We are Strong..

We are strong, stronger than most people could know. If someone sees us crying, broken down, or hurting and think we are weak or judge us… I say this:

Try walking in our shoes living our life, and if you make it as far as we have, then you will KNOW just how damn strong we are.

We are loss, Woman and Men, Mothers and Fathers, who have children we and no one else can see. We can’t hold them in our arms, or rock them to sleep. We are grief, strength, and support. We are the strongest people you will ever know.

18 days…

I only have 18 days left to grieve freely. After that, I have to go back to work. I secretly hope that my doctor doesn’t clear me, but I know she will. I keep trying to prepare myself for everything I am going to encounter upon my return.

I have a note up near my desk saying, “I Love you, Love James & The Mogwais!” I will have to take that down immediately, before I burst into tears

My desktop background on my computer is the last ultrasound pictures I had of the girls before I ruptured.

I have my mask on my desk, I wore it to help protect the lives I once had growing inside of me. I will have to store that somewhere out of view.

I have to deal with my back, legs, and feet. I was on complete bed rest for over 8 weeks. My back constantly hurts me, and my legs and feet really can’t handle walking much right now. I am going to be sore, tired, and very irritable on top of everything.

A Co-Worker’s wife is pregnant and only a couple of weeks behind me. I am going to have to see how I handle the birth announcement. Probably not well to be honest. I might have to “accidentally” skip that group meeting.

I’ve been gone since Oct 24th. I have to come to the reality that people go and and get pregnant. There might be others at work who are pregnant, will soon become pregnant, or their spouses.

I will have to deal with all the looks of pity. There goes Krystal, her children died. Things are going to be different. I honestly don’t know how I am going to handle things.

I just need to load my phone up with music, and keep headphones in. I really don’t want to talk to anyone about anything. Nothing really seems all that important anymore. I have so many mixed feelings about it all. I want people to pretend like nothing ever happened, but at that same time, I feel like that would mean people were pretending Willow and Hazel never existed. That would hurt me more.

They WERE born and they ARE my children. I just can’t see them or hold them anymore. I love them more than life, and I would gladly trade my life for theirs. I prayed so hard in the hospital for God to take my life and spare theirs. I have done so much wrong in my life, wasted so much of it, sinned. The girls were perfectly innocent and had their whole lives ahead of them. They could have been something great. It should have been my girls that lived, not me. I don’t understand why God chose me to live instead of them. Punishment? A Lesson? Bigger Plans?

I may never know the answers. I do know that I am getting too old to do something “big” with my life. For some reason, God called my children home.. and not me. I am so sick of death in our family. in the last 5 years we have lost:

Dad
Uncle Anthony
Grandma Powell
GRandpa Powell
Aunt Mary
Granny
Papaw
Grandma Jane
2 cousins
and my two daughters

I’m just ready to be done with this life, or be able to move on. I’m ready to be able to go one day without crying uncontrollably and unable to move. Rise up, Lord! (Psalm 44:26)

“Sorry for the death of your daughter”

First off, it’s “daughters.” Plural. We lost both of our daughters.

Secondly, this is just in very bad taste.

We come home from vacation, one which we took to try and relax and give ourselves a chance to try and smile again, to a mailbox stuffed full.

There is junk mail mostly, but then comes the first of our daughters’ hospital bills. That is a blow in itself, but then we get an envelope that I don’t recognize. I open it to find Crawfordsville Monument Company, sending a one line condolence, “I am writing to offer my sympathy to you in the recent death of tour daughter.” Followed by a line saying they didn’t want to bother us at this difficult time, but wanted to let us know that they are available when we were ready to consider a monument.

They then go on to tell about their monuments, hours, how they now offer QR codes, and a crappy looking brochure of children’s headstones.

Gee, thank you for “ambulance chasing” the local newspapers for recents deaths of children, then not even taking the time to hand write a letter or figure out we had multiple losses.

This made me sick at my stomach. Seriously? Gotta gettem while the body’s still warm! Play on those parental emotions!

Maybe it is just me and my grief talking, this might be perfectly acceptable behavior…but I still don’t like it.

So well, so long

I had been doing so well lately, I thought maybe I could get through it with our vacation approaching. Then last night it hit me hard again. I had a wave of sorrow and depression so heavy, I hadn’t felt like that since I broke down in the NICU hallway after the Dr. came out shaking his head. Last night, it felt like someone had ripped my heart out. There was no hope, no light, nothing.

