Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Peyton's Story

First, I would like to say thank you for all of the amazing and supportive comments and messages that I received following Monday's post. That has been an area of great shame for me these past three years, and your kind words have really helped me through a rough few days of dealing with those memories and emotions.

The Fall is grief season for me - Peyton was due in August. Born in September. Died in October. Reader's Digest was asking people to submit their life story for possible publication in the magazine, and I decided to give it a go in honor of Peyton's birthday. In November, Reader's Digest will announce whose story is going to be published, and for me, it is something "good" to look forward to in a season that is otherwise extremely difficult.

That's where I need your help. If you have Facebook, I would really appreciate your going to this link and voting for my story. It will give you some funny message about allowing the app, and then you will have to "like" the RD page to vote, but for anyone familiar with FB it is pretty standard for these sort of things.

If you have trouble finding the story, it is "I Choose To Fly" by Kristin Binder.

The good news is that you can vote once per day. They are expecting some 50,000 entries, and will only consider the top 100 vote getters, so I need ALL THE HELP I CAN GET :)

When Peyton died, she left me with the gift of a renewed love for writing. As a writer, it would mean so much to me to pay tribute to her birthday in such a public way, with the words she has inspired in me.

Thanks in advance for your help in voting.

Love to you all.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

10th Friday Rainbow Baby Blog Rodeo





Has your Rainbow hit a milestone this week?
Starred in a cute video?
Done something adorable? Funny? Downright embarrassing?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, 
than you have come to the right place!

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...

SOLIDS!!!!!

We have moved up to solids this week. 
Today was day three of organic brown rice cereal. 

"You want us to eat what?"

Mom says, "Just give it a try."
"Mmmm.... I guess it's not so bad."
"Yum!"
"I'm full."
"Bubba, I'll eat what you don't finish!"
"I love being a big girl and using my spoon!"
"That was fun. When do we eat next?"

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



What have your rainbows been doing?

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




Thanks for riding along on the rodeo!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

9th Friday Rainbow Baby Blog Rodeo





Has your Rainbow hit a milestone this week?
Starred in a cute video?
Done something adorable? Funny? Downright embarrassing?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, 
than you have come to the right place!

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...


We had a visit from the babies' Uncle Patrick, who just happens to be an amazing photographer. Check out these gorgeous shots he took of our little snowflakes...








And in other news... this week Bubba *finally* got the hang of jumping in the jump and go. Here he does a little jig. Squeaks gets a real kick out of his moves...

video




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



What have your rainbows been doing?

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




Thanks for riding along on the rodeo!






Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Some Days...

Some days are hard.
Really hard.
Embarrassingly hard.

Some days make you feel like a complete fool for having thought that nothing could ever exhaust you after all you had been through.
After all you had seen.
After loss.

Some days it feels like you are giving it everything you have and then some.
100%.
And you just need a minute.

And then that, just that mere thought that you need a minute to yourself, makes you feel like an ingrate.

Like, how dare you?

You have this chance.
This opportunity.

You have been blessed!

How dare you complain about anything trivial?
You've lost that right.

Some days are a wrestling match from beginning to end.
Because there are two of them.
And one of you.
And even though they are happy, and healthy, and smiley... sometimes they can also be a handful.

Some days are like today, and you don't know how you made it to bedtime because you are just spent.
And you think, My gosh. Will tomorrow be like this too?

But then there is that moment.
When they look up at you with those big blue eyes.
And they smile.

And in that moment you know...

That tomorrow is another day.
A new day.

Tomorrow you can start fresh.

At being the best mom that you can be.
At being the best you that you can be.

Some days take a toll on you,
but in their smiles you can see the truth -

that tomorrow you will find your way.

BlogHer Book Club - Review of The Kid

I love to write.
I love to read.
BlogHer has given me the opportunity to review books for the BlogHer Book Club.
What could be better than that?

Today my second review went live for the book The Kid, by Sapphire. The Kid is the long awaited sequel to the best seller Push (later made into the film Precious.) It was the most difficult book I have ever had to work my way through. To find out why, just click the link below.

BlogHer Book Club Reviewer

Thursday, August 11, 2011

8th Friday Rainbow Baby Blog Rodeo





Has your Rainbow hit a milestone this week?
Starred in a cute video?
Done something adorable? Funny? Downright embarrassing?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, 
than you have come to the right place!

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...


What's So Funny?

This video sort of speaks for itself. Enjoy!

video




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



What have your rainbows been doing?

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



Thanks for riding along on the rodeo!



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

i am evolving

i am evolving
changing

i am hers
i am theirs
i am both

i am that butterfly 
the one who as a caterpillar thought the world was over

who spent two years beating against the dark walls of her cocoon 
feeling the pain leave its impressions on her skin

one day a crack appeared in my shell
allowing a small ray of hope to pour through
and i realized that i just might survive

i am changed
different
learning to fly

i am spreading my wings
admiring my colors
noting the spots and designs that loving her left

the ones that make me - me

i am evolving
and it feels good

Thursday, August 4, 2011

7th Friday Rainbow Baby Blog Rodeo - Come Join The Fun!




