Friday, February 25, 2011

A Friday Full of Death

It's been awhile - almost a whole week. So many times this week I have started posts in my head, but lately I have just been so exhausted that I can't find the time or energy to write. In the past, the blog won out over TV, but lately I have been needing to relax a little so I have been choosing to catch up on my DVR instead of blog. I guess this is a good sign - I do love TV and I didn't watch it for proably two months after Adelyn died. I just had no interest. I am still so behind - I think I have 6 epsidoes of Brothers and Sisters (among others) on my DVR to watch!

I think I have written in the past about how at my work, bulletins are posted when there is a birth or death for any family member in the district. It's posted right by where you sign in and out. Today there were TWO death announcements. I hate seeing them, and everyone always comments about how they don't like them either. Truth is, right now my heart sinks a little more when I see a birth announcement. Especially a baby girl, which I think every single birth announcement since I have been back from my leave has been. I really hate that birth announcements make me sadder than death announcements. I remember last year when one of the employees at Central Office lost her healthy 18 year old daughter in a car accident. That one made my heart sink VERY low. I remember thinking, wow, I just can't even imagine. I didn't even know this woman personally, but my heart broke for her. Little did I know about a year later, we would have a conversation through e-mail about losing our daughters.

Anyway, back to today. I also found out that a 3rd grade student lost her grandmother yesterday. Not quite so out of the ordinary, right? But there is more to the story. The little girl lives with her grandmother, because her mom is in jail and I'm not sure if anyone knows her father's whereabouts. This girl has some issues - she's just a strange little kid. She means well, is very sweet, but it's just a fact that she is odd. I had tested her last year for speech, but she didn't need it - so I know of her. Apparently, she went in and found her grandmother dead, but I guess either blocked it out, didn't know what to do, or didn't realize she was dead. The next morning I guess she went to the neighbors' house and said she missed the bus, can you take me to school? Someone had to call CYS, because this was her only family. Tthere is a cousin or someone that was going to take her and was approved by CYS. I'm not sure if this is permanent though. The little girl was at school today, because they felt it was better than having her around while arrangements were made. Everyone was talking about it, and the guidance counselor was there all day for her if she needed her (she usually is not there the days I am there because we share a room). They said every now and again she would just start saying "I miss my grandma." My heart broke, because I can relate. And because no 10-year-old little girl should have to know this pain, live this life full of grief. Especially this little girl - hasn't she been through enough as it is?

Of course the topic of conversation at lunch was whether she should have been at school today and everyone shared experiences of death and their children - mostly when their children lost grandparents, that they did send them to school while arrangements were made. Then everyone started talking about all the things you have to do, how crazy it is, and how children just handle things differently. Of course my mind went to Sierra, wondering what she thought those days because she was there through it all. And then the topic of grief came up, and how this little girl seemed okay now but it just may hit her hard later and how you just never know. The whole time I just sat and listened, and really did not want to be a part of a conversation about funerals and death. But when this came up, I had to chime in. There is another teacher that eats lunch with me who also lost a child - her teenage son died a few years ago. We have talked a few times about it, she has offered to listen and be there for me whenever. So I looked at her and just said, well I know and you know, that grief is unpredictable and you never know when it will pop back up or what will cause it to pop back up, but it will. She looked at me and said "you got that." I can't remember if it was before or after this that she shared that this weekend is the "anniversary." I instantly knew what she meant. Sigh. She and her family will be on my heart and in my prayers this weekend.

The sad thing is there was another student whose 30 year old father died a few weeks ago, and a student at another school lost his mother last week. Why? Children should not have to experience this.

What I realized after this day was over, was really how blessed I am. I watched my husband and Sierra sing and dance to "If You're Happy and You Know It." The big smile on her face says it all. My kid is so happy. She doesn't know any of the struggles that some kids her age have already faced. She doesn't even realize the sadness the rest of us do about her little sister. She knows she has a sister and that "she is in heaven up in the sky with Jesus." It's not sad to her, it just IS.

