Monday, January 30, 2012

Can't stop what's coming...

"Can't stop what's coming, can't stop what is on it's way" - Tori Amos

I often turn to music as therapy, inspiration, comfort, solace, refuge, peace.  This song struck me hard tonight because it's the truth.  Angel Mommies know this truth best of all, they thought the initial indication of pregnancy would yield an entire lifetime of thriving.  After I lost Trey, I became increasingly afraid of the future.  Would I ever have another pregnancy?  If I did, would the child live?  If it did, would some tragedy take the child away from me? (I still wrestle with that one.) What would I do if I never was granted the blessing of becoming an Earthly Mother?  If I try to get pregnant again, would my womb produce another ailing child? (Still suffering that one as well.)

The truth is, Trey was coming, with all of his health problems, LONG before I ever dreamed of being a Mommy, which was since the time I was born.  Every tragedy and blessing is waiting for us in the wings it seems, no matter what we are hoping, wishing, or praying for.  I prayed that I would be pregnant with my first child and my prayers were answered, though my prayers that he would live were met with silence, and ultimately emptiness.

It seems to me that you can wish, hope, dream, and pray for anything you want, but in the terms of the classics, "You can't always get what you want, you get what you need."  I wanted BOTH of my children with such a want that cannot be defined in mere words.  I was not guaranteed either of them, nor the one I still want to complete the trio of children of my dreams.  None of us are ever guaranteed any of our hopes and dreams.

Tori's song tonight lead me to train of thought foreign to me.  What if my drive to have three children is what was supposed to be?  What if my obsession with getting pregnant after Trey's passing led me to having our daughter?  What if, by losing Trey and constantly keeping him the conversation, I might alienate those who really don't matter, but inspire those who do?  If Trey had been born and lived, would we have Lorelei?  Isn't this who I am supposed to be?

I am Trey's Mommy, a mother missing her son.  I am Lorelei's Mommy, a mother who holds her daughter dear.  I am the wife of a grieving daddy who misses the son who shares his name.  In some weird way, I wouldn't trade ANY of it for the world.  Would I want my son to be here on Earth growing up before my eyes? YES! Yet his sickness would've drained us of the dream of any future children.   Yet, MY life has brought me some hard lessons that have comforting, humbling, and peace.  The ups and downs of life keep us going.  Imagine a stagnate life.  I'm not saying one should take the loss of a child in stride, merely we should see the blessings that surrounds the happiness and tragedy in our lives.

It's easier said then done.

The truth, in all of our hopes, dreams, and prayers, is that everyday we live is a blessing, a lesson, a truth.  We live each day thinking of what we want out of life, yet sometimes what we need in life has been staring us in the face for years, awaiting our recognition.  Our heartache teaches, soothes, and eventually heals our souls, our hearts always bare the brunt, but that, in and of itself, is a life lesson.

"Jimmy, sometimes it's magic, sometimes it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way." - Jimmy Buffett

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What is an Angel Mother?

"Greiving Woman...Where has my child gone?"

An Angel Mom Is A Woman With Incredible Strength, Who At 

Times Does Not See How Strong She Is. An Angel Mom Carries Her 

Child In Her Heart and Not In Her Arms. An Angel Moms Child 

Will Never Grow Old. An Angel Mom Will Always Talk About Her 

Child, Celebrate Birthdays, Christmas, Halloween and Easter, As If 

Her Child Is Still Here. Just Because She Does This, It Does Not 

Mean She Is Weak, It Simply Means She Will Never Forget!! Gone 

But Not Forgotten By So Many... Please remember just because she 

does these things it does not mean she loves her other children less 

in fact it means she holds them even closer than before.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Keep Your Head Up

