Friday, December 30, 2011

Stuff that makes you stop and think

Im sure everyone by now has heard the story of Ben Breedlove. If not check out these videos and have the tissues ready.

In case you don't know the whole story here is a little background. Ben made these youtube videos on December 18th, just 10 days ago. Ben passed away a week later. He was 18. His funeral was yesterday.

I cannot tell you the emotions his story and video stirs in me. The effect he has had on me is so profound I can hardly comprehend it myself. It reminds me that life is so so short. Make your days count. His near death experiences give me faith and hope. As mentioned before, I have a different belief about heaven... but Ben never mentioned he was in heaven. He only described what death was like. That peace... that brightness... that happiness... it makes me stop and think. Think of the possibilities. It makes me think of Genesis. 

It makes me wonder about her experience. One thing I don't know about Genesis is the moment she died. I was there in the hospital for a total of 5 days trying to get the induction to start. I don't know what day she fell asleep in death. Was it early on? Or right before I started pushing? Ill never know. What's it like to die in your mother's womb? I suppose that would be the place that would bring your baby most comfort. Although naturally the idea that my womb was her tomb does not bring me much comfort. But I just hope she didn't suffer and she felt that same peace and warmth and happiness. 

It makes me wonder about my own life. Thinking about my own death. When will it be? How will it happen? Who will miss me? I know these are dark thoughts but it makes me wonder. I usually don't like to talk about too personal of things on here but I thought this was worth mentioning.

In my early adulthood I would periodically have times where I would just be doing whatever... cooking, watching TV, taking a shower... and then suddenly it felt like my heart skipped a beat. It would make me feel dizzy and I would gasp for air and that seemed to get it back beating regularly. I never really thought much of it. There was a time that while I was working at a particular job a customer would always bring me and the other girls coffee. It was an everyday thing. I was drinking a huge venti coffee from starbucks every single day for who knows how long because he would bring them. As a result I started having chest pains. It hurt SO SO bad. I eventually went to an urgent care one day and they hooked me up to some heart monitor and everything was fine. They did find some sort of inflammation in the connective tissue on my sternum. They told me that when that happens the pain feels like a heart attack. Although my heart seemed to be find, and the inflammation really had nothing to do with the coffee they suggested not drinking coffee. I followed that advice and the pain never returned. 

When I was pregnant with my first rainbow I noticed the skipping heartbeats was happening more. I suppose its sort of expected as your blood volume increases so much when pregnant. I brought it up to my OB several times and she said it was nothing to worry about and totally normal. After he was born it still would occasionally happen. But then a new symptom arose. I started to feel like there were air bubbles or flutters in my heart. It wasn't painful. It was more just uncomfortable. A mild disturbance. This feeling would come in waves and at different levels of intensity but never really bad. These episodes may last for a few minutes or like an hour. But again it wasn't that frequent... maybe a couple times a year. So I didn't really worry. 

Shortly after I had D I found my biological family on my moms side. This was huge for many reasons but one major thing was finally getting information on my family medical history. I had no clue about really anything except that my birth mom was a carrier for Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy {which I am not a carrier of}. I found that everyone was pretty healthy and lived long lives... except one thing. There was a history of heart problems. There are quite a few aunts and cousins that have problems. My own half sister has heart problems, she's only 25. And here I am 28. When I learned of this it worried me a little. I let it go and we both figured if I hadn't had anything major happen like passing out, then it probably wasn't an issue for me. 

Time went on and I got pregnant with my second rainbow and once again while pregnant it aggravated the symptoms. But it was happening more than when I was pregnant with D. There were times I was standing in the shower and I would get short of breath and I felt like I was going to pass out. And once again after she was born the symptoms eased up but yet they were occurring more frequently than ever before. 

Yesterday scared me. It started in the early afternoon and it was that mild discomfort feeling. Its really a hard feeling to explain. It started with the bubble/flutter feeling in my heart and then that mild pressure. The pressure was where my heart is but the discomfort was felt in my back, not my chest. My back starts feeling stiff like I need to crack it to release pressure but I can't crack it, and nothing relieves that pressure. After maybe an hour or so of that at work it passed. I felt great the rest of the day. Until it was time to put the kids to bed. Around 7 pm that feeling came back. As I laid down in bed to put the kids to bed the pain got worse. It actually got really bad. The worst its ever been. The mild pain was now so bad I had to get out of bed and sit up. My heart was doing the skipping thing again. And what scared me even more was that my left arm was slightly tingling. It felt cold. Nothing I did would make the pain better. I couldn't crack my back, I couldn't lay down. Drinking water didn't help. This episode lasted about an hour and a half. I almost went to the ER. While I was waiting for it to pass sort of scared, all I could think about was Ben and his story. It scared me moreso. 

It eventually did pass and today so far I am feeling fine. If I ever feel pain that bad again I will go to the ER. It scared me so much that today I am going to start making calls to cardiologists. Having these scary episodes makes my mind wander as well... makes me think of the what ifs... the inevitable.

