My Babies

My Babies

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Pumpkin...

I have never spoken of this to anyone in fear that it would not last, but I have decided to share my story of the pumpkin. While I was on bed rest, my mom took Russ to Tate Farms. I was really sad that I was unable to take him, but knew it was best for Nicholas for me not to go. I also thought that there would be many more trips with Kevin and our two boys to the pumpkin patch. I asked Russ to get us a pumpkin to carve and he said he would. He had such a fun time and he even got a pumpkin for his daddy, his mommy, and his baby Dinosaur. (He is such a thoughtful little boy.) All the pumpkins were perfect and we were able to carve his and sit the others out in the house. Sadly, my pumpkin was the first to go, then Kevin’s, and followed by Russ’. The only pumpkin that seemed to be lasting was the one Russ bought for Nicholas. I was excited and thought that the pumpkin would make it for Nicholas’ arrival and I would take a picture of him with his pumpkin. Unfortunately, I was never able to bring Nicholas home and show him his pumpkin. I didn’t even come home for weeks. When we finally did come back home, I was surprised to see the tiny pumpkin still sitting on the counter, but there it was…still perfect. I couldn’t believe it. It had been 3 months since Russ had picked it out and there it sat. It has now been over 4 months since Russ brought it home and it is still on the counter. It is still just as perfect as it was the first day it came here. I think it is still waiting for Nicholas to come home. Either way, it gives me comfort to see it each day. I love thinking about my sweet Russ picking out the perfect pumpkin for his baby brother. How innocent and kind his little soul is. It breaks my heart that this is the outcome for the pumpkin. In a way, I feel like the pumpkin. I was picked to be Nicholas’ mommy and I too am still waiting. I know my wait will be much longer. The reason I never talk about the pumpkin is because I am terrified it too will have to leave. I know this probably sounds silly to most, but if you have ever lost someone so important to you, you will understand.
I am thankful for the pumpkin, the little hands that picked it out, and the sweet angel it was chosen for.
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” – Elizabeth Stone
This is so true. My heart is always with Russ on Earth and with Nicholas in Heaven.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Successful Meeting and More...

          Yesterday was a very successful day. We (Kevin, Mom, Amanda, and Sharron) met with several people from Huntsville Hospital. We got to see the room we will be using to make "The Baby Dinosaur Room". This room is so important to my family and friends and I am so thankful for all the support in helping make this project a reality. I spoke to one of the nurses in labor and delivery about needs they have in the hospital and decided that memory boxes is something they really need on the Labor and Delivery floor. I hope to spend some of my time this weekend making memory boxes to take to them. I have told others that all the energy I would have put into raising Nicholas, I want to put into this project. I want to help as many other families as I can. I am so lucky to have such a supportive family that wants to help others as well. I have had so many others ask what they can do to help. Here are a few suggestions: Donate money to the Huntsville Hospital Foundation (make sure you put that it is for The Baby Dinosaur Project) or donate memory boxes (these are photo boxes found at Hobby Lobby/Michaels and they are decorated with baby stickers and ribbon - if you just want to purchase boxes and I will decorate them that would also be helpful). I will add more ways to help soon; of course continued prayers are always helpful.

          A lot of people have told me I am strong. I don't always feel strong. I have no other choice but to live. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and a teacher. I feel I owe it to the people in my life to try and make the best out of each day. This does not mean that I do not hurt everyday and think about Nicholas at every moment. I have told Amanda (my sister-in-law/best friend) that I feel like an actress. I am good at covering up my true feelings. Of course, these feelings do come out eventually, but I am usually at home. I try not to let others see how much it truly hurts, because I don't want to bring others around me down. This can sometimes be difficult, but I feel it is the easiest way for me. I know other bereaved parents have struggled with this and I pray that eventually we can all become more accustomed with the new life we have been dealt. It's painful and it hurts and I don't think I will ever feel like my old self, but I do have to try and make the best of the time I have on Earth. Some days I would love to just scream in the middle of a crowd, but I know it will still hurt and I will still miss Nicholas. Some days I would love to not get out the bed, I would rather just stay under the covers and pretend none of this had ever happened. Those are not actions I can actually do, but I think about them often. I really try to stay positive, but sometimes I really want to just scream, “THIS SUCKS!!” Then, I remind myself how childish it would seem for a 25 year old to that, but that is the truth. I don’t even like that word, but I cannot think of a better way to describe the feeling. It hurts so much to not have Nicholas here with me….I miss my sweet baby so much.

