October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Gooooo Team!

This clever idea was 100% stolen from my sister-in-law when she was pregnant with my nephew. Even the cute WI Basketball player outfit was borrowed from her. I tried putting the head band on Finn a week ago and he wanted nothing to do with it, but tonight when I put it on and said basketball players wear them, he was all about it! He pointed at every basketball hoop we passed while trick or treating and said "Finley play basketball." Sorry kid, not in your genes to be a good basketball player - but you can sure dress up like a cute one!

This was a fun Halloween. Last year Miles was training and Finn was too little to really get in to it, but this year he was pretty excited. He went trick or treating with his cousins which was special - so cute to see the little boys go from door to door and say trick or treat. Finn kept saying "more candy" in between houses and hung on to that pumpkin long after the trick or treating ended. Our little basketball player called it a night a bit earlier than his cousins, who like their Aunt, know better than to pass up free candy!

Halloween has made me especially excited for Christmas - experiencing the holidays through the eyes of a child is pretty amazing. Makes me wish we would have already experienced it with Cale, but so grateful we get to with Finn.

October 29, 2013

Tuesday Blues-day

I woke up nauseous several times last night (in addition to the normal wake ups from pain associated with the arduous process of rolling from one side to the other) which resulted in very little sleep. When I don't get much sleep I'm a total crab-apple. So this day didn't get to a good start. It was gloomy and misty, yet still hot and in the mid 80's so the weather was also a total downer.

I had an OB appointment that did go very well in regards to the baby's well being. It was my first non stress test and baby was active and practicing breathing movements during the ultrasound and looked and sounded nice and healthy. The only downside from the appointment was that I was emotional and didn't feel my OB coddled me as much as I needed. Sometimes, especially when emotional and tired, I need extra coddling. 

Then I came home to Finn who is, I'm pretty sure, getting his two year molars. As a result he was also a whiny, emotional crab-apple. 

I have a library book due today that is not finished and I'm especially annoyed at myself for this as I already renewed it once.

So anyway, today was kinda blagh. 

The upside to this day is that Miles' mom sent a Halloween package which included this gem:

Yes, as a freaking KINDERGARTNER, Miles was not only demanding, but crazy smart enough to know the ins and outs of the skeletal system. 

Anyway, not much of a blog post today, but it's all I've got. Hope your Tuesday was less blagh.

October 20, 2013

Pregnancy After Loss, Revisited

I posted this picture to facebook last night and immediately was sweaty and nervous.

It was the first pregnancy related thing I've posted, thus "outing" myself in facebook land. Comments are nice and sweet. But it makes me feel crazy vulnerable to have done such a thing. But the twisty part is that I decided that if the baby dies, I would want people to know that he/she existed.

And obviously those close to us, and anyone who reads this blog, have known for a bit that I'm pregnant again. But I guess this part of me that's messed up by grief and loss knows what sort of reaction I would want should things go south (again) and I am more inclined at times to prepare for that potential reality. Though good gracious, I hope it's an unlikely reality. But even if statistics are on my side (ha! as if that means anything) I still feel vulnerable having such precious and important news "out there" where people don't understand the true complexity of it all and how fragile I am about it.

But here's the thing - it's so much better this time than it was when I was pregnant with Finn.

I can literally envision bringing home a baby easier this time around. I'm planning to actually decorate the nursery (once Finn is out of it) and would like to get a lot of it done before the baby arrives. When carrying Finn, I could barely reopen the things that had been packed away in tupperware. It felt too risky. Like I would jinx myself if I did any such planning because the first time I was foolish enough to prepare for a baby, we had no baby to care for. I have even bought a few things - like an Ergo that I got on a super sweet deal on zulily! I pin pictures and daydream about a future with two living children.

I'm gaining more weight than I did with Finn. I seem to be on the same weight gain path that I was with Cale and I think that has more to do with the stress incurred during Finn's pregnancy and not the insane amount of ice cream I've consumed this go around - though I shouldn't rule that out.

When I was pregnant with Finn I rented a doppler before I was even out of the first trimester so that I could listen to the heartbeat at 10 weeks. I used it pretty much every day. When Daren was killed and I flew out to his funeral I forgot the doppler and asked a friend to mail it to me. I needed it. Even when I could feel Finn move, I needed to just listen to him. It was practically a ritual. This time I do have a doppler, lent to me by a wonderful friend - but she had already loaned it to another friend and I didn't get it until I was about 20 weeks along. And I was fine with that. And even now that I have it, I don't use it much. I enjoy it when I do, but don't "need" it the way I did when carrying Finn.

