Slideshow

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

the room change

This is a post I should have made a long time ago, but I wanted to share how we transformed Noah's room into Oliver's room since I talked so much about how difficult it was to make that transition and to decide to "change" the room. I still think of it as Noah's room as well as Oliver's room. I feel like Noah is still in that room watching over his little brother. But I do call it "Oliver's Room" more and more. For awhile, while we were transitioning it, I couldn't call it that. I just called it "The Nursery" or "The Baby's Room". It felt weird to stop calling it "Noah's Room." But as you'll see, there are still very much parts of Noah in this new room. 


Here is Noah's room as it was left after he died. It was a Pottery Barn Monkey theme. 








Here are the messages we wrote on the walls before they got painted. We changed where the crib is placed. So on the wall where Noah's crib was we wrote messages to him. On the wall where Oliver's crib would go we wrote messages to him. 



And here is Oliver's room. It's completely different!!

There is a rainbow mobile to represent Noah watching over his brother while he sleeps. 





This is the part of the wall we left unpainted from Noah's room. It's framed out and has a guardian angel quote. 

So as you can see the room is completely transformed, yet there are still very much pieces of Noah in this room. It is definitely a bright and cheerful room. I'm so happy with how it turned out and I'm happy that Oliver gets his own room that is special to him, yet his brother is still very much a part of it. 

There is no way I could have done this room by myself. My friend Sarah Martin (from Majesty Companies) is an interior designer and helped me create the look and feel I wanted for this room. She painted the whole thing herself as well. She's amazing!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

a new chapter

I have not written in months! Wow! Time has been flying by! I feel like I have so much to write about I don't even know where to begin. 


A new chapter of our life has begun. Unfortunately it is a chapter without Noah. I honestly still cannot believe a year later that Noah is gone. October 7 was the one year anniversary of Noah's death. I look at his pictures and it feels like forever ago that I saw him and held him. It feels like a completely different lifetime to be honest. So much has happened in this past year. We have changed and evolved and brought new life to our family. The one year mark was so hard. The days leading up to it were impossible. I cried so much just wishing I didn't have to live through another October 7th. But when the day finally came I made it through just like every other day. Unfortunately Scott had to leave that day for an out of town wedding he was the best man in. Two of my very good friends left their families and lives for the weekend to stay with me and our new son Oliver (I'll get to that next). Thank God for amazing friends. I could not have gotten through that weekend without them (and a little cake vodka! :) 


Back up to September 8 - the day our beautiful and amazing son Oliver Noah was born. I cannot begin to tell you how amazing it was to see this little guy for the very first time. I had a long and difficult pregnancy. It started out in the ER (where Noah died - just 4 months after) due to a hemorage between my placenta and uterus. I was bleeding a lot. They told me the baby was ok but if the blood clot grew it could separate from the placenta and we'd lose the baby. Of course I was a wreck. Why oh why after just losing my son could I not have a perfect pregnancy? We were very luck to get pregnant so quickly but I was not ready for any more losses. I was on modified bed rest for the first couple months which is also when I lost my job! Crazy start to the year. We hardly told anyone I was pregnant until 20 weeks when the clot finally dissolved and went away!!! There were a few other bumps in the road but other than that we just waited and prayed so hard. After having the unthinkable happen to you, you start to think that everything is going to go wrong. I was so terrified the whole pregnancy. Luckily after 9 long months we finally got to meet our little guy. He came out screaming - I finally let out the breath I had been holding for 9 months. A HUGE 9lbs 9oz and absolutely perfect. I can't say I felt complete, since part of me will always be missing. But I felt this major void had been filled back up. I felt joy and true happiness again. I never imagined I could be so happy again. Our sweet Oliver has filled our house with love, noise, baby stuff, toys....and we love it! He is now 6 weeks old and we are loving every moment with him. To hold him, snuggle him, kiss him...it's what I've been yearning for for so long. We talk to him about his big brother every day. We take him to the cemetery to visit him. He wears his big brother's clothes, sleeps in his bassinet, uses his car seat, etc. Noah is with us and is always watching over Oliver. We know it. We are learning to live again and enjoy life again. It is not the same and it never will be. But it's our next chapter and we feel so blessed to have Oliver to share that chapter with. 


I have also discovered more ways to help me feel like I am still parenting Noah and still connected to him. I decided that every year on his birthday (coming up on November 4th) that we will choose a charity to donate to. I have made my decision but haven't let the charity know yet so I'm keeping it a surprise until his birthday. The charity will be a smaller scale charity than the larger SIDS organizations. We will also donate toys to Toys for Tots in honor of Noah's bday. The toys will be age appropriate for the year that Noah is. So this year we will donate toys suited for a 2 year old. 


We are heading to Faith's Lodge next weekend - exactly one year after our first visit. I cannot believe that one year later we have raised enough money to dedicate a suite at Faith's Lodge to Noah! We have raised $25,000 for Faith's Lodge! We donated $10,000 from Noah's tournament and our dear friend Laura - her family's foundation is giving them $15,000 in Noah's name. We know Noah would be so proud and we are so proud to have had this little boy who makes so many people want to do good in his name! We can't wait to go there and see the suite that will be dedicated to him!! Laura made a great point - Oliver might have Noah's bedroom now, but now Noah can have a very special room dedicated just to him where other families can heal. 
Noah's little brother - Oliver Noah (6 weeks old)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Noah's Memorial Classic 2011

I've been MIA for awhile.  The planning and organizing for the 1st Annual Noah's Memorial Classic took a lot out of me. Especially at 8 months pregnant!! But I am so happy to say our event to honor Noah was a tremendous success!!!


We started planning the golf tournament soon after the first of the year. Our good friends at Acceleration Northwest were kind enough to sponsor the tournament. And not only did they sponsor us, but they did a lot of work with the organizing of golf, financials, etc. We could not have done this event without them.


