Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Does She Know?

My Missing Baby - by Unknown Author

Does she know how much I love her?
Does she know how much I care?
Can she feel my arms around her?
Even though she isn’t there?

Can she feel the hurt I carry,
Deep inside here in my heart?
Can she see me cry these tears,
Because we are apart?

Does she miss me, like I miss her,
From the depths of my very soul?
Is it warm where she is?
Not like this world - so cold.

Does she see me when I’m lonely?
Feeling empty, low and blue.
Oh God, I hope she sees me,
In everything I do.

I just need to know she’s near me,
So I can breath her baby smell.
I need to feel her in my arms,
So many things I want to tell.

I want to tell her that I miss her,
And how much I love her so,
I need her to know how much I need her
How I didn’t want to let go ……..

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I recently wrote about grief tidal waves. Yesterday I was hit by one.

I knew the date of Janessa's original due date was approaching. July 11th, 2009. It's been two years but it still stings so painfully. It is a date that I will never forget because it was the date our daughter was expected to be ready to enter our world, to physically join our family. Her due date landed on the anniversary of a dear friend's death. I can't help but think there was some meaning in that coincidence. Two lives taken way too soon. I like to think he checks in on her now and then, wherever their spirits reside.

I woke up this morning feeling extra heavy with sadness. When the baby went down for his first morning nap, I was able to check out and have a little cry-it-out time and a few short bursts throughout the day. It was long overdue. . The wave still hasn't released me.

I held JD a little extra yesterday. I cried as I stared at him in his crib and as I rocked him in his nursery. As I sit in that rocker and look around the room, I still see the purple paint behind the blue. I see the plush butterflies on the chairs that now have airplanes and boats on them. I see what almost was.

I am grateful for what is, but the mother in me still does not know how to live without one her children.

In some alternate dimension, this past weekend may have been her second birthday party. As I sat this morning on my back porch, where I spent many hours in my initial grief, I tried to picture that life with her. I pictured the party that would have been held in our backyard. I could see her dress and her little pig tails with ribbons, and how they bounced as she gleefully ran throughout the yard. In my vision I was always just a arms reach away. I am too far away from her now. In these visions, her face  eluded me. How I long for a glimpse of her, of what she would like now. I have spent many hours day-dreaming of her.

In honor of her due date, my mother came over to tend to the boys so I could work on Janessa's memorial websites. I lit one of her memorial candles and placed it on the desk next to her picture while I worked and let it burn far into the evening.

I took a moment and studied her picture and tried to remember her being here, in my arms, where I was able to touch her. Those memories are not as vivid as they once were. I am clinging to them as hard as I can but they continue to slip away. But she was here. Sometimes I have to reiterate and convince myself of this because her time with us was a fleeting moment. SHE DID EXIST. She does exist, maybe in that other dimension and if not there, I know her energy exists. I know and feel this in my soul. Hers is out there somewhere.

Tonight after I had finished working, I held and stared at her picture again. As the candlelight flickered its glow upon her face, I stroked her cheek and wished for more...so much more.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Team Janessa 2011

I tend to do these March For Babies posts late. Both years I have had to wait for the MOD to post the team pics up on their website. We bring a camera but for some reason we never seem to get a team pic with ALL the team members in it. There are always a few that sneak off to the bathroom!

We had another AMAZING turnout with both team members and donations. We had 45 team members make it to the walk and together we raised $3,035.00! We surpassed last year's total by $510.00!

Thank you to everyone for your support. Doing this in Janessa's name means so much to us. The money we raised will possibly prevent another family or families from experiencing the death of their child(ren). To spare a family the pain we carry, I would walk endless miles.

My friend Amy came the day before to help me do all the last minute preparations. She was such a huge help and I appreciate everything she did.

We did up some new shirts this year. Jonathan needed a new one and so did JD, as well as all the new team members that joined. We even had a surprise team member or two show up at the walk. This time we made her footprints her original size, added the pregnancy and infant loss awareness ribbon, and on the front of the shirt put her Butterfly Footprints.

JD wearing his big sis' team shirt
We made up buttons this year for the family and anyone else who wanted one to wear. I brought the extra ribbons from her one year memorial service to pin on as well.

