Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sweet Sara.... I first blogged about Sara back in 2009.

See the post here:

I have followed her blog for years. We exchanged emails back in 2009 for awhile. While we never became "friends" I thought of her as a friend since I read her blog daily. I often looked to her posts for wisdom, for perspective. She had a disease that left her house bound and it never seemed to rattle her. We could all use a little Sara attitude in our lives.

Sara passed away yesterday. I read the words in the middle of the night and my heart sunk. I had been keeping up to date on her condition, so it wasn't a shock...but, dang. I am going to miss her and her posts. They made me laugh, they made me tear up and they gave me many hours of reflection.

I will miss you, Sara. Thank you.

Her blog will remain open...I invite you to go back and read her words and her life. How lucky were her family and friends to get to have her in their lives? Thank you for sharing her with us.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bitter. Sweet. Sweet. Bitter.....

Today is one of those days. With the start of the new school year for 2011-2012(for public schools in Minnesota, it is the day after Labor day) comes a whole new level of mixed emotions. Curtis would be starting kindergarten this year. Likely, he would have a year or two of preschool under his belt so this would be the whole formalility of going 5 days a week, possibly riding the bus. Going to the "big" school with the older kids. Maybe he would be in all day kindergarten and eat at school. There would be recess and field trips. Parent/teacher conferences. His first year in 12 years. I think we can all agree kindergarten is a big deal.

Now, with the start of each new school year, I will be thinking to myself "Curtis should be starting (whatever grade)." When will that end? Graduating high school? Graduating college? Claudia will be two grade years behind him so I know I will always have some sort of reference point.

Now, comes the sweet. Claudia will be attending preschool this fall. Two afternoons a week, for a few hours. She is going to love it. We have recently moved and I didn't think I would be able to enroll her. Thanks to some schedule changes at my work and daycare, my schedule is going to allow me to bring her. We found a place with openings and signed her up. I know she will love it. After a few years of various early childhood classes, I know how much she enjoys being in a classroom. This summer she has come out of her shell a lot and isn't as shy as she once was. When I signed her up, I made a remark to the woman helping me "She has gotten so big, so fast!" And the woman said, sweetly, "Are you going to be okay, Mom?".  Oh yeah, I replied. "I am excited for her!" And I am.

I am just sad for all that he missed. First days of school. First sport teams. First field trips. First sleepovers. First homework....all the stuff that comes with elementary school and growing up. I have quite a few friends with babies starting kindergarten this year. It is hard not to be wistful of what _should_ be.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

So, I got the book I referred to in my last post. It is really simple, to the point. It talks about a couple who were very happy but something was missing. That something was a baby. It talks about how they prepare for the baby, how excited they are, and how things don't go according to plan and the baby dies. There is no sugar coating of "passed away". It shows the couple crying, very sad. It goes on to say they were sad for a long time but eventually that special baby does work in their hearts to allow room for another baby.

I read the book to Claudia. The back of the book says ages 2 and up. No way would Cole understand this book in the next two months. Anyway, I know she doesn't have the concept of death or what "dead" means. So I am not sure what she fully understood. I know she understood the first part of the book where the couple was so happy. What confused her was after the baby dies in the book, the baby makes appearances as an angel looking over the mom and dad. I was trying to explain the book was about Curtis and she kept saying "look, the dead baby Curtis is back" on each page. I do think that part was a bit confusing. But, the end of the book shows the family celebrating the special baby each year and I think that may have clicked a bit with her since she still talks about the fun we had on Curtis' birthday. She has asked to read the book a few times and calls in "Curtis' book". I try to use his name and say the couple in the story is me and Craig to try to drive the point home more.

I know it will still be awhile before she understands Curtis came before her. I know this is OUR grief and not her grief so I don't expect sadness from her or Cole. I just want a bit of understanding from them. That Curtis is a part of our family, he always will be. He is no more important than them, we haven't "romanticized" him as the perfect child just because he never had the chance to live.... but that they were very very VERY much wanted. They were never a replacement for him. They would have been here even if he had lived.

