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 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. 

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 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! :)