Category Archives: Rainbows

My Rainbow Baby Truths

This was published over at Scary Mommy!

Having a Rainbow Baby hasn’t Taken Away my Grief

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Rainbow Baby Woes

I hate that feeling that something bad is going to happen. Because the unthinkable has already happened to us, it shouldn’t again, right? Or is it because it has happened to us that I know how quickly things can fall apart?

A sniffle, a bump, a fall. I panic. Instantly. I Google everything to make sure I watch for symptoms of what ‘could happen.’ There’s always this little niggling voice in my head saying something can go wrong. They can get sick. They can get hurt. They are not invincible. Your children can die.

Maybe it’s because the baby is so young still, I now worry the most about her. Maybe it will get better once she crosses the 18 month mark. There are three of them to worry about and it’s exhausting sometimes.

I can’t sit here and say, ‘oh, that will never happen to us,’ I no longer have that naivety. I miss it. The pure ignorant bliss of thinking my children will always be ok.

I wish I didn’t over think the way I tend to. I wish that my family didn’t have to know tragedy. I wish that Benny was still alive.

 

Point of No Return

I remember when Darcy was born how important it was to me that I get her on a good sleep schedule.  I was so worried about being able to get back to work and handle an infant.  I worked with her during my measly 12 weeks off to try and get on a schedule.

We did ok.  I made all of these rules, like no sleeping after 5, we adhered to a strict bedtime schedule of bath, swaddle then nursing in a quiet, dark room.  I was worried about spoiling her.  I was concerned that I was never going to get a good nights sleep.  And then I got laid off.  Oh, the irony!

Being on a schedule and having a routine definitely helped with all of my kiddos.  I look back now though and laugh.  I was making myself crazy trying to control the sleeping habits of an infant.  Why?

I stressed out over the lack of sleep (as if you can control it).  I would look at nighttime as an endless hell that must be endured, sitting up for hours feeding an upset baby.  I had it in my head that successful mommying=happy sleeping babies.  Some twisted idea we all get as every single person asks you ‘how is the baby?  Is he/she sleeping through the night?’

I found with Benny that I was way more relaxed when it came to sleeping schedules.  Maybe it was just his laid back personality, or the fact that he nursed himself full in 5 minutes, but he was a great sleeper!  And all without my militant sleeping rules.  I felt comfortable bringing him into bed in the wee hours of the morning and snuggling with him (this was before i knew all of the dangers of cosleeping).  I felt more easy going and confident in my mommying abilities.

I don’t know if it was loosing Benny or just because Fletch was, well, Fletch but sleep became hell again.  Truyh be told, it was probably a combination of both.  I was super stressed all of the time of screwing up, or of something bad happening.  Child loss changes you as a parent.  Anxiety over took common sense and I felt like a novice mom again.  I was scared to bring him into bed.  I was scared for him to sleep alone.  No matter what I did I was scared.

And Fletch was hard work!  He didnt want to be put down when he slept, ever.  I put more miles on my glider with that kid than any other.  He always knew when he left your arms and would wake right up.  It was like he had he same insecurities that I had and was nervous being too far away.

And now there’s Perry.  We should be seasoned at this whole sleep thing by now right?  Wrong!  The 4 month sleep regression hit us hard and we’ve been reeling ever since.

I’m tired of being scared.  I’m tired of being tired.  I’m done with being stressed about sleep.  We’ve entered the point of no return.  A point where the old me with just one baby would have freaked out.

I have a toddler and a ridiculous work load.  A tween (my God!) with a ridiculous amount of activities.  I’m already tired enough and scared enough to not sleep because anything you do nowadays as a parent is wrong and judged.

If I fall asleep nursing, I could drop her.  If I pull her into bed, Parker could roll over. We have a friend whose infant fell out of bed and cracked his skull (he’s fine thank goodness, very healthy little guy) and I’ve read just about every article on people smothering their babies on accident. No win situation.

So now, Parker sleeps in the guest room and I get a queen bed to myself until Perry inevitably wakes up in her bassinet (the second I walk into the room, I swear she can smell me).  She has her side and I have mine.  Shes not rolling yet and has a nice buffer to keep her from rolling off the bed.  She sleeps, I sleep.  And I love every damn minute of it.

