Tuesday, October 23, 2012

18 Months

It's been 18 months since we said hello and goodbye to our baby girl in the same breath.  It's been 18 months of learning to live without her.  It's been 18 months of heartache and tears and agony.  18 months since we put her things into storage in her basement and 18 months since our foundation was rocked to the very core.

Time matters to me - always has.  I am a scheduler and a planner and I have several watched in a variety of colors and styles so that I can always know exactly what time it is.  I am that person who goes overseas and says..."It's only 7 at home!" or whatever the time may be.  I find time fascinating.

I do not think Gary is as much of a time person.  I know when it comes to our daughter, he measures the time we had with her more than the time without her.  I do not think either one of us is right, it's just the way it is.

18 months.  It seems so long to me.  It's twice the amount of time we had her and I guess that resonates with me.

My youngest brother and his wife have spent the last year traveling all over the world.  Thailand, Ireland, England, Italy, Spain...to name just a few places!  They are in Bulgaria now and heading out to Greece in a little over a week.  And from there, India.  And in the midst of all their travels and life experiences, they took a few minutes in Barcelona to remember their niece.  This is the gift they sent...along with Zoe adoring it.  A beautiful hand painted tile of a butterfly.  A nod to Allie and how she is everywhere.  We love it.  It's on my nightstand for the moment so I can see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  Eventually we will find just the right place to hang it. 

I was talking to a close friend of mine earlier today and I said how time does not make the loss any better.  That's not entirely true.  Time had closed the wound so that it only opens up every once a while now.  Time has made it so I can get up every day and be an active member of society.  I can go to work and I can go out to eat and I can go to a movie and I can laugh.  I never thought I would laugh again.  So time has helped to some extent.  But in other ways, no amount of time will change that my first born is not here and never will be.

We were at a wedding over the weekend and someone leaned it to me as we were leaving and whispered, "Congratulations!  I heard the great news!"  It took me a second to find my footing as we did not have any good news to share.  We have been trying to get pregnant and that is not a secret but somehow this person must have heard that we had success...when in fact, we have not. So I just smiled and said, "Not yet, but hopefully soon!" as I walked away with a silly smile on my face so as to not make that person feel badly.  It took me a few moments to catch my breath.  Maybe soon.

Someday we will have news.  I just know it.  And then we will be in for months and months of a whole new journey of what to say and how to act and how to feel and all the while knowing that I will want to just live in the maternity ward to make sure nothing bad happens to Allie's sibling.  I am so ready for that day.

Hopefully it will be sometime within the next 18 months.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Circle Game

I grew up in a house where music was all around.  Folk music in particular.  Lots of Peter, Paul and Mary.  For some reason, this song popped into my head today.  It's a classic by Joni Mitchell called "The Circle Game".  Below is the chorus.

And the seasons they go 'round and 'round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

The sense of calm I get from this song is unmatched.  I just hit play over and over again and letting the words wash over me.  We just go round and round...just like the seasons...we can't return (go back) but we can look behind to see where we have been and move forward from there.  I just could not stop listening to it today.

On Friday, I went to visit my dad.  He's pretty ill I do not write about him much as I am just not sure where he fits into my life or how I fit into his.  He went from Assisted Living to a Nursing Home and is wheelchair bound now.  I was worried he would not know me any more and I was not sure if I could handle that.  We have a long and crazy history, but the fact of the matter is, he is still my dad.  And the minute he looked up and saw me, his face lit up.  We did not stay long.  There was not much to say.  His memory has faded and he does not have a lot of energy.  I assure him that his children were all doing well and that we loved him and I kissed him as we walked out the door.  I felt an eerie calm as we left. I'll go back soon to see him again.

Yesterday, Gary and I took Ella for a few hours and we went to an event sponsored by our company at a local farm.  We were so proud to show off our niece!  She picked out her own pumpkin and carried it around all day.  She loved to look at the cows and the pigs and tried to make the noises that they made.  Someone from my company remarked that my daughter and her granddaughter were the same age. I corrected her and said that Ella was my niece. She seemed confused so I quickly explained that yes, Ella was born in April 2011.  Her granddaughter was born in March of 2011.  That woman saw me pregnant last year and then saw me with a sweet little girl and it made sense that she would think she was mine.  I bet she was not the only one.

