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.
Smooches.





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.
     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.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Matthew {37 days Postpartum}

     Flipping through the pictures of our daughter, she is perfect. Ten little fingers, ten little toes, a beautiful face, and in one photo, that I have only shared with few, she has beautiful brown eyes, they are a mirror image of her Daddy's. As we sit there, someone says that they never really saw the love I had for Matthew, until this person saw us holding our daughter... That statement is almost offensive to me. I always tell Matt, that I have loved him, my whole life. Well, technically it's been like half my life. Matt and I have had some ups and downs, to say the lest. When you find your soul mate young, the way you find their soul, is just that; young. Especially when you're dealing with a teenage boy. I'm not going to say he hasn't pulled me through the mud, because he certainly has. He will be the first to admit it. I cried so many tears for that boy, so many, but I never left his side.
     One of his redeeming qualities through our younger years, and now, was that he too, never left my side. Sure, we broke up, we even dated other people, but when my home life fell apart at my feet, he was there. When my parents divorced; right there. When my Dad moved out of state, when my sister had a small gypsie phase, and disappeared at her own will, when doctors told us my grams life would likely "expire" with in hours, you guessed it, Matthew put me back together. If I didn't love him, though, I wouldn't still be with him. I would have walked away, long before today. I wouldn't have put up with his shit, with his attitude, with his problems, and his flaws. I wouldn't have it any other way though, those issues have never been enough to take the place of the love I have for  him. Anyone who actually took time to know me, to know him, would have known long before, that my love for him, was, and is nothing but pure, and strong.
     Matthew has always had a spot in my life, always. When we were kids he was always my best friends "boyfriend" I remember four different friends that claimed him as theirs. Of course, I'm talking fifth grade stuff. The first friend held his had once, it was our gossip of the week. The next year, another one of my friends kissed his cheek, and ran away, CRAZY! Eight grade though, was the first time I actually noticed him. The first time I probably ever really had more than one conversation with him. It was September 11th, and we had a fire drill at our school.
     He was such a goof. He was funny, and he was happy, about seemingly, anything. I had turned 13 two months before that. I remember, at thirteen years old thinking to myself, that is the type of person I'll have to marry. That is the type of person, who will balance me out. I really didn't think it would actually be him. We were outside, in the chilly weather, waiting for the firefighters to "clear the school" and little did I know, I had started to fall in love with him that day. Who can say that? Who can say they remember the day they started to fall for the love of their life.
     I'd made up my mind, I was gonna make this boy MY boyfriend. I was gonna do it, I'd walk up to him, say something, I had no idea what, but I would say SOMETHING, and make this boy find me interesting. HA. Right.
     Eighth grade Kassie, in fact, has no balls, and would never do this, even if she had the chance. Thing is, is that, I didn't have the chance anyway.
     The way our school worked, eight grade students boarded "shuttle busses" at the end of the day, and were brought to the elementary school, where we would meet the other busses and unload, to get on the correct bus. We all boarded up that day, and lookie there! An empty spot in Matts seat, and an empty seat in front of him! Guess where I ended up? The seat in front of him, because the girl in front of me, sat down beside him, and held his hand!-  She was best friend number four. - I later learned, she snagged him up. Again Matt was "Dating" my best friend.
     Turns out, two weeks later, she caught him being too nice to another girl, slapped him in the face, and cleaned her hands of him. We all stayed friends, and in December of that year we started dating. I didn't put dating in quotes this time, because it lasted well into the next year, and I truly believe that I fell in love with him during that time. Everyone told me I couldn't possibly know what love was, but I have never had a moment since, where I didn't want to be with him.
    Shortly after, we found out his Dad, was my next door neighbor. Matthew visited his Dad a lot more then. One day my mom and I were driving up the drive way, and I saw a pair of jeans on the ground. I knew they were Matts, he had a big old hole in his backpack and (somehow) didn't notice they fell out, I grabbed them. My friend Aleta, and I decided we were going to take them to him that night, so we did. And that was the first time I ever met my Father in law.
     So with out that little back story I just gave you ( even though I still think they don't believe it) Imagine how that looks, your sons girlfriend, that you didn't know he has, shows up at your door. When you answer the door, she introduces her self, and produces a pair of his pants to give back to him.
Facepalm.
If I only realized how inappropriate that innocent action probably looked.
"MATTHEW! There is, um, someone here for you. She has your pants." Shaking his head.
Nice, Kassie. Nice first impression.


