A Little Late

Mateo Rai was born on May 20th. He was 8 pounds 7 ounces and 19.5 inches long. I was induced and he was born 10 hours later. It was a significant improvement on the 50 hours of labor it took to give birth to Marc.

20170520_194312

20170520_195538

20170521_001231

Yes. I know. That was four months ago. To be honest, I only thought about writing a post about his birth twice since he was born. It’s partially because things have been so busy since then. It’s mostly because I have spent that time just absorbing every moment with him. I know what it’s like to have your time cut short. I know what it’s like to look back and wish you could spend more time enjoying a person. I spend as much time as is reasonable with Mateo, loving on him. Maybe more than is reasonable. I don’t know.

I finally feel like I am who I am supposed to be again. He is the light of my life. He is my rainbow baby. He is my sweet little boy.

Everything feels so similar. Everything feels so different. Some days, it’s the worst deja vu to see their similarities and a relief how different they are. Other days, all I can do is marvel at the two beautiful souls I brought into this world and feel blessed that I got both, even if for only four months with Marc.

They look especially alike when asleep, which is scarier than I could possibly explain. I can’t tell you how often I stop what I’m doing to listen for his breathing or to watch for the movement of his chest. We upgraded from an audio only baby monitor to a video one that has night vision. We can see him breathing while he’s in bed. It’s given us great piece of mind.

 

About my baby boy:

I feel like, this late in the game, it’s better to just show you his growth in pictures. (I hope you like fat baby faces.)

He is loud and opinionated and we love him more than life itself!

He doesn’t roll over, but he loves to stand.

He walks while we hold onto his arms or hands. He takes such sure steps for such a young age. It amazes me every time he does it.

He sits up unassisted now. Yeah, sure. It’s only for 5-10 seconds. But it still counts!

He farts. A lot. A lot. Really. And they smell. Bad.

He loves to talk. Well, not really talk. He likes to scream and shriek, but in a happy way. He yells loud and loves to tell us exactly how he feels. Like I said, opinionated.

He is definitely a second child in personality and behavioral traits. It’s odd, in a way, how he is like that. I figured those things were environmental, but he is still this way without his older sibling around.

He is a ray of sunshine.

He is exactly what we all needed.

 

 

How am I? The answer varies from day to day.

I try to be okay.

I am amazing.

I am wonderful.

I am in love with my life.

I had the best day.

I am not okay.

I do a really good job of pretending to be okay.

I do a bad job of pretending to be okay.

I can’t get out of bed.

I love being a mom.

I didn’t even think about it, I was so busy.

I am excited because Mateo did something new.

 

Difficult days have come and gone.

May 22nd was the day we brought him home. It wasn’t our first baby. We knew what to do. It wasn’t the first time bringing a baby home. We weren’t nervous like first time parents. But we were scared. Our constant fear was that Mateo would be taken from us too. He was here. It was real. But was it too good to be true??

20170522_103953.jpg

July 9th was the anniversary of Marc’s death. It was like Mateo knew what I needed that day. He just slept in bed with me until mid-afternoon. We made a good memory by taking Mateo to the pool for the first time. He loved how cool the water was on such a hot day. We ended up having a lot of fun.

September 20th, Mateo turned four months old. The weeks leading up to that were hard. We were so stressed. We fought more. We slept less. We worried ourselves into a frenzy. We accidentally scared each other a time or two, checking on him when we were scared by how still he was or how pale he looked. The day that he turned four months, everything changed. It was as if a collectively held breath was released by us and our families. We are still scared, of course. The intensity of our fears seems to have subsided for now. I took Mateo to the funeral home that took care of Marc and introduced him to the staff. They were so sweet and helpful with Marc and through the process of taking care of him. They were amazingly patient and kind when we were trying to get his death certificate. When I went to pick it up, I was very pregnant with Mateo and promised to bring him by after he was born. It took until September 20th for me to be ready. I just knew when I woke up that that was what we were going to do that day. It was a good experience for myself and the funeral home staff. They every rarely see the healing after death. Often, they only see people on the worst days of their lives. I think it was amazing to them, to see this literal example of a life coming after a death.

