No one.

As I reached into the back of my spice cabinet and felt them, I knew what they were. The numbers 3 & 0. They were my birthday candles; hot pink, and glittery on tiny little toothpicks. They were my favorite candles, and they were from my favorite birthday- My 30th. I was finally pregnant after all of our infertility treatments, and I was so happy. Shane and Landon went together to buy me a birthday present. They bought me a past present future ring that I’ve worn on my right ring finger ever since.

This is the only gift I have “from” Kenley. When I opened the gift, I imagined giving it to her when she was older, maybe on her high school graduation day. Maybe on her wedding day; it could be her something old. People don’t prepare you for these things.

No one ever tells you what happens after.

After the initial shock wears off.

After you wake up for consecutive days without the baby you carried for 9 months.

After you can so sadly say “I’m a survivor of child loss”.

No one ever tells you that every day is a fight; to get out of bed, to not fall apart every second of every day, to feel normal- whatever that new normal may be. No one ever tells you that you will feel like your body failed you; that you will hate yourself for what your body did to your child. You never hear about the judgement you will face, like you’re damaged goods, and now you’re less of a Mother because your child is dead. No one tells you that you will constantly replay the moments over and over in your head, no matter how hard you try to block them out; your memories become your nightmares.

No one tells you that somehow you make it through. Somehow you are still alive. Somehow you are still breathing, but you are not the same person as before. You will never be that person; that person died with the child you lost.

That person no longer exists.

I don’t know that I would have believed anyone, during the early days of grief, had they told me that eventually you just learn how to survive. Surviving doesn’t mean that things get easier; honestly, things get more complicated and weird as time goes on. Surviving doesn’t mean that you forgot, or ever will forget the child you lost, or that this child is any less loved than they were the moment you found out of their existence.

Surviving means that the love you have for that child transcends time and space.

Surviving means you are keeping the memory of your child alive.

Every day that I survive on this earth, is one day closer to my Daughter. 

thinking.

I’ve had to do a lot of thinking lately. I know that sounds weird because you think everyday, but I feel like lately it’s been “extra hard” thinking.  Just FYI, this post talks about my current pregnancy, so if you’re having a bad day please guard your heart. I will not be offended.

For example-

• Am I going to be ok with the giant dinosaur being moved away from Kenley’s door? I will have to look at the physical door every day now when I walk to Landon’s room. You might think it’s stupid, but trust me, it’s not.

• There has been talk about a baby shower for this baby. I didn’t have one for Kenley because I bought every.single.thing. she could have ever needed in her entire first year of life. While I, in theory, would love to throw this baby a shower…I would feel more guilt than ever imgaineable because I didn’t have one for K. How could I not have had one for her; For my perfect sweet girl. It breaks my heart.

• How am I going to deal with her nursery? I know some people say “it’s like a hand me down”, or “reuse some of the things for the new baby’s nursery”. While I appreciate their insight, it’s just not that easy. Repainting her room means I will (willingly) paint over the color I spent so many months picking out. I bought 7 samples of paint before finding her color. SEVEN. It had to be perfect, and it was absolutely perfect– but I can’t reuse the same color. Her dresser will be reused for her little sister, and needs to be repainted as well. I spent a month painting that thing, so happy and enjoying every second of it.

Now, thinking about repainting the dresser makes me want to die. It makes me feel like a traitor to my own daughter. This feeling goes along with everything in her nursery that I will be replacing (don’t say it’s not replacing, because it IS)  for our new daughter. It’s a whole separate level of weird grief.

• I know that I will feel sad using the same clothes for this baby that I bought specifically for Kenley. I want to use them, but at the same time I want to get rid of everything that was specifically hers. I would feel horrible if I really did get rid of it, because they are her things. They are the things we specifically for her; for the daughter that we so badly wanted, yet just couldn’t keep for some reason.

• I can’t help but think that she was failed by modern medicine. It’s 2015/16 and she died inside of me; inside of the one place where she was supposed to be the safest. My body failed her, because someone somewhere SOMEHOW missed something very important on one of Kenley’s ultrasounds. We had so many that it blows my mind it happened.  I do not believe I was given enough NSTs. I had ONE….because I asked for it. I’m sorry, but listening to my baby’s HB on a doppler, once every 2 weeks, for five seconds is NOT good enough. My poor girl, I wish I could have given her better care. I wish I would have been taken seriously when I told ALL of my doctors that I knew she needed to come at 38 weeks. She died at 38+4. Cue all the guilt in the whole wide world.

