Thursday, December 6, 2012

Remembering Eliza

Beautiful little one with your unique and lovely name. Remembering you, today, sweet girl, and asking you to send love from heaven to your mama, daddy and little sister.

I will light a candle tonight.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Remembering Andrew

Remembering Andrew Steven Wilson today. Of course I never saw him in person, but I know how greatly loved and missed he is through the eyes and heart of his mama. I pray for Brandi, her husband and baby Benjamin today as they mourn such a great, great loss.

I will light a candle tonight for this little soul in heaven.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Empty and Full

Wow it has been such a long time.

I've been trolling around here and keeping up with my regular blogs, but really haven't posted lately. Most days, I tend to have a blog post or two rolling around in my head, but lose it by the time I think about actually sitting down and posting.

I look back on my life since May and simply marvel at how lucky and blessed I am to have my son. Somehow, on an early morning in May, a healthy, beautiful baby was born to me and my husband. Our  second child. Alive and breathing, and well. It takes my breath away when I think about it, how full and happy I feel actually getting to be his mama.

And existing alongside my full and happy heart is an emptiness that will always be there, I'm sure. I still have days where the grief hits me hard, but usually it only stays around for a little while, instead of days at a time. Of course, holidays are the big ones. But in the small moments too, and even sometimes when I see my son sleeping and an image of his sister comes to me. I think they would have looked pretty different with their eyes open. But they look very similar with their eyes closed, and the panic can rise before I even catch it.

I'm so thankful to my daughter for so many things, and they reveal themselves more and more. The whole everything happens for a reason line of thinking is total B.S., but I can still see some good from her death.

With Davey, every small thing is such a wonder and I find myself with a constant sense of gratitude. I can hope I would have been that way if we had lost Georgie, but if I'm being honest with myself, I'm not so sure. I don't take anything for granted with him. I relish each day, and all the experiences, even if it means most of my clothes end up with drool on them at the end of the day and having little baby fingers pulling at my hair.

Don't get me wrong. I'm worn out. Exhausted even, most days. Having a 6 month old and working full time (oh and did I mention I'm studying for another bar exam??) is super tiring. But at the same time that I'm so tired, I'm so happy. I was tired in 2011, too. Tired from grief, from anxiety, from lack of sleep since Georgie left us. Pregnant at the tail end of the year with Davey and completely fried. That's not necessarily a tired that I ever want to return to. The tired I feel now, it's simply wonderful.

Other goings on with us?? Since Davey, Dave took the bar here and got a job as an Asst District Attorney. He couldn't be happier. Life is full of being parents and working, and taking care of the house. I don't have much time for myself, and frankly, it makes me ecstatic. Caring for my child is so much more fulfilling than having hours and hours to myself. In 2011, if I could have rid myself of hours in a day, I would have. After she died, I just had hours and hours staring me in the face, and I could have just crawled in a hole and died myself.

I miss her lately. I feel her void strongly, perhaps even stronger sometimes now that Davey is here. But he also fills our world in a way that pushes the grief out to the edges sometimes, and I am so in love.

How could I have been such a miserable wreck during my pregnancy with him, and somehow he is so sublimely happy and easygoing all the time? It just goes to show, BLMs, don't let the rest of the world tell you to put on a happy face when you're absolutely terrified. It doesn't seem to matter!

Here's a few pics of the last few months. I'm going to try to be more regular about posting. Enjoy!

                            These are obviously in no particular order. This was a particular cheery Sunday
                                                                    morning in October.

 He was only about 4 weeks in this pic. I thought it was funny because he was so upset, then suddenly decided he wanted to yawn and stretch out.
 Ah gone are the days when he naps in the crib/bassinet. It's the swing or nothin', folks.
 Is it just me, or does this paci look absolutely ginormous? Wow he was so tiny!
Thanks to the beautiful bili light box (please God can none of my other children have jaundice?), he lost his umbilical cord approximately 6 days after coming home. He's been an innie ever since.

                                                                Baby feet. <3
                                                     He just couldn't get more perfect.

 Not sure what this look on his face is, but I love it. I laugh every time.
Cuddling with mama the afternoon of his baptism.

 Awkward hair coming in, hair falling out stage. Totally adorable.

 One of his first smiles. He thinks daddy is so funny.
 What's with that face? This kid knows how to contort his face like no other.
The family hanging out on a Friday night. The furbabies in the background.
Snoozing with his Ya Ya.
The meltdown face. Seriously, pick me up, like, RIGHT NOW.

 I dig the tummy time, but I'm not really so good at it yet.
 What??? Daddy passed the bar? Awesome!!

 This is every morning with Davey. Utter happiness. How did I have a kid that is a morning person??
 Hanging with Uncle Hunter.
 Helllooooo Ladies.
 Naked time!
 What's up, mom? Yeah, dad and I are just chillin'.

 I love this face.
 Davey's first Walk to Remember in Dallas!
 That's right. I'm a rainbow baby. Check out my awesome hoodie.
 Wow he loves this thing. And don't even come near him with the rainforest jumperoo. He likes the farm theme.
 Littlest pumpkin. October 2012.
 Bingley and Quatro looking bored.
 Cutest pooh bear ever! Halloween.
Ray of sunshine--a normal moment for Davey.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lately

Lately, between my job, house, husband, and new baby boy, I've been pulled in about 1,000 different directions. Switching from diaper changes to lawyer think is an odd transition. I'm exhausted. I'm bone-tired. It's exhilarating.

I welcome it. I was bone tired last year at this time from grieving, from the constant ache of missing my daughter. Having her little brother here has been healing for me in a way I didn't anticipate. Now focusing on both of them, but with him in my arms, I can still ache for her, but it doesn't ache so bad. I don't feel it as strongly.

