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.