Friday, December 31, 2010

Hi Everyone! I started a new blog:

Yes, I will still be blogging here at BSBSB, as this is Curtis' story and that never ends.  Also, in the coming months I *will* be finishing the story I started way back when. I will finish Claudia's story and hopefully Cole's as well. Pregnancy after a stillbirth deserves a lot of is was tough tough time. That will all occur at this blog.

However, I find myself wanting to blog more about some day to day stuff as my children are growning to share with family and friends, and you can find that at our other blog. Please follow if you would like! I am sure there will be some cross over...because Curtis is very much a part of our daily life as well.

Friday, December 24, 2010

We have had quite the holiday season so far. We have had a lot of fun activities and also a lot of issues. such as blizzards ruining plans and stomach flu wiping three of us out last weekend and this week!

On Wednesday Craig and I took the kids to see Santa. We had to, twice, cancel a breakfast with Santa. First time due to 20 inches that dumped on us and the second time because Claudia was throwing up. So, on Wednesday Craig and I took them. It is a different kind of Santa thing, he spends five or so minutes getting them to warm up to him. Sitting on the floor with them, chatting with them before the picture. They had great methods for getting Cole on Santa's lap without him even realizing there was a strange man with a huge beard holding him.

Honestly, it was one of the cutest things ever. Claudia loved him, Cole did fabulous. Even when he swiveled his head around and saw who was holding him, no screams. Santa made him laugh and all was right.

I am pretty used to it now. I had a fleeting thought of 'Curtis should be here' but it wasn't overwhelming. Last year was Cole's first Christmas and I was really overjoyed he was HERE, he was SAFE. I cried after we took them to see Santa and Craig said "One is missing?" and I shook my head. That honestly wasn't it. I was relieved and happy to see two children with Santa.

It is hard not to feel guilty. I had a hard day a few weeks ago, randomly bursting into tears over Curtis. Those days are far and few in between but a lot of it was the guilt I feel for moving forward. But, I know, I have no reason to. Curtis is just as loved as when we first had him. His death is just part of our lives and that is the only capacity we have had him for four and a half years. Cole and Claudia are here so of course we are going to live their lives with them.

I don't even know what I am trying to say. With each passing year, it gets better. It really does. That doesn't mean I don't miss Curtis....but having Claudia and Cole with us to brighten our days... watching them grown by leaps and bounds continues to fascinate me.

Curtis, I miss and love you. Though we parted ways too soon I know I feel joy at a much deeper level because you are in our lives. Merry Christmas, baby boy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Today, I took the day off of work and took Claudia to the mall. They were having a special even where you could meet Dora and have a Christmas dance and sing a long. Claudia loves all things Dora so it was a special me and her time.

While standing in line, there was a grandma in front of us with her 4 grandkids (I am assuming. A few called her grandma and they all looked similar in age). 2 of the little girls were talking to my cousin and her daughter. Somehow the fact came up that my cousin's daughter has 3 older sisters. The little boy of the group, who is maybe 4, then turns to me and says " I have three sisters too." And a few seconds later, he says, "I have a brother who died."

I sat for a second, not sure of what he said.

I asked him what he said and he repeated "I have a brother who died. His name is Nathan."

I was holding Claudia and I said to him "She has a brother who died. His name is Curtis. That is hard when a brother dies."

He nodded and smiled at me.

I said to him "Thank you for telling me about him."

He beamed and went back to playing with his cousins. I saw his grandma give a sweet smile to him.

I have always wondered. I have always wondered what Claudia and Cole will say. Will they mention him with ease like this little boy? I sure hope so. Will it change as they get older? What relationship can or will they have with a baby who left way before they were ever present?

But, I am so thankful I ran into that little boy and his sweet mention of his brother, Nathan. And to Nathan and this little boy's parents: Thank you. Thank you for talking about the son you lost and making sure he is int he hearts of your other children.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I just realized my last two posts sound a lot the is what happens when you post months apart and don't look back as to what you have written.

Today, Claudia is three. I remember driving up to the hospital (close to two hours away) terrified. Out of my mind. We had not told our families I was having an amnio and a possible c-section that day. They still thought it was a week away. We didn't want to get their anxiety levels up, ours were bad enough.

I had rented a doppler and even in the way, on the way to the hospital, I would listen to her heartbeat.

I remember the cold, sterile room where I had the long needle inserted into my belly and they removed fluid from the baby.

I remember our wonderful doctor having to do it TWICE because the needle didn't work. I remember her saying that had never happened before and "Of course it would happen to YOU."

I remember walking up to the room and laying on the bed and getting hooked to monitors. I remember waiting, waiting, waiting for results.

I remember Claudia going NUTS in utero. I remember her turning and turning and kicking to the point I was in tons of pain. I remember watching her heart rate climb to over 220 (NOT normal) and I remember launching into full blown panic. I remember the nurse telling me it was normal. I remember arguing with her that I had nightly monitoring for 8 weeks and the highest her heart rate got was 170 and 220 was NOT normal. I remember Craig trying to call me down.

I remember them calling my doctor and her racing in, looking at the monitors,  and telling me they would take the baby no matter the results of the amnio.

I remember calling my excited to tell them the baby was coming but being that they were taken so aback by it they were scared instead of happy. I had to tell them this was a GOOD thing, a planned thing...but I was so upset what I had expected to be a "HAPPY" call after Curtis' "SAD" call wasn't.

I remember Craig getting scrubs on. I remember being wheeled into surgery. I remember not asking questions because I was afraid of the answer.

