Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Being healthy

Here's something I've been struggling with lately...what's the point of being healthy?

Yes, I do know there are plenty of reasons. Exercising and eating healthy have been important to me for awhile now, especially while preparing my body for pregnancy before trying, while pregnant with Marcellus, and while pumping for him. But now that he's gone, what's the point?

Mike has been on a big health kick lately. He does a lot better at eating healthy than I do and he exercises regularly. I always so I'll go on a walk with him, but then I change my mind last minute saying I'm just too tired. And I am tired. And yes I know I'd probably sleep better at night if I eat healthy and get exercise. But I don't care, I just don't want to most days. Last week I did get out for a walk/jog a couple of times. But again I kept asking what's the point?

Mike says he's using our (hopeful) future children for motivation to be healthy. He wants to be around for as long as possible. He also wants to give us the best chance at get pregnant right off the bat when we are ready to try. He told me he would help motivate me because it's important to him that I'm healthy as well. It's especially important to him for our (hopeful) future pregnancies.

But being healthy before and during pregnancy didn't help Marcellus, so what's the point? That is what I am struggling with. Now I wasn't perfect during pregnancy. After all I did crave donuts and peanut brittle. But I think I did pretty well at staying active and eating right. I had been jogging before I got pregnant and continued to do so throughout my first trimester. After that I walked and started swimming. I even went swimming just days before Marcellus was born. I ate the best that I could. Toward the end I was always hungry, I couldn't go more than a couple hours without eating something. But I did my best to have healthy snacks - fruit, nuts, yogurt.

But it didn't matter. It still didn't keep Marcellus safe. Maybe being healthy did create a safe place for him, but it didn't keep my body from kicking him out way too early.

I know women that have had unhealthy pregnancies. Didn't eat right, didn't exercise, gained way too much weight and their babies are healthy. In fact, I was pretty unhealthy when I was pregnant with Angela (my daughter that I placed for adoption). I was in high school and I found out I was pregnant at the beginning of softball season. So I was active up until then. But I know I didn't make a point to exercise during pregnancy. And I worked at McDonald's, where I ate A LOT. Angela was perfectly healthy and born at 36 weeks 5 days (pretty dang close to full term).

So what's the point? I had a healthy, very close to full term baby while not eating right or exercising. This time around I do all that good stuff, and have a baby born at 28 weeks that lives for only 12 days. 12 days! How do I make sense of that? Well I guess there is just no making sense of losing your baby.

It's just hard for me to care about my health right now. To think anything I do really even matters. It didn't help Marcellus, so why does it matter.

Marcellus, Momma tried to do everything to keep you healthy while I was pregnant. Did I mess up somehow that you were born so early? I wish I could know that staying healthy will help keep your (hopeful) future little brother(s)/sister(s) safe. But it didn't keep you safe baby boy. I'm so sorry it didn't keep you safe. I'm so sorry you couldn't stay in longer. I miss you my love, my little squirmy wormy. I miss and love you more than anything! xoxox

Saturday, February 25, 2012

March for Babies

On April 28th we will be walking in March of Dimes, March for Babies. We will be walking in honor of Marcellus. I like "in honor of" better than "in memory of" even though "in honor" is typically used when it's for someone that is still living and "in memory" is used when it's for someone that has passed away. I like "in honor of" better because he's not just a memory. He's still here, he's still with us, he's in our hearts. He's more than just a memory to me and so I will walk in my son's honor. Our team name is Marcellus's Marchers.

To make things a little more special, the walk takes place on what would be his 6 month birthday. It's going to be such a meaningful difficult day. Even if Marcellus would have lived we would have taken part in March for Babies. We probably wouldn't have done this first one because as a preemie we would have needed to be very careful about exposing him to germs at such a young age.

It will be hard because there will be many family teams walking for their children that lived. Children that are still here. Children that the NICU saved. Children that overcame being born prematurely, even many that were more premature than Marcellus. I will look at those families and feel jealously, envy, sadness for myself. I will also be happy for them, happy that they do not know this. That they were able to walk out of that NICU with their babies in tow. I would never want them to know this, but I don't want to know it either. I just want to be in their shoes. To have my baby in my arms and say, "Look how well he's doing now! Can you believe he was born so early?"

I know there will be families like ours there too. Families with a huge piece missing. I know 2 moms through group that will have teams there. They both lost their sons due to complications from premature birth. One even from NEC, the same thing that took Marcellus's life. We also have the honor of having 2 dads on our team that are a part of this horrible babyloss club with us. Two more children that were born too soon and are no longer here because of it. One who was even taken almost 2 years later. Complications from premature birth can last well beyond the NICU and have devastating effects even once you're at home and think everything will be okay.

