Saturday, December 24, 2011

And The Winner Is...

We Have Our Winner For The Top It Cakes and Cupcakes Dozen Cupcake Topper Drawing!

...
It's Lucky Number 13!
Congratulation to Deni of Foxy Troxies and Anchored by Hope
Deni, please send me an email at doinggoodinhername (at) gmail (dot) com with whatever contact info you would like me to pass along to Karen at Top It Cakes and Cupcakes. 
Thank you so much to everyone who played along!
And a very special THANK YOU to Karen, for donating the toppers for this giveaway. Be sure to check out the other goodies she offers at her website here, or her facebook page here.

True Random Number Generator  13

Friday, December 23, 2011

25 Days of Giveaways Day 23!

Really excited to be a part of Tina's 25 Days of Giveaways, from the blog Living Without Sophie and Ellie.


This year my dear friend Karen at Top It Cakes and Cupcakes has offered a dozen of her beautiful fondant cupcake toppers for my giveaway.



The great thing about these cupcake toppers is that you save money by baking your own cupcakes, and then add these to the top to finish off with a very professional (and delicious!) look.

Top It Cakes and Cupcakes can make just about any design you can imagine...

Karen makes toppers for life events like baby and bridal showers...



And has designs to fit any and all party themes.





These are some of the toppers she created for the Snowflakes' Christening.


The possibilities are really endless. I invite you to check out her website here.

This prize is for a dozen toppers in the design of the winner's choice. The toppers are made of edible fondant, and measure approximately 2 inches in diameter. They fit easily atop your standard frosted cupcake, and have a 12 month shelf life. The winner of this giveaway does not have to redeem their prize right away.

To enter this drawing leave a comment below letting me know what you might like to use the toppers for, or, if you don't know yet, you can enter by just leaving a comment to say hello.

This drawing will be open until midnight EST on 12/23, at which point I will pick a winner using random.org's random number generator. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hope

I've never gone this long without blogging.
I don't know if it is the time of year, a bout with the stomach flu, dealing with Bubba's allergy, or all of the above, but I find so many posts floating through my head these days, and so little time to sit and write them.

I hope the holidays are being kind to you all. I know that for the ALI community in particular, this time of year can feel especially cruel. A reminder of all we should have, that we don't. A big giant slap in the face from the universe.

I recently ordered the book of this, we will not speak, by the incredibly talented Angie M. Yingst (fellow blogger, BLM, and all around cool chickie) and she wrote something in one of her poems that really, really struck a chord with me.

She said:
"Though we have lost a petal, we are still flowers
lush and full together, in a garden of hope."

Hope.

Even when it feels like there is nothing left in this world worth living for, there is still some measure of hope to be found. Sometimes it is just out of sight, tucked away behind all of your troubles, but hope is there nonetheless, whispering that you can move forward. That things can get better.

When I lost Peyton, this community gave me hope in the knowledge that I didn't have to go through this alone.

When I lost my fertility, this community gave me the hope that I had other options to build my family.

When I started bleeding, and was told to prepare to miscarry my twins, I found hope in the words of comfort and encouragement that came my way. That same hope carried me through nearly seven months of bedrest.

Hope - from all of you.

So now here I stand, on the other side.
I have two healthy children here with me, and though we are missing their big sister (we always, always will) this holiday once again feels joyful.

There were more reasons than I can count (or recall now) beating me down with the message that things were hopeless, but each morning I am greeted with two smiling faces who remind me that even though it felt like it at times, hope was never lost.

There is always hope.

That is my message to all of you reading this. No matter where you are in life, no matter how things feel, or seem, regardless of what you are now facing, there is always hope that things can get better. If not this Christmas, maybe next.

Sending love, light, and above all, hope, to my sisters (and brothers) in loss this holiday season.

****

I am participating in this year's 25 Days of Giveaways blog hop. Be sure to check back on 12/23.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Do You Exhale?

Just a quick note to say that the Fall/Winter issue of Exhale is up. For those of you who don't know, Exhale is a semi-quarterly online literary magazine for the Adoption, Loss and Infertility Community. There are some truly beautiful voices in this issue, so be sure to hop on over and check it out!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Always Something

When the Snowflakes were just a few weeks old, Bubba developed colic. He would writhe and scream at all hours of the night, and we were ready to pull our hair out. The Ped told me that, in all likelihood, he had a milk protein sensitivity, which is very common in babies under one and usually something they outgrow, and that I should cut all dairy out of my diet and see if it made a difference. The relief was nearly immediate. Within a week's time, our house was colic free.

