sometimes. 

Some days there are no words that come to my head when I think about describing how sad I am without my middle child. 

Sad? Understatement.  

Lonely? Always. 

Guilty? Yep. 

Ashamed? Yes. 

Depressed? Absolutely. 

Anxious? 100%.

There have been conversations lately that revolve around my newest child and make no mention of Kenley. I want my life with Alden to move forward; I don’t want to live one second without her sweet face in my life. I just want people to remember Kenley, too.  

I often wonder if people think about her as much as I do? Do certain things that they do, or things that happen to them remind them of her? Are certain situations reminders of the sweet baby girl we lost? 

Do they wonder what she would look like now, or what she would be doing? 

Do they wake up each morning with her near the front of their minds like they did for so long? 

I doubt it. 

And I cannot blame them- life continues to move forward and my life in the “after” includes Alden. It IS Alden. It’s incredibly hard to explain, and this is a very random post so don’t try to make heads or tails of it- I just needed to put this down somewhere. 

The 4th was rough. Alden enjoyed the parade and I found myself getting choked up quite frequently. I mentioned to Shane that I was getting upset and he comforted me. He is amazing and I am so thankful for him. I ended up leaving him there with Alden so I could step away and break down. 

It was too much. 

A parade. 

I was brought to tears by a fucking parade. 

All because my daughter is dead. 

It is not fair that everything is so hard for a parent who has lost a child. 

It’s so unfair. 


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face. 

Most days (now) I wake up and feel like I’ve lived a really bad dream for the past (almost) 18 months. It just doesn’t seem like this can be MY life. This type of stuff happens to other people, not to me. Not to my family; we had already faced so much when we found out Kenley died. How could we be dealt this hand, too? Why me? Why Shane? Why Landon? But most of all, why Kenley? My sweet girl. My innocent little baby…what did she do to deserve this? 

I often think of her, and what she would be doing these days. I find myself looking at her photo while feeding Alden. Staring at her, staring at both of them, hoping to see a similarity that I can cling to in my living child’s face. I usually come up empty handed. Alden is her own person, and I know that, but I wish I could see Kenley in her. 

People have asked me if I’ve called Alden by Kenley’s name. I haven’t yet, but it is only because I consciously tell myself that it is not her name. Every time I speak Alden’s name, Kenley’s name comes to my lips first. Always. I’m pretty sure this is normal, and I’m also sure it will be a life long battle in some capacity. 

I know that as Alden becomes her own person I will be able to separate them more. I only knew Kenley inside of me, and outside, even though she had passed away, for a few hours. I won’t ever really know her, because I already know all there is to know about her. I know the foods she liked, and the music she liked. 

She loved Mexican food, and Ceasar Salad from Panera Bread. 

She loved Christmas music. 

But, I will never know her favorite color, or if she would have been tall like me. What color eyes would she have had at Landon’s age? These are things I will always have to wonder about. I will get to see Alden become her own person, and every single day I am so thankful for that, but you know what? It still stings. I am not ok. I am not “better” because she is here; I am different, sure, but not better. My life will never be “better”- I’ve lost a child and that is something you cannot replace. 

Alden does not take Kenley’s place in my life or in our family. 

I read a quote the other day that said “I think hell is something you carry around with you, not somewhere you go”.  

This rings so true with me. No matter the happiness I feel, no matter the joy and light that Alden brings to me, or the length of time that passes since Kenley’s birth, the scars of going through the deepest darkest  hell are still going to be there. I will be carrying the aftermath, my new life, the “hell”,  with me forever. 

Forever. 

This is my life, forever. Nothing can ever change that. Nothing can bring Kenley back, so this is it. 

I am the parent of a dead child. 

Forever

the first year without you.

It finally came…Kenley’s first birthday.

The days that followed Halloween were brutal. It was like the Holidays were taunting me. I knew where we were at each moment in time last year (How far I was at Thanksgiving/how many days until she was born etc etc…) and so going through each day up until her birthday was really rough. When we went to get our Christmas tree this year, the place we normally go closed before we could get there (Landon started Kindergarten so we didn’t have enough time to get there after he got off school). We had to go to a new place; It was nice, but far less exciting than our normal place.

It felt good to do something different than we had the year before, though– the year when Kenley was safely tucked inside of me, growing and thriving like she should have been. When we put up the tree, I was overcome with intense grief. I cried, and I cried hard. No, let me rephrase that, I sobbed. That deep sob, you know? The one that you have no real idea where it comes from except you know deep down that it comes from a place of pain that no human being should ever have to feel.

