Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Beauty from Our Boy's Ashes

We had plans to do a thing for the spreading of the boy's ashes.  It didn't work out.  Maybe for the best.

Tucker's birthday is next week and I was desperate to get them to a resting place before their birthdays so I can maybe head towards some closure on this part of them.  The part where they have been sitting in a high chair at my parents for the past several months.  In boxes.

It started making me go kind of crazy.  I wanted them out.  I wanted them free.  Which is silly and ridiculous because they have been in heaven for nearly a year.  But it was important to me.

I picked the boys up, put them in my car and drove them home.  I walked them up the stairs, dropped one of them, I mean, it's me we're talking about.  I get them both settled on the kitchen table and wait for Jason to get home.

He does and I open Tucker's box.  I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't what I expected.  And it was a kick to the gut.  But I did it.  Then we opened Fletchers's.  There sitting at the kitchen table, Mommy and Daddy and our boys.

I wanted to scream.  I wanted to laugh.  This is ridiculous.  I want 2 curly haired blonde baby boys grabbing at everything I have.  We had bags of their ashes.  We drove to the place we wanted to spread them and they are wrapped up in a blanket and Jason asks me to grab them.  So, with feet frozen to the ground not able to move,  I grab this blanket, that is holding what is left of our boys, I'm holding it and I'm broken.   I thought I'd be stronger.  I thought I'd be able to hold it together.

I was holding my boys, wrapped up in a blanket, close to my chest.  My stomach hurt and I felt like I was going to throw up but for both Jason and I we were ready to spread them.  So we did.  And it hurt.  It was a gut wrenching hurt.  Tears steady falling from a place I was sure had long dried up by now, bent over in pain because we were finally letting go of the last physical parts we had of them.

Tucker's birthday is next week.  Fletchers is 11 days later, Christmas Eve.  I'm trying to find something for us to to for them.  Everything seems weird or strange or wrong.  I'm praying God will fill those questions with the right answers for us. 

What have I learned in this past year?  People grieve differently.  At different times.  What affects one may not affect others.  I've been told it's time to move on, to move past this, we've had enough sadness.  Time to get back to life.

But then the advise givers stop talking.  Possibly because they are met with a blank state from me but I don't know if it's because they 1. realized how stupid that sounded when said out loud or 2. They have absolutely no basis of knowledge to draw from to offer such strong words.  I recognize these grief suckers now usually from the first few words, so mostly I tune them out.

People will find it strange that I acknowledge their birthdays.  The same people who bloviate all over facebook and instagram pics and stories of their birthday girl or boy will find mine strange, creepy, weird, pity party, blah.

Get over it.

We have birth certificates.  Why?  Because they both were born alive and they lived. And we had to have birth certificates in order to get death certificates.  So we have them both - birth certificates and death certificates.  Both issued probably the same day, but hours separating the 2 huge announcements.  Then 11 days later we got to do it all again.

SO dear sirs and madams, here's an open letter you're welcome to read.

I am a mom.  I am a mom to 2 boys.  They have different birthdays, but yes, they were twins.  I'm doing the best I can.  For the most part I am doing pretty well.  But sure as the sun came up this morning, the closer it gets to Dec 10 when my water broke, my body knows.  And it aches. Don't think your body can't tell you things?  Explain that to this lady whose right breast leaks milk every time a baby cries.  Because my body didn't get the memo that our boys are gone.  My body is still in mommy mode and ready to feed her hungry babies.

Can't do that.  Obviously.

Yes, there are days I still cry.  I miss them.  Every single day.  I don't cry for them every single day.  That's gotta be some progress for those keeping score of how I'm living my life. I'm busy getting on with things.  I'm working, I'm getting ready for Christmas, I'm reading more books than I've ever read in my life.  All in an attempt to keep this forward momentum going in the right direction.

I won't ever move on.  That signifies that I would be moving on from or past the boys.  The 2 kids I prayed for.  The 2 boys God gave us.  That'll never happen.  I will carry them in my heart every breath I breathe. They are part of me and Thank God, will forever be.

In an act of "Moving ON" (mean stare, you know who I'm talking to) I went to the store to pick up some Christmas decorations. Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays.  Thanksgiving I got through, Christmas I want to enjoy.  So I'm loaded up with all the Christmas crap and the mean lady in front of me turns to me and says, "Oh, you're one of THOSE who goes ALL out for Christmas."

I stared blankly at this stupid, grouchy woman as I have flashbacks of mom and dads Christmas party last year where I was glowing and pregnant, surrounded by our kids, families, my Nana and friends. Then I have flashbacks of my water breaking a few days later, spending most of Dec in the hospital with people bringing Christmas trees and flowers.  The spirit of Christmas was there with us.  Until we left the hospital Christmas Day.  Me with someone eles's blood coursing through my veins, holding 2 memory boxes.

Yes, old mean lady.  I'm going all out for Christmas.  I'm going to decorate and make this a happy place that radiates with God's love, Jesus' birthday and a season of peace, hope and joy.

I'm able to do that as I'm slowly finding that in my life again.  And because I didn't know her story or why she was so hateful, I offered her a very heartfelt "Merry Christmas."

Beauty from ashes.  I'm trying boys.  Your mom is giving it her all.  I'm fighting with everything I have in me to remember your birthdays with pride.  You were so beautiful.  I'm remembering with Thanksgiving.  You were both such an answer to prayer and loved by so many people...

Last year I carried you in my belly.  This year I carry you in my heart.  But I will carry you, always, because you, boys, are the reason I'm here.  The reason I fight so hard to get back to where I was.  The reason I continue to love with no reservations, the reason I get up in the morning to be the best that God has designed for me to be.

God has made beauty from ashes.   Their lives mattered.  To me and so many other people.  And I would have to think that the prayers of so many parents would be for their kids to change lives, to bring people to Christ and to bring people together.  Our boys, our beautiful, perfect, mini Melissa and mini Jason did just that.

Job well done Tucker.  Fletcher, your mom is so proud.  And I will continue to love out loud, grieve out loud and move forward, out loud, because that's what I do.  And you boys, have given me something I never knew I had.  I have the strength, determination and perseverance to make this life the best I can, even missing my 2 special boys.  Even in the midst of rude comments, crappy "advise" and heartache.  You are our boys. Who will forever and always, be in my heart, in my mind and the light shining so, so brightly in my eyes!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Empty seats at the Thanksgiving...

There were empty seats at Thanksgiving.  Some I expected, others a surprise.  Nothing is a surprise to God.

That's been a hard lesson for me this past year.  Nothing is a surprise to God.  I don't know what I'm supposed to be feeling or how I'm supposed to be acting.  If I'm being my authentic self, it's half neurotic and half at peace.  If that sounds confusing, try living it.

I don't know what I expected this Thanksgiving to be, to be honest.  I know that last year I had thoughts of this year being chaos.  5 kids, 2 babies.  A blended family of love, laughter, crazy and fun.  I pictured the boys trying new foods, maybe crawling all over the place and us running after them.  I don't have to tell anyone how different this year was.

Before we moved to KY, like literally, right before, my mom was diagnosed with cancer.  I will never forget getting the call.  My aunt picked me up from my cousins and took me to my grandmothers.  I dont know where my dad was, probably with my mom, maybe making the last minute arrangements it takes to move a family of 4, 12 hours from home.  But I will never forget, I was at Grandma's and I called my Nana's because that's where my mom was.  I knew she had surgery that day, probably why I was at my cousins.  I had this big cordless phone and I was sitting in my Popsey's office on this old couch and I asked Nana how Mom was.  She told me she was going to be ok.  I knew, at 12 years old, that something in her voice didn't sound right.  I asked her what was wrong and I don't remember anything other than, "She has cancer but she's going to be ok."  From my mind, I don't remember much from that point, other than that heavy, cordless phone hitting the ground.  My grandma, told this story til the day she died to anyone who would listen.

I hit my knees in prayer.  I don't know what my conversation with God was but I was on my knees, in earnest prayer for my mom, who I just found out had cancer.  I stayed on my knees, crying and praying, until I stood up and said, "It's going to be ok.  She's healed."