September 26th, Mateo was four months and six days old. He was as old as Marc was when he died. I tried not to think about it. I tried not to stress myself out with the what ifs. “What if the same thing happens on the same day?” After a while, I decided to do what I seem to do best: conscientiously make a happy memory on an otherwise bad day. I went and bought candles and tiny cupcakes. I went around and thanked people for their help with Marc and celebrated Mateo being four months and six days old. I went to the funeral home. I left a cupcake for the coroner with the director of the funeral home. I went to the friend that let us stay with them the night that Marc died. I went home and shared cupcakes with Moises and our roommate that was with us the night that Marc died. I needed to make dinner, so I left the rest of the cupcakes to give to the rest of the people that helped us for the next day. I ended the day doing my best to relax with Moises. We still Frequently checked the video monitor to see his breathing. I guess the fear will never completely go away.

September 27th. I guess today should be a happy day. He is now older than Marc will ever be. Every day he lives, he is less and less likely to die from SIDS. He had a checkup. He is now 17 pounds and 27 inches. He is getting so big! He got some shots and I cried. I think I’m more traumatized by his vaccines than he is. We’ll leave dropping off the rest of the cupcakes for another day when he is feeling better. We had a visit with a friend and her son. I had wine and ice cream with a neighbor. I spent the rest of the day mourning the things I lost with Marc. I mourned Marc’s four months and seven days that he never got. I mourned the fact that his little brother is now and, from now on, will always be older than him.

 

What I spend most of my days doing is worrying. I worry that he will die too. I worry that we will be so wrapped up in doing things because of Marc’s death that we won’t raise him the way he needs to be raised. I worry that we will spend too much time comparing them and Mateo will feel as if Marc is this perfect, impossible thing to live up to. I want so badly for him to grow up to be his own person and love it!

I secretly do side-by-side picture of them just to see my boys together, even if it’s only in editing. I like to look at them together and see the differences and similarities. I just don’t post them on social media because I am trying to set an example for how I want things to be. Not to say that I would be angry with someone for doing it. I just don’t want Mateo being a rainbow baby to be the only thing people know about him. I don’t want it to be his only defining characteristic. I want him to be free of those things, free to be his own person.

I feel like, because I am so determined to keep that from happening, it won’t. I can only hope that I can be the mom he needs as long as I live.

wp-image-1983094691

 

Happy Again,

Allie.

Advertisements

Strong Mothers Raise Strong Women

Today is Mother’s Day. 

I find myself, once again, honored as a mother and feeling like the complete opposite. 

This day is different. It is different for mothers that have both living and dead children. It is different for mothers that never got to hold their children. It is different for mothers that never got to hear their baby cry. It is different for mothers that have never experienced the loss of a child. It is different for mothers that have strained relationships with their children. It is different for mothers that are patiently, or impatiently, expecting their first child. It is different for me. How often does it occur? For a mother of an infant that passed to be so close to the miracle of new life on this special day, but having all joy just out of reach? 
Every year, I find a way to honor my mother (usually through a Facebook post). This year, I am finding it hard to celebrate the day in any way. I have one baby in heaven and one in my belly, but my heart and my arms still feel more empty than I can say. I guess that this post is my way of honoring my mother on this special day. She is, after all, the reason I am stronger than people know. She is the reason I am able to still live a full life, the reason I am able to write this. 

Most don’t know that I have a sister that never got a chance to live. My little sister was very sick and was stillborn. My mother knows the very specific pain it is to bury a child. I have watched her over the years on different occasions and seen the pain that is always there, just under the surface. I have read the journal she kept when she was initially going through the loss. I have seen the love and sorrow in her eyes as she has spoken about her little Gerry Margaret. After I lost Marc, I had the honor of looking at the scrapbook she made for my little sister. It includes the one and only picture of that sweet, beautiful baby. Though she went through that, she is an amazing and strong woman. Watching her and how she deals with her pain has made me a stronger woman. Watching how she made the best of her trauma has made me a stronger woman. Watching the faith that she displays has made me a stronger woman. Watching her is proof that even after a loss as great as a child, life can still be bearable and even full of joy! 

She has five living daughters that love her enormously and one that is looking down on her from heaven. She has one grandson that she is waiting to meet and one that is looking down on her from heaven.

My mother is strong.
But she didn’t get there on her own. She had someone to watch and learn from too.

