Thursday, November 18, 2010
Yesterday while I was driving I noticed I wasn't really paying all that great of attention, not noticing other cars while I'm backing up, swerving close to guard rails while driving in the mountains. And while none of this is intentional and I've been trying to clear my head and focus it's just not working. I'm afraid that maybe I should have listened to the doctors recommendation of staying off work for at least a month, physically I'm doing much better besides my back which is still killing me, but maybe I shouldn't be going back when I'm still distracted. I just don't know what to do...It just scares me that I’ve been so reckless and if that’s how I am just backing out of a parking spot at the grocery store, then how am I supposed to be working like this? I mean part of it is just nerves about going back to work after having been off for a little while and after everything that’s happened. But part of it I can’t control at all, kinda like I’m in a really thick fog and can’t see more then a few feet in front of me. It’s disturbing really, I’ve even noticed I don’t look people in the eye anymore, almost like if we have eye contact they’ll see off the hurt and pain inside me, they’ll know I’m broken.
Talking about trying again has also been consuming my mind lately, I have so many fears like: what if it all happens again, what if I have another miscarriage, what if I can’t get pregnant again, what if I have a completely healthy baby and then it dies. I guess maybe this is all part of my fog that I can’t clear out of my head. I really think I will be ready once we can start trying again, I’m even excited about trying again, but I just have my reservations because I remember it wasn’t easy last time and I remember how depressed I was every time it didn’t happen.
Another part of my fog is that I’m afraid of how close we’ve cut it financially in the last few months. Shawn and I live paycheck to paycheck as it is, if something happens where one of us doesn’t get all of our hours one week we’re screwed and that’s happened a lot lately. Using some of the money I saved for maternity leave has helped get us back on track, but what would we have done otherwise? (And I really don’t like using that money because we do plan on trying again and we’re going to need that money for my unpaid maternity leave then) Certainly not have a Christmas this year, I’m still worried about Christmas I’m just not sure how any of us can afford it. If we’re only buying the bare minimum for groceries, milk, eggs, bread, if it’s on sale meat, then how are we going to buy gifts for over 20 people? - If you know me at all you know this makes me more upset then anything, I’m a proud person and I hate when I cut it close on anything. I hate the feeling of not being able to afford something, especially gifts for Christmas, Christmas shopping is always something I truly enjoy and get excited about. This year is already different enough, Aiden wont be here for Christmas like I had counted on, it’s still his first Christmas but he wont be celebrating it with us, he’ll be celebrating it with his grandpa in heaven.
I just feel so broken, I don’t know what I expected for myself at the end of this week. I guess I thought that maybe I’d be fine and be ready to go back to work, but those really weren’t fair assumptions, I’m rushing myself to be better and I’m not. I still feel hesitant to be around anyone, almost like I don’t really want to let anyone in and would honestly feel better if everyone left me alone. I like being alone, I like having all day with my thoughts, having time to maul them over without interruption, I like doing things on my own terms not someone else’s. I really expected that something would magically change inside of me and I would wake up feeling like I missed people and interaction with people, I used to be so sociable I’d go crazy without anyone to talk to, but now I could really careless, except for Shawn I really don’t want anyone around.
Maybe going back to work will be good for me, force me to be sociable again and maybe help me to regain some of myself and clear some of this fog. I’m trying to be optimistic and remind myself that I really do love my job and all of my patients and co-workers, and it’ll be good to see them again. That it’s not as scary and painful as my head is trying to convince me it will be. And same goes for trying again, I keep reminding myself that even as scary as it is having to start all over again, God has a purpose for my being here and my desperate need for children, and ultimately it’s all in HIS hands. Even if all of the things that I’m so afraid of happen, I know it’s for his purpose, as hard as that can be to swallow sometimes. God is working in me, and he’s patient with me. God doesn’t expect me to be all better overnight but he is helping me to get there because he knows that I will someday, just not right away.
