Friday, March 24, 2017

Finding a bit of Joy

My anxiety and loneliness continued through February.  Our house was on the market and I was busy with packing and keeping the house ready for showings.  We had started really looking at houses in Mesa and that had proved discouraging as nothing felt good or was what we were hoping to find.  We were steadily moving things out to my parent's house.  They were leaving on their mission the 20th of February.  They had talked to us about renting their house while we were in limbo without a house (hoping our house would sell quickly).  It was actually very much a relief to know we had somewhere to go and could sell our house and get out and still have time to look for something we liked.  We made plans to move in the weekend after they left or the next weekend.  We had open houses and visits to the house but no real offers.  I was already dealing with crazy emotions and having MY house, my first house, my house I had worked SO hard at, the house I brought Peter home to and the only house I had Penny in, for sale continued to spiral my craziness out of control.  I didn't want to move, I didn't want to leave Phoenix or my neighborhood or ward.  It wasn't perfect, but it was safe and familiar.  The Sunday before my parents left on their mission we had a family dinner and watched them be set apart.  At the dinner Keith asked to announce the baby.  I think he thought it would help me talk and be able to accept the baby situation better if family knew (up till here only our parents knew).  I didn't really want to, but he went ahead and announced to my siblings that we were expecting.  I just sat there and cried.  I feel so out of control!  Everyone seemed genuinely happy and no one said anything about this baby replacing Penny.  My parent's left (and I feel bad admitting it, but it was a relief to not have to face mom and fear what she would say about the baby every time I saw her).  That same week they left I had a meeting at the school we wanted to put Ada in and my next doctor appointment.  My cousin was amazing and watched the little ones (Ada was still at her school in Phoenix) so I could get both done.  It was Thursday February 23rd.  The meeting with the principal went well and they said Ada would be fine to start Monday morning (which meant we would move THAT weekend).  After that I hurried over to my doctor appointment.  I was determined not to bawl all through this one.  I got in real quick, in fact from the moment I entered the office to leaving the office was 15 minutes.  He did another ultrasound to check.  I again kept asking if he saw anything to indicate problems.  He said everything looked ok.  I was 15 weeks and he asked if I wanted to check for gender.  Of course (I am not patient enough to ever want a surprise).  We checked and it looked to me like something was there.  Even the doctor said "Well, looks like there is a weeny there" (which caught me off guard because he is a VERY reserved man).  To be perfectly honest, it was the first time I'd felt happy about the baby since I'd told Keith on Christmas day.  I left the office and text the picture to Keith of the "boy" shot.  He called right away and asked if that meant it was a boy.  We talked and laughed about how happy we were.  I was SO relieved.  I know it horrible to say, but I didn't want to girl.  I didn't want to face that after Penny, I just couldn't!  I was SO happy the rest of the day.  We told the kids that night and everyone was thrilled.  Ada was SO excited.  Her rationalization was that then they could all play house and there would be two moms and two dads.  It was so cute!  I felt like this burden had been lifted and I just felt calm.  We talked about the baby, we even now prayed for the baby as a family (like I said, it was NOT really talked about and no one mentioned it before).  I was even ok with taking a fun picture of the kids to announce it to our friends and actually TELL people (huge step for me).  Saturday we rounded up some help and moved out of our house.  We were not completely ready and our realtor had suggested leaving some furniture behind so the house looked homey to still show. In the middle of moving she called and said three couples wanted to come see the house.  I explained we were moving and she said she would let them know to take that into consideration.  They still wanted to come see.  So we packed up what we had and headed out to Mesa to unload what we had while they came to look.  One of those couples ended up putting in an offer THAT night.  It was a miracle!  For the first time in months things seemed to be happening right.  The baby was a boy and healthy, Ada got into the school, we moved, the house had an offer and I was actually coming out of this months long anxiety attack.  We countered offered Sunday morning, as well as taking that picture announcing the baby.  We posted the picture to Facebook and went to church one last time in our Shaw Butte ward.  By the time we were driving home from church we got the call that the couple had accepted our counter offer and the house was officially under contract.  We headed out to mom and dad's house to get settled and ready for our first week living in Mesa.  All week I missed my home and friends, but it felt like I was making progress.  I was able to get things put away and kind of make things homey for us here.  I started reading a book about being positive.  For the first time in a long time I wasn't crushed with dark feelings.  The baby wasn't a secret and we actually started talking about him more frequently as a family.  We even started making a list of names.  Peter has ALWAYS been my most loving and tender baby to me.  I know the girls love me, but Peter is just SO different.  The thought of another baby Peter just made me feel so much calmer and happy.  I felt excited to have a boy and just felt peaceful.  We had to keep making visits out to our house to continue moving things out and cleaning up there.  I will admit, going there always threw me off. I usually cried all the way back to Mesa and was glum for the rest of the day.  That house has been my world for almost 4 years.  It is just SO hard for me to let it go!  Things progressed and continued to go well with the buyers and things seemed to still be smoothly continuing towards closing.  I'm struggling with our new ward.  People don't talk to us and I just don't feel I fit in.  We don't have friends out here and that is very lonely!  I have sisters out here, but everyone is so busy.  I still don't feel I have anyone to talk to, but I don't feel crushed by anxiety all the time.  We don't have friends, so we do everything together.  We ride bikes or go to the park.  There is no one to play with so we play with each other.  I MISS Phoenix and our friends and family so much!!!!  Even though I have this longing to go back, I don't feel like life is so bleak.  I am finding ways to feel happy again.  I can feel the baby move and feel so grateful to have the little boy Keith and I felt was missing in our family.





