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!)
"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.