Twenty-Five Weeks.

It’s the twenty-fifth Tuesday.

One-hundred and seventy-five days since Jensen was born.

Jensen’s big day of the week and honestly today was busier than any other Tuesday I’ve had since he’s been born. The morning was really rushed and stressful. Leo and Poe were being trouble makers, we were in a rush to work out, and then I had therapy. Even when that was done, I was only home for a bit to go get supplies for the house and then finally eat. Today was just more rushed than I like my Tuesday’s to be. I honestly didn’t know if I’d write tonight since I posted a lot my feelings yesterday. I know I have a lot of Jensen and grief feelings going on write now, but I can’t make sense of them. Maybe at the end of this.

Then I figured everyone would have heard enough from me after my video chat with Emily Long, from Invisible Mothers, about love, loss, and figuring out life through grief. Which if you didn’t see and would like to, you can see it here. It was nice to be able to talk and actually speak what’s on my mind with words coming out of my mouth and not just directly on the screen. I am so very thankful she asked me chat with her to share with other loss moms and just feel what we’re feeling. Honestly, I didn’t re-watch it. I’m so afraid to hear my voice. I promise there’s good stuff on there and if you want to see me talking, it’s the perfect video to see.

But BIG things are happening.

This Tuesday is also the last Tuesday of the month of September, which means October is almost here. As I said in yesterday’s post, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Awareness Month, which is a pretty big deal. Especially since this is my first October without Jensen and knowing what else October holds besides Breast Cancer Awareness. It’s going to be an emotional month in general. October fifth is also Jensen’s six monthday, which I just cannot fathom. I’d do anything to be playing and picking out Jensen’s, at six month old, Halloween costume….

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Broken.

The majority of time I hear a lot of phrases that are supposed to be helpful, but usually do more harm. I’ve written about it many times before because it really does hurt and those words just swirl in my brain. On top of all those things, I’ve had a really horrible week with Anthony moving out and adjusting to being alone.

I want to be very candid with you all; week twenty-four sucked. The majority of the week was spent in bed, under my covers. There were moments I wanted to rip my skin off to feel relief. Seriously, physical pain would have felt so much better than this mental and emotional anguish. I feel so bad and I know Jensen sees this. What kind of mom sits there and loathes herself? I guess someone could answer with, you’re really not a mom. This week I probably couldn’t have even defended myself and my motherhood…

The very person who would do anything for her son wouldn’t have had the energy to defend my motherhood. Grief has completely broken me.

Today I heard one of the best things since Jensen’s been born:

“He’ll always love and remember you.”

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Twenty-Four Weeks.

When I decided to start blogging about Jensen and life after loss I promised myself I would always do two things:

  1. To honor Jensen by sharing his story and the positive impact he brings to me each and everyday.
  2. Be completely raw and honest no matter how hard.

Today, I unfortunately have to share news that hurts and is ultimately life-changing. Before I begin, I’d like to say this is not wrote in an ill tone or manner. This is real life and a fairly common thing to happen after losing a child.

Anthony and I have decided to go our separate ways to be able to focus on ourselves through our different grief journeys.

It hasn’t been an okay time for me and although I can’t speak for Anthony, I know he’s hurting too. The reality is grief does awful, awful things to a person and their relationship. I don’t think we’re going into this next stage of our lives with a bad taste on our tongues. We’ve been able to identify how each other needs to be able to better themselves and it’s hard, but in this time we have to be apart.

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Painfully Beautiful.

Let me tell you, this month is horrible. The majority of days are filled with heartache and sadness, but in those days I’ve tried my very best to see the light and good. This weekend, I couldn’t see anything but the top of the waves crashing on top of me. I would say the mix of the oncoming six month mark and all the other troubles going on in my life have not helped with my grief. Those stories are for another day. I’ve felt that I haven’t been able to write about what’s going on with me and my grief. Every time I sit down to write the words, they just fly right out the window.

