Capture Your Grief: Days 12-16…

Here we are again, with a mass update because I am forgetful.

Day 12: Music

This may sound really silly, but the song I remember most is “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy.  The one line of the song that gets me every time is “What a life to take, what a bond to break, I’ll be missing you.”  I feel like it perfectly sums up how it feels to lose a child, for the bond between myself and Charles will always be there, but it was broken too soon.

Day 13: Season

Charles made his grand entrance 11 weeks early, in July.  He was originally due in September.  I always find the summer hard, especially July, but I find fall a hard time too.  I think of all the fun things we could do with him, like carving a pumpkin, going on a hayride and picking out costumes.  For his first Halloween he was going to be a penguin or an Angry Bird.  I also find the holidays hard.  Opening presents, and gathering with family is hard because our little guy should be there, in his Christmas suit enjoying the holidays too.  Really, all seasons are hard because I’m continuing life without one of the biggest parts of mine.

Day 14: Dark/Light

This prompt is meant to acknowledge the dark and light sides of grief.  The moments where you are angry, and the moments where you aren’t.  There weren’t a lot of moments when everything fell apart.  I was lucky, I have Jerry and he was so supportive of everything happening to us.  We never blamed each other, or felt guilty.  Even now, a year and some change later, struggling with infertility there is no blame.  I have to say, other than the overwhelming days of grief (which still happen) I have experience a lot of light in this process.  I have met and befriended an amazing group of women, and they are one of the biggest gifts I’ve received in all this.

Day 15: Community

As I’ve mentioned before, I belong to a group of women who carried their babies to term, knowing they would not get long with them.  They have been my solace, my friends, basically my sisters.  There are also many other websites and publications which have made the journey a bit easier.  I do wish it wasn’t so taboo to talk about losing a child, no matter what stage of pregnancy it happens in.  Babies die, nobody likes it, but they do and the women who are given this burden deserve to be talked about and acknowledged just like every other mother.

The candle I lit, (purple) and the candle my sister lit. (pink)

The candle I lit, (purple) and the candle my sister lit. (pink)

A candle one of my carrying to term Mom's made for Charles.

A candle one of my carrying to term Mom’s made for Charles.

Day 16: Retreat

This is supposed to be about protecting your heart after Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day.  I didn’t feel like I had to retreat from anything to protect myself, because I felt support and love yesterday.  Not many know the journey I am on, but I do have support.

Capture Your Grief…Days 7-11

Day 7: Sacred Place

I have to say, I don’t really have a sacred place.  I don’t have a place to escape to when I need to be connected to my tiny man.  We had Charles cremated, and he is in my bedroom on a shelf.  I guess his presence in that room is therapeutic, although so sad at the same time. I might need a sacred place.

Day 8: Resource

Oh there isn’t enough I can say about an amazing group of women I call my friends.  Though I’ve never met any of them in real life, I feel so connected to these women.  They are like my sisters.  They were, and still are my solace when life gets rough.  We all carried our babies to term, so if anyone understands my grief, it is them.  Many of them have also suffered from the infertility I’ve been dealing with, so it’s so nice to have a group of women who can sympathize.  If ever you are carrying to term, or needing support for such a journey, check out the Carrying to Term Despite Poor/Fatal Diagnosis board on BabyCenter.

http://community.babycenter.com/groups/a6711405/carryingcarried_pregnancy_despite_poor_or_fatal_prenatal_diagnosis

Day 9: In Memory

I have been dreaming of tattoos to memorialize my child, but for various reasons, I’ve never followed through.  I do however, have two beautiful necklaces.  One, Jerry bought me at an impromptu visit to a mall just a few days after Charles died.  I seldom wear it, because it started tarnishing, but it sits carefully in my jewelry box.  The other, I won in a contest of sorts for women who lost their babies to PPROM (preterm, premature rupture of membranes-what they suspect happened to Charles) I also proudly hang the cross I received when he was baptized in my rearview mirror of my car.

neck

My beautiful necklace from Pieces of Hope.

Day 10: Support

There are some days I feel supported, and there are some days I don’t.  Most days are a “don’t” day.  For the first few weeks after he died, there was a constant stream of support.  Since the months have gone by and turned into a year, the support has waned.  I would say our grieving was supported, but the journey to a rainbow is a whole other avenue that we get little to no support over.  If I could suggest one thing amidst all of this, is to now downplay one’s struggles, be it over the loss of a child, or the struggle to have another one.  There is nothing fun about infertility, there is nothing to relax about.  Please, support us as we undergo this next chapter of our lives.  The old “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” is a great reminder.

