Daily, Holidays, infant loss, Joshua, Madeline, Parenting, Parenting After Loss

When Mother’s Day is Hard

Mother’s Day is hard. Even with my sweet, little, beautiful Madeline, it is STILL hard. I look at her and I know that I am blessed.  
I know that I am lucky because there are so many that are still longing with aching hearts and empty arms to hear the words “momma, I love you” and for that I know that I am blessed. And even still my heart aches and my soul longs to hear those words come from another little voice too.  
My arms, no matter how full of hugs from my sweet girl, will always still ache at the inability to hold her big brother. I feel the weight of her body as she cuddles in each night still wanting to be held before falling asleep (don’t say she is spoiled – you can’t possibly understand the reasons we do what we do) and I feel the weight of so much more than just her tiny 26 pounds. I feel joy and grief dancing their every present tango inside my heart.  
I miss him.  
Often it is that simple and that complicated all at once. I just miss him. I long to be with him as much as I am with her and that is simply an impossibility this side of Heaven.  
These holidays are such aching reminders of what was, what is, and what could have been. They bring up wounds that never heal. They make me cry tears that never really dry. They leave my heart feeling vulnerable and wounded.  
I know I am not the only one. That makes me sad too. As much as my heart aches for my Joshua, my heart aches for your child too.  
My heart aches for the ones that are still tearfully and prayerfully waiting for a positive result on a test that you take month after month just hoping that the odds will be in your favor this time. My heart aches for those who have seen those tests turn positive only to have your heart break weeks or months later. My heart aches for the ones who have watched the ultrasound machine anxiously as the doctor searched for a sign of hope. My heart aches for those who, like us, have held your tiny child in your arms as they took their final breath. My heart aches for those of you who have had to say goodbye at any point, at any age, for we all know that 15 minutes, 36 hours, 15 years, 36 years, none of it is enough time with our children. My heart aches for the moms (and dads) I know that right now are watching their little ones fight battles that are far bigger than they should have to fight. This motherhood gig is not for the faint of heart. 
So today while my heart somehow feels both full and broken, I am still grateful. Grateful to the little boy who made me a mother. I miss you more than words could ever express and I love you to Heaven and back. And to the little girl who made me a momma, I love you. Thank you for helping to heal your broken momma’s heart.

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Baby Loss, Daily, Joshua, Madeline, Parenting, Parenting After Loss

My Saving Grace

The weight of her tiny body on my chest was the only thing keeping me grounded in that moment. I knew that. If it wasn’t for the feel of her breathing as she lay there sleepily cuddling into me I was afraid I might have forgotten that I was supposed to be breathing too. I spoke softly to her as I apologized that her big brother was not her for her to play with. I promised them both that I would make sure that she knew about him. Telling her sweetly that I knew they would have loved each other very much and had lots of fun.

This is a familiar scene around our house. Me in tears, holding our daughter, while desperately wishing our son was here too. This life we live is not easy. It is not fair. But it is ours.  It is our blessing and our struggle.  We don’t take the little moments for granted.  For now we just hold Madeline a little tighter until we can hold Joshua too.

 

Letters to Maddy, Madeline, Monthly Letters, Parenting

15 Months

Sweet Madeline,

  
Here you are, 15 months old!  Time sure is flying by fast.  There are so many days where I wish I could just bottle up these moments with you and save them forever.  Your sweet little giggle and the way you curl into me when I pick you up.  Instead, I take lots of photos and videos and try to write down the memories.  I know that soon enough you will be growing up and not want to take the time to cuddle on the sofa and watch Daniel Tiger, and I will miss these moments so very much.

   

You have finally mastered the whole walking thing and now there is no stopping you.  You’ve been taking a few steps here and there for months now and you loved to walk with us holding onto our hand, but you had yet to really take off.  So imagine our surprise when we were standing in Family Video trying decide on a movie to rent when you let go of my hand and just took off.  You decided you really wanted to go sit in the director’s chair that was in front of us and I clearly wasn’t heading that way fast enough, so you just decided to go there yourself.  You definitely shocked us with that one.  Ever since then you have just been walking everywhere.  You walk, you climb, you are everywhere!

 You LOVE to go to the park and swing.  Unfortunately, this summer has been super lame and it has been nothing but a lot of rain, rain, rain and then 100 heat index days.  It kind of stinks.  We’ve managed to get in a few days at the park, but I am really hoping that the next few months will lead to some better weather and we can go more often, because you just adore it.