I've never even attended a golf tournament before, let alone planned one. But somehow we pulled it off! On July 22nd, we had 160 golfers at Fox Hollow Golf Course on a 95 degree day sweating their butts off for such a great cause! We are so thankful also for our 20 hole sponsors! I give major credit to the ones that sat at their hole all day in the heat! We had games at some of the holes to help us raise money and also offer incentives to the golfers. At each hole there was a photo of Noah along with another baby who has lost their life to SIDS. While we planned this event to honor Noah, it was not only for him. It was for all his friends in heaven who have lost their life way too soon.


We had an additional 125 people join us after golf for dinner. So all in all we had almost 300 people at our first event! We sold jewelry, had a raffle, a band (thanks to our friends Jerry Rodes!!), and over 100 silent auction items. After the night was over, we took the balloon decorations and had a balloon send off to Noah. It was the perfect way to end the evening. After it was all said and done we raised close to $25,000! The money we raised will go to the CJ Foundation for SIDS and Faith's Lodge in Noah's name. Both of these foundations are very near and dear to our hearts and have been a huge support to us over the last (almost) 10 months. We wanted the money we raised to go to the research of SIDS as well as helping families who have and unfortunately will lose their child in this horrific way.


We've kept a small chunk of money in the account for the holiday season. We plan to adopt a family and donate toys to Toys for Tots in Noah's name. Noah LOVED all his toys and we know he'd want us to help other kids who are not as fortunate to have toys to play with.


My very talented friend from West Meadow Photography donated her day and expertise to taking pictures to document our day.
CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES!!!


Thank you to everyone who contributed in some way to helping make this event such a success! We are so thankful to everyone for wanting to honor our son. We know Noah would be so proud and that makes us happy. I never imagined I would be planning charity golf tournaments in my child's name. It's just not something you think you should ever have to do. I still can't believe he's not here. It just baffles me that this is my life. I miss him more than words can ever describe. While I'm blown away by everyone's support and generosity, I wish everyday I could just have my son back instead. This was all for you Noah! We love and miss you so much peanut! 


Noah's Memorial Classic will become an annual event where we can honor the most amazing little boy who only got a short 11 months with us, to help raise money for SIDS research and awareness, and to help other families who know the pain of losing a child. We appreciate your continued love + support so much!! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

good-bye Noah's room

I have not posted in ages - a month and a half! Wow! I have been meaning to. Actually almost everyday I think "I'm going to make a post" and then I feel like everything I have to say is the same things I've been saying for nearly 9 months. I feel like I've been waiting for something new to write about it and today is that day. 


Our new baby is arriving in approximately 2 months which means it's time to start actually planning for a new baby to come. With Noah I started planning/buying things right from the start. I was so excited I just couldn't wait. Although with this baby I don't need much since I already have everything, so I have been putting it off. It's just too hard to plan for a new baby when my last baby died. The hardest part is the nursery. We decided it would be best to change the nursery. We will keep the same room and the same furniture, but we have to change the decor. That is Noah's room and I feel like it's special to him. I can't have another baby in his exact same room. It's just too weird. We will use all his clothes and all his toys, but we made the decision to change the room. I was content with this decision because I could prolong it awhile and not have to think about it. However, now that time is here. It's being painted on Friday (thanks to a good friend who knows there is no way we could paint this room on our own).  I'm starting to panic. When we refer to this room now, we will no longer call it "Noah's Room" We will start referring to it as the new baby's room. All the paint, bedding, curtains...all that will change. It will be an entirely different baby's room. I'm excited about the new room because I like re-doing rooms. I'm excited about the bright cheerful colors and about the new baby. However actually packing up Noah's things and having to do something with them is so incredibly hard. I had a friend help me organize all the clothes so they are now separated out by month and ready to for this baby to use. But for the past 9 months I have been throwing everything in this room. Anything we get pertaining to Noah - documents, paperwork, gifts, cards, etc...it all gets put in his room. Now I actually have to do something with all this stuff. It's like I'm packing away Noah's life. I'm taking his 11 months and packing it away to prepare for a new baby. His room will be different, his clothes and toys will be used by a new baby. There will be few things that will remain just Noah's. I've been dreading this point for so long. I found the bag of his clothes that he wore on his last day - all cut to shreds. I totally lost it. Imagining him that day - I shutter. I can't get the image out of my head. I feel like as time goes on the memories are getting more distant. He is getting further away. I just want to do everything I can to hold him close to me. But time makes us move forward and do things like change his room and pack up his things. 


Missing that sweet little boy that would climb the stairs so fast and look back at you to make sure you were watching...and just laugh. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