My son is 10 weeks old today. He has a social security card and a real, live birth certificate. And somehow by the grace of God, he's still alive. I'm astounded by it. I can't help it. Before him, I only knew the sadness of my child that had died, and it seemed as if that was destined to be my reality. Despite the rarity of these situations, I was convinced it would happen again. So far, it hasn't. So far I've changed countless dirty diapers, fed him countless bottles, given him a bath every night, and am always cleaning spit up from my clothes, and I am so so thankful for this.

One of the few items I have from Georgiana is the hospital blanket she was wrapped in. You know, the ones all the hospitals have, with the little multicolored baby footprints on them? Her little blankie has a small spot of urine from her body after she was wrapped up in it. My guess is that maybe only mamas that have lost will understand this, but there was a time when I would have given up my life to make sure nothing happened to that blanket and the little spot on it. It was a tangible reminder of her, that she existed here in bodily form. That little spot of urine connected me to her, and was, and still is, so so precious to me.

I am ecstatically happy to be able to change any diapers for my now living second child. It all gives me great joy, and I'm glad to have this perspective, though will never understand why it came at such a high price.

Tired. Overwhelmed. Grateful.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

4 weeks old

Dearest Davey,

You have brought so much light into my life and your daddy's life! You are such a character! You're just a dreamboat, both in your adorable little face and cute little body, and your easy personality. I am so excited to see what the future brings with you!

Your sister would have been 15 months old today. I know she watches over you. I love you both so much!

Mommy

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nearly a month in

I have so many things to say and yet am just left speechless most of the time lately.

I came home nearly a month ago from the hospital with a living child, my son.

I left the doors of the hospital holding an infant carrier. I spent the nights in the hospital with my second baby staring up into my eyes, alive, breathing.

We came home. Every cry, every breath, every gaze, is heaven.

I'm exhausted, exhilarated, fulfilled, and yes, still sad. Her brother coming home has brought on very intense grief and longing for my baby girl.

It's an odd existence, this happy and sad, but I spend most of my days right now humbled at the great gift we've been given in our little Davey, who is such a beautiful child and such a joy to us, and when he pierces the dark night with his cries, it overwhelms me with gratitude.

He looks like her in a lot of ways, and yet is definitely his own little person very separate from his sister. Yet I am glad to look at him and see the resemblances. I feel closer to her. I ask her to watch over him every time I place him in his bassinet. I am still afraid, and am getting that it never goes away. But I am so happy too.

Going to post some pics soon.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Joy

David William Illingworth III
"Davey"
Born May 24 at 8:10 a.m.
7 lbs 11 oz
20.5 inches

Our first son. A little brother. Our hearts overflow.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

T-3 (give or take a few minutes) hours

It's 4:35 am. We have to be at the hospital at 5:45. I should be in the shower right now, but wanted to take a few minutes and remember how I feel in this moment.

I slept pretty fitfully last night, but I'm glad to have gotten any sleep at all. When I had imagined the night before, I figured I would have settled into a chair with my doppler all night long. As it was, I slept off and on, periodically checking his movement and heartbeat. I had odd dreams. Dreams that made me sad, where I was trying to explain to the L&D nurses that my daughter's name is spelled with one "n" and not 2.

By this time in my pregnancy, I had lived an entire life with my daughter in my mind and heart. I had pictured her running through the grass in a dress, 4 or 5 years old, with curly blond hair. I had pictured Saturday morning talk sessions lying in bed with her, like I used to do with my mom when I was a teenager.  I pictured watching her walk down the aisle to meet the man of her dreams for the rest of her life.

Then my heart was shattered, and that entire life of hers that I had lived in my heart was the only one I would ever see with her.

I have started to let myself think on this just this morning with my son. As I feel him move inside me, I'm starting to think this might really happen. That I might have a beautiful boy child to call my own, to call my son. That I will have a son when he is 2 years old cuddle with me and call me his mama. That I will have a smart, maybe quiet, thoughtful little boy, like his daddy, who sees the world around him and sees endless possibility in it, like me. That he will amble up to me as a gangly teenager and give me an awkward hug. That he will smile at me before he drops me off at my seat at his wedding, before he turns to wait for the woman of his dreams to meet him.

My heart is filled right now. With fear, yes. With some sadness for my girl. But also with joy.

All the emotions I have suppressed for this long and harrowing journey of carrying him are at the surface. I cannot wait to meet my son. This feels very different and separate from my time with Georgiana, and I am so grateful for it. I can feel her as she watches over us. I have asked her many times to take care of all of us, because we are afraid and we know that many things are out of our control.

Say prayers, everyone. Hope to see you on the other, happier side of this shortly.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to the strongest, most wonderful women I know--those mamas who have to endure this day missing one or more of their children.

We remember. We remember, and we celebrate all your babies, no matter where they are.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Two Week Countdown

As of today, there are 14 days left until I hopefully meet my son.

At this point, I am such a mix of emotions I'm starting to feel like they're all just canceling each other out. It's to the point where I just feel mute, and almost paralyzed about the whole thing.

It's like I don't want to talk too much about it because I don't want to invite tragedy again to my little corner of the universe. Just fly under the radar until we get to May 24.

This probably makes no sense, but it does just literally feel like I'm holding my breath. Like I'm stuck in one of those moments where you catch your breath, and you just stay that way. And there's nothing else you can do but keep holding on as the day approaches.

Nights and mornings have become really hard. I'm not getting a lot of sleep, and the mornings where I wake up and just happen to catch him at the beginning or middle of a sleep cycle damn near terrify me right now. I lay there, just begging him to move. He always does, eventually. It seems I'll have a day where I start to feel comfortable and actually start to believe in this happening, and then the next day I'm just filled with panic.

I'm hoping a little of this goes away after he's born? Ladies?

Most mornings, though, I look down and this is what I see down in the middle of my feet:


I'm not real sure how to break it to Quatro at this point, that after 5 years of sleeping in my bed, he's not going to be welcome here anymore in a couple of weeks. Poor little fuzzball.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

These Days

These days I am preparing for my son to come home. He is supposed to be here May 24, less than 3 weeks away.


