Pieces from The Mighty

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Define Me

I am part of an online support group and recently someone posted about her husband's grandmother. The grandmother lost her baby back in 1949. People would describe his grandmother as a “bitter woman.”  After now losing her baby, this acquaintance in my support group realized that her husband’s grandmother is so bitter because she has been blaming herself for her baby’s death since it happened. Well, this post got me thinking, who will I be in 60 years and how will people describe me?

Years from now....will people describe me as the bitter woman who lost her first baby when she was 19? 

I think it is possible because it is so easy to be bitter. Sadness feeds into bitterness and I feel sad all of the time. It is actually work to pull myself together and go out- anywhere. I have to make myself go to the store or out to eat with my husband. It takes effort to meet up with friends. Most of all it is hard to be away from my safe zone- home. At home I can control my surroundings, but as soon as I leave home I have lost that control.

When we go out to eat I will see a couple with a baby- always. It seems like babies are everywhere right now.  Although I know that what I should be feeling (for them) is joy.... what I really feel is sadness for us. Whenever I see a little boy, I see Robby. It doesn’t matter how old the little boy is, it makes me sad because I miss him. I sit there and look at that little boy and wonder what Robby would have looked like when he was 6 months old, 3 years old and even 6 years old.  I can imagine what he would have looked like at those ages, but I won’t ever know.

When I hear a new mom complaining about how horrible late night feedings are and how hard it is to get up several times in the night with their baby (and this has happened several times lately)I feel upset because they don't realize how lucky they are to have a baby to feed throughout the night. I would give anything to be up all night with Robby instead of being up all night crying because my baby isn’t here.

When I notice a pregnant woman with a really big belly and super swollen ankles I feel sad because right now I should look like that. Tomorrow I would have been 32 weeks pregnant, but instead of being pregnant I am trying to get pregnant again. 

Tanner and I are trying to get out and do things with people our age again, but sometimes it does more harm than good. A few nights ago we went out to a friend’s house for a bonfire. We got out there and we were actually having a good time. Tanner and I had recently purchased a new truck. One of our friends at the bonfire came right out and asked him why he needed a new truck. Tanner said that he really wanted a truck with four doors. Our friend replied with “Well, the only reason you would need four doors is if you had kids and you don't.” 

That was quite a blow.

It took everything in me to not look at him and say well thanks for reminding us that we DON’T have a child!

I know sometimes people say things and they don't mean them the way they come out. We all do it. However, it is things like this that make it hard to force ourselves out of the house and back into a social setting. It is comments like the one at the bonfire that make it hard not to be bitter- especially since the guy looked like he meant it and didn't give the "oops I shouldn't have said that" look.

Being out in public is just not a safe place for me to be. There are so many variables that are completely out of my control. Variables that I then keep thinking about and dwelling on which then makes me even sadder and that is what could eventually lead to me being a bitter old woman. 

Always sad and bitter is not how I want people to describe me. 

Those aren’t the words that I want to define me.  Losing Robby is now a part of me, but I do not by any means want it to define all aspects of me. Robby is now a part of my story and a part of who I am just like in October of 2010 my health problems became a part of my story, my definition, a part of who I am.  I became a different person when the Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia hit. I had to learn to accept the pain and the limitations. I had to learn that my health problems were now a part of me and who I am without letting them become my definition. I have once again become a different person since losing Robby.  Foremost, I’m not as happy as I used to be. I used to be a very happy and outgoing person, but now I find it hard to be happy and I even find myself feeling guilty during the few moments that I do feel happy.

I recently looked through our wedding pictures and I sat there and thought “will we ever be that happy again?” We were so happy. I was in a lot of pain that day but I still managed to be very happy! I had finally accepted my life with these health problems and together Tanner and I were working on our plan of how we would deal with the issues long term. 

That was only one year ago and yet it seems like so very long ago. Yes, we were dealing with my health problems which was physical pain, but losing Robby is emotional pain.  Why is it that I can be so tough when it comes to physical pain and yet so weak when it comes to emotional pain? I just don’t know if I can truly be that happy again now that Robby is gone. How am I supposed to be happy when my baby is gone?  Is happiness a choice? Can I choose to be happy in spite of the fact that my baby is gone?

