Sunday, August 30, 2009

'THAT' Mom

Just sitting here at work and I was thinking...

I was THAT mom. I was the one that the NICU got a call that morning of the 8th saying they have a 26 weeker coming, get ready. And not only was Nolan 26 weeks, he was the size of a 20 week baby! So yes, I am THAT mom who gave birth to the baby the NICU staff probably got a little anxious about when they got the call.


And I do remember, as I was laying on the OR table asking Dr F if the NICU team was there yet. Who knows, I obviously knew that they would be there but it was like I needed to know they would be.

Why am I thinking this? Well as a therapist who did time in the NICU and did a lot of deliveries as a student, I remember THOSE moments. I remember the therapists saying "Ahh this is no good, a 25 weeker is coming in" I never would have thought I would have been that person, how naive. (Yup, that's me on the right, 4 years ago getting ready for a baby coming from a c-section)

I remember the first 25 weeker I helped deliver. I remember them telling the Mom he might not be big enough and to pray he is over 500g. Wow... 4 years later, I am that very same Mom. Nolan was 368g!

I also remember my second trip to the NICU to visit Nolan, I ran into a therapist I knew who was working with Nolan. He just looked at me like holy crap, why are you here!? So I tell him and he asks what baby is mine. Ummm, the smallest one in here. And the look in his eyes, I knew what he was thinking. My son probably gave him one good heart attack when he came out and they were trying to get his airway. I am SO THANKFUL that they tried, because it proved to the fetal specialist that he had a chance. Thank the Lord!

So anyways, I was just sitting here thinking about that day. I guess I was putting myself into the therapists shoes that got to work on Nolan. I wonder what was running through their head. I didn't think much about it at the time, because honestly I didn't care about all the details. I was there as a Mom, I was not there to read ABG's or look at his vent settings, because I was there just to be with him. So now, probably because I am back working, I wonder what the therapists that took care of Nolan thought about him. I mean, I think about my patients and my critical ones... you can watch the path they are heading on and sometimes predict the outcome. I wonder if they predicted Nolan's outscome. Seriously, he was pretty darn amazing to make it those 3 days... why not a million more?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A blessing

When things like this happen, you feel very alone in the world. I felt like Chris and I had our world turned upside down and time stopped for us, while others where in the complete opposite. It's hard to relate with people after loosing your baby because you really do feel like your world is frozen in time. How would they ever understand anyways? They are experiencing the most exciting time in their lives while I sit here in my sorrows. You end up feeling very isolated.

But then when times were at their worst, a few blessings came into my life. When I lost Nolan, I joined a club I didn't ask to be in. I joined a club that no one thinks about until they are pushed into the club themselves. This club has no name because it's a
club that has no words but has feelings. Feelings that every single person in this club is familiar with... loosing your child.

Since Nolan passing, God has sent me a few very precious friends. One of them is
Amy and she is Kalli's mom. Kalli was a precious baby girl who was brought into this world for the same reasons Nolan was... Preeclampsia. Both Kalli and Nolan we born in week 26, and were almost the same size. Kalli was also a very brave little girl that fought so hard in the NICU. But just like Nolan, her little body couldn't put up the fight and she went to be with Nolan just 5 days after being born.

Amy was placed in my life and she is a true blessing to me. We have never met and never even knew of each others existence until a mutual friend brought us together. Amy lost Kalli just 4 weeks after I lost Nolan, so our friend asked if she could share my blog with her as maybe it would help her. We since have then connected on Facebook and have now shared a bond that only we can understand. I have someone to go through this journey of grieving with. She understands me, just as I understand her. Our stories are so similar down to the minute we both lost our babies, she also lost Kalli while watching her code right in front of her. I wish we could have met under different circumstances, but God put us together for a reason. We are here to get each other through this.

Amy, you are a blessing in my life and I know that Kalli and Nolan are holding hands up there in Heaven and looking down on us. I know this. We will hold our babies for eternity when it's our time to go, I have faith in this.
Father Bob talked about our "faith journey" this past Sunday at church, and I honestly believe I have started my journey when this happened. I don't go to church because I have to, I go because I want to now. I go because I have to have faith in what I believe in. I am going to do everything in my power to have faith that I know I am doing everything to get to Heaven and hold my baby when that day comes. Thank you God for placing Amy in my life who is on this VERY same faith journey, we can do this together since we both have the same exact views. As Amy said, you can't hope...you have to KNOW that we will be there one day.

"Keep walking, you may trip and so will I. I am just glad that I found you to catch me and you have me to catch you. Sometimes we will fall together and that is when our babies will hold us tight"

That was one of Amy's sweet messages left of my facebook on one of my harder days. I love you Amy!

