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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Better Late Than Never

Jen was kind enough to supply me with another e-copy of the Gracie picture that she did...  Thanks so much, Jen! 

It All Seems to Come in Waves

I cried in the shower today.  Outside of the first month after losing Gracie, I honestly have not cried nearly as much as I thought that I would over the course of the first year.  But when I cry, I cry.  I don't think there was any one specific reason today; I think it was just a culmination of everything suddenly all coming together. 

Today was my MIL's annual Memorial weekend picnic.  More beautiful weather could not have been asked for.  There was a birthday cake for me...and they sang Happy Birthday twice, since the second group of singers apparently didn't hear the first group singing.  Aside from this, I didn't have that spectacular of a time...perhaps partially because I was still working on regrouping myself after the breakdown in the shower.  I watched my husband in the pool rough housing with the nephews that are in high school, and playing so well with the nephew and niece that are 5 and 7 years old.  I couldn't help but think that Gracie should have been in the pool with him.  Then I started thinking about how it is just about the right time for him to be starting 'Daddy and Me' swimming lessons (only because I work all damn day, every damn day...which makes Mommy and Me out of the question for a while), and I just wanted to bore a hole in the side of the pool.  Luckily, we only stayed at the picnic for about 3 1/2 hours, since Jeff had to head into work late this afternoon...but the damage was done...Gracie had missed her first Memorial Day weekend picnic.  I am now also officially another year older.  Just one more thing that Gracie is not here for. 

It has been 10 months since Gracie died and then was born into the world (well, close enough - tomorrow will be 10 months since she died).  Almost a year.  I should be starting to gear up for our first born's 1st birthday party.  Instead, I am starting to think about what we will do for Gracie's first angelversary.  Angelversary.  That should just not be a word.  It just shouldn't. 

Part of me wants to plan an 'event'.  I want people to remember Gracie.  I want them to remember what happened to her.  I want them to remember what happened to us.  I just want them to remember.  I want them to understand what it has done to us.  I want them to understand that it hasn't just gotten better and hasn't just gone away.  As much as I know it will never happen, I just want people to understand.  All of that said, I am pretty sure that an 'event' would completely break Jeff, so it's not really an idea that I am entertaining beyond this point.  Instead, we will do something much smaller and much more personal...something that is still likely to knock my hubby on his ass.  We will likely gather our immediate family and have dinner and a birthday cake for Gracie.  There will be some balloons and some bubbles...and hopefully some spontaneous birds and butterflies.  It will suck.  It will suck because she will not be here.  It will suck because it will not be the happy day that it is supposed to be.  It sucks that she will never be here for her special day.  Ever.  The whole thing just sucks. 

There are 4 other 'friends and family' babies that were born less than 4 months before Gracie.  One of them is a rainbow baby that belongs to real life friends.  Today is his 1st birthday and his 1st birthday party.  (We couldn't make the party because of the picnic and Jeff's work schedule)  In addition to the rainbow baby who has his first birthday today, there are other babies celebrating.  Two other babies have first birthdays this weekend and another turned one about a month ago.  Two of these four babies took their first steps withint he last week and this was posted on FB this week....something else that Gracie will never do.  She should be right there with this group of four other babies, and she is not.  She will never be part of that group.  Ever. 

...Sigh...I want to feel better than this.  I want the ups and downs to stop.  I want the not-so-good days to stop and the good days to prevail.  I want my Graciebelle...sigh...

On a lighter note, with Dawn's help, I was able to find my pins online for only $4 each.  I was able to order enough to donate about a two year supply for our hospital's bereavement boxes.  Thanks for your help, Dawn! 

Dear World...

I have done my best to maintain Gracie's blog as a place to express my grief and other feelings about her loss.  Over the last 5 months, for a number of reasons, I have tried to do this without much mention here of Jellybean.  This post was originally intended for Jellybean's blog, but after reaching the end, I felt that it wasn't upbeat enough to be posted there...afterall, it's not her fault that she is arriving in the wake of Gracie's storm.  I have decided to post it here since most of it deals with how Gracie's death is affecting things now...and because I already have a grief-filled post on Jellybean's blog.  If you are a fellow BLM who is not up for reading about pregnancy and rainbow babies yet, you might not want to proceed any further into this post...just a word of caution...

