Friday, November 30, 2018

1SE: November 2018

One more month down.

Bye November.

11 out of 12 months of 2018 are over and I am officially welcoming the last month of the year to fly by for a nice fresh start for 2019 and all that in holds...which I am hoping is lots and lots of amazingly awesome good, positive, uplifting things for myself and my family...cause gosh we SO COULD use them right now.

This was a tough month.  Just a little over one month since we welcomed and had to say see ya later to Clark all at the same time and I'd be lying if I sat here typing how wonderful it was.  It really wasn't.  But, as you can see in my video and collage below, we did have some glimmers of happiness and fun.  The big kids most definitely did.  So, just as I've always done, I'll keep sharing the good -- and not so good -- because friends, that is REAL LIFE.

I think I'm going to go back to a black and white theme for 2019.  A year in black and white candid squares...which is funny because as I've really learned lately, nothing is as cut and dry as black and white is.  But I love the way black and white images look -- something so powerful with them -- so I'm going to tackle another black and white year just like I did in 2016 but with all pics being 4x4 squares...and candid snaps.  I could change my mind (haha, probably will!) but for now that's what I'm planning on doing for 2019.  So stay tuned.

Adios November...come on December.  Let's sail through and get past all of the holiday hub bub quickly so I can welcome in 2019 and hopefully a fresh start in many accords with huge open arms.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

One Month.

How on earth has it been ONE MONTH since we met our little Clark?!  It feels like yesterday and a million years ago all at the same time.  Grief is funny that's forever and instant it seems.

I took another month after my last one...

Oh how I wish I was holding a little cooing baby in my newest one.  But instead I'm holding him in where he rests for now...a little box.  And maybe this is morbid?!  I don't care.  It's us.  It's real and raw and true.  We had Clark cremated and his ashes are in a little box the funeral home gave us until we can decide what we'd like to do with them.  I can't bring myself to look at urns without losing it and I think we've both been avoiding the 'what now?' convo to figure out what and where we want to go from here with our little Clark.  Truly I kinda like having him with perhaps we will get a little urn for him and keep him here with us.  I don't know...all part of the unknown waters to come that we are trying to navigate.

As I look back over the past month there have been some highs and some lows.  If I'm being honest, probably more lows than highs.  Although one pretty awesome one happened this week...

I sent off 400 ounces of breastmilk to be donated.  I have another several hundred ounces in the freezer waiting to head out too, so that makes me smile so so so big that Clark's milk is going to other little ones who love their mama's milk.  I know he's smiling down from Heaven on these little ones who are sharing his mama's milk.

It's definitely been a hell of a month.  I've spent a good part of it very angry.  And probably not why you'd think -- I mean yes, I miss Clark and hate hate hate that we had to say hello and see you later all at once 4 months early...but I've been quite angry at other things.  And these things, which I'll elaborate on in a post later --because it's really a story all in its own -- have really taken away from what I should be focusing my energies on, what I should be grieving about.  My stupid insurance situation is a part if it...but a big root of my anger is deep-seeded in  how much Clark's arrival has almost pushed people away, seemingly feeling like I've been shunned.  It's a horrible feeling, especially when these people were suppose to be a support group, a community.  But I haven't felt that at all (quite the opposite) and it has been a massive cause of a LOT of anger this past month.  And truly, I HATE IT.  I hate how it's made me feel, hate that it's taken so much away from my grieving, hate everything about it.  And I hate that some have told me to 'ignore it, focus on the good' and that sets me off too.  Like oh okay, it's that easy?!  Sure thing.  Jeez.  So if you're reading this, take my advice: don't ever tell anyone to 'ignore' something that is bothering them.  Because it's the worst advice ever and don't you think we'd be doing that if we could?!?!  Anger is a part of life and I've found, especially this past month, if you try and squash it or ignore it it makes it a thousand times worse.  So it's okay to be angry...and hopefully some growth will come from it...I KNOW it will for me.  I'm already seeing it...angry and all.

