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

need help!

 

I’m going to put this out there, and maybe someone will stumble across it and have advice.

I’m planning on making (at minimum currently) 20 care packages of the hospital where we had Kenley. I am planning to include a bunch of things, but the one thing I’m struggling with is a candle. I would like to include a glass votive candle, or something bigger (depending on price) with a healing quote, or something about the candle being a memorial candle etc. I cannot find any that I like on the internet anywhere. I’m thinking of aromatherapy type scents. Nothing too over powering, and definitely nothing that would smell like anything child related.

Sooooo….I’m wondering if anyone makes candles, or knows of someone who makes them? Heck, or just someone who would like to be part of the donation and is willing to learn to make them? I would love to have something made by another loss mother, or someone who has been affected by the loss of a child in some way shape or form. Like I stated, I would be looking for 20 currently. If I cannot find a candle maker, I will probably buy them from somewhere, but would be interested in someone who could make a graphic sticker for the front of the candles, also.

Please let me know if you have any ideas, or know anyone who could help!

The goal is to have the 20 care packages done by Kenley’s first birthday…December 29th.

I’m open to suggestions as well for ideas to include with the care packages. What did you need after you lost your child? What did someone give you that really stuck with you? Is there something you didn’t think about needing but ended up REALLY needing?

• I needed tissues. The hospital tissues sucked ASS and my nose was bloody and raw from crying into them. My step-dad purchased a really nice box of soft tissues for us, and brought them the second day in the hospital. This is where the idea came from to buy puffs soft pack tissues (I bought about 40 full size packs) and I will be donating them to the maternity ward for baby loss mommas only.

• I needed chapstick. I didn’t bring any in my bag, when usually I do. I plan to include a nice chapstick in the carepack as many moms don’t plan to have this awful thing happen to them, and chapstick is the last thing on their mind…until their lips are so dry from constant crying and face wiping.

• I’m adding in a personal bottle of aromatherapy hand lotion. I know that the hospital gives you these things, but having a good quality lotion might make you feel more relaxed? I know that sounds like a joke, and honestly even saying it sounds awful because nothing can make you feel more relaxed after you just find out your baby died.

• I’m planning to include this book that I was given at the funeral home. It’s a very light read, and that is what I needed in the days after Kenley- not the gigantic book that I was given. This is such a good small book to start with.

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I’m also planning to include this book which has been the greatest book I have read since Kenley died. It is written by a loss mother, as well, and it just tells you what you need to hear. The version I will be donating will have Kenley’s name in the back on the memorial page.

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• A pack of forget me not seeds that are specifically packaged in memory of a lost loved one.

I had also tossed around the idea of including a molding kit for hand prints. I didn’t get any hand prints from Kenley and I would have loved to have them. These are things that you just don’t think of during the absolute worst moments of your life.

I had also thought of including some sort of lara bar, or something like that, but when I thought about it, it made me want to puke a little. I remember them wheeling in this huge cart of coffee, tea, drinks and snacks after she died. It sat in front of my bed about 10 feet away from me, staring at me the entire time we were there. The nurses would come in and ask if we needed our coffee refreshed and all I could think was “my daughter just died”.

Eating was not the best memory from the hospital.

Anyway, those are my ideas. I know there are a lot of you reading who have lost your children too, so please don’t keep quiet. I’m looking for input on ANYTHING you can offer me.

 

NT.

Tomorrow we have our NT scan and first official MFM/OB appt. I’m nervous, but not much.

I’m a little scared because I stopped my PIO, and my estrogen, and haven’t been back for a scan since…It freaks me out to think that something could have gone wrong after I stopped those medications. I’m trying to have control over my mind and control over the fear, but well…lets me honest now.

The appointment is at 12:20, then my OB appointment is in the same place just at 1:45. I have my Mother in Law coming to get Landon off the bus if needed.

