Thursday, November 21, 2013

What It Feels Like Seven Months Later...


Warning!  Warning!  There's still time to turn back!  This post might be a little... rough around the edges.  You've been warned...

I'm a mess.

I'm sure some of it (hopefully a lot of it?) has to do with pregnancy hormones.  The kind that make it hard to stop crying.

I know a lot of it is because I'm tired.  Very tired.  And grieving my little boy who has now been gone seven months and seven days.  And growing a baby under a broken heart. Well, technically her feet are under my heart because she is head down and getting ready to meet us.  Which means we are close... which is why I am so tired.  And emotional.

It's a rite of passage for every Mom to get emotional towards the end of a pregnancy - and to worry, if she has other children, that she will have time for both.  I am no different... but this is a little more complicated.

Brian and I have been joined at the hip these last seven months and seven days.  I have talked incessantly about Gavin's death and his life with him - every night at bedtime and often during the day.  When I would have loved to have farmed him out to generous friends and neighbors and even strangers who were willing to play with him, I often (not always - but often!) resisted.  I never wanted him to feel abandoned by me... regardless of what I might have needed. Like silence.  Like time alone to throw boxes against the garage wall.  Like a day without Star Wars or Angry Birds.

Lately, he is exhibiting more grief.  It comes out in behaviors... it shows up in physical symptoms... and he can sometimes verbalize it.  He's acting out here and there (which is very unusual for him) - and he's a little more clingy with me.  Today we talked about Gavin for the majority of the day and I addressed his concerns about Gavin missing Christmas and Brian's birthday and more.

Here's the ugly truth:  I am 100% patient with his needs and his questions and trying to figure out when his behavior needs correction and when it needs "love bombing" - but part of me wants to scream... "WHY NOW???"

And then the guilt.

I feel horrible for even FEELING or THINKING "why now" - of COURSE it's now!  There are so many things that are about to change!  He's probably scared!  Nervous!  Missing his brother!  What a jerk I am!!!!!

But I am so, so tired.  And, as I am closely monitored for signs of preeclampsia, I am worried too.  And scared.  As I watch my feet and ankles and calves swell and swell - I hear my doctor's voice telling me to keep my feet up.  Then I hear myself laughing at him and asking him, "When?"

I hear all day, "Mama - play with me?"  So we paint... and we play Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers... and I try to mentally stay present while he jabbers on about X Wing Fighters and Ewoks and Luke Skywalker.  Today I took him to the movies - just so I could sit in relative silence.  But mostly so I could sit and cry in the dark... which I did.  

I want him to know that I'm here for him.  That we're in this together (when Daddy isn't here!).  That I will listen to him - always.  That Hope is not a replacement... for him OR for Gavin.  It's a lot of pressure right now.

And then there's the Facebook Page photo journey I've been on.  It started before Gavin's birthday.  I thought I could share his entire life in photos and memories leading up to his September birthday.  I quickly realized that this was an impossible task.  This project has taken on a life of its own. The response and the outpouring of love for Gavin... the way it has helped and inspired people just by sharing his journey or things that we did with him... the way people look forward to seeing each picture... it's been humbling.  I am now about three months away (in pictures) from the day he died.  The end of Gavin's pictures will likely blend right into the birth of Hope.  I couldn't have planned that if I tried.

Lots of people have been asking what will happen when the pictures end.  I don't know how to answer that.  Gavin will never be gone from our family - and he will always be represented on this blog and on the Facebook page.  My blog has always been about our family... and I won't - I can't! - stop writing.  But it will change back to "normal" (whatever the hell that is) when I get to the end of my pictures.  You'll still see Gavin and hear memories when they come up - but you'll also learn about Brian's new milestones.  And you'll get to know Gavin's little sister, Hope, who deserves as much space as her brothers have received in my journals.

I am making up this "living life without Gavin" thing as I go along.  I don't have a great plan except to keep showing up here and sharing my heart.  Even when it's in fragments.

Especially when it's in fragments.

I'm a mess.  Seven months and seven days is a long time to be without your first born child while anticipating your last.  I miss Gavin so much - it seems more now than ever.

