Friday, October 11, 2013

Grieving with Glee

I used to be a huge fan of Glee. The first two seasons, I never missed an episode and was faithful in buying the DVD's right when they came out (this was before the show was on Netflix) so I could binge watch whenever I wanted. After my daughter died, I attempted to watch the show again but lost interest in the plot line, especially since at the time there was a lot of focus on the baby girl that Puck & Quinn gave up for adoption. It was just too hard for me to watch. I honestly have not followed the show since and have no idea what the characters have been doing since 2011. But once I heard about the tribute they planned to honor Cory Monteith's (The Quarterback), I knew it was a not-to-be-missed episode. I was not disappointed.

Interestingly, Glee decided to move focus from the subject of Finn's death and instead concentrate on the way his friend's and family were dealing with it. The episode concentrated on grieving. And boy, was I blown away by how accurately they portrayed grief. It was obviously written/directed/acted by people in the midst of the grieving process and it showed. They got it. The pain, the irrational anger, the sadness, the laughter, the terror, the complication of emotions, the fear of the future, the tears that seemed to come out of nowhere. The show did a fantastic job of taking the viewers on the grief roller coaster that the bereaved are oh so familiar with. It was quite painful yet beautiful to watch, particularly because you know the actors weren't acting. Those emotions were a true representation of how they were feeling after losing their friend.

There were many moments in the episode that portrayed the grieving process eloquently and, sadly, familiarly. In one scene, Santana gets so irrationally angry at Sue for not allowing candles at Finn's locker that she screams in her face and pushes her into a bookshelf. While I never resorted to physical violence in the early stages of grief, I remember feeling like I was a ticking time bomb who could go off at any second. I fought back the urge to yell at people, sometimes unsuccessfully, quite frequently. I realize now how hurtful and irrational that behavior is but I also know that you can't control it at that stage because it is almost impossible to think rationally when your heart is broken. Another moment that had me in tears was when Rachel said “Nobody treat me with kid gloves, OK? I don’t know what to say either.” Damn. Isn't that the truth? I know she was speaking from experience in that scene, as she is most definitely experiencing that in real life. I don't know how many times I've walked in a room and literally felt the pity pouring out of everyone. It's such a strange feeling because you know no one can help it and the have the best intentions but it is just so damn uncomfortable. It just magnifies the abnormality of an already abnormal situation and makes you feel like even more of an outcast. And honestly, it's two years later and I still don't know what to say.

The most pivotal scene of the episode is when Finn's family began packing up his room. First off, this act alone needs to be acknowledged. Packing up your child's belongings after their death is one of the hardest things that anyone ever has to do. The only reason I even did it was because we needed the room. Second, this scene focuses on Finn's family. While his friends are hurting, it is his family who is going to be affected the most by his death. Their life is forever changed and nothing will ever be normal again. I was in tears as Finn's mom said the thoughts that go through the heads of all grieving parents, “You don’t get to stop waking up. You have to keep on being a parent even though you don’t have a child anymore.” I have to wonder if a grieving parent wrote that line because it is so scarily accurate. They will always be our child and we have to wake up and face the fact that they died every single day.

Huge kudos to Glee for being brave enough to focus on the act of grief rather than the story of Finn's death. Grief is such a taboo topic in our culture and it was very comforting for those of us who have gone through it to have such a mainstream show confront the topic and show how normal it is.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Two Years

Today, was the two year anniversary of Naya's death. In some ways, it feels like it was only yesterday and in others like it was decades ago. All day, I have been thinking about how different it feels from last year. How different I am. How I have grown, have learned and have changed from a year ago. 

I am not sure i can even adequately describe how heart wrenchingly awful that first year is, although I am sure if I go through my posts, I could probably put myself there again. I can remember the feeling of waking up everyday wishing I was dead. How I spent most of my time constantly searching for any little sign of her, even though I knew she was gone. That first year is very irrational. You are thinking that you have the power to bring them back, be it by the sheer force of your pain or the amount of anguish in your heart. You believe that if you somehow think the right thing or retrace your steps in the right way, you might somehow figure out a way to turn back time and make their death never happen. You spend that first year living in your head, reliving your worst nightmare over and over just in case you might be finally able to find a way to think yourself out of it. You are in such denial that you can't/don't want to conceive of the idea that life is going to continue without your child. You don't want to face that reality because of how badly it hurts. 

