Thursday, October 29, 2009

Idea for Benjamin's birthday

I asked a bunch of people for ideas on ways to 'celebrate' Benjamin's first birthday. One of the suggestions I got totally took me off guard with how much I love it. How perfect it seems. I am posting it here now so that everyone has a chance to plan for it. That's right, it involves all of you!

The idea is a Random Acts of Kindness Day. Basically everyone does something on that day for someone else in Benjamin's memory. You can donate time, money, goods, etc. You can help out a neighbour, a friend, a family member or a stranger. You can clean up your neighbourhood. Whatever you want to do that helps to improve the lives of others. Then after you have done it come on here (I'll have a post for this on his birthday or the day before or after) and let me know what you have done. My plan is to print off all the kind acts and put them in his memory box. I want this to be a yearly tradition so that years from now I can look at the lists from each year and see what a positive difference his short life has made in this world.

Another suggestion that a friend made was to start a scrapbook for him. In the book I would put a letter or card to him each year, a page for each year showing what we did on his birthday, a yearly family photo with the blanket he was wrapped in in the hospital (maybe including the birthday cake I'll make for him), when the kids are older they could draw him a picture each birthday and that would go in it, and it could be the scrapbook that I make with his photos and mementos from the hospital. I love this idea because then he gets a scrapbook that gets added to every year! That was one thing I was really upset about, that any book I made for him had an ending. This one won't and that makes me happy. So thank you for that suggestion Tracy!!

Anyways, start thinking about what you want to do for Benjamin's Random Acts of Kindness day. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate or time consuming. Just something to make the world a little bit better. Even if it's just spending a little more quality time with your kids with no distractions and no expectations, just a little extra time loving them out loud. And then come here and tell me what you did. That part of this is important.

Monday, October 26, 2009

One month

Lexi was a month old yesterday. I took her photo in the black chair. Jackson was born on the 30th of the month and every 30th I would take his photo in the black chair. That way I could see the changes and his growth month by month.

On December 11th of last year I was so sad. All I could think about was that I should be taking Benjamin's photo in the black chair. I wanted so desperately to take his photo in that stupid chair. It was so unfair to me that I could not do that.

Last night we propped Lexi up in that black chair and took her photo. As happy as I was to do it I could not help but think about how unfair it was that I never got to do the same for Benjamin. I am going to have monthly photos of Lexi in that chair, just as I do for Jackson, and I will cherish both sets of them. But it still sucks that I don't even have one photo in that chair of their brother. Such a stupid thing. It's just a photo. In a chair that is usually covered in cat fur. There are so many more important things that should upset me that they will have that Benjamin will not. Yet this is what makes me sad. I suppose it will every month.

And while I'm posting on here I'll bring up another issue. Actually I'll bring up two. The first is how freaking sick and tired I am of hearing people say how lucky I am to have a boy and a girl. "One of each, how nice, you have the perfect family". "A boy and a girl, you must be so happy". "A millionaire's family, how fantastic". Ummm. NO. I do not have ONE of each. Yes, that is all that you can see, but every single time someone says this to me all I can think is that I am NOT lucky to have one of each. I am not so happy to have one of each. It is not fantastic. It sucks. It is depressing. It is unfair and it is shitty. Sure I have one boy and one girl here with me. But I am supposed to have two boys. Or two boys and a girl. I am not supposed to just have two children. In my heart I have three and that is just so painful that no one can see that.

The second issue is that if Benjamin had not of died we would not have Lexi. As shitty as that is, it is probably true. I highly doubt we would have still gotten pregnant at 2 months postpartum. I don't think we are that sadistic. So no, we probably would not have Lexi in our lives right now. We would have a 2 1/2 year old boy and an almost 12 month old boy. Maybe I'd be pregnant again by now, but I certainly would not have a 1 month old girl too. So if he had not died we would not have her. That brings up the issue of which way is better? If Benjamin hadn't died we wouldn't have Lexi. So to have one we can't have the other. Either Benjamin or Lexi. Would I rather Benjamin not have died, not have gone through that horrible pain, and instead have my little one year old running around the house right now? Or is it best the way it is now? Have gone through that pain of losing Benjamin and be the person I am now with the one month old daughter? I know Benjamin gave me many gifts and changed who I am in more ways than anyone (myself included) can imagine, but would I rather be in the life I could have had if he had lived? Thinking these thoughts makes me sad. Sad that I question if I'd rather Lexi never have existed. Sad that I question whether I want her as much as I would have wanted her brother. But that's not it. It's not that I want her or him. It's more a question of whether I want this life or that life. The pain and the changes and the heartache that came with losing him, but also the awareness and experiences that came with it. Or whether I would have preferred not to have gone through all of that and not have gone through the changes that he created. As surprising as it seems, I think I prefer this life. As much as my heart hurts every day for him, i know that he gave me so many gifts and opportunities. As much as I wish he were here with me right now, I know that he will always be in my heart. He will always be such an important part of my life. He will live on in his older brother and his sister. Those glimpses of him that I see in Lexi are there to remind me that in addition to all the gifts he gave me he gave me one more. His sister is here because he could not be. And for that I love him even more.

