Monday, December 17, 2007

A magical time of year

Christmas is this magical time of year. It's a time when all is well in the world and all is at peace. It's a time when family is together and stories of wonder and amazement are shared with the precious children in everyone's life. It's a time where no matter how cold it is outside, inside is warm and toasty.

I love Christmas time. Christmas has always been this time where all wrongs can be righted and even the coldest of foes can stand together and sing merry songs together. Christmas is a time when miracles take place.

I am married to a wonderful man who brings Christmas alive in our home. He brings magic to Kaitlyn's world and how can anyone not love that.

It doesn't feel like Christmas right now. Yes, it's cold outside, our tree is trimmed our decorations are up and the stocking wait for Santa to fill in just a week's time. But this year, it's different. This year we smile the smiles, we tell the stories, we sing the songs, but it's not there. Our home is emptier. Even though our home has the same people in it that were here last year, there is this huge gap that can't be filled. This Christmas, there should have been two little ones under the tree digging out what Santa brought them, instead there is only 1. While Matthew's spirit is always with us, it isn't the same as having him here to love and to hold.

I think there are many things that make that gap even more present, even more cold and evern more noticeable. Be it lost friendships, familiar places being packed up, the coldness of the unknown that the future holds or the constant reminder of how different this year is from last, it is not the warm holiday season that I spend the whole year longing for.

I hate being by myself. Even if it's just in a doctor's waiting room or driving back from dropping Kaitlyn off at school. The loud echo of silence is a powerful sound that allows the wandering mind to wander to places it shouldn't wander. I do my best to never be in silence. I avoid having Kaitlyn away from me at all costs. I know there are probably some that are annoyed by the constant chatter their toddler brings, but I yearn for it. I need the chatter to stop the mind from wandering. I'm sure some people do not understand that, and really, I don't expect them to. Unless you have experienced any of what we have this year, you wouldn't. I went 10 long weeks of only seeing Kaitlyn an hour or two a day, I intend on making that up to her come hell or high water regardless of the opinions of others.

I am incredibly thankful to the friends and family who call just to chat. I hate picking up the phone to call people, the idea of bothering them or risking making them feel sad or bad isn't something I want to encounter. I am grateful for the time spent with those who enjoy our company. I am happy to have the people in my life that I do. I know those people will never know or understand how much a simple call or e-mail means, but I hope one day I can return the favor.

So this year, we'll smile the smiles, sing the songs, wrap the gifts, trim the tree and we'll do it all with heavy, lonely hearts and the constant reminder that even on Christmas, our family will never be whole again.

Merry Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Matthew would have been 4 months old

Matthew would have been 4 months old yesterday.

There are times when it feels like a million years have gone by since Matthew died and there are times when it seems like it was just yesterday.

The time Matthew was here was so perfect that it doesn't even seem like it was real. If it wasn't for pictures, the short video we have and his things, I don't think I would believe that he was even here.

Thank you for the sweet thoughts, e-mails, phone calls and messages yesterday. It really does mean a lot.

With anything we do, I keep thinking about how Matthew would like it. Things would be so different. I bet by now Kaitlyn would have changed at least one diaper. His circumsision would probably be totally healed and I'd bet that he'd be a smiler by now. I wonder how much more his hair would have grown or thickened up.

I adored Matthew so much. I still do. I think there are still times that I pretend that he's still here. He was so good at cuddling. And really, I had no problem with it.

I already had our Christmas outfits all ready and set for holiday pictures. We were going to wear dark grey. Kaitlyn has a new Tommy Hilfiger dress and Matthew was going to wear a sweet sweater vest and bright red tie. There are so many things he never got to wear.

I know I have changed so much since Matthew left us. Even though I worked so hard to get him here, I think I didn't take him for granted. I didn't appreciate him or what a miracle he was. I thought frequently about how amazed I was that he was here and he had made it, but I don't think I understood exactly how miraculous that was.

Sometimes, I feel so much pressure to continue to be something to everyone. There are times I get so frustrated and want to scream from the top of the highest building to cut me a little slack.

I miss Matthew so much, we all do. He was such an important and valuable part of our family. It's so hard to try and find the best ways to honor him and keep him a part of our family.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Good Friends

I use to think that maybe my "tiffs" with some people were because there was something wrong with me. Maybe I wasn't a good enough person. So, I started trying hader. I tried to be more thoughtful, I tried to be more understanding and I tried to be a better friend.

But things didn't change. To the same people, over and over again, nothing I did was good enough. It isn't/wasn't many people, just a small handful. I still tried, I still hoped that things would change. Who doesn't want everything around them to be roses?

For every negative encounter, I tried harder. I somehow managed to ignore the hurtful comments, the never ringing phone and the constant disregard for my feelings. I just thought, if I tried hard enough I could "win them over."

Only very recently did that change. Very, Very recently I realized, maybe it isn't me. There are other people who I don't have to try nearly as hard for and they are amazing and loyal friends. They are there for me through anything and actually make an effort to be a friend.

So maybe, just maybe, it isn't me. Maybe I am actually a good and decent human being. Maybe, the problem is within them. Maybe, they themselves are uncapable of being a good friend? Or maybe, they just don't want a friendship with me. I have no hard feelings towards that and am all too happy to accept it.

In this instance what can I do? What should I do? I've told them before what it is that I need from a friend, but it seems to fall on deaf ears.

I've decided that for these people, I should try to take them as they are. I should stop trying so hard to turn them into a good friend. I have good friends that I love and adore and am so proud to have in my life. It would be great to turn these people into good friends, but I think I left my wand in my other purse.

The thing that really upsets me, even though it shouldn't, is the constant trash talk behind my back. I just don't understand why people talk about others when they aren't there. What exactly does that resolve? Does it make you feel like a better person? That, and the whining to Dusty.

If I had a problem with someone, I would NEVER put Dusty in the middle of it. He hates confrontation and he hates when people can't get along. So far, I have taken all of my deeply hurt feelings and stuffed them into a little bottle that I keep with me. I keep him safe from any of it. I hate drama and I KNOW he hates it more. I also know that despite what anyone might think, he has been through a helluva lot this year and I would never burden him with anything else. It isn't fair to him. And even though I know he would chose my side day in and day out, I would never dream of asking him to pick sides. I love him too much to do that to him. Better yet, Dusty does the same for me. I explained to him that he is welcomed to listen to the whining, the venting and the thoughts of others, just keep me out of it. I have enough on my plate with no desire to add more.

So, I guess I have to make resolutions. I have to get thicker skin, keep my guard up and realize that I am worthy of good friends.

I don't think negatively of the others, I truly don't. I want nothing but happiness and good fortune for them. I want their lives to be sunny and warm surrounded by loving friends and family. I will not take their actions, words or thoughts personally. I will not hold my hurt feelings against them. I will instead learn from them and with any luck and hope grow from the lessons learned. Maybe one day, things will be different.

I would like to deeply thank everyone that has been there for me through the fun happy before pregnancy times, to the sad, dark times following Matthew's death. Your friendship has meant the world to me and I will always be grateful and thankful for your kind words and loving thoughts.

Monday, December 3, 2007

New Boundries

There was a time when everything was peachy keen. I'll refer to that time as BH (Before Hospialization).

During that time, we were all happy. Sure, I think we were a little neive. We believed that nothing but good things could happen to us. I thought I knew for certain who my true, honest friends were. I really did. Sure, there were ocassionaly misunderstandings and once in a great while, some hurt feelings, but nothing that couldn't be repaired.

When I was in the hospital, I started to wake up a bit. I think I realized that for some, you have to really explain what it is you need. Be it a phone call once in a while, maybe a short visit, maybe even just an e-mail once in a while.

When Matthew came home, it was more of the same. Some people were absolutely awesome and amazing and some people couldn't be found. Again, things were discussed and I thought that my thoughts, feelings and expectations, albeit low, were known.

In Matthew's passing, I've learned so much about friends. You cannot make someone be a good friend. You cannot change people or who they are. And if they don't get it after 3 or 4 times, they probably aren't going to get it. I don't think this makes them bad people, but it does mean that I have to change what friendship means to me.

BH, I didn't have a hard time where I really needed to lean on friends. Everything was happy go lucky. Looking back, I think I lulled myself into believing that some friendships were more than they were. I blame myself for that. I wanted this ideal world to be true where I was as close to people as I thought I was and really, I wasn't. I was so silly and naive to even think I was.

Turns out, I'm always going to be the bad guy to some. I'm not sure what it is or why it is, but it is and that's what matters. And really, I'm starting to be Ok with being on the outside looking in. Being on the outside means I don't have to participate in as much of the drama. Being on the outside means the hurtful comments or remarks hurt a little less. Being on the outside means that I know what to expect. I know that the first to leave the room is the first to be discussed.

To fix this and ensure that I spend my precious time wisely, I'm setting new boundries. There are some things we will only do as a family. For example, if Dusty isn't available, neither are me and Kaitlyn. He can be my support in times when I need it. I need to learn not to be so trusting to some. I hate opening up to someone just to know that it's being spread around like the day's hot gossip. So, I need to stop doing that. I need to keep my guard up and high and lean on those that have always been there for me when I need to lean.

I am sad that it has to be this way, but really, I don't know any other way for it to be? I don't have all of the answers and I don't know of a better solution. I just know that I am at a point in my life where I have to protect myself and my family before the feelings of others.

