Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I decided the other day that I need to go back to work. I miss my co-workers. I've been at the mall almost everyday, and I figured I should be getting paid for it. My boss told me that I needed to go to my doctor to get a work excuse. I figured I could call them and they would just give me the papers I needed. Nope.
I called today and told the woman on the phone who I was and what had happened to Caleb. I told her I wanted to return to work as soon as possible. She said, "You want to return after 3 weeks? Don't you want to spend time with the baby?" I almost lost it. Of course I want to spend time with my baby. It would have been nice if you listened to the beginning of the conversation when I told you that my son died.
Ever since that conversation, I've been kinda miserable. I've been fighting back the tears, fighting the urge to punch a wall. I thought I was going to be ok, but it's just one thing that set me back at the beginning of this. I need my counseling, I was just waiting until after the holidays to do it. I will be fine while I wait. I just need to take it one day at a time.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Since Caleb's journey to Heaven, things have been hard imagining my first Christmas without him. Like I've said before, I was so excited for this holiday when I found out when he was due. My holiday wish is that everyone take a second to hug their child or closest family member, just to make sure they know you love them.
I never knew how much my precious little dude (hehe) would change the life of people. My co-workers are forever influenced by him, and they never even met him. My family is beyond changed by Caleb's presence. But it's amazing how many people I graduated from high school with have educated themselves, or privately read my blog. I even have someone from Australia email me through Facebook to tell me she'd been following my blog. My son, this tiny baby who never set foot on the Earth to make his imprint, somehow stole the attention and possibly the heart of someone across an ocean. I miss him terribly with every fiber of my being, but I become more and more amazed with him every day.
Caleb, as Mr. David said, you went to play Baby Jesus in the Angels' Nativity scene. Do your job well. I can only imagine you as the most beautiful Baby Jesus. I look at this Christmas as a blessing because I had the opportunity to not only carry you, but I got to hold you and be your Mommy for a day. The happiest day of my life.
Merry Christmas, my tiniest angel.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
As the obituary stated, I asked for a in lieu of flowers request. I asked for money to be donated to the Trisomy 18 foundation. So many people have sent small donations, but every dollar counts. I'm trying to figure out how to get a widget for my blog, but an update is all I have thus far. Since his passing, I have raised $105 for the Caleb Alex Trisomy 18 Memorial Fund. Also, my mom's co-workers have been raising money for the fund, so it could be so much more. I would like to do a fundraiser as well, but that will take time. (Pssssst, if I have any volunteers...please let me know)
I would just like to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. I've never been more excited in all my life to be doing something as incredible as raising money and awareness in honor of my priceless child.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Like my friend Courtney said that the memorial, "I loved him so much." I knew she meant it, everyone meant what they said. So many people loved this little guy since before his diagnosis, and continue to give a huge piece of their hearts to him after his passing.
Christmas is a week away. The closer it comes, the harder it is becoming. We have ornaments on the tree for him, but it's not the same as having him there. I had so many visions of sitting him by the tree, riding the train at the mall, sitting on Santa's lap. All of that will never happen. That's the part that will always take my heart and stomp it.
Luckily for me, there is a mother on the Trisomy 18 support site who's going through this journey at almost the same time. I guess I shouldn't say I'm lucky because no one should ever have this pain, but Lacey has been amazing to me. She lost her love on my due date. She emailed me through the support site, and we've been keeping in touch ever since. She gives me suggestions and I try to do the same for her. If she's reading this, she already knows how much I appreciate having her in my life. I don't know what I would do without her right now. I can't imagine doing this without having a release like her. My family has been so supportive, but there's honestly nothing like having another Mom going through this with me. I can't explain it.
I know Caleb is buried now. I haven't been able to go up there and actually see his name on a marker yet. I hope he understands. My mom suggested going tomorrow at 1:51PM, it will be exactly one week since. He's buried near my younger brother Alex, who passed away 22 years ago. Yes, pain can touch a family more than once.
I worry about my mother. She not only lost a baby herself, but she had to watch her baby lose a baby. I can't imagine how much she hurts; I know she does. She didn't just watch me lose a baby, she had to say goodbye to her grandbaby. My heart hurts for Caleb, but I know he's safe and happy now. Now, I worry about the people he left behind.
My sister baked cookies yesterday, no doubt an attempt to think about anything else. Mom helped her, again, probably for the same reason. Baking is usually my way of thinking of something else for 1 minute. I just can't bring myself to do it because it reminds me of something that Caleb will never be able to do with Mommy.
