Monday, August 20, 2012

Welcome to Holland

The first few days after finding out about our little guy's heart problems, I went through a lot of different emotions.  One thing that really struck me was a feeling of loss...which confused me because I couldn't think what it was I was grieving the loss of.  Then, one day, I was thinking about getting out some of Logan's old baby clothes and getting them ready...I realized I didn't know what kind of clothes to get out.  If my baby was going to be in the hospital for a month, would regular onesies work?  I suddenly broke into tears again as I realized our experience with this baby would be nothing like a normal baby experience.  That is what I was mourning...the loss of that normal experience.  I probably won't be bringing baby home with me from the hospital when I leave.  I probably won't be able to nurse him within the first few hours he is here.  I probably won't be able to have him in my hospital room the first night.  Things will be different...and that has been a tough one for me to swallow.

After our first cardiology appointment, our doctor handed us a folder full of helpful groups, lists of people we may want to talk to, etc.  In that folder, this poem was included.  As I read the words, I was so thrilled to find that someone had figured out how to explain my feelings so perfectly!  This is what it feels like...and why I have been struggling with mourning a loss.  I know I will love my baby more than anything, but I am glad I have a few months to be sad that things won't be what I was expecting.

Welcome to Holland
by: Emily Perl Kingsley

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.


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Joshua Kent Ipson was born December 1, 2012 with a very complicated combination of congenital heart defects. After 2 1/2 months of fighting for his life, he passed away on February 13, 2013. We invite you to share our experiences as we grieve his loss, rejoice in God's plan, & keep Joshua's message of hope alive.
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