Most don’t know that I have two uncles whose lives were over much too soon. Most don’t know that I have two uncles that never got a chance to live. My grandma gave birth to very healthy twin boys. She took them home and cared for them and loved them until SIDS claimed them at only six months of age. My grandma also had a set of twin boys that was stillborn. My grandma knows the very specific pain it is to bury a child. By the time I knew about Pat and Mike, it had been long enough since the loss for me not to be able to detect the pain and sorrow (not to mention the fact that I was not as adept at reading it as I am now). I know she still mourns the loss of her beautiful boys. She knows the immense pain it is and she has done her best to support my mother, my aunt, and I through our losses. She supported her daughter Eileen through the loss of a son when he was in an accident at nineteen years of age. And, truly, I have been amazed watching the grace and poise with which my aunt handles everything that is thrown her way. She has made the very best of everything since that day and she expels generosity and love instead of bitterness and hate. In a way, my grandma’s experience makes her the perfect support, having such personal first-hand experience with this singular kind of loss. I can’t imagine the unique agony it has been for her to lose her infant sons, watch her daughter suffer a stillbirth, watch another daughter lose an adult son, and watch her granddaughter lose an infant son, her great-grandson. Her unyielding faith has made us stronger women. Her loving support has made us stronger women. She is proof that even after a loss as great as four children, life can still be bearable and even full of joy!

She has seven living children that love her enormously and four that are looking down on her from heaven. She has twenty-one living grandchildren and three that are looking down on her from heaven. She has seventeen living great-grandchildren, two that she is waiting to meet, and three that are looking down on her from heaven.

My grandmother is strong.

My Aunt Eileen is strong.
Without these women, I don’t know where I would be. They are who I look to when I need an example of strength and love and compassion. I love them more dearly than most anything. I know, because of them, that life has been, is, and will be beautiful. I know, because of them, that I can get through anything that comes my way. I know, because of them, that I am strong. 

Strong mothers raise strong daughters.

So, I will be okay today. I will happily accept all the wishes of “Happy Mother’s Day” that come my way, even though it hurts just a bit. Today is bearable. Maybe tomorrow will be full of joy!

Happy Mother’s Day. 

Making It,

Allie

Marc @2 days.

Mateo, still cooking. 

Life is a Wool Sweater

Wool is itchy and uncomfortable. I hate it, I can’t wear it, but it makes the perfect metaphor for life. Life is uncomfortable. The difference? You can take off a wool sweater, but you cannot escape life. The world will not change and be any less uncomfortable. You can choose to not do certain things in your life because of how uncomfortable you are with them, but a lot of things are going to be unavoidable. We have to learn to deal with being uncomfortable. Otherwise, something will get in the way of your success and your dreams if you let them.

Wool

The wool sweater that almost got me was pregnancy. I’m thinking it can be linked to my Asperger’s, my hatred of pregnancy.

Some women genuinely enjoy it. I don’t understand these women. I hate just about everything about it. I hate being uncomfortable. Hate it. And just about everything in and around pregnancy is uncomfortable. The morning sickness, the nausea, the stretching and itching skin, the punches and kicks to my stomach and ribs and lungs and bladder, not being able to bend down or reach things, etc.

People on the autism spectrum very often have a hard time putting up with any level of discomfort. From a very young age, I could not wear specific types of fabrics because they were stiff or itchy or rough. As soon as I could, I would undress myself if something was bothering my sensitive skin. I think my mother described it best in the guest post she did a few years back Glow in the Dark Sticks:

‘When the family is all dressed and ready to go, loaded in the van, arriving in the church parking lot, you get out and open the slider door to unload the kids and discover your 18 month old is now completely naked AND still strapped into her car seat, so you ask, “What…why?  You’re naked…why are you naked?”  To which she replies, “I don’t wike my socks!”  You say, “But, you took it all off, Houdini!  Why?”  And she states, “Itchy!” as she pulls her hair out of the tidy little pig-tails you had so precisely done half an hour ago.’

Things have only changed a little. I learned, with age, to tolerate certain fabrics and fix things that aren’t aligned. I’m no nudist, but I still prefer less or more comfortable clothing. It’s very rare that I will wear high heels or makeup. Uncomfortable just isn’t my style.

And pregnancy, well, this is my second go at it and I still hate it. It is the epitome of uncomfortable. You can take off a wool sweater, but you can’t take off pregnancy. It is there, uncomfortable all day, every day for forty weeks.

