Mommy's heart for Baby Jacob

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Three years later on Jacob's Anniversary

It's funny how time seems to go so slow when we are waiting for something like a pregnancy test result or to open a Christmas present...but so fast when we are trying to savor every moment and to remember every tiny detail from a special time in our lives.

Three years ago tonight...October 24, 2010.  Was I asleep?  Knowing me and how my body operates, probably not yet.  Had I been crying?  Yes.  I know I definitely shed tears all weekend.  

It was the night before my originally scheduled and monthly OB visit.  We had just returned home from my mom's who lived about 3.5 hours north of us.  We had already been planning on going home that weekend in order to celebrate her birthday, but we had no idea that her birthday weekend would be overshadowed by the news of our baby's future.

Just three days prior to today we found out the news. We heard the kind of news that parents dread hearing. We received a fatal diagnosis for our sweet baby.

That week had certainly thrown me.  I remember calling my mom and telling her the news and she was in disbelief.  Ever supportive and upbeat, I remember my mom trying to reassure me that our baby would be fine. I think in all honesty too, she was shocked at the news. After all, everything was fine. Everything HAD been fine. That's so often the story that I hear from other baby loss parents. Everything was fine until that one day that their lives were changed forever.

So I had told my mom the news of her grandson's Trisomy 13 diagnosis and how the specialist that we had seen for my in-depth ultrasound didn't have much hope for our baby to survive much longer.  I remember debating whether or not we should go home for that weekend. We had planned a happy celebration for my mom and I knew my boys would love throwing Grandma a party.  I also knew that I had family who would be there who were also announcing their joyful news of pregnancy.  

I remember feeling like I was losing my footing that week.  It was just a time full of grayness and full of anxiety.  I called my family who was to attend and asked if under the circumstances, if they could celebrate my mom's birthday at a different time.  I just couldn't handle any sort of awkwardness that weekend and that being anything that came from me. I knew my mom could handle anything and didn't care about her birthday. She cared about us. But I told her we would still celebrate it for our boys. They needed as much normalcy as possible and especially since we had no clue what was coming next.  The family who was to originally come, I felt deserved time with my mom to celebrate their new joy and I didn't want anything to interfere with that. And since I had no clue from one day to the next how I would be feeling emotionally, I had to make that hard call.

I was right. The weekend was very emotional from the first step I took into my mom's house to the last.  I cried a lot. I moped a lot. I was as strong as I could be when my boys were around but when they weren't, there were a lot of deep discussions about everything possible that might happen with our baby--including if my life would be in danger and could I agree to abort if that was recommended?  After all, the specialist we had seen had actually encouraged that action on the VERY DAY we found out Jacob's diagnosis.  I barely could process what he was telling us, let alone know anything about Trisomy 13 and here was this doctor suggesting that it would be a "good thing" so that people would never know I had been pregnant...therefore I'd never have to explain and get upset????

We had many discussions like these throughout the weekend.  It was a very emotional time for us.  I remember asking Mom to pose for a picture with me right before we left for home so she could have a picture with her and her grand baby.  That photo said it all.  I didn't have any make up on and I looked a mess. My eyes looked weary from crying. I wore a peach maternity shirt with a sparkly silver design on the front. I tried my best to smile but couldn't.  I never wore that shirt again. That is definitely one detail that I do remember and have never forgotten.

Little did I know that the torture I had been enduring since learning of our sweet baby's diagnosis on October 21 would soon end only a short 4 days later on October 25.

October 24 was the last night I went to bed pregnant.  It was the last night I went to bed crying and praying for my baby to be okay and for that doctor to be wrong.  It was the last night I went to bed fretting over what the future would bring and how could I get through the next several months of uncertainty.  It was the last night I went to bed with my hand lying gently on my tummy with my baby still alive inside.

I sit here tonight thinking of that short, sudden and incredibly painful journey.  I wish I could remember every last detail of those days…what else did I wear that week, who else did I talk with, when did I cry…what did Sammy say? And Benny?  What were their faces like? What had Alex said?  Who had he called?  Unfortunately, time steals a lot of those details we want to cling to.  Could I get some of those details back? I’m sure I could. As a writer, I know that you can transport yourself back to a time with certain questions, “triggers” such as a physical reminder or even just relaxing and giving me time to remember.  But of course, busy me…I have a lot of my plate so some of those details may have to wait to be uncovered another day.

