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Archive for August, 2010

Lots going on…

I have a feeling the rest of my pregnancy is going to fly by! We have so much to do in what feels like so little time.

First, we started renovations on our house last week. We are turning what was our garage into a family room, so that the 2nd bedroom of our small 2 bedroom house can become a nursery instead of an office. I’d love to simply upgrade houses, but it makes more sense for us to stay put for now. Here is the progress so far:

Thankfully, we have some friends who are excellent at this sort of thing – we couldn’t have done this without their help! We’re also going to update our kitchen with additional cabinets and, of course, we have a nursery to decorate! I’ll keep updating on the progress.

Speaking of the nursery, we ordered furniture for Liam’s room last night. We found a package at JC Penny that comes with a crib, dresser, and a chest of drawers. The furniture is on back order, and will ship “on or before September 30, 2010” according to the email I received from them. I can’t wait to share pictures!

In addition to renovating our house, we have started the search for a pediatrician. A good friend of ours made a recommendation, and I made an appointment for an interview accordingly. I’m hoping to like this pediatrician, because interviewing doctors is not something I look forward to doing!

I have also booked a birth doula and maternity photos. I’ll meet with the doula once sometime fairly soon, and again towards the end of my pregnancy. She’ll be there for me during the entire labor process and afterwards, as she is also a lactation consultant. Then, she’ll come visit me a week or two after I give birth to make sure I don’t need any help with nursing. I’m so glad I’m going to have her help! My maternity photos are scheduled for November 20.

I’ve completed my baby registry, and have two baby showers scheduled – one being hosted by my family, the other being hosted by Nathan’s family. They’re both in October, as we wanted to avoid the holidays.

Add the holidays to the mix, and I think this year is going to be over very quickly for us. As much as I enjoy holding Liam in my belly, I can’t wait until we are holding him in our arms, so I’m glad that we have plenty to do to help pass the time until that point.

I have been feeling Liam move more in the past few days, and I’m very excited about that. I was so worried that with the anterior placenta I’d be one of the unlucky ones who hardly get to feel anything. I’m so glad this does not seem to be the case. In fact, Nathan even felt him kick for the first time on Sunday night! We were both ecstatic about it! I still have multiple stretches of several hours where I don’t really feel anything each day, but I’m sure he is sleeping part of that time.

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I mentioned in my post about 100,000 hits on my blog that I was considering doing a giveaway, and I decided to do it, both as a thank you to those who read my blog and help keep Madelyn’s memory alive, and also in honor of Madelyn’s birthday. I’m still working out the details right now, but I will hopefully be ready to do the giveaway sometime early next week!

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Madelyn’s day

Well, we survived the one year anniversary, and I kept it together pretty well. It wasn’t easy to do all the time, that’s for sure.

We spent a lot of time remembering exactly what we were doing at various times of the day a year ago. It’s amazing how some memories are nothing more than a blur, and others are as sharp as though they were happening in the present. For example, most of my labor is a blur – I mainly remember telling myself over and over the pain would end soon. I didn’t know at the time how much that physical pain would pale in comparison to the emotional pain that came afterwards, when I realized we would not be bringing her home.

Then there are the memories of our time with Madelyn. Those have been replayed in my mind so many times over the past year, they must be permanently etched in my mind, and I am glad of this.

We celebrated Madelyn’s life with some of Nathan’s family, as they live very close to the cemetery where she is buried. First, Nathan and I went to the cemetery alone. Then we went back out there later with his family to do a balloon release – we each released a balloon for her. My parents also released balloons for her (they are 6 hours away and couldn’t join us here). I hope to share pictures of those soon.

Here are some photos from our visit to the cemetery and our balloon release:

My 2-year-old nephew’s balloon – he released his a little early. 🙂

And here are the rest of our balloons:

After that, we went back to Nathan’s parents’ house, where his mother fixed us dinner, and we had cupcakes from the Cupcakery for dessert.

Madelyn received a few things for her birthday. Every single one of them meant so much to me.

She got beautiful flowers from some of our dearest friends.

From B & B (I’m using initials to protect the privacy of my friends):

This stone from the flower arrangement will stay at Madelyn’s grave permanently:

From the M family:


And from the R family:

My photography does these flowers no justice at all! I took a few flowers from each arrangement to Madelyn’s grave. We also got these flowers for Madelyn from us, but I didn’t take a very good picture:

We received this locket from my mom. Inside, it has 3 charms: an M for Madelyn, a charm of a girl with a peridot (Madelyn’s birthstone), and a charm of an angel:

And we received this reborn doll made by Silent Angels Nursery. This doll was custom made with Madelyn in mind, and the best part is she weighs exactly 3 pounds 4 ounces, Madelyn’s weight at birth. So anytime I want to remember what that weight felt like in my arms, I have this doll to remind me.

She even has blonde hair with a hint of strawberry, like our Madelyn did:

She has a hospital band on her ankle:

I’m very appreciate of this special doll.

Last, but not least, we received some cards for Madelyn’s birthday. I’m just so grateful that she was remembered by so many on her birthday.

And because this photo is too sweet not to share, here is Nathan & our nephew, relaxing before the festivities began:

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For some reason, I did not want to share this at the time I wrote it – it simply felt so private. However, it belongs here, on this blog. And so now I am adding it. I don’t know if anyone but I will even know it exists. And that’s ok. I simply needed to keep it someplace safe, where it would not get lost with time, and this blog seemed the best place for that.


