Monthly Archives: March 2012

Change of plans…

After Jeff and I got married in October of 2008, we talked about one day starting a family.  We knew we wanted to wait a few years before we had a child because it’s such a life changing event that we wanted to be a couple for a few years first.  We decided that we would have two children.  Of course, we would hope for one of each.  The “perfect” little family of four.  If we got two boys, that would be awesome.  Two girls would be good too, but holy crap, that would be scary!  So, in the fall of 2010, we decided to start trying for our first child.  After just a couple months of “seriously” trying (I know, TMI), I took a pregnancy test the morning of Sunday, January 23, only to find it come back positive.  I was so nervous to tell Jeff.  I’m not sure why, but I was.  I just had no idea what his reaction would be.  So, after he woke up that morning, I showed him the pregnancy test and I got a reaction I hoped for.  He was very excited and said “cool”.  Our little baby would be due around the end of September, early October.  According to the app on my phone, it would be September 30th.

The weekend after we found out we were expecting, we were going on a trip to Colorado with some of our friends, and we didn’t want to tell anyone yet, so I was sneaky all weekend “pretending” to drink.  If I weren’t drinking, it would be a dead giveaway that I was pregnant (sad, I know!).  Apparently I must have pulled it off because they didn’t suspect anything.  For the next 6 weeks or so (until after our first appointment with my doctor), I had to be sneaky.  I even sneaked non-alcoholic beer into a wedding reception in my bag, ordered a regular beer, went to the bathroom, dumped it out and replaced it with the “fake” beer.  I know, it seems crazy now, but we just really didn’t want the masses to know for fear of jinxing anything.

That first appointment was amazing.  I had butterflies in my stomach and I’m sure Jeff did too.  I felt like I was going to throw up (or pee my pants) the whole time.  Once we saw that little nugget in there, it was the most amazing feeling ever.  It was really there.  There really was someone growing in there.  It’s just amazing.  You don’t realize how absolutely amazing the whole process is until it actually happens to you.  That all of these factors came together at the right times to form this human being.  Amazing.

Look at all that hair!

I had a very easy pregnancy with Carter.  Of course, I gained too much weight and was crazy swollen through most of the pregnancy, but overall, didn’t have problems.  My biggest complaint was the amount of heartburn I had.  By the end, it was awful.   Many people predicted that Carter would have a head full of hair based on the old wives tale that if you have heartburn, they have a lot of hair.  In my case, it was true!

At my last appointment on Monday, September 26th, the doctor I was seeing that day suggested that we go ahead and schedule induction on Friday, September 30th (the due date).  I was clearly pregnant with a very HUGE baby and it was time to get him out of there.   So, that morning at 4:30 am, we reported to NKC Hospital so that I could get the magic drug that would make baby Carter arrive that day.  After a long day, Carter B. was born that afternoon at 3:41 pm.  Carter was 10 pounds, 12 ounces, 23 inches long.

That day was amazing (minus the contractions before the epidural…ouch).  I think I was in shock for a while at his gargantuan size.  It was so great to finally get to hold him.  I could stare at him for hours.  I told him over and over that he was the most handsome boy in the world (much as I’m sure every mother tells her children).  The next four months and nine days were amazing.  I was so lucky to be able to stay home with Carter for the first three months.  This is my 10th year at Piper, so I had saved up a LOT of sick days just for this occasion.  I was so excited to FINALLY get to use them.  Not everything in those first months were amazing.  If I said every moment was, I would be a liar.  I had my days where I was exhausted and he wouldn’t take a nap all day, and I just had to leave for a while when Jeff got home from work.  Of course, looking back, mostly what I can remember are all of the amazing things that Carter was starting to do.  He was definitely starting to develop a personality.  It was so cute.  Every day when I came home from work in January, I would put him down to do tummy time (trying to “teach” him how to roll over…he just wasn’t having it), he would play with his little turtle, then about half way through January, we decided it was time he could start jumping in the jumparoo.  He loved that.  He would get to bouncing and just have the biggest smile on his face.  It was so awesome.  He would get to grunting and it was just so funny.  One thing that I chuckle about it the amount of milk that he could down.  He was drinking 7 ounces per feeding.  I was always one to try to make him burp half way through his bottle so that he wouldn’t spit all of it up when he was done.  He did NOT like that.  He would just CRY, cry, cry if you took that bottle out of his mouth to try to get a burp.  I eventually stopped trying because he would get to screaming so bad, it was pointless to try to burp him.  It makes me smile to think about it.

