Capture your grief.

October was Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month, and as such the loss community on IG participates in something called “capture your grief”. You follow prompts and take photos of things each day explaining what the photo is and how it pertains to the prompt. The first year after Kenley died I participated in it, and it felt good; it was healing to just pour my grief out there and know that it wasn’t falling on deaf ears. This community understood EXACTLY what I was feeling, unfortunately. The second year, I honestly can’t remember if I participated in it. I might have? Maybe I did a few days here and there, but I don’t think that I really hit it hard.

It’s not that I didn’t want to participate, it’s just that my grief changed. I didn’t need to spill it out. It had settled into my bones, and started to become a part of my day to day life. I could tell that it was changing, and then on her 2nd birthday I was able to make it through the day without the extreme sadness that I experienced on her first birthday. The second birthday was different; we donated more, we didn’t have a party. Shane and I took the items up to the hospital for donation, and we stopped and had a nice dinner just us. We tipped the waitress $50 and wrote a note explaining why we did it.

This year, is all kinds of different again. My emotions seem to be creeping up again just like in every “Fall”. The timeline of my pregnancy becomes prominent in my mind during these days. The holidays become too familiar, the smells, the weather changing, everyone else being happy and me wanting to die…it hits hard. The waves of grief seem to come still, they aren’t as intense during the “regular” months, but currently the grief is hitting in different ways. I feel sad. I feel alone. I feel lost, and hopeless and overwhelmed at every turn. I don’t want to wake up in the mornings because I know that my day is going to be exactly the same as it was the day before, not that that is a bad thing necessarily but she STILL won’t be here.

It’s very hard to live each day, watching my children younger than she should be. It’s very weird because it makes me sound ungrateful but I’m not; I’m confused and in a fog and always will be. How can she be almost 3? Alden isn’t even 2, and I often feel that she is growing too fast. I miss a child that I will never have the chance to know. I miss the things that she will never get to do. Every time Alden meets a milestone, I am happy and sad. When Rowan meets milestones, the same emotions happen to me again.

Life is so unfair. I think that if you were to search my blog for that phrase you may find it  approximately 25,000 times. Life is unfair. 25,001.

I have accepted what my life is. My life is a whole bunch of things thrown into a bucket and mixed up. There are MANY good things in my life, and then there is just the one big constant sad. But, it’s not just one sad thing…that one sad thing has created many awful things in my life. It has made me lose friendships, shaped my relationships with people. It has made me feel things that I never expected to feel toward things that I have always loved.

I have accepted the fact that I will never hold Kenley again in this lifetime, but I will always be pissed that this is how my life has turned out. But, I mean that with the most thankful heart.

Life is all kinds of fucked up.

I wish I had time.

I feel as if I have no time to breathe let alone have some moments of grief with Kenley. I’m not saying that I want to sit down and cry all the time, or that I’m only sad when I think about her; honestly it’s the opposite a lot of the time lately. I just don’t have the time to feel much of anything, which equates to me feeling nothing and having zero emotion about her situation, which I don’t like. Let me explain because I think that sounds like I’m a shriveled up shell of a person which in theory is kind of true, but I do actually feel things, but lately I just CAN’T.  This is a tiny run down of how my day goes (every day).

6 am Rowan wakes up gets a diaper change. We lay in bed and cuddle until 6:45-7:00

7am Head upstairs, feed her a bottle, get Landon ready for school, feed him breakfast

7:30 am Alden wakes up, gets a diaper change. Feed her breakfast. Feed Rowan baby food

8:15 am Start the van then gather everything to take Landon to school

8:20 am Take the girls (one at a time) to the van, get them strapped up and ready to go

8:25 am Yell at Landon to get in the car so we can go

8:40 am Drop Landon off at school and head home

8:55 am Arrive back at In-laws and unload the girls which is proving more difficult as rowan is in an upright seat now

9:00 am Everyones inside and we watch cartoons and have snacks. 90% of the time, someone (usually both the girls) poops during this time.

