Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Recently, I've become friends with a woman that lost her son Nolan Alex. I've been paying special attention to her journey. I've been feeling her pain, and I mean literally feeling the hurt and anger that she is going through. I look at her pictures, and I read her posts and I cannot believe how I've never met this woman or her family, but I feel an intense connection to her. I cannot explain it. Amanda, please know that without knowing you, I've cried for you and I've been praying for you everyday.
So what has been happening in the last year? My boyfriend and I broke up, made up, broke up and then made up again. We are now living together, and attempting to make a new relationship. IUP told me they would never give me a degree, so I left. I've applied and been accepted to Seton Hill, studying Elementary/Special Education. It'll take 2 years, but I'll get a degree.
The most important thing is I've learned. I'm learning to miss my son without allowing it to consume my life. For the first 2 years after losing Caleb, I felt like life was not worth living. I acted as if no one else felt like I did. I felt alone. Now that I've taken the time to be single, and focus on my life. I believe that watching others go through their journey gave me hope for the future. I want to be the strength for future T-18 mom's. I want to show that one day, you'll be able to feel like you'll be able to move on. I love my moms. I will always be there for you.
So that's a year in a nutshell. I will attempt to keep up with this, but I know you guys aren't holding me to it. I love you all for keeping up with me.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I think part of it is my hatred at myself for not being stronger. I'm a bigger person and I should be happier for these people. I can't bring myself to realize that this will one day be me. I hate myself for thinking that I want another baby now because I've been fighting to get through that initial feeling when I first lost Caleb. My son would not be proud of my weakness at this point. He didn't want this for me.
I know it's a short blog, but I just needed to blow off some steam.
I'll just keep telling myself what the ignorant people have told me: "God has a plan and one day you'll have a healthy baby too..."
Friday, September 25, 2009
Since all of this has been going on, a lot more has happened in my life. I started dating again and I met the most amazing person! Joe has been so understanding about my situation and he listens to me when I have a bad baby moment, and offers his comfort. He was a surprise in my life, I wasn't expecting to find this person and I can't even believe sometimes that he is real. I don't want to gush too much, so I'll move on (especially since some of you might get sick of hearing about it!)
I haven't been mentioning Caleb to people at IUP too much, especially since I don't want people to look at me and think, "that poor woman, how can she deal with this?" But recently, Caleb has been finding ways into my classes and making sure that people hear his story.
In my Wednesday night class, we were discussing mental retardation and what characteristics come with it. Well of course, Trisomy 18 came up. At that moment, I began shaking, sweating and feeling my chest tighten up. I wasn't expecting it and I was afraid of what I would say. When the young woman finished her presentation, I found my hand in the air and I began talking about Caleb. I think I talked about my experience for 20 minutes and began that whole "this should be required to be taught in classes" speech. I got to show a picture of him in class and everyone was really touched by my story. In the days since, I've gotten emails from people in the class telling me how much it meant to them for me to offer my experience to them.
A friend from high school emailed me on Facebook and told me that my blog had inspired her to so research for a psychology class. I was surprised by this as well. I didn't realize that Caleb had such an impact on the people that have never met him. It's things like this that make me swell with pride and gush about my little pumpkin. The thing is, I'm just a small person who started a blog so that someone would might read it and realize that they were not alone in their fight. That even a young person could lose something. That pregnancy doesn't always go as planned. I didn't realize that it would be as big as it's become. I don't have a lot of followers, but there are people out there, whether I know them or not that have emailed me on Facebook or to my personal email telling me how much this blog has meant to them. I don't expect the praise, but it definitely makes me feel that I kept my promise to Caleb. I swore to him that I would not allow his death to be in vain. People know about him and love him. I couldn't ask for more.
I will try to keep up with this a little better, but I'm super busy. School, work and my Tuesdays spent in practicum are a little rougher than I expected. I love you all for being patient and still following this blog. I appreciate the continued support!
