Let them eat cake.

We need to pick out Benjamin’s birthday cake soon. I say to him late last night, while we’re both staring at our phones. We both know the date is coming up. Looming over us as each day in February passes us by.

I think we should do a rocket ship. He says

We did that for his second birthday… then there is silence.

I hate picking his cake. I say and I feel my face starting to get hot. I feel my eyes starting to give way.

He looks up at me with serious, sad eyes. The way he always does when I get like this. I can tell my Mom not to make a cake this year if you don’t want one. He says, trying to fix it for me. Trying to make this a little less hard.

That’s not what I’m saying. I hate picking the theme. I hate that he’d be four this year and I have no clue what he’d like. I mean surely he’d be in to something. Like love something. And I just don’t know what it would be and that kills me. I hate picking his cake. But I want to celebrate him.

How about just a four with stars? He says. He’s trying to find a way to make this what I want it to be.

That sounds good. We need to figure out what we want to do also. Like if it’s just cake with our parents or if we go somewhere and do something. But not on his day. I can’t go anywhere on his day.

He nods. He knows.

 

In my day dreams I have a middle child. A child that sleeps on the bottom bunk while Jack sleeps up top. A curly haired boy who is a link in the chain that connects Jack and William together. A piece of our puzzle. A third booster seat in the car. Another little person to raise. I can see what it would be like… with him here. I could see how life was supposed to be. But it’s not.

So instead, the first week of March every year we throw  a sad birthday party for a boy who never got to be a day old, an hour old, a minute old, or a second old. He lived for 8 months inside of me, but never took a breath. We eat cake and plan small trips to celebrate him. To include him in our lives. What would Benjamin want to do at 4 years old?

It’s almost March and it’s almost time to eat birthday cake.

 

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Memory- The morning you were still born.

I was 37 weeks pregnant and I called off of work the night before on a hunch that I didn’t want to be working the next day. It was a Monday morning in March, exactly 3 years ago. I woke up in so much pain. I sat up in bed and felt a huge gush. It’s time. I think my water just broke. I think I’m in labor. There was rushing to get your big brother around. You are coming early. We are not ready. I go into the bathroom to wash up and change. There is so much blood. Should there be blood? I’m not sure. Phone calls are made. I am speaking to doctors on the phone while I’m in the bathtub, sitting in bloody water. Then we are rushing. And the pain has not stopped. It’s one continuous contraction. Surely it’s not supposed to be like this. 

Jack is dropped off at Noni’s. She is waiting at the door. Her face shows excitement. I can not get out of the car. We are rushing and I am cussing and saying why isn’t it stopping? Why does it hurt so bad? 

At the hospital we are rushed up to labor and delivery. They are asking so many questions and I am still in so much pain. The nurses scurry in and out of our room. I look at Jason pleading Why aren’t they doing anything? He needs OUT! There is a searching, then whispers, then and ultrasound technician looking seriously at the screen. And I know then. I know what everyone in the room but Jason knows, but no one is saying anything. Just tell me. I tell the technician. The doctor will be in shortly. She replies leaving us alone in the room with my other two nurses who are still standing on the other end of the room just looking at me.

The doctor comes in. Fetal demise. No heartbeat. He is saying these things. He is asking me what happened. Did I fall? What happened? What happened? I look to Jason. Did you hear what he said? He is just looking at me. He is just holding my hand, nervously. He is looking at me but not responding. Jason, did you hear him? He’s gone. The baby is dead. 

Your Daddy starts crying, quietly, in his way that he does. Emergency c-section they say. Immediately.

I need to call my sister. The phone sucks and isn’t working fast enough. She answers, excited, says she’ll be on her way soon. Don’t come up here. I repeat it over and over and she keeps asking why. The baby is gone. I need you to make some calls for me. 

I don’t know how much time passed. We are left alone in the room. I am not crying. I don’t know why I’m not crying but I can’t cry, not yet. We can’t stop talking to each other. He says. I nod. I don’t remember when the pain stopped or what they gave me… but at some point it did. They are saying it almost time to take you out. They are asking if we want to see you. Absolutely not. No. Too hard. He’s not here.  We are being wheeled away. Other loved ones have arrived with terrible looks on their faces and questions. So many questions. No one has any answers.

