Sunday, May 20, 2012

His due date came and went...

May 17th was a difficult day, but it wasn't horrible.  Graham and I went together to a counselor I have been talking to since we lost our little guy.  She's a wonderful lady who has really helped me a lot.  I think I enjoy talking to her so much, because she listens about Henry.  She listens about the dreams I had for my son that will never be realized.  Later in the afternoon, we planted a peace lily that we were given after we buried Henry and another unknown plant that I got as a gift on Mother's Day.  They are in our front yard, and every time I drive up, I'm reminded of my little baby.  My aunt Laura sent me some wind chimes with "Henry" engraved on them.  Every time the wind blows, I'll hear the sweet music and I'll know that he is singing to my heart.  Life has gone on and life is very good for our little family.  But there is an emptiness in our hearts that we are having to learn to live with.  We have many milestones that come and go, and happy moments that we wish so badly we could share with our sweet angel.
Henry's brother, Conner, is such an absolute joy, that I find it hard to stay sad for long.  He has turned into a spunky, sweet, and adorable toddler who brings immeasurable laughter into our lives.    We are truly blessed with this incredible child.  One of the toughest things for me through all of this is knowing that Conner would have been such an amazing big brother to Henry.  I remember what it was like when Conner was just a little tiny baby, and sometimes I find myself closing my eyes and thinking of what it would have been like to hold them both in my arms, with Conner on my lap and Henry on my shoulder.  Conner smelled so sweet to me when he was first born that when I was holding him, I just nuzzled his hair and skin all the time.  I wonder if Henry would have smelled the same way.  I think about Heaven all the time now.  I wonder what it's like and what Henry is doing there.  I wonder who is taking care of him, and does he know who I am?  I'm now part of a club of mothers who have lost babies before even getting to hold them.  It's not a club that anyone ever wants to a join, but in becoming a member to this club, I have been given more love and compassion that I ever thought possible.  I have friends and family members who have opened their hearts and arms and embraced me and Graham in our time of need and sadness.  We have been prayed for, hugged, loved, allowed to cry, been made to laugh, picked up, brushed off, and supported every step of the way.  Most importantly, Henry has never been forgotten by any of them.  I have found that staying busy is the easiest way to carry on.  Traveling is a wonderful way to stay busy, so with free flight benefits, we have logged a lot of miles.  I've been to Raleigh, Williamsburg, Charlotte, Sanibel, Clarion, Jamaica, Haiti, and Dublin, visiting friends, family, or just relaxing and seeing some sights.  All along the way, I've kept my Henry Thomas in the forefront of my mind and heavy on my heart.  Many times I have questioned God and wondered why this incredible sadness has to happen to me or anyone else.  But I realize that God doesn't allow these things to happen.  He can't control what happens in our lives.  But, God has provided us with the tools needed to survive these tragedies.  My mom told me about a song titled "Blessings" and there is a verse that says, "What if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy.  What if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights, are your mercies in disguise."  Through this heart-wrenching ordeal, we have been shown many blessings.    I love listening to music when I'm trying to figure out a way to put words to my feelings.  The  Dave Matthew's song, "The Space Between," has a line that says, "The space between the tears we cry, is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more."  There is no lyric more true to me now than that one.  I have so much joy and happiness filled into a space between tears I cry for my lost baby.  That joy and laughter is what keeps me going when the sadness seems overwhelming.
On the evening of May 17th, we were getting ready to take Conner upstairs to get him ready for bed.  It was raining pretty hard, and I looked outside.  Through the clouds and the rain, I looked up and saw a beautiful rainbow.  My mom was over, helping with Conner and supporting us on our hard day, and we both looked at each other and knew it had to be a sign.  On a day that was supposed to be filled with the happiness, joy, and excitement of a new life, we were instead lost and heartbroken.  But there, when we needed some kind of sign, we looked up and we knew there is something greater than us all, giving us hope and the promise of a life beyond what we know here.

"Lord, make me a rainbow.  I'll shine down on my mother.  She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors."-The Band Perry

Monday, February 6, 2012

The healing continues

Since January 2010, I have either been pregnant, nursing, or both.  Of course, that was until January 6 of this year.  That is when I had surgery to remove Henry Thomas from my belly.  It is a huge adjustment to make.  I have been doing well for the most part.  Nighttime is difficult.  The sun sets, Conner is in bed, and I'm tired from the day.  My mind tends to wander and I think about all the shattered dreams.  The morning comes, and my spirit is renewed when I see my sweet Conner's face.  I know I am biased, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is the most precious little boy in the entire world.  Conner is perfection.  He is walking all the time now.  He is talking a little more every day.  So far he is up to Mama, Dada, Cat and Car (both sounding like "Ca"), Ba- for bubbles and bababalloons, and he is trying really hard to say MuMaw.  He has a wonderful sense of humor (he gets that from me), he has a very serious, thoughtful side (he gets that from his Dada), and he will refuse any other food before him if there is a french fry in sight (also from his Dada).  He is VERY smart.  We have stacking blocks and he stacks them in order of size.

