Thursday, October 29, 2009

Compassion. Mel's 76th Show & Tell

I am fortunate. Even through this loss, I have reminded myself of this each day.

I have a husband, family, and a group of close friends who don't always "get" what I am going through, but love me regardless. I have an excellent therapist that specializes in this kind of loss, great medical care to help us through whatever this SIF is throwing at us, and we live without having to worry about our next meal, or whether or not we can pay the heating bill. These are just a few of the things I try to remind myself of in my darkest hours.

There are many mothers in this world who lose their children everyday without the comfort of a family, a roof over their head, a safe society to live in, access to medical care etc. It could be worse. There are so many in this world, even those that have never lost a child, that have it worse. Poverty, war, famine, the list goes on an on.

There is no shortage of grief in this world, and no shortage of people that could use our help, in some capacity or another.


When we were marking Peyton's first birthday, I really wanted to find something positive to do in her name. I have all these grand plans in mind about a Peyton Foundation I hope to one day set up to support NICU families. Even then, during the nightmare of worry that was Peyton's life, I realized how lucky were were to be together, in a hospital that specialized in children, and on the receiving end of many random acts of kindness. I have often thought how much harder it would have been to be there as a single parent, or to find ourselves instead in some huge city hospital where we could have gotten lost in the shuffle. I felt frustrated as Peyton's birthday approached to not yet be in a place where I could carry something like this out, but I do believe that in time, my energy will return, my emotions will be lifted, and this idea will get off the ground.


So, that left me in a bit of a pickle as Peyton's birthday approached. I was a mess. I wanted to do some good to mark her day, but also knew it needed to be something that wouldn't be affected by whether or not I was having a good or a bad day.

I sent checks out to our usual charities, but still felt like something was missing. I wanted something new. Something unique for her special day. I was reading around on the internet, trying to get ideas when I came across (Carleigh's Momma) Holly's family blog and the story of Shalini, a little girl from India that Carly sponsors through Compassion International. I knew once I saw the picture (and checked out Compassion International on Charity Navigator) that this was what I wanted to do as Peyton's Birthday gift. So today, for show and tell, I am sharing with you, our little sponsor child Lizeth. She is from Bolivia, 5 years old, and just adorable. Sponsorship covers food, education, bible studies, medical and dental expenses, job training for her parents.... and... birthday parties! How fun is that? I don't know why I loved that my sponsorship would get her a birthday party, but it brought a smile to my face and welcoming this little child into our heart at a point when we were so missing Peyton, well it just felt right. I searched many children's profiles, but I knew once I saw Lizeth, that she was the one...Anyone that matches a fancy party dress with boots and a turtle neck is my kinda kid!



We just received our first picture of her, sorry the picture quality here is so bad, I don't have a scanner so I took a picture of her picture. Last week we responded with our own picture and a letter back to her: How do you like school? What do you do for fun? Etc. Etc. I am really looking forward to learning all about her and her family.

To see what others are showing and telling, click Here. 


*************
Please also send Lisette some love today. Her little baby girl, Lauren Samantha, was born into her arms this Monday, and into Heaven shortly after.


Short, Sweet & To The Point.

I
need
to
get
out
of
this
funk.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Leaves, Ships, Notes, Tears


This last week has been sort of blah physically and emotionally. I have been feeling down about many things, missing Peyton, the SIF, and generally just not feeling great. Today AF decided to stop by after a three month hiatus, and that, I guess, explains some of why I am feeling how I am feeling. Her arrival used to signal another opportunity to try. Now, knowing I am not ovulating on my own, the blush has sort of fallen off that rose.


I find myself really missing Peyton right now. I don't know if it is the season (which, because of its raw beauty here in the northeast has always been my favorite) the impending arrival of my new nephew next month, or just this overwhelming feeling that my own dreams for a family are getting further and further out of reach, but whatever the cause, I am hurting.


I find I am at a place now where I sort of keep my "break downs" to myself, allowing the fears and sadness to envelop my thoughts, all while keeping a straight face for the benefit of those around me. It’s exhausting to have to pretend, but worse always feeling vulnerable and exposed.


The sense that I no longer have a place, among either those who have children, or those who have never had children, is overwhelming. Even this community, which has been such a safe haven of understanding for me, seems recently to be brimming with news of impending rainbow babies, and while my prayers, love and heart do go out to my dear friends at this happy news, (believe me I have not lost sight of the suffering and loss they have endured to get there), my heartache at being left out is growing. I am stuck in the sand, watching their ships sail off into the sunset, and begging from the shoreline for someone to stay with me, to cry with me, to hold my hand. I want my ticket off this island.


On my way to visit Peyton's grave yesterday I started talking to her in the car. I do this sometimes, when I am really missing her, or see something that I would have showed her as mothers do. Yesterday it was the Technicolor landscape of Fall, the way the leaves, en route to her grave, reflected in our local river. I so wish she was here to share these moments with. It’s like I see these things, and my heart starts to swell, and then the wave of grief comes over me, and where there was color and beauty, I am left deflated among twigs and brown bare branches.


