Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's a new year....

New Years again...
It is amazing how fast the time goes as we get older! My mom has been telling me this for years and I am finally realizing how right she was about that! We have had such a great year and we have so much to be thankful for. Celebrating birthdays and holidays with family and friends. Being able to spend the whole summer in Grandma's backyard and the evenings together as a family. Anna starting Kindergarten, Wyatt starting preschool, a trip to Disney World and to Clearwater. Just being able to hang out in the backyard and the cul de sac. Anna lost her first 2 teeth and she has been learning to read and Wyatt learned to use the potty. We have been so blessed to be able to paint our house, get new carpet, a new fireplace and redo our kitchen which makes spending time at home together even better. It has been a very good year to us! We have all grown a little in size and a lot in love! Here are a few shots from throughout the year. May you all have a wonderful year in 2012~

Monday, December 19, 2011

A different way of viewing things...

I haven't posted in awhile and today I read an article that made me so angry I simply had to write! I will admit that I love to watch "19 kids and counting" I think they are an incredible family and Anna and I watch them together all of the time. I feel like we have a vested interest in their family, so we feel like we know them! When Michelle became pregnant with her 20th child I remember thinking how can she have 20 healthy pregnancies and I can't have 2! After their youngest daughter was born severely premature I thought it was risky to get pregnant again, but even after a miscarriage and 2 babies with fatal defects, I still think I would want to be pregnant again sometimes, so I am no one to judge. When I found out they lost their baby at 21 weeks my heart broke for them. Emma was 21 weeks when she was born still. As I was feeling sad for this family and knowing exactly the pain they were feeling I was so happy to hear they had Now I lay Me Down to Sleep come and take pictures for them. This is the organization that took pictures of Connor. This is the organization that sent a now very dear friend of ours to take amazing beautiful and artistic pictures to help capture the only day we ever spent with our son. One of my biggest regrets is that I did not do the same for Emma, that I don't have any pictures of her besides an ultrasound picture.
Today I saw an article with a link to the Dugger's pictures of their daughter, they actually had the image blurred and a warning on the page to view the pictures. They were of her tiny feet and hands. How is this vulgar or graphic in anyway. In the baby loss community this is something we are proud of, thankful for, and that we show proudly. I have many friends in this community who have posted pictures of their babies at earlier gestation than "Jubilee" was and they are still beautiful. I wonder what they would think of our Anen babies with their defects, or the child born with a skin condition who is scarred and bloody at every point of his day. These are our children. They are beautiful to all who love them. I understand that different people have different views on things. That years ago I would have had completely different thoughts than I do today with all we have been through. Would I have thought of this differently? Would I have found these pictures morbid and "disturbing"? I guess I will never know how I would have viewed them. The only thing I know now is that there is another angel in Heaven and her parents have one tangible reminder that will help them through the coming days and weeks and help them to remember her in the coming years.

Here is the picture

It is beautiful and it makes me smile to think that is about the same size Emma was.

Here is a shot taken of Connor. So similar, such a wonderful reminder that he was really here. Somedays it is like you can almost feel the memories leaving and you need something to prove that they were here. This is the gift that NILMDTS has given us.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

so much to be thankful for

Here I go again. It is one of our milestones, one of the big ones. Thanksgiving brings me such mixed emotions I could sit and stew in my thoughts. I have such happy memories, terrible memories, and a complete lack of memories for certain things. As many dates and days as we have had that are important in our lives. Thanksgiving is a biggie.
I think a few of the things that drive me the craziest are the memories that won't leave. Those moments where you would like to not remember each and every detail, sound, movement as if it were minutes ago instead of years. I still remember holding the ultrasound pictures of Sydney and Connor on Thanksgiving night. My Mother and sister assuring me I was just worrying too much and seeing things that weren't there. I knew. I knew all along. I saw the difference in their pictures. I worried for myself for the same reason I never worried for my sister. Because I knew. I remember running to the bathroom crying unable to contain my fear. I remember the phone call the next day from the doctor confirming my worst nightmare. I remember throwing myself to the ground and screaming in my front yard as my mom pulled in the driveway. I remember for the only time that I have ever said it, repeating over and over again, "why me, why this baby, what did I do, this is not fair".
Then the memories stop for awhile. I don't remember that Christmas, New Years, Anna's birthday and so many other things following that phone call. How I wish I could hold on to the memories of spending time with Connor. As time goes on I know I am forgetting him and I hate that. I can no longer remember certain parts of that day, yet these Thanksgiving thoughts and the real true "black Friday" won't leave. I guess that is how it works. If we only remembered the good things we may never truly appreciate them.
As I have been "working" my way through this week I have noticed people have been listing what they are Thankful for recently. Each day saying something specific they are thankful for. Each day I am sure there is something a little new that I am thankful for, but to be honest, I have thanked God everyday for all that we have been given. For years before I even realized what I was thanking him for. For prayers that have been answered and prayers that have gone unanswered.
It still amazes me to look at the timeline of events in my life between Thanksgiving 2008 and Thanksgiving 2009. I went from realizing my greatest fear at to realizing one of my greatest joys at the next turn. I often think of how life could have been, would have been, should have been if I had been able to continue delivering healthy babies. T.J. and I talked the other night about it. I asked him if we had ever even had the discussion while dating about how many kids we wanted. I guess we hadn't because he wanted 2 and I wanted 4. I sat there for a second and I realized, we both got what we wanted. We have 2 babies here to care for, to cuddle and to try and corral. We have 2 babies in Heaven. Four kids for me, while at the same time 2 for T.J. . so much to be thankful for......seems He listens even when we aren't asking out loud.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

