365 Days

Today is my son’s first birthday. I don’t know how many times I am going to say that today, but I have a feeling it will be a lot.

It blows my mind how quickly this year has passed. I remember thinking that my pregnancy went quickly, but I had no idea that the year following would go even faster. The first three...

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Why We're Worthy

Losing our son was the single worst experience of my entire life. Losing our daughter was a little easier. Miscarrying our third seemed almost routine. They have all been hard, but with each loss, I’ve also lost more and more of my hope and optimism. My motto of “keep moving forward” is getting harder and harder to follow. It gets harder every day to believe that I may...

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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!

 

Six months.

Brandon and I have talked a lot about how the 26th of every month is quite a bit harder than the 27th. This month, the 26th and 27th fall on a Wednesday and Thursday, today and tomorrow. And while tomorrow will be hard, thinking back on what happened six months ago from today is a lot harder.

It's weird to explain, but Carter's birthday is a beautiful day for me, despite the sadness that tinged everything. We finally got to meet our sweet boy, see his face, hold him, kiss his little chubby cheeks. We became a family of three that day.

Thinking about our appointment the afternoon before though, that's a different story. I don't know how much detail I went into when I posted his story; those first few weeks were all a blur. The day of our 39 week appointment, I left work and called Brandon to see how close he was, then told him to just go home and that I would pick him up on my way to the appointment. I can't stress enough how important this was on that day. We had never ridden together to an appointment. Ever. But for some reason, it worked out that day that we could, and I'm so grateful we did. We got there, the nurse took my vitals, and then the doctor came in. He asked if I had felt the baby move, and my gut told me to say no. It was mostly true, I thought I had maybe felt some movement, but I kept telling him no. He tried to find a heartbeat, but couldn't, then left for what felt like a million years to wait for the ultrasound to open.

I'll never forget the look on his face. He looked and looked and looked, and waited for there to be something, anything, but his face just dropped and I knew. 

I felt like I had cried everything out earlier, when he couldn't find the heartbeat, but somehow my body still had enough fluids to keep crying. I will never forget the feeling of Brandon dropping my hand and holding me, but I remember feeling like he needed me to be the one to hold him. I kept saying "this is not real life, this can't be happening." I kept waiting to wake up, but it was real, and it wasn't going away. We left the office in shock, and called our parents with the most disappointing news I have ever had to share. My mom's reaction is one I won't forget either. I can't think about it without crying. We went home, put away the pack n play, cleaned a few things out of our hospital bag, and headed to the hospital all too calmly. 

But from there, our experience turned into something special. Sure, we knew we were about to deliver our son that wouldn't be coming home with us, but we were so well taken care of. The first nurse was strong and sad at the same time, and made sure we were comfortable. We were visited by family, and got to laugh and smile and be hugged. All through the night, I got to experience labor pains. The second nurse and Brandon dealt with angry Caitlin, when the pain got so intense that I could barely take it, and I got to see just how much my husband loves me. Not every man would want to wipe away his wife's sweat with a cold cloth as she's yelling at him. And then, I got to sleep. I got to rest for a bit before doing the hardest thing I will ever have to do in my entire life. And then, I got to deliver him. Now, I'm sure that childbirth is not pretty (I don't know, I didn't watch), but it is the most beautiful thing I have done and will ever do. I pushed for seriously, all of about two minutes, and then they laid our beautiful sleeping boy on my chest. Few things rival the beauty of that moment. In fact, at least in my life, nothing will ever compare to that. And so we spent time with him, and we shared him with our parents. And we were taken care of and protected by a wonderful nurse who has become a dear friend. We had to say goodbye to him, but at least in order to say goodbye, we got to say hello. I wouldn't trade those hours or months with him to not feel this pain. I would take all the pain in the world to have as much of him as I can.

So today, six months after we got the worst news, I will be sad. Today I will cry and remember the things we felt as we sat in the doctor's office that afternoon. But tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow I will cry as I look through pictures of our beautiful boy, and I will remember what a special day October 27th is. And as the 27th of each month passes, I will remember our boy with light, happiness, and just a touch of sadness. 

Being remembered.

I know I mentioned it a little in Friday's post, but lately I've been afraid people are starting to forget about what happened. Not meaning that they don't remember Carter or that we lost him, but that they don't remember the aftermath of everything we've been through, and the grief we are still dealing with. Most days, it's really easy to put on a big smile and fake it, and some days, we're actually okay. But I worry that the good days will outshine the bad, and people will forget that the hard days still exist. 

