Saturday, December 31, 2011
This year, this year ... so much happened. I wish I had something profound to say. I can barely string a sentence together so wise statements will have to wait. I'm on my third cold since Bennett was born (seriously!), exhausted for many reasons, just home from a great trip to Seattle to see family.
2011 was stressful and wonderful and exciting. It was full of love, joy and some sorrow - always sorrow as life continues without Charlotte.
And this blog grew and grew and grew this year. I cannot believe so many have found comfort, peace, healing and understanding here. I am grateful and blessed to have a place to write, share, set down the crazy grief. When I began writing here I had no idea it would become a large part of my healing. Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading.
It's been a wonderful year,
and I'm excited to see what 2012 brings.
And speaking of 2012, my new year's resolution: sail through 2012 without a baby in my belly. I was pregnant for part of 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Happy new year, friends!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Sorry about the crooked, not so good picture, the baby did not want to be set down, not even for a second. And our house is slightly crooked, the floors all slant a bit, which makes playing with the dog easy. I am really pleased with how it turned out, a few adjustments and it will be perfect, I think.
I even have a little pile of books to get rid of! J said he would like to see all the books I've ever read stacked in one place. I can't even fathom how many books that would be - thousands? And for those who think I need an e-reader, I probably do, but I love books, how they look, feel, smell and my one serious obsession is my books. I just can't imagine not being surrounded by them, or buying new ones, or compiling massive lists of ones to buy.
We leave to visit family at 8am tomorrow. I have nothing packed, laundry still to do. J is working on kitchen shelves - yes, he's amazing, and B doesn't quite have the coordination to help. Although he has mastered rubbing his eyes, which is making me crazy because he does that instead of sleeping, and once he is asleep he does it in his sleep and wakes himself. Silly baby.
Must stop procrastinating and pack. I have no idea what to bring, I'm thinking the whole house.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
J's big gift to me this year was more - yes, more - book shelves. Though we have many we do not have enough and the books have been accumulating on the floor in the living room.
Our neighbor friends have the Expedit shelves from Ikea, I spent a lot of time admiring them so J gifted them to me, though we bought a slightly different version.
We spent the afternoon shifting bookcases, moving books, hauling furniture around the house. With everything we've moved around lately I could be a certified mover, albeit a super weak one who drops furniture quite often.
If we are ever in need of money I think I will sell my books one by one, turn the downstairs of the house into a used bookshop to help us through.
And that's not even all of them ... I have a problem, I simply cannot get rid of books, or stop buying them.
Ikea overwhelms me. I don't understand those who visit often. We go once a year and must plan, think, save up before walking through the doors lest we spend half our savings on kitchen gadgets (only $1.99!!) and "easy to assemble" (ha!) furniture we don't need. The living spaces scattered around the store make me want to create such efficiency in my own home, it really is a dangerous place.
Since we were in Portland J took me to lunch at the only fast food place that makes me feel good about eating junk. Burgerville supports local farmers, sells grass fed beef only, has really, really good food considering it is fast food. I ate a double cheeseburger, a cheeseburger and fries. I used to do that when pregnant, there was one on the way to the hospital where I saw the maternal fetal medicine doctor, and I liked to have a cheeseburger - or three - once a month, but I don't know what my excuse is now. Nursing, I suppose. I have lost 28 lbs so far, only 3 more to go before I hit my pre-pregnancy weight, three more after that and I will be in a good place, five more gone and I will be thrilled. I figure I have a year to hit any goals weight wise so why not a cheeseburger - or three - now and then?
Soon the house will be sorted, new things up, old things rearranged, our little house stretching at the seams to accommodate the three of us. I want to enter the new year with less stuff, (but not books, never less of those) clean closets, a comfortable living space. Three bags of clothes have left the house already, along with a desk, and J has a few more things up for sale.
This guy is not sleeping well, time to soothe him down again.
Once again we find ourselves in the midst of a protracted sleep battle. It waxes, it wanes, lately he's been sleeping with me most nights though I really would like him to settle down in his co-sleeper. Or crib, I would accept crib though I would rather have him close.
Two steps forward, one back, that's just parenting, yes?
Sunday, December 25, 2011
How did you survive Christmas? I made it through with cookies, candy, placenta capsules, and diet pepsi. Seriously healthy way to do it.
Sometimes I think J and I work on our marriage all year - strengthening, fixing, tightening - so we can make it through Christmas. We are both so stressed we have to relieve pressure somehow and so we have explosive fights. Last year we screamed about saran wrap vs. glad press 'n' seal, this year we had a fight about the diaper pail and who empties it. Silly, stupid fights that echo with a general theme: we miss her, we miss her, we miss her.
