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Julie, the NILMDTS photographer, gave me a sneak peek of the pictures she got of Tristan. I will be sharing them after Neil has had a chance to see, but they are spectacular. I stared at each image for ages today trying to recall his baby scent and the silkiness of his hair under my chin, and the feeling I had when Neil brought him to me around the surgical curtain and held his cheek to mine. I just kept begging, whispering to him, “Please stay- just as long as you can. Please, stay!” But how do you convince an angel to stay in this dreary world? Even so, he did.

Tristan Pro 9

Daddy's boy

So many memories in one day and they all keep fading, more each day. But those pictures have brought those memories back to me on a day I really needed it.

I think I am doing well in some ways. I get out of bed each morning, I go for days without crying and I think in general I am handling things well. But in a separate compartment of my life, my heart is broken. Shattered, actually. A new heart-angel friend said it so well; That out of the millions of pieces of her broken heart, she was being built a new and stronger one. But it’s such a painful process.

I am not worried about Tristan at all. I know he’s perfectly ok. He’s probably watching me with a “tsk, tsk, tsk… if only i could show you the whole picture,” on his face. But my heart aches for the moments I should be having with him now; the middle of the night feedings, the excitement to take him out to church and in public, waiting for the night he would finally sleep all the way through, the trip to Kiddie Kandids to get his first pictures done, reminding McKenna not to try and pick him up, and keeping Adele from poking him in the eyes!…Just holding him.

Tristan Pro 4

Welcome to our family, Tristan

I thought I would share a poem I wrote for Tristan shortly after we were given our options and asked to consider them. It’s very rough and flawed, but I don’t want to edit it because the way I feel now would change it because its different from how I felt then. And I want to keep that. So for Tristan,

 

The Choice

What would you pay

For one single day;

To feel the warmth of sunlight,

As it’s washed from your face

Tristan Pro 8

Mommy's angel

By late Autumn breeze laced with frosty bite?

What would you give,

For one moment to live;

To be held in a tearful embrace,

As your heart blazes warm, overflows with pure love,

As it reflects golden in my face?

How much is it worth,

Your foot on this Earth;

To run, to jump, to dance, to play,

Chasing fireflies o’er grassy hills

As pink skies retire Sun another day?

Is there pain too much, a price too high

Tristan Pro 7

"we said hello, and at the same time said goodbye"

For the chance to see tomorrow’s dawn sky;

When you  long to return Home above,

Leaving our loving hands

For the arms of Jesus’ love?

– By Arae Wyatt 2009

Happy One Month memories to Tristan today. We love and miss you dearly.

Our beautiful Angel

Tristan and the puppy McKenna picked for him -photos by Julie Williams, NILMDTS

All together at last

All together at last

At 12:42 p.m. on October 12th, our little miracle came into the world. His dark hair was so evident that before Dr. Clark cut the amniotic sac she could see it and called Neil over to look. He then had the privilege of cutting the cord, and I listened intently for the sound of Tristan’s little cry. Please baby, cry! I thought over and over. Finally it came and i had tears in my eyes I was trying to blink away so that I could see my baby clearly when Dr. Clark held him up over the blue drape for me. They quickly took his heart rate, wrapped him in a blanket and without the usual rituals of weighing and measuring, handed him to Neil.  Neil brought him around to my head and sat there with me holding Tristan’s head against my cheek as they sewed me back up. It seemed to take forever. The nurse told us his heart rate was low and we could tell his color was not good. I was scared that we weren’t going to make it out of the OR with Tristan alive. At last they took  the curtain down and wheeled us back to the L & D room where everyone was waiting.

Sucking his fingers

Sucking his fingers

When the nurses finished hooking me up to all the monitors, Neil handed me Tristan and I held him for the first time. I was amazed at this little person with dark curly hair and dark eyes and just kept wondering how long he would stay with us. McKenna and Adele both got up on the bed with me and took turns admiring their brother.

McKenna was SO anxious to hold him and I was completely shocked by Adele’s reaction. Lately she has been so jealous of any other child that gets near me. McKenna often gets hit, pinched, or hair pulled if Adele doesn’t like her proximity to me! But as she looked at Tristan, she just got excited and kept saying “Baby!” She didn’t try to get him away from me or anything.

After I had the chance to hold him for a while, Neil took him and announced that he was ready to give him a name and a blessing (kind of  what other churches call a christening). The blessing Neil gave was beautiful and left little doubt to anyone what a special spirit this baby was. It was amazing because after the blessing Tristan pinked up quite a bit and his breathing seemed to improve as well. Nurses doing my vitals also checked Tristan’s heart rate at our request and this too had improved to a normal range.

Proud parents

Proud parents

At this point we started passing Tristan around, and almost everyone got the chance to hold him. That’s saying a lot- there were aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, cousins, and many close friends. So many teary eyes. The photographer from “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” was there. She got a family photo of Tristan with Neil and me and the girls. She also took many other shots and I am so excited to see how they turned out. We never really got a break but Neil and I had both thought that this day would be for everyone who wanted, to be able to meet Tristan.

