Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Practice Video



i want to get a good video of the kids to share, but this is just a practice one, to see how well it posts from my phone.  
video

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Just Because...

A Lot of Lies
Author Unknown

My Mom she tells a lot of lies
She never did before
But from now until she dies
She'll tell a whole lot more

Ask my mom how she is
and because she can't explain
She will tell a little lie
because she can't describe the pain

Ask my mom how she is
because she seems to cope so well
she didn't have a choice you see
nor the strength to yell

Ask my mom how she is
she'll say "I'm all right"
If that's the truth, then tell me
WHy does she cry at night

Ask my mom how she is
"I'm fine, I'm well, I'm coping."
For God's sake mom, just tell the truth.
Just say your heart is broken

She'll love me all her life
I've loved her all of mine
But if you ask her how she is
She'll lie and say she's fine.

I'm here in Heaven
I can't hug her from here
If she lies to you don't listen
Hug her and hold her near.

On the day we meet again
We'll smile and I'll be bold
and say
You're lucky to get here Mom,
With all the lies you told!



Doesn't that ring so true?  I am fine, most of the time, but I surely have my days.  I miss him.  He's my son, whether he's dead or not, he's MINE.  As much as Aidan, Bekah or Gracie. Oh, what I'd give to hold him one more time, kiss him again, take more pictures. 

After we decided to remove all life support, we spent his remaining days singing to him, telling him stories, telling him about Jesus, and our family, our loved ones who were waiting to meet him in Heaven.  It was dead heat of July, Larry and I sat in his little room on the NICU, singing Christmas carols.  We knew it was the only chance we'd have.  I didn't care who heard me singing in my awful, off key voice.  I didn't care what they thought about hearing Silent Night on Independence day.  I just didn't care about anything but my boy.  We sang him little Sunday School songs, Jesus loves Me, The B-I-B-L-E, Zachaeus,  Amazing Grace.  We sang him old country songs.  Ring of Fire.  Elvira.  White Lightning.    We tried to fit a lifetime of stories and songs into a few days.  I wanted, I deserved, that lifetime with him, but at least I got to sing some of those songs to my littlest son.

So, I titled this "Just because"  and as promised, I have some just because's for you.
I'll start with "Just because my baby died."

Just because my baby died, does not mean yours will if you talk to me.  It isn't catching.  I promise. 

Just because my baby died, doesn't mean that I shouldn't mention something about my pregnancy with him, if the conversation calls for it.  Example :  You "Oh, my back hurts so bad with this pregnancy." 
Me:  "I had terrible back pain with Landon, even worse than with the twins, but I think it was from the bed we were sleeping on."
You: (looking up, down, sideways, anywhere but at me)  "Well, ummm, I guess I'll be going now."

I don't mention that pregnancy to scare anyone. It was a pretty normal pregnancy that went bad at the very, very end.  It wasn't doomed from the start.  An ultrasound or Non Stress test could have caught the problem and saved my boy's life.  It wasn't done because there were no signs pointing to the need.

Which leads me to the next
Just because my baby died, doesn't mean I should sue my doctor, or switch doctors.  I in no way blame Dr. Little.  I was THERE. I heard Landon's heartbeat every single visit.  I saw him measure me, I know there was no need to assume things were less than perfect.  I also know, that for my Rainbow pregnancy, Dr. Little was right on top of everything. I had the very best care anyone could ask for.  Why would I have switched to a doc who had never met me, and may not take my fears as seriously as the one who had been with me all along?     You wouldn't believe the people who seem shocked that I stuck with my own doc. 

Just because my baby died, doesn't mean that I stopped loving him, or that I won't ever mention him.  You don't have to be uncomfortable when you see a picture of him on my wall at home, or on my facebook, or on my blog.  He was pretty.  Why wouldn't I want to show him off?  I can take the other 3 in public, and people can see that they're my kids, and that they're pretty.  The only way anyone would ever know about Landon is if I tell them.  Now, I don't go around showing and telling to random strangers, but if conversation leads to it ("How many kids do you have?")  I absolutely will not exclude him.

