Each year I have a goal. To be done shopping and wrapping by December 1st. My goal is to not feel rushed, stressed, crazy, nuts, annoyed at the stores.. The list goes on.
In the past years this has been increasingly more important. I cannot handle the people. I want to be involved but parts of me cannot. I cannot handle the elbow to elbow at the stores. The pushing, the tones of annoyance. I cannot handle listening to Mother A and Father B yelling at their respective children because they are in fact behaving like children.
I am sitting pretty good. The shopping is 97.5% complete. The wrapping is 60% complete. I started to decorate yesterday. No, the tree is not up. However, my husband has a Holiday Birthday so I leave the tree up until after New Year’s so that gives me a bit of time at the first of the month.
The past couple of weeks have been crazy. I have spent a total of one evening home. Go here go there. Midnight Madness, Black Friday, Tree Lighting in town, run errands, birthday parties, making crafts for this one and that one.
There is a Historic Site in my area that decks out for Christmas each year. All decorated to the nine’s and the ticket sales help with the upkeep and restoration. I have been wanting to attend for years but have never been able to fit it in. This year was a charm! It was beautiful. All the lights shimmering. All that was missing was a dusting of snow.
Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays. After “C” passed away the meaning left us. I no longer find much joy in the season. My whole reason for the hustle and bustle is gone. Well half of my reason. Although, no one under 10 lives at our home Santa always makes a stop. I have found over the years that I just want to be home. To close the door. To spend the time at home. I do not want to run here and there. I do not want to be on someone’s schedule. To change my life to fit their time. I do not wish to sound selfish. However, it seems that we are always the ones to change. To adjust, to fit in. No one ever wants to know if it works for us.
I cannot handle seeing all of the children. I find Christmas Eve service the hardest. All the little ones in their Christmas best. They are so very adorable! Most likely, we will not go again this year. We will go and spend time at “C”‘s grave.
We have received news in the past week that there will be another new addition to the family June 2016. Yes, in a family the size of ours it grows exponentially each year. We do our very best. We are so happy for them. That they will have the joy of a child in their life, however it once again reminds us of our loss.
Today I sit and I cry. My husband and I went to the woods yesterday. We cut down a tree. Tonight, I will decorate it for my son’s grave. It will have white twinkling lights and a huge silver star. White snowflakes and ribbons of red and white. Tonight, I will send all my love and wishes to my very own little Angel. Love, Mommy.
Sometimes life has an odd way of talking to you from the past and present.
30+ years ago my family built a new home and moved in. There is a small river running through my little town. We lived on one side of the “creek”. Across the way, are many friends we have grown up with and been close to our whole lives. Traveled on the school bus, friends of my parents etc.
Fast forward 15 years. I met DH, we dated, fell and love, got married. We had never known each other as children and met when I was in my mid 20’s.
My neighbors and friends across the way = my husband’s family. Cousins and Aunt.
Yesterday, as I was preparing to leave work we got word that a family member had passed. My husband’s Great-Aunt. My old neighbor. A wonderful woman in her mid-nineties. Loving and kind. It is the first sibling his grandmother has lost. She is nearly 92 years old.
This morning as I sat down at my desk. My phone rang. It was my mother. A friend’s son passed away in a car accident last night. Two more are injured. This friend was my neighbor, my childhood friend. He is their only child. A loving and kind young man. He is the great-grandson to the wonderful woman who passed yesterday.
All of my neighbors, my friends = my family. We will meet this week at the funeral home. Twice.
Sometimes the circles of our lives are vast and large. Sometimes they are small and very near.
Today, I sit with a heavy heart. Much emotion and memories. I think of my DH and I. Our empty room at home. I think of my poor family and their now empty room. I send thoughts and prayers. They are now part of my “Club”. The “Club” that cost so very much to join.
I know that there is nothing I can say at this time. There are no words that will make this different. The only wisdom I can impart, it ok to feel. The anger, rage, deflation, the tears. It is all normal. It is our normal. No one knows this path but the members of our “Club”. Never apologize for feeling, for wanting, for loving. Never apologize for grieving. One does not grieve unless one has loved. We know much love.
Tonight I will light a candle. I will light this candle in memory of our son. The light of our lives. It will sit upon his window sill. This beam of light will shine in the night sky sending our love heavenward.
Hip Hip Horray! We made it through the long weekend. It was up and down and now is done. Here, in my little part of the world, we had THE BEST weather. It was 32 all weekend. With fall looming, anticipating the turning of the leaves, it was nice to have one last hot weekend to spend on the water.
We had more family visiting this weekend. It went well. However, it did further drive home just how little my own family understands our situation. My sister and her husband were at our home. He has never been (they live a 15 hour drive from us). He was eyeing the family pictures on the wall. The pictures of “C”. You could tell he was uncomfortable. He is our son. It is our family. Should we not have family pictures?
I often ask myself how can they be that out of touch with our feelings? I have continued to say time and time again, we do not want anyone to understand this, as it would mean they have lived through it. But, how can they not have any understanding at all. We recently had a family anniversary. I have one cousin who had a breakdown last year. He now suffers from social anxiety. That is how I would label it. DH and I have the same issues. We no longer can handle large groups of people or even family gatherings at someone’s home. Because we cannot handle the repercussions of not going we put in an appearance and then vacate when possible. Both breathing a huge sigh as we enter our vehicle to go home.
