Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Cards

The last time I sent out Christmas cards it was Christmas 2009. In some sick way I really enjoyed this process. Picking out the perfect card, the perfect picture and the PERFECT pen for writing out each address by hand. Yes, I know I could easily print labels, but there is something about a hand written card. We have all gotten to a place where everything comes printed, but at Christmas time I loved taking the time to personalize each card. I also took the time to write a specific note to each family. No generic Christmas letter from us (not that I have a problem with that I just really appreciate the personalization). I would sit at the table and spend hours on my cards probably sending out just under 200. I know 200 is a lot, but when you combine both our families plus our friends it really adds up!  Brian would tease me for being such a geek and getting into it the way I did.

When we were pregnant with Addison just before Christmas 2010, I decided to wait until she was born to send out our cards. I wanted to add in her birth announcement (to save on postage). I had each envelope addressed, the cards picked, ordered and stuffed. The only thing missing was that first picture of our baby girl to add into the envelope.

See all ready to go...ugh

Expecting...

Quite the stack of wasted cards :(


To this day I wish I would have sent them prior to her being born because I wish people had them. After she died it didn't seem appropriate to send them and yet I couldn't throw them away...what do you do with 200ish Christmas cards?!?! Yes, I STILL have them.

Our cards said "Expecting a wonderful Christmas" yeah that was the understatement of the millennium. Ugh.

Last year we had survived the first year without Addison and were halfway through our pregnancy with Mason. We were certainly not going to announce anything on our cards and I wanted nothing to do with Christmas and the merriment of it all. So again there were no cards sent.

This year we do have our beautiful boy and we have found some merriment here and there. I am still not ready to embrace Christmas for everything it is, but this year I will send out a card. I just ordered them today (nothing like waiting until last minute). So with any luck you might get one before Christmas....along with a very late birth announcement for Mason.

We decided against a tree this year (don't worry Mason will get the experience with my parent's tree). This card is me trying, it's my attempt at trying Christmas again. Maybe next year there will be a tree. This is all I have in me this year. So Merry Christmas or something :)

Our Christmas 2012 Card

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Great Escape

I wrote before how we had panned to "run away" for Addison's second birthday. Not to run away from her, but in hopes that we would escape our daily lives and the routine that comes along with that. The routine that crumbled me last year. You see it's the routine that we live that made it so easy to re-live every.single.moment of that day that ended our happy little life. I didn't want Brian going to work like normal and for me to watch the clock watching each hour go by and remembering what I was doing in those moments two years ago. So we planned our great escape to California and I panicked about that too because that's what I do. No plan would have been right for me, but since I am a worrier I wasted no time worrying about this trip.

I worried about the flight, I worried about Mason on the flight, I worried about visiting Brian's family, I worried about packing, but mostly I worried about how I would deal with my emotions without the privacy of my own home.

Things for the most part went very well and our distraction trip was pretty successful. Visiting Brian's family was nice. His brother, sister-in-law and nephews were great to us and loved them some Mason. Then we went to my friend's house who are actually more like family and had a wonderful time with them. The sun wasn't what it normally is in CA, but the weather change definitely tricked my body into thinking it wasn't December.

I think the trip was good for us and helped to not be home going through all the motions. There were parts I wish could have been different, but that is with everything.

Brian's family was wonderful to us, but they do not talk about Addison like at all. That was really hard for me. The nephews (12 and 13) wear their Addi bracelets, but it was clear to me that they don't get it. They were confused by Mason's "Little Brother" bib. Yes, boys he is STILL a little brother. it's not their fault, I know that in their house Addison isn't important. I hate it, but it is what it is. They were all over Mason, which I am thankful that he is loved so much, but it still hurts that it's not Addi and Mason.

Going to my friend's house was completely different. They love both our children equally and it's so apparent. Christmas presents for both of them and lots of talking and sharing. We don't have to talk about Addi the whole time, but it just never feels like there is an elephant in the room. That's what I needed.

The 4th was hard for me. Waking up that morning my first thought was that at that very moment 2 years ago my baby was dead and I didn't know it yet. That was not a great way to start out the day. I managed to enjoy the day with my friends, but I couldn't quite shake the feelings of that day two years before.

We flew home on the 5th. Not the greatest idea, but I wanted to be home with my family to do a little celebrating of my girl. I had been fighting a cold the whole trip, but was in denial about it until that day. It was clear I was sick from the moment I woke up.

We were lucky to get an extra seat on the way home so we had the whole isle to ourselves. Mason did pretty well, but barely slept at all. I was thankful both flights were under 3 hours.

Once we landed we drove to the TEARS Angel of Hope to see Addi's name since it is right next to the airport. Then we drove home to unpack. That was the end for me. I thought I was good to go, but after I took my temperature and saw 100.1 I knew there would be no party.

It was really hard for me to agree to rescheduling. I felt so bad and guilty that I couldn't even do a half ass something! She gets nothing and here I was too sick for the bare minimum. It's three days later and I still haven't decorated her headstone or celebrated her the way she deserves. As soon as M wakes up from his nap we will go to the cemetery and take care of the decorations and hopefully tomorrow we can celebrate with the family.

Brian did run to the store to get cupcakes so we could at least do SOMETHING for our girl. The only thing that made me feel just a little okay was knowing if she had lived her party would have been on the weekend anyways...so that sorta makes it okay, but not really.

I feel like spending her birthday in bed feeling terrible was a little fitting because it really sucks not to have her and sometimes I can't believe I don't spend ALL my time in bed with the covers over my head.

Part of me is glad I didn't spend the entire week crying my brains out and the other part of me is disappointed I didn't get more crying out. I know the tears are there, I just fooled them for a little while...that may really come back and bite me later. Grief sucks. I just miss my girl and there isn't anything that will ever change that.

Thank you to everyone who called, sent a text message, emailed and Instagramed us for Addison's birthday. I especially treasure the pictures, cards in the mailbox and the thoughtful messages. Nothing helps me deal with Addi's birthday like you guys do. Lots of love to all of you!
Happy 2nd Birthday Addison and Andrew <3

Mason says Mmmmmm frosting! Happy Birthday sissy!
The TEARS Angel of Hope Monument

My girl
 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Two



Happy second birthday baby girl. We miss you SO much.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

He's gone

This morning when Mason woke up Brian pulled him in bed with us so I could nurse him. The three of us were snuggled together when my phone rang. The second I looked at it and saw my dad on the caller ID I knew it wasn't good news. All I remember asking was "how's grandpa" and my dad answering with "he's gone". He passed late last night, but it was December 1st.  Fucking December.

Let me rewind. In October my Grandpa had a stroke. He was in the hospital and rehab facility for almost a month. He was not able to speak easily and had to be fed with a tube. Just before Thanksgiving he passed his swallow test enough to eat some of the same blended food Mason could eat. I blended food in my magic bullet for Mason and then did the same for Grandpa. Although even Mason could eat more than Grandpa could.

