More on Connor and Colby!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Split Emotion

I've been saying for awhile that, in some ways, losing Connor but having Colby has actually been more difficult.  In the beginning we would say that we were making it through "because of Colby".  We had him to keep us going.  But then I realized that (don't get me wrong we would not change having Colby for ANYTHING in this world.  EVER.) having Colby was actually making it harder to grieve.

I think I kind of realized why tonight.  We were at a family Christmas Eve party and there were some family members who had never seen Colby, never mind Connor.  They oohed and they ahhed and said how cute he was, how good he was, how he was the "Christmas miracle" for the family.  

And every time they said something I thought "What about Connor?"  He would have been just as cute.  He would have been just as good.  He would have been a miracle too.  But, instead, I find myself thrilled beyond belief that I'm the mother of this amazing little Colby and only wondering (wishing) what Connor would have been like as well.  The holidays cannot be about JUST Colby because then I am betraying Connor and the holidays cannot be JUST about Connor because Colby in there.  I cannot JUST be happy, an ecstatic mother showing off her precious baby because... there should be more.  And I cannot JUST be a sad mother, hiding from Christmas because my baby should be there and can't be.  

So I guess that's what I realized-- no matter what, losing Connor while having Colby means that I will always wonder "What about Connor?" while being thankful and amazed by every little think Colby does. 

I don't meant this to take away from Colby and I certainly do not mean it to mean that Colby is not enough.  I just mean that I HAVE two boys.  As a mother, I will always look to have Connor validated.  Today that meant that I had to walk the tightrope of enjoying the day for Colby and looking to the future while thinking about Connor and missing him and the possibilities of what could have been.  I cannot put my energy into one area-- grief or happiness.  Instead, I have to multitask the two emotions and hope that one day I can learn to deal with both at once.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

24 hours and 24 minutes

As we approach Christmas (we're 24 minutes away from Christmas Eve as I type this... so 24 hours 24 minutes away from Christmas-- that's pretty cool!) I'm dreading it in a little way.

There's the fact that I'm not the most comfortable with J's family all the time.  We're very different and sometimes it's okay and sometimes it's just downright awkward.  But I digress.

It's bittersweet.  

The sweet: We're gearing up for our 1st Colby Christmas.  We've been waiting for this for awhile.  :)  Obviously he won't remember or care about it.  In fact, I think he just got the best present he could ask for-- he learned how to chew on his hands and he's 100% content with that.  But for J and I it will be fabulous.  

But then there's the bitter: with every first, there's the first that Connor's not there for.  Our first Christmas without Connor.  Christmas is actually 5 months from Connor's funeral and our last goodbye.  It's just so odd.

I know I've said it before, but I think that having Colby almost makes losing Connor harder.  Harder because we can't just be sad about not having Connor.  Harder because we can't wallow or grieve.  He's a constant (wonderful) distraction.  I guess I just don't want to do Connor a disservice by not being "sadder" on these hard days, but I also don't want to do Colby a disservice by being sad on these hard days.

One thing I have learned over these past five months, though?  No matter how hard it is, I can get through it because I have Colby's cutie little face watching me and I know that Connor is watching over all of us from his little spot in the clouds.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I've come to realize just how much I need to be in control.  I take everything having to do with Colby very personally.  I feel like I need to have a say in everything- from how much he eats to who takes him out of his car seat to who gets to see his things.  It makes me antsy to feel like I'm not in control of the situation... whatever it is.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I feel like I might kind of understand why- though I am no closer to overcoming it.  

When we first tried to get pregnant we couldn't.  We consulted doctors, took meds, did procedures... but I really had no control.  It was out of my hands.  The timing, procedures- everything- were put in the hands of the doctors.

Then we finally got pregnant and I was eventually put on bed rest.  Immediately everything became about the babies and keeping them safe.  I told doctors many times that it didn't matter what happened to me- we wanted to do whatever was safest for the boys.  Would I have preferred natural birth?  Sure, but I didn't even mention it because it wouldn't be safest.  My life was immediately about being taken care of by an onslaught of nurses, doctors, and specialists.  I lost control of my pregnancy.

Then I went into labor and had the babies so early.  The boys were in the NICU.  They were sick and I couldn't take care of them.  They were hooked up to machines to stay alive because I couldn't do it.  I had no control of their safety.  I had no control of their lives.  I couldn't help them.

Then Connor passed away on that awful morning.  The nurses bagged him.  The doctors transfused him.  The monitors told what was happening.  And again, I had no control.  No matter how I hoped and prayed, there wasn't anything that could be done to take care of him and to make him better.