Lindsey and Caleb
Sunday, June 21, 2009
With Caleb being stillborn, sometimes it feels like what I did was all a dream or not real. That's a weirder feeling. It was like I gave birth to a baby doll. It's a hard concept to explain, but that's how I feel. I just wish I had seen him breathe once, blink an eye...something to give me that idea that he was real. I felt him kick and punch me, but it's definitely not the same as seeing him alive.
Today I wonder about Caleb's father. I don't care what he's doing or who he's with, but I wonder if he's celebrating Father's Day for the child he never knew. I wonder if he thinks he's entitled to knowing Caleb or deserving of at least a card. For those who don't know, Caleb's father left me when I was 4 and 1/2 months pregnant. To this day, he still has no idea what happened. What's worse, he doesn't know that he had a son. Part of me is angry, the other part makes me feel sorry for the asshole (first swear word in the blog!!!). Let me rephrase, I don't feel bad for the fact that I never told him what happened; he doesn't deserve to know. However, I feel sorry for the fact that he's too lazy or too scared to even contact me. He probably believes I'd be coming after him for child support.
I wonder if there will be a day in the future when we pass each other in public and he'll finally ask me about our child. Would I have the strength to tell him to leave us alone? Would I tell him what happened to Caleb so that I can finally cut all ties with him? Would I just keep him in dark? There are a million scenarios that run through my head constantly. I know for a fact that he's trying to crack the mystery of the child he left behind. People have told me about their encounters with him in the months since. And I thank all of those people who have had the strength to tell him they know nothing, or have just simply ignored his requests. I know that my best friend has had moments where she wanted to tell him what happened so that he'd leave her alone. I don't blame her. There's no need for her to deal with the constant harassment.
I still don't know to this day what I would do in the event I see Caleb's father again. I believe that my Caleb (and only MY Caleb) would give me the answers if that were to ever happen. He's keeping an eye on me and he knows my struggles. He'll be there with me if and when that contact happens. Until then, I celebrate Father's Day knowing that my son loves me as his Mommy and Daddy.
To the fathers that have been there for their child, and this includes my magnificent father; have a great day! Thank you for kissing our boo-boos and making sure we had a shoulder to cry on when we needed it. Thank you for hugging us on a daily basis, and doing the silly things (intentional or otherwise) to keep us laughing over the years.
To my own father: Thank you for being the strength I needed before and after Caleb's diagnosis. You were the only man in my life at the time, and you were the best I could ask for. I don't know what I would have done without you during my times of tears. Even when I came close to a breakdown, you stood there with me. And I want to thank you for the memories of watching you hold my son. That is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Pictures aren't enough to describe the way you spoke to him or the way your face lit up the first time you saw him. I love you Daddy with all my heart!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
My Dearest Caleb,
When I discovered I was pregnant with you, I had a million emotions go through me at one time. I was so happy to be a mother, I could burst. My heart fluttered at the thought of holding you in my arms and rocking you to sleep. I looked forward to all the first we were going to have together. I know your Daddy wasn’t there for us, but we would have made a great team. We were going to be great!
Your firsts started while you were still in my belly. The first time you kicked me, you were real. That simple gesture made me realize it was time to be a grown up. I knew it was time to give up my old ways of being selfish and immature. There were people who believed that I would never grow up and that you were not going to be in good hands. I knew better. Because of you, I got a real job and was going to get our own place. I had so many plans for us and with each passing moment, my excitement continued to grow.
I’d thought of sled riding, summer swimming, your first taste of ice cream. Your first skinned knee would have broken my heart, but I knew how to fix it and make it better with a kiss. Your grandma and Aunt Kourie were waiting to make cookies with you or teach you ways to drive me crazy. Grandpap took some time to warm up, but he was looking forward to March Madness with his new little Pitt fan. You had cousins waiting to meet you. Your Aunt Amy is a little older than Mommy, so your older cousins were really excited about the new baby. Mommy’s friend Courtney was counting down the seconds and was planning on finding reasons to come steal you for a day. Mommy’s best friend Staci was excited to have a playmate for her baby Alexis. As you can tell, before you were even a thought, everyone was in love with you. You were poised to be the luckiest baby in the world.
