Thursday, December 5, 2013

On her third birthday

The 5th has come and gone another year. As Brian said "another birthday down, just a million more to go". Of course not an actual million, but it does feel like that.

Today was actually a good day. I still think going home will be hard, we feel somewhat protected over here. It was 77 degrees today, back home in WA there are record lows and snow.

Today may have been December 5th, but it sure didn't feel like it.

I felt the love with every text, every email, every IG post, every everything. The picture posts especially for Addison were the the very best. I really FELT it. I feel like Addison was remembered today and that people were actually getting what a profound loss her life was. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm going to hold onto that thought.

The day went something like this. Awake at 9am. I mean that in itself is amazing. Mason has been sleeping like a rockstar here and I needed it after staying up until 2:30am the night before.  Brian's parents made us breakfast (actually they have been feeding us this whole time, which is a giant gift to not cook or clean)! We had a lazy morning (Brian,  Mason and I) and then headed out for a round of golf. They live on a beautiful golf course that's a bit brown right now, but trust me, it's lovely. We were all pretty excited to "golf" with Mason and take him for a ride on the carts.

It was hot and sunny, but the grounds were soaked after a big rain the day before. Just as expected, Mason LOVED the carts and didn't mind attacking hitting the ball with his own club.

I didn't golf because hello, Mason isn't going to just sit there patiently so it was not as relaxing as the last time we all golfed together and by golf I mean they golfed and I drove the cart and ate crackers for my morning sickness. There were lots of memories flooding back about being here last time with Addi.

As much as it was a pain to wrangle Mason, it was a job I was thankful for. The only thing worse than wrangling a baby is not having one to wrangle. I pulled a total mom move and changed a poopy diaper on the golf cart, still not as hard as changing it in the airplane with no changing table. I digress. We quit with three holes to go because it was nap time. Totally worth it though.

After Mason's nap, two friends came over to honor Addi. These two friends are people we met last time we were here and each has suffered a significant loss. As I looked around the room I realized all six of us adults were wearing our Addi bracelets. Talk about special.

The pond outside their home is special, it's where they want to go when they are gone and where several friends already reside. It's happy, calm and lovely. One of the friends said a prayer and we released some of Addison's ashes. It was special, beautiful and felt right. I know her grandparents will take good care of her and she will continue to watch over them.

We had a toast to Addi afterwards, an excellent dinner and yummy dessert.

We ended the day with watching the Soun.d Of. Music live. I think she would have liked that.

I feel peaceful tonight. Not whole, but peaceful. I missed my family today and going to Addison's spot, but all in all this was the right decision for us.

I'll end with something I have said a million times before, but will always be true. I miss her, I love her, I wish she were here.

Addi,
I love you to the moon and back again. I can't believe we are back in NC and you are not here to run around with us. That was not the plan. This new plan is too hard and I don't like it much at all. You are my girl, my perfect girl. I would have given you everything. I'm doing my best on the days I am able. I hope I make you proud. I hope you can feel my love today and everyday. I'm sending you my love just as friends and family sent me and you their love all over the US (and Canada)! I felt their love. Can you feel mine?!? I hope you can feel my arms wrap around you with my face buried in your neck like I do with your brother. I want to imagine you squealing with delight as he does yelling "more, more"!  I don't know how long we will have to wait to do this for real, but I promise you, it's coming. If I have anything to say about it, it's coming. I love you, I love you, I love you. Happy 3rd birthday baby.
Love,
Mama
This was us in 2010, pregnant with Addi. True happiness. 


*I've spent an hour trying to figure out how to add my pictures from today, but blogger hates me and I need sleep. I'll try again later. 




Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The night before

'Twas the night before the 5th, when all thro' the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Or something like that. Everyone is asleep, but I just couldn't sleep without posting something.

Our flight to NC was much better than I expected. Mason gets a solid B for his behavior during almost 7 hours of flight time, a 4am wake up with NO nap and a layover/plane change. His B is awarded on the curve. I'm comparing him only to his two previous flights, Chicago being a total nightmare (well worth it though)! He was busy and needed CONSTANT entertainment and redirection, but there were no meltdowns and no aisle running! I want to write a post all about that, but tonight is not the night.