Who Am I?

Three weeks after I delivered Penny was my "postpartum" appointment (with a miscarriage you don't bleed 6 weeks, its about half the time).  My doctor had asked me about if we wanted to try again and the time frames that doctors recommend for trying again.  He said it is suggested that there should be at LEAST one year between deliveries, which means wait 3 months and then try.  I told him that keith and I had not discussed it.  He said to talk and then if we decided not to I was welcome to call him and talk about "the pill" or whatever (I haven't used the pill since before Ada).  So, I got up the courage to talk to Keith about it.  Things had been still and emotional roller coaster and I was nervous to bring it up.  We decided in August to fast about it and try to decide.  We fasted and then at the close of our fast sat and talked together for a while.  Thru talking we both felt that there was another baby (we both felt a boy) that was for our family.  We decided to try again.  We did not wait the three months recommended as for us it is a little hard to get pregnant.  Typically it has taken me 4-6 months to get pregnant.  September passed, followed by October, then November.  I know that only three months, but my heart was broken and ached constantly and I just wanted something happy and it wasn't happening.  In December I was at a play date with a good friend who had also lost a baby at the same age as Penny.  She had since had another baby and I talked to her about it.  She suggested I download this app that tracks ovulation and such (which is what they had done in our situation).  I downloaded the app the next day.  Well, a day or so later came and I realized I should be starting soon (I'm very very consistent).  It was Sunday December 10th and after church I decided I was close enough to my "start" date/late that I would check.  I know in the movies they show them peeing on the stick and then waiting the 3 minutes to get an answer...but, its never taken that long.  I can usually read it with in 30 seconds.  Well, the stick said negative.  I was so angry and frustrated I threw it in the cupboard and was angry with everyone for a few hours (I didn't tell Keith I had taken it).  After a few hours of frustration, disappointment and anger it kept bugging me.  So I got the test out of the bathroom cupboard to check, and somehow magically it had kept changing and now showed two lines.  I was totally shocked and surprised.  I decided I would save it as my gift to Keith for Christmas.  Things were so crazy and busy he wouldn't notice anyway.  5 days later was Penny's due date.  And the day I had FEARED since May came.  I had anticipated being a total reck that day.  Keith actually took the day off and worked from home too.  However, somehow knowing about being pregnant made it a little easier to handle.  The pain of that day seem lighter.  I had been croqueting blankets, like the one I made for Penny, to donate to the hospital where I delivered.  For her due date I wanted to give someone else who would be in my shoes comfort.  We had received little boxes with items in it when were delivered and I clung to those boxes and items desperately.  I wanted to give something back.  The hospital was very gracious and kind.  I was even able to hold back tears until I made it out.  Being back in that same hallway with the dumb pictures of perfect healthy babies on the wall made me feel claustrophobic.  But, I made it.  I had written a card to the nurse (Shelby) who had been with me when I delivered Penny.  She apparently had switched hospitals, but the head nurse said she would make sure she got it. The anticipation of telling Keith was so exciting to me that it for once replaced the depression I'd been struggling with.  Maybe it sounds silly, but I put the pregnancy test in a little box and wrapped it and put it under the tree for Keith.  My friend, who was due two days before Penny, had her baby and I will admit it was still hard.  I still avoided babies or any talk of babies.