In the operating room it is somber and different. There is rushing to get you out but not to make sure you arrive safely. Now, they are trying to stop my bleeding. They are trying to save me. And the nurse is there, waiting to take you away into another room, to clean you up. Wait, I do want to see him! I do! Okay, Okay they say. Okay. There is pressure then relief and you are here. But there is no brilliant cry. There is no hustle to get you breathing. You are handed off to the nurse, covered up, and hustled out before anyone can lay eyes on you. Methodical, business-like, the business of dead babies. The operation takes less time then I remember my previous one. Before we know we are back in our room surrounded by both sets of your grandparents and a friend of Noni’s that worked at the hospital.

I looked around and remembered you were coming. They’re going to bring him in here. So if you don’t want to see him you can leave now. But before I can finish you’re here. The nurse has put you in a nightgown and a beautiful knitted blanket. She hands you to me.

You are so little, 5 lbs 9 oz. But what I wasn’t expecting was how perfect you are. You look a lot like your older brother. You have my nose and your Daddy’s olive skin and forehead. Peaking out from under your little hat is your black curly hair, another thing you got from Daddy. You are perfect. But you are so, so still.

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Happy Birthday Benjamin Scott!

This morning has been a quiet one. Daddy is working until 5:30. Jack and I ate banana bread for breakfast and will hang your birthday decorations soon. We’ll be eating your third birthday cake this evening with your grandparents and thinking about who you would have been today. I think about you all the time. There is a space in our little family that only you can fill. You will be a big brother in May. I spend lots of days thinking about what it would have been like to be a mother to three boys. I miss you. Have the happiest of birthdays little bear.

 

So… What’s your thing?

I had someone ask this question this morning. Not necessary to me, but to the gaggle of ladies on the forum I follow… And it got me thinking…

WHAT IS MY THING?

I feel like I’ve had many “things” in the past… but now? My things were writing (mostly during and after high school), scrapbooking (post high school, pre-Jack), teaching/ crafting/ Momming (the last 6 years).

But as far as passion goes I’m not passionate about a single one of those things anymore. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll never stop Momming, because I love my babies, but I really don’t care what others think of me as a Mom anymore because I know my kid is having an awesome life.

I feel like I’m at a transition period in my life. Leaving the anxiety of my late twenties behind and going toward my early thirties with grace and deliberation. That’s been laying heavy on my heart this last couple of weeks, during my quiet time, living deliberately. 

There’s this quote that I love by Henry David Thoreau:

“I went to the woods because I wished to lived deliberately to front only the essential facts of life and to see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I die, discover that I had not lived.”

I’m not moving to the woods.

But I so desperately want to start living deliberately. I think that I past three years, with the exception of Jack (Jack is always an exception), my life has been one big race toward the future. Toward what? No one knows.

I want to focus myself enough to maintain a garden this year. I want to bake bread, instead of buying it. I want to stop paying restaurants for frozen food and make my own. I want to really taste my food. I want to bake. I want to sew. I want to learn to use essential oils. I want to learn natural ways to heal. I want to get healthy again, mentally and physically. I want to gain my optimism back and start loving everyone again. I want to make my marriage a priority. I want to love my husband bigger than the world again. I want to listen to my baby. Instead of rushing him through the day.

At the beginning of this I was scared I didn’t have a “thing” anymore. But I guess I do. It’s many things… deliberately slowing down to enjoy the present. I’m just starting out though and that’s the frustrating thing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Shut it down.

My heart is heavy. Has been for about a week now. No explanation for it, just got heavy.

Winter is coming to Ohio soon. Before we know it we’ll be dealing with that white stuff that I think is both beautiful and sickening.

I don’t know why i’m not sharing right now. Sometimes I get trapped inside myself and just need to stay quiet. People have been quite disappointing lately. Like why share when responses are either ridiculous or self centered…? So I don’t share.

I’m missing my mother today. It’s her birthday. Which I didn’t even realize until I just looked down on the date on my computer. Awesome. Happy Birthday Mom… from your daughter who can’t remember how old you’d be or even that you’re birthday is coming before it is here. Shit.

I should be writing some kind of fantastic Mom memory today… because there are plenty. But instead I’m pissed at myself that I forgot now. So there’s that. I’ll probably delete this post later. So there’s that.

Way out of center?

Last week became a week of doors closing and others opening. After losing baby A, Jason and I both decided it might be time for things to slow down for me. We wanted less stress, more health, and more time. So I quit working at the place I’ve worked at for the past 2 years and quit working with the people I’ve worked with for the past 6. There were tears. I am both happy and sad about it.

