Monday, August 31, 2009

Sweet Recognitions



I want to thank anyone who has read this blog, who has followed, who has commented, who has shared.

I was recently 'tagged' in the 'Honest Scrap' award by two angel Mamas... Heather at http://twoinheavenoneonearth.blogspot.com/

and Isla's mommy at http://toobeautifulforthisearth.blogspot.com/

Someone also nominated me at the Secret Garden Meeting which was also so very nice so to that anonymous person- Thank you! Your feedback and comments have meant the world to me- especially the ones praying for Baby F. What an amazing 'blogging' family I have.

This award was to write ten honest things about myself. Because some of those things contain joys about my living children, I've decided to post them on the blog where I write about my family. I do not like to talk about them here as the last thing I wanted to hear about in my 'earlier loss days' was someone's joy of motherhood.

So if you're interested... go here... http://dorandays.blogspot.com/2009/08/its-honest-scrap.html

And if you're not... that's okay too. I've been there. Sending you all peace and hugs- thanks for reading and thanks for writing! If you don't have a blog- start!

Hugs-

Laura

Saturday, August 29, 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- August.

If you created a bedroom for your baby tell us what it was like. Did you have it ready for them before they were born?If so how did you cope coming home to it without your baby?Did you pack it all away?What is your baby's room now?If you lost your baby after they had come home what is it like going into there room now?If you are trying to conceive again, or are pregnant again how do you feel about setting up another room before your baby is born?

The bedroom.
Yellow walls- green bedding- a dresser full of clothes- a shelf full of books- two cribs- and the chair.

Yes it was ready- it had been ready for weeks.
The days passed, and yet they didn't come.
But the room was ready.
So very ready for two little babies.

But then they came.
One week late.
They came on September 15, 2003.
They came- But one left.

Only one baby would sleep in that room.

In the hospital my father and brother asked me. What did I want...
And I wanted it gone.

I didn't want to see the crib-
the empty crib-
I thought it would haunt me to see it there.
But it wasn't the crib-
Its absence in the room...
It was the chair.

The chair was what broke my heart.
I wrote of it here.

The chair.

And we have been blessed.
We have had others-
But they have had no room.
No clean clothes in a dresser-
No crib-
No chair.

Just prayers.
Prayers that soon, we would build another room- full of love- hope- and dreams.
Dreams that wouldn't be taken away.
My daughter was born 15 months after my heart broke, but if you came to our house and looked around, you would have no idea that someone else was expected to come to our home.
Because I didn't expect it.
I couldn't.

The pain of seeing things gone.
Of knowing a baby wouldn't sleep there-
Wear those clothes-
Be read to in that chair-
Was too much.
And too fresh.

And so went the instructions: IF the baby comes, please take out the appropriate clothes from the bins in the basement. Please find the car seat and the bassinet. IF...
IF...

And so now- six years later- a baby is expected to come home in October.
October 9th.

But you wouldn't know it by walking in our home.
But perhaps you would feel the prayers- the love- the hopes- the dreams-
But you won't see things.
But there are things in the basement.
If.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Rain

I have had nights like this.
Nights when my mind won't stop.
And I don't know what it's saying- but it just won't rest.
On nights like these I would get out my journal-
And the words would come- without my choosing which direction they would go.

Nights like this come when I hear about the rain.
Like when she died of cancer- at 10.
So full of grace, and strength and beauty
And my mind wouldn't stop.
But the words came without my knowing.
Maddison.
And then I'd feel a peace come over me- flow over me.
But- oh the rain.

Nights like this, when we lived through our rain.
A mother diagnosed with cancer.
A son we held and kissed as we said goodbye forever.
A father diagnosed with cancer- taken before the year was out.
Our rain.
And I wrote and wrote and wrote.
The peace would come and flow, but the rain would fall- staining the pages I wrote upon.
Oh the rain.

It's raining tonight.
Not outside my window-
but inside my mind.

I have been thinking about her.
The diagnosis-
The thoughts-
The feelings-
And I don't know.
My words- stuck.

And then I learned of more rain.
More rain for her family.
Their 8 year old.
Gone.
Their rain.
And I'm so sorry.
So very, very sorry.

There is no direction- no course-
A meandering-
Thoughts-
Feelings-
Sorrow.

I'm praying for the rain to stop.
For her rain to stop.
For your rain to stop.

For peace to flow again.
God, let it flow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Butterflies...

When I first lost Andrew, I wrote his name everywhere-
I signed his name to every card I sent (and I sent a lot)

But as time went by, things changed. Not my love for Andrew... but something changed in me...

I thought about my Nan. Who lost her son in a car accident when he was 27 years old. She didn't sign his name to cards- Would I still be signing Andrew's name at 27 years? And if not... when would I stop?

