Thursday, January 26, 2012

A rock and a hard place

I have so much to talk about today, I hope I can get it all in one post without sounding like a rambling idiot.

Everything is going super great with B Bands, I have lots of orders coming in and I'm enjoying every second of making headbands and hats. I've made it my personal goal to learn something new every day, if it be a new stitch or an entire project. I want everyone to know that there is so much emotion that goes into my work. Every project is because of and for Brody. Even though i doubt he would have been wearing a nice little headband with a cute crochet flower, I feel like he had something to do with this new venture.

It's strange what losing a child does to you, I guess I can't speak for every baby loss mommy, but for myself, I feel as if he really made me the best version of myself. Imagine feeling a bit out of place all your life and then suddenly feeling like you are right where you belong in a community that you would never think of joining willingly. I would have never had the courage to spill out all of my emotions and feelings on a blog or sell something that I had handmade. The thought that someone was out there judging me, my every word, and all of my mistakes would have kept me awake all night. It is kinda like being between a rock and a hard place, ya know? Ahhhh, I'd give anything to have Brody back, there isn't an ounce of me that doesn't yearn for him on a daily basis, however, I have become someone I know he is proud of, someone evidently God has intended for me to be all along.

I returned an e-mail from a friend the other night, she wanted to talk about my last post: Blessed with Brody. I referred to something I had heard or read somewhere about God's plan being like a tapestry.
God sees the front, it's so beautiful, it all fits together, all the colors match and meet up like a wonderful piece of's perfect. We see the back, it's messy, the colors run together and don't match, there are knots, and sometimes it is downright ugly. The world we see is full of hate at moments, it has death, disease, abuse, neglect, and it's a place where precious little babies die. The world he sees is beautiful with no imperfections and all the ugliness has a purpose. I know there was no other way for Brody and I trust God knows exactly what he was doing.

On another note, I have been on a wild goose hunt since Brody died trying to find if there was something wrong with me, something my body failed to do for him, if not for peace of mind, for prevention of a second loss. Dear Lord, the thought of burying another baby sent pain to my very core of being. A part of me ( that deep down part that knew Brody wasn't coming home) told me that if I didn't find out that I would very well be burying another baby. I even tried to prepare myself for this horrible event...again. After months, many hours, and many days glued to my computer doing research and probably what doctors call "annoying patient syndrome" of demanding more blood work please, I finally have the answer that I was and wasn't looking for.

I have a blood clotting disorder called Factor V. Basically it is a genetic disorder that increases my chances of developing blood clots. I'm not gonna go into a great deal of detail about it mostly because it's not a very interesting subject and I cannot find a clever and creative way to discuss blood clotting. Also, if you are interested in knowing more, you can following the link above or do some research on your own if you choose to. It is likely that I  developed a blood clot in the umbilical cord or in my placenta, which led to Brody's death.

It's hard to explain the feeling of finding a (medical) reason for your baby's death. When the nurse called, I heard absolutely nothing she said except "you tested positive for factor v", after that, I began shaking all over and my eyes filled up with tears. I started a game of tug of war with myself, only I was pulling in about six different directions. I felt like a weight of a million pounds was lifted from my back, I felt proud of myself for being persistent and I felt like telling Brody thank you for giving me that feeling of "It's okay to be an annoying patient, you have to be".  I went through a moment of Oh God, I have a reason...thank you so much and Oh God, I have a reason, Oh God, I have a reason! It was a bittersweet moment. I thought about my next pregnancy and the precautions that I will be able to take so I don't have to live this nightmare a second time, I felt relief.

After I got off the phone, I placed my head against the wall in my bathroom and screamed on the inside  and a little on the outside too. But, then I could feel the fear of pregnancy start to lessen. I feel like the memory of pregnancy also has a pinch to it, the beautiful and comfortable feeling of having a baby in your belly also was painful. I can feel it start to get better though, I know I'm heading in the right direction because the pinch I feel when I think about pregnancy...used to be a punch.

ps. I had so many pictures I wanted to put up but for some reason they were all coming out red...sorry. :(

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blessed with Brody

Saturday was five months since Brody died...five months! I just realized that yesterday. I try not to focus on the 21st of every month and dwell on how long it's been, it doesn't change anything or make the experience better or worse, it just is.

Actually, I had a pretty good day Saturday and I really started to notice that my good days are happening more often that bad days. I'm starting to feel like a normal functioning human being again instead of just a grieving mother. I'm still a grieving mother, but I'm other things too and I'm starting to get that now.