Three deaths happened between yesterday and today. Three more families are struggling right now. Let's hope it stops there as long as possible. I don't want anyone else joining the "grief club." Please send your prayers out to these families tonight.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

These Shoes

I've read this poem on several other blogs, and I have always felt like it was so accurate. I wish every single person could read this, and maybe they just might "get" how I feel just a little bit better. Lately I feel like I am getting the pity stares, especially from my neighbors. They all know I am REALLY struggling with the new baby on the street, but yet not one person has actually asked how I am doing with it or even mentioned a word about it. I just want someone to say "I'm sorry this is so hard for you. Is there anything we can do to make it easier?" Nope - instead they all stand outside and "ooh" and "aahh" over the baby. Sigh. At least she wasn't outside on Friday when I got home. I honestly felt a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I swear my blood pressure must have been out the roof these past few days, that's how much stress this has been causing me. My heart actually physically hurt on Friday, which was worrying me, but normally this only happens when I am REALLY stressed. When I came home to no baby outside, I felt like my blood pressure dropped and my heart hasn't hurt since.

It's like I'm right back at the beginning again, the sight of that baby is making me relive losing Adelyn, grieve for her all over again because I so long for it to be ME out there pushing my newborn. We were supposed to BOTH be doing it, our girls were supposed to play together :(

So, this goes out to all my neighbors this week. I know they are all thinking - especially the neighbor who had the baby - "I am SO glad that is not me." It's ok, I wish it wasn't me, too. I REALLY wish it wasn't me. Lately, as I read the birth announcements and see the living babies of women who were pregnant with me, I have been feeling the "why me?" again.


I wear a pair of shoes
They are ugly shoes
Uncomfortable shoes
I hate my shoes
Each day I wear them and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step
Yet, I continue to wear them
I get funny looks wearing these shoes
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs
They never talk about my shoes
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don't hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt
No woman deserves to wear these shoes
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and Taxes

I have a lot to say today. Seems like the reminders just keep coming lately. But what else is new? I sighed less today, although there were many moments during free time at work where I just sat and stared off.

Tomorrow we have an IEP meeting for this little 2nd grader. He has the nicest mother, last year we would write back and forth in a little communication log so I would know what he had been doing and what to try to get him to talk about. So she knew I was pregnant and even bought me a baby gift. I was thinking that she did know what happened, but I wasn't sure. So I decided to ask the learning support teacher who runs his meeting if the mother knew. She wrote back saying that she did think the mother knew, but that she needed to call her about something else and if it was ok with me, she could talk to her about it so I wouldn't have to worry about it tomorrow. So sweet. Of course I said that was fine. She also said she was always there if I needed to talk. This teacher recently had a little boy in August. I wrote back telling her of how this week was difficult and of the whole neighbor situation. She wrote back saying she was sorry things were difficult lately and she completely understood me not wanting to see babies anytime soon. Then she said how much she loved Adelyn's name and would love to hear all about her someday. It almost made me cry. Seriously, something as simple as that can just really make my day. If only everyone was so sensitive......

I walked down to get my lunch and saw one of the school psychologists working at a computer. I joked with her about the high school keeping her busy this year. Typically, there is not much testing going on because all the kids are already identified. So she started talking and then says "yeah, well I want to get all this done before I'm all big and pregnant and don't want to do anything at all." There was another teacher standing there, who then said, "Oh, are you pregnant?" And the psychologist answers "Yep, it wasn't really planned so I'm just trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I am going to be somebody's mother." If you could have heard her tone of voice, it was like she was annoyed that she "accidentally" got pregnant and didn't really want this baby. I wanted to scream at her "Why would you say that in front of me? Don't you know how much I wanted MY baby?" But instead, I got all sentimental and started talking about how wonderful motherhood is and how everything would fall right into place and how you just don't know how much you can love someone until you have a child. Then I said I'd let her get back to work and walked away. On my walk back up to my room, I was so pissed but yet I was sort of smiling to myself. I guess I was proud of myself for being "the bigger person" and not saying something rude back to her. This person, mind you, is the same one that somehow did not see the bulletin that announced Adelyn's birth and death that is posted right by where we sign in and out for the day. One day back in December, she sent me an e-mail about a student and congratulated me on the new addition. Then someone told her and she felt awful, but I guess not awful enough to watch what she said around me.

Then, as I was signing out of the High school to drive over to the middle school for a meeting, I saw a new birth annoucement. Of course, another baby girl. Seriously, does anyone have boys??? I could scream. And the person who had the baby is not one of my favorite teachers. Every time I send out e-mails asking for input for a student's IEP, he NEVER responds. How rude. But his baby gets to live.

We had a speech department meeting later in the day, and it was nice to see all the other "speech people." Being a speech therapist in a world of teachers can get lonely, so I truly enjoy getting to spend time with these ladies, who "get it." However, I found myself staring off into space again and just thinking "I don't really care." Maybe I was thinking back to the last meeting that I went to back when I was still on my leave and I felt that same way? Who knows.

