Monday, December 30, 2013

Gratitude for those who remain faceless

I recently read a blog post written by a Labor and Delivery Nurse about her experience helping a family through the stillbirth of their son. Her words were beautiful and it gave me a little perspective into the other side of pregnancy and infant loss. I wish I could place a link to the post here but it's since been changed to a private post. 

As parents of loss, we know the hell our loss brought into our lives. We remember all of the details of that day more vividly than we would like. We replay the day over and over in our heads. We know firsthand how each moment of that day felt and how it continues to be and will always be a part of us, each and every day. But what we don't know is how our loss day impacted those who were part of our loss. We don't know what was going through the heads of those involved. 

I'm not talking about our families. I'm talking about those who were there with us, doing their jobs to help try to save our babies or trying to comfort us in our darkest hour. I very often think about the first responders to our home that morning and the doctors and nurses at the hospital who worked on Avery. I often wish I could get them all in a room and find out what the day was like for them. 

There was the police officer, a corporal, I believe, who was at our house so quickly. I can't see his face but I can clearly remember him busting through the door, running into our bedroom and taking over CPR for me. I know how hard it was for me to do CPR on her but I often wonder what was going through his head that morning. Was he just about to finish his shift or was he just starting his day? Was this the first time he had to respond to a call with a baby. God, I pray he doesn't get these calls often. I wonder if he has a family of his own. Did he to home and hug them a little tighter? I will always have a very great appreciation to this man, a man I don't know at all, who gave it his all until the fire department arrived. 

I often wonder many of the same things about the firefighters and paramedics who were next to arrive. I wonder what they were thinking as they rushed to our house. I wonder if they knew deep down, she was already gone once they started working on her. I wonder if any of them prayed on the drive to the hospital. I wonder if any of them still remember that morning. I know it couldn't have been easy for any of them. 

And then I wonder about the hospital staff. Those who spent over 30 minutes working on Avery. Trying everything they could to save her. I wasn't allowed in the room, I cannot remember any of their faces, but I am forever grateful that they tried as hard and as long as they did. I wonder if the doctor who broke the news to us had ever lost a child under her watch. I wonder if she still remembers Avery. I wonder how they found the strength the continue working that day. 

I wonder how June 12, 2012 affected each of the people involved in our loss. I know everything each of them did that day is just part of their job but to us, we are forever grateful of their service.  Even though most of these people remain faceless to me, they will always hold a special place in my heart. 

I want to say thank you to all of our police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses and all others who stay strong when facing the worst and try their hardest to better the outcome. It takes a special person to do this work and I am forever indebted to those who helped that awful June morning. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

Last Christmas we ran away. It was exactly what we needed. It didn't feel like Christmas. We weren't forced into family traditions without Avery by our side. Honestly, if I wasn't 35.5 weeks pregnant, we probably would have run away again this year. And boy I wish we could have. 

For most of the big events since losing Avery, the days leading up to the event are normally more of a drain than the day itself. The anticipation and anxiety of what the day will be like take their toll, leaving the actual day generally not as bad as I had built up in my head. Christmas this year, however was different. I have been so busy over the past few weeks, I had pushed the thoughts about Christmas to the back of my mind. I knew it would be hard, but I didn't work myself up over it. This made Christmas Eve and Christmas day much harder than I prepared myself to face. 

Being forced into family traditions was absolutely heartbreaking. I made it a total of 15 minutes through our Christmas Eve service at a church before I had a mini anxiety attack and ran out of the church hysterical. Christmas Eve service is something I normally love and look forward to. However, it was a very I your face reminder of her absence. She should have been there with me in my arms. This is a tradition I looked forward to but absolutely hated being there last night. It killed me.  It's the things we do every year that are the knife to the heart. The traditions kill me. She is supposed to be a part of them. Here with us, not just in memory. 

Today, my old friend anger made it's presence known again. I woke up immediately angry. I wanted to sleep as late as possible but was wide awake at 6. She's supposed the be here. I'm supposed to wake up with her. We're supposed to have a tree with tons of presents for her. We're supposed to sit together and ready the story of Jesus' birth as a family. It's not supposed to be this way and it infuriated me. The littlest things had me on edge. I was dreading being around anyone and knew that it wouldn't take much to set me off. From the start of the day, I wanted to just crawl back in bed and avoid everyone and everything. But I couldn't, I had to out my game face on and face the traditions head on. I'm not going to lie, the day sucked. 

