Hi Little Bean: April 7 & 14, 2017

Last week without a bump picture, I swear.

April 7, 2017

Hi babe! We are sitting in the airport waiting for our delayed flight to leave. I just wanted to tell you I love you, and that you better stay safe while we're gone. I love you very very much!
 

April 14, 2017

Hi bean! We are on our way from Luxembourg to Amsterdam, and have had the best time here! I wish you and Carter were actually just here with us to play in the tulip fields and see the castles, but I guess this is the best we can do!

Sleep has been hard to come by this week, so I'm sorry if you're worn out in there too. But you're continuing to make me feel sick sometimes, so I think you're doing pretty well in there. The nurse emailed me back finally and said we don't have to change my due date, but I still don't know if that means we are nine or ten weeks. I guess we'll find out more on Tuesday.

We love you, little bean. I can't wait to see you on Wednesday and get a definite idea of how far along we are. Love you so much!

 I’m adding a little to this now to talk about symptoms I had on vacation. I didn’t sleep very well, but I think part of it was because the time difference and the uncomfortable bed, but I woke up quite a few times feeling pretty sick. Which made sense, because of the time difference, but it also made me happy, because that meant you were still healthy and growing! I got the most sick I have ever been while we were on the train to Sloten. I actually cleaned out my purse and made dad hold my things just in case I needed to throw up in my purse haha. And then there were a couple times on the trains to Luxembourg and back to Amsterdam that I felt kind of sick, but nothing like that time in Sloten. I also got pretty nauseous on the flight home. We had some pretty bad turbulence at the beginning that made me sick, and it only went away temporarily when I drank ginger ale (for the first time!). Even sprite made me sick again. So needless to say, I was happy to be back on solid ground.

 How far along? : Ten weeks. I say ten weeks.
Baby is the size of: a strawberry!
Total weight gain/loss: probably a few pounds, but I think that's mostly the waffles
Sleep: give me all the sleep
Best moment this week: all of vacation, but probably getting super sick on the train, I know you're healthy
Movement: none
Symptoms: nausea, food cravings
Food cravings: Sweets, creamy Italian noodles, but not Alfredo.
Food aversions: anything not chocolate, bread, or noodles
What I miss: Carter, and not feeling my stomach bulging out everywhere.
What I am looking forward to: Next ultrasound so we can find out exactly how far along we are.

I am Kevin.

I wrote this post back in February, and wasn't sure if I should post it. If you've never seen the office, you might not appreciate it, but I needed a good laugh today, so here it is.

 

If you have never watched The Office, stop reading this immediately and come back when you have finished all 201 episodes.

Done? Very good.

The other day I was having a hard time, you know, the usual, and all of a sudden a super inappropriate metaphor popped into my head. The episode where Kevin runs over the turtle was all I could think about, and I honestly couldn't help but laugh. I just thought to myself, "I am the turtle, and I am also Kevin." In case you didn't actually watch it, here's a recap: Kevin runs over a turtle, tries to glue his shell back together, then accidentally breaks the shell again when reaching for the glue. I'm like Kevin, just sweet spirited and filled with good intentions, but I can't quite get it right. And as for me being the turtle....I think that's pretty self explanatory.

So I shared this with Brandon, and he proceeded to send me a gif of Kevin spilling the chili, which is second saddest only to the turtle. The elevator is broken, so he carries the stupid pot of chili all the way up the stairs, tries to adjust as he enters the office, and dumps the chili all over the floor. Then he scrambles, knee deep in chili, and tries to put it all back into the pot. This time, I'm still Kevin, but my life is the chili. 

 
 

I watch these moments and just cringe and laugh and feel bad for Kevin all at the same time, and it's just so symbolic of my life. Sometimes, life is so crappy that you just have to laugh. I just keep thinking "bring it on, world." It might take me a while to get the pieces just right, or to get most of the chili back in the pot, but I'll get there. I'm too determined not to. We all drop our chili every once in a while (sounds gross but I promise I'm just talking about Kevin), but we just have to do our best to scoop it back in, and use any help we can get. Including that of a clipboard.

it's not fair it's not fair it's not fair

I've had a lot of time and opportunity lately to think about how unfair it is that we had to lose not just one, but two babies. I sit and wonder what I've done wrong in this life to deserve such pain, and honestly, I can't really think of anything. I've made just as many mistakes as the next person, but nothing so wrong to deserve this.

