Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On the 9th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

I know, traditionally the 12 days of Christmas are celebrated starting Christmas day until Epiphany in January but I liked the idea of celebrating it leading up to Christmas.  I got the idea from a blog I read pretty regularly.  The main point is to just bless your husband in some way on each of the 12 days leading up to or after Christmas.  I must tell you that this has been so much fun for me and by day 6 I could really tell he was enjoying it too, wondering what he would be getting each new day.  I didn't spend much money at all, as a matter of fact most of the things would have been stocking stuffers, and I just had to get creative with some of the other days, but it has been so fun to give him a little something everyday relating to the number of the day.  So, here is what he has gotten so far:

Day 1 - Love and Respect book (he had asked for for his birthday)
Day 2 - gloves
Day 3 - 3 chocolate bars
Day 4 - 1 box of poptarts has 4 packs in it.  A yummy treat!
Day 5 - 5 pack of underwear
Day 6 - 6 bottles of Henry's Root Beer
Day 7 - 7 letters.  Matthew has 7 letters so I wrote him a name poem.
Day 8 - 8 oz can of peppermint hot cocoa
Day 9 - 9 I love you notes that he will find in various places around the house and online today! (maybe he will write a note sharing where he found each of his "I love you" notes later.)
Day 10-12 - shhhhh... it's a secret, I can't tell yet.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Dark Days

Photo Credit
As I write this I am not sure why I am writing it, except to let my feelings out and possibly help others who are on this path behind us, which I guess is why I started this blog in the first place.  So, if you are one of those who have been asked, no, forced (because we had no choice in losing our loved one), to walk this valley, these are some emotions that you most likely will encounter... And if you are reading this just to hear how we are doing, thank you for understanding our roller coaster emotions.

Somedays I just need to cry.  Somedays the emotions are so overwhelming I don't want to get out of bed.  If not for Lucy there are days I am certain I would have stayed in bed.  Crying, sleeping, trying to make the real world go away, feeling sorry for myself and dwelling on my little one taken from me, wishing she were in my arms again.   I'm sure many of you know what I am talking about.

November 19 marked 3 months without Aimee, November 21 was my birthday and November 24 was Thanksgiving.  A dark week indeed.  Most of it I felt like crying.  If anyone even mentioned Aimee, although I was glad they were thinking of her and wanted to express that, I would tear up.  In order to have a "happy" Thanksgiving I made Matt and my brothers and sister play games with me all evening (luckily, they didn't really mind).

But those are the days one would expect to be having a difficult time.  The days that I know will come and will have to somehow muddle through.

I was surprised at the emotions that came when I went for my postpartum exam, even just sitting in the waiting room was VERY difficult.  I expressed the emotions to my doctor and he said it is very normal and to be aware that it will probably happen with every thing I go back to doing as I start entering into 'normal' life again and he let me leave the office through the "secret door".  Sure enough, the first time I took Lucy back to story time at the library was hard, the first time I subbed at day care again was hard and I had even seen the kids and Andrea (my friend and the owner) prior.  Going to the dentist, of all things, was difficult.  Why the dentist?  He and his wife are on the same 'baby schedule' as Matt and I.  They have a boy a month older than Lucy and I knew they were expecting a girl a month after Aimee.  Getting back to "normal" is difficult.  In the beginning it was hard to see babies that I could tell were about the age Aimee would be, however that seems to have gotten better, so when I went to peak at a newborn of a woman I had met I was not ready for the overwhelming emotions that came.  I could hardly contain my grief and was in a public place!  I'm sorry I put her in an awkward place but am so thankful for my friend that was standing right beside me to help me through.  I have also realized it is not a good idea for me to linger in the infant aisle like I used to. (Why does all the toddler stuff still have to be with the infant stuff?)

