Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In my Life...

Brian and I are creatures of habit...okay I am, but now Brian is too by default. We have our favorite restaurants and don't usually branch out once we have found something we love. Occasionally we feel the need for Thai food and after trying about 5 different places we settled on a place called Angels, it is downtown Olympia. I eat "white girl" Thai. Meaning from 1-5 star spicy I get NO stars, Brian gets 3 stars, which mean I never try what he gets!
I would say we have been going there for a couple years, before I found out I was pregnant with Addison for sure. It's one of the places she got to "eat too".

For all the times we have been there I have never noticed the alley right before it. I usually try and avoid all the smokers around that area so I just get in the door as fast as possible. The other day no one was out and I felt like walking around. We saw that the brick was spray painted to say "In my life" and then there were all kinds of spaces and sidewalk chalk to write what you want to do in your life. Pretty neat concept.

I had to stand and stare. I read some serious ones and some really stupid stoner ones. I kind of wanted to write my own...I didn't for a couple reasons:

1. I hate chalk...I don't know why, but it gives me goose bumps to touch it or even think about touching it...I know that is weird, but I can't help that it feels so weird to me!

2. The answer to mine would be much too long to fit on one space.

You see before Addison, I would have written something simple. I would have written:

In my life: I want to be a mother

Now I would be more specific because now that I am a mother it is nothing like I imagined. I think it would go something like this:

In my life: I want to be the mother of a living babies. I want to carry these babies in my own body to term and have them be happy and healthy AND LIVING. I want these babies to outlive me and bury me when I am old and grey. I want to be able to enjoy my child(ren) to the fullest extent. I want them to know how much they are loved and wanted. I never want to experience the loss of another child. Never ever.

There is more, but you get the point. What would yours be?

Monday, August 29, 2011

7 hours into 3 minutes

I feel like this last week has flown by. Last Sunday the 21st I took another pregnancy test. It was one of those "fancy" digital tests. It took FOREVER and then finally read NO-. For the record I don't recommend those tests. The old fashion double line tests are where it's at...you can feel like there is a maybe with one of those...like the second line could possibly be there, but the blaring NO is cruel and leaves no room for a maybe.

I was really angry after that test, not sad, but angry. I feel bad for Brian...it was not a good week to be married to me :(

Our week was looking up as we got closer to meeting with M to tell our story. I always feel better after anytime I am able to talk openly about Addison.

This Sunday the 28th we met with M. This Sunday was WAY better than last Sunday. I thought he would take a few hours out of his day to listen to us, but he didn't...he took 7! I was nervous before he got to our house, pacing and feeling sick, but when he got there and we started talking all my nervousness went away.

We couldn't believe what a long day yesterday was. It was draining and hard with lots of tears, but it also felt really good to tell our story. I felt like M and his wife really tried to understand every aspect of our loss. They cried as we told our story. At one point we were all in tears and had to take a break and find all of the Kleenex in sight!

It is so refreshing to meet such professionals, but who are still able to share so much compassion. After 7 hours of filming, I was done, D-O-N-E. I was so glad to do it, but needed to relax after. I will be anxiously awaiting the final product...how they are going to take 7 hours of film and turn it into a 3 minute piece is beyond me.

My hope is that by sharing Addison and our story that we are able to help someone, even just one someone. I know sharing Addi helps me feel like she isn't forgotten and that she counts, boy does she count!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sharing our story

Brian and I volunteered to tell our story to help bring awareness to baby loss. Last night was the phone interview (the pre-interview if you will). We thought it would be a quick conversation of us just telling Addison's birth story, but two hours later we realized that was not the case.

The man interviewing us (I'll call him M) has never experienced a loss like ours, but his ability to navigate us through these tough questions so gently was refreshing and appreciated. M started out asking how we met and when we decided we wanted a family. He really established a comfort zone and didn't just jump into the nitty gritty.

M asked questions that really made us think and took us right back to that day in the hospital. We were both good for about the first half hour and then the tears flowed on and off for the next hour and a half.

