Saturday, December 12, 2009

Luke's Video

My dear friend Mal over at Every Life Has A Story did this BEAUTIFUL tribute to our precious little man. I thank God every day for the love and strength people like Mal have given me over the past few months. At a time when I have felt so utterly alone, I am so grateful for the amazing courage I find in my fellow blogging mommies. I am forever indebted to your kindness.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

3 Months

I am sorry but I just can't do it right now. It has been three months today since I lost my little boy and I have attempted many times today to sit down and write a few things but I just can't. It hurts too much. I love you Luke, mommy will write in a few days. Instead I will go to bed with your blanket from the hospital so that I can dream about you. I love you forever...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"We cannot judge a biography by its length, or by the number of pages in it; sometimes unfinished symphonies are the most beautiful." - Victor Frankl

A lifetime of missing you

My Luke,

I miss you son. I miss you so much that sometimes I wonder how I will go on. And the truth is, why would I want to with you not with me. I know you are always with me in spirit, but I hurt so much. Everything I do, everywhere I go, I think of you. Every time I imagine your sweet little face in my mind, I cry. I keep telling myself that this knot in my throat will go away eventually, but I know it won't. I will never be okay with you not here. I am not mad at anyone for taking you from me, but I am not and never will be okay with it. You should be here with me and your daddy. I am so sad that I never got to change your diaper, never got to nurse you, or give you a bath. I am sad I never got to hear you say the words "Mommy" to me. I am sad Luke that I never got to see your sweet smile, that I never got to hear your first word, or give you your first haircut.

We went to Dillon Beach this weekend for a crabbing trip. It was a trip that was planned when I was pregnant with you. I knew it would be hard but I never realized just how hard it would be. I found myself staring at the back seat, wishing you were there in your car seat - happy, healthy, almost three months old. Or thinking about still being pregnant, I caught myself staring at my belly, wishing you were still in there. Life without you here doesn't feel like living. I never knew how much I could love you until I had you, and not having you here with me is unbearable. I don't know how to do this without you Luke, I don't want to. I want you right here with me where I can protect you.

But it will never be, you will always be my angel baby. We were cheated Luke, for a better purpose I am sure, but I still don't like it. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. My love for you makes me vulnerable. I would do ANYTHING for you, I would sacrifice ANYTHING for you. If I had the chance, I would beg on my hands and knees for God to bring you back to me. I wish it were different Luke. I wish you were here.

Please help keep your mommy strong. You know I will get through this, for you and your daddy's sake. You know I will always love and miss you. You know how much it means to me just to hear your name, and you know I will always remember how sweet you smelled, the softness of your skin. You know how scared I am of moving on without you here, but you know you are ALWAYS on my mind and you are ALWAYS with me. Please son, know that you will never be forgotten.

I love you Luke,

Monday, November 2, 2009

Laughter....the best medicine

Rob and I got the wonderful opportunity to take my three cousins to Disneyland this last weekend. For us, the trip was very last minute. We found out on Friday morning that we would be leaving that same day after work. It was nice because it was the first time Rob and I had done anything spontaneous in a really long time. We both left early from work on Friday, jammed home to pack quickly, and then we were back out the door headed to Tracy to pick the kids up.

Rob and I have both been to Disneyland numerous times. We had both gone as kids with our parents, but we had also gone with each other about six months after we started dating. We both love Disneyland, lots of fond memories but the last time we went we had told each other that the next time we went it would be with kids in tow. It's almost kind of freaky to be a grow adult and getting so excited about riding on Alice in Wonderland's Teacups. Having kids with you gives you and excuse to act like a kid, you can live vicariously through them.

From almost the minute we got in the car with my cousins, Rob and I were having fun. The girls had us rockin' out to the latest "it" bands, all of us dancing in our seats. Of course Rob and I had never heard the songs before, but that didn't matter. I loved watching the girls singing at the top of their lungs, while reading gossip magazines. It reminded me of my teenage years, a time when life seemed so much easier. I am sure that back then the world seemed so huge and that everything going on in my life during that time seemed so important, but life really was so much more pure and innocent. As I watched these two amazing individuals enjoying their youth, I was reminded of how fast the time flies. It seems like just a few years ago that I too was rockin' out to the latest "it" music with nothing but my whole future ahead of me. Watching them made me smile.

We got up at six the next morning (no, not even on work days do I get up this early) and headed to breakfast. The park opened at eight and we were there, standing in line, patiently waiting. Most rides had about a forty five minute wait, and that was fine by us. We spent a lot of the time in line laughing with each other. The kids would talk about funny stuff that happened at school or about a previous experience they had the last time they were at Disneyland. A lot of it was just basic conversation but Rob and I just soaked it up. We loved interacting with them. They were pure joy to be around.

At one point the park had closed off a section so we stood in line waiting for it to re-open. Rob and the kids decided to have a skipping contest. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen. My husband skipping. It had been awhile, but I saw a smile on my husband that I had not seen in a long time.

On the way home we decided to stop at Santa Monica beach. It was a perfect day. The weather was warm, but not hot. The kids almost immediately started playing in the water while Rob and I watched contently. It was so neat to seem them interacting with each other. It reminded me of my sister and brother, and how much I missed them both. It reminded me of how fortune I was to have my siblings, and how much they have impacted the person that I am today. I thought about how empty my life would have been without them. Truly blessed I am to have my Robert and my Lindsey.

We dropped the kids off last night, and I have to admit, we were both kind of melancholy on the quiet rid home. We talked about how we were hoping that this last weekend was a snap shot of what our life may be in the future. A life filled with fun and laughter, with amazing kids that you just ache to be around.

This weekend was the rainbow that Rob and I have been looking for. This weekend we were reminded as to why we want a family. I was reminded that in life there are going to be times when it really, really hurts but that life also offers us so much joy. And that the good times outweigh the bad.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lost in Translation

Stuck in a rut. That is how I have been feeling the last few weeks. I have my moments of feeling anxious for what the future holds for us, but I also have a huge amount of fear. Fear of the unknown, and the fear of taking steps to move forward.

