Grown Ups Pout Too…

Tomorrow marks 6 months since I met and said goodbye to Adam. And it makes me so mad for so many reasons. 6 months is halfway to a year… the fact that we are half way to a year of having lost him makes me sick to my stomach. I want to claw and grasp at anything to make the time stop. I don’t like moving on in life without him and these milestones just really make me angry. That’s another thing…these 6 months have flown by and dragged by at the same time. I remember when I first lost him and I read things about stillbirth online there was a mother who posted about losing her baby 5 months before me and I thought, “there is no way she can relate to me. I need someone who has just lost their baby, someone who knows how I feel.” Oh how wrong I was. I remember that initial, tunnel of darkness, rush of hormones, feelings of dying, or wishing you could. I remember it like it was yesterday. And I will never let myself forget it. Then the time feels like it drags on too. Day in and day out I wake up and some days I just wait for the day to end. I go to bed at 8 pm some nights just to have the day over with, and some nights I can’t fall asleep until well after midnight because I can’t quiet my racing mind.

But the thought that life does go on after something so unfair happens…..well it’s just not fair. Tomorrow I will cross my arms and stomp my feet with my best pouting face on and curse time for being so heartless and relentless.. The tears don’t come every day anymore, but they can come at the drop of a hat. The anger though, that still comes daily. Thus brings my favorite saying since losing Adam: That’s just where I’m at right now.

Rhythmic

The quick and steady bah-dum bah-dum bah-dum met her ears as expected-taken for granted. “One fourty-” her brain only loosly caught the last number of the rhythm and it was forgotten quickly. She would regret not listening fully to that number announced to her on that beautiful August day. But for now she sat back against the angled bed and relaxed her hands over her growing stomach as she let out a breath.

“Go home and drink plenty of water.”

The steady tick of the clock played in the back of her mind the rest of the day as she went about her usual activities. Dinner,tick, Coaching her Daughter,tock, kicking up her aching feet,tick. At almost 32 weeks of pregnancy nothing came as easily as it used to.

A mild awareness of the lackadaisical mood her baby was in sat uncomfortably on her mind and she shrugged it off.

“10 movements no matter how small in an hour.”

tick, tock, tick, tock, 45 minutes and the only movement she felt was the rhythmic pulse in her own heart. tick, tock, tick, tock

Walking through the doors to the familiar waiting room of the obgyn’s office she felt silly. With her husband at her side and feeling something like pressure, that was probably her son pushing on her, she knew she would be embarrassed when she was proven to be overreacting.

“Let me see if the Doctor will come take a listen.”

“Where’d we find it yesterday?”

“The ultrasound tech will get you right in in a moment.”

A subtle shake of the head accompanied by a very still picture projected over head on the wall.

“So, there is no heartbeat.”

No. The rhythmetic tick, tock in her mind stopped abruptly as the floor shattered around her. She left the warm jelly, dim room, and emotionless face of the doctor behind in the room and fell into a fiery pit.

As if they had been lining up behind her eye lids, tears ran down her face, one after another, after another, incessantly. Her own heartbeat picked up pace as if to make up for the lack of rhythm in her no longer growing belly.

“Do you want a minute?”

She would need much longer than a minute.

 

Check out The Daily Post’s prompt here.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/rhythmic/

Hallelujah it’s over!

Everyone take a deep breath and let. it. go.

We made it through the holiday’s!! I know, my post is a little late but after the grueling season that we all just had to endure, I am reluctant to open my heart up to write another post.

But alas! If you’re like me and this season was the first holiday season after the loss of your baby or if you just know what it’s like to endure a Christmas morning in an empty house, then you know; breathe in, breathe out and repeat. Eventually it all comes to an end.

I will not lie, approaching this holiday season I was optimistic and cautious. That is until my husband and I went Black Friday shopping. Then the optimism vanished and I was just cautious. I realized that we were saving so much money on TWO kids and that we should be equally as excited at how much we were saving on baby toys as well. Standing by the pajama’s sorting out a pair for Doodle I looked up and saw the Christmas onesie pajamas across the way and had to collect and reorient myself. Ahhh! Screw them I wanted to say. I wanted to march over and wreck the clothing rack that displayed the cutest Christmas jammies I’d ever seen that read “my first Christmas” across the chest. Screw those pajamas for existing. I thought I had mentally prepared myself pretty well for scenarios such as Christmas morning where we would wake up and instead of seeing presents under the tree for three kids, there would only be two sets of gifts to give out. On top of that, we didn’t have our other two this year, their mother did. So it was especially difficult because we woke up to a silent, empty, still house. That, I thought I had prepped myself for. This though….I didn’t even think about the actual Christmas shopping. So it hit me smack in the face when I saw that onesie hanging on the wrack across the isle from me. It was so forceful that I was sure someone had actually punched me in the chest. I was sure that someone had seen this reality setting in around me that shifted my perspective ever so much. I was sure that the people around me could feel the air thicken and gain an amber hue at the realization that I didn’t need a “my first Christmas” onesie in my cart. But life just moved on as normal. No one noticed, no one stopped. No one had punched me. This was just my little bubble of grief that swallowed me alone.

Continue reading

It’s a Real Tough Thing

My three children are the best things in my life. They are the best things to ever happen to me and they bring me so much joy you wouldn’t believe. Even while some days might be harder than others, I wouldn’t trade a single one of them. Sometimes, though, it’s a real tough thing being a step-mom and a mother to an angel but not a mom to any living children. It’s hard for so many reasons. Because of that, sometimes I find myself wanting to rip my hair out, scream my head off, and hug them so tight all in a minute’s time.