I remember the needled inserted into my spine...I remember the doctors and nurses joking, talking about what they were going to do for Thanksgiving the next day.

I remember a tug. I remember MORE tugs. I remember Craig sitting next to me, talking softly and calmly, but his eyes showed his nervousness.

I remember Dr. R pulling her out and saying "There is a cord." (meaning a cord issue. She was wrapped up, a lot, in her cord. Again. Another baby with a cord issue. Why her heart rate had climbed).

I remember her cry. I remember saying "I want her to keep crying". I remember looking to my right and seeing her under the warming lights.

The first feeling? Not an overwhelming sense of love. Or happiness.

I felt relief. RELIEF. She was here, She was alive. And for the first time in about 17 months, a deep breath I took.

Falling in absolute love came about an hour later when I got to hold her before she spent the rest of the day in the NICU being monitored. I was okay with her NICU time. I was thrilled someone else was caring for her, watching her. It had been exhausting being the only one to care for her 24 hours a day. And not being able to physically see her.

 I fall more in love with her everyday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I am lucky.

I am the lucky one.

I am the one I would have searched for after losing a baby at 40 weeks.

In the days, and weeks, after I lost Curtis I was desperate to find someone like myself. Someone who lost their FIRST baby at 40 weeks and went on to have living children. I couldn't relate to someone who lost their 2nd or 3rd or 4th baby. I wanted to find someone like me.

Someone who walked in to the doctor's office and no heartbeat to be found. I wanted to know they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and tried again. And succeeded.

I am my own "best case scenario" after losing my son at 40 weeks.

I picked myself up, dusted myself and everyone around me off, and tried again.

And took home a beautiful daughter and a beautiful son.

Our family is as complete as it is going to get without Curtis. I truly love my life as it is right now. I can't bring back Curtis (trust me, I have tried. I still play the what if game on a regular basis). Claudia and Cole fill my days with laughter, joy, stress, exhaustion, and love. (Yes, I said stress and exhaustion. Because that is what kids do. Even as a loss mama, I still get annoyed and frustrated. But, I gotta say it is a heck of a lot less thanks to a truck load of perspective.)

I am blessed to have a job I enjoy and can work part time at. I am blessed to be able to take a few classes with Claudia.

I think about Curtis all the time. I miss him all the time. I tear up when I see how  much Cole loves to watch the little boy who is close to Curtis' age at daycare. Or watch my sweet nephew who is only a year or so older then Curtis, want to sit close to Cole and entertain him. This year Curtis would be 4 and a half at Christmas. I can picture him running down the stairs with Claudia in tow, jumping up an down at the excitement of Christmas morning. But, it isn't my reality and never will be.

Ya know, as I write this, it still doesn't even seem real. I miss being pregnant with him when I had no clue what my future held. I miss the short time I got to hold mind was so fuzzy I didn't do all the things I know in hindsight I should have. I hate the fact I didn't have the funeral for him that I should have.

It is emotions I have blogged about before. But they are always still there.

But, I am still the best case scenario. I know far too many women who have had miscarriages, stillbirth, and more miscarriages. And no living children. I don't know why this isn't me. None of these women deserve that nightmare. I do count myself as the lucky one.

Claudia is turning 3 on Sunday. Three. I haven't even gotten close to completing her pregnancy story and birth story. But I promise I will. It is all so fresh still.

Three years ago, I took a deep breath for the first time in about 16 months. I know I am lucky.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One year ago today, I entered the hospital. Pregnant with my second son and terrified out of my mind. I wouldn't leave for 3 weeks...but when I left, I had a teeny tiny baby boy to show for my, my husbands, my doctors, and my family's efforts. It was truly a team event. I know this...but his pregnancy was the loneliest I have ever felt. I remember pacing the hospital room in the middle of many nights in a full blown anxiety attack. Waiting to hold him in my arms. Wanting to hear his cry.

Here we are...almost a year later. Our Cole is almost one year old. I walk through the baby aisles at Target the teeny tiny baby aisles. With the newborn shoes and the newborn onesies. Cole isn't that anymore. (Heck, at 30 lbs..yes 30 lbs...he hasn't been that for awhile!). Cole is approaching the "toddler" age. Thankfully, he isn't toddling anywhere yet and I am okay with that.

But it is amazing. Amazing on how fast a year can go. We have an almost 3 year old and an almost one year old. They make us laugh, make us smile, and make us regularly lose sleep.

Given what happened to us...losing Curtis like we did... things couldn't have turned out better for us after his loss. Having two children in our arms. Having a solid, fun, happy marriage. We have been lucky. The road to get here was hard. Their pregnancies were horrid. Cole was a hard newborn with colic and reflux. But... things are good. Really good. I will miss having a teeny tiny baby to shop for teeny tiny things for...but it is okay. I want my children to grow up. I have given my children life so they can LIVE it. I couldn't do that for Curtis, I couldn't give him the life I thought I was. So, instead of clinging too tightly and not letting my children find their wings, I resolve to make sure my children get to experience life. I plan to enjoy each and every moment. They are already such neat and interesting people...I am so excited to know them as adults.

But not too soon, okay? I am not ready to shop in the big kids' section, much less the tween.... living in the moment is a good thing. And Curtis? As I am watching Claudia and Cole...I will carry your heart....

Friday, September 10, 2010

One of the hardest things about being a parent to a child who has died is ....well, you are still their parent. You still want to talk about them. You want to DO things for them. You want to brag about them. I know there are some people who prefer not to mention the children they have lost... but not me. Curtis is an everyday part of my life.

