Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tough Day

I don't know why, all the sudden I'm having a really tough day. I keep crying, I keep missing my Gabriel and desperately wish he was here. I keep thinking about things like: I should be a mom of 2 under 2, I should be nursing, I should be changing 2 sets of diapers instead of one... 

I am angry. I don't want to be the mommy to an angel. I don't want this to be part of my life story.  I want to wake up and this was all a horrible horrible nightmare. My son in my arms (or still inhabiting my body) and everything normal again.  Why does this have to be part of my life? Why me? Why my Gabriel? 

Why the wonderful people I've met through this journey? Why did their babies have to leave too?

I think I've officially hit the "angry" part of greiving. I don't know if I'm crying because I'm sad, or because I'm mad. I've waited for this part of the process, it hasn't hit till now.

Thanks for the vent. I needed to get that out.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First baby experience..

Since Gabriel's birth, I've been avoiding babies, baby showers, and baby stores. I just haven't been up for it.  A couple of our friends had their baby yesterday morning, a little boy.  They had him at Derrick's work which is the same hospital I had Evelyn and Gabriel.

 Walking in I was very very nervous. I didn't know if I was going to keep it all together. But I had to try, I had to prove to myself that I could do this.  My palms were sweaty, my heart nearly beat out of my chest as I walked past the same room where Gabriel was born... and passed.  It was empty as I looked in, and very vivid flashbacks of that morning came rushing through my mind.

I settled on a couch in the waiting room with Derrick and Evelyn, two of my very close friends were also there.  The nurses even gave me a second look - as if they were thinking "is she ready for this?" (they know Derrick and what we've been through).  Nobody had to say anything, I knew they were sort of waiting to see how I'd do, as is expected.  But I felt the support, from our friends, and from the staff.  I knew they would understand if I couldn't handle it or lost it a little.

I couldn't get myself to hold the baby, although Derrick did and he did it with a smile on his face.  I did look at him and touch him, but I just wasn't ready to hold him. Not yet, not during my first experience with a newborn baby boy.  We chatted and socialized and nobody put any pressure on me to hold him or be near him. 

Somehow I managed to hold myself together and just enjoyed socializing with some friends.

I felt sad as we left, partly because I hadn't gained the courage to hold their little guy, partly because I was struggling with my emotions the entire time (I hoped they hadn't noticed too much).  But I have to take things one step at a time and not jump out of my comfort zone. I think if I'd held him, I might have lost it.  I'm glad I didn't. 

But now, although my heart aches with the pain of missing Gabriel, I also feel stronger than I did before.  I know now that being around a new baby is not going to be the end of my world and it isn't going to send me a million miles backwards in my healing process...  I feel that I've healed just a little bit more from this experience and that now I won't have to dread the next baby that comes into the world, I can approach it with caution and only push myself as far as I'm comfortable. 

Hooray for progress, and congrats Blair and Celeste!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


On March 11th, we went and chose Gabriel's headstone. It was sad looking through all the stencils and designs geared specifically to babies and children.  Looking through the book was a little tough, trying to decide which one was perfect for our son was harder. At first we struggled to agree on what we wanted it to look like. But when we saw a specific one, we were sold.

A few days ago, I was sent the final outline for pre approval. Its perfect. I can't wait to see what it turns out like. 

 A few days after designing his stone, I was driving down the road, begging to myself for a sign from Gabriel. I hear people talk about seeing their babies in their dreams, seeing butterflys and other animals that are taken as a hello from their child.  I was searching the sky, looking in the clouds for some sort of sign of him.  I was stopped at a light, looked to my left and saw this:

Holds quite the resemblance to the dove on his stone design, doesn't it?

I took this as my symbol from him, my quiet and subtle hello.  Something or someone was telling me to search the sky for my sign, and I did.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


The last week or so, I have found myself slipping into a sort of darkness. I know this is just another stage of the greiving process, its not something I'm concerned about. Just another fact: greif happens.

I don't know why all the sudden I'm finding it hard to stay happy. I have many reasons to smile, many great things in my life. But recently, even those things are hard to see through the sadness.  I don't miss Gabriel any more or any less than I ever have. The realization that he isn't here with us and that we don't get to be with him is not a recent discovery. 

The only recent thing that has happened/changed, is that we went to go design is headstone. I was nervous in the days leading up to that one, I was afraid I'd be an emotional wreck, a timebomb waiting to explode.  But when that day came, it felt like such an honor to be able to do something so special, so permanant for our son..  Its just one more way people will know he existed, he lived. Its one more moment we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Sitting there, searching through dozens of designs specifically for infants.  Some Derrick liked, some I liked, and one that we both agreed was perfect for our little man.

I've been working a lot on his scrapbook, perhaps my way of working through the darkness. For the last 3 months I just couldn't get myself to work on it.  Now I have this new found drive to get it completed. I want to have it done, a momento to look at, a book to share.  I suddenly feel overwhelmed with the desire to have this one last monument of his life complete.  But, I've stalled once more. I'm beginning the part about the induction/labor process....  I don't even know how to memorialize it.  I have saved every little peice of paper and can't decide whats important and whats not.