As I write this, I feel a large amount of pressure on my lower belly. Mateo is settling low. He likes to press his head and shoulders into my right hip and kick my ribs. Marc just liked to stick his feet in my ribs and keep them there. I haven’t decided which is worse.

Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t change a thing. I love the moment when they hand me my baby and it’s all over. It is more than worth everything in that moment when my baby looks back at me for the first time. I will gladly do this for every baby I will have. Hahahaha. I just won’t enjoy it! Ever. I will hate being pregnant every single time.

I guess it also goes to show how misunderstood people on the spectrum are. It is often assumed that, because they have a hard time expressing emotions, they are unfeeling. It is assumed that, because they pull away when things get intense, that they are uncaring. It is assumed that, because they are unable to express it, they lack empathy. It may also be assumed that I, or other people on the spectrum, don’t want kids because of the discomfort of pregnancy or infancy or the terrible twos. It’s just the opposite. I want more. It actually hurts my heart every time I question whether or not I want to do this again. I want more kids than I could possibly stand being pregnant for. My heart is made to love and care for so many kids, but I considered stopping after Marc because I hated pregnancy so much. I came so close to allowing my AS to put a damper on my dream.

Even if it’s hard, even if it’s uncomfortable, even if it may seem unbearable, we cannot allow ASD or HFA to keep us from the lives, the dreams, the careers that we deserve. You must determine to reach your dreams no matter what. You must tough it out when things get hard or uncomfortable. You must keep striving for the life you deserve. ASD and HFA are just hurtles. They are not immovable mountains, incapable of being triumphed over. You can do it. I do it every day.

Determined,

Allie.

The Wilting Flower

20170308_214847.jpg

One of my beautiful, wonderful, thoughtful cousins sent flowers to my husband and I on Marc’s birthday. I know how to take care of flowers. But, much like the flowers we received immediately following Marc’s death, I have neglected these.

Things are different now.

The last time, I neglected the flowers on purpose. I wanted to slowly watch them die. They were beautiful, as my life had been with my smiling boy. They were wilting and looking more and more brown, more and more dead with every day that passed. They looked how I felt. I was dying more every day. It was fitting, the day that I threw those flowers away. They were shriveled. Their leaves and petals had fallen off. They had lost their beauty just like me. I hated them and I was happy they were dead. The pain was still so fresh and raw.

Things are different now.

The neglect of these flowers was unintentional. I’ve been so busy trying to stay okay. I’ve been so busy trying not to think about the time of year it is. I forget every other day to water them. The flowers are a reminder of everything. Not that that’s a bad thing. It’s a wonderful thing. It warmed my heart so much that someone thought my baby’s birthday was worth sending flowers. Once again, though, the flowers reflect my current state. I am trying to keep them alive as longs as I can. I’m trying to keep them beautiful as long as I can. They are beautiful, alive, but still wilting. It’s slower this time. My life is beautiful. I have a life growing inside of me. But I am still wilting.

There are days, like today, where I feel gloomy, droopy, and wilted. Days where even the thought of getting up off the couch is just too hard. There are days, like yesterday, where I feel wonderful and I can happily sweep and mop my entire house without a second thought. The days are unpredictable and random. Such is to be expected. I am a wilting flower. I have just enough water to stay alive, to stay beautiful.

 

Watered,

Allie.

A Very Un-Merry Birthday (and news!)

Readers,

 

It’s been a while again since my last post. I’m sure you understand. It’s been a rough eight months since Marc died.

Moises and I have been through hell and back. Everything has been a giant rollercoaster of emotion. Heck, our relationship has been a rollercoaster. Loss can often take a gargantuan toll on a marriage. I got lucky. Moises and I are there for each other and closer than ever.

I got a tattoo for him. It’s a bunny because his favorite toy was his bunny.

20160912_002228.png

We got a new dog. Her name is Amy. She is a sweet girl and my personal bodyguard. She fits in perfectly with our crazy little family. She might pee a little when she’s scared, but she makes up for it with how fiercely loyal she is to us!

14656279_10209978007423500_6181568727560922500_n

We received some big news a while ago. I would have shared, but I didn’t have the heart to write a post before now. We are pregnant again. It’s another boy! His name will be Mateo.