Through his questions we realized there were parts each of us had forgotten and hearing the other describe those moments was surreal. I need to write down her story, the whole thing not just the cliff note version I posted. I may or may not post it, but I need to do it before we forget anymore. We talked about having each member of my family write about Addison and that day from their point of view...I need to have them do that before her first birthday! I think it would be really interesting to hear her story form a viewpoint other than my own. In those moments you are thinking about your own grief and not as tuned into everyone else.

In the interview Brian talked about how once the nursery was completed he would find me in there curled up on the floor sleeping with Addi in her room. I just loved every moment with her, but spending time in her room with her in my belly was some of my favorite and he loved watching me with her.

M asked about the moment we found out we were pregnant, the moment each of us felt her move for the first time, when we found out we were having a girl and the first time we saw her face. To hear Brian tell his answers well, this daddy loves his daughter! There were a couple time I had to let Brian answer for me because too many tears were falling, but for the most part we each answered.

Brian even admitted that he tries to block out certain parts or dreams he had for Addison, because he knows those thoughts will send him into a sad place, but during the interview we talked about it all. There was no holding back.

I am not sure how the interview will go when we meet on Sunday, but for me, sharing our story, sharing Addison is very therapeutic. It's like each person that hears our story and knows Addi was here and really existed just helps take some of the weight off my shoulders.

It felt so good to share her story, but it was also extremely draining. After the conversation we just laid on the couch until bed time. It's interesting to me how spending time talking about Addison affects us both so differently. Brian looked like he might be having a sad day when he left for work today and I felt good. I guess it's just one of the ways we grieve differently.

I am nervous for Sunday, but I also really want to do it. I just hope we don't forget something important.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Missed Connections

Ever heard of missed connections? I heard a comedian making fun of it a few years ago. Probably something funny Brian found and shared with me. I couldn't find it to share and since I don't remember all of it it may have been inappropriate, but I remember thinking it was hilarious. Basically there are websites you can go on when you miss your opportunity to talk to someone in any random place. You know like when you get home and go "man I should have gone over and talked to that person". Without the Internet you may never run into that random stranger again, but now there are websites you can write about where you were and what the person looked like, if they check out the website too you could be connected! Super weird I know, but the concept fascinates me.

I mean what if you wrote on there and the person answered back?!? Total love connection or creeper stalker...you decide. I won't lie I have looked on there because it will make you laugh. Have I ever posted or looked for someone possibly writing about me, that's a big NO, not my style! I get that the websites are mainly for romance type match ups, but it is also for any type of missed connection.

I feel like I have lots of missed connections. Missed baby type connections. Conversations that I don't chime in on because I don't want it to lead to further questions about my lack of living baby. Missed play dates, missed mommy friends at swim class or little gym etc.

A few days ago I decided I needed more therapy (retail) so I went to the mall. The second I walked into Macy's I saw one of the employees...back story needed...okay a few years ago when Brian and I were engaged we went to Macy's to register. One of the employees and I got to talking because she and her boyfriend just recently got engaged and about a year behind Brian and I. She was really nice and we had a fun conversation about planning weddings. Fast forward to the present. This same employee is still working there. The second I saw her I thought I bet she is pregnant. As I got closer I could see her big belly behind the counter...I kept walking and didn't make eye contact...no conversation that day...we no longer connect.

When I found nothing at Macy's I headed over to Famous Footwear. Shoes would make me feel better, right?!? Well as I am shopping (in one of the narrow aisles just enough space for two people to walk passed each other and not touch) a woman comes down my aisle, but we don't fit side by side in this aisle BECAUSE she is carrying a car seat and making herself as wide as possible so I am forced to side step her. I am already irritated...I mean seriously...who does she think she is making me move, while her baby lived and mine did not (please note sarcasm) when BAM I see the car seat. It's not just any car seat...it's MY car seat or rather Addison's.

This specific pattern is not available in stores (around here anyways) and it has to be ordered. I know because the second I saw it I HAD to have it and did tons of Internet searching. The mom looked about my age and her little girl (of course it's a little girl) looked just a few months younger that Addi should be...we totally would have struck up a conversation with our matching car seats and sweet little girls, but no...my car seat looks like this:

Car seat sans baby

I actually had to pull it out of the closet to take a picture of it...in a closet?!? That's not where a car seat belongs.  :( I had it professionally installed in my car about 2 months before Addi was born...I really miss it. Well really I just miss her.
Not doing much, but collecting dust :(
So there you go silly, but true. More things to miss out on without Addison here. Almost makes me want to post on Missed Connections...I said almost. How sad would that be...my posts could read:

1. Saw you at Macy's, wanted to chat about pregnancy and tell you about my daughter, but I couldn't because my baby died.

