Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year

Looking back I can't help but think, 'this was supposed to be the best year of my life so far.' It definitely started out that way. But it has ended so incredibly opposite of what I had hoped for, dreamed of and imagined.
That's pretty much why we're not out celebrating or ringing in the new year like so many we know. I'm pretty down now with the year coming to a close. A chapter of life that I'm still struggling to come to terms with. I thought I was doing better. But then the holidays came up and the crying started all over again. The other night I was on that verge of being fast asleep when suddenly I realized, Oh. My. God. I had a baby. And he died. The thought punched me in the stomach like it had just happened in that moment. I still have those realizations. Because life keeps going and I have to keep up with the quick pace at which it flies by. I don't have time to think about Korbin sometimes during the day. And when I do finally have a moment, it really hits me hard.
So, despite still being such a Debbie-Downer, here's to hoping for renewed hope, renewed faith, maybe even renewed joy in life. 2013 has to be better than 2012. Because I got a lotta love to give.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas is...

Overwhelming to say the least. I thought I was holding up okay, not too emotional. But the past few days I haven't had energy to do much except sit on the couch with the TV on and Pinterest up on my iPad. The tears have come more frequently again. And then today a succession of beautiful gifts and poems just really tugged at my heart. I tried to get pictures of them all, but some are hard to read.
First I saw this poem, the first picture below, posted by the Molly Bears Facebook group and really struggled to not burst into tears.
The next one that you see is from my youngest brother Jack, who was so excited for me to open my present. It's a locket that can be engraved as well.
Then my dad and stepmom gave us a globe that says: 'If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I'd walk right up to Heaven and bring you home again.' Good grief it brings me to tears just typing it out, and I broke down in front of everyone when I first opened it.
Next you see the ornament my sister and her husband found for us. I just really love the note to Korbin from them. And she wrote his name on the ornament so I am hoping the engraver can use that as a guide when we have it engraved.
Lastly, I made ornaments for us and our family. I couldn't find an angel ornament perfect enough so I came up with the K with angel wings instead.
I'm emotional right now. But we are so surrounded by love, thankfully. A few others have done things to remember Korbin as well. From including him in a Christmas wish to showing us how he was included in a memorial tree. I'm so grateful for those who have remembered him with us. Because we will certainly never forget the tiny life he had with us.
I got a lotta love to give.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Seeing Viv

I have been thinking about Korbin's 'due date buddy' (as my friend calls Korbin, which I absolutely love) since she was born. A beautiful girl named Vivica who made her family wait and wait and wait for her. Before she was due to arrive I thought I would be strong enough to meet her and hold her, and welcome her to life. But her arrival came and went with my heart still so broken the thought of holding her would still bring me to tears.
As a month passed, I thought, okay. Maybe I am ready now. My heart would soar momentarily thinking about seeing her, seeing Di again. And then, just as suddenly as the thought occurred to me, my heart would break all over again and I'd be left overcome with intense grief. I can't, I just can't. But I so want to.
It's just so hard to think that she's here when Korbin's not. They were growing together in a way, and then suddenly separated. It became a painful reminder of what my heart wants so badly; to hold Korbin and love and cherish him here.
Of course this all has made me feel like a bad friend. Especially after hearing how others in support group held their friends' newborns when they arrived. I admire them and the strength it took to push down their pain to allow someone else's joy in for a moment. But I'm just not ready emotionally.
Ry asked me not too long ago if we just have to do it. Go see the babies no matter how difficult and painful it is. If we need to just push ourselves, because really, we'll never be 'ready'. Then Di said she thinks of Korbin as a guardian angel to Viv, and I think that's what finally gave me the strength I needed. It was as if Korbin was giving me strength because I knew his presence is felt in their home too. I was so moved by her telling me this that I finally knew exactly what I wanted to get for Viv. I'd been trying to decide for so long. So, I found a blanket randomly that says 'love' and sewed on a patch that is a K with angel wings. The blanket was seriously randomly placed with no others like it available; it was meant to be. The patch is so that Viv can have that physical feeling of Korbin watching over her, hopefully protecting her. I had originally been thinking a onesie, but she'd grow out of that soon and it's purpose would be lost. A blanket isn't outgrown.
We stopped by yesterday. I was a little nervous about how I'd feel, expecting to not be able to stay long. And so it surprised me that I really wanted to hold Viv. I honestly didn't think I could, but then I didn't want to let go of her either. She smiled and talked to me. And I even rocked her to sleep with my bouncy dance. I was okay. It is so good to know now that it really isn't so painful to see her. And it reminded me of something a mom said at support group. When a lot of us moms feel that holding a baby instead of our own cherished baby angel is cheating, this other baby isn't my baby. They can never replace that feeling of holding your own child. And I get that now.
I still have mixed thoughts and feelings about the Cuddle Babies volunteering, about holding babies I do not know, but I'm so glad seeing Viv wasn't as painful or difficult as I had anticipated. Because I seriously missed Di, and I got a lotta love to give.

