Saturday, July 9, 2011

We made it's done.

Doug and I made it through signing the papers at the funeral home.  We both started having a hard time catching our breath the moment we saw it.  The surrealness tends to wear off when you are faced with the actual building right in front of you.  I didn't even make it to the door before I started crying uncontrollably, inconsolably.  A lady met us at the door and led us to a couch, thank God, where I could try and pull myself together.  It took a while, but I didn't pass out like I thought I would.  I still cannot believe or understand how we go from a live baby last week to being at a funeral home to sign papers for his cremation just days later.  I just can't believe it and I wish I didn't have to.

Luckily, Juan was very nice and helped ease us through the process.  He answered all our questions and he really helped ease some of my fears.  I was actually very interested and learned quite a few things about cremation.  It makes me much more comfortable with it now, for Andrew, and for myself.  I know my little boy is in good hands and will be cared for until he can return home with us.  It will probably take two weeks because of all the legalities involved with such a young infant...crazy, but it gives me time to begin the process of choosing an urn for my little one and waiting on the call that we can come pick Andrew up and bring him home.  I just wish it were a daycare calling with that information instead of a funeral home.  

Waking up to another day...

It's nice to have a place to just come lay my feelings out there.  I'm alone right now.  It's quiet.  I've always loved to write, especially journaling, so this is a perfect outlet for me.  Whether people will want to read it or not doesn't matter...I just need to say it, even if my words are lost in cyberspace once they leave my fingertips, although I do hope other people in need, searching, may find me and gain something from my experience, as I did with the ladies whose stories have helped me.  The pictures of their little babies helped allay my fears, even though some may find them morbid.  These are our babies.  They grew in our bodies and we nurtured them the best we could.  We prayed.  We imagined a future with these little where they were in our arms, giggling, squirming, and crying...but we were forced to meet way too soon.  They are nothing but beautiful to us.

Doug went in to work this morning to get caught up so he's not so behind on Monday.  The kids are both my bed.  I like waking up and having them right beside me.  I love watching them sleep.  They look so sweet, with their long eyelashes and angelic faces.  Of course, it'll only be an hour or so before they are up and bouncing around the house, maybe yelling at each other every once in a while. That's okay though, I truly live for it, for them. 

My stuffed "I love you, Mom" bear and Trevor's little dog from the baby, are both in the bed.  Trevor, several times yesterday, would come up to me with the little dog and say, "Mom, this is what you deserve," and would squeeze the dog right in my face making it bark and say, "I love you, woof woof."  The he would smile his snaggle-toothed grin that melts my heart, wink at me, and give me a hug and kiss.  God, how I love that boy.  Any time he saw that my bear was separated from me yesterday, he would bring it to me and say, "Here Mom.  Here's your bear," even if it were sitting only a few feet away.  He knows it means something special to me and I can tell he wants to do something for me.  Both of the kids are always thinking of me and trying to find their own ways to make sure I'm comfortable and just amazes me.  A 5 and almost 11-year-old are trying to parent ME. 

Hugging and squeezing that bear has helped me to fill my arms when I need something to hold, to hug.  It never left my side once the kids brought it to me at the hospital and helped to ease some of the emptiness I felt in my heart, soul, and arms.  I could bury my face in it and let the tears flow, let the fear and sorrow escape me.  I could squeeze it hard to release tension, anger, and frustration, when I know that squeezing a person like that would never do without breaking a few ribs in the process.  I could just hug my fluffy bear and find that odd comfort that children find in their stuffed toys.  So weird to find solace in a teddy bear when I am a grown woman.  But then, sometimes, age really IS just a number, because here lately I feel like a sad, lost, scared child.  I just want to be a kid again, run around without a care in the world, and not know the dismal reality that I am facing right now.  I don't want to face these responsibilities or be the one that has to do this.  I don't want to go to the funeral home.