I haven’t been writing to the girls everyday lately. Maybe that is what happened. I don’t know, there are just so many questions and no answers.

Starting out New?

I am starting the new year of 2013 without the loves of my life. All of them. My girls are in Heaven and my husband driving home from work. As the ball dropped, I cried uncontrollably. James called 30 seconds before the new year and stayed on the phone with me, but it wasn’t the same.

When he walked in the door, I was a flood of tears. It didn’t seem right to start the new year without my precious babies. Then all night long I received text messages with sayings that include:
Happy New Year, hope this year is a good as the last!
Happy New Year, spending it with the love of my life and my amazing kids!
Blah Blah Kids
Blah Blah children
Blah Blah thankful for my kids
BLAH BLAH BLAH

Next year, leave me off the mass text list. I just keep reflecting on how unfair it is that God grants children to molesters, rapists, and murderers, but James and I are unworthy of the blessing of living children. I thought I led a fairly good life, I am not without Sin, but no one is. I even had a really good Christian daycare reserved for them.

I love my girls so much and I still want children, and that KILLS me even more. It doesn’t matter that I am young, I have two blocked fallopian tubes. I CANNOT get pregnant without IVF or FET. PERIOD. I love how EVERYONE is saying, “Well I know a couple who adopted then they got pregnant.” This isn’t Sex in The City people, this is not a movie or a TV show. It is medically impossible. Come on, if you think about it, even Jesus was a form of IVF! Pregnancy without sex!

This isn’t going to be a magical story of a family who lost their IVF twins then found out a year later they were pregnant without IVF. That isn’t my life. The only way I am EVER going to be pregnant again is if we can pay off the first IVF loan (2.5 years from now) and then can secure another one. I still can try a FET, but from research the odds are not great and it is a few thousand a try.

Why don’t you just adopt then? I keep hearing this one too. Sure, I would love an adopted child just like my own. But there are so many fears with it. I know so many adopted children who go on to look up their “real” parents and live with them or visit with them. That would kill me. Not to mention the cost of adopting is about $10,000 – $12,000 more than IVF, and I can’t get a loan for that.

I just wanted to start this new year out…well… new! But I can’t, and frankly I don’t want to. I don’t want to forget about my kids. The best thing in my life happened to me in 2012. I became a mother to Willow and Hazel, but I just didn’t know it would be the worst year of my life as well. In 2012 I lost Willow and Hazel.

I’m trying really hard not to give up hope. I just want a sign, something to tell me they didn’t die for no reason, that this is all part of this amazing and wonderful plan that I don’t fully understand yet. But at the same time I can’t believe that losing my kids was planned, while others mentioned about are allowed to do unspeakable things to theirs.

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And God Said

As 2012 draws to a close, I sat in the kitchen over a painting I just did of a human heart and cried uncontrollably for 30 minutes. I couldn’t help but think I should be two places other than here:
1. Sitting in the NICU with Hazel and Willow
2: Sitting on the couch unable to move due to the size of my huge pregnant belly

Instead, I sat crying over a painting.

And God Said….
by K. C. and Myke Kuzmic

I said, “God, I hurt.”
And God said, I know.”

I said, “God, I cry a lot.”
And God said, “That is why I gave you tears.”

I said, “God, I am so depressed.”
And God said, “That is why I gave you Sunshine.”

I said, “God, life is so hard.”
And God said, “That is why I gave you loved ones.”

I said, “God, my loved one died.”
And God said, “So did mine.”

I said, “God, it is such a loss.”
And God said, “I saw mine nailed to a cross.”

I said, “God, but your loved one lives.”
And God said, “So does yours.”

I said, “God, where are they now?”
And God said, “Mine is on My right and yours is in the Light.”

I said, “God, it hurts.”
And God said, I know.”

Lessons learned

2012 has taught me many things, but the most important is to never want for anything. I wanted a family of my own and it was torn from me in an instant. I should have learned this much sooner, but it took unspeakable things to learn it for good.

I wanted my father to walk me down the isle at my wedding, I wanted to be a doctor. All these things were taken away from me at no fault of my own as well.

When I lost my precious girls, I not only lost my daughters, I lost many things with them.

My hopes, my dreams for the future, first words, first steps, first birthdays, first day of school, graduations, weddings, grandchildren, most of my heart, myself, and so much more.

