Monthly Archives: October 2012

Big brother Carter

Just a year ago, we were getting ready to start our first year of holidays with our sweet Carter. Halloween was approaching and I was out and about purchasing his outfits for his first holiday with us. Carter’s face had just started to break out with baby acne and I was so annoyed that his pictures would document that. I decided we would wait until next year to get his first Halloween costume. Little did I know things like that would become the least of our worries. The thought of more babies was pushed far back in our minds. We would enjoy Carter as an only child for a few years before trying for another. When we tried again, we would be complete with our family of four.

Of course, all of this changed in February. We realized we would have to try again for a second child much sooner than we had planned. I would have to go through my second pregnancy in a short period of time. We were so lucky to get pregnant so quickly. I thank my lucky stars every day that it happened so quickly. I know there are couples that try for months and years, so trust me, I know we are lucky there.

20121028-164523.jpgLast Monday, we made our trip to the doctor to find out whether Carter would be a big brother to a little bro or sis. The doctor showed us that this baby has girl parts. Carter is going to have a little sister. Jeff and I were both surprised. I don’t know why, but we had ourselves convinced it would be another boy. Of course, we are thrilled to be carrying another healthy baby, but I won’t lie and say there wasn’t the smallest bit of disappointment there for a while. More than anything, I think we both wanted to finish what we started with Carter, with another son. I’m sure that probably sounds strange to some, but that is what we thought. It took us a little while for it to sink in. And now, we are getting excited about having a little girl. Now, I won’t have to stress about the boy clothes. Yes, I’ll hold on to them in case we need them in the future, but we don’t have to make decisions in regards to that. And now it won’t be as hard to change the decor in the room. We will HAVE to make it more girlie. Some small part of me thinks we are expecting a girl for a reason…to make things just a little easier for us.

20121028-164742.jpgAs the week has progressed we get more and more excited about having a girl. For some reason, this week I was able to breathe just a little bit easier. I still can’t quite talk about the future too much yet, but I’m getting better. When friends talk about how much Jeff will love having a daughter and getting to walk her down the aisle one day, I get excited for a moment…and then I snap back to reality and realize that it’s years away before that will happen and who knows what will happen between now and then. It does feel good to get excited about things more and more. My mom and I went and purchased fabric this weekend for the bed skirt and blanket and it was nice to feel excited about the idea of a baby girl. I went back yesterday for some more items to decorate the room. When people see your pregnant belly holding a bunch of girlie items they start asking questions (you know, while waiting for fabric to be cut or while checking out), and inevitably the question is asked…is this your first? First girl, yes, first child, no. When this particular lady kept asking questions, I told her about Carter. Of course, that’s always a mood changer…and then it just reminds me that our lives are forever changed. We will forever be those parents of a SIDS baby…that label will never go away and it really sucks.

As I sit here typing this, I can feel little miss “Widgetta” (Jeff’s sister and her kids have named baby this) kicking around. I feel incredibly blessed to be carrying a healthy child. When I go make my weekly (or sometimes more) visits to see Carter, I ask him to protect all of us and keep his little sister safe. It’s a lot to ask of such a little guy, but I know he can handle it.

Advertisements

What’s Your Thing?

Before February, if you we’re to ask me what charity or organization I most supported, I wouldn’t have had an answer. I was always willing to donate small amounts here and there to various organizations…$35 to United Way which also allowed me to wear jeans to work, $25 to run in a 5k that would support a random charity. But I didn’t have anything that I’ve been truly passionate about. Unfortunately, after Carter died, I now have a very personal reason to support one thing…and one thing only (of course, I will continue to support other organizations)…SIDS resources and research.

It seems crazy to me in 2012, SIDS remains a mystery to medical professionals. Sure, there are small strides being made, but it just seems to me like they haven’t moved very far very fast. How can scientists come up with cures for cancer, but SIDS is so complex to them? I haven’t been one that’s been online 20 hours a week looking for an answer to why Carter died. I know it’s just one of those stupid, horrible things that happens to families. The little research I have done online is linking seratonin levels in the brain to SIDS deaths. http://www.nih.gov/news/health/feb2010/nichd-02.htm. I’m not a science person at all, but it makes sense to me. I just hope they can one day figure out what to do to stop these deaths from happening.

