Tag Archives: miscarriage

A Letter to My Children On Their First Birthday

Dear Laurence & Flannery,

Today is your first birthday. I had planned on doing something to commemorate the day, but I’m sitting here in the clothes I’ve worn since Thursday and trying to remember when I last brushed my teeth. It’s not because I’m grieving that I’ve basically fallen apart this week, month, year. It’s because you have a baby brother. Yes, I’m taking care of a newborn. And I’m not taking such great care of myself these days. I’m working on that. While still wearing maternity shorts, which is fine. I’m a mom of six and showing myself the grace I didn’t dole out with you or your older siblings. 

We announced last year, on your due date, that another Ballew was forming in my womb. We almost lost him, too. But he was born earlier this year. At the right time. We named him Lewis Rhys Mullins. 

You were born too early. And, as your older brother, Graham, pointed out to me — we couldn’t have all three of you. The math is tricky on these things, but Lewis came along when you were still supposed to be growing inside of me. Graham asks me how he can still be so sad you are dead, when he is so happy he “could explode into a million pieces about Lewis, but we wouldn’t have Lewis if they were here.” And I don’t have an answer for him. Because I feel the same way. 

Lewis didn’t take away the pain from losing you. He actually complicated things a bit. I was grieving and rejoicing in the same moments. There were no clear lines in my journey when we saw the two pink lines on that test. It was all muddled up. Then, we almost lost your brother. And I was trying to grieve losing you, rejoice about Lewis, but wrap my head around what I would do if I lost three babies in one year. 

I missed you everyday. Thought about what life would be like with all five of my kids. Then a sixth came into the picture, and Graham was the only one who vocalized what was in my heart. I felt…guilty. 

On the anniversary of your death, I was pregnant with your brother. It was surreal. I wasn’t sure how to feel. And some days I still don’t know how to feel. I felt both of you move inside of me. I delivered you. I buried you. I drove by your grave, because Graham wanted to make sure no one had stolen it. One of your sisters, Elizabeth…we call her Bess, asked when you were “coming alive” and coming home to live with us. She asked why we had to drive away and leave you in that cemetery. Then I felt your brother move. I carried him longer than any of my other children. I delivered him. And I woke up three times at the hospital crying, thinking I was having a repeat surgery they did after I lost you. And I looked down at your baby brother and my feelings were absolute love. I loved all six of you. And I could only have four of you here with me. 

Bess brings her twin babies into the kitchen to eat dinner with us. She tells me you both will be alive again like Baby Jesus and we will all eat dinner together when you come out of my tummy. She’s almost four years old and a bit confused. Your sister thinks she died as a baby, too, but didn’t stay dead like you did. Your brother sometimes forgets your names. Other days, he talks about you all day to remember how much he loved you. He calls you “the babies who died” and Lewis “the baby who lived” and I’m left to go switch the laundry. 

I apologize that this letter isn’t fluffy or poignant or precious. It’s just how I feel after being up all night for thirteen straight nights with your baby brother. He’s getting teeth. Graham and Bess are obsessed with him, like they would’ve been obsessed with both of you. They are already planning his first birthday party. Today would’ve been yours. With family gathered around two high chairs. With two smash cakes. Your dad thinks Flannery would’ve had red hair and green eyes. We often think about you, Laurence. What would you have looked like covered in cake? 

I don’t believe in a baby heaven. I don’t believe you two chose Lewis for us. I don’t believe your dead relatives are fighting over who gets to hold you. I do know I’ll see you again someday when there’s a new Heaven and a new Earth. I don’t know what you’ll look like. Just like how I don’t know what Adelaide will be like completely whole and healed. She’ll have her gorgeous personality and love for life, but she’ll be walking and dancing and talking. I honestly don’t spend too much time thinking about it. I’m pretty busy trying to figure out how to keep her from peeing out these diapers that don’t fit quite right and learning sign language so I can try to communicate with her. 

