Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Adelaide Jane: 4 Years

Dearest Adelaide,

I want to start this letter by telling you how proud that I am of you. You have handled this change with ease and grace. You have been the biggest helper to mommy through so many things recently. You have been helpful with your brothers, keeping Brighton out of things he shouldn't be into and cheering on Aspen as he pees & poops on the potty. You have hugged me and wiped my tears throughout this miscarriage process. You have been a comfort in such a trying time for mommy and I will never be able to repay you for what it means to me. You are my best girl. Your heart is just so compassionate and your ability to love is well beyond your years.

You have been swimming up a storm this summer and have foregone floaties. You love to swim from one end of the other, dive in, wear your goggles, and float on the rafts. You enjoy every minute spent with your cousins and the pure joy of these memories makes my heart smile.

In so many ways you continue to mature. Your manners are something that I continue to be proud of. Your temper tantrums are fewer and far between meaning we have come a long way! You are so independent in all that you do truly. You can even operate Mimi & Papa's TV and DVD player!

Your imaginary play is such a fun thing to watch. You play with dolls, cars, puzzles, stuffed animals, and more. You play house with your cousins. You pretend call me on the phone and when I answer in real life you like to say "no mom, I am calling you on the phone."

One of your favorite things is to visit Uncle Shane and Aunt Amanda's farm. You love to pet the cats, feed the horses, ride the pony, and help with the chores. I love that you love animals, the outdoors, and God's creations.

When I look at you, I can hardly believe that you were born four years ago. August 30, 2012 seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago all at the same time. I think about all of your milestones and your progress. I think about all of the tough moments where neither of us knew what we were doing. I think about what a miracle you truly are. I think about the privilege God gave me to be your mom. I count the ways we are alike. The attributes I see in you that I had at your age. I pray that the world never breaks your beautiful spirit. I hope that the world never changes your outlook on life and all that it has to offer.

I am so excited for what the future holds for you. For us as mother and daughter. I know it is bright and filled with much love and laughter. Thank you for being you. Thank you for brightening my life. Today and always.

I love you!



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Brighton Kevin: 11 Months

Dearest Brighton,

As I sit here writing this monthly note, I have such a heavy heart. There are so many things that have happened in the last month. Some heart wrenching, forever changing events that have rocked our family. The baby brother/sister that I was carrying in my belly went to be in Heaven. This has made mommy very sad. Very sad for many reasons. One night as I was lying in bed crying, I had a horrible thought. I thought back to when I was pregnant with you and not once but twice believed that I was having a miscarriage due to abnormal bleeding. And I thought what if I had miscarried you and never had to chance to meet the sweet boy in all the land, YOU, Brighton Kevin. What if I lost you and your adorable smile. What if I never got to kiss your sweet face or feel your little arms hug my neck. What if I never got to hear your big squeal or your giggle when I tickle you. What if I never got to see the joy that you bring to Adelaide & Aspen and the joy that they bring to you. That night I could not stop the weeping. Because, son, I could never imagine my life without you.

Over the last six weeks, you have battled your own health concerns. You are not sick- visually. Yet your white blood cell count has been elevated for far too long. Blood work after blood work has shown continued high counts yet negative results for any virus. I wish you had a fever. I wish you had a cold so that it would explain your body fighting an infection. It would give us answers. Instead we are awaiting results from our visit at the Hematologist & Oncologist. The whirlwind of emotions and possibilities is overwhelming. I know the worst case scenario. I am not a doctor but I do know basic science. I can operate google and I can read. And I hate that I can read right now. I hate the possibilities that are looming. I am doing my best to raise this up to God, but as a mother I am struggling with completely doing it.

The shining light through everything is the smile on your face from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. You have this flirty little way of laying your head on my shoulder and giggling. You are an escape artist and have a sixth sense for any open door. You make a bee line for your siblings and as they dart up and down the hallways you are fiercely crawling after them. You wiggle and wobble to them as quickly as you can. You splish and you splash in the pool attempting to climb out of your baby float. And you are loving the doggie cages and doggie water bowls around Mimi's house. I often catch you in the cage or splashing in the water bowl when we forget to put it up.

You weather the storm, baby Brighton. You live life with such grace and ease. You bring a certain kind of joy to those around you. Its contagious and I feel so blessed and proud to be your mommy. I know whatever we are dealt in this life that we will face together. You are such a strong, strong boy. Though you be but little you are mighty.

I love you!



