Sunday, November 24, 2013

Too much

October 28th wasn't just Marcellus's birthday. It was her birthday too. Eleven, she turned 11. Angela Mae, the beautiful baby girl I placed for adoption when I was 17. Marcellus was born on her 9th birthday.

It's a semi-open adoption. I haven't seen her since her parents picked her up from the hospital when she was two days old. But I have gotten updates and pictures over the years. It's supposed to be twice a year, but I haven't heard from them since May 2012.

I have to admit I haven't sent her birthday present yet. It's all packed up and ready to go out in the morning. I bought it before her birthday. Their birthday. I've been getting her the Precious Moments Birthday Train every year. A keepsake for her to have. Plus, it's not like I know what she would want. So it's something I can get without wondering if she'll even like it. I've always sent her present last minute. So last minute that I'm sure it doesn't get to them before her birthday, especially because I have to send it to Catholic Charities and then they mail it off to Angela. But this is the first time I've put it in the mail after her birthday. And to top it off it's almost a month after.

Why did I put it off? So many reasons. 1) Marcellus's birthday. October 28th is his birthday and I am an emotional wreck during that time. 2) Not getting an update from her parents is upsetting. I try to tell myself that maybe they're just waiting for me to send something to them (I've always written to them). And so if I don't get something sent out then there's a reason they're not sending it. Does that make sense? In a way it's me trying to be in control of something I'm not. I fear that they have just stopped writing to me and I will never get another update ever again. 3) Ethan. I have honestly been meaning to write to them since Ethan came home from the NICU. To send them his birth/coming home announcement. Then time went on and I didn't get it sent out, so I wanted to print a couple of recent pictures of him to send with. I just put it off and put it off. But the biggest reason is....

It's all just too much sometimes.

This motherhood journey of mine (which reminds me I never even came close to completing that "series" I was going to start) is so damn complicated. I mean it is complicated! 

My only full-term pregnancy, non NICU baby is the one I got pregnant with at 16 and placed for adoption when I was 17. I waited until the "right" time to have another baby, to be married to the most wonderful husband, be financially responsible, and emotionally ready to expand our family. I got pregnant for the second time when we were trying for a baby, a baby that was loved and wanted so much before he even existed on this earth. But that baby died. He was born over 11 weeks early and he died. Born on his big sister's birthday (weird to say it like that, but I guess biologically she is). But not here to celebrate. Then we are ready again. Still with my loving wonderful husband, trying for a baby that is wanted beyond want, pushing through the fear to do it all again. And that baby, that baby is born over 12 weeks early. We spend 10 long long long loooooooong weeks in the NICU fearing for his life. But we are so very blessed to have him here now.

Think about it. That baby, he's my third baby. Ethan is my third child, second son. But he is the only one keeping me up at night. He is the only one needing my attention and physical love on a daily basis. He is the only one I parent on this earth. He is the only one I will ever hear call me "Momma." He is the only one that has been put to my breast. It is so so so complicated. The only thing simple about this all is how much love I have for each of my children. All three of them.

But it can be too much. It can be too much to think of it all at the same time. So, sometimes I put off my feelings about Angela. Often times actually. She has a beautiful family, she is well taken care of and she is so loved. Not only by me, but by her parents, her big brother, and I'm sure so many others. I will always love her with all my heart. But sometimes I can't go there with my emotions. It's the drop that would open the flood gates. It's too much. Too much too much too much. It's hard enough that my second child, my first son is dead. I can't get into the "what ifs" and the grief of having placed Angela for adoption. My grieving priority right now is Marcellus. Marcellus is a part of our every day lives, but Angela is not. Yes, I think about her every day. I really do. But not in the way that I think of Marcellus. But I do miss her.

I do remind myself that I do not regret my decision though. These last 11 years have been such a long journey. And I have really come a far way in accepting the decision I made as a scared, unprepared, overwhelmed teenager just trying to do the best I could for my baby. I made that decision out of love for her and I can never regret any decision I make for my children that is based solely on my love for them.

Marcellus, I hope you don't mind sharing part of your space with Angela. I never got a chance to tell you about her. During my pregnancy with you I struggled with what I would tell you. Her picture is up in our house. In fact, in many of my "pregnancy shots" with you her picture is visible on the mantle. She turned my heart into a mother heart. She taught me how a mother loves. I was able to take what she has taught me and pour it into you during your short time here. You expanded my mother heart a thousand fold. It's amazing how much love one heart can hold. Now I wonder what I will tell Ethan about her some day. We already talk to him about you a lot. What will Ethan make of the fact that he is the third child, but the "oldest" child that is with us. It's so confusing for me to think about. Oh baby boy, I miss you so much. I miss you so so so so much. I have the hope of seeing Angela again on this earth. I hold onto that home that she'll want to meet me someday. But you  my sweet boy, there will never be another moment with you on this earth every again. Those 12 days we had, those have to last us through this lifetime. And I cherish those 12 days. They are held tightly within my mother heart. I will never let them go. I love you my squirmy wormy. I love and miss you! xoxox

Thursday, November 14, 2013

To all my pregnant friends

Dear pregnant friends,

There are a lot of you right now. And in fact, when I first started thinking of writing this blog post there were even more of you. So, I guess this could be titled, “To all my pregnant friends and those with newborns.” I’ve put off writing this post because well, I don’t want to make anyone upset. I don’t want to offend you. That’s not my intent. You have done nothing wrong at all. This post is about my feelings, about the way I portray things. I need to sort it out, I need to let go.

First of all, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’ve been absent in the excitement of your pregnancy. I should be sharing in your joy, but I can’t always do that. And since I can’t always do that, I distance myself. You see, I am excited for you. I am happy for you. I am overjoyed for you. But a lot of times the jealous, fear, and resentment either overshadow those feelings or I have to work very very hard at keeping them at bay. Now again, these feelings aren’t directed at you. Specifically I want to make sure you know I do not resent you. It is an inward resentment. Let me clarify where these feelings come from.

