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