Monthly Archives: May 2012

Another 30th…

Today is May 30, Carter’s 8 month birthday.  In 18 days, he will have been gone as long as he was with us here on earth.  I obviously miss him every day, but I’m missing him a lot today.  Today was my last day of work before summer break (except for a few days that I have to go in for various things over the summer), so again, I start thinking about all the things Carter and I were going to do this summer.  I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with myself this summer.  My main goal is to not gain 50 pounds by sitting around and binge/emotional eating all summer.  Partly kidding…partly serious with that one!  🙂

New blue and white flowers we got before Memorial Day. Will be glad when the grass grows in so the plaque won’t get so dirty.

I went by to see Carter on my way home from work today to wish him a happy 8th month birthday.  As I pulled up, I noticed there was another spot in the “baby angel” section for a new angel.  It made me a little emotional as I was standing there to look over there and take myself back to that moment in February where we lost our sweet boy (and the days leading up to it) and then the day that we buried him.  I feel for the family that will soon be burying their sweet angel close to our little angel.

Carter’s view of the pond

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about packing some stuff up in Carter’s room…thinking being the key word here…  There is a cedar chest in his room that my younger brother made for me when he was in high school.  A few weeks after Carter was born, I got the “bright” idea to strip and restain it to match the rest of the furniture in his bedroom.  When I set my mind to working on a project, I’m going to do it whether it’s a good idea or not (like when I spray painted the rocking chair that’s in Carter’s room last summer when I was 7 months pregnant…outside in the heat (with a mask on to not breathe in the fumes, of course)…and ended up in the hospital for observation for a few hours…oops).  🙂 What I anticipated only taking me a couple days took me at least a week to get done because “someone” (Carter) was in his “I don’t want to take a nap during the day” stage, so I didn’t have as much time to work on it as I had originally anticipated.  In the months before Carter was born, I used the cedar chest to store many of the gifts that we received at our showers.  I would gradually remove stuff as we needed it, so there wasn’t a lot in there right before he passed away.  When we returned from the hospital after he died, I shoved a good majority of the baby items that we had been using in our living room into the cedar chest.  Things like the bumbo seat, the boppy, bottles, etc.  Things I couldn’t stand to look at when we came home WITHOUT our baby.  Things I just needed to hide away until I could handle really going through all of it.  We are going to store some of our precious Carter’s “favorite” things in the cedar chest.  His favorite toys, outfits, blankets, personalized towels (that he never got to use), etc. will be stored in this chest.  Next, we will have to decide what we want to do with all of his unused clothes.  We have gobs of new clothing that I had purchased for him and that he was given by friends/family.  Do we keep all of it in case we have another boy one day?  Do we give it away?  I am not sure how to answer that question yet.  I’m sure when the time is right, we will know what to do…right now all of this is just a thought…  Maybe in another 4 months we’ll be able to make these decisions…

So much we will never know…

This is the time of year when we celebrate the end of the school year, graduations and the beginning of summer. It’s usually a time I really look forward to but this year is a bit different. Last week was graduation at Piper, where I am a high school counselor. One of the traditions at Piper is that the morning of graduation, the graduates, along with their parents/guardians, come to the school to start the day off at the senior breakfast. It’s a time for them to all be together one last time. The local scholarships are presented and a slide show displaying a baby pic and senior pic for each student is shown. It seems like every year there is at least one student that doesn’t have a loved one show up to the breakfast with them. Last year, I was pregnant and über emotional and was so touched when one of our teachers came to the breakfast to sit with one of those such students. I just couldn’t understand why an adult in their life couldn’t make time for one morning, just a couple hours to attend the breakfast. This year, the same thing. There were a few students that had no one show up. Of course, this year, I have a whole new set of emotions going through my veins. It really ticked me off to see these kids there by themselves. How hurtful that must be for those students. It broke my heart and I couldn’t help but think that I would never have missed out on something like that for my sweet boy. Unfortunately, we will never get the chance. I love the slide show that they do each year, but this year was a little bit harder for me to watch. My sweet Carter will never get to have the pictures in a slide show displaying his baby picture and a picture of him at 18. It made me sad.

