Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Weekend

Friday night
Just when I felt like things had been going okay it hit me. I wrote that last post on Friday afternoon and by about 9 that evening the grief took over. The grief came on very suddenly and I know exactly why it did. I had received an email from my friend who is also a fellow fetal surgery baby loss momma like myself. We met through my blog shortly after she lost her daughter in the fetal surgery last August. We have been in touch ever since. She let me know in her email that the one year mark is coming up from the surgery and her daughters passing.
After she lost her daughter she was told to wait at least one year before trying again. I was told at least 6 months. I got pregnant at 8 months and my uterus ruptured. I know that there isn't a guarantee that my uterus wouldn't have ruptured had I waited a year or even longer to get pregnant, but I do know that the longer in between any c-section is best. I listened to the doctors and I still became another damn statistic.
The rest of the evening I played the damn "what-ifs" game. The same questions kept running through my mind over and over again. Why didn't the doctors tell me to wait 1 year or longer? I would've hated it but maybe this wouldn't have happened. Why didn't the doctors do a c-section at the 36 weeks? Instead they almost made me feel guilty about even doing one at 37 weeks saying that she might have lung issues. Alive is better than dead, and many babies are born at 36 weeks or earlier and are just fine. Why didn't the doctors tell me that even though my fetal surgery incision looked fine now that if a rupture was going to happen it could be any day? Why were they so damn certain that things were going to be just fine?
This went on the rest of the evening.
My friend also said that they might not even try at the one year mark, but instead wait until around December to give it more time. Even reading that made me upset. Not that I would want what happened to me to happen to her again, ours stories don't need to end the same, but there is this part of me that's afraid that there will be yet again another person who gets there baby before me. It made me wish that I had someone who had been through what I had before me. That way I could see how long they had waited to get pregnant after the surgery, what happened throughout there next pregnancy, the care they got, what there doctor recommended for a c-section date, whether or not they ruptured, and if they did rupture what there symptoms were.

I woke up Saturday to the sun shining. I had mentioned in that last post about starting to enjoy the sunshine, but seeing the sun that morning pissed me off because I was still all bent out of shape from Friday night.
I decided to go check my email and the first email I see was from Derecks aunt. The email opened and it was a picture of Evelynn's gravestone. It was finished and was placed out at the cemetery next to Liam's. I started bawling. It looked beautiful and just like I wanted. Why out of all things though that I should be buying for my daughter right now did a gravestone have to be one of them?

Brother and Sister
Dereck was going to be sleeping all day since he has been working nights while working in town. A friend of mine texted me and had wanted to bike to the airshow that was going on. Not really my thing but I really didn't want to be alone, so I decided to go. I didn't really think that one through though. Of course the airshow would be a huge family event. Already being pretty down that day and then having to see about half of Anchorage there with just about every person I saw having a baby in a carrier, stroller, or pregnant. So instead of watching the air show I stared at babies all afternoon with I'm sure what looked like the most pathetic sad, pouty face. I catch my myself staring at babies all too often. Anybody else ever catch themselves doing that? I wonder what those parents think of me when they notice I am staring at there baby.
By that evening I was all sorts of stressed out. A good friend had invited me out to her boyfriends cabin, which is about 70 miles away, and I decided maybe I should just go there. Once I got on the road I bawled my eyes out for about a good 45 miles of that drive. By the time I got there I didn't feel much like socializing at all. I was just tired from everything.

Thankfully the next morning I woke up in a better state of mind. I got out stand up paddle boarding for the first time and loved it. Even my dogs hopped on with me.
When I left there I met up with this lady who I met through my uterine rupture group who has a story similar to me. One stillbirth and then a uterine rupture both resulting in loss. I think I mentioned meeting her a few posts back. Anyway that made for a nice way to end my afternoon. It is always good talking to someone who "gets it."