missing my little man

I just miss him. I miss him so much. It's just not fair - I don't understand why Noah had to die. Why did it have to be my son? I don't wish that it was someone else's, but still...why mine? He was healthy and perfect. We really couldn't have asked for anyone better. He was so playful, outgoing, fun, and just brought so much joy and purpose to our lives. Now I am left trying to pick up the pieces. Many people think this must get easier over time but it does not. You just sadly get used to your child not being with you anymore. But it is never easier. My life now consists of having to deal with it in so many ways. Not only are you missing and grieving your child but there are so many layers. People constantly ask if you have children, or now that I am visibly pregnant people ask "Is this your first?" I always say "no" which then of course leads to "how old is your other one? boy or girl", etc. Almost everyday I deal with this question and how to answer it. Do you lie and say "he's 18 months" and then hope they don't ask anymore questions or do you tell them that your son died at 11 months old and deal with all the questions and awkwardness that stems from that? And sometimes how people respond to that makes everything worse. The other day a lady told me if one of her kids ever died she would kill herself. Then there is this new baby. Do I change the nursery? Use the same clothes? He will be using all Noah's toys, stroller, high chair, etc. Will it be hard because of all the memories or will be good because of all the memories? Then when this baby is born how will I ever sleep? I will be the most paranoid mom EVER! But I know that even if I stand over his crib and watch him sleep all night, it won't save him. SIDS happens instantly and if it's truly SIDS they cannot be saved. I know the likeliness of anything happening again is only 0.4% but still, what was the likeliness that a child would die from SIDS at 11 months old anyways? I struggle so much on a daily basis because all things baby/child related remind me of Noah. They remind me that my son is not here but these other children get to live long healthy lives. That's all I wanted for Noah. The day he was born I held him and said, "you're stuck with us forever." I really thought he was. Scott and I would dream of what sports he'd play, the things we'd do with him as he got older. All our hopes and dreams were shattered with one phone call that changed our lives forever. But then again sometimes baby things make me excited for this new baby. I am trying to find balance between grieving Noah and being excited for this new baby. Some days I focus more on Noah and some days I focus more on the new baby. I guess all parents feel guilt when they are having a 2nd child because they want to love this child as much as their 1st, etc. I don't want to compare this child to Noah. They are their own child. 


We have gotten pretty good at being able to be in social situations and "act" like we are ok. We can smile and laugh and have fun with people. But it's never 100% pure fun or pure happiness. We leave and reality sinks in. We are going home alone. To our quiet house. To just go to sleep. No babies crying, no bottles to make, no diapers to change, no one to focus on but ourselves. It's lonely and depressing. I think because we are so good at acting ok in front of others, people start to think you are moving on or that you are "better." This is definitely not the case. You do not move on from your child dying and you definitely don't ever get better. Instead you learn to live without your child. It's the most painful way to live. We always talk about Noah and we will talk about how we are feeling with others, but because we can talk and not cry or have major breakdowns, people think we are ok. We try to be good friends, we try to be there for our families, we try to do everything we think is right - but we still very much need to focus on ourselves, our marriage, our loss, and our new baby. While we might have a lot more time on our hands now than we did before, this time is consumed with our grief. Some days it is manageable and some days it is not. But we still very much need our friends and families support. We need to know that people are thinking of Noah. We want to talk about him. He is what we think of almost every second of everyday. And while we are beyond thrilled with this new little one coming in 3.5 months, it does not in anyway take away from our pain of losing Noah. This baby does not replace Noah. He is an addition to our family of 3. He is Noah's little brother, even though he will never get to meet him. 


In order to feel like we are still parenting Noah we try to put a lot of our focus into the golf tournament we are having in his honor this summer. The 1st annual Noah's Memorial Classic. We are SO excited about the great turnout we are going to have for this event. It is so important to us to have family and friends come together to honor our beautiful son and to raise money for such a great cause. We are so thankful for everyone who is participating in some way. It is truly amazing the things people will do. Especially those we might not be as close with anymore, old friends, acquaintances, etc. This is what keeps us going....the amazing support and love. Noah would be so proud and that in turn makes us happy. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Today is my first mother's day without my baby boy. I cannot believe it's been a year since the sweet little boy in the below picture walked through the door with daddy to bring me these mother's day flowers....and then he tried to grab a big handful of them and eat them :) 


This mother's day is bittersweet. While I am terribly missing Noah, my sweet angel who made me a mommy, I'm excited that I get to be a mommy again to another baby boy this September. It is a constant struggle to balance the grief I carry for Noah and the excitement I carry for this new baby. While I am so grateful to be given another chance at mommyhood, I can't help but wonder why I can't just have both my boys? It kills me to know they could be such close friends -they'd be just 22 months apart. This new baby will never get to meet his big brother. I wonder how he will answer the questions when he's older "How many siblings do you have?" I hate that this baby will have to learn about death so early on and only know about his big brother through pictures, videos, and stories we tell him. But we are very much looking forward to the day when we get to hold our new baby in our arms and kiss and snuggle him like crazy. 

Dear Noah,
Thank you for making me a mom. I'm so proud to be your mom. You are the most amazing thing that has ever happened to my life. You changed me forever and while we only got 11 months together, you made such a huge impact on my life as well as the lives of others. You should be so proud of the life you had - as short as it was. You blessed us with so many smiles, laughs, and very happy memories that I will cherish all the days of my life. Please continue to be with us as we continue on this journey. Help watch over your little brother - he is so lucky to have you as a big brother. Send us a rainbow soon so I know you're smiling down on us. I miss you every day. I still sleep with your blankets, even though they don't smell like you anymore. I still kiss your pictures and pretend I'm kissing you. I cannot wait until the day I get to be with you again. 
I love you little monster,
Mommy

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

monkeys

Not only do rainbows remind me of Noah but monkeys do too! He had a monkey nursery complete with monkey bedding from pottery barn, monkey stuffed animals and an adorable monkey painting. His favorite monkey (that we buried him with) was his orange pottery barn monkey that I bought because it matched the bedding (I had to have the COMPLETE set). 


Several days after Noah died my friends convinced me to go for a walk around the pond by my parents house (we stayed there for a couple weeks until we were ready to go home). As we walked, I saw this random monkey stuffed animal puppet sitting on a bench. I should have taken it (or at least taken a picture) but I wasn't thinking clearly at that time (and it probably belonged to a child that would come back for it!) but at that moment I knew it was Noah sending me a sign that he was ok and that he was thinking of me. 


The other day I went to Babies R Us to buy a present for someone (my LEAST favorite place right now). It was hard - it was a Saturday afternoon (wrong time to go there) and packed with little kids. It brought back so many memories. I actually saw a girl crying to her husband while I was there. He was hugging her and comforting her. I immediately wondered if her child died too. It's awful how my mind immediately jumps to that. Anyways, as I was checking out I looked over and saw this monkey stuffed animal sitting on a random shelf with a bunch of video games. It was just staring at me. I had to laugh. It was not just any monkey stuffed animal but the exact same one that we have in Noah's room. I knew it was Noah telling me he was there with me and it immediately made me smile. 


