Tuesday, March 29, 2011

6 Months

6 months ago today, we said hello to our baby girl at 5:46 pm. Then in a blink of an eye, 18 agonizing minutes later, at 6:04 pm, we so very unexpectedly had to say goodbye. We still don't know why or what happened. We got an autopsy, with a few answers, but really there is no real answer. Some days I am okay with it - would knowing why really make it any easier? Other days I cannot keep my mind from wandering and trying to figure it out, still to this day. I try not to think back to September 29th, it's just too painful even 6 months later. Tonight I found myself looking at the clock around 5:30-6ish. Luckily, my eyes did not meet the clock at exactly 6:04.

6 months. A half a year. I wish I could say it gets easier. It doesn't. I have just learned how to deal with it better and better. I am a more experienced griever now. It's really a mind game - focus. If I can keep my mind focused on something else, I can do just about anything. But if I am not expecting something and don't have the mental focus, it's too much. Case in point - I have learned to deal with seeing the baby girl on our street. I have not actually seen her up close yet - but I can see her stroller and her mom in my neighbor's driveway and not have my heart race and tears well up in my eyes. I even walked over there last week when she was out and talked to her mom in person. Her mom, being the nice person that I have learned she is, pushed the stroller into the other neighbor's driveway so I didn't have to really see the baby. However, last week I picked Sierra up early because her baby-sitter was going to a concert. The whole time I was preoccupied with whether or not she was going to walk down. Apparently, so was my other neighbor because she kept looking and it was pissing me off. I was trying to get Sierra to leave before they came down to get the older daughter off the bus, but it is SO hard to get my little social butterfly to leave. Then down the street walked my neighbor, her 3 year old son and the baby. The baby was in her car seat and her mom was carrying it - I guess they had just gotten home and she fell asleep in it. I wasn't expecting that, so I grabbed Sierra and ran across the street just in time. So as you can see, because I wasn't prepared mentally for what happened, I couldn't handle it. And from that point on, I was back to thinking about what I was missing and also about how I felt like such an outsider in my own neighborhood so often. And then I got to talk to a friend who knows and that really helped me feel less alone.

I try not to think about what I thought was going to be. I no longer say "what should have been" because, whether or not I have completely accepted this, there is no should have. Adelyn was not meant to stay here with us, as much as I wish she would have. I wish I could turn back time and change the outcome, every single day. That has not changed, probably never will change. I wonder sometimes if certain things will ever get easier. Will I ever be able to hear about a baby girl being born without aching for mine? Will I ever see sisters laughing and playing without wishing my girls got to do that? Will I ever see a little sister t-shirt without wanting a baby to put in that shirt? Will I ever walk through a children's store and not imagine buying Adelyn certain outfits that catch my eye? Will I ever not feel like something is missing from my heart, my soul, my being? I don't know. I know that I have learned to keep on living, experiencing, laughing even. To most I probably appear to be my old self again. But I'm not. I will never be. Inside there is a scar. I have experienced something that most people cannot ever understand. Some days I just wish everyone I know could spend one day in my shoes, know what it is like (without actually having to lose a child), and then maybe I wouldn't feel so alone and misunderstood like I so often do. Sigh....

Sweet Adelyn, I love you more than you know. I look forward to seeing you again. Until then, I will keep living, breathing, loving life as much as possible, because I know that's what you would want. But I will also keep honoring and remembering you so that others can learn not to take anything in life for granted.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Necklace

I've been meaning to write this post for the LONGEST time. In fact, I took this picture back on November 29th - Adelyn's two months in heaven date.

This is the ONLY picture I will ever have of both my girls' hands. The funeral home who helped us with Adelyn's cremation (we did not have a viewing or service there, it was at chapel by the priest who married us) was so very helpful to us. While the hospital never thought to dress Adelyn in actual clothes, they did and made her look so beautiful for us. It was really a huge step in my healing to see her that way, I think. I was so afraid of what she was going to look like after the autopsy. Anyway, I digress. One of the things they offered us was jewelry with her actual hand or foot print shrunk down and engraved in it. I chose the heart of course, and her handprint because we did not have any images of her handprint.

Since the day the necklace came in - which happened to be on the EXACT one month mark - I don't think I have left the house without it. I get so many comments on it - sometimes just a "I like your necklace" to which I smile and reply "thanks." Little do they know they just made my day. Sometimes it leads to questions about whose handprint it is - which can be ok, depending on the day and who asks. When the four year old at Sierra's baby-sitter's house asked me, I didn't really know what to say. Today one of my Kindergarten students asked me and I just replied "my daughter's". I love when I am wearing it and Sierra touches it while I cuddle with her. I love that every time people see it, they are reminded of Adelyn - at least I hope.

When I first got the idea to take pictures of my necklace with Sierra holding it, I thought of this song. So true.

