October 28, 2011

Two Years Ago {Yesterday}

On October 27, 2009 I found out I was pregnant with our first baby. I started to write this blog yesterday (while at work like any good government employee) but I wanted to include a picture. Well after I got home, we had the normal end of the day routine (change, clean up, wash bottles, ready bottles for the next day, nurse Finn, etc) and then we got ready to have some friends over for dinner and after they left I was so exhausted I never got around to finishing this post.

 I've recently started a new prescription, but one of the side effects is drowsiness. And boy was I feeling it yesterday. I slugged my way through work and after our dinner date, I was asleep within 20 minutes of our guests leaving. And not the ready-for-bed kind of sleep, but the I fell asleep on the couch in my jeans with my make up on, while Miles put the baby to bed kind. I didn't wake up until after midnight to actually get up and go to bed. Pathetic. And when I woke up I was mad that I didn't get this blog posted on the 27th. I felt guilty because I wrote about the year mark of finding out I was pregnant with Finn - I should have done the same for Cale. Silly maybe, but it's how my brain works.

But anyway, back to the point of this particular post . . .so yeah, two years ago yesterday, I took a pregnancy test not actually thinking I would be pregnant. But I was. And I was shocked. Excited, but shocked. I took the test after Miles had already left for work. Not totally convinced it was true, I decided that I'd take another when I returned and if that was positive, I would tell Miles. Well, wouldn't ya know it, that test was positive as well.

I allowed Roscoe to break the news to Miles when he got home.



While the end of the pregnancy was horribly tragic, I loved my time with Cale, right from the very start with that happy memory that I hope to replay and enjoy every October 27th (give or take a day).

Also, I really appreciate all the kind comments on my last blog. My dad had his surgery yesterday and it went well. He's still in the hospital until tomorrow at least, but my mom said the Doctor told her that everything went just fine and that there were no surprises. Thanks for the support and prayers. Please keep them coming while he faces a pretty rough next few weeks.

October 23, 2011

Prayers, Petitions and Red Necks

My dad was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.  We are optimistic that it was caught early and after a thorough bone scan, it looks as though it has not spread elsewhere. In four days he will undergo surgery and hopefully will begin a complete, albeit lengthy and uncomfortable, recovery. So prayers, well wishes, and positive thoughts would be greatly appreciated for his upcoming surgery and recovery.

My amazing sister (who turned 30 today!) is taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to help my dad after he's discharged from the hospital. I know he's really looking forward to having her there - not only is she a nurse, but I know it'll do his spirits good to have his daughter there with him. FMLA is a great thing, but there is a Petition to Congress that is circulating which would make it even better by expanding coverage to those who experience the death of a child. I was actually surprised that this wasn't already something FMLA covered. If you want to sign this petition you can do so by clicking here. When I did, I made an additional comment that I hope it covers when a child dies in utero or during birth. After delivering Cale I remember asking how much time I would have off work. I was worried that because my baby did not live, I would have to go back sooner. Fortunately the Army gave me the same amount of maternity leave one is entitled to after delivering a living baby. And while going back to work was really hard, I couldn't fathom having to do so any sooner or not having job security as I planned funeral arrangements and grieved the loss of my son. So please sign the petition and spread the word.

On a MUCH less serious note, and totally off topic, Miles and I did just about the most red-neck thing we've done since living in ole Georgia. We attended a David Allen Coe concert this weekend. Had we been sporting any of the following we would have fit in much better:

-Flannel
-Cowboy Boots
-Overalls
-Real Tree Apparel
-Belt Buckle (of the ginormous variety)
-Mullet
-Bandanna
-Raccoon Hat
-Harley Davidson Apparel

David Allen Coe walked to the stage with the assistance of several people and a cane. But I suppose after a life of drugs and booze, it's impressive that at 72 he's even still performing. . . .or alive for that matter.

Here's a short video from the concert. And using the word "concert" probably implies it was a bigger event than it was. At most I would say there were 200 other hillbillies at this softball field to listen to this crazy old man. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that I think I was the only sober person present.

