Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Weekend 2011

Each year my dad and grandparents take one day and spend it traveling up to Issaquah, Kirkland and Redmond to clean the family headstones and place flowers. This was the first year I participated in this tradition. It's not that I didn't care before, it just didn't seem like the most fun way to spend my "weekend off"...sounds awful saying it or rather typing it!

This year Brian and I went. It was a two part trip. One-they got to show us where they grew up and two-we were able to help with the headstones. There were a lot of people out visiting graves and putting out flowers. I was glad to see so many flowers on all the graves. We scraped of moss, scrubbed and placed flowers. All in all we visited three different cemeteries.

At one of our stops we actually ran into other family visiting the same stones. It was unexpected, but so nice. We usually only see each other at family reunions so it was wonderful to see them!

I of course had to look around for baby headstones as I still can't settle on one for Addison. The saddest stone we visited was one for two babies who are my grandma's siblings. They died shortly after they were born from the RH factor. Both babies were full term 9lb otherwise perfect babies! If that isn't sad enough, there was actually a 3rd baby, but there is no record of this baby...that makes me so incredibly sad. A whole little life cut short and yet we know nothing about him (we believe he is a boy).

I took a picture of the babies stone (who takes pictures of headstones?!? I do!). These babies are special to me because they matter. How different my grandma's life would have been had they lived. She had 4 siblings, but her brother died tragically in his 20's and all three babies died...her poor poor mother. Ugh!

Anyways it was a very interesting and important trip and I am so glad we were able to participate. I hope to go again next year. Brian was saying that he had never really been to cemeteries growing up so they are kind of strange to him...I just kind of laughed because now they are our normal...our future kids will not know it is strange to go because they will be used to visiting their sister (don't worry I won't make them spend all their time there, just some time on her birthday and any time they would want to visit).

I think people spend too much time worrying about death and dying. The more it is talked about the less scary it is (still shitty, just not as scary). I am thankful to be in a family that takes care of each other and doesn't forget the ones we love.

This Memorial Weekend I remembered and will continue to remember.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

One of THOSE nights

It's been a while since I've had one of THOSE nights (you know the ones where I climb into bed and start crying, then sobbing, body shaking, nose running, hard to breathe right nights), but Friday night was the night.

No specific trigger, I mean there are a lot of things going on, but I wouldn't be able to pick one as the problem. I think it could have been a little easier, but my usually extremely understanding husband was replaced by this guy who asked "why are you crying"....um HELLO! Our baby died...and I'm still sad about it...I mean really?!? That just made things worse because normally I feel like he gets that this is a process (one he goes through too), but this night it felt really different and feeling alone on top of sad was just too much...hence the 1+ hours of an intense crying session.

I really felt like I was lying next to a stranger. I would have moved to the spare room, but I have a problem with that room...it's the room I was sleeping in the night I last felt Addi move. I know that's the room she died in and while Addi's nursery isn't off limits to me, that room, the spare room is not a happy room for me. Someday I need to get over it, it is the best room to sleep in when sleepless nights arise, but for now the room is closed and I HATE that room.

I am in no way trying to throw Brian under a bus. I think my main problem is that he has been so amazingly wonderful that I forgot that he is human...and well a man and can't read my mind. It's just that the one "good thing" that came from losing Addison was the closeness it brought to us and I just can't lose that too.

When I got up on Saturday I knew I had plans to meet up with three of my favorite ladies Sarah, Kayla and Jami (who I have been friends with since elementary school). I had been looking forward to it for weeks, but suddenly felt like I wanted to cancel. I decided I would just drive my own car so I could leave if I couldn't control my emotions. I pulled over once on my way there, had a good cry and continued on my way.

My friends are so great and put up with sad me. I feel bad for being such a lame friend, but like I've said before, I am too tired to fix it. We decided to see Bridesmaids together and let me tell you it was FANTASTIC! Totally our sense of humor and I haven't laughed like that in ages. Plus if I wasn't laughing hard enough my friend Kayla has one of the best laughs EVER and it just makes me laugh more, it is so infectious (in a good way) everyone should have a Kayla in their lives! It is so strange to be so sad and to laugh until your belly hurts...odd combo! All in all I was very glad I didn't cancel, but man was I wiped afterward!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Facebook & Blogger

I feel odd saying this, but I am thankful for Facebook.

When we found out we were expecting we waited until we heard the heartbeat and then posted it all over our Facebooks. We posted pictures and I updated my status constantly because...why not?!? We were so happy and wanted to share our happiness or rather our blissful ignorance.