  

 You have gotten really good at pretend play lately.  In your latest Citrus Lane box you received a little toy cooking pot and some spoons.  You love to pretend to stir things up and then taste them.  You are really loving your baby doll lately too.  You will cuddle her and rock her and it is just so adorable.

  

 We did a big garage sale this last month.  We sold quite a bit of your sweet little clothes and even some big things like your jumper and bassinet.  It was a little hard to let them go, but we can’t keep everything (and we are still keeping a ton), and we needed the space for all of your bigger kid toys and things that are taking over the house.

  

 We went back to the zoo.  You just absolutely adore the penguins.  It is so cute to watch how excited you get when they swim down close to you.  I think they are my favorite too.  This time you got to ride the carousel for the first time.  I was a bit worried that you might get scared and want off once it started going, but you were all smiles and really enjoyed it.

  
We celebrated Father’s Day.  You and your daddy have such a special bond.  I love to watch you laugh and play together.  You have a really great dad who loves you so much more than you can ever imagine, Madeline.  You are one lucky girl.

  
We of course got to see some fireworks for the Fourth of July.  We did two days of festivities.  On the 4th we had same family and food at our house.  You were had fun watching daddy shoot of fireworks, but I think your favorite were the colored smoke balls.  We helped you hold a sparkler for the first time.  You weren’t quite sure what to think of the whole thing.  Then on the 5th, our church had a big celebration.  You got to have a sno-cone and you got some glow sticks and a neat purple bracelet.  Then it was time to watch the big fireworks show.  You did really good.  You were a bit scared at first, but once you settled in you seemed to like them.  I could here you saying “ohhhh” and pointing at them.  It is such a joy to watch the world through your eyes, Maddy.  Everything is big and new and exciting.

  
In the last month you have begun walking, you are officially off of bottles, you still hate water (even though you look adorable in your swimsuit), you know and can point to your body parts (head, feet, tummy, mouth, nose, eyes, ears, hands), you pick up your toys when asked and put them away, you now have 5 teeth (two on bottom and 3 on top), and you are talking up a storm (mama, dada, hi, hey, hello, dog, baba, all done, good job, good girl, bye, non, yeah, yes, huh, this, here, up, and probably a bunch more I’m forgetting).

  
You are just learning and growing so very quickly.  You are an amazingly smart, funny, sweet, and beautiful little girl, and I am the lucky one that gets to be your mom.  So lucky!

  

 Love Always and Forever,

Momma

Letters to Maddy, Madeline, Monthly Letters, Parenting, Parenting After Loss

14 Months

Dear Darling Madeline,

You are 14 months old!  Time just keeps speeding by and you are growing up and changing every day from baby to more toddler despite my futile attempts to hold you and rock you like a little baby.  You look at me and I can just tell what you are thinking, “Mom, I’m too big for this.  Put me down, I’ve got stuff to do.”  I’ve got news for you little one, I will continue to hold you and try and rock you like a little baby until you no longer fit in my arms.

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This last month has been busy like usual. We got to celebrate our 2nd Mother’s Day with you.  I am so glad that I get to be your momma.  It’s pretty much my favorite thing ever right next to being your daddy’s wife.  You both are my world and I love you both so much.

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We had your follow-up doctor’s appointment this last month and of course everything was great. We met with your regular pediatrician who couldn’t understand why the other doctor was worried in the first place.  Silly doctors.

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We actually all 3 got to enjoy a full 3-day weekend over Memorial Day.  That was a nice change of pace.  We really didn’t do anything super exciting, but it was just nice to all be together with no urgent need to be anywhere.

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We did however go to the Farmer’s Market.  We went a lot last year, and that’s the plan for this summer too.  It was pretty chilly out that morning, but you enjoyed your sample of bread and loved looking around at all the people.

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You have perfected the temper tantrum and pout lately.  I can’t say I’m a huge fan.  If you don’t get something you want or if it’s time to leave when you are still playing you throw a HUGE fit.  You cry and throw yourself backwards and basically become a limp, screaming, noodle.  Not fun.  Now your little pouty face however, that is pretty darn cute.  If you are just mildly upset about something you will scrunch your nose up, pucker out your lips and just whine.  It’s so hard not to giggle every time you do it.

