55 Days-Grief lasts a lifetime
Most of the time I feel like I am dealing with everything so well. And then every once in a while it all comes flooding back and I feel like I am right there on the brink of that dark void again. I guess sometimes I forget that I am still grieving, and I need to let myself do it before it feels like this. Those stages of grief I read about-I figured once they were over they would be over, but its so not true. They just seem revolving-in no specific pattern or order-just this time around they are a little less intense.
What am I babbling about? Well, right now I just feel like I am getting sucked down a bit and I need to vent to let some of it out. These last few days I have started feeling everything again with some intensity. The nightmares have returned, I wake up crying. I have been crying at the most random times during the day, and there is nothing I can do about it. I am angry and hurt and lost and I feel such guilt all over again. I finally think I figured out where it is all coming from:
55 days... thats how long I got to spend with my beautiful, perfect, little boy. 55 days-thats it. I know its more than a lot of people, but I feel ripped off. I should have spent the rest of my life with him. 55 days and the whole time I was wishing it to go by faster b/c I truly thought I would bring him home, so instead of treasuring every little moment I prayed for it to be over. Now I have this beautiful baby girl-who is my world- and who is already hitting those little milestones that Gabe never really reached, and on April 10th she will be 55 days old. It just reminds me how little time I really spent with my boy. I sit and I hold her and I cry...I cry for my son who never really got to live, I cry for my husband who was never able to watch that Patriots game with his boy the way he wanted to, I cry for my daughter who will never meet her brother, and I cry for myself b/c I want him back sooo bad.
Than there is the anger. I am so angry at everything again. I don't understand why he couldn't be a survivor. I try to tell myself its so I could help others, but I could have helped others with him here to. He was supposed to be my miracle baby, I was ready to devote my life to him. There is so many of the what ifs left in my head. And with those what ifs comes the guilt. What if I hadn't worked as hard in the beginning of the pregnancy, what if I didn't have that drink, what if those selfish a******* hadn't robbed me and put the gun to my head-I still have nightmares about that and then I dealt with all that post-stress and anxiety during the pregnancy, what if I had miscarried instead of praying for him to hold on. I lied-I told him that if he just held on inside of me that everything would be ok, and I would take care of him. What if I had insisted on another ultrasound when I felt that things weren't right... what if I had done more research and had asked to be transfered to Childrens Boston-would he have received better treatments? What if I hadn't decided to let him go...would there have been a miracle? Was it the right thing to do? I feel like I was so niave to everything, I don't know if it was the right thing or if it was what I felt the nurses felt I should do. I feel like I didn't give him a chance to even fight it b/c he was on a paralytic at the time. Maybe he could have rebounded... maybe. I try and remind myself that it was a decision I KNEW was right at the time. I felt it as soon as I walked in his room that night. I KNEW we had tried everything we could and he was telling me he couldn't fight any longer. I know all that-but I still feel guilt. I wish I would have waited until morning and then asked his surgeon-the one I trusted-the one who was willing to fight for Gabe and try everything in his power. He told me that I had made the right decision the next morning...but I just don't know. Why should a mother ever be forced to make that decision. 55 days was not long enough! I think one of the worst parts of all this is that I had a shaky faith going into this pregnancy, and now its even worse. I feel like god may have been punishing me for not fully believing, and sometime I feel like there is no god at all. I have prayed and prayed for something to restore my faith, for a sign that there is a heaven and my boy is in it. To know, really know and not just say b/c it will make me feel better, that I will one day see my son again would make all the difference in the world-and yet I can't seem to get to that point. I am begging and pleading with God to help me know that.
So there it is-all of it. All of my weaknesses, fears, and guilt... for anyone to see. I don't know if this makes me weak...I feel kind of naked laying it all out there. I wish it would all go away.
03-23-08 Happy Easter
Happy Easter! Today was a nice day. Nate and I went out with friends last night and left Makayla with my mom. It was the first time we had left her with someone else for more than a hour and it was a little difficult. I know how lucky I am to have her and I don't want to let her out of my sight.
Well we are now going through the second set of holidays without Gabe and its a bit depressing. I think of what he would be doing and wonder what he would look like right now. I think about all the things I want to buy for him but can't. All the holiday traditions I want to share with him. I can't pretend the holidays aren't going on anymore, I have to learn to celebrate them without him. Our perfect little family forever missing one.
We have continued to keep busy visiting with family and friends and showing off our little princess. This week we took Makayla to get her pictures taken. It took a lot of time and effort, she was a bit fussy, but in the end they captured some great moments-I can't wait to get them back! We picked up our birth announcements today and will start sending them out this week-one more thing to do on our ever growing list!
Today we took a trip up to Boston to visit with some of the nurses that took care of Gabe at Mass General Hospital. We brought up the CHERUBS information packets so that they can start giving them to parents. We brought Makayla and as always she was the center of attention
Life is good, and I know how lucky I am to have my beautiful daughter, but I miss my boy more now than ever. I can't help but feel our family will never be complete with him gone. All the great family pictures we had taken- they are all missing him... I know he is watching over his little sister, but I want him here with us. There will always be something missing-and I hate it. I hate that Makayla will never really know her big brother. Looking at her I can see a resemblance in her eyes and it makes me think of all the things missed. All the things so many take for granted. If I learned anything from Gabe its to treasure every day I have with Makayla, every little moment.
Mommy loves you and misses you Gabe!
Nothing Better Than Being A Mommy-FINALLY!
It has been almost 2 weeks, time is flying by! We have changed a couple hundred diapers- had many sleepless nights, and have found out we know nothing about being parents-but we are learning and I love every part of being a mommy.