10:00 am Rowan naps (hopefully until 11-11:30)

11- 11:30 am Rowan wakes up, diaper changes

12:00 Lunch time for both girls

12:30 girls both fed and watch cartoons/play

1:00 pm Alden Naps, and most likely Rowan naps again too

2:30-3:30 someone wakes up. poops again

3:30 pm Alden wakes up from her nap usually. Diaper change

Here’s where it gets fun…sometimes I have to wake the girls up to take them to get Landon from school which includes loading them back into the car, and then unloading them into the double stroller, going inside his school, then back out into the car, then back home, then back inside… Tired yet?

4-5:30 Rowan gets a bottle at 3:30-4. play time/cartoons whatever will keep them from crying

5:30 pm dinner time

6:00 pm do anything to keep them from screaming their faces off because they’re getting tired.

6:30 pm Bath time (like every other day because it’s impossible to bathe them both by myself…)

7:00 Rowan goes to bed with a bottle, and then Alden goes to bed with two books

 

Ok, I’m tired just reading that, but it also doesn’t include anything that I do like if I can squeeze in a load of laundry, or wash my Mother in laws dishes. I’m just tired. I have no time to pee alone let alone anything else. I just need a day. I need a day to appreciate Kenley, and think about her, and love her more than I get to on a regular basis. Her birthday is coming up in like a month and a half and I can’t believe that she should be three years old. It makes my heart hurt. I look at Alden who will be two and I think about Kenley being here and being older than her and I just don’t even know what life would look like. I know that the girls, Alden and Rowan wouldn’t be here more than likely. Well, at least Alden because we wouldn’t have done IVF.

I’m looking forward to completing Kenley’s care packages this year because it gives me the time I am so desperately craving with my girl. I’m still collecting donations for her packages if you feel so inclined. There are a lot of items left that need donating and I’m scared I won’t make the goal this year. I have a lot going on, and honestly I shouldn’t have taken on the project again this year but I need it.

I NEED IT.

I need to do it to make me feel close to her. I feel so far away, and this is her season…Halloween until Easter makes me want to die. I hate the way I feel. I HATE it. I can remember every single detail of my life, yet it’s all a blur…

How is this my life. How?

 

 

where we are now.

I’ve been really needing to write, but I just don’t have the time. We sold our house, and we moved our entire life into my in-laws house. It’s an adjustment to say the least but we have only been here for a week so far, and things are going very well. My in-laws are amazing people, and they have been so wonderful (at least I think they are…lol). My children are chaos, and Shane works all the time so it’s just me, and the 3 crazies here a lot. It makes me wonder if they’re stressing out having us here more than they’re letting on.

I know it’s weird for a family of 5 to move in to your home when you’ve been empty nesters for about 15 years…I couldn’t ask for nicer people though. Shane and I have the basement bedroom and Rowan sleeps with us in there. Landon sleeps in the finished living room space, and Alden sleeps in Shane’s old bedroom upstairs across the hall from the in-laws.

I feel awful because their house is sort of a disaster right now, but I’m trying to organize when I can. The girls don’t like to be alone in the living room (it’s not an open concept house) so I pretty much can’t leave their sight without them screaming bloody murder. So that leaves about zero time to do anything else. Including laundry…which is in the basement…

Balancing my life here, Shane working, Landon going to and from school (we have to drive him…) The girls having doctors appointments, any appointments that I have, AND all the meetings for building our house has been A LOT to handle. I’m tired. SO tired. Rowan likes to wake up A LOT during the middle of the night and I don’t know how to stop her from crying and waking up the in laws except to hop right up immediately with her so she stops.

I also have developed this weird rash that Alden’s pediatrician (yup- I asked my daughters pedi about MY rash lol. I’m that person) told me today looks to be a virus presenting as a rash. SO THAT’S FUN. I’ve had a sore throat for a while, and then bam this rash comes out of nowhere. I just want to be healthy, and not have to worry about this stuff on top of everything else. But, of course it would happen, right? I mean cus why not.