Dear World,

I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your interest and concern regarding my pregnancy with Jellybean.  Thank you so much for asking all the time how I am feeling.  Please don't take me wrong, I do appreciate that people have a genuine hope that things are going well, but most of the time I cannot really give you open and honest answers.  Most of you have gotten the same answer that every other person has gotten...'I am exhausted, but otherwise I feel fine'...because I am exhausted, but otherwise feeling just fine, physically.  Thank you for asking about the ultrasound that was done three weeks ago.  Again, you have probably gotten the same answer that everyone else has gotten, because there is really only one answer to give...'Everything looked good.  They didn't see anything of concern at this point.'  Lastly, thank you for pointing out how good it is that nothing of concern was seen on the ultrasound.

What you should know is that I have reached a point that I am tired of talking (all the time) about being pregnant.  Don't get me wrong...I am trying to embrace every moment that I can with Jellybean.  I know that I only have one chance to enjoy being pregnant with her, and that I will regret it forever if I don't enjoy it as much as I can.  I love that I have been able to feel her moving for about 7 weeks, and I look forward to getting in bed at night so I can really put everything I have into absorbing her movements and developing personality.  I am looking forward to her arrival (although I know that it is going to be bittersweet) and most days I am enjoying purchasing a few more pieces of clothing to put in the dresser in anticipation of her arrival.  Unfortunately, I also spend every day waiting for the other shoe to fall. 

Still, I have grown tired of talking about being pregnant.  Being pregnant after losing a baby that could and should have lived is exhausting, and I hate that there is no way for any of you to understand how emotionally and psychologically taxing this is for me/us.  It is taxing and draining because of the obvious implications.  But there is something else that weighs on me.  I have a new circle of friends, most of them online, that are all baby loss moms.  We are all in different stages of our grief and healing; some have had their rainbow babies, some are pregnant with their rainbows, some have conceived and subsequently lost their rainbows, some are still trying to conceive their rainbows, some are not ready to think about rainbows yet...and some, for whatever reason, will never have a rainbow baby.  Knowing that some of my new friends are having a difficult time with their own circumstances creates its own feeling of guilt knowing that I am carrying a (so far) healthy baby.  So please keep this in mind if I tell you that I really don't want to talk about things.  Please also consider that I hate that you ask your questions of concern and interest with the expectation of receiving certain answers.  I hate that I pretty much have to give you the answers that I have outlined above and leave out the really important parts because you freak out if I include those important parts.  Yes, it is true that for the most part, I am feeling fine physically, aside from being exhausted.  But I am emotionally spent, which I really think is contributing to the physical exhaustion.  I am so tired of waiting for that other shoe to fall.  This is not how I choose to feel at this is something that is out of my control, so please don't try to talk me out of feeling this way or make me feel better with some line of crap about how everything is going to be fine with Jellybean.  If the doctors cannot make that guarantee, you certainly cannot make it either.

Thank you for being so happy to learn that all looked well in the ultrasound; but seriously, please don't act like I have taken your birthday away when I say 'But everything looked good at this point with Gracie, too.'  Again, it is the black and white this point with Gracie, we had no indication of the road that we were starting down.  Because of Jellybean's high risk of Down Syndrome, I am relieved that there were no heart defects identified on the ultrasound, but otherwise an anomaly-free ultrasound doesn't bring much relief at all.  It does not bring relief because Gracie started out with a slightly lower risk of Down Syndrome and also had several anomaly-free ultrasounds...and in the end, she died.  Again, please don't try to talk me out of this won't work.  I will not feel any better about how things look until I give birth to a living, breathing baby that I can bring home from the hospital.

