Monday, January 30, 2012

Back to normal, I guess.....

Last week was my first week back to work.  I didn't expect it to be hard but it was.  Realizing that life was now back to normal yet at the same time so far from normal that it is hard to comprehend.  I am back to work, Ashlyn is back to the sitter's, everything is the same as it was yet it is all so different.  It is hard to accept that life really does go on. 
Once I got into the swing of things with being back to work things are going well.  I am keeping busy and that of course helps but I feel myself coming to grips with the reality that my daughter is gone.  It is a hard thing to really face.  I think the first weeks after Quinn's death I was more in shock and just floating along.  Sure, I knew that there was a very good chance that I would have to say goodbye but actually facing it is much harder than you ever imagine.  The shock is slowing wearing off and the true utter grief is sinking in.  A friend of mine told me that it was about 2 1/2 months after loosing her baby when she was at her lowest point.  I can see that this timing is just about the same for me.  The initial shock of everything wears off and life is supposed to be normal, you are supposed to be normal.  It is around now that you realize that there is no normal.  You can't really wrap your mind around what this "new normal" is supposed to be. 
I miss my baby!  I want her back!  I want her back so bad!  I wish every night when I go to bed that I might dream about her so I can have her back even for a little while.  It still hasn't happened.  I tell Ashlyn every night that if she sees Quinn in her dreams to tell her that momma loves her and give her a big hug and kiss for me.
I just keep trying to keep busy in order to keep all of the pieces together.  I started weight watchers so I have something healthy to obsess about it.  I also have been helping Zaina with Bowling for Babies.  I am so excited to have a time to get together with all of my family and friends and really celebrate Quinn and the lives of all other babies that were taken from us to soon.  They deserve to be celebrated!  I am also excited that through this we are able to give back to the Hospital that did so much for us and Quinn.  If you get a chance, please visit the website,  Sign up on a team, buy tickets to bowl, or just donate, and if you already have, thank you.  Thank you for celebrating my Quinn with me!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bowling for Babies

I am super excited to get to announce this!  My bestie, Zaina, has set up a fundraising event called Bowling for Babies.  The event will be held on May 6, 2012 at AMF Riviera Lanes at 20 South Miller Rd. in Fairlawn, OH.  Bowling for Babies is in memory of all babies who have left us and all proceeds will be donated to the Palliative Care Center at Akron Children's Hospital.  I am so thrilled to be a part of this event as I can not say enough good things about the Palliative Care Center.  As soon as we found out about Quinn's diagnosis, the Palliative Care team were there for us.  We met with them many times and they made our horrific journey just a little bit easier to travel. 

Now that you know a little bit about it, don't you want to join us?  You can set up a team of your own, join mine, or just join as a single bowler.  If bowling isn't your thing or you are not in the area you can also just donate to my team, Quinn's Pins.  As a team I would love it if we could raise $500!

If you would like to join my team please click here or to donate to Quinn's Pins click here.


Heart wrenching but healing, I think

Last night was our first support group meeting.  It was hard.  Heart wrenching.  Terrifying.  It was all of these things and more but it was also somewhat healing, I think.  I had no idea what to expect.  Honestly, just getting there was hard enough.  Making that drive again.  Pulling into that parking lot when the last time I was there I was walking out of the hospital having just had to give me poor sweet dead baby to a nurse and instead of carrying her out I was carrying all of her worldly belongings that sadly fit very easily in a plastic hospital bag.  It was very hard to face this place again!  Thankfully, the meeting was not in the hospital itself but in the building across the street.  Walking was hard as well.  I am not really a shy person but I do get uneasy around people that I don't know and I was very timid walking into that room.  I knew that most likely everyone there would already know each other and we would be the newbies.  Listening to the chatter before the meeting started made me feel a bit like the new girl in homeroom.  Everyone chatted and talked amongst themselves, clearly having relationships already and here we were just there. 
The meeting started by people going around and telling their stories.  Saying it was hard to listen to is an understatement.  It was gut wrenching to listen to how all of these other moms (and dads) had lost their sweet sweet angels.  There were tears, many tears, but it was okay.  I felt safe, oddly enough since I was poring my heart out to a room full of strangers.  Everyone else in this room was in the same place as us.  Yes, we might all be in different phases but we were all there. 
I don't know yet how much I got from it but I will certainly go back.  I am sure that the more I go, the more we talk, it will help bring healing but the main reason is because I LOVE to talk about Quinn.  I will go every month for the simple fact that I have a time to talk about my Bean.  I want/need to talk about her.  She was here and she IS my daughter and I need and want to acknowledge that!  It feels good to remember her, even if it is sad!  Yes, of course it is sad, we all know the ending, but her death does not end it there for me.  I am her mom and I want to get to brag about her!  Of course I might not get to brag about the same things that I do for Ashlyn but I still need that time and if this is a chance for me to do that then I will run not walk to the meetings! 
I also hope that the meetings will bring new friendships into our lives.  Steve and I always said that we wanted more couple friends that we were on the same page with and maybe this is just one other gift that Quinn will give us.  I have already met amazing woman on this journey with Quinn, Katie and Miranda helped get me through my pregnancy and the days after Quinn passed.  I really feel that these friendships, that I am sure will last a lifetime even if they are over great distance, are special gifts that my Quinn-Bean has given me and with meeting more people through the support group that gift goes even further!  I am often times amazed at all that Quinn has given to us in her short life here.  It is more than I ever imagined and I am so very proud of my beautiful daughter! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grieving is messy