I remember one of my first thoughts in the hospital was oh no...what are we going to tell everyone...how are we going to? We knew the option of saying nothing wasn't going to work because everyone would ask. We would have to post something. I was cursing myself for sharing our pregnancy online. My bff Sarah (yes, I said bff or maybe bfsk=best friend since kindergarten) had the insight to tell us we could shut down our Facebook pages so that way we could have some time to think without having to worry about someone posting something to let the world know before we were ready. We gave her our passwords and she took care of the rest. God bless her! That was at least one less thing for us to worry about and with everything else going on it was so appreciated.

3 days later most of the important phone calls had been made and we knew the sooner people knew the better. We were already getting emails asking what happened to our Facebooks and asking if the baby had been born yet (remember we were already passed our due date so people were watching).

My main concern was I didn't want to post details for anyone to just stumble on as they were reading their daily posts. I wanted to post something so that people would know (as gently as possible) that Addison died and if they wanted to know more they could read about it, but it wouldn't be on Facebook. I remembered that a friend had done a blog for her friends and family to read about their journey in starting a family and thought a blog would be the perfect way to share our story. We could post the link to our Facebooks and people who wanted to know could read it and the ones that didn't want to didn't have to click on the link.

I wrote our story out on the computer on our last night in the hospital when I couldn't sleep. Brian figured out how to post it and then we opened our Facebooks up again. For us it was the best way to share our story. Even after coming home when people wanted to know we could give them the blog address. We love talking about Addison and sharing our story, but we hate having to tell people who don't know anything about it. This brought us a level of comfort and gave our friends and family a way to try and understand us and what we had been through.

I soon realized that sharing Addison's story online had changed my life. Baby loss is very taboo and people are afraid to talk about it. Our blog was making people feel more comfortable to talk about her with us instead of behind our backs.

I wanted to continue writing, but I was afraid of having all my personal thoughts out there for anyone to read (my name is quite easily googled so I didn't want any old high school acquaintance knowing all my business). Again I thought of my friend’s blog. She had made hers private by invite only and that seemed like something I could do. So I did. After that I was overwhelmed with positive comments about my blog and how it was helping my friends to know I was ok and that it was helping them to understand what this is like.

Something even more unexpected happened. I found other blogs just like mine and now have this whole online support system with moms who "get it". I admire them so to be able to have public blogs. I wish I could have made mine public, but it just freaks me out too much. I try to invite the moms I follow to follow mine because it really does help to hear their feedback. Each comment or email I get after a post is so appreciated whether you are a blm friend or a regular friend. It's so very encouraging and inspires me to keep writing.

Back to Facebook, I have had several old friends contact me since they heard about Addison and were able to find me through Facebook. Just another reason I am thankful for it. Don't get me wrong, Facebook can be painful too. It's hard to see baby pictures and hear updates on peoples kids when I should be posting the same about Addison, but the friends I have on Facebook are the ones I care about...I deleted the other people :)

So thank you Facebook for forcing me to share my story with my friends, I may have become a hermit without you. Thank you S for starting your blog and sharing it with me. Without you I may never have known about it and blogging has been one of the single most helpful ways for me to try and heal. Last, but not least thanks to all my baby loss mom friends who read my blog and allow me to read your blogs. I start each day by reading new posts, you provide me with daily therapy that is priceless!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A different way of thinking

I have been so emotionally drained lately that it has turned into a physical exhaustion. I am tired all the time and have little energy to follow through with my to-do lists. I was going strong for a while, but I guess I hit a wall. I have even been too tired to blog!

I read another blog entry that explained it like this-I was going to do the laundry, BUT dead baby...I was going to vacuum, BUT dead baby, I was going to go to the gym, BUT dead baby, I was going to (fill in the blank), BUT...you guessed it, DEAD BABY!!! Nothing quite like that harsh reality to keep you on the couch!

I am a bad friend, daughter, granddaughter, wife etc. right now. I love my family and friends so very much, but I just don't have the energy to pull my weight in those relationships right now. I hate that they are all sad about losing Addison and to top it all off they lost me too. I am no longer the same me I once was. So to my family and friends, I'm sorry the old me is gone, I miss her too.

I used to believe that we are able to control our feelings that we are as happy as we let ourselves be. I still believe that is true with many things in life, but it doesn't fit with the dead baby category. So many "rules" I used to live by don't fit anymore. All the clich├ęs that used to be so true for me:

Everything happens for a reason=perfect babies die for no reason at all?!? WTF Maybe you didn't get a job because there was a better one right around the corner, that may be true. I can buy that. I can't buy that Addison died because there is a better baby around the corner. That is the biggest load of crap EVER. Sure I will love a second baby...well I am pretty sure I will, but Addi having to die for that sibling to be here...crap, crap and more crap!