When Nate and I were first married we decided to weigh the pros and cons of having children. It was something we had always talked about doing someday-but we thought that we should make sure it was what we wanted. There were so many reasons not to have children-travel, careers, money... but in the end we both knew we wanted a family. Well it has not been an easy road to travel, we have had a lot of pain, heartache, and fear to deal with. But here we are now with a beautiful baby girl in our arms, and her angel brother watching over us. I know we made the right decision, life could never be complete without our babies, and they have taught me so much already. Nothing in our lives worth while comes easy, but we can appreciate it all so much more.
So all is well in our little house right now. Makayla is doing very well-keeping us busy and teaching us new things every day.
Makayla is Here!
Thanks everyone for all the thoughts and prayers! I wanted to give a quick update on how things went-but I am pretty tired so hopefully this makes sense.
Makayla was born Friday Feb 15th at 5:34 pm weighing in at 10 lbs 4 oz and 22 inches long!!! It was not the easy labor and delivery we had hoped for-she gave us quite a scare at first, but thankfully she is home and doing well!
We went in on Friday to be induced at 7am, I was already having contractions and was dilated 3 cm. They started pitocin and things slowly progressed. At about 1pm my doctor broke my water which set me into active labor. I was unable to get the epidural I had wanted b/c my platelets dropped extremely low and they were afraid of clotting issues. It was not an easy labor but by 5pm I was ready to start pushing. I pushed for a short time but due to her size and the fact that her heart rate was dropping during contractions they had to use suction to get her head out. Once her head was out we could tell she was larger than anyone had expected! Her shoulders got stuck and and with every contraction her heart rate was still dropping. They called in the NICU team and after some manipulation we finally got her out! Immediately they started working on her-but she was limp and refusing to breath on her own. It was one of the scariest moments of my life! They intubated her and brought her to the NICU. Luckily she rebounded from all the stress very quickly and they were able to extubate her after only about an hour! They kept her in the NICU for the remainder of the hospital stay to keep an eye on her, but she has done amazing. Makayla was discharged with us today-after only a two day stay. She has a small problem with her right shoulder b/c of the stress and manipulation during the delivery-they told us she has a 90% chance of regaining full movement-but may need PT- they are giving her a little time to see if she starts moving it on her own. She also was a little jaundice-so we need to get that checked again tomorrow, but hopefully that will also resolve itself. Overall she is a VERY long and large HEALTHY baby girl!
I have a website with some pictures if you want to check them out:
37 weeks 1 day
Well its February! The month I will meet my little girl. Last weekend we took a mini vacation to New Hampshire, which was nice and relaxing. We didn't do much of anything but enjoy being away. It's nice to know that the next time we go up there Makayla will be coming too! This week I have started to get things in order for her arrival-finally! We started working on the nursery and cleaning it out, we got the carseat put in, and the cradle in our bedroom. There is still a lot to be done, but at least we are moving in the right direction. Going through the nursery was difficult, brought back a lot of memories, but it wasn't quite as bad as I had anticipated. I guess I am learning to live with the grief a little bit more every day.
36 Week Ultrasound
I went in for my last ultrasound on Thursday and everything checked out perfect. She was very active and I got to see her moving around, sucking her thumb, biting her lip, even blinking! It was the most amazing ultrasound, I could see everything and she really looked like a baby! She has some beautiful chubby cheeks Smile They showed me her diaphragm and all of organs doing what they should. You could even see her lungs practicing breathing. After all the measurements they estimated her weight at 7 lbs 7 oz-yikes! She is going to be one chubby baby! I am hoping that I go into labor soon so I don't push out a 9 lb baby Smile She is ready and cleared for delivery anytime after this week-so I am hoping she decides to make her arrival soon.
Today I am 35 weeks 4 days pregnant, and I think it is finally starting to catch up with me. People keep asking me "are you getting excited yet?". The weird thing is I'm not... I'm scared to death. I just want to skip the next few weeks and have a baby in my arms. I am still putting off preparing for her arrival, I'm not sure why. The nursery still sits as it has this last year-a mess. I still haven't packed my bags or found a pediatrician. I feel like this makes me a bad mom-almost like I am still preparing for the worst. It is so hard to get excited-it's all fear.
I feel her move around a lot-and it makes me so happy. She is getting so big, I treasure every kick and move. I have heard that it can be difficult to bond with your unborn baby after a loss, but thats not the case. I love Makayla more than anything. I can tell she already has personality, I know she is going to be beautiful.
Well, I have my last level 2 ultrasound on Thursday. One more final check and peek at her before she makes her big arrival. We are truly in the homestretch-almost there.
Our Last Day With Gabe
A year ago today... some times it feels like it was a life time ago, other days it feels like it was yesterday. My last day with Gabe, even though tomorrow will be the anniversary of his angel day, today was really the last day. I have re-lived the day a thousand times in my dreams-of course that day was more like a nightmare. We were clutching on the smallest bit of hope we had left, feeling the desperation of it all slipping away. Slowly accepting the final reality of it all, and what we had to do. Praying to god to make it all better, unanswered prayers. I know I should just trust that what happened was for a reason, but it is so hard to believe that any child, especially my child, would die for a reason. Maybe I am selfish, but I needed him here with me, I still need him.
No one should have to go through what we went through. No one should have to make that call with their child. Even though we know we did the right thing, the only thing left to do, I am crushed with guilt everyday. Maybe because at the time a part of me felt relief at making the decision, having it all over with, no more unknowns. I just wanted it all to be over with, I didn't want to watch my baby suffer anymore.
So a year has passed. A whole long year. They told me the first year was the hardest, so I am hoping things start to get easier. I have come to a lot of realizations and learned a lot about grief, but it still doesn't make it any better.
Happy New Years
Happy New Years! Well another year has passed, and I can't believe how quickly it went by. It was definitely a hard year, and I have so many hopes that 2008 will be better.