These days I go to work, clean my house and try to keep occupied. I think about May 24. Then I have to stop thinking about it or it's too much to take.


These days I wake up between 5-12 times a night. When I come back to bed, I can always count on Dave to ask in the darkness whether he's moved yet. Because these days I don't go back to sleep until I feel him move. 


These days every stranger in the world asks me when I'm due.


The due date question is always a little odd. I end up answering with some version of "Well, he's coming home on May 24."


This is usually followed by the standard "Is this your first?" My answer always leaves people a little confused, especially when my husband is with me and they see no child with us.


That never stops being hard.


So as I said, I am making preparations for my son. A new life. A new person. One that I am not convinced will be coming home to us, so I guard my mind and try to convince it that all this cleaning, preparing, baby-clothes washing, etc...is just because, not because we're preparing for a baby.


We put the crib together this afternoon. I couldn't help it. I cried. It has chips on it and is a little dirty. It looks a little like a crib for a second baby. How can that be when its first baby, the baby that was meant to christen it as a little one's bed, never slept in it?


Brooke was right in her most recent blog post. She was quoting from a book she's reading where a woman lost her child.  The woman said that visitors came by, offering condolences, and said "life goes on."  This was what the woman thought in response:


What nonsense, I thought, of course it doesn't.  It's death that goes on; [he] is dead now and will be dead tomorrow and next year and forever.  There's no end to that.  But perhaps there will be an end to the sorrow of it.  Sorrow has rushed over the world like the waters of the Deluge, and it will take time to recede.  But already, there are small islands of--hope?  Happiness?  Something like them, at any rate.


This is so my world right now. My mind has a daily attempt at reconciling the fact that I have one child in the grave and another alive inside of me. The whole death part of it doesn't go away, and it stings just as bad some days even now as it did hours afterwards. Especially as I prepare myself for the hospital, the stay, etc...my mind cannot help but compare how different this time it will be if all goes well. And I can't help but be sad, for myself, for my daughter, because of it. 


I have been pretty melancholy today. Sundays usually do that to me. It was once my favorite day of the week. Not anymore.


Now onto other things. Here are a couple of sneak peeks of the nursery:


I am in love with these Aden + Anais swaddle blankets. (see top left) 


 It's a little dark and grainy, but oh...I love the color of this room. I'll get a better pic later when there's more sun.

 I have already bought him the Big Bird, zebra, and blue dog. D and I also bought him some fab Dr. Seuss and Winnie the Pooh. I'm hoping that our little boy will be a little nerd like the two of us. But let's be honest, I'll just take alive. The rest will fall into place.

Changing table, pretty much put together. Bing stands guard in the background. He's been relegated to the hall. I just can't have my leaky dog leaking in my baby's bedroom. I draw the line, even with cute pups.

I continue to be so sad for Becky, who lost her rainbow baby. I'm still in some sort of state of shock. It doesn't really make me afraid for myself, though I don't even know how that's possible. Mostly it just makes me so sad for her, a kind of sadness I can feel as if it were my own. I'm excited for my baby, but let's admit I'm a pretty cynical mama at this point.

One last thing: Mother's Day. Yeah, pretty makes me as sad as it did last year. I was talking to Dave about this after church this morning. I remember last year, when I stood up at church when the priest asked all the moms to stand up and be recognized. I was broken, in more ways than I could ever explain. My body still healing from birth, and I hadn't yet started really taking care of myself again, i.e. no makeup or hair done, who knew what I was wearing, and I didn't even notice. I stood up and wondered who would look at me and wonder where my child was. But in an odd way, it would still be recognizing her, because there were no more children to make me a mother at that point.

This year, I'll stand up, 36 weeks pregnant (hopefully),  and people who don't know me will think how sweet it is that a pregnant mom, obviously with her first child, is standing up on Mother's Day for the first time. And they won't know that this will be my second Mother's Day to be a mom. And it makes me sad. I cried a little in the car about it. Dave just held my hand.

2 other fun bits. I had my last ultrasound on Friday. Davey-boy is measuring a whopping 6 lbs 4 oz, which means he's closer to a 37 weeker in size than a 35 weeker. Also, in the last two weeks, he decided to flip back around, so that his head is back up and near my ribs. 

C-section it is, then. It already was, but it appears as if God is giving me no choice or chance to be regretful about it.

I am so in love with this little boy. Please God, let him live.







Monday, April 30, 2012

The Nursery and Heartbreak

This weekend I washed, folded and put away all my baby boy's clothes and blankets.

It wasn't like last time. Last time, I had set aside an entire weekend to do this. I relished it. I washed the clothes, looked at each one, smelled them after they came warm out of the dryer, folded, re-folded, and organized them in my baby girl's nursery.

This time, I was methodical, detached, matter of fact. I barely looked at the outfits. I put them in the drawers, in no real particular order. There was no re-folding. I shut the drawers, and felt the vague sense of panic I always feel when doing anything to prepare for this baby.

Earlier yesterday, Dave and I went to Babies R Us and found some blankets, since of course all the blankets I had for Georgie were pink, purple or otherwise girly. We bought some nice little boy blankies, and some other gender neutral items.

I had on my list that we needed a GroEgg thermometer, which gives us the temperature of the room and tells us whether we're in the appropriate range for our baby. It was part of my small anti-SIDS item list, which I never would have conceived of if my first baby hadn't died.

As we were wandering the store trying to find the thermometer, we kept running across other items that we weren't sure if we needed or not. A couple of times Dave asked me if we needed such-and-such, and I just shrugged my shoulders. And I began to feel so angry. Angry that there I was again, at Babies R Us, buying items for a baby that isn't here yet. Panicked that he is going to die. Angry that my first baby did die. That I have to live with that everyday, that every morning I wake up to that reality. Angry that I can't use any girl items for a boy who likely never would have existed if his sister had made it. Angry that Dave and I aren't old pros at this whole parenting a baby thing, as we should be by now, with a 13 month old in tow.

