Something happened on Jacob's anniversary which caused me to stop writing. I've thought for months now about how I would come back...what would my first post say as far as explaining what could be strong enough to keep me from writing for so long. I longed to write, I needed to desperately but just couldn't. Until now. It's time. It's time to come back to what helped me heal so much in the beginning. It's time to come back to writing also what I hope helps others whether they are baby loss moms or not. It's time to come back to writing about Jacob and my journey through motherhood. How can I deny my heart any longer? :)
Jacob's first birthday is coming up in a matter of days and I knew I had to be writing by then so here I am. I want to focus on nothing but the joy and love I have in my heart for my sweet baby in Heaven so for now, just know that I humbly apologize for my disappearance last fall. I would be so honored if you would consider once again reading my blog. Your support has always meant so much to me and has truly touched me since day one of my writing.
While I have so many posts drafted up right now, I had to start with something most timely for my first post back. I've already mentioned that Jacob's birthday is coming up. This Friday, April 20, 2012 my sweet little baby would be turning one had he lived to be born here on Earth. I remember last year when I calculated his due date. I was originally given an early May date but knew Jacob would have come early just like his brothers. Sammy was born 10 days early. Benny was born 14 days early. I picked a mid-way point and calculated that my sweet Jacob would have been born around 12 days early, so April 20, 2011 became my "due date" or what would have been his "birth" day. So this is the day that we will lovingly celebrate every year. I love that it's in April too--just 16 days after my birthday--makes me feel even closer to him knowing that he would have been the sweetest birthday present ever last year.
The other night I sat down and did something I had been meaning to do for months. I sent out Jacob's invitations to his birthday party. Okay, that would be Facebook Event invitations that I "sent out". I had meant to do it awhile back as so many baby loss moms create those special birthday and angelversary events far in advance. I hadn't created Jacob's yet because I've been trying to get some things ready first. Can't say more than that right now but that was my delay. Well, you know how you can try for so long to get everything "just right" and then before you know it, you've missed the boat altogether?
I told myself that no matter what I was sitting down that night and creating the event regardless of what was done or not. The boys were outside playing while Alex mowed. The dogs were chowing down on their food. The laundry was movin' and groovin' downstairs. I finally took the precious time I needed to create Jacob's birthday note. I cannot tell you how happy and how proud I felt. I know it probably sounds silly but I was a mommy who was truly excited to celebrate her son's first birthday and to share my love for him with everyone. Well, happy and proud just doesn't describe enough how I felt.
I found myself thinking back to Sammy and Benny's first birthdays. Neither boy had a big birthday party that required invitations as it was just immediate family who came. What I do remember though is how much fun I had picking out the birthday decor and a cake theme for each. I know I did Winnie the Pooh for each because I'd always loved Pooh Bear and it just fit so well with a one-year old party. We still have the hats and even a few spare plates that were never used. I will be pulling them out this Friday!
It was so fun buying all of that stuff back then...the plastic tablecloth, the party hats, the birthday badge, the plates, the napkins. And I remember Sammy's cake had plastic birthday figures on it. Sammy loved Tigger and ended up breaking Tigger's tail off at some point when he was a little older. He was so upset about that poor Tigger. Right now I can't remember Benny's cake exactly but I know I recycled the Pooh characters for it as well...broken Tigger and all.
If you are a baby loss mom, then you've probably heard or read a sentence like this before on another baby loss mom's or group's page, "I should be...(fill in the blank regarding what she would do if her baby was still here)". Well, here's my go at it... Right now had things gone differently in 2010 and Jacob not passed away, I should be planning Jacob's first birthday party. I should be digging around the baby wipes boxes that I use to store the boys' plastic figures and trying to find that missing tailed Tigger. I should be talking to my mom about what cake to order for when we would come up to celebrate with the rest of our family for the big "baby's first birthday party". I should be buying a new tablecloth, plates and then checking the Pooh hats to make sure the strings all still work. I should be picking out which birthday outfit Jacob would be wearing and wondering if the icing will stain it or not. I should be checking out the newest baby toys in the store to find something different that Jacob would like.
