Friday, December 23, 2011

Three Christmases Ago

Christmas 2009 was the saddest of my life.  One year, and everything changed.  Thank God for Aidan and Larry. They're all that kept me sane from June 22 and on.  By Christmas, the very worst of that violent grief had eased up some, I could function close to normally, but I was still crying a whole lot.  I had panic attacks trying to Christmas shop, I had so much anger, knowing that I SHOULD HAVE been shopping for two little boys. SHOULD HAVE been hanging up two little stockings. All of the SHOULD HAVES in the world, and each of them crossed my mind a whole lot. 

Larry and I both had a big breakdown when we put up the tree, remembering the hope we felt with it the year before.  When Christmas Eve night rolled around, and "Santa" came, it was so rough.  So hard not to imagine what our lives and holidays would have been like, if only. If only Landon's placenta had stayed healthy.  If only there had been an ultrasound at the end.  If only....

But, despite all the sadness of missing my little boy, I had so much joy through Aidan.  He was almost 19 months old.  He was, and is, a funny, happy, loving kid.  My world was (and is) wrapped up in him. 

Funny how pictures hide the pain.  We don't LOOK like we're half dead on the inside.

There were some good memories made that Christmas, despite the heartache. I'm glad now that I did go through the motions, for Aidan's sake.  Lord above knows I wasn't feeling it, but I did it, and am so thankful that I did.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Four Christmases Ago

Christmas 2008 was absolutely the happiest one of my entire life.  Aidan was almost 7 months old, and I was pretty pregnant with Landon.  We put up our Christmas tree, and Aidan was drawn to the lights.  He's still very much obsessed with "Tittmuss yights."  We were as happy as any two people could possibly be.  We had a blast shopping for our boy.  He got a rubber Tonka truck, and a horsey jumperoo, tons of clothes, and lots of other toys, too. Our tree looked like it should have had five kids gathering around it Christmas morning.

Throughout the whole Christmas season, we took so much joy in watching Aidan play and love the decorations and lights.  As he was knocking ornaments off of the lower branches, we'd laugh and talk about what it would be like the next year, with one on the floor demolishing the lowest branches, and one walking, taking care of the next level of destruction. We couldn't wait. 

I thanked God every day, many times a day, for the gifts of my children and my husband. I truly felt like the luckiest, most blessed, woman in the entire world. 

Aidan has always been a big fan of the guy in the red suit!!  See my pregnant belly in the background?

My mom helping Aidan and my nephew, Gavin, open a present

Christmas morning, his very first. My sweet little boy!!!

His first Tonka.  

I wish I could go back in time to then, to have Landon tucked safely in my tummy again.  Even if just for a minute. To know that unfaltering hope, that I was soon to be the mommy to two.  To be so innocently naive, as to believe that getting pregnant meant I'd be bringing a baby home. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving!  Today is a day to be thankful, but I'm thankful every single day of my life.  I am so blessed, and I know it.  But, since today's Thanksgiving Day, I'll try to put into words how thankful I am.

I am thankful for my personal freedoms. I'm thankful that I am free to love God, free to speak of Him.  I'm thankful that He sent His son here to die for our sins.  Thankful that through that, I will see my Landon, my Popaw, all those who've believed in Him and gone on before. 

I am thankful for my health.  I'm not in the best shape, but I intend to do something about it. I'm thankful for the YMCA membership that will help me do that, if I'll just start using it.  I am thankful that my body allowed me to carry the four most beautiful children I've ever seen.  I get angry that it failed me with Landon, but I'm still thankful for the wonders it has given me.

I'm thankful for my Mom.  She is, and has always been, my biggest cheerleader.  She would drop everything in a heartbeat if I needed her to.  She loves me, Larry, and our kids unconditionally.

I'm thankful to still have my Momaw Ardilla in my life.  She's 76 years old, and still comes over here to fold my laundry sometimes, or to sit with my kids if I need her to.  She's the strongest woman I know, and I thank God every day for her.  She lost her mother and husband within 4 and 1/2 months of each other back in 2001.  She has lost a grandchild to stillbirth, and she watched the devastation of Landon's life and death.  And still keeps going. 

I'm thankful for Larry.  After a horrible marriage and a string of bad boyfriends, meeting a true Good Guy was a blessing in itself.  Having him fall in love with me, marry me, give me my beautiful children,  was a miracle.  He works so hard for our familly, he works to allow me to stay home with our kids.  I'm sad that he has never had Thanksgiving day off since we became parents.  Aidan has never had Thanksgiving (Or Christmas, for that matter) dinner with his daddy, and now the girls are following suit.  But on a positive note,  he will make enough money on Thanksgiving and Black Friday to totally pay for our entire Christmas.  I  love him with all I have in me.

I'm thankful for Aidan Henry.  My funny little monkey boy.  The child who made me a Mommy.  He's so sweet, smart, stubborn, and pretty.  His personality and humor are a constant source of joy.  I'm thankful that he finally started talking, thankful that he's finally showing interest in learning colors, shapes and numbers.  He's the most amazing, sweet, generous big brother I've ever seen.  He loves those girls so much. I'm thankful for that. He is the answer to a whole lot of prayers. 

I'm thankful for Landon James.  Even though my time with him was brief, I love him so much. I miss him, his death hurt me more than anything in the world ever has.,  but I'm still so thankful that he's mine, that I was the mom who was lucky enough to hold him for two weeks, to love him for eternity. He's the one who taught me that a mother's love knows no bounds, not even death could put a damper on the love I have for my littlest son.

I'm thankful for Rebekah Maxine. My spirited little peanut.  She's so funny, so determined.  I can already tell that she's going to be a persistant child.  When she wants something, she does what she has to to get it.  She's not exactly crawling yet, but she's fully mobile.  We put our Christmas tree up on Sunday, and I've already had to pull her out from behind it several times.  She has the best, greatest, laugh, and I love nothing more than hearing it! She's ticklish, and I can make her squeal by just pretending like I'm going to tickle her.  My first little Rainbow baby, I love you.

I'm thankful for Grace Nichole. My little Miss Congeniality.  She's silly, and she loves attention.  She "dances" and tries so hard to clap her hands.  She does silly little things, then watches me to see if I'll laugh or applaud her.  She is so sweet.  She loves kisses and huggs and cuddles.  Rebekah started out as a die-hard Mama's girl, but now Gracie is the one that's all about Mommy.  Don't get me wrong, Bekah still would rather have me than anyone else, but she does better than Gracie with other holding her.  Gracie has the sweetest smile.  I live for seeing those!!

I'm thankful for a good relationship with my brother and his little family. I'm crazy over my niece and nephew.  I have a good sister in law. 

See, told you I"m super blessed.  There's so much more, but I've got a child yelling for his "pants on", a tray of butterfinger bars to dip, three kids to dress for Thanksgiving dinner, bags to pack up, shoes to locate, I'm sure anyone with kids understands all of this.  I hope each and every one of you who read this, the happiest and most blessed Thanksgiving possible.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Five Christmases Ago

I want to tell about the last five Christmases, starting with Christmas of 2006.  I am going to make each a separate post, but may post one or two on the same day.  Or maybe not, it just depends on how much typing time I have.

Five Christmases ago, I was 29, soon to be 30..going on 22, I think. I was all about having a good time.  I had a somewhat steady boyfriend.  He was nice, but odd, and I knew he wasn't the one for me. I won't say a whole lot more about him other than that.  I knew it wasn't going to work out, but he was a good companion.

I wanted a husband and kids so badly.  Every shooting star, every birthday candle, every 11:11 on the clock, I had the same wish. 

My brother and sister in law had JUST found out they were expecting my nephew, and my very close first cousin was due in February with her little boy.  I am the oldest grandchild, but all the younger ones were having babies, starting families, and I was stuck in a dead end relationship. 