Grandpa sat at the head of the table my little round bald man and at the other end of the table was my other little round bald man. We joked about our two cuties on each end of the table. As much as I hate the holidays now I really tried to soak in every second of Mason's first Thanksgiving along with knowing this was my very last Thanksgiving with all four of my grandparents. I'm so thankful to have had one holiday for Mason with all his great-grandparents. And even more glad I was able to soak it in.

On Thursday before we left Grandpa hadn't gotten out of bed all day. I climbed into bed with him and he held my hand and face. I told him how much I loved him and that we were leaving on our trip, but we would be home on Addison's birthday to have root beer floats. When I told him we were leaving he started to cry and was wiping away tears. He was able to tell me that he loved me too. I brought Mason in to kiss him and then came back one last time because I just had that feeling that I needed to. I had a few things I wanted to say and I knew I needed to say them.

We were practically nose to nose when I told him what a great grandpa he was and how proud I was of the man he was for our family. I told him how much I appreciated all his hard work and how he kept our family together. I told him how lucky I felt to have his example for my dad and my husband and that I knew Mason would be a good man from the lessons he passed down. I reminded him that I would be back on Wednesday and again made him promise to wait for me. And then I told him if he just couldn't wait for me that it would be okay as long as he went to be with Addison. I told him she would be so lucky to have him and that he'd better go find her and wait with her until I get there. I kissed his sweet wrinkly face and his gentle hands. He softly wiped his tears away I think he knew this was the last time he would see me. I think I knew too, but was just hoping I was wrong.

It just really figures that this would happen THIS week and that I would be gone. My family is so close and we are always together. The fact that I will literally never see my grandpa again (as he will be cremated before I get home) is very sad to me.

It's so different to lose a grandparent because all those cliche things are true like "he's at peace now" "he had a good life" etc. none of those things are true when you lose a baby and are only "comforting" with the loss of someone who lived such a good/full life.

I will miss him always, but I AM comforted by my memories and most of all I am comforted by the fact that my little girl has such a wonderful Grandpa to meet. It makes me cry happy tears to think of her sitting on his lap and softly touching his face. He was one of the few to hold her on earth and how sweet it would be to see the two of them snuggled up the way I know they must be. Our family tradition is to have root beer floats for birthdays and Grandpa Conway is the original ice cream scooper of the family. To think that he will be serving Addi her very first root beer float on her second birthday seems only fitting. I love you Grandpa, I love you Addi. Until we meet again, I send you all my love xxxooo.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1st

Here we are in December, again. We knew it was coming and now here we are. In preparation for the second birthday that won't be we decided to get out of town. We each took the week off and knew staying at home with this much time together would not be good for either of us. In a moment of weakness I agreed to run away to CA. As soon as I agreed Brian bought tickets so there was no turning back (he knows me too well). My anxiety about leaving home, taking Mason on a plane and just the anticipation of Addi's second birthday was really getting to me. The tears started on Wednesday a week ahead of schedule. I couldn't concentrate at work Wednesday or Thursday.

We left for CA on Friday and I have to say so far so good. The plane ride was mostly easy. I spent a significant amount of time holding Mason back where the flight attendants work, but that really worked out well. The only casualty of the flight was Brian's pants. He held Mason for the landing and wouldn't you know that Mason would choose that moment to blow out his diaper! It was actually kind of perfect because I couldn't stop laughing about Brian's poop filled lap and it lightened my mood by 100%. Everyone was so nice about helping us. The changing area in the plane was actually better than I thought and Mason loved the mirror!  Brian on the other hand did not find it as amusing...you win some you lose some!

So far things have been good. It's been nice visiting Brian's brother and his family. It feels different to be in CA with warmer weather (even though its been rainy) the weather seems to be tricking my mind just a bit into thinking it's not really December.

I'm not sure what the coming days will feel like, but I've decided I will feel what I need when I need.

I really can't believe my little girl should be turning two in just a few days. I really can't believe that the two years ago she was alive in me. I really can't believe we are here 2 years later without her. I really can't believe it.

When I stop and really think about it I just get so angry that this is really my life. I hate that she is not here. I hate seeing little girls...I hate that I hate seeing little girls.

It's hard to believe we have been hurting for so long. It's even more hard to believe that we are only two years down with a life time to go. Okay that's all I have for now. I wish I could articulate better, but writing here does not come as easily as it once did. December you bitch. Here we go, ready or not.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Twenty-Three Months

I'm going to give this a shot on my phone because getting time on the laptop is nearly impossible. You will most likely find error after error as this phone seems to change my words and I'm too lazy to proof read before posting.

It's been 23 months. Oh my God we are almost to her birthday AGAIN. I can't handle it. Like really I can't even wrap my brain around it. I have no plans other than we may try to get away. I have a feeling my lack of planning is really going to slap me in the face once her day is here. Shit. I just have zero motivation to do anything more than MUST be done each day.

My big news is that I started a new job. I've actually been back to work 2 months as of today....yeah I started on the freaking 5th two months ago. It was supposed to be a two month temp., but they liked me enough that I get to stay. This is awesome for several reasons. One because I freaking hate my last job (where I was for 10 years) I didn't always hate it, but things changed and it was a source of sadness for the last several years. I didn't feel I could leave for a variety of reasons and really I was just hoping things would improve. I really don't want to say too much more about that, but I will say how sweet it is to work with people who are caring and welcoming. It's such a wonderful thing to enjoy where you work and not want to cry the second Sunday night rolls in because you know what's waiting for you...enough said. This new job is also 80% which means I get two half days with Mason and then I work 3 full days. It's enough to make me miss him, but also enough special time together. More on going back to work and Mason update in another post. Work has been such a source of joy and something that is helping me get some happy back.

October was awful for a lot of people who I care about. My grandma was diagnosed with lung cancer (she's never smoked a day in her life), my grandpa (on the other side) had a stroke, a friend lost her baby, a friend took his life and I even think I am missing one other thing. With everything that happened it took me days to cry. Each day I would get more bad news and think OF COURSE that happened. I even had to call our nanny to check on Mason extra because I was just sure something would happen to him (he is great by the way). It was just a month of sad and probably the hardest month outside of Addison.

I really have no idea what the plan is for her birthday. I've ordered a Christmas tree in the sand from Carly Marie to add to our Christmas card in hopes that will make it easier to actually send a Christmas card out for the first time since Addi died. We'll see. I'll give it my best effort.

On a positive note, Mason has been so lovely this month. He smiles more than he cries. Part of me is holding my breath waiting for that screamer to come back, but I really am enjoying this new boy. We even went to Costco tonight and made it through our trip with no screams...I almost felt normal although I did feel anxious as we entered the store...this little sucker has burned me too many times!

Alright it's getting late and 5am comes WAY too early.

Dear Addi,
That day is almost here. That day you were born. That day that should make you two years old. Some days I can imagine, but most days I can't. I still miss you, I still miss that life we thought was ours. I can't believe how strong the ache is even this far down the line.

