As the year comes to a close and Kenley’s second birthday speeds toward me like a fucking bullet train, I am so thankful for the donations we will be making to the hospital in her memory.
I was just going over the items that have been sent so far for our project and I just need to share with everyone because I am amazed by the generosity of the people involved!
So far we have-
- 21/40 boy sleepers
- 22/40 girl sleepers
- 15/40 Wherever You Are : My Love Will Find You books
- 3/40 The Invisible String book
- 1/7 Chapstick
- 4/40 Angel’s embrace figurine
- 3/40 Handprint Keepsake Kit
- 1/2 Forget me not seeds
- 29/40 Memories too few book
We also have 12 packs of tissues, all the pens requested, and all of the journals requested. The candles are being donated by Aggies on Main again! I cannot wait to get them because they smell so amazing. I know that they were able to bring some comfort to the parents who lost their babies last year and early this year.
Our gofundme has raised $580 as well! This money is going toward the book “You are the Mother of all Mothers”. 40 of these books are nearly $500. This book was so beneficial for me when Kenley died; it showed me that I was not alone in all of my deep dark feelings. I also will have some money left over to put toward some relaxing hand lotion for the care packages.
I am so excited to keep moving forward with this project! It makes my heart smile when the mail lady brings packages every day! She probably hates me — Job Security, though, amiright!?
Thank you for all your help!
After Kenley died I knew that I wanted to do something in her honor for the Hospital where she was born. I didn’t know what; nothing felt right to be honest. We ended up donating 2 large photos and they are placed in the room where she was born- 3E11-, and the room next door. I didn’t think that was enough, and still didn’t feel right. What could I do to make her name mean something to other people?
I was given a book and a rubber bracelet when Kenley was born still. I wear the bracelet every single day, as does Shane. I haven’t taken it off once since I put it on; I had it on the day Alden was born. I thought for a while about what would be good to put in the bags. I came up with a list of items that I knew would have really helped me had I received them at the time of her death.
- good quality tissues (my nose was bloody & raw from the hospitals)
- relaxing lotion
- a candle to light in honor of your baby
- two books that helped me in my early grief
- a note pad and pen to jot down information
- forget me not seeds to plant in honor of your baby
Last year, we donated 20 bags in Kenley’s name. We also donated some crocheted hats, and sleepers for the babies who are born still.
I was contacted by the Hospital and told all bags had all been used within 6 months. Twenty babies born sleeping within 6 months in my town. How? How is this still happening? I know that it’s never NOT going to happen, at least not in my life time, but it’s just mind boggling that in 2017 babies still die. The fact that these babies don’t even get a chance is what hurts the most.
This year, in honor of Kenley, we have chosen to donate 40 bags to the Hospital system. We are also going to donate 40 girl sleepers, 40 boy sleepers, and 40 books for the parents to give to the siblings (if needed). This is going to be a huge undertaking, and I’m looking forward to organizing it again this year! I’m starting things early that way there is plenty of time to organize the creation of all bags, and make sure things fall into place.
Last year, tons of people reached out to me and asked what they could do for Kenley’s birthday. I chose to have people take photos of her name and send them to me. I then printed them out and have them in a collage in my home. It was so healing to see her name written in all kinds of places, in all kinds of ways.
This year, I’m asking for people to donate to her care packages.
I’ve made an Amazon wish list as well if people would rather purchase items instead of donating money to the *gofundme account we made for donations.
I’m planning to post this information in a separate page at the top of my blog so it’s accessible all the time and you won’t have to go fishing through old posts to find the information. It’s extremely hard for us to “shop” for things that will go to grieving parents, but I don’t know anyone better to help other grieving parents than another grieving parent. It broke my heart to add all of these sleepers to the wish list knowing that they will be given to babies who didn’t get to spend time with their parents how they should. I wish that they could be worn while the child is laying in their parents arms, staring into their eyes full of joy and a future, instead of the parents staring at all they lost in their child.
