Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Not Over You

I keep hearing this song by Gavin DeGraw on the radio called, "Not Over You".  It's cute and catchy and and all the things that make for good pop radio.  It's a song about a break up, or so it seems.  I never listened that much as I am usually changing stations looking for something else when it comes on.  Anyway, today on my way into work, this lyric jumped out at me.  I am sure I am taking it out of context, and yet it still resonated.  

"If you ask me how I'm doing, I would say I'm doing just fine.  I would lie and say that you're not on my mind." 

I say I am doing fine all the time.  Am I lying?  Surely my daughter is on my mind.  But somewhere along this journey, I realized that sometimes it just easier to say that I am fine.  And I think that's ok.

Last week, I was told a story of a woman with stomach cramps who went to the hospital and delivered a 37 week old baby.  She did not know she was pregnant.  I can't stop thinking about that.  It's not that I feel it's unfair (which it is) or that I wish it was me (which I do)...it's just that it blows my mind that something like that could happen in this day and age.

Over the weekend, Gary and I went to Baltimore.  My brother-in-law and sister-in-law gave us a "weekend getaway" for Christmas/Hanukkah and it was for late March.  It was a one night hotel stay, tickets to the Baltimore Aquarium and a restaurant.com gift certificate for the waterfront restaurant in the hotel. 

It was a wonderful little escape and we enjoyed it immensely.  It's always nice to get away and the gesture behind the gift was so lovely.  All the money we saved by not having to buy tickets or pay for dinner, we pretty much spent in the gift shop.  My Visa sent me a text saying they thought my card was stolen. Oops.  I can't divulge what we got our nieces and nephews yet as we have not seen them to share their new goodies with them, but I can tell you that there was a little board book about sea turtles that Gary got for us to have for when we have a little one in our very own house.  It brought tears to my eyes - tears of sadness for the little one we do not have and tears of hope for the little one that we might someday actually have.

So, no, Allie - I am "Not Over You".  I never will be.  I do not want to be.  But I am learning more each day how to go on without you physically here.  For you are always in my heart.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

11 Months

11 months into our relationship, Gary proposed to me.  11 months after we got married, we were taking Labor & Delivery classes and preparing for the arrival of our daughter.  11 months ago today, we said hello and goodbye to her on the same day.  Time loses something in the midst of grief - what once marked milestones now marks absence.  Will I be pregnant 11 days from now?  11 weeks?  11 months?

 We saw a fertility specialist this week.  We both felt it was "time".  It was a very good, informative appointment and we both felt optimistic when we left.  The only downside was when they did an internal baseline ultrasound and we saw my empty belly.  The only other time we had ultrasounds was to see our baby.  It was hard to see the empty space.

 Gary has a business trip on Nashville in April.  So we are taking advantage of his trip and turning it into a mini-getaway.  As we were booking it, I realized this meant we would be away over Easter.  Good. I want to be as far away from here as possible on that holiday.  Last year, we went to the hospital on the night before Good Friday and I was discharged on Easter Sunday.  This year, we will be at the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame.  We will make new associations with this holiday and season.

I miss my daughter.  I read a blog recently about a woman who commissioned an artist to make a sketch of her baby.  The hospital pics were great in her case (and ours, too), but her baby just looked so still.  So a black and white sketch gave her some peace of mind and a picture that she feels proud to display.  I liked the idea so much that I contacted the artist and have been put on the waiting list.  I am not sure if we will display the sketch or not, but I want all the pictures and images of Allie that I can get.  I think the waiting list was 3-4 weeks, but it's ok.  What is time anyway?

This morning on the radio on my way into work, Forever Young was playing. It seemed eerily appropriate.




Zoe woke us up at 2:30 this morning with heaving sounds and throwing up.  I jumped up and consoled her and cleaned it up.  She was so scared.  I thought, "I really will be a good mom".  It's not that taking care of a cat is anything like a child, but it was good to know my instincts are still there.