It is Veteran's Day. As a child I can't say that I really understood the importance of this day. Now, today I feel like I have been given a wealth of knowledge on the importance of our Veteran's and current soldiers. I have been honored to watch my Dad become active in the Delhi Veterans Association ( I have been able to hear his stories and pass them on to my children. I have watched him share in the camaraderie that each person in the military has with one another. I remember hearing when I was little how terrible coming home from Vietnam was. No warm reception, no parades, nothing from the people who they were protecting. Protesting and negative attitudes from people who really had no clue. I am so glad that my Dad and his fellow Vietnam Veterans are able to live in a time, now, where they can not only be proud of their accomplishments, but share them and have people say Thank You. My children will always know that their Papa is a Hero. They will know that each Sailor, Soldier, Airman, Coast Guardsman and Marine is a Hero. That they fight for our Freedom and our way of life in America. Most of all they will know that Papa is a proud Veteran of the US Navy and that I am a proud Daughter of a Vietnam Veteran.

Thank You to each and every Man and Woman who have served our country in the past and those who are currently serving.

"The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war". General Douglas MacArthur

Friday, November 4, 2011

Praying For Ali

For the past few months I have been following the story of a girl who many of my friends graduated with. She was diagnosed with a rare and very serious form of cancer. As I followed her sister's blog and read each day on Facebook as people prayed for her, I couldn't help but be touched by her story. Her name was Ali. Last night she lost her battle. I have followed Ali's story and I am, somehow, a complete stranger feeling such grief for her family, for her life. Her sister has helped share her story on her blog and this post is by far the most touching thing I have ever read. It brought more than tears to my eyes, but had me wiping my face to read on. She has been able to tell her sister's story in the raw and letting Ali's personality and love shine through. Since most of my writing has been brought forward regarding grief, I felt it was only right to share this amazing tribute to a beautiful woman who left this Earth way too soon. Please say a prayer for Ali's family tonight and take a moment to read her sister's post.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Memory Lane...

Last night I was feeling nostalgic. I bought Anna and Wy Christmas footie p.j.'s today and I thought of the first pair I bought him. They seemed so big at the time, 18 months, now he is barely squeezing into a 4t! This time of year brings such a rush of emotions. Reminiscing about Wyatt becoming a part of our family and thinking about how little he was. Somehow as life goes on it is like you forget the little things about your babies. Each phase in life brings new things, cute and crazy, that seem to replace others in your mind. As I sat and watched videos from the first time he walked in the house I was taken aback by how little not only he was, but Anna. They both sat on my lap to watch the videos, matching jammies on and freshly washed hair made it perfect. Wyatt said look at baby Wyatt there. Toddling unsteadily through the kitchen as Anna grabbed his hand and introduced him. He could barely walk, she could barely talk. Just 18 months and 3 1/2 at the time. I really don't remember all of the things going through my mind then. Excitement, fear of the unknown, love, a little mixture of every feeling possible I guess. I am so glad I have the videos of the first few days. Soon after my video camera broke and there is a 5 month break, since then I have 100's of videos. Documenting both of my babies growing and flourishing. I love the fact that you can see in their eyes from the very first time they meant that they loved each other. Anna never had any of my fears, worry of finalization, being his mom, transitioning, change in general....she just knew he was her brother. He seemed to feel the same way about her too. Tonight they had one of those nights that I cannot claim I had control over. They shared, they laughed, they hugged, snuggled, they were awesome together! Maybe that is what made me so nostalgic, made me feel so lucky. Tomorrow when they are screaming and fighting I will have to remember this feeling again!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Two years ago this week, the 16th to be exact, I sent an email to our adoption worker. I had found this picture online.

According to his Child placement profile he

"enjoys playing outside. He likes playing with balls and trucks, having books read to him and playing with educational toys. "

It also said

"is noted to be a friendly, playful and happy child. He has been described as a soft spoken toddler who shows no response/fear of strangers. reportedly has occassional age-appropriate temper tantrums."

I saved the emails, go figure, and I reread them tonight. The little conversation included ; he is already scheduled for match, but I can try to get you in. There were 40 families that had put in their homestudies. We knew our chances were low, but I had a feeling that he was mine. I knew from the second I found him. I can't remember when match was. It was a morning sometime the following week. Anna and I had gone to Sam's with my sister and the kids to try and not think about it. I got the phone call from our worker as I walked in the door. He is yours. I had to ask again, he is what? He is yours. They chose your family. I hung up the phone and flew into Sam's club past the lady who checks your card and screamed to my sister who had walked in ahead of me....he is ours! The baby is ours! He is ours forever! I ran back to the card lady and I hugged her and a stranger next to her! I called T.J. and my mom and dad and I think it took a minute to sink in. The next week we were able to get the actual copy of his picture. Then in the following weeks we were able to meet him and quickly transition him into our home. It still seems surreal to think about life before Wyatt. He has helped to fill a hole in my heart and has really completed our family. He is silly, smart, caring, chatty, ornery, sweet and so many more things. I am so proud of the person he is becoming and being able to be called his mom. He is a Daddy's boy with a love of football and Brutus and wrestling on the floor. He not only loves, but may be a bit obsessed with Bubba and is his constant companion. He is a wonderful cousin and friend and a great brother. It is such a gift to watch Anna be a big sister and care for her little brother, or bother as it may be. They are at the ages where they play together, whether they are dogs crawling around, playing choo choos or "mom and son". They are siblings, friends and foes at times.
He can turn off my coffee pot, pull the dogs tail, use every naughty word he knows, sit in time out and know he is still loved. He has known from the moment he stepped in this house that it was his home. He can pull your heart strings with a flash of a smile or that look in his eyes. There is no doubt in my mind that God always had this life planned for Wyatt. That Wyatt was always meant to be a part of our family.
As I sit and think about those I know starting the foster care program and hoping to adopt I pray they can all look back in a few years with a similar story of how their family found each other.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The sight of a sock...

