Sunday, April 29, 2012

Marcellus's Marchers

Dear Marcellus, 

Yesterday was a very big day. First of all, it was your 6 month birthday! 6 months baby boy, you would be 6 months old. Everyday I wonder how big you'd be and what you'd be doing. Even though you are not here for us to buy presents, Mommy and Daddy got to do something very special for you on your 6 month birthday. 

We walked in March of Dimes March for Babies on your team, Marcellus's Marchers. I didn't know what to expect when I started the team. I just knew I wanted to do something for you. I knew I was going to do my best, but I had no idea how big everything would get. We had about 20 people walk with us here in NC yesterday. Did you know you also had people walking in MN and CA? The walks in MN (that's right, you were represented at 2) were yesterday, one even at the exact same time as ours. The walk in CA was today. I know you already know about all this stuff, but I still like to feel like I'm telling you about it. I hope everyone knows how much it means to has to have them involved like this. One of my biggest fears is people will forget about you, or stop talking about you. But knowing that all these people were walking for you and supporting us in this walk shows me that they will never forget about you. Lots of people were even already talking about our team for next year! How awesome is that? Every year we will have a team just for you.

Between everybody across the country, you raised $13,500!!! Here on earth we did put a little work into it, but you are the one that truly raised all that money. You are the one that has inspired and touched peoples lives. Marcellus, you are the one making a difference. Me, I'm just your mommy. The amount of money and the number of people that came out to be on our team makes me so proud. I am so very proud to be your mommy sweet boy, so proud and thankful. That money was enough to put us in 2nd for family teams at our walk. Your name was announced over the speakers when they gave out the awards. Everyone got to hear your name. 

We also got to go up on stage before the walk because we won best family team t-shirt design. Daddy worked really hard on those. He did a great job. Of course, we all know what won everyone over with the're beautiful wide eyed face on the front! 

As well as our team did though, it was a hard day. I almost didn't want to go. But, as someone (or many people) said to me. I wasn't choosing to do the walk because it was easy. It was very overwhelming. I spent most of the time before the walk zoning out and unable to focus on people talking to me. There were a lot of people there and it was loud. There were a lot of babies there. A lot of babies that had been in the NICU, even some from the same NICU you were in. They are babies that made it and they with their parents that got to take them home. Instead of having you with us, I carried around Marcellus Bear. I didn't put him down once. I didn't get to have you in my arms. To have people come up and say "Oh look at how big he can't even tell he was born at 28 weeks!" Instead I don't now how big you would be today. Instead I have a teddy bear that weighs what you did when you were born. That was hard baby boy. Really hard.

They had someone give an inspiring talk. A mommy whose baby was born unexpectedly at 23 weeks...23 weeks, 5 weeks earlier than you were born. That baby was a lot earlier, a lot smaller, and had a lot more problems than you did when you were born. But that baby was there, over a year old now. Your chance of survival was so much higher than that little boy's. And yet, you are not here. How does that work? I would never think "it should have been that baby that died", I don't think that. I just think if that baby could live, why couldn't you too? Why did you have to die? Why do any babies have to die? It's so backward. 

Once we got walking it was better. I could focus more on you and why we were there. It was also powerful to see so many people walking for the same reason. Yes, some were walking for their living babies and others, like us, were walking for their babies that are not here. But everyone was walking for their babies, to give babies a healthy start to life. If the money we raised can help even just one mommy and daddy not have to go through this, to help one baby have a better chance at life, then we've helped honor you.

We got to see some of the nurses from the NICU you were in. A couple of them had taken care of you. One nurse, she always called you "lover boy." She had you matched up with the little girl in the pod next to yours. When she saw Daddy and your picture on his shirt she said, "There's my little man. He's so handsome!" She was talking about you. It felt really good to have her react that way. To know that she cares about you too and still thinks about you. There was a nurse there that hadn't taken care of you, but was there when you were in the NICU. She remembered that she had helped us with k-care one time. It was either my first or second time k-caring with you because she said I was still in my gown. She also told me that one of the other nurses had just been talking about you the day before. The nurse that was talking about you took care of you when I got to hold you for the first time. I think she only had you one other time, but she would always check in on you. And she was charge nurse the day you died. She's the one that brought you the blanket and hat. You're wearing that hat and Mommy and Daddy kept that blanket. I carried it around with me for a very long time.