• Naming this beautiful child I’m carrying might be one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to do in my life. I knew since the age of 21 that if I ever had a daughter, her name would be Kenley. I told Shane and he agreed. We knew her name 9 years before we had her. We never wavered. And now? Now I get to say her name forever, sure, but through grief and sadness. How is any of this fair?

• How can I make myself enjoy this pregnancy? I think I’m keeping my distance, as I’m sure most people do during a subsequent pregnancy after losing their child. How am I for sure that this child will come home to us? What if I was to go through all of the preparations again, and get excited, and this baby dies too? I have an anterior placenta this pregnancy, so I’m already not going to be able to feel kicks as early as before. I can’t find her HB on my doppler yet, when I found K’s @ 10 weeks. It’s like everything is telling me to just “keep your distance” and I don’t want to, but I also feel like I hands down have to.

• We have 2 embryos on ice; they are male embryos. I love having Landon SO much. He was my first baby, and I would never change that obviously… but boys are hard. Maybe it was just Landon, but he was crazy. He didn’t sleep through the night until age 3, and that’s being SUPER generous because he still had a rough night 4/7 days a week up until Kindergarten. Thinking about having this girl, then going on to have 2 more boys freaks me out. On the other hand, those are my babies. I fought so hard and went through so much to get them that I feel terrible for even thinking about NOT having them. When we started the IVF process things were still super fresh for us.

I told Shane that no matter how many PGS normal embryos we got, that’s how many we were going to have. So we got 3. We were satisfied with that number. Now that I’m pregnant i’m worried that I won’t want to go through this again. I love being pregnant; it makes me feel so grounded and amazing. I had pretty rough pregnancies before this one. Landon made me sick, and it was my first so it was new and weird. Kenley’s pregnancy was SO nasty. I was nauseous and sick 24/7. I had intense fatigue, and my pubic bone separated and caused the worst pain I’ve ever felt. This pregnancy has been fucking CAKE compared to the previous two. I don’t know why, but I’m not sick. I’m tired, but no where near the level I felt with K. I feel like this baby knows she needs to cut me some slack because I have been through hell, and deserve to have at least one good pregnancy.

If we choose to have the additional two children, we need a new house. We are busting at the seams as it its now. I know that we could make it work here with 2 children and our grief for the one we lost, but if we added any others we just wouldn’t have the space. So there is a lot that goes into the process. What I wouldn’t give to just get pregnant naturally. I’m so thankful that I was able to experience that with Landon. He gave me that joy, that naive joy of taking a test and seeing it say “pregnant”, the sheer joy of not knowing that bad things can happen to people who want a baby so badly. I will never forget those moments with Landon. I remember the day that created him so well, I remember buying the tests. I remember calling my mom and saying “uh I think I’m pregnant” and her response being” what do you mean you THINK you’re pregnant!”. I’m so thankful I got to surprise Shane that one time. I love those memories so much.

My mind has been a busy battle ground lately. I’m so sad and so happy at all times.

I don’t know how I get through every day.

711

photo prompt.

As many of you know, I am doing the capture your grief challenge on my IG. Each day’s prompt gives you an outlet to speak about the real emotions related to losing your child. Today’s prompt was Beautiful Mysteries.

Um. Ouch. Mega mega ouch.

This prompt urged you to speak about the mysteries of your child. I chose to speak of where I would see Kenley now. What would she be? Who would she be? I found todays prompt extremely hard. I have a rough time with envisioning my dead baby as a real baby. I don’t know if it’s strictly because I don’t want to think about it because I know it can never happen. I don’t know if I don’t want to hurt my heart like that? When I opened my heart for this challenge today, I just found myself crying while writing it. I chose to use a photo of Kenley’s hair for todays photo. Her beautiful, auburn, strawberry hair makes my heart melt; it was the most beautiful color. The lock of hair we have from her is dark brown, though. I don’t remember it looking that way in real life, and I HATE that. I hate that I can’t clearly recall what her hair looked like. Sure, photos help, but she’s my daughter…why does my brain block it out?

Grief brain?

Is it my heart and soul protecting itself?

I’m not sure what it is, but I am sure one one thing…I would give anything to be able to see her one more time.

 

 

weekend.

This weekend was my little Sister’s Bachelorette “day” out. We went on a luncheon cruise (where everyone drank amazingly delicious smelling sangria) and listened to a DJ play some serious wedding tunes. It was really relaxing and enjoyable, even if I did feel like I wanted to yack once or twice. Thanks motion sickness! Afterward we went and got pedicures, and walked around an outdoor mall for a while.

All in all it was a pretty awesome day, and I’m really happy I was able to come home for the weekend and spend it with my sister (and the other bridesmaids).