Rob and I have been slowly getting back into the house hunting process and it has been nice to have something to take our minds off of our grieving. There was a particular house that we looked at back in June. I was about two months pregnant with Luke at the time and it seemed like the perfect house. It was in a prime location, it was big enough for our growing family, and of course the most important thing to my husband, a three car garage. At the time the house was a short sale and making an offer on it didn't seem realistic because there were 22 other offers on it.

Months go by and Rob and I continued to look for a house, but as my belly continued to grow, we started looking into other options. We live in a one bedroom condo that we love, but it's just not big enough for our little family. We decided at the end of July that we would start looking to rent a house in Rocklin. We looked at a few houses to rent over the course of a few weeks, but then we had our 20 week appointment and that was the end of that.

In many ways I am so greatly that we didn't sign a lease because our situation now would be very different. It was so hard coming back home after we had Luke, but at the same time it was comforting. Coming back to the home that Luke was conceived in, the home where we took all my belly shots, the only home that Rob and I have ever shared. When we came home from the hospital it felt like we were really coming "home."

At first, getting back on the "house hunting horse" didn't feel right to me. Taking a huge step like that seemed too soon for us. Rob wanted to go back to looking right away but I knew that was his way of dealing with the loss of Luke. He wanted a garage to escape to. A place were he could do a project, listen to his 80's rock music, tinker around with "guy stuff," maybe even a place to cry. I don't know what men really do in their garages, I just knew that he needed one to escape to.

I have come to conclude that I am at a point in my grieving that it's time to get back to living. The last two months I have been in auto pilot. I find myself doing repetitive things, not taking on any new challenges, not going to new places. Just kind of doing the same routine day in and day out. I know I do this because I am scared to death of anything new. I have remained confined to the comforts of my familiar surroundings and that is so not me. I need to come alive again.

About a month ago, that "perfect" house came back on the mark but this time it was an "active" sale, no longer a short sale. We contacted our agent and made an offer. To make a long story short, our offer was not excepted. Rob and I were disappointment but I truly believe in signs and I just felt like that if it were meant to happen, than it would.

Like many things in my life right now, getting pregnant is at the top of my "fear list." I have no intentions of getting pregnant in the near future, but my fear is that I will never get over the fears I have, and by having these fear, I will now allow myself to get pregnant again. I know the thought is ridiculous but that is were I have been lately. We found out on Thurday that Luke's diagnosis was not genetic and that has helped easy my fear a bit, but I know that I need to start being realistic about my fears. Rob and I want to have more children and I know that great joy can come from that, but getting to that point will take time. With my mood slowly changing, I am looking forward to new things, a new chapter in our story of life.

Almost every other day Rob will go online to look and see if there are any new listings that we may be interested in looking at. Today he got online, and informed me that the "perfect" house was back on the market. I immediatly called our agent so that he could look into it for us. I am not getting my hopes up because again, I do believe that if it is meant to happen, then it will.

We are still waiting to hear back from our agent. I decided to go on my run since staring at the phone will not get him to call any sooner. As usual, on my run I talk to God and to Luke. Today I kept talking about signs and I kept asked God for continuing strength. I prayed that he would help in guiding us through the next chapter becuase I am done feeling stuck. I know that I will ache and hurt for our son till the day I die, but I know that we have to go on living.

I have never been one to pray for something specific. My prayers are more geared toward praying for strength, happiness, or health. I would never pray "Please God, give us that house." That just doesn't seem realistic to me.

So today as I am running, I am thinking about Luke and also about our little family. I no longer feel that it would be an injustice to Luke if we had another baby, he/she would be Luke's baby sister or brother. I know that Luke would want us to love another baby just as much as we love him. I know that Luke will never be replaced and will always be with us. But it is still scary, and it has taken two months for me to feel this way.

With the thoughts of the house and having more children on my mind I asked God for a sign. If we are to move forward with this house and think about getting pregnant again in the future, please give me a sign. If we are meant to stay in the condo and continue on the way we have been, give me a sign for that too.

On my cool down I come around a corner right outside of our condo and on the grass was a pink towel. At first I just looked at it as I walked by, but then I got to thinking of that saying "throwing the towel in." In my mind, it was the sign I needed. It is our time to throw the towel in and move forward to our next chapter. No more being "stuck." Of course Luke will be going with us, he will be with us always. But it is time for Rob and I to start living again.

I don't know if we will get that house, and if we don't, that's okay. There will be more houses, and God willing, there will be more children. I don't know what the next chapter has in store for us, but I have told myself that I can't be afraid to turn the page. Luke will always be our first born, the love of our life. He will always be our little boy, and nothing, not a new house or a new baby will ever replace him.

When I got home from my run I called my mom and told her what happened with the pink towel. She found it interesting that the towel was pink. Who knows what it really means, if anything. In reality it is just a towel that someone littered close to our property, but for me it was a sign. A sign that there are still good things in store for us.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tis the Season

I can't believe its already the middle of October. This year has flown by. So much has happened. I keep telling myself to just hang in there, that 2010 will be a better year for us. Words can't even express how disappointed I am in how everything turned out. I was thinking back to January. I remember thinking "a new year, a fresh start." There were so many things we were looking forward to doing in 2009. Buy our first house together, start our family, living in peace. It all seemed so simple and easy to obtain. Just little dreams, nothing big. We didn't want to win the lottery or anything. It would have been nice if we did, but just the basic dreams were all we were seeking.

Everyone says, "You can never fully be ready for a family." I beg to differ. I don't know how much more "ready" we could have been. Not only did I feel we were ready for Luke but we were ready for a family. Rob and I wanted to have our children back to back. With only a year or so in between, God willing. I remember when we found out we were pregnant, everything changed. We went from doing fun, crazy spontaneous stuff together to putting our little family first. Looking for the newer, bigger house, searching the internet for the highest grade car seat, researching about organic diapers. We put all our eggs in one basket, our Luke basket.

Our eggs are broken, so now what?

The season is changing, and my heart is so heavy. I had envisioned the 2009 holiday season with me fat and happy. Waddling around in my HUGE maternity clothes. Luke's room all done, all his new clothes washed, his newborn diapers arranged perfectly in his dresser. Everything all ready for his arrival.