They main thing you might think of when hearing the March of Dimes is research on premature birth and helping premature and sick babies. Leading research in these areas is very important. New technologies do give babies born too soon and sick a fighting chance. That technology allowed us to have 12 wonderful days with our son when we could have had none. But the March of Dimes does more than that. They also educate women in pregnancy about premature labor. They help educate and bring comfort to families in the NICU. Having been in the NICU I can tell you that it is a struggle to have your baby there (but worth every single second). Some families may not spend as much time with their babies because they're uncomfortable and uneducated about the NICU. That part of the March of Dimes can help families be there the best they can for their babies. They also have some resources for families that do leave the NICU without their babies.

"The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Funds raised in March for Babies support research and programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies and babies begin healthy lives. And they will be used to bring comfort and information to families with a baby in newborn intensive care." - from the March of Dimes, March for Babies.

If you have at all been touched by Marcellus's life and this journey that my family is on please consider supporting our team, Marcellus's Marchers. If the money we raise can prevent even just one family from knowing this pain, then we have done something to honor Marcellus's life. To honor those 12 days with him, 11 of which were absolutely perfect! Marcellus isn't just a memory, his life lives on. His life lives on through what we do with ours. And right now we are focused on raising money for March for Babies to help save babies and give them a chance at life.

Please consider donating, there is no such thing as a donation too small. Any little bit will help our cause and will honor Marcellus. We appreciate every single cent that is donated in his name. It truly makes me proud to be Marcellus's mommy.

To donate and see my personal page CLICK HERE.
To donate and see our team page CLICK HERE.

On both of those pages you will find an abbreviated version of Marcellus's story (with a few more details being on the team page).

To learn more about March of Dimes, visit their page here.
To learn more about March for Babies, find a walk in your area, or join a team, visit here.

If you are reading this I know that in some way Marcellus has already touched your life. As his mommy, that in itself means so much to me. To know that my son lives on, that he did not end that horrible day in the NICU. He is still here. He is still with us and I am thankful I can share him with you.

Marcellus, we are raising money to help babies like you have a fighting chance. To prevent other mommies and daddies from going through what we are. I hope you are proud of Mommy and Daddy. We are doing the best we can for you baby boy. We do this all in your honor. To honor the short but amazing little life you had here with us on earth and the way you continue to live on even though you're no longer here. You are our little warrior, please give us that fighting spirit of yours to help babies and their families. Every step I will take in the walk will be for you. Every step I take every day is for you. I love you my sweet boy, I love and miss you so very much! xoxox

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Not strong

There are many things that are said with the best intentions. After losing a baby, however some of those things just really aren't helpful and can actually be somewhat hurtful. For this post I really just want to concentrate on one thing that is hard for me to hear from people.

If you are interested in knowing more of the "what not to say" and "what to say" to someone after they lose a baby there are many resources out there. You will come across some sites by other BLM (babyloss moms) with sections for friends and family. Click here for a newly published e-book by Cora's mommy (titled "When Your Friend's Baby Dies (Helping Your Friend After Babyloss)). Carly Marie at Project Heal has a link for family/friends and Faces of Loss Faces of Hope has a section for family/friends, just to name a few.

Anyway, back to what originally spurred this post. For me, one of the most common things I hear is "you are so strong" or along the same lines, "you are so brave." Now if you've said something like this to me or someone else that has lost a baby, please do not feel bad. I understand that you have said it with the best intentions behind it. I also think saying the "wrong" thing is better than saying nothing. At least you were trying when you said something like this. Unless you have been through this type of loss you can't understand why those phrases are not helpful and can sometimes be hurtful. I am thankful that you don't know that you shouldn't say that and I don't hold it against you. I just want to explain why I feel this way about those sayings.

Whenever someone tells me I am so strong/brave I often think "What does that even mean?!" I can't fathom how I'm seen as strong/brave. I just want to shout "No I'm not, can't you see I'm dying inside!" and "I don't want to be strong! I don't want to be brave! I don't want to do this!" To me being told I'm strong/brave undermines what I'm feeling at the time, undermines my grief. I'd much rather hear someone validate what I'm feeling by saying how much this sucks, how hard this must be, how unfair it is, etc.