I hope that you will consider taking a peek at the Amazon wish list to see what we plan to donate! (Please view the entire list as Amazon makes it impossible to set default priority settings, or simply sort by priority)
Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like to donate something than what is on the list, or have any questions what so ever! Any help or donation is appreciated SO very much!
**ALL DONATIONS WILL GO TOWARD CARE PACKAGES.**
Some days there are no words that come to my head when I think about describing how sad I am without my middle child.
There have been conversations lately that revolve around my newest child and make no mention of Kenley. I want my life with Alden to move forward; I don’t want to live one second without her sweet face in my life. I just want people to remember Kenley, too.
I often wonder if people think about her as much as I do? Do certain things that they do, or things that happen to them remind them of her? Are certain situations reminders of the sweet baby girl we lost?
Do they wonder what she would look like now, or what she would be doing?
Do they wake up each morning with her near the front of their minds like they did for so long?
I doubt it.
And I cannot blame them- life continues to move forward and my life in the “after” includes Alden. It IS Alden. It’s incredibly hard to explain, and this is a very random post so don’t try to make heads or tails of it- I just needed to put this down somewhere.
The 4th was rough. Alden enjoyed the parade and I found myself getting choked up quite frequently. I mentioned to Shane that I was getting upset and he comforted me. He is amazing and I am so thankful for him. I ended up leaving him there with Alden so I could step away and break down.
It was too much.
I was brought to tears by a fucking parade.
All because my daughter is dead.
It is not fair that everything is so hard for a parent who has lost a child.
It’s so unfair.
As I reached into the back of my spice cabinet and felt them, I knew what they were. The numbers 3 & 0. They were my birthday candles; hot pink, and glittery on tiny little toothpicks. They were my favorite candles, and they were from my favorite birthday- My 30th. I was finally pregnant after all of our infertility treatments, and I was so happy. Shane and Landon went together to buy me a birthday present. They bought me a past present future ring that I’ve worn on my right ring finger ever since.
This is the only gift I have “from” Kenley. When I opened the gift, I imagined giving it to her when she was older, maybe on her high school graduation day. Maybe on her wedding day; it could be her something old. People don’t prepare you for these things.
No one ever tells you what happens after.
After the initial shock wears off.
After you wake up for consecutive days without the baby you carried for 9 months.
After you can so sadly say “I’m a survivor of child loss”.
No one ever tells you that every day is a fight; to get out of bed, to not fall apart every second of every day, to feel normal- whatever that new normal may be. No one ever tells you that you will feel like your body failed you; that you will hate yourself for what your body did to your child. You never hear about the judgement you will face, like you’re damaged goods, and now you’re less of a Mother because your child is dead. No one tells you that you will constantly replay the moments over and over in your head, no matter how hard you try to block them out; your memories become your nightmares.
No one tells you that somehow you make it through. Somehow you are still alive. Somehow you are still breathing, but you are not the same person as before. You will never be that person; that person died with the child you lost.
That person no longer exists.
I don’t know that I would have believed anyone, during the early days of grief, had they told me that eventually you just learn how to survive. Surviving doesn’t mean that things get easier; honestly, things get more complicated and weird as time goes on. Surviving doesn’t mean that you forgot, or ever will forget the child you lost, or that this child is any less loved than they were the moment you found out of their existence.
Surviving means that the love you have for that child transcends time and space.
Surviving means you are keeping the memory of your child alive.
Every day that I survive on this earth, is one day closer to my Daughter.
Most days (now) I wake up and feel like I’ve lived a really bad dream for the past (almost) 18 months. It just doesn’t seem like this can be MY life. This type of stuff happens to other people, not to me. Not to my family; we had already faced so much when we found out Kenley died. How could we be dealt this hand, too? Why me? Why Shane? Why Landon? But most of all, why Kenley? My sweet girl. My innocent little baby…what did she do to deserve this?