I think so. I think at some point I will be ready to make the choice to be happy again. I don't believe that means I will no longer miss Robby but I do believe that at some point I will come to terms with our loss of Robby.  I think at that time I will be able to keep Robby in that special place in my heart, remember him, love him, and be happy once again. I don’t know when that will happen, and I don’t think that it will happen all at once, but hopefully I can get to that point someday.

It doesn't feel like it now but I know that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life dwelling in Robby’s death. I don't want to miss out on the rest of life. I don't want our friends to dread seeing me and being with me. I don't want the day to come when people look for reasons not to spend time with me. I miss Robby every minute of every day, but being bitter about his death and dwelling on it won’t bring him back and I know that Robby wouldn’t want me to be sad for the rest of my life wondering what should have been.

So, hopefully in 60 years people will describe me like I describe my great-grandmother, Delphine Smith, who many years ago suffered the late loss of a baby girl. My great-grandmother lost a baby back around the time that my support group friend's grandmother lost her child. My great-grandmother had 2 healthy boys and then the little girl she dreamt about was stillborn. She then went on to have one more healthy child- another son.

I remember hearing my great-grandmother talk about her baby girl, but when she spoke of her she was anything but bitter. My great-grandmother always had a smile on her face and love in her heart. My great-grandmother and I were very close, and we even shared a birthday. I have missed her so very much in years since her death but especially now. I wish she was here to help me through this sad time in my life. I would love to ask her how she was able to go on with life, be happy, and keep from being bitter about losing her precious baby, Marilyn. Even though she isn’t here I can imagine what she would say. First, I know that she would give me a great big hug and cry with me. Great Grandma gave the best hugs ever. Then she would tell me that Robby is in a better place now- with Jesus. She would tell me that I need to have faith and trust in God. Then, she would give me a hand written list of Bible verses to remind me that what she was saying is true. I wish Great-Grandma was here to say those things to me, but I will try to take joy in the fact that she is now in heaven with her little girl Marilyn and my little boy Robby.

How will people describe me next week, next month, or 60 years from now? I don't know. I hope to keep moving forward- one step at a time and I hope that someday the word happiness will return in the definition of me.

I know I don't say this enough- thank you again to all of my family and friends who are without fail always here at my side with hugs, prayers, messages, continued cards, and words of comfort. A special thank you to Sally for making a beautiful "Robby Garden" in her yard that I can look out my window and see. Tanner and I are very blessed to have so many of you on our side and in our corner helping us through this difficult time. Please know that your kindness means the world to us.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I love to read. When I was little my parents read to me a lot, and when I was able to read on my own I was always reading. I still love to read. I read all kinds of books: fiction, non-fiction, mysteries, romance, historical books, young adult books, and my favorite- children’s books. I have been purchasing children's books to add to my collection for years.  When I find a cute book I pick it up so that I can put it with my books at home that I will someday be able to read to my children. I want our children to have a love for reading like I do.

When I was pregnant I decided that in the nursery I needed a whole wall of bookshelves to hold all of the books that we have. So, of course my dad and Tanner designed an entire wall of bookshelves and cubes for the nursery. When we figured out that we were having a boy and decided on Dr. Seuss as a theme, my dad started calling the massive wall of bookshelves “Whoville” because they were going in Robby’s Dr. Seuss nursery. So, my dad and Tanner would spend hours at a time building "Whoville" at the shop.  

A couple weeks before I gave birth to Robby, "Whoville" came home in pieces. It still wasn’t finished, but it was home and I was thrilled! At this point it just needed to be assembled. I could not wait to get all of my books on the bookshelves. I was so excited just thinking about all the books Robby and I would read together.  I had actually already started to read to him. At 16 weeks when he was able to start to hear us I was reading to him. I would sit in my rocking chair in the nursery and read book after book out loud to our little boy. One of the first books I read to him was Guess How Much I Love You. I would also read my school textbooks to him, but I think he liked the children’s books better than the philosophy, ethics, meteorology and history! 