She was healed.  We moved to FL a few days or weeks later.  I can't remember the specifics.  She went to the best dr's down here and they ran the same tests and they said there was no evidence of cancer.  It's possible the dr's in KY were wrong but it's more probable that the simple prayers of a 12 year old girl, crying out for God to heal her mom were heard.

Fast forward 22 years.  The same girl that had cried out for her mom to be healed cried out for God to take care of Tucker.  For him to be with Fletcher.  After my water broke, hope amongst the dr's wasn't there and we were told to prepare for the worst but not to stop praying.  And I didn't.  No one did.  Prayer without ceasing.  We had our miracles, they just needed to stay in their home, my womb, for longer.

Then I had Tucker.  It wasn't the answer to the prayers I'd prayed in the hospital but it was the answer to so many prayers I'd prayed before.  I never wanted much, other than to be a mom.  And here I was, with my beautiful husband, holding our beautiful miracle.  It just didn't end the way I wanted.

Prayers for Fletcher were prayed.  By so many people.  They prayed that infection would not enter my body.  I never had any signs of infection.  The prayers for his water to remain full were answered.  We saw him swimming around, waving to us.  We prayed we would bring home a healthy baby boy.

We didn't.  Where is God in all of that?  That is a question I have wrestled with for the past year.  Does prayer change our circumstances or does prayer change us?  If I prayed my mom to healing, why didn't God give me my boys.  If not Tucker, why did he take Fletcher too?

And the answer is, I don't know.  Through this whole time my question has been, how can this, a mother's journey of grief and broken-ness be a bigger testimony than if I had our miracle babies playing beside me?

That's where faith comes in.  Because I still don't know the answer to that.  I couldn't have prayed more.  I prayed for healing,  I prayed for God's will, I prayed specifically for each of my boys that we would bring them home.  Healthy.  Not these 2 boxes of ashes we have.

I don't know God's plan.  But I feel confident now that I'm in it.  I know, sitting here now, with tears running down my face, that He hasn't left me.  He didn't forsake me.  His ways our not our ways.  I don't like that.  I wanted His ways to be healing for our boys.

My life has changed.  So much I can't even wrap my mind around it.  I have made so many missteps this past year I can't think straight.  There's no book for going through IVF to losing both your boys 11 days apart.  Believe me, I've looked.

I've done the best I can.  Am I grieving?  Yes, absolutely, of course.  I miss them everyday.  They weren't just something I prayed for, I saw our lives with them in it.  I'm missing out on so much.  But i can't change it.  Nothing I can do can bring them back.  Should I stop talking about them?  I don't think so.  They were the answers to so many prayers, even though their lives were short, they've changed me.  They've changed others.  I've gotten countless emails from others that have told me that through following our story, God has been brought back into their homes, their lives. The God they had left behind, they prayed out to again.  One friend shared with me that she lost her mom and couldn't understand that a God could be loving if He took her mom from her.  But in me, because of my faith that God hasn't left me, if I can trust Him through this, she can too.

I didn't want this to be my story.  I'd much rather be writing an article on juggling babies and work and high heels and kids than be writing an article on getting on with life through grief.  But this is what God saw fit for my life.  If I can trust Him with the good things, I have to trust him in the hurt too.

My life is confusing.  It's more confusing now than ever.  I'm trusting in God with everything that I have that He won't leave me.  Today, in the midst of hurt and frustration, I cried out to him, "I don't know what to do..."  I heard, sure as He was sitting beside me, "Be still.  Don't move.  Trust me."

No, boo, I want an answer.  What am I supposed to do?  I'm a list maker, I'm a fixer.  I need some finite answers.  But what I got is that.  To be still.  To not move.  To Trust.

God didn't answer my prayers they way I wanted.  Doesn't mean they weren't answered.  I still struggle with that.  I probably always will.  Just being honest.

Thanksgiving wasn't what I expected.  It's not what I hoped for and it's not what I had planned for my life.  I don't know what God is up to but I know He's up to something.  And even though Satan tries to fill me with guilt, with confusion, with pain, with doubts that I'm grieving too long, too loud, too much...I won't hear it.  Because I'm loudly screaming, "Thank you God for not leaving me.  Thank you God for using me.  Thank you God for working through me."

Would I rather be sitting here playing with my boys, talking to my husband, enjoying my step kids?  Of course.  I don't know why I'm where I am.  But I'm here.  And I know who is holding me steady, who is guiding my steps and who is getting me through.

December will be a month of remembrance, of celebrating and of hope.  I will never again apologize for the way I have handled my grief.  For I know that as much as I love my boys, God loves them more.  And they got to celebrate Thanksgiving with 4 great grands that love them as much as I ever could.

It's not what I wanted, but it's what I've got.  And I'm trusting that God will continue to work in and through me to honor my boys, to further His kingdom and to grow my relationship with Him.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanks but I don't need your permission to grieve

My 2nd article for Still Standing magazine.

"Make sure that the people giving you advice understand where you are coming from.  Everyone is facing something but not all pain is the same.  Don't listen to the noise of those who are telling you you've been sad too long when they have never lost anything, yet still can't seem to find happiness of their own.  Thank you but I don't need your approval or permission to grieve."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Facebook is getting taken to the trash

I've recently taken a look at my friends list on Facebook. Not sure why, boredom maybe. Curiosity. I've been unfriended by some that surprised me, some that didn't. I've deleted the ones who needed to exit stage left and I've blocked the ones I don't care to see.

Social media at its finest.  

Facebook has been a huge part of my journey this past year. Asking for advice on IVF, sharing exciting news, prayers, hard times, grief...we all know the story. 

What surprises me is people that I grew up with who have become so different. I knew some would probably venture their own course, and they did. Others are very bitter towards a God they may have turned from but who I still very much have a relationship with. Friends who lost touch have become very trusted allies and prayers warriors and some people I grew up with are gone. Whether it was my doing or their's, they are off the friend list. 

It's kind of very amazing and by amazing read sad, how people can change. Everyone has secrets, everyone has a time in their life they aren't proud of. No one goes around broadcasting these on fb bc who wants to show the ugly?  In a world full of perfectly angled selfies to make your chin, chest and butt look their smallest, or biggest, whatever,
with the right filter, the status that is bloviating over how great life is when it doesn't take much to read between the lines of being on the edge of a breakdown.  There's people that post too much, not enough, post mean stuff, passive aggressive stuff, enlightened stuff, feel good stuff. There are those who need prayer and trust those they are asking to know their heart and humility in asking that of someone. 

But I also see all these people who know all these people and grew up with these people or just met those people. And the more people I meet the more I see that people aren't comfortable being comfortable with people anymore.  Bc it's hard to hide your bad when all you're showing is your good. Til your friend posts a bad that may be about you or could be about the girl you heard about instead and then paranoia starts in. 

Someone hurt my feelings? I'll show them, delete.  Someone disagreed with my thoughts and my feelings on my page and then deletes me?  Whhhaaaa. Just kidding, see ya. 

Then you see families. You see friends. You know the dramas, you know the lies, you know who talks about who and it's hard to look people in the eye bc of all the crap that people talk and you don't want to be in the middle of any high school drama. 

A handful of people make conscience decisions to put stuff out to hurt other people. I know good parents and I know some bad ones.  I know great kids and I know not so great kids. I know really good people and I know attention seeking life suckers. 

Welcome to Facebook. 

It's a drama easily caught up in.  People complain too much. Oh my gosh, it's November, people are way too flippin thankful.  I can't believe she posted that. Why doesn't he ever post anything? 

It's annoying. But it's also been a lifeline to a lot of very good people who I am thankful to have in my life. I get to see their struggles and pray them thru it, I get to rejoice in their good news, see their babies, their kids sports pictures, new houses, new hobbies. I get to laugh, I cry, sometimes I get angry or sucked into a debate. But it's all because of who I choose and allow into my life. 

Some make me so happy. Others make me want to punch something. The apple doesn't always not only not fall from the same tree, sometimes it's so far off I'd swear there was an orange dropped off instead.  How did that person come from that family?  Bless their hearts that that's who they are stuck with. Good for them for doing better despite the family they had.  Or bless the family for finally getting the rotten fruit smell off their hands of the crazy who has been trying to hold them back for too long. 