Thank you Noah for the signs that you're with us! Please keep sending them! It's the only way I get through each day and know you are with us. 


the monkey in Noah's room

the monkey at Babies R Us @ the checkout aisle

Monday, April 4, 2011

happy 17 month birthday little man

17 months ago today was the happiest day of my life. I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy. Our hearts were filled with happiness. I have a video that Scott took of us in the hospital. I was holding Noah and talking to him...I told him he was stuck with us forever. At that moment I was prepared to take care of Noah for the rest of his life. I wasn't prepared for only 11 months. I wish so badly I got more time. I wish so badly he was here today. I don't know what 17 months looks like. I can't imagine what he'd be doing or what he'd look like. It's been almost 6 months that he's been gone and he seems so far away. I remember him, everything about him, his smiles, his facial expressions, his infectious laugh, our memories, everything. But I am forgetting what it's like to mother him. To have to make bottles, change diapers, pack a diaper bag, eat out for early dinners because he had to be home and in bed at 8pm or he'd start getting crabby. I forget what it's like to not sleep as much, to always be planning for the next phase of his life and the things we need to buy/learn to accommodate that. It kills me that those things were once second nature and I now am forgetting what that was like. Because now it is just Scott and I. We can sleep when we want, come and go as we please, do whatever we want. When we had Noah I missed those things at times. I obviously would never have traded him to have those things back, but you naturally want to sleep more, have more time, date nights, etc. But life without children is boring. It has no purpose (to me anyways). Children give you the greatest gift - they love you unconditionally, they need you, rely on you, trust in you. And I've never felt more successful, more loved, or happier in my life than the 11 months we had Noah. 


We are very fortunate to have friends and family who are continually supporting us. However other SIDS moms warned me that things get harder around this time because peoples lives have moved on. And I absolutely understand that. They should move on. They are not faced with this tragedy that we are. They don't live it every single day. We can't expect people to "live" with us for weeks like everyone did those first few weeks. Our friends have their children and they are loving life and watching them grow. Their lives revolve around them as they should. But meanwhile we are lost and feel so alone. We are stuck between being parents and not being parents. Our relationships with people have changed because we have changed. I hate everything that has changed. I've never been one to embrace change so that makes this even harder. 


We will still fight as hard as we can to survive because that is what Noah would want. I will still live my life the way he'd want me to so that he can be proud of his mama. With that, we love doing everything we can to honor him. I'm sure most of you have heard but we are throwing a golf tournament on July 22nd at Fox Hollow Golf Course in St. Michael to honor Noah and raise money for SIDS research. All proceeds with go to the CJ Foundation for SIDS and the SIDS Institute. I have attached the registration form. If you are interested in golfing, attending the dinner/silent auction, sponsoring a hole, or sending a donation, please see the information on this registration form. If you would like to donate a prize or item for the silent auction, we would greatly appreciate it! We have already started receiving some amazing donations and prizes and are so very thankful for everyones support. We are really excited about getting everyone together for this event to honor our beautiful boy and raise awareness and money for SIDS research. I'm not sure they'll ever find a cause or a cure in my lifetime, but I have to know that we are doing everything we can so that hopefully one day parents will not have to live their life without their child. 


Happy 17 months sweet peanut. I'm missing you every second of everyday. Everything I see, everything I do, every moment I live reminds me of you. Please send me a rainbow soon! I need to know you're with us all the time. I love you so much. 
XOXO, mommy





Thursday, March 17, 2011

the bad days and the ok days

It's so strange to think that most of my days before Noah died were good days. Great days in fact. Of course every once in awhile I would have a bad day or something bad would happen. I would think it was the worst thing in the world. I've gone through most of my life considering myself extremely unlucky. Even though I had an amazing husband, friends, family, and most importantly my son, I still always felt like if something strange, different, bad, unexpected could happen, it would happen to me. Little did I know I was the luckiest person in the world until that day Noah died. I wish I would've taken the time to realize that all the things I've gone through in my life were NOTHING until I lost the most important person I had. It is now so hard for me to hear people complain about such trivial things when they in fact do not have it as bad as they think. It's hard to fault them because until you've experienced such tragedy, you truly don't understand. So you go on thinking that a car accident, a snow storm, a bad day at work, being late to a meeting, is the worst thing in the world. You let the stress of life overcome your life to the point where you don't enjoy it because you are complaining so much about how things could be different....I understand...I've done that. But trust me when I tell you that no matter what your pain or suffering in life, NOTHING is comparable to losing a child. Not a parent, a friend, a sibling, nothing. I know those are all absolutely horrific loses. But it does not compare. I wish everyday Noah was here but just sick in the hospital. I wish I lost my house, my cars, my money. I wish horrible things that no one would want but in return for my child. Because at the end of the day, your children are all that matter. You created them, you taught them what they know, they changed your life. They made you a mom or a dad. They bring you more happiness than anyone or anything else can. And if all you have is your children, that is all you need. 

Yesterday I did the most unimaginable thing. Scott and I sat down and designed the monument marker that will be placed at the cemetery. It was the most heart wrenching thing we've ever done. How sick and wrong is it to design a stone that will mark the place of where your child is buried? I felt like it was the last big thing we did for him and it had to be perfect. It had to represent him. Although our cemetery only allows flat markers now so our options were limited. When I called the cemetery to get the requirement information (another horrible day - why was I calling a cemetery for my son??), the man said "well, babies are very small so you won't have a lot of room to work with." Seriously? Like I didn't know that my son was 21 lbs and 11 months old and TOO YOUNG to die! Like I didn't know that he was too little! The horrifying thoughts of him in his casket came rushing back to me. How small it was. How little he looked inside. The whole process makes me want to scream. I totally broke down. I never in my life thought that on a random Wednesday night, Scott and I would be doing what we did. 