My coworker who was pregnant at the same time as me, whose due date was about a month after mine, came back to work. I was a little nervous about it at first as I was afraid that everyone would be asking her about her baby all day long and I would have to hear about it. It went surprisingly well though. She told me she actually asked others not to bring her baby up when I was around so I wouldn't get upset. So sweet of her to think of me and not wanting my feelings hurt. We got pretty close while pregnant and she was there to listen anytime I was having a paranoid moment and just to talk babby stuff with. I know she will still be here to listen to me as I grieve for my little girl, I just wish we could be talking about our new babies together. Actually, if Evelynn were here I wouldn't even be at work to talk to her because I'd be home with her instead.
We also started talking about pumping. It is nice to have someone to talk to about it. Also nice to have someone to share funny milk stories with because I have a few alright, which I am sure every nursing mom does. I have shared a few with friends but I am sure if find my random lactating moments quite as amusing.
A newer coworker, who had started shortly after I came back to work, had overheard us talking pumping on Monday. I always wondered who all at my work new about Evelynn or even that I am pumping. She apparently new neither. She had came up to me later that afternoon and asked about me having a baby at home as well. Always awkward having to tell someone and she obviously wasn't expecting the answer that I gave her.

Okay enough with that now that you got an update of my entire weekend. Hoping the rest of the week goes well. Next weekend hopping a flight to Katmai National Park with a friend bear viewing and hopefully doing a little hiking.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Me Lately

I have hardly wrote much this past month. It's not that I don't have anything to say, its more that I just feel its all the same. I work, I think about Evelynn, I pump, I think about Evelynn, I eat, I think about Evelynn, I sleep, I think about Evelynn, I try to keep myself nonstop distracted with projects-read, garden, clean, house projects, I think about Evelynn, I get out with friends and the dogs for a walk or hike, I think about Evelynn, I run errands, I think about Evelynn, I go out with friends to eat, to play pool, play games, etc, I think about Evelynn, I think about the gestational carrier stuff and beg the world to make time go faster so we can get somewhere with it, I think about Evelynn. I cry for Evelynn, repeat.

Distraction projects are still keeping me distracted, well for the most part.

Derecks brother left last weekend after staying with us for almost 3 weeks. The things that needed to get fixed, got fixed. Now we just need to get everything put away that has been sitting in our dining room for these past 6 months.

I have tried to do a little gardening these past few years since we've boughten our house. I always plant annuals in the front yard, hang flower baskets outside, and have some plants in the house. After Liam passed I had tried to grow peppers, tomatoes, and berries, with no success really-actually it was a disaster. You might have even heard me say a few times that I can't get anything to live. And yes that was said by me and was meant in the worst possible way. Now that Evelynn has passed away as well, it seems all too true. But, I am trying to take a stab at the gardening thing again though. Since our fence is fixed in our backyard now I am trying to create a memorial garden for my babies. It is going to be with all perennials and bushes. God I hope they come back next year. It is a lot of work and has kept me super busy. Plus, I kind of feel like my gardening has a purpose now since it is for my babies. It has to be perfect, for them. Pictures will come!

As far as for my fundraiser, it is slowly making some progress. Had to change the venue though, too small, and I want to try and get it to be BIG. Date of it will probably change to November now as well. I have met with a few more people who have done fundraisers so I can learn as much as I can to pull off a successful one. I wish I could have more accomplished with it by now but am having a hard time working on getting something wrote up about our story. It isn't exactly a real distraction project I'd say since the reason for doing a fundraiser is directly related to what I am trying to avoid.

Still doing quite a bit of reading. Finally got around to reading the Hunger Games. I hurried up and finished the first book so Dereck and I could go see it at the theater a couple weekends ago. I am not a big theater person, it's too expensive and I just don't sit still well. This theater is different though as its cheap, because it plays movies that have been out awhile, and also serves good food and beverages to enjoy while watching the movie. Thought it would be a good bet to go on a Saturday night to the late showing and not have to worry about babies. Wrong! Who the F brings there baby to a movie that late? Actually there was two of them in the theater. One cried a little during the movie but the other one, which was sitting just on the other side of the aisle from me, cried on and off the whole. fricken. movie. I was ready to scream at the those parents. I tend to do better these days seeing babies, but I still can't handle the sound of one. Assuming its because I have yet to ever hear one of my own babies make a sound.

It really does seem like the one thing I want more than anything in this world is the one thing that causes me the most heartache:(

Oh, and my dreams lately have been a combination of the Hunger Games (now reading book 2) and babyloss. Seriously not a good combination.

