Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I still miss you

Tonight, I can't sleep.  You're on my mind with about a gazillion other things.  I was actually having a nice dream but with that, you came in........probably why it was a nice dream.   ........I keep wanting to write our story down but every time I start, I relive our story and it's too much.  I can honestly say, I still deal with you not being a part of our life.  I'm sure you know that along with Tristan, you also have two baby brothers, Connor and Sawyer.  I love all these guys incredibly.  Sawyer was born in February of 2011 and Connor came along soon afterwards in March of 2012.
........not long after you passed away, I became pregnant again.  I lost that pregnancy but amazingly I believe that it was a girl and that she is with you.  I had named her Iris Gale.  ......really, I'm not a total nut job.  I don't think of Iris like I think of you though there is a part of me that really believes there is this little spirit that keeps you with a bit more of family up there in heaven.
I got on this blog and read just the last post I'd written.  I was pretty upset to see spammers had left messages in the comments section.  I deleted those and felt like beating the you know what out of you know what "you know what" even is??   ........when Connor was born, man was your presence felt.  He had something wrong that I could see immediately.  Initially, I felt no one believed me and was judging me and thinking I was a bad mom for not thinking he was perfect.  Really, ridiculous.  I knew something was wrong.  It was hours before I could finally scream and cry that once again my body was possibly to blame for a baby that would be in pain.  That was such a lonely night.  I didn't want a soul around me and your dad needed to be home for Tristan and Sawyer.  ....I think you were there though.  Thank you.
Connor has Pierre Robin.  Today, besides some meds and his g tube, it would be hard for anyone to just look at him and know all he went through.  Once again though, I felt your presence a few scary times and will always remember the night the smell of flowers was so extremely intense.  I know without a doubt it was you.  I felt such peace in that moment and remember sort of talking with you.  I remember thanking you for sort of saying Connor would be alright and also thinking as much as I wanted to see you, I wasn't sure I could handle the whole "ghost" thing.   ......I can sort of laugh about it now.  I'd take you in any form I could even if I seemed the crazy lady forever.
.......I'm about to turn 40.  Tristan just turned 18 and well, I've got your 1 and 2 year old brother.  It seems unbelievable sometimes.  It's surely not how I imagined my life would be.  I'm pretty certain many find completely odd and seriously, I could careless.  I carry sadness and worry with me like it's a coat I can't shake off but with that, I'm also extremely happy sometimes.  Yes, your mama is on the meds...ya know, the antidepressant-please don't lose it sort of stuff.  I had a bit of a breakdown earlier this year and my good doctor said I needed them.  I know he's right.  I'm better now though really, I can still feel what I call a 'dark shadow' on occasion.  I don't think meds can totally take you to a before life pooped on you feeling.  ........and no worries, before I got side tracked, I was saying how I'm extremely happy quite often.  Your dad and I are really unbelievably good for each other.  I never knew you could love someone like I love him.  We're far from perfect and actually have really packed on the pounds but my God, I do love him and really don't doubt that he loves me just as much.  I worry about friends who do think we're perfect together though.  We've had some really dark times too but somewhere along the line, he and I became family.  You want to say you became family when you said I do and of course, in a sense that's beyond true committing your love in such a public way........but really, the family thing takes a little time too.  I am not one who believes blood is thicker than water but I can say a baby born from your body is an instant least for me it was.  You and your brothers and even Iris (I'll confess her here for you), well you each are the only blood relatives that I truly know.  I am adopted so all of my family beyond you all are connected simply through our hearts and really, that is deep.  Look at your dad, he's not my blood but I am quite certain I would take a bullet to save him.  I look forward to growing old with him and I like knowing that he and I share a bond I've never had with another living soul.   .......anywho, I'm mostly happy but I sure do miss the thought of having a little girl in my life.  You are pictured here and there in our home.  We have a memory box or 10.  I've given so many things away and yet, truth be told, there is more that I can't quite let go of.  ......occasionally, we talk of adopting a girl.  At nearly 40 and already having 2 wild guys and 1 ready to leave the nest too soon, I'm not sure how crazy that would be.  and sometimes, I worry that I'm trying to replace you and that wouldn't be right either.  When and if the time comes, it'll be because I fell in love and felt she and I needed to be family.
........I sure bring out that number 40 alot lately.  When I turned 30, I was about a size 0 to 2 and felt I owned the world and could have whatever I wanted.  .........turning 40 feels different.  I'm not as healthy though I wish I had the desire to put more effort in making myself feel better.  And though I'm not as cute and things hurt here and there, certain things are much better at 40.  I can honestly say that a certain close member of my family had told me once that young people think they know everything and that we were smug in thinking sex, our thoughts, our love, our everything was so much, she was so right.  You can tell someone younger than you that things get even better but it doesn't mean so much until you experience it.  .........sort of makes me excited to keep getting older.  .........and though I will complain I'm not physically as good as I should be or apparently mentally all there (for Christ's sake, I am on meds) and spiritually still lacking the faith I once had..........I sort of am much more accepting of myself now than I was at 30.  I even wore a bathing suit totally comfortably this past weekend.  Granted, I had a sort of cover-up but I had fun in a pool with my boys.  There were beautiful people around and I didn't feel the need to criticize myself....I just had fun.   That was cool.....totally liberating.......and seriously, I do have certain attributes that still look pretty good and when I give a hoot, I look pretty decent.   ......I think the turning 40 is tough because I felt that when you were a certain age, you had yourself all together.  I don't feel unraveled but I do feel like I am capable of more and why am I not there yet.............  I also thought I'd feel completely comfortable in myself ALL the time and that's just not true.  I still have moments where I feel judged and that sucks.  ........sometimes, I'm pretty certain that I project feelings of judgement on myself and really, at 40, I thought I wouldn't do that.   ...........So anywho, my dear, sweet Ireland, your mama is still chugging along and still missing you.  Time did not stop and life kept happening.  I'm glad it did though I'm to the point there will always be this part of my life that is just missing.
At some point, in my darkest of days, I remember reading that you end up with this hole in your heart that is filled with a garden of memories.  I thought that would happen but it's not how it worked with me.  I have a physical garden that we've been working on just for you but my heart still just has this hole.  You would of been 4 this year.  Just 2 days before I'll turn the big 4-0.  ........I would of had the best party for you.  Maybe combined a party just for us to celebrate the number 4.  ........Instead, I just want to go out with your daddy.  I decided I really just want a nice meal and a movie that'll make me laugh.
Just so you know, Tristan is doing ok.  He took things harder than I originally thought and really, I think I was selfish and looking at myself for some time.  I don't know if I could have done things differently, I really can't say I did the best I can, I just tried to wake up and keep moving forward.  ..........Tristan and I had a few rough spells but he's ok and so am I.  He is one loved soul.  Connor and Sawyer downright idealize him.  .......Tristan and I tried counseling at one point and I'm not sure what we got out of that.  The teen years are rough.  As a parent, you like to say you remember but I don't.  I remember sporadic things.  I wasn't perfect but I know I was an easier child than most today.  In fairness, I lived on a farm where life was simply different than it is here in 2013, in the suburbs of Utah.  ........Life should be different because it means everyone and everything is growing.  I now wonder if death has a growth process.  I know there is an acceptance that grows with me but there are a gazillion questions I'd like to know about your side, the ones no longer living.  .........eerie, possibly a bit nutty.........I'll save those questions for now.
........well, the point was Tristan is doing well.  He has a tattoo of a rose on his back that has your beautiful name and the dates of your birth and death.  I was accepting of him getting a tattoo but wish it were smaller.  I've let him know that I'm simply glad he'll see it in the mirror and that maybe you'll be his little reminder of how precious his life is.  ......I think he's going to be a great man.  He's kind and loving.....too sidetracked with technology and the opposite sex.......but I suppose he and I are very much alike and I would have been very much like him if I'd been raised in this day and in this area.  ......I try to curb my expectations of him and see what's important to him.  He'll be a senior this year.  Unbelievable.
............well, I have not slept much tonight and suppose I should try to sleep some.  I'm so glad I get to see you in my dreams.  I was afraid I'd forget how you look but though certain things have faded in my memory, the core of you is fresh in me.  I can feel you in ways too hard to put into words.  I've smelled you at that worst of times and I've smelled you when you were gone and surrounded by so much love of others.......those, a total nightmare and the other, completely peaceful.  ........I'm not always certain what I believe anymore but I'm certain you're with me and that makes going on bearable.  On occasion I can remember what you felt like in my arms and that is a good memory though you'd think it would be sad.  I also have these little hands in mine, or looks from these brothers of yours and I can imagine you in them.  A hug just right, a twinkle in the eye, and I feel you.  It's not all the time but it'll have to be enough until we're together again.   ..........and as much as I'd love to be with you, I do want to live a long time to see what sort of future all of your brothers bring and allow me to be part of.
Good night sweet baby girl.....I'll see you in my dreams and in the stars (btw, your Aunt Amy bought a star all your own......she may never know how much that means to me).  .......I love you.......forever and ever and infinity.
Me, pregnant with my baby girl.  I knew she had CDH (congential diaphragmatic hernia) here but I truly believed she'd be coming home with me.