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I love hearing her breathe close by.  I love being able to relax knowing she’s close.  I love letting go of a little bit of that anxiety.  Do I miss Parker?  Sure.  A lot.  But I only get baby Perry for so long.  She’s nearly 6 months old.  All too soon she’ll be mobile and this bed sharing will be a thing of the past.

There are no guarantees in this life.  I want to hold onto whatever I can for as long as I can.

 

Today

Today was not a good day.  The further we walk down this path to home ownership, the more painful the journey.  Someone please stop this ride we’re on, I want to get off.

We got the green light that we are building a house.  The plans are complete, the finishes are picked and construction is set to begin soon.  A totally new chapter in our lives.

And then we got word today that our temporary rental has sold and we have to move.  Temporarily.  Again.  Before the final move.

I bawled my eyes out over a bag of donuts while little Fletchie kept asking me what was wrong.  I tried so hard to explain that his little life would once again be interrupted.  My heart was breaking because he finally stopped asking to go home to the Chester Street house and now calls ‘the big brown house’ home.  He’s finally settled.  And now we have to leave.

We were finally to a point where Darcy’s room was unpacked enough for her to have a friend sleepover.  She had settled in a bit.  I’m sure the idea of moving was an adventure, but I don’t think she ever bargained for this.  We’ve taken this kid out of the only home that she ever knew.  She grew up on Chester Street and has the most memories there.

I was finally starting to put away some of my mommy guilt for this whole mess that we’re in.  I was feeling like, ‘ok, we got this!’. Only now we don’t.  By a long shot.

This whole journey was terrifying enough without all of this extra crap.  It was hard enough to walk away from Benny’s home.  It was emotional enough to acknowledge that it was time for us to move forward.  And now I’m beginning to wonder if this was all a mistake?

And oh sure I’ll probably feel differently in July when this is all (hopefully) over.  And I’ll probably ‘look back and laugh’ (oh my God if one more person says that to us!).  But right now, right at this moment, I’m upset.

I’m upset that it seems like everything has to be so much harder for us.  Because the grief that we carry every damn day isn’t enough.  Because the amount of times that I question myself as a parent isn’t enough.  Because the amount of anxiety that I have in any given situation with my children isn’t enough.  ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’ well screw that!  Enough already, I’m done!  Here I am waving the white flag screaming I SURRENDER!

I give up.  I am desperately tired of all of this.  I know that home selling/buying is supposed to be stressful, but this is beyond anything I ever imagined.

So Universe, enough.  We’ve had it.  Please back off.  Please stop making a tough situation harder.  How are we ever supposed to deal with any of our grief and make some peace with it when these other life issues rear their ugly faces?  I still haven’t really come to terms with leaving Benny’s house yet because it’s been such a whirlwind.  I can only process so much.

We knew moving would be hard.  We expected it to hurt.  Not like this though.

The Last Time

It’s 12:30 AM.  I haven’t slept a wink yet.  I have to get 3 small children out the door and off to different places tomorrow morning before I head into work.  Then I have to get as much work done as possible because said children will all be home with me next week.  Oh, and it’s going to snow tomorrow, so it’s early pick up for school.

This seems to be my story as of late.  My little perfect sleeping angel hit the 4 month sleep regression.  Now I get to see her at least 2 times before I actually get in bed, usually 10 minutes after I close my eyes and then 2-3 more times in the next 5 or so hours before I have to be up for the day.

I have pretty much kicked Parker out of bed so that Perry has her own space.  I’m all paranoid about her falling out of bed or Parker rolling over on her, so now she has half of a queen sized bed. Little turkey.  She doesn’t know how good she has it.

And as much as I complain (oh how I complain) and as grumpy as this lack of sleep makes me (super grumpy, just ask anyone in my family), I just keep reminding myself, ‘enjoy this, it won’t last forever.’

