Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is almost over.  I sit here in the quite thinking.....missing Adelyn more than I have in awhile.  Maybe it's because all the hustle and anticipation is over and the "after holiday" let down has started - when I feel that way it always brings up my grief a little more.  Maybe it's just the time of year.  Maybe it was seeing my living kids get showered with presents and Adelyn can't get any.  It's probably a combination of it all.

We had a good Christmas, despite me hiding one of Sierra's presents so well I couldn't find it.  I was so frustrated yesterday I wanted to cry.  I looked everywhere and still nothing.  She wanted a Gingersnap dress up outfit and a ginger baby doll.  Gingersnap is from Strawberry Shortcake, the 2003 version.  So, neither of these things exist.  It took a LOT of work on my part to come up with these, but it was worth it seeing this face:
Anyway, the outfit wasn't too hard to make up - jeans, a white shirt (I added a picture of Gingersnap and created it on CafePress, love that site), a pink cardigan and a bucket hat with a gingerbread man on the brim.  Got it all pieced together, and was SO excited to see her face.  Except I couldn't find the pink cardigan shirt.  I bought it at Old Navy a few weeks back, I even remember what else I bought the same day.  One thing is a coat that is hanging in her closet for next year.  Figures I can find that but not what I need.  I was so frustrated about it, but gave up looking around midnight on Christmas Eve and grabbed a pink long sleeve shirt instead.  Sierra did notice and said the pink shirt was supposed to go over the other shirt, I felt awful at that point.  I told her that Santa sent me a message saying he lost it or it fell off his sleigh and he would send it to her via her elf next week.  Now should I buy another one or see if it turns up?  If I wait, it won't turn up and if I buy another one it will!

The Ginger baby also has a story....I did find a Gingersnap doll on Ebay and showed it to Sierra and asked her if that was what she wanted.  Nope, she wanted it to be "born baby" (what she calls a newborn baby) without hair.  Ah!  So when we got down our Christmas decorations from the attic, I had Trevor grab a few bags of toys from up there.  I found one with 2 baby dolls, I thought they were 18 inches like American Girl dolls but they were only 14 inches I think.  I knew they were up there, I had been trying to decide what to do with them.  Sierra needs another doll as much as she "needs" more clothes!  But, I remember when I bought them.  It was almost 3 years ago, during an after Christmas sale.  I bought 2 because they were so cheap and made by the same brand of dolls I collected as a kid.  When I found out Adelyn  was a girl, I planned on giving one to her and one to Sierra.  One was a baby and one had hair like a "big sister" type doll.  Perfect.  Of course I never gave them because Sierra always had a specific doll she wanted the past 2 years.  Then I thought I should just give them away becuase Sierra only plays with one doll really.  But I couldn't because of the memory attached to it.  So I made this baby into the ginger baby - found a gingerbread doll outfit, gingerbread diaper, made a gingerbread bow and found doll jeans/white shirt like Gingersnap wears and put a gingerbread man on it.  I was proud of it, and glad I found a use for the baby that was sort of bought for Adelyn.  In case you are wondering, here is the outfit and doll:
And here is what Gingersnap looks like on the older version of Strawberry Shortcake:
Coen got mostly "recycled" and hand me down toys.  He is too little to understand, so why spend money on things he doesn't need?  I'm actually impressed with how little we spent this year, makes me happy to not have to worry about a large credit card bill!  And everyone is very  happy with their presents.
As for me, my favorite gifts:

I just wish there was a 2 year old girl in the middle instead of a pink tree.....

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


12/12/12 was the date of the annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Memorial Service at the hospital where Adelyn was born.  We have gone every year.  I can't believe this is the 3rd one, the 3rd Christmas without Adelyn.

Back in 2010, it was the first time I had been back in that hospital since leaving without Adelyn.  It was hard, but I'm so glad I went.  It was here that I first met a fellow baby loss mom who had lost her precious baby girl exactly two weeks after Adelyn, in the same hospital.  And, if you can believe it, she stayed in the same room as I was in with Adelyn.  When I was at the hospital again to have Coen, the nurse that helped me the day Coen was born and also the day I was discharged, was the same nurse that took care of her when her baby was born/died.  Just one more way the two of us are connected....her daughter's name is Addy (short for Adeline).  Isn't that crazy?  I truly believe our girls brought us together.  She has been a great support for me these past two years.  We don't often find the time to get together, but we text a lot and she always understands.  Although our situations are different in other ways - mainly she doesn't have any other living children, yet - we were going through the same things at the same time, in simlar "stages" of grief also.  She was even brave enough to come up to the family birth center to see Coen the day he was born because she was there for one of the support group meetings.  I might add that this was only a few days before her daughter's first birthday in Heaven.

Anyway, back to this year's service.  My stomach was in knots on the way.  Over 2 years and even after the birth of a healthy baby at that hospital, and I still don't like the place very much.  Of course Sierra had to use the bathroom almost as soon as we got there.  I dreaded it.....because the smell of the soap there makes me sick.  It reminds me of being there after Adelyn died.

The kids behaved rather well.  Sometimes I wish we wouldn't bring them, so we can hear the speakers and socialize afterwards a bit more.  But, I want my kids to be involved and to remember Adelyn with us.  There aren't many memories of her, but we can form new memories as a family as we do things to remember her.  Plus, after being away from my kids all day, I hate to leave them at night too.

There was a speaker there who lost her son in a car accident 31 years ago, and she is also a certified grief counselor.  I found myself nodding in agreement to so many things she said.  Actually to everything she said.  I wish other people could hear her speak, so they could get how I feel, and realize that it is normal.  I will never get "over" it, I will never be the old me, and I don't need to go to counseling to talk with someone who has never experienced this.  I don't see how in the world they could help me.  Because yes there are stages of grief, but it's not like you go through the stages and that's it, you are done grieving.  As the speaker said, you are never done grieving.  We will grieve for our children until the day we die.  Grief comes and goes, it has its peaks and valleys over time.  Certain times will probably always cause a peak in my grief, like the month of September and the holidays.  Other things are random.  For example, I'll go weeks of listening to Sierra talk about a little girl at her baby-sitter's house who is around the age Adelyn would be and it doesn't phase me.  And then it will hit me that this is what it would be like to see her with her little sister and my heart sinks.