Well, this past weekend I decided that my project needed to be to get all of our books out of storage and put on the bookshelves. My dad had finished assembling the wall and it was beautiful...but empty. As hard as it was going to be I knew that I needed some closure and some peace in that room.  Tanner went to Dodge City for the weekend for work, but before he left we finished packing up Robby’s things. We went through and packed up his bedding, his toys, and his clothes. Packing his clothes away reminded me of how many cute clothes he had.

As Tanner and I went through the outfits we came across the first outfit I had purchased for Robby once we found out he was a boy. I bought a red polo onesie and a pair of little blue jeans to match an outfit that Tanner has- a red polo and a pair of jeans. Robby was going to look so cute in his little outfit to match his daddy and in all the clothes we had for him. I also came across the last outfit I bought for Robby, a Dr. Seuss onesie from Target.  Since Robby's death I try to stay away from Target. All of the baby things I wanted for Robby were at Target. I loved looking at their baby department because they had so many cute things! Going to Target now is hard for me- it just makes me sad.

While putting the books on the bookshelves I thought about several different things, but the main theme going through my head was thinking about what should have been.  All of these books were a reminder of the many plans I had for Robby and me.  We were going to sit in the rocking chair and I was going to read to him. Of course I imagined that Robby would be a lot like his daddy- chances are, there would have been times that he would be off of my lap and climbing on the bookshelves while I tried to read to him! I was going to read him so many different books. I was going to teach him how to read and hopefully give him a love for books and learning. But instead of putting these books up knowing that Robby will be reading with me, I had to put them up knowing that Robby won’t ever be sitting on my lap listening to me read him a book.

One of my favorites: Winnie the Pooh. We were going to explore the Hundred Acre Woods with Pooh, Piglet, and Christopher Robin. 

We were going to hop into the Magic School Bus with Ms. Frizzle and learn about everything from electricity to outer space.  

Robby and I were going to visit Whoville at Christmas time to meet the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who.  They were going to help us teach Robby about kindness and caring.

We were going to take a trip to the Jungle of Nool to learn from Horton that “A person’s a person no matter how small.”

We were going to read about tweetle beetles that battle with paddles, and wockets in pockets, and the Lorax speaking for the Truffula trees. 

Robby was probably even going to have to hear about my favorite little French girl Madeline and how brave she was.

 There were so many things that we were going to read and learn about. Sometimes it is hard for me to truly accept that Robby is gone and that he won’t be here to read any of those books with me. 

 The wall of bookshelves that are lovingly called "Whoville" are up and finished and full of books.  There aren't words to describe how beautiful it is. Thank you Daddy and Tanner for building them not only for Robby, but for me.

Now that the shelves are up, I hope that I can start to deal with the emotions that go along with Robby’s nursery. While I was on the cruise Tanner and Blake took Robby’s crib, changing table and the rocking chair up to Justin’s house where they will be stored until we need them again. Since Robby’s birth and death I haven’t been able to spend any time in his room.  We keep the door closed. Because we have so many books, in order to get the books on the shelves how I wanted them to be I had to spend hours in that room over the weekend. I had to sort through stacks and stacks of books and bring some sort of order to them. I was forced to face my fear of being in his room knowing that he would not ever be there to sleep, play, or grow up.

The bookshelves are filled now and we are keeping the door open. It still makes me sad to walk by the room because I think about what should have been, but it is a step- for me a big step.

If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together. There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.  ~Winnie the Pooh

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

“Your Chances Don’t Suck” –Dr. O’Hara

Monday was my appointment with my new Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor, Margaret O’Hara.  I went in nervous, sad, and with little to no hope what-so-ever that I would be able to have a healthy baby. . 

We got to her office and I was so relieved that the waiting room was empty. I had been trying to prepare myself for the fact that it is somewhere that pregnant women frequently go so I am bound to see them! Well, about five minutes into waiting- in walks a very pregnant woman and her two-ish year old son.  Seeing her big belly made me think about how pregnant I *should* be right now, but I am not. She then started to talk to her little boy saying things like “where is baby” and “baby is in mommy’s tummy.” We used to play a game like this with my dog, Barbie. We would say “Barbie, where is Robby?” And she would turn her head away from us and look the other way as if she was saying nope I have no idea that there is a little baby inside of you!