A friend, who just lost her son at 23 weeks a few weeks before we lost Clark, posted this article recently.  The last paragraph, "The worst thing you can do is nothing. The silence without a baby at home is deafening, help to fill that empty airspace. Call, text, send cards, bring a meal, and keep showing up. Even if they can’t articulate it, your friend will always remember your support."  And how right that is -- like I cannot emphasize it ENOUGH.  And how much I want to send this exact article out to a few people to be like 'HEYYYYYYY, check this out.'  Because a simple text message or email goes a long freaking way.  But maybe I'll post it on social media soon and perhaps they'll see it there...

What's crazy is I already have my 6 week (at 5 weeks) postpartum appointment next week.  Insane.  I cannot believe it's gone that fast.  I should be going that week for my 27 week appointment and gestational diabetes test but instead I'm going to make sure everything is healed up good after my fourth c-section.  I still can't wrap my head around that.  And amidst of all of the anger and sadness and grieving and glimpses of happiness, we still don't have any answers as to why our little Clark was so riddled with hydrops and edema and cystic hygromas.  And that is so tough, so painful...because even though it wouldn't have changed any outcomes, I STILL WANT TO KNOW.  I hope and pray every night that the autopsy and pathology results yield SOMETHING for us.  Because we want to know...we NEED to know.  A lot of what we want to do in the future (more kids? no more kids?) kind of depends on what answers we get.  I had someone last weekend ask if we were going to try again for another baby.  I was kind of taken aback by the question -- I mean, I don't know.  And I've been saying that here for weeks -- truly.  I don't know what we're going to do.  We have a lot of unanswered questions that we are hoping yield some answers soon...but even if they don't, Mike and I have a lot to chat about, when the time is right, with just us.  So truly: I don't know if we are or not.  But I will say, I am so so so grateful to my docs for a healthy 4th c-section for myself and the green light to have another kiddo IF we want it.  Because I think nothing would have been more crushing in this situation is if we were told medically we cannot have any more.  So silver lining there.

I am having a hard time lately really putting into words what I'm feeling.  I mean, I go from grateful -- I am so grateful Clark chose us to be his parents...truly.  Even though he's not here he's doing big things from above...I can feel like.  To feeling extreme sadness and grief in missing what could have been.  Missing having him growing inside of me, missing feeling those little kicks and punches, misses preparing for his arrival and all of the newborn goodness pictures I was going to snap, missing his big siblings getting SO EXCITED for his arrival and what they're going to do with him, missing SO MUCH.  And when I really stop and think about all of this, I go into an emotional tailspin and can't stop crying.  So lately I have been putting it out of my mind and focusing on something else so I don't have to feel sad...but then I'll see a pregnancy announcement on Facebook or new baby clothes ad and it sets me off.  It's just the absolutely fucking worst feeling.  I wouldn't wish this on anyone EVER.  And I know as the days go on and life gets busier and busier things will distract me more, and time will help, but I don't think it'll ever go away.  That fire of missing him and all that goes with it will never ever be extinguished.  So for now, I'll continue to reflect, to write, to share his story and my grief and fuel that fire of missing him because if it's never going away I'm not just going to ignore it (because ignoring things rarely works out, right?!).

As I keep going through these loss waters I've really seen how much this subject is NOT talked about; how it's shyed away from (and I've said that here a'many times!) I'm going to keep talking about him and shouting about him loud and proud.  He is our son, however short of time we had him here with us, and his story, his life, his legacy NEEDS to be told...just like everyone else's does.  So here's to you, Clark man.  One month since your birth day, and one month of missing you like crazy.  Keep watching over us and doing big things up there little guy.  We love you so so so much.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Post-Nap Annie

When Annie wants to get up, either in the morning or after her name, she screams, "GET ME OUT!!" And usually doesn't stop screaming until you go in and get her.  #diva

Well today, when I heard her screaming I promptly went in there and asked if she wanted to get up.  She shook her head and said "Noooooo!"  WHAT.  Make up your mind chickadee!  You were just screaming to get you out and now you don't want out?!?!  Ohhhhhhhh, toddlers.

Anyways, so I went and grabbed my camera, cause her bedhead was amazing, and started snapping.  This was the first one I captured...

Her face says it all.  She did NOT want to get up.  I mean, I don't blame was freezing out today and the wind chill was like 10 and NOPE.  Keep me in my nice heated room thankyouverymuch.

Anyways, she perked up once I told her she could have a cookie for a snack...will work for food. That's my girl!!