At other times the emotions just come and I can't understand why.  Like yesterday.  I will seem to be having a great day with most things going well and all of a sudden it hits like a wall and becomes very difficult to function.  I have a hard time playing with Lucy or even being up and around.  All I want is to go to bed and sleep and cry the day away.  I feel like the world is moving happily along and yet I can't put one foot in front of the other.  I'm sure others can see the grief in my face, posture, or weakness of body but it is hard to talk to people about my feelings when I am in the midst of it because I know it will make me cry more and if I cry more it's not only exhausting, it hurts more from the headache it causes.  So, I trudge on and try to stay up and alert and not fall apart too much in front of Lucy.

I have always been a pretty emotional person and have never really liked that, I've thought of it as a weakness to overcome.  Over the last year I guess I have really learned that I need to be ok with my emotions.

I found this at the end of one of those mass emails I was sent awhile ago.  I thought it was perfect for this post:
'Life isn't about
how to survive the storm,
But how to dance
in the rain.'

And how does one dance in the rain?  Reflect on God's goodness and the things He has given me.  Try to engage with my Lucy, or just sit and watch her play and listen to her laugh.  Hug my husband and allow him to comfort me or cry with me, whichever he needs to do that day.  And if I really need to let my brain veg out; watch a TV show or read a book.

How about you?  What are some ways you learn to dance in the rain?  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I Did Today

Opening a pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve is a tradition we grew up with and continue with Lucy.  This year as I was going through some clothes my mom was getting rid of I noticed this great Christmas shirt (thanks Auntie Brig!).  My mom gave me the idea to make Lucy some Christmas pants out of it.  What a great idea!  Thanks Mom!  I not only made it into pants but there was even enough to make an entire top too.

As I was figuring out how to make her jammies Lucy was playing dress up and hanging out with Violet.  It is so nice to have a little girl who will entertain herself... for awhile!

This is what I started with.

First, I cut out the sleeves to make the pants.  If making infant pants you can use the bodice of the shirt but my Lucy has too long of legs!  I used a pair of pants that are a bit big for her right now as a pattern since I want her to wear them for awhile.  Also, using the sleeves meant I didn't have to hem the pants. :)

After I cut out the pants I got a shirt that is also a good size for her right now and used that as a pattern.  The original shirt has buttons down the front and a nice collar so to not have to not have to mess with any of that I lined up Lucy's shirt with it in the middle and cut out the sides.

I cut enough fabric off the bottom to make the sleeves out of!  You will notice the sleeves are not full length.  There would have been a seem around the middle of the sleeve if I had made them full length so I asked if she wanted them short or long and she wanted them short, (they are about 3/4) which will work well for her since she is always pulling her sleeves up anyway.  The really fun part is that I made the cuffs of the sleeves out of the front of the shirt so on one arm are little buttons and on the other are the button holes.  Kind of cute!  And I can button her hands up if they are getting too grabby.  Haha!  Not really.

After all the cutting out I moved the pocket and sewed it all up!  Amazingly easy and quick... if you know how clothes go together.

I know, I know, you want to see a picture of her in them huh?  Well, you will have to wait until after Christmas.  I sure hope they fit.

Merry Christmas!  She LOVED her pajamas!  I realized one mistake I made, I need to add another button between the top one I added and the top one that was already there.  Oh well, an easy fix.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

As If It Were All A Dream

Because of a generous gift given to us by some friends, Matt and I were able to take a little trip to Victoria a couple weekends ago.  It was a great getaway and gave us time to reflect and discuss how we are doing and healing.

While talking with Matt I was surprised to hear that we both are emotionally in the same place.  It feels like it was all a dream, almost like I wasn't just pregnant for 9 months, almost like I never held our beautiful girl in my arms.  It's an odd feeling.  Not one either of us really enjoy.  We don't want the constant pain but are having a hard time accepting that many days there isn't any pain.  We aren't forgetting our little Aimee, by no means will we ever forget her!  We have reminders of her all over the house, the rose bush out front, the hydrangea in the back, Lucy's 'Aimee bear' that a friend gave her to help her through,  all of Aimee's stuff, her hat, book, necklace and so many sympathy cards still sitting on my dresser without a place to be and every time we see the letter 'A', it, of course, is for Aimee.   All of these are little reminders of our girl and the joy she brought us for such a short time.  But none of these things are her, none of these things wake me up in the middle of the night needing to eat or have a diaper change.  None of these things are learning to sit up or smile or giggle at me.  How do I learn to be ok with letting go?