Letters to my babies...
My two sweet boys,
          I am so proud to be your mommy. Being a mommy is the best job in the world. It can also be the hardest job in the world. Don't think that because it can be hard for me sometimes, that I love either one of you any less. It is just a struggle to make sure I am doing my best as your mom. Of course, it is harder being the mommy of an angel. I don't think other people really understand that the need to be a mother doesn't leave when you lose your child. I still have the constant ache in my arms, where you are supposed to be Nicholas. I also worry what effect all of this will have on you, Russ. You are such an amazing little boy and I want nothing but the best for you. I love watching you ride your bike, you are my little "speed racer". I also love how thoughtful you are. You always worry about me when I am sad. You are such a sweet, sweet soul. I know you would have been the best big brother to Nicholas and it breaks my heart that he is not here with you. I love you both very much and I am thankful to be your mommy.
                                                Always loving you both,

I am so thankful that Kevin is my husband. I am very lucky to have such a supportive husband. He is such a great daddy!!

"Lord I waited to hold my little one on my lap and tell them about you.
But since I never had the chance, will you please hold them on your lap and tell them about me?" - Unknown


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another Day...

I must admit that writing was never something I found comfort in. I have always been much more of a reader. I found comfort in reading others words of wisdom. Things have changed for me now and I now find comfort in writing to Russ and Nicholas. I guess I find this comforting because I don't have Nicholas here to talk. Also, when Russ is older, I want him to be able to look back and read the letters and understand how deeply I care for him and his brother. I want my boys to be able to be proud of their mom. I want them to know they are loved no matter where they are...

Sweet Russell,
          You are my light and my joy. It is because of you that I am able to get up each day. It does not matter what kind of day I have had, because when I see you everything is better. You and your Daddy are the reason God left me on Earth. You have such an amazing personality to only be 3. Last night at bedtime you and Daddy kept tickling each other and you said you just couldn't stop laughing...I thanked God for giving me such a wonderful little boy with such a delightful soul. You are so much like your Daddy and I am very thankful for that. He is an amazing person and I am glad you are like him. Thank you Russell for being my light. I will always love you! Mommy

My angel Nicholas,
          I hope you are having a great day in Heaven. I am sure you are, because I am sure you are being rocked and loved by your Mamow. I am excited, because tomorrow we will be going to see the room at the hospital that will one day be the room for families to gather when they have lost a baby. You are the reason for this room. You give me the strength to help others. I am so thankful for the courage you give me. I am still sad, but I think that is something that will never go away. I will always have a piece of me missing and I think that is what people mean when they say the "new me". This is the new me and I am still learning how to be that new person. It isn't easy. I would much rather have you here with me. I love you sweet angel! Mommy

Thankful (I am also going to include a section called Thankful - this is just to remind myself that there is good in this world)
I am very thankful for the people in my life and the help they have given me throughout this journey. I am thankful for the support and guidance shown by each of them. I am thankful for my husband and the never ending love he gives me. I am thankful for my mom and her unconditional love. I am thankful for my best friend and the amazing person she is and encourages me to be.

Quote (Just something else to help me along the way)
"You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow" Katy Perry's Firework
This has become one of my new favorite songs. If you have not listened to it, you should. If you have heard it, listen to it again and really think about the words J


Monday, February 21, 2011

A Little Background...