Anytime I have the chance to do something in his memory, I jump at it. The walk is the one time a year I ask/beg/plead with other people to remember Curtis with me. Our families are great, they willingly participate in the annual walk/run with us. I hate fundraising, I really do....but for Curtis, I do. I have spent the last month making my facebook status updates and asking people to donate in memory of Curtis. I ordered personalized tshirts for everyone walking with us (they turned out GREAT!). It is the one time of year I push...I push people to remember our baby boy.

Last week, the founder of the Missing GRACE Foundation asked me to come and record some radio spots promoting the walk. They have looped on a local radio station. I cannot tell you how excited I was to be able to do about Curtis? Get to record something talking about Curtis that lots of people will hear? You bet!! Anything to talk about my boy.

Here are the clips:

It has been a hard month. My little boy should have started preschool this week. The what ifs ALWAYS haunt. But events like this...well, they ease the pain a bit. We get to take Cole to his first Hope and Hearts walk (well, last year he was there....just in utero!) and take Claudia to her THIRD. We will have a team of friends and family with us.

In grief, there are blessings.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I am here :) I wanted to post a link to my fundraising page for Curtis.... Team Curtis 2010 is such an important time in my life. The walk is something I look forward to all year. Last hear I was in my final month of being pregnant with Cole and I just couldn't fully enjoy the walk. This year I am so looking forward to bringing Curtis' siblings to the walk and remembering my baby boy. If you can please donate...even the smallest amount makes a world if difference. The money goes to prevention of stillbirth and pregnancy and loss support. Missing GRACE does amazing things. It was started in memory of lovely baby named Grace, who was born still at 32 weeks. Her parents have taken her name and created her legacy.
See more about Curtis, my family, Missing GRACE and The Pregnancy Institute:

I have had a few questions/comments in my comments/emails lately about recent posts and I wanted to address them here:

I had a question about my co-workers friend's baby who had decreased movement:

The baby was born without complication as far as I know. When she went in for decreased movement there were heart decels and they did an immediate c/s and the baby was born fine. Early, but fine. The cord issue was severe but it doesn't look like there has been any lasting damage.

I had lots of comments about my coworker who I told about kick counts, his wife is pregnant right now and we discussed, at length, kick counts.

He recently came to me and said "Just wanted to let you know, since our conversation my wife has been really vigilant with her kick counts. I hear her every night. She has an application on her phone (YAY technology) and it is going well. She knows his pattern and says it was cool figuring that out each night."

Needless to say I was THRILLED to hear that. Kick counts aren't just to make sure the baby is moving, it is about tracking PATTERNS.

Just wanted to throw those little updates out there!

I have a lot of friends and family due in the next few weeks. 3 of them recently had their babies and about 3 more I am waiting for.... I get nervous for those people. I do. I remember being at that finish line. I much prefer once their babies are here safely. I hate the worry I feel for them...and even more I hate the jealousy I feel when I see their smiling pictures after the baby is born. I am THRILLED for them, but I am always sad for myself. Yes, I have had 2 babies since losing Curtis and have gotten to experience the happy birth experience. But my birth experience is different. I knew the flip side and because of that my world is colored different. I do not want them to experience that at all.

But I always wonder what it feels like to be them. To not have had sadness surrounding a birth. To just know everyone's pure joy and excitement... to just know the baby will come home with you. It is weird to me that I have brought home two children, and yet, other people's births make me jealous.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I just recievied this email from a co-worker:

I "hang out" on an american pregnancy discussion board with other moms due in August. A couple days ago a woman at 35 weeks asked about reduction in movement and everyone on the board was like, it's normal, not enough room, etc, etc. So I jumped in and shared your story about Curtis and said that you were a strong advocate of doing kick counts and any change in pattern could be a sign. Well the woman took my advice, didn't feel baby a lot yesterday, followed her instinct and went to the hospital, had decelerations so they did a c-section - cord was twice around the neck, once around the body, and once around the arm. I just feel like you sharing your story with me, and me being able to pass it on really helped save that baby. Maybe Curtis was watching out for her. The baby's name does start with a C!

Kick counts. They work. This means a lot. It means a lot that there are some people who listen, it means a lot that in my grief I have been able to 'help' others.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

There is a new guy at work, I don't know him well, but his wife is expecting. I told him he is going to love being a dad. That, yes, there are sleepless nights and fumbling through things but not to believe all the people who cackle and do the whole "just you wait" thing. That some of my best memories were those first few days home with each of the kids. He said that was a relief because everyone keeps telling him how hard it is. I hate when people do that. If it is so horrible why do people KEEP having kids then? Please.

He then asked how many kids I have.

Yikes. I make it a point to always mention Curtis. Not in a "feel sorry for me way" or "I want to scare the hell out of you way" but in the "he is my kid and a part of our family."

I did my standard "That is a hard question for me to answer. We have 3. A little boy who should be four but he passed away. Then we have our daughter who is two and a half and a baby boy who is 8 months."

He responded saying how sorry he was and asked how we lost him.

Hmmm. Now, I have to tread carefully. I do not want to scare him, but I want to educate him. I want to tell him what I wish I knew. I tell him that exactly. "Well, I don't want this to scare you...." and I tell him. I gloss over the hard details. But I tell him how it could be prevented. I tell him that if his wife ever feels like something isn't right, that the baby isn't moving much, to go in. I stress the importance of kick counts. Any change, Don't wait days, just call. Just go in. He asks questions. He asks good questions. Later on he comes back over and asks me more questions. I tell him I am not trying to scare him. He says he knows, he isn't scared. He wants to know so he can prevent something happening. He wants the education.