Christmas morning was a simple one.  Money was tight with trying to get the house ready to put on the market and so we didn't do very much.  We let the kids open their gifts and then it was finally time for my big moment.  I was so excited and nervous.  He was surprised; he didn't know.  He just cried and we hugged.  The kids were confused, but easier distracted by other things and moved on.  We were able to just enjoy a moment together.  We had church that morning so quickly got ourselves ready to go.  Off and on all morning he would come hug me and just smile and say he was SO happy and it was the best gift he'd even gotten.  It made me so happy.  Everything just felt light and happy.  I didn't feel alone, or dark or anxious like I had for months after Penny died.  We spent the afternoon with his family and he asked if he could tell his parents.  Normally, I don't like to tell till closer to 12 weeks, but his parents had been so incredible through the past few months I didn't mind.  Honestly, his parents made so much more of an effort to make Penny a real part of our family than my parents.  I was still afraid to even talk about her with member of my family, where Keith's family had been so open and talked to us as if she was real and didn't diminish the huge grief we constantly felt.  Before Christmas his parents bought a little 3 ft pine tree and gave to us as our "Penny Tree" to plant at our new house.  Keith's sister had contacted all our ward and friends and asked if they wanted to put a butterfly or angel ornament.  It was truly the best gift we could have during December when our arms ached for our baby we didn't get.  So many friends (even friends from out of state) put precious ornaments for Penny on the tree.  Ornaments I will treasure all my life!  Keith's parents were so happy Christmas day when we told them and I was happy to share with them.  Up to this point I had not struggled with sickness yet and was doing fairly well in my new anxiety problems.
However, Christmas ended and I had to pack up those precious ornaments (some I couldn't, I just couldn't put them away).  The reality of moving was starting to set in as we packed things up at the house and frantically got the house ready to list.  The sickness started full swing a few days after Christmas and suddenly I felt crushed by a new anxiety.  This MASSIVE, pressing feeling that this baby would die too.  That if I told anyone or admitted it to myself it would somehow all go horribly wrong again.  I could NOT get a grip.  I truly felt I was going insane.  I couldn't stand to be around people, church was horribly stressful (not to mention seeing everyone's babies), and I lived in CONSTANT fear...constant fear!  I think I cried myself to sleep for about a month.  I struggled with sleeping so I would hold it together till I could tell Keith was asleep and then cry till I finally fell asleep.  With all of my other pregnancies I was tired at night and always fell asleep on the couch before normal bedtime, but I struggled going to sleep and even staying asleep.  I'd wake up in middle of the night and be wracked with sickness and heartache.  I closed myself off as much as I could and stopped doing playgroup or even getting out of the house much.  We were busy with the house and I tried to work out still 3 times a week, but that slowly dwindled as evenings were consumed with house projects.  We got the house ready and listed by the end of January.  Keith and I hardly went on dates anymore, let alone communicated with each other.  He would sometimes express that his seclusion was just missing our Penny.  I was SO filled with anxiety I couldn't even handle talking about the pregnancy.  I had dreams that I was pregnant with twins, which is what I thought when I was pregnant with Penny.  I really felt like I was crazy inside.  I functioned as best as I could normally, but inside I had no idea who I was.  I felt alone within myself and just alone in my anguish.  I didn't know how to talk to anyone and didn't feel I had anyone to talk to.

We decided to go back to my doctor that I had with LaRue and Ada in Mesa since we were moving out there it only made sense to start and finish with the same doctor.  Keith met me in Mesa when I was a little over 11 weeks to have my first appointment with Dr. Beck.  I'd been struggling pretty bad with anxiety that whole morning and the second I walked into that office I had a full on melt down.  I lost it!  I felt like I was drowning and couldn't breathe.  I couldn't stop crying.  The people in the office probably thought I was crazy as did the nurse who took us back.  I couldn't sit on the table thing.  Dr. Beck walked in and looked at me and asked if I was ok?  He's a great doctor, but not a very sympathetic guy.  Its business in a gentle and quiet manner, but not emotionally touchy feely.  He asked me to sit at the table so we could do the ultra sound.  I'd had dreams for weeks of getting on that table and having to look at another ultrasound with my baby curled and not moving.  I was shaking and crying and he probably thought I was nuts.  He turned on the machine and the first thing we saw was the heartbeat.  I just cried and cried.  I felt so dumb, but I couldn't get a grip.  He checked and said everything looked ok.  I kept asking if there was any hydrous or cystic hygroma or ANY indications of problems.  He said he didn't see anything, but would check at the next appointment as well.  We briefly review my pregnancy history (hopefully after that he didn't think I was totally insane).  He said things seemed fine and that he'd see me in a month.  Keith went back to work and i went back to my parents house to pick up the little one.  I was still fairly hysterical so mom told me to go lay down upstairs and calm down.  She came up and asked how the appointment went.  I told her the doctor thought everything looked normal.  She said something about how "the other one" wasn't ok and my body got rid of it and now I can focus on this one that is ok.  I know she mean well, but that was a little too much for me.  It hurt!  My own parents don't even see Penny as a person that is a part of our family.  I should be understanding, but honestly...it just created this anxiety with my family.  I don't even want to talk about the baby to anyone because I'm afraid of what they will say.  In my mind I can see that is overly sensitive, but I don't feel comfortable now talking about this baby...to anyone.

I feel irrational and anxious all the time.  I know I can (and should change) the way I'm feeling and acting, but most the time I just don't want to.  It hurts and I just don't want to deal with it so I just go through day after day pretending as if everything is normal.  I don't talk about the baby.  We haven't told anyone and I just left days pass consumed with regular life because I don't know how to handle myself.  I don't know who I want to be.  I don't want to be consumed with this anxiety and sadness, but I don't feel like I can ever be different.  It's easier to just be alone and go through the motions right now.  Life has changed me and I don't know who I am.






Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Two steps forward, one step back

Last post I was able to share events that I'd been able to go through and keep it together.  I am making progress in this grief process and I see that I am getting more "normal".  Other times, I feel myself falling back into what I read this morning in my scriptures as a "vale of sorrow."

Last Sunday evening we were listening to our church station on Pandora while the kids danced around.  The kids like doing this every so often and then Keith and I can sit and hold hands and just listen to the messages in the music.  This time Keith was dancing with the girls when the song "Thy Will Be Done" came on. I instantly recognized it as familiar and searched my memory for it's placement.   This is the song that my old roommate Nikki had sent me the week we lost Penelope.  I listened to it the day I finally decided I could do it and told Heavenly Father I'd accept fully taking on Penny and her challenges.  The day I thought for sure she'd live and I had decided it would all be ok.  I haven't heard that song since that day.  I went from perfectly ok, to running to my room sobbing.  Keith came for me and held me while I cried. I don't know if I ever told him about this song in connection to my prayer of acceptance with Penny (I'd told him about that).  He is so patient with me and just lets me cry.  If he is sick of it, he doesn't show.  He just holds me and tells me she was real and she is ours.

The week went on and I had no major spells.  Yesterday was the primary program in our ward.  In the middle of it I suddenly got a bit choked up when the thought flashed in my mind that she won't ever be in a primary program.  It through me off and I had a hard time at church.  Its hard when I feel this pain/sadness to want to be around people.  I want to be alone and I can't.  In the evening we were going out to my parent's house for dinner.  I had a flashing thought before leaving that my sister will sometime probably get pregnant and announce it at one of these dinners.  She had told me while I was pregnant with Penny that they were waiting till school was back in session and then would try.  I had feelings of uneasiness and resistance in going out there.  It's still hard to be around all my family. I feel like everyone has moved on (as they should, it wasn't their baby), but it still hurts.  Everyone just pretends it didn't happen or is afraid to mention it (again, understandable...they are probably afraid of me).  But, it still makes it hard.  After dinner we were all sitting around the table chatting and Tyler clinked his cup and announced that there would no longer be a middle child in their family. Teresa is 12 weeks pregnant.  They went to the doctor, saw the heartbeat and everything looks great.  First of all, SO happy for them.  It is wonderful.  I am happy that their baby is healthy and they don't have to ache nonstop.  But, it hurt...oh how it hurt!  I tried so hard to stay in control.  I tried to smile and join in all the congratulation.  But, the tears stung at my eyes.  Keith came and sat by me and touched by hand.  I started to lose it and didn't want to spoil anything.  Luckily I had just finished feeding Peter and he needed to get washed.  I tried to act casual and take him to wash in the kitchen.  I wanted to run and not come back.  I run upstairs so no one would hear me sob.  I hid in mom and dad's room, in the dark so I could cry.  Keith came fairly soon after and again just held me as I cried.  He let me cry.  My mind just screamed, "why couldn't she had been fine?"  I know it was as it should be.  I know she is fine, I know she is mine, I've even been prompted that she chose this.  But it just is hard.  Why couldn't I have a baby?  I felt SO empty (literally and figuratively).  Keith asked if I wanted to leave, but I didn't want to make a show.  I really didn't want to spoil it for Teresa or make a scene.  It was best for me to just hide and let the night continue.  A few minutes later Sherry came in. The one person I felt sorry for besides myself.  Here was my sweet sister who too aches overtime someone announces a baby.  She and her husband are unable to have kids and every baby is a shot to her heart as well.  She hugged me and we cried together.  It was very sweet of her and it meant a lot that she came.  I felt like she was the only one who maybe understood how I felt.  Keith went in and out checking on me and checking on the kids.  I finally got control, but had NO desire to be around anyone.  I kept telling myself to go and pretend it was all ok, but then I just didn't want to.  I didn't want to pretend, I just wanted to be left alone.  I came out, but stayed upstairs with Peter and played toys.  My sister in law came up and sat down and asked if I was ok.  I knew what she meant, but didn't want to talk about it.  I'd had a sore throat all day (and I LOATH sore throats), so I just said I wasn't feeling well.  It was kind of her and she stayed upstairs with me for a while.  Mom came up once and asked if I was ok.  Just told her "fine" and that my throat was hurting (which it did).  It was at last time to go and Keith was good to get things packed up and kids out to the car.  I knew I should go and say good bye, I should say congrats to Teresa, but I couldn't get myself to do it.  I just slipped outside and went to the car.  I feel awful and I feel like a jerk for not being supportive to Teresa.  I will get there, but I just couldn't.  Andrea came out to say bye, but again didn't want to talk about it and just passed it off as my sore throat.  I can't stop myself from thinking, they don't understand.  They don't know how much it has effected me.  I feel like I'm a different person now and I'm still trying to figure out who that is.