Why do I want to go back there you might be wondering?  Is it to relive the pain?  Oh no.  Not at all.  Not for one minute.  It’s simply because any details I have about my Baby Jacob helps me to feel close to him. It keeps him alive in my heart and in our lives as well.  Everyone has a story. Well, this is my son’s.  It is important to me to remember his story and to share it.  But mostly to love him…without a doubt to love him.  His story is all about love--his Mommy's love for him always.

Does that mean that I won’t cry if I see that photo of my mom and me again someday?  By the way, it’s kind of misplaced…I actually think it may be on a card that may be damaged. My luck, huh?   If I ever do get that picture pulled back up, sure, I may just cry upon seeing it. But that’s okay.  I would cry because I remember. I would cry for that woman who was facing such pain that night. I would cry because I love my baby.

Three years.  

In the last three years I’ve grown so much since losing my baby.  I’ve learned so much. I wouldn’t have changed a thing aside from keeping him here with me.  But I know he’s in a beautiful place right now and that brings me more joy than I can even explain.  He’s free from all pain and sorrow.  He knows only love, love and more love.  Some day, he will turn around and see his Mommy running towards him.  Actually maybe I'll be leaping!  Or dancing!  Or doing cartwheels which I always wanted to learn how to do but never could learn!!  Wouldn't that be something to see?  And he will giggle and smile and clap his hands as he sees his silly Mommy approaching.  And I'll feel like my heart could just burst out of me right then and there.  

Whatever happens, I know I will take in every beautiful detail of that moment and will treasure it forever.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Government Shutdowns and Babyloss...

Three years ago on October 1, I was happily pregnant with my third child.  I had just announced our pregnancy, or was getting close to it, I can't remember the dates exactly.  Old age, I guess. :)

The boys were thrilled to be big brothers.  Alex and I wondered if we might have a little girl this time, but we felt that our sweet baby was probably a boy.  I was shopping for a cute shirt to wear to my Tri Sigma Homecoming Event. I hadn't been back in years and looked forward to seeing all of my sisters again.  The weather was just starting to turn--leaves, temperatures--yes, everything was lining up to be a beautiful fall.

And then came my 12.5 week in-depth ultrasound on October 21 where we learned of Jacob's "fatal diagnosis".  He was diagnosed with Trisomy 13.  And then the horrific news that no parent wants to hear hit us on October 25, 2010. Our baby's heart had stopped beating.  Our son, whom we named Jacob Alexander, had died at exactly 13 weeks. It was a Monday.

What followed was a whirlwind of emotions. I felt tossed about in a storm that had taken me completely by surprise.  Eventually and thankfully, the light shown again and I moved towards healing.

Three years later as I find myself drawn towards my Jacob and reflecting on what happened back then, I'm caught up in another storm.  The weather is starting to turn.  We can't wait to take the boys' outdoor fall photo shoot as I have every year since they were babies. We are lining up fall festivals to attend--one of our favorite pastimes in the fall!  The boys can't wait for Halloween and keep changing their minds about what costumes they'll wear.  And with October kicking off the National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I'm excited to take this time to remember my sweet babies and to reach out to so many women who've lost too...through cards, supportive posts on facebook and prayer.

But there is this storm that I mentioned...this storm's winds are blurring everything that had been lining up to be yet another beautiful fall. I'm already fighting tears.  And this one doesn't just affect me, it affects countless Americans.  It is the Government Shutdown that just happened today.

Instead of seeing the colors of fall, right now the color I'm focused on mainly green...that is, cash.  We have no idea if this shutdown, i.e. my husband's furlough, will last for several days, weeks, months?  Will we get a paycheck next Friday?  How much?  Will he be paid retroactively?  We don't know.  No one knows.

