Saturday, May 30, 2009

Life lessons from death....

I wrote the title and then realized how ironic. Lessons about life that we learn through the process of death.

I got to thinking tonight of all the ways death has taken over my life. Iv been through death enough but losing Ethan was one of the worst deaths you can experience. The death of a child.
Now I know to some because he never breathed on his own, he is not really considered a human. But I have all the proof I need in my heart.

Anyways back to the topic. Death has consumed parts of me the past fifteen months.
Iv learned to never take for granted a single day. Although I must admit I'm human I do get caught up in the busy days, and forget to breath and say "I need to make today count".

I don't go to bed angry and I try for my last words to be loving, I'm scared that otherwise tomorrow will never come. I wont be able to take things back if God forbid something happen.

Life has flashed before my very eyes and death has left a foul taste in my mouth. Now I don't think a day goes by that I'm not scared of losing someone else close to me.

I remember as a little girl, my grandfather died. I think that was the very first time death looked me in the eye. He was a male figure and I loved him very much.

The way he held us, his big glasses, the smell of his clothes, the little candy dish by the front door. That little candy dish is where I started my love for those little candies in a strawberry wrapping, its pink and the center has a chewy texture.

Whenever I eat those now I think of him. The hardest part was being a young girl and going to the funeral of a man I didn't want to say goodbye to. That's where I first remember being angry at God and the cycle of life.

They played "wind beneath my wings", and that song still to this day can bring me to my knees and make me cry. He had a viewing and I remember seeing him so cold and he didn't look like himself in that big old casket.

He was no long this big burly man, he looked skinny, cold, white. I remember the first time I peared into the casket I felt like I was punched in the stomach.

I cried and I was scared. Death took a part of me at that very moment.

I mean they tell you from such a young age how when we lose someone they go to heaven and its such a beautiful place. But yet the pain and sting from death is so opposite. He didn't look happy, warm or anything you would expect.

I remember touching him and how cold he was. It was a very weird feeling as a child. He died right before my aunts sixteenth birthday. I remember feeling so bad for myself and her at the same time. Losing your father days before a special time in your life.

I know she spiralled out of control after his death. I cant imagine doing much different. My father died when I was five but I was fortunate enough to be so young and not quite get it.

I think from early on I learned the world was unsafe because sooner or later someone I loved would be gone. Maybe not always from death but life in general.

Death has surrounded me from age five.

I lost my father, then my grandfather, a few other relatives, my great-grandfather, Ethan and my great grandmother will not be around much longer.

I think I also felt the great need to be at their graves because it meant I loved them. When I was growing up and I had a hard time Id go to my dads grave. I would just lay there with him and cry and pour out my heart.

Id also beg and plead that he could hear me. I missed him so much. As an adult I took my kids to his grave in hopes if I did he would be proud of me and get to see my kids.

I don't know where this came from, but I know its a little silly. If there is a Heaven than he must be able to look down and see them and me right?

After losing Ethan I would go to his grave several times a week. Now I only go every few weeks because the pain I get when I go hurts so much. It hurts to know I'm standing above my baby's body, that he is in that cold ground. I know this will sound morbid but I also wonder what he looks like under there now? I mean I know its bones and stuff but I still wonder.

I'm sure because I frequently get dreams the nurses lied to me and they buried him alive so I go to dig him up. But I always wake up before I get to see him.

It hurts to see new babies being buried and to know I know their parents pain all too well. It hurts to know I cant get him this huge head stone that is done perfectly for him just the way we'd like.

I don't know death sucks plain and simple. Although the grieving that results from death is anything but that.

So life lessons from death I'm sure I'm missing a ton
*life is fragile
*tomorrow may never come
*learning a new sense of normal is painful and trying
*death is not pretty
*closure may not always be possible
*anything outside the box is frighting
*death can take a piece of you with it

That nagging feeling

I hate when you get those nagging feelings. Today I was on facebook and they have a new circle of moms thing I was invite to. Well being the mom of 3 other boys I joined it. As soon as I did I got an invitation to join specific parts of the groups.

One for February 2009 and then February 2008 popped up. I was trying to figure out who sent it. I have no clue but then that nagging feeling popped up.

I wasn't sure what to do a big part of me wanted to click accept invitation. Then another part didn't because I knew that Id be overwhelmed. Well of course if your on this journey you know what I did. I hit accept.

