Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Angel

My Andrew's birthday was Monday. One whole year old...geez that went by so quickly. Even so, I feel like I've lived a hundred lives since last December. So much has happened. So much hasn't happened.

We began Andrew's birthday celebration on Friday morning with an early morning flight to Denver. Andrew's Mimi and Pop (aka my parents) and Andrew's Aunt Corinne and Uncle Kent sent us to Denver to get away from the everyday to celebrate his birthday. I was a bit nervous about not being in my comfort zone for this huge day, but it turned out to be the very thing we needed.

We went with really no plans other than to attend the Rowan Tree Foundation's annual candlelight remembrance event. The event was held on Saturday night and it was everything I could have hoped for. I was a little apprehensive about going...not sure why...just seemed kind of like the first day of kindergarten maybe. The ceremony was beautiful...celebratory. I am sad that we had to go...sad that my baby's name had to be on one of the beautiful ornaments hung on the luminaries that lit up the dark, cold night. But so very grateful that mommas like Corinne O'Flynn have events like this so we can feel connected to Andrew.

We had plans to celebrate Andrew's birthday with a nice, romantic dinner. But, the night before, we went to a quiet little restaurant and I instantly knew I couldn't spend his birthday in a somber place. I sat down at the table on the 5th and felt almost exactly like I did on December 16th last year. That night was very possibly the worst night of my life. And I've had some bad nights. We went to Huey's with Austin's family just after we had THE meeting with all of the doctors...the meeting where we issued the DNR and were told that Andrew would most likely die very soon. I wanted to burn Memphis to the ground that night. I remember this intense desire to claw my skin and pull my hair and scream as loud as I possibly could. So out of sad and helpless. I got a good sniff of this feeling again on the 5th so I told Austin that I wanted to do something fun and active on Andrew's birthday. We spent the day in Golden, touring the Coors brewery and every bike shop in town. That night, we went to Dave & Buster's. Its kind of like a Chuck E Cheese's for adults. We ate bad bar food and played skee-ball until our arms hurt. We used to go to this arcade in the Oxford Mall when we first started dating to play skee-ball so it brought back very fond memories. We had more fun together than we've had in a long while. It felt like a place we would've brought Andrew one day. I kind of felt like he was there. I definitely felt like he was proud of us. I grabbed Austin hands before our dinner arrived and told him how proud I was of us. Proud that we've made it the year...proud that I still love him and he still loves me...proud that we are still standing and smiling. Proud to be our boy's strong parents.

The days following have been filled with so many "one year ago today" statements. One momma on a blog I read calls this "walking the weeks" of his life. I like that imagery. I've realized that the 13 days he lived were really so very short. I'm writing this the night of the 14th. (even though the post date says otherwise) One year ago today, we were wrapping things up in Tupelo...readying ourselves for the trip to LeBonheur. We thought we were going there for surgeries to be able to take him home. We found out on the 15th that there would be no surgeries, there would be no going home.

I miss my little boy. I will always miss my little boy. Even when there is another, there will never be him. This simple fact wrecks me. There is a song that I hear a lot in my car called "Jar of Hearts." I cry my eyes out every time I hear it...its got so much anger in it and it speaks to me for some reason. One line says "I've learned to live half alive." I think that's the trick of losing a child, learning to live again. It won't ever be full, complete, carefree, or really truly happy. But it can be a life. A life I still want to live even though he isn't here.

So happy birthday precious little light of my life. I hope this year, in what should be your second year of life, I can continue to dig my way out and make you proud. I hope I can take your little brother or sister to the candlelight next year. I'm so proud to be your proud your soul still burns in mine. You will never leave your momma's heart.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Took an ovulation test this morning...two dark pink lines! Looks like I'm a fully functioning girl! Keep your fingers crossed for me ladies...I'm pretty freakin jazzed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

i hate you Monday

Today was no fun. At all. I was off today to go to Dr. Dulaney's office to see if the 100 mg of Clomid did its work. I started off the day after a not so restful nights sleep. I tossed and turned all night because I was burning up! Austin joked this morning that it must have been because I was "cooking eggs." My appointment was at 9:45 and for some reason, I had it in my head that I needed to leave by 8:45. Umm, Memphis is an hour and a half away. I didn't think about this until I was in the car leaving. So, knowing I was going to be late, I called the office and they were, thankfully, really cool about it.

I finally made it there and as soon as I sat down, not one...not two...but THREE very newborn baby boys came in with their glowing post-partum mommies. And when I say newborn, I mean very newborn. The mommas were still having lots of trouble sitting down. I had phantom pains when they did. Ouch. So I just stared straight at the floor until my name was called. It was a long 45 minutes.

The appointment was routine. The medicine did not seem to have had any more effects than the last round. The last round's effects being very minimal and obviously unimportant as I am not currently pregnant. It looks like I have one egg that may or may not do anything. It is on the small end of what they hope to see, but at least its something. She did give me the Ovidrel shot to take again on Wednesday so we'll try that again. I called my family and husband and grumbled and groaned. They were sweet and helpful. Thanks're the best. Austin said that we'd just keep on taking ovulation tests and hope for the best. I feel okay about it now. Several hours ago, I was not okay, but after leveling off, I think I'm gonna be okay.

Going through all of this crazy business trying for another baby, I now realize just what an amazing miracle my Andrew really was. I am keeping my fingers crossed for another one just like him. Precious angel.

Monday, November 8, 2010

thanks a lot ben folds

I'm out of waterproof eyeliner...and its an issue. Went to the bank this morning for the store and while I was parking to go back inside, a Ben Folds song came on called "Still Fighting It." He's singing it to his son...all about the little things they do on a day to day basis and how maybe in 20 years they'll have a beer and talk about all of those insignificant days. total mess of a breakdown in my car + non-waterproof eyeliner = puffy eyed, midnight blue streaky faced Lindsey for the rest of the day. nice.

So the first round of Clomid didn't work. I'm on cycle day 7 so only two more days of Clomid 100mg. I go in next Monday for an ultrasound to see what's going on. We'll see...I'm not holding my breath.

We've rounded the corner and in less than a month, my Andrew would have been one year old. It doesn't seem real that its been almost a year.

Friday, October 15, 2010

this girl I shouldn't be

I've been reminded several times lately of how different I am I don't quite fit anymore. Its this strange combo of belonging and blending in to normal society...almost. There's something a little off, something that makes most uncomfortable. To strangers, it goes unnoticed. I may seem a little sad if someone was paying close attention, but for the most part, I seem okay. To my inner circle, I apparently seem withdrawn and closed off. Its starting to really affect some relationships I hold dearest. I'm not sure what to do about it. I know that I probably wall my emotions up more than I did before so I don't completely fall to pieces. Survival instinct? I try to let people in, but IN is a shitty place to be sometimes. I don't want people to see this raw, wounded, still bleeding out of control side of me. Its always there and I guess I'm not so good at hiding it. I'd rather go about seems a little easier sometimes. And so, my friends are worried. I know its out of love, but I can sense people getting frustrated with me because of my distance. I have even lost a few friends because of all of this. I realize that may be my fault. Because of what happened, I am not at all the same girl I used to be. I can't care about things that used to be important, I can't be carefree. Life has lost its shine in so many areas and I feel so far removed from who I used to be.

So I'm this other Lindsey now...and my friends and family unfortunately have to get to know me again in this new light. Thank you to all of you who still make the effort. I know I may not be as much fun as I used to be. I know I am quiet a lot and seem so far away, but I am so thankful that you are here...still in my kitchen...still welcoming me into yours.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

here goes nothing

I'm about to shoot myself in the stomach...with shot of Ovidrel. I finished my first round of Clomid and it looks like one follicle is ready to release an egg. She said she likes to see more than one and she likes for it to be bigger, but its something. I am fully prepped for this not to work the first time, but I'm pretty happy that something is happening. I can't even begin to think about how I'll feel when I get pregnant again.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

sweet little boo

Its been 9 whole months since my Drewber died...NINE. I'm not sure why that seems significant to me. I guess its because of the whole pregnant for 9 months thing...well 9 months in most cases. I'm a marathoner. I could have grown another brother or sister by now, but we all know that hasn't happened.

