Thursday, September 1, 2011

The day would start with me making his favorite breakfast, a plate full of pancakes, eggs, and some yummy fruit. Good hearty food for a growing boy. I would tiptoe into his room before he woke up with the tray of food in hand. He would still be sleeping as I place the tray on his dresser. I would gently sit on the side of his “big-boy” bed and just gaze at him sleeping peacefully - looking just like an angel. After I spent a few moments taking it all in, staring at this beautiful, precious boy I created I would softly whisper in his ear, “Good morning birthday boy.” He would open his eyes, still puffy from sleep, and burst out with the biggest smile. “It’s my birthday mommy?” he would ask me. “Yes it is Luke, you are two today. What a big boy you are,” I would reply to him.

We would spend the morning opening presents, the house filled with laughter and grins from ear to ear. The camera card would be full, the phone ringing off the hook all morning long with grandparents and friends calling to wish him happy birthday.

I would have to work today so he and his little buddy (i.e. baby brother) Levi would get ready to head over to Grandma’s house for some more fun filled activities. Cause after all, how many times does your 2nd birthday come around? My two boys would spend the day playing together, laughing together. Luke sharing every little special moment with his little brother because that is the kind of big brother he is. Rob and I would pick them both up around 6pm and head home to have our special dinner time.

Dinner time is the best. It’s a time when we come together as a family and talk about all the excitements of our day. Luke would giggle about all the mischief that he and his little brother got into together. Luke always being the leader and Levi being the fascinated little brother, inseparable these two are. They have a bond like no other, being only 18 months apart they are almost like twins. They look alike, talk alike, and even act alike. No mother could be prouder than I. I have Heaven at my dinner table. My two boys, celebrating Luke’s birthday together with Rob and I at the dinner table feeling so blessed and complete.

This is my version of Heaven on earth.

This may only be a dream but in my heart this is what was intended to be. Maybe God had other plans but this is still my version of happiness. He may be gone but will never be forgotten.

I love you sweet boy. Happy Birthday! We love you.

Mommy, Daddy, and Levi

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A new chapter

It's amazing how life is forever changing. One minute you feel like you will never be able to move on and then the next minute you are happier than you have ever been. I will forever be somewhere in the middle. I will never be able to say that my life is perfect, because it is not. I will never say that my life is horrible, because it is not.

I live a life that borders on complete utter sadness and pure perfection. One hand I have a dark hollow spot in my heart that will forever be in my chest, but on the other hand I have the most beautiful, amazing gift anyone has ever given me. All of this making up my every day existence.

After Luke I didn't know how to move on, I didn't know how to balance my grief to a level that would allow me to live the rest of my life. I was tormented with the idea that the pain would forever be so raw that happiness would never be apart of my life again. I remember the pain was so intense that it numbed me for months. Kinda like when someone is put into a medical induced acoma so that the victim wouldn't have to experience the immense pain. My body just froze.

Then one day, almost out of the blue I decided that I wanted to have more children. The fear and anxiety that came with that decision was almost as intense as the grief. I remember thinking so many different things - what if I can't love another child as much as I loved Luke? What if everyone, including people in my own family would somehow forget Luke? What if this new child thinks they are a "replacement" child? What if this baby looks just like Luke? What if its a boy? Oh please don't let it be a boy because then it's like Luke is gone and this new boy will overshadow him and my memories of Luke will be gone forever.

"It's a boy." That's the first thing I remember them saying when he came out. And the second thing I remember was - he looks just like Luke. And in that moment, all the fears I had about having another little boy, having Luke being forgotten, not feeling like I could love another child as much as I love Luke all disappeared. All of it. And in that same moment I felt an even deeper love and presence of Luke. It was like his little brother Levi was brought to remind me of how much Luke was still very much apart of us. It was amazing how within those moments all the fears of "replacement" and "forgotten" were gone completely.

The first few weeks of Levi being home I was too tired to think of all the little things that still made me sad. Slowly the grieve crept its way back in. I am torn between feeling the happiest I have ever been in my life, to still feeling this deep gash in my heart. I have moments when I am nursing Levi at night, right before he goes to bed, when he is all cuddly and warm from him bath, smelling so soft and sweet - loving and cherishing these moments and hoping that I will remember them forever. But then it hits me out of now where. This sudden surge of sadness, realizing how much Luke and I missed out on all these precious moments. Wishing that we too could have enjoyed these special times that only a mother and child could share.