But, I'm not doing all of those things...and that's okay, because I am doing some of those things. :)
I AM planning Jacob's first birthday parties. Yes, you read that right. I am actually planning two little celebrations of joy and love for our sweet Jacob. One little birthday party we will hold on his actual birthday, Friday, April 20. Because Alex will be out of town it will just be the boys and I. But you can bet your boots that I will pull out what I can of the Pooh birthday stuff for one more party. I will pull out whatever I can find that is left from the boys' first birthday parties. I will be hunting for Tigger and the gang to join us as well. Benny is asking for Valentine cookies (it doesn't matter what holiday or season we are in, Benny likes Valentine cookies) so we will see what is on the dessert menu for the night. :)
And then on Sunday when Alex will be home, we will have our sweet little family birthday party...this time with a giraffe theme. Even though I always made a cake for the boys whenever we celebrated at home (we would have either a bakery-bought or one of mom's cakes at her house), I have just been wanting to something really special for Jacob's birthday and that is to order a bakery cake with a giraffe on it. I'm far from a great cake decorator so don't even want to think what my version of a giraffe would look like if I do it on my own!
The night of my D&C back in 2010 we stopped by Walmart for something that we probably couldn't live without, who knows what it was. It donned on me that night as I trudged through the aisles with a very heavy heart and eyes that burned from crying way too much that I hadn't yet bought any kind of stuffed animal for Jacob...something personal just for him. I wished I had more to choose from than just Walmart's selection of baby plush but I couldn't be choosy at that point. I needed something desperately and decided upon a small pale yellow giraffe with a white tummy, brown spots and the sweetest smile. It's the kind of stuffed animal just right for a young baby--no fuzzy hair, just a smooth and soft feel to it. And no pull-on eyes or features either...just eyes and other features sewn flat.
That sweet little giraffe would have been perfect for chubby little baby hands, perfect for little drooling baby gums and perfect to chunk from a high chair. I'm sure Jacob would have loved it. Just like his mommy loves it now.
That giraffe might not have ever been chewed on, spit up on or thrown from a grocery cart, but wouldn't you know it means the world to me. I take Jacob's giraffe with me every time we travel. I've taken it with me sometimes when we just so somewhere locally--to church, to a special event like the Memorial Walk we went on for Jacob last October, to the Christmas Tree Lighting Remebrance Ceremony for Jacob, etc. Yup, if you see me someday and happen to sneak a peak into my purse or bag, you might just see my little buddy travelling with me.
Here's my little buddy. You can see his neck getting a little floppy and his paws are getting nubby.
He's been loved a lot by this mommy.
He's been loved a lot by this mommy.
This is a new giraffe that my Sammy surprised me with about a month or two ago! The boys were shopping with Alex while I was in another store. We met at the car and Sammy quickly pulled out this giraffe for me for Jacob. Yup, I cried right there in the parking lot. My boys are so incredibly thoughtful.
And here they are together. What sweet little buddies.Giraffes obviously have become one of the two animals that remind me of Jacob. Giraffes and baby bunnies. I'll talk more about baby bunnies another time. For this first birthday party though giraffes are the theme that I am going with. No, I'm probably not going to deck the house out in spots, but I will have my giraffe cake for our sweet baby! I can't wait to see it.
I'm still hammering out plans for the whole weekend trying to figure out what I will do with just the boys, as opposed to when Alex is back and we celebrate all together. Even now though I can tell you I'm excited. Just a month ago I planned Sammy's first "friend" birthday party. He turned 7 and we had 20-some kids show up and bounce off the walls for 2 hours. It was a super-hero theme and I had set up "superhero training" stations for the games, prizes, name tags, you name it. The party was a total hit with Sammy, Benny, the kids and their parents. I had so much fun planning it and every throb of my head that night after the screaming children left was worth it. So I hadn't slept because I was stuffing goody bags and pulling all of the signs and supplies together. So I'd been on my aching feet forever in my "Super Mommy" costume boots (all of the kids came in superhero costumes). Sammy's smile (and of course Benny's) was priceless and I'd to it all again for my sons without a doubt.
