Thursday, November 2, 2017

Piper Turns Three

Dear Piper,
I cannot comprehend that you are three years old. The years go by so much faster now that you are in our life. I've never known a child with so much spunk as you. You are by far the silliest child I've ever met and your tenacity shows through in everything you do. I have never felt so blessed to be your mom as I have this past year.

This has been a tough year for our family, although you don't understand most of what's happened. When Mommy lost our baby in December you were truly my saving grace. I would always try so hard not to cry in front of you, but whenever I snuck away quietly to cry privately, you would find me. You'd just crawl into my lap and let me hold you for a while. Then you'd wipe my tears away, give me a hug and say, "it's okay Mommy. I love you." I don't know if you'll ever know how much I needed you in those moments. There were so many times as I was struggling to come out of that depression that I thought I was a terrible mom to you, that I wasn't doing enough. Although I never voiced those thoughts in your presence, somehow you always knew when I was thinking it. You'd run to me, give me a hug, and say, "Mom, you no bad mom! You great mom!"

I've said this so many times, but every day it proves to me to be more and more true; you were sent to this Earth to be a special spirit. One of your tasks here is to give light and joy to those around you and this last year you have been, at times, my only source of joy.

We also moved this year! Moving down to St. George has been so much fun for you! We are only .4 miles from Mimi and PaPaw and you LOVE being able to see everyone so often. It has been so fun to watch your relationships grow with our family. I love how much you love your cousin, Parker. You two are only a day apart and to watch your friendship grow these last 3 years has been such a blessing. I hope the two of you stay good friends your entire lives.

You have learned so much this year! You talk all day long, and usually end your sentences by saying "Mom", which I have to admit, I love. You learned how to go potty in the big girl potty (we're still working on bed-time and number twos). You are learning shapes, colors, numbers and the alphabet! You love to skip from 4 to 8, but when you slow down, you do know how to count to 10.

Halloween became your favorite holiday this year. You loved all the scary stuff and watching scary Halloween movies.

This year, you met your best friend, Reaggan. What a blessing it has been to have her move in down the street! You two were quick friends and fight like sisters. The two of you together are so comical! Together you love to make food in your play kitchen, play with the baby dolls, watch Moana, get dirty, and laugh.

Piper, there is not a day that goes by that I do not think how blessed I am that you chose me. You are so special and will always hold such a special place in my heart. Every one who meets you loves you. You have a joy that radiates through your eyes and it touches others. I know that this next year will have it's own set of trials, but you are the best girl for the job. You are my favorite three year old in the whole wide world.

Love,
Mommy

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

It's Been Six Weeks...What You Want to Say

It's been six weeks since we lost our baby. It's been six weeks since we had our future torn from us. It's been six weeks since I felt normal...whatever normal is...

Life after is hard after miscarriage. You join all these Facebook groups, miscarriage support groups, trying to conceive (TTC) after miscarriage, TTC rainbow babies...you expect to find solace in talking to people who have been through this and who can give you insight, and they do, but they are also getting their rainbow babies. Suddenly your timeline is FILLED with pictures of women posting their pregnancy tests...asking the group if we can see that second line.
And your filled with envy, jealousy, hatred and self-loathing.

Your friends have left, because they don't know what to say, so they don't say anything. Plus, you've kind of secluded yourself for the last, oh, I don't know, six weeks? So they probably think you're mad at them anyways.
The few friends who do reach out are just awkward about it, stumbling over their words. But it's appreciated more than they'll ever know.

You have so many things you want to say to the people in your life who don't understand, but common decency holds you back from saying them.

You want to tell your friends how much it hurts that they haven't asked. You want to tell them how painful it has been for you to feel like you are alone. That because you weren't able to carry a healthy baby to term you are taboo. You want to tell them that all you needed was for them to reach out and say, "I'm here. Whatever you need, I'm here." You want to tell them what they should have done. They should have brought you ice-cream and chocolate and let your cry. They should have asked if they could cook dinner or clean your kitchen so you didn't have to think about it. They should have texted just to say "I'm thinking about you. Praying for you. Love you." They should have been there.

