It’s Been One Year

(Due to a few glitches, this post is 2 days late)

A year ago today,

I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy.

My birth experience,  however, was nothing to gush over.  It was not joyous.

It was not exciting.  Nothing went the way I had planned it to be.  Nothing.

But the last thing I would have ever thought would happen, would be leaving that hospital

empty handed to join my son in another hospital.

Today was supposed to be filled

with happiness, laughter and joy.  I was supposed

to have had the perfect first birthday theme picked out.  I was supposed to

have the most awesome cake on the block made.  I was supposed to go overboard on

buying presents.  He was supposed to be wearing the cutest little man outfit.  He was supposed

to be thrown off from his regular schedule because of the hype of the day.  If he already wasn’t getting

enough kisses, he’d be getting a million more.  Torry and I were supposed to pat each other on the back

for making it through the first year without any major catastrophe happening to him.  We were

supposed to reminisce over all of the milestones he hit in his first year.  He was supposed to be a little

prince for the day.

Instead, this house sits cold.

It’s empty.  Instead of hearing the giggles and babble of a

one year old, we hear nothing but the creaks in the walls and the motor from the fridge.

Instead, this is a day we were not looking forward to.  This day is more of a painful reminder of

what we don’t have, and will never have with our son.  It’s a reminder of the trauma we went through

when we learned our son wasn’t breathing when he was born.  It’s a reminder of the next 3 weeks

that followed his birth.  3 weeks of hell.  Actually, I think hell is paradise compared to the horror we

have had to endure.  The thought of Brecken’s first birthday approaching was more of thoughts

riddled with anxiety and fear.  It has now been a complete year, a milestone I was hoping to never

have to push through.

I beat my brain for months trying

to figure out what we were going to do for his birthday.  But my brain

would not break away from the realization that we are trying to celebrate the birthday

of a child who is no longer with us.  Where is the joy in that?  How can we be happy over this?  How

can this be celebrated?  I found myself searching for ideas via Google and it made me sick to my stomach

to see what I was typing in the search bar: “How to celebrate a deceased child’s birthday”.  I had to stop

searching after that.  I couldn’t handle the bile creeping up my throat any longer.  Besides, all of the

ideas I came across were so generic and not meaningful to Torry and I.  A lot had to do with sending

notes up to ‘Heaven’.  We don’t have a grave, as we cremated our son, so visiting his grave and leaving

balloons wasn’t an option either.

Being the parent of a deceased child

is the most torturous title to live with.  Ever.  This raw pain and emptiness

is something we have to live with every minute of every day for the rest of our lives.

We are forever bound and chained in our own form of prison that we will never be released

from.  One year later and I’m now starting to realize I have PTSD tendencies.  I’ve fallen into patterns

and habits that if they get screwed with, I lose it.  At the thought of doing something different

or changing up to what I have settled myself into, I begin to have an anxiety attack.  I’m a night owl,

and though I have always been one, the reasoning behind it now is much different.  My average bedtime

is anywhere between 12am-3am.  Usually, on average, I go to bed about 4-5 hours after Torry does.

I do a whole lot of nothing in those 4-5 hours.  Sometimes I cry a lot.  I try to avoid going to bed because

each and every night that I lay my head down on the pillow, I am overwhelmed by the trauma I have

been through.  There has not been one night that I can recall that I have not been haunted by this

trauma.  It will take me sometimes hours to fall asleep because of this.

This past year has gone by

incredibly fast.  This day last year seemed so far away

at the time.  Even after his death, it still seemed so far away.  Now it’s here and I honestly

wish it wasn’t.  I am no longer in the year of Brecken’s birth.  I no longer can measure time by months,

it now will become years.  I’m still trying to comprehend everything Torry and I have been through.

I’m still trying to comprehend that my perfectly healthy baby boy was hurt at the hands of the Dr’s who

were supposed to keep him safe.  I’m still trying to comprehend that I actually carried him.  It just feels

like a dream.  A terrible, terrible dream.  My body has seemed so confused.  It knows it carried a baby,

but seems to not understand that he’s no longer here.  I haven’t been able to stop lactating since his

birth.

I have two items of Brecken’s

that still has his smell on them: his hat & his elephant blanket he was

always wrapped in.  Sometimes I’ll go in the nursery, pick up his hat, and put it to my face

and inhale.  That smell is the last physical thing about his presence that I still have.  I literally fear

the day it no longer smells like him.  His blanket, I’m surprised still has his smell as I have been

sleeping with it every night since he died.  It has never been washed.  In fact, nothing of his has been

washed.  His going home outfit he peed on the first day home, has now faded so much, that it’s hard

to tell where the stain is.   I have no idea what I’m going to do with all of his things when the new

baby is here in July. (Yes, incase any of you have not seen the video I made, we are expecting our

2nd child July 11th)

Though our hearts will

be filled with a new baby, part of our hearts will forever bear a hole

of our son who cannot share in the joy of being  a big brother.  We will always feel

his strong absence no matter how many more children we go on to have or how many more years

pass.

For a recap of Brecken’s pregnancy, birth & life and also our new pregnancy

announcement, you may watch this video.

*Note, some people, especially those who are mobile, have a hard time viewing the

video.  Some have found if you click the 3 lines in left corner and select ‘desktop’ that 

it helps.*

                                           

Brecken’s Leaf

On the morning of

January 9th, 2013, when Brecken was already at

the children’s hospital and I was still at the hospital I birthed him

in here in Appleton,  a lactation consultant walked into my room to get

me to start pumping right away.  Thank goodness someone was thinking

about my boobs because since I didn’t have my son with me to nurse

and from the trauma of his birth, pumping was one of the last things on my mind.

She educated me on how to use my brand new Medela pump and how to store and

label what I was able to produce.

At my first attempt, I was able to get out

enough colostrum that impressed the lactation consultant.

I was told to keep at it every 2-3 hours and to make sure I wake in the

middle of the night at least once to do it as well.  It was hard to get into

a routine since my mind wasn’t all of where it should have been.  I was too

occupied with healing and keeping tabs on my son.  I was so heartbroken

that I wasn’t with my little boy.

