Saturday, March 31, 2012

Around the house

Around the house there is evidence of him. Evidence he was here and evidence he's now gone. Let me give you a tour...

...starting in the kitchen...

The pictures Mike put on the cupboard doors, so when he cooks he can see them.

The breast milk that's still in the freezer (just what I wasn't able to donate).

The drawing on the white board on our refrigerator that a friend made when letting Perk out while we were in the NICU. It's of my family, Mommy, Daddy, Marcellus, and Perkie. I can't erase it. Ever.

The mess at the dining table from when we last made him a sign to put up at the cemetery.

...the living room...

The poster boards that are still on the wall from when we had a memorial service for him on his one month angel birthday after getting back from MN.

The congratulations cards on the mantle. I can't take them down. I just can't. He has less than 20 congratulations cards. I don't even want to think about how many more sympathy cards he has. Way more...way way more.

The digital picture frame given to us from dear friends. It was supposed to be used at his baby shower that was planned for Nov 12th. We never made it.

The sketches for his headstone on our coffee table. We spent a night getting it just right. I don't think a baby's headstone can ever be described as just right.

The stacks and stacks of grief books we've accumulated. Some sit on our coffee table, others on our nightstand. A few on the dining table. They're everywhere.

The journal we write letters to him in always stays out. Currently also on the coffee table.

His very special candles. He has three right now. The most special one from the funeral home. The holder has his picture, and hand and footprints on it. One is from TCF candlelight we went to in December. The other I won from a give away around Valentine's day. I won by sharing the Valentine Mike and I made to send to MN for him.

The figurines that people got us after he passed away. No stuffed animals for baby here. Just figurines to try and help comfort Mommy and Daddy.

The hospital blanket in Perk's crate. It's the one we brought home for Perk to get used to Marcellus's smell. It stays with Perk. He needs something of his little brother's too.

...our bedroom...

The hand and foot castings that were done. They sit on our dresser. Along with the small box of very special things we have, such as the famous pumpkin hat and a lock of his hair.

Marcellus bear snuggled up on our bed in Marcellus's blanky. Well Marcellus never used the blanket. It's one his Grandpa sent. It most definitely would have been his blanky.

A stuffed penguin wrapped in the blanket Marcellus was given after he passed. He's buried with a smaller stuffed penguin and in the matching hat.

The framed pictures by our bedside.

The nursing bra that got left out under a pile of clothes on the dresser.

The drawer of maternity and nursing clothes. I recently went through the closet and put them all away.

The drawer of clothes I have yet to get back out. I put them away when I started getting too big to wear them. This was much more fun to do than the previous.

The clothes I wore as he took his last breaths. Never washed, stuck under a stand/shelf thing in the corner of our room.

The over the counter sleep aids I needed to take when I couldn't sleep at all. I still need to use them every now on and then on one of "those nights."

...the spare bedroom, which should be his room...

The smaller sleeker desk I bought just 5 days before he was born. His room was always going to double as the office, especially since he would be sleeping in ours for quite some time. The bigger desk is still in here too. We never had a reason to move it out like we should have.

The nice office chair. We bought it just 4 days before he was born. I picked one out that rocks. It was going to double as a place to nurse with a nursing stool. Never had a reason to buy the stool.

The sea turtle clock his "Auntie" got him and gave to me on my birthday.

The children's books on the bookshelf. Also from his "Auntie" and given to us in the hospital the day after he as born. He only ever got to hear two of those stories, Sword in the Stone and The Velveteen Rabbit.

The framed ultra sound picture on top of that bookshelf. In the frame that was intended for a wedding picture. Daddy thought to put it in there shortly after having the ultra sound done at 19 weeks 4 days.

Pregnancy and baby books on the other bookshelf. Especially, The Premature Baby Book we ordered off of Amazon the night after he was born. Good thing we have free 2-day shipping or we may not have even gotten it while he was alive.

The Desitin and Purell hand sanitizer that sit on top of the bookshelf. Two smells that remind us of him.

THE drawer. HIS drawer that holds most of his things. Clothes we bought him, clothes his Grandma and Auntie bought him while they were here visiting. Clothes people sent him in the mail. The musical elephant, also from Grandma. And some other things

Papers, many many papers. His medical records, my medical records, all the papers from the funeral home.

The cards that out number his congratulations cards. The sympathy cards.

Stacks of diapers in the closet. They're from Grandpa. He didn't know we were planning on cloth diapering. That's okay, I'm sure we would have found it very helpful to have some on hand.

The car seat that never got installed in our car. The one Auntie gave him. His cousin rode down in it and rode back to  MN in his new bigger one.

The box of clothes his cousin was passing down to him. All neat and organized from a day I went through them waiting to leave for the NICU. If I couldn't be there immediately I had to do something for him.

The pumping supplies. No pump though because I had to give the hospital grade one back when my milk dried up. Many breast milk containers that never got filled and labels that never got used.

The Arms Reach Co-sleeper that was to go in our room. I couldn't wait to use it and have in right next to me for the night.

Other miscellaneous things we bought to start to get ready for him in a tote in the closet.

The beer in the "brewery" closet that Mike brewed shortly after we found out I was pregnant. It a stout, called "Baby Stout." He was going to offer one to people when they came over to meet the baby since he was due in January.

...the house in general...

The loneliness and emptiness of the house without him here.

The tear stained pillowcases.

The countless kleenex boxes around the house. No room is without them.

The mess I can't care enough about to clean up.

Marcellus, we didn't get all the things you would need because you came so early. We do have some things that every parent of a baby has. But we have no baby here. You're what's missing, not that other stuff we weren't able to get yet. It wouldn't have mattered. If we had you we wouldn't care if we had all those fancy things we thought we might need for you. All we would need is you (and maybe those diapers Grandpa sent you). Instead we have things around the house that no parent should ever have. Things that point out you are not here. I wish we didn't have those things. I wish I never knew parents could need those things. All I want is for you to be here my sweet baby boy. Momma loves and misses you so very much! xoxox

Get it out

I'm having a particularly hard night. I just need to get a few things "out there." This probably will be mostly rambling and not make too much sense. It might be raw, and it might be painful, but these are the feelings I need to get out.

I'm really hurting right now. I just need to say how much this sucks! It's so unfair. I want my baby here. I miss him more than I can find the words for. I feel so lonely without him, so incomplete. I am sad, really sad...just so so sad. I'm sad for me and I'm sad for all the other mommies missing their babies tonight. I don't know what to do. I just don't know what to do without him.