A little less broken,
-Jessie (Aidens Mommy)
Friday, November 12, 2010
I've made a lot of progress in my grief. I've started to confront a lot of my issues, I've been reading "Empty cradle, broken heart. Surviving the death of your baby" and it's helped me to confront those feelings. I have realized that I'm like a wounded animal I crawl off to a secluded place with no one around so that I can lick my wounds and heal before ever emerging back into the population, so that when I do I'm healed and not bleeding anymore, I can defend myself again. Going along with that I've also learned that if I'm forced back into the real world and I'm not healed I can't control myself or my emotions and have a tendency to lash out, it's honestly better to leave me alone and put myself back together and then come around when I'm ready, other wise I'm resentful and angry. I've also started to grasp my severe abandonment issues, I've realized that when I was young I attached myself to people and made myself dependant on them because maybe I never felt like I could depend on the people I should be dependant on. The people or things were always things or people that had no way of supporting me in the ways that I needed thus they would leave and I'd feel alone again playing into my feeling of abandonment. Eventually I built a defense mechanism that I'll leave before you ever get the chance to leave me.
In grieving for Aiden it's the first time in a long time that I've had to deal with these issues. They've come up in the past but it wasn't ever something I had to acknowledge and sort through before moving forward because it was always just me, no one else was involved. Now I have to acknowledge Shawn and his pain and style of grieving. It's been difficult, today was the first time we've argued since Aiden left us and it was all over the ways we each grieve being different. I guess we're learning something that we should have learned a long time ago, we're a team and we're together no matter what, so we'd better start learning to communicate and respect each others feelings or it'll never work. And simply the thought of that is terrifying.
As time goes on Aiden's life seems so marvelous the things we did while he was here the lessons we've learned, the lives that he's changed. He truly is God's gracious gift and God was truly glorified through him and all of the lessons that we all learned from him. I’m so incredibly grateful for everything that Aiden is, and everything that Aiden has taught us. It’s easy to get distracted with all of our feelings of pain and sorrow, but we have to remind ourselves that as much as we miss him and wish that we could be with him, he is in a place where there is no pain or sorrow, all of the defects with his earthly body are healed and he is perfect in heaven,
We miss our baby boy more then anything in the world but we know that he is safe and healthy in heaven. All those nights that we prayed that God would heal him and make him healthy, he did, in heaven. I’m grateful that Aiden is healthy, I’m grateful that he doesn’t have to experience any of the pain and hurting that the rest of us do. I just miss him dearly and it’s hard for me to come up with a healthy balance of being grateful that he’s not here and being devastated that he‘s not.
I just keep reminding myself that someday I’m going to wake up and that feeling of emptiness and uselessness wont be there, and that just because it’s gone doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten, just that I’ve finally allowed myself to move on. I guess I’m having issues with figuring out who I am without Aiden, I made Aiden so much a part of my everyday life that it’s hard for me to move forward and do normal everyday things because my instinct is to talk to Aiden and ask him what he thinks, or explain to him what I’m doing, or tucking him in at night with his turtle and his bat. It’s like I have to re-learn who I am and what I’m doing with my life before I could ever move forward. I started seeing myself as Shawn’s wife and Aiden’s mommy, now I feel like I’ve lost that part of myself. I feel like I’m no longer a mommy, I don’t have a baby here on earth, and as much as I can understand that no one could ever take away the fact that I’m Aiden’s mommy and always will be, it’s hard to feel like a mommy without a baby.
While Aiden was here I was so invested in getting back to school and getting all of my pre-requisites to go to PA school, ever since he’s been gone I’ve had no motivation to move forward with it. I still want to go back, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to move forward with my life and create a new commitment. I guess a lot of that is my feeling of un-readiness to make any commitments to anything at this moment. Maybe in time I’ll be able to move forward and make commitments again, but I think it’s just going to take time. It’s all just going to take time…
Someday things will get easier, and our devastation and pain wont be as constant, we’re never going to forget, but I hope with time the pain will dull and we’ll only remember the happy memories with Aiden.
As always much love
-Jessie M. (Aiden’s Mommy)
Thursday, November 11, 2010
My body hurts in so many ways it’s ridicules seems like all of my lady parts have deeply betrayed me. Between the searing pain, bleeding and the fact that my body is producing more then enough milk for a baby with no baby to feed, it’s easy to feel that some how it’s all just a cruel joke. The doctor says that I should heal soon (physically) and I shouldn’t hurt for much longer, maybe another week. She told us that we could start trying again as soon as my body has completely healed and I get a natural period. I keep going back and forth in my head, some days I can’t wait to get pregnant again to move forward and on to brighter times, others I think I’m not ready to go through this again, I’ll be terrified the entire pregnancy there will never be a time when I’m not afraid that something will happen, other days I think to myself that maybe I have nothing to worry about because it may never happen again, just look at my track record. Inside my head is a slurry of incredibly painful thoughts with occasional glances of happiness or at least what I think used to be happiness, found memories of talking, singing, dancing and most of all loving Aiden.