So later that evening, Julie, our NILMDTS photographer came back to get some shots of us after I had recovered a bit. So many pictures that I know I will treasure. THANK YOU SO MUCH JULIE!

McKenna loves Tristan

McKenna loves Tristan

Adele loves Tristan

Adele loves Tristan

We moved to a tiny gloomy room out of the maternity ward. When we were moved, the nurse over there informed us that they did not have diapers or formula so we would have to get our own if we needed them. Yeah, I’ll just run to Smith’s and pick those up! They had no idea what to do with Tristan. While the nurse was doing my vitals, I asked if she could take Tristan’s heart rate and said she needed to talk to the pediatrician about what they could do for Tristan, first. It was like he was no longer a patient at all!

When Beth and Joan came over from Rainbow Kids, Beth stepped out to talk to the nursing director. She got us moved to a big bright room in the new maternity ward. Apparently, somewhere along the line the message was passed along that we didn’t want anything done for Tristan and that we would feel better not being around the well babies. THANK YOU BETH for straightening out that misunderstanding!

Visitors continued into the late evening and we asked the last of the visitors to leave at 10. The nurse came to take my vitals and Tristan’s heart rate. 110- still in normal range. Neil and I took turns holding him and by 10:30 I was dozing with Tristan cuddled up on  my chest. I woke up to admire him and see if Neil wanted another turn. We talked about how we didn’t want to go to sleep, we didn’t want to miss out on any time we could have with Tristan.

At this point Tristan started crying.  I tried breastfeeding him- for the umpteenth time- just in case he might want it. No luck. Tried the bottle and he didn’t want that. Neil changed him and he was messy but he continued to cry. After everything we could think of, he still cried. I actually enjoyed the sound and told Neil that it was probably a good thing. From what I understood, he would probably be too weak towards the end to be able to cry. We got out the video camera and recorded his voice. Then the crying stopped and he only made a few newborn noises as I curled him up with his head of soft hair under my chin.

Our beautiful boy

Our beautiful boy

I started to doze as the nurse came back in to take my vitals. She then helped me to unwrap Tristan to take his heart rate. She listened and adjusted her stethoscope and listened again. He’s gone… she can’t find his heart beat. But I didn’t want to believe it and neither did she. She readjusted and listened again. I whispered for Neil who was on the computer and didn’t know what was going on yet. The nurse went to get the pediatrician.

I looked at the clock. 11:25. We had been counting the hours of his life.  More than we expected but what never could have been enough time. Here it was- 18 minutes short of 11 whole hours- the entire lifetime of our son, Tristan Neil Wyatt.

This is probably my favorite so far, despite the stethoscope being in the shot. I love his soft expression and open eyes.

This is probably my favorite so far, despite the stethoscope being in the shot. I love his open eyes.

So we are nearing the end of our month of attempt at making this pregnancy as routine and enjoyable as possible. I cannot believe we only have 2 weeks left. This month has been nice as we have tried to make everything as “normal” as possible.

Our collection of Tristan-memorabilia!

Our collection of Tristan-memorabilia!

Neil has finished Tristan’s quilt, with much thanks to Melissa, our sister in law, for the loaning of her amazing sewing talents. It’s very sweet and I am excited to see Tristan warm and cozied up in it. McKenna picked out her gift; a soft little blue puppy, since Adele and she both have puppies that are special to them. My aunt Lila and uncle Kelly sent us a beautiful receiving blanket, crocheted and with his name embroidered on it.  And we went to the state fair with one very specific purpose in mind; there is an oriental man that comes and does the Korean picture-letter signs. Adele and McKenna both have one of their names and we really wanted Tristan to have his own. But my favorite thing we have done, was maternity pictures.

I have to put a great big thank you out there to a caring stranger named Kristy. She bumped into this blog and offered her time to take some maternity photos.  I have always found this type of photography (of other pregnant women) beautiful, but never had the desire concentrate a photo shoot around my overly swollen belly, with my first 2 pregnancies. After reading “Waiting with Gabriel”, I felt a whole new way about it. I felt like if I were to do this for Tristan, the pictures would be more of him than of me; one more of the limited tangible proofs I could collect that would remind us that Tristan was with us.

Adele and the bunnies at the fair

Adele and the bunnies at the fair

So we went to Murray Park and did several shots of the girls and of Neil with “Tristan” (aka my huge tummy!) It was so fun and the girls did a great job of it. Then it was time for the one picture I had thought of and personally requested. Before I even knew if doing maternity photos would be an option, I thought I really wanted to get a picture with all the girl’s hands, and maybe Neil’s too, on “Tristan”. I knew there was no way we were going to be able to get that shot- not with Adele anyway! So then I thought, what if we painted our hands and left hand prints all over? Kristy loved the idea. So there we were in Murray park, painting the girl’s hands in bright primary colors and laying them on my bared stomach. It was very odd to be that exposed but I think these pictures will be my favorite! Then Neil had room for one of his huge hands so that covered the whole right side of me! Kristy then painted Tristan’s name across the top and I was a work of art! I am so excited to see those!

