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. SomehowΒ 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.Β 

face.Β 

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

always grief.Β 

Having a “rainbow baby” doesn’t take away the grief of losing a child, it preoccupies you with having a new life to care for, which puts your grief (and everything else in life) on the back burner. It also means that you are taken by “grief surprise” more often. Normal every day things seem to be super heavy when maybe they weren’t before, even while carrying your rainbow. 

Some days everything just feels like I am trying to complete a task with an extra 500lbs on my chest. Some days I wonder how I am still alive, and how I get up to face the day. Easter and the day before were those days for me recently. I knew that we were going to Shane’s grandma’s for Easter and while I love his family so incredibly much, I knew it would be hard. It will ALWAYS be hard from now on. To make matters worse, there is a child in the family who is a month and a half older than what Kenley should be. I see that child, I think of what I’m missing. You can surely understand why it’s hard? It’s not this child’s (or her parents) fault my daughter died, but it still stings more than there are words and I will never not be sad around them. That is my life now. 

Easter morning it was just me, Landon and Alden. Landon ran into our room saying “the Easter bunny came!” Then he excitedly ran out to get both his and Alden’s baskets. As I was putting them together the day before, it just hit me like a ton of bricks- there should be three, but there will always only be two. 

Even if we have more children, we’re always going to be down one child and that is so fucking cruel. I know we’re not the only family who deals with this, but that doesn’t bring me any comfort what so ever. 

Before anyone gives me crap about Landon’s basket and the math work book, he loves math! He asks for “plus” when we go to bed at night. The kid loves his math.

LOL at our creepy eggs. Thanks to Target for the pirate egg kit. Landon had fun…even if it was a day late. #parentingfail #doingthebestIcan


So needless to say, Easter was rough. I feel like such a bad mom, too. I didn’t buy Alden or Landon any cute little Easter specific outfit. (I also didn’t decorate eggs until today…) I’m kind of thinking that I just didn’t care enough, I’m just too sad to make an effort? I love my kids and I would love to dress them up all cute but this year was unexpectedly hard. I felt like the grief and sadness was fresh. Last year I was sad because Kenley should be have been here enjoying Easter, and this year I’m sad for that as well as feeling guilty that she isn’t here and Alden is. 


It’s just all so messed up. 

The thoughts in my brain are things that I can only share with a few select people. Loss mom’s, and maybe my mom or/and sister. They make no sense and they are dark and scary. 

Today I was cleaning up the nursery. It’s been a disaster, like the entire house, since Alden came. I am overcome with anxiety which makes cleaning up pretty much impossible until I have a good day (today was a decent day so I took advantage) I don’t know why, but I started taking the newborn diapers out of the diaper caddy that I placed there with hopes and dreams of diapering Kenley. It was so so hard.  I felt a heat rush over my body and down my chest.

 How is this my life? 

How am I deciding if I want to remove these or leave them there (probably forever) instead of just simply running out because they’ve all been used. It hurts. My eyes got hot because I knew I was going to start crying any second. 

How is this my life? 

In my before, they were just diapers, but now, unfortunately, they come with so much attached to them.

 Sadness. 

Grief.

Guilt because I’m replacing them with her sisters. 

Parenting after a loss is all sorts of messy. You never know what a trigger is going to be ( although I knew these were a trigger…that’s why they’re still there…) I will never understand why this happened to our family, to my precious daughter who was wanted SO badly. I would give anything to have her laying here in front of me. No…she would probably be running around actually. Ugh. 

The realizations of what she should be doing sting so badly. This is also why Easter was so. fucking. hard. this year. The child I mentioned above was walking, and running, and talking. That should be Kenley…and it never will be. 

I guess I was feeling extra ambitious today (read: felt like torturing myself more then usual today) because I decided to put Alden in Kenley’s clothes again today. I chose a shirt that I picked for Kenley and fell in love with. It was in her diaper bag at the hospital when we found out she died. The leggings are the ones I had ordered just a few days before she died…they were in the mailbox the day we came home from the hospital. 

I love seeing her wear these but I cannot help but wonder what Kenley would have looked like in them…


I also put her in the outfit my sister bought for her. She wasn’t too happy with it, but she looked cute so here’s the best picture I could get. 

Not too pleased with all the picture taking


Alden is officially one month old! It’s flying by, and I can’t believe it. 

She loves to sleep, eat and poop. She is recognizing our specific voices, and trying to grab her toys. She’s also been holding her head up for a long time now! Still wobbly as heck but she does a good job trying. Also, she’s a grunting, stretching, farting rude girl πŸ™‚

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. Β 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. Β 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. Β 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.

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. Β 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.Β 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.Β I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the next 25ish weeks.

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!) .