Having to put an ornament on my tree in memory of my daughter, instead of having her there to clumsily hang hers (read: tear down the lights/tree/decor) was extremely hard. I was transported back to the Hospital when they told me she wasn’t alive anymore. I felt THAT level of sadness. It wasn’t just that she wasn’t here anymore, it was also the fact that she would NEVER be here. Maybe a realization occurred? I’m not sure.

She will never be able to hang an ornament, instead, for the rest of my life, I will be hanging her memorial ornaments. Do I buy a new one each year? Do I only hang the one that I bought specifically for her? How does a mother handle Christmas decorations when one of her children is no longer with her? There isn’t a guide for how to handle these types of things.

I avoided Christmas music VERY well this year; I think I listened to it maybe 2 times? I’m pretty happy about that, to be honest. I started listening to Christmas music the day after Halloween in 2015 and soon found out that Kenley loved it. She would dance around while it played. Avoidance was my only coping mechanism re: xmas music this year.

Every Christmas Eve, we go to Shane’s family’s get together. We went last year, and I was about to burst- 38 weeks exactly. It was SUCH a great day. I remember people giving us gifts for Kenley, telling me they were so excited for her to get here, asking how I was feeling/how things were going/next doctors appt/squeeing that her C-section date was literally a week away.  A week. Like…ouch. It still stings so deep when I think of that. It stings extra bad when I remember that I asked to have a c-section at 38 weeks 1 day- the day after Christmas- and my doctors told me no. It stings really badly when I remember that the day after Christmas last year I called my obgyn and told them I was having contractions that were able to be timed pretty close together, but the OB thought I “sounded ok”, and advised me that she didn’t think I needed to be seen, but if it made me feel better that I could go.

What kind of bullshit doctor says that? “You sound ok”. Oh good, I’m glad you can register what is happening inside my uterus by the tone of my voice. And for someone to pretty much patronize me by saying “if it makes you feel better, you can go in”, is just something that I will never EVER be able to live down. I hope that this Doctor feels extreme regret for not telling me to go to L&D that night, because who knows what could have been done…

Anyway, this year I didn’t want to go to the annual Christmas Eve get together…but I went for my Landon. I know he needed things to feel as normal as possible. When we got there, I lost it. People hugged us, and I just couldn’t handle it. It was like everything from last year just washed over me. All in all it ended up being a decent night, and I am thankful we went. Landon had an incredible time, and that is what really counts.

Christmas morning wasn’t too bad for me either. I’m not sure why…Maybe it’s because Landon’s joy just overshadowed my sorrow. Seeing him smile is the greatest gift to me, and hearing how excited he was about all of the gifts that Santa got him really really made me genuinely happy. And also, maybe I was actively blocking my feelings out; not thinking that I should have two children on Christmas morning. I should have a little girl crawling all over and being amazing. I’m pretty sure it was 50/50 (ok …70/30).

As the days ticked down to her birthday, I could feel my anxiety ramping up. The plan was to have immediate family over, have lunch, a cake, and a balloon release. I had been talking with Shane for a few weeks about what he wanted to do to “celebrate” (side note- I hate this term. I hate it so much. I’m not celebrating her birthday, for fucks sake, she’s not here. I’m mourning her, and all the things I lost when she died) her day. He’s pretty easy going so he ultimately said “whatever you wanna do”, which I sometimes hate. So, the day before he admits to me that he was surprised I wanted to have people over, and thought it would be nice to just have him, myself and Landon together on the day.

Ugh.

I told him that he needs to tell me these things when I’m asking him for a few weeks at a time. It was too late to cancel everything, and we ended up going forward with my plans. At the end of the night when everyone left, he hugged me tight, told me he was so happy we went through with it and that he had a really nice day. I’m so thankful that I can trust my gut sometimes, and strong arm him into things that I know are ultimately better for us.

We had a christmas gift exchange with my Dad and Sister before everyone showed up at 2 for the “party”. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do this, as it felt like it was taking away from her, but ultimately I’m glad we did. Then, around 2, Shane’s family showed up. We all just kind of hung out for a little bit, then had lunch. We ate, and decided that we would do the balloon release. Everyone wrote or drew on their balloons (only popped 2!) and then we made our way outside. It was extremely windy, but so clear. Landon counted to 3, and we all let them go. It felt good to watch them float away. I kept my message short and simple. She knows how much I love her, so my balloon was just a small reminder of that.



After, we came inside, and had cake and ice cream. My sister brought a flower arrangement that is so beautiful and reminds me of Kenley in so many ways. My mom bought her a gift which I love. It’s a stuffed fox with a tutu on it, and I plan to keep it in her memory box. A wonderful friend sent over birthday balloons.