I had an added emotional bonus this year: my period. Sorry if that's a bit too much information for those who know me in real life. I'm exclusively breast feeding and yet my period came back right after my postpartum bleeding. Unfair, very, very unfair. I am so jealous of women who don't get a period back for eight to twelve months. Also on my jealously list: women who have six (or fewer) hour labors. And let's not even talk about women who can craft, decorate, garden.
I had B sleep next to me the night before Christmas Eve as well as the night before Christmas. I needed him near me, I needed my hand on his foot beneath layers of clothes, my cheek pressed against his when I woke in the middle of the night and couldn't find sleep. I needed to know he was alive, here, breathing, that this Christmas we had way more than we did a year ago, because my heart felt like it did last year: broken, sad, hollow, without.
I am so emotional, weepy, mad that this Christmas has been so difficult. On the way home from the in-laws on Christmas Eve I cried and J asked if I wanted a diet soda. I wiped my eyes, nodded my head so he stopped and bought me one. It tasted like Dr. Pepper so I refused to drink it and J being J he stopped and bought me another one. He walked out of the store with the biggest soda I've ever seen. When I admonished him he said, "It was the same price as a smaller one and this way you can drink as much or as little as you like." I like his logic (And no I did not drink it all, it was HUGE, though not as big as the super, super, double, triple gulp I saw one guy walking around with. Pretty sure that thing was a gallon!!).
We skipped church on Christmas Eve, too tired and sad to make ourselves go. On the 23rd we joined friends and neighbors at the small church two doors down to sing songs, hear the Christmas story, prepare our hearts and spirits for Christmas. I barely made it through without crying, I would have been a mess at church, sobbing like I did on Memorial Day - or maybe it was Veteran's Day, can't remember now.
We received a couple Charlotte gifts and my mom lit a candle in her memory while we opened presents.
I want to do something special each year, but have yet to figure out just what that will be. I cannot believe how cracked open my heart felt this Christmas. It knocked me for a loop to be so out of sorts, but the hugeness of her absence overwhelms during the holidays. As I mentioned before her rose bush is still blooming in the front yard. That seemed like enough this Christmas; a nod from the heavens.
Super excited about opening one of his presents Christmas Eve.
I love sleeping in the car seat pictures.
Books from mama and daddy, of course, of course.
This is for me?
Surely you kid ...
Still too small.
Fabulous new rocking chair. Bennett loves it.
I waited until the last moment to put Bennett in his special outfit on Christmas. The kid poops once a week, and it's always Sunday or Monday, which means special outfits don't last long. On special occasion days he often wears a diaper and blanket until it is time to leave. Christmas morning I was crying (of course) and J wanted to cheer me up so he gathered Bennett in his blanket and flew him around the bed. The boy laughed and laughed and I stopped crying.
Love how chunky he is.
I hope your Christmas was wonderful, and if it's too soon for wonderful, gentle.
Friday, December 23, 2011
The next few days are going to be busy, busy, busy. I hope your holiday is wonderful however you choose to spend it (under the covers is absolutely acceptable). May you have a beautiful weekend full of love and laughter. My heart is with those who have a place around the tree or at the table where a sweet baby should be. We have been blessed ten times over this year. Though this is a sad time of year I am grateful for Bennett and the joy he has brought to our lives, and I am thankful for the loving Savior whose birth is the reason for Christmas.
Peace, love and merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I've walked every day this week. Long walks: to town twice, down to the creek and around the war memorials once. So much heartache, too bad I can't walk it off, shed it at the war memorials where sadness gathers like fog.
Although I am walking something off because I was able to get in an old pair of jeans without doing squats this morning. Do you ever do deep knee bends to get your pants on? It's humbling. Also humbling: I bought a full length mirror because I finally have a good place for it now that we've moved upstairs. I think I was better off not knowing how I looked before leaving the house. It's impossible to be put together and clean when you have a baby.
The blog has been so gloomy lately. I think it's time for some Bennett pictures to brighten things up:
Bennett likes to sit (and stand) but I don't have a Bumbo so I've been propping him in a laundry basket with toys. My mom gave me this idea.
What should I play with?
Yesterday I got a Bumbo (borrowed from my sister) and so far Bennett hasn't been impressed with the idea. I don't like it because he arches has back when I put him in it so I hover over him. With the laundry basket I can prop him up, give him toys, and make dinner, or clean the house. He arches his back while in the laundry basket too (dude wants to walk) but he sits low enough that I don't have to worry about him tipping or falling.