I love my kiddos all the same amount, but that love is felt a little differently at times. Sometimes I feel like I need to prove myself in showing my love to my kids, sometimes I feel like I want to recoil and not show them my outward love because they have said something intentionally hurtful. Then sometimes I want to engulf them in my love and stare at their little faces forever. The last one is where I find myself most often but when the other feelings strike it can be a real tough thing to fight and level them out.

Not unlike any other typical 3 and 6 year old, my kids can say/do some of the most hurtful things. Lately, the most hurtful thing I experience (often) from my 3 year old is the fact that I don’t fill his “Mommy shaped spot” in his heart. It has always been a bummer to me, because I love him like he is my own, but after the loss of Adam the fact that I can’t be his “go to” and his “one stop shop” for that spot hurts so badly. I understand it, don’t get me wrong, no one trumps “Mommy” and no one ever should, but when you are dealing with loving someone so much you would literally do anything for them, the fact that you aren’t everything to them sometimes gets to ya’. In these times I have to catch myself. I have to refrain from curling inside myself and shutting myself off so that I can’t be hurt. The most true thing that I know is that the more you love the more you can be hurt. And These kiddos can pull ALL of the heartstrings right out of me!

I also try to remind myself of all of the ways they interpret my actions when I want to scream my head off or recoil my heart. I remember being a 6 year old girl, but I don’t remember the emotions…..and boy are there emotions!!! So I find myself having to back peddle sometimes and put myself into Doodle’s shoes. To be honest, this changes my actions the most! I never want her to think she isn’t good enough or that she isn’t loved and cared for. (Same goes for her brother.) Sometimes, she needs the strictness because she is 6 and 6 year olds aren’t always the best listeners. But I never want her to think of me and think of negativity. All in all, I want her to talk to me about what is going on in her life and express her doubts, fears, sadness, frustrations, and joys with me. I want her to know that I am a safe place for her to land.

Days like today, when I feel like I showed too much frustration while getting the kids ready in the morning and had some complete #momfails, I feel like I’ve struck out. I feel defeated and like I have failed in showing them just how much I love them. But then I remind myself of things like last night. Last night Doodle asked me to climb in her bunk bed with her and watch, “some movies.” So we climbed up there, she turned a movie on and turned her back to the screen. She scooted her head up onto my chest and curled her body into mine and started talking. She asked questions, shared her day with me, and talked about whatever came to her mind. Eventually she said she couldn’t fall asleep so I told her to turn around and watch some TV. (She usually falls asleep with the TV on.) She rolled over, scooted back into me and let me be her “big spoon”. She left the TV off and fell asleep snuggled up to me. I remind myself of moments like that; where my heart is so full and happy, because it reminds me that we have come a long way. It also reminds me that just like their mom, I am irreplaceable in their eyes. And even while I don’t fit the Mommy spot in their hearts, I do belong in a spot in there somewhere; a shape all my own.

Re-blogging because it hit the feels

I am pretty new and ignorant to the rules and “sportsmanship” of word press but I read another bloggers post today and really related to it well. She spoke of how child-loss has changed her and that she doesn’t like the new her. Goodness can’t we all relate to that?! I don’t want to steal her words or ideas so you can access her post Here

Definitely follow her as well. I have found comfort in reading her posts.
It is good to know that when we feel alone in this awful reality we have to face that there are actually others out there who can put the emotions we haven’t figured out yet into words. Other people that can relate to us.

Hook Line and Sinker

I hope someone asks today. That’s all I keep telling myself as I walk into work at my new job. I hope I can get someone to ask about my family and my kids and my new husband and whether or not we plan to have “any of our own”. All of that hoping is just because I want to talk about my baby that I lost. I want to tell people about him and have them ask the obligatory questions so that I can talk about him.

It isn’t until after I failed at attempting to bring him casually into conversation one day that I realize that what I am trying to do is to “Hook-Line-and Sinker” people.

I’m introduced to new people at my new job so naturally we talk about ourselves, ask questions about others etc. So here is my hook. Hook: mention my daughter who is in first grade. A little while later, mention my son who is three. Next comes my line. Of course after that they are going to ask how many kids we have or if we plan to have any of our own. Line: I tell them innocently that I have three children. Or if they ask if we plan to have any of our own I tell them that we already have a son together. Then comes the doozy. I have unknowingly until this moment realized that I am setting these people up for a real “sinker”. Obviously they are going to ask how old our son is because I have probably already told them the ages of the other two. Sinker: He would be three months old. Is what I say and then pause, briefly, to see if they get it before telling them, he was stillborn at 32 weeks. Then a wide range of responses generally come out of these strangers mouths. Then I get to talk about him because no matter what their response is, they always ask questions.

I have been going on like this for three months now and just realized that I am leading people into this trap that I KNOW will end with me talking about my son and them probably feeling so uncomfortable. I knew that I could be manipulative at times (can’t we all?) but realizing that I was subconsciously doing this for the past few months without realizing it blows me away! It shows me just how absent I am from my own mind.

While I am now aware of this behavior I really don’t foresee it changing any time soon. Usually I would say that, “this is just where I am right now.” Because sometimes that is just what I need to accept from myself. But not this. I actually do feel guilty about doing this to people. I mean, it is where I am at right now, but none the less, I hook line and sinker people into a very uncomfortable conversation for them. I want to talk about my baby, so I manipulate the conversation so that I can. This isn’t right, and I know that. But I am so desperate to allow him to fill my every thought that I am not willing to make a change in this aspect of myself right now.

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.

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!