Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

I feel like I've been doing well. I've been fairly happy most of the time, although Gabriel's memory lingers with me everywhere I go, its not always with sadness that I remember him now. Until today that is, today I feel like I've hit a brick wall. My emotions are running on HIGH.

We stopped out at the cemetary to visit with Gabriel. Its been a couple weeks since I've been out to visit, not because I don't want to of course and not because its painful. I just haven't felt the need, I feel like Gabriel is always with me so visiting the cemetary is strictly to be close to him physically. 

Today we took out a few more pinwheels for Memorial Day. Maybe it was just an excuse to go there, I'm not really sure.  I got Evelyn out of the car and she knew right where to go, she walked right up to his stone and said "hi"... I almost broke down right then and there. We took a moment and cleaned off his stone because it was a bit dirty, and rearranged his many decorations people have left in his honor so that we could fit 3 more small pinwheels next to his stone. 

As we walked away, Evelyn turned around and waved good-bye... I held it together till I got in the car and started to drive away. I got sad and angry. It breaks my heart that she's beginning to understand, that this is becoming so normal that she says "Hi" and waves.  This was not supposed to be part of our lives, this was not in my plans for how life would be. I never pictured myself visiting my son at a cemetary.  Evelyn was never supposed to have a sibling in the ground or be spending parts of her childhood visiting her brother's resting place.  I shouldn't be working up  to teaching her the things her brother taught us about love and life... and death. Not now, not so young.  It breaks my heart to think she'll never know or play with her brother, she'll visit him at the cemetary and be with him there and thats it.

I miss my little man so much today.  If only I could hold him and hug him and kiss him one more time....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Real life?

When I started this blog, I began with the name. It took me weeks to find something clever enough that wasn't taken. But it was simple really.

I never realized then, that this blog would take me beyond my realm of friends and family, and into a world of strangers who would wonder, worry, and pray for us. I didn't know that "real life" was really such an important title. Real - where pregnancy is not always happy and exciting. Real - where pregnancy does not guarantee a take home baby. Where life throws unexpected curve balls that smack you right in the face.

Real - where the thought of pregnancy again can be more scary than exciting. Where life does not guarantee anything and offers no explanations. A life that is more difficult than the life of a bee - they have explanations and answers, reasons that are easily explained. This version of life offers none of these.

I sit here and watch Evelyn playing at the park and wonder - what would it be like to also be playing with a 5 month old little guy. Would he like the grass and wood chips? Would he burn easily in the sun unlike his older sister? Would he be wise beyond his time like our sweet Evelyn is?

This is real, raw emotion and thoughts that nobody wants to experience let alone reveal to the world - but I do. I want you to know what real life is all about. I want you to know and understand the emotional roller coaster that grieving a child brings so that if you or someone you know experiences "Real Life" loss and grief, you can understand. You can better help them through the roller coaster ride that it truly is.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Getting through it.

Things are going well for us it seems.

We live each day feeling as though a piece of us is missing. We're learning to cope with that better these days. That feeling of loss isn't constantly lingering above our heads - now its more of a subtle thought that constantly lingers in the back of our minds.

Its hard to believe that 1 year ago I was excitedly expecting another offspring. I was planning out our third bedroom for another being to claim. I was starting to tell our immediate family and friends and everything was going smoothly. Its crazy to think that I had no idea that something was wrong.

These days we pretty much go about our business as we usually did before everything happened. Its a rare occasion that we share Gabriel's story with strangers now, seems like most people know.  But he still comes up in everyday conversation with our friends and family. I enjoy being able to talk about him and think about him.

It does help that since we recently got engaged, I've been busy and distracted with wedding planning. I'm so excited for it! Its been a seriously long time coming and I am thoroughly enjoying the planning process.  However, one of the very first things I did was order a memorial candle for Gabriel. It was sad to think that we had to do that - order a memorial candle for our son, who SHOULD be there on our wedding day, instead of being memorialized with a candle...  But the candle was something I had to do. It was something I had to have. I was heart broken when the first one shipped and came with a small dent and the wording reversed...  With this I had to be picky. I emailed the company and they completely understood that I needed this one to be right. So they sent me a new one with the problems fixed and in perfect condition. They let me keep the other one, so I'll probably have one for the ceremony and one for the reception. The first one wasn't terrible - it just wasn't right, it wasn't perfect like I needed it to be.

