Tag Archive | Kyleigh

A Walk in My Shoes

It has become very clear to me in the past three and a half months that I will never look at things the same way again. Everything is different. Nothing has stayed the same. One thing that has changed the most is the way that I interpret people’s comments, whether spoken or written. Just because I look at things differently doesn’t always mean that it is a negative viewpoint. I just have a much different view on life than ever before.

I saw a post on Facebook this morning regarding having children. The post expressed the author’s happiness at having children when he was younger. He pointed out that raising children, especially newborns, is the “most time consuming hardest thing in the world” and was glad he was past that. He is the same age as me. There were a mix of comments, some agreeing and some stating that they were glad they waited until they were older. I commented with, “Rodger and I were married 7 years before we had kids. Wouldn’t trade it for anything! Keep in mind, too, that not everything goes as planned.”

I quickly learned that my interpretation of “not everything goes as planned” is much different than the general public. A few of the comments that followed referenced having more children then were in the plan. Someone referenced a comment back to me saying that their family didn’t go according to their plans, almost as if they were agreeing with my “not everything goes as planned” comment. It didn’t even dawn on me that someone would read my comment and connect it to failed birth control, or lack thereof, hence having more children than they had planned on. At first, I wanted to respond with an explanation of what I meant by my comment, then I decided against it. Knowing how sometimes comments can be taking the wrong way via text, I didn’t want to offend anyone or make them think I was upset by their comments because I wasn’t. I just clearly knew at that point that my point of view is very distorted these days and that most people don’t hold that same point of view.

When I made the comment that not everything goes as planned, I was referring to how our plan is not always God’s plan. We can have this master plan for our lives, but guess what, it doesn’t always happen that way. In fact, I think anybody would be hard pressed to find someone who can honestly say that their life has turned out exactly the way they wanted it to.

Rodger and I had the Five Year Plan in place when we got married. We didn’t want to have children right out of the gate. We got married really young, although we would not have admitted it then. If we waited five years, we would have time to enjoy the early years of marriage kid free, yet still have children by the age of 30. At that point in our lives, thirty seemed forever away and kind of old. Remember, I told you we got married young! Well five years came and went and no baby. It wasn’t because we weren’t ready. We were, God wasn’t. He made us wait two more years before we had a child. Those two years were filled with ups and downs and a lot of heartache, including one miscarriage. Seven years after we got married, we delivered a healthy baby boy. We were both 29. A second miscarriage occurred almost a year and a half later. Then, our second baby boy was born two and a half years after his big brother. We learned a lot during those two and a half years, the most important thing being that it’s God’s plan, not ours.  That lesson has stuck with us and has helped us many times during this journey of losing Kyleigh. Having a third child was definitely in our plan. Her death was not.

Compassionate Friends posted a picture on their Facebook wall today that reads: You will never truly understand something until it actually happens to you. We have all heard this before, or at least something similar. It wasn’t until later today that it hit me, I read things differently now, I see things differently now because of what happened to me. Nobody else can understand that except me. Even those who have lost a child will still see things differently then I will, although they will certainly have a better understanding than most.

Nobody was going to understand my comment today for what I meant it to be because they have not walked in my shoes. For me, it meant that my family has not gone as planned because three out of five of my babies are in heaven. Yes, I would have had children at a younger age too, had I gotten pregnant when I wanted to. It didn’t happen. If all of my children would have been born alive, I would have five children ages 6, 5, 3 ½, 2 and 3 ½ months. For someone else, her family has not gone as planned because she planned on two children and now has five healthy children here on earth. This is not a bad thing by any means. I can tell that she loves her children more than anything and goes above and beyond to be the best mother that she can. Let me make this clear, I am not upset by any of the comments from today. What upsets me is that my understanding of life is forever changed. My view of life is forever changed. I look at everything differently. I look at everything from the perspective of a mother who has lost three children. I don’t expect too many other people to have that same perspective.

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Awareness

Today has just been one of those days. One of those days when nothing really went wrong, it just would have been better had I stayed in bed. My emotions this week are all over the place.