Plus whatever it is that you may perceive as strength, it is not coming from me. If it were up to me I would be in bed all day bawling my eyes out. I would not talk to anyone or leave my house. I would not be in school. I just would not be. But I'm not doing this alone, I'm not doing this just with Mike. God is here. As angry as I have been at Him, He is right by our side. He is with us through this whole thing. It is only because of Him I can continue on.

Another phrase that I have already mentioned in a previous post is, "I don't know how you do it." That one really gets me. Because neither do I. I honestly don't know how I do this. I can't believe I have to wake up each day and do it again day after day after day. I just don't have a choice. As my friend  Hannah Rose so perfectly said in a comment to that previous post, "It's not like we've chosen this for ourselves. It's not like we have a choice. And it's true, you don't have the strength and grace to get through something, until the moment you need it, until it actually happens and then God will give you what you need...not a moment too soon or too late."

Today I've been obsessed with the song "I Will Carry You" by Selah. I posted it to my facebook and have listened to it probably 10 times today. I was excited to find out that there is a boy version and Hannah Rose will be sending it to me. She rocks! The lyric that keeps standing out to me is, "People say that I'm brave, but I'm not. Truth is I'm barely hanging on." That's exactly how I feel today. 

Marcellus, Momma's barely hanging on today. I just miss you so bad! There are so many things I wanted to do with you, so many memories I wanted to create and capture. I'm so thankful for the memories I do have, but we should be making more many more. I love you sweet boy! My heart may be broken, but it will forever be capable of loving you with everything I have! xoxox

Monday, February 20, 2012


Like most places around the country we have had a pretty mild winter here in NC. While it doesn't snow often here, it does snow a few times each year (at least it has every winter since I've been here and this makes winter number 4). Well, last night was the first snow of the season.

Being from MN and used to snow we usually don't get too excited or worked up about it. But last night was different. Last night's snow is what would have been Marcellus's first snowfall. It started out as freezing rain and eventually turned into decent snowflakes. There was a bit on the ground when we woke up this morning, but it has been long gone with warmer temps today. Really nothing too spectacular. But last night as it was snowing all I could think about was Marcellus's first snow. How I would have wrapped him up and stood in the open doorway with him watching the flakes fall. He wouldn't understand what the snow was, but that's okay. I'd point out to him and tell him about the snow and how in MN where his grandparents and aunt and uncles are that snow happens a lot more. That maybe someday we'd move back there and there would be enough to play in.

I wonder if he would have liked the snow. I know I did as a kid. I remember seeing a picture my mom has of me at a pretty young age. I'm all bundled up and in the backyard just walking in the snow. She said that's all I did was just walk around in it. I loved it. I remember playing with my sister and brother out at my grandparents farm where sometimes there were huge drafts and plenty of room to make snow forts. And going sledding with the neighborhood kids. In fact, I still take my little brother (he's 11) sledding when I can. Last year Mike and I took him when we were in MN for Christmas. We brought Perk and he got to go too. We've been able to take Perk sledding, but never will be able to take Marcellus. I think he would have loved it.

This year because of being in MN for Marcellus's funeral we didn't go back for the holidays. The snow last night was the first snow that Mike and I saw this winter. It snowed the day after we left MN for NC and times since, so Marcellus had his first snow then. But last night, that was our first snow together. And I felt it. I felt something special about the snow last night. I went outside and just stood in it. Staring up into the sky and talking to my baby boy.

Then I thought, I wonder if in heaven there is snow. Maybe there is snow without it having to be cold or getting all wet when you play in it. And maybe someday I will build snow forts, snowmen, make snow angels, and go sledding with my son. We'll have the fastest sled ever and have the biggest snow hill to go down. We won't even have to worry about walking back up the hill, we'll just fly.

Marcellus, I wish I could have experienced the snow last night with you in my arms. Did you enjoy it, our first snow together? Even though you're not here, I know you were sharing it with me. Someday we'll be able to do all those fun snow activities together baby boy. I especially want to take you sledding, Momma loves to go sledding. Missing and loving you squirmy wormy! xoxox

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Missing him

Some days I can pinpoint a specific feeling I have, a specific reason I'm really upset and hurting. Like yesterday, Valentine's Day, I knew it was thinking about specific things related to the "holiday" that were making it hard. The Valentines we'll never make for Daddy or for Marcellus's class. The Valentines I'll never get from Marcellus (even if they were really from Daddy). Buying goofy Valentines things for Marcellus. Having him ask me to be his Valentine. For me Valentine's Day isn't about romantic love. It's just about love. And I love my son more than anything else.