I wondered on Saturday, what was this big change from? Was it because I'm staying so busy with B Bands or was it just the time that has passed. You know, I hate to hear that time heals all wounds but now I'm wondering, does it at least soothe the sting, does it dull the ache? Maybe there is hope, maybe upon approaching the "almost half a year" mark, the clouds will start to shift and I will see some sunshine.

It's no secret here about how much research I did after Brody died and I still continue to do everyday. I wanted to know I wasn't alone but quickly realized that I was not only not alone, but in great and large amounts of unwanted company. When I stumbled onto Dear Stevie and got to reading the posts, I came across one called " Made for this". For me, I find it difficult to put these feelings into words, but she does it Oh so well and it is exactly what I'm feeling at this point in my grief.

If I said " I wouldn't have it any other way", I would be lying. I would have it another way, I would have Brody here, but to say "I couldn't imagine it any other way"...that's the truth. I could never picture Brody home with us and I still cant. I know he is where he was always supposed to be. I bet all you mothers reading this are cringing with confusion on how I could possibly say that, but try to imagine burying your children, try imagine being without them everyday...forever, I bet that not only can you not imagine in but the thought literally scares you to death. Those thoughts are my reality, they are not something I have to try to imagine because I did it, I can close my eyes and remember everything about the Day we buried Brody. As sad as it is, its very true as well, I can't imagine a healthy bouncing boy named Brody crawling around on my floors and cuddled up next to me, I want to, believe me but my images are more of holding a lifeless body of the cutest darn baby I've ever seen ( I'm a bit partial).

Usually if someone wants to see Brody's picture, the first things I notice about them are the tears in their eyes and the sadness written all over their face. I used to do that too but now I'm noticing when I look at his picture...I smile. I don't smile because he is dead, I smile because he lived. I was blessed with almost eight months of  an angel whose only home was inside of my womb. I'm starting to get it now, really open my eyes to miracles and God's blessing which are often getting disguised as sadness and tragedy... I was blessed with Brody.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Busy with B Bands

It's been too long, I know, I know. I've actually been busy with something new and exciting in my life. I was reluctant on making changes and moving forward because a part of me thought making changes would take Brody's memories away from me, that somehow if I got myself busy enough to think about something else for just a few minutes, that the closeness that I feel with him during the crying sessions and during the deepest grief, would go away, and I would miss it....I was wrong, like I am in all other aspects of grief that I thought I knew before.

As I stated in the previous post, Dear Brody, I have always had a passion for writing, crafting, and creating. It slipped out of hands at some point, I guess because my hands were so full of other things. Big changes and obstacles in my life that left my mind too busy for creativity.

In the weeks following Brody's death, I became obsessed with researching similar stories and experiences. I started to become very aware that I was not alone. While I haven't found one exactly like mine, there were so many that pulled at my heart strings in different ways. One thing that I found was that these women turned to writing after their loss. Either they had already been bloggers before their experience or the experience turned them into blogger (which is true in my case). During my research, I came across two stories that really struck a cord with me, it was something about these women and their precious babies that made me feel close to them in a way that was heart breaking and comforting. The one blog is Dear Stevie and the other is Team Ewan. Check them out.

After stumbling upon Faces of Loss, which was started by the same girl who writes Dear Stevie, I discovered that a lot of women were turning to their own creativity to help cope as well, once again, I wasn't alone!

A few weeks ago, I was in my basement looking for something( I can't recall now what that something was) but I found an old bag full of yarn and half finished projects. I stared at it for a second, and thought "nah, I don't even remember how to crochet, I'm just gonna leave it there". I went down the next day and brought the bag upstairs, I then stared at it some more. I opened it up and giggled at my previous attempts at scarf making and then I thought " I should really give this a shot".

One evening, I was feeling very alone and frustrated, so I shut myself in what would have been Brody's room and picked up some yarn and a hook. I just started crocheting and it felt...good. I had something to really focus on, something that took thought and ability. I felt good about the result, I felt proud of myself. Did I forget my baby was dead? Of course not, but I did have feeling that I haven't felt in quite some time. Good feelings about myself and the ability to make changes and remembering my creativity that seemed to disappear. It felt good to get caught up in something and I wasn't afraid of forgetting about Brody at all, actually the opposite happened. I knew not only would he be okay with me making changes and doing things to keep busy, but he too would be proud that I wasn't spending all my time crying and hurting.

After making one headband, I realized how fun it really was and made several more. When I left the room that evening, I left feeling like I had just had a really good cry, only I hadn't. I felt as if I had put all those feelings pain and grief into something new and positive, instead of sitting around crying and listening to babyloss songs (yes, they exist).

