Friday, October 19, 2012

Working Out, Working Out

Dear Sophia,

I love that we've joined a gym. We gone every day since we joined, and I even went twice yesterday (once with Grandma to do a "Mind/Body" video and once with Daddy to exercise my upper body.) I'm not an exercise guru, but I've managed to break a sweat every time I go and wake up sore the next day so I'm happy!

In other news, Daddy gets to see his Princess, Onna, this Sunday. We worked out an acceptable arrangement with her mother's family, and I'll be in the room, uninvolved, to make sure Daddy is safe while we're there. It's a start for sure.

I don't have much else to say, other than I love you. I'm really trying to get everything in my life in order - physical fitness, eating habits, cleanliness, scripture reading, prayers, service to others, etc. When we meet again, I want you to be able to say you're proud of me and happy for choosing me as your mother. I really, really do.


(P.S. Oh! I've been really concerned about emergency preparedness lately. Daddy has told me I can budget money for purchasing emergency materials so I'm excited!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Beginnings

Dear Sophia,

Tomorrow will mark four weeks since I gave birth for the very first time. Daddy and I have decided to join a gym called Anytime Fitness - Ahh!

Actually, I'm super excited. I loved how I felt when I was working out every day at school. I had less of an issue with my depression, better sleep, an overall better outlook and physical feeling. It was great! Tonight is the first night of our membership. I'll let you know how that goes. Plan for tonight: warm up on treadmills, then weights. Woot!



Daddy and I went and had a great time! I really, really wanted to jog/walk a mile. (If you know me, you know my body is not built for full-on running, so jogging it is.) I hadn't done a whole lot of purposeful jogging since leaving college, and I'm still in my post-baby limited exercising period, so I wasn't sure how it was going to go.

Turns out, a half mile of jogging about 4.5 miles per hour was my limit. But I didn't give up there! Oh, no, no, no. Even though it was difficult because I was a little worn out, I walked at 3.5 miles per hour until I'd finished the mile. Charles was sweet. He was done with his jogging before I was, but stayed and held my hand while I finished my own mile.

After that, we walked around and tried out various machines we were interested in. After some stretching, we headed home all nice and sweaty and had a great nights' sleep. Day one - done!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Remembering You

Dear Sophia,

I love you. I've been thinking about you a lot lately. No wonder, really. You are still so precious to me. You always will be. A few days ago, I couldn't sleep, and I started getting practically hysterical. I ended up cuddling with Sophie bear for a while before I put her back and could sleep. I wanted to take a moment and describe what you were like in person for those who didn't get to experience you.

1. The moment you were set down on top of me, my eyes were glued to you. The lack of skull on the top of your head confirmed the doctor's diagnosis but I didn't really care at that moment. "Is she alive?" was the very first question I asked. That was affirmed as Daddy cut your umbilical cord, you gasped, and started to slowly move your little head and arms around. I was in awe. 

2. You made the most adorable little sounds. It was very difficult for you to cry - although you did several times - because of your breathing. Instead, you made little baby noises you would expect from any peaceful baby. You would yawn, snore, and practically sing with your little melodic whimpers.

3. There were very few times I was sure you were asleep. After all, you almost always looked like you were asleep. However, you would go right to snore-city once you hit Daddy's chest. It was adorable. Daddy would hold you against his chest for hours just to make sure you were at peace, and I absolutely loved it. That's one of the most comfortable places on Daddy, so I totally understand why you'd be lulled to sleep there.

4. You had extremely soft skin. I'm not talking normal baby soft, here. Everyone who cares to feel my skin says it's the some of the softest they've ever felt. It only makes sense that my child would have that soft of skin, plus baby softness. I loved rubbing your cheek and tiny hands, although, truthfully, I would have loved to do that even if you'd had coarse skin. 

These are just a few points for now. I had no idea how to be a mother. (It could be argued that I still don't, but that's beside the point.) When you were placed into my arms, I wasn't sure how to hold you. I was honestly terrified of changing your diaper, even though I'd changed diapers before. The last thing I wanted to do was do something wrong for my little angel in her short lifetime on earth. But you made it easy. You didn't care that I didn't know what to do. You were a tiny example of pure love, and I couldn't have asked for more. I love you so much sweetheart.


Monday, October 1, 2012


Dear Sophia,

Ever since I met Daddy, I've been experiencing new ways of doing things I thought I knew how to do; A new way to love, new ways to communicate peacefully. Since you've been gone, I've found a new sort of remembering. Sweetie, I don't feel like I'm grieving... at least not in the way I always pictured "grief." I thought when a loved one died the next step was to be an emotional wreck - like how Daddy and I were when we first learned of your condition. I miss you - I miss the weight of your tiny body in my arms.

However, I feel peace.

