Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Many times I have set down to write this post and the words are hesitant or I am simply interrupted.   I don't have much time now, either so I'm typing this in hopes that I can get a little bit out of what I mean by this post title.  

I have read, with great interest, the posts of many other BLM's regarding their pregnancies of their rainbow babies.  I know there are several others out there that are on this journey and to hear their stories sometimes makes mine a little more understandable or easier to handle.  I am sitting here typing and can hear the three kids playing in their bedrooms laughing and giggling together and there is not a more beautiful noise in this world than this to me.  I love hearing them play together and I think about how lucky I am to have created that and to be able to raise them.  I think I should be grateful and so happy, which I am.  Totally.  Yet there is the whole that Chase left in our hearts.  That great emptiness that we all feel missing him so incredibly deeply, crying over him still to this day almost 21 months later, feeling the pain we felt the day he left us.  And so there is our rainbow baby....growing in my tummy, for all to see and to love and to feel his movements and to talk to.  And we all love him so much and are so excited for his arrival.  

But we are still scared.  Everyone of us.  Some show it more than others, but we all feel it.  Karly asked me last weekend while laying on my bed with me, "mom, what if we don't bring the baby home?"  I didn't know what to say.  Because I feel the same way.  She continued, "because if we don't, all this is a waste," pointing to all the baby clothes and things in the crib and around the room.  Tears spilled out of her eyes.  She looked sad.  Worried.  I said, "We'll deal with it Kar.  Because we have to and because we are strong.  But I know, I know that we will bring this baby home this time."  But I say that for her benefit because I see the pain and the fear in her eyes.  For me, on the other hand, I have a constant battle between my head and my heart.  My heart knows this baby is coming home with us, but my head knows that other things can happen....because they do.  Not always for any reason, sometimes for specific reasons.  This is life.  But as we get closer to this baby's due date, and we plan for his arrival, and we celebrate him....I feel more and more rooted in to the public side of this journey.  The part where others want to share in your happiness, celebrate your pregnancy and provide comfort for the culminating moments of birth.  There is no hiding a small town anyway.  Everywhere I go, my belly precedes me and I don't want to be the woman who lost her baby again.  Some days I still can't believe I'm here.  Wearing the faces of pregnancy in front of the whole wide world.  When I lost Chase, I knew I wanted to get pregnant as soon as it was safe to do so.  But I didn't want to share it with anyone but my family.  I wanted to stay holed up in my house and not come out until I had a baby in my arms....and even then probably not much!  I hated being so broken in front of everyone.  I hated every flower delivery that came to the house...and there were so many.  I hated every card we received in the mail.  At the funeral, I felt so bad for everyone being so sad there and it was all because of us.  I know it is messed up to think this way, but I felt like in some ways, I had to let others grieve in their way so that I could then grieve in my own way...privately.    As far as a pregnancy, though, I just couldn't imagine going through another pregnancy and everyone seeing me progress....thinking the whole time that this was the baby "after the baby".  Not that I cared what anyone thought, just that I wanted to be alone, just us, in case something happened again.....and then there wouldn't be all the pain for everyone again.  

Crazy, I know.  It sounds ludicrous to type it out and I still can't even get it to make much sense to me.  I want this baby so bad....I just want a guarantee that if anyone gets hurt again, it's just me because I didn't share any of it with anyone else.  Because really, everyone just wants the best for you and they are, in at least some sense, putting their heart out there for you, too, to bring this one home.  Anything else would be nothing less than heartbreaking...all over again.  

And then there are the "things".  I didn't get rid of anything when Chase died.  I used the baby lotion I had (still using it actually) received at the shower and I still have all the baby diapers and wipes and even baby wash and of course the clothes. Some are packed away in his box or my shadow box but I knew in my heart that one day, Chase's little sibling would wear them so no way was I going to give them away. These things, though, stare at me every day.  They remind me what it feels like to not get to use them.  I can't do that again.  I can't.  I'm scared to death of that.  And so is Karly.  So I don't really know what to say to her.  Other than whatever lies ahead of us, we will face together....and we will come out of it together.  And in my heart of hearts, I know that we will get love this little one, physically, in our very own arms.  Very soon.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lessons Learned

Sometimes I feel like I really have damaged my kids.  I tried to teach them, leading by example, to conquer their fears yesterday, but I realized to a greater extent the trauma that they felt last week by our little accident. 