I was looking forward to buying him his first stocking this year. His due date was New Year's Day but I still wanted to have it all ready to go in case he decided to grace us a little early. Oh, the dreams I had for my little boy. I was hoping to have that stocking forever, one that would be hung up every year until he was a daddy. A stocking that I would keep until he had his first baby to pass it down to.

A year that start out with so much anticipation and excitement ended up being the hardest year of my life. I have had disappointment and heartache before, but never like this. Deep down I still have dreams for us, but sadly, they are so deep I can't even see them right now.

Many people have asked us if we will start trying again and the question always catches me off guard. It's a question that seems so foreign, so distant, but so close and familiar at the same time. Rob and I were totally in family mode and now its like the button just turned off. Not by choice obviously, but nonetheless, off.

I know that we will one day want to try again but right now the thought seems so inappropriate. I know it hasn't been that long since we lost Luke, but it almost seems like the pain is more real and intense then it has ever been. It's almost like the shock is gone and the realization has set in. The realization that our little boy is gone.

I think about being pregnant. I loved every moment of it. But I loved it because it was Luke I was carrying. When I envision a baby's face, its Luke's face I see. When I envision a nursery, it's Luke's nursery I see. When I envision myself holding my baby, it is Luke that I am holding.

I keep wishing that I could press rewind. That one day soon someone would come knocking on my door to say that this was all just a test to see how much I loved my son, and that the mean little game that they had played on me was over and that I would get to start at the beginning again. The beginning of my pregnancy with Luke, except this time his little brain is perfect. And he would live out his life till he was an old man himself, a well lived life. Then long after I am gone, he would die as a happy old man, with all the dreams his mommy had for him fulfilled.

But I know none of that will happen. So why do I keep wishing it were true? Maybe because I still believe in miracles, and that deep down I still have dreams too. I don't know what this season will bring, all I can do is hope and pray for a better year in 2010.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Angel Baby

A gal I work with has a son who is six or seven (I'll call her Mrs. M and the little boy, Little M). He is an adorable little boy. On a few occasions he has been to our office, and I remember how every time he would come he was always so well-behaved. He is an only child and maybe that was why he did such a good job keeping himself entertained. He would quietly sit in our breakroom, talking to himself while drawing a picture, or talking back to the hand held game he was playing. He was always friendly, a bit shy, but would always give hugs hello and goodbye.

I remember a few years back when Rob and I sent out our first Christmas card together the little boy asked his mommy, "Who is that man with Sarah?" his mommy said, "That's her husband." The little boy said, "But she's my Sarah." So as you can see, this little boy has a special place in my heart.

Mrs. M had told Little M that my baby went to heaven. It had been a few weeks since she had told him and she said he never asked any questions or anything, he was content in knowing that my baby had gone to heaven.

The other day Mrs. M and I were having a light hearted conversation at work when she started telling me about Little M. She said that a few days back she was busy doing something at home when she overheard Little M talking to himself. That was a very common thing for Little M. He has a very creative imagination and Mrs. M is always telling me about the funny little things that he will say or do.

So while Little M is busy talking to himself, Mrs. M moved closer to him to see what he was saying. She said that he kept saying, "Here Angel Baby" or "Do you want this Angel Baby?" Mrs. M said it was his normal play with his imaginary friends but she had never heard him call them "Angel Baby."

So she asks him - "Who is Angel Baby?" He looks up at her, almost offended, like - "You know who it is" - in his expression. He simply told her "Sarah's baby up in heaven."

My heart melted. In my mind I was playing the whole scenario. My son, playing contently with another little boy. Sharing in conversation and play with another child. I know that Luke comes to visit me and Rob, and the rest of our immediate circle. He comes to visit us in our dreams or when we want alone time with Luke, but I never thought about him visiting others. Others that just want to play with him, like little boys do.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Touching Touch

Like all other woman that have gone through a vaginal delivery, I was given six weeks before returning to work. I knew that there was no way I would last the whole six weeks. If you know me, you know that working has always been my salvation. I started working when I was thirteen and at some points in my life I have had three jobs at once. Not that I needed the money really, I just loved the sense of accomplishment I would get out of my job(s).

I know that doctor's give woman at least six weeks off of work to allow their bodies to heal, but also to have time to bond with their new baby. After Luke's delivery I felt like I had been in a car accident. My insides just ached. So obviously I needed some time to allow the physical part of me to heal, but I was pretty eager to get back to work. I felt that once I had allowed myself some time to grieve Luke and allow my body to physically heal, I would consider going back. Until that time came I would just rest easy at home.

I am a manager at a community credit union, emphasis on "community." Pretty much everyone who walks in the door knows me and obviously knew I was pregnant. Not only because I looked it, but because I was so excited about being pregnant that I had to tell everyone, even if they didn't really want to know.

After three weeks of being off work, I stared going stir crazy. I was still having my daily, sometimes hourly breakdowns, but I knew getting back to work was important for me. Sitting at home, not brushing my teeth or taking a shower till one in the afternoon was not working for me. I would just mope from one room to another in my house, shuffling in my sorrows. So I made the decision that on Monday I would return to work. If I can remember correctly I made the decision on a Wednesday so that I could have a few days to mentally prepare myself for going back.

I decided to make an appointment with a counselor so that I could discuss the concerns/fears that I had about returning to work. I told her that one of my fears was going back to work without Luke. We discussed that issue for a few moments, came up with a game plan on how to work through that, and then we would go on to my next fear. We kept coming back to what seemed to be my biggest fear - what do I do when people say the wrong thing? Like when someone says "well at least you are still young," or "time heals all wounds." I knew there would be these situations were I would feel uncomfortable with what they said, but how would I handle that? The counselor was great in helping me work through this. She told me to go home and write down some things that people might say and then write down my response. Kind of like role playing. That way when someone says something to me I could have a kind, gracious response that was already rehearsed.

