"Thank heaven there is tomorrow. Because there is tomorrow, all our yesterdays have meaning and all our dreams have hope."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dear Gavin

My Sweet Baby Gavin,

I found these pictures of you tonight. You were spending some quality time with your Grandpa Bailey and I remember watching him look at you. He loves you so much - we all do.

I wonder what was going through your mind when these pictures were taken. Did you know? You always look so wise - you must have known. You must have known your time with us was limited because your presence has left such an impression on our lives. You worked miracles in your three months with us. You continue to teach me every day.

I am always in awe that I was chosen to be your mother.

I love you Buggy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dear Me,

I saw this idea on another blog a few weeks ago and I thought it was pretty insightful. I started wondering what I would have said to myself at 14 years old - knowing what I know now. Worth a try, I guess.

Dear 14 Year Old Me,

Life is good and it's all worth it - I promise.

You may think that you know everything and that mom and dad are dummies stuck in the "old days" but they know so much more than you think. Mom is going to be your best friend - just watch and see. Let them talk to you and listen to them. Appreciate all they do for you. It is always in your best interest. In the future you will crave their love, support and advice.

Don't be mad at mom when you wake up the first day of summer break after your sophomore year of high school and she greets you with an airline ticket to spend the summer in Utah. It's the best things they can do for you at that time. The boy is not worth it. The situation is nothing but trouble. I promise. That summer will be one of the most memorable summers of your life. Tennis, grandpa's buttermilk pancakes, grandma's cute jokes, late nights, laughing and cousins - you will remember that summer forever and so will they.

Don't make so many dumb choices in high school. You will know what I am talking about when you get there. There is a lot more to life than what you can see right now. Be nice to people and include everyone. There are people who need friends and I know you can be a good friend to them.

High school is important, but not that important. When you leave for college try to not be so homesick for the high school days. You will have a lot more fun if you try to move on and decide who YOU are and who you want to be. Make that decision early. You will need a strong testimony in your beliefs because it won't be that long before you meet the guy of your dreams.

And when you meet the guy of your dreams . . . don't say no when he asks you out on the first date! I know you may think that you night class of Personality Theories of Psychology is so important - but it won't hurt to miss one class. You never miss class - it's okay to bail out on Jung's personality theory lecture for this guy. You won't remember the lecture anyway. But after that - make sure you go to every class. You are going to LOVE the university experience. You will learn a lot more than what you read in text books. These are experiences that will stay with you forever.

And now back to this dream guy. Your intuition is right. He is the perfect fit for you. Go ahead and take the leap of marriage even though you are 19 and still have two more years of undergraduate schooling left. I know it goes against everything you have preached (getting married young) - but marriage at 19 is good for you with this guy. Somehow it all works out.
Don't let anyone tell you that your husband's schooling is more important than yours. You can both go to school and make ends meet at home. And one other thing on the schooling subject . . . go with your gut and get a degree in psychology. It is going to help you more than you know.

Enjoy the time you have with your husband. You will cherish the years you have together before children come. Those years will be simple and sweet times for you to remember when life gets difficult.

And when the children start - well, I am not going to give anything away on that topic. It's not going to be easy. You will grow more than you ever have before. But I will tell you that your first child is a little boy who will change your life forever. Nothing will ever be the same after his arrival - but it really will be for the better. I promise. Cherish every single moment you have with this little guy and remember to absorb all the peace and comfort you feel when you are around him. That feeling can never be duplicated. Love him. Tell him about his daddy. Hold him as much as you can and know that difficult times can often be happy times too.

When difficult times come stay close to your husband and the knowledge you have of the gospel. Sometimes hope will be what gets you through a day. Don't let anyone tell you how to grieve. It is an individual process. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Life is good. You are tough and motivated. Stick to your gut and always follow the spirit. Life has ups and downs - but there is reason to be happy.

26 Year Old Me

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Gentle Reminder

Grief never seems to let you forget. Not that I would ever WANT to forget, but the pain of absence is brutal and exhausting. Overall, the waves of grief seem to be getting better for us. Fall is especially hard this year as it is a symbol of change for our family. Over the past week we have had gentle reminders of our sweet baby Gavin and the peace he has left in our lives.
Last night Jason and I were out (he asked me out on a date - romantic, I know!) when we saw a little boy in a stroller . . . with a trach and oxygen. Jason and I were glued to him as we stood in line behind his parents (who I am sure were uncomfortable with the strangers that were staring at their baby). It was such a tender mercy when the little boy grinned at us and started waving. I smiled back and I watched as the reminder settled onto Jason - I could read the lines on his face. The trach, the monitor, the oxygen tubing and tank, the suction catheter, the sounds of breaths taken through an artificial airway - it was a reminder of the way things were. It was a reminder of the unexpected truth that was to be our lives - that we had finally accepted - and now, the newly accepted life we have without Gavin here.
However, as we watched this little guy grin and wave at us we were also filled with happiness. This little boy was happy and while I am sure that "this" was not what these parents expected for their son - I could tell he was well taken of and loved. His smile and wave made my night.

