Thursday, June 23, 2011

I hang pictures of my dead baby in my home... am I crazy?

My name is Ashley and I live for my Nolan. Nolan has made me who I am today, he gave me back my faith, taught to believe and most certainly built hope.
Nolan is our son.
Our first born.
A fighter.

He was a miracle that was not suppose to be. And to this day I am reminded every single morning when I wake up that he is not here but his fight is not forgotten. 2 years later I sit amoungst grief that has changed, it has morphed into a different feeling that is so ha
rd to explain.

I have and always will fight to keep his memory alive. To a mother who knew her son for 3 days, it's all I have, it's all I have to fall back on. Those memories fade quickly, and all I have is this blog and pictures to look back on. So I take those pictures and I hold them so near and dear to my heart. I know those pictures are not ideal to some, they aren't the typical newborn pictures. A photoshoot full of cute hats, perfect newborn poses and sleepy grins. Our pictures tell a story of triumph they are taken by proud parents who were over joyed that our son had a heartbeat, that
he was fighting and that we had hope. Our pictures are all we have of Nolan. Yes I know they were taken while he was in very critical condition fighting for every minute. I am fully aware he has tubes, wires, lights and equipment surrounding him. But for those 3 days of his life, it's what we know of him. It's how we remember him and those little extras don't unvalidate his little life at all. Those wires and tubes and lights don't unjustisfy him being our son.

Recently, for the first time in 2 years I was met with question about his pictures. Should I be on that show Taboo because I hang pictures of our dead baby on our walls in our own home? Are people coming into our home bothered by his pictures? Am I just delusional and crazy for
wanting to hang his picture along side of his little brothers? Should I forget about him because we had another baby?

What am I suppose to do? I really don't know why I am even sitting here typing out these questions. Why should it matter? I know the answer but for whatever reason having someone suggest me taking down his picture when they come over broke me down. It made me feel like my son was nothing. He was just a baby that died that pictures were sad to look at.

2 years later, it's amazing what can trigger grief like it happened yesterday.

But then I remember what others saw those 3 days he were alive...
This was a comment left on my blog a few weeks ago....

Ashley, I found the link to your blog on the note you left next to the cupcakes. Thank you for those- I'm pretty sure they are already almost gone! I took care of Nolan in the NICU and I remember him and you very much. I remember exactly where his isolette was in the corner of room 4. I remember how determined he was and how proud you were to be the mother of such an amazing little fighter. What I remember most is that Nolan was surrounded by people who smiled. Even at the hardest parts of his little life, there were smiles through the tears. You could just feel it in the air-everyone hoping and praying for and loving him. It seems that his life is celebrated now just as it was when he was born. Happy
birthday,Nolan. God bless you and your family...
Ellen, RN

This nurse saw what we remember, what I fight to share to this day and justifies why one day CC will know he's a little brother.

Nolan is our first born, tubes and wires don't change that. That's how we knew Nolan, I don't want to remember the bad, I want to preserve the good.

But from day one, to two years later and 40 years down the road.... I will fight to keep Nolan's memory alive because he was a true miracle that made us parents.

I love you Nolan. Tubes, wires, and all.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Heavenly Birthday

We couldn’t have asked for a better day for Nolan’s Birthday. There were so many smiles and laughter and that’s what I wanted yesterday to be about.

Chris and I did go to Nolan’s NICU and brought all the nurses, RT’s and Dr’s cupcakes to say Thank You and remind them how much they meant to us for those 3 days. It was our first time going back tot he NICU since the last night we spent there after Nolan passed and we spent hours in the family room right outside the NICU. Heather, our NICU grief counselor and NICU nurse met us at the hospital and went with us. She is such a blessing, just having her made the morning that much easier.

We stepped into the NICU and Chris and I both looked at each other and he even mentioned how he feels like we should go turn the corner and wash our hands and go to Nolan's isolate. Good and sad memories flooded back, but hearing the nurses, especially Nolan’s admitting nurse and RT talk about him just made my day. I look forward to the day that I work there and I can share that same thing with returning families one day.