Ramblings of a crazy person.  The good and bad of social media. People don't know how to talk like we used to. Conversations get cut short bc you tell a story and they know the ending bc they saw it on fb. Someone else is sitting right beside a friend having a grand ole time having no idea how badly they've been bashed the day before.  

Facebook brings people together. And complicates the crap out it. 

I'm thankful for the friends,
I'm thankful for the family, I'm thankful for the prayers and encouragement. I'm trying to leave the rest behind.  Deleting the obnoxious, the mean, the nosy and the rude. 

It's time to get my life back to a simpler way of living. 

Wish me luck, this Momma's on a mission to take out the trash in an effort to make room for the good stuff that is coming our way!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kick rocks, Judgement and Joy

You can't please everyone.

But it doesn't stop me from trying.  My parents raised me to be myself and that self is emotional, sensitive and neurotic.  

I'm nothing, if not self aware. 

I started my blog through a friends suggestion, thanks Kristen, as a way to get my crazy thoughts out of my head, into the cyber world where maybe they would float into oblivion.  And for the most part, they did.  Until I met Jason.  And life got more entertaining, more crazy, life started taking twists and turns I didn't expect.  Raising stepkids, remarried, how do we handle the stress of problems and situations we found ourselves in.  I found a new audience.   

Then with infertility and IVF, I turned to it for support.  I never imagined I'd be on that road, so I asked those who had walked it before me for guidance, for advice.  And the support and advice rolled in.  Those who hadn't been down it offered support, encouragement.  So many people offered prayer, hope.  It made that unknown road seem less scary. 

Pregnancy, twins, so many sharing our excitement.  My life has always been an open book, sharing such big news with so many people made the pregnancy even more special.  The people who had prayed us to our miracles stood beside us and continued with their love and support.  

Then December came.  People came out of the woodwork.  During those weeks in the hospital my phone, my email, my Facebook, blew up with prayers and kindness from people I knew and many I didn't.  I will never be able to put into words how much it meant.  The texts and messages, literally at all hours of the night, kept me encouraged. 

Fast forward 10 months.  In February my blog had 13,000 page views.  Now, 8 months later, it has nearly 50,000.  I have made the decision to be very open with my life.  With every part of my struggle, our grief, our loss and our heartache.  I have made some very special friends, reunited with old friends and become stronger because of the words of both.  Someone is reading this open journal of mine.

"You find out who your friends are."

I never put much thought into that saying.  I always kind of assumed it meant in hard times, you find out who your friends are.  I have found the opposite to be true. 

Over the past few weeks our lives have taken a big leap.  I have a job that I am very excited about, that I prayed for and that I will succeed at because it's something I love, I'm passionate about and it's part of who I am.  I got the opportunity to write for a magazine that is a source of hope for a lot of hurting people.  My article, from what I can track, has been read over 7,000 times.  Whether its from 7,000 people or 1 person reading it 7,000 times, my words have been read.  Through the contributors page I was encouraged to create a facebook page.  Since I have created it, I have gotten emails, everyday, from people I have never met, thanking me for being honest.  Before that page was created, I got emails nearly everyday, from people wanting to talk.  Wanting to share.  People I know and people I don't.  They have asked me to keep blogging, to keep posting.  Not just about the hard days, but the good.  Not just about the struggles, but the joy.  Not just about our dreams, but our reality.

Why has this hit such a chord in the hearts of people?  Because there are hurting people everywhere who are facing heartache.  And it can be lonely.  I have turned to the blogs of others for support.  I have turned to people who have overcome obstacles to encourage me.  It's what we as Christians are called to do, help the hurting.  I'm trying to help others the only way I know how.  By being transparent.

That scares a lot of people.  It annoys others.  Why is my story the one being read?  Because I put it out there.

Am I patting myself on the back?  Sometimes it may seem like that.  But oh my gosh, I am so proud of where we have gotten to.  I want to shout thanks for where Jason and I are right now.  Because I know that not too long ago we were in a much different place.  Am I scared I share too much?  Of course.  I will never get tired of talking about our boys, I will never tire of thanking God for our blessings and our friends and family for loving us.  But does it sometimes feel like I'm saying too much?  Sure it does!  Am I worried I'm going to be judged and talked about?  Only by a handful of unhappy people.  But I am so happy with where life is taking us that many times I just want to sit and cry.  The past year has been a lesson of not losing ourself in the grief to finding ourselves in the healing.

To those who have never walked in my shoes but encourage me the best you know how, thank you.  Really, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.  To the ones who have judged me who have never walked in my shoes,  I hope life never shows you how ugly and hard it can be.  And to the ones who have judged me who have walked in my shoes, who have shared with me personal stories of loss and heartache but set out only to cause pain, shame on you.  

There's a difference between walking through grief that was unexpected and trying to dig yourself out of a bad situation you have put yourself in from making bad choices.  I know the difference.

The nice thing about social media is you are able to connect with a lot of people.  The bad thing about social media is you are able to connect with a lot of people.  I have plenty of people who encourage me, share their stories with me, ask me to pray for them, and share their answers to prayer with me so I can rejoice with them.  I have a handful of people who stick around only to judge me or have something to talk about.  

To those in the first group, thank you.

To those in the second, kick rocks.  Or just hang tight, I am sure I'll give you some really good stuff to talk about soon enough!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Empty cradle, My Jesus and Our Boys

I am part of a very special group of women.  Actually, I'm part of several groups of special women.  My May Mom's group rallies around me and lifts me up and includes me in their lives and that means so much to me.  One of the moms shared this song with me.  All I can say is, I couldn't say it better...

"People say that I'm brave, but I'm not.  In fact I'm barely hanging on.  But there's a greater story, written long before me, because He loves you like this."

The Mom who wrote this said something in her testimony that hit my heart.  When she got the news that her baby wouldnt survive outside of the womb, she was overwhelmed with this thought and said it over and over.  And over.  "My Jesus is the same Jesus now as He was before."

My Jesus that was with me when we held our babies, was the same Jesus that was with me when we found out we were pregnant.  My Jesus that was with me when my water broke, was the same Jesus that was with me when we found out we had boys.  My Jesus that was with me when I have been in the total pits of despair is the exact same Jesus that has gotten me out.  His love is unchanging.

"I will carry you, while your heart beats here.  Long beyond the empty cradle, through the coming years.  I will carry you, all my life, I will praise the one who's chosen me to carry you."

I was chosen to carry Tucker and Fletcher.  Whether they lived an hour or a lifetime, I was chosen to be their Mom.  They didn't live long but the impact their short lives had is huge.  Their hearts beat, together, with mine.  Because I'm their Mommy.  I will always and forever be their Mommy.

Today we walked.  We walked to remember.  We walked to heal.  We walked together.  My handsome, beautiful, special husband.  Our loving, caring, kind parents.  And another group I am proud to be part of.  Strong, encouraging, loving Moms.  Who have all walked in my shoes.  Our stories may vary but our hearts know the same pain.  The same love.  The same pride.

My heart hurts right now.  Only because I would have rather pushed a stroller with 2 blonde haired baby boys along the river today but that wasn't in the plan that my Jesus had for me.  Right now.  Right now I carry Tucker and I carry Fletcher with me, everywhere I go.  I carry them in my heart.

I was chosen to carry them in my womb while their hearts beat here.  And when those hearts stopped beating, I had to decide what to do.  It has taken me some time to get here but I have chosen to honor my boys and keep going.  Keep fighting, keep believing and keep praying to the God who chose me to be their Mommy.

I'm blessed.  I have 2 little boys who I will never lose.  I just carry them in my heart now...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Frozen embryos, sucky people and happy times

I have been trying to live life differently lately.  My life is pretty much groundhog day so with my circumstances being as they are, I decided that if change was gonna happen, it had to be in me.  And some of it's pretty, some, not so much.

