Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Finding out I was pregnant was terrifying. It took a while, but I eventually started letting myself enjoy it and feel excited. But even with the excitement, I still try to be cautious.

I eat right. I try to get plenty of rest. I try to read as much baby stuff as I can stand. I read safety reviews and medical studies. I take pictures and try to take (and enjoy) this journey one day at a time.

But baby shopping?

I still can't bring myself to do it. I have less than 100 days left until my due date, and I can't bring myself to walk into a store to buy baby stuff. Just the thought of it makes me feel like my chest is gonna explode.

Over the past couple weeks, Bryan has tried to convince me that it's time to put the crib together. (We were given one last year for Brake.) His mother has been asking about our baby registry. About what the nursery is gonna look like. About what they should buy for us and what we need. People are expecting me to have answers. To be excited and prepared, jumping at the mere idea of nursery themes and colors.

But...I don't.

I don't have answers or ideas. I'm not prepared. Not even close. I took one look at the Babies R Us registry page, and I was immediately so overwhelmed I started crying.

Someone asked me why I'm making it so much harder than it should be.

My completely honest answer?

I'm not making it hard. It just is that hard. Because I don't know how to prepare for a baby that comes home. I know how to pick out funeral homes and urns. I know about genetic testing and memorial gardens and special photography. That's all I've ever known of pregnancy. So when you tell me that I have less than 100 days until I'm supposed to bring a baby home, and I'm supposed to have all these answers about all these things that I need in my house, I don't know what to do. It's overwhelming. It's terrifying. It's just hard.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Our beaches on the island are full of rocks. And they are one of my favorite places in the world. Especially when I need a break to relax. 

Sometimes I spend hours there. Sifting for pretty rocks, shells, and pieces of sea glass. (The white ones are my favorites.) I carefully pick out each one individually. It drives Bryan crazy, but it helps me focus on something else and clear my head. 

When we moved across town last summer, I was excited about our new surroundings. I was excited about a chance to create better space for us. Something happier and more relaxing than that creaky old blue house that gave me nightmares. It's not too hard to do here. This place is secluded just enough to be quiet and relaxing. It's surrounded by pretty trees and flowers, with an awesome view of the harbor and Mt Baker, and the yard is always full of squirrels and bunnies and little birds and bald eagles. 

The outside was taken care of in terms of happy. I added a furniture set, oil lamp, some potted flowers, and a bird feeder to the patio. I can lay on the patio sofa and watch the tiny birds play in the feeder and fall asleep listening to the calm silence of the harbor. 

The inside took a little more work, but not too much. I just arranged the furniture to take advantage of the bigger rooms, and then filled the rooms with things that make me happy. The living room has a fish tank under a giant photo of a sunset I took in Colon. The kitchen has framed drawings from high school and a fridge full of pictures from my mom's school kids. The extra bedroom was set up like an art room but with Andy's music stuff thrown in the mix. Our bedroom was kept simple with lots of space and some framed pictures of us. 

The hardest part was the bathrooms. I hate bathrooms. I hate the nightmares and two years of sleepless nights caused by bathrooms. I had to put some extra thought into making them happier. I'm the only one that uses the master bathroom so I put a few framed pictures, including my favorite picture of me and my sister, and some bright flowers in there. I put my beach stuff in the other bathroom. Some framed pictures of various beach shots. A mason jar full of those colorful rocks. And a display of random pieces and treasures. 

I spent a long time working on this last display. There were rocks and sea glass. Drift wood. Tiny pieces of bones. Some coral looking stuff. Some shells. A pine cone. A random penny. And a tiny, perfect red crab. I carefully arranged them, making sure that each piece had the perfect amount of space, making sure that each piece was complimented perfectly by the pieces surrounding it, making sure that nothing was gonna come loose and crush anything else. It was a lot of time on a pile of random stuff, but it made me smile. And when you've been through hell, something that can make you smile is a pretty damn big deal.

Bryan's mom, grandma, and little sister came out for a visit last week. It was....interesting. I don't want to go into much detail on here. Some things are just better left off the interweb, you know? I will say that there were two really big things that stand out about this visit, other than the very obvious difference in family dynamics that is taking some getting used to.

