Saturday, September 25, 2010

Look At Me NOW!

That is the theme I saw tonight as I walked the very looonnnnng seemingly never ending halls of this particular NICU. You guessed it ...this whole post is all about triggers, so beware.
There were posters of child after child holding their preemie baby pictures while smiling proudly. It was clear by the faces of these adorable kids that their parents have told them all their lives what miracles they are and what odds they overcame. So why was I there? My husband's friends had a baby yesterday... we went to see him....and might I add WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!???  I was having a good day today and thought, well he is a boy and I can probably handle it. I've known for about 7 months that this and a few other babies are going to be born between now and January. So to myself I said, "Time to be a big girl Michelle, it's been a year, you should try to look at another's newborn, it might not be as hard as you imagine." Well it was harder. I did fine going into the mom's room, but as it came time to go see baby boy another couple we've never met were visiting as well. As we walked those halls the new-to-us-guy said, "Wow look at these babies, they are SO tiny!" I caught a glimpse just as he was making the statement and I felt the heat rise in my cheeks. ( I get beet red when nervous, anxious, sad, mad-anything intense at all) I was walking looking straight ahead and I would see poster after poster on both sides but trying so hard not to focus in on them, for fear that I might fall apart.  They would pass one by one, but I wouldn't allow myself to turn my head to really see them, that was just my peripheral. You see, we were under the impression that he was in the part of the nursery that needed extra care because he has some fluid on his brain, but no. As we were making our way down those halls my wonderful husband points out to new guy that our daughter was about that size ( I assume pointing to one of the pictures) and that she was only 1 lb. 13 oz. ect. ect. It was a bittersweet symphony to my ears. On one hand I was so happy to hear him tell her story but on the other I just wanted to focus on the baby who is alive down one of these long freeekin halls! When we arrived, the mom proudly boasted that he was the  "biggest baby in here" and "can you believe there are 50 babies in this NICU!"  I felt like I had to do something painful like get a shot, inside I was saying lets get in and get out, get this over with already so I can get the hell outta here! Am I happy for them -of course I am! I just didn't prepare for all the comments that would make me think of all of us. I had to stand, I couldn't sit down- I tried but I needed to feel the pressure in my feet- I don't know maybe to balance the pressure I felt in my face. I really thought it might catch fire! I positioned myself to be the furthest from the baby, I had no intention of holding him, nor did I. Between the complaints of how long they had to stay (standard 3days) to how bad it sucks that big sister had to wear a mask because she had a nervous cough, I wanted to get outta there. As us ladies were talking the dad pipes up "Hey ladies, us guys are going to head downstairs and let you visit."
I quickly rained on that parade, shot my husband the look, and said,"we gotta go let our dogs out" -classic excuse. Then of course I heard,"oh, you don't want to hold the baby?" Me- " No, no baby holding for me, we really need to get going, just wanted to stop by and see him though."
I can't imagine holding any baby but my own, I just can't do it.
I was so thankful for my husband tonight, when the dad was complaining about staying overnight again, Jamie said , "Yeah try like 11 nights dude."
And I wanted to say, AND....not get to bring your baby home!
And when the mom said more than once how amazed that there are 50 babies in the NICU, my mind would wander to the question of how many might die, a reality that this couple cannot begin to grasp (thankfully for them).
And at the mention of wearing a mask for a not-cold-related cough, of course I was thinking, "You self-centered people have no idea that a lot of these babies are hanging on by a thread and IF your kid  hacked her germs all through these halls and killed a baby you'd never know, you wouldn't be the one losing sleep over it, the parents would all the while you get to bring your "normal" sized, healthy baby who just needed a little monitoring home. So suck it up, hell why don't we all wear a mask, we don't know if we are carrying a virus!"
As we left I looked a little bit closer at my peripheral  vision of the posters and thought how awful that none of our babies can say,"look at me now!"  growing all big and strong. I really need this to not send me to the couch for days. I've already eaten too many oreos to mention while I wrote this post...that is one of my coping skills-eating anything that contains chocolate.

Giveaway number three!!