I would really appreciate your positive thoughts and prayers during these last days and weeks of my pregnancy.  And please don't forget Brian and Ed.  Brian, especially, who seems to really be feeling it lately.  I will worry so much about his needs when Hope is born.  

If you made it this far, I'm impressed.




48 comments:

  1. I don't have any profound words of comfort. I found your blog earlier in the year when I ran across Darcy's story. We lost our baby Aubree in August. Your honest, if painful, memories and words bring so much hope. And so much joy and peace shines through even in the midst of unspeakable pain. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story.

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  2. Please take care of yourself ! I know- unfortunately from first hand experience- how difficult it is to manage the grief and a subsequent pregnancy. There is nothing wrong with some extra TV or movie time: you can hang out with Brian but put your feet up and relax at the same time. Please be kind and forgiving to yourself now.

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    1. The very best way to show Brian how much you love him, is to be good to his Mommy! Please take good care of YOU, Kate. Get those feet UP, you can read, even play some games sitting on your bum! Oh how much I admire you....look up to you. But...you are "human"!!! You have all the right in the world to feel these feelings...they are SOOOO normal. Sad...but SO normal, Kate. You will get through this just fine, and so will Brian. Love can work miracles...and your love is the greatest I know! God bless you and yes....we will be keeping your and your beautiful family in our prayers. Promise! Now, you promise to take good care of Kate!!! <3 xo
      I haven't figured out how to do the account thing yet!!! Not really an anonymous type...Maureen A Flaherty on FB. Have read every word you publish, and look forward to it...no matter how many tears I shed...and that is plenty. You are so remarkable Kate...put here on Earth to show the rest of us how it is done. An Angel in disguise. Just breathe...you are doing everything right!!! (Except get those feet UP!!! lol!)

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    2. Maureen- you took the words right out of my head.
      Kate- everything Maureen said s true. I know I have read every single word you have written, cried and laughed through all the blog entries. You are doing such an amazing job- more than I could ever fathom doing in your situation. Please.. Please.. take care of yourself. If Mama isn't doing good, the whole family isn't doing good. Much love to you! I wish I had more profound words to say to you but know it comes from the heart because you and your family have certainly found a place in mine. Take care xx

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  3. Sending love and positive vibes to you, Ed, and your beautiful family :)

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  4. You'll be amazed at what a positive impact Hope can have!!! My experience was a medically fragile child knocking on deaths door when i found out i was pregnant. Baby sister has proven to help heal our daughter and has brought smiles and laughter back into the house. Many prayers going to you and your family!!!

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  5. I am inspired by your strength and utter love for all of your children. I began following you when Glennon posted that you needed prayers seven months ago. I read your updates, cried endless tears, and hugged my children tighter. You are the true essence of what a mother should be and I am honored that you allow us a peek into your journey. Your honesty is refreshing and always welcome. Grief isn't pretty or easy and it will always be part of your story. I look forward to future posts where you remember Gavin, but also settle into a new life with Brian and Hope. Many blessings to all of you. Much love from a mom of five in San Diego.

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  6. I read every post, but don't always comment. I'm a stranger to you, but have been praying for your family. I'm pulling for you all, and I know that because you guys are such a great team, that you are going to make it through ok together. I'm so glad you have a net of friends and family to fall into if necessary.
    I only know Gavin from your blog, and my heart hurts. I can only imagine what your family must be feeling now, and I am so very sorry.
    You are a beautiful woman, with a beautiful spirit.
    Long distance prayers,
    Tiffany

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  7. My thoughts, prayers & heartfelt sorrow, is coming your way..Interspersed with great & joyful anticipation awaiting the blessed birth of Hope...I have followed your blog & am overwhelmed by your courage, strength , & overwhelming love for your children. .may you find peace, happiness & comfort in the days ahead.

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  8. I read every journal entry that you write, and I am here sending out prayers and good energy every step of the way :) Starting reading back when Gavin was in the hospital, and have loved seeing all the pictures and the memories you've shared over the past couple months.