She won’t always be this little.  She is my last and I need to enjoy every stinking moment of this.  I need to soak it all in.  She won’t be little forever.  She won’t always need me.  There are no guarantees.  Just breathe.

I remember sitting in the dark nursing Darcy for hours.  This was before the Advent of cell phones (good, now I’m truly dating myself).  I would get so frustrated.  She took so long and I had no idea what I was doing.  It was hard and lonely.

Sleep deprivation is real.  I understand why it’s used for torture.  I am exhausted.  I am barely functioning.  Good luck to anyone that has crossed my path these last two weeks.  Clear rational thoughts have left my head.  My crazy is showing.

I miss my husband.  It’s weird that he’s sleeping down the hall.  It’s lonely waking up without his body next to mine.

This too shall pass.  All of it and it will be something else.  But I won’t get this back.  I won’t have this little chubby snoring angel.  Everyday she is growing and changing.  Everyday she is getting older.

She’s our last baby.  I wish she would stay little.  But then that seems selfish because I also am excited for her to grow and experience life.  I just can’t fathom not having a baby.  I can’t imagine my baby growing up.  I’m not looking forward to my ‘lasts.’

The last time that I pick her up, or the last time that she cuddles on my lap.  The last time that she needs me to feed her or the last time that she takes up half of a queen sized bed.

Life is fleeting, there are no promises.  So even though I’m not in love with this sleep deprived state, it will end.  She will change.  And it sounds crazy, but I will probably even miss this a tiny bit.

Just Moving.

Thirteen years ago Parker and I set out to purchase our first house.  We were 24 years old and living in our first apartment together.  I had some money left to me from my mom and it was fairly easy to get a mortgage back then.

We started looking about 30 miles west of Boston, but there was little in our price range.  We knew that we could handle a fixer upper and looked forward to getting our hands dirty.  Because the market was crazy at this point, we ended up looking in Worcester.  It was much farther west than we wanted, but it was what we could afford.

I remember pulling into the driveway of 72 for the first time.  We got out of the car and walked through the jungle of the back yard and I knew.  This was it.  It was exactly what we wanted.  We went inside and took in the wood paneling, shag carpeting and green metal cabinets.  Looking back, I’m overwhelmed at the amount of work we took on with this house.  But over the last 13 years we made her ours.

At first it was Parker, myself and our crazy pack of cats and dogs.  We celebrated Christmas’, birthdays and hosted numerous parties.  Parker proposed to me in that house after we lived there for a year and a half.  We had our wedding rehearsal on our front lawn.  It’s where we began our marriage and started planning our future.

We found out we were expecting our first child within those walls.  I had so much fun setting up a nursery and spent a year painting a barnyard mural.  Teriffied as all new parents are, we brought home a little baby girl.  She got to spend 8 years growing up in that house and playing in that yard.  She learned to walk on the hardwood floors in our living room and spent numerous Halloween’s trick or treating around our neighborhood.

Once you have kids is when you really begin to meet your neighbors.  We were lucky to have some kids move in over the years and be able to form a close knit community.  Some of these people have become our closest friends.

Because our daughter needed a sibling, we had a son.  Suddenly we were busting at the seams, but in a good way.  There was so much laughter and love.  Such noise and chaos that can only come from 2 kids, 2 dogs and a cat.  Life was good.

When my son died right outside that very house, I thought that our world was over.  I could not imagine how we could move forward.  At the hospital, my sister asked me if we wanted to go home or would we rather stay at a hotel.  I paused for a moment, but decided I wanted to be home and sleep in my own bed.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I was making a very monumental decision.

That aside, our community came together to take care of us in numerous ways.  These amazing people that were our neighbors took care of us and held our hands during the hardest time in our lives.  We were so lucky to have this support system.  These people took care of us and showed us so much love.  It helped us to be able to grieve.

Over the course of the next year I struggled with our home, the driveway mostly.  I refused to step foot where the accident had happened.  I closed the door to my son’s room and didn’t go near it for a good 3 months.  His toys were still all over the house and the baby gates were a constant reminder of what was missing.  It was awful.  But it was still my home.