Yesterday I asked Wyatt to get himself a pair of socks . He came back, socks in hand and the pair he picked sent my mind spinning. A pair of black and gray socks. A pair of socks that were so similar to a pair I saw almost a year ago. The socks Austin was wearing the day he died. I will never forget that day, the moments before the phone call, the sound of his Aunt's voice, the moments after and the the hours and days that followed. They are somehow permanently ingrained in my mind. Visually at the forefront of my mind at the drop of a hat, or should I say the sight of a sock. I can't tell you how often I see those socks in my head. That was the part of him I stood by, staring in disbelief. Touching his toes, hoping he would jerk to kick me. If I could draw I am quite certain I could do a court room sketch of everything surrounding him. The people, the faces and the utter shock. I can't begin to imagine what his parents go through. As much as I try to be there and to understand a little, I pray I never know what they are feeling. We are at the grief season for Austin's family. These are the days that they spent together. This was his time of year. Playing outside, dressing as a farmer and visiting the farm and the zoo. This time last year was a wonderful time. This year it still seems to leave me asking, is this for real? There is not a moment that passes in my day that I do not think of him, his mom or his dad. Simple things like Wyatt doing something crazy, preschool, fall leaves, a John Deere tractor, a chuggington train, Curious george, a song, a smile, a little boy with big brown eyes and the umpteen little kids who seem to be named Austin! I think of his parents with every turn. Every time I hug my kids, every time I yell. Each night when I fight Anna to go to sleep, I think of Austin doing the same thing to his mom last year and I hold her a little longer. If I could do something to somehow ease their pain I would. I know I can't. Nothing will ease their pain. Time heals is a saying people like to repeat, but in a case like this there will never be enough time. It is so odd to me to think that after grouping Anna and Austin as friends, future husband and wife and always a pair, that Wyatt is now actually closer to Austin's age than Anna. He is forever 4. Life somehow has moved forward, leaving everyone who knew of him or about him changed. If only I could find a way to make this month more bearable for his family. I know what it is like to have that first year of grief. Dreading the anticipation of the days and then the hours where you know exactly what happened the year before and thinking of how you might have done things differently. Knowing you can't change them, but unable to control the thoughts that maybe you could of. I do not know how to make it better. If I could do anything I would! Praying for a little of the Peace that passes understanding is all I can do for now. I am also going to post a poem that I found on another blog. I sent it to Austin's parents and told them I felt as if they had written it.

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone
important is missing from all the important events in your family's life.

... Normal for me is trying to decide what to take to the cemetery for Birthdays
Christmas,New Years, Valentine's Day,and Easter.

Normal is feeling like you know how to act and are more comfortable with a
funeral than a wedding or birthday party...yet feeling a stab of pain in your
heart when you smell the flowers and see the casket.

Normal is feeling like you can't sit another minute without getting up and
screaming, because you just don't like to sit through anything.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's & why didn't I's
go through your head constantly.

Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding
your head to make it go away.

Normal is having the TV on the minute I walk into the house to have noise,
because the silence is deafening.

Normal is staring at every child who looks like he is my child's age. And then
thinking of the age he would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then
wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness
lurking close behind, because of the hole in my heart.

Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday,
commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful
it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my "normal".

Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your
child's memory and his birthday and survive these days. And trying to find the
balloon or flag that fit's the occasion. Happy Birthday? Not really.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special my
child loved. Thinking how he would love it, but how he is not here to enjoy it.

Normal is having some people afraid to mention my child.

Normal is making sure that others remember him.

Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives, but
we continue to grieve our loss forever.

Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets
worse sometimes, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss,
unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the
remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare. Losing a parent
is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is taking pills, and trying not to cry all day, because I know my mental
health depends on it.

Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.

Normal is disliking jokes about death or funerals, bodies being referred to as
cadavers, when you know they were once someone's loved one.

Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone, but someone stricken
with grief over the loss of your child.

Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying
together over our children and our new lives.
Normal is not listening to people make excuses for God. "God may have done this
because..." I love God, I know that my child is in heaven, but hearing people
trying to think up excuses as to why healthy children were taken from this earth
is not appreciated and makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.

Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did
laundry or if there is any food.

Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have three
children or two, because you will never see this person again and it is not
worth explaining that my child is in heaven. And yet when you say you have two
children to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your

Normal is avoiding McDonald's and Burger King playgrounds because of small,
happy children that break your heart when you see them.