But I do think about you. My fourth and fifth children. Your lives were short, but you were loved every moment by this family. And even though Graham — and all of us — don’t know how to wrap our finite brains around it, we do wish all of you could be here today. Somehow. With Baby Lewis reaching for your cake. And Adelaide shouting for cake. And Graham and Bess fighting over who would get to hold two babies in the family photo, while the other was left just holding one baby. We all wish we could have three babies today.

You are missed and loved and cherished. You matter, because you were created in God’s image. You were just born too early for this world. This crazy Earth that wanted you to breathe oxygen, when you still needed water. When you still needed umbilical cords. When you still needed me. With all my extra pounds and tears and hormones and the times I yell when I shouldn’t and the times I keep my mouth shut when I should speak up. I’m not a perfect mom, but I love you. I couldn’t save you, but we saved your brother. It is what it is. 

Happy Birthday my loves,

XX Mommy 

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Five Minute Friday | Breathe

Ready, set, go…

Last year, I was tucking Graham into bed when he started a difficult conversation. One I wasn’t yet ready to have. We had just lost Laurence and Flannery the day before. 

“Mama, I’m so sad our babies died, but I’m glad I get to sleep in yours bed. How long we gonna be so sad? And can we be sad and happy? Cuz I wanna be sad sometimes and happy lots of times. Will we get babies again in your belly? Can we be mean to people? Cuz I wanna be mean to people. Am I still your favorite boy? I’ll be okay if you get more favorite boys. I’m so happy you aren’t in da hospital again tonight cuz I missed you last night. Someday you gotta tell me about the dead baby surgery. Da hospital was pwobly too quiet, huh?”

“We will be sad when we need to be sad and happy when we want to be happy. We can be sad as long as we want to be, as long as we don’t hurt ourselves or be mean to other people. That’s not being sad, that’s other things that aren’t showing God’s love to ourselves and others. I don’t know if we get to have other babies in my belly. But I love all five of you so much! And, yes, you’re still my favorite boy. And I’m so happy I’m home with you. The hospital was very quiet, which was nice. But I missed all our noise.”

“You forgotted da surgery part.”

“When you are older.”

How that was exactly one year ago yesterday, I’m not sure. Time is so strange when you’re 33-going-on-34. 
We made it through the anniversary of the twins’ birth and death. I had been dreading February 1st, but it ended up being easier than I thought it would be. Partially because my kids kept me completely busy and I barely had time to think about it. And partially because I decided to place zero expectations on myself. 

I didn’t make plans to commemorate it at all. No tattoos. No visit to the cemetery. No “one year later” post. Just regular life. Just breathing in and out. 

My word for 2017 is breathe. For whatever that’s worth. It came to me at the very end of December. 

Yesterday, in conversation with Nicole, while our kids were running through the house laughing and screaming, I realized I had found my word for 2017. Nothing profound. But the last several years have been more difficult than not, and I’m choosing to focus on the basics in the new year. Breathing in my husband. Breathing in my children. Breathing in new baby smell. Breathing in friendship. Breathing in the Holy Spirit. “Nicole, I think next year is my year to breathe.” She nodded, then we cleaned some weird orange goo off Graham and Thatcher’s hands, changed Adelaide’s diaper, hunted for Chandler’s missing drink, and averted a near disaster as Bess stuck her head into a birdcage. I was breathing in motherhood, and I felt alive.

I breathed my way through February 1st, the anniversary of losing two children. And I breathed my way through February 2nd, the anniversary of coming home from the hospital empty-handed. And I breathed my way through preschool drop-off and pick-up. I breathed my way through homeschool and pottytraining and dishes and laundry and calling in prescriptions. And I breathed my way through making room for another baby. A baby brother. Who probably eased some of the pain on February 1st. But in the words of Graham, “Getting a new baby doesn’t make me miss our dead ones less. I wish we could have all free of dem!” We’re all breathing our way though pregnancy after losing children. One breath at a time. 
Time’s up.

Join me over at katemotaung.com with your own five minutes of raw and unedited thoughts on the word “breathe”…a safe place to share. 