Compound that with the fact that on the way to Babies R Us, I was checking my BLM blogs, and I read about a family in Alaska. A family in Alaska who had a stillborn little boy last year due to some defects. They were expecting their rainbow baby girl, and when I read the post, titled with her name "Evelynn Augusta Rasmussen," I read it with anticipation of learning her birth story.

But no, the post told me that their little rainbow baby girl died two days after she was born.

Heartbroken, shattered, for these parents doesn't even begin to describe how I felt, how I feel.

I have been reeling since yesterday. As I thought of what these parents are going through right now, again, I couldn't help but be brought back to last March, when all I could feel was death, the death of my child, and my own desperate pleading to God to take me too. The intensity of the sorrow, the horror, the pain, the darkness, it comes back to me even now. It frightens me to no end. I have told Dave many times there is no way I can re-live what we had to endure last March, what we still endure. It might be the fatal blow to any sense of hope I have left. To read of a family who has gone through what we did, and now goes through it AGAIN with their second child, and to also have no living children, just brings me to my knees.

I don't understand it. And it frankly pisses me off. Why? WHY would God let this happen again? What is the point of all of this? Yeah, yeah, I get it, we live in a fallen world, God doesn't control our choices, right. But doesn't God make choices too? What choice was made when my daughter's life support system was made with a huge flaw, when her umbilical cord was basically not attached to her placenta? Who do we blame then? What about here, when a stillbirth, which is one of the most horribly devastating things I can possibly fathom, happens, and then the next baby dies after only two days? What then?

And what about these parents, who are now enduring another funeral, burial plans instead of coming home plans for their rainbow baby? I HATE IT.

I woke up in the middle of the night sad, teary-eyed and panicked, thinking of this family. Reaching with my heart across the miles and wondering if this mama was awake, and thinking that she probably was. And I could feel her despair. My heart ached for my girl, ached for this mother and father, for their two children that are gone.

I am so sad and so angry for this family I can hardly stand it. It makes me want to scream and break things. It makes me want to yell at people who don't know anything of this reality that not only does it happen, but that it happens twice to some people. And these people don't deserve it, these people are good, kind people, who do everything right and only want to bring home their child, alive.




This is the kind of thing that just crushes my spirit. Please keep this family in your prayers, though I even question those right now.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thomas

Remembering Thomas Anton Herdejurgen today. Born 5 years ago, already in heaven. Your family misses you, sweet boy.

Please send prayers and loving thoughts this sweet family's way. I know this day is so hard for them.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Here Comes the Sun [Son]

I was humming this after my MFM appt today.

I mean, how can you look at this face and not hum a song like that?

And if any of you are wondering, little brother is not so much a show his face kind of guy. We've never seen him full on, as he tends to hide himself with his hands. But, wow, what a cutie. I love his "power to the people" fist, too. A little fighter, I love it!

Just wish they were both with me. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Adios Sonoline B

The fetal doppler has peace'd out.

I can't say I'm surprised. I've been using that thing roughly 3-5 (10? I have had a couple of those days) times per day since December. Now when I put it on my belly, it emits a lovely whining noise and the screen tends to go blank.

Last night, I was checking little guy's heartbeat with it and it told me it was 112. Before I had a coronary and told my husband we needed to go to L&D, I decided to test it on my own heartbeat. So I put it up over my own heartbeat. 135.

Ok. Time to let this one go.

Sweet hubby has already ordered fetal doppler #2, to be shipped overnight to us. He had no choice, as I was starting to go into hyperventilation mode thinking of the next 6 weeks without my doppler.

Don't judge.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Keeping Watch

I am exhausted. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically.

I've reached that oh so lovely point in pregnancy where I have started to feel like my body is literally creaking every time I want to change position. Baby boy is cramped too, I can tell. He likes to shove his back up against the right side of my belly, which is something his big sis loved to do too. My babies seem to love that side of my body.

I'm just tired of the vigilance this pregnancy after loss seems to require. Just. So. Tired. I'm tired of the sleepless nights, of the moment several times I day where I think "ok, he's gone," the restlessness, the irritability. Add on top of that my impending sense of doom and dread, and the sheer breathtaking grief that still hits me more often than I'd like, and I'm just tired.

I'm sick of the stupid comments. Yesterday at Easter brunch, someone asked me if I have "everything I need" for the baby. Uh...well, we have Georgie's stuff. I guess we need a co-sleeper, although I've thought to myself that maybe we could use our pack and play from last time. But I'm having a c-section (read: another complication with Georgie's birth that could have proved fatal if she hadn't already been gone, yeah, the universe really did mean to doom me on that one, one way or the other), I think I need a co-sleeper, like an Arm's Reach type of deal.

I haven't bought this yet. I can't bring myself to grace the doors of Babies R' Us. It was all I could do to read the "Happy First Birthday!" card I received a couple of weeks from them, or to even get coupons in the mail. I'm worried if I actually get in there, I'll just start hyperventilating.

I also need a carseat, because I just can't bring myself to use the green and pink one I had bought for my daughter. Of course I picked pink, thinking I would use it for her awhile, never thinking that reality would drive me to shove it in a closet and try my damnedest to get pregnant again after burying my daughter six months earlier. Never did I imagine I would need yet another carseat so quickly after my first child was born. Without pink, of course.

I had somehow thought I had a lot of white onesies with Georgie. No, not so much. I did, but they almost all have pink or purple detail. Sigh. So I need to buy some of those for little baby brother.

Back to the Easter conversation. After I sort of shrugged off the question, someone at brunch (not anyone related to me, though he knows what happened to us), says, "do you all have a monitor?" I tell him yes, although I'm thinking of upgrading. He then says, "well they have a great infrared monitor out there that actually checks if your baby's still alive or something crazy like that."

It was the way he said it. I don't even think I'm a good enough writer to explain it in this blog, but it just Pissed. Me. Off. I feel as if I can only explain this story with cuss words and wild hand gestures, but I could feel the heat rising in my face.

