Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dear Nolan,

Happy Turkey Day Baby!

We are having quite a special Thanksgiving at sea. We have watched a wedding at sea that was just like ours in the same spot. We have met many new friends. Spent a long time in the thermal spa suite, which yuor Daddy LOVES. Reconnected with our wedding photographer who is still on the Ruby. I bought Daddy a special painting at the art auction that he has been wanting SO BAD. And most of all, we got a special letter from the Captian that married us. Even he knew our story and said some very sweet things. Amazing that you have touched so many people.

I just wanted to let you know you are the one thing I am most thankful for this year. Well besides my Dad still being here. God gave me 3 perfect days with you. Sure, they may have been spent with goggles over your eyes, hooked to a vent and living in a isolet. But, we got to meet you, see you kick and have the hope for you we wanted to bad. I am lucky yo have had that. Thank you Nolan for making me a Mommy that I have so much desired to be. I love you muchkin.

Love,
Your Mommy

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dear Nolan,

I miss you little guy! Daddy and I made it safely to our cruiseship and are all moved in our balcony cabin for 10 days. It's bittersweet being on this cruise because in one way we are here for you yet on the other hand if you were here, we wouldn't even be on this cruise right now.

The ship is as beautiful as I remember it 11 months ago when we got married. As soon as we boarded we went out and had a toast on our balcony with Barefoot Champangne then adventured out on to the deck the captain married your daddy and I at.

I promise to do everything for you Nolan, we're going to have a relaxing week and do some things we normally wouldn't all because you simply can't do them. We love you Nolan and I want you to know that we are thinking about you every second. Even at sailway I knew you were with us... the band played your favorite Bob Marley song as we pulled away from the dock. It's the one that I would play on my belly and you would dance for the ultrasound tech or just kick to remind me you were there. Your Daddy and I instantly looked at eachother and were reminded you are with us... all.the.time.

Off to a day in the Bahamas. I miss you Nolan and remember our talk with you the other night... you better keep your eye out.

Love,
Your Mommy

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bon Voyage


We are leaving in the morning as soon as I get off work we will be driving across the state to Port Everglades. I really can't believe that we booked this cruise just weeks after losing Nolan in hopes that it would give us something to look forward to to make the 6 months fly by. And now here we are, 6 months later (well almost 6 months) I guess I can say time flies, but it sure hasn't felt like it. We also booked this cruise for Nolan, a perfect vacation in his honor. I can promise he will be thought about ALL week. I have plans on writing his name on every beach we go to.

For those of you wondering, we are going on the Ruby Princess (the ship we were married on) and sailing for 10 days. We have never been on a 10 day cruise so this will be something new for us. We have always been the 7 day type people. BUT, we NEED these 10 days to ourselves. The past few months have been nothing but emotional stress, work stress and social & health stress.... we are SO ready to get away.


The places we are visiting:

Princess Cays, Bahamas

St. Thomas

St. Kitts

St. Lucia

Barbados

Antigua

My plan for the moment is to get on everyday and write to Nolan about our days since I have free internet. I wish he was here more than anything.


I will see you all on the flip side. We get back on December 4th and leave 4 days later for my Dad's open heart surgery that is FINALLY going to happen.

Bon Voyage!



Saturday, November 21, 2009

Heartfelt


Bless your heart Jessica from Ethins heart beats She nominated my blog for the Heartfelt blogger Award. Jessica is also a mother who lost her precious Ethin to CHD, a heart defect. Little Ethin fought for 5 1/2 months before going to Heaven.

I am real excited about this award for 2 reasons. One, I met someone new that I didn't even knew read my blog and two, I love nominating others for this type of stuff.
So thank you Jessica.

Here are the Rules for this award:

1) Display the award logo
2) Nominate up to 9 blogs that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside
3) Link to your nominees and leave a comment on their blog telling them about the award
4) Link to the person whom you received the award

Here are the blogs that I am nominating in no order at all the blogs that I red and follow and that really just touch me to the core.

