Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Two year's

Two year's ago I sat eagerly awaiting Ethan's arrival hoping he would come soon.  I was only 34.5 weeks in my pregnancy with him and I thought I was suffering in pain from being very pregnant.  I was rushing my husband to get the room done so it would be ready, my bags were being packed for the hospital, Everything was so rushed towards the end.  If I only knew then what I know now. 

Suffering then is nothing compared to now.  Ingorance was bliss.

Two years ago I heard the most devestating news, "I'm sorry but we don't see any cardiac activity."  I think the world stopped at that moment and I felt so closed in, I couldn't hear a thing after that.  We just sat in that room and cried.  Walking out in the waiting room seeing pregnant women holding their swollen bellys.  I felt myself screaming inside.  Screaming because it happened to me, not that I would wish this on anyone but it was me.  

Two years ago I gave birth to the most angelic little person ever all 5lbs and 3oz of him.  Nothing was wrong with him he was perfect from his head to his toes.  He had a little mark on his nose where his skin was coming off.  I remember being so numb from the moment I left my ob's office.  When they went to hand him to me I don't really remember anything other than just holding him and the rest of the world just disappeared.  I don't remember my nurses, the photographer came and I only briefly remember being irriated because everything felt so posed and I just wanted to sit and cry.

When I was wheeled out of the hospital I was in the wheel chair facing my room and Ethan was just laying in the little bed.  I felt so much heartache leaving him there.  I knew he couldn't come home with me but I wasn't suppose to leave empty handed, and my baby was all alone.  No one else loved him the way we did.
We are embarking on this new journey now and I know that seems strange to hear because we have been living this life for almost two years now.  But this is new, it's a new chapter in our lives.

I found this from a year ago so I thought Id share, its on Ethans memorial site
I'm more broken then anyone knows, because I've seen how some people handle grieving people, like they're plagued, I'd rather not be one of "those" people, so I act as normal as I can be. Why am I ashamed to be grieving still? Its because some of society thinks there's a "get over it" date I should be well beyond. If I'm being totally honest, I don't think I'll ever be beyond it, broken is the new me, I'm getting comfortable in this new state, it feels normal, and comfortable most days, except the days when I need to express the pain the most and don't feel like I can, or that anyone wants to hear it, and those are the days I am screaming in my head because I have so much to let loose, but don't want to seem "Crazy" or like I am dwelling, or not healing, not coping, or having unhealthy grief.

Don’t let anyone tell you where your journey should end or how long you should grieve. Im not done grieving yet and I don’t know if I’ll ever put a time line on it either why should I? I will always be grieving my son but I will learn how to grieve healthy and be able to live my new life. I will tell you it does not go away but I promise the pain does get a little easier to manage with time. But there will be days when it seems like your grief has taken over again just when you thought you got through the healing process. I promise its ok you will get through. Be easy on yourself and put one foot in the other its not a marathon when and if you complete your journey in grief is ok.
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
There's nothing wrong with me, my grief is not pathological, I'm not sick, and I'm not crazy! The fact that I still grieve, and have bad days, and feel anguish and sadness and moments of despair and frustration are not symptoms of unhealthy handling of our tragedy, they are side effects of having lost a child, I am not abnormal or unusual because I give way to them and allow myself to feel horribly and irreparably broken, its who I am, what would be unhealthy would be to deny that I am in pain.

The first year was filled with denial, anger, sadness and bargining.  This second year will be more about feeling complete, whole, content and filled with sufficent acceptance.

I say sufficent because I will never fully be able to accept that my son is gone and be one hundred percent ok with it.  I know I have been able to find a purpose in his death but I still whole heartly miss him, the kicks and squirming while I held him under my heart.  The fast pounding of his healthy heart on the doopler.

I know lucky I am to say I held an angel and that beautiful, healthy, amazing little boy was mine.

I will have to learn how to continue to tackel well ment but yet hurtful comments from strangers, and yet offer healing to other families walking this path from the beginnning.

Sometimes I just fall to pieces. ‘I just wish we had Ethan with us.’ … ‘I wish we could call him in heaven. I’d call him everyday.’ … ‘how can we have christmas when our whole family isn’t here?’ … ‘I just wish I could have my baby here with me.'  'I wish we got little snapshots from Heaven to see what he looked like or what he was doing'. 'still struggling to find the right words to say happy birthday and celebrate his life.