All of those great times came to an end on Thursday, February 9th.  I’ll never forget Jeff’s phone call and the panic, pain and uncertainty in his voice.  I’ll never get the image of my sweet baby boy lying in that hospital bed for those nine days out of my head.  In communicating with other SIDS parents, I feel lucky to have had those 9 days at Children’s Mercy with our sweet boy.  Many of them didn’t have that time.  They either woke up to a baby that wasn’t breathing or received a phone call from someone about their baby, but it was too late for all of them.  Since I was out of town when I got that phone call, it makes me even more appreciative of those last nine days.  I was still able to talk to my baby, kiss his forehead and his little piggies for nine more days than any of those parents had.

Jeff and my plans for the rest of our lives have changed.  I was only supposed to have two pregnancies.  Now, I’ll probably have to have two more pregnancies to get two more children (the thought of twins scares me to death, but it’s possible…and would be welcome just so I wouldn’t have to have two more pregnancies).  Tomorrow (Friday, March 30th) is Carter’s 6 month birthday.  The plan for the day would have been that after I picked Carter up from day care, we would have come home and I would have put his 6 month sticker on him and taken a cute little picture of him that would eventually end up on Facebook.  Since the weather is so nice, we might have gone for a walk or gone to dinner somewhere that we could sit outside to enjoy the sunshine.  Instead, I’ll be at work trying to hold it together all day thinking about what could have been.  It’s really hard not to go there.  Not to start thinking about what could have been.  It’s something I try not to do too much of because there’s nothing we can do about the past.  What we can do is make plans for our future.  We loved being parents to Carter B.  We were so ready to be parents and I think we were doing a pretty good job at it.  So, to be back where we started is frustrating.  It’s not fair and I’ll continue to think that for the rest of my life.  When the time is right, Jeff and I will start making plans for what is next for us.  We want nothing more than to be parents, so we can’t wait for that to happen to us again someday.  To give Carter a little brother or sister…one day…

Seriously mom, enough with the pictures!

Happy 6 month birthday, buddy.  Mommy and daddy miss you more than you can ever know.

Group

Jeff and I went to our first support group last night.  It was a SIDS bereavement support group.  It was nice to finally meet a couple moms, face to face, that have lost their babies as well as the support group leader.  The moms in attendance are further into the process than Jeff and I, and it opens my eyes to what a long road we have in front of us.  To see that these other moms have survived and are moving forward, gives me hope.  Thanks to them for listening to Jeff and I and for inspiring us to trudge forward.  We are appreciative of the new friends that we will gain through this.  It’s not how anyone wants to make new friends, but we will forever be thankful for the support of all these other mommies and daddies.

A Group I Don’t Want to Belong To

Carter with Santa

Since Carter passed away the only thing I have been able to think about (besides him) and longed for was to connect with other couples who have been through the same situation.  A few people connected with me through the Caring Bridge site which I was greatly appreciative of, but I still longed to talk with someone in a similar phase of their lives whose child was around the same age.  Please don’t take this the wrong way, as I said before, I am VERY appreciative of all those that reached out to us, but I still longed to connect with others that had been able to love their babies after bringing them home and then lost them to this horrible, mysterious thing called SIDS.  Well, through SIDS resources, I have been connected with a group of women on facebook that have created a group for SIDS mommies.  It’s the group I’ve been longing for.  But now, I’ve become consumed by it.  All I’ve done the past two days is sit here and read their blogs.  From top to bottom.  Everyone has a story to tell.  Everyone’s story is different.  For some, their babies died at home.  For others, like us, their baby died at their day care.  For some, like Jeff and I, they lost their one and only child to SIDS.  For others, they had two or three other children, then lost their youngest to SIDS.  While we all got to spend different amounts of time with our babies, some 27 days, others 4 1/2 months like myself, the end result is the same.  Our babies are no longer with us.  It sucks and it’s not fair.

