Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NEW BLOG LOCATION

Posted by Leslie at 5:15 AM 0 comments
MY BLOG IS NOW LOCATED AT: HTTP://THROUGHGREYSKIES.NET.TC

MY WEDDING BLOG IS NOW LOCATED AT: HTTP://GEEKSINLOVE.NET.TC

THANKS!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Right Where I Am: 2 years, 8 months, 23 days

Posted by Leslie at 1:59 AM 0 comments
This post is for the "Right Where I Am" project at Still Life. It's a way to talk about grief in terms of where I am in it within the time that has passed. Check out the link for more details.

I had to use an online calculator to determined how long it had been, in years & months & days, that my son exited my life so very suddenly. It's funny how it had been so long since it happened, yet the actual moments .. all of them, however painful, is still so fresh in my mind. I stumbled upon this project & wish I would have found it sooner. Or maybe not. Maybe I had to be farther along in this grief to really appreciate this project for what it is trying to do.

Where are you in your grief? Emotionally. Physically. Psychically.

My grief used to be an entity of it's own. It breathed. It existed. Even beyond the confines of my body, my soul, my mind & my heart. I kind of see grief as the "nothing" from the Neverending Story. All consuming. Sweeping through the valleys, hills, oceans, skies, stars of my very being & making it disappear. While I have come to an idea of WHO I am now, the Leslie that existed before those moments of my son's death died along with him. She is gone. Buried beneath the soil in a tiny white casket filled with pictures & toys & baby items & letters from older siblings. She died with her son. I took her place. So where am I now?

This grief doesn't consume like it once did. It is not an engulfing flame that takes away my oxygen & leaves me gasping for air. It used to be like that. I am at a point where it is not anymore. But it is still there. Hiding in dark places. Causing small cracks here or there in the exterior that the outside world sees. It is there in the moments where I enjoy my living children & then feel the stab in my heart when I realize someone is missing or that he won't experience a milestone. I try to tell grief to leave me be. To let something else take the spotlight once in a while.

Emotionally.. I am okay. Simply okay. I find joys in my hobbies & pastimes. For example, I am doing a show at a local theater & before I step onto that stage, I tell my son, my Dexter, that everything I am doing out there is for him. My inspiration is that if I sing out enough during a performance that it will reach Heaven & he will hear it.

Physically: I am striving to be healthier. I'll be honest .. after losing him I stopped caring. I couldn't see the point anymore. It took me a while to realize that I couldn't help his memory live on if I was gone. I know that my time will come one day & when it does.. I will see him again. 'til then, my living children deserve 100% of a mother for them. & I hope I do that for them.

2 years, 8 months, 23 days. In that time my life has turned in so many ways. I had my rainbow baby, Dexter's little brother, Milo .. who brings me healing & joy. I've gotten engaged. I am pursuing the arts again. I am deciding where my life needs to go. I am finding faith. I do not think that losing my son was for a reason. I think it happened. & because it happened, I had to find reason in LIVING again. & I think I have. Because I know that he would want his mother to see the sunlight & not just the darkness within the 'nothing' of grief.

Grief? Yes, I still experience it. But just like my 'new normal' ... it's existing in it's own state of new normal. Like me, it will evolve as I do. But it will always be there.

To my dear son, Dexter. Mommy misses you so much. You precious moments on Earth changed everything. & if I had to do it all over again knowing that you still had to leave .. I would. Because fitting a lifetime's worth of love in 11 hours is better than to have not loved you at all. I love you. & I know I'll hear you say those words to me one day when we meet again.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

So much for blog posting month..

Posted by Leslie at 3:26 AM 0 comments
So I fell flat on my face after 11 days of the NaBloPoMo thing. I guess the increasing rehearsal schedule for Miracle on 34th Street at the Henegar Center is just taking too much of time right now. By the time I get home I just want to eat dinner, spend time with the fiance & then possible nap between Milo feedings. (One of those is coming up in about 15 minutes actually.) I am okay with being busy. Doing a show fills my time up & it fills my heart too. Despite all the hard work & even the frustrations of the process, I LOVE it. It makes me feel like I am a part of something. There are times where I just don't feel like that.

I have been feeling nostalgic & been looking up people I used to know. See where they are & how they ended up. I had luck with some, none with others. I see that some people are still friends with those they knew back then. I think that's wonderful. Makes me wish I still had some of thos friendships. However, I do have wonderful friends now & I hope these adult friendships are the ones I will have in the coming years.

I really need to update the wedding website & blog. When I do that I will post some links here. I don't want to clutter this blog with just wedding stuff. There IS some stuff going on with that. Mainly a potential wedding party member that doesn't seem to want to let go of certain things & play by the rules of being in this wedding. I don't want to be a Bridezilla-type, but when it will affect communicating with the wedding party because I am block by someone, then it affects the whole wedding & I got to put my foot down to that. That is the only thing I am saying about it. I am keeping names out of it. Those close to me know the situation. I will leave it with one thing: The heaviest burden to carry is a grudge. Just sayin'....

I am attempting to be a bit more social & trying to make more friends within the show. I added several new people on Facebook & even had some lunch with a few. I am hoping to have lasting friendships within the theater community as well.

I am newly obsessed with the TV show "Once Upon A Time". I can't wait for the next episode already! I joined a million groups for it on Livejournal already. So excited. I am also excited that I am getting Ian a nice present tomorrow off of Freecycle. I hope it all goes off without a hitch. & then Friday we are seeing our friend Becky from Pajama Game in the musical "Chicago". I am so excited!

On the homefront things are going well. Ian's grades have gone up & he managed to get onto honor roll despite having some rough patches. & he is doing well, along with the show too. So I am very proud! He is having to miss a school dance & a performance for his chorus (teacher said it was okay) because of Miracle. But he has a commitment & I think this teaches him about responsibility.

I cooked a good meal tonight. Fried chicken that I put roasted pepper sauce on. It was yummy with a red potato & corn for the sides. I enjoy cooking for my man. I am glad that he seems to enjoy the meals I prepare. I am not really known for being a good cook. That's why my dear fiance is flying with Thanksgiving. He loves it. Though I am making my green bean casserole & bacon wrapped asparagus. :) I am hoping to have lots of people over. I might see if anyone is alone for Thanksgiving & see if we can invite them.

Time to feed the baby. Just one more hour & I can go to sleep. Maybe I'll catnap after I feed Milo. These creepy movies I'm watching probably won't help. :P I've had some interesting & weird dreams lately. Maybe I need to not watch some of this stuff at night. :P

Friday, November 11, 2011

One Big Blob..

Posted by Leslie at 4:40 AM 0 comments
It is really hard for me to write a post a day when my days are melting together into one big BLOB. I am unsure what is up or what is down. I can't even really tell you what day it is. To me, it's Thursday right now since I have not been asleep yet. Robert is sleeping in more than usual because he doesn't have to work tomorrow (Friday...) so I can sleep in later. But not by too much. I need to hit Walmart & Goodwill, the post office.. Then the theater to work on costumes for my character(s). It's not a rehearsal night, but the lovely stage manager asked if anyone would mind coming in just for that. No problemo! It will give me some alone time out of the house. I am just looking forward to sleeping I will be doing in about an hour.

