six.

Last year, on 2/7, Landon turned 5. I remember (before Kenley died) spending so much time thinking about how “stressed out” I was going to feel for his birthday party. How was I going to throw it all together when I had a newborn? How was I going to make it special for him with his new sister in the mix? I had plans to have him Paw Patrol party, and I was going to dress Kenley up as one of the dogs to surprise him. Instead, the reality of the situation was, how can I walk through party city and buy paper plates without bursting into tears (I couldn’t)? How can I function enough to make this day special to him because his sister just died and isn’t here to celebrate with us (still not sure I succeeded).

It’s stuff like this that I really kick myself for. Sure, I didn’t know that Kenley wasn’t going to survive, so technically I shouldn’t beat myself up for that. However, I should have been thinking about all the awesome ways that I would be spending Landon’s birthday with him AND his sister- not how stressed out I was going to be. How dumb and naive I was.

This year, as Landon’s birthday started to creep closer, I found myself on Amazon. What can I buy on Amazon so that I don’t have to go to the store (read: so I can avoid a panic attack/PTSD flash backs)? I found everything online. I didn’t have to go to a store, and I found that I was better able to control my anxiety here at my house vs actually walking into the store again.

*Side note*

You know, as I sit here and write these things out all I can think is “god people probably think I’m a giant loser cry baby”…

That’s totally fine.

Think whatever you want to think about grief, but, try not to judge us who are grieving the death of a child too harshly. And, I hope with all of my heart that you never ever have to grieve the way that I am.

Anyway, I am pretty happy with how everything has turned out. He’s having a minecraft party, so I was able to buy a lot of the stuff on Etsy, which was cool.

So here we are again, at a birthday milestone. Six. He is going to be six. He was turning 5 and so excited for his sister to be there, and I couldn’t even give him that. Sure I’m pregnant now and things are looking good for her to come very soon, but let’s be honest here…I’m pretty sure his little mind doesn’t understand if he will ever get a real living sibling. I can try to explain it to him over and over, but, I’m sure he won’t believe it until she’s here either.

Can’t say that I blame him.

 

 

One down. 

Landon lost his first tooth today! He went from excitement, to sheer terror every couple of minutes. When he finally pushed it so far back that it was turned sideways, you would have thought someone stabbed him. He cried and drooled and had snot coming out of his nose at incredible speeds. 

I told him to calm down, reached in, and yanked it out. Poor little guy, tried to be so brave, but just lost his shit. He bled a little but that didn’t seem to phase him which I thought was weird. He’s more of a “gets in his own head” type of worrier. He thought it was going to hurt bad so he freaked himself out, when in all reality it didn’t hurt at all cus the damn thing was dead lol. 


Stop growing up little man. I can’t believe he will be 6 on February 7th. I think back to my pregnancy with him and I am now so thankful he came at 35+6. Had he gone full term I can’t even think about what might have happened (thanks to this blood clotting bullshit). He’s my little miracle baby. 

He’s reading! Like…actually reading real books with real words that aren’t repetitive. He’s doing math problems. He’s writing words, and taking spelling tests. He’s growing up so fast. He’s extremely tall and lanky, gorgeous and so full of energy. I hope he never changes. 


Sometimes I try to get him to cuddle with me, or let me hold him how I used to when he was a baby. He usually doesn’t let me, but on the very rare chance he does, I eat it up and am taken back to when he was first born. There was no greater joy than to hold him close and watch him sleep. 

I miss him as a baby so much. 

What I wish people knew about losing a child.

It feels like such a cop out to say “you will never understand how it feels until it happens to you”, but that is the only way to properly convey this type of pain.  Many can only sympathize, and there are few that can fully empathize with the pain. I believe truly that it is too hard for people to actually empathize because no one wants to put themselves in our shoes. Why would they? Why would anyone want to truly try and feel the pain that accompanies losing a child? I’ve been thinking about a few things regarding what I wish people knew about losing a child, so I decided I would write about them here. What better place, right?

