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Monday, December 13, 2010

Name thing

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. While we chose a unusual name, it came with an up and coming nickname. Finns are everywhere, and mine is not. Four years ago we chose that name. It fit. It was and is his name, and I don't regret using it. It just cuts a little harder than I thought it would. Damn.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanks Giving

I wanted to thank you all out there for your kind words an responses. I have written so many things for this blog and neglected publishing. I feel like I repeat myself so much. I guess I think life has so much repetition that it sort of makes sense. My logic and justification and faith all running in circles. Maybe I will learn eventually.

Thanksgiving was great. I came home last night feeling on a higher note, on a bit of happiness, I guess. We had a wonderful meal. I love getting into cooking and baking. We enjoyed the company of just a couple family members and a small handful of friends. I thought I would miss my family traditions, but in a way, I suppose we have made a bit of a new family here.

There is so much I have to be thankful for. I can't express how richly blessed our family has been since last November. I truly can say that I have so much gratitude for our little boy. He has been a gift in so many ways. I ache for him, and miss him, but I cannot deny what a powerful force his life has been. He has changes us, caused us to grow. Be more connected through the long hours we spend apart. Phineas was and is a gift. A pure gift.

There is a lot of stress these days, and I worry that it can get the best of me. I just have to keep moving forward. Trying to be better. I have such amazing children. My daughters have just been remarkable. They are sensitive and smart and caring. They are not perfect, but they teach me.

I am so grateful for Nate. He is juggling a lot right now, and I give him so much grief. We have been married for 7 years and I have looked back and thought how crazy it all was for us to meet, get engaged, and marry in such a short time. We have changed a lot, but our love has increased so much more than I thought it ever could.

God has richly blessed us. Though I may not know the end from the beginning, I know that He is there for me. I could not have made it through these last 8 months without Him as my guide. That is the thanks I have to give.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's Still Me

I know that this blog has become focused mainly on losing Phineas. I wonder sometimes if it has driven some people away from it. Like maybe I am just harping on about something. I suppose I have a hard time feeling "up to" posting about much else. Weird to put it that way, but it seems a reasonable way to describe it. I am still silly sometimes and I have fun with my daughters, I still love movies and talking about names. It is just colored differently. Here, though, I feel private enough to just spill about how I feel having lost a child. No, that is not who I am, but it is shaping who I become. Things that were once happy become bittersweet, changes often bring anxiety accompanying excitement. I'm still me. I am the same, but different.

Over the course of a few weeks following P's life, I learned about others. Others like me. Others that were more than acquaintances. And I had no idea. Others walking around with that hole in their heart that was missing. They hold their lost ones close, but you would never know by looking at them. I guess part of me wants people to know. Not for the pity, but for the assurance that my child really did exist and I want others to know about him. Just to hear someone speak his name out loud makes me beam.

It's still me. I am still a mother. Now I have three, but only two that I can cuddle, yet even they are getting big for my lap. So for now, this is a place where I can speak his name. Phineas. He is my son.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Half a Year Away

So it is after midnight, yes, but today marks 6 months since my little boy was born. Not sure why it affected me so much. Every time the 24th rolls around each month, I have a moment, I think, but I got through month marker number five without much trouble. Six months feels so long. I know that the next six will go by so much faster than those that preceded. Changes, so many changes.

I already feel my memory fading. Just today, while looking at a cousin's pictures on Facebook, I stumbled upon a photo of Phineas that I had never noticed before. I am sure my mother-in-law took it and sent it to family over the phone. It ended up on Facebook the day P finished his cold cap therapy. I was sort of taken aback. It was an angle that looked different from other photos we have of him. I felt like it was a revelation, like I was already forgetting what he looked like. I thought that I had memorized everything about the way he looked and felt. I hope that does not fade too much, but I know it will and I will have to rely on photos.

I feel so far from him right now, I wish I were closer. I meant to snag the photo to put with this post, but alas, I cannot find it now. Sort of like my memory, I guess.


Friday, July 2, 2010

One of those days

Today is the 2nd. It has been 3 months since Phineas passed. So far, his death date has been much easier to handle. His birth date is the one the strikes me down with the remembrance of the awful events that occurred. It is another Friday, three months since that Good Friday. His death was so peaceful and right. Not right, but right in the sense that it was the right decision.

I have been thinking so much lately about some of the things that I felt before he was born. About a prophetic dream I had 3 years before he was born. So many things that lead me to believe that he was never meant to stay.