2. Saw you at Famous Footwear, we have matching car seats, wanted to make a play date for our girls, but I can't because my baby died.

I can promise no one wants to read that!

There is so much to miss when a baby dies, from the big things to even the smallest random conversations with people who don't really matter, but yet it is another missed moment stolen away by death. I hate missing moments big, small and everything in between.

So my question is have you ever posted a "missed connection"? Ever gone on there and read something funny? And to my BLM friends, what is your baby missed connection (just pick one, I know there are a million every day)!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Busy weekend!

Ever have one of those weekends where too much happens and it just feels way to overwhelming to try and write about it all? Well that's how I feel about this last weekend. It's Wednesday and I can't even muster up the patience to write about it all in the way it deserves to be written about so cliff note version it is and then I can have a clean slate to write about whatever new comes up...if I don't get this out now I may never write again...okay that is being a bit dramatic, but you know :)

First of all I am still headed up the roller coaster for this I am grateful! Another good week and I fully appreciate the good days.

Friday-Brian went to the Mariners v. Red Sox with my brother and our friends Megan and Jason (I don't really get into sports too much). They were all rooting for the Red Sox (Brian is from Maine). I feel like it is sacrilegious to root against the home team, but then again I don't care about sports so whatever. Red Sox won...good I think! My sister and I met up with friends at my favorite happy hour place, Puerta Vallarta mmmm cheap Mexican food! I spent the rest of the night at home like a bum on the couch catching up on the dvr (this was not sad induced, just felt good to relax).

Saturday-Spent the day running errands while Brian was at work even gave Annie a bath, I love the way this lab feels after she is all clean and silky. Also got my car washed and some other boring things that felt good to get crossed off my list.

When Brian got home we headed out to meet up with two of the couples from our child birth class and their babies for a BBQ. These two couples have stayed friends with us and their support is much appreciated. Addison was born in the middle of the two babies so it is fun and sad, but mostly fun to see their personalities and see where they are at developmentally. We miss out on SO much, so it is nice that we were able to maintain these friendships. It brings some kind of weird comfort to see what are lives SHOULD be like. Plus I really like this group of parents!

Sunday-Family reunion no. 2. I was really worried about it since the first one went so well...figured the last one may be more than I could handle, but it wasn't. No one said anything dumb, but mostly people didn't ask about Addison. I suppose I didn't really give them much of a chance. I stayed close to people I know that knew our story and the people who I wasn't sure about, I held my distance. It was like I didn't want to give them the opportunity to say something dumb...I don't know, I felt weird and anti-social, but the people who knew were wonderful and there was a lot of hugging going on!

Brian was "amazing" or so I keep hearing. He was the guy in the water, taking kids for rides on the jet ski and letting them use him as a human jungle gym. God, he is good with kids. Everyone kept telling me how great he was...something I already knew, but it's nice other people noticed. He was so wonderful with all the kids. As much as I love watching him with them, it breaks my heart that he isn't able to do all these fun things with Addison.

Sunday was also my good friend Kayla and Matt's 1st wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary to some wonderful friends...how I wish we could go back to that amazing day when I was the big fat pregnant bridesmaid! Good times!
Kayla kissing baby "Carlita" she brings out the silly in me!
Finally, this little blogger community that I have become apart of has been so helpful in my grieving. Some of the blogs I have been following are farther along in their baby loss journeys than I am. This weekend two of them celebrated the first birthday of their babies. A whole year away from their boys...it's hard to comprehend. I think it's important to send support in any way possible. Send them a note if you can :)

This little boy

and

Molly's son Hayes


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back up the roller coaster

This week feels like a vacation (emotionally) from what last week brought. This roller coaster of grief has such low lows. I feel like after that week of crying and hard core grief I am finally able to breathe again. Things seem to be looking up. It really is like a roller coaster. Even though I feel like I am on my way up I still know that drop will be somewhere in my future :(

I really appreciate days like today where I miss Addison, but my grief doesn't feel so heavy and all consuming. I think part of the reason this week has been good can be attributed to a couple things:

1. I got it out last week (a lot, a lot) and it seemed like lots of people remembered Addison on the 5th.
2. We had a family reunion on Sunday.
3. My anniversary was wonderful.