Hearing this woman talk about how her son died on the way to that very hospital, and how she couldn't step foot in it for a couple years - it made me feel "normal".  In fact it made me feel pretty good, it only took me a few months.  And also hearing that 31 years later, she is still grieving and still does things in her son's memory, validates how I feel.  Often times, that's all I want, are my feelings validated.  I don't want to be told to move on, or get over it, to seek counseling, that I should be grateful for my living kids, that at least I have other kids.....etc.  All things the speaker talked about.  She referred to people who haven't lost a child was "civilians" which I thought was kind of funny, but fitting.  Losing a baby puts you in the club no one wants to be in - the "baby loss mom" club.  No one else will ever understand.

All in all, even though it is still hard to go in that hospital, I am glad we went.  It was nice to talk to others in the "club", even if it was briefly.  And even if I am exhausted tonight because we didn't get home till after 9, and by the time we put the kids to bed, did dishes, packed lunches and got everything ready for the next day - I didn't get in bed until midnight.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Season Guilt

So it's well in to the holiday season and I'm feeling guilty.  Adelyn's tree is one of my favorite decorations, yet I haven't finished it yet.  It's up, and I turn it on, but barely half the ornaments are on it yet.  What is wrong with me?

I am just so busy, and we've all been sick.  I think Coen is finally on the mend, he went back for his check up Wednesday and no more wheezing and his ears seemed to be clearing per the dr.  I was annoyed at the appointment, because they weighed him and according to their charts, he gained 2 pounds in 5 days?  No one noticed until I brought it up, then the dr. was just like "oh yeah they probably weighed him wrong."  Didn't offer to reweigh or anything.  So now when he goes back it will look like he lost weight.  And since he was well enough he finally got his 12 month shots.  Poor baby has been through so much.....and let's add a reaction to the shot to the mix.  He got a huge welt and red mark on his arm.  I feel SO bad.  I hate shots.  It must hurt, and I feel guilty I did that to him.

I did manage to get Christmas pictures and they turned out cute.  I just ordered my cards there, I figued there was no way I could get the kids to cooperate to take my own pictures.  I tried to take a matching PJs picture in front of the tree after we got it up last weekend, and I was glad I just ordered the cards.

My problem with ordering the cards, is that Adelyn is not represented in them at all.  I try to include her in a subtle way, so as not to make anyone uncomfortable or take away the joy of the season and the happiness we feel for our two living kids.   I've just been so rushed in all aspects of life that I hadn't put much thought into it.  Perhaps an ornament with her name on it would have been a nice idea to put in the pictures (remember that for next year please!).  If I took my own pictures, I would probably either include Adelyn bear or her pink tree in the pictures.  Or, even do a collage style and put her butterfly footprints as one of the pictures.  Last year I included the words "faith hope love" which remind me of her, and each of my kids.  I saw a card somewhere that had those words and I wish I could have used it.

So I started feeling very guilty and needed to find a way to include her.  I started with a label to put on the back of the card, with her footprints and a small quote.  Then it printed off the labels and I decided people may not look at the back of the card.  So I went out and bought clear labels and printed her footprint to stick on the card by our names.  But it doesn't show up well on the card and I didn't like it.  Frustrating!  I settled on printing her butterfly footprint on a white label after all, cutting it out and sticking it in the top corner, since she watches over us.  I like it.  Next year I will do better though.

I was sitting here cutting the excess white off the footprints and sticking it to 40 some cards.  The things we do for our children.  Adelyn, I hope you are watching - I am doing this for me and for you, to be sure you are not forgotten.  I miss you, and have been thinking a lot about what we would be buying for you this year.  At 2 years old, Sierra was into dolls and Dora.  Instead I am buying balls and trucks.....my how life can turn out so different than what you expected.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Round 3

We are on round 3 of antibiotics for Coen's ear infection.  He first got sick way back on his 12 month well check, almost 2 months ago.  He had an ear infection and a cold, and was wheezing a little.  The doctor didn't feel it was bad enough to give him breathing treatments.

So he took the antiobiotics and seemed better by his birthday party.  But I guess he wasn't, because when we went back for the ear recheck, he ended up running a fever the day before.  And the ear infection hadn't cleared, so we got stronger antibiotics.

After about 5 days on the medicine, he finally seemed better again.  Then, as soon as he finished the medicine, he started with a cold.   And he still has it.

And what do you know, at his ear recheck both ears are still infected.  And the doctor heard him wheezing and sent us with breathing treatments.  Coen hated the first one in the doctor's office, screamed the whole time.  But since we have done them at home without the mask, he likes to put the adult mouthpiece in his mouth and doesn't fight it as much.  We also got another antibiotic for the ears.

I'm hoping this will clear him up.  His ears had no chance to drain since he has constantly had a cold.  It doesn't help that Sierra and Trevor are coughing and a bunch of the kids at their baby-sitter's house have been sick too.

I hate my baby being sick.  He has to go back again on Thursday to check his lungs.  I really don't see that the breathing treatments are necessary, as I never noticed him wheezing and he isn't acting sick.  He is sleeping fine, eating fine - just a tad crankier than usual at night before bed.  But, if it makes him get better faster, I will do it.  It's 3 times a day, which means I am going to have to get up at least 15 minutes earlier during the week to give it to him before work.  I already get up at 5:40......so I will have to get up even earlier than I did when I pumped.  Not liking this one bit.

Really hoping there is no round 4 because then we will probably be heading towards ear tubes.  I know it's not a big deal, but the thought of watching my baby be wheeled away for surgery leaves me in a state of panic already.  This is why I cannot allow myself to think ahead.....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'Tis the Season

'Tis the seaon for sickness.....

Last week Coen must have had an upset stomach and had many yucky diapers, which caused diaper rash.