A few months later, Bubba developed a rash all over his body. We went to the Ped and blood work was ordered. It was an extremely scary time, as you may recall from my post "24 Hours In Hell". The bloodwork came back clear (THANK YOU JESUS!) and we were told that the rash could be a virus or could be eczema. It turned out to be the latter.

I have tried everything to bring the boy relief. Cut dairy, soy and wheat from my diet for 6 months. Used calendula cream, and Aquaphor, and dressed him in cotton. Made sure not to allow him to overheat. Worked to find a balance between bathing him too often to where he would dry out, and not often enough, where his skin would grow aggravated.

At his six month appointment, the Ped told me that I could try re-introducing dairy, wheat and soy into my diet. I did and the boy was fine. No reaction. He still had eczema but it wasn't any better or worse based on what I had eaten. Seeing this, the Ped told me last month that Bubba had probably outgrown his milk protein sensitivity, and I could try yogurt.

I gave it to both babies. Squeaks gobbled it up and was fine. Bubba ate two bites, and his eyes swelled shut. His body was immediately covered in hives. I called the Ped (it was after hours) and the nurse on call told me to give him Benedryl. I was shaking. And scared out of my mind. His reaction was getting worse by the minute. Thank God I repeated her instructions back to her, because she had said a half teaspoon, and I heard it as two teaspoons, and could have killed him. Always, and I mean ALWAYS, repeat back what they tell you in an emergency situation.

The next day I called an allergist and today we finally got in to be seen.

So here it is.

Bubba is severely, and I mean SEVERELY, allergic to dairy. The allergist told me all sorts of scary stuff today, like that if I drink a cup of coffee with milk, and then kiss him, that I could cause him to have a reaction. He wants me to introduce him to peanut butter and eggs immediately, because he is very likely to develop an allergy to these two things, given his history, if we wait. I guess the idea is to cut that allergy off at the pass, by exposing him to those things before he has an issue with them. He was tested for those and came back negative.

I was given a DVD about what to do in an emergency, and a "practice" epi-pen to show anyone who comes to watch the babies. Later today I will go to the pharmacy and have his prescription for the epi's filled.

I'm trying really, REALLY, hard not to be freaked out by this. I already live in a world where I worry (too much) about people touching the babies without washing their hands, for fear that they could get sick. Now, having to be a watchdog over who may or may not have touched dairy, and having to worry about whether they might touch or kiss him before washing, is, I am sure, just going to make me that much more neurotic.

It's hard enough as it is, when parenting after loss, to keep perceived threats in perspective. And I know that in the grand scheme of things, this ain't so bad. But it seems like there is always something keeping me on high alert. It would be nice to be able to relax. To just be.

But then I wonder-
once you've lost a child, is "just being" even possible?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pressing Pause While Flashing Back

I participate in a weekly critique group. It is a wonderful, blissful two hour block of time devoted to writing, and I love it. We meet in the evening, and usually run late, so I tend to go to bed thinking about the feedback I received, and then stay in the same train of thought as I wake overnight to feed the babies.

The other night, when the snowflakes woke me at around 4AM, I started thinking about words. Which words are the right words to convey what I am trying to say. Which words have the strongest impact on imagery etc. etc. For some reason I got caught up on the word "doorknob" of all things, and before I knew it, I was holding tight in my mind a clear picture of the doorknob to a family suite that I used to pump in at the NICU. 

PTSD is funny that way. You really never know what is going to trigger you.

When I look back on the fact that we only actually spent 8 days in the NICU before Peyton was transferred to the oncology floor, it is so hard to believe, because those 8 days felt like a lifetime. Those days, despite the fact that Peyton had been diagnosed with such an awful disease, represented the best of times that we would share with her.

8 hopeful days.
8 days of believing naively that she would make it.
8 days spent surrounded by supportive staff who encouraged things like skin-to-skin time to improve her bloodcounts, and breastfeeding.

I am not knocking the care we got on the oncology floor, but there was a different level of attention that we received in the NICU as parents. A level that now, in retrospect, I realize must come from working in a place where you see so many parents come in with their children, and leave without them.

As my mind wandered from the doorknob, into the suite, I could see myself, and feel it like I was actually there. I couldn’t tell you if it was day 4 or day 5, but I had gone in to pump while Peyton napped.

 I was pumping, for my child.

A small TV against the wall was showing an interview with Mariska Hargitay. She was talking about her career, and life growing up as Jayne Mansfield’s daughter.

I won’t even attempt to try and understand why I remember that interview. I have come to realize that little about PTSD makes sense.