The jealously…I am so jealous of your beautiful pregnancy. You may be sick, you may be big, you may be achy, you may be getting anxious…but you have no idea how amazing that all is. Well, you probably do have an idea, I know you all treasure your pregnancies. But I don’t think you can truly understand, not the way I do (and that’s okay, that’s good because that means you haven’t had the same experiences I have). You are all well into your third trimester. I am so jealous of that. The third trimester…I made it 5 days into it (going by the definition of 28 weeks) with Marcellus and I was 3 days shy of it with Ethan. I would give anything to feel as big as a house, to not fit into any of my clothes, ache from carrying around a huge belly. Sometimes I wonder if you have thought about that. When you hit 27/28 weeks, did you think about what it would be like if your baby was born then? Did you think of my boys? I know...your pregnancy is about you and that sweet precious child you are carrying, not about me. I know. But this post is...this post is about me and my feelings and those are some of the things I wonder.

And the maternity photos. I've seen some of your pictures. They are gorgeous. And I'm so jealous. I want that. I want to have nice pictures of me pregnant with my boys. But I don't. I never even got them scheduled with Marcellus. I came very close to having them with Ethan. Even scheduled them way early "just in case." But he was born the day before we were going to do them. 

The fear, oh I have fear whenever anyone close to me is pregnant. I have to be careful not to project that on to you. You shouldn't go through your pregnancy in fear just because I did. And if my baby dying or my boys being born prematurely has taken away even the least bit of your naivety toward pregnancy, I'm truly sorry for that. Sometimes naivety can be a blessing. I know I wish I could go back to being naive in pregnancy like I was with Marcellus. I didn't know anyone personally who's baby had died. It was a foreign concept that didn't cross my mind. 

Now the resentment, the resentment is a big one. But like I mentioned before it is an internal resentment. Toward myself, my body, my inability to make it as far into pregnancy as you are. Again, I am so excited for you, but why can't I have that too? Why are my babies born so early? Why did one of my babies die? Why did I have to spend 10 weeks worth of nights away from one of them with many of those days/nights fearing for his life? 

So when I see a picture of you with your awesome belly, it stings a bit. When I read about you getting the nursery ready, it stings a bit. When I read about how far a long you are and the number starts with a "thirty", it stings a bit. But I am also so happy. And I can be both. I can be excited for you and sad for myself. I have to stop thinking I will only feel excited/happy. I am still grieving. I am still grieving from both of my pregnancies. There's a lot I've missed out on and I need to grieve that. 

I am not writing this post to ask you to change anything you are doing. I am writing it to explain my silence and absence. I am writing it to sort out the mix of emotions in my head. Sometimes I try to make things black and white. Your pregnancy is a happy thing, so I try to make myself only feel happy about it. But I need to allow myself to feel what I feel. And in doing so I am not taking away from the celebration of your pregnancy. So please, don't ever hesitate to share about your pregnancy. I like seeing your beautiful round belly. I especially like knowing you and your sweet baby are healthy and everything is going smoothly. I am thankful you have that. I just want it too. 

You all are amazing mommies and I can't wait to meet your little bundles of joy. I know you are aware how blessed you are. And if you get anything from my experiences, I hope it's to not take a moment of your pregnancy or motherhood for granted. It's all just so beautiful. I love you all!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

How did we survive?

Marcellus's birthday was 12 days ago, which means today is that day.

His birthday is and always will be a reason to celebrate. What a happy and joyous day October 28th, 2011 was in our lives. We were meeting our firstborn son for the very first time. Although we were scared of the unknown of the NICU and having a preemie, we were absolutely on top of the world. I will forever celebrate the day my sweet boy was born.

But today, today is the anniversary of his death. It marks what can only be described as the most awful, horrible, difficult day...that we somehow lived through. I thought my heart would stop beating right along with his, that I would die when he did, that my world would end when his life on this earth ended. But somehow we have survived. I am here, still standing, still living two years later.

Two years...two years since I held my baby boy with life in him. Two years ago he slipped away from us. Two damn years. And today, two years later...I hurt. I ache. I yearn. I wonder what might have been if this day didn't represent what it does. 

Overall I have been enjoying life lately. Always missing Marcellus, always wishing he where here, always aching for him. But I have figured out a way to do be happy and grieve at the same time. But not today. Today I just grieve. I will do what I need to go get through today. I will do my best for Ethan today and take care of him as I would any other day. In fact, I have been squeezing him tighter, kissing him more, telling him how much I love him and his brother every few minutes. But I hate today. I will not pretend life is good today. Today sucks. 

But for some reason we survived that day two years ago even though Marcellus didn't. I still don't understand it, I'm sure I never will. How does a parent go on after their child dies? I will never be able to answer that question with anything other than, "you just do" even though we have. I don't know how. But it's not like we were given a choice. 

Marcellus Robert, my sweet baby boy...I miss you and love you so very much. I can't believe it's been two years since that horrible, awful day. You fought so hard, so very hard. You are forever my little warrior. I know you wanted to stay and I am so proud of you. But
I can't believe what happened to you that day. I can't believe I held you, my beautiful baby in my arms, as your little heart stopped beating. If you had to die though, in a way I am thankful I was there to hold you through it. To tell you how much I love you as your beautiful soul left this earth. I hope I brought you some comfort that day. As your mother that is the most important thing I did for be there for you that day...that horrible, awful day. I love you right up to the moon and back always and forever! xoxox

Saturday, October 26, 2013

This time of year

The fall colors are beautiful, the air is refreshingly crisp. Two things I love about this time of year. But it is that time of year. The time of year in which my precious baby boy was born and died. The leaves changing, the pumpkin spice everywhere, the state fair going on, mums on the doorstep.They remind me of him. Of the end of my pregnancy. My wonderful, easy, perfect, no sign anything was going to go wrong pregnancy.