I used to be pretty fearless, but now it seems all I have for the future is fear. I could be blessed with 20 more children in my future, but I will never have my Willow and Hazel. I will never again feel their tiny kicks. I never got the chance to hear Willow’s cry, and the one and only time I heard Hazel’s tiny cry was the last. I loved them more than anything in this world. Time is so precious, and I have wasted so much of it.

I never got to experience those last moths of pregnancy, the miserable swollen ankles and tired back. The hard kicks and jabs of a tiny life growing inside of me. I was robbed of that.

I love you so much, girls. I wish this were all a bad dream and I could wake up to your kicks in the middle of the night and cry tears of relief it was all a bad dream.

What NOT to say

I recently read a a few excellent posts on “What not to say to a grieving parent.” I have had a lot of people tell me they simply just do not know what to say to James and me. I get that. If the tables were turned, I wouldn’t either. Honestly, to those trying to offer support (and sometimes only accomplishing pissing me off) I don’t know what to say back. Do I say, “Thank you?” Think about it, do you say “Thank you for saying sorry my children are dead?”  Because “Thank you,” really just is the short version of that sentence, isn’t it?

Back to my main point here. I decided to list some of the things not to say. I hope this helps. Link it to family and friends if needed. All below taken from : http://www.babyandinfantloss.com/

Don’t try and offer explanations

  • It happened for a reason. There is no reason that could justify the death of a baby. Would you say to someone that their brother’s death happened for a reason?
  • It wasn’t meant to be. How can you say to someone that their baby was not meant to be? You are talking about the most important thing in their life and that comment is very belittling. No one has the knowledge to determine fate.
  • It was for the best. The best for whom? Never say this, even if you believe it to be true. This is not about your feelings right now, it is about the person suffering the loss. And no one has the right to make this assumption on their behalf.This will contribute nothing to the support they need right now.
  • It could have been worse – imagine if you lost an older child (or its better that it happened now instead of later on). Loss of life at any stage is very painful. Losing someone you have not met yet or have not had the chance to know is different to someone you have gotten to know, but the losses can be equally as painful. Each person is unique in how they grieve and the loss will affect them differently. It is not up to you to tell them what would be better for them.
  • You were only early – it wasn’t a baby yet, just a bunch of cells. A mother can bond with her baby from the moment of conception and even before then because plans, hopes and dreams are made very early on. A baby starts forming from the moment of conception – and they are very real to the mother. Insulting their baby’s appearance is not going to help. The baby had great meaning in her life already.
  • There must have been something wrong with it. Sometimes there are reasons for a miscarriage, and other times there aren’t. Don’t try and be a medical expert as often no one knows the answer to this. Even if there was something “wrong” with the baby, they would be grieving that fact already and would be very saddened that something happened to their baby. Don’t add further insult to their them or their baby.

You can’t ‘replace’ a baby

  • You can try again, or you can have another baby. Even if this is the case, they are grieving the loss of THIS baby. Another baby won’t take away the pain or the memory of the baby that was lost. You cannot “replace” one baby with another. Even if the mother has further children, or lost one twin while the other survived, she will always long for the baby that was lost. That baby is still a life.
  • As least you have another child. Of course the parent would be grateful to have a child already but they will still be grieving the loss of THIS baby, a separate individual. A whole new life. By saying this you are taking away their right to grieve and not acknowledging the pain or the loss of their baby
  • It was God’s will. This is not helpful at all. While some people are more spiritual or religious, others may question their beliefs. Even if you believe there are higher forces at play, no one has the right to speak on God’s behalf and this comment would not make the grieving parent feel better.
  • At least you know you can get pregnant. While that comment may be true in that the person did have a pregnancy – it offers no comfort for the loss of THIS baby. Each experience with a pregnancy and baby is different, as is trying to get pregnant. Having one pregnancy does not mean another pregnancy will definitely happen, and it also doesn’t mean the same outcome will happen again.

Don’t introduce blame or guilt (or any negative feelings)

Never say:

  • It was your fault
  • It happened because you did ….
  • It happened because you didn’t do …..
  • You should have gone to the hospital earlier
  • It was because of  ….. (don’t lay blame on anything or anyone)

Comments like these are not going to help at all and will only make the person feel worse and guilty – which is only going to add to their anguish. Regardless of whether something or someone was at fault, nothing will bring their baby back, so don’t make them feel any worse. Parents will be blaming themselves enough already. You are better of saying nothing at all.

So what can you say?