I almost hate to say this, because I feel like it makes me sound greedy, but the day the mass influx of sympathy cards stopped coming, I cried so much. Every time I checked the mailbox and there was nothing but junk mail or bills, my heart broke a little more. I don't know why, but  for those of us who have experienced a loss, I think we almost need someone else to validate it. We need someone to let us know that the person we lost was real, not just in our heads. The days there were no cards, I felt like I had made all of it up. Like I made up this little baby, somehow made my belly bigger, bought all the nursery things for no reason, and then was drowning in my own imaginary physical and emotional pain. It was hard. It's hard to explain, but the outside validation meant a lot.

Over time, it's gotten better. I kept all of the cards we were sent, so sometimes I reread them. On March 27th, five months after we lost him, I went up to a quiet room we have at work and read back through the comments from everyone when I posted that we lost him, and I read through the comments on my blog post about our boy and his pictures. Hearing his name from other people, and knowing that we're not alone, has helped so much.

Material things have gotten me through this. It doesn't make sense, because nothing will ever be able to replace Carter, but with every necklace, airplane item, or whatever else I buy, the giant hole in my heart is filled just a little. 

Last week was complete crap. I felt like no one remembered him, like no one cared. I felt like people were afraid to talk to us about him and about anything for fear of saying the wrong thing. But we have been given some very strong reminders in the past few days that have helped my heart to not feel so much anxiety about people remembering our little family. And with each gift, I have cried so much, not because I miss Carter (even though I do, every single day), but because people remember him. People remember this perfect little boy that I grew inside me and brought into the world. People remember that even though we don't have our son with us at home, we are still parents, strong parents that do a different kind of hard work than typical parents. People remember that our house, our lives, his nursery, our arms, are all a little emptier than they should be.

I'm not telling you this so you'll send me things, please believe me when I say that. Just knowing you think of him whenever you see an airplane is enough. Mostly I wanted to write this post to say thank you again. The cards, gifts, and Facebook posts right after we lost him meant and still mean so much to us. They let us know we aren't alone. And to those people who have given us gifts this past week, there's no way you knew exactly how awful I've been feeling, but thank you for just knowing, somehow, and doing something so kind to brighten my week.

Thank you for remembering our boy, and for every ounce of love you've shown the three of us.

 

**title picture is one of the recent gifts from my dear friend and sorority sister from Cardall & Co.  on Etsy. I cried for fifteen minutes when I opened it.

What a week(end).

You know how when someone's couch has an imprint of their butt on it, and you're supposed to be all like "oh wow, that person spends far too much time in front of their tv. they should get a hobby, they should go outside, they need friends..." Well I ignored all that negative self talk this weekend, and while I didn't leave a permanent imprint, I did leave the couch looking a little more worn than it was on Thursday, so I have deemed it a successful weekend.

Friday night, we got home from work, thought about going to the gym, laughed and headed immediately to the couch to binge 13 Reasons Why. I think I mentioned it before, but I finished the book on Wednesday last week and didn't know the series was being released on Netflix so soon, so I was pretty excited about it. It's probably not for everything, there is a lot of swearing, some sexual content, and the whole story revolves around a suicide, but I think it is an important story that needs to be told. Anyway! We watched it for like four hours until I fell asleep. I honestly think I only got off the couch to go to the bathroom and put my dishes in the sink haha.

Saturday, we slept in for a little bit, then took our time getting ready before running a few errands. Saturday was Sophie's birthday, so we kind of spoiled her all day (as much as you can spoil a cat anyway). She turned six, which is super crazy to me, because that means that Brandon and I have been married for almost six years! Anyway. We did spend some time outside on Saturday (with the cats, that was part of Sophie's birthday treat) and even went for a little walk! We didn't even turn on the tv until that evening, but once we did, we didn't move for the rest of the night. We still haven't finished 13 Reasons Why, but we definitely put a dent in the season.

We woke up early yesterday morning to rain, and enjoyed our morning before driving up to Logan again. Brandon's side of the family was having a big family dinner, so we drove up a little early to see Carter, then went to dinner. The whole drive up was pretty dreary, but when we got to the cemetery, the sky cleared and it was so sunny! I love that the blue skies always come out when we're with him. I have found that I really associate that color with Carter, so it makes me feel like he's there when the sky is so blue and I love it. The family dinner was so much fun that we didn't even notice how late it had gotten until almost eight. It's not a terribly long drive back home from Logan, but apparently long enough that Brandon needed a Dr. Pepper to keep him awake! We're old ladies that like to go to bed early, it's fine.

