Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Know What I Don't Know

People often ask me if the twins are my first, and when I tell them about Peyton they usually follow up with comments about how everything happens for a reason, blah, blah, blah.

The problem with this is that I know.

I know that if Peyton had been born healthy, we would never have tried to conceive so soon.
I know that even if we had turned to IVF eventually, and even if I had gone on to have twins, the result of those cycles WOULD NOT be my Snowflakes.
I know that only in losing her, I gained them.

What I don't know is how I am supposed to feel about that.

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's My Blogoversary... Well Sort Of!

"I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!" -- The Rabbit from Disney's Alice in Wonderland

Monday (5/14) was my three year blogoversary. Three years of sharing and crying and laughing and writing and blog blog blogging along this little thing I call life.

My first post, (5/14/09) was this poem:

(Mother's) Day

Where I had imagined breakfast in bed,I found only tears on my pillow.Where I had imagined flowers and a card,I found only flowers on her grave.Where I had imagined a home of happy chaos and noise,I found only weeping through silence.Where I had imagined my child at my chest,I found only emptiness and aching. Where I had imagined Motherhood celebrated,I found only another painful reminder of loss.~<3~
Needless to say, I have looked forward (LOOKED FORWARD!) to writing a new post this year. I was going to write a poem to follow up this one, a poem that touted the joys of Mother's Day with my rainbows here... but then vertigo hit.

It started out of the blue on Sunday morning. Well, that's not entirely true. I have been struggling with some lightheadedness issues the past few weeks. But Sunday morning it struck with a vengeance.The room was spinning. I vomited every time I so much as moved my eyes, or tilted my head. Except for breastfeeding, I don't think I got to hold my babies but for two minutes this Mother's Day which was, to say the least, a bummer.

Still feeling rather spinny nearly a week later (so please excuse any typos in this post) but it's my third blogoversary and I can't allow this milestone to pass without truly reflecting on how much has happened, how much my life has changed and evolved and progressed over the past three years and four Mother's Days.

Mother's Day used to taunt me. It was this cruel joke, this universal date of celebration that seemingly everyone got to attend but me. It made me think of a passage in Romeo and Juliet, where Juliet says:

 20   Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow'd night, 
 21   Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die, 
 22   Take him and cut him out in little stars, 
 23   And he will make the face of heaven so fine 
 24   That all the world will be in love with night 
 25   And pay no worship to the garish sun. 
 26   O, I have bought the mansion of a love, 
 27   But not possess'd it, and, though I am sold, 
 28   Not yet enjoy'd: so tedious is this day 
 29   As is the night before some festival 
 30   To an impatient child that hath new robes 
 31   And may not wear them. 

I have always loved that sentiment--picturing my beautiful Peyton as stars in the sky--but really the bit of this passage that most speaks, or I should say spoke to me about Mother's Day, was that of having bought the mansion but not possessed it. I was a Mother. I had carried Peyton. Formed her within me. I had birthed my child and yet Mother's Day felt like a joke. Like trying to get into a club and the doorman telling me my name wasn't on the list, or worse, that it had been crossed off.

When I wrote that poem up there, so much felt impossible to me. Heck, even the Mother's Day and year of blogging that followed that one felt like being stuck in some foreign land where the inhabitants used words I could only sort of make out, like "baby-wearing and weaning and teething." I knew what those words meant, of course, but without having experienced them--was I still a mother?

We were in the thick of infertility that year. Our first IVF had failed, and with it went two more promises at motherhood to add to my list.  Everything,then, felt completely impossible to me, but time ticked on, and my Snowflakes set up shop in my womb, and one short (okay - long, anxious, bed-rested) year later, I greeted Mother's Day and another blogoversary with two babies in my arms and one in my heart. I tried to document what I could over the next year here, but failed fairly miserably due to sleep deprivation, and extended breastfeeding, and mommy-brain.

This past Sunday marked my fourth Mother's Day without Peyton, and though I was so sick, so, so, so sick, I kept saying to myself, "well, this is certainly not the worst Mother's Day I have ever experienced" because somewhere in the back of my mind I knew the pain would pass, and the vertigo would pass. I knew I would once again feel well and find my joy.