Ok..  Next set of Just Because's...
Just because it's been two years.

Just because it's been two years, doesn't mean I'm "over it."  Yeah, I'm happy.  I'm nearly whole again.  I'll never be fully whole.  I just won't.   I worked in nursing homes for a lot of years, and in my mind, my pain compares (figuratively) to a bedsore.  A bedsore will tunnel, and go all the way to the bone.  With proper care,  it'll heal over.  But, under that pink new skin, there's still a hollow tunnel. THAT's how the hole in my heart is.  It's covered over, but underneath, there's still a hollowness.  There's a part of my heart I'll never get back, I sent it to Heaven with my son.  I don't WANT it back, it's his, and I want him to have it. 

Just because it's been two years, doesn't mean that you should refrain from saying his name to me.  I've not forgotten who Landon was, or that Landon's dead.  Saying it to me actually makes me happier,  it tells me that you remember that he lived.  And he was mine.

Just because it's been two years, doesn't mean that I've stopped wondering what he'd be like today.  Would he be silly and goofy,  like Aidan?  Would he be into the same things Aidan was last year?  The truth is, I'll never know.  He wasn't meant to be here two years later.  For whatever reason, his purpose here on Earth was fulfilled a lot sooner than most people's.  I will tell you that he brought a lot of love to a lot of people, and he knocked a whole lot of people down to their knees in prayer.  He surely humbled me.  Oh, how I love that little boy.

And my last just because.
Just because I've had more babies.

Just because I've had more babies, does NOT mean that they've taken his place.  I could have fifteen more babies, and while I'd love each and every one of them with everything in me,  none of those babies would be the one my heart is missing.  It's like Jesus and the lost lamb.  We always want the ones that are missing, for we know the ones we can see are fine. 

Just because Landon died, and I miss him, doesn't mean at all that I'm not grateful for Rebekah and Gracie.  They're my rainbows after the storm.  I love them so, so much.  I thank God daily that they're mine.  I thank THEM daily for being mine. 

Just because I had Aidan here at home when Landon died, doesn't mean that I hurt any less than someone who had watched their first baby die.  I hate most online loss groups for this reason.  They only want to offer support to women who have lost their first baby and never want to try again. If your mom died tomorrow, would it hurt you any less at all, still having a dad?  I doubt it.  Having Aidan, finding joy in him, and now the joy I find in my twins, is completely seperate from the sorrow and grief I feel for losing my Landon. 

Now, I know the tone of this post is sad and nearly bitter.  I really, really am doing much better, but all this stuff I've written, I've needed to get out for quite a while.  It hurts people's feelings if I say it out loud.  And, despite my own hurt feelings, I do my best to avoid hurting others'.  Well, til they push me one time too many, but that's a story for another blog.

One more thing.  Just because I have a dead baby, does NOT mean that I'm not allowed to be upset when one of my living children is sick or hurt.  When the girls were diagnosed with the hip dysplasia, I was devastated. Yeah, I knew they'd live, and their hips could be fixed. But who wants to be told that their newborn has something wrong with her?  Several people looked me square in the face and said, "now, Lori, you KNOW it could be SO much worse."  Yeah, I know. I know exactly how much worse it could be. I've not forgotten that Landon died.  But I also know, that these 2 girls are very much alive, very much here, and could possibly be hurting, or at least uncomfortable.  I'm pretty sure, that as their mother, regardless of whether or not I have a baby who has died,  I am entitled to be a bit upset, scared, worried and sad. 

And on that note, our hip journey is almost over.  Bekah is totally done with her harness, Gracie is wearing hers at night and naps only, weaning out of it over the next 6 weeks!! Yay for that!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Guess what!  My boy is pretty much potty trained!  He turned 3 on June 1st, and was nowhere near being called trained, it's now July 18th, and he has one accident a day,  at his nap time.  He's so funny.  He gets SO excited.  I've said, "Aidan! I'm so proud of you!" so many times, that now all I have to say is, "Mommy's so...." and he'll yell "pwowyeeeeeeeeeeew!"  So cute!  I am so in love with that kid, with all of them! And I'm so, so grateful to have each of them. 