When I finished pumping, I walked over to a sink in the room and cleaned the bottle parts, careful to do so in the most sanitary way so as to protect my immuno-compromised child. My husband was at the lunch cart, buying us a snack.

I remembered it.
Smelled it.
Felt it.

I knew I was flashing back, and yet I chose to stay in that moment. To hold onto it. Despite the worry and the exhaustion, I was hopeful in that moment. I was making milk for my child who (I believed at that time) would need it. I was gearing myself up for the long haul. This was going to be my new life – living in a hospital rather than home with my first child – but I had accepted it.

There is another memory that comes right after that one. It is not a pleasant memory. It is the moment where my hopes were dashed some five minutes later and down the hall, but I pushed that memory away, and chose instead to hold onto the moment that had come calling for me.

Usually flashbacks make me want to run. There are more moments than I can count that are so painful that I can’t write them. The only post I have ever taken down from this blog was when I shared just such a moment. I took it down because it hurt more to have it out there than to not.

But not this moment. In this moment I was too naïve to recognize that the battle had already been lost. That she was born destined to die. That there had never been any hope. In this moment, this memory, I was just a mother, doing my best to make milk for my child, and looking forward to her waking from a nap so I could hold her again. In the entire span of Peyton's short life, this was as good as our time together ever got to be.

Remembering doesn't change anything. We still lost Peyton. She won't come back. But the flame of hope that burned that day, and the feelings of love I felt for my first child, are not to be forgotten. I choose to cup that moment gently in my hands and fan it from time to time, so as to feel its warmth against my skin. To watch the beauty in that ember glow.

In flashing back to how it felt to be in that room, I choose to pause.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Under Attack!

There is a mouse.
A mouse.
A MOUSE in my HOUSE!

And I am F-R-E-A-K-I-N-G out!

Okay in all reality, I am sure there is more than just one mouse. There are probably several mice in my house, and my overly-active imagination has me convinced that they are plotting, just waiting around every corner to jump out at me.

Maybe that's an over-reaction.
Let me back up.

Late last month we were out of power for eleven days. I don't know what it was about being out of power, but when we returned home we found that a mouse had left us some little "presents" in my dish towel drawer. We have never, and I mean NEVER, in the five years of living here, had a mouse in our kitchen. There were a few that had made it into the garage when we first moved in, but we replaced the garage doors and that was the end of that problem- until now!

So I did what any manic sane person would do, I threw out every dish towel, cleaned the drawer out, and lied to myself that that was the end of my mouse problem.

Then I found another "present" in the bottom drawer of the stove where I keep the lids to my pots. Then near our furnace. Don't like where this is going? Yeah, me either.

I am totally beside myself as to how this could have happened. Anyone who knows me knows how OCD I am about things being clean. I never EVER go to sleep with dishes in the sink, always wipe counters down before and after use and before bed, mop my floor at least once if not more a week, don't leave food out etc. etc. So where did I go wrong?

I spent the better part of the first week we were back scrubbing every surface, every toy, washing all the blankets and playmats that the babies use just-in-case a mouse had so much as looked at them. It was a lot of work, mainly because in my mind nothing is ever "clean enough," and because I consulted Dr. Google who scared the shiznit out of me when it brought me to pages about the Hanta Virus (we actually don't have this in my state) and some crazy blurb about mice liking babies because they smell like milk! How can you relax at night after reading something like that? I can't!

Then things calmed down, and we had a few beautiful weeks of non-mousey bliss, and all felt right in the world again. I never actually had seen any mice, so I told myself that it was us not being home for that length of time that made them come wander into our home, and that I was sure they had fully vacated the premises before our return-how considerate of them.

I started to feel safe again. To live life the way I had before the mice had come calling. I was once again happy in my home... and then it happened. This morning while cleaning the floor, I found one-lone-"present" waiting for me in the corner. It hadn't been there the night before... it hadn't been there the hour before! That means while the snowflakes and I were playing just a dozen or so feet away, this mouse was helping himself to my - as I later discovered - onions of all things. Blech!

I freaked out. Left hubs a message that was something to the affect of "Oh-my-gosh-there-was-a-mouse-it-pooped-on-the-floor-I'm-outta-here-this-is-NOT-acceptable" then packed the kids in the car and got the hell outta dodge - which really means I drove to Target and walked aimlessly with the babies in the carriage while drinking a tasty treat from Starbucks and waiting for my husband to come home to rescue me.

So yes, it seems. We are under attack.

Eeeek!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quick Favor to Ask

Good Morning!