Today is the 4 year anniversary of when my Grandpa Joe died. St. Patricks Day is always such a fun and celebratory day for most people, but it marks a very important day in my life. I had gotten the chance to spend a lot of time with my grandpa before he died since I lived in CT at the time. He died shortly before Scott and my wedding that he wanted so badly to attend. I remember when we found out we were having a boy, we right away thought his middle name should be Joseph after my grandpa. Grandpa Joe was such a silly person...goofy, full of life, always making jokes (he hit on the nurses at the nursing home on a daily basis of that gives you any indication of his personality). In the months after Noah was born and starting to develop a personality, I couldn't believe how similar him and grandpa were. I was so saddened by the fact that grandpa didn't get to meet Noah. I knew he would have LOVED playing with him and making goofy faces at him. They had a bond - I just knew it. Noah having his middle name could not have been more fitting. He was so much like him! They are together now and I am happy to know that grandpa and Noah finally get to meet and play together. 

Through these very tough days, there have been glimmers of happiness. I am continually grateful for how thoughtful and supportive people continue to me. I have received many great things to help us remember Noah. But I have to write about the most thoughtful gift I received a couple weeks ago. A friend from high school runs a daycare in her home. One day I received a package in the mail from them. Each child had painted a rainbow on a piece of paper. On the back side was what really sent me to tears. My friend had shown the children a photo of Noah and asked them to tell her what came to their mind when they saw him and what they thought he was doing in heaven. So on the back of each rainbow were messages from the children about Noah: his big blue eyes, his "soft" hair, etc. And then what they thought he was doing in heaven: playing soccer, playing in the sand, etc. It is amazing to think of things from a child's perspective. They have such a real and simple interpretation. I will cherish these pictures forever. I hope she doesn't mind that I post the photos....they are so unbelievable, I just had to share. Thank you S!



Monday, February 28, 2011

Noah's 1st Birthday

Noah's 1st birthday was less than a month after he passed away on Nov. 4. I wasn't blogging yet and I sure was ready to share photos or memories about that day. But I think I am now. Birthdays are really special in my family. My parents always made a big deal out of them...so much so that I even celebrated my half birthday up until this year! So needless to say Noah's 1st birthday was going to be a memorable one! I started planning months in advance. Nothing big, just thinking about the theme, food, decor, etc. I decided I wanted a Mickey Mouse themed party since he LOVED Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I ordered some things from Etsy, even a special t-shirt for the bday boy to wear that day. Scott is a graphic designer so he was going to create Noah's bday invite. Things were finally starting to come together. The night before Noah died we had a photo shoot at our house with him. We dressed him up all cute and took pictures that would be options for the invite. Here are were some of the photos taken that night. His last night with us. I'm so happy I have these but they break my heart all at the same time. He was becoming a boy and such a cute and fun one at that. 



my favorite! I love that smile!


I'll fast forward to after Noah died. Many people have some time before that first birthday after their child dies. They get some time to process and grieve. Not that it makes it any easier or harder but I was thrown into that first big milestone day less than a month after he died. I knew I had to acknowledge his birthday. I knew it was not going to be the birthday I had hoped for. How do you have a 1st birthday party for your son that has just died? But birthdays are too big and important in our family to just let the day slide by. Besides the fact that 1 year ago on that Nov. 4 was the greatest day of our lives! Noah was born and brought into our lives. He changed our lives forever and that deserved to be celebrated. Luckily I have amazing friends and family and I didn't have to do anything to set up for Noah's birthday. We decided to invite friends and family over to our house for a sky lantern launch (thanks to Carly for coming up with this idea and buying all of these for us!). We had chili and cornbread (one of my favs that my parents brought over for everyone - I could not even think about cooking at this point so we needed to keep it simple). We had cupcakes and sang happy birthday to Noah as devastating and depressing as that was. But most of all, friends and family came together on this very special day to be there for us and celebrate the amazing boy that Noah was, the great 11 months we had with him, and to acknowledge how this tragedy has changed all of our lives forever. This was NOT the birthday it was supposed to be. But it still was his birthday. It was the anniversary to the day he was born and that will never change. We will always celebrate his birthday for he was here, he was alive, and he is the most amazing person I've ever met. How do you not celebrate that? I wish so badly he was here for his bday. I  anticipated him ripping open presents, I so badly wanted to see how he'd dive into his own little cake, and most importantly it was his 1st birthday! Such a special and important milestone. I hoped for happy memories of that day but instead I was overcome by sadness and such great loss. Here are some photos from Noah's 1st birthday. While he was not here with us physically, I know he was here with us that day and eating tons of cake in heaven! 

we decorated the paper lanterns with birthday wishes for Noah


Noah's birthday t-shirt - we all wrote messages to him

we ate and drank the tears away


Noah's friends played  
the sky lantern launch was amazing. It took some time to get the hang of it, and one got caught on a neighbor's house (thankfully nothing started on fire!!) but overall it was a big success and we plan to do it every year. 













I will never forget that day and everyone who was there for us. Thank you! I can't believe he'd be 16 months old this Friday. I hate that time keeps moving on. I wish I could relive Oct. 6th over and over and over again. 



Monday, February 7, 2011

4 months ago today...

Four months ago today was the last morning I spent with my peanut. I remember he played in our bedroom while I got ready. I remember daddy getting him dressed before he had to leave for work. I remember daddy putting on pants that did not match his shirt so of course I changed the pants right after daddy left for work. I had just gotten Noah some really cute new jeans so I put him in those. He was wearing a grey vintagey looking t-shirt (because he was a very hip little boy!) that said "county fair" with a white long sleeved onesie underneath. He wore grey baby gap socks that he would pull off his feet the second you put them on and start eating them. 