11 months.  Eleven months. 

Thinking of you today and every day, baby girl.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Full Circle

Last night, Gary and I met with our accountant to do our taxes.  The moment he saw us, he said, "Is mom watching the baby?"  I knew it was coming, just as I knew it was coming with our handyman/plumber.  Luckily, Gary was with me this time and so he explained why there was no baby for my mom to watch.  Our accountant apologized up and down and inside out and you could tell he was sincere.  Funny how I am getting to be an expert at reading people's sorrow.

That has got to be it, right?  Have I now officially seen everyone?  Doctor, dentist, accountant, handyman, bank teller, waitress...I think we have seen everyone.  We are so lucky to have so many people care and yet I am not sure how much more ripping of my heart that I can take.

Let's backtrack a little to before last night and talk a bit about last week.  My first business trip!  It was really great.  In one day, I flew from Pennsylvania to Ohio where we rented a car to drive to Indiana and then drove to Kentucky to our facility which is located there.  Who knew I could see 3 states in one trip?  It was so great to meet the people that I have worked with for years in different capacities.  My new gig has a trainer gave me the opportunity to get face time with so many different people that span the whole company.  My boss and I trained our butts off and I even got to do one class solo.  Sure, there were only 3 people in that class, but they seemed mesmerized!  They were attentive and engaged and they laughed at my jokes!  I would like to have sent them flowers as a thank you but I understand that is a bit much.  My boss did the rest of the training while I took thorough notes and prepared enough so that when the need arises for us to go back, I can do even more.  

There was some down time each night in which my boss and I went to dinner and there was the drive back and forth to the facility each day.  I expected to be able to have some deep conversations with her on this trip, but she seemed to want to keep it light and whether that is because she is my boss or that is just her character, it was ok with me.  

Gary stuck a little Captain America in my bag so that a part of him was with me the whole week.  I did a Flat Cap (stolen idea from Flat Stanley) and brought my little superhero with me everywhere I went.  It cracked me up the whole time.  Here are some examples:

Cap loved the hotel/casino where we stayed
Everyone in the warehouse was very nice to him!

Cap's first laptop!





Cap so wanted to drive the rental car!

















And now I am back.  I am unpacked and the washing machine is running away upstairs.  We have another trip in early May, but that is just 2 days I believe.  I am already looking forward to it.

Between now and then, so much will happen.  My sweet niece, Ella, will turn one year old.  My oldest nephew, Sean, will have his First Communion.  And in the middle, we will celebrate Allie's Day.  Just immediate family and a few close friends.  We will do a balloon release out back by her creek and have cupcakes with pink icing.  We will celebrate that joy that she has brought us in so many ways, even without physically being here.

I read this quote last night and it's staying with me.
"When a baby is born, it's a mother's instinct to protect their baby. When a baby dies, it's the mother's instinct to protect their memory." - author unknown
I feel like we are coming full circle....closing in on a year that brought unbelievable horror and sadness and grief.  And unbelievable love and support and survival.  I am so glad to be protecting my baby's memory - and am so grateful to every one of you for helping me do that as well. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

What a Difference A Year Makes

Last year this time, I was scouring my baby registry to see what was being bought and when.  We were taking Labor & Delivery classes.  We were going to the movies and out to dinner and all the "couple-y" things we could think of cause we knew once our baby girl arrived, it would be so much harder to do all those things.  We were decorating they nursery and taking pains to make sure everything was just right.

This year, I am in the midst of planning a first birthday party for the daughter I carried and delivered but it not here to celebrate with us.

What a difference a year makes.

I used to say I was sad all the time.  And I was.  In fact, I still am sometimes.  But lately, I am optimistic, too.  And hopeful.  And positive.

What a difference a year makes.