Then Sierra got sick on Thanksgiving and almost didn't make it to the bathroom in time.  She said her tummy hurt, poor thing, but seemed to be better the next day after many trips to the bathroom.  So, I guess I totally jinxed her in my last post when I said she had been healthy.

Then there is the coughing.  As if it wasn't bad enough to hear this student at work with most annoying cough ever that lasted forever, I have also been hearing coughing at home for at least the past two months.  First Trevor, then Coen, Sierra started last week, and Trevor is back to coughing after a few weeks of being "cured."  All three of them coughing away.

So, we are still sick in this house.  I'm about ready to rip the whole house apart and lysol it over and over.  I'm done with sickness and it's only the beginning of "sick season."

Coen has his ear recheck on Friday and I'm really nervous.  I don't think it's going to be clear.  Considering he has had a runny nose and a little cough since he finished his antibiotics two weeks ago.

Hence the reason I haven't posted much in awhile.  I have started so many posts in my head, but have been too tired and busy to write them.  I hate that!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Still Sick

Well time is moving along and we are STILL sick here.  Coen finally seemed to be on the mend after a VERY crank weekend (last weekend), then he woke up the next day with a runny nose.  Now he's been coughing a lot at night and just has yucky things coming out of his nose.  And tonight my throat is sore, leaving me to believe I am catching his cold.  Really?

Last night he was coughing a lot after we put him to bed.  I was worried, but didn't want to go in and risk waking him up.  Learned that lesson when we went in his room while he was napping and he woke up and wouldn't go back to sleep.

As I was getting ready for bed, I realized I hadn't heard him cough for awhile.  I had a moment of panic, similar to those I experienced when he was a newborn and sleeping.  I worried that he had choked on his mucous and was quiet because he was dead.  I was frozen in fear, so much that I couldn't even go check on him.

Then in the morning, Sierra came running into our room and woke me up by staring at me.  She had this look on her face like something was wrong, and I panicked again.  I thought she was going to tell me she went into Coen's room to put her pull up in the diaper genie (yes she still wears pull ups to bed and more often than not pees in them....that's another topic entirely) and he wasn't moving or something.

And then I heard him cough.  Never thought I'd feel that much relief from having my sick baby cough...again.

I hate how anxious and overprotective I am.  I guess it is never going to change either.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Germs, Germs Go Away!

This fall has not been kind to our  house.  Except maybe to Sierra.  She's been pretty  healthy.  I hope I didn't just jinx her.

I swear one of us has been sick since I went back to work.  Colds, stomach issues, ear infections, coughs....you name it.

Poor Coen got his first ear infection at his one year check up.  After one dose of antiobiotics, he seemed to be on the mend.

Fast forward three weeks, the day we were to return to the doctor for an ear recheck and his shots, since he didn't get them at his well check.

He woke up and didn't seem like himself.  He had no fever, so I guilt-i-ly took him to the baby-sitter's house.  I said I thought maybe he was getting sick.  When I checked up on him later that day she said he was ok.  But then he spiked a fever an hour or two after this.  I decided to still take him to the doctor appointment (even though he couldn't get the shots due to having a fever) to be sure the ear infection had cleared.

It didn't.  So, we are on round two of antiobiotics and Augmentin is not our friend.  Coen doesn't like how it tastes so is starting to spit it back out.  It causes yucky diapers, so must be upsetting his tummy because he still isn't eating like normal.  It also gave Coen a rash, which the on-call nurse said was not a allergic reaction but just a common side effect.  Now I am confused because Sierra had a similar rash and they said she was allergic?

I am not sure what else is going on, but I want my sweet, happy boy back.  His fever has been gone for a few days, but he is still not himself.  He is cranky from the time he wakes up from his afternoon nap until I put him to bed. It's worse than when  he was an infant!  The past few nights he has woken up crying, which he hasn't done since he was 2 months old.  I am wondering if he is also teething because he keeps chewing on his fingers.  That would explain a lot, but I don't see any new teeth.

Hubby and I have also been sick off and on.  It's not fun.  I am hoping this is not a sign of how our winter is going to be.  Last year I made it from December when I went back to work to June without taking one sick day (because I didn't have any).  At least this year I have 8 more sick days left.

Well, that's if I ever catch up on work stuff to take off.  I am so busy I want to cry.  I hate going to work when my kids are sick.  I feel so guilty, like the worst mom in the world.  It's so hard for me to concentrate when all I am thinking about is how I would much rather be home rocking my sick baby.  But I literally  have at least 10 IEP reports to write by Thanksgiving break.  I am not sure it is going to happen.  Then I have to schedule meetings, do my monthly billing, in addition to seeing all 67 of the kids on my roster.  Just typing that made my stress level go WAY up.  Sometimes (ok most of the time) I really  hate being a working mom.  I'm so much happier in the summer.

Working mom of sick baby rant over.....

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pointing Fingers

Not sure if any of my blog readers have heard about the tragic accident that happened at the Pittsburgh Zoo.  If you haven't, basically a 2 year old boy was at the zoo with his mother.  She lifted him up to see and he lost his balance and fell into the exhibit.  A net caught him, but since he was so little he bounced out of it and into the exhibit of African Painted Dogs.  The dogs mauled him to death, so quickly that even though zoo officials responded within seconds, they could  not lure the dogs away fast enough to save him.

This story haunts me.  It makes me sick to my stomach.  This mother watched her son get mauled by dogs.  Worse yet, people are blaming her.  No, she shouldn't have lifted him up like that.  Did she think this would happen, and if she knew it would happen, would she still have done it?  No way. 

In a sense, I feel like people who are blaming her must blame me for my daughter's death.  I didn't want a c-section, so I chose to have her turned.  And then she died during labor  or immediately after birth.  So, is it my fault for not having the c-section, because she probably would have lived had I chose that.  I didn't know this, or you can bet I would have done the c-section.  This news story has got me second guessing and wondering what people were saying about me right after Adelyn died.  Or maybe they didn't say it, but thought it.

I want to know what gives people the right to judge.