1.) Danielle at Letting God & Letting Go tells the heartbreaking story of her son Wyatt's short lived 2 minutes here on Earth. Danielle is spiritually strong and always has the right words. She is currently fighting for her state to recognize Wyatt's birth as a live birth vs Stillborn and is doing everything in her power to get Wyatt a birth certificate.

2.) A dear friend over at Little Bluebirds Fly is also a pre-e & HELLP survivor who also lost her babies too early. But her happy news of a new healthy pregnancy has given me hope. There has been so many of her posts that I feel like I could copy and paste and it's my exact feelings. She also reminds me all the time that at one time she remembers feeling exactly what I write, so it makes me feel a little better. Thank you!

3.) Angie at Bring the Rain tells a story with words that make you feel like you are walking beside her in her journey of grief. She has 3 BEAUTIFUL little girls and was blessed with a 4th. They received some awful news on their baby at 20 weeks and she tells the story about carrying that baby to term because they chose life. I read her entire blog one morning and sat in tears. She is one of the most inspirational blogs I have read.


I have so many more I would love to post because every single one I read is heartfelt. I know all you girls write from your heart and that's what makes these blogs the way they are.






Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holiday Blues

I am real sad and on the verge of tears. I know I was counting down the days until the holidays, but that was for the pure fact that it meant our 6 months were up. I was even excited to see the Christmas stuff in the stores early because it meant it was right around the corner.

But just now I realized how sad Christmas makes me now. With the numerous commercials, holiday music on Grey's Anatomy tonight (what triggered this all) I hate Christmas and everything that comes with it this year. Nolan should be here, it should be his first Christmas. I should be singing him Silent Night and rocking him to sleep.

I'm the girl that has our Xmas tree up before thanksgiving, the 24 hour Christmas radio station programmed in my car and decorations all over the place. I love this time of year. This is is just so different. This year, no tree, no downloading my Xmas playlist on my ipod and no family dinners. I would rather just go to work and pretend it's a normal day. Thankfully, I live in Florida so at least it never 'feels' like Christmas to me and I am usually fighting to make it seem like it.

So I am sitting here watching the Christmas episode of Greys and it hit me... As bad as I wanted Christmas to come, it's now the one thing breaking my heart. The Christmas music they were playing made it all the more real.

I hate that I don't love everything about Christmas this year. I love the music, the decorations, commercials and now it's one big fat trigger of emptiness.

So if you have your baby, have children or are pregnant this holiday season, enjoy it. Embrace it. I would do anything not to have an empty holiday with just Chris and I.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Half of my heart

Half of my heart has a grip on our situation, and the other half is unspoken for. I haven't written a blog recently because I really can't figure out how I feel. On some days, I am doing fairly decent and on other days it feels like it just happened yesterday.
In by no means am I happy, carefree and anxiety free. I have just taught myself to get through my days with less pain in public and learn to appreciate what I do have.

I do have one of the biggest blessings God granted me with, a perfect little boy named Nolan who has moved mountains with his strength. I have a husband that loves me no matter what and stands by me in some of the most trying times we have been through. On my worst days, just his presence can make me feel better, call me cheesy but it's true. If we can get through this in our first year of marriage, I am pretty darn proud of ourselves and I am confident we can tackle anything. I have a wonderful family and I couldn't ask for better and some of the best friends a girl can ask for.

And I can't go with out mentioning, God blessed me with Amy (Kalli's Mom). Someone who is walking this path with me, unfortunately. She is the ONE person that knows what it feels like to go from pure bliss to watching your baby flat line right in front of you. We both watched our babies come into this world too early because of Pre-E, watched them fight, experience them leave this world as we stood and watched all the Dr's, RN's & RT's fight for them, and the one person that knows what it feels like to hold your baby for the first time when they cold and heartless. I know I talk about her all the time and I say the same thing over and over again. But I can't seem to express how much she means to me. We could just be 2 mothers with empty arms, living in 2 different states experiencing this pain in a world of our own and never know of each others existence. Instead, a mutual connection brought us together and we have been each others shoulders to cry on, yell at and talk about the few days we had with our angels. I talk to her every.single.night. and can't imagine going through this with out her. She is one of my bestest friends and we will forever be holding each others hands through life. I love you Amy. Thank you Amy, because of you I have been able to heal a little easier.