This isn't the first time I have had this conversation. I always stress to the person how preventable Curtis' death way. Had my doctor been more concerned with the heart decels. Had he listened more when I said the baby wasn't moving. Had I been educated on kick counts....I tell him if the doctor isn't listening, find another. Get more than one opinion. They see so many pregnant women on a daily basis, we are a dime a dozen. We live with that baby inside of us. They don't.

I always feel bad talking to a parent to be about this stuff. I was 40 weeks pregnant. People want to think it is so rare, but it isn't. But Curtis is a part of our family and...well, if I can educate people without frightening them...I will. I tell him to feel free to ask any questions. I don't mind talking about Curtis. I LOVE talking about doesn't make me sad.

I just never want this to happen to another baby. Another family. Curtis didn't get to live his life. Babies deserve to live. He had no choice, he died. But he taught us so much, he has given us so much...I try to give back to others in his name.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Curtis' birthday was wonderful.

I wonder if four years ago I could have ever imagined saying that about anything surrounding him. But it was.

Did I shed tears? Yup.

However, Craig and I have worked hard on making his birthday something we look forward to. The first year, we took a trip away. We enjoyed it so much, we did the same trip again bringing Claudia along. As well as adding a few more traditions in the mix.

An annual tradition was born.

this year we did change it up. The place we used to go was wonderful, but not very little kid friendly in ways of things to do inside. So, if it was rainy, we were stuck. This year we chose to go to the Wisconsin Dells area. For those of you not familiar with the midwest, it is pretty much the waterpark capital of the world. I think Craig was apprehensive, he loved our old place. He had never been to the Dells.

One of my fun little things is to research. So I researched the heck out of resorts and found one that claimed to be great for toddlers and smaller kids when it came to the waterpark. There is access to their other resports with larger parks, but this one was suppose to good for the little ones. Craig agreed, I booked it.

And I was excited. I was excited about his birthday. BECAUSE of what we had planned. Craig works crazy hours in the spring and this was going to be our time, finally, as a family.

We left on Monday morning. As our tradition, we first stopped at Build A Bear. Bears have become Curtis' "thing" since he was posed with one in the hospital. His urn is a teddy bear and our tattoos are bears. Each year we have taken Claudia to build one and this year we got to bring Cole with. We let Claudia pick whatever she wanted, this was the first year she really got that aspect. She picked a pink flamingo. I picked a lovely black bear for Cole. In the future, he can pick his own...but for this first year, he needed his own "Curtis Bear".

We had a great time doing that. Then we were off to the Angel of Hope statue in Maple Grove, MN. Curtis has three paver bricks in his memory at the Angel. The Angel is dedicated to any one who has lost a child. Since we have Curtis' ashes with us, this is our "spot". We laid four white flowers on Curtis' bricks. We also laid 4 flowers in the Angel's hand. Blue ones for Curtis, Aaron, and Ethan. A pretty red one for Abbey. Aaron was premature and lived 33 days. He died the same day 5/31/2006 Curtis was stillborn. I knew his mom when we were borh pregnant with our little boys. The fact we both lost them on the same day is horrible, but we are forever bonded because of it. I met Ethan's mom after my loss. She lost her beautiful boy June 14th, 2005. He was born on the 2nd of June and lived for 12 days. Abbey's mom I know through the blog world. Abbey was stillborn June 4th, 2006. Half a country away, another mom was going through the same heartbreak I was.

As we laid the flowers in the Angel's hands, Claudia was repeating each name I was saying. She actually talked about "Abbey's flower" long after the day ended.

We had grabbed some subs and had a little picnic near the Angel. I had brought cupcakes that we lit a candle in and we said Happy Birthday, Curtis. Right then, the wind picked up and blew out the candle. It gave me chills. I put a cupcake on his bricks and left it there.

We drove to the dells and had an uneventful car trip (about 4 hours). We immediately threw on our suits and headed down to the waterpark. We had a BLAST. It was perfect. Claudia is shy and tends to get overwhelmed and needs time to warm up. It was a good size for her. )The next day we were able to explore the outside waterpark, and it was perfect as well. Fun little water slides and even jumpy swings for Cole.)

That night of Curtis' birthday, Craig and I sat and started to talk....we talked about the things that haunt us most about that day. We talked about how far we have come in four years. How given how that day went, we could have never predicted how right things could be four years later. Claudia's and Cole's pregnancies were hard. Debilitating, really. But we are on the other end of them. They are both here and cute and funny and loved.

We are happy. The ache, yes....the ache is there. We miss him. All the time, but I can't change what happened. I try, in my mind, all the time. I still play the what if game.

But, on a day to day basis, I am happy.

We had a wonderful rest of our trip. I would bore you with the details but they are: eat, waterpark, eat, nap, waterpark, eat, sleep and repeat. We mainly stayed at our resort, but we did check out a few others.

I hope this tradition continues as long as we are the future kid's schedules and own interests may get in the way. But right now, the time around May 31st will be our little family get away time. I want the kids to know he is a part of our life and we will celebrate him. But I also know they won't be able to form a relationship with him like we have. So, this is our way of building memories in his name.

