Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hand Model

Good news! 

My ring arrived!

I am beyond pumped! 

Now, I just need to get some photography skills--it was quite challenging to take a picture of my ring with my gimpy left hand.  Didn't quite focus.  But, you get the idea.

Please enjoy the dry skin and wrinkles that have been magnified for your viewing pleasure.
I'm pretty sure I'll be able to quit teaching soon and become a hand model.

37 days

My Maggie has been gone for 5 weeks.  37 days to be exact.

In those 37 days I have
  • cried more tears than I thought my body was capable of.
  • prayed more pathetic prayers.
  • avoided baby sections like the plague.
  • hardly gone in the room where all of Maggie's clothes are still hanging.
  • realized how many women have lost their precious children.  Too many.
  • gotten way too many doctor and hospital bills.
  • thought about how my life would b different if her little heart were still beating.
  • thought about what it would have been like to go through labor with a breathing, living, squirmy baby left in my arms.
  • wondered a gajillion times what she would have looked like and sounded like.
  • wondered a gajillion more times what she is doing with herself these days.
  • wondered a trazillion times if she misses me as much as I miss her.
  • wondered if Maggie will ever be a big sister.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Heart Flips

So, you know when you have those moments when your heart flips a little, you tear up a bit, and you think, "Geez, I have good friends."  I had many of those moments today.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Do you remember Cooper? Well, I went and visited him again today. He was  a bit cranky (I think he misses Maggie as much as I do). He had quite a bit of gas but boys think that type of thing is funny, right?  But, he was still adorable and cute and cuddly.  He is still also a huge gentleman.
In fact, he bought Maggie these:


Maggie would have loved them.  I know it.  And, if she didn't, I would. Tulips are my favorite flower.

Just when I'm angry and frustrated and indifferent, God shows me reasons to feel cared for and at peace and blessed.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Then, this was in the mail.

When I opened it up, a golden light streamed out, the heavens parted, and angels sang.
Sweet manna from heaven.
It was filled with foil wrapped pieces of heavenly goodness.  Lithuanian chocolate.  My muffin top just grew a little bit just staring at the box.

I haven't had Lithuanian chocolate in forever.  It is DE.LI.CIOUS. It should be one of the seven wonders of the world.  If you want to know how it tastes, email me and I'll eat one and then tell you how magical it is.

But, not only were there loads of bars and pieces of chocolate, but there were other wonderful things--
Cow napkins, Lithuania flag socks, angels, embroidered Easter egg--so cute.  I think I might frame those cows for a *fingers crossed* future baby.



But, the top-dawg of the whole box were these:
Seriously- they are about the size of a matchbox car.


They were handmade by my dear friend in Lithuania!  She made them before Maggie died and decided to pass them on anyways, even though Maggie will never be able to enjoy them the way she should.

They are seriously the cutest little shoes I've ever seen and perfectly made.

S.L.~ Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Aciu labai my dear friend.

Seriously? Isn't your heart flipping just a little bit after all of this?
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Then, my mom delivered this from a friend in Indiana.  

 
I absolutely love it.  So simple and beautiful and thoughtful. A great reminder of my dear jjrrmgt friends.

The card said:
hummingbirds are the symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible and will teach you how to find joyful living from your own life circumstances."

I'm hanging this up in our kitchen window.  To remind me to find joyful living from within my life.

And, really, all of these things today helped me find joy, even within my life's circumstances.

I'm just sorry that Maggie couldn't experience the joy along with me.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Coming soon!

My etsy lady just emailed me...

My ring is done! She's mailing it soon!
This is my ring--the real she-bang. I asked Dave if he wanted one too. He said no. Good idea.  He's already on wedding ring number 3.  One was lost somewhere between here and a cow's butt.  I have no idea where the other one is.


What happy news.

Also, I would totally recommend either of her shops--http://www.etsy.com/people/PrettyThingsGalore or http://www.etsy.com/people/AUNALIArtisanMetal.  She has been fabulous and her stuff is great!  (If you buy something tell her Rachel, her BFF in Kansas sent you.)

Oh, and wouldn't it be amazing if the ring and Maggie's pictures (still impatiently waiting on those) would show up on the same day?

I will make sure to post once I get these bad boys on my finger!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Let's see how many chocolate eggs it takes to make me feel better.


I knew holidays were going to be hard.  But by hard I thought it meant sad, crying, lonely, missing her. Not angry and bitter and annoyed and confused and missing her.

All day today I've been trying to figure out how I feel.  Today should be a day of celebration. I should be full of hope and joy and gratitude--knowing that Maggie is in a better place.  But, I'm not.  I'm mad. Furious.  Jealous.  And so incredibly sad.  And the songs about death and rising from the grave?  They don't help so much either.


So, I guess I'm in stage 2 of grief- being angry.  I think I could have been video taped this morning as to what a good example of Stage 2 Grief looks like.  This morning I was in my prime.  That's right--this morning--Easter morning and I'm getting ready for church and I'm ticked.

I'm ticked that all the kids will be in their cute outfits.  And they will all go home with other people and hunt for eggs. I should be doing all of that. Or getting ready to do that.  Or at least rubbing my egg shaped belly and thinking "In a year you'll be doing that, Magic." Instead, I've got nothing (muffin top does not count).

Instead, I am alone, getting dressed in my non-maternity clothes, and Dave did something to annoy me.  In fact, it was so important and life-shattering that I can't even remember what it was.  Something like he didn't recycle his soap box and it was in the trash.  Or was it that he used our brand new bathroom towels to wipe up water off the bathroom floor?  And I flipped out.

