Yep. I was right.

So…. in earlier posts of mine, I have pondered if my students and/or their families know about Brendan. Working in the very small town that you live in can sometimes be hard because everyone knows everything about you. Well, the other day in class out of nowhere; one of my students said “My mom told me that Beau isn’t an only child. She said that you had another baby, but that one died. Thats what my mom told me.” I was so caught off guard that I really didn’t know how to respond. I felt like I had been slapped across the face. I know that I should be happy that his life was even acknowledged, but it was so abrupt. I wasn’t mad at my student at all because she is little and has no idea that the subject matter should be off limits. I felt very angry though that my very very personal life was open for discussion with a student of mine when the subject matter is so delicate and really not age appropriate. I just took a deep breath, turned, and walked away. Now knowing that some students may know, I wonder if I would handle it differently next time?

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Has it really been a year since my last blog?

Ok so here is the thing about my lack of blogging for basically the past year……

(insert excuses)

I haven’t written because I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to express what I was thinking or what I was feeling. And now is the time that I can sit and say all of the things that I need to get out. So buckle up cause this is likely to be a long one….

June, July, August, September 2015- During this time I was supremely happy. I was in love, had just finished my first year of teaching and was looking forward. My family and friends were well, I had absolutely nothing to complain about. I still think about you everyday, but I guess I didn’t come to write because in a way I felt guilty and ashamed at myself for being supremely happy. What kind of mother am I if I am not constantly mourning you? And then I started  noticing that I had been talking to my friends I had met through grief support less. I WILL ALWAYS love them and have such a grateful spot in my heart for all of them (after all I could have never made it without them), so now what a jerk I would be to go to chat and rub my bliss in their faces when perhaps their struggles are still all consuming? Yes, I will always be part of “the club” but I was different now; not at all the broken girl I was when I had first met them all. I want to maintain these friendships, but am afraid of hurting them. When I first lost you, in a sick way I craved reading the stories and knowing that others felt the same kind of pain that I was experiencing. I needed it. Now however, I am back to the place where the stories terrify my deep to my center core. It scares me so much because I do understand the reality of it and am so terrified it could happen to me again. I know one day when I am done having children I HAVE TO (as part of my mission) help others and hear their stories, but for now (I am afraid I sound so selfish saying this) I just wanted to be happy in my little bubble for a little bit longer because it felt so refreshing and just good. This summer’s Disneyland trip is a great example of this happy bubble that I have been in. Grandpa Steve and Grandma Laura paid for the whole family to go enjoy this experience together and while a little stressful at times, we made such good memories. They pulled me aside at some point during our trip to let me know that they wanted to buy something for me with your name on it so that I knew that they realized/remembered that they should have been there with 4 grandchildren, not 3. I am so lucky to have such a supportive and loving family to help honor you. Even Delilah asks about her little cousin every now and then and wants to see his picture. One day your little brother will be old enough to understand that you existed and I’m sure you two will have a very special bond.

October, November, December 2015- Josh asked me to marry him and I said YES!!!!! I could not ask for a better step dad for your brother and also for you. It’s strange to ask a man to be a step father to a boy he has never known but he fathers you in the only way that he can, he lets me talk about you however often I would like and he holds me when I still occasionally cry. He goes to the cemetery when I want to go and shared with me about his brother Jason who died too early like you. We are planning our wedding and are thinking of ways to incorporate remembering you as well as in our new home we bought. It is such a bittersweet thing. I am so grateful for him. Your little brother Beau is turning into quite the little firecracker. He is rambunctious, has a hot little temper, wants to do everything on his own, and is the love of my life. Your Aunt Jenn and I joke all the time about how we think that you two would be nothing like each other but would be best friends. We think that you would be much more passive, calm, and level headed; just like typical older/younger sibling relations. How I wish that we could be a complete little family. I will never be over what happened, but between your brother and your stepdad, I have healed a tremendous amount over the last two years. I used to jokingly/truthfully say that I had turned “stone cold”. I would hear things that I knew were sad, but no tears would come. I either showed no emotion or would privately have a massive melt down (usually about you). Now I am able to show a range of emotion again, which is so much more “Brittany” like. I have never been more glad to be able to cry about silly things. I can now once again cry when I am frustrated, or overtired, or touched by something, or even when I am laughing. I can feel again. It is wonderfully vulnerable and human.

