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. :-)

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!!!