I often think of her, and what she would be doing these days. I find myself looking at her photo while feeding Alden. Staring at her, staring at both of them, hoping to see a similarity that I can cling to in my living child’s face. I usually come up empty handed. Alden is her own person, and I know that, but I wish I could see Kenley in her.
People have asked me if I’ve called Alden by Kenley’s name. I haven’t yet, but it is only because I consciously tell myself that it is not her name. Every time I speak Alden’s name, Kenley’s name comes to my lips first. Always. I’m pretty sure this is normal, and I’m also sure it will be a life long battle in some capacity.
I know that as Alden becomes her own person I will be able to separate them more. I only knew Kenley inside of me, and outside, even though she had passed away, for a few hours. I won’t ever really know her, because I already know all there is to know about her. I know the foods she liked, and the music she liked.
She loved Mexican food, and Ceasar Salad from Panera Bread.
She loved Christmas music.
But, I will never know her favorite color, or if she would have been tall like me. What color eyes would she have had at Landon’s age? These are things I will always have to wonder about. I will get to see Alden become her own person, and every single day I am so thankful for that, but you know what? It still stings. I am not ok. I am not “better” because she is here; I am different, sure, but not better. My life will never be “better”- I’ve lost a child and that is something you cannot replace.
Alden does not take Kenley’s place in my life or in our family.
I read a quote the other day that said “I think hell is something you carry around with you, not somewhere you go”.
This rings so true with me. No matter the happiness I feel, no matter the joy and light that Alden brings to me, or the length of time that passes since Kenley’s birth, the scars of going through the deepest darkest hell are still going to be there. I will be carrying the aftermath, my new life, the “hell”, with me forever.
This is my life, forever. Nothing can ever change that. Nothing can bring Kenley back, so this is it.
I am the parent of a dead child.
Some days the reality hits a lot harder.
I will live on this earth without you.
Never again will I kiss your face.
Or hold your body in my arms.
Some days it stings more than normal.
I won’t get to watch you crawl, or walk.
I can’t watch you ride a bike.
I’ll never braid your hair.
I’ll never help you mend a broken heart.
I can never watch you get married.
The secondary losses are infinate.
I miss you. I love you.
I don’t understand how a Mother goes on without one of her children; that life is obviously cruel and unfair.
Isolating and torturous.
Dark and lonely.
I want you here, baby girl.
I’m just so tired.
On Wednesday night I got a voicemail from Landon’s t-ball coach. He told us that Landon’s team had practice this Saturday @ 11am. It’s been raining for 3 days, and I’m pretty sure that practice is going to be canceled tomorrow (not to mention it’s freezing cold for May). Shane and I went out the next day to buy him new cleats and baseball pants while he was at School.
I was doing dishes tonight and my mind got to thinking about last t-ball season. After one of the first practices last year is when I started my blog. I think about how fresh in my grief I was, and about the things that bothered me then. If I’m being honest, not much has changed. I know a lot of people think that by now, at 16 months and 6 days after our daughter was stillborn, we should be feeling better, but the sad truth is we’re just not. I don’t know that we will ever “feel better” as I’m pretty sure this isn’t something you learn to feel better about. I think about how I was so upset seeing the family who had 3 kids perfectly spaced out…and that stings even more this year in some odd way.
I have 2
but…I have 3.
And this year, we’re on a team where no one knows our family’s story…
I’m not looking forward to all the families- the normal families- at these events. There were more strollers at the games last year than I could ever count. Now this year, I have to witness the little girls running around that would be Kenley’s age. I just don’t know how your heart is supposed to handle these things…year after year…
I know it’s a lifetime thing, and someday I’m sure i’ll be less aware of the ages of these children, but for now it just fucking sucks. And it sucks a lot.