I am sad that I don't have the friendships that I had. But, I don't blame anyone for it. I can't change who people are and I wouldn't want to. Just as I wouldn't want others to try and change me. I am a passionate, caring, loving, enthusiastic person who trys so hard to be there for anyone. Maybe one day, things will be different. It's something I can hope for, something I can want, and something I can accept may never be.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Do you know what makes me uncomfortable?

Being in a house where there are no pictures of Matthew up. Especially if there are pictures up of Kaitlyn. Regardless of the reason or excuse, it makes me feel as though is life, his presence and his image wasn't or isn't as appreciated or loved as hers or as others. And to be honest, that makes me feel terrible and lonely when I'm there.

I understand different people grieve differently, I understand that sometimes the pictures may be difficult to look at, BELIEVE me I know that. However, he was and is such an important part of our lives and our family that I want a part of him to be there with us always.

I enjoy being in rooms where I can see him 'watching' over us. It reminds me even more that he was here and he was a living, breathing little boy that brought us so much joy. And really, the joy means so much more to me than the heartache.

Even if it isn't true, it feels like in some cases, people want to forget he was ever here. Regardless of how they truly feel, that is the message I get and I don't like it. Not at all. Dusty and I went through a lot of effort to make sure that everyone who knew Matthew and who loved him had a nice collection of pictures of Matthew. We made sure 8x10s were included of different aspects of his life with different expressions. It was the one time where Dusty told me money was no object and he wanted to be sure everyone had plenty. I know it probably shouldn't be hurtful when I go places where his picture isn't, but it is.

I don't want Matthew to be forgotten, his presense to be ignored or for his place in our family to be replaced.

There is another thing that makes me uncomfortable.

I have absolutely no desire to leave Kaitlyn with anyone other than Dusty. It isn't necessarily that I don't trust people, but rather I don't want to be away from her. I know how short and unpromised life is and I want to savor every moment that I have with her. I know eventually, I will have to cross that hurdle, but I'm sure when I do, things will be different.

Kaitlyn has a tendency to tell everyone "My baby died." I use to think it was because she was confused or didn't understand what was happening. I think I now realize what a smart, bright and loving little girl she is. I think Kaitlyn says it because she wants people to remember her brother. She wants to talk about Matthew to everyone just as she did when he was alive. She went from people asking her every day how Matthew was doing and how she liked being a big sister to all of a sudden no one asking and no one thinking of her as a big sister.

I think Kaitlyn wants to keep his memory alive. I think she is really scared of people forgetting. I am sure that it is a lot to absorb for a 3 year old little girl, but she has to grieve and work through things just as we all do.

I've been in situations where Kaitlyn has said this and people have completely ignored what she's said or pretended she didn't say it. Kaitlyn is a little girl opening up to people and trying to engage them in conversation about her brother whom she still loves very much. How could or can anyone ignore that? As far as I'm concered, if Kaitlyn wants to talk to you about something and she trusts you enough to tell you about her amazing little brother, please give her the respect, and love that she deserves. I know it might make you a little uncomfortable to talk about but just telling her "I know, that's very sad" is enough to make her feel validated.

And that's enough whining for now

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Year of Growth

This year I have grown so much that it feels so unreal.

Our family grew by 2 feet, 2 hands and a huge heart. We grew by a whole other person! How amazing is that? What an incredible gift we have been giving in having Matthew as a part of our family.

And, I think I've grown in so many ways that it's hard to ever explain. I've learned so much. I've learned to give up control when it comes to things I cannot control to begin with. I've learned the importance of family. Not just those related by blood, but the family members that are built from a sense of love, belonging and a desire to want more for the other.

I've learned that there are so many things in life that are just so unimportant. Honestly, who really cares about what you have when who you have and who you are holds such more weight in the long run? The most valuable things we have are time and love. Neither are promised to us and both are taken for granted so often it seriously makes me ill.

I used to always plan everything so carefully, my words, my actions, my plans, so no one would ever have their feelings hurt or feel left out. Do you have any idea how much energy that requires? I spent more time trying to protect everyone I know that there wasn't much time or energy left for the actual event or for our family. And for what? It's rare that many put forth that same energy or level of dedication towards us. I think I've spent so much time and energy trying so hard to please everyone, I stopped being myself and I stopped worrying about myself and my family. I'm so over that. If people don't like me or appreciate me by now, they never will. People read so much into things sometimes that it makes me wonder why they don't have something better to do?

I have also learned that actions speak so much louder than words ever could. While words, good and bad, may echo in my head for a lifetime, actions can warm or cool my heart for an eternity. I want my actions to mean something.

Recently, I've learned that rumors are just that. I shouldn't accept what someone else says as truth, just because they say it. It isn't fair to the person that it is said about or myself. I think a lot of animosity and anger I've had in the past towards people is built off of things that I've been told that I, myself, just accepted. That is so incredibly lazy and selfish on my part and I should know better. From now on, I will.

Life is so very short. Every day is an amazing and precious gift. Nothing in life is promised and very rarely is it fair. I know that we have been incredibly blessed in life and we do have so much to be thankful for.

I am incredibly thankful to have such an amazing husband. After 8 1/2 years, he still gives me butterflies in my tummy. He is my best friend, my confidant, my supporter, my reasoning and such an amazing man. He stands up for what he believes in and doesn't waste time or energy on other things. I think it's a shame that more people don't know him better or nearly as well as they would like to think they do, I think they might be pleasantly surprised.

I am incredibly thankful for our princess. Kaitlyn is a smart, gorgeous, charming, hilaroius, generous, loving, empathetic, cuddly little girl that makes every day an adventure. She is an absolute blast to hang out with and even if I wasn't her mommy, I would still want to spend every day with her, she is truly that special.

I am incredibly grateful for every second, minute, hour, day, week and month we had with our little prince. Matthew was and remains to be such an incredible part of our family. Not an hour goes by that he isn't thought of, remembered and loved. Those who knew him loved him and even those who never got to meet him have held his memory in such a high place that it warms my heart. (Another example of actions speaking louder than words)

I am grateful for those that have taken the time to know me, to listen to me (instead of just hearing or reading) and who have been such an amazing system of support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

While we do have a lot to be sorrowful and depressed about, we have so much to be thankful and proud for. I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Whats New with Us

Well, as of Saturday, we are now the proud parents of a 3 year old little girl. She was already doing really good with potty training, but still wouldn't poop in the potty most of the time and we still used pull-ups for night time. Well, I sat her down and explained to her that at the store, they don't let us buy diapers for 3 year olds. So, she had to pick. She could either stay 2 or she could be 3 and only wear panties. Since Sunday, it's been only panties and not a single accident. She sleeps and naps in them and poops in the potty like a big girl! We're so proud of her.

We also recently found out we have to move. As of yesterday, we have 30-60 days. The property management company and the owners had a bit of a falling out and the agreement was to terminate the business relationship. So, right at Christmas time, instead of hanging all of my pretty new sparkly decorations, I get to start packing up. As Marilyn pointed out, there are some good points to consider, such as I get to move away from the fat slob that never wears clothes and hopefully we can find a street that has less traffic. Of course, the move also has an overabundance of bad points. For one, no Christmas decorating, no Christmas tree, an even busier holiday season, and we have to pack up Matthew's room far before I'm ready to. I still have his bassinet next to my bed and a load of laundry I have yet to wash.

This has been quite a year, let me tell ya. We started off the year in high spirits with so many dreams and aspirations. We were going to add a very special member of the family. By spring we knew we were having a boy and picked out his name. I had fun being pregnant and Kaitlyn had fun kissing my tummy. I had planned out my maternity pictures and talked about the baby shower while we picked out names and nursery decor. Summer started with a big burst! My water broke and we were told that we would deliver before I was even 6 months pregnant and our baby boy wouldn't make it. Our summer was spent proving them wrong while I spent 65 days stuck in a hospital bed waiting for the day Matthew would be in our arms. He was delivered and another 4 days later, I got to hold him. We spent 4 weeks with him in the NICU, cheering with every cc of milk he took in. We finally brought him home and everything was great. 6 weeks later, we lost him. Kaitlyn didn't get to play with him anymore, I didn't get to hold him anymore and Dusty didn't get to cuddle with him anymore. And now, we are moving. That is a lot to go through in a year, even more when you realize, it's all taken place since June.

I know that we will endure this and anything else that comes our way, but it's only natural to be worried for Kaitlyn and for Dusty. I am so surprised and proud of how good Kaitlyn is doing. It is completely normal for a child to regress and close up after some of the tragedies she's had to endure. She had to be without her mommy for 10 weeks, become a big sister, lose her brother all in such a short time frame. Yet, she's continue to grow and thrive, exceeding expectations for a child her age and far exceeding expectations for a child enduring that kind of trauma.

Perhaps, this is for the best. While we love Matthew with all of our hearts and the hole he left in our hearts and family is much too large for science to ever measure, it also might be healthy and nice to start the new year with a fresh start. A fresh beginning. While I do not love this place at all, I do love being in rooms that Matthew was in, being reminded that he was here and he was so very much alive. And I am comforted by the pyhsical reminders we have that Matthew was here that will not be present in a new place. It would not be logical for me to keep the bassinet next to my side of the bed after moving, but right now, I can't dream of moving it. I know that the memories are in my heart and will go with us, but it isn't the same.

