Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Decor at Myles's Grave

Despite being rather down this weekend I did manage to get into the holiday spirit just enough to make a holiday arrangement to put on Myles's grave. I used a variety of fresh pine, spruce, and fir sprigs in addition to some fun, sparkly embellishments. I think it turned out pretty nice.

Today I took the arrangement and some other holiday items up to Myles's grave. It was super cold and my hands were in pain by the time the basket was wired to the plant stand, so I didn't quite finish. I have to go back this week to wrap garland around the post of the planter stand, but this is what it looks like so far.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What I am Thankful For

In honor of Thanksgiving I thought I would share with you the things that I am thankful for. Most of the time I feel like I have nothing at all to be thankful for because my baby died and that's usually at the forefront of my mind. I know that I have many obvious things to pay thanks for: my health, my husband's health, a wonderful, supportive, loving husband, great friends and family, two cats who love me unconditionally, a job I enjoy, and a warm house to sleep in. The list could go on and on.

I think that most people would be thankful for all of the things I mentioned above. However, I think that anyone who's lost a child is likely not to publicly give thanks for these things daily. I (and I presume others who've lost children) feel cheated out of the one thing that I wanted most, my son, Myles. I envy all those people who can be thankful for their little ones who smile back at them today.

Despite Myles's physical absence I am most thankful for his very real presence in my life. Myles made me a mommy and filled my heart that was empty for so many years. Myles made my husband a daddy, my parents grandparents, and my brother an uncle. Not only did I get to experience the surreal feelings of Myles moving inside me, but I also got to spend 26 amazing days with my son. I was able to admire my son's resemblence to his daddy, I got to touch his soft skin, I got to talk to him and notice him recognize my voice, I got to hold him close to my skin and feel his heart beat next to mine, I got to see his sparkling, beautiful eyes, and I got to know that with my husband (and Dr. S) I created the most amazing little miracle baby. I am thankful for the inspiration that I draw from my son every single day. Myles is my son and for that I am eternally thankful.

I am also very thankful that I have someone who loves me and my husband so much that she's willing to give up her body to help us bring another baby into the world. K is truly our angel of hope. She is a selfless, loving woman who truly embodies goodness. I can not express my gratitude and thanks for my cousin K and her loving, supportive family.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Apparently I'm Now a Scrooge

Today I spent the day with my mom doing some Christmas shopping and now I feel terrible. I used to love the holidays and now I seem to hate them. I told my mom that I didn't feel like decorating the house this year and she proceeded to tell me that she understood that I was sad, but that I shouldn't let it keep me from enjoying the holidays. Of course this made me feel worse because I felt like she was ignoring my feelings and brushing them off as insignificant. I proceeded to tell her that I'll do whatever I want and if I don't feel like decorating my house then I won't. Obviously she can't force me to do it. It sounds childish to repeat that, but I can't even believe that someone, especially my mom, is giving me crap about missing my son this holiday season.

I did buy a silver star ornament that I had engraved with "Remembering Myles" in addition to an ornament that says "Baby's First Christmas" with a place to put a picture of Myles. I already bought a silver "M" ornament. The more I think about it we'll probably put up our tree just so I can put these ornaments on it for Myles.

I guess I'm just finding it hard to be merry and joyful this holiday season. Last year at this time we were excited to be pregnant and were looking forward to finding out Myles's gender. This year all I can do is think about what should have been. Everyone seems to think that I should be enjoying the festive season like nothing's happened, which actually makes me feel worse. Also, after the holidays we're that much closer to Myles's birthday and the worst day of our lives, the day he died.

Despite being a scrooge I do plan to decorate Myles's grave for Christmas. I bought items to make an arrangment that I will put on his grave when I take down the Thanksgiving/fall items this weekend. I bought a neat basket that looks like the black top hat that Frosty the Snowman wears. I plan to stuff it with real pine sprigs, sparkly berries, and other pretty glittery embelishments. I plan to make the arrangement and put it on Myles's grave on Saturday along with the super cute snowman LED light that my mom bought for his grave. The solar-powered LED snowman light changes colors and will look great hanging on the shepherd's hook next to Myles's grave. I'll take photos and post them after I get it all decorated.

Tomorrow will probably be horrible too. I'll have to endure my cousin's baby boy and the dreaded "What are you thankful for?" thing they love to do. I think I'll go outside or lock myself in the bathroom for an hour while they do that. Or maybe I'll say something to make everyone feel uncomfortable?!

I'm sure it doesn't help that I had to buy my friend a baby shower gift and gifts for other friends who are having babies soon. I figure I'll buy gifts, but have no intentions to attend the shower or visit the newborns. Visiting the baby section of any store is bad enough, but being immersed in non-stop baby talk at a shower is like torture. Now that I bought those gifts I'm done with baby stuff for this year and hopefully for a long time. I'm hoping that the next baby stuff I buy is for my baby(ies) that K is carrying!