We decided to have a quiet New Years, and stayed home. It seems I have been re-living a lot of memories from last year at this time and New Years has been the worst. Last year it had also been filled with so much hope... I remember repeating over and over, well it has to be better than 2006-things are going to get better. I had no idea how wrong I was. Gabe was looking so much better on New Years than he ever had, Nate held him for the first time, we got his foot prints for the first time. It had been such an amazing and special day-I just want that day back again. Uggghhh... unfortunately I can't have that day back, and I know I must move forward. It just seems like moving forward is leaving Gabe behind.
I am determined to make 2008 a positive year. I have many goals for this year:
1. Bring home a happy and HEALTHY baby girl to spoil
2. Clean and organize my apartment... and keep it cleaned and organized
3. Get back into a healthy weight range after Makayla is born
4. Start the process to buy a house
5. Start moving forward towards getting a business plan done and seriously looking into starting it
6. Continue to keep Gabe's memory alive and honor him by continuing my work for CHERUBS
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas day. We spent Christmas eve with Nate's family at his Aunts house which is always nice. We visited Nate's sister and her boys Christmas morning and my family for dinner. We stopped by the cemetery to visit Gabe on the way home. The whole day was very bittersweet. It was wonderful to visit family and show off my growing HUGE tummy... but Gabe was greatly missed. I wish he was here to spoil, here to love, here to hold. Honestly, I am glad the holidays are over. Too much pain and loss this year-looking forward to 2008 and all the good it will bring.
Another quick doctor's appointment today. I saw the midwife instead of the doctor and she predicted that it was a boy based on the heart beat... Hmmmm maybe she should have looked at my chart b/c she is definitely a girl . The last ultrasound left no question as to that. The one thing I don't like about the midwife is she never looks at the chart before seeing me, so she has NO IDEA who I am or my history. Its very frustrating to have to explain everything to her again as if it were my first appointment. Luckily I have been seeing the doctor for 90% of my visits and he knows who I am. Anyway, everything looked fine-my blood pressure was a little high at first, but they retook it before I left and it was normal. I gained a ton of weight this month-almost doubling what I had gained so far. But I can't say I am surprised, lately I want to stuff myself with everything in sight-and with all the holiday goodies around it is just way to easy. As long as I don't continue to put on as much as I did this month I will still be on target. I go in on Tuesday for another ultrasound to check everything again-I'm hoping to get some more great pictures! I can't wait for these holidays to be over and February to be here!
Well it is 4 am and I have 2 1/2 more hours that I could be sleeping, but nope I am "wide awake". Grrrr, this is what makes the third trimester so difficult-and I am barely in it! I have a very active baby kicking like crazy inside of me, my leg won't stop cramping, I can't get comfortable, my back aches, and I am having the strangest dreams! So here I am in the wee hours of the morning trying to stay busy. Well, I guess its my bodies way of getting me ready for the sleepless nights to come when Makayla makes her big arrival. Oh, I can't wait. I know I really shouldn't be complaining, I would give up far more for my baby, but Nate is snoring away fast asleep.
We are trying to reorganize our apartment to have room for all the baby stuff we had stashed away-what a project this has turned into. I want to have the house all ready soon, but there is so much still to do. The nursery is a wreck since we shut it off after Gabe passed. The only time I have been in it since has been to throw some boxes in for storage. We have to completely take apart everything, clean it, and put it all back together. We finally opened up the door, and have been keeping it open, which I guess is the first step, but every time I look in there I start thinking.... When we got this apartment that wasn't "the nursery" it was "Gabe's Room"! Everything in it was put there while thinking about Gabe. It's hard to think that it's not Gabe's Room anymore. I just feel so weird about it all. I almost feel like setting it up for Makayla would be betraying Gabe. I know thats crazy, but it's a feeling I can't shake. I had really hoped to move into a new place before she came so we could start fresh, but unfortunately that isn't an option and we had to sign another years lease. I know I am going to have to get over all this and just go in there and do it... but I just don't know how.
Thanksgiving came and went, it was a "good" day but was very difficult thinking about how Gabe was missing from everything. We went to dinner at Nate's parents house and went to the cemetery to visit Gabe. I haven't been their in months-it's just too hard sometimes to stare at his stone. It just makes it all so final. These holidays are not easy-just trying to make it through these next few months.
Work has been pretty stressful. I ended up going in after Gabe's birthday party and doing an overnight, even though I had originally told them I needed that time off. I worked 3 overnights leading up to Thanksgiving to make sure all the desserts were done. The day after Thanksgiving I went in to prepare for the weekend to find out that my manager had gone on vacation and not scheduled anyone for Saturday-my day off. I ended up working 11 hours on friday and they still wanted me to come in today. We are very shorthanded and all the pressure is on me to get everything done. I had demoted myself months ago so that I would not have to deal with all the stress, but instead I am being paid less but expected to do the same amount of work. I decided I couldn't do it anymore and put in my 2 weeks notice yesterday. Ugghh, I had really counted on not going on maternity leave for another 2 months since we can't afford to have only Nate working right now, but I'm sure I will figure something out. I know I need to put my health and Makayla first right now, and being on my feet for all these hours, doing the work of 3 people is wearing me out. Hopefully I can find something to do to bring in some extra income for awhile until I can figure out something more permanent. Well, I guess now I will have a lot more time to clean my house.
We went in yesterday for yet another level 2 ultrasound, and again everything looked great! She was very active during the whole thing and decided to give us quite a few wonderful pics. Again, they pointed out her long feet and super long toes .No big surprise there, Gabe had long feet and toes, and so do their mommy and daddy! We got a great shot of her diaphragm, and all her organs working properly and in their place. We watched her practice swallowing and she played with her face and stuck her tongue out at us. We even got a really good shot of her sucking her thumb. It was so wonderful seeing her a little more clearly! She weighs in at about 2 lbs 2 oz which is perfect for her age right now.