It is his birthday weekend. If he were here this is probably when we would have his party since his birthday is on Monday. Last year the day before his birthday I was in the ER for 5 hours freaking out something was wrong with my pregnancy with Ethan (I was about 20 weeks at the time). I was a mess. My emotions causing physical "symptoms" to make me think the baby I was carrying would also be born early and die (well, I guess I did have something to worry about since the first part ended up true).

Last year on Marcellus's birthday we had a celebration with friends. We did a balloon release and had them over for brunch and cake to honor our baby boy. This year, we are staying low key. We've been so busy. We really just need to take the day to be together as a family. To make Marcellus's birthday a time of celebration and thankfulness for his life. To show Ethan just how much his big brother is loved, remembered, missed and always a part of our family.

It really started to hit me on Wednesday that Marcellus's birthday is getting close. The tears have started to come at random times. The other day it was while pumping at work for Ethan, today it was while putting Ethan down for a nap. Maybe they come when I am doing things as Ethan's mommy because I don't get to do those things as Marcellus's mommy.

I can't believe he should be turning 2. How does that happen? How has the world kept turning for 2 years? seems so unreal. It feels like forever and an instant all at the same time. And those 12 days, I will forever hold onto those 12 days. Those 12 amazing, precious, glorious days of being Marcellus's mommy with him on this earth. I forever am his mommy, but I no longer get to be his mommy. I do not get to mother him as I do his baby brother. And that will always cause my mother heart to ache. I will always long for those 12 days when I did not know this pain. When I did not know this world of babies dying and that a mother could survive that.

Those 12 days. I am thankful that last year I took the time to write a blog post for each of those 12 days. This year I will be taking some quiet time to read them and reflect. Since Ethan was also in the NICU I have to admit that sometimes I don't know if a particular memory is with Marcellus or Ethan. It makes me a bit upset to have that blur. I wanted Marcellus's memories to be clear, to be distinct, to never fade.

Mommy and Marcellus when he was 1 week old
I currently have the above picture as my Facebook profile. A friend commented how this is a moment I will forever cherish. She knows first hand as she has also lost a child, but even so I can not stress to anyone how much I will forever and always cherish this moment with my sweet boy. As much of a blur as most things are there are moments that stand out. Holding Marcellus for the first time will always been one and so will the above moment. My mom and sister had left earlier that day and I was bummed. I was emotional and also had some discomfort from my c-section. But then this moment came. My baby boy in my arms, on my chest, skin to skin with me. I can still remember just how "melty" (as I called it) he was, how wonderful he smelled, and how amazing it all felt. I didn't even know Mike was taking pictures. I was just breathing in my baby boy, my son. And his smell, so sweet. I wish I could smell him again. His pumpkin hat (in the picture) held his scent for a little bit, but almost 2 years later it is no longer there. I was smelling Ethan today while laying with him to try to catch a bit of Marcellus and while I'd say they smell similar it wasn't quite the same. Don't get me wrong, Ethan smells pretty awesome too and I definitely love to breath him. In fact, I do it a lot. A lot a lot. But today I was smelling him with the longing for Marcellus on my mind, so it was a bit different.

I miss him so much. I can't even begin to say. No matter how many joyous wonderful things are in my life I will always miss him so much. And now that I'm taking the time to slow down a bit, to write, it is flooding me. He is really gone. That sweet little baby in that picture, that's my son, that is me with my son and he is not here. I should be getting ready for his 2nd birthday party. I miss him. I am so thankful for all I have, but I ache for that moment in that picture.
If my sweet baby boy has touched your life in anyway, please join us in honoring him during his birthday. This could be by lighting a candle, enjoying a cupcake, donating a toy, doing a random act of kindness, writing his name in a creative way, or anything else you can think of to celebrate my first born son (and I'd love to see a picture if your able to get one!). Thank you all for your continued love and support as we navigate this life missing our squirmy wormy.

Marcellus, Momma can't believe your second birthday is coming up so soon. What would it be like to have you here and throwing you a party? What theme would we have...would you have a favorite character? Would you want cars, trucks, or trains? I would have done whatever you wanted. I miss you so much my squirmy wormy. So so so very much. I remember that day in the picture. Holding you for so longer, breathing you in and losing myself in the moment. Even though we were in the NICU with nurses, all the other babies, the parents, even Daddy near that moment it was just you and I my love. Just Mommy and Marcellus. One of the most beautiful moments of my life. Thank you baby boy for giving me that moment. I love you so very much. Some days I am just amazed at how much I can love both you and your little brother. It's so wonderfully intense. On your birthday we will be celebrating your life. Although it was beyond too short, we are so thankful to have had those 12 days with you. And I know that little life of yours has made a big difference in this world. But oh how I wish it were different and you were here with us now. I miss and love you my sweet boy! xoxox.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reflecting on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I'm supposed to be working. Yes, at 8pm I'm supposed to be working. I am teaching full-time at a local community college. I don't do work in the mornings so I can be home with Ethan. But I sit here instead with tears in my eyes. I miss Marcellus.

I miss him so much. Everyday I miss him. But life has continued to move forward and most days I don't get the time to reflect. Life is busy. Overall, life is good. But I still miss him with every ounce of my being. I miss and love him more than I can begin to describe. So, in moments like tonight, where I take the time to stop and slow life down...the tears come.

They've been there all along. I need to get better about letting them out every now and then. To "be intentional" as my therapist would say. It's a hard time of the year for us with Marcellus's birthday and anniversary so very close. It's okay that I cry. It's okay that I'm sad. I need to be. I will always need these moments to miss and actively grieve for my sweet boy. My squirmy wormy. My little warrior. My first born son.