The last couple of weeks things have been "too normal" and it has taken it's toll on me. By the end of the week I feel exhausted and beat up. Holding back my emotions and trying to be productive through the week is hard. I've been working more and do believe I've been more productive. I think part of that is setting my grieving aside for the hours I'm on campus getting work done. Sometimes that makes it hard to pick back up when I get home. There are days I have left it set aside, packaged up all nicely just waiting for me. That's the thing, grief waits. If I want to escape it for a couple of days, it's there...waiting. Tonight my grief could wait no longer, it came to me. Out of nowhere I lost it. I don't even know what started it. Well, of course I know what started son is dead.

I haven't been crying enough. Many loss moms have said to embrace the good moments. And it's not that...I do think I am getting better at embracing the good moments. If I wasn't crying because of okay/good moments I don't think it would affect me like this. I just feel like I need to cry, but I'm not. I'm so sad on the inside, but it's not showing on the outside. I can't get it out. It's trapped and then I feel trapped. Don't get me wrong, I do have okay/good days. Right now just isn't one of them. Tonight I hurt, a lot.

Why is he not here? I don't understand. There was nothing wrong with him. Yes, he was premature, but he was doing so well. How do you go from being the most stable baby in the intensive room to being dead in 24 hours? How does that happen? It shouldn't have happened. He should be here. I should be the mother of a happy growing 5 month old baby boy. Not a mother who needs to have a tree planted on her son's 5 month birthday because he's buried in MN!

I'm missing him so much tonight. So very very much. I'm really missing him and really sad he's not here.

Marcellus, Momma's having a rough time tonight because I miss you so much. I just want you here to love on...tickle, squeeze, kiss. You would have gotten so many kisses from Mommy, Daddy, and Perkie! Tonight Daddy asked if I wanted Perk to cuddle in bed with me since I'm having a hard time. I said I want my baby to cuddle in bed with me! Daddy said him too. We both want you here so bad sweet boy. We would cuddle and snuggle up all the time. Oh Marcellus, how I wish things were different. The only thing that's the same is how very much I love you. I will always love you with all my heart little mister! xoxox

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

5 months and a tree

Today Marcellus would be 5 months old...5 months. I should have a 5 month old to look after.

We did something special for him on this day exactly 5 months from his birth. We had a tree planted for him. Marcellus now has a spot in NC. It's been hard for us being away from his resting place, not to be there to take care of it. Hard not to have somewhere to visit that is just his. Well, now we do. The tree is part of a program called NeighborWoods (yes, we also thought the name was corny).

Today I was thinking about how I used to think parents the celebrated their babies' month birthdays were obnoxious. But I know I would be one of those parents. Without my baby even here I am one of those parents. But I can only imagine what we would be doing every month if he were here. I bet Mike would use it as an excuse to have cake. Every month on the 28th we would have cake. Maybe a different kind each month. We'd do something special together as a family, sing happy birthday, take more pictures than usual, and maybe even buy Marcellus a little something.

Now we have to find different ways to spend the 28th. Today we got him a tree and a plaque. Something he wouldn't have gotten if he were alive. We had the tree planted at 10:00am. He was born at 10:01am. Usually his time of birth isn't any different than the rest of the day on the 28th. Unlike his time of death, which I have broken down during every time. But today was different for some reason. Watching them put the plaque, knowing that the tree is only there because he is gone. I looked at the clock right at 10:01am and thought about how exactly 5 months ago I was finding out Marcellus was a boy, that I have a son! I held a handful of pictures in my hand. I just stared at the one taken minutes after his birth...Marcellus had reached out and grabbed Mike's finger while he was being worked on. I replayed those moments of his birth day. And as happy as those moments are, and they are the happiest...sometimes they hurt to remember, they hurt to think about. I want those moments back. Today at 10:01am, my heart yearned for those moments again. To hear my son let out a cry and the doctor exclaim, "It's a boy!"

After the tender moment I had we were on to finishing the tree planting. They already had the tree in the hole (because we picked the larger size), but we got to help shovel dirt onto it. After Marcellus was buried, we took a jar of dirt from his grave. Mike brought that jar today and sprinkled some of it around the tree. We will take a jar of dirt from the tree and bring it to MN to sprinkle on Marcellus's grave. That way, the two spots will be connected.

I left the species of tree up to Mike. He chose a maple tree. He told me he chose it because maples are really pretty in the fall, they're a long living tree, and there are a lot of them in MN where Marcellus is. What he didn't know when he chose a maple tree is the exact type of maple tree we were getting. The coordinator of the program started telling us about the tree and that it is an October glory maple. My heart fluttered a bit when I heard that. Marcellus was born in October and he is our glory baby!

After we were done shoveling and the plaque was in place, the workers left us to have some time to ourselves. I sat down next to Marcellus's newly planted tree. And all the emotions overwhelmed me.

I don't want a tree!!!  I want my 5 month old baby boy to take care of. I don't want to worry if the nearby ivy started growing up the tree or if it has enough water during the hot summers. I want to worry about poopy diapers, breastfeeding and getting up in the middle of the night. I don't want a memorial tree! How did I end up with a memorial tree and my baby not here? How did this happen?

But this is our life and we try to find ways to memorialize our son. So now we have a tree. It's his tree. And that tree is there because 5 months ago today, Marcellus was born...because he was here. Because Marcellus is our October glory baby.

Marcellus, I hope you like your tree. Daddy picked out the kind of tree, but I think you may have had a special little hand in the. I do like your tree. I just don't want it. I want you instead. I wish I had no reason for a memorial tree. But since you're not here, I'm glad we have a spot for you in NC now. I hope you and Momma can have some moments there together. And Daddy too of course. We're even going to bring Perk there next time we go. Oh how I miss you my sweet baby boy. I miss you sooooo incredibly much. Mommy misssssssses you! Happy 5 month birthday my squirmy wormy! I was squeezing Marcellus Bear extra tight today, did you feel my hugs? I love you Marcellus, I love you my son!

Monday, March 26, 2012


In case you didn't notice...I want to point out my fancy new blog design! Hannah Rose made it for me. Don't you love it?

A friend emailed me and said, "I looked at you blog today, and I love what you've done with it!  I love the sweet pictures of Marcellus you've added on top.  It looks so much more personal now, and I can see how proud you are to share him with the world." She didn't know Hannah did all the work. But I did pick out those pics of Marcellus and yup, I am one proud momma showing of my boy!

I almost feel like a real blogger now. I think I want to share my blog with more people, but I don't know how to go about "advertising" it. Of course I could plaster it on facebook, which maybe I will. I personally gave out my blog address to some close friends. Friends who you know who really want the truth to the question "How are you doing?" I linked it on my March for Babies page and I know some people have found it through there. I guess what I worry about with putting it on facebook or something similar is that I might feel vulnerable. The friends that I've shared the link with I know are super supportive. People that have found my blog through March for Babies were on that page to support our fundraising efforts in Marcellus's name and so are probably pretty supportive. But what if by sharing it more publicly I run into someone who isn't supportive? Maybe thinks I'm being too negative, depressed, or that I should "get over it", or anything like that. That's where I get nervous.