16640654_10211137715775484_5102226415984023654_n

Some days, it makes me happier than I thought was possible after losing Marc. Other days, it’s a giant reminder of all I’ve lost. Some days, his kicks calm me and remind me of all I have to live for. Other days, it’s my own special hell. How is it possible that I am the mom of two beautiful boys, but neither one is in my arms? How is it possible to hold so, so much love in my heart for my babies, but have no tiny faces to kiss and cuddle? How is it possible to feel such a heavy pain and such an uplifting joy at the same time?

Mateo is our little dancer. He is already so very different. Where Marc was still and attention seeking, Mateo is active and a little shy. For all of Marc’s ultrasounds, he barely moved unless it was so we could get a better picture of him. For all of Mateo’s ultrasounds, he moved so much, it was hard to get measurements. We’re just lucky that we could get a clear picture of gender! He tried to hide from the wand and kick it out of the way. I love him so much. He is truly a Godsend. That’s what his name means: ‘gift of God’. I don’t know if I would have made it through these last seven months without knowing that my rainbow is coming. That will probably be the tattoo that I get for Mateo-a rainbow.

One thing that has significantly helped me has been the move. We moved out of the house we were living in when Marc died. We moved into a new house. Since moving in, I have noticed a significant change in my attitude and mood. I feel more motivated to do things around the house. I have been more on top of our finances. I have been happier. I think it was depressing me and killing me slowly to keep living in the old house. I still slept in the same room where I found Marc not breathing. I still sat and watched TV in the same room where Moises did CPR. I still cooked and did dishes in the same kitchen where Marc would dance to music with me while I was doing things. His room, where his stuff had been remained untouched. It is nearly impossible to move on from such a traumatic event when you stay in the same place. It has not, however, helped Moises. It was hard for him to let go of the only place that he lived and took care of Marc. Sure, it was the site of the memories I listed above, but there were other memories. The wall in the hallway was where Moises leaned when he gave Marc a bottle for the first time. The shower in our room is where he gave Marc a bath for the first time. The living room was the place that he heard Marc laugh for the first time and where he saw Marc smile every time he came home from work. I have good memories of Marc that are housed in other places, but Moises doesn’t. And I understand how difficult it was for him to put my need to get out before his own need to stay close to the memories of our son. I am eternally grateful to him for that. In time, he will come to see this new house as home too. New house, new baby, new start. Not that we could ever forget our sweet, perfect Marc. It’s just good to aid in our lives moving forward.

The last few weeks have been so hard. One by one, my friend’s babies have turned one. Marc would have too, but…he won’t ever. My first-born will never smash up a cake for his first birthday. It’s like a special kind of torture. I am so happy for my friends. Their babies are adorable and it’s wonderful that they reached the one-year milestone. It just hurts to see my friends experiencing things with their babies that I will never get with Marc. The cute birthday party, the face full of cake, and the clumsy almost-opening of presents will forever be just a fantasy in my head for Marc.

One year ago today, I finally gave birth to my precious little angel. One year ago, I never imagined that it would be possible to suffer so much and be blessed so much in such a short period of time. One year ago, I never would have imagined that this would be my life.

Happy birthday baby boy. Mommy loves you forever and always.

 

Moving Forward,

Allie.

This entry was posted on March 3, 2017. 3 Comments

I Wish I Didn’t Have To…

The last time I wrote to you, I was bragging about my son being born. This time, I have to tell you about his death. I wish I didn’t have to, but I do.

Marc was big, happy, healthy, and smart. He was in the 99th percentile for weight. He doubled his birth weight in just 4 months! The cause of death, though we still do not have the official death certificate, is SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

The day he died was actually a great day. July 9th. We played together when he woke up. He was so talkative. We all relaxed for a while. I took him to the Commissary with me to get some groceries. He loved shopping, ya know. He would just look around at all the different things and bright colors. He would look at all the people. Each time we went, he would see things more clearly. He was always fascinated. This time, he placed his sweet little hands on the shopping cart as if to say “Here, Mom. Let me help you push the cart.”

As you know, I had an oversupply of milk. I donated it to a family. The little boy was only 8 months old, but the mom was pregnant and no longer had milk. We would go over for play dates when I dropped milk off. Marc never really paid much attention to the other little boy, but this time was different. This time, when I took him over, he was interacting with the other baby. He was laughing with and trying to play with another baby for the first time! It really was a magical day!