You want to tell your husband how sorry you are that you let him down. You want to tell him to leave you alone. You want to tell him to never leave your side. You want to cry with him. You want to tell him to run you a bath, give you some chocolate and let you find a clearer head space. You want to tell him that this is all your fault. That if you had done x,y,z your baby would still be here. You want to scream at him, because he's the only one who will let you. You want to tell him that you never want to try again because the fear of losing another pregnancy is too much.

You want to tell your living child how sorry you are your body couldn't give her a sibling.

You want to tell God how angry you are. How hurt you are that He would allow something like this to happen to you. You want to scream and yell and lash out at Him. He took your baby! He took him. You want to tell God to give him back. To let you have your baby back. To take away this pain and anguish. To never let you feel this way again.

All these things you want to say, but you won't.

Because it's time to start healing. It's been six weeks after all. It's time to put that pregnancy test away somewhere, instead of sitting on you vanity. It's time to ask the Lord for His healing power, rather than telling Him how mad you are. It's time to ask for peace. It's time to ask forgiveness for being a bad friend yourself. It's time to take steps towards healing. It's been six weeks.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Would You Still Be Here?

What if I had been better at taking care of myself?
If I had been better at taking my thyroid medicine,
If I ate better, worked out more?
Would you still be here?

What if I was a better mom to your sister?
If I wasn't quick to anger,
If I had more patience?
Would you still be here?

What if I hadn't cried to the Lord?
If I hadn't been so scared,
If I hadn't let my fear tell me I couldn't be a mom of two?
Would you still be here?

What if I lose you next time?
If I have to feel this way again,
If I'm not good enough again?
Will you give me another chance?

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Miscarriage

I've known I needed to write this post for two days now, but I can't seem to get the words out. I'm not very good at talking about my feelings, but I can write about them...right now words have lost me. But someone needs to know that they aren't alone...so, I'm writing.

I have suddenly found myself in a new territory in life. I can be classified in different term. I have experienced something no one wishes upon their worst enemy. I am now one in four, a mother who has lost her baby to miscarriage.

Those words pain me to write, even more to think. I never imagined I would be led down this path and I keep thinking that the Lord made a mistake. He isn't suppose to give you more than you can handle, and this feels like more than my breaking point.

We weren't really trying to get pregnant. In fact, I know the exact day we got pregnant, because we weren't trying. But, on December 5th, I took a test and two bright pink lines appeared. I ran to Piper's room where my husband was and exclaimed, "We're pregnant!" He cried, I cried. We sat Piper down and told her we were having a baby and she squealed and gave me the biggest hug that could ever come from that two-year old body. I was terrified, but I felt that the Lord was in charge.

I won't go into all the details, but my intuition told me something was weird about this pregnancy. With Piper, I'm sure you remember, I was incredibly sick. From 4 weeks to the time I delivered, I was sick. I wasn't sick with this baby. I kept bringing it up and people told me how lucky I was, that not all pregnancies are the same, and I should count my blessings. But I couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't right.

What I did know was that I knew this baby. I felt an immediate connection to this baby. My husband and I have known that we have a son, Jacob, and that he is a vital piece to our family. This baby was Jacob. I felt it as soon as I saw those two lines.

I had my HCG levels checked on the 14th because of these feelings and they came back at 83. I was suppose to be 5-6 weeks pregnant at the time so that was incredibly low. Then I started bleeding. The next time my HCG levels were checked on the 16th, I was at 35. We lost our baby.

Since then I have had a mix of terrible emotions. That was Jacob. That was our son. And he is gone.

Friday night I asked my husband for a priesthood blessing (for my non-LDS friends, read more about what that is here). Caleb didn't know it but I was pleading with my Father in Heaven to know that my son was okay and that he loves me. I was assured that Jacob is strong, that he knows how much I'm hurting, that he loves me and he will be back with us.