After all the commotion was done, we just hung out and talked for a bit. Slowly people started to leave one by one.

All throughout the day I was getting texts from people all over letting me know that she was on their minds, and that she was missed. I woke up to a specific Instagram tag from a woman who lost her son last year about a week or two before we lost Kenley. I don’t know what specifically about her words struck a chord with me, but it sort of set my tone for the day. I think it was what I was meant to see on the morning of her first birthday.


The love and support from everyone really made the day better- not easier by any means- just better.

I missed her more than I could ever explain to anyone, yet, I was so thankful there were so many people thinking of her and our family. Knowing she was and is so loved on her birthday, even after all this time, made my heart heal a little, I think.

I want to thank every single person who got in contact with me somehow yesterday. Your love and support means the world to us, and I believe it is what helped us through yesterday with a little less pain than I expected.

Our lives will never be the same, and I wouldn’t ever want them to be. If they were, I wouldn’t know my sweet girl’s face. I wouldn’t have ever known her hair color, or how her lips looked just like her brothers. I wouldn’t trade her for the world.

I am her Mother; she chose me to be that for her. It’s all that I can do to love her like she deserves, and honor her memory like she deserves.

I love you my sweet girl. Happy First Birthday.

I will hold space in my heart for you until I can hold you in my arms again.

 

 

 

 

38+4

Today is another rough day.

Today, the amount of time that has passed since you died, is the amount of time you were alive.

Tomorrow you will be gone longer than you were with us.

I don’t think there are words to describe the way that I’m feeling.

The only thing that I feel like doing or saying is screaming from the top of my lungs that I love you.  That I am your Mother. That you are my Daughter. That you were taken away from our family. That I will always ache for your presence in my life. And that I will never be whole again.

 

rough day.

Our Molly Bear came today. I had to call the post office and ask them to hold it there for me so I could pick it up early because Shane had to be at work before our mail usually gets here.

We went to the post office about 9 am and there it sat. A huge white box, just staring back at me; I almost cried just looking at it. When we got home, Shane cut the tape on the box and we opened it. Immediately I cried. When I opened the box, my beautiful Kenley bear was looking back at me. She is perfect. I don’t think I could have made a better bear for us had I done it myself.

image1image2

When I held the bear, I cried. I knew that I would probably lose it, and I was right. She was heavy- 7lbs 5oz- but, that’s what Kenley weighed at birth. It just feels weird to feel her weight in my arms again. Shane held her for a little while, and we talked about it. We said how perfect she was over and over. We said that Landon is going to love her, and want to play with her.

Then, Shane asked if I wanted to go in her room.

We took the bear, and we went in.

I haven’t been in her room since…April 29th. It was so hard. I mean, hard in the way that your chest gets tight, and you can’t breathe. You cry the same kind of tears you cried at the hospital when your baby was born silent; when your whole world came crashing down around you within seconds and you didn’t know how you would ever survive.

We sat there for a while, and just talked about her room. About how beautiful it is, about her clothing, and the “why her” conversation happened again. I cried more. Going in was extremely hard, but I feel so calm in her room. We decided to look through her drawers, and closet. We looked at all of her clothing. We looked in her memory box from the hospital. We opened the envelope that has a lock of her hair. Her beautiful dark brown auburn colored hair. She had so much hair, my sweet girl.

Then, I asked Shane to open her diaper bag. This bag hasn’t been opened in nearly 9 months. I haven’t looked in there with a semi-clear mind, so I wanted to look. We pulled everything out, smelled it, looked through her baby book and sorted out what we wanted to keep specifically for Kenley, and what we could reuse for this baby. There were two outfits that Kenley didn’t wear in the hospital so we kept those out, but the rest is in the diaper bag still. image3

Today was a really hard day. I feel like I ran a marathon on the beach in cement boots.

I just really miss my baby girl.

We put her 2 quilts, and 1 crocheted blanket into the hope chest, along with the diaper bag and all the items we kept in there. It’s a step. It’s a huge step. I know that this room is going to be our new little girl’s room, and I need to work through a lot of stuff before I’m comfortable with that. It breaks my heart to think about taking her nursery apart, but it also breaks my heart to think about leaving it the same. It’s just not fair. No mother should ever have to think about these things.

Someday’s I feel absolutely insane. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the next 25ish weeks.

nothing.

Today has been a rough day. I don’t know why these days seem to come so randomly; when they come, they come on like a hurricane. Yesterday I slept until noon. I haven’t done this since I was probably 16 years old. I didn’t want to get out of bed, and thank god Shane just let me sleep. This morning, the same thing, I didn’t wake up until 10:30. I know it’s normal to feel tired right now; I was SO tired when pregnant with Kenley. I just really think that it’s something else. I think that it’s my desire to be alone and stay in bed so I don’t have to deal with the day for any longer than I have to, honestly.