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And if that little teaser wasn't enough, here's the full version of the song.



October 20, 2011

One Year Ago Today. . .

  . . .I quietly woke up and let Miles sleep in as he usually has to be up so early and for some reason didn't have to be that day. I crept into the bathroom, took a pregnancy test and before even looking at it, I placed it on the edge of the bathtub and got in the shower. While showering I just knew that I would get out and find a positive pregnancy test waiting for me.

I was right. And so, so happy.

I quietly got dressed and went downstairs. I made a silly little breakfast of eggo waffles (don't judge me, they're delicious) and orange juice and brought it upstairs to Miles. Only I put "I'm Pr " on the plate next to the eggo . . . I'm preEGGO.


Miles looked down at the plate, up at me, and was genuinely happy. We sat on the bed, shared our eggo's with Roscoe, and just talked about how happy we were to be pregnant again but the complex emotions that came with it and the fact that it was a bittersweet moment of missing Cale, wishing he were with us, but thankful for the new life within.

It's hard to believe that one year ago today I learned I was carrying our sweet little Finn who became such a source of hope for us.  I often ask Finn if he knows how much I love him and tell him over and over that we love him so very much because we loved him even before he was conceived. Just like Cale, we loved the idea of him and the idea of our lives with him. I was thinking the other day how babies after loss are sometimes viewed as the light at the end of a dark tunnel. But I think that instead he's just my light along the way. Giving birth to him didn't change how much I still miss and grieve for Cale. But he adds a light to our lives that I can't imagine not having. And I don't ever want him to feel that he was a replacement. I want him to always know how much he's loved for being who he is and try to thank him often for just being him. Just uniquely, wonderfully, perfectly him.

So in celebration of our awesome little guy and the happy news he brought us a year ago today, here are a few cute videos. . . .enjoy!

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And just for good measure I'll include this ridiculous picture. Don't worry, this was only done to satisfy the curiosity of my retard husband. As soon as the picture was taken, the bjorn came off the dog.



October 15, 2011

October 15th

Today was a beautiful day. Not only was the weather perfect, but we remembered Cale and were incredibly touched by all those who remembered and acknowledged him today, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. While today is the national day of remembrance, it's sort of feels like a holiday for those in the baby loss community -a uniquely special day where those without voices are heard.

My friend Priscilla leads the Face2Face group of Columbus/Fort Benning, GA which originated through Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope. The idea is that those of us who have experienced a loss and have that unfortunate bond can informally gather to connect and support one another. Priscilla organized a balloon release today for all of us to honor our babies and remember them together.There were about a dozen families present. Some who had lost a baby within the last few months, some who had lost more than one baby. Some, like us, who have since had another child, and some who still desperately cling to the hope that they one day will. Our stories and our losses are different, but our love for our children is the same, unending and pure.





 This evening Miles and I lit several candles. We have one lit next to Cale's sketch on our mantle:


And one lit in Cale's garden in our backyard:


And lastly, one in our bedroom next to Cale's urn and ultrasound pictures:

"Those we love don't go away,
they walk beside us everyday.
Unseen, unheard, but always near.
Loved and missed and very dear."

I appreciated all of you who remembered and celebrated Cale with us. Thank you for holding him in your hearts and for honoring all babies who left this world far too soon.

October 12, 2011

Denver

Last week I took some time off work to go out to Denver and visit my sister. I always thought it'd be neat to be a mom of boys. My grandpa (who has since passed away) re-married several years after my grandma passed away and the woman he married (who just turned 93 last month!) had three boys. I always thought that was special and probably a lot of fun. If I'm fortunate enough to have another baby and it's a boy, I will be pleased to know that God blessed me with three boys as well.

But on the other hand, if we have a girl, I hope she has a sister.  I love my sister. We have grown to be such good friends. Which is funny considering we used to draw lines in the carpet to separate our sides of the room, fight over clothes, yell about each others music selection and just be complete and total brats to each other. But now? Now I wish we lived next door to each other and could share clothes; I enjoy her taste in music and I'd do anything for her. Funny how growing up does that to ya.

