Saturday, June 30, 2012

21 months

21 months since we last heard your little heart beat, 21 months since I felt you move inside me.   It feels like yesterday that we found out you were gone.  But at the same time, it seems like a different lifetime ago.

I feel like I am losing her.  The memories are fading in some ways.  Not too long ago, I looked at her picture atop my blog and saw a stranger.  Like that song that is always on the radio:  "now you're just somebody that I used to know."  Every time I hear it, I think of Adelyn. 

I realized that I don't really even know her, and I certainly don't know her the way I know my other two kids.  But then again, all there was to know about her, I knew and only me.  I knew how her kicks felt, how it felt when she pushed her head up against my ribs when she was breech.  I still recall one day lying on the couch watching TV, and she was kicking me like crazy.  I remember texting a friend and saying maybe she was going to be a soccer player, or better yet a dancer :)  She was SO active earlier on in the pregnancy, but not so much towards the end.  I wonder if I missed a sign that something wasn't right?  I will always wonder..... about that and so many things.  What would she have been like? 

I think it's pretty safe to say what she would have looked like though.  I don't think I ever posted these pictures on my blog, but here are Sierra and Coen, wearing the same outfit:

They are both 5 months old here.  So I'm guessing Adelyn would have looked similar.

21 months and I still struggle.  Probably no one can tell, except those who REALLY know me, or my few "Adelyn" friends who have always been open to me talking about her whenever I feel like it.  Anytime someone has a baby girl, it makes me miss her so much.  And today, the first baby girl in our extended family since Adelyn was born.  On the 29th of a month to boot.  It was hard, it made me sad.  And jealous....their baby girl lived.  I know they got just what they wanted, and sometimes that is hard for me to handle.  I didn't get what I wanted.  It's not fair!

I came so close to getting out her memory box today, just to look through it, to prove to myself that yes, she did exist, she was here.  But I couldn't bring myself to do it.  I was already feeling sad, and I know that would have made it worse.  Sometimes though I feel like I need to do it and let myself be sad and cry.  But, her memory box is still in Coen's closet (and he was napping) because I couldn't bear to move her from that room, that should have been hers.  I feel like it would be ok now, and I think I am ready to keep it next to me.  I have a bin under our bed that has everything I made or bought for her - Christmas ornaments, wreaths, candles, etc.  I think that would be a good place to keep her boxes too - but I may need another under-the-bed bin!

What I wouldn't give to hold her, touch her, smell her just one more time.  It's hard to undertand how you can miss someone you hardly knew, that you never really had - but I do.  I guess I miss all that she would have been.  As time goes on, I feel like the number of people that I can talk to about it and that understand, are dwindling, and that is why I am thankful to have this place, her place.

I love you, baby girl.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Liquid Gold

This week, I feel like my baby is growing up.  I put away the baby swimg, baby bath tub, and tub seat because we no longer use them.  I can also get rid of the bumbo seat as soon as I find the time to put it downstairs.  Putting away baby stuff makes me SO sad.   But, I am very glad that this time I get to put it away after I actually used it.  However, this time it is not put away, it is sell or give away.  Baby gear is never coming back out at my house.  Funny how you can't wait to get rid of all that big stuff, and then when you can, you are sad because it means your babies are growing up.
However, last week I packed up the pump and today I officially put away the bottle/pump parts drying rack. I haven't used it since summer break started, but I had wanted to clean it good and make sure all the bottles on it were dry before I put it away. It felt good. I hated washing all the pump parts every night. The pump and the drying rack - those are two things I am NOT sad about seeing gone.  I hate pumping and I hate washing everything even more.  Now that summer is here, I do not need to pump, nor do I need to give any bottles.  Yeah! 

Just in case you didn't believe me that I put SO much time and effort into keeping up my milk supply and making sure I wouldn't run out:

Freezer 1 - our main freezer - 2 shelves dedicated to Coen

Freezer 2 - our basement freezer - all milk and a pizza!

Now that summer is here and Coen is back to being exclusively breastfed, I don't even need any of this!  I use a half a bag for his cereal every morning and save the rest for the next morning.  I just hope none of it goes to waste! If it is truly liquid gold, we are rich :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tiny Dancer