Normal is asking God why he took your child's life instead of yours and asking
if there even is a God.

Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.

And last of all, Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for
you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "normal".†

Please say a little prayer for Austin and his family tonight and give your kids an extra kiss.

Friday, September 23, 2011

same on the inside

Of all of the things that my children have been exposed to. Siblings in Heaven, foster care, adoption and friends and relatives of every race, color, creed and handicap I have never been asked a question. Anna has never once wondered (aloud at least) why she and Wyatt have different skin or hair. She often says how she loves his curly hair, but never questions the difference. She has friends with wheelchairs, tracheotomies, hearing aides, feeding tubes, glasses, vesicostomies and so on! She sees the tubes and the feedings, hears the suction from the trachs and just goes on playing. That is just how they are, no different really. She has cousins from China, Russia and born right here who are all very different! Not once have I ever heard a question about these things, until the other night. We were so happy to have Kimora stay with us this week. Kimora is one of Anna's best friends. Kimora and Anna have something very big in common. The same little boy made them both a big sister. Our Bug is Kimora's little brother. Her mom and dad went on a much needed vacation and they asked if she could stay with us. She was so much fun to have and Anna and Wyatt loved being able to spend every day and night with her. As we were getting ready to go to the mall the other night Anna and Kimora were holding hands, as usual! Anna looked at her hand and Kimora's and asked "Why is the inside of Kimora's hand different?" I found this to be funny and I giggled a bit. I took their hands and I told them. That is the part of your hand that is the same. We then looked at our hands and how the inside was close in color. They were so excited by these things that we decided to do an impromptu photo shoot. we lined up there hands to see how everyone's hands are different on the outside, but the same on the inside. Just like we are.....

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In My Mind -

I have always had a relationship with my brother. I have never met him, I have never talked to him, I have never even been able to see him...other than in a picture. From the time I was very little I had my own ideas of who he was. It is odd to look back now and realize how much that "relationship" helped me in getting to have a similar one with Emma and Connor. Two more very important people in my life that I love, who I never really got to "meet". Grief was a part of growing up for me. Funerals were normal. Heaven and Death were never taboo. In the first 6 years of my life I lost my grandmother, grandfather, cousin, favorite uncle and of course my brother before I was even born. I remember attending funerals. I remember buying new dresses and shoes for each one. I remember being in the little room with the coloring books and crayons at the funeral home with my cousin Susan. Birthdays and holidays were spent decorating graves. Singing happy birthday to a headstone rather than to a person. The same way we celebrate Emma and Connor's holidays and birthdays now. I remember thinking when Emma was born that I would be able to help Anna in dealing with having a sibling she had never met in Heaven. I have had that situation my entire life. Ten years ago I started writing poetry for Mikey. Just as I write now it was my therapy then as well. I thought I would share one today...

Written Spring 2001

In my mind you're tall
Sandy blonde hair like me
and hazel eyes like dad
you play baseball and the guitar
and you always annoy me playing
the Sarah song
you know I hate
you have a tiny scar on your lip
from falling off your bike when you were six
but no one notices but you
you looked so great
walking down the aisle in sis's wedding
but we couldn't talk Brian into making you
best man
you love to write
just like me
you've always wanted to teach
I 've loved to write all of my life
but I have always wanted to
be like you
Sis and I loved it when you played with us
you brought the age difference to a close
your smile always made us laugh
and your stories put us to sleep

Friday, September 2, 2011

Labor Day at our house....

Today is a day that stands out in my parents mind. It is the Friday before Labor Day. This weekend has had a very specific feel for a very specific reason for my entire life. I know when I was in college I asked my parents to tell me the story. I know I wrote it down and it was an essay for a class I was taking. Now I sit in T.J.'s office with 8 little floppy discs in front of me and a computer that no longer has a place to insert a floppy disc. I know bits and pieces of the story. I have heard certain things in different context than ever in an actual timed outline of events. I know that it all started on the Friday before labor day, so I will try and put the pieces that I have in my mind down on "paper" and I hope I do it justice.
I know that evening my mom and Dad and my sister and brother, Mikey were eating Drumsticks. I know that he was fine and playing, acting as any normal 2 year old would. I am not sure if it was late that night or early the next day that Mikey vomited. He did it again and then he became lethargic. My mom took him to the doctors office and from their they took him to the hospital. I know he went from a perfectly healthy boy to a very sick boy in a very short time. I don't know much about the next 2 days. I know he spent them in the hospital and had many tests run. As far as I know they expected him to recover until he went septic. He was only sick for three days when he died on the 4th. He died on Monday, labor day, 1978. He was 2 months shy of 2 years old. He left 2 loving parents and a 4 year old sister with a very vivid memory. To this day sis can tell you about the day he died. My dad came to pick her up at a close friends house and when she went to hug him there was a bee on his back and she got stung. My dad has told me the story of how in her 4 young years she announced at a party at the friend's house "you'll never guess what, Mikey is dead".
My mom has told me things like that she does not remember the funeral. My dad said she passed out and he counts that as a blessing. They talk about the grief, the fear and about certain things that happened. I know when he got sick, it was in a glass measuring bowl, hence why I have never and will never use one. I know he ate a drumstick before he got sick. I know my mom still wonders if he ever got any of the pond water from their back yard in his system. I know my dad was not in the room when I was born because he was there for Mikey's and not my sister's. He said the only child he saw enter this world he saw leave it and he would not do that again. I know Mikey had a little push toy that was a taxi and that he had a game called pass the nuts. I know that my mom had taken him and my sister to get their pictures taken and he died in the time it took to pick them up. When she went back to get the pictures he was gone. I know that I have always held a special spot for Mikey in my heart. I used to question whether or not I would even be on this Earth if he hadn't died. My parents have always said that was silly, of course I would be....but would I be? I was born after he died. My father had a vasectomy reversed. They had the perfect family. One boy, one girl. Then that world ended. I have always grieved for my brother. I have missed who he would have been. How our relationship would have been. I used to think of him as a baby, until I had a 22 month old and I realized he was a person. I used to feel bad for my parents, until I lost a baby and knew what losing a child felt like and bad couldn't begin to describe it. I used to think this was a bad weekend, until I watched my best friends lose their son in a similarly freak and sudden way. Now I see the pain that my parents went through 33 years ago in the eyes of a dear friends. I can feel the dread of the days as they linger and the thoughts of what and where they were and what if anything they could have done to change it. As I grieve Austin and watch his mother deal with his impending "season" I feel like I am finally realizing a little of how my parents have been feeling for the past 33 years. 33 flippin years and this weekend still sucks. It still takes them back to the days, the hours and the events. I pray they find a little peace as they take this journey once again. I know they have helped not only me and my losses, but Rob and Jamie as well. It is an amazing gift and a curse to have parents who know your pain. To have the people you love, respect and admire more than anyone be in the same "club" none of us wanted to join. Something I would never wish on anyone, but I feel blessed to have as well. Mikey you know I love you and I know some day I will finally meet you and I know you will be waiting with open arms. I will end this with a quote from a song that has always been my song for Mikey. I have always wondered if he would still be 22 months old if he would look the same and if he would know who I was. I have only known him in pictures and stories I have always wondered....

