Friday, October 28, 2011

Today is the Day.

Today is the day.

My flight leaves for home in about 12 hours. I should be sleeping, but I can't. I blame part of it on being anxious. I blame the other part on the 12 hour nap I ended up with after falling asleep while reading my book. But mostly, I think it's the anxiety.

I'm so very excited to see Andy's mom.

But...I'm so not excited about the mess of drama and fueding with my family right now.

I don't want to be part of it. I don't want to be near it. I don't want to hear anything else about it. I almost canceled my flight because that's how bad I don't want this.

I just want these people to realize that they are all adults and it's well past time for them to start acting like it. I live 3000 miles away. I don't like getting phone calls at all hours of the day and night because someone thinks I should be involved in their arguments or that I should defend this or confront that when I haven't been there to be involved. Even more than that, I don't like getting phone calls all hours of the day and night because some relative that doesn't even want to acknowledge my babies wants to bring them into their fight.

My babies have done nothing wrong. My babies have nothing to do with their stupid fights. My babies don't belong in this mess.

I'm trying to remind myself that my parents taught me to be better than that, to not stoop to such lows, to not start or be involved in such stupidity. I'm trying to remind myself that it's just not worth it. I'm trying to remind myself that I have a lot of little kids that I love dearly looking up to me and watching every move I make. I'm trying to remind myself that they deserve a better example than that. I'm trying so hard....

But dammit, I'm so mad. Those are MY babies, and they don't deserve that.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Have a Problem.

So I have a problem. A really big one.


I know I've posted about work before. Usually venting my frustrations. But this time it's more than that.

I have busted my ass to get where I am with my job. Most people, on average, take about 6-8 years to get where I got in 3 years. I bust my ass in my shop to learn this job that is completely new to me and to get my qualifications done as quickly and thoroughly as I can. It takes an average person about a year to 18 months to get fully qualified in this shop, and I'm more than halfway there in less than 6 months. Aside from the work side of it, I show up to work every day with a smile on my face, nice as hell to people that I don't even like, in a perfect uniform and perfect hair.

Every day I walk into a place where until 6 months ago, my arrival prompted several loud, cheerful "Good morning Preggo!!" greetings. Every day I walk into a place where 6 months ago I left work for the day pregnant and miserable and I came back the next day without a baby.

I work Midcheck. 3rd shift. I leave my house at 10 pm and I get home around 8 am. I sometimes have time to stop at the gym, catch a bite of breakfast with Bryan if I'm lucky, get some studying in, and then try to get some sleep. I sleep during the day. When the sun is up and the house is always bright. When the dog and the cat are going stir crazy because they need someone up to play with them. I sleep during the day in between nightmares and flashbacks....which really means that I don't get much sleep during the day and usually don't even know what day it is.

I have to cross from one island to another to get to work. There are days that I would rather drive off that damn bridge connecting the two than go into work and deal with stuff. But I go, I bust my ass, and I fucking smile about it.

And then....

....someone says that I'm using my "babies and problems" as an excuse, as a crutch.


I can't even manage a response to that right now. It's like that one sentence derailed a speeding train and sent it crashing straight into me. I'm so overwhelmed with so much more than I even know how to explain, with so much more than I can even understand.

Several of you have dealt with similar things. I know you have. It seems like just another thing that comes along with this losing-a-baby-and-trying-to-find-a-place-in-the-world-again thing. 

How has your work been affected by your loss? How have you dealt with situations like this?  

There's not much stopping me from choking the life outta the next person that talks to me, so I'd really love some insight on this from yall. I know everyone's situations and reactions are different, but I think it might help to hear from some of you about your own experiences.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Going Home.

I've told yall about my friend Andy. I wrote about him a couple times, and I even shared a letter I wrote him on his birthday.

Well, in twelve days, I'm going home. Home. My heart shudders at the sound of that word.

I'm just going for a weekend. Just long enough to breathe in that sweet southern air. Just long enough for a girls night out. Just long enough to enjoy hugs and food and family. Just long enough....