The other day my heart broke - we were out somewhere as a family and Derrick looked over at a boy and his dad.  I don't remember what they or we were doing exactly, but I remember Derrick simply said "Father and Son....."  And that was it. Its not too often Derrick will verbally say when something bothers him.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

I can sum it up in one word - bittersweet.

I'm honored by my little girl who first made me a momma nearly 2 years ago.  I'm grateful for her every single day.  She's such a pride and joy to spend my every waking minute with.  Derrick took her for a walk and came back with flowers, and dinner plans:  Steak, smoked chicken, and corn.  I relaxed all day watching tv and hanging out with my loves while Derrick prepared our dinner. It was a great day.

However, I wish my son was here to give me mother's day kisses, to cuddle with me for a mother's day nap, and to put his footprints on paper to be given as a gift. Instead, I meander out to the cemetary so my family can be all together for a few moments during Mother's Day.

Many times last night I was asked if I have kids and how many.  I bragged about my beautiful charming little girl, and followed up with "I have a son too, but he only lived for 35 minutes." For the most part people were really understanding and would say something like "Well, I hope you have an extra special mother's day this year."

Friday, May 11, 2012


I realize this is going to be a little...  controversial. Please don't judge me or attack me for writing this. Its part of our journey and I feel I should include it in Gabriel's blog.

A few months back. A co-worker of mine revealed that he has a special gift - he's psychic.  He did a reading on me that was incredibly accurate. He told me things about Derrick, about myself, about our lives that are not just vague facts.  Then I asked the all important questions: Is Gabriel ok? Will we lose any more children?   He said Gabriel is fine and no, he doesn't see us losing any more children.  Then he added that we would be pregnant by the fall and that he feels like it would be the same spirit coming back to me.  He said Gabriel wasn't supposed to come to earth so soon. 

When we went out for my birthday, I had the chance to have a breif meeting with Gary Spivey. He's a world reknown psychic who has predicted many many events and has an incredible talent.  He is on a local radio station (KDWB) frequently and I try to listen to at least part of it. I love Gary, to put it simply. I agree with his belief system and truly believe he has a special gift.   He offers private readings but I can't afford that. He puts on workshops and retreats but I can't afford that either.

When I was standing in line to meet Gary Spivey I had a million questions running through my head, which of my one questions would I ask???  Derrick went first, he was very adament that this guy was full of it - until he asked his question and walked away shocked that Gary knew as much as he did about him. 

Then it was my turn. I sat down - star struck (I love Gary) and simply asked: "I need to know if my son is ok, and if we'll lose anymore".  He took a minute. Asked a couple questions about Gabriel and said: "You have a lot of worry, you don't need to worry, your son is fine.  Right now I don't see you losing anymore children, but sometimes those things can be hard to predict."

 I went to stand up, my turn was over, he answered my question.  He tugged my hand and I settled back in.  He said "I see you being pregnant very soon, I feel like its going to be the same spirit coming back to you."  Holy tears. Complete breakdown at that moment.

I was shocked. Two psychics, one personal and one professional told me the exact same thing!  I never told Gary anything about my reading with my co-worker. This was crazy. I got up and ran into Derrick's arms - bawling.  I was trying to tell him what he said to me but it was only coming out in bits and pieces. 

After I calmed down for a minute, I realized that everyone around was watching me with Gary, they were all wondering what was said. A few came up and asked - I gave them a brief explanation.  When I told my friends and my sister in law, they were tearing up too.  "Now you will get to see what Gabriel would have been like, you'll get to see him grow up!"

It was intense to say the least.

So now, I have to ponder all of this with our next baby.  How will this effect our next pregnancy? I can't let it effect how I parent the next child. It just has to be something settled into the back of my mind.

In the meantime, Gabriel is nestled up to my grandpa's chest, just waiting for the next time I see him again... Whenever that may be.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gabriel's MOD Walk.