On special dates, especially the 28th and 9th, I pretty much know I'm in for a rough day. Other days I'm triggered and see or hear something that sets me off. But most days all I can manage to say and think is, "I miss him!" I miss my baby boy so much every single day.

I should miss him because his daddy and I finally go out on a date and leave him for the first time.

I should miss him because I have an important meeting coming up and I can't manage to get enough done from home, so I go to campus to work.

I should miss him because I got talked into going to a conference where it didn't work to bring him. 

I should miss him because he and Daddy are having "boys' day out".

I should miss him because he's going to school for the first time.

I should miss him because he's at his first sleep over.

I should miss him because he wants to stay at his grandparents' house.

I should miss him because he's at camp.

I should miss him because he's at his girlfriend's (or boyfriend's) house too much.

I should miss him because he's going off to college.

I should NOT miss him because he's dead. I should NOT miss him because it's been exactly 3 months since we buried him. I should NOT miss being able to go to his grave, because there should be no grave.

But he is dead and we did bury him 3 months ago and there is a grave to visit. And I miss him oh so very much! I miss him so much I just have to say it over and over and over again. I miss Marcellus Robert! I miss my little mister, my squirmy wormy, my son. I miss my son. I miss his eyes, his hair, his hands, his feet, his squeaks, his hiccups, his yawns, touching him, holding him, kissing him, smelling him. I miss every single thing about him. One thing I don't miss is loving him. Because I still love him with my whole heart. And always will.

Marcellus, Mommy will always love you. I will tell you I love you every single day. I will also continue to tell you how much I miss you. I ache for you sweet boy. I ache to have you here. I miss you! I miss you! I miss you! I MISS YOU! xoxox

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Good and bad

I had a good day on Friday. It was weird. The day before was the 3 month anniversary of Marcellus's death. That day wasn't as bad as I had anticipated and I actually thought that meant Friday might have ended up being a worse day. It was the opposite. It was honestly the best day I've had since Marcellus died.

I don't know why. Maybe because for his 3 month angel birthday Mike and I got out and did something to honor Marcellus instead of just sitting around the house feeling sorry for ourselves. We donated blood. The day Marcellus was sick he received a lot of blood. It was hard to be at the blood drive and see the bags of blood. The last time I had seen that was when Marcellus was getting his transfusions. It made me think of how sick my poor little baby was. But then I thought there may be another sick little baby out there that needs blood. I also thought how we were asked if needed after my c-section did we agree to me getting a blood transfusion. There may be a momma out there who needs blood. A sick child, sibling, parent, grandparent, friend, there is someone out there that will need the blood we donated.

Although receiving blood transfusions did not help save my son, it allowed the doctors to do everything they could. We knew everyone fought hard for him because of everything they did, including ordering the blood. We are thankful for that. We are thankful to the people that donated. And I know Marcellus is thankful for that as well. We wanted to honor him on a date that has such an impact for us. We wanted to pay back the kindness that was shown to him.

Other than that I'm not sure why Friday was a good day for me. I tried to just accept it as that. But it scared me. I felt uneasy. Guilt would creep in. Shouldn't I be crying? My baby is gone. I think Friday was honestly the first day since Marcellus died that I didn't cry at all. I guess maybe 3 months of crying every day is all I can take. Maybe my body needed a break?

The scary part comes from not ever knowing when the good will change to bad. When I'm having bad days, the worse of the worst I know eventually it will ease up a little. But when I'm having an okay or in Fridays case a good day I never know when that will change to bad. When will a breakdown come on? Will I become triggered by something or just all of sudden overcome with the rawness again?

I think part of the scariness also comes from the worry that people are going to see me as "okay". That I'm "getting over it" or that I'm not sad. Even on the good days I am still sad. I will always be sad that Marcellus is not here. It's the way I handle it and what I do with the sadness that dictates the way a day will go. It has to do with the intensity and the rawness of the sadness. Every day for the rest of my life I will miss my baby boy.

Last night before bed I was telling Mike that I can just picture me at 80 years old sitting in a rocking chair saying "I miss Marcellus!" over and over and over again. Yesterday turned out to be more difficult, a raw sort of day. I spent the morning telling the dog, Perk all about Marcellus. About how sorry I was he didn't get to meet our baby. That I know he misses him too and we all wish Marcellus was here.

Mike was at work all day. Thankfully I had lunch planned with a few wonderful moms from group. It was so nice to get together with them and just talk. Just talk about our children freely. Talk about our pregnancies, our deliveries, our experiences after they died - those good and bad, regrets and things we wish we would have done differently, things we hope we can do to change that for other parents facing loss, their funerals, just every single thing about them. I felt so comfortable, so understood.