Grief is so very different now. I can honestly say I am happy. But the hurt is still there. Life is never black and white. I don't have to be happy or sad. I can be happy because there are many great, wonderful, amazing things in my life and at the same time I can be sad. Sad because my son died and I don't get to hold him, kiss him, hug him, breastfeed him, chase him, make him laugh, hear him say "Momma" or "I love you". Yet, I can be thankful to be his momma. To have carried him for 28 weeks 5 days, to have gotten to hold him and kiss his tiny head, breath in his smell, feel his soft soft hair, look into those dark eyes and tell him I love him. 

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month with today, the 15th, being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. We lit Marcellus's special candle along with another one for all babies gone too soon. We did Ethan's bedtime by the soft glow of these candles. It was so beautiful in a way. We read Marcellus's story and sang his bedtime song. Afterward Ethan gave Mike and I both the biggest and best kisses an almost 10 month old can.

Marcellus is an everyday part of our lives. He is with us always. Today we take a moment to tell the world that. To tell the world these babies are not forgotten. They will never be forgotten. We ask the world to remember them with us even if just for today. I am so thankful for the family and friends in my life that continue to love, miss, and remember Marcellus with me. Thank you to those of you who are not afraid to speak his name, to ask about him, to ask about us, to acknowledge his absence in difficult moments, to share his life.

Marcellus, Mommy misses you so very much. I know I haven't been writing very much at all and I am so sorry. When life is so busy it can be hard to come here to write. Sometimes I'm just not up for it and that doesn't mean I don't love you or grieve for you. I do baby boy. I love you so so so very much and my heart does ache for you. I have just learned to live in a different way. To live without you. To move forward  with life with you in my heart. I live because you were not able to. I live for you sweet boy. While I long for you, I at the same time embrace the joy in my life. These next weeks will be so hard though. I wish you were here. Everyday I wish you were here. I still have many questions about why you couldn't stay. I have more work to do, but I am trying baby boy. I am trying to be the best mommy I can be to you and the best mommy I can be to your little brother. I love you both so very much. I love you right up to the moon and back my squirmy wormy!!! xoxox

Friday, August 30, 2013

Bittersweet birthday

Birthdays will always give me a complex. Birthdays are a time of celebration. But for the rest of my life celebrating will be bittersweet.

Tomorrow is my turn to celebrate, to celebrate my 28th birthday. How do you fully celebrate having lived through another year, when your first born son only lived 12 days? How do you let the joy of having been blessed with time on this earth spent with your husband, second son, and many family and friends when your first born son's body is buried in the ground.

I've been pregnant for three of my birthdays. My 17th (about 28 weeks with Angela), my 26th (about 20 weeks with Marcellus) and my 27th (about 12 weeks with Ethan). But tomorrow, my 28th birthday, is the first one I will celebrate with a baby here with me, outside of my womb. It's the first birthday I will wake up to the most wonderful things known as slobbery baby "kisses". And I am so thankful for that. I am so blessed for that. I am so excited to be celebrating my birthday with my E. My smiley, happy, face grabbing, lovey, kissy baby. I am looking forward to hearing Mike say the words, "Happy birthday, Mommy!" while looking into the eyes of my handsome baby boy. My first birthday real mommy birthday. True, I was a mom last year on my birthday. True, I was a mom before that too. True, I spent three birthdays with a babe in my womb. But this year. This year will be different. This year there is a baby here to breastfeed and diapers to change. I'm sure I'll use the excuse it's my birthday to pass on all the diaper changes to Mike for the day (really he changes most diapers when he's home anyway). This year I'll need a birthday pass to sleep in because I'm sure I'll be up in the night with Ethan. And I love all of that. I love that part of my life. I love it so much. Those things bring me such joy. Such a reason to celebrate living another year on this earth.

But I miss Marcellus. And sometimes celebrating still just doesn't feel completely right. I want him here too. I want toddler kisses too. I want to snuggle both my boys on my birthday. I want to hear Marcellus say, "Happy birthday, Mommy!" Instead I hurt, I hurt for him. And a part of me wants to throw a tantrum and so, no. No celebrating! No birthday! Just no. None of this because my squirmy wormy isn't here.

I have to fight that sometimes. Fight the feelings of shutting down. Of not taking in my life. I do have reason to celebrate and part of that is to celebrate myself as Marcellus's Mommy. I still might throw a bit of that tantrum tonight though. It needs to come out.

Marcellus, I miss you so very much. My birthday wish will forever be to have you here with me. What would you pick out for me? Would you and Daddy make a homemade card with your beautiful little scribbles all over it? Would you crawl in bed and snuggle next to me in the morning (or maybe you'd already be in bed with us)? How would your little voice sound telling me happy birthday? I'll never know that sound of that sweet voice. I only know your cry and your precious little squeaks. Tomorrow will be bittersweet my sweet boy. It will be marked with your absence. Every day is marked with your absence, but days of celebration it penetrates more deeply. I also feel like my birthday means yours is just around the corner, less than two months. Mommy's turning 28 and you, my sweet boy, would be approaching turning 2. Two...another year without you. I long for you, I ache for you, I miss you, and I love your right up to the moon and back! xoxox

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I should have done this before

As I was just nursing Ethan to get him down for a nap, my heart started to ache. He is having a little bit of a rough moment with a tummy troubles and not sleeping well last night. But nursing with Mommy makes everything all better. He snuggled in at my breast, closed his eyes, and held my hand. In these sweet and tender moments, I am in awe that he is my child and he is here. Mike and I often say, "I can't believe he's our baby." Today that awe feeling was followed by an overwhelming longing for his big brother. I should have had moments like these before. I should have had them with Marcellus. So as Ethan drifted to sleep while nursing I did my best to hold back the tears. As soon as he was asleep I nestled his head on my shoulder, rocked him while holding him tight and let the tears flow. The tears that I still hold inside for his big brother.