Sunday, we went back to church for the first time since Kyleigh was born and died. We had intended to go long before now, but we didn’t want the first week to be a holiday (there have been three: Memorial Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day). Other weeks we just weren’t up to it and then my grandma’s death set us back a few weeks, as well. The boys were starting to ask about why we haven’t been, so we decided it was now or never. Overall, I think it went well. The fact that we had waited so long probably helped. We saw some friends and a few familiar faces, so that always helps, too. One thing that Rodger commented on later was how he had forgotten that there were so many babies in church. I tried not to pay attention. Since I was very pregnant the last time we had been, I expected the boys’ Sunday school teachers to ask about the baby. Nobody said anything, so I figure either we had been gone so long that they forgot I was pregnant, or someone had told them what happened. Either way, I was glad nobody said anything.

Sunday evening, Rodger and I went to the cemetery and saw Kyleigh’s headstone for the first time. You can probably imagine the emotions that surround that, although we were not surprised to see it in place. When we were out there last week, the temporary marker had been removed and flags had been placed to mark the ground for her permanent marker. Kyleigh’s headstone is beautiful. It just makes everything so final. Now, instead of looking down at dirt and hints of growing grass, I see my daughter’s name. I see one date, where everyone else around her has two. Having her headstone placed was the last step in the “funeral” process. Now all that’s left is paying off the credit card that we used to buy her headstone.

Thursday marks three months since Kyleigh left us. Three months is a big milestone for me, and not in a good way. At three months, babies turn from newborns into infants. They start to develop a personality. They don’t sleep as much during the day. It becomes harder to tell how old a baby is starting around three months. It’s fairly easy to tell when a baby is a newborn. Guessing the age of infants is harder, especially if they are smaller or bigger for their age. I find myself less aware of newborns now and more aware of infants, wondering how close in age Kyleigh would have been. These are the babies that will enter Kindergarten the same year as Kyleigh would have. I wonder if in five years, I will look at five year olds the same way that I look at babies now, with envy. Three months also marks milestones for me physically. My hair is still falling out; a daily reminder that I was pregnant. The maternity clothes still hang in my closet, although I refuse to wear them anymore. Newborn items can be found throughout the house. Items that would have been put away by now if Kyleigh was with us because she would have outgrown their use. Three months is a quarter of a year. A quarter of Kyleigh’s first year is already gone.

Friday is the light of my week. Oliver turns 5 on Friday and I am so excited for him! He is excited as well and we have a lot of fun things planned throughout the week to celebrate him.

Can you see why my emotions are like a roller coaster this week??

One thing that makes my emotions crazy like this is being aware of so much more then I used to. Some of it is good, most of it is bad. I am super sensitive to babies and women who are pregnant. They are everywhere. I always noticed them before Kyleigh died, but now, they are coming out of the woodwork. Since I have two children under the age of five, most places we go are kid friendly. Enter the abundance of complaining pregnant women and crying babies. Rodger and I went on a weekend getaway last weekend and the first night, there was a baby crying in the room below us. On the flight home, the lady sitting next to us was pregnant with her third child. The flight attendant thought this was the greatest thing since sliced bread and stopped to chat with her every time she walked by. We heard the whole family story and how number three was not planned, but they were so excited anyway! Sense the sarcasm. I wanted to scream, but figured that would get me kicked off the plane and all I wanted to do was go home to see my boys.

The other thing that I am much more aware of is the death of other children. In the past three months, I know of two other families who have suffered the loss of a child. Another is fighting for his life at a local children’s hospital as I type this. These are not families that we know directly, but are friends of friends. Just yesterday, I connected with a mother who lost her daughter a year ago in a tragic accident over the 4th of July holiday. When we visited the grave of my grandmother over the weekend, there is a mother, father and daughter who are buried not too far from Grandma. The mother lived to be 100, the father was in his 40’s and their daughter passed away when she was 7. What a story that woman must have had to live so long without her husband and daughter. Children die every day. Did I turn a blind eye to it before?

I know that I am more aware of these things because of my loss of Kyleigh. If Kyleigh was with me, I would look at other babies and expecting mothers with joy, not sorrow. I would see them, but would ignore them at the same time because I would be focused on my baby, not theirs. If Kyleigh was with me, I would hear these stories of children dying and while it would make me sad, I would say “I can’t imagine going through that” or even as more say “I’m glad I’ll never have to endure that pain.” Well, guess what? I never thought I would have to go this and endure this pain. But I am and so are they.