Sad because I’ll miss teaching my kids. I won’t get to teach the littles that are coming up to my room, that I loved so much when they were babies. Sad because I won’t get to see my kids that are moving on do great things in the big kid room. I’m planning on visiting. I’m planning on popping in for hugs and squeezes. But for now, home is my place.

I’m happy because I get the opportunity to be with my boy more, my house won’t be such a mess all of the time, and i’ll finally have time to finish all of the projects I’ve been putting off because of not having enough time.

Sitting here this morning with my coffee and everyone fed, there is no rushing. We’ll get to everything we need to get to today. The boy’s watching Spiderman before he has to clean up his room. The laundry is started. The dog is throwing his toys up in the air and catching them again. And the cat is laying stretched out on the dining room floor, indifferent to it all, or cussing me because we don’t have air conditioning.

I am so excited about this year, this opportunity. Currently, my heart is full. Now, in two days when kindergarten starts and we’re “rushing” again… I’ll let you know how I feel. But today is my first “slow”  Monday in years… and I’m just going to enjoy every minute of it.

I have seen you in various stages of undress… in various stages of sadness.

  I have known this man for 11 long years. Honestly when I met him he was just a young kid trying to figure out where he was going in life. And I was just a dumb girl who didn’t care where she’d end up. In those first couple of years we were apart more than we were together. He had decided that joining the Marines was the direction he wanted to take in life and I supported him one hundred and ten percent in following that path. I stayed behind, 750 miles away from him, to work in a warehouse, driving a forklift, and paying my sick mother’s bills. I remember when he called me to tell me he was going over to Iraq. I remember waiting for the letters and the phone calls that would come once in a blue moon… just to hear his voice. Just to know he was alright. It was a natural choice for me to move down South to be with him when he returned from the war. It was a happy time for us. We had our first official place without our parents, and we were free to do as we pleased. Three months after I moved down there my Mother died. And it felt like a piece of me would be missing for the rest of my life. She was the person I turned to with everything and I physically did not think I could live without her here on Earth. 

In true fashion… Jason and I always make huge decisions after something tragic happens… 7 months later, on my birthday, he asked me to marry him. Of course, I said Yes! 5 months after that we were back home in the dead of winter saying “I do” surrounded by friends and family. When I look back now and I know what I know, I can’t believe how young we were. In years and experience. 9 and a half months later our first son, Jack was born. I remember Jason looking at me like he was so, so sorry when I was trying to push him out. And then…. 72 hours later after the doctor finally took him out surgically I remember Jason looking at me like I was pure magic. The love I saw in his eyes was one of the purest and strongest things I had experienced my whole life, up until that moment I wasn’t sure that it was possible for one person to love another that much.

You see, in this past 11 years I have collected so many different looks from that man. I think that one was my all time favorite. I think the reason I’m writing about this now is because I received a new look from him this week and it may have topped that one. When we lost Ben, our second son, full term, the look I received was complete helplessness and sadness. But that is a story for another day.

This time, with this loss, everything has been different. I think partially because of everything that happened after we lost Benjamin, also apart of that other story. And everything we’ve had to overcome since then.

I think marriage, in itself, is choosing to fall in and out of love with one person over and over again. Because it is a choice. And he has chosen me just as many times as I have chosen him.

Late Saturday night when we were in the emergency room waiting to know if our baby’s heart was still beating or if this was all one big fluke, we were hopeful. Neither of us said anything. I think we both mentally just wanted to know so we didn’t have to worry or think about it any longer. The doctor came in and told us what I already knew in my heart, that the baby had stopped developing and that that was what was causing all of the troubles. I am not one to cry. At least not at appropriate times when other people normally cry. But after the doctor left I started feeling sorry for myself and uttered “My fucking life.” through muffled sobs. And he was there just like he always is when something tragic happens to me and he let me feel sorry for myself in that moment.

The new look I received came two nights later. We were laying in bed talking about our future and if we even wanted to put ourselves through the mental struggle of attempting to create another child and bring it into the world. He looked at me again… this time with strength, love, and compassion. And though he only said “I think it’ll be okay.”  His look said I believe in you and us and no matter what happens we will be okay. 

You choose love. And each other… even when it hurts like hell.