Reaching her site I found a marker in hub’s car and penned a note/poem on a yellow napkin. I meant to leave it, but realized this morning that I had not. Today it's raining and once I publish this post, I am going to make my way, note in hand, back up to her. I am hoping the wetness of the day will melt the napkin, delivering it into the earth to be with her. The note read:



Can you hear me?
The way I talk to you on drives
sharing the beauty all around me,
or try to teach you about this world,
the things a mother should teach her child?
Look, I say, Look Peyton,
at those leaves, how they glow with orange, red and yellow hues in the sun's light.
How different life would be if you were here, in the backseat, smiling.
Would I even know what I had?
How precious a gift you were, or how lucky your safe arrival in my arms made me?
I am speaking to you Peyton,
I feel like you are listening.
But, maybe you aren't there.
Maybe your crazy mother is trying too hard to find a sign where there is none,
or to believe what her heart wants.
It doesn’t matter.
I go on teaching you just the same.
Talking just the same.
Loving just the same.
Sharing just the same as if you were here with me.
Your life ended with the fall of last year’s Autumn leaves.
My love for you did not.

Arrhythmia

babom-bom-babom Can you hear it?
babom-bom-babom It wakes me without warning.
babom-bom-babom My eyes are thrown open,
babom-bom-babom shades drawn to this new world.
babom-bom-babom It's dark, not yet light out.
babom-bom-babom The panic comes creeping.
babom-bom-babom Is it the cause, or the effect?
babom-bom-babom I never quite know.
babom-bom-babom My chest shakes, I can't stop it.
babom-bom-babom My body no longer keeps time,
babom-bom-babom in this new reality,
babom-bom-babom where nothing ever feels "right."
babom-bom-babom An ever present reminder,
babom-bom-babom that something is missing.
babom-bom-babom My body is different.
babom-bom-babom I am different.
babom-bom-babom Changed organically.
babom-bom-babom Baby do you hear it?
babom-bom-babom That beat that my heart is missing.
babom-bom-babom Gone with your last breath.
babom-bom-babom My sweet child, that's you.
~Kristin Binder

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pathetic


I am running from these realities as they chase my every move. That is not your life, they tell me. That is not your future. That is what you expected, what you could have had, what everyone else has... That is not for you.


I know there are so many women who face this journey with grace, strength, Faith. I am not one of them. Not because I choose not to be. Who wouldn't rather be a pillar of strength or an inspiration to others? No, I am not one of them because I am hurting, in a way that never leaves, that never allows something beautiful to blossom from all this heartache.


I am hurting when I smile and I tell you “I’m Okay” because I am so sick of being that person, that burden, that disappointment who can’t get her act together. I am hurting when I congratulate you on your pregnancy, or new child. I am hurting when I see couples my age, and think how lucky they are to still be kids with their whole lives ahead of them, but can no longer relate to that naive optimism.


I hate being 29 and feeling like my book has been written. I hate seeing pictures of myself and doing double takes because I don’t recognize myself. I hate that I cannot help but to wallow and question and feel anger at what has happened. I am suffocating beneath memories of the better person that I used to be, of those last happy moments before she was born, of the memories of her life, of the choices, of what she lived through, of all the living she never got to do, of watching her leave, of feeling so much guilt, of wanting to return to normal, of wishing for a baby, of being diagnosed with SIF, of all of it.


I am pathetic. I am stagnant. I am grieving.

Friday, October 23, 2009

5,7,5

This should be a happy post.

Today marks eight years since I met hubs. I should be writing about that. I should be writing about how much loving this man, this amazing husband and father, has changed my life, and how grateful I am to share every experience with him.

I do, of course, feel all of these things, but for some reason that is not where my mind has gone. Instead, all day, I have found myself caught up in writing little Haikus. I am using the term Haiku lightly, because to be a true Haiku there would be some reference to nature and its connection to the human spirit, and these references are not found in mine. So, if you are a Haiku traditionalist, please take this as my preemptive apology.


Anyway, these little poems, concise in their traditional 5,7,5 syllable pattern have been floating through my head all day. It's really odd the way this happens, I often find myself thinking in poetry, but even for me, thinking in Haiku is pretty out of the norm. Realistically, I probably haven't written Haiku since maybe the first or second grade. Anyway, these are some of the ones scribbled down throughout the day.



My battered soul cries.
Miscarriage. Child loss. Now this?
It's too cruel for words.
********
Cruel fate you mock me.
Once allowing such high hopes,
in their wake - truth, pain.
********
There are no true words
to convey just how broken
my dreams feel right now.
********
Where is the justice?
So many go unwanted.
Mine, so wanted. Gone.
********
In flashes, I'm there
In her ear, "Shhh, It's Okay"
"I'm here...Mommy's here"


Feel free to comment in Haiku format if you would like, about this post, about your losses, about infertility, about anything really.