I am torn between two drastically different emotions but I know this it how it will always be. It is the unfortunate card I was dealt. It is the life of a mother who's baby has died.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thinking of you my precious boy, wishing you were here. I know my words have been far and few but in my heart you always remain. Please continue to strengthen mommy's heart. I love you to the moon and back my precious son.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Uncharted Territory

I hate how every sentence now-a-days seems to end with, "God willing." Not because I don't like God being at my side at all hours of the day, calming my nerves and allowing my heart to find a few moments of peace in all of this, I just hate that all innocence is lost.

Rob and I decided to register this last weekend. We wanted to wait to make any real big decisions until we had our 20 week ultrasound. We wanted to first get confirmation that everything thus far was looking good with the baby. We had our appointment and it actually went even better that I could have imaged it would. Maybe because up until that moment I couldn't imagine it going well, at all. The doctor and the nurse both reassured us that everything looked great, that Baby T looked "perfect." They both used that word on numerous occasions to describe our little baby bean.

So why do I still feel this way?

Yes, at our appointment once they told us that everything, especially the brain, all looked exactly as it should I started crying tears of joy. I was having such a hard time processing what was being said because so much of me could not and still can't image everything being okay with this baby. I hate feeling like this. I know that I have nothing else except my pregnancy with Luke to compare with but I can't seem to convince my mind that everything many actually be okay this time. That this time we could actually bring a baby home.

At first the plan was to keep the same registry we had with Luke, mainly because most of the stuff that we registered for with him was gender neutral. When we got to Babys'R'Us however, we quickly discovered that so much of the stuff on Luke's registry had either been recalled or was "no longer available."

So we decided to start a whole new registry. Many of the things we picked were also on Luke registry but a few new things were added. It was a pretty fun experience. I thought that it would be a lot harder for me being that the last time I was in Babys'R'Us was before I delivered Luke but I think I built my anxiety up more than I needed too.

Rob loves shooting the registry gun so it was fun watching him go nuts, picking a bunch of random things and saying, "oh honey, I think we will need this." It was fun just the two of us but I hated that my mind kept going to the "dark place" as I call it. I couldn't help but think - are we again registering for stuff that our precious baby will never use? Is it safe for us to be doing this so soon? What if such-and-such happens? Or what if at the next appointment the doctor tells us that there really is something wrong with the baby and they just missed it before? Or what if I go into labor before the baby is able to survive on its own? Or what if at the next appointment they can't find the baby's heartbeat for whatever reasons cause God knows there are a millions things that could go wrong.....this is what goes through my mind ALL THE TIME. I hate it.

I wonder if the "dark place" will follow me forever. Will I never again be able to have a carefree attitude about being pregnant? Why do baby's have to die? Why did my baby have to die? Before Luke I had never heard of holoprosencephaly, anencephaly, placental eruption, umbilical cord impairment, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome...the list goes on and on. Did I live in such a fairy tale world with my head in the clouds my whole existence before I lost Luke? Because up until then I never heard of babies dying. Miscarriages yes, but never had I met or heard of anyone burring their baby. And now, knowing what I know, I can never go back to that because the reality is that babies DO die. And I hate knowing this reality.

However, as much as I worry for the well being of this little being that grows inside of me, I also look at each day that I have with them as a blessing. As much as it pains me to know the harsh reality of child loss, having that knowledge also gives me the appreciation that I have every moment with this child, almost since the second they were conceived. This precious child that grows inside of me, along with my precious angel Luke are an amazing gift from God that I am so honored to have been blessed with. Had I not gone through ALL that I have gone through I would have never fully understood how precious this time really is. Wether I get six months or a lifetime with this child, every moment is worth savoring.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How they did it back then....

Just like my pregnancy with Luke, early on in this pregnancy it has become pretty obvious that I am pregnant. And if it is not obvious to someone and the person gives me a puzzling look were I can tell that they are thinking I look pregnant but are too afraid to ask, I just blurt it out. Immediately following that I get much praise, smiles, and even in some cases - a big hug.