I don't always, but many times I feel at peace. I feel a sense of calmness that helps me savor the moments with this baby - the kicks and the nudges and enjoyment that comes with the gift of carrying a child.

I think part of that is the fact that I have been so very lucky to have had a good outcome. Finn's safe arrival proved to me that I can carry a baby and birth him, bring him home, and live out a version of happily ever after, you know the version that stems from the cruelest and darkest of stories. And just maybe, we'll get so lucky to do that all over again.

Another aspect that keeps me more relaxed is that I'm busier. Sounds like an oxymoron, but even though I'm not working like I was last pregnancy, but I'm chasing a two year old and playing choo choo's and reading stories and going to the library. Finn is such a wonderful distraction from my own thoughts and fears and therefore relaxes me. He's a constant reminder that sometimes, things work out in the end.

But of course the fear is still there. It creeps in at night when I'm alone with my thoughts. It creeps in when I worry it's been too long since I last felt the baby move or I just hit a grief trigger that sends me right back to losing Cale and knowing I'm not immune to lightning striking twice. When I check out eBay for double BOB's there's a thought in the back of my head telling me to wait until I have two kids to actually put in such an expensive stroller, that I shouldn't even look now. When I talk about the baby I still tend to preface things with "if" and not "when" and it took me until my sixth month in this pregnancy to even want to talk to Finn about my belly and a baby. Miles asked once why I wasn't ready and I said "I don't want to have to un-explain it to him."

In fact, one of the most difficult thoughts I have is that if we lost the baby, I don't know how I would be able to grieve and still be a decent mother to Finn. It's a thought that scares me and stresses me out and makes me cry just typing this. Because he's such a sweet boy and he's so happy and he deserves a mom that gives him her best and snuggles and laughs and tells him over and over what noise a garbage truck makes or a digger even though I don't really know what a digger sounds like. But I don't know how I would be that person if I lost this baby. When pregnant with Finn I feared going through the same grief process we did with Cale, I feared how I would handle it all. But now the worry isn't just for myself, but for the boy I did get to bring home.

So . . .things are different this time around - they are a little easier, a little more optimistic. But the fears and the stress, it hasn't gone away, not by a long shot. And all we can do is wait. Wait and hope and pray and cross our fingers and toes that in about two months, the cute little guy in this picture will have a sibling he can hug and kiss, and even poke and pester. Oh, how I wish.


October 18, 2013

Week in Review

-We went to dinner with some friends this past Sunday to celebrate their October birthdays. Finn sported a shirt his Aunt Kate got him. Raise your hand if you're adorable:

-We've been at the potty training for a month now and I think things are still going really well. We use pull-ups at naptime and have had a few occasional dry ones, but for the most part I think it will be several more months before we attempt to cut those out. Diapers at night, but underwear the rest of the time. Have there been accidents? Sure. But they are getting fewer and further between. In fact Finn seems to grab his crotch now when he needs to pee and it's kinda funny because he'll look up and say "go potty!" but have this look that says "we better hurry, mom!" Although in the car today he said "go potty" and I told him he'd need to wait until we got home and he did. So I think he's getting better at not only needing to go and telling me, but being able to wait a little bit too. He still gets quizzed on occasion and hopefully the constant nagging is helping:

-On October 15th, I posted this picture on instagram with the hashtag "Wave of Light"

There were over 2,000 other similar pictures posted at the time and when I went back later that night to see what else had been shared and there were over 3,200. Pretty amazing. It didn't make me sad - although it is heartbreaking to know there are THAT many people on instagram alone (with the same hashtag anyway) who were loving and missing their baby(ies). But it actually made me feel really good - to just see how ok it was to acknowledge them and to share in this grief, and to just see how much love was being shown for these amazing little babes. Just goes to show how grief and longing can be beautiful things.

-The other day we got to watch my friend's little boy for a couple of hours and Finn was really sweet with him. I hope this bodes well for his future:

-Today at Target Finn said hello to the cashier. She said "hi, how are you?" to which he replied "I'm good." I asked him, "can you say 'how are you?'" and he did, and then said "I loff you too." He totally charmed her and we both laughed. I said "yes, we love everyone at Target don't we? Do you love Target?" to which he enthusiastically replied "LOFF Target!" . . . that's my boy!