Wings


I search for beauty among these terrible things
today I find it picturing my child in her angel wings
imagining her sweet giggle as she flies above
watching over us, spreading her love

Though my faith has been tested by her death
sometimes it helps me to catch my next breath
imagining her dancing around pain free up there
among the rainbows, the clouds, the sun, the air

I hope she knows we feel each sweet gesture
and believe they are blessings sent down by her
helping us survive even the most terrible day
by sending others to hold our hand along the way

So fitting that this image be
and one bringing such happy solace to me
for on the very day she was deceased
we Catholics mark The Guardian Angels Feast

So fly sweet little girl of mine
and down from Heaven let your spirit shine
through happy moments that help us find our smile
and the kindness of others along this grieving mile
~Kristin Binder


A huge Thank You to Lea at the Angel Wings Memorial Boutique
for surprising me with these beautiful wings
created out of love in Peyton's honor.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kindness Grows Here & In Rory's Garden - Mel's 75th Show & Tell




How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice





I have received so many amazing messages of support through this community since my craptastic visit to the Doctor on Monday, and I have to say, they have really been helping. There are no words appropriate to describe how much your  kindness has meant through this latest blow.


I don't know if you all realize just how deeply your comments resonate with me, how much comfort I find in them, or how much it means to know that there are others who understand what the news of SIF after losing your only baby can do to a person. So many of you know me only through this blog, and still, you reach out to hold my hand, cry, and pray with me. These actions mean so, so much.


This morning I woke to find a beautiful note in my inbox. It read:


Dear Kristin

I know you are having a heartbreakingly awful time at the moment. I am so deeply sorry. Whilst I’ll continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers I am also sending this as a gift of love from Rory’s Garden.
Sarah xxxxx






I felt such joy in receiving this gift, this random act of kindness. As Peyton's mother, seeing her little life honored in such a breathtaking and selfless way, knowing that someone who had never met us created this tribute with such care, it moved me to tears. Thank you so much Sarah.


I am sharing this with you all today because it is a beautiful, beautiful photograph, and it is my hope that in doing so, I can help to spread the word about the amazing Say It With Flowers project. 

Your messages of support, and this amazing gift, each act as a reminder to us all that we can, in our own special ways, shine beams of light onto the others in this community who are struggling  to find direction in the darkness.


Thank you for helping to light my path.


To see what others are showing visit here.



Monday, October 19, 2009

Kicked While I Am Down

"Do you feel emotionally ready for this?"

My doctor posed this question this morning, and all I could do was look at her, mouth agape, unable to answer.

There is no denying it. I am an emotional mess. I have been since Peyton died. I am grieving and suffering from PTSD. I anger easily, feel overwhelmed at the drop of a hat, and carry massive amounts of guilt at not only being unable to save my child, but having had to witness all that was done to her for nothing. The pain of watching your child die does not end with their last breath, it begins.

Each day the waves of this new reality hit harder and harder and I feel the possibility of having a family of our own slipping further and further away. In the two years since we started TTC, we have hit two major hurdles: The loss of our first pregnancy for reasons unknown to miscarriage, and the loss of our child, our daughter Peyton, to infant leukemia. This morning I was dealt another blow, one which was anticipated, and yet still hurt like hell to hear... we are definitely dealing with an infertility issue now.

My doctor has explained that this new road, the one she wonders if I am emotionally prepared to handle, is one full of testing, stress, disappointment, hormonal changes, injections, procedures, emotional highs and lows etc. etc., all of which compound the emotions that I have been dealing with since losing Peyton. I have cried so many tears today, my heart is aching, and my fingers feel exhausted even now as I type this. It's not that I didn't think I was infertile... I have blogged about my concerns about this here and here. I think it was just hearing my doctor explain that after five months of TTC, she feels we are no longer in a place where doing this on our own is a likely possibility. Am I emotionally ready for this? Probably not. Am I emotionally ready to never again have another child? Definitely not. Therein lies the conundrum.

Today I threw a question up to God that I have so many times before... "how the hell did this happen to my life?" I actually threw it up to Him through tears after coming out of the supermarket where I saw a magazine cover with a headline that Brangelina are expecting two more. Two MORE... really... are you F*ing kidding me? I don't know why seeing that magazine brought so many tears, maybe it was just another reminder that what comes so easily to others, may never come for us. I wish I could say that I could make peace with this new reality... I cannot.

Next month we begin new tests based on these, my doctor's theories, as to why I cannot manage a BFP.

A) By rushing out of bed 30 hours after a c-section to be at Peyton's side, and allowing no time to heal, my uterus and/or tubes may have suffered scarring or damage and that is why my cycle has disappeared. A dye test will be done to determine the extent of the damage, if any, that is keeping me from becoming pregnant. I am especially angered at this theory... at the bitter irony that in trying to be a good mother and pushing myself to be with my fatally ill child, I may have cost myself future pregnancies. There are no words for the emotions that I feel when considering this possibility.

B) I am no longer ovulating or getting AF on my own because of the stress/grief/just because/etc etc any of the million and one reasons that can lead to SIF. Should the aforementioned dye test come back negative (prayers on this please) we will begin clomid and provera next month. This too brings a lot of emotions, primarily disappointment with myself when thinking about the theory that the stress and grieving has been causing my problem. The implication I draw being that I am in some way contributing to my own infertility. I know of a lot of women in this community hurting just as badly as I am, grieving just as hard and missing their babies just as much, and they have gone on to get pregnant or have other babies. What is wrong with me? The sense of failure that this theory brings is overwhelming.