Memorial Day is right around the corner and this is another day that has a new meaning this year. When I was younger and living back home, my mom and grandma would drag my younger brother and I around to who knows how many cemeteries to put flowers on graves of people I had no clue who they were. To be honest, I was probably usually very annoyed that I was being taken on such an adventure and would rather have been at home. I always kind of thought of it as an old person’s day and didn’t really take the time to think about how hard the day might have been for my mom and grandma (one of my mom’s brothers passed away at just 15 years old). Well, here we are…I am going to be one of those people now…I’m sure I will drag our future children to “see” Carter on this day for years to come…I hope I can instill more of an appreciation for it in them than I had as a youngster.

I went to visit Carter on Friday after school and was SO pleased to see his permanent stone had arrived and was installed. It took my breath away when I first I walked up. I hustled back to my car to get my phone so I could capture a photo of it. It’s perfect.

Last week I had contacted CMH to see if we could collect the memory items that they had gathered for us. Our friend Stacy, social worker at CMH and a childhood friend of Jeff’s, brought the items to us on Saturday. One of the items was a memory book. Inside the book were some signatures of a few of his nurses, the hospital band that he wore at CMH, hand and foot prints, and some of his hair. I can’t begin to describe how happy I was that they put some of his hair in it. The morning we buried Carter after we had left the cemetery, it dawned on me that we weren’t going to have any of his hair. He hadn’t had a hair cut yet (although he needed one…not trying to kid anyone there), so I was silently devastated that I hadn’t thought to ask the funeral home to save some for us. It wasn’t until weeks later that I learned that the hospital had taken care of that for us. I am SO thankful and appreciative for that. Also included were a couple of the blankets that he had at the hospital and the little pillows that they used to rest his breathing apparatus on. The most amazing items included were the molds of his hands and feet. I wasn’t sure what to expect…I kind of thought they would just be hand and foot prints in plaster, but that’s not at all what they were. They actually made life size molds of our sweet boy’s hands and feet. His little hands are tightly clenched with just enough room for one to slide their finger in for him to “hold”. His little feet are, well, not so little! SO big! You can see every little line. Even his little fat rolls on his ankles. It took us aback a little to see them. They are truly a gift that is irreplaceable. I will be purchasing a safe soon to store them in because I can’t bear the thought of something happening to them. I would post a picture of them on my blog, but I think it might be a bit much for some people. If you want to see them, feel free to email me privately at darcytice@hotmail.com.

Summer break will be starting in a week and a half for me…all the things I thought I would be doing this summer with my little man are going to be done without him. It makes me sad, but I’m going to try to use all of my alone time to read the many books we were given and maybe some others that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet that I’ve had for a few years…and probably go to the pool…a lot…with sunscreen, of course. 🙂

Mommy stuff…

Jeff and I have been showered with love and gifts over the past three months.  While we are appreciative of every single item we have received, some of the items that I have found to be the most precious to me are the things I can wear.  I wear these necklaces all the time.  I feel like I’m wearing a little piece of Carter every time I have one around my neck.  I find myself touching the necklaces every time I talk about Carter…I need to stop because I’m going to rub all the shine out of them!  I’m so appreciative of my fellow mommy friends that gave me all of these necklaces.  They are each special to me in their own way.

When Jeff and I visited the funeral home for the first time after Carter’s death, I noticed a brochure across the room for personalized jewelry that we could purchase in memory of our sweet boy.  I took one and put it aside for another day and told him that I’d one day like to get something.  The gentleman at the funeral home told us that they would take Carter’s thumbprint, footprint and hand print and put it in his file so if we ever decided to purchase some of the jewelry down the road we could do so.   I must have mentioned this in passing to some good friends of ours, so they decided to order both Jeff and I a piece as a gift to us.  Our friends delivered them to us on Thursday…just in time for Mother’s Day.  They gave me the necklace and Jeff has a key chain that also has Carter’s footprint on it.  There really aren’t any words to explain how special these items are to us.  To have a little piece of Carter that I can wear around my neck on this Mother’s Day and for years to come is just amazing.

As I was perusing Facebook this morning (I know, I said I was going to avoid it on holidays…I’m an addict), I saw this blog post:  http://sidsamerica.org/blog/mothers-day-mommy-chosen-for-this.  So many points in this blog touched me that I really wanted to share it.  Please cherish every second you get to spend with your children on this day…and every day…  I hope all of my friends that are mommies of babies here on earth and in heaven have a good Mother’s Day.

