself that because of Luke I am now confident in my body's ability to birth. When I remember my heartache of experiencing my own loss, I must remind myself of the empathy that I can now have for others who also experience loss in some form or another. When I think of the bitter tears shed by both myself and Trevor, I must remind myself that it is because we had and continue to have so much love for our little boy.

Today I will look at the corner of our couch and think back to sitting there feeling almost numb, still trying to wrap my head around what took place in the last 24 hours, and feeling so empty-handed coming home from the hospital with no baby to hold. All I wanted was to hold my baby, or any baby for that matter. My arms were so empty and it was overwhelming and unbearable. My emotions were drained and at that point I didn't have any tears to shed. Shock, perhaps, overpowered me. There I sat in the corner of the couch with the quilt that I had sewn for Luke as the only thing in my arms.

That is what I was doing a year ago this Saturday.

The details of everything are still so fresh in my mind. Not as if it happened a year ago. And in that moment I was afraid of forgetting the details of what was happening. I wanted to remember it all and remember it clearly.  I wanted to remember every detail, every feeling, every kind thing that started to be done on our behalf. It may have been painful, but it was my reality. My story. My life. My sons life . . . and death. And that is a very momentous part of one's history.


Luke, how quickly a year can come and go but your short life will forever be a part of mine. Though it is not easy to think back to the emotions of that week I'm allowing myself to do so--allowing some of the hurt to resurface or at least be remembered. It has been a journey to live life without you here and I am sure will continue to be so for the rest of my life. I love you and am so grateful that you will forever be mine . . . ours. You will be a part of our family forever.