First. When they got here, Bryan gave them a quick tour of the house. The hallway, which I didn't mention earlier, is lined with things relating to my babies. Some paintings. Some pictures of their names on a beach. And pictures of them. The look on his mom's face when she noticed them was like a hard punch to the gut. As was the overwhelming silence for the next several minutes. I saw the same look on her face when she heard that we kept the urn in the house.

I'm not sure what the look was. Horror. Disgust. Sadness. A good mix of all three. Whatever it is, it was seeping with "disapproving mother-in-law", something that I'm more than familiar with. I've never had a problem with those pictures in my hallway. I've never had a problem with people coming over and seeing them. It's my house. They're my babies. If it's something you're not comfortable with, you don't have to come over. That's pretty much how I see it. Except this time, those looks made ME uncomfortable being in my own house. And I don't know how to feel about that.

Second. Bryan's little sister is 7 years old. I haven't been around kids in a long time. I don't have a problem with kids. I didn't have a problem with her jumping around the house. I didn't have a problem with her antagonizing my dog and then screaming when he didn't play how she wanted. I didn't have a problem with the way she was mean to Bryan when she didn't get what she wanted. I didn't have a problem with her eating all my cherry tomatoes from my salad drawer. Sometimes that's just how kids are, especially kids in her particular situation.

But today, three days after they left, I have a problem. That display in the bathroom that I spent so much time putting together? I noticed it looked different. So I looked a little closer. My tiny little crab was turned upside-down. And his legs were crushed and scattered. I looked it over again. Everything was shifted and moved around. She wanted the penny that was in it. So she moved everything to get to it and get it out and then left everything a jumbled mess. A jumbled, broken mess.

It's just a bunch of random shit from the beach. It's just a broken dead crab. It's not a big deal. But I worked really hard putting it together. I worked really hard creating pretty, happy spaces in my house. I worked really hard making the bathroom a place that I didn't feel so imprisoned in. And it was smashed to hell over a damn penny. One damn penny. If she really wanted a penny that bad, all she had to do was say so. There's probably $10 worth of change scattered around the in-dash tray in my truck, and I would have gladly given her all of it.

It's taking all I have to not drop to the floor and cry. And realizing that I'm at the point of crying over a dead crab makes me want to cry even more.

Maybe I just need to sleep.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Grieving Dads: To The Brink and Back.

When I lost Lilly two years ago, it was by far the most traumatic experience of my entire life. Physically and emotionally. I was super lucky that my parents were in town when it happened. They were able to stay with me while I was in the hospital, which was a huge deal for me. I don't even want to think about how differently it might have turned out if they hadn't been there.

My dad took it very badly. He wasn't sure how to process what was happening with his grandbaby. And he had no idea how to deal with seeing me, his own baby, in so much pain and not being able to do anything about it.

He's actually a very sensitive guy. More so than he sometimes likes to admit. (That's most guys though, right?) He had a lot of nightmares. And guilt. And stress about not being able to do anything. All added on top of a lot of stress at work. It got to the point that he started randomly crying at work. It got worse last year when I was pregnant with Brake. And then he had a nervous breakdown after we lost him.

I flew home later in the summer because he wanted to build a memory garden for the babies. The rest of the family tries to avoid talking about them, so the garden was their only real outlet. And it was something positive for them to relate to what happened.

Bryan wasn't so easy to help. I've tried to help him find positive outlets. I've tried to get him to talk about it. I've tried just giving him space. Guys just deal with these kinds of things differently than we do.

When I first stumbled into this blog world, one of the first blogs I found was Kelly Farley at the Grieving Dad's Project. After a long struggle with the loss of his babies, Katie and Noah, Kelly started reaching out to other parents. Especially dads. When there's a new baby on the way, everyone is so excited about momma and her belly that they often over look dad. And when a baby dies, everyone is so focused on what momma is feeling and going through that they forget dad lost a baby too.

