Sunday, March 2, 2014

2 years

Sigh. I've been dreading this day for 364 days. My heart is so heavy. Every itty bitty piece of me is aching. I miss my sweet boy with an intensity that is still as strong as the day we heard "I'm so sorry, there's no heart beat." This day will forever live in my heart and mind.

As some of you know, if anyone is even reading this, I was one of five preggo with a boy at work. We attended one of those birthday parties last weekend. What a joy it is to see that sweet little boy enjoying his day, full of life and spunk....yet agonizing knowing I'll never have that chance. People tell you it gets easier...and it does in a way. It's not an everyday I feel like I'm dead inside kind of feeling.....but...when it hits, it throws a punch straight to the gut that knocks the breath out of me. There are days I congratulate myself that outwardly people think I'm just a regular person. I made it through the day appearing normal. If they only knew what goes on in my head and heart.

I was told this week to enjoy my daughter. Trust me, I live every moment with that sweet girl in my heart. When I began to get teary once this past week, someone patted me on the shoulder and said "but look what you have now" as I was holding Elleigh. While I will always love Elleigh with every morsel of my soul, she's not Kiernan. I understand what I was being told, and I know no harm was meant in the's like telling a mom of 3 to pick which 2 she loves the best. I love all 3 of my kids to the moon and back. One I only had a few weeks to know they were even there..the next, Kiernan, I had 38 weeks with, and Elleigh is currently 14 months. Life can be so cruel. I don't feel strong, and sometimes barely hold it together. There are days I just want to cry...days that I'm happy...days that I'm just angry and seemingly don't understand why until I make myself stop and think.

It has helped to share our story and journey with others who have or are going through this. I've said it before, but sometimes I feel like I'm the only person who remembers him and all the plans we had. For those of you who have sent sweet messages or thought about us, or prayed for us today, thank you.

Happy 2nd birthday Kiernan Patrick! I wish I could squeeze you tight. Know Mommy misses you so much and always will...I love the moon and back......

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

16 months later

I find myself not writing as much as I did in the beginning. I guess that means I'm busy?! Today marks 16 months since our son died. It's so hard to believe it's been that long. Sometimes it seems like a bad dream, a nightmare. I say his name out loud sometimes, and people shy away. I'm sure it's uncomfortable for them, but he was still my baby. Kiernan Patrick. There are days I still feel guilty, but now in a different way. Sometimes everything gets pushed to the back of my mind, and while its still there, I don't consciously think about it. Is it healthy? I don't know, but it works for me. I'm busy being a wife and a mother, as well as working a full time job. I'm slowly learning its ok to have a date night or a girls night out and leave Elleigh for a few. Don't get me wrong...Elleigh is a fabulous baby! But there are days that I want to pull my hair out...nothing I do can soothe her or "fix" it. I try so hard to not let it affect me..because if I do, then I'm not the best mom or heaven forbid someone will see me that way.  At least up north I could say screw you versus being southern and trying to please the world! ha! Goodness I hope I'm not the only insane mom that feels this way. After having a stillborn, sometimes I feel like if I admit to an "I'm a sucky mom" day, or "I'm at my wits end" day then people judge me....your child died, you have another, shut up and be grateful. Maybe that's just my whackoness coming through. I was told right after Elleigh was born that some of these feelings might surface, and they have. Truth is, Elleigh is an infant. I'm a new mom and trying to juggle mommy-hood, a full time job, and being a wife...lets not even mention weight loss or keeping the house clean!  There are days that she and I might have a who can cry more contest....and that's ok! We will get through it, move on, and NOTHING can diminish my love for her. Can I just insert here that I never fully understood the love of a mommy for her baby until I held her?  Kinda random, but so true. At the end of my work day I can't wait to snuggle up....then again, some Mondays I can't wait to drop her off to Mimi's and know that Mimi and Amanda will snuggle her and I can have some adult conversation...even if its repeating myself ten thousand times (oh the life of a geriatric therapist!). I say all this to say...own it. Whatever feelings you have, be open and honest and own it. I try to internalize it and be just peachy for everyone when some days I just wanna say, you know what? Life is sucky today. I've had several people reach out to me that have gone through something similar and I hope one day I can help someone through this. It's not inky the struggle of having a stillborn child, but the struggle of moving on, having more children, and functioning on a day to day basis that's hard. New people don't know what you went/are going through. Others try to act like nothing happened in your best interest. Several people have reached out to me through here..needing to vent or talk. I never thought anyone would read these, much less total strangers! I always like to talk about Kiernan and my feelings/thoughts..always feel free to reach out. It's ever good to hold it inside.