Sweet little boo, I miss you with every breath I take. Thank you for still visiting me every now and again in my dreams. You are all momma ever wanted and I still feel you so strongly. I wish I could hold you and love you and teach you about the world. I wish you could know your cousins who still think about you every day. I don't think they understand how this all could have really happened but they still find ways to make sure you are remembered. I'm so sorry this happened to us...I would do anything, give anything to have stopped it. I'm trying to make sure that I don't become a bitter, sad woman old before her time because of this. I know you would be so sad if I gave in completely to this awful emptiness. I only feel whole again when I am with your daddy in our house, especially in your room. I feel normal there, like I fit. Your room is still peaceful and warm...hopefully I'll be rocking your brother or sister in there one day soon. I love you sweetest boy. Thanks for spending as much time with us as your little body would allow. We are forever thankful for every second. Thank you for teaching me how to be a fighter, how to be strong, how to love, how to grieve, how to have courage. Thank you for making me realize how beautiful your father is straight to his core. Thank you for everything I learned about the world, about myself. You are always with me precious boy.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Andrew's Daddy

My sweet strong husband's birthday is today. I'm sure he was somewhat dreading the day...hard to celebrate life when your boy is gone. Austin is a very emotional guy...usually really vocal about how he's feeling and what he's thinking. About everything except for Andrew. He keeps this pretty private. Every now and then, I get a glimpse of his pain and it knocks me to my knees. I know how bad my heart is destroyed and knowing that his is equally destroyed is almost too much to bear. I would give anything to make this go away for us, anything to take away the pain I see in his eyes. I wish that instead of giving him cycling jerseys and cycling bibs, I could be giving him his wiggly son on his birthday morning. I wish that I could stop this god awful wishing.

Thank you sweet husband, on your birthday, for always being patient with me. I know my incessant sadness must be a terrible reminder of how you can't fix this. Thank you for trying to in a million different ways. I couldn't ask for a better other.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

a new start?

I'm sweaty...that's cause I've taken up running. I'm not good at it, but give me a bit and I will be. I ran two 5Ks in August and I'm quite proud of myself. This last one was Saturday, for the Forrest Spence Fund in Memphis. The Spence's newborn son Forrest died in LeBonheur a few years back and they created this fund to help with the needs of families like theirs that would come behind them. They create care baskets with everyday items that you might take for granted until you are living out of a backpack with whatever you threw in as you rushed out the door to the NICU. Things that allow you to not really think about anything other than being with your baby. It is a fabulous fund run by genuinely good people who are doing so much to honor sweet Forrest's name. The event was great...Daddy, Austin, and two precious friends ran it with me. My sweet momma, bless her bad knees, was a Ghost runner and official photographer. Corinne couldn't go because she had to stay behind and run the store, but she will surely be there next year. We left Oxford around 5:30 with a sleepy Lu in the backseat tucked in between me and Mimi. Daddy is a super Pop and came in second place in his age group. They guy he beat was named Mark McGuire so we all got a good laugh out of that! All in all, it was a very emotional day. I saw one of the mommas that was in the NICU with Andrew. Her son died a few weeks after my Drew...on his little 3 month birthday after his 8th surgery. Thank God we didn't have to go through that.

I have also started on the fertility train. I have three more pills of prometrium to take before I supposedly will start my period. Then, on day 5, I take Clomid for 5 days. After that, I go in for an ultrasound on day 12 to check everything out. I'm pretty sure this process is how I got pregnant with Drewbie, but I'm not sure. I'm honestly doing everything I should be doing to help my body be able to get pregnant so we'll see. I'm trying to not think about it much, but I dare say I feel a tad hopeful these days. I'll keep you posted.

In other news, I'm famous...check me out!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

what happened

I have no idea why my son died. I'll never know why he died. I tell myself that it was just some lightning strike cord one's fault, just a freak, random accident. But was it? Did the doctor cut the cord too soon? Doing so can cause massive brain damage in infants, but did that do it? Was it my fault? I go over that question more than any other. What did I do...what did I not do? A mother's very basic job is to ensure the safety of her child...something I couldn't do. I know for a fact that every decision I made was made thinking that I was doing the very best for Andrew. But it could have been wrong. Should we have gone to the hospital on the 1st when I had false labor? Should I have just inherently known something wasn't right? Where was my intuition? If I ever get pregnant again, how am I supposed to trust that I will make the right decisions? I get sick to my stomach thinking of all the times I turned left when I probably should have turned right. I know that thinking these things is pointless...nothing will make it right, nothing will bring my Drew back.

I have come up with a tidy little story that I tell people when they ask what happened. I tell them that there was an apparent cord injury sometime at birth and he suffered massive brain damage as a result that was too severe to overcome. And I guess that's the truth. The unanswered question that remains is what caused it all? It kills me that the only thing I know for certain is that I'll never know for certain. I could very well be the reason my son is dead. Or he could have been harmed by the doctor cutting the cord or by the nurses not responding to my bleeding or by "fill in the blank."

While logically I know that I could be responsible in some way, I also logically know that I cannot hold myself hostage with these thoughts. I love my son more than my own life and know that I could never have knowingly done anything to cause him harm. I just wish I knew what happened and when it happened.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

here we are again

Sunday nights used to be my I dread them. Austin has pretty much always worked on Sunday nights since he's in the restaurant biz. Years ago, when we first got married, Sunday nights were my guaranteed time to be by myself. Not that I don't enjoy his was just MY time. Now, Sundays have morphed into this uncomfortable void where I realize all that I don't have. What I should be doing at almost 30. I should be getting kids ready for the week...making food, cleaning rooms, keeping our family in order. But I don't have any of that to do. I am just here, just me. Sure, I keep myself busy, getting our laundry done and grocery shopping. But its just for us, no one else. I feel so left behind.

I'm kicking the idea around of going to see a therapist. I think I need a little help dealing right now. The roller coaster is wearing me down. I do have moments of real happiness (though its happiness-post losing Andrew so its most assuredly a different happiness than before) but I always come crashing down hard on the other end. I get mad that I have to look so hard for contentment among the rubble that is this life we have recreated. I don't know though...what could a therapist help me discover that I haven't already on my own? I don't know how someone who hasn't experienced this void and pain could help me deal. I only mention the therapist because I feel myself getting more bitter and less hopeful with each passing day. I'm uber preoccupied with getting pregnant, but for some reason, I am not doing what Dr. Dulaney told me to do to help the process along. Why the self-sabotage? Anyway, I'm reasonably worried about my sanity enough to at least check out a therapist once my insurance kicks in.

Wow, I know I must sound schizophrenic. Last night, I was happy and hopeful and today I am pissy, weepy and bitter. But, as all of the babylost mommas know, such is life without your kiddo. But, very soon, Austin will be home and things will feel a little more right. We'll watch the end of Harry Potter and fall asleep. And in the morning, I'm sure I'll feel a little better.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

one of those days

It's been one of those of those rare days when I feel truly happy. I felt like my boy was looking down on me all day with pride and love for the woman I am trying so hard to be. My parents came up today to ride bikes with Austin and I. I am trying to start riding with Austin. He really loves it and wants me to go with him so we can enjoy it together. He and my Dad rode 40 miles and Momma and I rode 10. We took a much more leisurely route than boys and had such a nice time watching the scenery and talking about sweet Andrew. Its so nice to be able to so freely talk about my son...I felt so connected to him this morning.

I guess the real reason I feel so hopeful today is because I FINALLY started my period. Its really the first since I had Andrew so its definitely a welcome sight. I WORK! It just feels like one step closer to being able to give my Andrew a little brother or sister. Hope is such a foreign emotion to me these days. Most days it is a hard thing to wrap my head around...that good things will happen for us.

So, my sweet boy...your momma is happy tonight. I want you to know that I want to live life as fully as I know how. I may not always do such a fab job at it, but I'm trying. And days like today keep me trucking on along. Night night precious boo. Momma loves.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Andrew's Room

A few days ago I was cleaning the kitchen and I had a really strange desire to go into Andrew's room. I've kept it pretty much the same with a few additions. I added the prayer flag Corinne and the kids made for him on his 6 month birthday. His memory box is on the dresser. His quilt is on the changing table with his "feet" and his birth certificate. Basically the things I love on to make me feel closer to him again. I keep his room open and warm...I usually open his blinds in the morning and close them in the evening. I turn his little lamp on some nights when I want it to feel warmer. Its a peaceful place where I sit and cry for my boy. The other day, I hugged the little quilt my friends and family made for him on my blessingway...I wrapped this same quilt around him when he was dying. I cried all over it, but felt so wonderfully close to him at the same time. I am so thankful that I remembered to have Kent bring it with him to the hospital. I pray that Andrew felt all the love and warmth that went into that quilt just for him. I wonder if I'll ever use the quilt for my other children. Is that strange? Probably so. I went through all of his drawers pulling out the outfits that were sentimental in some way. The first little top I bought him at a garage sale when I still didn't know he was a him. The sweet little gown that Elise wore when she was only a day or so old that she so sweetly passed on to little Andrew. His little swimming trunks he was supposed to wear this weekend. A fully stocked little nursery for a boy who isn't here.