I don't have my own computer (Craig took it on a work trip and I am on my work comptuer) so I don't have my pictures. but I do have this video uploaded of us laying flowers for our babies.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Dear Curtis,

Happy 4th birthday, baby boy.

We miss you. I can write a bunch of long sentences about life with you and life without you. I can write about how we are coping, how we continue to live and honor your memory. I can write and write and write...but it boils down to one simple thing.

We miss you.

Since your last birthday, we became a big brother again. Your little brother was born in October. Just like with your sister, it was such a happy time. We know how blessed we were to bring him home. We never, ever, take that for granted. We know walking out of the hospital with a baby isn't a given.

Your sister is starting to become aware of your presence. We know she doesn't "get" it. But she calls the teddy bear she made on your birthday her "Curtis bear". She looks at my necklace hand stamped with 3 precious names on it and says "Curtis, Cole, Claudia. Mama's babies." She looks at your picture. She will know you. She will know that you are a part of our family.

You are four today. I try to wrap my head around having a four year old. I can't. You are still the little baby I held so carefully in my arms. I wish we had more time, Curtis. I wish I could have seen you develop into your personality. I wish I could see you open Christmas presents. I wish we could have a bowling part with 5 screaming boys....

But we can't. And because of that, we miss you. We miss the little baby we held in our arms and we miss the boy you never had a chance to grow into.

You are so loved. You are remembered with sweet smiles, sad tears, and wonderful memories. We continue to make memories in your name. You may not be in our arms, but you are forever in our hearts. We miss you.

My favorite saying, one I will repeat time and time again:

We are richer, by far, to have help you a moment than to have never held you at all.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An amazing post and comment thread/discussion.

I love the comments, especially the person who commented on how us baby loss people can be a pretty critical bunch. I know I have been, even when I understand what they meant or they weren't trying to hurt me. And how there are often no right or wrongs and so many of us all want different things. I still have a rough time knowing what to say when someone has a stillbirth or infant loss. It is a dark place and grief is so much work. I also like the person who said when the grieving couple "seems" back to normal...not bursting into tears every 5 minutes, back to work, back to life, even having another pregnancy or child that is when they need you to remember the most. It is so true.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tomorrow is Cole's baptism.

When Curtis was born, we learned that the priest they could call in would refuse to baptize him because he was already dead. I am not Catholic, but I was married in the Catholic church and my husband was raised Catholic. My mother in law was upset at this development as was I. I didn't belong to a certain church but I wanted something for Curtis. We had the hospital chaplin come and he did a christening type of ceremony. I know it was beautiful and touching...too bad I don't remember a word of it.

I was a little ticked at the Catholic church over their refusal to baptize Curtis. When Claudia was born and we started to plan her baptism, we wanted to have her baptized in the church we were married. We had to attend a class before they would allow it. I figured it was just going to be a bunch of mumbo jumbo about how now she would go to heaven and stuff.

But it wasn't It was actually a whole lesson on sacrament and what it means to be baptized. How it is the parents introducing the child into the world of God. How it is a promise to raise the child to be a member of God's family. Many people are under the impression (including a lot of Catholics) that being baptized means you go to heaven. If you aren't baptized, tough cookies. Not true. Being baptized has nothing to do with going to heaven. The man leading the class...he was not a priest, but a high ranking member of the clergy. Maybe a deacon? Time is making my memory foggy. He was married with kids and had studied theology. Anyway, he kind of made the off handed statement "So, if something happens to your baby before they are baptized, of course they will go to heaven. Please know that. Know that you can get the child baptized in your own time."

I remember lowering my head and letting the tears fall. Of course, I KNEW that already. But to hear a member of the Catholic church say this, and explain the whole history and reasoning behind baptism and how much it isn't about going to heaven and is about sacrament, meant the world to me.

Later, after class...I approached him. He had seen me cry and he knew there was a "story" there. Craig and I explained what happened. Curtis died. The priest they would call in (NOT the same priest at this church. These are far away from each other) would not baptize our son. We spoke to him, he explained some of the "old school" thinking some priests still have, how it isn't important because the baby is dead. That there is "no point." He said this is just years of bad practice and doesn't stem from the correct theology.

He said "I know, without a doubt, had one of the priests here been called, they would have baptized your son."

That meant a lot to me. I felt better about baptizing my daughter in a church where my son would have been honored as well. So, we will baptize Cole tomorrow, in the same church that would have honored Curtis.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I was reading another blog and decided to participate in Show us your life in regards to how I got my children's names.

Curtis Roger:

On both sides of our families, we have a lot of Cs. My parents and brother are all C names. All the dogs we had growing up? C names. My birth announcement said "Now we are the 4 Cs!" When I met Craig, his family has a similar name structure. His parents are both Cs, and his 3 older brothers have "K" names. All six names have the hard 'C' sound. In fact, his 2 of his brothers married women with names with the hard C sound.

Are you following this?

So, given that BOTH sides of our family had the C thing going, I wanted to do it too. When I was first pregnant with Curtis, we weren't. We tossed around names like Benjamin and Samuel... but I really wanted a C name. The problem was there was not a lot of C boy names we could agree on. Craig is not one for anything "unique" or modern (like Caden or Carson. Names I love). One day, a friend suggested Curtis to me. I fell in love. I LOVE the nickname Curt. I had a student with the name Curt and I realized it was perfect. I sent a text to Craig and he said he would "think about it". He knew a Curt at work and didn't particularly love the guy. I was devastated. I think in my pregnant hormonal mess, I bawled for a few days until he finally sent me a text that said "I like Curtis now". I saved that text long after Curtis died. I only had to give it up when I got a new phone.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I also suggested Cole. He liked the name but said "I think Curtis is the big brother's name and Cole is the little brother's name."

