October 30, 2011

The Spirit World

As I mentioned in my last post, I am very intrigued by the world in which is all around us but that we can't see... aka Joshua's home. I recently found this article about the spirit world that you can read here. Trust me, it's really good and will answer a lot of questions.   

October 28, 2011

What Do You Think Joshua Is Doing

By Kaci Goodrich Uipi

Sometimes while I'm lying in bed at night, waiting to fall asleep, I'll ask Salesi, "What do you think Joshua is doing right now?" He then responds with the same answer every time, "He's sleeping of course." Then I always go off about how he can't be sleeping because he doesn't get tired because he doesn't have a body and who knows if there's even a such thing as light and dark where he is!

That's the difference between my husband and me: I like to think about the world in which we can't see, and he likes to think that we don't need to think about it at all.

For example, did Joshua automatically become a missionary as soon as he died? He didn't live long enough to learn about the gospel here on Earth, so will he first have to go to a training center? Or since he died before the age of accountability, will he automattically remember the things he learned before this Earthly Life and immediately agree with all of Christ's teachings?

You see, I ponder this type of stuff for a couple of different reasons: (1) because Joshua is my son, and I like to know what he's doing; and (2) because I always wonder what happens to the families that die (especially those  who leave this Earth together) who have never heard of or accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ while here on Earth. Will their kids immediately be accepting of it and then preach it to their parents, even though none of them knew about it or studied it while living? It's just an interesting concept that children who came from a non-gospel home would all of a sudden be telling their parents all about it and the need to be baptized as soon as they enter the Spirit World, don't you think?

To me, I love studying the subject of life after death. It's just so fascinating. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, here is a discussion from Brent Top who is an author on the subject. I have a couple of his CD's and he is definitely an expert regarding this sometimes confusing topic. 

October 27, 2011

How To Bring It Up

By Kaci Goodrich Uipi

I sometimes still have trouble letting people know about Joshua. I want people to know about him and  I want them to know that he is a real person! I just sometimes get anxiety over the whole thing. 

Last Sunday we gave talks at church and I thought long and hard whether or not I should say something about Joshua. I recently brought him up in a Sunday School lesson I taught, so there was already a good handful of the adults that knew about him. I definitely didn't want people to think I'm ashamed of him, or fear talking about him, so I decided to go ahead and "introduce Joshua" to the entire congregation. 

I started my talk and said I was going to share a brief introduction to those that don't know us. I shared how Salesi and I met and then said, "And last year we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy named Joshua. Joshua, however, decided that he had better things to do and skipped out a little early on this life...So he is now in heaven waiting for us...But he is a part of our family, so I definitely don't want to leave him out of the story." (I also then said if there's anything else they want to know about us they can come up and ask.)

Right after I brought up Joshua, I felt like it put a slight damper on my talk. I mean, how else do you tell people that you have a son but that he already died? I know the rest of my talk was good and everyone said they felt the spirit very strong, so I guess I shouldn't worry about it. There was a couple of older women who came up to me afterwards to ask about Joshua, and one of them told me that her daughter died of SIDS when she was a baby and would be 26 in November. That is one of the reasons I like bringing him up. I like finding other people who have also lost children.

Later at home I asked Salesi what he thought about me telling people about Joshua. He said, "It was good but you stole my line". Okay, so I did steal his line... "Skipping out on Earth early... Having better things to do"... It makes something so dark seem like no big deal so I used it. (I didn't want to scare all the kids.)

October 26, 2011

What To Do When Someone You Love Has Lost A Child

By Kaci Goodrich Uipi

This is a post I've been wanting to write for a long time. Since I am quickly approaching the 1 year-mark, I feel like I know just enough about this subject.

Yes, we are all unique individuals, and we might prefer different things, but most of these tips I find to be universal among the grieving mothers. (Or--"BLMs" as I finally found out we are called!)

1. Give a gift. Give SOMETHING. Flowers or a card at the very least. This lets her know that you at least know about the loss and are thinking about her. I LOVED all of the sympathy cards I received. I displayed them like trophies. I didn't get enough! If you CAN--give money! Yes, we really appreciate money because funeral costs are expensive! (Remember--no one plans to bury their baby. Parents--yes. But your child--not exactly.)

2. Try to visit as much as possible AFTER the funeral. Call ahead and ask if you can stop by, especially if it's BEFORE the funeral services. Why? Because the days leading up to the funeral are BUSY! I had clothes to shop for, a plot to pick out, arrangements that had to be made for out-of-towners and so on. I really didn't have time to "visit" with people. I really appreciated a friend who called me each day leading up to the funeral and said, "What can I do for you today?" During that time, it was so much more helpful than sitting on my couch for 2 hours. I appreciated people wanting to stop by, but I really wish they came AFTER the funeral. That's when things really sunk in, and that's when I actually had the time.