Between the time my Sister in law found out she was pregnant and Christmas Eve, I got busy and crocheted a white afghan for my soon to be nephew. (Of course we didn't know he was a nephew then, thus the white afghan!)  I was happy for them, but so sad for myself. And jealous. 

I bought a baby ornament to hang on my mom's tree, to honor the baby-yet-to-come.  I wanted so badly to hang one to commemorate a child of my own.  It was a happy time, but a sad time, too.

I will be honest.  I was green with envy. 

We had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner and gifts at my mom's (where I was living at the time).  My ex boyfriend came to eat with us.  He went home, my brother and sister in law went home, and I went to bed sad, but prayed for something to be different by the next Christmas.

Things started changing.  By Valentine's day, I was through with the boyfriend, but hadn't' told him yet.  By Easter, it was completely done.  By June I had met Larry, and, well, by September, there was a little baby boy growing in my tummy.

That's the end of the story of Five Christmases ago.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween pictures and a new blog

I've started a new blog to write about more of the everyday stuff that happens around here.  If you're interested, it's here:

Feel free to check it out.   This one is my first love, though.

Halloween was so much fun this year. The past two have been pretty bittersweet for me.  The first one after Landon was the first big holiday without him, the first kid-centered holiday where I was missing a kid.  Shopping for Aidan's costume that year was pretty hard, to say the least.  "I should be buying two" was a mantra that repeated in my head from the end of August until Halloween night.  Actually, that chant repeated all through the holiday season.  I only got to buy one costume, one Thanksgiving outfit, one set of Christmas presents, one set of stocking stuffers. 

Having an only child isn't so bad, unless there was ever a period of time where you had more than one.  Then it sucks.  All the "should haves" and "Should be doings". 

The following year, last year, was still pretty sad, but easier to handle.  For one thing, I had a full year's worth of holidays, should haves, wish I could'ves, under my belt.  For another, I was about 3 months pregnant with the girls, looked and felt about 6 months pregnant.  I had something that was lacking the year before,  HOPE.  Not a lot of it, I never dreamed that I would have two perfectly healthy babies.  But enough hope to make life just a little easier.  Also, by last year, Aidan was over 2, and had such a funny personality.  He never let me stay too down for too long. 

So, this year, I have my rainbows. 

When I was a little girl (I think I've told this before)  the only toys I ever cared anything about were baby dolls.  Not even Barbies,  just baby dolls.  I took care of them. I changed their clothes and diapers.  I "fed" them.  I swaddled them.  All I wanted was to be a mommy.  I got a Cabbage Patch Kid that year when people were fighting over them. I still don't know the story about how my parents managed that, but I do remember hearing that there was nearly a fistfight over my sweet Jesse Eleanor.

Later that school year, I got Lombardo Anson as a reward for an awesome report card.  Then for my next birthday I got Margie Ellie.  Then the following Christmas, good ol' Saint Nick left a set of red headed CABBAGE PATCH TWINS under my tree!  I was in CPK heaven.  I can't remember their names, but they had red ponytails, and were wearing teal satin dresses.  Oh, how I loved my "PaPatch Kids" (as a younger cousin called them.)

So, with all that back story, here are the pictures from our 2011 halloween party and Trick or Treating.

Not the best picture, but it's from the party Saturday night

Aidan, ready to go get treats!

My very own, real live red(well, reddish) ponytailed CPK twins!!!

After Trick or Treating,  it wiped my babies OUT!! They were the hit of the neighborhood.  People I'd never met before were asking to take pictures of their costume.  One older man kept yelling to other neighbors, "Wait til you see this! It's the best one this year!"

So, this year was definitely a better Halloween, and we're gearing up for a Happier Thanksgiving and a Merrier Christmas.  I'll always have sad moments, especially through the holidays,  and I'm ok with that, because I'll also always have the joy of the 3 kids that I got to keep!  These kids are my very reason for being, I love each of them so, so much.  Thank you, God. I'm blessed.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Hi friends.  If you've left me comments, I thank you.  For some reason, I can't comment back.  In fact, there's only one blog I follow that I am able to comment on.  All others I get a message that my account isn't approved or something,to view that page.  Including my own. I'm not real sure what that's about, but please don't think that I don't read what you say to me.  Just wanted to take a moment to say thanks for taking time to comment, or for emailing me, facebooking me, however you choose to contact me. It means a lot to get feedback and to know that people really do read what I have to say, and that you really do care.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How it feels to have Rainbow Babies

First off, I'm going to apologize if things get misspelled, or spaced wrong or anything wonky like that.  The keyboard on my laptop is just about shot.  It could be from the huge glass of orange kool-aid that got spilled in it well over a year ago,  or it could just be that cheap laptops aren't built to last, and we're coming upon the third Holiday season since we bought it.  Anyway, typing is a chore, which is partly why I've not posted anything new in a while.  I've been a very good girl, though, so maybe Ol' Santa will put a new one under the tree... with rules about no Kool-aid at the keyboard, of course!

The kids are amazing.  Aidan is talking more and more. I was so worried about him and speech, he was so slow to start, but he's more than made up for it now.  And with speech has come humor.  He still sleeps right between Larry and me, and we have to play a little before he'll go to sleep.  One of the funniest things is, he'll snuggle right up against me, and I'll say, "You're Mommy's boy!"  and he'll giggle and say, "No, I DADDY BOY!"    or if Larry says it, he'll yell that he's Mommy boy.  Just to aggravate us.  I love those moments. 

He and his daddy made another formula run to Target the other night,  and when they got back the babies were asleep and I was getting out of the shower.  He ran in, just talking a mile a minute.  When he got done,I told him to go on out to the living room with his daddy, so mommy could dry her hair.  He ran out but was soon right back. I said, "Aidan, go out there with Daddy, I'll be out in just a few minutes."

He said, "But Mommy, I half ta tell you sumpting!"  (He had NEVER said that before, and that in itself cracked me up!)

"What, honey?"

"Daddy bought dog food and baby milk!"  He's getting so good at telling events with details. That makes this Mama so happy.

One more Aidan story, and I'll move on to the girls.  I could go on with this all day, but I have other things in my heart today that I want to get written down.

Last night, Larry fed Rebekah and put her to bed,  I did the same with Gracie.  Rebekah is a much faster eater, so she's in bed for a few minutes before Gracie.  I still pick her back up to kiss her good night after I put Gracie down.  So, last night, I put Gracie down and went to Rebekah and noticed that she was all balled up in the corner of her bed.  She had drooled and spit up a little on her sheet, and it looked like she was trying to move away from the wet place on the sheet.  I picked her up and loved on her, and put her in bed with her sister for a minute and changed the sheet.  Aidan stood there, taking it all in.  After I had the sheet changed, I picked her up again, kissed her face off, and put her back in her own bed.

Aidan and I went back to the living room to watch some Mickey Mouse before bed, and my mom called.  He loves her so much.  She's his very favorite person.  He loves for me to put her on speaker phone and let him talk, too.  She's "Mammy" but he has always called her "Mee". 

The conversation went something like this:
"Hi, MEEE!  A doing?" (whatcha doing)

"Getting ready to go to bed, what are you doing?" Mom said.

"Webetty sheet got wet. She pooked.  Mommy changed da sheet and kissed betty.  She sleep now!"  That's probably the longest story he's ever told all at once, without anyone asking more questions to get more details.  My head and heart swelled a little.  I really, really was worried about his talking. He was well over 2 before he started talking much at all, he's over 3 now and just starting to put sentences together.  But, I'm not as worried now, that he IS  doing it. And he gets so excited, sometimes his stories crack me up!

