“Where’s His Stone?”

This morning while I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get myself and my two kids ready for school, work, and granny’s house my 4 year old was sitting at the breakfast table eating Apple Jacks and talking to his sister.

Both of their gazes shift to the display case that we keep all of Adam’s things in and Bub looks at me pulling my boots on over my socks on the couch and asked, “Where is Baby Adam now, Mary?” They (nurses etc.) said these random questions would happen at the most random times. And from sitting in line at the grocery store trying to get Bub to stop telling the people behind us that we are buying this garden decoration for his “baby brother” to now, they were absolutely right.

One thing I didn’t realize, however, was that I would love the questions. Never have I been hurt when one of the kids bring up Adam. Sometimes, I have to really think hard about how to answer their questions (like ‘how did he get out of your belly’) but I try my hardest to be honest with them and explain things at their level of understanding. (except for that question. We’re not going down that road yet!)

So today when Bub asked, “Where is Baby Adam now?” my response was simple, without looking away from my boot I said, “Well he’s in Heaven, Bub.” To which Bub replied, “Where is Jesus?” And the conversation went something  like this:

“Jesus is in Heaven too.”

“He is in Heaven with Adam?”

“Mhm”

“Is he next to him?”

“Yeah I bet he is next to him. Probably holding him right now.”

“Where’s his stone?…Is it next to him on this side or on that side?” I thought about this for a minute before I realized that Bub was talking about Adam’s headstone. They are always very aware of the other babies in the cemetery around Adam and they often run around from stone to stone visiting each one and asking their names or commenting on their flowers. So, naturally, in my 4 year old’s cut-and-dry-mind, Jesus must be next to Adam somewhere in there if he is in Heaven too, because everyone else over there is in Heaven.

So how do you answer that to a 4 year old? He asked, “Is his stone next to Adam?” again because I was thinking too long. I told him that Jesus’s stone was far away but that he had a stone. (Silently proud of myself for the pun…you know the stone was rolled away yada yada.) So Bub’s next question was, “Is his body down there too?” Well….okay then. So I ended up trying to explain the ascension to him at which time my 7 year old asked, “How can Adam being running and playing up in heaven if he is just laying down there all…?” She immitated the seriousness of Adam’s face in his casket and put her hands on her belly with her eyes closed. The Lord loves to see how I answer complicated questions!

So THAT question led to a brief explanation of Souls and that everyone has one and our body is only a temporary house for our soul, that when we die our body goes in the ground and our soul goes up to Heaven. After assuring that Adam did indeed have a soul too, they were both satisfied with this answer and just as randomly as the topic came up, it ended just the same.

Which leaves me here, now, sitting at work feeling some kind of weird happiness at their questions. Why their questions bring me such this weird feeling of happiness is not very clear to me but I do know one thing. I worry that they will forget him every day. That as life goes on he will become less important to them as the recentness of his loss fades away into years. It really bothers me and worries me where it probably shouldn’t. I will keep his memory alive as best I can and I am sure that specifically for Doodle, she will remember him for the rest of her life. The big task will be keeping his memory alive to Bub who was only 3 when we lost him. But days like today, when he randomly brings him up and wants to talk about his baby brother make me feel good. Knowing I have at least one more day of not having to remind him who the baby pictures in the display case are brings me a happiness that is not easily explained.

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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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.

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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