No matter how we decide to spend your birthday it will never be the way it should. I freaking hate that. I hope I make you proud, I hope you smile at how often I speak your name, I hope you feel my love reaching to you every moment of every day. You are my beloved daughter there is nothing I wouldn't do for you. It's not okay that you died, it's not okay thr you're not in my arms, it's not okay that I'm living so far away from you, but none of that's your fault it just hurts so badly.

Twenty-three months...how did that happen? How could I have survived this long without you? I don't think I'll ever understand why or how a mother's heart keeps beating when her child's does not. It's just so wrong. I love you sweet girl. I'm holding you close even though we are so far away.

Love,
Mommy

Friday, October 5, 2012

Twenty-Two Months


 
Somehow another month has passed, another month away from her, another month without being able to blog...another month.

So much has happened this month. So much I want to share, but I'm still waiting for things to be a little more secure before sharing everything. That makes it sound as if I am pregnant AGAIN so I will squash that one down right now! No baby on board! It's almost a little odd to NOT be pregnant...after spending so much time knocked up, I hardly know what to do with vacant uterus lol.

It's fall again and boy does it feel like it. The weather is undoubtedly colder. There is a crispness in the air, color on the leaves and warm snugly sweaters are making their way out of boxes. Another one of my friends posted how the changing of the seasons is just another thing that won't let her forget that THAT day is coming. It's looming closer and closer. It's fitting really for the weather to turn cold and gray when I think of the sadness upon us, the sadness that took over our lives almost 2 years ago. And then at the same time when I am overwhelmed by the sadness I am also overcome with how perfect our lives felt 2 years ago.

We were expecting our first baby 2 years ago and everything seemed right with the world. I would give anything to feel those same blissful feelings again. I doubt I will ever feel those feelings again, but man were they incredible.

It was important for me to get the right fall decor for Addi's spot. I had to make to separate trips because the first trip didn't look "girly" enough with all that orange and pink and orange don't really work for me.  The butterflies, flowers and sparkly ribbon made me feel as if it finally looked good enough for her. I really love being able to decorate this place. I'm sure not many people see it, but it makes me feel going knowing if someone were to walk by they would see that someone cares enough to do this and this must be a very special baby...or at least that's what I tell myself.

Each month I still get a few text messages or FB posts of friends letting me know they are thinking about Addi on the 5th, but today I seemed to get more than usual. I'm so lucky to have such wonderful friends who hold my baby girl so close to their hearts. I was really quite surprised with all the messages today and so very humbled. Thank you my friends, I love you so SO much.

I have been wanting to sit and look through all the pictures we have of Addison for at least a week or two, but I kept putting it off so if I was going to have an emotional breakdown it would happen on the weekend. There doesn't seem to be time for a breakdown during the week. I was finally able to do that today. I just set the slide show and marveled at how we had this perfect little person in our lives. A visual reminder of how real she really was/is. I'm still blown away that this is really my life. I still can't wrap my head around it. I want THAT life so bad, I want HER so bad.

I think I am almost ready to get back to blogging...really spilling my guts like I did before. I have so much I want to say, but haven't felt like I could share "the whole truth and nothing, but the truth" so I have just stayed quite and it's not good for me. This rainbow baby business is not all it's cracked up to be, yes I am damn lucky, but I'm finding more and more that it's still okay to let myself feel the not-so-nice feelings. I'm not the mom who had her rainbow baby and then magically was all better. Not even a little, not even at all. I still need a little time on this, but there will be more.

Dear Addi,

Hello my baby girl. It's almost your birthday and I can feel it coming in every fiber of my being. It's not something I'm trying to hide from. I will face it head on, but it just hurts in ways that cannot be described. I want to get away this year. Not run away, just get away. I want to celebrate your birthday in someplace that you would love...maybe the ocean...maybe the mountains. I'm not sure yet, but I think it would be a great family tradition to celebrate your day with a little vacation every year. Something to look forward to and something that we do in honor of you. I won't lie though, it will be nice not to be home going through the motions while trying to muddle through. Last year it was way too hard being home on that Saturday...re-living those moments. Having your dad go to work as usual and leaving me home was just too much. Instead of the 4/5 being hard is was the day of the week that really hit me. This year I don't know what to expect, but I'm trying to expect the unexpected.

I'm trying not to be, but I am still so very angry that you are not here. Angry at myself and angry at the situation. It's so unfair and I hate it. My glass seems to be half empty most days and I know that's not a good thing.

You mean so much to me. More than anyone. Living without you is proving to be tougher than most can imagine. Goodnight sweetheart, mama loves you.

Love,
mom
My favorite fall of all...oh Addi I miss us.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Twenty-One Months

The big day is creeping up once again. It doesn't feel quite as scary as it did last year, which really makes me worry. Last year I was so worried about the actual day that it didn't seem as bad and this year I feel calm about it, which probably means the actual day will be a million times harder...we will see. Two. Wow.  I really miss my little toddler. Really really miss her.

At least once a day something happens that makes me think of something I want to write about and now here I am and am drawing a total blank. Bleck.

This month one of my local BLM friends lost her husband in a freak accident. I have been in shock since I found out. We all know that just because one devastating loss happens it doesn't protect us from future losses, but this was a total gut punch. This woman gives more of herself to helping BLM's than anyone I know and losing your baby and your husband it just so so unfair. They have four living children 9 and under and those children NEEDED their dad so I will punch anyone who says he is in a better place. Ugh. Everything happens for a reason my ass. (side note to my fellow blm's does anyone know of another blm who lost her husband? I feel like I heard someone else write about this and I would love to give my friend an email address of someone else who understands. So please email me if you know of someone).

Life is just so unfair.

Dear Addi,

Twenty-one months is so hard to believe. My mind still goes there...tries to live there in that place where you are, but the reality is that I can never get to you. I hate it, I hate that this is still my reality and you are never coming back. It makes me so angry and frustrated that there is nothing I can do to change this. No matter how good life gets, I will always hate it because you are not in it the way you should be.

Your little brother is finally starting to feel a little better. We have him on two medications to help with his trachia malasia. I finally started to see a little change on Saturday when we added the second medication and each day seems like there is a bit less screaming than the last. After four months of the screaming and being afraid to go anywhere we tried taking him to the Farmer's Market. He started screaming in the middle of the market and no amount of walking, bouncing or patting would help. It's so frustrating to feel so helpless. Everyone stares and EVERYONE has a damn opinion about a screaming baby. I can't tell you the number of people who offered up advice like "oh you better feed him" or "maybe he needs a new diaper". I don't know why strangers feel the need to comment, but I could have punched every one of them. If they only knew I had done all those things, he just hurts and cries. Even though I know it's not me, it still feels like failing.