Marc needed a nap, so we left. We picked Moises and his friend up on the way home. When we got home, I got him ready for a nap. I undressed him, changed his diaper, and swaddled him (he would move his arms and wake himself up if we didn’t swaddle him). I propped him up on some blankets on my bed and nursed him. He fell asleep, so I left him there and left the door open a crack so that I could peek in on him. I know it may seem odd that I left him propped up, but he was always fine when I had him propped up on the couch with me. He was a very strong baby.

When I went to check on him, I couldn’t see him through the crack in the door. I opened the door and saw him face down in the bed. My heart dropped. I still have no clue how he ended up like that. I rushed to pick him up. It looked like he was asleep. I calmed down a little as I tapped him to wake him up. But he didn’t wake up. I didn’t get it. He was warm. He looked asleep. I bounced him to try and wake him up. I talked to him. Then I noticed he felt different. Holding him felt different. I noticed he wasn’t breathing. I yelled for Moises. I yelled for him. I went to the living room telling him that Marc wasn’t breathing. Moises looked for a heartbeat, looked for his breathing, but couldn’t find anything. Moises started doing CPR. Our friend that was there called 911. I just stood there, watching him do CPR on Marc. I couldn’t breathe. I knew he was gone, but I hoped he wasn’t. I prayed that he would start crying, that he would wake up, anything! I ran around, I called my mom, I watched more. People arrived at the house, they took over, I rode to the hospital in a police car, praying for my baby to come back. They worked on him all the way to the hospital. They worked on him after he got there. We just sat and watched. We watched them continue CPR. We watched the monitors for any change, any sign of hope. We sat there, helpless, as it settled in. The longer they worked on his tiny little body, the further away hope was. They called time of death just before midnight that day. Everyone cleared out of the room so that we could hold him. This time, he was cold. I now have a very literal experience of holding “dead weight”.

We both spoke to a detective and gave her our statements. I thought it was my fault. I thought he had suffocated. I thought my baby was dead because of something I did. It took me an entire day to realize that that wasn’t it at all. My baby was strong! My baby had strong neck muscles! He could lift his head and turn it to the side. I’d seen him do it. Even in his sleep, he turned his head to the side. He couldn’t possibly have suffocated. Still, I refused to tell anyone that it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. Of course, when I called the detective after the autopsy was done, she told me it was SIDS.

Of course I would never, ever do anything to Marc or let anything happen to him. Anyone that ever knew me or saw me with my son would know that. I love that little boy with all my heart. I would speak using past-tense, but the love for him didn’t just go when he did. All that love, all the maternal instincts are still there. It’s like a painful aching in my chest. The love for my son is overflowing with no outlet. It’s a different kind of love. The love for a child. It is equally intense as the love I have for Moises. It’s just different. It is the most amazing, pure, beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced.

 

People say that I am coping so well; that I am handling everything so well. I’ve been taking care of everyone. I’ve been sensitive to everyone’s needs. Everyone seems to be worried about how I’m doing. Taking care of people is how I cope with things. It’s how I heal. I say I’m doing okay. I’m not comfortable telling everyone these things. It’s hard to talk about it. It’s hard to listen to people. I don’t even cry around people. I’m not comfortable with it. There are only a few people that I can really talk to and cry with. Writing here is easier than talking to people.

I honestly have no clue where I am in my mourning. I’m afraid of everything. I hate everything. I am angry about everything.

I am afraid of doing things and going places. I’m afraid to go to the mall or to the Commissary. I’m afraid to go because those are the places Marc and I went most often. I’m afraid for the memories that might hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m afraid to be there when there are so many babies all around. I’m okay with babies as long as I can interact with them. But I can’t interact with every baby I see. I can’t avoid the tiny people with their parents. I can’t avoid hearing them cry and call their moms “Mama”. I can’t avoid the tears that come to my eyes because my little Marc will never cry again or call me “Mama”. I’m his mommy and I won’t get those things. I’m afraid of everything.

