Kenley’s Care Packages

I did it.

I put together the boxes.

Finally.

They are all done. I need to tie them up with ribbon, but they’re done. Landon helped me with about 6 boxes. He knows that one of the books in the boxes make me sad, and he asked why. I explained to him what the books mean and why we are donating the boxes. He said he understood and that the book might not be sad to everyone. I said that the book is sad to people who lose babies because of the way you feel when you read it; the words mean something completely different when your baby dies. I’m not sure if he truly understands or not.

It’s hard to think about how I was able to throw a birthday party for him after Kenley died. Thinking about how it’s so hard for me to complete the task of throwing him a party now, even this far out, it just makes my mind explode thinking about how I was able to have a get together shortly after my life changed forever. I know I wanted to make his life feel as normal as possible, and I hope that I have done that, but I really don’t know if I’ve done a good job. I don’t know. Some days I feel like I have done well, and that he is very understanding of what happened to her, and how she impacted our lives…while other days I feel like he is a 7 year old kid who just doesn’t understand it.

He’s only 7. He was only 4 when she died. I cannot believe I have lived three years with a grieving Son, and without my first born Daughter. It seriously makes my brain explode some days.

It is incredible to me that depression has kept me from putting these boxes together until now. I have so many things going on in my life that you would think it would make me feel less stress over one particular thing but it’s the opposite. It makes me so so anxious to know that I couldn’t get the boxes done before her birthday. AND here it is one whole month later, and I just finished them. All the pieces sat there, staring at me, for a month. I just couldn’t bring myself to assemble them. It’s SAD. It’s so sad thinking about where they are going and why they are going.

I came to write about them, and about all the things related to them, but I just can’t.

Depression wins again. I can’t do it tonight.

land.

Today we signed our contract for the land and construction loan! We are officially the owners of a really boring piece of land that will become our forever home soon! I can’t believe it. I am so ready to get the house going, and to see what it looks like when it’s all done.

I’ll tell you what…building a house is ridiculous. The stuff that has to be done before you even START is outrageous! Not to mention all the permits you need, and the cost of said permits. It’s nuts. That’s my little update for today. I am having a hard time finding my feelings to write here, but I want to keep updating for people who follow my journey.

I feel like I have a lot to say about nothing. I feel like everything I write about Kenley will just be repetitive and never change. She is a gaping hole in my soul and I cannot change that. It’s so weird. Idk…3 years and some change later and I just miss her as much as the day she died. Somedays its awful, somedays it’s less awful and I can look at her beautiful face and feel proud to be her mom. Today, I scrolled through my blog and saw her photo and my heart sank.

It’s a crap shoot with how I will feel and I think that it’s pretty shitty that this is my forever.

It’s unfair.

A bunch of random.

Kenley’s Birthday has come and gone…again. It just seems so unreal. God I hate even saying that because it just sounds so clichè. Of course it seems unreal– my child died. That’s just the the most unreal event anyone can experience.

We celebrated her with a small get together with my family and Shane’s family. My mom bought her cake (like every year, because I literally can’t even think about it without wanting to die) and we had some food, and released balloons for her on the land where we are building our house. It felt perfect to include her even before the house has started. All in all it was a very nice celebration of her life.

We received tons of love and support from all over on her birthday. I love seeing her name or hearing that she is on someone’s mind. People did some really awesome things for us on her birthday and it is so special. So if you thought of her or messaged me or whatever–thank you.

Celebrating a birthday without the birthday girl just feels weird and unnatural. Such is life, right?

We chose to release the balloons on the land that were building because it just seems fitting. We can’t include her any other way so this was perfect. We are closing on our construction loan on 1/15, and start digging shortly there after! We are so ready. This needs to happen so soon. We’ve been living with Shane’s parents since September 30th. We, as a large family, just need our own space. And I’m sure my in laws need theirs as well.

The house is going to be everything we wanted and I’m so excited!

We were able to get everything we wanted from this builder and for a LOT cheaper. I’ll tell you what…the first shower in my new tile shower is going to be amazingggggg. I can’t wait to start this chapter of our lives and see where it takes us.

Landon has his first basketball game tomorrow morning. He’s the older kid on the team this year so it will be interesting to see how it goes. I think he’s going to do great. I worry about how to corral two babies for an hour during the games…that will be fun.