Today is the LAST DAY of voting in the Reader's Digest Your Life essay contest. It would mean so much to me if you could cast a quick vote for my essay about Peyton by visiting this link. This contest has been something positive for me to focus on during grief season this year, a way to honor her rather than just mourn her, and I can't tell you how much it would mean for me to open Reader's Digest and see my little Peyton staring back at me from the pages, spreading awareness to its millions of readers about infant loss, infant leukemia, infertility, and that there is life after loss. Any help you can offer in voting, sharing, tweeting today would be GREATLY appreciated.

Love,
Kristin

Monday, November 14, 2011

To those fresh in grief.

I feel like there has been so.much.loss lately.
It is almost too much to bear.

You hear stories about soldiers in war who have seen so many terrible things that they almost grow numb to the horrors they bear witness to.

That doesn't happen here.
In this corner of the loss world.
You never, ever grow numb.

When you come across the story of a little one who has died, when you see the pictures of their parents holding them and saying goodbye, or read (and can relate to) a final post from a mother who realizes that the battle has been lost.

There is no growing numb to that.

Empathy-
It is both a gift and a burden.

I cry for children I have never met.
For loved little lives unlived.
For the pain that their parents now face, and the tough journey that I know firsthand is ahead of them.

There are days when you almost have to step away because there is SO MUCH SADNESS AND GRIEF that you forget the other side, the happy, blessed, sun-shining side of the world even exists.

You forget that most children are born healthy.
That they get to live full lives.
Because it seems the deck is so stacked against them.

You have to make a conscious effort to remember to celebrate.
To remind yourself about the beauty.
And the good.
Because the dark cloud of grief and loss is so vast that it can weigh you down.

Why are so many children born destined to die?
Why are so many loved children lost?
Why are so many loving parents forced to walk the road of grief?

Why? Why? Why?

The injustice is overwhelming.

I was trying to think of the right things to say to a friend whose baby just died, and went back to an email that I had sent to my cousin when her daughter, Faith, died late last year.

I decided that I would share it with this friend. But also that I would share it here.
For what it's worth.

This is my advice to those fresh in grief.
Some of this may be familiar to those of you who have read here for a while.


All I can tell you are the few truths that I have learned on this journey. You will survive this. It may feel impossible in the coming days and weeks but I promise you, you will.

When you don't know what else to do - just keep breathing. Things don't return to the way they were, but you will find joy again with time.

Also know that you and your husband will in all likelihood grieve differently. That is okay. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, just hold onto the love you have for one another, the love that created the amazing life that was your child, and you will come out the other side of this stronger than you can imagine.
 
Laughter is not a betrayal to the child you lost, and tears are not a betrayal to those loved ones you still have with you. Like the bible says “A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance.” It feels impossible but I promise you, you will dance again. And laugh.  

It took me 8 months to even want to go on living.  Two years until I smiled on a regular basis. That was my timetable. Do what feels best for you.

Even having walked this road, I find myself at a loss tonight. All I can do is tell you guys how loved you are, and direct as many prayers as I can from those I know in your direction.
 


My thoughts are with all those on this road.
Those who will start on this journey tomorrow. 
And those who have come to a place where they can look back on the children they have lost with love, while embracing the possibility of the joys yet to come.

****READERS DIGEST CONTEST UPDATE: I NEED YOUR HELP
As a way to honor her third birthday, I have entered the Reader's Digest "Your Life" Contest with an entry about my experience mothering Peyton. The voting is open until November 15th, and you can vote once a day. It would mean a great deal to me to get Peyton's story in Reader's Digest. Can you please help me out by visiting this link and casting your vote for my entry.Thank you so much! I would really love to honor Peyton this way, as well as to raise awareness about infant loss, infertility, and the reality of Peyton's cancer.



Peyton's story is a rare one, but it still deserves to be told. xoxo

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Heavy Heart - Baby Alexander Update

It is with a heavy heart that I report to you all that this babyloss mommas club has claimed its newest member. Sweet Baby Alexander has passed away. He was a brave little warrior, and the sadness I feel at learning of his passing is beyond words.

Please send some messages of love and comfort to his mother, Amanda, at her blog http://alexandermerlin.blogspot.com/

I am devastated at the loss of this precious little boy, and would appreciate if you could all join me in remembering his parents in your prayers and positive thoughts.

RIP sweet baby boy. You have touched so many lives in your six months on earth.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Counting Blessings in the Dark

There was a storm.
A big storm.
It hit our area the Saturday before Halloween.

A tree fell on our house.
Then another.

Large branches damaged our deck.
Landed on our car.

One of the trees that fell ripped the power lines out of our house,
and we were left in the dark.