Edit: Vivian is actually Vivica!

Friday, December 21, 2012

In Memory Of...

Today I finally went shopping for baby items to donate in Korbin's memory. My sister-in-law, Alex, volunteers for a fantastic women's shelter in Bellevue called Sophia Way. They work with homeless women, some of whom have children to care for as well. Ryan and I are really very blessed with our jobs, our home, and the life style in which we can live, and I can't help but think about the children who are homeless in this world when we have so much to offer. Of course, I'd love to be spoiling Korbin right now instead, but I can't make that happen. So, because I'm so driven to do something baby related (this drive goes hand in hand with that aching arms feeling), I decided giving to babies in need was the answer. My plan each Christmas-time is to give to a child in need at the age Korbin would be if he were still here. Newborn to six months this year, one year old next year, two years old in 2014, etc.
What I didn't expect was how emotional this process would make me feel. At Target, I had trouble holding back my tears as we picked out clothes. And it just really got to me when Ryan pointed out I wasn't picking up the diapers or wipes that are more natural and without harsh chemicals, like I was so paranoid about when planning for Korbin's arrival. I almost felt compelled to tell the lady at the register why I probably looked distraught buying so many baby items. And by the time I dropped things off at Sophia Way I think I'd gone numb. My self-protection mode kicking into high gear. After the drop off, I got a bit shaky and anxious feeling. I'd been feeling anxiety just at the thought of walking through the baby aisle, and I think it just had to finally really get out of my system before I could relax knowing I was done.
These things are so much easier thought and planned out than actually done. But I did it, and thankfully with Ryan by my side.
I got a lotta love to give.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Loss vs. Their Loss

I read a great article on NPR on how to help someone who has lost a child. It really resonated with me so I posted it on Facebook. But it didn't seem to really reach many, I think, and it made me wonder if it had to do with how different my loss of my child is as compared to the couple's loss of their children in the article.
Here's the article for reference:
This couple lost their children, who were barely in their twenties, and wrote about what friends and family can do now, and even in the years to come, to comfort those who lost their children in the Newtown tragedy. But, what really struck me was how they compared their loss to the losses of the much younger children in Newtown, about a 15-year age difference.
So why are these losses so comparable, when my loss is considered so different from them? To the point where I get comments such as, 'at least you know you can get pregnant,' and, 'you're young, you can have another baby.' No one would dare say these things to someone who has lost a five or six year old, let alone a twenty-something. So why is it so okay for society to tell me to just try again? I wanted Korbin, and having another child will never replace him, or the love and hopes and dreams I have, and had, for him.
These comments may seem encouraging, but they so grate on me and my fragile nerves. It seems like no matter how often I post things like the do's and don'ts, or even say them outright to those around me, society seems to turn the other cheek. It's just not okay to deal with loss and grieving publicly still, at least not for someone who lost a newborn. My loss is still not recognized as a loss in many hospitals. Many have their dying child whisked away without being able to see or hold them, and are told to just move on. But you don't just move on when your child dies. When your heart breaks. You can only hope to just keep going.
Even for someone who has had a miscarriage. That is still a devastating loss of hopes and dreams. Of the child you just began to love. I do think every loss is different, and that I can't understand someone else's loss just as they can't understand mine. But they are all still a loss of a child, the most devastating loss a person can experience according to the experts. If you wouldn't tell someone who lost their five year old to just have another child, then don't even think about saying that to me.
I hope people read this article, because Ryan and I still need the comfort of friends and family. Especially during the holidays. That doesn't mean we need constant hugs, or the 'I'm so sorry' look of pity. Just be here for us. Talk to us. Even just a note or text to say hello. Because, despite how much we're hurting inside or that we seem somewhat unresponsive to joy and excitement, we still got a lotta love to give.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A stocking for Korbin