Because I know she is in God's hands.  I know that, even though I don't like what happened, He is in control.  For some reason He allowed us to have Aimee.  There is a reason. Maybe it was to bring Matt and I even closer together through difficult times.  Maybe it is to teach us to enjoy the little life God has allowed us to raise even more than we already do.  Maybe it is to help others who are going through similar situations.  Maybe it is to teach us that our lives are not our own, no matter how hard we try to hang on to them and do what we think best for ourselves, we are NOT in control of all that happens to us.  Maybe it is to remind us that God is our Heavenly Father who IS in control and loves us so much.  One day we will get to be with our Aimee again and hold her in our arms.  That, we know to be true and the thought of it helps us to accept this, the hardest valley we have ever been asked to cross.

If you have ever been in such a time as this, please comment and let us know how you handled or are handling it.  It would help us to know how others experience loss and grief.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2 Months

Today marks what should have been Aimee's 2 month birthday.  Our family should be just getting down the routine of a newborn.  We should be exhausted from not enough sleep.  Lucy should be rocking and cuddling with her baby sister instead of her doll.  And we should be taking her to the doctor to see how much she has grown since the day she was born.  Instead we are sleeping through the night and going through our day just like we always do.  Does it hurt to think about what might have been?  Yes, badly.  Is it good for me to think about what might have been?  Yes, because it helps me remember Aimee.  Not that I will ever forget her but sometimes it can start to feel like it was all a dream.  Like I never had another baby that I got to hold in my arms.  Like I haven't just gone through 9 months of pregnancy (although, I can look at my body and tell that this isn't so).  I thank God for the healing that has already begun to take place but it does my soul good to sit and think about her sometimes as I let the tears flow freely.

I think Lucy feels the same as she goes through her 2 year old emotions.  She will sometimes say to me, "remember Baby Aimee's lips?  They were so cute."  Or "remember her hair?  It was all dirty.  She had tiny little fingers."  I love how she brings her up and I am so glad she will have a memory of seeing her little sister.

Now, to turn the table so as not to emotionally exhaust myself again and so early in the morning, I think of the good things.  Little Aimee never had to feel pain or heartache, or loss.  She never had to get in trouble or have a fight with her sister.  She is having a blast in heaven living in love like we will never know here on earth.  She is probably teaching her cousins how to play soccer because she was such a good kicker!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Infant Loss Remembrance Day

In observation of Infant Loss Remembrance Day (I bet most of you never knew there was such a thing, neither did I until I became one who lost an infant) I post Aimee's story for you to read.  Over time I hope to add more (especially pictures) but for now it is a simple telling of Aimee's life.

I also participated in Kirsten Petermann's sweet memorial to all our little ones by giving her Aimee's name to be said among the many others in her Say Their Name memorial.

Now I would like to take this opportunity to thank so many of you for your prayers, support, meals, cards, flowers, listening ears, shoulders to cry on and, often times, with.  You all have been such a blessing to us.  Gifts from God to keep us strong and learn to rely more and more on Him.  He is always good and even when we may not like the road He is bringing us down, there is a sense of peace that comes with trusting Him and knowing that we will be able to see our little Aimee again someday.  I often wonder what age she will be when we meet again.

We love you Aimee and miss you everyday.

P.S.  if you would like to see a few more pictures now they can be found here (thank you Mike Weston for putting them up and giving me the idea to start our own blog, maybe you can teach me a few things).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

something new

Well, here it goes... I am not much of a writer but after reading other blogs by other ladies I feel this might be a small way to help my heart continue to heal. I don't know that I will have much to say but I know some people, who have not been through this journey with us, are curious as to what happened with our little Aimee. Also, it will be a place for me to post pictures so you all can see her (if I can figure out how to do that)!