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.
Yesterday we had Hadlee's 6 month well check and I was so excited to go to this appointment. There were a few underlying issues I was itching to discuss, along with the mere fact that 6 months is a great point for us.
We got there and they weighed her. 15 pounds 9 ounces. That puts her in the 43rd percentile for weight. Her height puts her in the 71st percentile and her head is in the 67th percentile. All her measurements have been consistently in the same range so that's great for her growth. At 6 months Hadlee is doing so much! She is rolling both ways consistently. She has also started to get on all fours and rock back and forth. She can sit up with assistance and by herself for just a little bit, but not too long. She's still working on that.
I talked to her pediatrician about her sleeping, or lack there of, and he wants her on 3 meals a day since she is still just breastfed. I told him I'm still just pumping away and that she still only takes about 3 1/2 ounces at a feeding, eating every 3 hours from a bottle during the day. She still will sometimes eat 2 times during the night, and remain up and down in between feedings. I'm sure you can imagine the exhaustion. So, now I'm trying to work with her on getting her on a good schedule eating wise during the day. My new schedule I'm following is: 8:30 am Breakfast (fruit) followed by a 3 1/2 ounce bottle. At noon, she will eat a veggie and a fruit followed by a bottle. Then at 4-4:30 pm she will have another bottle. 6:00 pm she will eat dinner (veggie), and follow up with a bath and then bottle for bedtime. That should be a pretty good schedule for her at this point and should get her nice and full.
We discussed her excema and he wants me to start using Cerave products on her. At bathtime, cleansing her with the cleansing soap (very mild), then get her lotioned up with the hydrating lotion and put the hydrating cream on her "problem" areas. Her main areas of concern at this point are her creases in her right arm and her creases in her right leg. She also has some mild spots on her left leg and has a pretty rotten area on her chest. The area on her chest he feels is more of an allergic reaction to some type of metal on her clothing. She can touch certain clothing and flare up with a bright red spot. She's just a sensitive girl. I'm hoping the Cerave products work, if not we'll be going to a pediatric derm to discuss other options.
At 6 months Hadlee is in size 2 diapers and moving into 6-9 month clothes. 3-6 month clothes are really too small. She is a very smiley baby and is generally happy most of the time. The only exhausting part is the fact that she doesn't sleep much. But, I'm hoping that if we can help to treat the excema and get her full on meals throughout the day, she'll start sleeping better. She is still sleeping in our room in a pack and play and she is still swaddled. I can't seem to get her out of it. I've tried the one arm swaddle and it just still doesn't really work. Once she's able to grab her pacis and put them in her mouth, I'm hoping it'll get better because then she can reach for pacis and I'll put like 12 in her bed! :)
We spend a lot of time in Ainslee and Hadlee's room playing but for some reason, I still just feel like it's Ainslee's room. I tried to add a couple things to the walls to cater to Hadlee but for some reason, I just still feel like it's Ainslee's room. I did so much preparation for Ainslee when she was coming with picking out bedding, getting her furniture, painting the walls, adding the mural and so I prepared it all for her. When we got pregnant with Hadlee and knew it was a girl, I thought I'd just use the same stuff...but now it just doesn't feel like her room. I'm not sure what to do about it but I'd like to do some sort of change to the room to make it more like Hadlee's room somehow. I guess I still need to sit on it and think what will help me feel like it's more Hadlee's now. I like the idea that we have the girls "share" a room, but ultimately I need to also feel comfortable with the fact that it's Hadlee's room. Because at this point, I can't see myself moving her over to her room.
Our next well check will be in January, Hadlee's 9 month. They are going to do a panel of allergy testing on her to see if she's got allergies since she's got a lot of allergy signs. I'm really anticipating seeing what it shows. I just tucked the little stink pot in bed, rocked her until she was asleep, and figured I'll be in there within 45 minutes to do it all over again. :) She's so worth it though.