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For the most part though you are a pretty chill kid.  You love to sit quietly and play.  You have an amazingly long attention span for a one year old.  I’m always impressed with how long you will play with one toy.  I’m still not sure if you have any favorites, but you do love your Mega Blocks.

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We made our annual trip down to downtown Lee’s Summit for their Downtown Days festival.  You absolutely loved watching the animals at the little petting zoo.  You were a bit startled when the pony stuck his head out of the fence and tried to say hi to you, but then you just smiled and laughed.  I love how fascinated you are by life.  It is truly amazing to see everything again through your pretty brownish-blue eyes.  It was pretty hot out that day so you got your very first ice cream cone.  You dove in face first.  It was pretty funny to watch.  After a couple bites we went with a cup and spoon to finish it off.  Much less messy that way, but probably not nearly as fun.

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Your fourth little tooth is finally peaking its way through.  Eventually you will get all of your teeth…

You have been a dancing fool lately.  You’ve been “dancing” for a while now, but lately it has become pretty much your favorite thing ever.  Every time you hear music of any kind you get to dancing.  You shake your hips and shimmy your shoulders and move your arms.  You totally feel the music and it is just the cutest thing of all time in the history of ever.

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This month we also (finally) installed your big girl car seats in both cars.  No more having to lug that infant seat in and out all the time.  You seem much happier in your new seats with lots more room.  You do pretty well in the car (most the time).  You like to look out the window, wiggle to the radio, and “talk” to me while we drive.

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You love to give kisses and hugs and each kiss you give with a big “MUAH.”

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You shake your head no when you are done with something or to tell me you don’t want any more food.  You love chicken, pasta, meatballs, mashed potatoes, cheese, applesauce, yogurt, green smoothies/juice, oranges, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, green beans, goldfish crackers, graham crackers, water, and of course milk.

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You love Sophie and she is slowly starting to warm up to you.

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You love books and blocks and your water/sand table and to color.  You love to push your little walker all around the house, but you still don’t want to let go.  You will pick it up and turn it around when you get to the edge of the room, but you still think you need to hold on.  You’ll get there eventually.  I’m trying to stay patient.

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You are just full of personality and joy.  Everywhere we go you smile and greet the people you pass and I like to think that your little smile brightens their day just a little bit.  You are a ray of sunshine my sweet little rainbow and I am just so blessed that you are mine.

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Love Always and Forever,

Momma

Daily, Parenting, Rant

Stop Comparing and Just Support

I think I’m in too many different “mom” groups on Facebook.  Car seats, diapers, breast feeding, baby wearing, etc. there is so much drama.  How about we all just raise our babies the best way we can and try to support each other in the process.

I cloth diaper – that doesn’t mean you have to (though it’s awesome).

I nurse Madeline, but we also supplement with formula because of her reflux.

I make Madeline’s baby food, but I realize that not everyone has the time or resources for that.   As long as you aren’t feeding your infant McDonalds, I think you are doing a great job.

We use a stroller, an Ergo, and a Moby wrap, it just depends on the day.  As long as you are caring for your child, that’s all that matters.

We co-sleep.  I realize that it’s not for everyone.

Stop trying to compare.

Just be supportive.

Daily, Madeline, Parenting

WBW 2014

Today is the kick off of World Breastfeeding Week.

As of today I have nursed Madeline for 114 days. That is about 113 days more than I thought I would. We have fought thrush (twice), a shallow and painful latch, and a myriad of other issues that made me want to quit at least a dozen times.

But we have made it.

The best advice I ever received was, “never quit on a bad day.” Every time that it has been hard (or painful) I have had that thought in the back of my mind and somehow, inevitably, the next day was always better.

We even survived only being able to latch with a shield. I was so glad when I was able to throw that crazy thing out. We’ve nursed in public and while walking, but I’m still trying to figure out how to nurse her in the Moby or Ergo.

My first goal was 6 weeks. Then 3 months. Now my next goal is 6 months though I’m pretty sure we will continue until at least 12 months now.

In the beginning I was sure that I would give up. It was hard. It hurt. And I felt like a failure as I watched her struggle. Now, I am so glad that we didn’t give up. Those moments when she cuddles up close to nurse are some of my most favorite and most cherished times.

So here’s to the next 114 days!