Joy and Grief

It’s been a few months since I last wrote and a lot has happened. Gunner turned 1 and that was bitter sweet. Realizing you can have joy and grief in the same breath is tricky but becomes natural. It’s crazy how different my grief has changed. I live life with Cade in my heart and don’t cry as much anymore , only when I really long for him. Times where it feels like I can have a moment to my self to wish he was here enjoying the milestones of life with us. As Gunner gets bigger it’s amazing how much I imagine Cade looking like that a year or so ago and how that prediction has come to life. They really favor one another.

We got a bit of a surprise in December. We were not planning on having any more children right now but we are pregnant again. We got a positive right before Christmas that had me in shock. It was a feeling I hadn’t quite experienced before and it had me feeling ashamed, big time ashamed. I was scared and felt like I wasn’t ready for another child. I first thought how am I going to parent two kids under 2? I felt overwhelmed. We had lost our son Cade I shouldn’t feel this way, I felt ashamed for thinking this because so many long for a living child, so many struggle with fertility. Why was I feeling this way? Then as weeks went on I realized it wasn’t that i didn’t want this beautiful child, this precious gift. I didn’t want to go through pregnancy again. Even before loss Cade’s pregnancy was hard on me physically but now after loss the mental part of it is the hardest part for me.

I am now in my 3rd trimester and it has been different but simular to both my pregnancies. I didn’t have the overwhelming and crippling anxiety the whole pregnancy but at about 26 weeks is when my worry and anxiety has kicked into gear. Gunner kept me busy enough during the beginning to keep my fears out of site and the pregnancy has gone by pretty quickly. I am also having more physical pain like I did with Cade’s pregnancy that causes me to be triggered because I start to compare them and think “will this baby die too?”. There are some other events that have transpired with my family that have truly broke my heart and I’m not ready to write about out of respect for my family. It has taken me back to those first weeks after loss which is okay, its apart of the grief process but it has been so sad and hard.

Life is so messy and can be so heartbreaking. Even on those dark days we pray for the light to shine through. It might take time and the storm will still be there but the light will shine through again and maybe even a rainbow of hope will peak through.  It doesn’t diminish the storm and they can both exist in the same sky.

 

 

 

 

 

My C and G

Gunner will be 1 in about a week and we recently got his smash cake pictures done and his photographer sent us the proofs and I cried. I had planned them in my mind for Cade and just seeing them come to life made me so happy but so sad. It is strange doing everything I would of for Cade for Gunner. I want to be happy that Gunner is going to be 1 and celebrate him but I am also sad because Cade isnt here.

Looking back I never thought I’d be here in many ways. I never thought I could live without him. I never thought I could have another child because it just seemed too scary and hard. I never thought the grief would ever change or let up, it was drowning me. It did change and has changed. In almost a numbing way it has changed. You get use to the pain and it becomes normal and your just become numb to it and live with it and that’s the truth.

When the day is done and night comes is when my mind races and thinks of him the most. I’m usually rocking Gunner when that happens and out of the corner of my eye is his wall decor of a “G” and in the dark it sometimes it looks like a “C” and I love that. I mean a G is really just a C with a little but more to it.

October PAIL awareness

It’s October which means pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. It use to only mean my birthday month and Halloween but not anymore. I really try to spread awareness so pregnancy and infant loss aren’t taboo and pregnant mothers will see the signs and listen to there body and that gut instinct.

It is crazy how often with both of my pregnancies I had gut feelings about things and my first, which was Cade who died from a double nuchal loop I had so many gut feelings that I didn’t speak up about or I did but didn’t push hard enough. With Gunner my second who thankfully made it I pushed harder when I felt something wasn’t right.

A lot of moms (and I was also that mom) dont want to go to l&d when they feel off and I totally get and understand that. You dont want to seem crazy or waste your time or theres. It could save your babies life though so I’d rather go 100 times and look crazy then not and they die. I didn’t go with Cade it would if been too late due to how things played out but had I been doing kick counts and maybe realize he wasn’t meeting them then possibly it could have saved him.

I went to l&d I believe 3 or 4 times while pregnant with gunner. I thought at 20w I was leaking fluid because pregnancy after loss does that to you. Then he didn’t meet his kick counts one night and the other two were false labor pains. Omg that one was an awful experience the dr there that night didn’t read my file and said she did and was not sensitive to our loss at all. Stressed me out but im still glad I went because making sure Gunner was 100% okay was my goal and I didn’t care if that dr thought I was being over cautious because it is not easy bring a living baby into the world.

When I tell people to listen to their bodes during pregnancy I really hope they do. I dont know if any of what I have said or will say will help anyone but I truly hope it does. You do not want to be apart of this club if you can help it. I wish I had known more about stillbirth and kick counts.

