Monday, January 28, 2008

What I learned at the scrapbook store

Last week I ventured into a local scrapbook store. I was on a mission for blue scrapbook paper with white polka dots. After many stores, I finally located it, SCORE!

Quick plug for the awesome store: Scrapbook Station

The woman who owned the store was working and incredibly nice. She asked me what I was looking for, why, how long I lived in the area and all of that. She was a great conversationalist. In total, I spent over an hour in the store, purchasing 10 sheets of the same paper totalling $4.60.

During that time, we began discussing scrapbook projects I still have pending and all of the amazing things they have in their store. A digital dye cutter, a ton of papers and scrapbook albums customized with a picture.

We discussed the album I had done for Kaitlyn and the album I need to do for Kaitlyn. We also discussed the album I needed to do for our son.

Typically, I always mention Matthew's birth when discussing how many children I have. I don't always mention his passing. It isn't a matter of pretending like it didn't happen, rather it's deciding how much I want to invest in the particular person and whether or not I feel comfortable enough to put them into that position.

This woman had a grandson born almost exactly a month after Matthew. When it came time to discuss how the boys were doing, I let her know that our sweet Matthew was no longer with us and had gotten his wings a mere 10 weeks after taking his first breath.

She was a very compassionate woman and asked me how I have been able to go on. My answer was something that I knew, something I've thought of many times. I know that exactly what has gotten me through this. My beautiful and loving little girl, my devoted and amazing husband who is the love of my life. Other than that, I give all credit to my faith and the amazingly supportive group of friends and family that have completely and totally been there for me. Those who have been there the days, weeks and now months following Matthew's passing and funeral. Without those people, their shoulders to cry on, their kindness, and their support, who knows where I would be.

She said something to me that really touched me. She told me that I was blessed to have held an angel in my arms and to have had to pleasure of nuturing one of God's children before he was called back home.

While listening to the radio today, that came back to me. I was listening to Dr. Laura (Kaitlyn LOVES her and won't let me change the station, go figure) and a caller called in. She was a younger mom and she was upset that since having her baby 7 months ago she hasn't had much adult time and missed going out. Dr. Laura's response was that the time you have with your infant and toddler is the least selffish time you'll ever had. Our little ones demand so much from us. They take, take, take and give so very little.

I disagree. Yes, we gave, gave and gave to Matthew, but the rewards we had of his life were endless and plentiful. They are rewards and gifts that will keep us warm for a lifetime. What we got back from Matthew was far more wonderful and meaningful that anything I believe we could have given up.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Call

12 weeks and 6 days after Matthew's death, the same coroner who worked the night Matthew died called us. His report was being finalized and his belongings are now being released and we can finally pick them up.

We asked about the cause of death. He believes it is easily of natural causes. The pathologist agreed and ruled the death SIDS. Because we did co-sleep, the cause of death officially reads SIDS-Co-sleep. He believes that our sleeping had nothing to do with Matthew's death. It was not responsible for his passing and changing it more than likely would not have altered the outcome.

Unfortanetly, even doing everything "right" and reducing all of the risks of SIDS, you cannot eliminate the risk of SIDS and nothing in life is promised.

I'm not sure exactly how I feel about everything right now. I thought that I would be relieved with the findings of SIDS. I thought it would alleviate any guilt or sense of responisibility, but it hasn't. I'm sure that it's completely and totally normal. Only time it seems can ease any sense of self blame.

We did go to the cemetery this morning. We had a few more things to add to his Valentine's decorated site. It shimmers, shines and is beautiful. We only wish he was here to enjoy his first Valentine's Day.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Moving Forward

There are times when there are so many emotions I feel at the same time, it's nearly impossible to put into words how I feel.

I think I'm reaching a point where I can be both happy and sad. I think I will always remain sad. There isn't any way around it, Matthew is gone and I miss him so much and that leaves me sad. I don't think I'll ever stop missing him, so I doubt I'll ever stop being sad. But, I am getting to the point where I can be happy at the same time.

I feel as though my heart dropped from my chest when Matthew died. It shattered all over the floor and as he left us, he took one of the biggest chunks and took it with him. The past 12 weeks and 6 days have been spent using super glue to put the pieces back together and try keep it still long enough for the glue to set. Friends and family are the reason it has been able to sit still long enough for the glue to hold. Even though it is set with the pieces remaining, there is still a large piece that is missing.

As time passes, I know that the glue will become more set and more sturdy. I also know that as time passes, as more magical and miraculous babies and people enter our lives, my heart will grow. While that piece will always be missing, and the size of the piece will always remain the same, the rest of my heart will continue to grow and continue to heal.

I know that my heart will always be sad for the loss of our Matthew and I know my arms will always ache to hold him just one more time, but I know that his time here was a magical blessing. We were so lucky to meet him, to hold him and to know him for the time we had.

I want to welcome the new babies making their ways into our families with warm arms, a warm heart and lots of love.

I think sometimes people forget that Kaitlyn has been through so much in the last 6 months. I think their expectations of her are much, much too high. She is a 3 year old who has experienced more in the past 6 months than many adults ever go through. She had her entire life turned upside down. I think she deserves to have parents who are happy with their life with her. I think she deserves to be surrounded by loving supportive people. I don't think it's fair to her to be anything but the best possible parents we can be to her.

So, no matter how hard some of the little things may be or how difficult the larger things are, I am going to push myself to move forward. For my sake, Dusty's sake and Kaitlyn's sake. I know Matthew will always be with me and I will always be with him. Who knows what the future will hold? Only time will tell.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

6 months

5 months ago today, Matthew was born. There are still so many times when it feels like it was all a dream and he was never here at all.