I love being an aunt and I think I am good at it. I know Gary loves being an Uncle, too.  I love that those are roles that we would excel at no matter what.   

"And the seasons, they go 'round and 'round"...the leaves are changing around here and my flip flops are back to spending more time in my closet than on my feet.  Life is moving on and I have no choice but to move along with it.  "We're captive on the carousel of time"...moving forward each and every day.  Make peace with my life.  Mending my heart.  Making sure my baby is always remembered, never forgotten, and hopefully making me a better person for having created her.

It's been about and hour and a half now now since we lit our candle tonight. Since you all lit your candles and sent me pictures or uploaded them to Facebook.  The wave of light that you all have helped us create and shown that although Allie is gone, she is never ever forgotten. What a gift.

The "painted ponies go up and down"...I hope there is a carousel where you are baby girl and that you are enjoying the ride.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

There were things that happened during my pregnancy with Allie that I never had a chance to share...after all, I was not blogging at the time and figured I would have her whole life to tell her everything I wanted share.  Only now, almost 18 months later, am I starting to really remember some of it.  Here's what I have come up with so far.

Allison Paige was originally Allison Parker.  We poured over our book of baby names and made list after list and finally came up with the perfect name. The A for my grandfather Allen and the P for Gary's grandfather Paul. It was such a perfect name that I went home that night and Googled it so see what it would look like in print and to see what would pop up...and something did pop up.  The original cast photo from Melrose Place.  Courtney Thorne-Smith's character was names Allison Parker.  So I guess Aaron Spelling came up with her name first.  We changed her middle name to Paige that night and immediately loved it even more. 

I could not wait to buckle my little girl in her stroller and go for long walks with her.  I would point out the plants and flowers along the way and we would oh and ah over the pretty colors and the rich tones.  I went for long walks before her and I go for long walks after her, but sometimes now my hands feel empty as if they should be pushing her stroller.

When we were alone, I would have long talks with Allie.  Mostly in the car.  I would tell her where we were or where we were going and explain how this mattered to her.  (I am not sure it did, but I loved talking to her).  I imagined that when she was born and she would hear my voice, she would be like, "Hey!  I know you!"

Gary used to love to feel her kick.  He would stare at my belly in awe and often times talk to her, too.  I had never before seen such a peacefulness wash over his features.  I have not seen it since.  It was so amazing that sometimes I had to look away and give them their privacy.

People used to tell me that the worries I had when I was pregnant would turn into bigger worries when she was born and that essentially, I had signed up for 18 years of worry.  I so wish that they had been right.

My daughter loved fruit.  Gary cut up honeydew and cantaloupe for us to take to work every day and as soon as I took one bite, she would start kicking like crazy.  She loved the sweetness.  That was my first sign that something was wrong.  The afternoon before we went to the hospital, I had my fruit as usual and she was pretty still.  I believe there was some movement, but I know it was much less than usual and I started to worry.  So much of that day is lost in my memory, but I remember sitting at my desk and starting to feel the first signs of fear.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  The actual day to "celebrate" is October 15th.  Last year we had a moment of silence and lit a candle.  This year, there is a balloon release locally that I want to attend but am not sure yet if I have the courage to go.  I still have a week to decide.  Regardless, we will be lighting a candle at 7pm to celebrate her and I urge you to light one, too.  For all the babies out there who have parents with empty arms.   

A fellow Baby Loss Mom (BLM) made this picture for us and I love it.  A complete stranger turned friend as she understands the pain and agony of losing her baby, too.

Allie, baby, I have spent so much energy trying to make a sibling for you that sometimes I have buried my grief and sorrow just to survive.  Please know that I have never stopped loving you and that you are my heart and my light and that this month and every month, your daddy and I remember and love you so.  We don't need a special month to celebrate you, but we don't mind it, either.  It's just another excuse for us to talk about and love you.  And love you we do.

Adoption In My Heart

Today was the Adoptions From The Heart Annual Picnic . We love this event. It is close to our house, it is early enough in the summer that i...