Things I appreciate:

1.  Kind people.  It's so nice being around kind, genuine people.  Those who care about you.  And your well being and your heart.  I'm thankful for the caring people in my life.  The caveat to this is I have also been surrounded by more crazy people but I've chosen to look for the kind ones.  I keep the crazies around because it keeps life more interesting but the kind ones are the ones who make your life better.

2.  Seeing the silver lining.  I don't really know what this is in reference to and right now I'm more of a gold than silver kind of girl but I look for the good in people.  In things.  In lessons.  In circumstances.  I have stopped tolerating mean, ugly, negative linings and love accessorizing with the beautiful gold that life throws at you.

3.  Taking a leap of faith.  I've been doing that more and more lately.  I've had a few pipe dreams and I've taken steps to see if I can realize them.  I've put myself out there in life, with people, with dreams and with hopes.  I've hit "send" on countless things that I was too scared to do before.  And even if it caused some panic and tears and "did I really just do that," the answer is a resounding, Yes!  I just did that!

4.  I've started giving myself some credit.  Wow, does that feel good.  I don't suck, I am awesome and I have finally digested the crap sandwich I've been eating for a long time and I'm learning how to process the crap that comes from a year of sad, emotional, tiring times.  Out of crap, beauty can come!

5.  It's none of my business what someone else thinks of me.  I'm good enough, I'm strong enough and dog gone it, people like me.  Some do.  Other's don't.  Some keep me around for entertainment value and because they are too nosy to not but it's ok.  The ones who are genuine are the ones who get the good Melissa.  The ones who are fake are the ones who get the rest.  No one likes the leftovers anyway.

Things I don't like:

1.  People who are fake, who judge, who manipulate, who deceive, who cheat, who lie, who hurt.  I read that you become like those you spend the most time with so I have chosen to spend more time with people who are none of these things and I am no longer worried about being guilty by association.  And that feels good!

2.  Hard lessons, emotional rollercoasters, life lessons, and sadness.  But I have survived, I've got the tshirt and the blog to prove it.  I've gotten here.  9 months after losing our boys.  1 month after losing my Nana.  A year of ups and downs and tears of hope and pain and joy and devastation.  I am surviving.  I have had my heart broken, my life shattered and my dreams crushed by loss but it hasn't defined me in any way other than I am still fighting!

Baby loss sucks.  It's awful.  I really can't imagine anything worse than losing a child.  I have 3 babies in heaven.  Sometimes it seems absolutely unreal that I am a mother but I don't have any of my babies to hold.  I try not to let the why's and what if's take up too much space in my heart but to think you wouldn't have any of those questions isn't realistic.

We have frozen embryos, just waiting on us.  For me to be healthy in mind, body, soul.  That sometimes seems like an impossible goal but I have to just keep going forward.  Step by step.  I want to hold our babies.  I want to sing to them.  I want to parent them.  I'm so thankful for the 3 beautiful step kids I have in my life and I pray, expectantly, for the kids that will add to our family one day.

Good days and bad.  Fall down, get back up.  Scary moments but push through anyways.  Sad times but smiling through the tears.

I'm not where I expected to be a year ago when Jason was reading to the boys in my belly.  I'm not where I hoped to be on this grief journey.  I'm not the Melissa I was before my life changed forever but I can promise this.  I have my heels all lined up, they are ready for me and I'm ready to see what's on the other side of this journey!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pregnancy, death and Xanax

How much can change in a year?

A lot! 

Like, seriously, a lot! 

Too much...

This time last year I got pregnant.  I don't know how many woman know the exact moment they got pregnant but I do. Sunday August 26 around 1015 am. I will never forget it. I'll never forget watching the Dr, holding Jason's hand, going to Mom and Dad's to lay with my feet elevated while Mom prayed over me. That God would touch my body, grow our babies and protect my pregnancy. 

I knew then I was pregnant with twins. I will never forget that day.  I'll never forget calling Nana and telling her I'd just gotten pregnant.  Dr kept telling us to stay positive and hope for the best. I didn't need hope. I knew I had the answer to so many prayers. 

This time last year I was preparing for pregnancy. Preparing for babies. Never knowing that the next year would bring the highest of highs and the absolute lowest of lows. That I would have my babies, I would become a mother to 2 beautiful boys and that we would leave the hospital without either. 

This time last year I had my Nana. I called her every single day and I had her love. I had her support. I had her prayers, her encouragement, her understanding. She had 5 miscarriages before she had my Mom.  She wasn't just my Nana. She didn't just care, she had been where I was. Becoming a mom after so much heartache. 

Going home knowing she wouldn't be waiting for me was harder than I expected. I knew when I left her weeks ago that she wouldn't be there when I came back.  

We wore red. We had Christmas decorations. There were a lot of people and there was a lot of laughter.  It was very Nana and the only thing missing was being able to look over and see her enjoying the celebration.   

There were obstacles that came up and I tried to handle with as much grace the Xanax would allow for. I know my limits. I know when I'm about to break. 

But I haven't broke.  Not completely. And all the things that keep trying to break me, aren't.  My Nana was a fighter. She stood for what she believed in, she protected her family and she didn't apologize for being a strong person.  

So I won't either. So much has changed in a year that sometimes I don't know whether I'm coming or going but what hasn't changed is who she taught me to be. 

Her stroke set her back in some ways and made her stronger in others. Losing Papaw took something out of her but she never stopped loving. She never let fear or loss rob her of her joy. She never let disappointment, hurt and frustration dim her spark.

I'm not going to let the negative actions and thoughts of others determine how I feel about myself any longer.  I love wholly.  I love unconditionally.  I give people the benefit of the doubt.  Most of the time I end up getting the crap end of the stick when it comes to giving people 2nd chances but I'm a second chance believer.

I didn't deal well in crap and drama before and this past year has narrowed the gap of how much I will allow into my life.   The answer now being, none.  No more crap.  No more crappy people.  No more worry that she doesn't like me.  That he doesn't get me.  That they don't understand why, after 8 months, I'm still grieving the death of my 2 baby boys.  I don't know why my grief makes people uncomfortable but it's really know longer my problem.  Because I don't care.  I have figured out when my grieving will end. It will end when I take my last breath and get to see my babies as they are, in all their perfect glory!  That is when the pain will end. 

The next few months are going to be facing a lot of firsts that scares me. Finding out our babies were boys, celebrating my 34th birthday knowing the next year I'd be playing with my babies, my water breaking, their birthdays.  There are too many things that I will be facing, along with Jason, that will bring up painful memories.  And to do it coming off the death of my Nana adds some emotions I wasn't prepared to take into account.

But I'll figure it out.

Nana always wanted to ride a Harley.  SO Nana's last ride was on a Harley.  Her and Papaw's remains sat on Megan's lap as Donnie drove them to the farm.  And there their ashes were spread.  Which gave me the feeling that I was ready to spread Tucker and Fletcher's ashes.   I'm ready.

I'm done apologizing for who I am.  I stand for what I believe in.  I protect my family to the end.  I make decisions and I will hold myself accountable.  I'm going to fight to get to where I need to be.  I'm not going to drag people along with me who only want to be there to get the gossip or to find a reason to judge me. I'm not going to beg anyone to like me.  To love me.  To understand me.  To give me permission to grieve my baby boys that I can't hold, can't kiss, can't feed or rock to sleep.

I have enough on my plate and I refuse to eat the crap sandwich that others have been trying to force down my throat.   

I'm going to soon turn 35.  I'm going to soon come to the anniversary of finding out we were having boys.  Then the day my water breaks.  Then Tuckers birth.  Then 11 days of more hope and prayer and bartering to just be able to bring home one of our babies.  Then Fletchers birth.  And his death. 

Christmas. Without my boys, or my Nana.

I'll get through it.  The pregnancy memories, the death of our boys and my Nana, all in a year.

Nothing that a loving husband, a case of wine and a few Xananx can't get me through.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Nana, My Boys, and a to do list for God

My mind has been in a thousand different places over the past several weeks. My Nana has been going downhill since she left us while I was in the hospital in Dec. then over the past month she's decided that she is ready to get to her eternal home. Good for her, hard for us. We came in expecting to be here a few days before she passed. 