     Eighth grade Kassie no longer exists. This Kassie has balls. Matthew has rubbed off on me a little, I have slowly absorbed part of his carefree attitude. He has taught me that I am beautiful, and to not be afraid to be me. He has shown me, that I am strong. Our love is strong. Our love does not move mountains, true love never does. Love shows you how to climb mountains, to go over, and down the next side, so you can look back, and see how far you've come. I don't know how to climb this mountain, but we will do it together.

This is, and may always be my favorite picture of us. We had Just graduated eighth grade, and were standing outside of my parents house, We were just little babies, with no idea where our love would go. No idea that together we would create a miracle.






Friday, September 30, 2016

Morgan Elizabeth {36 days postpartem}

 See that little girl? Holding on to her Daddy's arm? That is me. I was 9 years old, and I was crying for my cousins. I was standing with my Mom and my Dad, pawing for more tissues. I was looking at cousin and her husband, who are very near and dear to my heart. My cousins were looking at a casket. A tiny little casket, that held the body of their lifeless little girl.
     Before the funeral, I was confused. I wasn't able to wrap my head around what was going on. I remember my Mom telling me not to ask questions, and not to talk about it, unless Laura talked to me about it first. I remember being so confused about WHY. WHY could this happen, what happens now? And honestly, I remember thinking that it was odd to go to a funeral for someone I had never known. I don't think I had ever been to a funeral before. I think I had begged my Mom to let me go to my Great Grammies,  but I don't think I went. Although I was close with my "Grammie Chick" I don't remember much about that time. I do remember Morgan's funeral. Sweet Morgan Elizabeth, their tiny little girl, in a tiny little casket. I remember that that was the first time I understood what it meant to love someone you never got to know. I didn't understand until I stood there with my parents, and wept for my cousins. I saw all the pain on there faces, I knew, at nine years old, that they would never ever feel more pain, than they were right there.
     Their house warming was a few days later, and in a search for normalcy, the family decided not to postpone. Again, I was told not to talk about Baby Morgan unless her Mom or Dad brought it up first. That never became an issue. Laura asked me immediately if I wanted to see  picture, of course, curious little Kassie did. We were standing in the hall way of her new home, beside her stairwell. There is now a photo of me, with her, on that wall, from a couple years before, when I was a flower girl, in their wedding. She handed me a tiny polaroid picture of her tiny daughter. Morgan was premature, so she was just an itty bitty thing, but she was perfect, she had ten fingers, and ten little toes. There was a stuffed animal in the picture beside her, I believe it was a bunny, I think it was almost as big as she was. Never once was there a question that Laura, and her husband Jon did not answer for me. Some times the answer was, "I don't know honey", and that was there honest answer, they didn't know why this would happen to them. Still, every question was meant with a raw, and honest answer. She never cried when I asked her, or if she did, she protected me for that. She never once, made me feel bad for my curiosity. Morgan was never a secret. Morgan was never Taboo.
     I text my cousins, every year, on their daughters birthday, I let them know I am thinking of them, and I talk to Morgan every year, I never forgot her. I still ask her questions, about her pregnancy, about Morgan, about anything. I don't ever remember, after her housewarming, a day that went by that I was afraid to ask her a question. Morgan's life has had a profound effect on my life, she always will be with me, forever in our hearts.
     The unfortunate truth of this blog post, it's not entirely true. That little girl, is not me.That is not my Dad, and that is not my Mom. Those are my cousins, and that is Morgan's sister. She looks on at her cousin, she looks on at me, as we look on at the casket that holds the lifeless body of our sweet tiny little girl. But that could have been me, I have walked in those shoes, I have felt her feelings, and cried her tears.

      I'm sure she has questions, and I'm sure her Momma and Dad answer them with full honesty, even if that answer sometimes is "I don't know honey". I hope no one ever looks at a child, who has a question about my daughter, and hides her from that child. My daughter will not be taboo. She will not be a secret. So when a different one of my little cousins, who was adopted into our family long after Morgan, asked me "Didn't your baby come out dead?!" I took a deep breath, steadied my voice, and answered him, to the best of my abilities. I will do my best, to never make ANYONE, feel guilty about any conversation that revolves around my daughter let alone, a child.
     I said that the worst part of this blog post, was that it was not me standing there. It's true. It sucks, that after all the pain they felt over ten years ago, they have to watch someone the hold close, go through the same thing. BUT the best part about this, is, that that is there little girl standing there. Morgan has a sister, who is happy and healthy, and living, partially because we know what caused Morgan's life to end. Morgan has two happy and healthy sisters. Her parents are standing with there arms around one of their girls, while another one of their girls shows my baby around heaven. That little lady, is a representation of hope, of life, and light after darkness.
     I would do anything, to have either of them back, but we can't change it, even though we would. Our children have purposes in life, all of them. One of Morgan's was to save her sisters, but years later, we are still finding those purposes, one of them, I'm sure of it, was to help me through this. My daughter was able to help five others with her organs, but I hope in ten years, I am still finding reasoning in her life, and not focusing on her death.
     You will never be forgotten, sweet girl, you too, are forever in our hearts.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