If all looks well in my scan tomorrow, and we get a good picture of our girl, I’m going to post it here. I wanted to let all of the loss moms know, just incase you were having a bad day, or will be having a bad day tomorrow. I feel as if I owe it to this baby to be excited for her (obviously I am, but it’s complicated…) so I’m going to try and do one thing every few days that makes me a little uncomfortable. Posting her ultrasound photo will be that thing. I posted photos of EVERYTHING when I was pregnant with Kenley, and this baby deserves to be loved just the same.

(I have to repeat this in my head daily. Losing Kenley has greatly altered my emotional state)

I hate this. I hate every second of the way I have to live my life now.

I am trying.

Little Miss, I can’t wait to see you on your ultrasound tomorrow. Please dance up a storm and make it hard for the tech to see you, so we can see you longer (but make sure to let her get all the measurements and pictures she needs!) .

 

 

unreal.

This whole year has felt unreal; I feel like I am just going through the motions of life in a fog. I know a lot of that is grief and I’m sure someday it will feel different, but for now it still feels this way. Around the 6 month mark I started to feel like the fog was lifting, but now at 8 months out, it feels as if it’s starting to get foggy again.

My brain is pretty much mush anymore, I can’t remember anything, and I know that I’m blocking a lot of stuff out. At the end of each day I feel as if I’ve just finished running a mental marathon. I can’t wait until the moment I get to go to sleep for the night because it’s the only time I feel at peace. It feels like a lot of people’s lives have gone back to their “before”, and that’s ok- I don’t expect people to dwell on my sadness. There are people who randomly let me know that they are thinking of Kenley. They will send us something, text me, email me, or just make a gesture in honor of our family.

Those people are amazing.

I do feel, however, that there are people in my life who think I should be better. Maybe they think that I have too many “bad” days. Maybe they think that I have a grim view of certain things still. But, to those people I ask “Can you really blame me?”…

A friend (you know who you are! xo) who lost her beautiful daughter, but can’t really talk about it openly, sent me this last night. I woke up to use the rest room in the middle of the night and I saw it in my email. I smiled, peed and went back to bed. This morning I was able to read it. It is written to a non-bereaved parent in general, but I think that it can apply to family members, or friends who have no children, also. It pretty much applies to everyone. Please take the time to read it. It is the truth of my life now.

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Dear Non-bereaved Parent,

I know you care for me and am so glad you’re reading this. I know that you can’t fully comprehend, nor would you want to, what it means to be a bereaved parent. Honestly, I’m still finding out for myself. To live without my child is not something I ever wanted to learn and yet it’s what I have to.

I see that you want me to feel better. Let me assure you, you’re doing the best you can to soothe my pain, yet it is here and will be here… until it lessens. It won’t ever go away completely and this is ok. Can you be ok about it with me?

I hope you will have the courage to remember my child with me until we part. Please remember this: You may speak her name, you may remember her birthday or anniversary with me, whether that is by sending me a text message, card or flowers – it doesn’t matter, it’s the thought that counts.

Please do not fear my tears or my sadness, it means that I’m thinking of her or missing her. It’s not that I am permanently broken or sick, just broken-hearted and grieving. Please have the courage to sit with me and my pain, without needing to fix it.

At times I might say ‘I need some time to myself’ but more often, I do appreciate you being here, even without any words, keeping me company or doing something with me. Other times I might need distraction and I might even laugh and experience some joy and then feel guilty again and cry in the next moment. It’s ok, this is life and death: complex and paradoxical and not always to be understood.

You probably feel that I have changed. You might even hope and wait for me to return to the ‘old me’ again. I’m sorry but that won’t happen. I’m forever changed. Losing a child is like losing a limb. Even though the scars of the amputation will heal, it’s a permanent change and as much as it sucks, it is what is. I have to get used to it. Will you bear the chance to get to know me as your ‘new normal friend’?