My cousin, Jen, surprised us by having bracelets made up for all the team members. They have her name on it as well as white butterflies. Each time I see a white butterfly I think of Janessa. She only wore two outfits and both were white. The symbolism of the butterfly is why I created Butterfly Footprints. The bracelets also happen to be the color of the March For Babies.

The weather was slighlty better than last year. We are hoping that we will get lucky one year with sunshine! It would be nice to take it a bit slower and be able to take in the day for what it is. A day to help all babies have a chance at life and a day to pay special remembrance to our baby girl.

The place we walk is very nice. There are three different location MOD walks in our state and we choose this one. Last year we had many of our team members express how much they enjoyed it. This year quite a few members inquired to us about whether or not we were doing it in the same spot and we're glad we chose to do so. This will probably be the location we use each year.

 As you complete the walk they hand you a sticker and when JJ approaced the finish line, the gentleman asked him who he was walking for. JJ told him that it was for his sister Janessa. The man then asked if she was here. JJ told him "No, she is in heaven." That volunteer gave JJ both a sticker for him and one for Janessa. He has it in a bag ready to bring it to the cemetery for her.

Riding three miles in a stroller really works up your appetite.

Miss Mikhaila here was due one month after Janessa.
Isn't she a doll?

And wipes you out.


We did a small balloon release before we left the park. We wrote some messages to her on the balloons. Thank you Kim for bringing those for us.

After the walk, some of the team joined us for lunch. It was nice to spend some time with them.

I remember sitting at my computer the morning of the day before the walk. I checked the team page and the emotions took over me. I sat and I sobbed. I was so touched by the generosity that our friends and family were doing in Janessa's name.

Her life may have been brief but she continues to impact this world.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Signed. Sealed. Delivered.

I was going to write a post going over the play by play of my most recent doctor visit with my new primary care physician. Instead I am pasting the letter I wrote to her. I get sick to my stomach each time her words replay in my head. You will all get the main idea of my unbelievably awful experience.

I am unsure why I have such bad luck with doctors. I had such a horrible experience with my previous primary care doc right after Janessa died. (You can read here) I wish my high risk ob could be my one and only doctor so I could spare myself these encounters.

I hope my next doctor works out.

Below is the letter with only a few small changes of personal information.

June 4, 2011

Dr. X,

After I left your office on Friday and had time to sit with my experience with you, I knew I had two things to do. First was to switch primary care doctors and second was to write this letter. The visit to your office on June 3rd, was a horrible experience and one I do not wish to repeat.

I understand you have never experienced the death of your child and unless you have carried a child, loved that child, and then had to bury that child, you couldn’t possibly understand. I would not wish that on any parent. What I would wish for everyone, is to possess some compassion. Something you seem void of. I understand as a doctor you have learned to separate your emotions from your work. I agree in some cases that it is necessary. I also believe there is a time to call upon your human emotions while dealing with your patients.

While expressing my struggle with anxiety and the death of my daughter with you, I teared up. It has been only two years since our little girl passed and I still experience moments of sadness and grief. Her two year anniversary was only two weeks ago and emotions are currently raw. Telling me I should have only grieved for one year was insulting to me and would be to any loving parent. You may have read in some text book somewhere about a one year grief timeline but the pain and grief of losing a child does not have a time limit. We did not wake up on the day after her one year anniversary and suddenly feel healed. Grief does not work on a schedule or have a cookie cutter mold.

Grief is not something I enjoy. I wish she had not died and was here with her family, but she did and that is a part of me forever. The grief will ease on its own timeline, not mine - or yours. It has already eased some and I am sure it will continue to do so as the years go on. I am NOT having a “prolonged grief reaction” as you stated. My reaction is a perfectly natural response to loss of a child. Her death was unnatural,  and losing a child is traumatic. The bond between parent and child is unlike any other. It is completely unrealistic to think that losing a child is so easy to “get over”. You never get over it. You grieve, you deal, you accept what has happened and it becomes intertwined into your life, for the rest of your life. I think about my daughter each and everyday and will do so my entire life.