Does the good of sharing my blog outweigh the risk of some negative comments? I think so. I hope so. This blog will always first and foremost be for myself and for Marcellus. But if Marcellus and I can help people in some way, then I feel like I need to reach out. If it's helping a fellow loss mom know she's not alone, that her feelings aren't crazy, that someone else has done this before her and is doing this with her. If it's helping someone whose friend's baby has died try to understand just a shred of what their friend is going through and how they can be supportive. If it's just telling the world that Marcellus lived and sharing his life with others, helping them realize how precious of a gift life really is. If this blog can do any of those things, which I hope it can do, then I feel I should share it.

Just the other day I was talking to Hannah about if I should share my blog with more people or not. Ironically (or not so ironically) that same day I received an email from someone who had heard of my blog through someone else who saw it on my March for Babies page (did you catch all that?). She said, 
I just wanted to thank you so much for writing.  It can't be easy.  I spent several hours reading what you had written, and wanted to share a couple things.  First and foremost, thank you so much for sharing about Marcellus's LIFE. Please know that he has made an impact on me.  I have been thinking about legacy a lot lately, and I truly believe that Marcellus has left a legacy.  His life is impacting and teaching people, making our hearts bigger.
I think that's my answer. While I have never hidden my blog, I want to intentionally share it, to share Marcellus's life, his legacy. I'm nervous, and I may feel vulnerable, but here it goes!

So, if this is your first time here, welcome. Please don't hesitate to read any of my old posts. I only ask that you be supportive and respectful of my feelings and grieving process. Thanks for visiting and wanting to know more about my precious baby boy!

Oh and the music player to the right has a couple of songs that have been important to me. The video slideshow on the bottom is something else Hannah has done for me. It plays "I Will Carry You". I've shared that song in a post before, but this is the boy version. The slideshow ends with a short video of Marcellus in the NICU that gives a small example of why I call him my squirmy wormy. He would always move like that would I would hold him on my chest during kangaroo care.

Marcellus, Mommy's a little nervous about sharing our place with so many people. But that's okay, it's okay to be nervous. I want to share your story though, our story. I want to share what it's like to be your mommy. It's hard being your mommy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. You are doing so much good sweet boy, helping so many people. 12 days on this earth and you've accomplished more than your momma has. I'm so proud of you! Love your right up to the moon and back and miss you like crazy! xoxox.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Our getaway, part 2

The other day I started writing about our getaway to Asheville. That trip was a big deal for us. Hopefully I can finish writing about it today.

We had actually hoped to go hiking that Friday, Marcellus's 4 month angel birthday. But the weather was cloudy with scattered rain in the forecast. We decided it was best to wait until Saturday when the forecast called for clear sunny skies. So on Friday we just went to explore downtown. We had no idea what we were doing. We didn't make a plan. That turned out to be a little frustrating and overwhelming. See we often have a hard time just trying to figure out what to do with ourselves when we have free time.

When we got to downtown we walked past the Colburn Earth Science Museum and decide to go in. It had lots of pretty rocks on display...minerals, stones, fossils, and gemstones. I've always been interested in that kind of stuff so it was neat to look around.

By the time we were done we were both super hungry. So we went to another vegetarian cafe downtown. We aren't specifically vegetarian, but do try to not eat too much meat. Plus there are so many good vegetarian and vegan options in Asheville. The food was delicious. I had a really good taco salad. I think it's the best one I've ever had.

We had a map with us that the B&B gave us. We saw a place labelled "The Chocolate Fetish" on there and you better believe we were checking it out! We did and we spent a lot of money on some very yummy chocolate truffles. Since we didn't plan our time downtown we didn't look up where some of the neat little shops or art galleries where. I guess we had thought we would just walk around and come across them. Well we didn't. Somehow it seemed like we were only walking past restaurants. We had a limited amount of time downtown because I had a massage scheduled for that evening. That's where the frustration and being overwhelmed started to kick in.

We did get to go into a few places. And I was really hoping to find something that would make me think of Marcellus. Nothing really stood out (or at least nothing that we could afford) so we headed back toward the car. We happened to walk by one last shop that looked intriguing, so pushed for time we decided to pop in anyway. And I found something! I found these funky coasters that had the perfect sayings on them. One of them says "A mother holds her child's hand for a short while and their hearts forever." And the other says, "love makes a family."
How perfect is the first saying? I wonder if the person that designed/made these ever thought that someone's "while" could only be 12 days (or even less). And the second one, the second one we got because we do still have a family made up of Mommy, Daddy and Marcellus. Marcellus will always be a part of our family. The love we have for him will always be integrated into our family.

Purchasing the coasters caused us some stress though. Like I said we I had a massage scheduled and we were really pushing time. So while I waited to pay, Mike went to go get the car. I then go wait on the curb for him...waiting, waiting....waiting. He didn't bring his phone (we thought we'd be together the entire time), and I had our newly purchased GPS (who we have affectionately named Hilda) in my purse. He got a little lost coming back to get me. But we made it to the B&B just a minute or so late and I was able to get my massage...ah, relaxation.

We had originally planned on going out for dinner that night. So we showered and got ready. We then decided maybe we should call and see if they do reservations (and this was at 7pm, probably should have called a lot sooner...oops). Well the place we wanted to go to was booked until 1015pm. A little late for our liking. So we made a reservation for the next night...9pm at the bar. Still late, but we had heard great things about this restaurant and really wanted to try it. After getting ready and scrambling trying to figure out where to go we finally realized we didn't have to go anywhere. There was no rule stating that just because we're out of town we need to force ourselves to go sit at some fancy restaurant when we are exhausted and had a busy day. So we got take out and watched a movie.

Saturday started out with another fancy breakfast, although our favorite was Fridays breakfast. There were a lot more people there on Saturday morning. The big main table was full and they had a few little tables as well. Mike and I sat ourselves at a little table so we didn't have to try and force awkward conversation with strangers.

I was excited for Saturday. The weather was gorgeous and we were going hiking! We drove up to Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi - elevation 6,684 feet. The view was gorgeous and the skies were very clear. I read that 8 out of 10 days it's cloudy/foggy up there, but for us it was clear. We then did some hiking. We went on a path that said "very strenuous" and they meant that. But we enjoyed it. There were other people out hiking, but it wasn't crazy busy or anything. The air was calm and fresh, the trees smelled great. It was peaceful. We talked a lot about Marcellus and about our lives.

I was thankful to be there with Mike. To experience nature like that. But every now and then I'd all of a sudden say "I don't want to be here!" Because we shouldn't have been there. We should have been spending our spring breaks at home with our 4 month old baby. Getting in some quality family time while neither Mommy or Daddy had to worry about what was going on with school. I envisioned the 3 of us on the couch all snuggled up. I continued to go back and forth like that through the hike. Enjoying it one moment and hating it the next.