I think about all the crappy people in the world who don't deserve children. Parents that abuse their children. Neglect them. Lock them in closets or car trunks. Parents that sell their children for things no person should be sold for. Parents that yell at their children on a daily basis, that use cruel, obscene words at home or in public, and make their child feel like less than they are. There are also good people that simply don't have the means to provide for their children, no matter how much they wish they could. But I wouldn't abuse our children, and we have the means to provide, so why us? How the hell is this fair?

It's so nice to get messages or emails from people saying how much I have helped them, even if they haven't lost a baby. I'm glad I'm able to do something with this loss, but honestly, I would much rather have my babies than help anyone. And I understand that's a bit selfish, but I also know that any other parent in my situation would say the same thing.

Here's the thing. Every mother I've met that has lost a baby deserves to be a mother. They are not the kind of person you look at and wonder if they've ever been around children in their life. You can feel their motherly love resonating from their body. You can tell by the way they care for their husband or siblings or friends or absolute strangers that they are meant to be a mother. And it's so, so, so unfair that they had that ripped away from them. Some of us more than once, and for some people, more than one baby at a time. 

Growing up, our parents always tell us that life isn't fair, and that we should probably get used to it. The funny thing about that now is that we have watched our parents struggle with how unfair this is too. I think their definition of unfair was "sometimes you won't get the promotion" or "sometimes people are jerks." They never think unfair would be that sometimes you lose a baby. Or that sometimes you lose two.

I understand that this is not the worst thing that could ever happen in the world. I have lived a very privileged life, and I do realize that there could be worse things. But it's really really hard living in a state/stage of life where basically 70% of the female population is pregnant at any given time. I don't look at pregnant women and instantly hate them. Seeing their cute pregnant tummies make me miss mine. I would love to be pregnant all the time. And I don't hate women who tote around their newborns. It doesn't even bother me to be by babies anymore, and only rarely does it hurt when I hear one cry.

It sucks to talk to people and know that they have no idea who I really am. I'm not this innocent little girl anymore. I am a mom who's heart has been ripped out and shoved back and ripped out again. People look at me and they would never know I've had a baby. Two babies. With one, I was full term and full-pregnant huge, but you'd never know. They don't know about the stretch mark on my stomach that has faded too much for my liking. They'd never know that I have delivered a baby. Nobody would know any of this, because there's not a seven month old in the backseat of my car, or in his crib, or in the cart at the the store. And there's not a baby in my belly. I don't get to wander through the baby clothes or toys and buy things for either of them. I don't get to buy baby food. I don't get to buy diapers. I don't get to do any of that.

Instead, we get to buy flowers and take them to the cemetery.

I'm happy to have my babies as much as I do. But I would trade everything in the entire universe to have them just a little bit more.

Someone commented on one of my pictures the other day and told me how disgusted they were that I would share pictures of myself and Brandon in the cemetery. I told her that when this is all we have, it makes sense, and she fired back with some garbage about how intimate moments shouldn't be used for likes or comments, which is definitely not the reason I do what I do. I don't blog to get pity, or likes, or even to help people; I do it because it helps me, and sometimes I feel like it's easier to share my emotions with family and friends this way rather than through direct conversation. Her comments didn't upset me, because honestly she's no one to me (we don't even live in the same country. I thought Candadians were supposed to be nice?!), but I was still annoyed by it. Every other day this week, I've received messages from people letting me know how my blog has helped them, or that they think of Carter often, and those messages make the comments from crappy people disappear.

But it still makes me mad that people, like the two negative Nancy's I've dealt with and the tons of other garbage people who have rude things to say, feel like it's wrong for still parents to share anything, just because our baby isn't alive. I doubt that anyone would ever have commented on a picture of a mother and their live child and said how disgusted they are that the parent would share an intimate moment on social media. Just because our babies aren't alive doesn't mean that we don't love and care for them the same amount we would if they were alive. We're just forced to do it a bit differently.

It all just makes me mad. Makes me mad that we had to lose our babies, makes me mad that people don't understand, and makes me mad that I have to (somewhat) force the idea of my baby onto the world. It's not fair that it all feels fake. It's not fair that I don't have my babies.

I feel like I should apologize for writing this post, because it's super raw and negative. But these are my feelings, and if any of you (like the canadian) can't respect that this is my life, then you don't have to read these posts. Trust me, I'd rather be giving updates on my almost 8 month old, or sharing the bumpdates for little bean without the tinge of sadness, but it is what it is. We're here, we're sad, and we struggle to get through each day, but we do what we can and we keep moving forward.

