Thursday, December 20, 2012

Little Brother

 I have been a bit MIA, but there is a good reason for it.

Marcellus's little brother, Ethan Michael, was born on December 18th at 3:37am after I went into preterm labor in the early morning hours of December 16th. I have so much to write about, the amount of emotions we have been going through is insane. The ups and the downs. We are in the same NICU where Marcellus was. Ethan is very small, much smaller than Marcellus and was born at 8 days earlier gestation.

For now I will just briefly explain what happened  and how Ethan is doing. I don't think I am quite ready to navigate all the emotions I have been going through.

On December 16th, 2012 I woke up at about 2:30am and knew something wasn't quite right. I was crampy with a backache...that same backache. If it had been my first time feeling that way I probably would have waited it out and not called right away. But because of my labor with Marcellus I just knew. I knew this wasn't normal. We went into the hospital and got to Labor and Delivery at 3:30am. Sure enough, I was having contractions. We of course instantly freaked out. I was only 27 weeks 4 days, like I said 8 whole days earlier than when Marcellus was born.

Doctor found me dilated to 3-4 cm with a bulging bag. Immediately they started me on medication, magnesium sulfate, to stop/slow down the contractions. I started getting the steroid shots for Ethan's lungs. I had gotten a dose of steroid shots three weeks prior because my cervix had started to shorten. The first goal was to keep Ethan in long enough for the steroids to start working. It seemed impossible.

But he waited. He waited until 48 hours after we had been in the hospital. He got his full dose of steroid shots. I was able to deliver him vaginally and he came out crying! I got to see him right away, something I didn't get with Marcellus. Ethan weighed 2 pounds 5 ounces at birth and is 15 inches long. He  is doing as well as he can be. He did not need to go on the vent. He is on the bubble cpap.

Ethan Michael
Mommy holding Ethan for the first time.
While he is doing well, we are so very scared and concerned. We have been down this path before. Marcellus was doing well before he got sick, so the doctors and nurses know there is nothing they can say to calm our fears. They are very supportive though and understanding when we are worried or ask what might be ridiculous questions. Ethan just has to come home. He has to. I'm trying to have faith and be hopeful that he will, but it is so overwhelming.

Ethan of course is such a blessing. We are so happy we have him. But it also makes that ache for Marcellus a bit stronger, especially being in the place where all our memories with our first born son are. Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers. I have started a CaringBridge site for Ethan to keep people updated on how he is doing. The website is I will try to work on it more today. As of right now it is just set up, but doesn't have much on it.

Marcellus, you're a big brother! Your little brother Ethan is so very precious. We love him so much, just like we love you so very much. You two are quite different. Our two beautiful sons. We miss you so much sweet baby boy. We have already told Ethan a lot about you and he will always know and love his big brother. We just can't believe we are back in that NICU. Back to where you were. We are still a bit in shock right now. Mommy and Daddy miss you so much. When we hold Ethan we can't help but think of what it was like to hold you. To love on you. We miss you! We love you! Having Ethan does not change that. You are always our first born son, you are always the big brother. Ethan is lucky to have such a great big brother like you. I'll love you!!! xoxox

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas tree

We got a Christmas tree today.

I thought I was doing okay with it, but as soon as we plugged the lights in I lost it.

We cancelled Christmas last year. It was too much. We felt we had nothing to celebrate. So Christmas just came and went as another day.

This year we wanted to start small. To do what I am calling a "Marcellus sized" Christmas. We have Beamy on the way, I need to find a balance. A balance of grief and hope.

Our plan from the start was to only decorate the tree with Marcellus's ornaments (and lights). We ended up with a bigger tree than intended. They look so much smaller out on the lot.

