Monday, August 17, 2015

March for Babies - The Details (Finally)

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about our March for Babies in April.  That’s so sad.   So!  That being said, I’ll finally post about it!

We had our March for Babies on April 4th.  I can’t even begin to express my appreciation and gratitude to all of our friends and family that joined us at the walk, both in person, or in spirit!  We also had an amazing turnout from coworkers from my company who participated in the walk and helped fundraise.  Then, in addition to the walk itself, so many amazing friends donated, either directly through our fundraiser page, or by buying t-shirts we had made, or through buying jewelry through my sweet friend’s online party, in which she donated all the profits to our team.  The response was honestly, overwhelming and touched me so much! 

(Here is a picture of all of the Team BKD C&P members at the walk.  It was quite funny, as the photographer's assistant was trying to count the team members for the award for most walkers present, she just gave up and said we had it by a long-shot!  Haha!)

As I mentioned, we sold t-shirts and a friend did a jewelry party with the profit from both being donated to our march team.  We sold nearly 100 shirts and over $300 in jewelry!  The response absolutely blew us away!  We ended up shipping shirts all over the US, from California to Maine to Florida, and so many states in between!  Our friends really are awesome! 

(Here are our team t-shirts.  I absolutely love how they turned out!  They have their actual footprints included on the back.) 
Anyway, I digress, but wanted to point out that we have AMAZING friends!  I’m so thankful for them!
Back to the walk!  My offices joined as a company team, and named our team, Team BKD for C&P.  Nearly everyone from my offices joined the walk, and we had a very successful fundraising effort!  In fact, we won several awards at the walk for Top Fundraising Team, Top Online Fundraising Team, Top Fundraising Individual and Most Walkers Present. 
I couldn't be more touched by the donations we received for our team.  It absoluely means so much to me.  All of it to benefit such an amazing cause!  Although my babies were born too soon, I know the day that we had with this was a direct result of premmie research conducted through March of Dimes efforts.  And that day means so much to Dusty and I!
Also at the walk, I got to see for the first time since leaving the hospital, Paisley's nurse Kaci, who was such a God-send to us during that terrible time.  She and I had messaged back and forth on facebook some, and she also bought a shirt.  She asked me if we made the blue on the shirts bigger because Chandler was bigger and you know, I hadn't thought about that, but I like that thought!  I wish I had taken a picture with her!  It was so nice to see her again!  She also snapped these pictures for me, of Chandler and Paisley's names in the Garden of Hope at the walk, which sadly, I completely missed, as it was set up near the Easter egg hunt (since it was Easter weekend). 

I'm so thankful for all Kaci has done for us and I'm so glad to call her a friend!  Her kindness has touched me so much.  She was the one behind the sweet shoes and card that we received at Christmas time, and she also reached out to me at Mother's Day and sent me a beautiful package of such touching gifts.  I honestly don't know what Dusty and I have done to be blessed with such amazing people in our lives, but I am so incredibly grateful for them!
Lastly, our team also had a sign on Mission Blvd, which was the last stretch of the walk, and included signs telling stories of sweet angels and of sweet survivors.  We were very touched to have Chandler and Paisley story and name told on one of these signs. 
It truly was an amazing day.  It made mine and Dusty's hearts feel good, for the first time in a very long time, to be able to do something to help honor and remember our sweet children.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Our Limp

I’ve often thought about how mine and Dusty’s lives will never be the same after losing Chandler and Paisley.  I think about how our lives have shattered, broken into millions of pieces, and impossible to find all the pieces to even begin to attempt to glue it back together. 

The missing holes are just too big.  There is too much gone.  Pieces from mine and Dusty’s hearts have been torn out; leaving a gaping hole that will never be filled. 
Perhaps our pastor said it best when he compared our life to that of Jacob after Jacob wrestled with God and from that point on, walked with a limp.  God crippled Jacob and caused him to walk with a limp the rest of his life.  Dusty and I will always carry this, like a limp.  At times, it isn’t visible to the outside world, but at times, it is painfully obvious.  When we see that newborn baby, or that pregnant woman, or hear that newborn whimper, and our natural, guttural reaction is to cringe and we have to fight tears.  Those are the times when our limp is on display for the entire world to see. 

And I don’t mind that at all. 
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t understand our limp, and often times, it is misinterpreted.  That cringe reaction to a newborn baby at a restaurant is often met with judging looks, and I know what those parents are thinking, it’s a baby, it will cry.  Oh how they misunderstand why they see the pained look on our face. 

Three weeks ago at church, we took our seats, and in walked a couple, and the woman was several months into her pregnancy.  Then, in walked two more couples, with big round pregnant bellies.  Then, lastly, in walked a couple with a newborn baby boy.  And every one of those sat on the row in front of us.  We were on the 2nd row.  I’d hate to even imagine how many reminders I would have seen if I’d turned around.  Every single time, I felt this pain deep in my chest, and I thought to myself, this must be what it feels like to have a knife stab your heart.  And every time, I’d feel my husband cringe, and wrap his arm around me a little tighter.  I know my husband hurts as much as I do, and though my PTSD symptoms at times seem stronger, I know he has the same triggers, and feels the same pain, he just hides it better.  (I’ll eventually do a post on PTSD as it relates to pregnancy loss)  Dusty and I nearly walked out of church.  Neither of us said anything, but there was this almost physical pull that I could feel.  Here we are, 9 months after losing our babies, still without a pregnancy of our own since, and the pain is just as real as it was months ago.  The pain of infertility compounded with the never ending pain of loss.  Our limp. 
Just today, at work, two coworkers were discussing one coworker’s newborn grandbaby, right next to me.  It amazes me how people come across so insensitive.  I try to remind myself that they don’t know, they aren’t trying to be insensitive, they just don’t think.  People really don’t understand the severity of how it feels after losing children, and compound that with the pain of infertility.  At times, it is just too much to bear.  I compared today’s event to lighting fireworks in the living room of an army veteran with PTSD.  There are physical responses to these triggers, and I will go into it more later, but it amazes me how people walk through life so blissfully ignorant to these things.  I know I never will again. 

I’ve found several friends through the child loss community on Facebook and Instagram.  Often times, especially in the early days of loss, I see many people ask, “When will I feel like I used to?”  I know I will NEVER feel like I used to.  Nor would I want to.  What kind of person would I be, or would Dusty be, if this did not change us drastically?  How meaningless would our children’s lives be if we were somehow able to become who we were before them?  Of course we will never be the same.  So, because of that, I am perfectly ok with the person I have become.