Friday, July 31, 2009

The Secret Garden Meeting


The Secret Garden Meeting is a wonderful blog for women who have lost children. It asks them about their experiences and then allows them to post and read about one another's experience. This is my experience- July.


How do you see/or imagine your babies now that you don't have them with you?


My sweet Andrew.

I close my eyes and I picture him at five.
I dream about what his laughter would sound like next to his twin.
I wonder if his hair would be curly and thick like his brothers' or thin and straight like his sister.
I wonder what his favorite ice cream flavor would be.

To me he is five. He has grown along with the little boy that shared a space with him for the first 39 weeks of his life. In my mind he has grown and watched us- watched us as we've dreamed about him- whispered about him- loved him- and wondered.

He's five.


Our Sweet Baby E.

Perhaps frozen in time as a baby.
Taken away from us so soon.
Too soon.
Was it only 10 weeks?
And yet I had seen that heartbeat three times- fallen so in love.

It was almost a year ago that we lost our little dream- who would be four months old now.
Are you our forever baby?
Or will you grow too? Like your angel brother?

I guess only the future will answer that.


How did the loss of your babies affect your choices/ decisions in subsequent pregnancies?
I found myself pregnant so soon.
Just 6 months after we lost Andrew.
I was so scared. So scared to lose another baby.
Andrew was so pink, so beautiful-
But that cord was so long-
And I would think of his twin- also wrapped in so much cord-
One more week?
He wouldn't have made it either?
That cord.
And so as the weeks went by I shuddered at every kick- every sommersault and I wondered about that cord.
I dreamed about it.
As the weeks went by I wanted nothing but to get her out of my body-
Safe into my arms-
Even if it meant early-
Even if it meant having her attached to machines.
I just wanted her to come home. To live with us.
To live.
I wanted her just like I wanted her brothers.
She was born at 37 weeks after an amnio determined it was safe.
Her younger brother was born the same way.
The baby I carry will do the same.
But I have changed.
The girl who was so happily pregnant with twins is no longer there.
When I carried our boys I was so happy- so carefree- the cribs set up- the clothes washed and folded in the nursury. Two cribs and the chair...
I came home changed.
One crib...
and the chair...
The night before I delivered my daughter, I called my mother. I told her where the bassinet was. I told her where the bins of baby clothes were and I told her she could wash the appropriate things IF the baby came home.
There was no planning.
No decorating.
No excitement.
I couldn't do it again.
I wasn't strong enough.
We did nothing to prepare for her.
We did nothing to prepare for her younger brother.
We will do nothing for this baby.
Except pray.
Pray for a healthy baby to live not only in our hearts, but in our home.
Thank you for coming to the Secret Garden Meeting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Kindness of Others

There are people out there who make a difference.
There are people out there who have turned their sorrow into comfort.
Comfort for others.

When I first went to support group meetings, I met a woman who had lost many children and I remember that she was leaving the state to do mission work over seas. I remember her showing me that she and some of the other moms had bought 'real' tissue (not the sandpaper, hospital variety) for families who lost a baby. While I had probably dried my tears with those donations, I had no idea. I remember being touched and thinking that small act- just felt so big to me. So huge that someone would look at that little detail... Remember that detail, and I would benefit from it.

I have met others. Other families who have donated teddy bears, hand-made blankets and hats, CDs with songs, and notes letting new families know that they aren't alone. They aren't alone and they don't have to be. This is a family of sorts- more than a 'secret society' that I wrote about in a previous post. A family- in time of comfort, in time of sorrow. And that family extends past your town, your state, and even your country.

Today I went to the mail and found a package waiting for me from Deborah. Deborah found my blogs and left me a message. What a simple act- a reaching out- a caring simple act! Deborah made this especially for me, for moms like me, for families like mine, to dry our tears. To dry the tears of those who wonder if the tears will ever stop falling.

I think about the kindness, I think about care, and my eyes swell.
My heart swells.
The kindness of others.

If you are interested in learning more about Deborah- I have added a button for you to go directly to her site.

Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your inspiration. I know that many have turned their sorrow into strength- strength for others.

If you've done something and want to share your ideas here, please do. Around the world people are suffering, but people are drying their tears, or perhaps working as they fall to help others!

May God bless you all in your strength- and in your kindness.
You are an inspiration to others!
You are an inspiration to me!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A New Day!