At one point I got the idea to get a rock for Marcellus's spot in MN (I decided I hate the word grave, so it is "his spot". Although just now I decided I don't like "spot"....maybe "place". I'll have to work on that). And we found one. It's nothing fancy, but has some color to it. I actually got excited about finding him a rock. I felt like I was doing something for him. Mommy and Daddy were getting him a memento from our trip. Then reality hit me. It happens like that a lot. I'll be doing something for Marcellus or thinking about him in a way that makes me feel like any other mom. But then I'll snap out of it and the harshness of reality is waiting there for me. This time I went from excited to find a rock for Marcellus to the thought of "You just picked up a rock to put at your son's GRAVE!" And yes, I just said I hate the word grave, but that's how a thought it. No longer feeling like just any other mom, we had to stop, sit, and cry a bit. Because I'm not just like any other mom. Yes I am a mom, but my baby is not here. I don't gather mementos to give to my child or display in his room, I gather them for his grave. His final resting spot. The place where only his body lies.

After taking a moment for Marcellus we finished out our hike. I physically did better than I thought I would. Next we planned on visiting a waterfall 10ish miles away. By the time we were done at Mount Mitchell we were SO hungry though. Some very amazing friends had called the B&B we were staying at and got us a very fancy picnic basket. On our way to the waterfall we decided to pull off on an overlook and have our picnic.

Our picnic basket included fruit, cheese and crackers, rolls, rotisserie chicken, mini creme puffs and eclairs, and sparkling apple cider. It was all very good! 

Marcellus Bear enjoying the view!

After our picnic we finished headed to the waterfall. We were in a hurry to get there because it was getting a little later than we had liked. In my hurrying I started to trip on some rocks. I really don't know how I didn't fall flat on my face. I feel like the way I tripped I really should have. After that I just had this vision of Marcellus with his wings flying beside me and grabbing his momma's shirt to keep my face from meeting the rocks. If I would have actually fallen it would have been bad. Thankful my little mister was watching out for me.

Someone we timed it just right to be at the waterfall by ourselves. On the way there we passed about 4 groups of people leaving and on the way back we passed 2 couples on their way to the waterfall. We stay for 45min to an hour, just us. It was beautiful. I sat and wrote to Marcellus in his journal. We took pictures. We yelled at the waterfall how much we love and miss Marcellus. It was emotional, but good to be there.

On the way back to our car we had to go uphill. There were spots where steps were made into the path. I mentioned how these were some really big steps. And Mike said, "this whole trip is really big steps." We talked about all the things we were doing. Just getting out of our comfort zones, leaving the dog, staying at a B&B, eating breakfast with strangers, doing something for ourselves, actually trying to enjoy ourselves, going out for dinner. These might not seem like big things, but for us Mike was right. The whole trip was big steps!

Saturday night we did get to that restaurant we wanted to go to. It's a Spanish tapas place. We had to sit at the bar because they were so busy, but it was good we did. We had our backs to the hustle bustle of the restaurant and were able to watch the chefs make the food. Their kitchen is behind the bar. We had some more wonderful food and good conversation. Of course Marcellus was included in our conversation, but I think we managed to talk about him just as any parents would mention their children while out to dinner without them. Saturday was my favorite day in Asheville. I feel like we accomplished a lot.

Marcellus at Mount Craig, the second highest point east of the Mississippi.

Marcellus at Crabtree Waterfall

Marcellus, first of all thanks for keeping Mommy from falling flat on my face. Daddy and I did enjoy our time in Asheville, but you were always on our minds. Although it was beautiful and we had a good time, we would have much rather been sitting at home changing your poopy diapers. As always I know you were with us. That's why I wanted to take pictures with you "in them." So that everyone else can think of how you are always with us too. I love and miss you sweet boy! xoxox.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

To my son

Dear Marcellus,

I've been anxious about tomorrow approaching all semester. Tomorrow's date isn't of any significance, but what I will be doing is. 

I'm teaching again this semester like I did last semester. It's the same class, same material. But there's a big difference, you aren't there with me. I feel like you probably got sick of hearing about statistics. Between the seminars I attended, the talks I gave, the teaching I did, and the help I gave during office hours you heard a lot about it. Would you have been a little statistician, enjoying math like Mommy? Or would you have been more into history like Daddy? 
You were with me every time I taught last semester. Toward the end it was getting difficult for me to wander up and down the crowded aisles of the class room while the students were working on their activities. The last couple office hours I held I remember I accidentally "belly bumped" someone. You must have had a growth spurt and I wasn't used to how far out my belly went. 

Teaching this semester hasn't been the same. Nothing is the same without you. I don't have my big belly, I don't have as much enthusiasm, I don't have you. And tomorrow, tomorrow I teach the material I was supposed to teach the day you were born. I was all ready to teach that day. I had made my copies the day before and stacked them neatly on my desk. In fact baby boy, they are still there. Still in the same corner of the desk I left them on Thursday, October 27th (your uncle's birthday by the way). I haven't been able to do anything with them yet. They symbolize some of the last moments of our lives going they way I planned, the way I thought things would go, the only way I thought they could  go. 

Instead of teaching that Friday morning, October 28th, you my dear boy made your grand entrance. Oh what a surprise that was. Most of the time I still can't wrap my head around the fact that I just went into labor so early. No rhyme or reason. That morning I sent a precedent for all the TAs to call in for a sub. While in labor with you, while I couldn't stand up for fear my water would break, while the ambulance was on the way, I called a fellow TA. All I could say is that I couldn't teach because I had to go to the hospital. I didn't even tell him I was in labor. I think he figured it out though or at least that something was up with you. I don't know why I didn't just say you were on your way. I guess at that moment I wanted to know you'd be okay before telling anyone about you arriving. I was panicked, scared, and focused on getting you here safely.

So tomorrow I will wake up and get ready like any other day. I will teach the material I was supposed to teach the day you were born. It's the first material this semester that I hadn't taught last semester. But that's not why it's going to be hard. It's going to be hard because I should have taught this material with you all cozy in my womb. We should have finished out last semester together. Maybe if you would have just made it through that class you would still be here. Or I shouldn't be teaching this material at all. I should not have the chance to do so because I should have you to take care of and worry about. I wasn't going to teach this semester. The only reason I am is because you're not here.

Will you be listening to Mommy tomorrow, Marcellus? Learning the rest of the material you missed out on last semester? Although you aren't in my womb for this one, I know you are in my heart. You will still be there with me. Please be there with me tomorrow. 

