Friday, October 27, 2017

Tomorrow

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow you would be 6.

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the sixth birthday we will celebrate without you here.

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow  I live through another birthday without you. Tomorrow starts the marking of your time here on earth. Tomorrow we will celebrate, but tomorrow we also grieve. I grieve every day for you. Yesterday, today, tomorrow. But this time of year it is especially intense. Your time of year. Your dates. Your birthday and death anniversary separated by only days.

Tomorrow, I don't want it to come. It always does though. October 28th comes every year whether you are here or not. I just don't want another year to separate us.

Six years my sweet boy, and I still can't fathom how you are not here. How did this happen? How is this real life? How? Why? Why?! How?! The questions that never stop, but will never be answered.

Tomorrow is your day, my love. And while I grieve immensely, I will celebrate that day six years ago I gave birth to the most beautiful 3lb 2oz baby boy with the softest hair. But damn, I miss you so so so much!!!

I love you with all my heart, Marcellus Robert. With every ounce of my being. I love you! I love you! I love you! xoxox.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Next step of pregnancy

I came to write about the anxiety the upcoming specialist appointments and cerclage surgery is giving me. Before I opened a new post I decided to go back and read the post I wrote when I was around Lark's gestation. I'm 12 weeks now and getting out of the "miscarriage danger zone." I know there is no true safe zone in pregnancy. I know too well. I know too many women that know too well. But statistically the chancee of miscarriage has greatly decrease, so my worry and anxiety now shifts to how to keep this baby put until he/she is ready to be born. I remember writing that "Please live" blog post, but I didn't remember writing the following part. And it's so true, so so true.

Once we get through the first trimester and the risk of miscarriage decreases I then start worrying about the cerclage and premature labor. I honestly love love love being pregnant. I love it so much. But the emotional toll it takes on Mike and I is high. It really is. It is so emotionally draining. We are so excited and so happy, but we are also so very scared.
Just the other day I was in tears talking to Mike about that very thing. The stress of all the appointments. The progesterone shots each week (starting at 16 weeks). And the cerclage surgery. The damn cerclage surgery. Of course, it's what I need to keep this baby in. We learned that in Weston's pregnancy. But oh how I do not want to go through that again. How I do not want to question every little twinge and stretch and odd feeling I may have. And every single Braxton Hicks contraction that will happen throughout this pregnancy. To feel my sanity slip when I wonder if I really could be in premature labor and end up in the ED or L&D.

When I was pregnant with Weston we talked about how if he needed any NICU time he would very likely be our last baby. We just couldn't emotionally handle any more than that. Well, his pregnancy and labor/birth went about as perfectly as it could (with all the interventions needed to do so). And so (obviously) we didn't rule out another baby. We thought we would need to wait longer in between to feel emotionally ready to go through a pregnancy again. But motherly urges can get you unexpectedly. We upped our timeline for our hopeful age spacing and ta-da, here I am pregnant. And super happy and excited about it! But really, now that it's getting into specialist and cerclage time I can't help but find the thought "What the hell were we thinking doing this again?!"

I know it'll be worth it. I know when I'm holding this baby in my arms I won't think about what we had to do to get him/her here. And really I do love pregnancy and labor and birth. The normal parts of it that is. Feeling the baby move, the growing belly, the glow, the amazement at how a woman's body labors and births her baby. During pregnancy I feel the most beautiful, I feel goddessy. If I could have normal pregnancies I would have all the babies. I would maybe even consider being a surrogate.

But I don't have normal pregnancies and it takes such an emotional toll. I'm pretty sure this is our last baby. I don't think I can do it again. I just can't. It's too much. I miss the naivitey we had during Marcellus's pregnancy. Oh how I wish I could go back to that during pregnancy. Fear, anxiety, worry...there's just so much of it now. Enough of it that the question"What the hell were we thinking going through another pregnancy?!" really does come to mind. We question a pregnancy with a baby we love and want and are so happy and excited about. That sucks.

So we'll get through this pregnancy. We'll hopefully have a repeat of how things went with Weston. Will have our sweet baby come April. And in a few years when my ovaries start aching again, someone show me this post. Because I honestly think this is the last time I can do this.