Torry and I joined Brecken on

January 10th.  Two days after his birth.  Against

what my heart wanted, I volunteered to stay an extra night

before joining him because I still couldn’t stand or walk on my own.

That epidural and the episiotomy did a number on me so bad that

I needed help out of bed, help to walk to the toilet, help to pull

my hospital underwear up.  I was like a baby myself in terms of some of

the care I needed.

The first day or two,

I wasn’t pumping on a schedule yet.  I was

still trying to let everything soak in.  My milk came in about

3-4 days after giving birth.  It was one of the coolest experiences,

watching mother nature unfold at my breasts.  It was a few days of

colostrum and then BAM the milk was there!  It started off being 2oz every two

hours and then turned into about 4-6 oz.  Going against the lactation consultant’s

advice, I never woke in the middle of the night to pump.  I was too physically

and mentally exhausted.  When I slept at night, I slept like a rock.  I needed to.

I needed to be as mentally alert as I could for my son.  I needed to be able to

comprehend all of the medical terms and tests that were being run.

 I can’t even begin to tell you how mentally draining everything was.

Both Torry and I would doze off while holding Brecken.  Our eyes

could hardly handle being awake.

Since I wasn’t

pumping in the middle of the night

like I was told to, when I would wake in the morning,

one of the first things I needed to do was pee.  But I couldn’t

walk to the bathroom without milk just leaking out everywhere.

Since carrying a baby for 10 months and giving birth does a number

on a woman’s bladder, that was the first thing I needed to take care of before any

pumping could be done.  As I would sit on the toilet, I would watch the milk

literally just pour out onto the floor.  My breasts were insanely engorged, especially

in the mornings.  They were so big they could each have their own zip-code!

After my potty routine, I’d have to clean myself up as well as the floor

since it was littered with my milk.  Then I would pump.  Every

 morning I would pump about 9-10 oz!  It was insane!  I needed to attach

 full, 8oz bottles to my pump in order to not overflow!  (Because I did

a time or two)

My daily morning

routine consisted of getting ready in the

morning after I pumped.  When we arrived at the NICU, my

first stop was the storage room with all of the freezers.  I would dump

off my supply from the morning as well as from the evening when we would

be back in our room at the Ronald McDonald house.  Each mother is designated

2 storage bins in the freezer.  Well, at one point, the Dr’s had to stop giving Brecken

my milk because he had a small infection and the milk created extra secretions.

They wanted to eliminate the need to suction him as often to let him be more

comfortable.   I quickly filled my two bins and worked on a 3rd.

I was starting

to get frustrated with pumping

once I reached the 3rd bin.  At that point, we were already

given Brecken’s diagnosis and Torry and I already knew what our decision

was (we just hadn’t said it out loud yet).  Because I knew what our decision was

I no longer wanted to pump.  I wanted to spend every waking moment with Brecken.

I never wanted to leave his side.  But, as most of you mother’s know, you cannot just stop

pumping cold turkey.  You have to wean your breasts otherwise you’ll get engorged beyond

control, you’ll be in a lot of pain, and you could get infections.  Stupid me, I didn’t know any

of that, and so one day I decided not to pump.  I paid for it later that evening.  I was so

incredibly engorged and they hurt terribly.  I already had a clogged milk duct, I could feel

the lump.  My mom had to explain to me of the proper way of doing things.

I continued to pump,

but began to let an extra hour go here and there.

 I stopped before I was completely empty to retrain my breasts

to not produce as much.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stop completely

until 12 hours before Brecken passed away.  I pumped the morning of January 28th

for the last time.  Brecken passed away just after midnight on the 29th.  Maybe it was

a blessing in disguise.  I find it a little ironic that I was able to spend my time and energy

on my son that day without the distraction of needing to pump.

Before we all

left the children’s hospital, I had

told the lactation nurse that I wanted to donate

all of the milk I had stored up in their freezers.  I had to do a blood

draw and fill out some paperwork.  I honestly don’t remember when this happened

next, but I remember maybe in February or March that I got a phone call from Breanna,

from the Indiana Mother’s Milk Bank.  She asked me some questions and then sent me

some more routine paperwork.  I slacked at getting it all filled out, but about a month later

I turned it in.  There were more emails exchanged and I have to admit, I became frustrated

a bit at part of the process.  But everything got cleared up and then I received an amazing

email from Breanna.  She told me I was officially a donor and gave me my donor number.

When you become a donor,

the Indiana Mother’s Milk Bank puts your child’s name and birthdate

on a gold leaf and then it is placed on their tree on the wall in their office.

I was officially a donor as of May 2nd, 2013.

Now, today,

just over 3 months later, I got the best email from Breanna:

Brecken’s leaf was in and mounted on the wall!!  It was a very emotional

moment.  It is beyond amazing to see his name and birthday on the leaf and to see it

on the wall with all the other babies who’s mother’s donated as well.  Brecken, I’m sure,

would be proud that his mamma generously helped a whole slew of other babies

in need.  The thought just warms my heart.  Breanna also informed me

that I donated a total of 153 ounces!  153 ounces in less than10 days of pumping.

Now, lets talk about

Breanna.  This woman was incredibly amazing

to work with.  She was always prompt with her email responses

and you could always tell she was genuine with her words.  She never

talked at me, she talked to me.  She gets on a personal level and I think

she does such a fantastic job.  This is one thing she said to me in one of our email

exchanges:

“I Do hope you still find meaning in donating your milk and that

it may somehow assist you through your grieving process.  I’m so

thankful that you have chosen to donate the milk you worked so

hard to get for your little guy and I can assure you it will be put to

good use.  Also, we have included your baby’s name to a leaf in our

office in honor of his life and the milk you pumped to donate.  When

the leaf is hung up on the wall after being engraved I will send you

a photograph if you would like.”

I cannot say enough about Breanna and her compassion

and efforts to make sure a mother doesn’t encounter any issues.

Fellow mammas, if you have a great supply and you have milk to spare, please

consider donating to Indiana Mother’s Milk Bank. 