That's parenthood. One big blob. But it's an enjoyable blob. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (Day 9 of NaBloPoMo!)

Posted by Leslie at 12:42 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 8 - NaBloPoMo (Haiku edition!)

Posted by Leslie at 2:44 AM 0 comments
Here I am. Still awake. I decided this post will be a haiku post. Why? 'cause I feel like it. Tomorrow is Wordless Wednesday..I'll probably end up posting a picture from my 30 day photography challenge. :)

night comes much sooner
when time has fallen backwards
right into winter

Monday, November 7, 2011

All prettied up & nowhere to go..

Posted by Leslie at 11:57 PM 0 comments
Had a nice day today. Busy, but nice. I decided I wanted to feel pretty so I got dressed up a bit, make up & everything. I don't do that very often. It felt nice to do it though. Sometimes a girl needs to just dress up & feel good.

My life has been consumed with the baby & doing the show. Tonight's rehearsal was good. Got a small dance number done & it's really fun. I enjoy being around the people I get to do this with. I enjoy making new friends. It's just a wonderful time. & before I know it ..the show will be over. It's amazing how that works.

So.. since everyone is asleep but me. DF went to bed early. Kids are in bed. I will feed the baby, pop in a movie & chill out for the evening. & I might even leave my make up on.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What Would You Do? (Zombie Edition)

Posted by Leslie at 10:49 PM 0 comments
I am a big Walking Dead fan & on the last episode I watched (I am one behind) the main couple's kid was on his deathbed. There was a moment where the mother thought it might be better off that her son died rather than live the life they had been leading. You know, watching everyone die or turn into flesh-eating monsters. Going hungry & being scared. As a mother who lost a child, my first instinct would be.. HELL NO. I must make my child live. But in reality, that is such an amazing question & perspective. Would you want your child to live like that? In the end, the father convinced the mother than he SHOULD live because when he woke up briefly, he didn't talk about how he was injured, or the zombies or fear.. but he talked about a beautiful deer he encountered. Even in a world of nightmares, he saw beauty. Letting him die would be like hope dying.

So I wonder.. if you could spare your child living in a world of nightmares, of fear, of hunger or cold or sickness.. would you let them go? I feel like I did the same sort of thing when we took Dexter off of life support. I wanted to spare him slowly dying, excruciatingly slow. It wasn't fair to him & I knew that. Being a parent is SUCH a job. & the idea that we might have to one day hold our child's mortality in our hands is scary. But it does happen.

So I wonder what others would do..

24 hours is not enough!

Posted by Leslie at 12:15 AM 0 comments
24 hours is not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I need to do.

Rehearsals. Family. Baby. Relationship. Church. Friends. Wedding. Oh My!

Something more substantial tomorrow!

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Will NEVER Be Silenced!

Posted by Leslie at 1:23 AM 0 comments
I know "technically" it's November 4th, but I haven't gone to bed yet so it's really only the 3rd to me until then. I spent the day doing appointments & then rehearsal so I was so busy today! But I have a LOT to say!

THIS IS MY PERSONAL FEELINGS. I AM NOT GOING TO CHANGE THEM. YOU CAN AGREE OR AGREE TO DISAGREE, BUT DON'T PUSH YOUR VIEW ON ME & I WON'T PUSH MINE ON YOURS. MY GRIEF JOURNEY IS MY OWN SO PLEASE RESPECT THAT & I WILL RESPECT YOURS.

I will NEVER be silenced when it comes to talking about my son, Dexter. He left us too soon. He lived a short 11 hours outside my womb, but that doesn't make him a "that" or less of a person or less important than anyone else. I had a dear friend, Amber, who has been harassed on Facebook for posting about her son, Eli. Eli was stillborn, but guess what... he was STILL BORN. People who claim to be her "friends" are dishing it out to her about how she spends too much time thinking about her son & is neglecting her live children or needs help or told it's ridiculous to make a video with "dead babies" in it. MY SON was honored in that video for October 15th. Why is it that because my son has passed on he suddenly shouldn't exist as part of my family? When your mother dies .. or your husband dies, do they cease to exist???? You don't stop loving your mother or honoring her if she dies. Yet, as a parent who has lost a baby, I'm expected to sweep it under the rug for the sake of everyone else's discomfort. I am sorry that MY GRIEF is a big inconvenience to you.

Death is a part of this cycle of life. It's a horrible experience & in a perfect world NO ONE would die. Especially children. In the natural order of things, it is the most UNNATURAL thing in the world to be a parent burying your child. & at the time where we, as bereaved parents, NEED SUPPORT THE MOST, we have people turning on us. Telling us we are crazy or need help. Calling our precious children "it", "that", "dead baby" & calling our coping "ridiculous". & some of this is done anonymously, so they don't even OWN their thoughts & words. Hiding behind fake names or emails ...claiming to care or be friends but can't even be honest. I have come to accept death. That was a hard journey. I might be farther along in my grief that some. It's an extremely personal journey. While I LOVE my son, Dexter.. I know that I woudldn't have my rainbow baby, Milo, had the outcome to Dexter's life been different. In my OWN JOURNEY, Dexter's purpose was to teach me about love, teach me about myself. Show me a path in life. He did so with the power of a hurricane. Turned my life upside down & even though the gaping hole in my heart remains, I am better for it. Instead of pouring hate, it is pouring love. I am being the mother & person I know he'd want me to be.

Let me be real for you here: My life is divided in two parts. BEFORE DEXTER & AFTER DEXTER. The relationships I had before my son died .. most of them stalled. Some stopped all together. I learned who were the real friends & who were the shadows. Unfortunately.. most people ended up in the shadow catagory. Fairweather friends. Relating to others who have not experienced this is sometimes difficult. Not impossible, but it can be problematic. Not because I want it to be but because they can't accept that my son will always be a part of me, I will always speak of him & won't change that for anyone.

Losing him was a pain worse than any I have ever experienced. But I REJOICE in knowing I was chosen to the mother to a special, wonderful boy. I REJOICE in the fact he entered me life, albeit swiftly, & I am THANKFUL for the time I had with him. The world is a better place in my eyes because he is in it. & I REJOICE that he is happy, in no pain & waiting for me to join him when my time comes. I know he is truly WHOLE where he is & that makes me heart burst. I truly believe what Albus Dumbledore said: "After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure."

At the end of this life, this journey.. I look forward to starting that adventure .. hand in hand with my son. 'til then, he will be in my heart, on my mind, on my tongue & shared with the world. He deserves it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (Day 2 of NaBloPoMo!)

Posted by Leslie at 1:42 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

National Blog Writing Month!