I put them up for sale on an Etsy site (B Bands by TiaLuke on Etsy) and made a Facebook page as well: B Bands . I started making scarfs and hats too. I made a little hat and I thought about Brody the whole time, how cute he would look in it, the fact that he would never wear it, and if maybe he had guided me in this direction to begin with. I thought about the little hat they put on him at the hospital and the little gown that was handmade.
Perhaps I will make some hats and donate them to the local hospital for little babies born sleeping like Brody, I know all to well that those things can be the most cherished by a mother with empty arms. Those are the only clothes Brody ever wore and now they sit in a memory box in my hutch, the only clothes his small little body ever touched.

I'm not all better, I'm not perfect, I'm not grief free...I've come to the conclusion that those things will not happen. I am moving in a direction that feels right and that I know Brody would be proud of, and to me, that is everything!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dear Brody

Dear Brody,
Geez, those words are enough to make me cry already. I have been wanting to write you a letter since you left to go Home, but I could never bring myself to do it. First of all, I was afraid I couldn't do it without opening up the flood gates and secondly, well, the fact that you will never actually read it hurts my heart in a whole different way.

Over at Faces of Loss, a place that I have become very familiar with, Kristin Cook has suggested that we do this very thing that had me shaking in my boots and got my knees knocking. This is part of her Create, Heal, Inspire assignment and is a great way for grieving mothers to express our feelings. Here I go...

I don't know exactly where to begin and I realize that this may all be familiar to you because I feel you around me all the time. I know you hear me speaking to you in the privacy of my bedroom and in the quiet tranquil moments in the bath tub. I feel you smile when the sun shines on my face and feel embraced when the wind blows. I know you are all around and even still inside me in many ways too. Your previous home is still my womb, which I carry with me everyday and the memories of you and your face are in my heart forever. I look in the mirror and see your precious face, I look at Daddy and you are there too.

I'm positive you saw how difficult the holidays were for Daddy and I. We lit your candle and kissed your picture, I'm sure you know that too. I never expected for Christmas to be hard, I mean it's not as if you were ever here to celebrate with us before. It was the future memories that have been ripped away from us that we were mourning I suppose. I pictured you at Grandmas playing with your cousins and being passed around from aunt to aunt at Daddy's Grandma's house. Those images were difficult to picture yet I couldn't remove them from my mind. I never realized that I could miss someone so very much, especially someone that I had never actually met.

2011 was filled with so many emotions, so many ups and downs. When Daddy and I found out we were expecting you, we were scared, we were excited, we were nervous, and every emotion in between and around. The time that you were with us was amazing and I wouldn't trade one second, not even the most dreadful one. Holding you was the best and worst moment of my life tied into one. 2011 was filled with so much hope and so much joy, yet often overshadowed by so much grief and so much despair. I wanted the year to be gone but I wanted it to stay forever. I wanted to hold on to the year that you existed but I wanted to let go of the year you died.

Brody, I love you like I have never loved before. I love you for inspiring others even though you never met them, I love you for re introducing me to my passion for writing and creating. You have made me one proud mother and have taught me so many things that I could have never taught myself. I wish you were here instead. I wish I could love you in a different way, with kisses on the forehead and lullaby's at night or all day long for that matter. I wish I could show you I love you with feedings at 2am and soft caresses on the back of your head as I rock you to sleep. The realistic part of me pulls me back from those wishes and realizes that while I can wish all day everday, those are wishes that can never come true.

I vowed from the moment we found out you were on your way to be the very best mom I could be and I never want you to think that just because you are gone that I will break that vow. I will never deny that you existed and I will always speak your name. I will find new ways to honor you and remember you. I will make you proud everyday that I'm here and not with you.

As much as I don't want to say goodbye to 2011 and to you, 2012 is already here and I know you have already started guiding me in the direction I need to go. You have been gone for almost five months now. Somedays it feels like yesterday, somedays I feel like it's been years.

I'm sure I will finish this post and realize I forgot to say everything I wanted to or regret not taking more time to write it, but, baby, all I really want you to know is that there is not a second that goes by that you are not in my mind and in my heart. I know you hate to see me cry because where you are, tears don't exist, but the fact that He needed you more than me hasn't exactly been something I have come to terms with and I'm not sure I ever will.

I love you and I miss you.