-Discovered this gum earlier in the week and am in love. As most people know I have the sweet tooth of a 12 year old. This gum reminds me of grape Bubblicious, but it's sugar free!

-I was feeling lazy and didn't want to cook (not uncommon) and was excited to make a frozen pizza and smoothie (with hidden spinach and carrots), but then remembered I bought salmon and needed to cook it up. So I had salmon and a salad and Finn ate salmon and peas and while it was good, I was a little annoyed that my plans were thwarted by healthy food. Don't worry DiGiorno, we shall meet again very soon.

-This was Wednesday at the grocery store. I know my instagram friends have seen similar pictures several times before, but seriously it's nearly impossible to go grocery shopping without getting a "big fing of bread," and who can resist those Disney eyes:

-Twice tonight Finn told himself to settle down. He was running around being silly and crazy and then would say "settle down Finley." Toddlers are hilarious.

-Dadda has been away for two weeks, but we've gotten to talk to him almost every night when he'll call to say goodnight to Finn. But today Finn finally said, "where Dadda? where Dadda?" like it just dawned on him that hey, that guy hasn't been around much - where the heck is he? Truth be told, I think Miles was happy to hear that Finn is missing him.

-Looks like the family trend of being tone deaf continues:


October 15, 2013

What October 15th Means to Me

Dear Friends,

I don't know what I did on October 15, 2009. The day wasn't significant to me. I wish it had been. I wish I knew the importance of the day without having to be personally affected. But I didn't. Not until a year later after we had lost our son Cale and were in the thick of grief, did I come to learn about Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. And every year since then, the day has had special meaning.

It's a special day because it means that as a community, of bereaved and non-bereaved, we can come together to honor the lives of those who left us far too soon. Each year we ask our family and friends to join us and light a candle - not just for our boy, but for all those who are missed. The thought is that if everyone lights a candle at 7pm, in all time zones, there will be a worldwide wave of light. It's a lovely thought and even lovelier image. We ask that you light this one candle on this one day, but know that when you do it's every day we miss them. It's every day we ache for them and wonder what life would be like had we never had to lose them in the first place. And know that when you light that candle, it means so much.

It means you haven't forgotten Cale.

It means you still hold him in your heart. And that you miss him too, despite never knowing him.

It means you acknowledge the profound tragedy that was his loss, but also the profound importance that is his life.

It means you acknowledge all forms of pregnancy loss.

It means that you are grieving yourself. For your own loss or that of someone close to you. Or that you're grieving along with us, something that is rare and touching.

It means that you are thankful for the gift of life and grateful for the pregnancies and the children you've been blessed with.

It means that you aren't too shy to reach out.

It means that little actions make a big difference.

It means . . . so much.

So thank you, in advance, for lighting a candle today and honoring all the babies who are loved and missed every day.


October 7, 2013

Good Night, Baby Cale

I have few stories to share that I need to write down before I forget the little details and the sweetness of them.

The first happened about a month ago. Miles had just gotten back from being in the field for several weeks and hadn't gotten much sleep while he was away. The morning after his first night back I got up with Finn and turned off the monitor so it wouldn't wake Miles. When Miles and I went to bed later that night, he passed out quickly, still exhausted from the field, but I stayed up to read. When I went to turn off my light I realized that I hadn't turned the monitor back on from earlier that morning. When I did I was surprised to see that Finn was up (it was after 11 at this point). He wasn't crying really, but he was standing in his crib saying "Mama pick e up" ('me' sounds like 'e') over and over. This wasn't like him so I quickly went into his room where he became a little more frantic "Mama pick e up! Pick e up! Mama hold." I stood at the crib and hugged him (him still standing in the crib) and I rubbed his back and said "You're ok, you're ok. Mama's here. Did you have a bad dream, are you scared?" to which he started to crawl into my arms saying "scared" while shaking his head. Poor little guy. So I picked him up and went to the rocker and he laid his head on my shoulder to "nuggle." We rocked for awhile and I could feel his body relax, though I knew he wasn't asleep. I was about to put him back in the crib when I looked up at Cale's sketch and just thought "no rush, stay where you are" and so I did. I continued to rock him, to comfort him, but really to love on both boys. It was just a sweet moment that I soaked up longer because of Cale. I'm thankful for his reminders to enjoy those moments a bit longer and a bit more fully. We rocked until I started to fall asleep myself and when I put Finn back down, he wasn't asleep, but was much more calm and content. I was too.