I am thankful for the friends that I have been connected with since June. As though I wish we could be friends under different circumstances. But these are the friends that "get it" these are the friends you can talk to that can actually say... "I know how you feel" They are the friends you can call and as bizarre as your feelings are, they can assure you that your feelings are normal, because they, themselves had the very same feelings. These friends are also the ones that give hope that with in time, it will get a little easier. Thank you for putting Johanna and Nikki in my life. Because of them, I know what I am going through is normal not I am not going crazy.


I have also come across MANY other baby loss mama's that have blogs. These blogs are ones I would never think about reading before this journey, but now I can't get enough of them. I have been introduced to the world of loss. As we are all in the same spot. Maybe different reasons caused us to be here, but we all have one thing in common, we have a baby in Heaven. And we all have the same questions, fears, hopes and prayers. I couldn't imagine going through this alone, and as we all know the world is not perfect. I am thankful for being connected to these new friends because they really know that our good days are just days the pain is dull.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Answers Part 1

Thank you for all the questions you guys sent me, and I look forward to more. So keep them coming! Chris and I also got our anchor tattoos, I'll post pictures soon!

I noticed a fund through your church, how does that work?

We started that fund when we were in the stages of planning Nolan's memorial service. Our church was more than generous when it came to funds, so this was our way of giving back. They brought up the idea of a guardian angel statue to put in the memorial garden where Nolan now rests. So the statue will be in Nolan's memory. I just posted the address to the church where donations could be sent, and the response was incredible. I am happy to announce the statue has been delivered and we will be helping the church when they go to place it in the garden and we might do a small little ceremony. I can't wait.

What is your favorite snack food?

Hmmm, this is a hard one because it changes all the time. Currently, my guilty pleasure is oreos. But my healthy snack is fruit, especially watermelon. Yum!

What is your favorite memory of those 3 precious days when Nolan was fighting his courageous battle?

I am so happy I wrote in my blog while I was at the hospital because now I know I will never forget how I was feeling at that very moment. Now that I look back, the memories kind of blur together. So I would have to say my favorite memory is when I got to watch him and marvel at how perfect he was. I felt like my world was as perfect given the situation the night I was able to change his diaper, take his temperature, lift him up, hold his vent tubing when they changed his linens, wash his face and clean his tiny mouth. I am SO happy we got pictures of this, because little did I know it would be my last time ever. It was a feeling of accomplishment and tremendous amounts of hope we had for him that made us feel so complete as a family.


Would you consider yourself a dog or a cat person (or neither)?
Definitely dog! I am super allergic to cats, so I hate cats.

what was one of your favorite memories of being pregnant?
I have a few favorite memories. One would be when I could get him to move around just by playing Bob Marley music, I miss feeling him move so much! I loved the excitement and impatience you feel when your pregnant.

Besides being premature, what else caused all this to occur?
I wish this was an answer I could answer, it's honestly one big mystery to us. This is what I know...
Most likely the biggest culprit of this was the Preeclampsia. They believe that some preeclampsia cases are just set in stone and are determined early in pregnancy even though it doesn't present until later. So we knew Nolan was behind in growth since week 16 of pregnancy and it was most likely due to my blood vessels constricting and cutting off nutrients to him from my placenta.

The slow growth caused him to be the size of a 21 week baby. Nolan should have been a lot bigger for his gestational size, that's why I was so determined to get him to at least 32 weeks so he might have been 2lbs and was a little bigger. But the preeclampsia snuck up on us out of nowhere and he had to come out at 26 weeks.

He was VERY tiny to begin with, only 13 ounces. Luckily I did get the steroid shot 3 days prior to help his lung development. Honestly, the Dr's didn't think they would even be able to get an airway in that small of a baby, but they did! He had the normal preemie NICU things happen. Blood transfusions, blood pressure meds, ventilator and I was okay with that. He took a turn for the worse out of nowhere. I was just visiting him less than 2 hours before he coded. The neonatologist called me a few days later to talk and he believes Nolan got septic and his little body couldn't;t fight it. The other neonatologist believes that his lungs were just simply underdeveloped and super super tiny compared to what they should have been. So he had no reserve in his lungs to help him overcome any humps, and ultimately made him code.

We decided against the autopsy, honestly there is nothing that they could tell me to make me feel better. He was truly a miracle just to survive those 3 days. But I truely thought from the bottom of my heart that he was going to survive the NICU roller coaster. I never thought I would be the Mom going through this.