Love, Mommy

P.s. Thanx for saving my life.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Brody's Project Reflection

Hi Everyone! I have been going through severe withdrawal from my computer. I took it to get fixed yesterday because it was barely even turning on. It is home now but I'm not convinced it is "all better". Anyway, it feels good to be able to type on here. I'm hoping I'm not the only one who missed Brody's Frog Blog.

I promised a reflection on the responses to Brody's Project the first week of January and I was getting a little scared that I might not be able to keep the promise, but here it is...

I received approximately fifteen responses. I was so grateful to hear from you all. I heard from best friends, I heard from strangers, I heard from acquaintances, and I heard from fellow BLMs (Baby Loss Mothers). I term I wish I was unfamiliar with.

The majority of you with children said that Brody has made you really appreciate the precious moments with your babies and children, even when it gets really tough. I was expecting to hear this and I'm always glad when I do. It makes me proud of Brody. There is nothing that makes me more angry than watching the news and hearing about yet another child abused or neglected, or even worse, so when I hear about loving mommies holding their babies a little tighter or longer, kissing them a little more, or just stopping to realize what a miracle it is just to have that baby in their arms makes me smile. To know that they are possibly thinking about Brody when they are doing those things, makes me realize what an impact he has made on so many lives.

I knew I would be hearing from other mothers who have experienced loss. I heard a few new stories and was reminded of ones that I was already aware of. There is a connection between these women that is unwanted and yet so welcoming. The stories are sad to say the least. They make you realize that you are not alone, even though alone is feeling you become very familiar with when losing a child. You start thinking about what is worse, the fact that your alone or the fact that your not. The realization that this happens way more than you could ever imagine is haunting. The stories of baby loss are like that word that you have never heard before and then one day you hear it and then you hear it everyday for three consecutive days, you know what I mean? Baby loss is not something that you think about everyday, but then it happens to you and then people start coming out of the woodwork to tell you their stories of their sisters, their best friend, themselves. Each story becomes comforting in a way yet makes you shed new tears for each and every one of them, each and every baby that welcomed yours. 

I received e-mails from friends explaining how much they loved Brody even though they never really got to meet him. Some explained how they think of him as an angel now, looking down on us all from heaven and helping us through what has become our hell. I heard from from a friend that has recently became a great friend, a friend that I'm not positive would be this close if I had not lost my son.  Another friend explained that she realized that she needs to stop wishing her life away because you just never know what can uplift your world and turn it upside down in an instant.

Today, while I was reflecting on all the messages and e-mails explaining how my son has impacted lives, I couldn't help but remember someone I met a long time ago. It was about 9 years ago and I was at a restaurant/ bar. I sat down beside an older woman with gray hair, decked out in old glam costume jewelry and reeking of old lady perfume. She stared at me like I was from outer space and had a look in her eyes like she could read my mind. It was strange, to say the least. She proceeded to tell me things about my life and while I wasn't quite sure at the time if I believed in that type of thing, I was intrigued. The last thing she told me was that I would have a little boy someday and that he would be very special. 

Special? The thought crossed my mind after I peed on the stick, what did she mean? Would he need special attention? I was up for that, I could love any child God decided to give me so I wasn't afraid of what special meant. I still don't know if I believe in fortune tellers, but I know I don't believe in coincidences and I do believe my son is very special. 

I could go on and on about what Brody has done for me. Don't get me wrong, I wish so badly I was teaching him instead of him teaching me but it's just not the case and no tears or begging will change that, believe me, I've tried.

Before Brody died, I hadn't wrote in years. A passion I have had as long as I can remember and it was no longer a part of my life. I used to make things, I used to day dream, I used to paint and draw and wear things that made no sense to anyone. Somewhere along the way, I became ashamed of that person and tried not to be her for some reason. Brody has brought those things back to me in a way I cannot explain. I almost hit the ground running when he died...almost. I mean, it's still early and I still feel like I just stood up, brushed the dust off of my knees and I'm looking around at which direction to run, but still, I am up for running. I'm not just gonna stay on the ground and lay there, I'm gonna run! I can almost hear him say "Mommy, just be you, just run".

Thank you everyone who responded and I hope to keep hearing from all of you. I hope this was only a start to what Brody inspires me and you to do. I hope to include all of you with all of my endeavours with this unwanted journey that I'm taking alone...but not alone. 

This is what I will be working on for the next post. If you all are not familiar with Faces of Loss, please head on over there and check it out. The girl who started it, Kristen Cook, is nothing short of amazing in my eyes and sooooooo inspiring! On the link above, she explains the contest she is holding for this month for bloggers, this is what the next post will be about so stay tuned...