Monday, January 30, 2012

Sticks and Stones

     When you are a member of the baby loss community so many ordinary things are painful. When someone asks you how you are you say "OK" but what you really want to say is "I lost my son 19.5 months ago and I struggle to live without him every single day, how do you think I am?" People don't realize how simple things can hurt to the core.
     Here is a scenario for you taken from my real life experience and the reason for this blog: Today I logged on to FB and see a status by my sister who is currently pregnant with her second child. This status says: "Does anyone know someone who takes good maternity photos? I want to announce the sex with pictures and I've got lots of ideas." I am by no means a professional photographer. I worke at Olan Mills for a while and have taken pictures of my own kids, nephew and even a wedding and I'm pretty proud of how all the photos turn out. The simple words of her status hurt. I figured that I would be the logical choice to do her pictures because not only is she my sister but I don't charge her for doing them. I guess I was wrong. I commented on this status as I saw fit with a simple "Wow. That was a slap in the face." Her response to me was something along the lines of "I didn't ask you because I think the baby is a boy."
     Would it be incredibly hard to do her pictures knowing that she is having a boy? YES! What hurts my feelings more is that she didn't even bother to ask. She doesn't know what she is having yet, or at least that's what I'm told and I think that I should've at least been given the option to do her pictures. I can't say much more without getting upset. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried because my feelings were so hurt. Some people may think I'm being ridiculous or even rude but why should I pretend that things don't bother me to keep the peace or to keep other people happy?
     I've decided that I'm done with it all. Why should I continue to put myself in situations that allow me to get hurt, regardless of who is on the other end of it? I don't care if you are my sister, friend, cousin, best friend's friend if your pregnancy or anything involved with you being pregnant bothers me I'm going to remove myself from the situation. I don't have to keep myself in the cross fires and end up broken hearted.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pull the Trigger

     Unless you have walked in the shoes of someone who has lost a child you can't even begin to imagine the pain that we have daily. We wake up missing a part of who we are. We have one less toothbrush to put toothpaste on, we have one less head of hair to brush, mouth to feed, tears to wipe, diapers to change, bottles to make, hand to hold and one less face to kiss goodnight. These babies we are missing were planned for just like any other baby. Weeks were counted down, names were picked, rooms decorated and coming home outfits were packed just to leave the hospital with aching arms and a broken heart.
     I'm just a few days shy of marking the 19th month since I said goodbye to my sweet, Eli. I didn't hold a newborn baby for 10 months and 21 days (the day my rainbow was born). I still haven't held a baby boy and don't plan to anytime soon. My arms were made to hold MY son and they will not hold another baby boy until the day that my new son is placed in my arms (no, I'm not pregnant) or Eli is in them again. I wanted to share with you and try to make you understand just why infant boys and subsequently boys that would be Eli's age are such triggers for me.
     Put yourself in my shoes for a moment. Imagine getting a + on that pregnancy test, going to dozens of doctor's appointments, feeling every kick, hiccup and flip, watching your belly grow, seeing your baby grow on ultrasounds and imagining how beautiful he was going to be when you finally got to hold him in your arms. Now imagine rushing to the hospital because you are gushing blood. You are sitting in the car crying and trying to convince yourself that everything was ok and begging your baby to move to let you know he was okay but getting nothing in response. The ride seems like it's taking forever and once you get to the hospital the nurses seem to move at a glacial pace to get you into a wheelchair and into the elevator to take you up to labor and delivery. You get put into a room and the many nurses who surround you are getting you into a gown, taking your vitals, starting an IV, prepping you for a c-section and trying to hook you up to monitors. The room is loud with all the people talking and yet somehow very quiet because none of them are looking at you or saying anything. They check with the monitor and can't find his heartbeat, doppler and no heartbeat, portable ultrasound and no heartbeat. All these machines and no heartbeat and also nobody saying anything. They call downstairs for another ultrasound and say the doctor is on his way. Not your doctor though, the guy on call. The ultrasound tech comes in just before the doctor, he sits next to you on your bed puts his hand on your leg and tells you "I'm sorry, we've lost his heartbeat." What is it that you do now?
     Crying, screaming, pleading, praying that this doctor and all these machines are wrong. You lay and you labor for hours and then you give birth and what should be a joyful moment with lots of happy crying and congratulations from the people in the room is filled with nothing but silence. No crying baby, no congratulations, nothing but silence. Your mind never really processes what has just happened. You spend time admiring your baby: smiling at how beautiful he is, trying to figure out who he looks the most like, crying over his body and squeezing him close because you just don't know what else to do. Then the time comes and someone from the funeral home comes and takes your son away and you will never hold him in your arms again. What do you do now?
     You plan a funeral. Something no mother should ever have to do. You don't sleep. You don't eat. You do well to breathe. The day of the funeral comes and you walk into this room and at the very front is a very small casket with your baby laying peacefully inside. People come by and tell you how sorry they are and how beautifully your baby looks but really all you hear is the echo of their words. You sit next to your baby and just stay at him trying to remember every single detail of him. After a few short hours with him they usher you out of the room and they slide the lid over his casket. At that moment it finally sinks in that you will never see your baby again as long as there is breath in your body.
     Imagine now that everyone around you is announcing they are pregnant. Every single announcement stings. Then a few months later you hear from them those dreaded three words, "It's a boy!". Those words are like a shot to the heart. Those words bring sadness, fear, jealousy and lots of pain. When they have that baby and post pictures all over facebook or send you texts with pictures attached it's one of the most painful things. I'm very happy that that baby made it safely into the world but in my head I think "Why is it that this person can have a healthy, live baby and mine had to die?" Alot of posts on FB get blocked and texts go unopened so that I don't have to expose myself to the hurt. Some people may call that selfish or rude but I do what I have to do to protect my heart from hurting. I'm sure there will come a day when it won't hurt so bad and when I can look at a baby boy and not want to run to the bathroom and cry but that day isn't today or any day anytime soon.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I've worked all day