It's not often I don't have the answers...I am a self-proclaimed know-it-all, after all...but I just don't have the answers when I need them the most, and I NEED the answers more than ever right NOW.  I wish I didn't know all the things I have to know, or have the experiences that I've had to experience over the past few days.  Medically, sometimes I wish I were dumb to it all and that I wasn't so absorbed in the facts, but even the nurses and chaplain were blown away and impressed by the information I had, the questions I had, the preparedness, and the fact that I needed to know everything that was going to happen so that I could plan as much in advance as was possible.  I could talk about things, the cremation, what would happen when and after I delivered, etc.  It is just my way of coping and I like to be in control as much as possible.  Don't think for once I am not fragile or falling apart inside, because I'm destroyed, shattered.  By absorbing myself in the facts and getting things done ahead of time, it's just my way of not having to sit and do nothing, knowing what is coming but wondering about all the details or leaving the details for when I am feeling even worse physically, mentally, emotionally...I don't like to go into anything blind, and I want the facts.  There is no naivete in my body.  I'm not one to sugarcoat things and put a less-than-horrible spin on things if the situation isn't less-than-horrible.  Less-than-horrible just doesn't fit this situation, and I am not going to act like or say that it does.  I lost a child...another child.  I held him in my hands because he was too small for my arms.  No one should have to see what Doug and I saw or experience what we have, yet again, experienced.  The surreal-ness of the situation is still surrounded by the memory of sounds of Brahms Lullaby, occasionally wafting down the hall and through my door...the sound of healthy babies being born all around me.  Happiness.  How I wished those sounds were for me.   

Friday, July 8, 2011


The reality is definitely starting to set in.  It is getting much harder to make it through the day without crying or having moments of feeling totally overwhelmed.  The funeral home called and we have an appointment to go in tomorrow and sign papers.  Doug tried to save me from it and offered himself, but unfortunately, the mother has to be there in person to sign papers.  They said we could put it off until I am feeling better physically, but I just want to get it over with.  I will never start feeling better knowing that a visit to the funeral home is in my future, so I just have to do it, get it over with, and put one foot in front of the other and see where it takes me.  Once we sign we should have our little Andrew home in 10-14 days.  I just want him here with me.  I shopped through urns and keepsakes today and it was so hard to imagine that this is what my dream has been reduced to...a box or figurine that will hold my son's ashes.  

Trevor came in earlier and told me he wished the baby hadn't died.  I think he was trying to make me feel better.    He hates to see me upset and even when I'm smiling, he can feel it.  He's been giving me even more hugs and kisses than usual.  More "I love you's" and winks when I look his way.  He is my little sidekick, I tell ya.  Hayley has been cleaning and keeping herself busy, and keeping check on me.  Even Taylor has found the right words to say to help me cope.  I am so blessed to have awesome and caring children.  Maybe that's why God has chosen so many of them for himself.  I will try to keep convincing myself that there is some higher meaning that I just don't that actually makes sense.  I'm trying to find faith and some positive outlook on it, but I tell's not easy.

Aside from my kids being my guiding light through the grief and sadness, the kindness, love, and caring that we have been shown has really help lift us up.  My virtual family and friends have left me so many kind messages, checking on me, leaving me poems and offering up means so much and helps mend the tiny pieces of our shattered hearts.  Doug's work sent us a beautiful bouquet of flowers, brought us lunch from Chili's, and even a huge gift basket full of goodies for not only myself and Doug, but for the kids as well.  It is so nice to know that people out there want to help take some of our pain away and will go that extra mile.

Anyway, I guess I will end it there and hopefully get some sleep.  In a perfect world, I will wake up feeling better and rested tomorrow and will have some of my strength back, physically and emotionally.  I'm going to try not to build up my fears of the funeral home tomorrow and just let it happen.  Maybe it won't be as emotional and hard as I'm terrified that it will be.  I shouldn't be going to a funeral home regarding my baby that just days ago was safe in my womb and apparently thriving, who was punching and kicking just a week before during an ultrasound...but I am, and he is really gone.  I am empty.  I know tomorrow is going to be a tough one, as if the last few days haven't been, but hopefully I can find the strength to get through it.  I hate to sound so negative, but it is what it is, unfortunately.

Poems that touched my heart...