by: Andy Grammer
wooh, ehhhh, wooooh.
I've been waiting on the sunsetBills on my mindsetI can get deny theyre getting highHigher than my incomeIncome's breadcrumbsI've been trying to survive
The glow that the sun givesRight around sunsetHelps me realizeThis is just a journeyDrop your worriesYou are gonna turn out fine.Oh, you'll turn out fine.Fine, oh, you'll turn out fine.
But you gotta keep your head up, oh,And you can let your hair down, gotta keep your head up, oh,And you can let your hair down, eh.
I know it's hard, know its hard,To remember sometimes,But you gotta keep your head up, oh,And you can let your hair down, eh.
I've got my hands in my pockets,Kickin these rocks.Its kinda hard to watch this life go by.I'm buyin in the skeptics,Skeptics mess with, the confidence in my eyes
I'm seeing all the angles, starts to get tangledI start to comprimiseMy life and the purpose.Is it all worth it,Am I gonna turn out fine?Oh, you'll turn out fine.Fine, oh, you'll turn out fine.
But you gotta keep your head up, oh,And you can let your hair down, gotta keep your head up, oh,And you can let your hair down, eh.
I know it's hard, know its hard,To remember sometimes,But you gotta keep your head up, oh,And you can let your hair down, eh.
Only rainbows after rainThe sun will always come again.And its a circle, circling,Around again, it comes around again.
Only rainbows after rainThe sun will always come again.And its a circle, circling,Around again, it comes around,
But you gotta keep your head up, oh,And you can let your hair down, gotta keep your head up, oh,And you can let your hair down, eh.
I know it's hard, know its hardTo remember sometimes,But you gotta keep your head up, oh,And you can let your hair down, eh.
Keep your head up, oh,And you can let your hair down, eh.Keep your head up, oh,And you can let your hair down, eh.Keep your head up, oh,And you can let your hair down.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Cry

"I cry for the time when you were almost mine, I cry for the memories left behind, I cry for the pain, the lost, the old, the new, I cry for the times I don't have you..." - Author Unknown

Friday, January 20, 2012


I have been stewing on something for quite awhile.  About a month and a half back I emailed LL's pediatrician about a cold that had gone on for three weeks.  I told her the symptoms, what we were doing, and asked whether I should bring her in or if this was normal for her age group or the time of year.  Me being the a first time Earthly Mommy, I had no idea.  This was on a Sunday.\

By Thursday, I had had no response, and this insurance company prides itself on 24 hour turn around on emails. Now, keep in mind, I do not blow up this doctor's email or phone at every sniffle.  I treat my daughter as I was raised, try to treat conditions at home and if they get worse than you can handle and/or the symptoms are something you can't explain, then call the doctor.  So, I emailed her again, copying the email I had sent her and explaining that I was unsure if she received my first email.  No response.

Sunday came along again and I called the nurse line and told them what was going on.  I repeated what I had emailed the doctor and also notified them that the pediatrician never got back with me.  After an assessment of my child's current condition, they told me I should bring her to urgent care ($40 copay).  Once there, the pediatrician I saw (different one) said he saw my two emails in the system and he saw that they were not responded to and that was highly unusual.  He also said that LL's primary pediatrician was working on the day after both emails were sent so there was no excuse why the emails weren't received OR answered.  He went onto say that usually the nursing staff backs doctors up by checking that every phone message and email has been opened and responded to.

That being the case, my daughter was diagnosed with Bronchialitis, a condition, if left untreated, can lead to RSV, which lands babies in the hospital, the LAST place I would ever want my child to be.  She was given some sort of medicine and a nebulizer to be administered twice a day.  The whole breathing treatment sent me in a tailspin, if the condition was bad enough to treat with asthma meds, shouldn't my email have been answered?!?!?!?

So I filed a complaint, not necessarily against the doctor, mainly against the neglect.  If her staff was supposed to follow up behind her and her staff is a representation of her, then the whole process failed and she needs to take responsibility for it.  The nurse on the line said I SHOULD have brought her in if the cold lasted for more that 10 days, "didn't you know that?", NO because this is my first living child, but I simply replied that I didn't know but I would have that knowledge in the future.

Flash forward a week when her supervisor calls me to inquire about my complaint.  She indicates that the unanswered emails were the result of a glitch in the system....REALLLY!?!?!?!?  I would understand ONE email getting lost due to a glitch, but TWO?!?!?!?!  If both of the emails went unnoticed due to "glitches" then why did the pediatrician I saw at urgent care see them as unanswered in the system???????

She went onto say that I should have called the nurse line.  REALLY?!?!?  I didn't want to do that, I wanted to hear from my child's doctor!!  That still does not negate the fact that my communication with her was ignored.  Plus, when you call the nurse line, you tell them the symptoms, what your doing, and they tell you  that you're doing everything you are supposed to be doing, then they tell you what you should be doing, which is in fact, everything you just told them you were doing.  THEN THEY MAKE YOU REPEAT TO THEM WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING!!!!!  I AM NOT 3!!!!!!!!!!

