Back to work!

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This was my first week back to work and I’m so glad I did! It’s amazing how close you get with your coworkers and I really missed my work family. I was a little nervous that it was going to be a sad cry-fest and their would be a black cloud over the surgery center (and I’d be the cause) but it wasn’t that way at all. Everyone was genuinely happy to see me and seemed to be excited I was back. There was lots of hugs, laughter, and the occasional tears but they weren’t long lived. I opened up to a few people with details of what happened and it felt good. If this experience has taught us anything it’s that we have an amazing support group around us who really do care and that is the most comforting feeling. We are very blessed in that sense.

March 2016 (7 months pregnant with Sawyer):

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I’ve made a point to take a picture in the OR, far along & fully scrubbed with both pregnancies. Aiden liked being able to tell his friend he’s been in an operating room (even if it was in utero). I did it with Aiden, I did it with Sawyer, and I’ll do it again….one day.

One Day At A Time

Yesterday was a good day. Nothing spectacular happened but every day that I don’t cry is a good day. Unfortunately, today I seemed to wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  I am short tempered and quick to yell at Aiden….and Brian for that matter. While cleaning up I found another one of Sawyer’s ultrasound. I was fine until I walked into his nursery to put it in the keepsake box. I hadn’t been in it for a few days and I wasn’t prepared.

We haven’t done anything with the nursery. It’s full of everything we were going to need with a new baby. We shut the door and that’s it. Even his name is still on the door.

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See? It’s a mess. I walked into the nursery and immediately saw the “Big  Brother” “Little Brother” shirts that our friend made us and I lost it. Aiden came in after a few minutes and found me sitting in the middle of the floor, rocking, and sobbing. Without skipping a beat he says, “Mommy, I’m sorry about Sawyer but you still have me”. He came over and gave me his hand to help me up. Brian took Aiden to the store with him and that gave me a little time to regroup.

When they got back, we went outside for Aiden to go swimming for a bit. When we came back inside I got the mail and saw where the zoo sent us a confirmation that they received our commemorative brick order and they’re working on it.

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It should be ready in about six weeks, then it’ll be placed in front of the carousel. We also ordered a mini version of the brick with the same inscription to come home with us. I’m not sure what we’ll do with that one yet.

A little while after that, my mom showed up with a really awesome surprise. When Sawyer was cremated, I wasn’t ready to pick up the ashes so my mom did and kept them at her house. I told her of our plan to get a teddy bear, split the seem, put the ashes inside, and sew it back up. That way, on a day like today, I would have something to hug when I miss him. Well, today she went to Build-A-Bear and did just that. She made me a bear and put his ashes inside (in the bag they came in) during the building process. It’s perfect.

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Tonight we’re going over to friends’ house for dinner. I am really looking forward to it but I’m a little nervous. They have a three month old baby boy. After how today has been, I just don’t want my emotions to get the best of me.

Side note: Aiden is in the bath tub and he just yelled, “Mommy we have a problem. My freckles are falling off!” I go in there to look and it’s the gold glitter that he got into yesterday. He still had some on him and he thought they were freckles. This kid. Never a dull moment!

Last Week of Leisure

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For some reason, none of us slept well last night so I wasn’t surprised that Aiden wouldn’t wake up for school this morning. This is my last week off of work (four weeks postpartum) so I decided to let Aiden stay home with us. We went to Metro Diner for breakfast (YUM!) and then an early movie. We saw The Jungle Book. Brian and I loved it but Aiden got bored and stir crazy. He had to use the bathroom three times (an excuse to get up), spilled his whole bag of popcorn, and talked through the entire movie. It was exhausting, and quite frankly a waste of money. It’s been nice being home and being able to spend time with Aiden and Brian but I am looking forward to going back to work Monday. I’m not necessarily looking forward to the first day back. I know it will be emotional. I’ll see a lot of people I haven’t seen since it happened. I’m hoping everyone knows. It’s easier to hear the usual “I’m so sorry for your loss” than someone not know and I have to tell them. I think I need some sense of normalcy back. I’ve started back at the gym this week, even though I’m not suppose to yet. I’ve loss the baby weight and I’m trying to tone up. I want to be in a routine before I get pregnant again so that I can continue to work out during the pregnancy. I’m really concentrating on taking care of myself right now and I feel good about it, most days.