One of the few pics of the three of us.  Not great, but precious.  

Tristan hated seeing his sister like this.  He was 14 at the time and this particular day Ireland looked just a little better than at her worst.  She had just started ECMO and still had a very bloated body.  I wish he would of been able to see her when her eyes were open.     ......I can see Ireland in Tristan, especially in this particular picture.

My favorite picture.  Many offered to photoshop this picture but I could see her just fine.  I think she is beautiful here and there was such a glimmer of hope.  She was happy and knew who we were.  I think she and Connor would of looked alot alike.  Then again, Sawyer around 6 months old looked just like this picture too.

Sawyer....around 4 months.
Connor just a month or two ago.

just a cute shot of these guys playing before bath....

See how Ireland is in these guys?

What I did every single day of Ireland's life.  

Death is not as scary as you think.  And she was still beautiful.

Our first peek..........    I love you still.

Monday, August 30, 2010

It's been a year

Well, I personally still want to be able to see her slideshow when I click on this blog so that's why that is there.  ..........It's been awhile.  I don't even really know what to say though I've practically written a novel of what I was going to post at some point.  Now, today, I'm not ready to share that.

Anywho, I had planned to go to work today and did not schedule the day off but apparently my heart felt different.  It has been a year today since Ireland passed away and as much as I don't want to recognize this day, I can not help it.  I woke up in tears and just want to be alone.  I have no idea what I'll do.   .....on her birthday, August 19th, or I guess what would have been her 1st birthday, Mikey and I took the day off, shopped for a beautiful flowering tree and a small memorial plaque.  It was a hard day but we felt good about how we honored her.  The tree (a double weeping cherry) has been planted and after a shock to the ground, it seems to be taking root.  We have not placed the plaque (and a few stone ladybugs we found) there yet and will eventually take a picture to share.