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  9. I am your friend from your writings! You have given all of us an amazing gift! Please REST. We all need you very-y-y-y-y much.
    Joanne Doyle Kuzborski jkuzborski@comcast.net

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  10. Dont know what to say except I will pray for you Brian Ed nHope I can't say I know how you feel my child only had osteogensis imperfeta so all I know to do is pray that the lord will help you through n pray your Hope is fine

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  11. Yup, made it to the end. I don't know why we have to suffer grief and sadness, but we do. I do know that we are here for each other and that is why I keep reading. Maybe you sharing your struggles and my reading about them, can ease your pain just a teeny, tiny bit. Raising a child under any circumstances is alternately rewarding and challenging. You doing this while grieving and pregnant deserves extra grace. YOU are the mother God chose for Brian and Hope and Gavin and Darcy. You are enough every day... whether you are cheery or tired or pretending to be enthralled with Star Wars when you'd rather have a good cry. I pray that you will have some peace during these last few weeks, to be ready for the joy that is coming. I don't know about you, but I'm getting excited!

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  12. I think of you everyday. Wonder how you are doing follow you thru FB and all the beautiful pics of Gavin. There are no words just ((((((hugs))))) my friend. Prayers that the remainder of your pregnancy is healthy. Share away and know that everyone loves Gavin. Brian and Hope

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  13. I imagine that since grief is always harder for adults at the holidays, it is also harder for kids. Those warm memories stand out a little bit more against the cold longing and the contrast is even more painful. I wonder if that's part of Brian's change... Thinking of you! May warmth, rest, light and peace abound!

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  14. I've met many a good mother who didn't feel like they were doing as much as they should. All of them, actually.

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  15. Prayers for your whole family. All of your children feel the love, strength, and passion you have for them. You really are an amazing parent.

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  16. I'm not surprised the grief seems worse to all of you right now. The holiday season always seems to do that. The holes our missing loved ones have left us with just seem more obvious and feel extra large at this time of year. Stress multiplies, adults are exhausted, children are over-excited and the memories of years past keep hitting us with grief at unexpected moments.

    Even without Gavin's loss this would be a difficult time in your pregnancy. The hormones, the worry, the physical symptoms and the holiday season would all be happening just like they are now. So realize this is a super difficult time and be extra gentle with yourself.

    Unless you see something that is a big red flag, I suggest you let yourself off the hook about being the perfect Mom for Brian just for the next couple weeks. This might be a good time to take people up on their offer of play dates. You seem to need some space for yourself and he might like some distractions from his worries. Plus setting a pattern of play dates now may help him when Hope arrives - when you are tired he can go elsewhere to play and it won't just be because Hope arrived and mommy is tired. It's just something he has been enjoying all along.

    I have faith that you will figure out a good way to get yourself and your family through this period - you've done awesome so far. I'll be praying for you all. Can't wait to hear that Hope is safely in your arms!

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  17. Sending hugs to you at this very, VERY emotional time. I can only imagine the many different feelings you are experiencing and how they must change minute by minute & day by day. How very exhausting for you. But you are doing it, and we are here for you, if only to read & listen and send our blessings, hugs, and love to you, Ed, and Brian. Hope is on the horizon. Feel how you need to feel. Take time for YOU because Mama needs to be healthy for her babies. Tomorrow is a new day (hopefully a quiet one for you) :-)

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  18. Prayers for you and your whole family! Gavin reminds me so much of my youngest son... I love reading your posts and seeing your pictures. Im not usually the emotional type but something about Gavin and what you have been through losing him makes my soul hurt in a way I have only felt when I lost my mom. You are an amazing parent and I wish your sweet boy could still be with you Brian and Ed. I think of you all a lot and wish you all the best.

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  19. Sigh.... I wish I had words, things and abilities to give you. May you find peace, footrests and live.

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  20. Oh sweet Kate. Sending lots of love and support your way. You got this. I know your brother is a lawyer, I am currently a law student- if there is one thing we know- all you can do is prep- you put in the work, the time, the effort, and the energy- that is what you can do- the rest will come. It will be, you got this. You put in the time my friend- the rest will come- the wait is terrible- but will come- will come, trusting is hard especially with your past experiences but even more so with that you are ready, you have this, you have put in the time- with Hope, with Brian, and with Ed. All is ready. So rest, be well. Can't wait to welcome your new arrival.