Then he proceeded to say, "Ah well, with your first you'll be totally freaked out. Then by your second, you'll start to relax and by the third you won't even care."

I don't know what to say other than that I wished I wasn't pregnant so I could reach across the table and punch this d-bag in the face. I couldn't even talk back. I was just stunned that this person knew what we had been through, and now somehow this little guy inside me is my first, rather than the universal truth that he is actually my second. And I will never be naive enough again to think that I'm going to somehow relax with subsequent children. Right, dude.

Yesterday was just more difficult and more sad than I thought it would be. Easter makes me think of little girls running through flowers, little girls with beautiful honey blond hair and beautiful easter dresses. I saw so many little girls wearing easter dresses yesterday at church, and it just made me so sad. I missed my girl so much. I hope and pray that next Easter I have a beautiful little boy in my arms who is struggling to get out so he can walk/crawl/toddle around, but it just doesn't take away the heartache of missing my girl at Easter.

We went out to the cemetery yesterday, and we arrived to discover that there is nothing but dirt and mud around her grave and about 6 other baby markers. I noticed this during her birthday week and had called them to see when they were going to sod. They assured me it would be "done by Easter."

It hasn't been.

I am also pretty pissed about this. Not even sure how to address it, but I'm pretty sure not-so-nice Katie is coming out and heads are going to roll. I'm not happy. How hard is it to maintain a cemetery? It's just like a big yard. Just keep the grass green, and you're doing pretty good. But I'm angry about it.

I'm obviously very on edge. When I explained to my OB today that I had a damn near panic attack on Friday during my NST because I was convinced my baby was going to die in the middle of the NST, he told me he wants me on an anti-anxiety med. I'm not sure about this, but I can recognize that at this point, I'm in some stage or another of panic attack all the time right now.

A really hard part of it is how torn I feel about everything. Excited. Terrified. Telling myself to be constantly vigilant to try and save this baby before he's born. Knowing that my daughter's death could not have been prevented, that she died likely within a matter of minutes and that there was really nothing we could have done to save her. Telling her little brother all the time "to hang on" until he's here with us, when obviously he has no control over whether he lives or dies at this point, and also knowing that just because my baby is with me doesn't mean he gets to stay. That crazy, random, shitty ass luck happens all the time to all kinds of people. Somehow thinking I have some control. Knowing I really don't. Begging and pleading with God to keep this little boy safe, and telling God candidly that I'm pissed He didn't save my first and that I don't understand the plan at all.

Tired. Glad to rant, though.
May 24 cannot get here soon enough.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy First Birthday in Heaven

Happy first birthday in heaven, my sweet and beautiful angel. Daddy and I miss you terribly, but talked about how wonderful it must be for you today. Something tells us God planned something special for you for your first heavenly party. We love you more than life itself, and wish that you were with us. Little brother danced all day; it's like he knew it was your special day and he was celebrating right along with us. Daddy and I blew out the candle and Mommy ate most of the cupcake. We decorated your marker with all the beautiful flowers from your birthday party and some pinwheels we bought just for you. It looks so pretty. It rained today. We kept you in our hearts and minds, like we always do, our sweet first baby. We wait and hope for the day we get to see you again. Always, Mama




Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Beautiful Celebration

Yesterday we celebrated Georgie's first birthday in heaven.

I really wanted to do something special for her birthday, just as if she were here.  A lovely party.

At the beginning, I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. I prayed about it. I thought long and hard. I waffled, not sure what to do.

So I decided on a theme--a garden. Since Georgiana's name means "seed sower" and she was born on the first day of spring, I knew it was perfect.

From there, I used a lot of the themes I used in her nursery--birds, owls, butterflies and flowers. I bought things that made me happy, and began to plan around that. I decided not to include things that made me sad. That included a birthday cake. It also included having to say happy birthday to her in public, or sing to her. I just couldn't do it.

Dave and I settled on a mass and brunch for close friends and family.

Why mass? The only mass I had connected to her was her funeral. That of course did not sit well with me. I wanted something where we were not so...ripped apart and broken. I wanted something that Dave and I could plan, think of, and use as a way to lift people's hearts to Jesus. I wanted my daughter to influence us in the way she can now, in a holy way, in a way that gives people grace, peace and hope.

And really, the funeral is never the end. We as families go on on this earth without our children, but we hold the love for them in our hearts, and the hope to see them again. So why not another mass to celebrate my daughter's short and sweet little life?

So we planned our mass around that idea, as a celebration, as an opportunity to praise God and be uplifted, as bringing beauty from the ashes, so to speak.

We chose three readings and a psalm.

Dave read the first reading, Isaiah 25:6, 7-9. It is a beautiful reading about God preparing a feast for his people, lifting the shroud that covers us, swallowing up death forever and wiping the tears from our faces. What a powerful image. I wait for the day.

The psalm was psalm 145, when David praises his King. In the Catholic church, we sing psalms, and this one has always been one of my favorites. We had a beautiful soprano sing for the entire mass, and it sounded like the voice of an angel.

The second reading is from 2 Corinthians 4:1-18. I read this one. If I had thought it through a little better, I probably would have had Dave read this one. This is one of my favorite passages of scripture, and really puts death and life, and faith in the proper context. However, about halfway through the reading, I began to choke up. I'm not even sure why, but I wasn't sure if I would finish. I did, and was able to go back to my seat to have a two-minute ugly cry.

The gospel was from Luke 1:39-45, what is commonly called the Visitation. I always loved this gospel story, long before I lost my little one or was ever pregnant. In this story, when Mary comes to visit Elizabeth, the baby (later the apostle) John leaps in Elizabeth's womb at the coming of His Lord. What an incredible insight into our babies in the womb, that they know God even then! I believe this, and am sure when Georgie saw her Savior, she already knew Him. It just warms my heart.