When we got home after the outing from hell I left M with your dad and went to sit with you. I needed some quiet time to just sit with you and miss you. So I sat and I cried next to your stone, I cried on your stone and if I could have I would have crawled under your stone. My visits are usually often and short just to check to make sure everything is looking nice for you. This visit was over an hour with lots of tears. Wishing things were different, replaying the last few days before you died over and over in my head and wanting a do-over on it all. I will always regret my decision to hold off on the induction. Always always.

Your stone was dirty so I brought out my diaper bag and cleaned it with a diaper wipe...not exactly what they were meant for, but oddly comforting to be able to use one FOR you.


This month also brought a visit from your Grandma and Grandpa from North Carolina. We always have such a wonderful time with them and of course they wanted to come visit you because they love you too! I'm so glad we have this place to bring our family and friends to, I know it's not for everyone,but it really helps me.

Another month gone by. You are on my mind every.single.day. I love you baby girl.

Love,
mom

PS Here is your brother screaming...he has quite the set of lungs on him!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A birth announcement

I just can't seem to get myself to blog...I want to and I miss it, but it just doesn't feel natural like it used to. It's very hard to start when you feel SO far behind. Things with Mason are good, but they have also been very hard. He is anything but an easy baby. It's been hard to get even the smallest task completed, but today I finally ordered his birth announcements...yeah I know...it's ridiculous. My dad said at this point I shouldn't bother with it as he is already 4 months old, but he deserves a special announcement too. My main struggle with them (other than time) is that I needed Addison to be incorporated, but I didn't want them to be ABOUT Addison and thinking about it was too overwhelming most of the time. This is what we came up with.

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.



 
If you can't read the announcement the bottom says "Thankful parents Brian and Keleen with big sister Addison forever in our hearts" It's the best we could decide on, but I still don't know it's exactly what I wanted...I could stare at it for another four months, but it would probably still be the same!

A friend of Brian's took these pictures and while initially I wanted BIRTH pictures in his announcement, I loved that the classic "baby toes and rings" had Addison's footprint too (by my request) and the picture of Mason's first "dip" in the lake (while it isn't your typical family picture) is just that because Addi is apart of that lake and our family. Since I HAD to use those two pictures, I decided to only use pictures from that shoot and no hospital pictures because it just seemed to flow better. I just ordered them so hopefully they look just as good or better in person. Here is your sneak peek!

I remember what a hard process this was for Addison and how I couldn't believe it took me three months to complete...little did I know it would take me even LONGER to get Mason's done. It's always going to suck that I really have to think of how I can include her instead of just adding her like a normal family who hasn't lost child.

Maybe someday I will be able to sit down and really write again because Lord knows, I have a lot to say!

A little Mason update for those of you that are wondering. At his 4 month appointment last week (yes, I said FOUR) his stats were:

Weight: 14 lbs 12 oz (45%)
Length: 25 3/4 inches (75%)
Head Circumference: (90%)
This month we get to add solids and so far he LOVES pears!

Oh and here he is at 4 months old...with his Addi bear of course.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Twenty Months

Twenty Months.Whoa. That is scarily close to another birthday. Two is on the horizon. That makes me want to throw up quite frankly.

Not only does today mark twenty months since our beautiful baby girl was born, but it is also the first birthday of twins Aliya and Bennett. Two sweet babies who are deeply missed by their parents and so many more. If you can, stop by and show Amy and Paul some love by reminding them their babies are remembered. Brian and I met Amy and Paul shortly after the loss of their twins and have enjoyed their friendship and ability to share our babies with each other. Love you Amy (and Paul too)!

I have noticed a few changes in this month. One being that I skipped an entire day of reading blogs! It didn't even occur to me until I checked them the next day and realized there were more than normal. That has not happened since I found this little blogging community. Last month I was checking less often, but this month I actually missed an entire day. Mind boggling. I also stopped by the cemetery a little less. Although on one of my visits there was ANOTHER new baby since last month...STOP THE MADNESS! Ugh. I try not to run errands as M has an excellent set of lungs and loves to show them off in public. So I don't find myself driving many places other than my parent's house. Addi is still a constant on my mind, but those two things were surprising changes this month.

I have two friends having baby boys and one went into the hospital on the 5th last month and had her baby on the 6th and another friend who went into the hospital today and I am hoping waits to have her baby on the 6th as well. I know there are going to people who have their babies on the 5th of the month, but it feels as if it is a sacred day and should be reserved. I know it can't be helped, but I feel a little selfish in that way. Seriously though, what's up with two months in a row with this happening?!? I don't know anyone due next month, thank goodness!

We had the first family reunion (one more to come next week). It was so nice to have Mason, but still so hard not to have our big girl. When we showed up my dad was wearing his "Addison" shirt, which always makes me smile. It is his way of keeping her apart of the day and it means more than I can articulate. Also after the reunion was over my mom said how much she missed having Addi there. I know we all think it, but it is so nice to hear it out loud.

Yesterday I got one of the sweetest voice mails. It was from my brother "from another mother" Josh. He said that his Addison bracelet had fallen off and was hoping I had another one he could have because he never takes it off. The tone is his voice sounded seriously devastated that he had lost it. I can't tell you how much it means to me that he not only wears Addison's name proudly every day, but that it was THIS important to him. Makes me want to cry (good tears of course). We have several friends who wear their bracelets every day. I just want you guys to know that I ALWAYS notice. Even if I don't say anything, I see them and they make me smile. It means more to me than any gift you could ever give. Seriously. I also got several messages from people remembering that it's the 5th. Twenty months out and people still remember. Bless you my friends. I hope heaven holds a special spot for you. You certainly mean more to me than gold!



Dear Addison,

My heart aches for you constantly. Yesterday was especially hard. I was feeling completely overwhelmed with the day and missing you. It was one of those days I was constantly having to fight the tears off. I wound up making it through the day, but going to bed as quickly as possible so I could "beat" the tears. I woke up a little better and the day progressed much better than anticipated, but it was still a rough one. It's amazing how this time of the month really has a subconscious effect on my mind and body.

We spent the day at the lake, which always makes me feel better. Knowing that you are apart of the lake since spreading your ashes there is so comforting to me. When your brother went down for a nap as the sun was setting I went out with your dad to have a late night swim. Floating in the warm water and staring at the sky just makes me feel so close to you. Your dad asked me if I was having a "moment" yes, you could say I was. Isn't it beautiful?

I'll steal the picture your dad took with Photosynth on his phone :)

Your Grandma and Grandpa Crawford are coming to visit this week and I can't wait. They love you and because of that I can't wait to share your brother with them too. It will be bittersweet to watch them with your brother since we were never given the chance with you, but I know their love is big enough for both of you.

I have so many emotions that seem to be bottled up inside. Like tonight as I am writing my stomach feels sick and the tears seem close again. We missed every support group meeting this month and that may be part of it or it may just be time for a really good cry. I'm not sure. I know I had more that I wanted to say...all day I have been thinking about things I wanted to write about, but now of course I am drawing a blank. I am sure they will all come rushing back to me the moment I hit "publish". You know my heart and all the things I hold in there for you, I hope that is enough. Goodnight my girl, I love you so much it hurts. Like really.

