Thursday, January 24, 2013

A New Journey

I had my post partum checkup about 5 weeks after delivering Landyn. Everything checked out and the dr asked if we had thought about trying again at some point. I said yes. She cautiously asked when. I said, um, now?  She gave me the go ahead as soon as I felt ready. We decided instead of trying or not trying we would just live life and see what happened.  It took two weeks. Of course I didnt know it for a little longer but I was pregnant again just the same. By October 30, only 66 days after saying goodbye to Landyn, I knew I was pregnant. I find it interesting how my mind seems to have two parts, the part that is logical and knows what is true and the part that is completely illogical that I can't seem to not believe. Well, that illogical side was telling me that if I didn't take a pregnancy test, if I didn't know for SURE, then it wouldn't hurt so much if I lost the baby. It took another 3 days and a friend actually bringing me the test and standing outside the bathroom door saying, "Did you do it yet?  How about now? Can I come in yet?" for me to actually take it. Well, I didn't even get my hands washed before I had two lines. Pregnant. I was happy about it but really felt no joy. How could I? I now knew that a positive test no longer meant a baby to hold. We told our immediate family right away but I just couldnt spread the word further than that, untelling last time had been terrible.  I couldn't even bring myself to make a dr appointment for two weeks, that illogical voice in my head kept saying if I just don't go THERE they couldn't give me bad news.  I had my first check up at 8 weeks. The dr walked in and thankfully knew who I was and what I had been through without me having to explain everything. She asked if I was nervous and gave me a big hug when I immediately started crying.  She did a quick ultrasound and there was that beautiful, tiny flicker, a little heartbeat.  She told me for my own sake she would see me every 2 weeks and would do an ultrasound first thing until baby was big enough to get a heartbeat on dopplar without any messing around.  I was told I could come in any time I needed to hear the heartbeat. They have been very careful with my emotional state.  I knew that being pregnant again after losing Landyn would be hard, I was told it would be unlike any pregnancy before, I had heard you should wait until you are "emotionally ready".  I dont know that any amount of waiting could prepare me. To wonder every day if your baby is alive, to find yourself unconsciencely designing another headstone, to be so nervous before every appointment that you shake and your heartrate makes the nurses comment. This has been so very hard. I'm sure it didn't help having the two pregnancies so close together...but I don't know that waiting would have made much difference.  I felt like I was doing ok, normal for grieving anyway at first. But then between the grief itself, technically still being post partum, and the new wave of pregnancy hormones I tanked. I spent nearly two months with absolutely no desire to get out of bed. I probably wouldn't have if Kylee didn't come in and ask me to help her go potty. My bed felt safe and everything else felt overwhelming. When I did get up I sat around in my pajamas, I didn't want to shower, clean the house, do school with the kids, or leave the house. It was as if existing was the only thing I could handle and anything more was just too much.  I knew I wasn't quite right so I finally starting talking about it to Ryan, then one night I googled depression. I was actually surprised to find I had many of the symptoms. I thought depression would mean I would be sadder and crying more. Nope, I had just lost interest in everything.  I thought about calling the grief counselor from the hospital and the dr to ask for something to help. I think just putting a name to what was bothering me and the thought that help was right there if I felt I needed it made a huge difference. Ever so slowly I started getting good days. It's so hard to describe how different I felt, like a huge weight had been lifted, like the sun had finally come out from behind the clouds.  I really think it was mostly hormone induced and that makes me a little wary, like it might be lurking around some corner.  Now I'm back to "normal" with good days and bad days.  I spent most of those early weeks not able to really think about the baby. I mean I was eating well and taking my vitamins but I couldnt think past NOW. I couldn't think due date, when we would find out gender, or even what tomorrow would bring. It was just too overwhelming.  I had my first appointment with a high risk specialist at 13 weeks. She did an ultrasound to measure everything and  check baby out. Usually I get an ultrasound at the beginning to verify dates and one when baby is much bigger around 20 weeks. This time I could see all of baby at once. We checked and were pretty sure it was a boy. He was moving all over and even looked like he was sucking his thumb. I so enjoyed seeing him. That night however was a hard night for me. I feel like I became "emotionally pregnant" that day.  I just kept picturing that ultrasound and I think that is when the pregnancy really became real for me. He was perfect. I could see fingers, toes, facial features. I realized then how much I loved him and how much I had to lose. I felt so dumb so crying over having a perfect baby. It was right about that time I started feeling him move. Not much, but it was there. I had a small....ok, not so small...panic when I hadn't felt him move for about 5 days. I knew in my head that with just his size or the direction he was facing could make the movements harder for me to feel. Enter the illogical voice again.  It was not too long before Landyn's due date and my grandpa had just died, I think I was just overwhelmed. I called and asked for a heartbeat check. They would have gotten me in right away, but with a dr I didn't care for so I settled on an appt the next day.  Right away we picked up the heartbeat. The dr just let it go for a few minutes so I could just listen. She even wiped a tear from my face with her hand.  We are now to week 16, the very week the dr measured Landyn as dying at. We verified today this baby is a boy. His name is Ian, meaning God is gracious. And I truly believe that if I get this baby to hold and love and take home or only to kiss goodbye that God is GOOD. The dr measured him all over and he is right on schedule. He looks to weigh about 5 ozs. She checked the placenta and cervix and other then the placenta still being low everything is normal.  This whole pregnancy just FEELS different (more on that in the next post). These appointments are still hard. It's 1 am and here I sit, unable to sleep. I love seeing him and knowing he is ok but it hurts to know that is the exact size Landyn was and yet instead of moving all over she was dying. I want her, I want him, it's very complex and confusing sometimes....I wish I could have them both to hold.  It's so hard to put into the words what this all has been like. There is hurt and happiness at the same time.  The movement is getting easier to feel. I am amazed at how relaxed I get when I feel him move, it's the only time I know for sure he is ok.  July seems far.  I am ever so slowly feeling myself relax, letting myself get glimpses of what I hope is coming. Mostly, though, I just take one day at a time and am glad at the end of the day when I feel him move and know we made it through one more day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gramp