The second year has been much different. That feeling of tremendous despair isn't there anymore. I don't know if it was just having Rhone or the fact that I had made it through a whole year without her but I was able and ready to start living again rather than just going through the motions. I learned to love, to laugh and to feel real happiness again. And, despite the guilt, it feels good. I want to live. I want to wake up in the morning and see my children and my husband and live my life. I will always wish that she was here but I have come to a place where I realize that she is not coming back. Maybe it's acceptance or maybe it's just dealing with reality. I still search for her but it's not in the same desperate way as it was in the beginning. I search for her because it makes me smile. Thinking about her, although it brings tears to my eyes and a pain in my heart, makes me happy. It makes me feel close to her. It makes her feel real and I have learned to treasure that. Despite the fact that she is gone, Naya will always be me daughter and part of our family. I will always love her and miss her. I am thankful for all she has given me. The relationships that have grown, the extra love that I feel for my children, the beauty that I see in nature, my sense of responsibility as a citizen of the world -  the person that I am becoming is because of her and for that, I am grateful.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Keeping Busy Helps Me Forget

My little sister posted a "why you no update your blog" meme on my Facebook wall last week so I figured I should do some sort of update. I have had a busy, busy summer but in a good way. In all honestly, updating my blog has been the last thing on my mind lately. After I put Rhone to sleep and finally experience that sweet relief of "free time," I have to admit I've been using it for less than admiral purposes (mainly drinking a beer, watching television and playing Peggle, all on my bed). But I figured that I better write something to let everyone know what has been happening.

So the last time I wrote, Dan had just been laid off. Let me tell you - what a blessing in disguise! Yes, we had a hard month and paying Cobra is a bitch but he is finally out of that place and moved on to bigger and better things in a new work environment. Instead of working 70-80 hours a week, he is now home by 5:30 every night and has an actual work/life balance. Rhone loves all the new daddy time he is getting and I love seeing him while it's still light out. Thank you all for the support and positive thoughts thrown our way.

I also made a big decision this summer. I have decided that I will return to school (in the next few years) to obtain my MSW to eventually get a job as a social worker in a NICU. My goal is to attend Berkeley, so I have spent the summer making some initial preparations. I ordered my transcripts, started studying for the GRE and began volunteering at the hospital where Rhone was born. Right now, I am in Labor & Delivery and will begin in the NICU in the next few weeks. I am not doing much (stocking closets, putting together forms, doing discharges) but I actually really like it. Not that there hasn't been any tough moments. On my first day, a baby passed away and they happened to bring him in the nursery as I was getting a tour. It definitely startled me but I handled it surprisingly well and managed to ask the nurses questions about what they do for families after babies pass and if they offer any support. I am going to be involved in setting up an infant loss support group at the Hospital now, so I guess it was serendipitous that I was in that place at that particular time but still. What a freaking coincidence. I was proud of myself for holding it together at the time but I cried all of the way home. It was my first test of seeing what I am going to have to deal with and I am not sure if I passed or failed. I do know that I am probably never going to not cry on the way home after a baby dies.

Naya's birthday was on July 24. It was actually a really nice day. We had hummingbird cookies made for her and did a balloon release at the cemetery. Although it was another marker of what we have missed out on it was nice to spend the day reflecting on her. I do have to say that the good days have been more frequent than the bad but I still miss her desperately.

Dan and I also decided to visit CHLA for the first time after we attending a friend's wedding in SoCal in early August. I was incredibly anxious as we drove up to the hospital but the experience wasn't as terrifying as I thought it was going to be. While we were there, we visited with one of her nurses and walked around the healing garden and down the street towards the Ronald McDonald House so we could look up to her room. We talked about how weird it was to be there when we are in such a different place emotionally. While it was the place where she died, it is also the place where she was alive and where she was loved by so many and that brought us great comfort and hope. I am looking forward to returning this fall to present the hospital a plaque from the March of Dimes dedicated to their NICCU in her memory.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Life has a way of kicking your ass when you are down

The last few weeks have been very, very tough on us. Dan was laid off from his job with no warning two weeks and we've been pretty much spinning in a spiral since then. It's left us hurt, shocked and frankly, quite scared as to what is going to happen to us. Unemployment is pure shit and we are terrified we aren't going to be able to pay our bills soon. You think that I would have learned two years ago that life could flip you upside down in a split second but apparently that lesson had to be repeated.

