I am a wife and mother. I married Travis the summer of 2007 and life really took off. We welcomed our first born, Adrian Reese, June of 2009. We welcomed our second born, Ainslee Ryan, October of 2010 and had a short time with her. She was taken from us in February 2011, just 3 months and 10 days old, from the silent killer called SIDS. 6 months after she passed away, we found out we were expecting our 3rd, due in April of 2012. Our rainbow baby is a girl, sweet Hadlee Hope. We're slowly picking up the pieces and learning how to fit grief and happiness into this crazy thing called life.
I think about the person I was...3 babies and a funeral ago. That Channan was different than the Channan I know now. When Travis and I got married we were adjusting to marriage and living together. We knew we wanted to start a family early, but were also enjoying each other and the freedom associated with just being married. I felt more carefree, could make decisions easier, would go more places without a worry.
When Adrian came along, I was so happy to be a mother. I was thankful that he was sent to make me a mother but I didn't realize what this new found role of mine would consist of. I remember due to Adrian's bad reflux as a baby, it was difficult. But, I felt confident in my mothering with him and confident in my relationship with him. I was apprehensive to take him to an at home daycare, but felt at ease after we got into a routine. I started to realize what it meant to have "your heart walking around outside of your body."
When I got pregnant with Ainslee, Adrian was just 7 months old. That's when my guilt really started. I felt that I was going to be battling between loving one child more than the other, spending more time with one child vs. the other. When Ainslee came, it took about a 3-4 week adjustment for me to get comfortable in this new role as a mother of 2. I was so concerned it was going to change my relationship with Adrian and was trying to avoid that at all cost. I started picking up Adrian shortly after my c-section for fear he would hold a grudge against me if I denied picking him up. We did adjust to being a family of four and all seemed right in the world. Days were difficult at times trying to teach Ainslee to nap, or if she was fussy and Adrian needed attention, that could be trying. But, looking back, I was so grateful to have our family of four and my new role as a mother of 2.
When we lost Ainslee, I gained my title of bereaved mother. I was still a mother to two children, only now I had to figure out how to care for the one in Heaven. It seems that my roles and hats I wear are always changing, but being a bereaved mother is something that sadly sticks. I can't ever give that title back although I'd gladly do it. Trying to figure out how to fit loss, grief, anxieties, worries into our family has been difficult. It has brought on a whole new responsibility, just as all roles do.
Having Hadlee was another adjustment. I had to adjust to my new role of being a mother to 3, one in Heaven. I had to adjust to seeing family pictures of the four of us, knowing there should be 5. I've had to see Big Sis/Lil Sis shirts and have such an ache to want my girls side by side in these. I've had to fight back tears to put on a brave face for my 2 living children. I find myself sighing a lot, thinking of what should or could have been.
Hadlee was so needed in this family, and I am so greatful to have had another baby girl. But, I'm figuring out that it doesn't matter how many more kids we have and what the gender is, there will always be a little girl missing. The hopes and dreams of Ainslee were destroyed and ripped from our family.
Today's role I carry of being a wife and a mother to 3 has changed me. I reflect on the events of the last 3 years and all it's done to change me. I've slowly started molding into this girl I don't recognize. The fear, the anxiety, the worry, the control, the anger, the depression, the grief, the sadness, all to consume me on a daily basis. I try my best to function and to be the girl I once was, but I'm not sure I'll ever be the same as I was...3 babies and a funeral ago.
We have reached another milestone on this exhuasting journey of milestones. Throughout our loss with Ainslee I've met many families, all which have lost babies to SIDS at various ages. I have all their ages memorized to the day of when they passed, and I have exhaustingly been counting down in my head to each one as Hadlee reaches those ages. When she passes each milestone, I breath a little better. It's one step closer to keeping her longer. I'm winding down to my last two SIDS dates. One is 3 days before she is 5 months old, and the other is the day she is 5 months old. And then of course the day she is 6 months will be huge. I do know a few people who have lost babies at 7 and 8 months...but I'm just focusing to get to 6 months for now.
Today we had Hadlee's 4 month well check. This was a big milestone for me because I never made it to Ainslee's 4 month well check. When I left Hadlee's last well check, I couldn't help but wonder if it'd be our last well check. Not only did we reach this milestone, but it was a goal of mine to be able to go into that well check and say that my baby was still breastfeeding. And, we were able to reach that mileston as well. I am so proud of the both of us for working wiht the kinks and keeping the main goal insight of ensuring she gets breast milk.
Today Hadlee weighed 14 pounds exactly which puts her in the 53rd percentile for weight. Height was 25 1/4 inches which put her in the 73rd percentile for height. She's doing all the things they look for, rolling over, great head control, plays with hands, grasps at objects, smiles, laughs and gurgles. Our pediatrician said he felt she was neurologically beyond her age which made me feel good. He talked about introducing rice cereal and this is a topic that I have been hung up on. I can't decide whether to do it or not. I did it with Adrian, and probably would have with Ainslee. But, after we lost Ainslee, I have found myself questioning a lot more which alters my parenting too. I'm not sure I really feel rice cereal is necessary, can't quite see the nutritional benefits it provides. I know it has iron in it but feel that at 4 1/2 months she's getting what she needs from breast milk.