When I got pregnant with Gabriel I joined a forum for January 2012 moms. They followed me through my journey with Gabriel both before, and after our diagnosis. Then after his birth, I joined their Facebook group and have been grateful that they kept me a J12 mom despite the fact that my baby didn't live and despite the fact that he was born in December (if you don't remember, his due date was January 4th).

This was the same group that arranged for the beautiful necklace I recieved a few days after Gabriel's birth:

One of the women in the group did a March of Dimes walk on April 27th. Her family designed a shirt that had all the J12 preemie babies on it to honor them all (including her son).  She asked me if she could include Gabriel's name. Of course she could! As if I could say no.

But I wasn't prepared for what she actually meant....

What an honor! I was in tears, bawling at work because this was an amazing tribute to my little man. And how amazing is it that a "stranger", someone who I've never met in person, would pay such a tribute to my son, who she never met! 

Someday, I'm going to join these ladies when they do their get togethers... They've done so much for me and been there so many times, I could never repay them.

And for the record, surprisingly, being part of the group and seeing all the updates about all their little ones doesn't bring me much heartache. It reminds me what stage Gabriel would be at and what things he'd be doing right  now. It brings me a lot of joy to know how much these women love and cherish their little ones...

It must be very difficult...

I found this on a Pregnancy and Infant loss forum that I frequent ...

It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry"
and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.
It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test,
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.
They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"
He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But "stays strong" for her sake.
It must be very difficult
To start each day anew.
And try to be so very brave-He lost his baby too.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

1 year ago today...

1 year ago today, I woke up and realized I should probably take a test - this particular test I was pretty nervous about. I woke up in a panic after having a very vivid dream that I was pregnant. I immediately went into my medicine cabinet and pulled out my spare tests... A test that would change my life forever.

After getting a positive result, I panicked. I wasn't ready for another baby, not with Evelyn only being 9 months old. I was angry that my birth control had failed me. Upset that my life wasn't going according to my plans - once again.  I was afraid of having 2 under 2 and how I would handle it. I felt so selfish for feeling so angry and upset about being pregnant. I was disappointed because my birthday was the next day and I had plans- a celebration that obviously wouldn't go according to plan (wow was I ever selfish).  I was terrified that I might miscarry again (despite my feelings - I did want this baby from the very moment I knew it existed.).  I was harboring excitement and was thrilled about being pregnant and bringing another life into this world, but the fear and anxiety hid any happiness I was feeling.

I quickly estimated that I was about 6 weeks along...

I didn't realize that day, how lucky I was to be pregnant. I didn't realize how dramatically my life would change, I was completely unprepared for what was to come in the near future. When I went in for my first appointment a few days later, my doctor asked if I was ready for this... My response:  "No, but I will be.".

I feel terrible for having the feelings I did. It didn't last long, I was being naive, before we got our diagnosis I never truly realized how fragile pregnancy actually is, I never realized how much of a miracle and blessing it is to get pregnant in the first place.  Some people would probably have a fit about how ungrateful I was. I know I was, I think about it all the time, some days I beat myself up over it - even when nobody has said anything about it. In fact, I'm surprised somebody didn't say something to me before about how selfish I was being, I'm grateful they didn't because I learned better a few months later at our 20 week ultrasound.

Sometimes, I wonder if my negativity about being pregnant caused this to happen to Gabriel. I wonder if I had been more excited, maybe things would have been different. Sometimes I toy with the opposite idea, at 5 weeks his kidneys should have started to develop, was I that upset because deep down I knew something wasn't right? Was that my minds way of preventing me from getting too attached?

Well guess what Mind, it didn't work. I WAS attached, VERY attached. I wanted this baby more than anything.

So, while I should be excited to go out for my birthday tonight, I'm struggling to stay positive. I'm going to be surrounded by the love of my friends and family, but am wondering how on earth I'm going to keep the memories of this day on the back burner so I can have a good night tonight.

And I wonder, will every birthday be tarnished with the memory that the day before we found out Gabriel was on his way?  Will the memory of my 25th birthday -  telling my friends I wasn't drinking because I was pregnant - haunt every birthday to come?