Life of Lee

For Lee Goldey, who was taken from us on December 17, 2015.

  1. Maybe
  2. this month.
  3. There you are,
  4. but only God knows.
  5. Positive! Due in mid July
  6. and maybe we will meet you
  7. but no, I know this sinking feeling.
  8. Heartbeat! But 10 days too small, like Sam.
  9. Don’t hope, just choose a name and say goodbye.

Composed December 19, 2015 while on vacation with my family. Thirty hours after writing this, I was taken to an ER in rural Indiana and briefly hospitalized for complications from a D&C.

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Anne feeding the birds with family while I was in the hospital, Dec 21-22.

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For Sam

Sam, you started with a prayer.

Eight months prior, Mama had emergency surgery when your sibling Bo died. Don’t worry, they said; you’ll conceive again. Many people do after that operation. But odds are not facts, another baby is not Bo, and Anne will never be the same age again. So we grieved.

Grief became silent anguish through the long Chicago winter. Winter faded, and despair crept in. Mama’s heart hurt so much that one day in May your Daddy cried out to God for another baby. On May 26, we numbly observed Bo’s due date. On May 27, we discovered you.

Sam, you lived and grew.

You could have been in trouble just like Bo was. We needed an ultrasound right away, but two weeks out was the earliest appointment. At first, I worried, but then I began to feel pregnant. Rising hormone levels were the best sign that all was well, so I celebrated every nauseous twinge and sleepless night. Still, when the ultrasound tech took me back, I was crying before she could start. My last ultrasound had been Bo’s. I knew that that tragedy wasn’t repeating, but the memories were overwhelming.

Relief came quickly when I saw you and your happy little heartbeat. But then she measured you. “5 weeks 6 days,” said the screen — but I was seven and two! The doctor persuaded me that you were probably fine, and in a week we had a second ultrasound. You showed plenty of growth, and your heartbeat was strong. So that was that: All was well, and your due date would be February 10 instead of February 1.

Sam, you were loved through prayer.

How we were praying for you! Prayer was all we could do. Daddy prayed for you, Mama prayed for you, and we prayed with Anne for you. Mama prayed for your health, but most of all for your soul — for if it came to it, far better to know you only in heaven than only on earth, I said.

When your due date was settled, it felt like the pregnancy was finally underway. We talked about names. If you were a boy, you would be Samuel, we decided. Your Daddy picked it, because Samuel means “God hears,” and you were the answer to his prayer. We were so happy to be having another baby! I liked to call you Sam, even praying for you as Sam, although Daddy waited in case you were a girl. I couldn’t help it. You were Sam to me.

The weeks went by, and my emotions changed. I grew less excited about the pregnancy. I felt detached, as if it was becoming hard to even remember I was pregnant. I stopped calling you Sam, because it stopped feeling right. And when the second trimester approached, I dreaded telling people about you. I didn’t feel ready.

The less I felt about you, the more I prayed. I prayed, took care of our health, and started plans for your arrival — all I could do was love you through my actions, and trust that my feelings would come around. It wouldn’t be long before I felt you kick, and not long after that we’d know your gender. Surely then I would feel attached to you again.

Sam, you were held your whole life.

On August 7, I had a regular check-up. I was 13 weeks, and you were finally big enough for the doctor to hear your heartbeat with the Doppler. Once we heard it, I’d tell more people about you, I decided. The doctor searched and searched for your heartbeat, but he couldn’t find it. He sent me to ultrasound, saying you were probably just tucked away somewhere and 13 weeks was still early to hear it. I didn’t quite believe him, but I was very calm.

After two hours of waiting for the ultrasound, I was much less calm and decided to leave. I wanted to be with my family. Couldn’t the ultrasound just be scheduled another day? When she saw I was in earnest, the kind receptionist rushed around talking to the doctors and made things happen. Within minutes, I was in a room and a doctor was looking for you.

I watched the screen as the doctor searched. She couldn’t even find you. She apologized, saying she wasn’t as good as the ultrasound techs, and left the room. I stared at the blank screen. “Oh Sam,” I whispered. “I loved you.”

Two doctors and a tech came in. The tech glimpsed you, but the image was so poor that she left for a better wand. Another wait. My doctor kept saying you were fine. The tech returned, and found you. The room grew very quiet. She measured you, and didn’t leave the figure on the screen for long, but I saw that your size was just under eight weeks. Then she explained to me that you had no heartbeat.