I wish I took pictures of the cupcakes because they looked SO stinking good.

We then headed back to the house were all our close friends and family met up for dinner, cake and a visit to Nolan to sing Happy Birthday and release balloons. I’ll never fully digest why we spend a 2 year olds birthday in a memorial garden singing Happy Birthday, but it’s the least we can do. Some may find it “morbid” but when your in our spot, it’s normal to us, all we really have known the past 2 years.

IMG_2967IMG_2968IMG_2973 IMG_2991 IMG_3002IMG_3012


We wrote notes on the balloons we released and sent them off to Heaven after singing Happy Birthday.

I have put off planning this day, not sure because I was angry about having to find an alternative to a normal birthday party or I was frustrated with finding something to keep tradition of being out on the water every year for his birthday that I declared last year. Then at the last minute, I came across the Fort Myers Princess sunset cruise and it screamed perfect.

photo77 photo234eweqwq photore5t5IMG_4324 IMG_4450  

So we all headed out for a night out on the water, see some sunset and dance our night away with our friends and family. I couldn’t have planned this night to be any more perfect. For what Nolan’s birthday is, with out, we had SO MUCH FUN celebrating his little life. We laughed, we danced, we drank, we sang and we even all did the limbo. This year, we made a new tradition, a birthday sunset cruise. Thank you to all our family and friends who chose to take the time out of their busy lives to help remind Chris and I that we have a little 2 year old. He may not be with us here but he sure does fill our heart with love. We miss him with our entire being and he has made me a better Mom because I savor every single second and appreciate what life is really all about. Living, loving and freaking celebrating. IMG_1029

Happy Birthday Nolan. I hope we did you proud.

photo9098 IMG_4349

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Nolan

2 years ago today God made me a mother to a miracle. A miracle that most Drs said was impossible. We had no idea what lied ahead of us that morning when we were told it was time and we no longer could fight for our unborn son. It was his turn. On the morning of June 8th, our son was born via emergency c-section.

Today is about celebrating Nolan. All 13 ounces of him that fought with all his strength to give us 3 amazing days. I will never forget the first and only cry he made that morning. I remember Dr F being so happy his Apgars were better than some of her full term babies. I remember the nurse telling me that they got his airway and then I distinctly remember them rolling me into the NICU right after surgery on the stretcher so I could meet him. I was so proud, I felt on top of the world that morning even though the stark reality of it was lurking right behind that pride.
June 8th is a day that we will forever celebrate. We will make traditions and remember our Nolan. It's up to chris and I to keep his memory alive because for some people it's so easy to let that slip.
So this morning, I am happy. I am happy that I was given 3 days, I'm thankful we have an OB that believed. I'm thankful that I know I fought as hard as I could, I did everything in my power.
Don't get me wrong, I'm hurt we aren't opening presents for a 2 year old. I'm still angry that we dont have a huge birthday party with a theme and little 2 year old running around.

But I am a mother who has accepted that we will forever sing "Happy Birthday" in a memorial garden on June 8th instead. We will always honor Nolan as a family on this day, this day will never be forgotten.
So today, I ordered 3 dozen cupcakes for Chris, CC & I to deliver to the NICU for Nolan's birthday. It will be the first time since losing Nolan that we have even stepped foot near there. I want to thank all those nurses and RT's that believed right along with us. That fought for him when we no longer could. I want them to know what today means to me, because of them, we had a chance, a glimmer of hope and I am forever grateful.

We are then releasing balloons and singing Happy Birthday to Nolan and going with a bunch of family and friends on a Sunset cruise. An evening out on the water to remember what today is all about. Our Nolan.

Happy Birthday Nolan! We love you and we miss you every single day of our lives. There's not one day when we don't think or talk about you. You were truly a miracle and today we will celebrate. I KNOW between Grandma Ruth and Charlie up there, you probably ate an entire cake by now with Brice. I love you Nolan, more than I can ever express in words.
Happy Birthday.