It has been over two years since I have really visited my blog. I just felt like it was time to post SOMETHING. Matthew would have been 3 1/2 years old now. I feels strange, yet comfortable, to be here on Blogger. It's like having a special memory at a place, and going back and re-visiting years later. Those memories feel so fresh but are also so far away.
I have been recovering well in my grief. I will never be the same person I was before, and have not yet had any more children. Being able to help other moms is such a great outlet for me. The non-profit that I started in his memory, Cherishing the Journey (www.cherishingthejourney.org), is thriving very well. We are donating memory boxes to six hospitals now, are partnered with an ultrasound company that provides free 4d ultrasounds to moms who are carrying to term, have a Mommy Match program, and more. I would have never thought all of this would have happened four years ago. I was just going day-by-day.
We are having our 2nd Annual Walk to Remember on Florida's east coast this month, and I am excited to continue to be a resource for those in our area.
Until next time, Jennifer
I really had no idea what to name my post today, other than naming it Down in the Dumps, which is exactly how I felt today.
A few weeks ago, Josh and I decided it was time to start trying for another baby. In the past I have gotten pregnant very easily, and after four pregnancy tests this time, I was disappointed that I wasn't yet. Though I had given it very little time, I expected it to happen right away because of my past experience.
Last Friday (not the one we just had, but the one before that) I had a bad dizzy spill and felt nauseas. I had been having dizzy spells for about a week, in addition to being very tired and forgetful. I decided to make a doctors appointment where I was told to get some bloodwork and a brain MRI. Almost everything came back normal last week, except for my thryoid which was three times higher than normal, and a low white blood count. After doing some research, I found out that a high thyroid test means an underactive thyroid which would explain my sluggishness. The nurse couldn't tell me last week what the course of action was until the doctor signed off on it.
In the meantime, I started doing a little research and found out that some studies were done back in 2001, and it was found that pregnant women with untreated throid problems have an 18% chance of having a baby with birth defects. I couldn't believe it. I cried. I was very upset. I felt like this could have somehow been avoided...like if I had known, I would have Matthew here right now. But then I prayed. And the more I prayed, the harder I cried. I know that things are the way they are because they were God's intentions and part of His ultimate plan. But it still hurts, and makes me wonder. I'm only human and can't help but think "what if?"
Fast forward to late this afternoon. The nurse calls me because the doctor signed off on everything. I have to go on some medication for the thyroid, get an u/s on it, and follow up with a endocrinologist. She looked back in my records and discovered that I had thryoid testing back in June of 2004, just 5 months before I got pregnant with my four year old son, Raleigh. And my thyroid levels were even higher then than they are now. I was never told about it or treated...it was basically forgotten. So now I'm angry and upset. I have no idea what to think, but I do know I am grateful for not beng pregnant right now. I know that His plan continues, and for whatever reason, this is all a part of it.
But to put a happy ending to a bad day, when I got home this evening, I found a package for me at the front door. Laura from String of Pearls sent me a beautiful necklace and charm that have Matthew's picture in them.
Laura, you are a truly wonderful woman, thank you for all that you have done and for getting it here on what was such a bad day for me!
So Josh and I have been discussing recently how we are going to afford to buy a memorial marker for Matthew. If we had started saving money right after he was born, we would have been able to get one by now. However, I wasn't emotionally ready to think about it. To me, his marker makes it final. Other than working on Cherishing the Journey, it's the only piece of him that needs to be completed here on earth, and part of me doesn't want to let go of that.
I had my yearly review at work last week. When I received my piece of paper that shows my increase, it didn't look right to me. I went back to my desk and pulled out my paper from last year, and found that they never actually implemented my raise from last year. Yes, I went an entire year without checking my pay stub. It's all online and I forget to check it.
Dumb- yes. Benefits me in the end- yes!
So now I get a year's worth of backpay for my raise, which is more than enough to buy Matthew a marker! Amazing how God works, isn't it?
Though my heart breaks to think about "putting this last piece in the puzzle," I want my baby to have something permanent to show who he was. I believe everything happens for a reason, and there's no way I could be upset over such a great mistake!
Here is a picture from his birthday. We brought him flowers, a balloon (it looks really HUGE in the picture, only because it was blowing right in front of the camera), a metal post with a cross hanging from it, and a balloon with a note attached to Matthew that we did not get to send because I forgot the helium! We are going to do it on Easter instead.
Today marks one year since Matthew was born and died. I took the day off from work, knowing that I would be emotional and unable to focus on much except for him today. This is my first post in about six months, and I wish I had been able to post more frequently. But due to time constraints with work, school, kids and everything in between, it didn't work out that way.
As far as plans for today, I am currently working on a non-profit organization for the central Florida area that will provide support for families who are carrying their pregnancy to term, and thought that today would be a good to devote my time to working on the brochure, website, and fundraising ideas. The idea started when I was still pregnant, so things are going slower than I had anticipated, but we will get there. The future website is www.cherishingthejourney.org and I hope to have it up and running this week...but that is just a hope!
We are going to have a small party for Matthew with myself, Josh and the kids this evening. I saw this pretty flag at the Hallmark store for the graveside, so I'm going to pick that up this afternoon for when we go to visit him later today. We have not ordered a marker for him yet due to the cost, so having something there will make me feel a bit better about that. I also have to pick up a cake so we can sing "Happy Birthday" to Matthew and celebrate his life in Heaven.