Eight years ago when I found out I was pregnant with my first little one I knew fear, how easily something bad could happen.  Getting hit by a car, getting their little hands on something dangerous, getting hurt in a car accident.  I guess I just never really thought I would have to burry one of my own kids.  I always thought they would have to burry me.  Nieve or foolish so be it, I just didn't think this would be my life.

It seems there is always a milestone as we would have with any of our other children.  This is marks the beginning of becoming a toddler and the terrible two's, my ears ache to hear "no" from a stubborn two year old, who is kicking and screaming because I won't give him a cookie at breakfast or upset because I didn't put his milk in the right sippy cup.

I imagine that he would be tall and slender like Blake was, yet dark hair unlike the three other boys.  He would be gental, and loving and yet he would have that demanding two year old personality.

I think he would love playing with cars and balls, and running up and down the hall scretching at the top of his lungs at the other boys.  He would be the wild child, I just know it.

We would be signing him up for soccer this year I am sure of it.  I also think he would be a wise little one who would love to sit and read or should I say look at the pictures.  I think Ethan would be the peace keeper out of all of the boys.

I miss him so much sometimes it leaves me breathless. 

The other day while I was out getting a birthday gift for a friend, I was looking at willow trees.  Someone gave me my first one when we lost Ethan and ever since I have collected them.  All have a different meaning.  Well I was trying to decided which one I wanted this year for Ethan's birthday and a few with tiny babies caught my eye and then one with a mom holding a toddler stretched out against her I believe it was called "Child of my Heart" caught my eye and I thought "yup that is the one.  Ethan would be just about that big."  I will always find it hard to picture him as an older toddler/child he was my baby.  And he really is a child of my heart.

But something about that figure the little boy had dark hair, and I long to hold him against my chest I never got to do that.  The figurine looked like he fell asleep and she was carrying him to bed.  For a moment I felt my heart ache with a tremendous amount of pain.  I will never get to carry a sleepy Ethan to bed.  Someday I hope to get to snuggle with him, I hope he doesnt grow too fast and out grow my lap.  He will outgrow me long before I will ever outgrow him.

My heart is heavy today knowing I never get to hear "mommy I love you", or even maybe some hateful words that I am sure my others will say.  I am learning how to walk this ackward journey without a manul.

If I knew then that the days left were so few, I wouldn’t have prayed so hard for them to be over.

If I knew I was really going to lose him, I would’ve stayed awake longer feeling him turn this way and that, treasure every hiccup, every beat of his strong little heart beating next to mine.

If I knew it would end the way it did, I wouldn't have complained about the time I did get.

If I knew so few friends would get to hold him, I would’ve made sure you were there.

If I knew how much the few pictures we have would mean, I would have had a thousand more.

If I knew memorys slowly fade I would have video tapped everything about him, and our last goodbye at the funeral despite other people's objections.

If I knew

The human capacity for grief is like bamboo-far more flexiable than you'd ever believe at first glance.

It has been a awesome yet trying two years.  Somedays I have had to paddle very hard to keep a float.  Somedays I felt like a fish swimming up a stream and like I didn't get any further than where I started.

But in reality I know I have come pretty darn far.  I have grown so accustomed to drinking from the bitter cup this life keeps offering me that I feel like I can drink and still be able… more than able actually.  I am putting my dancing shoes on again. some days will be easier to dance to than others I’m sure, but I will continue to dance. whether it be as joyful as twirling with the boys out in the sun or as solemn as someone holding me close with hardly a movement to be seen… I will continue on. it’s time to dance again.

Without Ethan I wouldn't be who I am today.
 I wouldn't be a part of most of the most valueable organizations on this planet NILMDTS,
 I wouldn't want to help comfort other's near as much as I do now, because I too know their pain unlike most other people
I wouldn't strive to make such a difference in the lives of other Angel parent's because before it didn't make as much sense as it does now,
I wouldn't have some of the most beautiful people in my life that I call friends Rae, Allison, Sara, Cindy, Stephanie, Jesse, Teresa, Brianna, Cynthia, Holly, I know I am leaving many more out and I'm sorry I could go on all day.  But without Ethan I wouldn't know them at all.
I have gained a extended family through NILMDTS.
This blog would not be here.

So yes somedays it hurts like hell and it still does as I write this, but in the end after some heavy tears I know in my heart that there was a purpose.  Maybe not a purpose from God but I have made a purpose in Ethan's brief life. He has touched more lives in a single day and through pictures than I will ever be able to accomplish in my life time.