I’ve chosen you as my friend because you have a big compassionate heart, yet I know it’s (almost) impossible to understand the unimaginable. Don’t say things like: “Wouldn’t it be time to move on?” or “At least you have…” I know you might say those kind of things in an attempt to support me. I know you’re well-meaning yet I’ve become sensitive and certain sentences are like shards of glass on an already wounded heart. Even if you don’t understand, would you allow your heart to reach out and trust the sensitivity of my broken heart? (For examples on what to say instead, click here.)

I might not be up to celebrating pregnancy news, I might even feel jealous of those lucky mothers who are joyously carrying their children. It’s not that I’m mean, it’s because my heart longs for my child and seeing those mothers with their children is a reminder of what I don’t have.

With time and healing, I will be sad less often or cry less often as at the beginning. This does not mean I’m ‘over it’. My child lives on in my heart and I will never get over the fact that I’m never to hold her hand in life. Please do not confuse my healing with ‘been there, done that’. My child might have gone with the wind, yet I’m still searching the world for signs of its fleeting presence.

Thank you for being here for me and with me.

Thank you for being my friend and having remained my friend through this.

Thank you for creating a new friendship with my ‘new normal’ self even though we wanted everything to remain as it was…

Thank you for remembering my child and therefore honoring me as her mother.

Every day that I wake up, I am sad. I know I have so much to be thankful for, and trust me, I am VERY thankful. I’m thankful for Landon, because I don’t know if I would have been able to pull through this without having to care for him. I’m thankful for Shane because he  is my rock, and even though he is incredibly sad as well, he keeps a strong face for me. He is the only one who feels my grief 24/7, and also deals with his own, too. I’m thankful for this new baby girl growing inside of my body. I’m so thankful that we were able to even afford IVF with no insurance coverage. I’m thankful for my doctor who is amazing, and always lets me be neurotic, ask a zillion questions, and roots for us.

I’m thankful to be alive, but that doesn’t mean that somedays I wouldn’t rather not be if it meant I could see Kenley for even 5 seconds again. And I don’t think there are many people in the world who really understand that statement.

I’m trying. Every single day. I wake up, I repeat the cycle of the day, except it’s not how it used to be. I’m a broken Mom, and Wife now. I’m a broken Daughter, Sister, and Friend. My heart is broken, and it effects every part of my life.

And it always will.

 

MFM.

Today we had our dating ultrasound at the MFM office. I was so anxious, and nervous; I puked for the first time this morning, so I was going into the appointment with high hopes. When we arrived at the office, I was immediately impressed by how new it all looked. We walked in and the building was AMAZING. It was just finished in June of this year, and the whole decoration theme is that of Ohio State. Everything was just so clean and sparkly which somehow made me feel more confident in the Doctors. So lame, I know, but it’s true!

When we went back, we were put into an ultrasound room that was HUGE with a giant monitor. Once we started the scan, the tech (who was like, 23 years old MAX) was so sweet to us, and showed us everything. She told us exactly what we were looking at, and showed us the little flicker on the screen that was our girl’s heart beating away- 176 BPM. She looks like a gummy bear, and had arms and legs (although they are super tiny). The tech held the probe in one position long enough for us to see our girl dancing around. I pretty much lost it immediately. I was crying for most of the scan. It was so wonderful to see another baby with a heartbeat inside of me, growing like she should – but at the same time, it was so sad. We were given some great pictures, and told to wait for the Doctor to come in to discuss with us.

We waited for a long time, but it was totally worth it.

The Doctor came in, and I immediately fell in love with him. He answered all of our questions, and spent some serious time with us. He pulled records from Landon’s delivery and went over them with us. He informed us of all the tests he wanted to run, and that he would allow us to come back in 2 weeks for another scan. We have that scan set for 9/8. The new patient appointment is set for 9/22, at which I will meet with one of the Doctors to discuss our plan of action. At this appointment we will also have our NT scan (Nuchal Translucency Screening) as I will be 12 weeks. They also set us up for our 18 week detailed anatomy scan on 11/3. This made me extremely happy to hear- DETAILED. If you recall in one of my previous posts I discussed how our anatomy scan with Kenley was 9 minutes. I truly hope that I am at my anatomy scan with the MFM for an hour. I don’t care how long I have to be there, please just make sure my baby is ok.