Dearest Madelyn:

A year ago today, at 10:22 p.m., I saw you for the first time. Once the NICU team decided they couldn’t save you, I held you in my arms, knowing that our time would be much too brief. Every single day I remember you, I think of you, and while I cannot hold you in my arms, I hold you in my heart. You will always be my firstborn, and always be my baby girl.

Sweet Madelyn, you have touched the lives of so many through your brief visit to this earth, much more than many of us will ever do in a lifetime. I believe every life has purpose, and I know you accomplished yours in the time you were here. I know you have at least changed me, making me want to be a better person – someone who would make you proud. I know I will also be a better mother to your brother because of you. You have taught me how precious life is, and how quickly it can be taken away. I have learned from you to take no one for granted.

I know time doesn’t work the same way in heaven as it does here on earth, and to be truthful, I don’t even know how old you are over there. But I hope that you are having a beautiful party today. One day, when my time on earth is done, I will be there with you, and we will compensate for this time of separation. I look forward to that day, but know that I have much more to do here, including raising your brother on the way, and maybe another baby or two after him. But until then, I will be missing you every minute. When I look at our family photos, I will always know they aren’t complete because you aren’t in them. I will always hear the silent echo of laughter I imagine to be yours as our family spends time together. And I will always ache at what could have been – at what should have been.

Happy birthday, my angel.

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I’ll write more later, but I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to do so today. So for now, I will just say happy birthday to my sweet girl. I can’t believe it’s been a year since we last held her in our arms.

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100,000

Hits on my blog, that is! Well, 100,170 to be exact. Of course, that’s not 100,170 separate people. However, WordPress does not count my own visits to my blog, and if someone visits my blog more than once in a day, it does not increase the count by more than one.

When I started this blog, I never imagined people would actually read it. And once it stopped serving the purpose of updating my friends and family on Madelyn’s progress, I figured people would quit reading. However, that didn’t happen. I’m so grateful for all of the support I’ve had since I started this blog in early June 2009. Thank you all!

Maybe it’s time to think about doing my first giveaway…I’ll have to consider that. 🙂

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By this time last year, I would’ve had my ultrasound, and they would already have been making plans to begin inducing me later that night. This is the post that would eventually lead into Madelyn’s birth story two days later.

I remember being scared – really scared. As a first time mom, I was terrified of labor. I was even more afraid that I’d end up needing a c-section. And most of all, I was afraid of what was going to happen to our baby. We knew even the best case scenario would entail a heart surgery and most likely months in the NICU. And the worst case scenario is exactly what happened – losing her.

To be honest, I’ve been avoiding thinking about this anniversary. I’ve been afraid to revisit the place of intense sadness. I’m not referring to the constant drone of sadness that plays behind the melody of my life. I’ve grown accustomed to that to the point of forgetting to notice it most of the time, like the person who lives near the airport who eventually learns to tune out the loud engines flying by each day and each night.

What scares me is not the sadness mentioned above, but the fog of darkness that enveloped me for weeks, even months immediately after losing her. I don’t want to revisit that place, not even for a day. Perhaps I’m far enough removed from that place that I have no reason to fear going back there. But the mere thought of it unnerves me.

So far, I’m coping well, though the reality of it all started to hit me yesterday, leaving me feeling a bit more fragile than usual. I have seen tears splash on my keyboard at work, something that very rarely occurs these days. I am thankful no one has seen. I could have taken off today and tomorrow, but felt sitting at home alone would have been an invitation for the intense sadness to come into my life. Returning to work late November last year was what I needed to help me feel in control of my life again, and I think it is good for me today and tomorrow. Plus, I want to save what’s left of my PTO bank for my maternity leave with Liam. If her actual birthday was on a work day, I would have definitely taken off in that case.

Speaking of Liam, I’m so grateful I have him in my life. If anything will keep the sadness at bay, it is him. Of course, he cannot replace the emptiness left by Madelyn. But he has given me a new source of happiness. And on these very emotionally difficult days ahead, I am very thankful for that.

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Someone recently shared this song with me, and I found I could relate to it very much, so I wanted to share it here.

Here are some of the lyrics:

“I’m gonna miss your first day of school
I’ll never see you turn that page
I’ll never see you in your graduation gown
And I’m never gonna see you coming of age

But you’ll always be my hope
You’ll always be my first light
You’re always gonna be mommy’s little girl
You’ll always be the strength I need to make it in this world
I only wish for one more day”

One more day would be so amazing. But in the end, nothing short of forever would be enough. One day we’ll have that forever with Madelyn. But for now, we will have to be satisfied to replay the memories in our mind of the 34 weeks we had with her in the womb, and the time we had with her after she was born. It’s hard to believe it’ll be a year so soon.

Thursday will mark the one year anniversary since they started inducing me, Saturday night it will be a year since she left us, and Sunday morning will mark one year since we held her in our arms for the last time.

We have finally decided what we are going to do to remember her life this Saturday. We are going to go spend some time at the cemetery, and then we’re going to do a balloon release for her, followed by eating cupcakes from the Cupcakery. It won’t be an easy day, but I hope to focus on the joy of her life rather than the sorrow of losing her. However, I don’t think the two can ever truly be separated.

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