Arriving in NC provided a giant weight off my shoulders. We made it here with Mason and Brian in decent moods and with Addison safely packed in my carry on (what a terrible truth). Never mind that on both flights they tried to take my carry on saying there was no room. Luckily for them, Brian handled things and I didn't have to cut a bitch hurt someone. He did have to tell a nasty flight attendant that she couldn't take it because "our daughter was in there" she backed down REAL quick, but sometimes you just have to be real. Maybe she won't be so nasty to the next flyer!

The second we landed in New Bern aka small airport on a small plane and all old people "blue hairs" started telling us what a good boy we had and how they were so impressed. As the mom who has held her kid for 5 hours of screaming and been THAT person, it was a welcome relief to hear such things. It felt like a victory. Don't think I'm cocky about flying, I'm still terrified about the flight home. Lord knows this boy is capable of making me pay!

The airport is the cutest I have ever seen with rocking chairs of all sizes and a giant eyesore inflatable  snow globe (which Mason loved btw). Brian's parents were waiting just around the corner for us and it's been sweet ever since.

Of course there is the looming third birthday, of course we are feeling sad, but it's not the heaviness I felt at home. Things that I believe contributed:
-a really lovely surprise card and gift from my coworkers and two cards in the mail from friends.
-getting here. I hate travel prep and I was SO stressed about flying with Mason.
-being here. I feel close to Addison here and all the fun memories we had from last time came flooding back.
-watching Brian's parents with Mason. Let's just say that the love is mutual and it fills my heart.
- talking to Brian's parents about Addison. I can't believe I am so lucky to have to sets of understanding parents, the knowledge of how that is not common in our group is not lost on me.
-knowing I have people at home who will be visiting Addison's spot in my absence.
-having a plan of how we will celebrate, remember and honor Addison tomorrow on her day.
-receiving texts, emails, IG messages, Facebook messages and one VERY special call from a friend who must have known that would fill my heart (you know who you are)!
-my tribe in general, you know who you are. The emails and love for each other is re-dick-U-lus.

I guess I just feel an overwhelming sense of people "getting it" and loving our girl with us. That's really all any baby loss mama really wants. It's what I needed and I feel a sense of calm I wasn't expecting. I know that could all change by tomorrow, but that's how I feel right now in this moment. I'm even "looking forward" to releasing some of Addison's ashes in a special location that I'm not sure I can talk about which may or may not be legal.

Even though I am feeling decent about "the plan" it's still NOT okay that this is how we are celebrating Addison's 3rd birthday. It's NOT okay that she isn't here. It's NOT okay that my baby died. None of it will ever be okay, but this is what I have, this is it and I'm taking it and feeling grateful for what I do have.

I suppose my fear now is the day after. When the phone calls, emails, texts stop. When' she becomes yesterday's news. That's when I expect the grief to resurface. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm already dreading that part. Flying home, getting back to life...none of that sounds fun.

My energy level is what it is now because I'm only doing what feels right. I'm not answering email or thinking about anything or anyone else other than Addison and the December babies I mentioned in my last post. It's working and I'm not going to mess with it. Everything else can wait. Even keeping up with IG feels a bit overwhelming at times, but I'm doing my best to keep up.

I'm hopeful for a good day tomorrow for my girl. I would give anything to have her, anything, but since life doesn't work like that, I will do what I can to honor her.

It's almost the 5th, it's coming no matter what. I might be ready for it this year (as ready as I can be)

I love you Addison Eloise forever and always.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another December

First post in six months...must be December again.

It's been hard. Really hard. The grief started strong last week and has not let go. It's the anticipation, it's the reality, it's the fact that she would be 3 years old.




Three is a walking/talking/opinionated/funny/fun/trying/yelling/crying/singing/loving time. I want three so much it hurts.