I thought of you and closed my eyes and prayed to God today I asked, "What makes a mother and I know I heard him say." "A mother has a baby." This we know is true. "But God can you be a mother when your baby's not with you?" "Yes you can," he replied with confidence in his voice. "I give many women babies, when they leave is not their choice. Some I send for a lifetime, and others for the day. Some I send to feel your womb, but there's no need for them to stay." "I just don't understand God, I want my baby to be here." He took a deep breath and cleared his throat, then I saw the tear. "I wish I could show you what your child is doing today. If you could see your child's smile with all the children and say." "We go to earth to learn our lessons of love, life, and fear. My mommy loved me oh so much, I got to come straight here. I feel so lucky to have a mom who has so much love for me. I learned my lessons quickly then my mommy set me free. I miss my mommy oh so much, but I visit her everyday. When she goes to sleep, on her pillow is where I lay. I stroke her hair, kiss her cheek, and whisper in her ear. Mommy don't be sad today I'm your baby and I'm here today." So you see my dear sweetones, you children are okay. Your babies are born here in my home and this is where they'll stay. They'll wait for you with me until your lessons are through and on the day you come home they'll be waiting at the gate. So now you see what makes a mother it's the feelings in your heart. It's the love you had so much of right from the very start. Though some on earth may not realize, you are a mother until their time is done. They'll be up here with me one day and know that you are the best one!"

‎"An Angel in the book of life wrote down my baby's birth. And whispered as she closed the book "too beautiful for earth." 

‎"All your Hopes and Dreams,
now carried on Butterfly wings..."
"As a butterfly graces our lives with one moment's fragile beauty, so too has your baby's presence blessed you, and those that surround you with their short life, and unique spirit. May you find peace, and joy with each butterfly that passes, knowing that your baby lives on in the hearts of all they touched."

If tears could build a stairway and memories were a lane
I would walk right up to heaven to bring you home again.
No farewell words were spoken no time to say goodbye
You were gone before I knew it and only God knows why
My heart still aches with sadness and secret tears still flow
What it meant to lose you noone will ever know.

Lord, the child you formed within my womb was taken suddenly from me and thats left is emptyness and questions running free.
I would have been a good mother, I would've loved this child so much
I would have given all I have for his precious tender touch. I pray for strength and wisdom as I face these trying days. Lord help me understand the truth and trust in all your ways. I may not know the reason my child is not with me, but I know he's safe in heaven with you for eternity.
Please tell my child I love him and I'll see him in the sky, I'll hold him close forever and sing him lullabys.

“I’ll lend you for a little while
A child of mine,”
God said
“for you to love the while he lives,
And mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years
Or forty two or three.
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for me?
He’ll bring his charms
to gladden you
And –
(should his stay be brief)
You’ll have his lovely memories
As a solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth returns;
But there are lessons
taught below
I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked the whole world over
In my search for teachers true
And from the things that crowd life’s lane
I have chosen you.
“I fancied that I heard them say –
“Dear Lord, Thy will be done
For all the joys
Thy Child will bring
The risk of grief we’ll run.
We will shelter him with tenderness,
We’ll love him while we may
And for the happiness we’ve known
Forever grateful stay.
But should
Thy angel call for him,
Much sooner than we’ve planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief
that comes
And try to understand.”

Here we go...

5:29 a.m.
Well, guess it's time to get on with it. About to head to the hospital. Thank you all for thinking of us during this time. It really means a lot.

1:50 p.m.
The chaplain just left and she really answered a lot of questions and took some of the burden off of us. I also decided I would like to have the baby cremated ourselves and keep the ashes, instead of the memorial garden, so if anyone has any information of somewhere we can afford, please let me know.

5:34 p.m.
Well, reality has set in and things are in motion. I'm soooo not ready for this, but hope it's over soon.

10:59 p.m.
It's over. Got to spend time and take lots of pictures with our little Andrew Douglas - 2 oz. 57 grams, 7 inches long. Born at 9:10 p.m.  It was so hard to let him go, but I'm glad we got to say our goodbyes. Thank you again for all the prayers.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Andrew Douglas Cannon - Our Special Little Boy

I am awake and this is still my reality.  I just wanted to share the story of our little boy and what he means to us.  I am still trying to come to terms with this, but though I'm still somewhat in shock, I feel oddly at peace.  I know in a few hours, or days, I may not feel the same, but for now, I want to share my story and let everyone know how special my son was to us..and always will be.   