This blog is so different from my other. It's my thoughts of the day- A peak into my mind- My moments where I pause, reflect, and think about life and how often my biggest challenges have brought me the most happiness. For perhaps without the pain I wouldn't truly appreciate (at least to the extent I do) the true joy of motherhood- the blessings of life- the lessons in each new day.

I am always so touched to read the comments that people leave here and to see followers on this blog. I love looking into your journeys and learning from you as well. Thank you all for the wonderful support and prayers and comments you left about my Nan- and on all my posts- I have new news to report! It's a new day!

Monday night when I left her, I felt such despair. I cried and cried and wondered why? It felt as if we should have some type of reprieve from sadness! A break! And for some reason looking into the eyes of someone I know so well and those familiar eyes not recognize me was something I hadn't experienced. I wondered secretly if it would happen to me. My mind is constantly moving, talking, playing with words and phrases in my head... is this my future too? To think that one day my children could look into my eyes and I not know them- not find the words? Well there are no words for that.

But-
Tuesday's visit was a little better.
Wednesday's vist the kids were there and there was laughter.
Today felt normal and all I could do was look to the heavens and whisper- Thank you! Thank you for today- Thank you for giving her back to us today!

I know that this will be a long journey but if there is one thing that Andrew's life has taught me it's to take each day, each hour, each moment and appreciate what you have. I will live in the now- and never wish it away.

The truth is, I can't imagine my life with a living Andrew in it now. I have been writing him now for five years in his journals. I feel like he knows the deepest corners of my soul and has helped me to discover myself, to unpack the person that I am. A best friend of sorts. I feel him and I know he's safe. I know he's where he's meant to be, and that I am where I am meant to be. I don't think I would have examined my life like I have had he not been in it, and had he not left it.

I remember, perhaps it was that first year, telling my mother. You know, I don't think that other moms love their children like I love Jonasen. She smiled. Of course every mom loves their child with all their heart and all their soul. What I said came out without much reflection. I think about that statement and I know what I meant, but the words failed me and therefore didn't quite convey what I was feeling.

What I probably meant was- I don't think that other moms perhaps appreciate those little things as much as I.
A screaming baby...
A pouting child...
A sassy daughter...

I don't think I would have appreciated those things either, but this journey has helped me to reflect upon such things so very much that I've changed myself- trained myself.

When my daughter had a touch (though it felt like more than a 'touch') of colic and would cry and cry and cry and I would pace the floors with her, screaming in my ear. I would walk and rub her back and say to her out loud. "It's o.k. sweetie- you are o.k.- you are loved- I know what it's like to not have a screaming baby- I will outlast you- Your screams are a blessing to me- These screams are a blessing."

I know that as I spoke those words they were for me.
To allow me to keep my patience, to appreciate the hard times, because it is the hard times that have taught me the most.

The hard times have helped me to appreciate the new days of 'normal'.
The days that the screams aren't there.
The days that we can drive all the way home without me having to pull over because of a whining child in the back seat.
The days that she looks into my eyes and I know she remembers.
I know she loves me.
I know that she knows how I love her.
It was a new day.
Thank you for your prayers all! You are a blessing to me!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm Sad

I'm sad.
And since I cannot drink a glass of red wine in my current state (pregnancy- if you've been following this you knew about that- but if not... now you do...), I am doing the next best thing that usually makes me feel better...
Writing.
I'm praying this will work.
This is not about the babies that I'm missing, but it is about a grief that I am feeling and the odd thing is, it's for someone who is still alive.

Those who know me in 'real' life, know the deep connection I have with my grandparents. Perhaps it is because I (their first grandchild) was born shortly after their 27 year old son was killed suddenly in an accident (on his father's birthday) and I gave them hope. Perhaps it is because they only had two children and my brother and I were their only grandchildren so they poured themselves into our lives. Or Perhaps it is because they were/are just amazing people that I treasure. I miss the long talks and letters from my grandpa...

I never cry when I blog, but right now I can feel a sting of tears as I think of how I wish he was here- and I wonder... would things be different?

My Grandpa Jonasen passed away shortly after he moved to our town from out of state. They actually moved to the end of our street where there is an active independent living community. So close we could walk, and see them a few times a week. He moved to be closer to us, so that we could take care of his beloved, my Nana. I'm sure he sensed it then. I know he did. She was beginning to forget things.