 

**but honestly, the cover picture shows how loved and spoiled our babies are. thank you to everyone that visits them!

All the cemetery pictures.

I have a few other posts drafted, but none of them really feel right for today. This one's going to be just kind of a life update. I feel like I just need to ramble today!

Things have been kind of rough since we spread our little bean's ashes. I remember feeling the same way after we buried Carter; it's kind of just like the finality of it all hits and makes life a little harder. We've been doing a lot of nothing, not going anywhere, not interacting with people, and honestly I think we're just trying to stay sane and un-angered at this point in time. We've talked a lot this past week about how we don't really have a lot of patience right now, so home seems like the safest place for us haha. When we do go out, it's just to Costa to get dinner, or to the movies, where we can go and not talk to anyone. We've always been pretty anti-social, but it's kind of at an all time high right now!  After we lost Carter, we were okay staying home because it was cold outside, but it's so nice right now that we almost feel bad if we just stay inside and do nothing all day. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions of things we can do where we don't really have to interact with a lot of people, let us know! 

I'm finally able to work out after the surgery, so we've started going to the gym again. We worked out pretty steadily until we went to Amsterdam, but from then until we lost her, I was always just too worn out to go. I was super surprised at how much I missed working out hard though. Obviously I'd rather be pregnant, but it's nice to go and really push myself again. Plus it gets us out of the house and makes us feel better about how much ice cream we eat, so win win!

On Memorial Day, I woke up to a phone call from my mom letting me know that my dad's aunt had passed away. We've always been really close with her and her husband, and had thankfully seen them twice within the last ten months. We drove to Idaho for the funeral on Friday and spent some nice but sad time with family. We've had way too many family gatherings in the past year. I love my family, but I'm over seeing them just because someone we love passes away. We need something happy to get us together! Brandon and I talked to my uncle (dad's uncle, really, but I call him my uncle) and he was being so tough after the service. I gave him a big hug and he said "You know how it is. We just have to keep going. Keep praying, keep being faithful, and just keep going. We'll be okay."

 I realized then why so many people always tell us that we are so strong. I always say to Brandon "people tell me that I'm strong, but what else am I supposed to do?' but I understood by watching my uncle why people think that. Realistically, he could have been laying on the floor crying and no one would have thought twice about it. He just lost his wife of 63 years; he has every right to be angry and sad. But hugged everyone and smiled, and I know his wife would be so proud of him. I know there will be times when he breaks down, probably when no one is watching, or maybe when someone says the wrong thing at the wrong time, but that day, he really was being strong. 

I think that when we lose someone, or when something bad happens to us, we feel a sense of responsibility to put on a face and make other people feel better. Even though he was being so tough after the funeral, I know how he was feeling, in all those moments when he was talking to everyone. I don't know how a loss on that level feels, but I know that during that hour after the service, when everyone approached him with sadness and tears in their eyes, he somehow was able to summon the courage and strength to put his own tears aside and say what everyone else needed to hear. And people will tell him that he's so strong, but I guarantee that as soon as he got home, or maybe even before he made it home, the tears came, and he wondered how people could think he was strong when inside he felt so broken? But somehow, he was able to do it.

I wrote a post about being "strong" that I'm not ready to share yet, but I'm grateful for my little safe space on the internet where I can write about all the not-strong feelings and times that I have. Thank you for allowing me to have that!

After the funeral, we drove to Logan. We had to take all of Carter's things off his headstone again, this time for the Memorial Day cleanup, and decided that it would be easier to stay the night in Logan, rather than driving home and back up the next day. We stopped to see our babies on our way into town (as we always do) before heading to Brandon's parents' house to sleep. We had some really good family time on Saturday that consisted of breakfast, lunch, and sno cones, and also caught up with some old friends.

When we got to the cemetery that evening, I had some really mixed feelings about it. Overall, I was so happy that we were able to go twice in a 24 hour period. If we lived in Logan, I would be at the cemetery all the time. But I also was really, really sad. We've spent far more time in a cemetery than I ever thought we would. I never imagined we'd be in a cemetery for our own children. It's nice to go and clean up the headstone, take them flowers, and rearrange all the toys, and I don't even mind these times when we have to take everything off the headstone. It makes me feel like I'm being an actual mom and taking care of our babies in some way. We take a picture every time we go, either of the headstone and all their things, or a selfie of us with the babies. Sometimes I feel like it's kind of weird, but it's all we get, so we do it anyway. They aren't ideal family pictures, but they are all we have, and we cherish them so, so much. 