At the time, I was writing my living children's' names to cards- since they were too small to print...

I felt myself in an odd place. I didn't know how I felt, or what I wanted to do-
I know this is so different for bereaved moms- and I don't think that there is a right or a wrong to this- but I also knew I had to find what felt 'right' for me.

I didn't know how I wanted to remember Andrew- but I also knew I couldn't forget him-

And then I thought of the butterfly.

I saw them so regularly it seemed and they always made me think of Andrew.

Butterflies-
so beautiful-
And yet they always, ALWAYS flew away too soon...
Much like he did...

So I found myself being drawn to butterflies and put them everywhere-
in my garden-
in my children's' rooms-
in my jewelry-

And my friends knew about the butterflies-
Gifts-
Notebooks with butterflies-
Clips to hang in my classroom of butterflies-
And when I lost Baby E, a beautiful plant and flowers- complete with two butterflies.

And so while I still say his name-
I now rarely print it in cards-
But I do draw two butterflies-
For my two babies 'who flew away too soon...'

Thank you Bree for these beautiful butterflies- What a treat it was to get them- and thank you for the parade of Butterflies you have created for other bereaved moms- for while our children flew away too soon- the love we feel from others, like you, has remained...

To visit Ella's parade of butterflies, click here... http://butterflybaby15.blogspot.com/2009/06/ellas-parade-of-butterflies.html

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Strength- in the form of a little boy-

I remember when they arrived.
I didn't think I'd really ever get them...

The hospital stay was really such a blur-
So many choices given-
Choices made-
In a moment.

What would you like to do with his body?

I don't know? What are my choices? I've never done this before... I just came here to have a baby not to lose one...

Choices.
Burial, Cremation, Donation...

What is 'Donation'?

You can send your baby to the University of Michigan. There a doctor will perform an autopsy- in hopes to learn more about stillbirth- to further the knowledge of perinatal loss- He would be with one doctor, not a class. The doctor would be in contact with you. Let you know. That is one choice you have.

Helping others learn more? Perhaps preventing another mom of this heart-ache?

"Yes. I'd like that- that beautiful body is his container. It's not him. I like his life having a purpose- a help to others. Yes. Yes. I'd like that."

I signed on the dotted line knowing that after the autopsy he would be cremated but it was not custom to receive his ashes. But I was o.k. with that... Wasn't I???

Months later I began to panic.
I needed those ashes.
What had I done?
A container yes- but that precious beautiful body held his soul.
I held him. I loved him.
What had I done????

And then- as if God had answered my prayers I got the letter.
It had changed... IF families wanted them, they could get their loved-one's ashes back- but they needed to know by a certain date. Before burial.

I made calls! YES I WANT THEM!
I sent emails! YES I WANT THEM!
I faxed faxes! YES I WANT THEM!

I knew they would come- and I waited and waited and waited...

And then came the package.
So very small.
And I knew what it was.
I opened it up and looked at what was left. Fingered its contents. My six pound eleven ounce baby. So full of life inside of me- I could now hold in one hand- and I fell. My legs gave out on me. I fell to the floor in uncontrollable sobs. My baby! My God! My God- Why have you forsaken me? The pain was unbearable and I felt in the moment- knew in that moment that I could not get up alone. I still remember that floor- the shaking- the pain.
The pain.
I remember that moment as if it were yesterday. Though as I write these words- 5 years have gone by. Five years.
And yet I will never forget it.

For while on that floor, my God sent me strength- which came in the form of a little boy- crawling to his mom- watching his mom as she wept.
Wept so much for his brother- for not being able to keep him here. Not being able to keep him safe. Keep his spirit here. In that beautiful container. Safe.

My God sent me strength- which came in the form of a little boy-
crawling to his mom- resting his head upon hers.
Comfort.
Strength.
Breath.

He watched me as I wept. And I hope he doesn't remember the pain in my eyes. The hurt in my soul. I don't think he does. For he was sent to me- and he came- and in that moment he saved me- saved the pieces of my already shattered heart.

It's moments like this- I am so very grateful to my God. My Comfort. My Strength.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Permission- The Littlest Angels

Like so many moms who have lost babies, I've tried to find the reason- the why...

In Andrew's life and loss I have learned so much over the years. I have met women at support group meetings and felt like for a moment perhaps I gave them hope- that there was a light at the end of the tunnel- I got it- I understood- I knew they would begin to breathe again- to laugh- to smile- I could relate to the moms who had stillbirths- who had to kiss their babies goodbye because our stories seemed to follow a similar path a similar story-line...