This past weekend was a great weekend. It was filled with love, laughter, memories, family, friends and fun.
Saturday was Travis' 32nd birthday! 32 my friends. 32 was rough on Trav and he started the day out with a 2 hours nap at 9 am. :) Hadlee actually took a two hour nap and gave her Daddy a birthday present of a little nap. Adrian and I picked up donuts for the birthday boy and we all headed out to our nephew's soccer game. After the soccer game, which was blazing hot, we visited our sweet Ainslee girl.
We then went home, got ready for Oktoberfest at our church, and headed out for a family fun night. We were celebrating Trav's birthday at our church's first annual Oktoberfest and it was so much fun. It was the best event I've ever been to at our church. Maybe it was the fellowship, along with Travis' birthday and the company we had that night. But, it was a very memorable night. Right before Oktoberfest, we went to Mass and during Mass they played "On Eagle's Wings" which is one of my favorites. We played it at Ainslee's funeral, so I knew it was her way of saying she's with us.
At Oktoberfest, I did the Cupid Shuffle with Hadlee, a little polka dancing with Trav, and all kinds of fun dances with Adrian. They announced Trav's birthday and we all sang Happy Birthday to him, followed by a yummy cake made my sister in law. We also met up with a couple old friends of mine from college. I cheered at OU and one of the baseball guys that I was friends with goes to church now at our church. He recently got married to the girl he dated in college and it has been wonderful to reconnect with them. It's hard to find couples that both you and your husband get along with, so it's nice when you do find those couples. It was great reminiscing all night and catching up.
Sunday was spent with a couple that set Travis and I up 7 years ago. They are very close friends of ours and recently had their 2nd born, a daughter. They came over, we had Wing Stop and watched the Cowboys. After we took our kiddos out to the pumpkin patch where we picked out pumpkins for Adrian, Ainslee and Hadlee. Adrian picked out a big orange one for himself. He picked out a beautiful fairytale pumpkin for Ainslee, and he picked out a whitesh green one for Hadlee. We've got some Mums out and our pumpkins and it's looking like fall outside our home.
We wrapped up our night last night spending time in Ainslee and Hadlee's room. Adrian got a blanket of Ainslee's and said how nice it felt and he wanted to sleep with it. I told him he had to ask Ainslee. So, he looked up to the sky and asked her if he could sleep with it. He then looked at me and said, "her said yes." I was certain he wasn't going to say she said no. :) We kept hanging out in there and he was laying on his back and I could hear him still talking to Ainslee as Travis and I carried on a conversation. I heard him say, "Ainslee, Mommy go to her meeting and her cry. Her miss you." Oh it broke my heart. That was about the time he started crying and saying he misses Ainslee, when he saw me cry at my "meeting." I hate that he sees me hurt, but I can't always hide it from him. And I think it's good for him to see that people grieve and are sad and it's okay to cry. But, also that despite sad times, we are still blessed and a happy family. It's a life lesson for sure.
Today we talked a little bit more about Ainslee and he said, "I know Mommy you sad Ainslee in Heaven. Her not come out of Heaven. But guess what? You have a new baby. Guess who? Hattie!!!" He's even trying to heal my heart and comfort me by saying the sweetest thing he knows how. I'm very thankful for a kind hearted son.
Today I had Hattie's 6 month well check and that is a whole 'nother blog post...maybe tomorrow if time allows for it. Oh...and guess who's going to Carrie Underwood Wednesday in a suite!? This girl! So excited! She's my girl crush.
I'll tell you something. Tonight I am feeling very blessed and very happy. Our family is perfectly planned by God. I'd much rather Ainslee be here to tuck in bed tonight, to kiss and to snuggle with. But, I sure am still glad to be called her mother and be a mother of 3 beautiful loving children.
So, I've fallen behind on my capture your grief project. I just don't have the time to keep up with it with my busy schedule. I know a lot of bloggers always open it up to the public for questions to be asked and provide an answer session. I've had various questions along the way and figured it's a good time to open it up for questions. Feel free to ask questions. I will get them answered this weekend.