This morning after dropping Rue off at joy school we went by the bank and then hurried home so I could shower before needing to get back.  I put on a show for Peter and Brielle to watch.  I don't usually do this, but I don't usually take a shower while Brielle is awake.  I have to be careful about leaving her and Peter alone because they tend to just fight.  Even to go to the bathroom I get nervous. both kids will usually sit still on the couch with the older kids if they watch a show.  Still, it was a VERY fast shower.  I ran out to check on them and they were wandering a bit and not so interested.  I ran back to the bathroom to grab my brush and thats when they started fighting apparently.  I grabbed the brush, heard screams, and then a crash.  My heart sank and I immediately knew what it was.  On a little hutch by our front door I have a poem and picture of Penny.  I also bought two little Willow Tree statues a week after I lost Penny that made me think of her.  One was a mother holding her baby and the other a father and mother kneeing together holding their baby.  For me it represented what my heart ached for with Penny and what I hold dear with my other children.  The statue of the father and mother was broken on the ground.  Brielle (sometimes) likes to get into the hutch and Peter doesn't like her to.  I can only surmise that she tried to get in, he tried to close the door.  They fought shaking the hutch and the statue fell off.  Needless to say it was not a good mommy moment.  I just started screaming, knelt down and cried/screamed.  The two culprits ran and hid.  I was devastated at this piece that I love being broken, frustrated with the two kids for ALWAYS fighting, mad at myself for even being upset about a thing being broken.  It just...threw me other the top.  I put both kids in different room and closed the doors and then cried until it was time to get Rue.  They say when it rains it pours, well...it seems to be pouring right now.  I know this storm will pass and I can once again try to move forward.






Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Week of Reminders

This week I decided to go through and organize Peter's room.  Haven't done it for a very long time.  had planned to when the baby came, but since that isn't going to happen it was time to organize things for the room to stay his.  I found a drawer of baby blankets, burp clothes and baby diapers.  I packed them up in a box for the garage.  This normally would have thrown me off and I'd not be able to function the rest of the day.  I was able to still keep going.

Wednesday I was at a friends house helping out.  She was trying to get kids down for bed and asked if I'd hold her baby (he was born the week we found out about Penny's condition).  I've basically avoided babies for the past several months.  I don't like being around them, looking at them let alone touching one.  The last time I'd held her baby was right after we found out about Penny and he was a few days old.  I hadn't told my friend yet about our baby or her condition.  I cried most of the rest of that day after holding her baby.  So, when she asked my mind paused for a moment in fear, but I did.  I held the baby and didn't cry.  I didn't even spend the rest of the night crying.  Did I feel empty inside a bit, yes...but I did hold the baby and didn't cry.  That's a big step for me (but doesn't mean I'm looking for babies to hold, because I don't want to).


Friday evening Peter started fussing right before dinner.  He just stood by me and laid his head in my lap crying.  After a few minutes he started throwing up all over me.  We babysit two little kids during the week and they had the flu earlier in the week, so I'm guessing we picked up their bug.  He threw up a few other times (somehow ALWAYS on me).  The next day I was subbing at Ada's school and was stressed about us getting sick and wether we should even go.  We did.  Ada had a FUNrun at school and it was nice to be there subbing and get to see her run.  We both made it through the day ok. When we got home Keith said that Peter had been fine all day.  We decided we'd sneak over to the movies with the kids (Finding Dory was at the dollar theater).  We had a great time and Peter just sat on my lap through the whole movie.  The kids were THRILLED to get to go to the movies.  We've never taken them.  Everyone seemed ok and we made it through the night.  Saturday morning I woke up not feeling great.  That churning, ache in the stomach.  We made it through chores and my stomach started hurting more.  Our freezer to our fridge has been on the fritz and wasn't working again.  We have a spare fridge in the garage and decided to switch them.  This was kind of a big job when I could tell I wasn't doing ok.  It was very exhausting and definitely took a toll on me.  By the end I was SO miserable I just went to bed.  Keith told me to just stay in the room and he'd keep the kids away.  I was SO nauseated and miserable.  I rested for a while and then decided to take a shower.  As I got in the shower it dawned on me...I haven't felt this way since July 15th (the last day I felt sick with Penelope).  The first 18-20 weeks of pregnancy for me is basically the same as having the flu.  It's the same feeling in my stomach.  Suddenly I had the thought...what if I am pregnant and not sick with the flu.  I couldn't stop thinking about it.  I'd spent nearly 5 months like this and maybe this was going to be my next 5 months.  I was due to "start" this week and usually this is how I find out I'm pregnant...I get "sick".  I decided finally to pacify my racing mind and take a test to see.  I was so very nervous about it.  I didn't tell Keith, as I didn't want to emotionally upset him.  I just snuck into the bathroom and hid the packaging.  I took the test and waited...negative.  To be honest, I'm not totally sure how I felt.  I think I was disappointed, but also just sad because these feelings made me think of when I had my baby alive inside me.  I haven't felt this way since her, so just one more "first" to get through.