He can also swim.  I'm not real sure what he'd do without his arm floaties, but with them on, he'll put his face down in the water and kick and paddle all the way across the pool.  We "race" a lot.  I let him win a lot, but occasionally I have him lose.  I can't raise a kid who thinks he's too good to lose occasionally.  But, even when he "loses", I brag on him and tell him how great he's doing.  He has absolutely no fear of the water, which creates a million and one fears in mommy.  I'm constantly worried about him finding a way out back without us and getting in. I am so vigilant.  We have had approximately 2,293 talks about how we only go in the pool when Mommy or Daddy, or Mammy can get in, too. 

The child is all boy.  Rough and tumble is a good phrase to describe him.  He loves dirt, bugs, watering the flowers, playing ball, playing trucks, and just RUNNING.  Man, he's cute. 

The potty training has been an ongoing process since about this time last summer.  For the last year, he has successfully stayed dry any time we went out in public.  Restaurants, stores, you name it, he would stay dry and ask for the potty.  But, at home, he had absolutely no interest in it.  Harrumph. So one day I decided to put underwear on him and make a HUGE deal about big boys and underwear.  It only took a couple days of consistent underwear use, and he hsn't had an awake accident in weeks.  This was the summer I had intended to potty train both him and his brother.  Back when I was pregnant with Landon, and getting all the negative comments about having 2 so close together, 2 in diapers, 2 babies, blah blah blah. Back before my world crashed.

In my mind, I had decided that I'd leave Aidan alone until the summer he turned 3 and Landon turned 2.  I'd just do it together, make it a contest, make it fun, and get it all overwith at once.  My plan halfway worked.  OH, how I wish I had 2 sticker charts on my wall, and 2 sets of Buzz Lightyear underwear, and 2 little boys yelling those words that parents both love and dread to hear  "I'm Dooooooooone!"   But, rather than drown in what I've lost, I want to rejoice in being able to have all that with Aidan. 

I have decided something.  I'm going to live.  I am going to celebrate the weeks I had Landon, celebrate the love I feel for him, but not drown in that sadness.  I don't think that's what my boy, my family, or God wants for me.  I think I'm meant to go on, and try to be an inspiration, no matter how small, to others who have experienced the nightmare of losing a child.  I want to help others. I want to use my loss, and all I learned from it, to comfort and encourage other women.  I pray that I am always able to find, if not the perfect, then good, words to offer bereaved mommies. 

Online, it's so easy to offer encouragement.  In person, sometimes it's harder.  I pray that I can get past that. 

God has been so good to me.  I have given birth to four of the most beautiful children ever.  I still have 3 of them.  The missing one, is perfect and whole in ways he never would have been here. 

My girls are so amazing.  So beautiful.  So sweet.  And they've been so healing for me.  They don't take Landon's place, nor make up for losing him, but they heal my heart every day.  I love them just as much as I love Landon, it's just in a different way. I love them as much as I love Aidan, but again, in a different way.  I love newborns, love that stage, but I have a confession.  This 3 month old stage, where they're smiling and giggling and cooing, and discovering hands, and interacting with me... I'm falling in love with both of them all over again, every single day.

I enjoyed all of this with Aidan, but I sort of took it for granted. Birth accidents, babies dying.. that only happens to "other people."  Well, I'm now that "other people."  And I know first hand how fast life can change, and I take nothing for granted any more, and I'm sure to be thankful for what I've got, and to show my thankfulness in any way I can.

I'm going to give a preview of what's going around in my head for a couple different entries.  The first one I have on my mind and in my heart will be a "just because" entry.  As in, "Just because my baby's dead...."  "Just because I've had more babies, ....."  "Just because it has been two years..."   and the other one is from the perspective of a parent of twins.  That one should be pretty entertaining.  We are sideshow freaks right now.  You'll see, I'll be as bluntly honest as I can be, describing our outings.  We laugh so hard sometimes, from the things that people say to us.