Im not ready to go right now. The kids need me. I need them. They are so young, I am young as well. I have so much more to see and do in life. I want to stick around for a long time. And I am not leaving without a fight. So Im going to get to the bottom of all this. As much as I find comfort that I will be reunited with Genesis when its my time, I also know that that time is not now. There is no need to rush that. When its time, we will have all of eternity to make up for the missed time together. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

He made my heart smile

I was talking to D today telling him that he is the man of the house and it's his job to take care of his girls, mommy and G. And this is how he replies:

"And Genesis. Genesis is my girl too."

I don't think I need to say anymore.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Random sighs

I took the rainbows to the park this weekend. I was going to take them to visit Genesis' stone but the drive was a bit far and the kids are sick so I decided to go somewhere closer to home. 

I ended up taking them to the park that the International Babylost Mother's Day picnic was at. I really love that park. Even before the IBLMD picnic took place there, it would always make me think of her. Not really sure why. I guess its with all parks... I see the kids playing and envision that there should be three of them there screaming and running around. Sigh. 

I did see a beautiful hummingbird there which obviously made me think of my girl. And on the way back something caught my eye. In my car I have a little hanging prism that sparkles in the sun. I got this years and years ago even before I got married. I always thought it was pretty. Since losing Genesis it took on more meaning to me. Its in the shape of a drop. It reminds me of a tear. The tears I shed for Genesis. It hangs right aside her sun catcher as well. What I find interesting is that this tear of sadness reflects rainbows. How very meaningful. 

So as I was driving the rainbow from the prism was shinning on my face. I noticed it looked like a rainbow tear. I had to take a picture and wanted to share with you what I saw. 

I think this is so signifiant. You can clearly see the pain in my eyes. I may not be sad at that moment or crying real tears but there is always a heaviness with me. I may not always outwardly show it but behind my eyes you can see it. I think the rainbow tear is important as well because it shows that rainbows are not a "fix". Yes they make life sweeter and a reason to appreciate and love... but no rainbow can ever replace the lost child. Ever. So while I may have color (rainbows) back in my life, the tears are still there. Even if they are in rainbow shades now. 

I miss her every. single. day. 

I love you baby girl. 

Always and forever. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy tears

This morning I got a touching message on Facebook from my youngest brother. Basically letting me know that he loves me and appreciates me and letting me know I mean a lot to him. He also expressed his love for my kids... and yes, he even remembered Genesis. He said "my nieces and nephew..." I can't tell you how much this meant to me. He totally made my day.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The evolution of grief

I came across a phenomenal article. I think it is one of the best written articles regarding pregnancy & infant loss that I have ever read. I have to give HUGE props to the Duggar's for shedding light on this taboo subject. Some of the best articles I have read are as a result of then sharing photo's of Jubilee. {By the way, have you heard Michell Duggar's sweet letter to Jubilee? It left me in tears. If you are up for it take a listen here. Be sure to have a box of tissues near.} The article I am referring to can be found here. This was too good not to share. Please feel free to share this as well. Im hoping my family will read this and be more understanding.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A funeral

I had read an article recently, this one actually, and it really made me stop and think. I think it was written wonderfully and made me think about things I had not even considered. 

Genesis didn't really have a funeral. We simply went to go see her at the mortuary 2 days after she was born. It was me, my then husband, my brother and sister and parents. It was more of a viewing more than anything. It was the first time, and last time, I would lay eyes on my daughter. I lost all sense of time and couldn't tell you how long we were there. Probably no more than 20-30 minutes if I had to guess. Aside from just crying, holding her and gazing at her beauty I actually did two things. 

The first thing I was adamant on doing was having a family prayer with my then husband and her. Just the three of us. A complete family, together for that moment in time. We prayed to Jehovah thanking him for the blessing of being able to be her parents, no matter how short a time, and asked him to remember her name in the Book of Life so that she may be resurrected in the new system where we would be a whole family once again. The second thing I did was bring a bracelet for her.

While pregnant with her I just knew that I was having a girl and so I went out and bought a mother daughter charm bracelet set. I made sure to wear mine to the mortuary and I brought hers along with me. I talked to her and showed it to her. She was obviously so tiny this was probably close to the length of her little body. I laid it across her tiny body, almost like a belt and for that moment we were both wearing our matching bracelets. I told her that I would pass on this bracelet to her future sister... and I keep true to that promise.

That was the gist of our viewing and saying goodbye. There was no service, nothing formally said. No friends were there, and family from afar did not come to say goodbye. No church members... no nothing.

This article got me thinking that I think I may like to have a funeral for her. I think it may bring me closure or more peace. I would love to have an event dedicated to just her. Something where her life and existence are acknowledged. Where I can share the love I still have for her and to remind people that though nearly 5 years have passed she is still missed and thought of every single day. Id like to have friends and family come and have a special part in celebrating her short but beautiful life.

But then it gets me thinking... I don't even know where I would have something like this. I doubt the church will hold a memorial service for her. I thought about it some more and thought perhaps the memorial garden where her name is engraved might be a good place... though I would wonder what the general public would think of a funeral service being held there... yes I worry too much about what people think...Im working on it. Then I think some more and wonder who would come. Again, I would be hurt if no one came. Just another reminder that no one cares. And when I do things like this to remember Genesis it gives my family yet another opportunity to hurt me by doing or saying something that shows me that Genesis has been forgotten to them and that to them she didn't count. Me thinking too much about things is another thing I am working on. But in the meantime they remain real issues for me.