I hate myself. I hate my body. I can’t look at myself. I can’t look at my stomach. My body shows the signs of having had a baby. I have stretch marks, so many stretch marks. I didn’t care when I had Marc. I thought they were beautiful. Moises still thinks they’re beautiful. But all I see when I see them now is failure. My body went through this; I went through this. I’m supposed to be holding my baby. I’m supposed to have my baby. All I’m left with are empty feelings, empty arms, and stretch marks. What’s worse than the stretch marks are my breasts. When Marc died, they didn’t just stop producing milk. They kept producing and kept producing and kept producing. It was excruciating. It was miserable. I had to pump to relieve the pain. It broke my heart all over again every time I had to pump. I hoped and prayed it would stop soon. I wanted to dry up. And now that it has, it feels wrong. I’m sure it feels differently when you make the choice and wean a baby off of breastfeeding. I’m sure that feels rewarding. This does not. This feels wrong. This feels empty, like everything else. I don’t hate, but I hate people having babies and people that get to keep their babies. I don’t hate them. I just hate that they get what I don’t. I hate everything.

I am angry, so angry about everything. I only got 4 months with Marc. Only 4 months. Moises only got 2 ½ months. That’s not enough time! He was loved. He wanted nothing. He was perfect. He was amazing. He was taken from us. He was stolen from us. We were robbed! I deserved to watch him grow. I deserved to take him to his first day of school. I deserved to watch him graduate high school. I deserved to cry at his wedding. I deserved to hold his children and be their grandma. I deserved it all, but I’ve been robbed of all those moments. It makes me angry. I am angry about everything.

 

I guess that’s where I am.

 

Painfully,

Allie.

This entry was posted on August 10, 2016. 4 Comments

It’s a boy!

(Warning, some pictures in this post show a bit of skin and could be considered more private. I have no problem sharing, but view them at your own risk.)

I have been so preoccupied by life that I have not written in a long time. My life has been so busy and unpredictable. So, let me start off by apologizing for being absent again.

 

Pregnancy is miserable. I hate it. I theorize that some of it has to do with having Asperger’s Syndrome. I was constantly uncomfortable and could do nothing about it. Pregnancy isn’t some itchy sweater that you can take off if it’s bugging you. It’s constant, 24/7, and unavoidable. The hormones, the extra weight, the changes to the body, the constant peeing, the aching back, the exhaustion. It sucks. I have no clue how some women enjoy it! Several times, I considered never doing it again. I had to carefully consider whether or not I, in fact, wanted more than one child. I do want more, but the number that I want has decreased. There is a finite number of times that I am willing to put myself through that.

13076733_10208355645465465_121447246856750632_n

Big ol’ belly at 40 weeks.

I moved back in with my parents for the last trimester and birth of our baby since Moises was being stationed at a new duty station and the move dates were much too close to my due date. It was better for me to be in a stable home and not on the road when I went into labor. It was better to have a home to bring my baby back to instead of some unknown situation. It was a hard decision to make, but that is the life of an adult and parent. Sacrifices need to be made for our child’s welfare.