I knew I wanted an ornament for him, my little baby angel. But until Ryan mentioned it, it had never occurred to me to make a stocking for Korbin. And now that I've finished it, I see it would have felt so empty without it.
We went to Michaels to get a similar base stocking, the puffy paint (which apparently is no longer called puffy paint as the girl who helped me had no idea what I was talking about...), and a little doodad to sew onto it. When I made Ry's and my stockings seven years ago, I did the same thing, but this time I asked Ryan to pick out any charm he wanted for Korbin's stocking. And he found a perfect little car charm.
As much as I at first thought, 'why would we do a stocking? Is that weird? Will people think we're crazy?' It felt so good to put it all together in the same style as our other stockings. It fits, and most certainly has a place amongst the others. It was ridiculous of me to think otherwise. As a friend at work put it today, this is our first Christmas WITH Korbin. Last year we had no idea we were going to have him, or even that I was pregnant. This year he became a part of our family.
I think of Korbin every day. And with these thoughts, I got a lotta love to give.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Every December Ry and I drive out to Leavenworth, enjoy the snow and all the Christmas lights, buy an ornament (or four) from Kris Kringle and then make the trek back home. This year was supposed to be that plus one, but, it was just the two of us. Despite that we both tried to make the best of it and even had an agenda and list of specifics to find at Kris Kringle. I think we both needed the magic that Leavenworth oozes this time of year.
Seeing the snow at Stevens was beautiful, but it was gone by the time we hit Leavenworth. The 90% chance of precipitation (aka snow) ended up being a crystal clear, sun shiny day. No big deal, we'll eat at Gustav's and then enjoy the lights while shopping around. We were seated in the exact spot we sat in our first trip there ten years ago (well, the first trip was a pass through so I could see the lights then be home to make curfew...).
That was pretty cool for me, plus food and service were good too. But shopping was a total bust. Kris Kringle had absolutely nothing we liked. Normally we find so much we have to pick and choose what to actually get. And on top of that, no lights went on when it got dark! No Santas walking around. No choirs or music. Just us and a bunch of other tourists...with adorable new babies.... So lame.
Emotionally it was a major let down. And we hit traffic on the way back and got cranky and just couldn't wait to be home.
As I write this I feel like this is such a minor day in life to be complaining about because of the many losses of innocent lives in Connecticut earlier today. Such a tragedy. No parent should ever lose a child, no matter the circumstances. It's heart breaking. And yet I still need to have my selfish emotional moment. So many posts on Facebook saying, 'hold your children tight tonight.' Well, I can't do that. So, as my heart goes out to all those who lost someone today, I'm trying to take comfort in holding my Korbin bear to soothe my aching heart and arms. It's selfish but my grief still overwhelms me, and thinking of parents losing children intensifies my grief, brings it all to the surface once again.
And yet somehow, through all the grief, I got a lotta love to give.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our Korbin Bear