This has brought me so much comfort, but I am still struggling. I feel alone in my pain. I feel as if my body failed, not only me, but my family. Logically, I know that this isn't my fault, but what if... keeps running through my head. All the things I could have changed or done better to make my body a safer  place to carry a child.

My soul feels empty. I place my hand on my stomach where he should be...and he isn't there. I'm heartbroken that he isn't coming now, but I find peace knowing we haven't lost him forever.
I feel stupid and selfish for having these feelings. Am I allowed to be heartbroken when I know that he will come to us again? Am I allowed to have these selfish desires of wanting another child when I already have Piper and some parents suffer through miscarriage after miscarriage with no child at all?

This is uncharted territory, a place I never thought I'd be, an "other people" scenario.

My heart is in turmoil, but I worry I'm not allowed to feel this way. Some people would say that he wasn't really a baby yet, not developed enough, but I knew him. Others might say that because I have this confirmation that he is okay and is still coming that I should just be okay with that and wait for the right timing...but he's gone right now. My friend is also pregnant...she has the same due date I had...that is going to be so hard, watching her experience these things...the things I'm suppose to be experiencing with her.

I have these pictures...they sit in my phone as a constant reminder...we are no longer announcing this joyous moment, but I need to share them...as closure.

Through all these hard emotions, I have hope. I have hope that our son will be with us when the time is right. I have the knowledge that he is healthy and he is okay. I know he will come to our family. I have hope that I am strong enough to get through this without ruining relationships.

Right now I am trying to lean on my Savior. I find joy in my daughter.

The affirmations I told myself while running have come back to me...

"I am strong. I am capable. I can do hard things."


 

 















Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Piper Turns Two

Dear Piper,
What a year you have had! Right after you turned one you went on your first plane to Ohio! You got to meet your Aunt Abby and Grandma Polly. Everyone was so sad because Grandpa Burr had passed away, but having you around brought a little bit of joy to an otherwise sad situation.
In February you and Mommy were separated for the first time when I went to a work conference in Florida. You did so good though! You got to play with GiGi and Daddy and they loved on you so you didn't even notice I was gone. In May you started nursery and Toddler Lab at BYU-Idaho. You loved nursery on your first day, but took a little more convincing over the next few weeks. Toddler Lab was a hard adjustment for you. You weren't use to being somewhere without Mommy and Daddy, and it didn't help that you had a lot of little ones crying in your classroom! Toddler Lab was never your favorite thing, but you did learn to be tolerant of going and you loved when you got to play outside in the little cars!
In July you got to spend a week with Grammy and PaPaw so Mommy and Daddy could go to Florida to celebrate my graduation, Daddy's birthday and our wedding anniversary. You were such a trooper! You missed Daddy way more than you missed Mommy, but you've been so use to Daddy always being home with you that my feelings weren't hurt...too much.
In August you stopped sleeping with your bottle! This was a huge step! You helped Mommy and Daddy pack it up and send it to your cousin Macie because she's a baby and still needed a bottle, but you are a big girl! You were heartbroken not to have your bottle anymore, but Mommy's heart broke even more knowing that you aren't a baby anymore.
Then, in October, you went on your second plane ride to attend your great-grandpa's funeral in Indiana. While there you met so many new people! Lots of uncles, aunts and cousins, plus your Great-Grammy. You also got to meet one of Mommy's favorite people, Teresa Smith. I promise your next flight will be for something happier than a funeral!
You have grown up so much this year.Your vocabulary has flourished and it seems like you are constantly learning new words! Today you told me all about how two little girls weren't "nice" while you were playing in the "car" at Chick-fil-a.
You have made new friends, found a love for babies, and fallen for fishes and monsters. You would watch Finding Nemo and Monster's University all day every day if we let you.
You are so stubborn and full of life. You know what you want and you won't let anyone change your mind. There is nothing you cannot do.
You are two. Two has become your favorite word. My heart hurts thinking that the last two years have gone by so quickly, I know that the next 16 will go even quicker and then you will be on your own starting college.
You love tickles, singing songs, chasing Mommy and Daddy with oven mitts, pretending they are monsters. You change every day.
You have to sleep with all of your favorite stuffed animals, a monkey, a dog, a monster (Sullivan), Mommy's teddy bear, Samson, and now, your giant Dory fish. Oh, and your twin size fleece fish blanket. Your crib is packed!
You love giving eskimo and butterfly kisses and will hand them out ten at a time when Mommy is trying to put you to bed, you know where my weak spot is!
Banner is still your best friend and worst enemy. You guys fight like siblings.
In 15 days you'll get to meet your Uncle Isaiah. The last time you saw him you were only 2 weeks old! I know it will be a strange adjustment for you, but you will love him as much as I know he already loves you.
Piper, you have no idea how much you are loved. There are no words to describe the love that everyone has for you. I cannot imagine that there has been or ever will be a child who is loved as much as you are. You bring joy to everyone you meet. You are sunshine. I pray you never lose sight of your goodness.
We love you Sweet P.
Love,
Mommy and Daddy