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Graham and the Hermit-Man

“Mama, I’m so worried I’m gonna gwow up to be a hermit-man and never have fwiends and never leave my house.” 

This started a 5 hour obsession with becoming a hermit. Tears, constant questions, and incessant reassurance that he would never become a hermit. 

“HOW DO YOU KNOW? You can’t know! You don’t know mine future!”

“Graham, if you try to become a hermit, Daddy and I will stop you. We will get you out of your house.”

“What if you ares dead? You aren’t gonna live fowever, Mama!”

“Bess will not allow you to become a hermit.”

“What if all mine family is dead? What if all mine fwiends are dead? What if I CAN ONWY BECOME A HERMIT?”

“Graham, that is not going to happen.”

“IT MIGHT! You don’t know mine future!”

And it went on for hours. And I gave him rational answers. I gave him Scripture. I asked for help from God to deal with the barrage of hermit-man-related questions. 

And as we were praying at bedtime for God to protect Graham from a life as a hermit, he looked at me and said, “It could happen. Dey are weal. People choose to be all alone and have no fwiends and become hermit-people. What den?” And I said, “Then it happens. And you figure out how to not be one. You pray, ask your family and friends for help, and you move through it.” 

And he was content with that answer. 

We can’t get those minutes back. The Hermit-Man tears can’t be uncried. 

And then it hit me in the face. 

I am Graham and the Hermit-Man. 

My ‘what ifs’ aren’t as far-fetched, but I’m a 6-year-old crying in God’s lap. “What if we get pregnant again and we lose that baby, too? It happens. It happens to lots of people!” And God says, “Then it happens. And we figure it out. You talk to me…I’m always here…and you ask your family and friends for help. And you move through it.” 


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“You’ll Bounce Back”

After Graham was born, I felt huge. It was the biggest I had ever been in my life. 


This was almost 7 years ago, before I remembered my childhood/adolescent abuse. Before I remembered the decades of body shaming. Before I started my journey of healing. I was still carrying all of that shame deep down inside. So I didn’t understand why I couldn’t show my body grace. I had read all the articles about how my post-partum body would be different. But I wasn’t prepared for the reality of feeling completely ugly. 

I had grown a human being inside of me. Fed him with my body. Carried him in my body. And evacuated him into a world of breathing air and nursing. I wanted to be okay with it. To embrace this new normal. Sagging skin and leaking breasts and staples and stretch marks. But I couldn’t. 

I started to fear that Dave would never find me attractive again. We would never enjoy my body like he had. Because it was now hideous.

I now know it was sleep-deprivation talking. Hormones shifting almost daily. But it was mostly a past I couldn’t even recall that constantly whispered, “You are never pretty enough. Your body is never nice enough. No one will love you if you gain weight.” 

Abuse has a way of following you around and popping up when you don’t expect it. I’m textbook with my body issues. But it doesn’t seem so obvious when you’re in the middle of it. 

What didn’t help: “Your body will bounce back soon!” Why do people say that to a person who just completed a 40-week sprint, which instantly transformed to an 18-year marathon? It’s so odd to focus on someone’s weight at a time like that. 

Plus, mine didn’t. My body didn’t bounce back. And it made me think that people were constantly critiquing my post-baby body. “He’s so cute! And your body will bounce back.” I heard it all the time. Along with aphorisms about how quickly he would grow and move away to college. I needed someone to say, “Rest. Nurse. Cut yourself lots of slack. Wear flowy tops. Don’t stress about your body.” But that’s the opposite of our culture. 

I was standing in line at Walmart with a tiny Graham and counted 14 magazines telling me how celebrities had shed their baby weight in weeks. There’s nothing wrong with them doing that. But life’s a lot different when you have a nanny and a personal chef and a gym in your house. 