After Carter died, we received a bunch of stuff in the mail from SIDS Resources in KC. I was so annoyed that they were calling it SIDS that took him from us. I guess I was in denial. I wouldn’t even look at the brochures for a couple weeks because I was so irritated that they were just deciding that’s what it was before we got the autopsy results back. I guess I couldn’t understand how they were able to bring him back and keep him alive for 9 days and still call it that. Obviously, after I’ve had the time to process, I get it…machines were keeping him alive. And, after more time to process, I’ve realized how valuable SIDS resources is for families like ours.

Last Friday night, two amazing mommies from my SIDS Facebook group hosted the first ever Harvesting Hope benefit in memory of their sons, Max and Bo. The purpose of this charity event is specifically to help families financially after the loss of a child. You can read more about their thoughts on their benefit on their awesome blogs: http://27blueballoons.com/?p=387 and http://maxmcfall.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-cost-of-grieving.html.

Jeff and I are lucky to be surrounded by amazing family, friends and work families. After Carter died we were so lucky to have all of those individuals help us financially. It was humbling how many people reached into their pockets to help us out. We got lucky to find a funeral home that gave a 90% discount on funerals for children and babies, but even with that discount, we were still left with thousands of dollars to pay for the burial and stone. We weren’t left with the financial stress that many families are left with. Imagine not having that support. The benefit last week raised money for those families. It will help them pay for gravestones. It will help them pay for funerals. It will help them with other bills that may be incurred. In some small way, it will help give them peace of mind and relieve some of their stress.

The event was awesome and they did such a great job putting everything together! I hope with the thousands of dollars they raised, they will be able to help out many families. I encourage everyone to find something to support….it doesn’t have to be SIDS related, but find something close to your heart to support.

Time to get away

20121008-223832.jpg

Last weekend we recognized Carter’s birthday with a family gathering Sunday afternoon. It was nice to be surrounded by close family to distract us from too much thinking. We weren’t really sure what to do for his birthday…all we knew is that it would be too hard to sit around all day and not do something to recognize his birthday. So, I basically just went with the ideas from what other SIDS families have done for their little ones.

We had lunch and cupcakes (with little turtles and sea creatures on them…he loved his turtle toy so I thought that was fitting). The kids released balloons from our deck. We have a ton of trees around our house but there is a clearing behind the house towards the end of the deck that worked perfectly for the release. The balloons went up, up and away to our angel Carter. We then headed to the cemetery with some more balloons and the grandparents and Jeff and I released some more.

I must say that I did pretty well all day until we got to the cemetery. I guess it’s a smack you in the face and back to reality place to go. We decorated his grave with flowers and balloons from his cousins and sang happy birthday. That was by far the hardest thing for me to do. I couldn’t sing because I was choking back the tears.

I definitely don’t look forward to all the other birthdays to come. It was so hard not to think all day about how fun it would have been to have Carter with us on his birthday. I have been told by more than one person that the time surrounding their birthday is the worst partly because now we will be reliving every moment of his short life from now through February. Those memories, right now, are all that I have so I guess I have to be okay with that. Jeff and I both look at Carter’s pictures on a daily basis to keep those memories alive in our minds as much as possible.

On a brighter note, Jeff and I are leaving tomorrow morning for a trip to Los Cabos, Mexico with some friends. We are very much looking forward to getting away for a while. It will be the first time I’ve been on a plane since that awful day in February, so I’m hoping I can keep the anxiety at a low level…that will best happen if I have something really crappy to eat in the morning…you know, like a Cinnabon (since I won’t be able to drink on the plane). 🙂

Two more weeks until we find out what baby #2 will be. We are very excited to find out and share with everyone what “it” will be!

20121008-223718.jpg