Right now, we aren't sure of our next move. We live in a very small area that doesn't have a lot of options for employment, especially in the salary and skill range that Dan is in. He has been pursuing all the opportunities in the area but I don't think any of them are going to work out. We are now looking at moving and it breaks my heart.

I have lived in this area for almost 15 years (give or take). I have family here, wonderful friends, amazing co-workers and a fantastic community. My home, my work, the places I volunteer are here. It's where Ty has grown up, the place where he has gone to school for 7 years and is the only place he knows.

It's also the place where my daughter was born. It's the place where she is buried. It's the place where I have been able to heal because of the excellent support system I've had in place. Leaving here, we are forced to leave her behind and that breaks my heart into more pieces than it was before. I already can't see her anymore. Now I am not going to be able visit her.

I honestly don't know what to think or do anymore. I have definitely been thrown into a depression and my PTSD has come into play. Plus, Naya's birthday is in 12 days and I have done absolutely NOTHING. I feel so guilty but I don't have the energy. I barely have the energy to get out of bed. I am flailing. I am just so fucking tired and nothing seems to be getting better. I am not sure how much more I can take.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Love is my philosophy

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I don't know if it's due to losing Naya or just if the novelty of people sharing too much of their lives is finally wearing off but I find myself stepping further and further away from it. At first, I stayed away because I was sick of seeing babies. In my age group (the ripe old age of 32), EVERYONE is having babies. It seems like a new pregnancy announcement and/or newborn photo pops up on my Newsfeed everyday. While this doesn't send me into a crying fit anymore like it did two years ago, I still have to admit that I typically hide most of these people from my Newsfeed. I can finally handle seeing the babies (although little girls still stab me in the heart) but what is still really hard for me is seeing the blissful naivety that most people are able to have about being parents. I know it's not intentional - in fact, one of the reason's it's so bothersome is that I am jealous. After seeing your child take their last breath in your arms, you just can't go back to that naivety again. It's gone forever. It has shattered my innocence and makes it really hard for me to relate to the normal, everyday worries.

I think that's why I find so many discussions and things to do with parenting on Facebook and online so ridiculous. So many people are interested in putting a label on their parenting style and judging others that aren't doing it in the same exact way they are. To me, it just seems like a complete waste of time and energy. Parenting philosophies are like religion or politics; They are great things to believe in and practice but they should really not be discussed, let alone be used as a definition of who you are. All it's going to do is alienate you and leave you open for criticism because, like religion and politics, someone is always going to disagree. I just don't have the time or energy for the drama. Does it really matter that I choose to breastfeed my son and someone else feeds theirs formula? Or that my child ate baby food out of a jar rather than carrots that I picked and pureed from my own garden? Do my silly little parenting choices have any bearing over anyone's life outside of those of my immediate family? No. They don't. And that's why I choose not to discuss them.

It doesn't matter whether I am a crunchy mom or a traditional one. It doesn't matter whether my kid wears huggies or a cloth diaper sewn from hand. All that matters is that I love my kids and that I am doing the best I can to show them this love. That is how I parent and what defines me as a mother. Naya's death has proved that life is unpredictable and that tomorrow is never a certain. It may be morbid but maybe my parenting philosophy is to enjoy every minute I have with my kids just in case they are my last. The little shit just really does not matter, especially when you've dealt with big, life and death shit that does.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

March for Babies 2013

I can't believe it's already May 5. Where did my month of April go? Between the half-marathon, the March for Babies and a big work fundraiser, I barely had time to shower let alone write. Now with the last big event (a Kentucky Derby party for work) over and done with (and hopefully successful!), I am looking forward to the summer months and the gift of time that it brings. I can't wait to take some leisurely hikes with Rhone and Ty and just enjoy my time with my children.

I do want to rewind a little and talk about the March for Babies event on April 20. This year, we walked in Vacaville, CA. We walked not only for Naya but also for Juliet, Logan & Charlie, 3 babies that were taken entirely soon and are the children of some of my nearest and dearest Baby Loss Mommas. I know I have talked about it before but I truly have been blessed to find some amazing women in my local area that have also experienced infant loss. These ladies have saved my life and I am so thankful for their friendship everyday.

This walk was an incredible and surreal experience. It felt so good to be surrounded and supported by friends and family, all who wanted to walk and help us raise money in our baby's honor. There were many times that day that I felt like crying, not only because I was thinking of Naya but also because I felt so lucky to have so many of the people that I hold dear to my heart together in one place. I think that is one of the main reasons that I participate in the March. I like the fact that we are raising money to save babies lives but I love that the walk brings together the people I love to honor my baby girl. I don't think everyone there realized how special and loved we felt. It was amazing and we thank you for all of your love and support.