Then there was the rest of Colby's NICU stay... 107 more days of doctors and nurses telling us when to pick him up, when to change him, how much to feed him, if we could breast feed, if he should have a blanket on, who to let see him, and on and on and on.

I feel like I have no control and I have had no control.  So, I try to get control in stupid, small ways.  I protect pictures with a vengeance and feel I should be solely responsible for being the one to share them as I please.  I expect people to ask me if they can change my baby.  I expect people to ask before they pick him up.  Advice frustrates me because it feels like others are trying to take control and tell me what to do.

I want the control.  I feel like these are the only stupid little things I can control and it sucks.  It just reminds me of what we didn't have, what control I so desperately wanted and lost.  

And so I am perpetually messed up.  Maybe it's time to see a therapist?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Titles are obviously not my strong suit

Seeing Connor's name in print or hearing his name still sends little spasms through my heart.  In that moment I am forced to remember that everything is not okay.  

Every night I rock Colby to sleep and I'm exhausted from the day, but I always have that moment where I remember that I don't want to be off duty as soon as Colby's asleep.  I want to have another baby to rock.  I want to kiss Connor's cheek as he drifts off with his head on my chest.  

I'm thankful for my breaks during the day.  The brief periods of time where the bottles are washed, clothes are cleaned, and Colby is peacefully napping.  Yet I would give anything to be scrambling for a clean bottle, to be stepping over a pile of dirty clothes, if only because it were Connor that needed something while Colby was napping.  

I can't get over the feeling that not having Connor here is physically easier.  Caring for one 4 month old is easier that 2.  Yet it is so much more emotionally taxing and heart wrenching I find myself wishing every second of every minute of every day that he was here with me.  There's not much I wouldn't give for that.

And we continue to push through, to face the challenges, and to be eternally grateful for the moments we had with Connor and all the moments we have and will have with Colby.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I have to get 2 conversations off my chest... 

I have 2 cousins.  Both boys.  One is about 1.5 years older than me.  The other is about 8.5 years older than me.  

My oldest cousin knew the infertility issues we had been going through because it came up when Johnny and I were visiting a few summers ago.  They had also been trying and were just on the step of taking Clomid with TI.  (Worked 2nd time, by the way...)  So, they were pregnant as of August 2008.  In October 2008 Johnny and I finally got pregnant (yay!) and of course we let them know.  A week later, we miscarried and it hit me hard.  Really hard.  My cousin later sent me a message telling me that the loss would be bittersweet and some day we would actually look back and smile when thinking about it.  

What?  Why would I ever look back and smile?  It was just one more reminder that it was so difficult for us to get pregnant.

Hmm... then I was talking to my other cousin online probably 2 or 3 weeks after Connor passed away.  (And he didn't go to the funeral, send a card, call, etc. etc.)  He asked how I was doing.  My reply was the standard "It sucks, but we're getting through."  Then the conversation passed to him.  I asked how he and his wife were doing.  He replied that they were good, but K (his wife) seemed to be having a UTI that hadn't gone away for 2 years and they had been to lots of doctors and "I think you can see why that wouldn't be good for a young, newlywed couple".  I said something like "That sucks."  And he launches into "Even though you lost Connor, it could have been worse.  Look at us, it doesn't seem like we will be able to have kids at this rate and that's just something that we will have to accept."    To which I wanted to bash him on the head for trying to tell me it could be worse and I also wanted to enlighten him on the wonder of IVF... I mean, duh, you don't even have to have sex to get pregnant!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

4 months

Dear Connor,

Today marks 4 months since Mommy and Daddy said goodbye to you.  4 months since your funeral.  4 months since we last kissed your cheek, stroked you hair, and saw your smile.

4 months have been both long and short.  We miss you every day, but we know you're here.  We know you're helping your baby brother get stronger every day.  We know you're there guiding Colby.  You're the best big brother he could ask for and for that we're so grateful.

We wish we could hold you in our arms again.  We wish we could watch you grow up with your brother, but we know you can't.  Instead, we thank you for all that you have given us, all that you have taught us, and for all you have done to touch our lives forever. 

 Even now, four months later, every time I see a picture of you my heart skips a beat.  It immediately aches for you- to hold you and kiss you.  And every time I see a picture I remember how much I love you and how much joy you gave us in those very short 43 hours.