It’s easy to be depressed and say that I should be there too, that it isn’t fair for me to be here without him, that we should both be in heaven together because it isn’t fair for him to be here and suffering. But I know all to well that I’m here for a reason that I have to be here for the rest of my family and to give Aiden bothers and sisters. God has a purpose for all of our pain and will deliver us from our sorrow.
On Tuesday Shawn went to the junk yard to get parts for his car (I think more to get out of this house, out of his head and do something that made him feel normal, not sad), while he was gone I decided to do laundry, I walked down the basement steps and saw his stroller and car seat and had to move it. I decided a long time ago that only certain items that we have for a baby were specifically Aiden’s because I was afraid that if we did lose him I would never be able to see those items again. I decided that really and truly the only items that were specifically his were the sea turtle from my brother, the bat I bought, the baby clothes that Shawn and I bought specifically to take to the hospital, and the baby blanket I bought for him the first few weeks I knew I was pregnant. So having said all that while the other items are not Aiden’s they are very painful reminders that Aiden never came home and used them, so I decided to put all of that into his nursery, put it somewhere it’s safe and wont get messed up or dirty, but also somewhere I don’t have to see it every time I try to do something. Once I had moved all the baby things upstairs into the nursery I felt the urge to put away all of the baby clothes and sheets that weren’t on the crib and toys, I grabbed boxes from the basement and set to it. I set my phone up and started listening to music starting with all of the songs that remind me of Aiden just as a tribute, as I was cleaning my phone was shuffling through music and came to a recording I had made of Aiden’s heart beat. I stopped and sobbed as hard as I think I could have possibly sobbed, I felt like everything inside of me was shattering, like my blood turned to glass and was cutting as it beat through my system.
Yesterday Shawn and I decided to go get tattoos of Aiden’s name and birthday. We had talked ever since we found out the Aiden wasn’t going to be here for very long, that we would go and get tattoos together . Aiden has had such an impact in ours and other peoples lives that we wanted a permanent reminder spelled out in ink that he was here and he was loved, mostly for us, but also so that when we meet someone new and they see that tattoo and ask the inevitable question of who is Aiden or say I like your tattoo we can explain that we have another son that’s in heaven and he is our angel sent from God, our little fire. Shawn got his first and middle names and birthday tattooed on his forearm, I got his first and middle names, birthday and three turtles on my foot, one turtle for Aiden, one for Shawn, and one for me, eternally together always a family, even if Aiden is in heaven. I figure if in the future Shawn and I do have more children I have turtles put on my other foot to represent them, we’ll always be a family of turtles all because of our little turtle.
Today we had to go to the mortuary to pick up Aiden’s ashes, a day I never in a million years would have thought would come. But then again all of the things that have happened thus far are things I never in a million years would have thought would or could happen. Funeral homes are depressing no matter what, but it is unbelievably depressing to be there to pick up the remains of your son, all of him reduced to ashes in a little white box…I had to keep reminding myself that Aiden is in heaven and that while that is his physical body, he is in heaven. Aiden got to come home…Just not in any way that we would have imagined, but again none of this is anything I would have imagined. Now we have the joy of figuring out what we’re going to do for him as far of service goes. We already know that we’re going to burry his ashes where Shawn’s dad in buried, but we aren’t sure if we’re going to go to burry him on our own or have a small service for him with family and friends while we’re there. I’m starting to think we’re going to burry Aiden by ourselves and then have a small memorial service at our house afterward for family and friends.
Thinking about Aiden I can’t help but praise God for all of the time that we got to have with him, especially me, he was inside me we shared everything and did everything together. Aiden went everywhere I went, felt all of my emotions and heard everything that I heard. I feel so empty and useless, like a key piece of me is missing without him. He was wondrously and perfectly made, God made him so perfect in every single way he was never meant for this world. God knew that sometimes some people are just so special and so perfect it’s not right for them to stay here in this world and be tied to flawed body and have to experience all of the pain and sorrow that comes with being here. God spared him of any of that of any suffering, he knew he was so special he couldn’t let him go.