For the most part my method has been working well. I am still amazed at what some people say but I know they are just trying to comfort me, not realizing they are actually making me cry inside. An honest mistake, I have been there. I know now what words I would NEVER say to someone after they have lost a loved one. However, had I not suffered a loss myself I would have never know that what may have seemed helpful and comforting at the time, was actually painful to hear for the person who is suffering the loss. Needless to say I have had my fair share of interesting condolences.

Today was a pretty good day for me. I was pretty focused on work and not really even paying attention to my mood, just gettin' through the day. One of our accounts is for a real estate company and they have a really sweet Asian gal who comes to make their deposits on almost a daily basis. I only bring up her ethnicity because she always comes in with a smile on her face and tries really hard to make small talk. A lot of times we both just end up nodding our heads and smiling because we can't quite understand each other, but we are sure that we are both saying something nice to the other. Nonetheless, she is someone who has always been very friendly to me and I remember just a few days before I had Luke she was asking me about him and how I was doing.

Rob had asked fellow employees to tell people a little bit of what had happened with Luke so that when I got back to work I wouldn't be bombarded with questions. I know many people were really interested in what had happened and all the employees were very gracious in just saying "there were complications" and that was that. They wanted to respect our privacy.

So today, the gal from the real estate company came in to do her deposits. I had not seen her since I had been back so as I had her come up to the counter she just looked at me with her kind smile. I started to do her transactions and she just simply said in her thick accent, "Sarah, may I hold your hand?" So I reached my hand out and she took it into her tiny little hand and just held it for a moment. I looked up at her and her eyes were so desperate, and they instantly filled up with tears. She didn't say anything, she just held my hand with her eyes just graciously gazing on me. She never said anything after that. I gave her the receipt and with her eyes still hopelessly full of tears, she smiled at me and walked out in silence. I could see her wiping her eyes as she walked out to the parking lot.

I don't know her story. Maybe she too had lost a baby, or maybe she knew someone near and dear to her that had lost a baby, or maybe she was thinking how horrible it would be to lose one of her own healthy, grown children. I don't know what it was but I knew that she somehow felt my pain. She said no words, she just wanted to touch me and offer me silence. I will never forget how sweet her gesture was. I will never forget the true sadness she had in her eyes, her desperation to connect with me. Her tiny, soft hands that were desperate to reach out and touch me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Awww....just breathe

Saturday I went on my first run....I'll be honest, it hurt. All day yesterday I dreaded going to the bathroom because that would involve squatting. It hurt, but it was a good kind of hurt. I knew that my body was craving some exercise and like I said before, going back to the gym was not what I wanted to add to my "new sense of normal" agenda just yet.

I got home from a pretty uneventful day at work and was not really looking forward to going for a run but I knew that it is something that needs to become apart of my every day, or at least every other day. So like I do in so many other things now-a-days, I just went through the motions - not putting much thought into it, just do it. I got home, changed into my running clothes, put my I-POD on and was out the door before I could talk myself out of going.

I decided to start off a little slower this time. On Saturday I just took off. It was like I had completely forgotten that I just delivered a baby five weeks prior and that it had been awhile since I had done anything really strenuous such as exercising....always trying to be the rockstar. I'm gettin' to old for that.

This time I really wanted to focus on just relaxing and breathing, trying to make it more of a therapeutic thing than a "work out." I took in nice, long, deep breaths and it felt really good, surprisingly. I was at about the half way mark and I was thinking about all kinds of things - work, the weather, my family, and of course, Luke. It was really nice. It was weird though, something happened.

Ever since I lost Luke I have felt out of sorts. Like I haven't been connected to my own body or something. Like I have been living some other persons life. I was at a point in my pregnancy were my mind couldn't remember what I felt like before I was pregnant. I had come to a point were all I knew was maternity clothes, eating a lot, and being so overly excited about my life. My life was consumed with the expected arrival of my son. After he was taken away from me I felt disoriented. Disconnected from myself, almost as if I had lost my sense of self or something. I couldn't remember what it was like to no longer be pregnant. I still kind of looked pregnant, but yet I had no baby in my arms. I was able to fit into my "regular" clothes right away but my body was completely different. It was all so surreal. Feeling disconnected is the best way I can describe how I was feeling.

As I am running and thinking my normal thoughts, it dawned on me. I had found myself again. It's a new me, one that has aged in a short period of time. But nonetheless, it is me. Before Luke I was always pretty in tune with my body. I knew when I was about to get sick, I knew that if I was experiencing some light cramping that I was going to be starting my period in exactly two day, and sure enough, within a few days after conceiving Luke, I knew that I was pregnant. I enough knew that he was going to be a boy. I just knew. After Luke died, I seemed to have lost that "intuition" I had.

I know that a part of me died when Luke died. It is a part of me that I will never get back, I know that, and I except that. But tonight on my run, I found something. Not what I had lost, but something new. Tonight I got a chance to connect with the new me. I don't know what brought it out, I assume the fresh air, and the fact that I allowed myself to breathe. It has been five weeks, but tonight on my run I allowed myself to just breathe.

I will never be who I once way, and maybe that's a bad thing, but maybe it is a good thing too. I have missed me. It's been a while, but it's nice to see me again....even if it's a new me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. "~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Attitude Adjustment

Let's face it, lemons taste like crap. This week was difficult. I have come to a point were I am very negative. It's a deep, dark place that I don't like. I have tried really hard to think positively and to try and just put one foot in front of the other. This week I felt like a tire with it's air slowly being deflated.

To be honest with you, I didn't even want to try and make lemonade. I was so fixated on feeling sorry for myself that I just gave up. I resorted to Xanax, which is great for sleeping, but when I am awake I feel nothing. I don't get sad, but I also don't feel happy. I am just there, this numb body going through the motions. It kinda reminds me of scenes from the movie Groundhog Day. The same day, over and over. No reason to get happy or sad about it, just the same old day. Woo-woo.

Towards the end of the week I decided to only take the Xanax at night to help me sleep. Yeah, that didn't really help. My mind felt like a roller coaster. One minute I would feel pretty "normal," twenty minutes later I would be bawling in the bathroom. One minute I would be crying over how fat I looked, but then crying because I don't want to fully get rid of the "pooch" because then all of "Luke's Home" as I call it, would be gone. Racing thoughts, that is what consumes me.

