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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Life after Child Loss

One thing I have learned after losing Caleb, is that my life is different. There is more anxiety. More uncertainty. More fear. I am less certain about things I thought I felt, and am filled with more fear that someone else that is held dear to me, could be gone at any time. Knowing that no day is ever promised is quite scary. But, more the reason to make each one worth it.

Losing my only son was hell. That's really the best way to put it. And it always will be. To lose your child is the worst nightmare anyone can go through. Now that I have had no choice but to crawl through this never ending grief, I know this for a fact:

I can make it through anything.

Whatever happens now, until the day that I die, I can do it. Because there is nothing, nothing worse than burying your child.

So, throw it at me, Life. Bring it on. Because I can do this.

Friday, January 28, 2011

4 Long Months

You celebrated your 4 month birthday in heaven yesterday. I can't imagine how great it must have been! You will always be my 3 day old little boy. It's hard not to think about what you might be like if you were still here with us. Would your 2nd surgery be in the near future? Would you be showing us lots of smiles? I'm certain we would have about a million more pictures of you. :) A part of my heart is with you. I love you so much, and miss you more than I can describe.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Life Taken Too Soon

Samuel Louis

Since Caleb's death, I have been overcome with gratitude. So many showed their support and love to us, many of them being people I have never met. They are part of our CHD community, knowing all too well the ups and downs of this battle. Our kids battle life, right from the bieginning, fighting their hardest each day just to be here with us. After Caleb passed, I have had this strong want. To reach out to others, keep up with prayer, and let them know they are not alone. To try and give them encouragement...a ray of light...a piece of hope. I started to look for others who are going down this road.

One of the blogs I stumbled upon, was my dear friend Carlen. I began following along with her pregnancy of her much awaited baby boy. As his birth was quickly approaching, I gave her my number, letting her know that she could call or text me anytime. I realized I was just some random person far away, but I felt a connection with her. Knowing that her HLHS journey was just about to begin, and that I know how alone it can feel.

We began texting, and she would send me updates on little Samuel. He was a little chunk like my Caleb. :) And perfect in every way. Before long, he was 9 days old. I was praying nonstop, knowing that surgery would likely be soon. She let me know it would be that day, and I got the prayers rolling in from everyone I knew. My phone was glued to me all night. I wasn't prepared to get the text telling me my biggest fear. Samuel had left this Earth. I bawled. I yelled. I cried and shook my head. I didn't understand. Another life taken too soon. It just doesn't make sense. Just like Caleb being gone.

People will say, "He's in a better place now."... "No longer in pain..." or, one of my favorites, "God must have needed a little angel...."

Umm...NO. I don't agree with that. Why is here not a better place? How do you know he was in pain? Needed an angel? God has angels up there with him. Caleb will be in Heaven as himself, not some flying angel. I know they are trying to lessen the hurt, and not sure what else to say. But those just aren't things to tell a mother that has just lost her baby.
My heart continues to break for all of those that suffer the loss of their baby. I wish my path had crossed with Carlen under different circumstances...but I was given the chance, and blessing, to get to know her, and try to be there on this journey.
Our precious little Boy,
We will always know your face.
In our hearts and stars forever,
You will always have a place. ~Unknown

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Smell so Sweet

The strangest thing happened this afternoon. (And I might sound insane.) While I was laying on my bed, I randomly had the notion to smell my hand. My right hand. I teared up. It was Caleb's smell. His exact smell. It brought me right back to those few days with him. It lingered for a minute,then was gone. Was he there with me for that moment? While he was in the CICU, I always stood to the left of him. He always had his head turned to the right side, so this way I could see all of him. I always used my right hand to touch his soft face, toes, and hands. Boy, do I miss him.

I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:5

Kailey talks more and more about Caleb as the weeks have passed. She brings him up daily. She will say things like, "I miss brother", "I wish I could hold him", or "He was a chunk." :) She gets that last one from hearing us talk about him. Today, while driving in the car, Elton John's song "Tears in Heaven" came on. When it was over, the radio host said the name of the song and all that stuff that they do. Kailey yells from the backseat, "Hey, Heaven! Just like brother!" She is only 3, and never got to meet him. But she has grasped so much, and he is her brother forever. Miss you sweet boy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What Next?

I've been thinking about Caleb's blog, and now I wonder. What next? Do I keep it the same? Make it my blog with his story as a part of it? There are no updates to give, prayers to ask for, or new pictures to post of my sweet boy. I love to write, and it's where I can just put down my feelings as the days pass, and as my heart grows heavier. Comment, and let me know what you think. :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Empty Arms

Today I went up to Caleb's room, and spent some time in there. Looked through, touched, and held things of his that I haven't in awhile.

Caleb's soothie buddy :) It still has the sugar water on it from when he was in the CICU. The hat he wore once he was born. In the ziploc bag, is the blanket they swaddled him in after he passed away. I'm holding onto his sweet smell as long as I can.