Hattie is 6 months! What a milestone in our book! I can't believe we are at the 6 month mark. And yet so incredibly excited to be at this point.
On Hattie's 6 month birthday, we all headed down to San Antonio to visit Pappy for the first time since Hadlee's been born. Pappy was turning 89 on the 13th of October and we wanted to take the kids to Seaworld. It turned out to be an exhaustingly wonderful weekend.
For Pappy's birthday, we got 2 cakes. One for Pappy's 89th, and one for Hattie's half birthday. It was perfect. We did a balloon release to send heavenly birthday wishes to Ainslee and my cousin Derek. My Aunt Nonnie, Derek's mom, was there too which was wonderful to see her and wrap my arms around her. My mom, brother, our family, my cousins, aunts and uncle all headed out to a Vietnamese dinner, followed by singing and birthday cake.
The next day was Seaworld! Again...exhaustingly wonderful. I loved taking Adrian to such a special place. It's one of my favorites. And I was thankful to have taken Hadlee to another place she'd never been. It was great to be there as a family making new wonderful memories.
Our Hadlee is such a little character. She is such a smiley baby. She loves to be held and she loves to laugh. Our little girl still isn't much of a sleeper. Only 3 30-45 minute naps a day, followed by an up and down night. I'm not sure what's bugging her to wake so much throughout the night, but it is so exhausting. We still have her in our room and yes we follow the same bed time routine EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. I am wired to have structure and stability, and my kids receive that in return. I'm no military boot camp, but I do try to provide scenarios in which our kids know what to expect.
I tried rice cereal for about a week, but stopped it because Hadlee isn't very regular when it comes to going number 2 and I don't want to complicate things more. I've brought that up to the pediatrician and he says she must be absorbing all of my breast milk. She only goes every 4-5 days. Yes, I'm still pumping. I've tried to get her to latch on again the last couple weeks but she wants nothing to do with nursing itself, just loves her bottle. So, I am still pumping throughout the day and into the night. I don't have any milk stored up anymore at this point so I'm running low on the amount of milk. I am able to make just enough for her. But, if it comes to a point where she may want an extra ounce or two and I'm not expecting it, then I won't have any more breast milk for her. I am however extremely proud of myself for ensuring she's only had breast milk for her first 6 months. I think that is a huge accomplishment. Something I was really trying to achieve.
At 6 months, Hadlee is a moving machine. She is rolling over both ways consistently and even getting on all fours. She will start to rock back and forth on all fours and then plop down on her tummy. I have started some foods with her and she's loving her peas and now squash. I'm taking foods slow. Tonight at dinner, she had 2 helpings of squash, then got ready for bed, and had a 3 1/2 ounce bottle. She is working on sitting up and has started to get her first tooth.
Hadlee's eczema is pretty bad. I don't even know what to do to help her. I've tried aquaphor right after baths, oatmeal lotion, and nothing seems to help. I see her little skin getting broken down and wish I had a magical potion to help her and help her skin look better.
Adrian and Hadlee are our world. And Hadlee thinks the absolute world of Adrian. We may be exhausted, I may be worried about her eczema, but all in all, we are blessed. We are making new happy memories and feeling so blessed to have another daughter to share them with. All the while, remembering our sweet Ainslee.
Happy half birthday my Hadlee Hope. You are so loved.