I love you with all my heart sweet boy. I just can't say that enough. I love you! I love you! I love you! I miss you every single second of every single day. Tomorrow I will especially think about that day you were born last fall semester. I will think about how my life is so different on this corresponding day of the spring semester. I will be sad. I will be sad that you are not here. That this is what I have to do. Teach the material I was supposed to teach the day you were born. But I will also be thankful. I will be thankful that you were born. I will always be thankful for that. When I get overwhelmed please help me think of the beautiful moments from that crazy day last semester. Like Daddy having to carry me down the stairs, feeling you move like crazy in the ambulance, you letting out a cry when you were born to tell me you were okay, looking into Daddy's eyes when the doctor said "it's a boy!", seeing Daddy come back from seeing you overflowing with pride, seeing the pictures he snapped of you as he told me how good you looked and how beautiful you were, finally getting to see you for the first time 5 hours after you were born.  October 28th, 2011 - your birthday. A happy day.

Love always,


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our getaway, part 1

Well, we've been back for a week and a half now and I'm finally sitting down to write about our trip to Asheville. Like I say every post, I need to write more! I really wish I could write as often as I started out doing. I'm not not writing because I don't have anything to write about. I constantly have at least 5 posts "written" in my head! I'm not writing because I'm actually being productive at times and being productive makes me tired.

Anyway, over spring break Mike and I went to Asheville for a few days. Let me start by saying we had a good, bad, up, down, relaxing, stressful, fun, overwhelming time!

It's about a 4 hour drive from here and is in the mountains. For 3 1/2 years we've been saying "We need to go to Asheville." We actually almost planned a trip in the fall to go. It was going to be right around the time Marcellus was born. I guess there's a reason we got too busy and never got around to going then.

We had to delay our trip a day because Perkie got sick. What probably wouldn't be a big deal to many, sent us to the vet immediately and ordering expensive blood work on the dog. Yes, we freaked out and probably overreacted, but we NEED him right now. When he got sick, both Mike and I worried that something was going to happen and we would lose him. So we were totally okay with waiting a day to make sure our poochie was well enough before we took off.

Leaving Perk was also hard. I know that sounds so pathetic, but it's true. We haven't been away from Perk since getting back from MN three weeks after losing Marcellus. He's been our constant, he's been part of our comfort zone.

The main reason for taking a trip was for us to get out of our comfort zones. Mike pointed out how we rarely leave them. We have the comfort zone of our house (where we sometimes let other people come into), the comfort zone of group, and the comfort zone of going to the house of the couple we met at the TCF candle lighting ceremony (they lost their infant son 20 years ago), and the comfort of doing things with people from group. He was pretty much right, we never do anything else. We rarely even go out to dinner. We had gotten good at ordering out from places that deliver or things we can just bring home. Occasionally we'd eat somewhere, but we'd make sure it was at an obscure hour so it wasn't busy.

But going to Asheville and staying at a bed and breakfast...totally out of our comfort zones! We did stay in a bungalow suite, so we weren't staying in the main house of the B&B. I don't think I would have been able to handle that. But we did eat breakfast each morning with a handful of strangers. The part of bed and breakfast that Mike really hadn't thought through before.

We got to Asheville on that Thursday. We ate lunch at a really good vegetarian cafe where they have green water. They put chlorophyll in the water. I honestly didn't realize at first that the water was green. I thought it was the glass. That night we went for pizza. Nothing too fancy, but the place was recommended to us by some friends that had been there before. And it was great pizza! We sat outside because the inside was really loud and hectic. It was nice though. We had some amazing jalapeno poppers, the delish pizza, and each had a beer. The beer in itself was a big deal. That's the first pint of beer I had since getting pregnant with Marcellus. We enjoyed our food and each others company.
The first morning we were there was a Friday, it was also Marcellus's 4 month angel birthday. We could have chosen to skip the breakfast, but isn't that part of the point of staying at a B&B...killer breakfast? So we went. It was only us, another couple, and two friends there. At one point they started talking about their kids. Older kids, but their children nonetheless. I wanted to join in the conversation with "oh, we have a 4 month old!" But instead I very quietly ate my very delicious spinach and artichoke quiche.

As we were finishing up our breakfast one of the owners was sitting at the table with us. He asked about Mike's "Daddy of an Angel" bracelet. No one has asked about our bracelets yet, not a single person. So we got to tell them a little bit about Marcellus. And I of course had pictures with me, so like the proud momma I am I whipped them out to show everybody! Then we learned that both the owners had sons that were premature. One had a son that was born at 28 weeks...yup, the same as Marcellus. AND he had NEC. The difference, that baby survived. He is now a 34 year old man. He did struggle with complications from it throughout his life and still does a bit. The other had a son born at 34 weeks (I'm assuming 34 weeks because he said 6 weeks early) and when born the baby weighed 3 lbs 1oz (or maybe 3 oz, can't remember exactly). Marcellus weighed 3 lbs 2 oz when he was born and almost 6 weeks earlier than that big boy! Both the owners did talk about how they never got to really hold their babies when they were in the NICU. That did make me very thankful for the advances that allowed us to spend so much time holding Marcellus.

After breakfast I did have a mini melt down. But at least I did it among beautiful orchids. One of the owners is a master gardener and has a greenhouse on the property. We were able to go in and look around and sort through how breakfast went. While I would never ever ever wish this upon anyone and I was thankful to hear that both the owners' children had survived, part of me struggled with that. How come they could save that 28 weeker 34 years ago? 34 years ago that baby fought NEC and survived. Four months ago my baby fought NEC and lost. How does that work?! The famous question, "why my baby?"

Being the 9th, we had to go to a cemetery. It's a place we find comfort, a place we feel more connected to Marcellus. So yes, on our vacation we went to a cemetery. We went to two actually. The first one is a historic cemetery, Thomas Wolfe is buried there. It's actually a very neat old cemetery. I would have loved to walk around more there. We drove around it first on the windy hilly roads. That cemetery has quite the vibe. Then we got out and walked around. We had brought Marcellus's story, "Guess How Much I Love You" with us and wanted to read it to a baby. This might sound completely bizarre to some people, especially if you haven't lost a baby, but I got upset that we couldn't find any "new" babies to read to. So in our grieving parent state, we decided to go to a more "modern" cemetery. We ended up being there over Marcellus's time of death. Still a major melt down time for us. We gathered ourselves together and read his story. I did feel better after that, that we made sure to take time for him on his angel birthday.

I will have to write about the rest later. I'm being wordy and it's taking me longer than I thought and I'm sleepy. I'll shoot for tomorrow. And I promise we did do fun things while there!

Marcellus, Daddy and I are glad we got to tell people about you and show off your pictures while we were on our trip. We wear our bracelets and necklaces because we are proud to be your mommy and daddy. Everyday though I struggle with you being gone. I want you to be here with us. I want to show you off in person. I love you so much sweet boy, right up to the moon and back! xoxox

Friday, March 16, 2012

A tiny flower

To many today is just March 16th, the day that comes after the Ides of March. But today, is a very special day. Today is Lily's 2nd heavenly birthday. Who is Lily you ask? Lily is the beautiful daughter of my dear friend Hannah Rose.