When my cousin Lori was here with her little guy Matteo, Mom and Kourie had him make a gingerbread house. I wanted to be apart of it so badly, but I just couldn't bring myself to sit there with him. I knew I would cry and hurt in front of him. I had been trying to avoid that the entire weekend.
Speaking of Matteo, that little guy is so intuitive. While I tried to cry out of his sight, he knew something was going on. Lori had him in the tub, explaining the importance of being quiet in the funeral home the day before the memorial. She was explaining how Caleb went to be in the arms of Jesus. He looked at her and asked, "Is that why her back hurts and she's sad?" It's amazing how a 3-year-old can know so much, or at least pick up on these things.
Another amazing thing about Matteo. We went to the cemetery on the day of the memorial to release the balloons for him. We were looking for his gravesite so that we could release them from over him. We couldn't find it, but Matteo (who can't read yet) was looking at all the headstones saying, "Don't worry, I'm gonna find Caleb for you." He worked so hard to find him. He will never understand how much that meant to me. He's an amazing little guy.
This whole situation has been so heartbreaking and hard on me. Everyone thinks I've been so strong, but I really don't feel like I've been someone to look up to. There are thousands of Moms that have gone through this before me, and there are too many Moms that are going to go through this after me. I wish this whole Trisomy 18 thing could end with me. I know it won't and I know it can't.
My hopes for this blog were to educate people about Trisomy 18 and use this as my therapy. I hoped that there maybe another Mom that just got a diagnosis like this, and that this could help her during this. During this time in my life, I've found that the internet has helped so much. There has been Trisomy Moms on Myspace and Facebook that have reached out to me, there is of course Lacey on my Trisomy support site. I find you all amazing. None of you needed to contact me, but you felt the need to reach out to me, and for that I'm grateful. I love you all, and I've never met you. I hope all that I've done through emailing has been helpful for you as well.
Well, this has been my emotions of the week. Thank you for listening.
Lindsey and Caleb
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
This journey began with a mixture of fear and elation. Even before Caleb Alex was a thought, I knew I wanted him. Once I knew of him, I started dreaming of him. Would this amazing little guy be a doctor, an astronaut, a zoologist? Would he cure a disease, fight fires and save lives or discover a new species of animal? I had no idea, but it was a thrill to be thinking about it every day, every single second.
I dreamt of summers by the pool, telling Caleb not to run with his water wings flying by sides. I dreamt of raking the leaves in fall and watching him run through them, complaining about how itchy he was afterward. I dreamt of snowmen and sled-riding with Grandpap, cookies and reindeer food with Grandma, Aunt Kourie and Aunt Amy teaching him ways to be ornery and irritating. I loved the idea of him having the best cousins in the world that would pick on him constantly, but defend him when other kids made fun of him. I felt something inside me that I took for granted. Hope. Every kick would trigger something new in me; something I’d never expected. I was going to be a Mommy. Even with the fear pulsing inside of me, I was elated to have a future with this little guy. My little man, my pumpkin-head.
Staci Lynn and I sat around her house, playing with her little Alexis. She always said that either way, this baby was going to grow up being her best friend like she and I are, or Alexis’ first little boyfriend that would kiss her and then run away. We were thrilled that I was having the latter. It triggered so many other things inside of me, but most the dream of pictures. The one image I had was of the two of them sitting together on the sofa, Caleb’s arm around Alexis giving her a big smooch on the cheek, her face annoyed. I thought of Caleb irritating her to the point of her hitting him or pushing him away.
For myself, I dreamt of rocking him, singing him to sleep. I thought of holidays and birthdays and friendships for him. I thought about his grandparents spoiling the heck out of him. I thought of Kourie giving him gum or cookies after I had specifically told her not to. I wondered what his first word would be; even if it was a naughty word, I would be so excited for him. I couldn’t wait for the first time I would hear him call me Mommy. I couldn’t wait for his first step, first day of Kindergarten, first date, straight A’s, prom, graduation, college. My head was spinning with the bright future my little man had. The memories, even though they hadn’t happened yet, were already there.
When this diagnosis came up, my initial thought was that it had to be a mistake. There was no possible way that this was happening to me, happening to my family or him. No possible way that my precious baby could be suffering from something so terrible. My son was stronger than this, I had done everything right and by the book. How could this be happening to him after all he and I had been through thus far? Why did it have to be him? I felt like a hole had been ripped into my chest and the life had been sucked out of me. My hopes, my dreams, everything gone with the simple words Trisomy 18.