Head over to Audrey's Little Light to enter to win a candle just in time for October 15th!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Third Day & Anchored By Hope

Third Day is my favorite Christian band! I just wanted to stop in quick and share this video with you. I've listened to this song over and over and over again since we lost Audrey and I think it is one of the many things that have brought a glimmer of hope and healing to my heart. I haven't been spending much time here in blog world. I've found myself pulled in the 'real life' direction a little more these days but I'm still stopping in and reading your blogs, although not commenting much, please know I think of you often.
I started the Anchored By Hope Bible Study and after just two weeks I know more healing is taking place in me. Last week our leader said something to me that was simple yet profound. I said I wanted to draw closer to God through this study because I've been feeling more and more distant the further out Audrey's loss is. I said how I want to get back to the way we were ( God and I). Her response was that it is a lot of pressure to put on myself, that our relationship would not be the same again. Duh me! I figured this out about all my other relationships but didn't factor in the reality of my disappointment toward God, the ways in which I don't trust him as I once did. I'm looking forward to all that I will get out of this study as hard as it will be, I still look forward to it.

Sending much love to each of you!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I love the internet!

I can't express it enough, there just aren't words that describe how much I LOVE and appreciate you, my followers, my friends. This past year I have felt so much love and support here, unlike what I have felt in real life. I have to say I was not surprised at the outpouring of kindness from this community surrounding Audrey's first birthday. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your comments here and on fbook and to those who sent me a picture of Audrey's name! Thank you to all who sent cards and emails including you lovely ladies from BLM Pen Pals! There are just too many to mention.
And last but not least here are some of the gifts we received from a few of my friends (IRL)...

A non BLM- one who "gets it" her! And a BLM and long time forever friend.

Ladies, you know who you are...C, I'm so glad you've become such a great friend to me and I so appreciate that you not only remembered Audrey, but you took the time to pick out flowers and a balloon to put on her grave. You are one that I can trust with my feelings. Thanks for being here for me and not being afraid to talk about her!
A, I misss you sooooo much. I really wish we lived closer to each other and I especially wish that I could have been the friend to you like you've been to me through your loss ( if only I knew). I'm so happy that we're in touch again and I love you more than words! The book is beautiful. Thank you for being you, a great friend!

Unfortunately I did not experience the same from my own family. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. I was deeply disappointed that not one of my family members called or sent a card. Two relatives sent me messages on fbook, but I can't help but think that was due to my fellow baby loss mommas posting on my wall. Who knows, but it errks me that so many of them had to see my status and said nothing. I am going to turn my irritation and hurt into activism. I will speak out about this "taboo" subject! Look at all the support cancer survivors get! We don't get crap! Don't get me wrong cancer survivors deserve all the support, BUT WE DO TOO!!! I am so excited for the Faces of Loss Faces of Hope October campaign that just started. If you haven't checked this out, donated or submitted your photo I highly encourage you to do so! I just went there today and my picture should be up in the next few days or so.

Much love to you all!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My own September 11 tragedy