3. We need to be PAMPERED. Yes. Anything. We've just experienced something traumatic and it's VERY EXHAUSTING! A friend gave me and Salesi a gift card to a nice restaurant. It was perfect--especially because we had been living in a hospital for 3 weeks. If you don't want to spend money, then offer to watch her other kids so she can take a nap. Come over and give her a massage, or clean her toilet. The best advice I got from an experienced griever during this time was: "Be good to yourself. Go shopping and buy a new outfit! Go out to eat!"

3. Do NOT tell her HOW to grieve. Everyone grieves differently. Unless she is physically hurting herself or others, don't tell her how to do it. When she is mad--let her be mad. When she is sad--let her be sad. When she is bitter--let her be bitter. When she wants to cry--let her cry. When she doesn't want to cry--don't make her cry. She needs to experience all of the different emotions that come with grief--but on HER time, not yours. Also, don't tell her what she can and can't handle doing. I didn't like people telling me to "stay busy". In the beginning, I didn't want to "stay busy"! I wanted to lie around, cry, and stare at pictures of Joshua all day long. (And recently, some people assumed I couldn't do certain tasks because of the anniversary of Joshua's birthday approaching.) Sometimes distractions are good; Other times we want to be alone--but let us decide.

4. Do NOT use cliches. Sorry. As good as they sound, we just don't want to hear them. For every cliche you say, we will think of a good comeback. We might not say it out loud, but we are thinking it. For example, don't ever say things like, "You will see your son again... He was too pure for this Earth!" Having a strong testimony of God's eternal plan does NOT take away the pain of losing a child! We would all go mad if we didn't think we should be upset over our loss just because we know we will see our loved one again. Avoid ALL cliches, especially, "I understand how you feel". Instead, simply say, "I'm so sorry". And that's all you have to say!

5. Be sensitive. Everyone is different. She might want visitors; Or she might not. She might want to talk all about it including lots of details; Or she might not. Whatever you do--be sensitive. Don't be pushy! If you have a gift, then call ahead, and if she doesn't answer then assume she would prefer you to leave it at her doorstep. If she has lost an infant don't come over to her house with your new baby. (If your friend lost her job, you wouldn't want to offend her by talking about the great new job you just got.) Don't expect her to show up at your baby shower, or any type of social events. (But still invite her to let her decide.) Be sensitive to her feelings and never assume if and when she has "moved on".

6. Be there! Tell her that you are there if she ever wants to talk about it. (And then actually BE THERE, by continually checking up on her with phone calls, emails etc.) If you are there, she will talk about it when the time is right. Remember--grieving the loss of a child is a process. When the funeral is over, and cards stop coming, and dinners stop coming, THEN she will need somebody. So, if you want to be that somebody, then BE THERE.

October 23, 2011

Good Bye Facebook

By Kaci Goodrich Uipi

Good bye Facebook. So long. It was nice knowing you but it's time to go our separate ways. We had our ups and downs, and I tried to work things out--I really did--but I just don't need you around anymore.

I thought you were important--always keeping me up to date on all the little details--but now all those details either make me want to puke inside or throw something at you. So instead of getting violent, I've decided to take the higher road and end our 5 year relationship.  

I know, I know. I know this is going to be hard for you--hard because I won't be there to oooh and awe over all those pictures you put in front of my face right when I sign on...and even more hard when I'm not there every 5 minutes to like your status update.

You probably think I'm crazy because of everything I'm going to miss...I won't know about your 3rd ultrasound; I won't be there when your baby sneezes for the first time; I won't know when you are 10 minutes pregnant; I won't know when you fall and crack your toenail; And I won't know when your toddler has gone potty in the toilet for the 5th time in 1 day.

I didn't think I could live without you either--but not having you around is one of the best decisions I've ever made. So adios Facebook. Espero estar lejos de ti para siempre!

October 19, 2011

This Is Why I Have A Blog

By Kaci Goodrich Uipi

As I read blogs from different "Angel Moms", I don't see them writing so much about the pain, the bitterness, the depression, the anger, the jealousy, and so on. However, when I log onto a private blog to which I belong with these other moms, I do sometimes find them sharing their "true feelings". Is it so bad that I share my "true feelings" on my public blog? That is the reason I have a blog.

I'm not good with showing my feelings. I'm especially not good with speaking. If I have to give a talk (a speech would be the better word), I spend hours and hours writing it, and re-writing it, and then I spend several more hours actually reading it out loud. (I'm not exaggerating either--I just gave a talk 3 days ago, so I know.) I guess I don't want people to think that I'm just "hiding behind my computer screen". My blog is my way to express myself. Before I had this blog, I really felt bottled up inside. 

