Haunted

WARNING: this post is raw and it is just what is coming out of my heart tonight. It may not make much sense and may be hard to follow. I didn’t go back and re-read it to edit it because it was painful enough to write the first time. So if it is a mess, it is just reflecting my heart and I apologize for the scatterbrained storytelling.

A few nights ago I had one of the most painful dreams I have had yet since loosing Adam. I don’t know how normal people’s dreams work but mine are scatter brained, they jump from place to place, moment to moment, scene to scene. So this may be a scatter brained post, but I’ve got to get it out.

(I asked myself after waking up and coming to the realization of everything all over again how I would describe how I felt that day. Haunted. That was the perfect word to describe how this dream left me. Haunted. Haunted by the absence of my baby and the longing to have him. Haunted by the love that my dream “re-jostled” in me.)

In my dream, I was pregnant with twins. They were unhealthy to some extent inside of me so I had to deliver early. It was one boy and one girl. They told me they probably wouldn’t survive. Or at least one wouldn’t. When I delivered they told me the little girl had died, she was too weak. And I was disappointed because having a little boy would be harder, since I had just lost Adam. In another moment I remember scooping them off the bassinet across the room with my “stretch armstrong arms” wrapping them in a blanket, both of them, and trying to keep them warm against my skin. In the back of my mind I did this because their skin was getting cold and I couldn’t let them die. I also hoped for a miracle to bring the little girl back.
Present day: I was very concerned when I gave birth to Adam about him getting cold, because he was stillborn and there would be no blood flow through his tiny body. I would kiss his little nose and let my warm breath flow out over him to warm his face. Back in my dream, I held the babies for such a long time, knowing that it was doing no good and that I would pull them away from my body to see that they had died. When the nurse came in I was worried I had done something wrong and aided in their death. When I pulled the babies away from me to look down at them they were warm. All of a sudden the boy was in a bassinet in front of me, I was staring at him knowing his eyes would never open to meet mine, thinking, this is my reality. I don’t know any other way of bringing a child into the world than this experience of staring at my baby who would never be able to look back at me. ( He was the size of a full term baby, with the ability to lift his head) To my joy and surprise he opened his eyes to meet mine and a smile spread across his lips, he lifted his head and shrieked with joy as he outstretched his hands to me. “MOM” my mind heard his heart cry. My arms instinctively reached out and scooped him up and wept with joy while I held him against my heart, all the while aware of the baby girl that I had just lost and wondering where she was so I could hold her. Present day: I was always worried that the baby I carried wouldn’t find ultimate comfort in my arms. You know how a “mom” is the ultimate comfort to a baby, a mom’s mere touch or presence can calm a baby in ways that look like magic? I was worried that when Adam was born I wouldn’t be able to be that person for him. That he would like someone better than me, like my mom or grandma or my husband.

But I have dreamed of this face of this boy multiple times. He had a bigger head than Adam or any normal sized infant, a square set jaw, and a head full of straight brown hair with big, shining, beautiful brown eyes. Brown eyes that could never break hold of mine.

I have dreamed of multiple things that leave my heart feeling more empty than it did the day before. For instance, one night I had a dream that Adam was sick, and dying, but he was still alive in the moment. He would probably never wake up or open his eyes but I wouldn’t sleep because I wouldn’t allow myself to miss one second of his face. In this dream I laid on my side with my husband behind me and Adam in front of me laying on his back. He opened his eyes and looked at me. I tried to wake my husband without looking away from Adam’s smiling face but knew that by the time Rusty leaned over me to see Adam that he would be back asleep. And so it happened just like that.

But no dream has ever left me waking up as the one I told you about before thinking- that would be such an awful experience to go through to lose a baby like that. And then having the reality set in and lay on me like a tree that had just fallen over- the weight feeling like it is crushing me. In my dream I had experienced the pain that I did when we went through all that we did with Adam, but then I felt the pure joy and relief at the fact that he was alive and in my arms, warm and responding…laughing, smiling, breathing, kicking..relief at the fact that I hadn’t actually lost him but that we just almost did. The weight of that reality hitting me again as I sat up in bed made the room, that was full of morning light, darken around me. It made the air feel thick and as if I could see each particle fulling the room. It made the colors blend together and evaporate out of the comforter laying over my legs. It re-broke my already broken heart because I woke up with the feeling of relief that my baby hadn’t actually died, only to realize the truth….that he had died. And that I would never see those beautiful brown (or blue) eyes stare up at me with a smile spread across his face.

That reality more than sucks. It drowns me. And since that day I have been haunted by that dream where I knew what it was like to hold my living baby in my arms. Because that is just torment, a lingering, teasing sensation that I have never felt. It hurts. It is no fun. It doesn’t feel right. And it is unfair.

The song that says “when you’re dreaming with a broken heart, the worst part is waking up.” reverberates through my mind daily.

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Feeling the love from Heaven

Just a couple of days ago was my 25th birthday and the first birthday since I lost my son.

I was not excited about celebrating-instead I begged my family and loved ones to ignore the day and go on with life as normal. The thought of opening presents and blowing out candles only hurt. Knowing Adam should be in my arms for the moments made me not want to have those moments if I couldn’t have him.

Not surprisingly, mostly everyone obliged to my wishes and went about life like normal. BUT waking up on my birthday was hard to do.

I woke up that morning with a song stuck in my head that I hadn’t thought of in years. It hit me and brought reality to my conscious mind….so I went back to sleep. When I woke up next I had forgotten about the song. That is until I got my coffee and a children’s book and went to the cemetery to spend some time with my baby. Continue reading

“Dapping” and breaking your comfort zone

Tonight my family attended a banquet in honor of our First Grade Cheerleader completing her first season of PeeWee Cheer.

