I Still Struggle

You would think my life would be full of happiness now that I finally got my rainbow. You would be right, in a way. But, the 9th marked three years since we lost our first. Three long rollercoaster years. I couldn’t help but wonder, like I always do, what he would have been like. How would, what I imagine to be a cantankerous 2 year old, react to a baby brother? My cup would surely be running over. I wonder if he would be red headed like his brother or would be be brunette like his parents? I wonder if he would look like me or his daddy? I wonder if he would be quiet, yet stubborn, or loud and boistrous. Mostly, all I do is wonder. Would be be a good big brother? Would he be jealous? Would I be able to survive having two kids? 

My thoughts have been circling these questions as the day I will never forget retreats again. The grief is still there and a couple of tears have been shed. The thing that is most amazing, Superman seems to know. Maybe his brother tells him, maybe not. I don’t know, but when I’m quietly crying, Superman looks at me so seriously, holding me with his gaze. Like he is trying to convey something deep and heartfelt.

 In the quiet moments, that is where I know all my children are. They know they are loved. They love me. They watch their baby brother. They are happy and proud and, perhaps secretly amused, that he gives me hell. I still struggle with missing them and the lives and memories were could have shared. I’m their mom, my love is never ending. I will always miss what should have been, yet, I have found a measure of peace. Peace in the quiet moments when I look at Superman’s sweet face. I see his siblings there and my heart, for a fleeting moment, soars. 

Advertisements

Beautiful

I’ve been thinking about this off and on for a while now. Beautiful means a lot of things to many different people. I mean, you have society’s view, your partner’s view, and your view. There is a lot of competition out there. So, I want to talk about a time I felt beautiful.

It was the day I had my rainbow. Seriously, that day should not be beautiful because I went about 12+ hours not eating. That was just to have my C-section. We were very blessed and had a birth photographer. She is freaking amazing and wonderful and I love her. Anyway, she captured everything! It was awesome! My very unplanned C-section was beautiful.

Now, I get it, you are probably thinking no c-section is beautiful. Mine was because it brought my rainbow. Mine was because it very likely saved my life and his. Mine was because it was mine. Ask any mom and she will tell you that there is no sound like a baby’s first cry. Ask a loss mom or a mother who struggled with infertility and they will still tear up when they tell you it was the first cry. Me? I balled as soon as I heard him. I still cry thinking about it. No sound is sweeter except for baby’s first laugh.

So why do I think the day I became a mommy on this side of heaven as my most beautiful? Because I have never felt so much emotion. Because I waited three years to hold my son.

image

Because despite my exhaustion, pain, and hunger, I had never felt more alive. I had never felt before. In that moment, I was both invincible and fragile. I was truly alive for the first time since my journey started. That moment was my everything.

My First(Third) Mother’s Day

As we all know, Sunday was Mother’s Day. It’s always been a hard day, but somehow, it was even harder this year. This was my third Mother’s Day, but to everyone else it was my first. All day I was reminded again and again about how happy I should be. Don’t misunderstand, I was/am so happy to have my rainbow to celebrate. However, what about my other babies? Are they meant to be lost forever? Forgotten because they didn’t survive? I mean, my oldest would be two. How can he not matter?

I’m not trying to say I spent the day in a complete funk, I didn’t. I just felt all my losses a little bit more than normal. There are always days that suck. Mother’s day is one of them. It’s the day that reminds me how long I’ve been a mother. It reminds me of what I’ve lost. It also shows me what I’ve gained.

I have a beautiful family. We’ve been through the unspeakable and ended up with a miracle. Not to terrible when you think of it like that. My heart is full and empty. My soul is tattered and whole. I’m a dichotomy, empty and full. They say a mother’s love is everlasting, I can attest to that. My love is ever reaching. I love ALL my babies. So even though this wasn’t my first Mother’s Day, it was the first that I celebrated.

8 Weeks In

It’s been 8 weeks since I’ve given birth. It’s hard to believe, really. I keep waiting for someone to come and say thanks for watching my baby, I’ll take him back now. It’s crazy to think I have an 8week old (3w6d adjusted). I still don’t really feel like a mom. Mostly,  I feel like an all you can eat buffet. I breastfeed (bf) and let me tell you, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. No joke. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Because Superman was born so early, our bf relationship got off to a very rocky start. Late preterm babies are very sleepy, more so than the typical newborn. This little fact required me to practically do acrobatics to keep him awake enough to latch, much less feed. We ended up triple feeding. This meant I put him on the breast then pumped them fed him what I pumped. It is so hard!! Pumping every 2 to 3 hours to stimulate my milk to come in. I look back and I’m amazed I survived. Even with triple feeding, Superman did not make it back to his birthright until he was 4 weeks old. I don’t think I’ve ever been so stressed out before.

Now, we have a much better bf relationship and I’ve been able to stop triple feeding (Yay!). He now weighs a hefty 8lbs 3oz, which is huge!!! We met a friend of mine for lunch one day and her infant, who is just two weeks, is bigger than Superman. It’s crazy to think he is just now the size of the average infant. My friend remarked how small he is, and it’s true. He is still so very tiny, despite his weight gain. He is not covered with the typical layer of fat most newborns are born with. He is finally gaining some and there is even the slightest hint of rolls on his thighs!!!! Still, up against a full term baby, the differences are plain to see.

We have our two month appointment next week and I can’t wait. His doctor is going to be shocked at how big he is! I mean newborn clothes finally fit him well!!! It’s pretty exciting! We just moved up to size one diapers last week. My kid is turning into a chunk by preterm standards! I know we have a long road ahead. But, sitting here watching him sleep and hearing him practice laughing, my heart is full. It may not be how I thought I would give birth, but I will not trade anything for the world. I got my rainbow, earlier than expected, but he’s here and safe!