Back to my original thought, half my heart has accepted and the other half is...well, just there. It changes it's mind everyday how it feels. I just have to keep reminding myself that I am a mother to a special little boy. I fought for him, shared his story with the world and now need to focus on the good he brought into this world. He taught many many many people all over the world lessons. Some lessons I will never know of and some that have been shared with me. Why God chose our family to share with the world I will never know. In a way, I wish no one ever knew of our family because it would mean we were 'normal' going about everyday life and Nolan would be striving at home. Instead, I will try to make the most of what good came to our life..

A perfect little fighter with a lot to say but no chance to say it himself. Just his presence in this world did enough.


I love you Nolan, you will always be the strength I need to make it in this world and I only wish for one more day.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

9 days until we move into our balcony cabin for 10 nights. I can not wait! We need this, we need a break from the real world. I plan on eating a bunch of food, enjoying all the wine, meeting new people and enjoy every.single.second and do it for Nolan. I would much rather be going in the spring with a 6 month old baby, but I can't change what has happened so I need to try to accept. (harder said than done)

On the other hand, we had a last minute visitor staying with us this weekend. My cousin, who I haven't seen in years (I mean like over a decade) drove 9 hours on a whim to come visit. I swear we are identical, we talk the same, act the same, both have ADD and are both completely random. Anything that sparkles can distract us from the current moment and we seriously crack each other up. I needed her this weekend, she is like the little medicine I needed. I love you Reeeeeeeebekah and thank you for driving to see us! Here's a few pics from the beach yesterday.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dear Nolan,

Happy 5 month birthday little guy. I guess I wouldn't consider you an infant anymore being that you would have been 5 months. I know you would still be pretty small, but still be 5 months! I miss you so much and I know I should write you more but your probably sick of hearing me say the same thing over and over again. I feel like a broken record most the time. I just want you to know that you are thought of often. There is not one moment that goes by that I don't think about you or how big you would be or what milestones you would be approaching.

I promised myself I would never look up what your milestones would be given a certain age.But I just can't help myself. So according to babycenter.com
  • You would be able to reach accurately for an object and hold your head steady when sitting upright.

  • You would be able to roll over in one direction.

  • You would pay attention to very small objects and be able to squeal with delight with spontaneously smiles.

Amazing to think with as small as you were, you would be able to do these things. God I wish I could have experienced this with you baby.

5 months ago right now, your grandma was begging me to take her up to meet you in the NICU. I made her wait all day because I didn't want her to meet you without me there. I guess you could say Mommy wasn't feeling so good after my surgery and had a hard time staying awake let alone get out of bed, so poor Gma had to wait a long time. You were the ONLY reason I got out of that bed. I would do anything now to sit with you every second and every minute you lived in the NICU. I regret not spending all that extra time with you more than anything. I took the time here you had for granted and thought I had all the time in the world to spend with you. I was selfish and took a lot of that time to heal. I knew you were in great hands and I didn't want to annoy your nurses with my presence. But now I look back on it and I know they would have let me sit there for hours upon hours if I wanted to. I even remember them asking me if I wanted a chair, but I declined and just used my IV pole to stay steady.

My favorite thing about watching you was when you would kick your little legs like crazy. You had so much life to you. There was not a doubt that you were weak, at least you didn't show it. You held on to your daddy's finger and kicked your huge feet against my hands. I just wish I could go back and feel that one more time. You were so real, more real than anything in this world and as time passes, I feel like those moments are slipping away. Not the moments of you, but the details of the moment. I guess all that matters is you.
video
Nolan, I just want you back here with me and your Daddy. Your Daddy misses you SO much. He is always talking about you. He visits you all the time and every time he leaves, he gives you a kiss with his hand. He misses you Nolan, you made his day when you came out crying. A 6'7" tall man who is one not to share his emotions, he shed tears. You melted that mans heart and I know if you were still here you would have you wrapped around his huge fingers.


