Friday, April 23, 2010

Dear Brendan- 3 months

Dear Brendan,

Today marks 3 months since you died. In 6 days I will have lived more days, since your birth, without you than I had with you. Hard to believe that something so profound can come and go so quickly.

If you would have asked me 4 months ago what I imagined doing after your death, I would have said that I couldn’t possibly have moved on. I would be sitting at home crying 24/7, thinking about what a victim I am, and about how I deserve, how you deserve more.

But alas, life goes on. Since you left for heaven, daddy and I have been doing okay. I still cry, but it is not as often. I used to cry almost every night, and if I looked at a picture of you, then I would lose it. But now, I am able to look at the picture and remember what I was thinking when the picture was taken. I remember how you would curl up in my arms and sleep. I remember being the happiest mom just because you were mine.

Daddy and I have kept our promise to you: We are still very much in love. We have our fights, but we always remember that we love each other. And let’s be honest Brendan, I am not sure that anyone else would love mommy as much as daddy does! He is a good man who loves unconditionally. After you were born, I saw a side of daddy that made me love him even more. He is such a good daddy! He would hold you, sing to you, and cry over you. Daddy and I never thought that there could be so much room in our hearts, but then you came and our hearts grew.

As you know, mommy and daddy are having another baby. This isn’t to replace you, as some people have speculated. You know that no one can replace you! You are the one and only Brendan Shaun! We are having another baby to celebrate life. We want to have a big family. When mommy and daddy got married, we wanted 3 kids. Now we want 4. You are, hopefully, going to have 3 brothers and sisters living on this earth. Your brothers and sisters are going to have an angel with them all the time. I know that you are going to be a great big brother.

We think about you all the time, we laugh about the funny times we had with you. Daddy likes to laugh about your weak little cry. After you had your surgery, you were so weak and I am sure that it hurt to put a ton of umph behind your cries. But it was so funny to hear your little whimper. You were like a little puppy. Eventually your cries got stronger, and you let us know when you didn’t like something. For example, baths, and getting your diaper changed. When you were at home you would scream your head off! But we will never forget that tiny little puppy whimper.

Three months is such a short time, but when you were here it seemed even shorter. Your daddy and I have tried to live life to the fullest since you died. We want to enjoy everything that God has given us. I know that you are happy in heaven. You are an angel that gets to sing and dance and be with Jesus. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 1- October 18, 2009

Many of you have asked to hear about my labor experience, so here it is.

Day 1: October 18, 2009- 9 months and 2 days pregnant. I was totally over it. I was tired, sore and HUGE! It looked like there was a beach ball under my shirt. A very big beach ball.

Jeff and I both woke up around 6 am, but true to his form, Jeff was unable to go back to bed. I however, was still exhausted and decided to go back to bed for a little bit.

I woke up at 9 am and came out to the living room. Jeff was watching tv and I sat down on the couch next to him. Jeff and I were talking about going to the beach and making plans to hang out and enjoy our Sunday. My butt had barely touched the cushion when I felt like I had peed my pants. It took a second for me to realize what had happened. My water broke. I heard that only 10 percent of women have this happen to them and I never thought that I would be one. I looked at Jeff and jumped up and yelled "my water broke, my water broke." Jeff wasn't sure that it really had, but let's be honest, we all know what it feels like to wet our pants, and this wasn't it. I ran onto the tile floor and jumped up and down: The baby that we have waited 9 long months for (longer if you count the 2 miscarriages) was on his way. We called the doctor and we were told that it would still be a while before baby made his debut, so I should take a shower, eat something and get everything ready and come to the hospital in about an hour or two.

This is a picture of me on the phone with the doctor right after my water broke.

I did what I was told. I showered, only a couple contractions that lasted about 20 seconds while I was in there. Thank goodness the shower has walls. Then Jeff and I got our things together and we left for the hospital. I made Jeff take me to Panera Bread on the way, and since we had so much time before baby P was to arrive, I figured that it would be nice to sit down inside and enjoy our last meal as a single couple. That was a bad idea. The contractions were stronger, longer and quite painful. It was Sunday, so there were quite a few people in there. Jeff and I were sitting in a booth across from a table of people that were doing a bible study. I was having contractions, but trying to stay calm and quiet so I didn't alarm anyone. I remember sitting at the table grabbing Jeff's hands and breathing hard trying not to draw attention to myself.