She told me that she talked to the pediatrician in question and she relayed that she LOVED seeing Lorelei and would love to continue to take care of her.  I DON'T THINK SO!!!!!!  She said I could call her anytime with questions or concerns, I rolled my eyes, annoyed at the brush off.  She said she never wanted this to happen again and was making an inquiry into the situation.

Yeah, I was brushed off, she thought she put out a fire.  I can smell, see, and hear bullshit when it's present!  She was like crowd control, I have known higher ups in my profession that do the same thin.  I am NOT stupid!!!!  The only glitch in the system was the system itself!!  So, I canceled LL's 6 month check-up with her primary pediatrician and scheduled another one with a different pediatrician.  If I can't trust that ANY of my communication with the doctor will be answered, why should I stay with her???

About a week later, I emailed the pediatrician I saw about LL's progress and my "primary" pediatrician, the one who blew me off answered.  Also, when I called to see how long Lorelei had to be on the steroid infused nebulizer, SHE was consulted.  I did NOT want to hear from HER!  She had already failed me!  I wanted to hear from the doctor who ACTUALLY took care of my daughter, not the one who didn't respond, leading my child through ANOTHER week of sickness, when, if she would've responded, could have been avoided.

Needless to say, there was no email or call of apology for the "oversight" so my respect for said pediatrician is lost and we have since switched pediatricians.  I have NEVER pulled the "I lost a child" card with her pediatrician. yes with my OBGYN because I needed them to know my level of anxiety and stress.  I expect them to treat my child with the same urgency that they treat any other child that walks into that office.

I am disgusted with this pediatrician's supervisor trying to cover BOTH of their asses!!  I entrust them with the care of my child and because she is my only living child, I SHOULD know the ins and outs of infancy, BUT I DON'T!!!  They know this due to the history that has been recorded in my medical history and in their so called "system".

This situation has made me as vigilant as ever.  I have had to fight to be an advocate of my own healthcare and I will fight even HARDER for my child's!!

Luckily, LL has been in good health ever since, but this could have erupted into RSV or Pneumonia if I had not taken action. I am angry that her supervisor put blame on ME because I did not call the advice line that would treat me like a 3 year old rather than acknowledge what I was doing and inform me of the next step.  I was furious of the lack of responsibility of both the supervisor and the pediatrician and her staff.

I continue to implore ALL parents to stand up for the rights and health of their children.  I didn't with my first, I trusted that I was being told the truth and now he flies high with the angels, he would have anyway, but had we the knowledge he would have been there A LOT sooner instead of suffering. Experience has taught me to ALWAYS question when it comes to the medical field. It's a shame we have to question at all, "First, do no harm"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The List

When women experience the loss of a child, one of the first things they discover they have in common is a list of things they wish no one had ever said to them. The lists tend to be remarkably similar. The comments are rarely malicious - just misguided attempts to soothe. 

This list was compiled as a way of helping other people understand pregnancy loss. While generated by mothers for mothers, it may also apply similarly to the fathers who have endured this loss. 

When trying to help a woman who has lost a baby, the best rule of thumb is a matter of manners: don't offer your personal opinion of her life, her choices, her prospects for children. No woman is looking to poll her acquaintances for their opinions on why it happened or how she should cope.

-Don't say, "It's God's Will." Even if we are members of the same congregation, unless you are a cleric and I am seeking your spiritual counseling, please don't presume to tell me what God wants for me. Besides, many terrible things are God's Will, that doesn't make them less terrible. 

-Don't say, "It was for the best - there was probably something wrong with your baby." The fact that something was wrong with the baby is what is making me so sad. My poor baby never had a chance. Please don't try to comfort me by pointing that out. 

-Don't say, "You can always have another one." This baby was never disposable. If had been given the choice between loosing this child or stabbing my eye out with a fork, I would have said, "Where's the fork?" I would have died for this baby, just as you would die for your children. 

-Don't say, "Be grateful for the children you have." If your mother died in a terrible wreck and you grieved, would that make you less grateful to have your father? 

-Don't say, "Thank God you lost the baby before you really loved it." I loved my son or daughter. Whether I lost the baby after two weeks of pregnancy or just after birth, I loved him or her. 

-Don't say, "Isn't it time you got over this and moved on?" It's not something I enjoy, being grief-stricken. I wish it had never happened. But it did and it's a part of me forever. The grief will ease on its own timeline, not mine - or yours. 