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hockey sticks and Walnut trees

Tonight I was sitting in the basement with T.J. and Anna. I had just put Wyatt to bed and decided to play a little Angry Birds, when the phone rang. Anyone who knows me knows I never answer the phone. I can usually never find it and if I do it ends up not being charged. Tonight I answered the phone. It was my sister. Jacob had gotten hurt and he was going to the hospital. He was okay, but had gotten hit in the head with a hockey stick. He had a gash on his eye brow and was bleeding a lot. She said he wanted me to go with him. How would you ever turn down an invitation from someone you love more than anything in a time when they need you. I was not scared. I guess I could hear the calmness in my sister's voice on the phone, or I just didn't have "that" bad feeling. They picked me up and we were on our way. Jacob was crying a bit, more from fear of stitches than pain. He was bleeding a little and had dried blood on his face. As I sat and looked at him, holding his hand and trying to make him laugh on the way there I thought about how lucky I was. It was only an hour before this happened I was talking to him about the booger jelly beans and having him try a baby wipe one. Now he was on his way to the ER. How lucky am I that he is up and talking, laughing and trying to be brave. We got to the ER with the other 100 people who decided to go in this evening and I could tell he was more nervous. They took us back right away and got his vitals, put some numbing cream on him and gave him some Tylenol. Then we went to wait again. He said he didn't hurt, he was mostly worried about the stitches and upset about what happened. We had talked about the events....He and his friend Connor were trying to get Walnuts out of a tree. Connor went to throw a hockey stick up to get a walnut and got Jacob instead. The story is a funny one, because of the outcome, but to Jacob it wasn't because he knows too much. He felt the stick hit him he saw the blood and he ran in the house. In his mind, in that instant he thought of Austin. He knows the story to some extent. That he was playing, hit his head and he died. Jacob saw the blood and felt the pain and these thoughts entered his mind. When we talked about it at the hospital he said that it was so scary with all the blood and he didn't know what would happen to him next. I told him that Austin felt no pain, he was not able to run into the house and if he (jake) was able to do these things then he didn't have to worry like that. Still, with a chest, face and handfuls of blood, what else do you do but freak out.
After we talked about it we got a snack, talked and laughed, waited another hour and then got called back. As soon as he heard stitches he was so scared. It is such a helpless feeling knowing you can't do anything. So I did what any Aunt would do...I started singing a really silly annoying song that made him laugh in the car earlier. I told him to say anything that was on his mind, ask any questions and he did. The doctor was amazing and as she promised as soon as the first stitch was in and he hadn't felt it he totally relaxed. As she finished we talked about Jacob's hockey stick incident and I tried to help clear his mind and make up a few stories that were even better. Like maybe he was in a fight, which his mom changed to a fight with a squirrel since Walnuts were involved originally. He was really proud of himself and Sis and I couldn't have been any more proud either. I told him I would get him anything he wants, his choice is a music stand for his guitar.
I know I say it all of the time, but I am so blessed. I felt so lucky to walk out of the hospital with an amazing, bright, kind, funny boy that I love! I have always held a special place for each of my nieces and nephews in my heart, but Jacob made me RaRa, he made me an Aunt. He is my Jake. Thank you God for helping to keep him safe tonight. Thank you for helping to keep him brave and for giving Sis and I strength to stay silly and help calm him down.
Last year a little head injury would have been something that would have been cared for and forgotten about. This year as with anything in life since Austin, I think of tonight as a little miracle.