May 12, 2016-Due Date

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I hear I will have good days and bad days. Today was a bad day. Today was Sawyer’s due date. I was doing okay until I went into the kitchen and noticed our chalkboard on the wall that read “Every Superhero Needs A Sidekick! Coming Spring 2016”. Then I lost it. Aiden was at school so Brian and I went to breakfast and a movie in hopes of finding a distraction. We had some time to kill before the movie so we walked around the mall (which is no fun when you’re an adult, by the way). We went into a store looking for shorts for Aiden (of course, because I never buy myself anything!) and there was a NEWBORN baby, no more than a few weeks old, screaming his little head off in his stroller. His mother completely ignored him…didn’t even look at him, and kept looking through the clothing rack. It was one of those newborn cries that sounds like the baby is going to run out of breath. He sounded pitiful. I wanted so badly to grab her by the shoulders, shake her like hell, and tell her how I would give absolutely anything to hear that right now. And she is taking it for granted. I wish I had the opportunity to hear mine cry, pick him up, comfort him, be there for him, kiss him, smell him, even look at him. Anything. I couldn’t wait for Aiden to hold his brother for the first time. To hear him talk to him. Even their first sibling fight. Now, when I think Sawyer’s name, I hear it in Aiden’s voice. He said it all the time. Now he only says it when he catches me crying…as in, “What’s wrong, mommy? Is it Sawyer?” A part of me wants to try and get pregnant right away. But I’m scared. I think being pregnant would give me something else to think about, but I know I am going to be a paranoid freak. My OB assures me that she has never had a patient have a “cord accident” twice but I know I will worry. I didn’t confront the woman in the store. Instead I left and cried, for that baby, for Sawyer, for me.

 

Aiden, our little therapist.

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A lot of people have asked me how Aiden is doing through all of this. Is he okay? Does he understand? I think the answer is yes and no. He’s very intuitive for a toddler so he knows we’re upset but I don’t think he completely gets what happened. He will tell you that his baby brother died but every once in a while he’ll ask me “where’s Sawyer now”?

The night it all happened, Brian and Aiden came home at my request so I could sleep. Earlier that day, Brian moved everything from the baby shower into the nursery so he wouldn’t see it…but he forgot the ultrasound on the fridge. When he came home that night and saw it, he broke down. When Aiden saw him crying he took his hand and said, “Daddy, can you play our song and dance with me in the kitchen like we use to?” So Brian played Cabin By The Sea by Dirty Heads and he held Aiden and danced with him in the kitchen, like they use to.

The next day, when they came to pick me up from the hospital I was a mess. I had been crying all morning so my eyes were very swollen. In typical toddler fashion, Aiden noticed. Later that afternoon he was sitting in the bath tub and out of the blue he yelled, “Mommy, can you come here so I can see your beautiful eyes?” Of course, I obliged and he says, “Mommy, you’re pretty and beautiful and the best mommy. I love you”.

The first day back to school was interesting. His teacher was explaining how amphibians and reptiles lay eggs and mammals have live births. Aiden interrupted and said, “My mommy was suppose to have my baby brother but he died in her tummy. But that’s okay because mommy and daddy are going to have another baby”. The teacher started to cry and had to leave the room. Fast forward to that afternoon and Aiden told the kids on the playground that his mommy was bleeding from her wee wee. That part was not so cute!

We let Aiden play hooky yesterday and took him to the zoo. We were having a good time and then I saw a mom with the same double stroller we have with a baby boy and a toddler. I broke down. Brian saw me and asked what was wrong. I pointed to the stroller. Aiden grabbed my hand and said, “She’s ok daddy. She’s just sad about Sawyer. It’s ok mommy.” Then he very sweetly led me to the Komodo dragon.

Tonight he asked if he could take a shower with me. I told him that for a while I needed to shower by myself until I heal up. A little later he came in, peeked around the shower curtain and caught me sitting in the bottom and crying, to which he stated, “See? I told you I should of gotten in with you. I coulda cheered you up”.

I am getting stronger everyday but I break down from time to time. Whenever Aiden catches me, he says “Sawyer? It’s ok mommy”. That’s usually followed by a hug or a kiss. He will never know how much he has helped us get through this. He is the best distraction and right now, that’s exactly what we need.

Baby Sawyer

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I haven’t written anything in almost six months but I feel like writing might be the best source of therapy for me right now. On Saturday, April 23rd, we had our diaper bash. It was a fun time full of friends, bbq, and kids in the pool. We hung out until 9pm. Aiden and I were exhausted so we went right to bed. The next morning, Aiden came into my room and kissed my belly (something I really loved) and it occurred to me; I hadn’t felt the baby move. I definitely hadn’t felt him that morning and I couldn’t recall feeling him the day before. Maybe it was because we had so much going on that I just didn’t notice it. Either way, I was concerned. I called my OB who sent me to labor and delivery to be monitored. At this point, I didn’t think anything serious was going to happen so I insisted Brian stay home with Aiden.