Musings of a friend…

One of my good friends from work had a baby on the Thursday before Carter’s celebration of life service.  These are some of her thoughts about how his death has affected her as a new mom.  I’m glad she had the strength and courage to share this with me.  http://movingandmusing.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/sad-musings/

Unexplained

The funeral home called us last Thursday to tell us that they had Carter’s death certificate.  I was going to go pick it up over the weekend, but was in avoidance mode and didn’t feel like going to get it.  It’s not something that I ever imagined I would be doing in my life (picking up my child’s death certificate), so you can probably understand why I didn’t want to go.  I went yesterday after school to get it.  The people there are always very nice, but I always feel like when they realize we had a baby that died, they look at me different.  They always come back out with a different tone to their voice and a different look on their face.  They always have sad eyes.

I didn’t look at it until I got home.  Once I got inside, I finally took a look and found the “cause of death” section.  Cause of death:  unexplained.  Part of me is relieved that it’s not something genetic, but another part of me is sad that they couldn’t find anything wrong with him…so it’s “officially” that ugly monster called SIDS that took my baby away from me.

Our home phone rang last night as we were watching our Monday night shows (yes, we’re old people…hehehe).  We didn’t recognize the number as it flashed on our TV screen (we LOVE that feature of our cable), but I decided to answer it anyways (I usually don’t answer the home phone if it’s not a number I recognize mostly because I’m too lazy to get up and answer it).  The person on the other line obviously didn’t have very good phone reception.  I had to say hello about 4 times before I could finally hear a voice on the other end.  I heard “hello” and something about Children’s Mercy, and I begin to recognize the voice as Dr. Hubble’s.  He is a PICU doctor at CMH and was assigned to Carter a few days into his stay there in February.  So, I said “is this Dr. Hubble?  Sorry, I couldn’t hear you earlier.”  It was him and he was calling to fill us in on the autopsy results.  I honestly hope I never have to see Dr. Hubble again (nothing personal, I just hope I never find myself having to visit PICU again, nor do I hope any of my friends ever have to be introduced to him), but he has made a tremendous impact on us.  The fact that he would call us from home (on his cell phone) on a Monday night to explain to us what “unexplained” means, meant a lot to us.  He spent some time on the phone both Jeff and I (my story re-telling abilities aren’t very good, so I had him tell Jeff everything he told me so I didn’t forget anything), and wanted us to know that if we wanted to, we could come down to CMH and meet with he and the heart specialists just to go over everything with them.  We were very touched that he took time out of his personal time to call us.  Those types of things don’t go unnoticed.

SIDS awareness month isn’t “officially” until October, but I think it’s something people need to be aware of year round. 

SIDS America – http://sidsamerica.org/
SIDS Resources – http://www.sidsresources.org/

A Mother’s Love

After the Kansas Half with coworkers Eric, Darcey & Allison.

Sorry for the hiatus the past few weeks.  This time of year is really busy at school between all the tests/assessments, prom and who knows what else!  I’ve had lots going on and when I get home from work, all I want to do is take a nap (please don’t be alarmed this is nothing new…I always have been and probably always will be a sleeper).  And, the weekends have been crazy busy as well.  A few weeks ago I ran the Kansas Half Marathon in Lawrence.  I ran a half in October 2010 in Kansas City, and set the goal in January to run another one this spring.  I had just started training for it when Carter passed away.  Obviously I didn’t run during February or most of March, so the fact that I finished made me very happy.  Not only did I finish, but I finished only 3 minutes behind the time I ran the half in 2010…this is after doing nothing much at all during the entire 2011 calendar year (yes, I used pregnancy as an excuse to do nothing…although I know I should’ve done something…), having a huge baby that my body took a long time to heal from, then losing that sweet baby to SIDS.  The fact that I was able to drag my booty out of bed all those mornings and finish my goal, made me very proud of myself.  I was thankful to have two coworkers to run with that day and keep my mind busy as I pounded the pavement for 13.1 miles.  🙂

