Tag Archive | Kyleigh

October 15, 2013 ~ Candles

Candles lit on October 15, 2013 ~ National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, in memory of babies who have left us too soon …

The Wave of Light candle was lit in memory of over 100 babies, including Kyleigh and our two miscarriages, from Nora’s mom on Still Breathing.

Thank you to everyone who lit a candle. Whether it was in memory of your own baby, or for Kyleigh, you are helping to bring awareness to pregnancy and infant loss by remembering.

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Seven Months

It has been seven months since Kyleigh went to heaven and every day, her brother tells us he misses her.

My fingernails have stopped growing. They are back to their pre-pregnancy-non-growing self, which means that one more part of my body has returned to “normal.” It took seven months for this to happen.

After seven months, it’s still hard to concentrate and remember the details of day to day life. I fail to return phone calls or answer emails in a timely manner. If I don’t write it down, I don’t remember it. Even as I type this, I forget what I was going to say.

It has been seven months and life for most of those around us has gone on. Work, school, daily activities, vacations, holidays, weddings, family photo shoots, births, soccer games, etc. happen around us every day. I know we are not forgotten, but some days it sure feels like it.

I continue to drive the 40 miles one way to get my hair cut. I do this because I know that even after seven months, Lois cares. I can go get my hair cut and spill my guts about whatever is going on and I know that she is listening. I can talk about Kyleigh, my grief, my family, my God and no matter what I say, she has words of wisdom and honors God in all she says.

After seven months, I can walk into the houses of my friends and see pictures of Kyleigh. Some are on refrigerators with magnets, while others are in frames on a dresser. They have not taken them down. They didn’t just put up her picture for a month or two. Her picture is there to stay.

It has been seven months and I still lack the motivation needed to lose the extra weight. Exercising just sounds dreadful and while I am attempting to eat healthier, the Halloween candy is not helping my cause.

Today I met one of my nurses for coffee. After seven months, I am able to enjoy conversation with others and even laugh a little. It is good to share the details of life with someone who was there with me during the hardest time of my life.

After seven months, there is still sadness in our home. Sure, we have lots of fun with lots of laughter. How can we not with two little boys? We enjoyed our family outings this fall … the zoo, pumpkin patch, trick-or-treating … but we are still very aware that someone is missing from our family picture.

After seven months, I still miss my baby girl. I love her just as much as I love her brothers. She will always be a part of who I am.

Triggers

As a child, I did not like hospitals. At all. I was not a fan of needles, blood or anything medical. Thankfully, I was never in the hospital as a child, but visiting others was always an uncomfortable experience. Even as an adult, I prefer to stay away from hospitals unless absolutely necessary. When I was in the hospital to give birth to my children, the only way I made it through was to remember that I was there for my children. I’m sure I would have handled it differently if I was in the hospital for another reason. My fears were subsided, but not completely gone.

Obviously my experience in the hospital when Kyleigh was born was much different than when I had been in the hospital before, both emotionally and medically. I had emergency surgery, a variety of tests/procedures done and many vials of blood drawn. Not my idea of fun, even if my daughter had lived. Somehow, I made it through. I think my emotions had overtaken my body so much that they could have poked and prodded me all day and I wouldn’t have noticed. I became as comfortable in my surroundings as I could. I’m sure having a very supportive doctor and wonderful nurses helped immensely.

A family member has been in the hospital for the last few days. I have been to see her three times, once, staying as long as four hours. In the past, I would have been a ball of nerves and probably would have only gone once or twice for a very short amount of time. This time, I felt comfortable going. It wasn’t a big deal to walk into a hospital that I had never been in on a Sunday afternoon. Since it was the weekend, there was nobody at the information desk to tell me where to go. I navigated my own way to her room without any anxiety. I was comfortable talking to the nurses and making requests on the patient’s behalf.

So why then did I burst into tears last week when I read Curious George Goes to the Hospital to my boys? Did I really cry over a monkey? It wasn’t because Curious George was sick. It was because of the detail it gave about being prepped for surgery. And we’re talking about a children’s book, so the detail was really not that detailed. About a month ago, I was among a group of about ten people. Someone started talking in detail about a surgery that they had. I had to get up and leave the room. I have discovered that any talking and I guess now reading, about surgery is a trigger for me. I can’t handle it.