For that, I am certain. All three of these precious babies were meant to be in my arms...even for a moment or a lifetime.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I am really excited that I found this book: Someone Came Before You

I haven't read it yet, but the reviews look great. It is written to explain the death of a baby to the subsequent child(ren). I have a lot of blog friends who lost their first, like I did, so I thought I would share. Like I said, I JUST found it (ordering it right now) so haven't read it yet. I have been looking for a book just like this. All other books explain the death of a sibling to a child who was living at the time. Claudia and Cole came after Curtis and I want them to understand as best as I can. Claudia asks questions, but I know it is all clear as mud to her right now.

I will post more about it after I get it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My birthday was Saturday, the 9th.

I was remembering what my birthday was like 5 years ago. Craig's gram's birthday was the 10th. In 2006, she turned 90 and her family had planned a large party for family and friends. Craig's extended family was flying in from Florida to this party.... it had been in the works for a year.

In fact, in December of 2005, I was just a few months pregnant with Curtis. Had yet to know he was a boy, hadn't felt him move yet. Craig and I were celebrating our 1st anniversary and briefly spent some time in Florida and I got to meet Craig's extended family. I remember saying to them "When we see you for the party, the baby will have been born."

Her party was on my actual birthday. I remember my arms literally aching for the baby I was not getting to show off at that party. Curtis would have been just a month old. I had already bought him an outfit to wear to the party.... I didn't know what to do with myself. I was grieving so hard and missing him so much at that party. There were so many people, I felt lost in the sea of friends and family, just standing back thinking I shouldn't be blending into the crowd. I should be showing off my baby boy. It was a hard time.

I remember the card Craig's gram gave me for my birthday that year. I know I still have it. She had a hand written note that said "next year will be better. It HAS to." I can still hear her voice. Craig told me once that she had said that it was the worst news she had ever received when she heard Curtis died. This was a woman who buried two husbands and lost countless friends and family members.

By my next birthday in 2007, I was pregnant with Claudia. We are lucky enough that she got to meet and know Claudia. We lost Gram in 2009, just a few weeks before I learned I was pregnant with Cole. He is the only great grandchild she didn't get to meet.

Then again, you have to wonder if she didn't send him to us.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

(This post is part of a project "Right Where I Am" Where I Am Project)

Where I am, 5 years and 4 weeks after saying hello and goodbye.

Five years and 4 weeks ago I was gripped in a new reality. I had walked in to my 40 week doctor's appointment a pregnant woman with my first baby and walked out a grieved parent. I had given birth to a 6lb 10oz baby boy. I had held him in my arms, touched his little nose, said goodbye to his little body...and I went home.

I went home to grieve. I went home to try to create a new life. I spent a lot of time on the couch. I researched, I read, I sought out any baby loss mom I could find who had another baby. I knew that time would help. I have often said in this blog and in my life, that even in those early days, I knew 2 or 3 years down the road, I would feel better.

Here I am. 5 years later. I know I am one of the lucky ones. My marriage didn't crumble in the wake of this. We were still newlyweds, barely married a year and a half when Curtis died. We both clung to each other and both seemed to grieve in similar manners. We listened to each other. We supported each other. And then I got pregnant. Miscarried. Got pregnant again. Had Claudia and then had Cole. And here we are. Laughing and hugging our children. Up all night with puking kids and frustrated at each other for not doing this and that. You know, life. Life of a married couple with young children.

In all of this? Is still the knowledge of my greatest loss. My greatest disappointment, and of the best thing I have ever done. Craig recently started working a documentary of some sort, where we have sat down and started to 'record' our story. Explaining, on camera, piece by piece of Curtis' life and death was difficult. I cried and cried and told my story through my sobs. After talking, I felt drained and exhausted after one does with emotional upheavals... but his story has always been something I am proud of. Curtis is always something, someone, I am proud of. I made him. I created him. We were together, me and him, for 9 amazing months. I want you to know him. I want you to love him like I love him....just like I want you to know and love Claudia and Cole.

