Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Baby I Didn't Get to Know

I am so thankful for my husband, he is the only one who lost the same thing (a son) I lost when Marc died. 
Because Jack is only 13 months younger than Marc it seems like so much has happened since he died and I sometimes forget that we are still very early in our grieving process. We are still only 17 months  and four days out from the day I held my firstborn baby for the first and last time.
The other night I held baby Jack and as I talked to him and he looked into my eyes I realized something that made me cry. Marc walked in from work at that moment and saved me. He asked what was wrong and I told him that I realized the more I get to know Jack and his sweet personality the less it feels like I know baby Marc. The more it feels like baby Marc was just imagined. 
What does a husband say to make things better? Marc just knows there is nothing he can say to make it better. He said yes this is what we lost. We lost the future. We lost the chance to get to know our baby boy and that's the saddest part. We didn't get enough time. Not nearly enough. We grieve for what we have lost but we need to be thankful for the time we had and for what we have now. We have Jack. How bittersweet is the knowledge that we would not have Jack had Marc lived. How sweet is Jacks little smile and knowing that I do get the chance to know him. 
We talked for a while about what baby Marc might have been like. Maybe he would have been easy going like his little brother or maybe he would have been more high strung. 
My amazing husband knew that he couldn't fix the hurt and so he talked with me about our pain and then helped me be positive and thankful for what we do have. We have two sons, one in our heart and one in our arms. I will never know Marc. At least not the way I know Jack. I know Marc liked to suck his thumb because we had many ultrasounds and every time he was sucking his thumb. I know Marc kicked liked crazy during the fireworks on the Fourth of July, his last day. I know that even though I didn't get to know him like I should have he was my boy and I loved him.
As positive as we try to be and as thankful as I am for what I do have sometimes you just have to have a good cry, miss your baby and try to remember what it felt like to carry him.
I carried him his whole life and I knew him. I didn't get the chance to know him more but I knew him, my first baby boy and he was real.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I am so very happy today. I am feeling so thankful for where I am today and being able to say that. This time last year we were four months away from losing sweet baby Marc and I was in such a dark place. I really was not sure I would ever be able to feel this happiness again but today I sat on the patio on a beautiful 75 degree Texas winter day and nursed Marc's little brother Jack and I felt overwhelming happiness.  Marc and I have made so much progress in learning to deal with our grief and of course having Jack certainly helps add enormous joy to our lives. From the beginning we sought out ways to heal our hearts. We attended support groups together, attended counseling together and separate, allowed friends and family to help us and kept our communication open and honest. I did do too much retail therapy as a result of my grief and accrued some credit card debt (which I had vowed to never do) and before I was pregnant with Jack I self medicated with wine more than I probably should have but I guess those things are better than some of the more unhealthy things I could have resorted to. I just have to take a moment to give ourselves a pat on the back for dealing with our emotions together and in (mostly) healthy ways.

I am so thankful to be able to write this blog today and be so positive. I am truly amazed at where I am today. This morning Marc and I laid in bed with Jack between us and I thought about how lucky I am to have such an amazing family. My husband is hardworking, affectionate, considerate and an amazing daddy and both of my baby boys teach me so much everyday. The lessons I have learned about life in the past year are endless. I feel much older than I am because of my loss but that is not really a bad thing. I am more patient and feel like I take more time to breathe life in and live to the fullest. What a gift baby Marc has given to me and to our family, because Jack and all our children will have much better parents because of him. I actually am having a hard time putting into words just what I mean. How can one express what it feels like to emerge from the fiery hell that is losing a child? How can I express that at the same time I am not and will not be over losing him? I have been wounded, burned so severely that I will carry the scars forever but I am a survivor.

I think of my baby Marc every single day,  I miss him and wish I could have watched him grow, I cry for him sometimes but I feel like we have reached our new normal. I feel I have accepted that there will always be moments or days that are hard because he is not here with us but those sad moments don't define our lives. I feel like I have let go of the guilt I once felt for being happy and because of that I can feel that happiness more completely. I have learned that being sad and depressed won't bring my baby back, it wont prove to others how much I loved him, and it won't honor his memory. I have learned to embrace all of my emotions, to let tears flow when they must and then allow joy fill me up again.

I am thankful for these lessons learned.

I am thankful for my beautiful family and amazing friends and for each day I get to be here to spend it with them.
happy today, relaxing on the patio 
love this photo of everyone <3

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Capture Your Grief:Jewelry

Capture Your Grief Day 8-Jewelry

I made this one so that I can have Marc with me all the time. I love wearing it because it makes people ask me about him and then I get to say his name.

