Too much TV

Today when Madelyn was napping I decided that I “needed” to finish the last five episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” that I hadn’t watched yet (I made it through 3 of them).  I’d been avoiding them because I knew what was going to happen.  The episode where McDreamy is taken off life support really got to me.  Even though it’s a fictional show, the sounds of that scene brought back so many memories of when we had to take Carter off life support.  The beeps, the removing of the breathing tubes, the final breaths…gosh, it was all so vivid. Thank goodness Madelyn took a super long nap this afternoon so that she couldn’t tell mommy had been crying when she woke up.  ūüôā

So then this evening, Real Housewives of OC was on (I can’t help it, I watch OC, Beverly Hills, New York and New Jersey…I don’t have drama in my life so I guess it’s how I get my fix).  I knew it was the episode where Vicki got the call that her mom passed away.  That took me back to Nashville when Jeff had to call me to tell me about Carter. I know that had to be so hard for him to do.  It’s something I still replay in my mind over and over…and three and a half years later I’m still not sure I can ever go back to Nashville again because of those memories.

The last time I posted, I’d mentioned how Madelyn and I had gone to visit Carter to take him some flowers, and I wondered when she would begin to understand that we go there to visit her brother, not the geese.  Well, we have made a lot of progress in that area.  She is beginning to understand that she has an older brother.  She knows that it’s her brother in some of the pictures around the house.  She also recognizes the cemetery when we drive by and knows that’s where we go to see brother.  One day recently after we had been to the store, she asked if we could go see her brother.  So, of course, I drove to the cemetery so we could “see” him.  Well, really the only reason the little stinker wanted to go was so that she could steal his decorations.  Seriously… I had to drag her to the car kicking and screaming and then take the stuff back after I got her buckled in.  I guess we are making progress even if she just wants to go so she can take his Royals teddy bear.  It makes my heart happy to hear her talk about her brother even though I know she doesn’t fully grasp it yet.

   

Bye goose!

Madelyn and I went by the cemetery to change out Carter’s flowers today after school. I like to change his flowers with the seasons and the holidays, so we had to switch from the Christmas flowers to the Valentine’s flowers. Once baseball season starts, we will switch over to the royal blue flowers because I’m certain that gives our KC Royals good luck.

The cemetery where Carter is buried has an area that is for all the little Angels that have died. It’s situated right next to a pond. That sounds beautiful, right?! Well, not right now. Right now there are what seem like hundreds (yes, that’s an exaggeration) of geese waddling around this area. You know what that means?! Lots of goose poop!!! It’s pretty gross and you have to be quite alert as you walk through the grass to get to his spot as to not have poop all over your shoes.

Madelyn was quite intrigued with all the “ducks” today. When we arrived at the cemetery, she walked along saying “hi, hi, hi” to each of the geese. Each time we visit Carter, I try to explain to her that he is her big brother just as I do any time she becomes interested in his pictures at home. Of course, she looks at me like I’m crazy (those of you that know Madelyn know the look). As we left, she exclaimed, “bye goose!” I wonder at what point it will make sense to her that she had an older brother. At what point will she realize and understand that we go to the pond to visit Carter and not the geese? I’m sure I need to give up hope for it to happen at any point in the near future, but I hope that one day she understands.

A busy year…

I can’t believe that it’s been over a year since I posted anything on here.¬† We have passed a lot of milestones this past year and most days, time flies by.¬† I can’t really explain why, but this evening I have been thinking a lot about my blog and my previous blog posts and felt the need to write again.¬† It’s probably the fact that Carter’s third birthday is a week away.¬† It’s also probably that our family has gone through some big changes the past few months (new job/daycare…nothing else notable) that we are still adjusting to.

First, let’s talk about my new job.¬† This past spring, I decided to apply for a counseling position that would get me closer to home (and where I’d earn a considerably higher salary) and in a great school district (previous district was great too).¬† Shockingly enough to me (self-confidence isn’t always at its strongest for me), I actually got the job.¬† I am thrilled.¬† It’s a MUCH bigger high school (“only” about 1,200 more students than my previous position), but I’m enjoying my new co-workers and getting settled into things.¬† My previous school was like a home to me.¬† I know that sounds SO corny, but it’s true.¬† I miss my friends/coworkers there SO much.¬† I guess more than anything, I miss the security I felt with all of those individuals.¬† I literally grew up in my previous position.¬† My former coworkers saw me through my awkward early/mid-20’s, saw my many, many online dating relationships begin and end (yes, there were a lot), saw me meet my future husband, attended my wedding,¬†threw me a baby shower, attended that baby’s funeral,¬†comforted me for months and months and months following that loss, threw me another baby shower, and wished me well when I¬†decided it was time to move on.¬† Part of me felt SO much guilt for leaving all of those wonderful people behind.¬† Even though I know they supported me, I still feel such a sense of allegiance to them, that it’s still sometimes hard to believe that I left.¬† I feel as though I’m settling into my new position pretty well and learning the ropes.¬† It will take some time before I learn all the ropes, but I’m learning them…slowly, but surely.

