Friday, December 30, 2011

Nothing spectacular

I haven't written in some time now and there are a few reasons for that 1) Christmas was rough, to say the least, 2) Right after Christmas, I was ever so blessed with the flu that put me down for 2 days, and 3) My computer is ill too. It conveniently just shuts off at random and it takes at least seven times of turning it on to actually...turn on. 

For those of you that are wondering, The Christmas spirit never came. No surprise here, I stopped searching and expecting. I even got a little grinchy, I found myself rolling my eyes at a woman at Subway for telling other customers that "This was her favorite time of year", "Who am I?", I asked myself. By the time Christmas Day arrived, I kept thinking that I just wanted it to be over. Don't get me wrong, I loved being around family and friends and that is probably what kept me going but there were times I just wanted to exit and climb back into bed and sleep till the new year.

I wish I had some amazing post today, something creative, some sort of quirky analogy or maybe even some humor, but I have nothing of the sort to give you guys and I'm sorry for that. Truth be told, I usually only write on my good days. I leave the bad days for reflecting and gathering my thoughts together but today is a bad day. On days like this, it becomes difficult to even explain to myself how I'm feeling let alone put it into words for everyone else but of course I'm gonna give it my best shot...

Today, I don't know if I'm coming or going, I'm up then I'm way down and even sideways. It's one of those days I could drive to the grocery store with tears in my eyes, get there and do all my shopping, come home and put them all away then sit down and not remember doing any of it. Days like these are like figments of your imagination but ironically so real and raw that all the tears you own aren't enough. One minute, you tell yourself there is no point in crying because it wont bring your baby back but the next minute when you find yourself dropping things like its an Olympic sport and your wearing the gold, you cry. You cry like that remote or cell phone on the floor was your most prized possession. You might even believe yourself when you blame your tears on your clumsiness instead of the fact that your baby is gone. 

Everyday is different with grieving. Everyday you are a different person. You have to become familiar with the different kinds of days and acquaint yourself with them and learn what is good and bad on those specific days. I learned very recently that on days like today, even though drinking a bottle of wine seems like the answer, it most certainly is not. You will find yourself drunk and miserable, listening to rap music that you don't even like, and perhaps finding a unfamiliar dark side of yourself that isn't pretty or helpful in the process. If you are lucky like me and have amazing friends, one of them might come to your rescue. If not, just avoid Alcohol in general.


So, while I realize that none of my blog posts are Pulitzer material, I do sincerely apologize for this one and my lack of creativeness.


By the way, Only a 2 days left for Brody's project! Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas spirit, where are you?

Hello There Readers! I'm going to be extending Brody's Project in hopes that I get at least a few more responses. I know everyone is busy with this whole Christmas thing going on so I don't expect anyone to put a hold on their wrapping, cooking, and family time to e-mail me.

I will extend until after both holidays, Christmas and New Years and try to have the blog post up at the beginning of the new year. Maybe every one's responses will help me to enter the new year with new hopes and new dreams for our future and possibly just maybe even hopes for a brother or sister for Brody.

I will make the deadline January 1st and try to have up the post with in a week. Once again my e-mail address is tiagiardino@yahoo.com.  Thank you to everyone who has responded already and to everyone else in advance.


On a side note, I'm finding it difficult to get in the Christmas spirit. Maybe some of you don't know what I'm talking about when I say Christmas spirit. For me, it usually occurs when I'm decorating my tree with music in the background and I get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside knowing Christmas day is on it's way. I talked to Adam about it and he attributes it to the slightly warmer weather. I thought maybe it was that I was getting older or that I haven't gotten the chance to see Home Alone on television yet.

The truth is I know it's not the weather, lack of Christmas movies, or my age. I know it's because my heart is broken. I know it's because instead of shopping for my Brody and singing him all my favorite Christmas songs, I'm making him a shrine in the corner of my home complete with a stuffed teddy bear with his name on it, a candle with a "B" on it to light on Christmas Eve, an angel statue, and a wonderful tree made out of frog ribbon gifted to me by a new and dear friend.

My house is decorated, my tree has been up for weeks, all the gifts are wrapped, and I've even tried to  make this year a little different and special by hand making the majority of my gifts . I've even tried baking to see if the Christmas spirit was lost somewhere in pudding cookies or chocolate covered oreos, no such luck though. 


I guess there is some kind of "moral of the story" here. Some sort of Dr. Seuss "happy ending" in realizing that the Christmas spirit can't be found in presents, gifts, or decorations. It can only be found inside of you, inside of your heart. But, what happens when you feel empty inside and your heart is broken, where is the Christmas spirit to be found then? How can you search for the Christmas spirit when you are decorating not only a tree but the grave of your first born child?
 So as the snow was falling the other day and Adam and I sat down to watch Christmas movies on the couch and not a spec of Christmas spirit was felt or in sight, I found myself asking "Where are you Christmas?"
"Where Are You Christmas"

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play

My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too

Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go

Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time

I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love

Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

hmmm, what to wear?

Everyday, women everywhere choose what to wear that day. It may be deciding on what to wear to work or just deciding what clothes are most comfortable to lounge around in.

Everyday, I feel like I'm going to a big event and I have to make a choice. Will I wear the bright polka dot dress or the old faithful black dress? The event is life and the choice isn't always easy. 

The bright polka dot dress is so positive and joyful. The accessories include nothing but a smile. It has become that dress that you see and love but just know it looks better on the model and your body shape and size could never pull it off. I wore it the entire time I was pregnant and I never wondered how it looked because I knew it made me feel beautiful and that is all that mattered. The polka dot dress has a bright outlook into the future and welcomes the thought of future children with open arms and an open heart.