I was living in a different world. We were in the middle of remodeling the kitchen in our little house. Our refrigerator was in the living room. Our stove was disconnected. I was living off microwave dinners while Dave was at work. Recovering from an emergency c-section. Definitely not good for the body or the soul. I knew my cart of turkey breast Lean Cuisine meals wasn’t in those celebrity tips. As a brand-new mom, I was seeing how post-partum obsession was at all socio-economic levels. 

Please don’t misunderstand my heart on this. I’m not into reverse shaming either. If a woman is able to bounce back in a healthy way, I’ll be applauding her! But my genes aren’t configured that way. And when someone told me I’d lose more weight if I quit nursing, I nodded politely. Then someone else said I’d lose weight if I pumped more. I hated being big, but I knew nursing Graham was something I wouldn’t give up.

I’ve nursed a total of 4 years, and it only helped me lose weight with Bess. Because I was on an elimination diet. I ate air and drank water…that’s how it felt. But as soon as she was 19 months and I had to wean her for the trial in Colorado, my weight started coming back.

It’s been more than a year. In that year, I’ve added a pregnancy and the end of a pregnancy. If there’s anytime you should show yourself grace, it should be after losing children. Part of what makes post-partum easier is that you are cuddling a tiny human who desperately needs you. After you lose children, you have the stretch marks and leaking breasts and no baby to hide your sagging skin when you’re out in public. You are exposed. And people say, “Your body will bounce back.” When they should be saying, “I’m sorry that your life feels completely worthless at this moment. I’m sorry that you feel like you failed. I’m sorry that you won’t see your baby this side of eternity.” 

One of my best friends recently lost her baby. Most likely from a virus. And she mentioned nonchalantly that she was bigger after her loss than she had been pregnant. And I texted without a second thought, “Your body will bounce back.” I should’ve paused and typed, “I know. A virus took your baby and your body doesn’t know what’s going on. It’s clueless. So your mind needs to remind your heart that you are strong and beautiful. Don’t even think about your weight and go buy bigger underwear.”

That’s what I did. I realized that I had bought bigger jeans from TJMaxx and bigger shirts from ThredUp. But I was still trying to wear smaller underwear. Which was a constant reminder that I was bigger. The biggest I’ve ever been. I took the kids to BigLots and bought my favorite underwear 2 sizes bigger. Then I told myself, “Your body isn’t bouncing back. And it doesn’t really matter. Not right now. What matters right now is feeling beautiful and comfortable in clothes that fit while you grieve.” 

August 26th is our due date. There are so many things I’ve never experienced. Infertility. Delivering stillborn. Losing a child in infancy or childhood or when they’re in college and it never crosses your mind that something horrible could happen on a regular Thursday. But I have lost babies in my womb. Delivered too early. And the day I was supposed to deliver is almost here. And it will last 24 hours and be gone. 

And I don’t have time to lament that I’m not as thin as I would like to be while I’m standing at that grave watching Graham release balloons. I won’t listen to the lies that it’s been 6 months and I should be smaller and happier. I lost most of my childhood to lies about myself. I won’t sacrifice my kids’ lives with the same. I’ll throw on a flowy top and mourn.

I won’t stop striving to be a strong mom. A healthy mom. A happy mom. But I give up on being a Size X Mom. I don’t have enough energy anymore to live that life. No one cares about my underwear size. 

And I vow to never again tell a woman who just gave birth, or was robbed of the chance, that her body will bounce back. Because that’s one of the last things she needs to hear. I’ll give her a hug, buy her some decaf coffee, and rejoice or mourn…whichever the occasion requires. 

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Laurence & Flannery’s Virtual Baby Shower 

Me: “Let’s get ready! We get to go buy a baby gift for a friend’s little baby boy!”

Graham: “Peoples are sposed to be getting us baby gifts, but our babies are dead. No one buys gifts for dead babies. Cept weirdos.”

I started laughing, because I’ve been planning a baby shower for Laurence and Flannery. Confirmation that I’m a weirdo. 

I decided awhile back that I was going to celebrate their milestones.  It’s part of my healing process. And as my friend, Haley, says, “When your kids die, you get to do whatever you want!” 