I love you Nolan. I am trying to live my new normal and I know you are the one helping me get though it. But some days are harder than others and on those days I think extra about you. I have had a few rough weeks and all I can think about is how I wouldn't be dealing with any of this had you been able to stay here. Here with your Mommy and Daddy. We leave on our cruise in your memory in 16 days and as much as I am excited for it, I wish we weren't going because it would mean you were here. Our next cruise was planned for when you were 6 months old and your Grandmas and Grandpa's, Aunts and Uncle were all going to come. But it's amazing how things can change in a blink of an eye.

I pray that your keeping an eye out for a very special brother or sister to send our way in the coming months. I know you will keep him/her safe through out the pregnancy, I know you know how hard we fought for you and will do the same in the future. I love you baby boy, I am sure you are growing like a weed up there in Heaven. I am sure you are being well taken care of.

I promise Nolan, I will live every second of everyday just for you.
Love,
Your Mommy

P.S. Just listen Nolan, it's like I am singing you a lulluby. This is a perfect song, no words to describe it. I love you.

I Will Carry You

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says...

I've shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen Me
To carry you

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Secret Garden (October)

The Secret Garden


So this meeting we would like to talk about where you are. Where are you at in your grief. Has it been years or just weeks since you lost your baby. How are you feeling. How do you hope you will feel in the future. Have you found any peace at all?


It's been 5 months since we lost Nolan and to tell you the truth everyday is different. Right now in
this moment, I feel angry and hopeless. I have cried more in the past 2 weeks than I have in the past 2 months, but I am starting to feel it more since the shock is wearing off and reality sets in. But I 'feel' better.. I laugh more, I am more in tuned with others, and I get out and enjoy more. But when the moments of reality hits, I just seem to feel it more.

I think I am angry because I want answers. Isn't that simple enough to ask for? I am angry because I didn't spend more time with Nolan when he was alive. I am angry because I wonder if any of this could have been prevented, even though they tell me no way. I am angry because I have been told to get 'help I need' and that I live in a 'dark world'. I'm angry at that because I know I am doing SO much better then I was even just 1 month ago. I am just angry because all the stress and problems I have with friends or work wouldn't even be a sparkle in my eye if Nolan was still here.

But then when the anger subsides, I am pleasantly surprised with how well I am doing.They say there are those 5 stages of grief and boy do I feel them all and all at different times. I am learning what a grief journey is really all about. I guess you could say I never put much thought to it because I never really had to go through it.

As far as the future, I want to say I have endless amounts of hope and faith but I just don't. That's probably because I had so much hope with Nolan and look where we ended up. I am afraid of never bringing a baby of our own home. I am afraid we will never enjoy that blissful carefree pregnancy. I still have jealousy lurking in the shadows of other pregnancies & babies and I really don't think that will ever go away until we bring a little brother or sister home. I will still avoid baby talk with others even when we get pregnant again, that's just how it will be.

I have found some peace, it comes in small bits here and there. People say they see a huge improvement in me. I try my best to fulfill everyday to it's fullest. I have gone out and traveled, met new friends, connected with old and am functioning at work. I have met some wonderful 'new' friends who live in the 'dark world' (insert sarcastic voice here) and have found them to be my therapy since we are each in a different part of this journey and I have also helped a few through the beginning of their journey. To me, this blog & other Mother's who know this pain have been my biggest help. Because on your worst days, they don't hold it against you for hurting....they just 'get it'

I am looking forward to joining a bereavement group at my church that is starting this month. I am not all sure what it all involves but it wouldn't hurt to try it. I also want to reach out to new loss Mom's in the NICU at our hospital. I think it is what Nolan would want me to do, help others. I'm to that point that I feel like I can help a new Mom get through those first few weeks. Without Johanna telling me my feelings are completely normal and valid, I think I would have gone crazy. She was just coming up on the 2 year anniversary of losing her baby, Eli and she promised me it does get easier, but that pain is always there. I am finding out, she is 100% right.