Sorry to just ramble today. Writing helps me to get my thoughts in order (even if they don't make sense on the page) and I actually feel better after writing this post. It was an emotional weekend! And also, thank you for all the kind comments and messages we've received over the last two weeks. I don't know if I've said thank you before now, but we really do appreciate everything you guys do for us!

Laying our little bean to rest.

On Wednesday last week, I left work for my hour lunch break, and texted Brandon as I walked out the door, asking him to call me because I was having a hard time. About three seconds later, my phone rang, but it wasn't Brandon. That call was from my endocrinologist's office, but while I was on the phone with them, my phone rang again, and I thought for sure it would be Brandon that time. It wasn't. I listened to the voicemail, and it was from the hospital, saying that we could go pick up our little girl. I called the lady back, and she said we'd want to pick her up as soon as possible. So I called Brandon and told him, then told him I would spend my lunch break finding a place that would cremate her. By the time I had hung up with him, I was at home. I called the mortuary closest to us, and they were seriously so nice. I cried at the lady on the phone while I was asking if they could cremate her, but she was so sweet, and said they would be able to cremate her, and that we would just need to come in and sign some papers. I was so happy I didn't have to call more than one place. 

When I hung up with her, I called Brandon back and told him that both the hospital and the funeral home closed at five that day, so we needed to leave work a little early to be sure we could make it to both places. Of course, of all days, Brandon was supposed to have a meeting at 3:30, but he said he would figure it out and call me back. After we hung up, the funeral home called me back and said they would be happy to go pick her up for us so we didn't have to do it. I told them I would call them back, then called the hospital to see if that was possible. After being put on hold for a while, they told me that would be fine, but I would still have to sign a release form. So I called Brandon back, told him the new plan, then called the funeral home and told them that would be great. On that phone call, I asked how long it would take to have her cremated, and explained what we were going to do with her. Again, they were so nice, and said it would only take a couple days. I called Brandon on my way out the door, one last time, and then found out later that he hadn't seen my text asking him to call until after that last phone call haha.

The guy at the mortuary was super nice. I know I keep saying how nice they are, but it's true. He put our little bean on their cremation schedule while we were sitting there with him, and he told us she would for sure be ready to be picked up on Friday before five. He called me around 1:30 on Friday, and he even used her name when he told us she was ready to be picked up. It's still weird for me to use her name (which is why I haven't shared it on here) but it's the sweetest thing when other people say our children's names. 

Anyway, we went and picked her up, then stopped at home to pick up my brother, his girlfriend, and the thirty pink and white balloons Brandon had bought earlier that day. We drove up to Daybreak, where we took both our maternity pictures and the pictures after we lost Carter. We stood on the dock and released the balloons while we held our little girl in our arms. I just kept crying at the fact that I was actually holding her. Far sooner than I should have been, but I still got to hold her. She spent Friday night on Brandon's nightstand, and Saturday on mine, and I held her in my lap the entire way to Logan.

We met up with our families in Logan on Sunday. My parents had been in Idaho Falls for the weekend, and they were nice enough to drive down and visit with us and our babies. We went with them and my brother and his girlfriend to buy some flowers for the kids, then spent some time at the cemetery together. It was really nice to have them there! My brother and his girlfriend left to drive home, and we went to lunch with my parents before meeting Brandon's parents back at the cemetery.

The six of us crouched around Carter's grave, and Brandon let me spread little bean's ashes. We had known we wanted to leave her with Carter from the second we found out we were going to lose her, and because there wasn't much to bury, cremation just made sense. It makes me happy (in a sad way) that both of our children are together, and that we can go to the cemetery and be with both of them. Eventually we want to get a smaller little cement plaque headstone to add onto the cement pad of Carter's, so that people will know she is there too.

This is a strange thing to say, but I know our little bean will be coming back to us. I don't think it was exactly her time to come now, but I think she needed to be with us just for a little bit to get us through the past couple months. I really feel like she will come back to us, in a healthy body, and that we will get to know her outside of my belly.