The ache that I couldn't make it all better for Marcellus. The ache that he never got to breastfeed him. The ache that the only time I got to rock my sweet baby boy was in the funeral home. The ache, the hole in my heart that even my precious rainbow can't fill.

All of these moments we experience with Ethan, we should have had them with Marcellus first. All the moments to come with Ethan, we should have had with Marcellus first. Some days that realizations hits harder than others. Like today. A quiet, beautiful moment with my second born son left me longing and aching so much for my first born son.

Marcellus, I miss you so much my sweet boy. I long for everything that isn't. I long for you, for those precious moments with you. Your little brother can't take that away, nor would I want him to. I will long and ache for you for the rest of my life. Nothing can replace you. The hole left in my heart when you died will always be there. I miss you! I can't say it enough how much I miss you. How bad I want you here with me. With us, my whole family together. Instead we are separated by heaven and earth. And it sucks. Yes, your little brother brings me such joy. But it sucks and it hurts that you are not here to be a part of that. As much as I miss you and as much as it hurts, I still have joy in being your mommy too though. I would never give up being your mommy. You are my first born son, you are the big brother to this family. I love you just as I love your brother. I love you! I love you! I love you! xoxox.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My motherhood journey - Angela Part I

This journey of mine started 11 years ago. I was 16 and had just taking a pregnancy test at a local pregnancy center. It was positive. It was not a joyous start to motherhood. How could I be pregnant at 16?! What was I going to do?! How was I going to tell my family?! So much fear and anxiety washed over me, along with complete shock. I was keeping a journal at the time. It's filled with teenage confusion and angst, anger, and the happenings of a messed up teenage relationship. But, I wrote shortly after getting that positive pregnancy test and I continued to write about my pregnancy periodically. I'd like to share some excerpts related to my motherhood journy from that journal here. I don't talk about Angela as much anymore or her adoption, so I think it will be helpful for me to go back and see where I've come from that scared 16 year old. I also don't think adoption from the birthmother's perspective is talked about very often. And while it is different for every birthmother, I want to share my point of view.

4/2/02 A few days after getting the positive pregnancy test - I guess I'm not so worried about the pregnancy, but what will happen afterward ... Of course I want what's going to be best for the baby, but I'm also going to want to be a significant role. It's MY baby, part of me ... I'm going to want to keep the baby and I know [her birthfather] really wants to to, but I just don't see how we could do it, how we could raise a child at this time in our lives ... I already want to apologize to my unborn baby. I'm sorry for whatever life it has to lead. Whether it be going through adoption or having parents who aren't quite ready to be parents. I just want to give my baby the best. But what is best for my baby? ... I know this unborn baby is God's creation, so I will try my best in carrying this child and choosing what's best after the birth. 
 5/13/02, I was struggling with making the decision to place my baby for adoption - I already love this baby to death and would do absolutely anything for this baby and I mean anything, bu tit's going to be so hard to never hold, hug, kiss, cuddle my baby. I want to keep this baby so bad, but I know I couldn't do it. I know that I wouldn't be the best for the baby, that my and deserves a nice stable home, but it hurts like crazy, and I don't know how I'm going to do it.
6/20/02, Yesterday I felt the baby move for the 1st time. It was kind of weird and I really don't know what to think about it. I really don't know what to think about anything. Whenever I try to just step back and take in everything that's going on I feel a combination of confusion, frustration, anger, and guilt/shame. I don't know what to do with myself.
 7/8/02 I don't know exactly when, but by this point I had made the decision to place my baby for adoption , I'm scared. Scared to death. Not so much of what's going on now, bu tof what will happen. The other night I was lying in my bed and the baby was moving a lot. I started thinking about what I wanted the baby to know and I just started bawling an I couldn't stop. I'm so scared of giving birth and what's going to happen afterward. The baby's future. My future. What am I going to do with myself? 
 7/27/02, Being pregnant is fine. I guess it's really no big deal except a few things, but then there's feeling the baby move and that wins over all the bad things. I love feeling the baby move, even though I complain sometimes when the baby moves when I'm trying to sleep. I still think it's awesome. I got an ultrasound a little over a week ago. That was pretty cool. I cot to see my baby and I have pictures of my baby. My baby. Yes, right now the baby is my baby. That's one reason I'm so scared of birth. As long as I'm pregnant it's my baby, once the baby's born - not mine anymore. 
Before even choosing adoption, I went to counseling at Catholic Charities. I call it "decision-making" counseling. My social worker/counselor went through both parenting and adoption with me. We did worksheets, watched videos, and most importantly she helped me work through the mess in my head. After I decided on adoption Angela's birthfather and I went through the profile of every couple at the Catholic Charities we were going through. We set aside profiles we wanted to look at in greater detail. Then after we went through them all we compared them side by side until we were down to just one. That was a tough process, choosing parents for your unborn child. Then how do you decide someone isn't "good enough" to be your baby's parents. What really drew me to the couple we choose was that they had a son who looked a lot like my baby brother (who was 2 at the time).

On October 8th, 2002 we met with the couple who would become my daughter's parents and their son  who would become her big brother. I brought my ultra sound pictures and gave them a few (keeping the best ones for myself though!). I wish I would have written in my journal about that meeting, but the above entry is the last one from before Angela was born. I can't remember what I was feeling then. I honestly can't remember a lot from those last couple months of pregnancy. I wonder if part of me was shutting down. Trying to protect myself from the emotional journey that was about to start. Angela's birthfather and I decided that if we could not be our child's parents then these were the right parents for her. I do know we talked about names and I didn't have any picked out at the time. I did not find out that I was having a girl. They were going to send a letter to my social worker to start the conversation about names and take input from me.