Please understand that I am still grieving the loss of my first born child.  I cannot stress enough that my grief is still pretty fresh and sometimes unpredictable.  For those who have voiced their opinion that we got pregnant pretty quickly after Gracie's death...yes, we did.  In all reality, we both needed more time to grieve and heal before conceiving Jellybean....however we would like to have 3 living children, and we are starting to run out of time for this to be a feasible option.  So back into the saddle we go.  If we were 3 or 4 or 5 years younger, I am pretty sure that the saddle would still be hanging on the wall.  

Please stop asking if we are planning again for natural childbirth.  Much to your dismay, yes we are.  Please stop asking if this is a good idea, because I will remind you every time that Gracie died before my labor was induced.  The manner of birth did not kill her.  Please, please, please stop telling me that there is no prize for not getting an epidural.  You told me this repeatedly and repeatedly bashed our desire to have an unmedicated birthing process when I was pregnant with Gracie.  Much to my own dismay, I was unable to hold it all together when I was laboring with Gracie and I got a last minute epidural.  I HATED IT.  Yes, much of my physical pain was relieved, but I have never experienced such lack of control over my body in my life (we won't talk about the very fresh emotional anguish and its effect on my ability to deal with the pain...).  So, unless an epidural and other medical procedure is needed to ensure Jellybean's safety as we approach late September, we will proceed with the plan to not have an epidural.

If you are pro-epidural and not interested in how I plan to go through childbirth without it, please don't ask.  I will be more than happy to tell you about the Brad.ley class that we took one year ago, and I will be more than happy to tell you about the Hypno.babies home study course that we are going to use this time around.  Seriously...if you don't want to know, don't ask...I am not going to entertain a debate and I will not entertain conversation just for you to bash our plans.  While I do have an opinion about certain medical interventions regularly used during childbirth, I do not and will not judge any individual based on their decisions, nor will I sit and openly bash those decisions.  It is rare that I say much about the interventions you used or plan to use, other than to maybe suggest that you do some reading and educate yourself about some of the hidden truths out there.  Regardless of how Jellybean is born, I am going to need as much support and positive energy as possible as we approach Jellybean's birthday.  So, unless you have your ducks in a row and have something supportive or constructive to say, fuck off and mind your own business.    

Please stop asking the ridiculous questions about my diet.  It's really none of your business, but if you must know, when I am pregnant I try to consume about 100 grams of protein and at least 80 ounces of fluid daily and one egg at least 4 days a week.  Otherwise I don't have a 'pregnancy' diet.  Although I do feel that it's beneficial during pregnancy that my diet to 80-90% organic/natural, I do not eat organic/natural because I am pregnant.  I eat this way because I feel that it is the healthiest choice for me all the time.  It has been a slow lifestyle change based on educated decisions.  Please do not take offense if I turn down something that you offer me...I turn down food for many reasons...sometimes simply because I am not hungry.  (And yes, I do have my weaknesses...I do not need you to point out that Dot.s and jelly beans are not natural or organic.  And no, my allergy to caffeine/chocolate has not changed - again, this has nothing to do with my pregnancy, so why are you asking?)  I have no idea why so many of you have such a burning desire to make a connection between my diet and pregnancy, but unless you have something constructive to say, you really need to mind your own business here, too.     

Please stop telling me that I should seek the services of a different obstetrician's office.  Yes, there are things that probably could have gone a little differently during my pregnancy with Gracie, but we will never know for sure if those things were the difference between life and death.  At this point, we believe that they probably not have been enough to save Gracie.  We are happy with the care that we are receiving, and we prefer this practice and hospital over the other options available to us within a 1 hour radius of home.  ~  Please stop telling me that my belly is too small or too big for this stage of pregnancy.  My belly size is just fine; it's actually better to not blow up like a house when you are pregnant.  ~  Please stop acting like I am broken; you didn't do it when I was pregnant with Gracie, so don't do it now.  Nothing that I did killed Gracie, so restricting my activity now is not an act of prevention.  Doing less for myself is actually psychologically detrimental at this point.  ~  Please stop telling me that Gracie is watching over have no idea how much this might backfire on you if something goes wrong with Jellybean.  Jellybean is not Gracie's responsibility...Jellybean is the responsibility of the doctors, midwives, her mother and her father...but she is not her big sister's responsibility.  And not tell me that Gracie is not a big sister.  Just don't...just don't. 