Friday, June 24, 2016

5K Training...Day One

It's been a long time since I wrote about me. I am mostly writing this as a form of therapy, but also with the hope that you, dear reader, will have encouraging words and kind advice.

Physicality has never been my strong suit. My entire life I have steered clear of anything where I would be exposed for the out of shape loser I thought myself to be. I thought if I pretended to hate sports, to hate being active, maybe no one would ever find out. Maybe they'd never know that I get breathless walking up a hill to class, they'd never find out that I can't run for longer than a minute. If I never participated, they'd never know.

This manner of thinking held me back. In high school when my friends played in the Powder Puff football game, I stayed home. My freshman year of college I tried to reinvent myself and I played soccer with some friends, but when I attempted to play my best, it wasn't good enough and they never passed me the ball, so I reverted.

Today I did something I never thought I'd do. I went running. Everyone who knows me was shocked by the decision I made to train for a 5k. I knew it would be hard on me physically. I prepared myself for the sore muscles and tired feet, but I had no idea how hard it would be for me mentally and emotionally.

Day one of the Couch Potato to 5k program. A 30 minute workout with interval running, run for one minute, walk for the next, and so on. When I read this yesterday I thought, "I can do that, heck, I can do more than that!" I grossly overestimated myself. I finished running the first minute and thought, "You are a fool, you cannot do this. You are weak. You have always been weak." I pushed past my thoughts to continue, and finish, my first day of training. But I came home defeated. I felt weak, embarrassed and foolish. All of my old insecurities came back.

I cried, I wallowed in self pity. I allowed my husband into my deepest, scariest, most vulnerable place and he brought light. He reminded me of who I am, of what I have already done. He expressed how proud of me he is and that he will be there for every step of this journey.

I would like to report that something has clicked between then and now, that I was able to take those insecurities and thoughts from my head and hide them in Pandora's Box, never to be opened, but sadly, that has not happened. However, I have been rallied behind and lifted up by my sweet husband and my wonderful parents. I have looked into my baby's eyes and remembered that I am creating a legacy of health and wellness for my daughter. I have recommitted to myself to keep going, to keep pushing, because come September I will be running my first 5k.

It won't be easy. I have 24 years of mental roadblocks to run over, but I can do it. I am capable. I will be strong. My body can do and has done amazing things. With the support of my family, and hopefully you, I know I can accomplish my goals.