Here are the images of Brecken’s leaf!!

*Remember, you can click on the images to see them bigger*

Leaf3

Leaf2

Brecken's Leaf1

My First Dream

I had my first,

solid dream about Brecken last night.  It’s the first dream

I can recall details and what happened and how it made me feel.

I thought it was very strange that during this 6 months since he passed,

that I never had nightmares or happy dreams about him.  Torry has.  His was a good dream.

You could say mine was a good dream too.   But my dream has not left me feeling

happy, or content in any way.  I have that gut-wrenching feeling left in the pit of my stomach,

the one you get when you have a nightmare, or dream about your spouse cheating on you

and it felt SO REAL you wanted to throw up first thing when you woke up.

I wish I could be immune

to dreaming about Brecken after last night.  That may

sound horrible and you may be wondering, if it was a good dream then

why WOULDN’T I want to dream about my sweet baby?  Because,

I’d rather not dream about him, happy, cooing, laughing, and thriving.  It’s just too painful

to watch those events unfold in my own mind.  He was never that way when we had him for his short

three weeks.  We were never going to see any of that, even if we chose to keep him alive.

I don’t remember my dream step-by-step, but

what I do remember is Brecken starting off the way he was when we

took him home from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.   I remember needing to leave

him in someone else’s care because I had to go somewhere.  When I came back, I didn’t like

how the caretaker took care of him.  She did so many things wrong, and I was so worried and concerned.

She reminded me of a real life nurse who took care of him one day.  Alayna was gone, so this woman

was in her place.  Really nice lady, but she was so rough with how she handled Brecken that it made me

cringe.  Now that I think back to that day, I wish I had said something and asked for a new nurse.

Back in my dream,  I remember holding Brecken

and cooing at him.  Then I watched him as he tried to make some

 sounds, like he wanted to coo back at me.  I was so excited because he had never

 done that before!   And to my amazement, he was able to continue to do it.  I was hearing my

baby’s voice for the first time!  As my dream progressed, so did Brecken’s recovery.  I remember

upping his feedings to give him more nourishment.  I remember thinking about starting to pump again

to be able to continue to provide that for him.  (In the dream, we were waiting for him to die, just like in 

real life.  Just like in real life, I weaned myself from pumping because Brecken wasn’t going to be

using it.  That is, essentially, how he died here at home.  We had to stop feeding him.  When we did, he

lived for an additional 4 days.)

I remember being so excited

in my dream about his progression, against all odds,

that I went running around looking for the baby carriers I had so I could

start wearing him all around.  Eventually in the dream, he came off his oxygen,

we were able to take out the feeding tube, and my dream was filled with the sounds

of my son.  Sounds we never got to hear in real life.  I saw my baby do things in my dream

that we never were able to see or hear him do.  It was almost like the biggest tease.  How

dare my subconscious mind play such a cruel joke on me, making me believe for one night

that my baby boy was alive and well!!!

I’ve been reading

a book about dreams.  And what I gather from

what happened in my dream last night and what I know what some

of those metaphors mean from the book I’m reading, I feel like this dream

is playing off from the events that took place before I went to bed last night.  As most

of you know, Torry and I have been trying for baby #2.  We’ve been trying since May.

It’s been extremely frustrating that we’re now on month three when it only took the first

month with Brecken.  Well, my period is due in 3 more days.  I haven’t had any signs of a period coming

on, but I thought I had some subtle early pregnancy symptoms.  My boobs were getting fuller.

Ever since ovulation week my cheeks have been flushed and rosy.  I was breaking out on my chin

and I never break out.  The last time I broke out on my chin like that, I was pregnant with

Brecken.   Every month, about a week before my period is due, I get this feeling in my lower

front that tells me “Hey, your egg wasn’t fertilized this month, so we’re going to start working

on getting your period going” type of feeling.  I haven’t gotten that feeling as of yet.

Torry has noticed some

of these distinct differences too, and several other, more personal ones.

He keeps saying I’m pregnant after each new discovery of something different going on with my

body.   He was getting me excited inside, but I was trying to suppress that excitement.  I didn’t want

to get all excited only to be disappointed in the end.  Last night, though, Torry suggested buying some

tests after I had a strong scent aversion to something in the car that I hadn’t noticed before.

I bought the box that says you can pee on it up to 5 days before your period.  I was really hoping to wait

it out.  But Torry had me so convinced that I figured “What the hell?”  So, I pissed on a stick last night prior

to hoping in the shower.  I saw the results before stepping in and proceeded with my shower in

tears.  I cried and cried.  I was so disappointed.  So confused.  I got a BFN (for those of you

not in the pregnancy world, that is short for: BIG FAT NEGATIVE)

After I got out of the shower

I had probably one of the biggest break downs I’ve gone through

since Brecken died.  I was feeling the world was telling me that I’m not allowed to be a mom.

That I’m not allowed to have a baby and get to keep it.  I’m not allowed to be pregnant anymore.

My mind was fighting with itself, beating itself up trying to figure out why so many undeserving people

get to keep popping out babies, but I couldn’t even have my one.  What have I done so wrong in my life

to deserve this kind of treatment in return?  I would make the BEST mother to my children!

I am so ready to sacrifice EVERYTHING THAT I AM to ensure my children have wonderful

lives.  Yet, my son sits in his urn across the living room from me, and my uterus continues

to sit with a vacancy sign on it.

Torry told me that it really

could be too early to test yet and that we can test again if my period

doesn’t come on time.  I’m very doubtful.  I’ve already given up on month 3, and I’m not sure

how to approach month 4.  Do I even want to approach month 4?  I honestly, do not know, how much

more of this emotional torture I can continue to put myself through.  Not only do I have to deal with the

death of my son everyday of every month, but now I’m suffering from an additional loss every month that

I’m not pregnant.  If I can’t have any children, then what is my purpose in life?  What would I have to live for?

I’ve known since I was a little girl that I’ve wanted to be a mother.  It’s the ONLY thing I can say for certain what

I want to do with the rest of my life.   I feel so lost, and afraid.  I don’t understand why it’s taking this long.