After we "recovered" from the icy slide down the mountain in our SUV, I had in my mind, decided to change piano teachers--to never go back up that mountain, never even call that teacher back.  However, I was having a discussion with Emma over the weekend about facing our fears and not letting them run our lives in a way that would always direct us toward what was the safe or "easy way out".  It really had to do with her desire for swimming and losing her brother.  Ever since Chase died, she has not felt the same or had the same drive to swim and she is confused about what she is going to feel when the new baby comes because she really misses Chase and just wants him back.  She's afraid to swim for her new little brother for fear of the unexpected.  I told her if she didn't give swimming another chance and see how she felt about it, it was like running away from it.  She asked me why I wasn't going back to our hospital here to have the new baby then, and I told her that was for specific reasons that we had in our control, like the level of medical care that we required and the risks involved with delivering at our small town hospital again.  But I told her it would be like me never driving up a mountain road again after last week, or not ever going back to that piano teacher because I was too scared of driving up there.    I told her that this was a really good piano teacher and just because of what happened on that icy road on that one day, we couldn't let that affect our decision to go back and give piano lessons another try.  Of course as soon as I said it, I knew that I had to reschedule those lessons and head back up that mountain.  *gulp*

So with this valuable lesson at hand, we headed back up that mountain yesterday for Emma's first piano lesson.   I was prepared to use 4 wheel drive, and I was prepared to take a different route.  What I wasn't prepared for, was the fear that ensued in my kids' eyes, the terror that made them tremble as we drove up that road again, the horrible thoughts going through their minds of sliding down the side of the road at any given time, despite, dry, paved-slash-gravel roads.  And I have to say, seeing that road again, I was scared, too.  So we stopped, turned around and headed up another route.  Unfortunately, that route wasn't any better.  The roads only got steeper and narrower and only went one way:  UP.  The kids got more scared the further I went.  Karly was crying, Reese was wanting me to stop and Emma had her fingernails chewed down to nothing.  Beings I was lost anyway, I turned around, drove back down the mountain and we started over.  We parked at the bottom of the hill that we slid down, got out and walked.  Reese was still worried that I didn't have enough room to safely get out of the care and wasn't convinced until he got out of the car and could see for himself.  We walked up to the teacher's house and while Emma had her lessons, Karly, Reese and I entertained ourselves, mostly talking about how we were going to get back down from where we parked.  This street, though maintained by the city, is at least a 30-35 degree incline, probably more because of the curve.  And as I didn't have the smartest shoes on my feet, I still was at risk for falling on my bum, which would not have been good.  So I told the kids I needed help and Reese grabbed my hand, tight, and said, "Don't worry mom, I will never let you go."  Karly had my other hand and Emma was right there and we made it back to the car.  Safe and sound.  No accidents.

But this experience made me realize a little more precisely, the effect that last week had on the kids.  A cop had warned us the trauma that it might have caused and suggested we talk to them each separately about it and their role in helping mom get out.  And we did.  But putting them through that yesterday, I felt guilty for causing their fears at the time.  I still hope and pray that they will learn to conquer their fears and that maybe this will help teach that lesson a little bit.  No matter how scary it long as decisions are made soundly and in good judgement.  We talk about it a lot.  I hope they won't forget this the first time they get behind the wheel, especially if it is in mountain country.  And maybe they will be a little more cautious, a little more brave, a little more responsible than if this had never happened to them.  

Here are two pics of the car and what the ravine looked like.  The car was already pulled out--we were stuck on the culvert at the time.  I do want to show the road now, too, because it looks even more ominous without the snow.  I will post that pic when I get it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


My family was very lucky today.  And as I lay in bed with them kissing them goodnight, I realize exactly how lucky we were.  How quickly everything could have changed for the worst and yet again our world turned upside down.   I realize that I am very lucky to be sitting down to supper with my family, to help them with their homework, to sit in a foot bath while they pamper me with a foot massage.  Because if things would have happened differently, we might not all be here, or we might be spending the night in the hospital tonight. But I am laying here in bed with my kids and life is going on, almost as if nothing had ever happened.  We talk about our fears and what scared us.....but it is almost mute because we are all here laying together.  And talking.  And we are here.  

On our way to music lessons, we slid down an icy road, headed toward a ravine with about a 15-20foot drop and then somehow found ourselves stopped, teetering (literally) on the edge of the road, two or three wheels on the ground, I'm not sure which, but very close to the edge and very close to falling into the ravine.  Amidst hysteria and terrorizing fear, the kids got out of the car to safety while I remained in the driver's seat unable to move while Emma held the backseat passenger door open where the kids and dog exited....for fear of sending the SUV off balance down into the ravine.  