I find out Sept 3rd if I have any underlying disorders that may have caused all of this to happen. I'm crossing my fingers for an answer, but if its's all negative...this is one mystery that will haunt me for a long time. Why? Why? Why?!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Books & Tats

I should be going to Barnes and Noble to get books on baby's first year or parenting books, but instead I am going there to get the book "90 Minutes in Heaven". This book was suggested by another baby loss mama and she said it really helped her with the grieving process. My other near dear friend said after she lost her son, she read a lot of books on Heaven because she wanted to know everything she could about where her sweet angel was spending his time. So getting this book and maybe a few others will help me understand and cope with what has happened. I do think it is extremely unfair I am going to get books about my baby dying vs a book that helps me parent through the first year. I hate this! I hate this! and did I say... I freaking hate this!

On a totally different note, Chris is going to go get his tattoo today of the anchor he has been wanting. A few close friends donated some cash to help him get his tattoo shortly after Nolan. I can't wait to see how it turns out. And for some shocking news.......(brace yourself Mother)...I *MIGHT* get one too. I have NEVER been a tattoo type person, but always thought it would be cool to get one. But I was always worried about regretting it, but with the meaning behind this one, how could I regret it? It would be in honor of my precious Nolan. So if I do this, it will be a very small one on my inner wrist. Why inner wrist? Its small and a lot of people will see it, and when they ask about it, I will be given the chance to talk about my sweet Nolan. That's honestly the whole reason I am actually considering this. So I have a few ideas of what I want, obviously including an anchor...so let's see if I end up chickening out.

P.S. Don't hate me Mom!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

One lovely blog

I want to thank Nikki (Myles Mom) for nominating my blog for this award. Nikki and I have almost the same exact story, minus a few details. But if you watch both our videos, it's eerily similar. I take great pride in sharing my angels story. I never had the intentions for this blog to turn into what it has become, but I am now able to share my son's couragous story with the world.

Myles Video click here

The rules of the award are to accept it, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link, and then pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.

I have MANY blogs I would love to nominate, but I don't want to pick a few over others. But there is one blog that I came across before Nolan was born. I came across Kayliegh's blog when I first googled IUGR back in May. Her blog was one of the first google results that popped up. I saw that she was born weighing a pound and had a heart defect just like my Nolan and had survived what all Doctors said she wouldn't. I found her story so inspiring and took that hope to every single Dr's appointment from there on. Sadly, Kayliegh went to be with the other angels after almost a year of surviving the NICU roller coaster, shortly after I had come across her blog, but her parents hope, faith and love gave me the hope that I needed to fight for my Nolan. Thank you Adam & Aimee for sharing your precious daughters story, because of your family, I was able to have hope. Thank You.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Really?!

I am a little upset that people seem to think I am suppose to be the same person I used to be. I am in the process of a thing they call grieving, I am not going to be all smiles all the time or be all excited about certain things. I am different now. I am more of a quiet person and probably will be for awhile. It doesn't mean I can't preform my job or go out and have a good time still. I am just more to myself now. I will never be "better" I will have more normal days inbetween my bad days. But my normal days I WILL seem different because I AM different. So if they can't accept that, oh well because that is who I am right now.

I am a hard worker and know I do a good job. If I didn't the girls in the ER wouldn't be begging for me to come back. I consider myself kind and caring with my patients regardless of my situation. Just because I don't go skipping down the hall while I work doesn't mean I will preform ANY different than before. I love my job and I love what I do. I love working the ICU's and ER and I love the people I work with and honestly I think I will be more distracted at work in a good way when I get to have my favorite assignments back. But for the time being, I am working the assignments that make me feel blah, I am not as excited to go to work because I am not doing the part I love doing.

Of course the assignments I love, do work a lot with the same situation that Nolan was in but I have to face it and deal with it. I feel I bring more to the table now in those situations because I can relate with the family more than I ever was able to before.


You want to know why this week has been so hard for me and I why I have had a quiet week? It's hard because I realized my "babyless maternity leave" has ended. While on the other hand my 2 close friends just started thiers this week. Also in the meantime, I am still suppose to be pregnant, my due date was 9/13!! So I have given birth, lost my baby, returned to work before my friends even started their leave. And I want so BADLY to be in the same spot they are in right now. It's what is bothering me more than returning to work. That is the god to honest truth what I am struggling with more this week. But instead I had to return to work and face all the awkwardness of people. It's not so much of the actual job responsibility, it's the fact of returning to work made me feel like I am suppose to be "over" what happened that past 2.5 months.