Awareness leads to sensitivity and empathy. I am sensitive towards babies and pregnancy. Having these feelings is part of the grieving process. I will not always turn the other way when I see a baby. For now, it’s the only way I know to deal with my pain. I have extreme empathy for those who have lost a child. My heart breaks for these families who are experiencing the pain of the death of a child. I feel like I grieve all over again when I hear of these tragic stories. Knowing of two, possibly three, deaths of children so close to Kyleigh and through people who are connected to us, is just overwhelming. I prayed to God tonight that he would heal the little boy that is clinging to life. I prayed that He would spare this mother from the pain that I am going through.

These are only a few of the things that I have become more aware of these days. There are others, such as the smiles on my boys’ faces, laughter in our home and the number of kisses I get each day from all of my boys. There is good in all of this. Some days are just still so sad.

Community

With technology the way it is these days, you can connect to anyone, just about anywhere. And for just about anything. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes this is bad. I suppose one of the “good” things about this is finding support in others who have experienced the same thing you have.

After our first miscarriage, I ventured out onto the web and found numerous websites that offered support, whether it was through written articles or other’s stories. I found websites that were very helpful and some that were not so much. I quickly found myself getting sucked into the stories of others, many of whom had far greater losses then my own. I had just lost my baby whom I carried for 11 weeks, but many of the stories that I read were from women who had lost babies at 30 weeks, 36 weeks or even full term or after. I couldn’t imagine going through something like that. If I had only known what was ahead …

I became devoted to reading a handful of blogs about these women. I even continued to read their stories after I became pregnant with baby #2. Reading their stories while pregnant should have set off a fear in me for my own pregnancy, but it didn’t. Once Oliver was born, my time quickly diminished and reading blogs was no longer on my to-do list.

I always wondered why I continued to read about the tragic stories of people I did not know for so long. Now I know. It was preparing me for what was to come, even though I didn’t know it at the time. Those stories have always been in the back of my mind. I just never imagined that I would walk in their shoes someday. Over time, I would check in to see where the lives of these families had taken them. Most of the blogs had turned from sorrow to joy. They were documenting more of everyday life, the good times. Some were still documenting the pain, sorrow and tears.

In the past week, I have started researching again, looking up websites that deal with grief, loss of children and loss of newborns. I have signed up for newsletters, liked them on Facebook and bookmarked them for later use. As I have been researching, I have once again stumbled upon the stories of others. One website, in particular, is nothing but stories. It is specific to miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss. You can submit your story, as well as your blog, for those that have one. I have read a handful of the stories and clicked on a few of the blogs. These women are bearing their souls for all to read. In my opinion, some of the information is too personal to share with the entire world. The idea is that women who have had a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss can find comfort and support through the stories of others. While I can see some of the content as beneficial, some of it is not so much, at least not yet.

One of the benefits to many of these baby loss communities, as they are called, is that you can find others who have been through what you are going through. While certainly nobody’s story is the same, there is a sense of comfort in knowing there are many, many other people out there that have gone through what we are going through. We have a wonderful network of family and friends that have supported us beyond our expectations. Having connections outside of this network, even with people we don’t know personally, is a positive thing as well. We have been blessed to be connected with two families outside of these baby loss communities who have also lost baby girls to stillbirth. They have been a great support and sense of strength during these early weeks of losing Kyleigh. Sometimes it is beneficial to have someone to talk to who has been in the same valley as you, whether it is face-to-face, through email or a blog.

The jury is still out as to whether I will find any of these baby loss communities helpful. I’m sure over time they will be. I have to be careful not to get sucked in though. Quite honestly, a lot of the content is depressing to read. I don’t need to read other people’s depressing stories. My goal is to find two or three blogs that are not only helpful, but inspiring. I don’t need to read about someone who lost their baby a month before or after me. I need to read about someone who lost their baby two years ago or ten years ago. I need to see that it does get better. Life does move from sorrow and tears to joy and smiles.

I have not decided yet whether or not to add this blog to the list of others within these baby loss communities. I’m not sure that now is the time. If I decide to in the future, my hope is that Kyleigh will be honored through posts of happiness, not sadness. That others will see the progression from pain to healing and that they will see a love for a baby girl like no other.