And, in that, is still the part I struggle with. People don't know Curtis like I know him. They see this family of 4 and never picture another little boy, possibly holding his sister's hand, or possibly making her scream. They never picture him playing tball with his daddy like I do. I want people to know him. I want him to be as important as my living children in their eyes.And that is something I struggle with. People _forget_ a baby died inside of me. Recently a co-worker repeated a horrible comment, a joke actually, about a baby dying inside of the mother. I sat, in absolute horror before I had to leave the room in tears. She felt horrible. But it speaks volumes that people forget. Forget what happened to me. She didn't know me when I lost Curtis, but knows my story...and it never registered to her not to say this in front of me.

I was hurt, but I wasn't mad. I know, in my heart of hearts, she was just repeating a dumb comment. Not trying to hurt me. All is forgiven.

I am not sure I could have done that 3 or 4 years ago. I did cry. I did talk to my husband about the comment. But I accepted, truly accepted her apology. I have often said in my grief process I KNOW people aren't trying to hurt me, but what do I do with the comments that DO hurt? Why must I be the grown up one and forgive hurtful comments? I still feel this way, why does the one who gets hurt have to be so generous? But, it does get easier to be generous with these things five years later.

On his birthday this year, I didn't cry. I did cry two days before, had a pretty big meltdown. But on his actual birthday, I felt peace. Later in the day, after all of our activities and travel, we were in our hotel room. Craig said "Is it 5:31 yet?",. And I said "What is 5:31?"

The time Curtis was born.

I felt _horrible_. Yes, it came out of nowhere. We had crawled out of the water park, soaked. We were ushering the kids in the room, they were begging for juice, crackers, and movies.

But my words haunted me for a long time. How could I NOT know what he meant? 5:31pm. On 5/31. It was his time. And I questioned what it even was.

So, five years later, I still have a very hard time forgiving myself for not being the perfect mother to Curtis. I didn't save him when I know I could have. And after his delivery,  I made constant mistakes and missteps. 5 years later? I still am. That is the part I struggle with the most. Still screwing up the few times I CAN parent him.

Claudia and Cole have been some of our greatest joys. Curtis truly lead the way to them. Claudia mentions him all the time, though I know she still doesn't get any of it. I  think she thinks the statue we go visit is Curtis. She talks about wanting to buy him a birthday present again. I know they won't have much relationship with him, it will be something that happened to her mom and dad and not something that happened to her. But I want them to understand we love all our children. No matter what. In life, in death, in bad choices and in good. We love our children. I would like to think I would have cherished Curtis the way I cherish Claudia and Cole had he lived. But there is a deeper element that comes with it all. I probably linger a bit more over their sleeping silhouettes, I may indulge their Dora obsessions a bit extra, I may worry a bit more after a rough daycare drop off. than I would normally.

But, with everything...I am still me. I still need my alone time. I still enjoy working and having something outside of my children to focus on. That was a surprise to me. After having Claudia, I was convinced I wouldn't ever let my children out of my sight...but I have and I do. I have given up some control. I wasn't ready when Claudia was a newborn, but at about 9 months, I was okay.

And that is what it boils down to. I am okay. I am more happy than I am sad. I love the heck out of my kids and miss my baby boy. I feel the grief grip my heart on a random day as opposed to his birthday. I have suffered a lot along the way. I still suffer from anxiety and PTSD. I don't know if I will ever, truly, be at peace with not saving his life. I don't know if I can forgive myself but I have learned to make peace with these things. I think it is okay for me to not forgive myself if I am kind to myself in other areas of life. If I truly can be happy in other moments and decisions I have made.

 I will never ever be the same as the woman who walked into that doctor's appointment the morning  of May 31, 2006.

But I am okay.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Flowers for Baby Ethan, Baby Aaron, and Baby Abbey:

(The two white are for the boys, the pink is for Abbey. I couldn't find blue for the boys, but the girly mom in me knew Abbey needed a pink flower)

Flowers and a cupcake for Curtis:

We had a beautiful day for his birthday. We went to the Angel of Hope, laid flowers at Curtis' bricks, took pictures, ate cupcakes and released a balloon. As tradition, we took the kids to the Build A Bear and they each picked something to make. We then drove 3+ hours to Wisconsin and took the next 3 days as a family.