Bye Bye Primary

In my previous post I talked about how I now teach the 12 and 13 year old girls at church on Sunday. I am very excited for this new responsibility and opportunity - however, it means I will no longer be in the Primary with all of the sweet kids.
Here are some of the reasons I will miss Primary (in no particular order):
1. the funny things the kids say (most of which gives away family secrets)
2. the totally random comments that have nothing to do with our sharing time discussion
3. the re-telling of bible stories according to the imagination of five and six year old kids
4. the chaos of the Sunbeams (the 3 and 4 year old class)
5. the other leaders I was able to work with
6. the hugs from the children (two weeks ago a cute six year old girl came up and hugged me and kissed my belly and said, "you are having a baby!")
These are just a few of the things I am going to miss.

Youth Conference

I haven't had a chance (or the brainpower) to post about Youth Conference, so I am a little late on this one. Youth Conference is a weekend where the 14-18 year old youth in our church get together for a weekend of what hopefully will be uplifting fun and spiritual learning. It was two weekends ago and after lots of planning and preparation - I think I can say it went well. I don't know exactly why Jason and I were asked to help plan Youth Conference since neither of us have had that much experience with things like this - but I am glad we were asked. I was pretty overwhelmed and anxious when they asked us (with another couple) to be in charge of the Friday night kick off. I won't bore everyone with the details, but I am happy we did it and happy it is over now! I think we all know how that goes . . .

And on a side note - the Sunday after Youth Conference I was asked to teach the 12-13 year old girls in our ward every Sunday. Hmmmm . . . they say we are prepared for all things. Should have seen that one coming!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Duck, Duck, Goose!

I was tagged by my awesome sister in law Trish. So, here it goes . . .

I am: a woman, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother.

I think: about all the things I SHOULD be doing.
I know: much less than what I thought I knew when I was 16.
I want: to have a healthy and happy baby boy that comes home with us.
I have: three boys - Jason, Gavin and this new little monkey.
I dislike: when people try to control me, dig their way into personal topics and are ignorant.
I miss: Gavin - like CRAZY.

I fear: ummm . . . just about everything right now. Yeah, I know, I really need to work on that.
I hear: my IPod selection of 80's music! Heh heh heh.
I smell: my vanilla lip gloss.
I crave: a Diet Coke - I'm trying to limit my consumption to three a week.
I search: for answers. I want any indication that this new little boy does NOT have what Gavin had.
I wonder: if Gavin and his new baby brother having a fun time together.
I regret: ever leaving Gavin's bedside for a single minute.
I wish: I could have a family picture with all of my children.
I love: my family.
I care: less about things that are petty and stupid than I used to.
I always: feel like I am the luckiest girl in the world to have Jason for a husband.

I worry: about everything. You name it, I can worry about it.
I am not: as patient as I should be.

I remember: every day I spent with Gavin. I can read about a day and remember the exact feelings I had during those moments. It's kinda overwhelming.

I believe: that we all consume ourselves with irrelevant and trivial matters when there is so much more we should be concentrating on.
I sing: in the car. ALWAYS. Poor Jason. Poor Jason's ears.
I don't always: let things roll off my back. It's awful, I have to learn to let things go.
I argue: with myself. I'm my own worst enemy.
I write: on my blog. It's therapeutic for me. Plus, it makes a great journal at the end of the year.
I win: at Mario Cart - don't let Jason tell you otherwise.
I lose: at Guitar Hero. Don't ask.

I listen: to my mom and dad. They are always full of great insight.
I don't understand: why I was so lucky to get to be Gavin's mother.
I can usually be found: at work, home, or my parents house.
I need: um, is it okay to say Valium? Don't worry . . . I'm not taking any. :)
I forget: A LOT! Isn't that normal when you are pregnant? Isn't it called pregnancy brian?
I am happy: most of the time now. Last year I thought I couldn't ever be happy again, but time has worked miracles.

(duck . . duck . . . duck . . . goose- I tag ANYONE who wants to play too!)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Go Buckeyes!