Glorious

Dear Kyleigh,

A wonderful woman joined you in heaven on June 9th, your Great-Grandma. I know that your days have been even more glorious since then. She promised me that she would take care of you and I know that is exactly what she has been doing since she got to heaven. I imagine her rocking you in a rocking chair, just as she did with Oliver and Garrison. Great-Grandma was too sick to come to your Celebration of Life and I know that was very upsetting for her. While none of us here on Earth wanted her to join you so soon, it brings me comfort and peace to know she is now with you forever. I am blessed to have been with her in her final days and at the moment that she went to be with you and Jesus. I will tell you more about her another time, but for now, snuggle down in her arms and tell her I love her.

Love,

Mommy

Great-Grandma rocking Oliver

Time Marches On

This is the first week that I have driven in six weeks. I got released from all of my restrictions a week ago today and can now resume all regular activity. I drove for the first time on Tuesday, making stops at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and Target. I was exhausted by the time I got home and I was by myself; no boys to get in and out of shopping carts and the car. Wednesday we met friends to play at a local business full of fun activities for the kids and on Thursday, we checked out the new aquarium in town. Again, I was tired after each of these days, but enjoyed seeing the boys having fun. My stamina is not what it used to be and it is going to take some time to build it back up again.

When people hear that I am getting out and about, or see me out and about, they are excited for me. They are glad to hear that my restrictions have been lifted, as that must mean that I am healed, physically, at least. What most people don’t realize is that getting out and doing anything right now is a struggle. I cried in the middle of Hobby Lobby because I had to pick out flowers to place on Kyleigh’s grave for Memorial Day. I walked around Michael’s forever trying to find the perfect arrangement of red flowers, because that’s what the boys requested for Kyleigh. Target was exhausting on every level. I hadn’t been in so long that I forgot where a lot of things were and had to double back more than once, making me even more tired physically. Every time I turned the corner of an aisle, I prepared myself emotionally, just in case I saw a newborn baby. You don’t realize how many babies are out there until you really don’t want to see one. Our play date on Wednesday was successful. Not too many others were there that day, the kids all got along and I had some time to have genuine conversation with a friend I have known since at least Kindergarten. I left feeling pretty good and thinking to myself that I can do this. Going to the aquarium on Thursday was another fun day, especially because Grandma went with us. The boys were excellent and I powered through seeing the occasional infant. Getting out of the house really is good for me, I realize that. I also realize that it presents a whole other set of triggers and by today, Friday, I am exhausted emotionally and physically.

I made it through this week. Another week down. This was the last week of school for many and Memorial Day is this weekend. For most, this marks the kick-off of summer. When Garrison saw that the pool was open today, he clapped from his car seat and said, “Yay! Summer’s here!” The timing of me being able to resume regular activity at the same time as summer starting is not necessarily a good thing. It means that time is marching on. A new season is beginning, but I am still stuck in the old one. Rodger and I mapped out the next few weekends and before I knew it, we were into July. This weekend is Memorial Day, the next is our family tradition of making the drive to ride Thomas the Train. A free weekend after that is before Father’s Day, followed by our anniversary weekend. The next weekend gets into the Fourth of July and Oliver’s birthday. I know not everyone cares what our weekend plans are, but this was a huge realization to me that life is moving on whether we want it to or not. It’s going to be the middle of July before I know it and while I am excited to celebrate my son’s fifth birthday, I am so saddened by the fact that Kyleigh won’t be here for it. Every holiday, every family celebration, every trip to Target, is a reminder that Kyleigh isn’t here for it.

We have plans to travel later in the summer to see family and I am not excited about it. Rodger and Oliver were to make this trip by themselves and I was to stay home with Garrison and the baby. Now that there is no baby, Garrison and I are going too. How can I be excited when every time I think about it, it reminds me that Kyleigh’s death is the reason that I am going? I am going for the boys, for they are the reason that I do everything right now. It is their lives and their time that make me get up every day and power through. Their lives are continuing. Their time is marching on. I don’t want my boys to miss out on life or time because I am too sad to take them to the park where I might see a baby girl. Just please realize what a struggle it is for me to do so.