Friday, June 6, 2014

Stillbirth Awareness

Most know that I am working on my Master's degree in Social Work.  I absolutely love this degree.  I love that it encourages speaking out and being advocates for issues and people that need it.  And love that it's about having an open-mind and seeking justice and equality for all.  Which is why I was very disappointed this week in one of my classes.  

I am currently taking a policy advocacy class.  The professor was brainstorming ideas about issues that we will be advocating about in groups.  It's a pretty big thing, like making billboards, TV or radio ads, etc.  He was asking for the class to call out ideas and from then on, he would narrow them down into categories.  From the start, my idea was Stillbirth Awareness.  It's such a taboo subject.  No one wants to talk about it, people feel uncomfortable about it it and many people do not recognize the baby that was born as an actual person or loss.  It's a very passionate subject for me for obvious reasons.  And it bugs me that I have a death certificate for my baby boy Cameron, but no birth certificate.  How can someone die without being born?  Why isn't that recognized by the government?  

So, I was sitting in my chair, getting more and more anxious as people were yelling out ideas.  I kept toying with whether or not I should say what I wanted to advocate about.  I kept thinking in my mind about whether it was too person, whether it was too uncomfortable for people, etc... but then though, this is WHY it needs to be advocated for.  For those very reasons!  And then I got nervous - what if the professor rejects the idea or others?  In the end, the issue was too personal and important for me to pass up.  I needed to say it so I did.  The professor was very responsive and talked about an abortion video (of all things!!!) after I bought up Stillbirth Awareness.  I don't think he understands, but again, why we need awareness...

I felt so much better after saying it.  I relaxed and my mind was at ease.  That is until we had to narrow things down and the professor wanted to vote for things by show of hands.  All of a sudden, I felt tense and tears building up.  How can we erase something of such importance to someone?  I heard a comment by someone in the row behind me, "I'm not even going to touch that stillbirth one."  Come on, people!  We are supposed to be social workers!  This whole process did not seem like it took people's feelings into consideration.  Not very social worky, if ya ask me!  

Two students went up to the board and read off the list, waiting for hands to raise and be counted as each one was read.  The list:  Veterans, Unseen Disabilities, Child Welfare, Domestic Violence Against Men, Nutrition and Play in School, Transgender rights, Cultural Stigma, Previously Incarcerated, Legal System, and of course, my odd one out:  Stillbirth Awareness.  All got at least four votes... when they read off Stillbirth Awareness, I saw the person look around the room as to count several votes, but when she wrote the number on the board, it was 1.  One.  Just me.

I held back my tears as best I could.  I was hurt.  This is what I was afraid of.  How could something so important to me, something that I lived through, not be important for anyone else?  How could my baby be ignored?  It was personal to me, and that is why I was afraid to speak up.  And regret speaking up.  I felt my face get red, my eyes hurt from tears urging to get out, and knew I couldn't speak for fear that my voice was gone.  My heart was racing... I was about to leave the room to have a good cry, but then the professor went straight into voting for which policy we wanted to advocate for out of the ones that were left on the list.  The one's that actually got votes... not just one vote.  

It took me a few minutes to recover... but then I had to think about it from a different aspect.  THIS IS WHY STILLBIRTH AWARENESS IS IMPORTANT.  This just proved it to me and has changed my mission as a social worker.  This is huge, guys!  Why are people so uncomfortable about this?  It happens so often and I want to talk about my baby, like I talk about Ethan and I hear others talk about their babies.  Why can't I talk about Cameron without others feeling weird?  He is my baby.  I went through labor and delivery and had him.  I held him.  I touched his perfect little hands and feet.  He was real.  He is real.  And he will always exist in my life and heart.  

So, that leads to my next topic... Return to Zero.  A movie about this very issue.  It's reairing this weekend.  Please watch.  Get a glimpse into my experience.  I'm one in four.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day

I had Cameron on September 1, 2011.  My first Mother's Day was in May of 2012 and it was hard.  I was anxious, worrying if anyone would even acknowledge me as a mother.  I was a mother, after all.  Even if my baby wasn't here with me.  My best friend, my parents, some of my extended family, and my husband did.  It made me feel good, but wishing I had my son with me.