We chose the following songs:
I Want to Walk As a Child of the Light
Pie Jesu
Taste and See
Be Not Afraid

The songs were perfect. When we were singing the first song, all I could think of was my child surrounded in heavenly light. What a comfort to my heart and soul it was, as I look back on this dark and cold year and think how much Dave and I have suffered. This morning was a bright spot, and a beautiful way to celebrate our daughter, her importance, the gift she was to us.

The flowers were beautiful. My parents gave them to us for the service, pink and green like her nursery. They also ordered a beautiful little bouquet for her picture that I have sitting in water to take to her for her birthday on Wednesday.

Our priest, Father Rick, gave a beautiful homily about Georgiana celebrating her first year in heaven, with Jesus, with the saints, and celebrating St. Patrick's day with St. Patrick himself! It made me smile. He talked about how losing a child is the worst suffering we can endure, and that we don't understand God's plan, but that today we were celebrating our child as already in heaven, and that we will all see her, and God in all His glory, someday.

My youngest brother, Clay, served the mass. One of his best friends, Matt, and his older brother Cody, served with him. It was only fitting. Clay helped carry her casket nearly a year ago. Cody helped Father Rick graveside after her funeral. Things felt just...right....that morning, unlike the deep wrong of nearly a year ago.

Of course, all this is to say that it's not as if Dave and I don't hurt everyday for our baby, and often hurt so bad it feels like breathing is hard. I am sure I will feel that many times this week. I still don't know what to do on March 20. I certainly can't "celebrate" it, as it's the day my daughter died. I am still struggling with it, but I think the answer will come to me. If not, I'll just sob my way through it. I've done it for a year. I can do it another few days, or years, as it is.

I'll talk more about Part II later, the brunch we had at our house.

Suffice to say the mass really was lovely. I looked out over the small group assembled for her mass, and I saw people wearing green, pink, orange, and I thought, wow, very little black. It was lovely to see. Sad, but lovely. Not so...wrenching as a year ago. My mother even had on bright yellow heels. They were great. Spring-y, and happy. I smiled. I cried. But I smiled.

Here are a few pictures:
 My beautiful girl. I love this picture of her. It really makes me think of heaven. See the little bouquet? So pretty.

 The altar and Georgie girl.

  Georgie girl and her beautiful flowers from her grandparents.

My brother is on the right, though they really look they could all be brothers.


The beautiful program cover, kind of designed by me, really perfected by my friend Annie (same artistic angel who did her announcement, and her invitation up above).

Part II coming soon...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tonight

Tonight I fed my unborn child McDonald's for dinner.

Yes, I am ashamed of this.

Earlier I was running errands for Georgiana's memorial service and brunch, which we're having Saturday morning.

I ran to drop off the programs at Kinko's. Here's how the conversation went.

Lady behind the register: "Ok, so you need 50 of these?"
Me: "Yes."
Lady: "Can you pick them up tomorrow?"
Me: "Sure."
Lady: (upon opening the file I brought on my zip disk) "Oh! What a cute baby shower invitation."
Me: "It's a...memorial service program."
Lady: "Oh...sorry."

(cue awkward silence)
(cue exasperated sigh as I walked to the car)

One hour later while still running errands, Kinko's lady calls me.

Lady: "Ma'am, I just wanted to let you know I found a typo on the program."
Me: "Oh, ok, what is it?"
Lady: "It says here 'Born March 21, Died March 20.' I think the dates are switched"
Me: "No, that's actually correct."
Lady: [cue awkward silence] "Oh."
Me: "Thanks for calling. I'll pick them up tomorrow."

[cue flinging phone across the room]

Ok I didn't actually throw the phone, but in my mind that's what happened. At that point, I decided to get McDonald's. And as I ate salty french fries and a Quarter Pounder, I felt a little better, if slightly ashamed.

And when I got in bed tonight, I felt a little more better as I cried over my second baby dancing around in my swollen belly.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Plans and Panic

Well, plans are underway for my daughter's "first birthday in heaven" party. I am trying to stay on a more positive note with this, as I want it to be uplifting and not overwhelmingly sad. So, anything that makes me sad is not making the cut. That includes a birthday cake, anything that says first birthday (other than the invitation) and anything that should have been used and now can't be used because my daughter's gone.

But, that leaves room for a whole lot of things that we can use that don't make me so sad. I bought a beautiful glittery little spring-y green tree, and it will have ribbons, owl ornaments, bird ornaments, butterflies and all kinds of other wonderful things that are just my version of what I think heaven must look like for my little girl.

This makes me happy.

I'm also making a menu of foods I craved when pregnant with her. Since I'm now pregnant with her little brother, I have enough experience to know that it's not just pregnancy that made me crave those things, it was pregnancy with her. And so--her. And the foods she liked. This menu includes:

-grilled peach salad (I ate peaches by the pound when pregnant with her)
-chinese chicken salad (also craved this)
-bruschetta (tomatoes and basil, couldn't get enough)
-fruit salad (I could have lived on fruit alone with her)

And what party is complete without cupcakes and cake pops? These are just cute and girly, and I know she would have been. Well, she was.

I look at pictures of her brother in the womb and I realize how much she looked like a girl, and how much he looks like a boy. It really is amazing, even from so early on.

We are also having a memorial mass said for her, with some beautiful readings and beautiful musical selections. I'll share all this later.

In between planning for the party, which is Saturday morning, although her actual birthday is March 21, I also have serious bouts of panic.

Cue to last Sunday. We were at mass, and I realized I had barely felt little guy move for the entire hour. A little more time passed, and we found ourselves at L&D triage. I was on the verge of a full blown panic attack.

We hooked me up to the monitor, and suddenly he was moving. A lot. It sounded like thunder on the monitor every time he moved, and I relaxed a little more.

All I could think going in was "It's March. It's Sunday. I'm screwed."

Now, I'm not a jinxy kind of person, but talk to any BLM and it's really hard not to be, especially during the awful and cursed month of your baby's death. Did I also mention before that my grandfather died in his early 50s on March 20 of a brain aneurysm?