I have never quite explained how our time went after Ireland died and have mixed feelings on that much sharing.  As I said before, I practically have a novel about this entire year and it felt good to get it down but our experiences of loss are individual and so very different.   .........I know that alot of people have no idea how great a loss this is and others know only too well.  I catch myself still comparing losses or rather comparing a sort of scale of pain and grief.  I wonder if their loss is just as great and do others believe I should be just fine by now.  .......I don't know why I do this because I certainly shouldn't have to validate my pain for or to another, though I do (even if only in my own mind).   .....I can say that today, at this very moment, I feel as if the pain of losing her is just as great as it was a year ago.  If anything, certain facts make the loss greater because I can also feel anger towards so many things, I feel sad for a loss of innocence in my faith of not only God but of others that I felt knew more than me and I placed all my hope and trust in.  I believed without a doubt that she would come home and for that I am beyond grieving.  I feel that I lost an incredible trust in hope.  ......I did not cry every day that Ireland was alive because I could not see past the joy of her being here and truly, I can't remember thinking for a minute that she wouldn't come home.  ........It's weird, the night before the fateful morning that we had to make the worst decision ever is the only time I remember Mikey and I having a conversation about us loving her so much that we would not sit back and watch her suffer if the time came when we'd have to make the decision of live so we can have her or die so you hurt no more. ........I think the conversation lasted only long enough to express our deepest love for her and wanting to give her the best life we could.  We both have the same feelings towards our own lives. ........I remember sleeping well that night because we had left the hospital knowing that she was looking so good and her little body was doing all the things the doctors had said she needed to do.  I actually woke up around 1am to call her on call nurses (a nightly habit I had developed)  to see how she was doing and was told she was sleeping and doing great.  I went back to sleep after conveying the continuing good news to Mikey.  I believe just  about three or four hours passed when the phone rang.  Mikey answered it and we hurriedly dressed for the hospital.  He had the conversation over the phone about Ireland's lungs bleeding and us having to make a decision.  ...........the entire morning is a blur of speedy paperwork, me literally screaming and crying......calm moments of finally being able to hold Ireland....and doctors and nurses coming in and out of the room.  ........I have sporatic memories.  I recall signing forms.  I remember us coming into Ireland's room and doctors and nurses being lined up around the room as they had us go to Ireland's bed...I remember screaming at those doctors and nurses because I thought Ireland was breathing and they were doing nothing....Mikey showed me the nurse that was holding something that made her little chest go up and down, I guess so she'd definitely be alive as we said good bye...I am sorry for that nurse because I wouldn't have wanted to be her at that moment.  ...........I don't know why I'm saying/writing all of this because honestly I can hardly read the screen as I type this...maybe it's just I sort of stopped seeing my therapist a long while ago and I always feel better after writing.   ..........anywho, I finally got to hold Ireland.  We were in a private room and a nurse brought her to us.  She was so incredibly beautiful and entirely peaceful.  She was also still alive.  I know this because maybe 5 minutes or maybe 10 minutes later a nurse came in checking her heartbeat and she had to do this again a little later.  ........This was an ugly little crowded with furniture room made for the sole purpose of NICU parents either needing to sleep or have some time to themselves.  ......We had called friends earlier to have them bring Tristan to the hospital.  The nurse had told us that it was important for him to see her to say goodbye. .......I can't tell you how long Mikey and I were in that room holding Ireland.  I know that Tristan had a tough time and was ready to leave so stayed in the waiting room until Mikey and I could finally walk away.  Our best friends, Terry and Jeannie, got to see Ireland.  I wish my family could have seen her.  She was so beautiful. ............anyway, beyond my anger of having to make a DNR (do not resuscitate) decision half way through an already horrible morning where horrible decisions had already been made (apparently someone forgot to have us sign the DNR at the time of signing all the other papers)....and I mention this only because really, how horrible that I look back on these times and still can not believe that in the midst of our grief and time waiting to have our daughter brought to us we were asked to give a witnessed DNR out loud to the doctors.........argh!, it still makes me we had to make the worst decision twice!.............anyway, once the drama was gone and it was just us and Ireland......well, it was sad and horrible and incredibly beautiful.......we knew she was there with us and we'd like to believe she knew we were finally able to hold her...scratch that, she knew we were there.  .......I've always been scared of death....religion and heaven aside, I like life and don't want to leave it behind.  ........I don't like that Ireland is not here with me .......I just know that morning became peaceful as we were holding her.  ......the tears never really stopped, we whispered we loved her over and over again.......we felt her skin, touched her and held her and kissed her....told her she was so beautiful and strong.......and she just looked peaceful.  .......there were finally no tubes tying her down and her mama and daddy could hold her
..........I've had people ask me what to say to others in a similars situation.  Honestly, I haven't a clue.  You be there for them and love them and listen.  A minimum of words on your part is probably best...just be there in your best capacity whether it is at a distance with cards or flowers or well wishes or you are there and hug them, hold their hand, make them something to eat or just let them know you are there.  I know that I just wanted to be left alone but I am also aware that I had a gazillion people there for me and available if I wanted to talk or needed someone.  I remember that we didn't have to worry about how to pay for nourishment because people either brought us food or had given us money to go ahead and call for pizza.  All of our basic needs were somehow provided for and one friend even brought us a case of water.  Who knew?  That was smart and something I'll try to remember.   ..........we had Ireland cremated because we didn't want to have her here in Utah when we weren't certain if our life would have us here forever.  We had a small ceremony or memorial for her at the local mortuary and am still amazed at the outpouring of those that came to see us and honor her little life....We also had a ceremony back home for her.  Our family flew us out to PA because we so desperately really needed our families.........All of this was beautiful and amazing.  We had an incredible amount of flowers to where we actually sent some to the hospital and the rest to a local nursing home.  The flowers at the service back home were left for the church. .....The church service was beautiful and what I remember most was Mikey speaking publicly about his love for his angel, his baby.  It was beautiful and I will never forget it.  He was the perfect father in that very moment and I know Ireland was proud.  .........A few weeks later, my parents and favorite aunt came out to stay at Park City.  They had originally booked this place to visit Ireland (because we knew she'd have a long stay in the hospital) and well, I'm just so glad they came.  It was a great time of rest and insight.  I got to speak freely about so many things that I didn't really feel comfortable talking about with others and I didn't feel that I had to hold back in fear of making someone uncomfortable when I wanted to talk about Ireland.  I also listened to their feelings and insights on anything and everything.  It is a week in my life that I'll cherish always. this point, "things" were supposed to start getting back to "normal".  ..........Mikey went back to work and Tristan to school. life felt stalled because I was supposed to be the one that nursed Ireland back to health and bring her home and just be her mom......the plan was for me to not work until Ireland was on a path that she'd be able to .............well, I don't know.......I suppose that I would have just stayed home until she was ready for school and possibly longer if that is the care she would have needed. this point, I guess I'll note that my doctor at the University of Utah had prescribed some zoloft for me about a few days after Ireland had passed away.  