My daughter is a very shy girl. She often misses out on great, exciting experiences because of her fear. I say “fear” because to her (as to many young girls) the social aspect of life is scary….especially when you add self consciousness to the list! She has both…

As a mother, and just a female who has been there, I hate seeing girls who are worried about their appearance or approach too much to have fun. I wish every girl knew just how wonderful and amazing and UNIQUE they are. Let’s be honest- girls are mean. girls can judge. girls point out your differences. For whatever reason that is how we are wired. If I could take that wiring and rewire every female brain to things such as acceptance, love, encouragement, confidence I would start tonight!

In hindsight I now see what I wish my daughter could see. I see that no one else is as concerned about my socks as I am, or about how I walk to the front of the classroom. No one else cares if my bag of chips is loud when it opens at the lunch table or if I spill my drink on the floor. I was the only one who cared that much, and honestly I was so worried about how I looked that I never even looked at other people and noticed what they were doing! That is not how I want Doodle to grow up.

So in an attempt to expand her comfort zone (or maybe even throw her out of it) my husband and I decided to put her in PeeWee Cheerleading! At first, Doodle refused to consider the idea. After 1,524,678 questions we finally got her excited about the uniforms! (baby steps, people) I ended up being able to coach her team which I really think helped her feel comfortable at first. But once the season started and we had our first practice….

Oh. My. Goodness!!!

This shy, self-conscious girl I had come to know was amazingly one of the loudest, most outgoing girls on the team! She transformed into another person completely. My husband and I joked at first that we were sure that she thought she didn’t have an option once she started. Nonetheless, when we encouraged the girls to cheer louder, her voice sang out with the rest. When we practiced our jumps, she was right in there trying her hardest with the rest of the girls, oblivious to how she measured up to everyone else. Watching the smile gleam across her lips and see the confidence beam out of her was one of the proudest moments I have had as a mom as of yet.

I will be truthful, we took a huge gamble. UGE as future President Trump would say. But in the end it paid off big time. The girl who came out of cheerleading was by no standing the same girl that went in.

So my message to bonus parents and parents alike- take the risk! Encourage, support, answer questions until you’re blue in the face. Be excited about the experience. Honestly, I think our excited anticipation for Doodle helped build her own excitement-which made a world of difference. And above all, remind them how beautiful and perfect they are….Often. And be specific. “Doodle, you impress me with how well you brush your hair in the morning, you are beautiful….even with your bed head” “I’m proud of you” goes a long way. It is probably the thing I say to the kids most after “chew with your mouth closed”.

Every day I spend loving and learning from these kiddos makes me a better parent. Some days the lessons I learn are from my failures. But when we have nights like tonight where Doodle is running around playing with all of her friends, I feel a huge sense of joy and that rare tickle of success. Today, we celebrated a huge success as parents of a proud cheerleader. No matter what tomorrow brings we will celebrate the lessons learned and the love shared!

Advice to someone experiencing a recent loss: Take Your Time

To be honest, I probably began researching and reading others stories and quotes about loss a little too early. In the end, the fact that I could put words to my feelings through looking at other peoples experiences ended up carving an even bigger hole in my heart because I wasn’t ready.

So I don’t want your desperation or desire to know you aren’t alone to end up shoving you deeper into your hole of grief. You aren’t alone. Your baby isn’t alone. Take your time and just be before you try to function.

At this point your friends or loved ones will want to do anything they can to help you through the beginning stages of your grief. Take advantage of their love and do what you need to do. If you need to shut the world out, do it. If you need to sit on someone else’s couch and watch TV, do it. If you need to join a boxing gym so you can punch the hell out of something, tell a friend or loved one and they can help set it up for you.

Once we left the hospital after we had Adam we couldn’t stand to go home. The thought of going back to the house where we planned to bring him to and seeing that nothing had changed seemed offensive when considering how much our lives had just changed. We wanted a bed, a closed door, and a TV. So we stayed at my Mother-in-law’s house until after the funeral. We chose her house because we knew she would give us the space we needed. She was strong and she could function when we couldn’t. I would recommend going to the house where someone can be strong for you so that you don’t have to be. Don’t worry about offending your loved ones. They want whatever is going to be best for you in that moment, so it’s alright to be selfish in this time. They will work out their feelings on their own. You worry about you.

On another note: one thing I wish I had done when we returned home was empty the house of all living things (people and dogs) and scream as loud as my lungs would allow for as long as they would allow.

Does anyone else have any advice on how they handled the new reality you’ve been thrown into? What worked for you? What only hurt more? No form of coping is wrong!

The Beginning and Devastatingly the End.

I have begun a journey that I never wanted to go on. One that, quite frankly, I never thought would happen to me. I have begun a journey that will never end and that will make me feel, some days, like I am dying. That journey is surviving the loss and stillbirth of my son.

Let me start at the beginning.

The morning of August 25th, 2016 I woke up and used the restroom to find my urine was brown. Dark brown-like the toilet was filled with Coca-Cola instead of urine. I called my doctor and was told to monitor my symptoms through the next few hours and call back if it continued. I had been told another time that any movement at all from Adam was counted in the “kick counts” so I tried not to overreact at the little amount of movement I felt that morning. Nevertheless, the urine remained brown so I went in for a culture. The doctor I saw found Adam’s heartbeat easily, a strong 140 something. I was told to go home and drink water because it was probably a kidney stone but we would know more in 3 days when the results came back.

The next day I hadn’t felt Adam move like he usually does during the night and in the morning and while at work.I called a girlfriend of mine to get her advice on whether or not I should call the doctor because I tend to be a “worry-wort”. Without hesitation she said I needed to call. And so I did and I came in for an appointment right away. I never will forget the emotions leading up to those 5 words that tore my heart into shreds and suffocated all hopes and dreams I had for my son. Continue reading