On Saturday I went to Kohl’s to do a little shopping for everyone. I needed to pick up a few things here and there for both boys, as well as Rodger, and I was hoping to find some new clothes for myself. As soon as I walked in the door I knew I was in trouble. Christmas decorations were everywhere. All I wanted to do was turn around and walk back out, but I knew this was the only time when I could get this shopping done by myself. I was doing okay until I went to look for pants for Oliver. Of course the Boys section is right across from the Baby Girl section. I tried not to pay attention. Then a “Mommy’s Little Turkey” outfit practically jumped off the rack at me. It hit me like a ball to my gut. I might as well have just left at that point. I struggled the rest of the time that I was shopping and while I found what I needed for all the boys, nothing fit or looked right on me.

I’ve figured out why I am seeing so many “I’m expecting!!” posts on Facebook these days. And why everyone is now due in April. This is the three month mark. Twelve weeks. End of their first trimester. The point when most, except for those who find it acceptable to snap a photo of their pee stick as soon as it turns positive, announce they are expecting. Another trigger. Another thing that brings my emotions to the forefront. Another thing that hits me out of nowhere and upsets me, usually for the remainder of the day. It’s not that I’m not happy for these people. I just don’t want to share in their happiness right now. It’s just another reminder that at this point last year, I was almost four months pregnant with Kyleigh. All was well. We made it to the end of our first trimester. After that, there was nothing to be worried about, right?

Some of these things that trigger my emotions are expected. I know that hearing or reading about someone else being pregnant/having a baby upsets me, except for a few dear souls in my life. The problem is you never know when someone is going to post that fact on Facebook, or how they are going to do it. It’s almost become an unwanted contest of who can do it the best.

Other triggers come out of nowhere. I don’t know what others are going to talk about around me or even how it is going to affect me. I don’t know what is lurking around the corner at the store or what song is going to come on the radio next. I heard a song on the radio just a few days ago that I had never heard before. It was a beautiful song and the lyrics were written for me, I am sure of it. As I listened, the tears started. I haven’t heard the song since. At some point, I know I will hear it again. Will it trigger me to cry the next time? I no longer cry at the songs that we played at Kyleigh’s service, but I’m always quick to turn the radio up extra loud and tell the boys to listen when they come on the radio.

There are some triggers that are diminishing. Thursday’s used to be horrible days for me. Those around me could pretty much count on Thursday’s being the roughest day of the week. That has stopped. I have admittedly lost count of how many weeks it has been since Kyleigh left us. I’m sure that has something to do with Thursday’s not being a trigger for me anymore. I am still very aware of the 5th of each month and expect that that day will be a struggle for some time now. I wonder when I will stop counting the months (it will be seven months on November 5) and only count the years. Does that progression happen just like it does for the aging of a living child? I know for me, I told my boys’ age in months until they turned two. Will it be the same for Kyleigh?

I know all of this is normal. I have been told by some that even after five or more years, something still comes out of nowhere and makes them stop still in their tracks. A smell, a sight, a sound or a taste takes them back to a place they never want to go to again. But, at the same time, it makes them remember their child and brings a smile to their face, even after all the tears.

Paying Attention

As I was leaving preschool this morning from dropping the boys off, a woman stopped me and asked, “How’s that baby of yours doing?” Her question about knocked the wind out of me. I did not recognize her and assumed that she was a mom to a preschooler. It took me a few seconds to formulate an answer, but responded by telling her that my baby had passed away during childbirth. I have come to really dislike the word ‘stillborn’ and feel that saying ‘passed away during childbirth’ provides a clearer picture of what really happened, because that really is what happened.

Anyway, instead of turning the other way and running as fast as she could, this woman stood there and took the time to talk to me. She told me she was sorry for what had happened. She asked me if my family attended church and upon hearing that we do, was encouraged that we are receiving support through our church. She gave me a hug. She asked what my baby’s name is and when I told her, Kyleigh, she told me that was one of the girl names she had picked out had she ever had a girl. This woman asked how we were doing and how my boys were dealing with Kyleigh’s death. She asked if we prefer that people talk about Kyleigh or don’t say anything at all.