There were no tears on his 5th birthday. The night before, I had a pretty hard time when I was going to buy the cupcakes and flowers...the 5th birthday candle killed me... but the actual day was so much fun and something I look forward to. I plan this nice stuff. I look forward to having cupcakes, taking the kids to Build a Bear and going on vacation. I love building memories in his name. At the end of the day, it is just a date...I remember Curtis year round. My hard days are usually a random Tuesday out of nowhere.

I have some more pictures and video I will post of Claudia putting the flowers for Abbey, Aaron, and Ethan in the Angel's hands. It was really sweet. Abbey, Ethan, and Aaron all have a special place in my heart. I have mentioned them before. I have "met" Abbey's mom via blogs, she was born still June 4th, 2006. Aaron lived for 33 days, born premature, he was a total fighter and passed away May 31, 2006. The same day Curtis was born still. I knew his mom before and after our pregnancies. Ethan was born June 2nd and passed away June 14th 2005. I met his mom online after I lost Curtis.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

(Corss posted to my other blog.)

I am trying to wrap my head around 5 years.

A friend of mine with a little boy who was born a few weeks after Curtis posted recently that her little guy has his first loose tooth. Seriously? Curtis would be old enough to lose a tooth?

I was packing up Claudia's room this week and at the back of her closet, on the wall, I have 3 wall decals I placed there. They are from Curtis' room. A turtle, a snail, and a ladybug. When I took down his room and turned it into her room, I took a few of those decals and placed them at the back of her closet. I would catch of glimpse of them now and again. Claudia never noticed them until her closet was completely empty and she started laughing at the silly turtle with a hat and the bugs. She wanted to take them down and pack them in a box and take them to the new house. For her new closet. I think that is a good idea.

Each year I say I am going to handle the 2 months leading up to his birthday better, but I don't. It is a subconscious thing, I think. Because when it is here, I realize just how badly I have self destructed without even realizing it until it is past. So, we are just going to take a deep breath and hold on.

5 years.

He would go to kindergarten this fall. He would be playing soccer or hockey. He would be riding a bike. He would have a loose tooth. A dimple like Craig. He would be into the new Cars movie and want a party with his friends.

Or would he?

I don't know.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I have been absent from my blog(s) lately.

But, it is that time of the year again. On top of Curtis' 5th birthday, we are moving.

We live in a small townhouse right now. Craig works over 35 miles away and the commute is killing him, about an hour each way. In the winter it is much more brutal. In the spring when he works 80+ hour weeks, it will be much easier to be close to home.

But, this house. This tiny 2 bedroom townhouse. The walls have started to close in on us. We have two little ones. Two bedrooms. A dog. Toys. It is a great place, but it is too small for us.

We bought this townhouse in 2004. When the economy was okay, when buying was the smart thing because you could turn around in 2 years and sell and buy something bigger. So we bought a place we could reasonably afford and expected to live here for 2 years.

Two years has turned into seven. We tried to sell once, when I was pregnant with Curtis. We couldn't, so we stayed put.

Now, we are moving. Seven years later. We are renting a single family home. Not all that much bigger then what we have now, but it has 3 bedrooms. A basement for storage. A deck. A yard. A yard for the kids. 10 minutes from Craig's work, close to our families. (No more traveling an hour to see Craig's family!).

But....this is the house where Curtis lived. It is where he was created, it is where his heartbeat is where he died. It is very weird to think about. So many of my memories about being pregnant with him take place in this house. Like putting the crib together in the living room and it not fitting through the doorway of his room. Creating his bedroom.

Walking through the door without him on June 1st of 2006.

This house is also the house where Claudia and Cole took their first steps. It is where we brought them home after not bringing their big brother home.

A house isn't where memories live, they live in the hearts of those who hold them. This house has had so much sadness, but so much happiness as well.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

There are a lot of mixed emotions flowing around right now.

It is May.Curtis' 5th birthday is in a few weeks.

It is Mother's Day.

We are soon moving out of the house were Curtis lived and where he died.

