Thursday, February 25, 2010

Make every minute count.

I know that I have been lagging on my blog. I am struggling with trying to keep things upbeat. Lots of people read this and I am having a hard time opening up. I don't want to sound like a complainer, or like a huge downer.

But the truth is that my son is gone. I will no longer hold him in my arms. I will never be able to watch him grow up. I will never be able to hear his first words. I am among the few people in this world that has outlived their child.

I did however get to sing to him. He loved it when I sang Amazing Grace. I discovered this in the middle of the night when Brendan was super fussy. I was so tired and I couldn’t think of any other song. So I started singing it and he calmed right down. He took a deep breath after a minute or 2 and fell asleep in my arms. So from that moment on, I kept that in my back pocket to calm him down.

I did get to tell him about how his dad and I met. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like hearing the story about how their parents met? Brendan was still in the hospital and it was when he was intubated so I wasn’t able to hold him. I held his hand and told him about how we met at church. I told him how it was pretty much love at first sight and how his dad proposed to me 5 months after we met. I talked about the wedding and I told Brendan that his dad and I promised to love each other forever.

I also got to hold my son when he took his last breath. I sang to him and told him that I would love him forever and he would always be my son. I told him that his dad and I would not let this experience ruin our relationship. I promised Brendan that we would stay together and his life and death would make us stronger as a couple.

We fell asleep together on the couch at 4 am on January 23. I knew that he was not doing well and it was only a matter of time. I tried to stay awake as long as possible just talking to him and telling him that I loved him. He was wrapped tight in my arms and I kissed him goodnight and closed my eyes for just a few minutes. I laid him on my chest (his favorite place), and I let my heart beat soothe him to sleep. We feel asleep together. I woke up at 4:30 and listened for Brendan’s breathing and a heartbeat. It wasn’t there. I kissed him, and again told him that I would always love him and that he would always be mine.

I may not have had all the time in the world with him, but I tried to make every moment count.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Calling.....okay, Yelling

I feel like I am being called to do something BIG. I feel like God wants me to do something to impact others. Ever since Brendan was born and we found out everything that was going on with him, I have felt led. There is the terrible thing that has happened in my life, and I can't sit still.

It is like an itch that I can't scratch. I am usually a relaxed person (well, maybe a little high strung). But I am never really this focused on one thing. I tend to have grand ideas that fizzle after a short time. This idea has been with me for a while and has only gotten stronger. I feel like God is calling me. Well, actually he is yelling and it is getting hard to listen to anything else.

I want to write a book. I want it to be about my experience. I want to inspire people. I want to tell the world about what God has done in my life.

I am going to be taking some time just praying and seeing where God wants me to start. I want this to be whatever he wants He wants it to be.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Boobs.... once your child is born, they no longer belong to you. Or to your husband. They belong exclusively to your baby. If your husband touches them, you scream in pain. If you hear a baby (any baby) cry, your milk lets down and you have to run to the bathroom.

It was an amazing feeling to know that these things that have been a nuisance for so many years, finally have a purpose.

Well, I thought for sure that I wouldn't be able to breast feed. I had heard so many horror stories from friends and family and I thought that I wouldn't be able to. 

Once Brendan was born and rushed off to the NICU, the nurses brought in a pump and told me to start right away. At first there was nothing coming out. Then there was still nothing. But I kept at it and pumped every 3 hours even at night. 

Jeff and I were up in LA at a hotel near the hospital and I remember getting up in the middle of the night to pump. Poor Jeff would be sleeping like a rock and then my alarm would go off and wake him up. Did I mention that my husband is patient.

I would cry and cry because my milk wasn't coming in. It took several days and I didn't know what to do. I was getting about 4 drops total. Jeff I am sure remembers me sitting there with the bottles in my hands just sobbing and sobbing because I wanted Brendan to be able to breast feed.

Well, it was Thursday, five days after Brendan was born and that's when it came in. I was so excited! I really wanted to be able to do something normal for Brendan. I have heard that most mom's quit pumping after a couple weeks if their child is in the hospital and most of the nurses were telling me that I would probably not last that long just because the situation was so stressful.

I however took that as a challenge and decided that no matter what, I would pump until Brendan latched on. In fact, I was so good at it, that I would produce about 6 ounces in the beginning and then worked up to about 8-10 ounces every 3 hours.

Well, Brendan had some issues with latching on and actually couldn't ever take food by mouth. He had airway issues and because of this brain issues, was also not able to coordinate sucking swallowing and breathing. So momma did what I could. I continued pumping and he was able to take it through a G-tube that fed food right into his tummy. 

I am really glad that I was able to do that for him. I feel like it is the least that I could do for him. All the doctors and nurses told us that babies recover better from surgery and thrive better if they are eating breast milk. I was able to give Brendan breast milk for his entire life.

Well, I say all this to tell you that this past week was a tough week. A couple days after Brendan passed away I went to the lactation clinic to figure out how to stop pumping without getting mastitis. I was told to wean by decreasing day by day and after 2 weeks, I would be completely done.

This was hard because I feel like the one thing that I alone could do for Brendan, I had to stop doing. It was like a reality check that Brendan was actually gone. I know that what I was giving him was keeping him strong, keeping him happy and giving him life. Without this, am I still a mom? It was hard to deal with.

I am officially done. I am no longer a breast feeding mom. I am however, and will forever be, a mom. No one can take this away from me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Having a strong marriage.....

I met with a woman on Monday who lost her 6 month old 28 years ago. It was great knowing that someone had gone though the same thing as me. 

I found out that she goes to Mariners (does everyone in OC go to Mariners?) And she was talking about making sure that Jeff and I really pray together and take this time to bring us together, instead of tear us apart. 

She had some great advice for me that she said helped her over the years. Her advice was to make sure that Jeff and I take care of our marriage and really guard our relationship. She told us that the divorce rate is higher among couples who have lost a child. This scared the heck out of me. I have already lost my baby and I couldn't even think about losing the other love of my life.

I think that Jeff and I have been working on communication in our marriage since day one. We are SO different in our communication styles and it is nice to know that all that work is going to help us now.

Jeff has really been amazing in all this. There are things that he knows I can't handle doing right now, like cleaning up Brendan's room, or going to the Mortuary to pick up Brendan's belongings. And even though he knows that they have to get done, he is okay with doing it, or waiting for me. I am a control freak and I have to be the one to clean his room and make sure that things don't get thrown away, and I have to know that when I want something, I am going to know where it is. I am sure that this is just irritating to him, but he is so calm and relaxed and knows that this is the way that I grieve. 

I am so thankful that we have a strong marriage and that we have already been through so much. This is the icing on the cake of challenge and I think that Jeff can take it.

We know that as long as we have God at the base of our marriage, we can handle anything. :)

5 years and still going strong.