I took these for maybe a week because I thought it was perfectly normal for me to be depressed and seriously, I didn't need anything else putting me in some zombie state.  So, I self UN-medicated.  To date, I don't know if this was good or bad but it's what I did. ............anywho, life was supposed to go back to normal.  I think its safe to say that all of us were in a pretty sad and depressed state for a month or two.  Tristan seemed to handle this all very well.  Mikey was the rock that just took care of EVERYTHING.  I think Mikey just worked so he didn't have to think of things and he felt his job was to take care of me.  ......ME?  I was a nut that didn't know where I belonged or what to do anymore.  I was supposed to be taking care of Ireland.  I was happily not working my crazy inspecting job and being yelled at or expected to make major decisions.  I didn't want to go back to that job either.........what I wanted was for Ireland to be home and well, that obviously wasn't going to happen and I sure as hell didn't know how to handle that.  Lo and behold, I found out I was pregnant.  I want to say it was just a little before Thanksgiving and we had a shock of a lifetime because after waiting so long to have Ireland and then just to be pregnant was a shock.  There was no intervention of doctors and pills, I was simply pregnant.  Well, we figured it was divine intervention and that I'd just take care of myself and try to make a new normal.  ..........Now, I was not thrilled and excited with this pregnancy though I wasn't disappointed either.  I truly didn't know how to feel because I was still depressed about Ireland not being in my life. ........about the time that I was starting to feel some excitement about starting another chapter in our lives with another baby, I had the miscarriage.  Now, I don't recall being overly depressed about the miscarriage as much as it sort of brought about my feelings of loss with Ireland to an extreme all over again.  .........not too long after this, sometime in February, I finally made an appointment with a shrink (my counselor, Barb).  I should have done this a long time earlier but I really thought I could handle myself.  Now, I think I only saw Barb a total of six times and probably should have seen her more but she changed my outlook.  I am still having hard times and am not what I'd call 100% but I also don't cry daily or see my life as completely bleak.  ..........we figured that I had a case of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) because instead of getting better, I was getting worse and let's face it, there was a lot of traumatic things I was seeing on pretty much a daily basis and yet I was trying to ignore the facts or trauma for the hope I had of her just coming home.........anywho, this has all led me to a life where I worry too much and fear too much.  .......go figure, I stopped seeing Barb about the time she said that we really needed to tackle this little subject of worry and fear.  .......sometimes, I think I should call her because I do know that it is a problem but at the same time, I do not believe it's as debilitating as my depression was. ............just to give you an idea of what I mean about worry and fear....well, I am 17 weeks pregnant today (yay!) and I just want to get to the 20th week ultrasound because I want to see that this baby is okay....I want to know that everything is where it should be and that I can start to truly get excited about this pregnancy.  .......I get scared when Mikey and Tristan go 4wheeling because I see things (horrible things) and want to know that they'll come home safe.  ........I have too many scenarios that I could give as an example on fear and worry so just trust me here.  I truly think that this is somewhat ok though.  Seriously, my thoughts are that losing Ireland would of course change me and I happened to have believed so much that she'd be here with me today that I lost sight of things that could go wrong...things that did go wrong...........and today, I just know only too well that things go wrong everyday and that we truly do not have the power to lead every single detail of our life...I'm not saying this is an excuse to stop trying to make things happen, it's just I know how unpredictable life can be on the most serious levels.  I stand by an earlier conviction I noted on this blog where my tolerance of bull sh*@ is at an all time low.  Seriously, people "creating" problems or stupid scenarios for attention...well, how pathetic.     ..................anywho, I do happen to feel better a bit now that I've been writing on here.  There are some random facts I'm going to throw out just for the curious.
.......First and foremost, I miss Ireland.  I miss having her for my daughter and I miss the life that I wish we could have all had together.  I miss her cute face and I wish I could hold her again.  I hate having missed out on seeing the father that Mikey would have been to her and the brother Tristan would have been.  I miss the dream of staying home and happily taking care of her needs.  I would love to have known the woman she'd have become.......I just wish she could have stayed in my life and the she could have witnessed my life and death, not the other way around. ......She just can never be replaced and I will always have a void though I am working on building that beautiful garden of memories there.
......Second, I still think of all the mothers that I met through this blog that are either raising their CDH babies or still dealing with the loss of their own.  I bonded a bit closer to a few that traveled the same path I've been on and they'll forever have a place in my heart.  I've also met several families and friends that accounted their personal stories of loss, and they all helped.
......Third, I would suggest that if you know someone that's going through a rough medical time or facing death of a loved one or even themselves...just be there for them, advice is over-rated.  And absolutely do not say that medicine and science have come a long way.  Yes, it's a fact that it has but in the end, we all die regardless of the incredible advancements in this world. ..........when they're ready to talk and listen, you will know because they will start a conversation...otherwise, lean on the side of just being there.
......Four, absolutely be there in some capacity.  I wanted to be left alone but I also liked that I lived in an age where I could text my brother or get on facebook and receive messages that people cared.  I loved each and every card I was given.  .......I did not always respond and didn't honestly have it in me to even say thank  you but I knew everyone was there and it helped me.
........Five, know that we all respond to loss differently. I didn't want to be around young children and babies for a looooooooong time.  I'm honestly just getting comfortable with this.  Little girls were especially tough.  Don't take these things personally.  It may sound selfish to you but think about if you were in my shoes, maybe you'll understand better.  If anything, know that the sound of your little one's laughter is beautiful and for a long time was just a reminder of the voice I never got to hear.
........well, that is all I've really got.  I guess I should also say that I also feel that other people have losses that aren't as easily recognized as death and I feel their pain is just as validated as mine has been and still is.  This world is not easy and I think Ireland taught me to really recognize how valuable life is.  I will never be ashamed that I was full of hope and joy for her life while she was here.  I'm glad that I enjoyed her while I could.  I wish that I wasn't so affected by having lost her but this is how it is and I think that I really am going to be ok.  We are pregnant again and we are ready to have another baby.  I worry, it's who I am.  I am working and don't see that changing in the near future.  Things will be different as of course they should be.  Tristan is going to a nice charter school and is looking forward to getting his driver's learning permit this winter.  Mikey is working and excited about this next baby.  ....I am steadily growing HUGE and doing my best to be better than the standard of "just getting by".  It's been a tough year, I wouldn't wish this on anyone, and I am grateful for the life and experiences I've had thus far.  I'm grateful for those I've been blessed to have and love in my life.  I will be ok, we all will be, .....We all just miss her.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ireland's slideshow