I don't even remember last mother's day, but I know the same people acknowledged it for me and I just went through the motions.

Tomorrow will be my first mother's day with a baby here to celebrate it with me.  So, why am I not excited?  Why do I not "feel" like it's mother's day?  Why do I not feel it's for me?  My husband mentioned that maybe it's because it's always been a sad day for me in recent years.  I hadn't thought about it, but it made sense.

I have my rainbow.  I'm blessed to have him arrive healthy and alive and beautiful!!!  I love him so much.  But I'm also so afraid all the time.  I'm afraid he's not safe, that something can still happen... that he's still not completely all mine.

I told Eric I would make an effort to get excited about this mother's day.  I went shopping and bought a new outfit.  I have been trying to think more about mother's day and tell myself to get excited... weird, huh?  But I'm still not there.

Tomorrow I'll be going to church, then going to brunch with my family.. oh!  and it's my brother's birthday too!  He'll be 30.  And somehow I haven't thought about that much either.  This is my first mother's day with my baby on earth with me.... I wish I could be excited and happy.  I'm trying for this little guy:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

He's Here!

My rainbow has arrived.  Ethan Paul.

I won't lie.  The pregnancy was not easy.  I was in pain from week 15 and showing!  And the pain just progressed.  On top of that, I got diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which it turned out wasn't that bad.  But the worst part of the pregnancy was the anxiety.  I was so scared that he wouldn't arrive alive.  I bought a doppler, which was a lifesaver to me in the beginning.  Even at the end.  But I was constantly on edge that his heart would stop beating.  I didn't feel assured until I held him in my arms and saw him alive.

I think I actually told my husband when I held him in the delivery room, "He's alive!"

I look at him and am overwhelmed by him.  I can't stop looking at him.  He's beautiful and he's mine and he made it.

I think of his brother Cameron and wonder if he has some of him in him... he has to, right?  I wonder if he knows Cameron... if Cameron told him about me and his dad.  And then I realize there is too a guilt.  A guilt that I feel this strongly about another baby when I don't have my Cameron here.  But I know Cameron would want this.  I love Cameron so much and miss him more than anything.  But when I look at Ethan, I can see parts of Cameron in him... I think of Cameron's hands and feet and compare them.  And it's corny to say, but I become very emotional thinking of him growing up and losing his innocence!  He's so perfect right now and knows nothing of the evils of the world.  And he's growing so quickly... Not even two weeks old yet, but changed so much.

I'm happy he's here.  Happy to be his mommy.  And happy that Cameron has a little brother.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Long time no see

I've been pretty absent from this blog.  With school, full-time job, internship... and being pregnant, it's been hectic, to say the least.

Yes, I'm pregnant and due any day now.

For those that visit my blog due to your baby being born still also, I know it's difficult to see others write that.
I'm having a boy... he is going to be Cameron's little brother.  His name is Ethan.

I have been going crazy this whole pregnancy... even now.  I'm 37 weeks this week.  And still worried that he will not make it.  I know it happens.  I know some of you have been this far, and further and not got to hear your babies cry.  I'm so scared of that happening again... I will not be relieved until I hear Ethan cry and come out moving and loud!

I wish I could have him now.  The docs keep saying he's safer in my stomach at this time then out in the world.  But is that really true?  I know ya'll understand.

So, until next time... that is a bit of an update.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why Me?

I've asked this a lot.  Still do.  I wonder why this happened to me.  Why mothers that drink and do drugs and abuse their children were allowed to have their children.  I miss Cameron.  I hate that I never got to hear him cry or laugh.  I never fully got to kiss him... his skin was too fragile for me to try.  And for some reason, it has given me more faith that I had before.  I guess I was at the end of my rope and had nothing else to believe in.  I saw this on Facebook and thought it was so beautiful:

Did you ever wonder how the mothers of angel babies are chosen? Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger. Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a angel baby."