I sat in the glider looking at his scrapbook and cried for a long while. I've been pretty preoccupied with getting or not getting pregnant lately. I started thinking how, even if I do get pregnant again, this will never be okay. I'll always be this sad and empty in the Andrew corner of my heart. Oh, I'm not saying I won't ever be happy, but this part of my life will always be desperately incomplete and sad. I don't know if I'll ever hold another child, even if it's my own, without wondering and missing. I get so angry that THIS is the rest of my life.

Andrew, I miss you kiddo. You are my whole heart and, for that, I am grateful.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My friend Sam came down from Idaho to visit for the first time since Andrew died. We visited over lunch and I was able to talk about parts of Andrew's birth and life and death that I hadn't talked about in such a long time. I remember when she moved last year, we were excited about her trip back this June. We talked about how little Drew would get to meet his Mimi Sam. Such a different life. When I was talking with her today, I almost felt like she got to meet him through my stories. She has been all to pieces since she wasn't able to be with me when we were in the hospital. She has no idea how much she helped today. Thanks sweet Sam for loving me and bitty boy so much. He would have loved you right back.

My life is one big ball of stress and change right now. I quit my job two weeks ago to open a store with my sister and her husband. I'm beyond excited about it, but its stressful nonetheless. I've never dealt with change very well so this is taxing to say the least. I'm also dealing with the empty babybelly situation. I want to be pregnant NOW and my body is of course not cooperating. I have a couple of things that I am trying hard to control to help myself out, but I don't feel super positive about it. But, I don't feel super positive about most things these days. I guess losing a child will do that to you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Happy 6 months old

Happy 6 months to the most beautiful boy I've ever known. I'm not sure how I feel today...or most days for that matter. I have wanted to blog several times but I have gotten on here and not known what to write about. Its just more of the same sad story and endless emptiness. I feel numb, I guess is the best way to say it. And that almost makes me sadder than anything. I'm resigned to this life without Andrew...a life full of "birthdays" each one taking me farther and farther away. We should be doing today up big...maybe a little cake for me and extra helping of milk for the Drewbie. I'm sure there would have been a present or two. Or maybe there wouldn't have been. Maybe we would have been more unaware of this day since we would have been so busy actually raising our son. I'm hyper aware of the big he would have been 6 months 13 days he will have been dead for 6 months. It seems like a lifetime ago.

My thoughts are still consumed by the "would haves" and "should haves." Customers at work with their babies who I assume are older than Drew and therefore are "safe" babies to talk to are now turning out to be younger than him. To me, he is still a newborn and to see such big babies who are actually younger than him makes me sad. I wish I knew his 6 month old face and hands and chunky thighs. my sweet boy. Momma is so proud to be your momma. Even though you aren't here today, my heart feels complete because you once were. I am sending all the love I can muster your way today precious. I pray that somehow you can feel it and know how very much I miss you. Love, Momma

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Today should be a much different day. I imagined this morning waking up a sleepy boy and saying, "Happy Mother's Day, Momma!" I bet he would have smiled at me and noozled my neck. honor of my boy, who'd want me to be happy, I'm going to try my hardest to make this a happy day. It should be..I am his Momma and he is safe and I am loved.

To my Momma: Thanks for crying when Corinne and I fought, for having the softest heart I've ever known, for dancing without care in NYC, for messing up little sayings, for loving my Daddy, for always fixing us breakfast, for buying me new clothes when Brad Hawthorne broke my heart, for leaving silly notes in our lunchbox, for thinking I was still precious during the "its my job its what I do" years, for constantly rubbing little Drew's face in the NICU, for helping me in so many ways while he was sick...all of the millions of seemingly insignificant things you have done for me without question. They have all added up to make such a giant difference in my life. I couldn't hope for better. I love you Momma.

Give your momma a squeeze today. If you can't, give some other deserving momma one. I now know what this momma love thing is about and its powerful business.

Love you my Drewbie...I'll make you proud this Mother's Day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

breaking my heart

I was wondering when it was coming...I've been too okay lately. I haven't cried much over the past week or so. Maybe I was so preoccupied with New York and Austin coming home that I pushed it all back. Corinne, Kent, Charles and Elise came over this evening to welcome Austin home. When they were about to leave, Elise wanted to go into Andrew's room. We went in there and she played with the little dinosaur they gave him before he was born. She looked at the porcelain mold of his feet...I let her hold them because she said, "I promise not to drop them." She asked me if they took his feet off and put them in there. I explained how they made the mold of his feet and she wondered if it hurt and asked if he cried. I wish he would have cried. Then she asked me "What was he like?" I talked to her about him a little and we looked at his scrapbook. Then she said, "I wanted to give him a kiss on his arm but they said I was too little." What were we thinking not letting her see him more? We let Charles go back in his room but we didn't let her. I am so upset with myself for not letting her. She was as excited about him as anyone was and we didn't let her really meet him.

There are no do-overs and we all have to live with the decisions we made. I wonder if that is what makes me so sad and angry. My precious niece has to wonder what he is like instead of just knowing because he is here. But he isn't here and I have to look at her and tell her how sorry I am that she didn't really get to know him. I wanted to burst into tears and hold her tight and tell her that we made a really bad decision in not letting her meet him. But I can't cry in front of her because I'm the adult and have to be strong for them. My heart breaks for them...what must they do they process it? I know I am probably over-thinking it and worrying too much. Elise is probably sleeping soundly in her little bed...all sadness a million miles away. I, on the other hand, am crying on the couch for my sweet niece and nephew...grieving for a little boy they'll never know.

Sunday is gonna be no fun at all. I want to take a match to the Mother's Day card displays at Walmart. I'm not going to so don't worry...I'm just pissy and sad tonight. I'm sending up special prayers for all of my momma friends who can't be with their precious babies this year. So many of us are fresh on this babylost road and I hope they are surrounded by love and comfort like I am.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

sweet friends

I went to a wine tasting tonight with my sweet friends. I was an hour late because I had a stressful STRESSFUL day at work today. I got there as the fourth course was being served and the sweet man at Ravine told me he would catch me up. He put four much needed glasses of wine in front of me paired with four wonderful courses of food. We stayed for a few hours and ate tapas and drank wine. We missed Austin and so wished he was there. My sweet wonderful friend Chris toasted my Drewbie. What a lucky girl I am to have such amazing friends.

I am leaving for NYC on Friday for a weekend trip with my sister and momma. I need a getaway so badly and I am looking forward to spending it with Corinne and momma. I hope I do okay. Lately, I do worse on days that are supposed to be fun days. I always think, "Drew should be here to do this with me." I wonder if I'll ever stop thinking that? I kinda hope I don't.

Sweetest Drew. I hope you didn't hurt...I hope you were peaceful and warm. I hope you felt your momma's love and protection. I go over and over in my head and hope I made the right decisions for you. You are all I ever wanted and I am so blessed to have held and loved you. Thanks for letting me be your momma.

Monday, April 19, 2010

can't sleep

Austin is gone and I am having trouble falling asleep. I had a really bad dream last night and I was trying to have peaceful thoughts when I laid down tonight to help me not have bad dreams again. I immediately thought of a moment the day after Drew was born. I slept in a chair in Andrew's NICU room the night after he was born. I didn't sleep much that night and I remember waking several times and always looking at his monitor to make sure his numbers were good. I could see his little knees and his sweet little head in his cool cap. Thank you to whoever put a fold-out chair in the NICU. I wish I had spent more nights in the room with him.

Taking a trip down memory lane...

*We had a meeting with all of the doctors at LeBonheur on Wednesday December 16th. I remember meeting Dr. Cunningham first. She was the Palliative Care doctor (sorta like baby hospice). I had on my Cape Cod shirt from Old Navy and she wondered if I had been to Cape Cod since she was from Massachusetts. Austin and I both felt more overwhelmed than we had ever felt in our lives. There was so much brain power in that room and they all had the same thing to tell us...our son wasn't going to get better. In fact, it was going to get much worse. Dr. Shah, the sweet soft-spoken neurologist, told us about Andrew's seizures. They were called myoclonus and looked like little tiny jerks...kinda like how your hand might jerk suddenly when you are falling asleep. Dr. Krishnan, the neonatologist, told us that his brain function looked severely suppressed. Dr. Cunningham told us that they would make sure he was comfortable. In those thirty minutes, Austin and I faced the unthinkable...our son wasn't going to make it. It was now time for us to be his advocates. We issued the DNR order and left the room.