My birthday was last weekend and my husband got me an Origami Owl necklace. Who knew he listened to me?! My charms are a book (love me some reading time!), a music note...I sing and play piano...a little girl with Elleighs birthstone, and Kiernans birthstone. He also added a back plate of "love"for us and a dangly charm of angels always remind me our precious little boy is still with us. Elleigh is such a precious (and good!) baby....99% of the time she's asleep FOR THE NIGHTat 630...until 539ish the next day...and has been since about 8 weeks old (yes, we understand we are blessed -ha!). I like to think big brother has something to do with it..understanding how much we miss him. Of course Auntie Rebekah says when E is 2 or 3 she has to be bad, otherwise it's just not fair. Ha!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Life as a SLP..

You may or may not know, I'm a SLP....speech language pathologist. I have a Master's degree, and went to school for 6 years. I've done this for almost 10 years. Most people think of a SLP as someone who "teaches me to talk"...oh I could be rich off of how many times I've heard that. I've been called ST, speech therapist, speech teacher, SLP, and the girl with the brain games. I'm sure there have been more. What do I do in a day? Well, I work in the geriatric population and, most days, love it. On a day to day basis, I work on cognition..getting people back home safely, doing their own financial and med mgt, as well as safety awareness and community mgt. I work with people who've had strokes, who maybe can't speak clearly, or can't get out what they want to say. Dysphagia management is a big part of my day to day job...people who can't swallow safely, who may need alternate means of nutrition, thickened liquids, or a different diet texture. Sometimes people don't think about swallowing muscles getting weak, just like the leg or arm muscles. Developing and training patients and their caregivers on compensatory swallowing strategies, as well as strengthening exercises is a huge part of dysphagia mgt. I'm also Vital Stim certified.....providing highly specialized electrical stimulation as part of voice or swallowing therapy. So..yay...voice too..developing a specialized voice program, as well as good vocal hygiene to improve voice quality...whether it be for a singer, a speaker, or a person with Parkinson's disease. Aural rehab (hearing) is another aspect under the SLP umbrella....and just a hint...Medicare will pay for cochlear implants but not hearing aids!  SLP's work with patients with many different types of diseases..Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, ALS, Bells Palsy, CF, MS, MD just to name a few.

This is BHSM..Better Hearing and Speech Month. When I went to school for 6 years, no one told me that many times this is a thankless profession. Many times my job is belittled, or at least seen not as important as other therapy positions, by patients, families, and even colleagues at times. As an SLP, you are expected to do it all....the evaluation, the treatments, the paperwork...and be productive all at the same time. PT and OT both have assistants to do treatments...but not us.  However, I know my patient from beginning to end. There are days that I'm yelled at because I've brought a cognitive deficit to the forefront....I've recommended thickened liquids to stop aspiration of regular liquids into the lungs....I've argued my point over a specific strategy or specific device. There are days that I feel no matter what I do, it's not good enough, I didn't work hard enough. I've been thrown up on...I've been told by family they want to speak to the "real therapist"...cursed at..even a walker thrown at me! You don't hear "thank you" often...the progress you've helped achieve is not recognized. So why do I do it? I'll never forget the 25 year old head trauma guy who said his first word (since the accident)with me and eventually was off his PEG tube and eating a full meal...the single dad (he had a stroke at 43!) who could use a speech device downloaded onto his computer to speak with his kids' teachers...and order at Dunkin Donuts...a patient who gets to stay in their home because we've worked on cognition versus going into a nursing home...or seeing the gratitude in my patient's and his wife's eyes today about the progress he's made with swallowing and voice. I have many more, and maybe I just need to focus more on those. I love my job, I just take a lot of flack for it too.

So to all my speechy friends out there...happy ST month! Never forget that patient who makes you say..oh yeah..that's why I do what I do!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Some days I just want to cry

Sometimes, I think people don't want to know, or maybe just not deal with true feelings...maybe feelings that aren't so happy go lucky. I'm just not that person who can fake being happy when my heart is hurting. I've been tearful all day. It's been a struggle to smile and act normal. My heart is heavy and just hurts so much. Saturday will be a year since Kiernan died. I still remember every second. I remember what I had on. I remember Steve thinking I was overreacting. I remember that sinking feeling when I just knew there wouldn't be a heartbeat. This isn't something a mother should have to remember. While tornadoes were tormenting our city, a whirlwind of emotion was just beginning in our life.