Although I had a nice afternoon out the night was back to difficult. I just missed him terribly. I hate going to bed. I say it every night. I don't ever want to go to bed, I hate it. I want to lay in bed cuddling with my baby, not the teddy bear I got because he died.

I will try to accept each day, good or bad. Because the good and the bad days are all part of my journey through this grief. Having a good day does not mean I miss or love Marcellus any less. It does not mean I am getting over losing him, because I never ever will. Does a good day mean I am healing? I don't know. I really don't know what it means and I will try not to over analyze it. I will be thankful for good days, but I will also be thankful for bad days. I will be thankful because these are the days I have because I am Marcellus's mommy.

Marcellus, Momma misses you every single second of every single day. And I will for the rest of my life. Thanks for giving Daddy the idea to donate blood. Did you know that Daddy almost fainted and Mommy was fine? It was kind of funny. Love you my squirmy wormy! xoxox 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Birth Story

Today is Marcellus's 3 month Angel Birthday. We have been trying hard not to relive the moments of the day he died and instead talking about our good memories. With that I would like to share Marcellus's birth story. I should note for those of you that don't know. I have a daughter, Angela, that I placed for adoption in high school (semi-open. I get letters and pictures, but no visits). She turned 9 the day Marcellus was born. Someday I plan to incorporate her into my blog, for now I need to focus on Marcellus though. 

Dear Marcellus, 
Friday, Oct 28th, 2011 (written Nov 6th, 2011)
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary and actually I had felt really good the day before. A little earlier in the week I didn’t feel the best, but that was mostly a sore throat type of thing. Nothing I would think would be related to pregnancy. After taking a nap on Wednesday and getting a really good night’s sleep I felt so much better on Thursday and had a pretty normal day and went to bed fine that night. I woke up a time or two to use the bathroom. This wasn’t uncommon as I was getting bigger and further along into pregnancy. Sometimes when I would wake up I would be having a Braxton Hicks (BH) contraction. This was also normal as a full bladder can trigger them. After using the bathroom I laid back down. I was restless and couldn’t get back to sleep. When I realized I was hungry I just decided to get out of bed and get something to eat around 4:40am. I left Daddy sleeping and went downstairs. I got a big glass of water and a bowl of cereal. I still thought I was just having a few BH contractions. After I finished my cereal I tried drinking lots of water and lying on my left side. This is something they recommend to see if contractions will go away. Well they didn’t go away and actually only got worse. At around 5:30am I realized these might be more than BH. Throughout the pregnancy I had been kind of paranoid and didn’t want to call Audrey (our midwife) and wake her for no reason. I thought about sending an email, but then decided I’d wait it out until 6am to see what happens. The contractions got more crampy-like and I could feel them a little bit in my lower back. They started to become quite regular and from 5:36 to 6:06 I had a contraction exactly every 10 min. I also had some spotting with the contraction at 6:06 which really freaked me out. I went upstairs and woke up Daddy. He had no idea any of this was really going on. I asked him if he was awake and told him “You need to be REALLY awake for this.” I told him about the contractions and the spotting and I called Audrey. When I called I woke her up too and it took her a little bit to figure out what was going on. At first she didn’t seem too concerned. I don’t know if this is because I was talking normal or because I had kind of over reacted to other things throughout the pregnancy and she was trying to keep me calm. Her thoughts changed quickly when I had two back to back contractions while on the phone with her. They went from 10 min apart to 5 min apart in the blink of an eye. She said she was on her way. Daddy was planning on making me a nice breakfast that morning for Angela's birthday. I told him to start making it because if this turned out to be nothing (which I was convinced it would be) we should at least offer Audrey breakfast for coming to our house. She probably got to our house a little before 7am. She came upstairs to our bedroom. I lay on the bed and she checked me. I will never forget her reaction, “Well that’s weird. That’s really weird. You’re dilated to 10 with a bulging bag!” I was not prepared for that. At most I was thinking maybe I had started to dilate and we would go to the hospital to get medicine to slow it down, some steroid shots for your lungs and maybe I’d have to go on bed rest until you were born. At that moment to know you could be coming any second was so terrifying, yet exciting at the same time! Audrey told me to stay flat on my back so my water would have less of a chance of breaking. Daddy called 911 to get an ambulance to take me to the hospital. We were planning for a homebirth, but not at 28 weeks 5 days gestation! I started to freak out for a second and Audrey told me not to panic that everything would work out. I then thought if I panic, you might be born quicker. I kind of got inside my head and just thought about keeping you in until we got to the hospital. Through each contraction I would say to myself “Stay in. Stay in. Please stay in.” The ambulance came and the paramedics came upstairs. They seemed so relaxed and not in a hurry to get me anywhere. That really bothered me. I was so scared you’d be born before we got to the hospital where they had the help you would need. The paramedics couldn’t figure out how to get me down the stairs without making me get up. Audrey looked at Daddy and said, “You have to carry her, she can’t stand up.” So Daddy carried me down the stairs. He was very brave. They put me on a stretcher in the ambulance and Daddy came with. Audrey followed in her car. That ambulance ride took forever. They didn’t even use the lights! My contractions started getting more intense and closer together, about 2-3 min apart. Daddy held my hand through each one and was so reassuring. 

