Monday, December 27, 2010

Making it Through the Holidays

Addi's Christmas dress
Well...we made it! It's hard not to think about what could have been...what should have been. From picking out the tree with Addison to getting her picture with Santa, first family picture, her Christmas dress that is still hanging in her closet etc. etc.


Brian's brother and nephews were in town so it was busy at our house. I made dinner for Christmas Eve as usual, but it was just about going through the motions for me. I just couldn't get motivated to start dinner so I procrastinated as long as possible and then started cooking. I just felt blah all day long. We had a nice dinner with family (10 all together). I just felt wiped after dinner and even more so once everyone left.
I made it the whole day without crying until I climbed into bed...then it was time to fall apart. Thank goodness Brian is used to me falling apart at night. He just holds me and then I can usually fall asleep. Nighttime is generally the hardest for me, but this night was particularly difficult. I have never been so excited for Christmas as I was for this year, I even broke my rule of not listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving was over...which I am so glad because I haven't been able to listen to it since losing Addison. After we lost Addison it changed from excitement about the holidays to just making it through. I did zero Christmas shopping and decorating. I did have all 130 Christmas cards stuffed and addressed, but couldn't bring myself to mail them...I had been waiting to mail them so I could include Addison's birth announcement. I still may send out some kind of birth announcement...it really bothers me that it's like she doesn't exist except to us. The newspaper doesn't post a birth or death announcement (we can post an obituary, which we will, but it's not the same).
Originally our plan was to scatter her ashes, but now I am bothered by the fact that nowhere in the world does she have a place with her name. We drove past the baby garden at the funeral home and I just lost it knowing that she should have a place there too.
So many things to think about…Christmas day was ok, it just felt weird. I felt like a shell of myself...I was there at my parent's house physically, but my mind was with Addison. It was clear she was on everyone's minds all day. It was a somber Christmas. We all talked about her and looked at pictures and went on with the day as best we could. The day after Christmas Brian and I went shopping for an ornament to hang on the tree every year in honor of Addison. We found a sweet little baby block that we had her name and birth date engraved on.

Every day is different and I knew Christmas wouldn't be easy, but we made it! Today I am back to work and after a week back, it's feeling a bit more normal...well the new normal. My body is even getting back to normal although that even makes me a bit sad...First I was sad that my boobs were leaking and now that they have almost stopped I find myself sad about that too...so weird, I know, but the changes Addison made to my body are going away and that is a different kind of sad.
I miss being pregnant, I loved everything about my pregnancy. Feeling Addison move was the most amazing thing ever. It's so hard to think that it will be a while before we are ready to get pregnant again and that I won't be able to be so relaxed as I was for Addison...terrified is probably the more accurate word. Here we thought we would have a new baby for Christmas and now that we missed 2010 it is more than likely we won't have one for Christmas 2011, we may be pregnant by next Christmas, but knowing two in a row will have no baby is really hard. I guess the best thing is just to focus on today...today I can handle.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Things I have learned

In the hospital I told Brian that I knew there would be lesson in this situation somewhere and while I know there is still more to learn, here is what I have so far.

1. My family is amazing (I already knew that, but even more so now).

2. My parents are more ready to be grandparents than I ever imagined, watching them with Addison was even more heartbreaking knowing that she had been taken from them as well.

3. My sister would do ANYTHING I ask of her (including clean my house)! My brother at 17 looks darn good holding a newborn...who knew?!? :)

4. People I wouldn't have expected to be affected by our situation have come out of the woodwork to offer support.

5. The people I consider my good friends are actually just an extension of my family :)

6. The two of us and I are a million times stronger than I ever thought possible.

7. I loved my husband before all of this, but I am so in love with him now...this was truly a sink or swim scenario and man can he swim!

8. It is better to say something than nothing at all, even if you say "I don't know what to say" that is good. Don't avoid us...that is really annoying.

9. It's ok to not know what to say to us...we don't always know what to say to you!

10. I want to talk about Addison, I don't necessarily want to talk about my feelings, but ask me anything Addison and I am good with that.

11. I may or may not cry when talking about Addison, but either way it's ok.

12. If I need to cry...I cry

13. I am so proud to be Addison's mom and would love to show off her pictures, but I understand that not everyone would feel comfortable to look at them and so I will never ask if you want to see, but if you ask me to see them I would love to show you (in person not via email).

14. Some people find it weird that we held Addison and took pictures of her...I say to that "bite me"! Unless you have gone through this, you don't know what you would do and that was all the time we got with her and I wasn't going to waste a second of it!

15. I'm not angry with God.

16. I refuse to go on like everything is the same, nothing will ever be the same.

17. I am committed to being better, Addison's life means something and I am not sure what changes to make first, but there will be change for the better.

18. I love Addison more than I have ever loved anyone else.

19. I am still a mom whether my daughter is here with me or not.

20. When we are ready to try again, I know that that baby will NEVER replace Addison, but that the new baby will be a gift from Addison. We would never have tried for a second baby so soon after the first and therefore the next baby will be here because of Addison.