January, February, March 2016- The last few months have been a little rough. I had a nice little run of feeling very high, but the thing about being on the roller coaster of life, is that it keeps going up and down. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very little dip down compared to some of the lows that I have been through, but it still makes me grip onto the handlebars with a deathgrip and prepare to hit the ground. I HATE that I battle anxiety. I wish I could figure out the cure to make me just snap out of it and tell myself “Brittany it always ends up okay” but my mind just doesn’t believe me all the time. I get sad. I get afraid. I get angry. I trust in God, but still I battle. I try to analyze why I am feeling the way I am feeling and this is the best I can come up with : Spring is just around the corner, the flashbacks while less vivid still happen and I can’t ignore that your 4th birthday is right around the corner. Your Great Grandma Liz passed away this month and before she went to be with the Lord, I went to visit her in the hospital a couple times even though I hate going to Clovis Community hospital. I realize that it is also the place that brought me Beau safely and for that I will always be grateful, but walking up to that very large building my first thought is always, “this is the place that my baby died, this is the place they told me your heart stopped, this is where I had to stay with you inside of me for over a day before I got to hold you for a few measley hours before they took you from me”. These are dark thoughts that plague me. These are the monsters in my closets and the nightmares that I fear when I lay down in bed. The nightmares that are my reality. The truth is that when I am feeling happy, it is because I shut a piece of my brain down and do not allow it to think about those certain memories of you. The end of last year I didn’t blog because I was too happy and the start of this year I haven’t because I felt like too much time had passed that I would be a hypocrite because I can complain that other people don’t acknowledge you enough and here I am your mother and I had stopped for a while. Son I just hope you know that even when I am not screaming it from the rooftops, that I still love and ache for my first born. I know this will pass. I will experience many more high points and low points, but for now I am a little melancholy. I am blessed. I have so much to be thankful for in life right now. I guess I just wish I had it all…. (you).

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It’s here.

Ugh I can feel it. From the second I woke up I could feel it. My eyes wanting to drip. My stomach turning. My bones hurt. My anxiety is flaring up and I want to jump out of my skin. I unfortunately have become familiar with these feelings. The three days I dread the most are here. I can’t push it out of my mind and pretend it’s not real at this time of the year. Today is when my baby died. Tomorrow is when I figured it out and went to the hospital where they confirmed it, ripped my heart out, and shredded my dreams for the future. And then the 17th is the day I delivered. I can’t run from it anymore because it always catches up to me. It is here. Not even my dreams are safe. Flashbacks here we go…

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Mother’s Day 2015

Today is Mother’s Day. I started off the day by going to church which was really good and then I went to your Aunt Jenn’s house for lunch. It was fun to watch your brother play with your cousins, but you are a huge missing puzzle piece. I miss you and I wish with every fiber of my being that I could hold you one more time. After Aunt Jenn’s house I went to clean your headstone at the cemetery. (Hardly something that a mother wants to do for mother’s day, but i wanted to make sure it looks nice and clean for your birthday next week) While I was there, I got bit by some red ants, had to clean up a dead bird, and had to dumpster dive (its a long story, i’d rather not get into), but I guess this is just my long drawn out way of saying that the universe has a sick sense of humor. I walked around a bit while I was out there and went to see Raymond, DJ, Michelle, and Cheri… it’s so sad to know that I am hardly alone in the having to burry your child department. I hate it when bugs are crawling around out there too. It makes me sick to get the visualization of your little body with bugs crawling all through your skelleton. I made that little body! Am I sick for thinking these kinds of things? Cause honestly it pops into my head everytime that I go to see you. I wonder if I am alone in that department? hmm… Also, I didn’t cry today. Does that mean that I am getting stronger or does that mean that I am really really broken? Not sure. Anyways just know that Mom is thinking of you today on Mother’s Day. Love you son.