Marcellus, your pregnancy was beautiful. We didn't have this underlying fear and anxiety. The fear and anxiety that at times can override the joy and excitement. I miss that feeling. I miss that pure joy and excitement. I'll never have that again. And because of all that fear and anxiety this is likely the last little sibling you will have. I hate that decision is dictated moreso by the emotional toll of pregnancy than our desired family size. Oh how I love having babies. It's so amazing. So the thought of this being the last pregnancy, the last time I give birth...it's a tough one in itself. But it needs to be the last time I deal with this level of fear and anxiety. The last time I do those damn progesterone shots, the last time I get a cerclage, the last time I fear the NICU, the last time I spend months wondering if I'm in premature labor, the last time for multiple ED and L&D visits within a few months. Oh my love, this sucks. Not being pregnant, I love that. But the worry and everything that comes with making sure I stay pregnant long enough. I miss you sweet boy. I miss you beyond words. Love you always! xoxox

Please live

If you haven't heard the news yet, I am pregnant! At this writing, I'm very early and we haven't done a big announcement yet. I'm writing this on 9/2 while I'm about 5.5 weeks pregnant, but won't post it until we've announced. Right now I'm around the gestation that I started spotting with my Lark . Around the time our excitement turned to fear and our hopes started crashing down. We tried to hold on to hope, but a few days later that hope was smashed when I officially miscarried Lark at right around 6 weeks gestation.

And now this new baby, my Sola, is hopefully growing safely. But there's no guarantee. There's no window into my womb to see that development is taking place as it should. And so, I find myself holding my breath as "Please live!" runs through my mind. When I'm trying to fall asleep at night it plays as a broken record, "Please live, please live, please live," over and over and over again.

I want this baby to live so badly. I just want a baby that is not directly a rainbow baby. I think some use the extension of the term rainbow baby to all children born after a loss even when there's not a loss in between. I do feel that way too. The loss of Marcellus has shaped me, has shaped pregnancy, has shaped how I parent. So any baby I have born after him I will consider a rainbow baby. But can I just have two babies in a row without any loss or complication in between? Without going through a period of intense grief over the loss of a child? Can this baby please just live?!?!

I've taken 11 pregnancy tests to make sure the line is continuing to get darker. I skipped yesterday and then felt the anxiety creep in as I am so close to Lark's gestation. It was a big pack of cheap pregnancy tests off the internet. I'll probably take them until their gone. It won't get me to our first appointment on 9/12, but it will get me through this gestation that is Lark's.

The anxiety is real. The fear is real. And it won't stop after the first trimester. Once we get through the first trimester and the risk of miscarriage decreases I then start worrying about the cerclage and premature labor. I honestly love love love being pregnant. I love it so much. But the emotional toll it takes on Mike and I is high. It really is. It is so emotionally draining. We are so excited and so happy, but we are also so very scared.

Trying to take it one day at a time. For today my Sola is healthy.

Note on the nickname: We found out I was pregnant the evening we got back from our trip to SC for the solar eclipse. It was an amazing experience, so we chose a nickname to represent that.

*Finally posting this on 10/20. I am now 12 weeks 4 days. Last appointment was 2 weeks ago and everything looks good. Next appointment I have is with the specialist next week to talk about the cerclage.

Dear Marcellus, another little sibling for you! You are quite the big brother. We had our friend make shirts for all the big brothers to announce this pregnancy. Of course you have one as well. We have it so that it will fit Marcellus Bear. I wonder what size you would have needed and what color you would have picked out if you were here. I wonder if you'd be as excited as your little brother, Ethan, about having a new sibling. All I can do is wonder. Your brother, Ethan, is very excited. And when we told him he started to say "now we'll have 5 people..." and he stopped to really thing. He then continued "Now we'll have 6 people in our family!!!" He thinks of you often, sweet boy. He loves you just as fiercely as he loves his brother here on earth. It's amazing to see his bond with you. I wonder as Weston grows if he will be the same. And this new baby, Baby Sola, I wonder about him/her too. Oh how I love you all so very much! Each and every one of you, Lark too. Oh Marcellus. I miss you so much! Love you always and forever, xoxox.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Why hello there October

Why hello there October. Here you are again. Here you are to taunt and torment me and get me ready for the inevitability of another birthday to pass by. Another year completed since I exclaimed the words "We have a boy!" with pure joy and excitement to my glowing husband immediately after our first son was born. The joy and excitement that for that moment out rode the fear and unknown of his premature birth. 