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  21. Sending you lots of positive thoughts from London. We too have Angry Birds and Star Wars stuff going on in our house. :)

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  22. I just want to give you a freaking hug! You are awesome, and strong, and I'm sending plenty of prayers your way!

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  23. Sending you lots of prayers, love, and support, Kate. I, too, am pregnant, and I am home full time with my first child, who is 2 1/2, so I know all too well how difficult some days are, especially when you feel tired or sick. It can be a challenge to keep my little guy engaged. There just aren't enough crafts. Thank goodness for PBS, though! But my situation is different than yours. You are grieving your precious Gavin. You face each day with such honesty and grace, Kate. It comes through in this amazing blog you manage, and how you share your life with all of us. And all I can say is I pray and think of you daily, and I know I am not alone. You and your family are in so many thoughts and prayers. Sending you love and wishing you peace in these coming weeks. Cannot wait to welcome Hope's sweet arrival! p.s. Is there a local spa you can visit for some well-deserved mommy-to-be pampering?

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  24. Sending you love, and lots of prayers. You are amazing. Praying for rest, for comfort, and for strength to soldier on..

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  25. Sending prayers, love and peace to you and your family. Everyday is a struggle but you're an exceptional mother. Trust me on one thing...Brian will be okay. Kids are so adaptable and you have spent a great deal of time helping him understand the circumstances. He knows you love him and he will always have his own special place in your heart, just like Gavin, Darcy and Hope. Best of luck to you and your growing family.

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  26. I have been praying for your family daily since Glennon sent us to you when you were on the way to the hospital with Gavin. We will pray you through Hope's birth and beyond!

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  27. Kate...you, Ed, Brian & Hope are never far from my thoughts and always in my prayers. Such a conflict of emotions...enough to make your head spin...never mind your heart!!! Just know you are loved...by me, by so many, and by God, who truly does have all of this in the palm of His Hand!
    Hugs...Nancy in CT

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  28. Although you did not want to farm him out, and i know you know this, it's ok to do that, because he will also feel special pride in himself to be away from home for a couple of hours. Brian is becoming a beautiful human being, and continues to be a great brother and son. Best wishes in these last few weeks...

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  29. I'm praying for your family. You can do this! :)

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  30. Sorry your hormones are battling your reality - both in your love for your children and your grief. Good news, of course, is that while you will continued to be exhausted - Hope's arrival will assist in making more of that exhaustion physical instead of so much mental and the pregnancy worry replaced with night feedings and diaper changes:=).

    Once possible suggestion regarding your photo's with Gavin ending could be to include a special picture of Gavin held by his brother & sister in those planned family photo ops. It would be another reminder - visible one - that his presence in your hearts always!

    Happy Thanksgiving... Randy

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  31. Oh Kate! This is so, so much for all of you to deal with. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. You are stronger than you believe. You are a great Mom and I have every confidence you will make it through this very difficult time. Brian will continue to flourish and I cannot wait to see pictures of Hope. Dianne P.

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  32. Holy Father, please hear my humble prayers for Brian, Gavin, Kate, Ed and Hope Leong and keep this beautiful family healthy and strong and in Your safe keeping. Amen. Jenny Page

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  33. Praying for you all. And just a little advice that you can ignore. please take time to yourself. and do it without guilt. All mommys have guilt but its OK to spend a few minutes alone. Its ok to keep you healthy and work on yourself. Its ok, because your babies deserve a healthy mommy. If you dont take a few minutes or an hour to yourself now and then, you will get sick from the grief. So look at it, as doing it for them. I cant imagine your pain, i cry even trying to think about it. I will deffinetly pray for all of you

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  34. Kate, you have to be the mom you need to be. None of us bring a subsequent baby into the world without wondering what that's going to do to the ones who came before.

    But if you reach back to the days after Brian was born, do you remember that life gets narrowed down to one hour--and sometimes one minute--at a time? That you will never have to do it all, just one thing at a time. One diaper, one feeding, one game with Brian while Hope sleeps, one shower, one conversation with Ed, one moment alone to think about Gavin at a time.

    And don't forget, Brian already knows how to be a brother.

    We're praying for you all!

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  35. Kate,

    One thing that I'm asking the Lord to help me with is when I start to think and worry about the future, to refocus my thoughts on knowing that He will be with me!