I love what I do. It was not the career choice I had when I first started out on my own but fortunately the path that I have ended up on professionally has been a great fit for me. I am a people person and a huge aspect of my job is dealing with the community - I work at a community credit union - perfect.

Many members of the credit union are very aware of what happened with Luke and by almost all accounts everyone who would ask me about what happened and how I was doing were always kind, sympathetic, and most importantly they were respectful of my need to talk, or in some cases not talk about what had happened.

I remember one elderly lady who was always kind to me even before I lost Luke, even before I got pregnant. Although she is friendly she has a quiet, private demeanor about her. She is very soft spoken but cheerful and kind in her smile. A few weeks after I returned from delivering Luke she came by my office to ask how I was doing. I gave the usual response but unlike most conversations I would have with inquiring members, the conversation was very short. She was very sympathetic and sweet in her condolences but it was obvious that she did not want the conversation to go on much more. I assumed it was to be respectful but then I also thought she was unsure of what to say. Either way the conversation ended and she went on her way.

This lady is a frequent visitor of the credit union. Her and her husband of almost sixty years (they informed me of that the last time they came in) come into the branch about once every ten days or so. They are well aware that I am expecting again and over the past year since losing Luke I have enjoyed having small talk with them every time they come in.

Last week while helping them with a transaction, the woman asked me if I had started working on the baby's room yet. I had told her no and that we will probably wait awhile until we start making major decisions - ie. registering, planning the baby room, etc. I told her that we were just not ready yet.

After I said that she got quiet. She then proceeded to tell me that she knew how hard starting over can be. She has always been a woman of a few words at least in conversation with me (her husband usually does all the talking), so making a heartfelt comment like that kind of surprised me.

There was silence again and I went back to completing her transactions. When I was done I looked up again to tell her something and I was paralyzed to see this woman - a woman who always has a strong exterior, an almost secret like personality was crying in front of me. It was just a tear rolling down her face but once our eyes connected she proceeded to tell me her story. A story I couldn't even imagine as she was telling it to me.

She had lost four, full term babies. She told me that one by one they would die a few weeks before she was due to deliver. When she was telling me this I felt like I couldn't breath. It was just all too much to take in. She later found out that she was RH negative and all the babies had been RH positive which caused her body to attack and kill the fetus. She told me how there were two tombstones - babies one and three were buried together, babies two and four were buried together. The worst part was when she told me she never got to hold or even see the babies - they just got taken away to the unknown, a mother and child never getting a chance to say goodbye. She told me that was the way it was back then.

I don't know how I knew but I could just tell in the way she spoke to me that I was one out of a very small group of people who she had shared this secret with. Even in talking to me I could tell she was uneasy but at the same time I could fell her desperation to talk to another soul who may be able to understand the pain she had been harboring for sixty years. My mind could not grasp the reality of the pain she must have endured for decades.

I have been so fortunate to have the network of friend and family who have allowed me to cry to them about my ongoing pain and struggles. I could not for a moment imagine what it would have been like if I had to hide my feelings or to feel ashamed for what has happened to me and my son. How desperately this woman must have wanted to scream out in pain the agony she must have felt for not one but FOUR babies over the years. I was so honored that she shared her story with me but I too think she was grateful to have the opportunity to tell her story - to have an opportunity to honor the babies she so desperately aches for in silence.

Losing a child is the worst thing in the world. I hope and pray that the people I love never have to experience the pain that is associated with a lose. I am grateful given my circumstance however that what I have gone through did not happen to me sixty years ago. I am so grateful that I am able to have a meltdown in the grocery store isle and not be considered insane. I am grateful that I am able to rejoice in the love that I have for my son and talk freely about him whenever and wherever I want. And most importantly I am so grateful that I was able to hold him for the most amazing hour of my life on the day he was born, surrounded by all the people that love him as he passed on from this life that he knew with us to the comforts of heaven. That's how they may have done it "back then," but thank God my Luke was not born back then.

I will never forget her story, and I will never forget her babies either. Rest in peace little angels.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I wonder...

My Precious Luke,

I wonder if you know how much I miss you.

I wonder if you know how much I wish you were here.

I wonder if you know that every time I get in the car I wish you were sitting behind me in your car seat.