The black dress is dark and dreary. It's comfortable and sad, but it draws you in. On the outside, it really just looks like a regular LBD but the appearance is very deceiving. It may look like it pulls you in in all the right places and hides all the flaws but underneath you are still out of shape, you are still grieving. There are times I try on the polka dot dress, dance around in it for a little but find myself feeling guilty for trying and I know it just isn't going to work that day. The sadness becomes like a vacuum, sucking me in, and not giving up on the fight. Those are times that I know I have fought too long, I've been smiling and staying positive for a week now and it has somehow weakened my soul. I miss the tears and I miss my son and I just want to let it all out. 

On Saturday, I put on a literal black dress and attended my husband's company Christmas party.  I'm sure we appeared like things were getting back to normal for us, but Brody was on my mind the entire evening. His necklace was around my neck and his name etched in my heart. Adam wore the pants that he wore the day we buried Brody.
For the first time, we encountered someone who knew we were pregnant but had no idea that Brody was gone. From across the way, he shouted the the four words I have been dreading to hear for months..."How is the baby?" I looked at my husband, we were both searching for an answer and wondering what was appropriate to shout out loud without offending anyone around. Adam answered "It's a long story", The guy just looked at us. I lowered my head and walked away. I don't know what he thought to himself or if he figured it out in that moment. I wanted nothing more than to tell him that our baby was home with his Grandma babysitting him and this was Mommy and Daddy's first night out without him.

Everyday, I make a choice. Usually I am very positive and I know life is too precious to give up on, so I put on the polka dot dress and I wear it with pride. It does get uncomfortable and I tug at it and I adjust the length. There are moments I wish I would have put on the black dress instead but I know this bright colored one will take me places the black dress will not.

I'm almost four months in now and I cannot tell you things are better, but I can say it is getting easier to live with the unanswered questions that I know I will never have an answer to. Good days come more often and my tears are less abundant. There are still days that make me think that being pregnant for almost eight months and not having a baby in your arms is kinda like getting all dressed and having no where to go.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Freddy has nothing on Pregnancy

Ever since I can remember, I've had a total irrational fear of Freddy Krueger. Yes, I realize that I'm coming up on thirty years of age, but till this day, if I see a costume or even see the movie on the guide channel on t.v., I quickly turn away and remind myself that it is only Robert Englund doing his job. My mother can attest to many a sleepless nights due to this character who single handily tainted my childhood with images of his bladed hands flashing in front of his face all while smirking and making me feel like I was next to be drug up and down the walls of my bedroom and covered with blood that no one else could see but me. 


These days, I find myself dramatically pushing the up and down button on my remote and turning away when I hear "Kortney Kardashian is pregnant (oh the horror), Beyonce is craving ketchup( oh my gosh), and Jessica Simpson is showing off her baby bump( I'm now sweating like I've had a nightmare)". Blah blah blah, I say to myself. I've trained myself to put it off like I don't care and don't want to hear about it but the truth is, pregnancy scares me to death. It scares me like Freddy did years ago. I'm that little girl again looking under my bed before I go to sleep, making sure he isn't under there just waiting for me to lay down so he can take his sharp fingers through my mattress and then through my body.


I could be in a serious conversation, very focused on the lips and eyes of my friend and soaking up all the words and giving my complete attention, but yet I could hear the words "pregnant" or "baby" from across a room. They stick out like the "f" word in church on Sunday. My eyes get wide like Freddy walked in and sat down beside me. I can feel my heart rate increasing and chills up my spine.


I have tried to avoid pregnant friends and I'm not proud of that fact. That is not me. I love people and being around them, pregnant or not. It's not because I'm jealous or I hate them for being pregnant. I don't avoid them because they have something I used to have and I hold that against them, it's quite the opposite actually. Deep down, I am so very happy for them and the joy they are about to experience but the new cautious and fearful me knows pregnancy doesn't always end in joy. I know first hand that things can go horribly wrong. It scares me to hear someone is pregnant, they have put on the freddy mask and shouted "boo" in my face. I don't want to scare them with my presence, I don't want to be that very real reminder that it is all too possible that they will never take their baby home and hold them in their arms...alive. What if my presence becomes awkward, what if this fear becomes as irrational as looking behind the shower curtain for Freddy before I sit down to pee. What if me being so close to the baby makes me contagious, contagious of baby loss, what if I spread it around like influenza in between seasons.

When I find out another friend of mine is pregnant, I instantly start praying "Please God, please don't make them go through this, please protect them from this pain, please God, let this baby make it and be healthy and alive, please, please, please". I beg him as if His plans weren't already in place, as if my prayers will change His puzzle and move this piece a little to prevent any further empty arms. 

To be completely honest, Freddy Krueger still scares me. He still gives me chills and wide eyes but he has nothing on pregnancy. I would actually choose to go have dinner with Freddy, a glass a wine or two, and have him walk me home in the dark given the choice between that and losing a child. 


What is worse is that I don't want to be the reminder for glowing pregnant women that their baby could join mine, I don't want to become their worst nightmare. I fear that I have become their "Freddy Krueger".



Monday, December 5, 2011

Brody's First Project

Hello Everyone!
I've been back and forth about a little idea I have for you guys (the readers of Brody's Blog) and I have decided to just go for it. I have a lot of other huge ideas but I think it's best to start small for now.

I've had several people come to me in person and tell me they read the blog everyday and that they have shared it with family members and friends. I've also had people send me messages on Facebook and through e-mail telling me what the blog has done or changed for them. One woman thanked me for sharing my feelings and it has helped her get through some  "would be" frustrating times with her own children. I suppose reading about mine and Brody's story would make a mother feel grateful for her children, for her alive children and that a temper tantrum is far better than the alternative. I know for sure a sleepless night due to a crying baby sounds like Heaven compared to the sleepless nights I endure. 