Friday, August 5, 2016

There Is No Greater Agony Than Bearing An Untold Story Inside Of You

I have struggled to write this blog post for over a week now. Each night lying in bed, crying myself to sleep and saying in my head the thoughts and feelings that I want to wash from my memory. The thoughts and feelings that I want to put in writing to rid them from my mind. To begin to heal from this entire experience. Because writing has always been my therapy. My means to heal. To get what I so deeply feel out into the open, no longer bottled up inside my heart and mind.
This blog post was meant to read like this:
On Thursday June 23rd, I was casually doing housework in the late morning while Brighton played as the other two kids were at camp. I was set to have Aunt Flo visit but she hadn't made an appearance yet. I checked my calendar and realized that I had an appointment for acupuncture in an hour. That moved me to take a pregnancy test just to confirm that I was NOT pregnant. (See my fertile window hit between my high school reunion and our St. Pete Beach weekend getaway so I was certain that it was impossible for me to be preggo). But just for precautionary measures and being responsible with my acupuncture, I felt the urge to test. I ran upstairs while Brighton tended to his toys in the pack n' play, grabbed a test, peed on the stick, and headed back downstairs. I nearly forgot about the test until I couldn't find my phone and realized that I had left it in the bathroom. When I peered in I saw the test on the floor. I saw words AND numbers. Numbers mean pregnant. Numbers mean number of weeks. Numbers mean baby. I squealed and my heart beat super fast with a smile inside. You see I love being pregnant. I love my children. I love them from the minute that I know they are inside my body. I immediately FaceTimed my best friend Whitney who was in South Carolina. After 7 failed attempts, I simply called her and demanded that she FaceTime me back. She did and she saw the positive test. She was speechless. Later I picked up the kids from camp and let Adelaide know that "mommy had a baby in her belly." She beamed with pride and I would later found out that she told all of her camp counselors and the entire Saw Mill nursery. So much for keeping our secret ;) I would tell Ryan in a "Topics to Cover" agenda that evening. And for 8 weeks and 4 days, I would dream and pray for my child. 

But this is how it reads now:
Then on Monday July 25th, we would find out that our baby no longer had a heartbeat. We would see him or her on the ultrasound; but we would not see that flickering heartbeat. The one that gives you your first sense of relief when pregnant. The one I continued to blink in hopes that it was just my eyes playing tricks on me. And when Ryan reached for my hand, I knew what I had feared. That my eyes were not playing tricks.
If I am being honest, I felt that it was possible for something to be wrong two weeks prior. And I analyzed for two weeks every, single thing that my body felt, my mind thought, and my heart consumed. I spent the weekend in Miami hiding my pregnancy from my mom and sisters by drinking fake shots and virgin Mojitos (which are not actually that bad). But inside I was nervous as hell and worried about my baby.
Maybe I knew something was happening, or not happening for that matter. Maybe deep down I knew that my baby was struggling to grow. Maybe. I am not really sure what is reality and what is in my head right now.
I called my mom and could not talk. Literally could not breathe or get one word out. I had to tell her that I was pregnant and I lost my baby all in one sentence. And I couldn't find the words for a few minutes. Thank God that she was literally across the street. So I went to her and I just cried and cried and cried. And then I called the one person who I knew would know exactly how I felt...my sister Kendahl. So then I drove to her and when she hugged me, I felt my body collapse. My heart sink and my tears waterfall. I didn't have to say anything because she knew. She just knew. And while I hate that this ever happened to her, I am grateful that she was there to just hug me.
Three days later I had to have a D&C to remove my child. My precious child who I will never meet except should I be so lucky in my dreams. My precious baby who has a coming home outfit, a scrapbook ready to be filled, and a life of love and joy that I had planned. If you have had the misfortune of having a D&C, then you know that it sucks. It sucks so bad. In so many ways it is like giving birth. Your uterus contracting. Bleeding. Passing the after birth. The hormones. God the hormones are horrible. But there is no joy. There are no smiles. There are no happy tears. There is no baby.
I have tried to put into words what this feels like for those who may not understand. The best I can come up with is this: you are grieving the loss of someone that you never even had the chance to meet. It is an incredibly lonely and surreal feeling. It is mourning all of the hopes and dreams you had for someone. It is the loss and grief of something somewhat intangible. It is real and raw. It is sad.
My heart is sad.
I am trying so hard to process it all and heal and grieve and be a mom to my three beautiful babies. But it is hard. And some days I am more sad than others. And some days I am a little angry. Or a lot angry. In my heart, I know that I am blessed beyond measure. I have 3 amazing babies who I love more than life itself. And I am trying to be strong for them. I think of my friends who have no children but have been trying for years. I think of my friends who have children with cancer or other serious illnesses. I think of my friends who have lost their children. And then I thank God for my children. And deep in my heart, I know that God has a plan and that His plan is bigger and better than mine. In time that will help me heal, but it does not lessen the pain right now.
I have yet to go a day without telling someone that I know or telling a stranger that I recently had a miscarriage. In part because I believe that it is not talked about as much as it should be. It can be a lonely, isolating thing especially in the beginning. I want to break that societal norm. I want women to know that they are not alone. I want women to know that they do not have to grieve by themselves if they do not want to. I want women to know that it is not "their fault" or that "nothing is wrong with them." But I also talk about it because it helps me. I do not want my child to be forgotten. Because he or she will always be a part of my life, my story, my family.
I ask for your prayers in the coming days and weeks. I ask that you lift myself and my family up to God. That you pray for healing and understanding. That you pray for grace and faith. I ask that you hug your babies extra tight. That you fall asleep next to them tonight. That you count your blessings because we all have them. I ask that you live your life to the fullest, each and every day. For those who do not have the opportunity. For my sweet, sweet baby.