NINE days later... We are still there.

The hotels in our area were booked immediately. Then most of them lost power, too, and people were left paying to sit in the dark and the cold.

The first few days we "toughed it out."
Poured water in the toilet to flush.
Ate food packed in snow.
Slept huddled in one bed in 20 degree weather,
trying to keep our Snowflakes from freezing.

Then a friend offered up a room at their house.
They had a generator that could power one space heater.
They used it in the guest bedroom to keep my little family warm,
while they slept in the cold.
Can you think of a more selfless act?


By Wednesday, with no end to the outage in sight, we headed out to stay with family who had gotten their power back, and have been there since.

Twice we were told our power was restored, and we packed up and headed home,
only to find it had not been.

The house was cold and dark.
Every tree in our yard had been destroyed.
It was pretty disheartening.

Yet moments like these make you realize just how good we've got it.

Yes, we complain about things like the price of oil (nearly $4 a gallon where I live, and the only way to heat our house)or about paying $5 a gallon for milk, but we generally don't have to worry about staying warm. Or having the lights on. Or our next meal.

My family struggles, as we all do these days, with our finances. I clip coupons. Worry about paying certain bills. Sacrifice to make ends meet. But our basic needs are always met. Even in this storm I knew the power would EVENTUALLY return. Life would EVENTUALLY go back to normal. That knowing, is itself, a blessing.

Over the course of the last week, I have learned that the friend of a friend died in pregnancy - leaving her husband without his wife and child. I learned that a very special baby that I have been praying for and have come to care so much about, is in all likelihood going to lose his battle.

These are REAL problems.

Yes, my property has suffered significant damage.
Yes, we have lost all of our food, and had to make it through some uncomfortably cold and damp nights.
Yes, we waited in line over an hour for gas - have been kept in the dark for nine days - and even lost our pet fish to the cold.

But my family is together.
And healthy.
And safe.

We have the love of family and good friends who were willing to take us in.

So I am counting these blessings.
Even in the dark I can see that they are what truly matter.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Box On The Porch

There is a box on my porch.
A cardboard box, with a blanket inside.

We had our first snow of the year last night. A flurry of large chunky flakes that left everything entombed in a heavy, transluscent frost. It was the kind of morning where you just want to pull the covers back up to your chin, and catch a little more sleep, which, of course, is impossible when two 7 month olds are having a turf war over who should get to stick their fingers in your belly button. Bubba won.

Each morning in this house starts with me venturing downstairs, babies in tow, to make Hubs a cup of coffee for his ride to work while he walks the dog. Today, upon returning from their walk, he told me that Charlotte the Wonder Pup had been barking like mad at something. Here is my recollection of the conversation that followed...

"I think I heard a kitty mewing," Hubs said.
"Really?"
"Pretty sure, yeah." He reached for his cup of coffee. "In the bushes by the front porch."
"Poor little kitteh." I said, looking out the window. "It's so cold this morning."
Hubs took a sip. "I was thinking we should maybe put out a box with some blankets."
"Yeah...I don't think so."

So before you start judging me, you should know that I love animals - all animals. In fact our sweet Charlotte the Wonder Pup was rescued as she was headed to the slaughter. It's just that I have a bit of a history (a sordid history) when it comes to stray cats.

Let me explain.

About five or six years ago, Hubs (then my fiance) and I came home from a party very late at night. As we approached our stoop, I saw an adorable black and white cat. "Here Kitty, Kitty," I called, with my arm out. "Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty." Hubs walked ahead of me up the stoop and flipped on the porch light so I could get a better look. To my horror, the "kitty" I was mere inches away from petting was actually a skunk! We ran inside just as he sprayed.

Then there was the time I saw an adorable little kitten curled up against the curb sleeping. She was white and grey and just beautiful. Unlike the earlier story where I had consumed a few glasses of wine before approaching the animal in question, this time I was completely sober. I walked over to her, hand out, calling, "Here Kitty. Kitty." Only kitty didn't respond... because kitty was dead.

So you take those two stories, and compound them with the fact that a very close friend of mine has been battling a horrendous (and in her case life threatening) bout of cat scratch fever the last year (which she just so happened to pick up while rescuing kittens in her yard) and yeah... you could say I am a just little gun-shy about stray cats.

Gun-shy - but still an animal lover.

So like I said, there is a cardboard box on the front porch with a blanket in it.

Here's to hoping a rabid raccoon doesn't wander in.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In Transition

Maybe you've noticed that the look of this blog has changed.
In many ways the changes to this space parallel the changes in my life.