Unfortunately Miles couldn't come with us, but Finley made for a great travel companion and hopefully we'll be back soon . . .perhaps when we move!

Instead of rambling on about what a great trip it was, I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves. Because we took a million.

 First plane ride {not in utero}

Yup, pretty much this wonderful on both legs of the flight. Whew.
Out for a little hike

in this beautiful scenery

Needy, Obnoxious, but oh so loveable Boxers run in the family

Bisbee and Finn ready for a walk

It's not this chilly back in Georgia

Denver has beautiful parks

I have a beautiful sister

and a beautiful baby

From the kitchen I hear Kate's boyfriend say,
"there's a super hot chick in here Finn - you gotta check her out" and I walk in to find this.

Best Picture. Ever.

Until next time Denver!

October 10, 2011

October

Yesterday my amazing friend Anna completed the Chicago Marathon. When we were texting back and forth afterward and she brought tears to my eyes when she told me that she ran mile 25, the last full mile of her very first marathon, in honor of Cale and all the other babies who are missed. The last .2, her victorious finish, she ran for Daren, who had planned to run another marathon after returning from Afghanistan.

I was just so touched, but not at all surprised, that in the last bit of a very long, probably painful, journey - the marathon itself and the training for it, that Anna was thinking of others - that she honored Cale and Daren with her incredible accomplishment.

Yesterday Miles and I went to the Packers game in Atlanta (Pack won 25-14, but I'll save my obnoxious fan blog for another day), and during the half time show they did a wonderful tribute to Breast Cancer. It was really beautiful and this little picture doesn't really do it much justice.


But during it I couldn't help but think "wouldn't it be nice if as many people knew what else this month represents?" Don't get me wrong, it's great and incredibly important that people know about and support Breast Cancer Awareness, but until we lost Cale I had never heard of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I'd like to think that one day we can find a cure for breast cancer. That by raising lots of money by wearing pink and running races and putting "Save the Ta-Ta's" stickers on your car, eventually enough funds will be raised to help science and medicine find a cure for breast cancer (ironically I'm wearing a pink For the Cure T-shirt as I type this - not at all planned). But I know it's not that simple. It's not just about raising money. And that's certainly the case for pregnancy and infant loss. No matter how much money you put towards good causes, like the March of Dimes, stillbirth research, etc, people will still lose babies. I'm not saying that funding these wonderful causes is futile because it's certainly not and it can and it does help in many important ways, but this tragedy of pregnancy and infant loss will unfortunately never end either. That's part of what makes it so heartbreaking. Cale was a perfectly healthy baby. The screening and tests run during my pregnancy came back negative (not that it would have mattered to us), and he was always growing right on track (or ahead of schedule). He was perfectly formed, perfectly sized, perfectly perfect. And he didn't make it. A cord accident, a very rare problem in a pregnancy, killed him as I went into early labor. The very thing that gave him life took it away. No amount of money could have saved him. And although I struggled with this early on, I know that nothing could have been done to save him. I had appointment after appointment during my pregnancy with Finn. Ultrasounds, amniotic fluid checks, non-stress tests, MFM visits, you name it - we did it. But the fact of the matter is that Finn was statistically no better off than Cale was.

My to-do list today  includes putting together some candles that I'll send out to some friends and family to be lit on October 15th. October is important for me because it's a chance to raise awareness. Well, I'll be doing this my whole life, but it's still nice to have an official month and an official day of remembrance.


Sometimes terrible things happen. And there's nothing we can do to change them. But we can remember our babies. We can honor them by ensuring others recognize them and are more aware of what this month means and not afraid to support Pregnancy and Infant loss - to talk about it openly, to share stories of babies who have little stories to share. To think of them, like Anna did, in times of personal triumph, or moments of personal reflection. And most importantly, to never ever forget them.