*That same night, we went to eat at Huey's. I was so angry that the world was going on normally. I wanted to scream at everyone in the room, "how can you sit there and eat? How can you have mindless conversation when my baby is in the hospital dying?" I have never wanted to jump out of my own skin so badly.

I wish I could go back and live the whole thing over again. I would only do a few things differently. Mostly small things like staying with him longer, washing his hair, holding him more. Those thirteen days were exhausting and so terribly sad, but oh, how I wish I could relive those days over and over again.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Andrew 365

Tomorrow will be exactly one year. One year ago to the day that I found out about my Andrew. I was already 8 weeks along when I took the test. I have so many emotions. I remember that day so so clearly. I took the test around 9:50 am right before I opened the doors at work. I called Corinne and Momma and Daddy. I tried to wait to tell Austin in person, but I caved and called him. I remember eating lunch with him that day...we just sort of stared at each other in amazement. What a, it was great. We danced through those early days, so excited and fresh and renewed.

How different I am a year later. I feel so much older and so worn down. My face looks drawn. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror at work alot and I don't even look like myself. It was really hard faking it today. I do a good job most days...I almost (almost) start to believe that I am doing great most days. I cried all during my lunch break and most of the way home. I am so angry and tired and sad. My life was supposed to be different and full of so many other things. I am tired of being the sad one and they girl who has to be handled with kid gloves. I want to go back and do anything to make this different, but I can't. All I can do is cry and remember all that I did have.

I miss my husband...Alot. He is in Jackson for the next few weeks training for his new job. He makes me feel normal. Without him, I feel like a deadbabymomma alot more than usual.

Our good friends had their baby boy tonight. His middle name is Andrew after his grandfather. I am happy for them, but dreadfully sad all at the same time. How can things be so easy for so many other people and so hard for us? Why did the lightning strike us? I feel like a bad person for feeling sick and sad at such a joyous time for our friends. They are truly wonderfully sweet people who are going to be unbelievable parents. But I bet I would have been too.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

crying on the couch

I just got finished ordering Andrew's birth announcements. He was should be announced. I only ordered 12 and they are only going to immediate family, but I am proud of them. They are beautiful and I can't wait for them to get here. I have been crying on the couch for the last hour trying to decide on the perfect quote, the perfect layout and the perfect picture. I think I nailed it. I didn't want Andrew to be the only Mitchell kid without a birth announcement. I'll post a picture when they arrive.

I watched videos last night of Andrew that I had never seen before. Corinne took lots of video of Andrew in all three hospitals. She kept apologizing for not showing them to me before now. She doesn't know how happy I was to see a part of my baby boy that I didn't know existed. I have video of the first time I ever saw him. I have video of the first time I changed his diaper. I feel so blessed to have so many reminders of my son. So many mommas don't have what I have. I have a huge box of pictures to remind me of his life...enough to fill way more than one scrapbook. Some mommas only have one or two fuzzy pictures of their children. Thanks Drewbie for sticking around long enough for some really beautiful memories. I love you.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spent the night with my Drewbie

I had another Andrew dream last night. This one wasn't so violent or horrible. Still not what one would call a "sweet" dream, but at least I got to hold him and kiss on him. My sister and I both have very vivid, albeit, very strange dreams. When I am dreaming them, all of these very strange things make perfect sense at the time. People who are dead are sort of alive again. They feel so real. I could smell Andrew and feel his skin just the way I did three months ago. I got to change his diaper and bathe him and snuggle him up. I watched him crawl and saw him play with Elise. I felt like a momma again in my dream.

I'm diggin in the dirt today. Feels good to get out in the sunshine and get dirty. I can't help but think that my sweetest boy should be sitting in his bouncy outside in the shade with me. We were great friends and I think he would like watching me garden. I guess he kind of is...I feel him so much more on sunny days. Maybe he has a clearer view from heaven.

Friday, March 19, 2010

send this one back

It's been three months today since our Andrew died. I was remembering this morning something that Austin said to me late one night when we still thought Drew was going to pull through. (My grandfather, who I was very very close to, passed away several years ago. He always called me Suzanne and he was like a second father to me.) Austin said that when Drew was born and almost died, he thought maybe his soul went to heaven for a minute and Papaw saw him and said, "Nope, you gotta send this one back. He's Suzanne's and he can't come yet. Suzanne and AC need him." They did send him back for thirteen of the most wonderful days I have spent on this earth. And I am sure Papaw was waiting on the bench for Andrew when he got there again.

I miss you sweetest boy. Your momma is trying to live without you but its so hard. Have fun with Papaw...I sure did.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I did it...I went to my first baby shower. I hope I didn't bring too many dead baby momma vibes with me. My sweet friends Stephanie and Chad are going to be welcoming little baby Walter sometime next month. She sweetly gave me a free pass not to attend a few weeks ago, but babies are something to celebrate so I went. Several times, I was looking around the room for a quick exit, planning how I could slip out without making too much of a fuss. Several of the people in the room knew about Andrew's death so I am pretty sure it would have been noticed if I had freaked out and left. I remember being Stephanie just a few short months ago...full of baby boy and hope and love. I wish I could have that bright eyed optimism again, sure that everything was going to turn out wonderfully. I look at the world with squinted, doubtful eyes now. What is around the corner that is going to totally wreck me? I let even the smallest things totally derail me now...I dropped a bowl on the floor the other night and as I was cleaning it up, I felt so angry and defeated. My world has been shaken to its very foundation and I don't know how to rebuild, or if I even want to. I am going to quote a blog I read, and I hope my family will excuse me for the language.

"Now, somehow, I have to make this muck into a home. Losing your child is a lesson in how to make Shit Houses. Here's a pile of crap, live in it."

Our once beautiful world now feels like a wrecked, abandoned shell of a place. We of course have each other and our forever loving and constant friends and family. But when I am alone and really start to think about my world, it feels lonely and sad and destroyed without my baby boy. A million sad and awful things run through my head on a daily basis...remembering the Easter outfit Corinne monogrammed for him that he'll never I'll never hear his laugh or see his smile. But the loudest most clear thought is how desperately incomplete I feel. I was thinking the other day...women are born with every egg they will ever have in their bodies. My four year old niece Elise is carrying around the eggs that will one day become her children. So for as long as I have been alive, I have had my Andrew with me...and now he is gone from me for the first time. (I promise I don't have serious mental problems...I just have a lot of time to think...see where your mind goes in a situation like this.)

But, I move along, day by day, hoping for a brighter future for us. I know one day it will be better. I try to look for positives and I have found a few in Andrew's death. I am now a much more thankful person...thankful for my family, thankful for my healthy, beautiful niece and nephew, thankful for my gracious and strong husband. When the day is nice, I appreciate it a little more. I appreciate the good days and I appreciate the hell out of a good glass of wine. I have moments where I feel totally defeated and bruised (see above paragraph) but I generally come out of it feeling just a little better each time.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


cautious hope at best, but hope nonetheless...

Austin and I had our appointment with Dr. Dulaney in Memphis today. We left the house right on time, swinging by Corinne's first and then Chick Fil A for breakfast. It felt kinda like old Wednesdays (clinic days when I was preggers) so we were both in a good, self-absorbed baby bubble. We were almost to Batesville when Austin realized that we were supposed to get gas before we left Oxford...sputter sputter sputter. We ran out of gas 4 miles from Batesville. Austin and I are the Black Death. If something bad is going to happen, its gonna happen to us. So, we called the ever-reliable Corinne and she brought us some gas. I called the doctor's office and told them we were gonna be late and they amazingly said "No problem!" So after sitting on the side of Hwy 6 for 30 minutes, we were back on our way. Thanks Corinne for saving us...we owe you one.

The visit to the doctor went very well. I was a little apprehensive about the whole doctor thing. I am so used to the sweet, cozy private clinic we went to with our midwives. But the vibe inside Dr. Dulaney's office was good from the very start. We waited for about 5 minutes before they called us back for our visit and we weren't herded around into different waiting rooms like our doctor experience in Oxford. Dr. Dulaney came right into the room and immediately put us at ease. She asked lots of questions and explained my infertility problems to me better than anyone ever has before. I feel like I have a really good grasp on what I need to do to get pregnant again quickly. I also voiced my concerns to her regarding my desire to have a natural birth again. She said that her first priority was to keep us all safe, but saw no reason why I couldn't do this naturally again. So all in all...huge success! I feel a little hopeful tonight. Austin and I talked about our Drew all day today and we both feel like he was smiling down on his parents today. I think he is happy that we are trying to give him a little brother or sister. I also think he is proud that we are moving forward a little...not moving past him...just forward.