Good things come to those who wait=I waited 26 years to have my heart ripped out of my chest, stomped on with cleats, mixed with salt and vinegar just to be jammed back in my chest...not so good!

God doesn't give us more than we can handle= I don't believe anyone "handles" this well, Maybe you haven't been given more than you can handle yet and that's why you say that.

We are as happy as we chose to be=I still believe that we chose to be happy, but there are some cases where no matter how many times you pick yourself up and brush yourself off there are times when it doesn't feel worth it to get back up just to be shoved back down. I wish I could be happier, I chose not to roll over and die, but I don't get much of a say when it comes to how I feel. If I wake up crying, it's not because I chose to do so.

When you have lived your life by a set of rules and then they all the sudden go out the window it leaves you feeling quite lost. Like praying. I wonder how many times I have prayed for unimportant things (sunny weather, to do well on a test, for Brian to have gotten home first so the dogs have already been let out) I mean really stupid things. Then there are the big things like when I prayed to get pregnant, for my grandma to beat cancer and then again when she went into surgery. All those times I prayed and for what? Now I look back and go what was I thinking? God doesn't change those things.

I don't believe any amount of praying would have saved Addison or that God is mad at me and that's why she is gone. So I pray for strength, trust and peace of mind because those are the things I believe God can help with. Not that he couldn't step in and save us from these devastating losses, but I just don't believe that's how it works.

We pray because it brings us peace and makes us believe we are doing something to help. I have been asked to pray for several people lately who have serious medical issues and I say I will, but I can't pray for them to be "healed" because I believe what will happen has already been decided. I pray for peace for them and their families no matter the outcome. People can continue to pray for whatever they want, but that is just another viewpoint of mine that is changed forever.

Old me never would have understood this post, she would have thought I was just a big downer and that I just didn't want to be normal again. The truth is, I would love to be normal again, but I seemed to have misplaced my rose colored glasses. Maybe that's the problem...we each get one set of rose colored glasses and once they are gone you can never get them back again. If you still have them please appreciate them!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is this my life?!?

Sometimes when I am thinking about Addison I wonder if I made it all up. I have dreamed my whole life for a little girl so maybe I just dreamed up this perfect baby and none of this bad stuff ever really happened.

It's hard to fathom that this is my life. Even when going over old blog entries it can feel like I am reading someone else’s story...surely this horrible loss couldn't have happened to me. This is the kind of thing you read about not experience firsthand.

When I was younger I would wish that I could fast forward my life to the day I was married with my first baby. I always knew I wanted to be a wife and especially a mother. I was tired of having to wait for my life to get started. I would spend so much time dreaming of how my life would be. Never in all my dreams was I a mom to a dead baby.

I daydream of her all day, but have only dreamed of her once in my sleep. I had been waiting to dream of her hoping to see her alive, smiling, laughing even crying, but in my dream she was still lifeless. I have read other blogs where moms dream of their babies constantly...why haven't I?!? I want to see her in my sleep. It's the only way I will ever "see" her smile or laugh. I keep waiting for one, but it hasn't happened yet. I guess I have no choice, but to keep waiting.

There are many days when I have accepted that this is my life, but other days where I refuse to wrap my brain around it. My family is big on not having issues. It was always the joke that while other friends were dealing with all sorts of disorders that "we don't have no stinkin' disorders"! I have my own family now, but I still don't want to be "that girl". My heart is broken, but I am not broken...ok maybe a little broken, but I am fighting it every step of the way.

I love that I am Addi's mom, but the thought of being somewhere, someplace at any time and knowing there will be someone saying quietly to a friend "look, there she is, that's the girl whose baby died". I really hate that. I am "that girl". It would be so much better if I knew people would talk about her with me than about her behind my back. I know this is how society works, but it doesn't mean that I have to like it.

This week has been a bit easier and I can attribute it to feeling like this didn’t really happen to me…I made it up and any minute now I might become “me” again. This grief “ride” is so unique. The twists, turns and constant emotional changes are nothing like I have could have imagined. I want off the ride.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day or something like it

So, I think we are all pretty aware what yesterday was...Mother's Day. I never really thought of Mother's Day as anything, but a day to honor my mom and grandmas. Now I have a whole new view on this very sad day. Yes, I still have a wonderful mother, 2 grandmas and even a mother-in-law, but what about the people that don't, what an awful "holiday" for them.

Whether you are a mother without your child or a child (at any age) without your mother, this day reminds us how we are without the ones we love (like we need any further reminding)!