 

Just because time passes, doesn’t mean that I am (or things are) better.

The grief of losing a child is not linear. There are days where I feel great, and there are days where I honestly wish I could just be with my Daughter at all costs. The pain will never “go away”.  Sure, it might lessen, change, or I might just become better at carrying my grief on a daily basis, but it will NEVER go away. If you think by looking at me that I’m feeling better, you’re terribly mistaken. I am missing my Daughter; she died inside of me and I couldn’t do anything to save her. It’s not a pain that someone gets over, ever. The guilt is no joke.  The love I have in my heart for her is not a flame that can be put out, and I would hope that everyone understands that. I will grieve differently day to day, from now until the day that I die, and people need to understand that. Sometimes you should really just give me a fucking pat on the back for even getting out of bed.

Yes. Still. Even after a year. And probably for the rest of my life.

 

• Losing a child doesn’t have to destroy your marriage like statistics say.

One of the scariest statistics I read after our daughter was stillborn was that up to 80 percent of marriages end in divorce after the loss of a child. I remember reading this percentage, and then re-reading it, to convince myself that I’d read it correctly. 80 percent?! Was that even possible?–Paul (a guest post on still standing)

After Kenley died, I never wanted Shane to leave my side. I had to be held at night to sleep. I needed him to be near me at all times. He was my security blanket, for lack of better words, and still is. I know that many people feel differently about their relationships after loss. Some women feel that their husbands are “over” the loss, or that their feelings aren’t taken into consideration. I’ve personally talked to many loss moms who feel this way. Some say that their relationship suffers in that they can’t talk about the loss to their husbands, for whatever reason. Some mention they don’t feel attractive to their husbands anymore, which makes their sex life suffer, which inevitably makes them feel sad and alone.

I asked Shane’s opinion on the subject and he had some really interesting things to say. He mentioned to me that there were times around the 5-6 month mark where he started to feel better, but I was still feeling intense sadness. He told me that he remembers making a decision to never make me feel bad for feeling how I did. He would consciously make an effort to allow me to cry if I needed to, and to not get frustrated if I was having a bad day, and he wasn’t. I’ve read that some spouses feel resentment toward their spouse for having bad days (while they are having a good day), and “bringing them down”; Shane agreed with this, and even offered up a few times that he felt that way.

We also discussed opening up to your spouse. If you’re feeling something, there is a really good chance that they are feeling the same way too. The triggers, the grief, it’s all different for everyone, but who can you relate to better than the other person who is feeling the loss of your child as intensely as you are? Don’t keep it bottled up.

This is why I love my Husband. He is open with me about this stuff; the real stuff that sucks to talk about. He knows he can tell me anything, and that I will not be offended that he may have been angry at me one day when I had a bad day and he didn’t. It’s okay to have bad days– your child died, it’s fully expected. We both wanted our marriage to work after the death of Kenley; Living without one another was never an option. It’s been different, sure, but in a good way; our relationship is stronger. I can sit here and honestly say that I have NEVER once felt like a divorce was even an option for us and Shane agrees with this 100%.

 

• Just because we are expecting again does not mean this baby will replace the child we lost.

I’ve read a lot (A LOOOOOT) online about rainbow babies. I’ve read that they can bring you intense joy; joy you never expected to feel again. I’ve read that loss moms can experience a wave of emotions when they finally hold their rainbow baby. Emotions that they’ve been suppressing for months while carrying their rainbow. The raw grief comes out full force again. When my Daughter is born (even saying the word “when” is hard because I cannot guarantee she will come into this world alive) I fully expect to feel a million emotions. This pregnancy has not been “normal” and her birth will not be normal. Subsequently her life will be as normal as I can manage to make it (while I always live one foot in joy, and one foot in sorrow). She will know about her older sister, and I will always make it a point to not let Kenley’s death shadow the birth of her. But, I’m sure it will be extremely hard.

