Yesterday I got to speak at my daughter's girl's camp.
They asked me to speak about Ben.
I didn't want to do it.
But I knew it would be good for me to.
The theme was:
Ordinary Women who do Extraordinary things.
Ordinary Women who do Extraordinary things.
We all have dreams of what our life will be when we grow up. Inevitably those dreams don't always come true. I remember being a little girl and knowing that I wanted to grow up and be married with lots of children. Seven to be exact. I had seven siblings (with lots of foster children thrown into the mix) and I loved having lots of brothers and sisters. I wanted that for my own children. From the time I was really little, I would start out sitting with my own family in church...on the same row, but as soon as my parent's took their eyes off of me I was under the pews crawling to the nearest baby and would pop back up into that babies pew asking the mom if I could PLEASE hold their baby. You see, I loved children. When I became pregnant with Kayla, I had a very difficult pregnancy. I did with all of them. Then I had a really difficult birth. It took a lot to get her to earth. BUT. The minute I was able to hold her, I looked at my husband and said, "I want ANOTHER one". I had so much love to give. Not just to her, but to future children. Kaleb came next, then Stevie and finally Benjamin. Ben's pregnancy was different. He moved differently and it just felt different. I was scared. I cried myself to sleep some nights. I opted out of any prenatal testing or ultrasounds. I still had hope that things would be okay. Then I delivered him. Things were far from okay. Again I was scared. I just wanted my baby. We just wanted to take him home. Instead, he was sent up to DHMC. This is an excerpt from my journal that day. "We arrived around noon and saw them putting electrodes all over your head so that they could do an EEG, a reading on your brain. They also took you for a CAT scan as well. From the night before the doctors had given you three doses of phenobarb to help control your possible seizures. It finally calmed you down and because of that they had to put you on a ventilator. Friday the fifth of April was probably the hardest day because after they ran a bunch of tests we sat down with all of your doctor's, nurses and the rest of the team so that we could get a feel as to what was wrong. According to the doctor's, you would not have any quality of life. And your life would be very short. We were devestated. I was physically and emotionally exhausted and in so much pain. It was the hardest day of my life so far." Going back to the theme, Wonder Woman, I thought about what power I possessed to get me through. It was LOVE and KNOWLEDGE. I loved Benjamin more than anything. I knew that my love for him would allow me to do hard things. We took Ben home 11 days after giving birth to him. It wasn't easy and it was very overwhelming. He came home with all kinds of medications, machines and feeding difficulties. A lot to worry about on top of trying to mother three very small children. But I was determined to learn all that I could to be the best mother that I could to Benjamin. I continued to learn and gain knowledge through his 8 years of life. I also gained spiritual knowledge and relied on the knowledge that I already had. Knowing that this was God's plan and knowing that he would help me every step of the way gave me that strength needed to carry on. As the end neared, Heavenly Father started preparing me. Again I was scared. I found a letter written to my mother just two months before Ben passed. I shared a little bit with the girls at camp. "Dear Mom, WOW! Another year has gone. I can say that I am HAPPY to see 2009 go, but also mention that I have grown yet again. It's funny what perspective does to me. I look back and think that wasn't so bad, it could have been worse. I'm grateful for the strength to endure. I again have renewed energy for what lies ahead. I know that Ben will be my next big trial and if frightens me. Not sure how I'll survive that one - losing him I mean. I know it is coming because I can't stop thinking about it. Raising him has been such an amazing experience and I don't know what I'll do when I can't physically hold him anymore. It kills me to think or imagine that. Thank goodness for the Plan of Salvation and Forever Families." Losing Benjamin has been the hardest thing I've ever had to endure. BUT because of my love and because of my knowledge I have peace. I have the understanding that his mission was fulfilled. I know that I will be with him again someday and will be able to wrap my loving arms around him and kiss those cheeks once more.