Dereck didn't have to leave town for work last weekend for his normal 3 weeks. There was a job in town that his work needed someone to do, and he got it. I am happy he is in town and I get to see him at least a little bit every day, versus not at all, but it still sucks in a way. I say that because he will have spent more time at home this year than he has since we moved to Alaska 5 years ago. He was off work for 10 weeks when Evelynn was born so he could spend time with her and now that he is working in town he will be home for a minimum of another 9 weeks until he has to leave town for work again. Working in town would've allowed him to have spent so much extra time with his daughter during these first 6 months of her life:(

I am still seeing that new counselor once a week and I still go to grief group every other week. Actually I skipped group last night. I don't really feel like any of it helps much anymore. I used to really like group, especially being able to talk with others who have gone through what I have, but now that Evelynn has died as well my attitude toward other peoples losses have changed. I swear I went from being super sympathetic to others losses to being very unsympathetic. There is this part of me that feels like, "oh, you've had one loss, cry, try going through it twice." It's negative, it's rude, I probably sound like a total bitch, and probably could use a complete attitude adjustment. I know what you are all probably thinking reading this, but I can't help the way I feel. It's not that I don't care. I'm just having a hard dealing with the fact that this happened to me again.

Via facebook messaging I have spoke to a fellow blm asking her about what it is like to finally have a baby at home. I wonder so often what that is like and if I'll ever get to experience it. Although I think now I am so beyond mentally fucked up that I am going to be one beyond crazy parent if it does happen. This momma is so sweet and shared with me her take on it. I feel this momma and me will always have a special connection, for our rainbow babies share the same birthday, although hers gets to be here in her arms, mine in my heart. The morning of the 22nd as I thought about how Evelynn should be 3 months old I also thought of her little boy. That same morning Addison and Mason's mom let me know that she was thinking of Evelynn as well. Love her:)

I have been thinking also a lot about how at this time the last 2 years I have been either pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Still no baby in my arms and right now none of the above are going on and it is going to be that way through at least the end of the year. It's going to be so different going into fall and then winter and not be pregnant. I also fear the holidays are going to seem even emptier this year:(

I am definitely still struggling, but I am doing okay. The sun doesn't seem to bother me as much as it did just a month ago either, I am actually enjoying its presence when it does come out. It was hard for a long time to want to be near anyone that appeared happy, but these last few weeks I have actually went out quite a few times with friends, and even been sociable with them. I have laughed and I have had fun. Not what should be, but trying to make the most of it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

3 Months

My sweet Evelynn,

My beautiful baby girl, can it really be that 3 months ago yesterday that you were born and I first got to see you? Why though does it have to be that tomorrow marks 3 months without you as well? I think about you almost every minute of everyday, but you already know that I'm sure. I wish I could kiss those cute chubby cheeks and your little button nose, brush your beautiful dark hair, and wrap my arms around your perfect, little, chubby, baby body. I got to do all of that in a few short days with you, that I will treasure forever, but hate that I will never get to again. I miss all that, I miss you.
You will always be my perfect, beautiful baby girl.
I love you so much.
Love always,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Baby Via Gestational Carrier Journey Update 2

It seemed like it was going to be forever until July, 11th came, but it finally did. On July 11th Jessica had her appt. with her Ob to discuss her plans to be our gestational carrier. She let me know after the appt that it went great! Her Ob will be writing her clearance letter and sending it along with all of her pregnancy related medical records to our RE asap.

Step one down. Now to try and make it through the next 6 weeks until she meets with our RE on August 23rd. At that appt. he will do a multitude of tests, and if he clears her as well, then we can officially get started!

Jessica also let me know that this was the first time that she had openly discussed being a gestational carrier to anyone outside of family and close friends. She said she left the appt. feeling excited. I was happy to hear that the appt. went well but I was even happier hearing her say that she was so excited. A lot of what I learned about finding the right carrier revolves around having one that really wants to do it, and for the right reasons. You don't want someone who feels guilted into it or just wants money. Instead you want someone who enjoys being pregnant and truly wants to help.

Jessica also visited my babies last month. I loved hearing that she took time out to go visit them. She even got these pinwheels for there graves.

Also, I created a tab on the top for anyone who wants to just follow along with our gestational carrier journey. There I will also be including/updating all of the costs incurred for this process.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Evelynn's Funeral -April 28, 2012

This should have been the day that I went in for my scheduled c-section and would finally get to hold my baby girl in my arms. Instead this day turned into the day of her funeral. 
Even though this is not something any parent wants to do for there baby I knew I needed to give her the best funeral I could, with lots and lots of pink just for her. I am so glad that we did her funeral in Alaska. So many of our friends came to the hospital to meet her and even more came to the funeral. She sure has a lot of people that love her and will always miss her.