This was Madelyn this summer on our family vacation to Florida.

This was Madelyn this summer on our family vacation to Florida.

In addition to me starting a new position, Madelyn also started to daycare for the first time.¬† We were lucky enough to have a nanny come to our house for Madelyn’s first year, so sending her off to daycare was a big deal in our house.¬† Thankfully, we were able to¬†take¬†her to the same school that¬†my¬†husband’s sister’s kids have gone to.¬† That has made her transition go seamlessly¬†for all of us.¬† She LOVES it.¬† I got to take her to school a couple of¬†days last week when Jeff was¬†gone, and it seriously melted my heart to see how excited she was to get out of the car and walk herself into daycare.¬† Even though she LOVES it, she still gives me the biggest “MOMMY!” and hug every day when I go to pick her up.¬† I try to soak in all of these moments, well, because that’s just what you have to do.

In just a week, Carter should have been celebrating his third birthday.¬† How did that happen?¬† Gosh, I wonder what types of amazing things he would be doing at this age.¬† We are blessed to be friends with two different couples that have sons 4 and 7 days younger than Carter, so for me, it’s like I see a little piece of Carter when I see those boys.¬† It’s fun for us to see first hand what he “might” have been like.¬† This past weekend we were with one of those couples at the Strike Out SIDS at the K event at a KC Royals game and it was so much fun being around both of their kiddos but especially their little guy.¬† We are so thankful that they have stuck with us through¬†our loss and haven’t let it scare them away.¬† I haven’t allowed myself to cry about Carter for a really long time – well in excess over a year I would say – but I allowed myself to cry a little bit that evening.¬† My friend and I were talking that evening about how we remember the week Carter was in the hospital like it was yesterday.¬† Even all this time after the fact, I can still replay every moment from those 9 days in my brain like it was yesterday.¬† I often wonder if that will ever change.¬† I wonder if I will ever be able to think about going to Nashville again without wanting to puke.¬† I wonder if I will ever be able to think about September 30-February 18 without replaying every single moment of Carter’s life in my brain.¬† I’m sure there will come a time for all of this, but I’m not quite there yet.¬† I’m sure there will also come a time where I don’t think about all of this and just want to binge on cookies,¬†but unfortunately, I’m not quite there yet right now either.¬† Let’s hope that passes soon, though, because I’m pretty sure none of my long pants are going to fit me!¬† ūüôā¬† Next Tuesday, if you think about it, please say a little prayer for our sweet Carter and for our little family.

New Milestones

I can’t believe in¬†less than¬†a week, Madelyn is going to be five months old. This also means it is time for me to rejoin the workforce. I was very lucky to have been able to be home with her for so long, but¬†starting tomorrow¬†I’ll be headed back to work. ūüė¶

20130728-233938.jpgThe past couple weeks have been filled with a few different milestones for us. Up until just a week or so ago, we have been able to compare many things Madelyn has done with Carter. Her demeanor, her sleep habits, her hair, and her appetite are all similar to her brother. She, however, while chill and happy most of the time, is MUCH moodier than her brother and has become way more attached to momma than Carter ever was (I blame this partially on the fact that I’ve been home with her for so long…and probably have held her more than is necessary). All I think Jeff and I both wanted to do is to be able to make it past Carter’s “dates”. Now that we have passed those, I feel a little more relaxed (although not completely). I’m not naive to the fact that SIDS can strike more than once in a family and I know we are not out of the woods yet. Now, we look to make it to five months, then six and so on.

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She’s gotten herself in a pickle on more than one occasion!!