So Happy 2nd Birthday my Little Man >Fly High We love and Miss you very much

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Other people trying to find a reason

So today while I was at the chiropractors he had me slide my jeans down a little, and Ethan's little footprints were exposed.

He said well that's a neat tattoo what is it about?  I told him we had lost our son and they were his footprints.  He went on to ask about how old he was and other stuff.

I turned to this sweet older man who seemed genuinly interested, and told him we lost Ethan at 34 weeks into our pregnancy.

He patted my shoulder and turned to me and bluntly said and I quote, "well sometimes those things are for the best, there must have been something wrong with him."

I wanted to start bawling, but soon just blurted out, " No he was very healthy, it was a freak cord accident where the blood and oxygen supply get cut off for a brief time and it kills them".

I think he was in shock but I think I was more in shock.  I mean where did society become a blunt place?

Why can't people just keep it simple and say I'm sorry or something simple.  I know they feel the need to say something, but usually it almost always ends up hurting more.

I hate hearing things like, "God needed an Angel", "there must have been something wrong with him", " It had to have been for the best", "At least it was now instead of when you got to know him".

I mean keep your opinions to yourself, at the time I could care less if God needed another Angel, I wanted my son.

Even if there was something wrong with my son, do you think that would make me love him less?

And how do you even know what the pain would feel like now or later, don't try to minumize my pain.  He was my son and I would love him regardless.  Would you kill your dog or another child because there was something wrong with them?  More than likely no.

I guess it's one of those things we are bound to run into, and somehow use it as a teaching experience.

Had I not been caught off guard I would have loved to tell him.  That no Ethan was very healthy I just happened to be the 1 in 200 pregnancies that had a stillbirth and that more often that not, there is no explanation.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just when you think

you have a grip on life, well it all changes.

I have managed for months to be strong, and to keep it together inside and out.  I did so well.  That is until today I realized that I am now about 3 weeks away from the 2 year anniversary of Ethans death, learning of his death and the day he came silently into this world.

I feel crushed beyond belief.  I am sad, angry once again.  But I am trying with all my might to just hold on and know soon this feeling will go away for a few again.

But for now I guess I will stay crushed, I will absorb those feelings and just ride it out.

A quote from a good friend Jennifer "Time doesn't heal all wounds, it's mearly a band aid and sometimes the wound bleeds through..."

I cannot believe two years ago I thought I would be bringing home a baby soon, and that I would be able to change his diapers, cuddle, kiss him and watch the amazement of life through his eyes.  I thought my family was going to be complete.

I was not prepared for the diaster my life was going to take on.  I sat by not even a year before and watched my friend deliver her son silently into the world.  And I thought if I was careful and I mean really careful.  Checked his heartbeat like a freak, took really good care of myself and paid attention to movement.  That it wouldn't happen to me. 

Not because I was better than her, but because stuff like that doesnt happen twice especially when it happened to someone you were close with.  Believe me when I say, ignorance was bliss!

Stupid very very stupid to think that way.  Sure it can happen more than once and in fact it happens so much and the world is obvilous to it.

Almost two years ago I went through the most devestating, horrific, terrifying, life changing thing imaginable.  And yet here I stand, but somedays I wish I didnt have to.  Its really easy to be sad.  But its very hard to act happy when your heart is broken.

I wish I would have just let myself really grieve almost two years ago like I should have.  Instead of being so strong like everyone told me I needed to be.  I wish I could have accepted the help of my ob when she came over to check on me and let her just hold me the way she tried to, but I couldn't I was in so much pain and I was so angry.  I wish when she asked me if I wanted to die, that I could have said yes, I mean really who wouldn't.  Facing grief has been much harder.  Instead I sat there cold and frozen not taking in anything.

I guess the next few weeks are going to be another hellish ride through this journey.  I am bracing as best as I can, but it sucks.

I wish I could hold him, kiss his sweet nose, touch his teeny tiny little feet, and perfect hands.  I wish I could hear him cry even if it was for a second.  I wish I would be able to look into his eyes and see what color eyes he had, instead of just imagine.  I wish I could soak it all in just once more.

At twenty eight fast approaching 29 I thought for once in my life I had it all together, only too soon to realize how fast it would all come apart.

The first 26 years of my life were rough but managable to an extent and now I sit here trying to fit the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle of a life back together, but one piece is missing.  So how do you just feel complete when it can't ever be complete?  I guess that's where faith, hope and love fall into place.

Now I wrote the beginning of this yesterday while I was devesated and crushed but I knew today despite wanting to cry I needed to come back to it and find the hope I desperatly need and want.

