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

baby book. 

When we were 13 weeks pregnant with Kenley, my neighbor asked if she could bring over some gifts she bought us. I was so excited- Kenley’s first gifts! I couldn’t wait. One of the gifts was a baby book; the kind that I would have chosen myself which made it that much better. I remember flipping through and thinking about all the entries I couldn’t wait to make. First teeth to come in, first steps, favorite cartoons, or books. Except, I only filled in the first two or three pages; I was denied the opportunity to complete the other entries. 

Secondary Losses. 

When we got pregnant with Alden, things were extremely different- how could they not be? I didn’t want gifts for her; I didn’t want to make plans for her future because I was all too sure she would be ripped away from me too. A week or so before she came, I received a surprise gift in the mail from a dear friend. 

A baby book. 

I had put off buying one intentionally because I just couldn’t even think about filling in the beginning again. 

 “Mommy and Daddy were _________ when they found out you were coming!” 

Scared. Guilty. Mad. Excited. Happy. Sad. Anxious. Depressed. 

How do you fill in that answer? 

I took her book to the hospital to make sure her foot prints found the proper home inside, but I haven’t opened it yet to look at them. I know she deserves me to fill out her book just like I started to fill out Kenley’s, or how I’ve filled out Landon’s. I know that. I’m sure that some day I will fill it out because I want her to be able to look back at it after she’s had a child of her own to see when she started walking, or when she got her first tooth and to see which one it was. 

She deserves that.

 I owe it to her. 

I want to make her life as “shadowless” as possible and I know that having a baby book for her will be a step in that direction. I don’t want to ever imagine how she would feel if she asked me to see her book, and I told her I couldn’t make her one because after her sister died I would rather have sawed off my arm than write in another baby book. 

I’m finding out each day that there are new mountains to climb in my new life with Alden. 

One foot in front of the other, right? One step at a time. 

looking inside.

Sometimes when it’s dark out, and were driving down the road I will look inside peoples houses if their curtains aren’t pulled shut. I know that I’m not the only person who does this, and so I know that there are people who have driven by my house and looked into the Nursery when it’s evening and the curtains have been open.

Those people are not aware of the pain and suffering that has been the last year of my life. They drive by, peer in and see a little girls nursery. They could have even driven by multiple times and seen a guest room, Kenley’s nursery, and then now Aldens’s. Maybe they didn’t notice, or maybe they did. It’s such a harmless thing, just looking out the window of a moving car. It’s just amazing what you will never know from just looking inside someone’s window while driving by.  It’s such a weird thing to think about, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe it’s because I fully expect many people to discuss my pregnancies when we’re in the hospital, or maybe it’s because losing a child makes you wonder who else has gone through it?

Maybe it’s because I feel like everyone should just know about Kenley. I wrote about this in the very first blog post I ever wrote. I feel like once you’re a loss parent, you are marked and everyone should just see your pain, no matter how long it’s been, and no matter how your child died.

Shane and I were talking at breakfast the other morning and we were discussing how naive we were when we had Landon. Shane said he remembers how proud he was to take Landon out to meals and have people tell us how adorable he was. We talked about how we never in a million years would have ever thought that we were hurting anyone buy taking our child to breakfast with us in public; now however I’m constantly wondering who is suffering.  I know that there will always be someone in pain, and that we will never be able to know for sure who it is, but I will always be more aware now.

Today is March 1st.

I can’t even with all the weird feelings I’m having, but let me try…

I feel excited because yeah, theoretically, I should be having a baby soon (I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch though…).

I feel sad because I should have Kenley in my arms, as a beautiful funny 14 month old baby- instead, I’m super pregnant, again.

I feel nervous because I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten everything I know about taking care of a baby. I had postpartum depression with Landon pretty badly, and I’m scared that it will be that again on top of grieving for Kenley.

I feel extreme love when I think about watching Landon hold Alden. I cannot wait for that moment; I have been waiting for far too long to witness it.