Posted by Leslie at 4:04 PM 0 comments
In an attempt to participate in NaBloPoMo for the month of November .. I am going to be trying to post a blog daily. I can't promise it's going to be horribly interesting, but I will try. My favorite part about writing is to be able to express myself in words without stumbling. I tend to stumble & stutter when talking. I can be clear & concise in text.

I think I will definitely be using the Wordless Wednesday thing for tomorrow though. ;)

Life is SO busy. Halloween is over & I wish it could be lasting a bit longer. I love Halloween. At least we'll be able to go to the Halloween store & get clearance stuff! We really look forward to that every year & we like to stock up. I plan on going to the Dollar Tree to get some harvest decorations so get things festive in here. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving a lot. :) Going to try to some new dishes this year & of course my green bean casserole.

I really could use a nap. But I need to start getting slowly ready for rehearsal for Miracle on 34th Street tonight.. looks like it will be a longer night .. 6-9pm. Trying to eat here since I am low on money since I had to make sure I put gas in the car I was using the last few weeks. Friday can't come fast enough. I only have a few bucks left 'til then. Ian always seems to get the impression if we leave the house I am buying him food. I literally don't have enough for that sort of thing right now. I might brew some coffee before I leave so I can bring some with me tonight. The last rehearsal was cut short due to a power outage at the theater. Exciting but we lost half the night.

SO sleepy.

Trying to figure out a few wedding snags having to do with certain guests/potential wedding party members. I might address this in the wedding blog later.. & try to do so with a certain tact where I don't name names. Not that this person even acknowledges my presence at all. I'm trying to keep my tongue only speaking good.. it can be a struggle.

I am working on a 30 Day Photography Challenge...

Day 1: Self Portrait. I am going to have so much fun with this! :) See you here again tomorrow for Wordless Wednesday!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

Posted by Leslie at 4:27 AM 0 comments
My emotions are complicated right now. I guess maybe it's because I have Milo. I am overjoyed that I have him but I am being pulled apart between feeling that joy & grieving for Dexter. Plus the fact we are doing a mini-party for Avery's birthday which is on the 16th. I don't want to spend the day with a plastered smile on my face when inside my heart is still very much broken. It will be 3 years in March.. I can't believe it. It feels like yesterday but still so distant.

I know that reintegrating God into my life is helping. I know for some it doesn't & I believe in their right to be angry. I was there too. & some may never leave that place of anger. I feel angry sometimes, but mostly I ache. Even when a preemie 14 week old baby.. my arms still ache for the son that left too soon. I guess it is a little bit disheartening to know that my skies will never be fully blue. The grey will always be there in some form; despite the sun & rainbows shining once in a while .. it's forever grey.

Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. (& really it's ALL MONTH.) I know that breast cancer is important & I fully support it's awareness as well. But those of us who have lost babies .. we deserve to have our children recognized. At least TODAY. So maybe you will join me in remembering them. They were tiny .. but IMPORTANT.



Mommy & Daddy miss you so much Dexter. Thank you for being our son.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Letters to Dexter (#1)

Posted by Leslie at 12:31 AM 0 comments
I am starting a new series on my blog. I will have periodic letters to my son, Dexter, as entries.

Dear Dexter,

I wish I would have done this sooner. But maybe it's taken me this long to get the courage to write you letters. I think I tried at the beginning but I was just so overwhelmed by everything that it didn't last long. Here I am now. We are coming up on 3 years since you died in March. Sometimes I step back & look at my life & I can't believe that I live this. I think recently, though, I am feeling the happiest I have been since you went away.

Thank you for sending us our rainbow baby Milo. I know that you had a hand in choosing him especially for us. He looks so much like you. It amazes me to think that you are a big brother now. I think of you & still see a tiny baby in my arms. I wonder if you are aging in Heaven. If you are really a toddler there. I hope one day when I see you again.. I can hold you like a baby for a little while. I am sure it will happen. I know that I will be telling Milo all about you. I know that Milo might not be here had it not been for having a guardian angel brother looking out for him. He brings us so much joy. I know that he has brought some healing into our lives simply by being here with us.

As we approach the holidays, I am feeling your absence more. It is hard to be together as a family knowing there is a gaping hole where you should be. I do my best to work through it. Mommy & big brother Ian are doing another Christmas show at the theater. I know that it will help me get through the holidays again. Last year it really helped & I know it will this time too. It feels like such a long time ago really. I wish you could have been here with us so you could do shows one day too. I try to honor you when I do a show by wearing your picture on a pendant during one of the performances. When I do this.. I do it for you. I know you are watching & listening.

Thank you for touching Daddy's heart & letting him ask me to marry him. He made me the happiest person on the planet. I am looking forward to being his wife. I can't want to be a proper family. Well as close as possible. We won't be a whole family 'til we can be with you too. I plan on honoring you at our wedding.. I know you'll be there.

I miss you. You are forever my little boy & I love you.

Love,
Mommy

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Puzzle That Can Never Be Finished

Posted by Leslie at 1:34 AM 0 comments
We are getting my engagement ring today(Friday). This whole thing will a lot more real at that point. For the first time since my son died, I feel SO blessed. I have a wonderful fiance, amazing kids, my rainbow baby, now I am engaged & I even got cast in a musical (Miracle on 34th Street) this Christmas at the local community theater. This is probably the happiest I have been recently other than when we got to take Milo home from the long NICU stay. Yes, we are tired, sleep deprived, covered in baby chaos & spit up: but we are JOYOUS!

My fiance (I am LOVING saying that..) posted on his Facebook recently that a student at school said he looked different. He mentioned he had a different hairstyle but the student replied that no... it was that he looked HAPPY. We are happy & it's a wonderful feeling. It's nice when the world looks more filled with hope than hopelessness.

It's a balance though. As I start to plan my wedding, I think about who will be missing. My son, Dexter, won't be there in a little suit with his other siblings. Dexter would be 3 years, 8.1 months old on our wedding date. It's so hard to imagine what he would be like. How he'd look in his little suit. Would he look like his Daddy or his Mommy? Or like his siblings? What words would be saying? It feels like only yesterday I held him in my arms for those brief moments of life. Yet, it feels far away like a distant nightmare that my mind just can't shake. Sometimes I feel in limbo with my grief. I am grasping & holding tightly to this happy feeling.. but at the same time guilty for feeling so happy when something is indeed missing. Not to mention that my Dad died before he could meet our rainbow baby OR be here for my engagement & wedding. So again.. my Dad won't be able to give me away.

I am realizing that my life is a puzzle. A puzzle that is missing pieces of it. Pieces that are lost for an undetermined amount of time. I will just have to make do with the holes & figure out a way to try & cover them up with some bits of happiness.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Busy busy bee!

Posted by Leslie at 12:20 AM 0 comments
It's been crazy around here. Sometimes I wonder if I spread myself too thin. I did an audition tonight with my oldest boy for Miracle on 34th Street. I think I nailed my singing audition .. so I am hoping to know if I got a role by Friday. I actually asked for one of the smaller roles in the musical. I was going to do that part in another show this summer but I ended up having Milo the day of the main dress rehearsal. So.... that didn't happen. My son played... well my son. He did the show, I didn't. So we both tried for those parts again. Crossing our fingers we got it. It'd be nice to do a show together again.