He's here! And he turned out perfectly. When ordering our bear we could choose an unembellished bear, which is basically just a weighted bear, or you can tell them special things that mean a lot to you and would be nice to have represented on your bear. For us, I needed some sort of race car theme on our bear as the nursery was about to be decked out in anything race car related. I also asked that a heart with a K be on our bear. One thing they weren't able to do, which is totally fine, was to put a zipper pouch in the back of our bear that Korbin's urn could fit into. Some mothers in support group have that and I thought it was pretty cool. I also didn't want a colored bear, like blue or green. I just don't like those personally.
Opening the box I had no idea what to expect, and I have to say I was totally shocked at how heavy 1lb8oz is. I assumed it wouldn't feel like anything, but it definitely has weight. I let Ryan look over our bear, and he gave his seal of approval. He can be so picky.
I held our bear on my lap, sitting upright, and it actually was soothing. I don't remember how Korbin's weight felt because of all the pain meds I was on immediately after surgery.
It's moments like these, receiving such a special gift from an amazing group, that I tend to go numb. I wonder if I'll cry, expect myself to, but I just kind of shut down for a moment. I guess it's easier than to let all the emotion out so suddenly. But it definitely feels good to have our Korbin bear at home. And it makes me want to donate more to Molly Bears so others who can't afford to bump themselves to the front of the line can get their bears sooner too. Because I got a lotta love to give.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Bear

I am actually excited that we'll be picking up our Korbin bear tomorrow after work! I have no idea how they decided to decorate him for us, but I gave them lots of ideas to work with for sure.
It's bittersweet, but it will be so good to snuggle our Korbin bear in my arms. Maybe it will help soothe the aching arms I feel so often these days? Who knows, but I'm still happy to feel excited about this, about something. Because I got a lotta love to give.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Don't let your struggle become your identity

How? I am really struggling with this now. The holidays are just rough, they suck. And it's because my baby is gone and my heart and arms yearn to have him here to fill the void I feel in life now.
In support group last week the facilitator hit the nail on the head when she said that not only does she mourn the loss of her child, but she also mourns the loss of herself. And it's so true. The day Korbin died, I died too. The old me. Gone and replaced by a new me that I'm still trying to figure out and get to know.
In my case, how do I not let the most devastating loss a person can experience change me. How do I not let my struggles now not become my new identity?
I know I need to overcome my struggle, to take the reins my life again. But how and when? I know I keep asking those two questions over and over again. It's just hard to find strength through the pain. And I just still don't get why. Why? Why us? Why Korbin? Life was so perfect. So much happiness lost. Maybe someday my strength will come to me. And I hope I can find it through all of this, because I got a lotta love to give.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Family Photo

Tonight we had dinner at my dad's to celebrate his birthday. During this time of year my family also really enjoys decorating their huge tree together. This year though, I think I've spent all my energy at home, and so I could barely focus enough to get a few ornaments up at my dad's. I do try to participate in life still as sometimes I'm more okay than I think is possible. But today I found myself on the brink of breaking down completely and it was so difficult to hold myself together.
My sister messaged Ryan to ask us to dress festive tonight for a family photo for Christmas (most likely their Christmas card to send out). When Ryan told me this my heart just broke. Our family is incomplete now. A hole that can never be completely filled. Why can't my baby be here for my family photo? and what do Ryan and I do now to represent our family? Korbin is and always will be a part of our family, so how do we show that to others when he's not here to be in a Christmas card picture? The sudden intense feeling of emptiness from these thoughts and questions nearly brought me to tears.
But, somehow, I mustered up every last ounce of energy I could, put on my 'festive' attire, and smiled my biggest for the picture. It's exhausting, and it so drains me to keep going. Sometimes I just want to give up, to throw my hands up in the air and scream, wishing it were all over now.
It's especially hard to watch my youngest sister with my nephew right now. I love him and he's adorable and growing and learning and it's beautiful to watch. But it makes me yearn for that for myself and for Korbin even more. He is supposed to be in my arms, seeing all the bright lights for his first Christmas, nearing three months old. It's supposed to be Korbin's first Christmas too. It makes my arms ache for him so so much.
As Christmas draws closer it seems to keep hitting harder how much I miss my baby. And it intensifies my bitterness towards reality. It's a very defeated feeling. I'm definitely struggling at the moment, especially after the incredibly heart wrenching and awful dream I had the other night. I'm shaken, and feeling much more anxious about even the smallest things. But I do still have Ryan, and I just cling to that. Even if it means becoming the paranoid wife. Because I got a lotta love to give.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