I feel grateful to have had you, grateful my body is healing, grateful to have so many pictures and other mementos we can keep with us. I feel blessed to have Daddy beside me each day, and that we have been supported by so many around us.

I feel... strange, in a way, knowing I am your mother here on earth but you have already gone to be with your heavenly parents. Over nine months of preparation culminated in 4.5 days of parenthood. I feel like I should be doing something more - changing diapers, losing sleep, doing frequent loads of tiny baby laundry - but you did not require that of me. You and I have both fulfilled our ends of the bargain when it comes to your life. In the most solemn way, you are probably the "easiest" child Daddy and I will ever have; the one who will ask the least of us. All you ask now is for us to give a valiant effort to be with you again... and you can definitely count on that.

I never thought I would feel this way. I was expecting to have my world shaken like it was before. In a way, though, it has been. My faith in the Gospel has grown so much through everything, even before you were born, but especially in the time you were here with us.

I realized a couple days ago that we don't yet have any pictures of you on display in our home. The first step in that direction was a small frame with a picture of your tiny (although rather long for a newborn baby) feet which was given to us by Aunt Kym. It's a beautiful blue frame with a couple little rhymes and the words "My baby" on it. I've made it my goal to add more pictures of you around our home.

This past Sunday was the first time in about a month I've been able to make it through a whole three blocks of church, and it was amazing. First of all, we got your baby blessing certificate (which is now framed and on our wall.) Second, this was a fifth-Sunday so for the last block we got to stay together instead of split up into Priesthood and Relief Society meetings, which was also great. Also, next week is General Conference so it was Fast Sunday, and Testimony Meeting during the first block.

(I'm genuinely sorry for those whom I just majorly confused. Basically, next week is when every member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gets to watch/listen to talks from our general leaders instead of having regular local church meetings. It's a bi-annual event - and the things they speak about are applicable and uplifting even for non-members, so feel free to tune in!

Click this link to find out how.)

Anyway, it may have been just me, but I detected a theme of "eternal families" in the testimonies borne, which was really nice. After the Bishop, who was conducting the meeting, sat down, I dragged Daddy up to the podium with me (so, yes, I was the first one up - eep!) Now, I believe the last time I got up to bear my testimony was shortly after we joined the ward in January. I tend to hold to the belief that you should go when you feel inspired to do so, and, although I won't say I haven't been nudged at all, I hadn't felt like I really, really needed to get up there... until now.

I didn't know what I was going to say. Planning never really works out anyway, as something about standing in front of a couple hundred people tends to wipe all thought from my working memory. So, I stepped up, pulled Daddy close to hold me while I spoke (not common practice, by the way, but I was feeling needy) and just... did it. And it felt so good. I'm not great at spontaneous public speaking, but I got what I needed to say out, and that's what matters.

I have to say - I love our ward. Daddy and I have considered moving into Saint Joseph so we'd be closer to his work and not have to spend so much on gas, but this ward, among other things, is keeping us here. I've written before how much of an outpouring of love and service we've received through all of this. They say you don't know who your friends are until you're in need, and these families have really stepped up. We have been so blessed by them.

In fact, a night or two before, a lady in the ward whom I have only rarely spoken with randomly dropped off a few comfort items (cozy blanket, fuzzy socks, candles and chocolate kisses) and a note just letting us know she was thinking about us. It was so wonderful. However, the love of our ward family has been felt in other ways too - in gestures as simple as a knowing smile or a hug. Everyone expresses their thoughts and feelings in different ways, and I certainly appreciate these alternate means.

I guess my point in all of this, Sophia, is we are not alone. Your spirit may have left mortality, but you and our Savior did not leave us comfortless. Our family has been here supporting us all along, our friends have stepped-up and been buoys of strength and joy, and even those whom we didn't previously know have reached out and been the Savior's means of comforting us.

Before you were born, Daddy gave me a blessing. In that blessing, the Lord urged me to continually be in prayer, especially in those few days which were ahead of us. I cannot stress enough how much of a strength the Lord has been through those days and on into now. Because of you, I feel a closer connection with Him and more of an understanding of how difficult His work must have been. Not only did He experience Daddy and I's emotions and physical pains during your birth and subsequent life, He experienced every moment of life of every single being who has ever walked and will ever walk this earth.

The magnitude of His strength is incomprehensible, and I feel honored that He loves me enough to help me as I experience life for the first time. Minutes before you were born, facing an experience I held apprehension over, I turned to Jesus Christ. Together with Daddy, I whispered a prayer to Him for the strength and peace only He could offer; for the acceptance of whatever His plan was. I can honestly say I have been comforted and blessed, often through His servants, as a result of having faith in Him.

I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I wouldn't trade having had you. I wouldn't even pull you back from a place which is infinitely better than this just so I can have you here with me now. No regrets here - only lessons learned and testimonies strengthened.

I love you sweetheart. I miss you immensely. You are eternally in my heart.