Now, I know that not everyone is going to agree with me. Usually, it's those that have not lost children who don't agree with my feelings. Or, maybe you people out there that seem to agree with me are just "being nice" as my husband always tells me. (Yes, my husband thinks I need to burn this blog.) If that is the case, then please don't "be nice" anymore.

The real reason I have this blog is to work through my grief. Now, I have plenty of other problems that I also deal with that I don't share on this blog. I am also perfectly aware that there are many other struggling people in this universe. However, this blog is purposely to share feelings about MY LOSS.

For example...

Lately, I've been thinking that I should be "moving on". I mean, it has been 11 months, ya know? Well too bad you can't put a timeline on grieving the loss of a child. Sorry. I will never get over it. I will always be talking about it. It will always hurt me. The pain will lessen (as it has), but as of now, I'm definitely still in a depression/reflection/loneliness stage of grief. (For a good reference: go here.)

I really wish I could move on. Honestly. I do.

Shortly after Joshua died, I mentioned to a friend that seeing other babies made me angry inside. She responded, "I sure hope you can get over that soon."

I sure hope I can "get over it" soon too. But until then, I will just keep writing about it.    

October 18, 2011

What Is Wrong With You People

By Kaci Goodrich Uipi

Sometimes I feel like maybe I'm a little too harsh on my blog. After all, I have mentioned that there are some ugly babies out there, and that pregnant women are annoying to me. If any of you are offended by this, I will tell you that I, myself was a really ugly baby. (Hey, I'm still not that great-looking.) And as far as all you pregnant people go--well, you know who you are, and YES--you can be annoying! (Yeah, maybe I was one of them, but now I know better. Way better.)

So if you haven't gasped enough while reading my blog lately, I will make you gasp again. I will ask a question, but this time directly to my family--WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE??

How come none of my family will be tested for CGD? Is it because they think that "I'm the only one who has bad things happen to them?" Or is it because they really think they aren't carriers? Or is it because they are all in denial? Then there's my mom who completely, utterly, absolutely, REFUSES to be tested. Wow, Mom, how bad could it be? If you knew you were a carrier, would you feel guilty for Joshua's death? If my mom was tested and was negative, then all of my sisters wouldn't have to waste their time being tested.

Okay, so 1 of my 3 sisters did get the test done... but ONLY because she was pregnant with a boy. When the results came back, she acted like it wasn't a big deal because, "of course I wouldn't be a carrier, I mean, bad stuff only happens to Kaci and Salesi, one of MY kid's isn't going to die..." (Okay, so my sister didn't actually say those words, but that's how it felt to me, anyway.)

Of course no one thinks bad stuff is going to happen to them. No one thinks they could possibly lose one of their kids. That kind of stuff only happens to other people, right?

Okay, so maybe you are thinking I should tell this to my family in person. Oh, I have. Many times. I try to convince them that having a CGD baby is serious; That it's a kind of lifestyle that they might not want to have; That just because they know before the baby is born (unlike me), does not mean the baby won't have problems it's whole life, and certainly doesn't mean the child will live a long life. 

Then again, why be tested at all when your child could be born with so many other problems, right? Well, wouldn't you like to have one less problem to deal with? (Especially a very serious, chronic disease that could be fatal.)

Then there's the "percentage issue". Are you going to tell me to "go ahead and take the risk, because there's still a 75% chance my baby won't have it!" What about the other 25% chance that my girl could be a carrier and have to face what I'm facing when she is ready to have kids? 

The bottom line is this: Numbers don't mean much to me. Joshua was born with something that only 1 in a million people have. Why wouldn't it happen again?

October 10, 2011

Ten Ten Ten

Happy 1st birthday to my Joshua! Yeah, I know what you're thinking... "MAN he's a GOOD LOOKIN' (7 day old) BABY!" I'm sure all the spirit girls are going wild for him in the Spirit World even as we speak. But I just have ONE thing to say to all of them... "Don't even THINK about laying one spirit hand on MY son until I get to know you first. Okay!?"

I'm just too tired and sick to cry today. Late last night I started looking through the hundreds of pictures we took of him, but after a few seconds I stopped and turned off the computer. I started to cry. I wanted to cry. I couldn't help but cry. However, right now I just don't have enough energy to waste it on crying. I will have to put off my sobbing for yet another day. (And besides, I really want to use any endurance I have to make a birthday cake instead.)

October 9, 2011

Living The Life In Vegas

WARNING: This post contains an overload of photos. Yup. If you were wondering what I really looked like, then now you will know.

For Joshua's 1st birthday, we decided to celebrate it in Las Vegas. I hadn't been back since I lived there, which has been almost 10 years! And boy, has it changed! New hotels crowding the streets, malls on every corner, and naked pictures every where you look. Oh wait, I guess some things are still the same.

I wasn't sure what Salesi would think of Las Vegas. For those of you that don't know him, let's just say that he's the kind of guy that likes to read his scriptures for 10 hours a day. Okay, maybe not that long, but seriously--he will only let me watch PG rated movies. Seriously.