I know my body, I know when I’m ovulating.  Hell, I’m even tracking it on a phone app as an extra

tool to aid in this process.  It was spot on with my body this last month so I don’t understand why

it’s not producing results.  Is my egg being a bitch?  Or are Torry’s little swimmers just too dumb to

find their way up a damn fallopian tube?

A part of me thinks,

my dream was telling me that something good

is going to happen.  Something is going to thrive and grow in my waking life.

When Torry had his good dream about Brecken, it was almost similar to the

one I had last night.  He dreamt that Brecken was a happy, normal, thriving

child.  In Torry’s waking life, he had just gotten his new job at Black Hawk Transportation.

It was so spot on.  But, we knew Torry got that job right before he had the dream.  In my case,

I don’t know for sure if I’m pregnant this month or not. Like I said earlier, I’m very doubtful.  I don’t think

anything is going to change much in the next 3 days.

Signs

Since the loss of Brecken,

I’ve been meeting up and chatting up with other mamma’s who

also lost an infant.  I’ve joined a mom group on Facebook to socialize and get to know other

mamma’s out there.  I need this social interaction.  I like being a part of this Facebook group

because it allows me the chance to talk about him more often and actually feel like a mamma.  I’ve noticed, with all of

my interactions, a common topic comes up at some point.  Not all conversations, but enough to make me think.

One day, While on

the  phone with my mom, she wasn’t

sure if I’d answer or if I’d know, but she was talking about how

she had another conversation with a friend and it sparked her to ask me this question.

She asked me if I ever feel Brecken around me, or do I get ‘signs’ that he’s communicating

with me to let me know he’s there.  I straight up answered her “No” on both accounts.

Wondering about ‘signs’ has been something on my mind since he died.  But, unfortunately,

I’ve never had that “Ah-Ha!” moment of certainty.  Not feeling him around me makes me even

more down about his death.  I wish I could feel more than just the clothes he wore while

he was alive.

I think,  a lot of my lack of noticing

Brecken around me, is my lack in faith.  I question

afterlife, heaven, or any place that is said to exist where I’d be able to

see him and hold him in my arms again.  I know many, MANY people

mean so well when they try to comfort me by telling me he’s in a better place

and I’ll be with him again one day, but it honestly frustrates me

and does not bring me any sort of comfort. If anything, it brings on anger.

My baby shouldn’t be living a ‘better’ life in the arms of Jesus, he’s SUPPOSED to

be living his happy life in the two people’s arms who created him:  his mother and his father.  I

want people to stop telling me he’s an angel.  I want people to stop telling me he’s happy, comfortable

and being taken care of.  These are things I highly recommend you not say to a grieving parent,

especially if you don’t know their religious convictions.  Even religious people will most likely have

a struggle as to why their God took their child away.

Ever since I had

the conversation about signs with my mom,

I’ve been more aware.  At the time of the question, I absolutely did not

‘feel’ my son around me.  I still don’t.  I think my lack of religious belief has me

numb to the feeling that he’s a spirit floating around me on a daily basis.  One thing I

have noticed since my phone call with my mom is how often I see an elephant.

Every-single-day I realize I come across an elephant I haven’t seen before either on TV,

at the grocery store, on a logo, in someone’s pictures, or in random pictures I come across on

the internet.  I don’t purposefully ‘look’ for these elephants.  They are mere observations.  They all

get me thinking: “Are these my signs? Or is this just like when you get a new car and suddenly you

see your same car model and color out all over the road when you’ve never noticed them before?”  I

still have a hard time grasping that this could be Brecken’s way of saying “Hello Mamma!”  I think

it still stems back to the spirit thing.

Oddly enough,

I think the only time I come close to ‘feeling’ Brecken

is when I’m in excruciating pain.  My days are more spaced when it comes

to my crying meltdowns, but when they do happen, it feels like my heart is

trying to rip itself out of my body to go find him and be with him.  They once beat

their own tunes, but under one body, and I think it’s my hearts way of saying it

wants him back.  For some reason these moments happen mostly at night, when I’m trying to

go to sleep.  Every night I have the hardest time falling asleep because I begin to think about

so many things.  Anything ranging from my pregnancy with him, to his birth, to the trauma,

to his death, to the family we have lost due to their own selfishness.  Sometimes it just becomes

too much to handle and I begin to hyperventilate and tears start to stream.  I keep it to myself so

I don’t wake Torry.  I climb out of bed, walk into Brecken’s nursery, switch on the lamp and hold the

elephant we bought him on our first day at the NICU in Milwaukee and begin to just release the immense

amount of pain.  I will usually spend  almost an hour in there just crying.  The pain is so intense

that I feel like I don’t know how I’m going to get myself out of his room and continue on with

my days.  Most of the time I’ll just sit and rock myself in the rocker and clench my eyes shut as I release

the tears, but sometimes, I’ll get up and walk over to the pack & play that holds all of the things

he used and/or wore while he was alive.  I’ll look everything over while running my fingers across it

all.  I pick up the hat he wore home and wore a lot in his last days to keep him warm from all of the body

heat he was losing, and I put it to my nose and I inhale deeply, taking in every scent I can.  It’s the

only thing of his I have that still smells like him.  Even the hat, though, is losing that precious scent

and that scares me.  I’ve relied on this hat for 6 months and I’m already beginning to lose that

big connection that brings me back to his living days.

I was lying in bed with Torry the other

night and we were talking about Brecken.  I was telling Torry that it

just seems so surreal that I gave birth to Brecken 6+ months ago now.

Because his life was so short, and he’s been gone for nearly 6 months, it almost

seems like it was all a dream.  Like it never really ever happened.  I have all of the evidence

of giving birth, but no physical presence of all the hard work of creating and carrying him.  I

have to imagine what he’d look like now.  I have to imagine how his face would look when he smiled.