Monday, May 2, 2016

18 Months

It has been six months since I shared on our blog! Although, this feels more like a journal I'm keeping to Piper rather than a blog. These past six months have been crazy for our family and I'm not going to lie, writing Piper's 18 month update is very bittersweet for me. No, I'm not baby hungry, I don't want another baby, I want my little Piper baby. I love watching her grow and learn, but I am scared. The older she gets the less she needs for me to do for her, physically, but the more she relies on me spiritually, emotionally and mentally. I don't know if I'm up for the challenge. I could do the late night feedings, the cuddles, teaching her how to roll over, crawl, walk and run, but can I do the rest? How do I know if I'm doing all I can to teach her to love Jesus, how to be safe, how to be kind? The older she gets the less influence I have and the more the world comes into play. How do I teach her to block out the world?
PHEW! Didn't mean to get into all of that, but I'll admit it felt good to write that out, so thank you for reading my insecurities. On to Piper...

When did time speed up?!?!?! The things Piper can't do grows smaller every day. She still loves meeting new people, although she is a little more wary (which makes my momma heart a little more at peace). Piper loves all animals and has grown quite attached to her puppy, Banner. They've loved each other since day one, but now Piper doesn't even like it if he goes outside and she can't see him. They wrestle like brother and sister and that sweet puppy just lets her yank on him. He is such a good dog and has been a wonderful addition to our family, no matter what anyone else may say. Not only does Piper love real animals, but she loves her stuffed animals! She will no longer sleep without her lovey, Samson, a teddy bear that originally belonged to Mommy and Piper commandeered.
Piper has found a new love for babies. She has two baby dolls that she enjoys feeding, clothing and changing their diapers. She also loves real babies and gives them as many hugs (more like forceful squeezes) as she can. Mommy and Daddy may not be baby hungry, but Piper sure is! Sometimes when we are outside she can hear our neighbor's baby crying and she always goes over to their door in great concern for the baby.
Piper loves to read and reads all of her books on a daily basis. She is learning how to clean up after herself and throw things in the trash, whether it's trash or not. She enjoys unloading the dishwasher and moving the clothes from the washer to the dryer.
One of her favorite things to do is play outside. She loves running around and having fun! Just like a toddler (gasp!) should.
Piper's favorite food is anything that is in Mommy and Daddy's hands, even if it's the same thing on her plate. We recently discarded her high chair and she now sits at the table in a booster seat.
She continues to sing and dance, her favorite songs are the Itsy Bitsy Spider, If You're Happy and You Know It and Head Shoulders Knees and Toes. We sing these on repeat in our car.
Piper loves to do her makeup and puts it on any chance she gets. She also loves to brush her teeth and gets really excited when she "blinds" Mommy with how white they are after brushing.
Piper talks a lot! She especially loves taking anything that resembles a phone and talking on it while walking around with her "purse" (aka her basket from Easter). Most of what she says is still babbles, but she does have a lot of single words, we just haven't formed them to make phrases yet.
She says multiple animal noises, Jesus, hi, bye, more, please, eat, yes, no, Mom, Dad, cheese, ear, eye, Ban (for Banner), and more.
Piper has learned all the parts of her face, eyes, mouth, nose, teeth, and ears.
She is starting to understand what the potty is. She will sometimes go to the toilet and start to pull her pants down. We will then help her take her diaper off and sit her on the toilet, wipe and flush. She hasn't actually gone to the bathroom in the toilet yet, but we aren't worried about potty training right now, this is just good practice for her.
Piper starts nursery next Sunday and then Toddler Lab the Tuesday after that. Toddler Lab is a class on campus for toddlers 18mo. to 2 years old that is taught by students in the education and child development major as part of their required curriculum. I had the opportunity to teach it last semester and now Piper is going to be able to attend. We are so excited for the friends she will make and the things she will learn in both nursery and Lab, but I feel a little weird about turning over some of the responsibility of teaching to someone other than myself and my husband.
There is so much more I could tell you about our sweet little girl. She continues to be a light in trying times. She is the reason we work as hard as we do in school and with our business. She is everything to us and there has never been a more adored child in the history of the world. It astounds me that there was even a life to live before her.
These next 6 months promise to be filled with more laughter and learning. As sad as I am to see my little baby disappear, I am excited to see all the growing that will take place.