3 weeks ago.  Hospice Drs and Nurses are saying they've never really seen anything like it. She's been off all her meds for 3 weeks and she's not been having any of the bad side effects we were preparing for.  Instead, we have 1 lady, ready to get to heaven to see her husband, to hold Tucker and Fletcher who has been going nowhere, fast.  She has always taught me to be patient and trusting in God's timing, this has been her final lesson in that.  Surrounded by her family, watching her in grace and beauty, praise God thru the longest wait of her life. 

I didn't know if I was healed enough emotionally to face this. This has been a roller coaster of emotions that I wasn't prepared to face twice in the same year. But watching her, praying with her, singing with her, laughing and crying with her has healed part of my heart and has certainly given me the closure I was never able to find with my boys. 

Missing them hit me out of left field today. Knocked me to my knees and took it out of me for the better part of my day. I have lost grandparents and as painful as it is, I have so many beautiful,  wonderful memories to get me thru the hard times.  

I have nothing to help me through this pain. Except to feel it. Except to cry through it. Except to trust that God is still somehow working thru this empty pain, this deep longing for my sons, this time of grief we are in. 

My heart is breaking. The parts that were healing are breaking in different ways now for this impending loss off beautiful Nana. My Nana who taught me to love. Taught me to forgive. Taught me the value of hard work and the value of being honest. That its ok to stand up for what is right and to fight for what you deserve. That even when your heart breaks over so many miscarriages and baby losses, you can heal enough to have a beautiful family. That after a debilitating stroke, you can become strong in other ways. 

I can't imagine my days without Nana in them. Our daily phone calls. Her encouragement in everything I do. Her quiet assurance that God will never bring me to something if He's not going to bring me thru it. 

I know when God calls her home that she will be greeted by her husband of so many years and my boys. The best of me
will be together. 

Life is hard. Sometimes harder than I think I can handle. But then I look at my Nana, who is fighting this battle with grace and peace and I will do what I've always done. I'll take what she has shown me thru her life and I'll do with it the best I can.

She has specific instructions to talk to God soon as she gets up there to talk to him about my babies that will make there way to me when the time is right.  She said something about a blonde, curly headed little girl. We'll see how much pull Nana has with the big man upstairs. 

I'll be losing my best friend but my boys wil be getting their Nana, who tonight, when I told her I couldn't wait for her to see them, got the biggest smile on her face as tears streamed down mine. 

She's ready to go. I pray God keeps her in His care until she makes it home. 

Love you Nana, you are the best I know! 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Not waving but drowning

I heard this, or maybe I read this somewhere and it struck my heart. I think if I could choose 4 words to describe where I'm at right now, this journey I'm on, it would be those. 

Not waving but drowning. 

I saw some news features and articles about this a few months ago. They wanted to get awareness out that drowning doesn't always look like drowning. It can look like playing or splashing around.

That's pretty accurate with grief and healing too. She's laughing, she must be ok.  She's out of the house, she must be over it. She's posting pictures of happy times, she must have moved on 

Not waving, but drowning. 

She's laughing, but goes to the bathroom to cry. She's out of the house, but its the first time in over a week.  She's posting pictures of happy times, she would never post pictures of the bad.  

Not waving, but drowning. 

I've been upset because I don't have any signs that remind me of the boys. I don't have a specific thing that when I see "it" I know they are ok.  That bothers me. Especially last night. So I prayed thru my tears that I would know, without a doubt, that my boys were ok. I wanted proof. Not a butterfly. Not something that could mean 1000 different things, I wanted my boys, speaking to me. Saying "Hi, Mom. We're here, Tucker and Fletcher!"

Then I got this. At midnight. Thru a friend  I've never met but who is standing in the same grief stricken spot as I am, missing her son, she sent me this without possibly knowing what I needed most. 

She sent me a message from my boys. More clear than any message I've gotten or could hope to receive. 

Not waving but drowning.  Not entirely true. My head is above water even if my legs are kicking like crazy to keep me afloat. I'm empty but only some. I'm broken but not completely. I'm healing, a little at a time. 

Not drowning, just waiting.  For healing, for answers and for strength. 

Not drowning. Just grieving. Not drowning. Just sad. Not drowning. Not drowning. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Faking it, Nervous Breakdowns and God Conversations

I had a Publix sub sandwich when I was in the hospital.  I don't remember what day it was but it was in the 2nd of the 3 rooms I was in.  It tasted so good.  The spice of the jalepenos, the crunch of the bread, the saltiness of the pickles and ham.

Pregnant woman aren't supposed to have lunch meat.  It can give the baby listeria or something.  Tucker had already died at that point, Fletcher was delivered a few days later.  It wasn't the ham that caused it but I guess my subconscious is dwelling on that and gave me a moment of panic, 6 months later. 

I got so frustrated one day, in the midst of some family issues, that I was crying and slammed a pot on the island.  I was pregnant.  The pot slamming came at the end of a very stressful week that was a culmination of some very stressful months.  Stress isn't good for pregnant woman.

After months of bed rest and day after day of throwing up, I had a dr appt.  The nurse convinced me that I was suffering from depression and told the Dr in her notes that I needed meds.  I didn't think I was depressed.  I was worried.  I didn't know what all the throwing up was doing to the babies, I didn't know if they were getting enough nutrients.  I was tired of laying around and I was unsure of when I would be able to go back to work but I wasn't depressed.  But I took the script for Zoloft and went home.  I googled side effects on pregnancy and there were as many pros as there were cons.   I talked to Jason about it and made the decision I would try it.  I took one pill and immediately regretted it and never took another.  I wasn't depressed.  I was a pregnant mom of twins who was having a really hard pregnancy.  The depression would come later.

I think about all I did for my babies, all I would have continued to do, but my mind keeps going back to the things that might have altered the course of my pregnancy.  It's really hard to come to a place of understanding that my boys served the purpose they were meant to serve.  That I will be with them one day, just not now.  Guilt is a cruel thing, robbing you of what you know to be true.

Watched a special on 20/20 and it got me thinking.  Everyone puts their best on social media.  The profile picture that gets 40 likes was take number 17.  The rest got deleted because of bags under my eyes, a double chin, my hair wasn't perfect.  I think I've opened myself up to a certain transparency with my blog of showing the pain and truth of what grieving looks like but it's still not an honest picture.

If it were I'd put pictures of the ceiling at 4am that I'm staring at most nights I can't sleep.  It would be more posts about anxiety or fear and less of how much I love my husband or how great the massage felt.  I think social media has a big element of faking it til you make it.  Which for me, has been a good thing.  Because if I only get out of the house 1 day out of 7 and post about the fun I had at the beach with my family on the day i finally was able to leave, then the feedback I get is how great it is to see me happy.  How beautiful my family is. If I put up pictures of the kids being active in different things it shows me living for that moment.  Not capturing the other moments of despair, of heartache.

You can't judge someone based on instagram, Facebook, twitter or even blogs.  A picture is worth 1000 words but to the person in the picture, or behind the picture, their 1000 words may be a world apart from yours.

 I was sitting with my family last weekend at a water park and it was a good day.  I was feeling very much connected and present with them.  We were eating lunch and somehow the conversation came around to God.  On the ride down L had asked us about animals going to heaven.  I don't know if that was weighing on A's mind or something else but she asked me about God and how you get to heaven.  In the midst of people running around us, kids screaming and laughing in the background, I talked to her about salvation.  I talked to her about asking Christ into your heart and turning from sin.  She listened, she processed, she asked some questions and then moved on to another subject.  But I could tell that she was weighing what I said "got you into heaven" with what she sees in me.

That's heavy.

People are always watching.  You have to be careful and mindful of what you show them.  If it's a picture that took 20 mins to get right, filtered and edited to look so carefree and beautiful or a status of what you are thinking, people pay attention.  And they see what you are showing them.

I don't think I'll ever share more pain than I've shown.  Part of grieving and healing is private.  The moments and days that hurt the most are often not documented.  They are between me, Jason, God and my boys.  But I put my life out there for people to see.  That means people will judge but that also means people will love, encourage and comment kindness.