One step in front of the other, deep breath, don't be afraid to smile when crying and remember... I
am alive.




Friday, November 6, 2009

Unsure feelings

In one aspect, I am starting to feel so happy and excited. But then in another aspect I am completely stressed out and unsure of what I want to do. I have a lot of decisions to make in the coming weeks.

The cruise is getting closer and closer-thank god. Chris and I need to get away, relax, reflect and enjoy our time together. We deserve this. Now if I can just get a handle on this stress I would feel a tad bit better.

I am getting worried about this time of year. I have completely weaned myself off the meds I have been on since losing Nolan (they did wonders). At first I was surprising myself with the strength I was holding. But the past 2-3 weeks have been emotionally draining. I am sure it doesn't help having ADD so I am constantly switching thoughts in my head. BUT, I am doing good. Good as a Mom can be that doesn't have her son with her anymore. Honestly though, I have been 'feeling' my emotions more. The meds sure did mask them and sometimes I think it masked them too much. It's gotten a little hard watching friends babies slowly grow out of infants it makes me hurt for Nolan so much. I try to sit back and dream about what Nolan would be like, but the thoughts just make me sad. These are the last few weeks before I start reliving the months I was pregnant. It also happens to be the holiday times. Ahhhh, let this time pass quickly please. I am praying. My friends who are around me all the time, see my improvement and that makes me happy but I want to feel 'normal' again.

I miss the old me. No doubt about it. The Ashley that was carefree and loved life. I know some friends miss her too. Trust me, the old Ashley even loved going to work and talking to friends and co-workers. But lately I kinda just feel on social auto pilot and like a black sheep. I look forward to the day I am wearing Old Ashley shoes again, I know that day will come, it has to right?

I cried the other morning on the way home from work, a deep cry. One I sat in my car for minutes before I even pulled away. I turned on Nolan's song and cried. I just kept thinking about how all the stresses in my life currently or any of the problems I am experiencing right now... they wouldn't even exist IF Nolan was still here. None of them. I just want him back.

I just have to remember... I'm alive. Everyday I wake up, I have to lay there and think what's missing. Trust me, it takes a nanosecond to remember what our new life is about. Did this really happen to us? Am I sure it's not a bad nightmare? BUT, despite everything.. I crawl out of bed and remind myself, I'm alive and for now I will put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Blind Blessing

I went to our churches memorial mass for All Souls Day on Monday night. It was a luminary service held outside where Nolan is laid to rest. I wasn't able to stay for the entire mass since I had to work and was already late. But I was somewhat down when I got to work because it just puts it into reality what this is really all about.

I went ahead and started my treatments and low and behold a code blue was called. I showed up, did my thing, even did compressions for the first time since losing Nolan. I was fine until after wards and just got kinda down again.

I then went to give my last patient her breathing treatment and she was watching mass on TV. We small talked over how it's All Souls Day and I shared with her where I was before work. I come to find out she just lost her son too. He was 64 and passed from Cancer. We shared our sons stories, talked about faith and prayed for healing. We both agreed no parent should ever bury a child, no matter how old they are.

I was lucky to meet her family the next night and spent a long time talking to them. They asked so many questions about Nolan and his short life. They then shared a story from their family that is so similar to mine. They had me go get pictures of Nolan and I even shared my rosary that a friend had made more me that has Nolan's initials and dates on.

This women gave me strength that night, was never expecting to find it from a patient. But her deep faith, wisdom and caring words really put me at ease on Monday night. I made sure I told her that last night when I left. I pray she gets better and gets to go home any day now. I hope she is home and well when I come back on Saturday.