Every member of the Mortensen family is an Ohio State football fan - and we have converted Jason to the truth now too. We love to go back to OSU, watch a football game and visit with Grandma, but we haven't been able to travel back to Ohio for a few years now. Oh well, we will try again next year!
Things we care about on any given football season Saturday . . .
1) Ohio State wins
2) Michigan loses.
'Nuff said.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All We Need Is Love

I know I have often expressed the worry I have about how much pain Gavin felt. As a mother, I would have taken every ounce of pain he felt onto myself so that he wouldn't have to endure such a physical trial. Today as I was looking at some of Gavin's pictures, I came across this picture of Jason holding Gavin while Grandpa Dave (my dad) rested his hand on Gavin's head. I had the overwhelming feeling that Gavin felt love - and lots of it. I am not naive to the fact that many children in this world are abused, ignored and neglected. I also realize that there may be the possibility that Gavin felt more love in his earthly three months than many children feel in a lifetime - and I am grateful the knowledge that even with the physical trials Gavin endured, he knew he was and continues to be loved by so many people.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Check Up On Our Little Monkey

This morning we had an appointment with our perinatologist (who I LOVE) and the cardiologist for a check up. We started with an ultrasound to measure his growth. He now weighs one pound and is measuring right on track. The doctor looked for a cleft palate (because of Gavin's small mouth deformity) and they didn't see any problems there. YAY! We also were able to watch him rapidly open and close his mouth . . . which is a HUGE deal to us since Gavin never moved his face. I wanted to burst into tears as I watched this little guy tumble and kick all over the place. He was so active and responsive! The cardiologist came in and checked his heart and everything seems to be perfect from what he can see. There was one small part of the heart that the cardiologist was unable to see because of the baby's position. He doesn't assume there is anything wrong, but he wants to make sure he gets a good look at it, so we are scheduled for a four week follow up with him.
We are so excited that he is checking out so well so far. I couldn't believe how much he was moving! He was like a little monkey climbing all over the place! HA!
Even with all the good news we receive it is still hard to picture myself as a "normal" mom and I most certainly can't imagine having a baby to bring home. I was a NICU mom. I did the best mothering I could from the sidelines, and it is hard to imagine being a normal mother. We still worry and pray that this little guy will be healthy and happy. I still worry about all of the unknowns that we had with Gavin - but the one thing I do know it that I love this little monkey. I love him just as much as I love my sweet Gavin. I mean, how could you not love this little face? . . . or this little hand? . . .

And on a funny note . . . this is what Jason asked the ultrasound tech yesterday when we were measuring the baby, "Now, he is supposed to look like a human baby now, right?" Apparently he was having a difficult time seeing what we were talking about on the ultrasound. HEH HEH HEH My funny hubby.

Monday, September 15, 2008


My mom always knows when I need to hear something . . . here is what she sent me last night. I thought it was "post worthy." Thanks Momma!

"The Lord has promised us that as we 'search diligently, pray always, and be believing, . . . all things [will] work together for [our] good' (D&C 90:24). That doesn't mean that everything will be perfect or that we will not have any trials, but it does mean that everything will be okay if we just 'hang in there.' Ours is the opportunity to 'be . . . an example of the believers' (1 Tim. 4:12), and the Savior has promised that 'all things are possible to him that believeth' (Mark 9:23). So believe in yourselves. Believe that you are never alone. Believe that you will always be guided."
Elaine S Dalton,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Mother is a Mother

Recently I saw this picture . . .

And read this article . . .

"Holding the lifeless body of her dead child like a rag doll, this female gorilla stares at the corpse in shock and bewilderment, unable to accept that her baby is dead. It is a picture of pure grief. Inconsolable, hers is the raw pain of any mother who has lost a child. While nature may indeed be red in tooth and claw, this moving image of Gana and her dead son Claudio seems to show that members of the animal kingdom can feel the pain of loss just as deeply as we humans. "

. . . and I realize that a mother is a mother. This gorilla mother is shown in this picture cradling her three month old son who had passed away from a suspected heart defect. The article reports that the mother carried her deceased child with her for weeks until she finally laid it down in an apparent acceptance of death. So, I ask this question . . . how different are we as mothers who grieve?
No, I am not going to go into an dissertation about the theory of evolution - or how closely related "they" say we are to monkeys. However, I don't think we are all that different . . . on a motherly level.