At this year's event, I was also given the honor of speaking to the crowd before the walk began. I talked about Naya, gave a little background of her story and why we decided to walk. I did choke up a bit while I was speaking but I was able to get through it without bursting into tears (growth!). I am also happy to say that when all is said and done, I believe we will have raised almost $13000! I am so proud and thankful for everyone who supports us by donating to this great organization. Can't wait to get started on fundraising and planning for next year!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Today I went to your grave to talk to you. I told you about your brothers and your daddy. I cried as I told how much I have been hurting lately. How my fears about the future are destroying me. l laid down on the grass to get closer to you. I wish I could have felt you there. I wish I could feel you anywhere. There are days when I am fine but there are others where the pain is so raw, I feel like I did at the beginning of this nightmare. I am never going to stop yearning for you. Sometimes, it is too much. I miss you. I love you. I want you here.

It hurts.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Infant Car Seat Safety

So I am at an age where my Facebook news feed is full of people’s babies. While the whole concept of other people’s babies doesn’t bother me as much as it did a year ago (It still does but for different reasons - a topic that I will have to discuss in a different post) there are some things I keep seeing that make me want to pull my hair out. One of them that absolutely drives me nuts is pictures of babies using their car seats improperly.

According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, four out of five people are using their child safety seat incorrectly. That is an incredible number when you think about it. - 80% of well-meaning people are not doing it right. That is a whole lot of babies that could be in danger if their parents were involved in a car crash. I think the most fascinating thing is that many of these mistakes have absolutely nothing to do with the installation of the seat in the vehicle. While this is definitely a major concern, and arguably the most  important item in regards to the seat, it is not the only mistake that parents are making. (I feel like once parents finish struggling to get that damn seat in correctly, we assume that is all good and don’t even realize that there are other things we could be doing wrong that may be putting our child in danger.) Anyway, here are some other issues you may have never even thought of:

Not keeping your child Rear Facing long enough
I think most people are aware that an infant needs to be in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible but did you know that the AAP recommends that children remain rear-facing until they’re two years old or have hit their seat's weight limit (usually around 35 pounds). Apparently, facing backward offers the best protection for a baby's head, neck, and spine if you were involved in a car accident. In fact, recent studies have shown that a child under the age of 2 is 75% less likely to die or incur a serious injury when rear-facing. If your baby is heavier than 20 pounds and has reached the limits of his infant car seat, use a convertible seat, which can accommodate taller or heavier babies (up to 35 pounds) in the rear-facing position. I know a lot of people complain that their bigger babies legs are bent in this position but that really shouldn’t be your concern. In the event of a crash, a broken leg is a lot easier to deal with than a broken neck.

Not using the Harness/chest clip correctly
This one absolutely kills me and I see it ALL OF THE TIME! It’s actually the most common of all the mistakes and super dangerous. The straps on a rear-facing safety seat should be at or below your baby's shoulders (they should almost be coming up from underneath the baby rather than above). The chest clip attached to the harness strap should be fastened at armpit level to keep the straps from slipping off your baby's shoulder. The straps should lie flat and untwisted and should be tight enough so that you can't get more than two fingers between the harness and your baby's collarbone. If your baby is not strapped in correctly (and that chest clip is down lower than the armpits), there is significant chance that the baby may be ejected from the seat in the event of a crash. The simple fix is checking to make sure the straps are in the correct place every time you strap him/her in. Try to make it a part of the “getting baby into the car seat routine.”

"Happy Rhone" is demonstrating the correct way to use the harness and chest clips.
"Sad Rhone" is demonstrating the wrong way. (The really funny thing is that these pictures were taken within about 1 minute of each other. My son has crazy mood changes.)