The girls are amazing.  Truly amazing.  They're mobile now.  Not crawling, but rolling to get where ever they want to go.  Aidan started out like that, too.  he got so good that he could roll to the doorway into the hall, pivot and turn, and roll all the way down the hall into his room.  They're not to that point yet, but they can sure get all the way across the room.  They will focus on something and give it their all until they get it.  Rebekah is doing a sort of inchworm crawl thing, too, so she's a little more accurate than Gracie. 

I can't believe they're six and a half months old now.  This has flown by, after the world's longest pregnancy. 

They're so pretty (yeah, I know, they're mine).  Rebekah is the image of Aidan as a baby, except she has a lot more, a lot darker, hair.   Gracie looked just like Landon as a newborn, I wonder as I look at her if she's what he would have looked like if he'd had the chance to grow and thrive.

There's a picture, it's actually my facebook profile picture for the month of October, of Landon, and I still see a lot of Gracie in that picture. 

The eyes, cheeks, nose, and even though you can't tell, mouth are all like Grace's.  And hair, too.  She's lost all of her baby hair, but even the new hair is so similar to him.  How cool is it that I had 2 boys, and then 2 girls, and each of them looks like one of the brothers? 

This picture is pretty blurry, but it's Grace, getting her first haircut.


Rebekah, in the Halloween tutu I made for them

Gracie in her tutu.

Aidan's self portrait (he found my phone, and knows fully how to unlock it, open the camera, and take pictures.  If he learns how to send, too, they won't need me any more!!!)

Ok.  I said I had something on my heart to talk about.  And, since my keyboard is acting all right right now, I should get to get it all down. Unless somebody wakes up... It's naptime, I'm the only one in the house awake!

Ok, here it goes.  I've had this conversation with three different people, for three different reasons this week.

When the babies were born, it was amazing.  My body hadn't failed me this time.  I had two daughters who were as perfect as any two kids could possibly be.  I was over the moon in love with them.  But I was sad, too.  They weren't conceived or born to take Landon's place in any way, shape or form.  Landon's still my child. I still love him.  I still miss him. I always will.  So, as happy as I was to have them here, healthy, normal, and perfect, I was devastated all over again, too.

When they were born, they cried.  Well, Gracie cried. Bekah had some breathing issues in the first minutes of life, thankfully a good suction got her right back on track.  Landon never made a sound, his entire life, except for a few big gasps as he died.  The girls apgars were 8-9 and 9-9.  Landon's were 0-0-0.  When I finally got to hold them after I got stitched back up, they both rooted to nurse.  When I got to hold Landon after birth, I was surrounded by the team from the mobile nicu, they were breathing for him with a bag. 

When I went to my room, the girls went with me. I got to take care of them from the get-go.  When I went to my room after Landon, I went alone.  And had to listen to all the other babies crying. My body, my heart, my arms ached for my own baby.  He was away from me, miles away, at another hospital, fighting for life, being taken care of by total strangers, instead of his mother.

I got to nurse the girls.  With Landon, I pumped and pumped, he was given a total of less than 3 ounces through a tube in his nose.  What I would have given to nurse him. I've always had the dream of breastfeeding. When Aidan was born, I made water instead of milk. I took drugs and herbs, ate a crap ton of oatmeal, trying to make rich milk.  I didn't, he was almost a pound under birthweight for 2 full weeks before I was forced to put him on formula.  With Landon, I had enough milk to feed a third world country, and he didn't need it.  With the girls, I jsut didnt' have enough to keep up with them. Ironic, huh, that the only baby I made good milk for, was the one who didn't need it. 

When we got released, we put Rebekah into our first car seat. The one we used with Aidan, the one we had installed and ready to take Landon home in.

We brought them home, showed them their nursery.  Landon never went anywhere but to the hospital where he died.  He never even left his little room. 

We took the girls to the doctor.  We took them to Costco.  We took them to a party.  All in the first ten or so days of their lives.  We never got to take Landon anywhere. 

The girls turned 14 days old, and all that day, my mind was on when Landon turned 14 days old.  The Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer came to the hospital that morning and took pictures.  At 2, the nurse removed his breathing tube.  He died a few minutes before midnight.  I held him almost that entire time, except for the few times I let the grandmas, grandpa, my brother, Larry's aunt, hold him.  The day the girls turned 14 days old, I held my breath that whole day, terrified that something would happen to them.  I held them most of that day.  I cried a lot. I cried a lot their first few weeks.  It had nothing to do with them, it was my grief coming back to the surface full force. 

I wasn't grieving because of the girls.  I was so happy to have them.  I was grieving for what I was cheated out of with Landon.  I was sad. Then I got mad.  Every time I'd cry, someone would say what all baby loss moms hate to hear. "Just be thankful for what you've got."  I swear, funeral homes should pass out "What not to say" flyers to people when they come to baby's funerals.  Every time I'd hear that phrase, it'd make me mad all over again.  I heard from anyone who happened to be around when the sadness would hit me.  Now, I got better, and I feel like that grief was a good thing, a necessary thing.  Grieving is never a bad thing.  It's ok to be sad, even 2 years later, even 20 years later.  It's not ok to become so lost in what you've lost that you lose sight of what you've got. I never did that, but I did grieve over what I've lost.  

From the time Landon died, I had Aidan's past to show me what I was missing. He was almost exactly a year older than Landon.  Landon was born 21 days after Aidan's first birthday.  So, all I had to do, to see what I was missing, was look back at pictures from that time, the year before.  I still do that.  There are pictures of Aidan playing in leaves last fall, that make me think what Landon would be like right now. 

(Aidan loves trash, that's a post for another day)

So, I can look back on what Aidan did the year before, and see what Landon would be doing the current year, if life were fair.  And with the girls, each thing they do, each milestone they hit, just reminds me of the things Landon never got to do, memories I never got to make with him.  Pictures I didn't get to take.  Yes, it makes me sad. 

But, guess what.  It also makes me enjoy these kids to the fullest.  It makes me take more pictures.  It makes me treasure each milestone, it makes me so proud of each little skill they pick up.  I have cherished every second of Aidan's life, both before and after Landon.  But, after Landon,  that cherishing has gone on to a whole new level.  I want for us, as a family, to live, laugh, love, experience, and enjoy twice as much, in Landon's honor. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

I've got a funny story

This is about my husband.  I have laughed too much about it, so figured I would share.

My Larry is probably the most "with it" person in the world, when it comes to being prepared, always knowing where his keys are, never losing stuff.  Heck, he takes our good silverware to work with him and always remembers to bring it home.  I'm the total opposite.  I lose stuff. 

When I was pregnant with the twins, I lost our debit card.  I refuse to carry one (mainly because I lose stuff), so we only have one card.  He always carries it.  We went to the Golden Corral one night for dinner.  This was within a month of the babies being born, so I was huge and miserable, attracting stares everywhere we went. 

Aidan was acting up, not too bad, just not wanting to stand in line.  Larry was trying to pay, I was too huge to wrestle with Aidan, so Larry handed me the debit card and picked Aidan up.  I SWEAR I stuck the card in my coat pocket.  I know I did.  Well, later we needed it and it was gone.  He was so nice about it.  I would have been all, "You dumb broad, you'd lose your head if it wasn't attatched!"  but he really was nice. 

He called and cancelled it, got a new one right away.  That was no more than seven and a half or eight months ago.  So, the card was still relatively new.  It started, in the last few weeks, to not register on the card readers.  The magnetic strip was shot, but it would work at some places, so we kept putting off ordering a new one.  There was one tense evening at Costco when it absolutely would NOT work, and there was only 2 cashiers, both busy as beavers, and we had to wait around for someone to come up and enter it manually. Larry was afraid people would think we were overdrawn or something.  He was so mad.  After that night, he went to the bank the next day to get another one.  Which brings us to the Target incident. I'm cracking up right now just thinking about it.