     I appreciate the fact that my husband works to provide for our family so that I can stay home with the kids more than he knows. I do not appreciate the fact that every time I say something along the lines of "would you fix dinner tonight" I get this gem of a response "I've worked all day." So what exactly is it that I've done?
     Bottles, diapers, teeth brushing, bathroom trips, breakfast, dishes, laundry, lunch, chasing babies, breaking up fights, picking up, dinner, baths and fighting with kids at bedtime. No, I don't work at all. It is absolutely frustrating to be told that "I don't work" because I stay home. The house doesn't pick itself up, laundry and dishes don't do themselves, the kids don't fend for themselves all day, that's all me. Sorry, just needed to vent out my annoyance and the male species and their ideas of "work".

Friday, January 6, 2012

In my dreams

     I sit here typing this blog entry with Cailyn cradled in my arm and sipping on her bottle. This moment, much like ALL of the moments I have with her is bittersweet. Everything she does in the back of mind I think "would Eli have done this at his age? Would he have made that same face?" or a million other variations of "what if". I enjoy every solitary second I have with Cailyn and she along with Austin have brought a lot of sunshine back into my life but in the back of my head I keep thinking how different things could/would be if Eli were still here.
     When I go to sleep at night I dream of laying in bed and having my three babies all cuddled up together and pushing me off the bed to get more for themselves and listening to me sing Carrie Underwood songs to them to get them to fall asleep. I can see myself picking each of them up after they've fallen asleep and carrying them to their beds, kissing them over and over on their cheeks and saying "Good night, sweetheart. I love you," as if I had done it just last night. I would get up a hundred times during the night to check on each one of them and smiling to myself as I watched them sleep so peacefully. I wake up only to find that that beautiful dream I was having is just simply that, a dream.
     No amount of dreams, wishes or prayers can make my hearts greatest desire and longing a reality. That is one thing I struggle with each day. I don't think it is too much to ask for to have even just one night with all of my babies snuggled up with me, after all that is what I should be doing. So tonight after Austin and Cailyn have fallen asleep, been kissed and put into their own beds to play in their own dream worlds I will curl up on my pillow and think of Eli as I fall asleep in hopes that we can spend time together in my dreams.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Seventeen Second Miracle

    David, Austin, Cailyn and I made a trip to Walmart the other day to get a few groceries. No trip to Walmart ever just ends with groceries we always manage to browse about every aisle in the store. While walking past the shoes I noticed a display in the middle of the aisle that was promoting "bargain books". I stopped on one side to peek through the titles and found nothing interesting. As I was pushing my cart away a book on the other side caught my eye. For those who don't already know yellow butterflies remind me of Eli. The yellow butterfly was what caught my attention and when I saw the title "The Seventeen Second Miracle" I knew Eli had sent it to me for a reason.
      The book is beautifully written and I will share with you my brief synopsis of it.
                        In the summer of 1970 a guy named Rex got a job as a lifeguard at the lake. One day he spotted a beautiful girl and knew he wanted to meet her. He said once he met her that there were sparks all around her and so that's the nickname he gave to her "Sparks". That summer that were pretty much inseparable. Sparks' mother was very old fashioned and she wanted their relationship to remain innocent so anytime Rex and Sparks went out together she always sent her younger daughter along, a girl Rex nicknamed "Flick".
                      Flick's 8th birthday was on Labor Day and they planned a beach party for her. They invited her friends and even Rex was invited to join in on the fun and her mother also wanted his extra set of eyes to watch the girls while they were in the water. All day Rex played with the kids in the water. They even brought out a frisbee and were tossing it and seeing who could get it. He tossed it out and then walked a few feet away to where Sparks was standing. He covered her eyes and played guess who. He counted 17 seconds while she named names. After he counted to 17 he turned to look and Flick was no longer where she was a few seconds before. Panic set in and he swam over to the spot and found her body floating and blue. He drug her onto the shore and began CPR and then another lifeguard took over. In that short, 17 seconds Flick was gone.
                     Rex came up with something he called "The Seventeen Second Miracle" and he put it to use every day by doing simple, kind things for people. His son, Cole took over the "discussions" when Rex was no longer able to. He helped to teach people that taking 17 seconds out of your day to do something for someone else can really change their life.
                     I can't tell much more without giving away the beauty of the story but I really do recommend it. If any of you read it or have already read it please stop by here and tell me what you thought of it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pregnant People