March 20, and March, has started to feel like a totally jinxed and screwy month for my family.

I remember my girl in this month, and am grateful for that, but otherwise I just want to fast foward and wake up April 1.

After everything was good at the ER (with a wonderful nurse, by the way, who will probably be receiving flowers from me in the next week) and we left, I was exhausted. But I immediately shifted back into birthday plans for Georgie.

Anybody else out there just totally spent?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dear Georgie

Dear Georgie,

Please talk to your little brother. He seems to find it funny to play little pranks on me and not move when I jiggle him, poke him, sing to him or talk to him. You were always really good about this when you were inside of mommy. Well, now mommy needs that reassurance more than ever. I'm sure you saw my frantic attempts this morning to get him moving, including wolfing down Cap'n Crunch at breakneck speed (which did result in about 30 movements in 10 minutes) as a last resort.

Please talk to your little brother. Please tell him how afraid mommy is this time around, as if he didn't feel it enough. Please tell him I need him to move just a little more regularly for me.

Love you. Miss you.
Mommy

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Parallel Plans

Dave and I had our 24 wk growth ultrasound on Friday. Twenty minutes before the appointment was to start, I was convinced our baby boy was gone, or at least dying. He hadn't moved much that morning, and I was convinced I would show up for the appointment with eager anticipation, only to have the ultrasound tech tell me there was no heartbeat.

The ultrasound went great.

Trauma and PTSD are powerful grips on the heart.

I am in a strange place.

Today I received some fabric samples for my baby boy's crib bedding. I was convinced for a long time I wasn't going to set up his nursery until he was here. After some thought and reflection, I think it will be really good for me to focus on this in preparation for his arrival. I am hoping to keep the fear and panic at bay so that I can do that for him.

Today I also bought some cupcake cups and decorations (owls, of course) for Georgiana's first birthday in heaven. God, it pains to me even type those words. Today is one of those barely breathe kind of days, where the sheer sorrow of her death is enough to overwhelm me completely.

I came home and set the cupcake decorations next to the fabric samples on the kitchen table. I wasn't even thinking about it, as I was tidying up, coming home, and cleaning the kitchen. When I was finished, I looked over at the table and realized the two items were sitting right next to each other. And it was too much.

Her birthday: I don't even know how I feel on this. I have received a couple of disappointing responses to this from close family members, and have tried to let the anger and disappointment go on that. It's much easier said than done. I feel torn. I want to celebrate, and I also want to crawl into a hole and maybe never come out. March looms, and there's nothing I can do about it other than admit myself to the crazy ward and beg for medication until April. I'll get an idea for her party, and then I think, no, that will make me too sad. Or, no, that will make someone else too sad. This is so hard to do. Life is so hard right now. How can I have so many years left without her?

My son, his nursery: He doesn't feel real in a lot of ways, although I know he's real because I feel him move. I have dozens of pictures of his face, more in fact than I have of my daughter at this point. I thank God for his little nudges, and then I go into near panic attacks when he goes to sleep and doesn't move for awhile. Three months left, and...I don't know. Women have done this before me, so I'll do it too.  I need to go into the nursery and separate out what he can wear that I had for her, and then figure out where to put the rest of her things. Or the rest of the baby girl things. Whatever they are at this point. It's too much right now, so the door stays shut.

Parallel plans, and my heart feels torn not just in two directions, but in a dozen different directions. I am taken back to the last day I saw her coffin above ground, and I wonder how I have survived. When the heart smashes and breaks and never goes back to what it was, how does the body survive? How is it that we survive this?

Monday, February 6, 2012

The One Where I [Almost] Saved Her [Him]

I had a nightmare last night. If I mention that to the non-BLM world, the comment at this point is, "You're pregnant. Don't pregnant women always have crazy dreams?"

Alright, listen up, world that knows pregnancy but not baby loss: You want to talk about crazy dreams? Talk to a mommy who has lost a baby and is now pregnant after loss. Or even better. Just talk to a baby loss mama. You don't even need pregnancy thrown in there.

The dream world is interesting. In the beginning, I used to beg God to let me see visions of Georgiana in my dreams. I still long for that, but it doesn't seem that's going to happen anytime soon. Instead, my mind replays her death in my dreams. Either (1) I tell someone (usually urgently) that she died; or (2) she dies; or (3) she has just died and I am looking at her in her coffin.

I know. Fun.

Now that I'm pregnant, a lot of different elements tend to mesh together, and my dreams are a place where all my sorrow and fear come to the forefront to play out in scenarios. In my dream last night, it was a replay of what happened with Georgie, only different. I was in the hospital and my water had just broken and I was bleeding (this happened with Georgie, only after we found out she was gone). Only this time it didn't seem to be odd to me that I was bleeding. I kept saying to the doctor that we were going to save this one. I can only assume I was talking about the little baby boy currently growing inside me. At the end, I gave birth.

And at the end, I had no idea whether the baby (Georgiana or her brother? Not sure, the dream wasn't clear) lived or died.

I woke up to that. My heart started out heavy this morning.

I went to work and had an email from a friend from the BLM community. She had her rainbow baby. I was so happy about this. This is a woman who has tried for a living child for probably 8 years or so. She had several fertility issues, miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, and then lost her little girl at 22 weeks. She has had a very hard road, and her little rainbow boy is just beautiful. My heart felt lighter.

I then received the news that another good friend of ours lost her baby boy this past weekend. He had several health issues that were diagnosed in the womb, so it wasn't necessarily a surprise, but you all know that really doesn't make a difference. My heart is so heavy for her and her husband. I just think back to where I was, almost a year ago, shattered in pieces and trying to find a dress for my daughter's funeral.

No words of wisdom from this post. Just a lot of sadness.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Distractions

I've been trying to keep myself distracted lately. Dave and I are still working through Friends, and our next plan is to watch The Borgias, which he got me for my birthday.

Most days I can keep my you-know-what together. Other days (mostly nights) I can get on what feels like the verge of a full blown panic attack.