I am in transition.

Of course I am still missing her - but the darkness of grief is not ALL of who I am now.
And yes I am loving mothering the twins - but that love doesn't tell the whole story either.

Somewhere between what has happened, and what comes next,
between what is and what can never be,
between feeling robbed by her loss, and grateful for the perspective on life it has afforded me,
is the place where I live (and write) these days.

This space started as a grief blog.
Then a grief/infertility blog.
Then a grief/infertility/pregnancy after loss blog.
And now it is changing again.

I will always grieve Peyton. With every fiber of my being I feel her loss, in the good days and the bad days. And while my love for her is unwaivering, and I do the best I can at mothering a child who is no longer here, there is a whole side of myself that feels underrepresented in these posts.

The side that has embraced living.

There are so many days that I log on here wanting to share something noteworthy (to me at least) about my day. But then I worry. I worry that something I write may be triggering for someone who has come here fresh in their loss or infertility journey, and that such a post might be a sort of slap in the face.

I had thought that starting the Rodeo would be a safe way to share the twins here.
That it would give those folks who needed it a heads up to avoid my blog on a given day, but now I feel like I have painted myself into a corner with it because I might have SO MUCH to say about them on a Monday, or a Tuesday, but feel like I can't.

Then there are the days that I am dying to post about my latest writing project, or to tell a funny story, or share a general observation on life, but I worry then, too, that doing so would somehow be unfair to those readers who come here solely to identify with someone who is grieving.

So I write nothing.

The problem with writing nothing, is that I just.can't.do.it.
I am a writer.
I live, breathe, eat, sleep, love-love-love to write!

It is as if the events of my life are only confirmed to me once I have documented them. Even during the hospital stay with Peyton, we would go through so much with her during the day, but until I came home to journal it, or read it on her blog, it didn't feel real to me.

For a while I thought about starting a separate blog. An everything other than Peyton blog to chronicle my life with the twins, and my writing projects, but that just felt completely unrealistic, because my experiences with Peyton influence and color every other part of my world. The two sides of my life are not mutually exclusive.

I cry more easily, and laugh more fully - because of her.
I admire the beauty in the little things, and feel confident in taking on the big things - because of her.
I know the value in sometimes building yourself up, and the beauty that comes in sometimes allowing yourself to fall - because of her.

There is no other life to document. No life that is somehow outside of my love of and grief for my daughter. There is just this life. My life. And even when not talking specifically about her, Peyton is a  huge part of what makes me me.

So I guess that's what this post is really all about.
A bit of a warning to my readers that not every entry here is always going to be centered around grief, or loss, or infertility.

Yes, this is still Peyton's place - her corner of the blogosphere.
And yes I miss her like crazy all of the time.

But like every big sister, Peyton shares my heart and my love with others now. There is room enough in there for her, and her siblings. For her father. Our friends. My writing, and other passions.

It only feels fitting that she would share this space too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Still Hers

I've been in a sort of funny place this week. Vulnerable. Emotional. I've written a number of posts without hitting publish. I never do that.

We started breaking down Peyton's room this weekend. I know... I know... it's long overdue. These little ones now need their own space, and yet somehow, knowing that just didn't make the task any easier. Neither did the fact that Peyton never actually came home to that room. It was still hers.

I can still feel, see, smell, hear, taste exactly how it was to be in that room in August of 2008. I sat in the chair with my feet up on doctor's orders. Hubs assembled the crib piece by piece and hung shelves. I folded tiny clothes, placing them into lined drawers.

We were ready.

Today marks 1112 days since Peyton died, nearly 1/10th of my life has been spent missing her. 1112 days of looking for answers that don't exist. Of trying to understand who I am now, and figure out where to go from here. I have grown a bit in these last 1112 days. Joy comes more readily now, as does gratitude. But Peyton, my sweet, sweet Peyton. She is no less gone. No less absent from our every day lives. No less a gaping hole in my being.


There is now a couch on its side where Peyton's crib once stood. And a file cabinet. And an office chair. Items stacked in a corner until my writing space can be arranged. The years of grief and dust in which I had written her name on that crib has been wiped clean. The mattress removed, replaced by one with certifications assuring me that there will be nothing toxic coming from it as my child sleeps. That crib, so long identified in my mind as Peyton's, is now the place where Squeaks sleeps (or refuses to sleep, as the case has been this week) in a room down the hall. Her brother, by her side, in a crib all his own.

But in that room, that room once meant to be hers, I can still sense the little girl who never came home. The baby who smelled of sweet mint, and was the first to lay her head across my chest. I can still feel the child who made me a momma.