Just as I was excited to plan that party for Sammy because I love him so very much, I feel the same amount of excitement, joy and love at planning this little celebration for Jacob. It doesn't matter that he isn't here physically, that he was never truly "born" here on Earth and that we've never met him face-to-face. He is our son, our precious child that I carried for 13 wonderful weeks. He is a part of Alex and I. He is the boys' little baby brother that they couldn't wait to meet and that they still talk about today. He lives in our hearts and always will. And that's enough. That's more than enough reason to remember him and to celebrate the love we feel for him on such a special day. I know the boys will have fun at our little parties and it will be a wonderful time of making precious memories for our family as we include our baby up in Heaven.
And I have to try to describe one more thing I am feeling today as I write this post...overwhelming gratitude. As soon as I posted my event invitation on facebook, I started seeing friends and family accept it. The notification, "__________________ is attending Jacob's First Birthday Party in Heaven" was silently and ever so sweetly popping up on the lower left side of my screen. As more and more notifications came in, one right after another, the tears started flowing. I cannot tell you how much it meant to me to see people's quick responses. Do you know what it means to a baby loss mom to hear/see her child acknowledged and remembered by others? There are no words to describe the feeling fully.
Our friends and family have come and will continue to come to parties for Sammy and Benny through the years--they saw the "smash cake" that Sammy dug into at his first birthday party, they saw the icing smeared all over both boys' faces, they saw the tears when both boys grew tired of smiling for pictures...they saw the boys learn how to unwrap gifts--a nice slow tear of wrapping paper when they were both younger which has now turned into a frantic 'rip-fest'...echoed by Benny's excited shouts of what he got and his "...ooh, nice!" following each item. They will continue to see how the boys grow and develop each year. They've seen what is on each cake--Winnie the Pooh, Thomas, Power Rangers, Spiderman, Micky Mouse, Ben 10...and will wonder who the lucky characters will be next year. They will see how big the boys smile when we all sing "Happy Birthday" to them...ah, how I've loved this part of our birthday celebrations!! Both Sammy and Benny smile so big when we break into song. The candles light up their joyful smiles and you can see how truly special they feel when it is their turn to be the "birthday boy.". Our friends and family will be a part of these precious memories through the years.
But the same can't be said for Jacob's birthday parties. Jacob won't have candles illuminating his face or icing in his fingernails. He won't have his birthday hat sliding off of his head or wrapping paper to tackle. He won't have years of birthday party photos that mommy will need to scrabook someday.
But he will have love and so much of it. He will have the love of his family and friends who acknowledge that he was here, even if only for a short 13 weeks. He was here and will forever be a part of our family. So for that, please let me express my heartfelt thank you to everyone who is "coming" to Jacob's birthday party. It may seem silly to those of you who aren't baby loss moms that I'm even holding such an "event" but it means so much to those of us who are, me included. Thank you for simply acknowledging Jacob and our love for him. It truly touches my heart. For those of you who are reading this and who don't know me personally on facebook, thank you as well for sharing in my joy at planning Jacob's First Birthday Party. I hope you'll check out my next several posts as I share more of our party preparations and photos!
So with that, my friends, let me apologize once again for my absence of the last few months. I appreciate that you are reading this now and hope to hear from you some time. For those of you who are "coming" to Jacob's birthday party, thank you for your acknowledgement and support of our love for him. And if I missed anyone accidentally, or if you'd like to "come" to our little shindig on facebook, please let me know so that I can invite you! :)
You'll be hearing from me...soon.