But, I wanted to share with you what happened yesterday. It all started last month when I got an invitation in the mail about a memorial put on by the hospital. Now it feels like that was forever ago, but I had made sure to make sure I planned today for the ceremony. I thought I had everything ready to go, until life happened. There were unforeseeable events that happened this weekend that made me not want to go. Made my grief so much more intense and wanted to stay in bed all day long. Somehow I dragged myself out of bed, put on my most favorite dress, and went to celebrate my Jensen’s life.

When I got there and saw the three big tents and all the chairs, I instantly started crying. I kept thinking about how many babies aren’t with their families. Then it hit me. All the pain I was going through without Jensen. How he wasn’t there with me looking up at me from his carseat. All the memories I wanted to have with him physically here. When did my life involve going to a memorial remembering my child that died?

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The Moon and the Sun.

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I wonder if the moon ever aches for the sun.

For the sun gives the moon its light from afar,

Letting it shine brighter than all the stars.

The moon and sun will never be one,

But they are always connected together.

Just as you and I, forever.


 

 

Twenty-Three Weeks.

The memories of the day before and the days following Jensen’s birth have slowly been coming back to me. It’s almost like water coming from the faucet. My brain tries to let a steady stream come out, but sometimes it just comes flooding. I’ve been getting used to the constant flow, yet this past month, it’s came back so fast. Certain things come out of nowhere and it breaks me.

That and the fact that time refuses to stop. I know that probably sounds silly because how can time stop? It’s just going too fast. Me finally getting on a somewhat regular sleep schedule hasn’t helped slow time down. I used to not sleep until three or four then wake up by nine or ten. It felt like the day lasted and I could actually think. No I wake up and go to sleep fairly early so I have more time in the day to get work and life things done. Maybe it’s good for grief, but I hate the fact that I don’t have a five month old baby waking me up.

Which brings me to today. Another Tuesday without Jensen physically getting another week older.

It’s actually a really weird time because the outside world has moved on. A lot of people think I should be ‘moving on’ by now. Almost a half a year and I’m still ‘stuck’ on him. Or when I just post about him because nothing else seems relevant to my life right now. Some days I almost feel bad about revolving my life around Jensen and his time here with me. Then I think, if Jensen was here would I be moving on from him right now? Would I move on from him at a year? Or five years? Or twenty? You can’t move on from a child and I hate that I’m supposed to feel bad about being sad.

Yesterday was a bad day. Monday’s I’m usually in a bad mood anyways because I just don’t want the day to end. So, I didn’t have a good day to start out with. Then I got bad news and I couldn’t stop crying. To try and make me feel a little better, I tried to go shopping. I was met with an associate who told me to ‘turn my frown upside down’ and ‘nothing could make your day bad on this beautiful day.’ Except when your baby dies and you hear things aren’t going they way you thought they would be, you’re allowed to have bad days. Not just one, but a lot. Long story short, I told her my baby died, she gave me an appalled look, and I ended up tears while walking out of the store.

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In the past, I’ve shared pictures of what a bereaved mother looks like a various stages of grief. I believe it’s important to see this rawness; especially when I try to keep it together a good percentage of the time. I will admit, I wiped most of my tears off so I could see where to press the button. But, when I walked out of that store, I knew I had to capture that moment. It’s vulnerable to sit in a car crying as people are walking by looking in. Being told to cheer up because there shouldn’t be bad days on such a beautiful day outside is wrong. I know I wasn’t having the best okay day after loss, but the harsh reality someone was having the worst day of their life. Someone’s baby died yesterday and I don’t know them or how many families were effect by loss yesterday, but I do know they’ll be going down this path. There’s days where the sunshine will not heal you. Days where you don’t get to sit at dinner with your partner and attend an amazing support group like I did after this moment. Most times, you can’t pull yourself out of this moment. You don’t know yet that just writing your angel’s name down on paper over and over again can help you. You’re lost and spiraling and an associate trying to do her job ruins your day even more. The point is death happens and people are sad. That’s the unfortunate promise of life. Why should we shame others in sadness when they already feel horrible? Why do we feel the need to fix the unfixable?