McKenna LOVING the ponies!

McKenna LOVING the ponies!

Anyway- again- thank you to Kristy (and her husband) for the time she took for that. It was such a great and fun experience where I think we all felt our worries about Tristan melt away for a time and we were just able to enjoy him.

Speaking of thank you’s, I have to keep saying, Neil and I are so overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, service, concern, kind words, thoughts and prayers for our family. I am amazed at how responsive everyone has been to our needs at this time. I hope I have expressed to each kind act or word, my deepest gratitude. I am afraid that, in my preoccupation with all of the sorrow and sadness of coming events, I have not expressed enough gratitude or joy in the wonderful joys and comforts that people have offered.

It seems so inadequate, but sincerely, Thank you all!

Neil's flowers receiving an honorable mention- Not bad for his first entry!

Neil's flowers receiving an honorable mention- Not bad for his first entry!

I was worried about the way the last entry might be taken, and I tried to clarify in my Comments. I am so grateful for the optimism and support from everyone; for the affirmation in the existence of great miracles of health and healing. The point was more to remind myself, and those who read this that miracles come in many shapes and forms- and not always the one we wish for most.

I had a great conversation with my sister-in-law, Andrea, last week. We were talking about principles of prayer; specifically praying through trials. Her story is not mine to tell, but suffice it to say that she faces a sad trial in here life in which she is trying to figure out her part. Wondering whether she is doing enough on her part or whether she needs to leave it more in the Lord’s hands; whether to pray for and expect a miracle, or to accept what currently is, as the Lord’s will. In these situations, what should we be praying for?

In Relief Society yesterday, we had a great lesson that tied into this dilemna, and had me in tears from the very start. I almost left the room several times throughout, for fear of a sob welling up inside and then escaping for all to hear! Sister Hardman started off by playing the 3rd verse of the song “Which Part is Mine?”, by Michael McLean, in which the narrator of the song goes to prayer for her children, wondering if she has done what she was supposed to for them without taking over the Lord’s part. “Which part is mine? and which part is yours?”

The lesson went on talking about the Lord’s prayer in the garden, when he prayed for the bitter cup to pass from him, but only if it was the Father’s will. And that’s when it occurred to me- maybe I can pray for both what I want, and also for the strength to accept His will if this trial must come to pass and be born. Hope.

Tristan's profile; he's got that Saxton nose!

Tristan's profile; he's got that Saxton nose!

After the lesson, when the opportunity was given, I knew I needed to stand and bare my testimony. I was already so emotional, I had no intention of talking about our situation with Tristan. I just wanted to reaffirm, mostly for myself, my testimony of forever families and temple sealings. I did end up sharing Tristan’s condition though. I thought it would be easier in that setting instead of telling people over and over again as they have been asking me about the gender and the due date and all of the standard questions a pregnant belly begs.

I always wonder when people ask the innocent question “How are you?”, how I should respond. Truthfully, most of the time I am really doing well- but if the person asking knows of the situation, and I do not know that they know, it can be an awkward start to the conversation- “How are you doing?” “You know, I am pretty great today,” and then their skeptical response “Really? Are you sure?” I have found it hard not to read too much into anyone asking me “How are you doing?” There have been a few times I assumed they had been told by someone, just by the tone in their voice, when they had no clue and I kind of just dumped it all on them.

Then there is the other extreme. The people who ask innocent questions and have no clue- and I know they have no clue. I am always at a loss for what to say and usually what I say has no resemblance to what I am thinking! “So when are you due? What are you having?” people ask excitedly. I try to smile, wondering how far this is going to go. I respond “It’s a little boy and he is due in October.” I would smile and be on my way if that were the end of the conversation, but usually it is continued with “Oh, your first boy! you must be so excited, after having 2 girls. This will be a whole new experience!” You have no idea! I am thinking. Usually I am wondering whether to tell the person at this point, to avoid awkward future meetings, or try and slip out with my thoughts about dreading October more than being excited for it, and the fact that after October we will probably be back at the score of girls-2,  boys-0 for the Neil Wyatt family, still in my head.

Anyway, if you are one of the unfortunate people I have had any of these conversations with, just know that I am not blaming you for anything. It’s just one of those bad luck situations.

I don’t expect people to know what to say to me. I am one to try and avoid a person for some time after I learn about a tragic situation they are dealing with. I am always afraid of saying something wrong or being awkward. But through this I have learned that the best response is usually a sincere, “I am sorry.” Offers of service are great, too, if you are really willing and able to help out, but don’t say it unless you mean it. Be careful with “been there, done that,” stories. Some people find it comforting to know that others have come through a difficult situation, but other times it can be taken as a message to “Get over it,” or “don’t take it so hard- bad things happen to everyone,” even if that is not how you mean it.

What do you think? In your times of need what has been most helpful to you? How do you respond to someone when you unexpectedly learn they are going through a sensitive time?