Luckily, the pregnant lady got called back after a few minutes, but seeing her made me so incredibly sad. I cried. She kept her hand on her stomach, so lovingly, the whole time. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I found myself reaching for my stomach all the time. It was almost like I just wanted to make sure he was still there. Tanner would fall asleep with his hand on my stomach- every night, like he was letting Robby know that his daddy was there. I still reach down to my stomach from time to time just to realize once again that he really isn’t there, and he isn’t in my arms. He is gone- for good.  Then, when that happens it is like I relive the hurt all over again. I sit and think about how he should still be there. He should still be safe.  Thankfully, during our time in the waiting room there was only one other pregnant woman that walked in, but shortly after that I was called back to the appointment room. 

I had to go through my story three different times for three different people while I was there, and that was emotionally difficult for me. I am used to typing out my story, but trying to convey everything that happened out loud and in person is so much more difficult. I could hardly get through a sentence without having to stop and regain my composure.  When I am typing out my story, I can and do cry freely, but I am not being watched. Having to relive my experience with people I don’t know in the room is different and difficult. Each person asked me if I smoked, drank alcohol, did any recreational drugs or street drugs, and by the third time I finally lost it and said “No! And I didn’t drink any caffeine, nor did I use artificial sweetener, and I limited my lunch meat and hot dogs because of the nitrates. “I knew that it was a routine question, but it was really annoying me! Well, my small outburst stopped the questions about drugs and alcohol! 

My MFM was wonderful. She was kind and compassionate which is just what I need. When I started to cry- she started to cry. What I really liked was that she truly understood our need to start trying again soon to have another baby. Before we can begin trying to conceive again she wants me to have a few tests. She wrote a prescription for a thyroid test and that was pretty easy. Luckily, Michelle (the four girls’ mom) works at my doctor's office, so we were able to give her a quick call and she worked us right into the lab schedule. The second test I will have, a MSG test, will be done at the hospital.  A MSG test is where they insert a catheter into my uterus, shoot some saline into it, and take x-rays to check for uterine abnormalities. They are pretty sure that my uterus is fine, but this is to rule it out just in case. The procedure will be uncomfortable, but worth it. Since it will be done at a hospital, if there is something wrong they will take me right on back to surgery to fix it. 

My doctor said she is hopeful that my next pregnancy will go smoothly. I am pretty sure her exact words were “Your chances don’t suck.” She doesn’t believe I will make it to term, but she honestly and truly believes that we can make it far enough for a baby to survive and be healthy. She said that I am the perfect weight and I am the perfect age for having a baby, that I was doing everything right, and that this should NOT have happened. 

Here is the plan she recommends:

Find a High Risk OB
Progesterone shots once a week starting at 16 weeks
Limited activity
Spend as little time as possible on my feet

I had heard different things from different people about when you can start trying to have a baby- all ranging from 3 months-18 months.  Tanner and I don’t want to wait 18 months. Here is the really good news we got from our appointment.....Dr. O'Hara said that there aren’t any studies out there that say “If you had a loss at 23 weeks, you need to wait "x" amount of months before trying to have another baby.”  That means that as soon as my tests come back normal we are cleared to start trying to get pregnant again. Tanner and I are so relieved that we don’t have to wait 6 months, 8 months, or up to 18 months to start trying to have a baby. We are excited, but nervous to start this journey again. We love our Robby so very much, but we know that he is with us and watching over us. So, hopefully our trying to conceive journey will begin soon and not take very long to get pregnant again.

Dear family and friends- we greatly appreciate all of your love, encouragement, and support. I don't want to offend anyone when I say this so I am saying it with as much love as possible: I would appreciate it if when you see me if you don’t ask me if I am pregnant yet. I am being very open in this blog about everything that is going on which means that I am allowing everyone in Blogland to be in our business. We hope it won't take long to get pregnant, but it could take a few months, and we will announce when we are ready. If you are really close to us then you will most likely figure it out very quickly because as my mom and Tanner "joked" with the doctor...."Oh Amanda will definitely have very limited activity- once she is pregnant we will be carrying her around on a pillow!"