(1/6/12 – I remember I had starting writing this when I was up pumping that night. I started falling asleep while typing so figured I would come back to it. We had no idea 3 days later you would be dead. Now exactly 2 months from when I started writing your birth story I want to finish it. You’ve now been gone for almost 2 months and we miss you so very much every single day)

Daddy had the tendency to ask me questions during contractions, “Does it hurt? Is it a bad one? Are you doing ok?” He hadn’t gotten the chance to read the books and things that say do NOT ask questions during a contraction. At one point I looked at him and said “You HAVE to stop asking me questions.” Other than that Daddy was perfect at being there for me. 

I don’t know what time we got to the hospital (we requested the records so we will know when they come), but the ambulance ride seemed to take forever. Once we got there they put me in triage with Daddy. They didn’t let Audrey come in.  There wasn’t a big rush or urgency with anyone when we got there.  We think they didn’t fully believe Audrey that I was so far into labor. There were a couple of nurses doing my intake. Asking basic questions and taking my vitals and yours. Your heart sounded so good! I can’t remember when, but finally a nurse practitioner came in and checked me.  That’s when she checked me and found out that yes, I really was dilated to 10cm and could have you at any second! They got out the ultra sound machine and found out you were breech. You stinker! We know you were head down at the last ultra sound at 19 weeks 4 days, but at our appointment with Audrey a couple weeks prior we found out you were breech. We weren’t worried about it then because there was supposed to be plenty of time for you to flip. All of a sudden there were tons of people in the room, the OB, the anesthesiologist, the neonatologist, nurses. I was told I was going to have to have a c-section because you were breech. Daddy and I got upset and asked for Audrey. We really wanted to have a natural delivery for you. We were so close to that with me getting all the way to 10cm. We needed Audrey there to support us in that decision. The OB even started to mention that because at 28 weeks the uterus is so small that I’d have to have a vertical incision. That would mean no VBAC in the future. Daddy and I freaked out after hearing that. Natural labor and delivery is so important to us. We then asked the OB what would happen if we tried a vaginal delivery. Do you want to know what she said…she was so rude. She said “Your baby will die!” Oh that made Mommy so mad. I looked right at her and said “Don’t pull the dead baby card on me.” Bullying like that is part of the reason we went with a midwife. Even if it is hospital policy and they are not allowed to delivery vaginally for a breech baby, she should not have said that to us. It needed to be our decision.

I signed the consent forms and we were off to the OR. Daddy had to wait until after I got my spinal to come in.  I didn’t like going there without Daddy. I had to sit up to the get the spinal and I remember being so worried my water was going to break. When I sat up I felt something wet. I kept saying, “I think my water broke, did my water break?” It was just some bleeding. Then they put the spinal it. I was a little scared at that point. After I lay down and it started to work they had to test to make sure it didn’t go up too high. They did that by rubbing something wet and cold on me. I really did NOT like the feeling of not feeling my legs. It was really creepy.  I kept asking when Daddy could come in. They said they had sent someone to get him.
The doctor started cutting before Daddy even got there. I didn’t like that. But you weren’t born until after he was there. 

When he got there he sat up by my head and held my hand.  It wasn’t very long before 10:01am when you were born. “It’s a boy!” the doctor said and you let out a cry. I remember looking at Daddy, we were both so excited. We just kept saying “a boy, a boy, we have a boy!” I remember the look in his eyes, they were gleaming. Daddy and I had agreed earlier that he would go with you when you had to be whisked off. Even though I didn’t get to see you, I felt like that cry you let out was you letting me know that you were ok. You were saying, “I’m ok Mommy.”