This is not the club anyone wants to be a part of, too bad memberships are non-refundable.  No one wants to raise their hand and say they are apart of it.  But wait no I do.  Why? because I know that this problem will exist for many years to come. 

I don't want for infant loss to be taboo, I don't want women thinking they have to silently cry at night when the house is silent and no one is looking.  I want for each one of us to be heard, understood and cared for. And I really don't like that stillbirth is so overlooked and overshadowed.  It kills more than SIDS each year and yet no real research is being done.

I hate that my baby and anyone else's baby is not looked at as a baby but a fetus.  Darn it we held them, dressed them, they looked as each of us did when we started this thing called life.  Some call it morbid I call it healing.

I have had many miscarriages and each one of them hurt very much, especially this one I had last November.   I am still trying to find a way to honor that brief life.  To me each of these lives are a gift from God.

But something about holding a full grown baby, who looked just like his daddy and brothers and he even had my nose and dimple (which by the way I hate).  How do you just walk away from that?  I sure can't he was a part of me and he was suppose to make this part of our lives complete.

I guess that's why I write here, because I know too many of us feel this way and I want you to know you are not alone.

It sucks and I mean it, I understand wising for a day or two that the world would just stop because no one likes being on this rollercoaster especially when it feels rather lonely.  It's a ton easier when you have someone to hold your hand and say they have your back.

Well I have your back and it's ok to be mad, sad, angry and disappointed in the world.  And when you get back out of it I will still be here.

I will get through the rest of the day and tomorrow I will get to see someone who has my back, so just ride it out as I tell myself.

Words or wisdom to outsiders

~Please talk about my loved one, even though he is gone. It is more comforting to cry than to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk about him, and I need to do it over and over
~Be patient with my agitation. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in waves, and I never know when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.
~Don't abandon me with the excuse that you don't want to upset me. You can't catch my grief. If you don't know what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, "I'm sorry." You can even say, "I just don't know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that."
~Just because I look good does not mean that I feel good. Ask me how I feel only if you really have time to find out.
~I am not strong. I'm just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don't see me.
~I will not recover. This is not a cold or the flu. I'm not sick. I'm grieving and that's different. My grieving may only begin 6 months after my loved one's death. Don't think that I will be over it in a year. For I am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was with him, the life that we shared, the plans we had for watching our children and grandchildren grow, the places we will never get to go together, and the hopes and dreams that will never come true. My whole world has crumbled and I will never be the same.
~I will not always be grieving as intensely, but I will never forget my loved one and rather than recover, I want to incorporate his life and love into the rest of my life. He is a part of me and always will be,
and sometimes I will remember him with joy and other times with a tear. Both are okay.
~I don't have to accept the death. Yes, I have to understand that it has happened and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just not acceptable.
~When you tell me what I should be doing, then I feel even more lost and alone. I feel badly enough that my loved one is dead, so please don't make it worse by telling me I'm not doing this right.
~Please don't tell me I can have another baby. I'm not ready. And maybe I don't want to. And besides, what makes you think people are replaceable? They aren't. Whoever comes after will always be someone different.
~I don't even understand what you mean when you say, "You've got to get on with your life." My life is going on, I've been forced to take on many new responsibilities and roles. It may not look the way you think it should. This will take time and I will never be my old self again. So please, just love me as I am today, and know that with your love and support, the joy will slowly return to my life. But I will never forget and there will always be times that I cry
~I need to know that you care about me. I need to feel your touch, your hugs. I need you just to be with me, and I need to be with you. I need to know you believe in me and in my ability to get through my grief in my own way, and in my own time.
~Please don't say, "Call me if you need anything." I'll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have. So, in advance, let me give you some ideas:
(a) Bring food or a movie over to watch together.

(b) Send me a card on special holidays, his birthday, and the anniversary of his death, and be sure to mention his name. You can't make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the
opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach out on this difficult day.

(c) Ask me more than once to join you at a movie or lunch or dinner. I may so no at first or even for a while, but please don't give up on me because somewhere down the line, I may be ready, and if you've given up then I really will be alone.

(d) Understand how difficult it is for me to be surrounded by couples, to walk into events alone, to go home alone, to feel out of place in the same situations where I used to feel so comfortable
~Please don't judge me now - or think that I'm behaving strangely.