I arrive at labor and delivery around 10am. My OB had already called ahead so they had a room for me. The nurse was cold and gruff. I changed into a gown and laid on the bed. With big sweeping movements she tried to find the heart beat. Twice, she found mine sending me on a hopeful emotional roller coaster. After what seemed like an hour, she stopped. She stated that she couldn’t find it but would get the specialist in immediately to do an ultrasound. The ultrasound tech came in. After a very quick scan she put down the ultrasound, grabbed both of my hands in hers and looked me straight in the eyes. She didn’t have to say a word. I knew. “I’m sorry, sweetie. He’s gone”.

When the nurse told me she was getting the ultrasound tech I called Brian and my mom. Brian couldn’t find anyone to watch Aiden so he brought him with him. As soon as the tech told me the news, my OB came in, crying, and hugged me. She held me and cried with me until Brian and Aiden arrived. Then she took Aiden in the hallway but not before he heard me tell Brian, “He’s gone”. As she took Aiden into the hallway he asked her, “Why did mommy say Sawyer is gone?” She replied, “Because he was so special that God needed him with him”, to which Aiden replied, “That’s so they could keep me”.

My mom arrived shortly after that and she was hysterical. She screamed, “No! God, no! Why?!” She later explained that she wasn’t just upset about Sawyer, but for her daughter too. She knew what was going to have to happen next. He still needs to be born. The nurses told me that birthing a still born is usually more difficult and could take days because the baby doesn’t “help” at all. I was fortunate in this sense. I was induced at 11am, started contracting, got my epidural, had my water broke, and was ready to push by 7pm.  This, I was not prepared for.

It is clear to me now that during that entire day I was in shock. I didn’t start to come out of it for a few days. It didn’t take long for him to come out, but it definitely took longer than Aiden did. He was 7lbs 14oz and 22 inches long. When he was born, the umbilical cord was TIGHTLY wrapped around his neck….twice. Poor Brian has that image burned into his brain. He had to sit down and couldn’t hold him. He said he didn’t want to remember him like that. I didn’t look. I couldn’t. They cleaned him up, wrapped him in a blanket, and brought him to me. I held him for….not long enough. How long is long enough? The only words I said to him was, “We tried.” I didn’t tell him I loved him, or that I was sorry. I didn’t tell him about how much he was wanted or what a good brother he would of been to Aiden. I didn’t even kiss him. I didn’t even cry… and I tried. I had six pairs of eyes staring at me, waiting to see any emotion, and I couldn’t even make my self cry. Again, shock. This is by far, the part I feel most guilty about. If I had it to do over again they would have to pull him from my arms. My mom, on the other hand, spent a long time with him. She kissed him and told him all about us, and told him how much he was loved. I am so very thankful for this!

I sent everyone home that night so I could sleep. I was exhausted. They gave me medicine to help me sleep so I drifted off quickly. The next morning was terrible. I woke up in the hospital room, by myself, and realized that everything had actually happened. Our baby boy really did die. I really did birth him. And we really were going home without him. We would have to “make plans” as everyone put it, as to what to do with his body. Brian, Aiden, and my mom came back to pick me up. I went into the hospital a day prior with a full term baby in my belly and left with a memory box. The box included a blanket, hat, footprints and a hand print. We had professional pictures done of him but we haven’t received them yet. I am told that they will be in black and white and edited to look like a peaceful, sleeping baby. I hope so because as of right now, I can’t even remember what he looks like and that breaks my heart.

The most surprising part to all of this is the overwhelming love and support we have received since this happened. Two GoFundMe accounts were created for us, we have received card after card, phone calls, meals, etc. We would not be where we are now, one week later, without the support from our friends and family. I have heard that distraction is the best medicine. So far, it is true. We have tried to stay busy and spend a lot of time with Aiden. This kind of loss really makes you cherish what you have.

Thanks to the donation money we will be having a butterfly release ceremony at a local park in June. We also just purchased a commemorative brick from the zoo in Sawyer’s honor. It will say, “In loving memory of Sawyer Elmore 4/24/16 Taken too soon but loved for eternity”. It should be ready in about eight weeks and it will be placed in front of the carousel. We thought it would be neat for Aiden to find his brother’s name every time we go to the zoo. After the medical bills and ceremony, we will be starting Aiden a college fund. It will be a sort of gift from his brother. We wouldn’t of been able to start one on our own. I bet that will be a “Everything happens for a reason” situation people will try to point out to me in the future. Unfortunately, I am having a really hard time with that saying right now. I think it is still too raw.