If, for some reason I happen forget that no one gets any of this...and that no one really wants to get it...and I do accidentally tell you about how I am feeling about things, please don't tell me that you understand.  Please.  You do NOT understand unless you have lost a child.  End of story.  Please do not tell me that you can imagine how I am feeling unless you can really imagine losing your own child and how it would affect your life.  End of story.

If I seem to be a little down or seem to be having an off day, I probably am.  It happens, sometimes without reason.  Please don't make a big deal of it.  It will pass.  You can worry if it doesn't pass after several days.  If I don't say much please don't take offense or be put off.  If you haven't figured it out from everything written here, I am still angry and overwhelmed by the death of my daughter.  I am still nothing short of overwhelmingly frustrated by trying to communicate with people since Gracie's death, because most of the time, no matter how much or how little I say, it's not what people are looking for.  If you want more answers, please look at this post on Jellybean's blog

As always, thank you for your consideration in this matter...I sort of look forward to maybe doing business with you at some point in the future when it's not so difficult and emotionally draining to do so.


Closing note: Although this is addressed to the world, it is likely to be read only by BLMs and other random people that might wander into Gracie's blog.  Most of our real life friends and family are not privy to Gracie's blog, so unfortunately, the people that should be reading it probably never will.  Perhaps at some point I will have the cojones to put it on our public friends and family blog that was started in anticipation of Jellybean, but until then, you ladies are my sounding board....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Finally Catching Up a Bit

While I am certainly not going to say that I am back in my normal online routine, I have spent the last few hours catching up here in our world.  I started on BCC, where I found 104 new messages in my inbox.  I decided that it was probably best to just pick through the last week or so of posting as it would take me a week to work through any more than that.  From Babycenter I moved into feels like I have been gone for a year instead of a month.  So ladies, please slow down a bit so I can keep up!

It's good to come back and see so many women finding peace and making some forward strides; my heart breaks for those who are still no closer to doing so.  Margaret commented on this not too long ago, but it was painfully obvious to me today just how many more families have joined the club.  I realized that I have new people following my blog - each of whom has a blog that I have not yet ventured to.  So I caught up on old blogs and ventured into some new blogs, leaving lots of comments and messages for many of you along the way...and now I am not sure that I can keep anyone straight.  As I settle back into a routine, I suppose it will sort itself out.  I must say, as discouraged as I was by the number of newcomers, I was just as encouraged by the number of rainbow baby announcements that I read today.  Even more encouraging was today's arrival of Bree's rainbow baby, Nora!!

I have been meaning for the last few months to order some pins that I have promised for our hospital's memory boxes.  It is something that has drug out for a while now because I cannot find what I am looking for in the price range that I need to stay in. Has seen these pins for sale anywhere at a price of less than $8 each?
I really like this pin much better than the plain ribbon pins without the little feet, and I think that it's so much more appropriate for the memory boxes, but $8 each is a bit cost prohibitive right now since we will be buying them in a somewhat larger quantity.  (I found them on one site for $5 each, but they are sold out; they will not be restocking them for a while because the quantity that they need to order in order to sell at this price is limiting them right now - not an encouraging thought, but I am keeping my fingers crossed...)  I figured that if anyone could point me in the right direction, it might be someone here...

Since I am so behind, I need to say a very belated thank you to Maggie and Jen for doing such thoughtful pictures for so many angel babies.  Unfortunately, I cannot show you the picture that Jen did, because I am an idiot and apparently deleted is hopefully soon to come!

Here is Gracie's name from Maggie...I find it so appropriate for Gracie to be curled up with a sleeping kitty.  Thanks, Maggie! 