We have continued to attend the support group we found.  It meets every other Tuesday and so far we have yet to see a familiar face - everyone is always a newcomer. They have all been smaller more intimate groups. Us and one or two other couples.  Derrick finds it too repetative, I find it helpful.  The main thing for me is just being around other moms who feel the things I feel, who share a common bond - as horrible of a bond as that is.  But Derrick is right, it is repetative. Its the same thing every single time, and its never long enough. 1 1/2 hours is not long enough to really get to know someone.  So we have our brain waves flowin, coming up with ideas to help other people who are just looking for more. I have one great idea, but the funding is going to be a bit of a problem because I can't afford to fund an event.

Otherwise, we're doing well.  Enjoying the beautiful weather Minnesota has blessed us with this year.  I love summer and would be thrilled with the "endless summer" they keep talking about.  But I sure wish our little man was here to enjoy it with me.

I love you Gabriel, from the bottom of my heart. I miss you and I wish you were here with us every single day... 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Baby Fever

Baby Fever: When a girl starts feeling a strong desire to have a baby, possibly to the point of obsession. (Urban Dictionary).  I may have the worst case ever.

I feel like it comes from the fact that Evelyn has been my baby, my tiny little offspring. In December, I held and loved my even smaller, tinier son. Holding him and seeing him makes me remember the days when Evelyn was so small - she really isn't my baby anymore. 

I held him, looked at him, kissed him. I should have a baby, a tiny human to snuggle in my arms, but he was taken from me and my life. He should be a 3 month old little boy that snuggles and breastfeeds and wakes me up in the night, but instead I snuggle alone (Evelyn isn't much of a snuggler these days, all she wants to do is play!).  Instead of making bottles and breastfeeding, I'm packing up bottles and infant clothes. Of course, going through all Evelyn's clothes certainly doesn't help. A HUGE reminder of when she was so small. Perhaps that wasn't such a good idea.

It feels like what I imagine a drug addict goes through, the want, the need, the feeling that something is missing.  Everytime I see a baby, a pregnant woman, a baby store - the need gets intense. Its all I think about some days, I dream about our next baby when I sleep. I can't watch TV or movies without the thought crossing my mind.  

We need to make sure we are emotionally ready for another pregnancy. We have to be strong enough to handle the initial stress and emotional pain we'll feel when we get that positive test again. No matter how long we wait it'll be stressful, but we have to make sure we're in a place that we can handle it. Until they can confirm that the baby has kidneys and all its other vital organs, we are going to be emotional, stressed and rather overwhelmed.  Now, add in the possibility that it could happen again. The statistics say that its unlikely, but its not unheard of. If it happened again, especially if its too soon, it'd tear us apart.

The statistics say that we have a close to 0% chance of it happening again. But I have talked to women who have had Potters Syndrome babys, followed with healthy normal baby girls and when they got pregnant with another boy, it had Potters Syndrome again... Some of these mothers, like us, have been told its not a genetic condition.  I think possibly there's more to the statistics than what we see.  Is it possible that some families who have a Potters baby can have normal healthy baby girls (Evelyn) but cannot have a baby boy without Potters Syndrome? Could it be that the following baby girls are throwing off the reoccurance statistics?  If that is the case, perhaps we'll never have a baby boy? That would be ok, but I would like the experience of parenting a little guy.  These are the things that go through my mind.

These are the things that tell us how scared we will be when we do get pregnant again. These thoughts will never leave our minds, we could wait 10 years and it'll still be a stressful situation. Every day, the load of these concerns lightens just a bit which is building our confidence to be able to try again. Its just a matter of knowing when is the right time for BOTH of us and our families.

Until then, I'll obsess and wonder how we'll know for sure we are ready, and when we'll be pregnant again. Until then I'll continue to find ways to deal with this "baby fever" and focus on other things.

Monday, March 5, 2012

3 months

Its been 3 months since we said goodbye to our sweet angel Gabriel. 

Some days it feels like an eternity.  We've grown so much and changed so much throughout this journey that I barely recognize myself anymore. Its good changes though: I'm so much more open minded, caring, less self centered, gracious, and loving than I was before. (just so we're clear, I don't believe these things were a problem before, those parts of me have just grown and matured even more.)

It feels like a lifetime ago that we were holding him, feeling his warmth, giving him kisses. Yet it was really only 3 short months ago.  Sometimes, it really does feel that fresh, 3 months is not a very long time.  Its hard to believe that we'd have a 3 month old right now in our home, I wonder all the time what that'd be like.  Its terrible how your mind starts to forget things, even the important things that you want to remember.

