For better or for worse and In sickness and in health

When we got married almost seven long years ago we of course included those words into our vows. “For better or for worse” “In sickness and in health.” When I said those words I never in a million years thought we would endure more sickness than health and so many hard times. In our marriage so far we have endured infertility, loss and cancer. Usually people endure maybe one or two in their lifetime. We got hit with all three. I feel like we were so naïve when we got married to think we would be able to have kids with the snap of our fingers and just have a “normal” life together. (They never tell you in your pre-marriage classes that really bad things can and will happen)

Most of the time I just go with it. This is our life and we deal with it. But then there are those times where it gets pointed out to me how many things we have been through together. One person said to me “If you guys can make it through everything you have been through together; you can make it through anything.” At first I thought “I can’t even imagine what else could happen.” Then I remembered something can always happen.

When we first got married I never dreamed that my husband would be the one to shave my head when I got cancer. I never in a million years imagined we would have to do some of the things we did when we were trying to have a baby. Between testing and procedures we were willing to do anything to have a baby. I never thought we would have to bury our son together.

From the crankiness on my end from fertility meds to staying by my side in the hospital for two weeks while I was on bed rest. When we lost our son we said we would never do things that we didn’t feel comfortable with. What I mean by that is we always make decisions about him or his things together and if one of us doesn’t feel comfortable we don’t do it. We have stuck with it and it seems to work for us. When I found out I had cancer and our daughter was going to be coming two months early we worked it out and dealt with it together.

I think some of the trick to this whole marriage thing and really life in general is you must have a little humor. Even though there was nothing humorous about the things we have been through some how we always found ways to laugh. Sometimes you just have to step back and let the other person freak out. I had many freak outs while I was going through chemo and dealing with our insurance and billing departments. I am surprised someone didn’t rip the phone out of my hand or the people on the other line didn’t hang up. For the most part husband let me have my freak out and then I would be over it. Not that we have mastered marriage by any means but we have learned a lot about each other and how to deal with each other. I dare you to not learn new and sometimes alarming things about someone when you are locked in a small hospital room for two weeks together. Lastly for the love of God talk to each other. I am not saying you have to have a huge therapy session every week but you need to talk a little. I am not one for talking about my feelings but you kind of have to a little.

From now on I am hoping we have more better than worse and more health than sickness. I know firsthand that isn’t always possible. But now I know we can get through it together.

“Life aint always beautiful
But it’s a beautiful ride.” ~Gary Allan

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Why I try to be thankful everyday

After the slew of things that have happened to us over the years and the demands of everyday life sometimes I forget to be thankful for what we have. I try everyday to remind myself to be thankful. Here are a couple of situations that arise that make me think about what to be thankful for:

  • When days get frustrating with my daughter (like right now when she is climbing on me while I type) I think about what life was like without her and I am so thankful to have her.
  • When I miss my son so terribly it hurts. I think about the days of Clomid, negative pregnancy tests and procedures. It reminds me of how happy he made me when he was in my belly and how much he taught me about love and life. I also know I will see him again someday ❤
  • When I get sick I think about what life was like during chemo. A little sinus infection pales in comparison to all of the days and nights when I felt like absolute garbage.
  • When I get frustrated with my new hair. I think about the days when I had none or very little. I also know how lucky I am that mine came back.
  • When I open the checkbook and my stomach falls to the floor. I think about how lucky I am to have a warm place to live that we own and to be able to stay home with my daughter.
  • When Christmas gets expensive. I am thankful to have family to buy for and the real reason for the season.
  • When my body is sore and out of whack I think about chemo. I actually am thankful for chemo because without it I might not be here to type this.
  • When I get upset about not being able to have more children of my own I think about my hysterectomy. If it wasn’t for my hysterectomy I wouldn’t be here to raise the one that I have here with me.
  • When I wonder why in the heck I am blogging. I think about the followers I have and the thoughts that are out of my head and on paper. I also think about the people who have messaged me, etc and told me how my blog has made them smile or feel better. For all of those I am thankful.

What makes you thankful? I am sure I have tons more but these are the ones that come to mind 🙂

 

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This little foot print makes my heart smile everyday 🙂

 

What to do when Christmas gets hard

I wish I had the perfect answer or solution on what to do during the holidays when a very important person is missing. Some magical way to take the pain of loss away would be wonderful. Even though I miss my son everyday besides his Birthday, Christmas is always the hardest time. I see tons of toys, clothes and other items I wish I could but him. I wish he was here to help decorate the tree, bake cookies and open presents Christmas morning. But he’s not and sometimes that is a very hard reality. As I have mentioned before when you lose a child you feel like you don’t get do anything for them anymore. While I am out shopping and spending time with Avery I wish there was something I could do for Mason. I want to be able to take care of him but I can’t. So I have to come with ways that make it feel like I am still doing things for him.