Then, on 12/13 I will go in for a Fetal Echocardiogram. Can I tell you how fucking happy I am to be given all this monitoring? I mean… I’m just beyond thrilled. I know that my baby will be given THE BEST care that I can provide for her. It does hurt my heart to know that Kenley could have been given this care, and she wasn’t. That was pretty hard to deal with today, I won’t lie. I know that I did everything for Kenley that I could, but it just cuts like a knife to know that there was someone out there who could have been able to save her, maybe. I don’t know. It’s just sad.

So, bottom line is we LOVE the MFM team at Ohio State. I am throughly looking forward to going through a pregnancy with them. I know that they will take my concerns seriously, and do everything they can to bring this baby into the world screaming.

On another note, A GIANT THANK YOU to everyone who donated to the Molly Bear fundraiser. We exceeded our goal, and I have officially placed my order for my Kenley Bear!!! The bear should ship out to us within 4 weeks! This makes my heart so happy. They asked for a few specific design requests for the bear, so Shane and I thought about that for a while today. We decided to go with foxes (obviously) and her nursery colors- Coral, Yellow, and Teal. No matter what the Kenley Bear looks like, I will be so thankful for her. I’m so excited. I’m also pretty sure that when it comes I will cry pretty hard.

All in all…today was a pretty good day.

 

 

fundraiser.

Today, Kenley has been gone for 34 weeks. I don’t know how time keeps going without her here in my arms…

I don’t usually do things like this, but I feel like I need to.

I started a fundraiser from the Molly Bears website to raise $450- enough to cover the cost of 1 bear for my family, and 9 other bears for women who cannot afford to purchase one of their own.

Incase you don’t know what a Molly Bear is, it’s a stuffed teddy bear that is weighted to the exact weight of the child you lost. Our bear would be 7lbs 5oz, and give me the opportunity to feel Kenley in my arms again, so to speak.

Here is the link, and if you choose to donate please know that it is greatly appreciated- not only from my family, but from the 9 other families who will be able to feel the weight of their lost child in their arms again.

https://rally.org/mollybears/7OpApHXxys5/randihayes

emotional. 

The title says it all; today has been super emotional for me (and Shane, too). This morning we woke up and got Landon ready for school. He was pretty excited so I think that helped me stay calm. We went out and waited for the bus at about 7:45; the bus was late and didn’t show up until 8:02. He was so excited when the bus stopped and turned on the light. I, however, had to hold back tears as I let his hand go and he got on the bus.

When he drove off, I cried. I knew I would, but I’m just so happy I could keep it together for him because had I cried, he would have cried too.


Then it was off to the RE for our ultrasound. It was the first time we would (hopefully) hear this baby’s heartbeat. When we got there we waited twenty (excruciatingly long)  minutes. The RE walked in and asked how I was- I said nervous. He seemed to forget that this was our first heartbeat scan. He turned the machine on and immediately said “well don’t be nervous because we have a heartbeat”. He asked if we wanted to hear and we said yes; What an all too familiar sound. Little miss has a heart rate of 138 @ 6w6d ( I thought we were 7w today, but I guess I’m wrong?).

Everything looked good, so we go back to the RE on August 31.

Next Thursday (25th) we see the MFM @ OSU for an intake ultrasound so I’m very happy we will have 2 scans in the next 2 weeks. My RE wrote the MFM a letter in hopes that they will get me in sooner than 9/22 for my first OB appointment.

So, all in all- good news today.

But Landon will be home in about 5-10 minutes so let’s see how his day went before we call it a 100% win 🙂