A lot has happened in a year. I never thought I'd have to read through an autopsy report for my child. I didn't know of I'd ever have a healthy child, or if I could physically, and emotionally, go through pregnancy for a third time. It was always so hard to answer the question "how many times have you been pregnant vs how many children do you have?" Even while I was hooked up to the monitors, getting ready to have Elleigh, when the nurses would refer to Kiernan's death as my "demise". Sigh.

As you know, we now have a healthy, beautiful baby girl. She's more than perfect. I'm still terrified of something going wrong...sickness, SIDS, anything that could hurt her. It's a burden, and I'm doing Bette twitch living for the moment...but it's still there in the back of my mind.

I've been told that I shouldn't be so sad about this weekend. Yes, it's sad that Kiernan died, but at least I "never got to know him"....any woman who has carried a child for 38 weeks, KNOWS her baby...maybe not the same way as others, but I knew him. Period. Another well meaning person told me "at least you have a baby now". I am absolutely grateful for my daughter...but I still miss my son. My heart still aches for me and to have seen him grow as we see Elleigh grow. That will never go away.

Bottom line, I just want to cry today. Maybe it is a pity party. All I know is that my heart hurts and I cry and I hold my daughter a little bit tighter, and a little bit longer.

I have a challenge. Most probably won't do it, and that's ok. Here it is...Saturday, do something with your child..something wild and crazy and fun. Let our child have an ice cream sundae for breakfast...go for a hike...get your nails done together....whatever it is. Do it...think of our sweet little boy in Heaven, and let me know what you did. I'd love to hear of some special time you spent with your child and have new memories of March 2.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The beginning of 2013

Well, it's been FOREVER since I've written anything on here (insert this might be a ramble!)  I don't know why...maybe we've been a teensy weensy bit busy! New house, new baby....whole new year!

When I was younger, I always said I didn't want kids.  It took me a long time..say roughly Feb decide that I did want kids.  It took meeting Steve....knowing he'd be a hands on dad...knowing he would be just as involved as I was....most of all, knowing he'd love his child as much as I did.  That's extremely important to me.

On Monday, Dec 31 at 5 am, we were about 3 in line to fill out paperwork for having a baby!  We got called back almost immediately because we were a planned C-section vs induction.  Steve was like a giddy little girl...and I was a nervous wreck.  Nervous about the process, not about Elleigh.  Who am I kidding..they were about to cut me wide open..and my brother in law Tom had told all about how they take out your organs and then baby..ha!  He told Steve..most important...stay north of the tent and don't look over!  In my head, I kept telling myself to think about some of the people that have kids..and if they could do it, I could do it better! 

So on to the surgical room we go.  Steve's cracking jokes the whole time getting dressed...and I think a lot of it was to try to ease my nervousness.  He came in after I had my spinal (which yes I cried through...I think more because I was nervous than the pain....), blue tent is up.  Then, he did it.  He looked over the tent.  He got a strange look on his face and asked me if I the spinal was ready.  I said I wasn't sure...and he kinda laughed and said he hoped so because she was already cutting.  Then I remember we go..and felt a little pushing and pulling....then heard Dr. Callison say "holy shit at the hair!" I'm just laying there like what???  Then, I saw her. My beautiful little girl.  It was only for a second, but she got to be with her daddy from then on.

 After she was here, and I heard her cry, and I laid my eyes and hands on her, it was the biggest relief.  She was here and she was safe.  Then one of the housekeeping women asked if Steve was a comedian...because she felt like she was in a Cheech and Chong movie the whole time.  What in the world was he doing?????

It's been almost a month.  I can't believe my baby is almost a month old!  In typical mommy fashion, she's the most beautiful little girl I've ever seen.  Sometimes, I just sit and stare at her, and my eyes well up with tears.  She's ours and she's ok.  Most of all, she's ok.  She's got a head full of dark hair, and the cutest pouty lips.