So, meet the new Ashley. Hi, I am a quieter version of the old me, more reserved. I struggle daily with the emptiness of my son and what I don't have, it is on my mind every second of every day. That will NEVER leave me so learn to deal with the new me. I am not the party Ashley you remember me as, I am now more of a homebody and prefer to stay home. Be prepared for me to have bad days or not feel like talking to people. I have a very small circle of friends/family that I feel comfortable opening up to on my terms. Sometimes saying nothing at all but knowing that you are here if I need you is all I need. And I want you to ask about Nolan or my pregnancy or what happened... I like to talk about him, BUT...also don't expect me to always start that conversation. I still think of myself as the Mom that should still have my son with us and taking care of him. Instead I make flower arrangements for my son while I watch my friends get to be the mother I am dying to be. The new me still loves my career, it's my passion to do what I do and take pride in working the ER and ICU's. I still have ALL intentions if working in the NICU after I heal more and hopefully have another healthy child, I feel like I have a side of the field that not just any regular person that hasnt been through this can understand. Of anything, I think my experience can only make me a better therapist.

I got this from another blog I read and she got it the same way, so I am not sure who to give credit to, but I wanted to post it because I really think it says what I feel.

Wish List for Bereaved Parents

I wish my child hadn't died, I wish I had him back.

I wish you wouldn't be afraid to speak my child's name. My child lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that he was important to you also.

If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child I wish you knew that it isn't because you have hurt me. My child's death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my child and you have allowed me to share my grief, I thank you for both.

I wish you wouldn't "kill" my child again by removing his pictures, or other remembrances from your home.

Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn't shy away from me, I need you now more than ever.

I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you, but, I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my child, my favorite topic of the day.

I know you might pray for me often. I also know that my child's death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know those things through a phone call, a card, note, or a real big hug.

I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in a short period of time. I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my child until the day I die. Grief is a life long process.

I am working very hard in my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my child, and I will always grieve that he is dead.

I wish you wouldn't expect me "not to think about it" or to "be happy". Neither will happen for a very long time, so don't frustrate yourself.

I don't want to have a "pity party", but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.

I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I'm feeling miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you.

When I say "I'm doing okay", I wish you could understand that I don't "feel" okay and that I struggle daily.

I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I'm having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness, and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So please excuse me when I'm quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.

Your advice to "take one day at a time" is excellent advice, however, a day is too much and too fast for me right now. I wish you could understand that I'm doing good to handle an hour at a time.

Please excuse me if I seem rude, certainly not my intent. Sometimes the world around me goes too fast and I need to get off. When I walk away, I wish you would let me find a quiet place to spend time alone.

I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died with him. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I will never be that person again.

I wish very much that you could understand - understand my loss and grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain.


....BUT…I pray daily that you will NEVER understand.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Questions

I have been wanting to do this for awhile now, so what better time than now. I have noticed we have a lot of readers and I know many of them are ones that just happened to come across my blog on accident, or found it while reading another blog, or just by chance. I know as a reader to many other blogs, I often find my self curious about the writer and always have random questions floating in my head. And some of my favorite posts are when they do this very same thing on their blog.

So I want to open the floor up for my readers to ask me any question and then I will take those questions and make a post answering them to the best of my ability. You can ask me anything you wish and it can be about me, Chris & I, Nolan, our experience, our relationship, a random question, a question about something I mentioned in a previous post... I don't care. I look forward to the questions.

You can either leave your questions in a comment on my blog or email me at nolesgirl724@yahoo.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Perfect


(Click on the picture...its WAY better blown up)

I was outside playing with my new camera lens getting ready for a photo shoot I am doing with Val's boys this afternoon and look who came by for a visit. Perfect!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sleep

Can I just sleep through the next month until I am past my due date? I think I would feel better. Even though I know in the back of my head that Nolan probably never would have made it to his due date, it's still something that bothers me. It's also an official point where I can say I would no longer be pregnant. I never got to experience that excited feeling of his arrival. His arrival was filled with worry, anxiety and many many tears. I was told he wouldn't survive his c-section from the high risk Dr, so how do you think I felt being rolled into the OR that morning?

I kept hope that he would be okay & Dr Fish (the good optimistic OB) reminded me that he was a developed 26 weeker, even though his size was soooo much smaller. That helped ease the anxiety. When he squeaked that morning in the OR, it was the best thing I have ever heard. But it's also the only thing I heard. I never heard a cry from him at all in those 3 days because he had the ET tube in. I knew that going into it, but it doesn't mean I didn't long to hear it, and still do.

So with that, it was so hard to return to my hospital room and hear all the newborns crying next door. I wanted so badly to be that Mom that got to sooth her baby and hold him. I wanted that feeling of excitement when friends/family came to visit where they all take turns holding him and taking pictures. I never got any of that. I never got to pick out a going home outfit or have the car seat lady come talk to us. And most of all, I never carried my son in a wheel chair out to the car to go home. Go home to his perfect nautical nursery.
I never got ANY of it and now I am mourning it so hard.