I have worked hard on my grief. I succumb to it and worked through it to be at the place I am today. I raise my two boys and function daily. I feel joy each day. I have learned to enjoy life again. Not quite like before but I am sure that will return in time as well. Grief does still sneak in but how can it not? That is normal. One of our children is not here with us. Feeling sad about the death of a child only two years later is NOT abnormal as you seem to think it is. In fact I will grieve the loss of my daughter my entire life. That won't change. Only how I grieve will.

When you told me, “It is time your new baby starts erasing your pain.” I was appalled. He has filled our lives with additional joy but he did not come here with a job. We did not bring him into our family to rid us of grief. We had him to join our family. To share our love with. Not be a cure or eraser of our pain. To have him be born with a “job” would be extremely selfish of us.

I was also insulted at your suggestion we adopt a little girl so we could have a girl in the family. I would not adopt a little girl to replace our daughter. I could never imagine putting a little girl in such a position. The thought of having her grow up and learn about her sister’s death and think she was there to fill some void breaks my heart. Imagine how she would feel. Another little girl would not be a fix to our daughter’s death. Children are not replaceable and should not be adopted to fulfill a purpose imposed on by their parents. They should be adopted because you want to open your heart and share your love and family with them.


Maybe you should do some research on the process of grief. Educate yourself in an area you seem to have little understanding or compassion of. Possibly brush up on your mental health information as well.

I hope this letter wakes you up to your poor bedside manner. I hope that you think about your words before they exit your mouth. I hope you can dig down deep and pull out some empathy when the situation calls for some and help you fulfill the oath you took to heal. What my biggest wish is for, is to possibly spare another grieving parent the additional pain you have caused me.

- Malory

Grief, the most profound form of sorrow,

demands the support and compassion
of our fellow human beings"
-Alan D Wolfelt

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Bereaved Mother

“Do not judge the bereaved mother.

She comes in many forms.

She is breathing, but she is dying.

She may look young, but inside she has become ancient.

She smiles, but her heart sobs.

She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS,

but she IS NOT, all at once.

She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.”

- Author Unknown

Friday, May 27, 2011

International Babyloss Mother's Day 2011

Last year I had an amazing IBLMD with two wonderful mommas. I wrote about it here.

For those unfamiliar with International Babyloss Mother's Day, you can visit the official website to learn more.

I knew that I defnitely wanted to have another meet up again this year. Unfortunately Stephanie was unable to attend but I was able to meet up with Kristin from Once A Mother again.

Last year, at our balloon release we had a beautiful thing happen. When looking at the pictures of the release we saw three baby faces in the clouds. You can read about and see the pics on that post. It was an amazing sign from our little girls. As a gift this year, Kristin brought me a picture of the release in a beautiful angel frame with Janessa's name in beads across the top.

A crazy detail about this is we all became pregnant very shortly after that day. I was that day but it was too early to know yet. We have all gone on to have healthy rainbow babies. Actually, Kristin went on to have twins!

We met up with our children and husbands. We had lunch at a park, went for a walk, and then visited Janessa's grave. We had visited Kristin's daughter Peyton's grave last year. At the cemetery we released some balloons in honor of our little girls.

I find that last shot breathtaking.

I wish we would have had more time that day.

Thank you Kristin for sharing this special day with me again. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Chase

A little baby is crying.

I can hear it. My oldest son can hear it too.

It is a haunting cry.

He starts to run towards the sound of it. I understand why he does but I know he shouldn't. I yell to him, "No! JJ come back!".

He continues to run. Fast, frantically. JJ does have so much speed when he runs.

I keep calling to him and then I take off after him.

I continue to yell, "JJ, stop!". He ignores me and keeps going.

I can feel how badly he wants to reach this baby.

But he cannot.

I seem to know this already. I know that we could run forever and we would never get to that baby.

He keeps on running as though he knows where he wants to get to.

I can still hear the cry. I know it can't be her. Can it?

I am now sobbing, I yell out, "JJ!...please stop!...come back!........she is, dead."

The baby's cries stop.

I finally catch up to him. He never did reach her.

I know she is close by. I can feel it. But I know she is out of reach.

I grab him, we fall to the ground. We are both crying.

The baby is silent. 

She is gone.  Again.


Dreams have a way of pulling out so much of your subconcious. I had this one this morning.

