Sunday, July 20, 2008


I did something completely moronic on Saturday. To explain, we have to back up.

We packed up his stuff in September of 07. 7 months pregnant with her, we have a 2 bedroom home, we needed to make room for her stuff. My mom offered to store everything at her place. As I packed it up, I knew it would be the last time I would ever look at the stuff. I wasn't ready to sell it or donate it yet. But I knew if I do get pregnant again, and it is a boy, we will start all over with boy clothes and boy bedding. Packing up everything was really hard. I had picked out that bedding when I was 7 weeks pregnant. I had stalked ebay for random pieces of the discontinued set. I kept a few of the wall clings. Actually, 3 of them are hanging in her closet (they just look like huge stickers. Little bugs/turtles that matches the bedding). I put one in his memory chest. But, the rest of it, was packed away.

This May, right before his 2nd birthday, we were struggling with money a bit. We wanted to take a trip up north to a condo to celebrate his birthday. We wanted to take her to go with, we want to make this a tradition as we had done it the year before. But, money was tight. I thought long and hard and asked my mom to take the stuff to a child's consignment shop, Once Upon a Child. They have them all over the place. She did it, though it was really hard for her. I just knew I couldn't do it. And my mom did it, because she loves me. But I know she did it with a heavy heart and tears in her eyes. We got some money for his things, and that helped up be able to afford the two night trip for his birthday.

Fast forward to Saturday. I had been on the hunt for a stationary jumperoo for her. I didn't want to buy a new one because I know she will out grow it soon, so I thought aout hitting up a used kid's store. They have them all over, but I was meeting a friend for lunch so I went to one over by her.

Not even thinking.

Not even thinking I was walking into the store where all of his stuff was. I spotted the jumperoo area and walked up the aisle. There was a display to my right...a crib. Filled with the turtle and bug bedding. The valances. The crib skirt. The diaper stacker. The quilt. The clock, the light switch cover and the lamp.

I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach and slapped in the face. I stared at it for a minute. I took a step forward and ran my hand over the pieces. I had forgotten about the clock. I had someone make that for me to match his room.

How could I just walk into that store and NOT remember that is where his stuff was? I was on such a hunt for her, I didn't even think. And you know, if I had thought I would have figured maybe it would have been sold. But at least I would have been prepared.

I hadn't really thought about his bedding for a long time. But now, it keeps flashing through my mind. I can see it....but the sad thing is I don't see it in his room like I used it. I see it sitting in a crib at Once Upon a Child. Not even his anymore. Just on sale for $75 for some other little baby. Some other baby will have the cute whimiscal bugs and the turtle with a party hat. The bedding I bought at 7 weeks pregnant because I just couldn't wait.

No great thoughts about it. No wonderful thought to pull it all together. Just the knowledge I am never going back to that store again. I can't handle it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I don't think a lot of people read my blog. Sure, people stumble upon it by accident, google or something, but it is frickin' sad! People love funny, true to life blogs. I wish I had a blog like that. A blog to make you laugh, a blog to make you think. That would be cool.

Once upon a time, I wanted to write. Fiction stories, mainly. I wrote story after story. Thanking my lucky stars I went to a high school that offered Creative Writing as an elective. And you know what? I was a pretty good writer.

I never pursued it. I wasn't so good with the grammar (as I am sure you have figured out by now) or making a point. Or following a train of thought. I really didn't enjoy English classes and learning about grammar either. When I got to college, I majored in Social Work and writing took a back seat. Quite a few years later, I took a creative writing class through a community education class. Once again, I really enjoyed it, but I think I realized I wasn't that great of a writer. I was average, I just enjoyed doing it.

I do think I write about him fairly well. I think my feelings with him do come pouring out. It may be a mubled mess but I try my best to convey what I am feeling. I was asked to write a piece for a local newsletter for an organization that has helped us in our grief process. It was about having a living child after a loss and if they liked it, maybe they would use it. I tried NOT to get excited. I knew they probably wouldn't use it, as they have asked me to write other stuff they have never published. The funny thing is, when it comes to him, getting to talk about him or write about him: I just love it. It is another way I have to keep his memory going. It is another way to parent him. I was pretty sad to receive an email back saying "Gee, that was nice. Thanks!" So, yeah. Obviously, my hopes and dreams of finally being a plublished writer have been dashed. It makes me cry when I read it, it made Hub cry when I read it to him. So, there!

For your reading pleasure, however, I have included it below. I have taken the names out as I try to keep this blog as anonymous as possible.

A piece of him. A piece of her. Our version of a family.

I think it is an understatement to say we were shocked when our son was stillborn at 40 weeks. We planned 9 months for his arrival and were left with a few precious photos and an urn full of his ashes. After his death, I would often wonder out lout if I had really been pregnant. Had I really prepared a nursery? Had I really given birth? It felt like a gigantic game of pretend. A game everyone around me joined in on, and one day, we all just stopped pretending. A piece of me was gone. How could we begin to move through the grief that now surrounded our lives?

I became pregnant with our daughter 10 months after losing him. We suffered a miscarriage in betweenm so not only did we have the worry about a stillbirth; we had the worry about a miscarriage. We knew the grim realities. But, as a fellow loss mom once told me “When the fear of having a loss outweighs the desire to have a living child, I will stop trying.” So we kept trying.