After finally figuring out how to do slideshows, I finally have posted a little over 100 pics.  The pictures are awesome and beyond loved by us but they far from do her beauty justice.
When viewing these please remember that in 11 days, Ireland changed quite a bit.  At birth, she immediately had to be intubated because of the CDH (congenital diaphragmatic hernia).  Not too soon after that she had to placed on ECMO and that causes quite a bit of swelling...we chose to exclude the first day or two of her on this but you can definitely see her weight changing day by day.  As she neared having the surgery to correct the hole in her diaphragm, she thinned out quite a bit which was great.  And then, once surgery was completed, she began putting "liquid" weight on again, which was expected.  I've come to like that she changed back and forth because well, it's who she was and it was the changes she had over her little lifetime.  I thought she was beautiful each and every day.  I certainly don't fear death so much when I know I'll be with her again!
I'd like to add that the pics that are black and white and the lighter toned still pictures are from the organization .."now I lay me down to rest".  If you are ever, God forbid, in this situation...choose to have them take the pictures.  We almost didn't do it and now, I am glad that we did.  .....Also, quite a bit of the pictures are taking with our phones so the quality isn't there but once again, we cherish each picture. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My New Year's letter

In lieu of the Christmas letter, I bring you my very own, New Year's letter. ...first off, I may be one of the only people willing to admit that deep down...silence please...softly whisper from me....I like Christmas letters. I can't remember ever sending one out but I liked to receive them. I love you all enough to really be okay with hearing how well your year was, the little hardships and how you got through them, the little musings of what reminded you of how much you love your children, your spouse, your life. Yes, in the truth of the comedy parodys that go on and on about "your wonderful life and the Christmas letter and our distaste for your perfectness", well, of course, there are moments that I say to myself "how great for you" and roll my eyes...but come on, deep down, I love you and am happy that you are living your life so well. I know you aren't perfect...I've seen things, heard things, KNOW things!!! this spirit, here is my letter for the hoping many blessings come your way and mine in the year 2010.

I have to start by telling you of a recent conversation I had with a friend that I have reconnected with. She was asking how I was doing and out of nowhere I said, through tears, "I feel completely and utterly incapable of bull-sh--! and just want to ...." Well, basically, I wanted to lose all forms of communication. Mind you, this was just one day. After the year we've had, well, I have to say it's truly been the best and worst of times. ....I feel okay starting my New Year's letter with this statement because I still have to say that I still feel a very strong sense of truth in my life right now. ...I'm going to do my best to explain because it's a lesson that I've always believed I knew but really, I didn't know "dittily-squat"!!!

Obviously, I'd imagine that if you are simply reading this, that you don't need a detail of our year so I'll keep certain facts short. A quick look back at, can give you the details if you need them. .........first and foremost, right before last Christmas...actually the Friday before Christmas, I found out, after yeeeeeears of infertility, that I was pregant. This was a blessing and we'll forever tout the greatness of the drug "Femara" for any and all we meet that know the sufferings of infertility.

I will, without any doubt, say that my pregnancy and the birth of our Ireland Rose was our greatest gift of 2009. We had dreamed of having a baby....Tristan, Mikey and I. Tristan has always wanted a brother or sister....he used to ask Santa for one. Mikey and I....well we love each other and for us, we love our family life and only see good from expanding that. ..........and oh my gosh!!!!, I hate admitting it "out loud" but I soooooooo wanted a girl!!! The testosterone levels in our house exceed maximum limits at times and I just really wanted a baby girl. .........How awesome was that day the ultrasound technician said "it's a girl". I cried and cried and we'd already picked her name and everything! Ireland Rose Brady. .......I seriously don't know how we can ever top that name. .......Well, within 5 minutes of "it's a girl", we heard "CDH" and it goes without really saying, that our lives have forever been altered by those three little letters. Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. A condition of a diaphragm not fully formed and thus an opening for organs to crowd the precious lungs. .......I choose not to go into detail further about the condition but will say that the CHERUBS organization will forever be dear to us and I'd simply ask that when you think of Ireland, possibly visit her blog...visut the link to CHERUBS and give what you can, even if it's just a kind word to someone. (the UofU Hospital and Primary Children's should be added to that list of places dear to us!)

Well, somehow we were either made right or raised right, we kept positive attitudes. We were ready to fight, learn and deal with everything head on. Our excitement did not dim, there was simply a shadow present. We became learned on as much as we could about CDH and formed quite a bond with the University of Utah and eventually, Primary Children's Hospital.

Ireland Rose arrived with alot of expected and unexpected drama. I carried this precious baby full term. We said we wouldn't place expectations on her, but of course, we truly believed she would show everyone how tough she was. And she did. At 7lbs 12 ozs, she was pink and adorable and 100% beautiful girl. ...Beyond everything, we had our Ireland Rose. She is, was, and always will be perfect. Her beauty, her spirit, her very precense in our lives will always be a cherished gift. 11 days. We'd do it again and again and again..... dry your eyes because Ireland's life was full of purpose. (she was much more than just being this perfect ball of cuteness!!!) She taught me (and many others) some important lessons.

First ....I have a rock solid family in my house. Many see my hubby, Mikey as fun and that's about it. You have good memories from high shool or military or working together....that's great. He is fun. He is quick witted and can either cut you out of nowhere or cause a complete burst of laughter....pretty awesome trait. I bet none of you had any idea on how sweet he was, or how much he'd do just about anything for our little family (or anyone, for that matter), or how well he provides for us in every way. I married a great man. He's not just funny or silly. He has a side that few are priviledged enough to see or know. I know many secrets and he knows mine, and I'm here to tell you that the acceptance and love you give and receive from a relationship like ours, is the stuff anything great is and can be made of. .........and, Tristan. I think alot of folks underestimate my son. He's not always had an easy life and yet, he is kind and loving and a truly good person. As a teen, he can inevitably be selfish and yet, at a moment's notice, if I NEED him, he'll be there. If you need him, no need to ask twice. Did you wrong him in some way? No worry, he forgives so much better and easier than me. I love Tristan so much and make sure that he knows it without a doubt. Ya know, he makes sure I know that he loves me.