Wanna see some newer pics of the kids?  I'm always up for sharing.  I'm so proud of my babies, and I love them more than I love myself.


Rebekah on the left, Gracie on the right.  Rebekah has a lock of hair on each side of her head that sticks straight out, regardless of what I do to it. I've even rubbed a bit of baby lotion on it, and it won't lay down.  Thank God their Mammy (My mom) is a beautician!!



She wore a dress with cherries on it....


Gracie

Bekah

Mr. Cool

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Survived it, Again.

My bad weeks of the year are over.  From Landon's birthday of June 22, through the 4th of July, to July 6th, the day he died, til the 9th, the day we buried him, are the worst 17 days of the year.  I miss Landon every day,  but those anniversaries just bring it home to me.

Last year really sucked.  Not like the year before, when it was happening, but it still sucked.  I was so sad to not be having a big first birthday party for him.  What would I have bought him?  What theme would we have had?  Handy Manny? Pooh?  I'll never know.  Aidan got a swingset and a Mickey Mouse party for his first birthday.  Three weeks later he got a brother. Who he never met.

I still go around and around with myself, did I do the right things?  We didn't let Aidan go to the hospital and meet his brother.  He was not even 13 months old yet when Landon was born, there's no way he'd remember it. But I would. I could have had a picture of my 2 boys together.  But I don't.

Aidan asks about the pictures I have on my walls of his brother, and I just say, "That's your brother Landon, in Heaven."  I know as my kids grow up, I will have to give more detail.  But for now, that simple answer suffices.  When Landon died, I swore to myself and to my son that he'd not be the kid that grows up and tells people "Mommy cries a lot."  I swore that I wouldn't get so hung up on what I've lost, that I lose site of what I still have. 

I can love and enjoy, and be happy with Aidan and the girls, and still mourn my Landon. 

So, as I was saying, I survived those bad few weeks.  I want to talk about the word survive for a minute.

From Webster's Dictionary online:

sur·vive

verb \sər-ˈvīv\
sur·vivedsur·viv·ing

Definition of SURVIVE

intransitive verb
1
: to remain alive or in existence : live on
2
: to continue to function or prosper
Look at the first part of each definition.  For 1, it's to remain alive or in existence.  So, in the onbituaries, Larry and I were listed as survivors.    For definition 2, to continueto function.  We functioned, but barely.  We remained alive, but we didn't truly LIVE for quite a while.  We just survived.  The only joy we found was in Aidan.  Before Landon, we found joy in everything. 
But, time is a great healer, and God is the great physician.  My faith that I will see Landon again has helped me a lot. 
I would feel guilty if I found myself enjoying anything at all.  I couldn't do things we did before.  I hadn't missed a Monday night softball game (church league)  but there was some woman there who would ask every week, "you've not had that baby yet?" and I couldn't face her.  I avoided a certain cashier at the grocery, because I was afraid she'd ask where Aidan's brother was. 
I don't remember when things started to get better, but they did.  It was so gradual.  It was in no way an overnight thing.  We went to Tennessee three times last year, once before the bad weeks and twice after.  Being away, getting away from everything except for our little family, helped so much.  After the third trip was when I ended up pregnant with the twins.
Now, this year, the bad weeks were a lot easier for me to survive, but that isn't saying that I didn't mourn.  I want to think that Landon would be proud of me.  So many other mommies who have lost their little babies tell me that I give them hope and that they admire my strength.  I feel that everything happens for a reason, and I think it's a good thing to try to help others who are going through their own version of my hell. 
Rest in Peace, Mommy's littlest son
Landon James Fletcher 6/22/09-7/6/09
God, I miss you

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

From the Perspective of a Mom who did NOT kill my child...

I didn't start this blog as a means to spout my political views nor my opinions on current events.  However, today I feel led to write about the Casey Anthony verdict.  I am angry.  Very angry.  I absolutely do not believe that she didn't kill that baby.