Saturday I went to the Tears event to honor mothers of lost babies. I wish Brian could have gone, but he had to work. My sister Alisa went with me instead. I was really feeling like I wanted to go on my own, but last minute decided I needed a buddy. Sisters are good for that sort of thing :) It was nice, but very sad to be in a room full of mothers missing their babies. I left feeling drained, but also glad I went.

Yesterday was the day I had been dreading. I knew it would suck and I just wanted to make it through. My family was coming over at noon for brunch so I got up early to do some last minute cleaning and start cooking. Brian was a lot of help and my sister came over early to co-host the brunch. We got everyone fed and Alisa kept telling me I could go and sit down. I just couldn't I had to keep busy, but I appreciated all that she did.

My grandparents hadn't seen Addi's room so they all took turns going in there, a few got emotional. It's sad, but also nice for me to see how we ALL miss her. After that I was pretty much ready for everyone to leave. I think they felt it because they all got ready shortly thereafter. Brian was going to Lowes and I was ready for some alone time.

After I was alone, I went into our bedroom to read my Mother's Day cards (I didn't want to read them in front of everyone). I cried as I read them and then took a much needed nap. When Brian got home I wasn't ready to get up so I stayed in bed while he did yard work. It was a mix of watching mindless television (Real Housewives anything...it's total crap TV, but I love it) and reading my book about pregnancy after loss (research really).

I finally left the bedroom at dinner time...Brian cooked aka ordered Chinese. I had avoided the Internet all day, but did receive all the wonderful Mother's Day wishes through my phone. I have to say it really did make me feel a bit better each time I received one so thank you to everyone who thought of me and knew what a hard day it would be.

It's funny (well not really funny, but you know) to think back on last year and know that was the only Mother's Day I had WITH Addison. I remember thinking I didn't need to REALLY celebrate because we would have many years together. Now I wish I would have enjoyed that day a little more even though I was still so nauseous.

I have to wonder if I will ever fully enjoy any future Mother's Days. Sure it is possible I will be pregnant by next year...or even to have baby no. 2 in my arms (that's hard to believe), but even if I am that lucky to have a second child we will still be missing our little Addison.

I hope yesterday was a nice day for all my mommy friends and of course my mom, Lynn and grandmas. I especially hope that the moms without their kids and the kids without their moms were able to get through the day a little better than I did. Here's hoping to a better Mother's Day next year.

Friday, May 6, 2011

5 Months...a day late

That awful feeling in my gut is getting stronger which means there will be some serious crying taking part in the near future. Yesterday I made a conscious effort not to get online much and to stay as busy as possible. Today has been like that too...I am just going to try and get through until Sunday.

My sister and I usually try and host a Mother's day brunch at my house for our mom and two grandmas. This year my dad offered to take over, but I feel like I would still like to do something for them. I decided we would proceed with the normal Mother's Day at my house. My hope is that I will be busy with brunch for them and as soon as they are done eating they can get the heck out! That sounds awful, but I think I will need some alone time to mourn my Mother's Day that should have been...that's the plan...we'll see.

I just couldn't write this post yesterday...five months...five whole months of missing my baby. Cinco de Mayo, 5/5/11, 5 months on 5/5 is what was running through my head all day. That's really what it comes down to is I just miss Addison so very much. I didn't sleep well last night at all...I saw the clock hit 1:00 AM. Just before bed Brian had told me that he was talking with a friend who has a 9 month old daughter who is getting all kinds of personality. When he left he thought about how jealous he was of him...that made me cry too. How I wish Brian had his own stories to share about HIS daughter.

This week we met up with a friend from our childbirth class. Her daughter is 2 weeks younger than Addi. Seeing Brian holding her and how natural it was to him was so very hard, but it was also very wonderful. I feel so lucky to have not only kept in contact with one, but two of the couples from that class. It makes me so happy to see their strong healthy babies, babies I still consider to be Addi’s buddies.

This month I felt myself wanting to "lie" to people. Just for a minute I would love to tell a stranger about my daughter and not include the "she died" part. I was talking to a man who was beaming about his 8 month old and for a moment I so wanted to say "I have a 5 month old, isn't it wonderful"! Maybe that doesn't make sense to you, but it's those moments that have been stolen from us that I ache for.

Five months and it doesn't get easier...five months and all I want is Addison. Five months and my heart is still very broken.

