What Do You Do When There Might Never be a Rainbow…?

Premature Ovarian Failure…three little words that have determined my fate for me.

Three little words that say I most likely cannot get pregnant without IVF or donor eggs, none of which I can afford.

Three little words that have made sure my biggest dream since I was young will not be coming true.

What do I do without a rainbow?  That’s what you are supposed to do.  Your baby dies, so you try again.  It’s called a rainbow baby for a reason…even after the storm passes, you find happiness.

I always had this plan of having three children…preferably two boys and finally one little girl.  I dreamed of Jerry teaching our boys to love cars like he does while my little diva and I practice the fine art of shopping and nail salon visits.  I always envisioned our life filled with a messy house and lots of little giggles and laughs.  It was supposed to be perfect.

Then, my first born son died.  Then, after trying for nearly two years, I find that while I may go into a type of “remission” I most likely will not be able to have any more children.

What do you do when there might not be a rainbow after your storm.  Sure, I’ll have a good life with Jerry, but it will be without the little giggles and smiles I so hoped to have around me…

If you are interested, read More about POF here.

Some Would Say…

Some would say I never knew you…how could you possibly know someone after just 6 days?  Some people would say “Well, thankfully you didn’t have a whole life with him.”

But I did know you.

I knew that you didn’t like being hooked up the monitors while I was pregnant.  I knew that you didn’t like when I laid on my sides, I knew that even though I couldn’t feel you move, you were most active at night.

I knew that after you were born, you loved hearing your Daddy’s voice.  Your heart rate would always go up when he was talking to you.  I knew that you loved your formula, even though you didn’t get it often.  I also knew that you were a night owl, keeping the nurses busy when the other babies were sleeping.  I knew you didn’t like a wet diaper.

I knew that you slept with one tiny leg propped up on the other.  This is the way Mommy sleeps too.  You also slept with one tiny army covering your eyes like your Daddy.

I knew that your hair was probably going to be dark brown.  It started changing color just a few days after you were born.  I think it would’ve been curly too.

Even though I’ll never know your favorite color, your favorite food, your favorite super hero or even your favorite animal, I knew you.  I knew you like nobody else.  I wish we could’ve had an infinite number of years to get to know each other more.  I wish you could’ve known that I love the color pink, my favorite flowers are Gerbera daisies, my favorite animal is a penguin.

Most of all, I hope you knew how much I wanted you, and how much I loved you.  I wanted you more than you’ll ever know. I was so excited the day I found out I was going to be a Mommy.  I hope you know that I would’ve moved Heaven and Earth to see a smile on your tiny face.

I love you Charles, and I did know you.

International Bereaved Mother’s Day 2015

I still remember my first Mother’s Day…2014, just a mere 10 months after my son passed away.  I had to work that day, and since I work with a bunch of women, all of whom are mothers, there was a lot of well wishing going on that day. The one and only time I received a Happy Mother’s Day that day was from a coworker, whose exact words to me were “Oh yeah, Happy Mother’s Day to you too, I guess.”  Now, to this day I’m not sure if it was my Mama heart that was hurting from not having my baby, but that statement bothered me so much.

But she’s right…I’m not really a mom.  Sure, I was pregnant, and delivered a baby, but I don’t know about the sleepless nights, the feedings, temper tantrums, changing diapers, nothing. I’m a mom in my own heart, and mind, but not your typical mom.

That is when I discovered International Bereaved Mother’s Day.  It’s a relatively new thing, it was founded in 2010 as a way for the grieving Mamas of the world to come together and honor their babies, because once you are a mother, for however short of a period of time, you cannot have that title taken from you. This holiday has helped me realize that although I didn’t parent my son in the traditional sense, I am still his mother.  For all 6 days of his life, I didn’t sleep when I was at home, I worried because my little guy was in the NICU.  I was going to have to learn how to change his feeding tube, I was going to start changing diapers when he was stable enough.  I am and will forever be his mommy.

So, to all my fellow angel Mom’s…Happy Mother’s Day.  While our community is together for such sad reasons, I’m happy to be a member of a strong group of women who should be supported each and every day.

1 year, 9 months and 12 days…

Or 651 days, or 15,624 hours.  That’s how long I’ve had to go on living without perhaps the biggest part of me. They say time heals all wounds, but I can assure you, this is a wound that is still as open as it was nearly 2 years ago. 

My baby would be almost 2! I can’t believe it. I wonder what he’d be up to. Perhaps causing trouble, tearing up my house, terrorizing my cat, keeping his Daddy and I up all hours of the night. Oh, how I wish he was here doing all those crazy things. I wonder if his golden blonde hair would’ve turned black like Jerry’s, or if his beautiful eyes would’ve stayed blue. I wonder if he’d be tall and lanky, or a bit more robust. 

That’s the thing about infant loss. We didn’t just lose the baby, we lost the 5 year old we will never get to send to school, we lost the 16 year old we will never get to teach to drive, we lost the man I’ll never get to see married to the the love of his life. I lost a lifetime of hopes and dreams when my precious son had to leave my arms. 

I guess this same idea goes with the painful and heart breaking infertility we are suffering. I’m not just dreaming of a baby, I’m dreaming of a lifetime to create an amazing human being. A little piece of the love Jerry and I have for each other out in the world. 

My sweet Charles, I know you would be simply amazing. Smart, sassy, caring and loving.  A perfect mix of your Dad and I. I miss everything about you. 

My sweet rainbow baby, I have faith that you’ll come when you are ready, and you’ll be as equally amazing as your big brother. I just hope you know that I’m ready for you. Your Dad and I have a lot of love to give, so whenever you’re ready, we’ll be waiting. 

I love you my babies, with all my heart. 

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. :-)