35 Days Postpartum. Telling the world we were pregnant.

    
     We wanted to tell people in person. We stopped at Walmart and picked up a tiny gift box, some tissue paper and a tiny tag. A five word question from Baby Warren was written on the tag, wrapped in paper, and placed inside the box. My best friend cried and cried when she opened it, and read the words "Will You Be My GodParents" they obviously accepted and congratulated us 100 times, on our up and coming little one.
     My  Step Dad was out of town, so we had to wait until he got home to tell him and my mom. Mom and I picked him up from the airport, I stressed all the way home on how I was going to tell them. When we got home, I planned on going to get Matthew, and telling them together with him  but before I was even able to mention babies, or pregnancy my mom called me out on it. I was sitting at the small table in her living room, when she stopped dead in her tracks, turned around and said "Are you Pregnant?" I think a small part of her still expected me to say no. She looked at me slightly confused when I said "yes". Some how Mommas always know.  Until the moment I woke up in the operating room I never thought much about Mothers Intuition.  I honestly think I already knew my daughter didn't survive birth, before Dianne even told me, this mothers intuition, it's a thing, I'm telling you, it is. 
     I can't say I was afraid to tell my Dad, Yes I was only twenty,  kind of young for pregnancy. My Dad  has always been the one to Congratulate even if the situation isn't ideal, like when my sister went to the courthouse with a moron, and took his last name on a whim. I had already called his wife, and told her on the phone, I made her promise not to tell my Dad, I wish I had been there when told her, but i remember hearing her voice crack, as she pulled over on the side of the road to cry happy tears for me. Dad asked me if we were going out that night, I told him we were staying in. He said "What, no partying and Drinking?!" knowing all to well that that wasn't my scene.
     "Can't Dad, I'm Pregnant" He kept making his coffee like it was no big deal, and said "Cool" as he put the milk away in my grandmothers fridge. "I'm serious Dad" "Cool, Babe, you'll be a good Mom". And that was that, we were sitting at my grandparents kitchen table, My nan, my Pa, and my Dad all said congratulations, and that was that.
     I told so many people that day! They were all so happy and excited. We told my mother in law, at her work. We stopped at the bank to see her and tell her the news. I knew she would cry, she had adopted me into the family when I was just 13. Matt and I dated on and off, but I was always her daughter since she knew me, regardless of my relationship with her stepson, I was always her "spare child". Now she would get to see her new grandbaby one day. I went to tell a very special cousin of mine next. She was at the pool with two of her daughters. Before my loss I would have written that differently. I would have said she was at the pool with her two daughters. Now I am extremely aware of her Angel Baby Morgan who is showing my little girl around heaven, and feel that I need to write this differently, as Little Morgan is actually quite essential to my story, and my coping. I told my aunt next, Morgan's grandmother, and then I went home to tell my gram, and call my sister in New Hampshire. My grandfathers response cracked me up! I asked him when he was gonna quit smoking, and he told me he would when he was dead.
Well, your new great grandbaby isn't going to like it!

 What? You pregnant? I was starting to think Matthew wasn't man enough!!  And gave me a big old bear hug, with my congratulations.
    
My sweet LeeLee was loved already, so many good  memories of the people I told, I went to my Dads ex girlfriends work to tell her, she was so happy. I called my cousin, who was also pregnant, she just didn't know it yet. She has several siblings, and as she screamed to her mom I heard them all yelling in excitement in the back ground. I brought my ultrasound down to my Photographer to immediately set up her newborn session.
      Everyone cried for me, every one cheered for me, and 8 months later, they all stood at my hospital bedside and cried for me again.
Her loving God Parents.

 Her Mammie Jo, and Pappa PJ
 Morgan's Mom, and Grandmother. Leeonas Cousin, and Aunt.
 <3
<3

Thursday, September 15, 2016

21 days postpatrum. 21 days with out my baby.