Music is a great way to mourn, there are a million songs that come to mind, some that I listened to and sung to Aiden, others that express my sadness that he’s gone, still others completely unrelated that make you cry for no reason other then that their sad. Songs will just pop into my head because of their lyrics, I’ll be talking or typing and something will remind me of the lyrics of the song. Today was “Hear You Me” or some people know it by it’s chorus May Angels Lead You In by Jimmy Eat World. There’s just so many things in the lyrics to that song that apply, thinking we had more time with Aiden, feeling like we never got a chance to truly tell him goodbye (I mean before he was in heaven), feeling like even God knew he was to special.
Broken Hearted, but always loving, Aiden’s mommy
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
God's gracious gift Aiden James Mares passed away on Thursday November 4th, 2010, and was born into heaven on Friday November 5th, 2010. He weighed just under 2lbs and was almost 14in long.
Thursday was an odd day from the very beginning. I woke up at 8:30 in the morning with a huge wet spot on my shirt. First i felt between my legs because I was convinced that my water had broken and I had been laying in it, but when I realized I was completely dry I started smelling my shirt and checking the bed convinced that one of the cats had peed on me. After searching the entire bed and finding that I was the only thing that was wet, I called the doctor groggy and panicked. After talking to the doctor for about two minutes she asked if I had checked my bra to see if I had started leaking. I peaked inside my bra and sure enough there were stains from my breasts leaking colostrum. The doctor informed me that a lot of mothers will start to leak towards the end of their pregnancy and that it was completely normal and nothing to be worried about. She told me to get some nursing pads to prevent embarrassing moments and not to worry. At the start of the day I had plans of going and taking the accuplacer test for school and getting ready to register for classes, but after waking up to lactation I realized today was a different day and decided to stay home. Aiden's schedule had changed slightly, he was becoming more active later in the day and during the beginning and middle parts of the day he was mostly stretching and re-adjusting himself. I spent the day just enjoying his company and talking to my boy while resting on the couch. We had an appointment at the Perinatal Resource Center in the hospital at 4pm, I remember leaving the house and thinking that I needed to make sure the cat's had food and water, and thought about grabbing my hospital bag, I wasn't sure why but decided to ignore those instincts. Walking into the hospital Shawn said hello to Aiden and he stretched real big and re-adjusted himself, I said hello baby boy and we both told him that we loved him. After we had signed in at the doctors office we sat down in the waiting room and he kicked hard twice low in my belly, Shawn and I told him we loved him. The moment the ultrasound hit my belly and we saw Aiden on the monitor I knew something wasn't right. Aiden is always moving even when he's sleeping he's always moving, but he wasn't moving. When the nurse looked for his heart beat she couldn't find it, she looked to see if it was just the way he was sitting and checked for blood flow. You could see the blood flowing through the umbilical cord towards him, but nothing flowing out or through him. All I remember thinking was God please no, no please don't take my baby boy from me. After the doctor confirmed that he was gone, they gave us the option of either staying and being induced that night as soon as Dr. Peters could get there, or going home collecting our things and coming back to be induced. Shawn and I decided to stay and be induced that night, we were already there and so heart broken driving was out of the question. Once they had settled the debate of whether we were going to stay and have the delivery now or wait till tomorrow, the doctors informed us that even though Aiden had been head down for the last few weeks he had shifted and was now sitting breach and backwards. They let us know that delivery was probably going to be a little more complicated just because of him being breach and also backwards, they warned that typically because of his size they wouldn't expect me to have any tares or need an episiotomy, but because of those complications it was likely.
