Saturday, July 4, 2009

Locks of Love

A few years ago I decided my hair had gotten entirely too long. It was time to cut some off and I realized it could actually do some good for someone else if I cut a little more than I intended. I ended up cutting 10 inches off my hair that day and it was donated to Locks of Love (an organization that supplys wigs to those who have lost their hair). My little cousin, Bethany, managed to grow some VERY long VERY thick hair also. We made a pact. I told her I would grow my hair long again and we could donate it together. Well it turns out a 10 year old doesn't forget pacts like you think they might. After several swimming encounters where we thought we might have to cut out the tangles rather than brush them, we decided it was time to get hers cut. Mine wasn't quite as long as I wanted but a promise is a promise and again...she didn't forget.

You have to cut 10 inches in order for Locks of Love to be able to use it. So with a large crowd to watch, we chopped it off. Tina, the hair stylist I've gone to for years took GREAT care of us.

Here is what our hair looked like at the beginning of the day on Tuesday, June 30, 2009...
And at the end of the day...

Friday, July 3, 2009


“I might actually have this baby and get to bring him home.”

I don’t know if this feeling is common even to women who have not encountered a loss but this is what I find myself thinking more and more. It’s strange but I didn’t going into this pregnancy assuming the end would show me holding my baby. I guess I look at having a baby in three very distinct steps and I’ve never achieved all of them so I didn’t have any reason to assume I would this time. The first step is getting pregnant. I’ve jumped this hurdle three times, the most recent being the most difficult, yet I wouldn’t say we had trouble getting pregnant, it may have felt like we did but our troubles were certainly not in comparison to the struggles that many endure month after month. Getting pregnant in itself is sort of crazy when you think about how perfect the timing of so many things has to be. It becomes amazing that anyone can get pregnant to begin with when you think about that.

For me the second step is staying pregnant. There’s so much excitement that a positive pregnancy test invokes but that is just the beginning of what seems like a very long journey ahead. We lost our first baby near the 8 week mark. Early miscarriages are very common but still devastating because with each positive test comes so much hope. I think getting through that first trimester marks the end of the second step. I know people like to refer to it as getting to the “safe zone” but I’m convinced that zone doesn’t really exist. Maybe we should refer to it as the “SAFER zone” instead because yes statistically speaking your odds of losing your baby do go down quite a bit after that first trimester but that doesn’t mean the odds are nonexistent.

The third step for me, one we’ve yet to make it to, is the delivery of a healthy baby. Joshua and Caleb were stillborn at 20 weeks and 6 days gestation. The 20th week of this pregnancy scared me. Now we’ve past that point and it just feels like uncharted territory for me. I don’t know what to think at this point but that “We might actually have a healthy baby” feeling is becoming more and more prominent. Sometimes I will follow that feeling with the thought of all the other mommies I know that have lost babies farther into their pregnancies than I have and it kind of sucks the wind out of my sails if you will. Suddenly the pregnancy still seems very long and scary. Other times that feeling of confidence is followed by a discussion of the future, whether that includes purchasing a crib or having a baby shower and again my mind is flooded with all the sad endings that so many have had to survive much later in their pregnancies than me. I guess talk of the future just scares me. It scares me that people still assume pregnancy ends with healthy babies. It scares me that those people could be hit with a reality that feels impossible to get through (and would have been for me if I hadn’t had Jesus as my tour guide).

We had ordered two cribs the weekend before we lost the boys, we had registered at Babies “R” Us, and we had set a date for a shower about two weeks before. The thought of repeating these events for Dotson feel somewhat like triggers that take me back or remind me that there are no guarantees. I’m excited to do all these things and they still seem like fun to me but at the same time they scare me. I guess it’s similar to jumping out of a plane for the first time… it must sound like fun or you wouldn’t do it but there has to be a fear in the back of your head until the moment your feet safely hit the ground. I’ve pretty much avoided all these things this time around but it is becoming increasingly apparent that we are really going to have to start thinking about them soon. We’ve already gotten the shower question; however no one dares to ask me themselves, they go through mom (I do appreciate this because it doesn’t put me in a position to have to make a rushed decision). As for the crib, well when we ordered the boys’ it was going to take up to 4 months to get it. That calls for some major advanced planning. It makes me think that Target or Wal-mart might be the way to go this time around. Registering I still think can wait. I want to emphasize again though that I am VERY excited about doing all these things I just wish I could do them with the same innocence that I did the first time.

I hope this post doesn’t give you the impression that I live each moment in fear of how this pregnancy is going to end because by God’s grace I don’t. I am actually very comforted and at peace but there is also that very realistic voice in the back of my head that isn’t going to be quiet until “my feet safely hit the ground”. I have a better understanding of the possibilities than most but I know that this baby is not my own. Dotson is God’s creation and only God knows how this little boy is going to be used to achieve His plan. My trust is in Him and I will continue to pray for His grace and comfort to surround me, to give me the ability to enjoy and see the blessings, and to give Wayne and me a perfect little Dotson to love and snuggle in 4.5 more months. A Dotson that will bless our marriage and that we will sit side by side and watch grow into a man that loves and serves the Lord.


Quickening, according to Google, refers to the initial motion of the fetus in the uterus as it is perceived or felt by the pregnant woman. Quickening according to me is the sign of life within me. It is the only sign I have that my baby is still alive and well. It is my reminder that perhaps I will be blessed with a pregnancy that doesn’t end in sorrow, a pregnancy that doesn’t end but rather provides a new beginning. A pregnancy that doesn’t require a goodbye. Quickening to me is the most amazing feeling I have ever felt. Sure it’s wonderful to hear that heartbeat on a Doppler or see it beating away on the ultrasound machine but to actually feel it makes it SO much more real. Quickening has made Dotson real to me. Can I just say that I am a HUGE fan of this “quickening”?

Many may not have yet felt this amazing feeling so I’m going to share with you what I think it feels like because I can tell you that the description others gave me made me question whether I was really feeling him or not. So here it is… I feel two distinctly different feelings and I believe both of them are him. The first is what I call a “squirmy feeling”. It feels like he is squirming all around inside me. Some may call this a “flutter,” I disagree. The description of fluttering makes me think of a butterfly fluttering its wings in a wide open space, I think it feels more like a baby doing that squirmy snuggling thing they do when you’re holding them. It would make sense that they do something similar while still in the womb. Some also describe this as maybe feeling like gas…I didn’t get that either. Gas feels like gas…this is different. My second description is, and I’ll warn you this one is groundbreaking, that it feels like a gentle kick. Not the kick of a grown person because remember their feet and hands are still very tiny but it feels like a gentle kick, a flick from the inside might be a better description. At any rate, I think when you feel it you will know that is what it is. Dotson also loves to dance on, what I think is, my cervix. This gives me the constant urge to have to go to the bathroom. He must know that I enjoy frequent breaks, especially while at work.

I just think this whole idea of feeling another human being moving within me is so spectacular. I don’t know how anyone can question the presence of God in this. So many things have to fall perfectly into place to even become pregnant, not to mention the timing of everything once you are. There is such a precision to it that I know only God could be responsible for this miracle and with every kick I will praise Him. I am reminded with each of those kicks just how blessed I truly am. This reminder is just another gift that has come from losing my boys. I don’t know that I would realize how amazing this truly is if I hadn’t been through such a difficult loss before I might not be so in tune with all that is happening within me now. This reminder is just another gift from my Joshua and Caleb.