I guess not a lot has changed as far as our emotional states go.  We still find ourselves asking ourselves why.  We still don’t understand why this happened to our sweet boy.  We still miss him…every.single.second.of.every.single.day.  The only thing I’ve really noticed in myself the past few weeks is that I find myself growing ever so anxious in social situations whenever the conversation about kids comes up.  I’ve written before about my anxiety about strangers asking me if I have children…or people that know I had a baby asking me how he is.  I need to get over it because I know it’s going to continue to happen, but it’s like a punch in the gut every time it happens.  I went to a college luncheon a couple weeks ago with the other counselor from my school and we hadn’t been there for more than one minute when the college rep came up and asked how my baby was.  I was VERY pregnant when she came to visit our school in September.  I had thought about emailing her earlier the week of the luncheon to tell her about Carter, but I just was busy and forgot to do it.  I spent the rest of the luncheon being anxious hoping the conversation about children wouldn’t come up at our table.  It seems like the natural flow of conversation always tends to go to that question.  People notice you’re married, then they tend to ask.  I find myself walking away from conversations where I think I might be asked that question by someone that doesn’t know me.  It seriously is all I think about when I’m in a social situation where I don’t know people.  It’s so stupid.  I shouldn’t spend that much energy thinking about it, but I can’t help it.

I try to go visit Carter once or twice a week on my way home from school. I usually don’t stay too long. I just say “hi” and spend a couple minutes chatting at him, then go home.   A couple weeks ago was the first time I went with someone besides Jeff. My friend Megan had come by before we went to tour the new Mormon temple that opened near our house (no we aren’t Mormon and aren’t going to be Mormons…we just like to expand our horizons and there was a limited amount of time that non-Mormons would be able to tour the facility), and she had a stuffed animal that she wanted to take by (which she discovered her daughter took out of the car when she dropped her off before coming to our house…silly girl). Although she wasn’t outwardly emotional, I am certain that it was probably an emotional experience for her. As the mother of two, I know that she could never imagine herself here. I could never have imagined myself there either. It honestly still feels very surreal every time I go. I just can’t believe we find ourselves there.  I’m glad that Megan was able to see where we go to see our sweet boy.

Sarah and I with our pregnant bellies in August 2011.

My friend that had her baby the same day Carter passed away came to Kansas City last weekend to see us.  It was so great to finally hug her.  We had some emotional moments (some partially induced by margaritas…again, please don’t be alarmed 🙂 …we were at a Mexican restaurant!) throughout the weekend, but it was so nice to talk face to face about what had happened.  I look forward to being able to go see little RJ this summer.

With Mother’s Day approaching, I have all sorts of emotions running through my veins.  I am so envious of all the mommies that get to spend Mother’s Day with their babies and are still able to hug and kiss them.  I will always be Carter’s mommy, but I’m very sad that I won’t be able to spend this first Mother’s Day with my sweet boy.  Jeff has asked me a few times what I want to do for Mother’s Day this year.  I really don’t have an answer to the question.  I’m sure we’ll do something with the family, but I anticipate that it will be an emotional day.  I guess the best way to spend it is with people that will understand the emotions.  My one wish for the day is that that all of my friends that are mommies will not take any second of the day for granted.  Last year on Mother’s Day, I just assumed that I would be getting to spend the day with my sweet baby this year.  Sometimes I feel like I took every second I had with him for granted.  I just assumed I would have many years with him not just four and a half short months.  I thought we’d get to spend Father’s Day, the 4th of July, my birthday, Labor Day…the list could go on and on…with him.  I love(d) Carter SO much it hurt sometimes.  I know that sounds so silly, but it’s so true.  I think every mother could probably say that they’ve felt the same way at some point.  I was (and continue to be) so excited for my friends that have become pregnant and have had babies since Carter was born.  I remember when my friend Becky sat in our living room about a month after Carter born and told me she was pregnant.  I cried because I was SO excited that she was going to get to experience the joy of having a child (and partly because of my crazy hormones).  Her sweet little girl was born about three weeks ago.  When a coworker told me of someone she knew that was struggling to get pregnant, I cried because I couldn’t imagine not getting to experience the joy of having a child.  Jeff and I have been talking more and more about thinking about having another child.  We are both so excited for that to happen again.  Being a mommy is truly one of the best feelings one could ever imagine.  It’s something you really can’t understand until it happens to you.  I’m lucky I have so many memories with my little Carter.  I will always be his mommy even if he isn’t here for me to hug and kiss, and I can’t wait until I can one day experience that joy and love again.