I have had glimpses of why couples don't make it after tragedies.  Because there is nothing--nothing--that can ease your pain and make you feel less loss.  Dave has always been able to make me laugh--he has this innate ability to make me laugh.  Even when I want to stay mad at him to prove a point I can't.  I end up laughing even though I don't want to be.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work in this case.  As much as I want one of his jokes to help me forget about all of this, I can't.  There is not anything he can do to make this a better situation.  Yes, he can cry with me, pray with me, give me space--but it still won't change the inevitable.

In all of my anger, I am so thankful for my husband.  There are not a lot of guys who would be so patient with their wives.  I cannot imagine having to experience the loss of a child without him.  And, in the scheme of things, the soapbox in the trash is not a big deal.

So, if your list of prayers are short tonight, could you add me to them?  I am needing some extra ones--not only for peace and comfort, but for patience in the healing process.  For patience with others. And with myself.  And patience in dealing with questions--questions that will probably go unanswered.

And, as I'm laying her typing this Dave just asked me, "Are you mad at me for being awesome?" I'm not even quite sure how to answer that.  Maggie has one amazing dad--a dad who, I"m sure, would have made her laugh deep from her belly.  Even when she was mad.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Potpourri of Thoughts

Thought #1
I just googled "potpourri" to make sure I was spelling it right.  Do you know what showed up?  Potpourri smoking.  Seriously. It's what you think it is.

I don't think teenagers get that what they're smokin' has been collecting dust on your grandma's coffee table for years.

Kids these days, I tell you.


Thought #2
I spent the last 2 days pretending I was on TLC (not "The Loser Channel" as Dave calls it).  My dad came over on Friday and we spent the day painting our master bedroom.  We are expecting a new bedroom set to arrive anyday now (as soon as those Amish guys can load it up on the horse n buggy and trot it down here to Kansas) and our new mattress was coming yesterday afternoon (more on heaven-in-a-mattress to come).

So, we painted and painted. I was a bit scared our bedroom was going to look like a preschool had thrown up all over it, but it actually looks pretty good.  I also got to bust out our new bedspread.  Kitty, the retardo cat, loves it too.

Up-close of the new bedspread.  That is not an anaconda that's just eaten a small deer--it is kitty's tail with a fatty belly.
I am not going to share any of my thoughts on my entire body (read: hands, fingers, and legs) being sore because of painting.  I wish I could blame this out-of-shapeness on being pregnant.

By the way, we ordered the furniture so that we could have our master bedroom done by the time Maggie came.  We also ordered a king so that we'd have more room so we could cuddle with our little Maggie-bug.  The bed felt awfully big and empty last night.  I kept staring at that big, empty space between Dave and I where she should have been.  Where she could have been.


Thought #2

Okay, heaven-in-a-mattress?  We are no longer sleeping on our "poverty mattress" that I've had for so long.  We just got a Serta iComfort.
In. A. King. Size.


Read 'em and weep.  No more deviated-septum breathing in my ear! No more cold feet sneaking into my warm part of the covers! All we have now is marshmallow-fluffiness with cool-gel in the foam for 12% cooler sleeping temps!!  12%!! That's going to make such a huge difference.

There are, however, two problems with the iComfort bed.  Problem #1- the bed is so big that when Dave is breathing (which is the entire night), he is too far away for me to kick him.  Problem #2- when I sit on the bed to put on my shoes and then get up, the indentation of my butt in the mattress is HUGE. Like, my butt needs one of those WIDE-LOAD signs.  But, at least it's a sweet 12% cooler.

Thought #3
I broke down and bought a Swiffer today.  I know, I should be washing the floor by hand, like my mother taught me.  And then doing it at least 3 more times until I "do it the right way."  Right, ma?  If we ever have kids (*fingers crossed*), I will get rid of it immediately and make them get do it the way I had to as a kid--on my hands and knees, on the hard tile floor, scalding hot water, and rescrubbing at least 3 times until it met inspection. Obviously, child labor laws were ignored in my household.  I plan to continue that tradition.

Anyways, some people at work have been talking about how amazing these Swiffer things are.  I haven't used it yet since it needs batteries (Batteries?  Ma is shaking her head).

Is anyone else completely grossed out by the Wet-Jet thingies you put on the end of the Swiffer?  Disgusting. I didn't take a picture. I couldn't.  I don't even feel right having them set on the kitchen counter.

I don't even want to think about what's on the underside of this Swiffer WetJet.

Thought #4
I am becoming a crazy cat lady.  And, I'm a crazy cat lady who loves a fat, retarded cat. You take what you can get, I guess.

She's even cuter after she's had her bath.  Yes, we bathe her.
Lick it.

Lick it.

Out of shape.  Taking a rest from licking it.
Back to licking it.

Thought #5
I'm trying to ignore the fact that it is Easter tomorrow.  I know I should be celebrating- it is a happy holiday.  I am in no mood to celebrate.  More thoughts on Easter tomorrow, but for now...

All of this Easter hoopla is making me sad.  And angry.  I do not enjoy:
  • Cute Easter baskets filled with fluffy sheep and yellow duckies.
  • Easter egg hunts
  • Every Easter song talks about death, overcoming death, an empty grave.  Oh, how I wish...
  • Easter dresses

I think that if Maggie were going to wear an Easter dress tomorrow, I would be picking between these two dresses (ignoring the fact that the sizes are completely different).  Which one do you think?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dreams vs Reality in the Dr's Office

Today I had an appointment with Dr. Eck. 

It should have gone like this:
  1. Drive to the clinic, singing aloud to my baby girl.
  2. Sit in the waiting room, comparing my belly size to others' bellies.
  3. Enter doctor's office, get on scale.  
  4. Look at numbers out of the corner of my eye.  
  5. Think "Eee-gad! She's getting big (not me)!"
  6. Go into room.
  7. Listen to baby girl's heartbeat.
  8. Thank God for her heartbeat.
  9. Listen to heartbeat.
  10. Thank God for heartbeat.
  11. Listen to heartbeat.
  12. Thank God for heartbeat.
  13. Repeat #7-12 hundreds of times.
  14. Thank the nurse.
  15. Doctor enters.
  16. Everything's fine.  
  17. See you later, doctor.  Like when I'm 8 months pregnant.
Dream doctor's appointment.  Complete with puppies and rainbows.