As soon as I did their group popped up. Its all about the things their 14-15 month old are doing. Asking questions about advice for certain things. This part sucks. Another reminder of all those things I'm missing out on.

Of course I only have myself to blame. I think I'm going to do what my counselor suggested last week and sit and think of what Ethan would be like today. Ill just take some time to sit and dream and wonder.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kick me while Im down

I was going through mail on another account I have and got a new email today from Gerber (baby food company). It was all about my 14 month old (which if you know my story we lost him to stillbirth). I have not got one of these emails in months and now all of a sudden when I'm having a hard time I get this email telling me all about what to expect during his 14 month.

I hate this. Its no ones fault of course but really it always seems to kick us while we are already down. This of course cant happen on a good week when its easy to hit the delete button and pass it off. Instead it happens when we are having a hard time, and it has to remind of of all we don't have and then things we should be looking forward to.

Its no different than those darn formula samples that come a few weeks after you deliver your baby. Its sucks but it is what it is. I wish the hospitals had some way of sending a message to all the things we sign up for as expectant parents. Letting them no not to send that crap.

We as parents living through grief just wish the world would stop and understand without us having a say a word. But sadly that is not the case. The world is not going to stop, people are not going to be sympathetic and understand our needs and wants. I wish it could be easier for us all.

Well I guess I'm off to respond this email saying "please don't send any more"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

They say it gets worse before it gets better right?

Man my emotions are taking the best of me. Dealing with Ethan's loss, other emotional and physical losses. I'm like a emotional time bomb.

Today my son graduated kindergarten its not all sad things in life. I helped him achieve that sure he did the work but so did we as parents. I'm a big fan of its not just the teachers job its the parents too. We work together to make these little beings into who they will be. We shape them.

He did awesome and I couldn't be prouder of him. Then bam we get his school report card. This is a above grade level student and has been all year. From day one of school he was where kids should be towards the end of the year.

Then came another loss in our life, just a year after losing Ethan. His kindergarten teacher had a stroke in April and didn't come out of it. She was the most amazing teacher and has been missed more than words can say. Blake loved her to death, I loved her to death. I actually don't know of one parent or student in her class who was not deeply affected by her passing.

So on to today again above grade level prior to this teachers passing and the report card shows level dropped to grade level in almost all areas and then math he dropped from a 3 (which is at grade level) to a 2 (progressing towards grade level).

We tried to talk to her and it got us no where other than me in a emotional mess. I was crying she wouldn't listen to a thing we said. We told her we were not blaming her, but that along the lines communication between parent and teacher were missed. Iv been trying to call her for a week. These assessments were done in April and we are just now learning of them.

Now all she could say was basically it was just an assessment and that it wasn't failing a college course. Basically every feeling we had she invalidated. (if that's a word). She admitted to not working with him to help the situation.

Trust me I get that she got put in a crappy situation by taking over months before the school year was over. But she accepted the job. I'm sure there were many subs who would have loved a job even at that point.

Kids were being sent home with bad reports and these were kids who never all year got a bad report. I don't get the system failing perfect children. Or even imperfect children. For heavens sake they lost their teacher. Death is a scary thing as an adult let alone a child. And never was an ounce of compassion showed.

Its frustrating as a parent to know your hands are tied you have done everything possible. And yet somehow crap like this happens.

But because I had a very emotional session yesterday about Ethan and other things I was an emotional time bomb today. I don't feel I did anything wrong other than I looked like a complete fool. I couldn't hold myself together. Mainly because I didn't feel heard and from the get go, she was checking out.

Its frustrating that I still have to live a semi normal life in these types of situations and not be so emotional. But I'm not there yet.

I have to be strong for my children when I feel weaker than shit. I have to stand up for them because they are too young to do it themselves.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Emotionally checking out

Some days are just so draining I feel like I could go on and on. I had a counseling session tonight and so my emotions are raw right now.

Some days I wish I could just emotionally check out of life. I mean this shit is crazy and hard and overwhelming.

Today I'm struggling with the fact I have no tangible memories of Ethan. Sure I have the ones while I was pregnant but its seems that those are far gone too other than the day I found out his little heart quit beating. Nothing prior to that sticks out. I hate it. I hate that nothing will ever make this crap go away. I just have to deal with it and learn to deal with it is healthier.