The girls were running low on formula, so Larry took Aidan to Target to get three things,  formula, a metal spatula, and a carton of Diet Dew for his lunches.  He went, I was chopping meat and veggies for supper, waiting for my new spatula to start cooking.

He called and said, "Guess what.  I don't have my card."
"Where is it?" I asked, knowing full well I hadn't lost it THIS time.

"Go look in the bedroom by the computer.  I'm so stupid. When I called to activate it, I must have forgotten to put it back in my wallet."

So, while he was on the phone, I went in and looked. And looked. And looked.  And finally, across the room from the computer, by our TV, I found one.  "Is it blue with a mountain on it?"  

"Yep. I'm almost home, just run it out to me."

So, I did, and he went back to Target for the second time.

Ten minutes later, he's calling again.

"That was the old card. It was declined. Go in the bedroom and look again for the new one. I don't know what happened to it!"

By this time, my husband was really upset.  He HATES to not be prepared.  He lays out his clothes and packs his lunch  before he goes to bed, even, so everything is ready.  This whole fiasco was really getting to him.  I went in the bedroom, and found it.  It had somehow fallen into my sock drawer (Still nowhere near the computer, but that's another story.)

He and Aidan pulled in the drive again, I ran the card out to him, he checked it to make sure it was the right one, and headed back to Target for the THIRD time.

They got home, I cooked supper and we got ready to eat.  He went out to the garage fridge to get us a pop.  He came back in so flustered his face was red.  "Guess what."

"What, honey?"

"I left my damn pop at Target! Right at the service desk!"  He was so mad.  Didn't help that I busted out with a huge belly laugh that would do Roseanne Barr proud! 

He made me call Target and ask if they still had it.  When I called, I said, "Hi, my name is Lori, my husband was in there several times this evening, and I think-------" and the woman cut me off.

"Was he the debit card guy, with the little boy?"

I busted out again.  Yep, he was.

"We have his pop here at the service desk.  He just needs to bring the receipt."

He wouldn't go.  So, I ran in there today and got it.  And the woman said, "I felt so sorry for your husaband yesterday. I could tell he was aggrivated."  I just laughed again.  It struck me so funny.  He hates Target, anyway, and had to make 3 trips in the span of 45 minutes.  God love him. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Things I've "Lost"

Ya know, I've been thinking.  I don't think I like the phrase, "I lost a son."  I didn't lose him.  His body's in Springboro Cemetery, right on top of my Popaw.  His soul's in Heaven. With my Popaw.  I know exactly where he is.  He died, I didn't "lose" him. 

That phrase never really bothered me too much, til the other day.  Someone in a store stopped to admire the girls, and started in on the questions... how many do I have, how old, etc, and I told her that I had lost my second son, who would be two now.  She proceeded to tell me that her daughter in law had lost several babies.  Now, I don't know if it's because my own mother in law is less than a joy, always wanting to make everything my fault, therefore I am not fond of mothers-in-law in general, or what, but that phrase, "Lost several babies."  rubbed me wrong.

In my life, I've lost lots of things.  I lose my keys on a regular basis.  I once lost my purse with all my identification and money. (well, more than once, actually).  In school I was always losing homework or books.  I don't know how many pacifiers I've lost in the last three years or so.  Now... think about it.  When I say, "I've lost my dang keys!"  doesn't that take your mind to my irresposibility, doesn't it put the blame squarely on me?  Yeah.  Well.  I don't like that in connection with my son.  With that child who I wanted more than anything in the world. 

The world wants answers so badly when babies die, that people are very quick to assign blame.  I even had a family member scream at me that I killed him.  I have another friend, who, after a second trimester miscarriage, got an email from a pregnant acquaintance, wanting to know what she had done, so this person wouldn't do it and lose HER baby. 

The truth is, while my body did cause the death of my boy, NO ONE knew that was going on.  There were no warning signs.  Yes, it could have been prevented, if that pregnancy had been followed as closely as the twins were,  but there was no reason TO follow it that closely.  I live with knowing that.

But back to the mother-in-law who told me about her son's wife, "losing" several babies. 

The tone of her voice.  "My daughter-in-law has lost several babies."  Just made me feel like ol' Mom was blaming the son's wife.  I don't know what term I'd prefer.  "My daughter in law has had several miscarriages." That sounds a little better.  Only, have you ever discussed miscarriage with someone?  It's like talking about dirty, kinky, perverted sex.  Their eyes drop, voices go quiet, some people even blush.  Why is miscarriage taboo?  Why is stillbirth taboo?  Why is infant death taboo? 

It shouldn't be.  It isn't taboo when 95 year old grandpa dies.  It isn't taboo when an adult woman dies of breast cancer.  It isn't even taboo when a hard core partier dies of an overdose.  WHY is it taboo when a person is under a year old, to mention their death? 

I have pictures in my house of my grandpa.  He's been dead for over ten years now.  I have pictures of Landon, who has been dead just over 2.  I have sensed people's discomfort when they see the ones of Landon.  Really?  Why?  I have pictures of the other 3 kids, why is it that his pictures make you uncomfortable??  He looked perfect, beautiful.  It's not like he was born with two heads or huge gaping holes in his body... and even if he had, he was my son, and I still would have thought he was beautiful, still would have hung his picture on my wall... still would have his picture on my facebook profile for the month of October. 

If you've "lost" a child, you know what I mean.  If you've never known that pain, please, go back and read this again.  Talk to me, talk to others about their dead children.  Nothing in the world means more to a bereaved parent than to have someone willingly talk to them about their babies.   If it were talked about more openly, instead of being the family secret, then it may lose its taboo status. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Other Angel

It's the end of September.  Although I don't talk about it as much as I talk of Landon,  if things had been different, I would have been throwing a big first birthday Rainbow baby party, it probably would have been today.  There would have been tons of people here, or in the church fellowship hall, or the firehouse community room, or somewhere.  I would have cooked too much food, made a special cake, overbought presents, and come home dead tired. Instead, we had a nice family day here at home. I fixed burritos with copycat spicy white queso sauce.  We put the girls to bed, took Aidan to the "hot" (warm) tub for a dip, got him to bed, and I'm dead tired. 

  My due date with my first rainbow pregnancy was September 17th or 19th.  I don't remember now.  I feel bad about it, but I just don't.

I was scared to death that morning in January 2010 when I saw those 2 pink lines for the first time since Landon.  There was a living being inside of me, for the first time since he was ripped from my womb.  I was almost hesitant to believe it.  Of course we didn't even wait a day before telling everyone. And I do mean everyone.  We both even posted it on Facebook.  It was so soon after Landon, about 7 months after he was born, that his death was still front and center in everyone's mind.  We got tons of congratulations. 

I remember I went out and bought 2 new maternity tops right away. I believed it was my last pregnancy, I was determined to make the most of it.  I ordered 2 pairs of maternity jean shorts (jorts?) off of eBay.  I had never been pregnant through the dead heat of summer, so I had no shorts.  Two weeks.  Two weeks was how long I got to bask in the glow of new pregnancy.  I went in for my early OB visit, and my doctor wanted me to have an ultrasound that week, for dating purposes. Because I was absolutely not a candidate for vbac, he wanted to be absolutely sure that my dates were right.  My office visit was on Wednesday.  The ultrasound was on Friday.  I of course went online to see what an ultrasound of a 6 week 4 day baby would look like.  He or she should have had a head and tail end and a heart beat.  Friday came. I was excited and scared.  I hopped up on that table, the ultrasound lady who had shown me my other babies was working. 