Everything was so surreal like there was no way it was actually happening. After calling all of our family and letting them know what had happened, we were moved into room 5706 in the delivery rooms. All the nurses bringing us into the room let us know that they had heard of our son and our story and had been praying for us and him. They told us that they were so encouraged by our strength and faith in God. At about 6:30 they came in to start my IV, I was informed by our nurse Megan that I had very difficult veins to give IV's apparently they are very small. Megan brought in another nurse that she said was the big guns! She was the IV specialist, and if she couldn’t get it no one could. This nurse made things a little easier, she lightened the mood in the room and made us laugh. She said that when she was learning IV’s she was taught by a scary little Asian women who told her not to think of them as people, their not people their oranges! She told us that it’s very hard to imagine people as oranges because oranges don’t talk, or move. I am apparently a very non-cooperative orange! I’m more of a tangelo because I’m not cooperative and apparently tangelo’s are the rebels in the orange world. Oh and I should never attempt doing drugs because you wouldn’t be able to find a vein to inject them! LOL. Every time she would get close to do the IV I would start laughing and she kept saying I was a very non-cooperative orange. Finally she got to IV in andproclaimed that while she was the big guns and could always get the IV most of her patients looked like road kill afterwards. I was just barely road kill, I was the clean kind only a little blood.
At 8pm after giving me the first dose of medication to help soften and dilate my cervix the doctor let us know that labor was probably going to take a long time, and that our visitor's should probably go home because it would be morning before Aiden came. My aunt Cindy gave Shawn some Ambien to help him sleep since the hospital would only give me medications, and everyone said goodbye until the morning.
It was the longest night of my life, they offered to give me something to sleep but I was afraid that I would be groggy when Aiden came, so I just attempted to sleep on my own, but I had so many things going through my mind it was hopeless. It didn't help that every half hour the nurse would come in to check to see if my labor had progressed any. At about 12:30am the contractions were starting to bother my back and I requested the epidural, it took an hour of IV fluids before they could give me the epidural. Shawn and I had abandoned hope of sleeping and decided to turn on a movie to take our minds off of everything that was going on. Shortly after the epidural was started they started petosen in my IV because my labor was still not progressing, I still wasn‘t dilated at all. At 4:40am Dr. Peters and Megan came in and broke my water. Because of Aiden’s condition I had a lot of excess amniotic fluid, it sounded like someone turned on the faucet and left it on full blast for about 15 minutes. Megan our nurse was surprised and had to change the pad and towels underneath me multiple times because there was so much. I remember looking at my belly once it was done, I went from looking 9 month’s pregnant to looking maybe 20 weeks within 15 minutes. Around 6am the nurse brought the anesthesiologist back to give me another dose of anesthesia because I was starting to feel things again, they also increased my petosen because labor was still not progressing or dilating. Once I was numb I fell fast asleep until 7:30am when Dr. Peters came in to let us know that she was going off shift and a doctor for the Perinatologist would be taking over. Before leaving she checked me one more time and let us know that it was actually time to start pushing. Dr. Peter's made arrangements and stayed the remainder of our delivery. At 8am we started pushing and Aiden came at 8:30am.
Aiden was so much smaller then Shawn or I had expected, but he was perfect in every single way. He was so very fragile, everything about him. He didn’t look like what a normal baby would, his skin was fragile and pale and bruised from labor. But to Shawn and I he looked amazingly beautiful, perfect in every single way. Shawn and I spent 45 minutes by ourselves holding him and marveling at how amazing he was. When family came in we held Aiden and let everyone come and see the miracle that was our beautiful little boy. Because he was so fragile we didn’t want anyone to hold him other then us because we didn’t want anything to happen to him. The photographer came and they took pictures of him and us and our family, then we made wonderful little memories by creating molds of his foot prints and his little hand.
After a little while our day time nurse Karen came in and removed my epidural from my back and helped me into the bathroom to clean up. She instructed me on how to use the “mommy diapers” and how to take care of myself for the next few weeks because of the tare and having given birth. She also instructed me to wear a tight fitting bra at all times for the next 2 weeks because my milk had come in full blast and that is the only way to get rid of it and not cause infection.
We spent the rest of the day with Aiden on a baby warmer next to the hospital bed as we rested and enjoyed the time we got to spend with our little boy, our precious little angel. We had many visitors, friends, family, co-workers that are practically family. LOL we never took a nap because every time we’d start to fall asleep we’d get another visitor. Everyone in the labor and delivery department knew that all three of us were very much loved and supported. At 5:30 our night time nurse Megan came back in and asked us if we wanted a basinet for Aiden to sit in instead of the warmer because the warmer was so big and not very loving. After looking at our son we realized that he was starting not to look like himself anymore, that it was maybe time to say goodbye so that we only remembered him the way he was when he was born. Shawn picked him up and held him close as he said goodbye, then brought him over to me and I said my goodbyes and kissed his head. Megan came in and gently carried him away. Taking Aiden from our room was almost the most painful thing of the day, even though we knew Aiden was already gone and in heaven, having his physical body there in the room with us made it seem like he wasn’t gone yet, we could cling to him and never let go.