Gavin's heaven day is rapidly approaching and I find myself full of anticipation and trepidation. His passing was peaceful. It was beautiful. He was taken from our arms to the loving arms of our Savior. In the angst of my darkest day I felt the love and peace of the Spirit. The staff at PCMC were so kind to us and let us have as much time with Gavin as we needed after his sweet spirit left his body. Jason and I had precious time with him. Time that is sacred to us.
The memory is bittersweet. I wish desperately to hold him again - and I understand why it took this gorilla mother so long to finally accept her son's death. It's been nearly a year since Gavin's passing and I still can't seem to accept it on a regular basis. I still occasionally think," Why me? Why Jason? Why him?" Then I am reminded of the sweet promises we have and the knowledge that we will be a family forever. I feel gratitude for a son who is so obedient and faithful.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Bambino is On the Move!

Sunday evening I was laying on the couch when I felt the baby moving quite a bit. Jason sat down by me and put his hand on my tummy . . . and he felt the baby kick for the first time. Perhaps this may seem like a small thing to many, but this is such a milestone for us. The best part about it was what Jason said after the kick - "Wow! I love feeling him kick just as much as I loved feeling Gavin kick!" I can already see the love Jason has for this new baby. We are so excited for every milestone we hit with this little guy. Next Tuesday we go in for another appointment with our perinatologist - who will also have a pediatric cardiologist with him to check out the baby's heart. These next few appointments are big ones - I will keep posting about the progress!

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Year Ago on September 5th

On September 5th, 2007 Grandma Cindy wrote:

Gavin had his PDA heart surgery this morning. It was a huge PDA according to the cardiologist and required the largest clip to close it. It is a permanent titanium clip that will stay with him but not cause "beeping" at the airport. He did well during the surgery without any brady cardia. As of this afternoon he was given a blood transfusion as his numbers were getting low. The doctors has cautioned us that the next 2 to 3 days could be challenging for Gavin as his body recovers from the surgery . . .
. . . We feel that Gavin has a great purpose here. His short life has greatly affected many people. We are so grateful for all that we have learned and are continuing to learn from him and because of him. Our hope and prayers are that he is comfortable and free of pain and that he always knows that he is surrounded by people who love him. Thank you for all your support, prayers and love. Please continue to pray for this little family.
Love, Grandma Cindy

I can't believe it has been a year since Gavin's heart surgery - and surprisingly it was the easiest of all the surgeries Gavin endured! Life has changed so much in the matter of 13 months. However, the last paragraph of Grandma Cindy's email could be repeated time and time again. I still pray for Gavin - that he is happy, free of pain and knows how much he is loved.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Birthday Wishes

Isn't the tradition of birthday wishes interesting? I mean, who thought up this idea anyway? Tuesday night I blew out birthday candles for the 26th time in my life. As I made my wish, a million thoughts ran through my already muddled mind. How I wanted to wish for the things I used to wish for. The simple things in life. Until I was about ten years old, I wished to be a princess every single time I wished on my birthday candles. No lie. Castles, crowns, jewelry, dresses . . . I wanted the whole deal. I thought that would be the icing on the cake (no pun intended).

Life has changed my wishes. I couldn't help but reflect on the wish I made last year as my sweet Gavin was in the NICU. I remember wishing that we would get a miracle and that Gavin would be healthy enough to have a long and productive life. I wished that his heart surgery would go well. I wished that he would know how much I love him. I wished that he would feel no pain.

This year my wish went something like this . . . I wish that one day I would be able to have all three of my boys together. I wish that this new baby boy will be healthy and happy. I wish that I could see Gavin one more time.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Labor Day Weekend, High School Reunion, and Pop Tops

Oh, how I love three day weekends! However, it never feels like enough time away from responsibility.
Friday afternoon we drove to Salt Lake City to spend the long weekend with Jason's family. We had lots of fun and spent time visiting with family members - I even got to see my sister Becca who is going to school in Provo. YAY! When we asked our cute two-year-old nephew what we should name the baby, he thought for a minute and then said, "PONGE BOB!" . . . otherwise known as SPONGE BOB for the rest of us. Jason and I had a good laugh about that and we called the baby Sponge Bob for the weekend. It was good to see everyone and spend a little time relaxing. I'm so glad Jason has a fun family to be around!

Saturday afternoon we went to Jason's high school reunion and had a fun time seeing friends. The reunion committee organized a pop top drive for the Ronald McDonald House and we filled a huge storage container with all the pop top donations. We just wanted to say thank you and let everyone know how much we appreciate all they have done to help this organization. Keep the pop tops coming . . . we will get them to the Ronald McDonald house for you.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy 26th Lindsay!

Today Lindsay turns 26 years old so I thought I’d write a “Happy Birthday” post. I can never make fun of her age because I am older, but I want her to know that she is now closer to 30 than 20. Ouch!
Lindsay, I just want to wish you a wonderful birthday and tell you that I love you. You're the best. Hope your day is special. See you at lunch.