C)Hubs counts have changed... I am not really giving any thought to this option because I don't feel that its the case. I don't know why I feel so sure about this, I just do. Nothing has changed for him physically and he has been coping much better since losing Peyton than I have, so I don't believe it is a problem on his end. Some tests will be run just to rule this out.


My doctor set an appointment for next month (a few days after we meet with a genetic counselor to see if there was any possible genetic cause for Peyton's cancer) to speak with me and hubs. She explained that IF can really tax a marriage, and that she is concerned about what it could mean for a couple already having been dealt such a blow. I am so tired of this, of these boulders in the pathway of our happiness. They say "God doesn't give you more than you can handle," and you know what, that's bullshit. Child loss and SIF. That is more than anyone can handle.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Are you kidding me...

A conversation heard in passing today...

Woman with long braid: My little dog died.

Woman in obnoxious orange sweater: Oh... I'm so sorry.


Woman with long braid: He was very, very old.

Woman in obnoxious orange sweater: I know, losing a pet. That's like losing your child.

Woman with long braid: *without skipping a beat* Oh, no... I think it's worse to lose your pet.

Woman in obnoxious orange sweater: *nods*  Yeah, *snickers* they're better than kids.

Woman with long braid: *laughs* So true..

Woman in obnoxious orange sweater. *nods and laughs*


I walk away disgusted.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15th

 






Tonight we remember
our children
together.

















The death of a baby is like a stone cast into the stillness of a quiet pool; the concentric ripples of despair sweep out in all directions, affecting many, many people. --De Frain, 1991 
Peyton Elizabeth Binder 9/4/08-10/2/08

Our candle burned bright tonight at Peyton's grave.
No amount of snow or cold could keep us away.

 
I went name by name, remembering and praying for each of the babies that I have grown to love through this community.  Your babies' stories have touched my heart deeply, and they will never be forgotten.

 
Thank you so much to all those who remembered Peyton tonight
and especially to Quinn's amazing Momma Marybeth 
for honoring Peyton with this beautiful candle.



Shock and Awe

I remember in the early days of the Iraq War hearing alot about "Shock and Awe," the practice of overwhelming the enemy with force rapidly as a means to stun them into submission and break their will. I think that is where I am tonight, in the "Shock and Awe" stage. There are so many realities beating me down that I wonder if our dreams of having a family are even a possibility. Tonight I feel overpowered, like I am failing this battle on two fronts.

First, there is the ever present battle with my grief, its rapid succession of images, memories, trauma, flashbacks, anger, sense of loss, frustration, sense of overwhelm, sadness, reminders of all that we are missing out on, sense of feeling robbed, feelings of isolation, anger at a disease with no known cause, anger at having to watch my child be that 1 in 50 million, sense of fear about losing future children to Infant Leukemia etc. that go along with missing my Peyton. My sweet, sweet Peyton who Cancer stole from me. She should be here with me. She was my child. I can't get over missing her.

Then there is the second battle front, the infertility front. I got the green light to TTC several months ago. My first two pregnancies came so easily, and still, at the end of the day, my home is empty of children. That's a bitter pill to swallow. I have carried life within me twice and have no children to show for it. Now, when we have already waited so long, when our arms ache to hold our child, now is when my body has decided to become infertile... Why? I don't know how to process this reality, the "we are really struggling with infertility" reality. I don't know how to make peace with being dealt this hand too. The sense of unfairness is smothering me.

So tonight I sit here, pounded, broken, staring in shock and disbelief at these last two years since hubby and I decided to start trying, and wondering how this happened to us? We were prepared. We had so much love to give our daughter. We were ready to provide her a safe, loving, stable and nurturing home. Why do our attempts at having a family need to include so much pain at every twist and turn? Will this ever get easier? Will we ever get OUR chance at bringing home healthy children? Nothing that I thought, envisioned, expected or dreamed on has come to be. When, I must ask, is it our turn to be happy, beaming parents? When can we step off this battlefield?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reflections from the checkout line.

I don’t live in your world...
You stand in front of me smiling, a newborn girl tight at your chest in the same baby wrap that I had researched and planned to use.

I don’t live in your world...
I don’t get to answer strangers asking “How old is she?”
Instead I struggle to answer when asked, “Do you have any kids?”

I don’t live in your world...
You shrug off the softness at your middle as a badge of courage with a smile.
“Baby weight,” people assume when they look at you.
“She let herself go,” they judge, when looking at me.

I don’t live in your world...
You say, “They’re nice at this age aren’t they?”
And a woman behind you jokes, “Just wait till they get older.”
My child never got older, I wouldn’t know.

I don’t live in your world...
You spend your days with trips to the baby gym, the pediatrician, a new mother’s group.
I spend mine at her graveside, in a perpetual state of shock.

I don’t live in your world...
Nor in that of the na├»ve and child free. Those who don’t know what it is to have to bury your child, or that in this day and age, it’s even a possibility.