Jeff knew, by just looking at his poor wife buckling over in pain, that it was time to go. We grabbed the rest of our bagels and we were on our way. Thankfully the hospital was only about a 7 minute drive from our house, because I was having contractions every 3 minutes and they were lasting about 30 seconds to a minute.

11:00 am.We pulled into the hospital and parked right up front. We made the incredibly long walk to the labor and delivery ward (I insisted on walking and then halfway up regretted it.) I got there and saw the midwife who checked me and said that I was 6 cm already. Good lord, this child was coming soon. I couldn't even wait!

So, they admitted me and hooked me up to a bunch of monitors to check on the baby and to check contractions, which by the way were coming about every 2 minutes and were very strong. The midwife asked me if I wanted an epidural and I don't think that I could've answered any quicker. Those of you that have had an epidural know that the worst part about it is having to stay still while they give it to you. You have to arch your back and hunch over and stay perfectly still. Well, easier said than done when your uterus is turning inside out and punching your insides.

Once I got the magical epidural, I got checked and was about 9.5 cm. I rested for about an hour and then felt like I had to push. So the nurses got ready and the midwife got set up, and I started pushing. It took about 10 minutes and 5 contractions and baby P arrived! The nurses were asking his name and we announced that our little man was offically named Brendan Shaun Plemons. He was born at 2:29pm, 19.5 inches, weighing 7 pounds 6 ounces. Happy Birthday Brendan!

The whole labor process was 5 and a half hours. That was the easy part. It was Brendan's life and death that was the hard part.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Picture time....

1/17-This is Brendan eating dinner at home after a long day out. I didn't want to disturb him and take him out of the carseat. He looked too peaceful!

11/19-Brendan's first time without any oxygen! Seriously, could he be any cuter? Well, other than the rash he got from the anesthesia from his surgery. But still a cutey pie!
12/5-Brendan sleeping after a full day. Still one of my favorites  because of the boogies!
1/12-The boys resting in the afternoon. Brendan was tired, but I think that the flash was blinding him. Sorry my little man.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dear Brendan - Life

Dear Brendan,

Life isn't about the things you accomplish, or what you do. It's about the people you touch along the way.

You may have only been on earth for 97 days, but you touched so many people. Just through facebook alone you touched people. Most of them have never met you! Do you realize that you have 92 fans on your website? That's incredible! (I personally think it would be awesome if we reached 97... sort of a goal of mine).

You may have been 3 months old, but you were always such a fighter. You fought day after day to stay alive. I think it was because you wanted to come home. You knew that daddy and I wanted to spend some time being a normal family. I loved the time that you and I spent together. I love the times that you, me and daddy spent together at Carl's Jr, walking around the neighborhood, all the little things that most people don't think twice about, but you fought to experience.

Some people may think that you were too young to know anything, but I believe that you knew that we loved you. You knew that there were so many people that cared about you. You knew that we wanted you home, and I know that you wanted to be there as well. You fought for 97 days. I believe that you never gave up. I know that you fulfilled your purpose here on earth. You made me and daddy parents. We love being your parents. I say this in the present tense because I don't think that I will ever stop being your mom. 

When you took your last breath, I knew you weren't giving up, you were  fighting to fulfill your purpose. So far, I know that your purpose was to bring me and daddy closer together. It was to bring people in my life that can minister to me, and vise versa. There are so many other things that your life will do here on earth, we just don't know the full extent of them. I am thankful for that. I want to keep learning new things about why you were chosen to live only 97 days. It makes the whole journey exciting. I know that God has a purpose and finding out the specifics is part of the fun. It also means that you will always be close to my heart. Not that I could ever forget about you, but knowing that God will reveal more to me about your life keeps you alive in my heart.

I love you Brendan. Thanks for making me a mommy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

God doesn't make misakes

Let there be no mistake Brendan. You have a purpose in this world, even though you are no longer in it. God knew what he was doing.