My due date was November 20th, 2012. I thought I had another month and a half. But it would only be 20 days after that meeting that little Miss Angela would make her entrance into the world.

In my next post I'll write about October 28th, 2002 and some of what has been going on since then.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My motherood journey

With Mother's Day having come and gone now, I've been thinking a lot about all my babies.

Angela Mae - my first born, my only daughter. I've been missing her for 10 1/2 years now. I decided to place her for adoption at the age of 17.

Marcellus Robert - my very wanted and long awaited for baby. My first born son, my squirmy wormy. He has healed me from the pain of Angela's adoption. Made me look at life very differently. I've been missing him for 1 1/2 years. It still hurts so much that he's not here. My hopes and dreams shattered when he died.

Ethan Michael - my rainbow, my sweet pea, my little love, my miracle.

I've decided to do a "series" of posts on my motherhood journey, starting with writing about Angela. It's taking longer than I thought, so this is just a heads up if anyone's interested in following along. I am doing this as part of my grief work. All my babies have so much grief attached to them. They are all connected because they all started their lives in my womb. I birthed them all.

So, my three sweet children, I will write about you and this journey you have set me on. For the three of you have made me the mother I am today. I love you all so very much!

Saturday, May 4, 2013


I want to get a "Little Brother" outfit for Ethan. I've been meaning to for a long time, but I don't want just any plain thing that says "little brother" on it. I want it to be super cute and special. So, I went looking on Etsy for just the right shirt.

Turns out when you search for a shirt that says "little brother" on it, most people assume you have an older brother (or sister) to put a big brother (or sister) shirt on. Most sellers had listings for pairs. When that popped up, my heart sank. The little brother is here, but there is no big brother in this house to wear a matching shirt.

So what do you do when the big brother is not here? Do I skip over all the listings for the little/big pair? Do I go ahead and order a shirt for Marcellus for the size he would be now and let the seller think I have two adorable little boys at home? Do I order a little baby sized big brother one, because Marcellus will always be our baby? But then I'd have to explain to the seller why I'm ordering a little brother one that is a size bigger than the big brother one.

They are brothers, but they do not get to do brother things. I do not get to take them out or get photos of them in their big/little shirts. I don't get to know the exhaustion of having two boys just 13 1/2 months apart. They will never wrestle or destroy the house together, driving me absolutely crazy. They'll never fight over their toys, who will sit where, or who gets to use what cup.

My two boys, brothers, separated by death before little brother was even here.

My sister and I are about 20 months apart. And although we didn't always get along growing up, I can't imagine not having her to grow up with. We are close now as adults and my heart aches that Ethan will never have the chance to have any of that with his brother.

When people see us with Ethan do they think of him as an only child? Strangers especially would have no idea that he's not. They think my family is of size 3 when in fact there are 4 of us. Someday when Ethan is older and people ask him if he has an siblings, what will he say? He has a brother that is, yet isn't.

When I first announced Ethan's pregnancy, I started another blog and said I would keep this blog as Marcellus's only. But 1) I can't keep up with two blogs right now and 2) Being Marcellus's mommy now means also being Ethan's mommy. So, I have accepted that while this is still mine and Marcellus's space, I will be okay writing about Ethan when I need to. After all, they are brothers and they are forever connected that way. I can not keep them separate.

Here's a song I sing to Ethan that includes Marcellus too:
Mommy loves Ethan. Mommy loves Ethan. Ethan Michael Lennon.
Mommy loves Marcellus. Mommy loves Marcellus. Marcellus Robert Lennon.
Mommy loves her boys, her two little boys. Ethan and Marcellus.
Big brother, Marcellus. Little brother, Ethan.
Mommy loves her boys!

Marcellus at 6 days old

Ethan at 8 days old

Marcellus, you are such a wonderful big brother. Ethan will always know how much you love him and how much Daddy and I love you. I know he will always love you too. You are both so special and I am so thankful to have both of my little boys. What would you and Ethan be like together? My boys, "my two little boys." I love you both more than I can ever explain! I miss you, my sweet boy, our family's big brother!!! xoxox

Sunday, April 28, 2013

18 months

18 months, my baby boy would be 18 months today. 1 1/2 years.

The first year each time the 28th rolled around it was like a knife in my heart. I very acutely felt those monthly birthdays. Then at some point, the 28th started to come and go with a little more ease. There hasn't been a month where I haven't acknowledge that it's the 28th. It's just not as intense as it once was. But 18 months, that's a big one.

What would he big like? How big would he be? What would he think if his little brother? What would he be into? Questions that have no answers, only speculations. Questions that make my heart ache. Questions I wish I didn't have to ask.

Really, overall today was a good day. We had waffles for breakfast, I went to a baby shower for a friend's rainbow baby, and we took Ethan to his first playdate with a NICU friend. But that didn't stop my mind from asking those questions, that didn't stop my heart from longing for my first son, that didn't close the whole left in my family.

18 months. 1 1/2 years. My baby boy would be less like a baby and getting to be more like a toddler. I miss him. I miss him so very much.

Dear Marcellus, it's your half birthday! I miss you. I ache for you. I love you. I just want you here with us. With your dad, baby brother, and I. I want us all to be together. Our family is incomplete. Forever incomplete without you here. We all love you so much. Daddy and I tell your brother all about you. I'm sorry I haven't written to you more. I'm sorry I don't talk to you more. I'm sorry I haven't been doing as much for you. That doesn't mean I love you any less. I still love you just as strong as I did the day you were born. That wonderful marvelous day 18 months ago. My heart felt complete that day my sweet boy. That day you taught me so very much about love. You continue to teach me about love. I love you with all I have, my little squirmy wormy. I love you, I love you, I love you!!! xoxox

Saturday, April 6, 2013


I miss him. And tonight my heart is really hurting. There's always an ache in my heart for my sweet baby boy, but tonight it really hurts. Sometimes the extreme hurt comes out of nowhere, sometimes there's a trigger, and sometimes it's a bit of a combination with an unexpected trigger.