You see, we chased the dream of having a baby girl/little sister for 31.5 weeks.

We were so excited. JJ was too.

We almost had her. We were so close. She was almost in our reach for us to have forever.

It haunts me each and every day that we did not get to hear Janessa cry. The sound of the silence in the room when she was born was deafening.

We did not have JJ come to the hospital until after we gave Janessa to the nurse. It was the biggest mistake and regret we have. I feel his grief would be easier to navigate if he had met her. There would be so much less for him to wonder about. He "chased" information and details about her for months after her death. He still frequently does. We have told him all we can but his little mind still churns and processes. As he gets older, he will process her death over and over again far into adulthood.

The sound of JJ sobbing at her funeral still at moments echoes in my ear. The pain and sadness he was feeling that day, I wish I could have taken it away for him.


God knows I would run forever to get to her.

But she is out of my reach.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two Years

Two. That is how old you would be today.

I wish I could get a glimpse of the two-year-old you. I stare at your picture and wonder so often.

I remember your big brother, JJ, at two. How smart he was. How much fun he was. You would be so full of life right now. You would be learning so much and we would be living and seeing the world again through your fresh set of eyes.

They tell me that you will never have to experience the pain of this world or the ugliness that seems to be more prominent by the day. I try to find comfort in that. To know that you only knew love here and now you only know peace.
You will never have teary eyes or a broken heart. But I have trouble with that. You see, my sweet Janessa, I wanted to wipe those teary eyes and kiss away the pain. I wanted to protect your heart and when the time came when I no longer could, I wanted to help mend it.

This world can be an ugly place but it is also incredibly beautiful. Life can be full of pain - your death has shown us an extreme of that, but life is also full of joy and beauty. Beauty you do not get to experience. I picture you in the most beautiful place of all, and you may see beauty that I cannot fathom, but I wanted to watch you grow and experience this beauty here with us.

Maybe one day I can arrive at a place where I can take full comfort in knowing that you are where we all hope to be. But now I sit here and selfishly wish you back to my arms.

I long for you more than my written words could ever tell.

We have a special day planned out today. Visit with us if you can.

Happy 2nd Heavenly birthday Janessa.

Mommy loves you.

Friday, May 13, 2011

May 13th

Pic sent to me today from Mary Yee. Thank you.
Today was a beautiful spring day. Exactly like the one on this day two years ago.

This date will always lay so heavy on my heart. Two years ago today, her little heart stopped beating and ours shattered.

Last night, I could not sleep. The whole timeline of events played over and over in my mind. These flashbacks come so often still but these were so intense it felt like I was physically there. I felt the fear, the devastation, the shock, the pain.

I cannot believe I survived this.

So much has happened in these past two years. They seem to have flown by so quickly. I am able to function but the grief, the grief is still very present. Tears lay behind each blink, pain is still behind each smile. I think about her all day.

I have read so many times how year two is just as hard as year one but in different ways. It is so very true.

To know I have to live without her for the rest of my life can be at times completely overwhelming. I feel so weak, so broken. There are moments where I feel as though there may come a time where I can no longer be strong. I fear a future meltdown where this all becomes just too much.

There are days where I look into the mirror and see these eyes looking back. They are new eyes. Still stranger-like. I have been trying to get used them since she died. They lack the spark they once held. I only see sadness. They fool many but they have seen things no mother should.

Some days I look myself in the mirror and have to talk myself into being able to go on with the day. I tell myself that I have made it this far and I can do one more day. I still take one day at a time. People think and tell me they admire my strength. What they don't see is the mom, wife, woman, who still struggles with everyday tasks. I still find daily duties to be incredibly overwhelming. Some days around here I label as "FAIL" at the end of the day. I have learned to accept these. To cut myself some slack.

Each day I acknowledge all I do have in life to be grateful for. I use this as motivation to keep on trudging through the waves of emotions that at times almost pull me under. I have learned to accept the wax and wane of grief. I ride the waves instead of drowning in them now.

I hold onto the words and writings of other moms who are much farther on this path of childloss. They tell their stories and write how with time the pain continues to dull but they say it never ceases. I don't know how it ever could. I hold onto the promise of days where the pain is not so intense. To days where I may feel complete joy again...or take my first real deep breath again.