Nobody said this was easy

Had a scary moment recently. Gunner choked on some food. My mind went to that place of feeling hopeless and I really believed he would die too. Thankful that my husband knew how to do the heimlich for infants. Now my fears, all though they were there before are so so heighten. I feel like on the outside I might be keeping my cool but trust me my mind is going a mile a minute and the what ifs are there and loud. He’s 8 months old and i was going to start really transitioning to table food but cant trust he will be okay.

I cant lose any more children. It would be different if i had other living children to live for but if Gunner died after already losing Cade I wouldn’t and couldn’t go on. I remembering feeling how could i love another child as much as i love Cade and it just happened. I was so scared to love Gunner, to let that wall down. It took time but i have allowed myself and grief really is the price we pay for love. Loving someone also comes with that risk of loss. I just wish i could not think of the possibilities of lossing him or any loved ones. I wish i didn’t know any of this. Its exhausting to be in this loss world and parenting after loss.

Your my missing piece

I get so anxious when traveling. After losing Cade i always feel like something bad could happen and what ifs. I wonder if ill see Scott again when i travel without him. I get anxious more then ever flying. Thoughts of ” will scott die while im gone” “will this plane crash” “will this car speeding by me lose control” “will gunner die in his sleep” “will gunner choke on something” ect. It is something i struggle with not traveling but it’s worse while i am traveling. Morbid i know but this is honesty im giving you. I think it is apart of post partum normally for moms but it might be magnified for a loss parent.

I will say having an Owlet monitor has helped me so much. I had another loss mom friend donate one to me because i was having a hard time getting one. He was 3 months old when we got one and i could sleep finally. It tracks there heart rate and oxygen levels and will alert you if they drop to low or raise to high. I was afraid of SIDS after experiencing a stillbirth because it makes any loss so loud in your mind your really scared of soo much. I wish i could live without being so anxious. I do have moments where i am living in the moment and can relax but i eventually snap back into reality.

Cades little brother is 8 months old and started saying “mama”. Cade would of been just over two years old. I love that Gunner is saying “Mama” it’s just sad that i should of heard it so long ago. I feel incomplete without Cade here. Even doing things like traveling without him here. Ive said it before, i feel like life is out of step. Blessed that his brother gets to be here with us earth side.Cade sent us a cuddler which helps my heart so much💗

Second year

Now that 2 years have gone by since I held you and you died, what have I learned? What about the 2nd year is different?

Just like in a car wreck your watching this trauma happen in slow motion but also fast at the same time. You can’t believe its happening but it does. Your left hurt physically and emotionally. Your all banged up and broken. Those cuts and broken bones will take time to heal and they might never heal right and once they do you will still have scars. You wont always be able to hide the scars that tell the horrible story you endured but with time you will learn to live with them.

What happened to you and you will always be apart of me. I’m forever changed. The second year was scary. I was growing your brother and thought he would die too. The 1st year was just months and months of mourning you, its like time never moved forward for me at all. I would of thought it was the same month over and over again if it hadn’t been for the seasons. The 2nd year was full of hope and change. Hope for your brother and change too. Different feelings of 1st time moments with him but not with you, never with you.Accepting life with out you, that is hard but it is true. Moving along with you though, keeping you in our hearts and heads always. I saw such a vast difference in the two years. Things change relationships get stronger or weaker. I hardly ever cry over anything that isn’t about you. Nothing is worth crying over compared to you. Basically the second year is just trying to make it. Your fighting everyday for a good day because the bad days are extra bad and long.

I just wish you were here. Why my baby? Why my son?

Big tiny hands

In 11 hours it will be two years that i questioned if you were okay and in 20 hrs it will be 2 years since the contractions started and we were told “I’m sorry but there is no heartbeat”.

I felt empty then and i feel empty in this moment. Wishing you were here and trying to imagine you standing next to the high chair as i feed your little brother. Wondering how tall you would be and how much fun you would be

I know probably most people cant understand how i can love someone so much when I never got to experience them outside of my body. I have never had a miscarriage and i cant begin to try to understand how that feels because i don’t know what it’s like to go through one. I only know what its like to have a stillborn. I know in the very early begining of pregnancy the baby is an idea. Things just don’t seem real, it seems to good to be true that you are in fact pregnant and you have all these hopes, dreams and its exciting. Then you sometimes find out what your childs gender is, what makes them react and kick like crazy. You bond with your child for 9 long months! You expect to bring this child home in months, weeks, days, hours until your told there gone. He was so much more than a idea, then hopes and dreams because he was so close to being able to come home with us.

I will forever wish i could have saved him and every good parent wants to do anything and everything to protect their child. Whether they’re 5, 13, 20 years old you want to protect them as much as possible and when you can’t’ because a sickness or accident took them, even if it was out of your hands.. You will always feel that heavy burden that you couldn’t save your child. No amount of therapy will ever take that pain away.

