Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Isaac's scrapbook

I've never done any scrapbooking, which is probably good for my rage (Don't ever ask about the time I learned to crochet. Can you say homicidal?). I just get...so...irritated when everything isn't perfect the first time. I do better with something more physical like sports. Fortunately, my sister-in-law loves scrapbooking and, to my knowledge, hasn't turned homicidal in the process.

Julie offered to take our photos and numerous ultrasound pictures of Isaac and make us a scrapbook. At first, I wasn't sure I would like a scrapbook. They seem like such happy things. It's not that we weren't happy about Isaac, but there was so much stress involved in the pregnancy. When I look at those ultrasound images, I can remember each appointment and the bad news that followed. I didn't know if putting those memories in a scrapbook would really be what I wanted. But what do I know? The scrapbook is amazing! Julie did a great job! I'm glad she could see the potential when I couldn't.

These pictures just don't do the book justice, but I wanted to share some of the pages anyway.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I really don't enjoy blogging. At first it was difficult for me to write anything at all. I didn't want to expose the struggles of the pregnancy or give minute details about how we were coping. The truth is I don't really want to share all my feelings with everyone. That's why there are long gaps between posts sometimes. I just don't have anything positive to say. I refrain from these posts: "Here are 100 reasons why life sucks now." Or maybe: "I almost pushed someone in front of a car today." Or how about: "I can't stop crying this week and my face will probably always be this puffy."

The truth is that grief has its way with you. I'm up and down and angry and sad. I'm talking zero to 60 in milliseconds. I've had many sleepless nights, and I was having a hard time believing it had anything to do with my grieving. But who am I kidding? Grief leaves its residue on everything. I look in the mirror and see someone different, but people don't treat me that way. It's not like I want them to. Or maybe I do. I don't make decisions as well as I used to. I don't care as much about other people's problems. I don't want to ask about your day. I don't want to hear happy stories.

It's not like that every day. I never see it coming. Some days, the mornings are great and the afternoons are miserable. Some days I want to scream and some days seem completely normal. And I can't find any rhythm to it. Most of the time, I just want to be alone with my agony.

It hasn't helped that I fractured my foot only 2 weeks after I was cleared to begin exercising. I spent 6 weeks in a boot and I'm still restricted (at least for another 2 weeks). I haven't been able to exercise as much as I wanted or lose as much baby weight as I'd hoped. I had planned to be in a 4 miler at the first of September, and I was so excited to begin the training program. Six weeks before the race, I'm still not able to do any jogging - doctor's orders. All of that has heaped frustration upon grief, and there's just no getting around it. I have to live through it. What choice do I have?

I know everyone deals differently with their grief, and here I am. Four and a half months have passed since we lost Isaac, but the stress started last September when we heard "cystic hygroma". I've been trying to cope since then. It just seems like it's been a long road already and I see no signs of relief ahead.

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 4th

We went to DC this year for the Fourth of July. My brother and sister-in-law live in Leesburg, just west of DC. My little brother and his girlfriend drove up from Tennessee, and we all decided to brave the crowds in downtown DC to see the annual fireworks. It was hectic and extremely crowded, but it was so much fun. Watching the fireworks explode over the Washington Monument was breathtaking!

My older brother, Seth, is in the Air Force, and my mom served in the Army. Though neither one of them has fought in a war, they still sacrificed for our country. Our American lives are lavish: grocery stores on every corner, shopping malls, restaurants, clean water, and air conditioning. So many people all over the world don't know where their next meal will come from. Many live in fear. Americans are quick to forget. Men have died. Sons have died. Fathers and mothers have died. Why do we wait until July 4th to remember these sacrifices?

I'd been to the Vietnam Memorial before. I was in 8th grade. I stood at the Wall and watched as one of my teachers located her brother's name. She ran her fingers across his name as she lifted a white piece of paper to the Wall. With some effort she took a pencil and slowly colored back and forth. In just seconds she began crying. She sobbed and could barely breath. Another teacher helped her move away from the wall so that yet another teacher could finish the pencil rubbing. I was only 13 at the time, but I remember wondering why she was crying so hard. It didn't make sense to me that she could be so sad after so many years. I had never experienced that kind of pain and loss. When I was standing at the Wall this July 4th running my fingers across the names, I kept thinking, "whose son are you?" It was all too clear at that moment: my son's name is etched into a memorial too. People will come across his name on the Trisomy 18 foundation site or see his headstone at the cemetery, and they'll ask, "whose son are you?" Now I understand why my teacher sobbed for her brother. It's no way to keep your loved one - only etched in stone, only a memory.

Every American should spend time remembering these sacrifices. Every mother wants their son remembered, whether he died in a battle or in a hospital.


I actually wasn't trying to be profound. I was going to say we had fun and post pics and leave it at that. Oh well. We did have fun! And here are some pics of the trip.