I know it's been a long and trying year. I am incredibly grateful for the amazing friends and family that have been a source of inspiration and support. Those who are always there for us.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Month has passed

It's hard to believe that a month has passed since I've been able to hold Matthew's warm body and feel his chest go up and down with each breath.

Life has been different. He was loved so much and there is an emptiness here that was never here before. It breaks my heart time and time again to know that he will never come home to us again.

Matthew lived here on Earth for 10 weeks. 4 weeks were spent in the NICU and another 4 days in the PICU. The 6 weeks and 3 days we had with him in our home were wonderful. We can never say we didn't spend enough time with him. He spent hour after hour being held and cuddled and sang to and fed. Because of the need to pump with him in the NICU, Daddy got to feed him his fair share of bottles.

We were given 10 weeks to get to know him and we are grateful that we took the time to do just that.

We learned that Matthew was stubborn and demanded to have his way all of the time. He loved to be sung to, but not just any ol' song would do it. He loved Twinkle Twinkle and the ABC song the best. If you dared to sing something else that he wasn't in the mood for, he let you know.

Matthew was always hungry. He would eat 24 hours a day, every day if we allowed him. He did not like to be teased with Daddy's finger :P or with that pacifier. Matthew was incredibly strong. When he had tummy time on his boppy pillow, he would push off with his feet until he crawled over it. Matthew loved to be swaddled and held tight as can be. I think it was the cramped womb without any water for him to swim in that did it to him.

Matthew had the softest skin. It was just starting to fill out as he started to plump up, but when you rubbed his back gently while he slept on you, you could still feel the extra skin wrinkles.

Matthew loved to take baths. It was his favorite time. He liked to be changed quickly. We typically dressed him comfortably in onesies and little sweats. He seemed to like socks and rarely kicked them off. He had big feet for his size and while he was still in preemie clothes he had outgrown newborn shoes. He had thick hair that was already set for a trim. His fingernails grew so fast yet his toenails grew so slow that I never had a chance to clip them.

Matthew smiled all the time in his dreams. It was like there was a party going on and he was the star.

Not once ever, did Kaitlyn show an ounce of jealousy towards Matthew. Not when I was in the hospital on bed rest, not when he was readmitted to the PICU, not when he cried at night. She wanted to be a part of everything that had to do with Matthew. She insisted on helping with every diaper change, every feeding and every song. She always wanted to hold his hand and to kiss him and to tell him how much she loved him. The only thing she got in trouble for was kissing him too much. Her response was always "But, I love him, he's my brudda."

I am sad that we will never see him smile at us, never hear his giggle, never hear him talk, never see him crawl, walk, jump or grow up into the happy man we knew he would be.

I am sad that Matthew didn't get to have all of the fun he was owed and destined in life. He'll never know the joy of scaring daddy or being tickled until he begs Daddy to stop, only to ask him to do it again. He'll never know the joy of having Kaitlyn help make him Spaghetti and Chocolate Milk for dinner, he'll never know the pleasure of having lunch with Mommy at a big people resturaunt.

I am grateful that we had the time to know him. I am grateful that his life was spent being loved. But, I do miss him more than I could ever describe and I always will.

We love to be thought of. We love for Matthew to be thought of. If you are ever wondering how we are doing, please don't hesitate to ask. Even if I don't answer right away, I will. Thank you, with your thoughts and kindness Matthew's spirit can stay alive outside of our home as well as inside.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Finding the right thing to say

There are times in life when finding the words to express what you are feeling seems absolutely impossible. There are some feelings, some emotions, some thoughts that are so complicated that mere words could never do them justice.

At these times, I think the best way to express how you are feeling is with sincerity and simplicity. There has been nothing said to me about Matthew's passing that I have found offense to. The loss of a child is a pain so deep, that words could never express the sorrow and sympathy we feel. It is an unnatural event that we have yet to figure out an effective means to communicate about.

When something is said from the heart, with sincerity, the heart and the sincerity is what matters, the words come in dead last. Even if it's as simple as "I'm sorry for your loss." And sometimes, even if I don't always respond, just asking how the day is going or how the hour is going means more than you'll know.

I am so proud that we had our time with Matthew. He truly was an angel. I'm glad he was colicky. It encouraged us both to hold him all the time and to cuddle with him around the clock. Since he was only home a total of 5 weeks and 3 days, every minute that we held him, rocked him, kissed him and sang to him means so very much.

I am SURE there are times when being around either of us can be a bit uncomfortable. And believe me, I hate that. I hate that I always feel akward enough and feeling like I'm a *downer* or the cause of others being uncomfortable doesn't help. I am fully aware that life goes on. The world continues to spin around the earth, seasons change and we all grow. I may not love it, I might desperatly want to cling to the perfect family we had, but I know it, I'm aware of it. I know and accept that new life is born, people continue with their lives and everything goes on how it was before Matthew's passing. I try to do everything I can to make it less akward on people. I let them lead the conversations, I try to participate in things that I feel up to, I make sure that Kaitlyn is happy and I try to keep myself preoccupied when I'm in a group.

I think that my point is, I know that you know that it's hard. I know that someone who hasn't experienced the loss of a child would never understand what it feels like and I do not wish that on ANYONE, ever. If you don't know what to say, as always, start with Hello. If you feel uncomfortable around us, I know, and I'll try what I can to make it easier. We're almost always ready to talk about Matthew, and if we aren't, we aren't offended by you asking. We want his spirit to live on. We want to talk about him, we want people to know him like we did. His life was amazing and we want to remember every minute of it. If you want to know how we're doing, ask. You can call, e-mail, message, write, send a card, send a text, or if you're really anxious, rent a plane and write a message in the sky :)

Matthew will always be a part of our lives. We will always love him. We want to share his life, his strength and the love he brought us with everyone who wants to be a part of it. And I honestly believe, most other parents who've outlived their angels feel the same way.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Be warned, this is a rant. It doesn't require a response, but if I don't get it out, I will explode and that is not a pretty look.

I always put forth a lot of effort when it comes to people. I try to remember people's birthdays and aknowledge them, I send pictures, cards, post cards, greetings and try to include people in everything.

I am SO SICK of being at the bottom of some people's priority lists.

With some people, I began to notice it when Kaitlyn was born. It has progressed over the past 3 years and has gotten to the point where it makes me want to vomit.

So, I am rearranging my priorites. I have 2 gorgoeus children. They are both incredibly important to me. Matthew may have passed, but that doesn't mean he means any less to me than he does. It breaks my heart to know that his time here was taken for granted. But, I am thankful that we treasured his time here and created so many happy memories as a family. I will not let Kaitlyn's time here be taken for granted.

From now on, those who do not put us on their priority list and who do not make time for us will not be on our priority list. Kaitlyn has already lost her brother, I will not let her be dissapointed by others. Life is too short, too precious and she is too amazing not to spend time with people who want her company.

Rant over. My face is a little less red and I'm breathing a little better.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Could Have been worse

Could have been worse.

Let's see. I only had to explain to 6 people how our baby was doing. Only 1 demanded details in such a manner I wanted to take my keyboard off of my desk and smash her teeth in with it. Instead I just smiled through gritted teeth and asked "Is there anything else you need today?"

One tenant was incredibly understanding and nice and welcomed me back with open and grateful arms. He expressed his condolences and went on to fill me in on some of the gossip going on around the complex.

One tenant made the day so much easier. I have talked to her before. When Matthew was in the hospital we ran into eachother at the mailboxes. She asked where I had been and I explained my pPROM pregnancy and all of that. She shared her story of her daughter. She ruptured at 17 weeks and delivered at 22w5d. Her daughter, Shawna, lived for 22 hours and peacefully died in her arms. She was born April 16. She told me all about Shawna and the pain she had and how the grief process does change. She told me she reached a point where she was at peace and grateful that Shawna didn't suffer. Shawna would have been 8 this year. She has a 6 year old daughter now. Her daughter was a pPROM pregnancy as well. Except, she ruptured at 32 weeks and her daughter is doing great. Her birthday? April 19. She ruptured on April 15 and was so scared of delivering on Shawna's birthday. This tenant gave me so much hope and promise that one day, life will be ok again. I am very grateful for that.

Then, of course, there was "fat guy." Fat Guy weighs AT LEAST 380+. He's huge. Normally, I wouldn't be bothered by it, not everyone can control their weight and for some, no matter what they do, they are haunted with being over weight. Not Fat Guy. Fat Guy walks around ALL THE TIME wearing just shorts. That's right, his albino skin flabs and hangs and bounces all without a shirt or shoes on. It's absolutely disgusting. His apartment should be condemed it's so disgusting. AND, he has a little boy about 11 months who is always dirty, crying and has sores :( My heart breaks for that boy and I KNOW I am going to end up calling CPS. Plus, the guy is a big smoker and a drinker. He smells so bad. Ugh. I can't wait to get rid of him.

Anywho, Fat Guy was mad that I didn't drop his rent while I was gone????? Seriously. He thought that because he had to have his tub replaced, he should get cheaper rent. Um, you have a brand new tub and shower surround because of damage YOU caused, seriously that typically involves a rent increase wise guy.