And we've joked about it. I still can hear her laugh. (Gosh I long to hear her laugh- the kind of laugh that makes you smile.) How she can't remember things- or that she's forgetful. We could tease her about it, she would tease herself. Such fun she was!

Why am I talking about her in past tense?

On the fourth of July my Nan fell and broke her hip. I recognize that these things happen to people in their 90s, but not her. She's in amazing shape! She walked in a parade that morning and only started getting some grey hairs in her 80s. Doctors do a double-take when they compare her age with what they see before them... On her 90th birthday she even beat me in golf! (So I'm not that good- but she did squeak by me with a 52 on 9!)

She was walking down to the lake, getting a better look at the great grand-kids. My kids- who she often is seen crawling on the floor with. My kids who were playing ball in the yard at my parents'. She'd done it countless times before, walked down those stairs... but this time she wasn't paying attention. She stepped off to the side and fell.

I had no idea then how that simple step would change things.
I had no idea then how angry I would be at myself for not watching closer and being there for her.

Since that time she has had the doctors replace her hip. She is learning to use it again and the doctors tell my mom that she is doing well. She took 70 steps today!

Only she doesn't remember it.

And today she didn't remember me.

When I went to visit her she looked at me and smiled. I said, "Hi Nan, it's me Laura!" (And no- her eyes are fine, but I knew from talking with my mom earlier that she had a hard time remembering me.) My mom was there too. (She always is- and my dad and I take turns so she can have moments away.)

My Nan never said that she didn't remember me... but I could tell in her eyes that something
was different. Something was gone and I wanted to break down right there and wrap my arms around her and tell her NO! Please God NO!- Don't leave me! Don't leave us this way!

I have been so blessed by her and my Grandpa Jonasen. So much so that while we planned to name our first born son after them, we named our first LIVING son after them. The Jonasen name needed to live on- their spirit needed to live on, not only as it does in us, but in name too.

I have been so blessed to have grandparents live into their 90s on both sides of my family- and for the most part- healthy. But with that blessing, also comes this. Unlike the pain of losing a child, this is a pain that you expect. You expect to outlive your grandparents. But right now I can't seem to bear the thought of losing her like this. I can't bear the thought of her losing us before she's actually gone...

So I'm praying for a few things tonight...
A sense of calm after my tears (which happens with red wine and seems to be subsiding through my writing) and the second is an odd thing and I feel guilty writing it, but I already talked to God about it and since He knows the truth of my heart, and I spoke it aloud (in the privacy of my car), I might as well write it here.

I pray for the end of suffering.
The end of suffering for an amazing woman who is in physical pain from trying to learn to use her hip again.
The end of suffereing for an amazing woman who by just looking into her eyes you can tell is pained that she can't remember- can't recall things that she knows she should.
The end of suffering for my mom who doesn't know what to do or where to go next with the care of her mother.
And I pray for what I always do, in all my trials, for all my friends...
I pray for clarity.

Thanks for being my red-wine tonight blog world... I'm feeling a bit of an exhale and looking forward to a brighter tomorrow...
I hope.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Perhaps... The CRAZY Me...

I remember those early days-
Though perhaps they weren't so early-
The days I went crazy-
Or at least I thought I was...

I remember shopping for a new jacket. I hadn't yet lost all of my pregnancy weight and needed something bigger. I was nursing, but at the time had a few hours between feedings so was able to escape to the mall.

It was so odd. Going out alone. Without my son. I remember finding a jacket and bringing it to the nice unsuspecting cashier. I remember making small talk with her.
"I needed to buy a new jacket because I had just had twins a few months ago six pounds and six pounds eleven ounces... and the weight wasn't coming off as quickly as I'd hoped."
"Oh how wonderful, what did you have?"
"I had two boys. But one DIED!"

I remember the look on her face.
She needed to escape.
She was at a loss for words.
And yet I left her in her discomfort.
I didn't break the silence.
It felt oddly comforting to share my sorrow with this complete unknowing stranger.

She said how sorry she was. I thanked her and took my purchase and went to my car.

I remember sitting in my car feeling horrible. I don't know why I did that. I don't know why I had to make that poor woman feel so badly albeit just for a moment- but I did. I should have gone in- apologized... but I didn't. I was crazy and I knew it.

The sad thing was, I did it again, and again.