Instead, it went like this:
  1. Drive in silence to clinic.
  2. Meet Dave outside the clinic.
  3. Walk into the clinic.  The smell of it brings me to tears--old coffee, old people (no offense to you oldies), and medicine.  Bleh.
  4. Get to office.  Look around.  
  5. There are plenty of teenagers, equipped with baby bellies sitting there with me.  Accompanying the said teenagers are their boyfriends. Boyfriends all seem to be part of "Bone Thugs N Harmony."
  6. Sit down.  Dave chooses the chair I was sitting in at my last appointment.  When she was dead and I had no idea.
  7. Get called back.  Get my weight.  Good news- I am lower than my last appointment.  Bad news- it's because my daughter isn't in me anymore.  I'd rather be 3,000 pounds than without her.  I'd totally beached-whale-it-up this summer if it meant having her around. I'd even clean her poo out of the pool.
  8. Go into the room.  Good news- it's a different room than my last appointment.  Bad news- it's the same nurse.  She asks how we're doing.  Um, yeah.  I cry.  That pretty much answers her question.  And then she says, "You probably didn't want to see me, huh?"  Welp, pretty much.  But, I lie and tell her I'm happy to see her.
  9. She takes my blood pressure.  Good news- I have my toes painted and my legs freshly shorn.  Bad news- I get to wear a cloth gown again.  Awesome.
  10. We wait awhile and watch a PowerPoint advertising different operations, etc.  One part even advertised prenatal classes.  "Your Birth Experience" was one.  Huh--do you think it covers the topic "Your Birth Experience when your child is not living?"  We would have signed up for that one.
  11. Dr. Eck comes in.  I cry.  In a cloth gown that doesn't tie. I get an examination.  Again, if this is the epitome of hotness for a wife, I don't know what is.  Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot, like me?  This would be playing if there was a soundtrack for my life.
  12. We talk with Dr. Eck for awhile about the future, our options.  I'll spare you the details.
  13. When doctor leaves she says, "I'll see you sometime."  As in, "I'll see you when your body decides to freaking work."
  14. Dave and I leave.  
  15. Bone Thugs N Harmony dudes are still waiting out in the waiting room.  Soundtrack changes. Except I don't know any of their songs.  So never-mind.
  16. Ask God why.
  17. Repeat 16 about 286 times. 
Krazie Bone, Layzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone, and Flesh-n-Bone outside the clinic in Hutch.  Life totally seems fair. Bleh.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lucky Ducks


Right after I got home from the hospital I made a CD of music to listen to in the car. I googled "songs about stillborns" and then downloaded them, not really knowing if they were lame-o or not. One of those songs was "I Will Carry You (Audrey's Song)". I didn't know anything about it, and I actually didn't listen to it too much at first.

A week or two ago, my sister sent me a book from amazon.com.  She said that a friend highly recommended it.  This is the book:


So, I started to read it.  And I read and read and read. 

The author, Angie Smith, lost her daughter Audrey at birth. She and her husband knew that Audrey would not survive when she was born.  The book is about her journey through pregnancy (knowing the whole time her daughter would not live), through Audrey's birth, and life after Audrey.

I finally realized, about 20 pages in, that this was the same Audrey that the song I downloaded was about. Angie's husband is a singer in the band Selah (had no idea who they were) and they wrote this song together after Audrey was born.

So, I went to my iPod and listened to the song over and over.  It carries so much more weight now that I know the background of the song, and the guy singer is Audrey's daddy.

I wish I could copy and past the whole book into this blog, so you could read it.  But, I'm pretty sure I would be arrested.  Or something.

Here are some of her thoughts (Copyright Police- could you please give me some warning before you arrest me?  I'll gladly do a bibliography or whatever.  I think I still have my APA manual somewhere.):
"...Now I have to trust a different side of God the Father.  Will You tell her all about me and what I would have been to her? Will You show her glimpses of how we would have lived life together?
My heart is breaking because I want her to know that I would have painted her little toenails and taken her to swimming lessons. I didn't want to miss it all.  Will you tell her how much she was loved and how much we will always mourn her absence?"
Her thoughts when she is at Audrey's grave:
"I know she isn't really in there; it's just that her knees are, and I would have loved to kiss them after she fell. I need to mourn the loss of the arms that cannot wrap around me here.  Braided hair, a wedding dress, her first wiggly tooth.  They are deep within the ground, never to be mine."
And, now that I know about her song and book, she is showing up all over the place. In fact, she has a blog that she wrote throughout her journey (http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/) and she used excerpts from her blog in her book.

Below is the video they made with the song as well as pictures from before, during, and after Audrey's birth.  Audrey lived for 2 hours. Lucky ducks.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

One Month and I'm Like a Cow

I'm not even sure how to begin this post. I have written this post at least 4 times and deleted it.



#1
Yesterday I went with Dave on a call while he did some preg-checking (yeah, I'm down with the vet-lingo.  I'm fact, I'm pretty much a vet just by living with one).  He was checking to see if any of the cows had been bred over the last few months.  

Now, I know this is all going to sound ridiculous, and you may even feel the need to email me and suggest counseling.   But, the thing is, I was nervous for those cows.  I know they are not humans, I should not humanize them, they don't have feelings like humans do.

But, I was sitting there, almost on pins and needles when he was saying if they were pregnant or not. I felt nervous for the cows.  I so badly wanted them to be pregnant. I wanted there to be a little tiny marble-sized cow (that's the cutest mental image) in there.  I wanted that mama cow to have the chance to have a little one and love it to death.  And, I felt excited when he said that many of them were pregnant.  I thought, "Yay!  There is happiness in the world!  That mama is so lucky- she is going to be so happy!" I remembered my joy and excitement I had when I saw those two little lines.