We are doing better each day.  I still feel like I have feelings of sadness or anger sometimes, but overall the hard days are less frequent.  I've been able to talk about Penny a few times and not cry.  I feel like things are starting to feel more normal.  I fear for December still.  I know it's going to be hard and I dread it more than anything right now.  The week felt like big steps for me.  The packing of blankets, holding a baby, and taking a pregnancy test were huge for me.  I miss her.  I miss knowing that she would be almost full grown.  I miss that anticipation.  I am doing so much better, but I still miss her.

Monday, September 26, 2016

8 weeks...

It's been eight weeks now.

Today is Peter's birthday and I can't help but struggle today.  He was suppose to turn 2 and then a few months later have a baby to hold.  Peter and Penny were suppose to be just over 2 years apart.  I had all these ideals of what it would be like for them growing up close like Ada and Rue.  I was suppose to be getting clothes out and getting ready.  I'd be starting to get uncomfortable and big.  But...I'm not.  Peter loves babies but will not have one to hold.  I'm packing up clothes that the kids have outgrown instead of getting things out.  I'm back working out regularly and very much wanting to get ride of my little bump I had, but instead I just keep gaining weight.  No matter how hard I work and try to eat even better, I can't get the weight gone and I still look like I'm early pregnant (even the kids ask why my tummy is still big).  I celebrate this day for my little boy, but it also breaks my heart.  Now he is (still) the baby.  I hate to have him grow up and I hate that he will soon be even less of a baby.  He is a little boy now.  He runs and climbs.   He LOVES to jump (especially on the trampoline, but also even while walking).  He loves to dance to music and chase his sisters.  LaRue and he have a special friendship...Peter teases and Rue cries.  For some reason Peter LOVES to lay on or climb on Rue.  He has only 10 teeth, two barely poking in and 4 missing.  He doesn't talk much his words mostly consist of: yes, no, dog, sugar, mommy, daddy, Ada, cracker, cookie, beep-beep and CAR (his favorite word and toy).  He makes other "sounds" that I can often translate, but that's about it.  He takes a nap in the afternoon still (1:30-3:30) and goes down at 8:30.  He is still my snuggler and I absolutely adore him.  He loves to give me kisses and hugs.  He likes to sit on my lap or lay his head on my shoulder.  His smile is to die for and I LOVE dressing him up.  I am so grateful that Heavenly Father knew I NEEDED him to get through this time in my life.

People ask me every once and a while how I'm doing.  I'm honestly not really sure.  I don't cry every day anymore, but my life is not and never will be the same.  I feel like I can't go back to who I was.  I have anxiety like never before.  It's been very hard to deal with social gatherings.  I can do ok WHILE at a social gathering, but I usually cry before or after.  I'm getting better most of the time, but I still have anxiety in some degree every time.  I was not a social butterfly by any means, but now I don't even want to try.  I feel awkward around people.  I have this aching that never goes away that I either feel embarrassed about or don't know how to talk about.  I feel crushed around people who haven't lost a baby; they don't know what I feel.  Then, around people who have lost full term babies or children I feel like I'm a wimp for not bucking up when they have it so much worse.  When I really think about it or look at the pictures it feels real and like I really had her.  But, sometimes it all feels like a nightmare that is over and my mind is trying to block it out.  When you deliver a baby your mind blocks things out after a bit so you forget the horribleness of it and would be willing to do it again.  I feel like that is starting to happen and I don't want it to.  I'm forgetting pieces and she is slipping away for me.  I hate it! Everyone has moved on with life (as they can, it wasn't their baby), but it's hard for us to feel forgotten.  Everyone is starting to talk about Christmas and making plans, but I dread it.  I'm so scared to face December.  It hurts to think about right now so I avoid it.  It's coming though and like it or not I'm going to have to face it.  Some days I really do feel ok (as long as I'm not thinking about it).  I can smile and laugh again without feeling guilty.  I can go several days without crying.  I can handle being in the room as babies, but I have NO desire to hold them.  I don't like being around pregnant people, but I can be in the same room (I just cry later).

It's been two months...I can't be the same again, but I'm making progress.



