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.  🙂
  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.

Advertisements

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.

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

Happy birthday little man

Our newborn sweet boy the day after he was born.

Thursday, September 29, 2011, was the day before my life changed forever. It was the day before Carter was born. It was the last day, or so I thought, that I would not a have a child in my arms or by my side. I decided to take the day off to spend some time alone before the big day. I slept in, ate lunch at Chipotle (Jeff isn’t a fan, so I have to go when I get the chance), and spent a relaxing, quiet day at home. I knew the next day was going to bring big changes in our life. I knew the quiet moments were going to be few and far between in the coming days, weeks and months to come. The next morning, you see, we were scheduled to arrive at North KC Hospital to be induced and finally meet our “little” man. So, the morning of September 30, we headed to the hospital at 4:30 am to get checked in. It was a relatively slow process of blood work, fluids, pitocin (the devil) and lying around…well, until the contractions started. Carter was finally born at 3:41 pm. I couldn’t believe his gargantuan size. I couldn’t believe how perfect he was. He had the perfect head of dark hair. He was just perfect…in every way. We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have such a handsome little man in our lives.

Sleepy boy…before he decided he didn’t like naps…

I remember when they sent us home from the hospital we were scared s***less. We couldn’t believe they were letting him go home with us. We had no idea what we were doing. I admit that we probably had more of a clue than some of our friends that had babies and were first time parents…we have a niece and nephews that we had spent considerable time with so we at least knew that basics of changing diapers, feeding, and that’s about it! 🙂 It was still frightening knowing that we were responsible for this little person. I’ll never forget that first night at home. It was awful. Because Carter was so big, Jeff and I couldn’t decide what size clothes he should be in. He certainly wasn’t about to fit in newborn clothes and 0-3 month seemed to swim on him (looking back it really didn’t….wishful thinking on my part…ha!). We finally settled on something and attempted to swaddle him in a ridiculously tiny receiving blanket to put him down. Needless to say, the poor guy was up about every hour (probably because he was freezing) or two that first night. We were so tired. I desperately missed the nurses that night!

It didn’t take us very long to get the hang of things and before we knew it our little guy was sleeping 5-6 hour stretches through the night. He liked his sleep (much like his mommy) and we were very blessed that he got good sleep during the night because he didn’t so much like to nap (much UNlike his mommy). It was such a struggle to get him to nap longer than 30 minutes after he was about 2 months old. I guess he was afraid he was going to miss out on something big happening, so he wouldn’t nap. Looking back, I wish I could have enjoyed every moment with him…even those where I was frustrated because he wasn’t sleeping…had I known what was to come, I guarantee I would’ve appreciated every single moment even more.

Our little blue eyes

We were blessed to have a very happy baby in our sweet Carter. I can’t believe it’s been a year since he was born. I never would have guessed a year ago this is where we would be…wishing our baby was with us instead of throwing a big first birthday bash. It just plain and simple is not fair. We plan to spend a quiet day with family on Sunday and will probably go to the cemetery to release some balloons into the air for our sweet boy. I so wish we were celebrating with all of our friends and family and watching our sweet boy dig into his own, personal cake. Unfortunately, all the wishing in the world won’t get us our sweet boy back. I know he will be up there watching down on us on Sunday (and every day). I’m sure they are throwing a big party for him up there in Heaven…at least that’s what I have to believe.

A Rainbow…

As very perfectly stated on babycenter.com, “a rainbow baby is a (miracle) baby conceived after the loss of another child.  “Rainbow Babies” are the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and the clouds. Storm clouds may still loom over but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy, and much needed hope.”  Jeff and I are expecting our “rainbow baby”…due March 8, 2013.

We could not be more excited and happy to try this whole parenting thing out again, but this time around, it comes with a million different emotions than we experienced when we were expecting Carter.  With Carter, I feel like I was a pretty “normal” pregnant person.  I didn’t call the doctor 100 times between appointments.  I didn’t overreact over the smallest things.  With this rainbow baby, I already feel like I am somewhat of a crazy person.  I can’t relax.  I’ve already called the doctor’s office between my first two appointments.  I can’t just be excited and let myself enjoy it.  At least not yet.  Of course, I’m excited, but hesitantly so.  To those that have never experienced the loss of a child, I’m sure you think I’m insane and want to tell me to chill out.  Those that have lost a child and have been through the emotions of pregnancy after that loss, you probably understand where I am coming from.  It’s hard to know what to do when you’re still grieving the loss of a child.  On one hand, you’re very excited.  On the other, it’s hard to show that excitement because you don’t want to be disappointed should something happen again.  The rational part of my brain tells me that I had a very normal pregnancy with Carter and things will most likely be fine this time.  The irrational part tells me that since we lost Carter, we are bound to have something bad happen to us again.