  
  It's been 21 days... My daughter has been dead for 21 days. How is that physically possible? How could it have been that long already. My friends, are all going to concerts, or the county fair, their lives are all moving on, and I am here, stinking up my bed, wondering when I showered last. My god son, is learning to crawl, although he seams like he will be better at walking soon, than he is crawling. My sister is having some stronger Braxton hicks like contractions. Everyone's world is moving on, and ours isn't. My baby will never learn to crawl, she will never walk, I will never see her again.  Why?
     Shit like this just shouldn't exist. You shouldn't burry your child. It's awful. I think about it all the time. Her perfect little lifeless body under dirt, and rocks, and getting rained on. It's fucking awful. We could not process the thought of cremation though, as awful as what's going on out there right now, I couldn't imagine, burning her perfect little body. We already damaged her enough.
     Renata is another one of the midwives that work at our hospital, she came into our hospital room and began a conversation that I really didn't want to have. It was time to start discussing organ donation.  Immediately my mind said NO. NO. You ae not cutting up my baby... We had already had that discussion once when they asked if we wanted an autopsy. Not happening.  Here she was though, asking if we wanted to at lest have a discussion with an organ bank. I looked over at Matthew, and could see he had already made a decision to. He wasn't shaking his head, or saying anything, but I could tell by the look on his face, he was gonna let these people cut up our baby. So there, was my couple minutes of panic. How could I let this happen? Would I? Should I? Somewhere in those moments, looking at Matthews face, I knew I had to. I knew I Should. We were both organ donners, on our licenses. We both knew that once we were gone, if someone else could use our body parts, then they should be able to. I started to think "What ifs" what if she could save a baby, what if another set of parents didn't have to go through this, because of her. The choice was made. There was no way we couldn't. I wouldn't wish my pain, on my worst enemy, and if I said no, then I was handing someone else this pain. I couldn't do that.
     Before Renata had finished her sentence, all of this had gone through my mind. To make the hardest decision of my life, all I needed was a tiny smile from Matthew, and I knew what the right answer was. If it was not for him, I wouldn't have even considered it. He never said yes, he never told her we would do it, he asked me what I thought and told me that what ever I wanted, we would do.
     So, we did. We told her we would talk to them. So we made the phone call, and after much reassurance from them that we would still be able to see her after her surgery, we agreed. We were told at four o'clock we would need to turn her over to them, to be "Chilled". I still can't get through that sentence without getting choked up when I talk about our journey. "Chilled" they "Chilled " my baby.
 A hug, from Renata, At the Funeral.

     Any way, I watched the clock until four came around. I SOO did not want to let her go. I knew though, that I would get her back. The whole donation process was much different than I expected. First of all, the donation bank came to us, around midnight that night, the woman who would be doing her surgery came to meet us, upon Matthew's request. They had come in from Boston, 5 hours way.  She told us about her son, and how a transplant had saved his life, he was born with a large hole in his heart, and the only reason he lived, was because someone had made the same choice we were making. Again, in that moment, I knew, we had made the right choice,  as much as I hated the thought. One of our nurses, Connie, followed the surgeon down stairs, and for learning purposes, watched the procedure. For her, it was learning, for me; it was comfort, to know that someone who had taken such care of me, would be there with my daughter.
     So there she was, 15 hours after birth having parts of her heart removed. I didn't even know, before, that they were able to use parts that far out from death, but here my baby was 15 hours after birth, saving the lives of strangers.
     We found out later, that she saved my life too. She was taken, by a blood clot in the placenta. Often times the blood clot is not a major heath issue for the baby, it often times only effects the mother, which in turn can kill her, and the baby. Normally the clot would have amassed in my body, stopping my blood flow, and taking both of our lives; because it took just her, I was able to live. I know my family takes a lot of comfort in that. As does Matthew, but it's hard to be grateful for that, as a mother I am supposed to protect her, the one place she was always supposed to be safe, was in the womb. I was supposed to worry about the world, once she was in it, not about her, in me. I failed her, women are created, specifically to make babies, by body was built for this, and I was unable to do that for her.
     I am grateful to have her amazing Daddy, because alone, this wouldn't be survivable. So I suppose, for his sake, I am glad she saved me. Dying with her, would have hurt so much less, but I can't imagine the pain that would have left for my family, for Matthew. I am grateful that I have these moments to apologize, to mend my regrets. I apologized to her  Daddy, for begging him to come with me into the OR, when they were refusing to let him in. If I had died, that would have been the last thing he herd from me; me begging him to do something he couldn't. I would have regretted that. I do.
     I wish I could have stood outside the door with him, when they called "Code Blue to OR 4". By that point, thankfully,  my parents were with him, and his step mom, Jody. We had an ultrasound the morning before, and Leeona received an 8/8 health score, so my Mom assumed the code blue was for me. I wish I could have been there. I wish I could have held her hand to tell her I was okay. Matthew didn't know what it meant, thank god, for 2 more minutes, he got to think that everything was okay. I wish I had been there for him, when they told him everything wasn't okay. He collapsed, and was put into a wheelchair, after that, and demands from him, our baby was placed into his arms. I wish I could have been there for that. I wish I could have pulled my Mom and Jody off the floor when there knees buckled. I wish I could have been there for it all.
     Unfortunately I was just waking up, in another room, being told that my baby didn't make it.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

