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Friday, December 18, 2015

Three

It's been awhile.

Lately I feel at a loss for words to say much here. I suppose that's how this goes, three years out. The thoughts and feelings are still there, but they're sort of muted. In the background. Weaving their way into my own existence. 

I've felt the need to get words out, but so often, nothing comes. Or I'm too exhausted to get anything out. 

This year has been...wonderful. Lena just turned two and she is the light of our lives. She's so smart and turning into a little girl. She's not a baby anymore. 

Which is good, because in March, we'll have another baby. (We will. This time around, I'm not wasting my breath with maybes or hopefullys...Maybe I've gained some confidence?) 

I never imagined having three children. It was never something I wanted for myself. But this is where life has taken me. Carry three children, just to raise two of them. 

We found out we were pregnant in July. Right as we we'd closed on our new house and were in the process of packing and moving. It was also the busiest time of year for me at work. So why not add pregnancy into the mix? I was so surprised and relieved, truthfully. Relieved that we'd get to have another child. That Lena would be able to have a sibling. Relieved to get this show on the road. 

If there's anything I've learned...it's that time doesn't wait for you. It's been almost four years since we found out we were pregnant with Luke, and yet we only have one child to show for it. At 36, I'm feeling my age with this pregnancy, and I knew that was going to happen. 

I feel every bit of it. Physically. Mentally. 

This is baby #3 for me. For us. I wish that was visible from the outside, because my insides feel so old. They've carried two 9+ pound babies. And this one's on her way to being the third. My pelvis and back are shot. 

I know this is it for us. And I'm so relieved that I know that. 

But then there's the finality. I suppose everyone who has children reaches this finality at some point, but it's different for us. 

Lena is going to have a little sister. And it turns out that this time around, all I wanted was a boy. 

It complicates things, having lost Luke. We had a boy. We don't anymore. And now he'll be our only boy. And I'll never have gotten the chance to raise him.  Or any boy, for that matter. 

The news of this baby's sex was hard to digest. I was so happy for Lena. She'll get to grow up with a sister. Growing up with my sister, all I ever wanted was two daughters who could be sisters like us. And maybe had none of this ever happened, I would still feel the same way. I don't know. But now I feel robbed. Again. The secondary losses are always there. Not only did I lose Luke, but I've now also lost the possibility of being the Mom of a boy. I mean...I AM a Mom of a boy. But not the way that I wanted to be. Happy for Lena, and so, so, so sad for me. And Jeff.

I know it would never be fair. I keep trying to finish this entry and the tears come every time. It's not fair that I feel like this about my children. Like I can never win. When in reality, I win because I'm their Mom. But losing Luke will just...never be fair.

With Lena, I was relieved she was a girl. I wanted things to be different. I wanted everything to be different so I could get through. This time around, I felt stronger. More confident. That I could handle this pregnancy with a boy.

But a boy was not to be for us, apparently.

I'm ok. When we found this out around Halloween, I'll admit, I was a mess. I've had about a month and a half to let it sink in now, and I'm starting to feel better. I WANT to be excited about this little girl. About Lena getting a little sister. That I get to use all of the clothes that Lena hardly wore because she grew so damn fast. All of that is so, so, so good.

But I still feel guilty. For wishing Luke was a girl. For wishing this girl was a boy. It's a stupid bargaining game that can never be won. All of the wishes in the world can't bring him back. And that's really the only wish I'd ever want granted anyway.

So here we are. Three-ish months from meeting this one. I feel so worn out. So tired. So drained. But this is the home stretch, and even though I know these feelings are hard now, meeting this little girl will begin a new phase of grief. A different phase.

And life will keep moving forward.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The season is changing.

They were changing three years ago on this day too.

I was excited. There was so much to look forward to. Fall was coming...Summer was still blazing, but the sky was different--Like it is when it's Fall. The sun was starting to set earlier, and the days got a tiny bit shorter...

And we were supposed to be parents in about a week. A WEEK.

I can feel that change in my bones every year now. It used to mean the holidays were coming--The only "seasons" that California really gets are when the days get shorter.

But now that change of season comes with a tinge of wistfulness. Remembering that my heart is still broken. Realizing that it will always be broken.