I have to imagine his warmth, his breath, and his giggles.  I have to imagine his voice and what he would

have sounded like making all of his baby coo’s.  It’s such a terrible pain that will shelve itself

in our hearts forever.  Even when we have another baby, our hearts will leap and yet sink at the same

time.  I know there will always be some sort of small comparisons to Brecken.  We’ll here our new baby’s

cries and probably cry ourselves at that sound, but we’ll also be shedding tears of sadness because

those are sounds we never got to hear from Brecken.

*Sigh*, I miss my peanut.

I miss him more than I can every verbally express.

Still Dealing

My thoughts are all

so jumbled about what I’m thinking that I really

don’t have a clue as to where to start.  It’s so incredibly lonely

right now being a mother of a deceased infant.  It feels like I am constantly reading

status updates from Facebook friends about getting pregnant or announcing the arrival of

their healthy, beautiful babies.  I think the harder one’s to see/hear are the ones who got pregnant

after me.  After each birth announcement I shake my fist in the air and think “Why me?!  Why

does everyone else around me get to snuggle their baby and breathe in that newborn scent, but

not me?!   Why was my perfectly healthy baby boy ripped away from the comfort of my arms?”

What did I do so wrong to deserve this?

When I see the first Facebook published  pictures

of these sweet little bundles, I have to try so hard to crack even the slightest

smile at the joy those parents are experiencing.   There’s so much of me that just won’t

allow that smile to happen.  Every picture brings me back to the evening I gave birth to Brecken

and the events that followed.  I don’t have those first family pictures moment’s after birth.  I didn’t

get to perform my motherly duties and have my son suckle at my breast.  I didn’t get  to hold my

baby boy right away and watch his eyes discover who I was.  I didn’t even get those god-awful

hospital newborn pictures done.  Brecken’s name isn’t even on the hospital’s website list of babies

born on that day.

These past nearly 5 months of my life

have experienced so many ups and downs.  Mostly downs, emotionally.

I have been accused of killing my son.  I have been accused of committing fraud.

I have had family leave me, and have had to force other family out of our lives.  I have been

told how I’m ‘supposed’ to deal with my grief.  I have been told I needed to be committed.

I have gained nearly all of the baby weight back and have never hated

 my body more than I have these past 5 months.  One moment I am happy and feeling

 semi-normal, and the next moment I’m back in a depression hole- and it seems as if some people

 don’t understand those back and forth emotions.  I hate being forced into functions I’m not ready

to take part of.  I hate how I watch everyone else’s lives continue to move forward while I still

feel stuck in the month of January.  I begin to hyperventilate as I even think about having to roll

on through that month year after year after year.  I love speaking about my son, but I hate

how awkward it makes the people around me hear it.  I hate how awkward it is to bring him up

or have someone ask me if I have kids.  Torry and I were looking at houses one day, and one had

a nursery set up.  We were talking about our need for central AC and somehow mentioned that

I was pregnant last summer.  The woman asked me if I had a boy or a girl, and I said

“He was a boy.”  Don’t know if she caught the ‘Was’ or not, but she didn’t ask any further

questions.  I hated myself for that response.  He WASN’T a boy, he IS a boy!  He’s MY boy

and I love him and miss him more than I think anyone could love or miss anyone else.

Torry and I have

begun the process of trying for another baby in May.

We decided that it doesn’t matter how long we wait after having Brecken,

because we are going to experience the emotions that are going to come along with

the next pregnancy no matter if we waited 4 months or 4 years.  It’s been hard to

do because now I’m thinking SO much about getting pregnant this time then I did last time.

I’m already stressing about it, already worrying about when I ovulate, and already worrying if

this month worked or not.  I’m over-reading my body, looking for any slight symptoms of pregnancy

or my next period.  I don’t know how to relax about it.  My midwives told me to “Have fun with it!”

Easier said, than done.  I don’t think I’ll stop stressing about it until I’m pregnant, and even then

I might not be satisfied until I give birth again and can be reassured that I’m meant to be a mother.

Brecken’s Urn

Shortly after Brecken

had died, I had commissioned my cousin to

make his urn.  I thought it’d be more meaningful to have someone

make a personalized final resting place as opposed to buying something

manufactured and that every other Joe-blow who was cremated could be put in to.

This was my baby and he was going to have the best, even after death.

After my post about Mary Smith,

my cousin, along with her sister, decided to cut off all communication with me.

This also meant, that whatever progress she had already made on his urn, was tossed in the trash.

It’s shameful that they decided to support their mother in what she had done to me before and after

Brecken’s death.  But I cannot convince them, nor will I put forth the effort.  This was their

decision, and their loss.

With the bad, there usually is the good.

This opened the door for me to bust out another creative side of mine.

I began to search around the Appleton area, looking for a ceramic studio to work

in so I could make his urn myself.  I began to go in a slight state of panic when I found

myself running into dead ends.  The closest place I could get was taking a pre-made piece

at a local business and painting it.  That was not up the ally I was going for.  I’m not much of a painter,

but I can sculpt!

One day, my social worker, Amy,

who was with us while we were home with Brecken, called

me up to see how I was doing.  We ended up talking on the phone for about an hour

and a half!  One of the things I brought up was my desperate search for a ceramic studio.  I

did not want to settle on something bought or something that could be a close second.  This

piece needed to be of original work.  It needed to have meaning behind it and not just

an after thought.

While at the reception part of

the Celebration of Life event, I was talking with Jayne,

the scheduling coordinator for the Visiting Nurses Association.  She came

by our house one day to watch over Brecken while I took a shower.  She was one of the

few who got to meet our sweet boy alive.  She told me that Amy had spoken to her about

my desperate need for a ceramic studio.  She told me that she will start working on

being able to find me a place.  She said she would not give up until she did.

Just over a week later,

Jayne contacted me to let me know she found

a studio!!  She said he was willing to donate any and all materials I needed

and offered his help should I have any need for it.  I could not contain my excitement!

I felt sooooo relieved that Brecken was finally going to have his own little home to rest in!

Jayne gave me the gentleman’s name and phone number and said he was expecting my call.

  I called him right away and we planned for me to start on it a few days later.