tiny angel

Four years ago, today was the worst day of my life, relatively speaking. I had waited for over a week, had 3 ultrasounds and prayed endlessly to see a heartbeat. But, alas, no heartbeat. Four years ago I suffered my first loss. I remember asking my mom and dad to stay home, because I knew they would be best to care for Anna. T.J. took me to the hospital and I ate a Big Mac when we came home. I never eat Big Macs. I remember thinking this day sucked enough and I was eating a damn Big Mac. Each year as this day comes and goes I realize that the day seems less and less terrible. Maybe it is time passing. Maybe it is the events that have unfolded in our lives since, but the pain is less.
The year after my miscarriage I had lost Emma and had the feeling I was pregnant with Connor. The following year I had lost Connor and we had just had Bug placed in his new family. Last year I could not tell you what I did, I know that I remembered because Facebook reminded me of my status update this day last year.
This year I remembered the date, but I have to admit the sting is gone. I think of that baby and the thing that "spec" gave me most was compassion. I have come into contact with so many people, strangers and friends, who have suffered miscarriages. I am not sure I would have been able to love, counsel and understand their specific situations if I hadn't had an early loss. Little things I have come to find that help me to be the person I am today.
So to my tiny Angel, know I will never forget you, I will always love you and I hold you in my heart.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thirty One Year Old Rainbow

Well, today is my birthday. To be honest this morning I was so focused on the importance of it being Anna's first day of Kindergarten that I didn't even think about it. As the day progressed and school was over a few thoughts crossed my mind. Of course on each of your children's birthdays you think of their birth. The story, the labor, the weather, the feelings that came with it on that day and each year after. This was the first year I thought of my own birth that way. I have to admit that this year, post losing Austin, every thought I have is different. This year I realized my birth was more than just average. I have always known I was a "miracle". Being born after a reversed vasectomy in 1980 wasn't a normal occurence. Being born 3 weeks late and perfectly healthy wasn't always seen then either. But, it wasn't until today that I realized I am a Rainbow baby. For those mom's who have lost a child, they probably know what this is, but for everyone else....
"Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.
I was born less than 2 years after my brother passed away. My mom has told me that her pregnancy with me is part of what helped her heal a little and kept her going. It is odd 31 years later to see myself as an adult that is a Rainbow baby! It is a good feeling as well. To think I never realized what I did for my mom and dad 31 years ago today, I only hope that they know how much they have given me in return.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Choo choo.....

Today as part of my Birthday Week celebration, I decided I wanted us to go on a train ride. Wyatt loves choo choos and talks about going on a big choo choo about everyday. This was my birthday gift to him! Anna loves it as well and today we went to see Clifford the Big Red Dog. We had a great family day together and enjoyed our 3rd ride on the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad. As T.J. and I sat and talked about the previous two trips on the polar express here at Christmas time, we reminisced on our first ride. We had just met Wyatt. He was only 18 months old and Anna was just over 3 1/2. We didn't even know each other at that point. In fact we had to call and get him a ticket, because we had made the reservations before we knew he was ours! We took that train ride the first weekend of our extended visit before he was permanently placed. Before we even knew how much he loved trains.
Today we went with the full knowledge of how much it meant to him and to Anna to see her brother smile. Today while we were chugging down the line, T.J. took a picture of the kids and I. As soon as I saw it, I smiled. It is almost the exact same shot he took nearly 2 years ago. Sometimes when life is going along it is nice to have a little reminder of where you have come from...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What once was

We can try for the most part
to think of most days
as a gift
as a blessing
without the pain
of what should have been
but, certain days
no matter

how well prepared

no matter
what we have planned
will never again
be as they should

will never again
bring the joy they once did
a day like today
once brought new life
once changed lives
now brings a memory
tear and a smile
what should have been

what could have been

has now become
what once was

Happy 5th Birthday, Austin. I am sure you are having quite the party in Heaven today with Jesus by your side. Tractor rides for everyone and bouncy houses made of clouds. We love you and miss you everyday!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

no drumsticks for this quirky girl....

Tonight T.J., the kids and I decided we wanted to make ice cream sundaes. I told T.J. I would run up and get the ice cream at Krogers. His response was "Why don't you just go to UDF?" simple question really. It is closer, it is more convenient and I would have saved myself 15 minutes, but I can't go. The truth is I haven't been to UDF in almost 9 months. The last time I went was the night Austin died. I can still picture the ice cream on the table as I answered that phone call. See it dripping to the ground when we came back home that night. It may be superstitious, silly or just dumb, but I will never run up and get ice cream at UDF again.
I know there are so many things about me that T.J. will never understand, no matter how well he knows me. The UDF thing is just like so many others that I have grown up with. The reason why I threw away the sweater I realized I had worn to both Emma and Connor's funerals....I would never want to be able to wear it again, God forbid. Or the reason why I have never owned nor used a large glass measuring cup. My brother got sick in one just like it the night he got sick before he died. The same reason why I have never eaten (nor have my children ever eaten) a drumstick...the last thing Mikey ate that night. I know it may seem odd, we all know that me going to UDF, Mikey eating a drumstick or my sweater did not cause the series of events that preceded or followed, but it is just the thought.
Grief is such a process. There are so many things we have no control over, especially when dealing with grief. These little superstitions are a way to make me feel like I am doing something. I have spent the last 30 years and 11 months fully aware that I wasn't allowed to have drumsticks and I have never seen a problem with that! I don't think I have missed out on much with one ice cream cone on my list of no's! A few have been passed down from my Grandmother and coined as "bad luck", some from my mom and others have been created in my own head, but all of these things are a part of who I am. I have thrown clothes away, stopped buying specific groceries and even gone different ways to get somewhere because of this. How we deal with our grief makes us who we are. I guess when you speak nicely of someone we would call these traits quirks! Quirky....maybe that is what I am....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28.......