Las Vegas part2

Wednesday:
This day was one of the hardest of the trip.  The mortuary called me in the morning to tell me that we could come pick up Penelope's ashes.  It killed me that I couldn't go RIGHT then, that she was alone (I know that sounds weird, but it was still SO fresh that she was gone).  I cried most of the morning and the kids watched channel 8.  I feel bad, but I just couldn't get myself together.  I finally managed to get dressed and we went to an indoor mall not too far away.  I was hoping to find a play place inside the mall that the kids could be entertained by and I could recoup emotionally.  The play place in the mall was pretty pathetic which was disappointing, but the kids still seemed entertained for a bit.  Then we walked around for a bit.  We found a Claire's store which sells bows, jewelry and little girl knick knacks. We went in to look around.  We found these delicate tiny little butterfly necklaces for $2 (and if you buy three, you get three free).  There were other charms, so the girls each got to pick a charm they liked and also got them each a butterfly.  We talked about how the butterfly represents Penny.  We cried together a little and the girls put on their necklaces.  We went back to the play place and ate our lunch and played for a little longer.  Around 1:30 we headed back to get Peter down for a nap.  We picked up Keith in the evening and went out to dinner.  We walked around Excalibur and the Luxor hotels after dinner.

Thursday:
We had passed a park the day before on the way to the mall.  So, today we dressed and headed there.  I had looked the park up online and saw it had a splash pad so the kids went in suits.  The park was beautiful and had a cool treehouse theme to it.  All the playground equipment looked like it was trees, tree roots or nature.  It was cute.  The splash park was geared for bigger kids (all really high water spouts, nothing from ground or lower level).  The kids played a little, but weren't super interested in it.  Would just run through it to cool off and go play on the playground.  I was grateful for this fun park and the distraction if provided.  I was still struggling emotionally and was feeling worn out.  We played all morning here and headed "home" around 12:30.  We ate lunch in our room and Peter took a nap.  We again picked Keith up and went out to dinner after he got off work.  I will admit it was very nice to not make dinner for several days or have to do the dishes.  We went to eat at an Indian Restaurant on the north side of the strip.  The kids probably ate this food the best and we had a nice dinner.  Then we walked over to the Circus Circus hotel to see the "free circus" show.  It was about a half mile to mile walk there.  They have a free show every 30 minutes that is just a one person short act.  We saw a juggling act and then an arial ribbon act.  The kids thought it was the most amazing thing.  We got home kind of late and the kids were SO tired.  They were to bed very quickly.

Friday:
Keith only works half a day on Fridays and we were suppose to be out of the hotel by 11am.  We wanted to rush home so we could get to the mortuary before they closed at 5pm. Keith went in early so he could get off work at 10am and we'd head straight out.  So I had the joy of packing everything up and getting it into the car.  It was hectic and crazy with the three kids in tow, but we managed to get everything done and ready by 10am and picked up Keith. We got on the road and luckily didn't have too much traffic getting out of town since it was early.  We stopped in Kingman and had lunch at Sonic.  The kids played and slept most of the trip and Keith and I listened to "A Boy and His Horse" from the Chronicles of Narnia series.  It was a great story and nice to be distracted while we drove.  We got into town around 4:30 and went straight to the mortuary.  They gave us a few minutes alone with her in the chapel there.  We just cried together and I clung to all I had left of my baby.  We got home and unpacked everything from the car.  Keith still had a stipend for dinner so we headed over to Red Lobster and had one final dinner out together.


Post Trip:
It was nice to be back and I was very relieved that we had made it home in time.  Driving into town I felt the pressure in my head coming back and the anxiety I'd felt before leaving.  Going away turned out to be so helpful for me.  I was able to leave the pain of everything here and surround myself with other things that didn't constantly remind me of how empty and lost I felt.  Coming home though it all came rushing back.  The next week proved to be yet again VERY difficult and a rather dark week.  I don't have too many memories from that week as most of it was crying or feeling very crushed by depression.  I spent most of my time feeling very empty and crushed.  The following week I started back in babysitting kids and getting Ada ready for school to begin.  It was helpful to "get back to normal" routines.  It was hard and I was still very depressed, but it helped to have distractions that forced me to still function.  Slowly the dark and deep depression did lesson and I could go a few days without crying or at least have shorter crying periods.  Keith threw himself into work as that was his escape.  He started working longer and longer hours and it was very hard on me.  We decided to go to the temple and on a date.  We found comfort in being there as it was as close to her we could be.  The last time we'd been in the temple was with her.  It was comforting to think she could be close to us there.  The darkness is lifting, but I feel like part of me is gone.  I feel like a different person now, and I don't see ever being the same ever again.  Part of me literally died, and I'm trying to figure out how to live without that part.  I am very grateful for this little trip that gave me a break and a chance to breath from all the pain.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Las Vegas part 1

We headed out of Phoenix around 2pm Sunday.  I didn't plan very well for things for Peter to do in the car, but the girls seemed to do well with their toys.  Keith and I had borrowed The Chronicles of Narnia on CD from his sister so we listened to the The Magician first and then started the Boy and His Horse.  It was so fun and much more interested and entertaining to have a book to listen to.  Can't wait for the kids to be more involved and enjoy it.  We got into Las Vegas and went to the hotel.  We were at the Homewood Suites just south of the strip.  We got all our stuff in and then had to find some dinner.  Keith's work gives him a stipend to use for meals.  We went to Panda Express at Town Square Mall.  It was Pretty late so by the time we got back to the hotel we put kids down.  It is SO challenging to get kids to go to sleep in a new place AND all in the same room.  We had the lights out and I was sitting by Peter in the pack and play while we had lullaby music playing on my phone.  I was sitting there just looking at my photos and reliving my life just a short week ago.  I looked at my pictures of my baby and tried to remember all the details I could of that day.  I sat there crying with my phone in the dark and missing my baby. One week down...