I’m very excited to have Alden here, safe, in my arms. I’m excited that she gets to come to Landon’s t-ball games and he gets to show her off to his friends. I’m thrilled that I feel stressed out about having two kids and often having to take them alone to Landon’s games as Shane will be working…but…
There will always be one missing. It feels weird to say that because who knows, maybe there wouldn’t always be one missing per se. If Kenley had lived, we wouldn’t have Alden- we were done. If Kenley had lived things would be different. If Kenley had lived, I would be chasing around a 16 month old and she would be eating popcorn and waving at her brother while he’s on third base putting dirt in his glove instead of paying attention to the ball.
So many If’s associated with loss, and it’s just so sad to think about. I don’t like to let my mind go there because it’s too sad and painful. I can’t even do the “May we all heal” prompts this year. I’m pretty sure my grief has just become a part of me now; it’s now deep in my bones where it will stay for the rest of my earthly life.
I think my grief is so intense that I cannot allow myself to think about it because it will straight up kill me.
Imagine having to live every day knowing that you cannot see one of your children. Ever again.
Imagine waking up to their photo- in which they are dead- instead of their face.
Imagine thinking about the day they died every. second. of. your. life.
Imagine thinking if you had gone to the Hospital that morning instead of waiting that she could be here, she would be alive, they could have saved her because the doctor said she had only been gone for less than 3 hours.
Imagine having to choose one of your children to live without.
It’s enough to kill you, isn’t it?
Lately I’ve been trying to figure out how to strike a balance between my every day stressors, my grief, and my two living children. It’s not easy, and I’m really afraid that I’m doing a shitty job. There are days that I just literally cannot do anything except exist and I feel that is extremely hard. Then, there are days where I feel good- positive almost. It never fails that those days where the positivity starts to creep in always end in disaster. I will feel ok then something will happen in the afternoon that makes me derail and feel like shit. I can handle the fact that Kenley died; I’ve almost come to accept the fact in a way…but add in the every day crap and it just sends me over the edge.
I’m trying to figure out how to balance all of that. I know that I will never wake up and feel “normal” and I really don’t want to feel that way. I feel like normal is a relative word and I’m discovering what my “new” normal is every day.
I had a follow up MFM appointment on Thursday. They gave me a postpartum depression questionnaire thing to fill out. When my Dr came in she said ” So your depression scale was really high” (no shit) so we decided to add in an anti-anxiety medication on top of my anti-depressant. I know that I need this medication to get my shit under control. Then we talked about a few other things like when I would be able to get pregnant again if we decided to do so, testing to see if I have a blood clotting disorder that will require lifetime medication, and was given a full exam.
- Not allowed to transfer an embryo for at least a year if we decide to have more children.
- Went to the lab to have blood drawn
- Full exams suck
The next day the doctor called and told me that my Protein S levels were in normal range which means that it was artificially lowered in pregnancy BY pregnancy…This means that Kenley did not die from my blood clotting disorder because I don’t technically have one. I am NOT ok with this answer, so I am seeking out a hematologist to discuss things further. It does not make sense that my levels were so extremely low during pregnancy and I took blood thinners and bam, Alden’s here alive and healthy and Kenley died. I’m just confused on it all so I will leave this open ended and post more about it when I know more/have more time.
Yesterday should have been a good friends Daughters 1st Birthday. She was taken too soon, just like all of our babies. I went to Starbucks and said my name was Meredith so they would write it on my cup, and I paid for the two cars behind me in honor of Meredith on her birthday. (Also- side note- had a cake pop for the first time…omfg. so good.)
My planner is full of names of babies who are gone too soon, and I hate it. It makes me so sad. These poor babies should be here with their parents, it’s just unfair.
Alden is nearly rolling from front to back already. It’s insane! She has almost done it three times now, and I give her a few days before she masters it. She’s such a good baby, I’m so thankful that she isn’t colicky like her brother because I would not be able to handle it.
I need to get my hair done, Landon needs a hair cut, and so does Shane. It’s insane. We all look homeless.