I won't continue on about the crying, please refer to previous blogs. This month I got email messages, FB messages, 8 month flowers from Sarah and a sweet note from our neighbor letting up know she thinks about us at every "month marker" and that this July marked 43 years since she lost her son. Us mommas will FOREVER miss our babies. I felt like Addison was remembered this month and that really helps me gain some peace.
8 Month flowers from Sarah

The Family reunion. I was really worried someone would say something dumb. To my surprise NO ONE said anything dumb and people asked about Addison and acknowledged her and our grief. I was seriously shocked. I really thought I would be slaying some dumb soul with my words right here, but I got nothing, but nice things to say...seriously I am still in shock about this. My dad and Brian wore their Addi shirts, my grandma made a sign that said "Addison we love you". I printed out Addi's story and a list of things NOT to say along with her footprints to put out for people to see. We have one more reunion this Sunday...we will see if this side of the family does as well....I am prepared...I think.
The sign my grandma made


Finally, my anniversary. Each holiday has been SO tough without Addi, but our anniversary really seemed like it was about US so while I would still give anything to have Addison here this particular day did not seem like it should have revolved around her. Brian is normally not so good at the element of surprise...he gets too excited and usually tells me about any surprise before I actually get the chance to be surprised. Well this anniversary he snuck my card in my underwear drawer (okay that sounds not so romantic), BUT he knew I would go there first thing and I did so I thought it was really sweet that he "hid" it instead of just giving it to me (no pictures of this, you're welcome). Then when I went to leave there was one single pink rose on my windshield. I always use one pink rose for Addi so I thought it was especially sweet.



I really believe that one perfect rose is just as good as a dozen, BUT when I got to work Brian had also sent flowers...Brian is like a fine wine....he really does get better with age. My whole office still smells amazing. i wish I could add smell to this picture! We had a nice dinner and were able to celebrate the fact that 3 years later we know we made the best decision. We laughed about how three years doesn't sound like very much. We still sound like newlyweds and not very legit. I feel like we have always been together. In October we will have been together for 6 years, that sounds more like it!
They smell AMAZING, good job babe!

We have a busy weekend in store, but I really feel ready for it. Thank God for days like today. There is no way I would be able to do a week like last everyday for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

For better or worse

Three years ago today Brian and I promised each other for better or worse in good times and bad till death do us part. That promise never meant so much to me as it does today.

I thought we would make a good team, but I had no idea how good. I am so thankful to have married my best friend. I love the way he loves me, but even more than that I love the way he loves our girl.

This year, the hardest year of our lives has been filled with more love than I ever knew was possible. Although the price we paid for this kind of love was far too high.



A little look into our special day...

My grandma made "tails" for the logger and added a sign that said "run Brian run"...thanks grandma ;)
Our ceremony at the lake

You may now kiss the bride!


Our crazy/wonderful wedding party
Brian's Fam

My Fam


We danced



Then the clouds let loose...it's August, we thought we would be safe weather wise
We were wrong, but our friends stayed and partied late...rain is supposed to be good luck...still waiting on that good luck.
Me talking Brian out of jumping in (the suit rental place said there would be a big fine).
Poor defeated Brian...sorry babe


These guys didn't care

My little flower girl wanted to come with us on our honeymoon...didn't understand why she couldn't...sad panda


It really was a wonderful day. It's one of those days I wish I could relive because it was so much fun. Even with the rain, I wouldn't change a thing about it!



Friday, August 5, 2011

8 Months

Eight. That is such a big number to me. It doesn't even feel natural to say. I am finding myself in a new place these days. Before every baby I saw reminded me of where Addi would be (age wise) and while that still happens it has changed. Before I would look at little babies and know that's where I should be now I find myself stunned because that isn't where I would be. The infant stage would be gone and we missed every.single.second of it.