I read this online recently and it has made it through the loss pages out there, but I thought I would share in case.

Some Mothers Don’t Get A Perfect Ending By Erma Bombeck

IF you are looking for an answer this Mother's Day on why God reclaimed your child, I don't know.I only know that thousands of mothers out there today desperately need an answer as to why they were permitted
to go through the elation of carrying a child and then to lose it to miscarriage, accident, violence, disease, or drugs.

Motherhood isn't just a series of contractions, it is a state of mind
From the moment we know life is inside us,we feel a responsibility to protect and defend that human bein
It's a promise we can't keep. We beat ourselves to death over that pledge.

"If I hadn't worked through the eighth month"

"If I had just taken him to the doctor when he had a fever"

"If I hadn't let him use the car that night"

"If I hadn't been so naive, I'd noticed he was on drugs".

The longer I live, the more convinced I become that surviving changes us.
After the bitterness, the anger, the guilt and despair are tempered by time, we look at life differently.

When I was writing my book "I Want to Grow Hair,I Want to Grow Up. I Want to Go to Boise," I talked with mothers who has lost lost a child to cancer. every single one of said that death gave their lives new meaning and purpose. And who do you think prepared them for the rough, lonely road they had to travel?

Their dying child.

They pointed their mothers to the future and told them to keep going. The children had already accepted what their mothers were fighting to reject. The children in the bomb out nursery in Oklahoma City have now touched more lives then they will ever know. Workers who had probably given their kids a mechanical pat on the head without thinking that morning were making calls home during the day to their children to say,"I love you."

This may seem like a strange Mothers day column on a day when joy and life abound for millions of mothers through out the country.

But it's also a day of appreciation and respect. I can think of no other mothers who deserve it more then those who had to give a child back.

In the face of adversity we are not permitted to ask "Why me?" You can ask, but you won't get an answer.

Maybe you are the instrument who is left behind to perpetuate the life that was lost and appreciate the time you had with them to do it

The late Gilda Radner summed it up pretty well. "I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned the hard way that some poems don't rhyme and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I have come here a thousands times to post in the last month and I start....and stop.

It is the time of year where so many memories come flooding back. You would think after 5 years April and May wouldn't make me as sad as they do, but it hasn't happened. It is better, sure. And due to the traditions we have set up in Curtis' memory I _do_ look forward to his birthday.

But I wonder.

I wonder what I was thinking April 14th of 2006. I had access to a journal I kept online when I was pregnant with him, kind of like a blog. I remember combing through my pregnancy journal after he died reading what I wrote and chastising myself for having hope this baby would live. Heck, EXPECTING him to live. Because at 35 weeks pregnant a live baby was a given. Correct?

So, tonight I looked.

I didn't make an entry on April 14th, 2006. But I did on April 19th, 2006. So I read it. I was getting the room ready to go.
".....I then start playing with the room and rearranging it and started putting the bugs on the wall. (This was very systematic too. I didn't want too many swirls and stars in one area and not enough in others. I am a dork) I just put together the dresser last night (Tuesday)...but we have a good spot for it. I haven't done anything with the bedding or stuff yet. So it is a work in progress! Picture time:

The bookshelf (the truck on it was his Easter basket and on top is bookends. Monday I went out and bought 3 baby books so I could put them up. I am so excited!"

I should probably stay away from what I wrote. It just screams YOU ARE SO NAIVE to me.... I know I prepared a room/bought stuff for both Claudia and Cole. But when I did that stuff, I wasn't so naive. I was preparing for the best case scenario and pushing through absolute fear. And with Curtis, I just assumed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I recently have "liked"  Tom Zuba on facebook. He is a grief guide and an author. He advocates for mourning safely. His own story is horrific. He lost his toddler daughter, his wife and son. All at different times, all for different reasons. My heart ached when I read his story. How can one person endure so much loss? Watching life he created, die. Watching the love of his  life, die.

His posts on facebook have always hit home with me.

This one quote he posted today  really hit home for me. I often feel people are shocked when I can talk about Curtis' story so easily. But it isn't that it doesn't still does....but his death has allowed me to be a much better person in dealing with other people's losses.