When I got back to my Mom’s, I was beat. I guess being almost 31 (ugh. ugh ugh ugh.) will do that to you! Ha- just kidding. I know 31 isn’t “old” in the grand scheme of things life, but holy shit…I feel old now. After Kenley died, I immediately aged 10 years physically, and probably 50 years emotionally/mentally. I feel like I look old, I feel like I have no desire to do much of anything (hello depression, you nasty bitch) but I try to make myself look presentable (usually fail pretty well at this and end up in mascara and leggings). I have to force myself to enjoy things (also fail). I have tension headaches a lot these days, and I can feel the anxiety heavy in my chest. Sometimes, I will have an extra anxiety ridden day and I can literally feel it in my sternum. I have the need to crack my chest; until I make it happen, I have an excruciating pain where I can’t stand up straight and taking a deep breath is like knives in my chest.

Anyway, back to this weekend.

Landon has been sick for 50 years (read: 1.5 weeks-ish) and I just figured it was seasonal allergies, or a mild cold. He started to get pretty lethargic and stuff last week so I kept an eye on it and told myself if he wasn’t better soon that I would make an appointment. Saturday he complained of a headache all day, and over night he came into my bedroom screaming and hyperventilating saying that his head hurt so bad on the right side. I tried to calm him down, ended up giving him some Motrin and he laid with him until he fell back to sleep. In the morning he came into my room at 6am complaining again. I got up, and fed him breakfast and we watched Spongebob in the dark until about 7:30. He then started crying and freaking out about his head again.

I didn’t know what to do and honestly he was starting to scare me. I told my mom that I needed to take him to the ER so off we went. Long story short no strep, no ear infection, no anything. They gave me a script for Sudafed- a decongestant. I’m not sure how this will help his intense head pain?…but I’m no doctor. I’m going to keep a really close eye on it, and the second he complains again about his head we’re going to get a CT scan. I don’t really talk about it too much, but when Landon was 3 we had something similar happen to him. He ended up needing an Electroencephleogram (An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test used to detect abnormalities related to electrical activity of the brain. This procedure tracks and records brain wave patterns. Small metal discs with thin wires (electrodes) are placed on the scalp, and then send signals to a computer to record the results.) because he was having super weird twitches and making random noises all the time. I was pretty sure that he had Tourettes or something.

Turns out he was ok, but has “extra electrodes (or neurons? I can’t remember) firing in his brain” and for people with this, 50% of them have a 50% chance of having a seizure at some point in their life time. So…technically not ok? But again…not a doctor here.  Also they mentioned that children with these extra whatever’s firing are often “gifted”. That’s about the only part that makes sense. If you know Landon at all, you will probably more than likely agree the kid is super fuckin smart.

Ask him anything about Dinosaurs, I dare you.

We got back to my Mom’s, packed our stuff up and went to visit my Dad for a little while. As we were leaving my Dad’s, Shane text me and said he just got breaking news on his phone that there was a shooting on I-71 near the Polaris area.  The Highway Patrol had shut down both north and southbound lanes of the highway, so I figured I would be stuck in traffic. Well,  when I got to the I-71 on ramp in Mansfield, it was a shit show. The traffic lights were all out, there were no cops there to direct traffic because they were all at the crash scene of the shooter literally 2 miles up the road. Landon and I got some lunch, and hung out in the car for a little while to watch the traffic nightmare.

I googled and found out that the shooter had shot a man 6 times from a park bench (wtf is wrong with people?) as he was walking back to this car from the restroom at the rest stop. He then hopped in his car, and drove north. The cops found his vehicle on 71 and chased him north of the Mansfield exit where he ran over spike strips and hit the guardrail. He then shot and killed himself in his car.

I was watching the highway as we ate lunch, and I saw the cars that are pictured in the news article I linked to speeding down the highway toward the crash sight. It’s insane to me how close I was to actually witnessing this high speed chase. Thank god I didn’t. Once I got on 71 South, there was no issue and we made it home pretty quickly (1.5 hrs).

So now I’m home and curled up in bed with Shane. What a long weekend!

Here’s hoping that Landon feels better, I feel better and Shane doesn’t catch what we have.

Also, I’m participating in the “capture your grief” photo challenge for the month of October which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month. If you don’t know what it is,  head on over to my Instagram page (see the side of my blog for the link) and check it out. It’s amazing, and I know that it is such an important thing for myself to do. It helps me to honor my sweet girl, and keep her memory alive.

You can also see a new photo of my beautiful Kenley. I am so in love with her face.