I met Hannah Rose at group. She was at the first meeting we attended. Since then we have messaged each other on facebook, swapped blogs (her's is a lot nicer looking and fancier than mine!), texted back and forth, gotten together outside of group and really become friends. She is an amazing mother to know. She is an incredible witness to the Lord and I look to the strong faith she has as guidance for myself. You should really check out her blog "Rose and Her Lily" and read her testimony. She's pretty amazing :) Her post today in honor of Lily's life is very beautiful.

Today I want to honor Lily on her special day. Today I want you to know how special, beautiful and amazing this little girl is. She has changed the lives of many without even taking a breath on this earth. I never got the chance to meet or see Lily, I didn't know Hannah Rose when she was pregnant, but that doesn't matter. I feel like I know Lily. I know her through her mother. I can only hope that Marcellus is living on as much through me as Lily is through her mommy.

I wish I knew Hannah Rose for other reasons. That our children were part of the same play group or we were in a mommies exercise class together or something. But this is our reality. Our little ones already in Heaven waiting for us. And although this is the circumstance I met Hannah Rose under, I am very blessed to have her and Lily in my life.

I just know Marcellus and Lily found each other in Heaven. They probably found each other before their mommies even met. They definitely have taken part in building this friendship Hannah Rose and I have. Not too long ago Hannah Rose came over and we shared our children's things. She showed me many of her favorite things of Lily's and I showed her all of Marcellus's. I really felt like a mommy then. It felt really good.

Tomorrow I have the privilege and honor of partaking in a balloon release for Lily. I'll also get to see her scrapbooks her mommy has been working so hard on. And yes, you read that right...scrapbooks, plural. Lily has 2! Because she is so loved and special.

About a week and a half ago friends of ours were able to visit Marcellus. They asked if we wanted them to bring him something. I like him to have fresh flowers. I am usually not too picky about what kind he gets. But I had an idea. He needed to have lilies! Even though it was a week and a half before Lily's birthday, that's what made me think of it. He needed lilies for his friend Lily. Here's a picture my friend sent to me of that night. Look at that sparkly snow! It was gone the next day, but don't the vibrant lilies look so beautiful against the pure white snow? When my friend sent the pictures she labelled them Marcellus_Lily. It really touched me to see their names together like that. My Marcellus and Hannah Rose's Lily, together.

So today dear Lily Katherine, we honor you and not only your time here, but your legacy that lives on.

"A tiny flower, lent not given, to bud on earth and bloom in Heaven."

Dear Marcellus, I know you have wonderful friends in Heaven with you. We all wish you could be here on earth with us, with your mommies. I hope you and Lily have fun together. Does she watch out for you? Does she maybe act a little like a big sister to you? Although your time here was too short, you are both such a gift to this world. I miss and love you so much baby boy! xoxox

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I hate this

In my last post I said that I would write about our little getaway we had over the weekend. I will probably still write about it, maybe over this weekend when I have more time. But for now all I have to say is...


I hate having this blog. 
I hate writing in a journal to my son, instead of whispering in his ear. 
I hate that the other night we spent our time designing his headstone to be just perfect.
I hate that we'll make an Easter sign to put at his grave.
I hate I only have a teddy bear to snuggle with, and not my sweet boy.
I hate going to group.
I hate struggling to find ways to do things for him.
I hate that we have an "in memory of" March for Babies team.
I hate that I now know so many moms that have lost their sweet babies too.
I hate it! I hate it! I hate it!

Now obviously a lot of these things are helpful for me. Things I need to do/have right now. But I hate them. I hate them because the only reason they happen/exist is because Marcellus is gone. So I hate everything about them.

I hate seeing my husband in so much pain and not being able to take it away.
I hate that I feel jealousy and hurt when I see other people with their babies or pregnant.
I hate how unfair this all is. 
I am so sick of crying.
I am so sick of feeling lonely.
I am so sick of never knowing when the next break down will be. What will trigger me today?
I'm so sick of not sleeping well.
I am so sick of this life.

But the 12 days I had with my precious baby boy were worth all this heartache. The love I feel for him is worth all the pain. I wouldn't trade it. I wouldn't give up this miserable life if it meant never having him at all. He is worth every second of it.

Dear Marcellus, the pain and hurt I feel now is only because I love you so much. It's because you were here and you did live that Momma hurts so bad. And that makes it worth it. I would do anything for you. And if this is what I have to go through to be your mommy, then I will. I will do this for the rest of my life because for the rest of my life I get to say, "I am Marcellus's mommy!" Not a moment goes by that I'm not missing you. I love you sweet boy! xoxox

Sunday, March 11, 2012


First I want to mention that this is probably the longest I've gone without writing. Mike and I were out of town for a mini getaway. I will have lots to write about that this week. I don't have enough time or energy to get into it at the moment.

What I want to write about quickly is doing our taxes. Yes, taxes. If you have come across this blog because you are also unfortunately a member of this babyloss club, then I want to warn you. A lot of people may have already done them. But hey there's still a little over a month to go, so maybe people still haven't. I use Turbo Tax to do ours and I'm not sure if all software or doing them by hand lays things out in the same way. So it might be different.

I did know doing the taxes were going to be hard. It's a time where we get to claim Marcellus as ours. To say he was here and he IS (not was, is) ours. It's the last time I will get to use his social security number. The only other times being to apply for Medicaid (after he died) and for the funeral home (they ordered his death certificate for us). In fact we didn't even get his social security card until the day after he passed away. Ironic huh? The official word that he's in the government system, the day after he's gone.

I got a little nervous starting, but then I actually got excited to add him as a dependent. My child. Our child. Claiming him as our son. I put in his information and then there's a few boxes to look through to check. Yup, there it is. I don't remember the exact wording, but it said something like "this person became deceased in 2011". Que tears streaming down my face as I check that box. I was just bawling. Yes he is ours. BUT, he is deceased. Gone. I will never need that page in Turbo Tax for Marcellus ever again. I will never get to list him as our dependent ever again. I pray that I will get to use that page in the future. And hopefully next time it will be for more than one tax filing. I had to take a break and I hadn't even gotten through the personal information yet.

And no, none of it was about the tax breaks or the bigger refund. As I went through the deductions and saw the "child credit" and all of the things that were different on this years taxes than last years my heart kept breaking. That's money I should be spending on him. On new baby clothes, diapers, toys, carriers, portraits of him. Instead maybe we'll set some aside for a random trip to MN to visit his grave sometime or get him some things to put as his grave.