We actually had lunch with the first nurse I mentioned today. It's really nice to talk to people that knew you and spent time with you when you were alive. Other than us, they spent the most time with you and knew you the best. They are also the only people that ever got to see the three of us together. You, Daddy, and I all together being a complete family. I always like to think you were the favorite of the NICU and today your nurse told us that you were her favorite! I know she could say that to all parents, but I know she meant it. Because you really were baby boy. I could tell the way they interacted with you. You were feisty, but a little charmer. Just perfect. 

After the walk we went with our team to have lunch at your tree. It was the first time everyone got to see your tree, your special place here in NC. They all said it is a beautiful tree. It had so many more leaves on it than it did the week before when Daddy and I were there. It was nice to get to show everyone your tree. It was also special that everyone wanted to come see it. At first I was worried that people would think it wasn't a big deal. But it is a big deal. You aren't here to show off, so I am glad people are interested in seeing the special things we have for you and participating in the special things we do for you like the walk yesterday. 

I wish you were here little squirmy wormy. I wish I could have shown you off at the walk yesterday. I wish I was oblivious to the loss side of the NICU. I just want you here with me. But more than anything I am thankful to be your mommy. I wouldn't trade that for the world. And as your mommy I am very proud of you. Proud of everything you have accomplished. You are one amazing son. Missing you every day sweet boy and loving you right up to the moon and back! I love you I love you I love you! xoxox

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Busy, but want to share this quote.

I really want to sit down and write, but I am so busy (and overwhelmed) this week. I have 2 presentations (one Thursday and one Friday) and we have March for Babies this Saturday. On top of all that, Marcellus's 6 month birthday is also Saturday.

I'm actually just posting this quick from campus while I'm having some lunch. I was checking facebook and saw this quote on The Compassionate Friends facebook page and wanted to post it. To me it is a perfect description of grief.

I wish I had time to elaborate, but I will leave at that for now. I have a million things I would like to write about, but unfortunately back to work it is.

Oh and one last request for donations for our March for Babies team, Marcellus's Marchers. You can donate using the badge at the top of my page. Yes I did make my personal goal (I have some awesome family and friends!), but right now I have a bigger goal in mind. We are in the running to be one of the top 3 teams at our walk. The top 3 teams will be recognized at the walk on Saturday. It would mean so much to me to have Marcellus honored that way at the walk. So, if you can, please consider donating...even if it's just a dollar or two. You never know, it might be what puts us at the top. Thank you so much.

Wish I could stay and "talk" to you longer, *deep breathe in* keep your fingers crossed that my presentation comes out alright!

Marcellus, Momma doesn't have much time right now. Sorry I can't write to you more. But as long as I'm here, I wanted to say I love you so so so so so very much! xoxox.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Although almost two weeks ago I want to write about Easter.

Easter has held significance for me for awhile now. Of course it's the day Jesus rose from the dead, but beyond that it's a special date for both my babies. Yes babies, plural. If you don't know, I have a daughter, Angela, I placed for adoption when I was in high school. She's 9 now and shares a birthday with Marcellus. My babies, both born October 28th. And my babies, both have Easter as a significant time at the very beginning of their lives.

Easter 2002 was even earlier than Easter this year. I was going to say April 1st, but I just looked it up and it was March 31st. I found out I was pregnant with Angela that Good Friday. We didn't have school and my boyfriend at the time and I went to the Caring Pregnancy Center in my hometown. I was 6 weeks pregnant. We had Easter at my mom's the year. My boyfriend came with. After everyone left and the celebration was done we told her I was pregnant. Yup, I told my mom I was pregnant on Easter Sunday at the age of 16. Ever since, Easter has held an even more important place for me.