Losing a child changes you.  When we were expecting Carter, I couldn’t wait for the showers and all the pomp and circumstance that comes along with having your first child.  This time around, I can’t think past our next doctor appointment.  Is there going to be a heart beat?  Should I get my hopes up that this baby is going to make it full term?  Should I get my hopes up that this baby is going to make it to 4 months and 18 days?  I know that has to sound so disturbing to people, but I can’t stop my mind from going there.  I can’t bring myself to celebrate too much yet.  I just can’t go there yet.  At what point will I get there?  I’m not sure, but I hope I can get there soon.

baby at 12 weeks 4 days
due March 8, 2013

We chose to do the first trimester screening and had our appointment this last Monday.  The measurements and blood test results all show that we have a healthy baby on our hands.  What a relief that is.  We did this same screening with Carter.  One of the blood test results came back “a little low” that showed that I was at risk of pre-term labor and Carter at risk of being low birthweight.  Labor had to be induced and he was 10 lb. 12 oz., so it must have been inaccurate.

Tuesday was our second regular appointment at our doctor’s office.  I was so nervous that there wouldn’t be a heart beat.  I don’t know why as I’d seen the baby moving around the day before during the sonogram.  I guess I just needed to hear that wonderful sound.  I expressed to the doctor (I see all the doctors at the practice I go to, that’s why I don’t refer to them as “my” doctor) that I have so much anxiety about everything and obviously she understood.  After she found the heart beat (a good strong 161…Carter’s at this same appointment was 163), she asked me if I had a smart phone.  She thought it would be a great idea for me to record the sound of the heart beat that way I can listen to it if I’m feeling anxious.  I thought that was so thoughtful of her…and I was so excited to be able to share that with Jeff since he wasn’t able to make that appointment.

Please pray for us as we go through this journey.  We appreciate the kind thoughts and the excitement that everyone has shown us so far as we have gradually been making this announcement.  Jeff and I both feel very blessed that we will be able to do this whole parenting thing again.  As we approach Carter’s first birthday on September 30, we have a whole range of emotions going through our veins.  Excitement for what’s in store.  Sadness for what we have lost and won’t get to experience with Carter.  Mostly, though, I will try to focus on all of the very fond memories I had with our sweet angel Carter during his 4 months and 18 days here on earth with us.   I will try to focus on the joy that we felt the day he came into this world, when we brought him home from the hospital, when he smiled and giggled for the first time…all of those wonderful memories.  We look forward to making many similar memories with his little brother or sister in the future and my goal for the coming months is to try to not focus on all the fears that I have, but instead, enjoy the months ahead.  I know that’s what Carter would have wanted.

Coupon hatred

For the second time this week, I have almost been brought to tears by stupid coupons.  I am beginning to develop a real hatred for those stupid things that come in the mail every week or every other week.  Monday it was a book of Target coupons that said something about how big my baby must be getting.  Today it was the dreaded “your baby is turning one” coupon from Babies R Us.  I knew it would be coming soon because I’d been forewarned by other SIDS mommies.  I wasn’t prepared to actually see it today though.  I used to love getting the coupon books for both those stores in the mail, and now it’s just a painful reminder of what we don’t have.  We don’t have our sweet little boy that should have been turning 11 months old next Thursday.  Ugh.  That’s the end of my coupon rant for today. 

A Divine Run

Carter’s Crew

Saturday, July 28, was the Divine Run in Kansas City.  It’s a biennial 5K held to raise funds for SIDS Resources.  Jeff and I felt very blessed and loved to have a very large group of friends supporting us at the Divine Run that morning (and we were very thankful for the Mason Werner Foundation for helping us with our shirts).  It was a beautiful morning.  Cooler than most have been this summer.  I’d like to think all of our little angels had something to do with that weather.  🙂