Its sad to think that I'm starting to forget details of that fateful morning. (Good thing I've written them down).  I"m thankful to have the photos to look at because without them, I'm afraid I would have blocked most of it out already - even what he looked like. I have trouble sometimes remembering what it looked like peering down on his precious face. The pictures remind me, they assure me that what I remember is accurate. And sometimes, I go back and read my previous blog posts to remind me about everything, the last thing I want to do is forget any part of our journey.

Sometimes I worry that I'll forget all together. I never want to forget what it felt like to hold my son. I never want to forget what he looked like, what he smelled like, and what his tiny body felt like.

We miss Gabriel every day. We wish he was here with us constantly. I wonder what things he'd be doing right now. What would Evelyn be like with a baby brother always around?  I don't cry as often for him, although that doesn't mean I miss him or love him any less... it just means I'm healing.

That, I feel, is a very good thing.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Class Ring

When I was a senior in High School, I placed an order for the ever-so-common class ring. A typical right of passage, and a prize to be worn around the time of graduation. Sometimes boys would do the thing they do in the movies and give theirs to their girlfriends... Ordering one was a big deal, some people went for the classy and expensive. I went more simplistic - a typical female ring with "Samantha" engraved on one side and 2004 on the other. When selecting the stone, I didn't do the typical thing and get my birthstone. Instead I chose to get my only full-blooded brother's birthstone. When he graduated a few years before me, he chose my birthstone for his ring because he just liked how it looked. I Chose his because I knew he had mine.

I've worn my ring on my right ring finger since the day I got it. I don't really even notice it anymore and hadn't noticed how beat up and tarnished it'd gotten throughout the years. Awhile back, I was at work and one of my co-workers commented that she liked my ring. I told her that it was my class ring and why I'd chosen that specific stone. It wasn't until then that I realized - MY CLASS RING IS ALSO GABRIEL'S BIRTHSTONE!

I was so excited to have this realization,  I'd never noticed this before! For 8 years I'd been wearing Gabriel's birthstone on my hand. I never had any idea that it would eventually be something so sentimental, so personal.  Was a higher power trying to tell me something by pushing me to select that specific stone? Was there an angel who knew how my life story would play out , standing there whispering in my ear "pick that one" knowing that someday it would have significant meaning?

Oh geez, now I feel like I'll never want to take it off. What will I do when Derrick gives me an engagement ring again? Right now I wear the same promise ring that I've worn for 8 years on my left ring finger, would I move that ring to my right hand and not wear the class ring that now has so much significance?  OR maybe I could convince Derrick to somehow incorporate Gabriel's birthstone into my engagement ring so I won't feel so hesitant to take off my class ring? Or perhaps I should take it off anyways so I don't ruin it or damage it any further - tuck it away in my jewelry box so I will always have it and its new found significance?

And here I thought the tough decisions were over after Gabriel was born... Silly me.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Visiting Gabriel

At first, I would go out to the cemetary every day, after about a month I'd go out every few days, now I go to see Gabriel about once a week. I'm satisfied with that, I don't feel like I'm dwelling on our loss, I feel like I'm making strong progress in othe greiving process.  I enjoy going out and visiting him, I take him little presents, relight the candles my mom has left for him, and have a chance to tell him how much I love and miss him.  I realize his spirit isn't there, but the only physical part of him is there. Its comforting to me to be near him, its a reminder of how much he's taught me and how much he's forced me to grow as a  human being.  Usually, Evelyn stays in the car (its been kinda cold and windy and I don't like to drag her out in it).  I went there the  other day, for the first time I felt strong and confident instead of weak and emotional.  I brought some new decorations and Evelyn brought a red pinwheel for her brother. 

Strangely enough, it felt as though she understood.  She just walked up and looked at the ground, she was quiet, well behaved and seemed to understand that this is a sad place, a place to be quiet.  I don't think she actually understands, she was  probably just following my lead and feeling what I was feeling...

I stood there and talked to Gabriel, told him everything I normally tell him and told him that his sister was here to see him.  His bell went crazy!  It was dinging for about 30 seconds and there was barely a breeze!  Evelyn looked at the bell, smiled, looked at me and gave me the pinwheel. 

A friend from Derrick's work visited Gabriel the other day, and Andrea (Derrick's sister) a visited him yesterday.  Its s nice to know that people still stop out there and are still visiting him..  Andrea said that when she was there, his angel ornament was shiny and bright and bare - despite the icy snow storm we got the angel was hanging there bright and shimmery.

I am pleased with where I stand today, strong, feeling supported, feeling much on the rebound.  Although I  miss him every day, I talk about him a lot to people and it makes me feel good.  I still have days where I breakdown from heartache, I cry and I miss him,but deep down I know I'm right where I'm suppoesd to be, and right now he's guiding me and my life.  I'm anxious to start school again, I feel like I want to help people and Psychology is going to be the best way for me to do that.  I'll be able t to help people going through a variety of life experiences and also help people working through greif and loss. I'll specifically try to find a way to incorporate Psychology into helpng people go through the loss of a child...

Starting a new chapter in my life, all thanks to Gabriel's guidance.