I got the coolest new toy today...a Quickutz Silhouette die cutting machine for scrapbooking. I have already made a few things with it since we got home. Stephanie, if you are reading this, you have a super cute baby card coming your way! It is the neatest thing and I am feeling super crafty and decoraty! I am making good progress on Drewbie's scrapbook. I will eventually post pictures of it all, but I haven't gotten around to it.

Thanks to all of my sweet friends and family who prayed for us today. Austin and I feel really loved up and I know it is from all of the good thoughts and prayers sent to us everyday.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

You lucky girl

I am re-reading one of my favorite books. I haven't read it in several years so it feels new to me all over again...especially since I am a mother now. It is called "The Red Tent" and it is a must read for every woman. It tells the story of Dinah and her four "mothers." I won't summarize it...just read it. One quote in particular seems so true of my life right now. One of the main character is giving birth with her sisters surrounding her and her midwife says this:

"You lucky girl," Inna said to Leah, who by then did not feel the least bit lucky. "Look at the royal throne of sisters you have."

My "sisters" know who they are. My actual sister, Corinne, is obviously included. I am smack dab in the middle of a major shitstorm and I am surrounded by this royal throne of sisters. They do everything but braid my hair every time I am near them and I am pretty sure they would do that if I would let them. I am in awe of the deep love that my girls have shown me. I feel so comfortable and snuggled up by these sweet, tenderhearted friends who don't even have to care but do anyway. They let me talk and talk and talk about Drew and life after him and they never seem annoyed by my complete self absorbtion. (I don't think that's a word.) They don't expect me to be the same woman I was before my son and I don't have to pretend to be. I am completely me around these women and I don't know if they realize how blessed I feel to know them. Thank you ladies for your friendship and love . It is truly appreciated.

In other news, half of our best friendy couple is leaving tomorrow for almost a year. He is in the Coast Guard and is being deployed overseas. He will be on the coast for several months before he actually ships out, but he will be much farther than just across the street. I hope we can love his sweet wife up enough while he is gone. She is somewhat of a needy sort (love you snoop) so we will need to take good care of her while he is gone. Pray for them over the next's gonna be a rough one.

I am making really good progress on Drewber's scrapbook. I am having a lot of fun doing it and it has been really theraputic. I kinda feel like I am getting to relive his life all over again. I will post pictures of my favorite pages soon. He would have been three months old today. Its seems like three years and then it seems like three hours. I miss him so much. What I wouldn't give to rub his cheeks or kiss his sweet fat thighs. Precious boo.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My 28th year

Where do I start? 28 was all about my Drew. We are pretty sure we got pregnant with him on my birthday last year but we didn't find out until April 13. I still have the receipt from buying the pregnancy test at 9:30 that morning. I took the test, fully expecting a negative result, just before I opened the doors for work that Monday morning. I saw the clearest two pink lines I've ever seen and immediately started hyperventilating and crying. I called Corinne first because I didn't know what to do. Nine blissful months followed. Here are some of the highlights and a few lowlights:

-taking Drew to North Carolina camping with my family on July 4th. We found out the day before we left that our sweet baby was an Andrew and not a Suzanne.
-tooling around in Memphis on clinic Wednesdays. Little did we know how helpful it would be to know our way around the city when we were in the NICU at LeBonheur.
-getting two hugs each from Charles and Elise every time I was near for me and one for baby Andrew.
-the first time I saw my sweet little bean on April 27...10 weeks pregnant
-celebrating Mother's Day for the first time.
-watching my belly was so big and round and beautiful.
-baby showers, baby showers, baby showers
-meeting Melissa, Martina and Missy...I will never forget the love and care I received in their warm, familiar clinic.
-the God-awful week I spent in Uvalde, TX. Don't ever go there...the place is a cesspool.

A good friend told me at the beginning of the year that 2009 was going to be the best year yet. He was right. I spent the majority of the year blissfully happy. It was the year I met my precious Andrew and became his momma. Our house was a place of constant joy and anticipation. We sat on the couch every night rubbing my stomach and talking about how different life was going to be. We never imagined it would be this different. I remember how happy and proud Austin was.

Now our house is warm and cozy out of desperation. We cling to each other because we have been through what no couple ever should. Our bond has been cemented by this loss. The probability of divorce skyrockets when a couple loses a child...I won't ever say "that will never happen to us" because clearly anything can happen to anyone, but I can't imagine ever leaving Austin's side. He is the only human who feels the loss of Andrew like I do...the loss of a piece of yourself. Andrew was perfectly half Austin and half me. And he is gone.

So here I am...29 and a wreck. My precious family spent all weekend doing everything they could think of to make me happy. They don't try to distract me from thinking about Drew...they just do everything they can to make me feel loved and supported. Good job family...this weekend it worked. Of course, I cried several times on Saturday. My birthday was supposed to be so different. My yittle boy wasn't here to noozle noses with me like he was supposed to. However, they pampered and spoiled me all day long and I really felt festive and happy. Thanks are truly the best.

I scheduled a doctor's appointment for next Thursday with an OB in Memphis. Melissa recommended her to me and I am really excited about going. One of my best girls told me that she was pretty nervous about me getting pregnant again. Afraid I'll be a total basket case and she is right. I will be a neurotic, over protective mess of a woman. But I need to make progress; I need to feel hopeful again.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

12 years from now

I went to my first support group meeting tonight and I felt so comfortable and understood. It was very small and intimate and one room over from the room where we had Drewbie's service at St. Peter's. On a side note, I need to blog about his memorial service and baptism. I got to meet a wonderfully honest woman who lost her twin girls 12 years ago in March. We talked and each told parts of our story and I think we both were comforted by each other. It was so nice to talk to someone face to face who has been through this hell. Neither of us cried...we just honestly talked about what is is to lose a child. We are going to meet on the last Thursday of every month and I really think I am going to look forward to each meeting.

After my meeting, I met Kent, Corinne and Austin at City Grocery to kick off my birthday weekend. We had an amazing dinner and wine and had a great time. I love my family and I am so lucky to be so wrapped up in their love. Thanks Corinne and Kent for filling my belly and my heart!

The past couple of days at work have been great. Brenda, my new first assistant stared on Monday and has completely rocked my world! She has not only picked up the job super quickly, but she has filled a much needed void left by my Spamantha. I am not by myself at work much at all anymore and I have really enjoyed getting to know a new friend. She asks questions about my boy and lets me talk about him like he's just my son...not my dead son. I love her and I hope she is enjoying the job as much as I am enjoying her having it.

This weekend should be interesting. Momma and Daddy are coming up to help me celebrate my birthday. I hope I don't totally fall apart and cry in my room all weekend. Say a tiny prayer for me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

PCP dreams

I have had two completely horrible dreams about my Drewber. I won't go into detail about them because they are really disturbing and I kinda feel like I am saying bad stuff about him for some reason. They both were mainly about me trying to convince everyone that Andrew was still alive. Only I knew he was alive in each dream and I spent most of my time trying to convince everyone else. Austin is always there and always believes me but can't see him like I can. They were some of the most vivid and real dreams I have ever had and I don't want to have anymore. Last night's did have a sweet moment when I saw his hands and feet...he even held my hand for a minute. I wake up so sad and horribly reminded that THIS is my reality. A reality where Drew is not alive and won't ever be again. I am one of those people who try to decipher what their dreams mean and I think I have these pegged. Austin and I were the only people who knew our baby boy as a fully alive, active being. He moved in my body and I felt his every kick and hiccup. I think I am having these dreams because I so desperately need to tell the story of my sweet boy's life. I need people to know he lived and thrived once upon a time.

I got the first supplies I needed to start on Andrew's baby book yesterday. I went to Target with Beth and got a really pretty green scrapbook and cutesy baby stickers. I'll post pictures as I make more progress. Right now, its just a mass of scrap paper and stickers in a pile on my dining room table. I feel like I am doing something positive that I will always appreciate having done. My uncle died when he was nine and my grandmother told me after Drew died that she regretted not having kept better records of his life. She doesn't remember what was read at his funeral or the songs they sang. She of course can probably remember every second of the day he died and many other days that she had with him. I want to remember all of our days and I want our other kids to know. They may never read what I have written or look at the books I put together, but they will have the chance. My Andrew lived and I need to know that he mattered to this world. I need tangible evidence that he wasn't just a fleeting thing, but a real, lasting being that will forever be with me in some way.