It’s Been Awhile

It’s been awhile since I’ve even thought about writing again. My life has been ridiculously busy. Since we lost Baby Miracle, it’s been a whirlwind of activity. I slipped into a semi depression where I abhorred all things TTC. It wasn’t pretty. I stopped charting, tracking CM, all of it. It was liberating, TBH.

Shockingly, I got pregnant despite my ambivalent ways. I will never forget it. A random whim to take a test, I’m pretty sure I was missing peeing on all the things, and thus the whim. To my complete shock, it was positive. I started at it for a full 5 minutes in disbelief. Shock giving way to joy, joy to hope, hope to terror. That day, that test began my journey into pregnancy.

My baby turned out to be quite the trooper. First betas were over 1800 at 4 weeks, over 3,000 just 48 hours later. Not to shabby for a girl who want supposed to conceive. I knew from the get go that this one would stick. And stick it did. For the first time ever I surpassed all my loss milestones. With every appointment, I breathed a little easier, until I didn’t.

My 26th week I went in for my GTT. I was nervous about it before no one want GD. What I didn’t expect was my mentioning some itching I had to turn into a high risk diagnosis. I had cholestasis of pregnancy. My picture perfect my body finally did something right pregnancy flew out the window.

Cholestasis was my nightmare. I had two hospital stays, twice a week NSTs, and constant fear of if my little Superman would make it. It was awful. At 31weeks I had timeable contractions that required meds to stop them. That was the beginning of the end. My lab work was trending up again and every NST showed contractions. At 35w4d my time being pregnant was over. My labs were to bad, my liver was in danger.

At 35w4d, my Superman was born via C section. He weighed a whopping 6lb6oz and was 18.5  inches long. He managed to miss going to NICU by the skin of his teeth. He was perfect. So, now, my blog is shifting slightly. It will be about my life as a mom to a late preterm baby. It is full of its own challenges and fears. But their is joy and laughter and snuggles. I finally did it, I’m a mom to a baby this side of heaven. I finally got my rainbow.

Grief

Today I’m sitting here thinking. I’m thinking about my latest loss, I’m thinking about my infertility, and I’m thinking about how tired I am of all it. They are pretty morose thoughts. I mean, I would be over half baked right now with Baby Miracle. That’s a big deal.

Grief is a funny thing. You know how when your are tangled in the blankets? That is how grief is. It gets tangled in your life, the more you fight it, the more tangled up you are. Whether you have lost a pregnancy, have had failed cycle after failed cycle, or you lost a loved one; grief doesn’t discriminate. It takes hold of you with a fierceness of a mama bear protecting her cubs. It strangles you, suffocates you, and eventually drowns you. Then, when you think you can’t do it any longer, it loosens its grip. In those moments, you are free, weightless, lighter than you’ve been in a while. They are short-lived, however. There will be something to make it all come crashing back. Heavier than before.

Like the changing of the tide, it’s inevitable. You will always mourn what you lost. Days that never had significance before will have the power to bring you to your knees. Those are the days you pray to make it through. Those days that swallow you whole. Your heart cries out to anyone or anything that will listen. You wonder if it will always be like this, these days that hold such heartache. You look at yourself, take stock of how you are. You find that your heart, though broken, is slowly piecing back together. Your soul will always miss the piece that it lost, but it, too, is on the mend.

They say souls are the part of us that last forever. I wonder if that means the three pieces I lost will live on as well. I wonder if I will ever have a piece that lives in this life. The soul and the heart are complicated things. They hold our life, or love, all of our essence. They remind us what we are missing, but they also show us what it means to be strong.

A Letter to Mommies From The Other Side….

letter-writing

I see a lot of letters out there to different “groups”, but I wanted to write this one to mommies from my side of the fence.

To the Moms,

I see you at Walmart. You have your beautiful children with you. Your buggie loaded down with supplies for the week. Your little boy is dancing to a song he is loudly singing. Your little baby girl cooing along in her own way. I watch you as you desperately remind your son that he needs to use his inside voice. I see how stressed you are.

I see you in the neighborhood as I walk my dog. You vigilance as I walk past with a ” dangerous” dog is admirable. You watch carefully as we walk by. I wave, as people in the South do. You wave back and return my smile all the while watching. One of your children wants to pet my dog, you quickly try to shush him. I hear and we stop. I look straight at you and say it’s fine. You cautiously approach, your children come forward fearlessly. My dog behaves wonderfully and your comment on the matter is a surprise to you. We part having only spoken a few words, but your eyes are apologetic as you walk away.

I see you at a friend’s get together. We greet and talk for a minute. Your children come up and throw their arms around me. I soak in the affection of little arms and legs wrapped around me in a big hug. You watch and see the grief in my eyes. You know my story,you know what I have lost. I can tell, even after all this time, your are still uncomfortable around me. You watch me carefully as I listen to your daughter tell me some new thing. The chasm that divides us grows wider by the minute.

We will never be equal, you and I. You will only know the innocence and joy of pregnancy. I will only know the fear. We reside on opposite sides of an imaginary fence. I will never make it fully to your side, the best I could hope for is to straddle the middle. Yet, you showed me great courtesy and strength. The things that separate us are big, but you find ways to try to bridge the gap. Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be in your child’s life, whether it be as a passerby or the lady with the doggie or as a friend. You show great courage.

Sincerely,

A mommy to angels

This is not based on a single encounter. This based off my personal experience with different Moms that have crossed my path. When you lose a child, whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss; the grief is a part of you. It’s not something that can be hidden all the way. It is an ever-present, a mark upon your very soul.