Friday, July 7, 2017

Count Your Blessings. 316 Days PP.

     When everything you have ever wanted, is taken from you, anger is the easiest emotion to feel. Jealousy of others who have what you want, pain, grief, all unavoidable. I have had to train myself to see the best, to see the silver lining.
Let me begin by saying, I would give up every good thing in my world, to let her live, however this is not an option. People also ponder if i would rather have never been pregnant, and never knew this side of pain. The answer is No. No. No.  I would rather, any day, know the love, and pain, I have for her, than to have never known her.
Every day, I have to remember to think of all the good things that her life brought to me. First of all, she has shown me my ability to love. I love my Husband, to the ends of the earth. I am a 100% Momma's girl, who couldn't go a day with out her if i tried. I thought I knew that deep down, in your bones kind of love, but I learned so much more about that, when I became a mother. 
I think of all the relationships she has strengthened. My bond with my husband has been absolutely tested to the max, and we have never once wavered. He has stuck by me, when I have been the most disgusting version of myself. When I have been at rock bottom, he has stood strong and braved the storm. My relationship with my Mom is much the same, I have counted on her heavily, to drag me thru the dark days, to crawl up in my bed beside me, when I felt like I had finally reached the end of my rope. 

I have found a world of support since I lost her.

I have gained a best friend, the friendship I have found in the woman who photographed Leeona, is irreplaceable. Zelli wasn't a large part of my life before, and since then, she has become someone I hold close to my heart. My MIL says it's because I don't have to pretend around Zell, I don't have to try to be who I was before, as Zelli never knew that person. 

I wouldn't have the most amazing job imaginable if I had never been pregnant. I wouldn't have met Zell, I wouldn't know her the way I do, and she wouldn't have asked me to be a part of her company. Labor and Delivery Photography is something I have always wanted to do, and the only way that came into doing that for a living, was through my daughter. 
There are five lives out there, that my daughter was able to help continue living. There are tons of lives, that those organ recipients will touch. My daughter will keep spreading good, in the world, that way. 
I met women at the Mothers Milk Bank, who I cherish. 
The point is. This list is no where near as long as all the things I've missed out on. It doesn't even begin to compare. 
But it is pretty long. It's a list that matters. 
My Daughter has made so many points in my life better. 
Her Death is what has been difficult to handle, but that's not her problem. That's not enough, to wish she had never lived at all, even if it was only 40 weeks in my belly. I loved those months, I enjoyed 99% of those moments. 
Today, I remember to count my blessings. I remember that I gave birth to a Beautiful baby girl, and regardless of my pain. I am happy I did.. I got to see the Love in her fathers eyes, when he held her, even if there was pain too. And I got to see the Miracle that we could create together, and I will never, not for a moment, regret that. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

[275 days Postpartum] Why I'm not pregnant.

     Since Leeona passed away, my days were always a struggle to make it to today. This month, this week. At Nine months postpartum, we would be medically cleared to try to conceive another child. This would make for 18 months between deliveries, and leave us with the higher chance of giving birth to a happy healthy baby.
     I have counted down the days. Literally. All I wanted was for this day to be here, I know I can never ( nor would I ever want to ) replace my sweet LeeLee, but I could at least bring back a happiness that we are missing, right? Yes. I could. That was my driving force, if you make it thru this many more days, then we can have another baby. I spent all that time excited for this day, and now that it's here. I realized it hasn't changed anything. It wasn't this magic number, that made everything better. It wasn't this magical day, that I decided it was time for baby #2. I kept Leeona's nursery just the way it was, mostly out of laziness, really. If we were just going to turn around and have another baby in a couple months, then was it really worth the hassel? Do I really wanna pack it all up, and then unpack it? Especially if its a girl? So I decided to just leave it until Baby Warren 2 showed up.
     I finally got here. I got to today, and do you know how I spent my day? I went to home depot, bought some vacuum seal bags, and totes, and packed up my little girls entire life, down to a few boxes.

     I'm not ready to have another baby.
     There. I said it.
     I want nothing more in the world to have another baby.
     But we are not ready. Yet.