I know that some days she is sending me some extra love. Her spirit finds me and pushes me on.

If she comes to visit me, I wonder if as I sit here typing this, if she is sitting close by me wiping the tears that are falling down my cheeks. If you are my sweet angel, or if my words find you, please send Daddy some extra love. His heart has been so heavy lately.

I love you babygirl.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Janessa's Garden
The month of May has arrived.

May brings warmer weather, flowers, the smells of spring, sunshine, and new life.

New life. May did bring me new life. JJ was born on Thursday, May 29th in 2003. After that, May represented the time we recieved our most treasured gift in life, our son. We were shown a type of love we had never known before. I looked forward to planning each of his birthdays and those who know me in real life, know I throw one heck of a party!

Six years later, May brought me death. Thursday, May 14th, 2009 our beautiful daughter was born still after passing the day before from a placental abruption. Holding her in our arms we once again felt the love of what only a parent could know, but this time- May also brought us pain and sadness. Pain we never could have imagined. The worst type of sadness that exists in this world.

We buried our child on Monday, May 18th, 2009.

May and I now have a bittersweet relationship. Each May we get to celebrate JJ. We give thanks that he is here and has filled our lives with such love and joy. Although I wish time would slow down, I still look forward to his birthday. A day just for him. A day that we celebrate his life.

It is him who allowed us to keep trudging on through the pain of losing his sister. I am scared to think where I would have let myself go if he didn't give me reason to keep living.

But now each May I endure my daughter's birthday without her. I visit a cemetary instead of a party. I bring her gifts but not of toys. There are no dolls, tiaras, or tea cups in our home or to be given. Instead I buy flowers and balloons and place them upon a scared piece of earth and hope no one takes them off her plot. We sing happy birthday to a cold headstone instead of holding our little girl in our arms feeling her warm arms around us.

The days leading up to her angelversary, birthday, and each holiday are always worse than the actual days themselves. I can feel it; the extra weight on my chest, the tears building behind every blink, the sadness that I feel throughout my entire body.

I miss her so much.

We have planned out what to do on her birthday this year. We just have to work out the details. Last year we had a large memorial but this year will be small and private. It will be her daddy, her two brothers and I spending the day thinking of her, celebrating our love for her, and enjoying life that day--for her.

"As long as I can I will look at this world for both of us. As long as I can I will laugh with the birds, I will sing with the flowers, I will pray to the stars, for both of us."
-Author Unknown

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

JD's 4 Month Letter


You turned 4 months old on April 27th. That was last Wednesday. Yesterday you turned 18 weeks. How are you 4 months old already? How quickly the time is passing. I want to pause these moments. Freeze this time with you. But I know all too well that the pause button doesn't work not even when you plead for it. So I will cherish each day with you. Burn these moments into my memory all while trying to enjoy and stay in the moment.

Today at your 4 month check up you weighed in 15 pounds and you were 25 1/4 inches long. I have nicknamed you my chunkey monkey and my rolie polie. Your chubbiness just makes you that much cuter!

Since you were out of character and extremely fussy after your last vaccines we decided to split them up today. We will have to go back in a month for the second half. I hope you feel well tomorrow when you wake up.

You are probably the happiest baby I have ever known. You greet us each morning with the biggest smiles. You instantly put me into a good mood. Thank you for that. Mommy needs that still. Your morning good-moods could stem from the fact that you sleep about 10-12 hours straight each night. You have done this since 9 weeks old. You usually fall asleep all on your own between 7:30-9 p.m. and awake around 6:00-8:00 a.m. Mommy thanks you :)

I have read a few times about rainbow babies being extremely happy babies. I am starting to believe there may be something to that!

During the day you drink about 7 ounces every 3-4 hours. You mostly drink 4 bottles a day. Your reflux is still a nuisance but the medicine you are on seems to keep you comfortable without pain. You even smile right after spitting up! You no longer make the faces while spitting up like you are in pain. Since you feel better so does Mommy! Your new little rock and play seems to help as well. It keeps you inclined and you now sleep in there in place of your bassinet which you outgrew. WE LOVE IT and wish we had it from the start. You are not a noisy sleeper anymore. There are no more grunts and groans but I was able to capture it on camera for you to listen to when you are older. Thought you should know what you put us through :)

Now that you are more comfortable you let mommy get more things done around the house. I enjoyed carrying you or wearing you in a sling but your weight was wearing on my shoulders and back. Now you excitedly play on the floor with your play gym and love to pull on your dangling toys. Sometimes you play until exhaustion!