My name is Kassie and I am 25 years old.  My husband’s name is Kevin and he is 26 years old.  We began dating as seniors in high school and have been together ever since.  I guess you could say we are high school sweethearts.  We were married on June 24, 2006.  I am a teacher in a local school system and Kevin works for a missile defense contractor.  Kevin and I were blessed with our first baby boy, Russ, in December 2007. We knew we wanted more children, but because of complications during my first pregnancy we decided to wait a few years. In November 2009 we decided Russ was getting to an age where he needed a sibling to play with. In March 2010, we found out we were expecting another baby. We were all so excited!  We took Russ with us to our first appointment and all shared in the excitement of seeing our new baby on the ultrasound. Russ quickly decided we should name the baby “Lucy Dinosaur”. We were not sure where this name came from, but Russ insisted this was the baby’s name. Russ went to most of the appointments with me and he loved hearing the baby’s heartbeat. Everyone was positive I was having a girl this time, but I kept telling them it was another boy. At my 20 week appointment, Kevin, Russ and I anxiously awaited to find out if our precious baby was a girl or a boy. At first, we had trouble seeing, but then he quickly showed us that mommy was right – we were having another BOY!! I was so excited; I wanted Russ to have a brother. As soon as we found out it was a boy, Russ said, “Well it’s just Dinosaur now!”  Everything looked perfect with him; he looked just like Russ and had a perfect little face. The nurse even commented on how active he was. On August 4, 2010, I went in for my regular 24 week appointment. I was a little unhappy because I was seeing a different doctor than my normal doctor. Either way I mentioned to the nurse that I had been having some contractions. She decided to monitor me for 20 minutes and see if I had any. Soon after that the doctor came in and said they needed to send me to the hospital because I was having a lot of contractions and they wanted to try to get them stopped. I was very nervous as I went over to the hospital because I was by myself and I couldn’t get any of my family to answer their phones. Once I was taken back to a room and hooked up to monitors they started giving me medication to stop the contractions. Eventually, my family was all on their way to the hospital so I was not by myself anymore. The nurses and doctors tried several different types of medications and after being given Magnesium Sulfate, Terbutaline, Procardia, Indocine, and 3 days in the hospital my contractions finally slowed enough that I could go home on complete bed rest and Procardia. This was a complete shock and I was very worried because school was starting in less than a week. Everything went fine during bed rest, it was hard to have to spend all day lying on the couch, but I knew it was for the best. Kevin and I eventually decided on a name for our beautiful baby boy, Nicholas James Whitaker. Russ was still going to call him “Dinosaur” and pretty much everyone called him that. On October 23, 2010, friends of ours threw us a couple’s shower. It was wonderful and so much fun. I was supposed to spend 13 weeks on bed rest and taking Procardia, but at my 36 week appointment the doctor said I was dilated to 1 ½ and he felt there was no stopping labor at this point. That evening, Kevin and went for a walk with Russ and hoped this would help start labor. On Tuesday night, I was having quite a few contractions so Kevin and I went into the hospital and spent the night there. We were sent home the next morning because they said I was not progressing. I went in on Monday, November 1, 2010 for my 37 week check-up and he said I was dilated to 3 and was sure I would go into labor in the next few days. I begged him to go ahead and induce me, but he felt it was better for the baby and me to wait until I was at least 38 weeks until I was induced. This is the last day I heard my Nicholas’s precious heartbeat; it was so strong and the most beautiful sound in the world. On Thursday, November 4, 2010, (37 weeks and 5 days) I was feeling really good and had finished up some laundry and cleaned the kitchen. Nicholas had been moving around most the morning and I wasn’t having any contractions. Around noon I decided to get in the shower and noticed I was having some cramping like pain on the left side of my back. By the time I got out of the shower I could barely stand up and decided to call Kevin. He called his mom and had her come over to sit with me until he could get home. I was excited and scared – I knew Nicholas “Dinosaur” was coming this time. I was hurting extremely bad by the time Kevin’s mom got to the house and she felt she needed to go ahead and take me straight to the hospital and have Kevin meet us. On the way to the hospital, I called my mom and told her I was in extreme pain and positive I was dying. She told me it was going to be okay and she would meet me at the hospital. It seemed like the longest ride to the hospital I have ever made in my life. Kevin was waiting outside for us when we got there and wheeled me up to labor and delivery. We registered and waited for what seemed like forever. I kept feeling like I was going to throw up or pass out at any moment. Kevin and his mom said I had no color left in my face. Finally a nurse came to take me back. Once we got to the room she asked me to change into a hospital gown and I couldn’t get out of the wheelchair. Kevin helped me get changed while lying in the bed. The nurse started to hook up the monitors and couldn’t find Nicholas’ heartbeat, she said he might be turned and she would get a different nurse. I knew something was wrong and I knew my sweet baby was not okay. Another nurse came in and tried to find his heartbeat and couldn’t. They told me they were going to get the doctor to come in with an ultrasound machine. When he came in I already knew what he was going to say, but I was praying I was wrong. After about 3 minutes of doing an ultrasound, he looked at Kevin and me and said, “There is no heartbeat.” Those are the most horrible words I have ever heard in my entire life. I started telling them they were wrong, that there was something they could do. I didn’t believe them and I begged them to do something to save my baby. Kevin held me during this and cried with me; we were in complete shock. Kevin’s mom was with us during this time and held us as well. At some point my Aunt Lisa came in to the room and realized what was going on. I called my mom and told her I needed her and she was already on her way. I was still in a lot of pain, but I didn’t care, I just wanted my baby. Eventually the doctor came back and told us they were going to induce labor and it would take about 6 hours before I delivered. I didn’t want to deliver him, I wanted him to stay where he was and for him to be okay. I felt completely numb.  