After the shock of this diagnosis, I started to fight the fear of losing my baby. I fought with every ounce of the energy I had left to push stress away. I knew that I didn’t want him to feel what I was going through. I wanted him to know that even though this was happening, I was still honored and amazingly thrilled to be the mother of such a brave baby. In the end, he was making a sacrifice that really wasn’t his to make and I wanted him to know that I was so proud of him. I wanted him to continue to grow and gain the strength because this wasn’t a death sentence; it was just a bump in the road for him. I continued to do everything right. I was going to do everything in my power to bring him into this world as safely as I could.
In the days before he entered the world, I became anxious. I wasn’t nervous for myself or even the birth process, but I was anxious for him. Worried that he wouldn’t have the strength, or I had pushed him too much. He had already proved that he was amazing by living inside of me for forty-two weeks. All he had to do now was come out and meet me. I had been waiting for 10 ½ months to hold that miracle in my arms and all I’d asked for were a few short minutes with him.
When it came time to actually give birth, I began to cry. The realization of him was coming to me and I knew that the outcome could very well be sad. When it came time to push, I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think I had the strength that Caleb did, but something in me, something I didn’t know existed pushed me to make sure he came safely. I dug down so deeply, hoping that the faster I got him out, the better chance I had of seeing him alive. Nothing could have possibly stopped me. And nothing could possibly hurt more than hearing the words, “Lindsey, we checked him and he didn’t have a heartbeat. I’m sorry.”
When I saw him for the first time, my heart stopped. I’d never seen anything so beautiful, so precious as his perfect little face. I’d never felt such a combination of joy and agony at the same time. I studied everything about him, committing it to memory. I stared at his feet and his legs, his fingers and his arms. I followed the contour of his chest, to the curve in his neck, the dimple of his tiny chin. His cheeks had the perfect roundness to them, his nose the tiniest thing I’d ever seen. I even got to see the bright sapphire color of his eyes, which I’d never dreamed could be possible. His hair was dark and thin, and it was the softest texture you could possibly imagine. He was absolutely perfect on the outside, regardless of what was inside of him that stole him from me.
This child, no matter how short his time here was, made an impact on the world. He imprinted himself on my heart and my soul, just as he’d done with the rest of you. He may have and a tiny hole in his heart, but that is nothing compared to the hole he left in mine. I never knew I could lose the love of my life before I’d even met him. While I feel he’s lucky to be safe and warm in the arms of Jesus, I feel that I’m even luckier. This tiny human taught me what it really was like to love. He taught me what heartbreak really felt like. He also showed me that I have a strength in me that I never knew existed before. He made me into an adult, even though that wasn’t his job. He will be on my mind and in my heart everyday. I will never forget the amazing strength that he carried, and the bravery it took to leave so early.
Caleb, you will never know the pain of skinned knee, or a broken heart. You will never know sin or worry that you’ve upset me. You will never struggle over a math problem or be upset that you couldn’t find a date to the dance. You will only ever know happiness and comfort. For that, I’m grateful. My sweet baby, you can finally be at peace. Run around, jump, dance. Do whatever you want to in Heaven because you now have the chance to do so. Know that I will miss you with every breath that I take, every beat of my heart. One day I will join you in Heaven and we will do everything that I’d planned to do with you here on Earth. . I can’t wait for the day I hear you call me Mommy when I meet you there. You are everything I could have hoped for in a child, I love you and I could not be prouder to call myself your mother.
Monday, December 15, 2008
After a brave battle with Trisomy 18, Caleb Alex Ofcansky, infant son of Lindsey M. Ofcansky, of Greensburg, was born to Heaven Friday, December 12, 2008 at Magee Women's Hospital, Pittsburgh. He was predeceased by his great-grandmother, Mollie Ofcansky-Freed and an uncle, Alex M. Ofcansky. In addition to his mother, Caleb is survived by his grandparents William E. and Debi Ofcansky, of Greensburg and aunt and godmother, Kourie Ofcansky, of Greensburg and aunt, Amy Schade, her husband Laddie and their children Kiennen, Nicholas and Kierstin of Irwin. He is also survived by great-grandfathers William Ofcansky, of North Versailles and Richard Freed, of Squirrel Hill, great-uncles Harrold Ofcansky and his wife Rene, of White Oak, David Ofcansky and his wife Kim, of Pitcarin, and John Ofcansky, great-aunts Faye Kirkling and her husband Michael of Greensburg, and Sandra Richardson, of Newnan, GA, godmother Staci Gressley, her husband Justin and daughter Alexis, of Indiana and cousins Lori, her husband Vito and son Matteo, Savannah, GA, Jessica and Neveah Immel, Ashley Smith, Sarah Richardson, Amanda Dukes, Nathan, Holly and John Ofcansky. A private memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the BARNHART FUNERAL HOME, 505 E. Pittsburgh St., Greensburg. Private interment will be in St. Clair Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Trisomy 18 Foundation in Caleb's memory at www.Trisomy18.org.