When I was pregnant with Cordelia, we didn't find out her gender until later in the pregnancy and we both thought that she might be a boy. One night, after we had discussed some names for boys, with Phineas being the front-runner, I had a dream. I will not give all the details as it was a sacred experience for me, but it was profound and oh so correct.

I dreamt I was recovering in the hospital after having a baby boy. One that I hadn't properly seen. There was a flash and that was it. There were people around me and they were discussing his name. That Phineas was the right name, but that John should be his middle name. There was a distinct urging for us to "remember". Then, there was a flash of pain and blood on someone's hand.

And so it was. Despite all my best laid plans. I was going to have a home birth. And yet, he was born in a hospital. I saw merely a glimpse of him as he was wheeled out of the OR. I recovered in a dark room. Flashes of pain and shock. And his name was Phineas John.

Throughout my pregnancy with Phineas, I always had this strange feeling. Like I wasn't really pregnant, that I wouldn't really have a baby. I couldn't bring myself to talk about how he might fit into our daily lives. I couldn't think of it, I could not imagine it. I had a hard time preparing for him, buying clothes and other things felt really strange. Like it didn't matter whether I did it or not. I felt a lot of guilt and shame for these feelings. It wasn't that I didn't love him or want him. I did so very much, but I just couldn't see these things coming to be. I could not explain it. I thought maybe that I was just busy with the girls and overwhelmed by the move and Nate's long work days. I am sure it was not just that now.

We were struck by lightning. His life was so brief and the manner of his delivery was so rare, it feels undeniable that all these things all connect. It was going to happen. It was really meant to be.

After the dream, I thought that by "remember" we were meant to remember an ancestor named John and that Phineas would carry on that name. Now, I am sure that we were supposed to remember our Phineas, the sacred prophetic dream, his sacred name, his sacred life. He has changed us. Improved us. In some ways, I think he saved us. All of these experiences are sacred. I am so glad to have him. I hope that I will continue to remember him and honor his life.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Nothing More

I start to feel normal and then it hits me all over again. I was wishing I could see Phineas grow. But I can't. What a weight to bear. I want my baby so much. Life feels so incomplete. I don't know that it ever fully will feel complete. I have the rest of my life here to live without my child. The road ahead seems unending.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, Cordelia!

Today, well yesterday now, was Cordelia's birthday. She had a great weekend celebrating her birthday. She told everyone who wished her happy birthday that she was no longer little anymore. She is still a squirt to me! I am so thrilled to have a little girl like her in my life she is so full of energy and happiness.

I don't have any pictures as of this moment, but my sister has some, my camera was out of juice. For her THIRD birthday we shopped, went to the park, had chicken nuggets a la Leigh and had a red cake she picked out herself. She wore herself, and us out, sufficiently and happily. It was a really nice weekend. If only we didn't have to go back to the daily grind.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

What Hurts The Most

Tonight, my beautiful 4 year old asked where her baby brother was. After Nate answered, she asked if we could go get him. He said no, we couldn't. She said "I want my baby brother!" Breaks my heart into a million pieces once again.

Nate told me that after what I had heard that she said, "Maybe tomorrow we can go to the moon and ask Jesus for our baby brother back." Oh, Cecily, how I wish we could.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Mirror of Erised

I need a little humor in my life right now and Awkward Family Photos is one of my favorite sites. Though I can see the humor in this photo, I was also struck by sadness upon seeing it. It reminded of The Mirror of Erised in the Harry Potter series, where Harry sees himself with his deceased parents. Dumbledore tells him that the mirror shows your greatest desires, but warns him that you can waste your entire looking into the mirror. Sometimes your greatest desires are unreachable.

And so it is with me. Looking at what might have been. Flashes of a different future. But then I think I cannot waste my life wishing for something that will never be. I do have hope for what is to come. I need to let go and hold on all at once.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset

There has been a lack of writing. I have done a lot in my head, but when I go to put those thoughts down, my mind goes blank. The last week has had so many ups and downs it is really a roller coaster.

I have thought a lot recently about how life and death are so intertwined. How quickly death followed the almost life of my little son. He never truly lived, except in my womb. He was the most active baby I have had. Always moving, changing positions, stretching out and curled up. He was so full of life. This moving is ultimately what caused his death. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I think there was a moment that Nate, our midwife, and I all felt that he truly passed on the way to the hospital. He was so close to life, but he was dead. Then he was resuscitated and brought back. It was truly only a half life. I am not sure how much his spirit was even in his body those nine days. I did feel watched over and like he was merely there for us. He had what he needed and was gone.