Love,
mom

Sunday, July 22, 2012

3 Months of how it's supposed to be

Today marks 3 whole months since our rainbow baby Mason was born. I.can't.believe.it. They say time flies when you are having fun and "they" are right. I can honestly say I have enjoyed every second of him. Even all the seconds filled with screaming, crying, projectile vomiting, and blow out diapers. I LOVE IT ALL. It's what we have worked so hard for and I knew exactly what I was signing up for. There is a lot you can expect, but you never know what you will get. There are several types of baby, M is in the mid to difficult category, but to me he is easy peazy because he is alive and healthy and that's all I freaking care about.

It was my intention to write a monthly update about M and then the unthinkable happened and our fellow BLM Becky lost her perfect, precious rainbow Evelynn. Her sweet girl was born on the SAME day as Mason and I just couldn't write about him each month knowing that my words could be hurtful. Now I would like to write each month and include Evelynn. After we lost Addi, it was (and still is) so nice when people would remember the day she was born each month. I would like to encourage you all to show Becky some love today by reminding her that you haven't forgotten her girl, that you're still here thinking about them and sending support. Send her an email, leave her a comment or even better make a donation here. How amazing would it be if each month the donation page got a surge visitors on Evelynn's day. Even if you have already donated, please consider donating again. If you are unfamiliar with Evelynn's story you can read about it here. No parent deserves to lose one child, but losing two plus your ability to carry more children...there are no words. We love you Becky, even if you aren't reading, we are here and we remember both of your sweet babies.

April 22, 2012, will always be a day I remember forever. A day that brought two perfect little rainbows into the world and how I wish they both could have stayed.

I am so incredibly grateful for M. He fills my life with joy and love. He has not healed my broken heart, but that was never his job. What he has done is give me new reasons to smile and fill my arms and my time. I'm busy, tired and smell like baby puke 95% of the time and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I have been reflecting on what the first 3 months after Addi was born and the last 3 months with Mason...such a difference. For one I don't dread the 22nd like I used to dread the 5th of each month. Actually it sneaks up on me and I only think about it because it marks another month older my son is. We went into the hospital on a Saturday and M was born on a Sunday just like his sister, but this time I don't have any feeling towards those two days. I remember how hard they were after Addi, it was months before a weekend didn't bring me to my knees. Especially when the 4th and 5th landed on the Sat/Sun combo. This 3 month mark lands on the same days as it did when he was born and it didn't occur to me until just now!

I wrote this post when we were 3 months out from Addi. It's difficult to go back and read it as I remember how hurt and broken I was when I wrote it. All the expectations I had for where things would be for a 3 month old. I will never know the answer to the questions for Addison, but for Mason I am lucky enough to know the answers. For anyone that is interested, here is what's up with Mason.

As of 7/22/12

He weighs: 13 pounds 2 ounces

His length: exactly 24 inches long

He wears: very little of his 0-3 month clothing. Most of it is pretty tight so just a few days ago I took almost all of it out of his drawers and replaced it with 3-6 month clothing. It was harder than I expected. I love that he is growing, but it's hard to see that time gone in a physical way. We have also moved him up to the size 2 diaper. He can still fit in a 1, but he is in that mid point where they both fit so we might as well go up the size.

He smiles: Just this week he has been smiling a little more as he is hurting a little less. It's so wonderful to see his personality shine through. I wouldn't say we have a full on laugh, but there is lots of "talking" aka cooing. I swear it sounds like he says "hi" or more like highhhhhh. He squeals in delight after he really gets going and of course we know he has great lungs because his screaming is top notch!

I wasn't going to write Mason a letter on this blog as it feels like one of the few things I get to do only for Addi. Instead I was going to keep M's letters in his journal, but I have failed miserably at that so here is an attempt at keeping things going here. I have to remind myself that it's okay to do some of the same things even if he already gets more than his fair share.

Dear Mason,
You are an amazing little boy and I love you so much. You make me smile in ways I thought I would never smile again. I love that you need me, but the truth is that I need you even more. The last 3 months with you have been what I have longed for. I love everything about you from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes. I could kiss you all day long and sometimes do. I find myself just taking you in as much as possible. Just last night I was staring at the creases in your ankles and the hairs on your shoulders. I drink you in as much as possible.

You love to be held and lucky for you there is always someone who wants to hold you. Everyone can't get enough of you. Most families there would be at least one person who wouldn't want the screaming baby around, but your family wants you no matter what. Your Uncle Alex, your Auntie Alisa, Papa, Daddy, they all want you. Your Grandma steals you the most, she might even think you are better than a cruise and that is saying something! We also have tons of wonderful friends lining up to love on you, but at the end of the day it's your mama who wants to get her hands on you.

I love the way your face lights up when I kiss your perfect lips and how you relax in my arms. I still don't enjoy nursing, but I do enjoy the way it soothes you. I think you would nurse all day if I would let you. I think your two favorite things are the boob and your swing...with an honorable mention going to the ceiling fan.

I am constantly resting my hand on your chest just to feel it move up and down with each breath you take. I rarely listen to the radio in the car just so I can hear a breathe, a movement or any sound you might make. I hope someday you will cut me a break for holding you so close. I just need you to be okay. Forgive me for hovering, smothering and kissing you in public, just know that I'll try my best to give you space. Remember that I CAN imagine what it would be like to lose you and that's why I am so protective.

I have so many hopes and dreams for you, but most of all I just want you to be a good person who loves life. I can't wait for you to be old enough to understand that you have a big sister. I hate that she will never teach you how to tie your shoe or read to you, but I just know she is watching out for you in any way she can.

I love you my boy.

Love,
mom
3 months old today! (Last size one diaper)
Very interested in our feet this morning...much to mom's disappointment...just wanted one smile! 


Seriously, these things are awesome!

OMG you can put extra things on them...BETTER!!!!

The only shot I could get with him looking at me...why does he have such a guilty look on his face...wonder what's in his diaper...hmmm

Saturday, July 21, 2012

X, Y & Z...a little bit of everything

Tonight I was mistaken for one of them you know the "normal mom out in public with her baby who other moms think they can just come up to and strike up a conversation with". There I was minding my own business waiting to be seated at the Olive Garden and the mom seated on the other side of the waiting area actually gets up out of her seat and comes over to talk to me...the nerve! Okay I know this is probably something I totally would have been into pre-Addison, but now I find it odd and uncomfortable that other moms gravitate to me just because I have a baby they can see. This lady meant well and just wanted to "bond" over the fact that we both had little boys. The only thing that really stung was that her older daughter came over with her to see Mason too...ugh. Of course she had an older girl.