One of my most treasured items through loss, aside from time, was a sleeper that Ainslee last slept in. When she passed away, I had this sleeper which was unwashed. It still had her spit up on it, her smell. The smell of my breast milk made especially for her. It was a simple brown fleece sleeper with little flowers on it. When she passed away, I clung to that sleeper. It had her smell on it and I could pretend she was still her. I started sleeping with it the day she passed away and slept with it every day. I would make sure not to roll over on it at night. If it accidentally fell on the floor at night, I would cry and feel like I dropped her. When I'd make my bed, I'd put it laid out on my pillow so I could grab it anytime I needed to. When I was preparing for Hadlee's arrival, I knew I couldn't be sleeping with her sleeper anymore. Mentally, it was difficult with the sleeper because a part of me felt like it was really her. A few weeks before Hadlee's arrival I started to move it onto a chair in our room and then the week before, I put it in Ainslee's trunk at the foot of our bed. Up and away. I had to wean myself from the sleeper and to be honest, I sometimes still want it out. But, for now, it's best put up.
Day 5...Memorial. I was just flipping through the pictures from the day of her funeral. I'm glad to have them to reflect back on what was going on that day because it's hard to remember. But, I also hate looking at my daughter in the tiniest casket I've ever seen. They shouldn't make caskets that small. I don't want to share the pictures of her in her casket because they are very private, but I will share her grave site when she was just buried and the way my sister in law and I decorated it for Ainslee.
I'm having a rough night tonight. I could tell a change in my mood upon gathering things for our walk to remember tomorrow. Hadlee woke up and I ran into the room to rock her. I held her and cried, imagining having a 2 year old needing me to put her to bed as well. I can imagine what she'd look like. Dark brown hair, wispy to her shoulders, beautiful brown eyes staring at me, and arms wrapped around me ready for books and bedtime prayers. Oh how I hate the grief. I miss Ainslee terribly.
October has come and once again sadness is in part of my heart. Of course I have happiness with my husband and children, but there will always be a sadness and an ache for Ainslee, especially every October. If you remember, October is filled with many events that would be even more special if Ainslee were here. So since she's not here, the ache has returned. October 6th is our annual Walk to Remember. October 9th is my birthday, October 13th is Pappy's birthday, October 20th is Travis' birthday, along with our sweet daughter's 2nd birthday, October 29th. And then there's Halloween, Ainslee's first holiday with us.
I've seen an event titled Capture your Grief and have seen what some are doing for this to help move their grief along and embrace it. This is the CarlyMarie Project in honor of Pregnancy and Infant loss awarness month, which is October. As much as I love the support for Breast Cancer awareness, I too wish that all the babies gone too soon got just as much recognition. There's no cure for SIDS and the only sign is death.
This Capture your Grief project started October 1st. Each day you are to take a picture or use a picture that reminds you of the topic for that day. There are 31 topics for 31 days. I am obviously 3 days now behind. The first day was sunset. I'm choosing to forego the sunset day because I don't really have any attachment to sunsets. The 2nd day is Before Loss Self Portrait. I will end this post with my before loss self portrait, and follow it with day 3: After Loss Self Portrait.
Tonight we had a Transitus at church, also a memorial for our loved ones. We bring a picture of our loved one up to church, place it on a table for all to pray for during the next month. We each say our loved ones name and this year, I had to sadly add my cousin's name. Derek Crook. He was my oldest cousin, at a young age of 33. He passed away the day before his 34th birthday this year. August 21st, 2012. His family is hurting, his mother is aching for her son. And I sadly understand. I get to see my Aunt, his mother, in a week and a half and I can't wait to wrap my arms around her. This month we are also participating in a golf tournament benefitting SIDS. I feel like this month of October has turned into one giant memorial that I'll never escape. I'm hoping to eventually look at it as a wonderful time to do many things to honor Ainslee instead of focusing on the sadness of each event. We are only into our 2nd year of loss so I know it'll take time. My biggest hurdle right now is trying to get through Ainslee's 2nd birthday. The thought of her being 2 is unbearable. I remember Adrian's 2nd birthday and how much we adore his age and to know we won't get that for our little girl Ainslee. That hurts.
Here's my days #2 and #3: Before and After loss. I can definitely see a difference in my face, in my eyes, in my heart. I will never be the same girl again...good, bad, or indifferent.