When someone tells me they read the blog, I feel so good about others really wanting to know about Brody. Often times, I just wanna come right out and say "What has Brody done for you?" "How has his story changed the way you think or feel?" or "What kind of impact has Brody had on you?" but I never want to put someone in an awkward position so I just wait until they want to tell me or sometimes they just don't. It truly amazes me that Brody has such an impact on others and he isn't even alive. He was and is so loved by so many and he only lives now through me. It's up to me to help him live on.


So, I want to start a little project and hopefully the first of many. I want to know how Brody's story has impacted you. Don't hesitate to join in the project if you don't know me that well or even at all. I will accept all responses from anyone who wants to share. Once I receive them all, I will write a special blog post from them. 


There is no incentive really, no big prize for the best e-mail or anything (well, unless I think of something really creative between now and the deadline, which is always possible). I just want to get the ball rolling with Brody's first project and thought this was a great way to start. 


My only request is that everyone is kind and honest. Please send responses either to my email or with a Facebook message. My email is tiagiardino@yahoo.com. Please subject the messages : Brody's Project. I would like to have the post up before Christmas so I will accept responses until December 19th. I'm really looking forward to hearing from you all!Thank you

 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baby Weight

Today, I woke up thinking about "The Sunday I will never forget". Pieces of the hospital stay keep appearing in my mind. I hope I never forget the details. The details are all I have.

My thoughts were more matter of fact then. I knew my baby was dead but I hadn't shed any tears. I watched my husband barely hold it together and I felt bad for him, I felt bad for what he was going through. 

I was unaware (and I still am) about how long Brody was dead before we got to the hospital. But, at 8am when we were on our way to the hospital I didn't realize I would have to hold his body in my womb for almost 11 more hours. Looking back, that realization alone, makes me feel a way that I just can not put into words. A place where I always thought he would be safe and taken care of was now a place of death and it was inside of me. 

I hadn't thought about it much that day or the days following but now I wonder everyday if he suffered. Did he flail around trying to find a way out, did he struggle, did he wonder why his mommy wasn't helping? Those thoughts haunt me. They told me that it was peaceful but I can not find anything peaceful with the fact that my son died inside of me. I have to carry with me, everyday, the exact spot where Brody died. I still have a difficult time touching my belly or looking at it. I'm mad at it like it killed him on purpose, I hold a grudge with my own womb. I give it dirty looks in the mirror and in the bath tub. 


I cried on the second night. It was the first time Adam had fell asleep and there I was...alone. I tried to wake him but he was just so exhausted from all the emotions and from not sleeping the night before. Alone...a feeling I hadn't had for thirty weeks. I was never alone. It was Brody and I against the world. Obviously, where ever I went, he was there too. Every movie with a friend, every dinner with my sister, every where I drove and tried to get him acquainted with Billy Joel early, he was there. We were a team. When it hit me that our team was down by one member, I cried...finally. I cried so hard yet still cautious as to not wake Adam. 


That night I was only crying for the only reason that made sense...Brody was gone. Today, I still cry for that reason but so many more. I even cry for reasons that don't make sense. I cry because I feel so empty, I cry because I'm so proud of Brody, I cry because my family will never be complete even if we have 8 more children, I cry because I just realized I haven't cried all day, I cry because I just cannot put into words how I feel that day, even if I knew and understood every single word that ever existed, I still would not be able to describe how I feel and that feeling makes me cry. 


August 21, 2011 was the worst day of my life but I wish it was like the movie "Groundhog Day". I wish I woke up every morning on August 21, 2011. I know that it may be difficult to comprehend for everyone reading this and I'm sorry that I don't have this explanation of why that will make you think "Oh, ok, now I get it, now I completely understand", because believe me, you don't want to completely understand...ever. I just know that that horrible day that was the worst day of my life was also for some strange reason the best day of my life...It was the day I delivered my baby boy and kissed his forehead. 


Those few days in the hospital almost seem like they didn't happen. They were so strange and so blurry but also filled with a strict reality that barely exists today. I knew what had happened and I knew I couldn't fall apart. Today, there are days I allow myself to fall apart and I know I need those days. I had no idea what was ahead of us, the journey that we were about to take, I just knew we had to get through it and that we would. 


I didn't have to hide then, I didn't have to wish I had a post- it on my forehead that read "My baby died", because everyone knew already. Today, things are different. Some people know and some people don't. When I'm surrounded by people who know, I'm carrying the "baby weight". The "baby weight" is what I call what makes me different now. It makes me go from a full on smile and laughter to turning away from the laughter with guilt. The baby weight makes me talk about Brody in a conversation that has nothing to do with babies at all. Some people allow me to and that makes me feel great, some people look at me like they are thinking "why are you still talking about that baby?", They make me want to pull his picture out and show them he was real, but I don't. The baby weight pulls me down but I don't want to lose it, it's what keeps me close to Brody. When I'm around people who don't know, I feel like an award winning actress, pretending to be someone who isn't grieving. 


Things are a lot different now than they were three months ago and I'm sure they will keep changing all while remaining the same.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

All I want for Christmas

 I have always loved Christmas time. It's by far, my favorite holiday. I love the warm feeling of this time of year, the Christmas music and the way family and friends come together and share that warmth with each other. I watch Christmas movies and there is a part of me that believes in Santa Clause still. I remember what Christmas time is about and it makes me feel so close to God. I decorate my tree while listening to Christmas music and it makes me feel happy inside.


I still feel this way, I honestly still love Christmas, but part of me aches inside right now. Every Christmas song reminds me of Brody. It doesn't always make me sad, but every happy little jingle about "missing your baby on Christmas" has a new meaning to me. Baby, in the songs, I have always guessed to mean your significant other, your partner, your better half, but now the word "baby" just sticks out like a sore thumb. Then there are songs like silent night and oh holy night that make me compare Brody to baby Jesus. I know how that sounds but I have always just said it like it was on here so I'm not about to start hiding my thoughts and feelings now. I guess in some ways it makes me feel even closer to God, sympathizing with him in a strange way but at the same time wishing Brody was here here instead of with Him. 
These are some lyrics to Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is you".
All the lights are shining
So brightly everywhere
And the sound of childrens
Laughter fills the air
And everyone is singing
I hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa won't you bring me the one I really need
Won't you please bring my baby to me...