At times I feel like I am just skating along in this process of grieving Quinn, until I am not.  Then I fall and I fall hard.  It will come out of no where and suddenly I feel like my heart has been ripped open again and the pain is unbearable. 
I have been doing really well.  I had quite a few days there with very few tears which I am thankful for, but grieving is messy.  Even when I am doing well and I am not crying continuously I then have the guilt.  I feel guilty that I am not crying and I am here apparently unbroken.  The thing is, I am broken.  I might be put back together at the time and moving along okay but one little bump and I shatter again. 
The other night, rocking Ashlyn was my "bump".  She was over tired and not sleeping well so I got up and rocked her back to sleep.  I do not get to do this often with her so any time I do I enjoy it, even at 3am.  She had fallen back to sleep and her sweet little breath was on my cheek and it made me suddenly miss Quinn so badly.  I miss holding her and hearing her wonderful little squeaks.  I miss her so much!  So much. 
Today we are going to our first support group for grieving parents, Precious Parents.  I don't know yet if it will be something that we continue to go to or if it will even help us.  I guess we will find out tonight. 

The Bereaved Mother

To those of you who look away when I grow teary eyed in the baby department, look a little deeper. Surely you have some compassion in your heart.

To those of you who change the subject when I speak my child's name, change your way of thinking. It may just change your whole life.

To those of you who roll your eyes and say we barely had them at all, how could we miss them so much, in our hearts we have seen them live a thousand times. We have seen their first steps, first day of school, their weddings, and their children. We have had them forever in our minds.

To those who say we can have another, even if we had twenty more they would never be the child we lost, and we will always miss them.

To those who say get on with my life, I have. It is a different life, the life of a grieving mother. One with a tremendous amount to be thankful for, but also one with a lot to mourn the loss of.

Do not judge a bereaved mother. She comes in many forms. She is breathing, but she is dying. She may look young, but inside she has become ancient. She smiles, but her heart throbs.

She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS, but she is NOT, all at once. She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.

Do not dismiss us: we have shaped more than just the future generation. We have released all the tiny angels who are watching over you.

Open your eyes to us, and you just might see them.

~ Author Unknown
This poem is more for me.  I need to remember that just because I am here and continue to live everyday does not mean that my love for Quinn is not here.  Just because the tears are not flowing at this second does not mean that I am not heart broken.  I miss her more every day and will until the day that I die.  Everyday that I am living is another day away from her but it is also another day closer to her.  I do not need to feel guilty that I choose to live because that is what my baby would want.  I love you so so very much Quinn-Bean and I will continue to choose to live.  I will be the very best person that I can be so I can be sure that I do get to see you again and spend eternity with you in my arms! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Still me...

You can't ever prepare yourself to lose a child.  You can try but you just can't ever actually prepare yourself.  The pain is way greater than you would ever imagine possible, for one.  It can, at times, be a mind numbing pain that can literally take your breath away.  There are times where the hole in my heart feels like it might just cave my chest in.  Though I never knew that the pain could be so intense, I am also handling everything WAY better than I thought I would.  I was terrified to be on maternity leave after loosing Quinn because I would have too much free time and I wouldn't be able to function like a normal person.  Well, Ashlyn keeps me entirely too busy and I am also really okay.  I thought that there would be days where it would take everything I had to just get out of bed but that isn't the case.  I really thought that I wouldn't want to leave the house because I would be so consumed with grief but that isn't the case either.  Yes, there are times when I am consumed but for the most part I'm not.  I am still me.  I am still Ashlyn's mom.  I am still funny (or at least I amuse myself), I still sing (flat if you ask my husband), I still enjoy life and am not a bitter pessimist.  I still see the glass as half full and most importantly, I still believe.  I still believe that God loves me and Quinn. 
My friend asked me how I was, referring to the grief, and said that if she didn't know that I had just lost a baby she wouldn't be able to tell based on how I act.  It is true, I do seem normal.  I don't feel normal and it still seems odd to me that people can't look at me and tell that I am not a whole person but, I am still normal.  The grief is not all consuming like I thought it would be.  It is there and there isn't a moment that goes by that I don't think of Quinn and the tears are always just under the surface but I am still me. 

I just read Heaven is for Real.  It is a pretty good book and was fairly comforting.  I always thought that Quinn would be in Heaven waiting for me but I guess this sort of made that seem more real.  I in no way want to die and it would kill me to leave Ashlyn but I am not afraid to die.  I have something wonderful waiting for me in Heaven!