And it's you, October, your sights, your sounds, your smells, your events, your Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness* that can bring me to a halt. It's you that can make me question my level of sanity and ability to cope during this most difficult, but beautiful, time of the year. But have no fear, October, we will make it through. We have made it through five previous Octobers without that beautiful baby boy here. We will, once again, make it through this sixth October. Six. He would be turning six.

But October, you suck. It sucks. And your friend, November, sucks even more. Because for even though you suck October, you are most precious. You are his birth month. You hold his special space. So as much as I hate you, as much as I struggle through you, you are everything. You are everything that is his time of year.

So, I guess, let's do this. Let's do this again like we do every year. Because I have no choice. But what I do have a choice on is to celebrate him. To bring awareness. To speak of him, to share of him, to show my love for him. To remember, always.

*Note: October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month with October 15th being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  

Dear Marcellus, your month is here. Your beautiful birth month. It simultaneously sucks and is so special at the same time. Everything about it makes me think of you. Everything. I can still remember so vividly some of the last things I did and enjoyed about October before you were born. And of course I still vividly remember the day you were born. The fear was immediately washed out with joy when I heard that little cry of yours and the doctor told us you were a boy. So much joy, my love. I was on top of the world in that moment. Of course once we were settled there was fear and uncertainty about your NICU stay, but it didn't negate the joy. It never negated the joy I felt for being your mother. And no matter what, I will always be so thankful to be your mom. You are amazing. And oh how I love and miss you, my sweet boy, my firstborn son, my squirmy wormy, my little mister. You are everything. xoxox

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The night

The night is when the thoughts creep in, no longer blocked by they busyness of the day. The quiet, the dark, giving space to these thoughts. My body is still, but the busyness now moved to my mind. Thoughts of what you ask? Oh pretty much of everything. But most importantly always of him. The night when my body is still and my thoughts are racing is always when I wonder about him. What would he look like, who would he be? Who would I be if he were here? Imagining the space he would take up in bed. Thinking of those dark deep beautiful eyes on that itty bitty 3 lb baby. What color would they be now? Thoughts of him pop in my head throughout the day. He is always there, just as my living children are. But the night, the night is our time. Time for all my thouhhts to eventually focus on him. And so I don't sleep because sometimes I do just want that time to imagine him. And so tonight as every night, I think of him, Marcellus Robert, my firstborn son.

Dear Marcellus, I think of you so often. Really, every night before I go to sleep I think of you one way or another. I wonder so much about what you would be like. Such a brave and deep soul during your 12 days on Earth. Some nights I can invision you laying next to me. I imagine you long and lanky. Your eyes wouldn't have stayed so dark, but they always would have been deep. Oh my love, how I wish you really could lay next to me even just for one night. I love you so much!!! xoxox

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The time between

The other day was my birthday. On Aug 31 I turned 32. It was a fun happy day celebrating with people I love. We had family time during the day and I spent that evening with some wonderful friends.

But after my birthday every year the dread starts to creep in. It's like the corner is turned on the countdown to Marcellus's birthday. After all, it is the next birthday to be celebrated in our family.

Less than two months and he would be 6. Less than two months until one of the happiest and scariest days of my life when I gave birth to my first preemie at 28 weeks 5 days. Less than two months until I first heard the words "It's a boy!" Less than two months until I witnessed the transformation in my husband as he became a father. Less than two months to prepare myself for the emotional whirlwind that is remembering my first born son on his birthday and then grieving his death 12 days later.

The temps have cooled a bit. Fall is peaking from around the corner. And it's becoming his time of year. The pumpkins will come out, the mums, the leaves will change, the State Fair, Halloween approaching. Everything that makes me think of him. Even the pumpkin spice lattes. I was pretty strict about no caffeine when pregnant with Marcellus, but one day did splurge on a regular pumpkin spice latte. It kept me up that night.

And I'll try to relish in my favorite season of the year. But my heart will ache with the anticipation of his birthday approaching. A birthday to celebrate. To celebrate that day six years ago and that little 3lb 2oz boy we met and instantly knew we'd give the world to. And we tried, we tried to give him the world. But it wasn't enough to keep him alive. Our love was not enough. Our pleading our desperation was not enough. So in less than two months we will celebrate the little boy that should be turning 6, but is not here.