So, I worked, I took Kaitlyn to and from store, I cooked a yummy dinner, I went to Walmart and now I'm thinking about a shower.

Today promises to be a rough one

Yesterday was the last day of my Maternity leave. Today, I am thrown wth full force back into the working world.

The last day I worked was June 1. I worked a half day since Dusty's cousin was in town and Kaitlyn really wanted to see her cousin. It was a fun day, it was an easy day at work.

The day after, Saturday, was the last day I was at home. Late that night, my water broke and I started on this journey.

In the 5 months, I have managed to avoid most tenants. It isn't a matter of being rude, more like a matter of not wanting to be the topic of idle gossip. In Matthew's final days, I had planned out what the days would be like when I started back. My plan was I would take Kaitlyn to school and then Matthew and I would have an hour to spend together. We could play, cuddle, feed, talk, sing just have fun all to ourselves. Then, I would start work and he would be with me. I have everything I need to have a mini downstairs nursery and I really looked forward to showing him off. I thought it would be easier to explain if I could show the fruits of my hard work.

Instead, I am now trying to clean everything in our living room up. I have an hour. Kaitlyn is at school and the only noise I hear is the tapping of my nails on the keyboard and the dryer tumbling our clothes.

I do not look forward to explaining my absense. I do not look forward to the looks, the stares, the comments and the expressions people make when I have to explain that our son is no longer with us. It's hard enough for me to think about, the thought of just saying the words puts a lump in my throat.

Dusty's solution was to tell people I didn't want to talk about it. But, then I have to wonder if that makes it worse. I remember shortly before my water broke, an emotional tenant asked about my pregnancy. I declined to comment and told her I would rather not discuss it. She burst into tears about how I was a terrible, uncaring person and all she wanted was to be friends. I am not friends with tenants. Do you know how hard it is to evict someone you like?

I just hope today passes quickly.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

What I've Learned

I have been on this earth for 25 years. It doesn't feel like it's been that long. I do believe that in my 25 years I have gained a lot of prespective, insight, wisdom and experience. I do believe that I am a good person with a lot of good to offer the world.

I don't think that the number of years someone has been blessed with means they are a smarter, brighter, wiser or all knowing person than someone younger.

I have learned that life is absolutely precious. In this day and age where we can replace knees, hearts, livers and give the average person 85+ years of life, we are not God. Doctor's are not God. Doctor's have the tools to help better and lengthen our lives, but that does not mean they can guarentee us life. It saddens me to no end that so many babys are taken from their mommy's arms. It saddens me to know that these precious little babies are taken from us before they've had a chance to live when trash like Scott Peterson or Osama Bin Laden can continue with their lives. It doesn't seem fair. I do take solice in knowing that Matthew has been granted an eternity of happiness, but I would give anything for him to have the chance of a few more moments of life on earth.

At first, I wondered "why is God punishing us" but the more I think of it, the more I know the opposite is true. Matthew should have been born at 23w5d. Medical science shows us that pregnancies do not last more than 48 hours on average after membrane rupture and never more than 12 days. We were blessed with 65 days of life inside of me and 10 weeks of life in this world.

Matthew's life has taught me so much. I only wish the price paid wasn't his life. I cannot imagine what lesson is so powerful that his life had to be taken for it to be taught. Many lessons I learned while he was still with us, some we pounded into my brain with his passing.

Life is not a promise. It is short, complicated and so incredibly sweet. Every moment and every breath you take should be one you are happy and grateful for. Each night you should go to bed without regrets. Each day should be lived as though it's your last. That doesn't mean you need to go and conquer the world every day, but be sure to tell the ones you love that you love them, kiss them and hug them oh so tight and make sure that the memories you leave behind are ones you want to continue long after you are gone.

Sometimes, keeping your mouth shut is the best answer to any question or statement. It isn't necessary to put add your opinion to everything. It isn't necessary to reply to everything said. There is no need to fight with people who will not change on topics that will always be there. Your breaths are precious, your thoughts and statements are your legacy, use them wisely.

Think before you speak. When you do speak, be aware of your audience. Your words are the best way to express your thoughts. Sometimes, keeping it simple and honest is the best possible way to say it. Put yourself in the shoes of others. Think of how you would react to what you are going to say. When you do put your foot in your mouth, apologize. Silence does not always have to be occupied with meaningless words. Sometimes, it's ok to be sad. Sometimes, the last thing someone needs is to be cheered up, they just need to be sad.

Follow through with your promises. If you say "if there is anything you need, tell me" mean it. It means so much more to be honest and not say it at all than to just say it because it sounds good or you think it's expected. If you say it, the person you say it to just might think you mean it and when you show you don't, the disappointment is terrible.

If you don't learn from your mistakes, they are meaningless. If you can realize the mistakes you made, have remorse from them and make a difference to change those ways, you will improve your life and the lives of all around you. Don't make mistakes in vain.

No one said life was easy. No one said life was fair. No one promised tomorrow.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Starting a New month a person short

It's still so hard to believe that we are entering a new month without Matthew. It's like the worst possible dream and no matter how hard I try, I can't wake up from it. There is so much I miss. I miss the way his back felt when I would rub it to help him sleep. I miss the way he would lay next to me and nurse himself to sleep. I miss the noise he would make when he thought he was going to sneeze but it was a false alarm. I miss Kaitlyn loving on him and when I would tell her no, she would say "But, I wuv him, he's my Brudda" I miss cuddling with him in the morning. He would rub forheads with me and slumber into sleep. I miss changing his diapers, changing his clothes, giving him his baths, swaddling him, hugging him, carrying him, picking him up, watching him sleep, feeling his breath, cleaning up his spit up, talking to him, singing to him, having him with me, having him in the snugli, having him talk back to me. I miss him so very much.

Today was the first day since we've lost Matthew that I've been able to eat more than once during the day and actually keep it down. I had lunch with Kaitlyn at Strings (check out pictures tomorrow) and I ate dinner. Not a lot of food, but it's a start. Now, if I could get more than 2-3 hours sleep a night that would be great. Or if those 2-3 hours could at least be solid sleep, I would be satisfied and Kaitlyn just might stop asking if my eyes are "broken"

I want more than anything to have him back. There isn't anything I wouldn't give for just a moment with him, a moment to kiss him and smell him and tell him how much we love him. I am so used to him being with me all the time, him being away is so hard. I got a new necklace yesterday. It's his picture etched on white gold surrounded by a heart of diamonds. I love it. It makes me feel like he's always with me. I know he is, but I like having something with him that I can touch and hold and look at and think of him by.

I know that Matthew is in a better place than this harsh, cold world, but it's so hard to think that there is any better place for a baby than his mother's arms. I know the world can be so disgusting and surrounded with so much evil, but for both Kaitlyn and Matthew I try to protect them from it. The worst thing Kaitlyn thinks people do is litter. All I wanted was to have him here as a part of our family and to have the oppurtunity to make his world bright and cheery and watch him grow up strong, handsome, smart, loved, cherished and completely adored. I am so dissapointed that I can't give that to him.

I can honestly say, the 10 weeks we had with Matthew were the happiest we've ever had and I was the happiest I have ever been. I want that 10 weeks to last longer than the blink of an eye it felt like.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thankful for friends

There are times in life when you realize who you can truly count on and who you can truly depend on time and time again.

The first time I realized this harsh realization was when my water broke. It's really easy to be there for someone for a couple of days. What really opened y eyes for the first time were the people that were there for me after the first couple of weeks and the ENTIRE 10 long weeks. I learned I have some flippin' amazing friends. I had friends that e-mailed me all the time, sent me text messages, sent me cards and made me feel like I not only mattered, but I was important to them. I had friends visit that I hadn't seen from high school, friends sending fun puzzles and coloring books for Kaitlyn and friends that made my birthday truly special. Those friends (and some are family ), I strongly believe, are the reasons I made it as long as I did. They kept my spirits high and never once told me how I should feel or how I should behave or how I should react. They were true friends.

I learned again while Matthew was in the NICU. That was one of the most stressful times of my life. Staying in the hospital on bed rest was a cake walk compared to life at home without Matthew. There were some amazing people in our life who did so much to make it easier. Whether it was a phone call or e-mail to check on us and Matthew, or an action to make things easier on Kaitlyn or remove some of the tedious tasks of life to life living.

When Matthew came home, I won't lie, there were times that it was hard. Taking care of Matthew was an enjoyable breeze. I loved every moment of it. But, there were times when it was incredibly lonely. I worred about Kaitlyn missing out on things that others were doing, I missed the daily interaction I had with people before I went into the hospital, and I was dissapointed when people didn't come over to see us, for whatever reason. Again, my friends were there for me. They lifted my spirits, they made me happy, they brought me so much joy. They took Kaitlyn to birthday parties, on trips, and made her feel special and loved. They brought Sunday dinner to our house, they made a sincere effort to bond with Matthew and they brought me my favorite food when I was alone with Matthew, without being asked. I had friends during this time (and my hospital stay) that while I had never met face to face, would do the kindest and sweetest things. They would e-mail or call to check on us, they would send fun little things for Kaitlyn, they would stop by and visit with us, they made us feel like we were still an important part of their lives.