In other news.... I got ENGAGED on Sunday. :) I am beyond happy. & still shocked. We are getting my ring on Friday.. it was so impromptu we didn't even have that. But it's something I never thought would occur. So having my rainbow & a future wedding.. I am the happiest woman in the world right now. If I get a part in the show.. I will say that 2011 is officially my favorite year of all time. I am making a wedding blog so I don't clutter this place with it. I will link to it here when it's done.

Milo is doing well. Had a good Exorcist-style spit up earlier, but I shifted the way I burped him & it seems to be helping. I am not sure if the Zantac is working or not. But he seems happy either way. He has a ped appointment this Friday. I am hoping he's gained a good amount of weight. All in all..things are good!

Through the grey skies.. I see blue.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hope With Every Cry

Posted by Leslie at 4:05 PM 0 comments
This is part of the BlogHop at Small Bird Studios. Click the link to read more about it.

I am so tired when I get up in the morning. Not as bad as I would be if I wasn't getting my 4-5 hour chunk of sleep. I am so thankful to have a great partner who shares these shifts with me so we aren't dead tired while caring for Milo. I am a paranoid new mommy who doesn't want the rainbow colors to ever leave my life.

Maybe I am an odd one, but every time I hear my son cry, I feel this intense joy & relief. I still day dream over the first moment after Milo was born.. taking a deep breath & holding it. I only let it go once I heard him start crying. It was more than once & while it was tiny, it seemed strong. His big brother only made one cry in his short life. To hear more than one was a huge weight off my shoulders after I recovered from a short, but painful birth.

& every time he would cry so strong in the NICU, my heart skipped a beat. Every single cry felt like a step in the right direction. I don't enjoy my son being in pain or hungry, but every moment he has the strength to cry.. I am reminded on how lucky I am that he is here with me. He reminds me, through his precious little cry, the hope of a new day. & the hope of joy that seems to come into my life since he entered it. I do not forget his big brother. I mourn him. I miss him. & I thank him for giving me the rainbow in my grey skies. Hope has bee restored. Hope has been brought into my life within a baby's cry.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Finding Faith & The Measure Of A Mother

Posted by Leslie at 2:13 AM 0 comments
I did something I haven't done since before Dexter died. I went to church with my best friend. I will not hide the fact that after he died, I was extremely angry with God. I wanted to tell God to shove & never come back into my life again. It took a good year before I started going back to my usual idea of God. I always had a very buffet style spirituality after I left the Mormon church as a teenager. I firmly believe all paths lead to God, I just feel like each individual sees God differently. I became more interested in my own PERSONAL relationship with God & not what others might think of it. Listen, I am not a perfect person. Never have been. Never will be. I live my life using that free will thing everyone talks about. I feel like God wants me to live this life freely. To follow my heart. & I do that.

Only thing I wanted to ask God was... HOW? How do I do that with a broken heart?

I will always struggle with the why. Why did he take my son? 11 hours isn't nearly enough to fit a lifetime's worth of love in. The only memories I made with him were painful ones. Dreams were shattered. Faith was lost. & I wasn't strong enough to just sit back & go, "OK, God... I trust you." Because I didn't. How could I trust a God that let babies die when their parents so desperately wanted them to stay?

I may never know the answer to that.. at least not until I stand before him & say, "Hey, what was the deal with that?" I have come to the understanding in my soul that I was chosen, specifically, to be Dexter's mother. A measure of a mother is not in the years of raising she accomplishes, or how many school lunches she makes at home or how many PTA meetings she attends. The measure of a mother can't even be seen. It's an individual, PERSONAL understanding between that mother & that child. My friends who have only know children who went to Heaven .. they are some of the best mothers I know. They may not have had sleepless nights with feedings & diaper changes. Or kissed away boo-boos on scraped knees. But they have had sleepless nights missing their precious baby. Kissed away tears from their partner's cheeks. They celebrate birthdays & anniversaries.. even at a grave site. These women... they are amazing mothers. Because they don't just express their love for their children by hugs, kisses & presents. They do it by waking up every morning, breathing & LIVING. They are LIVING TRIBUTES in honor of their children.

On a good note. I have felt really good the last few days. I am enjoying all my moments with Milo. He loves to be held against my chest & sleep. I love hearing his coos & seeing his beautiful eyes. He is so alert. He's started making noises that aren't cooing or crying.. so that's amazing. He DID get diagnosed with acid reflux & now he is on Zantac for that. I am hoping it kicks in soon. This Thursday he has a cardiologist appointment for a follow up. The first one since he left the NICU. I am .. apprehensive. I am praying that we just get a thumbs up & that he's doing fine & see you next month. When he went to the respiratory doctor (to get a referral for the RSV shot) .. they checked his sP02 level & it was 99.. which is exactly what I want to hear. I just hope everything will be okay. We don't see the geneticist 'til December. But I am not really worried. So far his eye doctor had no concerns. Hoping the cardio has none either. Maybe you can say a little prayer that his appointment goes well & is uneventful.

I am so in love with him. I just want life to continue as it is ... with hope & joy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Relating Doesn't Equal Friendship...

Posted by Leslie at 1:18 AM 0 comments
...or how I fell into the same trap I've always fallen into all my life.

Hi, my name is Leslie & I have trouble connecting to people.

Or is it that they have trouble connecting to me?

I have had this problem since I can remember. The first day of kindergarten..someone teasing me & being shocked to discover that outside the safe haven of my grandmother & mother, that not everyone automatically loved me. Or even liked me. I can remember crying on my way home, wondering why someone hadn't told me that I was too short according to society's standards & that my nose was too big & I was wearing the wrong outfit. Of course, these were in more 5 year old sentences, but that was the basic gist of it.

It was from that point on that I started my list of "Leslie Flaws" in my own head. That list continues today & even includes those bullet points that were added at the mere age of 5. The only difference is that I tend to handle it better as an adult that I did as a child. But even I have those cracks that stuff seeps through to the inside where it isn't so hardened & protected.

I can easily list 10 things that are wrong with me that would not make someone like me. I get reminded a lot about the things that make me unworthy. Even when people may not even intend to do that. Half of the time it's not even really their fault. I've always had a perpetual feeling of being on the outside looking in. From not being allowed to play 4-square with a group of popular girls in 3rd grade to being excluded by my boyfriend's best friend to coming to his birthday party because he doesn't like me, despite me being the mother of my boyfriend's children & possibly a future wife in the distant future. It always felt like people thought it was okay to push me aside & let me watch from afar, but never be included.

But it's not okay. At least not to me.