Did you have a funeral for your child? Are you glad you did it? How did family and friends react? How do you feel now about it?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Doing it alone

If you recall my story, initially I was not a single mom by choice. I was forced into that when my then husband left me while pregnant. I took on that role because I had to. There was no other option. 

That role grew on me and as the time went on I became confident even comfortable in that role. 

Then that feeling came over me. A feeling that many BLMs can relate to. Yes I had a rainbow that I was SO very thankful for. He literally saved my life. But I still did not have a living daughter. I wondered if I would ever have a living daughter. And though I had had "children" I was only approved my society to say I had "a child". Oh how I longed to be able to say I had children and not be looked at like I sprouted a second head. The more the time went on the more and more my heart ached for another. I had baby fever BAD. 

I got to a good place (financially, emotionally...etc...) and then I decided I was going to get pregnant on my own. As mentioned in my story, my ex husband who was still technically my husband was the donor and I did artificial insemination to get pregnant with my second rainbow. Going into it I told myself that it was not with the goal of having a girl. It was just to have a healthy living baby. I even told myself that it was going to be a boy and I became so attached to the idea of a second son that I was slightly let down to find out I was in fact having another daughter. (Of course I got over that quite quickly and was over the moon about the fact that I was given another chance to mother a baby girl and do all the mother daughter things I had longed for before)

Well its coming up on 2 years since this wonderful little rainbow girl was born (wow can you believe that?) and since then life has given us a few unexpected twists and turns as life typically does. And so Ive found myself in a bit of a tough spot financially. In the recent weeks I have had a few conversations with my mom about my struggles and whatnot and Im not quite sure why I keep talking to her and forgiving her. The way all our conversations end up going is like this:

my mom: I told you not to get pregnant again... I told you not to have two kids
me: you mean three
my mom: ugh... there you go again bringing her up....this isn't about her...
me: My decision to have another child had a lot to do with her
my mom: Life would have been so much easier if you didn't have G
me: Really mom? really? did you just say that AGAIN? Ive told you before that saying those comments really hurt my feelings. You don't have to understand or agree with the fact that I decided to have her on my own. But the bottom line is she IS here. Im not going to give away my daughter, or put her up for adoption or do something horrific just to get out of being her mother because "life is hard". You want to know what's hard? Having to plan your child's funeral. Living the rest of your life never having a living daughter. That was too much for me and I choose the path that would be better for me. I could deal with any difficulties life had to give me if I had my living children with me. I could not deal with never having a daughter to raise.
my mom: Why does everything have to be about Genesis. Genesis, Genesis, Genesis. Get over it. Im sick and tired of Genesis.

Yep. This is what I have to hear over and over and over again. Not only do they never remember Genesis, then insult me about remembering her myself. And now it's gotten to the point where my own mother is telling me that life would be better without one of my living children. What is the world coming to?

On another occasion where we the conversation took the same turn we exchanged these words:

my mom: Life would be so much easier if you didn't have G
me: really?.... so is my life so much easier because Genesis died? Is it easier that I only have 2 instead of three? Is that what you wish for G?
my mom: Im not saying that...
me: well yes mom, you actually are. And I don't appreciate it.
my mom: There you go again with Genesis...

I can't win. I just can't live like this anymore. I CANT. 

I won't.

I have put up with it for far too long. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

The void

This is going to be a mixed post. Mixed between loss and being a single mama.

I recently came across this article regarding co-sleeping. I know that its a controversial topic this day and age and that is not what I want to get into. Since I bring up the subject I will say that I do co-sleep with my children and Im not looking for opposition or support of my decision. Just stating that I do and its what works for us. Anyway, so the reason Im blogging about this article is not so much because of the subject... more because of the photos.

This is one of many photos in the article:
A picture of a father co-sleeping. This photo invokes SO many emotions for me. Let me step back first. My own father was hardly involved in my life. I feel like I still don't know him. We hardly have what I even would consider a relationship. And its not that we don't get along, its just that he is distant and never bonded and I never felt loved by him. I felt as though I was raised by a single mother. I don't know this kind of paternal closeness. It sort of fascinates me from the daughter standpoint.

It also captures me as my own children have never had this. They have never had a father or male influence in their lives. No man to serve as a protector or role model. No man to snuggle up next to, to call daddy. This is even more foreign to me from a single parent aspect. I long for this for my kids one day. I wonder if they will ever have it. I think its a beautiful thing. My heart aches for this.

Then as I read through the article I saw photos like this:
Photos of siblings co-sleeping. Wow... I can't tell you what a stab in the heart this was. Yes again, I think its a beautiful thing and yes my rainbows do sleep next to each other like this but it makes me think that I should have 3 children laying on top of each other in their peaceful slumber. How I long to see that sight even just once. 

Isn't it funny how really anything can be a trigger? sigh...
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