Roger is Craig's middle name. Craig's middle name was after his uncle who passed away.

Claudia May:

Claudia is a name I have adored since I was a preteen. My father's name is Claude and he is the most wonderful man in the world. Claudia wasn't JUST named after him. Honestly, had my dad's name been Robert, she would NOT have been Roberta. However, it was a win/win situation. The funny thing is, when I was pregnant with Claudia, my dad kept joking I should name her Claudine, Claudette, Claudia...I would just roll my eyes and say "keep dreaming!". So, in the recovery room when we finally revealed her name, for a split second he thought we were joking. My mom knew I wasn't because she remembered me saying I loved the name years ago. He was very touched.

Had we had a girl first, her middle name would have been Abigail, after my mom. My mom's middle name is Gail and I didn't particularly love that, but do adore Abigail. But, when I was pregnant with Claudia, I wanted a way to honor Curtis. Curtina wouldn't cut it! One day I realized "May" would be perfect. Curtis was born in May, the last day of May. It was the perfect way to remember him.

Cole Charles

It should be obviously why Cole has the first name he does, if not, read Curtis' paragraph again! Charles is after my mom. Her first name is Charlene, so we made the male version of Charlene.

Had Cole been a girl, he would have been Carissa Abigail. We just loved the name Carissa and thought about it for Claudia.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Claudia is close to two and a half years old.

She is still in her crib. She has never attempted to climb out. She seems like her crib just fine. We had gotten a new crib for Cole so there was never a hurry to move her out.

But, being that we are moving into potty training, being that she IS two and a half, it is probably time to convert her crib into the toddler bed. Basically, we just have to take off one side of the crib and attach the toddler rails.

But that crib? I put that crib together 4 years ago this month. The crib that Craig and I sat downstairs, in front of the TV, putting together. Then, we carried it upstairs and tried to move it into Curtis' room. Didn't work out so well, it wouldn't fit through the doorway. We had to take it apart and put it back together again. Talk about a pain.

That crib should have been taken apart a long time ago. But the baby it was put together for never came home to sleep in the crib. So, I am a bit misty eyed at the thought of disassembling it, even if it is just to convert it. It is time, I know it is. But the time for it is just coming at a hard time. Right at the 4 year mark of Curtis' birth.

It is just a crib, but it is a lot of memories. Putting it together for Curtis (and taking it apart and BACK together for him) is taking off the bedding I bought for Curtis and putting on the bedding I bought for Claudia. Claudia laying in it for the first time. HOw amazing and tragic all at the same time. I am so thankful she has outgrown it, because Curtis never had that chance. But it is so bittersweet. Never will that crib be prepped for one of my little babies. I am taking that crib and turning it into a big girl bed and, quite frankly, it bums me the heck out.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Losing Curtis is such an everyday part of my life. The pain is not overwhelming on an day to day basis. Our story has just become part of me. So much so that I forget how truly truly awful it really is. That may sound silly, but until I am reminded of the true, raw emotions when it comes to giving birth to a still baby, I don't realize how far I have really come.

Recently, I was watching some videos put out by the MissingGRACE YouTube. Memorial videos they make when they are present at a birth of a baby for the families. I was feeding Cole while watching these videos....beautiful videos of beautiful babies being held by their families. Siblings meeting this baby, a baby who has already passed. Friends and family gathered around for a baptism. It is all set to beautiful music. The pain was overwhelming. The tears just rolled down my face as I struggled to not sob, knowing it would scare Cole who was in a blissful half sleep, eating his bottle. It brings me right back to May 31st, 2006. Right back to laying in that hospital bed, with Curtis placed on my chest. To watching our family hold our baby boy one by one.

Spurred by these videos, I started reading through my blog last night and tonight. I read about the moment we found out Curtis was dead. I read about giving birth to him. I read about planning and having his funeral. And I cried and cried and cried.

I forget. On a day to day basis the pain isn't like this. Which is probably a good thing. I think about Curtis all the time. All the time. But it isn't necessarily painful. Wistful, maybe. A fact of my life, yes. But not painful. But that is why I have to bring myself back. I need to remember where I have been to remember how far I have come. This may also sound weird, but the pain is a good thing. It is feeling. I haven't become numb to the situation.

Like I have said before, I will never be "over" what happened to us. I am always working at moving through the grief, learning to handle insensitive comments with grace, and remembering my baby boy.

It often feels like something that happened to someone else. We have two beautiful children upstairs, asleep in their cribs. Children who make me laugh and smile, children who wake me up in the middle of the night and exhaust me. Children who will try my patience and bring me joy beyond measure. Then, there is this other child who will never be any trouble. Who won't try my patience or keep me up all night.... but he, too, brings me joy beyond measure. Sometimes that joy manifests itself as pain, however. To remember his birth is to remember very real hurt. When it comes to Curtis, pain and joy go hand in hand.

I am really missing him and aching for him and wondering what may have been. This time of year always does this. I find myself slipping into bad habits...self destructive things when I am trying so desperately to be healthy. Four years out, you think this would be old hat, but it isn't. I don't think it will ever be.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It is interesting the alientation I still feel when it comes to normal parent discussions. I get so frustrated when people talk about wanting one gender vs another gender. They keep talking about mourning what they are missing. About not getting to expeirence dolls and cute clothes or trucks and dirt.

