Monday, June 28
The day that Connor died, the moment he passed in my arms- my life, my world, my heart shattered into millions and millions of tiny pieces. I was broken when he died. I could hardly breathe, I couldn't stand. After saying goodbye, I laid in bed and stared for hours trying to fight away the memories and thoughts of those last minutes.
But we had Colby and I didn't have a choice. I quickly gathered up piece after piece after piece to be strong for him. I gathered up the pieces I needed to smile, to laugh, to love, to function. The past 11 months I have continued to pick up the pieces. I picked up the pieces needed to go back to school, to be a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend. I've picked up the pieces needed to get through holidays, through big events, through small events. I've been pushing through, all the while putting together a semblance of normalcy again.
There are always more pieces to gather, to find spots for, but I think I do a pretty good job with the pieces I have. I give Colby my all, I give Johnny all I can, I get through the days. Lately I'm still getting pieces together, more slowly now. Most of me is together again, most of me is whole. But the pieces are getting harder and harder to find.
I can't quickly repair the cracks anymore. I can't hide the holes because the pieces aren't in reach anymore.
And for some reason today that has become so painfully obvious.
Today, for the first time, I realized that I don't think I will ever be fully okay again and that terrifies me. There are pieces of me that I will never fully find, never fully repair. Pieces that won't be together, that will never be okay.
And that scares me more than anything has scared me so far.
Sunday, June 27
What is perfection?
Over my life, my definition of perfection has changed.
When I was little, perfection was cuddling up on the couch with mom&dad, or spending the night with my grandparents at their house- without my brothers, or a black raspberry icecream on a summer night. As I got older, it changed. It was a perfect grade, a sleepover with friends, cuddling with Johnny, or basking in the sun near the Opera House.
When I finally got pregnant, perfection was the boys. They were perfect in every way.
Early on, perfection was relaxing at home browsing through baby books or feeling them kick as I read stories to my class or knowing they were safe. Perfection was announcing we were having twins, wearing maternity clothes that framed my belly, and feeling kicks.
When I went on bedrest my definition changed once again. I no longer could relax at home or read to my class or even know they were safe. Instead, perfection became listening to their hearts on the monitor every morning and counting their kicks in the evening. It became naming talks in the evening when Johnny came to visit and it was watching the pages of the calendar fall away as days passed and they got stronger and stronger. Perfect was days without contractions.
Of course, once the boys were born perfection changed again. It was having them alive. Getting through surgery without complications. It was touching their toes and watching their eyes. It was praying for their lives.
When Connor died and Colby continued to struggle perfection remained. It remained in knowing we had so many people who cared for us. It was in knowing that we loved Connor forever and as much as possible. It was knowing that we could go on for another day because we had them in our lives. It was knowing that we would- somehow- make it through.
And now that Colby is home and thriving, perfection is him. He is perfect. He's the perfect son, the perfect baby, the perfect little brother to Connor.
As I sit here, on the eve of my 26th birthday I find myself marveling at how much life has changed in this year. It really has been the best and toughest year of my life. For some reason, just thinking about my birthday has been so hard this year. Last year I was in bed. Last year things were uncertain. Last year my babies lives were in jeopardy.
But last year I still had both of them with me.
I don't want my birthday to come and go. It's such a concrete reminder that I am getting further and further away from both of them.
Saturday, June 26
Monday, June 21
We've almost reached the month of milestones. The point where things won't be "x" months ago, but instead a year ago.
Tomorrow is June 22nd. The day before school is out. Wednesday the 23rd is a 1/2 day, the last day. The same dates as last year.
Tomorrow I'm going to spend the day packing at school. I have to find a way to keep the kiddos busy because I have my whole room to pack up. Then I'm spending the afternoon at a "Pub Crawl" aka a house-hop for the end of the year. I'm dragging Colby along with me because he's so darn cute. And I love him. :)
Last year, I spent the 22nd packing too. Blissfully happy, feeling great. I wasn't leaving my school the following year, but I was packing and organizing to get ready for September when I was sure I'd be so pregnant that I wouldn't be able to think. I stayed late on the 22nd to pack. Johnny picked me up around 4:30 to make it to our 23-week appointment in Boston. I finished the night on bedrest.
I'm terrified to be hitting this month.
Colby turned 11 months old on Saturday. He's getting his 3rd tooth, his upper left tooth. He's crawling like a military-man. He's totally okay with not crawling on his knees. He gets where he needs to be, so it works. He has a horrible temper when something is taken away from him, but he is the most mellow, calm baby otherwise. He loves to cuddle when he's tired and when he just wakes up. I still rock him to sleep. :-0 I bring him to sleep in our bed when he wakes up at night.
Did I ever mention that Johnny is going back to school?
He currently works at a job he kind of fell into. When Johnny was in high school his dad worked at the company Johnny works for now. He started part time doing odd jobs. Once he was in college he started full time and kind of fell into a string of promotions. He's fairly high up- an on-the-road sales rep for the company. A good job, but never one he really enjoyed. It made the ends meet, was flexible enough for appointments and what not, but not where he wanted to stay, but he didn't know what to do. So he stayed.