With Matthew's passing, I have become so incredibly grateful for these friends. These are the people who have been there for us in ways I could not even begin to describe. There is one group of friends in particular who have warmed my heart more than I can ever describe. They have been so kind and strong for me. They have sent me the most meaningful things, including a tree to plant in his honor with an amazing stone to remember Matthew by, a beautiful necklace with footprints, Matthew's birthstone and his initials. And when I asked for opinions on how to explain it to Kaitlyn they sent a kit to explain grief to a toddler. An amazing friend who had previously lost a daughter, sent me an incredibly meaningful poem that I will always treasure. In addition to those friends, we've had friends that have done what might be little things to them but mean the world to us. Friends that loved Matthew and continue to do so. Friends that have made an effort to be there for us now, friends that still call and e-mail and message me. I may not always respond, but that doesn't mean I don't love and appreciate each and every one. And those that respond to even my meaningless e-mails mean more than you'll know.

I don't know what the lesson to be learned is with Matthew's death. I can tell you, from the bottom of my heart, I do appreciate each and every friend that has been there for me. Thank you. I only hope that I can be at least 1/2 the friend to you that you are from me.

I want Matthew's memory to always live on. I want Kaitlyn to always know what a special little girl she is and how important she is to so many people. I want to make the personal resolution to put those first that have put us first. I think that with good friends (through blood or internet connection or through experience) life can be so incredibly meaningful. Thank you for giving that to me.

In loving honor of our precious baby boy, we will be mailing out flower seeds to be planted in his honor. They should go in the mail Thursday. I have envelopes addressed and ready for our family and close friends. If you are interested, please let me know. Post or message or e-mail me your address. I would love to have pictures of gardens planted in honor of our angel above.

Again, thank you for your friendship, thank you for your kindness, thank you for being there for us.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Being Strong

I've been told a time or two in the past 4 months that I'm a strong person.

I don't feel it though. Not even close.

In the hospital, I didn't think there was a point in complaining or whining about what was going on. It wasn't going to change anything, so why waste the energy? I was just glad to be pregnant for as long as I was and thankful that Matthew was getting a chance for a healthy life. I honestly don't doubt for a minute that any other mother would do the exact same thing in the exact same situation.

With Matthew's death, I don't feel strong at all. I feel like everything is falling apart on the inside. Instead, it feels more like I am "sucking it up" and taking care of what needs to be taken care of. Kaitlyn just lost her brother, she can't lose her mommy too. It wouldn't be fair. I have absolutely no desire to clean or do laundry or the dishes, but it has to be done, so I do my best on the limited energy I have. I HATE going places. I hate being around all the happy people, I hate being around babies, nursing mommies, and seeing the world go on without Matthew in it. But, I do it for Kaitlyn.

I look forward to the day where I do things because I enjoy them, and not just because I know it will bring someone else joy. At the same time, I greatly dread it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We're Home

After avoiding it for as long as I can, we're back at home.

Before, when Matthew wasn't here, we knew he would be coming home. We knew he would be here to grow and to play and to sleep in his bed and to sleep with us and to cuddle with us and just to be here.

Not this time. This time we came home knowing that Matthew would never be here again with us. We'll never all lay together in bed watching cartoons. We'll never here him laugh or talk or play.

His room sets empty. His bassinet is cold and alone. Our bed is lonely and missing him. I miss him so much.

In the next few days, I'm going to start going through his clothes. I will do his last load of laundry. I am going to turn his baby clothes into two quilts. 1 for Dusty and I and a smaller one for little Miss Kaitlyn. I'm fortunate that while I was in the hospital I ordered a ton for him and he was spoiled and had a ton of clothes.

When we got home, there was a package for Kaitlyn. I've learned I have some of the world's most amazing friends. I have no idea how I got so lucky. The package was a grief kit for toddlers. It included a card with ideas on how to deal with the loss of a loved one for a toddler. It had a coloring book that explained a lot of things like feelings and how it's ok to miss the person you love. It had a pinwheel and my favorite part was a super soft teddy bear holding a heart that you can put a picture in. She asked if we could put in a picture of Matthew and I promised I would get one for her tomorrow. She hasn't let go of her Matthew bear once since she saw it.

Earlier this month, I really looked forward to this weekend. I was going to be an awesome mermaid and we were going to have a blast. Now? I have no desire to dress up. I have no desire to go out, I know I couldn't stomach it. I am instead going to let Kaitlyn go to a birthday party while Dusty and I look at grave markers for Matthew and on Sunday I am going to drag us all out to the Pumpkin Patch so Kaitlyn can have a good time.

Everything seems so much emptier and lonlier without Matthew. Even in a room of people, my arms are empty and my heart lo

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Story

Like I threatened before, I think writing helps me. I will mark all long winded, personal ramblings with an astric like this (*).

I always knew I wanted another baby. When Kaitlyn was 4 months old, I was ready to pop another one out. Dusty wasn't, and really it didn't make sense to have another so soon.

Dusty and I had planned on getting pregnant in the summer of '07 so we could have a spring '08 baby. Then, the baby could be born during a less busy month.

It was January when I started to feel sick, tired and a little rundown. After a couple weeks, I realized that it had been a while since I had my period and thought I should take a pregnancy test just to rule it out. Really, I just thought that after my IUD my hormones were out of whack and since I kept losing weight, I thought I just needed to work on gaining more weight.

Imagine my shock and surprise when that stick turned pink! I was pregnant. I was scared, happy, excited, nervous, elated and couldn't believe it. We had been so careful, how did this happen? Immediatly, I felt like this was meant to be, our family was going to be whole and we were going to be a big happy family.

Immediatly, I started making sure I was the picture of perfect health. I started my prenatels, started iron (I was anemic with Kaitlyn and knew I would be with this pregnancy), gave up all soda, increased my water intake to 4-6 bottles a day and started eating better and often. I saw my doctor and we saw our little bean. I was over the moon. Kaitlyn was SOOOO excited.

When I was 12 weeks pregnant, we found out we were having a baby boy. We were so excited and immediatly started going through 50,000+ names to pick out the perfect name for our little man. After much debating and much deliberating we chose the name Matthew Jackson. It was absolutely perfect.

My pregnancy was going well. At 12 weeks, my morning sickness ended, my energy picked up and I was in bed every night by 9. All was well. At my *big* ultra sound, I started to think something was wrong. The tech kept leaving the room and coming back, whispering with someone else who worked there. The sex couldn't be verified and I wasn't told of anything being wrong. The next morning, Dr. Zielinsky called me at home and told me that our little boy had a 2-vessel cord and within a week we needed to have a level 3 ultra sound.

The level 3 ultra sound showed that Matthew's heart was super healthy. His kidneys looked a little small, but he was healthy. I never stopped worrying though. I was 20 weeks pregnant.

3 weeks and 5 days after that, I was laying in bed when I woke up in a soaking wet bed. I cried out to Dusty and we rushed around to go to the hospital. Had I of known I wouldn't be coming home for a long, long, long while I would have spent more time packing. Turns out, my water broke. I had so many nurses and doctors running in and out starting IVs, taking notes, taking my blood pressure and hooking me up to monitors. I was told over and over again that Matthew would be born in the next 48 hours and we needed to decide if we wanted heroic measures taken. Of course we did.

I spent 65 days in the hospital. Not once did I complain about being there. I was happy to be there. Every day that I was there was another day that Matthew was healthy, growing and alive. Every day was a blessing. Sure, there were times I was upset, vented and bitched about things, but it was never about being there.

When Matthew was born, I was so relieved to hear his cry. Even though it was painful as can be and everyone got to see my prince before I did, I didn't complain. I was so happy that he was a big 4 lbs and 14 ounces. He was doing amazing. Neither of us developed an infection and we were healthy.

Everyday since Matthew was born, I was grateful. I literally thanked God everyday for allowing us to all be here and to all be healthy. We were so lucky, we were so blessed.

Matthew spent 27 days in the NICU. We celebrated every step. We celebrated every ml he took by bottle. We never complained about him being there. Yes, we wanted him home, but more than that we wanted him healthy. We were so happy that he was ok. We were so lucky that he was breathing on his own and just plain stubborn.

We were so elated when Matthew came home. We were so cautious. We didn't take Matthew anywhere. We kept sanitizer all over the house, we had hand washing stations at each sink. We didn't allow smoke around him or sick people. We even limited our kisses to keep him healthy. All we had to do was get through RSV season and then the fun could start.

Again, I didn't complain. Sure, there were times I was really upset by things, but never about us being home with him. I was happy to be at home with him. We all had fun. We spent our days taking Kaitlyn to school and then going home to cuddle and nurse before picking her up. The three of us would cuddle, color, read stories and watch cartoons. Everything was perfect.

When Matthew was home for nearly a month, he got a fever. I took him the ER and Dusty followed shortly after. We spent 4 days in the PICU scared to death he had meningitis. Again we didn't complain. We just got through it. I hated him being poked and prodded all the time, but it was worth it to keep him healthy.

Matthew was discharged from the PICU on October 1, exactly one month after he was discharged from the NICU.

When he came home this time, we were even more cautious. Dusty and I refrained from contact with sick people, we kept him healthy, we took his temp several times a day, we held him all the time and we called the doctor at the slightest thought that something was wrong.