     I've always been a bit of a grouchy human. Snippy and irritable. More irritable, because I have a difficult time allowing other emotions to show thru. If I'm sad; I'm grumpy. If I'm hurt; instead I project grumpiness, and since the loss of our daughter, there are more of those moments, than there ever were before. I'm working on them, I'm working on not being a total pain in my husbands ass, just because I'm having a moment.
     Matthew is very in-tune with my emotions, he see's them, and knows them, sometimes before I even know I'm feeling them. He know's things that are going to upset me even before I see them. He has been able to do that since we were kids. I sincerely appreciate that quality in him, however, that doesn't make it okay for me to be grumpy with him, due to things out of his control. I don't want to bring another human, into an emotional mess, until I am able to control those emotions. I've dealt with Leeonas loss, with being grouchy, I don't want my next child to be a failed attempt to "fix" that.
     Matthew has run into his own sets of problems, when it comes to the way he grieves, we are both two completely different beings, with different coping skills, and different needs and wants, and YES we are STILL grieving, and figuring out where we go from here.

     I had a doctors appointment a couple of weeks before I delivered Leeona. Baby looked perfect and completely healthy, the only thing that my midwives were concerned about was my weight. More pointedly my BMI. Once you get to a certain BMI you are considered high risk. I was already over weight before my pregnancy, and the additional 12 lbs I gained while I was pregnant almost  put me in that special category. When I asked what the high risk was, she told me a list of things, that I cannot remember now, but I do recall her saying "Stillbirth, and a whole bunch of other scary words like that, that you don't want me to list. Let focus on keeping you out of that category" So I did, i stayed my two lbs shy of that BMI.
     I know that the likelihood of another pregnancy ending this way, is slim, however it's still a possibility. If for any reason, this happened again, I need to know I did every single thing in my power to  avoid it. I need to know that I looked at this pregnancy with newly opened eyes about the possibility of stillbirth, and that there is nothing i could have done to stop it, just as I know I couldn't have changed this outcome. That includes keeping myself out of that category, and far from it. So until I'm going to work on making myself healthier, before I am in that situation again.

     I have made most of my journey public knowledge so I may as well throw this in there too.
I am surprised that we ever became pregnant with Leeona with out actively trying, and timing. My cycles have been horrendous and unpredictable my whole life. I had to start taking birth control almost immediatly after getting my first period, because they were so unmanageable. After Leeona's birth, I taking a little more interest in tracking all things relating to fertility, knowing I'd be able to try again soon.
     What I learned from that is; that my body is irregular. My body rarely ovulates, which means I will likely have to try very hard to conceive my next child. Which is another thing I'm not ready for. I'm not ready for the tracking, and the planning, and trying. And worse; I'm not ready to pee on a stick, and then look my husband in the face month after month, and say "I'm sorry". If we do end up having struggles in that department, I'm not ready for it to be my fault, or to take on the emotional toll that I've seen people struggle with.

Friday, February 24, 2017

184 days...

     Tonight, is much like my night was exactly six months ago. I just got out of the shower, and I am headed to bed. My husbands job called him in, so I will head to bed alone. . Six months ago, I went to bed with out him, when I woke up, he was curling up beside me, silently slipping into bed after working for 20+ hours. As he laid down, I realized I was extremely uncomfortable, more uncomfortable than I had ever been. When his head hit the pillow, I rolled over, kissed his cheek, and said "Get some sleep, you're going to need it. I think this baby is coming tonight."
     There was no sleep to be had. I went back and forth between the bed and the toilet, the toilet being the only seated position that really felt comfortable. Matt was on high alert, he ran around the house, he collected all the stuff we needed. The magical list of everything we needed to bring was no where to be found and I counted my contractions on an app on my phone, as they got closer and closer, I called the hospital. They told me I was fine to stay home for a little bit, or come in if I wanted, I spent a little more time counting the minutes between the pain, and then I cracked my back, or so I thought. turns out that little popping noise was my water breaking. So I called the hospital again, Nurse Connie asked me what color my water was, and after checking, [and gagging] when I answered green sludge, she told me to come in.
     I guess that discoloration had ment that the baby had passed a bowel movement in the womb, this is the very same stuff that would pack her lungs, and be another possible contributor to the worst moments of my life.
     So we went in.
      There is not a single time that Matthew has catered more to me than in those minutes. He apologized at every bump we took, threatened to get out and kill the construction flagger with a stop sign,  for me, he was there for what ever I needed. We stopped at the store because I wanted him to get some caffeine. If I was gonna push out an estimated 8-9 lbs baby, he was gonna have to be awake enough to push me through it.
     It was august, I thankfully had thought to grab my sisters "Epping Well and Pump" sweatshirt on my way out the door, beneath the sweatshirt, i was wearing Matthews "Clean Harbors" tee shirt, and black yoga pants.
      The air outside the store was crisp, it was barely chilly and the cool air helped me stay calm. I paced back and forth perpendicular to my car while he was inside the store. With each contraction i  was becoming far to uncomfortable to sit, so I sucked in the night air, in and out...step.... step... step... in and out... step... step... step... Ellsworth is pretty quiet at 3 am, this town is just too small to be awake quite yet. I was so excited for my little world to wake up, and find out our baby was coming.
We pulled into the ER entrance, and headed straight to Labor and Delivery. Deb checked me in and told me I had dilated 3 Centimeters. I called my Mom to let her know I was in labor.
After that it all happened so fast.