     It seems like everyday I get on FB and someone else on my friend's list is announcing their pregnancy. I'm almost to the point now where I make guesses as to who will be the next one to announce their impending bundle of joy. While I am very happy for everyone who is expecting, it still hurts and under certain circumstances it hurts more than others.
     When someone is expecting their second child it is unbelievably hard for me to deal with. Things went so terribly wrong with my second pregnancy that I feel A LOT of jealousy to those who get to bring their second babies home, especially if it's a boy. I DREAD seeing the "It's a boy!" posts. It literally crushes my soul. Then the jealousy and the sick feeling sink back in. I can try to explain the best I can why I feel like this but I still think most people won't understand unless you've been in my shoes.
     I wanted Eli very much. We were prepared and excited to bring our second son home and watch our boys grow up together. The second they told me that his heart stopped beating all those hopes and dreams and plans I had for his life were shattered. The images I had of him and Austin together and all of his "firsts" would only be what my imagination allowed them to be--dreams.
    When I see people having their second babies (especially boys) it's almost as if I sink into a depression. I can picture their kids growing up together and then reality smacks me in the face that they are getting to do with their 2 boys what I never will and it's really hard to swallow. I wanted so much more for my son's life and it was taken from him and it was taken from me.
     Even though I now have Cailyn to help fill my aching arms she doesn't take away the pain and the huge void that Eli left in my heart when he died. I can have 100 children and my family will never be whole because he isn't here and that is something that I will never be able to fully handle. A parent should never have to bury their child, it's unnatural and more painful than you can even begin to imagine.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


     Every month without fail around the 17th I start to have nightmares. These nightmares make the ones I had as a child seem like a cake walk. These nightmares haunt me long after I get up in the morning if they don't wake me during the night and prevent me from falling back asleep.
     Last night's dream went like this: I was walking in the dark and the only light around me emitted from the gown I was wearing, a simple, sheer white gown. It was cold and all the leaves were gone so I assumed it was winter. I had no idea where I was or where I was headed but I just kept walking. Out of nowhere I was standing by Eli's grave. For a long time I just stood there and then I lost it. I screamed and cried and fell to my knees and I started digging. I clawed at the Earth for a long time hoping that I would be able to find him but no matter how far I dug I couldn't find him. I would look up at his headstone and there was his face looking at me but his body was gone. I went into a panic. Where is my baby? This is where they laid him, where is he? And then I woke up.
     As a parent your biggest fear is losing your child. Once you've lost your child you're afraid that people are going to forget him or that you are going to somehow lose the memories you have. I am always terrified that someone is going to forget Eli existed because he isn't around for everyone to watch grow. Today my sweet boy would've been 18 months old. A whole year and a half since I held him in my arms. What I wouldn't give to see his face for even a few seconds again.
    Our rainbow, Cailyn is 7 months old, just slightly older than what Eli would've been around this time last year so watching her is very bittersweet. I put presents under the tree last night and she went right for them, climbing up them and crunching the paper in her hands and while it made me smile it also made me so very sad. I could picture Eli in my mind doing the same thing last Christmas. I imagine this year he would be just like Austin, sneaking into the gifts and shaking them to see what they were and trying to figure out which ones are his. In my mind I can see the 3 of them laying under the tree looking up at the lights and giggling. I wish more than anything that this could be my reality but unfortunately it never will and I'm still learning to deal with that.
     Even though my heart is shattered into a million little pieces today I'm going to celebrate the fact that 18 months ago I welcomed my perfect, beautiful son into the world. He has forever changed my life and I'm more than proud to be called his Mommy.