Kenley was planned. She was wanted, and we tired for a really long time to conceive her. For her to be ripped away from us, so close to her birth, is cruel in ways that I have no words to explain. This baby will not take that sadness away from us. I will still be sad, but will have a living baby to hold. I will still walk into the nursery and think of the child who never got to see it. I will dress this baby in Kenley’s clothes, all the while knowing that they are brand new hand-me-downs. Life is never easy; life after grief is even more messy.

 

• PTSD in relation to losing a child is very real.

There have been many times since losing Kenley where PTSD hits me hard. I know there are people out there who think this (and all mental health issues) are not real; that they don’t deserve to be talked about and we should be ashamed of them. Well, those people are assholes. Those people have never had a bad day in their life, so its inconceivable that others could possibly feel anything other than great. There have been nights where I lay in bed, reliving the worst day of my life while listening to Shane’s rhythmic breathing as he sleeps next to me. It doesn’t matter what I do, I can’t stop my brain from taking me back to that triage room, and hearing the words.

Yesterday in the shower I was rinsing my hair and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I saw myself in the hospital shower, having to be washed by my husband because I physically could not move my arms due to shock. PTSD has no mercy. It hits you whenever it damn well pleases. Shane chimed in on this subject as well. He told me that he’s noticed it’s a lot harder than he ever expected it to be when co-workers and friends talk about their newborns or grandchildren. He went on to say that you want to be included and don’t want people to feel awkward talking about these things in front of you, but at the same time it’s extremely hard to hear. I think he was truly surprised at how sad/anxious he felt when he experienced his first “trigger” out side of the normal ones (babies in the store, etc etc). It goes to show you that PTSD can affect anyone, anywhere, anytime.

I found this on Grief Speaks and I think it’s an important piece to add to this post just incase someone is wondering if they might have PTSD related to child loss:

What are the symptoms of PTSD?
PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:
1. Re-experiencing symptoms:
  • Flashbacks (reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating)
  • Bad dreams or nightmares
  • Frightening thoughts     

2.  Avoidance Symptoms:

  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
  • Having trouble remembering the dangerous event        

Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car crash, a person who usually drives may want to avoid driving or even riding in a car.

3.  Hyperarousal symptoms:

  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating or concentrating. It is natural to have some of these symptoms after any dangerous event. Sometimes people have very serious symptoms that go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last for more than a few weeks and become an ongoing problem, they might by PTSD. Some with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or even months. 

 

• Some things are always going to be hard for us now.

Seeing babies, attending Holiday functions, or get togethers, or seeing children around/younger than Kenley’s age are just a few things that will always be hard for us. Like our Grief, I’m sure these things will change in intensity, and possibly become less triggering as time goes on. This, however, does not mean that I want to see your “baby bump” photos, or that I am ok with seeing your child who was born after my child died. There are few women who I am ok with seeing the above things, and they know who they are because I’ve told them.

I don’t mean to sound like an awful person, but it is what it is. I didn’t make the rules of grief, people. I know that there are some people who understand us not wanting to be around their children, and they respect that. I am so thankful for those people. Then, there are people who think it’s okay to send you a Holiday card with their newborn baby’s photo on the cover. THIS IS NOT OK. This has not happened to me, thank sweet baby Jesus, but it has happened (more than I can actually believe) to friends of mine who have lost their children. Getting a photo of your newborn child, on what should be our child’s first Christmas, is not something that should happen-ever.

Please tell me on what planet that is ok? Oh wait, you can’t because it’s not.

I’m pretty sure I won’t ever send out Christmas cards again due to the fact I think I jinxed my pregnancy with Kenley by including her name before she was born.

I know that grieving a child comes in all different shapes and forms. I know that everything I posted won’t necessarily apply to you, and your situation, but if even one person reads this and feels like they’re not alone, my job is done. That’s why I started this blog. I need people to know that they are not alone. There are so many women who came before me, and unfortunately, there will be so many who come after me.