How many people have put their child in an expired car seat?  Or switched them to forward facing sooner than recommended, because it is "easier" or because they "feel bad"about their child having to sit that way?  How many people have switched their child to a booster seat sooner than they should, because it is more convenient?  I know many very good parents who have done this.

Honestly, I wouldn't have thought twice about these types of things until my child died.  And now, you bet my son is staying rear facing until he is 2.  I'm not taking any chances.  You bet my daughter is staying in a harness as long as possible.  We just bought her a new carseat and the harness goes up to 65 lbs.  We put Coen in her old one, rear facing, until the seat expires next year.

Truthfully, I am terrified of something bad happening to my living children.  I lived through that once, and I don't EVER want to experience that pain again.  I'm overprotective, and I worry.  A LOT.  When mothers who haven't lost a child talk about being that way, I almost want to laugh and tell them they have NO idea.

And now I am scared to take my kids to the zoo.  The whole time I would be there, I would be thinking about this accident and worrying.

Sigh....praying for the family of the that precious little boy.  Rest in peace.  I know all the other little kids welcomed you to heaven with open arms.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Capture Your Grief Days 27, 28, 29, 30

Day 27. Artwork - This was made for me by Erin Cushman of Hope Mommies, who I "met" from this blog.  I missed the first Hope Mommies retreat where they received these, but she made me one.  I had to change it from PDF to a photo file, so the quality isn't as good, but I printed it on pink paper and it sits on her shelf.  Love it!
I could probably post a bunch of other things my cousin has made for me, but I think this one is my favorite:

Day 28. Memory - How can I pick one?  There are so many negative, heart wrenchingly painful memories I could share.  Almost all the memories of my pregnancy and especially the first year after she died, are painful.  The things that were happy, like the day we found out she was a girl, picking out her name at the last minute, shopping for ultra girly clothes much to my husband's dismay, going into labor (my neighbor flat out talking to Adelyn and telling her it was time to come out) - they turned into sad memories because of the loss of that innocence, because the represent the dream that never got to be.

A rare positive memory - I was shopping at Michael's and saw this sign that says "scatter joy."  It spoke to me, like it was Adelyn telling me it's ok to be happy, and I knew I had to buy it for her garden.  This is one of my all time favorite pictures of my kids:

Day 29. Music - There are SO many songs I could pick, but this one never fails to make me stop what I am doing and listen to the lyrics.  And usually tears well up by the time the song is over:

Day 30. Your Grief - Tell the World - I found this picture via the Compassionate Friends.  I think it sums up how I will feel the rest of my life.  When I expect something to be hard, I hold it together.  But something random will happen and knock me right back to day 1 of my grief.  It sucks.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Catching Up - Capture Your Grief Days 24, 25, & 26

Day 24. Siblings - I don't even know where to start on this one.  I'm not sure how much Sierra understood at 2.5, or even now at 4.5 how much she understands.  The other day she and Coen were playing in his new ball pit while I was doing dishes.  I could still hear and see them, as the family room is open to the kitchen, but I will frequently ask Sierra where Coen is when I do this, because I have to take my eyes off him.  So she says, "Mommy, Coen's not here.  He died and went up in the sky."  Comments like this, make me realize how different she is from "most" kids.  That thought would not even cross a kid's mind, had they not had someone close to them die.

I do believe that although Sierra may not have entirely understood, she did know something was wrong and that mommy and daddy weren't themselves and was probably very confused about why everyone else she was around got to bring home the baby that was in their mommy's belly and she didn't.  She probably wonders why we got to bring Coen home and not Adelyn.  I know she does, she has asked it before.

I also know that potty training was majorly affected by Adelyn dying.  It took Sierra over a year, close to 1.5 years, to be potty trained during the day.  There was so much regression, doing well, regression.....plus there was so much else going on in our house.  I was so easily frustrated by her accidents, refusal to go on the potty, being stubborn, you name it.  I believe that is to be expected, given I was grieving heavily, then pregnant again and hormonal on top of it, all while trying to potty train her.  It was rough....to say the least.  I hate that my daughter had to go through all that with me.

I think this photo captures her grief....she doesn't know to be sad really, although she has told me she misses Adelyn.

This is the first family photo Sierra drew - of course she included Mommy, Daddy, herself, the dog (but not the cat) and Adelyn.  I think Adelyn is the blob on the lower right, the thing up in the sky is the sun (I originally thought that was Adelyn but she was very adamant that it was the sun).  It made me happy that she included Adelyn, but sad that she almost didn't know how to draw her.  She drew this in March, right before she she turned 3.

Day 25. Baby Shower/Blessing - Since Adelyn was our second child, and second girl, we did not have a baby shower or get many gifts.  Most stuff I bought for her, except I do recall a pair of baby pumpkin socks my cousin bought me that I sadly gave back to her.  I don't have a picture of them.  I also remember a pair of black leggings my mom and I bought for her, I found them not to long ago and it made my heart hurt.  One thing I do have a picture of that was a gift from my coworkers is this:
How fitting that it is a butterfly?  I had it attached to her car seat ready to go, I thought with it and the pink Hello Kitty toy we had from Sierra, that no one would mistake her for a boy leaving the hospital like they did Sierra - because our car seat was green and gray.  I gave this to a special rainbow baby, and I know she treasures it.  Her mom even sent me a picture of her walking around with it.  Made me smile.

This onesie was given to me by a student's family - ok I am sure it was his mother who picked it out.  I was excited because it said "I love mom" and usually all girl stuff says "I love daddy."  Plus I was convinced she was coming early and this would be good for warmer fall weather.  Ha, I was so wrong.

Day 26. Their Age - Adelyn was born at 41 weeks gestation, and died at 18 minutes old, although she never took a breath.  She had a faint heartbeat at birth, but I am not sure if she really lived on earth.  The moments she was technically "alive"  (from 5:46 to 6:04 when they pronounced her dead) she was with doctors and nurses, poking her, doing CPR, putting tubes in her.....