Addi,
I promise you there isn’t a moment that goes by that you aren’t on our minds. We are very aware of everything we are missing out on with you. The sun has been out, which makes me want to strap on the ergo baby and take you for a walk with daddy. I still turn and look behind my seat while driving and wish I could see you in your car seat. I am still imagining how our life would be if we woke up tomorrow from this nightmare and you were right here with us, right where you belong. I know that cannot happen, but I can’t help, but make you part of my every thought. I love you.
Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Anticipation

Anticipation is the worst...ok not THE worst, but it's right up there. The last 2 weeks have been pretty good (not sad free, but not so sad I can't breathe). When I have a week like that let alone this time where it was at least 2 in a row (that's the longest stretch so far) I am in constant fear of when I will be hit with the soul crushing "sad day" that waits for me right around the corner of every good moment, you know the one that usually brings more tears than I can count and that feeling of being punched in the gut repeatedly...yes that one!

Other than waiting for the inevitable gut punch I have also been anticipating today and tomorrow (5 months ago today since this nightmare began and tomorrow is 5 months since my sweet baby was born). If that wasn't enough there is also Mother's Day on Sunday and the return of AF...last month she proved to be too much for my emotions and really put me over the edge...this month I am hoping that b-word takes some pity on me!

All morning I have been feeling like the gut punch is coming...kind of like the movie Jaws where you can't see it, but you can hear the music and KNOW it's coming. Dun na, Dun na...you know the music, well that's what I keep hearing in my head...it's coming.

I was doing pretty well today until I realized I needed to get a card out in the mail to our wonderful mother in NC. I am so used to having all my family local that it is still new to me to have to pre-buy cards and get them out in the mail! I ran to the store at lunch not thinking much about what I was actually doing until all those cards were staring at me...all the cards I will never get from Addi (although homemade ones would be even better, but that's beside the point). I was trying to find the perfect card, but also be quick about it...and then...the little old lady next to me started talking to me...who can ignore a sweet well-meaning old lady?!? Not me! Anyways she starts telling me how she is looking for a mother-to-be card...of course she is and of course I was the person she needed to share that information with.

She couldn't find one...so I helped her look...I know stupid, but I couldn't help it. I found them quickly and she thanked me profusely, I could tell she wanted to continue chatting, but I couldn't get out of there quick enough. As I was racing to self check out I could feel the tears welling up. I quickly bought my card and got the hell out just in time to spend some more quality crying time in my car.

Last year I was getting those mother-to-be cards and this year I am no longer a mother-to-be, I am a mother minus a baby. Can't I just be a plain ol' regular mother?!? Talk about a shitty Mother's Day!

As each month passes I try to figure out how my life got here. I know there isn't anything I can do to change it, but I keep wondering when I will "get the hang" of being in this club I don't want to be in. I'm still working on that one so don't hold your breath!

On the 4th of each month Addison's Grandma Karen and Auntie Alisa each get flowers from an anonymous friend at their office (they work in the same place). I don't know who it is, but I love that someone is remembering Addi and remembering that their hearts are broken too. I asked them to text me pictures of their flowers so I can share them with you guys too. There really are some wonderful people out there!

If you remember from my cruise post my mom was looking for a blue topaz pendant to buy so she could have her own "Addison necklace". That trip proved unsuccessful for the perfect pendant so she was going to keep looking once we got home. Someone else in her office heard her story and brought her the pendant she was hoping for. It just blows my mind that someone would be so thoughtful and that it was even one my mom loved and probably would have picked on her own.

Aside from the flowers and nice people, I feel like I would like to hide under my desk or even better go home and curl up in bed and sleep straight through these next few days. I won't, but it does sound appealing...that damn Jaws music is still playing in my head...erg!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Missing Pink Lint

All week I have been missing pink lint...yes, you read that right. Lint, I miss LINT!!!! That fuzzy fluff that accumulates on various fabrics and fills up the dryer trap. It really is the little things. I remember doing loads and loads of Addi's laundry and every time I would have a sufficient amount of pink lint in the dryer.

Even then I found it fantastic! I mean I usually have white lint and grey lint even purple or dark blue lint, but never pink lint. I remember a day that I brought the lint trap out to Brian for him to see this wonderful pint lint. I almost took a picture of it, but I didn't because who photographs lint?!?! Damn, I wish I would have!

I had piles of Addi's clothes, blankets, burp cloths, etc. on the dining room table. Folded and ready to be placed in her drawers. Thank goodness that was something I found suitable for photographing.

I am thankful to say that I loved every second of washing drying, folding her tiny pink items and yes, even emptying that lovely pink lint. I really enjoyed it and I am so glad I did because I did it expecting it to be a part of my everyday life and relishing the thought of it. Now, I have no pink lint. That brief stint of pink lint was so precious and I can only hope there will be a day when once again pink lint fills my dryer...here's hoping and here's to the little things!