We finalized our home plans, and we are moving forward with building. It’s been kind of a nightmare and a breeze all at the same time. Of course interest rates are skyrocketing right now when we want to build because once again why not! Nothing is ever easy for us, so we’ve run into a few issues with that but we’re working it out. No one wants to be house poor you know? I still want to be able to have a life.

So the run down is:

I’m tired.

I need a vacation.

We need to win the lotto.

My body hates me.

And Rowan is crawling.

So much more I want to write but Rowans growling in her crib and I think that means she’s hungry…….

lately.

Wow. Where to start…

Lots has been going on, and I have been pretty MIA here except for a few random posts about how much my grief is taking ahold of me. So to jump right in to the updates…

We sold our house. We close on the 28th of September, and need to be out by October 3rd. We are moving in with my in-laws and living there while we build a home! We will be there for nearly 9 months, which is super intimidating, but you know what?… it’s fine and everything will work out. We are building with Schumacher homes and I cannot wait to get our forever home built and get us moved in. Today is our lot walk with the builder, and of course it’s pouring rain…I’m not sure if were still having it or not. Guess we will see!

Although the thought of moving out of this house really fills my heart with some sadness, I know that we will have many more memories in the new home. I can’t help but think of all the memories here…Landon was just 4 months old when we moved in. He first rolled over here, he took his first steps here. Yes those memories come with me, blah blah blah, but this house has seen it all. Literally. SO many things, good and bad, have happened here and it’s just hard to think about leaving for the last time and never getting to come back to the space where all these things happened.

Kenley’s nursery was constructed with such love and care. Walking in there every night and rocking her while she was safe in my belly filled me with so much hope and love, and then she was taken from us and her room became off limits. I remember the smell when I first went in there after having it closed off for so long…it smelled cold and sterile. Then, it became Kenley and Alden’s room slowly but surely. Now somehow it has become a room full of love again. I never EVER thought that would happen, but it did. Thinking about leaving that room automatically brings tears to my eyes and I cannot think about it with out feeling sick to my stomach.

It’s just going to be really really hard.

In other news, Landon has mono. He was feeling sick three weeks ago, and we took him for a strep test. They said it came back negative. They sent it out to be tested farther, and on Sunday they called to tell me that it was IN FACT positive. So, he had gone to school, football practice etc and had mono. Ugh. I feel so bad for him. He’s been working so hard at football during the summer, and has only played one game! Now, he’s pretty much out for the entire season. I hope that he will be able to play maybe one more game, but I really doubt it. We have to have blood work drawn again in a week to make sure that the mono is gone.

Also, I went to Chicago last weekend (alone!)! I met up with 4 women who I have been talking with since spring of 2016. They, unfortunately, know the sadness of baby loss. It felt SO normal, and I cannot believe how well we all got along. It was such an enjoyable time! We spent time talking about our lives, just like our daily texts and we also spent some quality time talking about our babies. It felt SO good to do that face to face instead of over text.

Shane’s birthday is tomorrow! I haven’t gotten him a gift and I’m pretty sure I won’t. We haven’t really done gifts in a while, so I don’t think this is a good time to start 🙂

I’m trying to create Kenley’s care packages this December too, but it’s not going too well… The donations are slow this year, and thats probably because I’m not pressing the donations like I was last year. I feel like I’m letting her down, but I am stretched so thin currently…If I can ramp up some donations I think it might be possible to get a couple boxes donated.

Life has been hectic. Crazy busy. Sad. Happy. All the emotions.

 

oh theres a river that winds on forever

There is a video somewhere in my house that shows me getting clothes from my dryer on the night that Kenley died. Shane got the camera charged and was talking to her, showing her around the house. He came to me and said “We’re going to meet you tonight! There you are in Mommy’s belly!”…. I have never watched this video, and honestly I don’t know where it is.

I have a feeling that Shane knows where it is; I’m almost positive that he has watched it.

I think about that video and I want to puke. I want to scream at myself; jump through the tv screen and shake myself. STOP PACKING! GO TO LABOR AND DELIVERY ASAP!!! GO NOW! YOUR BABY IS DYING AND YOU’RE PACKING A HOSPITAL BAG???