The weekend before Matthew died was great. Friday was a lot of fun, and Saturday we spent the day together as we did Sunday. Sunday night we got home, unloaded the car and I fed Matthew. He wanted to be held and cuddled. Before I washed my face and changed my clothes, I undressed him to his diaper and swaddled him in his swaddle blanket. He slept so good like that. I nursed him to sleep and cuddled him and fell asleep.

When I woke up at 2:30 to feed him, everything went wrong. He didn't look right, so I unswaddled him and yelled for Dusty. Everything was wrong. Nothing we did could help him. When the doctor told me he was dead I thought the world was ending. I thought it was a terrible dream. I just wanted to hold him. How could he be gone? I loved him too much.

Since then, I've kept trying to figure out what happened. How did this happen?? What could I have done differently? It's almost like a part of my mind thinks that if I figure out what I did wrong, we can go back and change it.

I loved Matthew from the moment I found out he was in my tummy. All I wanted was for him to be happy and healthy. I wanted him with all of my heart. He completed our family and brought all of us so much happiness. Sure he cried, but I was grateful that he had working lungs.

There are so many things I didn't get to do with Matthew. I didn't see him smile at me (he smiled a lot in his sleep), I didn't get to hear his first words, or feel his first hug. I have Halloween costumes hanging up in his barely used room that will never be worn.

I know that the time we were given with Matthew was an amazing gift. It was borrowed time. Anything we had after June 2 was a miracle. But still, it doesn't seem like nearly enough time. I feel like we were robbed.

Dusty has always been an amazing dad and he loved Matthew so much. I only wish we all could have had more time with him. Not a minute goes by that I don't think about him and how much I love him and how much I miss him and how badly I just want to hold him. I long to hold him on my chest rubbing the soft skin on his back and memorizing every aspect of his face and head and hands and feet. I miss the warmth of his skin and his breath. I miss his smell. I miss his cry, I miss everything about him.

I don't understand how we can live in a world that is so technologically advanced, yet still have a need for baby caskets. Baby's are the most innocent and amazing people in the world, how are we supposed to tell them good-bye??

Every day, I wonder how it is possible that I worked so hard to bring him into this world and somehow I failed him. Somehow, I wasn't there when he needed me. I didn't get to tell him how much I love him, I didn't get to kiss his sweet head. I didn't get to rub my fingers softly over his birth mark.

A parent should never have to bury their child. It goes against all the laws of nature. Everyday I think of him alone in a cold cemetery and I miss him. All I want is to hold him and to hug him and to have him back.

And really, there is nothing that anyone can say or do to make me feel less guilt or less blame. Dusty tries and tries and nothing changes. I know it's a normal part of grieving. I also know that when we get the autopsy report, I can use that in the grieving process.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Thank you- Matthew's services

Matthew's services were today. It was easily the 2nd hardest day of my life, the first being the day we lost our precious angel.

Matthew looked good. He looked better than we expected, but not like himself. We went to the funeral home before the services so that we could talk to Kaitlyn and say our good-byes. Kaitlyn held his hand, told him she loved him and said bye bye.

Matthew's coffin was perfect. It was light blue and looked like a fluffy blue cloud. The services were really nice and I think honored him very nicely. He was able to fit into the preemie suit we bought him while I was in the hospital.

I wanted to thank everyone for all that they did.

Thank you to my parents, Grandma and Grandpa and Dusty's parents, Nana and Papa for taking care of the arrangements.

Thank you to Auntie Christy for taking care of the special touches.

Thank you to Auntie Christina and Auntie Sammie for being here.

Thank you to Aunt Alicia for making the beautiful DVD. Although it's really hard to watch right now, I know we'll treasure it.

I haven't had the energy to go through all of the cards yet, but thank you so much to everyone for your kindness, compassion and generosity. It means the world to us. We're trying to come up with a way to use the money to honor him and memoralize him.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who came today to honor Matthew's memory. Dusty and I are incredibly blessed to have so many amazing friends. While Matthew will always be missed more than words can ever express, it is comforting to know that he touched the lives of so many. Thank you to those who traveled so far, Penny, Mike, Savannah and Sawyer, your kindness means the world to me. Thank you to Aunt Stephanie, Hope, Uncle Ray and Uncle Calvin. We know the traveling isn't easy, but we do appreciate it.

Thank you to everyone at the Mooselodge for providing such wonderful refreshments.

Thank you to EVERYONE that sent such gorgeous flowers. Matthew has the prettiest site in Baby Land right now. We'll be sure to keep it that way.

I will work on thank you cards as soon as I can, but please, know how much you mean to me and how we will always appreciate everything you've done. Matthew was one special angel.

We would both like to thank everyone that has contributed to the March of Dimes on behalf of Matthew. I didn't expect anyone to do so, but the fact that so many have done so much on behalf of our little boy means the absolute world to us.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Matthew's Services

Matthew's services will be held on Monday, October 22 at 10 AM.

The services will be at River City Funeral Chapel in West Sacramento.

It will be followed by a graveside service at St. Mary's, where he will be laid to rest.

Matthew's website has been updated and will be updated if anything changes.

Dusty and I would like to thank everyone for their love and support. It means very much to us, even if we can't properly express it.

I want to thank everyone

for everything that they've done. It really does mean a lot to me.

Dusty and I both feel incredibly blessed that so many people have shown so much compassion and love towards us. While we miss Matthew more than words could ever express, we do hope that with time the hurt will lessen.

This has been the hardest test we've ever endured. There are times when I think I have a hold on things and then it all comes crumbly down again.

Matthew was an amazing baby and we were so blessed that we were able to be his parents. He endured so much and was such a strong fighter just to meet us. He worked so hard and overcame so many obstacles at such a young age and in such a small body to be able to come home with us and be a genuine part of our family. It seems incredibly unjust, unnatural and just plain wrong that he was taken from us so quickly and in such a manner after all we've been through.

Matthew will always be missed, Matthew will always be loved and Matthew will always be very much a part of our family. Not a minute passes that I don't think of him and long to hold him, kiss him and tell him just how much I love him. I want to keep his spirit alive. I want his life, no matter how short, to have the meaning it was meant to.

Matthew taught me many things. With bed rest I learned that the world does not revolve around me. With his NICU stay, I learned patience. With his time at home, I learned to slow down and enjoy every minute. I have not yet discovered what it is I am to learn with his death, but I am sure I will learn it.

In the meantime, I will probably do a lot of blogging. Sometimes writing makes things more clear to me and helps me sort things out. As time passes, I know I will need it. Because of the sensitivity, I will be making many, if not all, blogs for friends only or private.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for allowing Matthew to be a part of your life. Thank you for letting his spirit live on.

Matthew now has a star that we can look to every night. Visit his website: to see the location of the star.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Our Precious Matthew

At approximately 2:30 in the morning yesterday, October 15, we woke to find our little Mathew not breathing. Daddy did CPR with everything he had in him until he ambulance arrived and he was transported to Mercy San Juan Hospital. The doctors used all of their medicines, all of their power and everything they had, but they couldn't get his heart to beat. They believe it was SIDS that took our prince from us.

After 70 days with us on this earth, Matthew was called home to get his wings and watch over us as the angel he was meant to be. Matthew was an amazing baby and we feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have had him in our lives. We were given 70 more days than we were told we were and we wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.

We are incredibly thankful and grateful to everyone that loves Matthew, and prayed for his well being. We know without you we wouldn't have had the 70 days we had.

Later this afternoon, we will be making the funeral arrangements for our little prince.

We take solace in knowing that he never knew hate and he was able to pass at home, with his family who loves him so much.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Happy 2 month birthday Matthew!

Matthew is doing great at home! It's amazing to think that he should be approaching his 2 week birthday, not celebrating his 2 month birthday!

He's getting really good at head control and is so alert when he's awake. He was eating every hour and a half, today he's been eating every 2 1/2 - 3 hours. I think he's going through a growth spurt right now. When he eats, he's absolutely starving, so he thinks. He's starting to get a personality to him, which is fun. His eyes are so big and so bright.

On Monday he goes in for his vaccines, yuck! We'll also discuss his medication. He's been on zantac for about a week and there is a HUGE difference. He doesn't spit up as much, or as violently, he cries less, he doesn't seem to be in as much pain, and he's back to wanting to eat. But we have to determine if this is the best medicine for him. He still spits up a good 3-4 times per feeding, is super gassy, has tummy aches and pulls off a lot when eating.

So, we've survived the first 2 months and hope the next 2 are much less exciting! ;)

And the countdown begins

In less than a month. Actually, a month from yesterday, I have to go back to work.

I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to go back to work. I dream most nights that a miracle occurs and I can keep my job as the manager of our home full-time and not be forced to share it with another menial job that means pretty much nothing to me.

I know work won't be that bad when I go back. I know it'll be fine and I'll get back into that routine. But *in my best whiney girl voice while stomping my feet* I don't wanna!!

So, I'm going to try and smash as much stuff into the next 30 days as possible. Luckily, it's gorgeous weather and Halloween is around the corner, so I'm sure we'll find something to do that Matthew can join us in :)

And, I took off the day before Kaitlyn's party. (Which reminds me, I REALLY need to get her invites done and mailed out in the next week or two) and the day after Thanksgiving for Christmas shopping! So, hopefully the time will just fly by :D

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What's Happiness?