For Avery’s two-year pictures I brought Mason’s teddy bear along. Our photographer did an amazing job incorporating the teddy bear into the pictures. When I received my disk of pictures and popped them in the computer I was so happy to see the beautiful pictures. There is one in particular that is absolutely stunning. In the picture everything is black and white except for the teddy bear. Avery is sitting on the ground looking down and the teddy bear is sitting up high like it is looking over her. I like to think Mason does look over all of us and this picture cemented that for me. I just recently made a desktop plaque out of this picture on Shutterfly and I just got it in the mail yesterday. It looks perfect ❤

Another thing I have started doing is lighting a candle every morning for Mason. I have a candle that is battery operated and you can set it for four or eight hours. Once you set it comes on at the same time everyday. So every morning from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. my candle comes on. Most of the time I am the only one awake for a little while at that time so we get to spend a little time together before the day starts. It kind of makes me feel like he is here with me.

Going through pictures can sometimes be upsetting and other times can be nice. Since I made that plaque I have been thinking about getting a canvas print of the picture of the balloons we let go on Mason’s Birthday. Today I actually made one and it is in my cart ready to go 🙂 I can’t wait to hang it on my wall. I know being able to look at that hanging on my wall will make me happy for two reasons: #1 I was able to do something for him. #2 Even though his Birthday can make me sad that was actually a pretty good day and the balloon release was perfect.

I definitely don’t have a solution to making the Holidays easier when you are missing a loved one but I hope these help. I hope you can find a picture of a really great day you had together or light a candle and it will make you feel better. Or just talking about the good times; that always helps. I always say only do what you are comfortable with so if you have something that really works for you go with it. If you have any stories to share or things that make you feel better feel free to comment. I am always up for new ideas to try 🙂 I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas!

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Our perfect picture 🙂 Sorry about the glare

 

 

 

October 15

Today is Worldwide Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance day. Obviously this is close to my heart and I am sure many others. Do you know that 1 in 4 mothers experience miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss? That is a lot. I have always wondered why it is such a “taboo” (for lack of a better word) subject.  When I lost my son it was like people came out of the woodwork telling me they had a miscarriage or stillbirth. The florist delivered some flowers to my house one day that someone sent me and told me that both she and her daughter experienced a stillbirth. When I lost my son I was working at the largest clinic in my town as an appointment coordinator, so when I went back to work I had tons of people coming to my desk giving their condolences and I was surprised to hear how many of them had been through something similar. But there are also people that really think “it” shouldn’t be talked about. What the what?

I just can’t wrap my head around why no one talks about this subject. I get the whole thing about not knowing what to say. (I am the worst when it comes to saying the wrong thing or having things fly out of my mouth) But for God-sakes say SOMETHING. I mentioned that I had a lot of people give their condolences but I also had people flat-out avoid me or even quit talking to me. I didn’t and still don’t expect people to know what to say but they could have at least talked to me. You don’t even have to talk about what happened just talk about the weather or mutual interests. When I would be at work or in the grocery store I would have people turn to avoid me or zip down a different hallway or aisle. I mean what the crap is up with that? It made feel like I did something wrong. I wasn’t asking for hugs and condolences I just wanted to be treated like a normal person. Even saying hi or some kind of weather we are having would have been fine. Except there were those people who avoided me like the plague. My first day back to work I had three male co-workers come up to my desk. The first gave his condolences and said he was happy to see me back. The second and third talked to me about everyday stuff like fantasy football, work and the weather. I was very happy that they came and talked to me and treated me like I was a normal person not someone with a festering sore on her face.

Yes I may start crying if you bring up my son but you did not say the wrong thing. I might be crying for various reasons. Reason #1: I miss him. Reason #2 I am happy you felt comfortable enough to talk with me about it. Reason #3 Sometimes it doesn’t matter what day or time it is I just cry about it. Reason #4 I DON’T need a freaking reason!! Now there are some people who do say the wrong thing. I had it happen to me. One incident sticks out in my mind like it happened five minutes ago. That woman was not very smart and I don’t think she even realized that what she said was very offensive. So if I do start crying try very hard not to feel bad. If what you said didn’t make me cry I probably would have cried that day anyway. A lot of the times it’s not what people say that makes me cry it’s that I was just thinking about him or maybe I was going through his pictures that day.

Now I know there are people who are just so uncomfortable in sensitive situations it makes their skin crawl. I get it but you don’t have to treat me like I was just diagnosed with some type of contagious disease. Just smile, say hi and move on. Or don’t say hi just walk past me instead of taking another route.