I have decided to take up running. I still am unable to go to the gym because it hurts too much. Hurts emotionally, not physically. Luke and I would go 3-4 times a week for an hour to keep ourselves healthy during the pregnancy, going there without him I am not ready to do yet. At least by running I can get the exercise I know my body is craving, but conversations will be limited. The only talking being done will be to myself and Luke.

I have felt very defeated this week but the good news is that on Monday a new week starts over. I am hoping to pick a better batch of lemons next week.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just too difficult for words today...

A million times I needed you
A million times I have cried.
If love alone could have saved you,
You would have never died.
In life I loved you dearly,
In death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a special place,
That none will ever fill.
It broke my heart to lose you,
But you did not go alone.
For all my love went with you
The day God called you home.

It has been a month since you left my arms, my sweet angel. I think of you everyday and yearn to hold you again. I hope you are having fun in God's playground. Your precious face is what I think of as soon as I wake up, the last image I see before I go to bed, and all that I dream about at night. For as long as I am living, my baby you will be. I miss you Luke and please know that time will never remove my love for you. Sweet dreams my angel baby. Mommy loves you.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Love Happens

Do you believe in signs? If you don't, then this post will seem really cheesy to you. I do believe in signs but at a pretty "normal" level. I don't believe that you can really see the Virgin Mary in a potato chip or Jesus in the foam of your latte at Starbucks. Some people may believe in these things and that is great for them, whatever bring you comfort I say.

Rob and I have always had "Friday-Night-Date-Night." We started this tradition when we first started dating three years ago. We promised each other that we would keep this tradition even when we had a family, even if it did turn into "Friday-Night-Date-Night-Once-A-Month." It was our way of saying that we would always stay connected to each other, even when life gets crazy hectic, we would still have our "just us" time.

We were having our date nights regularly up until Luke was born. We were really looking forward to last nights date night because it was our first date night since Luke died. Not because we didn't have the opportunity to go the last few Fridays, it was just the first Friday that we felt like it was time to get back into the tradition. It just was too hard to start the tradition again in weeks past. So suffice to say, we were both really looking forward to it.

Our date night usually consists of dinner and a movie. I work late on Friday nights and so usually by the time we get done with dinner I am so tired that we end up just renting a movie from Blockbuster and I fall asleep on the couch before the previews are over, especially if I had a glass of wine at dinner. Other nights we actually make it to the movie theatre, last night was one of those nights. We didn't really know what movies were out, we just knew we didn't want to see anything sad and I hate scary movies so the only option was comedy or romance. Rob loves Jennifer Anniston and since nothing else looked good to us, we picked "Love Happens."

I had seen a few previews for this movie, and in fact, I had even seen Jennifer Anniston on Ellen talking about this movie. From everything (which was pretty little) I had seen, it sounded like a cute, lighthearted romantic comedy. Umm yeah, not so much.

If you plan on seeing this movie I would stop reading. I am about to tell you all about it and I don't want to ruin it for you. But before I do that I need to tell you a little background about Rob and I.

Rob has always wanted to own a hardware store. I guess the first job he ever had was working at a hardware store and he loved it, made no money, but loved working there. I have a great relationship with my mother and grandparents. They have been the few people in all of this that I have really clung to for strength. For everyone else, I have put on the strong face -the lemonade maker. I love talking about Luke to everyone. I love to tell them how he looks like Rob, I try to educate them on holoprosencephaly, and how Rob and I are trying to move forward in the best way we can. I don't cry when I talk to them, I am just matter of fact. To some people, when they talk to me they probably think, wow, I wish I could be that strong and to see the positive in a pretty not-so-positive situation. I have to be this way or I would literally spend my day on the floor, in the fetal position, holding Luke's hospital blanket, crying all day. But instead I am trying my hardest to put on a strong face to the public, and then when I get home I cry it out. It's just how I am doing it. It may not work for all, but for me, this is how I am handling it.

The movie begins and the first line of the movie is this guys saying "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." I am not kidding you. Okay, coincidence. Not a big deal. The movie goes on about this guy who has lost his wife and to deal with his grieving he wrote a book called "A-Okay." He wrote the book, which was very heartfelt and real to him, somehow got picked up by an editor and its now a best seller. He holds conferences to help people grieving the loss of a loved one, all the while his manager trying to make this guy an international success. Talk shows, DVD's, even exercise equipment.

The movie goes on to talk about one guy in particular. He was a contractor who had a twelve year old son who would help him on his job sites. On one of his jobs, the son died. After the loss of his son he lost everything. He was filled with so much sadness and anger that he lost his business and his wife. The main guy (I think his name was Burke) tries to help him work through his grief during this conference but he just couldn't seem to get through this guy - the sadness had just completely taken over him. So much that he didn't know how to get back on track. So Burke takes the whole group at the conference to a place that this guy could not return to since his son had died - a hardware store.

I started crying during this scene because my heart just ached for Rob. I know that he had so many dreams with Luke and one of them was to go to a hardware store, go home, and build something together. Just like dads and sons are supposed to do.

I will admit that I haven't reached out to everyone. I have remained confined to the comforts of my mom, my husband, and grandparents. The rest of the family I have avoided. Not intentionally, but that's just how its been. Yes, I realize that for Rob and I the pain of losing our son is excruciating. But I forget that Luke was also a grandson, a nephew, a huge piece of this family and that others are grieving the loss of him too. And by me avoiding people, the people who too have lost Luke, they probably also feel a sense of losing me as well since I have been avoiding them.

The movie goes into how this guy Burke is actually a real hypocrite. He didn't attend his wife's funeral because it was too painful, that after his wife died he completely lost contact with her side of the family, and that deep down the loss of his wife was still so painful, all the while preaching to others to "make lemonade."

I went home and cried for probably a good hour. At first, when we walked out of the theatre - in silence, I kinda felt creeped out. Like, how could a movie touch home so closely. But then when I got home I just cried. When I started this blog I decided that I wanted to focus on all the positives, not the negatives in losing Luke. That I would only write on this when I was having a good day, not a bad day. But in doing that I too have become a hypocrite. There are days that all I want to do is yell and scream, to cry for hours, to stay in bed till noon. That some days all I want to do is make lemonade out of lemons and vodka.