When we are in pain, we become self-centered and myopic. When we heal, we become more empathetic, self-less, and sympathetic to the pain and welfare of others. It is our gift to others to heal ourselves." ~ Max Strom

I remember being completely selfish when we lost Curtis. Which was fine. I needed to protect myself, my heart. It means not being around for Christmas that year, it meant not answering the door for trick or treaters....  It is what I needed to do to learn my new normal and "heal" into that norm.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today, I took Claudia to her gym class and something that happened there has been haunting me ever since.

Another family was there watching their older boy who is in Claudia's class. I have seen them before but it had been awhile. Another mom was standing next to me and she asked this couple, "Where is your little one today?"

He died last week, they replied.

My heart sunk. SIDS they said. He was 5 months old. My eyes filled with tears. Her eyes filled with tears.

This is the first time I have experienced this. I have been on the other end numerous times. I was pregnant, then I wasn't. People in my life who knew me, but didn't KNOW me, asked "You had the baby! Where is he?" Their faces would fill with horror. They would stammer out some statement. It was horrible.

I didn't know what to do. Do I intrude on their grief and tell them I lost a son? I was catapulted back to June of 2006 when all I felt was overwhelming grief. Where living each day took so much strength and effort I could barely remember to take a breath.

I told them I lost my first. I told them he was stillborn when I was 40 weeks pregnant. I told them my situation was different but I understood grief. I said to find support, find a support group, find people who knew, people who would be willing to talk about their boy. Surround yourself with people who understand grief is a life long process and you will never be the same.  The mom asked me questions. Would she ever smile again. Would she have another baby. How did I get through my next pregnancies. She asked if I had miscarried, I said yes. She asked how I responded. I was honest. I told her I was mad as hell. I told her how my two subsequent pregnancies were horribly debilitating. She talked about his funeral and his little casket. She had been admitted to the hospital a few days ago because her grief was too overwhelming and she became dehydrated. I told her she will smile again and feel okay but the grief of losing her baby will never leave. She asked how to keep his memory alive.  I told her she will do so many things in his memory.... I told her about resources I know about to help them through this year.

Her husband eventually steered her away from me.I could tell he was uncomfortable with our conversation. I felt horrible about this. He obviously was trying to get his wife to focus on their little boy in his class, she obviously is in a rough place being that she just got out of the hospital. I felt bad, I probably overstepped my boundaries but I so badly wanted her to unload on me. He was trying to be polite, I could tell, but I had upset him. I told them my situation was different, but grief...I know grief.

Seeing a mother in SO much pain, so much raw pain, brings me back so quickly to my own pain. I feel a touch of survivor's guilt because I am over 4 years out from losing Curtis and I feel as normal as I can. I miss him, I grieve him, I write and talk about him...but I am past that first year where I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. I remember what it feels like to be her and I am so glad I am not there. It is a yucky feeling to watch someone feel the way she does and remember I felt like that once too.

I want to apologize if I said something or did something to further their pain....I just wanted so badly to talk with them and be someone who understands. I can't understand SIDS, I only know stillbirth but each is grief beyond measure. You can't compare the two, but you can look at two mothers who are grieving, four and a half years apart.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Our Story, Part 28

Since I have been on a hiatus from blogging about pregnancy after loss, Claudia's story, this was the last post I made. Part 27 On the side of my blog are a list of each post about "our story" I have to go through and tag them, there are about 26 entries at this point (I got messed up somewhere along the way with the numbers.... one day I will go fix it. Not today.) I am going to finish her story and...heck, get started on Cole's. Why not? So look for these posts in the coming months!

We had agreed to meet with the doctor over 90 minutes away. I clearly remember the appointment being at 3:30pm on a Thursday. I had been emailing with the doctor and she had squeezed us in. Craig and I drove to St Cloud, MN and arrived 30 minutes early. We easily found the clinic and made our way to the waiting room.

The waiting room was packed. Full of pregnant women, babies, and the humdrum of a busy office. My stomach was in knots. I felt like I was going to throw up at any given moment. Craig was making light jokes, like he always does, and I was shooting him death glares. We must have been quite the sight.