Favorite activity: standing, walking, falling.
This is how he scoots: he gathers the blanket in his hands and then pulls as hard as he can. It works 25% of the time.
Sleeping with his elephant. He has become quite attached to her recently. I call her Ella. Original, no?
He can lift his head so well now. I hope he will be ready for his Johnny Jump Up on Christmas.
He is getting better at rolling from his stomach to back and he is so close to rolling from back to stomach.
Sigh. Big boy, so cliched, but true. Remember this?
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
A few days ago I pulled my stash of placenta capsules from the back of the fridge to the front and started taking them daily again. Though I forgot today and I feel like I've been run over by a truck, repeatedly. I am so glad I saved enough to get me through the holidays, and maybe her second birthday too if I don't need them all in the next few days.
I'm blogging every day, which means things are tough, tough, tough, and I need an outlet to ease the pressure some.
In the new year - therapy - counseling - it's time. Though I've said it before, though I've halfheartedly tried to find someone in the past, this time I'm serious. If I didn't have the capsules I would need some other form of medication, so probably time to work things through.
I hate that I'm somewhat missing Bennett's first Christmas. I don't like being back here, in the deep, deep grief, when tears come in furious waves with no warning.
In the morning I don't want to get up, but Bennett needs tending, so up I get, to the fridge I shuffle, and thirty or forty minutes after taking the capsules I feel like I'm ready to handle the day, to laugh and play with my baby without feeling breathless with grief.
The breathlessness: I forgot how much my lungs hurt that first year without her. The grief - constant, crushing - made it so hard to breathe and now that it's back I don't know how I let its weight slip from my mind.
While out shopping this morning with my mom and niece a woman cooed over Bennett and then asked, "How old is your daughter?" And for a split second I thought she meant Charlotte. I wanted to say, nineteen months! I can't believe you can see her! but then I blinked and said, oh, that's my niece, and as I turned the stroller away I shook my head, chided myself for thinking she could see someone who is gone, gone, gone.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Having one of those days where B is (finally!) down for his nap and I'm sprawled on the couch, feet propped, hoping it lasts a good long while and thinking I need a huge glass of Diet Pepsi with tons o' ice. I don't drink, you see, well, not really, I love me a beer once a week or so during the summer, but on days like this I don't think hmmm, a drink with lots of gin, I think hmmm, a big fat Diet Pepsi, even though it may very well give me cancer.
The whole nursing deal makes consuming caffeine difficult, though Bennett doesn't seem affected by it. I ate my weight in chocolate while on our usual Monday walk so I don't want to have anything else with caffeine in it. (And I don't have any in the house so that makes the consuming of it difficult.) My friend had to stop at See's to buy a Christmas present and it was crazy busy. I had two babies, plus a five-year-old to entertain for quite some time while she went inside the very small store to purchase her things. She made up for this, which really wasn't too hard except for when the babies were fussing and the five-year-old wanted his gloves on at the same time and I wasn't doing a good enough job of assisting, by giving me chocolates.
I really, really didn't want to walk today, but it was good to get out. Bennett is just ... whew ... The screaming, oh my stars, the screaming. Screaming while nursing, screaming while not napping, screaming when I sit, walk, rock. There's laughter too, but not nearly enough. I bought a teether while out on our walk and he tried to consume the thing before going down for his nap, hopefully it continues to help.
On top of all this I'm sad. Super, super, super sad. Missing my baby girl sad. Still can't believe I have a dead daughter sad. I think some part of my brain thought life would be easier with a living baby, simply because I would have a living baby, but it's still hard, I still have a dead baby, that is concrete, never changing, and the weight of it still knocks me over sometimes. And it's one of those hard times, with lots of tears, and a deep desire to lay flat on the floor and be still, not move for a while, let the sadness do its thing, where it crashes in like waves on a beach, over and over and over again.
This is our second Christmas without Charlotte. In five and a half months it will be two years since she was born. The idea of that nearly knocked me over the other day. I should have a nineteen month old, the idea of which is completely unfathomable. The holidays suck when you are missing someone. No way around it, doesn't matter how many months, weeks, years out you are.
She is missing, there is so much empty space where her little body should be. Sometimes her absence feels so huge I can't see my way to a state other than sad.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
I asked a friend to make stockings for us. I couldn't find anything I liked, and there's no way I could make them, so I asked and she said yes, of course. I love, love, love the stockings she made. We picked the fabric, handed it over and she sewed up these beauties:
From left to right: mine, J's, Bennett's and Charlotte's. It's a little silly to have a full size stocking for Charlotte, but I wanted one.