Day 11: Altar

This is my little man’s final resting place.  It has changed over time, with the addition of some things, as well as the removal of others.  It has changed locations many times too.  No place will ever be perfect enough for him, for I rather he’d be in the classic car themed nursery I had planned, but alas, this is what I was given.  Rest in Peace Tiny Dude.  We love you.

My little guy.

My little guy.

And now that I’ve caught up, we will being again tomorrow with Day 12! Thanks for sticking with me!

Capture Your Grief…Days 2-6

If you are a followed of this blog, you know that I often have lofty ideas and never follow through.  This year’s lofty idea was to participate in Capture Your Grief.  I’ve decided to throw a bunch of days into one post in hopes that I’ve gotten back on track enough to finish out the month on a strong note.  Here goes nothing…

Day 2: Heart

I carry my son in my heart.  I also carry all the hopes and dreams I had for him when I first found out I was expecting.  I carry around my dreams about how he would have looked, I carry around how I envisioned his first day of school.  I carry him around in my heart, never to be forgotten.

My Heart to Hold.  I took this picture when I first received it in the mail.

My Heart to Hold. I took this picture when I first received it in the mail.

Day 3: Before

This was our last picture together before I found out I was pregnant.  There isn’t much more I can say about it.  I still love Jerry more than anyone, and I know our happy days will come again.  I miss my carefree existence, the one where I thought I was an invincible 23 year old that nothing bad could happen to.  I also miss not feeling guilty all the time.  At least once a day I feel guilty for going on without my little guy.

New Year's Eve 2013.  Just a few short days before I found out I was expecting.

New Year’s Eve 2013. Just a few short days before I found out I was expecting.

Day 4: Now

At this present moment, I am a wife and a mother to a baby boy only I know about.  That’s not to say other people don’t know of my son, but very few people consider me a mother.  I feel upset about a lot of things in my life, namely my infertility struggle and unsupportive family members who do not understand our journey.  I do feel forever changed by Charles’ life and death.  I feel like I’ll never be whole again.  I feel like sometimes I pretend to be happy when I really am not happy.  I do love how strong I am though, in spite of everything I feel like an amazing woman for giving birth and carrying my son for as long as I was able.  I so desperately want to become a mother to a rainbow, something I think will make me a better wife again. 

me and phi

My sweet niece Sophia and I.

Day 5: Journal

You are looking at it!  This is the place where I write out everything I feel.  Sometimes the posts get published, most often they don’t, but the act of typing my thoughts out and not keeping it inside of me is so therapeutic.  I also have an infinity for quotes.  My favorite of all time:

“How very softly you tiptoed into my world, almost silently.
Only a moment you stayed, but oh what an imprint you’ve left upon my heart.”

Day 6: Books

I have to say, I have avoided all books like the plague.  I have many a deserted book that I just couldn’t finish because I couldn’t handle it.  One book I did pick up, and the recommendation of my group of angel mom friends was Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother.  I am still working on it, as I can only read small portions before I am dripping in tears, but so far it has been a life saver.

Up next…days 7-11…only a few days late. :-)

451 Long Days Without You…and Captue your Grief 2014

My dearest Baby Man,

I counted today how many days I had to live without you.  I was astounded to find that I had lived for 451 days without you in my arms.  I spent all 451 of those days with you in my heart and on my mind every second of every day.  My dearest little nugget, I miss you like the sky misses the sun.  Until we meet again my sweet cheeks, keep our spots warm for us.  We love you.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

This year, I will be participating in Capture Your Grief, a photo journal of sorts that CarlyMarie (famous in the baby loss world) puts on every year.  Last year, I didn’t quite have the gumption in me to complete the tasks, but this year I am going to give it the good old college try.  Today, October 1st was to take a picture of the sunrise. While I was up early enough to capture a picture of a sunrise, I decided not to.  Instead, as I drove to my mother’s house out in the country, I thought about my sweet little man, and how I was so proud of all the decisions I made regarding his life.  I also thought about my desire for a rainbow baby.  I was ready to be a mom before, and I am more than ready to be a mom again.

For more information, please visit http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/2014/09/capture-your-grief-2014.html.  I take no credit for any of her artwork, nor anything she puts on her website or social media.  She has been an immense help to me over the last year, and  I highly recommend visiting her sites.

Thanks for reading.

It’s About Time…

I bet you thought this was going to be my announcement of a pregnancy didn’t you?  We aren’t quite there yet, but I finally have some answers as to why I’ve been having fertility problems. 