Look at this angel.  I love him.

We have been staying very busy.  Two weeks ago Conner and I each had a good friend from Charlotte come to visit and keep us company.  It was needed and I am so thankful for them.

Our friends kept us very busy and we were very sad to see them go.  We had a lot of fun going on a carousel, a train, and going to the aquarium!  

We have also been to see PuPaw in Raleigh and to visit Grandma, Grandpa, and Great-Grandma in Detroit!

Despite all of our sadness, not a day goes by that Conner does not make us laugh out loud.  

We received some bittersweet news tonight.  I spoke to the nurse from my doctor's office, and all of my test results came back normal.  Translation: we will never know what happened to Henry Thomas.  That is the bitter.  The sweet is that once everything is physically healed and we are mentally ready, we can try again for another baby.  The physical won't take long, but the mental feels like it could be an eternity.  I'm going to a support group next week for parents of babies who died before or shortly after birth.  I'm really looking forward to connecting to other parents who are dealing with the same thing.  It's a loss you can only really understand by suffering though it.  

I went off of Facebook for a while.  It's just too painful to be on there right now. I do miss seeing how everyone is doing and seeing pictures others post!  I'll do whatever it takes to heal.  Until the next update...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

30th longer a big deal...

Yesterday I turned 30.  It was a sad birthday for me.  We got home from Louisville on Sunday.  The service for Henry Thomas was beautiful.  It was short and lovely.  Many loved ones came and Graham and I had a lot of support.  The weather, although cold, was beautiful.  My little Henry is at rest now with my wonderful Nanny, and that gives me peace.  I'm filled with sadness though.  Two weeks ago today I thought my baby boy was healthy and growing in my belly.  I wish so badly I could go back to that day, but I suppose it wouldn't change anything.  Saturday evening, after the service, we were planning to join our family for dinner at a restaurant we have treasured for decades.  Unfortunately, an already sad occassion turned evil and vile when we all came down with a violent stomach bug.  Talk about getting kicked when you're already down.  We got home safely and we are all on the mend now, physically anyway.

On our first day home, the house became a garden.  We have gotten so many lovely flowers and they are all beautiful!  Our friends and family have been so generous and kind.  Some were sympathy flowers, others were birthday flowers, and some were a combination of the two.  Today we checked the mail and there were a ton of sympathy and birthday cards.  They all mean so much.  I especially appreciate those who say they will never forget Henry Thomas.  My biggest fear is that as time goes on, he will become a distant memory who never gets mentioned.  To me, Graham, and Conner, he is a part of our family, our 2nd son, and the baby brother.

Although my birthday passed with little celebration, I have spent the last 2 weeks surrounded by love and that's what really matters.  I was treated to a pedicure by a good friend, and that helped to brighten the day a bit.  :)  I also got 2 deliveries of cupcakes from Jilly's Cupcakery.  Those are in the freezer and will be enjoyed when senstivie tummies are able to handle them!

When the sad moments hit me, all I have to do is look at my wonderful baby boy Conner and I smile.

I know that life goes on for him, and I have to make sure each day is special and wonderful.  We will get through this and we will make sure to keep the memory of Henry alive in us all.  It's just going to be a long road.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My angel

His name is Henry Thomas Welsh.  His due date was May 17, 2012.  His nursery was going to be decorated in Noah's Ark theme.  He would have been 19 months younger than his big brother.  They would have been best friends.  I was 20 weeks and 6 days pregnant with him when we learned that his little heart was no longer beating.  Sometime between December 7 and January 4, God decided that my little blessing was needed back in Heaven.  I felt his kicks and his turns.  He heard my voice and that of his Dada's.  He knows he was loved so very much.  His big brother, Conner, would point to my belly, say "watsat?" (His way of asking What's That?)  And then he would lift my shirt and kiss his baby brother.  The physical pain of his passing is nearly gone, but the emotional pain is very strong and will stay around forever, I'm sure.  We are going to bury our sweet peanut on Saturday, in Lousiville, Ky.  He will be buried with his great grandmother, my wonderful Nanny.  I'm sure she is already holding him in Heaven, rocking him with the sweet boy she lost as well.

I can't express how much the outpouring of support and love has meant to me and Graham.  Without it, we would be lost.  Even though we may not respond to all of the messages, texts, emails, calls, notes, flowers, and letters, each one is treasured and appreciated beyond measure.  Everyone, from friends, family, doctors, hospitals, and even the funeral home has been exceedingly kind.