    Your family will be in our prayers.

    God Bless!

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  36. Your words are inspiring and beautiful. Excellent post.

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  37. Kate,
    The best thing you can do for Brian and Hope right now is to take care of yourself. Lock yourself in a room when Ed comes home and cry if that is what it takes! I will continue to pray for all of you and send Brian extra love as he continues to grieve for Gavin and the excitement grows as he waits to meet his baby sister Hope!!
    Hang in there Kate, things will get better for you all!
    Sending lots of love and prayers,
    A friend in Connecticut!

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  38. Please, be kind to yourself. Love and grief are big, messy, expansive things. It's going to be a little rough around the edges. And that's okay.

    Could I make a suggestion? Could you have someone come as a mother's helper - to play with Brian with you still there? You wouldn't have to "leave" Brian but it might take some of the brunt of being fulltime entertainment off of you...

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  39. You are such a great mom. I have been so impressed with how you have handled Brian's grief, even on days when I am sure it feels next to impossible to put one (swollen) foot in front of the other. You are in my thoughts as you grow this baby and mourn your precious son. All the best to you as you head down these last days of pregnancy. You are doing a great job. (PS: Brian and I share a birthday, and Gavin's birthday is my wedding day!)

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  40. Thoughts of comfort, prayers, and good wishes to you and your family Kate! I stumbled across your blog not too long ago, and your honest, raw writing of joys, sorrows, celebrations, and grief are just beautiful. Take care of yourself for and rest now as much as you can (easier said than down I know!) to prepare for Hope's arrival and caring for Brian when that big transition comes for him.

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  41. Hang in there Beautiful Lady! Don't stress over all the details. I know its hard not to, especially as a Mom going through so much. Moms want everything for their children and we sometimes give too much of ourselves trying to meet their every needs. But as they grow, kids don't remember every little detail, they see the big picture. They see that they were loved and cared for. They see that they were happy and Mom & Dad were present and made them feel safe. They don't see that Mom only played with me for 2 hours one day when she played with me 6 hours on another. You are doing fine and its okay to take time for yourself in these difficult times. Your family needs you to be happy and healthy, so take time to find your peace and rest. You deserve it. You are an incredible mom and you are doing incredibly well with all that you face. Brian will be just fine because he has your love and presence. Hope too!

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  42. Sweet Girl, you amaze me. You are dealing with a lot including taking care of your health and Hope's health while only 7 months into your grief - which, I know, is nothing. It's still the 'did that all really happen?' phase. As I sit here with tears in my eyes, I only wish I could give you a hug. I truly love you and your beautiful family. I lift you in prayer and ask God to hold you extra close these months as you need him most. ~Tess

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  43. Kate, you're such an amazing mom. Brian is so blessed to have a mom that loves him this much. You're husband Ed and you are going through so much..none of us will ever truly know the pain the both of you and Brian have to endure in your healing hearts as the holidays come near and having to share memories that (should) include Gavin. It's tough not being able to get mad at God for needing an angel so soon...But God has a bigger plan than any of us could try to perceive. ..whatever his plan is...as hard as this may sound, he really has you in mind. Whether it's to shake your faith and prepare you for something greater or to open the eyes of all of us to see what God's true love is really like through your family and your trials....all I know is that we appreciate you so much and although I am a stranger and reader we keep a special place in our hearts for prayers that go out to you, Brian, and Ed. God couldn't have chosen a greater warrior like you and Gavin to share with the world his undeniable love. With each new day..new "Hope" will arrive ..you're stronger than you know <3 we love you!

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  44. I wonder why people are so insensitive to wonder when you will quit posting pictures of your firstborn. I do not get that mentality. Maybe it's because I have a mom who blessed me with a stillborn sister at 5 months, within a year of having miscarried another sweet babe. Maybe its because I will always feel tied to my sweet little one who I was blessed to carry for 12 weeks. They are a part of us from the moment they are conceived.

    Take the time to mourn, celebrate, cry and feel grateful for the life of your little man. And now, you get to celebrate Hope!

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  45. Lots of prayers for all of you. You r an awesome momma and Hope is beautiful... thinking of u daily

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