She started the scan.  Asked me multiple times if I was absolutely sure of my dates.  We were actively trying to get pregnant, I probably could have pinpointed to within an hour of when we conceived! Of course I was sure.   There was no heartbeat, no fetus at all.  Just an empty 4 week sac.  I knew it was over.  But no one else would accept it.  I went for I don't know how many blood draws.  My hcg was rising but not doubling.  I had more ultrasounds that pregnancy than I did with Aidan or Landon.  It never changed, and by the next-to-last one, that little sac was shrinking.  It took two more weeks before I actually miscarried.  It was all through valentine's day. 

I was sad.  But I was still so broken over Landon, that I just didn't have the energy to fall apart over it.  I only cried once.  In the OB office, talking to the midwife.  I asked her why my body kept killing my babies.  She had a heck of a time trying to convince me that the 2 losses were totally unrelated.  As I left she said there was no need to wait, go get pregnant.  It took longer than I thought it would, but get pregnant I did.  And we all know the rest, I have two gorgeous rainbow baby girlies.  Who I wouldn't have, if my September baby had made it. 

After the miscarriage, I discovered a truly amazing online loss support group for older moms.  I've made several true friendships through there, that I also would never have without having lost my little September baby.  I like to think that maybe Landon needed a sibling in Heaven with him. I miss them both, but will see them again someday.  For now, I'll just give my three earth bound angels and their daddy all my love. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

It does affect me.

I can't believe it has been ten years.  It seems like just yesterday, but was a lifetime ago.  I was living in a little one bedroom, furnished apartment, working 12 hour night shifts.  I had worked the night of the tenth, came home that morning, took a shower and went straight to bed.  I slept with a TV on at that point (before kids started sharing my bed and/or room), and kept hearing the words "plane", "crash" "World Trade Center", just over and over.  At that time, I had no idea what the World Trade Center even was, I'm not a city-type person.  I had no concept of how deeply the hatred of Americans runs in other parts of the world.  My biggest concern was how not to enrage my ex husband. 

Those words kept repeating, I thought I was dreaming.  Eventually, the repetition of those words was enough to wake me.  I still remember rolling over, and focusing on the TV, just in time to see one of the towers collapsing.  Once I was awake and coherent, I was piecing together what the news was saying, what was going across the screen.  I figured out that what I had seen was, in fact, real, and that it was a re-play, not live action.  I had slept through the entire attack. 

At first I, being an optimist, thought what a bizarre series of accidents.  I didn't WANT to believe that anyone could have done something so horrendous on purpose.  I didn't WANT to accept that we had been attacked.  On purpose.  But, by the time I headed back into work at 7:00 that evening,  my heart was broken, I had to accept that this was a planned, purposeful attack. 

What went through my mind?  For starters, the evenings when I was in Junior High, watching on TV as Bush, Sr talked about Operation Desert Storm.  I knew in my heart that we were at war again.  It may not have been declared, but it was a war.   Next, I wanted my mom.  Nothing else would do, I wanted my mom, at least to talk to her.  I knew nothing had happened in our little hick town neck of the woods, but I still needed to know she was OK.  She works for the  local school system, and was in class when it happened, but I still needed to talk to her.  I also remember thinking how broken hearted my Popaw would have been, if he had been alive to see it.  He had been dead just  over four months. It's funny the things that ran through my mind along with the fear.  I was actually afraid to head out to work, wondering what more could happen.

I worked in a nursing home, and some of the more lucid residents were very upset, several told about their experiences with Pearl Harbor, wondering if it were the beginning of World War III. 

I don't think I was as heartbroken then about the attacks as I am now, as a mother.  I think I was more numb than anything that day.  I wanted to be in denial about it, but how could I be, when the footage was everywhere. Every channel.  Round the clock.  NO escaping it. 

I remember passing the Speedway gas station on my way in to work, and there was a traffic jam.  Everyone in town was trying to get gas. Everything was in slow motion.

I remember the footage of people jumping out of the towers. That still haunts me.  How terrifying their last minutes on earth must have been.  How horrible, that they chose to jump to their deaths rather than face the inferno inside those buildings.

I remember what a perfect, clear, beautiful day it was, the sort of day you savor as you know you're headed fast into the winter months.  The sky was so blue here that day, as it looked on TV in New York.  I kept thinking, in my confused wonderings, "How can this be real?  It's such a pretty day.  How can this be happening on such a perfectly sunny day?"  Like, bad things should only happen on cold, rainy, foggy, gloomy days or something.

As time passed, and the numbness, the shock, wore off, other things occurred to me. Thousands of moms lost their kids.  Kids lost their parents.  Wives lost husbands, husbands lost wives. Sisters lost brothers.  Everyone who died was loved by someone, there was someone to mourn each and every life lost.  We, as a country mourned,  but imagine having lost your best friend, your lover, the father of your children, having to raise those kids alone, and explain to them what happened.    Someone, some group of someones, did that to us.  On purpose. Dammit, on purpose.

Now, as a mom, I'm faced with knowing that the day is coming that I will have to explain to Aidan, to Rebekah, to Gracie, exactly what happened on that day in September 2001.  A good friend of mine was faced with that this very year, she has a first grader and a kindergartner.  She just gave them the bare bones version of it, but even that is scarier than any ghost tale they may hear at a campout.  This is real, and was done ON PURPOSE.

I've seen some really disturbing opinions today.  People saying they just don't care. Because it doesn't affect them.  Saying that we, as a country, are making too big a deal of it.  We need to just leave it alone, why are we dedicating a whole day to something that happened ten years ago.  That line of thought sickens me.  I am very proud to live in America. I'm proud of my home, of my town, of my state, of my country.  I love what America has always represented, I love the very thing our attackers hate,  our Freedom.

If you live in America, if you're an American, then 9/11 DOES affect you, whether you want to believe it or not.  Even though I was no where near any of the attacks or carnage, I was attacked that day. So were you.  So was your neighbor, so was the man on the street, the cashier at the grocery store, the old woman in the nursing home, the baby being born.  America, our way of life, our security and stability, was attacked.  Those who DID die that day and in the days following, they DESERVE to be honored, remembered, prayed for. The survivors, who lost someone they loved, deserve our prayers, our recognition. 

I have a friend who is a widow now.  No, her husband didn't die on 9/11.  He died in August of 2010 in Afghanistan.  Her kids have to go to a grave to visit Daddy.  My first crush, a guy who was at my 6th grade camp as a counselor, was one of the first local boys killed in the war that was sparked by these attacks. 

Our way of life has changed in so many ways.  Just traveling by plane has become an ordeal.  The security measures are in place for a reason, and I'm glad of it, but I wish there was no need for such drastic measures.  Gas prices are up.  The economy is in the toilet.  People have lost hope in the American Dream. All because a group of terrorists attacked US.  On purpose. 

There've been other American tragedies.  Pearl Harbor.  Katrina, and most recently Joplin.  My heart breaks for all of those lost, but 9/11 was just different.  Yeah, death is death is death.  But.  Pearl Harbor, God, that was bad.  Of course I don't remember it, but reading about it, visiting the Memorial,  all of that really hurt my heart.  However, those killed, they were enlisted. They were attacked in a war, they were pretty well informed of the risks.  I don't think for a minute that what I've just said makes their deaths any less tragic.  However,  innocent civilians were targeted and killed on 9/11.  Not as an act of war, but as an act of terror.  All those people did was go to work. That's it.  And never came home.

Katrina and Joplin were acts of nature.  Horrible, scary acts of nature.  People died, the damage and destruction was devastating.  But, what makes the attacks on 9/11 so much more frightening to me, is that there was a human being behind them.  A person, with a mother and a father, not only planned this, but executed it as well.  How sick, depraved, evil, must a person be to even imagine doing something like that?  And then to organize enough equally evil, depraved, sick people to execute it?  That, my friend, scares me.  Until that September day ten years ago, I had so much faith in humanity, I believed that most people are good.  Then that innocence was stolen.  I still want to believe that most people are good people, but now I know that true evil really exists, and I am a target, as are all Americans.  Just for being American.  Yes, it affects me.