I believe that last night I was given a sign. For a movie that we though would be a nice, light hearted romantic comedy, perfect date night movie, turned out to be a sign from Luke. It was my son telling me that its okay for me to not always try and make lemonade, to cry it out if I need to. It was my son reminding me that I was not the only one who has lost him. That he has uncles, aunts, and grandparents that miss him too and are grieving his lose, and that they miss me too since I have been avoiding them, and for that - I am sorry. I was doing it because I just couldn't be emotionally available outside of my own comfort zone.

The movie ends with one of my all time favorite songs, "Have a little faith in me" by John Haitt. I went home and just listened to it over and over. It was like Luke was saying "have a little faith in me mommy, I will hold you up and get you through this, just have a little faith in me."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What my son has taught me...

I know that it's supposed to be the other way around, that as his mother, I would be the teacher and my son would learn from my example. But instead, it is me who is doing all the learning. The saying goes "learn from your elders," but instead the role is completely different. My son who barely weighed more than a pound, that I only got to know for 22 weeks, and that I barely got to hold for more than an hour has taught me one of lifes great lessons, to live in the moment. But to not just live in the moment, but to really LIVE in the moment.

My husband used to always call me the "ultimate planner." It is sad, but so true. I would have everything figured out. Don't get me wrong, I love doing little things spontaneously. Like just heading to the beach for the weekend, or eating breakfast for dinner. I am not neurotic about it and its not like I can't do something unless its on the schedule for the day, but I am very much a "life" planner. I wanted to invest thirty years in a career, get married by a certain age, buy the cute house with the white picket fence, have two children - a boy and a girl exactly two years apart, retire at 55, and then grow old with my husband. It had to be exactly like that, in that exact order. Control freak? Just a bit.

Last December Rob and I decided that in January we would start looking for a new house. I thought this "plan" would work out beautifully because if we got into the house by March Rob and I could start trying for a baby in April, get pregnant in six to twelve months and then we will have had enough "just us" time before the baby came. I know this must sound so silly but I truly believed that it would all work out this way, not totally, but pretty close.

So we start looking for a house in January since that was the "plan". I went off the pill in February because I figured we would be moving in March. I wanted at least one month to "cleanse" my body of the pill before we officially started trying, or as we liked to call it "not, not trying." March comes by, no house. April comes, I am pregnant. Not exactly as my "plan" went but we were still so excited to be pregnant.

So now that the "original plan" had changed, I now needed to come up with a "new plan." So now the "plan" was to keep looking for a house until about September, if we weren't in escrow by October then we would just rent a bigger house for a year or so until our baby was about one and a half and then we would start for baby number two. See, the "plan" would still work....then we went to our 22 week appointment, and that did not go as I had planned.

Losing a child is just not natural, I still sometimes wonder if the last four weeks of my life really happened. Of course no mother ever "plans" on bury their child but sadly for me, it happened.

My child has given me a whole new outlook on life. My son has taught me that as hard as you may try to "plan" and think things out for your life, life is just going to happened whether its in your "plan" or not. Luke has taught me that I have to live right here, right now. That in an instant it could all be taken away. I was so focused on making sure that our future was planned and figured out that I wasn't enjoying the moment. Luke has taught me to stop and smell the roses. To hug my husband a little bit longer in the morning, to make sure that I tell someone I love that I love them, to appreciate today. Tomorrow will come, but maybe it won't. And if it doesn't, I want to make sure that today counts.

I remember when I was in labor with Luke I refused pain medication for 32 hours because I was afraid that if I got the epidural I wouldn't feel Luke kicking me anymore. I wanted so bad to hold onto that last moment with him. What I wouldn't do to feel him kick me one more time, what I wouldn't do to kiss his sweet skin one more time. Those are moments I will never get back.

I can't bring back my son. As much as I wish I could rewind the tape and fix his little brain, I can't. What has happened to us has been devastating and it hurts but I can't change that either. All I can do is move forward. I have to get up each morning and realize that as much as it hurts I have to put one foot in front of the other. Today is a new day and as hard as it may be, I want to make it count.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not much to say today...

I am feeling pretty yucky today. Emotional overload. My goal with this blog was to try and the find the positive side of a not-so-positive situation. I have tried really hard to not dwell on the things that I can not change, but instead focus my energy in healing in a positive way. But lets be honest, someday I just can't find it. Today was one of those days. Don't get me wrong, I am still doing pretty good overall, I was just having a hard time finding my lemonade today. And quite frankly, that is okay. I am going to sit on my couch, enjoy my husbands company, and know that today I was not defeated just because I couldn't come up with a positive twist on things. It was just a "blah" day. I know there will be others like today, I know its just part of the whole "grieving roller coaster" as I like to call it. Just get in, sit down, and don't forget to buckle your seatbelt.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus

Rob and I have a great marriage. We have always had a "don't go to bed angry" or " love not war" motto for our marriage. We have always been really good at gaging each others needs. Rob pretty much always knows when I need to be held or kissed or sometimes just left alone for a little while and I think I have a pretty good understanding of his needs too. We have always put our relationship first when it comes to making discussions and most of the time we are on the same page. Either way, we always work/talk it out.

Losing Luke has been devastating for us both. Our journey through grieving has been very different. For the first time in our relationship, I can't gage what Rob's needs are and vice-versa. In so many ways we are closer that we have ever been. We have clung to each other, realizing that is the only way we will get through this - together.

Our church offers a Share Grief class that I signed us up for. I didn't think we needed it necessarily for our own individual grieving, but more for us to have a better understand of how the other person was grieving. I wasn't too sure if Rob would be interested in attending, but being the amazing man he agreed to attend it with me. I knew that he was doing it for me because he would do anything to help me on my path to healing. So we attend this class of four; Rob and I, the instructor, and one other lady. Yes, Rob was the only man. I knew that this was going to be difficult for him. I am sure that he was thinking this was going to be a big group with a ton of people talking and he could just sit in the back with me and listen. That was not the case, not even a little.