Madelyn is becoming more and more fun every day. I remember Carter was just beginning to get a lot more personality when he died, so it’s so fun to experience that with her. Just this past Monday, Madelyn rolled over for the first time. That’s not something Carter ever did, so you can imagine our excitement to reach that step! It’s so funny how once they figure it out once, it’s like they’ve been doing it for months. Every time we put her on the floor, she’s on her tummy within seconds. It’s so wonderful. When she hits five months, we get to start feeding her rice cereal which is also something we didn’t get to do with Carter. Although we aren’t first time parents, we are first time parents to a 4.5+ month old child, so the weeks and months ahead will hold many new experiences for us. It’s very exciting and a little scary!

20130728-234330.jpgAs I mentioned before, I will be going back to work this week (as a high school counselor). While I’m excited to get into a “working mom” routine, I’m terribly anxious about leaving my sweet girl all day. She will be in GREAT hands and I know she will be fine, but I just know it will be difficult to be away from her for more than just a few hours. I know after a few days or so I’ll be less anxious, so we just have to get past them! I just have this fear of her being “bad” (i.e. crying) all day long while I’m at work. Again, I know we will both be fine and once we get into our routine things will be great.¬† ūüôā¬† Here’s to the next five months and to all the fun, new experiences we will get to have with our sweet girl.¬† ūüôā

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A Mother’s Love…and other random thoughts…

After Carter was born, I remember thinking that I couldn’t believe how quickly I fell in love with him.¬† You carry a child for 40 weeks, but until you actually hold them in your arms you can’t quite understand the magnitude of a mother’s love.¬† You know that you’ll love them, but just how much, you won’t know until that child is put in your arms for the first time.¬† Then, instantly, you can’t imagine your life without them.¬† It becomes absolutely unbearable, the thought of not having that child in your life any longer.¬† When you have a second child, you wonder just how in the world you could love the second as much as the first…how can you have that much love to give?¬† But you do.¬† Instantly.¬† I know I mentioned in a previous post how I had stated in the month before Carter died that if anything ever happened to him, I didn’t know how I’d go on.¬† Well, unfortunately, we had to go on living without him.¬† It’s a kind of pain and emptiness that you just can’t explain.¬† Now, we have Madelyn.¬† Our sweet precious little girl.¬† I can’t imagine life without her.¬† The pain of losing Carter is still there and we think about him constantly.¬† Even if we don’t talk about it, it’s there.¬† I pray to God every day that we don’t have to know what it’s like to experience life without her.¬† What will be, will be, and we can’t go through life living in fear every single day, but that thought is always in the back of your mind when you’ve lost a child.¬† When is “it” going to happen?¬† I just¬†hope and pray that we’ll grow old with our sweet Madelyn and get to experience all the things with her that we don’t get to experience with our sweet Carter.

Carter-MadelynMadelyn will be 6 weeks old tomorrow.¬† I can’t believe how quickly time is going by already.¬† I know, everyone says that, but it’s so true.¬† I feel like the older I get, the faster time goes by.¬† I’m not going back to work until August when school starts again and I just know that it’s going to be here before we know it.¬† I look back through my pictures of Carter that I have on Facebook on a very regular basis as I’m sitting with Madelyn in her room at night feeding her.¬† I have a picture of him at three weeks where I said the same thing…time is going too fast.¬†¬†I’ve only broken down a couple times since she’s been born and it’s been in those moments…either looking at his pictures or just remembering our time with him.¬† I just want to soak in every single moment with our sweet girl.¬† I’m not going to lie and say everything is perfect all the time with her…she has her moments where she doesn’t want to sleep when we want to sleep or she wants to eat sooner than I think she should be eating…but overall, we have been blessed with ANOTHER very laid back, easy going, amazing baby.¬† I just want to soak up every moment with her and not forget a thing about our moments together.¬† The past few weeks I really feel like Madelyn has taken on more of Carter’s look (although the picture to the left you can see the resemblance and she was only days old and he was only a couple weeks old).¬† I guess I didn’t really notice it until we were at Jeff’s parents house on Easter and their pictures were next to each other on the refrigerator, so I snapped a shot of them…¬† Many others have also noticed¬†that she is increasingly looking like him¬†especially if they haven’t seen her in a couple weeks.¬† I’m so glad that they resemble each other, and I’m SO glad Madelyn was blessed with a good head of hair (for now) just like her brother (shallow, I know, but true).¬† ūüôā

I’m surprised to say that 6 weeks out and we haven’t used the Snuza monitor yet.¬† I’m not quite sure what we’re waiting on.¬† I haven’t felt nearly as anxious as I expected to since we have had Madelyn home.¬† Many nights I’ve said I was going to put it on her and then we get her in her PJs and all swaddled up and then I guess I get too lazy to redo all that.¬† As the weeks go on, though, I do feel myself getting a little bit more anxious.¬† When she naps, I find myself¬†checking her breathing a lot more than I previously did.¬† I guess maybe it’s time to give the monitor a go!