Dear Marcellus, your birthday is approaching quickly. I'm not sure what we'll do this year, but know we will keep our regular traditions. We will have carrot cake for you. We will pick out a toy and donate it to Toys for Tots. We will share your story, talk about your birth. We will let people know it's hard. It's really hard to have your birthday come every year without you. Another year that separates the time since I have held you. But through it all we will most importantly share our love for you. Share what you have given us and what you have taught us. We will show the world that your life matters. It sucks, baby boy, it sucks so damn much not to have you here. Not to know what cake you would really want for your birthday. What you'd be into and I'd be scrambling to buy at the last minute because I always do things at the last minute. Would you want a big party or something small? We'll never know. Love you my squirmy wormy. I love you with all my heart and miss you with every ounce of my being! xoxox.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The fantasy of what should be

"Let's pretend Marcellus is alive."
As these words came out of my 4 year old's mouth the other night I felt my heart sink and the tears well up. Ethan, Marcellus's little brother, had taken Marcellus's picture off the nightstand and brought it out into the living room. There it sat throughout the evening without mention until after dinner when he wanted to play pretend.

And he did. For probably close to an hour he pretended to play with Marcellus. And it was heartbreaking, it was beautiful, it was heartbreakingly beautiful. I didn't know what to do. I sat in this place between being frozen and wanting to ask Ethan a million questions about what he was imagining Marcellus like.

First there was some song singing. Ethan said Marcellus just sat off to the side. At one point when Ethan was standing and singing/dancing I asked where Marcellus was he said, "Right here. Sitting down next to me."

"Come on Marcellus. Come with me. Come over to Mom with me. Mom, I'm bringing Marcellus to you. He's going to give you a hug." Tears. Trying to hold back the tears, but I failed. How could I have managed to not let a few sneak out? I mean, really. I couldn't believe what Ethan was saying. How I was trying to will myself to see what Ethan could imagine. To see Marcellus coming toward me with outstretched arms ready for a momma hug. And I tried to savor it. To feel a hug from my first born son. To be in the moment with Ethan as he pretended.

After that the play moved into the bedroom. They were jumping on the bed. Weston was playing on the bed too. How rambunctious would it have been to actually have had 3 children jumping on that bed? That's when I started trying to ask Ethan more about Marcellus. I asked him how big he was, "The same size as me." I asked him what his hair was like, "The same color has mine, but it's short. He used to have long hair, but he cut it." So I sat there and listened to Ethan laugh. To hear him repetitively call out to Marcellus. Then Ethan says, "Mom! Marcellus is sitting on your lap." Oh oh oh, I sat and closed my eyes. I imagined a long legged five year old with short hair on my lap, nestling in to me. Maybe a bit overwhelmed by the energy and intensity of his little brother. Because I do believe my Marcellus would be my quieter, more introverted child.

After Ethan was done jumping on the bed he said Marcellus was tired. So he pretended Marcellus went to bed and we had to be a little quiet the rest of the evening. He would shush me and said, "Be quiet. Marcellus is sleeping." When it was time for Ethan to go to bed he announced, "I'm done pretending now." And that was that. He hasn't pretended to play with Marcellus since.

That same evening Ethan had a bath while he was pretending Marcellus was asleep. He called to me and said, "Mom, look! I made a picture of Marcellus."
Ethan's picture of Marcellus.
My heart is so full and so broken all at the same time. So full with the love Marcellus's little brother has for him. A little brother that only knows his big brother through pictures and stories and the love his daddy and I have for him. So broken by the reality that pretend play is the closest these brothers will ever be to playing. Broken that I can't freely imagine Marcellus as his little brother can. Broken because it was only a fantasy of what should be.

Marcellus, your little brother loves you so much. He must have been feeling that love the other night to get out your picture, pretend that you were alive, and make a picture of you. I've really always thought the two of you would be a bit opposite in your personalities. Just from knowing what you were like when born and in the NICU. But I bet you would have loved each other something fierce. In fact, I think you both do love each other something fierce. Brothers, a bond that even death cannot break. I hope Ethan always speaks of you so freely, imagines you so freely. I hope one day Weston is the same. I love you all so very much! xoxox.

Ethan's March for Babies page  -- visit Ethan's March for Babies page to help him show his brotherly love for Marcellus.