So I’m hosting a Virtual Baby Shower! And all of you are invited! 

If you want to join us, we’re going to bless our local crisis pregnancy centers and church pantries with baby items! Diapers, wipes, clothes, bottles, blankets, baby food…there are literally thousands of items to choose from. 

So buy what you feel led to buy, and then drop it off at your neighborhood’s outreach. 

Not able to get out? Hop online and give to one of the many organizations that help babies in need! We are fans of WorldVision, Compassion, and Samaritan’s Purse. All three have online catalogs where you can search the word ‘baby’ to see how you can help monetarily. 

Be sure to snap a pic of you with your goodies and join in Laurence & Flannery’s Virtual Baby Shower! 

You can 1) share on Instagram by tagging @bylittlehouseinthecity and using #LaurenceAndFlannery or 2) share them here in the comments or  3) over on the Little House In The City Facebook page

I’m so excited to see what happens! XX


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Can We Actually Talk About Insurance?

When I was a kid, insurance was just a word in a math problem. And the word problem was always something ridiculously unrealistic: 

If Suzy breaks her arm and the doctor charges her $75, and her insurance only covers 80%, how much should Suzy send to the doctor’s office from her checking account? Show your work.

Sorry, Suzy, but if you are getting out of this with a $15 charge, you are most likely a time traveler or sleeping with the doctor. The actual medical doctor, because that other Doctor is too busy with wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey business. Please don’t show your work…

As a grownup, insurance is part of my daily life. And sometimes a curse word. Because I have a disabled child. 

A common misconception is that all children with special needs are on disability or Medicaid or both. We get lots of people making assumptions about our family and our financial choices. 

Adelaide happens to be on neither. That’s our choice. I honestly am not concerned with the choices other families make. Each child and situation are unique. But it is absurd to think that a wheelchair = fill-in-the-blank services.

For several years, Adelaide was on private insurance. Some stuff was covered, most wasn’t. That’s what happens when premiums need to stay in a certain place for all the members. 

But this year, things are different. 

Dave took a new job. We love it! It’s an awesome company. The owners are wonderful. Dave uses all his skills everyday. He has a fantastic team. It’s a small company. But the insurance premiums are higher. So we had to get creative. 

We looked at all our options. We even checked out the “marketplace” and it was half our take-home pay for the year. After I laughed, peed my pants, and laughed some more, we looked into a medical sharing group. 

We were able to get a plan that fit our budget. We chose our ratio of premiums to out-of-pocket costs. Everything was looking great. Then, we got pregnant completely unexpectedly. We learned that the pregnancy and birth wouldn’t be covered, due to an issue with the start date. It was back to the Excel spreadsheet to figure out how we were going to insure our now growing family. 

Then we lost Laurence and Flannery. We were forced to sell our souls to the devil to afford COBRA. It was a nightmare. But since I was back to being unpregnant, we went back to the medical sharing group. 

It’s not perfect. Adelaide’s pre-existing conditions aren’t covered until March 2019. Three years from the start date. Eeek. It’s the price we pay to afford our premiums. But under the private insurance, she didn’t qualify for therapy or gear anyway. We were already paying out-of-pocket for all gear and using public school therapy services at our local preschool. 
So what will we be doing for all her other appointments and procedures? Haggling. Adelaide has two appointments at our Children’s Hospital next month. So I need to put my game face on. Aside from a brief season as the worst player in my homeschool soccer league, Athletic Lyndse has never existed. So I need to actually acquire a game face. But that unibrow was on point!

  
Why share all of this? Because I’m tired of folks assuming things about our kiddos. We don’t assume that every single mom is on food stamps or every pregnant woman is on WIC or that every military veteran goes to the VA. Why do we assume that every kid with a label and a slew of specialists is drawing benefits? Sometimes our kids are on private insurance. Sometimes our kids are in a medical sharing group. And we all choose what fits our families’ needs and philosophies. 