Such a happy little cucumber, isn't she?!??!

And I love this shot of her chubby little hands...

Is it weird that they look just like her little brother's?  Or I guess his looked just like hers.  Both have the cutest little sausage's one of the things that stands out in my mind whenever I think about him...his little fingers.  And Annie's look so much like his did.  Makes me smile happy tears thinking about it.

Anyways, happy Tuesday friends!  Hope you had a good one...I'm winding down on my crazy fall and shoots but gearing up for a busy December with SO MANY newborns to snap and THREE birth mamas! I cannot wait!  I will say, being back snapping, whether it's my own kiddos or others', is so so so good for my soul. SO GOOD.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Another Monday.

I posted this on Instagram and Facebook...but thought I'd share here too.

Another Monday.  Another week has past.  Four weeks now since we said hello and see you later.  And yet, I still cannot stop thinking about you…looking at all of your things we have collected of yours.  It’s consuming, really…and I have no idea if/when it’ll ever stop being that way.  But man, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever endured…but as I sat last night writing, I am forever grateful that I am not alone in this situation.  That I am not grieving in silence, as so many do…that I am so fortunate to be surrounded by such an amazing and supportive community of family and friends as we continue to navigate these unknown waters.  Sharing Clark’s story — our story — is a part of this journey we are on, so even on the not so good days, it makes me smile that being open and candid about this story is perhaps helping someone else…giving them an ear and knowing they are not alone.  We miss you so so so dearly little Clark, but feel your presence from above each and every day.  You’re doing big things up there little guy…forever and ever grateful you picked me to be your mama. 💙

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Clark Bear

Several weeks ago one of our friends sent us a Build-a-Bear gift card to make a special bear for our Clark.  A week or so ago Patrick and I decided to pick out and design a bear online (cause ain't no way you're getting me to the mall this time of the year) -- he helped me pick out what bear to make for Clark and what color and font we should have his name written on his tummy.

Fast-forward to today: and Clark Bear (or Clarkie Bear, as Rosie has been calling him!) showed up.

It is just perfect.

I know it's just a stuffed animal, but as soon as we ripped open the box it just felt special to us -- to have.  His name and birth date and weight on it.  It was the perfect bear for our Clark.

The big kids immediately began fighting over it (typical!) and who got to snuggle with Clark Bear.  I have a feeling this bear will never be put down :)

I said in my post the other day how I am just reluctant to do family pictures -- I feel like part of our family is missing.  And when Clark Bear showed up today, I was like YES!!! YES!!  We can use his bear (and heck, sometimes his bear with his cape!) for family pictures!  It may seem elementary and cheesy, but it means soooooo much to me and I have a feeling Clark Bear will be in a lot of pictures to come.

It was unseasonably warm today, so after naps the kids begged to play why not?!  It had been forever since we did and they were dying to off we went!  And Clark Bear came too...along with my camera.

I freaking LOVE how these pictures turned out.  They are so happy -- there were so many giggles, so many tickles, so many snuggles...and each of them could not hug Clark Bear tight enough.  I definitely felt like our Clark was with us as we played outside this evening.

And then, just as we were about to go inside, we were graced with the most beautiful sunset...just like Clark was smiling down on us.

Not a second goes by that he isn't in the forefront of my mind.  So many what ifs, especially going into the holiday season.  Damn, I miss this little guy SO MUCH.  And I know his big brother and sisters do too.  But I'm so glad we have our Clark Bear to hug and squeeze and love on for now until we can do that to our Clark man one day.

I hope everyone had a good holiday more day of relaxing until we're back to the school hustle-and-bustle come Monday!  Which I'm actually kinda excited about -- I plan on tackling the basement and HOPEFULLY getting that all back in order so the kiddos can have their playroom back!  Fingers and toes crossed I can get that done in one swoop on Monday!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Today Sucked.

Gosh that's a harsh title.

But I'd be lying if I said it wasn't true.  Today did suck big time.