I did get to spend the entire day with him and I was so happy that I even got that. It's just that tomorrow hasn't even happened yet and it's a worse day than the day I lost him.
All I ask is that tomorrow my family be in your thoughts and prayers that we will have the strength to get through it. Especially for me, and it's only because I have to read the eulogy. I will have that posted as well as pictures from the balloon release scheduled for 1:51PM, the time he was born to Heaven.
Caleb's obituary was posted on the Tribune-Review's website. I would really like people to sign it so I can print it out for his scrapbook. Here's the link:
Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers for my family at this time. You will never understand how much your love and support truly means to me and my family.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The nursing staff and doctors who delivered me were absolutely amazing and patient with my brand of humor. The birthing process went smoothly for me, mostly because I had the epidural. I got to watch my son come into the world through a mirror attached to the ceiling. I watched him come out, with the cord around his neck and I knew that we weren't going to have the luck that we'd prayed for. We were able to keep him all day, kissing and hugging what once was my precious son. We met with the NILMDTS photographers, who took stunning photographs for my memory of him. Courtney, Aunt Amy, and Stacy T (who stopped by later to visit) stayed with me for most of the night. We finally decided to baptize Caleb right when my father showed up to meet his grandson. He was baptized at 8:10PM, and my family said out final goodbyes at 12:05AM. I was discharged from Magee at 1:30AM to mourn with my family.
Words cannot express the amount of sadness I feel right now. I never knew someone could feel so much joy and pain at the same time. I also never knew that the love of my life would leave before I ever even got to meet him. My heart has never hurt so much, and I'm not even sure that it will ever heal from a break like this. I prayed and prayed and prayed for him on a daily basis to make it, and no amount of prayer could bring him home with me through the holidays.
Now, I take the time to thank all of you who religiously read my blog throughout this process and those who checked it like it was your job these past few days. There were so many of you praying for him, that I truly believed that a miracle could occur. Even though it didn't happen for me, I appreciate every single one of you who took the time to make comments and reassure me throughout this trying time. No amount of thank you would ever be enough for all of you. You were truly a big part of my strength in getting through this.
There were pictures taken of the day (of course), and I will be posting them as soon as I can. I'm just really tired right now and don't have the patience to do it. I will have them posted tomorrow sometime.
Again, thank you so much.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Stay tuned for further updates.......
And because this is my labor and nothing will go smoothly, it snowed like crazy outside last night and we will be making that journey to Magee in this. By the time you are reading this, you will understand.
Updates to follow...
Thursday, December 11, 2008
So it's been a slow day for Caleb and me. I've been having consistent contractions at 10 minutes apart. I'm in an incredible amount of pain, but I'm toughing it out so I don't get sent home from the hospital. It's been a long day, but I'm doing my best to get through it. I took a little nap today, but the contractions kept me up. I gave up sleeping and now am just going through the motions.
Mom just said that since the pain is intensifying, we might be taking a trip to Magee just because of the weather. It's starting to freeze out there and we just want to be close just in case. It's a 45 minute drive for us on a good day. Just taking precautions.
If nothing ends up happening with in the next 24 hours, I am to report to the hospital at 8am tomorrow to be induced. So either way, there's a baby coming and we are ecstatic!!! It's about time Caleb Alex!!!
I will try to keep you updated throughout the day, but since I didn't sleep last night...I'm gonna try and do some of that too.
Thanks for your continued support guys! It's been knowing that you're reading that's been helping me get through this.
Mom has her laptop with her and we will be blogging as much as possible. I guess the induction will not be necessary.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
To be continued...
I tried to be patient and understanding because doctors have to know more about this than I do. My problem is, I'm in pain and I want him out. I couldn't sleep comfortably. That's really the least of my problems. I wonder if I lost time with Caleb because the doctors have been pushing my induction and the decisions to the last minute. What if I lost two weeks of precious time with my baby? I'm already dealing with the negative sides of this. I'm starting to definitely feel anxiety here, and I've been doing an amazing job controlling my stress for Caleb's sake.