This is my birthday week. Historically, I bug the crap out of everyone near me this week. I like a good birthday. This year...not so much. Last year, I made a huge deal about it being my last childless birthday. I went all out, figuring that I would not be able to this year. I am excited about my party on Friday and spending time with my family on Saturday. BUT...I should be doing something completely different. (I am pissed that all I do these days is whine about what I SHOULD be doing or what I DON'T HAVE.) So beware all who are near me this weekend, I could be a complete mess.

I am going to my first "support group" on Thursday night. I feel creepy saying that but it is what it is. I'm excited to go to see what my world could possibly look like ten or twelve years from now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

how it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive

Austin has gone out to meet his oldest friend in the world, Robbie. Before he left, he made sure I was happy and made me promise not to fall apart when he left. I promised him that I was fine. I lied. I thought I was fine. But that's how it goes these days. I am fine one minute and the next I'm a mess.

I am surviving. That is all I can say about myself at this point. I am not thriving, not quitting, not anything but surviving. I can't say that everyday is spent in this giant emotional, tearful state. I go about my days fairly normally...I can do everything I did before. I just do it a little more robotically than before I think. I am afraid to think too hard, be too happy, be too sad. I can't do extremes anymore without falling to pieces.

I do feel stronger, more self assured and, for some reason, more beautiful than I ever have in my life. For those of you who know me well, know I have always struggled with self doubt and H.U.G.E. self esteem issues my entire life. I've never trusted my body, always saw my flaws first, and doubted most every decision I've ever made in my life. I think I have left that girl behind. I think I started the journey of leaving her behind the second I walked into my beautiful midwives' clinic in May. Melissa, Martina and Missy helped me discover that I can trust my body and it is beautiful. I have never felt so empowered in my life. The whole time I was pregnant with Andrew, I felt like I literally shined. What an amazing thing to carry a child. I took care of myself like I never have before. I read every book I could find on natural childbirth and coached Austin on how to help me work through the pain. We were ready. Looking back on labor, I so clearly remember feeling like I was on a different wavelength than everyone else in the room...almost like I wasn't human anymore but some other superhuman birthing goddess woman. Sounds ridiculous I know, but I can't explain it any other way. I had, in true Lindsey form, doubted my ability to actually go through the pain of birth. But, I did it. I found a way to lead myself through the pain and I made it out on the other end every time. I never gave up and neither did my body. I look at myself differently now, spiritually and physically. I don't spend time in front of the mirror picking myself apart anymore. Not that I don't have my flaws because I certainly do. They just don't seem so noticeable or important to me anymore. I, for the first time ever, feel completely grown up and like a woman now and not a child. I held my child in my arms as he died. And I have survived. Some days I wish I hadn't but I did. I can again lead myself through the pain and hopefully make it out on the other end.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

one bad egg

Last night, we had a store meeting...our first since I have been back from maternity/bereavement leave. My sweet, thoughtful girls wrote me the sweetest card and got me a lovely cake from Emileigh's.

I was reminded of how many lovely people surround me on a daily basis. I went home to my "can't believe how amazing you are" husband and snuggled on the couch while I read babylost blogs and cried. He has been my perfect match through this loss. When I am sad, he is strong and compassionate. When he is sad, I try to be strong but end up crying right along with him. He gives me my space at just the right times and occupies my thoughts when I need to be distracted from my memories.

Then this morning, I get my routine phone call from the sweetest sister even created, telling me a cute story about my sassy niece. She apparently is going to grow up to be one tough beeyotch...she makes fun of An American Tail. That movie makes grown men cry and sweet little Lu makes fun of Fievel. I love her. Before I leave for work, Corinne texts me and says she hopes nice things happen for me today. Who thinks to say thoughtful stuff like that? On my way in to work, I stop by ChickfilA to get a sweet tea and yummy chicknminis. Shelby, the drivethru man, who I see way too often, tells me that he appreciates that I always have a smile on my face. If he only knew. Shelby's wife had a homebirth with their first child and so we have kind of a connection. He hasn't asked me about the baby yet and I am glad...that's a conversation that would A)ruin his day and B)be inappropriate fast food drive thru conversation. But, all the same, I appreciated the thoughtful comment. After being at work for about 15 minutes, Corinne comes in with a Bowl of Soul. For those of you not in the know, a bowl of soul is quite possibly the world's most delicious coffee drink. Go by Bottletree Bakery one morning and get'll thank me later. Nice thing #4 for the day and its not even 11:00 yet. About 30 minutes later, a friend comes in the store just to give me a hug, bring me some homemade soup and ask how I've been doing. This is a woman who I only met after Drew died. She barely knows me and is completely heartbroken for me and my little family. I truly think she would do anything to make this hurt less. She has no idea how much it means just to know that she thinks of me and hurts right along with me.

I went home for lunch since Austin was off today. I walked in and smelled freshly grilled chicken. Austin had grilled chicken, roasted potatoes and cooked butterbeans. The man even had my sweet tea poured and LOST cued up so we could watch it on my lunch break. Great lunch break...the best in a while.

Here's where we take a turn. For some reason, on the way back to work, I started crying and couldn't stop. I haven't cried for real at work since I have been back. I'd made it almost an entire month without this interfering with work. I tried to stop crying as I pulled into the parking lot and pretty much had it together. I walked into work and ran into one of my favorite customers that I hadn't seen since I came back. This woman is the ultimate mother. She has 6 kids, one of whom is special needs. She is warm and friendly and I love her. She had heard about Drew from her daughter and immediately asked how I was doing. Bless her heart...I unloaded on her and cried smack dab in the middle of maurices. Not ideal. She listened and empathized as she had gone through a similar situation earlier in her life. Then, while I was crying and talking to Gena, someone came in and dumped all over my day. Her behavior was so offensive and rude, it almost ruined every good thing that had happened up to that point. I won't go into it since I am uber paranoid that somehow she will read this. I dealt with her and then went and hid in the back for the rest of the afternoon.

I slowly came out of my funk thanks to Ashley, Stephanie, and Kat. I love that I work with girls who understand me somewhat and allow me to completely fall to pieces without explanation. Then sweet Martha Brown, a customer of mine, came in and helped me feel normal and helpful again. I came home and Ramsey was happy to see me as always and Austin was waiting with ingredients for chicken pesto favorite. I took a lavender oil scented bath and just relaxed. All in all, nice things did happen to me all day today. One nasty woman doesn't matter. Her choices are hers and I choose to not let her ruin my world.

So thank you Austin, Corinne, Ramsey, Martha Brown, Gena, Margaret, Shelby the drive thru man, maurices girls and Sawyer on made my day happier.

Oh, and who could be sad today. It's my dear friend Samantha Kimbrow's birthday. She is such a wonderful person who deserves all of the good things that she has in her life. I love her and I send hugs and love her way.

Friday, February 12, 2010

What a club

I stopped by a friend's house this evening after work. Her mother is in the ICU fighting lung cancer and things look pretty bleak. They are super close and my friend is obviously devastated. She is feeling many of the same emotions I felt a few weeks ago during our stay in the NICU. I am glad that I was able to offer some "comfort" in the form of empathy. I feel like the president of the depression/anger club right now. While I am thankful that I can help someone through their situation, I am angry again that I am even in this position to begin with. It sucks to tell someone that there is really no way to help in this situation. I am sure it gets better, but a loss like this will never go away. Whether it is a mom or a son that is lost, there will still always be an empty seat. I always knew I wanted to be a parent but I couldn't have imagined the intense connection that you have with your child. Andrew's little body was alive in mine. His heart beat when mine did. I grew the sweetest, fattest little 8 lb 10 oz baby boy anyone has ever seen. He is the best thing I have ever done in my life.

My sweet Andrew's life was too short. I grieve so hard for the "what could have beens." Would he have looked just like his Daddy always or would he have looked like me when he smiled? What would his favorite color have been? I won't ever go to his school plays or cheer for him on the sidelines. He'll never have a girlfriend or a best friend. I won't see him graduate or get married. I feel so sorry for him...bless his heart...he never had a chance. I hope he knows how deeply he is loved and how desperately he was wanted. I prayed for years for a child and my prayers were answered. I wish I could have had him for longer but I feel grateful that I had him at all. My heart breaks for the future I will never know. My life has been irreversibly altered and my heart and spirit will never be the same. And I don't want them to be the same. I am terrified of forgetting his face or the feel of his soft skin. I am angry that I have to be this sad for the rest of forever but I hold on to this deep sadness because it keeps me connected to him. I always want this to be raw because I feel like I will really be letting him go if it starts to heal.