His birthday is coming up. I don't know what to do about that. I know it's going to be hard. I don't know how badly it's going to hit me. I can rationally look at it as it's just another day. Just another day without him. What should it matter that it's the one year anniversary of the day he was born. And really which day should be harder? November 7th, the day they figure he died? November 9th, the day we found out he had died? November 11th, the day he was born? Or November 13th, the last day I got to hold him? All those dates suck. I think November 11th is going to be the worst. Not just because that is the day that it became such a reality, but because that is also Remembrance Day. It's a national day of mourning. A day when everyone will be thinking about and talking about people who have died. No matter where you are at 11:11am there is a moment of silence to think about those who have died. Last year during that moment we were holding our son, dealing with the undeniable reality that he had died. How is that moment going to hit me this year? Will it be hard every year for me or will it be a sweet reminder of my beautiful baby boy? Being sad that he died can't change the past. It won't bring him back. On November 11th, 2008 we got to meet our son. We got to look at his beautiful face and see who he looked like. Sure he was born still, but it is still his birthday. I hope on that day I can think of it that way. I want to do something nice on that day. Something that can be a family tradition for him. We don't have a gravesite to go to, or a special place that makes us think of him. I want something to do that Jackson and Lexi will know is in memory of their brother. I want something to do that can make Brian and I happy to think of our baby boy. I want something to do that is just for us, just for our family. I want it to be fun and happy. I don't want the day to be about sadness and crying. I want Jackson and Lexi to see us remembering their brother with smiles and love. So if anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Remembering the babies

I tried to think of some way to write what October 15th was all about. I couldn't. Then a woman on a support forum I go on posted this. It sums it up so beautifully. Thank you Terri.

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow is October 15th. This may seem like any other day, but I assure you, it is not. On October 15th, we commemorate National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. We take a moment and collectively do what many of us do individually, in the quiet of our hearts and minds, every day: we remember the babies who are no longer with us, yet whose lives continue on each moment of each day as we live and breathe.

I write this on behalf of all of us. We are parents. We are mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers who grieve and yet we hope, we love, and we believe. We seek for our children’s lives to have meaning and for the world to remember them. We raise our living children with the knowledge that our families transcend heaven and earth.

We want you to understand so many things. But if I had to choose one thing, it would be this: we want you to remember our babies. We know sometimes you don’t know what to say, and that’s ok. But when you do talk about them, and you speak their names, it is a gift to us and a message that you know what we know to be so very, very true: their lifetimes, however short, have changed us. They made us who we are and we are proud of them. So on October 15th, light a candle, lift up a prayer, or take a moment and think of them.

I write this to honor them and to honor their families. I write this to say thank you to the mothers and fathers who reached out to me, a stranger in the dark, and said “I have been in this darkness, and I will hold your hand, and you will survive this.” This, to me, is the truest testament to how these special babies who graced this earth for such a short time, have changed it. A wave of strength surrounds these parents and I am forever grateful for them, and for their children, those who breathe and those who soar.

So on October 15th, will you take a moment? And when you do, I ask you to remember my son, Luke Michael Latham, who I held in my arms on April 10, 2007. I ask you to remember his aunt, my sister, Marion, who my mother held on April 27, 1977. I ask you to remember my cousin, Anna Claire Pilcher, whose mother Debbie saw her beautiful face on September 17, 1999.

I ask you to remember Luke’s friends in heaven, the babies of those who I am so honored to have in my life. There are many of us and our bond lives on this earth and beyond.