With time Peyton's room will be redecorated and re-purposed. The writing studio I have talked about for the last few years will come into being and the bumble bee decor will come off the walls, but it doesn't matter. For me that room is still hers. It will always be hers, and I will always wish that she had come home to it.

READERS DIGEST CONTEST UPDATE: I NEED YOUR HELP
As a way to honor her third birthday, I have entered the Reader's Digest "Your Life" Contest with an entry about my experience mothering Peyton. The voting is open until November 15th, and you can vote once a day. It would mean a great deal to me to get Peyton's story in Reader's Digest. Can you please help me out by visiting this link and casting your vote for my entry. I have fallen way behind, currently in fifth place, a full 9000 votes behind first place! There were some issues with voting last week that sort of took me out of the running, but after contacting Reader's Digest about them, they seem to be fixed now. Also, you don't need a Facebook account to vote from what I have been told. Thank you so much! I would really love to honor Peyton this way. To raise awareness about the fact that little babies are born with, and die of, Leukemia. Peyton's story is a rare one, but it still deserves to be told. xoxo

Monday, October 17, 2011

URGENT. PRAYERS NEEDED FOR ALEXANDER NOW

Please pray for this baby who has taken a turn for the worse.
Pray that his health will improve. 
Please pray for his mother, Amanda, who has been so strong through this, and hop over to offer her some love. 

Hey Universe - this dreadful babylost club already has enough members, we do NOT need another one. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

16th Friday Rainbow Baby Blog Rodeo


Welcome to the Friday Rainbow Baby Blog Rodeo, a place to celebrate the amazing children who have come into our lives after loss, and to strengthen our bond as a community of Rainbow parents.

Every Friday we can gather here to share our little ones' triumphs, brag like the proud parents that we are, and yes ... even own up to our epic fails in parenting (all in good fun of course) via links to our own blogs with posts about any and everything Rainbow from the week.

Feel free to grab the button from the sidebar and help spread the word. Let's bring this Rainbow parenting community together.

I will go first...

Da-A-Da-Da
Bubba's big on the DaDa thing right now. He also scrunches his nose and makes a funny face that appeared out of nowhere yesterday and has been cracking me up. Squeaks has cut her first two teeth. They both sit up well on their own now, though only for a few minutes at a time, and we are still working on the solids and sleeping through the night thing.


Here is a fun little video I captured of them when were driving home from the Ped's yesterday. Hubs was driving, have no fears, I wouldn't be videoing if I was! Don't mind the food on their faces - a failed attempt at feeding them sweet potatoes while in the car so they wouldn't have to wait till we were home. Yeah... didn't go so well. Also learned a valuable lesson on that car ride... sippy cups still do spill! Bubba got more water on his shirt than in his mouth! We still have to do some work on that one.


Enjoy!


video



So that is what Bubba and Squeaks
have been up to this week...

What have your rainbows been doing?

Want to participate? 
It's easy! Just write a post on your own blog about whatever your Rainbow(s) has been up to this week, and then add the link to that post in the Linky widget below. 


****
A side note: As a way to honor her third birthday, I have entered the Reader's Digest "Your Life" Contest with an entry about my experience mothering Peyton. The voting is open until November 15th, and you can vote once a day. It would mean a great deal to me to get Peyton's story in Reader's Digest. I am currently ranked in second place. Can you please help me out by visiting this link and casting your vote for my entry. Thank you so much!



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reality Check

So staying home alone to take care of the twins. Yeah...

Don't get me wrong, I mean, I LOVE being home with them. Playing with them. Hearing them giggle. Watching them grow. I love all of that, I do, but sometimes the lack of sleep, the constant wrestling to get them into their diapers when all they want to do is flip and flip and flip right out of them, their new affinity for pinching me, the nipple biting while teething, and the on-the-boob-off-the-boob-on-the-boob during feedings, it gets to be a bit much.

And then of course we have the separation anxiety because we are now in THAT stage where any time I leave the room, or their corner of the room, or the immediate area, they cry like they will never see me again. It's endearing actually, to be THAT needed, THAT wanted, but it can also be draining.

And let's not forget the screaming at ten-thousand-decibels to each other, because when you are 7 months old, that is just HILARIOUS, or the whining for something that they want, and me trying, trying, TRYING to understand what that something is, because they don't yet have the words to tell me.

Sometimes at the end of a long day it's hard not to sink into how absolutely tiring the whole stay-at-home-mommy-of-twins thing can be. But then I take a step back and bitch-slap myself, because you know what? This exhaustion. This hard work. This is everything I ever hoped for and more. I have been truly, and DUAL-Y, blessed, and even I need a reality check from time to time.