My work came by and surprised the hospital staff, I don’t think they had ever seen someone’s entire office come in to visit! My office let us know that they had set up a list of people who were going to be bringing us dinner for the next week so that once we got home we didn’t have to worry about trying to cook for ourselves and asked if we needed anything, someone to mow the lawn, groceries, milk, anything. My office is so incredibly compassionate and loving, we are so grateful for them. After the majority of the office had left Debbie and Lori came by and stayed with us talking for a little while, they even went and got us dinner from noodles and company and sat with us while we ate. After they had left we let Megan know that we were tired and ready to go to sleep, she gave me an ambien and to sleep we went.
The next morning was possibly the hardest day of my life. I physically hurt a lot, emotionally I was destroyed, and my baby was gone forever. After spending 2 hours crying as hard as we possibly could we got up and took showers, packed up everything in the room and called the nurse to see if we could go home. The doctor from the Perinatal center came in and checked to make sure I wasn’t bleeding to much wrote me a RX for some percocet and discharged me from the hospital. He let me know that typically women who have children are in as much physical pain as I was, but because their body is still producing adrenalin to take care of their new child their bodies don’t allow them to recognize the pain. He also talked to us that if we wanted we could start to try again in about 6 weeks as long as everything below had healed, but that we may want to wait until we were emotionally stable.
We had already made arrangements with the help of my aunt Cindy to have Aiden taken to Aspen Mortuary once his body was released from the hospital, to have him cremated and his ashes returned to us. It was all said and done. The nurses helped us load up a cart with all of our things, put me into a wheel chair and wheeled me down to the emergency entrance of the hospital. Shawn pulled around my car and we loaded everything into it and I got ready to drive myself home. Shawn went and brought his car around and followed me home.
Driving home was so incredibly painful in so many ways, I had always thought that driving home from the hospital would be Shawn and I together with Aiden in the back seat in his car seat, instead it was Shawn and I in different car’s and Aiden wasn’t coming home. My body also let me know that it wasn’t very happy with the situation, My stomach hurt down below hurt, my breasts hurt because they were full of milk and engorged. I cried the entire way home so hard that sometimes I couldn’t see.
Though all of this is incredibly painful we’ve learned to focus on the good things, Aiden is in heaven with God the father. There is no pain or sorrow or tears in heaven and he’s healthy and taken care of. We were devastated that we never got to spend time with him while he was alive outside of the womb, but God knew that we couldn’t watch our son die or suffer in any way. Aiden only ever knew love, love from his mother and father, and most of all love from and for God. We are so incredibly grateful to have gotten the chance to have Aiden, to have known him even if it was just 9 short months, he changed our lives forever and will always be our sweet baby boy. When we started to think about how small Aiden was, and his heart defect that made his heart have to work so much harder, everything that he did was such a miracle. He was much smaller then any other babies but he kicked and moved and made himself known as much or more then other babies. He held on as long as he possibly could, even with his heart he never let us know that he was sick (Obviously we knew because of what the doctors had told us, but Aiden never acted any different then you would expect a normal healthy baby to). Aiden’s story has reached people and families that Shawn and I have never met, through our faith, love and devotion to God in dealing with his diagnosis, Aiden has been a light in this dark world and helped show people to God. Aiden has helped to bring glory to God by bringing non-Believers into his arms.
God has blessed us through this experience and we couldn’t be more grateful. Most parents never experience the kind of love and devotion that we have for our son, not that they don’t love their children deeply but they never learn to appreciate every second that they have with them like we did, because they never have to cope with the idea that ultimately at any moment our loved ones could be called back up into heaven without any warning.
We love and miss of precious sweet little angel boy Aiden James more then anything in the world, but are so grateful that he’s safe and happy in Gods arms and that someday we will be there with him.
-Jessie M. - Aiden’s mommy