Carter and Madelyn's chests

Carter and Madelyn’s chests

In a previous post, I mentioned a cedar chest that we will keep many of Carter’s precious belongings in.¬† My younger brother made the cedar chest for me when he was in high school (I restained¬†it after Carter was born to match the rest of the furniture in his room).¬† Through the years it held photographs and many other odds and ends that I didn’t have room to store elsewhere.¬† Now it holds many of our precious belongings of Carter’s.¬† We have some dear friends that had a chest made for Miss Madelyn to store some of her belongings in and they gave it to us last night.¬† I had to hold back tears as I read the inside cover of the chest…¬† What a special gift that Jeff, Madelyn and I can cherish forever.¬† So sweet and thoughtful…

Inside of Madelyn's chest

Inside of Madelyn’s chest

I’m completely aware of the fact that this blog post has kind of been all over the place…that is the story of my brain recently.¬† I no longer can call it pregnancy brain, so it’s new mom brain instead.¬† ūüôā¬† Please continue to pray for Jeff, Madelyn and¬†I as we continue this journey without her big brother.¬† I love both of my babies more than words can even express and I can’t wait to see what is in store for our beautiful little girl.¬† I pray that her big brother will watch over her and protect her.

Our Rainbow Baby

Our rainbow baby, Madelyn June Lucas, was born March 4, 2013 at 7:46 am. She weighed 10 lb, 8 oz and was 22.5 inches long. We feel blessed beyond measure to have welcomed our sweet girl into this world.

We couldn’t believe that we had another 10+ pounder, but we are thankful she arrived via c section for mom’s sake. ūüôā

So far, she is sleeping well (and so are mom and dad which is surprising all things considered), eats like a champ and is pretty much perfect.

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An Angelversary and a Rainbow…

lucas_2488Two weeks ago we reached a milestone that was difficult to reach.¬† It marked the one year “angelversary” of Carter’s death.¬† It was hard that day not to think about what we had been doing a year prior.¬† That was the last day we got to hold Carter in our arms.¬† We took turns holding him, reading him books, playing with his hair and giving him kisses until he took his final breath.¬† It’s nothing any parent should ever have to experience.¬† It’s something we will never forget as long as we live.¬† It’s nothing you can even come close to understanding unless you’ve walked in our shoes.¬† It’s nothing I would wish on any friend or any enemy.¬† No one should ever have to suffer the loss of a child.

As most other milestone days have been, that day wasn’t as bad as I had worked it up in my mind to be.¬† I was busy with doctor appointments, a lunch date, and naps.¬† The day was kind of a dreary one.¬† As I left the doctor’s office that morning, I had to choke back tears when I walked outside and it was raining.¬† Why did something so silly as raindrops make me want to cry?¬† It seems silly, but that day, I guess, I associated those raindrops with Carter’s tears.¬† It was¬†like he was¬†saying “hey mom, I miss you too.”¬† The clouds eventually cleared that day for the most part but it was quite windy.¬† We met a few friends and some family at the cemetery that afternoon to release some balloons, but the wind was so strong that some of the balloons didn’t make it past some nearby trees.¬† The majority, though, drifted off into the clouds and I’m certain they found their way to Carter and his friends up in Heaven.

Not much bigger than my key fob...

Not much bigger than my key fob…

Jeff and I are about to¬†reach another milestone in our lives tomorrow.¬† Tomorrow we will welcome Carter’s sister into this world.¬† To say that we are excited would be an understatement.¬† I think we both are greatly looking forward to having¬†a baby in the house again.¬† As I’ve mentioned before, this time around it comes with so many other feelings that we didn’t have before.¬† I mostly am afraid that something is going to happen to baby girl too.¬† I’m sure everything will be fine, but I’m not nearly as naive as I was the first time around.¬† We have our Snuza monitor ready to go, so hopefully that will offer us some peace of mind once we are home and let us get some sleep.

rainbowPlease keep us in your thoughts in the coming weeks and months as we start this journey into parenthood again.¬† We can’t wait to meet our “rainbow baby” tomorrow morning and to hold her in our arms.¬† I’m so excited to see what she looks like.¬† Will she look like Carter or will she look totally different?¬† How much hair will she have (doctor says she has hair)?¬† Will it be a massive amount like Carter or just a little tiny bit?¬† How big is she going to be?¬† All questions by this time tomorrow morning, we will have answers to.¬† We both can’t wait to hold her in our arms and give her all the love we have to give.¬† We know Carter will be there with us and will be his sister’s guardian angel.