Daddy came back from being with you while I was being put back together. I remember I kept asking him, “Is he ok? Is he ok?” Daddy told me that you looked so good. He told me you weighed 3 pounds 2 ounces, a big boy for your gestation! He even thought to get out the cell phones and snap pictures of you. He showed me. You did look so good, you were absolutely beautiful! Daddy told me about how you held his finger. I was soooooo happy to listen to Daddy tell me all about you. He told me you kicked a lot and how the doctor said it was such a good sign you were crying and kicking. We were both so proud and happy. Daddy said he wanted to name you Christopher, but I said we couldn’t name you until I saw you. Then Daddy pinched me. That’s right, he pinched me. He said he wanted to make sure it wasn’t all just a dream. That you were really here in this world with us. The OB did manage to do the “good” kind of c-section. We are thankful for that. We will be able to try for a natural delivery when we (hopefully) have your little brother or sister someday. 

 Here you are holding Daddy's finger just minutes after being born. The doctor told Daddy he could touch you and when he put his finger out you reached up and grabbed it! You must have just known that was your daddy there.
Here you are being worked on. They had to put you on the bubble cpap to transport you to the NICU before putting you on the ventilator (which you were only on for a day). You weren't too happy about getting all dressed up. I say that you are already showing your fiestiness in this picture.

No one knew you were coming. We don't have family in the area and everything happened so fast we never called anyone. While I was in recovery at about 11am I tried to call Grandma. She didn't answer so I called Auntie Katie. I can still remember her reaction. She said "Are you serious? Morgan, you're serious! I have to come." After I told her all about you, how things happened, and how well you were doing she told me Grandma was at work. I called Grandma at work then to tell her. She was so very surprised too! I can't remember all of that conversation (I was a little drugged up from the c-section), but I do remember she wanted to leave right then and there to come see you. She was worried about you too, but I also told her you were doing really well and I sent both her and Auntie Katie pictures Daddy had taken.
I couldn't see you right away. Because you had to be on the ventilator they had to take you to the NICU. I had to wait until I got feeling back in my legs before seeing you. That was hard, but it was so worth the wait. I'll write more about that later. 

I still can't believe you came so early. We don't know why. We all marveled (and still do) at the fact that you and Angela share a birthday. What are the chances you'd be born early like that and then on the same day as her? A lot of people, including me, thought it was supposed to be healing that you were born that day. I still think it means something, I just really can't make sense of it all right now. Probably never will. 

Marcellus, Mommy and Daddy are really missing you today. We don't know how we've gone on for 3 months without you. You really surprised us when you came on October 28th. As scary as that day was, it was also the most amazing day of my life. The day you came into this world. The day Daddy and I found out you were a boy, heard you cry for the first time, saw your beautiful little self and got to touch you. The day we learned what true love means and what it's like to be a family. Thank you Marcellus, thank you for everything you taught us that day. I love you, I love you more than I thought I ever could! xoxox

Monday, February 6, 2012


When outside the safety of the walls of my house I never know what/who I will see/hear that will trigger a breakdown. That's very much part of the reason that I never want to leave the house. Yes there can still be triggers at home, but I have more control of them. And if I do get triggered I don't have to worry about holding back, making other people uncomfortable, what their reaction will be or becoming a burden.

Today while on campus I was triggered. I guess I was "lucky" it was at the end of the day and I was about to go home anyway. Today my trigger was a person. He is a fellow graduate student in my department. He and his wife have a healthy beautiful baby boy born the day after Marcellus died. The birth of their son was announced to our department just the day after the death of mine was announced.

I would never ever ever want them to know this pain. I just wish I didn't have to know it either. This is the 2nd time I have been triggered by seeing this person. I haven't even spoken to him or made eye contact or anything. Today he was just walking past the computer lab and I happened to be standing by the doorway as he did. All I can think about when I see him is that he has his baby to go home to and mine is gone. Why can't I have that too? How did this happen to us?

I remember talking with his wife a month and a half before Marcellus was born. We talked a lot about pregnancy and what labor/delivery would be like. I was very passionate about natural labor and delivery (and am still for it). I even lent her one of my Ina May (well known and respected midwife) books. She still has it. Did it help her during her labor? I have no idea. I will probably never know.

I feel guilty for writing this. For having someone that has done nothing wrong make me so upset. He's just living his life, the life I wish I had with my family. It's not fair. It's so not fair. How does one person have everything work out perfectly and the next person have it all ripped away leaving their life crumbling?