I was fine going to pick out the tree. There's a local tree farmer that has a Christmas tree farm in the mountains with a lot just down the street from us. I've driven by there a couple of times in the last week eying up the trees. We went there tonight and found ourselves the perfect tree. Overall, it was fine. After we paid I was talking to the woman while Mike was getting help putting the tree on the roof of our car. She mentioned how they have many repeat customers. Some that come before the kids like we are and then come back with the kids later. I just smiled. Again to the outside world we look like a normal happy couple expecting their first child. This woman sells Christmas trees for a living, she thrives in this "joyous time of the year." Was I to correct her and say "No, we already have a child. This isn't us before kids. Our son isn't with us because he's dead."?

I was still okay when we got home. Mike got the tree in the stand. We started decorating after supper. First we put on the lights. I could tell it was starting to get hard, but I was okay.

And then we plugged them in. My heart felt like it stopped thinking "wow, we really have a Christmas tree this year." I remember the excitement we had getting our first tree together two years ago. That excitement is no longer there.

I had to sit down. I sat on the couch and cried as I stared at the lit tree, Marcellus's ornaments waiting to be placed. He should be here doing this with us. We should be worrying about our one year old getting into the tree. We should be sitting him down for pictures next to it. We should be doing our family photo next to it. He should be here.

And it hurts so much that he's not. Not here to ooh and aah over the lights. Not here to worry about pulling at the tree. He's not here and it just hurts. I don't want to do Christmas without him. Part of me wants to take the damn tree down. Get rid of it. Cancel Christmas again. I just don't want to do this without him.

But the tree still stands. His ornaments are up. And it is currently lit. I am sure each day it will get a little easier to see that tree in the corner of our living room. But tonight it's pushing my heart to the limit.

The earliest Marcellus would have came home would have been around Christmas. I'm sure even if everything had gone perfectly for him, we wouldn't have decorated last year. We would have been too busy being in the NICU. We wouldn't have had a tree. This would be our first year with all of that as a family. That's what should be. Instead it's our second one without him even on this earth.

I'm trying hard to get in the Christmas spirit and it does come and go a bit. But tonight my spirit is broken. I am missing my baby boy so very much. All I want for Christmas is my family complete, together. My baby boy here. A Christmas wish that will never come true, at least not in this lifetime.

Marcellus, I bet you would absolutely love the lights on the tree. We have the colored ones, I like those better than the white ones. It's really a big step for Momma to have the tree up. It is hurting my heart though. Another reminder that time is moving forward without you. Another Christmas without you is coming. The world is continuing. I hope you like your ornaments. There are some very special ones on that tree for you. Maybe at some point I'll write to tell you about the special ornaments and the people who love you that got them for you. I miss you my sweet boy. I want you here more than anything! I want to be out shopping for your Christmas presents and dressing you up in Holiday outfits. I just want you here. I love you so very much my little squirmy wormy!!! xoxox

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Most people already have or are decorating their homes for Christmas. That's the decorating most people are focused on. We have another place to think about decorating...our son's grave. And today I had a bit of breakdown over it.

It's already December and we haven't sent anything to put at his spot for Christmas. I feel like we've been neglecting him. Feelings of guilty and that I'm being a bad mom to my sweet boy. My grandma put a wreath out there with a matching one at my grandpa's spot. I am thankful for that. Thankful he has something out there right now. But at the same time it's hard. I didn't get to pick it out. I didn't get to be the one to place it. I haven't even seen a picture. I have no idea what it looks like. And that's hard.

Last year we decorated his spot right before we left MN at the end of November. We were able to go shopping for him and place everything out there ourselves, just the way we wanted it. I'm struggling with not being able to do that for Marcellus this year. The distance between us and his special spot is sometimes very overwhelming. We don't know the next time we'll be there. I can no longer travel due to my risk of premature labor during this pregnancy.

And now it's already December and we haven't sent anything. I know we've been busy and have had a lot going on. It's not like we forgot about getting him anything, we just now found the time to. But it still bothers me. I still feel guilty that the calendar turned to December and there's nothing out there from Mommy and Daddy.