Andrew, baby, I hope I make you proud. I want to live a full life because you couldn't. You have my heart and you always will. Sweet sweet boy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sweet baby boy

Monday, February 8, 2010

the best part of me was always you

I am taking a cue from my sweet Sam. She almost always uses song lyrics as titles to her posts. I have a lot of spare time at work to listen to the lyrics to the songs on our CD. My personal faves from today:

"I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing"

"Do you want the truth or something beautiful?
Just close your eyes and make believe
Do you want the truth or something beautiful?
I am happy to deceive you"

I feel like wallowing today. The past 36 hours have been really terrible. I went to a Super Bowl party and had a really great time last night. UNTIL...until I remember that my life has crumbled into a million urecognizable pieces. I had to bolt. I didn't tell anyone goodbye. I just left. I love that when I do go out, I am usually just up the street at one of my wonderful neighbors' houses and I can just run home. I came home and completely fell apart. I kind of surprised myself by how completely I fell apart. I just sat in his room all by myself and cried. I didn't want to feel better...I only wanted to be as sad and broken as possible. This morning was more of the same. I was getting dressed for work today and wanted to look as sad as I felt. Very little makeup and a super monotone outfit. I now understand why women wore black for a specific amount of time after a loved one died. The outside matches the inside. Driving to work, I couldn't imagine how I could pull it together. How can I fake it today? I love the kind of work I do, but today it was hard.

I am gonna let my old friend Bob Dylan sign us out tonight. He went through a weird phase for a while and I think this song is from that time, but the guy's got a point here...

When you're sad and when you're lonely and you haven't got a friend
Just remember that death is not the end
And all that you've held sacred, falls down and does not mend
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end

When you're standing at the crossroads that you cannot comprehend
Just remember that death is not the end
And all your dreams have vanished and you don't know what's up the bend
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end

When the storm clouds gather 'round you, and heavy rains descend
Just remember that death is not the end
And there's no one there to comfort you, with a helpin' hand to lend
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end

Oh, the tree of life is growing
Where the spirit never dies
And the bright light of salvation shines
In dark and empty skies

When the cities are on fire with the burning flesh of men
Just remember that death is not the end
And you search in vain to find just one law abiding citizen
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I don't want to do this anymore. I am spending so much time these days pretending to be unphased by all that I don't have. I can't even get on facebook without being reminded of all that I am missing. Where are my happy pictures of my sweet newborn? Where are my frustrated posts about late nights and fussy feedings? I want to feel happy again and I am not quite sure that I ever truly will be. My every waking moment is tempered with the loss of my son. I can't even begin to describe the nauseous feeling I get when I think of living the rest of my life with this loss. I feel like I am staring down a very long dark tunnel with no hope of an exit. I logically know that someday this pain and emptiness will lessen, but it feels very permanent now. How do you go on when your child could not? I feel so sad that his sweet body betrayed him and mine did not. I want to tell everyone I see that my son died. I want to wear a sign so everyone will ask me and I can tell them all about him and his too short life. But, I am becoming all too aware that this will be my secret from the rest of the world. I read a blog that a friend of mine recommended to me written by "babylost parents." One passage in particular seems appropriate here:

You look at your friend and all of a sudden her words are just a jumble of mumbles, because her language is no longer yours.

Oh, you will never know, you will never understand. How I can still put hot food on the table and get out of the house looking decent, when every muscle in my body is aching for my baby. You have no idea. You have no idea how much strength, and how much courage I need to muster, with clenched fists and gnashed teeth, in order to get through every second of the day, until I finally collapse at the end of it. Behind every thought is the question, “Why is he not here? Why can’t he be here?” Every cell in my body writhes in pain with the memory of the loss, and the void. Every glance I take is in search of my baby. Every breath I take is caustic with reminders of what I have lost. My skin burns to feel the softness of my baby against me; my arms ache to hold and nourish and love. My fingers stretch out in an attempt to hold, but I do not even have memories, except of the pain and shock. My loss is the front-page of my brain every time it gets turned on, even if many pages are running at the same time. Oh, you have no idea what it is, how it is, to live life like this.

But I don't tell the pregnant lady in the grocery store or the tired young Mom shopping in my store. I want to tell them how lucky they are or how thankful they should be because their baby didn't die. I wish I could have my blissful ignorance back. And just because I have lost mine, does not mean I should steal others.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Front Street,

I started back to work on Monday and effectively catapulted myself back into the real world. It feels sad and cold and scary being back out here without my little boo for the first time. For so long, he went everywhere with me. When I was having a bad day at work, I just reached down and rubbed my pregnant belly and felt my boy and instantly felt better and that I could get through whatever it was that was going on. Not so much anymore. Being back at work has been half good and half horrifying. Most days I am distracted from the rubble that is my broken heart by working. However, I am finding that for the first time since Drewbie died, I have serious alone time to let my mind wander. Mornings are hard since I am usually by myself and doing some mindless job, freeing my mind up to reevaluate every decision I made and every decision the doctor made. I have had to call Austin and Corinne many times to talk me down. Customers come in and ask me "how is that baby" and I then have to tell them that my sweet angel died. I tell Drew a thousand times a day in my head, "I'm sorry I have to tell them bad things about you." I strangely feel like I am betraying him by telling people the truth about what happened. I should be telling them how hard it is to leave him at Aunt Corinne's or how big his precious toes are or a million other happy things. But, no. Instead my talk is of ventilators, doctors, NICUs, and how "okay" we are. Even though I get a sick feeling when I see someone coming that I know is going to ask me about Drew, I want to talk about him. It is so much harder to talk to someone who knows but won't say anything about it. My baby has become the elephant in the room. No one knows what to say, but say something. Ignoring it makes me feel like I should be ignoring it. I can't make small talk when all I want to do is fall on the floor and scream and cry. Kids have it right...temper tantrums DO make things better.

We got the photographer's CD in of the pictures taken during Drewbie's baptism and after, when we took the ventilator out. Tim Cobb, the photographer, completely captured the beauty and peace of that day. I am so thankful to him for giving me such a priceless gift. I was fearful that the pictures would jack with my memories of his face and of the moment. Instead, I got a physical reminder of all that I felt and saw. His sweet face is perfectly the same as the one in my mind and heart. I want to wallpaper my house with these photos but I am working on reining it in. I love them and want to rub my face all over them.

I wrapped up one of the last little bits of this experience this week. I told Andrew that I would donate the rest of his breastmilk to a little kiddo who needed it via the Mother's Milk Bank of North Texas. I finally got my blood tests done to donate and now some other sick little man in LeBonheur will be able to get some mommamilk to make him feel better. The milk bank is a wonderful place and I am so glad that Andrew and I were able to help others. You can link your Kroger card to the charity by calling the number on the back of your card. Tell the operator that you would like to link your card to the Mother's Milk Bank of North Texas and a portion of your spending will go to the milk bank. Wonderful way to donate and help other little Andrews whose mommas can't nurse. Drewbie says thanks.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Andrew's Birth Story

I am going to try to write Andrew's birth story as best as I can remember it. The timeline may be a little off since I feel like I have lived two lives since that night. I haven't emotionally processed the entire thing since the actual birth was so traumatic. I am sure I will write another one at some point with a better grasp on my feelings.

I went into active labor around 11:00pm on Saturday, December 5. Andrew was still in a posterior position so most of my labor was in my back. Sweet Austin stayed by my side during the entire time just waiting to rub my back when a contraction hit. I called Corinne and Melissa around this time to let them know that it was showtime. Corinne got here first. I had gotten comfortable in the shower at this point and was letting the hot hot water hit my lower back. I was working through the contractions pretty good. The shower felt wonderful and I learned that I could get through them much better if I swayed my hips around. I found out later that Austin had videotaped this on his phone. He didn't let me know then because he correctly assumed that I would be upset and my focus would have been broken. I am really glad that he taped a portion of it...I felt really proud of myself when I watched it.