I'm going just long enough to spend time with Andy's sweet mother. And as much as it makes my heart happy, it hurts me so very much.

You see, Andy's mother has struggled with her health for many years. Years of hospitals, surgeries, sleepless nights, and unending pain. When they lost Andy, her health started slowly fading. She never gave up hope in her Lord, and truth be told, her faith in losing her only child has given me strength and hope beyond imagination in losing my own babies.

But in the last few months, this slow fade has stepped up its pace. She's lost almost all of her sight. She had 14 bad falls in a matter of weeks, so now she isn't able to move around on her own. She's at dialysis several days a week. She cries and prays and cries some more. She's missing her Andy so bad. She's hating feeling so helpless. She's hating feeling like such a burden. She's hating being so sick and exhausted.

She's giving up.

I can hear it in her cracking voice. I can feel it in my heart.

She's ready to hand over her pain to her Lord. She's ready to find her Andy.

I loved Andy with every ounce of my being. I still do. And one of the greatest gifts I ever got was the beautiful friendship with his parents after his death. I love his parents like they are my own. I love surprising them on visits home, spending late evening sharing stories with them, laughing and crying with them, praying for them. I love their love story. I love their love for their only child, for each other, for their Lord. I love the idea of more visits, of more family gatherings, of more late nights, of one day introducing them to their "grandkids". They are my friends, they are my family, they are my home.

And tonight, my heart is breaking for them, for what could very well be our last visit. Our last hug, our last late night, our last story.

In twelve days, I hope my weekend is just long enough. To listen, to hug, to share, to laugh, to pray, to cry. To enjoy our time together, just in case it really is our last. To make sure that she knows she is loved, so very much. To just be there. Home.

I know that when she is ready, she will also be going home. I pray with everything in me that when she makes that trip, she finds him, her sweet, beautiful Andy, and gets to hold him in that strong, warm embrace she's been longing for. I pray that she finally finds that place where she can just be.... Home.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Butterflies and Balloons.

This was the sunset as we drove home from getting balloons last night. It's completely unrelated to this post, but it's pretty, so I wanted to share anyway.

Last night when I was preparing the balloons, I wrote each baby's name on one of these butterflies. Then I put a handful of butterflies inside each balloon, praying for each baby and each family as I worked. I started with my babies. And then I wanted to remember a few close friends' babies. And then my mom asked me to remember her friend's baby and grandbabies. And then I decided to go through my blog list and remember all of your babies. If I follow your blog and you have so much as mentioned losing a baby, your baby has a butterfly in that pile.

I woke up before dawn and drove to the top of Mt Erie. (On Fidalgo Island in WA, for those of you who are wondering.) I was hoping to get a few pictures of them floating off over the islands in the pretty, colorful sunrise....but it was foggy up there.

Bryan popped two balloons while blowing them up, so we searched the truck to make sure we had every last butterfly and made more balloons. When we let them go, one got stuck in a I made Bryan climb up to get it and set it free. (I actually wanted to do it myself, but he refused to let me. So I made him go up.)

Praying for all of you, today and always.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Tomorrow, as many of you already know, is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I wanted to do something. Something simple, but something at least. I just don't have the energy to put together anything large scale for this. So I decided I would release a couple balloons for my babies. And then I wanted to include a few close friends' babies.

My idea is to drive to the top of Mt. Erie in the morning, just as the sun rises, to let them go.

I figured if I'm doing this that early in the morning, I should get everything ready for it today. So we went to a party supply store to get balloons and a helium tank. And I started preparing.

And just now, as my eyes and hands are itchy, and I'm fighting so hard to not scratch my eyeballs out, I realized that all night I've been playing with latex balloons.

I'm allergic to latex.

My body is cringing at just the sound of that word.

Maybe I should read the packages a little better next time?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

To Find a Friend.

On a normal work night, I leave my house around 10 pm. I usually get home around 8 am. I let the dog out, I have breakfast with Bryan if he's not in class, I attempt to clean or work on something for Lilly's Dream, and then I crash pretty hard for the rest of the day.