Instead, I had to be picky and choosy on who got to visit Nolan because of the strict rules. And who ever got to meet him, had to wash their hands for 4 minutes. Then they never got to touch him, just stare at him through glass. That's all I know of Nolan. The only time I truly held my son was when they were compressing his chest doing CPR and after he was no longer living. The first time I held my baby close to my chest was when he was cold and no longer had a heart beat. It's the worst feeling in the world. I long for that feeling that you get to feel when they first hand you your baby right after you gave birth. I feel like our story is so backwards.
It's so real as close friends are going through it right now and I want it so badly, so so so badly. I would give my 2 legs to feel it. I want my Nolan back here. I want to feel those feelings again. I know I sound so selfish for these feelings but I can't help it. I am
jealous. There, I said it. It is probably the worst feeling I have felt besides the emptiness. I tried addressing this in counseling because I knew this week would be coming, but I was told it's something that is too big to tackle this soon in a grieving process. Well, here it is..staring me right in the face and it's hitting hard. I want to show my happiness for others, but I am overwhelmed in emptiness to actually feel or show it.

I have never ever been a negative person. I have always been a happy go lucky type of girl. I never really let things bother me, but for this one is eating at me and I am not happy about it. These feelings suck! I hate feeling like this. I sound like a grumpy, upset, bitter person and that's not me.

I just wish I could have what all the mothers get to have. A healthy baby that comes home. A baby they get to nurture and take care of. All I get to take care of is my baby's grave site. I know I am considered a mother, Nolan's mom, but it's hard feeling like one. I just wish I was having a healthy/happy story to tell. Instead, I am living my own personal hell that I feel guilty of.

Edit: So as if tonight couldn't feel any worse... I wrote this blog at Val's in tears...drive home and check the mail. I open up what I thought was junk mail and it was Nolan's death certificate.... Thank you for the reminder.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

This week

I am back at work tonight for the first time. They gave me an easy assignment so it's not too bad. But I feel like a zombie walking through the halls. A few people have asked how I am doing and that's sweet of them to ask. It means a lot. I just feel out of place. I feel like I should still be walking the hallways pregnant. I shouldn't be coming back from maternity leave babyless. My baby is in heaven and not in his crib where he should be.

This week is a hard week, it's probably going to be the happiest week in some of my friends lives, but I am finding my heart ache so much with this week approaching. This isn't their fault at all and I hope they can fully understand, but I hate feeling this way. I just can't help it. BUT, I do know that I am not alone in this feelings and after talking to other mamas in my same position, they have all felt the same too. So I know it's a totally normal feeling and part of grieving a loss of a baby so early in pregnancy. I just want my Nolan.


Dear Nolan,
Ahhhh where do I start? I hope you are enjoying yourself up there in heaven. I am sure Grandma is rocking you to sleep every night. I hope you have met up with Kalli, Eli & Myles and I know you babies are all looking down on your grieving parents. But I just wish more than anything is you could be here with us. I wasn't ready for you to go.

I went back to work tonight baby, it's the first time back since being on bedrest a few weeks before you were born. I fought so hard to keep you growing. I wish I would have taken it easy more and maybe that would have helped. There are so many things I wish I could do differently.

Your room is almost finished, we just have to go pick up your nautical chart and find a chair to put in the room. But none of this could be done until Mommy had a paycheck again. Sometimes I pretend like you are still here and I open the door as if you were crying for me, but then when I open it, I am quickly reminded that you are not there. There isn't even a crib, I just daydream.

I was looking at your pictures today while I was picking out to bring some to work. I want to hang you on my locker and I am so amazed every time I look at your picture. You are SO perfect looking and so beautiful. I wish I could figure out why you couldn't;t stay here with us. I still go in and out of shock that the past 2.5 months have happened. I see your perfect face and wish I could go back to those 3 days you were here and spend more time with you. I am so afraid of loosing the few memories I have.

I miss you so much baby. All the little signs you send me are perfect. I am convinced the yellow butterfly is you visiting. I just wish you weren't a butterfly and you were in my arms. I could then show you all the butterflies of the world. I love you so much and no pregnant mom will EVER understand the love for a child they will have until they have that baby in their arms. I mean I loved you so much, but that first time I met you I fell in love with you 100 fold. That's why it makes this so much harder. I met you, you squeezed my finger, you calmed down when I talked to you, you kicked your feet against my hands. I just wish I could have that back.

I need you to give me a bunch of strength this week. It's a hard week for Mommy because all your friends are being born. One was going to be your future girlfriend and the other was going to be your play mate. I will always look at them and think of you and how big you would be, or what milestones you would be doing. I can't help it.

You keep searching for your perfect little brother or sister up there in heaven. But don't send them before the Dr will allow. We know he/she will be so perfectly hand picked just by you.