The other little story I wanted to share happened last night. We sit in the rocker and read a few books each night before going to bed - just a nice way to settle down for the evening and Finn will remind you each night that it's time to "read book" as he runs to his shelf to fetch a few. Finn's crib is next to the rocker on the wall opposite his dresser. Above his dresser is a framed sketch of Cale:

After we finished reading, I asked Finn to give me a hug and a kiss. I said "I love you" to which he replied "I loff you Mama" (it's the cutest thing, but my favorite was when he told me he loffed me the other week, totally unprompted - in fact it was out of the blue when he said it. . .swoon). Anyway, after we said "night, night and I loff you" I picked him up and he said "Mama nuggle" so I rocked him while standing in front of his crib about to put him down. Just as I went to put him in his crib I hear "good night, baby Cale." I pulled my head back and looked at him and just smiled, totally caught off guard. He was facing Cale's sketch while we were nuggling and I was facing the crib. He said it again, soft and sweet, "good night, baby Cale" so I said "yes, sweetheart - goodnight to baby Cale" and laid him down telling him how much I loved him.

I left the room and cried a few happy tears, thankful for such a sweet boy.

The same boy who tonight asked to "feel belly" while reading stories.

Sweet Finn - I don't know how we got so lucky to have you. But I'm forever thankful we do.

October 6, 2013

Paying it Forward: Acts of Kindness

As I was leaving Target today (note, I did not attend church today, but did attend Target. It seems to be my sanctuary) anyway, as I was leaving I noticed two napkins on the ground in front of the exit. Right next to the trash can. So I bent over, which is no easy task these days, and threw them away. I know that's a very small thing to do, but it made me think of those Liberty Mutual commercials where acts of kindness are witnessed by strangers and passed on in other forms to other strangers. They are totally corny and have silly music, yet I enjoy watching them every time they are on. Here's a link to one in case you've never seen them.

It also reminded me of another task on my 30 Before 30 list. My friend Brandy suggested that I add a "Pay it Forward" act to the list which was a great suggestion. This summer when we moved (just two miles up the road) I decided to thank our mailman and the man who runs the recycling center by giving them just $5 gift cards to Starbucks. I figure they work in what are probably pretty thankless professions and could use a little appreciation. I had to actually give the gift card to the man at the recycling center who seemed very taken back, but very grateful, but the mailman was easier as I just left the card in the old mail box:

I also wanted to pay for someones order in the drive through and when I thought to do this around the same time as giving the gift cards I chickened out. Only reason was because when I looked behind me the car had military decals that indicated the person was an officer and it was a single male driving the car. I figured not only could he afford his order (not that military officers are rich - if that were the case I wouldn't be so pumped about the $10.96 I saved at Target today thanks to the Cartwheel App!), but mostly because I thought it would be strange if I bought some guy his lunch. Even though I'd try to zoom away before he even realized what happened - it just seemed weird and flirty to me, so I rain checked that good deed until about a week ago. This time I was going through a Starbucks drive through and decided that I would just pay for whoever was behind me and try not to even look. Problem was no one showed up behind me! I was paying for my order and about to leave when a car came around! I was awkwardly excited and asked the girl at the counter if I could also pay for the person behind me. She simply said "sure thing!" like it was no big deal and it made me wonder if maybe that happens on a regular basis - I hope so. Anyway, I started to sweat thinking about it too much so quickly left before the person could drive up behind me again as I was waiting to exit the parking lot. I peeked when I drove away and it was a single female this time (not that I know these people are single - just that there was no one else in the car). A thought went through my mind that I hoped she was having a crappy day and that it put her in a better mood and the I realized how silly that is - to wish a crappy day on someone just so you can cheer them up. So hopefully she was already having a good day and will one day pay it forward. My sister-in-law had a similar experience and these things, while little, can really mean a lot at the time. And truth be told it makes you feel good in the process which is just an added perk of getting to do something kind. Though that does remind me of the Friends episode where Joey argues there is no such thing as a selfless good deed:

Happy Sunday!