I would give it all back. I would give back all of my tax refund, give away all the money in our checking and savings account, give up everything we own, I would give EVERYTHING to have even just one more moment with him. One more time to kiss him, hug him, whisper "I love you" into his ear. I would give up anything and everything.

And as a warning to those of you that have lost children recently...
I saw this story posted in a loss facebook group that I am in. It's about ID thieves stealing the identities of dead children. Basically the story is about a family who's tax return got rejected. It's because someone else had already claimed the child they lost in 2011. How disgusting is that?! It makes me sick. That family is already going through enough and now to have to deal with heart hurts for them. I really hope this story is unique and there aren't others out there. But this world can be a pretty messed up place, and unfortunately there are probably more like that family that have suffered at hands of identity thieves.

It's actually reading that story that pushed me to get our taxes done. I'm so paranoid now that someone will have done this with Marcellus. That maybe this blog will be to blame too. That they'll see his name and his birth date here and be able to find his social security number in one of those stupid deceased registries the news story talks about. I guess I'll find out soon enough whether the government accepts or rejects our return. I will absolutely lose it if something like that happens to us.

Okay. at the beginning I mentioned that I was going to write quickly. This has not be as quick as I thought it would be. I have so many thoughts floating around in my head that I'm sure I will be posting often this week.

Marcellus, for a moment today I smiled at being able to claim you as our son. To say (even if it's just to the IRS) that yes, we have a son! That brief smile turned quickly back into heartache. I also had to say that you are gone. I'll never get to tell the IRS about you ever again. I would give anything to have you here baby boy. I would give up everything we have. I hope you know that. Nothing is more important to me than you. I love and miss you THIS much! xoxox

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Guilt and failure

Today out of nowhere thoughts about the moments leading up to Marcellus's birth hit me. And along with it - guilt. GUILT. Lots and lots of it.

How did I not know I was in labor? Actually I did know something wasn't quite right shortly after I got out of bed that morning. When writing his birth story and telling it I always say I didn't realize it until 5:30am. But that has been to protect myself. Deep down I knew something was wrong shortly after I got up.

I didn't want it to be. I knew I was only 28 weeks. Who goes into spontaneous labor at 28 weeks?! It was early in the morning. 5am or so. I didn't want to be "that person" that wakes my midwife for no reason. I didn't want to get Mike up and worried for no reason. So I waited. I waited until 6am. I thought that was at least not so early. I should have called right away. I should have just gotten Mike up and headed to the hospital. Those 2 hours (between 5am and when our midwife came and checked me a little before 7am and found me dilated to 10cm) could have made a huge difference. Maybe they could have stopped or slowed it down. Maybe I could have gotten steroid shots for his lungs. Maybe he would still be alive.

Instead I spent an hour trying to convince myself everything was okay. That it couldn't be labor at 28 weeks. Why didn't I know? Or at least acknowledge it? I knew deep down. I knew. I knew something wasn't right and I was scared. Why didn't I listen to my instincts? I labor quickly. 2 hours really could have made a difference. Right now I really believe it could have. And right now my grief is telling me that it could have been enough time to change the outcome entirely. He could still be alive if I had only done something differently.

And I don't think I've mentioned I had spotting about a week and a half before he was born. It freaked me out. But it wasn't much and it didn't last long. I had no pain, contractions, backache, fever or anything with it. So we wrote it off. My midwife told me spotting can just happen throughout pregnancy. The Maternal Fetal Specialist we have since consulted with said many OBs would say the same thing. But I should have known. I should have asked to be checked. To be monitored. I just should have asked. Maybe then we would have found out I was already slowly dilating and we could have caught the preterm labor. Again, it could have been delayed and I could have gotten steroids shots. And ultimately he could still be alive.

Even if there were no signs and I had no way of knowing, my body still betrayed me. My body still betrayed Marcellus. And that's hard to deal with. He was supposed to be safe in there, safe inside my womb. That was supposed to be his safe place. Instead my body kicked him out before he was ready. There was nothing wrong with him other than the fact that he was born prematurely. He wasn't born with a defect, he wasn't injured, he wasn't sick right away. He was strong, he was very healthy for his gestation. He was just premature. And because of that he did get sick. He got sick because he was no longer in his safe place. He got sick because he was betrayed.

Most of the time I can accept that everyone did everything they could to save him. Once he was alive his daddy and I did everything we could for him. The nurses took such good care of him. He had great doctors and a great respiratory team. Everyone worked hard to save him that day. There was nothing else they could do. No one could protect him any longer. I couldn't, his daddy couldn't, the nurses couldn't, and even the doctors couldn't.

But when he was still inside my womb I was the only one that could protect him. Only me, his mommy. That was my job. To keep him safe until his arrival. And I couldn't. I failed to keep him safe. I couldn't protect him.

This is how my grief is manifesting today. It is telling me, "if only you had done something differently, he would still be here. You're son would be alive. It's your fault he was born so early."

Not only do I feel guilty about the day he was born, but I feel like I failed him as his mother that day. I feel guilty that I didn't act sooner. That I didn't call or just go to the hospital. That I didn't ask to be checked the week before. But I also couldn't protect him. And that is how I failed him.

Marcellus, I so wish I would have known you were coming so fast that day. I'm so sorry I didn't know. I'm so sorry I didn't tell anyone sooner that I thought something was up. I'm so sorry baby boy. I'm sorry I couldn't protect you and keep you safe. I'm sorry I let you be born so early when you weren't ready. If I could have just kept you in a little longer you could be here. Actually I believe that if you were born even a day later you would still be here. If you would have gotten the steroid shots to help your lungs. Your lungs would have kept you strong. I'm just so sorry my little love. I want you here so bad and sometimes it feels like my fault that you're not. There's no reason you were born early, other than I couldn't protect you. My body betrayed us. Please forgive me.

Going to bed

I hate going to bed. I absolutely hate it. Every night I whine at Mike, "I don't want to go to bed!"

Sleeping has gotten somewhat better in the last couple of months. For about a month after Marcellus died we slept with the light on. Yup, every single night we, a married couple in our mid-late 20s, slept with the light on. It was mostly for me. I was afraid of the dark. I was afraid of the thoughts that would come out. The images I would see. Mike had to convince me to finally try it without one night.

I'm also no longer taking over the counter stuff to help me sleep. Well I do take it every now and then. But I was told that your body can get used to it and "need" it if you take it on a regular basis. 

But I still hate going to bed at night. There are a few reasons I hate it. First I hate laying there. I never fall asleep right away, never. I've never been one that can fall asleep very easily. My mind wanders. It wanders all over the place. But mostly about Marcellus. About what he would be like. About what we would be doing if he were here. About what it was like when he was here. About what happened to him. About what I could have done differently. About all the "what ifs." About how other people have responded to us losing him. About other babyloss moms. About if we'll have other children. Yes, my mind wanders like crazy. And it's not even that I think about any one of these things in details. My mind just bounces around in one sentence thoughts amongst everything and anything related to Marcellus. I hate that. I can't stop it.