GO AS FAST AS YOU CAN. YOU NEED TO SAVE HER LIFE.

It makes me sick…like physically ill thinking about it.Why didn’t I go to Labor and Delivery earlier? I took Landon to my mother in laws at 9 am…yet I didn’t go to L&D until damn near 6pm.

I know the moment she died. What a fucking terrible feeling to live with. Think you’re having a bad day? Just be thankful you don’t carry that burden with you.

I was so happy to be packing my hospital bag. I wanted nothing more than to have my daughter born, and be able to have some nice photos of us afterward. With Landon I went into the hospital completely unprepared and with nothing, so I knew that with Kenley it would be different.

If I only fucking knew, right? If I only knew then what I know now. I would have asked for that extra NST test, even though the NP told me I was fine. I would have insisted even though she said everyone had “checked out mentally” that day because it was 2 days before Christmas. I just blindly trusted her? Why? Why did I believe that she knew what was going on inside of me. I should have told her about the weird pain (Kenley’s foot underneath my rib cage for sure).  I would have asked for extra scans. I would have insisted on a c-section at 38 weeks like I asked for in the first place…only to be told that they don’t do “elective” sections before 38 weeks.

I hope that the doctors in that office are haunted by their choices regarding my care. Like forever. I hope that it wakes them up at night and they feel sick.

but you know what? I know it doesn’t. I know they probably don’t even think of her anymore. She was just another “patient” to them. To me, I lost the love of my life…to them, it was just someone else’s problem.

It has been 2 years and 8 months today, yet it feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago at the same time. Time is a weird thing after you lose a child; it makes you dizzy and catches you off guard. I feel like I am constantly in a fog, and never really truly know what day it is. I don’t think I have since the day she died.

She should almost be 3 years old. Entering preschool possibly? I don’t let my mind go there. If I don’t allow my mind to think these things, I feel that I’m protecting my heart, but then deep down my conscious is like no you’re not protecting your heart you’re doing her a disservice by suppressing her. But am I really suppressing her? I’m pretty sure that I’m not? I’m pretty sure that I’m literally doing what I need to do in order to fucking survive.

Surviving without a child is THE WORST fucking thing in the world, I’m pretty damn sure of it.

I miss her and I didn’t even get to see her grow up. What a crazy mind fuck that is. I never heard her voice. I never heard her breathe, or saw her beautiful eyes. I never watched her chew on her tiny little fingers. I never got to feel her warmth on my chest; both of us feeling safe. I felt panicked and alone and scared and vulnerable and lost….And, she felt nothing. Ever.

Kenley’s care packages

Well, it’s August. And like half way into August at that. I had good intentions this year to start donations early and get things done……then a million things started happening. We almost bought a house. We listed our house for sale (and did all the things that come along with doing that…) I had some health stuff come up, Shane’s been working 6 days a week since May. Both girls are teething. Landon started football, and Landon just started school.

It’s just insane.

I don’t know that I’m going to be able to pull it off this year. I just don’t know. Our house is sold. It closes September 28th and we’re out 5 days later….

We’re going to be living with my In Laws.

I’m struggling with the fact that I really might not be able to do this for Kenley’s Birthday this year.

I feel guilty.

I have time for my living children (barely, it feels) so why can’t I have time for her.

It causes me so much anxiety and I’m not sure what to do. I miss having time to reflect here about how much I miss her and love her.

Because I do. I miss her so much. My life is never and will never be whole.

I don’t know what to do.

screw you, PBS.

We are in the process of showing our house because it’s listed for sale. I originally wanted to have 24 hr notice for showings, but somehow it didn’t end up happening…so, it is what it is. Today, I had received a request @ 9:30 for a showing from 1-2PM. Ugh. Shane and I cleaned up the house. We’re currently living in what feels like a staged home; Minimal toys. Minimal anything, really… and it’s incredibly hard to keep it clean with a toddler running around.