I know this sounds like some big whinefest, butthurt rambling. & I guess it is. In the end I don't think I'll ever get over my base feelings of inadequacy or loneliness. How cliche but how true.. I can be in a crowded room & be utterly alone. Because I am transparent to most people. so what have I learned? I can relate to people on so many levels & it can still never be enough for me to be really seen. & it sucks.

OK, enough emo. Today will be a better day. Especially when I get to go to sleep. 4am will be here eventually. I'd live in my dreams forever if I could.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Changes

Posted by Leslie at 11:08 AM 0 comments
Follow my blog with Bloglovin


My hosting provider exploded so I had to change hosts. I haven't figured out how to have this blog direct to a subdomain yet, so right now it's under a redirect. You can get here by typing: http://www.herblackbird.org/blog or http://throughgreyskies.blogspot.com .. I guess it really doesn't matter how you get here as long as you get here. :)

Bigger post coming.. but first, have to feed Milo his lunch!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Upside down & inside out

Posted by Leslie at 10:58 AM 0 comments
I am working on a new layout for this place, so if you see some funky things here & there.. that's me: poking & prodding. :) Just a fair warning.

Happy Labor Day to everyone!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mourning the loss .. of my pregnancy/birth experience

Posted by Leslie at 11:23 AM 0 comments
I know what you are thinking. Why is she in mourning when her baby came home (finally!) this time? Yes, my son is home from the NICU after 46 long days away from us. The experience was a journey, let me tell you. But just because he's home & I am finally in the throws of being a mommy without having a nurse hovering & watching my every move .. doesn't mean I am OVER this experience. Or over the fact I lost his big brother.

I AM NOT CURED!

I had my son at 29 weeks & 1 day. That itself was a huge trauma. It was a NIGHTMARE. Especially after having Dexter at 29 weeks & him not even surviving 24 hours. The birth of my son Milo was a traumatic experience. From the moment I started realizing it could be labor, to the way I was treated by the staff at L&D.. that's just the icing on the cake of my birth experience trauma. I am feeling a loss. The loss of a dream. Yes, he is home with me (mostly healthy, except for having several specialists) ..but I still feel sad that I should be pregnant right this very moment.. enjoying swollen ankles, back pain, peeing constantly & not being able to sleep because I am so big. I WANTED to be huge. All of that discomfort would have been worth it to have my son come when he was supposed to. To be full term.

Let me try to explain this grief.

1. I am grieving the loss of my pregnancy experience. I've only had one pregnancy go full term. My daughter was born at 38 weeks. My oldest tried to come at 29 weeks by dilating me to 4cm & having contractions. My labor was stopped & I spend weeks 29-34 on bed rest IN the hospital. I spent it alone with no family or friends in a relatively new city. My boyfriend at the time nearly abandoned me in there.. instead playing video games, spending baby money my mother sent us on video games & fun while I got to sit on my ass & hope to not go into labor again. Luckily he was born at 36 weeks & is a healthy 12 year old today. I can't say that for the relationship with his sperm donor. My angel was born at 29 weeks after my water broke at 27 weeks. & Milo was born at 29 weeks as well. Needless to say.. 29 isn't my favorite number & I hate it.

I am missing out on still being pregnant. I wanted to experience it. I wanted my significant other to experience it too. Now he has two children & only knows babies born at 29 weeks. I often wonder why he trusts me to be a mother to his children.. I obviously failed them in the "staying pregnant" department. Not to mention that earlier in our relationship we had a chemical pregnancy as well ... to be honest, that's why my uterus is closed for business after this. I don't trust my body anymore.

So it may not seem like a big deal, but I get sad & jealous to a point when I see people still pregnant. (Even other rainbow mamas.. of course I feel no ill feelings towards them but it doesn't mean the jealousy doesn't creep up a little. Though other pregnant women who don't appreciate it make me really pissed off!) When we are supposed to be going through these things together but I didn't get to. I am happy to have my son, but I would have preferred to have him on his due date & not 11 weeks beforehand. So fine, tell me I am whining. I don't care. All I wanted was a normal pregnancy. I knew that wasn't possible because it was a pregnancy after a loss. But damn .. life.. couldn't you have cut me a break & let me become as huge as a house & experience it all when I was supposed to?

2. I am grieving the loss of my desired birth experience. My birth experience with Milo was traumatic. So was the one with Dexter. The fact that my last two births were filled with trauma makes me not want to do this ever again. (Good thing my honey agrees with this notion.) As many women who want to have babies know.. we have a certain idea of how we want our birth experience to go. I wanted to do a hypnobirthing. I had planned on doing that with Dexter but it obviously never happened. I re-studied it again for this pregnancy. Everything was going great. I knew I was going to make it & have the birth experience I wanted. I wanted to show his father that not all births turn out bad. (Thus my feelings of guilt about that.. I failed.) I was going to labor at home as much as possible, have low lights, low music, medi. ation.. I had such a vision for my birth. Instead I had fear, screaming in pain in the backseat of my honey's car, unable to meditate as all I could focus on was the fact that it was too soon .. that I was having another baby at 29 weeks & because of that my pain was excruciating... so of course I was too late for any help with pain. Everything was spiraling out of control. I wasn't treated very well by the birthing staff at all... I guess I was made to feel I had done something wrong because my baby was coming at 29 weeks. I even had a nurse question my legs (I did a very bad shaving job & cut myself a few times a few days earlier ...YES, I am a bad shaver when I can't see past my belly!) asking if I had a rash, WTF? I was told they couldn't register my contractions on the monitor. It was all a nightmare-ish blur. Yet a blur that I remember every detail of. I gave birth in a stark white operating room despite having a "natural" vaginal delivery. So cold & impersonal.. a far cry from my soft lights, soft music & birthing into love. My honey didn't even get to watch him come out as they shooed him away. NOTHING went the way I had hoped.

I know what you are thinking .. "Stop complaining.. your baby is home with you now!" Yeah, he's home now... it only took 46 days. Which brings me to the next point.

3. I am grieving the loss of having a "normal" baby & taking my baby home like I'm supposed to. Yes, I said NORMAL. When you go into a hospital to give birth, most people fully expect to leave with a baby. So imagine my heartbreak where I had to leave a hospital not once, not twice but THREE times without my baby. My oldest stayed in the NICU for 5 days (& to think.. I thought THAT was bad!) & then I left Dexter behind to never get to take him home but instead bury him. So leaving the hospital without Milo was another nightmare. I started crying as we drove away. I knew that he was okay for that moment, but not getting to be wheeled out with him in my arms surrounded by flowers & balloons was a death of a dream. Having to go back & forth from the NICU (especially after he was transferred 90 minutes away) & REPEATED LEAVE MY BABY was a trigger over & over again. I watched people leave the hospital every day.. living my dream. I would tell my honey that I desperately wanted to have that. A big blue balloon in the shape of a foot that says "It's A Boy!" (He eventually gave me that dream.. the day we left the NICU with Milo..he got me that balloon. It now adorns the wall near Milo's changing table.) People take this experience for granted. I noticed that most of those women didn't even seem like they were smiling. When Milo was finally released, I was practically SKIPPING out the door. I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I do feel a loss from having the normal experience. I didn't get to hold my baby for almost a week. I didn't get to start breastfeeding & instead had to struggle pumping which is very hard when you have a NICU baby. I had to feel the failure of not having a good milk supply. I had to feel bad when I couldn't make the 90 minute drive up & the 90 minute drive down every single day. I had to struggle feeling bonded to my baby when I didn't get to be his primary caregiver. You never realize how important those things are until you experience NOT having them.