This friendly little encounter made me really uncomfortable. It actually really surprised me at how uncomfortable. If I could have closed my eyes and pretended she wasn't there I think it would have made me feel better (although that would make me super crazy)! Thankfully she didn't ask if he was my first and I was able to answer all her questions, but I wasn't able to ask her about HER baby. I just didn't care...that sounds awful, but I really didn't. I could tell Brian felt bad for her as she was getting nothing from me so he was the polite one and started asking her questions about her baby. In my head I was thinking how stupid it was that I couldn't just get over myself and have a conversation with her, but I just couldn't. Thankfully after a few very uncomfortable minutes our little pager went off to be seated and I couldn't have jumped out of the seat any faster. Poor lady...she was probably very confused or just thought I was rude. I just don't feel like a normal mom and it is crazy to me that strangers can't sense that...I feel like it is so obvious about me, how broken and lost I am. Often times I feel like there is a giant flashing sign above my head, but there isn't and I can just blend in as if I am one of them. It's so odd to me.

I had another instance this week were I ran into an old friend...actually an old boyfriend. It was a rare occasion in which I didn't have M with me (he was having some grandma time), but I was able to show off his picture and gush about my baby boy. In my head I was screaming Addison's name, I wanted to gush about her too. It's probably been 10 years since I have seen this guy...it's amazing how much has changed. Life was so much simpler when we had dated. So much is good, but so much sad. It made me wonder what things he had gone through in his own life that you just don't talk about in a chance encounter. It was really nice to see him, but even nicer to leave hand in hand with my husband. I'm a lucky girl to have chosen such a wonderful partner.

Things have been going great with M. I am soaking up every minute even all the minutes filled with screaming and crying. I can't believe we are so close to 3 months. It really doesn't seem possible that we have been lucky enough to have him for this long. During the moments that his tummy isn't hurting him I always have my phone ready to take a picture of his wonderful smile. Here is a picture from this week (if you follow me on Instagram then you have already seen it), but it's one of my new favorites :)


Since I rarely get time on the laptop anything I can do on my phone is key. Since I am exclusively breastfeeding I have lots of time to be on my phone. My top favorites have become Instagram and Pinterest. It's a win win for everyone because Brian has gotten several new recipes for dinner and my friends have gotten to see more pictures of Mason. I still really struggle posting his picture on FB. I know people must think we are all happy and normal now and that really bothers me. I know it is my own issue, but I like that Instagram is a little more intimate and that the people I have on there know that we have more than one child and acknowledge it. The truth is that we are happy, but we are still sad too.

I have also noticed that pregnant women still bother me. You would think it would be no big deal now that we have M, but the truth is that I am still envious of how easy it seems to be for them and their (seemingly) blissful ignorance is still hard. I think another part has to do with the fact that I know so many BLM's who I wish could be pregnant too and it sucs that it is so easy for some and not for others. Also little girls are still incredibly painful. I have enough to say on that for it's very own post...another day I suppose.

I probably should have just bulleted this post because I have so many things just jumping around my brain. I'm too tired and lazy to go back over and start again so it's another jumbled post for you all. Sorry.

I'm reading all the blogs, but before I would check for new posts a million times a day and now I find I am checking less and less. Still reading everyday, but just not as "hungry" for them as I used to be. Maybe this is progress?!? I don't know. I do know that I have been trying to live in the land where babies live a little more than in the land where babies die. I know I will always have one foot in both worlds, but it's a struggle to find exactly where I fit.

Last thing. I have been referring to Mason a lot by just "M". It occurred to me that the reason I do that is because I get to say his name ALL the time. I don't think I would refer to Addison on a daily basis as "A" because I don't get to say her name nearly enough, but Mason I say multiple times a day, people say his name to me, his name is printed on the mail and on his prescriptions and well everything else you can think of. I can write M all the time over and over because at the end of the day it's probably the name I say more times than anyone else. Kind of interesting...or maybe not, it's just been on my mind.

Okay, that's all I have for now. I have a whole post about being in the hospital with M and coming home with him just waiting for me to hit publish, but for some reason I just keep thinking it's missing something. I'll try getting on that!




Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nineteen Months

Decorated for the 4th
It's been nineteen months. Nineteen whole long months since our lives changed forever. I had to think about it this month and then double check to see if that was really right. I'm not sure if I am having a hard time remembering the exact month age because it is getting so much bigger or because I just can't believe it's really been this long.

It's been a hard few days for me. I have been extra tired even though Mason let's me sleep for at least 5 hours a night. My body still thinks it needs more than 5 hours per night...imagine that! I have been feeling like a grief storm is coming, like at any moment something little will happen and I will burst into a million tears. Since the tears have not come yet the grief seems to fester leaving me to turn my grief into anger and making me snappy and short with the people I love. I think part of that is also attributed to the fact that I have never ending patience with Mason and ALL of his crying, but since I use up all that patience for M, there is none left for anyone else.

Last year the 4th of July was so sad and difficult because we didn't have our then 7 month old and we weren't pregnant and hope was feeling further and further away. That day was supposed to go a certain way and it didn't...it couldn't and we could only hope for 2012's 4th to be different and lucky for us it was, but it still fell short.

The fact that we even were able to have our sweet boy with us for this years 4th made it the best 4th yet, but I couldn't help the "should have beens". This year I was 'stuck' inside breastfeeding and when I wasn't doing that I was making sure M had all the rest of his needs meet. Yes, I have great family and lots of help, but I still make sure to be close too him just in case. As much as I am so thankful to have M to cater to, I was wishing I was splish splashing in the water, building sand castles and picking Grandma Karen's raspberries with my girl. I was just plain missing her and all that could have been.

There was a moment when the fireworks started and M was crying and we were walking and bouncing and patting his back (oh my) and I just took a moment to stand alone and hold him tight and be thankful for him and that he was at the lake house with me on his very first 4th of July, the same place where I spent my very first one and every single one since then. I thought about how special it was to share this spot and this day with him and how I hope there are many more to come. And then mixed with those same happy nostalgic thoughts I let myself be sad for the little girl who would never spend her first or any 4th of July with us. Because that's okay to be happy and sad all in the same moment.

Some pictures from the 4th.
First 4th outfit

Loving our boy and missing our girl

Sporting his big sister's bib


This picture has no real meaning, I just thought it was hilarious. 4th of July was also Addi's Great-Grandpa's 83rd birthday and I would like to caption this picture with "You think YOU are pretty gangsta?!?" In reality the sun was on that side and he was just keeping his ear covered, but still cracked me up!
















Dear Addi,
I can't think of a way to start this letter off that is different than any other time I have written you. I love you and I miss you...are you tired of hearing that...I hope not because I cannot imagine a time where those words won't be the first things I think about when I think of you.

It's been so rough without you. Knowing things can never be the way I had imagined and that you will always be missing. I struggle to share your little brother with acquaintances and strangers as they just don't get how bittersweet our lives are. I ran into a friend from school the other day when I was with your dad and brother. I introduced them both to her and she probably assumed Mason was our first and only child. She didn't ask if he was and it would have been awkward of be to throw in an "oh by the way, I have a daughter too" so I just left it, but it made me feel so sad that I wasn't able to introduce you too.