I didn't go and say goodbye. I couldn't. I was in and out of the hospital. I offered to bring food. I let exhausted family members nap in my bed because my house is closest to the hospital. They knew I cared. He knew I loved him. I didn't need to say goodbye.  Besides, I look at this as a very temporary thing. I know where he went and I fully plan to be there myself some day.

My pain and tears have been more for family then for myself. I hate to see them hurt. Even though the situations are nothing alike and you can't compare grief to grief I know all too well the pain of loss and the grief process.  I hope this makes me more sensitive and caring.

The calling hours were long. I couldn't believe at the end of the first hour it had only been ONE hour. It felt like 12.  But more than that I couldn't believe the people. SOOOOO many people came. Most of them didn't just come and run for the door, they STAYED.  We had a firemen's service the last hour.  I really wished I had counted them but there must have been 60 or more firemen in full dress uniform. Two by two they would pause in front of the casket and salute. These men weren't required to be there. They gave up their night, time with their families, shined their shoes, and went out into the cold to be a support to our family. 

The funeral was done very nicely.  I smiled more then fought tears.  The things that were said jogged precious memories and some brought laughter.  He was brought to the church and to the cemetary in the fire departmen's investigation truck. A unit he had served on for countless years.  As the casket was brought from the church there was a line of uniform firemen standing at attention.  The procession included another piece of fire equipment and multiple chief trucks, all with lights on.  All in a line we slowly drove past his house where a flag draped tractor sat in the front yard, down the road a bit, and past a line up of the farm's tractors with the giant cat loader holding an american flag from it's extended bucket.  Oh, the ache in my heart as we accompained him around the barn one last time. I'll admit, the tears flowed here. A massive flag hung between the two silos and flapped in the wind. Back out to the road and heading towards the cemetary we drove past the fire station he had been a member of for 50 years. The firehouse itself was decorated with the black and purple banners signifying a fallen member. The company's ladder truck was extended to the fullest with a flag flapping from the top. The engine was pulled out where we would drive right past, lights flashing, and two firemen stood at attention, one on either side of his fire gear.  As we drove the fire chiefs dropped out of line one by one to stop traffic at every intersection.