I left work about 45 minutes later than I am usually done, because I was talking. Of course, the neighbor with the baby was out again. I was annoyed. So I shut the blind right by the computer so I wouldn't have to see her while I checked my e-mail. One of the other moms brought Sierra over to me so I didn't have to go over there. We talked a little bit, I was trying to get advice on what to do about this neighbor. I can't sit in my house and wait for her to leave every day, but I just cannot bring myself to go over there. I remember back to very soon after Adelyn died, and the first mom I talked to who had been through a similar experience told me she had certain friends she could go to to talk about her baby. That is so true, and I am so thankful for those friends. It's strange that some of them are not who I expected them to be.

I was super tired tonight and did not feel like cooking. Thankfully, we had leftovers. Trevor retreated upstairs right after dinner and started working on our taxes. I was annoyed because I was just so tired, I wanted him to give me a few minutes and take care of Sierra. But he could not stop working on the taxes. Who knew that Adelyn would pop up on them? We can claim her, but I wasn't sure if we needed a social security number, which we do not have. We can get one, but what's the point? So we filled in her information but left out her social security number. Then this "special circumstance" prompt popped up:
You must enter a Social Security number unless Adelyn was a child who was born and died in 2010.
Select all of the following that apply.
Adelyn died in 2010.
Except for hospitalization, Adelyn lived with me during the time Adelyn was alive.
None of the above

So I checked the first two, and another alert popped up. It says that in the social security box, instead of the number since she does not have one, it would say "died." Nice. It said we cannot e-file and MUST send a copy of her birth certificate in with our taxes. Which means I must copy that dreaded thing with the big "deceased" stamp on it. Nice. As I said before, I am happy that the state at least acknowledges her existence. And that once we marked that she died, our refund went up a good chunk of change. Not exactly sure why......and even though I'd much rather have my baby, I guess a few extra dollars is better than nothing at all.

So, today brought some good, some bad, and reminders even in our taxes. Such is my life, if it's not one thing, it's another.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Today was one of those days where I just could not stop sighing all day long. Almost from the moment I woke up, the sighs just started. I read somewhere that sighing is an expression of grief, so I guess I am grieving today.

Tuesdays I usually spend the entire day at the elementary school, but today I had to run to the high school for a meeting - during my prep, of course. I don't need one of those! So anyway, as I am driving "Tears in Heaven" comes on. Instead of switching the station, I torture myself and listen to it. I'm practically in tears as I get to the high school - it's not a far drive. So I pull myself together and pray that this parent knows what happened or doesn't ask anything. I think I was very pregnant the last time I saw her. Meeting goes well, she doesn't mention a thing - but does ask how I am doing and I cheerfully reply "good." I hate being fake!

I stopped to chat with two of my favorite coworkers before heading back to the elementary school. It was sunny out, which maybe lifted my mood a bit. As I was driving back, "My Girl" came on the radio and I got all teary eyed again. This time it was because it reminded me of Sierra - "I've got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it's cold outside, I've got the month of May. I guess you'd say, what can make me feel this way? My girl....." Immediately after this song, came "Only the Good Die Young." Ugh!

Back to work and the day went pretty fast. Still sighing though. I was thinking to myself how it was getting nice out and with that comes the dread of seeing my neighbor's baby girl. I could feel it today, I just knew she was going to be out. So far, I have only seen her outside with the baby once through my window and my heart sank. I drove onto my street and outside are 4 neighbors - Sierra's baby-sitter (who lives directly across the street from us), the woman who lives right next door to her, the woman who lives right next door to me, and the one with the baby. My heart started beating so fast. I waved and pulled into my driveway, and barely made it into my garage before the tears came. I just wanted to punch something, I felt so angry. I have to admit, many days I feel this way a little bit because all these women are home enjoying the kids while I am at work. Ok, obviously Sierra's baby-sitter is working and the other neighbor works, too - but her schedule is flexible so she is often home during the day with the kids. It just bugs me sometimes, that I have to work. But that's another post in itself.