So, chances are everyone will know when I am pregnant, because as soon as the test stick dries I will be on one of these-

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Every Life Has A Purpose

"Every life has a purpose" is something that I have been told several times by many people over the past 6 weeks. I know that Robby’s life had a purpose. He brought us joy, but not only did he bring us joy, Robby gave me a very precious gift. It is a gift that most are unaware of.....

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia in September 2010. I had been dealing with the Rheumatoid Arthritis for a couple years, but I had not ever had an official diagnosis. The Fibromyalgia came on all of the sudden. Without any warning I was in constant pain and all over pain, which is really devastating for someone who is 18, in college, about to get married, and wants to start a family.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic progressive disease causing inflammation in the joints. In other words – all my joints hurt and they become inflamed.  Sometimes my hands look like sausages and my rings are too tight to wear. I started noticing signs of the R.A. when I was around 15 years old. Things like straightening my hair, opening a bottle of water, and even driving a car are all difficult and at times not do-able.

Fibromyalgia is defined as a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas. Basically this means that if you touch me I hurt. It doesn’t matter where you touch me- it hurts. The Fibromyalgia is ten times worse than my rheumatoid arthritis.  

From September of 2010 until October of 2011 I was wheelchair dependent. If we went to get groceries I was riding an electric scooter. If I needed to go up or downstairs, then Tanner had to carry me. If we were going somewhere that did not offer an electric scooter then we packed up my wheelchair. I felt like a little old lady instead of an 18 year old girl. 

Last February my mom, dad, Tanner and I spent 2 weeks in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Mayo Clinic to see if they could help me. I met with several doctors, but they all agreed with the diagnosis I received here in Wichita. This is when it truly hit home that I would deal with this pain for the rest of my life. At this point Tanner’s family started to tell him not to marry me. They were blunt about it and discussed it in front of me. Part of me understood their concern because after all, who wants their child to marry someone that will be in constant pain and have health issues for life. Part of me even felt guilty for not just walking away from him so he wouldn't be tied to me. "Do I really have the right to do this to Tanner?" is the question I struggled with. In the end my question didn't matter because Tanner's love for me is stronger than the pain of Fibromyalgia or Rheumatoid Arthritis. His love for me is not superficial. Tanner loves me in sickness and in health- it is just unfortunate that the "in health" was the time we were dating and the "in sickness" is for the rest of our lives. He made a decision to stay with me even though it drove a wedge between him and his family. We thought that my health problems would be the toughest thing we ever had to face together, but we were wrong, it seems like those problems were just preparing us for the heartache to come.

A year ago I had to fight to be able to walk down the aisle on my wedding day. The pain was that bad. My parents were not sure how I was going to possibly walk down the aisle and then stand through the ceremony. Tanner couldn’t touch me, my parents couldn’t hug me, and I couldn’t function like a normal 18 year old. I was taking my college classes through Wichita State University at the time. My mom had to drive me to school and wheel me to my classes, because I couldn’t walk.  The car ride to and from college was painful. By the time I actually got in my seat for class I was in so much pain and I was so exhausted that I could barely concentrate on the lecture. Even though I felt horrible and I was in constant pain, I “looked fine.” I got so many stares from other students for being in a wheelchair. They thought I was just being dramatic and looking for attention. I was shunned by many and actually kicked out of a study group after I had to start coming to study group and class in a wheelchair.  So, not only was I dealing with constant pain, but I had to deal with people who judged me by how I looked. Wichita State University does not offer many online classes, so I ended up transferring to Fort Hays State University so that I can finish my degree all online. FHSU has been such a blessing to me.

Now, you might be thinking something along the lines of “Well I saw a commercial for some medicine that can cure your Fibromyalgia. Why don’t you just take the medicine?” Oh yes, I have seen this commercial too! The lady on the commercial takes a little pill and is able to walk quickly across the room and do her gardening all while smiling. Yes- I actually did have someone say that to me. I tried that little pill (Lyrica) and unfortunately it turned me into a zombie instead of a happy gardener.