You are starting to pick your legs all the way up and also kick them in the air. You once again enjoy bath time and now you kick and splash mommy the entire time! I am looking forward to see you playing with your little feet.

Your head control is getting stronger and once Mommy can get Daddy to put it together you should have fun playing in your excersaucer.

You can roll from your tummy to your back and have done this from very early on but due to your reflux, tummy time around here is very limited. We try once in awhile but your tummy doesn't agree with it and usually ends in a mess. We will keep trying.

You little man are teething. There is no question. On April 14th I found the little tip of the tooth that is trying so fiercely to exit your gum. It is right under the surface but has yet to emerge. You are a drool monster and since you have already started bringing your toys to your mouth, everything goes in there now! I swear you may chew off your finger.

Your favorite thing right now is chewing on your burp cloths. Mommy uses Gerber cloth diapers for burp cloths and they have become your "blankey" or "lovey". When you are sleepy you love to cuddle it to your face. I make sure to bring an extra one with us wherever we go.

Going back to how happy you are...on April 16th Daddy got your first real laugh. Leading up to that, Mommy would only get these half chuckles. You would try to laugh but it was almost as if it got stuck in your throat. You have only done a real laugh once or twice more since that day. You are really making us work for them!

Your big brother thinks you are just the cutest little kid ever. He quite frequently and randomly tells us how cute he thinks you are. He says, "JD is sooo cute I wanna squeeeze him 'til he pops!". Doesn't sound too nice but he means it with love. Don't worry, we won't let him pop you. He is also starting to teach you life lessons. The other day while your big bro was unhappily doing his homework, you were fussing near him in your chair... JJ looked over at you and said, "JD, life is rough sometimes." Now this is true JD, but life can be sweet too.

We love you JD. We look forward to watching you continue to grow but if you can, would you slow down a bit!?


Mommy xoxo

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Room Reveal

I thought I would show you all how JD's nursery turned out. You all have read my many posts about how special Janessa's nursery was to me and how very emotional the process of remodeling it was. In the end, I felt able to begin packing away her items and preparing for her little brother's arrival. It took me almost umtil the end of the pregnancy to really start doing anything to the room. I needed to do it in my time. When I felt ready.

It turned out very nice. I chose a theme that he could stick with you foe awhile. With JJ, I chose a baby theme and he quickly outgrew his room decor. JD's room is a very comfortable place. I chose calming colors for the walls and I really do feel relaxed while in there. JD seems to feel the same. I sometimes bring him in there when he is being a bit fussy.

So here are some pics.....

As you enter...

A stereo for his lullabies :)

Full of toys...

What do you all think?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Arrival of JD (part three)

...Continued from The Arrival of JD (part two) (missed part one? Read that here)

The nurses brought him over to me in only a diaper. I untied my gown and we were able to have skin to skin contact. It was amazing. I have tears in my eyes as I type this. 

We had originally planned to have some alone time with just us for a little while, then bring JJ in and then later everyone else. We sent for JJ earlier than expected because we were so excited for them to meet. He had been waiting for this moment as long as we had been. I will never forget JJ walking in the room and his reaction to him. He came in rather excited and he came over to get a good look. He then became very quiet. I think the thought of "who is this baby laying on my mommy?" was running through his head. He stayed quiet that first night and was observing the happenings around him.

The family was anxious as well. They came in shortly after. I never gave him up. He stayed on me skin to skin until everyone had gone home for the night.