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Last night I was having a really hard time and didn’t know who to talk to about it so I thought to myself that I would go on MISS to see if anyone was there. I hadn’t gone into the chat room for practically a year, but when I poped in I saw a bunch of familiar names. It was so nice that instantly I got “Brittany!!!!” They were happy to see me and welcomed me warmly. A couple old friends said that they fell out of contact because they saw that I was doing well and they didn’t want to bring me down. I told them that similarly I felt bad contacting them because I had guilt over the fact that I am doing well. I think that both sides realized that we are always contacted. We have a sisterhood of sorts. All I know is that I am happy to have that place to run to when life gets hard.

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Poster child

I am the poster child for grief. Whenever someone knows someone who is experiencing loss, they contact me. Just the other day someone I went to school with when I was younger messaged me and told me that their sister in law’s baby was stillborn at 39 weeks. 39 weeks! So close to the finish line and so not fair. I am happy to help with relaying the information about support groups and online sites, and whatnot but I wish there was something more I could do. Something I could say to make the pain go away, but the truth is that it is always there, it just gets a little easier to live with overtime. Not only is it painful, but it is also scary. Even though I now have had a successful live birth with my second son, I am still terrfyied that if I every get the chance to have a baby again, that I could loose it, because the scary thing is that everyday is someones worst day pf their life and unfortunatley tragety can hit the same disaster area twice. In case my could readers can tell, I am feeling kind of negative tonight. I’m sure a lot has to do with the fact that it is May. I hate May. I am angry. I am sad. I am the poster child for grief. How in the world did this become my life?

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I feel like they know…

I live in a very very small town, so it is possible that students know that I lost a child. If they do, none of them have ever brought it up to me. Sometimes I wish that I could share that part of my life with my kids and/or with parents, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s the right thing to do and that I should keep my story hush hush. A few weeks ago in the same day though man I felt like some of them knew. I had one who told me that her baby sisters birthday is May 17th and then she told me again a second time because she wanted to make sure that I had heard her. Then another student looked up at me in the middle of class and said “Do you have only one baby?… cause I thought you had two.” I quickly changed the subject and moved on because I didn’t know what to say. All I know for sure is that I am proud to be your mom and wish that society wouldn’t look negatively on me sharing you more with the world.

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March of Dimes

march of dimes walk

April 11th I did the March of Dimes walk along with some co-workers and Aunty Alyssa. It was really nice to do something possitive for your memory. I love any excuse to wear my Brendan’s Mommy shirt and also to know I am around other people whp truely understand. March of Dimes is such a good cause to give to because the thought of no one having to go through heartache over there child is a dream to me. I love you Bren.

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What was that about?!

Last night I had bad dreams all night and flashbacks of events having to do with loosing you. This has not happened to me in probably over a year. What was that about?! I have no idea of what even triggered it! The only thing that I can think of, is the other day I let myself for a brief minute think about some things that I usually don’t let myself drift back to. I thought enough time had passed that I could finally open up those gates a little bit and let some memories down from my storage bank. I guess not. I guess my mind has put walls up around some of that stuff because I am not strong enough to deal with those types of memories. All I know is last night I kept coming back to this one sentence over and over and over and over again…. “I can’t remember the last time I felt the baby move.” I know I am going to have to deal with the grief and the guilt for the rest of my life, but the fear is another monster of it’s own. I wish i could lie/trick myself into saying I’m done with it all. Baby making business doesn’t appeal to me at all, but I know eventually I do want to have another. I never envisioned myself having an only child. That means that as I fight against the “clock”, I know that if/when that time ever comes; that I will once find myself on that terrifying roller coaster that sub-pregancy is for someone with PTSD. I take pride in the fact that I have “graduated” from therapy and that she feels that I have the tools necessary to have an emotionally healthy life, but when I have nights like last night, it makes me fear that I am going backwards in my grief. I guess only time can heal some of these wounds and there is nothing I can do about that.

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Your little brother’s surgery has finally been scheduled. I know that he needs tubes in his ears and that in the long run it will help him, but the thought of putting him under is very scary to me. I know I have issues with odds because of what happened to you. When I am told its a 1 in a 1,000 chance now, I automatically jump to “oh well now great that 1% is me”. When I am told (even by doctors that I trust) that everything will be fine/routine, I still very much struggle. Also, this is not to mention the fact that I am afraid of what emotions will come over me when I see your brothers tiny body asleep and limp from anesthesia. What kind of memories will that trigger? You and Jesus please be with Beau on the day of his surgery and bring him back to me safely.

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