18 Days Postpartum. My Birth Story.

     I am 18 days Postpartum. It's been 18 days since my emergency c section, it's been 16 days since my scheduled due date, and it's been 18 days since I woke up from anesthesia and received the news that my daughter did not survive.
     I was still very heavily medicated, but I remember that moment with great clarity. It was just like the movies, just like TV. I don't know if I had asked already, and was being ignored, or if I thought I was asking multiple times, and was in fact to drugged to speak, however it felt like I had asked 100 times; "How's my Baby?"
     Dianne's face came into my view above my face, just like the movies, the space around her face was still blurry, the noises around us were faded, I heard her voice clearly though; "Your baby didn't make it, hunny." Dianne is my Midwife. She is in pain.
     I remember feeling her pain more than my own. I couldn't feel anything quite yet, but I remember hearing the pain in her voice. I remember thinking that she was speaking to me like I was a child. Not in a condescending way, instead like she was approaching a child who was scared. A gentle, calm, "It's going to be okay" kind of voice. Nothing was okay, but I hadn't quite processed that future yet. I then  have a faint memory of Dianne telling me, that my baby was with her Dad.
     The next thing I  clearly remember was seeing my grandmother, and my cousin crying, as they wheeled me into the elevator. My cousin had lost her daughter shortly after her birth at 22 weeks. Now she was watching me feel that pain.
     Vaguely I hear my Moms voice, I can't see her yet, or hear what she's saying, but I later find out that they tried to tell her she couldn't follow me up in the elevator. Her baby just lost her baby, if they think they can stop her from coming with me, then their plans will soon change. Suddenly I can feel her hand holding mine, she's rubbing my arm. I start to cry. I'm starting to understand what's happening. My baby is not coming home. I ask her to call my photographer, Zelli. "I need Zelli, call Zelli... I need Born To Fly." I'm starting to fall back asleep, and everything is getting foggy again.
     "Born To Fly is a non profit organization that provides bereavement photography for families who's baby's get there wings too soon" That is how Zelli defines her services, it is an extension of her business "Zi Photography". Born To Fly, I'd later find out, is so so much more than that. While I was in that elevator I didn't know much, what I did know, is I needed a picture of my daughter. I wanted a photo.
     A lot of my other memories haven't returned to me, they likely never will. I kick myself all the time, because I don't remember the first time I saw her. I don't remember the first time I held her. How does someone not remember that? Even with everything going on, even with all the meds in my system, if I can remember hearing about her death, if I can remember seeing my gram in passing, or begging for a photographer on the elevator, why can't I picture the first time I held her. Why is that a memory that never stuck out? What kind of parent can't visualize that. The only thing I remember from that moment was being surprised that she was still warm. I was holding her lifeless body, but she was still warm.
     She is perfect, other then the fact that she is not breathing. She is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen, she looks like Matthew, she looks like my mom. I created this perfect child, and my body failed her, her heart was beating when we got to the hospital. Now, it's not. She was so close. 39 weeks and 5 days. If I could have kept her going for more hours my world would be perfect. Instead my baby is dead, and it's all my fault.
     I thought denial was the first stage of grief, I couldn't deny what was in front of me, I never denied it for a second. I accepted it the moment that Dianne told me.  Guilt however, I'm mastering this stage.
     Right now, we are home. It's been 18 days, I have survived this horror for 18 days. Her Dad is cooking me dinner, we are watching Sunday night football. From the outside looking in, everything is just as it always was. We are different though. So different. I should be endlessly trying to put my baby to sleep. Our lives seriously, are quite the same as they always were, but we are so, so, different.