Shane has been working 6 day work weeks since May, and it’s not slowing down. And now he’s not actually receiving a paycheck so that’s really fun too…I’m going to need the government to reopen and stop being dicks asap.

I’m going to NYC on the 18th! My friend Alaina and I are going to see the cursed child on broadway. When we booked this trip I remember thinking about how far off in the future it was…and now it’s here. Crazy. Time just keeps flying by. It will be nice to get away and unwind even though traveling stresses me out. I’ll also get to see my very good friend Christine so that will be SO awesome, too!

I chopped all of my hair off because I’m insane I think. I didn’t really intend to get it this short but I said I wanted it to not look stringy and dead and well lol this happened. Also, my hair wouldn’t dye the normal blonde color that I have so I’m kinda pissed about that. Thanks body for being so weird. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna go bald so it doesn’t really matter what my hair looks like I suppose!

I’ve lost nearly 60 lbs as well. So that feels really REALLY good. I’m at this weird place where mentally I don’t see it and some days I feel great and others I see me at my highest weight when I look in the mirror. But, today for the first time, I saw myself…60 lbs lighter. I can’t say I’ll see it tomorrow but today it felt good.

I need to start looking into planning three birthday parties. Landon’s Birthday was supposed to be at a trampoline park and after we got his basketball schedule I realized that literally NONE of his friends will be able to come because the time slot is when all the games are. So scratch that. I’m checking into a different place and hoping they can accommodate us for later in the afternoon!

As for the girls. Ugh. I never ever wanted to have “joint” birthday parties…but here I am. So, the girls will have a birthday party on the same weekend which feels like Rowan is getting screwed a little lol. Poor Rowie. 4th child problems I guess? Not sure what I’m going to do, but it’s looking like Peppa Pig or Minnie Mouse. Rowan isn’t into anything specific yet, and Alden loves team umizoomi and the above cartoons. I’m just not sure what to do. I know it’s more so for me right now but I still want them to enjoy themselves!

Birthday overload.

Christmas was ok. Wanted to die the entire season as per usual. October-February makes me so unsettled.

So there’s my random update.

3.

My sweetest Kenley,

Today you are three. Except you aren’t…but you are? You are three, wherever you are. You have been missed earth-side for 3 years.

Three years have passed since you were physically here. Three whole years since I held you in my arms.

I can’t believe it.

I was planning to write this huge wonderful birthday letter but honestly? Your momma’s heart is broken into a million pieces and I have no words.

I have said it a million times and I don’t think saying it again would make it any different. It changes nothing.

I miss you. I love you. I hope you know how much your life changed mine. I hope you see how important you are in our daily life. I hope you see all the good I try to do in your name.

You are so loved.

You are so missed.

Your life meant something and it always will.

I see your absence in your sisters presence. It is heart breaking to say the least.

I love you. I love you. I fucking love you more than life itself and I hope that you know that.

I wish I knew that you knew what you mean to me.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful daughter.

Mommy loves you.

its coming.

December is in full swing. It is cold, rainy, and snowy; It is full of familiar scents, sights, and sadness. Every year so far it has sort of fallen into my life like a ton of bricks. I know that it is coming because around Halloween I start to feel it in my bones. I feel physically ill with certain thoughts. It causes me to remember all of my pregnancy with Kenley in vivid depth and it is, quiet honestly, crippling.

I can’t fall apart, however, because my entire family relies on me. I am their everything; Mom, nurse, cook, chauffeur, coach, teacher. I handle it all, especially as Shane has been working 6 day work weeks since May. I am going through a lot with minimal help, and now the sadness of December is upon me. Somedays I don’t know how I manage to wake up and function.

Yesterday I sat down and was scrolling though my google photos for some reason. I always make damn sure to be super careful that I don’t go back too far. I never want to look back past Kenley’s birthday. There are contraction screen shots that make me want to cry when I see them because I should have gone to L&D and I didn’t because I didn’t want to inconvenience any of the medical staff the day after Christmas. My god. How stupid am I? Anyway, I sat down and was looking and I allowed myself to look at Kenley’s photos.

There were 2 live photos and they show me holding her, and rubbing her sweet face with my hand. I never knew they were live, so I cried incredibly hard. It was her. She was there in that moment with me, in a weird way. I know she was never alive, but she was here and that small 2 second snippet reminded me of that fact. I have her ashes, and her body is no longer here, BUT that photo showed me her physical being. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been in my shoes, but it was nice to see them. I wish we would have taken video SO badly, but no one tells you that you should. No one tells you that in 3 years you will be sobbing because you only have X amount of photos of your dead baby and you’ll never be able to see her again.