As I have mentioned before, I am looking forward to the close of the school year.  I have been short a full time therapist since October 2nd, and since that time I have been handling a caseload of special needs students that grew from around 70 to about 90 over the course of the the outpatient load at the office.  Not to say that my grief has been put on hold to manage all of this, but work has certainly played a large role in keeping me preoccupied from time to time.  My body and brain are both completely exhausted, and I am ready for a slow down.  I am interested to see how my brain and inner spirit do once I am not seeing a gazillion appointments a week and working 10-12 hours a day (plus weekends full of paperwork).  I am hoping to avoid any major emotional crashing, but who knows.  I do have a few things lined up to hopefully help with that...  I will be taking some time away from the office to just get things done around the house - getting some of these things accomplished may help my spirit tremendously, as the list has been ongoing since fall.  Jeff and I will be spending a few days in and around NYC in July (unfortunately a big vacation is not in the budget this year) to visit some friends and just relax a little.  We will probably catch a Yankee game and a show of some sort, but inevitably the trip will not be long enough and will not allow as much decompression as we would like.

It's good to catch up - hopefully I will stay caught up with most of you, at least through most of the summer.  Wishing you all a good week...

Monday, May 17, 2010

They're Back

Perhaps I stop at the grocery store too often, or perhaps Gracie draws me there intentionally...whatever the underlying reason, I was there again today for a few things.  As soon as I walked in the door, there they were...right next to the blue coolers that were there last week...a big, fat display of Styrofoam coolers.  Sigh. 

Missing all of you and hoping to catch up on about 3 weeks of blog reading this weekend...  Hoping that all of you are well...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Once again, I find myself writing after a relatively long hiatus from Gracie's blog.  As I drive around between schools during the day, I think about lots of things that I would like to post here, and the time just never presents itself. When I go for such long periods without any blog posts, it is almost guaranteed that I am also not reading too many blog entries.  I see them pop up on my google reader, but I don't have the time to spare to sit and read.  Sometimes I get a quick chance to read, but don't really have time to comment.  It makes me feel very alone and disconnected from everyone.  I don't like that lonely feeling.  :-(   Luckily, school is almost over, and I might be able to reclaim what is left of my life!!

It has been cold and rainy here this week, but last week brought us beautiful spring weather.  Most of the week, the sky was the most vibrant color of blue with a few wispy white clouds here and there.  Right now, our trees are the most beautiful shade of bright green; nothing compares to seeing that shade of green against the electric blue sky.  The sun was ever present and warm, and most days there was a gentle breeze blowing.  More perfect weather could not be wished for...and no other weather could remind me more of the day that we buried Gracie.  It was such a weird feeling that I carried with me all week as I soaked in the sun and the warmth...ever present in the back of my mind was the fact that it was the same exact weather we had on August 5th.  It makes me wonder if the most perfect of weather days will always bring me back to August 5th. 

As I was driving the other day, I saw a cloud unlike any other cloud I had ever seen.  It was surrounded on all sides by other clouds, all of which were pure white.  The cloud in the center was rainbow colored.  I have never seen anything like it in my life - it was simply amazing....and beautiful....but of course, only an illusion.  By the time I got the car stopped to take a picture, the illusion was gone.  :-(    But, I couldn't help but wonder if it wasn't a sign of some sort from Gracie.

Sticking with signs from Gracie...I wonder if anyone else sometimes has trouble interpreting the signs like I do...of if anyone else wonders "is that just a coincidence or is it really a sign?"  I have had two questionable signs over the last couple of weeks.  Music and coolers.  As I was randomly shuffling through my ipod last week, I listened to the words of a song that I have heard maybe just a handful of times.  As I really listened to those words, I realized how perfect they were for Gracie.  On Sunday, as I was adding music to my ipod, I realized that somehow only 2 of the 11 songs on that CD had gotten transferred over from the computer - the other 9 were somehow left off.  How in the world did that happen...and why?  Shortly before Christmas I mentioned a display of styrofoam coolers in one of my posts.  (The connection goes back to our meeting with the funeral director, whose free infant service included a free casket that essentially turned out to be nothing more than a Styrofoam cooler.)  I was in the same grocery store last week...and in the exact same location was a new display of coolers - regular/real this time, not Styrofoam.  Some BLMs have specific signs....some have butterflies, some have flowers, some have I am starting to wonder if coolers are going to be a regular sign for me.  Seriously...where does this stuff come from?  How do I turn it off???