So many unanswered questions remind me of how I felt three years ago...while these two storms are very different, in many ways they are the same. You are left struggling.  You are left with so many questions---why? why did this have to happen? why me???  I remember asking the same thing when I lost Jacob. Why did we get pregnant if my eggs were so "old" that we were simply going to lose our precious child?  How will I get through this?  What do I do next?

Wow, I had no idea I'd be facing the same feelings three years later.  I'm left wondering why our government can't "play nice"...why they continue to sacrifice us and so many families to prove their points...I'm left asking every "how" question in the book. How on EARTH will we get through this?  How will we survive if money doesn't start coming back in? We just came off of the summer furlough...I mean, literally, we JUST CAME OFF of it.  And now, this??

And lastly, what do I do next?  My planning self wants to revamp our budget...trouble is, what do I budget?  If there is potentially no money coming in, what do I budget?  What?  How? Why?

My friends, I wish so much that I had answers. I wish that I had them for me and for any one of you who are in a similar boat being tossed about right now. These storms suck. Yes, they just suck.  I hate them.

But as I think back to the storm three years ago, I find myself holding on to one thing.  I survived. I made it through.  Somehow, with God's help, with His Steady Hand on my heart, I made it through.  I found hope. I found joy. I found peace. I love remembering my Jacob. I love thinking about him.  I love helping other baby loss moms now as they find themselves stumbling through this journey of loss.

I know God is with me.  He is with my family during this storm.  While I'm struggling with my planning self who desperately wants to find answers--to prepare for every 'what if' under the sun--I know I have to just give this all to God. I have to give Him every last piece of it.

Do I know how to do that?  No. I will be honest.  I don't.  But I know it's what I am to do...somehow.  I will keep praying. I will cry. I will know that my Father hears every pain in my heart.  And that's enough. Somehow I know that's enough. I don't have to be perfect in my prayers. I don't have to quote the best Bible verses.  I know He takes me as I am with all of my flaws and worried and with my over-dependency on myself...He takes me with all of my "what ifs" and panicking moments.

So tonight on Day 1 of the Government Shutdown I go to bed with those feelings on my heart. I want to close my eyes and drift into a peaceful sleep that only God can bring.  I know He will guide our family through this storm.  And, yes.  October and all of the beautiful things in it aren't going anywhere.  It is still a beautiful season that our family will enjoy as much as possible.  It still will be full of candy corn, Kit Kats and Reese Cups.  It will still be a chance for me to write about Jacob, to share his story and to remember all of those precious babies lost.

Tonight I pray for my blurry and weary eyes to be cleared so that I may see only the beauty this month.  I want to see red and gold leaves.  I want to see my children's faces erupt in laughter as they act out their Halloween costumed character (whoever they pick).  I want to see Jacob's balloon launch high into the sky on his anniversary.  And I trust God for the rest.

With much love for you my friends, however this month finds you...


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A giveaway!!!

Hello Everyone!

Long time no write!!  :)  I'm so sorry!!  Sheesh, every time I came out here something prohibited me from writing.  So much to catch up on!  And I will get you caught up, just not all at once. :)

I wanted to kick-off my "come back" with a wonderful giveaway by a sweet friend of mine, Beth Morey!  She is a fellow baby loss mom that I have known for the past two years and is such a generous woman!

She has recently followed her dream and has created an online course called "Made:  Exploring God-Centered Creativity". It starts on September 2 and runs for 16 weeks with a different course each week.  Now, anyone who knows me well knows that I am FAR FAR from artistic. :)  That's okay!  This course will include art, writing, photography, journalling, etc. and all from a Christian perspective. The supplies are minimal and easy to acquire. The price is affordable and the flexibility is there!  If you can't take each weekly course, or aren't interested, you don't have to!

In honor of Beth's birthday, she is giving away THREE spots in her course!!  That's right THREE!! She is also giving away THREE pieces of her beautiful artwork.  You can find her at Epiphany Art Studio.

So...interested?  Why not check it out and enter into her giveaway?  You'll find yourself at a great blog, you'll get to check out MADE and even walk through her art studio...you have everything to gain!

Enter at: www.bethmorey.com

Thanks so much friends!  I look forward to resuming my journey of motherhood with you....sooo much to catch up with!  Thank you for sticking with me!!

Kim :)