So now I was stuck - today I was just NOT in the mood. I know it is not this woman's fault, but it is not my fault either. I just could not have been happy/nice to her, so I did not want to go over. So I sent the baby-sitter a text asking if someone could just walk Sierra over to our house because I was just not in the mood to see that baby (sad that I never even bothered to ask what her name is - I really just don't care to know). She did not write back, so then I thought I should look to see if the baby was gone, but I didn't want them to see me peeking out my window like a weirdo. I HATE this, hate it, hate it. I hate that I feel uncomfortable in my own house, like I need to hide out. Thankfully, our kitchen and family room are in the back of the house. But still. If this is what summer is going to be like, maybe I should move. I just don't see me getting over this anytime soon. I am not even sure why that baby bothers me more than any other one. Heck, I see babies when I am out shopping and I can look at them - sometimes I probably stare, not realizing it. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's a dagger in the heart, but just a little one. This baby is the biggest dagger there is. I think it is mostly due to the fact that I feel like she is infringing on MY space, my house, my comfort zone. I don't feel like I should be made to feel that uncomfortable in my own house. I'm not sure what to do about it. I guess I feel like that mother doesn't work so she has all day to hang out over there with all the kids, can she just give me my space at least a couple afternoons per week? I'm hoping she maybe realized when I never came out to pick Sierra up - or that maybe someone will tell her. I don't get how she could NOT think it would bother me? I mean, I have to pick up my kid and she's standing there wearing her baby in full view of me. OUCH. I know this is me overreacting, but it comes off to me as flaunting that baby in MY space. I know she is not, but this is how my crazy mind thinks of it.

I used to love my neighborhood, how there were young families everywhere. All of our kids are so close in age, it's like one huge play date every day from 3:30-5 in my neighbor's driveway when it's nice out. But now, I think I wish I lived around all old people that didn't procreate like it's nothing. I mean, all these women have a 100% success rate - meaning 3 pregnancies, 3 healthy kids, 2 pregnancies, 2 healthy kids. And then there's me - 25%. 4 pregnancies, 1 healthy, breathing child. Granted, she's a special one and if I had to go through every single thing I did, just to have her exactly as she is, you bet I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. But sometimes it is so hard to think that way, when it seems like everyone else has it easier/better. Today was definitely one of those days.

I still really hope that baby is not outside tomorrow when I get home from work.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dos and Don'ts

Wow, it's been awhile. It has certainly been a rough week. I just haven't even had the energy to write. So many times I have written posts in my head, but then decided maybe I shouldn't write that, or just plain got too exhausted and went to bed instead. But this one has been brewing for quite awhile. So many people have said the stupidest things to me lately, and sometimes I want to reach out and slap them, or punch them through the computer screen. Really?

So, here is a list to help those who can't seem to get it right. And for the select few who have, thank you. I wouldn't be sane without you.

1. Don't tell me how I should or should not be feeling. If I am shutting myself up in the house and crying all day every day, then you can say something. But if I am sad and nonfunctional for a day here and there, let me be. I NEED to be. It's part of this journey. I cannot push my feelings aside and pretend to be happy all the time. Sometimes I am genuinely happy, never thought I'd say that. Sometimes I am miserable and I have to fake being happy - especially at work or in front of Sierra. Sometimes I am miserable and I have nowhere I have to be, so I let myself cry and mope. I am allowed. My baby is dead - enough said.

2. Don't tell me what I should or should not do or whether I should avoid something or not. If I want to avoid the neighbor who had a baby girl two months after Adelyn died because just seeing her through the window makes my heart sink, let me. Don't criticize me for it. Why should I choose to be around things that make me feel uncomfortable, like I want to sink right down into the ground and disappear? If I want to wait to pick Sierra up until after the mom who is having a baby girl in March picks her newborn up (when she returns to work), what's wrong with that? Can't you understand how hard it will be for me to see everyone ooh and ahh over someone else's baby? Yes, they have EVERY right to do it, babies are gifts. But I just can't. Not now.

3. Don't compare my loss to yours. I'm sorry, unless you lost a baby, it doesn't even compare. I truly believe we all have our crosses to bear, but you cannot compare them. Especially when your "cross" happened 20 years ago. Mine is very fresh. Losing a parent is not something I ever want to experience, but losing a child is unnatural.
"A wife who loses a husband is called a widow.
A husband who loses a wife is called a widower.
A child who loses his parents is called an orphan.
But...there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that's how awful the loss is!"
- Neugeboren 1976, 154

4. Don't attempt to make me feel better by telling me that I should be grateful for the child I have. I KNOW this, and I AM. Don't tell me that there are people out there who cannot have children, or lost their firstborn. Yes, I completely acknowledge that this would be harder. But it does NOT take away from the pain I feel at losing my baby. Just because I have one child does not make it ok for me to have lost my second born. Losing a child is losing a child, no matter if it was your first, second or tenth.

5. Don't pretend like nothing happened or that everything is ok. Just because I am laughing and smiling does not mean I am "healed." I am still hurting, every second of every day.