And, on top of all of that, I feel guilt. Guilt that I’m being monitored so well by my doctor and that Kenley didn’t even get a chance to be monitored like this. Guilt for being so excited for Alden to come. So much guilt over pretty much everything. It’s just so difficult to explain to anyone who hasn’t lost a child what the guilt is like and how I feel it vs pure excitement.

Tomorrow we have a NST, and my doctor is going to check the blood flow in her cord for us.  At Monday’s appointment I think that I scared my doctor. I have been cool and calm so far but not on Monday. I think she finally really understood how intense this has been for me. I let my guard down and cried and cried and cried. I begged her to take Alden at 36 weeks, or that day. Just take her while I know that she is alive and well. Kenley died 6 days before her scheduled c-section date, and I cannot go through losing a child this close to the end again.

She offered me daily NST’s, and to see me personally at everyone. I don’t think that I can bring myself to go up there every single day and not feel absolutely insane. The NST’s themselves give me super PTSD. They are how we found out that Kenley had died, so they just don’t do much to calm me down. I emailed my doctor last night, and she wrote back within 4 minutes- I appreciate that more than she will ever know.

I’m trying. 14 days left. 2 weeks. I can do this.

NSTptsd.

Yep. It’s a real thing, at least it should be a real word anyway.

Yesterday at our first NST of the week, Alden decided she would be a super jerk and not let the nurse find her heart beat right away. And, by right away, I mean it took THREE WHOLE MINUTES to find her heartbeat. Sure, 3 minutes doesn’t seem like a long time, but remember the standard NST testing hook up is how we found out Kenley died. That was the longest probably 10 minutes of my entire life…

So, I’m sitting there… the nurse says “ok lets have you roll toward me” (I do) still no heartbeat.

Lets have you roll on to your other side (I do) still, I hear nothing.

I’m feeling her move inside me, or so I think; I thought Kenley was moving, too, but I was horribly mistaken.

I say, “ok let me lay flat on my back for a second because sometimes when I do that she moves and brings herself pretty close to the surface and we get her heartbeat”.

I lay flat. NOTHING. 

I lost it; I cried and was shaking so much we had to turn the machine down because it was so loud. I’m sorry, but there is only so much you can handle! I had reached my limit about 20 seconds after we couldn’t find her heartbeat in the beginning so the nurse is lucky I held out as long as I did.

Finally, we got it. It was faint and sounded super distant. I don’t know what she was doing in there (besides stressing me the hell out) but she just kept her distance. We were finally able to get a good trace on her, and she passed with flying colors, as per usual.

After the nurse left to let my MFM read the strip, I lost it again. Shane could tell I wasn’t holding it together very well, and I could tell he was a little stressed out too. He swears he heard her faintly in the beginning, and that the Nurse was never worried…well, I sure as hell was (and I know he’s lying and was scared half to death too…) 

So the rest of the appointment I was scared. I wanted to just cry to my MFM and beg her to take Alden now. Please god just take her while we know she’s still alive. I know that she will be fine on the outside. What if my body kills her again between now and the time she’s supposed to come? Kenley died 7 days before her scheduled c-section date, so what am I supposed to do around that time with Alden? I’m pretty sure I’ll either be at an NST, in Labor and Delivery getting monitored, or I’ll be sitting here with my doppler on my stomach listening to her heartbeat all night.

I talked with my MFM, and told her I had been having some Braxton Hicks contractions, and that they pretty much happen every time I stand up. I sit down, and they eventually go away after a few seconds. I drink tons of water, so I know I’m not dehydrated. She told me that if they increased, or the pain intensified that I should head to L&D. She didn’t seem too worried about them, but I go for another NST on Thursday and so far today they have been happening again so I will mention it to her.

She told me that she had put her cell phone number in my chart so that if I end up at labor and delivery in the middle of the night they know to call her for delivery- That kind of freaked me out I won’t lie! We also discussed that I need to stop Lovenox 12 hours before I deliver because if I don’t, they won’t give me a spinal due to bleeding risks, and I’ll have to be put under. I would just lose my mind if I had to be asleep for her birth! Not cool!