I googled nervous breakdown and I have all the symptoms.  Serious.  All of them.  Anxiety, check.  Rapid heartbeat, check.  Pulling away from people you love, check.  Scared of everything, check  Hypochondriac, check.  Fear that your family will die, check.

I know I'm not having a nervous breakdown, I'd have been locked up by now if that were going to happen I think.  But I can't get over how hard this is.  How it weaves it's way through every fiber of your being, every piece of your life.  This is real.  It's suffocating and it's all consuming.  I'm trying to let is consume less and less of me.

I read somewhere recently that coming to the end of a road, be it grieving or something else, is often scarier than it should be because we know that when something ends, something else begins.  I'm praying that through my transparency, though my pictures, through my words, that my healing will come and lead me to a smooth beginning that won't be as scary as it feels.

Blessed because through these struggles and dark days, God is continuing to show me truth, give me hope and mend my broken heart.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shame on me, I had another good day

If perception is reality (which I hate btw) let me clear up a few things. 

I'm grieving. Somedays I'm able to grieve quietly and outside of my house, others times I grieve out loud stuck in my bed. If you understand this, you get it. If you've never been thru a loss like this, you probably don't, count yourself blessed.  Many days I've gone to the store, the dr, or anywhere else wearing sunglasses because I didn't sleep the night before and my eyes are swollen shut from crying.  That doesn't suck at all.  

You will be judged regardless so grieve the way that helps you to heal. For some, they won't understand if you can get out of bed and have a good day, why you are still incapable of functioning at a level you could before, but that goes back to the whole, they have no idea what you're going thru. 

I had days where I couldn't get out of bed, for days at a time. I still have those days but thank God I'm further than I was. I am still sometimes paralyzed by grief, and more often than not, anxiety, but thru grace and mercy and prayers, I'm able to stand.  

Anyone who knows someone who has faced a baby loss says its the hardest thing anyone can face. Times that by 2 and then talk to me about how YOU think I should be acting. I'd love to hear your opinion.  Because I'm sure you know more than my psychiatrist who I see monthly and my grief counselor who I see weekly. 

I used to be very independent. I wasn't scared of anything. This has changed that.  I can't do much of anything alone and I hate it.  With Jason, my parents and kids I am able to live my life. They understand my breakdowns and they don't require any conversation about why I'm having an anxiety attack.  It feels very good to be able to go to dinner with them, go to the beach or just be together. When I have Jason beside me, for the most part, I'm able to push myself to do things. Sometimes it works, other times it blows up in my face and I have a total meltdown.  I think of scenarios or times I would have to do something or go somewhere without him, or face strangers and I have a total breakdown. 

Glimpse into why my attachment to my parents and Jason is so strong and the fear of losing them so real. They are my lifelines. I can do things when I'm with them. I can be ok or I can be a wreck, with them, they understand. 

I can't control my temper. I can't control my emotions. I've lost pretty much all coping skills. I have tried to take the advice of my therapist and do more outside of my circle. After talking about if for a month with her, I was finally able to go to the gym. Kicking and screaming and crying and only because Jason was beside me the whole time but I did it. 

I'm not going to apologize or try to hide my good days. I wear them like a badge of honor. Because God knows, I've earned them through blood, sweat and tears.  I may not be able to take an art class or go to the gym by myself yet, as my therapist wants me to do, but I'm able to enjoy my family, blog out my feelings and cry out my emotions and all of that is leading me further down this crappy road of loss. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

I'm running away

Back to reality. 

I really wanted to run away but it's a lot more complicated than you'd think. 

Vacation, like everything else in my life for the past year, was an emotional roller coaster. Highs were fun, laughing, riding bikes, snorkeling, integrating 2 families for the peace and ease it brings. Enjoying being away. Lows were miserable and lonely. My emotions started the night before Father's Day. I woke up watching the movie in my head that I can't ever turn off. Jason driving me to the hospital as my water was breaking, seeing the looks of knowledge on the dr's faces, the looks of sadness on the faces of the nurses, the blind hope on my families faces. The labor, the births, holding our babies, having to give them to the nurses to be taken away forever. Leaving with nothing. Having 2 boxes of our babies ashes that we have no idea what to do with.  It literally was crushing my spirit. I couldn't pull it together. But I didn't want to ruin Father's Day for Jason so I went to a water park. Did you know they have floats for very little babies so they can be in the lazy river with you?  I didn't, until I saw a dozes mothers with their babies, floating. Not a care in the world. I couldn't stop the tears. Then a baby cried and my breast leaked milk. For a baby that wasn't mine.  Everyone else was off having fun and I was the crazy lady crying, leaking milk. While families all around me enjoyed Father's Day. 

I couldn't go to dinner last night with everyone. I couldn't stop the tears. I wanted to run away, never felt so lonely. There's no where to run when you are in a place you have never been and don't know how to get anywhere.  Luckily I couldn't find my wallet so it kept me there in the camper, alone, with nothing to do but think. 

It's hard for me to do normal things. I'm fine one minute then a wreck the next. I don't have much to talk to anyone about because no one wants to hear what's upsetting me, this time.  Again. 

I'm back home and I'm lost. That's the thing about vacation, you have to come back. Now I'm home and I'm lost. I'm sad and I'm frustrated. 

Life passes by. Life keeps going.  Good days and bad.  I feel like its time to make  some decisions but every option scares me. 

Have been toying with the idea of thinking about trying another pregnancy at some point. And then I have a dream that I'm pregnant. And all is good. Until I throw up and realize I have thrown up my baby and there is nothing I can do but try to shove it back in. And I wake up in a panic and I'm crying and hysterical. 

I don't expect this to be easy. But I didn't expect to feel so alone. So much like a freak whose emotions are literally all over the place. 

I'm tired of the good job for getting out of bed, out of the house, that my dr gives me. In tired of missing something I can't have back. 2 very special something. I'm tired of being alone bc I don't know how to be with people anymore.

This has changed me. I'm trying so hard to make it into a positive change but the pain is still so raw, the fear is so constantly in my face, I'm always waiting for the next disaster to happen. 

It's a sucky way to live. I have to figure out how these small steps are going to get me to a better place. Where the desire to run away isn't there. Where the guilt and shame and pain doesn't suffocate me.  

I'm trying, the best I can, to make my days ok. I'm a mother. And I don't have my babies.  That makes having good days hard. 

But I'm doing the best I can.  God hasn't left me and I know wherever I run to, even if its far away only in my mind, He is still there. 

This isn't how my life was supposed to be. I should be up checking on my babies. Feeding them with the breast milk I still have. Singing them the songs my parents and grandparents sang me to sleep. 

Today was bad. Yesterday was worse. Tomorrow, I pray that somehow, it will get better.  I need some rest. I need some peace and I need that blind hope that got me thru 3 weeks of hell in Dec. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Stupid Disney, happiest place on earth my butt

We are officially campers, I'd say. I love the camping life. Hair in braids, trucker hats, cooking out, riding bikes. All so fun and relaxing. 

Then life happens. One of the kids gets sick and throws a wrench in the plans.  But I wouldn't trade A sitting on my lap sick, while in our camping chairs, at the campsite, away from life for anything. 

But life still happens. Once I finally got my bike up on 2 wheels and it stayed that way, I may have fallen off a few times, blame the rain and slick flip flops or my uncoordinated self, I took a ride with K around the campground. It's been a good time of some one on one time with the kids at different points. And vacationing with the other set of parents is easy. The kids don't feel pulled, they get to make memories, together with both their families, and we get to relax and enjoy being together. 

But I must warn to any grieving parents out there, maybe don't go to Disney when you are getting over the loss of children.  It's not always the happiest place on earth when you see a mom holding a newborn. When you see toddlers toddling around. When every golf cart you pass has babies in it, it seems. 

It's so hard, this sucky balancing act between wanting to be happy and enjoy your time and trying to find a place to let your sobs escape without ruining anyone else's fun. 

I was naive, again, in thinking all the important dates and holidays had passed. I don't know why I assumed Father's Day wouldn't be hard. In a lot of ways, it's harder than Mother's Day. I see Jason with the kids and he's such a good dad.  He's a ride the bikes, throw the ball, hold the hair of the puking daughter, kind of Daddy. 