I love you baby and I wish more than ANYTHING right now that you could be in my arms and I could kiss your cheeks.

Love,
Your Mommy

Friday, August 14, 2009

These make me smile!

Another great video made by Valorie. It's our 1st day of our wedding cruise, the trip to Ft Lauderdale to Port Everglades and our sail away party as the Ruby Princess is leaving port. I love it! (Sorry they are blurry..not sure why they are)

video

One more.... later that night (last night as a bachelorette & bachelor)


video

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Waterfall Tears

When it hits, it comes like a waterfall.

Well, I haven't had this deep of a cry for awhile now, so I guess it was warranted. And as I write this, yes the tears are still falling so hopefully this makes sense. Today was a reality check on my new life. I went to a meeting for my second job today, my teaching job. First off, it was VERY awkward because no one really talked to me at all. That hurts more than saying the wrong thing. I would rather be asked how I am doing, or nice to see you, or miss you. I got it from 2, but I was like the black sheep in the room to all the others. So I guess this was a trial run for I am going to endure when stepping back into the hospital this weekend when going back to work for the first time.

I have more anxiety of people not talking to me or not having a chance to talk about the baby I DID have. I look forward to the conversations about Nolan and his story with co-workers, but I will say it's easier to get in that conversation when they already know that Nolan is in Heaven.

I am not looking forward to the... How's the baby, wow you look great, where have you been questions from those who don't know. The last time they saw me I had an obvious pregnant bump, so me walking in bumpless they are going to wonder, plus I have been gone 3 months. How do I tell them my baby died and went to heaven?...I'm sure 75% of people know at work, but it's the ones that don't.... ahhhh

Back to the meeting, 4 months ago I had all intentions of teaching my students throughout my maternity leave from the hospital. I looked forward to it because I figured it would be a nice day a week to get out of the house and do what I love, teach respiratory students in the clinical setting. Plus, I would be visiting my hospital and would see my co-workers while there so I would be able to talk all about my new baby and show off pictures, I couldn't wait!

But with the new circumstances, I have been debating on taking a semester off. I just felt as if I can't give the students my 100%. Especially with this being such an important semester for their development. Plus, clinicals start at the same time I go back to work AND it's during my 2 hardest months to get through to begin with... I made the decision while at the meeting to take the semester off. I was still undecided up until they asked me this last time. This sucks, my life is so different now. In the mean time, everyone elses lives keep going and great and wonderful things are happening and I am sitting here trying to comprehend why mine took such a tragic turn.

This wasn't suppose to happen. I feel like people think I am suppose to be healed and be "happy" only 2 months after loosing my son. I had a baby, he was the most perfect little boy, small, but perfect. He cried when he came out, he took his own breaths and his little heart was beating. He made it to the NICU and gave a hard fight for 3 days. He defeated all odds and gave us hope that I would be walking out of the hospital with my son. But instead the funeral home left the hospital with my son. I lost my baby! It's just not right. I was the Mom in the wheelchair in the drive around with flowers, a shrinking belly, but NO infant carrier. Let me tell you, it's the worst feeling ever!

So in summary, I wasn't ready for today's awkwardness. I just wasn't prepared for it. I got a reality check when I had to make the very hard decision to take a semester off. I know it's for the good, BUT it reminds me that my life is so different now. I SHOULD be 36 weeks pregnant and finishing up last minute things for his arrival. I even bet we would still be fighting over names. Now I am struggling with emotions I never thought I would face. I am rearranging my normal life for a "new normal" and it's NO FUN.

I miss my Nolan and I think this month is going to be my hardest month. It's just getting too real. I just want to be the one sharing happy news.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wish us luck

I entered our story into a Princess Cruise Romance contest. They did this last year and so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try. Princess Cruises really has been a HUGE part of our life and milestones we have gone through.

Our first vacation with our families
Grand Princess

Our engagement cruise
Caribbean Princess

Our wedding/honeymoon/RUBY BABY
Ruby Princess


So I entered "our story" and if we win, we get a free cruise. I'm crossing my fingers that this could be the PERFECT sign from Nolan :)

Cross your fingers!
Here's the link... to my entry
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1039552

On another note, today is August 11th.
2 months ago today was the beginning of the rest of our lives. I still can't believe he's been gone 2 months, I miss him so much I can't even put it into words. I am slowly learning my new normal and it's been a journey so far. I can't help but wonder what life would be like for us right now if he was still here with us. How much would he weigh now? Would he be in an open NICU crib yet? Would he recognize us? Ahhhh, I wish we could have experienced these things.

Quite honestly, I am still in shock. with MANY friends having their babies right now, it puts it into perspective how real this really is. They say this will be the WORST thing we will ever go through, and I hope they are right. I NEVER expected this to happen, nor feel the feelings I am feeling to be so real. You can't even begin to imagine what this is like unless you have gone through this yourself.