I was re-reading last year's Thanksgiving post and then got sucked into 2016's and 2015's and looking at all of the pics and gah, I was so happy.  Joyous.  So thankful.  It hit me realllllllly hard with the 2016 vs. 2017 family comparison pics and my line about, "Wonder what 2018 will look like...stay tuned!" And a year ago I hoped it'd resemble 2016's with a pregnant belly on me and three kiddos around Mike and I.  And if Thanksgiving was a month ago, that's exactly what it would have looked like.  But instead, no family photo was taken (regretting that. But is it weird that it's like I don't want to take a family photo anymore? Because part of our family cannot be in it??!! Ugh.) and instead I wasn't happy or joyous or wondering what 2019's will look like...I was just sad and missing a big part of us and just, ugh.  Not feeling it.

This year I really just feel blah.  I don't want to say I'm unthankful or ungrateful...the farthest from it.  I'm just not feeling the cheerful holiday joy I usually do this time of the year.  And it sucks...a lot.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dreading, absolutely dreading, Christmas time.  Which really sucks because it's my favorite time of the year and I love seeing the joy in my kids' eyes grow each and every year as they get older and older and understand more about the magic of Christmas.  This year it's going to be a real struggle for me to be so happy...I'm going to try.  I promise.  But it'll be a struggle because part of my heart isn't here with us.

I posted this on Facebook...

I didn’t feel like celebrating today. Holidays are tough...and I’m sure are going to continue to be going forward. But even still, I am incredibly thankful to these four and that they chose me to be their mama -- the good, the not so good, and everything in between. And to their daddy who is truly the best guy ever and I couldn’t imagine walking through this crazy journey of life with anyone else. 

Even though a piece of our heart is missing today, we know he’s smiling down on us from above. 💙 Happy Thanksgiving everyone — squeeze those loved ones of yours so tight and tell them every single day how much they mean to you.

And it's true.  I didn't feel like doing much of anything today.  I skipped our second Thanksgiving celebration because I just didn't want to go.  Didn't want to be around people.  I went to our first one and was just meh the whole time.  And it sucked cause it was such a gorgeous day out too...but yeah, wasn't feeling it.

This morning Patrick went to the annual Turkey Day game with my dad (excellent photo documenting snap dad) and the girls and I stayed home to bake cookies for our Thanksgivings and then we decided to hit up our favorite park for a bit before waking Mike up to go to lunch.

The girls had a BLAST.  Especially in the leaves and on the swings.  And I decided to bring my camera which felt good -- when I'm snapping I am literally thinking of nothing else but what I'm capturing.  My mind doesn't race, it doesn't think about all of the what ifs, what I'm missing so much, it is just focused on capturing what's at hand.  And I NEED THAT.  I need that distraction, that work, because it's a nice break from the constant mind racing it has been doing for the past 6 weeks. 

So if you're wondering "Wow, she can go back to taking all of these pictures but doesn't want to go to this function, or cancels plans on me..." welp, now you know why.  Because photography, and capturing families and babies and births and whatever I am snapping -- even my own kiddos -- is soooooo needed right now.  It's my escape.  It's therapeutic to me.  So let me have that.  Let me do that, because it feels right, it's helping me cope, it's being the much-needed distraction I need.  And don't be angry when I bail on things cause I'm not feeling up to it.  Don't message you back right away (or at all.  Oops.  I do forget to respond occasionally).  Don't want to go do things.  Give me a break from that and be okay with me doing what is best for my sanity right now -- and I'll be back to joining in eventually.

My OCD is on overdrive that I don't have my traditional cheery, uplifting, 'can't wait to see what next year looks like!' Thanksgiving post... but dammit, this is real life.  And sometimes life is sad and tough and holidays look like this.  But it's okay, I will be okay, we will be okay.  It's just all part of the journey we're on...and maybe sharing that today sucked (for me, I think the kids would argue it was an awesome day...which is good) and someone else reads this and is like, 'hey, my day sucked too...and that was okay that it did' is going to help them.

A friend shared this from @abeautifullyburdenedlife's Instagram and I just love it.  SO FREAKING TRUE.  Grieving and grateful today.  Absolutely I am.

I'll leave you with this post from @ramshackleglam from Instagram.  Ohhhhhh how it applies to today.

Hope everyone had a great Turkey Day -- I mean, I did enjoy the food at least :) -- and even if you didn't, it's okay.  Snuggle up with those loved ones, tell them how much they mean to you, and you'll be okay.  We all will.  As Scarlett O'Hara said, "Tomorrow is another day."
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