Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A different child

I've been thinking about Olivia a lot lately. I think her birthday coming up is starting to weigh on me. How have we survived two whole years. There are moments when I flashback and am right there in those dark moments again. I hate that our very brief time with our daughter was overshadowed by the worst moments of my life. But then, I guess we are lucky we had any time with her at all. Blech. Most of the time, I'm okay. I can talk about her and what happened without getting the slightest bit teary eyed (usually). But every once in awhile, more often lately, there are moments when a flashback hits me and it's like those early days when it was so hard to even breathe, to even want to breathe.
I found this description on this blog explains it so well:

So does having a healthy baby help the grief? Yes, it does, but not quite in the way you might think. You hold your baby close, and as she does something, or looks like the baby you lost, oh so vividly, you remember your lost little angel again, and you feel that pain afresh.

I realized after a while, that we still have so much grief inside us that we couldn't let go of, until we had Madoka. It is not so much that the empty space in your heart is filled, for one child can never replace another, but that you can grieve a little more, and in grieving, experience a relief from all that pent-up pain that you didn't even realize was still there.

When I put Madoka in some of the sleepers Rhiannon had worn, it was a bittersweet experience. It felt good to see a live baby in them, after all, and yet, I found myself asking, "Why couldn't I keep them both? Why couldn't Rhiannon be a sweet toddler now, watching her new sister with awe?" When yesterday, Madoka grew out of the smallest sleeper, the only one which fitted Rhiannon's tiny birdlike body perfectly, I felt good--it was a rite of passage--now I know Madoka's going to make it. And yet, I was sad...Rhiannon will never, never grow bigger. And I know I'll keep that sleeper, always, in remembrance of Rhiannon. 

Lucas is getting so big, so fast. I am loving every second with him, I know how quickly and easily it could be gone. I wish I could slow down time, just a little bit. You would think that being home with him all day, every day, I would have my fill of him....but no, not really. He sleeps through the night now consistently, and I really miss our 3 am feedings. (I won't live to regret saying/thinking that. And I expect that he won't sleep through the night forever. I would have done anything to get up in the middle of the night with Olivia. So even when I'm really tired and don't feel like getting up, it's pretty easy to suck it up and cuddle the baby that we are lucky enough to have.

The same person who wrote the excerpt I quoted also wrote this poem which has been published in a book and a few other places:

A different child

People notice
There's a special glow around you.
You grow
Surrounded by love,
Never doubting you are wanted;
Only look at the pride and joy
In your mother and father's eyes.

And if sometimes
Between the smiles
There's a trace of tears,
One day
You'll understand.

You'll understand
There was once another child
A different child
Who was in their hopes and dreams.

That child will never outgrow the baby clothes
That child will never keep them up at night
In fact, that child will never be any trouble at all.

Except sometimes, in a silent moment,
When mother and father miss so much
That different child.

May hope and love wrap you warmly
And may you learn the lesson forever
How infinitely precious
How infinitely fragile
Is this life on earth.

One day, as a young man or woman
You may see another mother's tears
Another father's silent grief
Then you, and you alone
Will understand
And offer the greatest comfort.

When all hope seems lost,
You will tell them
With great compassion,
"I know how you feel.
I'm only here
Because my mother tried again."

-Pandora Diane MacMillan

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baby wearing and cloth diapering fails

So Lucas is a pretty mellow baby unless he's hungry or tired 90% of the time.

There are two things, though, that really piss him off.

#1 is being in the car when it is not moving. This most especially includes brief stops such as red lights and stop signs....traffic and drive thru's make him absolutely irate. (Guess he's impatient like his daddy- there was a time Joe was so impatient we could only eat at places that take reservations/call ahead seating...even now, forget it if there's more than a 15 min. wait.)

#2, which I had an inkling of but really confirmed last night, the kid is absolutely against being 'worn.' I have a sling and Beco carrier, these things:

So we had briefly tried the beco out and Lucas cried so I thought maybe we were doing it wrong or there was a trick I was missing. So we went to a free babywearing class and as it turns out, the kid is strongly opposed (I'd say irate) about being worn in carriers of all kinds and all positions. They suggested we keep "working on it" but I thought the look they gave me was "don't hold your breath on that". So there was a big fat waste of money. I still love the idea of it, the execution, not so much. Guess I'm destined to be lugging around heavy carseats and strollers. I'm going to still try to try it, one lady gave us a good idea to  try it outside, the only problem with that is that it's 200 degrees outside. So, maybe when/if it cools off a little. I won't be too heartbroken if we don't ever use the sling much because the lack of fabric and buckles and straps makes me a little nervous, and I got it for cheap on ebay, but that Beco was expensive and the pattern we got for it is even called the 'Lucas' hopefully Lucas will change his mind about being worn.