Do I let that affect how I live my life?  Not really.  I pray a lot, for my safety, for the safety of my loved ones, I pray for our leaders, for our soldiers.  I still enjoy life. I love my husband, our kids, my mom, my family.  

I think that September 11 should be a National Holiday.  A day to remember and mourn what we've lost.  A day to be with family, to rejoice in what we haven't. 

Also, we should all take time to thank a service man or woman for what they do to defend our way of life.  We take so much for granted, but really, how hard is it to say those 2 words? Thank. You. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chances worth Taking

It is hard for us to take chances.  When you've been hurt by something, it's hard to open yourself up to that same sort of hurt again.

I've mentioned before that Larry is my second husband.  The first one was just bad.  He wouldn't work, he'd lie about working for weeks, til I would really push about where the paycheck was.  He was abusive, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  He had me so emotionally dead, that I didn't care about anyone or anything by the time we finally split up.  I had no self esteem, he had convinced me that I was so worthless no one would ever want me.  I had a miserable excuse for a life.  It was bad.  I  wasn't even allowed to wear make-up.

When we split, I hated myself. I hated men.  I hated everything.  Hate was eating me from the inside. 

I swore I'd never let that happen to me again.  It was a lot of work getting past all of that.  A lot of work.  I figured the only way to keep it from happening again, was to never get into any sort of long term commitment again.  That worked well for me for a while.

After a couple of years of that, I realized that I was lonely and unfulfilled. I hadn't stopped wanting to have kids,  not at all.  But, I didn't want the husband to go with it.  But I also didn't want to be a poor single mother.  And, we would have been poor.  I made enough to support myself, but it wouldn't have been any sort of life for a child.  I slowly felt myself becoming more open to a second marriage.  Slowly.  I surely wasn't rushing into anything.

I started dating people I might be serious about.  But for one reason or another, it just didn't work out with any of them.  Til I met my Larry.  Marrying him was the biggest leap of faith I'd ever taken up til that point.  Thank God, things worked out, and I'm so happy with him.  He's NOTHING like the first one, at all. He's so good to me.  We rarely fight.  I live my life to be a good wife for him, and he strives to be a good husband.  I feel  like I'm right where I'm supposed to be.  I'd take every minute of the bad years of my first marriage a hundred times, if I knew he'd be waiting for me on the other side of it. That was most certainly a chance worth taking.

I worked in nursing homes my whole adult life, until right before I had Aidan.  I had worked at one early on in my career, and it was a miserable experience.  Add that into the miserable home life, and all I had of the place was bad memories.  Several years later, I decided I needed a job switch, and the place was hiring, offering the wages I wanted and the hours I preferred.  So, I went and applied, was hired on the spot.  I ended up loving it the second time,  and worked there for nearly 3 years before quitting to become a stay at home mom.  That was another chance worth taking.

Then came Landon.  Nothing in my life has ever hurt me as badly as seeing him so sick, so lifeless, and then watching him die.  I pray daily, several times daily, that I never have to feel THAT kind of hurt again.  He was born dying.  As badly as I wanted him to live, as hard as I pushed doctors and nurses and specialists to make him live, we knew he was dying.  It still hurts.  It will always hurt.

At his funeral Larry's aunt blatantly asked if I was able to have more kids.  She was just the first to ask, it was asked a lot more times, and in different ways over the next year or so. Of course I was able, but how could I ever do that again?  How could I take that chance? How could I give my heart that freely, that completely, again, knowing how things  could end?   

I won't lie.  I WANTED to try again.  I WANTED, craved, needed another baby.  Not to replace Landon, but to complete my family.  I never intended for Aidan to grow up as an only child.  Larry had already decided on the day Landon was born that we would, in fact, try again, as soon as I was ready. He told me that night that he had a strange feeling we would have twins, a boy and a girl.  He was half right.

I was so scared to think of being pregnant again.  The idea of pregnancy, for me, had been soured and tainted by the worst pain of my life.  I know I had Aidan, who was perfect, a perfect pregnancy and delivery,  but it was so hard to think about that when all I could focus on was what happened to Landon.  The doctor who delivered Landon, and the doctor that I saw for all of my OB visits, both were really encouraging in their outlook for me to have another baby.  They both promised me that I'd be watched really closely and would be delivered immediately if any problems were detected.  What killed Landon would have been found by ultrasound or non-stress test.  I really think that late ultrasounds and non-stress tests should be routine in all pregnancies, but that's my soapbox.

So, we were told to wait six months to try, and we did.  By December, the 6 month mark, I was pretty ready.  As ready as I'd ever be.  We found out in January of 2010 that I was pregnant.  I was scared to death.  I wanted to be happy. I think I was happy, briefly. By the time I had fully accepted that I really was pregnant, I was miscarrying.  You'd think that would have made me even more hesitant to try again, two losses in a row.  But, I'll be honset.  I was sad, but not devastated, the way I would have been if I had miscarried without ever losing a full term infant.  That miscarriage pushed me to an almost obsessive determination to have another baby.  After I was cleared to try again, I was like a madwoman.  I spent a small fortune on ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, basal body thermometers.  I would take pregnancy tests every single month, whether I had any symptoms or not.  Month after month of negatives. 

I was starting to get angry. In addition to the sadness.  Landon's first birthday came and went.  The anniversary of his death.  Praying, pleading, for a chance to have another baby of my own.  Scared to death of the pregnancy,but still praying for it nonetheless. 

I was so scared of being pregnant again, but so scared of never being pregnant again.  I felt like I was going crazy.   Also wondered if I was cheating Landon, was my obsession with getting pregnant again overtaking the grief?  A good friend of mine from an online loss group said that her doctor told her, "You're going to grieve whether you're pregnant or not. I see no reason to wait."  And it is true, being pregnant didn't take a thing away from Landon, any more than it took away from Aidan.  There's room in my heart to store love for all my kids, grief for Landon, hope for the future, all of it. 

So, when I finally did get pregnant, I knew something was different.  Figured it was a multiple pregnancy.  Don't know exactly why, but I knew in my heart it was twins before that ultrasound.  For one thing, my bloodwork came back with off-the-charts high numbers.  But even without that, I think I knew it.

When it was confirmed by ultrasound, I was still shocked.  Shocked that the pregnancy was even viable.  And then the fear set in. I was so afraid the entire time I was pregnant.  I don't think I ever fully relaxed.  When I'd talk about the babies, I would say, "If they're born healthy"  or "If they're ok".  It was never "When the twins are born."  Even the night before my c-section, I was full of "if's". 

Then they were born.  And it was amazing.  Hearing each of their first cries, when Landon never made a sound.  Holding them without any tubes or wires attatached.  Being able to nurse them, burp them.  Seeing them poop like they were supposed to.  TAKING THEM HOME.  All of that was so precious to me.  Now, today, they turn five months old.  And they're still amazing me every single day.  They're rolling and laughing so much. So funny.  Their brother is their favorite plaything.  And he loves them so much. 

Definitely a chance worth taking.  I'd do it all over again. No regrets.


Gracie again.  This picture smacked me in the face with how fast they're growing up!

This picture of my sweet Rebekah makes me want to go get her out of bed just to kiss that  mouth.

And, for good measure, here's big brother, in the outfit he picked out for himself, celebrating the end of Summer!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

No Place Like Home

We made it home yesterday.  We had an amazing time!  The babies were fantastic travelers.  The did great! 