This is me right before we left for the hospital on September 29, 2010.  I was in labor, and wanting to just meet my baby.  This is the last "photo" of her alive.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 23

Day 23. Their Name/Their Photo - I just had this sketch done right before Adelyn's first birthday.  If you read my post yesterday, you can kind of see it there, but here is the image of the sketch.  I saw this before the actual sketch, and as soon as I opened it, I immediately saw Sierra.  Adelyn looked SO much like her. What struck me the most about this drawing, was her mouth.  In the 4 photos we took of Adelyn right after she died, she has that dreadful breathing tube in her mouth.  It looks awful, like death.  In the photos we took at the funeral home a few days later and after her autopsy, where at least she is dressed and without the tube, she looks different, her face is swollen and her lips look dead, fake, I don't know.  So I sent the person a couple different pictures to use to create this sketch.  And without ever seeing our oldest daughter, it's like she drew her mouth on Adelyn.  I'm sure that is exactly what Adelyn's mouth looked like, beneath the tube, because she looks so much like her big sister.  Sometimes Sierra makes an expression and I see the few images of Adelyn I have in my head flash.

Here is the sketch:

This is the only "picture" I have of her that I don't hate.  I can finally see her with a bow, as she would have always worn, and her little sister onesie that she never got to wear (even though it was in my  hospital bag that was there with me).

Monday, October 22, 2012

Capture Your Grief Days 21 and 22

Day 21. Altar/Shrine/Sacred Space - I have two places in my house for her. The first is a shelf on our bookcases in our family room, where we spend most of our time:

There is a collage made by my friend Erin of Hope Mommies, even though I missed the first retreat.  There is a picture of Sierra and Adelyn bear wearing their matching shirts, taken right before Adelyn's first birthday - I kind of feel like I need to update it with a picture that has Coen in it too, yet I can't bear to take that one down.  Also is the Willow Tree figure, she is holding a balloon that says "hope" - very perfect for Adelyn.  The tag it comes with says "hope lifts us up."  Love it!  Then there is her candle I made her and a butterfly on a rock that says hope.

This is in our bedroom, where we keep her ashes.  You can see the urn in the back, it is black so it sort of blends in.  I have always kept this candle here, it was made by a friend who lost her daughter two weeks after Adelyn at the same hospital.  She gave it to me around Adelyn's first birthday, and it is very treasured.  The hope rock I found at Michael's and it just reminded me of her.  I just recently added her sketch and the wooden roses were made by my cousin.   I think this is a perfect place for them!

Day 22. Place of Care/Birth - For the longest time, just seeing the logo for St. Clair Hospital would make my heart pound and my palms sweat. 

Room 5801 was where Adelyn was born.  I was so nervous about being near that room when I had Coen, thankfully they had me as far away from it as possible.  I did see it, when I was walking around waiting to leave.  My heart skipped a beat, I wanted to look closer because no one was in it, but I couldn't.  My friend who lost her baby at the same hospital two weeks after me (the one I just wrote about that made the candle for me) - she was also in this room.  Someday I wish we could purchase a plaque to hang in that room, in memory of our babies.  But I wonder if that would be weird to put in a happy place?

I have no clue how I managed to have another baby at that same hospital, I can honestly say Dr. P, my ob, is the only reason! I wish I had a photo of her after she delivered Coen, I guess I was too busy soaking him in.  St. Clair Hospital, such a bittersweet place for me.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 20

Day 20. Charity/Organization - I'd have to say there are 2 that are special to me:

Holden Uganda - here is Adelyn's well.  What a great way Sarah has been able to honor her precious Holden's memory.

And Molly Bears.  Having a teddy bear who weighs the exact amount as Adelyn did is so precious.  I hold her when I am missing my sweet girl more than usual.

Another organization that I feel is the most precious to a family who has lost a baby is Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.  I was not able to use them personally, since I didn't know they existed and no one offered it to me.  I would give ANYTHING still to this day, to have pictures like they take.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Capture Your Grief - Day 19

Day 19. Project - I have done many projects to honor Adelyn.  It is like my way to parent her, to make sure she is remembered.  I love finding subtle ways to include her.

I guess my first project was the first Christmas without Adelyn.  I asked friends to find an ornament on their tree that reminded them of Adelyn, and take a picture of it.  Then I made a slideshow of all of the pictures.  Unfortunately, I can't get the slideshow to work :(

So here's a picture of my favorite one, sent by my sister-in-law. I liked the story about it, but couldn't remember what it was, so I searched my e-mails to find what she wrote:

When I was decorating our tree the other night I came across an ornament that I wasn't sure I was going to keep. When I first looked at it I didn't really like it. It's a strange little ornament that is a flower from one angle and an angel from another. I'm pretty sure it came from a box of ornaments that I inherited from my dad's house, but I can't really remember it from Christmases past. I couldn't attach a memory to it like I can all the rest. I went to throw it away, twice, but each time I just couldn't do it and I couldn't figure out why. I ended up hanging it near the top of the tree- a place I usually reserve for my favorites. Something about it was tugging at my heart. Was it from my mom? Was I feeling guilty about throwing out something that might have meaning? The next day I got your message and I knew this was my Adelyn Ornament- it had to be. That was the reason I couldn't throw it out! And now I don't think it's so strange. I think it's really pretty!



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 18

Day 18. Your Family Portrait - I had high hopes of taking a family picture when we went to the beach.  I wanted us in khaki and white, but Sierra would have her white dress with butterfly print to symbolize Adelyn, and we would write her name in the sand and sit behind it.

Well, it didn't happen :(  But, we took this picture at the walk for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day last Saturday:

The kids are wearing their "Adelyn's big sister/little brother" shirts, which is our way of including her in the picture.  Coen was blowing raspberries or something....LOL.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 17

Day 17. Anniversary/Birthday/Due Dates - For Adelyn's birthday/anniversary the past 2 years, we have had cake, planted something in her garden, and released something.

Her first birthday I was 37 weeks pregnant with Coen and a mess.  I was already on maternity leave and Trevor worked from home.  Sierra and I ran errands - bought a statue for her garden, a pink mum, and a small rose plant.  We bought an ice cream cake and got 3 pink balloons to release.  Sierra wore the shirt she was to wear to meet her sister :(  We sang happy birthday and bought Sierra a big sister/little sister doll set (the one I had been wanting to get her when I was pregnant with Adelyn).