It's funny how things work out. I was downstairs doing the dishes and getting my thoughts together. I was thinking about what exactly makes people happy and reflecting on my long 10 weeks in the hospital (I do that a lot, it's still so fresh in my mind and so distant at the same time) when I came upstairs to feed Matthew. I opened the laptop and had 1 new message.

Sand and Stone






















"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting
some kind of battle"

I believe this to be so true.

I do believe that what makes people happy is so different for every person. What might make one happy may not make the next happy and that doesn't make it any less important.

I've learned, that for me (and I know Dusty feels the same) the people in our lives bring us so much happiness. Material things are nice and can make life nicer, but for us, they are just things.

During my pregnancy, recovery, and the time since, I've had things to write in the sand. Things that were hurtful and things I would rather forget... quickly. But I had so many more things to write in stone. I had so many positive experiences from so many amazing people in my life.

Before I had Kaitlyn, we made more money, we could buy more things, we could do more things and we didn't ever utter the word budget. There was no need to.

Then, with Kaitlyn I worked from home. We made a decent amount where we could live happily without having to stress or worry about buying food, diapers, clothes, shoes or fun stuff.

When I had Matthew, our income was cut, and since we had to pay for more medical insurance and what not, our outgoing money was increased. So, we had to start budgeting more. But you know what? We couldn't be happier.

I realized I get to decide what type of experience I take from the hospital and I get to decide what type of life to have from here on out.

I've decided to take my stones with me and let the wind blow away the words in the sand. I learned so much since June 1. I've learned so much about myself, about Dusty and about the wonderful people in our lives.

From here on out, life is going to be happy. Sure there will be bumps, but that's what reminds us what happiness feels like ;) I am going to surround ourselves with other happy people. I am going to go into every situation with a smile and a realization that I can either go into anything with a positive attitude or negative and either way it's going to affect it.

So, I'm going into everything with a smile, a good thought and the hope for the best. I'm not going to let other people affect my happiness, unless of course they are adding to it.

I know we are incredibly blessed and lucky. I have a husband who loves me so much he spent every night for 10 weeks on a teeny, tiny, uncomfortable hospital fold out bed, intended for 1 or 2 nights use. I have a gorgeous, sweet, kind, caring, energetic and smart little girl who shows us how to rediscover the world every day. I have a miracle little boy who has shown that he is going to beat any prognosis given to him. They both have a daddy who loves them so much. Kaitlyn is so in awe of Dusty most days and is his little clone. She's proud to always tell me that Daddy works so he can buy her new toys, clothes and shoes. We have an amazing family who has been nothing but kind, caring, supportive and consistant.

Dusty and I made decisions in life that have proven to bring us nothing but happiness. We chose for me to work from home and to have no debt and if that means we don't have a house or new things everyday, that's ok by us. It's the choises we make in life that make us happy and we are the only ones that can change make them and do what's best for our own family.

We only have one life. I'm happy with the one we're living. What makes you happy? What's written on your stones?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sept 27


There isn't much new going on. Matthew's stats are all stable. He had a bag of glucose this morning and his glucose levels are back to normal.

On thier scale last night he was 8.8 lbs. Tonight is 8.6 lbs.

The doctor ( Dr. Gregory of the UC Davis Children's Hospital's Pediatric Intesive Care Team) doesn't think Matthew has an infection. He wants to watch and see to be safe though. He believes Matthew's bilirubon levels have been so high for so long it caused the spinal fluid to turn yellow.

Now our goal is to find out why. His levels are in the high normal for his adjusted age (2 days) and really high for his actual age (7 weeks). They levels will be read again tomorrow to try and get an idea of what's going on. They want to try and resolve the issue since prolonged Jaundice can lead to brain damage and we don't want that!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We're back in the hospital


Well, we're back at Mercy San Juan. While I took Kaitlyn to a photo shoot this morning, Daddy noticed Matthew was a little warm and took his temperature. Over the course of an hour,it fluctuated from99.1 to 102. When I got home, it was normal, but figured we should take him in anyways. The doctor recommended getting him to the ER ASAP.

The ER was not fun. From 3 PM to 11 PM Matthew had an IV inserted, urine taken, chest x-ray, blood drawn and a spinal tap. Honestly, surprisingly enough the spinal was the easiest part!

During our time in the ER, Matthew's heart rate was sky high over 200 and he was showing some problems with his oxygen levels and needed a tiny bit of help with oxygen.

Nearly all of the tests came back normal. Well, the chest x-ray still shows significant lung disease, but we figured it would.

As the doctor drew the spinal fluid, she was concerned immediately. It should be crystal clear and thin. It was thin (thank god, thick is usually bacterial meningitis) but it was yellow. The culture showed a possibility of viral meningitis and that his glucose was really low while protein was really high.

So, we are in the pediatric level of the hospital where we will be for a day or two (room5126B) while Matthew gets fluids and lots of antibiotics while having his stats monitored.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Today is Matthew's Due Date

Today is the day Matthew should have been born.

Earlier this year we lived in this perfect world where today I would be round like the pumpkins we visited, I would have went into what I thought was labor a few times and had a couple trips to the labor and deliery department. But, today would be the day. I would go in, labor a few hours, push out a perfect son, spend the night at the hospital and then we would all go home.

Onviously, we don't live in a perfect world. Things don't always go as planned. It's funny, when I was pregnant with Kaitlyn I wanted a cesarean so I could plan which day she would be here and I would be in control and prepared. I was so worried about giving up that control. This time, the control was ripped from my hands like the last piece of pie at the Donner Party. I not only didn't get to pick the day, I didn't get to pick the week. I had no control over anything in my life. Even now, we have so little control over so many things.

I spend so much time researching things on the internet when it comes to anything child related. I started when I was pregnant with Kaitlyn. I saw the afterschool specials, I know Knoweledge is Power. I want to be powerful in any way I can. Even Matthew's doctor at our first visit thought I was a nurse, how else would I know the lingo. That, was incredibly flattering. I research so much because I don't like the unknown. You cannot control the unknown. You cannot change the unknown. All you can do is try to make the unknown as known as possible.

I know we are so incredibly fortunate. We took the pregnancy to a viabale, healthy point and gave Matthew an incredible chance. I know how rare that is. I am told how astonishing it is anytime we talk to the doctor, the medical staff at his office, the NICU nurses, the neonatologist or other women who have been through the same. I know he is our miracle baby. I am incredibly grateful for that.

There is so much still unknown. Matthew looks like a normal newborn. He acts like a normal newborn. But he isn't. He's 7 weeks old and hasn't hit 8 pounds yet. He's 7 weeks old and we can't let him sleep as long as he wants to yet. He's 7 weeks old and he has to see his doctor every week and a cardiologist and have shots to prevent him from getting RSV. He's 7 weeks old and he's only been home for 3 weeks. We don't know what the future holds. We won't know for months or even years if Matthew has any residual effects from the prematurity. We don't know and there isn't anyone that can tell us. All they can tell us is what he's at risk for and that doesn't help do anything but worry you.

Life is so different now. We used to be able to go wherever we wanted whenever we wanted without a worry. Now, we don't get to do that. We can go out 1-2 times a week to a very controlled environment as long as we don't expose Matthew to illnesses or cigarette smoke. That leaves 5 days a week when we are planted at home making the best of it. It not only affects our life, but Kaitlyn's too. I know she loves staying home, she tells us all the time, but I also knows she misses seeing everyone.

When I was in the hospital, I got used to not being able to participate in everything. I got used to the idea that life goes on with or without you and I don't think that's a bad thing. I think it's a very healthy thing to figure out. And, I'm getting used to it again. There are so many things we are restricted from doing and I'm ok with that. I think we've made it pretty clear that everyone is welcomed to come over whenever they want, and we mean that very much.

With the physical limitations of where we can go and how often, we know that it's not easy for people to see Kaitlyn and Matthew. In a sense, we have to put the responsibility into the hands of those that want to see them. Those people will have to come over here. Chances are in November our 1-2 outings per week will be revoked. I know it is going to take away a lot of the fun and the joy of the holidays, but I know we will still make them special. I have confidence that our home will be a winter wonderland and fun. Kaitlyn loves baking and painting and we have plenty of that to do :) And I have faith that those who want to visit and have time to will do just that :D

I know this is a big change for everyone and a bit of an inconvienance, but we wouldn't do it if it wasn't necessary or incredibly important. I know Kaitlyn will adjust to it and it will help to teach Kaitlyn that the magic of Christmas doesn't involve traveling. Christmas can share the same magic and excitment staying at home or just driving around to see the lights as regular trips to the mall can.

I want to give a huge thank you to everyone that has made this as easy as possible on us. Thank you for visiting, keeping us company, bringing us yummy food, calling, inviting Kaitlyn places with you, inviting us places with you (even if we can't go) and for remembering us and asking us how we are doing. It means the world to me.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

All it took was one day

All it took was one day for our lives to forever change. It took one single event for the life that we knew and had grown to love to be forever changed.

On June 2, my water broke and the world changed forever. I spent a little over 9 weeks stuck in a hospital room in a hospital bed. I then delivered our son 7 weeks early and spent another week stuck in that bed. Our son spent a total of nearly 4 weeks in that same hospital in a room right across from where I lived for so long.

In that time, and even since I've had so much time to sit and to think. I've had time to realize so many things that I never realized before. I realized who my true friends were and how much they truly meant to me. I will always be thankful to those who made such great efforts to not only make my stay tolerable, but also to bring my spirits up. I will always treasure every phone call, every surprise package and every visit I had.