Most dads get so caught up in trying to be strong for their wife that they neglect their own need to grieve. Kelly's project makes sure that other dads know they have somewhere to turn, someone who will listen and understand, someone that won't judge them as being "too weak" or "less of a man". Finding his blog actually helped me a LOT because I could see how differently guys see and deal with grief. I could understand Bryan a lot better, even when I still couldn't do anything to reach him.

Kelly has actually taken this project a step further, and he's turned it into a book. The literary agents and publishers that he pitched the project to didn't want anything to do with it because they didn't see it as profitable enough for them. So he's been working to publish it himself. The book is in its final stages, but the cost is a little more than he can do by himself. I personally love what he's done and continues to do for the bereaved community, and I can't wait to see this book in print. I hated the grief materials we were given at the hospital. I threw the whole packet into the wall and left it scattered everywhere because I hated reading that ridiculous bullshit. I wanted to read something real. I think this is about as real as it gets, especially for dads, and I think it's gonna make a tremendous difference.

If you have a few dollars to spare, that would be awesome. Every little bit helps. Even if you can't help with funding, simply sharing his project and fundraiser would be a huge help.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Getting Ready.

When I worked 3rd shift all last year, I got up a little early and took my time getting ready for work. I smoothed my hair into a tight, perfect bun. I brushed on a tiny bit of make up, usually just some light eyeshadow and mascara and some Burt's Bees chapstick. I smoothed out my uniform and made sure all the stray cat and dog hairs were gone and that my boots were nice and shiny.

When I got pregnant, I felt almost crippled by the constant morning sickness. I didn't have the energy to get up a few minutes earlier. I didn't have the energy to fiddle with my hair long enough to make a perfect bun. I didn't even give makeup a passing thought. Even now, after the sickness has mostly gone away, I have resigned to just throwing on a clean uniform, brushing my teeth, and twisting my hair into some form of submission. I look like a zombie most mornings, but I don't even care.

Sunday was a gorgeous afternoon, and Bryan wanted to take me out to a picnic for lunch. For the first time in a while, I took some time on my hair. And I put on makeup for the first time in...well...I don't even know how long. It felt nice to take some time on myself. It felt nice to feel the kind of pretty that comes from a little something extra. (Or that comes from wearing something other than old football sweats and yoga pants. Either way.)

The cat likes to sit in the bathroom whenever I'm in there getting ready. (She also likes to climb in the shower, but that's a completely different story...) She was sitting on the counter, calmly and intently watching my every move. I watched her watching me, and it reminded me of all those times growing up that I sat watching my mom get ready for a big day. Sitting on the end of the bed watching her magically turn her straight hair into big curls. Watching her carefully line her eyes and brush her lashes with mascara and spritz her perfume on just the right spots.

It was mesmerizing. I wasn't even big enough to reach the stuff, much less be able to fix myself up like that. When she was almost done, she would always let one of us help her with her jewelry. It seems silly now, but something as simple as standing on the bed to fasten the clasp on her necklace was a huge deal. I couldn't wait to grow up and be able to do such amazing things as her.

I could see myself sitting on her bed with those huge eyes and that shy smile. There was so much love and admiration in those eyes. The cat was staring at me with those same huge eyes. It was almost enough to break me. It got me wondering how different life would be if things had turned out differently, if my babies had never died. Would I be watching them staring up at me instead? Would I be a good mom? Would they have that sense of amazement that I had with my parents? Would we read books and play dress up and have dance parties and watch cartoons while we eat our breakfast? The more I wondered, the more I wanted to curl up in a ball and disappear.

Despite the emotional morning, the rest of the day turned out pretty great. I think we need to do picnics at the beach more often.

Bryan got a couple pictures while we were walking around after eating. He teases me about how highly (and easily) amused I am by my belly button. Especially when it randomly sticks out in pictures, like this one.

We hit 23 weeks today. I'm still a nervous wreck, but we're getting there. One day at a time.

Oh, and for the record, no matter how many times I watched my mom do her makeup, I still couldn't do my own without stabbing myself in the eye until well after my senior year in high school. And even now I can't curl or flat iron my hair without burning myself.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Becky over at For the Love of baby Liam lost her beautiful daughter, Evelynn, this past week.

If you have a few minutes to spare, please go leave her some kind words of support.

Please keep their family in your prayers.