The minutes ticked by and our appointment time came and went. My head was racing, a headache had already formed. What if? What if this doctor didn't live up to expectations? What if she was cold and clinical? What if we didn't click? How was I doing to get this baby here? What if she tried the doppler and the baby was already gone?

About 45 minutes after our appointment time came, they called me back. A nice nurse lead us back to the room. After she sat down with us, the first words she said to me were "I am so sorry about the loss of your son, Curtis."

She said his name. She mentioned my loss. She KNEW. She looked at my chart. I wasn't just a number, another random patient. She took the time, the doctor took the time, she knew. I had my charts sent from my former clinic, but I was still so impressed they took the time to mention him, and by name. I love his name. I love hearing it.

The nurse went over my history. It is typical in a first prenatal appointment. Entire family history. Medications. Blah blah blah. I relaxed some, but this work up took over 45 minutes and I wanted to meet the doctor. The nurse eventually stepped out and said Dr R would be in soon.

We waited. We sat in silence. I often wonder how Craig held it all together. I was the one with the baby growing inside of me and I am sure he felt on the outside so much. Not sure how to get me through, not sure how to get himself through....but he was there and that is what matters.

Dr R came into the room. A beautiful woman, late 30s, with a giant smile. She warmly smiled at us, shook our hands. She leaned into us as we talked, she combed through my charts. I felt an instant kinship with her. I later would joke that I would move her in with us if she would come. I loved her that much. She apologized for our loss. She asked me if it was hard being in a clinic full of pregnant woman.  She asked questions and listened to our answers. She was more than willing to have me monitor with the research doctor in my 3rd trimester. She wanted to see my very 3 weeks instead of the regular four. Eventually, the middle of the 2nd trimester she wanted to see me every two weeks. Starting at 28 weeks, every week.   She wanted me to have regular ultrasounds to monitor growth. I would have the nightly monitoring starting at 28 weeks with the cord doctor and she would review the monitor strips each night. She would give me her phone number to reach her at any time. She wanted a full blood work, something my past doctor had completely missed. She laid out a wonderful plan. She was honest. She said she wouldn't hesitate to put me in the hospital if something didn't look right. She wanted me to meet with the perinatologist for a high risk ultrasound. At anytime, she may transfer me to a peri if she felt I would be better served. The appointment was a breath of fresh air. To have a doctor not rush out of the room. To have a doctor take the time, to listen. My other doctor told me, despite losing Curtis at 40 weeks he would do nothing different. This was light years different. Right away.

I would later discover I would have to often wait for my appointments well past the scheduled time...but it was because she spent so much time with her patients. Yeah, I probably got a little bit extra because of my history. But I have met her other patients, ones non-high risk and they all feel the same way about her.

I remember walking out of the clinic with Craig by my side. We started walking across the parking lot and he took my hand.

"We made the right decision in coming here."

Yes, yes we did.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I posted a story that crosses both of my blogs. It is about the doctor I had who helped me get Claudia and Cole here. I haven't finished Claudia's pregnancy story yet...but she is the key player:

Bittersweet Goodbye

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Today has been a no good rotten day. Actually, this whole week has been rotten. Not at home, but at work. I have a job I truly enjoy but as with all things you pour a lot of yourself can be stressful. It can hurt. It can cause you to want to throw your hands in the air and walk away from it all.

Lately, I have been thinking about my first moments with Curtis. Not when I was pregnant with him, but right after the nurse laid him on my chest after he was born. He was so quiet. So still. His eyes were closed...and I was scared of him. I was so scared of his little, still body, a body I had felt move at one point but now....was still.

Basically, I had poured myself into this pregnancy and him and when it got hard,  I walked away from it all.

Just for a moment. Just for a moment. I swear, it was just for a moment. But the guilt of what I felt in those moments, being scared of him, eats me up more than any of my other regrets. The nurse took him away and cleaned him up. He came back all wrapped up, cozy, like any newborn baby. I held him. I shared him. I had to make the decision to eventually say goodbye to his little body and never, ever, ever hold him again.