I really have been kind of trying to ignore many of my feelings that I’ve been having for no other reason than I just get sick of crying and feeling sad.  I put a smile on my face when I go to work every day, but really all I think about all day long is my sweet Carter.  I’m not very productive and whatever productivity I do have, it’s probably not 100% effort (as much as I shouldn’t admit this in writing).  All I think about is Carter.  Any time I open my email and have my weekly updates from Gerber, Enfamil, or Similac or get the weekly flyers in the mail from Babies R Us, I’m reminded that my sweet little guy is not here for me to use all their coupons and tips.  I could call those companies and ask them to stop sending all the “stuff” they send, but that seems too traumatic right now.  I went and got my nails done today and the whole time I was sitting there all I could think about was Carter.  I was so afraid the lady doing my nails was going to want to small talk with me and ask me if I have any kids.  I haven’t been asked that yet and I am dreading that moment.  What am I going to say?  I did have my first moment this past weekend of someone asking about Carter and I held it together.  Jeff and I were headed to the back yard to put down some grass seed before the rain began and our neighbor was outside with a friend.  We don’t really talk much to our neighbors.  Usually just the friendly “hello” is all we say.  Most everyone on our street is quite a bit older than us (except for the neighbors on the other side of our house than the neighbor I’m referring to), so we don’t chit chat too often.  They are all very nice, we just don’t see them often.  Anyways, the neighbor asked “how’s the baby doing?”.  As soon as he saw my face, I think he knew.  I said “well…” and he said “ah, s***” and I think he immediately knew what I was going to say.  He felt AWFUL and I could see tears welling up in his eyes.  I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable and I assured him it was okay.  I kept myself together and was proud of myself for getting through that moment and explaining to him what happened.  It’s kind of a blur, but I do believe he said he had a grandchild that died of SIDS (I didn’t ask him to elaborate, obviously).  What happens, though, the next time someone asks me that?  What if I’m not able to hold it together?

I’ve cried quite a bit the past couple days and I think it’s because I can’t stop reading all these blogs.  As I said before, I feel like some many of these other moms are taking words right from my mouth and putting them in their blogs.  I cry because I feel their pain.  I cry because I feel bad for them and often forget the pain I feel for myself as I read their words.  It’s never a group I ever dreamed I would be in, but I am already very thankful for their kind words.  I’ve not yet met any of them in person, but I know I will soon enough.  I’m just so thankful to be able to connect with other moms that know EXACTLY what I’m feeling.  I’m thankful, too, for their husbands who I hope can be some sort of support for my wonderful husband.  He’s such a great husband and daddy and I know he needs to be taken care of as well.  Jeff and I plan to go to the SIDS support group next week.  I’m terribly nervous about it.  As a high school counselor I had to take a group therapy class during college, but I never imagined I would actually be in one as a member of the group, not as the leader.  I hope that it will be another outlet for us to get our feelings out and heal.

Reading

Following Carter’s death, many people gave us books to read that they thought might help us to make sense of our feelings and to help us get through.  One of the books that I’ve read recently is “Heaven is for Real” and once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.  I’m not much of a reader (as much as I hate to admit that) and probably haven’t read an entire book (for fun) in 4 or 5 years (I know, it’s sad) except for a couple pregnancy books (and those aren’t necessarily fun).  I read this book in a matter of about 4 hours today.  I won’t give the whole story away on here, but I will say that it helped to paint a picture for me of what it might be like for Carter up there in Heaven.  It really comforted me in a way I wasn’t expecting when I started to read it.  I have several other books that are waiting for me to read them and I’ll get to them eventually.  My plan is to get them all done during spring break, but we’ll see about that.  :o)
Please continue to keep us (and all the other mommies and daddies that have experienced a loss like we have) in your thoughts and prayers.

All the Little Things

The group of ladies (or should I call them girls?) that I have lunch with at school every day have some interesting conversations.  Usually the conversations center around crazy things that our mother-in-laws have done (mine has never been brought up :o) ) or other lighthearted topics.  Occasionally we will, for some reason or another, get started on somewhat serious topics.  I went back to work in January after maternity leave and at some point during January or in the 8 days in February before Carter’s “incident”, I remember having a conversation about SIDS.  This is something that is always on the minds of new parents.  One of those things where you go check on your baby like a crazy person several times during their naps or during the night just to make sure their chest is still rising and falling.  It’s one of those things that will never happen to you.  It happens to other people.  I remember at one point during the conversation that day, I said that if that ever happened to Carter, I would probably go into a deep depression and never come out of it.  So now, four weeks after Carter’s death, I find myself asking if because I made that statement that day, if I’m being tested to see how I would handle this situation.  It sounds crazy (at least I think it does).  It sounds irrational.  It’s a thought I can’t get out of my head.  Did I jinx myself the day I made that statement?  I have said over and over to myself and to friends that it is just one of those things that happens sometimes.  We can worry about it day and night, but if it’s going to happen, there’s nothing you can do about it.  Now that it’s happened to us, I keep asking myself if there was something we could have done differently.  I know there wasn’t, but it’s just one of those things that happen to other people, not to us.