What a life. I'm tired....I'm emotionally exhausted...But I have no choice but to carry on. I could go drink my misery away but then when all is said and done it will hit that much harder. There is nothing shy of temporary relief.

I'm so emotionally tapped out.

In counseling I talked about the above and needing tangible memory's and things. I'm forgetting little things and when I'm sad I don't have those happy memory's, like people who have lost a loved one that once lived have.

I'm angry that society doesn't realize even though my child never breathed on the outside, that he was a human being.

We talked about trying to make memories. Ones like he was here. And for some f'ing reason I cant. Its impossible Iv tried and it seems stupid because it will never happen in this life time and I don't know what if any other life time there is. And because I just cant picture my baby any other way than as I saw him last.

I talked about wanting and needing people to be real with me and have raw emotions. I'm tired of "I'm sorry". I hate to sound like a witch but I am. I want someone to sit and cry with me and tell me how fucked up this all is. I want someone else to want Ethan as bad as I do.
But when I think of these wants I feel bad. I don't want people to think I'm crazy or need mental help. (trust me I know I need mental help that's why I'm in counseling). I just want to know other people feel this pain and that I'm not so alone.

Counseling is the one place I can be the true me. I'm hurt...broken...sad...miserable...distraut...screaming on the name it and I'm it I'm sure.

I didn't sign up for this part of life and I want out of it. But apparently the only way out is through it.

My head hurts so bad little did I know that 15 months later I could cry as long and hard as I did when I was told my baby was gone.

living with grief

I ran across a quote today on a loss board I go to and it was from a woman who lost her child 30 yrs ago and she said "It's a pain I live with every day. Well, sometimes I live through it, sometimes with it, and sometimes I live over it or under it. But it's always there."

She couldn't be more right on. And then someone said, The puritans put it this way: "Life is now a little less sweet, death a little less bitter."

Iv also heard our pain being described as a scab, it heals but now and then it gets bumped and it bleeds.

Again so right on. I struggle daily trying to find the balance of living for my children, husband and myself. But there is such a fine line. I now have to make a new life and a new normal for myself.

Which is fine I'm doing that 15 months into this journey I'm learning to live with the pain. But its hard to sit back and let life run its course when your life has been turned upside down.

At first I was going to say when my life was destroyed because that's how I feel sometimes. But I'm still here and I still have 3 other children and one of the most wonderful husbands out there.

But its not destroyed I'm just a new me, Ethan is still my son and will always be so. Its just hard to face life right in the eye and keep moving forward when I feel like I'm being pulled back by grief.

I feel so guilty in wanting to see the light again and find an ounce of happiness. Because my sons not here. But I also have got to the point in where I'm truly blessed to have met my little man. I got to see him, touch him, hold him and tell him how much I truly love him. I am his mother and I was blessed.

Now saying that feels a little awkward because Id much rather him here. But he is not and I try to have hope that I will see him again someday.

But I struggle with that too, because I don't get God in this scenario. I'm pissed at him, I'm mad. He lost a child too he knows what it feels like. So why did he take my son? There are so many children who live the most horrible lives why not take them out of misery before they even have to experience?

But I'm hoping and praying that God can handle all my anger and sadness. He must understand it too. I'm human and someday I will forgive and move on from the anger.

My grief finds me in the darkest hours of the night but sometimes during the happiest parts of my days. It shows no preference. And when it hits, it knocks me down . Sometimes I'm able to get back up by myself and others it takes awhile and sometimes with help.

The what ifs and whys will haunt me for a very long time if not forever.

I as most people would do anything to get their child back, of course it seems that those who want a child so badly are the ones that lose a child. I remember for months if not the first year in my sons death. I begged and pleaded to God or just to whoever to please make this go away all I wanted was Ethan back. I still from time to time find myself doing that.

I think its because its such a horrible loss it feels like a bad dream. I hate this part of the process if you would even call it that.

Most days I will be doing my thing and it hits me but it feels so out of this world and like a nightmare I cant get out of my mind. I hate the fact that the 15 months has taken bits and pieces away.

I even feel guilty for saying that because how can a mother possibly forget the little things about her child. I think its because I was in so much shock and grief when I lost Ethan that I didn't think of what I should have been doing during my last moments with him.

Sure I held him and I held him a lot I didn't want to put him down. But I didn't get to engrave him in my memory like I wanted to. I don't remember how tiny he was. I know it was small. He was only 5lbs 3oz. But I cant remember what it felt like to hold him. I want that more than anything.