But I want to tell you, yesterday taught me an important lesson in my twenty-three weeks post loss. When it feels like the world is turning it’s bad on me, I don’t have to hide those feelings and I can work through them. I’m learning how to catch my breath when I’m drowning. In times of feeling like others look down on my grief or think I’m not ‘moving fast enough,’ I can tell them it’s their opinion and I’m doing what’s best for me. Grief is selfish and I need to continue being selfish for Jensen and I.

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There’s Jensen’s name.

Today I shared, “The amount of times I’ve written his name already today is mind-blowing. It’s very therapeutic to just see it over and over again.” One hundred and sixty-one. That’s how many times I wrote his name today. It’s also the amount of days Jensen has been gone. I wrote how the amount of times I wrote his name was mind blowing, but it never crossed my mind that the amount would end up being the number of days he’s been gone. It’s a crazy amount any way you look at it. But it is written and no one can erase his name from that paper. Just like they can’t erase the memories or the impact he continues to bring to my life and the world around me.

Jensen, the second thing I told you this morning will be the second to last thing I tell you again tonight. Happy twenty-three weeks in heaven my sweet, little boy. You are so loved and missed everyday. Your momma will never, ever forget you. The strength you bring to me each and everyday is what keeps me treading. I hope you played with all the other babies and are now being rocked to sleep as the day comes to a close. Let me love swaddle you as you sleep and dance in the clouds.

I miss you.

I love you.

 

The Story Behind the ‘Yellow’ Nails.

There are a lot of days in grief where there is no lightness. Most times I’m drowning in the waves of loss and depression. It’s a dark time in my life, but as always I keep treading. I have to keep going and living life for me and Jensen. Even in the ever-present darkness, there’s moments of light. I’d like to share my latest light moment with you all…

“What color nail would you like?”

“I’m thinking a deeper, yellow color. Still clinging on to the last of summer.”

“Okay, I have the perfect yellow for you then!”

As I washed my hands, I was looking forward to see the beautiful, mustard-yellow color I had envisioned on my nails for the remainder of September. There isn’t one part of me that wants fall to arrive. I kept thinking, I could still see glimmers of summer on my hands. I didn’t have to move forward right now and I was perfectly fine staying in the summer months. After I dried them and walked back to the station, the technician presented me with his perfect ‘yellow.’

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I’ll pause for laughter here. No, they’re definitely not yellow. No one that sees color would ever tell me they were yellow. Even if they’re not, this color is so special to me.

This man’s ‘yellow’ was Jensen’s bright orange. When he asked me if I loved the color, I couldn’t tell him no. Of course I love the orange; my Jensen’s color. Was it the yellow I wanted? No, but there it was. It was my sign from Jensen. Him letting me know he’s right there with me and really wanted his mom to have bright orange nails. It’s the color a little boy would most definitely pick out. My little love’s bright orange that’s painted on the wall, that his crib would still be filled with.

Maybe you could say it was a confidence that this guy picked out this orange when I told him to pick out a yellow. Or maybe it’s not? I believe in the feathers, blue and red birds, and dragonflies he sends me. Why would it be ridiculous to believe that this bright orange was anything else other than a sign from Jensen. It made me smile. It still makes me smile as I see them while I type. It’s a good moment. A good moment that will span over the next two weeks.

These ‘yellow’ nails, that some would see as a mistake, are happy little reminders that Jensen is here with me, always.

Little Leo Comes Home.

If you’ve been following along in our journey of life after loss, you’ll know at the two month mark we got a kitty, named Leo. He’s the most adorable, orange kitty cat that I’ve ever laid my eyes on. All my life I wanted a black cat named Poe and an orange one named Leo. In December of last year, we adopted Poe as Jensen’s kitty and he’s been our little trooper. He’s seen us at our best and our absolute worst. There were days when I was still pregnant that Jensen and Poe would cuddle with each other. He was super protective over me and Jensen while he grew. After Jensen was born, Poe knew. I was at a point where I needed something to hold and cuddle, but Poe was going through a weird phase. That’s where Leo came into our little family.

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Always right by my face.