Remember I'm grieving. I may even be in shock. I am afraid. I may feel deep rage. I may even feel guilty. But above all, I hurt. I'm experiencing a pain unlike any I've ever felt before and one that can't be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes.
~Don't worry if you think I'm getting better and then suddenly I seem to slip backward. Grief makes me behave this way at times. And please don't tell me you know how I feel, or that it's time for me to get on with my life. What I need now is time to grieve.
~Most of all thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping, for understanding. Thank you for praying for me.
And remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss - when you need me as I have needed you - I will understand. And then I will come and be with you.

Monday, January 4, 2010


After looking through several other Angel parents blogs, websites etc I've noticed one thing in common, especially in a stillbirth situation.

Regret's... Sadly we all have them and sometimes they can be so strong it leaves us emotionally breathless.  It leaves us unable to focus on anything but those regret's.

I too have many regrets that I can't just get rid of.  Its very draining to focus on all those would have, should have's and could have's.  Of course we could have, and maybe should have and would have had we known what to do and where we would be standing many months, years later.

But its hindsight and we were thrown for a loop when we learned our child(ren) had died.  I think for most of  us the very words of "I'm sorry we don't see any caradic activity", "or hearing our "child(ren) is imcompatiable with life".  Leaves us completly paralized. 

We are stuck in a paralizing world, for me I dont remember a thing after being told my son was dead.  Other than the chilling screams from family members, and my delivery. And I only remember the moments before my delivery because it was like a sceen from a movie.  Horrifying to say the least.  Those memories will be forever engraved in my head. 

But I carry all those regrets with me daily.  And because of the paralizing pain of those regrets this Christmas almost two years after Ethans passing I finally did something Ive been wanting to do forever.  That is capture all of my children together.  When I had Ethan I was so afraid to let my older two see him I wanted so badly to protect them from the pain I was feeling.

Now it's not like I can go back in time and capture a single image of them holding Ethan or even looking at him.  I don't have a single picture of all three of them together and now four with Corbin here.  So on Christmas I had the three boys sit and hold Ethan's picture.

But we are so hard on ourselves wanting to go back in time and make up for all the so called wrong's we created or didn't get the chance to create.

But really we did what we felt comfortable with at the time.  It may not really have been right for us but at the time our bodies and minds were protecting us.

Unless we have known of someone personally who has been through this devestation or have been coached well by a nurse or doctor giving us their loving hand.  Then it's bound to happen.

I watched my best friend say hello and goodbye to her son a year prior to Ethan's loss so I knew a little bit of what to expect.  And I was able to have pictures taken of Ethan.  Not once did I question whether or not it would be morbid to someone else.

Here are my regrets, I didnt ask to bathe Ethan, we didn't bring an outfit out of the store like filled nursery for him to wear and that we would be able to keep later, we didn't bring a blanket of his so we could wrap him in it and keep it with us, we didn't take many picture's ourselves, we didn't let the other boys hold him.  I wish I would have held him longer, video taped his features.  My list could keep going but its more traumatising to do so.

So even been exposed to this situation I didn't think of those things, my brain was flooded and my feelings clouded.

So I challenge you instead of making yourself miserable and wishing for eternity for things to be different.  Why not make it different for another mom walking this life changing path.

Each year on Ethan's birthday we take down two gift baskets to the hospital where Ethan was delivered at.  One for a boy and one for a girl.  Each basket is filled with items of comfort and items that maybe got left behind.  In order to maybe try to rid those regrets from someone else.
A disposable camera, an outfit, a blanket, two books that brought me comfort (Mommy Please Dont cry there are no tears in Heaven and Empty cradle full heart), a hand casting kit, a hand written card from me giving them sympathy and letting them know how to contact me in case they would ever like someone to chat with, poems of comfort, places to go to for support, things to think about like holding your baby as long as you would like, asking to be moved off the L&D floor, music suggestions, a little hair brush.  Anything we can think of.  I wish we could offer more but these baskets are pretty expensive. 

You don't need to do that, its just an idea we do it for Ethan for his birthday.  But you can do something for your hospital that suits you.  Maybe starting a local support group, or attending a current one just to offer support to a member of this sad club we are all in ( how unfortunate our membership never expires).  Writing up something to give to local hospitals with advice to a parent to be in this situation, asking your hospitals to be involved in the beverment program or starting one etc.  But think of all the ways you can make someone else's journey a little less regret-full.

Lastly please be easy on yourself you did what you could at the time.  You are dealing with a major loss and time will ease the burden of regret's.  For now know you did what you knew how to do and what your body and mind was capable of.