One of my friends asked me how I felt that morning.  Was I sad to be surrounded by all these other families who had experienced the same type of loss?  Was I happy to be around everyone?  I was overjoyed to have so many friends to walk/run with us that morning.  I decided that I was going to walk and not run and really enjoyed myself throughout the walk (running would not have been enjoyable as I had not “trained” for it at all).  I was so happy to meet more of the moms from my SIDS Facebook group.  I walked most of the race with two of the moms and was glad I had the chance to talk with them about their journey in their grief.  I guess it kind of just helps to make me feel more normal about how I am grieving.  The truth is, every individual’s journey is different.  It helps to hear that over and over again and remind me that there is no right or wrong way to go about how we are grieving.  More than anything, these moms gave me hope.  Both of the moms I walked with have babies under a year old.  There were other moms from our group that were also there that are also moms to newborns.  They have all been through what we went through, but they were brave enough to take the leap into parenthood again.

Mommy and a few of her friends

A smooch from mommy

It took my breath away as we approached Carter’s picture along the course.  We submitted what has become my favorite picture of my sweet boy – jumping in his jumparoo with a big smile on his face with the word “Carter” on the television behind him.  A couple of my friends told me that they noticed how many of the other babies died around the same age as Carter.  It’s so sad, but yet comforting to know that we are not alone in this journey.  We are not alone because we have many friends and family to help us through this never ending journey…and of course, we have all these other families that have been through this situation that we now can share in this journey with.  We especially are thankful that none of our friends have shied away from us because of Carter’s death.  I know I’ve shared this before, but we have several friends that have babies Carter’s age or within a few months of his age.  We are so happy that all of those friends feel comfortable bringing their babies around us…or even if they don’t, they suck it up and they still come around us.  Of course, Jeff and I will always think to ourselves “I wonder what Carter would be doing now,” but that doesn’t give reason for any of our friends to not bring their kids around us.  We will ask those questions for the rest of our lives…  When would Carter have walked?  How big would he have been when he started kindergarten?  When would he have lost his first tooth?  What would his favorite sport have been?  When would we let him go out with friends for the first time?  Where would life have taken him after he graduated from high school?  What age would he have been when he made it to the Olympics for the first time?  (Ok, maybe not that one…I couldn’t resist since we’re in the Olympic spirit right now.)  We have a lifetime of those questions ahead of us.  Nothing can change that, so we just have to deal with it…unfortunately.

College and childhood friends that came to support Carter’s Crew

We want to express our THANKS again to all of our friends (and family) that were there to support us that morning (and every day).  We know there were many people that weren’t able to make it, but we know they were all with us in spirit.  We hope that when this race rolls around again in two years that we are able to have as many friends come and join us again.

Time flies…

I can’t believe my summer break is almost over.  I was worried about it dragging by since I didn’t have my little man to help keep me occupied this summer, but it still flew by.  I have missed my sweet boy every day, but I have made it through.  This past Wednesday marked the 5 month mark since Carter passed away.  I thought about him all day Wednesday.  To distract myself, I went to school to hang curtains for a few hours (random task, I know, but I guess it helped keep me busy).  It’s so hard to think that he’s been gone longer than he was with us.  It just sucks.

I made a couple trips back home this week (I grew up 3 hours from Kansas City in north central Kansas).  Monday I went back to help clean out my grandma’s farm house.  She and my grandpa moved to town 4 years ago, then my grandpa passed away later that summer.  We didn’t make a lot of progress, but every little bit helps.  This week was the county fair, so I went back on Thursday to watch my 8 year old nephew Nathaniel show his cow in the fair.  Unfortunately, Molly wasn’t too cooperative for him as she was pissed because her calf wasn’t with her.  I can understand her anxiety about being away from her baby.  🙂  I realized as we went back to my parents Thursday night that I didn’t take time to check out the remainder of his entries in the fair, so I stopped by Friday morning on my way back to KC to check them out.  He made a stepping stone in memory of his sweet cousin Carter and got a blue on it.  It was so sweet of him to make it.  🙂  I’m so sad for Carter’s cousins not getting to grow up with him.  Nathaniel got to see Carter a few times which I’m so thankful for.  He’s the oldest of Carter’s first cousins, so he probably understands the most where Carter is.  His other first cousins, Lucas (4), Jack & Lily (twins that are 2), probably don’t fully understand it.  Last week we were over at Jeff’s sister’s (mommy of the 3 kiddos), and Lily saw a picture of Carter on my phone and said “that’s Carter B!”.  It melted my heart.  I guess I worry that they’ll forget about him, so I’m so glad when I hear them say his name.  Carter’s “pseudo cousins” (as we like to call them) Allie & Mollie are the oldest and I know they are fully aware of what happened and where Carter B. is.  It is hard to think about how his death might affect them now or in the future.

