Sunday, May 17, 2009

Our Story, Part 25

Curtis' Birthday

(left off just having a 6w6d u/s with our 2nd pregnancy after losing Curtis).

The discussion on "what to do" was rampant in our house. We knew we were DONE with the doctor who delivered Curtis. We knew we needed to find a new doctor. Part of me did not want to jump through hoops until I was in the 2nd trimester (14 weeks). I had a doctor's appointment set up with my current OB for 12 weeks. That was 5 weeks away. We decided we would make decisions at the time we could hear the heartbeat on the doppler. Then we would make the decisions that could get a child, a living child, in our arms.

So, we waited.

And told no one I was pregnant.

Each day was _hard_. I had no way of knowing if things were progressing. I had no way of knowing if that little heart was still thumping away. I knew women, I know women, who have lost babies at every single stage of pregnancy. There was no 'magic' time for me to get through, except birth.

On top of it all? We were rapidly approaching Curtis' first birthday. We didn't want to tell anyone until May had passed. We wanted, and needed, to make May about Curtis.

So, while Curtis' soon-to-be sibling grew inside of me, we prepared to celebrate the end of our first year without him. I don't mean celebrate in a bad way, but we had made it. We had made it a full year. We got through each holiday, each moment together. We grieved Curtis, we loved Curtis and we prepared for the inevitable host of emotions that would come with his birthday.

Craig put together a slide show of two of my favorite songs remembering Curtis. It showed me pregnant at 35 weeks, showed his room I had taken pictures of after we had put the finishing touches on it. It showed his shower cake. (Ironically saying "I'm On My Way") showed us with tear stained faces holding his little body. It showed him cuddled with his teddy bear. It showed his feet, being held by our nurse Kim. It showed his funeral. It showed his urn and us at the lake the day we spread his ashes. It showed the first memorial walk we attended with our "Team Curtis" tshirts. And on and on and on....

We packed a lot of celebrating, and grieving, into that year.

Our support group held a little birthday party for Curtis. We did a balloon release, we brought treats, we showed our video. It was a beautiful thing.

Craig and I decided we needed to get away for his birthday. His birthday landed on a Thursday so we took that day and the following Friday off. I researched various resorts and hotels in areas of Minnesota and surrounding states. We settled on the ski area of Lutsen, MN. It wasn't ski season so the prices for condos was cheap. We could get a one bedroom with a jacuzzi, something we could never afford normally.

The days leading up to Curtis' birthday were hard. Being pregnant was taking it's toll enough, dealing with his birthday about sent me over the edge.

Cards started to pour in, a lot of my friends from online communities remembered my little boy and sent us something. A wonderful woman sent us 2 plaques remembering Curtis.

We drove up to Lutsen on Curtis' actual birthday. I was up early, sitting on the couch when Craig woke up. He walked over and the first thing he said? 'Happy Birthday, Curtis."

It was the only time I cried all day.

We stopped at my parent's to drop off the dog, made idle conversation about nothing, and they handed us a card. We stopped at Craig's parents briefly for some reason. They, too, handed us a few cards. We were making polite chit chat and I found myself anxious. I wanted to be alone with Craig. I wanted out of the confines of having to make chit chat with people while my heart felt like it was going to burst.

We then drove to the Angel of Hope statue where Curtis has 3 bricks remembering him. We laid a white flower on his bricks and 2 flowers for friends of mine who had lost their children around the time we lost Curtis.

Then, we made our way to the lake. It wasn't on the direct path to our resort, but we wanted to go to where we spread Curtis' ashes the past summer. It was another beautiful day. We sat on the dock and talked about our little boy, talked about the day we spread his ashes. We took pictures of ourselves in the spot where his ashes had been spread. We set the self timer and took a silly picture of us laying on the dock together.

We were only there for about 30 minutes, but it was enough. We got in the car and started driving to our final destination.

We were actually in the car at 5:31pm, the time Curtis was born. I took a picture of the clock.

We arrived at our resort early in the evening. We were thrilled with what we found. A beautiful view of the mountain area, a private deck, and comfortable amenities. We sat on the couch together and opened the cards people had given us. Craig had written me a card with the sweetest, most heartfelt words. He spoke about how he knew how hard it had been on me, I had carried Curtis and given birth to him...he spoke of how proud he was of our boy and what he may be doing now if he had been born alive. I still read the card on a regular basis.

We spent the first evening enjoying our surroundings. Heading into town to buy a frozen pizza... swimming in the outdoor/indoor pool, watching the TV. Later in the evening, as we decided to start a fire in our fire place, I noticed the mantle above the fireplace had an inscription carved into the wood.

It said 'Rekindle Your Heart".


Hope's Mama said...

I'm three months away from this myself and I have no idea what to do. But we have also discussed going away. I don't want to do idle chit chat with anyone either. And I can imagine being pregnant again will add that extra dimension. All things going well, I'll be about to start my third trimester then. Hard to believe really.
Good to have you back posting your story.

Lynda said...

Your husbands words "Happy birthday Curtis" just yanked at my heart. I'm so so sorry your sweet Curtis couldnt blow out his first candle. I'm still so early on this journey that I can't even fathom the end of the first year. I'm sure on your vacation Curtis was with you, watching over you, being with you. God bless you and your husband.

Ya Chun said...

sounds like a wonderful way to remember Curtis.

libby @ ninesandquines said...

i've been reading your blog for a couple of weeks and just want you to know that, although i've never been through what you have, i pray for you and your healing...we have been trying for 5 years to have a baby and have not been successful...your story breaks my heart and you are on my "daily prayer list"...

Kristi said...

what a lovely story. i can't think of a better way to do it!

Aaron'sMommy said...

Such a beautiful tradition you have going. We're going to be at the beach this year. I'm glad for that. We went right after Aaron's funeral and wrote his name in the sand and took pics. I love those pics. I'll do Curtis' this year on the 31st as well if that's okay by you. I'll send you the pics :-)