A year later…

One of the last pictures I took of Carter.  All smiles with Daddy.

One of the last pictures I took of Carter. All smiles with Daddy.

One year ago on this date was the last day my sweet little Carter smiled at me.¬† It was the last day he gave me a little coo before I left the house that morning.¬† Because of the many people that worked to get his heart started again after he was found unresponsive while napping in the crib at daycare that day…his daycare provider, her daughter, her doctor friend, the paramedics and the ER crew…we were able to spend 9 days with Carter at Children’s Mercy before they determined he had too much brain damage to survive without machines.¬† I still feel as though those 9 days were a blessing.¬† We were able to love on him.¬† To give him kisses.¬† Read him books.¬† Tickle his feet.¬† Hold his hands.¬† Kiss his sweet little toes.¬† But ultimately, we would never bring him home again.¬† Today is the start of what I expect to be a tough 9 days.¬† I hope it won’t be as bad as I think it will be…much like the other days that I’ve dreaded…but we shall see…

We will try to focus on the positive memories we had with our baby boy in the short four months that he was with us.¬† He brought us so much joy.¬† From his cute little smile.¬† To his absolutely crazy hair.¬† Jeff and I were such proud parents¬†and so lucky for him to be our wonderful baby.¬† I won’t lie, though, and say that it won’t be difficult to focus on the positive in the coming days.¬† I still can’t help but wonder “why”.¬† Why did this happen to us?¬† What did we do that was so awful that we deserved to lose OUR baby?¬† Why couldn’t we spend our entire lives with him?¬† I just don’t understand.¬† And I know I never will.¬† It’s not fair when I see children with people who should NOT be parents, who are mistreated and neglected…why do THEY get to have kids but we lost our precious baby.¬† I obviously wouldn’t want anything to happen to their children but hopefully you know what I mean.¬† It just sucks.

In some ways, the past year has flown by.¬† In others it has gone so slow.¬† Jeff and I have missed our sweet boy so much.¬† Even as we look forward to the arrival of his baby sister in just a few weeks, we still long to have him back in our arms.¬† Losing a child changes your perspective on life so much.¬† You realize what is important in life.¬† You realize that all those stupid little things you used to get worked up about, don’t get you worked up any more (or not quite as worked up anyways).¬† You realize that¬†your day could be worse, so I’m going to take this in stride.¬† I still find myself getting annoyed with people posting comments on Facebook such as “this is the worst day ever” or “my life sucks” and it’s because Target was out of their favorite deodorant or their weekend plans didn’t happen quite as they’d expected.¬† Trust me…your day could be SO much worse.¬† You could be in Nashville and get a phone call from your husband telling you your precious baby quit breathing at daycare, they don’t know if he’s going to live and you need to get home as soon as you can.¬† That, my friends, is a bad day.¬† It’s one that I’ve replayed over and over in my mind hundreds of times over the past year.

So many people have told me over the past year that Carter’s death has impacted them in a positive way.¬† I know it’s natural that as time passes, that impact tends to lessen and people go back to their old ways.¬† I challenge you all to keep our experience close to your heart and to not get worked up over the stupid, silly little things.¬† It’s not worth it and life is too short.

Please keep Jeff and I (and our families) in your thoughts and prayers over the next couple weeks.¬† Although we all put on brave faces every day, we still miss that little guy so much and wish we could have him back in our arms…something I am sure will never change…