Monday, March 21, 2011

She's Got a Way

It used to be that every song on the radio I could somehow relate back to Adelyn. Even songs that are about a man loving a woman - they would speak to me about losing Adelyn. Lately, it seems like every song is reminding me of Sierra. Two songs I hear on the radio all the time:

Grenade by Bruno Mars - quite obviously about a man who would do anything for a woman, but she won't do the same. However, these lyrics jump out at me every single time:
I’d catch a grenade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Throw my hand on a blade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’d jump in front of a train for ya (yeah, yeah , yeah)
You know I'd do anything for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Oh, oh
I would go through all this pain,
Take a bullet straight through my brain,
Yes, I would die for ya baby

I remember in my younger years thinking, what crazy person would really die for someone else? And now I totally understand. The part that I like best is about "I would go through all this pain." Because I have thought about how, maybe me going through the pain of losing Adelyn will save Sierra from going through this. Maybe I can do it so she doesn't have to. If that's the case, then I'm ok with it.

Another song always on the radio these days is "Perfect" by Pink. And I am just now realizing that the F word is in this song!! But, the rest of the lyrics in the chorus remind me of Sierra:
Pretty, pretty please
Don't you ever, ever feel
Like your less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like your nothing
You're perfect to me

Often times I get teary eyed thinking about how really perfect she is to me.

But, a song hasn't touched me quite the way this next one did since I heard "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars, way back when I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with Adelyn. That song is referred to as "Sierra's Song" in our family. But...as I was driving home from picking Sierra up yesterday, "She's Got a Way" by Billy Joel came on. I was almost frozen by it, but of course I was driving so I had to keep concentrating. What an amazing song, obviously written by a man about a woman he loves, but I can really relate so much of it to a mother's love for her daughter.
She's got a way about her
I don't know what it is
But I know that I can't live without her
She's got a way of pleasin'
I don't know why it is
But there doesn't have to be a reason anywhere

She's got a smile that heals me
I don't know what it is
But I have to laugh when she reveals me
She's got a way of talkin'
I don't know why it is
But it lifts me up when we are walkin' anywhere

She comes to me when I'm feelin' down
Inspires me without a sound

She touches me and I get turned around
She's got a way of showin'
How I make her feel
And I find the strength to keep on goin'
She's got a light around her
And everywhere she goes a million
Dreams of love surround her everywhere

She comes to me when I'm feelin' down
Inspires me without a sound
She touches me, I get turned around oh oh oh

She's got a smile that heals me
I don't know why it is
But I have to laugh when she reveals me
She's got a way about her
I don't know what it is
But I know that I can't live without her any way

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Little Things

Little things in life - they can make you or break you. I try not to sweat the small stuff, which I think I have definitely gotten better at since Adelyn died. Because now, in the scheme of things, how much of it really matters when my baby is not here with me? Do I really care if the trim in our bedroom is cream and not white? No!! Unfortunately, my husband does. But I won't go there in this post!

On the other side of it, sometimes little things can really make me day. Little things excite me! This week, there seemed to be many little things that both made me smile and made me want to cry.

Let's start with the bad ones first!
~Another baby girl birth announcement at work. Yep, I would have to say that is at least the 7th girl born IN A ROW to teachers in my district since November. Not ONE boy. Every time, it makes my heart hurt for my baby girl. Again, I don't wish my co-workers to lose their babies, but hearing of a baby girl who lives makes me miss mine and wish she was here so much more. And no one seems to understand really. They just comment that you cannot control our peoples lives. Yes, I know. Doesn't make it hurt less though.
~Had a meeting with this 8th grade student's mother, who is YOUNGER than me. Yes, this means she was about 14 when she had her. Yikes! Certainly explains a lot about this student. Anyway, the mother is pregnant again and was complaining about it. Yeah....you are barking up the wrong tree lady. I hate when people are not grateful for the gift the have growing in their belly.
~Potty training. Need I say more. Why can't Sierra seem to make it an entire day without an accident? I am so frustrated! She wants to do it, so it's not like I am pushing her.
~We took Sierra swing set shopping Saturday. There were two little girls about 4 and 2 or so playing together. I saw the future I never get to have flash in front of me.
~There was also this cute little girl climbing up right behind Sierra and so I started talking to her dad. He asked how old Sierra was, then I asked how old his daughter was - 2 1/2. We started talking about how funny they are at that age. Then his wife walked over with a stroller - actually the same exact one we had for Sierra. I didn't look too closely, but I saw baby and a pink blanket. Two little girls, about the age mine should be. And so I could not stop thinking about it the rest of the time we were there.
~Mommy guilt. I find it so hard to balance everything. My husband has been wanting me to drop Sierra off at my parents' house so we could go out, but I don't like to be away from her while I am working, especially not now. But I gave in because I have to be a wife and a mommy. I sure missed her terribly.
~We went out to dinner Saturday night without her. It was nice, but it took 3 stops to find a place that did not have an hour wait. Serves us right for going out last minute on a Saturday night, but what else is new. As we were leaving the restaurant, a little girl about the same age as Sierra wearing a tutu skirt was walking in between her parents. They were lifting her up and it reminded me of what we do with Sierra. It made me smile....until they walked further and I noticed the dad was also carrying an infant car seat in his other hand. There went the smile. My heart sank, again. Why did it seem every family I saw that day had a girl about Sierra's age and a baby? But not us.
~The weather was SO beautiful today. But for some reason, it put me in a worse mood. I couldn't help thinking about being outside with my girls. Adelyn would be almost 6 months now, one of my favorite ages. It made me miss her SO MUCH today.
~Sierra threw a HUGE fit when I came to pick her up a few times this week. She did not want to leave the baby-sitter's house. I wish she would run to me and give me a big hug after not seeing me all day. Nope. Not unless she got in trouble with the baby-sitter!
~I have a cold :(