Every morning Noah would watch Mickey Mouse clubhouse in our bedroom and would play in the pack n play with his toys - he moved around far too much to let him be "free" in the bedroom....otherwise I'd spend all morning chasing after him instead of getting ready for work. When it was time to go downstairs to get things packed up for the day Noah would cruise all around - usually making his first stop by the door where all the shoes were. He bee-lined for the shoes....and then would eat them. So gross! I would always chase after him, remove the shoe from his mouth, bring him back to the family room where his toys were and as soon as I'd set him down, he'd bee-line for the shoes again. This would go on for about 15 minutes until we were finally ready to walk out the door. I made sure we had his blankie - he had to sleep with his blankie. He didn't have a certain one he loved, which was nice for me because I could wash them often and switch them out. He just had to have one to sleep with. I remember driving him to daycare that day. I remember specifically not wanting to bring him. I talked to him the whole way there while we listened to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse CD (his fav!). I remember telling him I wish I didn't have to work that day and we could just play all day. For some reason I just really did not want to drop him off at daycare that day. Call it a mother's intuition I guess. I remember carrying him in, handing him to our daycare lady and after a quick kiss, "love you", and "have a good day", I was out of there. I had to leave fast in those days because he was starting to get separation anxiety. The longer I lingered the harder it was for both of us. If I had only known. If I had only known to squeeze him so tight that morning. to give him extra kisses and say extra "I love you's". To take an extra glimpse at my baby alive. I never thought that would be the last time I'd see him alive. Never. You never think "my child might die at daycare today". I went on with my day as normal. I remember what I wore and will probably never wear that outfit again. I remember laughing at the lunch table with my co-workers. I remember having a great day while my son was napping and dying. While he was all alone upstairs in a crib. 


I remember leaving work that day so excited to go pick up my peanut. I remember talking to my mom on the phone as I did everyday on my way to pick Noah up after work. I remember getting another call from an unknown number. Something compelled me to answer it. The rest of this story is in Noah's Story and I wish not to re-live it at this time. Although I do re-live it everyday of my life, it's harder to write out. 


4 months ago this morning was a happy morning. I played, hugged, and kissed my peanut. We were planning his 1st halloween (the only holiday he never got). he was going to be a pumpkin (thanks to cousin Maddie letting him borrow her costume!) and a bumble bee (thanks to my co-worker Tesa for letting us borrow this). We were going to have a halloween party and go trick or treating the next night so obviously he had to have 2 different costumes! We were planning his 1st bday party (Mickey Mouse themed of course). We were planning a life together. I still can't believe this happened. Everyday I cannot believe he's gone. I cannot believe in one moment our entire lives turned upside down forever. Whoever said the pain gets easier with time is wrong. It's actually only gotten harder. Although I can do the everyday things now,  my heart is still completely broken. I miss him so much it kills me. This never gets easier. Losing a child doesn't get easier. You just get used to your life without them and that is almost sadder. I never imagined I'd have to live my life without Noah. You think once you have a child they are going to be with you forever. You think you are surely going to die before them. 


4 months ago this afternoon my sweet, perfect, healthy baby went down for a nap and turned into an angel. 


Missing you so very much, Noah. 
XOXO
mommy

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy 15 Months Peanut!

Tomorrow you'd be 15 months old. I cannot even believe it. I don't know what 15 months looks like on you. I'm sure you'd be running around like a crazy man! Getting into so much trouble. I wonder what words you'd be saying. You'd have to be saying "mama" by now! I know you loved saying "dada" but I longed for the day when you'd say "mama". I wonder what you'd look like and how tall you'd be now. Daddy always said he hoped you got his genes so you didn't end up short like me :)  I hate wondering all these things. I see some of your friends that are around your age and what they look like and they are SO BIG! I can't help but think how much fun you'd be...how much fun we'd have together. You'd be loving this snow! I'm sure you'd try to eat it. 


The more time goes by the sadder this gets. I look at your pictures and it's like this distant memory. I know you were here and I remember all our wonderful days we had together, but the longer it gets the harder it is to imagine how you look and how you feel. It's been almost 4 months. I can't even believe I've survived 4 months. I hate that I can survive without you. I never thought I could. I don't want to, it's not fair. I deserve you and you deserve me. We deserved a life together. You're my soul mate. At your young age I totally "got" you and I felt you totally "got" me. We had this connection that's indescribable. I could just look at you and you'd laugh. I could yell at you (only a few times when you were eating your crib!!!) and you'd laugh. 


So much is changing in my life right now. I feel like I'm changing. I don't feel like the same person I was when you were here. I think it's mostly because you took a big piece of me with you when you died. My outlook is clearer now on what I want and what I need. It's actually a lot simpler, which is good because the last thing I need is more complications in my life. I am battling many hurdles right now and I wish so badly you were here because it would make everything better. Thankfully I have an amazing support group of so many people near and far. You'd be amazed at these people, Noah. They continue to write, email, text, think of us and pray for us. Although I am not always the best at writing back to everyone it's important they know how much I appreciate every single message. Especially from those I've never met and those I haven't seen in years. 


I hope you're having fun in heaven. I hope they celebrate each month birthday milestone like I did. I hope you're having fun with all your friends there. I want you to know I think of you every second of every day. I miss your sweet face so badly. I miss our life together. I miss the innocence and hopes and dreams that were never lived out. I just miss you. I miss you so so so so much. I can't wait until the day I can see you again. 
I love this picture. It was right after your 9 month shots (hence the band aid). You didn't even cry right away. They did the shot and you were just silent for a full second or 2 and then started crying. I hated those stupid shots. But I had a bottle ready to shove in your mouth the second that shot was over to help mask that pain. Worked every time! :) 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

AHHHH!!!