People always say that each of their children hold a place in their heart. A place that grows and evolves over time, if they're lucky. Luke's place never got moved into. Even though Lena occupies SO MUCH of her own little space, his space still feels hollow. Lena has evolved into her own tiny personhood. She shares who she IS. She has opinions. She challenges me and shows love back to me. I never even got to hear your cry, Luke.

The tears and outbursts are fewer and farther between now. But as I feel September and your birthday come on, it's hard not to feel weepy. Still. I still feel sorry for myself and for missing out on an entire life that was so close to being here but never made it.

Three years ago, my life changed forever. The happily-ever-after story that seemed so attainable for everyone else was suddenly no longer a thing for us.

Who would you be today, Luke? A toddler with so many opinions, most likely. Sometimes I look at Lena and try to add 15 months onto her and project what you'd look like now. Would you know as many words as her? Would you be into trucks or dolls? What would your favorite cartoon be?

I'm more at peace with what happened now, three years on. I can function like a normal mom. I have a child that people see with their own eyes, and they recognize me as a mother. But I still struggle when I feel like you're a secret to the world. A secret that only my inner circle knows and keeps in their thoughts. The invisible life that never got lived.

Now the tears are coming.

Grief never ends. That's the thing I've come to understand the most these past three years. Tragedy like ours cuts a hole in your heart that can be uncovered with a single thought or memory. Sometimes I feel like my wounds are scabbed and healed, but then I'll think of your face on this day, three years ago. And it's a fresh wound again. You can never heal from grief. It's always there. Some days it's easier to handle than others, and that's about all you can predict. I do have joy in my life again. I smile. I laugh. There's so much to be happy about. I don't wake up in the middle of the night with tears in my eyes anymore.

But there's been three years without you. How can you feel so far away, and yet so close?

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One month from today, we'll be walking in our 4th Walk to Remember. Forever Footprints is a wonderful organization that takes care of families like us by providing training to hospital staff, offering books, memory boxes, support groups, and so much more to those who are going through what we went through. If you're local and would like to join us, or if you're not and would like to register as a virtual walker, you can sign up below--Join our team Luke's Skwalkers.
OC Walk to Remember 2015 Registration

And if you'd just like to make a donation in Luke's name, we have a fundraising page here: Luke's Skywalkers

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boys

I've said it before, but you know what sucks?

Feeling bad about feeling bad.

Here we are...it's been almost 3 years since we lost you, Luke, and so much has changed. Life has done a complete 180 since you died. And so much of it has been about things getting better--Adding happiness to our lives. The clouds have parted, and I can't even describe how much joy Lena brings to us. She's just...amazing, for lack of a better word.

But you know what's still always there? Lingering?

Jealousy.

I hate it, because I'm not a jealous person. I'm so so not. But there's something about little boys...about seemingly everyone else around me having their own little boys...that just...eats away at me.

Since September 2012, so many babies have been born. But for some reason, in my circle, the people I'm closest to have produced so many boys.

Believe me when I say I'm happy that they're all here and healthy and happy. 

But I would be lying if I didn't say that everytime I hear that one of these little embryos is a boy, my heart sinks. It's not about them. It's about me. It's about what I'm still missing out on that I thought was a sure thing. There are times when I wonder if that desperation will ever be different. I have Lena. She's a living, breathing, growing child, and she's mine and I love her and I don't know what I'd do without her. Why can't I just be happy that I can call her my daughter? I AM happy that she's my daughter. And I'm so happy that she's here and alive.

Lots of people get hung up on the fact that they have 3 boys and no girls. Or the other way around. But they don't usually know what it's like to have had, and then lost one.

I'm sort of stuck in this weird purgatory forever, I suppose. I have a daughter and I had a son. I don't have him anymore. I can't bring him back to know what it's like to have a son and know what that entails. To have HIM and know what that entails. To see who he would become.

There's nothing I can do to bring him back. I know that. And I know that without him, Lena wouldn't be here. That's a bittersweet tradeoff that's still a really hard pill to swallow.

But there's just something about this sting. And I wonder if my desperation to have a son will ever be different? Will it be different if we ever have another son? Because even if we do, it will never be Luke. Will it sting even worse if we have another daughter?

There's no way to know. It's just a shitty thought, and the end of the sentence will always be "...but I can never hold my Luke."

(I'm sorry if you're one of those people in my life with a boy reading this. These feelings are so complicated, and like I said, it's not about you. It's about me. I love all of your boys. So much. On one hand...I get to experience boyhood, through all of them. On the other, it's a stark reminder of what I don't have, and I'm stuck here wishing I didn't have to understand or come to understand these feelings...)