Sorry that this post was kind of a jumbled mess. I'm just trying to keep my head above water today, and it's not as easy as I wish it could be. But I'm so grateful for our children. They've turned me into someone I never knew I could be, and they've made me a mother, even though it's not in the traditional sense. I'm thankful for Brandon, too. So so much. He holds me up when I feel like sinking, listens to me vent and cry over and over again, and reaffirms the fact that I am a mother on a daily basis. And we appreciate all of you-friends, family, strangers-that love and care for us and our babes. Thank you for speaking their names, confirming that they are real, and continually sending us words of encouragment and love.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This kid is seriously so spoiled!

 

Losing Little Bean.

A year and a day after we found out we were pregnant with Carter, we found out we were pregnant again. March 8th. I had known for a while, but we didn't get a positive pregnancy test until that day. It was the best day we'd had in a long time. And we were finally getting another chance to bring home a baby.

Everything was really good for a long time. We had an ultrasound at six weeks, then another at seven weeks, and another at eight weeks, not because anything was wrong, but because we wanted one early, and then our doctor was so nice and did one each time we saw him. We got to watch our bean grow from a tiny little dot on the ultrasound until she looked like an actual baby, and it was wonderful. I don't know how many doctors allow their patients to have eight ultrasounds by the time they are 14 weeks, but if yours does, I highly recommend it.

The first trimester was, like Carter's, a dream. I was more nauseous than I was with Carter, and food didn't seem to help, but I still never threw up! Sleep was hard to come by, but I wasn't as tired as I was with Carter, so it seemed like a fair trade. We were in Amsterdam right during the thick of my sickness, so that was a fun thing to deal with. But it didn't really matter, because I was so happy just to be pregnant again. And with this pregnancy, unlike Carter's, I craved sweets all the time. Fruits and vegetables made me want to throw up, so I just ate a lot of breads and chocolates and cookies, and already little bean and I were the best of friends.

Two Tuesdays ago, May 9th, I woke up and thought I had leaked fluid. We hurried to the ER (where they, of course, didn't hurry) and waited to have an ultrasound. When we finally got in there, the tech told us that the baby's fluid looked like, so Brandon and I relaxed, and enjoyed being able to see our wiggly little babe. She was so wiggly, just like Carter. We went back to our room and waited for the doctor to discharge us. He came back in with the nurses and sat down, and told us that the fluid levels looked fine (I just peed my pants, no big deal), but that there was something else we needed to talk about. He told us that the baby had what is called a Cystic Hygroma. He told us it was abnormal growth on the brain, and that we were going to lose the baby. We were devastated, and kind of blindsided. Everything had been fine, and we'd just had an ultrasound six days before and our doctor didn't see anything, so we had no idea where this was coming from. We went in to see our OB the next day, and he was just as frustrated as we were. He said the radiologist didn't tell him where the growth was, or how big it is, and furthermore, the ER doctor hadn't exactly given us accurate information. A Cystic Hygroma is abnormal swelling of the lymphatic system, and while it can be fatal, it can sometimes go away too. He did an ultrasound that day and said that he could maybe see what they had been looking at, but that he couldn't confirm it. We had gotten my blood drawn the week before to do DNA testing on the baby, so he said we would need to wait for that to come back before we drew any conclusions or made any plans.

That same night, he called us and said he had our results, and that he wanted to see us first thing the next day. All night we worried and talked about worst case scenarios. We sat around the house for too long, then finally left and drove around for about three hours before coming home and crashing on the couch. When Thursday morning finally came, we went to his office and waited. Our results showed that the baby had Trisomy 13, meaning she had an extra 13th chromosome, and essentially confirmed what the radiologist had seen on Tuesday. Trisomy 13 babies often have the abnormal swelling, and generally have failure of all internal organs. The hygroma would not go away, and neither would the chromosomal abnormality. Babies with Trisomy 13 can sometimes live to birth, or even one year, but the majority don't make it a full 40 weeks, and if they do, they don't usually live more than a few hours. We found out then that she was a girl, just like we knew she was. Our doctor sat with us for a long time and answered all of our questions. He told us he'd had his nurse send a referral over to a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist, and that we would probably hear from them by the end of the day. We left the appointment shocked and sad. We were going to lose another baby.

We drove to Logan that day to spend time with Carter. We visited with Brandon's parents while we were there and delivered the bad news, then called my parents that night to tell them. We felt so bad telling everyone, because nobody really knew what to say. We didn't even know what to say. It just seemed so unfair. But spending time with Carter that day helped. I've had a lot of spiritual experiences since we lost him that I won't go into detail about, but I know our other children have been with us through all of this, and that they were preparing for their sister to return to them.