I'll never forget the care and love he had holding our boys. Our babies. The look of love, of awe, of pain and of heartbreak. All wrapped in one sucky bow of love and loss. 

Father's Day is hard. Being at the happiest place on earth isn't fun. I mean, if I'm being honest I've never really been a Disney and Mickey fan but I'd have still really liked the option of taking Tucker and Fletcher and buying them $30 mouse ears to wear, while complaining about long lines and smelly people and taking 1000 pictures of them smiling with the Disney characters. 

Love and loss.  It's not fun.  But the hurt is the price your pay for loving completely and unconditionally and that is one thing that even such a great loss won't take from me. 

On this Father's Day I have 2 special men, who I love with my whole heart, to wish a very happy Day. 

From them I know what love, strength, compassion, care and wisdom looks like. Jason has an abundance of wisdom, as evidenced by his gray beard. 

Tomorrow won't be the celebration I expected to have this year, and I don't have the gift I wanted more than anything  to give my husband, but tomorrow, like every other day, I will be thankful for what we do have. 3 beautiful kids, a loving relationship and a very full life. 

Happy Fahter's Day, my dude. I love you! And so do K, A and L. Enjoy this day, you deserve it! 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Guilty people, smart dogs and thunder thighs

Nearly 31000 page views.  Holy crap!   I need to figure out how to monopolize on this writing thing.

So it's no secret that my patience is near record lows and nearly everything gets on my nerves but the past few days I've really been thinking about some things and I think I'm starting to figure stuff out.

Going on vacation this week and it can't get here fast enough.  It's the first annual joint family vaca with the kids and both sets of parents.  We're going camping at Disney and we're going to some waterparks.

I don't know whose idea a waterpark vacation was. (it was mine.)  But I must have had this genius thought on a skinny day.  2 days in a swimsuit walking around and 1 day at an amusement park walking around sounds like as much fun as a day spent trying on shorts.   I don't wear shorts.  Ever.  Because if I do find a pair of shorts that fit me standing up, as soon as I sit down, my thighs expand to 3 times their normal size.  And the boys did a number on my stomach.  If anyone gets past my thunder thighs to look higher, they will see what looks to be a busted can of biscuits where my stomach should be.

Can't hardly wait!

We are snorkling one of the days so last night I practiced in our pool for the first time.  I was minding my own business and concentrating on my breathing and suddenly I see a rare albino dolphin swimming through the pool.  For those who haven't read my previous blog post about the beach, Jason swam below me with his white hiney exposed.  Then he was so kind as to put water in the top spout and I nearly drown myself.

I make it out of the pool and go home to relax with our dog.  Our dog that is is short bus special.  Today Jason heard a weird noise coming from the kitchen and went in to see that our genius dog had figured out if she pushed on the water dispenser on our fridge she could get water on demand.  As she was drinking the water that was coming out, she also flooded our kitchen.  She looks so sweet to be so rotten. 

I have had a hard time praying since Dec.  I have always believed in the power of prayer and even though I kind of knew that Tucker wasn't going to make it, I really believed that Fletcher was.  God and I have had a kind of tumultuous relationship lately.  I try to pray then remember that I'm angry and I can't finish.  But I pray during my non prayers that God understands.  Which I think He probably does. I've had a lot of people close to me request prayer over the past few months and I always find it easier to pray for them than for myself.  A dear friend requested prayers for his daughter this weekend and I have been praying for her.  Expecting and believing that God will heal her and that they will get good news this week.  Today it hit me, for the first time since we lost the boys I think, that maybe God took them to save us from future heartache and not to punish me.  I don't think I ever really even realized that that was what my heart believed.

I have also come to understand that people that get annoyed with things I post or people that get annoyed with anything that someone else may post on social media is probably a result of something I have termed "Guilty Flippin Conscience."

If I post about my feelings being hurt because I haven't heard from someone and you take offense, maybe, even though it wasn't directed at you, you are guilty in your own mind.  If I post that I want to punch someone because I got into a fight you are unaware of and you think I might be talking about you, maybe you are guilty because you know that I have a right to be hurt by something you have done or said or not said to me.  The thing about fb, twitter or blogs, for the most part, you don't always know the circumstances surrounding my rants unless you have the unfortunate luck of being my husband who hears EVERY rant.  So maybe don't assume and your feelings won't be hurt over something that isn't about you.

I'm healing.  Part of me is.  Part of me won't ever fully heal because I'm walking around with only half my heart.  But a weekend spent with the kids, their friends, our friends, family, my husband, our dog and my full life, the part of my heart that is left, is full.  And the more we live, the more full it becomes.

I don't have all the answers to all the crap that life deals us but today I got part of my ability to cope back.  I came to an understanding with my Jesus that even though my prayers weren't answered how I wanted them to be, that doesn't mean they weren't answered in the best way to further His kingdom, to show God's love and grace and to grow my trust in His plans for us.  Doesn't make my hurt go away.  Doesn't make me miss Tucker or Fletcher any less.  But I know the plans God has for Missy and Jason.  It's plans to prosper us.  Plans for a bright future.  I know this.  Today, I believe this.

I'm blessed because today, as I prayed healing for someone else, God healed another piece of me.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Just a step mom and chaos

If there were any questions of how awesome our kiddos are, this week confirmed it in big ways.  Awards for all the kids at school, Patrol, 6th grade Math student of the year.  L turned 7 today, lost a tooth yesterday at school.  We have so much to be thankful for and I really lucked out in the stepkids department. 

The girls are having some friends sleepover this weekend.  So last night, we spent some time cleaning.  Found out if you give the kids a can of pledge and a rag, they will return an empty can, a dripping wet rag and a pledged out house.  They did a great job.  While jamming out to Regulators.  We are awesome parents like that!  

In our cleaning frenzy I forgot I needed to run to Publix so at 930 A and I jump in the truck and run to the store.  Only as we were inside did I realize I'd run out without a bra on.  Awesome!  But it was L's bday today and we needed supplies. 

Got back to the house and after he fell asleep we went to work.  We made an obstacle course on the first set of stairs and made him some cards and had some balloons.  This is the first birthday I think that we have had the kids on their bday and it was so nice waking him up to surprises and a breakfast cake made out of waffles with a powdered sugar doughnut on top.  Then a slide through the course and they were out the door to school! 

I was riding high on cloud 9.  I love those kids so much.  They are all so different and have their own personalities but they are all loving.  They are kind.  They are funny and they are fun.  We have fun together.  I really love them so much. 

They leave for school and Satan starts in on me.  "You know, you're just a stepmom..." They don't make me feel like that.  I don't try to be their mom.  They have one who is very involved in their lives and very much loves the kids.  And is gracious enough to allow me to love them as well.  But I got so wrapped up in a big birthday morning sendoff that it took me to my knees when later I saw on fb pics she had posted of L when he was born.  Of A and K holding him and loving on him and adoring their baby brother.  

I was getting ready to head to the school for A's awards and L's birthday cupcakes and I just lost it.  So many of my dreams aren't not just not fulfilled, they are crushed.  The kids were so excited about us having 2 boys.  L most excited I think, to teach them all the weird boy things that boys do.  But they were so excited.  They talked of who would feed them, who would hold them and rock them.  It appeared my only job would be diaper duty.  I couldn't wait to share that with them.  

Out of nowhere, something benign happens, and it sucks the breath out of you.  You can't prepare for it because it's a moving target.  Is it twins at a table near you at dinner, is it baby pics of one of your step kids, is it seeing a pregnant Mom with that pregnant glow.  Any of these send me into a tailspin. 

The kids ask questions sometimes.  They know we have been back to talk to a dr and wanted to know what was going on so we try to be as open as we can.  They want us to have another baby but they are as scared as we are of trying again.  Of the what ifs.  If I can't make it make sense to me, I find it even harder to try to make it make sense for them.  