  I think her eyes are going to be like her daddy's and be a blueish grey color.  I love how little and petite she is..she's just now filling out her newborn clothes!  I love putting bows in her hair, and love how people are so happy for us. So many of you have been on our baby journey with us, and have been so wonderful in celebrating her life with us.  Words can't express how grateful we are.  And I'm sure we will continue to gush over her!  Even at 2 am, exhausted and ready to cry myself, when she quits crying, or protesting as we call it, and looks at me or grasps my finger (I don't care if it's a reflex!) and quits, my job is done.  I'm mommy, and I'm going to make it better. Whatever "better" is.  When daddy walks in and says "Hi little lamb" her little eyes go crazy around the room searching for him.  She's going to be daddy's little girl!  Most of all, when she's tired, and ready to cuddle, and curls up in my arms, all is right in the world. 

The past 3 1/2 weeks has taught me more than the past year.  The person who walks right on by you without acknowledging you, although you've known them your whole life...they don't matter.  The people who think you shouldn't be honest about how you really's ok.  The people who give you advice, and get upset when you go with your gut and instinct....they'll get over it.  Why?  Because everything has changed.  What I want to do on the weekends..the places I want to go...even the car I drive and how I drive it has changed.  What matters now is my baby is healthy, and happy...that my sweet girl knows Mommy and Daddy love her beyond the moon...and that Mommy and Daddy love each other more than ever (ladies without kids..think you can't love your husband any more, or find him any more attractive??  Have his baby and see him fall all over this tiny little bundle of joy....just sayin'...). 

Sweet Elleigh've changed our life...and not only Mommy and Daddy's, but so many more. Right now, you are lying beside me, doing your baby kung fu

and giving your opinion on the American Idol contestants.  I've loved spending the past 3 1/2 weeks with you every day and seeing how you've changed in that short amount of time.  We are so blessed to have you as our little lamb. Love you to the moon and back...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

bumpy kinda week

So this week has been a bit of a roller coaster.  I found out that I failed my glucose test and have gestational diabetes.  For many of you reading this, it's not a big happens.  It's a HUGE deal to me. 

So many emotions have come and gone since then.  While the internet can provide some good info, it can also terrify you.  I could check off most of the "you are at a high risk for gestational diabetes if" boxes...I hadn't lost the weight from Kiernan before getting pregnant again, so check.  Strong family history of type 2...again, check.  Previous unexplained stillbirth...check.  I think the only box I didn't fit in was the African-American/Asian one. might say..ok..all you have to do is not eat sweets.  Done..there ya go.  It's not that easy.  It's a very emotional diagnosis for me.  I've always been sensitive about my weight, and have to work very hard at it.  It's not easy for me.  About 3 years ago, I lost 50 pounds.  I look back at those pictures now and love how I looked and how I felt..of course, at the time, I still didn't think it was enough.  I'm not very kind to myself when it comes to weight.  Then my car accident happened, and no more working out for 10 months...then I started back, and got pregnant.  Miscarriage plus D/ working out for 6 weeks.  Then we moved to Bama..hello TONS of food they don't have in New England!  Then pregnant again...then stillbirth/world working out for 6 weeks...except oops!  Preggo again in 5! 

All I could think about when I heard about GD was how much I blamed myself.  If I hadn't gained some of my weight back maybe I wouldn't be here now.  Yes, I know, people of all shapes and sizes get GD.  However, it's different for me in my own head.  I totally blame myself.  Then I started doing research online.  I read one little article how sometimes in previous pregnancies you can get a false negative on a glucose test, or be borderline (which I was borderline).  It went on to say how GD can cause respiratory problems in babies, and can even cause death, before or right after birth.  There it was.  That one little sentences sent me into the biggest tailspin.  All I could think about was maybe I was responsible for Kiernan's death.  Maybe I killed him.  You may think it's silly and ridiculous that that thought ever crossed my mind.  But, I guess I"ll never stop searching for a reason it happened.  It will always be in the back of my mind.  Ever since the second I found out he was gone, I've felt somewhat responsible...because it was my body that was supposed to keep him safe and sound and healthy..and didn't.  Now, even while I feel Elleigh kicking like crazy this morning, the "is it going to happen again" thought creeps into my mind more and more.  It's a catch 22....we are getting so close to having our little girl with us (As a side note...Steve says she has to have a tutu in every color!)..but then again, we are so much close to when we lost Kiernan. 