Her second birthday crept up on me and was hard due to Coen's birthday following in just 11 days.  We did a lot of the same things but tweaked them a bit and I think we will celebrate her birthdays like this every year.  We baked a cake, which was fun for Sierra, and released sky lanterns.  We sang to her again this year and bought the kids the book "God Gave Us Heaven."  I think every year I will pick a book about Heaven or something to buy for them.  I also searched everywhere for a pink aster for her garden - it is the birth flower for September.  I didn't get to plant it until the next day, but my intention was to do it on her birthday.  I just ran out of time.

When the kids get older, I would love to spend the day or a day close to it, volunteering somehow and a bonus would be if it could somehow relate to baby loss/Adelyn.  But if it just ends up being helping someone else in her name, that's great too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 16

Day 16. Release - We did a balloon release for Adelyn on Sierra's 3rd birthday.  It was the first time we did something like this.  I figured since all of our friends and family were there, it would be a good time to do it.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 15

Day 15. WAVE of LIGHT - I have two candles I light for special occasions like this.  I wish I had a special one, a real candle, not electric one, for today. But, life has been so busy I can barely keep my eyes open tonight.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Capture Your Grief Days 13 and 14

Getting a little behind....busy, busy weekend.  Sometimes life is TOO busy and I feel like I don't get to do the fun things I want to do.  It was beautiful weather this weekend and all I wanted to do was take the kids to a pumpkin patch.  Last year we never went because Coen was a newborn.  Fingers crossed we make it there next weekend.

Day 13. Signs - I don't have a picture for this, but it's a story that gives me chills still to this day.  Septebmer 13, 2010 was the day I found out Adelyn was breech. September 13, 2011 was the day I found out Coen was no longer breech (he had been the whole pregnancy to that point).  Well, one of my friends whose daughter was born and died at the same hospital as Adelyn exactly two weeks later, was visiting her daughter's grave Septebmer 13, 2011 (because she was born on the 13th of October).  As she was sitting there, she was talking to her Addie, asking her to please let Adelyn's little brother flip (because she knew how much stress it was causing me and how much I wanted a natural birth).  As she was praying/talking to her, a butterfly flew by and a random breeze blew.  That had to be a sign from our girls....

Day 14. Community -

This is the program and little booties we got from the first holiday ceremony we attended.  It was the first time I went back into the hospital where Adelyn was born - and also the first time I smelled the soap there and realized that it reminded me of my stay there.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Capture Your Grief - Day 12

Day 12. Scents - I didn't realize there was a scent that reminded me of Adelyn until I was back at the hospital she was born for the first time since for a holiday memorial service.  I went to the bathroom and washed my hands and it came back to me.  It made me feel sick to my stomach.

So, for me, it is the soap they have in hospitals.  It reminds me of when I was in the hospital for the very brief time having her and after she died (checked in about 2 pm 9/29 and left the next morning before lunch).

Even when I was at that hospital having Coen, a happy time, the smell of the soap bothered me.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 11

Day 11. Supportive Friends/Family

There are many people who were there for me immediately after Adelyn died.  Some of them are still there, some seemed to have stopped after her first birthday.  Not to say they don't remember or still think of her, but if they do, they never show it or let me know.

First there are my two "cousins-in-law" who I have had many text-a-thons with over the last 2 years.  I am very thankful for them, because I can be completely honest with them and they don't judge me and usually make me feel better.

I also have 3 friends who I work with, all at the same building, who I can talk to about Adelyn and who ask about her and listen whenever I feel like venting.  Interestingly, one of them I met after Adelyn died - for some reason I just clicked with her and was able to talk to her about Adelyn easily. She had a miscarriage a few months after Coen was born so maybe that is how it came up, but still, I'm thankful for her.  The other two I believe I became closer to after Adelyn died.  One of them I have also had long "therapeutic" text sessions with, the other just seems to know when something and why something may bother me.  She is the one I wrote about who came to visit me after Coen was born and brought 3 Christmas ornaments to me, one for each of my kids.  And more recently made me a ribbon for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day to hang on my front door.  One day we must have talked for close to two hours on the phone, and I think we both left the conversation feeling like we had helped each other.

There are also two neighbors of mine who will often bring up Adelyn to me.  I don't regularly have conversations about her with them, because when I see them it's just not the time to chat about something like that, but nonetheless I know they think about her a lot and are there.  If I did want to talk about her, I know I could to them.

And last but certainly not least, is a friend who I met through my kids.  She is kind, considerate, and has listened to me ramble both in person and through text many times the past 2 years.  I'm not sure of the reason, but she  really reached out to me after Adelyn died, and continues to do so two years later, when so many others have stopped.  I grabbed on to her when she reached out, and I'm really glad I did.  If everyone in my life was more like her, I would honestly not have such a tough time with a lot of issues.

Though technically not a friend or family member, I have to mention my ob here.  She played a vital part in my healing, and went above and beyond what I expected.  She would call to check on me in those first few weeks after Adelyn died, during the time she knew Sierra was napping and I could talk.  Sometimes she would spend an hour just asking questions and listening and that was exactly what I needed.  There was a different bond with her, because she was there when Adelyn was born.  She experienced it too.  I remember her calling to check on me a few days after I found out I was pregnant with Coen - I swear it was like she always knew when I needed her to call!  She was able to bring me through a difficult pregnancy after loss, was able to deliver Coen.  When we told her Coen's middle name she knew why we picked it.  I really regret that I didn't get a picture of her with Coen!  She sent us a nice card on Adelyn's first birthday, which was very sweet.  Just yesterday, we got another card from her letting us know she was thinking about us on Adelyn's second birthday, and sort of fitting that it arrived on Coen's birthday.  I'm very thankful for her, and I will honestly never forget all that she has done for me throughout this journey.  I think that we share a special bond, I can't explain it but it's there.