My mom made me several. This is one of my favorites.

After Marc died she started making these necklaces. She calls them her mending broken hearts collection.They were perfect for when I returned to work because grief is a roller coaster and it is not always visible to people on the outside. I mean, people especially coworkers might find it hard to tell what kind of a day you are having. Some days I was strong and could answer questions or talk about Marc and not lose it. Other days I would break down.She made me three. One that said strength so that I could wear it to work on days I felt strong, one that said tender with mended wire which meant I was having a down day and one that was still open and not mended at all which meant I was having a really bad day. I will have to add the strength one later because I have a nursing baby attached to me right now but this is what they look like and a link to her etsy shop where she sells them.
10% of the proceeds for sales from her  "Mending Broken Hearts" collection will be donated to M.E.N.D, which is a wonderful support group for Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death. MEND

                                                                  Mending Broken Hearts

Capture Your Grief: What To Say

Capture Your Grief Day 7: What To Say

Capture Your Grief: What Not To Say

Capture Your Grief Day 6: What Not To Say

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Capture Your Grief: Most Treasured Item

Day 4. Most Treasured Item
Wow how can I pick one! Since there are no rules and I cannot pick one here are some photos of my treasured items.
My memory box

Marc's feet and hair
Tangible things custom sculpture

Tangible things custom sculpture

baby Marc's urn and ashes

Our first Walk to Remember ornament

My midwifes records of visits

Name in the sand

My memorial tattoo

My belly cast made while pregnant with Marc

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Capture Your Grief: After Loss Self Portrait

October for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF 2012.  
Day 3: After Loss Self Portrait
These photos were taken at the end of September last year almost three months after we lost baby Marc. When I went looking for a photo for this prompt I came across these and looking at them now I think wow I look really happy. It got me thinking about how you really never know just by looking at someone what they are going through. The picture of me at the state fair especially points that out because I look so happy but I remember being really sad that day. Everyone had their children and babies at the fair and I kept thinking I should be carrying Marc around today.
It also had me thinking about how proud I am of myself and of Marc for having the strength to smile and find happiness where we could in those early days. I cannot say that I thought I would never smile or laugh again when I was in those early stages of grief. I actually remember laughing at America’s Funniest Home Videos a lot. I actually watched every episode they had on hulu in the first week or two after Marc died. I used it to distract myself from the crushing weight of everything that I was trying to process. I can say I wondered if I would ever smile and laugh out of genuine happiness and fulfillment.  Now 15 months later I know that I can. I can genuinely be happy and laugh and love and enjoy life while missing my baby boy. That pain is always there but I know that baby Marc would want his mommy to go on living. As I have said many times before, I want my life to be better because he lived and not be defined by his death. 

Capture Your Grief: Before Loss Self Portrait

This October for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, Carly Marie is hosting CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF 2012.  If you have lost a baby or child you probably know her as the awesome baby loss mom who has made it her mission to help other grieving mamas by writing babies names in the sand. 

So I probably won’t do every day but I will do the ones that speak to me. I would have done day one which is sunrise but it was cloudy here and even though I was up at dawn there was nothing to take a photo of. 
Day2: Before Loss Self Portrait

Today’s prompt is really hard for me because as far as I have come in my grief journey over the past year it is still really painful to look at photos while I was pregnant with Marc. I look back on that woman and she is such a different person than I am today. I picked these especially because I look at them and think about how peaceful and confident I felt. How wonderfully naive I was then and I think about how great it would be to be that person still.  Part of our grief as baby loss moms is not only the loss of a lifetime of memories with our child(ren) but also the loss of our former selves. While I can sit here and say without a doubt I am a better person because Marc lived and because of the lessons I have learned because he died I won’t pretend that I don’t grieve for who I used to be.

Part of healing is accepting your loss, the loss of your child and the loss of who you used to be.

I love that I took tons of photos and made videos of while I was pregnant with Marc. Someday I know that I will be able to look at them and smile but right now I still look at them and feel the sharp stinging pain. We have this short little video that Marc took and it is actually of the dogs but I am in it spraying them. I cannot help but watch my belly in the video and I want to cry. The video was taken sometime in June so just a few weeks before he died. I cannot help but think that he is alive in there and he probably could have survived had he been taken out. I feel like I hardly know that person playing, having fun with her family, expecting to be holding and taking care of the baby boy in her tummy in just a few weeks. I want to warn her.