Using head rests/harness strap covers/other crap that didn’t come with the carseat.
Yes, those cute little bear heads that are on harness strap covers are adorable but they really aren’t that safe. Harness strap covers can actually push the chest clip down, so it does not fit properly at armpit level. (See above as to why this is important.)
The only products you should ever add to a car seat are ones made by the same manufacturer as your car seat and have been crash tested with your car seat. Other products not made by the manufacturer (or even made by the same manufacturer but not crash tested), like head rests, harness strap covers, liners for car seat, etc., should not be used. These products may alter the fit of the baby in the car seat and cause unneeded danger in the event of the crash. If your baby slouches to one side in the seat (otherwise known as baby bobblehead syndrome), place rolled-up cloth diapers or rolled hand towels on each side of the shoulders. Again, do not use car seat head supports/rests unless they came manufactured with your seat. (My Britax B Safe has an awesome one built in so we never had an issue with Rhone doing the bobblehead!I also just noticed that it also has built in strap covers as well. Go Britax!) Also, never place any kind of padding or blanket under your baby — this can affect the harness's ability to restrain your little one.

This is an actual ad on Amazon for strap covers. Notice the placement of the chest clip being pushed down by the strap covers. I had some far worse examples that I found on etsy and on Facebook but I didn't want to embarrass them. Seriously, the chest clip was down by the kid's belly button.

If you would like more information on car seat safety, there is some good stuff at these two links:

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I figured I should do a general update kind of post since I haven't done one in awhile. This month has been another whirlwind at work - I've had a ton of shows. We literally had an event every single day at the theatre this month. It was/is insane. I've decided to reduce my hours at work for the next 6 months or so and take some time to breathe. It is definitely needed and it marks a new chapter in my life. I'm excited.

Rhone turned 6 months old on the 5th. We got him 1/2 a cake that we ate. He was allowed to look but not touch.

He is getting so big. He is sitting by himself and rolling all around and just started picking his butt up and trying to scoot so I think crawling might be a reality in our near future. He also cut a tooth and I think another one is trying to pop up next to it. He is a generally happy baby (when he's not sick! Round two of RSV, although this time I'm not a freaked out) and he loves to laugh and babble and grab your face and give you wet, sloppy kisses. He is also (mostly) sleeping through the night in his crib in his own room, which was a huge milestone for all of us. He also loves to eat and munches down his fruits and veggies and even the recent addition of meats. (He LOVES chicken!) He is a beautiful little man and I love him so much. As I said, he is sick again so I've had to spend the last few nights getting up with him because of his congestion and coughing. I am exhausted but it is sort of nice to just hold him and sing to him and kiss his head while he sleeps in my arms. Sometimes I cry when I hold him because it will bring back memories of the last time I held Naya after she had already passed away. It's hard to wrap my head around sometimes that he is real and hopefully not going to leave me.

Along with Rhone being sick (Again! Damn cold and flu season needs to be OVER), I had to have a bit of work done on my foot. I can't remember if a wrote about it when Rhone was born but I did a very dumb thing the day they induced me. I was trying to step over our gate that keeps the dogs out of my office and I kicked the wall while doing so. My toenail cracked and started bleeding everywhere. It was actually kind of amusing - I went in to give birth limping and with bandages on my gnarled toe. The epidural was a god send not only for the labor pains but also for the aching and throbbing in my toe. Anyway, I ended up losing my toenail a few weeks later and due to the miracle of prenatal vitamins, the toenail started growing back immediately. Unfortunately, it started growing back into my toe and was causing me a lot of pain so I had to go to a podiatrist and get it taken care of. It got infected last week and then I had to get it done again. I am hoping I am finally better because I signed up for a 1/2 marathon in 3 weeks and have the March of Dimes walk in 6.

And that's another round of exciting news. The March of Dimes walk. We are doing it again but this time we are walking in Vacaville, CA. Last year, our team raised the most money in Northern California and we are very excited to be walking again and hope to raise even more. This year is even more special because we will be walking with more family and friends, specifically two other baby loss mommas that have become some of my closest friends in honor of all of our children. We will also be walking for Naya with our Sunshine (Ty) beside us and our rainbow (Rhone) in a stroller. I am sure it will be an emotional event but I am so looking forward to it. Dan and I were able to attend the kick-off luncheon earlier in the month and we were asked to become their Mission family for next year. It was quite an honor and we are very much looking forward to it. It has also gotten me thinking and spurred another goal for me in the next coming year. I want to start reaching out and speaking within the medical community about our experience, in hope that people can learn something and prevent our tragedy from happening to anybody else. I think we owe it to Naya to do so.

If you are interested in supporting or joining our March for Babies team, please click on this link:

We will also be selling bracelets again this year as well as holding contests to raise money and various other events. I will post them as I know more details.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

One of those days

Sometimes I feel like the Universe is just steering me in the direction of a bad day. Today was definitely one of those days. It started out fine - Rhoners slept great last night and slept in this morning, I am finally over my plateau and am losing weight again (8 lbs to go before I am back to my pre-Naya weight. 13 lbs to goal!), got my hair cut yesterday and it still looks great for work today. All good things. And then I left the house.