After talking with the chaplain yesterday and doing some research,  I actually found a place to cremate the baby for little over $100 (thank you, Stella).  I will get to keep the ashes and put some in a ring or pendant, and some in a tiny urn...this makes me happier than the memorial garden (which is great, don't get me wrong), but I am selfish and want my son with me.  They actually burn a piece of wood with the baby and mix the ashes so there is a little more there since he is so small.  My little Andrew Douglas, so-named by my daughter and husband, was born at 2 oz. 57 grams last night at 9:12 p.m.  He was 7 inches long and it was obvious what a perfect little BOY he was...and as Doug pointed out, definitely a Cannon - leave it to the man. :)  

 I had a really hard few hours of labor with pitocin (and have bad reactions to pain medicine and refused it, so it was really intense.  Of course, the nurses never stopped trying to give me something to get through the pain and were always there for me).  As bad as the physical pain was, it was nothing compared to the emotional pain.  Seeing my son was not easy at first, I won't lie, but as I became a little less frightened, I couldn't let him go and didn't want to.  We took several pictures of his hands, feet, and even boy part (YES! WE DID!) pictures and then the nurse placed his body in a little crocheted booty that one of the nurses makes for all the special little angels.  So sweet and nice to be able to hold him that way since it was hard to actually touch him with him being so fragile.  The nurse positioned his hands and you could look real closely and see the fingernails..even the nail tips!  He had a perfect french manicure already, even though his fingernails were the size of this . ! :)  

We spent a few hours with the baby, taking every possible picture we could, talking to him, crying over him, telling him how much we loved and missed him and wished we could have met him a few more months down the road, wishing I could cover him in kisses, but letting him know that we would never forget him and we knew he was in Heaven with his brothers and sisters, watching over us, and his brothers and sisters here that already miss him dearly.  My children had brought tiny stuffed dogs up earlier to give to the baby, so we arranged them with the baby and took pictures so that the kids will feel they were a part of this.  They had also brought me a bear with an "I Love You, Mom" heart on it's hands, so we took pictures with that as well.  That bear has been in my arms all night.  

We finally decided it was time to send the baby on and time to say our final goodbyes.  A truly difficult decision to make, knowing I would never see or hold him again, but it was time.  I wish I could keep him and never let him go.  I have to add that my nurses were beyond exceptional. This hospital went above and beyond my wildest expectations. From the moment we got here. we were informed that the leaf on the door was to symbolize a leaf that had fell from the tree, and a teardrop on the leaf was to let everyone coming in our room know that our leaf fell way too early and to be more sensitive to our situation.  I only wish I were in this birthing room under far different circumstances, but I will not give up hope that one day soon, I will be...

 The loving nurse took our "sweet, little baby" with all the care and loving she would give a full-term, living infant.  She never once tried to rush us along, and even offered up more ideas and said how special everything was.  She even offered to keep the baby a while in case we decided to bring him back in, but we had to let was time.  She took the baby and a little while later brought us in a memory box full of wonderful little things to memorialize our son.  Everything in the box shows how special and important, AND REAL, my son was.  There is a Bible, a small ring that is donated from a family who has lost two children as a way to remember our babies, a ruler cut to the size of our baby, a birthcard and ID bracelet with our son's information, the bootie that so lovingly was crocheted by a nurse that allowed me to hold my son until I was ready, and the blanket that he was held on.  The box is beautifully hand-painted by volunteers.  So much love has went into making this moment with my son so special and meaningful, and I can't tell you how much my heart has been touched.  I am waiting for the chaplain to return because she has a stuffed animal lamb for us that was blessed, held, and prayed over by another parent who has also lost a child.  They collect these lambs once a year from a church ceremony, and it is not only meaningful to us, but to the other grieving parents who pray over these lambs, as well. Again, that really touches my heart.  

Once the baby was gone, I was able to gather myself a bit, eat FINALLY, and after they brought me in a nice, comfy bed, and the nurse arranged my pillows to help me settle in even more, she brought us in a FAN!  If the situation were different, I swear I would vacation here!  I was actually, for the first time EVER, able to sleep comfortably for HOURS in a hospital!   I would have never imagined that sleep would come at all after the last few days we've had, but then again...I guess, that also explains exactly why sleep DID come so easy.  My body, mind, and heart needed a break.  Anyway, I tell you, I cannot say enough about the nurses and this hospital.  My doctor is another story, but I won't even waste my time marring my experience with that story. 

I woke up this morning dizzy and not feeling perfect, but I am going to get through this.  I am still in disbelief that the son whose heartbeat I was listening to just a few days ago, who was wiggling and kicking on the sonogram just over a week ago, with dreams of our future together, is actually gone.  I know this is the calm before the storm and I will have many rough days ahead, but having to have gone through this experience, I couldn't have asked for a better experience, as contradictory as that sounds.  I will forever wish my little Andrew could have been safe and full-term in mommy's arms, kissing those big little feet that I couldn't wait to kiss after seeing them on the last sonogram....but at least, I have this experience and the memories that have been given me so that I can at least hold him in my heart forever. 