So another month has passed and another good ultrasound! I can't wait for the next one.
Yesterday was a really "good" day. We had his memorial party with friends and family and the turnout was amazing. We put everyone to work assembling Information Packets for CHERUBS and we were able to put together over 400! I can't wait to start getting them out to hospitals where they can help families! We also had a kids table where they drew pictures of Angels for the holiday cards and we got some really beautiful drawings! Everyone really got into the activities and it was a very upbeat get together. A big thanks to everyone who came and all that helped out! I am so happy that we were able to have such a positive day to remember my little angel!
Happy Birthday Gabe
Happy Birthday to my beautiful angel. I can't believe it has been a year. One year ago right now we were heading out the door on our way to the hospital. Full of excitement and anticipation...no idea of the road that lay ahead. I miss you Gabe, I wish you were here to celebrate your first birthday with us.
11-05-07 Mass General Memorial Service
Yesterday was a very emotional but good day. We went up to Mass General Hospital to their Annual Pediatric Memorial Service which was beautifully done. Some of the staff from the NICU attended, and it was nice to see them again. They really became an extension of our family during our stay there, and I will never be able to express how much I appreciate all they did. Being back at the hospital brought back so many overwhelming emotions, but I was very glad we went. I plan on going back up after Gabe's birthday to bring information packets on CHERUBS. I talked with them a little on it and they seemed very excited to learn more. I believe there are so many parents who could benefit from this group, I can't wait to start getting these packets out there.
Another Good Doctors Appointment
I went in to see my doctor today to go over the ultrasound results and for a check. Everything went well! Makayla has been active all day. I go in for blood work in a few weeks to check for gestational diabetes and for a platelet check. Hopefully those will come back in an acceptable range, if my platelets go any lower I may have to deliver c-cection which I would really prefer to avoid. Every good appointment is helping me breath a little easier so lets hope they keep happening!
Uggghhh, Well I am officially the biggest sucker around. This weekend at work really sucked. I have been trying to cut back my hours to 4 days a week but it just isn't happening and I keep being pushed into 5 days. This week I agreed to work the 5 days if I had 2 half days. Well the half days were ok, but then this weekend I ended up working 9 hours yesterday and 11 hours today so how is that really cutting back. I am sitting here swollen, sore, tired and frustrated! We were so busy these last two days-I am in the process of training 2 new employees one of who has NO cake decorating experience at all! Management looks down and sees 3 people working full days and thinks wow they should be fine. Meanwhile I am running around trying to train, fill the case, do back up cakes, clean the bakery, do ordering, work with customers and do 70 cake orders in 2 days including a wedding cake and 15 "signature" cakes (big carved cakes). Instead of getting my manager (who can cake decorate) to help me she suggests I come in on my day off and when I tell her no she says o well things always work out! Yeah they do, because I make them work out! Because I end up working 11 hours only stopping to pee. They have one of the new girls working by herself tomorrow (which she is not ready for) and I know if I leave any orders in her hands she won't be able to even attempt at handling it and probably will quit! Even as I sit her typing I am thinking about how she isn't ready for tomorrow and considering going in to help. I care too much! My biggest issue right now is knowing that this won't be the last week like this. It is going to take atleast a month or so to train our new Full Time Cake Decorator b/c she has never done anything like this before. With the holidays coming up-I just don't see how this is going to work w/o me working full weeks. I keep telling them I can't do this-I am having too many health issues right now and CANNOT be the dependable hard worker I have been, I NEED to take it easy. But they don't listen-and I know it is my fault. I let them do this to me. I do this at every job I have until I get so fed up with it I leave one day and can't get myself to go back in the next day. I don't want that to happen here, but...
OK there is my vent. Uggghhh-I need to stand up for myself.
On a much higher note-I got my pictures back from Babyangelpics.com One of them came out so beautiful-I really love it! The other didn't come out as good-I think there was just too much stuff on his face for them to remove. They had to come up with his nose and mouth and it just doesn't look right to me. But I really appreciate what they did. It is so wonderful- I would highly suggest any other angel mommies who have NICU pics to look into it! I will try to post the pictures below before and after of the good one-if not I will post them in my album.
We finally got a definite place to have Gabe's birthday celebration! We are going to be having it at a Veterans Hall in Charlestown, RI. They were so helpful and kind they gave it to us for free! Now to finish planning and sending out invitations. It is going to be a busy couple of weeks!
First I want to say a big thanks to all of my friends and family. Everyone has been wonderful letting me know that they are there for me lately and it means the world to me. I really appreciate all the love and support.
Today we went in for our second level 2 ultrasound. We got to see Makayla moving around and saying hi. She is growing on target and everything still looks perfect. They estimate her weight at 1 lb 3 oz which is the normal range. We got another good picture of her face (which still looks like a skeleton halloween photo) and a good picture of her foot. Yep, she will have big feet just like her mommy. I still have the polyp but it doesn't look like its causing any problems so they will do another ultrasound in 4 weeks but leave it alone.
I found out about a wonderful program at babyangelpics.com that does digital retouching of NICU photos for babies that never made it home for free. They can take out all the medical tubes and equipment and any bruises or such. I sent in 2 pictures of Gabe to be done and I can't wait to get them back. I really would like to have a good picture of his face without all the tape, but the only one I have right now is after he passed, and I don't like looking at those. I should get them sometime this week or next.
I will post them as soon as I get them.