Maybe I would feel the same way had Curtis lived and we had all boys after him. Maybe if life had handed me everything perfect, wrapped up in a pretty bow, I would long for dresses and capri pants.

I really thought, after Curtis died, I would have all girls. And I was okay with that. I really really was. Because when you have a baby who died? You are grateful for a baby, any baby, who makes it out screaming. I am not saying these parents aren't grateful for their children. But had there been a choice given to them before they were ever pregnant, they would choose the gender they wanted. Plain and simple.

Life doesn't work like that. We can't get everything we want. Someone once told me "the grass is greener where you water it." This is SO true. People are always looking at what others have, wanting that for themselves that they forget to look what at they have and enjoy it. Would I go back and change Curtis dying if I could? Yes. I would. I would want him to get the chance to let him live his life. I firmly believe Claudia and Cole's exsistance has nothing to do with his. I believe we would have all 3 with us, even if he had lived.

But he didn't live. He didn't. So, I could longingly look at families who have all of their children alive and live my life in such a state of "what ifs" that I couldn't function. But I choose not to. I choose to live each day, as much as I can, in the moment. I cuddle by boy as he drifts off to sleep. I sneak in his room to look at his sleeping face. I write on the driveway with chalk with my daughter. I dance around the living room with her and take her to swimming lessons. I remind myself each day how truly blessed I am to have them in my life. I ache for and miss Curtis but life did not work out the way I had planned. I cannot go back and change it. But I refuse to let that detail stop me from enjoying what I have.

I just want to scream when people "try for a boy" or are upset they will never get to go wedding dress shopping. So many people can't have children. So many people lose their children. A side story, one day I was shopping with Claudia when she was about 10 months old. This lady stopped me and said "You are soooo lucky to have a girl. All I have is boys." With her 3 boys standing next to her. I was dumbfounded. I said "Yes, I am blessed to have her. Are all your children alive?" She looked at me and said "Yes." Then, as I walked away I said "Then YOU are the lucky one."

I am not quick on my feet like that usually. Usually i think of the good reply days later. But I was proud of myself. I am not saying people shouldn't feel their emotions or whatever, because they should. But to sit and have these discussions and overthink this stuff just makes you long even harder for a different life. Life isn't fair. It sucks. But one quote I keep in mind:

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon - instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. ~Dale Carnegie

Thursday, March 18, 2010

So much for my blogging 3 times a week thing, huh? But this time, it isn't my fault! I swear. Spring is a the really busy time at Craig's work. He gets home at about 6:30pm, helps me get the kids to sleep and is on the computer until 1 or 2 am. Crazy. Evening time has been my blog/computer time so obviously, I haven't had access to the computer.

On Wednesdays, I take Claudia to a toddler class. It is through our local school district and is really cute. There is a free play time, circle time, snack and a time the parents go off and have parent discussion time while the children play. Every other mom in there is a stay at home mom. I am the only one who works. They all adore the parent discussion time, a break from the kids, adults only...and I tolerate it. I love the class because it is my time with Claudia. (Cole is in the sibling care room). I am not saying I know everything about parenting, but having worked in the child development area I am not learning anything new as a lot of topics revolve around that. We were asked what topics we would like to discuss, given a sheet of paper and asked to rate them. I put "birth order" the lowest on the list. I don't believe in the whole birth order hype, and quite frankly, it is a sore subject for me.

Sure enough, our 6th class or so...birth order was brought up. All the other moms were excited to discuss this. Me? I am fighting tears.

The parent educator says "okay, I think all of our kids in class are first borns."

No, no they aren't.

Claudia may "act" like a first born (if you believe in that stuff). She may be treated like a first born in the fact she was our first living child...but she is NOT the first born. I gave birth one time before her.

I am fighting back tears. I am lowering my head. I hate this topic. I hate Claudia being refered to as a first born. It is the phrase that grates on my nerves. They are referring to HER...but to me? She isn't. I do not participate in the discussion. I do the thing we all perfected in high school. The look of participation. The polite interest, glazed over expression. But, my mind is a million miles away. To my true first born. What would HIS personality have been like? What 'first born' traits would have encompassed him?

I want the discussion to end. I want to get back into the other room, back to my daughter. Back to the reason I am taking this class. One to one time with her. Watching her explore new toys, watching her take interest in other children. I look at the clock. Sitll 10 minutes left.

Thankfully, the phone rings. It is the sibling care room...they think Cole needs a diaper change and can I come down? Everyone groans for me. Feels bad I have to leave this interesting coversation. But I practically skip out of the room, to my _third_ born. And, even though parent education time isn't over, I sneak back into the room where my second born is playing. She yells out MAMA and reaches towards me, pulling me around the room to show me her newest discovery.

Monday, March 8, 2010

This time of year is rough. We are all very much experiencing spring fever. It is warming up (40 degrees!). The spring and summer stuff hit the shelves at Target. I have bought C & C spring clothes. I set out Easter decorations, but when I look out the window?

Nasty snow. Not even the pretty snow from December, but the stuff that is half melted, covered in dirt, sand, and salt. It is very much a reminder that winter is still here. March and April we tend to get snow. We are still in it for the long haul.

Close to a year ago, I found out I was pregnant with Cole.
Close to three years ago, I found out I was pregnant with Claudia.
Over four years ago, I found out I was pregnant with my first baby boy.
Five years ago, my husband and I started trying for a baby.