Then he boys were born. The boys were born on a Sunday. Connor died on the following Tuesday. The next day Johnny met with the neonatologist that was in the room when Connor passed. He had decided the day we lost Connor that he wanted to work in the NICU. He's going back to school. He started last semester. He's going to be a NICU nurse with the hopes of becoming a specialist. How cool is that? I guess maybe that's the silver lining? Even though Connor was only with us for such a short time, he clearly affected his Daddy's life in a huge and profound way.
I'm so proud of both of them.
Thursday, June 10
Would you believe that those words came out of an adorable 6 year old in my class?
He was holding the door for a teacher and when he was done he came up to me and said, "Mrs. J., you know why Mrs. N. wanted me to hold the door?" When I didn't he said: "It's because I'm sexy and hot!"
Um... excuse me?
He went on to elaborate that when he's with his friend Ms. P. (I have to find out who this is!) whenever they see a girl, they say "You're sexy and hot!"
OH yes... Kindergartners are a riot!
The other fun-ness came during Writer's Workshop. I was sitting with a little boy B. (who randomly has Colby and Connor's birthday, just 5 years earlier!) and my aide was with a little boy M. Randomly M. shouts across the room, "Hey, Mrs. J., did you have another little boy before Colby?"
I stared a little blankly and cautiously asked "Why do you want to know...?" as I'm trying to figure out how to get out without any damage. My aide was trying to distract him so he wouldn't keep up the discussion.
He persists and says "I just want to know." So I answer yes and hope he will leave it at that.
However, he yells again, "Did he die? He's dead now, right?"
Dead silence in the classroom. 18 Kindergartners absolutely silent, staring at me. (This doesn't ever happen.)
I resort I telling him to keep working as I bury my head and try to chipperly help B. with his story about Thomas the Tank Engine.
Not the best teaching moment, but one I wasn't prepared for.
Maybe it will be good to start where I'm an unknown entity?
Tuesday, June 8
Colby's birthday is just over a month away. I have no idea what to do! We decided that we would have the party on July 17th- the Saturday before. But beyond that, we don't have a clue. Our place isn't big enough, so the first logical step would be to figure out where.
As I think about the birthday I get a little panicky.
1 year. I can't fathom it.
I'm under 2 weeks away from "bedrest day". The beginning of everything that led to being here with an almost-11 month old and missing my other should-be-11-month-old.
I wish I could articulate my feeling right now, but I can't. I honestly still don't think I have really dealt or worked through or came to terms with losing Connor. If I did I wouldn't be in constant awe that I lost a baby, would I? It wouldn't hit me at random times in random places and knock me to the ground would it?
I'm starting at a new school next year. Kindergarten after all- but a new school in the district. I'm a little scared because my current principal knows my story. She knows about the IVF and prematurity and losing Connor and the NICU and just the torture and amazement of the last year. The new principal and staff don't know.
I don't want to be just "another mom" because I'm not.
I don't want Connor to be nonexistant because they don't know.
But I also don't want to have to go through it all again. To explain to every teacher there that yes I have Colby. No he's not my first. But Connor died. That I have 1 living baby.
On another note- this past weekend I was in a friend's wedding in NH. No kids allowed. So Colby went to my parents house for the night on Saturday. My first night away from the bug!!! (Well, if you don't count the other 109 in the NICU!!) He was excited though and helped me pack.
He was happily spoiled and had a good time. But I like to think that he's happier to be home with Mommy & Daddy.
Because we missed him.
And we need him. Oh so much.
Monday, June 7
Wednesday, June 2
What a difference a year can make! (Or even just a few hours!)
When I was in my senior year at BU, I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia. I spent 4 months living in Sydney and teaching Year 1 (first grade). Though I lived away from my family while at BU, I was really away for the first time while in Australia. 4 months without Johnny, without my friends, without my brothers or dad... without my mommy. So, while there the advisor of the education program became my- and all the other Ed girls- surrogate mother of sorts. She bought us meds when we were sick, she drove us back to our apartments if it was too late to take the train, she called to check in on weekends. I stayed in constant contact when I left- until an email glitch made me lose all my contacts.
So we hadn't talked for a few years. I was happily surprised last June when I got an unexpected email from her. She had learned through the grapevine (a newer study abroad student) that I was pregnant with twins and she wanted to check in. I received the email on June 21st of last year. As soon as I got the email, I wrote back.
I remember it so well. I was sitting in our tiny kitchen in our apartment. I was cooking dinner while Johnny watched the Red Sox in the living room.
Now almost 1 year later I'm on my feet, preparing for the end of the school year, listening to my precious son's breathing on the monitor, wearing a pendant with wings to remember my little angel. I'm a mother now. I got my wish. I'm loving every single second of motherhood... I'm hurting every single second of motherhood. And now I'm pushing for baby #3.
Every single year, month, day, hour, minute, second matters.
Time changes in a blink.
As is my theme lately... we're busy.
The school year is winding down-- only about 15 days left. :) I'm thrilled about that... I never really got back into the groove and each day is hassle. I have my moments with each of the kiddies, but I feel like I am just "getting through". There's no rhyme or reason. I'm looking forward to next year... though where I will be next year is a mystery. I might be in 1st at my school, or K or 2nd at other schools in the district. The good news is I have a job... bad news is that it's so uncertain where.
Colby is doing great. Growing like a weed... and a super scooter/crawler. It's kind of a mix between the two. I have videos that I might have time to post... before he's a year old. Maybe? And now I have a bunch of things to get done before bed!
Hopefully I'll catch up on everyone soon!