I know that I am depressed. I know that I take medicine, and it helps. I know that some days are always going to be harder than the others, but fuck. Today just sucked so much life out of me that I want to go to bed right now…at 8:49pm. Today was one of those days that drug on, and on. Shane left for work at 1, so it was just Landon and I all day. Usually, I can handle him and we figure out things to occupy us throughout the day. Today…he was wild. So full of energy and just wound up so tight. I know it’s because we haven’t been able to get out of the house as it’s been hotter than the surface of the sun outside. My dad stopped by after visiting the drag strip near our house today. That broke up the day a little bit, but Landon gets so crazy around him.

After he left, we made dinner and watched some TV together. To my surprise he cuddled with me. After a while he got up and went to his bedroom; he came back with the stuffed bear I was given when I left the hospital. He climbed back up on the couch and handed it to me. That was it. Nothing else was said, and we kept watching tv.

I’m not sure if he knew I was feeling rough, or if he was missing her too.


I saw a link today to a book called “The Story Of”  and I just lost it. It’s a book that can be personalized with your child’s name and loss information to tell the story about why they are no longer here. I went on the website and just browsed through the pictures that are available for your “child” to be drawn as. Ugh. Just so many UGHS. I don’t want to buy a book to fucking talk about how my child died, and why she’s not here– Yet, I want it so badly. I want to have it, just another thing to put into a chest that will sit at the end of my bed and hold all of her things. Things like her quilt that my Mamaw made specifically for Kenley after I showed her a few pictures. She took so much time picking out the fabric, and creating this special thing for her great grand daughter; her great grand daughter who will never ever get to use that quilt. Or, the crocheted blanket that my Mom made for her, with a rainbow border…because she was supposed to be my rainbow baby.

Those things will sit in the chest along with her memory box with her foot prints on the top, her lock of beautiful auburn hair, her bracelets from the hospital, the outfits that we took photos of her in at the hospital, and her baby book. The baby book I filled in while sitting in her Nursery, feeling her move inside of me.

I miss my beautiful baby girl so much.

I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you, Kenley. I am so sorry.

blah.

I feel very blah today. I don’t really know how to describe it other than that. I’m tired, I’ve been randomly nauseous all day, and I have a wicked headache.

I know these things are normal, but I can’t help but think about my previous pregnancy. I took a medicine for nausea with K that I didn’t take with Landon–could that have contributed to her death?  I definitely don’t want to take that medicine this time around, but if my nausea gets as bad as it was, how will I function?

I think of how tired I was with Kenley. I remember how amazing Shane was about letting me nap whenever I needed to. Now, I can’t help but think, “Well, you’re going to have all the time in the fucking world to nap while Landon is in Kindergarten, and you are all alone without your daughter”. I know it’s irrational to think like that, I do, but I can’t help but have those thoughts.

The same irrational thoughts go along with this current pregnancy, and getting congratulations about it. I don’t want congrats. In my mind I’m getting these congrats on being pregnant because a series of really fucking shitty events happened in my life that led me here. My daughter who I tried so hard for, died, without warning and stole the light from my soul. I went through (and am currently/will always be going through) the worst time of my life. I went through IVF, and paid completely out of pocket (how much is IVF, you ask? We’re looking at a cool $23,000 after this cycle is said and done). And countless invasive procedures to get where I am. Yes, I am pregnant. I am so thankful for this pregnancy, and I will love this child (if I get to keep her) with all of my heart.

It’s just hard. I think that people heard we’re pregnant again and immediately think “ok they’re done grieving”. Nope. Not anywhere near what the truth is. I am not ok with being around your baby. I do not want to see your baby bump or talk about your pregnancy. I am not okay with being around large groups of people yet. The pain of these things, is not gone just because I am pregnant. I don’t know how to explain this to people yet, or how I can make them understand this. I know that some people will never understand it; they will always think that I should “be ok” by now.

I know that people are going to expect one thing from me during this pregnancy and I’ll probably be over here doing the complete opposite, but I hope that they try to understand. If I don’t want to come to the christmas get together this year, I hope you understand. If I don’t want to buy a million gifts, and celebrate this year, I truly hope that you get it. If, on thanksgiving, I would rather be with my family at my house, alone, I hope you understand why I need that. This year of first’s is going to be the hardest, and I need people to just fucking understand it.

I think we need to take a vacation for Christmas this year. Santa can find Landon anywhere, so why not, right?