I look at babies now and think about how my little girl should be at that stage too until I remember she would be much bigger than she is in my mind. The 8 month olds I see have so much personality and their little faces and bodies have made so many changes while the image I have of Addison hasn't changed one bit. I have to remind myself when I see new babies that isn't where we would be. It's a new kind of reality check.

I have a hard time looking at babies older than 6 months because, I can't see myself there as much. I am forever trapped in the mind set of an infant. While most parents tell their children they will always be their babies, Addi will in fact ALWAYS be our baby, her face will always be so sweet and innocent and her body will remain in my mind as that 8lb 21 3/4inch little, but not too little body.

To torture myself further I read about the things and 8 month old would be doing. Playing patty-cake, peek-a-boo, saying things like mamamama or dadadada, maybe even crawling. As much as I know I am missing out on all of that, it's hard to imagine being at that stage already.

At 8 months, I am more sensitive to pregnant women, babies etc. I have taken a break from Facebook and in general am just surprised that things are bothering me now that didn't bother me before. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that we are trying for another baby at this point in our lives. I had never planned on a second baby so soon. Honestly, everything in my life was planned out pre-Addi and now not much more than a month is planned out. I just can't.

Eight months. Wow. Time flies when you are not having fun. It flies and it stands still...so very, very still. I'm feeling very somber today. Just missing what should have been. Today is Brian's day off so it would have been an Addi and daddy day. Instead Brian is going rafting with friends because well...he can. That's one of the things you can do when you don't have a baby to take care of.

Eight months feels so much closer to her birthday than her birth-day. It's a weird reality and I have had days where I have accepted this as my life and days I still fight like hell against it. Like if I replay the last week of her life in my head enough then maybe just maybe it will have a different outcome. If only that were true.

My sweet girl,
I can't believe we have spent 8 months apart from each other. Most mothers have trouble being away from their children overnight and yet we will spend a lifetime apart before we meet again. I don't know what I thought 8 months would bring, but each month surprises me with new emotions. I know I say this all the time, but I just miss you so. I miss you today, I missed you yesterday and I will miss you tomorrow. The lump in my throat is growing so I may have to cut this short. Just know if there was a way I could have changed the outcome of your story it would have been changed a million times over. There is nothing I wouldn't have done for you. There is nothing I won't do for you. Daddy loves you, your papa, grandma, uncle, auntie, friends, etc. love you and of course I love you.

I had a thought driving home yesterday. A silly thought, but it ran through my mind, I was thinking of you up there in heaven hanging out with your Grammy Eloise. I suddenly worried about what you were wearing. Like what kind of clothes you have up there in heaven. I know Eloise was slightly hippy and I thought, Oh God don't let her put Birkenstocks and tie die on you. So let grammy know that mommy wants only dresses and cozy sleepers for you. I know I really do worry about everything. Daddy likes the idea of you being slightly hippy so I guess what I don't know won't hurt me...Have a good snuggle with grammy today and know if we could get to you, we would.

Loving you always,
mommy

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A break from FB

This week is slowly feeling a little less heavy. We have been keeping busy and I have been focusing on getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep always makes my sadness worse so if I can sleep, I do!

The more time that goes by the more I learn my limitations. Things are changing for me because things that used to not bother me are starting to. I posted THIS before about how I was thankful for Facebook and while I still am thankful for parts of it, I am starting to see the downfall of it. Two weeks ago I got hit with a triple whammy of baby announcements (on the same day within a few hours). It really surprised me how much it affected me. I felt like I had gotten a punch to the gut.

I was upset for the rest of the day and decided that night that I would take a break from FB. I didn't shut down my page and I still get messages sent to my email from it, but I stopped checking the news feed and you know what? I think it helped! There are some things I miss about it like my friends talking to me like I know what’s going on with them when I don't or Brian asking me about so and so and I am like what? It's funny how much FB keeps you in the loop!

I don't know how long this break will last, but I just hate to be blindsided.  I really appreciate the friends that email or text to give me a heads up on baby news. I much prefer the email/texts over phone calls or in person announcements. Since I never know how I will feel at that time, it’s nice to be able to react however I want without an audience. We can talk about next time we see each other, but give me the initial news without watching me pleeeeaaaassseeee!!!