The tech turned off the machines. She quickly left with the other doctor. My doctor sat down, and I saw that he was composing himself to tell me what I already knew. To make it easier for him, I quietly asked, “So, do I wait for the miscarriage to happen on its own, or do I need a D&C?”

Sam, God is taking care of us, back here on earth.

I left the hospital on foot. I was supposed to call Daddy so he could pick me up, but I couldn’t tell him the news over the phone, so I walked and hoped that I would find him. When I neared his office, he saw me right away because he’d just happened to be stopping by there. One small mercy.

Later that day, I had some intense pains, the first symptoms of the impending miscarriage. Amazingly, although you had been dead for so many weeks, God ordained that we would find out the same day my pain started. Any later, and we would have panicked, wondering what was wrong. Any earlier, and the decisions about how to deliver you would have been much harder than how they turned out. One small mercy. 

That same evening, a good friend I hadn’t talked to on the phone for years gave me a call. She said she had been thinking of us and praying for us that day, although she had no idea anything was wrong. One small mercy. 

The next day, which was Saturday, my mother was able to come and take care of Anne so that Matthew was completely free to support me through the pain. One small mercy.

I had no pain on Sunday, and felt so well that we were able to go to evening church and receive much support from our family there. One small mercy.

All weekend, we were researching our options, because we had to choose how you would be delivered. The miscarriage progressed at home on Monday before anything could be scheduled, so we were spared that difficult decision. One small mercy.

The miscarriage was most intense after Anne’s bedtime, which meant Matthew and I could work through the labor pains without interruption. The pain became manageable so we could sleep from about midnight to 6, and things gently progressed to your delivery in the calm of the morning at 9:06, August 11, 2015. We couldn’t have timed it better. One small mercy.

You were so tiny that I couldn’t find you, and I had given up hope when your Daddy did. You were the size of a grain of rice. It was such a comfort to hold you. One small mercy.

Sam, your life inspired prayer.

Because of you, we are better at prayer. Daddy and I have spent more time praying together since we learned about you in May. I have prayed more often for Anne, frequently praying for the two of you together. Anne has been with us for prayer every day, participating in every way she can.

So many people have been praying for us over the weekend. So many people are thinking about miscarriage, some for the first time, because of you.

We are grateful that others want to hold a service for us. You died very young, but your life was no less valuable because you were so tiny and helpless. We will bury your body, and are grateful to be able to do so. As I write this, we are still making those plans, and I am glad to know that many more prayers will be said because of you, Sam.

I am filled with peace. Sam, I am sad that you are gone, and I am glad to understand that my feelings changed because my body knew that you were gone. I celebrated you while you lived, and now I am free to put you to rest and mourn your passing. It is my earnest hope that you are in heaven now, with Bo.

Sam, Mama loves you.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14

At a farm with Anne and Sam in June.

At a farm with Anne and Sam in June.

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Winter Happenings

My social media presence suggests that I have spent the past few months in hibernation. That’s partially true.

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It’s also true that I have been a little preoccupied with this busy girl…

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Museum of Science and Industry, Feb 2015

…and with the ongoing transition to life in our new city.

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View from outside the Shedd Aquarium, Feb 2015

We’ve continued our weekend explorations, most recently visiting the Field Museum.

That was this past Saturday. The previous week, we saw the Shedd Aquarium.

We’ve also been to the Museum of Science and Industry, which is right in our own neighborhood.

City excursions are grand. So was this box.

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Next, I give you some well-fed animals of Turkey Run State Park (Indiana).

To complete my winter happenings post, I’m happy to report that Christmas did indeed come this year.

And now, having presented my carefully documented evidence of actually having a life this winter, I’m going back to sleep.

Chicago Botanic Garden

Our Chicagoan explorations continue! The weather was perfect last Saturday for a five-hour stint in lovely gardens with a group of friends. Browse the slideshow below to see immortal spirits, red-leaf-in-lettuce, cold pizza, a stroller face-plant, Mr. Red Shirt Guy, and this bench.

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Toddler at the Zoo

Last Saturday, we made the short drive up to Lincoln Park to see their free zoo. On the way there, we stumbled across the Lincoln Park Conservatory, also free, so we checked that out too. Here’s a slideshow of the best pictures from our excursion. The conservatory pictures are first, and the zoo pictures start with the rhinos. Can you spot Anne’s face in the bear’s face, courtesy of a well-placed reflection?🙂

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In Memory of Bo

Today, I am the parent of a child never born,
One who was loved and wanted, but whose short life I now mourn.