Labor was long. I was in labor for a total of 50 hours. I was at my OB appointment at 40 weeks 1 day gestation, the doctor said that I was 2 cm dilated, and the doctor manually stripped my membranes again (he had previously done so two weeks beforehand). It was two hours later, while I was having sushi with my mom, that labor started. I was determined to not be the cliché first time mom that goes to be admitted to only find out it was false labor, so we went walking around stores and did shopping for almost 5 hours before I went to the hospital. I made sure that the contractions were less than 10 minutes apart and had been constant and increasing in intensity. When we got there, I was checked and told to walk around some more to see if it would speed up the labor. (For first time moms, it is standard that they not be admitted until they are 5 to 6 cm dilated and that their contractions meet a certain standard.) When I was checked again, I was only 4 cm dilated and they sent me home to labor until something changed. The staff kept insinuating that I was in false labor. I didn’t sleep that night. The contractions gave no reprieve. I did everything I could to relax and nothing worked. Day #2 of being in labor, I labored all day at home and went to the hospital again that night. The contractions were closer together and more intense than the day before. To our dismay, I was still only 4 cm dilated. They suggested that I walk more to try and speed the labor up, but my muscles were too tired. I couldn’t do much walking. I didn’t dilate any further. We asked about getting something for the pain so that I could sleep, since they were sending me home again. They gave me a morphine sleeper and sent me home again, still insinuating that I was not in “real” labor. I got no sleep that night. The contractions gave no reprieve. Day #3 of labor, all my movements were slow and jerky. I was in so much pain; I could barely speak. I was closing in on being in active labor for 40 hours with no sleep and no break from the pain. My body was working against itself. It was laboring to widen and prepare my body for birth, but it had been laboring so long that my muscles couldn’t dilate any further. My mom packed me into the car and took me to the hospital a third time. She had to get a wheel chair to bring me into the labor and delivery wing because I couldn’t make it there myself. She did all the talking for me because I couldn’t. She did something that I affectionately call “going momma bear”. I was being treated the same way I had the previous nights and they were going to send me home again. Mom stepped in and basically told them that they were going to admit me and help me with the pain and she would talk to whoever she needed to talk to to make that happen. They finally admitted me and gave me an epidural. Thank God for epidurals!! I finally got a short nap before they said I was dilated enough to start pushing. I had my mother-in-law on one side, my little sister (traveled from Oregon to be with me) on the other side, and my mom right by my head. Moises, who was on the road between El Paso and his new duty station, was watching from Skype. I pushed for less than two hours and our son was finally here. They handed him to me and I was in love and in shock. He was huge! He was 9 pounds 13 ounces and 21 ¾ inches. That’s an almost 10-pound baby, ya’ll. And thus ended the 50 hours of labor. Sheesh! All the pain, discomfort, and miserable feelings resulted in the best gift I’ve ever received. His name is Marc and he is an amazing and beautiful little boy.

14556FB_IMG_146029846207513076804_10208355645705471_3226541153785548861_nIMG_20160304_015926

I spent the next six weeks with my parents, tip-toeing into the new territory of having a newborn. The feeding, dressing, diaper changing, and cuddling were all easy! I’ve done so much babysitting that I didn’t even blink an eye at it. What I had a harder time with was figuring out how he ticks. I had to cut all dairy products from my diet because he is lactose sensitive. Not to be confused with lactose intolerance. Intolerance means that he will never be able to comfortably consume lactose. Sensitivity means that it is uncomfortable for him for now. Luckily, he is only lactose sensitive. It’s already gotten better and I’ve been able to add whey and yogurt back into my diet. (YAY!) Other than that, he was a calm, quiet baby. He was easy! My parents helped me in figuring things out and my little sisters were great with him when I needed to take a shower! Hahahaha. I’m eternally grateful to my family for helping me out so much! I don’t know what I would have done without them.

Breastfeeding. I had no problem with it. Marc had no problem with it. We were a dangerous pair with how well things were going. At first, that is. I waited two weeks before trying the pump to make sure there weren’t any problems that needed to be addressed first. The pump worked great until it didn’t. My nipples started chaffing and dried out. I kept using the nipple cream, but it didn’t seem to help at all. Nursing became super painful. I might even venture out to say that it was more painful than labor. I ended up crying every time I fed Marc, and that was no good. But! I determined to muscle through it and keep breastfeeding. Until I started bleeding, that is. He wasn’t eating enough and he was spitting up my blood. I was fine putting myself in pain for my son’s health, but it became urgent the moment that it started hurting my son. I guess that’s just instinctual. I ended up making my own formula for him using goat’s milk. He ate that for a week until I was healed. It took a little longer to heal because I was allergic to the nipple cream. Once I was healed, I started nursing again. I still had to supplement with the goat milk formula for a while until my supply caught up with him. Now we’re doing perfectly. In fact, I’m actually producing more than he eats, so my frozen storage is piling up.

As mentioned before, Moises watched the birth of our son over Skype. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to make it to California for labor and delivery or for a visit afterwards. He’d only seen our son over Skype. I was missing my husband and he needed to hold his son. Obviously, I jumped at the soonest opportunity to make the move to Kansas and our new home! Some family friends were going on a road trip to their new home in Texas and Kansas was on their route. It was a long three days, traveling with an infant. I, of course, fibbed about where we were so that I could surprise Moises. I worked things out with one of his coworkers and the look on his face when he saw me standing there with Marc was exactly what I hoped it would be. He was so excited!

Here’s where I’m going to end this post. I’ll save how adjusting to things in Kansas has been for my next post! Thank you for reading.

 

Elated,

Allie.

This entry was posted on June 4, 2016. 2 Comments