Here’s to a better year…

060We made it through the holidays on this first year without our sweet angel.¬† It’s been a while since I’ve written…partly because I’ve been too tired…and partly because I just haven’t been “inspired” to write much.¬† I’m not going to lie and tell you that we didn’t have our moments of sadness over the holidays.¬† Over all, I think we both did okay…we didn’t sit around and cry the whole time…I mostly enjoyed myself but there were some moments…¬† I will say that I thought about Carter pretty much every day all day long and missed him immensely this Christmas season.¬† Last year he was just about ready to turn 3 months old at Christmas.¬† He was just starting to get to the more fun stage where he would smile and coo and we so looked forward to this Christmas to see if he would be more interested in opening presents or breaking tree ornaments.¬† I wish that’s the path our lives would have taken us, but all the wishing I could do isn’t going to bring him back.¬† We hung Carter’s stocking over the fireplace just as we did last year.¬† I couldn’t bear not hanging it where it had been last year.¬† Jeff and I had a somewhat lengthy discussion about whether or not to send out Christmas cards this year.¬† I’ve always enjoyed doing that and always look forward to picking out pictures to include, but this year I decided I just wasn’t up to it.¬† I didn’t want to send out a card with “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” when that’s not really how I was feeling deep down.¬† I hope that 2013 will bring us joy and I will feel more “merry” when Christmas rolls around this year.

My most extreme moment of sadness over the holidays came on Christmas night.¬† Jeff and I spent Christmas Eve with my family then traveled back to KC to spend Christmas Day with his family.¬† As we returned home¬†Christmas evening this rush of sadness overcame me.¬† I tried to hold it in because I figured it would freak Jeff out if I just started bawling out of nowhere…but I couldn’t…I was just so sad and missed my sweet Carter SO much.¬† It’s not fair.¬† I want to hold him in my arms and hug him and give him kisses and it just makes me so angry and sad that I’ll never be able to do that again.

I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much for next Christmas.¬† Baby girl should be about 9 months old by then, but I can’t think ahead that far.¬† I was tempted by end of holiday clearance items (girly stockings, etc.), but couldn’t bring myself to buy anything…just in case.¬† It’s disturbing that I think that way, but I guess that’s just how I live life right now.¬† I haven’t personally bought any clothes bigger than 3-6 months for baby girl.¬† Carter never made it to a bigger size than that, so I just haven’t been able to bring myself to get anything bigger than that (of course, we’ve been gifted those sizes, but I haven’t personally bought anything).

I was able to visit a good friend of mine in Oregon over Christmas break that had a baby girl at the beginning of November.¬† After many travel issues (pilots not showing up, missing connections, etc.), I finally made it to Oregon about 36 hours after my originally scheduled time.¬† We had a nice, relaxing time and it was so great to spend time cuddling with her sweet little girl, Kaylee.¬† It helped me to feel even more excited about having a baby in our house again…but at the same time, makes me realize how scared I am for the same thing to happen again.¬† I know statistically, it shouldn’t happen again, but crazier things have happened.¬† Any time I’ve been around friend’s babies, I feel myself being secretly scared to death that they are going to stop breathing.¬† If they’re asleep in the car seat, I want to check on them every few minutes to make sure they’re breathing.¬† It makes me wonder what kind of¬†psycho I’m going to be when baby girl arrives.¬† One of my SIDS¬†Mommies Facebook group friends has the “Snuza” monitor for her baby girl which clips on to the baby’s diaper and alerts you if they don’t breathe…first it vibrates after 15 seconds to try to wake/alert the baby, then an alarm goes off if it doesn’t sense movement after another 15 seconds.¬† We plan to get one of these for some peace of mind.¬† I know deep down that if something like this is destined to happen again, we won’t be able to do anything about it, but maybe this will help us to get some sleep once baby girl is home.

Baby girl is scheduled to arrive March 4 via c-section (unless conflicts with my doctor’s schedule arise and we have to reschedule).¬† Because Carter was the size of a two month old at birth, I requested to not have to go through that again (I’ll spare you the gruesome details), and my doctor was in agreement that would be a good course to take.¬† I’m SO nervous about her deciding to come early that I really can’t even talk about it.¬† Carter died February 18th, so the thought of her being born in February makes me want to vomit…no offense to all the people with February birthdays (including my own father)…¬† I know if she decides to come then, I won’t be able to do anything about it…if she’s ready, she’s ready…but I’m hopeful she will know that mommy wants her to cook until March 4th.¬† There is also SO much stuff I have to get done and ready at work before she comes….again, I know it will get done either way, but I would appreciate all the time I can get.¬† ūüôā

bears

I’ll leave you with this.¬† One of our most favorite gifts this year¬†(at least mine) that we received shortly before Thanksgiving came from one of Jeff’s coworkers.¬† Not long after he passed away, she asked for some of his blankets so that she (or someone she knows) could make some teddy bears from them.¬† So, before Thanksgiving, she presented Jeff with four teddy bears…two of which we gave to our parents…and we kept the other two (in picture at right).¬† Along with the bears came a poem:

I am a Bear that should make
You happy not sad
I am made of a blanket
Your son once had

I am for you
To have and to hold
Remember good times
when you held him in your fold

 One of the blankets in use.
One of the blankets in use.