They eventually began to draw blood, start IVs, and give me Pitocin. My veins would not cooperate and they ended up blowing my veins before they could get an IV. My blood work came back and my white blood cell count was high so they gave me antibiotics. I was given an epidural and my water was broken. I don’t remember much else during this time. My mom kept telling them something else was wrong because I had no color at all and my lips had turned gray. The nurses said I was just in shock from losing Nicholas. They told everyone to let me rest and that I would need my strength to deliver in a few hours, so everyone, except Kevin, decided to leave my room. One of my nurses, Marie, decided she would go ahead and check me and see if I had progressed at all. The only thing I remember is seeing blood everywhere and her saying get the doctor. Kevin quickly called my mom and told her something was wrong and I was going to the OR. I remember Kevin saying he was not going to leave me and he told the doctor he had to stay with me. Once I was taken to the OR there were nurses everywhere. They strapped my arms down and put a mask over my mouth. I don’t remember anything until around 9:45pm. I woke up and saw the entire room had blood everywhere and then saw Kevin sitting beside me. I asked why it was so late and he told me I had been in surgery for 3 hours and had lost most of my blood volume. I then asked where Nicholas was and I told them I wanted to see him. Marie brought him over to me and I was able to kiss my beautiful sleeping angel. He was perfect. Once they finished with me and took me to recovery, they brought Nicholas back to me. I held him, kissed him, and begged for this to all be a nightmare. They took pictures of Kevin, Nicholas and me. They made his footprints and handprints for us. I was still unaware of what exactly had happened, but I was told I was waiting on a room in the ICU. Kevin tried explaining as much as he could to me and I was told I had had a placental abruption. My placenta had detached from my uterus and took away Nicholas’ oxygen and nutrients. I was eventually moved to ICU and I carried Nicholas the entire way, still begging for this to be wrong. I was still receiving blood transfusions and in a lot of pain. They took Nicholas’ away around 2:45am and gave me medication to help me sleep. It didn’t help much; I woke up begging for them to get Kevin for me. I still didn’t believe my baby was gone. The nurses and doctors continued to monitor my blood levels and they were still giving me transfusions. The doctor came in that morning and explained more about what had happened to me during surgery. I had a hematoma on my uterus and they could not stop my bleeding because of a condition called Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC). This meant my blood would not clot and they could not stop me from bleeding. The doctor told me they thought they were going to lose me, but luckily they were able to save me. In my mind I was just thinking, I wish you could have saved my beautiful Nicholas. That afternoon a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, was coming in to take pictures of Nicholas with Kevin and me. Although this was one of the hardest things I have ever done, I knew I would always want those pictures of my beautiful angel. They took beautiful pictures of him and everything they did they did for free. I was amazed at their generosity. My nurse, Marie, came back that day to stay with us during pictures. We talked about wanting to do something in Nicholas’ memory. She told us that they didn’t have a room available to families during times like this and they didn’t have a place for families to go for adoptions. Eventually, I had to remember that Kevin and I had to plan a funeral for our beautiful baby. This is the worst thing a parent should ever have to endure. We are so lucky to have families that supported and helped us through every step. I was still very weak and receiving blood transfusions, but all I could think about was telling Russ that his “Dinosaur” was now living in Heaven. My grandmother was taking care of Russ and Kevin’s mom bought a book about losing a baby. That night my grandmother explained to Russ what happened and that “Dinosaur” was not going to be coming home with us. On Sunday night, my blood counts started coming up and I had my last transfusion. I received a total of 10 pints of blood, plasma, and platelets. I was still in quite a bit of pain, but it was much harder making the decisions for Nicholas’ funeral. The doctor told me that he felt I would be released on Tuesday, so we decided to have Nicholas’ funeral on Thursday, November 11, 2010. Kevin went with his dad and dug Nicholas’ grave while I was still in the hospital. I was released on Tuesday and we had decided we would stay with my mom until I was ready to return home. On Thursday morning I got up with a broken heart – I knew I was going to say goodbye to our beautiful “Dinosaur”.  My mom helped me get ready and get Russ ready. We arrived at the funeral home around 11:00am and I had asked they let me hold Nicholas before and place him in his casket. Everything was set up and ready for him. When they brought him to me, my heart broke all over again. I wasn’t ready for this; I wanted my baby back so bad. Kevin and I were left alone with Nicholas. We kissed him and told him how much we loved him. Russ was brought in to see him for a few minutes and he was so sweet to “Dinosaur”. He told him he loved him and kissed him. Again, my heart broke. Once I laid Nicholas down in his casket, Russ gave him the toys we had for him, covered him with his blanket, and gave him a matching dinosaur. We each gave him another kiss and told him how much we loved him and would miss him. Kevin wanted to close the casket and as I watched my baby being closed in there, it was as if my entire world was falling apart. I felt lost and completely broken. Nicholas’ had a beautiful service and so many people attended his viewing and funeral. We were given one last chance to see him before going to the gravesite. One last chance to kiss our baby, one last chance to touch his beautiful face, and one last chance to tell him how much we will always love him.
If I have learned anything from all of this, I want my baby to be remembered for being a beautiful life that was taken from this world way too soon.   Reflecting on our experience and our ongoing experiences Kevin and I want nothing more than to help others through this painful life changing process.  We have learned many things on our journey, but most importantly we have learned that losing a loved one, especially a much loved and eagerly awaited baby, is something that requires time, support, and the help of those around you. One of the ways I have found help is by writing to Nicholas. I have now decided to start my own blog to share my letters to Nicholas. I will also share the joy of being Russ’ mommy and Kevin’s wife. I believe those are the two reasons God left me here.