I am a procrastinator by nature. Tests, packing, projects etc. you name it, I can procrastinate it. Knowing December is the hardest month of my life means being on top of my game the best I know how. It means family Christmas pictures, Christmas cards, Santa pictures all of that must happen in November. I can't participate in the normal things people do in December. Now that I know that, I have to plan ahead and follow through.

It's all hard to do without her, but I need to do it for Mason. I NEED to. He deserves the memories and so we will continue things, no matter how hard.

Mason has his Santa picture outfit, his Christmas picture outfit, his Christmas day outfit, his getting the tree outfit and a couple other things for misc. parties, he even has a snazzy suit for church and incase there is a funeral this year...yes, I plan for that (last year's suit was used three times :( ). What we don't have is a Christmas dress. No dress, no tights (with ruffles), no patent leather shoes, no gloves, no headband, no bows and no peacoat. I suppose I am used to not getting to buy those things, but the same hurt remains.

We are headed out to North Carolina for Addison's birthday. It's becoming a tradition of sorts to "get outta town" for the week surrounding her day (last year was CA). It sucks to be home and to go through all the motions just as it went down three years ago, it sucks to be gone so that we are away from my family and Addison's headstone on her day. It all just sucks. There is no winning and whatever we do, it won't be planning a 3rd birthday party for our daughter. With that said, I am really excited to spend time in NC with Brian's parents. They are very supportive parents and grandparents. Most of my anxiety for this trip is traveling with a 20 month old. The extra stress around this time of year is crippling. I have never taken any medication, but it makes me think some kind of anxiety medicine for next year should be something I look in to.

The last time we were in NC, we were pregnant with Addison and we got to announce in person to Brian's parents. That trip was something dreams are made of. It was just a week of visiting, but there was some kind of magic present. It was one of the best trips I have ever been on, great company and just pure joy. I was so sick with morning all day sickness, but I got to take a nap every day and just enjoy Brian's parents and their friends. It was the one and only time we would ever take Addison with us (alive). It was the happiest time. Thinking about how happy we were the last time we were there makes me sad and thankful. We will never be THAT happy again, but they say it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved and I believe that.

Today, Brian and I made Addison's birthday cake. We made it out of flowers and will bring it to her headstone tomorrow. Family here have promised to visit her spot on the 5th and we will do something special in NC.

I can't believe another December is here. I miss her so much. My heart is so broken for my girl and as if December isn't hard enough, there are seven SEVEN other babies who have families missing them this month:

December
4th twins William and Ethan
5th Addison
5th Andrew
6th Eliza
15th Anna
19th Logan
20th Elizabeth

No wonder my heart is so heavy. 

I'll leave you with pictures of Addison's flower cake.






front

back

Little brother "blowing out the candles".

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

BLM/Rainbow Baby Weekend 2013

I'm staying home from work today with a sick little boy. Not sick sick, just a runny nose and a cough. He's mostly just whiny and wants his mama, which I am happy to oblige. The reason he is sick probably has something to do with the 13 other babies he spent the weekend swapping spit with, or the 13 extra mama's holding him or the two plane rides to and from Chicago or a combination of it all, but you know what?!? It doesn't matter because in a few days he will be good as new and the memories we made over the weekend will stay with me the rest of my life.

Brooke and Brandy did a better job breaking down the weekend, but I just had to write SOMETHING of my own.

On Friday, Mason and I flew to Chicago to meet up with 13 other baby loss mom's and their 13 rainbow babies. All of which I met because of this blog. I started this blog for me, for Addison, to write my thoughts down and what I got was so much more. I found other mothers going through what I was in relatively the same time frame and they became my people.

There is no other group/people in the world I would have braved a 4 and 4.5 hour flights to Chicago with a 13 month old by myself, but for this group I was pretty much willing to move Heaven and Earth to make this meeting happen.

Walking into Brandy's house for the first time with so many moms and babies already there was completely overwhelming, but in the best way possible. Hugging all these women who I have "known" for years, but was never able to wrap my arms around. Smooching babies who I loved even before they were born, babies who I waited for anxiously through nerve-wracking pregnancies and cried when they were born, babies who have siblings in heaven that I truly believe are Addi's bff's. And just like that after all this time such a big group of us were under one roof.