I really need to just speak freely here. I find it rather difficult to separate into two blog posts so often and today I just can't make that happen. My grief and joy are intertwined daily. So I guess what I'm saying is, if it's hard for you to read about subsequent pregnancy today's post is not one you'll want to read.
Triggers have been going off for me left and right these past few weeks. As seahorse gets bigger, kicks me harder and my belly grows two thoughts occur to me 1. It reminds me of the time I had with Audrey in the hospital after my water broke because without the fluid I could feel her every move. 2. I never made it this far with Audrey and it pains me to constantly compare these things. Every time I log onto Fbook and see all my cousin's babies I think of how I want seahorse to know them and be playmates, but I still feel the pain of how they are all around the age of Audrey. I guess I thought having a rainbow would be a little easier. I knew a rainbow would never replace her or make the pain go away. I just hoped that as time goes on the joy of a new baby would far outweigh the sorrow of losing one. Maybe it will one day. Right now though I feel ashamed when I curl up in a ball and cry so hard my abs hurt, this has to affect my seahorse. And I feel ashamed that days, even a week here and there have gone by that I think of Audrey but not with sorrow, jut like a fleeting moment of remembrance. I'm tired of the pain, I'd like to put it behind me. Not that I will EVER forget Audrey but that I'm not caught up in the tragedy of it so often. It's less often than before but sometimes it's jut like it was yesterday-that's what I wish would stop-being broadsided with it out of no where. I really can liken it to the twin towers coming down (or a natural disaster). Just like 9.11.01 Everyone remembers where they were that day. It changed everything. As much as has been cleaned up and restored, those towers will never again be. That part of the country will never be the same, all of America will never "get over it" we've just found a new way of living because of it. Years later there is no debris left just the emptiness of the space where those buildings once stood, the memories of the lives that were tragically lost, and the sacrifices so many made to pitch in and help rescue those trapped by it. I feel like that in my baby loss world. I'm looking at my life in pieces scattered all over the ground, just as I feel like I'm making headway on putting it back together I become overwhelmed and tired of being strong so I fall in the pile of rubble. It will probably take years to see no signs of destruction but I want it to be now. I'm weary from cleaning up this mess. Thank God I have this community to help, to encourage, to chip in and rescue. But we're all weary at times and sad because each of us has to do the same in our own lives. Where is the rest of the world...those who are stronger, who aren't weary from having lost a child? Most hustle and bustle through their own lives....we who are grief stricken have no direct effect on them, so why stop and help out? Don't get me wrong I have a few really awesome people in real life who are willing to share the burden of my tragedy. I speak of society in general here.
I just wish there were less debris hanging around, yet it keeps me feeling connected to Audrey. Like the hospital bills for instance, we are only just beginning to pay for her doctor and NICU bills (took them all long enough to figure out what insurance wanted to pay) and I continue to pay for my hospital stay. And by the way my husband's insurance wouldn't cover anything because she didn't leave the hospital alive...yeah we might have been able to fight that but can't afford a lawyer or the emotional toll. And now the new baby bills (the high tech ultrasounds) are coming in and money is getting really tight. The driven person I once was would be really resourceful and go out there and get more clients and work really hard to pay the bills. But, this is the mess I describe, ME-I'm the mess. I can't bring myself to that driven place- I just can't find it in me. Again, feeling ashamed, I have a baby on the way to take care of! Money isn't going to magically fall into my lap! I'm full of the knowledge of how to succeed and I can sit and come up with great ideas, but it stops there. In fact I remember comig up with all these marketing goals and my business plan while pregnant with Audrey. I would be with her during the day and work in the salon every night and on Saturdays. My business would be booming in no time. Well she died and as much as I tried to keep my career plan alive it died a little too. I'm not following that plan now. I did one big event. I'm not busy every week let alone close to being busy every night. I wanted to do more for Audrey it seems. I feel like I'm cheating my rainbow by not being everything I can be because I'm knee deep in Audrey sorrow. Not so much active -crying -my eyes -out- sorrow, but an invisible force that weighs heavy on me even as I go about everyday tasks- just getting by.
I need a new counselor, but even that journey sounds exhausting...finding a new one that is. I've been ashamed to admit that I may have PTSD. We discussed it a bit and she has no experience with it so she couldn't make a clear diagnosis. I've had past trauma, and those are the vivid reoccurring memories that have evidently been triggered by losing Audrey. Often I find myself alone in my search to find answers and direction as to how to overcome or get through whatever I am labeled as. Most of the time I don't care about the proper label just that I find healing.

More than fearing something bad will happen and cause me to lose this baby, I fear I am screwing her up when I have such bad days. I just pray and pray that God will protect her from my emotional turmoil and I try to lay it all at his feet so I'm not thinking or crying or fretting too much. But, I have my weak days when I fall apart and can't seem to leave it in His hands and trust Him to heal my brokenness.
Sorry this is soooo loooong. I really needed to get some of this out and I probably should have done it over the course of a few posts. You're probably wondering about the pictures. I thought I would do something visual to show how my world looks to me. The first you probably recognize, me in pieces. The second is a picture of Jamie and I and the third is really hard to make out- I think- is my salon. Interesting how they turned out. I randomly cut them, threw them on the table and scrunched them together. I find it most interesting that the picture of me and Jamie and I are at least recognizable, which are the most important. The salon- well it's hardly easy to make out the floor from the ceiling, hmmm.
Thanks to all who stuck with me through this entire post.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy Heavenly Birthday Audrey