Perfect little feet :)

The drawing of Caleb's heart from the doctor right before his surgery. Still hard to believe that his poor heart was broken, when he looked so perfect.

Miss you my little chunk :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bits and Pieces

When I think about our 3 days with Caleb, bits and pieces of those hours swirl around in my mind. The greatest of highs, and the complete bottom of lows.

Our cardiologist sitting down beside us after Caleb's birth, and saying that his heart was the most complex one he's ever seen.

The caring nature of the nurse that helped deliver him. Her positivity helped us hold on.

Waddling around the hospital room the day after having Caleb, and making fun of my "diaper."

Calling and texting Kyle non stop to ask how our boy was doing, until I was discharged.

How pink Caleb was at birth, and him leaving for Cincinatti on room air and being so stable.
He was perfect.

Seeing Caleb for the first time in the CICU. So many machines. Feeling helpless.

Everyone saying "how cute the doblar baby is." :)

The baby next to Caleb's room having to get a new trachea.

Being in Caleb's room, and hearing a child on the floor crying out, and yelling stop. Brought me to tears.

Kyle calling in the morning, saying that Caleb's surgery was moved to that afternoon, at 3 days old instead of a week. Frantically running up and down the stairs, tears streaming down my face as I had to leave Kailey with a friend. Her clinging to me and crying.

Holding Caleb for the first time. Last time we saw him alive, he was fussy, and not wanting his soothie.

Getting to the floor of his pod after his Norwood, and not being let in.

Learning that he was gone. They didn't know why. No answers.

Walking into his room. Curtains drawn, no beeping machines, no words.

Part of his nose was already purple.

Tears soaking through everything. The writing on my id tag all smeared.

Pushing his cold hands and feet into the clay molds. Clipping his hair. His smell.

Funeral home. Picking out an urn. Seeing him for the last time. Touching his cheek. Cold, hard, and lifeless. Crying on my knees.

These are just some of the things that come to mind. I miss him so much.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Caleb's Angel

Love this! Received this angel from Kyle's grandparents, in Caleb's memory. Fly high my baby boy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tiny Angel

Tiny Angel rest your wings

sit with me for awhile.

How I long to hold your hand,

And see your tender smile.

Tiny Angel, look at me,

I want this image clear....

That I will forget your precious face

Is my biggest fear.

Tiny Angel can you tell me,

Why you have gone away?

You weren't here for very long....

Why is it, you couldn't stay?

Tiny Angel shook his head,

"These things I do not know....

But I do know that you love me,

And that I love you so".

Author Unknown

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I Love You So

My dear Caleb,

Here we are. 3 months has passed since you took your last breath. Where am I in my grief? The exact same as I was that night. Tears still flow freely, sadness envelopes me suddenly and with quite a force. Some days are better than others. Sometimes I can think of you and smile, other times, the very thought of you brings me to my knees in heartache. I go into your room, and look at all of the things that we still have for you. Your bedroom is spotless, with everything in it's place. Like it's waiting for us to bring you home any day. As tears fall down my cheeks, I can't help but almost grin. We had bought a few preemie things in the begining; we weren't sure what your weight would be with your heart defects. You rocked that, baby boy! Over 9 pounds, my perfect little chunk. :) You blew EVERYBODY away!

Your crib holds things that are dear to us. Your medical records, the stuffed animals that were with you in the CICU, all of your ultrasound pictures. Your closet is full of clothes, your pack n play set up in the corner. I'm not able to do anything with your room, your things, any of it. We are lucky enough to not need the space, and I want to keep it how it is.

I have your urn in our living room. It's where we spend most of our family time, and this way, you can be a part of it. We haven't gone as far as telling Kailey that it's you, I don't think at her age that she will understand. She does know all about you, and she talks about you. Although she never got to meet you, you are her brother, and she tells me that she misses you. She says that she wants to hold you and feed you.

I'll never forget holding you for the 1st and only time while you were alive. So many wires, my biggest worry was pulling on something by accident, and causing you pain. When you were placed in my arms, I felt such peace. You wrapped your finger around mine, and I am so grateful to have a picture of this as well. I wish I could have taken it all away, healed your little heart, kept you here. This helpless feeling is one that I've become to know too well. Sometimes it swallows me whole, and I find myself trying to get back up to the surface.

I don't know why you didn't make it past 3 days. I don't know why you had to go, why you left so soon. But I would do it a million times over. You are my son. I learned so much from you, and you left me with a greater understanding of the fragility of this life. You showed me the depth and strength of love, hope, and life.

I love you more than anything.



Blink of an Eye Quote

"They say that time in heaven is compared to 'the blink of an eye' for us on this earth. Sometimes it helps me to think of my child running ahead of me through a beautiful field of wildflowers and butterflies; so happy and completely caught up in what he is doing that when he looks behind him, I'll already be there." ~Author Unknown