On Monday, I leave for my first business trip since I have been at this company.  I will be heading to Warsaw, KY through Thursday.  I know - y'all want to go with me.  (I am going to practice my drawl this weekend.  Gary is going to be thrilled.)  But I am looking forward to it very much.  I will get to try out some of my new training skills and get to experience one of our remote facilities first-hand.  I am viewing it as an adventure and want to treat it as such.  And a teeny part of me knows that if I had an almost 11 month baby at home, I might not be going.  I might have never applied for this job if things were different.  And if I had and if this trip were still to happen, I would worry the whole time about leaving her for so long.  Sigh.

What a difference a year makes.

My mom and I went to our 2nd UNITE meeting this past week and it was very cathartic.  Different people this time, but the same general feel.  I sat next to and across from women who knew exactly what I was going through.  They were kind and gentle and listened with their whole hearts.  I was able to talk about Allie's upcoming birthday and they gave me some suggestions to help celebrate her - without judgment.  They listened to my mom share some of her feelings and were there for her as much as they were there for me.  I am already looking forward to the next meeting.

What a difference a year makes.

I will close with this poem that was read at the beginning of the meeting.  I keep thinking about it and hope it moves you like it did us...
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
 What a difference a year makes.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Martha Stewart I am Not

I have been tossing around the idea of making a scrapbook for Allie.  It came up at my Unite support group last month and at first, I totally dismissed the idea.  The group leader even had an extra book that was up for grabs, but I did not even look at it.  One of the mom's brought hers in and it was so great.  It contained pictures of her baby - from the ultrasound to the baby shower to the hospital where she was born.  And while I liked it for her, I just was not sure if it was something I could to do.

The idea popped into my head a few times over the past month and last Saturday, when we were visiting Gary's side of the family, my sister-in-law suggested we head over to Michael's as she wanted to start working on the scrapbooks that she is creating for the kids in her CCD class.  Well, it seemed like a sign to me!  I would go with her and start to pick out the design for mine.

I walked to the back of the scrapbooking isle and saw the rows and rows of books.  All colors and shapes and sizes.  I selected a small pink one with a little opening in the front that I thought might work for my favorite ultrasound picture.  The fabric was smooth and the edges were bound well and it seemed like a really solid book.  I left it there while I started to browse the isle for items to put in my book.  (There was not much I could help my sister-in-law with as CCD is really out of my Jewish element!).  So off I went in search of little sparkly letters, little "it's a girl" signs, teeny tiny baby bottle stickers and storks and glitter and OH MY GOD, I am so not ready for this yet.

You see,  I am not really an arts and crafts type person.  My bestie can do it in her sleep and since I discovered that, I have kind of let her just run with it whenever the need came up for something crafty.  And then there is Gary who is a trained graphic designer and can do stuff with Photoshop that I thought only professionals can do.  The last time I had a glue gun was when I made my sorority paddle in college and I guarantee you that it did not win any awards.  I am also sure it's completely fallen apart by now.

But it wasn't my skills (or lack thereof) that was the problem.  I knew if I needed help, I would have a house full of people to help me.  (And they would come armed with plenty of wine.)  The problem is, I would like to try to do it on my own.  When I am ready.   Right now, I am not ready to create a book for a child that has a beginning, middle and end.  I am not ready to get the Memory Box out of the basement and dig through it - picking some items out and leaving some other items behind.  Not ready to print out pictures of my baby shower (which was one year ago this month) and see the joy and happiness emerge from the pages and remind me of a time so different from today.

My mission is to make myself be ready.  By Allie's birthday.  Gary and I have been talking the last week or so about how we want to celebrate her birthday and we have some good ideas.  And on that day, when we celebrate our first born, I will have that scrapbook.  One beautiful book that Allie's grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins can flip through and enjoy.   

I have till the end of April to make this book...and I will.  There is not much I can do for my baby these days, but I can cherish her memory.  Oh hell yeah, I can do that.

Vacation or Relocation?

I love a good vacation. Always have. I love the planning and the anticipation and the experience of discovering someplace new.  Once ...