6. Don't happily discuss pregnancy or your new baby in front of me if at all possible. You have every right to talk about it, but most days I just don't want to hear about it. There may come a time when I am ready, and I will ask you questions to let you know that I am ready and able to talk about those things.

7. Don't tell me how "excited" you are about your pregnancy or baby! I know you are, you have every right to feel that way. But what you don't realize is that hearing it is a slap in the face. I want to scream at you "So was I!" I'll never be able to be excited about pregnancy again, it will always be an "if" not a "when."

8. Don't tell me to get over it or move on! How can you get over the death of your baby? I don't want to move on, I don't want to forget her. She's part of who I am.

9. Don't think that the fact that my loss has made you more nervous about your pregnancy makes me feel better. While it does comfort me to know that you are not taking it for granted, it also makes me feel quilty that my experience has now also tainted your pregnancy and caused you to worry more.

10. Do ask me how I am doing occasionally. Ask how things are going, how I am feeling, what I have been doing to honor Adelyn. If I don't want to talk, I'll tell you. It's nice to know people still care and want to know.

11. Do think before you speak. Put yourself in my shoes for just a moment. I know it's hard, but what you don't realize is I do it ALL the time. Do you know how many times I have wanted to make a comment? I know people do not mean to say things to hurt me, but that doesn't mean it still doesn't hurt. For example, I have been in conversations where people complained about having 2 kids in diapers - I could only wish I was dealing with that instead of what I am dealing with, but I bite my tongue and say nothing. When people post on Facebook "we are having a healthy baby girl" I want to scream "that's what I thought" - but I don't. No one would want to be around me if I spoke my true thoughts all the time. Talk about a Negative Nancy.

12. Do listen. Even though you don't understand, sometimes I just need someone to listen and validate my feelings. Just say I'm sorry you are feeling that way, or that's hard, something. Don't make me feel guilty about how I am feeling. Trust me, I do that for myself. I don't like feeling jealous or sad about someone else's happy news, but I can't help it.

13. Do tell me if something made you think of Adelyn or our family. It is not going to upset me, I am ALWAYS thinking about her. It makes me happy to know that others still remember her, and I like to hear about what made you think of her.

14. Be patient with me. This is a long road, and there is no set time on getting through it. Everyone travels it at their own pace.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I Miss You

I went to bed early last night - before 11 was early for me. At about 11:20 I woke up, but I'm not sure if I was actually asleep yet. I thought I heard music. What was it? Then I looked at my clock to see the time and it was flashing - the power had gone out. I realized that the music was coming from Sierra's room - her Alvin and the Chipmunks CD was playing. I guess when the power went off and back on again, the CD started playing. Funny!

This morning I woke up and something random made me think of Adelyn. I can't remember exactly what it was, I think I was thinking about someone else who is pregnant, that usually does it. And so today, I just really missed her. My arms were aching for my baby girl. So I started thinking - how do you miss someone you never really knew? I felt her in my womb for 41 weeks, but did I really know her? All these questions came to my head: How do you miss someone you never heard cry? How do you miss someone you never heard laugh? How do you miss someone you never saw smile? How do you miss someone when you never saw their eyes? How do you miss someone whose personality you never knew? What kind of things would she have liked - would she be like Sierra, and love babies? Would she be outgoing and fun loving or quiet and shy? I guess we'll never know. But how can I miss someone so much, when I know nothing about who she was, or was going to be?

So I started thinking more. All this went on while I was at work. Not a productive day. Wednesdays are boring for me and I always struggle to motivate myself, as I am at the high school and there are not many kids still needing speech there. I decided that I guess it's not really Adelyn that I am missing. She was never here with us, so there is nothing to miss. Our family is the same as it always was, but yet different at the same time. What we miss is living the dream, the life we thought we were going to have. The littlest things - I was watching American Idol tonight and one of the contestants started talking about how she wanted to provide for her daughters. I heard that word, and BAM - missing her again. I can never talk about my daughters like that. I miss being able to rock and snuggle a newborn, to shop for cute girly clothes and bows that we don't need, to dress my girls in matching outfits, to watch Sierra be a little mommy to her little sister. I miss hearing my baby cry and laugh, or seeing her smile. I miss the infant car seat in my car, and lugging two girls across the street to the baby-sitter's house. I miss having to worry about pumping at work. I miss rocking a baby to sleep. I miss watching her grow up. I miss everything.

And this song came to mind. Sometimes music can say exactly what I have a difficult time putting into words.