I don't know what else to say besides I love you.  I love you so very much.  Forever you will be my first baby.  Forever you will be Colby's big brother.  For ever you will be loved and remembered with a smile.

I love you so much, Connor, and I am so very thankful for the time I had with you.  

Love forever, Mommy

Saturday, November 21, 2009

4 Months

4 months since our world crashed.

4 months since we said goodbye to our baby.

4 months since we last held our newborn.

4 months since he took his last breaths.

4 months since we had to make plans for his final goodbyes.

4 months is a long time.

The past 4 months have hurt so much.  

How do you ever get over losing a child?  I don't think you ever do.  How could you?  

You always hear people saying that you shouldn't bury your own child because it goes against the natural order of the universe.  When I was on bed rest I was taking a class about young adult lit.  I read "The Lovely Bones" about the murder of a 14 year old girl and this was the struggle her parents were facing.  And it seemed so distant.  It was a reality that, even on bed rest dangerously close to having severely premature babies, didn't really ever seem like a possibility to me.  

But I guess that's the thing about losing a child.  You don't plan it.  It just happens and you don't know how to deal.  When you're little and you're taught about death, you're taught about it in the context of pets and grandparents.  Not in the context of children.  Children aren't supposed to die.  It's just not right.

4 months later it doesn't seem any more right.  If anything it's more painful because it's getting further and further away and I feel more and more whiny if I bring it up.  It's like I feel like others feel that I should be over it.

Once again, incoherent thoughts govern my writing.  Instead I'll leave with some photos of my precious little baby boy.

Friday, November 20, 2009


One of the major emotions I dealt with near Connor's funeral was anger.  Anger that he passed away, obviously, but also anger at all those who should have been at the funeral, but weren't.

Part of me realizes that I have no right to decide who should have dropped their lives to be there for me.  And part of me realizes how intensely difficult going to a funeral of an infant is.  But I'm still angry that a lot of people weren't there.

I'm a kindergarten teacher.  My pregnancy was not something that I hid from teachers or students or parents.  When I had the babies in July, I immediately sent around an email to everyone sharing the good news and asking for prayers.  Two days later I sent around the heartbreaking email telling of the loss of Connor and the service information.  I sent around the email to all the teachers at my school (probably about 40) as well as the parents of all of my students of the past few years.  I didn't do it to force anyone to do anything... I did it because I really thought that they were invested in the babies.

Wouldn't you know that the only people to come to the funeral were my aide and her friend (another para at the school), my ex-principal (who wasn't even on the email list, but heard from another contact), and a special ed para I spoke to in the hall in passing.  That's it.  4 people from my school.  Zero parents.  

I was heartbroken.  And I was angry.  And, honestly, I'm still angry about that.  These same people could give me baby gifts for the twins, ask about my pregnancy, even celebrate when Colby was released from the NICU, but no one could drive 30 minutes to come and pay their respects.

Then there were family members on both sides of our family. 

A cousin of Johnny's, J, immediately booked a flight for herself and her girls the second she heard.  She came just for us.  She waited around her house until we needed her help.  She delivered the outfit for Connor to the funeral home.  Her husband, a very busy lawyer in DC who is admittedly a little odd, dropped what he was doing on Saturday to be there.  

But no one else from outside of MA came.  I understand, it's hard to coordinate something like that if you have children or a job.  But we lost a child.  We weren't having a party.  We were grieving the death of our first baby.  Maybe I'm selfish or self-centered, but I really expected at least the family members immediately related to us to drop what they were doing and fly in for the weekend or the day.  I would understand if children and spouses needed to stay home, but we really thought they'd be there.  

And the friends.  Again, there were the unexpected visitors who popped in to pay their tribute.  Our "Tax Man" came.  He couldn't bear to look at the casket to see little Connor's face, but he came in, signed the book, and left.  He didn't even come to talk to us, but knowing he took the time to come meant the world.  And Johnny's best friend's brother's wife (yes, that distant) came for a minute, too.  She didn't look at the casket either, but she gave us a hug, told us how sorry she was, and left.

But there were those friends I thought I could count on who weren't there.  The ones who, days before the funeral, said "I'll be there whatever you need,  just let me know."  One friend told me she couldn't come because she was studying for a test.  Others had other excuses.  They all hurt.  Again, it wasn't a party.  We were mourning the loss of our baby.

I think it all hurts because I really think that, had the situation been reversed, Johnny and I would have been like Johnny's cousin J and her husband.  We would have dropped everything, even if only for the day.  