My "Adelyn" friends.....thank God for them!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


There is only one topic that is worth interrupting my "Capture Your Grief" series:

Our little rainbow turned 1 today!  I can't even believe it.  One year ago today, our lives finally felt whole again, as whole as they can feel with one member missing.

This year has been amazing, I have savored every last second.  From cuddles to hugs to watching him learn new things.  It is so very amazing, and I feel so blessed to be given the chance to experience it again. 

I have a different level of appreciation now.  With Sierra, I loved having a baby girl and I was so happy, but also so naive.  And, I knew I wanted another baby after her, and naively assumed I would have one, when in reality that may not have been the case.  But after losing Adelyn, I can say that I appreciate the little things SO much more.  Coen is most likely our last baby as well, so I am trying to remember and enjoy all these moments, because I probably won't ever get to experience them again (sniff, sniff).

I definitely parent him differently than I did Sierra.  For one, he has not spent the night anywhere - and I certainly had more than enough frozen breastmilk to be able to do that.  Another thing is at almost 1, I still rock him to sleep every night.  I know he is capable of putting himself to sleep, but ever since we went to the beach he has been crying when I put him in bed, and I can't bear it. So I rock him until he falls asleep, and then I hold him for at least 5 more minutes.  I watch him sleep, listen to him breathe, and thank God literally every night for letting me keep him.

It's funny, I posted that on Facebook, and no one got what I meant.  Everyone took it as "it's fine to still rock him to sleep, he's still little and someday he won't let you."  Yes.....but my point was that I NEVER did this with Sierra.  She learned early on to put herself to sleep and was always an excellent sleeper (and still is).  So I planned on doing this with Coen, and I did to an extent.  He has always slept in his crib and I used to put him to bed while he was still awake and he would put himself to sleep.  But when he started crying, I started rocking him to sleep and realized how precious that moment is. 

I have been thinking a lot about last year and my pregnancy with Coen lately.  I just can't get over how hard it was, and how little I was able to bond with him.  When now, I love the kid so much I get teary eyed just thinking about it.  I truly believe in a lot of ways, having him saved me.  By no means am I over losing Adelyn or happy every single second of every day, but overall there was a huge difference in me ever since the day he was born last year.  I really wish I could have enjoyed his pregnancy just a little bit.  It almost makes me want to have another baby, because I feel so robbed.  Robbed of having another little girl and robbed of enjoying pregnancy.  I don't think it would be as hard to do it again, but I am still too scared of something going wrong.

This song by Adele has been replaying in my car for the past few weeks.  It brings tears to my eyes:

You've been on my mind
I grow fonder every day,
Lose myself in time
Just thinking of your face
God only knows
Why it's taken me so long
To let my doubts go
You're the only one that I want
I don't know why I'm scared, I've been here before
Every feeling, every word, I've imagined it all,
You never know if you never try
To forgive your past and simply be mine

That is so how I felt last year, why did it take me so long to realize how much I wanted him, and not feel guilty that he wasn't Adelyn? And the part about being scared, being there before.....exactly.

Then it's almost like Coen was telling me this part:

I dare you to let me be your, your one and only
Promise I'm worthy to hold in your arms
So come on and give me a chance
To prove that I'm the one who can
Walk that mile until the end starts

I love this song, so much!

Back to the present, Coen is now standing up by himself, and can squat and then stand back up again.  He has taken two steps, but falls forward as he takes the second one.  Usually right into me, or the floor.  It's so adorable, and he is so very proud of himself.  He wears 6-12 months or 12 months clothes, but can fit into 12-18 or 18 months tops (definitely not pants, he has short legs right now).  I would guess he is around 22 lbs?  I still have him in his infant carseat and I know I need to switch him, I am just in denial.  Plus the thought of seeing that empty carseat around this time of year was too much for me.  And it's a lot of work to switch out carseats....

He still loves balls and will crawl after them.  He also likes to push cars around.  Coen loves to play with his big sister, and many times I catch him playing with her toys, and Sierra playing with his toys.  Funny!  He claps his hands and points to things.  He doesn't wave or say much yet though.  I thought  maybe he was saying ball, but now I'm not sure.  It sounds like ball, but he isn't referring to a ball all the time when he says it, so the speech therapist in me is saying no it's not a word.  I keep working on "mommy"....  I feel like he should be saying more by now, but I don't think Sierra said much at one either.  She went from a few words to speaking in complete sentences right before she turned 2.  Plus boys tend to be slower in communicating.

Coen pretty much eats what we eat now.  He has tried pineapples, salmon, cherries, grilled cheese, soups, raspberries,  corn, and tonight:
A rainbow cupcake!  He loved it!  We sang to him and he opened a few gifts from us.  I was excited to find a rainbow balloon for him and of course it was probably his favorite gift.  The battery in my camera died so I can't post any more pictures.  Plus I'm exhausted....Sunday night Coen woke up at 3 and wouldn't sleep the rest of the night unless we held him.  That is very unlike him and honestly he hasn't done that since his first few days home from the hospital.  I think maybe he was cold, because he doesn't seem to be getting sick.  My point is, I am still recovering from the lack of sleep and being super busy at work.

Happy 1st Birthday Coen Micah!  Thank you for bringing joy back to our lives.  I can't imagine life without you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Capture Your Grief Days 9 and 10

I'm doing two tonight, so that I can devote tomorrow to Coen's birthday!

Day 9. Special Place - I have to think hard about this one, as we didn't bury Adelyn.  I'd have to say the chapel where we had her service and where Coen was baptized, would be the place where I can feel her presence.

Day 10. Symbol - A pink butterfly.  Pink because the minute I found out she was a girl, I was going all out girly with her. We didn't know Sierra was a girl and I sort of regretted not dressing her all girly and in pink. So the color pink reminds me of Adelyn.  A butterfly because of the how beautiful, but fleeing they are, and how the fly around in the sky freely.
I can't believe last year at this time, I was at the hospital being induced over night.  I can't believe I survived being in that same hospital, in the family birth center, for a night without a baby again.  I can't believe that baby is turning one tomorrow.  I can't believe how much I love him, when I was so guarded the whole time I was pregnant with him.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 8

Day 8. Jewelry  - First of all, how is it the 8th day of October already?!  It's Columbus Day - last year on Columbus Day,  Coen was born.  It's a very special  "holiday" for me now!  And I am in serious denial that my boy is turning 1 in less than 2 days!!