I have been trying my hardest to not let my mind get the best of me, but the NST just pushed me over the edge. I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next 20-something days. I really don’t know.

On a happy, less neurotic, note- Alden now has a light fixture for her bedroom!

lydia-flushmount-chandelier-c

 

 

30 days left.

We had an NST today, and Alden was once again an over achiever. They want to see 2 accelerations in 2o minutes- she had 10. I’m so thankful that she is proving to me she is healthy, and active but damn I can’t wait until she is earth side and in my arms. While we were sitting there listening to her heartbeat (which, by the way is computer generated and not the real noise… I feel like I’ve been lied to!) I looked over at Shane and told him that I cannot wait to see him holding Alden. He was sitting so close to me, keeping a hand on the monitor because he wanted to make sure we were getting a good reading (her heartbeat wasn’t showing up strong so the nurse suggested I keep a hand over top of the monitor).

I am so thankful for him. I know I say it a lot, but sometimes it just hits me really really hard how much I love him. He really can’t wait for her to be here, and I am so excited to watch him be a Father again. I wanted to watch him Father Kenley, but I get to see that done in different ways. I know that he is going to love this little girl so much. I just can’t wait. I can’t wait to see Landon interact with her, too. Ugh, my heart is exploding just thinking about it! I know she will bring so much joy to our lives, and I am genuinely looking forward to that, but I am still so scared of Kenley being forgotten.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day. Last year on Valentine’s day I remember sitting on the edge of my bed, in my robe, crying- no sobbing more like it, and thinking about how this was supposed to be Kenley’s first real holiday. I had gotten a cute little onesie for her to wear as an xmas gift; It say’s “Daddy’s Sweetheart”. I was looking through the clothes in the closet the other night when I came across it. It sent chills down my spine. I wanted to rip it out of the closet and throw it in the trash, yet at the same time I couldn’t stand to look at it long enough to even remove it. I’m not too sure what will happen with that outfit…

Last year at this time- specifically Valentine’s day- I did not want to be alive. I remember thinking about how badly I wanted to be with Kenley. I would never actually kill myself, but I remember thinking how sad I was, how lonely I was. I was in the raw grief period, and that period is like no other. There is no way to prepare someone for the darkness that you feel in the early days after a loss. It’s indescribable. I knew I needed help, so I called up some therapists and scheduled an appointment with one. I am so proud of myself for doing that because honestly? I could have literally laid down in bed and refused to get up again because that’s how awful I felt. I STILL feel that way sometimes.

I (we) saw a therapist until August, when all of a sudden one day it just didn’t feel right to go anymore. Shane and I agreed that we felt like we were just wasting money by seeing the therapist, not that she wasn’t a great one, but just that we were at the point in our grief where we could lean on each other. Before, it felt like I needed someone to hear everything I had to say, all the time, and I would sometimes lay it on thick to Shane (who was also grieving but wanting to make things easier on me so he would just listen to me cry for hours when that wasn’t fair to him). I can honestly say that I feel 100% not seeing a therapist anymore. There are days where I feel the darkness heavy inside of me, but I can battle that now. I know when it comes that it will pass, and I know why it’s coming- be it a trigger, or just a bad day.

Losing Kenley was a terrible, terrible thing. I think I can confidently say that losing a child is one of the worst- if not THE worst- things in the world. People think that just because you didn’t “spend time” with the child you lost, that you should heal quicker and move on; just the notion of that makes zero sense to me. Where in these people’s minds do they think it’s okay to expect, well, anything from a Mother who lost a child?

I text with a group of loss moms (Hi! I love you all!) and we were discussing God + losses today. We’re a pretty open minded bunch, and a few are religious (while a few aren’t) so this  next stuff isn’t some anti-christ opinion here. Anyway, we were discussing the things that people say to you after a loss, specifically when someone tells you that “it’s God’s plan”.