On a positive note the clinic's IVF coordinator called me to tell me that our paperwork was approved! This was a huge relief to me given that I answered a question about marijuana use honestly and said that I tried it in college. I was freaking out thinking that this was going to ruin everything. The IVF coordinator said she's passing our files on to data entry to have them create a chart for K and she'll be calling us on Friday or Monday to schedule our pysch eval and infectious disease testing. I requested that we schedule the consent signing on the same day to avoid multiple trips to the clinic. I'm hoping that we'll get our IVF calendar that day or shortly thereafter. The ball is still rolling ever so slowly ...

Monday, November 24, 2008

For Myles

Today I came home to find an email from a friend and fellow preeclampsia survivor, A. Attached to this email was the above picture. A took the time while on the beach this weekend to make this for me and for Myles. I think it is so beautiful and so sweet of A. Thank you, A, for your kindness and thoughtfulness! You have been and continue to be such a great supporter of me. I am lucky to call you my friend!

The email and picture from A brightened my not so great day. I spent the entire day at the district office in meetings trying to rewrite curriculum with the biology teachers from the other high school across town. We all agree to disagree, so you can imagine how well things went. As if the meeting itself wasn't bad enough one of the guys who I'll call Mr. Teacher asked me about Myles and things got uncomfortable for everyone ...

Mr. Teacher: So, Niki did you have a boy or girl?

Me: I had a boy.

Mr. Teacher: When was he born?

Me: January 21, 2008

Mr. Teacher: What's his name?

Me: Myles

Me: (thinking) Is he trying to be nice by asking about my dead baby? Does he honestly not know what happened? How am I going to deal with this without making him uncomfortable? How do I not draw anymore attention to myself?

Mr. Teacher: How exciting. Your little guy is almost a year old. You must be quite busy with your little one getting into everything.

Me: (thinking) Ouch, that's something I try to avoid thinking about and now he's shoved it in my face. If Myles had survived, he would be 10 months old. :( I immediately feel sick to my stomach and the hole in my heart starts to ache and throb. Clearly he doesn't know and now I've led him to believe that my son is living and now it's going to be even more weird when I blurt out that Myles died.

Me: (trying to avoid eye contact) Um, actually no. Myles died in February. I didn't say anything because I assumed you knew and then when I realized that you didn't know I was trying to avoid making you uncomfortable.

Mr. Teacher: (not even looking at me now) Oh, oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know.

Me: That's fine. You didn't know and were trying to be nice.

Mr. Teacher: What happened?

Me: Myles was born prematurely and developed pneumonia, which was too much for his tiny, immature lungs.

Mr. Teacher: I'm really sorry and I'm sorry that I brought it up.

Me: (thinking) As if you mentioning it just suddenly caused it to pop in my brain after having not thought about it?! Seriously, like Myles isn't always on my mind?! Why do people think that by not mentioning/asking I won't think about my son?

Me: (feeling offended) You don't need to apologize. Myles was an amazing little boy and I'm happy to talk about him. Yes, it's sad that he died, but he's still my son. I had him and enjoyed spending 26 days with him. Honestly I actually enjoy mentioning Myles's name.

Mr. Teacher: (very, very uncomfortable now) Again I'm sorry.

Me: Thank you. Okay, so what do you think about _____ (insert something/anything about the curriculum to make Mr. Teacher comfortable again).

I'm not sure why such conversations cause me such heartache, but I guess they just catch me by surprise. I presume that everyone already knows what happened and don't expect to be asked specific questions about my child who they assume is living. I hate it that I have to comfort others about my son's death. I hate it that I can't just talk about Myles and tell people how amazing he was. I hate it that I have to "hide" my son and the amazing, miracle who he was. I love Myles and wish that it was socially acceptable for me to express this without getting the puppy dog eyes and look of pity. I am a Mommy who loves her son just like every other mommy, but I can't beam and brag about him without feeling weird. Just another thing to grieve.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blog Makeover

Thanks for all of your suggestions! I really appreciate your thoughts and nice comments. I decided to give the blog a makeover and give it a new, fresh look for the winter. Do you like the new look?

K is going to send me a pic of her sometime this week, so I'll post that on the side bar next to the photos of us, Myles, and our furbabies. Also, per the suggestion of one reader I posted a timeline of our surrogacy journey to this point and will update it as we progress. I deleted my infertility journey/history on the sidebar and replaced it with the surrogacy journey timeline. I put the bulleted version of my IF history in one of my first posts that chronicled it. If someone really wants to know where I've been, they can read back. Any other suggestions on things to change/add?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Slightly Revised Blog Title

I decided to add "... To Surrogacy" to my blog title. I felt like it would give my readers and new readers a better idea of what they'd be reading about in my blog. I still want to make Myles a big part of my blog because despite not being with me physically he's a huge part of my life, so I left his name in my blog. However, I also wanted to indicate that my journey continues, but has taken a new path to surrogacy!

I need to talk to K and ask her if she'd be willing to send me a picture, so I can put it on the sidebar. I want everyone to see K's beautiful smiling face so they can have a picture of the amazing woman who's going to help us have a baby! I also thought that maybe I should post a picture of J and I in the sidebar and maybe even our furbabies too. That way I'll have pics of our family on my blog. (So, K what do you think? Can you get all cutesy and have your hubby take a pic of you for my blog?)