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Four Mother's Days

I've now had the full gamut of Mother's Days experiences. 

My first was with Luke in my belly. Naive, and waiting for the rest of our lives to happen. 

The second, I'd yet to experience a Mother's Day with my own child. Luke was dead. I was bitter, and I was pregnant. Again. 

The third, last year, was the first Mother's Day WITH my child.  She was 5 months old, but so very alive, thank God. 

I'm still trying to figure out how to be a mom to both of our children. I don't think I'll ever have it all figured out. Grief and happiness are still hard to reconcile. 

I have mostly good, amazing days. And I'm so so glad about that. But I think that's what makes me sad, sometimes. Sometimes I still feel guilty for not grieving and missing Luke every minute of every day. Granted, I do. But it's not the same as it used to be. It used to be so thick, my grief. Now...I just think about him, and I still find it so hard to believe all of it really happened to us. 

He's stil gone. 

I'm still here. 

Our life has moved so far forward, and I'm not sure how it happened, but it did. 

But the depths to which I still miss him are incredible. It's not fucking fair that there are parents on this earth who have outlived their children. It never will be. And yet there are more and more of us walking in these shoes every day. 

It's so not fair that I never got to see Luke grow up. But I thank god every day that I can catch a glimpse of what it would've been like watching Lena. 

For those of you hurting today, just know that you're not alone. Life, loss, and grief go hand in hand. For some of us, not in the order it should go in. But there can always be hope, and maybe even healing in the love we show one another. 

I'll never be fixed. But I don't want to be, because that would mean that Luke didn't mean as much as he did. And still does. 

He'll always be my son. And I'll always be his mama. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Positive

Three years ago tonight, I took a test, and it was positive.

It's the first time we knew you about you, Luke.  But we were so excited and so happy.

It was Friday January13th, 2012. And it was shocking to us how quickly you were conceived.

What's equally as shocking was how quickly you came and went.

Sometimes I kick myself for taking that test on Friday the 13th.  How stupid, right? That's just stuff that's made out to be something in the movies.  Superstition. I don't even believe in superstitions. But it's almost like I was jinxing myself when I'd written this in my journal that day:
I guess it's meant to be, ya know? Now...to get through the next 9 months. Fingers crossed it's without drama.
Without drama.  What on EARTH did I know about drama three years ago?

Three years ago, I was na├»ve to worst-case-scenarios.  I truly thought the word "drama" meant some morning sickness and maybe gestational diabetes. I thought that Jeff having to change our insurance a month and a half before having our son was the end of the world.  What if I have him early, I thought? What if there's some strange gap in coverage and they bill us for everything!? This would be the end of the world.

I never ever ever could have imagined that I'd make it 39 weeks with you, Luke, and walk out of that hospital without you. Not once did that ever cross my mind.  Or anyone else's, for that matter.

The hard truth about stillbirth is that nearly no one can see it coming. It just drops on you like a bomb and you're left with the remains of your shattered hopes and dreams. There are rarely answers. No scientific test came back with anything conclusive about how your cord cut you off. There were no blood clots. No abnormalities. All we know is that you somehow cut yourself off from your cord. And you couldn't warn me or yell for help.  You just slipped away silently.

Three years of hopes and wishes that will never become reality. I often wonder how this will feel in 10 years, or 20, or even 30 years. The should-have-beens have become easier to let go of, but the constant parallel reality I run--where in one life you exist, and in the other, your sister exists--I'm not sure that will ever disappear.

Three years ago, my biggest worry was that we'd just purchased Coachella tickets.  How was I going to brave it through the hot desert in April while 18 weeks pregnant?! For sure I'd get heat stroke. Or cankles.

Sometimes I feel like such an idiot for believing that was the worst that could happen.

I wish somewhere, in the back of my mind, I'd reminded myself that the TRUE worst that could happen would be losing your baby.  That Planet-My-Baby-Died existed and was real.

I wish we never became a statistic. An open book with an unwritten story.

3 years ago, things were so uncomplicated. But I didn't know how much love I was capable of carrying, then. I've come to find out, it's a lot. Things are the New Normal, now. Definitely not the normal I was expecting 3 years ago, though. I don't think I ever saw this Normal coming.