Monday, November 2, 2009

One down, Few more to go


Halloween was awful. No way to sugar coat it, it was just plain awful. I wasn't even expecting it to be as bad as it was. The plans I made to distract me fell through so I found myself with Valorie going trick o treating with her and the boys. It sounds so simple and harmless but it wasn't. Strollers and infants dressed up walking right in front of us. Grrrr. The only thing that got me through the night was reminding myself that next year I WILL be walking with a stroller or a dressed up belly. I have to stay positive, right?


I can't believe we are approaching 5 months. 5 months we have been with out Nolan. Time has passed faster than I imagined and I am A-OK with that. These past few months have not been very pleasant needless to say. I lost Nolan, got behind in finances due to being out of work, Dad, Valorie, Cyrus and losing a few very close friends who failed to let me grieve or made me feel guilty about it. All of it makes me so sad.


But in the wake of everything, I have had a lot of good things happen to us that I should be thankful for. A lot of these get overshadowed by the overwhelming loss of Nolan and I need to address them. I have met many new people in the past few months- some that I never would have met if Chris never dragged me out of the house those nights. Some here in Ft Myers and some online. We just started meeting new people and sometimes it was easier to hang out with them because it was just something 'new'. I was able to talk all about Nolan, and these friends have been
absolutely amazing and continue to ask about him or share his story. I love it.


I am so excited and so thankful that we are going to Epcot this week to meet a very close friend that I have been friends with for over 2 years and never met in person (lol...crazy huh) We met while planning our weddings off of this online wedding board and have talked everyday since then. So Chris and I are driving up to Orlando to hang out with Reilly & her Husband for Food & Wine @ Epcot.

Then 3 weeks from tomorrow, we will be sailing away on the Ruby Princess for 10 days. We NEED to get away and relax with everything that has happened recently. Of course in retrospect, we shouldn't be going since if Nolan was here, we would be waiting to take him on his first cruise and wait until 2010. But, we are going for Nolan. This cruise is in honor of our little man and I promise to enjoy every second for him.

Only a few days after getting back from that, we have to fly to Cincy for my Dads Open Heart. We did book a nice hotel downtown for 2 of the nights over our anniversary (a few days after the actual surgery). I know my Dad feels bad we are there over our anniversary and this is what he would want us to do. Go out and have a nice dinner just to escape from the hospital. But at least our hotel is close to UC and Dad should be doing better by then. Lets hope, right? I have 100% confidence that Dad is going to do GREAT. I don't care how BIG and RISKY this surgery is, I have hope, something that has been absent in my life lately. He is in better shape than he was 7 weeks ago when he almost had the emergent surgery. So yes, I even purchased our tickets back home, because I know he will be ready to either be discharged or he will be doing just fine enough for us to leave.

Wow, this is a long blog. I guess I have a lot on my mind. Sometimes I don't always write when the positive things are happening because quite frankly I am out trying to enjoy the moment when I have them. I do write a lot when I am upset or stuff is on my mind because to me, it's my therapy. Trust me, I am never looking for pity...just sharing my thoughts.


We are going to the luminary service tonight tonight at church. I am sure it is going to be absolutely beautiful and I am sure there will be a few tears shed. My Mom and I redecorated his flowers and his spot just for the service. I had to make sure it looked all nice and new. I even made a new laminated picture of him to replace his old one with.


Why do I have a laminated picture of him attached to his flowers you may ask? Well it started at his funeral. Valorie made it for me and I didn't have the heart to take it home after the service. I just wanted to leave his perfect picture with him. It was easier when we went to visit him, because I liked looking at his picture when I prayed to him or talked to him. I don't have years of memories that I can reflect on like you do when you lose an elder or adult. I have 2.5 short days, and for most of that I was high on pain meds and the memories get cloudy to me. So for me, it's easier to see his little face look at me when I talk to him. This is what I made...

This picture just shows how truely small he was. Unless you met him in person, like the few people that got to, it hard to realize how small he was. The nurses hands in the picures really do show you though.

God he was so perfect, everything about him... EVERYTHING. And as a stranger wrote to me today..
" You will never get over this, time doesn't heal like they all say or want, how can it when you lose something you loved more than yourself"