I couldn't think of a good title for this post. AHHHH is how I'm feeling right now so I figured that about sums it up!


I find each day without Noah to be more and more difficult emotionally. Don't get me wrong, I can now "function" daily. I can go to work and "act" fine. I can go work out, hang out with friends (sometimes - I still feel very distant), run errands, etc. However I think it sometimes makes people think that I actually am ok, and therefore they stop treating me like a mom who lost their son. I don't want people to treat me differently or pity me. However I think a lot of people just stop asking how I feel, how I'm doing, surviving, etc. Some people are really good about this and others are not. Many people still write me private facebook messages, emails, send cards, etc. It really makes me happy because it makes me know people are thinking about us, praying for us and most importantly thinking about Noah. It's really less about me and more about Noah. I know no one will ever forget him, however I like to talk about him. He DID exist and he will always be my baby. My first born, my son who received his angel wings far sooner than he should have. Some people are so amazingly thoughtful. I have to say how touched I was yesterday when my co-worker brought me a beautiful solar light for the cemetery. I have been wanting one since it's always dark after work when I go visit, however they don't sell the decorative ones in the winter. She didn't even know I was looking for them - so it really meant a lot. I hate that it's so dark and gloomy at the cemetery. I like when the sun is shining right on him. I like when I see other footprints there or gifts that others have brought for him. It makes me happy to know when other people visit him. I hate that he is alone there. I wish I could go every single day. I wish everyone could go because I feel better when I know people have visited him. He's resting at a beautiful place - St. Patrick's Cemetery in Maple Grove. He is among an old friend of mine and a friend's sister. He's resting right next to a couple other babies as well. He's located in the most perfect spot because whenever the sun is shining, it shines right on him.


I just wanted to say that I'm ok. Ok is all I'm going to be for awhile. I'm miserable in my heart. But I can function and do things. I do sometimes have fun. Although it's not that often. I do sometimes smile and laugh. But mostly at the end of the day when work is over and I'm home alone with my husband the realization sets in that even though I am still a mom, I do not have those motherly responsibilities right now. My life is pretty boring and simple. What was is no longer and will never be...not in the same way anyways. And accepting that is the hardest thing in the world. To know that what I want most in the whole entire world is to see my boy again. And I can't have it. Missing you peanut.

Monday, January 17, 2011

life in a fog

I haven't written in awhile. Honestly it's because my words have escaped me. Usually I am never at a loss of words. I always have something to say/write (much to some of your demise! :) But lately I've really been in a fog. I just kind of go through the days, go through the motions. I feel like I live in a fog. My head is foggy. Everyone around me is moving on with their life. I'm trying to live my life as what it is now, but this is not the life I wanted. I want my old life back. I want the life where I was happy and fun and full of energy! Where I had my son and we were a little family of 3. But now I live a foggy life. Where I hold all the memories of my sweet peanut in my heart. Where I have to visit him at the cemetery. Where I talk to him but he's not physically here to listen. There are so many things that just aren't right. I sit in his room and cry and try to picture him in his crib, waking up from a nap. I try to picture the cute way he used to sleep with his butt up in the air. I try to picture him running around, climbing on everything. I climb the stairs and remember how he climbed those very stairs. I was cleaning the vents this weekend and thought about how he'd run his fingers across the vents all the time because it would make noise. I was baking cookies this weekend and couldn't find one of the measuring spoons. Noah used to always play in the cupboard where the measuring spoons were. I started to think that I bet it's under the stove somewhere from when he used to play with them. It made me smile and I could've cared less that I'll probably never find that measuring spoon. All I have now are these memories. I think that's part of the reason why I'm so foggy. Every single moment in life and everything I do reminds me of Noah in some way. So I cannot completely ever concentrate on something else. And it puts me in a fog. Somewhere between living in that moment and thinking about my peanut. And then there's always the future. That is so foggy. When we had Noah things seemed more clear. He would grow up and probably play sports and go to school, etc. We'd have one or two more children and life would go on the very same way. However now things are different. My viewpoint is different. Now I think when will we have more children? Will they live? Will they be healthy? Will I be happy? Will I just want Noah back? What will life be like in 10 years? Will I still cry everyday? Everything is so unknown now. The future is very cloudy. I realized you can only plan so much. And I am a planner....I wish I could plan my whole life out! But now I have to live each day for that day. I don't plan much anymore because I don't know what each day will bring. I just kind of go with the flow...at least I try to. I'm not a very "go with the flow" type of person. But life is different. I'm different. 


I try to make Noah proud in so many ways. There is a project in the works...but I will report nothing until details are all figured out! So it's a surprise :) But having something to focus on that would make him proud of me makes me so happy. I live my life for him now. I will never know why I got to live and he didn't, but I figure since I did live, I'm going to live for him and continue to do things that would make him happy and make him smile. I love that smile. I miss that smile.
This photo cracks me up. One Monday (daddy/noah day) I got an email with this picture in it. It said "Noey bought mommy a present!" It made me laugh out loud. To see his smiling face in a giant Favre jersey! I'm so mad at myself for returning this jersey. I figured I didn't really need it and I knew it costed a lot. I wish I would've kept it as Noah wore it. If I only knew...

