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