My pregnancy with her was a roller coaster from day one. It was long, it was stressful, and it was joyous. Each kick, each wiggle, each time I heard her heartbeat or saw her on the ultrasound, I drank that moment in. I tried my best to be optimistic; I tried to push the fear away. I worked hard, very hard, to get my daughter here safely. Each day slowly, and I do mean slowly, inched by.

I was shaking as I was being prepared for my c-section. “It is cold in here,” I remember the nurse saying. That isn’t why I was shaking. On some level, I wasn’t convinced she would be born alive. All I knew was stillbirth. All I knew was 9 months of pregnancy and going home empty handed.

She was born screaming, which for a mom of only a silent baby, was a welcomed sound. “I want her to keep crying,” I told Hub. He just nodded. Smiled. Told me to look to my right, I could see her under the warming lights. “Is she okay?” “She’s perfect.”

We often will say the day he was stillborn was not our worst day. How could it be? We got to hold our son for the first time. We got to finally see his face after 40 long weeks. Yes, that day had some of our worst moments, but it will never be our worst day. It was all so different with her. It was all so normal. Her birth was everything we had been dreaming about. She was here. She was okay. She was coming home with us. The first time I held her felt like pure and utter relief. No one was sad. Everyone was happy. We had our baby.

We know she will grow up, and dream her own dreams. But right now, we are living our dream come true. It is a dream that was born out of losing him. After saying goodbye to him, I wanted to be the parent of a living child. I never thought that would be a dream, a want, and a desire of mine. I thought when I got pregnant with him, that was a given. But then I became the parent of a stillborn child. So, in his death, new dreams were born.

Grief is a funny thing. The first time she started to all out giggle, my eyes welled with tears. She was giggling! But I would never hear his giggle. The other day, she cut her first two teeth. Sadness overwhelmed me. Yes, I never had the chance to discover his first teeth, but on a deeper level, the grief that it is all going so fast hit me like a ton of bricks.

Hub and I have desperately tried to put the brakes on each day that is flying by. For so long we wanted time to hurry up. We wanted past that first year after losing him, past that intense, pain. Then, we wanted to get to the finish line of her pregnancy. We wished for the better part of 18 months for time to hurry up. Well, it finally is, but right when I want it to slow down. Each little milestone means so much to us. We don’t take a moment for granted. We know what it is like to wish we had our child with us, and this is everything we had hoped for. We do our best to live in the moment.

Her birth has been one of our greatest blessing. I cannot say it has healed us, because I don’t think you ever heal after losing a child. You learn a new normal. You learn to live with a piece of yourself forever missing. I lost a piece of my heart, a piece of myself, when he left us. But she gave me a new piece of my heart. It isn’t the same one he took with him, but that new piece; I think it is called joy.

Wherever my children are, they are forever the pieces of my heart. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I often wonder what people think when they come over to our house. We have two glass cabinets on both sides of our entertainment center. On 2 of the shelves are his things. Foot print molds. His urn. 3 framed pictures. A rose. His 'baby book' which is geared toward loss. Little things people have given us that have been special.

I think if someone came to our house and saw those shelves, they would 'get it'. It is behind glass. In a cabinet. Kind of has an official, special, hands off look.

But then, there is the refridgerator. I love, love, love having a fridge covered in stuff. To me, it makes the kitchen look warm and lived in. Magnets all over the place, random pictures scattered about. I leave my nieces and nephews pictures up, my parent's Chistmas collage of pics from the year stays up year round. A picture of Hub and I from 4 years ago. Pictures of our daughter. Magnets from local establishments. A picture my niece colored for me years ago. A card my parents sent my husband, years ago. Off to the right on the freezer door is a 5x7 photo of him. It is the only picture I have with his hat off.

The company at the hospital that takes the newborn photos and usually charges new parents a bazillion dollars took it. Free of charge. I thought it was a really nice offer and agreed to have his photo taken. We had our own camera and got a lot of pictures, the nurses had a camera and took some. But even in my grief I knew I wanted as many photos as possible. They took him away to have his picture done and sent them to me in the mail. I had promptly forgotten about that extra photo until a month later when it arrived in the mail. I called Hub, all excited that we had another picture. He actually left work early so he could come see it. When he got home, it struck us that he should be racing home to see his son, not a picture of his dead son. It is all so damn sad.

It is a nice picture, I know they did some editting on it, because his head is nice and round. But it is nice to see his hair line, the tops of his little ears (so much like Hub's).

I put one of the copies on our fridge that day, and there it is. I know some people in our extended family struggle with the pictures we have around. It makes them feel sad. It doesn't make us feel sad though. He is just as much a part of our life as our daughter is. Pictures of him keep him real. But I do wonder, when people who don't really know us, or never really knew how "real" he was to us think when they wander into our kitchen. A fridge covered in photos, tons of her and one big one of him. Do they avert their eyes away? Do they look at his cute ears and sleeping eyes? Does it make them uncomfortable?

We have talked about putting the house on the market. We do need to move closer in to the city. I know it won't be happening anytime soon thanks to the housing market tanking, but one of my biggest fears is I know we would have to put away "his" stuff. Someone would see it and it would make them uncomfortable. A picture on the fridge. A teddy bear urn on a really don't want to be confronted with that while house shopping. I just am not comfortable shoving these things in a closet. I don't want his picture off the fridge.

I miss him. I am so so so tired of missing him. It never goes away.