Four babies were born in my department last semester. Three healthy babies, and my premature and now dead baby. My baby was due last and was born first. Do these other families know just how lucky and fortunate they are? I hope so. After hearing the news of Marcellus's death I hope they cherish their babies just that much more. Do they realize how quickly everything can change? Do they know that their is no guarantee?

Marcellus, I don't wish this on anyone, but why did it have to be us? Why can't you be here too like those other babies? We miss you so very much and wish you were here for us to love on. We will always love you and hold you in our hearts forever. Mommy loves you squirmy wormy! xoxox

Friday, February 3, 2012

Molly Bears

If you haven't heard of Molly Bears, you should. They are amazing.

"Molly Bears is a non-profit organization that creates weighted teddy bears for families coping with infant loss. is also an online community of support for families that have suffered a death of an infant." (this is from their facebook page)

They make the teddy bears the same weight as your angel. A fellow BLM (baby loss mom) told me about Molly Bears a couple of months ago. I instantly knew I wanted to get a Marcellus Bear. They do not charge for the bears and rely solely on donations. Due to the (unfortunately) high demand, they only open the wait list up on the 30th of every month. It is quite lengthy and can take a year or more to get your bear.

They do, however, offer monthly donation drawings. I put my name on the wait list on Dec 30th. Right away in January I saw information about the donation drawings. They have two drawing options. One is that they have $90 donation slots open where you get your bear made right away. The other is that each time they reach $150 in donations they draw a name from the donators (of at least $5 each). For either you don't have to already be on the wait list. Well, I couldn't wait and I couldn't risk not winning a drawing. So I went for it. I did the $90 donation at the beginning of January.

And on Monday, Marcellus Bear found his way home!
Marcellus Bear with a framed picture of Marcellus (when he was 6 days old). In the background is a prayer shawl someone from The Compassionate Friends gave us. 

Here's our furbaby, Perkie, loving on Marcellus Bear. Perk never got to meet Marcellus outside of the womb. He did get kicked by Marcellus once while laying his head on my belly though. Perk would have been such a good protective, but gentle big brother.

Marcellus Bear weighs 3 pounds 2 ounces, just like Marcellus did at birth. The bear happens to be 16 inches long, the length Marcellus was at birth (this is coincidence). Marcellus Bear is also super soft and reminds me of how it felt to rub my fingers on Marcellus's hair. He has a blue sparkly heart button and there are owls on the ribbon and an owl patch on his foot. When requesting your bear there is a spot for special instructions where you can list things to personalize your bear. They ask you to list things that remind you of your angel. Of course the end result depends on the materials they currently have. I gave a list of 5 things when requesting Marcellus Bear.

1. His story is "Guess How Much I Love You"
2. His nickname is squirmy wormy
3. He wore a pumpkin hat
4. He is buried with a stuffed penguin and Mommy has one too
5. We were going to use owls in his nursery, but never got a chance to decorate before he was born.

Honestly, I thought I wanted the owls the least. That's why I listed them last. When Marcellus Bear arrived and I saw the owls though, I was so excited! I thought I didn't want them because we never used them. I was afraid it wouldn't make me think of Marcellus. But because we didn't get to use them in his nursery is why I think it is perfect Marcellus Bear has owls. Yes, we never decorated with owls, but we had stuff picked out and it was a plan we had for Marcellus. Because we were going to use them for Marcellus, we will probably choose to never use them for (hopeful) subsequent children. Meaning we would never get to use them. Also, after Marcellus's funeral Mike and I bought a journal to write to him in. The only one that came even close to being connected to Marcellus was one in the same style of owls we were going to use for his room. That happens to be the same style of owls on Marcellus Bear's ribbon.

Being able to feel the weight of Marcellus Bear on our chests helps us remember what it was like when we had Marcellus snuggled up on our chests during k-care. The bear provides some comfort for my aching empty arms and gives us something concrete to hold during tender moments. Of course more than anything I wish that we had Marcellus and not Marcellus Bear. Instead of a baby, I have a teddy bear. But since Marcellus isn't here, we are so thankful for the work of everyone at Molly Bears and the comfort they provide families that have losses. And thank you Molly Christine for the great big impact your little life has left on this world.

Please consider donating to Molly Bears regardless of if you have a loss or not. Any little bit will help them provide comfort to angel families.

Marcellus, thank you for guiding the Molly Bears maker to create the perfect Marcellus Bear for us. When we are snuggling and holding Marcellus Bear tight, know that we are showing our love and longing for you. I would give anything to cuddle as a family with you like we have been able to do with Marcellus Bear. Mommy loves and misses you little mister! xoxox