I am not currently on any medication for either illness. Here is why I am not on anything  for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia- the medicines have side effects. 

Some of it put me in "La-La land" the whole time I was taking it. 

Some of it made my face swell up and turn red.

Some of it made me gain weight. 

Some of it made me nauseous. 

But, the scariest thing about these medicines is that they don’t know what affects it could have on babies and fertility. These are new drugs tested on older people. These drugs were not designed with the 18 or19 year old in mind. Someone who is 80 doesn’t need to worry about the side effects the medication will have on her future children. I will remain off of all medication for the Fibromyalgia and the Rheumatoid Arthritis until we are completely done having children.

Six months before we started trying to have a baby I stopped taking all the medicine I was on.  It was tough and my pain intensified, but I knew that a healthy baby would be worth it and I didn't want to do anything to jeopardize the health and well being of our children.

When I became pregnant my Rheumatoid Arthritis pain remained, but the Fibromyalgia pain was gone. Completely gone. The doctors said I was in remission. I could dance, walk, ride my bike, and hug my family! It was amazing to be almost pain free. I felt like I was in a dream and everyone around me was so thankful to have the "old me" back. My mom decided that I just might have to stay pregnant for the rest of my life and start my own reality show: 36 Kids and Counting! After doing some research I realized that the chances of my Fibromyalgia coming back after giving birth were high- it almost always happens. Not only does it usually come back, but it usually comes back with a vengeance. I decided to hope for the best- hope that Robby would "reset" my body. 

We think that since my health issues are autoimmune problems, his immune system took over for mine. He gave me one of the most precious gifts that I could have ever asked for- remission. My pain is starting to come back, but nothing like before. I can still walk and I am even running short distances right now while I can.  I still struggle with things such as tying my shoes, cutting my meat, and I am still unable to drive.   I accept hugs from anyone and everyone who wants to give me one because I am so thankful for the hug that is pain free. I hold Tanner's hand as often as possible and enjoy a good walk while I am able.

Robby did something for me that the doctors and new medications could not do. Robby gave me something so incredibly precious- Tanner can hold me at night, my mom and dad can hug me, and the girls can dance with me on the Wii.

Whenever I do something- like hug my husband I think of Robby. 

When I get up in the morning and run- I think of Robby. 

When I walk in the mall- I think of Robby. 

Thank you my sweet little boy for this precious gift you gave me. I could come out of remission at any time, but for now I plan to take full advantage of Robby’s gift to me. I plan to appreciate each and every second of my pain free time. When I was pregnant I would thank God everyday for giving us Robby, and I still thank God everyday for giving us our precious little boy. He might have only been with us for 23 weeks, but his impact was absolutely incredible. 

Thank you God for giving me my sweet little boy, even though he isn’t with us anymore I feel him with me with each pain free day I wake up, every hug I give or receive and with each step I am able to take.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

“Why Me” Meltdown

Before we left for our cruise I could feel it coming. I could feel the anger and sadness building up inside of me, but I just couldn’t let it out. I am an emotional person, and I always have been, but I do not like anyone else to see me break down because it makes me feel weak.

The whole week before we left I just kept it bottled up inside, yes I had cried multiple times every day, but nothing like what was to come. On Friday, March 16th, my mom and I got pedicures, and at the nail salon I saw a very pregnant woman. Pregnant people make me cry.

Then, we decided to go get our bangs trimmed. My mom went first, and the woman right next to us was going on and on about her daughter who just had a baby. She was going through the whole labor story as I just stood there watching my mom get a bang trim. She wasn't talking to us but we could hear every single word. The words were like knives. I felt sad and angry all at the same time. As she was describing her daughter's “really hard labor” and referencing her "poor daughter" this and her "poor daughter" that I wanted to tell her how lucky her daughter is and that her daughter should be thankful that her “really hard labor” gave her a healthy baby that she was able to take home. Instead I stood there while the sadness and anger continued to build up inside of me.