Even after all that had happened, it was still my safe place, my bubble if you will.  After the accident, I was teriffied of going out, being anywhere where ‘something’ could happen.  I mean if an accident can occur right outside your home, then surely much worse can happen out and about.  I felt safest in that house.

Over time, I slowly put my son’s stuff away.  The baby gates disappeared.  Toys went into his closed up room.  We remodeled some of the house and these projects got me excited about the house again.  They gave me something to focus on, something to change.

We began to heal in that house.  It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly over time.  Like a catepillar in a cocoon working towards becoming something beautiful.  Let me tell you, it was a lot of work and a lot of therapy.

A year after the accident we decided we were ready to try again.  We were willing to give the Universe another shot and give our hearts again.  I miscarried in that house.  I think I was more angry than sad at that point.  I was so pissed that we could lose something more.  At that point I wasn’t scared, I was damn determined that we get another shot at love.

We brought Fletcher home to that house nearly 9 months later.  It was hard having another boy, especially one that looked so much like his brother.  We struggled.  I had no choice but to accept the driveway as it was because this little boy had to be carried to and from the house in his carseat safely.

Eventually we made the decision to move Fletcher into what was his brothers room.  It sucked at first.  I rocked him in the same chair where I last sat with his brother, looking at an almost identical face.  I added Fletch’s name to the wall, right below his brothers.  It was as if they were sharing a room.  In some ways that was true as all of Benny’s clothes were still in the dresser, same as the day he died.

We raised another boy in that house for 2 years.  We held our breath until he was older than his brother had been when he passed.  I panicked over every sickness and accident and would google myself into a frenzy.  We spent 15 months of sleepless nights with that little guy as he settled in.  Those walls somehow held me together.

When we found out we were expecting again, we knew our days in this house were numbered.  We were crammed in there and had eeked out every available square foot of living space.  We hemmed and hawed.  We loved this house, but it was time to go.

I was ok with the idea as an abstract.  Maybe it wouldn’t sell.  Then we’d be stuck and have to make it work.  Well it sold, and rather quickly.

Then I was excited.  We were moving!  A new house to decorate!  A fresh start.  Then it was ‘we’re moving forward?’, ‘moving on?’.  Nope.  Just ‘moving.’

Just moving.  Leaving our home behind.  Taking our kids out of their house.  Walking away from where we raised and lost our son.  I can honestly say that I haven’t cried this much since my son died.  And this was our decision!

I’ve had a few months to really think about this.  I am heartbroken to leave my house.  It is the longest I have ever lived anywhere and there are so many memories and so much of my life tied up into this one house.  Not one room has been left untouched, we have spent countless hours making that house into exactly what we wanted.  Our home.  I am absolutely devastated.  Just because we decided to leave doesn’t make this any easier.

This house is where Benny lived.  It’s where he took his first steps, said his first words.  It’s where he’s real to me, where he exists.  This is so hard to walk away from.

It’s also where he died.  It’s the last place that I held him.  It’s where our lives completely changed.  It’s taken me a very long time, but in this process of moving I’ve come to realize that I finally made my peace with it.  I feel ready to move because I’m ok with this house.

I cannot describe how freeing that feels to be able to say this.  I never imagined a time when I could feel this way about this house, I didn’t think it was possible.  Maybe it’s because we’ve redone the house since Benny’s passing, or because I’ve brought other babies home here.  Whatever it is, I’m so glad that I chose to come home the night of the accident.  It allowed me (forced me) to deal with the reality of everything.  It was a massive part ofy grieving process.  It’s just taken me a long time to figure that out.

Thirteen years almost to the day that we purchased our home we said good bye.  Someone else is living there now.  God, it pains me to say that.  I’m broken up even as I write this.

We said good bye to our house and our community and it is killing me.  I have brokenheartedly had to say good bye to some of the most loving people we have ever met.  Sure we’ll still see them, but I will miss being outside and waving and chatting with everyone.  It’s just not the same.  So much of what made our house a home were the people that lived around us and supported us.

We won’t go far, but it is so much further out of my comfort zone.  My bubble is gone for now.  It’s time to make a new one.