Here's my opinion, and it is just that, my opinion.  Nobody has to agree with me, but as a grieving mom, there are a few things I want to say.

First off.  The month she waited to report Caylee missing? Wow.  A month.  If Aidan is too quiet for more than a few minutes, I'm frantically searching my house for him.  I need to know where he is at every given minute. Even when I leave him with my mom or grandmother, I am calling every half hour or hour to make sure he's ok.  The girls aren't big enough yet to wonder off on their own, so that's actually one worry about them that hasn't hit me yet.

Now, there's testimony about the stench of death in her car, testimony about the duct tape, trash bag, all that stuff.  I could go on and on.  But that's not my mission here. My mission is about my gut reaction.  Mainly to the condition of the body and the way she was disposed of.

My child died. I had to bury him. That was the last thing I would ever get to do for him.  I had the need in my heart to do it perfectly.  I put so much thought, time and love into every detail of his burial.  He was buried in the outfit that he was supposed to wear home from the hospital.  I had picked it out months earlier, with so much love.  When we knew he was going to die, I wouldn't consider any other outfit.  He's buried with a tan thermal blanket I had bought to swaddle him in, it was one of the few things that I had bought just for him, not a hand-me-down from Aidan. 

We picked out a pretty little white casket.  He's buried on top of my grandfather, whom I loved so, so much.  I wanted him there, rather than all alone on the other side of the cemetery.  I put a great deal of thought and tears into chosing funeral flowers for him.

Caylee was found with duct tape and a sticker over her mouth.  In target clothes, in a trash bag.  How much thought went into that?  That tells me she was ditched in a hurry.  She was cast aside like last weekend's garbage.  No mother would do that to her child's body, if the child had truly died in an accident.  I'm sorry, but they just wouldn't.  That baby was part of her.  She nurtured her in her own body all those months.  There's no way she would have gotten rid of her like that unless she needed to hide what she had done.
There, that's my piece. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July

Happy Independence Day! It has been 3 years since I have actually had a happy one.  Three years ago, Aidan was about 5 weeks old.  We went to a big family gathering, and since he was the newest baby, he was the center of attention.  (he's still very much the center of attention. He makes sure of it!)  We were all playing with him, and put him on the floor for tummy time, and he rolled over for the first time.  And second. And third.  I lost count of how many times he did that.  Every time we put him on his belly from that point on, he would roll back over!  I was so proud, I was quite certain that he was going to be the next Einstein or something. 

Fourth of July two years ago.  Oh, my.  Landon was 12 days old.  We had made the decision with his doctors on the second, to remove all life support, but had all agreed to wait until Monday, the 6th, to do it. Mainly because of the Holiday weekend.  I will copy and paste a journal I wrote last year on the 4th, telling about Landon's holiday. 

Last year I had Landon in my arms on the 4th. This year I don't. I got to be with him morning and evening, with a family get-together in between. I didn't want to go to that, but I did, for Aidan. I spent hours and hours at that hospital holding my littlest son. I would give anything in the world to hold him again. But, I can't, and that's the facts. He's gone. Someday, I will see him again, in Heaven. I"m grateful for the 2 weeks that I did have him, I'm grateful for the pregnancy, I'm grateful for my fertility, but, man, I miss my baby. I'm so so grateful that I have Aidan. He's my bestest friend. I would lay down and die without him.


After the family to-do last year, just my Mom and I went back up to the hospital. It was so much more peaceful than any other visit we made. All the other hours I spent there were filled with family and friends wanting to come see him. No one could see him without Larry or me in the room. That night, though, mom and I didn't tell anyone we were going. So, we were uninterrupted. I just got to hold, and enjoy (as much as I could) my 12 day old baby. It was bittersweet. I knew I only had 2 more days with him, because we had already decided to remove life support on the 6th. That decision was the hardest I've ever made. We decided for that particular day, to give us a holiday with him, and because we didn't want a funeral on the holiday.


Man, I miss my baby.