Tonight it was an unexpected trigger for me. As I was laying on the floor with Ethan, I was staring at a large box of size 1 Pampers diapers that are under his changing area. Diapers that were bought for Marcellus. We are cloth diapering with Ethan and had planned to do the same with Marcellus, but my dad and stepmom didn't now that. When my mom and sister drove from MN when Marcellus was born they sent them with. A large box of size ones, size twos and size threes. Never imagining Marcellus wouldn't live long enough to wear anything but preemie diapers.

Even though we were going to cloth diaper we knew it would be helpful to have some disposables on hand, for when 'i got behind on diaper laundry, for when we were out and about, for when we ha a babysitter. So, we kept them.      

I wrote the above last night. Then Ethan needed to be fed and I didn't get back to this post until now.

I remember those diapers just sitting in the room after Marcellus died. Diapers he would never use. Diapers that signified such hope. Hope that my baby boy was going to get out of that NICU. That he was going to get out of preemie diapers, grow past newborn diapers and then need those sizes 1-3. We didn't know what to do with them. I didn't have the energy to figure it out, so they went in the closest tucked away. When Ethan came home, we got the size ones out. Like I said we are cloth diapering, but it's nice to have some disposables on hand. He's not in size one yet. Or maybe he is, we haven't needed to use disposables in awhile. I bet he would fit in size one. He outgrew his preemie diapers. He outgrew newborn diapers.

Why couldn't Marcellus? Why can't it be an opened box of diapers from when we used a handful with Marcellus saving the rest for his little brother? Why does it have to be an unopened box of diapers for my little boy who never had a chance to use them? Those questions made my heart ache last night and my mind race. I squeezed Ethan tight and cried for his brother. Telling my little boy here how much I miss the one that's not.

Marcellus, I didn't know the diapers would cause such a reaction in me. But staring at that unopened big box of diapers brought me back to when we got them. When we brought them into the house and how we talked about if we were even going to need them. We knew Grandpa and Grandma weren't aware that we were going to cloth diaper and we were very appreciative of their gift (which included your blankie). I wish we had a chance to find out if we would have needed to open those boxes for you. Would you be in those size threes now? I would give anything to change your dirty diapers. To have you here. I miss you so much baby boy. Some days I really can't believe you're not here. It's all so unreal sometimes. But my love for you is as real as it gets. I love you so much. So so so very much. xoxox.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Second Easter without him

Yesterday was Easter. We really didn't do anything special. Mike had to work and with Ethan being a preemie, we couldn't go anywhere. But even though we didn't do much, it was still another holiday without Marcellus here. This year he would have been 17months old. This year, he could have hunted for Easter eggs.

But I didn't get to watch my son oh and ah over the pretty colored eggs nor help him hunt for Easter eggs nor see him getting excited over a chocolate bunny. Those were the traditions we had hoped to start. Those are the things we had hoped to do. Instead the only tradition we did this year was get Marcellus white tulips like we did last year. That's the tradition we started. White tulips for a little boy that isn't here. We will get them every year. Ethan will know they are for his brother.

Next year when Ethan is old enough to enjoy some of the Easter festivities we will put out Easter baskets. We didn't this year. I still wasn't up for it. And there will be one for Marcellus. We plan to fill it just like we would Ethan's. Fill it with candy that my first born son will never eat. But I want him included. I want him to be as much of a part of every holiday as I can make him. And that can take some creativity because he isn't here.

Holidays will now forever be so very bittersweet. We have Ethan here to celebrate them with, but Marcellus isn't. Having one son to hunt for eggs with does not take away the ache that the other is not here to help his little brother (or steal his eggs). So for this year I just couldn't make a big deal out of it.

And yesterday really wasn't so bad. Other than the white tulips in the house and Ethan's "My First Easter" onesie, it was like any other day. There wasn't even any crying. Although, we had a difficult moment the night before. Missing our boy. Mike and I both. There has been such a serious mix having Ethan home. I have more to write on that. But for now I just reflect on another Easter come and gone. Another holiday missing Marcellus.

I can't really even touch on the religious part of Easter right now. We didn't even think about going to church because of Ethan being a preemie. All those people make it too risky to bring him. But honestly, even if he could have gone, I don't think we would have. I'm really struggling there. Really angry. Things I thought I had worked on and made progress on that I am battling with again. That in itself is yet another post.

I hate this. I hate that there are many more Easters without Marcellus. I hate that Ethan will never have his big brother to hunt for eggs with. I hate that Ethan will never wear Marcellus's hand-me-down Easter clothes. I hate that my two boys won't argue over who gets to use which colors during dying eggs. I hate that I have a reason to buy white tulips. I hate that I have to struggle to find ways to include and honor Marcellus. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.

Thank you Gabriel's Garden for giving me one thing to do for Marcellus this Easter.
Ethan with his big brother's tulips.

Marcellus, I wonder what it would have been like to try to do an Easter egg hunt with you. Would you have been into it, walking hand in hand with your momma trying to find the pretty eggs? Or would you still have been a bit too young to care much about it? One thing I'm sure of is that you would have loved your chocolate! Daddy always says Easter has the best candy. I wonder what your favorite Easter candy would be. I wonder, I wonder, I wonder. All I can do is wonder what it would be like. I just want to know. I just want to have you here so I know what it's like, what you'd be like. I've been trying to picture you a lot lately. What would you be like? I miss you my little love. I miss you so very much. Happy Easter my squirmy wormy. Mommy loves you! xoxox

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's been way too long

It's been way too long since I've written here. A month exactly. That wasn't planned when I sat down to write today. I just looked at the date of the last post and it's from a month ago...3 days before Ethan came home from the NICU.