I stayed in the shower for over an hour. Melissa arrived while I was in the shower. She asked me to get out so she could check my progress. I got out and laid down on the bed. At this point, I HATED the bed. The contractions were so much worse when I wasn't able to move through them. She checked me and I was only at 3 cm (I think) even though I had felt sure that I was much farther along. I feel like I pretty much just went from the bathtub to the shower to the bed for an hour or so during this point. Melissa was constantly checking Andrew's heart rate which remained within his normal range the entire time. I remember throwing up and pooping several times during this part of labor. Labor isn't always cute, ladies. I tried to sit on my birthing ball having remembered reading that sometimes that helps with the back pain. Corinne helped me sit down on it and I immediately thought that whoever recommended that for back pain must have been a liar. Sitting on the ball was crazy painful and I scrapped that idea. I finally decided that the bathtub might be okay. I got in and immediately felt a little relief. Austin and Corinne had my birth list playing on Itunes and had my favorite candles lit. The atmosphere was perfect. I soaked in the tub in the candlelight listening to my Dylan and working my sweet boy down. I found a really good rhythm in the tub. Austin sat by me holding my little red fan and my cup of water. He was a real trooper and I remember feeling very safe and loved. Corinne and Melissa came in and out checking heart tones and heating my water up with water from the kitchen. I think I threw up again into a bowl when I was in the tub. Austin said I kind of dozed in and out between contractions. I remember it like a trance, coming to when I needed to breathe through the contractions. I was being a good little birther...making my cow noises and breathing my cleansing breaths. Apparently Momma had arrived and I remember seeing her through the crack in the door. I remember thinking, "I hope she isn't scared and knows I am okay." Austin got up to take a little break and Corinne took his place beside me. As soon as he left, my water broke. Craziest feeling I had ever felt up to that point...a huge gush and release. I immediately sat up and heard Corinne say, "whole lotta mec!" (Meconium is the baby's first poo) Melissa and Austin came in and Melissa told me to get out of the tub so she could check me. I began to throw up, poop and pee all at the same time in my tub. Austin got my throw up bowl and tried to keep me calm. I remember wondering what I had eaten that would make my throwup neon green. I realized later that I was throwing up my stomach acid. Melissa told me again that I had to get up and into my room so she could check me. If I was almost ready to deliver, then we could stay at home and have Andrew. If I wasn't far enough along, then we were going to need to transfer to the hospital. I know now how much my husband really loves me because he stuck his hand in the bath water filled with my and Andrew's poo, teetee, throw up and amniotic fluid to drain the tub. I got on the bed and Melissa checked me and found I was only at 5cm. She said we were going to need to transfer and I needed to get dressed. Corinne got me these terrible blue cut off sweatpants and one of Austin's old tennis shirts and my stinky Rainbows. They somehow got me dressed as I was bellowing through my contractions. I kept trying to walk to the door but my contractions were hitting me one after another and they were HUGE and painful. I made it to the door frame that leads into the kitchen, grabbing it and staring at the floor and thinking, "they have drugs at the hospital!" I think that was the only thing that gave me to drive to walk to the car. I got in the backseat of Momma's Volvo. Corinne was going to drive me and Melissa...Austin was going to ride with Momma. Corinne and I were waiting in the car on Melissa who was inside getting all of the transfer paperwork ready. A giant contraction hit and I yelled "we gotta go NOWWWWW." Corinne laid on the horn and yelled for Melissa. She got into the car and Corinne got us to the hospital in about 3 minutes. Contractions and heart rate monitoring the entire way. Melissa had called ahead so an orderly was waiting for us once we got into the hospital with a wheelchair. We had forgotten my glasses so I really couldn't see anything. Corinne said the poor orderly was a young guy and he looked scared to death that he was going to have to deal with the shrieking woman coming his way. I got into the wheelchair while Melissa and Austin were getting me admitted. I was so absorbed in my body and what was happening to me that I don't remember anything about my surroundings except for how soft the orderly's stomach was. I kept rubbing my head into his stomach and he just kept patting my shoulders. Sweet boy...wish I could thank him for giving me comfort. I felt like I was going to have Andrew right there in the floor and I think everyone else did too. I was pretty noisy. Some scary, burly nurse woman came and took me from my soft tummied orderly and started pushing me down the hall to Labor and Delivery. For some reason, she kept her hand on my forehead, pushing against her stomach. I also remember being very irritated at whoever decided that the floor heading to L&D should be made of bumpy tiles. They got me to the room after telling me that no one could come with me. They wheeled me into the delivery room and started undressing me to put me in my gown. They asked me all of these random questions like "is your husband the father of this baby" and "have you been abused?" After they had me in the bed and hooked up to all of the fetal monitoring things, they let Melissa and Austin in. I got an IV and they checked me. I was only at 6 cm but I was feeling really strong urges to push. Melissa had me focus on her and to take good cleansing breaths. Andrew's heart tones were still well within normal during this whole time. I was feeling VERY strong urges to push and they checked me again and said I was at 9.5 cm. They were telling me that I couldn't push because I wasn't complete, but they also kept saying that I had to wait for the doctor to get there. I kinda think I was already complete because my body was physically pushing on its own. Dr. Smith finally got there, looked at Andrew's heart tone tapes and then left again. They had let me start pushing by this point. I did have one or two helpful nurses but, for the most part, they were all pretty snarky and unhelpful. One even told me that I had 6 minutes to have my baby. Apparently my birth wasn't convenient for them since it was shift change time. The pushing felt really good since I felt a little more in control of the process. I was really glad that I was unmedicated so I could really feel what was happening and I had better control of my pushing. I finally figured out that I needed to wait for the contraction to get really strong before I started pushing so my pushing could be more effective. After 1 hour of pushing, Andrew started crowning. Dr. Smith suctioned the meconium when his head was out. He then saw that the cord was loosely wrapped around Andrew's neck. Melissa thought that he would just try to loop it around his head, but he immediately clamped and cut the cord. He told me to push again and Andrew came tumbling out. I felt an immediate sense of relief and a great emptiness. I never saw them take him to the side...I kept waiting on them to put him on my chest and to hear him cry. Melissa told Austin to go to the baby. I asked her what was happening and she said they were just helping him get started breathing. I saw the look on her face and started to panic. I asked her what they were doing and what was happening. She told me to just pray for my baby. I heard the doctors and nurses calling out his heart rate which was only 40. They were talking about epinephrine which helps stimulate breathing and heart rate. After a few minutes, they took him from the room. Austin told me later that when he came out that he was grey and limp and lifeless. I delivered the placenta and Dr. Smith gave me a few stitches for my very minor tear. Then, they all left the room, turned off the light and left Melissa, Austin and me by ourselves in the room.

I started shaking uncontrollably and thought I was just really cold, but later realized that I was probably in shock. We waited in the room for about an hour and a half before anyone came in to tell us any news on Andrew. Dr. Sanford and Dr. Smith came in and told us that although they had almost lost him several times, that they had his heart rate stabilized at 140 and had him hooked up to a ventilator. He said the situation was still very volatile...he even used the word "deadly" and that they were transporting him to Tupelo to the NICU. The nurses came in and got me ready to go to my post partum room.

As I said before, I haven't processed through my feelings. I want to see the medical records to get an official interpretation of what happened. I don't even know exactly what went wrong. I have my own instincts and feelings about what caused Andrew to crash. I am very angry that my precious boy who thrived inside of me was somehow harmed during his birth.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A new year...

Andrew has been gone from us for 13 days today...I have been without him for as long as I had with him. I have had so many emotions over the past 26 days. I have felt more anger, joy, sadness, guilt, pain, love, humility, happiness and emptiness than I have ever felt in my life. I don't know how I have made it through the things that we have experienced and most days, I don't know how I will make it one more moment without Andrew. I feel robbed and angry for the life that was taken from me. I am very aware that "time heals" and "God has a plan" but that doesn't take the anger away right now. I am reading a really great book on grief that the amazing people at Waller Funeral Home gave us and I have learned from it to feel my feelings and to not feel bad. I have a right to be angry. I know that the anger will pass and maybe in 20 minutes I won't be angry...I might be numb or happy or desperately sad.

When I think about my sweet Andrew that was physically with me on this earth, I feel peaceful and warm. I know that he spent his time on this earth feeling protected by all that surrounded him. I know he felt my thousands of kisses and the many times I rubbed my face all over his soft, sweet smelling skin. He felt our love and gave us even more back in return. My child was beautiful. I loved his fat toes and the chunky fat thighs that I am not ashamed to admit to nibbling on. He had a barrel chest like his Daddy and the sweetest little ball chin that God ever made. He always kept his precious hands clenched tight...I held those hands every second I was with him. He had a little stork bite right between his eyebrows that I rubbed and rubbed. I remember it always felt warm and a little sticky for some reason. Andrew gave me so many gifts while he was here. I know now how it feels to be a mother. Even if I could only physically mother Andrew for 13 days, I will always be his momma and we will always be connected. The sweet nurses at Le Bonheur put a little pottery heart in his memory box that says "those that live in our heart will never be lost" and I truly feel that he lives on inside of me. He and I were both at our happiest when I was pregnant and I feel like he is back inside...just in a different way. I can still care for him and love him and in a strange way, protect him again.

See, now the anger is gone and I feel extremely peaceful and loved by my angel. I am going to continue to update this blog even if I am the only one who ever reads it. I love a boy named Andrew Edward Mitchell and talking about him makes me feel closer to him and more peaceful inside.