Driving to work, I was listening to the radio and Eric Clapton's Tears in Heaven came on. It's probably the first time I listened to it since I lost Naya. And this time, I LISTENED to it. Damn, you can feel his grief in his lyrics. For those not in the know, the song is about Clapton's son, who passed away when he was four years old by falling out of 53 story window. I always knew the story and have always regarded the song as terribly sad but this time, I felt the sadness and I sobbed through its entirety, all the while thinking of Naya and wondering all the things Clapton is asking in that song. I was able to collect myself before getting to work but it definitely shifted my mood.

Later on, I took a break and met up with a friend for a quick brunch. While we were sitting in the restaurant, a little girl came up to our table. I looked down and it was a little girl from Rhone's daycare. She must have recognized Rhone because he was with me (long story but I am lucky enough to be able to take him to work and did so today). The little girl's mom came up to me and I introduced myself and told her that our kids were in daycare together. As she walked away, I looked at her and her husband and realized that they were in our birthing class for Naya. That little girl was born a few days before Naya was born. They should all be in daycare together. I was so shocked, I started crying in the middle of the restaurant - something that I haven't done in months because I now have the ability to control my emotions a bit better. This just rattled me to my core for some reason. I feel broken. It's those moments that make me want to scream and cry. Why did this have to happen? Why is this my life? Why does everyone else get to have their children and my little girl is dead? What the fuck did I do to deserve this. This is something that is never, ever going to go away. This is my reality. I have a dead child and she is always going to be dead. I can't do anything to change it. Is this pain ever going to end? Am I ever going to be a real person again? Am I always going to be shitty and sad and have triggers that pop up and make me cry no matter where I am? Am I ever going to be able to deal with the fact that this is my reality and just accept it? The real shitty thing is that now, I feel guilty for wanting this pain to end. Because no matter how much this hurts at least I am reminded of Naya and she is still a part of my life. And I want her to be a part of my life. I don't ever want to let her go. I want her. I want her back. I hate this.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fear and Loathing in my Bedroom

I am exhausted. I know Rhone isn't my first child but I honestly forgot how hard it is to have an infant. I wake up every morning and I swear I am more exhausted then I was when I went to bed. Somedays, I can not even tell you how I am managing to function - I float through the day in a caffeine induced fog that somehow gets me from point A to point B. What I would do for a full nights sleep is downright questionable and probably embarrassing. I can also barely put a coherent thought or sentence together, so forgive me if this post is a bit on the rambling side.

I know every mother of an infant feels this way. My problem is that I feel so damn guilty for feeling this way. Because of what I went through with Naya, I feel like I should be enjoying every moment of Rhone's infancy, no matter how exhausted I am. I remember after Naya died, I would hear women complain about their babies and how they weren't sleeping and I would think about how I would give anything to be exhausted as long as my baby was alive. Don't get me wrong, I am still incredibly grateful for every moment I have with Rhone. Most nights, I enjoy the 3am feeding because it gives me an extra opportunity to cuddle with my boy but almost 6 months of not sleeping is really starting to wear on me. I'm tired and I'm cranky.

The ironic thing is that Rhone is a pretty good sleeper and always has been. We even had a whole month where he slept through the night from Thanksgiving to Christmas. For the most part, we are now on an only once a night wake-up around 3am schedule, which as I said before, is not terrible. The part that sucks is that I have the absolute hardest time falling back asleep after I feed him. Most nights, it takes me at least an hour - sometimes more - to fall back asleep. There are some nights in which I can't fall back asleep at all.

I have always had trouble falling asleep but Naya's death has definitely made it worse. My head just won't shut up. I lie there after putting Rhone down and all that runs through my head is every possible bad thing that could conceivably (and not so conceivably) happen. And my thoughts are not only based solely around Rhone and Ty but also extend to Dan, my parents, my grandparents, my family, my friends - hell, even my dogs. It feels like I'm lying there watching a new Final Destination type movie starring the people in my life night after night.