No one person is going to understand exactly how you feel. Everyone is different including your spouse, family and friends. One person said to me after I lost my son “Welcome to the club that nobody wants to be in” That couldn’t be more true. I sometimes kind of feel like I am in a “club” or something. I have made some good friends since losing my son that otherwise I probably would have never met or talked too. We all have one thing in common we lost our child or children. I would rather be in a club where everybody wet themselves or something but this is the “club” I was forced into membership for life. That’s right I said for LIFE. Some people think that after it’s been a couple of years you should just get over it or it “gets easier” I on the other hand think that as time passes I learn how to live with my loss and deal with it better. Like this year for my son’s Birthday we had a balloon release. Best idea I have ever had in the history of my ideas. His Birthday became a little more of a celebration instead of a sad day.

Sometimes you run into those people who have the audacity to say things like “She isn’t upset enough” or “She isn’t crying enough” To those people I say “How in the world do you know what enough is?!?!” Everyone is different, if we were all the same life would be pretty boring and everyone would have the same job and wear the same clothes. When you have something happen to you sometimes you have to be strong even if you don’t want to be. I wanted to crawl under the covers and never come out but I HAD to be strong for me, my family and my son. I didn’t want Mason to look down on me from Heaven and see me in my pj’s bedridden for days. Don’t get me wrong I had my days and still have them but I try my hardest to get up and put on a happy face.

Now there are those people in my life that are so wonderful and I probably don’t tell them enough. People that went running to my side instead of turning away. Those people are special. If you have them in your life keep them and keep them close. For example the nurse I had the day when I had Mason was wonderful. She is one of the most awesome people I have ever met. She was with me all day, she stayed late to be in the delivery room and shortly after. She was the one that discovered he wasn’t breathing anymore and she was the one to bring me my son for the first time. Never once did she say the wrong thing to me. I wish I would have expressed to her more what a wonderful nurse and person she is. I even told her I felt bad for her having to deal with me all day. She just smiled and said no problem. Now that is a great person. Of course my friends and family were wonderful and have been to this day. They brought me food, books, treats and were there for me when I needed them most.They gave me memory stones and angel figurines and other mementos.They also listened to me and hung out with me when I didn’t want to be alone.

Sometimes I know I need and I think other mothers need to know that other people think and still think about the child or children that they lost. It’s nice to know that your child is still remembered by people other than yourself. It always fills me up with a great feeling when someone says “I stopped at Mason’s grave” or “He brought so much joy” Because you know what He Lived sometimes people forget that. He lived in my belly for eight months and he brought me a happiness that I had never experienced before. So if you know someone who has lost a child or children light a candle or give them a smile today. That might just be the thing they need 🙂

Losing a Pregnancy, Finding Community: honoring Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day 2013

If Love Could Have Saved You…..You Would have Lived Forever

Today is my son’s third Birthday. I should be making him his favorite meal tonight, planning a big party, giving him Birthday presents, snuggling and doing something special for him on his special day. Instead I am doing my normal routine. See he is not here. He was stillborn. It still kills me a little inside every time I say that. I had planned on writing our story today. But I decided I am not ready for that yet. Shortly after my son was born I decided that I was never going to push myself into doing things I wasn’t ready for; so I am going to talk about our plans for today instead.

Today we are going to the cemetery to do a balloon release.  I am excited and nervous. I am excited that I get to do something for him. See when you lose a child you miss out on taking care of them. I don’t get to take care of him when he is sick, read him books, cuddle when he is scared, make him meals, pick out his clothes nothing. I am not going to lie it sucks. So any opportunity I have to do something for him, I take it. I am nervous because I always have really high expectations for this day. I want everything to go perfect. I want the weather to be beautiful, I want the balloon release to be perfect, I want the new flowers for his headstone to be beautiful. Usually I don’t get perfect days. (I don’t think a lot of people do)

If you asked me what I did last week I would have a hard time remembering. I remember September 30, 2011 like it was yesterday. I relive the whole day from the moment I woke up. I remember what I ate for breakfast, the nurse coming into my room, the Doctor telling me that my baby’s heart was no longer beating, the ultrasounds, the walk to the OR to have my baby, EVERYTHING.

Losing a child is a loss like no other. You have plans for your children. When you find out you are pregnant you wonder; what are they going to look like, what are they going to be when they grow up, whose features are they going to have. Then you set up their nursery, buy tons of cute clothes and toys, finish any home projects before the baby comes and wait for their arrival. (If you are anything like me you wait very impatiently) Then you come home from the hospital with no baby. Everything is ready for your new bundle except you didn’t bring a baby home. It is an indescribable pain.

I am going to try to celebrate my son’s Birthday today as much as I can. It stinks that I am crying off and on all day instead of being happy that it’s his Birthday. I am hoping that the balloon release will help. This is the first year that we have done it so I am hoping we have some good luck 🙂 Usually I do get a little help today from the best guardian angel a momma could ask for ❤ As I look out my window and see that the sky is getting a little brighter and the sun may be peeking out, I know he is already working his magic 🙂

Happy Birthday Mason Anthony! I love you so much and can’t wait to be with you again someday ❤