Cheyenne Cacciatore (7/27/1994). Kaira Elise Shroeder (6/22/2004). Hope Maxine Rollins (10/19/2008). Kayleigh Jennifer (10/26/2008). Natalie Rose (12/23/2008). Marley Kai (6/24/2008). Wiley Joseph (11/28/2008). Grace Jeri (9/14/2008). Elijah (8/15/2007). Parker Geofferson (9/15/2008). Liam Samuel (8/21/08). Aidan Jeanty (3/27/2009). Braeden Letera (11/3/2006). Jaden Elizabeth (7/16/2006). Maya Gabrielle (2/2/2007). Isobel Margaret Corsi (3/27/2007). Isabelle Ashley (4/9/2007). Alex Kean (3/9/2008). Elliot Joseph 5/15/2007). Michael Patrick Seeber (5/18/2006). Jocelyn Isabella White (3/27/2008). Carter Gene Tyson (4/15/2006). Callia Hope (9/30/2008). Hudson J. Henry (6/26/2008). Donn Lee (1/6/2009). Faith (3/7/2007). Jamel (1/1/2007). Sarah Faith (4/7/2007). Tobias Kirk (6/7/2007). Caiden Andrew Smith (11/14/2008). Kiley Marie (3/21/2009). Sophia Joanne (2/13/2009). Landon Charles Dunham (2/16/2009). Silas Allen Randall (8/1/2008). Madison Grace (9/21/2006). Benjamin William Herbert (11/11/2008). Braelyn & Azlyn Allen (11/20/2006). Chloe (7/18/2008). Connor White (May 21, 2008). Zachary Tyler Rooney (7/8/2009).

So as I sit here with Lexi contently nursing at my breast and Jackson sleeping peacefully in the room beside me I can't help but feel like a big part of my heart is missing. I have my candle burning by my pictures of Benjamin but I don't need a specific day to remind me to think about him. Some moments he's all I can think about. But I hope that on this particular day some of you think about him too. Think about him and all the other babies who were gone too soon.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I will (hopefully) post more about this in another post. If you don't know much about this day then please google it. In the meantime here is a poem that I want everyone to read.

We are Parents

We are the parents who said goodbye too soon. We are the mothers and fathers who have no memories of smiles, hugs and ‘I love yous’. We are the parents who grieve for lives never lived. The parents who see our children grow alongside yours; only ours grow in our minds.

Yet, we are also the parents whose children remain sweet and innocent, newborns eternally.

We are the mothers with everlasting empty arms, and the fathers with eternal broken hearts.

We are the parents who cry when no one is watching, to save you the uncomfortableness of our pain. We are the parents whose hearts break each time we remember, sometimes hundreds of times a day, all dealt with internally.

We are the ones for whom every event has a part of sadness. The ones who cry in the shower, in the car, in the dark.

We are the parents who hurt so badly because we love so much.

The parents of the forgotten children. The children who had no chance to draw us a picture, preform a dance, or to sing us a song. The children who didn’t get to draw a breath, feel the earths atmosphere or let out a cry. Our children who we wrapped and loved, then we were forced to let go of too soon.

Our children are the ones who didn’t get the chance to make friends, or cakes, or mud pies. Our children who never got to go to school, answer back to us, or go to a ball. Our children who will have no first kiss, no true love, no wedding, no children of their own.

Our children, whom we long to hold so badly, it leaves us pained, sometimes so over whelmed it is hard to breathe. Our children who we long to be reunited with, when our time comes.

We are the parents forced to say goodbye too soon. The ones who ache eternally, no matter how you think we shouldn’t. Do not judge a broken heart unless you too have felt this pain, words can do no justice. Only know we are doing the best we can.

Please don’t forget who we are. It may have been years since we lost a child, but the heart knows no time.

And please, don’t ever forget to remember who our children are. They will forever make us who we are.

(Written with love by Tania Pulman 2007

forever loving my Cole, born Still 08/01/03)

Remember the little ones - Baby loss awareness week 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Introducing Alexandra Simone

On Friday September 25th our little girl was born! I would say she was born kicking and screaming, but she's a very subdued baby, lol! She did make this squawking noise and then gave out a little cry, just enough to let me breath again. She was 6 pounds 13 ounces and 20" long. She's got a lot of dark hair and people say she looks like Jackson. Brian and I don't see it tho. I can see some similarities but mostly she just looks like a gorgeous baby.

We are adjusting well. She's still fighting jaundice issues so we are just waiting for that to clear up before we will believe that she won't have to go back in to the hospital. Hopefully the test this afternoon will put all of that to rest.

Jackson is loving having a little sister. He wants to constantly hold the baby. It's pretty cute.

I am going to post the full birth story as soon as I get it done (or in parts). There were a lot of difficult similarities between Lexi's birth and Benjamin's (for example they both started their inductions head down but turned footling breech during the labour, ending in a c-section for Lexi). All in all it was an emotionally difficult pregnancy and induction, but once she was in my arms it got easier. I still have moments where I am overcome by the 'what should have beens' but day by day I'm making it.

Here's some photos of our little peanut.