Nobody should have to spend time at the cemetery visiting their child on Christmas. Nobody should have to debate whether or not to include their dead child on gift tags. Nobody should have to try to speak to everyone as little as possible on Christmas for fear they will snap, the anger finally taking complete control.   Nobody should feel jealousy towards the happy families, complete and together on Christmas. It's hell. It's completely awful to spend Christmas this way.

I'm absolutely exhausted. I am so ready for the day to be done. I am ready to crawl in bed and have a good cry until I fall asleep. I'm ready for this pain to be over but I know that it will always be here in some form. Parts of Christmas may become more bearable over the years, but there will always be the lingering ache from the missing piece of my heart. 

Nothing will ever be the way I once pictured in my perfect world. And it hurts so much knowing I will never be able to change that. But I am thankful that God sent his son, Jesus, to be born and most importantly to die for us. Because of this, I know that while I cannot bring Avery back to me, one day, one amazing day, we will be together again. For this I am thankful. This keeps me going even when I feel like throwing in the towel. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Pregnancies

There was this status update going around Facebook recently where you were assigned a number and then you had to update your status with that many "fun fact" about your pregnancy. I'm generally not one for the mass status update trends on Facebook but I really wanted to share some facts about my pregnancies. So, I've decided to take to the trusty blog to post these things. 

1-I found out I was pregnant with Avery on October 15, 2011, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I found out I was pregnant with Harper on May 15, 2013.

2-I only took 1 pregnancy test with Avery. I still have it. I took at least 3 with this pregnancy, just to be sure. I have those too. 

3-I had morning sickness with both but never tossed my cookies. Eating was the only thing that made me feel better. Needless to say, I gain more weight than I should. 

4-Avery's name was picked out well before we knew she was a girl. 

5-I will be delivering at a different hospital with Harper. 

6-Both pregnancies were intentional-no "accidents."

7-We tried to announce our pregnancy to our families creatively. Avery they each received baby related gifts. With Harper we made up a special photo announcement. 

8-We did fun gender reveals each time. Avery it was pink cupcakes, Harper it was pink silly string. Both times we knew ahead of time. 

9-It took us 4 years of marriage to decide we were ready for a family. Avery celebrated our 5th anniversary in our arms, 3 days before we lost her. Harper was just a tiny bean celebrating with usin my belly on our 6th anniversary. 

10- Avery was born at 39w3d. Harper is scheduled to arrive via csection at 39w3d. 

11-I was induced with Avery and ended with a csection. Harper will be a scheduled csection. 

12-During Avery's csection, my leg fell off the table and I could feel it happen. I told to doctor and she told the nurse to pick it up. It was quite comical. 

13-I am horrible at documenting my pregnancies with photos. 

14-My sweet tooth takes over while pregnant. 

15-My favorite part of pregnancy is just watching my belly contort with the baby's movements. 

16-We plan to stop having children after Harper. 2 girls is just right for us.

To my blogger friends, please feel free to share facts about your pregnancies. I'd love to read your posts too!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

was letting Harper listen to some music tonight and pulled up Somewhere Over the Rainbow as sung by the children on Newtown, Connecticut. It's a beautiful rendition of the song.

I haven't listened to this song while pregnant but I thought it was fitting for our rainbow, Harper to hear it. While listening to it, I am reminded, once again, that with Harper about to enter our lives, I'm going to be so very torn between two worlds. 

Since losing Avery, I have no fear in death. And while I realize I've known where I am going after I die for sometime now, death was still something I was afraid of. That is until we lost Avery. Since losing her Heaven sounds better than ever. I have no fear of dying. I know when I leave this world I will be in the presence of Jesus and my beautiful daughter. How could I have any fear in that?  But now, Harper changes that a bit. While I'm not scared of dying, I will soon have another daughter who needs me. Here, in this world. Again, I'm being torn between two worlds. Which I realize will be the story of my life. 

The lyrics of this song are so fitting. When I first downloaded this song, I always longed to be the bluebird. To fly over the rainbow and away from this world and into hers.  I would always think, when listening to this song, how great a day it will be when I can finally spread my wings and fly to Avery. But at the same time, I had been praying and dreaming of being a mom again. And I've now been blessed to have that opportunity with Harper. My dream I've been dreaming is becoming reality. Little did I realize, when I first downloaded the song, how torn I would be when my dream was finally coming true. It's quite a challenge wanting to be present in two worlds but only being in one.  To want to stare into the beautiful rainbow but to also fly far away. 

For now, I will aim to soak in the time I'm allowed here in this world with Harper and know that one day, when it's time, I'll be with Avery again and eventually, we will all be together.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

 Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow, Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true...

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops, that's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow, why them, oh why can't I?
If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?