The first night in the house, Leo slept right between Anthony and I. We soon found out he loved to be held and cuddled. He’s right there when I’m cooking and likes to be covered up by blankets. Yes, he’s spoiled. In his defense, I made him that way. I needed something to look after and care for physically. He would listen to me as I sung to him and told him stories about Jensen. My voice relaxes him and he’ll fall asleep as I hold him in my arms. My little Leo has helped me heal. He’ll always hold a part of my heart. (So does Poe, don’t get me wrong! He’s very much loved and cuddled when he pleases.)

Yesterday, Leo had to go to the vet. He had to get fixed, which is a normal and routine surgery that many animals get. Poe had it done as well as my parent’s pets growing up. It’s just how it goes. The night before, I noticed I was starting to get really upset. I kept telling myself everything would go smoothly, just as I always believed it would with Jensen.

Then loss and grief hit. What if Leo dies too?

Death takes over my head sometimes. It took my baby away and taunts me everyday with that fact. Leo can easily be taken too. I didn’t know how I would handle another loss. It would make me question ever getting close and having feelings to something ever again. Because life ends, but it shouldn’t end on my son who was supposed to be safe in my belly and my cat who would be doing a routine surgery. I was hurting and I couldn’t sleep, not that I do anyways.

So, yesterday morning rolls around and I have to force him in his carrier to take him. He meowed the whole time and gave me the saddest eyes. As I drove, he scratched the entire surface of the carrier to try to escape. With each of his meows I wondered if this was the last time I’d hear him. Would it be the last time he heard my voice calming him? This might sound dramatic, but we never know when the last time for any of us will be.

After dropping him off and having the girl there promise me she would call afterwards to let me know he was okay, I got in my car. The memories of leaving the hospital without Jensen came to me in full force. I was leaving empty-handed, full of worry, and not knowing what the future would be like. The silence in my car was broken by my sobs. I miss Jensen. This life is so hard after losing him. It’s not just losing him either; it’s the loss of the innocence I held in this world. Death took away my son from my belly, it would be easy for him to take away my cat laying on the table. Loss and love battled each other for who would win out. I remember through my tears and driving, I just prayed God and Jensen would watch over Leo and he would have a fast recovery.

When I walked into my house, Poe gave me the same look as he did after Jensen was born. He was looking for little Leo and didn’t understand. I would say yesterday was definitely hard for me. I kept wrestling with the idea that bad things happen to good people. Coming home to Poe was nice, but I knew Jensen should have been there too. He should be with me everyday. Then my kitty wasn’t here either. Life after loss hurts. Living with this pain everyday is tiring and it comes out of little things.

Later in the afternoon, the humane society called me. I was anxious to hear how surgery went and if he was recovering well. Well, it went so well that when he woke up he was being a sassy, little boy. He hissed at everyone and didn’t want to be around anyone else… but me. When I came and got him, he stopped hissing as I soothed him with my voice. We came home and I held him as he slept for the better part of the evening. Last night, he stayed in my arms, just purring away. He’s still a little sore today, but he’s recovering and letting Poe take care of him. I’m so thankful he was able to get through surgery and be his little ornery self afterwards.

It brings me delight to see him back home, but it also makes the hole I have in my heart for Jensen sting more. I can imagine how complete the house would feel if Jensen was laying with Poe, Leo, and I on the couch. My life will always have Jensen missing, but we’re learning how to live again.

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Happy to be home.

Stillbirth Remembrance Day.

Jensen has taught me so much in the time he was with me and after. He taught me a new kind of love and appreciation for life. My time with him brought me so many smiles and tears. I learned Jensen would much rather have a gallon of chocolate milk instead of water. He most definitely would have been a night owl who slept all day. His stubbornness even inside my belly made me laugh. I could go on and on about all the things I learned about him and how it effected me to this day. Even though he didn’t take a breath on this earth, he still lived. My little guy was a person who had his own emotions and personality. He’s the amazing, little baby that I would never been able to dream up. Jensen is my son, my first-born boy.

His death taught me others.