I believe in God, and that little girl inside even still believes in Santa, but I am well aware that neither of them can bring me what I really want for Christmas this year. 




I was making crafts the other night while listening to Christmas music on the television. Bruce Spingsteen's version of "Santa Clause is coming to town" came on and I said to Adam "You know, when I was a little girl, this was my favorite Christmas song". A future moment flashed in my head of me singing it to Brody and....I lost it! It will never happen. The reality is sinking in a little deeper these days and it hurts like a thousand knifes in my heart. The numbness is wearing off, a little more each day. The realization of Brody's body being in the cold ground and his soul being somewhere I cannot go to visit gets a bit clearer everyday. 



When I was pregnant, I realized our Christmas would be completely different this year, I had never imagined it would be this kind of different. I thought it would be less about us and more about our 3 month old little boy, I thought it would be new bibs that said "baby's first Christmas", and our families "patiently" taking turns to hold our new bundle of joy. 

Adam and I ventured out for some black Friday shopping. We have done it for three years. We never really run into huge crowds or anyone who is aggressive or mean. We take our time and shop for our loved ones and listen to the Christmas music playing throughout the mall. We had 4 babies to shop for this year. I hadn't thought twice about walking through the baby section but when I started to realize where I was, looking around at all the things I had registered for, I felt like someone had punched me right in the gut. The baby girl clothes didn't bother me as much but those baby boy Christmas outfits had me breathing extra hard and holding back tears that felt like needles coming out of my eyes. A deep, dark, and unfamiliar voice in my head said "I hate Christmas". It scared me and I didn't like it, I didn't like having a second of hatred for something that has made me ooze joy for 29 years. I pulled myself together while leaving the baby section and headed to checkout. 


I don't have any particular ideas about how I'm gonna get through this season but I do know it's going to involve a lot of support from family and friends and knowing Brody is always close by. By support, I do not mean that puppy dog look of sadness people get right before they ask me "Are you okay" in a voice that sounds condescending or totally forgetting Brody existed. Support meaning laughter, smiling, speaking of Brody like he is my son and not the pink elephant in the room and maybe even an  Will Ferrell "Elf" reference or two. 
Brody's first ornament from my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Dave  



  Merry Christmas Brody! I love you

Friday, November 18, 2011

Going through Stages

I don't know if I buy this "stages of grief" concept. Maybe I'm just abnormal or unique in my grieving process but I've skipped some stages and sometimes I go backwards. I'm looking at the stages right now, I've written them down, trying to find where I fit in. I suppose I went through Shock but then there is denial. Denial? I have never denied that Brody was gone. It has been a painful reality to say the least. 

Next comes pain and guilt. I've been there . Pain is right where I am on some days, pain is everywhere. Physically, pain is this everyday reminder that my son is gone by this strange tingling/burning feeling I've had in my ribs and back since I left the hospital. It doesn't last all day, but it occurs everyday, it sneaks up on me. Emotionally, pain comes in the form of realizing right now, instead of writing this, I should be putting my son down for a nap, right after an amazing feeding session, holding my son close to me and having him look into my eyes with fulfillment  as if he was saying "thank you mommy". The guilt has been strange. The other night, Adam and I went to Sears to pick out a range hood for our kitchen. On our way out, I spotted a big comfy chair and decided to plop down and test it out. Adam just thought it was hilarious that my feet didn't touch the floor and felt the urge to take a picture.


 We were laughing and having a good time and it felt "normal". Then there it was...guilt. I felt so guilty for laughing, for getting back to something that felt close to normal for us. I couldn't get the picture out of my head of Brody sitting in the chair with me, us pushing him the stroller through the mall. "Snap out of it, Tia", I have to tell myself, "He is gone forever".
Part of me accepts the fact that I did everything right and that I am not to blame but at the same time, I have to keep reminding myself that it was not the occasional can of Pepsi or the 4 hour trip to State College to pick up my new car that killed my baby.

Anger: I think the only thing that makes me angry is that there is nothing to be angry about. Yes, I'm angry that Brody is not here with me. I'm angry my life has flipped upside down and consists of trying to keep myself busy instead of changing diapers. The worst part is there is no one to be angry with, no one to blame. Would it be easier if there was? I don't know. 

Bargaining is the next stage. Well, I  wish I could bargain. My husband said to me last night. "We have so much to be happy for, we have good lives". In my head, the same one that was nodding in agreement, I was thinking "We used to". I said to him " I would give it all up, everything, if Brody could come back to us". I suppose that was me bargaining. I know what Adam meant. He meant we are so blessed to have family to support us, friends who stand behind us, a roof over our heads and food on our table. I get all that and I am very appreciative of it all, but part of me thinks all that stuff is missing something now... It's missing Brody. Our family will never be whole again, our friends and I can't have play dates with their children and Brody, our house is missing future memories, and the table with the food on it is missing a high chair. I know how this sounds. It sounds like I'm a ungrateful human being that can't be happy for what she has. This is not so. I am grateful, I am beyond grateful. When I met Adam and we decided to move in together, we lived in a crappy apartment downtown that was freezing cold all the time. I told his parents "I would live in a cardboard box, as long as it was with Adam". I meant it. I would go back to that crappy apartment with the draft if it meant I could hold my baby. By the way, Adam is the only person who is allowed to tell me to be happy for what I have or to pull it together. Anyone else saying it makes me...Stage 3: Angry!