Because they couldn’t determine what Carter’s cause of death was in the hospital, they were required to do an autopsy.  That didn’t turn up anything, but because the doctors had questioned some of the images they saw of his heart while he was in the hospital, they decided it would be a good idea to send his heart off to be looked at further.  It could take a couple months before we hear back from them regarding what they found.  With babies especially, they want to try as hard as they can to find a reason for the death.  They want to be able to tell us if something genetic caused it to happen.  I guess at this point they are calling it SIDS which I just hate.  Part of me wants it to be SIDS because if it is something genetic, what does that mean for our future children?  Part of me hates that it’s SIDS because it seems like by the year 2012 all those smarty-pants researchers and scientists should have been able to come up with a way to prevent SIDS and to figure out why it happens.  How can they defeat cancer in so many people and do organ transplants and all the other amazing things they do, but they can’t figure out SIDS?  It’s one of those things I can’t wrap my mind around.

Carter and I with little Owen and his mommy, Lesley

One of the things I have the hardest time thinking about is all the plans we had made for our sweet Carter.  We were going to go to the zoo this summer, take in a few Royals games (daddy was especially excited about this) and go to the pool (mommy was especially excited about this).  We were even thinking ahead to next summer when the whole family would try to go to Florida again.  It was going to be so much fun to take Carter to the beach and see him play in the sand.   Carter already had two friends that were super close in age that we were so excited to be able to play with during the summers.  Hudson is 4 days younger and Owen is 6 days younger than Carter.  Carter obviously was quite a bit larger than both of them, so we were so curious to see how their sizes would change as they grew up.  Would they catch up to him, or would he always be huge compared to them?  We already figured they would be able to share clothes for the rest of their lives because Carter was a size ahead of both of them and was willing to share his clothes after he grew out of them.  We have other friends, too, that we were so excited to have babies with at the same time.  One of my best friends from childhood was due to have a baby on February 27th (or 28th, I can’t remember the exact day).  I called her the Friday evening before Carter passed away to update her on his situation and let her know what Saturday was probably going to bring.   We talked for a while and cried through most

of the conversation.  We talked about how sad we were that our little boys that would be 5 months apart would never get the opportunity to be friends like we grew up as friends.  At several points in the conversation, I was worried about her being so upset because I didn’t want her to go into labor.  I got a text from her the next evening telling me that her water broke and she was waiting for her doctor to come do the c-section (which was what she was scheduled to have done originally later in the month).  Carter died at 6:50 that night.  Her little guy (R.J.) was born at 9:09 that night.  I can’t help but think there was some higher power that caused things to happen the way they did.  While that date is going to always mean something totally different to my friend and I, our little guys will always share that day in a very special way.

Carter and daddy with baby Hudson and his daddy, Matt

As I sit here on this St. Patrick’s Day (our first holiday without Carter and my favorite holiday simply because I don’t have to buy presents for anyone), I think back to a year ago when I made my pregnancy “public” on Facebook on this very day.  It’s amazing how the past year has been the best time of our lives, then turned in to the lowest point in our lives.  Jeff and I are both doing as “okay” as we can be.  Being back to work with our work family has helped us to move forward and distract us. I ask myself on a daily basis why we are being tested in this way.  Are there good things in store for us in the future?  Surely something so awful can’t happen to two good people a second time.  Right?  People say everything happens for a reason.  God has a plan for us.  Well, I wish I knew what that plan was.  It doesn’t make sense to me that God would want such a sweet little life to join him so soon.  A little life that was so full of joy, so happy.  A little life that lit up the lives of so many whether it be with his adorable smile, his cute little laugh, his baby blue eyes or his crazy, crazy hair.  I hope someday we can learn what that plan is for us.