Then. The last one was checked.

He stuck his arm where the sun don't shine and said, "She's open."  Meaning, she's not pregnant.  I was sad for her.  But me, with my 3 years of experience with those let-downs, thought, "Oh honey, you'll have another chance.  Don't give up."  

The farmer asked Dave what the problem was (at this point my mind was spinning).  Dave said that she didn't have a right ovary and a very little left ovary.  She had very little chance of getting bred.

(If you read on and are in agriculture, I KNOW that this is how the world works and this is how people make their money and blah, blah, blah.  It all makes sense in my head).

Then the farmer says, "Well, I'll just get rid of her...take her to the sale barn...not worth keeping her...she's worthless then if we can't get her bred."  Dave just looked at me, his eyes saying, "Sorry, babe--I know what you're thinking."

And you all know what I did...I related that cow to me.  I thought, "Let's just get rid of me since I can't seem to have a kid.  She's kind of worthless and not worth keeping around if her system is never going to work the way it should."


Again, I know this isn't logical.  Grief isn't logical.  I kind of wanted to kick the farmer in the shins and tell him what I thought. Ask him if he wanted to throw me in with the cow for a better deal.  Instead, I teared up and then got busy staring at my phone. What did people do when they didn't have phones and started to cry in awkward situations?  I'd be lost.



#2
I'll just say it--Maggie was born one month ago.  It is the 17th.  Son of a gun. I hate this.


I thought of it when I was laying in bed this morning and I immediately had two thoughts.

First, I thought about what Maggie would be doing if she were a month old.  I thought about what I would be doing if Maggie were a month old.  I would be getting up in the middle of the night with her. I would be rocking her and cuddling her. I would be listening to her coo and feeling her fingers curl around mine. Instead of writing this stupid blog I would be watching her nap on Dave's chest. I might be trying to console a screaming child or wiping poo off our walls.  But,  I wouldn't be reading books on infant loss. I wouldn't be making plans for traveling in July. I wouldn't be so incredibly heartbroken.


Second, I thought about what I would be doing if Maggie were still living inside of me.  She would be growing eyelashes (would she be blessed with super long ones like her cousins?) and she would be able to start opening her eyes.  I would be having my 7 month appointment and listening to heartbeat.  I would be watching my belly grow and I would be feeling so much excitement and pride in our growing family.  I would give anything to hear that miraculous sound of her heartbeat.  I would listen to it over and over and over again. Is it possible that my heart could stop beating, just from sadness?


Instead, I am doing none of those.  I am sitting here wondering what I should do to keep myself busy so that I don't get overwhelmed in my sorrow.  But, everywhere I look and everything I do, there are reminders of her and what could have been--
I look at the fireplace and remember when I thought, "We'll need to get some pads to cover up the corners so she doesn't hurt herself."
I look at the kitchen and remember when I thought, "We'll have to organize a cupboard or two to keep her dishes and things in it."
I look in the laundry room and see the baby clothes detergent that I still have.
The kitchen counter has stacks of sympathy cards on it.
No more ultrasound pictures are hanging on our fridge.
My inbox keeps receiving emails from Motherhood Maternity and Babies 'R Us. I should unsubscribe but that would mean having to open them instead of just immediately deleting them.


Yesterday I was in WalMart and I ended up in the baby section.  Or, right outside the baby section. I panicked.  Instead of going through I backtracked and went through other aisles.  I just couldn't face that section that I once been so proud and excited to be standing in.  I tried not to look as I walked quickly by, but I managed to see that they had the cutest little Easter and spring outfits in there. And they were cute even without a kid in them.  Just think how much cuter they would have been with little Maggie in there.
Just think how much better our lives would have been with little Maggie in them.
I miss her. 







Weekend in Pictures

Seriously.  
You can laugh and shake your head in complete surprise that I spent my Saturday working cattle (by "working cattle" I mean hanging on the fence, drinking  a Coke, and taking pictures). But you know what I mean.
I know, I never thought I would be doing this either.   
I used to clean our pool on Saturdays.
I actually looked forward to this day.  Those poor little bull calves didn't look forward to this day. They hurt.


I think those kids were taking notes on what to say at school on Monday . How many things could they say in class that would 1) make their teacher uncomfortable or 2) their classmates giggle in delight?
"These poor little bull calves were laying in the field, all tired because..."
 "That one huge bull kept trying to piggy-back on some of the other cows..."
"We used these little rubber bands..."
"He had these longs gloves that went up to his shoulders..."
Thanking God I normally don't have to hear these comments in class.  **Knocking on wood.**


See that stud below? Do you think I'm talking about my husband or the bull? You'll never know.


Maggie's grave is just across the field so we rode horses out to visit her and brought her new daisies.



First time on a horse since 2000 in Costa Rica. What did I learn?
Don't wear ankle socks while riding a horse, mmmmkay?

Trying to start a new trend--ankle socks, bad posture, and riding horse.  H.O.T.

More to come about the weekend and when I started crying at some farm. L.O.V.E. crying at random stranger's farm. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lack of Her

"The simple lack of her is more to me than others' presence."
~Edward Thomas

Too Real

Here are some things that have been said to me indirectly or directly over the last few weeks.


Now, don't get me wrong--all of these things were said with great intentions. They meant well and wanted to give their support and words of comfort.  I get that.  I know I have said things (or completely avoided the conversation) that have made people's grief worse.  And, I wish I could have had a list of things that aren't helpful.

They are in no particular order of stupidness.

"At least you weren't 9 months along."   
What makes this even worse, is this was said by our hospital chaplain.  I get what she was saying and logically, it seems like it would be harder to have a stillborn when you are full-term, or even more than 6 months.  It probably is harder (I hope I never find out). Actually, I'm sure it is. But, don't say this to someone who has just lost a child. You are an idiot if you do.