I'm still struggling with the understanding portion of this crap.  On one hand we lost our boys and that creates a hole that we all feel.  On the other hand, our family is pretty awesome.  We have all grown this past 6 months.  Together, individually and collectively, our family has changed.  

We are stronger.  We are closer.  We are better.  We are happy.  We don't have the fights we did before.  We don't have the separation we did before.  We don't have the confusion, the picking sides and chaos that brings.  

We have peace.  We have laughs.  We have fun and we make memories everytime we are together.  

Our life is chaos.  Always.  Tomorrow we are going to have 5 girls staying with us.  Poor Jason and L are going to need to find some man things to do in the garage or something.  But I wouldn't change any of it.  Nothing I can do will bring Fletcher or Tucker back into our arms.  Our home.  Our lives.  But because of them and what we have gone through, we love more, we love deeper and we share ourselves wholly.  

I may just be a stepmom.  But I wouldn't trade any of these 3 kiddos for anything in the world.  We may not have their brothers with us here, adding to the chaos, but they are part of all of us.   God saw something in me to decide I could handle these roles.  He saw patience and understanding in me to afford me the right to be their stepmom.  He saw strength and perseverance in me to allow me to walk this road of Grieving mom.  I know I am equally equipped to add a baby or 2 into the mix of our chaotic lives and I know that when that happens, it will be because everything else has fallen into place.  

We aren't the same family we were in Dec.  I don't know what bringing 2 babies into that life would have done to the dynamics of our family as it was.  I know now that we are strong, we are united and when God decides it's time to grow our family again, it will be for the better of the whole Neu Crew. 

I still miss my boys.  Today was brutal.  I wanted to hold them and sing to them so bad it actually hurt my heart but I made it out ok.  And I went to a bday dinner with L and the family and I didn't just go, I went and I had a great time.  

Things still hurt.  Sometimes I still forget to breathe.  But at the end of the day, I have my family, they make me smile, they love me and for right now, we are all better than ok.  

I'm blessed because I have 3 very special kids here I get to love, hold, talk to and tell them how special they are to me.  And I have 2 little boys who I can only imagine are spoiled rotten by some loving grandparents in heaven, holding them tightly because they know how my heart aches to do so.  

And, as always and forever, I have my best friend.  Always by my side!  I so love that man of mine!

Tomorrow I will be better. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lies, lies and more lies...

Well the operation "Have Parent's 40th Surprise Anniversary party at their house," went off better than expected.  Their Einstein daughter needs to be told NO if she ever decides to throw another surprise. Don't do it at the person's house.

It wasn't the least bit stressful. 

IT WAS SO STRESSFUL!  Trying to keep up with what I'd told who and who knew what and then I'd let something slip and had to slide to the next lie.  It was exhausting.  But the end result was worth all the stress.  My parents had a houseful of friends and family, of love and celebrating their 40 years together.  It doesn't get much more special than that.

End results, worth the stress.  The fear.  The unknown.  So the sayin goes!

Dr last week was a scary thing.  I had been told what happened with us losing both boys could have been for a few reasons.  One Dr thought it was a doomed pregnancy.  Sucks.  But with the hyperstim, the 2 draining, the huge weight gain of fluid so quickly and the swollen everything, she just thought it was a bad pregnancy.

This Dr didn't agree.  He is the dr that had a daughter who died 3 years ago.  He understood what we were going through in the hospital.  He shared a little.  The nurses shared the rest and it's just a heartbreaking thing he's lived for the past 3 years.

Sitting there, I didn't know what to expect.  I hate going back to the OB office.  It just sucks.  But I was there, Jason by my side and we talked to Dr B.  I love that man.  He's just simply amazing.  He talked a long time about his loss and how it still affects each area of his life.  How people deal differently.  How we both need to cut ourselves some slack and realize as sucky as this is, we will get pregnant again.  He firmly, wholeheartedly believes that.   He cried with us and gave something we really needed.  Hope. 

But with that good news comes unknown.  Will I have to have a cerclage to close my cervix?  Will I need to be on bed rest?  Will the frozen embryo transfer be successful if we only transfer 1?  Too many unknowns.  But he talked to us.  He cares about us.  Not just about us having a baby when we are ready but cares about us now.  He talked to Jason, man to man/grieving dad to grieving dad.  Jason needs to be ok too.  We're going to get there.  I think we both are ready to get there.

After a month of planning and scheming and mostly having my mind consumed with 1000 projects I was working on for their parties, my thought were here and there with the boys.  It felt good to not be consumed with what is missing from our lives.

Tonight we went to Longhorn for dinner to kind of unwind and relax with Mom and Dad and Sheila and Reece.  They seat us and I go to sit down and I see Sheila and Mom looking kind of anxious and trying to move me to the other side of the table before I saw what my eyes connected with.

Twin boys.  Probably 1 yr old.  Blonde hair.  Adorable.  Just chilling out, having dinner with their family, their parents.  It sucks.  Hits you out of nowhere.  We requested a table change while I was in the bathroom trying to pull it together.  And I did.  And we had dinner and talked and laughed.

I've been telling lies to try to keep a surprise for Mom and Dad.  I've also been telling myself lies.  I should have done more to protect the boys.  I shouldn't have done this.  I could have done that.  God changed his mind and decided I couldn't handle 2 babies.  Lies, lies, lies.

I want my life to be different.  I want my life to be ok again.  I want to know what it is I'm supposed to be doing and I want to do it.  I'm tired of being scared.  I'm tired of being mad.  I'm tired of being hurt.  I'm tired of not breathing, of holding my breath because sometimes it hurts too much to breath.

I miss my boys.  So much.  They were at the party with us.  But I hate that they were in their boxes, sitting in a high chair I was supposed to feed them in.  I miss them so much.

Here's some advice to people dealing with grieving parents, grandparents, siblings.  Say their names.  So few people say Tucker and Fletcher and when they do, it means the world.  It gives them back to me if only for those few seconds.  Just be present.  Nothing you can say is going to make my heart stop hurting but having you beside me makes me feel less alone.  Trust that they are doing the best they can. And even if you don't believe it, or see it, realize it's really none of your business how they are handling their grief.  If it makes you uncomfortable, love them from a distance.  They don't need your advice.  Telling a grieving couple that having a baby will help is silly. You don't know if they are able to get pregnant again.  You don't know if they are ready, or able.  But having another baby should never be based on fixing something.  Grief, broken marriage, blah blah blah.

I saw twin baby girls in the store yesterday being "mothered' by the nastiest 16 year old girl.  Nasty and mean, to babies way too young to know why she was screaming at them.  I wanted to walk up to here and offer my services.  I'd be happy to take your babies home and love them, sing to them, show them the love of Jesus.  I would be more than happy to be a mom to your babies, or even just hold them so you don't drop your cigarettes and beer.  I was so angry I couldn't see straight.

I'm mentally and physically exhausted.  Being a mom is hard.  Being a grieving mom is awful.  When you have bad days with your kids you still get to kiss them, love them, pray with them and let them know how lucky you are that God chose you to be there mom.  When I have a bad day and miss Tucker and Fletcher, I close my eyes and try to filter through all the nightmares and concentrate on the hours spent holding our sons.  I rub my tattoo.  I cry.

I don't know where I'm headed.  I know I never expected to walk in the shoes of a grieving Mother but I'm here, I'm walking, I'm wearing the shoes and I need to figure out where to go from here.  But I know I have to make time for myself. I can't worry about things like I've been doing. I can't change people. I have to take care of myself so I can take care of my family. 

I miss you Tucker.  I wish I could hold you.  Fletcher, Mommy has been wondering if you'd be tall like your Daddy.  I don't know if you grow in heaven.  I don't know much about heaven but I know I have some work to do on earth before I find out what heaven is like.  I'm doing my best boys, your Dad and I both are.

My boys.  Our sons.  Tucker Harris and Fletcher Thomas.  I saw something that 2 (parents) - 1(child that dies) equals 0. Ours doesn't equal 0, we still have some beautiful, special kids in our lives.  And I have my beautiful husband.   I've got parents that are celebrating 40 years married.

I don't know where I'm headed but I have some great people walking with me.  I'm just wearing some shoes I never wanted to wear...