I wonder what you would have wanted on your first birthday.

I wonder if you would have been like your mommy and daddy and would have started walking at 9 months.

I wonder how much you would light up the room when you smiled.

I wonder if by now you would have grown into those muscular little legs you were born with.

I wonder what your giggles sound like.

I wonder what "mommy" would have sounded like coming out of that sweet little mouth of yours.

I wonder if you know how much all your younger siblings will miss you.

I wonder how much you and I would have loved our bonding time when I would nurse you.

I wonder if you know that every time I look at your daddy I see your sweet little face.

I wonder if you know how almost every sentence and every thought in my mind ends with, "Luke should be here."

I wonder if you know how much you will always be a major part of our family.

I wonder when I will get to hold you again.

I wonder if you know that there is nothing in this world I would not do to have you back.

I wonder if you know that no matter where we go or what we do in this life, Rob and Sarah will always be your mommy and daddy.

I wonder if you know that my heart will always have a piece missing, a piece you took with you on the day you went to heaven. That piece is yours forever Luke - nothing can ever replace that.

I wonder if you know that I will always wonder what you are doing, where you are, and I will always wonder if you know how much I love you.

I wonder if you know that you are the greatest love I have ever known.

I wonder what it would be like if I didn't have to wonder....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Question

I love Trader Joe's. It a grocery store that I think is only on the west coast. Rob and I shop there almost exclusively, we love it - great prices, great choices for super yummy food. It's my normal routine to go there once a week, usually on Tuesday evenings after work. It takes me only about ten to twenty minutes to get in, and get out. I always get the same thing every week, well mostly the same things. So times we try something new that may be on sale, but most of the time it usually the same stuff every week.

Trader Joe's has a great selection of wine. Rob and I both enjoy a nice glass of wine here and there and whenever I go I like to pick up a bottle or two of a new, local wine that we can try. Obviously right now I am not enjoying the taste of a yummy glass of local, organic wine after a long hard day but my lucky husband still does.

Now I will be honest, I have no idea how to pick a good wine. It usually comes down to what label looks the cutest. This last week was no exception, so with the cutest label I could find I proceeded to the check out line.

One on the many reasons we love Trader Joe's is the awesome people that work there. Every time you are in the check out line the clerk ALWAYS starts an interesting conversation with you. I am not kidding the last time I went there the guy at the register started talking about how Lincoln, California (where I live) was well know for having lots of UFO activity. I started to giggle a little when he started telling me this but very quickly I realized he was not kidding. Yep, nice, interesting people that work at Trader Joe's.

On this particular trip I got a super nice, young gal at the registered. We started off with small talk, "how was your day," "anything else fun planned for the day?" Nothing really of substance but nonetheless she was very nice.

When she went to check the bottle of wine she said, "oh you will love this bottle, it's one on my favorites." I told her that was great but that I would have to take her word for it since I was not drinking due to being pregnant. She kindly said, "oh, is this your first?".....there it was, the question I was not prepared for. Instantly a million sensations ran through my body - panic, stress, excitement, but most strongly I felt protective.

I was panicking to find the right word, stressed out that if I answered one way she would start asking a million other questions that would add to my stress?? I felt excitement because as a mommy all I want to do is rejoice and scream at the top of my lungs about how proud I was to be a mommy to both my kids, but the protective part of me was so intense. I felt so compelled to protect Luke and to make sure at that moment he was acknowledged and included in this answer.

I simply answered, "No, it's my second." I quickly tried to prepare myself for any other questions that may come my way like, "oh, how old is your other child?" or "is it a girl or boy?" I was fumbling for a quick answer, an answer that tells the story of Luke but doesn't leave the other poor sole that asked the question feeling uncomfortable and in turn makes me feel even more uncomfortable.

But none of this happened.

After I answered her question all she said was, " well eventually you will get to enjoy this wine, just not any time soon." She gave me my receipt and I walked out with a soft smile on my face, I just had a moment that I got to share with both my babies. It was perfect. As the mother of both my babies I felt so honored in that moment to be there mommy. For my angel that is dancing peacefully in heaven, and for the precious baby that grows in my belly I am so grateful and humbled that God chose me to carry two amazing miracles.

What an angel looks like...