Three years ago today, should have been my due date with Emma. In everything that I have done to help myself heal over the past 3 1/2 years this is still a day that stings. I guess I have learned alot about myself, about life, about being a parent over these 3 years. Still I think that Emma has taught me the biggest lessons about love. I love you sweet Emma Jean. This day 3 years ago was the day when I think I started to heal. Today I thought I would post a poem I wrote for her on that day....

Here we are
we have made it to this day
a few months ago
I thought
it would never come
yet here we are
you in your place
in Heaven
me in my place
on Earth
I held you
for awhile in my body
I will hold you
forever in my heart
regardless of how
mommy wants it to be
no matter how much it hurts
this is it
this is where we are

Sunday, July 17, 2011

three little words....

If you have ever been around my family, my immediate family that I grew up in as well as my family now, you know we are huggers. In fact I can pretty much bet that if you are a friend of mine and have ever even met my dad he has given you a hug! We like to bring people into our homes, welcome them with open arms, make them something to eat, make sure they are comfortable and enjoying themselves. It is just the way things are. I have loved growing up in a family like this. We hug each time we see each other, never miss a chance to say I love you, never. There is one exception to this, Aunt Jean. She has been at every party and has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. She was the person who watched me when mom and dad (seldomly) went out, the person who remembered every birthday, anniversary and so on, she is the closest thing I can ever remember having to a grandparent. She is even the namesake for my Emma Jean. I have to admit that tonight something happened that has never happened before. Maybe it is age, maybe it is the realization of how much things are changing, but it happened.
Tonight we celebrated my sister's birthday. It was perfect with her family, our family, mom and dad and Aunt Jean. It has been a few weeks since we have seen Aunt Jean. She recently moved into Western Hills Retirement home. Between Alzheimer's and moving at 85 years old she has had a really tough time. My mom has been over so many times helping her to try and adjust, calling everyday and being the support she needs. The kids and I planned on going over last week, but it was a bit too soon. Tonight we picked her up for the party. We talked about her new "home" on the way to the party. The activities they have, how the kids have been etc. We had a nice time at mom's for the party and when it was time to go she was proud she remembered where I had put her keys. On the way back she said many times how wonderful the kids are. How much she has missed seeing them and how big they are. I told her we could all come and see her for brunch, now that she is settling in to her new routine. When we pulled up to drop her off she slowly got out of the car and said goodbye and thank you. She started to walk towards the door and stopped and looked in the window. I opened the door so she could see the kids. She looked at me, then looked at them and said "I love you". This is it. I am almost 31 years old and this is the first time I have heard her say these words. I can't tell you what it meant to me . I have always known that she loved me, but this was new. I am happy that she has gotten to a point in her life, though it may have taken 85 years, where she can say I love you. I am even happier that she said it to the kids and I. Now, if only she can get the courage up to say it to my mom. The little things that children say freely, kept so tight inside of this woman for so long. I bet she was happy when she went to bed tonight, hopefully she will remember, so the next time she won't be so nervous.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mom of the year over here...

I pride myself on remembering dates. I know the birth dates, anniversaries and other important dates of most everyone around me. If my father in law needs to know, I am the one he calls. T.J. has let that part of his memory completely go since meeting me, because I have always had a handle on it. I usually realize the important days a few days before they happen and do something in some way to let that person know I am thinking of them. I have ordered gifts, sent cards and sent texts. Made phone calls, stopped by homes and visited cemeteries. The reason I started this post out with this info is because....I forgot Wyatt's Adoption Day!! It hit me out of nowhere on my way home today. I am 5 days late. Last Saturday was the day. One year since it was official, one year since I stopped worrying about his future. How is it possible that I forgot!
As I sit here and try to wrap my head around this I can't help but to think it is a good thing. I have kind of forgotten all together that he hasn't always been here. It has been more than half of his life now that he has been a "Caito". For all of the things that swirl around in my head at night his being adopted has not been one of them since a year ago last Saturday. Since that day he has been ours. He is Anna's brother, Mommy's baby and Daddy's boy. I think about his sweet smiling face, the trouble he has gotten into, the funny things he says and the size of his ever growing feet as I lay in bed at night, but never do I think about him being "Adopted". I know so many people that celebrate "Gotcha day". Maybe if I wasn't aware of other peoples celebrations I would have not even known that I missed something big! Last week we went to Meijer and I found a spaceship Wyatt has been wanting. It was on sale so I bought it (along with all of the accessories) and put it away for Christmas. I actually said out loud, I wish I could think of a reason to give it to him now. It was like I subconsciously knew I was forgetting something!
This summer has been busy and so much fun, a trip to the beach, to Disney, swimming, play dates, riding bikes outside and swinging in the backyard. Somehow the month of June has pleasantly slipped away. How lucky am I that I get to have a summer where I am usually unaware of the day of the week, much less the date.
As for last Saturday, Wyatt's gotcha Day, I think he had a fun one. He and I woke up early and snuggled on the couch all morning. Daddy and Anna slept in for a change, so it was just the two of us. Then he stayed with Daddy and played for awhile, grilled out for dinner and went to The McMullen's in the evening. I know he had a fun day. Even better I know he doesn't remember life before he was a Caito. So maybe, we will make it a silent celebration next year too. Maybe I will be enjoying life and my kids too much to even realize it has come and gone. Of all the dates in my life to remember, this was a big one, but I will not feel bad. My hope for Wyatt is that when he lists things about himself as he grows up they will be funny, handsome, smart, loved, sensitive, a little ornery and proud to be a part of his family. Being adopted is something that was in his past, being a Caito is what is in his future.
Right now he is napping. When he wakes up I am going to get into my Christmas gifts and give him his space ship. Like I really needed a reason...we all knew I wouldn't wait until Christmas anyway!

