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Monday, October 24, 2011

Big Bridge Ahead

October 24, 2011 – Big Bridge Ahead……

As the last few months have passed I have found it increasingly more difficult to be carefree. On the 29th of this month, this Saturday coming up, my baby would have been 6 months old. I am finding myself in a state of weepy depression today and can’t pull myself out of it. This age in any child’s life is certainly significant and I’m having a hard time not wishing I had my baby here to cross all these milestones:

Physical and motor skill markers:
  • Able to hold almost all weight when supported in a standing position
  • Able to transfer objects from one hand to the other
  • Able to lift chest and head while on stomach, holding the weight on hands (often occurs by 4 months)
  • Able to pick up a dropped object
  • Able to roll from back to stomach
  • Able to sit in a high chair with a straight back
  • Able to sit on the floor with lower back support
  • Beginning of teething
  • Increased drooling
  • Should be able to sleep 6 - 8 hour stretches at night
  • Should have doubled birth weight (birth weight often doubles by 4 months, and it would be cause for concern if this hasn't happened by 6 months)
Sensory and cognitive markers:
  • Begins to fear strangers
  • Begins to imitate actions
  • Begins to realize that if an object is dropped, it is still there and just needs to be picked up
  • Can locate sounds not made directly at the ear level
  • Enjoys hearing own voice
  • Makes sounds (vocalizes) to mirror and toys
  • Makes sounds resembling one-syllable words (example: da-da, ba-ba)
  • Prefers more complex sounds
  • Recognizes parents
  • Starts to imitate sounds
  • Vision is between 20/60 and 20/40
Play recommendations:
  • Read, sing, and talk to your child
  • Imitate words such as "mama" to help baby learn language
  • Play peek-a-boo
  • Provide an unbreakable mirror
  • Provide large, bright-colored toys that make noise or have moving parts (avoid toys with small parts)
  • Provide paper to tear
  • Speak clearly
  • Start naming parts of the body and the environment
  • Use body movements and actions to teach language
  • Use the word "no" infrequently
I think looking at these made it even more real; my child is not here to do any of these!! He’s not behind, he’s not ahead; he’s simply not here!! It makes me so mad! This is the “year of anniversaries”, this is the year I get to say, “this is my first _______ without Thomas”. Halloween is coming up and although I couldn’t be any happier about spending it with my little 3 year old batman that really believes his cape should make him fly; I can’t help but think that I should be picking out some ridiculously cheesy costume to put Thomas in because by the time he’s 3, he will insist on picking out his own super hero costume! I have been robbed of that! I just want to put him in a stupid costume, that’s probably too warm for a Southeast Texas Halloween, and take a million pictures of him because I can never get his first Halloween back and I can’t. I’m feeling very sorry for myself today. I’m suffering from anxiety over his first birthday, which will be here before we know it. I’m struggling with the “right way” to celebrate it. I refuse to let it just roll by without acknowledgment but at the same time I don’t want to freak the kids out. I know his birth, day of passing and funeral dates will all be sneaking up on me soon and I’m already sad. How am I going to hold it together during those times?!? How am I going to slap on a happy face when all I want to do is crawl in a hole and cry? How am I going to get up every single day, go to work, and play the role of mommy, wife and friend when all I can think about is how bad my heart hurts?

I am currently a part of a group on Facebook for families of Anencephalic babies; it’s a place where people that have lost babies and people that are losing babies can go for comfort. Another mom lost her baby today, her daughter passed away before she was ever born which seems so very unfair. Each post seems to rip a piece of my healing wound wide open; might be time to remove myself from this group all together.

I don’t know what my deal is today, but I can’t seem to shake it. I have cried off and on all day long, keeping it together when I had kids in my room and letting it all go on my short breaks. Days like these make me ask “why”. Days like these make it hard to be “inspirational”. Days like these give me a feeling of entitlement; like I’ve earned time to myself to wallow in my broken heart. I rarely get that luxury.

As I’m sitting here feeling excessively sorry for myself I try to focus on what I DO have, sometimes this takes a conscious effort on my part. I am blessed to have the support system that I have. I am blessed to have the family I have. I am blessed to have the unit of friends that I have. I am so blessed with a boy that loves his mommy more than words could express and I am so proud of the kid he is. He has turned out to be quite the sensitive young fella and I am so amazed by him each and every day. On our drive in this morning he kept showing me a spot on his finger and said, “Jesus kissed me a new freckle”. I wouldn’t dare tell him that it was a blood blister from a run in with his popgun this weekend. He is my precious life-saver and I don’t thank God enough for him.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Time to Update!

October 17, 2011 – Bush family update….

In an attempt to keep people in the loop and also ask for prayers, I hope I don’t share too much information! If this is TMI for some of you, I want to apologize in advance.

When you’re told that your child will not survive, so many thoughts enter your mind and some are too bold to shove to the back. When we first found out that Thomas would not be “compatible with life”, the thought of another child was the furthest thing from my mind, and most importantly, my heart. I had many people approach me and ask if we were going to have another baby and I couldn’t help but become puzzled by that because my Thomas hadn’t even been born yet; how in the world was I supposed to remotely think about the “next child” when he hasn’t even been given his chance on this earth?! I would be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it myself, but I found it odd that perfect strangers would ask. I had thought about it, time and time again. Aaron and I spent hours discussing it because we have now lived a reality that most can’t even begin to comprehend. While pregnant with Thomas we researched adoption, we talked with the specialist about the chances of this reoccurring if we chose to try again and we talked about being happy with the family we already have and calling it quits; not a single one of these options brought a sense of peace over us until the day we had Thomas. There were moments in the hospital where Aaron and I had the joy of just sitting in a quiet room with our son and soaking him in, not many because he had so many visitors, but I cherish each quiet moment we had. In one of those moments Aaron looked at me and said he wanted to try again. The only reason this particular moment remains so vivid in my mind is because he was sold on adoption, he was too scared to relive the nightmare that we had been stuck in since January to even entertain the thought of trying again. To some, this might sound like one of the most selfish conversations for two parents to have as they hold their dying child, but until you’ve been where we’ve been, that’s not something you can judge. During those three days with our baby boy I was able to see who he might have been. I was able to find his personality. I was able to see how much he resembled Aaden when he was a newborn. I only got a tiny taste of my child and it left me wanting more. I am aching to have a child in my arms, I want to wake up every couple of hours to feed my newborn baby, I want to change diapers, I want to be the only person in the world that can sooth my little one when they’re upset; I want all the things that most parents of newborns complain about!

There is a term that I was completely unaware of until Thomas came into our lives and that term is, “Rainbow Baby”. By definition, a “Rainbow Baby” is a baby that is born after the loss of a previous child. Here is something beautiful I found online, the author is unknown, but I want to share it.

“Rainbow Babies” are the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and the clouds. Storm clouds may still loom over but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and much needed hope.

Some of you might be freaking out at this point, thinking that I’m announcing a pregnancy; sorry to disappoint, but no baby yet! Aaron and I have decided that it’s time to start trying for our Rainbow Baby and I ask that you keep us in your prayers. Please pray that we are blessed with a fat, healthy baby in the near future! This might be one of the scariest roads of this journey; we now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that healthy babies are truly a miracle!!