I have been struck by how often such things used to occur, when infant death were much more commonplace. Women went into giving birth prepared for death. Death of their baby or their own. Death lingers so close to this pinnacle of life. Most of the time, the outcome is just as it should be. Healthy mother, healthy baby. Not all are so lucky though.

When you look at a picture of a sunrise or sunset, it can often be hard to tell which one it actually is. What separates them is so small, it is an opening or a closing. Sometimes it is indistinguishable.

I suppose in a way it does comfort me. The sunset isn't truly the end. There is always another sunrise.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

8 Weeks

Today was 8 weeks since Phineas was born. I am doing OK after a couple really hard weeks. The reality of it all is so heavy and overpowering. There have been good moments too. The good moments are increasing I think, and then the hard ones come at those quiet moments, creeping up behind me when my mind starts to wander. I miss his so very much.

Yesterday was Nate's birthday and it was good. I am grateful for him. So very grateful. We had a good evening at the movies and then we had a cake. It was nice to feel a bit more normal again.

I just feel tired and stretched a bit too thin. I am trying to get through it. Walking in the morning, staying busy during the day, trying to accomplish things. Ah, I will get through it. I will.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Meant to Write Something

but I didn't.

I survived the last few days. They were hard. We received his death certificate in the mail on Friday. Strange. Mothers Day ways OK. Bittersweet. I was asked at church by someone who doesn't know me how many children I had. Without hesitation, I said, "Two." Then I felt guilty about it. But to explain I only have two living would be much harder to say and she probably didn't care to hear about it anyhow. Then the last few days I have just felt awful and heavy tired and sore. And hurt. I fell down the stairs twice in less than a week. It is the third time living in this house. Gah, I didn't know how much more I could take.

So I didn't write. I am now, but it feels only half-hearted. I am feeling better but sometimes I am just surviving and that is all I can do. I think sometimes of a quote from a movie. "I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?" And that is it. I gotta keep breathing and living. It's OK. I don't know what the future will bring, but I hope it includes happiness and healing. But for now, I am just surviving.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Out of the Nest

Today I went with my friend to her elder son's track meet. The kids were running around playing, Cecily and Cordelia with two other girls around Cecily's age. Calvin, my friend's younger son who is 10, was walking around the trees near the track. He came over worried about a baby bird that was on the ground. Calvin was wondering what he should do to help this little bird. Truly, there was nothing he could do. There was no nest to be found and the little bird could not fly. The fledgling's parents were also incapable of saving it. How sad it is to come across a situation where the outcome is so bleak.

And yet, that is the way of life, one false move, one simple misstep, one moment and the world can change. Death is such a common thing. It happens to every being. Everything with a spirit only has a limited time in their earthly state. Some lives are long and others are so very short. I posted something a couple years ago about how incomprehensible the death of a young child would be. How funny it all seems now. I have now gone to that precipice. I have seen my young son barely live and go on to somewhere I cannot. He has surpassed me. There was nothing I could do about it. I was helpless. My own fledgling out on his own, not able to survive.

That is how it is with death. One moment we are living and going about our day and in another moment it could all change. The only consolation is that while he has shuffled of his mortal coil, Phineas still lives. Always my perfect little baby. Always mine. All is eternal, even the little bird today. I do pray that I can remember that.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Another Day

Yesterday marked one month since Phineas' death. I felt more trepidation about the day he would have been a month old. The day of his death was actually rather peaceful. It was hard, yes, but I felt strength that day that I can't describe.

It was so strange. The night before we made an appointment for his death. The thought of doing such a thing is almost sickening. We were supposed to be there at 4 to sign the papers. They had to have two doctors there to sign. The attending doctor, who at first I thought was so distant, but who ended up crying with us over his death, and the resident who was an all business know-it-all.

I woke up that Friday morning feeling nervous and sick about it all. I was not sure how I would absorb it all. Our bishop's wife came an picked up the girls and we drove to New York to the hospital. We received a call from a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and she said she was on her way to meet us there.