This year though, this year I didn't think about Angela much on Easter. Actually didn't think about that Easter of 2002 at all until right in the middle of Easter Vigil Mass. It really bothered me that I didn't think of her as I usually did. Why wasn't I thinking of her? I was only thinking of and hurting for Marcellus. Not only was it another first holiday without him, but it was significant in the start of his little life too.

Now this might be TMI, but when I got pregnant with Marcellus we were trying. Really trying, with charting and all that good stuff. So I know when I ovulated and when we most likely got pregnant with Marcellus. It was Easter. Easter 2011, April 24th. Although Easter was much earlier this year, it still signifies the very start of Marcellus's life. The day we celebrate Jesus's resurrection and our hope of eternal life, Marcellus's life was starting.

I know exactly what we did last year for Easter. We had some close friends over for a really great Easter dinner and we dyed Easter eggs. Mike and I got each other things for our Easter baskets and we hid them. Although it was our third year celebrating Easter living together, it was our first year celebrating as a married couple. We hadn't done Easter baskets or dying of Easter eggs in the previous years. We were hopeful that the following year we'd have a little one in our home. We wanted to start creating family traditions.

This year we didn't follow those traditions. We went to the Easter Vigil Mass to hopefully avoid families on Easter Sunday. My heart ached with every cry of a fussy baby that was there (if you have young children and they are crying/fussing during church please take them out. You never know who's heart is completely breaking while your child cries). My heart ached at the site of the little boys in their suits, especially a super adorable little boy about 4 years old. He wore a bow tie. I know Mike would have gotten bow ties for Marcellus, since he wore one at our wedding.

We went for a hike, we "cemetery hopped" bringing white tulips to a couple of babies we know (we may not have ever met them, but we know them so well through their mommies) from group, we brought white tulips to his tree, and we had dinner at some friends' house where I made things awkward with my "dead baby talk" (or at least I feel like I made it awkward).

And I cried. I cried for Marcellus. I cried that we didn't have our Easter baskets out with a little one for our sweet 5 month old. I cried that he'll never get to know the deliciousness of a Cadbury Creme Egg. I cried that neither of my babies are here with me. But I especially cried that my son, my sweet baby boy, who was supposed to bring me complete healing after placing Angela for adoption and be with me on my 9th Easter without her is instead buried in the ground in MN.

But that day that has such significance in the start of my babies' lives, has been significant long long before my lifetime. Those days, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, they do bring me hope. Jesus died on the cross and he rose from the dead. And with that the promise of eternal life. The promise that I will see my son again, that we will be together for all eternity.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16
I try to especially focus on that verse this Easter season, but it's hard. I do have hope of seeing Marcellus again, but it doesn't make me think "Oh okay, I don't want him here now if I'll see him again anyway." I still ache for him, I still long for him, I still want him here on earth with me, with his momma. I want nothing more than to hold him in my arms and rock him. But he's safe. I know my precious baby boy is safe in the arms of Jesus and will be until I can hold him again.  

Marcellus, Momma wishes you could have been here to celebrate Easter with us this year. Instead you celebrated in Heaven with Jesus. I can't even imagine what a celebration that was. While I know you are safe and that I will see you again, I want nothing more than to have you in my arms now. The rest of my life seems like forever without you. We will have forever together though sweet boy. Mommy can't wait for that day when we are reunited! Tell Jesus thank you for dying on the cross for us. Let Him hold you tight, rock you, and hug and kiss you for Mommy. I hope He tells you all about me and how much I love you and miss you. Loving you with all my heart my little mister! xoxox

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I went there

To the dark place. I went there. Perhaps I am still there a bit. I feel like the last few days I've been able to crawl out a bit here and there, but I have a ways to go.

I haven't been writing and that's not good. I haven't been talking and that's not good. I haven't been hopeful and that's not good. I haven't been active and that's not good.