These moments have been looping in my mind lately. I don't know why. I don't know why four and a half years later I can't forgive myself of being scared of him. Being scared of what was ahead. Sometimes it still feels like too much. And I want to throw my hands in the air, and walk away. But I can't. Because, like all things we truly enjoy and all things that are worth pouring ourselves into....there are moments where you know it is completely worth it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Funeral Clothes.

I went through my closet recently, pulling out stuff to donate. Stuff that doesn't fit. Stuff I don't wear anymore.... I tend to hang on to things for sentimental reasons. There is the dress I wore to our rehearsal dinner. There is the pair of jeans I wore on our first date. (After 4 pregnancies, 3 kids, 4 surgeries  two of which were csections and gaining and losing weight over and over again I will NEVER fit into again). Then there is the long flowy skirt and brown sweater top I wore to Curtis' funeral. I remember, very clearly, standing in the dressing room at JC Penny's trying it on. It was 3 days after I have given birth. I was all post partum. Still looked 6 months pregnant. I had nothing that fit. The skirt had an elastic waist. The top fit. I cried in the dressing room. This was not how I had expected the third day after giving birth to go. I wanted to be dressing and changing my baby boy. Not picking out clothes for his funeral.

But, I did. And, a mere 10 days later, I had to wear those clothes again to another funeral of a life that was taken way to suddenly.

So, since those two funerals those clothes had sat in my closet. Why? I don't know. I have cleaned out my closet numerous times since. Those clothes are too big for me now. I don't even like them that much. I bought them out of necessity. But I have hung on to them. Because they are a part of a memory. They are part of my journey through losing Curtis. So, there they sat.

I stared at them. I took them off the hanger. I am not attached to them. But they are a symbol, a symbol of a part of my life that is all too important.

But they are just clothes. Just clothes I wore, on two really really hard days. Clothes I picked out to say goodbye to my son. Clothes I wore when I stood up in front of friends and family and said 'Don't feel too sorry for us. We got to meet and hold our son.'

I added those clothes to my donation pile. It is weird to do so after looking at them for the last 4 and a half years, just hanging off to the side. But it is okay. They are just clothes.

Right? Then why did it feel so weird?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The random things hit, the things that I had forgotten about and come rushing back.

I was in Target the other day, their Christmas stuff had hit 90% off and I was digging for any treasure I could find to put away for next year. I found a cute shirt for me, a wreathe hanger....and all of a sudden I flashed back to January 2006.

Craig and I went to Target and I found the clearance stuff. 90% off Christmas stuff. There was a stack of baby Christmas stuff. Christmas Pooh bear bibs, some little Christmas socks, Christmas onesies. Some made for girls, some made for boys. I told Craig I would buy some if I knew what the baby was. He laughed and told me for 90% off, I should just buy it. The most we would be out was ninety cents and who cared about that? I threw it all in the cart. Stuff we weren't even sure would fit. We couldn't predict how big our June baby would be come that December. But, for 90% off, who cared!

I had forgot about that shopping trip five years later. I even forgot about it half way through my digging through the 90% off rack this year....and then all of a sudden the memories came flooding back. I remember being SO giddy buying that stuff for him (we didn't know it was 'him' yet...we would find out that two weeks later.).

I suppose some things never change...I still get giddy buying stuff for my kids, even more so if it is a great deal.  It is interesting how a memory like that can come out of nowhere. It doesn't knock me flat out like it may have in the past, but it is still sharp enough that it hurt for a minute to take a deep breath.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A friend posted this on her FB today:

"I'm going to get out of bed every morning, breath in and out all day long, and after awhile I won't have to remind myself to get out of bed in the morning and breath in and out. And, then after awhile I won't have to think about how I had it great and perfect for awhile...." ~Sleepless In Seattle (when asked what he... was going to do after loss)

And, I am loving this quote by the wonderful Elizabeth Edwards, who lost her son Wade when he was just 16.

"If you know someone who has lost a child or lost anybody who's important to them, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived, and that's a great, great gift.'"

Just wanted to share.