We arrived and went to his bedside. I stroked his head and little toes while they told us what would happen. We decided to wait in the "transition room" (basically a storage room with a bathroom attached, where we stayed for two nights) while they removed the tubes and wires and cleaned him up. They brought him to us, beautiful and sweet, and his heart was just barely beating. I could feel his spirit near, like he was there reassuring me. We each got to cuddle him with our family members near while he slipped away. The photographer took some wonderful pictures. Then, everyone left us alone with our sweet boy.

By then, he had been confirmed dead, but I just wanted to hold his little body for as long as I could. His hands and feet. His cute little ears just like Nate's. I couldn't imagine letting him go. We cried together over our little boy lost. We wanted him so.

Eventually, I had to give him up to the hospital staff. I put him back in the bassinet and the nurse wheeled him down the hall and out our sight.

That was it. I felt great peace, but my heart was still an ocean of sadness and longing.

So yesterday, didn't feel to bad, but Nate and I just felt overwhelmed and anxious the whole day. I think, inside we knew. A month gone. A lifetime over. A lifetime left to live. We just have to get through it, one day after another. I hope we make it.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Irrational and Not Okay

Another rough day. It was cold and dreary. Nate was pretty down this morning and I had a restless night. The house went from pretty good, to a complete disaster today. The girls were whiny and then Cecily chopped of Cordelia's hair. I just didn't feel up to much. I am still fighting a cold and it shows no signs of going away.

I drove down to Nate's office and when I was at the intersection where you turn to go to the cemetery, I thought about him. I thought how his poor little body would be so cold. It felt so irrational. I know he is not there. I just kept thinking about how perfect he was. He was so beautiful, with his little button nose, nearly 9 pounds at birth. Strawberry blond hair and big feet. I can still feel his soft skin. Just so perfect, like he could have woken up any second. Oh, how I wish he had!

It seems so many thoughts I have feel so crazy and irrational. I feel angry about people having healthy babies, and angry at pregnant women for complaining over their discomfort. I know, I did complain a little, but most of them will end up with a pink and crying baby in their arms. I can't stand that my innocence about pregnancy is gone. It does not always turn out.

So today I am not okay. I am so incredibly heartbroken and angry.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Living On The Moon

One of the hardest parts in dealing with Phineas' death has been helping the girls deal with it. Being 4 and almost 3, the idea of death is hard to approach.

When I was pregnant, the girls knew that we would have a baby soon and that he would come out of me. Cordelia was a bit resistant to the idea because she has been the baby for so long. Eventually, they were both excited at the prospect and they would talk about him and then they would use Baby Phineas as a character in their games and play. I knew they would be great sisters.

Then, when I was in labor, the girls were sort of confused, but they got the idea that the baby would come soon and that the midwives were there to "help push the baby out" as Cecily said. Cordelia was particularly interested in what was going on and wanted very much to be a part of it. They were up late and my sister was with them and entertaining them. I was excited that they would be present for the birth.

But, instantly everything changed. My sister, thankfully took them downstairs to play in the basement with their toys while the commotion of the emergency vehicles and moving me out of the house happened. They were none the wiser and they eventually fell asleep.

When I arrived home in the morning, not feeling great and without a baby, they were confused. Eventually they started asking questions about where Phineas was. We told them the hospital but didn't have the heart to tell them much more.

Unfortunately, they were not able to meet him. I think that is one of my greatest regrets, but I am still unsure of how they would have reacted. I thought they would be confused and wonder why he would not, or could not wake up. That their requests to bring him home would be more frequent. Those would always drive me to tears.

After he passed, they continued to ask for him and about him. We told them that he had gone to live with Jesus. I think it would satisfy them, but they could sense how sad we were. Phineas continued to be a part of their playtime. An imaginary baby, really. We showed them pictures to help the understand, but I am not sure how much they get.

Then, Cecily started to talk about how Phineas was "living on the moon with Jesus" and I wondered how she got to that conclusion. Then I remembered a movie that had a character die and her essence floated up toward the moon. In Cecily's mind, that is what happened to Phineas. I am grateful for this.

Still, every once in awhile, the wounds feel raw and open again. We have to remind them about Phineas. Last night, we watched a movie where a character had to say goodbye to his friends and go back to normal life. Cecily started to cry about this, and then started to cry about how she wanted her brother. I felt my heart break once more. We all wanted him so much. I think I underestimated how keenly they feel and know about our whole family's loss.

Sometimes I feel like I have let them down, like I have deprived them of their brother. I hope though, that this is not the case. They have a brother forever.