Sometimes I wonder if the signs are just desperation on my part.  Most days I am 'okay', but some days I feel nothing but desperation for answers to all of the 'why' questions...and desperation to just have Gracie here with us, alive and kicking.  We are 9 months out now, and sometimes the loss just feels so much different than it did 5 or 6 months ago.  Similar to the difference between acute and chronic injuries, I suppose.   There are days that I still wonder if I was ever really pregnant.  Don't get me wrong - I know that I was pregnant.  I have medical records and photographic evidence to prove it.  I have an attic full of shower gift and stacks of totes full of pink and purple clothes that I certainly would have never purchased if a baby had not been expected.  But shy of the material evidence, my body shows no physical evidence of pregnancy, and never really showed any once I was about two weeks beyond Gracie's funeral.  How in the world could I have spent so much time preparing for the greatest moment of my life, all to have it just vanish, literally into thin air???  How does it all just disappear???  I wonder quite a bit about how different the last 9 months would have been with her here.  I wonder if we would have spent time in the NICU, and I wonder where she would be in terms of motor development.  I wonder what her little personality would be like.  As I wander from classroom to classroom during my work day, I occasionally take a minute to just take in some of those rooms and some of the kids in them...and I just wonder.  I look at the two babies in our lives that are just 3 months older than Gracie should have been, and I just wonder.  Despite the many people who belong to this club with me, I think every day about the painful fact that I am still in the minority...and I wonder what it would be like to have gone through life without knowing this pain, disappointment, loneliness, heartache and occasional bitterness...and how easy it should have been to go through life without knowing any of it.  I think about all of the women that I have 'met' over the last 9 months and how grateful that I am to have met them...but I also think about the fact that we all existed, in our own worlds - completely oblivious of each other, until those peaceful little worlds were shattered into millions of pieces.  I think now that we all were obviously destined to 'meet' each other and become part of each others' lives, but I wonder if there wasn't an easier way for the universe to arrange the meetings.  I think about how absolutely lonely I would be if this had happened 20 years ago before technology made our community possible.  I think about how, on some level, it will be so weird when pregnancy ending means coming home with a baby...since we don't really know what it is like to do that.  I hate that I now think about everything in life in terms of statistics, and how much heavier I weigh 'slim' odds...for everything.  Sure, I have survived this and I will continue to survive it...I will continue to get up every morning and go to bed every night...but it has changed every single thing in my life.  Nothing is the same, nor will it ever be.  Good, bad and/or indifferent, the world will always look so much different than it did before July 31, 2009. 

I don't really know what to think about the whole Mother's Day thing.  Blah.  The weather here had gone back to cold and wet by Sunday.  We got up early and went for breakfast, then went to the cemetery to do a little clean up.  It was so cold and windy by the time we got there that we only stayed for about 10 minutes.  It certainly goes without saying, but I should not be going to the cemetery to visit my daughter on Mother's Day.  It's so completely backwards.  And the recognition of the fact that I am a was there from some people.  It was there from the people who matter in my life, but I couldn't help but feel that some of the wishes were just simply out of pity...which made me feel pathetic and pitiful. I know that they were really all primarily out of love, but seriously, there has to be some degree of pity there.  Blah.  I sincerely hope that all of you have peaceful IBLMD and US Mother's Days...I hope that many of you were able to say that you had pleasant days and that you were able to make some pleasant Mother's Day memories with your families. 

I close tonight feeling like I have written a book, but not really said anything.  If you have gotten this far, I wish you a good week and weekend.  Many hugs and much love to all of you...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Warm Wishes

I've been pretty busy and away from the computer for most of the weekend, so I am a little late to today's 'party', but I wanted to wish all of my beautiful new friends a very peaceful day.  It goes without saying that we wish no one belonged to this club, but I would have never made it this far without the support that each of you have offered to me.  Thinking of you all and your beautiful little ones today...