We got into Pigeon Forge on Thursday evening, about 8:00 pm.  While I got the girls settled in, Larry and Aidan left to get some food.  We had Krystal burgers...sliders...  I was happy.  We decided that we weren't going to eat anything that was available around home.  After we ate and bathed all the kids, we all crashed.  Woke up the next morning, and met my great aunt and uncle for breakfast.  Such a coincidence that they were also in town!  They live about 3 hours from here, and Aidan has only seen my aunt once that he's big enough to remember.  She came to see my grandma, her sister, about 2 weeks ago, and they came over here.  Aidan fell in love with her.  Her name's Velma, and he calls her "Molma".  When we walked into the restaurant, and he saw her, he went outside of his mind.  He was so happy!  When he got calmed down, he asked, "Where Dellie at?"  (He calls my Momaw "Dellie".) That tickled aunt Velma. 

After breakfast, we drove over the mountain into Cherokee,  but stopped at the top to change diapers, feed babies, and let Aidan see it all.  So beautiful up there!  My aunt and uncle were also up there, sight seeing, so he got to see his "Molma" again.  We took some pictures and enjoyed each others' company for a while, then went our separate ways.

In Cherokee, we went to two different feed-the-live-bears places, and bought a ton of food trays so bubba could feed them.  The girls just rode in their stroller, and were so good.  We attracted a lot of attention.  It was so fun, and,as always, I was so proud of my kids. 

The first bear place also has goats, monkeys, lemurs, and even a tiger.  There were some teeny, tiny baby goats.  So little, in fact, that one squeezed out of the fence and took up with Aidan.  He loved it, wanted to bring it home!!   It was so little that when I texted a picture of Aidan and the goat to my grandma's phone, she thought it was a cat!

That night, we went to a bar-b-que place for supper.  I went up to the salad bar to fix a salad for Aidan and me, and when I got back, Larry was telling the waitress about Landon.  I tell about him a lot more than Larry does.  She was so sweet, and told us that she had lost a little girl at just 29 days.  It sucks to meet others who know that pain, but it's also a blessing, to know that I'm not alone.  To meet someone who doesn't look away, look at their shoes, change the subject, who actually asks questions about him, rather than pretending he didn't exist.  I got a little teary talking about him,  but that's ok.  Everyone in that place could look at us, and know that we have 3 kids.  She was the only one who knew we actually had 4. 

I know when we go out to eat, all 5 of us, people's first thought is, "Oh,crap, I hope they don't sit THEM by us!"  But, know what?  My kids are pretty good.  Aidan does really well in public places, and the girls are so mellow nowadays.  They don't disturb anyone.  Rebekah did take a crying spell, but I was able to comfort her pretty quickly.

We also ran into a WalMart that night.  We can't NOT go to WalMart, we're the PEOPLE of WalMart! 

The next day was sort of a lazy day, I took Aidan swimming in the indoor pool, while Larry chilled with the girls.  I wanted to take them swimming, but for an indoor pool, the water was awfully cold. 

That night, we went to a CiCi's pizza.  I really wish that all of ours around here hadn't closed down.  We all love it.  Then we took the kids to a go-cart track/amusement park.  That was so much fun!  Larry took him twice on a go-cart, and I took him twice on bumper boats.  We had a blast, and a kid who was nearly asleep before we even hit the hotel!

We got up yesterday morning, packed all of our stuff, and headed home.  The weather all weekend was gorgeous!  I'm so thankful for such a fun, nice, beautiful trip.  Grateful for our safety while traveling, and just thankful for the ability to do that.

Since we got home, I've been working on laundry.  It's amazing how much laundry can accumulate in 3 days with no washer and dryer!  It is almost done, but it keeps piling up! Never ending!!

The babies' first night ever in a hotel!
Aidan at the top of the mountain
Aidan on an old fire engine at a roadside fireworks/souvinier shop
Babies and the goat
Aidan loved the goat!
Babies on a covered bridge in Cherokee
Aunt Velma (Molma), Grace, Rebekah, Aidan and me at the top of the mountain
Me & My kids!
Thank God for my blessings.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Surprise Vacation!

I feel as giddy as a kid on Christmas Eve!  We're leaving in 12 hours to go down to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge for two nights.  It's not a huge 2 week vacation, but it is more than I thought we'd get this year!  Larry took all of his vacation time when the twins were born, and was a tremendous help to me.  Last year we went down three times, and I was so grateful for that.  I just looked at it as stockpiling vacation memories for this year, which I hoped would be vacationless due to birthing.  He just decided around 5:00 or so this evening that we would go!  I'm so excited!

I'm blessed.  I got a double birthing, and a vacation!  We spent the majority of last summer lost in the land of trying to conceive.  The twins were the only pregnancy that we actually had to "try" for.  And it took longer than I had expected.  Still was only a drop in the bucket compared to some of my friends, who have been trying for years and years. 

The last trip down last year, was my mom, Aidan and me.  I found out I was pregnant just a couple weeks after we got home.  But, I can't claim that they're my souveniers as my husband wasn't with us.

Aidan had a blast every time we went down. He acts like he remembers it, but I'm not real sure if he actually does or not.  I do believe that he's old enough this year to remember it for a long time. 

I'm still such a kid at heart.  My very favorite thing to do on a Smoky Mountain vacation is to drive over the mountain into Cherokee (North Carolina) and go to the "bear zoos" and feed the bears.  And I've passed that love onto Aidan.  As he was falling asleep tonight, he was talking about feeding the bears apples.  I had shown him pictures earlier in the day, from last year. 

I am excited, but nervous, about taking the twins away from home.  Will they sleep?  Eat?  They're really easy to take on outings such as grocery store or restaurants.  But three days and two nights?  I do have one thing going for me, though.  They're still sleeping in their swings, I'm not ready to evict them from my room yet.  So, we're loading both swings up in the van to take with us.  So, that's one thing that'll be just like home for them. 

I'm sure I'm overpacking, but I'd rather take too much than not enough.  Babies get dirty, and I can't stand the thought of my kids wearing dirty clothes for any longer than they have to.  So, I have two outfits each in the diaper bag that will be up front, and about eight each in a suitcase, plus 4 sleepers each, 100 diapers (I know we won't use that many in 3 days, but still...)  I'm taking 10 bottles, that's one day worth, and my dishwashing liquid and bottle brush.  And the formula,of course.  And every bib we own.  Even at home, we go through all of them in just a few days, so I'm hoping that  they'll last the whole 3 days! I'm taking their baby washcloths and towels.  I don't want to use old rough hotel towels on my little girlies!

Aidan is  much easier to pack for!  He's such a big boy now.

I have one last load of clothes in the washer, as soon as I switch them over, I'm heading to bed.  Here are some pictures from our trips last year.  Enjoy!

Wonder if they were as blessed this spring as we were?

Watch for new pictures of our larger family, sometime this weekend!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

This week, last year

One year ago right now was a pretty emotional, exciting, and happy time.  Mixed in with a touch of sadness, for that's always there, and a lot of fear. 

My sister-in-law was 39 weeks pregnant with my niece. I was freaking out.  Because, as a babyloss mom, I will never take any pregnancy for granted again.  I've learned the hard way that pregnancy, even full term pregnancy, doesn't always guarantee that you're going to bring a baby home.  I wanted so badly to be excited. I was excited, just reservedly so.  My sister-in-law was the first pregnant woman close to me since Landon.  She was carrying the first girl in the family.

They wanted me at the hospital when she was born.  The hospital where my boys were born.  What if she was put into the same room where we learned Landon was in trouble, minutes before my emergency c-section? Could I walk in there, sit with her while she was in labor?  Could I really do that?  I knew I would, but I was so afraid I would lose it.  I wanted to meet my niece as soon as possible after she was born.  I wanted to be in the hallway outside the room, just like I was when they had my nephew.  Just like they were when I had Aidan.  I wanted that.  I wanted to be normal. 