The first part of class was just introducing ourselves and a little of our background. After that we watched a movie about different phases of grieving - sadness, anger, loneliness, etc. After the movie we had a group discussion. I went first, being the social butterfly I am. I just purged it all out to these two strangers. The other lady went after me, and then it was Rob's turn. I could tell that he wasn't really quite sure were to start but after a little bit he started opening up.

When I started this blog my intention was to help heal myself, kinda like my own therapy. I had told Rob about it and told him he could read it if he wanted to. After a few days I asked him if he had read it and he said no, that it was too hard. I figured that he just needed a week or so and that he would then want to read it. A week went by and I asked him again if he had read it and again he said no. My feelings were really starting to hurt. I thought that at first the reason it was "too hard" was because of the obvious, that he missed Luke so much. But when weeks went by I thought he was just trying to move on - "push it under the rug" as they say, to just forget about our son.

It was Rob's turn and like I said it took him awhile to open up but when he did open up he started talking about the blog and he said something that would have never dawned on me. He said that he couldn't ready my blog because it hurt to much to read about his wife being in so much pain and him not being able to do anything about it. Of coarse he missed Luke, but watching and reading about how much I hurt for my baby was breaking his heart. I would have never known that had we not gone to the counseling session. I walked out crying because I felt so honored to be his wife, to have someone love me so much.

I learned for the session tonight that yes, we all may grieve in different ways but we all still grieve. And that is completely okay. I am so grateful that we went tonight, another way that God is helping us down the path of healing.

On another note, I have always wanted to read the Bible. I thought I would start one of these days but instead of starting at the beginning, I am going to skip to the section called "Luke."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I saw Luke...

All I could do was just stare at him. I could not believe how much he looked just like he did when he was born. As this beautiful being sat in front of me, I could not stop watching every little movement, every little detail. I will never forever how much I loved him the moment I first laid eyes on him. As he stared back at me I feel in love all over again. He was exactly as I remember him when I held him in my arms. His hands and nose were a little different, but in ever other way he was exactly the same. As I leaned in closer to him I took in a deep breath. I wanted to see if he still smelled the same way as I had remembered. It was amazing, his scent is so comforting. Just as I thought, he smells just like the hospital blanket he was wrapped in the first and only time I ever got to hold my sweet angel. The same blanket that I still sleep with every night.

He stood up and walked toward me, my heart racing because I could not believe how I could love something so much. He told me that he had to go and my heart just sank because I knew how much I would miss him. I then realized that it was going to be okay because I knew I would see him again soon and I could go right back to staring at this beautifully made creature that I loved more than anything.

As he walked toward the door, he turned around and said to me "I love you baby, I will see you tonight when I get home from work."

God was so kind when he created Luke to look just like Rob.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Counting my blessings

When we found out that Luke had a severe form of holoprosencephaly I remember thinking, why me? Why us? Are we being punished for sins we commited when we were younger and this is our punishment? For the first few days Rob and I were so angry at God. We just could not understand why our baby wasn't even given a chance. As the days progressed my anger just intensified. I was so fixated on how mad at God I was for taking my son that I wasn't allowing myself to see the real picture. Yes, for a reason I will never know until I am again with my son, God needed my son more than I did. That is something I can't understand, because I loved Luke so much and God knows I would have taken such good care of him. But once the anger subsided in me I realized that the God I know would not take my son out of spite. The God that I know is a kind and gracious God that everyday gives us so many blessings. He was kind enough to give me Luke, so why would he be so mean as to take him back? He wouldn't, unless he needed Luke more than I did.

I know that God is kind and gracious. He has done so many amazing things in my life. He has blessed me with an amazing family, dear friends, and one of my greatest blessings is my husband Rob. When I met Rob I had already been through some challenging experiences in my life. I remember at a real low point I prayed to God "please just bring me happiness, whatever happiness may be for me." About a year later I met Rob and let me tell you, God redefined the word happiness for me when he sent me Rob.

When Rob and I first started dating he would do all these cute little things and so I started a list of them. I keep this list in my wallet and I pull this list out whenever I miss him, or when I am feeling down. Rob was at work yesterday and I was having one of my sad moments and so I felt like I needed a "pick-me-up." I pulled out the list and read it and as usual when I was done reading it I felt so much better. So I guess the point of my rambling today is that God is good. I know he didn't take my son away from me for any other reason than he needed Luke. I don't know why but it's not in God's plan for me to know any other reason than that. One day when Luke and I are together again in heaven I am confident that God will tell me why. But in the meantime, while I am here on Earth I have to be thankful for the many other blessings that God has given me.

So here is the list I have complied. Some might find it silly but to me my husband is the most adorable man ever and I just love him for all these little things:

1. In the winter he goes out and warms up my car for me before he leaves for work.

2. He talks to himself in the shower. (Sorry honey, I just think its sooo cute).

3. For Christmas when we go get our Christmas tree, he buys a baby tree that he plants to replace the tree that we cut down. So its a tradition that we plant the tree together and every year when we go back we see how the trees have grown.

4. He's wears matching PJ's with me.

5. He always goes grocery shopping with me.

6. He gets Kelly Clarkson songs stuck in his head and then sings them aloud.

7. He cooked a turkey (a 20 pound turkey for just the two of us) last Thanksgiving. I asked him why he was cooking such a huge turkey and he said "so I will know how to do it when we have a family."

8. He gets so excited about making homemade bread.

9. For my birthday last year he put pictures of us all over the house. On each picture he put a reason why he loved me. He did it when I was at work so when I got home there were pictures everywhere!!

10. When I had oral surgery he went to the store and stocked up on all the foods I could eat - baby food, cream of wheat, ice cream. He then called his mom to have her come and "check-in" on me to make sure I was doing okay.

11. He went to EVERY doctor's appointment during our pregnancy.

12. When he first heard Luke's heart beat he said "I could listen to that all day."

13. He stood by my side the whole 47 hours I was in labor.

and my favorite one of all....

14. He helped me create the most beautiful baby boy I have ever seen.

Count your blessings today. Yes, I could sit here and cry all day over how much I miss my son. But instead I am going to look forward to seeing my husband later today. My husband who looks just like my son Luke.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Men Don't Cry

It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry"
and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.