So, I still find myself angry at certain people.  Some have tried to make amends and, while it will never erase the pain completely, it does help.  Others refuse to realize that they hurt us.  I'm supposed to brush it off that they didn't come to my baby's funeral because they had to study, they had plans to see another friend, or their baby a few states away kept them there.  

Like the pain of losing Connor, I doubt the anger will ever truly be erased.  I really have learned who my friends are.  I've learned who I can count on when it really matters.  

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I decided to start this blog as a place to safe my thoughts, sadness, and perpetual musings about losing and missing Connor. I'm tired of feeling like I'm whining on my Adventures in Life blog, so I decided to safe the sadder thoughts on here.

I guess I'll start at the beginning if you're new to these parts.

In December of 2006 my husband and I decided to try to start a family. We knew I'd have issues getting pregnant, but our naivety made us think that we would be pregnant by September of 2007. We figured a little time, a little time... we were in.

Things didn't work that way. We tried on our own until September 2007 and then began receiving help at a local Fertility Clinic. Cycles started in January of 2008. February 2008 yielded a chemical pregnancy and a small glimmer of help. Failures of Timed Intercourse and Clomid/IUI followed until October of 2008 when two wonderful lines appeared on the test. Our happiness was short lived when a repeat Beta showed that my levels were not increasing as they should. On November 1, 2008 I miscarried our first child.

After a small break, we continued with Injectable IUI's, received more failures and then, after a heightened response in January 2009, our IUI was converted to an IVF. 8 eggs were retrieved, 6 were mature, 3 fertilized, and 2 cleaved. On January 27th, 2009 2 beautiful embryos were transfered. On February 7th the beautiful double lines appeared again and on March 3rd two beautiful beating hearts appeared on the ultrasound machine.

My blissful pregnancy progressed. I feel in love with my belly and my two growing boys.

Time stopped on June 22nd when I visited my High Risk OB and it was discovered that my cervix was dangerously short. I was in danger of having my beautiful boys at only 23 weeks 2 days and was immediately put on strict hospital bed rest at home, with the intent of entering the hospital at 23 weeks 6 days.

I spent the next 4 weeks in the hospital and remained perfectly boring. Ultrasounds came back wonderful, monitoring revealed amazing babies, and I remained stable. On Friday, July 17th at 26 weeks 6 days my cervix was checked and I was discovered to be only 1 cm dilated, long, and semi-closed. The results were so encouraging that I was going to be released to home bed rest at 28 weeks.

However, the world crashed when, on Sunday, July 19th, at 27 weeks 1 day, I woke up to intense pain. Only after trying to ease the pain in the shower did I realize that I was contracting. Nurses and doctors were called, I was hooked up to machines, and after learning I was dilated to 6cm it was determined that labor could not be halted and that my precious boys would be born that morning. I was terrified and prayed that my boys would be delivered safely.

The morning was a blur, and before I knew it, I was in the OR and my two boys were delivered via emergency C-section. Connor graced the world with his presence at 11:56am at 2lbs 9oz. His baby brother Colby followed 2 minutes later at 11:58am at 2lbs 3oz.

Both boys thrived that first day. They were beautiful. I was in a daze, but they were perfect. We had a long hard road ahead of us, but we were ready to take it on together.

Monday, July 20th we visited with the boys, enjoyed their lives, and prayed that little Connor's body would heal. He was fighting an infection, high blood pressure, a PDA, breathing issues, and potential bleeding on the brain. The problems were under control and the head ultrasound was scheduled for the next morning.

He would never get to it.

On Tuesday, July 21st we were awoken at 4am by my favorite nurse with the news that Connor was not doing well. We were rushed to Connor's side in the NICU where he was fighting for his life. His ventilator was no longer sufficient, a nurse was bagging him, and his heart rate and oxygen saturation were dipping dangerously low. Over and over and over again.

Finally, after 3 transfusions, a few attempts back on the ventilator, tears, and heartache we made the difficult decision to let Connor pass in our arms. At 7:08am, after only 43 hours, we said goodbye to our first born son.

It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through.

To this day I still can't believe that this happened to us.

I can't believe that I am a 25 year old bereaved parent. I still think back to that morning in the NICU and think of what life would be like if the ventilator attempts had worked. If the transfusions had saved Connor. What it would be like to be a Mommy with two living babies.

But I don't know what that would be like because that's not the hand we were handed.

So now I try to deal with the life we are living with my little man Colby, my husband Johnny, and my angel boy in heaven Connor.

This is my journey though grief.