A whirlwind of things have hit me. There was Easter and the 9th back to back, but overall it is the fact my baby boy is not here that gets me. Immediately following Marcellus's death there was shock and numbness. After that I feel like I was in disbelief, maybe even some bargaining. How could this be real? If I just did x, y, and z this would all be over.

Now over 5 months out and rounding the corner to the big 6 month mark, it is pure reality. It has hit me. He. Is. Gone. He is never coming back. It has knocked me to the ground.

Around 4 months I was hopeful, honestly it was the best month I had since losing Marcellus. We went to Asheville, I was being active (even lost 4 lbs!), we were getting out, I was writing regularly to help me manage my emotions, and I was feeling okay a good amount of the time.

Then all of a sudden bam! I was just so sad. So so sad. All I can think about is how he should be here. How this should not be my life. I can't find the hope to cling on to. I've gone back to feeling like "how in the world am I supposed to do this?!" Sometimes I just feel like I can't, sometimes I just feel like there's no point.

The ache in my heart is always there, but lately it's been so acute again. So painful. I've been having more moments where it hurts even to breathe. But I think the fact that I am writing about this today will hopefully get me back on track. I do feel like I am slowly reemerging from the dark place I have been in these last couple of weeks. I don't know when I will be back to where I was right before that again. I feel that last few days have been better than the week before and earlier in the week, but I still have a long way to go to get back to where I was.

Marcellus, sorry Momma hasn't been doing a good job at trying to keep it together. I haven't been writing and overall haven't been writing/talking to you as much. It just hurts too much sometimes baby boy. Sometimes it's easier to for Mommy to just shut down and block everything out. But easier doesn't always mean better. It would be better if I worked through things more. I need to keep your legacy alive through me and I can't do that if I'm just sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself all the time. I need to get out and do things for you, for me, for Daddy, for your future little brothers/sisters. I need to be a better mommy for you sweet boy. I miss you. I miss you so much it really hurts. Oh how I wish you were here. Here with us, your mommy and daddy, like you should be. I love you little squirmy wormy, I love you so so very much! xoxox

Monday, April 9, 2012

A rough few days

I feel like I should write, but I don't want to. It may seem like when I write often it's because I'm having my difficult times. It's really the opposite though. The last few days have been rough. When I'm doing my worst, I don't write. I don't call anyone. I can't think. I don't do anything. I shut down. I literally shut down. Try to turn my emotions off and go numb. Sometimes I miss the numb stage.

I want to write about Easter, and what it meant to me this year. I want to write about what this 9th was/is like, 5 months of missing him. But like I said, it's been a rough few days. It's hard to keep my focus enough to write. So everything that I'm feeling now will have to wait to come out until I can sort through it.

Marcellus, I really really miss you today. That's all I really have to say. I just miss and love you so much my sweet, beautiful, wonderful son! xoxox

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's okay to feel okay

I need to work on letting people see me be okay. Yes, I do have okay days. Some maybe even considered good, or at least good moments in a day. I have a very hard time letting people see that though. I have a hard time letting them see me smile, laugh, joke, or anything that resembles "good". Even in writing I have a very hard time with it. I have a very hard time portraying any hope, even if I do feel some in my heart.

As far as writing is concerned though, I do write best when I'm very emotional. I also need to write the most when I am very emotional. And since this is my space to come to and get that out, I often do. This blog isn't to keep updated on my daily life. Although it is an added bonus that friends/family can "check in" here and I don't have to tell the same story a bunch of times, that's not it's primary purpose. It's primary purpose is for me to sort through this mess in my head and connect with my baby boy. 

So yes, many of my posts may be depressing and sad and focus on the pain of losing Marcellus because that is how I am feeling when I do write. But there are times I can feel myself making sure I point out the hurt and the pain more than I would need to. I even find myself being "too depressing" at times. It's like I have to make sure to really emphasize the bad and how much this sucks. Now don't get me wrong, this does really really sucks!