As for depression and sorrow. Is this really a stage? Why is it the fifth stage? I have felt sorrow from the day we found out Brody didn't have a heartbeat anymore.  I think being depressed is different from depression itself. I know that sounds very confusing. I don't live this new life in depression. I get out of bed, I go places, I sometimes even laugh a real laugh. I have my days where I break down and I feel depressed  but living a life in depression is a choice for me. A choice I will not make.I could do it, it would be sooo easy to do. I could sleep all day, I could drink a fifth of whiskey everyday, or find some way to avoid my reality but that is not the life I want for me, for Adam, for Brody, for our future children. 

I've also been reconstructing since the day we left the hospital. Reconstruction is the sixth stage of grief. I started reconstructing everything in my mind. I reconstructed every aspect of our lives.The life of Friday evenings at home with Brody that we were more than ready for have been reconstructed to look more like they did before I got pregnant. Our lives as Mommy and Daddy have been reconstructed back to Tia and Adam. I don't really see reconstructing as the next to last stage because I feel like we will be reconstructing for a long, long time. 

Acceptance. I don't like this one. Will I ever accept all of this? Is there ever a silver lining to a dead baby? You can change your life for the positive, you can help other grieving mothers, you can start a blog to help your friends and family understand, but will you ever accept that your baby is gone...forever? I just don't know about that. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brody made me

Each of these outfits has a different and special meaning for me. The red one on the far left speaks for itself. "Daddy's Little Dude". I will never forget Adam's expression when I showed him this shirt. He was in love, in love with idea of being a Daddy. I imagined so many things for the terrible twosome. Most of the fantasies involved a lot of dirt and boo boos but I wouldn't have it any other way. Now that top means something different, now its the piece of clothing Adam can't look at without a tear in his eye. The plaid navy outfit was gonna be used for 6 months photos. It was the only thing I could pull off with Adam since he told me no argyle sweaters and no golf hat :( . I could of probably got away with it with enough sad face. Now that outfit means a future with no six month pictures, no year pictures, no pictures...ever. The Harley outfit was from Adam's Dad and Step mom. It was one of the first outfits Brody had. It included a hat and bib too. Now Brody's name is sketched along with his birth date on Randy's (Adam's Dad) Harley windshield. Last, but certainly not least is the shirt that reads "Mum+Dad=Me". This shirt is probably meant to be funny to most people but to me, it meant Brody was created with love. Adam and I together, created our first child, our first son, our world. 


We made Brody, but in many ways, Brody made us. Brody made us into a Mommy and Daddy. All the things I thought I would be teaching him some day, he is now teaching me. He has taught me to be patient with others. Why rush things? Life is too short, way too short! You will eventually get where you are going and then you're gonna wish you weren't there so just take your time and live in the moment you are in right now.


Brody has taught me to always put myself in the shoes of others before judging them. And even when your in the shoes, don't judge them still. Everyone has their very own story. Everyone has their own heartache, their own challenges, their own obstacles to overcome. I can never say that I have it worse than the next person, that my problems are more important or more significant than the person standing next to me. It feels a lot better to help someone than it does to hurt them. 


I would have never done something like this blog before Brody. I was always way too concerned with what others thought about me. Did I look good enough?, Was I good enough?, Did I do the right things?,Did I say the right things?, What if I said the wrong things?. It was very exhausting. I would be lying if I said that I was all cured of that, because I do still care, but in a different way. Brody has given me a new kind of confidence. He has taught me to hold my head high and say what I feel. It actually started when I was pregnant with him. I was so proud to be pregnant. I liked my belly.  I never felt like the fat, miserable pregnant lady. My pregnancy was perfect minus some annoying "morning sickness" the first trimester that ironically kept me up all night. Some  other "there must be an alien inside of me" feelings you get when you're pregnant. Besides those minor things, I felt pretty good and will admit most of my complaining was done just because I could. Honestly, I felt prettier, I felt better, and I felt more confident than ever. I was doing something that my body was created for, something beautiful...I was carrying a life inside me. My body and I aren't on great terms right now. I still feel like it failed me and failed my son... miserably.


Before I met Adam, I was a totally different person. Some one I am not proud of . Some one I don't even want to explain or describe to you. Adam and I started our journey on a very bumpy road but have gotten somewhere that I am proud of. We started changing each other into the people we were meant to be and Brody has reminded us to keep going, keep improving, keep our love for each other the main focus. I am proud of our relationship, our life together,our marriage, and I'm proud of our Brody for making us...us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Everyone is different

I've mentioned "What no to say" sayings before in a previous post but I thought I would elaborate a little. I was going to call this post "what not to say" and I have seen it in other blogs before but I chose not to because, honestly what others hate to hear, sometimes helps me and I'm sure some of the sayings I will mention, helps others on their unique journey. Everyone is different.

Here are some things that people have said to me. If you have said these things to me, please don't feel bad. I know no one really knows what to say so they say what they think will make me feel better. I really do appreciate kind words and prayers of any sort but maybe I can give you something to think about.

"You can have other children": I hope I can, I really do, but a million other children are not going to be and will never be Brody. Would you say to a widow "You can have other husbands"?

"It is good that you were not full term": To me, Brody was full term, he was my baby. People have premature babies all the time and they live. If Brody would have lived on August 21, he would have been just another premature healthy baby. My father, for example was premature and only 1 pound. Brody was almost 3 pounds. I don't measure my love for Brody in gestational age or weight.

"Maybe Brody had something wrong with him and didn't want to burden you": I am fairly certain that if Brody had the power not to burden me, he would have chosen to live. Furthermore, I would have loved him NO MATTER WHAT. He was and is my child and nothing, no disease, no deformity, no illness would have changed my love for  him.

"You are still so young": As if my age determines how much my heart aches. I'm not real sure why people say this or where they are going with it. They may mean I am young enough to have more children, in which case, I have explained that doesn't mean I will get Brody back 

"Time heals all wounds": Well, I have explained this in my post "Time heals nothing".