I had to leave a disability support group on Facebook after being bullied for not having Adelaide on disability or Medicaid. A new mom asked a question and I answered it truthfully. This mom, brand new to our world of disability, asked if it was possible to raise a disabled child on one income without seeking benefits. I answered yes.  I started receiving messages from moms and admin saying I was too prideful and making other moms feel bad. Just because I spoke about our experience and mentioned that we didn’t utilize those services. And I was told that all children with a diagnosis should be receiving government benefits or the parents were neglectful and abusive. We obviously differed in our definitions of neglect and abuse and I left the group. But it’s always stayed with me that an honest conversation couldn’t take place that day. 

So we’ll just do it here. That’s the fun part about blogging. I can write what I want and can’t be censored. Even when I use the worst curse word around: insurance.

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Dancing In Mom Shoes

“Mama, gimme my babies from Mama belly. I wanna play. Come here, babies. Bess loves you.”

Bess still talks to my belly. There’s nothing I can do to stop her. Tonight, she lifted up my shirt to comment that my belly was smaller. It’s finally going down. She doesn’t know why.

“Lyndse, your blood shows that you are officially not pregnant anymore.” The nurse was apprehensive, yet cheerful. My blood work was perfect. My body textbook. It was bittersweet. I had anticipated that news all month. It finally came on a Friday. The last Friday in February. I rejoiced that a follow-up D & C wasn’t necessary. I sobbed that it was 100% finished.

Dave took me away for the weekend. Concert tickets. A hotel. Our children divvied up among grandmothers. I packed an overnight bag. A change of clothes, lingerie, my makeup, a couple toiletries, and our read-aloud.

I’ve waited more than a decade to see MUTEMATH in concert. To watch Darren King play the drums like I do in my daydreams…even though I can barely clap. And to sing along with Paul. And to dance.

We walked Downtown Tulsa for hours before the show. The Art Deco district. The Brady Arts district. Ate dinner. Made our way to Cain’s Ballroom. Ran into Darren, as he was walking into the show. And I had forgotten for a moment that I had been pregnant. For the first time in a month, I had actually forgotten. But Darren was holding his daughter, and it all returned to me.

Would Laurence have been a musician? Would Flannery have been curly-haired? I touched my belly. But my abdomen is just fluffy now. I look like I recently ate all my 4-year-old’s Valentine’s Day candy. Which I did. I quickly put my arm back through Dave’s. Pressing up against him. Snuggling in so I wouldn’t cry in front of a ticket taker. And I held it together.

Until right before the show started. She was about my age. Holding her belly. Just three feet away. And I could tell we would’ve been the same week. And I almost said, “I bet we share due dates!” I caught myself. Our eyes had already made contact. But I said nothing. Looked at her, in her second trimester. I stared a bit too long. She moved her arm protectively over her baby. Grabbed her husband’s arm. I started to cry.

Hours from home. From anyone who knew. A room full of strangers. Zero of them knew that I am attending a memorial service this month at a hospital chapel. Zero of them knew that my blood work had come back ‘not pregnant’ and how I can’t reconcile feeling dismay and happiness in the same moment.

I spent most of the show singing and laughing and crying. Standing room only. Some girls behind us mocked my outfit. Made fun of my shoes. My pants. My hair. They were young. Trying to impress everyone around them. Getting a high from sniggering at me.

I chuckled. Because I was relishing my 33rd birthday gift from my husband. Those shoes had just walked 4 miles with the love of my life. Those jeans were my first non-maternity pants of 2016…a 16W and covering the midsection of a mother of five. My hair. Well, it does whatever it wants to do and I don’t stop it. I can’t stop it. I laughed at how they knew nothing of my life. Yet they passed judgment. Time and time again.

I was like a pendulum. From joy to grief. My dancing much like the figure eights that put a little to sleep when I’m wearing on my back. Or my arms flailing like a sailor overboard. Singing along word-for-word to a decade of songs. Or making it up.