But I digress.  I wasn't going to tell anyone about GD.  I'm ashamed because I think I could have done better and maybe stopped this from happening.  Maybe I couldn't have.  But, either way, it's done.  It's here.  So, there are some major changes going on in our home.  I'm thankful to have a doctor who is keeping such a close eye on us.  I'm thankful that my insurance is paying for me to go to a class and learn more about what I need to do (instead of doing scary research online).  But mostly, super thankful for a husband who is willing to change eating habits with me.  While we both have been wanting to change but seriously lacking motivation...this was the kick we needed.  If we can get through everything else we've been through, we can get through this too. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

the ups and the downs

So much has been going on in our lives since I last blogged.  It seems like I think about blogging a lot, however, when I get home, I crash!

Several friends have had highs and lows lately.  A friend of mine, a friend I haven't seen in too long, lost her sweet baby about a month ago.  Her twin sister has been in and out of the hospital with what I"m assuming is the same thing.  I can't imagine what this sweet mommy and daddy are going through.  They day I found out that Laurel had died, was the first time I had looked at her pictures on facebook, not knowing what had happened yet.  After Kiernan died, I went into self preservation mode I guess.  If anyone had had a baby recently, I had turned off the option to see their pictures.  I just couldn't bare it. That Saturday morning, I decided I could do it.  I wanted to see her babies, and so many others.  I sent their mom a message, saying how beautiful they were.  An hour later, if that, I found out Laurel had died.  I felt horrible that I had sent that message.  I still, of course, think they are beautiful.  I feel guilty that I waited 8 months to see their pictures.   I feel guilty I never met the girls.  Their mom was so good to me through both my miscarriage and through Kiernan's death.  Going to Laurel's visitation was one of the hardest things I've done.  However, I hope that on some minute scale I helped and showed my thankfulness to how good that family was to us in our sad times.

A coworker lost her twins at 14 weeks this week.  Her son was stillborn, but her daughter's heart was still beating.  However, because they were only 14 weeks, she couldn't survive.  It breaks my heart for her.  I hate that she will come back to work on Monday, and will see my pregnant belly.  I hate that I will be a reminder to her. 

Both of these things, but more so the first story, has sent me into a bit of a tail spin at times.  It terrifies me to really grasp how short life is.  How there are no guarantees.  No promises.  There have been several trips to the doctor's office, just for reassurance.  It somewhat helps that now Elleigh is moving pretty consistently.  Some days though, I have to stop and think...has she moved today? Have I felt her?  Or I have I just been too busy that I haven't noticed it?  Thankfully, every time I have started my internal battle of this, she's given me a swift kick to remind me she's ok.  I had an ultrasound this week and Elleigh wasn't very cooperative.  If it had been our 4D, we wouldn't have been able to see her.  She was all balled up with her back to us.  Every time the tech would tap on my belly to try to get her to move, she hit back.  I couldn't help but laugh...stubborn little thing!  Thankfully, on the 30th we have another growth ultrasound, and if she's in a  good position, then they will flip on the 4D option.  PS--we are having monthly growth ultrasounds because sometimes a baby after stillborn is very small and has growth problems.  So far, she's right on the mark. 

I've had some wild emotions lately.  Some days I just want to cry.  I just want to close my eyes, and wake up with this pregnancy over and a baby in my arms.  Some days I just think what if this doesn't happen?  How will we ever survive it? But, I try to not dwell on it.  I try to think of all the wonderful things that are to come.  I cry if I need to, but for whatever reason, I still try to just deal with it inside. I thought the question "Is this your first baby?" would get hasn't.  Especially working in a population that has memory issues and forgets my answer!  I still am trying to be the happy go lucky girl I used to be. Some times that is possible.  Other times it's not.  I guess only time can truly heal. 

Onto some good news...a friend got news that her numbers are great, and she is cancer free.  I'm so excited for her and her family.  She's been such a rock for me through out everything...a guaranteed laugh no what the situation or time.  I'm truly grateful for her and ecstatic over her good news!

As if life wasn't stressful enough, we are building a house.  I'm so excited about it.  I'm sure our realtor is ready to be rid of us (I've had LOTS of questions!)!  We are building in Owens Cross Roads, outside of Huntsville.  Steve is excited it's about 6 minutes from Guntersville Dam.  Ha!  Hopefully we will close before Elleigh gets here!

Well, that's all for now...I think I've gotten everything out that I've wanted to or thought about.  As October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness all those others who belong in our 'club', thoughts and hugs go out...