Has your Rainbow hit a milestone this week?
Starred in a cute video?
Done something adorable? Funny? Downright embarrassing?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, 
than you have come to the right place!

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...

CASUAL FRIDAY - CLOTHING OPTIONAL... DIAPERS NOT

Here are a few pics I snapped of the babies last Friday. Their drooling was out of control with all the teething they have been doing, so after about the fourth wardrobe change, I gave up and we went au naturale.
Another tough day at the office.

Who doesn't love chubby baby bottoms?
We like the Seventh Generation dipes when the cloths are all in the wash. 

Tummy Time!


I also took this video of the two of them. They were having a great little conversation back and forth, which is what I had intended to capture, but what I got was even better. Notice how patient Bubba is with Little Miss Squeaks poking and prodding at him. Well patient that is, until he gets hungry.

It's these little moments between them that make my heart swoon. 
Enjoy!

video

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


What have your rainbows been doing?


Wanna know how you can participate?



It's easy!


Just write a post on your own blog about what your Rainbow(s) has been up to this week, and then add the link to that post in the Linky widget below. 


Thanks for riding along on the rodeo!



24 Hours In Hell

I am grateful to be writing the post I am about to write.
More grateful than you can possibly know.
Here is why.

Bubba has a rash. 
Nothing too impressive. 
Here, check it out for yourself.



We went to the doctor's yesterday to have it looked at. It isn't the first time he has had a rash, he tends to be more prone to baby acne, cradle cap, contact rashes etc, so I wanted to talk about what else I might need to eliminate from my diet.

While there, I noticed a tiny red dot. 
Also, not very impressive.
It looked like a pin prick.
I pointed it out to the doctor.
He pressed on it and it did not blanch.
He pressed on the rash on Bubba's belly.
A few of those also did not blanch.

The doctor told me we had to have blood drawn,
a complete blood count and another test I didn't recognize the abbreviations for,
to rule out some things.

One of the things they needed to rule out... Leukemia.
Yes, you read that right. 
Leukemia.

Even typing that vile word makes me want to vomit. 

I saw stars.
Felt the room spin.

"But Peyton's type of cancer doesn't run in families."

The doctor told me he wasn't concerned.
I tried to believe him.

He said to head over to Quest because they are good at getting blood from little babies.
He said if they couldn't get it there, we would have to go to the children's hospital.
THAT children's hospital.
The one where Peyton lived.
The one where Peyton died.
The one I can't even think of driving past without feeling a part of me die.

The doctor gave us a lab slip and told us not to worry.
Yeah... right.

We headed to Quest.
"You have to take him." I told Hubs. "I can't do it." I started to cry.
It wasn't seeing him get a needle I couldn't handle.
I fly solo on the trips to have them vaccinated.
I couldn't be there to see him have THAT test done.

I was a mess.
I felt suddenly weak.
I thought I might drop him if I took him in.

The whole visit took maybe 15 minutes.
When they came out, Bubba had a single tear in his eye.
"He was laughing right up till the point they stuck him." Hubs told me.
I scooped Bubba up into my arms.
I begged him to be okay.
I cried.
And cried.
And cried.

There was no call last night with results.
I didn't know how to feel about that.
This morning I woke worried.
I called at 8.
At 8:30.
At 9:20.

"_____Pediatrics, this is Anne"
"I'm calling for my son's test results."
"His name"
"______ ______"
"Please hold a moment."

That 'moment' took nearly five minutes.
A myriad of thoughts ran through my mind.
Why was it taking so long?
Were they getting a doctor on the line?

I waited anxiously, repeating "He's fine. He's fine. He's fine. He's fine." with each second that ticked by.
My knees were shaking.
My hand holding the phone was shaking.
I heard a voice at the other end of the line.

"Hello, is this _____'s mom."
"Yes."
"This is Sherry, the nurse practitioner."
"Hi Sherry." My voice cracked. "Do you have ____'s results?"
"Yes I do. They are all normal."
Heavy sigh of relief. "Oh Thank God."

From there we discussed what else might have caused the red dot and the rash. 
None of which were serious.

There are no words for the relief I am feeling today.

Last night I saw images of another life. 
Of a different outcome.
I could see myself there, because I have been there.
It scared the hell out of me.
It made me want to curl into the fetal position on the floor and die.

Today I feel yet another new lease on life.
My son is healthy.
BOTH of my children are healthy, thank God.
And I am so, so grateful.



Monday, August 1, 2011

I am not a perfect mother

"All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know." 
-Ernest Hemingway     

Okay... here we go.

I am not a perfect mother.

There. 
I said it.

That is my one true sentence.