Friday, January 7, 2011

3 months

It's been 3 months today. 3 months since I kissed your chubby cheeks. 3 months since I saw your smiling face. 3 months since I dropped you off at daycare in your cute new jeans and county fair t-shirt and never saw you alive again. 3 months since I changed you and fed you. 3 months since I got that phone call that changed my life forever. 3 months since I saw you laying on that hospital bed with tubes everywhere. 3 months since since they told me you were unresponsive and they had done all they could do. 3 months since I told them to take my heart so you could live. 3 awful, heartbreaking, emotional, depressing, unimaginable months. It's felt like an eternity since I've had you, Noah. I am forgetting what it was like to be a mom to you everyday. My reality now is that you aren't here and it's back to just daddy and me. We have no responsibility, no diaper bags to prep, no bottles to make, no diapers to change. Worst of all we don't have you. I still can't believe you're gone. I still think this happens to other people and not me. I'm still baffled by it all. I don't get it - I don't understand why us? Why you? I guess we will never understand. You deserved so much more - you deserved a life that was longer than 11 months. You deserved a birthday. You deserved to see the world. It's hard to imagine what you'd be doing now at 14 months. Walking and talking...God I wish I could see you do those things. It's something everyone takes for granted. All I know is that you had an amazing life for 11 months. But you were not supposed to die. I am not supposed to have a child that died. Our family is broken without you. We will never have a complete family photo, a complete family vacation, your future brothers or sisters will never get to meet their big brother. They will have to learn about death at a far earlier age than they were supposed to. This is not the life I wanted. But I wouldn't choose not to have had you. Had I of known what would happen, I would still choose you, Noah. You changed our lives, brought us so much happiness and love. I would choose you every time. 


As the months go on I will continue to miss you more and more. I will visit you today as I do every week. I will continue to hope and pray that you come back to us somehow, someway. That you continue to be our guardian angel and watch over us. I love you more than words. 


XOXO
mommy

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Taking a second to look

Recently I find myself taking a quick second to look at things going on in my life and really distinguishing what is important, what is bothering me, what is right, and what I don't need in my life. After going through a traumatic experience you start to think about what is right for "you". Not to sound stubborn but I believe I have to do what's right for myself and my loved ones.

But this isn't just about those who have gone through a horrible experience, rather… it’s for all of you. You should really take a second and look at what's going on around you. What's stressing you out? Who is bothering you? Who is constantly being negative and bringing you down?
You only live once, and in this life surround yourself with those you care about, those who make you happy and finally those who give you strength. Life is too short to settle for anything. Go for something better. Take a chance, speak your mind, and eliminate your stresses. Think positive and help others, as you would expect them to help you.

Anyhow, that’s how I look at life nowadays.

Scott

True Meaning

Today I was thinking about the name Noah and how much I love it. And how sad I am that I won’t get to have a Noah that lives here with us. It took Scott and I a lot time to come up with the name Noah. We could not agree on any names. We even sat in Barnes and Noble one day with the baby name books and each made a list of names we like. We vetoed all of each others names of course. Except Noah. It was the only name we agreed on. We both knew that was going to be his name. It also had special meaning because my mom and Scott's mom were best friends since kindergarten where they went to Noah Wallace Elementary. 


So as I was thinking about all this today I wondered what the meaning of the name Noah is. I found out Noah means comfort + rest. Ummm maybe I should have realized that before I picked the name? Or maybe I did and I just thought, "oh well he'll be a great sleeper then!" I guess he's now a really great sleeper. I just thought that was crazy. 


But as if that isn't enough it gets crazier. You all know how rainbows now remind me of Noah. Even before he died our song was “somewhere over the rainbow” (the Israel Kamakawiwo╩╗ole version). I even remember it coming on a tv show once and I picked Noah up and danced around with  him to it and told him we were going to dance to that song at his wedding. ANYWAYS, I have a point – today I also was looking up the meaning of the word rainbow. For some reason I just wanted to know what it meant. It said “the rainbow is a symbol of the covenant between God and Noah.” It made me smile. :) 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Bereaved Parent's Wish List

A fellow bereaved mom shared this with me today (thanks Brittianee!) and I wanted to post it. As a new year starts and the months continue to go by, I know people will think of us and Noah less and less. That absolutely breaks my heart. Because to the rest of the world Noah may be gone, but to me he is still my son. He is still the greatest person I ever knew, the greatest love I ever experienced and the happiest I've ever been. 


Today is his 14 month birthday. I miss you so much peanut. I'd do anything to see you running around getting into mischief. I can only imagine what you'd be doing. I wish I could know for sure. I wish I could hold you, hug you, kiss you. 


A Bereaved Parent's Wish List


1. I wish my child hadn't died. I wish I had him back.

2. I wish you wouldn't be afraid to speak his name. He lived and was very important to me. I need to hear he was important to you also.

3. If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child I wish you knew that it isn't because you have hurt me. His death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my child, and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.

4. I wish you wouldn't "kill" my child again by removing his pictures, artwork, or other remembrances from your home.

5. Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn't shy away from me. I need you now more than ever.

6.I need diversions so I do want to hear about you: but, I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about him, my favorite topic of the day.

7. I know that you think and pray for me often. I also know that his death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know these things with a phone call, a card or note, or a real big hug.

8. I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in six months. The first months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my child til the day I die.

9. I am working very hard on my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always love and miss him, and I will always grieve that he is gone.

10. I wish you wouldn't expect me "not to think about it" or to "be happy." Neither will happen for a very long time.

11. I don't want a "pity party", but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.

12. I wish you would understand how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I am miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you.

13. When I say, "I'm doing okay," I wish you could understand that I don't feel okay and I struggle daily.

14. I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I'm having is completely normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So please excuse me when I'm quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.

15. Your advice to "take it one day at a time" is excellent advice. However, a day is too much and too fast for me right now. I wish you could understand that I'm doing good to handle an hour at a time.

16. Please excuse me if I seem rude; it is certainly not my intent. Sometimes the world around me moves too fast and I need to go off. When I walk away, I wish you would let me find a quiet place to spend time alone.

17. I wish you understood that grief changes people. When he died, a huge part of me died with him. I am not the same person before he died, and I will never be that person again.

18. I wish very much that you could understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. BUT I pray daily that you will never understand.