It was really something to look around the room and see that 90% of the moms were holding someone else's baby. It's like these babies KNEW how much we loved them and were happy to be held by all of us. It was easy to get something to eat or go to the bathroom because the room was full of women who loved my son as much as I loved their kids. You could see all the mothering going on between moms and all the babies, it was really something.

The conversation flowed easily and there was no explanation needed when switching from talking about our living children to the ones we didn't get to keep. There was laughing, crying, laughing and crying at the same time, chit chat, deep conversations and really just a beautiful understanding by everyone.

At one point we all shared photo albums of our babies. Most of us do not share our baby's photos online so getting to see pictures of these babies I have loved for so long was like seeing that missing piece. It was so easy to see them in their siblings and really just made me love them all the more.

I missed out on a new mommy group of friends when Addison was born, but these women are my mommy group. I guess that's one part I didn't miss out on after all.

I came home feeling better than I have since losing Addi. My heart will never be whole again, but after this weekend it felt closer to whole than I ever thought was possible. I smiled bigger and felt a peace I forgot existed. Like Brandy said, I'm only sad it's over.

Now that I have met so many in person, once will never be enough and I am already saving for next year's get together. Nicole, Darcey and of course Becky, 2014 better include you all.

Thank you to everyone who came, and for sharing your children with me, thank you for letting me share both of mine with you. I wouldn't trade this weekend for anything except Addison. You all mean so much to me. Is it 2014 yet?!?

I missed Addison so much this weekend, but in a way it's like she was there, it was like they were all there. What a gift.

14 BLM+14 Rainbow babies. Forever missing Elizabeth, Bear, Cale, Hayes, Jack, Camille, Aiden, Julius, twins William and Ethan, Addison, Andrew, Ava, Eliza and Anna.

Sonja's sweet mom made these adorable hats for our rainbow babies in honor her granddaughter Elizabeth. Each hat representing a very loved and missed big sister or brother/s.

My very own Rainbow baby.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2.5

Since Addison's second birthday I have made a conscious decision to stop posting on the 5th of each month. I still have lots to say, but it's nothing that I haven't said before in post after post. I find myself thinking about it, but reminding myself that I have other outlets now.

Today Addison would be two and half years old. 2.5! How do I even wrap my brain around all that we have missed and who our little lady would be. Her likes and dislikes, her temper and her love, her favorite foods, colors, toys, books, people...all of it left only to wonder about.

I find myself continuing to daydream about that life that should have been. I don't know that I will ever stop.

Little girls continue to hurt my heart. I generally look away at the first sight of a tiny human in pink, I go into the children's stores ONLY on the boy side of things and a girl baby shower still seems like something I will never be able to attend. I have one and only one 2.5 year old girl in my life that we spend time with and I still believe it's because she would have been Addi's BFF. I thought over time I would be able to open my heart to other little girls, but that has not been the case. I am very selective with the friends I follow on Instagram and which FB people can show their posts on my feed. It is what it is.

At work I had someone ask me if Mason was 2.5. I just said no, he was 13 months. The coworker seemed surprised to be so far off. I decided not to tell him that he wasn't completely wrong and that 2.5 was right, it was just the wrong child. I always answer the "is this your first" question with no, but in this case he wasn't specifically asking so I didn't have to lie. I have made SEVERAL people uncomfortable with always counting Addi, but that is what is right for me. I feel too horrible not counting her and I still feel that people need to hear that baby loss happens. I have to say more times than not, I am surprised to hear that they themselves have a connection to the baby loss community in some way. Those moments make me the most happy and proud of my decision to always say it.

The 5th day of the month is not as hard as it was in those early days, but it STILL takes my breath away and I am always anticipating it's arrival. It's funny because Mason's "day of the month" doesn't have a profound effect on me. Probably because we are so busy, but it just doesn't feel like an important part of him like the 5th feels for Addi. In fact on the 22nd when Mason turned 13 months I didn't even remember he turned 13 months until going to bed. That date means more for another baby than for him. He gets it all you see and doesn't need that date to be special.