I miss Gabe. I miss him every second of every day. I miss the dream of our happy little family. I miss being naive. I always had this dream of our family. The simple typical dream. Two carseats in the back-a boy and a girl. In my dream they always had names-Gabriel and Makayla. I am so happy about being pregnant with Makayla, but I feel robbed. It is bittersweet knowing that I will be having this beautiful girl-but she will never know her special brother. It's hard to know that I have to live without my son for a lifetime. How do you tell people that you have an angel for a son, and make them understand that he still is MY SON. Just because he only lived a short life does not mean he should be forgotten. I will grieve for a lifetime. I hate the fact that this has changed me. I will never be the same person I was the day I walked into that hospital on November 18th. Everything is different now, everything is harder. I know things get easier over time. But it has been a almost a year now, and it isn't that much easier. I still wake up every morning with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes. I still go to bed every night and dream about those short 2 months that I was able to spend with Gabe. I still have an empty hole that no one will ever be able to fill. And yet, I am stronger than I ever thought I was. I still go on, although I am not sure why or how. I know part of it is for Nate, and of course now for Makayla. A lot of it is to keep Gabriel's memory alive. I don't know why that is so important, but it is. I just hope he is out there somewhere able to see how much I love him. I hope that I make him proud. I pray that one day I will see him again and show him just how much he means to me.
I have been keeping very busy. Today after work I decided I needed a day of nothing so I came home and slept, and of course now I am up and probably won't be able to go back to sleep. O well.
I have been selling truffles for a mini fundraiser for Cherubs, and it has done a whole lot better than I ever expected. I estimate that I have already sold over 170 boxes and continue to get requests and orders. So in between working and other stuff you can find me in my mini kitchen playing with chocolate, which ends up covering the kitchen by the time I am done. My family have been so supportive when it comes to my crazy ideas, they have been selling truffles faster than I can make them! I may be the crazy one putting all this stuff together, but I couldn't do it without all the help I have gotten.
Work has been interesting. The bakery didn't do to well while I was on my 3 days off last week-grrrr- and I agreed to work 5 days for the next two weeks while they work on getting more help. We did hire another cake decorator (FINALLY), but she still needs to be trained, and I am praying she lasts longer than the last two they hired. I think the record would be 3 days. I had recently had a talk with my human resources rep (who I adore), about Gabriel and Cherubs. She knew I had a son who didn't make it, but didn't know any of the details. After we talked for awhile she told me about a program they do next asking employees to donate to a charity weekly out of their paycheck. She suggested I put Cherubs on the list and see what happens. She told me my story touched her so she will personally be promoting Cherubs for people who don't already have a charity in mind. Today she came and asked to speak with me. She convinced Big Y to agree on doing a Big Y sponsored raffle next month for the employees where all the money will also be donated to Cherubs. They are going to put a basket together with a bunch of different things and see what they can get for it. I thought it was so sweet of her to go above and beyond what I would have ever expected. Some people truly amaze me with their kindness.
The rest of my time I have spent trying to plan Gabe's first birthday. We know we want to have a get together with friends and family, but we have to find a place to have it. Hopefully I can get all that figured out this week.
So much to do so little time
Work has been really stressful lately. I am a pastry chef and I LOVE to bake and do cakes. While I was prego with Gabe I didn't have a job for awhile and after he passed away I needed a low stress easy job. So I decided to apply at my local grocery store for a cake decorator position. At first it was perfect-part time, no major responsibilities, low stress and easy. After a little time and they discovered my manager experience, my schooling, and my work experience, they started pushing me towards a full time position. It required supervising a few employees, doing ordering, inventory, etc... I didn't want it and I tried to resist, but I am easily persuaded, which gets me into trouble, and in June I told them yes. Since then, we have had our busiest season in the stores history, been shorthanded, and lost one of our managers. I have had to pick up the slack and it was really wearing on me.
Anyway, after much debate with myself, and after my freak out the other day, I decided I couldn't do this to myself anymore. If I wanted responsibility I would have gone to a real bakery, I didn't even intend to work here more than a few months. The only part timer I have left put in her two weeks notice last week and we still can't find anyone to fill any of the positions, which was one of the last straws. Today I told my manager I was demoting myself until the baby is born at which time I am leaving and probably not coming back. She was not happy at all, but I am so relieved. I gave her my revised availability which gives me at least 3 days off! I also warned her that as the pregnancy progressed I would slowly be cutting my hours. I have so much to do at my house before Makayla makes her appearance and I want to enjoy this pregnancy. The stress has really been catching up with me lately as all I do is work and sleep. I think I will be much happier now with more time to do the things I want and need to.
I am very happy to announce that we are having a girl! More importantly, everything seems to be growing at normal rates, and everything is where it should be! We got some of the test results back and so far they have all come back with low risk for things like Downs Syndrome and Trisomy 18. The only concern was some spotting I had this morning, which after an exam was determined to be caused by a polyp. They will be keeping an eye on it, but say it isn't something to worry about. We will be going back to Yale in 4 weeks for another level 2 ultrasound to make sure everything is still going well. We still have a long way to go but this was the first big hurdle and I feel like I can breathe a little easier. I won't feel completely comfortable until I have her in my arms, but we are one step closer! I know Gabe is watching over his little sister!
I have been tired and stressed lately. Going through a subsequent pregnancy is so difficult. I feel like I am constantly waiting for something to happen, and praying every step of the way that it doesn't. I cut my hours at work to give me more time to myself to get the things I need to done before she arrives.
Gabe's upcoming birthday is weighing heavily on my mind. I am so mixed about it. I don't want the day to pass unnoticed and feel I should do something to celebrate and honor my little boy, I just don't know what. One of the biggest things that is getting me through this each and every day is Cherubs. I can't express enough how much that organization has helped me move forward. I am now a representative for all of the New England states and NY and NJ. I know it will be a lot of work, but so would having a little boy running around, and since I can't have him I want spend my time helping others, spreading CDH awareness, and making him proud. I need to do something that matters. Hopefully I can recruit some helpers along the way from friends, family and other Cherub members.