I didn't know that the first two Mother's Days after Peyton died. I didn't know that joy was even possible, or what it was to feel hopeful and excited about the future. Back then I just kept trucking along because that's what we bereaved mommas do, we breathe-in and breathe-out and put one foot in front of the other until one day we look at the path behind us and say, "Holy shit--I survived!"

Mother's Day for me (and actually my life in general come to think of it) will likely never be a Hallmark Card Moment. Three years into this journey I am realizing I am okay with that. Hallmark Card Moments happen to the unbroken, the innocent. They happen to women who don't know that this side of the universe exists and only know Mother's Day to be a happy one of flowers and candy and joy and you know what I say to that--good for them. Good for those blessed by experiences that can be summed up in a few words written by another in a folded card. Good for them. I don't begrudge them-- but they are not me.

Having Peyton and struggling with infertility has brought me to a point where I don't need those Hallmark Card Moments to show me how lucky I am. I don't take anything for granted.

So here is to three years as the girl who lost her child, then her fertility, and somehow, in this mess we call life, found happiness. To three years that brought me so far down to rock bottom that I know what a gift I have been given in clawing my way back out again. To three years and surviving -- I'd be lying if I didn't say I was proud of myself for that.

And here is to all of you. To those whose stories pushed me forward when I thought there was nowhere else to go. To those who told me to keep trying because trying is never done. Who encouraged us to explore all of our options to parenthood--what a gift you have given me in walking this road with me. And to those of you who found your way here because you are fresh in your own grief, or infertility--here is to knowing the joy that lies ahead for you, too.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Peyton Pays Me A Visit

I've written here before about my mom's friend who claims to get random messages from people who have passed on. 

Are you feeling skeptical yet? I don't blame you.

I got the most beautiful message a few weeks (a month, maybe?) back from Peyton that I tweeted about and have been wanting to write to you all about, but life, and Provera, and so-many-diapers  and molars coming in have just kept me from doing it. 

Here are some things to keep in mind about this message.

1- I never talk to this friend of my mother's unless she is telling me she got a message, and usually she just gives the message to my mom to give to me. I say this to clarify that this woman is not around enough to know what I am up to. We aren't friends on FB or anything like that.

2-My parents have pretty much been travelling non-stop since Christmas, so it's not like my mother is around to see what I am doing, and then feed info back to this friend to turn into a message from Peyton.

3-The song I mention below is something that ONLY my husband and I know about. I sing it while breastfeeding at night.

4-I truly believe that if we open our hearts to messages and signs from our little ones who have passed on (or any loved one who has passed on, really) they will come.

Okay, here it goes.

So it is really important to me to incorporate Peyton into the Snowflakes' everyday lives. I am not going to go into this at all, because I wrote a column about it for Still Standing which comes out 5/21 and I wouldn't want to be repeating information, but saying that I incorporate her into their daily lives is rather relevant to this particular sign.

Each night I sing the babies a lullabye to the tune of  Frère Jacques  (Where is Thumbkin) where I go through all of the people in our lives. It goes something like this:
Mommy loves you. Daddy loves you. Yes it's true. You love us, too. Time to go to bed now. Time to go to sleep now. This day's through. This day's through.
Then I sing...
Big Sissy in Heaven loves you. Big Sissy in Heaven loves you. Yes she do. We love and miss Peyton, too. Time to go to bed now. Time to go to sleep now. This day's through. This day's through.
And on and on through our entire list of family, friends, and the last verse is reserved for Jesus.

Okay. So my mother's friend called and left me a message. I didn't get the message. She called my mother and said, 'I've been trying to get in contact with Krissy, I have a message from Peyton.' My mom, during one of her brief trips back home among all the recent travelling, was like, 'You know, Fran says she left you a message blah, blah, blah."

I didn't get it. Thanks AT&T.

So this falls off my radar, NOT because I didn't want to hear from Peyton, but because life sometimes really gets in the way of me being able to call anyone without so much noise in the background that I can't hear. Plus the Snowflakes, and Bubba especially, are really clingy right now, wanting to be held all.the.time, so holding two babies and a phone doesn't work, and trying to talk on speaker with two babies who don't want me on the phone and let me know at ten thousand decibels, also doesn't work.