Jeff is out with friends this evening and I was excited to stay home and order myself a pizza and salad from Pizza Shoppe because the “Pink Stuff” salad dressing sounded delicious.  I found the movie “Something Borrowed” on HBO OnDemand, so I thought I’d watch it as I read the book and have wanted to see the movie.  Of course, stupid romantic movies like that always make me cry.  I haven’t cried (really cried) since Easter, but once the flood gates opened during this movie, I couldn’t turn them off.  I suppose that’s a good thing as I probably needed to get it all out.

I miss Carter so much.  It’s not something I verbalize very often as I think it’s probably obvious that I miss him.  I know Jeff misses him terribly too.  It’s just so hard not to think about all the things he’d be doing by now.  I’m sure he would be standing and crawling and would probably walk much sooner than we wanted him too.  I wonder if he’d like the swimming pool (although we probably wouldn’t have gone much the past few weeks because it’s too flippin’ hot).  When I see little boys that are close to his age I can’t help but think whether he’d be doing all the things they are doing.

Last month I attended a wedding of a co-worker and seated across from us at the table was a mom with her child who in my best estimation was probably 18-24 months old.  Her friends asked her how things were different now that she has a child and she said “I can’t imagine my life without him.”  I could tell my friend beside me was listening to that conversation as well because she quickly started up a new conversation with me.  I wanted to say “I can tell you what it’s like.  It sucks!  And I hope you never have to know what it’s like.”  In the couple days before the wedding I went to the salon to get my brows waxed and I saw a girl that I hadn’t seen before.  She started telling me about the customer who had been in there before and that she had lost her husband in a freak bus accident several years ago and she’s never been the same.  Then she says that she can’t imagine someone she loves just being gone all of the sudden like that.  Ugh.  Seriously?  I, of course, just went along with it because I didn’t want her to feel bad and said “yeah, I know.  I’m sure it has to be so hard.”  I realize these types of conversations will continue to take place the rest of my life and I just need to get used to it, but it’s hard to get used to being the parent of a baby that died.

Next weekend (July 28) is the Divine Run for SIDS here in KC.  I’m so excited that so many of our friends will be participating in this with us.  We are blessed to have such great friends in our lives and are so thankful that so many of them will be able to join us.  I’ll post a picture here of the participants after the walk.  I haven’t been training for it, so I’ll probably be walking most of it…and it’s probably going to be 90 degrees out at 7:30 in the morning, so I really won’t want to run because of that!

A small step

Yesterday was Carter’s 9 month birthday.  Jeff’s family from Illinois was in town this weekend, so we kept busy with all of them.  The day didn’t go by unnoticed.  I stopped by to see Carter for a few minutes after I enjoyed some pool time with our niece, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles.  I wish he would have been able to meet all of them.  I know he would have found hours of endless entertainment from all of them like we do.  🙂

Today was a small (or big) step for me…I helped throw a baby shower for one of our friends…and then actually went to the shower!  I say that because just days after we buried Carter, I was set to be a hostess of a shower for one of my childhood friends.  While I was SO happy for my friend, I just couldn’t make myself go.  Part of it was that I didn’t want any attention on myself and if I went people would either be really awkward or they would want to give me condolences…neither of which I wanted to happen at her shower.  Part of it was that it was a baby shower and my baby had just died.

I was so excited to be able to help with the shower today.  I did a couple little crafty projects for it that helped me to pass some time the past couple weeks.  I was comforted by the fact that everyone at the shower knew about Carter.  I didn’t have to be on edge waiting for someone to ask if I had any kids.  I felt lucky to be surrounded by such a fantastic group of friends today and while they knew today would probably be a little tough for me, they still managed to act “normal” around me which means so much to me.

Almost a year ago, this same group of friends hosted a couple’s baby shower for Jeff and I (along with a few additional friends)…it was a great time!!!  This was back when we were naive, first-time parents that just assumed we would spend the rest of our lives with our little boy.  Oh how I wish I could go back to being that naive again.  It’s hard to look too far into the future now and I hate that this has happened to us and this is how we have to live our lives.  I hope one day we can one day look to and talk about the future and not live in fear of what might or might not happen.