It seems so long ago now too. The memory fades. Its no different than I guess giving birth and the horrible pain but if you've had a child you know what I mean when I tell you that as soon as they are here its done and you forget all about the pain, until your ready to give birth again then its like crap I'm scared.

I found myself at that point 3 of 4 children. The only reason not with the fourth is because he was after I lost Ethan and I didn't care about the pain I just wanted the baby here and healthy.

The difference is I think with losing a child you don't want to forget, maybe I'm the only crazy person around that has forgotten I wouldn't be surprised. Because I think in grieving we feel as if we are the only ones who have ever felt a certain way.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Last year this day never even phased me at all. This year wow it has touched me and changed the meaning forever.

I was reading a book last night and it said the second year and 18 months if the hardest other than the inital shock. Its so true Iv been dreading the 18 month mark for a week now and Im not really sure why.

Today I went to visit Ethan's grave for the first time in a month. I used to love going there and now it drains me. I feel so guilty but seeing all these new babies being burried is heartbreaking and gut wrenching to say the least. But I went and usually I walk away after 10 minutes and today I couldnt. I didnt want to let go. Walking away ment I was walking away from him.

A man who worked there came and brought me a flag said they were free. I wasnt sure how to accept it. In my mind I was thinking I love Ethan to death but dont people use memorial day for older people and veterns? I wanted Ethan to be included, but looking around the baby area there really wasnt any flags. I accepted and told him thank you. He began to tell me if I needed any help finding someone to let him know. I said"nope we only have on and he is right here". This man was so nice he just kept talking and saying how one was enough. Then he did something almost no one does. He asked me when we lost him.

I told him when and Corbin was in my hands he asked how old Corbin was I told him three months and he made the connection of the two. I told him yes Corbin was born just 2 days shy of Ethans 1st Heavenly birthday. He then commented on the stork bite on Corbins head.
I soon realized that none of the other kids not a single one have a birth mark. It may be a stretch but maybe that little love bite is from Ethan.

Anyways moving on from that. As I sat there I looked around and there were tons of people putting things on older graves etc. And my heart sunk a little. Their hearts didnt seem near as heavy as mine was. I mean sure they were sad but they also have all these great memories they can think about when they get sad. I dont have that the most I have is the times he was kicking in my belly. No one was really in baby land while I was there. Sometimes I wish while I was visiting that Id run into someone else.

So I guess all in all Holidays suck

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A whirlwind

Today was a rough day I have not been able to get Ethan off my mind. Yet its hard because I know only a few people think of him. Its memorial weekend yuck. This holiday has a whole new meaning for me.

Its strange too because Iv lost other people in my life too many to count. If I was to go to the cemetery Id need to buy a store out of flowers. But losing Ethan has made a much deeper impact. Why is that? I can only assume because he was my child.

Today at the older boys games I got to talking to another mother who is an aspiring photographer as well. I was telling her about Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and how I submitted and application.

She went on to tell me there is no way she could do that. I told her if she would have asked me two years ago I wouldn't have been able to either. But losing my own child has changed my perspective on everything. I can only hope to give another mother and father the hope our photographer gave us.

Her mother chimed in and began to tell me how its so much harder to lose a child like someone in her family did at 3 months old due to SIDS.

I wanted to argue at first instead I bit my lip and said I always wonder because as a mother of a stillborn. You want to have something... anything. A look into their eyes to see their eye color, a cry just a single cry anything. I look at my three month old now and yes of course I have a bond stronger than that of Ethan, but at the same time I don't think I do. It would kill me to lose one of the other three boys. I'm not saying that she's wrong but like I tried to tell her. No one will ever know the pain and which is worse because until you've been there its impossible to tell.

Having to give birth and know that my child would be dead was screwed up to say the least. Its the worst pain ever emotionally. You get no reward for giving birth to a stillborn child. When you give birth to a healthy baby or even a baby you get to spend some time with at least you get a little something.

I left the hospital empty handed. Its cruel. No one should ever have to bury their child. I am by no means trying to say a stillbirth is worse pain than losing a child that has lived. But I was astounded, when a woman with no clue tried to tell me what she thought would be harder. And not just what she thought but how right she thought she was.