To make things tougher, Rhone got his first cold three weeks ago. And, of course, in the style that my life is accustomed too, it was a doozie. He had RSV that turned into bronchiolitis. We took him to the doctor four times and the ER twice in the course of a week. There was one day where he was wheezing so badly that I honestly thought he had pneumonia and was going to die. (That was one of the ER trips - they were also concerned and gave him a chest xray just to check.) It was honestly one of my worse fears come to life - I felt like I was watching him go through exactly what Naya went through (He even puked all over me in the ER just like Naya did to Dan when we took her to the ER) and it was terrifying. I spent a great majority of that two weeks sobbing and overcome with fear. I stayed up at night staring at him just to make sure that he was still breathing. He is better now but I am not. I am so scared of something happening to him or to anyone in my life, that I am losing sleep which is affecting everything else in my life. I hate to wish away his infancy but I will be glad when he becomes an older and stronger toddler.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Grief is very strange. Especially, the way it changes over time. That first year, I was in such a terrible place of upheaval - emotionally, physically, mentally, rationally, spiritually. Sometimes it felt like someone had taken a giant eraser and wiped everything familiar out of my brain and replaced it with garbled nonsense. I was completely baffled on how I was supposed to go on with life without her. Everything seemed so pointless and mundane compared to what I had just been through and I didn't know how to survive. I couldn't kill myself so I just trudged on, pushing my way through the nightmare that had become my reality. That was what the first year was - trying to figure out how the hell to get through the day and doing whatever it took in order to do so.

The second year is a bit different. I know how to get through the day. Hell, sometimes I can even do it without crying. I have perfected the art of wearing my mask in public - although sometimes I let things slip that I shouldn't and the crazy comes out. Especially if I've had a beer or a glass of wine. I can even find times this year where I am actually, for real and not faking it, happy. Granted, Rhone has a lot to do with that but I do believe it's also part of the change in my grieving process.

I do find, however, that the second year is filled with a lot more sadness then the first year. I know it seems weird to say. Don't get me wrong, I was terribly sad last year. But it's just a different kind of sadness, one that is really hard to explain. That first year, I was sad but I was also in shock, which I swear acted like a numbing agent. And that numbness really kept me from dealing with the reality of what had happened. The shock would not let my brain realize that she was dead. I mean I knew she was dead - I saw her die, I watched her being buried, I dealt with all of the aftermath - but during everything, I was still searching for her and actually believed I would find her and could change what happened.

After she died, I spent hours upon hours rehashing what had happened in my head and scouring the internet, searching for new information on what had killed her. I know it's not rational and I'm not sure I even realized what I was doing but I thought that if I could find new information, I could make it all go away. I thought I could save her.

I also spent everyday searching for her. I would spend hours sitting on her grave or out in my backyard staring up at the sky and hoping to feel her. I walked down the street, hoping that I would see her. I went to bed and thought that I could wake up in the morning and she would be there. I thought that if I wanted it enough, I could bring her back. I was desperate. I still kind of am.

But now, this second year, I know that nothing I can do will bring her back. I know she's gone. I know I can't do anything to change it. And that is where the sadness returns in a way that is almost more difficult than it was before. My brain is finally over its shock and is accepting the fact that my daughter is dead. And that is an excruciating reality to face. My tears are not because my daughter is dead. They are because she is DEAD and I now know I can't do anything about it. And it hurts.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012 Holiday Round-Up

Holidays this year were both exciting and exhausting with it being Rhone's first Christmas. We did lots of celebrating and were able to spend time with my in-laws, who came down from Northern California, and my sister, who flew home for the Holidays from Kenya.

Like many things in my life, it was bittersweet. While I was so happy that Rhone was celebrating (and enjoying) his first Christmas, I was missing Naya desperately and completely feeling guilty about the fact that I wanted to celebrate this year. Ty also decided to fly to Chicago with his father to visit his grandparents and left on Christmas Eve, so I was also without him for the first time during the Holidays. We celebrated Christmas with him on December 23.

I guess, in a funny way though, him being gone lessened the pain of Naya not being here. Somehow having two children be absent made it feel less obvious that one is always not going to be there. 

Anyway, here are some of the pictures from the Holidays. I know I haven't shared a photo of him in awhile and he's getting so big! (Four months old today!). I plan on writing a longer post tomorrow.  I have been in kind of a funk for the past couple of weeks now and I am finally feeling like I am coming out of it.

 Ty and Rhone

My dad totally photobombed this one.

 Rhone in his exersaucer from Santa

 Rhone opening a present

 Santa Rhone

Me, Dan & Rhone