I don't understand this tragedy, and may never will.  But I will take the words I read in a poem, and hold them dear to my heart:  "Daddy please don't look so sad, and Mommy please don't cry.  I'm in the arms of Jesus and he's singing me lullabies."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

On The Mend

Today was a much better day for Conner.  He woke up with a low grade fever, and skipped his morning nap.  But after some Motrin and some cuddle time,  we went to my parents house for a little while.  Uncle Bear was there, and gave Conner a very bad hair style.

We unsuccessfully tried to get Conner to nap in his Pack n Play in MuMaw and PuPaw's room.  It didn't go over well, so we had to cut our visit short.  He took a 2 hour nap when we got home though!  Hopefully tomorrow we will have our busy, busy, baby back!

This weekend we have some special visitors coming to see Conner.  His Grandma and Grandpa will be coming from Michigan.  I know he will be excited to see them.  Aunt Annie and Cousin Lex will also be down here next week.  It's going to be a busy time, but we will have lots of fun.  

This coming Sunday, we will be taking Conner to his first big party.  My sweet cousin Caroline is graduating from high school.  She has gone to the same school for 15 years, and her time there is coming to an end.  It's hard to believe she is moving onto college.  I remember the day she was born and holding her in the hospital.  Now she is holding my baby and is all grown up.  I know she is going to do great things and I can't wait to see her on Broadway one day!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day followed by a sick day

Mother's Day was a very nice day!  I got to spend time with my brothers, parents, and of course my sweet Conner.  Graham couldn't be here though, and I really missed him.  Allen got me and my mom flowers, so now my whole house smells like lilies.

I also got some very pretty flowers earlier in the week from Great Aunt L, a massage from my mom, a massage from Graham, and a card from Great Aunt J.  Of course, my favorite gift of all was a big huge slobbery kiss from Conner.  I guess at 6 1/2 months old, it wasn't really a kiss.  He tried to eat my nose, but missed.  So, we'll call it a kiss by default.

Yesterday my mom and I took Conner to the mall for another trip around the merry-go-round.

When Graham finally got home yesterday, Conner and I were very happy.  He had been gone on a very long 5 day trip.  It is the longest he has been gone since the baby arrived.  There is always a period of adjustment for us all when Graham comes home from a trip.  We have a routine when he is here, and a different routine when he is away.  I dread the day when Conner starts to cry as his daddy leaves for work.

At about 9 p.m. last night, Conner woke up crying.  He had been asleep for about 2 hours, and this wake up was very unusual.  He was pitifully whimpering and clearly didn't feel well.  We gave him Tylenol, and after about an hour of being walked by his daddy, rocked and nursed by me, he finally fell back to sleep.  When he woke up this morning, I got him out of bed, and I knew immediately that he was sick.  He was burning up.  I took his temperature, and the poor little guy had a fever of 101.3.

We went to his trial Gymboree class on Friday, I signed up and paid for 3 months worth of classes, and wouldn't you know that he gets sick 4 days later.  Of course, this caused us to miss his first "real" Gymboree class today.  The doctor said his ears were clear, his chest sounded good, and the strep test came back negative.  Lets hope it's virus that goes away quickly!  His appointment was at 9:50 am, which is in the middle of nap time.  So 20 minutes after arriving, Conner goes into full meltdown mode.  While waiting on the doctor to come in, nothing would soothe my sick sweet boy.  Nursing failed, walking failed, rocking, holding, cuddling all failed.  Surprisingly...the one thing that worked (for a little while) was the pacifier.  He has not used his passie for months, but I always kept one in the diaper bag for a "just in case" moment.

Today has been a 3 nap day and hopefully after another Tylenol dose tonight, he will sleep through the night.  Wishful thinking, I'm sure, but I will keep you posted!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A privilege, for sure.

My sweet Conner

Tomorrow is my first Mother's Day, and I'm really very excited.  The only thing that could make it better would be if Graham could be here with us.  But he will be off flying around the country, providing for his family.  I am forever grateful to him for working hard, allowing me to stay at home with our sweet child.  Being a mom is the greatest honor and privilege.  I know that each decision I make has an impact on that sweet baby's life.  It is such an incredible responsibility, and a job I take very seriously.  I want so much for his childhood to be happy and positive.  It melts my heart to see him smile, and I absolutely love that I have the ability to put that smile on his face.  I want to protect him from all things negative and stressful for as long as I can.

My hubby, my baby, and my best teacher in how to be a mom

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a mom.  Some people grow up dreaming of being a doctor, lawyer, fireman, teacher, or even a pilot. :)  But, I grew up wanting to be a mom.  Now that the day has come and my baby is here, I feel like I'm doing what I was always meant to do.  I wake up each day so happy and so fulfilled.  Of course, there are challenges, and not every moment is glorious, but when I lay down each night, I thank God for the blessings in my life.

My blessings