On the weekend I was speaking about this with Mother. DH and I had stayed in the foyer and talked to a couple of cousins during the party. There were 200+ people in the room. I said it was just too much. We could not be in the room. Mother replied “I know I could not get around in there” ??????????????????? No, Mom, DH and I cannot handle being around that many people.. It is too much for us. To which I get no response.
I believed we have managed the questions and people’s curiosity quite well over the years. However, I am finding it harder as time goes on and I am finding myself shutting down even more. Why do I need to continue to explain this?
DH and I are on the bubble. The future bubble. What do we do with ourselves for the rest of our marriage? Yes, we are TTC. I know the likelihood of it ever happening is pretty much nil but I am not able to make that decision to end it. I cannot face that decision. It is too hard. But that being said. What do we do with the next 40 years? There will be no basketball games on Thursday night, no sleep overs on Saturday. No birthday parties to plan, No back to school shopping. No summer vacations and summer camp. It will be just be the two of us.
The twins made their appearance yesterday. All was well. Only 3.5 hours from the time they started her IV until Twin B (the girl) was born. She only pushed for less than an hour. Over all a wonderful birthing experience. Twin A, the boy, 5 lbs 4 oz. Twin B, the girl, 4 lbs 15 oz. Born at 37w2d. They will be home soon. Now they are a family of 5. How very strange. We were pregnant together 4 years ago. The boys were born 8 days apart. Yesterday, she gave birth to twins. For the 1000th time, my period started….. Kind of an omen. Another reminder that our time has passed.
…..Here is the rest of the story. Or well I will back track a bit. As many of you know, any number of things can happen with the birth of a preemie. They can be born with brain bleeds, etc. C was born, infection free, and with no bleeds. All of his blood and skin samples came back ok and his ultrasound, that was completed within hours of his birth, was clear…
The day we found out he was sick….
I had gone into the NICU with milk at 5 am. I went to sit and visit with him for a while. Preemies very commonly have apnea. In less than 2 minutes he had apnea 5 times. I asked what was going on. They said they were talking about intubation him but were waiting on some tests. I said absolutely not. I want it done now. He was too tired to wait one minute longer.
My husband and I went back to my hospital room and waited, as the Doctor asked, while they intubated him and ran more tests. At 9:15 am, the Doctor finally came to speak to us. She said that it could be Ecoli or Staph. It was very normal to pickup either of these during labour and birth. The following day we found out he had a heart murmur, which is very normal in preemies. More x-ray were ordered and another ultrasound……several hours later the original cultures came back and we found out he has Serratia. To be honest the best thing at that point was the ignorance factor as A) we had never even heard of it and B) had no idea, whatsoever, what this could possibly do. The answer to this question is far worse than anyone can imagine.
Warning… Things get MUCH worse from here. I will just briefly share what happened. The details are far to many. Truthfully, having lived them they are much more than I would wish to burden someone with.
The following day as I was sitting at his bedside. The nurses dry-tapped him and 20 minutes later we noticed blood in his intubation tube. They put the peap up and were able to stop the bleeding. He largely had a good and quiet morning.. Later that afternoon. He had a GM seizure. He was extremely agitated. They gave him a shot of medication hoping it would calm him down. It had the reverse effect. No chest movement so they had to break peap and bag him. They tried a second med a short time later. They had to break suction which caused the pulmonary bleed to start again and they had to bag him a second time. The Doctor sat at his bedside for 36 hours. She is a wonderful woman.
The following day another Doctor called us in, to speak with us. They ordered a lumbar puncture and another ultrasound. Both came back positive. The Serratia had eaten his platelet count down so low that he could not fight off Meningitis which caused the GM seizure and a grade 2 brain bleed. At this point we were told we were facing developmental problems. We informed her that we are a family and he is our son. Regardless.
Over the course of the next 9 days our son fought for his life. Bags and bags of plasma and platelets were given, meds upon meds. He would get a transfusion and his platelets would go up to 18 and then 3-4 hours later they would be back to 2 and 6 and 8. Blood work every 4 hours, 3 IV pumps, 6 lines T into 2 shunts. At points the shunts were in his right arm, leg, left arm, head. He fought. He is my son and he fought to live. Femeral stabs to check liver function, Kidneys shutting down. He gained over 2 lbs of fluid during this time as it went into the third space and the meds would not work to reverse.
Nine days later, as I rocked him, and he and his father held hands, he took his last breath. Our son was gone.
2 hours later we drove home, alone. Never in my life did I dream that I would give birth to my most precious gift and not be the one driving him home. Never, did I think that 3 weeks after he was born would I be standing at his grave listening to my husband read him his last bedtime story. Never did I think that I would be waiting for his headstone to be placed at his grave before the day he was due.
I am most thankful for each and every minute of the 19 days of my son’s life and the 28 weeks that I carried him. He is the best parts of my husband and I and was born out of love. He was most wanted. He is the single greatest gift we will ever know. We are the blessed ones, as we are his Mommy and Daddy.
This is how I became a mother with empty arms.