I think you can see how crazy the last 5 years have been for us. This time of year always brings up memories for me. My pregnancy nearing the end with Curtis. The beginning of my pregnancies with Cole and Claudia.

I look around at my little home, my cute children, and the happy place I am at....and then I glance out the window and see what I still have to deal with. I almost chose the word "overcome" but I know I will never overcome Curtis' death. Nor, do I want to. I am in a good place in my life. I am starting to focus on my needs as well as giving everything I can to my family. I am learning to balance work, family, and me time. I am enjoying where I am at. I am enjoying being done with pregnancy forever and focusing on the day to day excitement two little ones bring.

But, looking out that window, of what is left, of what is still missing in my life hurts.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

So, I have been working on "goals" for myself. The last 2 months...heck, the last 6 months have been really difficult in getting myself back to normal. The stress and anxiety of Coley's pregnancy was overwhelming. Then, he was a pretty fussy newborn and I was still dealing with anxiety...then I went back to work and was trying to adjust to that. Then, both kids have been constantly sick, including a week stay in the hospital for Cole.

Not to mention daily life headaches, car needing new breaks, possible gas leaks (that weren't), random doctor visits, stomach flu for me....

You know, LIFE!

So, in an effort to feel more together, I have started a short term goal list as well as a long term list. Some of it is to help focus on ME and things that I enjoy. One of them is to blog 3 times a week. I have lists and lists of topics and moments I want to blog about. Everyday I think "yes, must blog about that tonight" and do I? No.

So, I am. My other goals include exercise, eating better...long term goals include spending a bit more effort on getting nice haircuts and taking care of myself in that manner. I also have some goals of things I want to do for Curtis' birthday and in his memory. Also things like taking classes with Claudia and Cole (in the future). I signed up Claudia for swimming lessons and we are taking a toddler class together on Wednesdays.

Another thing I want to mention is this website I found. I have been reading about Gratitude Journals and how they can increase a person's mood and happiness. In a world full of so much negativity (heck, look at the start of this post!) it is nice to take a few minutes to write down blessings in life. From the nonsense, like my Wii Fit to the more serious, a wonderful mom who babysits my is a time to focus on GOOD. Here is a "how to" about gratitude journals:

Well, quite frankly, I wasn't going to go to that extreme of some of the points listed. A friend pointed me to this online gratitude journal:

It is sort of like Facebook and Twitter in a way. I take a few moments each day and jot down something I am grateful for...I really am enjoying it.

So, that is where I am. I am going to be blogging 3 times a week. I am going to write about all the topics swirling in my head about Curtis and my family.


Here is a story I wanted to share. For Christmas, I asked for a necklace hand stamped with all three of my children's names on it. It has their 3 birthstones and I just adore it. Claudia has been looking at it a lot lately. I have been telling her "Curtis, Claudia, and Cole. My three babies." Lately, when she is looking at it and touching it she has been saying "Curtis, Claudia, and Cole." The way she says Curtis is soooo cute. I just love hearing his name come out of her mouth. I know she doesn't "know" what it means. She is only 2. But I just feel the more she hears his name and knows he is a part of our lives even though he isn't physically with us, the better. I never want it to be a surprise to her that she has an older brother and we truly feel his spirit in our lives.

(Of course, now she thinks any necklace or bracelet is called "Curtis, Claudia, and Cole. But that is besides the point! ;) )

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

From this....
To This....

To so much better!!

Thank you for all your kind thoughts and prayers. Cole is back home after 7 days in the hospital. We are blessed to have been at a great hospital whose sole purpose is helping children get better. We were one of MANY families dealing with RSV on our floor!
It is so great to see our Cole smiling and happy again. When Claudia came home from daycare to see her baby brother home she squealed and laughed. She really didn't notice he was gone. She is still pretty much in the 'live in the moment' kind of thing. When I asked her where Cole was the one day I got to see her during this she told me he was at "work". But it was nice to see her so happy when she got to see him again. What is funny is one of the kids, Kay, at daycare missed him the most. Each morning after Claudia was brought in, Kay would look around and ask where "baby Cole" was. Today when I picked up Claudia, she pitched a little fit over not getting to see baby Cole. We had to assure her he would be there tomorrow.
I was grateful walking out of that hospital with our son. Like I mentioned in my last post, I struggled (and am struggling) with the knowledge that I missed my baby being in so much distress. Again. I was lucky this time. Lucky I was on the winning end this time.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I know I haven't been here in eons.

I have been...struggling. I miss Curtis. I love Claudia and Cole. I am trying to navigate my way through our days and nights. We have had a roller coaster 4 months with me having surgery, the holidays, me going back to work part time, and sick kids.

I have so much to share...but right now I am here to ask for thoughts, prayers, good vibes...whatever you can send.

Our dear Cole is currently in the hospital. He was admitted Tuesday night with a serious case of RSV. I took him to urgent care Tuesday night, honestly thinking we would get a nebulizer treatment and go home. Within 10 minutes, they had called an ambulance and we were on our way. It was such a flurry of activity I sat back and watched, paralyzed in fear. What just happened? He was just congested, right? We had no idea how bad he was...he is our little champ and had been in a good mood, acting fine...this whole time he was struggling to breathe and we didn't know it.

Just like Curtis. He was struggling to get oxygen and I didn't even know it.

We do believe Cole is on the mend. He is getting the best help and is in the best place for children who need to be hospitalized. But it has been a long road as his little body fights this. He is slow to recover from this, but he is getting there.

Thank you for anything you can send our way.