We picked a different fabric for the insides. Aren't they amazing? I wish I had crafty talents.
And she had leftover fabric so she whipped up a holiday pillow for us as well.
Of course I put him in his baby's first Chrsitmas sleeper and tried to stuff him in his stocking.
What is this? Why should I care?
This sleeper is so strange. I'm glad I bought it at the consignment store. It buttons up the back, opens like a sack kind-of. It looks really odd on Bennett because it's too big
All of his clothes are too big. He doesn't have enough neck or belly for any of his shirts so they always gape which makes me crazy. Superficial, silly, yes. I bought the cutest reversible pants for him the other day - also too big - but at least when I roll these there are dinosaurs on the cuffs.
It's a good thing this boy is so cute because the cranky monster is currently residing inside of him, which is making him super grumpy and fussy. Teething is rough, friends, and we have no idea what to do. He is drooling like mad, happy, sad, happy, sad, not napping well, nursing constantly, wearing us out. I can see a little white bud on the bottom, wonder how long it will be before it pops through?
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Bennett is growing so fast my uterus now believes he is no longer a baby and is urging me to create another baby for it to house. I refuse to entertain the notion. Well, I'm trying to refuse. I think I'm losing the argument.
Anyway, floor time, naked, all happy on his big robot blanket that someone at J's work made for him. I put him on his stomach for a while to see if he would roll over and you know what he did? Scooted forward on his belly!! I kid you not. I called J in to observe, he said B scooted about three feet before rolling over. That's right friends, he scooted three feet or so and then rolled over. Is he going to be on the move in a couple months? Please tell me no. I'm really not ready.
THEN he went down for sleep time and after sleeping for a bit he woke up. I soothed him down twice and then J headed in to rock him a bit. B lost it, screaming his head off, inconsolable, like nothing we have ever seen. I was upstairs (on pinterest ...) but I asked J to bring him to me so I could see if he wanted to nurse. The boy has wanted to nurse constantly today, goodness knows why, and though I threaten to close this feeding station some days I never do. I was cradling B, trying to nurse him, sooth him, do something to make the screaming stop when I noticed something: he has a tooth poking through! Seriously!!
We gave him his first dose of Tylenol, he nursed, then he got crazy happy, laughing like a mad baby, now he's passed out next to me. Apparently Tylenol makes my baby high. I'm in denial about the tooth, I really can't believe he has one coming in already. If it's really his first tooth we will have to discuss kindness and gentleness while nursing.
As if all that wasn't enough excitement for one day this morning I noticed that Charlotte's rose is still blooming. It's been blooming continuously since May. How crazy amazing is that?
Friday, December 16, 2011
Christmas is almost here!!!! I want to open my presents now! I know J bought me a pair of pants for when I go out walking, which will be so nice since I have to walk in jeans now because the walking pants I was wearing are too thin for this weather. And I alternated them with a pair of yoga pants day and night for a week straight while we were in the hospital after B was born so they're a bit worn out.
We had lots of Christmas traditions growing up. I want to incorporate some of them - reading from the Bible as a family on Christmas Eve will be included for sure - but others haven't worked so far. My mom used to buy a family game that we would open on Christmas Eve and play. I have tried to incorporate that with J, but there's only two of us so it hasn't worked out. Maybe in a few years ...?? My sister has everyone in the family unwrap new pajamas and a movie on Christmas Eve so they can have cozy movie time the night before the big event. Perhaps I will steal her idea.
I want to make homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, but I think that may be too ambitious. I want to make fudge too, but I need to get on that in the next few days and time is going by so fast since B was born. I think the most likely scenario is that I will blink a few times and Christmas morning will be upon us. And J is taking the week after Christmas off so we can visit family, which means I have to pack up the baby and his stuff. First trip away from home with B, what do I bring? His whole room? Just thinking about how many diapers I should pack is making my head spin.
And speaking of B I've found one million things I want to buy for him, but he's little and doesn't need much and I don't want him thinking Christmas is all about gifts.
How cute is this?
Why do I love expensive toys? He is getting a Johnny Jump Up and three books. That's PLENTY. Must keep telling myself that!
It's hard because his mama really, really loves gifts. It's my love language, just ask J. If he wants something he knows he can always present a chocolate bar followed by his case and receive a yes with little questioning. I'm pretty sure that's how he ended up with a new computer for Christmas this year ...