I just want this whole situation to be over with. I've been going through this for 9 weeks now, wondering if my little man is gonna be strong enough to pull through this. Now, I'm throwing myself on the mercy of God here to please allow me some time with him. The call I had yesterday with Magee made it sound like they were just going to make me wait as long as possible before they decide to induce. What happens if he decides he can't hold on anymore and he passes away before I get a chance to ever see him? I don't know if I'm strong enough to continue like I used to. I'm so deathly afraid of never hearing him cry, seeing him breathe or even a tiny smile that I've been looking forward to since I found out I was pregnant.
I can't take this anymore. I want Caleb now, and I can't imagine going through this anymore.
Monday, December 8, 2008
It's Grandma's Turn To Talk
This is Caleb's Grandma talking now. We found out that the doctor at the hospital where Caleb will be born is not in the office today. We now have to wait until tomorrow to see when they want to schedule to induce. Our hometown doctor's have been wonderful, but the lack of communication with us and the delivery doctors has caused just as much anxiety as the situation we are in.
I worry about my daughter, who is my hero, after all that she has been through, and the next journey we will be going through as a family. She worries more about all of us...her sister will be taking her finals this week. She will be one of Caleb's Godmothers. Her dad is a self employed hairdresser and works alone. What about his schedule? Her best friend, and Caleb's second Godmother, has an 11th month old daughter. And she works. Her older sister, who has three kids of her own, and is also in a business with her husband. And finally, a cousin, who is more like a sister, and lives in Georgia. She and her little boy and husband would like to come up here to meet our little wonder. I am the lucky one. She and I will be going through the delivery together, and as you do with your children, I will drop everything to be with her at this time.
We will need to have Caleb baptized as soon as possible, due to not knowing how much time he will be with us. We have made many arrangements, some I never expected to have to do when a little baby is coming. One of the best connections we have made is with an organization called Now I Lay me Down To Sleep. They specialize in infant photography for "situations" like ours. I am a photographer, and have taken thousands of pictures of my family and others. But I know I will be in no condition to do justice for my daughter at this time. I am looking very forward to meeting the very wonderful young woman who has eased my mind with this very important detail.
We have been offered the use of many things, from furniture to clothing to help us out. We cannot tell you how much we appreciate all of the offers. We are just too afraid to go all out, because we still don't know the outcome. Being the Grandma, I of course couldn't help buying the 1st Christmas ornament. And I bought one for Caleb's Mommy that says "I Love My Mom". And the baby blue and white Santa hat and stocking that we are probably going to be able to fit Caleb in because he will be so small!
Lindsey is resting now, after all she is 41 weeks and 5 days along. I hope she is dreaming peaceful dreams about her and her precious little boy. As she says... We are going to be Happy now, we will be sad later. I told you she was my hero.
And for everyone who is reading this blog. Thank you so much for caring enough to follow our family on this journey. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. You will be in ours.
We will update you tomorrow after we hear from the delivery doctors.
I'm still only a centimeter dilated, so it looks like it will be Thursday or Friday that I will be forced into labor and Caleb will be forced to face the real world. YAY! At least I finally have a chance to look forward to something.
Updates to follow if needed...
Sunday, December 7, 2008
So I have an appointment tomorrow, and this one will finally determine whether or not I need to be induced. I was really hoping he would decide to come on his own, but on Wednesday he'll be 2 weeks overdue. We're running out of time here. He'll just have to be drug out. We shall see...
Updates will follow after tomorrow's appointment!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
When we were are the doc's yesterday, I was giggling because this figures. It's my child and I shouldn't be surprised that he's decided to make this difficult. He somehow knows this is all his deal and he can do whatever he wants. Good news is, he's still moving around and he showing me he's gonna be a fighter.
I'll be keeping you updated...
Monday, December 1, 2008
Needless to say, I'm frustrated. I want to meet this guy and I've waited long enough. I don't know how long I will have him for, so the sooner he comes out, the better. Of course, I could take into account that he doesn't want to come out yet because he's trying to come out healthier than he would be if he came out now. He's taken the wheel here, but I want to stomp on the brakes and get him out. I'm already nervous about giving birth and doing this by myself. Why add more stress to mommy? Oh right, this is my child and it makes sense that he would chill in there until someone forces him out of the comfort of my womb.
Updates will follow tomorrow...