Friday, June 10, 2011


On Sunday our "Bug" will be 2 years old. It is hard to believe that it was only 2 years ago that we met him. Two years ago that I made so many phone calls for days on end. Two years ago that we made the trips to the NICU in Columbus to meet him and bring him home. Sometimes when I think about the reality of it all I must have been nuts! I know T.J. never thought it was a great idea. He thought it was too soon. Looking back he was so right! I had just carried, given birth and lost Connor a few months before. I still believe that God gave me the strength to take Bug. The desire to have a son was a big part of it, knowing that he was an infant was huge, knowing that he was legal risk, knowing that he had a few problems that were going to be fine. I am not sure what exactly I thought, how exactly I talked T.J. into this huge life changing event so shortly after our last life changing event. I still remember holding him for the first time. Feeling him breathe. Seeing the babies around him in the NICU that were so sick and fragile. I immediately loved him. Bringing him home was so much harder than I expected. Everything that was meant for Connor was now Bug's. Clothing passed down, cribs, swings. The reality made me physically ill when we walked in the door. Over a few hours all of this changed. He was home and he was a part of our family. Being able to spend a month (though it seemed so much longer) with him and Anna was amazing. T.J. and I still talk about how little that boy slept. I think maybe 2 hours a night for the entire time he was with us! WE were able to spend every hour together and share Bug with our families and friends. He was showered with love and gifts from everyone we knew. We spent days at Grandma's enjoying the sun and evenings snuggling and getting to know each other. It wasn't until I spent days at the hospital for testing and procedures and his Nephrology appointment that our world came crashing down. That was when we found out his kidneys were not good. That is when they told us that he needed to be cathed every 3 hours for life. He would probably need a kidney transplant in his childhood. That is when the reality once again set in. No one saw this coming. This was one of the hardest choices I have ever made. I am a woman who had induced a dying baby at 21 weeks and a woman who carried a dying baby to term. I had made awful choices before. Choices that did not have the end I wanted no matter what I chose. I was lost. How could I do this to my family, to myself. How could we even begin to think about this. T.J. had just lost one son and now were might lose another. I knew in my heart what we had to do. I knew it was purely selfish if I kept him with us. I would have done it because I was afraid to lose him. But, I knew for Anna and for T.J. and deep down, for myself, that we couldn't. The doctors appointments, the tests, the medical needs he now had. He was not going to just need antibiotics anymore. He might need an organ transplant. He needed a family who was able to care for his needs better than we were. I have turned to God many times in my life. This time I actually fell to my knees and asked Him what I should do. How could I possibly make this choice? How could I ever let him go? This is one of those times when you see God's answers in His actions. When we made our decision there was no one to take him. Our adoption worker put his paperwork in and we were afraid with his needs it would take awhile. We were willing to keep him until they found a great home. But, how could any home be as great as ours? We were his family, this was his home! Then we got the call. They had found someone. A young family who was not only able, but eager and excited, to take Bug. Mom was in nursing school, they had other kids with special needs. Within days I had set up our first meeting myself. I knew immediately that this was his family. I saw the love in his Mother's eyes from the second she held him. I asked her to go to his next doctors appointment with us the next day and then we had our last weekend as a family. Monday morning he was gone. I wasn't sure what to expect. His mom and dad told me they would keep in touch, but you really never know. We were able to see him again the next month at his sister's adoption party and have since been able to be a part of his life. Anna and I have not only been able to watch him grow, but we were there to watch his adoption become official last Fall. We are able to be a part of his life and he is still a huge part of our family, as is his family who we have grown to love as much as we love Bug. This little boy has had quite a life in the last 2 years. He is growing into a smart little boy with a fabulous smile and a huge heart of gold. I am so blessed that he stepped into my life. I am so happy that even though it seemed hard at the time, that he has made the imprint on my heart that he has. As of his latest appointments, his kidney's are improving! Something the doctor is stumped by, because it isn't possible, but his Mother told the doctor that all is possible with Prayer. Every time he gets a little better, every choice someone has made to get him where he is today, all of this is just a little reason why I pray. God's love can be shown anywhere, here in a little boy who spent his mother's pregnancy in jail and was born with no one to visit him in the NICU. He is an inspiration to me and to my family. He has shown us that love has no color and that God does have a plan, even if we don't understand it right away. Here is to a year of love and laughter for this amazing boy we love so much! Happy Birthday Bug!