Today Hadlee's been pretty fussy but we've been patient with it. We were able to get her moved over into the bassinet, almost in time for her to outgrow it. But, it's working for the time being which I am glad. I feel she is safer in there. She is waking up frequently at night and only goes a maximum of 4 hours in between feedings. That 4 hours usually only happens right when she goes to sleep and then when she gets up for her first feeding around 1 AM, then she goes back to sleep until 4, and then until 6:30 AM. It gets to be pretty exhausting and with being up frequently, having to work full time, and still carrying grief daily, it makes for a pretty tiresome Mommy. I'm not complaining, this is all a good tired....but tired nonetheless.
All in all, we're thankful every day for our family and really looking forward to all Hadlee will be attempting in the next couples months. Hopefully we'll be watching her sit up and start to really come into her own.
Something that has been such a joy to see is watching Adrian with her. I felt so guilty when Ainslee passed away that I wasn't able to give Adrian the love of a sibling that he deserved. Hadlee has become smitten with her older brother. He makes her laugh so hard and it is the sweetest sound to hear. I love nothing more than seeing the love between them two at this age. I can't wait until she starts crawling and can follow him around everywhere. They are going to be quite the pair.
Our sweet Hadlee Hope is now 4 months old. What a big milestone! We've made it to a new month with her. I remember when Adrian was 4 months, going to his 4 month well check and the pediatrician telling me that the 4th month is the biggest SIDS month. So, I am paying close attention to her as always, and thanking God for every new day He brings us. I am so ready to get to 6 months when SIDS will decrease a bit.
This chunky monkey 4 month old baby is so funny! She started rolling over on July 27th from her back to her stomach. I was so incredibly impressed. She's by far my earliest with everything at this point. She brings her legs up to her face, gets over on her side, and then flips really quick to her tummy. And now, we can't keep her on her back for more than a couple seconds.
We've been treating cradle cap, eczema, and a neck yeast infection that is so persistent. I can't seem to get it to go away. I've taken her to our chiro for various things and he was treating her yeast infection. It would help for a couple days but then come back with a vengence. One day last week, Hadlee hadn't gone #2 for 5 days and as a Mom, I always like to see a good healthy BM. Makes me feel like they're getting their systems good and cleaned out. Well, I called the chiro to see if they could help me. He told me to bring her in and they'd adjust her tailbone. So, I did. He said I should see something in her diaper in a couple of hours. I didn't know whether to believe this or not....but sure enough, within 30 minutes, I had quite the diaper to clean up. I was impressed.
Hadlee is still in size 1 diapers, size 3-6 month clothes, and still loves her nap nanny. I can't seem to get her out of it, or out of her swaddle. I'm not sure how we're ever going to get her out of a swaddle and into her bassinet or crib (in our room). Sleeping wise, she sometimes has great nights, and then can have really awful nights. Last night was an awful night. On a good night, she may eat at 8:30 or 9, go to bed by 10 and get up at 5, go back to bed until 8. That's a great night for us. A bad night....those are pretty exhuasting. She will eat at 8:30, won't be able to be laid down until 11:30, may wake back up upon laying down, up to eat at 1, then restless in between nighttime feedings to where I have to constantly shhh her, pat her, rock her. Those nights are difficult..and the next day is even harder. :) I nurse Hadlee once a day b/c our chiro says that's how your body knows what antibodies to produce for your baby's needs. The saliva in the baby tells your milk supply what to produce. She is not a fan of actual nursing so even if I just latch her on for a bit, that's all it takes.
I have still been pumping and feeding her bottles, and putting a probiotic in her bottle to help with good bacteria, hopefully will help with the yeast as well. I can officially say she is my longest breastfeeder! I love that! Adrian was 2 1/2 months, Ainslee was 3 months and 10 days, and Hadlee is still on BM. She takes about 3-4 ounces every feeding and eats every 3 hours. We're still trying to figure out naps too during the day. She has taken an hour to two hour nap occasionally, but on average naps about 45 minutes each time. I'll be glad to see the day when sleeping gets a little better around here.
Hadlee has really found her voice and has started this new screeching squeeling sound. I think she just wants everyone to know she's here. She's started to laugh more and drools a ton! I know some pediatricians start 4 month olds on rice cereal and fruits/veggies, but I'm still weighing what to do with regards to food. I'm not sure she really is ready for food, especially rice cereal since it can be so binding on their tummies. I'll talk to our ped at her 4 month well check which is 2 weeks away. Other than that, we're all still trying to get into a routine with me back to work (working from home), and all the beautiful chaos that accompanies having a 3 year old and a 4 month old. I still need to get Adrian's birthday party and his 3 year old post up but have so much to say...need to find the right time.