First off, no. Just no.  Yikes. Like…do you not realize what that sounds like? It sounds like you are telling a person who’s CHILD JUST DIED that God intended that to happen? Like he specifically chose that person and said ok, that baby won’t live. Just does not make sense. Also, there was another comment and it was greeted with a reply from one of the women who said “Ask that woman which one of her children she would like to give back” and that makes so much sense. People say things, such as “God needed another angel(this saying makes me cringe deep into my soul) with intention of making you feel better, when really it’s just making THEM feel better (fuck if I know how it makes ANYONE feel better???). When you say God needed another angel, you’re telling that person “God” wanted your baby more than you deserved it. So, because he’s “God” he should just get what he wants. What about what you want? The chance to raise your baby (in a faith that serves him NONETHELESS!!!). 

Bottom line, don’t say dumb shit. Like, before you open your mouth, take FIVE seconds, and really, really think about if what you’re going to say is REALLY going to make this person (not yourself) feel any better.

Chances are, the answer is no because there is no comforting a child loss mother.

There just isn’t. 

This post really went all over the place.

Dresser. 

Today was the day. 

We painted over the color I spent months trying to find for Kenley’s dresser. When I found out I was pregnant with a girl, I looked at probably 8 different shades of coral.  I knew this one was it when I saw the paint chip. It was pink without being salmon, and orange without being too much like an apricot. 

It was perfection. 

And now, it’s gone. I know you’re thinking it’s “just” paint, and it’s “just” a dresser, right? Wrong. It was for my baby girl. I knew in my heart that some day I would tell her how long it took me to find that perfect color for her; I knew one day she would grow up and tell me how much she loved it. 

Shane told me a while ago that he would paint it for me after I had a major melt down while talking to him about it. But, somehow, it has been pushed to the back of the to do list. I know it’s extremely hard for him, and we talked about it today. Before we started painting I was crying just thinking about actually doing it. Guilt. So much guilt and sadness. 

He looked at me, grabbed my hand, and said “we will do it together”. 

I am the luckiest woman alive, I believe. 

So, together, through many tears on my part, we painted her dresser. We painted our daughter’s dresser; our second loved and oh so wanted daughter. 


Shane also painted her name letters yesterday, as well. They are gold, but l know they don’t look like it here. 

Painting her dresser, their dresser, was extremely emotional. The dresser is the last piece of “Kenley’s nursery” that we had left. The last remaining specific decor piece and it just felt like someone put that final nail in my coffin for lack of better words. They just reminded me that my daughter is gone, and she will NEVER be alive to enjoy the things I created for her. 

That…is a really really hard pill to swallow all over again. 

It seems like once a day I have to deal with something reminding me that she’s gone. Not just when I open my eyes and see her picture on my nightstand instead of her sweet face. Not when I feel her abscence in the silence of every day life. Not even when I walk by my dresser and see her urn, memory box and the bear I have that weighs as much as her. 

I’m talking a gut wrenching reminder that she is not here. 

Like when your insurance lists her as “deceased” on their website…with one date next to her name. Never to have a single claim billed for her medical care. 

Or when they deny coverage of the blood tests that ultimately proved you have a blood clotting disorder that killed her. 

Or when your son says he’s scared for the new baby because he “doesn’t want her to die, too”. 

I’m scared for the new baby too, buddy. 

I’m so incredibly scared. 

32 weeks today. 5 weeks to go. 

if you have a second…

Through Kenley’s death, I met a loss momma on IG. Her and her husband are struggling with secondary infertility (no issue with first child, fertility issues with the second pregnancy). 

This speaks to me because it’s what happened to us. Landon, no issues. I was diagnosed with dinished ovarian reserve which lead to 2.5 years of struggles, 6 rounds of clomid, 2 rounds of letrozole, 1 round of tamoxifen, and 3 IUIs later we got pregnant with Kenley. Then, we lost her. 

This family has DOR, and needs IVF. If they win this contest they will get a fully funded IVF cycle. 

We paid out of pocket for our IVF cycle, and it cost us $23,000. 

Please take the time to watch this video and vote (thumbs up there video to vote) to make their IVF cycle happen. 

Vote for Joan & John!