So as far as Salesi goes, I'm not sure if he will be heading back to Sin City anytime soon. As for me, on the other hand--I love the great variety of restaurants and shops, but yeah, there really was a lot of yucky pictures everywhere you looked.

Okay. Now on to the exciting stuff. I'm sure you are all dying to know everything we did while we were there. So, here ya go...

We ate dinner at Thomas Keller's "Bouchon".

(Sorry, really bad picture... I didn't take it!) I actually wrote a really long critique of the restaurant, but then deleted it after realizing that most of you probably won't care. (Shame on you non-foodies, or non-"food snobs" as my sisters call me it.)

We took pictures in front of giant corn ears.

We ate overpriced Chinese food.
We took pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower. (Aka our hotel.)

We took more pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower.

We watched dancing fountains.

We ate french pastries.

We ate some more french pastries. (It was kind of a daily ritual.)

We learned French.
We saw The Lion King.
We found a H & M with more manikins in the store than real people.

Salesi thought about getting some new style.

Salesi marched with protesters.
We stayed in a red room for only 46 bucks a night! (Thank you Priceline, and an even greater thank you to the lady at the front desk who upgraded our room for free!)

We ate some more over-priced food. (Sorry, too tired for hair and makeup.)
We took pictures of ceilings.
We ate at a lousy all-you-can-eat ("french") buffet. (Don't go there! The Bellagio's has got to be better!)

We took more pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower.
We listened to talking trees.
And we helped this old man sweep the Parisian streets.

Besides being extra tired and achy, and having an emotional break down our last night (which now I know is from having battled Valley Fever the past 3 weeks), all in all it was a good trip, and I'm glad I went.

(Now I just have to figure out what I'm actually going to do tomorrow, on Joshua's REAL birthday...)

October 4, 2011

God Knew What He Was Doing

By Kaci Goodrich Uipi

God must of known what he was doing when he created grief. Well duh. He is God.

There must be divine purpose in the details that make up what we refer to as "grief". For example, there's plenty of good reasons why at first, immediately following the death of your loved one, you usually experience shock or numbness. This is so you can actually make it through the funeral and burial services without being an absolute crazy person. I now sometimes go to the cemetery thinking, "My baby's down there! Someone help me dig him out!"

I remember lying in bed the night after Joshua died, feeling like I should be crying. In truth, I wanted to be crying, but it just wasn't coming out. I told Salesi that I was "upset" and he responded, "What did I do!?" I told him, "No, not at you! I want to cry, but it just won't come out!"

It's now been almost 1 year. And I still can't make it come out when I want it to. I can sometimes try to suppress it. (Sometimes.) However, when it needs to come out--it does, and it will.

Next week is Joshua's Birthday.  I'm not sure what to think of all this.  I feel like I should be crying, but again--it's not coming out. Actually, we are going to Las Vegas to celebrate. So, it's probably better that I don't start crying while I'm livin' it up in Sin City a beautiful city filled with tons of good church members and a gorgeous temple.

If I do start crying on our trip, however, it will most likely be from watching an emotionally stirring performance of the Lion King. (Oh man, it's going to remind me of Joshua isn't it?)

October 2, 2011

What To Do

By Kaci Goodrich Uipi

So many choices...

We went and saw the IVF doctor again. I think we might go through with it... Or at least continue down this path until something stops us. There is still one big decision to make regarding IVF: To have twins, or not to have twins?

Now, I know there are no guarantees in life. Just because the doctor transfers 2 embryos, doesn't mean both will survive. Just because the doctor transfers only 1 embryo doesn't mean it won't split into 2. And of course, just because the doctor strategically places any embryos at all doesn't mean any of them will continue to grow into a healthy, normal baby.

However, it's up to me to give the number. 1 or 2? There seems to be too many risks involved with carrying twins that I ask myself, "Why in the world would I purposely put my babies in jeopardy?" But then there's the thought of only transferring 1 and it NOT surviving and thinking, "What an idiot! Why didn't we just go for 2 the first time around, and not have to worry about doing the whole thing over again!?" Of course, then there's the idea of having 2 babies NOW and not have to do the whole thing over again in a couple of years anyway.

Supposedly it's more money to have twins because you have to have 2 of everything at the SAME TIME: 2 cribs, 2 car seats, 2 carriers, 2 swings, etc.

There's so many things to think about, and I really don't know what to do. They say that the IVF process can make you mad, angry, and crazy. Well what does it do to people who are already crazy? Could I handle going through the process twice? Or the bigger question is: Could I handle being up all night with 2 babies crying at the exact same time??

On a different subject...What if we forgot the whole IVF thing and went with an egg donor instead?

Now THAT'S a question. What do you think?