So what is the point of this? I am trying to make people understand that when a woman has a preemie.. all her dreams go out the window & you have to make new dreams. I had new hopes. I hope he stopped having apnea spells. I hoped to one day bottle feed him instead of being tube fed. I hoped to be able to pick him up without asking if I could. I hoped for the day when there would be no wires or no monitors. These new hopes replaced the old ones. I just still feel a loss from letting go of them.

Let me be sad for it. Let me wish it could have been different. It's the only way I will be able to come to terms with it & truly enjoy the new hopes for the future I am starting to build.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Some promoting if you will..

Posted by Leslie at 6:54 PM 0 comments
I am working on my next major post, but I wanted to share this awesome Co-op for mothering items! It's on Facebook, but who doesn't have a Facebook anymore?? Check them out!!

Co-op by Nichole!

A bigger update & topic entry coming very soon! Especially now that I don't have three appointments in a row this week now. I don't have to worry about anymore appointments until the 22nd of September! See you all soon! & check out that page!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sorry it's been a few days..

Posted by Leslie at 8:46 PM 0 comments
.. but I had good reason. On Sunday, August 21st .. a month before his September 21st due date, Milo Spencer came home to his family!!

We got to room in with him the Saturday night before. It was like being in a hotel but so much better since we got to be with our son. It felt like the culmination of a very LONG 45 days in the NICU. It was a moment that I had dreamed about but never thought would happen on some days. I am beyond over the moon to FINALLY be the 'new mom' with the baby at home. Despite sleep deprivation, I am so glad to be taking care of my little man. It's an adjustment .. as is a new baby always is.

He will be keeping me busy. We've already had a WIC appointment (twice, since he needed a special formula to go with my breast milk supplement) & a pediatrician appointment. His real pediatrician wasn't there so we are scheduled again this coming Monday to have her meet him. But the doctor we talked to said he is doing wonderfully & despite some feeding issues associated with his prematurity .. he gained 5oz since he had come home at that point. :) Over the next few months he has to see an eye doctor for his immature retinas (common in preemies), the cardiologist (to keep an eye on his barely borderline coarctation) & the genetics doctor to one strange vertebrae that doesn't seem to be affecting him much. He is very wiggly.

That's all for today. I have a few topics I want to write about in the next few posts. I am going to strive to find a few moments to type up a post every other day or every two days at least. I have a LOT to say.

Coming up in future posts:
  • Mourning the loss of your pregnancy experience, birth experience & so on when you have a preemie or have a child in the NICU.
  • The evils of Facebook in relationships.
  • Why I chose to have a Welcome Home Party instead of a Baby Shower (even before I had my son!)


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm Scared...

Posted by Leslie at 11:52 PM 0 comments
& not of what you might think. I'm scared of Milo being home. I am excited about him coming home soon, but at the same time I am extremely terrified. I have spent the first 6 weeks of my son's life watching him be cared for by other people. To ask if I can pick him up, change him, feed him. I am his mother but for this whole time it hasn't felt like it.

Can I do it? Can I care for him? He has had monitors to keep track of things. I am doing my best to watch for his signals. So far, even when he has brady spells, his color never changes. Without those monitors.. will I know when I stimulate him? Will I be checking on him every 10 minutes to make sure he is still breathing at night? I am a mother of 4 .. my first child came to me in 1999. Yet, I feel like I have NO idea what I am doing.

I am scared of being the one to take care of him, yet I can't wait to be the one to take care of him. I really took for granted knowing what I was doing when it came to taking care of my own baby. Now I feel insecure in my ability to be his parent. I want him home badly, but I am filled with anxiety about the whole thing. I want to try to enjoy these moments instead of feeling like I am missing out on it by only thinking the negatives about it.

That is much easier said than done.

On the bright side .. looks like someone got this for me from my baby registry at Babies R Us:


Steven's Baby Boom 5 in 1 Diaper Bag - Brown/Green - Baby Boom - Babies "R" Us


This makes me happy. I was looking around today at diaper bags & thinking I will need one really soon. This will be perfect. So thank you to whoever did that. You rock very much!

& if you wanted to see my registry: Babies"R"Us - Baby Registry

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Happy Holmes-coming

Posted by Leslie at 1:44 PM 1 comments
Notice the title says "Holmes-coming" & not homecoming. Because Milo isn't going home yet, but he WAS transferred back to our local hospital, Holmes Regional. This is a big step! His cardiologist cleared him to be closer to us now. This hospital is only 15 minutes away compared to the 60-90 minutes it took to get to Winnie Palmer. Don't get me wrong, Winnie Palmer is an amazing hospital & my experience there was nothing short of wonderful. The staff, nurses, doctors.. even the parking attendants, made us feel warmly welcomed & comfortable. I plan on making sure they are the first NICU unit that receives help from "Dragonflies & Rainbows".

Oh wait, you didn't know about that. I want to make care packages for NICU families (both with babies in the NICU & also bereaved families who lose their babies in the NICU) & I have started a Facebook page for the idea. I have lots of ideas & I am hoping to get some donations of certain items. It might just start out as me doing it, but that's okay. I will be happy if I help just one family to ease their NICU experience. This is a small idea right now, but I hope to expand it one day. Maybe even get donations from businesses & companies. If you are interested in the FB page here is the link: Dragonflies & Rainbows: Care Packages for NICU Families. I am already working on it's logo: well, I doodled it while listening to my voicemail, but it's a start.

Right now I'm focusing on preparing the house for Milo. My last couple weeks of pregnancy I had a hard time moving around, & then of course.. I was very sore & tired after having Milo. I am getting to the point where I can physically do things again. So I am focused on getting the house organized, getting rid of some stuff we don't need to make room for baby things & get Milo's area set up. It's exciting for me. I am so glad to be at a point where I can do this & not worry about whether or not he is going home... he WILL be coming home. It's just a matter of when! So I don't want to be caught off guard.. I want to be ready. I was already caught off guard by having him at 29 weeks. My birth was not what I had hoped for. I am still emotionally dealing with the loss of "normalcy" & I might talk about that later, but I am trying to positive right now. We will be seeing Milo later. I am stuck here at home as I can't bring my daughter to the NICU & Daddy is at work.