I work in a hospital and have seen kids come and go, sad cases and some good. The sad ones suck, and you always get a little emotional over it, but I never really let it affect me. Probably because,
#1 I wasn't yet a parent myself
#2 Never experienced this level of a loss

Now it's a whole new ball game, new emotions, new compassion and I hope Nolan is there right with me giving me my new strength.

I love you little guy and I miss you so much. I just want you back her in my arms. I hate having a broken heart and an empty crib. Butterfly kisses to you up there in Heaven.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Picture worth a thousand words...



Well I got a picture of that darn yellow butterfly! He's a fast sucker! We had just gotten back from a 14 mile bike ride that we take to go see Nolan at the church. It's 14 miles round trip, but the halfway mark is bittersweet, my baby's resting spot. So anyways, those 14 miles give you A LOT of time to think, and today was one of those rides where all my thoughts were about Nolan. Every little thing, I replayed the morning he was born in my head all the way to the day we buried him. SO, what greeted us when we pulled into the driveway? You bettcha!

The best part, the butterfly was flying with a dragonfly. My new friend who has gone through a NICU loss 2 years ago said her sign that Eli gives her is dragonflies. So I just figure that Nolan and Eli are playing up there in heaven.


Here's a picture of that paper yellow butterfly that my cousin sent me 2 weeks ago. It was sent from her Moms kindergarten class that prayed for Nolan since May. I thought it was super sweet and VERY ironic now that these yellow butterflies keep visiting. I didn't even put the 2 together until days after.
Anyways, 2 months ago today was my last full day of Nolan. I remember nagging my mom to hurry up and get to the hospital that morning because I wanted to take a shower and I needed her to blow dry my hair since I couldn't bend over with my c-section. So she arrived, I was FINALLY able to shower and get all dressed up and visit my baby. I wish I stayed up there in the NICU all day. That night was the night a lot of our friends came up to the hospital to hang out with us. A few of them even got to meet our little man that night. I was talking to Chris's good friend Kyle the other night, and he said this...

"I have never ever seen you more happy than you were that night I came to visit you guys and you came down from the NICU with the biggest smile, because you got to change his diaper. In the 7 years I have known you and Chris, I have never seen the 2 of you more happy that night ever"

And it's the truth, I had all my friends there with us and I got to come down and say... I FINALLY FEEL LIKE A MOM. And I went back to my hospital room and spit this blog out...
http://rubybaby09.blogspot.com/2009/06/becoming-mom.html

Little did I know, hours later would change the rest of our lives forever.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Reality

I guess its just one of those days. I wake up and I feel "okay" but moments later, reality hits and I realize the nightmare is still very real. It gets more and more real with friends babies coming any day now, thankfully healthy. But it makes me miss Nolan so much. I wish so much that things could be different for us, I can't help but think it's not fair.

2 months ago today, I was being admitted to the hospital for high blood pressure. Little did I know that Nolan would have to come that very next morning. I forgot this picture was even taken until going through my pictures last night. This was taken that very day in triage, I didn't even know I was being admitted yet at that point. I look awful and my face was huge...thanks to the preeclampsia. I just thought it was pregnant chunky face. Little did I know.I miss that exciting feeling. I miss Nolan kicking my bladder so hard it would make me jump. I just miss my pregnancy and everything that comes with it. The excitement, hope and love you feel when your pregnant.

So no more than 12 hours after that last picture was taken, I was being prepped for the OR to have a C-section. It goes to show you that things can change in a second and you can't take things for granted. I never saw this outcome coming. I knew he was small and my amniotic fluid was low but I was determined to get him to at least 32 weeks so he had more of a fighting chance. But then this happened. Wow. I really thought I was in the clear after my 1st trimester and little did I know of the night mare that was waiting ahead for me.

My life is SO different now. Things that I thought were coming this fall are now absent. I was looking forward to bringing him to Vegas for my best friends wedding. I couldn't wait for our first FSU football party and dressing him up in a jersey onsie. I was looking forward to dressing him up for Halloween. And I was really looking forward to his first cruise we wanted to go on when he was 6 months. But now instead of all that, we are going to Vegas babyless, probably working Halloween night and instead of going on a first family cruise, we are going on a cruise in his memory. This just sucks.

I just wish Nolan was still here. I wish I could be spending my lonely Friday night hanging out in the NICU instead of sitting here playing FarmTown and drowning in my sorrows. I was going to go visit Nolan, but of course...it's raining again (gotta love Florida weather) But Chris and I have plans on taking a bike ride to see Nolan tomorrow so hopefully I don't give up at the halfway point. I am determined to make it- it's his 2 month birthday!