After two plus long, silent, heart-breaking years I have been graced with two HEALTHY, beautiful children.

Are they a lot of work on my own? Heck yeah they are! A lot of work. No, really... A-lot-of-work, and my life would be infinitely easier if I had an extra set of hands here from time to time, but then I remind myself, when the days feel long, and my back hurts, and I haven't peed in 12 hours or eaten more than a bite of whatever just happened to be there, that every moment, every-single-stage with them is fleeting. My babies are growing, and they are growing fast. Last night Bubba laid across my chest and I found it hard to breath. Really. He is THAT big already. And they are laughing, and sitting up, and playing with each other. They have started conversing in their own special twin way, and to watch them take in the world around them with such bright eyed wonder is a dream come true. Every day that they do something new, is another step away from the last stage they were in, and I don't want to miss any of it.

And then there is the knowing. That even though we hope to have more children in the future, there is no guarantee of that. I know my tubes are shot. I know that making them required seven-long-months of bed rest. This was no easy feat, and there is a very good chance that this is the only time I will have babies doing what these babies are doing and I don't want to waste any of it having a pity party over the fact that I got exactly what I wished for.

So yes. Staying home by myself with twins is hard. And yes, I look like a zombie most days, but I am a happy zombie. A blessed zombie. A singing-silly-songs-to-keep-them-smiling zombie. And that is just fine by me.

In the future I will rest. I will sleep. I will go out to eat. At some point in the future I will have a date with my husband, maybe even feel sexy and like a woman again (rather than a spit-up covered mom). In the future I will wear pants that are not of the yoga-pajama-sweat suit variety, I will do my hair in something other than a messy pony-tail knot on the top of my head because time allows for it, and get my eyebrows waxed. I will wear make-up. Have more time for my writing. Maybe even grab a bite to eat with a girlfriend.

In the future I will do all of those things. But not now. Now is their time, and tiring as it may be at times, I embrace it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Moments

There are moments
perfect moments

like right after the rain

when the brave sun breaks through the clouds,
and roots itself into the earth with the bright willowy lines it has cast

or in the evenings
when I look up to find the moon
draped in perfect, wispy brushstrokes of cool condensation

and in these moments I know
without a doubt, I know
that you are there

among all that beauty

you are right there, child
experiencing this life with me


A side note: As a way to honor her third birthday, I have entered the Reader's Digest "Your Life" Contest with an entry about my experience mothering Peyton. The voting is open until November 15th, and you can vote once a day. It would mean a great deal to me to get Peyton's story in Reader's Digest. I am currently ranked in second place. Can you please help me out by visiting this link and casting your vote for my entry. Thank you so much!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

15th Friday Rainbow Baby Blog Rodeo


Welcome to the Friday Rainbow Baby Blog Rodeo, a place to celebrate the amazing children who have come into our lives after loss, and to strengthen our bond as a community of Rainbow parents.

Every Friday we can gather here to share our little ones' triumphs, brag like the proud parents that we are, and yes ... even own up to our epic fails in parenting (all in good fun of course) via links to our own blogs with posts about any and everything Rainbow from the week.

Feel free to grab the button from the sidebar and help spread the word. Let's bring this Rainbow parenting community together.

I will go first...


SO HAPPY TOGETHER...


There are few things in life that bring me more joy, than bearing witness to the way Bubba and Squeaks interact. Here are a few pics of them just hangin' out last week... I love these pics, even if Squeaks DOES have green bean stuck under her nose.





The Snowflakes' latest milestones are saying "dadadadada" and making funny spit noises. Squeaks is a crawling machine, and Bubba is army crawling. They both are loving solids, though Squeaks will always look disgusted the first bite and demand each bite thereafter. They have mastered (and quite enjoy) stealing each other's toys, and think there is nothing better than chewing on on another's feet or hands.

God I love them.



So that is what Bubba and Squeaks
have been up to this week...

What have your rainbows been doing?

Want to participate? 
It's easy! Just write a post on your own blog about whatever your Rainbow(s) has been up to this week, and then add the link to that post in the Linky widget below. 


****
A side note: As a way to honor her third birthday, I have entered the Reader's Digest "Your Life" Contest with an entry about my experience mothering Peyton. The voting is open until November 15th, and you can vote once a day. It would mean a great deal to me to get Peyton's story in Reader's Digest. I am currently ranked in second place. Can you please help me out by visiting this link and casting your vote for my entry. Thank you so much!