No one lets you know that some day…some day far down the road you will WANT to see every angle of her face, and body and that you might actually want to see a video of you holding her, and kissing her face and telling her that you are so sorry, that you love her more than anything in the whole entire world and you wish you could have saved her.

No one told me those things. I wish they would have.

When she died, I remember feeling so many things but mostly I felt absolutely dead inside. I knew that my life was forever changed at that moment. But now, nearly 3 years later, I really see it. I see it with clarity; The person I was from my birth until 12.29.2015 did in fact truly die with Kenley that day.

I am a new person.

I am changed in ways I wish I didn’t understand. I see things with eyes that I wish weren’t mine. I am burdened with guilt that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I have sadness and anger that are so deep I will never find their bottom. I am not a better person because my daughter died; I am a new person. A bereaved Mother who lost her second child, her first daughter. This person gives zero shits about the little things in life that used to bother her, and instead cares about the insensitivity of people who choose to  not accept her grief.

This is my life now.

When I feel strong, I let my walls down and allow myself to feel the raw grief. It is like a dam. When the floodgates open, the emotions come pouring into me with unbounded strength. The grief and sadness know no constraint. I can’t always allow myself to feel these things because I do have to be present and take care of my living children. This in itself creates a problem. I need to allow myself to feel what I feel but I see how it affects my children. There is a thin line between daily happiness and daily despair. Somedays it’s so thin…like a single strand of hair. Anything could snap it and thrust me one way or the other.

As the days wind down I’m noticing the sadness in everything I do. Nothing is bringing me joy. I’ve been listening to a lot of music to keep my brain occupied. I’ve watched the office again, and I’m trying to watch anything and everything that doesn’t require me to feel emotion.

15 days until the anniversary of the worst day of my life. Yet, somehow it’s the anniversary of the best day of my life as well?

It’s the day I held your perfect body. Yet it’s the day I had to give you away.

See? It’s all just too much for one human to handle. Somedays I wish I went with her.

 

joy and sadness.

Alden was staring out the window the other day and I just started crying. It was snowing,  the heater was running, her little curls were cascading down the back of her jammies and I just lost it.

I am the Mother who looks at her children and cries both out of sadness and joy. 

I didn’t ask to be this Mother. I would NEVER ask to be this Mother; I don’t think anyone would ask to go through what we have. I feel guilt every day when I look at my beautiful girls. I don’t feel it as strong when I look at Landon because he came before Kenley died… yet I remember how I felt toward him after she died. This is an incredibly difficult thing to admit but there was a time after Kenley died that I couldn’t hug him. I remember scream crying to Shane outside one day about 6 months after she died that I couldn’t hug Landon because I feel his heart beating against my chest and I never got to feel Kenley’s. I know he tried to understand the words coming out of my mouth, but we were both still in our early grief over her death and I think he thought I was insane.

I remember after Alden came that there was a time where I felt NOTHING toward her. I didn’t know if I would ever be able to open my heart again to her. Obviously now I realize that just because she arrived didn’t mean that I would love Kenley any less. And, the same thing goes for Rowan. These girls have brought so much love to my heart and they never for once took away from my love for Kenley. But, unfortunately the grief will always coexist with the joy. The sadness with the happiness.  The good days with the bad days.

It’s nearly December. Today is 11/29; in one month Kenley should be turning 3.

When I say it in my head it seems impossible. This is not my life. I do not have a dead Daughter. This is all just some huge dream that I need to wake up from, but it’s not. It is real. It is my life, and I do in fact have a Daughter who is dead. It doesn’t make her any less my Daughter, but it is crazy how it changes my every day life. She needs and deserves to be parented, yet it is incredibly difficult to do that with 3 living children who literally consume EVERY.WAKING.SECOND. of my life.

December is your month, K. You are so loved and so missed. I cannot even fathom that you should be almost 3. Stopping to consider the little person you would be cuts my heart like a knife and I cannot do it. I know the things that I’m missing out on, and it hurts me so much. I wish you were here with every fiber of my being, and I hope you know that.

I don’t know how many different ways I can express how much I miss and love you…

You are mine and I am yours. I love you.

 

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.