Back to today's post:

I wear this necklace every day, since the day I got it I have never left the house without it on.  I take it off to sleep and put it on in the morning after I shower.  That's it.  I move it around when nervous or thinking about her.  Coen grabs on it every time I nurse him.

I even had it on the day Coen was born.  It is probably my most prized possession, the one thing I was excited about after losing Adelyn.  A little piece of her, her handprint, to be with me every day.  People comment on it all the time, some ask whose handprint it is, others just say they like it.  That's about as close as I get to getting to "show off" Adelyn.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 7

Day 7. What To Say  - I'm going to share what to say to me now.

"I saw this and it made me think of Adelyn."

A friend of mine posted this on my wall on Facebook and said she thought of me.  It is a beautiful picture, with the mountains of Albuquerque where we used to live in the background.

I love when people tell me that something reminds them of Adelyn - whether it be a rainbow, a butterfly, a pretty pink flower or a pink sunset.  I love knowing she isn't forgotten, and when someone tells me exactly what made them think of her, I know they really did think of her.  The picture of it is an added bonus.

Something else that was said to me recently:
"As we were on the beach today Max was drawing with a stick, and I was thinking about this big boy growing in front of my eyes. When he changes, and grows, I think of you and Adelyn often. I think of you and your gorgeous children, the ones you get to hold in your arms, and the one you get to hold in your heart. We remember. Love you!"

Attached to the message was this:

Little things like this, really make the day of someone who has lost a baby.  A simple act, means so much.  These are just 2 recent examples that happen to have pictures to go along with them.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 6

Day 6. What Not To Say - This is easy.  While there have been MANY things said to me that left me angry, upset, hurt, etc. - and many more things that have made me go hmmmm.... (remember that song?), I am going to share the one that currently bothers me most.

"Be thankful for the two healthy, beautiful children you DO have."  Or any variation - I've had that phrase said with some added words at the beginning: "remember to" or  "you need to".

Oh it makes me scratch my head in wonder.  However well meaning the comment is, it makes me stop and think "really?"

I highly doubt you will find a mother anywhere who is MORE thankful for the children she has.

I still smile when I glimpse in my backseat and see two carseats.  Or when I sit and watch the kids play, even fight.  Find me a mother who still does these things, a year after her second or third or even fourth child was born.

I am very, very grateful for them. 

Why does missing the child you never got to bring home, make people think you are not grateful for the two you did get to bring home?  I'm not allowed to miss my baby, be upset that she died, because I have two other children?  Children aren't replaceable.

How about something more like, "I know you miss Adelyn, but I also know that losing her has made you appreciate the two kids you do have here even more."

If someone said that to me, it would probably make my day.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 5

Day 5. Memorial - This one is easy for me.  Since we didn't bury Adelyn, I feel like I don't have a place to "go to" to be with her, a place to decorate for the seasons.  I knew we wanted to cremate her without thinking twice, I couldn't bear the thought of leaving her alone in a cemetary.  What I didn't realize was that there is a baby section in cemetaries.  To be so naive again......

I do wish sometimes that I had buried her so I could go there and "mother her" by making her grave look nice.  I have to find some way to mother her from earth.

Pink flowers have always reminded me of Adelyn, so I decided to plant some flowers for her.  It became Adelyn's Garden and I LOVE it.

Sierra and Coen on Adelyn's 2nd birthday, with her new garden flag
I had to get this hope rock when I found it last year - perfect

In the beginning

One year later - spring 2012
Lillies blooming
Pink heaven lily

Sierra and Coen in front of the mum we planted on Adelyn's first birthday - it's huge now!
As you can see, all the plants grew so much since spring!
Angel holding a butterfly statue we bought on her first birthday, the small rose bush behind it is the one that we bought right after she died and was on the altar at her funeral, and the "faith hope love" stakes I found last fall when I was pregnant with Coen
Two gifts from my cousin - solar butterfly lights and a hope angel wind chime


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Capture Your Grief Day 4

Day 4. Most Treasured Item

My most treasured item actually falls under a different day's theme, and since I have more than one treasured item, I will choose a different one for this day.

Her handprints.  Partly because they are part of her.  Party because of the story of HOW I got them.  It's long....

The hospital took footprints but not handprints.  The funeral home gave us a brochure about getting what is called a Thumbie - it was one of the few things to brighten my day and I really wanted one.  I decided to get one of her handprint since we already had her footprint from the hospital.

Best decision ever.  I LOVE my Thumbie -it IS my most treasured item, I wear it daily.  But I'll save the picture for the day for jewelry.

I have a picture of Sierra that hangs on our wall:
I will never take it down, and I always wished I had a similar picture of Adelyn.  Given that Sierra is sleeping in it, I could have a picture like this, if only the hospital had called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.  They always take pictures of hands and feet too.

One day it dawned on me that the funeral home must have copies of her handprints since my charm has them on it.  I thought that although I don't have photos of her hands and feet, I do have the prints so maybe I could make some sort of collage.  So I decided to call and ask for the handprints.  That was hard.  The receptionist said she would look into it and call me if she found them (it was a few months at least later).  She never called back.

Before I had the chance to call again, my cousin stopped over with this:
She, like always, had the same idea as me. She then shared with me HOW she got the handprints  - she physically went to the funeral home with her son (who was around 2 at the time) and basically demanded them, probably in tears as she did it.  She gave me the whole file they had on her.  Seeing her name written on it next to the prints made me happy.  I love seeing her name, and it proves she existed.

Seeing my daughter's handprints for the first time took my breath away. For that reason, both the copies I have of her handprints and this photo collage that now hangs on my wall between the ones we have of Sierra and Coen, are irreplaceable to me.