On May 7th,

I arrived at Rich’s home studio out in Neenah.  He has a nice

little house nestled in a wooded area out in the country.  His studio is a separate building, similar

to that of a garage.  His studio is filled with tons of his own work, finished, unfinished, glazed,

not glazed etc.  There was one ceramic wheel off to the side.  That’s where I would begin.

Rich got me some clay, and let me have at it on the wheel.  I screwed up the first one and had

to grab another hunk of clay.  I screwed that one up too.  The third one, however, was the charm.  Rich assisted

me in achieving the right size and shape. Once it was completed, I set it aside and then Rich made me the lid to

go on top.  (I have no skill in creating lids on the wheel so he did this for me) I was there for about a

total of 2 hours and then called it a day.  The piece needed to dry a bit before I continued on with the next phase.

The next morning, I arrived at Rich’s studio.

When I walked in, I found not only the one I had completed, but the other

two that I had screwed up, except, the two I screwed up, Rich had fixed for me. He also made

accompanying lids.  He told me I could work on all 3 and then when they were completed, I could choose

the best of the bunch to put him in.  That day, I focused on putting the elephant on.  This didn’t take super long.

I was there for only about 45 minutes tops.  Once I was finished, Rich told me that he’d contact me in about

a week for me to come back and glaze it after he had fired it.  He needed to wait until other pieces of his were ready

to fire as well.

A week later, Rich called me and

I went in to glaze.  I didn’t want the urn to be oober fancy.  I wanted it simple.

The elephant I put on it would be all that was needed to understand what that piece was about.

I glazed the entire pieces in this neat, slightly off-white glaze that had some specks in it for a more

textured look.  I put a thinn coating of grey on the elephants and topped those off with a clear glaze.

To finish it off, I sprinkled some broken pieces of blue glass on the handle of the lid to melt into it..

Rich informed me it would be about another week until he was able to fire it for the last time.

Today, Rich contacted me to let me know my pieces

were ready.  I arranged to pick them up at 12:30.  When I arrived,

all three were waiting for me on his table.  They turned out perfect.  This is exactly

what I had envisioned in my mind of what I wanted it to look like.  Rich packed them up in a

box for me and I asked if I could give him a hug.  Once out of the embrace, I thanked him

even more from the bottom of my heart for allowing me the opportunity to do this in his studio.

(I thanked him TONS each and every day I worked on it, because I could not get over his generosity)

He told me he was more than happy to have helped me out and so glad Brecken will have a home.

So now, Brecken no longer

sits in the ugly, velvet, pull-string bag with the

morbid funeral home logo on it.  He is now in his urn.  That is his space.

I did not cry at the site of my finished pieces.  I did, however, cry when I made space for him

on the shelf he had already been sitting on.  It was overwhelming to see him in his urn, as opposed

to the bag.  There’s a huge sense of relief and comfort from this too.  It makes me so happy to see it!

Below, are the photos

I took during my progress.  There’s a handful, and I hope you enjoy. =)

Phase One: Final Form

Urn01 Urn03

Urn02

The lid Rich made

Urn05

Urn04

Phase two: Adding the elephants

Urn06

Urn07 Urn08

Urn09

Urn10

Phase three: Bisque fired & ready to glaze

Urn11

Urn12 Urn13

Glazed

Urn14

Urn16

Broken pieces of blue glass filled in the indent of the lid handle

Urn15

Finished product

Urn17

Urn20 Urn19

Urn22

Urn21

Urn23

Urn18

Brecken’s home =)

Urn24

Urn25

Urn26

*The bottom of all three have Brecken’s full name, date of birth and his date of death.

A Year Ago Today….

A year ago today,

I peed on a stick.  Well, actually, three of them.

I couldn’t even finish putting my pants back on before the

two little pink lines showed up.  I remember being in a shocking disbelief.

I had it in my head that because I wanted children so much, that there was going to be something

that would prevent me from having them.  Once the shock wore off, I began to run around the house

smiling and literally laughing.  I stopped a time or two to hug myself, trying to awkwardly cradle

my stomach, not yet quite round.  I think tears of joy creeped out at one point.

Torry was a work

when all of this went down, but he knew that I was

taking the test.  He wanted me to tell him while he was at work.  I wanted to wait

until he came home to tell him in person. Once I collected myself, I text Torry, telling him to

call me asap.  Several [long] minutes go by and I couldn’t take it and called him.  Shockingly,

he answered and I told him I was pregnant.  He was like “Ok”.   I think

he was sort of shocked that it was real (We had only been trying for about a month) You see,

Torry never put thought into having kids before he met me.  Not that he never wanted them,

it just wasn’t his priority in life and in his last relationship before me, it was kind of a mutual agreement

that they weren’t going to have any.  Torry loved to tell people who were surprised to find out he

was going to be a daddy, that “When you’re with the right person, your life views change”.  I

loved it whenever he used that to explain away their shock.

When Torry came home that night,

he walked up to me in the kitchen and we just hugged.  Then, after

several minutes of talking, he pulls out this piece of scrap paper. Confused, I took it

into my own hands, looked it over before unfolding it wondering what it was.  When I opened it

I found a list of ten boy name options.  I thought that was THE CUTEST thing ever (even if I did’t agree with most of the

names on there).  He got excited enough to jot down names.  What guy thinks of doing that first?

Since finding out less than a week

before mother’s day, we decided to wait until then to tell everyone.

It was a perfect setting.  Telling my mother was my favorite out of everyone.  She played RIGHT

in to my hands of what I had planned out.  Since now that her grandchild count has exceeded

her own child count, I decided to call her up, and say “Happy Grandmother’s Day!!”  Just like I thought,

she responded with “Grandmother’s day? Why Grandmother’s day?”  I said, “Because, you’re more

grandma now with seven grandkids (Brecken was #7) then you are of a mother of four kids”  She didn’t

catch on right away and said “OOOH.  I thought you were going to tell me you were pregnant or something.”