So... I put the babies for a nap one day and I got a call from Fran who said she had had two messages from Peyton, but so much time had passed that she lost the first one, and hadn't my mother told me to call her etc. etc.

She gave me the message she could remember. She said that Peyton said this:
such a beautiful day, and it is a day that would go down in infancy (fancy was circled) babies are so beautiful are we knot and tied together forever in love
Okay, what? Peyton, Mommy is so frazzled and tired and gets no sleep, baby, you are going to have to be a bit more clear.

So I told Fran that that was sweet, but I really didn't know what the heck it meant and I appreciated it and would think on it and thank you very much. She said she wished she could remember her other message and I thought, if it is anything like that one no worries on forgetting it, and we hung up the phone. I then proceeded to do things around the house and was struck by the fact that Fran said she had called and left me two voicemails and why the hell wasn't I getting my voicemails, anyway? So I picked up the phone to check, and usually if we have messages the dial tone beeps, but there was no beep. I realized in that moment that I hadn't gotten any voicemails in, like, WEEKS! Which is fine, most people probably don't want to call and try to talk over babies, but no messages at all? That felt odd. So I dialed into my voicemail and lo-and-behold I had SIXTEEN messages!

I started listening to them, and then came to Fran's message and immediately felt my body go numb--wait, not numb, tingly? Yeah, I guess tingly is a better way to describe it. I listened to what she said she had been told by Peyton, immediately called her back, and started to cry.

This is the message Fran had left for me that day, some weeks before I heard it. A message that she couldn't recall at all later, and would have been completely lost if I hadn't realized to call into my voicemail regardless of the non beeping dial tone.

She said that Peyton told her this:
Sweet, sweet music drifts to my ears. I love to listen and still be a part of, instead of being apart. Always with you in love and peace, heart. 
Like I said earlier. Every night, every single night, we sing that song about the people we love. Every night we sing a verse for Peyton specifically to keep her a part of our daily lives. I still have chills just thinking about this message.

Thank you baby girl, for putting your love into words that your over-tired Momma can understand.

And here is another sign for you--even though it has been raining all morning, as I type this, butterflies are playing outside my window.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I Am Still Standing

Three and a half years ago, when I last held my daughter, Peyton, in my arms, I thought I wouldn't survive to see morning. Honestly, I don't know that I wanted to. What kind of a life could I possibly go on to lead with the type of pain I was feeling swirling in my chest?

Three and a half years ago I could never have imagined writing a sentence like "I am still standing." I couldn't have imagined overcoming infertility. I couldn't have imagined how absolutely joy-filled my days would one day be.

I am still standing.

I am still standing--and connecting with others.

The journey of loss and infertility can be so overwhelming. So devastating. So alienating. So when the amazing Fran of Small Bird Studios contacted me to tell me that she had this idea--this wonderful idea to bring women together from all different points in this journey to share their own corner of this loss universe and be a localized resource for others who walk in this old pair of shoes--I was taken aback. One place that could be a resource for those who had suffered miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, child loss. Those who got pregnant easily only to lose their beloved child, and those who struggled for years to conceive only to suffer the same fate. When she told me about her vision for Still Standing Magazine, I was intrigued and excited. When she asked me to come on board as a regular contributor, I was humbled and honored. I still am.

I am still standing--come stand with me.

At Still Standing, you will be able to find my column, "Over the Rainbow," each month. It is my hope that my words are able to honor the experience of parenting living children after the loss of your first child. This is a unique experience. There are fears, and joys, and entire thought processes that ONLY come into play for those of us who parent rainbow babies, and I pledge to speak to the experience with honesty.

I am also going to be one of the regular contributors to Still Standing's Humor Column. Does that surprise you? Maybe just a little? Believe it or not, I laugh--a lot. If you never knew that about me from this blog, I invite you to come meet that side of my personality over there.

I am still standing--and in good company.

We have several amazing contributors, each sharing their story, their voice, their advice based on where they are in their own journey. Some are new to this club and fresh in their grief, while others can look back on those early days with a knowing nod, and a promise of the healing yet to come.

I am still standing--and wherever you are on your own journey, I invite you to stand with me.

The magazine launches May 5th. You can follow us on Facebook, here, or sign up by clicking the photo