I have accepted that Cade died , its our life now. I don’t accept why because i don’t know why and even if i did it wouldn’t be okay with me because im not okay that he died.

What have i learned? His younger brother made it but as easily as Cade died he could of too. Why couldn’t i have them both? Im not sure. Am I a better mom because of him? Im sure i am but im also human and I’m not perfect. I wrote a long time ago that i wanted to see in color again because my world seemed so grey. That statement is still so true to a point. This kind of tragedy really sucks the life out of you. It makes you guarded, aware, scared,anxious, sad,hopeless,and bitter. I am still all of those things but maybe not everyday. Some days i get a glimpse of color again. I feel like its just masking the grey though. I don’t know if I’ve actually learned much from this. I think it takes years.

I hope and pray that Cade felt love every second he was inside me. I hope and pray he never felt scared, that he never felt pain. I hope i can hold him again one day. I miss you son, i miss your big tiny hands

June

This week is mine and my husbands 3 year anniversary and it will be 10 years together this fall. I think of how hopeful we were before our son died and how excited we were, to finally be married and start our family. I never ever thought it would look the way it does, never thought we would have our child die right before birth. I told my husband how i couldn’t believe we would have a almost 2 year right now and what happened to him. He said its not hard to believe we would have a two year old but it is hard to believe what happen to him.

A 2 year old and 7 month old thats what we would have. Our days with both boys would be chaos, toys, dirt, laughter, wrestling daddy and stealing mamas kisses all day. I day dream this so much. Its my extra happy place aside from the reality i do live. I also am happy with just having Gunner, its a double edge sword. Id give anything to have them both but I’m happy that Gunner is atleast here with us. He’s apart of Cade in so many ways.

Almost 2

Cade’s 2nd birthday is next month and i have no clue how i want to celebrate him this year. I felt so sure of my plans last year. I don’t know what way is the right way. Something intimate? Or a family get together again? I think what scares me is rejection. That if i keep doing a family party for Cade that eventually people will grow tired of celebrating my dead child but those are my own fears which i know sound absurd. Cade is still my son so i still want to celebrate what would of been his birthday. I guess now having Gunner it also makes me sad for him because he doesn’t have his brother. He will grow to understand that and it’s obviously not something i would ever want for my children. I just know that life will sometimes be hard when explaining who Cade is to him but i know there will be beautiful moments too.

I feel so much for my mothers of loss who have it flipped for them, having to explain to their children they already have about there sibling who passed away would be 10x harder and is a constant struggle for them.

Its crazy that its going to be 2 years and it feels like forever ago and yesterday all at the same time. I feel like there’s trauma that i haven’t delt with yet and just like in the begining i wanted to feel everything and be over with it i also find myself feeling that way again. I feel like there are things with cades birth and even gunners birth i havent allowed myself to feel or think about and i feel stuck or like i want to hurry up and feel these feelings so i can move forward but I’m not sure how. Grief is messy and complicated if its a life sentence especially when your child dies.

I wonder what Cade would be doing now at almost 2. His favorite things to do, who he’d favor in looks. So much was lost when he died, a completely different life was lost and died when he died. We’re living a completely different life now and not just living a different path were also different people now.

I know you meant well..

I went to a new family Dr today because mine left the other practice I was going to. I’ve put off finding a new one for 4 months because I hate to start new and I never know how someone will react to my loss of Cade. Usually i get just an “im sorry” which is good enough for me or I get a “me too” and we get to talk about our babies gone to soon. Today because i was also there for pp depression along with just my depression and grief we had to really talk about Cade.

“What stage of grief are you at?”

“Getting to acceptance would be beneficial”

“You should be thankful you can have children. Some people can’t.”

“You need to find a way to compartmentalize these feelings so you can move forward”.

“Some people don’t take this long to move forward, what’s holding you back?”

Ive gone through all the stages more then once, not in order and back again.

Ive accepted my son is dead, he died, i will never accept why because there will never be a reason worthy in my eyes that my son had to die.

I am thankful, I think you should be thankful that you know absolutely nothing about losing your child. I wish i could be a non loss parent like you.

Compartmentalize? My sons memories? The bad only? My feelings for him? Never..

Its only been almost 2 years.

A mother grieves hard and for a lifetime. Some moments, days, weeks, months may be easier than others but there will always be that hole in your heart, that empty chair at your dining table. Having my “new baby” as you put it has caused a brand new phase of grief yes but this grief will always be here and apart of me and i can still love and appreciate my OTHER child.

Bless your heart you tried today. You tried to help me. Looked for all the right words to say but they were wrong. You said them with the warmest tone you could. You can not fix this and that is okay. I could feel your nerves as you spoke because you knew not everything you said was right. Most of what you said hurt me but you can’t know because to know would mean you’d be a loss momma like me.