We had her dressed in pink tights with a pink onesie under a white dress with flowers on it. I also put a pink headband on her that looked great with her gorgeous head of hair.
The necklace below we got from the hospital. It has become my remembrance necklace for her. We placed hers on her neck for the funeral and she is buried with it as well. I have the larger heart that I also wore at her funeral, and burial, and will have to always remember her by. I love knowing she will always have hers with her and mine with me.
As we did with Liam we included some items in her casket for her to have. This included a bunch of pictures for her of me and Dereck, Liam, the dogs, friends, and Alaska. I also included this rabbit doll(below) that I got from my mom when I was child and had really wanted my daughter to have. 
Evelynn's beautiful flowers

This frame below was one of the two we had out filled with her pictures. The other was of all of her NILMDTS photos.

I read the quote/saying below. I read it often after Liam passed because I always had hoped that this is how it would be with Liam and now I hope the same for Evelynn.

"They say that heaven is compared to 'the blink of an eye' for us on this earth.  Sometimes it helps me to think of my child running ahead of me through a beautiful field of wildflowers and butterflies; so completely caught up in what she is doing that when she looks behind her, I'll already be there."
Author unknown

Dereck's Grandma also spoke at her funeral. She spoke about the very first funeral she went to as a child and how much she loved it. After that funeral she had asked her mother about when they would be going to another one. Her mother asked her why she would want to go to another funeral. His Grandmas response was that she had never seen more people come together and show so much love for one another as she did that day at her very first funeral.
I loved what she said and I think it impacted everyone who was at Evelynn's funeral. I never thought about a funeral that way before, but I do now, because it is true. Some of our family flew up to come, close friends and other acquaintances, coworkers, people from my grief group, they were all there.
We have only gone to church a few times since living in Alaska. We had met with the Father once after Liam had passed and tried to attend Church more often, but it was just too hard for us to attend since there seemed to be babies everywhere. Now over a year later the Father was there for us at the hospital to baptize our baby girl and was willing to do her funeral for us. None of the members of the congregation knew us but came and provided food and beverages. The entire church choir came for her funeral as well. The Father said that in his entire time being at this church that this was the first time the entire choir ever came to a funeral.

I think that's "the feeling the love at funeral's" thing Dereck's grandma was talking about. There was definitely a lot of love there.

We included this poem in Evelynn's funeral handout:

Oh Mother, My Mother
I touch your tears,
invisible fingers soothing your skin
I know you think of me so often
in the day, in the night, in your dreams
going into an empty nursery
knowing I'll never be there
but I am...in your heart, in your soul,
I shall always be
for you gave so unselfishly of yourself
Inside of you, you created
such a world for me
a world of laughter, of love
of sadness, of sorrow
every emotion people come to know
you shared with me.
And even though I may never feel your arms around me
I felt your heart beating,
like a lullaby, singing me to sleep.
and your spirit giving me a safe haven
already protecting me, nurturing me
preparing me for things to come
But sometimes the journey of life pulls souls apart
and yes, I had to go on to another place.
I wish I could stay
I wish this was a decision I could make
and I know you do too.
Know this, wherever you are:
I will always remember
that yours was the first love
the first joy, the first soul
I will ever know
you gave me the courage to
go on in my journey
I hope I can do the same for you
Your heart beat will always call me to you.

Love, your child

By Theresa Cochrane

When we got to the church the morning of the funeral there was only one other person there and yet there was already a card in the box that was set out for cards. After the funeral that evening we went home and opened and read all the cards. I opened that "first" card last. The envelope and card were quite thick and when I opened it there was a $1000 cash and this letter. I bawled me eyes out when I saw this and just kept saying, "who does this sort of thing for someone they've never met"? 

I hope one day I will have the chance to "pay it forward" as well.
This also got posted on my Facebook page after the funeral and thought I'd share it as well:
"Today I experienced grief, compassion and love expressed freely and openly among friends who are more accustomed to gathering around a campfire than a church. Witnessed the love and strength of a couple who have experienced the tragedy every parent fears not once, but twice in the last year. I pray for their healing." —from a friend

Overall, I think it was as perfect of a day as it could be for my perfect little girl.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fundraising, Staying Busy, and the 4th of July

A lot has changed with me in the past week since that last ugly post. I was seriously falling fast into a pretty dark place. Was I able to handle those thoughts and feelings, nope! Were they getting me anywhere good, not really? My thoughts were literally making me crazy. I often wonder how I ever made it through the first half of last year. I am not saying that everything is all sunshine and rainbows now, but I do feel like I am in a lot of a better place mentally than I did since that last post........and most of June. I hope I won't be revisiting that place anytime soon because it is scary there.