"You will be a mother someday": This may be the worst for me. I am a mother, when I have another child, I will be a mother of two. A "normal" mother's job is the best and most important job. They have to feed, clothes, care for, teach etc etc etc...I could go on and on and if you're a mother, you know exactly what I'm talking about. My job, as a mother is different. For me, my job is to never let the memory of my son die even though he did. My job is to help other grieving mothers who need someone and have no body to run to. I don't know if I can ever make lemonade from these lemons because it seems as if I was given salt instead of sugar but in some way I will make Brody proud of his mother.

"I understand" or "I know how you feel": I realize just about everyone has experienced loss at some point in their lives, but you will never know exactly how someone else feels. Once again, everyone is different. Each loss is different. Losing a child is different than losing anyone else. Being a bereaved parent is like becoming part of a secret society that no one wants to join. If I might add, please never compare the loss of a child to a loss of a pet. If you know me, you know I have two black lab mixes that are spoiled rotten and I love them dearly so I know how much a pet means to a family but it is never really comforting to hear someone say " Oh I know how you feel, my dog died". 

I'm sure some of you might be saying "Well, what can we say"? While I usually don't mind "Everything happens for a reason", I would not recommend it. There is no reason good enough for a grieving mother. I would also not go with "Your son/daughter is in a better place". To a mother, the best place for her child is in her arms. I sure do hope Heaven is better than here but the distance is just too far. We can't drive there, we can't visit,we can no longer touch, hold, kiss, or see our babies. We can only just imagine.

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You're always on my mind

Don't mind the construction going on behind me


The other night I was watching T.V. at my neighbors house. A commercial came on, I think it was a Babies-R-Us commercial. She asked "Does this bother you?" I responded quickly because I had already thought about it. "Well, not really, because everything reminds me of Brody". I thought "It really doesn't bother me any more than eating a salad does, or driving in my car, or wearing a certain pink tank top(see above picture), or seeing a stuffed frog". Everything reminds me of Brody. 

I never ate a salad until I was pregnant. No, I'm not making that up. One day, I just decided I wanted a salad. I was probably about 4 or 5 weeks pregnant. I got my new car the day before Brody died. It was for him. I had imagined him eating those new bite size yogurt things made by Gerber in the backseat. I think of him every time I get in my car. I think of him every time I wear something I wore while I was pregnant. I wore the above shirt a lot, mostly because it went so well with the black comfy shorts I had gotten and I was really hot ALL THE TIME! Nothing ever looks quite as cute on me as it did while I was pregnant. 
Frogs: Oh, how that child would have hated frogs. Hence, Brody's Frog Blog. His bedding was frogs, all of his clothes had frogs on them and my baby shower theme was to be...take a guess...FROGS :)  


 I don't have to remind myself that he is gone, he is always on my mind and in my heart. It's not like "Darn it, if it wasn't for that dang Babies-R-Us commercial, I would have gotten through my entire day without thinking of my dead son". Especially because Babies-R-Us has decided to stalk me. They send me e-mails everyday and free diapers and formula in the mail. Yes, I have contacted them about this and No, they have not stopped! When I check the mail, I usually slam the door of the mailbox shut, stomp my foot and say " Are you ******* serious?" You can laugh at this, I allow, because I usually do afterwards. Once I get the initial cuss words out of the way, sometimes all I can really do is laugh about what I just did and hope none of my neighbors seen the tantrum.

So, yes there are particular things that bother me but really there is nothing that is safe for a grieving mother. He was a part of me so every time I look down and see my semi-flat tummy, I remember him, every time I step foot into my house that is missing baby toys and clothes and future memories, I remember him. He is everywhere now, in more ways than one and will remain so forever. I love you Brody Michael <3

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It looks a little like joy...I think

Hello Everyone. I have gotten so much feedback about Brody's frog blog and I really appreciate it all. From my mother telling me I need a proof reader to the woman I barely know telling me how much my openness has helped her deal with her losses. 

I have never claimed to be a professional writer, I am just gathering my thoughts and typing them out. I never even actually think about what I am going to write about, I just sit down and do it. I've never been a "rough draft" type of person. So, yes, I miss spell words and use incorrect punctuation from time to time but I'm not perfect and have come to find out a little secret...No one is! 

Sometimes my blogs are so disorganized but to tell you the truth...So are my thoughts. Sometimes I don't know if I am coming or going. There are moments I want to be alone but I want company. There have been times I want to talk about Brody and shout his name from the roof tops of good ole Ford City and yet in the same second I want to keep him a secret in my heart. What I mean is, when you are reading this, you are really getting my honest feelings, as jumbled up and messy as they are...they are the real deal.

Brody has changed my life. He has made me appreciate everything just a little bit more. I hope he has done the same for everyone who reads this blog. Through me, I hope Brody inspires you and motivates you to be the best version of YOU...that is what he has done for me. 

I started this blog to spread the word about still birth, miscarriage, and infant loss. I want to be able to talk about Brody without making people feel uncomfortable. Us grieving mothers deserve that. We don't get to talk about milestones and show off pictures. I cannot go to the chiropractor and rummage through my purse and say " Oh, here is my picture of my dead baby, isn't he beautiful?" "His name is Brody, he was almost 3 pounds and 15 inches long, he had his Dad's ugly feet and my lips, I don't know the color of his eyes because he was born sleeping...forever". I don't get to do that. I started the blog to make a difference, even if it's a small difference but I'm not done! This is just the beginning for me and Brody. We have big plans and ideas ahead of us and nothing is going to stop us.

With all of that rambling out of the way, here is what I really wanted to say tonight. If you're not already subscribed to the blog, please do so and if you haven't shared it with anyone, do that too. If I can help one other person, just one, It will make me feel like I am doing something. My days are filled with grieving and mourning my son, so believe me when I say that I have a sense of what joy used to feel like when I get an e-mail saying someone has commented on the Frog Blog, when I see one more member, or I hear someone say how much they love reading it. 