Returning shower gifts-
I couldn't wait for them to ask me why I was returning something.
So I could tell them-
See that look on their face-
Shock-
Horror-
MY BABY DIED!

And again after I would feel so badly. I knew something was wrong with me. This couldn't be normal- and I knew that I couldn't keep doing this. It wasn't right. It wasn't ME!

I saw a counselor.

I told her my story.
I told her how I was going 'crazy'-
That I kept imposing my pain on others-
That it felt good to see them squirm, search for the right thing- anything- to say- to get out of that uncomfortable moment I had drawn them into.

Telling my story I could see their faces- how they wanted to run- get out of it- get away from me and the moment I had put them in- but they couldn't.

She gave me some advice that I still share. It made sense to me.

She said that having a baby was a lot of work. Your body goes through changes- Your hormones go through changes- You give up your body- You share it. It's work- It's tough.

She said that though people don't say it, they know that you 'did that'- that you went through a lot to get to that moment. To have that little baby you push in the stroller. While they don't always say it, seeing you as 'a mom'- well... they know.

Perhaps that is where you are stuck. Perhaps you went through all this work, carrying two, loving two and perhaps you want the world to see it. People see you as a new mom but they don't see the true picture- the real picture- the picture that YOU see. Perhaps that is why you feel the need to tell them.

Perhaps she was right.

I think that she was right.

That was the last time I saw her, but she taught me something about myself. Something that I needed to understand- that I needed to hear from someone else. A stranger. Her.

What I had done was WORK- Yes it was physical- but more importantly what I went through emotionally was even more WORK- To hear her say that- Her acknowledgement- Her words, in the way she did- That was enough.

Perhaps I didn't need to tell everyone.
At least not in the shocking way I was.

Perhaps I could share him differently.
Perhaps I could let them off the hook.
Rescue them from me.
Perhaps I learned something from that counselor.
Perhaps.

That session was worth every penny. It saved many people from the 'crazy' me. It saved ME from the crazy ME.

Perhaps you have had moments?
Moments of crazy too?
Perhaps?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Labor

If you are familiar with my story you may be wondering, "What does she know of labor?"

I missed that.
I wanted that.
But it was taken from me.

Once it was confirmed that Andrew was gone, they needed to get my babies out.
See what was happening.
What went wrong.

There was no labor.

There were doctors.
There were shots.
There was a blur.

There was no labor.

And because of it there was no labor for my daughter, no labor for my son, there will be no labor for me come October.

But I did labor.
My labor was a labor that perhaps was much more painful than that of delivering a baby.

My heart labored when he took that piece of it with him.
My body labored healing from the pains of a c-section that happened so very fast.
My mind labored for years wondering why? why? why?

I had a physical ache. A physical pain. A physical labor on this journey of love.
My labor continues. It ebbs and flows. Perhaps like contractions, though again I have no knowledge of what that feels like.
Another experience
Taken from me.

To remember him.
To love him.
To share him.
My labor.
My labor of love.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Whatifs

It was like that Shel Silverstein poem.

As if in the night the "Whatifs" would crawl into my ear.
Late at night...

Whatif I had gone in a day earlier?
Whatif I had complained and asked to be induced?
Whatif I had done something- anything- to start labor?

Would he be here?

The Whatifs were horrible and they consumed me. I wished I could somehow turn back time- even if just a day- just a few hours...

But I couldn't. I couldn't turn back time. I couldn't change things.

And so they came,
usually at night.
My Whatifs.

They held me captive and I wondered if I'd ever escape their whispers.

I'd seen other cases too.
So many of the Secret Society members.
So many talking of the Whatifs- The control they had over them was heartwrenching.
It was tragic.

They talked about their Whatifs
Even when the cord had taken them-
Their placentae had failed them-
Their babies were sick-
Their babies were born too early-
Too late-

Whatif?
Whatif?

But IF you could have. You would have.
IF you could have them here-
They would be here.
There are no Whatifs about that!

One night they came to my ear
and instead of listening, I spoke.

Whatif he were here?
Would my daughter be?

Whatif he were here?
Would my younger son be?

Whatif?

And in that moment I said goodbye to the Whatifs.

No longer will I allow you to come-
come and whisper and take over my nights-

No longer will I be consumed by what I could have done-
or could have not done-

And though I've said goodbye to the Whatifs-
Sometimes I can still hear them-
And their whispers
And I still sometimes wonder...
Whatif?