Secondly, I learned and am still learning about grieving. D (denial), A (anger), B (bargain), D (depression), A (acceptance). You get a ton of pamphlets and good people letting you know that these are the steps of grieving, that it can take 2 or more years, that the steps can move forward and go with it and seek help from a friend, a professional, a pastor, a pill when you need to. You get alot of get alot of get people thinking that you understand another person's loss ....Want to know the truth of grieving? It is a very personal journey. My experience is probably completely different from the next persons. My days, my moments vary greatly. I've thought I was perfectly normal in grieving and then broke down in a doctor's office wondering if I was crazy. ....My new year will begin with 4 months without my baby girl. It is an undescribable pain because she is not here with me. At this moment in time, my afterlife is not my desire. My desire is to hold my baby. My desire is to watch her grow into a beautiful and happy life of her own making. This desire, this dream of mine for her is gone and because of that I grieve. I don't know how long this will last. I have good days and know I have much to be thankful for. I talk about this when I am comfortable and sometimes, I've even talked when it's not comfortable. Sometimes, I turn my phone off. ..........bottom line, grieving sucks. There are no perfect words and usually comfort is found in just knowing that someone cares enough about you to say "I'm thinking of you" or even better, "I think of Ireland".

Third, I truly believe that my "inner Ghandi" has surfaced a bit and through darkness, I've discovered some light about the world we inhabit. ....Through Ireland's life, I found deeper meaning in relationships. I met tons of people walking a line so similar to my life that it was almost uncanny and surreal. I learned that the core of 99.99999999...% of people in this world are good and that that 1 gazillionth person that is a shmuck, well his significance only matters if you allow him to matter. (And yes, I encountered the schmuck and am amazed how I let him matter in the face of the constant stream of goodness and prayer that was being sent my way.) .........back to the surreal lives that mirrored my own. ...Truly, the blogging world opened doors to us. We gained a wealth of information but more than anything, we learned that we were not alone. Others were walking the line right with us (either personally or simply standing beside us). That world of strangers and long lost friends kept us going throughout our pregnancy, Ireland's lifetime, and many continue to keep in touch. You can love someone you've never met.

Fourth and last, the statement about me being incapable of bull. I find this significant. It's always important to live by truth but I find myself almost radical about the concept of personal truths. I know to tread lightly because as in politics and religion, I don't believe radical anything is healthy. ..........anyway, I have facts about my life that are significant but at the same time they are simply the truth of my being, who I am, where I've been, where I'm going. I'm adopted. Two people couldn't have another child on their own and for their own reasons, I was adopted. Two people had me and couldn't care for me so placed me for adoption. This is significant but it's also just another fact of who I am. We can make lists almost chronologically and you'd think you know me. ....funny thing though. You would not know a dang thing about me, or who I was or where I was going. ....this is where my incapablilty of bull or better yet, my radical thinking of personal truths comes into play. ....I find myself extremely opinionated and fortunately enough, I find wisdom through silence (and at times silence may just possibly keep me from looking ignorant, i'm sure!). I have opinions on everything from your expression, your sayings, the healthcare plan (which if you've seen the size of these plans, who really knows all of what is in that?!), our government, other govenments, my spiritual beliefs, my upbringing, your pretty garden and home, your opinions on things you've not even lived through, your self-rightous behavior, my self-rightous opinions and behavior..........on and on, I can go. I guess we all do this. It is human nature and probably psychologically or biologically essentail to our being. Who knows? I don't. ....anyway, my questioning everything is just one more truth about myself. Did you know I was pregnant again? After years of infertility, having Ireland, losing Ireland, deciding that maybe just making some money and buying that cool camper would be fun (while secretly just hoping to have another baby or atleast have Tristan give me lots of grandbabies down the road).....well, isn't that just nuts?! we go again. I am 36. I have a great husband. I have a wonderful son. I had a beautiful daughter and she died. I am pregnant again and it's a miracle and scary and exciting..and scary. I live in Utah with a family in Virginia and Pennsylvania and Ohio and Arizona and many friends everywhere. I am essentially happy. I am sad too. I have a life I love and I feel a new life is coming my way. I don't think 2010 is going to be easy. I can not go back to my old job. Will I get a new job? Will we be broke before we are prosperous again?

I am hopeful for this New Year. 2009 was not easy and I doubt 2010 will be easy either. I do however feel armed for just about the way, no pun intended there. Tristan's recently fractured arm looks like it will heal on it's own and not need surgery. See? Blessing, ca-ching. Baby on the way? Blessing, ca-ching! ....Do you remotely understand my constant rambling about personal truths? I guess, I finally understand that life is faaaaaaar from easy, funny because my life has NEVER been easy....but seriously, we have endured what could possibly be the worst thing to happen in our lives and we live on. We smile. We work. We cry. We accept. We grieve. We talk to others and we also turn off the email, the phone, the facebook, the blog. We do what we have to and do our best to come out shining. ............I am hoping that all of my friends and family have a wonderful 2010 and that in the face of any hardships, you step back and count your blessings.

Happy New Year!

Chanda and the rest of our little Brady "bunch

Monday, December 7, 2009

This blog is a memorial

well.......Ireland's blog is going to be a memorial for Ireland.  I plan on adding a slideshow soon.  I began a blog .   .........I was beginning to blog random thoughts here and really don't want that.   ......I pray for you all constantly.  I love my CDH family and simply need a new start.  Come by and visit the new blog if you'd like. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Babies and blogging