Patric arrived in minutes, then shortly after the cops, firemen, ambulance and a tow truck, all came to help stabilize the vehicle so I could get out.  I don't know how long it took but I was able to exit the vehicle unscathed and we watched as they eventually pulled the car out.  We were all unharmed.  But it could have been different. Of course my biggest concern after getting the kids out was sustaining a fall, myself, in the vehicle that would not be good for the baby.  During the skid, while we were falling toward the ravine, all I could picture was what might happen; how we would fall, then roll, and what to do during all of this.  The fact that we stopped at all is a miracle.  And the terror in the kids' eyes to see me remain in the car was the worst part.  Knowing all that they have been through and are going through, I would never want to scare them like this.....thinking mom was in danger....again.  And the baby.....again.   

But we are fine.  We are all fine.  No one was hurt.  Thank God.  But for some weird reason, I feel very weird about this dose of luck we have been dealt.  Almost like we/I don't deserve it.  We were so unlucky with Chase, that now that we were lucky today, I almost feel unworthy of it.  I don't mean that I was recklessly driving or not paying attention or something, we were going very slow because of the road.  I just didn't put the 4x4 in when I should have, despite having thought about it.  That part happened fast, but the skidding...seemed slow motion.  However, after being on the short end of the stick as far as luck goes, it's weird to be on the other end.  And it makes me wonder about the baby.  I wonder if I will feel unworthy when he is born.....I am so used to being unlucky now.  Because, remember, all I really wanted was Chase in the first place.  

Believe me, though, I am counting our lucky stars tonight.  And looking back on the situation, amidst the  panic and fear in the kids, I felt calm.  Relatively speaking.  Not how I would have thought I would have reacted before Chase died.  I know someone was there helping us today; taking care of us.  And I feel it was Chase....and God.  Chase helped me to stay calm and keep my wits about me, though I was terrified of falling without a doubt.  Tears were falling, but I was stable, my belly was "normal" (not too hard, still moving!) and I was, in my opinion maybe not Patric's, holding it together, thinking as smartly as I could in the situation (i.e., not trying to get out when it wasn't smart to do so).  And I feel like I was protected somehow.  Blessed by a god who has more power than I do in that kind of situation.  And taken care of by my little angel, who follows us everywhere we go, doing more for us than I'm sure we are ever aware of.  

So thank you Chase for helping us.  And thank you God....for letting us be lucky today.  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Difficult questions, even harder answers