Saturday was Sierra's first dance recital.  We had dress rehearsal Friday morning at 9 (really? Too early for summer).  At one point I was sitting next to Sierra and she said, "Mommy, I wanna go sit with my friends."  Already?!  Growing up too fast, but I'm glad she has an easy time making friends. One of the girls' moms is pregnant and due in September (it's a boy -whew).  The girls must have been talking about it, and I started to tense up a bit.  And then I heard Sierra - "You know what? I have two babies (at this point I started to panic - not the time or place for this discussion).  One lives up in the sky and her name is Adelyn."  I looked over to my friend whose daughter is in Sierra's class (she is one of my Adelyn friends who just gets it) and probably was near tears.  She calmly just said, "It's ok.  Do you feel like you are going to throw up?"  I don't recall what I said, but then she was like "If you want me to say something, just say the word.  But I think it's wonderful that Sierra talks about her like that."  The topic seemed to be dropped, thankfully.  But now I feel like I need to tell the other moms in case it comes up again......because it could lead to questions and a needed discussion with their girls.  Oh, I hate this.  It's bad enough to have your baby die, but it just never ends.  It's never easy.  It's just not a conversation I want to have, especially at a dress rehearsal.  "Oh by the way, my daughter isn't making up stories, she really does have a sister who died 20 minutes after birth."  Still struggling with this one, and this is only the beginning.  As Sierra gets older and makes new friends, it is going to come up a lot.  Right now she has really only been around people who know.

I won't lie....while I was sitting there watching all the dancers both during the rehearsal and the actual show, I thought of Adelyn.  I thought about what it would be like to have two girls dancing. the craziness (and expense!) of all the costume changes and different numbers.  I saw countless pictures in the program of sisters.....and I was very sad.  No one else knew, but inside I was crying.  I wanted that so badly, came so close too.  I found myself feeling VERY jealous of these countless other families who had more than one living daughter.  Not fair..... I LOVE Coen, don't get me wrong.  But going to baseball games and soccer just doesn't excite me the same way.  Maybe it will be different when he is actually playing though.

The next morning all the girls in her class went together to get their hair done.  It was so cute. The hair stylists had fun, too - they kept saying how cute all the girls were and that they were 4 going on 16.  So true!  I have pictures of them all together, but I try not to post pictures of other people's kids on my blog because anyone can see them.  On Facebook, only my friends can.  So here is Sierra with her hair all done up (standing next to Adelyn's garden):

After this it was rush, rush to get to the show on time.  I remembered everything but a cover up.  Oops.  I ended up just leaving her in her regular clothes until intermission and put her shirt over the top of the outfit.  Things were so crazy, I barely got any pictures.  I really wanted some of the whole class.  We really had a great time this year, I enjoyed almost all of the other parents.  We would just sit and chat while the girls danced for an hour, every Friday night.  How times have changed, right?  Most of the girls signed up again next year, so I will probably put Sierra in unless she doesn't want to.  It's expensive, but I just love dance.  Being in the theater, watching the show (and it was mostly little kids so it wasn't good dancing- the big kids danced in a later show) - it took me back to my childhood and how much I loved this.  So I really hope Sierra wants to keep doing it!

The girls danced to a song called "Fairytale Lullaby" - the first line goes like this "If you want to ride a rainbow, come with me."  I almost cried the first time I heard that part.  The song is so sweet and I was near tears, my little girl is growing up too fast.  I would be fine with her staying 4 forever....

Here is my tiny dancer!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

8 Months

Coen was 8  months old on Sunday!  My monthly updates keep getting later each month....and I am off for summer now so I don't even have a good excuse.  Except Coen had a fever for two days and seems to be fine today, but now I feel a bit under the weather.

At 8 months, Coen is trying so hard to crawl.  He pushes up like he is doing a push up:

He also scoots around in a circle while on his belly, but doesn't really move!  Although I have caught him going backwards a little, and he does move by rolling across the floor.  It won't be long until he is mobile.  Not so sure I am ready for that!

We started doing baths with both kids together, and it is so cute to watch them.  Coen loves to splash, it is instant!  Sierra gets mad when he does it, and I just laugh and think to myself "paybacks!"  It just makes me smile to see him explore things and squeal in delight.  He tries to grab at the water if I pour it into the tub.  If only he could stay this age forever.....

Coen prefers to sit on the floor with toys, and has recently started going from sitting to his belly, like this:

He still likes to put everything in his mouth.  Lately he has really been enjoying Sierra's balloon that is still floating from her birthday party a month ago!  No teeth yet, but I'm not surprised given how late Sierra's came in.

He has really explored a lot of new foods this month.  I'm still really anal about making sure to try it for 3-4 days to be sure he isn't allergic before moving to the next thing.  His favorites this month were oatmeal cereal, applesauce, peas, peaches and mango.  He wasn't such a fan of avocados and pumpkin.  I wasn't a fan of the avocados, because we had just gotten over the runny breastmilk poop that was causing diaper explosions daily, and after he tried the avocados we went back to it.  And it seemed to stay awhile after the 3 days in a row of avocados!  Thankfully, it has been much better, but I swear it took 2 weeks!  I was afraid to introduce prunes on Sunday, but I did and surprisingly even with 4 days in a row of prunes, he has only gone once or twice a day and not runny at all.  Go figure!