I've been getting into crafting, specifically sewing (for now hand-stitching, will hopefully get a sewing machine in the near future). I really wanted to make him a stocking to hang out there. But time is running out. With my perfectionist tendencies I would have to make sure it was just right before sending it. So in the middle of looking at patterns for stockings this morning my breakdown started. I didn't have time to do what I wanted. It would have to wait until next year. So for next year I will make three stockings. One for Marcellus's spot, one for him to have at home, and one for Beamy. That way I'll be able to spend a lot of time perfecting them and will be able to put the babies' names on them (so waiting until after Beamy is born and we have a name). I might be making the Christmas stockings in July, but fine by me. I just really wanted to have something out at his spot that I had made myself, that I had poured my love for him into.

We did get out to shop a little bit for Marcellus this morning. We picked up a few things and kind of ended up with a snowman theme. We got a little snowman stocking (miniature sized), ribbon with snowmen to make a bow, an "M" ornament striped with candy cane stripes, and a snowman ornament. The ribbon will allow me to still feel like I have handmade him something, even if it's not something as fancy as I was hoping for. We got a matching snowman ornament (well, they have different colored hats, one blue and one green) to have on our tree for him here. Turns out his "Baby's First Christmas" ornament from last year has a snowman on it also.

Marcellus's things for Christmas 2012
Part of me enjoys going out and shopping for things for Marcellus's spot, but part of me feels the incredible emptiness when I do. Today there were people out doing some of their joyous holiday shopping. Looking for the perfect decorations for their home, or gifts for their loved ones. And amongst them there was us. A seemingly normal married couple currently expecting a baby. What those other shoppes don't know is we already have a baby. But his body lies in the ground and the only shopping we can do for him is for that small piece of land back in MN. It's times like that, being surrounded in a busy store, that I feel the isolation and distance from the world. Our world is so much different. Our world has a huge gaping hole in it where our son should be.

But we got our things and we'll get a package in the mail to send to my mom's tomorrow. Hopefully she'll have time this week to get the things out there. We love our baby boy so much and we know that we don't need to buy things for him for that to be true. But we want the world to know how much he is loved. We want anyone that passes his spot to look and say, "wow, that little boy is greatly missed and loved by his family." I need to be able to take care of him in some way, and this is one of the only ways I can. So it might seem silly to some that I broke down this morning over not having Christmas decorations at Marcellus's spot, but to me it is huge.

This week we will also be decorating our home, every so slightly. Last year we cancelled Christmas, no tree, no decorating, no celebrating. We just couldn't do it. For me I honestly don't know if I would want to do anything this year if it weren't for Beamer on the way. I need to start small. We are having what we call "a Marcellus sized" Christmas this year. We will be getting a smaller tree (still a real one though) and decorating it with Marcellus's ornaments only (well, lights too) and putting up stockings for everyone - Mommy, Daddy, Marcellus, Beamer, and probably even Perkie. We will be getting Marcellus ornaments every year, including his little brothers/sisters when they are old enough to help us pick one out. We have his "Baby's First Christmas" ornament from last year, a "Guess How Much I Love You" ornament (special release from Hallmark, that was too perfect to pass up), the snowman ornament this year, and a few ornaments from family and friends to put on Marcellus's tree. We love getting/receiving special ornaments for our boy. Something to have just for him at Christmas time.

Marcellus, I'm sorry we haven't sent you anything for Christmas yet. I don't know why it took Mommy and Daddy such a long time to get some things. I hope the wreath that Great-Grandma brought you is nice. I like that you and Great-Grandpa having matching ones. I wish you were here to do real shopping for. A new toy, a new outfit. That's what I want to be buying you for Christmas, not things to send to your grave. I hate this so much baby boy. It all still sucks so much. I'm missing you lots right now. Last year you would have been so small (and possibly still in the NICU) at Christmas. I bet this year you would just be in awe of all the lights and decorations. Since we didn't know when you'd be coming home, this could have been your first Christmas at home. It would for sure have been your first whole Holiday Season at home. But we don't have that. We'll never have that with you my love. And that makes Momm'a heart hurt so much. We will do our best to celebrate this year and you will always be included in all of our Holiday Seasons. We are not a family without you. I love you my sweet boy! xoxox