     Weird pregnancy dreams, are a thing right? I always chalked my dreams up to hormones. I have never believed in that dreams have the ability to teach you things that may happen in the future, I have never given them much thought. I had SO many weird dreams, I look back on them now though and I wonder if my body, mind, god, the universe, (what ever) was trying to tell me something... Trying to prepare me for the devastation that was coming.
     I dreamed a million times, that people would ask me how my breast feeding journey was going, and in this particular dream I would start to panic because I had just then realized that I had never nursed my baby.
     I had dreams of going out to town, and leaving her home.
     I had dreams of going to my Photographers studio for my newborn session, only to realize that I had forgotten to bring her with me.
     The night that I went into labor I told my mother in law about dream that I had had. In the dream I had fallen asleep and when I woke up, my baby was out, no baby belly. No one around me was going to mention to me that I was not longer pregnant, i was so confused,  I yelled at them all and demanded to know what happened.  In my dream someone eventually handed me my baby, and everything was all right.
     I wish I could make that happen. I wish I could scream until someone hands her to me. I wish she was screaming so loud right now that I wouldn't be able to concentrate. I wish more than anything to hear her laugh, to see who she had grown to become.

Leeona Christine, Where ever you are. You are loved.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving {90 Days post partum}

     We dedicate one day a year to being Thankful. The rest of the year we whine about what we don't have, we complain about what we want. Hell, the next day, we push through lines, and fight to shop for things, and deals, we probably don't need. Traumatic  events sometimes make you hate the world. There are days, that I. am. so. done. There are days that I do not want to crawl out of my bed, times I literally have to force myself to stay off the internet because I am soo soo tired of seeing people complain about amazing things. Yes, your kid shit all over you house, but HELLO. That kid is amazing, and some days  I am way to prepared to tell you to shut the hell up about it.
     I have to force myself to realize though, that there are things I have to be thankful for. I have met some amazing women through this process. I have met women, who have suffered pain that I can't begin to imagine, yet they are still out there, kicking ass. So I will start there, I am thankful that I do not have their pain. I can not imagine, having multiple still births. I am happy I have not suffered that pain. I, in theory am completely capable of having more children one day. I am thankful for that. I feel awful that what I'm grateful for, is that I am not in as much pain as someone else, but it's true. I think that meeting people who have suffered deeper pain, and survived, is helpful in your perspective on life. Their stories give me that, just as I hope my story gives perspective to people who may take their children for granted occasionally.
     Mostly I am grateful that I am not alone... I'm grateful Matthew and I didn't get the house we wanted, a five bedroom, with some cosmetic issues, but I wouldn't want to be in a big old house, alone. I'm grateful I live next door to my Mom, I send her a whiny text message, and in a minute and a half, she has climbed up in my bed with me and crying beside me. I'm thankful that she gets me, that she can see a look on my face, and know I'm just having a really really bad day. When I get in ruts, she makes me lists of things, to do.
     When I first came home from the hospital, my list was to Get out of bed, take a shower, and to eat. Once I started to kind of get that down, she added to put on deodorant, to brush my teeth... To do all the little things that used to come naturally. She helped me shower, when I couldn't get in and out of the tub on my own, she stood by and didn't complain when I lost every single ounce of modesty that I had left. She definitely laughed, but she still helped me.  I'm grateful every single day, that I'm not alone.
I'm grateful for my Momma.
I hope one day, I have a child, who feels the same way for me.