I think when I get time I'll make a link to my IF history and remove it from the sidebar. It is long and depressing, but is nice for readers to see where I've been on this journey.

Any thoughts or suggestions on other revisions to the blog appearance?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Children's Remembrance Celebration

Yesterday J and I along with our family and a few friends traveled to Mayo Clinic for a Children's Remembrance Celebration. I expected it to be a difficult ceremony and that it was. The ceremony involved songs, poetry, flowers, balloons, a paren'ts letter and a photo montage of all the children who were being remembered. Myles's picture was the first one in the slide show and I completely lost it when I saw his picture on their giant screen. It's weird because I look at his pictures many times each day, but to see it on a big screen in a room filled with other parents who've lost children was very emotional. We saw a few of the staff who helped us while Myles was at the children's hospital, but none of the nurses or doctors. We opted not to go on the tour of the NICU. J and I don't want to go back there.

I talked with parents of another micro-preemie, Ellie, who was born at 24 wks in 2005and died after a 4 day fight for life. Ellie was a beautiful little girl and her parents were kind, loving people. My heart ached for Ellie's mommy as she told me Ellie's story through tears. She expressed so much guilt of not being there with her daughter in the NICU. Ellie's mommy was 2 hours away in the hospital where she delivered recovering from her c-section. Ellie was flown to Mayo at birth. The day Ellie died her mommy was released from the hospital, but she didn't make it in time. Three years later Ellie's mommy still harbors the guilt of not being there with her daughter during her life and death. I could feel her pain and sadness and wished I could take it away. I can relate to the overwhelming guilt. However, my guilt is over Myles's early birth. My body failed Myles and resulted in his death. As his mommy I was supposed to protect him and I failed. Just as Ellie's mommy is haunted by guilt I will also be haunted by guilt for the rest of my life.

It's been 9 months today since Myles's death. It's weird because some days it feels like a lifetime ago that I held him and felt the life leave his tiny body, yet other days it feels like it was just yesterday. I miss Myles terribly and can't even imagine what my life would be like if he were here. I feel empty, lonely, and broken. I want nothing more than to see my little guy's sparkling eyes again. I want to feel his warm little body over my heart. I want to know what it feels like to watch my child reach milestones. I want the world to think of me as a mommy. I want my son back.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Beautiful Uterus

Today K and I made the trip to my reproductive clinic to have her uterus examined via SHG and to do a trial transfer. The worst part about the visit was K's discomfort due to an extra full bladder, which she was allowed to expell in increasing increments up to 12, and the rest of the appointment went really well! First, my RE did the trial transfer and the catheter easily passed through, so there isn't any scar tissue from her c-sections blocking her cervix. Second, the RE did the SHG and her uterine cavity look fantastic! So fantastic that I'd call it beautiful! K's uterus will be a perfect home for our snowbabies!

It was a little weird to be in my husband's typical spot/role and not on the table getting the dildo cam, but it didn't make me sad at all. I was so over the top happy to see K's perfect uterus on the screen that I all I could do was think about how much my snow babies are going to love their warm, cozy home come January!

Due to the holidays, the clinic's closure for IVF procedures, and all the paperwork we are looking at a FET in mid-January. I would've loved to do a transfer in December, but don't want to rush things and have something go wrong because we are in a hurry. I do worry a little about the transfer being close to Myles's birthday, but also wonder if this will bring us luck. I know Myles would like for us to be blessed with a little brother or sister or both, so he will be watching over us and cheering us on in January!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Surrogate's Dream

My surrogate, K, has very vivid dreams. She's always had them. Awhile back she told me that she had a dream that she delivered our baby--a baby boy. Today she told me that she had a dream that we were doing an embryo transfer in mid-December. I am hoping this is a sign that all is going to be well with the medical tests on Wednesday. I'm also hoping that it's a sign that we will be able to do the FET in December before the holidays! This thought made me fantasize about how amazing it would be to get a BFP for Christmas! (K, BFP means big fat positive!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Aunt Flow has arrived!

Nope not for me! K (our surrogate) called and she got a visit from Aunt Flow today and I'm super excited! I never, ever thought I'd be cheering on the arrival of menstruation for my cousin, but here I am saying "woo hoo"! We scheduled K's sonohystogram (SHG) and the mock transfer for next Wednesday! I'm so excited to take this step and get the show on the road! Okay, so the ball is rolling a little faster now and as it picks up speed I'm getting more and more excited! :D

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Good Quote Shared by a Friend

You never know how strong you are until strength is your only option.
(Author unknown)

Impressed and Proud

Without getting too political I just wanted to say that I'm proud to call myself an American today. I haven't been able to say that for several years, but today it's true. I am impressed with my fellow Americans and feel fortunate to be a part of this huge chapter in American History. Despite my negative feelings about McCain I must say that during his concession speech he handled himself with grace and dignity--he certainly surprised and impressed me! Obama's victory speech was one filled with hope for a better future. I am hopeful for our future and I am so ready for the much needed changes to come! I'm sure things will be rough at first, but everything in it's infancy has kinks to iron out. Congratulations Obama and best wishes!