This month also brought you a new neighbor at the cemetery. It makes me so incredibly sad each time I see a new baby added, but this one was even more difficult because it was added in the vacant spot next to yours. It is my hope that we never EVER need another plot for any of your siblings, but it felt a little like insurance to have it open and it gives me crazy anxiety now that it is filled. It also made me crazy that the people who placed the new casket made such a mess and left your stone COVERED in dirt. Lucky for me grandma found it first and cleaned up your spot. Lots of people look out for you little one.

Today we (and by we I mean your daddy) set up the pack and play grandma and papa bought for you so many many months ago. It matches your car seat and stroller and I'm pretty sure your brother is thrilled (or will be one day) that we didn't go with pink! It was bittersweet (there's that word again) to set it up knowing it wasn't for you, but so so nice to see your brother making good use of it. I have to say it must be the Cadillac of pack and plays...there doesn't seem to be anything it doesn't do! I think you would be happy knowing your brother is able to use all of his big sister's gear.

I don't know what this next month will bring, but one thing I will promise you is that I will still be missing you and loving you. Wish you were here.
Love,
mom

The picture doesn't do it justice. Kudos Graco, awesome product!

Using the handy changing station

Little brother enjoying what was passed down from his big sister

It's not a pink bikini, but still a pretty cute swim suit!

Dad says the hat is dorky, mom says it's cute...what say you?



Monday, July 2, 2012

A little Mason update

Since I suuuuuuuucccccckkkkkkkkk....kkkkk at blogging (yes I suck so much I had to add even more k's to emphasize). I wanted to at least share some Mason with you since I know people are wondering how he is doing. So here is a Mason update. No deep thoughts or real blog material. Just Mason.

Mason turned TWO months old on June 22nd (where in the hell has time gone?!?) I seriously can't believe how lucky we have been to have gotten this much time with him so far...hoping for more, but oh my have I soaked up what we have been given.

At his 2 month appointment his stats were:
Weight 12lbs 3oz
Height 23 inches
and head circumference....39.6cm!

So height and weight are in the 50% range, but his giant head is in the 70th! No wonder he is such a bobble head! He actually does pretty well holding it up considering!

Mason has something called Tracheomalacia, basically his little flipper flapper in his throat (yeah I know I'm super technical) doesn't work right quite yet. He is a super noisy breather because of it and spits up a lot for a breast fed baby. The noisy breathing is AWESOME because I can always hear him breathing, but the rest of it really sucks for him.

Turns out part of my problem with breastfeeding was that I was over feeding him. So now that I am not doing it as often it is not hurting quite as much. Still not enjoyable, but we are figuring this out!

Mason cries quite a bit. My pediatrician called him a "difficult child".I kind of laughed. I was like well he could cry 24/7 and I would still love the crap out of him! He just wanted me to know that his discomfort will pass and this crankiness will not last forever. Um okay! Crying/screaming=alive...I'll take it!

Even thought he is a cranky little guy he does have some amazingly sweet moments and is happy. My IPhone is always near by to catch these smiles!

He is sleeping an average of 5-6 hours a night and one time only he slept for 8 hours and 19 minutes!

He loves:
Swing
white noise
blankets
lovey
music
being massaged
bath time
rocked/held/bounced/patted
staring at lights/ceiling fan
being outside
to stand as we hold him
and when I stroke his head

He hates:
waking up...almost always screaming from the second he opens his eyes...if not before!
diaper changes
being put in the car seat
and of course the dreaded tummy time

We can't get enough of him. Poor guy doesn't get put down much because there are always arms to hold him...what a life. Some how he did manage to roll over some time ago from his tummy to his back.

Here is some of the cuteness







 



Just spent FOREVER looking for 7 and 9 week pictures...I will have to look another day!





PS These pictures were taken next to Addi's bear made by Molly Bears! And yes, that blue stripe on his diaper means it's time to change it. I DO change my child's diaper, but if we do diaper change before pictures he is screaming even more than some of these pictures show. So we do diaper change AFTER pictures :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Midnight ramblings

I'm up late because this is usually the time I am nursing M...he decided to take a late nap and is STILL asleep...I'm guessing this does not mean good things for my sleep. I should be sleeping while he is sleeping, but of course I am wide awake. I'm sure I will get sleepy just about the time he decides to wake up. I'm guessing tomorrow will be a rough one. Even with that I can't help but think about how that is such a wonderful "problem" to have. It's a beautiful thing to be kept awake from his cries and not my own. I will take this "problem" any day of the week.

For the most part M has been sleeping 5-7 hours IN A ROW each night. Of course there is always the off night where he sleeps like 2, but for the most part I have it pretty easy.

Breastfeeding remains my biggest challenge. I am loving every moment except for this one thing and it makes me so sad because I really expected to enjoy it. Sure it would be hard at first, but eventually it would stop hurting and be wonderful...well almost 8 weeks in I can say that I dread it. It is still so painful every time. I don't feel like it is beautiful or that it creates bonding time. It has gotten better as I don't curl my toes or grit my teeth quite as hard, but my breasts hurt all the time and even a hug from someone causes pain. I feel like a jerk for not loving it...I'm so lucky to have enough milk and to have a live baby to feed. I'm not giving up, I know it's best and will continue until my nipples fall off...oh God, please don't let them fall off! So that's my disappointment in my mommy duties, but I'm working on it and I can't complain about a thing because we all know the alternative is a gazillion times worse.

Another BLM told me it took her a couple months to feel like her son belonged to her like at anytime the "real mommy" would come and take him back and I feel like this as well. Mason doesn't feel like he belongs to me. I love him, I'm protective of him, but I constantly feel like he is not mine to keep. I feel like I have been given this amazing gift, this little boy who was entrusted to me, but will be taken back with no notice. I am waiting for this feeling to pass. I know there will always be fear in losing him because I don't have to imagine what it would be like, but I want to feel that he is mine to keep and it is so sad that I can't believe it yet. Maybe I don't feel like he is mine because he "belongs" to Addi. If not for her he would most likely not be here. I can live with the feeling that he belongs to her and she is trusting me to take care of him, but that hasn't sunk in either. In time.

As I was trying to fall asleep I couldn't help, but think about both my babies. My living, breathing son lying next to my side of the bed and then my sweet little girl whose urn is next to her daddy's side of the bed. All four of us together, but also so far apart. I was trying to imagine how things would be if Addi were here. What would she look like, what would her sleeping habits be, would she be gentle with her brother or rough, would she be a mommy's girl or a daddy's girl. Sometimes I can imagine what she would be like, but tonight I can't come up with anything. I'm struggling with the feeling that she was never really here, but I know better. Why can't I still make any sense out of this?!? What was the point of getting her just to have her taken away? I know I will forever wonder.

Tonight I am missing her. I miss her always, but I think this is what is actually keeping me up. So here I am in her space doing the one thing I know that helps me feel closer to her because I can't just go into her room and kiss her goodnight.