In fact, I learned that September sixth is Stillbirth Remembrance Day. That’s today, which falls on his twenty-second week. If you hadn’t noticed, a lot of important dates fall on Tuesdays this year. Honestly, before Jensen’s heart stopped beating, I didn’t realize what a stillbirth was. I mean, some part of my brain knew babies died and they were still. History documents so many women and families having multiple stillbirths, but that was way in the past. In my mind, it didn’t happen with all this technology we had or in this time. A baby’s heart just didn’t stop beating. No matter all these horrible things that can happen during pregnancy would never happen to me and my baby. Until it did.

Those words still ring in my ear, “I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat, you need to go to the hospital.”

Then the, “Do you understand what this means?”

I wish I could go back to this moment and scream at the doctor. No. I didn’t understand what that meant. How could he die? I just saw him dancing around on the screen four days before. He was just moving the previous day. It hit me as we drove over to the hospital that I’d have to go through labor and birth my son. Just as we practiced, but he wouldn’t be there. Instead of the screams, there would be nothing but silence. Some part of me believed the ultrasound machine was lying. That he would come out screaming and just faked everyone out. He didn’t, the room was silent.

Our time at the doctor’s office and the hospital still hasn’t come back to me; well not fully. I do remember being home the week after his funeral and it was the first time I looked up stillbirth on Google. What I found was so surprising. One in one-hundred and sixty pregnancies end in stillbirth. That’s a huge number of babies dying everyday. It’s another mom and dad losing their child. Another childhood that won’t be lived. A mom who feels like she’s unable to grieve the loose of her child because stillbirth is so taboo. Death is so taboo, yet it happens to so many babies before they’re even born. Yet, we’re told to ‘get over it’ and ‘just have another one.’ Jensen was not a statistic. I’m not a statistic. We are both human beings. Our lives have a purpose and we’re not defined by death. This happened to me and my family, but we’re not just this number in a study.

On this Stillbirth Remembrance Day, I remember Jensen and all his friends in heaven, just as I do everyday. Our angels are not just a number in a scientific study. Their lives are so meaningful and our motherhood is real. Don’t ever forget.

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I made this for Jensen. The modern wreath and his name are written in his colors, navy blue and orange. Triangles represent the shapes that flooded his nursery. He is remembered and honored everyday. My son will never be a statistic. His life will always be celebrated. I love seeing Jensen’s name and today I want to reach out to all my angel mom friends and ask if you’d like me to do a wreath for your angel. To see their names and remember they are not a statistic. My heart goes out to you mommas on Stillbirth Remembrance Day and everyday.

*Edit: currently not making name wreaths due to my schedule.*

Five Months.

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I usually don’t talk about Jensen’s big hands, just his perfect feet. Sometimes I don’t have the words to describe each of his features, in my mind they’re each just so perfect that there are no words to encapsulate him. This past week, I dove into Jensen’s drawer and looked over his hospital folder. These big, bear hands just reached for me to look more closely. I never realized how ginormous they were until the last time I saw them. We also printed off a few of his pictures to hang around the house and the one that sits next to Anthony really shocked me. His hands looked bigger than they do on his prints. They’re chubby and really long actually. You can’t see that in the prints, so you’ll just have to trust me. Those hands would definitely be bigger than mine. I hope he’d give better high-fives than me too.

Five whole months. He would’ve been using his hands so much by now. Holding his bottle, gripping my fingers hard, and probably flailing them around. I’m sure they’d be right by his face all the time, just like he had them during all the ultrasounds. He would for sure be a thumb sucker, but that’s okay. I can just imagine how he would have grown by now and I would be seeing this beautiful boy with his hand in his mouth and slobber everywhere. Then when he’d get our attention he’d just give us this ornery, big, gummy smile with his hand still stuck in there. I can just picture it…

Honestly, I didn’t imagine me being able to make it to the five month mark without Jensen with me. Sometimes I think my heart is so broken that it’s going to stop too. Kind of like how older couples die just months between each other. I feel like that’s going to be me. Everyday I’m amazed that I wake up, feel it beating, and can get out of bed. The pain of outliving my child stings with every breath I take. I try to fill the house with him each day so I have a reason to smile. Most times I wish I could just stay on my couch curled up in my blanket with all my candles on and just be. Not doing anything, but being warm and present. Those days are necessary most of the time, but I have to get up. I have to work and try to keep living the fullest life I can.

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