This has been a crazy month. I have been kept very busy at work, and most of my free time I spend obsessing over my current pregnancy. We went in again for a check-up on the 19th and this little baby has decided it will be difficult from the beginning. The midwife tried to get the heartbeat on the fetal doppler and once again couldn't. It sent me into such a panic.I stayed calm on the outside, but inside I was freaking out. She brought me in for an ultrasound and the baby was there doing flips and turns, heart beating beautifully! We got a couple of great pics where we can see a profile, arms, legs, it was very exciting. I guess even though the baby almost gave me another heart attack, it was worth it to get the extra peak at him/her. They took me off the progesterone, and so far all is going well. I bought a home fetal doppler to listen to the heartbeat, but still can only find it for a short time here and there. I am sure it will become easier as the baby gets bigger, and will help to give me peace of mind. I go in again on the 5th for a quick check up before we go on vacation and then the big appointments come when we get back in the middle to end of september.
This weekend was my birthday which we spent quietly. Thanks to all that called and emailed, I know I haven't responded to everyone yet but I really did appreciate all the love!
Yesterday was a rough day for me. As crazy as this sounds a shipment of Halloween cookies has sent me hopelessly into a funk. At work, we started getting in all the fall decorations which has sent me into a slightly foul mood, and I couldn't figure out why until the cookies came. I was standing there looking at them and started to get really angry. I started complaining that it was way too early to be doing Halloween cookies when it was still August! Then I started thinking about how Halloween meant October and then comes November and it just can't be almost a year yet! What am I supposed to do?! Do I 'celebrate' or hide? I just don't think I am ready for it. The more time passes the further I feel away from my son, its the most awful feeling and I can't describe or explain it. The realization that so much time has passed was really a huge shock and has sent me down a bit, but I am trying pull myself out of it. Now I am trying to plan something for my angels first birthday while attempting to not go completely off the deep end, and start thinking/planning for a new baby. I don't think I have ever felt such a mixture of emotions at once. I just want to crawl into a hole for a few days, but since that isn't possible I guess I will just keep going through the motions until things level out again.
I guess that is about it for now...just a little glimpse of my crazy world.
They found the babies heartbeat!!! Which is the best news we have gotten in a long time. They couldn't find it with the doppler, which was normal since I was only 9 weeks along, but they did another ultrasound and the baby was very visible this time. We found the baby and the hearbeat immediately which was such a relief. I have been carrying around the ultrasound picture with me ever since. I can't believe I'm really pregnant. I am about 10 1/2 weeks along now and am just starting to get the baby bump.
This pregnancy has brought up a whole mixture of emotions. I don't even know where to begin. Overall I am very excited and happy, but it is laced with fear and guilt. I am afraid of so many things going wrong, but I am also afraid of having a hard time with being happy once this baby is born. I know I am not trying to, nor could I ever, replace Gabe...But yet I still feel a little guilty. I guess it is just that I feel guilty for moving on without him. I really wish I had my little boy now more than ever. I know I will never stop missing him. I just keep telling myself that this is not to replace Gabe, it is an earth sibling for Gabe to have and keep an eye on. Nothing now comes easy.
I go back to the doctors on August 16th for a check up. September will be a busy month with doctor visits. They will be giving me my first level 2 ultrasound to make sure everything is developing properly, and sending me to Yale for a high risk consult to evaluate my risk factors. Keep sending your prayers my way for my growing peanut.
This has been quite a busy month for me. So much has happened recently, I have no idea where to start.
Work has been crazy, and I have been promoted to the full time cake decorator position, which basically means a whole lot more work and responsibility for not a whole lot more money. But that's OK I need to stay busy.
On with the more important news...Nate and I started trying for another baby. After many discussions (we were going to wait a little while longer), and some hard emotions still to sort through we decided that we would never feel fully ready for another baby. That being said, we still have empty arms to fill and the need for a baby here on earth to help complete our family grows stronger everyday. Our solution was to just dive right into it again and get pregnant. Just like with Gabe, it didn't take long and after the first try I got a positive pregnancy test! We were so excited! Scared, but very happy. I finally started to feel some happiness in life again. We had decided to wait to tell everyone until after my first doctors appointment which was on July 19th, when I would be about 9 weeks along. At work 2 mondays ago, I started bleeding. I met Nate at the doctors and they did an exam and an ultrasound. Afterwards we got the devastating news that my doctor could not find the baby in the gestational sac and he believed I was miscarrying, but wanted to get some blood work done to make sure. That week was awful, it was the week of the 4th and I had to wait for my test results until friday. But from talking with my doctor I was convinced that I was having a miscarriage and started to try and accept that. Friday morning I got the call from my doctor telling me that he had good and bad news. The good news is I appear to be still pregnant from my HCG hormone levels which rose dramatically over the two days and looked good and normal. The bad news is I have low progesterone, which can be a sign that a miscarriage is going to happen. He gave me progesterone pills to take twice a day but also told me that studies are inconclusive to whether or not the pills would help. There is not enough information on pregnancy and progesterone so they are not sure whether sometimes miscarriages are caused by low progesterone, or low progesterone is a product of a an inevitable loss. So, I am taking the pills religiously and hoping for the best. I go in to see my doctor again this Thursday, for another ultrasound in hopes that this time he will be able to see a baby and a heart beat. It is possible that the baby was small enough to hide itself in the last ultrasound, but this time it should be big enough where it cannot hide. At least then we will have a better idea of whats going on as far as if its even possible for me to carry this pregnancy to full term. So keep your prayers coming that everything turns out OK, I don't know how much loss and heartache I can take.