I also started seeing a new counselor. I have met with her twice now and so far I think she will be good fit for me. The first appt. I might have even overwhelmed her a little. I was a huge wreck that day and bawled my eyes out that entire appt. In between the massive amounts of tears and snot running down my face I also talked about a million words per minute and she had to keep telling me to stop and just breathe for a second. I was having a really bad day.

Clearly the cost of the whole gestational surrogacy stuff was causing me added stress. So I decided I needed to do something about it versus just complaining about it. My awesome friend Liz had already set up the GiveForward fundraising page for us and talked about doing a game night fundraiser as well. Some friends from my grief group a couple weeks back also talked about a few other fundraising ideas we could do as well. I have not started or been in charge of a fundraiser before, but decided that getting one going would be a better use of my time than whining about money, or lack there of.  Through the help of a friend we have a nice, big, and free place to have one at. It is going to be on a Thursday night the first week of October, so I have a few months to get things together. So far we are planning to do a silent auction, a chili feed, and possibly a few other little things that night. Now I just need to get creative and come up with a flyer about all of this to hand out to people to spread the word. This should keep me busy for awhile.

Another thing I have decided to do to keep myself occupied, because that is the name of the game right now, is slowly work on remodeling the house. I know constantly distracting myself isn't the best way to deal with grief, but that is what I have been doing as of lately. Plus, we all know grief finds its way in eventually. I have already sanded, primed, and repainted our spare room. Derecks brother is also staying with us for a few weeks to help us with the bigger projects on our house. If you remember we had all that wind and water damage this past winter. The nursery and spare room already have new flooring in them, a few other spots need some new sheetrock put in and painted, and then some outside things need fixed as well. Once his brother leaves and those projects are done I think I am going to repaint the halls, the kitchen, hopefully do some tiling once I learn from Derecks brother how to, and then completely rip apart our downstairs bathroom because I am sick of looking at the nasty old wallpaper. Now I say I am doing this slowly because we need to be as cheap as possible about all of this, so I need to find good deals on stuff since we need to save up for our carrier stuff. Seems like good positive distraction to me.

I already have a huge list going of other odd and end projects I want to do as well. A few things on the list besides the house projects are to work on Evelynn's scrapbook, redo her wreath and basket from her funeral and burial with silk flowers like I did with Liam's cross, and make a quilt or two with some fabric I have had for years and never used. I want time to fly by and in order for that to happen I need to stay busy.

I have also been doing some reading. After Liam passed I read a lof of books on grief. I got burnt out on them, and then didn't read much again, other than blogs, until the beginning of this year when I picked up some more baby related books. Two recent books that I have read in the past week, that were recommended to me last year and I never read, is Heaven is for Real and Bad Things Happen to Good People. Heaven is for Real was a good book but I have a hard time believing a lot of what I read. Although, I want to believe its real because knowing I can one day be reunited with my babies means the world to me. Bad Things Happen to Good People though, I would say is an amazing book and I think everyone I know should read it. Everyone. So much of what was wrote in that back are things I have thought so much about since Liam was first diagnosed with Myelomeningocele, to him dying in surgery, to my baby girl passing away as well. So many of the various lines of BS that people have said to me after my losses he addresses as well. I could probably go on and on about how I feel about this book and the affect it has had on me, but really if you haven't read it then you just need to and you'll know what I mean. Or maybe you won't.

Love this! Sucks it has to be this way but it's so true!
July 3rd marked exactly a year and a half since the fetal surgery, Liam was born, and my little buddy passed away. Definitely not where I pictured myself and my family to be a year and a half later. A lot has happened.
I love you little buddy.

The 4th of July last year I was with dereck and friends in Dawson City in the Yukon. I was really missing my boy but also really hoping that I was pregnant. Which I turned out not to be. This year for the 4th we had planned on being in MN and ND with Evelynn introducing her to family. Her baptism was also going to be this Sunday. Oh, what coulda shoulda been.
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