Also, if there is anything you would like me to talk about or discuss, please feel free to ask. No, I am not running out of ideas, that will never happen. I know people have questions and I am not afraid to answer them. If there is something you wanna know more about or that you don't understand, please suggest it to me and I will blog about it. Thank you all again for reading. I've been asked many times "how can help?" "What can do to make you feel better?" Well, unless you can bring my baby back to me, which I know is humanly impossible, there is not a whole lot anyone can do. There are things that resemble joy to me though and actually do put a real smile on my face: My wonderful family and friends who never judge, they just offer to help in any way they can ( I love you all more than you will ever know), my husband who if I do say so myself is THE BEST husband in the world!, and this blog!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tiny Footprints


"These are my footprints,
so perfect and so small.
These tiny footprints
never touched the ground at all.
Not one tiny footprint,
for now I have wings.
These tiny footprints were meant
for other things.
You will hear my tiny footprints,
in the patter of the rain.
Gentle drops like angel's tears,
of joy and not from pain.
You will see my tiny footprints,
in each butterflies' lazy dance.
I'll let you know I'm with you,
if you just give me the chance.
You will see my tiny footprints,
in the rustle of the leaves.
I will whisper names into the wind,
and call each one that grieves.
Most of all, these tiny footprints,
are found on Mommy and Daddy's hearts.
'Cause even though I'm gone now,
We'll never truly part."
~Unknown

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The day we buried Brody

Brody M. Lukehart

Ford City

Brody Michael Lukehart, infant, died Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, at Magee-Womens Hospital, Oakland. Survivors include parents, Adam Michael Lukehart and Tawnya Nicole Giardino Lukehart; maternal grandparents, Robert and Connie Giardino and John Leinweber; great-grandparents, Pam and William Smail, Vivian Giardino and Kathy Leinweber; paternal grandparents, Randy and Jacque Lukehart; great-grandparents, Bob and Sue Stitt and Merle and Peg Lukehart; also survived by a number of uncles, aunts and other relatives. He was preceded in death by grandmother, Mary Sue Stitt Lukehart. Private funeral service will be held. Interment in South Bend Cemetery. Arrangements by MANTINI FUNERAL HOME INC., Ford City.

This was Brody's obituary. I dreaded writing it, I feared it was going to be the worst thing I had ever done aside from actually burying him. I was very surprised about how simple it was. I didn't cry. I didn't cry too horribly much that week. I was still in shock. I can actually recall every tear I shed that week. 
 
The days leading up to the burial are a blur. It was like one long day. I actually slept quite well, it was a safe place for me to be...Asleep, where ironically, I could get away from the nightmare that I was living.
I called my mom because I had the idea that I wanted everyone to hold a flower during the ceremony and then place it on his casket. I had never seen a casket that small before, they shouldn't have to make them that small. I wanted the perfect flower. My mom suggested a rose. "But what color?", I asked. She suggested red but thought the meaning of a red rose was love but a passionate love. "No, I don't want a red one", I said. "What does white mean?" When she read me what it meant, I knew it would be perfect. 
 Purity, Innocence, Silence, Secrecy, Reverence,Humility, Youthfulness, "I am worthy of you", Heavenly. Brody was so pure and so innocent. He never sinned and he never had to live in a world full of sin. He was heavenly for sure. 
 
The morning of the burial, I took a warm bath. I was still recovering physically so Adam helped. If there was a fly on the wall that day, he would have been in tears. I was helpless. I felt like an infant myself.  I watched as drops of milk hit the water and sobbed thinking about how much I wanted to breast feed. I had just given birth so everything felt different and yet I had no baby. The pain just reminded me that he wasn't there.
I have no memory of the drive to the cemetary. I actually don't even remember arriving. 
 
The pastor started talking and everyone was sobbing. Adam held me close as I gripped the white rose. I remember looking around at everyone with tears streaming down their faces and feeling like I wanted to make them feel better. I wanted to hug them and tell them it was okay. I wondered why I wasn't crying with them. My son was being put into the ground and I had no tears. It was so hot that day, the sun was shining bright. It must be why sunny days are the worst for me now. I never seem to cry when it rains.
I cried twice while we were there. Once when my sister walked up to the casket, put her rose on top and kneel down doing the sign of the cross and another when I seen Adam and his brother kneel beside their mother's grave together. Those two images will remain etched in my mind forever.


 When all was said and done,the pastor handed me this cross and from that instant I knew my relationship with God would be very different than it had ever been before.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Balloons to Heaven


In my post "Remembering Brody", I talked about ways that I have honored him. It's important for me to remember that even though Brody is my first child and will never be forgotten, He is not the only angel baby in Heaven. He unfortunately wont be the last either. One in four women will experience a loss either with miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. The statistics are frightening.

Think about it. Think about it before you judge someone. It could be someone you know very well, it could be your co worker who just "can't make it to your baby shower", it could be your friend who doesn't seem as excited as you would of expected her to be when you tell her your pregnant. It could be anyone. It could be the woman who you think hates children but really has struggled with loss and infertility for years.

On Brody's due date, I decided to not only honor Brody but honor other angel babies as well. When Brody died I started thinking about all of my friends who have experienced loss. Most of them were miscarriages, which means the loss occurred before twenty weeks gestation. If you have ever been pregnant, you know you start to love that child from the minute you find out, you start having plans of your future life together and the mother you want to be. A loss is a loss and it doesn't matter if you were 13 weeks or if you delivered your stillborn baby at 30 weeks,or you delivered your baby full term and only had enough time to say "goodbye", it still is very painful. Each loss is very different at the same time.