Coen is still breastfed and has not had one drop of formula yet :)  Go me!  I am so happy that I don't have to pump now that I am home for the summer, I hate washing that thing.  He is down to nursing about 4 times per day - morning, lunch, afternoon and before bed.

Coen has started babbling, I keep trying to teach him "mama"....but I know that it is not truly a word until he looks at me and says it.  Otherwise, it is JUST babbling.  I wish all people would get that (sorry that annoys me, after all it is what I do for a living!). Sometimes he will go on and on and it sounds like he is swearing in baby talk.  I am sure he is!  I remember when Sierra did that and I thought it was so funny!

I finally got our scale working again so I weighed him the old fashioned way - first weighed myself (and wasn't upset about that number - I was actually pleasantly surprised - if it is correct I haven't weighed that little in a long time) and then I held him and weighed us again.  According to my amateur skills, he weighs about 18.5 lbs.  Sierra helped me measure him and our estimate was 27.5 inches.  At 8 months, Coen is almost exactly the same size Sierra was at 1 year.  How crazy!  I think it should be pretty close to being accurate, because he is wearing a few of her onesies that she wore the summer after she turned 1.  And he is wearing them the summer before he turns 1!  Ha ha!

Coen had his first trip to the pool on his actual 8 month "birthday."  He loved it, of course, but was a bit fussy after we got out.  I feel bad because he ended up running a fever the next day, he probably wasn't feeling well.  Not that you can tell here:

Happy 8 months buddy!  Mommy can't wait to spend all summer with you.   This is probably my favorite age so I am happy it fell during summer :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

First Day of Summer

Warning.....this is going to be one of those "all over the place" kind of posts.

I love being woken up by the sound of little feet and "MOMMY!" instead of an alarm clock.  I wish it would have been a little later though!  On a typical work day, we wake Sierra up at 6:45 and we have to pull her out of bed, sometimes to crying.  This morning, she woke up at 7, bright eyed and raring to go.  Figures..... 

First day of summer and baby boy is sick.  He woke up from his nap and felt HOT, so I took his temperature and sure enough, 100.4.  Ugh.  Better than having a sick baby and needing to go to work, I suppose, but not how I wanted to spend the first day of summer break.  He mostly slept, wasn't fussy at all.  I did like that I got to cuddle him all day though.....

This past week, I have been missing Adelyn so much.  More than I have in awhile, actually.  Probably because there have been been a bunch of deaths lately (neighbor's father, coworker's mother, mom's cousin), and thinking about them takes me back to those first days after Adelyn died.  My mom's cousin just lost his 1.5 year battle with Lou Gehrig's disease, I remember when we found out he had it, I was still so deep in grief but was able to gain a little perspective from it.  He went in the hospital a week ago, and everyone knew this was it.  I wanted to badly to contact him somehow and ask him to please tell my baby girl how much I love her and miss her and to give her a big hug from me.  I know she knows, but still.  I wasn't sure if that was appropriate, so I didn't send a message.  But I really wanted to.  I haven't been able to stop thinking about his wife and the pain I know she is feeling, and his mother who lost a child like me.  As hard as losing a newborn was, I can only imagine watching your child suffer and slowly lose control of every muscle in his body.  Awful..... I have been near tears all weekend because of it.

Tonight, I was washing Sierra's feet (Crocs are good for many things but NOT for keeping feet clean), and out of the blue she says, "Mommy, I wonder what Adelyn is doing?"  I forget what I said, probably said maybe she was getting ready for bed just like you.  Then she started talking about there being two cribs in heaven, and I didn't get it.  Who was the other crib for, I  kept asking.  Finally she said there is one crib for Adelyn and one for baby Jesus.  Now if that isn't a bittersweet moment.....

So I decided maybe I should talk with her about death a little, given that comment and knowing that we may need to go to a funeral (but since it is out of town and the same day as her dance recital, we cannot attend).  I asked her what she thought happened to Adelyn, and she said she is an angel in heaven.  I told her that you can only get to heaven when you die, and that everyone dies sometime.  Then I told her sometimes people die when they are old, sometimes they die when they are babies (ugh).  Then she asked what if she died (um, I will die too if that happens).  I didn't know what to say, so I said she would go to heaven.  Then she started talking about wanting to go see Adelyn in heaven someday and see her house up there. 