I've read blogs and other writings by loss parents where they try to focus on the hope and diminish some of the shear heartache and the pain. I feel like I'm the opposite. I solely focus on the heartache, emptiness, loneliness, and pain, but diminish some of the hope I do have. Because yes, at times I do have hope and I do feel warmth in my heart. I need to tell myself that it is okay to feel okay (and even good). It is okay to have hope.

My fear is that someone will see a smiling, laughing, joking or read something uplifting from me and think to themselves, "oh good, she's better. She's over it. She doesn't need to talk about it or Marcellus anymore." I am honestly afraid that if I don't constantly show the sadness that people will start to forget about him. Or they will forget that my heart will always have an ache for Marcellus. There will always be a piece missing.

My fear was confirmed after someone close to me said, "I'm glad to hear your pain is less." I don't think the pain is less. I still hurt like crazy for my sweet boy. The pain will always be there. It will just be different. I can't say too much because I am only 5 months out, but I have heard others say that the bad days will always be just as bad, but over time there will be more days in between the bad ones and it takes less time to recover from them.

It's different when I am with Mike. We have started to get some of the goofiness back that I have always loved in our marriage. We can laugh and smile with each other. We can joke and pick on each other in fun. It's different with him because he knows. He doesn't have to see tears in my eyes or hear pain in my voice to know that deep down my heart is aching for Marcellus, that I miss our baby boy.

It's different when I'm with other parents that have been through a loss. I can laugh much more easily and freely. Because they too know that the sound of my laugh does not diminish the pain in my heart. They know behind that laugh I am a momma missing her son. They know the struggle it is to be okay with feeling okay. They just know.

So here I am trying to convince myself it's okay to feel okay. Another struggle of being a grieving mother. Beyond the fear of expressing hope and okay/good feelings, there is guilt. It's gotten better, but yes I can feel guilty for it. My baby is dead, how can I be okay with that even if just for a day? I have to realize that no, I am not okay with that. I will never be okay with the fact that he's not here. But I can feel okay in my day to day life. I can have hope for the future. It does not mean I love Marcellus any less and it does not mean I miss him any less. It just means I'm adjusting. I'm adjusting to this "new normal" that everyone talks about. And while I'd rather have the regular normal with my baby here, I don't have that. There's nothing I can do to have that. This is my life and I have to live it. I have to figure it out.

I had lunch with a friend that was in town today. The last time I saw him I was 27 weeks 5 days pregnant, exactly one week before Marcellus was born. I was nervous about it. I was having an okay day and instead of getting into my "woe is me, my baby is dead" mood I stuck with feeling okay. If he hadn't brought up much about Marcellus my mood probably would have changed and I would have gotten upset/sad. But he asked. He asked lots of questions about Marcellus. He showed me that just because I was okay and able to talk about other things, that he didn't think I was "over it" that I didn't want to talk about him. He understood that I am a mother and what mother does not want to talk about their child?! My friend wasn't afraid to ask any question, about the day he was born, what happened when he died, what he was like, how things are for us now. And while I can't speak for all grieving parents, for me that is what I need. I need to know people think about him and need people to acknowledge him even when I'm not outwardly grieving. I need people to think of Marcellus as my son, not just my dead baby.

I'm still working on it, but for today I feel okay and I am okay with that.

Marcellus, Momma's always missing you. And I know you know that. I have to remember that how I feel on a given day does not change how much I miss and love you. Nothing will ever change that. Even if some people do think I'm "getting over" losing you, it won't change anything about how I feel about you. You know how much I love and miss you, Daddy knows how much, God knows that, and lots of other people know how much I will always always love and miss you. You are with me every day sweet boy, whether it's a day I don't want to get out of bed because it hurts so bad without you or a day that I laugh at all the silly things Daddy does (you have a VERY silly daddy!). Please help Mommy embrace each day, the bad and the good ones. I love you on the bad days and I love you on the good days! I just plain love you with all my heart! xoxox