Sunday, March 24, 2013

Two years, two months, one week and four days

That's how long we've been without him.


I miss him like crazy tonight. The more time passes, the more it seems like a dream.

I laugh more, cry less. I act like a normal functioning human. I am going back to college. And after that, maybe I'll finally work again. I can go to the grocery store and admire the other babies because my living baby, is admiring them too. I can watch a baby be born and cry tears of joy. Not tears of jealously and pain. I never thought I'd get here.

Yet, here I am.

I am breathing. I have a living baby that is sleeping in his crib. I am planning his first birthday party where he will be. I fill out his baby book. I record his firsts. I taught him how to clap his hands.

I can't believe I'm here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

These Sweatpants

So it's day 12 of Capture Your Grief and the post of the day was scents. I posted that I associate my perfume with Xander because I wore it all the time when I was pregnant with him.

Then I worked out after I made the post, showered blah blah blah, went to get some sweats on and realized I pulled out the pair I wore the day I delivered Xander. And it's also the pair I wore pretty much every day. (hey, I was barely allowed a 5 minute shower, don't judge me!)

We just moved and Rob had put a bunch of clothes in a trash bag and the other day I just dumped it in the basket and washed it all. I washed the sweats. They had been sitting on Xander's big box in our closet. And I'm still wearing them.

I refused to wear them while I was pregnant and kind of forgot about them just sitting in the corner of our closet. They don't fit me as well. I'm actually 8 lbs heavier than when I delivered Xander. Grief can do that to you...and having a pregnancy where you actually go to term. These sweats fit my pregnant body perfectly with Xander. They became a second skin. It's like that one good pair of jeans that you love because they fit you perfectly. Well, they used to be that way. It's weird being in them but at the same time it seems appropriate with it being October awareness month. Hmm.

I miss Xander. Good night.

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's October: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Today is October first. This marks the beginning of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Having Eli, my mind is constantly busy. It's at the end of the day when Xander is on my mind the most. But October, knowing that there's a whole month dedicated to remember Xander and many others like him, it's all I can think of. Sometimes Xander feels like a dream. My whole pregnancy seems like it only lasted a day but when I was pregnant with him it felt like eternity.

Xander died because the placenta tore away from the uterus. Also known as placental abruption. Placental abruption causes 10-20 percent of stillbirths. But only one percent of pregnancies that are diagnosed with abruption end in stillbirth. I never thought I'd be that one percent. I can still remember all of the doctors assuring me that Xander would make it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Twenty Months and One Week Later

Twenty months. And one week.


I didn't even realize it has been twenty months. Two months ago I realized it had been 18 months, a year and a half, so why wouldn't I know it's been twenty months now? Reflecting on our lives in the past twenty months is crazy. Let's see...

January 2011 - Xander died.
February 2011 - I got my engagement ring.
March 2011 - I turned 21. Rob was out of town for work. My first birthday after Xander and Rob was gone. It sucked. Found out at the end of the month that I was pregnant again.
April 2011 - Told we had a 50/50 chance again.
May 2011 - I had a D&C. The baby passed around 6 weeks I didn't know until 7. I found out alone. Rob was out of town, again. A few weeks later was Xander's due date and Mother's Day. Worst. Month. Ever.
June 2011 - We decided we would move to TN. I wanted to be anywhere but Colorado.
July 2011 - We got married. First Father's Day for Rob.
August 2011 - We moved to TN. Found out we were expecting Eli.

The next eight months are a blur. Lots of time spent in the obstetricians office. Lots of hours crying. Mourning Xander but feeling Elijah kick in my belly. That was such a bizarre feeling.

April 2012 - Easter. Elijah was born. Elijah spent 8 days in the NICU. More tears. More worries of the unknown. They didn't even have a diagnosis for a few days. Time spent wondering, in my hospital room...with empty arms again...waking up in the middle of the night wondering how my baby was. This time instead of paging a nurse to bring me my dead baby in the middle of the night, I called a NICU nurse on the phone to reassure me my living baby was still living.

The past (almost) six months since Elijah was born are a blur. We've moved again. Still in TN. Tried to move back to Colorado. I miss seeing my first baby. I miss the cemetery. I never thought I would miss a cemetery. I still feel Xander is with me every where I go but something about being there. It brings back so many memories. I spent so many of the early days there. I wouldn't go anywhere, but I would go there. It's the only way I would get out of the house. We went to CO in July and only got to spend a few minutes there. Before we even made it to the bench I burst into tears. Touching that stone I feel closer to Heaven. Closer to Xander.

I wonder if Elijah feels Xander's presence. Lately he has been staring at Xander's picture and just smiles. He smiles and giggles so loud. I think he knows. That there was someone before him. So weird to think that if we hadn't lost Xander we wouldn't have Elijah.

It's amazing how much your life can change in twenty months. And one week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Having a Rainbow.....

It's been awhile since I've posted because I've been busy with my rainbow Elijah! He was born screaming on Easter Sunday (April 8th) via c-section at 9:49am. To make a long story short he had a collapsed lung and was rushed out of the OR before I was even stitched up. I didn't get to hold him until he was over a day old and after a 9 day stay in the NICU he was cleared with a clean bill of health and we were able to take him home. He is now over 3 months old and healthy as can be. We've had our ups and downs with being unsuccessful at breast feeding, problems with formula and a diagnosis of reflux but I think we finally have it under control now.