I feel like this post was just kind of rambly, but I honestly just had a really good weekend, despite how emotionally difficult last week was. I think we both really needed a weekend where we could relax and just be together, and spend a little time resting our brains and our hearts. Next weekend will be a little more exciting with not as much time to rest! Have a good week!

 
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Five months and time still moves on.

Sorry, I know my last few posts have been kind of down. I promise we're doing fine, March is just a rough month as far as anniversaries go.

I wrote a post after we got married about how, even though a significant event had happened for us, life continued forward every day like nothing had changed. I have felt the same way every single day since we lost Carter, but there are certain days that I feel like the universe should be more aware of our situation, and it's just not. For example, why do Thursdays still exist? They give me something to count the weeks on, but honestly, there is a part of me that looks forward to the day when so many weeks have passed that I forget what the number is, and more specifically, when I don't feel bad for not knowing what the number is.

This morning I said to Brandon, "don't you think it's unfair that the 27th still exists?" and I was happy that I'm not the only one who feels that way. Of course we always want to remember him, but each month on the 27th, we get dressed in our respective, Carter-honoring clothes, and it feels like a punch to the gut. Part of me wishes we could just skip the 26th and 27th of every month. I remember him every single day, but those two days are especially hard for me.

I know I'm not the only one feeling this, and it's not just moms who have lost their babies. To angel moms, parents, siblings, children, friends: I'm so sorry you have loss dates to mark your weeks, months, and years by. I'm just so, so sorry.

That's all I have for today. My heart has been heavy for the past little bit. I know I've said it before, but I just can't wait to get through this anniversary period of major milestones.

 

A year ago today.

I feel like my life is constantly being measured in weeks, months and years right now. It has been 21 weeks since we lost Carter, almost five months, and I still hate that we have something so finite to define every single week and month for the rest of our lives. I know that at some point, we'll stop measuring the loss in weeks, and then eventually, we'll stop measuring it in months too, but it is what it is for now.

I have mentioned it before, but March is a big month for us in terms of anniversaries. I'm a big dates person anyway, I love remembering things that happened on certain days years ago, but losing Carter has made me even more like that. I want to remember everything! March 7th was the day we found out we were pregnant with him, and March 24th, today, is the day we told my family we were expecting. It's a bittersweet day, of course. I'm so sad he's not here, but I still look back on that day with joy. 

We flew to Anaheim to meet my family for Spring Break, which also just happens to be a big birthday week for us too. My mom's birthday is the 23rd, grandma's is the 24th, and my baby brother's is the 25th. We flew in on the 23rd, and it was so hard not to just say "happy birthday mom, you're a grandma," but somehow I was strong! The next morning, we headed to Disneyland, and I kept it a secret the whole walk in. Brandon and I thought it would be fun to get pins for everyone, since we had the birthdays and a recent engagement to celebrate. The three oldies got their birthday pins, Anthony and Dani got their engagement pin, and the other four of us got "just celebrating" pins. We got out of Town Hall, and I asked Brandon if he would run back in to see if they had a Diamond Celebration pin. He took our pins with him, and had them write "Baby #1" underneath the "just celebrating." We put on our pins and waited for my parents and grandma to notice. It was the longest ten seconds of my life, and honestly, my heart is pounding right now just thinking about it. I was so excited to tell them!

Of course, my mom cried, which made me cry, and we all just stood around laughing and hugging for a few minutes. Adrian was so excited, and just kept high-fiving me until I finally said "if you want to give me a hug, just do it." 

Today is one of the days that I kind of just want to get through. I'm not stuck, and honestly today has been a really good day so far, but if I really think about it, it just makes me miss him. All I wanted to eat during that time of my pregnancy was peanut butter and cereal. My shorts felt a little tight (though probably just due to winter), and I just remember being the happiest person at the happiest place on earth with a tiny little nugget in my belly.

Even though it is kind of sad to think about these memories and know that he's not here, I wouldn't trade them for anything! I love our little guy so much, and am happy that this day, on top of the special birthdays today, has so much meaning for Brandon and me.