Waiting to know one way or another is the hardest thing. But life has a way of keeping me busy and my mind occupied for the most part. I had been taking care of a pregnant stray that found its way to my door, who decided to have her kittens on my bed while I was laying on it the night of the 3rd. She has 5 of the cutest kittens and they keep me entertained and happy when I need it. The mother cat is doing well, and doesn't mind us being around the kittens, she actually seems to prefer it. Im not looking forward to giving them away as I am becoming attached to them which I know is not a good thing. But I think if I tried to keep them I would officially become the crazy cat lady which I don't want :)
It has been over 6 months since we lost Gabe, and everything is still very raw. The 6 month mark was difficult as there is a part of me that definitely does not want to move on with life. It seems the longer time that passes the harder the realization that I have to go on for the rest of my life without him. It makes the future very hard to think about. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but neither does this life sometimes. But as someone told me recently I just have to Get Up! Get Dressed! Get Going! and I guess the rest will fall into place eventually.
Well, as I look at the date today I try to accept the fact that it has been 5 months since Gabe passed. Time seems to be rolling along gathering speed as it goes faster and faster, and I am still up on the hill left behind watching it go. I really wish it would all stop for a little bit and let me catch up.
I guess overall things are getting 'better'. I have days that I actually enjoy for the most part. There are times in the day when my mind is on things other than Gabriel. I think I am starting to start life up again, although it is taking a long time and I am not really all that thrilled about it. I still have bad days, in fact a lot of bad days, but we are making plans for the future and I do have goals and ambitions once again. My next big step is to try and actually start going through Gabe's room. I am not looking forward to that, but I know it needs to be done.
I am still trying to focus some of this negative experience into good energy and am very excited about Cherubs stuff starting to come together. I am officially the Connecticut state rep, and have volunteered to be the rep for Rhode Island as well if they can't find someone. I hope to start working with that as soon as I get the information I need. It is really wonderful the support I have received from other people I have never even met from these CDH support groups. I hope I can do that for others. There is a Cherubs get together in September that I am going to be able to attend, which I am very excited about. It will be great to be able to meet some of the people I have been talking to all these months.
Thats about all for right now. There are so many other things going on right now, so many emotions and feelings, but I can't seem to put them all into words. Still just taking one day, one minute, at a time.
Ok, I am going to start out by saying that as you read this you may
think I'm crazy, but thats OK, I have accepted that most of my friends
and family do. I am an animal lover. I have three cats, a rabbit, and three rats who are my babies. I know, most people freak out over the rat thing,
but they are wonderful animals no matter what anyone says. Anyway, my
animals have really been a huge comfort to me in the last few months.
They are always there, willing to listen, and they give you
Since I am the crazy animal lover, when ever a
friend or a friend of a friend finds a sick or injured animal I am
always the first person they call, I can't say no. On sunday I got a
call from a close friend saying that her friend found a baby rat in a
parking lot and wanted to know if I will take care of it. Of course I
end up taking it and bringing it home. The rat was probably only about
a week old, barely had fur and hadn't even opened its eyes yet. So I start by contacting rat breeders (yes the do exist, rats are becoming popular pets) and find out exactly what I need to do for it. I buy the special soy baby
formula, feed it every 3 hours, keep it warm, everything I am supposed
to do. It looked like it was doing good the last couple of days and like always I started to fall in love with it. This morning when we went to feed it, it looked really sick and ended up
dying in my hands. I KNEW it would probably die when I got it, it was
soooo young and was probably sick. I have had sick animals die on me before. There is always a good chance they will end up dying, there is only so much you can do. You know and
accept that when you take in sick animals. But this has hit me hard
today. It is bringing up all sorts of horrible feelings and emotions.
All of a sudden I feel like everything I touch is going to die. I
think with having to feed it and take care of it like a baby, and
wanting to be a mom sooo bad, I kinda unconciously became its mom and now that its died I cant seem to handle it. I know that sounds completely insane, but thats how I feel right now...completely nuts! I feel like I just lost my baby all over again. I think I am going crazy.
Well thats about it. I just needed to vent for a bit. I thought I was doing so good with the grieving thing, this has just knocked me down when I wasn't
looking. It feels like it will never end. I miss my son!
Well, Mothers Day was an awful day for me but not for the reasons I would have thought. I was sick the entire day and slept most of it away.
As far as the rest of it went it was really the days leading up to it that were the hardest. At work I decorate cakes, and Mother's Day is a busy holiday for cake orders. It was a constant reminder of the day that I couldn't celebrate...at least not the way I wanted to. I also got the question 'are you a mother?' quite a few times over the course of the week. I really and truly hate that question right now. Am I a mother????? Well I don't feel like a mother. But I did have a child and to say no to that question I feel is denying the fact that Gabriel was born. So I tell people yes and I prayed that they would simply wish me a Happy Mothers Day and leave. Some would want to know more, or would simply elaborate on what I should do for Mothers Day. It sucks that these nice gestures that some people are trying to make, make me want to cry and scream. I am a mommy to an angel, the most difficult type of child to be a mommy to.
Gabe's stone was finally put in the first week of May. It is really beautiful, with a picture of a boy and a teddy bear. I didn't even remember what it was going to look like until I saw it. I think I was in such a daze in the weeks that followed Gabe's death, everything is still a blur. I do remember looking at some of the designs and feeling that they weren't right. I wanted something that represented his short time here on earth. He never got to play baseball or play with trucks, but the one thing he did have with him the entire time was a stuffed animal we call dogbear. Kinda looks like a dog and a bear at the same time and he sat on the bed next to Gabriel his whole life. Now dogbear is one of the few things I have to remember Gabe by. I treasure it so much, as it has been a great comfort to me when I need something physical to hold and think of Gabe. When I saw Gabe's stone I saw the bear and thought how perfect it was. I don't think I even realized it when we were picking it out, but it was the perfect design. So there it is the stone is in and it all seems very final. Everything feels like it is moving forward very fast and I still feel lost.