As we are nearing the end of this pregnancy, I've been asked a few questions lately that have had me thinking.... recapturing.....evaluating and re-evaluating.  The answers aren't easy; they aren't simple; they aren't even very clear....let alone easy to explain.   And because I can hardly get the words out in my thoughts to do this, I'm using this space to help me sort it all out.
I had a friend ask me, "so how are you handling the emotional side of this?"  Coming from a babyloss mom herself, who has held her own rainbow for only seven months, I know she fully understands the emotions that I am facing and about to face as the weeks fly by.   But I don't know, to be honest.  I anticipate a barrage of emotions when we finally get to meet Chase's little brother, this gift....I have thought about it a lot.  The moment we lay eyes upon him, the moment we hold him, the feel of his soft hair, the smell, the sounds....  But this entire pregnancy I have felt lifted up.  By a higher power or someone greater than me.  Rather, I have felt swept off my feet--in a good way!  In our 7 month journey of trying to get pregnant (we had to wait 6 months before we had the green light) after we had Chase, as bad as I wanted to get and be pregnant, I was sure that I would be scared petrified throughout the entire pregnancy....that something would go wrong and we'd lose one again.  In this babyloss world I have not only found comfort, but I have also gained an immense amount of knowledge of what all has and can and will go wrong with any given pregnancy at any given time.  And this knowledge is frightening.  I wish, just like I wish I didn't know the pain of losing a child, that I didn't know all these things that can go wrong with a pregnancy.  However, it is with this knowledge that I have been able to love this pregnancy for what it is....not what it will be but for what I am blessed with right now.  And that is a baby boy in my womb whom I am growing and loving every day.  It's one of the most wonderful feelings in the world!  I enjoy so much more in this pregnancy than I did with the other 4.  I was a bit sad towards the end of my pregnancy with Chase because I thought it would be my last and I would miss feeling baby kicks and movements.  But I did not appreciate it for exactly what it was at the time.  I knew I was lucky--I had miscarriages.  I was fortunate to even be pregnant and I knew that.  But I still took it for granted to some extent.  Not so with this pregnancy.  And I credit Chase for that. I have received so much better medical care this time around....but it is Chase who has swept me up and laid this blanket of peace over me, allowing me to enjoy this pregnancy, get to know this little boy and love the life we have right now. Today.  I have seen Chase in the clouds.  I have felt his presence to some extent.  But I know he is part of this experience....somehow.....every day.  To not be consumed with horrible thoughts of this baby dying has been a blessing these past 7 1/2 months.  That's not to say that I have not worried about things or been scared at points in the pregnancy--but when I do have those moments, I thank my lucky stars for how long I have had with this baby in my tummy.    I give him an extra squeeze or rub my belly and talk to him and feel him move and kick in response.  And for that I am extremely grateful.  And happy.  
So emotionally, I have been handling this pregnancy very well.  Now, as the end nears, it has felt more surreal to me.  To see new onesies or burp cloths or pacifiers come in (thanks to MIL at Christmas!), and think that they are not for Chase but for someone else, is a bit odd.  I'm used to seeing baby things...because I have had them around since before Chase was born.  But to actually look at them and then picture a new baby....not my sweet Chase's surreal.  I am so excited to meet this baby, but in some ways, I am scared of what I will feel when I first see him and hold him.  In what way will Chase impact this occasion?  I am so used to finding sadness in any happy moment in our lives that I want to miss Chase and love the new baby all at once, yet I am not sure how to do that.  Or how I will feel, or act, or respond.  The pain of losing Chase is still new.  It's been 20 months, but it seems like so much less.   I'm not sure if this is clear, or even answers the question.  Some days it makes sense.  Some days it's clear as mud and very confusing to me.
I had a very close IRL friend call me up and tell me that there were some that wanted to throw a surprise baby shower for me but she wanted to talk to me about it because there was so much question trying to make it surprise.   I was not expecting this at all -- so the first thing I told her was that I just didn't want any gifts.  First of all, it's my 5th pregnancy so other than having very caring friends, I'm not really entitled to another baby shower under normal circumstances.  I'm not outfitting a nursery by any means and I don't have an item list of baby gear I need.  Besides (now enter the grief factor), the number of people that would come has dropped, and the ones that would come had bought me gifts for Chase already...which I still have and of course have not used them and there is a practicality factor in baby showers, right?  She was very open to my thoughts and desires on this but didn't want to tell people not to buy gifts when the people who were wanting to do this clearly want to celebrate this occasion for me and my family and bringing a gift was something they would want to do to celebrate with us.  I understand that people are happy for us and wanting this baby for us almost as badly as we do ourselves.  But to explain to someone the feelings of guilt, failure, and pain of going through the loss of a child....and then to go through another whole pregnancy again in front of the same people is nearly impossible.  I can't even sort it out in my own mind.  There's just a feeling of guilt that someone bought you something that you  never got a chance to use.....because you didn't bring him home.  Then your pain and your life being so public as you attempt to continue life, taking your kids to their activities and picking them up from school...when all you really want to do is crawl in a hole and not emerge until you do have a babe in your arms.  I don't know why I would feel guilty for this--it wasn't like it was our fault that Chase died and no one else thinks that either.  It's just something grief has done for me.  And then of course, there is the jinxing factor.  Like I don't want to get any gifts for the baby for fear our luck will run out once again and we won't bring this one home either.  Buying stuff for him, which I have not done yet, is like just a glutton for punishment, right?  Well maybe for those of us in baby loss land but for "normal" people who haven't experienced this pain, probably seems completely absurd.  Insane.  Morbid.  Definitely pessimistic, in the least.   So I struggle to find the words that explain this messed up world we live in...but I certainly appreciate and feel blessed to have people who care this much about me in my life.  It is certainly very humbling to be thought of and cared about in such a way.  As I said, originally I would have preferred to be invisible throughout all of this but I guess through the grace of God, or Chase, or something, I have allowed myself to share this pregnancy with those who have participated in it with me...or who have just been there for me or a part of my life in some way.   And I am grateful for those.....for letting me share...for not judging me for closing up or for sharing too much .... when there is no way to understand or imagine what it is we are going through.  And it is under these circumstances that I would love to celebrate this baby with my should be needs to be celebrated.  We will enjoy female conversations, some nonalcoholic cocktails and share the happiness that I feel and that they feel about this new life I am carrying and the hope it has given our family despite the sadness of losing Chase.  
So again, not a real clear answer or explanation about a shower....but just some of the things I have been trying to sort out in my own mind.   So much for sorting....  ;o)