Like the other night. I woke up at 3 am, convinced baby boy was gone. He had hardly moved the day before, so the panic had been building. I laid there for about an hour, going through all the scenarios in my head, steeling myself for the worst.

I decided to get out of bed and use the Doppler. The dogs came with me into the living room, I put the wand on my belly, and heard what I thought was his heartbeat.

I went back to bed and tried to will myself back to sleep. It didn't happen. I started to wonder if maybe the sound I heard was the placenta, or my blood flow, or worse, my heartbeat. I started Googling these sounds to try and figure out if I heard his heartbeat.

Suffice to say that I didn't go back to sleep until 7 am, only to wake back up at 8 am. Bleh.

SO I am trying to keep myself distracted. I'm sort of decorating the house we just moved into, although we don't have a lot of extra money, so that's a little limited. Another thing I've been doing is trying new recipes.

In the past couple of weeks, I've made

-chicken enchilada casserole
-Thai marinated steak salad (this one was delicious, I could eat it every day)
-dijon mustard chicken
-french toast
-BBQ chicken in the slow cooker
-spaghetti and meat sauce


I also eat a lot of this (though with turkey bacon):
















It seems like it's all this kid wants to eat.

Other than that, my wonderful husband and sweet doggies Quatro and Bing try to keep me distracted too. Quatro (the little black and white one) has been my buddy for a long time. 

Bing is the sweetest dog I've ever known. He's a little shy with strangers, but all he wants is love and affection all the time. His body has some genetic issues which have made him a little more high maintenance than the average dog, but by the time we realized that about him, we already loved him, so sending him back to the breeder just wasn't an option.

Bing is also special to me because he came into our lives the same month Georgiana did--July 2010.  We bought him the week before I found out I was pregnant, though it's very likely he and Georgie actually did show up in our lives during the same weekend, maybe even the same day! I've always called him Georgie's dog. I know he would have been a great companion to her. He used to lay in her nursery after she died, when even I couldn't go in. It just broke my heart. We also got both of their names from the same book, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (Bing is short for Bingley). He's connected to her. 

Living with sweet dogs like this tends to make me agree with C.S. Lewis's proposition that dogs also go to heaven. It seems to me that God made dogs just for us humans, and I love the thought of all of us together in heaven one day, with Georgie running and playing with her Bingley dog. 

So here are a couple of examples of what these sweet dogs have been doing lately to keep me distracted. The top video is an example of a nightly occurrence with these two. It's pretty hilarious, and it doesn't just happen in our bedroom. They chase each other all over the house. 

Enjoy!

video

And the second one, taken last night...


video

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

Today just felt hard. I'm frustrated and tired, and the end of May feels forever away.

This morning, I checked baby boy's heartbeat. All was well. My plan was to post the video, but of course by the end of the day I'd convinced myself something was wrong and I shouldn't post it.

I've now checked the heartbeat again.

Okay. Still there.

Still there. Still there.


video


And I really love this picture:

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Space of a Year

So much has been happening with me and Dave since I last posted.

In the middle of December, we moved into a new house! We are loving it. It is our first true home and I am just loving it. There are many things to do. (1) Get some new furniture; (2) Curtains; (3) Picture project for my hallway walls. It's a cozy, beautiful place, and it houses our little family of us and two dogs quite well.

Our Christmas had hard moments. My worst day was about 3 days after Christmas. Go figure. Christmas was hard too. I woke up that morning and just felt...flat and sad.  The anticipation I had always felt waking up on Christmas morning was gone. Who knows if it will come back? Probably with Georgiana's siblings. I hold onto to the hope of those future times during these quiet and often deeply sad days.

A little rainbow crept into our lives in September, unbeknownst to us. God knitted him inside of me and started a growing little life and a heartbeat. I found out, quite to my surprise, during an October OB visit where I was going to talk to the doc about "trying again." When the doctor told me, I had such a freakout that I (1) forgot to make my co-pay; (2) forgot that I had valet'd my car at the hospital; and (3) convinced myself, after leaving the doctor's office, that they obviously had taken the wrong urine sample and told me the wrong news. Never mind that I was 12 days overdue. So I immediately drove to Walgreens, bought a pregnancy test, used it in the Walgreens bathroom, and stared in shock as the word "Pregnant" popped up on the screen. I now had physical proof in hand.

We have slowly told the world. We are due at the beginning of June, but will schedule a c-section at the end of May. It's been hard. It's been wonderful. We have hope. And we have fear. And the two fight each other, in my heart and soul, every day. Some days feel impossible. Other days I am given more rest for my mind. Early in December, I contracted a horrible stomach flu that landed me in the ER, terrified. After telling the doctor our history, he ordered us an ultrasound and there on the screen was our dancing baby, looking like he was having a great time and not concerned at all about what was happening with us. It was kind of like a "chill out, mom!" kind of moment. Even I laughed, as sick and freaked out as I was.

So far, so good. We have made it past 2 good blood tests, a low progesterone scare, spotting (yes, I nearly lost my mind that week), and just the general panic that comes this time around. I broke down and bought a fetal doppler. The sound of his heartbeat is enough to sustain me for the day, usually. Baby is looking good, always active, always moving around like he is just loving life. I say he, and there is an indication he might be a he, but we'll find out for sure this Friday.

Hope remains. And blessings too. We are once again given a blessing from God that we do not deserve, and we pray pray pray that He lets us keep this one until old old age. The thought of having a little brother of Georgiana's fills me with a cautious joy. I know she had a hand in it. And I love and desperately miss my beautiful little saint in heaven.

I ask you all for prayers for this little one, for God's grace and protection. I am so happy (and terrified) to share the news with you all.

Here I am with my 18 week baby bump with Georgiana's beautiful Christmas tree we put up this year. All I can say is that I sustained Etsy this year with my ornament purchases for this lovely little tree. During a melancholy Christmas season, this tree made me happy. I'll post more on it later.