God's angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a one of my precious angels to a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel."

"But does she have the patience to endure such hardship?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in the mother of an angel. You see, the child I'm going to give her lives in a world of its own. She will have to realize it lives in another world, and that's not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don't think she even can live through this."

God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just the right amount of selfishness."

The angel gasps, "Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from her angel baby occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with an angel less than perfect. She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word from anyone. She will never consider a minor step ordinary. She will never hear her angel says 'mama' for the first time, she will never be a witness to that miracle. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see – ignorance, cruelty, prejudice – and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


This weekend, Eric and I were sitting on the couch watching TV when I saw a hummingbird come to the sliding door windows that lead to the backyard.  I was so surprised!  It came right up to the window and buzzed around looking inside a second and then flew away.  I had never seen a hummingbird come that close... or even see a hummingbird, really.  I was amazed.  And for some reason, I keep thinking about it.  So, today, I finally looked up the meaning, wondering if the hummingbird meant something and I was astonished by what I found. 

I found this on a blog A Light In The Darkness:

It is also a symbol of love, joy, and beauty. The hummingbird is also able to fly backwards, teaching us that we can look back on our past. But, this bird also teaches that we must not dwell on our past; we need to move forward.

The hummingbird has powerful spiritual significance. In the Andes of South America the hummingbird is a symbol of resurrection. It seems to die on cold nights, but comes back to life again at sunrise.

Hummingbird is the creature that opens the heart. When the hurt that caused us to close our hearts gets a chance to heal, our hearts are free to open again.

They teach us courage. Having the courage to refrain from creating new trauma by communicating non-violently toward ourselves and others is an important part of healing. Recovering lost parts of ourselves enables us to become healthily independent.

It is not commonly known that the fluttering wings of the hummingbird move in the pattern of an infinity symbol - further solidifying their symbolism of eternity, continuity, and infinity.

Seeing the meaning of the hummingbird means more to me now... maybe Cameron was trying to tell me something with the upcoming arrival.  My mom keeps thinking of resurrection and the new baby being part of Cameron.  I know he's a part of Cameron because he's mine, but I wonder if he knew Cameron.  It's been hard to open my heart because of Cameron and the miscarriage after him... but it's slowly getting there.  As for courage... I feel anyone that has gone through this automatically has courage, but it's the part of creating new trauma that is hard.  You can't forget what's happened, but trying to live the best we can to get through it.  The symbolism just seemed so perfect.

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Wishes

It's been a while since I've updated.  School has kept me very busy along with other stuff.  I moved this weekend and got a new job a few months ago.  I was also interning... so I was extremely busy.  But I just talked with someone and needed to get down some thoughts I had:

My wishes for you... Ethan (right now)

1.  For you to be healthy
2.  For you to be alive
3.  For you to get to experience me as your mom in this life.
4.  For me to get to hold you and hear you cry and laugh
5.  For you to have the best life possible... I will try my best for you
6.  For me to be there to see you grow up
7.  For Cameron to be watching us and know that I am always thinking of him in everything I do, and I will ensure that you know about your big brother and how you are so lucky to have your big brother as an angel watching over you.  Most people don't have that.
8.  For Cameron to know that he will always be my first son.  And I cannot wait to see him and kiss him and hold him again.
9.  For Cameron to know that I will never forget him.  You are not replacing Cameron and you never could. You are your own person.  And while Cameron may see that I love you and cherish you and give you everything I can all the time... I hope he knows I would have done the same for him.  And I try my best in this life to honor him even though he's in heaven.
10.  For you to love me.
11.  And for me to love you as I love Cameron.

I had bad feelings throughout my pregnancy with Cameron.  I haven't had much with this baby, but I'm scared to have good feelings.  I am very aware of what can happen and know there is never a "safe" period. I am hoping that in November, I get to come home with my healthy and alive baby in my arms.  My rainbow.  I hate saying rainbow after the storm, because Cameron was not a storm.  But this baby will be a rainbow.