Thank you again to everyone who has reached out to us.  It means so much to know that people are thinking of us, our family, and little Andrew.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Here one day and gone the next? How is that possible?


Well, how could I sleep at a time like this?  I can't, so here I am trying to clear my head so that maybe my racing thoughts will settle down enough for me to get a little sleep before I have to be at the hospital.  I was so exhausted I got about an hour, I guess, but then I woke up and the world hit me smack in the face.  I am so lost, so scared, so pissed, hurt, confused....I just don't know what I feel, or what TO feel.  I feel the wall going up because if I let these emotions overtake me, I will have a breakdown.  I cannot believe this is happening to me again.  Everything looked so good, and then this!?!  I just heard the heartbeat 2 days ago before I went to bed, and now I find out that sometime between then and now, the heartbeat stopped?  I've literally spent three months, exhausted, nauseous, and throwing up, rarely leaving my bed or the house, just hoping to make it through each day...and this is the payoff?  I have given up my hot baths, haven't lifted anything, I've taken my vitamins, ate as healthy as I could through gagging and nausea (and managed to lose 5 pounds), and did everything humanly possible to have a good outcome...I always do.  I don't drink, smoke, or take medicine of any kind, other than the prenatal vitamins and other vitamins I have taken for the last 3 years in my quest to have a baby.   

My kids have basically fended for themselves because I've been too sick to function, half of their summer is gone, and all for nothing...AGAIN???  I missed most of my son's first year of t-ball, including going to the second to last game of the All Stars play-offs, because I have been so sick and can't go outside in the heat.  Then there is Hayley who has to learn at such a young age what suffering and grief is?  Beyond all else, it kills me that she is so hurt by it and that I can't take that hurt away.  She is the most awesome, caring, and kind daughter a mother could ask for, so why does she have to keep suffering...and on her birthday TWO years in a row???  365 days in a year, and it has to happen NOW???  REALLY???  At least I pushed the doctor to check me before Hayley's birthday "gender viewing" next week.  I really didn't believe anything would be wrong, but then, maybe subconciously, I did?  At least with my history of bad luck and always being in that 1% category (yes, again there was a 1% chance of a loss this far, and a 1% chance of a missed miscarriage, and a 2% chance of having three in a row...lucky me), I always have my blinders on my emotions.  Of course, I was attached and loved this baby to no end, I could not wait until New Year's, but I never let go of the what if's, and never would have until he/she was safely in my arms.  It's the way my mind and body have learned to function after all the BS that seems to keep happening to me.  Better to be prepared than blindsided, I guess.  

I have to somehow prepare myself for the pain and stress of labor, but the ultimate goal is no longer to push for the baby I've been longing to hold for over three years, now it is to deliver a stillborn...medically speaking....a miscarriage.  How do you do that?  How can I accept this?  Why is this happening?  Hopefully, as of tonight, it will be over, since that is the only outcome I am allowed...I just hope it goes fast.  Will I have at least a little luck and be able to tolerate some sort of pain medication to help me through, seeing as I am hypersensitive to practically everything?  I have to somehow figure out how to respond or what to do.  Do I look at the baby?  Can I live with myself if I don't?  Will it haunt me forever if I do?  Could I find a memorial photographer that would help me on such a short notice and would take pictues of a baby the size of a "large naval orange?"  I know my doctor will be emotionally removed from the situation and would not recommend any of it, but I really don't give a rat's ass because this is MY life and MY baby, AND had I listened to her, I may have gone weeks without knowing my baby had died.  Anyway, I am practically ghost writing at this point.  I don't even know if I should post this, but then, maybe I will.  I feel better just getting it off my chest and maybe can get an hour or so of sleep now.  Thank you all for the support and I'm sorry if my words seem harsh or insensitive...they are just me and how I feel.  I have no one to talk to right now, and I can't talk without crying anyway, so here it is. I don't want pity, just understanding.  I love you all very much, even if I don't say it often.  I'm really a big softie, I just have a really hard, protective, outer shell.  This is killing me.