As Mothers Day approaches I think about how my life would be different if my baby was still here. My apartment feels empty, missing something, even though he never came home. All the dreams I had with the nursery and all of his "firsts" taking place here. It feels so empty and quiet, all of his stuff still in place, still waiting to be used. The door to the nursery always closed, just a plain door, but still a constant reminder of whats behind it and all the of the dreams that were shattered. I'm not quite sure how Mothers Day is going to affect me this year. I'm not sure if it's going to be hard or if I will hardly notice it's going by... I don't really feel like a mother... I guess we will find out.
I have found that I have the need to immerse myself into things were I can think and talk about Gabe. For awhile it was this website. I have added so many things to it, and really enjoyed doing so. I really want to keep his memory alive and I love honoring him with this site.
Unfortunately, there was only so much I could add. I think I have just about finished it and I found myself very upset at that fact. This was a such a positive outlet for me...I didn't want to be finished with it, ever. This week I have joined two groups dealing with CDH; Cherubs and Breath of Hope. I had visited there websites many times and figured I would join and see what it was all about. They both are excellent sources of information and support. I have met so may wonderful people who have been affected by CDH. They have really wonderful networks of support. I also have volunteered with Cherubs to see if I can help in some way, either in research, fund raising, and advocacy; or to help giving support to other families so they can also obtain the information and support they need. Hopefully I will hear back soon, and can start that.
One of the things I have found is that it is best to keep busy. I feel like I am barely dodging going crazy from this experience, but if I can just keep busy and find outlets that allow me to stay positive while grieving for my son, I might be able to keep afloat. I feel like if I could help others and possibly help in the fight to find better treatments for CDH babies, help other babies, than Gabriel's life would mean that much more. I want to make my son proud, show him I am a strong person like he was for me.
Gabriel...I miss you so much!
Happy Easter! I thought about doing something, making an easter basket or something to that affect. But I feel so weird doing things like that. One of the hardest things is not knowing what the best way to handle things are. It just isn't something you can ever prepare for.
I went to Virginia this weekend on a mini vacation with some friends and everything seemed to remind me of Gabe. You never realize how many babies are around until you loose your own. I either want to run and hide when I see one, or I just stare wondering if he/she is the same age as Gabe would be. I try not to stare because I often get the strangest looks from the parents. I think its because of the expression on my face, I'm sure it's not the normal 'ooohhh cute baby' look. It's more of a longing sad look. I think I make the parents nervous. I guess it's a good thing most of the time I just shy away.
This weekend was a nice getaway, but it was very bittersweet. I just kept thinking 'if I had my baby there would be no way I would be doing this right now'. I think about how different my life would be right now with an infant to take care of. Sometimes I try to convince myself that I am doing things I couldn't do if I had an infant to take care of, and put a positive spin on it. Like I'm not tied down and can still go out on a whim, have a few drinks with friends, minimal responsibility. But, I guess you can't lie to yourself. It never feels like a good thing no matter how hard I try to tell myself it could be. I was ready for the responsibility, the craziness. I was ready to move to the next stage in my life, so instead of feeling liberated I just feel cheated and stuck in a time frame I was done with. I'm not sure if I am making any sense, but I guess feelings often don't. I read that part of grieving is feeling as if you have gone crazy, and I can defiantly agree to that one.
Am I mourning the right way?
You know, I've never been the mother of a dead child.
So what are the rules?
Can I still laugh, smile? Should I still feel so dead inside?
Do I cry too much? Do I cry enough?
What is the proper tone of voice?
I feel like I am on display, everyone is staring and talking about me.
I feel like screaming "Well, am I doing it right?!"
My precious, perfect baby boy. Its been two months since i let you go, I miss you more than anything. I dream of you every night. My heart and arms ache and sometimes I wonder how I am supposed to make it through another day. I find a strength I did not know I had. I have found a new depth to my soul. I never new such a love existed. I obsess over your memory and I can't stop. It is so hard to keep faith during this time. I need to know you are in a better place, but its so hard to believe in anything right now. I have so much hurt, anger, guilt... The emotions are so intense and I don't know where to place them. It's all so confusing. Overall, it's such a feeling of hopelessness. I read somewhere that when you feel you are in a dark cave, remember it is always a tunnel. I guess I just can't see the light yet.
My Letter to Gabe:
You came into my life, and everything changed. Suddenly everything made sense. I remember the first time I felt you move, laying awake next to your daddy. It was little bubbles, and I somehow knew it was you.
I watched you grow as I got bigger and I knew so much. I knew love, I knew hope. I knew something so precious it would forever change everything. And you did. I remeber your birth, so special. Feeling your head before you showed yourself, hearing your first and only cry...If I had only known that would be the only sound you ever made...
They told me you probably wouldn't live and I wouldn't...couldn't believe them. I thought if I just believed, if I just prayed hard enough I could make you stay. I know you tried so hard. Two months you gave it your all, and I am so grateful for that time spent. I hope you know how special you are. How much we loved you. How many people loved you. We will always love you.
You left this world so quietly, no one noticed that the earth shook and time stopped. I held you and felt you leave. My heart broke, a piece of me died with you, and I will never be the same. I sit alone as the world goes on and my world has stopped. They say time heals all wounds, but time has no meaning. All I want is you, my perfect baby boy. It just isn't fair. I hope you are out there somewhere, and that one day I will see you again. Until then, I will pray, and keep you in my heart forever.