Today I had some work-related classes that lasted well after my normal work day. As in....getting out around 2-3 pm....when I should have already been asleep. I was determined to make it through the afternoon, so I choked down caffeine and sugar all morning. I made it through...and I was fortunate in getting the night off...but now I can't fall asleep.

I thought maybe I just needed to relax a little, so I had a good, long, relaxing soak in this awesome milk bath stuff. I turned up Pandora on my phone (best thing about my phone, or possibly EVER) and talked to the cat, who for some weird reason is obsessed with water/tubs/sinks/showers, until I was so completely bored that I almost fell asleep in the tub.

A Tom Petty song came on that I've never heard before, "To Find a Friend". It sounds like a song about divorce, but oh my heart, how the chorus fits so perfectly to life after my babies....

And the days went by like paper in the wind
Everything changed, then changed again
It's hard to find a friend
It's hard to find a friend
   [To Find a Friend, by Tom Petty]
I never imagined how much friendships would change after losing a baby. I never imagined how hard normal conversations could be. I never imagined how alone a person could feel in a room full of people, especially when surrounded by other moms. I never imagined how much more it would mean to find friends that know, that understand, that truly care.

[Now that I'm out of the bath, I'm wide awake again. Dammit.]

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Feeling Better.

After that crazy breakdown earlier this week, I tried to find more productive ways of venting this restless energy. So Friday morning when I got home from work, I started cleaning the house. And I kept cleaning until every inch of this place had been touched. It was tiresome, but awesome. And then, in keeping with my "slowing down" plan, I spent Saturday cooking pulled pork with homemade bbq sauce and painting. It was so good for my heart to sit there, watching the sun go down, with a paint brush and a huge cup of hot cocoa. I need to do that more often.

I realized Saturday how much I wish I could have a normal, housewife kinda life. I want that consistency. I want that routine of coming home, tidying up, cooking dinner that we can both sit down and enjoy together. That is what family feels like. Not this crazy working all hours of the night and random days of the weekend stuff. I can't wait for Bryan to be finished with school and working full time again. Hopefully then I can be done with this craziness, and be back in TN on my farm where I belong, where life is slow and life is happy.

On a side note, I got some work done on Lilly's Dream tonight. I finally got some time to take a few pictures and work on the Care Packages page. I'm determined to slow myself down and only do this small pieces at a time, so I'll probably work on it some more in a few days. I want to keep the simplicity of the page, but I think it's a little too simple right now. If yall can think of any good ideas for sprucing it up some, please let me know. :-)

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Many of you already know that I've been working on this non-profit, Lilly's Dream, for quite a while. My goal was to get 15 care packages ready to deliver by October 15th. I've been working so hard on this stuff. Since I'm still waiting on some of the paperwork to come in, I've been funding most of this project myself. I found a lady to make some blankets. And then I decided I wanted two blankets, so I made the others myself. And then I found someone to make some journals. And I ordered some "Now I Sleep" cds. And I started working on an information packet to put in the boxes.

Everything started coming in the mail this week. First the journals. Then the cds. Then those tiny crochet blankets. And I cried. I love this project. I love that I can do something to help. I love that I can feel like I'm doing something for my babies. But when I opened that boxes of blankets, it hit me really hard that there are far too many babies dying every day. No baby should ever need a blanket this tiny. Ever. It broke my heart all over again.

And then I realized that in pushing myself so hard with this project, I haven't been giving myself time for just myself. For relaxing. For thinking. For doing nothing at all.

I worked all Monday night and then had a class Tuesday afternoon, so I was given Tuesday night off. I fell asleep on the couch. I was having dreams about being in the hospital again. So many things playing over in my head. The images. The words. The pain. And then one nightmare would evolve into another. I was hurting. I was fighting myself to not wake up to pee because I was afraid of seeing blood again, like in my dreams. When I woke up, I was hurting and I was bleeding. And I went straight from nightmares to vivid flashbacks. I cried. I cried so hard I couldn't breathe. I cried so hard I couldn't move. I crawled into the shower, and I cried so hard I couldn't stand up so I just sat down. I had turned the water up so hot, trying to scald the bad feelings away, and I sat in it, crying, until the water ran cold. I have burns on my skin from it still.