Can I just say how much I HATE that baby news can make me so sad?!?! Babies and puppies are supposed to be the universal smile makers! Now baby news makes my heart sink. Let’s just add this to the pile of things I hate associated with baby loss. Pre December baby news was my favorite news of all. I hate that excitement I used to have for my friends has changed. It is just another thing that was stolen from me. When I hear people are expecting, I think yes, you are EXPECTING to have a baby at the end...good luck with that.

It's hard to say congratulations when really I am just holding my breath and hoping that the expectant parents will never join this awful club.

Not all baby news makes me sad, but at least 80% of it does, that's so unfair. I want to be excited for my friends and even the stranger at the grocery store. I don't want to be the girl that looks away.  I hope that excitement will come back, but it's hard to tell with all this worrying I do.

Okay let me switch gears. Something funny, well funny to me. We have a lot of dogs...too many (3). Our two "puppies" (they are 3 now) have been crate trained from the beginning. They sleep in their crates at night. Our old girl Annie (8) sleeps at the foot of our bed on her own bed. She has been sneaking up at 4am when we are too out of it to tell her to get off and then she stays there till we get up. I wind up not moving for fear of waking her and then I get no sleep (she wakes up, she is ready to go outside).

If we lock her out of our room she cries and whines. Lose/lose. I had this brilliant idea to let the "puppies" out of their crates and let Annie hang with them. It's been two nights of all the dogs sleeping together and no dog in our room! I don't want to get too excited, but this is looking promising!

Last night Brian kept saying how he was curious about what they do when we are not looking and then he got excited. He ran to Addison's room and took down her video baby monitor. He put it in the living room so we could spy on the dogs. It was really funny. Mostly they just laid down, but I did catch one of them sneaking a spot on the couch...so busted.

Brian was so excited about that baby monitor when we got it. I'm glad he finally had an excuse to use it (I will admit I was entertained too). I just wish it wasn't to watch our damn dogs.
Even in the dark you can see pretty good, this picture doesn't do it justice!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crying on the job

I have talked about good days and how I always live in fear of a "sad day". Well it happened. I would say for the most part I am able to hold my grief off until I am in my own home or at least make it to the car or possibly the bathroom, but yesterday was not the case. I was sitting at my desk doing work that had nothing to do with Addison when all the sudden I felt it coming.

To be fair I had woken up with that sad/sick feeling in my gut. I even told Brian how I wanted to stay home, but I never call in sick so I went anyways. I was hoping to make it until noon when I could leave for lunch and have a good cry in my car. I didn't make it. I quietly cried at my desk until it started to not be so quiet. I had to excuse myself and luckily my boss was more than willing to let me take a break.

I cried the ugly cry in my car in the parking lot, hoping no one could see me, but at the same time I didn't really care. After several tissues and some big deep breaths I fixed my face as best I could (although by this point all my makeup was gone and I had big red splotches all over my face...attractive right?).

When I made my way back to my office my boss was ready with a hug and telling me to take a long break. She told me that she wished she could take some of the pain away, but not all of it because she knew that this isn't something she could handle. While I don't think I can handle it either I appreciate that she acknowledges how hard this really is.

I decided a long break would be good. I left to run the office errands and then thought about going to see Brian. I knew he would make me feel better, but I also knew he had a busy day at work and I knew that if I showed up looking the way I did he wouldn't be able to focus on work because he would be too worried about me. So as much as I wanted to see him I didn't stop by his office.

I went home, not my home, but home home. There is something about going back to your family's home. It's where I feel most safe and happy. My dad, brother and Lyndsey were all there, which was a nice surprise. My dad made us lunch and I had some time to just breathe and try to calm my head.

It was the best medicine I needed in that moment. I made it back to work and finished out my day. I made sure to go to bed early last night and while I am still feeling sad I think I can make it with no tears...okay not no tears because I already let some out, but at least no ugly cry...that's a good goal...no ugly cry until after work...we'll see how it goes.

I so miss my little girl and I hate that we are dealing with so much extra BECAUSE she isn't here. Like the just being sad about losing her isn't enough. Addi, you are so loved and so missed. Your absence leaves such emptiness in our lives. I am trying so hard each day, but it's hard to know that my best isn't always enough. I know it's okay to cry, but I am still having such a hard time adjusting.