I don’t live in your world...
~Kristin Binder

Monday, October 12, 2009

The things I didn't know then... Mel's 74th Show & Tell

Today, while looking through some things, I came across a set of pictures of hubby and I from a vacation in August of 2007. What struck me most about them, was just how young we looked. I am only twenty nine, but feel a world away from the girl in the pictures with her happy smile, tan skin, and blissfully naive outlook on life. There was one picture in particular that really affected me. In the photo, I stand on the beach looking over my shoulder at hubby, smiling, a  hand placed gently across my stomach. I was pregnant in the picture, we had probably conceived a night or two before the photo was snapped, and in my heart, I remember just knowing. This child, the one just below my hand, was our first pregnancy, our first child, and a month later, became our first loss.


Photo Courtesy PBinderPhotography

That's what hurt the most about seeing this photo. The memory of how excited we were at the time to start a family, and the realization of how much the process has taxed us physically, and emotionally. None of it has gone as we had imagined it would, when standing on the beach, looking out into our future.

In the time since the photo was snapped we have been pregnant twice, and still, we have have no living children. Only twenty six months separate me from the girl in the photo, and yet, in looking back at myself, the "me" of two years ago, I felt like a voyeur glimpsing the life of a stranger. Her life was good. Her possibilities seemed endless.

The "me" in the picture, didn't know what it was to bury and grieve a child. She didn't know that a baby could pass every prenatal exam, could be deemed "perfect" at birth, and still go on to be diagnosed terminal just moments later. This "me" didn't even know that infant leukemia existed, or that grieving one child could keep you from conceiving the next. For the "me" in the picture, life was simple, and all was right in the world.

Looking at the image I couldn't help but wonder, did the "me" of that time realize how very blessed she was?

There is an old song, Something to Believe In, that has been playing in my head lately. I was in fifth grade when this song came out, and I probably haven't heard it in at least fifteen years, but for whatever reason a portion of the very last line has come to mind, and it speaks perfectly to this experience. The song says: 
Sometimes I wish to God I didn't know now
The things I didnt know then... and give me something to believe in.
 ~Poison
I wish I didn't know. I wish no one ever had to know... what it is to lose a child, and with that child, what it is to lose so much of oneself.

To see what others are showing and telling visit here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Diapers and Triggers

"It's happening all over again."
Even as I say it,
I know the statement is a lie.
It implies that there had been a point when it had stopped.

I can't escape the memories.
The triggers are everywhere,
attacking without warning.

Yesterday it was a diaper commercial.
A smiling baby crawled across the floor,
"No gap waste band," the announcer promised.
The baby looked so happy.
His mother looked so happy.
The tears fell.

I had a baby once.
She never crawled.

I see the commercial and am back in that hospital,
asking the nurses to bring a smaller size.
"These ones no longer fit."

I watched as she grew smaller each day.
It scared me.

When she was born she wore the newborn size.
By the time she left,
her body had regressed.
Even preemie diapers eventually hung loosely.

There is a unique desperation that comes in bearing witness
to something going so against the natural order of things.

Children are supposed to grow.

She became more fragile,
wasting away as the greedy chemo and infection staked their claims.
"No!" I should have shouted.
"Not her! You can't have her!"

Would that have made a difference?
Would anything have made a difference?

How could a child with such a huge spirit,
a child of such strength,
have left this earth so much smaller than when she entered it?

There are so many...
Questions.
Triggers.
Memories.

How could any of this have happened?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Friendship & Faith - Mel's Show & Tell & The Riggs "Feel Good" Blog Hop

Today for show and tell I am sharing a story of unexpected friendship and Faith.


When I was pregnant with Peyton, my cousin Erica was also expecting her first child, a little girl, due at the end of September.
This probably conjures up images in your head of the two of us hanging out, shopping for tiny clothes and celebrating our impending babies' births together, which of course is how it should have been, but our situation was a little more complicated. The truth of the matter is that because of some "stuff" that  isn't worth mentioning here, our families hadn't spoken for about 15 years, and neither Erica nor I were aware of each other's pregnancies.




A few weeks after Peyton was born, and while we were entrenched in her battle with Leukemia, Erica gave birth to a baby girl, Faith Margaret, a little miracle born with HLHS. HLHS is a congenital heart condition that essentially leaves Faith living with half of a heart and eventually requiring a transplant,  and one which is complicated further by an even rarer issue that Faith has with narrow veins.  What are the odds? Two cousins, both new mothers to amazing little girls born the same month, and both watching our daughters fight for their lives. The irony goes even further. Erica has the same name as one of the infants that our grandmother lost, a baby girl whose birthday I share.


A few months after Peyton's death, in a move I could never have anticipated (or would have expected),  Erica reached out to offer me her condolences, throwing open the lines of communication between us via Facebook and email at first, and finally resulting in us sitting down to talk in person. Ours was a near instant connection, not because we are related, but because we just "click" in the way that one does with their very closest of friends. We "get" each other. Our journeys are different, my little girl is gone, hers is still here, but we share the experience of loving children with congenital issues, and can joke with each other in a way that only comes from having faced the unimaginable. In an ironic twist, and one that has not been lost on me, these amazing little girls have brought us together to support one another through our journeys, and we have forged a beautiful friendship.