Then of course after our conversation they walked away. Their lives the same as before and mine crushed. And as always I felt like the glares and them looking at me constantly yet never saying another word to me, was again Angela the leper. I'm treated as if I have a disease. Dam it people I'm not contagious I lost a child. I'm still a human being.

I hate the world some days and I hate the people in it.

I'm tried of people thinking its been 15 months and I should just bam be ok. I'm not and I don't know if and when I will be. I'm still here I'm forced to live on this earth one child shy.

I still have needs and wants to. I wish more than anything people would stop for one minute and think how they would feel walking in the shoes of a mother or father who has lost a child. I promise its one lonely world to live in.

I'm in counseling now and that was a huge step for me. Walking through that door I had the biggest lump in my throat, my hands sweaty. Just in fear another person to look at me like I was crazy. I'm lucky she didn't think that at all, but still a few months later I get those lumps when I open that office door. I'm waiting to be told what a psycho I am.

I want fast relief from this horrible, life sucking pain. I'm not ever going to get it though.

I want someone else if even for a day to take these horrible ugly shoes I have to walk in and put them on for me and just take it away for a single day. Of course what mother who has lost a child doesn't. But this is not interchangeable.

When will society realize the death of a child is not taboo. Its still death but the death of an innocent baby.

I had a woman who lost 2 older children write to me and say how sorry she was for my loss. And how she misses her children all the time. But that her heart broke for mine because she got years with her children at the very least and it was painful to see me empty handed. I cant even being to tell you how much her reaching out acknowledging my pain meant to me.

Dear Grief,

I was reading a book tonight (Life After Loss by Bob Deits), and in part of the book there is a letter to grief from someone so I thought hey why not I'm sure I could write grief a letter. So here is my attempt.

Dear Grief,

Some days your gentle and take it easy on me and I thank you. But other days you take over my life completely and I feel like Iv been hit by a train. Its been 15 months now since I said hello and goodbye to Ethan and some days you still get the best of me.

I'm trying to find my niche in this world and live my new normal. It seems normal enough for me, but yet I still feel overcome. At night is when you hit the hardest. I'm sure its because the hustle and bustle of the day is over. My mind can take a break and relax.

But on these occasions you hit like a ton of bricks and most of the time its when I thought I was handling life pretty well.

I know my grief is normal and it brings me closer to Ethan. But when will it get easier? And do I really even want it to?

Its scary because I'm afraid as soon as I'm able to cope better than now, that Ill forget or that I'm doing a horrible thing by being happy.

How can anyone be happy after losing a child? It seems weird and cruel to ever be happy again.

I know amidst my grief that there is good from this. I think I'm a better mother, wife, friend, daughter. I was a very compassionate person to start with but you've made me so much more.

So I guess there is something to gain from all this pain but I wish my gain would be Ethan back.


The new normal

"Whats Normal"

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your family's life.

Normal for me is trying to decide what to take to the cemetery for Birthdays Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Valentine's Day, July 4th and Easter.

Normal is feeling like you know how to act and are more comfortable with a funeral than a wedding or birthday party...yet feeling a stab of pain in your heart when you smell the flowers and see the casket.

Normal is feeling like you can't sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don't like to sit through anything.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's & why didn't I's go through your head constantly.

Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.

Normal is having the TV on the minute I walk into the house to have noise, because the silence is deafening.

Normal is staring at every baby who looks like he is my baby's age. And then thinking of the age she would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in my heart.

Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my "normal".

Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your child's memory and her birthday and survive these days. And trying to find the balloon or flag that fit's the occasion. Happy Birthday? Not really.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special my baby loved. Thinking how she would love it, but how she is not here to enjoy it.

Normal is having some people afraid to mention my baby.

Normal is making sure that others remember her.

Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives, but we continue to grieve our loss forever.

Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare. Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is taking pills, and trying not to cry all day, because I know my mental health depends on it.

Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.

Normal is disliking jokes about death or funerals, bodies being referred to as cadavers, when you know they were once someone's loved one.

Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone, but someone stricken with grief over the loss of your child.

Normal is sitting at the computer crying, sharing how you feel with chat buddies who have also lost a child.

Normal is feeling a common bond with friends on the computer in England, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and all over the USA, but yet never having met any of them face to face.

Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying together over our children and our new lives.

Normal is not listening to people make excuses for God. "God may have done this because..." I love God, I know that my baby is in heaven, but hearing people trying to think up excuses as to why healthy babies were taken from this earth is not appreciated and makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.

Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did laundry or if there is any food.

Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have three children or two, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that my baby is in heaven. And yet when you say you have two children to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your baby.

Normal is avoiding McDonald's and Burger King playgrounds because of small, happy children that break your heart when you see them.

Normal is asking God why he took your child's life instead of yours and asking if there even is a God.

Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.

And last of all, Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "normal".
A friend wrote the writing below and I think it fits so well with where I am at in my grieving process.

I don't think we'll ever be like we were before loss rearranged our lives, but broken hearts keep on beating, and eventually they heal up, and beat a little stronger, more regularly, and appear healthier, but you can't un-break them.

I am normal.

I am coping.

I am healing, slowly.

I am still in excruciating pain.

I am constantly reminded of my loss and those reminders knock me down, they hurt.

But I get up, after some tears and bad days, and I keep going.

I think I'm doing well even when I'm screaming in my head.

I wish I had more people who understood this in my life.

It would be so much easier to never have to hide how much I still badly need a shoulder.

I need them way more often then anyone realizes or offers anymore.

I'm not over it, I'll never be over it, I wish everyone else didn't get over it so fast, because I feel so alone in all of this now.

I am afraid to heal because I’ll feel less connected to Ethan, I feel closest to him when I’m in the midst of active grief and overcome by pain. My memories are sharpest and hashing out those emotions again helps me to feel nearly exactly as I felt when my world came crashing down, which incidentally was the last time I was really close to my baby.

Meet my son

From the beginning

On July 9th, 2007, we found out that we were expecting a little miracle. With a history of a miscarriage the prior September I was very cautious and tried not to get too excited until we knew things were great.

I started bleeding several times in the first month or so and decided to quit working out with my personal trainer just to be cautious. We had several appointments in the beginning and I started losing hope. At my first ultrasound they said the sac was measuring small, so they had me come in for another ultrasound in a few weeks. When I went back for the second one, the sac grew but the baby didn’t. I was sure this was a doomed pregnancy. But with all the prayer and good thoughts from other people this little one proved they were staying.

In August I found out my little sister was expecting as well and later found out we were due one day apart.

In October we found out we were both expecting little boys. We had a name picked out for him already. He was already part of our family. It was exciting and we were more than up for the challenge that three boys would bring. The rest of the pregnancy proved to be uneventful. I threw up a few times but nothing major and I had horrible heartburn but that’s the extent of it.

At 27 weeks we did a 3D ultrasound and watched our little boy dance on the screen. He smiled, grabbed his cord, frowned. It was amazing and we could tell he already looked like our oldest. He was full of so much personality and spunk, and yet he had never had any experiences outside the womb.

Through Christmas and January we tore down walls and from the floor up built a room for our little man. We were so excited for his upcoming arrival.

On January 26th, 2008, my sister and mom threw a baby shower, lots of people came showering gifts for little Ethan.

Then on February 12th 2008 (I was 34 weeks 3 days)something didn't feel right so I called my husband, and told him Ethan hadn't been moving since the night before and I was worried and waiting on a phone call from the doctor, he told me everything would be okay and that he was probably just sleeping. I laid down and drank some orange juice and ate something sweet in hopes he would kick. After ten minutes I couldn't take it any more I wanted to go in. I was hoping if I caught it fast enough they would be able to fix whatever was wrong.

All the way to the hospital I held my swollen belly praying and wishing he would kick. But then at that same moment I was so scared if he kicked Id be imaging it and if he was gone Id be even more of a wreck.

I got a call back from the doctors telling me to come in even though they weren't open. So we headed in when I got there they hooked me up to the non stress test machine. She couldn't find his heartbeat and I lost it I started crying and freaking out. She kept telling me not to worry she can’t always find it. So she left the room and came back in with a Doppler, again no such luck at that point I was hysterical. They didn't have to really say anything I knew in my heart something was wrong.

She brought in the doctor who told me to follow her. They were going to get the ultrasound. So we followed her to the room and I laid down.
She started but the screen wasn't facing us and she didn't say a word until we heard "I’ll be back I need to get Dr. Jacobson.” I knew just then my worst fears had come true.He came in and applied the wand to my belly and with that I heard words I will never forget. "Im so sorry we don’t see any cardiac activity."