Because of those realizations, I also came to the conclusion that I try to hard to be well liked and accepted. I LOVE doing things for people, but I think I now know that sometimes, they don't want for things to be done for them by me. And that's ok. It in no way hurts my feelings, at all. I will always be happy to do things for others and be proud to be able to do them, but I think from now on, I'm going to wait for them to ask instead of constantly offering. I think people who know me, know that I like to do it and won't have a problem with asking. And then, I don't have to feel like I'm going out of my way when I don't need to or really shouldn't.

I'm going to start concentrating more on those that matter and those that we matter to and less on those that don't. For example, I sent out well over 100 baby announcments and maybe a little over 1/2 of those people even aknowledged the birth of our son. When I send out pictures of Kaitlyn, I always send out about 35-40 envelopes of pictures. There are the same dozen or so that never aknowledge them. Why should I consider to waste my time, energy, money or thoughts on them? We know so many amazing people that show on a regular basis that they care, love and want to know us and really, I would rather invest more into those people. I would rather invest more into the people that want to be a part of our lives than those who couldn't care less.

I took so many little things for granted before that fateful day. Such as the ability to stand up in the shower. Or the oppurtunity to eat what I wanted exactly when I want to.

Before we went to the hospital on that fateful night we had the luxury of going where we wanted to, when we wanted to for as long as we wanted to. With Matthew's birth and homecoming, that luxury went out the window like a small piece of paper on a windy day.

We just finished week 1 of 8 isolation. Healthy people can visit us as long as they wash and sanitize their hands and refrain from smoking. But, we cannot go anywhere but the hospital. When we get to the Doctor's office, we have a special note so we don't wait with the rest of the patients. Our biggest goal is to keep Matthew healthy. Because of how narrowWhen we finish this round of isoloation, another starts with cold and flu season in November. We will be able to visit for holidays as long as no one is sick and it's a smoke free house. We've been told over and over by the nurses, neonatologists and pediatritions how important it is to stay away from those that are sick and cigarette smoke. Matthew's air way is the size of my pinky. A simple cold or respiratory virus will block his airway and require rehospitalization. Not even remotely close to something I want to experience.

Does it suck? Heck yeah it does. But, it's such a small price to pay for such a handsome little boy.

It does have it's advantages. We used to always be on the go. On the weekends we spent maybe an hour or two at home both days combined. During the week, we were rarely home. Now that we are home, and stuck here, Kaitlyn spent the first few days constantly asking "where are we going?" And when I would say "no where" she would look at me quizzically and say, "no mommy, WHERE are we going?" as though I misunderstood her.

Now that we are home more Kaitlyn has more time to play with all of her thousands of toys (and of course make a mess of them), we have more time to rest and we all have more time as a family to read stories, watch movies and sing songs. Kaitlyn has figured out her favorite place is the bathtub and easily takes 3 baths a day now so she can pretend to be the Little Mermaid. And really, our door is always open, anyone that wants to see us can whenever they want :)

Boy howdy this got long fast. I've had so much time lately to think and it's nice to finally be able to put all my thoughts in order and make sense of the all!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Matthew's First Doctor's Appointment

We're back from Matthew's first doctor's appointment since being discharged.

Matthew's goal was to gain 1 ounce per day since leaving the NICU. He is up to 6 pounds 8 ounces which means he's gaining about 1.3 ounces per day which is AWESOME! The ped was really surprised and happy I was still breastfeeding. Evidently, mother's typically go to formula after the first 2 weeks in the NICU.

Matthew is also getting long. He is at 19.5 inches long! That's an inch and a half of growth in a little over 4 weeks.

When Matthew is measured against growth charts, he will be measured by actual age and adjusted age. Right now, his actual age is a month (as of tomorrow!) and his adjusted age is 37 weeks gestation. That's right, he still has 3 weeks before he'll even be born. So, for the next three weeks, his adjusted age will be newborn.

For his actual age, Matthew is in the 3% for weight, 3% for height and 97% for head circumference! For his adjusted age he woud be in the 21% for weight, 43% for height and off the charts for head circumference.

Matthew will be seen every week for weight checks for the next couple of months, then every other week for the next few months all to monitor his weight.

On Monday morning, Matthew will be circumsized. We're hoping the appointment goes well and he is feeling fine right after.

When Matthew is 4 months actual, he will be seen by a specialist to verify that his feet, ankles and hips all developed properly. With the combination of being a pPROM baby and frank breech, the chances are high that he might need help but we won't know anything for a few more months.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Matthew is HOME!

After 91 days of being regulars at Mercy San Juan and 26 days as a resident of the NICU, Matthew is finally home where he belongs.

Yesterday, we took a CPR class with Kaitlyn at the hospital and then he was free to go home with us.

He passed his car seat challenge, which is great. He hasn't had any apnea spells which is even better news.

We were given our long list of discharge instructions before we could verify he was our son and we could take him home.

Some of the things we were told included being sure not to take him to any public place for at least 2 months, to make sure that EVERYONE that visits washes and sanitizes their hands before touching him, make sure that anyone who sees him that smokes washes their hands, face and changes thier clothes. We want to be sure that no one kisses his hands or face. If someone wants to kiss him, the feet are the best place. We need to keep him away from people who are sick, might be sick or have been exposed to sickness.

Matthew will see his pediatrition next week and it's been recommended that gets the synagis vaccine to prevent from getting RSV and everyone in the house (and those who will see him regularly) get the Flu shot this season. He will also probably start iron suppliments.

Because Matthew is a preemie with lung disease, we have to be very careful to keep him healthy. A simple cold can easily result in him being readmitted to the NICU and that is not something we want.

Our first night was good. Matthew likes to be held. All the time. The only way he would sleep is if he was held. He's eating really good. We're nursing and following up with some Expressed Breast Milk just so I know he's getting a good amount of food.

Kaitlyn adores him. She wants to check on him all the time.

If you want to come and visit, give us a call or e-mail :D

Saturday, September 1, 2007

We're Home! :D


We're home!

Matthew's cultures came back this morning clean and clear so we were discharged. We are all glad to be at home and hope to never return again!

We will be following up with Matthew's doctor early next week to make sure everything is still ok.

The PICU doctor talked to another specialist regarding Matthew's bilirubin level. It appears that everything is in working order. He did say that ocassionaly, breast fed babies are higher in bilirubin longer. He said we could take a few day break from breastfeeding and see how he does, but it isn't worth giving formula. The benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh any negatives of jaundice at the level he has.

Of course, once again we are on house arrest. We are more than welcome to visitors! Just be sure you aren't sick, haven't been exposed to illness and refrain from smoking before visiting. With Matthew's immune system and lungs as weak as they are, we have absolutely no desire to return to the hospital anytime soon.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Matthew is coming home!

GREAT NEWS! Ir's official, Matthew will be coming home tomorrow! He is doing great on feeds and we have been told that he passed his car seat challenge today. We are so happy and so relieved.

We have no idea when he'll be able to go home. We have to wait for the doctor to make rounds to officially write the order for him to go home.

Today, I got just about everything done. I finished putting together all of his furniture. I put away all of Matthew's clothes, set up the changing table with everything it needed, made sure all of his clothes were washed and then Kaitlyn and I went shopping. We got burp cloths, more bottles, swaddling blankets, more pacis and of course a lot of antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer.

We came home and I got all of the bottles and pacis washed and steralized, I was able to wash the rest of his laundry (and Kaitlyn's) and tonight (or in the morning) I am going to hang his picture frames. The Sepia prints should be here tomorrow so I can put them in the frames.

We went over a lot of the details of what we should do and look for with the nurse tonight. Everyone (including us) will need to wash and sanitize before touching. It is recommended that Matthew is not kissed anywhere but his feet. If someone is sick, thinks they might be getting sick or been exposed to illness, they should stay away until they are better.

Family and Friends are welcome to visit on Sunday and Monday (or anytime after really!). We don't plan on driving anywhere until or unless we have to, so you all will have to come to us!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

August 30

Matthew did FANTASTIC on his feeds today. His nurses decided to start him on eating when he wants to instead of when they want him to eat.

So, he decided he wanted to eat every 4 hours or so. Where yesterday (and the days prior) we had to REALLY coax him into eating 50ml, today he at 80 ml at EVERY feeding!!

Hopefully, he'll be home soon. We should find out tomorrow when they will retest him for his carseat test. If he should fail, Victoria has been awesome and offered her car bed for Matthew. Her generosity is amazing and I am really appreciative.

Everyone has been so wonderful with their kind thoughts, prayers and gestures. I would really like to thank Grandma and Grandpa for not only getting Matthew all of his nursery furniture, but for delivering it as well. Thank you also Grandma and Grandpa for Matthew's new car seat, crib mattress, nursery paint, nursery curtains and the awesome breast pump that arrived today. We are very thankful. Thank you also to Nana and Auntie Christy for watching Kaitlyn, and thanks to Papa for painting the blue in Matthew's room and for painting the glider Aunt Christy gave Matthew.

Tomorrow I will work on the dresser for Matthew's room. I should be able to put it together tomorrow. Then, I just have to put everything away and I can take some great pictures to share his Vintage firetruck room with you :)