Torry and I were dead silent (she was on speaker phone)  Then she goes, “Wait, you’re pregnant?!?!”  It was

more of a statement than a question and when we confirmed that I was indeed pregnant she just screamed

in excitement.  I smile at that memory, of that time in our lives. I was getting everything I ever wanted:

a man who loved me more than life itself, and I was carrying his child.  I couldn’t have asked for more.

Thinking about this upcoming mother’s day,

I wonder what is there to do for a mother who lost her child?  I looked

up websites out of curiosity on what they think is best for a bereaved mother.

I wasn’t TOO fond of most of the ideas they had listed.  I thought some were too

corny.  But there is one thing they hit on the nose: Acknowledgement.  A bereaved mother wants

nothing more (other than her child) than to be acknowledged that she is a mother.  I can’t tell you enough

how much joy it brings me to be able to talk about Brecken.  I just light up whenever someone asks a question

about him or his life.  I speak for other bereaved mothers when I say that we feel like our little one

will be forgotten over time because they’re not physically present.  I don’t want to be in a room

full of people and be ignored, or the subject of Brecken to be ignored in fear of upsetting me.

It won’t upset me.  I was in a group of ladies a few months back-ish, and I know nearly, if not,

all of them knew about what happened to Brecken.  This was my first time being in a group of ladies

since his death.  Only one other lady there was a mom.  I felt like I had nothing to talk

about with any of them.  When the opportunity arrived that I could relate it back to

Brecken, I’d say it.  But, I felt like the conversations never took off from there.

It felt like they took it in for a brief moment, and then continued on the conversation

as if I never brought up my son.  I was kind of hurt by that.  I no longer felt like I

belonged hanging out with these ladies.  I felt like I had nothing in common.  I

socially shut down and couldn’t wait for the opportunity to just get out of there.

A year ago today, I was about 3.5 weeks pregnant.

Today, my son is no longer with me and I’m no longer pregnant.

It’s a terrible, lonely feeling.  I miss my peanut

more than words can ever express.

First official photo of me pregnant, even though we didn’t know it at the time.

P1070877

Pee stick picture

P1070897

Photo of me with my pee sticks

P1070907

List of names Torry brought home the night I told him I was pregnant

(It’s ok to show them since NONE of these names made the cut list & won’t be used for future names)

Torry kept pushing for Talon.  I despised that name! lol  Ryker made it to the next round, but didn’t make the top 5.

Scan

Celebration of Life

A few days ago,

I attended a Celebration of Life event

held by the Visiting Nurses Association (Hospice).

It’s an event held every 6 months to remember those who died

while in their care.  I had to go alone, as Torry was working 2nd shift.

I didn’t really know what to expect.

When I first got there,

there was a little line you had to wait in to sort of ‘check in’.

I noticed right off the bat that I was surrounded by a lot of old people.

I wasn’t too surprised by this, as hospice is usually associated with an older person

going home for more comfortable care to live out their last days.  But I guess I didn’t

really realize how very few younger adults/children/babies are a part of this.  You

could say I was slightly uncomfortable, but when I caught sight of Stacy (Brecken’s nurse) in the

distance to my right I felt a little better.  I noticed, also, as I inched my way closer to the check in table that Amy

(Brecken’s social worker) was one of the two ladies checking all of us in.  At least I wasn’t completely alone.

When it was my turn, Amy got up and came around the table to give me a hug and asked how I was doing.  We

chit-chated for a bit and then I made my way over to Stacey to give her a hug and say “Hi” to her as well.

It was beyond refreshing to see them.  Stacey came by our house every morning to check in on us

and Amy came about every other time.  They were a big part in our stay home, and they were there

when Brecken passed away in my arms.

I made my way over to where the

chairs were to sit through the program.  By this time, most

of everyone had already found their spot.  I glanced around and noticed that

just about every single person was old.  They were accompanied by their children

and some grand children or another old person (relative or friend)  Noticing this,

I almost felt like I didn’t belong there.  I was also the only person there alone.

I approached an end aisle seat and noticed a pack of tissue waiting there for it’s use.

I sat down and began to look over the program of what was going to go on.

There was the opening speech and then the slideshow.  The nurses and social workers

each took turns reading the names of the person associated in the picture up on the big screen.

Brecken’s name was the last on the list.  I had some time to wait.  Interesting enough, I was getting

nervous for when it was time to call his name.  I have no idea why.  It took every ounce of strength

to not burst out crying.  My heart was pounding so hard in my chest and my cheeks were flaming red, I

was sure of it.  As each name was read off, a favorite memory of that person was shared that the family

members had written down.  Those there to remember these people also walked up to the front

to get a flower the VNA was handing out.

It seemed like it took forever to get to

Brecken’s name.  After they called the name of the person

before Brecken, there were a few slides of flowers and butterflies.

Then Brecken’s sweet face showed up.  It was different with him than any other name

called.  When his picture showed, there was a big gasp from the room and I began to hear

people around me make comments about how he was so small, so young, so little.  With

every other name that was called off, it was sort of expected and not such a surprise seeing an

old man or woman who had passed away.  But Brecken was like the elephant in the room.  You

couldn’t look away from his picture and not be stunned in the very seat you sat in.  After a moment

of everyone letting my sweet boy’s face sink in, I stood up to walk to the front while Stacy read

off one of my favorite moment’s with him: the very first time we got to hold him in the NICU 5 days

after he was born.  As I was up there, I felt every pair of eyes glued to me.  I made no eye contact with

any of the crowed members as I walked back to my seat.  Last words were shared by various staff

members and then it was time for refreshments.

I grabbed myself a piece of cake

(A weakness of mine) and began to mingle with Amy and Stacy.

It was nice to talk with them while not being such an emotional train wreck that

they were used to seeing when they came by the house.  We were all talking so much that

by time I was ready to leave, I noticed I was the last person still there.  Amy and Stacy

brought me out to the healing garden before my take off so I could see Brecken’s name on the pavement.

So simply done, but still a great thing to see his name.  He’s a special little guy who got a whole

walking path all to himself out there.

Pictures of his name on the walking path.

walkingpath1

walkingpath2

Finding the Small Positives

Not long after Brecken’s death,

I received a grief package in the mail from the

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  It included reading materials,

grief groups to join, counseling etc.  It also included an invite to join

a Facebook private group where you have to ask to join.  I decided to join.