Landon James, Mommy loves you just as much today as I did a year ago. You were so beautiful, and you were so wanted and loved. I know you're perfectly healthy and whole now, in ways you never would have been here. I hope when you look down on me, you're proud of what you see. I'm so very proud of you. You were a fighter from the get-go. Happy 4th of July, baby. I wish so much that I was dressing you and Aidan in matching Red, White and Blue t-shirts for this cookout tonight...

Now it is two years since Landon's holiday.  That 4th of July will always be his holiday to me.  It was the only holiday I got to spend with my littlest son, and it was overshadowed by the knowledge that he would most likely be dead in two days.  Even then, I was holding out hope and faith that a miracle would happen.  I prayed so hard for a miracle.    God answers all prayers.  It's either "yes", "no", or "not yet."   I didn't know it at the time, but his answer to my pleas for a miracle was "not yet." 

Had someone told me at that time that twin girls were in my future, I would have never believed them.  I couldn't see past the moment back then, in fact it was many months before I could think ahead of the very minute in which I was living.  I truly thought that my life was over.  My heart hurt like I was dying.  How could I live with that pain?  Every waking minute was spent with a pain in my gut, like someone had punched me. 

I couldn't function like a normal person.  Grocery shopping, clothes shopping, eating in restaurants, anything requiring me to be in public,  that was all HUGE ordeals for me through Landon's life and in the months immediately following his death.   I remember the first time I saw a woman with a newborn in WalMart.  I nearly dropped to my knees.  The pain was so real, so physical.  It was so hard for me to breath.    I don't remember exactly when that stopped for me, but it did.  I eventually got back to being the one who loves to see, hold, love little babies.  But for a period of time, I felt like every new mother's whole goal in life was to cause me pain.

The truth of the matter is, nobody can look at someone and know that they have lost their child. Those women, who had never met me, had no clue that just the sight of their baby caused me physical pain.  It wasn't their fault my baby was dead.  Once I realized that, things got better.

So, back to the subject at hand.  The 4th of July has rolled around again.  Three years ago, I had one baby.  Two years ago, I had 2 babies.  Last year, I was back to one baby.  Today I have 3 babies.  I like three babies. My ideal life would be 4 babies, but Lanon's gone and no amount of longing or fantasizing about "what if" is going to bring him back.

My girls are so perfect. They're so pretty, if I do say so myself.  Both are over 10 pounds now, and Gracie is pushing 11.  She finally has little rolls on her legs.  Rebekah's little legs are still so skinny, but she's growing well,  I think she's going to be tall and skinny.  That makes me happy since I'm short and fat. 

Aidan is getting to be such a big boy.  We're potty training. He does great with peeing.  Pooping is a struggle.  He would rather stand with his butt clenched, arguing with me about it, than to just go poop in the potty!  If it were anyone else's kid, I'd be laughing myself silly over it... so go ahead. Laugh. 

He calls both babies "we-BetTy"  and if he's talking to Gracie, I'll correct him, "Aidan, that's not Rebekah,  who is she?"  And he'll grin real cute and say, "dat Greasy!"  So funny!!

He's pretty afraid of fireworks.  He told my mom tonight, "care me a deaf!!!"  and ran to his bed and covered his head up.  I wish he liked them, that'd be a great thing for us to do as a family tomorrow night. The funny thing is, he's not a bit afraid of thunder.  Go figure!

I want to share a few pictures, and then I'm going to bed!!  I will try my best to get back here tomorrow and post pics of my girls on their first 4th of July, and Aidan, too. 

715.jpg picture by ecoleoafie1977

Landon on his 4th of July

719.jpg

My nephew Gavin on the left, Aidan on the right, on the 4th of July when Landon was in the hospital



This was yesterday. I captioned it "The two newest Duggars, JeRebekah and JoGracie"

I love the Duggars, by the way, and was in no way making fun of them.  I just call those big bows Duggar bows.    
That's Rebekah on the Left, Gracie on the Right.



Bubby chasing Ducks at the park.