Monday, November 30, 2009

Late Night Conversations

Conversations with Cassie while she plays with scrabble letters at 11pm at night making words and having an impromptu spelling lesson:

Resulted in the following exchange.

“What does this say?”


We decide together that RIS is an acceptable name for a person – boy or girl. Stephanie points out that RHIS was a real name and would be even better but Cassie didn’t have an H. And besides she thinks it should be pronounced “Rice”. Cassie and I both agreed that RICE was a better name anyway and I suggested that Stephanie name her first born Rice.

“What? In memory of my days on Guam?”

We all giggle together.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Everybody’s got a Water Buffalo

“Is that caribou ours now or something?”  This was Stephanie’s question as she swept in the door a few moments ago.

“Oh, yeah, didn’t you know? Everybody’s got a water buffalo,” I started to sing.


And Larry has it right. Cause we really do have one that has seemed to have adopted us.

On Guam a Caribou (pronounced Care – i – bow) is just another name for a water buffalo. They were used by the Chamorro farmers to help them plow the field and make roads. Now it just seems they can be found in southern village yards, eating grass, or walking along the side of a road or highway being led by an old man with a stick. Or perhaps you will see one walking through the village, pulling a little cart, as it is led by an even older man.


This one belongs to our neighbor but we have this luscious patch of grass that he loves to eat. Apparently my husband had seen the mutual benefits of allowing this animal to graze on the corner of our property. Feeds the beast and means less grass to mow.

So tonight as the southern stars come out, a water buffalo is sleeping next to my car in my driveway. He joins our dog and several cats and whatever toads and chickens venture near in the night.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Maggie

Today is a special day in the Smith family household. It is the anniversary of our dear daughter Maggie’s birth and death. I’ve never really talked much about Maggie on this blog. Her story has been written before, on other blogs, but today I wanted to re-write it to commemorate her short sweet life.

Margaret Elizabeth “Maggie” was born on November 1, 2005. She only lived about 2 short hours. She was born 8 weeks early via C-section and weighed 9lbs. Yes, she was a big girl. Maggie had Fetal Hydrops, which basically is swelling and fluid retention in all her tissues. It was discovered in a routine ultrasound I had on that day. Prior to the ultra sound I knew things were not going well with the pregnancy. For the past month I had gained 20lbs and had severe swelling in my feet and legs, yet my blood pressure was fine. Since I am overweight the doctor did not take me as seriously as he should have and kept telling me to just put my feet up, that some swelling was normal, especially in our hot Guam weather. I knew this was not normal.

When we were told there was a problem with our baby and that a C-section was necessary in order to try to save her life, we agreed. We also decided it was time to close the “factory” down and consented to a tubal ligation. I also knew that the chances of my baby surviving were very slim.  We called our pastor and friends for prayer and I was whisked into the operating room where Maggie was born around 5pm. I was only allowed to hold her for about 10 minutes and then she was placed in her daddy’s arms and I was sent off to recovery. By the time I was taken back to the hospital room, Maggie had died. I never got to see her beautiful blue eyes. I’m sure they were blue, as all my babies had blue eyes.

There are so many things that happened that I look back on and regret that things weren’t done differently. No attempt was made to save her life. It was decided from the moment that she was born that she would not survive. I never found out if medically something could have been done and decisions were made for me that I never questioned. I have learned not to question these too much as it hurts too much to think about the “what ifs?”.

I do think that my life was in danger as what was affecting Maggie and causing her tissues to swell up, was also affecting me. I since watched a House episode where a mom was experiencing all the symptoms her unborn child was experiencing. I can’t remember what they called that, but I suspect that something similar was happening with me. In looking this up in google, I came across Mirror Syndrome.  I believe this is what I had. I do thank God that I am alive and am able to continue to raise the children He gave me. I do not understand why He felt He had to bring Maggie home so soon.  I do know she is waiting to greet me in Heaven, along with her two older brothers and sister I lost in miscarriages  between 1996 and 1998.

So for Maggie……

You would have loved being part of our family. Kevin, your oldest brother, would have been your champion and protector. He would have taught you that reading is better than watching TV and pretended he didn’t know who you were, but secretly would do anything to keep you safe. You may even have had his strawberry blonde hair and freckles.

Adam would have written you songs and played them to help you sleep. He would have made sure your toys were put away and taught you to sweep the floor with your own little broom. He also would pretend that you were nothing but a bother to him when he was busy, but would have protected you and kept you safe from anything that would hurt you.

Stephanie, your oldest sister, would have read you stories and sang you to sleep. She would have walked with you and rocked you when you were upset. She would have been the perfect big sister, loving you with all her heart and wanting only the best for you.

Eric would have been your knight in shining armor. He would have concocted all kinds of plays involving you and his other sister, Cassie, making sure the two of you followed him around and did whatever he wanted. He would have taught you to laugh and to run and to enjoy life to its fullest. He would have taught you to use your imagination, causing it to soar beyond this world.

And finally, Cassie, would have been your best friend. She would have taken such good care of you, being mommy’s little helper and making sure you were dressed up in the cutest outfits. She would have gladly shared her dolls and stuffed animals with you and taught you to crawl and act like a cat before you were a year old.

Sadly I have no pictures of you, but following are a few of your siblings that I think would have looked like you. I love you Maggie and you will always remain in a special place in our hearts.

Eric This is Eric. It is the closest picture I have to what Maggie looked like when I held her in my arms.

steph&cass Maggie’s sisters, Stephanie and Cassie. I imagine that Maggie would have looked very similar to her two big sisters!