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.

What an angel looks like...