This month will be full of Addison things and that makes my heart feel a bit lighter and happier. There are plans to meet up with several BLM's and their rainbow babies that I have met through this wonderful space. It feels like getting together with the playgroup of mom's that I missed out on with Addi. They are part of my connection to her, my support and my friends. I keep telling people that I am about to get together with some of the best friends I've never met. Something I am SO looking forward to. Then there is the TEARS Rock and Walk. Something we do every year for Addi and hope to raise money for other families to help with funeral expenses. If you would like to donate in Addison's name please click here: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/keleen-crawford/rockwalk

You can watch our story here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1deqdFRmM8

Hoping this month is going to be as amazing as I think it will be!

Dear Addi,
We miss you so very very much. You are apart of everything we do. I am so excited to share you with some of the best friends I've never met in person. You are with me always. Two and a half. Wow. Our life with you would have been nothing short of magical. I just know it. I love you so much.
Love,
Mommy

PS Occasionally when your brother wakes up in the middle of the night screaming bloody murder, I have convinced myself you are in there pinching him...it always make me laugh as I go in to comfort him....awe siblings, but I also believe you are behind many of his giggles. Keep it up sweet girl (the giggles that is, less pinching). xoxox

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Even though it's been months since I have written in this space, I found it necessary to make the effort today. Today is Mother's Day. The fourth MD (2 months pregnant) since I found out I was going to be a mother. The third (5 months post loss) since my daughter was born and gave me the title of mom. The second (with a 1 month old baby at home) since my son was born and finally this year in which I racked up just over 12 months of diaper changing, interrupted sleep, feedings and all that other stuff our society deems as parenting.

It's hard to say the exact second I became a mom. It may be different for everyone, in fact it must be. We all know that just because you can birth a baby does NOT mean you are a mom, but when is it? Please keep in mind that my timeline is not the only timeline. I know it's a personal feeling for each of us.

I think for me that line is a little blurred. It wasn't exactly when I saw those two pink lines. I think it just progressed as my pregnancy did. I was ready to be a mom, but it was odd to me when others referred to me as "mama" after all, I was not THEIR mama. I know when we found out Addison was a girl that something changed for me, seeing her on the ultrasound and knowing she was our baby...my baby. Feelings only got stronger as we allowed ourselves to dream of the life we would have with our precious baby girl. The two days that ring the loudest in my head seem to be when we found out she had no heartbeat and the day she was born. The day Addison was born seems like the obvious answer, but that day we found out she was gone gave me the most intense range of feelings.

I remember being in such shock, such disbelief, such sadness and yet my love for her felt stronger than anything I had ever experienced before. I was her mother and she was my baby. I am her mother and she is my baby.

It's been almost 2.5 years since she was born. I spent 16 months without a baby to hold, to mother to parent. Except for that I DID mother her and I DID parent her. It may have been in an unconventional way, but it WAS mothering and it WAS parenting. I did everything I could to keep her memory alive, to get her headstone, visiting that headstone and decorating it. Writing to her, about her, for her. Connecting with other BLM's, educating the public on baby loss. And most of all LOVING her.

There may not have been diapers, but there were many sleepless nights. Many nights I was kept up from crying, never mind the crying was coming from me.

After 16 months, Mason was born and the outside world seemed to recognize me as a mom, or at least that's how I felt. It was obvious when I went out in public that he belonged to me. There was a baby in my arms, in the car seat in my car and in the nursery in my home.

Last year Mason was not even a month old when Mother's Day arrived and I hadn't been doing all those conventional "motherly" things for that long. This year I feel like outsiders are starting to take me seriously as a legit mom.

I can tell you that for me this was my third Mother's Day. Addison made me a mother and everyday I miss her and love her. Now that Mason is here everyday I love him. Mason allows me the chance to do the conventional motherly duties, but Addison started it all.

Mother's Day is still a sad day for me. I will never feel complete without both of my children in my arms. Never ever.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers. Sending extra love to children missing their mothers and mothers missing their children. Parenting a child in heaven is truly the most difficult job in the world. xxxooo