We had Friday off too, and went to see the specialist that day. They did another ultrasound and talked us through everything they were seeing. We saw the swelling then, and it made us so sad. The baby was probably about ten centimeters long, and the swelling was 1.5 centimeters on either side of her neck. It spread down a little over her chest too. The specialist said it had grown significantly since the ultrasound on Tuesday. They told us that we would probably lose her, because the hygroma would grow and her heart would get weaker, but they couldn't give us a time frame. We could have lost her that day, or I could have carried her through to delivery. They talked about us making the decision to end her life, not that we had to, but that it was an option if we didn't feel like we wanted to carry another baby full term just to lose them. I didn't even want to think about having to consider a decision like that. No parent should have to think about that.

We were supposed to go to Boise that weekend. After the appointment, we went home to grab our bags, got an hour away from home, and I decided that I just wanted to stay home. I wanted time alone with our little family, and I felt like I needed a few days to let everything sink in before I went back to work. Little Bean was super active all weekend, and Brandon and I both got to feel her move a little. We spent Mother's Day as a little family of four, soaking up all the time we had before anything happened, and not thinking about what the future could bring.

Monday morning I woke up at 4:30 to our little bean kicking, but when I got up an hour later to shower, I felt different. I didn't say anything to Brandon, because I didn't want to believe it, but all day I think I knew. I went to Costa for lunch with Alycia and had a Diet Coke to see if the baby would move, but I didn't feel anything. I called Brandon and told him I wanted to go in and listen to the baby's heart, even though we were supposed to have an appointment on Wednesday. We showed up at the office, and even though we weren't on the schedule, our doctor made room for us right away. I felt so bad for the nurse, because it wasn't the usual nurse we see, and we had to explain why we were there. I wanted to tell her not to listen, and that the doctor should be the one to do it, but I didn't want to seem high maintenance, so I let her do it, and in turn, broke her heart. She finally gave up and went to get the doctor, who fought it for a long time too. Finally he took us into the ultrasound room, looked at her fluids, and essentially everything but her heart, until it was the last thing left to look at . There was no little flutter, no heartbeat. I had asked Brandon the day before to download the recording app so we could record the sound of her heartbeat, and we didn't get to do it. That was what made me the most sad. I knew she was gone before we went to the doctor, but I'm glad I listened to my instinct and asked to go in.

Losing our little bean wasn't as much of a shock as losing Carter was. We had known it was probably going to happen for about a week, and were honestly glad that it happened on its own, rather than us having to have considered ending her life. Her pain didn't go on for longer than necessary, and we had her with us for Mother's Day. Really, the timing was okay. We hadn't planned to do the blood draw for the genetic testing until this last Wednesday, but I got antsy and did it two weeks early. Had we not done it then, we would have had to wait on an autopsy from her to find out why we had lost her. Had we miscarried in the first trimester, we would never have known why, and would have wondered if it would be safe to keep trying. We had a karyotype done in November to check mine and Brandon't chromosomes, and both are completely normal. This was, once again, a rare stroke of bad luck. 

The chances of having a stillborn are 1 in 23,000. The chances of losing a baby to Trisomy 13 are 1 in 20,000. The chances of both happening to us are 1 in 460 million. And this is why we don't gamble.

The doctor got me on his schedule for a D&C the next day. I could have been induced and tried to deliver her naturally, but more than likely I would have needed a D&C anyway, so we decided to make the process as stress and pain free as possible. We went in Tuesday, and had our little girl.

Our doctor was so sweet, and treated everything as much like a normal birth as he could. He took the giraffe receiving blanket we had for her and told us he would get it to her. He told us she was born at 2:45, and he told us she was pretty.

And just like that, we became a little family of four.

There are bright spots among all the clouds of our situation. We know we can have healthy babies, it just hasn't happened for us yet. But it will. We are as optimistic as we can be right now, even though the days are painted with occasional meltdowns and fits about how life is really unfair. I miss being pregnant, and I miss having a reason to get out of bed smiling every morning, but it will happen again.

We love our little bean, and are so happy to have had her for the time we did.

 

**We took the picture in the hospital for the sake of remembering. We wanted the "delivery" to be as typical as possible, even though it most definitely is not, and wanted to remember May 16th as the day our little girl was born.