Erica is a wonderful mother to Faith. Her outlook is one of unwavering optimism, ever thankful of the blessing that God has granted her in her little girl, and when in her presence, you can't help but find her upbeat attitude contagious. I am so grateful for our friendship. As difficult as it is for me to be around little babies, it has actually been therapeutic to watch Faith as a little miracle in making, her progress against the odds helping to restore my faith in the power of prayer once again.



Faith is currently in the hospital with pneumonia, her recovery complicated by her HLHS and small veins. A trip to the pediatrician last Wednesday has, thus far, resulted in a week long hospitalization, and the news I received today is that she has quite a few days left in her stay. This little girl has already endured and overcome so much, open heart surgery, catheterizations, multiple hospitalizations, and with this week's pneumonia, Faith has also had to have her chest  tubed and drained of fluid;  all of this occurring over the course of her first birthday. Please visit Faith at her blog here and offer Erica, Faith (and, of course, Daddy Billy too :) ) some support and prayers to help them overcome this latest obstacle.



To see what others are showing and telling, please visit Mel's 73rd Show & Tell here.

Or to participate in the Riggs Family Blog Feel Good Blog Hop enter below...
MckLinky Blog Hop

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I will never forget...October 6th.

I will never forget...
the sounds of my own sobs echoing through the church.
I will never forget...
the feeling of Daddy's arm against my cheek as tears overtook me.
I will never forget...
the way your pacifier, the aqua green one, felt clenched between my fingers during the service.
I will never forget...
the notes of hymnals sung at the alter.
I will never forget...
averted glances as we made our way back down the aisle.
I will never forget...
how easily the man lifted your tiny casket in his arms and placed it on the back seat of a town car for transport to the cemetery because your small body didn't warrant a hearse.
I will never forget...
the way that ray of light hit your casket during the service at the grave.
I will never forget...
how deeply I felt I had failed you.
I will never forget...

Today marks one year since Peyton's service. Below is the Eulogy that my sister, her Aunt Kate, so beautifully delivered.

Eulogy for Peyton Elizabeth Binder
Monday, October 6, 2008
Saint Patrick's Church, Collinsville

Today we are here to say our farewells to my niece, Peyton Elizabeth. A child of God, whose life here with us was a brief moment when compared to each of ours.


It is so hard at this moment to think of the right words. I could talk about how unjust this is, that this innocent baby should be born with such a terrible disease. I could talk about how unfair it is that Krissy and Dru, two parents with so much love in their hearts should have to endure such a crushing grief and immeasurable pain. I could speak of Peyton's grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who all loved her so much and are completely heartbroken. But what I really want to do is tell you about a special little girl, who I had the honor to know, and who was very, very loved....Peyton Elizabeth.


We knew before Peyton's birth that she was going to be one special child, just by looking at her parents. But when my sister showed off the ultrasound pictures taken of Peyton in-utero, these pictures revealed such a laid back personality. I mean, Peyton looked in these pictures like she was on vacation, lounging around in a hammock with her legs crossed, sipping a margarita maybe. And when she was born, it soon became apparent that this was in fact Peyton's true personality. She was the most easy-going baby, who rarely fussed, even when things got tough. She enjoyed being held and taking in all that was around her with her bright, beautiful eyes.


Peyton had such a smart look about her. People, including myself, would say that her eyes and hair looked like Krissy's and her cheeks were all Dru. But the fact of the matter is that she was uniquely Peyton, inside and out. Even though she was only a little over 6 pounds, Peyton had the heart of a 200 pound prize fighter. It has even been said that she had a mean left hook and that Krissy and Dru would watch her practice her boxing stances, using her baby mittens as boxing gloves, getting ready for the next big fight. The truth of it is that Peyton, and her devoted, loving parents Krissy and Dru taught us all how to be brave and stay strong, no matter how good or bad the odds are.


Peyton, along with Krissy and Dru also taught us what it means to love and be loved. Peyton never knew a day without love. Krissy and Dru prayed over her, held her, stroked her head and cheek and gently kissed her forehead each day, virtually living at the hospital. Despite the odds, through their love for Peyton, they never abandoned hope. Kristin and Dru showered her with as much love and affection as two people could humanly give a child. As I said earlier, Peyton was an easy-going baby who liked to be held, but there was a certain look in her eyes that she gave only to her mommy and daddy. She basked in the love they gave to her, and returned that love to them in her eyes. Peyton was surrounded by love from her birth until her death. She was surrounded by love in the operating room when she entered this world. She was surrounded by love when she went to heaven in my sister's arms, with her daddy stroking her head.


And that love extended far beyond the confines of the hospital. Peyton touched the hearts of all who knew her and all who knew of her. In only four weeks, she left a legacy that will live on forever in the hearts of many. She showed us what is really important in life. She taught us to be brave when things get tough, she taught us what it means to love and be loved, and she taught us to forget about the petty things, because life is fragile. People: friends, family and strangers alike all came together to pray for Peyton, and to support Peyton, Krissy and Dru. Family and friends became closer and people who had become estranged from one another broke down the barriers to speak to each other again for the first time. Peyton is, and will always be an important part of our family, and her legacy will go on.