Mom, I'm sorry I'm an ass. I'm sorry, that I probably drive you crazy a million times a day, but I can't imagine going through this, at all, with out you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"It will be just like one of my sunny days " {82 days Post Partum}

"I'd like to talk to you, and Matthew, before you are discharged. I am an RN, but I'm also a grief counselor. One thing I want you both to really understand, before you go home, is that you both are going to grieve at different paces. One of you may be having a wonderful day, and thinking about the sunshine. The other one may think of the sunshine, and remember that your daughter died on a sunny day, and that is okay. You need to support each other at every level, and remember not to hold it against each other. "
     "Another thing that you will learn, unfortunately fast, and hard, is that she is the center of your world. You revolve around her. Other people do not. There lives will move on, and you WILL be left behind, and that will hurt. A lot. People will expect you to be okay, and someday's you still wont be, and as unfortunate as that may be, it's okay."
     I never ever thought that my family would be that way. I never ever thought  I would feel alone in this battle. I never thought I would hear someone say "Get over it". I understand, that they aren't reminded, every single moment, like I am. When someone says how nice it must be for me to sleep in in the mornings, I think of all the mornings that my daughter should be screaming, and waking me up. When someone says "I wish I had time to _____ all day, I'm busy chasing this one around" I think of all the time I would give up doing ____ to chase my daughter around, or change a stinky diaper. When people complain about pregnancy pains, when people complain about there child having a bad day, when people are excited their children's accomplishments, I long for every awful crying moment, and all the good ones too. I know, that these things don't make them think of my daughter, but everything in the world, reminds me of her.
      I'm never going to not think of her. I understand that it others lives move on, but I haven't.
WHOEVER you are. Don't you dare ever look me in the face and tell me to get over it. I never will. I look like I'm okay, some days. The truth is, though, is that I'm drowning more today, then the day I lost her. I'm more broken, right now, than I was a month ago. I'm a wreck. I hate being alive, I hate getting out of bed in the morning more than I ever have.
     When all of the attention is on you, it's easier to feel okay. Wahh Wahh, pitty me, because the attention isn't on me anymore, right? Yeah. You can shut up too. When someone is looking at you everyday, checking to see if you're okay. You feel like you are okay, you have that support, you know that if you need it; it's there. When that goes away though, it's so easy to feel helpless. To feel hopeless.
     The smallest things break me now. I was told today, "Oh my fuck, you have to get over it at some point " and "We can't walk on eggs shells around you forever"
     If only you knew, how much of my life, of my heart, and of my soul, is an egg shell. You're right, you don't have to. It's not your job, to take care of me, it honestly never was. I need my family to understand that I am still grieving, and I understand that that is hard. It is impossible, however, for me to deal with negativity. I am holding myself together, with the thinnest of threads, it is literally the smallest of things that tear me open.
     If you are my family member, please know, I can't. I can't deal with any of it. I want to plan this happy wedding, and I can't. I can't because my family can't set their differences aside. I can't be happy, because my daughter is dead, but today, I feel like I can't even hold myself together, because my family has given up on "walking on eggshells" I wish everyone in my family could understand, that the things you are doing to each other, make you feel a little better for two minutes, but DESTROY me, for much longer. I know I can "stay out of it" and "Quit being so dramatic" but it's impossible, for me not to feel. For me not to dread, what I've seen my family do to each other a thousand times.
     I was so afraid, of my daughter being brought into this volatile mess of a family, while I was pregnant, I am now sad, she will never see it, yet, happy she will never feel this conflicting hate... She will never be caught in the middle, like I have been, my whole life....