Fear of forgetting.

Half of this was written on the bathroom floor, and I couldn't bring myself to read through and edit it, so sorry in advance if there are any typos/grammatical errors.

I was going to post another day of Amsterdam, but I wanted to talk about Carter today. It's going to get real, and if I say anything that makes you feel like you should apologize to me, please don't. That's not what I'm getting at, I just wanted to write about how I feel.

I wrote about this two weeks ago, but it has still been looming over me. Honestly, I don't know that it will ever go away, but I wish my anxiety about it would just simmer down. I'm afraid of a lot of things in life, spiders, snakes, death, heights, the dark, but I've never been so afraid of anything as much as I fear people forgetting about Carter. It's a very strange feeling, to have carried a baby for nine months, have the ultrasounds hanging on your fridge, all the clothes washed and in his dresser, have the crib and bassinet set up, ready for a little body, and then never get to bring him home. I've said it before, but I'm the kind of person that over-prepares for everything. It feels like that's what I've done. Like, in preparation to maybe have a baby someday, I bought all this stuff, and even went so far as to have other people buy it for me, and I washed everything and I hung pictures on the wall and I straightened the sheet in his crib, just in case I one day was lucky enough to get pregnant and bring a baby home. And then I think about being in the hospital, and sitting at the cemetery, and I look at pictures of him, and sometimes I just wonder, whose life is this? Whose life am I witnessing because it surely isn't mine. It's not solid or tangible enough to be mine. I can't grasp onto any fleeting memory strong enough or long enough to recognize it as my own. It all went too fast.

But I, as his mother, am the only person that knows how it felt to carry him, to feel his little kicks, to feel the contractions and to go through the process of delivering him and know the pain of recovering emotionally as well as physically. I am the only person that knows what it's like to watch my husband hold his son and gently kiss him on the forehead as he cries. 

Other people know our pain. They read our stories and they see Carter's pictures and I know they know him and love him. For now. But what happens in one or five or ten years when everyone's lives get busier and our pain lessens, and not every single thing I post is tinged with a hint (or a heap) of sadness? How is everyone else supposed to remember when some days I feel like none of it was real? 

It means so much to have people write or say his name. It means the world to me when other people validate that he was real because sometimes it feels like he wasn't. There are days that I can't validate it myself, and other people, unknowingly, do it for me. But what about when no one does that anymore? What about when other people have babies born on October 27, and no one remembers the little boy born that didn't get to live with his parents?

I don't feel like a real mom, because my son is not here. What if, down the road, people will forget about the son I had in 2016? What if they look at our family, me and Brandon and whatever kids we have at home, and they forge about the one that isn't there? What if we move away and no one goes to see him? What if our future kids get made fun of because they talk about a brother that lives in heaven? 

What if what if what if.

What if Brandon and I are the only two people that ever remember him? Realistically, that's all that really matters. But what about when people forget that I have a giant, permanent hole in my heart? What about when someone wants me to do something on October 27 and I don't want to? Will they remember why I spend the whole day crying, or will they just tell me I'm too sensitive and need to get over it? How long is it okay to not be okay? Because right now, it feels like it will be forever.

Airplanes on airplanes.

Before we went to Disneyland in January, I knew that certain aspects of the trip were going to be a little difficult/sad. We announced our pregnancy to my family at Disneyland last year in March, and the one thing I remember most prominently is standing teary eyed on a corner near city hall as we shared our wonderful news. That corner was the one thing I knew I really wanted to avoid. 

In the days leading up to our trip, Brandon told me that he bought me a gift, and that it should be at our house before we left. We checked the mail right before we left, and it wasn't there. He was so sad, because he had double checked with the seller that it would be here on time, and it still wasn't. He ended up telling me what it was, and even though I didn't have it, I still thought about it all weekend, and it was just as special. 

The gift wasn't just for Disneyland, even though it is Disney themed. We have taken it with us when we've driven somewhere for a weekend, and it's with us now (yes, as you are reading this) as we sit on the airplane heading somewhere exciting.

This little pin is one of the many ways we get to take Carter with us on trips, even though he isn't here. It's perfect, since we go to Disney for vacation so often, but I love that we have it to take with us everywhere else. We didn't know that an airplane themed nursery would be so perfect, but I love knowing that wherever we go, he's up there in his little plane, following us around the world.