21. No lesson is great enough to be worth the price of your child. Period.

Ok, well that is it for now, but I know there will be more :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Addison's Birth Story

On December 4, 2010, I woke up at 2:30am, this was pretty normal. I hadn’t felt the baby move much, but felt her by 4:30 and was able to go back to sleep. Her movement had been slow, but consistent and we had been warned that movement would slow as the time got closer for her to come. My husband Brian woke me up at 8:30 as he knew I had a scheduled non stress test appointment to attend this morning. He left for work and I woke up and began to get ready. It all seemed like a normal morning until I noticed she hadn’t moved since I had been awake. I decided to try to wake her up with some sugar so I drank some orange juice and…nothing. She has had her quieter mornings so I tried not to worry, but was eager to get to my appointment to hear her on the monitor.
I drove to the hospital and checked in to my appointment for 10am. I was greeted by a wonderful nurse. She welcomed me and got me set up for my test. I told her I hadn’t felt the baby move since 4:30am, she told me not to worry and started looking for the heartbeat. She tried to keep me as calm as possible as she searched for one tiny heart beat…nothing.  She called in another nurse…nothing, as they brought in the doctor I asked if I needed to call my husband (with every new person they brought in my heart began to race faster and faster…I mean here I am at 40 and a half weeks pregnant and everything has been so good, certainly nothing bad would be happening…right?!?) 
 After the doctor and the sonographer were unable to locate the heartbeat we knew that was it. I remember begging and pleading them to find it and the looks on everyone’s faces. Devastation is a word that doesn’t even begin to describe it. Through my screams and sobs they were able to call my husband and my parents. The nurse climbed into bed with me and help me until Brian got there. My poor husband was told that he needed to come to the hospital, that I was physically ok, but things were not ok.  We were given the option of going home to let natural labor set in or I could be induced. We couldn’t imagine going home with this news so I was admitted to the hospital. It was amazing how fast everything seemed to go. I felt like no time had passed, but hours had gone by. I was hooked up to machines and labor had started. I was given an epidural so I wouldn’t have to be in much physical pain. After hours had passed the epidural started to fade and the pain was becoming unbearable. They were talking C-section as the baby’s face was turned and they were unsure as to if I could deliver her vaginally. I was put into different positions every 30 minutes to try and rotate her. I was determined not to have a C-section, but I really wasn’t too worried, she had been a perfect baby the whole pregnancy and I knew even in death she would cooperate.
 
At about 2am we were told we were at least 8 hours away from delivery, so we sent our family home and tried to get some sleep. It was the worst sleep we have ever gotten, but it was the best we could get. I was in pain and breathing through contractions and my husband was awake at every noise I made. He was truly amazing through this whole process.
 
Family came back in the morning and I started to feel the urge to push around 9am. We decided the delivery would just be for the two of us and asked the family to wait in the room next door. At 10:40am on Sunday December 5, 2010, she was here. Addison Eloise our long awaited baby girl, perfect in every way except that she was not ours to keep. It turns out the cord had gotten wrapped around her neck two times and one was so tight that is wasn’t even noticed at first, the doctor said it was a nuchal cord. I guess she couldn’t wait to start on the gymnastics we had been promising her. We were able to hold her and love her and when we were ready the family came in, two at a time, to love her with us. She was 8lbs, 21 ¾ inches blonde hair, blue eyes, my nose and Brian's chin, just the perfect combination of the two of us. Everything we could have ever wanted for our baby.
 
We were able to dress her and take pictures and really just be with her and look into this face that we waited so long to see. We tried to do all the things we could with her so we would have as few regrets at possible in the future. We cut her nails and Brian changed her diaper (he had never changed a diaper before). My dad cut her hair. We took almost 300 pictures, which seemed like a lot then and now doesn’t seem like enough. We made sure everyone got a chance to have their own time with her as she wasn’t just for Brian and I, she was all of ours.
Throughout my pregnancy we couldn’t settle on a name. The only name we ever agreed on was Addison and we had talked about Eloise for a middle name as that was Brian’s mom’s name and she had passed away from cancer before we had met. Brian would call her Addison and I would always say that’s not her name yet. In the hospital, we knew that had to be her name. Our sweet baby Addi.
We had someone say that this must be the worst day of our lives and it really wasn’t, hearing she had no heart beat on the 4th was, but this day, December 5th the day we got to see our baby and hold her, however bitter sweet was still the day we met our beautiful baby girl Addison and one that we will treasure for the rest of our lives.
 
Addison was the most amazing baby that I was given the privilege to carry. She was ever so gentle in her movements and whenever she poked me too much a gentle rub from me would have her backing off right away. I have to believe she was going to be as kind and gentle on the outside as she was on the inside. She will forever be in our hearts and on our minds as she was and is our daughter.