      My friends have their own children to focus on, my family has holidays to prepare for, they have vacations to take, and people to see. My parents have their grandbabies to spoil, and a new one to kiss, my sister has her newest little one to keep her up all night. Here I am, stuck, and focused on the baby I'll never hold again, the baby I will never hear cry, the baby everyone else lets slip there mind,  my sweet little girl, who has brought me the biggest happiness, and the deepest pain. Maybe one day, I will function, like a normal person, but today I can't. I apologize to anyone who has crushed my shells today. But I just can't cope today.
Thank you, Jody, and Matthew. For being two rocks tonight, in a bumpy sea. Thank you, for standing behind me %100. I wouldn't have survived this day with out it

Thursday, October 6, 2016

42 days postpartum MothersMilkBank

This is possibly Leeona's final gift to our world. She gave every bit of herself that she could. She was able to help the lives of five children with her organs, and she will now gift children of the NICU, the milk that was intended to nourish her body.
     I read something, I believe on the mothers milk bank page, that was written by a bereaved mother. It said something about milk being the tears your body cries for your infant. Its true, I have cried and cried, so many days I feel like I can't stop crying, and then there are days, that my body couldn't produce another tear if it tried. Here they are though, here are the tears that my body has cried. Not my eyes, My body begs to take care of her. But it can't. It is my job as her Mom to make the best choices for her.  Her father and I chose to donate her organs, because that was what was best for the world. That was what made her live on in others, and hopefully, that is what she would have wanted. So then, when my chest was engorged, and felt like it was going to crush me, if I didn't do something, I knew I HAD to do something.
     I expected everyday, to panic if I had to pump. I expected one day it was going to hit me, hard, that this wasn't right, I shouldn't be pumping, I should be nursing. Although these thoughts did cross my mind, it was never in anger, it never caused me anxiety. Those were the times that honestly I felt closest to her, like my little Leeona was guiding me. She was holding my hand, and walking me thru it. She was right beside me, telling me, that I was doing the right thing.
     I donated 202 oz of her milk. I have a little over 100 more oz that the milk bank is unable to use, do to pain meds after my emergency surgery, that milk will go to my sweet nephew who is on his way in a few short weeks.
     This has been another step in my healing process. She is still with me, where ever I go. I have stopped pumping now, and have begun the process of drying up. Still tho, when I think of her, or when I hear a baby Scream and cry, my body cries for her.
     I know my daughter is loved, and I know she has touched the lives of many. In her short nine months that she lived, she has saved the lives of some, and helped the lives of more than I may ever.
     Many see the lives of stillborn, as never living. My daughter lived for ten months, and then she died, and then she was born. Those ten months are the best months of my life. And I would do it all over again, I would feel this pain tenfold, as long as I could feel her wiggle and hiccup in my belly again.
Leeona Christine Marie, Where ever you are. You are loved, by so many.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

An open Letter to the Support group Admins, who betrayed my love. { 38 days PostPartum }

     Irony is when your original plan for your daughters nursery was Peter pan and tinkerbell, and in fact she ended up in never land.

     Irony is when you tell someone days before.  "I can't imagine what you're going through" and boom. It happens to you...