This was the room I had just been in just the week prior where I heard my sons heartbeat. How could this be happening to me? The anguish took over and Iv never fell into a darker place in my entire life. At that moment I wanted to be dead too. My head was all over the place and the emotion took over. I was screaming inside and nothing at that moment felt real. I felt like it was a bad dream and I couldn’t wake up.

So they sent me to the ultrasound tech who performed more images and said it looked like it had happened recently since the dates were all accurate. She said everything looked very normal from what she could tell. She hugged us and told me next time she would make sure this didn't happen. We got two pictures of Ethan at that time. And up until recently I was so happy we got those. But now I realize those are pictures of my dead son, they are so different from all the other ultrasound pictures I have.

Then off to have 15 or more tubes of blood drawn. We were told we would know in two weeks if those tests showed anything at all.

So then we were faced with when to be induced as if this all wasn't hard enough I had to deliver my dead child and endure all the emotional and physical pain as well. It just didn't seem right or fair. It was so hard to understand at the time.

Just moments before my mother had been taken in the hospital for a hysterectomy. I couldn't even talk to her. I called my grandmother who just screamed over the phone. All the pain I felt everyone around me was feeling to some sort of extent. I called my sister who was due the same time as me, and my friend. It’s all I had other than my husband who was in a huge state of shock as well. I didn't know what to say. I couldn't really even talk. I was crying so hard.

Walking out of the room into a room filled with pregnant women. All I wanted to do was scream. Scream for the emotions running wildly through my body.

We got to the hospital around 6pm on the 12th, shortly after they placed some kind of pill in my cervix to help me dilate more and help things along. Once that thing was placed, it didn't take long my contractions were every 2-5 minutes and lasted a few. I didn't want to get the epidural I think a part of me was in denial at that point and also scared as hell. I wanted to feel the pain because to this point I felt like I was in a bad dream.

I finally decided to get it because the pain was intense. I got it around 9pm. The epidural made me itch like crazy so I was given benedryl to help with it. I tried to dose off and on and somehow from complete exhaustion and drugs I managed to. I was so mad that we had to pay for a funeral. Who plans a funeral while sitting in a hospital bed waiting to give birth? Instead of getting handed a packet of new baby stuff and birth certificate information. I got handed a packet on grieving and funeral homes. I was pissed I had to call these places and say "my son died and I will be delivering him today I need prices and to know how to go about this,” "can you pick my son up from the hospital?".

Around 8:00 a.m. I woke up to a weird feeling. I pulled the sheets down and there was tons of blood, I freaked and we called the doctors in. They said it looked like my water broke and it was ok. So they did an exam and I was 7cm 100% -1 station, with a bulging bag of water so she broke it the rest of the way. I think after that she realized the amount of blood was not right. She told us it looked like my the placenta had become detached. Iv never even after two prior kids have seen so much blood in my life.

Everything after this moves really fast. That all happened at 8am. Somewhere between there and 830 I felt another weird feeling. So she came back in and told me that I was passing clots of my placenta. Then about 5-10 minutes later I felt him start to crown. They kept telling me to breathe through it and not push the doctor wasn't there. I tried to tell them he was coming regardless, so the nurse put her hand there to kinda keep him in.

The doctor got there and put on her gloves and I started freaking out crying that I couldn't and didn't want to do this. Ill take that back I was not just freaking out I was hysterical and screaming. I fully remember telling them I couldn't do it I didn't want to. One of the hardest things Iv had to go through I knew what the outcome would be and didn't want to have to endure it.

My grandmother put my mom on the phone and I couldn't even talk to her and through all of my tears and extreme pain I heard my mother’s tears and cries. She couldn't be there. She had not missed a birth yet. And the one time I needed her, beyond her will she couldn't be.

At 8:47am with one push little Ethan Charles Donaldson made his appearance as well as his exit out of this world. He was 5lbs 3oz and we didn't get a length which of course is one of my regrets. He had the most beautiful dark hair that none of our other boys had other than fuzz. He was so perfect there was nothing about him that wasn't. He had ten fingers and ten toes, the perfect little lips and round head. He should have lived. He was so little it was hard to believe.

We were lucky enough to have heard about Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. And a wonder man came and took the most beautiful pictures of my son. Memories we will forever have now. These verify to us and others that he existed. They are not morbid pictures in fact he looks like a perfectly sleeping baby. These pictures help me heal.

My grandmother and mother-in-law were able to be there and hold Ethan after the birth. Later family and friends stopped by to see him as well.