"The baby could have been deformed or delayed, it might be a blessing that she died."  
 Again, the champion chaplain said this. But seriously, I am speechless.  Still.  After almost a month. I almost laugh in horror (and awkwardness) when I think of this lady. 

"It's kinda weird that everyone is so sad when you didn't even meet or know her."
Huh. Interesting.  But, the truth is, I knew her and loved her.
I've known her since October when those 2 lines showed up and I saw her little blobby body on the ultrasound screen and Dave said, "Jackpot."
She was a dream come true.  She was our magic.

"There's another angel in heaven."
That's great.  However, that's not what I had in mind when I spent the last 3 years going to the doctor--to conceive and then have her leave me 6 months later. I want her here. With me.  With her dad. With us.

"I hope you don't name her- it will just make it too real."
Huh.
When I didn't hear a heartbeat, that's when it was real. 
Having contractions and pushing and having the room completely silent when she was delivered made it real.Holding her peaceful, still body made it real. 
Putting her in a box in the ground made it real.
Putting away the maternity clothes made it real.

A name?  Um, no.

She was and is my daughter, with or without a name.
She wouldn't have existed less if we didn't name her.
She wouldn't have been less of an answer to prayer if we didn't name her.
Our hearts wouldn't have been broken less if we didn't give her a name.
Her loss would have been just as devastating if we had named her or not.


Any way you slice it, she was, and still is real.  Name or not.


Nothing.
I am amazed at how many times nothing has been said.  I get that. I was that person.  I had no idea what to say and didn't want to offend that person or make them mad or sad.
I'll just say this: saying anything (even the things from the list above) is better than not saying anything.

First, avoiding me or my eyes will not bring Maggie back and will not lessen the guilt that I already have about her death (there's still not a day goes by when I think about how I should have kept her alive, how I am most responsible for her death- I am her mom!). I know people don't want to talk about her, they want to keep my mind off "things."  Here's the deal- I already am thinking about her every minute of the day (or close to it).  You bringing her up is not going to make me think about her more or less.

Second, if you bring her up, you are not making me sadder.  You can't make me any sadder than I already am. And, really, do you know of any mothers who don't like talking about their kids? I'm the same way. I just don't the brag book in my purse or the facebook photo album like everyone else.

Even though people have said some things that I could have done without, I'd choose those comments any day over people avoiding anything to do with, well, you know, all that stuff that I went through.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day in the Crapper

So I wish I had a picture of a cute, almost-three-week-old girl to put in the space below:







Sorry I don't.  So, you'll just have to use your imagination instead. But whatever cuteness and smartness and chubbiness and amazingness you imagine, times it by 100.  Or 1,000.  Then you would be imagining Maggie.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just when I thought I was getting myself together, getting to the next step of the journey, yesterday happened. Son of  a gun.  The day quickly went plummeting into the crapper.




First Reason My Day Plummeted Into the Crapper
I got an update on Maggie's autopsy stuff.  I thought we were pretty much done with everything- the only thing we were waiting on was the genetic tests (those usually take awhile--especially for us, Dave says, because it takes a long time to test awesomeness). 

Anyways, I got a call from Dr. Eck's office yesterday. Dr. Eck is out of town until next week but she had ordered a test called a microarray to be performed- basically they were going to send away some tissues to get them tested for other things.  However, when the nurse called my insurance company (pretty sure they hate me right now) they said that the test was not covered by insurance (I guess they consider it "extra"- it's not completely necessary to find out why your child died.  Whatevs, jerks.)  So, if we wanted this microarray done, we would need to pay $1,400.

And, to add to the fun, she needed to know if we wanted it done by the following morning.  I thought we were done with this madness.  I was not mentally prepared to have to make another decision about all of this. Plus, to be brutally honest, I'm not a fan of talking about having my daughter's tissues tested.

Now, I know the standard rule for being a parent is "you should do anything to help your child" (p.s. I'm also quite aware not every parent has gotten this memo- that's another blog topic altogether).  I was having a dilemma- and I even asked the nurse this- are we bad parents, do we not love our daughter enough if we don't do the microarray because it costs too much? I know, logically, it sounds dumb. 

The other dilemma is--what if this was the test that would show what happened to her?  That would give us some answers about why she died?  The nurse said that the pathologist had called her directly (which is rare) and said that she would be surprised if this microarray would give us any answers.

The nurse and I continued to talk about the different tests that we had had done; that I was still waiting on the genetic testing and the only thing that we think could have caused this was the placenta.  She looked through my file and said that the placenta had come back normal-- every test had, so far, come back normal. 

So, now I'm really confused. 
And torn. 
And I'm not sure if I should be elated or devastated. 

Should I be happy because my little girl was perfect and healthy?  Should I be glad to know that there was nothing wrong with her and pray that, if there is a next time around, the next one will be just as perfect and healthy?

Or, should I be completely devastated that I will never know why my little girl was taken from us too early? Should I worry that I now have no idea what to watch out for the next time around and this could, potentially, happen again with no warning signs?

By the way, Dave and I decided at 2 am not to do the microarray (see "Fifth Reason My Day Plummeted Into the Crapper").


Second Reason My Day Plummeted Into the Crapper
I spilled Coke all over my keyboard.  

I know, it's totally insignificant compared to Maggie's autopsy stuff, but you know what it's like when one thing happens and then it seems to snowball? And it all gets overwhelming?  Yeah, that's what happened.

Plus, I was ticked for several reasons: One: I shouldn't be drinking soda.  Two: I shouldn't be drinking soda at my computer at work.