The paving company came last Monday to fill in the sides of our driveway with dirt, and no one told me they were coming. I was in my robe at 8am and my door bell rang. I thought it was UPS and didn’t answer it, then I hear the sounds of dump trucks backing up. When I looked outside there were tons of machines and men working. WTAF? Why didn’t anyone tell me they were coming????? I walked out and told them, hey sorry I didn’t move the truck, no one gave me a date or time for the work to start so you’re going to have to work around it. This week they should come to seal the drive way (per the man doing the work last week…) so we’ll see what happens. They didn’t tamp the dirt down, so when it rained yesterday the dirt ran into my yard. Shane took pics and sent them to the company because that shouldn’t happen, and quite frankly this company has been shit-tacular at best in doing the jobs the way they should.
I can’t wait until it’s all done, and we can not have to worry about them anymore. I will be hiring other people to seal the driveway in the following years.
When it’s all done, were buying Landon a basketball hoop for the driveway. Then, we will be getting mulch, and flowers for the front of the house. I can’t wait to get my daffodils planted around all the trees and get the house looking nice again for spring time. I’m pretty sure that Kenley’s tree is dead; it’s pretty “crisp” and hasn’t had any new buds this spring sooooo……I guess I’ll give it another year.
Yesterday, Kenley should have been 16 months old.
Ouch. My heart.
4 days left. It doesn’t feel real still. Of course all last night I laid in bed waiting to feel her move, and she just didn’t move as much or as hard as I liked. So this morning I woke up, and I just chugged 2 glasses of chocolate milk (pretty sure I’ll throw up here in about 5 seconds) in hopes to make her move. She’s usually pretty lazy until about 10-11 am, so I’m trying to be rational here…
I need to decide how I want to go about packing a hospital bag. I know I need to because it will make everything easier for us to have it at the hospital, or at least in the car where it’s easy access instead of driving 35 minutes back home to get something. Maybe I will try to tackle that today– I highly doubt it but we’ll see. I do need to wash some serious laundry so that’s probably what will be happening today. It’s about 20 degrees outside, with an extended warning for next week to be extremely cold.
As were inching closer to the big day, I can’t help but miss Kenley even more than normal if that’s possible. I feel so far away from her these days. She’s been gone for a long time, and somedays it just feels impossible that she was ever actually here. I would give anything to kiss her beautiful face one more time. There are many things I wish I could have done differently, but I am happy that I (hopefully) will get to mother her little sister. I just wish I could have them both in my arms.
On a different note-
I’ve been noticing a friends blog is referring people to my blog in great numbers for the past two days. I did a little more investigation and found out that she has been nominated to answer some fun questions for an award called the”Getting to know you” award, in which she is asked to nominate another blogger to do the same…I am that blogger! I was so thrilled when I finally had a second to sit down and read her answers to the questions. Christine is an amazing human. I found her very shortly after I lost Kenley, and creeped her blog hardcore. I don’t think she truly knows (yet..give it 5 seconds here) how much she has helped me on this journey to our Rainbow.
When I was sad, I would just find random posts on her blog to read. She would make me laugh, or make me cry, or sometimes she would manage to do both in one post. That my friends takes talent. I can relate to pretty much every single thing she posts, and I find that is very rare nowadays. So Christine, this is my thank you for supporting me even when you didn’t know I existed, and for now being an amazing friend whom I hope to stay in contact with for a long ass time.
Here are the questions I’m supposed to answer- Enjoy!
Who are you named after?
Honestly, I don’t think anyone. I know that I was supposed to be named something different but when my parents saw me they thought it wasn’t right. And that’s about all there is to the story of how I had a boys name growing up… Truth be told though, I love it now. I am so thankful it’s original and I think it fits me quite well.
Do you like your handwriting?
Yep. I always have. My cursive writing could use some practice, but lets be honest I don’t event think they’re teaching it in school anymore so I’m not gonna worry too much. I remember writing a letter to Shane when we first met; fast forward 13 years and I was just looking at it in our memory box thinking man! I really love my hand writing. Of course it could also be that I was obsessed with those fine tip purple inked pens.