And now some of the little things that made me smile.
~I had to drop something off at the special education office on Thursday. The secretary loves kids and has pictures of the staff's kids everywhere. Also one of the reasons I avoided going down there for awhile. She does, at least I think, have a soft spot for Sierra. She told me that everyone who comes in says how cute Sierra is and asks whose she is.
~Same office, same day. Our Christmas card is hanging on the wall. I made stickers with Adelyn's footprints to use to seal the envelopes. She saved it and stuck it on the wall right next to our card. That really made my heart happy.
~Sierra's St. Patrick's Day shirt from last year still fit her this year! Her baby-sitter had her face painted all cute when I picked her up that day.
~My neighbor with the baby - someday I will blog about the whole story, I've just been so busy. Anyway, she knew it was going to be nice out and sent me an e-mail because she knew her kids were going to be asking to go outside. It was so nice of her to think of me. I told her that I would be fine if they were out, seeing the stroller was not going to cause me a meltdown anymore. I actually did go over to pick Sierra up when the baby was there, but she had her in the stroller and in the other neighbor's driveway when I got there so I did not have to see her.
~I actually had a conversation with the other mom whose kids go to Sierra's baby-sitter who is due anytime now. I actually asked her about when she was due and when her last day of work was and what hospital she was delivering at. It was a big step for me, and it felt good after I did it. At least I am prepared now.
~Sierra, while sitting on the potty, pointed to her brown skirt and said "look Mommy, my skirt is brown, and poop is brown too, just like your hair." It made me laugh out loud.
~Sierra has taste just like me. While swing set shopping, she walked up to the most expensive one (and we are talking a $7,000 swing set - who buys that?) and said "Mommy, I want this one." Sorry honey! You'll have to get a job to get that one!
~One of my favorite students colored a St. Patrick's Day picture and gave it to me. Then he said "this is for you. You deserve good luck." Aw.
~My kindergarten kids - they get to excited every time I go get them for their sessions. They are too cute. If I can fix the one girl's speech, I will really feel a big sense of accomplishment. It's so awful!
~Seeing the pictures of Adelyn's well :)
~Probably the "little" thing that made my week - at Adelyn's service, we had a pink mini rose bush next to her urn. Pink roses remind me of her. I wanted something that would not die. So, I brought it home and put in in my window above my kitchen sink. I watered it faithfully, but it started to look dead during winter. I thought for sure it was dead, but maybe it just did that in winter like all rosebushes do, even though it was inside. But this week, it started growing new leaves. Green leaves. And they continued. It is ALIVE. It made me SO happy. New life.....a sign of what's to come? I hope!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Tuesday was one of those days that deserves a post of its own. I had 5 IEP meetings scheduled that day. Nice to get them all over with at once (even though I still have about 20 more to go before the end of this school year). But on the other hand, it's a long, somewhat boring day.

So, I walked out to get the mom for the second meeting of the day. And she is sitting there with her 5 month old baby boy on her lap. It took my breath away for a second, and then I just focused on what I had to do. I was nervous about this meeting, not because I thought she would bring her baby to it, but because I was worried she might ask about my baby. Her son that I see is in 4th grade and so he understands a lot - smart kid. We had talked a lot about the babies because his mom was due within days of me. I never actually asked about his brother or when exactly he was born, but I know it had to have been within days of Adelyn. At one point after I came back from my leave, he asked how my baby was doing. They did not tell the little kids what happened, just that some things are personal and not to talk about it. I think my sub told those who asked. I had answered him with "we aren't going to talk about that" and he never brought it up. Hopefully one of the other kids told him. But I was still worried that 1 - he had probably told his mom about his speech teacher being pregnant and 2 - he may not have told her or even knew himself that my baby died. Anyway, the fact that I was worried about this mom asking may actually have helped me. Because I was so on edge about it, that it didn't quite bother me that there was a baby in the room for the entire meeting who was the exact age as Adelyn would be. He was SO cute too - cooing, smiling, eating his shirt. I just LOVE that age. Luckily, the meeting went without a hitch and the mom did not mention a thing. She is one of my favorite moms, so nice and personable and gracious for the help with her son (who is also an absolutely wonderful kid).