You are not alone.

 

 

 

more randoms. 

• The painters come Tuesday and every time I think about them painting over Kenley’s wall color I want to throw up. 

• All these women protesting photos on IG make me wish I could have gone and showed up for equality. I just still cannot believe the outcome of this election. It, like the above, makes me want to throw up. 

• I love my husband so fucking much. He went to work at 5:30am, came home and went outside with Landon to let him ride his 4 wheeler, then took Landon to the grocery store and did ALL the shopping, and finally he ran me a bath this evening. He is so loving and thoughtful. He always tells me he would do anything for me, and I have never doubted him in my life, and I never will. 

• I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable in my body; my organs are being shoved all over and it’s hard to get a deep breath and I’m starving (but have no room for food). 


• I really need to organize my house. Landon’s birthday party is coming up, and it’s like a disaster. This is because of my grief. For example: I started sweeping my floors yesterday. I did HALF of my living room floor and quit. The sweeper is still plugged in, in the living room sitting there. Can’t. Handle. It.  Grief is the absolute worst because it makes me feel unable to participate in life or be productive. 

• Shane finally agreed to go test drive new cars! We went to the Acura dealer first because, dream car! We drove a 2017 Acura MDX and I’m in love. Even though we can afford it, I feel like the smart thing is to wait until baby comes. Because well…last time fucked up everyone  pretty bad and I just don’t want to deal with the fear of buying a new car jinxing this pregnancy. Once again, grief is irrational. 

• I’ve been feeling sort of alone lately. Not physically alone, because I never am, but like…in my grief? It’s so isolating. I think you could put me in a room with other people who lost their children and I would still feel so alone. Every one grieves differently and I think that is why it’s so hard. I don’t know if that even makes sense. 

• I need to stay off CAR (carrying a rainbow) . MENTAL NOTE: DO. NOT. OPEN. THAT. FORUM. It’s just too much. I go there when I feel like I’m having a good day and every god damn time there is another intro by someone who had a baby when Kenley was born. Can’t handle that. 

• I received a beautiful gift basket from someone on TCF yesterday. It came out of the blue and really made me feel loved. The card spoke of Kenley and how much she is loved. I am so lucky to have friends I’ve never met loving her so hard. She’s super lucky. 

• My new fetal doppler came today. I spent about 20 minutes listening to her this afternoon. It no longer comforts me…I’m just waiting to stop hearing it at any minute. 

• I seriously keep worrying that my lovenox isn’t working. That somehow, something terrible is going to happen again. There is no way to tell if it’s truly working (rationally I know it is). 

• I keep looking at rainbow baby outfits for the hospital. I’ve found a few that I love, but, I don’t feel like I can buy them. I’m too scared. 


• I’m binge watching the office…again. Jim and Pam’s wedding episode was tonight. Cue all the tears- favorite episode ever. 

• I need a new planner to keep track of all the doctors appointments I’ve got coming up. The planner I want is at a store in the “sorta” ghetto and I don’t feel like going alone. 

And yeah. That’s about all I got. 

future appointments.

I had an MFM appointment today at 11. Just a basic check up, nothing really special. I however knew I had to talk to my doctor about my increased anxiety, and fear that something is going to go wrong.

Everything looked fine, my blood pressure was beautiful and I only gained 1 lb. When my doctor came in we talked about how things were going, and how my anxiety was going. I told her that to be honest, it’s getting worse. I did tell her that we have had a long few weeks. All the Holidays, her first birthday, Alden’s baby shower, cleaning up the Nursery, and then next week it will be painted. I recognize those things are triggers obviously, so I told her I wasn’t sure if it was everything happening at once, or if I’m really just feeling anxious about getting this baby here alive.