Monday:
Keith's work was a half mile across the street so he just walks so that I have the car.  We got up and headed down to the eating area.  Our hotel had a breakfast and light dinner included (we never did the dinner, but the breakfast fed us and we usually took bagels back to our room to have for lunch).  Today Ada woke up complaining that she felt like throwing up.  She did (in the toilet, luckily).  So I had her staying the room at watch channel 8 while I took the other two for breakfast and brought food back for Ada.  I think the Panda Express didn't settle well with her and so once she got it out she was fine and never struggled again.

 After breakfast we decided to go down on the strip and check out the Hershey store and the M&M store.  We drove down and parked at New York New York and went exploring.

The Hershey store was kind of lame.  It was just stuff to buy. But, they did have a cool statue of Liberty made of Twizzlers, chocolate (in the picture) and we found on in the casino made of jelly beans.  Otherwise, not much to do there so we headed over to see the M&M store.













 The M&M store was much more entertaining.  There was a wall that had the M&Ms all in containers by colors.  I let the kids each pick a color and get some candies.  Then on the third floor there was a a little theater and they played a little 15 minute movie in 3D.  Peter would not keep the glasses on and didn't really like the movie; however the girls loved it!  They kept reaching out their hands to try and touch the 3D pictures.  There are four levels of the m&M store so we explored them all and then headed back to the car.  It was lunch time so we headed back to the hotel to make our lunch.  I had brought apples and veggies and peanut butter and nutella.  We ate that with the bagels from breakfast.  Then I put Peter's pack and play in the bathroom (it was a HUGE bathroom) so it would be dark and we could close the door.  Got him to sleep while the girls played barbies.  We read some books and they played while he napped.


Keith got off work at 4:30.  We waited for him at the splash pad by his work.  Then we went to dinner at Claim Jumper.  After dinner we went down to New York New York and parked.  We just walked up the strip.  We saw a group of guys doing a street show but they were kind of annoying.  They kept making racial jabs (about white people) and that was annoying.  We did make it all the way to the Bellagio so we could watch the water show with the kids.  It was a LOT of walking and it was warm and busy.  The kids were pretty burned out by the end and we got home after bed time.  They were quick to fall asleep this night.

Tuesday:
We woke up and went down to breakfast together.  I decided to go ahead a splurge and take the kids to the aquarium at the Mandalay Bay.  I only had to pay for Ada and I so it was the cheaper than going to the children's museum.  The hotel we stayed at had a shuttle service that went to Mandalay Bay and then I wouldn't have to worry about paying for parking.  We took the shuttle at 10 (the shuttle only went every two hours...a little inconvenient).  The first thing inside the aquarium was a crocodile, which was the girls FAVORITE animal of the day.  Peter on the other had was terrified of it.  He would NOT go near the glass and if I took him too close to the glass he'd scream.  We stood there for quite a while and then made our way through the exhibits and in the end made our way BACK to this crocodile to watch him for a while more.
 I have not been to many aquariums, and this was really cool to me.  We saw piranhas, sharks, sting rays, all kinds of fish, jelly fish, sea turtles, and so much more that I don't remember the names of.  They even had a place where the kids could touch sting rays and horseshoe crabs.  The kids LOVED that part as well.  I would have been happy to just stay in there and watch all day, but the kids got hungry and around 12:30 we left.  Sadly, that meant we had JUST missed the shuttle and now would have to wait until 2 to get a ride back to our hotel.
 I thought the Jellyfish were SO cool.  They are incredible to watch.
 Not going to lie, I was very worried about keeping the kids entertained for an hour and a half with no where really to go.  We found the tram and rode it back and forth to Excalibur.  Then walked around Excalibur and found a Yougurtland so we stopped for ice cream.  The kids thought it was SO cool to get ice cream in the middle of the day.  I am very proud of myself for surviving that hour and a half, but man was I worn out by the time we got on the shuttle.  Peter napped, I laid down and the girls watched channel 8 until Peter work up and it was time to get Keith.


For dinner we went to Bahama Breeze.  For some reason Keith is obsessed with that place and he was so excited to get to eat there as there are no longer any locations in Phoenix.  After dinner we again parked at New York and explored the Luxor and excalibur.  We got home closer to bedtime and luckily the kids were still good and worn out and went to bed fairly quick.