I am still terrified that I am going to forget things about him. I know I could never forget him, but there are times I worry that I will forget the way his skin felt, or the way he smelled or the way his hair felt or how his ears looked. So, I lay in bed at night going back and remembering the little details. Forcing myself to think about every aspect of him and every aspect of every memory I have of the time with him. Sometimes that is hard. The time in the NICU was such a blur, that there are only a few moments that stick out on their own.

There are still times, events and surroundings that are really hard for me. I don't know why I would think any differently though, it has only been 2 1/2 months since Matthew was taken from us. I hate going into the baby department, I seriously do. Which is terrible since I have a wonderful friend expecting a grandson that I really want to be able to shop for and a nephew that's due to arrive this spring. But to be honest, no matter how much I would like to want to, I don't have the desire to. It's depressing, it's sad and it reminds me even more of him not being here with us. He's only 5 months old and that is far too young to be out by himself.

I know that soon, the time of baby showers will be upon us. And really, I don't want to go. People can say what they want, assume that I'm being selfish, childish, immature, unfair, evil, hurtful or whatever else, but really I don't give a flying leap. I am so sick of people who have NO idea what I am going through, thinking or feeling, who don't care to ask judging any of my actions. It amazes me that people can so easily and quickly juding what they do not know.

I know in the end I will end up going. I know I'll be miserable, sitting there watching everyone. I know that a new birth is a joyous time and ocassion, I am greatly aware of this, but right now, it doesn't exactly invoke that in me. The thought of watching someone open gifts similar to what Dusty opened for Matthew (I didn't get to go to my baby shower since I was in the hospital) and with most of it never being used and being shoved into a bin to never be used, is just too much.

There are times when I feel a great deal of peace and understanding. When I almost feel like I could practice forgiveness and move on into the future with that said peace. But, there are times when I have so much anger, resentment and dissapointment in some that I feel like I could throw up. I know I need to work on that, and I try, but sometimes it's just really hard.

Every day I miss Matthew. I know I'm not alone in that. I know Dusty and Kaitlyn miss him as much as I do. Kaitlyn still cries for him and sobs for him and begs me to please bring him home. And that breaks my heart everytime. I know it's hardest for her when she's already tired or having a rough day, and I know that even at 3 she's able to grieve, be angry, upset and heartbroken.

Some days are so much harder than others. Some days I just want to crawl into a hole and cry. Some days I just want to travel back to the last day we had Matthew and just stay there for all of time. Some days aren't as hard. And there are things that trigger the sadness that are so unexpected. But, it isn't really anything I would expect anyone to understand unless they have been through it.

Before, we could go and sit in Matthew's room. Everything was just as it was when he died. It was just like how it was the last time he was in it. The jammies he wore before he died were still on the changing table, his favorite blanket was still in his car seat, everything of his was still there. Last weekend, we had to pack it all up. Kaitlyn gets to have his firetruck rocking chair. We were in there one night and she told us that Matthew said she could have it. Thank you so much for the sweet comments, e-mails and messages aknowledging how hard it was. I am so grateful for such amazing friends and support.

There are times where I enjoy going to the cemetery. It's usually beautifully decorated in Baby Land. The decorations on all the sites of babies and children who have left us remind me and show me that other parents have lost their much loved children and continue to go on with their lives and remember thier lost babies.

I know it's been a while since I've written. I had began to think that maybe someone was right, maybe I just write to hear what I want to hear and to be validated. But, I began thinking about it and really, that couldn't be farther from the truth. I write to collect and organize my thoughts. Even if no one comments, it still brings me a moment of two of peace. And really, I enjoy writing, even if I don't think it necessarily makes any sense to anyone else.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A New Year, A New Start

It will never cease to amaze me how much happened in the last, short 6 months. So much of my world changed. So much of what I knew changed. So much of who I was changed.

I think I have been forced to learn so many new things about myself. Both good and bad. With that knowledge, I can make realistic and necessary resolutions to ensure that I am a better person during the time I have left.

My first goal is to be more selfish. I know that sounds weird, believe me I do. But, I think I have a problem with always putting people ahead of me
and of my family. It isn't uncommon for me to put forth more effort into making other people happy as opposed to keeping me and my daughter happy and I know that isn't ok. So, my resolution is to start putting me and my family first. To put our happiness, sanity and serenity before all else. And I know it won't be easy and I know it sounds harsh but even if that is at the cost of the feelings of others, I think it would be best.

Secondly is my health. I wouldn't at all say I'm unhealthy, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't do more to take care of my body. I need to gain 20 pounds. I've always said it in the past and I've always tried as hard as I could to do so, but this year I'm going to try even harder. I'm also more determined to eat better foods and do more for my overall health. I only get one body, I might as well take care of it the best I know how.

I look back on 2007 with great joy and with great sorrow. The highs were so high and so amazing and the lows were so devastatingly low. We started out with some of the greatest news, we were having a baby, a son. A son to add to our family and to be a part of our family, to complete us. Everything about 2007 was going amazing until June. Even when my water broke, I was grateful that it wasn't worse. I was, we were, thrilled with Matthew's arrival. His birth was amazing and we were so blessed that he was as healthy as he was. Even during the NICU time, we were grateful with how well things progressed. We welcomed every milestone with eager hearts. Matthew's death was a strong, cold blow that I don't think I'll ever recover from and really, I'm ok with that. I don't expect to be the same and I know I can't be the same.

I am grateful for so much this year. I am grateful for amazing family, wonderful friends, new friendships that I only hope to grow, an amazing husband, an incredible daughter, an inspirational son, a roof over our heads and food in our tummies.

We hope you and your families have amazing and peaceful 2008s filled with nothing but wonder, magic and love.