My therapist says I'm supposed to write before bed and then do some relaxation techniques to help with this. I have to admit I'm not very good about it. Part of it makes me angry. I don't want to do those things. I don't want to have to convince myself to go to sleep. I should be so exhausted from being a mommy that I can easily fall asleep any second I get. I shouldn't have to work for it because I'm afraid to go to bed. Because Marcellus is gone.

Things tend to get worse at night. Often once I step into our bedroom to get ready for bed, I lose it. Bedtime is a time to wind down. Instead for me bedtime is a time I become flooded with emotions. If I had a busy day or a "shut down" kind of day (like today) where I try to ignore my emotions, they hit me at bedtime. For me it's usually the loneliest, emptiest time.

The other things I absolutely hate about going to bed is the fact that I am just going to have to wake up and do it all over again. Most nights I just want to go to sleep and not wake up. Not have to do it again the next day. Just go to sleep and see Marcellus. But I don't even dream about him. Well I do dream about him, but never about him being alive. I beg God to let me have dreams of him alive. Either when he was here and in the NICU or what he would be like now. But I don't get them. He exists in my dreams, but it's always that he's already gone. Please can I just have one amazing dream where he is alive, please?

Mike's already sleeping. He had to get up early this morning and I slept in, so I wasn't ready to go to bed when he was. This is when it's the worst. When I have the most difficulty going to bed. He's not awake to help convince me it's okay to go to bed. He's aware of that too. Before he went upstairs he asked if I needed him to stay up with me. I'm sure that's part of it. That he knew I'd have trouble getting myself to go to bed.

So I should probably drag myself reluctantly up the stairs. Climb in bed clutching my Marcellus Bear and attempt to sleep. I should, but even after writing this post I'm still not sure that I will.

Marcellus, Momma hates going to bed because you're not here. You're not here to get up to in the night. I think about that a lot. About what it would be like to wake up to you fussing, bring you in bed to feed you and snuggle and just stare in awe at you in the middle of the night. I wonder what that would be like. I never got to get up to you. I pumped, so I had to wake up in the middle of the night. But instead of being woken up by your soft (or loud) cry, I had to set an alarm. I never got to wake to you baby boy. I would give anything to have been woken by you. To get up to your cries in the night. To not sleep at all because you are fussing all night. Instead I can't sleep because my thoughts are full of you. Because I miss you. Because I long and ache for you. Will you please come visit me in my dreams sometime, please baby boy? I just want a glimpse back into what our family was like when you were here. Or a glimpse into what you would be like if you were still alive. What would my squirmy wormy be like? Every night I'll go to bed loving and missing you. I love you so much Marcellus, so very very much! Oh how I wish you were here. xoxox

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A big step

Yesterday I took a huge step. I held a baby. A newborn baby.

The mom is from my infant loss support group and her daughter was born a week ago today. I remember a while back at group I said that I just wanted to hold a baby. But it would have to be a baby I could cry all over. She told me once her baby came I could definitely cry all over her if I needed to.

I didn't know how I'd feel about holding a newborn baby. I was nervous and excited to meet the little lady all at the same time. Mike came with me and we brought a cake. I thought about if I should bring something for the baby, but there's no way I'm ready to do shopping anywhere near the baby aisles.

For awhile we just chatted with mom and dad while dad held the baby. There was no pressure to hold the baby or ooh and aah over her. We talked about a variety of things, including how it was for them going through a delivery this time and some of the anxieties. We had a good mix of conversation about all of our children. The new baby of course, their older son, the daughter they lost and Marcellus. All of them were treated equally in conversation. Something I relish about being with other parents that have lost babies. They know how to casually talk about their children and my Marcellus. With other loss parents I feel like I am a mommy, not just a baby loss mommy, but a real mommy.

Not feeling pressured to hold her I think really helped me transition into being in a room with a newborn baby. A baby that looks so big to us. The parents told us how it's so funny to hear that because everyone has been saying how little she is. But compared to our little 3 pound 2 ounce pumpkin, she looks huge!

We then had cake, which was delicious. And of which I had nothing to do with the making. So good job on the cake Mikey! By then I was finally ready to hold the baby.

So I did. I held her. I held her cradled in my arms, the way I never got to hold Marcellus until he was dying and after. She opened her eyes and looked right at me. Her mom said she doesn't open her eyes very often. It made me feel good. I like to think Marcellus sends me signs. He used this baby to tell me he's okay. She opened her eyes to look at me to tell me he's okay. 

To my surprise I didn't cry. Not one tear shed over the new baby girl. I think it really helps me that she's a girl and she was dressed all in pink. Not an outfit that would make me think of my baby boy. And I have to say it actually felt good to hold her. It felt right. Now when I go back and forth between wanting to try again or not I will think of how it felt to hold her. That it did warm my heart, even if just for a moment.

Instead of thinking of her as representing what we lost, I tried to think of her as a sign of what we did have. And what we could have again. Sometimes we focus so much on Marcellus's death that we don't think about the fact that he lived. He lived and he was here for 12 days. Holding the baby yesterday reminded me of that. Of having him here. Of holding him. Those are good memories, good things to think about.

I think we also have immersed ourselves pretty far into the baby loss world. Going to group, talking with other loss moms, going to the baby section of cemeteries, reading stories and blogs online about loss, buying every infant loss book out there. And I think that's okay. That's what we, or at least I, need to do right now. That doesn't mean I always will. But yesterday was a nice break from the sad stories. A happy ending. Babies do live and the do live most of the time. In this world I am in, that's hard to realize sometimes.

I'm not ready to hold just anyone's baby. For me it's different that the parents have experienced a previous loss. That this baby is what some would call a rainbow baby. I know what they've been through to get to this place. She's a little sign of hope. Hope that someday we too could be ready and hopefully blessed to have a rainbow.

I did have moments of guilt later in the day that I didn't cry. And who knows, next time I hold her I might shower her with tears. But that's okay. It's okay to cry all over her and it's okay to feel good about holding her. I have to tell myself that, either way it's okay.  I'm not betraying Marcellus by not crying and if I do cry doesn't mean I'm not happy for the parents.

Marcellus, holding that little (but big compared to you!) baby yesterday was good for Mommy. It helped me remember all the good, perfect, wonderful times we had with you here. That even though you're not here, I will always be your mommy. That even if someday we have a little brother or sister for you, they will be just that - your little brother or sister. Because you will always be a part of our family and they will never replace you. You will always be the big brother, little siblings will not take your place. They will just add to our family. I do so wish that I could hold you again and see you peek up at me like the baby did yesterday. I really miss you sweet boy! I really really miss and love you! xoxox