Your son is gone now
No longer by your side
But I am here waiting
With arms open wide

Just take a glance at me
Once in a while
And your son in Heaven
Will be wearing a smile.

A Time for Thanks…

Carter on Thanksgiving morning last year

Facebook has been flooded with “I’m thankful for” posts since the beginning of November.¬† After losing a child, it’s hard to focus on all the things we really have to be thankful for.¬† I find myself feeling the slightest bit guilty for feeling thankful.¬† I know that’s silly.¬† I know that we have many reasons to be thankful.¬† But, when you start thinking about all the things that could have been, it’s hard to focus on all those things.¬† I cringe at the thought of coming up with 30 things I am thankful for, but I thought I’d try to at least come up with a few…

  1. My sweet angel Carter.¬† Words can’t explain how thankful I am that we got to spend 4 1/2 months with him when I know many other families don’t get that long with their babies.¬†
  2. My amazing husband Jeff.¬† Who would have known when we met 7 years ago on match.com that this is where I lives would have taken us.¬† I’m thankful every day that I have him as my husband.
  3. Our baby girl that is growing in my belly.¬†¬† She kicks and punches me all afternoon and evening long, but I know it’s just so she can tell me she’s okay.
  4. Our amazing families.¬† I’m lucky to have a family of my own that is supportive and in-laws that have accepted me as one of their own.
  5. Our amazing friends.¬† We are blessed to have great friends that have checked on us frequently (in person, by phone, email and text) since we lost Carter…they’ve been there to cry with us and helped us to laugh when we needed it most.
  6. My co-workers.¬† Many of them are more like family to me than co-workers.¬† I’ve been at Piper since I finished college (in my 11th year there), so I feel like I’ve grown up with many of those that I work with.¬† Because of them, I will be able to stay home with our baby girl through the end of the school year (and summer)¬†and I will forever be thankful for that.
  7. Our family pictures that we had taken a year ago tomorrow.¬† I pushed them back several times because I wanted Carter’s baby acne to go away first, so I’m very thankful we didn’t keep pushing them back.¬† They were awesome and I’m so glad Annie was able to capture as many pictures as she did.¬† Carter was such a good baby and so chill when we were getting them taken.¬†
  8. The families we have met through SIDS resources/Facebook.¬† It really sucks that we had to meet them the way we did, but I’m glad to know other people that have been through a similar experience as us.¬† It helps so much to be supported by them and to support others as they go through this process.¬†
  9. Our cleaning lady.¬† No need to explain this one.¬† ūüôā
  10. All the “typical” things to be thankful for…a warm house, our cars, the food on our table, etc.

Ten is pretty good, right?¬† I know there’s more, but these will have to suffice.¬†

In the coming months it will be difficult not to relive every moment we had with Carter when he was with us.¬† Last year, we celebrated Thanksgiving in Kansas City with my family.¬† We usually drive to Illinois to be with Jeff’s family, but we chose to stay here to keep our new baby away from the germs of all the other kiddos that were going to be there.¬† We were excited that we would be able to take Carter with us this year on that road trip.¬† We leave tomorrow morning to head that way and while we are excited to see family, it will be bittersweet to be headed there without our sweet boy.

When we return from Illinois, it will be time to dig into all the Christmas “stuff” which is something I’m not looking forward to.¬† It was so much fun getting to experience Christmas with Carter last year.¬† I know what we will uncover and I wonder if I’m ready to find all of it…”my first Christmas” hand prints, ornaments, picture frames, Carter’s stocking…¬† Instead of “my second Christmas” ornaments we will be experiencing our first Christmas without Carter.¬†¬† I’m sure it will be like the other days I’ve dreaded and it won’t be as bad as I expect it to be, but the anticipation is the worst.¬† This too shall pass…

I know we will make it through and we will be “okay”, but I know there will be moments of sorrow and pain for us during the upcoming holiday season.¬† The rest of this week, I’m going to try to focus on all the things we have to be thankful for…mostly the memories that I have of spending Thanksgiving with our sweet boy last year.¬† I hope everyone takes time to focus on the things that are really¬†IMPORTANT in life and be thankful for all that they have in the days ahead.¬† You never know when things might change, so appreciate what you have while you can.