If there had been a chance that I could give my life for thine,
I would have, little baby, but that choice was never mine.

Not long ago in history, together we’d have died.
The modern doctors saved my life, but you did not survive.

I wish that Anne, your sister, could have seen her sibling grow,
But now you are a story of a friend she’ll never know.

I wish I could have taught you that your dad’s an awesome guy,
But the hours I had to love you came and flew too quickly by.

Your life and death are somehow part of God’s own perfect plans.
Though Mommy couldn’t hold you, she entrusts you to His hands,

And though I only knew of you for half a day or so,
I hope we’ll meet in heav’n someday, my tiny baby Bo.

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

For Bo Goldey, taken from us the 27th of September in the year of our Lord 2014.

The four of us

The four of us

Anne Turns One

Deciding how to celebrate our first child’s first birthday took some planning. As with most aspects of life, we had to orchestrate a balance between many competing factors, but in the end, I think we satisfied all of our goals for Anne’s birthday. Here’s how things went down.

We spent most of Anne’s actual birthday involved with the wedding of a dear friend in Indianapolis, so we split her birthday celebration into two parts. The cake-and-presents family affair happened last night, and as for her birthday proper, we planned a short visit to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in hopes that she’d have a good time on her special day.

Birthday Phase 1: The Children’s Museum

Before entering the museum, Anne was presented with a birthday card from her Grandparents Goldey. She made quite a face as we sang Happy Birthday to her.

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We quickly discovered that the museum was up to all kinds of shenanigans, it being Talk Like a Pirate Day.

IMG_4767Once we reached the Playscape, the zone for kids 5 and under, Anne quickly settled in and had a grand time exploring, starting with the water tables.

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Next, she found “Blockopolis.”

IMG_4795It didn’t take long for her to discover the ball zone.

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After a brief stint in the music area, Anne rounded out her Playscape experience by visiting the Babyzone, which is designed for infants and toddlers.

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Having played hard for nearly two hours, Anne was happy to settle into her stroller for a nap while the grown-ups saw the Dinosphere.

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Phase 1 of Anne’s birthday completed, we headed to the wedding, where Anne found more exciting toys in the church nursery.

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Weddings mean fancy duds, and fancy duds mean family photo time.

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We headed straight back to Chicago at the end of the day, but not before Anne’s birthday was announced at the wedding reception, which was quite a thoughtful gesture. Thanks, Beth!🙂

Birthday Phase 2: Family Celebration

Yesterday, we had our official family celebration of Anne’s birthday.

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Cake for the birthday girl; flowers for the birthday mom

For her birthday dinner, Anne had linguine with marinara sauce, which she ate with gusto.

IMG_4972Then it was time for Anne’s first dessert ever!

IMG_4975She had fun playing with the frosting…

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…but found it to be entirely too sweet.

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After a quick bath to get the frosting out of Anne’s hair, she got her two presents from us. First, we opened the play mat we had ordered.

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This turned out to be a bigger hit than we had expected. When we unrolled it, Anne spent quite a while running back and forth on the mat, laughing and shrieking with glee. As parents, this was the first time we had experienced giving our child that level of pure joy, and we quite enjoyed it!

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Once Anne had calmed down a bit from the excitement of the play mat, we gave her our other present, a popper.

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Anne enjoyed her presents throughout the rest of the evening.

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I should note here that Anne received some other nice presents from her extended family, all of which either were opened while we were in Indy, or are still en route, or are being saved for later (e.g. clothes that are the next size up). We are very grateful to our relatives for their thoughtful gifts to Anne — they are exactly in line with what we would have hoped for. Great job, y’all!🙂

As Anne’s birthday evening wound down, it was time to put her bed. She was just beginning to fall asleep when I remembered that she still had some birthday cards to open! We got her up again and held her while we calmly read her the cards, bedtime-story style. She was very sleepy, but eager to hold the cards. In fact, she really just wanted to clutch them and snuggle, being too sleepy to play with them. Since she was not at all interested in giving up the cards, I let her keep them as I put her back to bed, and she fell asleep like this:

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While we were enjoying Anne’s happiness at the gifts we’d given, I kept thinking of this passage in Matthew 7 (ESV):