We talked for probably 10 minutes or so. She was not intrusive, but genuinely cared and showed compassion. At one point, we did introduce ourselves because like I said, I had no idea who this woman was. As we started to go our separate ways, I thanked her for taking the time to talk to me. I told her that she was the first person to ask me about my baby who did not know what had happened and that while it took me off guard, I truly appreciated her asking.

This woman, a mother to three boys, is paying attention to life around her. She’s not caught up in the little stuff that we let get in the way. She didn’t know my name, but she remembered seeing me at preschool the year before. Five months later, she remembered that I had been pregnant. I have often wondered as I walk the aisles of the grocery store or take the boys to check out books at the library if anybody there realizes that I was pregnant. They couldn’t have missed my enormous belly. In fact, I’m sure many of them were fearful that I would go into labor right there in the middle of the food or book aisles. I didn’t run any of my regular errands for almost three months after Kyleigh died. Is that enough time for people to forget? Or are they just afraid to say anything? Or were they even paying attention in the first place?

Do you pay attention to those around you? I don’t. I am clueless when it comes to new hairstyles, if you’ve lost or gained weight or if you got new glasses. I think this is why I was so touched and caught off guard at the same time today.

I cried happy tears as I headed back towards home this morning. One more person has heard Kyleigh’s story and I don’t think this woman will soon forget it.

Picnics in Heaven

A few weeks ago, we attended the Midwest Transplant Network Donor Family Picnic. It was located just a few miles from our house at a ranch. They had a lot of activities for children (pony rides, bounce houses, hay ride, games, etc.) and provided a BBQ dinner for donor families and volunteers. When we received the information, we were hesitant to attend. After thinking about it for a few weeks, we decided that it would be a good thing to do and a way to get more involved with other donor families. I dressed the boys in their Big Brother t-shirts the day of the picnic and off we went. It was the one and only Saturday where it rained all summer, but the rain stopped just long enough for everyone to enjoy the picnic. Rodger and I bought Donate Life t-shirts and we had four buttons made with Kyleigh’s picture on it.

When we first arrived, we were filled with an unexpected emotion. The button table was the first thing we encountered when we walked in. Handing over Kyleigh’s picture to have buttons made was almost too much. Others families had buttons made as well and some had their own t-shirts made using their loved ones photo and name. As we walked around and enjoyed the activities, I made note of the other buttons and t-shirts. I saw a few pictures of women, but most were men. It was easy to assume who the person was, a grandmother, older brother or father. There was one family who probably had four or more children. They were all wearing t-shirts and buttons with pictures of their dad. He was younger then Rodger when he passed away. As I looked around, I never did see anybody else with a button of a baby or young child. We got a few sympathetic looks from others when they realized that our buttons displayed a picture of a baby, but nobody said anything. We walked away with mixed emotions … happy for having a good time with the boys, but sad for the reason that we were there. Rodger and I both said we would go again, so maybe this was the first of many Family Donor Picnics.

Today, I am wearing my Donate Life t-shirt in honor of Kyleigh’s 5 months in heaven.

As I was cleaning up the dishes from lunch today, Oliver asked me what I thought Kyleigh was doing. It was one of the out of the blue questions that just about knocks the wind out of me. I told him that Kyleigh would have been 5 months old today and that I thought she was celebrating with Jesus. Then he asked what I thought she would do tomorrow. I started to tell him that she would probably be tired from celebrating and would have to rest. Then I stopped myself. There is no rest in heaven! Our bodies are made whole again and we don’t get tired. Oliver and I talked about heaven for a few minutes and concluded that it’s such an awesome place that it’s hard for us to imagine what it will be like. He also decided that Great-Grandma was celebrating with Kyleigh today and that our dog, Boston, was waiting for Kyleigh when she got to heaven. He also said that Boston will be excited when he gets there so they can play fetch.