But would I be able to?  How could I walk through those double doors?  The same doors I walked through 14 months earlier, only to be wheeled out with a teddy bear and bereavement literature (while my child was still alive)?  How would I deal with hearing babies' first cries, knowing that my own never, ever made a sound?  How?  Why, oh, why, does everything have to be so tainted for me now?  Why in the world did the thought of celebrating the birth of a baby that I already loved so much, have to smack me in the face with my own grief and pain?  Would the nurses remember me, the one with the dead baby?  Would I get the sad looks, people walking on eggshells to avoid "reminding me" of what happened? 

My sister-in-law and I go to the same group of doctors.  In fact, we saw the same doc throughout all of our pregnancies, but luck of the draw had different docs delivering all of our babies to date.  Would they look at me with pity? I was, at that point, pretty well known around the OB-GYN office.  After Landon, I got pregnant again within 6 months and miscarried.  They knew me well.  I didn't want to be treated with kid gloves.  I just wanted to go to the hospital, meet my niece, and handle it like a big girl.

All that was on my mind that week.  My mom and I had taken Aidan to Gatlinburg for a quick vacation at the end of July, to be back in time for the birth. I remember the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum was supposed to have the world famous fertility statue in August, supposedly those who touch it get pregnant right away.   I wanted to go in August just for that reason, I was starting to get so desparate.   We weren't able to go in August, though.  I was a little bit sad.

On Tuesday of that week, the 17th, I found out I was pregnant.  I was too scared to be happy.  I had been pregnant 3 times, but only had one baby here with me.  I didn't trust pregnancy, didn't trust my body. I had very little hope that I would actually be bringing a baby home with me.  This was the first pregnancy that we didn't tell everyone we knew before the test had even dried.  We agreed to wait til we saw a heartbeat.  After the miscarriage, and Landon, I knew that I would get an early ultrasound.  Then, after we made that agreement, we pushed it a bit further.  Don't tell anyone til we HEAR the heartbeat, which would be somewhere between 10 and 14 weeks. 

So, we told no one.  Wednesday, my sister-in-law had her 40 week OB check, and it was decided to take the baby by c-section on Friday, the 20th.  I was actually relieved.  Like I said, I didn't trust pregnancy any more, and in my mind, the quickest route out was best.  She was happy, too. 

On Thursday, we went to Costco, and I discovered that I was bleeding.  I had my mind made up that  I was miscarrying.  I wasn't even going to call the doctor, was just going to let it happen.  Larry talked me into calling on the way home that afternoon.  The nurse told me to go straight to the lab for a blood draw, and to repeat it on Saturday. 

I broke down and called my mom and told her what was going on.  She was optimistic, maybe it wasn't anything bad.  OF COURSE it was something bad.  It always goes bad with me, doesn't it?  Well, other than that perfectly healthy 2 year old in the back seat.  That turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.  But, everything but him.  It all goes bad.

Costco is about 30 or so minutes from home.  We didn't even go home, just went straight to the lab, gave my blood, and went home and waited to miscarry. 

There was never any more bleeding, at all. 

Friday morning,I woke up in panic attacks.  It was THE DAY.  The day I would force myself to take one step at a time, through those doors, onto that labor and delivery floor.  Onto that floor where my heart was ripped right out of me.  Oh, how I wanted to just skip it.  Just stay home and pretend like it wasn't happening.    Todd and Valerie were bringing my nephew to me that morning, he was going to stay here.  My grandma was coming over to stay with both boys while I went up there.  How easy it would have been, to just stay home and play with the boys all day.  Life as usual. 

But I'm not a coward.  I never thought of myself as strong. Til Landon.  The very child who was making me feel all this fear and panic, was the one who showed me my true strength.   I still don't think I'm strong, but everyone else says I am.  I just do what needs to be done, no matter how it scares or hurts me.

There's another reason I was determined to make myself go up there.  My brother.  He was there when I woke up in recovery.  He prayed over me.  He got to see Landon before the mobile NICU took him to Miami Valley.  He went to Miami Valley every single day to see my little boy.  He made sure Larry and I ate.  He brought me ice cream.  He was on my left, Larry on my right, as my little boy died.  He held my son after he was dead.  He grieved right with me.  He led so many prayers.  He took care of getting the preacher to come several times.  He was with us the third night, when they warmed Landon up after the cold treatment.  He. Was. There.    My sister-in-law was there a lot too, but she had to work (Todd was laid off) and also there was no one to keep Gavin.  But, my brother was there for the very saddest, most heart breaking, painful thing that has ever happened to me.  He got to hold Landon. Kiss him. Cry over him. He carried the casket from the hearse to the gravesite.

Todd, Landon, and Me

How could I skip out on his very happiest moment, when he didn't falter through my very saddest?

I couldn't. And I wouldn't.  I went.  It was hard.  Very hard.  My heart stopped when I got off of the elevator at the 4th floor.  But, one foot in front of the other, I walked to the waiting room, where my mom and Valerie's parents were waiting.  Within a few minutes of us getting there, the text came, she was here and fine!  9lbs and something, I think 2 oz, but could be wrong.  A picture came through.  She was pretty!

Todd came out and got our mom and his mother-in-law to go back and meet her.  He showed us video of her crying.  How amazing!!  A baby's first cries are always a miracle, but to me, after Landon, it was like hearing God speak.

Now, keep in mind, I still thought I was miscarrying, and nobody but Larry and my Mom even knew I was pregnant. 

While I was waiting my turn to meet my niece, I got a call from the OB's office with my beta results.  I can't remember now what they were, but it was super high.  I googled beta results, and my numbers were double what the high end of the chart said they should be for my dates.  So, I googled that and learned that it was either multiples or a molar pregnancy. I googled that. Learned that it can be cancerous.  Great.  I figured I was going to lose the baby and die, too.   I kept all that inside.

It was finally my turn to go back and see miss Allyson.  Valerie was in the same recovery bay where I woke up to be told my baby was dying.  I had ONE moment where my knees nearly buckled.   Then I saw her.  She was so perfect, so beautiful, so healthy and perfect.  And looked like Landon.  I had considered the chance that I might someday have a baby who would look like him, but it never occurred to me that Todd would.  She had his hairline,and dark hair like him, his forehead.  And she was beautiful, and I fell in love.  At that moment, my heart made a huge stride in its healing journey. 

I cried, I'm not going to deny it.  I cried for what I had lost, I cried with joy for what had just happened to our family, and I cried with a little bit of relief.  Seeing her, seeing a happy ending to a pregnancy,  I felt like *maybe* I would be OK, *maybe* I would have another healthy baby some day.

One of the nurses, Jenny (I've written about her before) who was with me for Landon's birth, came to his funeral, was just really sweet to me,  was with Valerie for Allyson's birth.  She came and hugged and held me while I cried for a few seconds.  Seeing her hit me pretty hard, but was good, too.  I wanted so badly to tell her that I was pregnant again, but I thought I was miscarrying. 

It was two weeks exactly after she was born that I had my first ultrasound and saw two babies.  No molar pregnancy after all. 

Now, a year later, I have two of the healthiest, happiest, prettiest, sweetest, most wanted and appreciated, loved, baby girls on the planet.  I also have a one year old niece!! The last year has flown by in the blink of an eye. (It didn't feel like that while I was pregnant, that's for sure.  Now, though, looking back, it did fly!)

Todd and Valerie had the kids' birthday party this evening.  I made their cakes.  It felt good to be celebrating.  Allyson helped me so much.  Just seeing everything go right, really and truly helped me to get through all my fears while pregnant with the twins.  Happy  Birthday, Allyson... or "Bee Ally" as Aidan calls her!!!

And, just for good measure:

One last one.. the only kink in a fantastic day:

Yes, that's a Costco size jug of Downy all over the floor.  It hadn't been opened yet.  The spin cycle must have jiggled the dryer enough to knock it off. That was fantastic right in the middle of cake making!!!