She told me that we can up my medication, but after checking we determined that I’m on the highest dose safe for baby. She then told me that after my next growth ultrasound, I will be having biweekly NST’s so that sort of calmed my mind down a little.

So my next two months are going to be full of doctors appointments and I am so excited for it.

Feb 2nd-  Fetal growth ultrasound, and a regular doctors visit

Feb 6th- NST

Feb 9th- NST

Feb 13th- NST

Feb 16th- NST & Regular Doctors Visit

Feb 20th- NST

Feb 23rd- NST

Feb 27th- NST

March 2nd- Fetal growth ultrasound and a regular doctors visit. 

After here we will be deciding where to go appointment wise from there. I mean, she’s scheduled to come on 3/15 so I don’t know how many appointments I will have after the March 2nd appointment.

I can’t believe how fast January is going by. It’s already the 19th…less than 2 months until my csection.

 

 

shower.

This past weekend was my baby shower for Alden. It was in my home town and was small as far as guests go. I was so anxious leading up to the shower that I literally made myself sick over it. Landon and I drove up on Saturday afternoon, and hung out for a little before the madness of Sunday. I knew that I would have a good time celebrating Alden, and being with friends and family. I think that I was just feeling more guilt over not having a shower for Kenley than I thought I actually was. It just kinda hit me hard; we didn’t have a shower for her, and we never ever would. It is what it is.

The shower was amazing, and I really really enjoyed myself. My sister and mom really made it special, and included Kenley, too. There was a small fox, and letter K behind where I was sitting on the entertainment center. I felt like she was there watching me open all these gifts for her little sister.

We received many many gifts for our sweet girl. I am so thankful that people came to shower her in love along with us. There were a few times where I felt like crying, specifically when I opened gifts that had “little sister” onesies in them. I know she’s a little sister, but it should say “littlest” sister, or something similar. She’s my THIRD child, but she will always look like my second and that is really hard to swallow.

When I got home, I showed everything to Shane. He of course loved it all. It’s so bittersweet. You want to be excited for this baby and her arrival, AND WE ARE, but we miss our first born girl. We wanted to do all these things for her, and we never will. It’s just rough. On Monday Shane had off for the holiday so he helped me get a lot of things done around here that we needed to do. We then went into the Nursery and took down all of Kenley’s decor.

Shane took her name banner down.

This was one of the hardest things to do since hearing Kenley died. 

I cried. I cried realllllllly hard. It seemed to rip my heart wide open again. I hate when this happens because I feel like it sets me back 1,000 steps. I know that’s not true, yet I can’t help thinking that. Taking down her name banner was awful. I felt like somehow taking it down was just the end of her. No more of her left in that room. But, that’s not true. Her little sister is going to be lucky enough to wear her clothes, and use her crib, and dresser. She’s getting her older sisters hand me downs and I’m thankful for this (Disclaimer: This opinion changes on the daily, so don’t hold me to these feelings).

Landon helped us do some of the stuff we needed to do, and ultimately he ended up crying. He told us he missed her and wanted her here. We comforted him, and eventually he was ok. It’s just a constant secondary loss. I feel like that is what our life is going to be now; life will be one constant secondary loss.

I’m just really ready for this girl to be here, screaming. I have seen a lot of the moms I follow on IG having their rainbows, and it’s just making me antsy I think.

The painters rescheduled for next Tuesday @ 8:30 am. Shane will be here, so he can go in and set them all up. I don’t think I will be able to go in there and look at the room for a while. I don’t know, maybe I’ll surprise myself but I highly doubt it. Sometimes I feel like I “power through” because it’s all I know how to do. I don’t want to sit and be sad, and cry over this.

I’m so sick of crying all. the. god. damn. time. 

I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m happy. I cry because I don’t want to throw away the December part of the calendar because it has Kenely’s first birthday with a heart around it.  I cry when Alden moves, because I can’t remember how it felt to feel Kenley move. I cry because Landon misses her, and Shane misses her. It’s just so unfair.