It was too much for me, I just wasn't strong enough to finish the conversation.  I did read her the "Waterbugs and Dragonflies" book though.  Not sure if it helped.  So the death talk was an epic fail.....

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What to Do?

Thursday,  I was picking Sierra up from the baby-sitter's house.  My friend was picking her kids up too, one of which is a 2 month old baby girl who weighs almost exactly what Sierra did at two months (tiny!).  I have been wanting to hold her - I know can you believe it?!  So I did....she is so sweet.  She felt so tiny next to my huge baby boy!  It was nice to hold a baby  who didn't squirm, or make my back hurt!  If you could have seen Sierra's face light up.....a tiny baby girl.  I joked with her that we were going to swap babies for the night.

Later that evening, she was playing with a balloon and stopped to go to the bathroom.  I heard her talking (she NEVER stops) and heard her say something about Adelyn.  So I tried to listen carefully, but couldn't make it out, so I went in the bathroom with her.  I got her to say it again, at least I think.  I guess she wanted Adelyn to see her balloon, and then started asking a lot of questions.  First she asked if her friend (the one whose baby sister I was holding) had a baby boy up in the sky too?  This is the second time she has asked this about  her friend.  I wonder if she thinks that since she has a baby girl in the sky (as she says) and a baby boy at our house, that her friend must have a baby boy in the sky because she has a baby girl at home?  Her friend's mom told me that she had talked about Adelyn and asked why she didn't have a baby in the sky, and wanted one.  Kids are so naive.....

Anway, then Sierra asked why once you go up to the sky, you can't come back?  No one knows, you just can't, I answered.  Sierra said but I love my baby sister so much, then asked why we have a baby boy here but a baby girl in the sky (she has asked this a few times before).  I gave her my usual I don't know and told her that we can't pick what kind of baby we get, God decides and we get what we get.  This seemed to make sense to her.  Then she started asking about where Adelyn lived in the sky and if she could see the balloon.  Lots of questions....typical Sierra.  I wasn't sure at this point if I should be happy that she brought Adelyn up, or sad.  Then she said, "Mommy, I really miss Adelyn."  Me, too....

Wouldn't you know not too long after this, we saw a rainbow in the sky:

I really needed that, because I had been feeling sad and really missing Adelyn.  Seeing Sierra's face when she saw the little baby girl, and hearing her ask that about why we have a baby boy at home - it really made my heart hurt.  I think Sierra would have really loved having a baby sister.  I mean, she loves her brother....a LOT.  But what little girl doesn't dream of having a baby sister - it's like a live baby doll.

On to Friday, our neighbors' kids came in our basement with Sierra and she showed them the stepping stone we made last year.  Sierra proudly told her friend that this is Adelyn's and he said "Who's that?"  (Ouch).  So then Sierra said "that's my baby sister."  Good girl!  But then something I wasn't  prepared for happened.  The little boy, who is 5, said oh yeah, she died.  Sierra responded by saing no she didn't die, she lives up in the sky, she's an angel in heaven.  I don't remember what else was said because that was all I heard.  The boy's mom apologized and somehow changed the kids' topic of conversation.  Not that an apology was needed.....and now I am worried that she is going to tell him never to talk about Adelyn again, and that is NOT what I want.  Whether someone talks about her or not, I still think about her every day.

This is where I start to feel like a bad mom.  I don't think we ever really told  Sierra that Adelyn died because I didn't think she knew what that meant.  How can you explain death to a little kid?  She was only 2.5 when it happened.  Someone must have told her Adelyn was an angel, and it wasn't me because I don't think Adelyn is an angel.  I don't think you turn into an angel when you die, but I DO think she watches over us like an angel.  Sierra usually talks about Adelyn "living up in the sky" and I never really thought twice about it.  I like to think of people who die living up in heaven, too.  But I guess I understand the difference, whereas apparently she does not.

I have to admit I worry about what other kids will think when she talks about Adelyn and this just  made me worry more.  So I guess I do need to sit down and talk to her and tell her that Adelyn did die, that's the only way you can go to heaven and "live" up in the sky.  That is really not a conversation I want to have with my 4 year old......I guess I have been avoiding it for awhile.  At first, I just couldn't talk to her about it, it was too hard.  One of the hardest things ever.  And then somehow she started talking about Adelyn being in the sky and living there and it is a beautiful way of thinking of it.  I like it, so I left it at that.  And now I don't want to take some of her innocence away by telling her the truth.  I don't know what to do.  Maybe I will start by just asking her what she thinks happened to Adelyn.