That's not healthy. It can't be. I know it's just a part of the grief process, but it scares me. To scald myself like that. On purpose. That's crazy. I thought I was doing so well, but some random bad day pops up and things go to shit. I don't like counseling. I don't like medication. I don't like flashbacks or what I did to myself because of them. I don't know what to do.

I think maybe I'm just overwhelmed with this stuff, the Lilly's Dream project, and work. I'm hoping that's it because that's an easy fix. 

I don't think I'm gonna have these 15 care packages together by the 15th, but I think that's a good thing. I need to take a break and take some time for myself.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do You See Her?

See that?

That's a woman with four years of amazing experiences, strong work ethic, and blood, sweat, tears, and hard work that paid off quite well. A perfect uniform with a perfect bun and a confident stride that "screams well-seasoned bad ass".

Look at her again.

Look beneath that perfect bun, that perfect uniform, that confident stride, that haunting gaze that never quite meets your eyes. Do you see her?

Do you see the young girl, broken, scared, and hurting?

Do you see the fear? Of bathrooms. Of dark shadows. Of babies.

Do you see the sting of words, like a cat-o-nine tails against the soul? Words of people that don't understand? Of people that don't care? Of people that thrive on negativity? Of people that condemn but don't listen?

Do you see the burden of friendships? Of friendships that are no more? That haven't a chance? That aren't even real except for the sake of a more comfortable workplace? That couldn't bare the weight of grief?

Do you see the shattered dreams? The babies that could never be. The friends that left too soon. The futures that will never happen? All because death and divorce got in the way?

Do you see the battle with weight? Not because she thinks she's fat, but because she is hated for being skinny? Because eating healthy means "dieting"? Because 128 pounds in full utility uniforms at 5 months pregnant is "not good enough"?

Do you see the red sunken eyes from a day of crying from pure dread of returning to another night of work? Crying to make the bruises feel better? Crying to forget the toll this job takes on the body? Crying in fear of the toll it takes on her ability to carry a healthy baby? A baby that has a chance to live?

Do you see the scalding marks from the hot showers trying to burn away the yucky feelings of insecurity, weakness, bruises, and failure? Trying to burn away every regret, every mistake, every nightmare? Trying to burn it all away until the water runs cold but the tears have made her so numb she can't feel the difference?

Do you see the loss of innocence, the loss of faith, from marrying her best friend only to be met with clenched fists and guns stuffed in the couch? Do you see the sleepless nights that still come from the fear of those angry fits, even though he is long gone?

Do you see the pain that drives her forward, just trying to prove she can make it through another day? Do you see the social anxiety she tries to hide with a smile? Do you see the effort it takes to bust her ass at work so that you will approve of her abilities and stop treating her like a child, when all she really wants to do is hide under her blankets and pretend this nightmare never happened?

When you see her, what do you see?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pink Ears.

Yesterday the fog hung thick and low over the bay. So thick we couldn't see the mountains on the other side. And it was cold. It was a perfect day to hide in the house under big fluffy blankets.

I made soup. Homemade chicken vegetable soup. It finally turned out how I wanted it, with the perfect balance of spices and flavor. I even made extra to freeze for lunches at work.

I decided it was a good day to paint. Or rather, my hands were twitchy and I was restless until I finally gave in and picked up my paint brushes. And then my twitchy hands were calm and happy.

It was peaceful. And warming. Or maybe that was the soup.

This is one of my favorite poems, for two of my favorite littles. Naturally, I had to hang it in the hall, next to their pictures. My mom has a hallway in her house with an entire wall filled of pictures of her kids growing up. I'm sad that this is the reality of my wall.

I also painted the dog by accident. Well, he sorta painted himself. He kept crawling under the easel and trying to crawl into my lap. All 65 pounds of him. It's his own fault. But he does wear the pink ears quite well. A black collie with pink ears. It's quite a site.