Now I will read you a poem which my sister gave to me this morning. It is a poem from Krissy and Dru to their beloved baby Peyton:


To our sweet infant daughter
who now dwells in our heart
we are aching just to hold you
now that we are apart.

To our sweet baby Peyton
with those eyes of dark blue
for your mommy and daddy
you were a dream come true.

We so loved to hold you
and staring into your eyes
the way you loved us back so strongly
was our life's greatest surprise.

Taken from us so quickly
this we cannot understand
we miss each toe on your footsie
and long to hold your little hand.

Peyton our angel we miss you
we pray you're peaceful at rest
Remember daddy's soft words and cuddle
and how mommy sang and held you at breast.

Even though just a baby
your fight for life would inspire
when we felt so helpless and hopeless
you forged ahead never tired.

This sense of loss unrelenting
long to see your eyes sparkle, that cute face
Remembering how you looked at us knowing
Then left this world in our embrace.

We love you so much sweet angel
you were a life made of our love
We'll always miss you darling Peyton
Please wait for us to meet you up above.

~Kristin Binder

Monday, October 5, 2009

Help. Love. Writing. - The Secret Garden Meeting Sept.

Someone once commented on one of my posts that the first year without your child is both the longest and shortest of your life, and having marked one year without Peyton this past Friday, I agree. This year has been painfully long in its grief and unrelenting pain, and short in my progress. A year after Peyton drew her last breath, I find myself standing in the same spot: baby lost, disoriented, childless. So many things were lost with Peyton: my career, some friendships, my sense of self, and yet, at the end of the day, I am still here. This survival is a blessing that even I doubted during the most difficult moments of these past twelve months, the moments that left me weighed down, panicked and gasping for air. This month, for The Secret Garden Meeting, we are focusing on the positive, discussing those things that most contributed to our survival through loss.  When I ask myself how it is that I have made it through this first year without my daughter, three words come to mind... help, love and writing.

When I speak of help, I am referring to my therapist. For me, she is the right therapist. I think as babylost mommas it is good to have someone outside of this loss who can listen to us rehash the same painful memories over and over. I am fortunate to have found a woman (a LCSW) who specializes in traumatic loss. She understands trauma and grief, and therefore understands why I am feeling what I am feeling. I have read on a few blogs of women frustrated that they weren’t getting anything out of their therapy sessions. My feelings on that are that if you are paying to talk to someone, and they are not helping you, find someone else. Therapy is not the answer for everybody, but if your grief, like mine, includes guilt for not saving your child, for not knowing your child was sick, or for ultimately having to make decisions that you are struggling through living with, I think it is important to have someone to unload that on outside of those who, themselves, are grieving your child. When babyloss feels too much to handle, the right counselor makes a world of difference.

The second key to my survival has been unconditional love. My husband has never stopped loving me, the new me, the usually lost and not so easy to get along with me. He has accepted that the road for me is different than it is for him, and without judgment, supports even what he doesn’t understand. I am also blessed with an amazing family. They have come weekly, through good days and bad, to get me out of the house, even when all that meant was driving and crying and going to the cemetery. They have made near nightly phone calls and left messages of support even when they knew that I was listening to the machine but too broken to answer the phone. They remind me constantly of how important Peyton is to them, bringing her up without prompting, reminiscing and remembering her and proving that she is loved in her role as their granddaughter, niece, and cousin, even in her absence.

Oprah Winfrey said “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” This year my truest friends have been those who chose to leave the ease and luxury of limo riding behind to sit at the back of the bus with me, experiencing every painful stone, rock and rut along this road of grief.  They have shown that this Krissy, the Krissy that isn’t always predictable or comfortable to be around, is still worthy of their love. They love me and my husband enough to encourage us as a couple through this loss. They love my child, the child that most of them never met, and honor her memory by bringing her up in conversation, by displaying her picture in their home, by visiting her grave even when I am not there, and by knowing that when there is no “right thing to say” it is good to offer their arms for support, their senses of humor for relief, and every odd time, their alcohol to forget. The love of my husband, family and friends is definitely a huge part of what kept me going these last twelve months. How do you give up on yourself, when others refuse to give up on you? I had a lot more friends before Peyton died. I have a lot better friends now.

The third key to survival for me has been my writing. It is the single most therapeutic outlet for me. Each day I express myself through essays, stories, poetry, posts, chapters in my memoir about  mothering Peyton, letters at her grave, lyrics to songs, or sometimes just scribbles on scraps of paper.  In some ways my writing has been my very closest friend, the one invited into those areas of this loss so dark that I wouldn’t dare share them with another person. My writing does not judge me for feeling so lost, it doesn’t placate my emotions with platitudes or tell me it “knows exactly what I am going through,” when it doesn’t. My writing just waits patiently for pen to be put to paper or fingers to be set at keys, and listens as I detail my thoughts, angry ramblings, observations on life, flashbacks, second guesses, celebrations, fears, desires and ideas. My writing allows me to grieve however I need to, whenever I need to. With Peyton, I lost my desire for so many things, but my writing stepped in, keeping my mind agile, allowing me to unload pain page after page, and relieving some of the weight of this grief, even if just for a moment, word by word. Writing has allowed me to document the details of my child’s too-short life, to be true, to honor every part of this experience without fear of judgment or lack of understanding, and ultimately, through this blog, my writing has led me to a community of babylost readers and bloggers who truly understand where I am coming from. Writing has been my saving grace.