I still struggle with the feelings of not feeling like a Mom, but then it hit me.
I have realized what type of Mom I am when talking to another Mama who lost her baby just 3 weeks ago...we don't talk about diapers, teething and milestones. We talk about our few memories, flowers for graves and signs from our little ones such as downpours, rainbows & butterflies. I miss you Nolan but I know your holding hands & playing with Kalli up there in Heaven. Miss you lil guy!

And an update on that yellow butterfly: Here was my Facebook status, it explains it.

"So after an in depth convo with a new friend about our angels, I leave to go to the store and what follows me to the car???... a yellow butterfly. And what greets me as I open the car door when I got back to the house...that same yellow butterfly. Bizzare"


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yellow Butterflies

They are my new favorite thing. In the past week we have had a few run ins with a yellow butterfly. It has happened to both Trisha, Elaine and Chris & me. This yellow butterfly follows you around and it's happened at our house, the memorial garden and my Mother in Laws house. I think it's a bittersweet sign from Nolan. I never saw yellow butterflies in Florida before Nolan.

So then I was thinking... I got a nice card from AJ(cousin) 2 weeks ago and she included a cutout construction paper butterfly with Nolan's name on it that was used in her Mom's kindergarten class. Her kindergarten class was praying for Nolan in their butterfly garden when we first found out he was sick. I thought it was super sweet and very moving that strangers in Canada were praying for our unborn baby. So anyways, since Nolan going to Heaven, her Mom sent her the butterfly cutout to send to me and..... this butterfly just happens to be YELLOW.

Gosh I miss you Nolan. I was never a huge fan of butterflies before, but this all has a new meaning now.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Talking

Talking helps me. I LOVE to talk about Nolan and his story. I find myself talking to complete strangers about it even. But the people that really make me feel like they care, are the ones who are curious about his story and not afraid to ask or talk about him. As sad as our story may seem, I do have a son as a result of all this. He may not be in my arms or here on this earth, but he is MY SON. I do have stories I don't mind sharing or have I have answers to questions I don't mind answering. He may only have lived 3 days, but he lived in my heart for 6 months before he was ever born and from now on WILL always be in my heart.

The worst feeling is feeling like someone has turned the other way and decided to not say anything at all in fear of saying the wrong thing. There are not many wrong things you can say, unless your going to tell me how to grieve my son. I understand it's awkward to be the other person, but in all reality...I look forward to the conversations I get to talk about my son. I love him, I am proud of him and I will never forget his fight.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Aug 16th

Well that's the day I go back to work. I went for a visit last night and it was really nice seeing everyone. Am I excited to go back? Yes and No, it can't be any worse than what I have already been through, so I guess I'll just hope it goes well. I need the distraction to get me through these coming months, but gosh darn it, why does my job have to be so closely related to Nolan?

On another note. I'm just real sad today. I'm finding friends being upset with me because they feel like I am not happy for their coming baby. Really, seriously? I am so so so so happy my friends are having babies and healthy ones at that. I pray no one ever has to go through what we went through, it's a nightmare. Is it hard to show the excitement right now? Yes, of course, I JUST lost my baby and his emptiness consumes my thoughts. Is it hard to see girls complain about their pregnancy right now? Yup, sure is...because I want to shake them and say I would take ALL their pain times 10 just to have Nolan here and healthy. Is this to make them feel guilty, no not at all. I know that IF I was still pregnant I would have the same complaints and not think twice about them. But now being on the other side of things gives me a whole new perspective on things. It doesn't mean I don't think a pregnant women should NOT complain, heck pregnancy is uncomfortable. I'm just stuck in a really bad place. Close friends having babies that I wish mine was still here, it's hard and I think only a mother in my place could understand.

I'm now a Mom, but a Mom that really can't be in the same spot as other Moms. I can't talk like I have a child or share stories, because I only have 3 days of my son laying in an
isolette. He never had "milestones" so to say. But there is ONE thing he did do, he fought. He fought one hard fight. It's just like I can't be a part of the club they all get to be a part of...motherhood. Being excluded from it, justifies my fear of not feeling nor being recognized as a Mom.

I just want my Nolan back. I want to be visiting him and encourage him. Why can't I be doing this!?

Not Like You
by Sheri Hess


I am a mother, though not like you.
You cradle your sweet baby in your arms,
Mine are empty, but I hold him in my heart.
You brush her soft curly hair,
and tie pretty pink bows just right.
A lock of his hair is tucked neatly in a book
You pick daisies and tie them in a chain
to wear around her neck
I cut lilacs and arrange them in a vase to set at his grave.
You look forward to dreams and plans.
I hold on to memories.
I am a mother,
though not like you.