I posted on Facebook that I would be sending up balloons to honor any angel. I didn't care if it was my best friend or someone I had never met. It wasn't about differences in our lives or if we talked everyday or hadn't had contact in 10 years, it was about our babies...our angels. 
I honored and remembered 21 angels that day. Each of them with their own story of heartbreak and strength. Each one of them very special to their parents and special to me. The night before, I had sat in bed with tears flowing down my face asking God for a sign. Begging for him to find a way to let me know that Brody is okay and in Heaven beside him. I also asked God for a beautiful day for the balloon release. That morning I woke to at least 3 inches of snow on the ground on October 29th. I suppose it's not unheard of but it was my sign and it was my beautiful day that I had asked for.




 In my heart and in my mind, Brody's balloon led them up to heaven together. As the balloons floated up, they remained together like they knew where they were going. 


The last time I had so many emotions at once was when I delivered Brody.  I felt honored that everyone had wanted to share their stories with me, I felt sad that I was sending 21 balloons up. 21 angels. Some never given a name, some only in the arms of their mothers for hours, and Brody, my little angel. 
It was only me, Adam, and a very dear friend who offered to take professional photos of the release.  It was quiet, it was beautiful and it was the saddest and most amazing thing I have ever seen all at once.

When the balloons were unable to be seen anymore, I embraced Adam and in that moment I knew how very proud Brody was.

Photos by Nikkala Anne Photography

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Unwanted Strength

If I had a dime for every time I have heard "You are so strong", I would be rich. Believe me I am glad I have friends and family who are telling me so,but it may not be the kind of strength they are familiar with. Maybe these people thought I was weak before, and that is okay with me or maybe they were just used to my "wanted strength". Wanted strength is the kind of strength we have to get through little obstacles in our life like road rage or your steak not being perfectly medium rare. You might think of these things as "the small stuff" and not sweating it.Sometimes Wanted Strength gives you the motivation to make changes in your life when your unhappy or unsatisfied, for example, going back to school or changing careers.

Then there is the dreaded "Unwanted Strength". This is the kind I have. Unwanted Strength is the kind that forces you to get out of bed and face the day, a day your son will never see. Unwanted strength is the kind that forces you to put a smile on your face that you can hardly even look at in the mirror because you see your angel's lips and jaw line. Unwanted strength is the kind that forces you to listen to people talk but you can't really hear a word they are saying. Unwanted strength forces you to look away from the pregnant lady at the grocery store before you tell her "It could all be gone in one instant and to cherish every kick and every hiccup".The Unwanted strength makes a person who one hundred percent believes that God does not punish, wonder which sin made her lose her first born child.The Unwanted Strength makes you resist the urge to use profanity and maybe even physically harm the mother who neglects and abuses her child. The Unwanted Strength makes a woman take pride in and have passion for a blog she wishes she NEVER had to write.


“Do not judge the bereaved mother.
She comes in many forms.
She is breathing, but she is dying.
She may look young, but inside she has become ancient.
She smiles, but her heart sobs.
She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS,
but she IS NOT, all at once.
She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.”

Monday, October 31, 2011

My "little" lesson

When I was pregnant, I told everyone that I hoped Brody wouldn't come on Halloween. If he was here with us today, I don't care when his birthday would be. 

This weekend was strange,I had my ups and downs. I did a balloon release on Brody's due date (October 29th) for him and 20 other angel babies. I wont go into detail about it because it will be a very special separate post. Yesterday, Adam and I took new fall flowers to Brody's grave site.
  I've said it before, the grave site has always felt so peaceful and warm to us. I feel like if I set up a camp site and stayed there, I would never have a bad day again. 
The fresh ground with no grass left me feeling empty inside. It made me realize how very new this all is. I remember talking about what we were going to put on his grave. He was only alive when he was inside of me so he never had anything that was actually his. No sentimental teddy bear or blanket that he snuggled with...just me. I remember saying "Well, we could put some Tums in with him, he really liked Tums". It sounds funny but I was a little serious. I searched in my mind for something that meant something to him, something that made him feel better.

I thought a lot about his delivery. It was so different than what I had always pictured in my mind, yet it was still so special. I also occurred to me how very scared I am to get pregnant again. I want to make Brody a big brother so badly but I just don't know when I will be ready to have a different focus on something other than him. I am so very scared that this will happen again. 

This weekend was full of scary costumes and Halloween festivities and I felt like a real life walking zombie. I felt like a shell, a shell of my self, just going through some motions. I went places but couldn't remember how I got there, people talked to me but I feel like I never heard a word. 

I had a few conversations that were so meaningful that they feel like the only memories I have of this weekend. Most of the conversations were with friends, very dear friends that have been amazing through this journey. Another was with my husband, these are the conversations where I don't have to hide my thoughts or mask my darkest fears, because he has the same ones.
One of those conversations was with my niece, My husbands brother's daughter. She is three. Yes, one of those meaningful conversations I had was with a three year old.
Haydan



Her and I were sitting on the couch, she was cuddled up next to me looking at my necklace. She asked me what it was. I told her "This is Brody's necklace, that is why there is a "B" on it". "Awwe" She responded, "I seen him on the puter". Her mom informed me she asks a lot of questions and she tells her what she can understand. Something I admire about her mother, she tells the truth and she doesn't keep the truth from her children either. She then asked me if Brody liked the color blue, I told her he likes green the best but he loves all the colors. She smiled. She said "Did Brody trick or treat?" I said "no, he didn't go trick or treating". She gave me that look like she felt bad, her head a little lowered and a sideways smile. She then looked up with enthusiasm like she had just had an epiphany and said "say trick or treat". I did. I said "trick or treat". "Brody heard you", she said. I could feel warmth through my body and warm tears in my eyes. "I bet he did", I said. She taught me something so simple. When I talk, Brody can hear me. I can share everyday with him. I can tell him "Trick or treat" or I can tell him "Merry Christmas" and he will hear me. I can say "Mommy loves you and misses you" and I know he will hear me.