Cloth diapering has been going relatively well. I found a diaper that I liked and bought a lot of them (Bumgenius pockets and all in ones- they are super easy and not as bulky). So we were using them pretty consistently until I noticed that Lucas's diaper area was a little red and irritated looking, not exactly a diaper rash but not his normal skin tone/color either, Joe even though it might have just been from where the diaper was pressing against his body so I gave it some time to see if it went such luck. I put a disposable diaper on him after his bath and the next morning it was all clear. Apparently some babies are sensitive to the micro-suede fabric (it feels felt like) in those diapers and it looks like my baby is one of them. Too bad it wasn't until after I had built my stash of like 20 of those diapers that I realized it. So now I have a large stash of diapers that I'm afraid to use. Luckily, I can get diapers that are similar (and cheaper even!) which have a different fabric that goes along the baby's bottom. It's just annoying because I thought we finally had a really good "diaper stash" and they were diapers that I liked and Joe likes (Joe has been surprisingly onboard with all aspects of cloth diapering so long as he doesn't have to wash them, he's totally comfortable changing them and putting them on, which shocked me.)  And now it looks like I need to get rid of most of them, I may hang on to a few and use them intermittently, he doesn't seem to get too red after just one diaper, it's just when he's been wearing that diaper all day. So anyway, now I have the hassle of selling them (most of them haven't even been worn yet or just worn once) and trying to figure out what will work that we like. So I'm not liking cloth diapering that much at the moment, although I do like that we've been using the same pack of disposable diapers for a week and a half and probably can make it with this pack for another week (we put him in disposables at night and when out and about and when he looks like he's starting to get a little red because no regular diaper cream in cloth diapers- it ruins them.) Anyway, I'm still going to stick with it,it just got a lot more complicated.

Besides me wasting money on cloth diapers that won't work and carriers that make our baby scream like someone cut his leg off, we are fantastic. Tonight is a daddy and Lucas night while I go to support group, I'm really looking forward to getting out and hanging out with adults for a couple of hours without the baby in tow. Joe's not so much looking forward to it, but I have my mom on standby if he needs help. So it should be fine.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vacation and videos and missing Olivia

And we're back.
Vacation went relatively well. Lucas was pretty much perfect, I fed him about an hour before meals and so he either slept or entertained himself in the stroller by playing with his hands and staring at lights while we ate-like this:

Yes, that actually was at lunch, and yes, that's what he did for about 45 minutes.
He was pretty cooperative about just hanging out or sleeping during a lot of the activities too (Bingo, talent show, karoake).
We took him swimming 3 times, he's mostly ambivalent about it..not exactly laughing and smiling in the pool, but not crying or fussing about it either, just sort of chilling like the pretty mellow baby he is.

(Disregard Joe and I arguing. For the record, Lucas did not go under water.
In the last week or so, he's started smiling ALL the time in response to things. We are loving it. And he's also started "talking" a lot more. And following us with his eyes if we are talking and move.

We ended up being in the same cabin, but the opposite side, (there are 2 sides, they share a porch but that's about it) as we were at 2 years ago when I was pregnant with Olivia. So on one side, 1`1I was pregnant, and the other, there with Lucas. (We've been going to this place since I was a baby and these were the only 2 times we've ever been in that cabin.) And there were toddlers everywhere, it seemed. It was just very bittersweet, being there with our (perfect!) baby and missing our other baby who wouldn't really be a baby anymore. There was a toddler girl who was 16 months old (the same age Olivia would have been if she'd been born in January when she was due), she had hearing aids and was at the developmental level of a 6-8 month old (crawling, not close to walking or standing on her own yet, not speaking at all, etc.) because she was very premature. I was dying to know how premature and why but never found out or even asked. But she was a stark reminder that even if Olivia had lived, we wouldn't have been back here with a normal toddler and baby. Joe and I had a sobering moment on the drive down as we barely fit everything in our car (in fact, my parents had to take the stroller for us), that we would have never fit if we'd had a toddler too. It pretty much sucks...all the should haves. Not that we aren't thankful and blessed and enamored with Lucas, but, she's still not here, and it still sucks, even after all this time. It's weird, I feel like I have to acknowledge being happy and thankful for Lucas now, every time I mention missing Olivia, as if it's greedy to want to have both our kids here. It's not something I dwell on often anymore (the should be's), but every now and then, it hits me.

There were several times in the few days we were on vacation that someone asked my mom if it was her first grandchild. And every time, she said no, that we had a little girl who died right after she was born so this was her second. I'm not positive that she said that just because we were right there or if she always does, and it shouldn't really matter, since sometimes I just say "yes" when asked that because it's just easier than getting into it with a stranger and talking about babies dying ALWAYS makes the conversation awkward. I've made peace with the fact that I don't have to tell every random person who asks (first if we have kids, now if lucas is our first) about Olivia, and it's not really fair to expect my mom to have to do that either, but I've got to admit, I was really really glad she did. Perhaps she saw the stricken look on my face when the question came up. Of course that question always's meant to be idle smalltalk but really it's a crappy reminder that we will never be normal again. You can't win with that question- you either tell the truth and make it awkward and maybe cry, or tell a lie/ answer evasively and then feel like an ass for denying your child/pretending like they never happened. Before it was "do you have any kids?" and now it's "is he your first?" which is even harder to answer because when I was asked if I had any kids, I could assume/pretend they meant living children and say no and feel okay about that, when I didn't want to get into "well, our baby died". But "is he the first?" doesn't really leave room for that.

Anyway, Olivia has been on our minds a lot, not that she isn't always, but we really felt her absence as much as ever, this last week.

Aside from missing her, vacation was decent. I read a couple of books while feeding the baby and taking naps with him. It was nice to not have to cook or think about food, or have to clean up. But it will never quite be as carefree as it used to be...too many memories and should have been's lingering.