At the meetings I also met moms who had miscarried and while I felt so sad for them, it wasn't something that I truly understood because I hadn't been there- I hadn't stood in their shoes. I had been blessed not to struggle with fertility and in general it was later in my pregnancies that I started to worry- started to wonder- Would I be bringing this baby home? -Kissing her goodbye?

But that changed.
That changed on September 9th of last year when I did stand in their shoes. I wore them. The shoes of the mom who had an early loss- a loss that was nothing more than a 'miscarriage'- everyone has them- A blip on the ultrasound- A peanut-

Why did God take our Baby E from us? Why?

Perhaps to give me a new understanding- a voice of what it was like to share with 'later loss' mamas who while incredibly sympathetic couldn't quite understand to the fullest why an early loss mama would come to such meetings. Would cry like they do- Would ache so- They hadn't had to hand over their babies...
A miscarriage?
Everyone has them.

And so when I lost our Baby E- I grieved. So much like I did when I lost Andrew- but Andrew had a face, had a name, had a body I could hold and the sweetest face that when it was time I was able to kiss goodbye forever. I saw him. And others 'saw' him too as I grew.
With Andrew I grieved for the future- a lifetime of dreams never to be had...

And likewise with Baby E- I grieved- but in addition to the future- a lifetime of dreams never to be had...

I grieved a face I would never see, a name (boy? girl?), a body to hold, and a sweet face to kiss goodbye. I grieved that others did not get used to my attachment to the baby because of my expanding waistline, I grieved because others didn't and because I was expected to 'move on' so much sooner than with Andrew- Returning to my classroom just a few days after my surgery to remove what was left of my baby- my baby's insufficient home.
So many didn't even know- my students and their parents thinking perhaps I had had my appendix out...
Where with Andrew- the school knew- the community knew- They knew about him.

I know that the lessons to be learned from our Baby E are many- and I know that in time I will find purpose revealed to me as to 'why'- but being able to share Baby E's story- to write- to help others understand how I felt has been reason. Reason enough to change someone- for when they hear about miscarriage- perhaps they won't shrug it off with a "Everyone has them." but will reply with sympathy for lost dreams, a lost future, a lost baby...

Kerri T., I was so touched by your words and I thank you for commenting and having the courage too. I've been thinking of you non-stop since reading your comment- and searching for words to describe the pain of a loss so early in pregnancy- but we all know that your dreams begin before you even see those two lines...
But when you see 'positive' it gives you permission to dream, permission to love, permission to hope. Please give yourself permission to grieve, permission to remember, permission to smile again.

So today I'm thinking of all the moms with the littlest angels, like my Baby E, Kerri's babes and the Bucki Boys and so very many, many others and thanking God for you. Thank you for reading my words and commenting, allowing me to share my story and for sharing your stories with me- and with others-
And to quote a famous author- so very wise who perhaps said it best...
Remember my friends,

"A person's a person
-no matter how small." -Dr Seuss

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Odd... And Yet...

It's an odd feeling.
Which is probably why so many people can't relate.

It's odd.
That your home can feel so empty from his absence- and yet he was never really there.
That your car looked so strange without his car seat-and yet he never sat there.
Odd.

I can't find the words to explain it- but my guess is that those who haven't had their babies live in their arms have felt it too- at some point- the emptiness- the feeling of absence so strong for someone who was never really 'present' in your home.

It's an odd feeling.

While they were growing inside of me, I didn't know they were boys.

And yet when they were pulled from my body and I learned they were boys... my dreams came- like a flood- a flash before my eyes of what could have been.

I had them as best friends.
Playing T-ball at 6-
Driving together at 16-
Best men in each others' weddings.

And yet when I knew they were boys- I knew he was gone.
And yet I still had all those dreams- in a moment-
And yet they were gone- why did they come to me? The dreams?
Odd.

How is it that you have no idea of the dreams that you had until they are unfolded before you- in their own time- in their own way. Some of them were so sudden- in the absence of his cry- that night as I sat in my hospital bed with just one baby- and yet others have unfolded as the time has passed- as the world began to spin again.

He must have been 2 and I was washing his little feet and I suddenly thought- I wonder if Andrew's feet would have been like these.
Odd.

When he was four he laughed jumping off the dock and I suddenly thought- I wonder what his laughter would sound against his brother's.
Odd.

And will I think about it at T-ball as I did that night?
Will I think about it as he drives for the first time?
His Wedding?
Or will they continue to unfold at the oddest of times, when he skirts into my thoughts for a moment- a little nudge- mom don't forget- I'm here.

But life goes on- and yet I don't forget- these little thoughts-
Peaceful- So peaceful to me now-
And yet so odd-

But comforting.
They won't be on the ball fields, or at weddings and yet somehow he's always there- in the background waiting to be seen- or heard- by me.
Quiet.
He's there-
in me.

Odd...
And yet so my normal.