Third Reason My Day Plummeted Into the Crapper
Because of aforementioned Coke-spillage, I had to ask for a new keyboard.  And, because of our sweet, sweet government and our sweet, sweet budgets in public schools, I'm pretty sure I just used up the district's entire technology budget for my new keyboard.  Sorry coworkers.

Fourth Reason My Day Plummeted Into the Crapper
I was at work until 8:00. P.M. That's like, almost my bedtime.   I got to present at a board meeting.  It was thrilling.  I drove all the way home to Hutch afterward so I could spend time with Dave instead of staying at my parents' house.  Therefore, see "Fifth Reason My Day Plummeted Into the Crapper."

Fifth Reason My Day Plummeted Into the Crapper
Dave worked until 2 am.  Stupid cattle and stupid sale barn.  So, I drove all the way home to go to eat alone and go to bed alone.  Then, we got to decide about our daughter's autopsy at 2 am.

There's a sentence I never thought I would say.  
And hope to never say again.  
And pray no one else ever has to say.

But really, we can only go up from here folks.



Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend in Pictures...

We spent some time outside.
The weather is finally nice.
Dave cleaned up some stuff in the yard, watered the grass, fixed a door.  It had blown off of our house and was laying in the yard (right next to the car up on blocks and the couch on the porch). And you thought Kansas was just windy in The Wizard of Oz
I sat on the patio and talked on the phone. Talking on the phone has not been my most favorite thing to do lately.  Once I'm on the phone I'm fine.  I just feel like I have to pump myself up for conversation.


We visited Maggie's grave after church.
The trees around it were started to bud. I'd like to think that her magic had started to fill that pasture with life.  Just like she had done to me--made it all nice and bright and happy and full of hope and new life.
But, her actual grave was heartbreaking.  I should have brought more flowers to make it look nicer.  All the flowers from last week were dead and nasty looking. 
I talked to her; I asked her what she had been doing. I told her how much we missed her and how I hope she was doing okay and wasn't too lonely.  Is that weird and crazy?  I even said it aloud just in case she could still hear me and so she wouldn't forget the sound of my voice.




I checked the mail, several times, hoping for Maggie's hospital pictures.  Instead, I got bills- bills from doctor's appointments from the last few months, 2 bills from our hospital stay, and another bill for my epidural.
Sigh and ugh.
Dave said that the bills wouldn't be so horrible if we had a living daughter to come home to.  I wouldn't mind paying $170 for 3 IV bags of sugar water if I could come home and cuddle with her.
The hospital should give discounts for this, don't you think?
You get a 25% (or more) discount from the Maternity Ward if you go home empty-handed.
You get another 25% off if you go home broken-hearted.
We are both empty-handed and broken hearted.
We could have maybe saved 50% off these crazy bills.

Please do not try to add up these numbers.  I am going to have my paycheck direct deposited to the hospital.

Dave and Kitty took naps.
I watched videos of Bill Nye on the internet (science state assessments in a week).
How does he know that I change the channel even when he's sleeping? Also, in real life his bicep is not larger than his head. He would probably tell you otherwise.  But, he is a Harder.  They are famous for their large noggins.
And yes, we know she's fatty.  She's also worthless.  And a big jerk. I have scars to prove it.
 That's our weekend, along with some paint shopping, prescription-filling, grocery shopping fun.

Oh, I used the google to look up "27 weeks pregnant."
That's what I would have been tomorrow. 
I should not have done that.  

According to the internet  if I could have gotten her to this point, she would have an 85% chance of surviving with medical help.
Remind me not to google things like this anymore.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Q & A

Some answers to questions that I have been asked frequently lately:

Are you feeling okay physically?
I have felt really good for the last couple of weeks.  The delivery wasn't difficult because Maggie was so small. So, my recovery was relatively quick.  My biggest struggle is that I am dealing with the same physical changes that happen when any woman delivers a child.  I sometimes don't know if the sadness I feel is grief or postpartum.

My biggest challenge right now is sleeping.  My doctor prescribed me some sleeping pills, which I have been taking pretty religiously since I was in the hospital.  The other night I tried to fall asleep without taking one but it was a miserable night. I woke up with the sweats and had horrible dreams about unborn babies.  I will spare you the details but I decided I was going to try 1/2 pill for awhile before I stop cold turkey. 

Did you get Maggie's autopsy results back? Do you know what happened?
Her general autopsy results came back about a week after her delivery.  The general tests (if she had any viruses, infections, etc.) came back negative, which is good news.  We are still waiting for the genetic test results to come back.

Dr. Eck was not exactly sure why Maggie had died.  Because of her small size and low weight, it was obvious that she hadn't been growing for awhile before she died. The only area that looked somewhat abnormal was the placenta (sorry if this is gross for some of you).  Some of the tissues did not look healthy and she thinks that the placenta could have separated from the uterus so that Maggie wasn't getting oxygen.  There is really no way of knowing this is happening and no way to really stop it.  So I know, cognitively, that I couldn't have done anything differently.  However, in my heart, I still wonder if there was something I could have done differently.  My mind sometimes goes crazy if I think about it too much...
I shouldn't have had that Coke that one time...
I shouldn't have tried to get that box down off my classroom shelf...
I should have drank more water....
I know that there was nothing I could have done to change things.  However, I can't help but stop wondering.


How is work going? 
The first day back at work was hard.  When the kids arrived they didn't know what to say or do (much like adults don't know what to say or do).  Many of them would not even look at me at first and, instead, just looked down at my belly (I didn't disappoint- I kept my muffin top there for them to look at.).  P.S.- One girl even poked it. That's right.  I was her Pillsbury Dough Boy for a split-second. She's lucky she still has all of her fingers.

Thankfully, my sister had her spring break so she spent the day with me at school grading papers and trying to help lessen the load of kids' questions and she also helped me talk with the kids about Maggie.