I met with a reproductive endocrinologist who, bless her heart, actually listened to me when I told her I was concerned about my thyroid continuously showing up high.  It was always borderline high, so just enough for someone to ignore it, but also just enough to be causing some problems. 

I am 25 years old and I will be starting Levothyroxine tomorrow morning.  It is likely a medicine I will have to be on for the rest of my life.  I am okay with this. 

Hopefully this medicine, as well as my new diet and exercise regimen (I lost 2 pounds in 1 week!) will help me get my rainbow.  If nothing happens by the first of the year, we will move onto medicine again. 

Wish me Luck!!!

365 Days as a Childless Mother…

365 days ago, at around 2:30 in the morning, I wake up to my phone ringing loudly.  Much to my dismay, “NICU” shows up on the screen, with a number I to this day still have memorized.  It was a neonatologist telling me that my sweet son was back on 100% oxygen, having trouble keeping his blood pressure up, and that she was concerned.  This wasn’t the first time this happened in his brief 6 days of life, because no lung development generally means breathing problems.  Jerry and I were going to go back to bed and just have an earlier start, but my mother’s intuition kicked in and I knew my little guy needed his Momma. 

I still remember packing up our shower supplies in the duffel bag I kept packed so I could grab it and run.  I still remember the long, silent car ride to Waukesha Memorial Hospital.  I still remembering checking in the emergency room, and taking the elevator ride to the NICU.  I remember walking the an all dark NICU and seeing doctors and nurses working diligently on my son.  I knew it my heart of hearts that it was time to say goodbye.  I didn’t want it to be time, but I knew that my son would never make it home. 

One final chest x-ray revealed the same pneumothorax, and zero lung development.  At this time I was told that it was the nature of his illness and we had to make a decision.  We had always promised we would not let our little guy live on machines, so at 6:00 in the morning, I watched as the same respiratory therapist who put my son on a ventilator, remove him from it.  At 6:29 that morning, a stethoscope was placed on his tiny chest and his passing was confirmed.  I didn’t think it was possible to cry as hard and I did, and still do as I write this. 

Today marks my first year as a childless mother.  It has been the hardest year of my whole life.  I still remember kissing my son’s tiny head of blonde curls one last time before he was taken from me.  I still remember the utter despair I felt the first day without him in my life.  I remember having to find a funeral home, and buy and urn…all things I thought I wouldn’t have to do at 24 years old.

Today also marks my amazing husband’s 27th birthday.  It saddens me that our son passed on his daddy’s birthday, but while I lost my son, I celebrate the life of both my husband and my little guy.  Rest in Peace Charles.  365 days seems so long to be without you in my arms.  You’ll forever be in my heart little guy.  I look forward to the day we meet again.  We love you! 

 

054            131

 

Happy First Birthday my Tiny Man!!!

Happy First Birthday In Heaven Charles!

I decided that every year of what would have been your life, I am going to try and write a letter to you Charles.  Here is your first birthday letter!

 Hey Baby,

Happy First Birthday!!!  I  miss you a lot today.  Your first birthday should have been today.  When you were inside me, Daddy and I always thought about what themed party you would get.  Well since we planned to have a car themed nursery for you, we would have had a car themed party too, complete with your own racing suit! I would have liked to have a cake smash for you too at your party little man.  It would have been so much fun! 

 Now, since you were 11 weeks early, I think you would have been behind on a few things, so maybe you wouldn’t be walking yet, but I’m sure you would have been cruising around in your own way.  I also think you would have figured out how to communicate with me when you needed things.  You were a good little guy, and I know we would have reached all of our milestones eventually. 

 It’s been a rough year without you Charles.  Mommy and Daddy have missed you so much.  It was so hard to go on with life after fewer and fewer people wanted to reminisce with Daddy and I about how amazing you were.  Don’t worry though, Daddy and I talk about what you would have been like every single day before we fall asleep, and when we wake up.  Every night before bed we kiss your little cube and tell you how much we love you.  You are never far from our thoughts. 

 Happy First Birthday in Heaven baby man.  I hope Great Grandpa Charles is celebrating with you.  Maybe someone got you a little race suit like Daddy and I wanted, and maybe you can have a cake smash in Heaven.  Daddy and I are eating cupcakes today in your honor. 

 I miss you sweetie, and I love you bigger than the whole big blue sky.  Daddy says he loves you and misses you too.  Rest in Peace nugget.

 Love, Mommy

 

nugget

My first photo of my sweet baby man.