I haven't blogged like I used to and think part of that is due to me maybe needing a new medium to blog on.  I've got this blog and  Two blogs and now, talking of a third?!  Crazy, I know.  Really, this blog was for Ireland and I'd really like it to stay that way.  The baby bling is to honor Ireland through helping others and that is more of a here's some more bling and eventually (hopefully) a "look at this cute baby needing this bling".    ..............anywho, I wanted to convey thanks and send love and prayers out to all of those that do the same for me and my family.  I also want to express that I am so grateful for this unexpected pregnancy.  My emotions have just been all over the place.  ...honestly, some of this could be due to my low progesterone.  Not a doc but maybe.  All of last week, I had to go in for blood tests to monitor low progesterone (apparently a good indication of miscarriage).  My numbers went up about 3 points and then actually went down between Thanksgiving and Monday from a 7.6 to a 7.4. normal OB doctor had just returned from a cruise and let me know to stop taking the progesterone (the yucky vaginal suppository kind).  I had been taking these at night and laying down a few hours a day.  ...He said that it was apparently useless due to the numbers normally double and my numbers were obviously going nowhere.  At the same time, he did say that my HCg (preggo number) went from a 6000 to over 30,000 and because of this meaning I was "very" pregnant....not to worry.  Worry would cause more harm than good and I'm dealing with enough.  ....So, I do my best to do as he says...I'm taking it easy and not worrying.
.........I have been thinking on some stuff though.  I've had it sort of rough dealing with the loss of Ireland and honestly, I think (beyond the normal grieving) it's because I have entirely too much time on my hands.  Last week, I literally had to lay down and NOT get up for around 3 or so hours a day....totally not the glamorous "lady-of-leisure" lifestyle!  Thanksgiving was a cinch....we were at a friends' house so my contributions were minor.  ..........I can still cry that uncontrollable, painful cry of losing her.  I hold it back for the most part but last night, I was wondering if that was even healthy for this new baby because when you hold it back, you feel it in your stomach.  ...this is hard to explain, and I'm thinking that only those that unfortunately have been walking this path themselves know what I'm talking about.  ....It's been just over three months now(the 30th of Nov. marked our 3rd month) and there are moments when you look at an album of pictures, the urn or the beautiful blanket you held her in....and ya just think to yourself, this is it.  This is all I have left.  I want my baby and instead I have a room that I avoid and a few very precious keepsakes and I'm supposed to move on.....I am here to tell you that it is the hardest thing in the world.  I can not imagine anything worse.  I know that there is worse but I truly hope that I never have to endure anything like this again. ........I have decided that in my newfound "wisdom-of loss" that I would not want to live to be 100 years old unless life has seriously changed by then.  As americans, we truly do not value our elderly as we should and I'd imagine that they are lonely.  I think of having lost my precious Ireland and the pain it brings me.  Can you imagine the old guy in the nursing home that has outlived several children, maybe his wife is gone, his siblings....these are my thoughts.  I couldn't bear that pain ...or rather I would not want to bear a pain like that.  It has sort of thrown a bigger respect in me for those that work in nursing homes and for the elderly folks I see in my day to day living.   ....I used to be that person that gets irritated when you're behind that white haired driver..and ocassionally, my sef-rightousness would come out and say well, I only hope to be that old one day.  ...well, yes and no.  ....If my children are healthy, Mikey is well and now, you get the drift. today, I'm sending out prayers to all of those lonely in the world because I understand atleast to the point of losing one.   ..........anywho, to continue on with my random thoughts...I hope that when this baby is older and looks up his/her mom's old blogs and reads this stuff that they know that I was not comparing him/her to Ireland.  I was loving him/her and also dealing with a major loss.  ...........Ireland will always be perfect to us.  We never heard a voice but we saw that she had one with every single time she would look up and her eyes would widen just to hear our voices or that her toes would curl and her arms would stretch because she so wanted us to pick her up.  She was so present.  A touch from us would bring a calm to her face, and a change in her monitors.  We affected her and vice versa.  She was beautiful.  She never said a cross word or did a bad thing.  Her life was short and the most innocent.  She could only be perfect and thus will always be remembered that way.  ......No matter how hard we try, none of can achieve a perfect life like that.  We are not and those we love can never be like that either.  ....When those of us that have lost an innocent baby, we truly are the few that have been allowed to know and hold an angel in our arms.  .........I really do believe this and I do not profess to knowing what heaven is like but I know that is peace and love and innocence and well, that describes our perfect babies.   .........anywho, my point is, Tristan and this new baby are loved in such a seperate way.  They are different and wonderfully so.  I can't even begin to describe my love for Tristan.  He can be that typical teen at times and yet, he is my son and I'd hand him the moon if I could.  As for this new baby forming...I am just realizing that you are even there.  It is just beginning to click that there is a life inside me.  On Thanksgiving afternoon, the doctor monitoring my bloodwork called and asked if I were cramping or, absolutely horrible etiquette on her part...and yet, I woke up and just wanted to go home, throw in the progesterone and will the number to go up so that this baby would be safe and fine.    ...........for those wondering, I haven't had abnormal cramping and not a drop of blood.  I do as my regular doc says and don't worry.  I can do nothing about it anyway, I tried.   .............anywho, to recap;  I miss Ireland.  I love Tristan.  I love this new one coming along.   ....I have special prayers going out to a few that have also suffered the loss of their babies this past year.  I think about a few in particular because their lives have seemed to parallel with mine and I want them pregnant with me.  ...Also, there are alot of opinions out there about age and pregnancy.  Even doctors are nice enough to say that I'm not too old.  ...I am perfectly aware of my age (36) and at times hope this baby doesn't think I'm a grandma and then look at my son, laugh and realize they'll wish to turn me into someone else anyway at times.  ....point is, my fact is that I'm pregnant now.  I'll be almost 37 when this baby is born.  I don't feel old but do feel, all of a sudden, that I should eat a bit better and care for Mikey better.  It is highly likely that when this baby is Tristan's age (14), I could become a grandma.  ....woh....need to a good way but still......anywho, there are just others on my mind and I wish they were on this journey with me.  I would like to push the drug "femara" on them if they need to try something different than "clomid".  (I happened to just get preggo this time but after years of infertility "femara" is what gave us Ireland....and no, it did not cause the CDH).   My doc said that when "clomid" isn't working, usually "femara" will. Forrest would say, "that's all I'm going to say about that."      .............well, "babydust" to those that need it,   "sanity" to those that could use that (me, perhaps?), love to the elderly and really to all that have suffered any loss....maybe a small prayer that a recipient to babybling will send us a picture of their precious baby (selfish but would really love to post something...will stay legal though)............anywho, also love must be sent to CHERUBS and to all those dealing with CDH in it's too many forms (pregnancy, NICU time, growing up with it and taking care of those that have it.....and for those dealing with the loss from it)..........later

small p.s.  ....i can't find my spell check on here all of a sudden so forgive any screw ups, please

Sunday, November 22, 2009

a Gift?