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

Memorizing this passage as a kid, I remember wondering what that was like, being a parent who wanted to give good things to her children. Now that I’ve experienced it, the passage comes alive — seeing Anne’s glee with her play mat, and knowing that God delights to give even better gifts to His children. It’s a reminder to me to ask for the gifts that I need, things like patience and self-control. That sort of gift may sound boring to some, but I’ve found it’s true that the more of those I have, the happier I am!🙂

Two Months in Titles: A quick guide to a long move

Most of my readers likely know that we have just completed a cross-country move, hence my two-month hiatus from posting. We’re now renting a gorgeous 2-bedroom condo in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, IL, and Matthew has started his new job as a post-doc at the University of Chicago. To fill you in on the highlights of this intense period of our lives, here are the titles of some posts I could have written:

  • Aunt Christina Saves the Day: How one sister enabled a cross-country move by a week of babysitting & furniture disassembly
  • How to Package All the Parts of Your Ikea Furniture so Nothing Gets Scratched (Hint: It’s a Wrap!)
  • The Rice Trick: Clever solutions for using everyday items as packing fill
  • Extreme Do-it-yourself Packing: How to fit 4,000 lbs of stuff in an ABF Relocube with a 2,500 lb weight limit
  • This Temporary Home: The Goldeys say a tearful goodbye to Covenant OPC
  • Moving Mountains: How one community’s sacrificial service got the Goldeys packed in the nick of time
  • You Can’t Imagine It Unless You’ve Been There: Reverse culture shock, decision fatigue, and emotional breaking points
  • No Place to Call Home: Anne’s month of upheaval
  • How to View 7 Chicago Rentals in a Single Day (Hint: Bring Grandparents!)
  • Reverse Culture Shock, Indiana State Fair Edition
  • There Was a Rug There and Now It’s Gone (Ouch): Yes, sanctification is sometimes very painful
  • The ABF Terminal Two-Step: From Cube to Truck to Hyde Park Condo (Hint: Bring Even More Grandparents!)
  • Is This For Real? The Goldeys ponder the wonders of their beautiful new home
  • Good as New: Replacing mildewed bookshelf backs is as simple as shop, chop, and paint
  • This Little Girl of Mine: How Anne hardly seems like a baby anymore
  • The Church Question: The Goldeys tackle their first church-finding decision as a couple

We are in fact quite excited about a certain local church, so I may be writing a post soon to go with that last title. Though the trials of the past month have been extreme at times, God’s grace has carried us through, and we are eagerly looking forward to the adventures we’ll have as residents of Chicago!

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Pictures of June

Here are some snapshots from the past month.

Packing Boxes

Packing boxes with Anne = chaos

Mailing Books

Mailing books

Sorting Clothes

Sorting clothes

Asymmetrical Corn Muffins

Asymmetrical corn muffins

Busy Baby

Busy baby

Someone loves the window

Someone loves the window

Sold my bike on Craigslist

Sold my bike on Craigslist

Anne likes her sippy cup

Anne likes her sippy cup

Unintended consequences of box location

Unintended consequences of box location

Someone really likes the window

Someone really loves the window

Anne at 9 months

Anne at 9 months

Countdown to moving day!

Countdown to moving day!

We have less than a month before we move! We’ll spend the majority of August in Indianapolis before heading to our new city: Chicago. Excitement is high here. Time to stop blogging & get back to packing!🙂

Highlights of May

There has been much excitement around here lately! Here’s a quick Goldey family update for ya.

Matthew graduated:

Dr. Goldey and Family

That’s one well-earned Ph.D. I’m proud of him. He has worked hard!

Anne is mobile:

Toys!

Stuff to climb!

Stuff to climb!

She’s a fast crawler, too!

Anne also cut two teeth this month:

A cool carrot helps with teething woes

A cool carrot helps with teething woes

Along with her teeth, she’s grown in her desire and ability to eat big people food:

What's mine is yours

What’s mine is yours

We ended the month with the celebration of our second anniversary. It’s been a wonderful two years together in this happy home!

Our home, May 26, 2014

Our home, May 26, 2014

My two years in California have gone by so quickly, and now they have an end date. We will be moving back to the Midwest at the end of July! Matthew has accepted a post-doc position at a to-be-disclosed location within a 300 mile radius of Indianapolis. Like I said, there’s been a lot of excitement around here this month! We have so much to look forward to, and so much to be grateful for. God is good.