Mommy had never heard of Trisomy 18 before that fateful day at the hospital. I thought I was going down there to hear you weren’t grown as fast as expected. I was told it was probably something that could be fixed with some growth hormones. When the doctor told me the truth, I was devastated. Actually, there aren’t words that can possibly describe my feelings. I can only tell you it felt like I was hit by a Mack truck because I was playing in traffic. I was angry with the doctor, angry with God. How does one deal with the heartbreaking news of a child’s death? The doctor basically gave you an expiration date. I had never known what pain felt like until that day. All of my dreams were thrown away like yesterday’s trash. Instead of dreams, I had to come to terms with planning a funeral for you. I didn’t think it was fair considering what we’d been through already.
After the diagnosis, it came time to break the hearts of people who looked forward to you. Your grandma and Aunt Kourie took it the hardest. Grandma was looking forward to babysitting you while I was at work. Aunt Kourie was just looking forward to coming home from school to see you and teaching you things to make me nuts. Grandpap tried to be strong for Mommy’s sake, but inside he was torn to pieces. Aunt Amy and your cousins were just crushed because they wanted the new baby and wanted to play with you in the worst way. Staci cried and asked why this had to happen to us. Courtney came by almost every day for an update to make sure we were alright. We had an outpouring of support from people I hadn’t talked to in years.
For nine weeks, I help onto hope. I ate like crazy, trying to get your weight up, trying in vain to make you stronger. I started a blog hoping that someone would find comfort in our story. I cried a lot, even though I tried to fight it. I didn’t want you to feel my stress or pain. I wanted you to be as comfortable as possible. I’d hoped that maybe you’d be born alive and that you’d be able to come home with me, at least for a little bit. Maybe it was silly of me, but I was a mother hanging on to what little time I had left with you. Every kick was a true miracle because I knew it was you trying to pull through. You fought so hard, my little one.
When I went into labor, reality set in. There was an excellent chance you weren’t going to make it, a point driven home by every doctor that I’d talked to. I still allowed myself to live in fantasy until I knew for sure what the outcome would be. I told the doctors that there was no need to tell me they were sorry because I thought I’d have you for a while. We had the best doctors and nurses that day. They took amazing care of your Mommy and were incredibly supportive!
Giving birth was the best thing I’ve ever been through. The pain was easy to ignore. All I thought about was making sure you were coming into this world safely. I’d never pushed myself as hard as I did that day. Grandma and Aunt Kourie told me several times they were proud of me. They were by my side the entire time. Staci and Courtney waited outside with their ears to the door, and Aunt Amy came down as soon as she could. Grandpap had to work, but he was there at the end of the day.
You also got your fifteen minutes of fame as well. We had Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep come in and take pictures of us together so I would never forget your precious face or the feelings I had about that day. In March, Mommy was asked by the Tribune Review to be interviewed for an article about your pictures. I swelled with pride talking about you. You’ve made me so proud just for existing! I’ve raised money for Trisomy 18 and I’m planning more incredible things in your name. Your death will not be in vain.
When I saw your face for the first time, it was like being given the best gift on the planet. Your features were so perfect and you looked exactly like me. Your eyes were a sapphire blue unlike any I’d ever seen. I was the luckiest mother in the world! I got to spend the entire day holding you. A gift I would never replace, and I would give up anything do have just one more minute of that.
Since you’ve gone to be with Jesus, my life hasn’t been the same at all. I’ve become more adult and everyone has seen it. You never spoke a word or shown a gesture, but you single-handedly made me grow up. It wasn’t your responsibility and it wasn’t fair for you that you shouldered that burden. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you’ve done for me. Even though you’re not here with me physically, I feel you in everything I do. I feel your influence when I make decisions for myself. I never do anything without thinking about you first. I miss you every day, with every breath I take and every beat of my heart.