So now for me emotionally. Today really brings me back to one year ago. I've been thinking about all of the memories of March 8th one year ago and start spilling with tears. On most days, I do very well with my recovery. I think that is mostly because of my busy schedule which doesn't allow any "me" time, and I often feel guilty about not taking enough "Matthew" time.
I have gone on with life in one sense, but in another, I never want his memories to fade. I worry about forgetting everything about him...what time he was born, how big he was, my due date, etc. If I didn't have him, I would be a different person today and I never want to forget that. One issue I do have and am unsure how to react to it, is how people seem to have forgotton about him. I could go on and on about him, but sometimes I get the feeling when talking to people- even family- conversations about Matthew are not welcomed. I want to be able to speak of him, because he is still my son. Why is it that because he is gone, I am expected to stop talking about him? I am thankful that I have this blog and have met so many people who understand me, and who have been there before. Because it can hurt. Alot. Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated!
I'm so thankful to God for everything He has given us, and especially for Matthew. I wouldn't be where I am in my life right now if it wasn't for the love that He has shown, and the opportunities He has provided us with.
I will try to update the blog when "Cherishing the Journey" progresses a bit further, and would love for everyone to check it out.
I'm sure most people have heard that line from Winnie the Pooh. I heard it in my head all day Friday. I felt like there was a dark rain cloud hovering over my head wherever I went. Everthing has been going so well, I just don't understand what has thrown me into this state of sadness. I really felt like I had lost Matthew all over again.
I was trying to pinpoint the reason, but couldn't really determine it. Was it the Sudafed that was making me feel loopy, was it the current medical situation with Abbie (Abbie has mild bi-lateral VUR, somewhat similar to PUV), or is it just something about 7 months?
Whatever the cause, I am feeling somewhat better today. I've decided to finish the Bible Study book that I had started after Matthew died, Threads of Hope Pieces of Joy. I got through the first four chapters originally, then just stopped. I still consider myself new to this grief thing, and I pray that finishing the book will bring me to a new step of grief, and past this stage, whatever it may be.
On a different note, me, my mom and the kids drove to Jacksonville, FL (about 3 hours north of me) on Friday evening and stayed in a hotel there. We got up in the morning (Saturday) and went to the 5K run and family festival for the Fetal Hope Foundation. There was a great turnout there which inluded families of both survivors and angels. I posted Matthew's picture and story on the Wall of Hope, and ran the 5k in his memory. I won't even post my time on here, because I'm surely not much of a runner...more of a run for several yards, walk for several more yards kinda girl. I prefer to lift weights. LOL. It was a very nice time, we got back yesterday around 6 PM, and my body is paying for it today. :) The picture on here is the balloon release that was done in memory of the angels lost.
Last weekend, Abbie went to a water park with her cousin, so I had the opportunity to spend some special time with Raleigh. We went to a town near New Smyrna Beach and met up with my brother who lives near there. Our first stop was at Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, which is the second tallest in the U.S. 202 steps up and 202 back down. Raleigh was a trooper and didn't complain once! I on the other hand, was getting claustrophobic on the way up and had to stop for a break. The view at the top, however, was amazing and well worth the climb.
There were several buildings surrounding the lighthouse that were built in the 1800s with memorabilia and all sorts of historical artifacts. I love history, so it was right up my alley!
We next stopped at a marine science center where they rescue injured sea turtles and birds. And what's a trip to New Smyrna Beach without going to the beach? I couldn't believe how much nicer the beach was there than the one where I live. What a difference an hour makes! It was absolutely wonderful and the water was so shallow and clean looking. I didn't have to worry about a drop off like we have at our beach. Raleigh could run out into the water and the water level never rose above his knees. Beautiful...
6 months. Wow. I can't believe how the time has gone by. It is such a significant time, yet I don't have much to say. Why is it that time seems to crawl ever so slowly when you are pregnant, but with an event such as the loss of a loved one when you want everything to be at a standstill, it goes lightening fast? I never quite got that.
Six months is such an adorable age when they really start to show their little personalities. I was thinking today about what he would have been like and what he would have been doing. Grabbing his little toes, crawling all over the place, giving me the biggest toothless grin...
We went to the cemetery this evening, and it was Josh's second time back since after the funeral. It had been atleast 2 months for me. I felt peace this time. Perhaps it was because we were all together, but it was the first time that I didn't shed a tear. I sat on the ground with Raleigh in my lap and we talked about his baby brother and how special he was and still is to our family. God has given me such a treasure in my family and I am such a lucky mommy!
Our son, Matthew, was diagnosed at the beginning of the second trimester with PUV- Posterior Urethral Valves which affects 1 in 8,000-10,000 boys. It is a blockage that prevents him from peeing, causing his bladder to fill up and the urine to back up into his ureters and kidneys. It can be fatal if not treated by in-utero surgery, which we were not a candidate for. PUV also causes extremely low amniotic fluid levels around the baby, called Olighydramnios, which put the lungs at risk. Matthew was born and went to be with the Lord on March 8th, 2009.
To read our story from the beginning, click here and start from the bottom.