Finally it was my turn and I felt a little bit of relief because I could see the end of the appointment. As I sat down to have the woman cut my hair she asked me the question I had been dreading, the question that I had not EVER been asked before….”Do you have any children?.” I was stunned at first, but then answered that yes I have a son, but he is in heaven now. So I left the appointment- in tears and with funny bangs because she cut them crooked. 

Three weeks. My little boy had been gone for three weeks on this day. Many people were commenting on how great I was doing and how strong I am. I am not a master of emotional disguise, but I am able to put on a pretty strong front. However we all knew that my meltdown was coming and those closest to me could see it building.  My mom and I thought it would happen on the cruise. We were dreading the fact that I could explode on Nanny and my mom had even considered warning Nanny that if it happened not to take offense. Well luckily for Nanny, it did not happen on the cruise. It happened on the night before the cruise.

 In the words of my dad: "Tanner took one for the team."

The night before we left I was stressed out about being away from Tanner for 9 days, angry about so much that I'm not even sure I know what all of the anger is about, and sad that Robby is not with me. Tanner was out with Blake while I was helping the girls with their homework. He didn't show up at home at the very moment that the girls left which means he was a few minutes longer than he thought he would be. Of all of the things going on- THIS is what triggered my meltdown.

Normally it really wouldn't have been a big deal at all. Normally I wouldn't have even said anything because traffic or anything can cause someone to be a few minutes late. He wasn't even "late" for anything specific- just coming home! However, it was the icing on the "melt down" cake for me. I blew up, and when I say blew up I truly mean it. I yelled for awhile and then I just bawled. I knew while it was happening that I was being hysterical and not making any sense at all but I couldn't make myself stop.

I cried because Robby isn’t here. I know he is with us, but he isn’t HERE with us. I cried because my arms are empty. I cried because I couldn’t do anything to save him. I cried because I miss him more than words can describe. I cried for hours before I was done, and after I was done crying I felt a little better. I am so lucky to have Tanner because he did so well with my meltdown. He just sat there and held me and cried with me. I couldn’t ask for a more understanding husband. My anger was gone and the sadness was back, and I just felt completely empty. I am trying to keep the anger away now because I know that anger is not good for me.

Yesterday Tanner asked me what time our appointment is on Monday with our Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor. Well, that was all it took to trigger another meltdown. This one wasn’t major, but it still triggered a smaller scale meltdown. This time there wasn't any yelling- just lots of uncontrollable sobbing. I just bawled because I shouldn’t have to go to this appointment. I shouldn't have to wonder if I will ever be able to carry a baby to term. I should still be pregnant with Robby right now. All I could do was cry and ask "why me?"

I know that it is pointless to ask myself why this happened to us, but I still find myself asking this question a lot.

When I am reading a textbook for school I stop and think…”why us?”

When I am trying to listen to a recorded lecture I think…”why us?”

When I am trying to sleep at night I think…”why us.”

I know that no matter how many times I ask myself or God this question I am not going to get any answers. I do not know why this happened. Only God knows why this happened.

For now I just need to try to minimize the meltdowns. It is so hard because every day I wake up missing Robby and every night I go to sleep missing Robby.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Remembering The Joy

This past Friday night I decided to watch the 19 Kids and Counting episode where the Duggar family shares about losing their daughter, Jubilee. I remember hearing about what happened when I was pregnant and thinking how horrible it must have been for them to lose their baby and how I couldn’t even imagine what they were going through. I remember worrying about Michelle Duggar and praying for her to have strength when I found out she would have to deliver her already dead baby.  I remember watching the preview for their new season while I was pregnant thinking about how sad that episode would be- how sad I would be for them. Instead I was not only crying for the Duggar family and Jubilee, but I was crying for me and Robby too. How quickly things change. 

They waited until Michelle Duggar had made it to twelve weeks before they announced their pregnancy, they waited that long because they thought they were safe. I thought I was safe too. During the second trimester there is a 3% chance of losing your baby.  Once you hit the third trimester the chances that you will lose your baby goes down to 1%. Michelle Duggar and I should have been safe. I think that is one of the scary things now- knowing that I am not safe at any point during my next pregnancy. My illusion of safety is gone. 