Dear sweet baby Audrey,
I can only imagine how you spend your eternity in heaven. Anyone who believes in heaven has their own notions of what it is like. Some imagine that our loved ones are looking down on us, sending us signs or making things work together for our good. Some believe that those who've died become angels. The bible says, "No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him."(1 Cor.2:9)
So if we imagine the opposite of everything that is here on earth (the evil) that is what heaven is like- only better than we can ever fathom. There is no pain, no tears,no burden, no trouble, no hunger or thirst and no death. So I think you can't possibly even know that you are separated from your mommy, you are too whole and complete by being with Jesus. If you did know and you could see me, wouldn't that bring you pain to see mine? Or you can see me but it doesn't cause you any pain-maybe because you can see all that I will one day inherit just like you? I imagine that when I get to heaven, we meet again and the bond is instantly restored. For you it may be like when we meet someone new here on earth and we feel a connection to them- like we've known them all our lives- only for you and I it will be much, much deeper. I imagine that you are not an angel, because angels have hard work to do. The bible says that God has given the angels charge over us.(Psalm 91:11-12) I think we have appointed angels form the moment we enter this world, he doesn't need anymore than when he created the heavens and earth. Or does he just keep appointing more and more to minister to us left behind? If so how does he possibly chose who to appoint to who and when? Maybe this makes me selfish or lazy but when I think of going to heaven and becoming an angel it doesn't sound appealing to me. I mean I don't want the responsibility of caring for someone here on earth.In heaven we are to have fullness of joy- FULLNESS of joy!(Psalm 16:11) We couldn't possibly have that joy if we are assigned as angels to rule over the earth fighting off evil could we? I also imagine that you never sleep, you're in a place called paradise, a place we are promised rest, you probably never get tired so there is no need for sleep. If there is no hunger or thirst you probably never eat or drink. Or do you and it is purely for the taste and nothing goes to waste?
These are just a few of the things I think about here far far away from you. We know so little about heaven and I certainly look forward to the day I see you again. Words can't begin to express how I long to hold you again.

For my readers: Thank you all so much for your continued support and love. I've received so many loving comments here, through email and on Fbook. I appreciate you all so much. And as far as my ramblings about heaven goes..I am in no way offended by others beliefs about where our babies are and how they spend their time, whether as angels or not... and I hope I haven't offended you! Whatever brings us comfort is what we go with right? I am such a realist and I always want to know the facts and as much as I seek facts about heaven I'll never really know until I get there.
Tonight I will draw the name of the winner of a custom scrapbook candle...if you haven't already head over to Audrey's Little Light to enter!

Monday, September 6, 2010

It's giveaway time again...

Head over to Audrey's Little Light for another custom candle giveaway. In honor of Audrey's birthday Friday the 10th, I'd like to bless another mommy with a memory candle.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

When September ends...

Today I have a cry hangover. This is really all I have to express what I'm feeling.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just keepin' it real again

So often I come here and have a plan as to what I'm going to write. Many times I think about it days before I get here to put it in writing. I like to collect my thoughts and put them into a theme, organize the chaos, make it all sort of make sense. I've been at a loss again lately as to what to say. It's September. The month that forever changed me last year. I have nothing organized or collected. My thoughts and emotions are all over. I just simply hurt. I'm gonna just drop it all off here, bare with me.
Some days it feels like the bandage on the wound of my soul is containing the hemorrhage. The last few days I feel like I'm getting blood everywhere. I'm angry. I feel alone. I feel rejected. I hate myself for so many reasons. I'm sick of being a wallflower. I've always been one to listen more than speak, desire to learn more than teach, give more than receive. Years ago I learned how to foster my self esteem (that which was robbed when I was abused). I worked to get it all back. Now, since I lost Audrey I'm back to feeling extremely insecure. It doesn't stop at feeling insecure as a mommy to the girl I lost but in all areas of my life. What happened to me?! I can't seem to get it together. If a client doesn't come back I feel horrible about myself. If I'm not included in someones plans my feelings are hurt. I'm jealous of people for various reasons (and not just the usual baby parents). I seem to be sitting frozen watching everyone else live while I merely survive. Even when I'm moving or involved I'm not fully there, totally engaged. Like I can't tear down the wall I built. Everything seems just within my reach but I can't have it. Like when you are trying to reach the pull switch to a light , you're on your tippy toes and you feel the string slipping through your fingers but can't get two fingers to grasp and pull. THAT is how I feel about my career, our finances, the emotional intimacy of our marriage, my friendships, my relationship with God, my relationship with myself. I am grasping but not reaching anything! I just wanna scream! These things are my fault. I mean I don't have the energy I used to to put into these things to reach my goals. That's where some of the hating myself comes in. How long? How long will I NOT have motivation to change? How long will this grief affect me this way? How long til I figure out who I am again? How long will I go un-noticed, un-appreciated? How long before I accomplish something I can be proud of? I feel like the only thing I'm good at now is dealing with death.
I wish I could just run away from it all! Go get a totally new life, just disappear, re-locate, change my name. I'd like to become someone new and surround myself with all new people. Well, that's exhausting! Never mind that. I almost deleted face book and my blogs two days ago, this is how crazy hurt and emotional I've been. I need my counselor back. We are on a call-in-30-days basis and I think I need to go see her instead. I feel crazy again.
Oh Audrey, I miss you so much.