Hey baby girl.  I miss you to the moon and back a gazillion times.  It hasn't been quite 3 months and well, there are moments that it seems like you just left this world.  ....I don't know what I thought, but I did think not having you in my arms wouldn't feel as intense today as it did.  Wow, your mommy is loopy because it does.  It hurts and I dream of you constantly.  ..........We sort of ignored Halloween this year.  It was too much.  How could we look at all the cuties and not see you in them.  ....not to worry, Tristan was not neglected and at 14 had a blast getting dressed up with a friend and handing out candy at his house.  .....I haven't really been looking forward to these next few holidays.  These are times of family and we seem so incomplete without you.  ....Heck, I've tried to fill the void of you not being here through shopping, crafting, ignoring CDH communities and even making some bling for other babies.  Even though one or two of these little "habits" may be good, a few are not so healthy.  I think that I have moments of intense sadness because I don't truly face that you are not here.  Sounds crazy but really, if I stay too busy to think, then ......well, I can't stay busy all of the time.  ......I do want you to know that I have good times too.  Not tons but I have laughed and smiled and been really happy for others.............I miss you...........I love you.   ..........Your daddy and I have been talking alot about another baby.  It's such a bittersweet conversation.  You can not be replaced. can not be replaced, I'm 36 (old in ovary years) and well, I want a baby and part of me can't get past just wanting you.   .......We had a memorial service for you the day after our 5th wedding anniversary.  .....It took us 5 years to finally have you ...and only 11 days to have lost you.....We went through tests to see if something was wrong with me, if something was wrong with your sweet Daddy and all the doctors said we were fine.  We went through several drugs, invasive testing, iui's, and months and months of taking temperatures and checking ovulation dates, we got sick of each other and then we'd be convinced that to forget about it would bring us our dreamed baby.  Well, finally we take a drug that works for us and you become our world. ...........Tristan was excited, your Daddy was hooked , I was so excited about life in general...and honestly, all that knew about you felt the same.  ...........You were our long awaited gift.  You still are.  ......and I grieve.  I hurt.  and I function somehow, smile somehow, feel that I am mental at times, and feel that life is going on at other times.  ...........We went to the doctor about 3 weeks ago.  We thought it was time to see when we could start trying for another baby and if we could use the same medicine that gave us you.  We were cleared to try and I was given the progesterone to start having normal cycles again.  ....I'd already had one cycle and your guess would be as good as mine when the next one would come without progesterone.  .....Well, the doctor wanted me on a 28 day cycle so I started the progesterone 2 weeks ago. period.  ......I took a test yesterday.  I never even took the fertility drugs and I am pregnant.   .....I ask you how?..............How is it that after years of trying ....I finally have you.....somehow continue to live without you here....and then out of nowhere get pregnant like that?  .........I cried.  I smiled a bit because there is a life in me.  ...........and then I cried some more.  I told Mikey, your dad, that I wondered if your spirit just couldn't take the body you were given and that you were just coming back with a new one.  ..........He didn't laugh at me but did say that he didn't realize that I was a Buddhist.  ............well, I'm just not feeling very sane.  I was happy one minute (even though the tears won't stop) and then I would just feel numb.  .......I have a life in me....Again.  ..........I wanted this and don't know how to feel.'s too soon and yet, I'm not young and I want this and I want you and I just wish God would send me a personal letter....not a Bible....I need a letter specifically detailed with some answers please.   .........I could not sleep very well.  I didn't want to take the ambien until I researched if it wouldn't hurt this baby. .........I dreamed of you and just missed you so much last night.  ......oh, and I felt guilty.  ......I have been on an emotional roller coaster for too long now and it doesn't seem to be getting much better.  Well, after a hockey game last night, the truck was cold so I turned the heat on as soon as your dad started her up.  ...lo and behold, he turns it off.  ....this wouldn't do, so I turned it back on and a little higher with "a bit of a speech".  ........Mikey gives me a speech back as he turns the heat off again saying to "wait 5 minutes".  ..........I went ballistic.   Tristan is in the back having had a very good evening and I am going off about being cold and leaving the heat on.  ........I have now gotten so worked up that Mikey has given up, Tristan is trying to excuse us both and I'm just in a flat out "mood" and silence has ensued.  5 minutes pass, we stop for burgers, Mikey tries to apologize and I proceed to present my case of why turning the heat on immediately will warm the truck faster, Mikey proceeds to give his case and now, I'm just ticked and done for the night.  He tries to apologize, Tristan sticks up for him and for me again...I'm now just mean and selfish and want silence.  Tristan falls asleep driving home, I keep my silent vigilance, and I'm sure Mikey is dumbfounded.  .........We get home, I tell Tristan good night.  I, at least, apologize to Tristan.  I go to bed and fall asleep without a word to Mikey.  I'm up at 3am.  At 4, I wake up Mikey jsut long enough to apologize.  He's nicer than me and says he loves me and it's okay.  ........I know that it was not okay and say so.  ..........He has to go to work in the morning so I shut my mouth so he can go back to sleep.  ............I continue to just lay there, feel tired, and think.  ..........Thinking is not my friend because I feel that I am a mental case.  Seriously.  .........and then, I think "who the hell wouldn't be a mental case right now?".     .................Ireland.  I miss you.  You were my most special gift and now I seem to have another and am not sure how to handle it.  .........for now, I'll wake up tomorrow and make an appointment with my doctor.  We've told Tristan and he just hopes that this baby doesn't have what you did.  We reassure him that all should be fine.  .......God, I hope so.  .............Family has been called and well, I had several differing reactions.  ................I need to let friends know and well, I don't want to cry anymore., I cope with writing to you.  I still cry because I see your picture, your face and just want you and think I'll never understand. I still know how soft and wonderful you felt.  ...........I miss you and want you.  I am so glad that you are not suffering but you have a selfish mother that really wishes you were here.  I love you.  ........I don't know how to feel right now but know that I'll love this baby as much as I love you and as much as I love Tristan.