After reading the above list you may be wondering what there is left to say that won’t offend. The truth is, if you support them and feel for their loss, you can give them sympathy without offering explanations, judgements, opinions or comments. Just say the truth: that you are sorry for their loss, that you are sorry that they have to go through this. Remember that they have lost not only a baby, but their plans, hopes and dreams for the future. Like any disappointment in life, a true friend will be there to support the person who is going through the loss – whatever that loss may be. If a friend’s house burnt down and they lost everything, you would not say it was meant to be.

Speak their baby’s name

If their baby had a name, don’t be afraid to use it in conversation. Again this acknowledges their baby and loss. The parent will appreciate hearing their baby’s name spoken. Avoid using clinical words like embryo or foetus. Using “it” is also not polite. “Your baby” is a nicer way of referring to their baby if they did not have a name.

Other things you can say

  • Can I help you through this?
  • What can I do to help you?
  • Is there anything you need?
  • I’d like to hear more about your baby if you would like to tell me about him/her
  • Can I come over and help you with ….. (be specific with the task you want to help with rather than just saying “Is there anything I can do to help or “let me know if I can help”)
  • I am going to the shops right now, can I get anything for you?
  • How are you really feeling today? Often their reaction will tell you whether they want to talk further
  • I wish you didn’t have to go through this, life can be so unfair
  • I am thinking of you / You are in my thoughts
  • I am going out to…. I know you might not feel up to it but would you like to join me?
  • I will light a candle for your little angel

A last note from Krystal: All that being said, just remember just because our children are no longer here, doesn’t mean we want to hide them from the world. They were still born, they were and are our pride and joy. I want to show off my babies so much, I am so proud of them, but I only have a few precious picture of Willow and it hurts me. I have so many of Hazel and it seems so unfair. I also know it makes some people very uncomfortable to see a baby so small with tubes, IVs, and a ventilator. I don’t care that it makes them uncomfortable, but I don’t want anyone speaking negatively about my little girls either to my face or behind my back. I don’t want to see the looks of shock or horror when I show the pictures. They do not do that with all baby pictures they see. It is a knife to the heart. Even other women in the NICU would look into our room with shock. It hurt, it was supposed to be a safe haven there… but it wasn’t. I’ve said my peace.

A letter to Grieving Parents

Dear Grieving Parent(s),

No words will ever help or make you feel any better, mostly they will hurt. “I’m sorry” cuts like a knife, and “I know how you feel” infuriates you. Even if you and I have gone through the SAME EXACT situation, I can never know how you feel. I can only try and understand what you are going through. Nothing anyone can ever say will bring your angel baby/babies back.

I am going to keep religion out of this, because frankly, you might be confused, lost, or stronger in your faith than ever. I am going to try and give some advice for when you are ready for it. People are going to say, unknowingly to them, mean and cruel things to you to try and make themselves feel better about everything that has happened to you. Best friends are going to become marks of anger, bitterness, and jealously. While casual acquaintances can become a strong pillar to lean on in your darkest hours.

My hope for you is that you can learn to ignore and look past all the “Helpful advice” given by those who couldn’t possibly know or understand how you feel or what you are going through.

Know that it is ok to cry, scream out, and distance yourself from some of the people around you. You lost your child/children, your babies. You deserve to grieve in your own way. Do not let anyone tell you how or how long to grieve. Do so in your own time and your own way.

There are going to be days that are ok, then the next you will be shot right back full swing into your grieving. I wish that I could tell you that time heals all wounds, but it doesn’t. The only advice I can give you here is to keep the wound clean. Don’t let it scab over, or else you will just pick at it or snag it making it fresh all over again. Keeping it clean means not allowing it to fester, let things out, let them breathe. Don’t allow the bitterness to rule your world, but allow it to be there.

Eventually, you will be ready to let the light back in, but that doesn’t mean you will EVER forget about your baby/babies. The hurt will always be there, allow it to be, but don’t let in consume you forever. Make your child/children proud. Be the person, the mother/father they are proud to call mom/dad.

Accept help. If someone wants to help, let them cook a meal for you, clean your living room, or help get groceries. If your angel baby/babies are your only children, stay away from pregnant friends and family members for awhile. They will understand. You don’t want to plant a jealous/bitter seed that will grow and spread past the point of no return.

Most of all, if possible, love your partner. They experienced this life shattering event along with you. Whether they say it or not, they need you, and you need them.

Sincerely,
Krystal Roark
Mommy of Twin Angels
Willow Anne & Hazel Jaymes
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