I have to admit that the rest of the night, I thought about that baby's face and exactly what I am missing out on. Lately I have been sort of numb about things in general, not happy but not sad and crying when something difficult somes up. Guess that's a good thing, otherwise I could have had a meltdown in the middle of a meeting in front of the principal again!

The rest of my meetings were uneventful. I only missed 2 groups of kids in the midst of doing 5 meetings, so it was a productive day. I still have so much to do, kids to test and reports to write and no time to do it! Ahh. I came home brain dead yesterday!

Today at work I received an e-mail from the teacher who was in the meeting with me. She just wanted to let me know what a good job I did and that she realized how hard it must have been. Then she went on to say that she had been thinking about me the rest of that day/night. I almost cried reading it (hmmm, maybe I'm not so numb after all). I love nice people. I love people who acknowledge things like this and try to understand. If I remember correctly, I think she is the teacher whose husband died years ago. That explains a lot. If there is one thing that comes out of grief, it's being more compassionate to others.

Monday, March 7, 2011


This post is not about what you are probably expecting it to be about after reading its title. It is not a why me post. Yes, that thought most definitely still crosses my mind, mostly every time I hear about a baby girl being born who lives. There is no answer to that question, there will never be an answer.

I am a parent of an almost 3-year-old. I can't believe she is almost 3 and now I refer to her as "almost 3" instead of 2 and a half. Where does the time go? Anyway, as a parent of a toddler, I get the "why?" question often. Very often. So often, that I wonder if there was a record in the Guiness Book of World Records for most "why" questions asked in a particular time period, would my kid's picture be in there next to it?

I get the typical questions all the time. "Why did we get a new TV?" "Why don't we use that stove anymore?" "Why do your underwear have those on them (meaning a design)?" "Why is that green?" "Why does that plane fly over our house?" "Why can't I have that?" I could go on and on.

Then the why questions you never expect to have to answer as a parent. This weekend I was holding Sierra and walked into our bedroom. We were just standing there, I guess I was just loving on her and we happened to stop right in front of the lingerie chest (that's the name of the tall skinny piece of furniture, not what it has in it!). On the top of it is where we keep Adelyn's urn. Sierra knows her baby sister is in there - a while back we showed her it and told her. I'm not sure what she understands, because she also knows that Adelyn is in heaven up in the sky with baby Jesus. (She always refers to Jesus as "baby Jesus." Babies are far more interesting to her I guess). So, here comes the why question - "why is my baby sister in there?" And before I can answer (how do you answer that anyway?) she says "why can't we open it up and see her?" Sigh. Good thing she caught me on a good day. I'm not sure quite how to explain to her that only Adelyn's physical being is in the urn and that her spirit is in heaven. So I just said "well where else is your baby sister?" So we could get on the subject of heaven. It took some prompting, but she did say Adelyn was up in the sky with baby Jesus. Then that led to "why is heaven really far away?" This stems from a previous discussion we had about "why is my baby sister in heaven with baby Jesus?" and "why can't I go there to see her?" and my answer was because heaven is really far away and we can't go right now but someday we will all go to heaven. Sometimes I stumble and say something like when peole get sick they can't stay here on Earth and have to go to heaven, but then I worry she will think I am going to heaven if I just get a cold because she is SO literal. So I stopped myself when I started saying something like that when she was asking about why Adelyn was in the urn.

I hate that I have to answer these questions. I guess at least I can actually talk about it with her now, as opposed to 5 months ago. I think that these questions more than likely stem from conversations she has at her baby-sitter's house about being a big sister. All the other kids have siblings. Two of the girls there (ages 4.5 and 2.5) are about to have another baby sister, so I am sure this is how the topic comes up. Her baby-sitter did tell me the other day that when all the girls are talking about being a big sister (there is also a 3.5 year old girl who has a little brother), that Sierra now chimes in and says "I'm a big sister too. My baby sister is in heaven." Such a bittersweet thing. I love that she knows she is still a big sister. But I'm sad that her sister isn't here with her like all the other kids. One of the other moms told me her daughter (the 3.5 year old) always asks "where's Sierra's baby sister?" Aw.

I think that it all boils down to, is that my kid is just TOO darn SMART!! I think she is really going to give us a run for our money as she grows up. Sure is going to be a fun, but frustrating, ride!