Down the hall I can hear her brother giggling in his sleep...it makes me smile. I hope his sister is whispering in his ear. Isn't that a lovely thought?!?

Sorry this is such a ramble. I'm tired and missing Addi and that combination makes my head mush. I can hear M stirring, which makes sense since I am ready for bed, but it's okay. My life with him is SO worth it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mason's Birth Story: Part I

After having our first induction date cancelled last minute I was freaking out about when it could be rescheduled. I was worrying about how we would get the doctor and nurses we wanted lined up so perfectly for a second time and of course about Mason's safety.

We were rescheduled to Saturday, April 21, 2012. The plan was to arrive at 8pm just in time for Nurse D to start her shift with us. The other hope was that by coming in at night we had a smaller chance of being rescheduled on again!

We were given the best gift because the second nurse we had with Addi who no longer works at this hospital was in town and offered to come be our Doula. Our doctor was not the on-call doctor, but said he would come in for us so that was a huge relief. All three were going to be there for us...we actually pulled off the "dream team".

Saturday, Brian had to work and I had planned to get a lot done around the house. I pretty much did nothing because there was just so much on my mind. I went out with my mom for a bit and then came home and tried to take a nap. Brian got home form work and we just kind of sat together trying to take in what this night could mean for us. I made the call to Labor and Delivery to make sure we were still "on" and to my surprise we were! They said it would be okay to eat first so Brian and I went out for out "last meal". We decided to try a new place called "Mac and More", it seemed fitting for our "Mac".

The tables are chalk boards so this is what Brian wrote

I think I had like 6 bites...nervous!










It was hard to eat because so much was on my mind, I just couldn't fully comprehend that this was real and happening. We pulled into the hospital and both felt nervous and sick to our stomachs. Brian didn't even want to unload all of our things from the car "just in case". We walked into the hospital and sat down at the sign in desk. The lady made the comment that this must not be our first baby because we were "so calm". Psh as if she had any clue how I was feeling on the inside! But she was right, this was not our first baby.

It took almost a half hour to get signed in because of this new computer system the hospital has. When we were finally let back into L&D, we both took a big breath in and walked through those doors hand in hand. Our hearts were pounding, minds racing, but we were doing this and we were doing it together. We were given a room we had never been in before, which we were okay with. As we got closer to the nurses station we saw our Doula and were able to give her the biggest hug. The last time I hugged her was the day she took Addi away for the very last time. My trust in her is too high for words. Before we were even done hugging out came nurse D. More hugging. In that moment my anxiety was gone and I felt like we were in the very best hands...Mason was in the very best of hands and things were going to be okay this time.

We walked into our room, the four of us and there were flame less candles all around, birthday streamers and a present for Mason. They said they were ready to have a birthday party and it was so beautiful, so peaceful, so what I needed.
You can't really tell how cute it was by the pictures, but it was!

This was a beautiful site...we didn't have a need for this last time :(

I changed into the hospital gown and was not nearly as freaked out as I thought I would be. It turned out that I wasn't dilated as much as they thought so we started with misoprostol. Basically a pill was inserted in my throat uterus to help soften and get things going. We basically just slept in the hospital that night, but it was good. I hated having Brian be on the couch and half the room away from me, but it was great to know that Mason was being monitored and we were so close.

The next morning I got up and curled up with Brian on the couch. I just needed to be close to him. When our nurse came in she had a plan of action. I was dilated to a 4. We started with the pitocin about 8am and around 10am my doctor arrived to break my water. I don't remember how it felt when it was broken with Addi, but this time I was amazed at how much there really was. Everything was calm and easy. Seeing my doctor just made me feel so at ease.

My plan was to go as long as possible without the epidural because I didn't want to slow my labor down. What I didn't realize was that once my water was broken my contractions would go from 0 to 60. I made it about 45 minutes before I was begging for the epidural. Not my best in the holding out category, but the contractions were coupling and when you have them back to back like that, there is no time to recover before the next one hits. As soon as I got my epidural I expected to feel better, but much like last time it was not working on my left side.
Didn't get a picture when they were at their worst, but you get it. (Mine was the middle section).
After waiting to see if it would kick in, the anesthesiologist came back with some sort of super shot that made all the pain go away (bless him). When I was checked after that I was at 8cm! We had no idea how close I was. Brian was frantically calling our family to come to the hospital. We had asked them to wait at home so we wouldn't have an entourage, but we had no idea how fast things would go. Soon after that I was at a 9, but in no pain!

Love me some epidural!
I had been wanting the delivery to be just for Brian and I, but at the last minute we asked my mom and sister to stay. I started pushing and then it was decided that I should stop because Mason was turned in a weird angle and we needed him to move. So they put me in a weird position and had me wait a half hour. I didn't feel like it was time yet so I wasn't surprised for this set back. We tried again and again they stopped me to re-arrange me and leave me for some time. Everyone went on a lunch break, which I thought was pretty funny. I had in my head that Mason wouldn't be born until later that evening so an afternoon baby didn't seem possible to me anyways!

Since we are stuck here let's pose for pictures...oh jeez! (My parents with us) Doo doo doo waiting, waiting, waiting.

When everyone came back from lunch they seemed a little more serious and once I saw our doctor putting on all the gear it occurred to me that this was really happening!

Pushing this time was different and we were all more serious about it. Brian was amazing just like last time. So encouraging and right there with each pushing holding me up and coaching me.
I'm thinking...is this really happening?!?

And then at 2:51pm after approximately 5 hours of active labor he was here...ALIVE! His cry was the best noise I have ever heard.
Our first look at each other
Sweet relief (side note: my pillow case was made by a friend and has flip flops on it).

And then there were four (I love that you can see Brian is wearing his Addison bracelet in this picture).
I really thought the second Mason was born I would be a bawling mess, but because of our "dream team" I was calm. I knew we had done everything we could to insure Mason would be here safely and even if he wasn't these people would take care of all of us.

When Mason was placed on my stomach it took just a moment for him to cry, but when he did it was everything I was waiting for. I couldn't believe that he was here, alive and safe. I was able to have him on my chest for the recommended two hours of bonding and then nursing. I felt bad Brian couldn't hold him right away, but I felt so lucky in that moment. I didn't just get a living baby, but I got the ideal birthing scenario. I know not everyone gets that and I was grateful for it all, the easy/fast birth, complication free, our medical staff we wanted, my family and a healthy baby who never spent a moment in the NICU. I was/am completely aware and grateful for each aspect.

I just stared into his eyes...his wide open and bright blue eyes. Listening to his cry and soaking it all in. I was in such shock. I didn't expect things to go so fast and I didn't expect things to go so smoothly...surely something would go wrong right?!?

I know the look on my face was not what people were expecting, but I just couldn't comprehend that things went okay, great even. Had Addison been there it would have been perfect, but it was as "perfect" as it gets and I am grateful.

I started this post only 6 days after Mason was born and I am just getting around to finish it so I between that and already being super long I will write more later, but I needed to get back this part finished first.