-Don't say, "Now you have an angel watching over you." I didn't want her to be my angel. I wanted her to bury me in my old age. 

-Don't say, "I understand how you feel." Unless you've lost a child, you really don't understand how I feel. And even if you have lost a child, everyone experiences grief differently. 

-Don't tell me horror stories of your neighbor or cousin or mother who had it worse. The last thing I need to hear right now is that it is possible to have this happen six times, or that I could carry until two days before my due-date and labor 20 hours for a dead baby. These stories frighten and horrify me and leave me up at night weeping in despair. Even if they have a happy ending, do not share these stories with me. 

-Don't pretend it didn't happen and don't change the subject when I bring it up. If I say, "Before the baby died..." or "when I was pregnant..." don't get scared. If I'm talking about it, it means I want to. Let me. Pretending it didn't happen will only make me feel utterly alone. 

- Don't say, "It's not your fault." It may not have been my fault, but it was my responsibility and I failed. The fact that I never stood a chance of succeeding only makes me feel worse. This tiny little being depended upon me to bring him safely into the world and I couldn't do it. I was supposed to care for him for a lifetime, but I couldn't even give him a childhood. I am so angry at my body you just can't imagine. 

-Don't say, "Well, you weren't too sure about this baby, anyway." I already feel so guilty about ever having complained about morning sickness, or a child I wasn't prepared for, or another mouth to feed that we couldn't afford. I already fear that this baby died because I didn't take the vitamins, or drank too much coffee, or had alcohol in the first few weeks when I didn't know I was pregnant. I hate myself for any minute that I had reservations about this baby. Being unsure of my pregnancy isn't the same as wanting my child to die - I never would have chosen for this to happen. 

-Do say, "I am so sorry." That's enough. You don't need to be eloquent. Say it and mean it and it will matter. 

-Do say, "You're going to be wonderful parents some day," or "You're wonderful parents and that baby was lucky to have you." We both need to hear that. 

-Do say, "I have lighted a candle for your baby," or "I have said a prayer for your baby." Do send flowers or a kind note - every one I receive makes me feel as though my baby was loved. Don't resent it if I don't respond. Don't call more than once and don't be angry if the machine is on and I don't return your call. If we're close friends and I am not responding to your attempts to help me, please don't resent that, either. Help me by not needing anything from me for a while. If you're my boss or my co-worker: 

-Do recognize that I have suffered a death in my family - not a medical condition. 

-Do recognize that in addition to the physical aftereffects I may experience, I'm going to be grieving for quite some time. Please treat me as you would any person who has endured the tragic death of a loved one - I need time and space. 

DO understand if I do not attend baby showers/christening/birthday parties etc. And DON'T ask why I can't come. 

( source Unknown... sharing from a child loss grief website ) 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Sentiments EXACTLY!!!!

Don't Carpe Diem

By: Glennon Melton

Every time I'm out with my kids -- this seems to happen:

An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, "Oh, Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast."
Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy everysecond, etc, etc, etc.
I know that this message is right and good. But, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn't work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life - while I'm raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I'm not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong.
I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.
And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers -- "ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU'LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN'T!" TRUST US!! IT'LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!" -- those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.
Now. I'm not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: "Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast."
At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, "Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you."
That's not exactly what I wanted to say, though.
There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied, "No. but I love having written." What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, "Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?"
I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least.
Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I'm being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times -- G, if you can't handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?
That one always stings, and I don't think it's quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it's hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she's not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn't add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it's so hard means she IS doing it her own way...and she happens to be honest.
Craig is a software salesman. It's a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don't ever feel the need to suggest that he's not doing it right, or that he's negative for noticing that it's hard, or that maybe he shouldn't even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he's ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: "This career goes by so fast...ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!"
My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn't enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn't in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn't MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I'd wake up and the kids would be gone, and I'd be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.
But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here's what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:
"It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out."
Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn't work for me. I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.
Here's what does work for me:
There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.
Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.
Like when I actually stop what I'm doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can't hear her because all I can think is -- This is the first time I've really seen Tish all day, and myGod -- she is so beautiful. Kairos.
Like when I'm stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I'm haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I'm transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles and piles of healthy food I'll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world's mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.
Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.
These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.
If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.
Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.
Good enough for me.