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!!

 

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