     Irony, is when the most pain and betrayal you've ever felt, in your entire life comes from a support group.
     I joined a "Infant Loss Support Group" on facebook. This was a forum where I was able to freely express my emotions. I do this on my blog, too, but having endless support, and response from people who truly feel your pain, is an invaluable gift. I posted pictures of my baby girl, instantly tons of people said, I'm so sorry, I am here for you, please, message me if you need too. All of these people actually meant what they said. They know me, they are me, they feel my pain.
     I've been a part of a new mama group on facebook since I got pregnant, and they were awesome! full of support, and full of love and advice! Sometimes that page is hard to look at now, to go to, and ask for advice. I did right after I loss my daughter, and they responded with love. I went in search of a Infant Loss group, hoping to feel the same love, and support, I found it! Those Moms are the definition of love.
     Unfortunately, part of the rules in this "support group" is that if you have a photo of your child and they are no longer living in the picture, you must only post it in comments. You can't post it on the page. I didn't read that until I already had. My heart dropped when I read it. I went on with my day, but the more, and more I thought about that rule, the more emotion stirred in me. I feel so betrayed, I feel so much betrayal.
     A lot of people have said "It wasn't meant to be" think about how that sounds to a Mom. "Your baby wasn't\meant to be alive" it sounds horrible. Never once have I felt offended by that though. Because I know they are saying it hoping it would make me feel better. When someone says "You're lucky you had a c section, when I had my baby I ..." I'm not lucky. I had a caesarian because my babys heart was giving out. She was dying. She did, die. It never offended me though, I know they don't mean any harm. They just don't get it.
     This infancy loss group, did not mean anything by it. They think its better to post the living babies freely, and the dead babies in the comments. It bothers other Moms to see dead babies. I tell you what, the photos I have of my daughter are BEAUTIFUL. My Daughter was PERFECT. She looks like a sleeping baby in these pictures, you would never ever know the difference, if I didn't tell you. If a photo of a "stillborn" ( I hate that word) triggers extreme emotions for you, then I'm sure a photo of a living baby will to, because in photo it is the same thing. Believe me, I understand how seeing a tiny baby can make you cry, because sometimes I see them and just want to hold mine. I get that. But seeing a baby is seeing a baby... Mine looks just like theirs. They don't ban photos of extreme premie, because those are easy to look at. NOT. seeing a premie, is hard, living or gone, babies who are born way to early, in a photo you KNOW they are fighting for their life, or have already lost it. They don't ban babies who are born "deformed" (Again, a word you shouldn't apply to a baby) who pass away later. WHY? Because they SHOULDN'T! Because they  are beautiful, they are perfect, every child, is beautiful and perfect.

I should clarify, "stillborns" are not banned, they are just to be kept in the comments only, because you know; Stillborns bother some people, and people don't like to see them... Its hard, you know, keep them tucked away unless some one straight up asks for it.

     Their rule is "rarely Enforced" and its "not the end of the world to post your baby in the comments". Its true, it's not the end of the world. Especially not for me. My support system is HUGE. My support is amazing, I live in a small town, and my child's name has rolled off the lip of so many in our community. My family is huge, I will not end my life. I have enough support that I know I will get through this.
     I am not going to lie, I have looked over the edge of a balcony and wondered, would that drop kill me? I never seriously contemplated jumping, I would never put my family through that. But as a Mom who's lost their child, I see how some people could do that. Unfortunately I am not the first one in our family to loose there child. So infancy loss is not a taboo subject in my home. I am able to take refuge in those conversations, and those people who know my pain.

      If I had no support, if I had no one around, if I didn't have Matthew, Leeonas Dad, I could understand making that jump... I get it. So if that Momma who has no one reaches out, to a support group, and someone says to them : it's not the end of the world, to post in the comments.... It COULD be the end of her world. It could. If your last place you have to turn, is to the one people who are NEVER supposed to judge you, who are supposed to be your safe place, your shelter from the cruel world, and they betray you, I get it.

I know that admin is trying to do what is best for everyone in the group, and she had complaints about "post mortem" photos in the past, but she never enforces the rule.

If you don't enforce the rule, I encourage you to take it down. I know you're trying to appease everyone, but I ask you to hear my plea. When people say the wrong thing, it stings. When a support group makes you feel like you have to hide your sweet child, it tear your insides. Any support group should be 100% safe. And honestly there are enough stigmas in the world, there are enough places where people can make you feel bad about it. Where people  can make you feel like you aren't really a parent, because well, they never lived.
     My daughter did live, she lived nine beautiful months in my belly, she kicked, she moved, she hiccupped all the time. Her life counts. She is real. I am a Mom, I am her Mom. Telling Moms not to openly post about there babies in fear someone won't like it is perpetuating that culture. That stigma that there babies don't quite count as much as someone else's does.

     Have you ever herd of rape culture? You literally just looked at a rape victim and said don't talk about it unless someone asks. It really is something that should be kept to yourself unless someone needs to know.  Do you see that?

Oh, and by the way, what were you wearing when it happened. Not that short skirt, right?

I know I already posted this picture to my blog before, but this bottom picture, I believe in black and white is what I posted. I assure you, she looks just like a baby who is living, but asleep.