We are getting there. That's all that matters. Milo looked wonderful last night. 5lbs, 11.3oz, Sp02 looked great.. still doing some tube feeding, but hopefully he'll be on a bottle completely soon. I can't wait to have my little boy home. But I CAN wait too... 'til he is healthy & strong.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ups & Downs

Posted by Leslie at 2:35 AM 0 comments
I am going through so many ups & downs. & not even because Milo is doing badly or anything. In fact, he is doing well. Still cruising. No new orders from the doctors which means to me that he isn't doing worse. He went a few days without any apnea/brady spells & that is awesome. I guess he had one today that they had to stimulate him a bit. I want to be happy that he went days without one but my mind goes into immediate worry mode because he had one that was a bit worse than some of the others. I do my best to tell myself: preemies do this! But how often do we really listen to ourselves? I know that I've always had issues with listening to that still small voice & instead listening to the big booming one that screams worst case scenarios in my head. I really need to stop listening to the voices all together.

I suppose my biggest deal is that I have no focal point for Milo's homecoming. Yes, he makes great progress. Gaining weight (5lbs, 10oz today!) & up to 3 bottle feedings per day. He has his up days & down days, just like I do. But there is no light on the horizon that I can set a course to. I am just wandering around blindly at this point. Do I believe I am taking home my alive, relatively healthy baby? Yes, eventually. Does it feel like I ever will? Not at the moment. It feels like it will never happen.

I think too much. That's the problem. I have this energy that was there after giving birth .. to care for a baby. I don't get to do a lot of that yet. So this energy is just consuming me. I'm trying to find things to do. The blogging helps. I am working on several projects that I will be talking about soon. But I still like a new mommy with no baby & it makes me feel so useless! I organize Milo's drawer under his bed whenever I visit him. I take home dirty clothes & bring hi fresh & clean ones. I want to feel like he belongs to me... he doesn't yet. & that's all I really want. I know it will happen when it is supposed to. I just need to focus on getting out of the NICU because honestly... the NICU itself is a HUGE trigger for my anxiety, my grief, my stress. My last baby never left it.. I want to be positive about this time around. But I am experiencing a new type of grief: the loss of my hopes for a normal pregnancy, normal birth, full-term baby... it was ripped from me. & it's a REAL loss. & I am definitely mourning it.

The ups & downs are driving me crazy.

Milo's Tickers

Posted by Leslie at 1:03 AM 0 comments
Milo's mommy loves tickers & countdowns, so ... yeah. Here's some of those just for Milo.

Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

magicalkingdoms.com Ticker

Lilypie Breastfeeding tickers

Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Prompt-driven writing (A NICU Experience)

Posted by Leslie at 12:34 AM 0 comments
I wrote this for a prompt-driven writing contest on livejournal. The prompt was "concentration & focus" .. so being as my life is pretty consumed with all things NICU, I drew from that. It definitely felt therapeutic. & now I go sleep. I have a CPR/Car seat safety class to attend before visiting with Milo.

-----------

A NICU Experience: Lessons learned in concentration & focus.

Beeps. So many beeps. Sometimes I find it hard to tune them out. There are so many of them. They echo around me. My head whips up quickly to the monitor overhead. Heart rate: 154. Respiration: 62. Oxygen saturation: 97. I feel the wave of relief come over me. I let go of the breath I was holding inside. I look down at my tiny preemie son in my arms. He is sleeping as the feeding tube give him nutrients into is belly through his nose. It is the only tube running into his tiny body.

Concentrate on him. Focus on the baby.

I consider myself lucky for that. No breathing apparatus, no IVs. Just a small baby trying to grow up in a world he wasn't really ready for. For now he is well, resting in his neurotic mother's arms. I no longer know the meaning of the word "relax". I grasp onto every moment as if it's the last. So desperate to take it all in until I cannot take in anymore. Yet, I am lucky. For a brief time I have let myself hold onto the idea of bringing home my baby. Unlike his big brother who left a gaping hole in my heart when he died shortly after he entered the world. So hard to breathe when you say goodbye so soon after you say hello. Now I hold a miracle in my arms, a rainbow after the storm.

I concentrate. I focus.

I focus on the small things. The good days. The coos & diaper changes. The moments where I become his mother before handing him back to a nurse. He is mine for a short while. It all feels normal in those brief moments. Except for the beeps. So many beeps.

I concentrate. On the future. I focus. On making it happen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

There's More To Life Than the NICU

Posted by Leslie at 1:36 AM 0 comments
That's not to say that most of my life on a daily basis isn't consumed with my son being in the NICU. I am sorry for the delay in my postings. I spent the weekend with Milo's Daddy at the Ronald McDonald House across the street from the hospital. I got myself spoiled in that arrangement. We only got to stay from Friday to Monday, but that was amazing. Robert has to go back to work on Wednesday. Neither of us is too happy about that. It will really put a damper on visiting Milo as much as we can. We put in our RMH paperwork for next weekend. I will call Friday morning & see if I can get us in for at least Friday-Saturday. If we can get Friday-Sunday that would be even better. It will depend on what arrangement we can make for the other kids. I really hope it happens. If anything we will at least try to stay Friday-Saturday.

Robert & I had a really hard time on Saturday. I won't go into details but it left most the day a complete waste, along with hurt feelings & things that were better left unsaid. I am still emotionally recovering from it to be honest. I'm trying to resolve a lot of what was said to me in my own head & try to understand that things get said in the heat of anger & frustration. & what we are going through as a couple right now is really difficult. Especially since we've already suffered a loss. I've been dealing with some postpartum depression. I know it's really exacerbated by the NICU issues, the pumping breast milk issues .. the traveling. It's just all really stressful. I am trying not to give up with the pumping but even with all the effort ..I don't get much. But I suppose something is better than nothing.

Milo is doing very well. He is going to be moved from a Level 3 NICU to a Level 2 as soon as there is room for him. He doesn't need to be as intensively monitored. He took a bottle for the second day & he ate 10ml the first time & 8ml the second time. He's still little so it's a trial period. But he's doing great. He has a really bad rash because he poops all the time though & it pains me to have to see him in pain when I change his diaper. :(

As for life in general. I'm trying to just look forward. I want to start getting his crib & things together. I need to get on the ball with the cloth diapers. But I have to get Ian, Milo's older brother, ready for school. So money is going to go to that. I have to call the school tomorrow & see if I can get a school list. I'll be getting $40 less in child support for the next month at least so the kids' dad can catch up with bills. It's going to hurt & it's a really bad time but I have to deal with it. Money isn't important, but it's really NICE to have when you NEED it. I miss working even just for a paycheck. Even if it was small.. at least it was mine. I try not to worry about money but it's hard not to. I won't get support money 'til the 15th now. I have to pull together my car insurance & the water bill too. I feel like I am drowning. I hope that Milo's welcome home party will get us things we need: cloth diaper items, sheets & blankets. A travel system would be nice too. I'm already feeling a little disappointed that the turn out to the party doesn't seem like it's going to be very big. There are only 10 confirmed & that includes Robert & I.. yet we sent out quite a few invites. We might end up missing out on some much needed items due to lack of interest in coming to the party. It's a bit depressing actually. But I am trying not to think about it. Sometimes I wish my close online friends could come. I know someone who had an online baby shower & seemed to have a great turnout to that.. I thought about making one, but I honestly don't feel like I'd have that much of a success. I occasionally have that high school feeling of people know who I am, but no one being close enough to care.