Our nurse who came on at 3 pm was working until 3 am that night. She was able to be there for the birth (11:36 pm) when normally she would have left at 11 pm. She was amazing and I am so happy she was there as was she. Right before 3 am she escorted us to the post partum room and helped us get settled in. We met our new nurse. We were exhausted. They wanted to take JD so I could get some sleep. I knew I needed rest but the thought of that nurse taking him out of the room made me sick to my stomach. The last time a nurse walked out of the hospital room with my baby she never returned to my arms. I didn't see her again until she was in her casket. I started having major anxiety. My husband wanted some sleep and he didn't seem to think twice about them taking him for a few hours. I do not beleive he had any idea what I was going through at that moment. I eventually reluctantly let them take him.

My nurse came back in to give me some pain meds and she said "you have an angel as well". I smiled and nodded and a moment later it hit me...she was talking about Janessa and she was a mommy of an angel too. She went on to say that she too lost her daughter, her second child in at 20(something) weeks pregnant. She told me her daughter's name which was beautiful and we exchanged sympathetic glances. I wish she hadn't caught me off guard as I would have had so much more to say.

My husband fell asleep rather quickly but I...I cried myself to sleep. I almost had the nurse bring him back him.

Maybe an hour later our nurse came in and said they had given him his first bath. She expressed that he was lethargic. She said that the babies usually fuss or cry during their bath and he didn't seem to flinch. He stayed calm the whole time. She said his vitals were all good. She told me the pediatrician would check him out in the morning. When she left every crazy thought ran through my mind. I was extremely scared. I am not sure how long after but she was concerned enough that she decided to bring him back in the room so she could put him back on me for more skin to skin time. When she did he became a little more active. She said that was the most alert she had seen him and he really wasn't doing much.

The pediatrician checked him out later that morning and he was doing much better. That was a relief.

My husband then finally got to hold him.

When JJ came the next day he proudly wore his "big brother" shirt again and was able to hold JD.

I could not seem to take my eyes off of him.

I had envisioned this day for so long. Imagined what he may look like. I loved feeling him in my arms.

His ultrasound pics made us think he would look so much like his daddy. I remember glancing at him for the first time when he was under the warmer and thinking how completely wrong we were! He came out looking just like big brother.

Janessa looked like Jayden does now but JD looks like JJ did when he was baby.

We also took our first family picture.

JD was doing ok but he would have these terrible gagging episodes. It was as though he was trying to cough up mucus but it would get stuck in his throat and he couldn't seem to get a breath. He would turn red but moments later he would gasp some air. IT WAS AWFUL. I freaked, I mean FREAKED out every single time. I would panic so much I would shake. We must of paged the nurse atleast 10 times regarding this. She would come in pat his back and calm us down. He tended to do this during feedings quite a bit but also after a good length of time after feedings as well. I was a wreck. Due to this we stayed an extra night in the hospital.

They think because he had such a fast delivery his lungs did not have enough time to have all the fluid squeezed out of them in the birth canal. He continued to have these gagging episodes for about a month after he came home as well. Thank God I have a nurse for a neighbor :)

Besides the scary gaging fits the rest of the hospital stay was nice. We were looking forward to going home but I honestly liked having the nurses there to ease my anxiety. Well except for when one of the nurses we came to really like took about 20 years off my life when she asked me a question...

She took JD to have his hearing screening done. About 15 minutes later she came back in our room alone. I was in the bathroom when I heard her say slightly panicked..."Where's the baby?" to my husband. I got all jittery, tried to hold my composure, opened the bathroom door and exclaimed "You took him to his hearing test!". She replied "Oh oh that's right..I'm so sorry I came in here and didn't see the baby...". She honestly had a slight slip of the mind but that slip was enough to stop my heart from beating. In those seconds so many thoughts ran through my mind...was he kidnapped? etc... I was extremely happy when she wheeled him back in minutes later.

On Thursday December 30th we were discharged from the hospital. JD had his hospital pictures taken and then we got him all ready to go.

JJ and my mom were waiting for us at home. I was pretty much ready to go by that point although I would miss the reassurance of having a nurse right there.

We packed up everything and I was happy when they allowed me to walk out on my own instead of using a wheelchair. I had been trapped in a hospital room for 3 1/2 days and needed to stretch my legs and get some sunlight.

We walked down to the lobby and I sat on the bench while he pulled the car up front. I sat there thinking of the incredible journey we had been on for the past 19 months.

This time I was happy, relieved and incredibly grateful to be leaving the hospital with my arms full.

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