When Michelle heard that her baby’s heart had stopped beating one of the first things that they showed her saying was a quote from the Bible: 

Job 1:21 Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

I can tell that their faith is what is really getting them through their loss, and my faith has been helping me as well.  There is, however, a difference between what I believe, and what the Duggar family believes. I don’t believe that God took Robby from me. I believe our God is a loving God and I just can’t believe that he would deliberately take Robby away from us. I know that God could have intervened with a miracle, but he did not, and even though I don’t understand why, I know that someday I will. I believe that God wanted us to live in a perfect world, but man sinned. Because of that sin we live in an imperfect world, and in this world of imperfection and sin, things such as this happen, and it is just part of life. I so glad that their faith is helping them through this hard time. I know that for my family our faith is what is helping us get through as well.

I was an active member on an online community while I was pregnant, and one of the controversies I remember reading about was that the Duggar family had released a couple of pictures of Jubilee and some people thought that it was not right. At the time I did not look at them, but I saw them on the episode the other night.  I thought that the pictures they released were beautiful. She had the most perfect little hands, and the most perfect little feet.  On Robby's last blog (Our Little Poppy Seed) I posted a picture of Robby. I struggled with the decision, but in the end I chose to post it because I wanted people to see that he was here. He was born. He was a real baby. I gave birth to a beautiful and perfect little baby boy.  Some people might not like that the Duggar’s released a picture of their little girls perfect hands and feet, and some people might not like that I posted a picture of Robby on my blog, but until you have walked in my shoes or the Duggar’s shoes, you have no right to judge. The few pictures we have of Robby are the only physical things we have left of him.

I am so glad that Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar decided to air this episode and hopefully open some eyes to the tragedy that it is to lose a child. They talked about how thankful they were for the short time that they had with their daughter, and how much joy she brought them. This was a good reminder for me. Sometimes I get so lost in my grief that I forget to be thankful for the time we were given with Robby because I am so focused on how sad I am that we lost Robby. It does bring me sadness to think about when I was pregnant, but in a way it also brings me joy.  

We were so excited from the first day I found out I was pregnant. I don’t think our hearts could have been more filled with joy. 

Joy. That is what I need to spend more time focusing on. 

Every sonogram appointment was such a big deal for us. We got so excited to see or as we referred to the sonograms "visit" our little Robby. At our N/T scan it was me, my mom, Tanner, Brittany, Brooke, Courtney, and Abby. Yes, that makes a grand total of seven of us there for a sonogram appointment. You should have SEEN the look on the technicians face when we all waltzed in there.

That memory brings me joy.

Every single day Brittany would grab my belly, hug it, and say “bye Robby” before she left.

That memory brings me joy.

The day that mom, Tanner, and I went to Oklahoma City to find out if we were having a boy or a girl we were so excited. Seeing Tanner’s face light up when he found out that we were having a boy.

That memory brings me joy.

The four girls would give my belly hugs, make Robby pictures, and sing him songs. 

Those memories bring me joy.

I got to feel Robby kick for the first time during the Superbowl. I had been waiting for weeks, and I was so excited to finally be able to feel him move.

That memory brings me joy.

It took a couple weeks after I felt Robby move for Tanner, my mom, and my dad to be able to feel Robby move, but when they did their faces were priceless!

Those memories bring me joy.

At the point in my pregnancy when not only could I finally feel Robby move but others could also feel him move- my mom and I would play “Poke the Belly” so that we could feel him move around even more.

That memory brings me joy.

That last fateful week in the hospital every four hours we got to listen to Robby’s heartbeat. None of my family: Tanner, Mom, Dad, or Justin would dare to run to the bathroom or get a drink if it was nearing the time to listen to Robby’s heartbeat because hearing his little heartbeat brought us all so very much joy.

That was tearful joy. 

Watching my husband so very carefully cut Robby's cord.

This memory brings me joy.

The nearly 2 hours that Robby was alive after I delivered him and we were able to hold him and look at his perfect body.

That was tearful and thankful joy.

Our little Robby was so important to us and did bring us so much joy for the whole 23 weeks that he was with us. Right up to the moment he was born, the 2 hours he was alive and we were holding him, and even now, our sweet little Robby brings us so much joy.