I think she must be able to tell when we need the house clean because thats when she likes to destroy things the most. She is IN LOVE with my pan cabinet, which in all honesty isn’t too bad with the exception that she will more than likely drop them on her toes at one point and either break one, or crack a toe nail or something. But, anyway, she carries them through the house and I will be cleaning up getting ready for a showing and come across a sauce pan in her bedroom closet, or the bathroom, or some other random place.

Current situation? Two lids in my living room floor.

ANYWAY. Not the point of this post. All this to say that we leave our home during the showings, and then we usually end up at my mother in laws for the duration. Today I was looking on demand to find something fun for Alden to watch while she ate her lunch, and I came across PBS. When I saw it, something in my stomach just felt off. I didn’t think too hard about it but clicked on their little section for shows anyway. When I came across Peg+Cat I felt it again.

The other day it happened to me too. I was scrolling through the guide and came cross PBS so I changed it to the channel. Thought it would offer some variety for Alden because I swear to god all she watches is Little Einsteins. Well, when I turned it on, it was a commercial for Nature Cat. Cue weird feeling in my stomach.

So today I clicked on peg+cat and was waiting for it to start when all of a sudden I sort of remembered why I was feeling that way. I canceled the on demand episode and hoped to god it would cancel before it actually started playing.

2015.

The series peg+cat came out in 2015.

I baby sat my friends kid and we watched a lot of PBS in the mornings.

I watched him while I was pregnant with Kenley.

It makes me physically ill to watch it, or hear it because of the reminders. I just cannot believe that I had forgotten that. It’s so weird how it still just makes you feel like shit no matter how long it has been. The triggers are still there; they will always be here, I’m sure of it. Things are different these days…the grief is less sharp? I feel like after Kenley died I was this freshly sharpened pencil; I was sharp and new to this situation. But, as my grief changed and life went on I was worn down, and the sharp edge was taken off… but at the same time I would be “resharpened” from time to time. In certain moments, the grief is just as sharp as before, and I know that it will always feel that way. There are things that will “resharpen” my grief for the rest of my life.

There are things that will trigger me forever. There are things that will cause so much sadness in my heart for the rest of my life. There are things that I can’t think about, to this day, without breaking down into a sobbing mess. This is my life. This is what (almost) 31 months out from the death of my child looks and feels like.

31 months…how…

942 days.

2 years, 6 months and 29 days…

The depth of my grief will not change, it’s just that my life doesn’t stop to allow me to be present in that grief most days.

 

4sale.

I literally do not feel like I have time to think about anything without my brain being clouded with 50,000 other thoughts. It’s insane. There is so much going on in our lives and while most of it is amazing, it does come with stress and emotional guilt.

We have officially listed our home for sale. The only home that any of my children have ever known. Landon was 4 months old when we moved here– Rowan’s age! He is not a bright and vibrant 7 year old boy. Kenley grew inside of me here…The embryo that is now Alden implanted here, and Rowan surprisingly came into our lives here. I have some guilt about leaving the only home that Kenley ever knew. I think the decision to move from the only home that your dead baby has ever known is so personal…some people say it feels freeing for them to leave, and some people say that they feel guilt.

I think that eventually I will feel ok with the choice, but right now it just brings me to tears randomly. I had so many plans for our lives here. We were going to have 2 kids, and this house would be perfect for that. The space here would accommodate us, but, alas life isn’t always what you expect it to be…now we have 3 living children and one who will never be here to take up space and cause commotion.

Yesterday we had the realtor team in to take photos of our home. It took 2 hours! I can’t wait to see them on our listing though. I’ve put a ton of work into this home, Shane has busted his ass working on things to make the outside of the home look beautiful, and he has busted his ass even harder working his job to make sure we can afford this home and that I can stay home with the kids.

We haven’t been able to find anything we are interested in buying, but we are actively looking for homes and for land. We would love to build. Things just need to constantly be  busy all the time, apparently. I guess I like to torture myself. Thinking about doing showings of this house with 3 kids, and Shane at work during the day time stresses me out to no end! Our goal is to have showings all next week after it gets listed, and do an open house on Saturday and Sunday. We will see what happens.