After losing Xander and then the miscarriage that followed a few months after his death, I swore I would never complain about having a crying baby because well, at least the baby would be alive. And going through Elijah's NICU stay made that feeling even stronger. Seeing on x-rays that your baby's heart is being shifted because of a pocket of air in his lung isn't exactly an easy thing to go through. So when we brought him home  and I tried and tried to breast feed him and he would just scream and patience was tested. I spent his first weeks home in tears, even after the switch to formula to relieve some stress I was carrying. He wasn't gaining enough weight by his first well baby check up and I cried every time I thought of breast feeding so we decided formula was better. Well then he started spitting up. Then that turned to vomit....then he began choking on his vomit. Then he refused bottles. Not to mention the three different types of bottles we tried before an amazing friend suggested Born Free bottles to us (thanks again, Heather!!!).

We were in and out of the pediatrician's office every single week until a few weeks ago. He's 14 weeks now. Not to mention I had a c-section which is a very serious surgery and I never let myself heal. I wasn't going to leave my baby alone in the NICU so multiple times a day I walked from my room to his on the level above where my room was. I got released before him so Rob and I would spend breakfast-eleven pm in the NICU every day. Once we got home I felt so-so and my incision was healing nicely. Then Rob went out of town a couple of times and the second time he was gone my incision broke open. I was in serious pain for about 8 weeks after Elijah's birth. Annnnyway...where am I going with this?

Oh yeah, I would never complain. I don't think I realized how tough motherhood is. I thought I would have a vaginal delivery, then it turned into a c-section which worried me because of the recovery for me. Then Eli went to the NICU. Then he had problems eating pretty much until a week or so ago. At the end of the day I knew I wouldn't get much sleep but then he started refusing to nap. He fights me every single time and cries so hard he chokes. If I didn't have Elijah and I was reading this from an outside perspective I'd probably be rolling my eyes or cussing me out or thinking I'm ungrateful. But's so hard! (duh it's hard) But it's really trying some days.

I LOVE Elijah with all my heart and not a day goes by that I don't think of the hell we went through the past 18 months to get here. And every time he looks at me and smiles with his big blue eyes I go back to that question I still wonder...what color eyes did Xander have? I remember what it feels like to have empty arms and even though my arms usually have Elijah in them, they ache to hold Xander. Because I wanted Xander and only got to hold him a few times before he was taken away from me. When Elijah was born and they rushed him away from me....oh God. I kept wondering if the 30 seconds I spent looking at him struggling to breathe would be the only time I saw him alive.

I thank God every day for what he has blessed me with. A beautiful living baby boy and a beautiful angel baby boy in Heaven. I thank God for giving me the chance to have more babies after Xander. Elijah isn't a replacement but he is definitely helping me heal. But in some ways he brings up a lot of grief that I've never felt. Watching him accomplish new things and watching him grow I always wonder what Xander would be like...more than ever now. Would he get the same squinty eyes when he'd smile like Elijah does? Would he have the same dimples? Then when I see brothers close in age it makes my heart hurt that not only am Rob and I missing out on having two boys, but Elijah is missing out on getting to know his older brother. Would Xander be more of a caretaker to Elijah or give him tough love?

Having a rainbow doesn't erase the memories or the emotions that I had right after losing Xander. If anything I think TIME has healed me more than anything. The more time that passes the more I am at peace with where Xander is. I know I will never know the answers to the questions I have about him. Or the answer to why me? Why Rob? Why the thousands of women who lose their baby, especially their first baby, every single year? Why any one? Why do babies die before they get a chance to live? I think it will always remain a mystery. Maybe one day I can ask Jesus. But by then, will it matter? I'll be with my baby again.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Possible C-Section

I found out yesterday that Elijah is complete breech. This means he is basically sitting cross legged on top of my cervix. This is also the only breech presentation where an external version cannot be done so either a) pray to God he flips or b) accept the fact a c-section may be my only option. Next week we are scheduling the c-section date which will probably be on April 23rd. I have been processing this ever since I found out.

We went into this pregnancy with an open mind thinking and knowing, that anything could happen. A c-section is something we already thought about but I never put too much thought into it because it wasn't necessary but now it is. I've accepted the fact that if this is our only and safest option than so be it. I just want him to arrive safely! Then I realized that I will never experience another vaginal delivery...Xander will be my only.

Do I feel blessed that I got to at least experience a natural labor? Or do I feel cursed knowing that will be my only memory of a natural labor? Was it better to experience it or do I wish I never had the chance to associate the two? I don't know. I really don't. I think Xander's birth has to be the reason why I am scared of a vaginal delivery. Nothing during delivery caused him to die, he was already dead. Just the association of the two....ugh. For the past 2 months I've had nightmares that Elijah dies during delivery and it's always a vaginal delivery. With Xander, before I knew I was pregnant, I dreamed I was laboring in my bath tub. What did I do for two hours before going to the hospital on January 13, 2011? I sat in my bath labor...without knowing it was labor. So maybe a c-section is the best bet. Maybe it's meant to be. I just hope I can avoid the judgement I'm getting already for "taking the easy way out". I haven't had one yet but I know there is nothing easy about a c-section.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Almost Did It.

I almost told a complete stranger about Xander. I've told nurses and doctors about Xander obviously, for medical reasons, but never a stranger like that. We are having problems with our current townhouse and my pregnancy got brought up when I went to talk to the property manager. She asked with a big smile on her face "is this your first"? I stuttered for a moment, squinched my eyebrows together trying to make a quick decision and I said "yes....and no". Her smile remained but she instantly looked confused and said "oh...yes and no..." and I just said "yep". There were a few seconds of awkward silence and then she went on to talk about her one kid.

Maybe one day I'll get there.