People have asked me if I wish we had miscarried, or if I think it would have been easier to not have gotten pregnant with you at all. Make no mistake, I wouldn’t trade those 9 months (and 2 days) that I carried you in my tummy, or those 3 months and 5 days you were here on earth for anything.

Do I wish that you didn’t have to experience any pain or discomfort? YES! But as we as Christians know, God has a plan for each and every one of us. Sometimes that plan involves pain and suffering, but it is all to bring us closer to him.

Your daddy and I have learned so much through your little life. All that was little about your life was the length of time you were on earth. You touched our lives, Brendan. Mommy and daddy have made a promise to stay together no matter what, even though mommy drives daddy crazy sometimes. We don’t take anything for granted and we remember what you taught us every day. God made us your parents for a reason. We aren’t sure why he chose us, but we are so glad that he did.

We have learned to love the people in our lives, and to get rid of the people that hurt us and don’t love us. We laugh every day and we try to enjoy what God has given us. We know that one day we will join you in heaven and that day won’t be a sad day, but a day that we get to meet our Maker and we get to see you again.

God knew what he was doing Brendan, and God doesn’t make mistakes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sleepy little man

Dear Brendan,

This is one of my favorite pictures of you. It was taken on November 15. You were less than a month old. I remember that day. It was a Sunday and you were still in the hospital in LA. At this point, you had already had heart surgery, and we were just waiting for you to have surgery to fix your pyloric stenosis. Right after this picture was taken, we gave you a bath. I remember that your nurse Kelly wanted you to be nice and clean for surgery the next day. 

I also remember that you LOVED to yawn. You did it all the time and daddy and I tried and tried to get a picture of it up to this point, but you always did it when we didn't have the camera, you little stinker! But we finally got it on this day.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Congrats Brendan!

Dear Brendan,
Well, a lot has changed since you went to heaven.  First of all, congrats, you are a cousin! Little Olivia Elizabeth was born on March 31st. She is adorable and, surprise surprise, she looks like mommy’s side of the family. Auntie Liz and baby Livy (that’s mommy’s nickname for her) are doing great.

The second thing is that you are going to be a big brother. That’s right! Mommy and daddy are pregnant! Remember how you grew in mommy’s tummy for 9 months? Well, there is another little angel growing in mommy’s tummy. We don’t know yet if you are going to have a brother or sister, but we will find out in about 7 weeks. Mommy is 3 months pregnant (about 13 weeks).
Congratulations Big Brother! We love you.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Last Promise

I remember the last words that Jeff and I said to Brendan. Brendan had already passed and Jeff and I wanted to see his little body one more time. 

It was the day that Brendan died, and we had just finished meeting with the counselor at the funeral home and he asked us if we wanted to see him one last time. That was the longest walk of my life, down the stairs, and around the corner to the private viewing room. Brendan was wrapped up in his favorite blanket, wearing his dinosaur outfit that says GRRRR on it. He really did look like he was sleeping. I wanted Brendan to feel like his death was not going to ruin our lives. We were going to make sure that something good will come of this situation.

Jeff and I have heard that couples who experience the death of a child have a much higher divorce rate than any other couple. I can't imagine losing my son and then losing my husband as well. I think that I would go crazy.

So Jeff and I promised Brendan that we would not let his death tear us apart. We promised him that we would stay together, and that we would allow God to use his death as a way to bring us closer. We told Brendan that none of this was his fault. He was a perfect little boy that God wanted to bring home sooner than we had wanted. I said a little prayer with Jeff and cried several tears, and then left the room.

That was the last time that I saw Brendan's little body. He was cremated 2 weeks later on his uncle's birthday- the same uncle that Brendan was named after. Jeff and I have worked hard to not let the death of our little boy tear us apart. We work hard everyday to love each other, and to let the other be sad. We learned that we mourn in our own ways. We learned that there are some days that are harder than others. But we know that no matter what, we will always be Brendan's parents, and we will always be in this together. If there is anyone in this world that I love as much as Brendan, it is the man that helped me create him.