It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.

They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"

He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But "stays strong" for her sake.

It must be very difficult
To start each day anew
And try to be so very brave -

He lost his baby too.

-Unknown Author

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Medical Card

I cried yesterday. Not an unusual occurrence, of course, but for the first time since Luke has been gone - I cried tears of happiness. Yesterday I opened the mail and was stunned to find Luke's new medical card. It completely caught me off guard because for anyone who works with me they too can testify that our insurance company isn't exactly the quickest at processing stuff. In fact just recently I had a conversation with someone at work who said they got a bill from about four years ago that they were just now processing.

I knew that I would be receiving Luke's birth certificate, social security card, as well as his medical card, I just expected it to be months from now when the pain wasn't so raw. So as I sit there on my bed, sobbing my eyes out with this medical card in my hand something dawned on me. At first I was crying because I realized that I would never be able to use this card for Luke. I got really mad thinking to myself "why would they be so cruel as to issue a card to a child that can never even use it?" I was so overwhelmed with grief because I knew that I would never be able to pull this card out of my wallet when I had to rush him to the ER for a broken bone, or to take him to the doctor for his first cold. I felt cheated out of getting to be that protective mother who runs to the doctor, with this insurance card in tow, anytime my little man had the slightest cough or tiny rash. But the more I selfishly cried the more I realized that if in fact I did get to use this insurance card I would be using it because my child would be in pain. I realized at that moment my child will never have to experience any of these events that are all associated with him suffering. Luke will forever be perfect. His bones will never be broken, his sweet skin will never be scared or bruised, and he will never have to cry out in pain. So in an ironic twist of fate, my insurance company saved the day. Yes, it may take them six months to a year to pay my medical bills but proving to me that my son will never have to suffer or endure pain apparently only takes them a few days to process. So for that, I thank you insurance company.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Makes A Mother

I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today
I asked "What makes a Mother?"
And I know I heard him say
A Mother has a baby
This we know is true
But, God, can you be a mother
When your baby's not with you?

Yes, you can he replied
With confidence in his voice
I give many women babies
When they leave it is not their choice
Some I send for a lifetime
And others for the day
And some I send to feel your womb
But there's no need to stay

I just don't understand this God
I want my baby here

He took a breath
and cleared his throat
And then I saw a tear
I wish I could show you
What your child is doing today
If you could see your child smile
With other children and say
"We go to earth to learn our lessons
of love and life and fear
My mommy loved me so much
I got to come straight here
I feel so lucky to have a Mom who had so much love for me
I learned my lessons very quickly
My Mommy set me free

I miss my Mommy oh so much
But I visit her each day
When she goes to sleep
On her pillow is where I lay
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
And whisper in her ear
Mommy don't be sad today
I'm your baby and I am here

So you see my dear sweet one
Your children are okay
Your babies are here in My home
And this is where they'll stay
They'll wait for you with Me
Until your lessons are through
And on the day you come home
they'll be at the gates for you

So now you see
What makes a Mother
It's the feeling in your heart
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start
Though some on earth
May not realize
Until their time is done
Remember all the love you have
And know that you are
A Special Mom

Author Unknown

My cup of Joe

I wanted this blog as a way to feel connected. Connected with myself and most importantly with Luke. However, as I turned on my computer this morning with my hot, yummy cup of coffee I was overwhelmed with emotion to read all the beautiful emails that my dear friends and family had sent me. At a time when in so many ways I feel alone, I am honored to have so many people share their similar stories with me. This journey has made me realize that we all have our own life tragedies. I remember driving home from the hospital, without my son in tow, and looking over at other drivers and wishing I could be them at that very moment so that I could not feel my own pain. Of coarse in every other aspect of my life I am so truly bless but at that moment I just wanted to be someone else, someone who wasn't feeling the pain I was feeling. But the truth is, how did I know that person too wasn't in pain? We are all just a bunch of books walking around with these perfect looking covers but who really knows what kind of chapters we all might have inside. Life is not fair at times, but for me I have come to realize that we have all been here in one way or another. No, maybe you haven't lost a child but maybe you have. Or maybe you have lost someone that was so near and dear to you that to this day the pain is still so real. My point is that we are all amazing books that make up many different chapters, I just thank you all that shared a piece of your book with me today while I enjoyed my cup of Joe.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Broken Road

I lost my son...those are words that I never thought I would say. Like so many people I believed that my life would go a certain way. I had my fun during my early 20's, got a great job, found the love of my life, got married, started our family, and then I figured we would live happily ever after. That's how the story goes - right!?

Our wedding song was "God Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts. It was such a perfect song for us. Having experienced some difficult times in our lives, finding each other was truly a blessing.

The last 3 weeks have been the most devastating weeks of our lives. We have both gone through a range of emotions from deep sadness to extreme anger. So many questions with so little answers. But for some strange reason our wedding song keeps playing over and over again in my head. Before, I interpreted the song as life once being a broken road that with time becomes a smooth freeway but now I realized I had it all wrong. Life is filled with broken roads and major detours, detours that take you so far off the beaten path that you have no idea how you will ever get back on track. Losing Luke has been the biggest detour in my life. The road I was on with Luke was the happiest, most amazing journey I had ever been on and even though the journey took a huge detour I have to believe that God blessed that broken road.

When Luke died a part of me died too. It is a piece I will never get back, I know that. But I am determined to honor my son, not drown in my sorrows. I was blessed to have him for 22 weeks and that is a blessing I will FOREVER be grateful for. Someone once told me that you will never know what true love is until you hold your child for the first time. I have never known love or sadness like I have for my son. As hard as this time may be, so much of me feels so blessed. I had a beautiful baby boy that looked just like his daddy, who had my nose, and his Uncle Robert's long fingers and toes. He was the most beautiful angel, a true blessing from God.

If you chose to read this, please don't be sad for me. Yes, the pain is gut-wrenching and some days I do wonder how I will pick up the pieces, but you should know that I feel that I am one lucky person - God chose me to be Luke's mom.

What an angel looks like...