Tonight the casino by our house lit off some amazing fireworks.  It is a beautiful night, so we sat outside and watched them with Sierra. This was our conversation:
Sierra:  "Who made those fireworks?" pause "Oh wait, I know, Adelyn made them."
Me: "Actually, people make fireworks, but I bet Adelyn can see them from Heaven."
Sierra: "Yeah because she lives in heaven.  I wonder what kind of house she lives in.  And I'm her sister, right?"
Me: "Yes, you are."
Sierra: "But we're not close because I live here and she lives all the way up there so we're not close." (OUCH)
Me: "Yep, that's right."
Sierra: "But we already have a baby boy at our house, so we don't need another baby here.  We have another baby up in the sky."
I don't remember what I said in response, what do you say to that?  A few minutes passed.
Sierra: "Do you think Adelyn's in bed now?"
Daddy: "No, I think she's watching the fireworks."
Sierra: "What color fireworks do you think she likes?  I bet she likes the purple ones."

I'm really loving how much Sierra has been bringing up Adelyn lately.  If I had to guess,  I would say it's because she saw her friend's sister, and she really wants a sister and misses the one she was supposed to have.  I just don't know how much of that she understood at 2.5 - that she was getting a sister?

Just when things start to feel somewhat "normal"......I realize that nope, it's not normal at all. Sigh.

I think all of us are missing her a lot tonight....

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Rainbow Kind of Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday.  It was infinitely better than last year's birthday.  Last year, I just wanted to be alone and was on the verge of tears all day long.  Not really sure why.....I guess a combination of things.

We celebrated Saturday night, with dinner New Mexico style, homemade by my husband.  I enjoyed some company from my brother, sister-in-law and niece and nephew.  I even had my first margarita in.....2 years maybe?  I've been pregnant or nursing for so long I can't remember.  I am still nursing, so I only had one because I still needed to feed Coen before he went to bed for the night, but that was enough.

Right as we were eating and then getting ready for cake, it started pouring outside.  Then it stopped.  I heard my phone go off for a text, so I checked it and my cousin had sent me a picture of a rainbow that said "made me think of you guys."  I looked outside to find a faint rainbow, took a picture of it, and continued on.  Then a few minutes later, my husband said there was another rainbow, this one took our breath away.  A double rainbow!

Rainbows always  make me smile.  Not only do they remind me of Coen, our rainbow baby, and the idea of beauty that can only be seen after a storm, but they also remind me of Adelyn.  Last year, right around this time, I was watching American Idol and someone sang "If I Die Young" by the Band Perry.  I never heard it before, because I don't really like country, but the lyrics instantly spoke to me.  "Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother, she'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors."  And so rainbows make me feel like Adelyn is shining down on  me from heaven.  The double rainbow is even more for each of them!

I couldn't help but think that she sent me this rainbow to say happy birthday, a day early.

Sunday was my actual birthday, and we spent part of it at my neighbor's 7th birthday -we share a birthday!  It was nice talking to the other ladies and relaxing.  At one point, we were all sitting on the porch and Coen was playing on the blanket on the ground.  Also on the porch were the two little girls who were born after Adelyn - one is 3 months younger and the other 6 months younger than what Adelyn would be.  When I see the two of them together, I always think there should be a third.  It always makes me wonder what could have been.  I remember worrying that I would never be able to handle seeing these girls grow up, because it would remind me of what I missed out on.  It does, but somehow I am ok with it.  I think having Coen plays a big role in that, the other reason is time - I can't really imagine what it would be like to have a little girl that age right now.  I just hold Coen a bit tighter when they are around, I think.  One of those little girls will be moving shortly.  Last year, I was glad that they would be moving so I wouldn't have to deal with her (they are/were a military family so knew they would have to move this year awhile ago).  And now, strangely enough, I am quite sad that I won't get to watch her grow up.....they are a really, really amazing family.

My parents came over on my birthday to cook me dinner.  Wouldn't you know that right when we were about to have cake, it began raining.  A few minutes later, another rainbow!

If that wasn't a sign from her, two days in a row, both the days we were celebrating my birthday, I don't know what is.  Losing Adelyn totally made me a believer in signs.  Whether they really are or not, who knows, but believing helps me cope with her not being here.

It so happened that my husband picked out Sierra's outfit for the day.  I rarely let him, because I like to, but when he walked out with this dress, I couldn't object.  Later that night, after the rainbow appeared again, I had to change Coen into one of his rainbow onesies from his godmother to take their picture together.  After a weekend full of rainbows, I couldn't resist.

And, just to show a typical sister/brother moment.....

Some days it's still hard to believe that I have two living, breathing children who can experience these kinds of moments.

All in all, it was a good birthday.  The only way it could have been better would have been for all three of my  kids to be sitting on the floor together.......but that is one birthday wish that can never come true.