The grave side service was cold!  It was kept to the shorter side but was a wonderful way to wrap up the events from the previous days. Together as family and friends we stood huddled against the cold and said one final goodbye before his casket was lowered into the ground. I took a yellow rose and briefly touched the casket. It was a casual goodbye of sorts, more of a see you soon. 

Over those few days I heard him referred to in many ways. All true. He was a farmer, a hardworker, husband, father, good neighbor, advocate for farming, kind and patient, a jokester, the list went on and on.  But, for me, he was and always will be just Gramp.

Thank you so much to all of the extended family, fire family, friends, and aquaintances. I know first hand words are no good at a time like this. You did one better. You SHOWED your love. Everything from the line of tractors, to the fire department escort, to the farm themed flower arrangements. It was all perfect. A show of love and support.  We know he was loved, we know we are loved and that he is waiting and that's what will get  us through.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Randomly Curious

I've wanted to continue writing on this blog. For some time I've mulled over the different things I could write.  I have to be honest, I still don't know exactly what to write or how to write it.  So, so much has happened, in my life as well as in my head and heart.  I hold back.  How to put emotions into words? How to explain something that can only be understood by going through it?  I think my biggest hesitation has been people.  Those few posts about Landyn got almost 1,000 hits.  Do you know how many people have CONSISTENTLY asked me how I'm doing? 2.  I know people care, I know people get busy.  I just have a hard time writing about what has been the hardest time of my life, the darkest days, the most I've ever felt God hold me...to really bare my soul...and think that most of the people who read about it are only curious.  Now, please dont read this and think I'm thinking specific names in my head. I'm really not. And this isn't some rant about how nobody loves me or anything ridiculous like that. I'm just explaining my long silence and why even at this moment I am not sure where this blog post is going.  And please, please do not all of you freak out, feel guilty, and starting calling me....pity friends are worse then no friends.

How many of you can remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news about the twin towers? I believe this is called flashbulb memory.  I have FIVE DAYS of this.  Not just tiny bits and pieces but much of five days time, from waking up on the day I went to that appt until the night of Landyn's graveside service.  There are times when I get to thinking of her or specific events from those days and I start to see it all. It's almost like a movie playing in my head, it's really like I can almost see it, hear it, again.  I'm betting some of you are thinking I need therapy.  There are some things you can't forget, don't want to forget.  Even the pain, the confusion, from those days is important because it's all wrapped together with remembering those tiny feet, her small hands with 3 impossibly small knuckles, that nose just like Kylee's. 

Never before have I desired heaven. I always planned on being there some day. I've read it's a nice place.  But never has my heart just ached to be there.  Now, I'm not talking crazy, suicidal wanting to be there.  I am talking about the fact that one of my children is some place without me.  My facebook was filled with moms of college age students counting down the days until their kids came home for Christmas and how happy they were when they had all their "babies" under one roof again. This is how I feel. Except I can't count down. I can't visit, I can't call, I can't video chat, or text.  I wait.  And while I wait my family here just doesn't feel right, it isn't whole. It's frustrating because I have children here and a child there. I don't want to just go be with her and leave behind everyone here. I want us all together.  I gotta tell you, I was hoping the Mayans got freakishly lucky and were right so I could take my whole little family and zip right to heaven together. How glad I am of KNOWING I'll be there some day. Someone told me Christmas and Easter would take on new meaning, and they did.  There is so much more to it then "yah, I believe in God" . How I ache for the people I know, family, that just believe, they don't BELIEVE. 

It's 2:30 am.  It's been an emotional few days. I dont know if it was the tea I had before bed or just a need to swirl thoughts around in my head...or better yet try to make the swirling stop.  What a random, unorganized post with no direction this is.  I'm hoping when I look at it tomorrow that it at least makes sense.  I'm betting my best thinking is NOT at this time.  :)   There is more to come, so much more. And slowly, as I can put it into words it'll appear here...for my own sake of needing to get things out if nothing else.  And for the curious people, well, stay tuned.