What is your favorite lunch meat?
Well, I like Ham, but Christine’s answer (It was thinly sliced honey ham. But then Mark toured a meat plant and told me a little about it…) really bummed me out….so I’m gonna pass….
Shane and I will be together for 13 years/married for 7 in May. I am so lucky to have found my soul mate as a senior in high school and I try to remember that every day when I wake up. I’m so thankful for his love. (The other longest relationship in my life is Jenny- best friends since 1990, bitches. I feel like I should insert some Lisa Frank photos here? I dunno.)
Do you still have your tonsils?
Random, but no. I think Christine said it best: ” I had them removed at age five. Coincidentally (or not), I haven’t had strep throat since age five either.” To this I can just say- Ditto.
Would you bungee jump?
You know, I can’t really say for sure. I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t. I might sky dive? Bungee jumping just screams asking for trouble to me. So many things can (and would totally) go wrong. Your bungee cord could be too short, too long, it could snap, you could break your neck, you could hit whatever you’re jumping off of, or the ground…the list goes on and on. So no thanks.
Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
I cannot tell you the last time I wore shoes that required me to tie them. Summer time is for sandals, and the winter is for boots…neither of which require me to tie them so win win.
Favorite ice cream?
Hands down Ben and Jerry’s Fudge Brownie ice cream. I did however find out last night that Alden is down with Vanilla Gelato and Hershey chocolate syrup. I ate some and she danced for a half hour after.
What is the first thing you notice about people?
Honestly? Their personality. I can tell within a few seconds if I like you or not. Sure, it may be a snap judgement, but I’m sorry. It’s always held true for me, so I’m gonna just continue to go with my gut on this one.
Football or baseball?
Ugh. Do I have to answer? Oh! Okay, I love t-ball. I love watching Landon play, and his little teammates pick up dirt in their gloves instead of grabbing the ball as it rolls by them.
What color pants are you wearing?
Black maternity leggings. I have been living in them for a long time now. It feels like nearly 2 years, oh thats right cus it’s been nearly two years i’ve been pregnant. Ugh.
Last thing you ate?
Landon and I had pizza for dinner!
If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
This is tough. My gut tells me to be magenta, or some amazing shade of pink. But, as I’ve grown older I’ve come to love many colors. Gray, mint greens, gold, and some weird color called Jungle Green that’s pretty cool. And now, they have metallic crayons? I just can’t pick one.
Shane’s cologne. The candle we had in our first apartment together. Bread.
Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?
It’s naturally dirty blonde which I hate so I always lighten it wayyyy up.
Favorite foods to eat?
Hmm…I’m not too sure. I guess I’d have to say that I like pretty much anything as long as I’m in good company. There is nothing I love more than a good lunch/dinner with Shane. It gives us time to really enjoy each other and talk.
Scary movies or happy endings?
Oh Lordy, no scary movies over here. I cannot handle that. I am so easily freaked out.
Last movie you watched?
Tonight Landon and I watched Moana. It was actually super cute, and kept his attention which NEVER happens. He loved it, and I just enjoyed him sitting with me for an hour and a half 🙂
I would say Christmas, but I’m really not sure that’s true anymore. I’m going to leave this one open ended…
Beer or wine?
Night owl or early bird?
You know, I really think the older I get the more I’m becoming an early bird…and I hate it.
Favorite day of the week?
“You will always be my favorite what if”- unknown. I wish I had some huge amazing quote, but this is the only thing that I can think of. I think it’s going to be my favorite for the rest of my life.
I’m going to nominate the amazing Cassie over at Holding Our Angel! I met her, and instantly fell in love with her. She is so kind and sweet. She lost her sweet son Theo very shortly before we lost Kenley, so we share a very similar timeline and I think that helps to connect us.