I hope they continue to keep Baby Phineas in their play. That he will always be a part of us. Even if he now lives on the moon of their imagination.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Handbook For Grief

When your baby dies, no one at the hospital gives you a handbook for how to grieve. Especially not one you barely knew. There is no one to tell you how you are supposed to get through it. No one tells you about the ups and downs and going through the process time and time again.

I know there is no right way or wrong way. I want to go back to normal but I do not want to forget. As irrational as it may seem, trying to move on can fill me with guilt. Doing normal, everyday things can feel like a betrayal. But then, I think, what is the alternative? To be awash in sadness every moment of the day? No. My friend told me that after her sister passed, she had similar feelings, but that your mind and body want to protect themselves. They don't want to feel pain. So, we escape. And that is OK.

Then, some days are hard. Yesterday was not easy. Phineas would have been 4 weeks old. I imagined a little bit of what my girls were doing at that age. That's when the emotion comes crashing down. In some ways, it is like you are standing on a beach, right where the waves are coming in. The water will pull back and you will barely feel wet and you feel like you can move quite easily. Then a wave comes and you can take it. It isn't too bad. And then there are those waves that take you by surprise. They don't look to bad, but then when they arrive, they knock you over. It is a process that repeats over and over.

Some day, my feet are barely touched, and others, I feel much deeper, with waves of emotion making me almost incapable of control. I cannot allow myself to get too deep, as i know I am a person prone to depression and guilt. Having my girls around from day to day really helps. I think the pain would be unimaginable if I had no other children. I know someday, I will walk higher on the beach, further away from the tide and better able to appreciate it.

I have to convince myself that I can be happy. That is what Phineas would want for me. And I should not feel guilty about it.


Monday, April 19, 2010

A Changed Life

About a month ago, I thought about posting on here about how much my life had changed since I last posted. I was pregnant, we had moved cross country to Connecticut, Nate was working for a film company and we were just trying to get settled in a new place and getting ready for a new baby. If I only knew what would happen.

I can't help but think that, somehow, it was all meant to be. Why? I can't explain, but so many things lined up in such a way that we lost our child. It is so hard to say the words out loud. It is easier to type them, but only just. It has been nearly a month since our little Phineas was born.

It was going well. Things were progressing nicely with labor at home. Baby sounded great and I was almost completely dilated. My midwife encouraged me to get my water to break. After the rush of fluids came a foot and a cord. My whole life changed. What was meant to be peaceful and full of joy became a harrowing ride to the hospital trying to hold my baby in.

I knew from the look on my midwife's face that my baby was dying and I had no way to stop it. I was wheeled into the OR but they had me push since the baby was so far out anyway. Moments later he was born, barely alive. It was so quiet there in the room as they worked on him. I was in shock and freezing, my body shook uncontrollably. Fear gripped me and I just waited to hear one thing, the cries of my baby. But I never would.

He was stabilized but had suffered severe brain trauma due to being deprived of oxygen. They transferred him to another hospital to undergo cold cap treatment. It was his only hope. It would hopefully put off some of the brain damage and allow his brain to heal itself.

I left the hospital 9 hours after he was delivered and agonized over what would happen. The next days we kept vigil at the hospital, hoping for something to change. After his therapy was over, the prognosis was still very poor and we had doctor after doctor repeating it.

We knew the prognosis, but we still felt like there was a reason to hope. We went to church and attended the temple. We felt peace that all would be OK. I struggled with this a bit because we thought it meant that he would be made whole, that he would be healed. I felt his presence, I knew he was there with us. And then, I knew, finally I had peace that all of these promises would be ours, just not in the way we expected.

April 1st, just eight days after his birth, the sun came streaming in our bedroom as I woke up and I just knew. It would be OK. But, it was time for him to go. I could not keep him longer. We told the doctors that we were ready to do "withdrawal of care" the next day.

So on April second, Good Friday, we let him go. They removed the equipment and we held him as he passed, surrounded by family. It seems so strange that I felt more happiness and peace on the day that Phineas died than I did the day he was born. I feel like his life was sacred, that there are many reasons, most, likely unknown yet, why his life was so short.

I miss him so much now that sometimes my arms physically ache to hold him. Sometimes I just fall apart. People are often asking how I am doing. Mostly, I say that I am doing OK. And it sometimes true, other times, it is all I can say.

I think now how much life has changed, but then, how much the same it is. My life feels so different now, but looks nearly unchanged. I have to find a new normal now. One where my son is a presence and a memory, but not physically there.


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