Like I said earlier, I am not going to be winning any awards for "Most Effective Teacher" (apologies to parents of students or my administrators) but we are hanging in there.  I have talked to my class about Maggie and what happened and they know that I will be sad for awhile.  They know that I think it is important for them to ask me questions and talk about things.  They have asked a few questions, but not a lot.  I'm sure it's nearly impossible to get your 10-year-old brain wrapped around the idea of death, especially the death of a baby.  I mean, we as adults have a hard enough time with it.

But, my coworkers have been super-super supportive and have been very patient as I try to get back to normal, whatever that may be. I couldn't ask for better people to work with. I have gotten gifts, gift cards, and meals.  But, I think more than any of those, their prayers, kind words, hugs, and shared tears have helped me more than anything.  So thank you to my HES peeps.

Are you going to have more kids?
This is a difficult question.  I wish I could say, "Yes, we are going to have kids as soon as possible."  I wish I could say for sure that we will. I pray and hope that we will have more kids.  However, many of you know that this pregnancy did not just come the moment we hoped to have children.  It took us several years to conceive, even with the help of specialists.  So...

Yes, I hope we can have more children.  I would love to go through the whole pregnancy/birthing experience the way it should be.  I want to have a happy ending.  We will try again at some point when we get the okay from our doctors.  And, if necessary, we will use specialists to help us (as much as I completely dread that right now).

This has been one of my biggest struggles with this entire situation.  Maggie's death seemed completely unfair. It didn't seem right that my daughter died.  However, it didn't seem right especially because Maggie was so, so wanted and prayed for. She wasn't a "We'll see what happens" baby.  She was completely planned.  She had been an answer to several years of doctor visits, inconvenient trips to Wichita, lots of doctor's bills, pills, and shots at midnight.  She made all of those inconveniences worth it.  Life finally seemed fair and right when she came along.  And then, life seemed completely, completely unfair. It has felt like we can't catch a break- How can others can just think about having kids and they are pregnant while we have to rearrange our lives and budgets every month just to have another  let down?

So,
I worry that this was my one and only chance.
I worry about having to go through all of this again just for another heartbreak.
I worry that the doctors won't be able to help us.
I worry that even if they can I will have to grieve the loss of another child.
I worry that there could be 2 graves out in that pasture instead of just one.
But, I worry even more that I will never see those 2 pink lines again.

Better than a double chin...

A past coworker brought me a gift after school yesterday. So beautiful and so thoughtful.  She thought I needed something with her name on it.  I agree.

Finally, a successful self-portrait after 4 attempts.  The previous 3 attempts got better pictures of my giant double chin than of the cute necklace.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Betrothed

Meet Cooper.

Warning: Do not stare directly at the picture.  The cuteness of the baby and the bling of the ginormous diamond may burn your retinas.  And melt your heart.  And make you miss your baby.  And make you want a new diamond. My birthday is in May.
Cooper was born on April 5.  He weighed 9 pounds 2 ounces. Nine pounds of solid adorable-ness.  He was supposed to fall in love with Maggie in a few years.  I was never concerned about him not being able to love her. It's easy to love Maggie.  I've done it everyday since October.  Actually, even before October. 

I went and visited him today in the hospital.  I'll admit it, I was a bit scared.  I did not know how I would react and what it would be like to see him and hold him.  But, in the scheme of things, I knew that I wanted to see him.  Under any other circumstances I would have visited him.  And, at some point, I decided, I was going to have to see babies and hold them.  So, I decided that if I was going to hold a baby and cry, I would want to do it with Cooper.  I've cried in front of Cooper's mom quite a few times.  If I was going to cry in front of anyone while holding their child, I knew that Cooper's parents would be understanding and patient and supportive. They wouldn't think I was a crazy-hormone-grief-stricken-baby-snatching-woman. In fact, I knew that his mommy would cry with me.  You see, I know Cooper's mom's heart is filled with joy and happiness and love and peace and thankfulness. But, I also know that she feels sorrow and sadness about Maggie and the loss that Dave and I have experienced.

So, I went.  I got to meet Cooper and hug his beautiful mama.  And, Cooper was perfect. I think he must have known that he was meeting his what-could-have-been-his-future-mother-in-law because he was so well-mannered. Plus,  he was chubby, had cute little fingers, and made cute little squeaky sounds.  And, when I left, I smelled like baby.  Even as I am typing this, I get little whiffs of good-smelling baby.

That's what I wanted from visiting him.  I wanted to see chubby cheeks and curled-up legs and hear little squeaks.  I wanted to be reassured that this miracle, this unbelievably perfect baby can happen, and hopefully will happen.  It is possible to have a perfect child of God laying on your lap.   Alive.  And breathing.  And squeaking. And stretching.   It doesn't always happen the way it happened to Dave and me.  It isn't always sorrow and fear and questions. This is the way it is supposed to be. Visiting Cooper gave me some hope.

Don't get me wrong- seeing Cooper didn't help me "get over" Maggie.  It didn't help me forget her or whatever I'm supposed to do with time.  It probably made me miss her even more.  And remember every inch of her.  And be reminded that I will never hear her squeaks or touch her soft earlobes or see her prune-like little toes.  I definitely keep asking God why this happened to us and why we couldn't be as lucky. But, seeing Cooper did help me be reminded of why I started this adventure in the first place and that I can get through this if it means that, in the end, it means having a Cooper of my own.    

By the way, it probably would have never worked out between Cooper and Mag-dawg anyways.  They would have looked ridiculous together, I mean with his 9 pounds of solid boy and her dainty little, petite figure.  But, I would we could have at least tried it out and given them a shot.  The option would have been nice.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lurking on Other Blogs

I found this on a blog I was reading tonight.

Go to http://liferearranged.com/blog for some amazing posts.  This is way cheaper than therapy.