I needed to talk to other mommies who have also lost a child.  It’s not really the ideal

way to get to know someone: “Hi, I’m Sarah, my son passed away in January, what’s your name?”

That’s really not how it goes in that group.  It’s essentially an open diary for anyone and everyone who is

a part of that group.  You can scream and vent.  You can cry.  You can share memories.  You can ask questions.

You can connect.  You can post pictures.  Through this group, I have met a few mommies in person.

It helped to meet other women who share in the same kind of pain, albeit our stories being different.

One day, not too long ago,

a mother shared a photo of her dead little girl.

She came into this life far too early at 18 weeks and was born still.

In honesty, seeing that photo slightly disturbed me.  It was quite morbid.  But

that photo (and maybe assuming others?) are the only photos that mother will have of her

precious little girl.  It pained me to think of that.  Then it really got me thinking about my Brecken.

I couldn’t help but feel blessed that I was able to meet my little boy alive.  I got to touch his soft, pink skin, run

my fingers through is hair, kiss his full lips and feel his warmth against my skin.  I have several hundred photos

of him living.  He got to come home, and use some of his things, wear some of his clothes (all elephant related

I might add) and meet friends and family.  He experienced 3 weeks of love.

For me, that was far too less.

Three weeks was just not enough time.  But I am thankful.

I am so thankful I got to meet him, as brief as our time together was.  I almost didn’t get to

meet him alive.  He was born not breathing.  It took the team of Dr’s over 10 minutes to get him to finally

breathe.  One of them almost called his death right there, in the delivery room.  I’ll never forget the fear

instilled in me when she almost did.

Sometimes I don’t know what would have been worse,

meeting him for only a short amount of time, or not meeting him alive at all.

That’s always such a pull at my heart.  Sometimes I think that maybe if they did call it

in the delivery room, that it might have been slightly easier to deal with.  Torry and I wouldn’t have

had the weight of the decision on our shoulders regarding his life.  That has been one of the hardest

things to deal with-us deciding whether he should live or die.  As said in a previous post, we

felt selfish with either decision.  But we know, deep down, that what was best for him was to

let him go.  He wouldn’t have ever understood his life or the people in it.  He would have had to go

through surgeries, pain and discomfort from CP, being sick often etc and never understand why.

He wouldn’t know how to to do anything, learn to speak, or walk.  That’s devastating to learn

as a parent.

It’s always so hard to remain

positive or to think of how lucky I was to have

those three weeks with Brecken.  When I get really down about it,

I try to remember that mother and other mommies who didn’t get the chance

to meet their little one’s alive.  If I already didn’t appreciate my time with him,

I do so even more when I think of those mothers.  I miss my little peanut

more and more as each day passes.  There’s nothing worse than having empty arms.

Enjoy some of my favorite moments

in pictures with my sweet boy.

Cards4_20

Getting to hold him for the first time 5 days after his birth.

IMG_0055

Torry getting to hold Brecken for the first time 5 days after his birth. 

IMG_0096

Brecken off the cooling blanket and the EEG is finally off his head.

IMG_0107

Precious moments with daddy & Breckn off the oxygen machine! 

IMG_0132

Nurse Alayna coming on her day off to say goodbye to Brecken shortly before we drove home.

IMG_0149

First moments home

IMG_0156

First moment’s home

IMG_0169

First moments home

IMG_0197

Snuggles on the couch

IMG_0200

Holding grandma Mitchell’s finger

brecken - 058

Favorite family photo

Riddled With Guilt

supermom

I shared this quote on

 Facebook back in February.  I recently came across it again and it just it’s me hard.

I’ve been struggling so much with my emotions.  Everyday I’m replaying  specific events

that had taken place from the moment my water first broke until even after Brecken’s death.

I am so heart broken.  I wish there was a different way of trying to explain that to those of you

who don’t know what this feels like.  My heart aches every single day.  I constantly have this terrible

sinking feeling in my stomach and my entire body mourns the loss of my son.  This grieving process is

so physical.  I hurt….everywhere.

I haven’t written a post about Brecken’s time at home yet.

I’ve been debating it because as wonderful as it was to have him in the comfort

of his own home, the last 8 hours or so of his life were just terrible.

I am completely haunted from that last day with him.  I’ve been struggling with the

way he died and how it was a process that went against everything my instincts wanted

as a mother.  I’ve been hanging on to this for these last nearly 3 months.  I feel this heavy guilt

and sadness about that day.  I feel that if I never had broken down and begged Torry

to bring me to the hospital for an epidural instead of birthing him naturally at my midwives birth

center, then none of this would have ever happened to him.

  Everyone keeps telling me that I did nothing wrong.

I am not responsible for what happened to him.  I could never have known that this would have happened etc.

But, no one can convince me of this.  I truly believe with all of my heart that I failed my son.  I failed

him because I was weak.  I only thought about myself when I begged to go to the hospital.

Going to the hospital resulted in his injury.  I cannot forgive myself of that decision and I’ve

regretted it even from the moment the epidural was administered.

I know I saved my son a life of pain and suffering,

but I cannot get over that I am responsible for the decision

to end his life.  I, in no way, feel that I am a super mom.  I hardly feel like

a mother as it is let alone feel like I’m a super mom in my son’s eyes.  What kind

of mother was I to give up on the best, most natural way for him to enter into this world?

I’ve been asked by several

people now if I plan to celebrate mother’s day.

To be honest, I’m not quite sure.  I was pregnant with Brecken last

mother’s day, and this mother’s day he’s still not in my arms.  I hardly feel like a mother,

let alone, a mother who deserves any sort of celebrating.  It kind of feels like pretending to be

somebody I’m not.  How can I be a mother when I don’t have a child to raise or take care of?

I’m not sure if we’ll celebrate it or not.  I guess I might as well just stay numb to such

holidays.  Maybe it won’t be as painful if I continue on with it not feeling like I’m a mother, like

it has been my entire life.