Yeah, I am being emo. I'll quit it. I am really thankful for everyone who has helped out during this rough time, especially my best friend & she is throwing the party for us & I appreciate it a lot.

Time to pump .. again. Oh goody.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Minor Setbacks

Posted by Leslie at 1:59 AM 0 comments
Milo had a few setbacks today. He got put back in his nasal cannula & on caffeine again due to increased apnea/brady spells. He is a preemie so I KNOW, rationally, that this is something that will happen during his time in the NICU. But sometimes being a mother is anything but rational thinking. You feel everything. Your heart & soul is invested into this little baby you made. These setbacks, however minor, hit me so hard.

I was holding him as he had his feeding. He is up to 38cc's every three hours now. That's amazing, but it felt like near the end of his feeding.. no matter what angle I held him, he would drop his sats. His monitor went off several times. He had a brady spell as well. Perhaps the disappointment of walking in & seeing the cannula back on was what set the tone. Quickly I became unable to handle the beeps & alarms in the whole room. Every time I heard one my heart would skip a beat & my head would immediately whip to look at his monitor. Every time his sats dropped down or caused an alarm.. my heart would sink. In the end, after feeding him, I had to put him back into his little plastic crib (he doesn't need help regulating his heat, which is good..), kissed him goodnight, told him I loved him & I had to get the hell out of there. I found myself nearly losing it in the bathroom. I felt overwhelmed & overstimulated. Part of me felt like I really needed a break from being there. I know that might seem horrible. But to have to walk into a unit like that & see your child there. To feel like he's not even yours yet. When a nurse says, "You want to change his diaper?" .. part of me wants to look at them like they have three heads & say, "Am I allowed?"

Of course I am. I am his MOTHER. I gave birth to him. He is MY son.

But it doesn't feel like that yet. You know, moments before I went into the unit, I was scrubbing up & confidently talking to his Daddy about how I was sure that he would be transferred back to Holmes. The night before I felt comfortable enough to fold his freshly laundered baby clothes & put them away in his drawer. I talked about how I wanted to get the crib put together & fix up his room & build the rocking chair my dad bought us for Dexter. How I wanted to get the ton of newborn diapers I received all set up on his changing table. Immediately as I was leaving the unit tonight, I felt a sense of dread. Of feeling like I jinxed it. That I become too comfortable with envisioning leaving the hospital with a baby eventually. I had that vision while pregnant. It didn't happen. I am desperately holding onto being positive. I know that these setbacks aren't major. I feel kind of dumb to even be worrying to this level, but unless you have also experienced a loss like we did with Dexter.. then you can't even begin to understand the worries I have within me. We just want to be happy & have our family.

& we will. I know we will. I know it. & once I have him in my arms being taken home.. I'll believe it.

A bright side note: He gained 40 grams since the last time he was weighed. He was 1965 grams. Which puts him over his birth weight (4 lbs, 4 oz) at 4 lbs, 5.31 oz. <3

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Each Passing Day

Posted by Leslie at 2:29 AM 0 comments
With each passing day .. I feel more confident in bringing my son home. I didn't think that being positive would be this hard. But after experiencing the loss that we have, you can't help but be cautious at every turn. It is a struggle between loving him so much & wanting to protect myself as well. My heart was broken when Dexter died. It's been broken beyond repair. It's gotten better but it will never fully be healed. Milo has definitely brought a healing into my life, but at the same time, it was a large hole to fill. I love ALL my children equally. I am blessed to have become their mother. But even Mommy needs to try & keep the sorrow from her heart.

But I don't want to focus on the sorrow, I want to focus on the hope. I have hope & love & dreams that are coming true. I couldn't ask for anything more right now. Except maybe money. :P

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Worst Part...

Posted by Leslie at 3:26 AM 0 comments
... of having a preemie baby in the NICU is the uncertainty that goes along with it. I am becoming more confident that I am bringing my baby home at the end of this experience, but I am always worried about other things: will that baby be healthy? Will he having anything wrong with him because of his prematurity? What is going to happen with his suspected CHD? Are his eyes okay? His brain? Everything?? I can sometimes feel the walls closing in on me with different worries about my son? I am happy he is doing well, I guess I just glance up into the sky waiting to see that other shoe drop down from the clouds. I struggle with trying to be positive already in my life. Having this to face with that.. it's daunting. I try to take it one day at a time. I savor every second I have with my son. He is my son & I love him no matter what. I will love him til the end of time & beyond. Nothing can ever change that.

I don't have much else to say other than that. I'll be glad to have a moment where I don't have worry. I'm exhausted from worry.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Missing Milo

Posted by Leslie at 3:26 AM 0 comments
I decided I really needed an outlet for the more personal side of having a baby in the NICU for an undetermined amount of time. I didn't want to make my livejournal be consumed with just that. Or to monopolize my Facebook either. Sometimes those status boxes just don't hold nearly enough letters to fully let me speak my mind about what I am going through right now. There are times I think no one fully understands. I am sure that isn't true, but there is a definite disconnect that I am feeling from the rest of the world right now.

Right now Milo is 1 week, 3 days old. Gestational age 30 weeks, 4 days. I feel like reaching his due date is going to take forever. I can't see past the next moment right now. I am trying to feel positive.. like still thinking about shopping for baby stuff. I just got a whole bunch of newborn diapers from friends. I am looking forward to going to Once Upon A Child & getting things, but yet I can't get the image of being given Milo to take home. I do try. I want to daydream about that. I even jokingly tell the boyfriend that I better have It's A Boy balloons when we take him home. I talk to people about when he gets home & his future adventures. I have to believe that this will happen. The support & positivity of friends has definitely helped keep me grounded in that respect & been a lifeline from falling into a deep crevice of despair & hopelessness. If I lose hope, I'll go to a dark place that will be hard to return from. I can't let that happen. Because Milo needs me.

I can't want to see him tomorrow (or today, as it's already well into Sunday). Will have to figure out the kids but I can at least sleep in a bit as Ian's theater schedule has dwindled down. I am glad he had fun though. I wish it was still going because I know he needs the distraction. I know he is much more affected by all this than he lets on. He's not as easy to talk to anymore though. I try not to be hard on him, but I know I am having a hard time controlling my emotions right now too. It's very difficult. I know I get upset & frustrated a lot easier. I am coping the best I can. I will focus on making his birthday coming up as awesome as possible. He needs me too.

I need sleep. Even though it doesn't come as easily anymore. Instead of waking up to a baby crying, I wake up to run to the phone to make sure I haven't missed anything important. Contrary to what people might think .. I'm not "getting a break" like some might think because I am not caring for Milo constantly. It's worse. I'd much rather be changing diapers & feeding all hours of the night than to have come home with empty arms again & be away from my child.

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