I was not a perfect mother to Peyton.

Another true sentence.

I loved her - yes.
I wanted her to live - yes.
I miss her every day - yes.

But I wasn't perfect. 

I was scared - a lot.
I cried in front of her - a lot.
I felt robbed, even when she was with us, by the machines, and the procedures, and the cancer, and the projected outcome.

I was weak in my Faith during Peyton's life.

I still am.

I spent more time in the chapel yelling at Him for afflicting her, than I did believing He would cure her, and I will never know if that affected her outcome.

There were times I should have spoken up about flaws in her care.
I know that now.

At the time I didn't feel qualified to say anything.
Motherly enough to say anything.

What could I possibly have known more than the nurses?
I wasn't even allowed to give her a bath.

Peyton was never surrounded by pure joy.

Forced smiles - yes.
Feigned laughter - yes.
Intense love - yes. yes. yes.

But the true, pure, out and out joy that all children deserve - no.

I wasn't strong enough to overlook what was happening and simply rejoice in her life, and that is something I will always regret.

For these reasons, and more, I know I was not a perfect mother to Peyton.

But that doesn't tell the whole story.

There were things I did right.
Things I know that I even did well.

Like comfort her.
And make her feel safe.

Peyton knew I loved her.
I held her a lot,
and told her so at every opportunity.

I sang to her the songs from my childhood.
And did skin to skin time in the hopes that it would improve her blood counts.

I traced every inch of her. 
Relished in each feature.
Breathed her in.

I talked to her about life outside the walls of the hospital. 
And did my best to make the right decisions.

But some of them were wrong. 
They must have been.

Had all the right decisions been made, Peyton would have survived. 
Wouldn't she?

When I think of all the papers I signed and the procedures I put her through hoping to save her life, and now knowing that it was for nothing, I feel the heavy boot of regret settle on my throat.

I still love Peyton today with the same intensity that I did when she was here.

I miss her like mad and imagine what our life could have been, what it should have been, with her in it.

I was not a perfect mother to Peyton.
I know this much is true.
But I tried my best.

So, are you ready for one more true sentence?

I am not a perfect mother to my snowflakes.

There are things that I do well -I know that. 

There are lessons I learned from loving and mothering Peyton that make me a better mother today than I probably would have been on my own.

Everything I do, and every decision I make, has been colored by my experiences with her.

Because of Peyton's life, I know to love better.
More fully.
More honestly.

I know to never let an opportunity to tell my children that I love them pass me by.

I know not to waste time, or take moments for granted.

I know how blessed, how truly, truly blessed I am to have them.

I know how important family is.

I know that they are the most important thing in my world.
That their happiness and safety are my top priorities.

That if I never succeed in anything else, this is something that I have to get right.

But...
I am not a perfect mother.

I get frustrated, really frustrated, at times.
And don't always have the answers.

I tend to overthink the small things, and I definitely worry too much.

I allow the hard lessons learned through child loss to cloud my judgement,or scare me away from certain people, places or experiences, because of some perceived risk that I see in them.

When I make the same rookie mistakes that any sleep deprived mother could make, I don't know how to give myself a break or how to let go of the "what ifs."

I made one such rookie mistake last week.

I was exhausted.
And distracted.
And I goofed.

I got home after running errands, and opened the car door to find my son looking up at me with trusting eyes in a car seat that had not been properly buckled.

I couldn't believe I could do something so stupid!

He could have been hurt.
Really hurt.
He wasn't.
But he could have been.

Noticing my mistake, I scooped my little Bubba up into my arms and started to cry.

I have already lost a child due to something outside of my control.
The thought of not doing everything within my control to keep my twins safe was just too much.

I am not allowed to make these kinds of mistakes.
I should know better.

Bubba, who has never seen me cry, just smiled and cooed and smacked at the wetness on my cheeks with his teething-soaked hands, no worse for the wear, despite my error.

He had forgiven me, but I couldn't forgive myself.

What if?
What if?
What if?!

In that moment, I felt undeserving because I am not a perfect mother.

Not that anyone has accused me of being one, of course.
I am just being honest.

I am not a perfect mother.

But I am a mother who sings silly songs to make her little ones smile.

I am a mother who tells her children how happy they make me.

I am a mother who gets down to their level to play with them.

I cuddle them to help them feel secure in this new world,
and smother them with kisses and hugs.

I am a mother who celebrates each new milestone,
and is constantly rooting them on.

I am their biggest fan and my world revolves around them, as it should.

I am not a perfect mother, this is true, but I always try to do what is best for them, even if what's best for them feels like a struggle every-single-step-of-the-way, like exclusively breastfeeding them has been.

I am not a perfect mother, and that's okay.

I love my children.
ALL of my children.
Fully and unconditionally.

I am not a perfect mother, and yet, somehow, despite any missteps and mix ups along the way, I know that they don't need me to be.

My love will be enough.