She says exactly what I am thinking.  If you wonder how I could ever miss someone who I never "met," someone who was never "born," maybe this will help.  I had a place for Maggie in my life even before she had a heartbeat.

the grief and mourning i am feeling is so deep.
i am shocked by my inability to hold it together.
i am surprised by how truly difficult this is.
i want nothing more than to stay in bed all day....
the ugly cry has made several appearances.
accompanied by silent tears throughout the day.
and night.
because the truth is that once you see that second pink line…
you set a place at the table for your baby.
vacations and trips are planned and unplanned.
bedroom assignments are discussed.
visions of laughing, playing and fighting.
no matter how small and how new, that baby has a place deeply entrenched in your family.
and i miss my baby.
deeply.

things that made me feel good (and bad) today

The good: 
  • I got an email back from an etsy lady I contacted yesterday.  I've been looking into getting a ring with the march birthstone for Maggie.  The two rings on the top and bottom would symbolize Dave and I.  This is the ring. What do you think?
     
  • Anyways, I had emailed the lady and told her my situation and asked her a few questions.  She wrote back and said she wasn't sure how to respond, as she had lost her son a year ago, two days before his due date.  Now, don't get me wrong, that didn't make me happy.  However, it is so strange how God works.  And, it did make me smile knowing that God has my back.  It was like a little sign that I wasn't alone in all of this (I am secretly hoping she and I start a penpal-type relationship and I can go visit her in Whidbey Island--don't feel bad if you have to Google where that is--I did).
  • A coworker gave me a beautiful necklace today. So meaningful and beautiful. It is a heart that opens and inside she printed out a picture of Maggie's footprint and put it in there.  I tried to find a picture of it, but alas, no luck.  Come visit and you can see it in person.  Then you can see Mag's real footprint.  Have I told you it's adorable?
  • My mom bought Dave a bag of "Kettle Cooked Salt and Vinegar Chips."  I know they were meant for Dave, but it was a long drive home.  And those chips are my fave.  That brand has so many of the folded chips, which are definitely the best ones.
  • I was reading the blog that a friend of mine recommended.  Long story short, that blog took me to the site of another lady who, every Monday, is having a woman write about her experiences with miscarriage and/or infant loss.  So great to hear other experiences, even if I wish this on no family.  Ever.
  • I didn't blow away.  Seriously, Kansas.
  • I only cried 3 times today. Or 4. Or 5 times.  I can't remember.  But, it at least wasn't the ugly-and-you-can't-catch-your-breath-and-you-can't-breathe kind of cry.  And, it wasn't in front of my students this time, either. 
  • Coca-Cola
The bad:
  • I drove by the road where I could turn to go visit Maggie.  I hate thinking about her out there, all alone.  I hate that I'm not out there with her, taking care of her like a mother should.  I hate that I left her out there. I hate that she's out there by herself.  I hate that she's dead.
  • My goal was to make it through the day without crying.  I actually put mascara on.  Unfortunately, I think it was smeared off by 8:15 am.  
  • I struggle to pray anymore.  Do you ever get so exhausted that you can't think anymore?  Yeah, well, I'm waiting for that feeling to go away.  When I try to pray, I forget what I'm saying.  I don't know what to say. I'm a big jumbled mess.  The only thing that I can think to ask Him is, "When are you going to bring Maggie back to me?"  It sometimes seems pointless to pray when the thing I want the most, I know will not be given to me.  So, keep your prayers coming.  Lord knows I need them. 


    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    What now?

    I feel a bit lost.  Yes, for the obvious reasons.  But for other reasons too.

    This writing has been a release for me, a place to share about my precious Maggie.  Now she is buried and I have been feeling, at times,  as though I now have nothing else to share about her. She's done. She's gone.

    Now I know, as her mother, that I could always find things to share about her - the absolute and unending joy that I had when I found out I was pregnant; the control it took me not to talk about our baby from the second I knew she existed (and probably even before I was for sure she existed); how my heart melted every time I felt her twitch inside of me; how I envisioned her working with Dave- chasing cattle and toddling around in the pasture (yes, this city girl envisioned this for her kids-at this point, you can shake your head in disbelief--again).  She would have looked so cute in these:




    As her mother, I could write and read posts like that over and over again and never get enough.  However, I'm not sure how much others are interested.  How many posts do I write about what could have been?

    So, my struggle is: what do I post about now?  I have no more pictures and no more stories.  I wish I had pictures of her swaddled in a hospital blanket or her first bath or her fat rolls or her eyes that look like her dad's.  I wish I could write about her first giggle and have a video link below.

    I have none of that.  I have no more memories to share.  And, that is the hardest.  I wish I had 5 minutes to hold her while she was alive.  That way, I would have more to write about.  I would have something else to share with you. 

    Instead, all I have is my dreams of what she could have been.  What I would have been with her.  What our family would have been.  I wish I had more than that right now.

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    Memorial Service

    We buried Maggie in a grove of cottonwood trees at the ranch that Dave's brother owns.  I debated about whether or not I wanted her in a real cemetery.  But, now that she is there, I am happy.  She is close to our house (10 minutes) and is at a place that she would have spent a lot of time if she had lived longer.

    It was a simple service but beautiful and perfect.

    The beautiful box Dave made out of pine.


    Aunt Annie and cousin Rachel writing notes to Maggie.

    The lid of her box with notes from everyone from the service.
    The grove of cottonwood trees where she is buried.

    Saying goodbye to our daughter.
    The inside of her box-  a blanket, a teddy bear to keep her company, and the book "Guess How Much I Love You."
    Nailing her casket shut.
    Her casket and some daisies.
    Covering up her casket.
     
    Greg, Grandpa, and cousin Rachel adding the granite.

    Adding a cross to her grave. Thank you to Greg for being so thoughtful and getting the granite and cross.

    Dave adding daisies to her grave.
    Her grave-

     
    Maggie will be able to keep track of our cattle from here.
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