On the last Saturday in February, my dancing turned to mourning and then turned to worship. My first time worshiping since I lost my children. Since I put my dad in prison. Since my dad-in-law died. Since Adelaide was diagnosed as being undiagnosable. Had I not raised my hands and danced around and screamed to, and at, God in the last three plus years? I can’t remember. But I did in Tulsa.

“Just keep going.” Those lyrics were for me. The words the Holy Spirit gave me during my own private hell. When I want to just give up, He keeps throwing hope in my face. And I danced in my mom shoes and the tears streamed down my textbook non-pregnant face and my pants almost fell off, because my tummy shrinks everyday. And I still don’t know why.

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My New Word For 2016

I teased a few days ago in an angry/sad/hopeless text to a friend that I was changing my 2016 word from ‘hope’ to ‘hops’ and would most likely become an alcoholic. When I’m not pregnant or breastfeeding, I enjoy the occasional beer or hard apple (or pear) cider. My 2016 wasn’t supposed to have any alcohol in it. Because I was supposed to be pregnant and then nursing. Nursing twins. But, here I am, about to be cleared by my obgyn to drink caffeine and alcohol. And boy, I can’t wait. Not sure if I’ll start with a Guinness. Or a Magner’s pear. Dave’s previous work family dropped off wine. Don’t worry. I only tease about how much I’ll drink. I usually stick to 6 slow ounces. But 2016 changed on me. And maybe I’ll do some changing, too. Not tiny diapers. I packed all those up. And not reusable nursing pads. Packed those up, too. I did change my planner. I’ve used the same planner since before Adelaide’s first MRI. One of my best friends sent me vinyl monograms. I picked up a new planner on Monday, right after a little girl ran up and asked when my baby was due. She was so excited. I answered that the twins were due this Summer. She ran back to her mom beaming. I bawled. I thought I had covered my postpartum belly well enough with my coat, but that wasn’t the case. I’ve left the house twice since losing my children. And since 2016 decided this wouldn’t be my year to learn how to tandem wear twins, then I’m going to drink. Cheers.

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One Week Later

It was Monday, nearing that 2 o’clock hour. My mom watched the kids, because I couldn’t be at the house. One whole week. I ended up at Hallmark. Staring at a wall of clearance Christmas ornaments. And then I saw them. At exactly 2:10. A set of babies. One with dark hair and one with light. Dated 2015 — the twins’ only Christmas. And I knew I had to buy them. My little love note from God. I brought them home. Cut their fairy wings off with utility scissors. And just held them in my hands. They are the size my babies were when they left this world. And God said, “Just keep moving.”

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Five Minute Friday | Focus

Ready, set, go…

Two of our children died this week. My brain is so fuzzy. I wake up in the middle of the night and wonder why I’m not nauseated. Confused that I can sleep on my back. On my stomach. I don’t need to pee. And it makes me sob. Because I’ve been unpregnant for only a few days. Yesterday, two-year-old Bess came up to pat my belly. “Babies!” I can’t correct her. I just can’t. But Graham does it for me. “No, Bess, our babies died. They are dead now.” Bess giggles and runs off. Graham asks for chocolate milk. I go cry in the laundry room and try to pull it together. But I’m constantly reminded that they are gone. My belly is smaller today than it was last night. My breasts are actually shrinking. My hormones are starting to level out. And I hate it. I want my hips to ache. I want to be vomiting. I long to be peeing every 2 hours. I can’t have it back. It’s over. And everyone keeps asking if I’m okay. I smile and say, “I’m doing okay.” But I want to scream, “Of course I’m not okay! I just packed up all my babies’ clothes. All my maternity clothes…except for these jeans, because I’m so swollen from 7 liters of iv fluids. And I just want to cry for an hour until I can’t cry anymore, but I have apples to cut and diapers to change and pee sheets to wash.” Because life keeps going on. There’s barely any grieving time when you have 3 littles who need a mom. And how ironic is it that I can’t focus on being a mom to 3, because I’m aching from being a mom to 5?

Time’s up..join me for your own five minutes of raw, unedited writing at katemotaung.com

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