Life is weird, and this post is sort of just a jumbled mess of thoughts because I needed to write them down.

two and a half.

Today you should be two and a half years old. You should be doing a wide array of things that I have not allowed myself to even think about quite honestly. I don’t know what type of little girl you would be. Would you be a stubborn independent child, or would you be a cuddly love bug? Or both? Would you let me put your hair in pigtails and let me paint your nails?

What would your voice sound like?

Would your eyes stay brown like I read on your autopsy report they were?

How much would you love Landon? He loves you so much and he never got to meet you. That is one of my biggest “I don’t know if I did the right thing” moments…it’s probably the only moment in my life that I’m always questioning or replaying…should I have let him see you? He misses you so bad.

I don’t typically allow my brain to go to these places because it’s just too sad. It is so fucking sad. My heart breaks daily for you and what our family lost when you left us. I wish so badly that you were alive and I was able to hold you in my arms and kiss your warm skin. I would give anything to run my hands over your beautiful face one more time. I love you, sweet girl.

It is not lost on me that both of your sisters wouldn’t be here if you were and that is a very hard thing to swallow. These days, it feels like I can’t imagine you being alive, and them not being here. I never thought I would be able to even think that way, but grief is weird and confusing. I know it’s all part of healing but it makes me so sad.

Grief is changing for me lately.

Maybe it’s not the grief that is changing per se; I still miss you as much if not more than the day you left me. Instead, maybe it’s the fact that your sisters are helping me heal in ways I never thought possible mixed with the fact that my heart has cried all it possibly can for you. There are times when everything feels fresh and I am overwhelmed with the raw grief of the early days, but that is more rare now. More often it is something small that brings a tear to my eye; instead of crying for an entire day, I will be blindsided and cry for a few moments. The grief is short lived and super intense but I’m able to pull myself from its grips.

Christmas anything, songs, colors, the weather, noises, driving past certain places, wearing certain clothes, certain scents, the way your Daddy looks at me…these are some of the things that are normal, yet somehow are also triggers for me. Life is like a second hand puzzle you get at goodwill and you are the missing piece; Everything now feels discounted, and cheap. I feel cheated. I’ll never get that piece back.

Today you should be 2 and a half. How is that even possible. The mind is an amazing thing capable of understanding some really intense stuff but I will NEVER understand your death. I know that there is a “scientific reason” why you died; we were fortunate enough to get that answer. But, there is no logical reason in the same sense…there is no reason a perfect child should die. My perfect baby should be alive.

I’ve never allowed myself to fully go back to that day. My heart is one small break away from irreparable damage. It’s not that I don’t want to remember it, I do so badly, but it hurts. It’s a memory that no one should ever have.

Kenley, you were (are) so wanted. I planned for you. I prepared my life for your arrival and you never came. I am so sorry that I couldn’t save you; I know that it’s not my “fault” but IT IS.

Two and a half years…how does it feel like just yesterday, but also an eternity since I’ve held you in my arms? Two and a half years closer to you, my sweet first daughter.

I love you.

————-

Your skin

Oh yeah, your skin and bones

Turn into something beautiful

You know, you know I love you so

You know I love you so

-Coldplay. Yellow.

It’s time…again!

As many of you know, it’s about time to start creating Kenley’s care packages. These packages will go to the hospital where she was born to comfort other parents who are going through what we went through. This year I have decided to stick with 40 packages, and donate hand made hats, and blankets as well. Last year we donated SOOOOO MUCH STUFF. It made my heart feel so happy and proud that we could do that in her name. A lot of you reading probably helped in some way or another, so I thank you for that.

I wrote about starting to collect donations again this year and that can be found here.

 

The amazon wish list is here

 

The gofundme page is here

 

If you wish to help in another way not mentioned above, please let me know! Anything helps. I appreciate everything you all have helped me accomplish in her honor. That’s the greatest thing for a momma’s heart.