I often catch myself looking at the world around me and being sad because Kyleigh isn’t here to see it with me. Of course a lot of that is because I miss her terribly, but a lot of that is also because I wanted her to see rainbows, mountains, flowers and butterflies. Then I catch myself and remember that what Kyleigh is seeing in heaven is so much more beautiful than what I am seeing here on Earth. It’s so much greater than what any of us can imagine! And that brings me comfort.

Happy 5 months in heaven Kyleigh! One day we will all have a picnic together in heaven. I love you!

4 Months

Today marks 4 months since Kyleigh was born into Heaven. Sometimes I think the anticipation leading up to days like today are worse than the actual day. I was a mess yesterday. Cried at the drop of a hat. We took the boys to a movie in the morning and had a great time. The boys were so excited to see the new Thomas the Train movie on the big screen and we loved hearing Oliver sing along to the songs. We stopped at one of our favorites, Red Robin, for lunch on our way home. Then we got home. And it hit me. The tears started flowing and didn’t hardly stop until God delivered what I needed.

We have been in a major drought this summer. No rain and hotter than usual temperatures. Last night after dinner, Rodger convinced me to step outside with him and the boys. I really wasn’t in the mood, but a cool front was blowing through and it sounded nice to get out without it being 100+ degrees out. As I stepped outside, it started to sprinkle. Not much, but just enough. The sun was still shining and all I could think of was, “Please God, send me a rainbow.” I searched the sky and saw nothing. I told the boys to keep their eyes on the clouds because when there is rain and sunlight at the same time, there is sure to be a rainbow. Of course, the rain did not amount to much more than a few sprinkles every few minutes. I quickly became disappointed because I knew it wasn’t enough to make the beautiful rainbow that I had been hoping for.

The boys wanted to take a walk, so we ventured down the street. As we got to our turn around point, I looked up and saw the smallest sliver of a rainbow. It was just enough to make me smile and make me content in my wish. Nobody saw it but me. The boys were already too far ahead of me to call them back, so I enjoyed the bright colors all to myself. I thanked God and turned towards home. That’s when I saw it. One of the biggest rainbows I have ever seen, right over the top of our house. It literally looked like the rainbow was engulfing our home. It started on the left side and ended on the right. No other house underneath. I’m sure God got a good laugh out of this one. He was making sure I knew who was in charge and that He wasn’t done yet. He was also giving me the reassurance that I needed yesterday. Kyleigh is okay. She is safe in heaven and resting in Jesus’ arms. While we continue to grieve for Kyleigh and miss her terribly, God is holding us in his hands, just like that rainbow was holding our home. There was an immediate sense of peace and calmness that came over me. I asked Rodger to take pictures with his phone and I think we ended up with a few dozen. It was absolutely beautiful.

We ate our dessert on the deck out back and went in shortly after to get the boys ready for bed. As I went in the kitchen to close the blinds, God showed me that He wasn’t done yet! Another wonderful rainbow graced the sky behind our house almost an hour after the first one. The top of the rainbow was covered in clouds, but the left and right sides were clearly visable. By this point in the evening, the sun was beginning to go down and the sky was no longer blue, but pink. The most beautiful pink clouds surrounded the rainbow. The brightest pink that I have seen in the sky in a long time. This time I grabbed my phone and started snapping photos.

God showed me three times last night that Kyleigh is at peace, free of pain and full of joy. Each time was more beautiful then the one before it. All of these rainbows in the sky above our house where only a few sprinkles fell. God knew what I needed yesterday and He provided, just like always.

Happy 4 months in Heaven Kyleigh! We love you!

 

Double Rainbow

A beautiful double rainbow graced the sky on the morning of Kyleigh’s celebration of life. Most of the pictures we have of it only show one of the rainbows. This picture, sent to us from a friend, clearly shows both rainbows. The last song played at Kyleigh’s service was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. Our Pastor and friend, Megan, talked about the rainbow during her message in the service. We did not know that there was a rainbow that morning until Megan spoke of it, only had prayed for a sign from God that Kyleigh was okay. What a beautiful sign from God that Kyleigh is safe in the arms of Jesus!

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