My Sweet Baby, I will never know what you would have become and that’s something I have to deal with. I’m happy you’ll never know pain and you’ve never known sin. You’re safely in Heaven watching over me and our family. I take great comfort in knowing that. Mommy loves you with all her heart. I will see you again one day, and I will have that moment to hold you again. I promise that I’ll hold you for eternity. Until then, I will dream of you.
Love you forever, like you for always,
Friday, May 29, 2009
I've become increasingly aware of the use of the word "retarded," and I hate it. Sadly enough, it's used too often to describe people that have a lapse in judgment. I let it slide because it doesn't matter how much I yell at and tell people that it's not appropriate to use it, especially in front of a woman that has had a baby that was born with MR. I've not given up on my endeavor to eliminate use of this deplorable word, however, I alone can't be the one to stop one's usage. If everyone reads this blog and tells someone to stop using that saying, we'd be able to make a small difference.
I went camping with my sister and my best friend over Memorial Day weekend. Friday night, after we finished setting up camp, we were sitting around the table and I realized that Staci and I haven't really had the time to talk about Caleb. I've talked with my mother, Kourie, my therapist, people I work with...but not Staci. So I started the conversation, and it wasn't until Kourie and Staci both said, "Lindsey, you gave birth to your angel." It woke me up. I haven't felt my usually depressing moods since. I'm not counting out the fact that they can come back, but I've learned to manage the feelings.
Biggest thing to happen; I fitted my first ringbearer named Caleb and handled it amazingly. I was able to say his name and talk to him without tearing up. I'm so very proud of myself. I wish I could explain the feeling when you realize that you son's name is not a swear word. Simply put, it was liberating to say his name over and over without a feeling of sadness. I'm proud of myself.
So I'm trying to be the eternal optimist. Let's see if it works.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Tuesday was his 5 month birthday. I went to the cemetery and realized how quickly the ground around his burial plot is starting to settle. I used to be able to find him easily, but now it's beginning to blend in with the rest of it. I'm feeling a little uneasy about this. I really dread the day I go there and the grass over him isn't browning so I can easily find him. He still doesn't have a headstone, and it makes me mad that I've waited this long. I know that I have to wait for the ground to dry and settle. Ugh. It'll happen soon Caleb. I promise.
Kourie and I had an interesting conversation the other day. We decided that we're kinda sick of some people's attempt of trying to make us feel better. I've had other mothers that have lost babies and they get it. They understand what I and my family is going through. It's the people that have NO IDEA are trying to make us feel better or possibly blame me for what has happened to him.
For example, before he was born, Kourie was at Dingbat's with a friend just venting about the entire situation. She was upset that the father left, and that we were given this to deal with as well. A woman sitting at the bar overheard the conversation and turned to her. She simply said, "Well, maybe your sister did something to deserve this." She blamed me for having a child out of wedlock and this was God's punishment for being a bad person. A woman that knew absolutely nothing about me, my situation and just decided to throw her 2 cents in. I'm angry with this, but I've forgiven her. Her ignorance isn't going to tie me down and make me want to hate her.
I've heard a million things ranging from, "Everything happens for a reason," to "You're young, you'll have a healthy baby in the future." I appreciate everyone spreading their condolences, but a lot of these things are not helping. I especially hate the "healthy future baby" comment. What you people simply don't understand is that it won't matter how many babies I have in the future, NONE OF THEM WILL BE MY CALEB!!!!!!!!!! I'm truly sorry for showing my emotion here on my blog and my anger for ignorance. This is just my venting. My son was one of a kind. There will never be a replacement for him. There will never be another perfect baby with a double left earlobe, or a dimple in his chin with a perfect button nose. There will never be another perfect child with ankles that cracked when he kicked me or sapphire eyes that opened just a crack so I could see them. I can have boys in the future, but who knows what Caleb could have done. Just please, if you see me in public and you have NO idea what it's like to lose a baby, just tell me you're sorry and move along. I don't want any sympathizing with someone throwing God in my face. I beat myself up enough everyday trying to figure out why it was my son that had to go back to Heaven only 10 months after knowing of him.