Help, love, and writing have been my keys to survival through child loss. Visit here to see what other baby lost bloggers are sharing as theirs.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Grief. Hope. Thanks. - One Year Without Peyton

At this time last year... this is it. This is the last time I can say this when referring to Peyton's life. Tomorrow marks one year since this beautiful little girl, wrapped in the arms of her mother, stroked on the forehead by her father, and held in the gaze of her loving grandparents, took her final breath and left this world. Tomorrow night I will think about how at this time last year, at around 5:00 pm, Peyton Elizabeth left her body, the body that had brought her so much pain and suffering, and took flight. I like to think of it that way, that Peyton fluttered out of that room, leaving the heaviness of the air in it, the sobbing cries of her parents and grandparents, the averted eyes of the caregivers, all behind. I like to think that Peyton went somewhere beautiful and free and began her new journey.

In this past year I have felt Peyton's presence so many places. The flashing of our flashlight. In the shapes of clouds above her grave or the skies outside a plane window. In a "p" that seemed to appear in soap on the shower wall. In the fluttering of butterflies and the breaking of sun through a gray cloudy day. For the last year I have felt her with me at my lowest times, her soul just barely out of reach, and in feeling her there, felt hope. Hope that life would once again hold joy and peace for me. Hope that maybe this wasn't it for my child. Hope that she made it to a better place, and is at peace with what happened to her, and knows how very, very  much her Mommy and Daddy miss her. Hope that the final breath, the one she struggled to draw to stay with us, did not mark the end of my child. Hope that somewhere, somehow, in a way that I am too insignificant to understand, Peyton goes on.

When I think of this past year, I can't help but be reminded of the famous poem Footprints. We all have our own Gods, our own beliefs, our own ideologies, but in looking back on this past year, on the very darkest of hours and those that felt too crushing to overcome, it was in those moments that I felt Peyton's presence come through for me the strongest, reaching out her little hand to say, "Mommy, I'm here with you. It's going to be okay. I'm okay." I could focus today on the hurt, the injustice, the anger at a life cut cruelly short, but instead today I choose to honor this, her last day of life, by remembering and feeling grateful for the many acts of love that Peyton has bestowed upon me as her mother.

I miss you baby girl. There will never be a moment in my life when your absence is not felt. There will never be a memory made, that would not have been better with you in it. Thank you for staying with me those forty two weeks, for working so hard to thrive inside of me and never letting on how sick you were. I was blessed to have that time with you, that blissfully hopeful and naive time. Regardless of the outcome, I am so grateful for it. It was the happiest of my life.
Thank you for never letting on to the pain you were in. You were so strong and brave, letting Mommy and Daddy hug and cuddle and snuggle with you through your chemo and transfusions and operations. In my life, I have never received such unguarded and selfless love, as I did from you, my child. I needed to mother you. I needed to have time with you. I am so very grateful for each second of strength that you mustered to stay with me. I will never understand the how's and why's of this, but will forever be grateful that while you were here you allowed me to love you, to nurse you, to hold you skin to skin, and to bond with you. Thank you for leaving such an incredibly deep imprint in my soul. You changed me Peyton. You changed how I view everything. To be your mother, to watch you and learn from you and your strength leaves me grateful beyond words. You, my sweet child, you were the strongest person I have ever known. Thank you for sacrificing through pain to grace me with your presence for twenty eight days.  Thank you for your big personality. For your many, many expressions for me to draw upon when I want to see you in my mind. Thank you for the ways you looked at me, and for the incredible amounts of comfort you brought Daddy and me, when your appearance reassured us after receiving bad news from the doctors. Thank you for the hours on end, especially that last night of your life, when you gazed directly into my eyes. This, my child, was such a gift.
Thank you for not leaving me that day. For staying in my heart, on my mind, in my memories. Thank you for the comfort I feel in my visits to your grave, and the little special ways you show me you have never left me. Thank you for showing me what it means to truly, deeply, love. For watching over your Daddy and me and keeping us together when so many couples pull apart in grief. I am trying to push aside my anger, the trauma, my sadness and simply focus on the lessons your life has taught me - to show people how much we love them, to not take things for granted. Thank you for your patience with me, especially during the moments when I have not exhibited the same selfless grace that you did.
Most especially, my sweet child, thank you for helping me survive losing you. It has been a year without you, and I am still here. Thank you for surrounding me with the love and support of an amazing family. Thank you for affecting them in such a way that they understand my grief, my need to remember, and all that has been lost with you. Thank you for bringing such amazing friends to my side. Your short little life has meant so much to so many and rekindled lost relationships and brought great friends even closer. Thank you for giving me a voice to write as an outlet, for showing me a way to the blogs and helping me find people to connect with who truly understand. Thank you for reminding me that as isolating as child loss feels, I have never been left alone.
Thank you my Peyton, my daughter, my sweet child. You've helped me survive. You've gotten me through. I love you always.

Thank you.