I wish I could say that I haven't written because having Ethan home as brought me so much peace that I don't need to write as much anymore.

I wish I could say that I haven't written because I'm too busy being a stay at home mom with a spotless house and delicious dinners.

I wish I could say that I haven't written because I'm too busy fundraising for our March for Babies team, Marcellus's Marchers, and doing just as awesome of a job as we did last year

But the truth is I haven't written because my head is quite a mess. I don't even know where to begin with all the thoughts and crazy mixed emotions that are all over the place. Don't get me wrong, having Ethan home is amazing. It's not that I'm not happy he's home, it's that I'm so sad his big brother isn't. Everything happened so abruptly with Ethan being born early. In the early days of his NICU stay all my energy was focused on his survival and our survival through being back in the only place where Marcellus lived. In the later days of his NICU stay all my energy was focused on getting Ethan home, on keeping myself from breaking.

Now that we're home the emotions have caught up to me. At home, the grieving that I am still very much doing for Marcellus was waiting for me in full force. Now I have my second beautiful little boy at home and all I can think of his how there should be two here. What would it be like to have them both? I just know they are so different. From the moment Ethan was born I knew he was so different from Marcellus. In looks and personality. There is a physical resemblance though. Something about their eyes. Sometimes I'll look at Ethan and it's not so much that I see Marcellus in him, but that it gives me a glimpse of what Marcellus would be like. I can better picture how Marcellus would look as an almost 17 month old. I fee like I even get a better sense of what Marcellus's personality would be like.

And I miss him, I miss Marcellus so much. It seems like I just keep missing him more and more. I didn't know it was possible to miss him more than I already did. But I do. I knew Ethan would never replace Marcellus, ever. But I thought he would bring me some peace and he hasn't. At least not yet.

Marcellus, Momma is missing you so very much! I don't know why you can't be here with your little brother. I keep saying I need to write here more. I'm going to promise you now that I'll write here at least once a week, maybe even more while I'm trying to sort my head out. Writing here isn't just for me, it's always been for you too my sweet boy. I will come here to write and give you the time you deserve. Even if it's just to say, "I love you." And I do. I love you so very much, so much that it hurts. I will forever love you my first born son, the big brother to our family. xoxox.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

We didn't know

I haven't written in forever. I probably should write here more. My life feels like a major whirlwind. I often just can't believe everything that has gone on. From Marcellus being born early and dying to Ethan being born early and getting close to coming home. How is this my life? How have I survived?

I think back to when I was pregnant with Marcellus at how perfect everything seemed. Married to the love of my life, expecting our first child. We didn't know.

We didn't know we'd spend 12 days in the NICU with our first born. 12 days that have shaped us. 12 days that we hold onto with everything we have.

We didn't know we'd only have 12 days. 12 short beautiful days.

We didn't know we'd be able to survive. Survive the death of our precious baby boy. To continue living without him. Yet somehow we are surviving.

We didn't know we'd be back in that same NICU with his little brother. Day 68 today. Not so patiently waiting for our second son to come home.

This whirlwind of a life. Yet if this is the what I need to do to be the mother of these two precious boys, then this is what I do. I grieve and hurt for Marcellus while I treasure those 12 days. I push through this long NICU stay in hopes of Ethan coming home soon. I am their mother and nothing could be better than that, even with all the struggle and heartache.

Sometimes all I can do is survive. Lately, that's how I have felt...just barely surviving. I hope soon to find the strength somewhere to do more than just survive. To go back to living.

Marcellus, Mommy's sorry I haven't come here more to write. Mostly to write to you and to give you the time you deserve. I've had to put off so many of the feelings I have of your life and your death right now. It's not fair. I need to still grieve for you, long for you, ache for you. And I will for the rest of my life. Lately, I've really really really hurt for you my love. I want nothing more than for you to be here with us. For you to meet your little brother when we bring him home. For us all to be together. I miss you and love you like crazy!!! xoxox.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013



I am the mother of two boys.
But you only see one.
One little boy to hold in my arms.
One little boy to kiss.
But there are two.
Two boys I have birthed.
Two boys share my mother love.
But one is no longer here.
One little boy to hold only in my heart.
One little boy to miss.
But there are two.
I am the mother of two boys.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


January 15th, the anniversary of Marcellus's due date.

It's around this time of year that I should be throwing a birthday party for a one year old little boy. Instead we had a party months ago to celebrate the life of a little boy that is no longer here.

My oldest son. Born too soon and gone way way way too soon.

I am missing him a lot. Wondering why he can't be here with us.

His little brother turns 4 weeks old. We've been in the NICU for 4 weeks. And while I love his little brother so very much, my heart still aches and aches and aches for my squirmy wormy.

I want them both here. Why can't I have both of my sons?

Marcellus's due date. As I wrote in last year's post, a "day represents crushed hope, dreams that will never come true, and an incomplete family." That is how I am feeling now. Crushed that he isn't here. And incomplete. Even with Ethan here, our family will always be missing Marcellus. We will always be incomplete.

Marcellus, Momma is missing you like crazy! I am so sorry I haven't done much for you lately. I'm not trying to neglect you. I haven't been able to find a balance yet. And with your brother in the hospital, it's hard to focus on anything but getting him home. I hope you understand that. I love you so much my sweet boy. I love you! I love you! I love you! I wish you could be here with us. I wish you and your brother could grow up together. I wish I could feel complete like I did when you were born. I love you right up to the moon and back! xoxox