I'm definitely not normally up this early on a Saturday morning, but I can't go back to sleep after the awful nightmare I just woke up from.
I had been having a strange dream involving travel and work, but suddenly it switched to me going home and Ryan wasn't there. I was so alone, and just hunched forward in defeat, because he had died and I was now a widow. Normally in dreams (that turn to nightmares like this) my mind can actually rationalize the situation and tell myself it's not true, Ryan's fine, and he'll suddenly appear and I'll be fine. Not this time. I had started a letter to my step mom's cousin in Virginia who is a widow as I needed someone to talk to about my pain.
And then I wrenched myself from sleep, my heart aching so badly I thought I was going to puke. My hand reached out for my cell phone, and even though it was blinding me the screen was so bright I began texting Ryan. I had to know he got to work fine, and tell him I love him.
He's fine at work, thankfully. And now I'm trying to calm myself down on the couch with the Christmas tree lights on and the puppy dogs laying out in front of me.
This is my new normal. Anxiety in thinking, hoping and praying Ryan is alive and well every moment we're apart. Struggling with the fine line between trusting he's fine and being a paranoid and clingy wife who can't leave his side. Which is seriously an extremely fine line on which I teeter now. I know that of course he doesn't want or need the second option. That can only push him away. But it drives me crazy sometimes knowing everything is out of my control once he steps out the door and we're not physically together for that time.
It's incredible how similar the aching heart pain is. In losing Korbin and just thinking I've lost Ryan. My poor heart can't bear any more loss, especially not right now. Because I still got a lotta to give.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bad day

As I wondered what I wanted to delve into tonight after support group (so so many areas of grief are discussed, frustrations aired, and tears cried) but all I can think about is how work today left me feeling down in the dumps.
First of all, my cousin had her baby two days ago. Naturally, her child is perfectly healthy and alive and well. Jealous, yes. Bitter, heck yes. Happy for her, ummmm, no. Then this morning an email announced a coworker's baby's arrival on the night before. More jealous, yup. Extra bitter, yup, you betcha. Happy for her, hell no. Later that day a patient was discussed who found out one of her twins at 29 weeks gestation is now being diagnosed with a type of dwarfism. Everyone was saying how that's so sad for her. But all I could think was, really? You're so sad but your baby is still alive? At least your baby isn't dead! I would love the heck out of that baby, little person or not. And later this afternoon pictures of above mentioned coworker's baby were emailed along with his name and stats, and then another patient's happy baby arrival email went out. It. Would. Not. Stop. And to top it all off, a coworker told some of us she can't drink like she used to because, you know, she's got a baby at home, so life is different now. Boo-fucking-hoo.
The holidays are making me feel extra empty, and therefore even more bitter and snappy. And then I have to be surrounded by this happy baby crap nonstop today. It really drove me crazy, and I almost reached a breaking point from it all. I almost had to just walk away from work and just leave. It's exhausting to live through days like today, to be functional at a level that those around me are at. And I think it's unfair to Ryan because sometimes I just don't have the energy to be okay with him. And he's the most important person for me to be okay around. We need each other more than anybody else or anything else right now. So I need to remember that, even if it's only for Ryan and Korbin at times, I got a lotta love to give.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Since Korbin was born

Generally, when I am referring to June 1st, I say 'when we lost Korbin.' Sums it up pretty well, I think. But I had never thought about how negative I had made that day until a coworker was asking me something and said 'when Korbin was born.' I bet for her she wanted to refer to that day in a way that hopefully didn't elicit any emotional pain. And it struck me in that moment how negatively I look back at June 1st.
I think it's pretty obvious why I look at that fateful day with such contempt. I mean, yes, my baby was born. He was brought into this world. But he came too soon to a cruel, short-lived world in which I was completely powerless in trying to save him. It's hard to look back happily, positively, with such heaviness in my heart still. Looking back, wishing I didn't have to keep moving forward. At times I feel like people around me think I'm such a negative Nancy, because I'm 'just okay', not excited about life any more, and still wanting to talk about Korbin. I wonder if they're thinking, "isn't she over that yet?"
At the same time, I have to realize for myself that Korbin did happen. He was born, even if it was too soon. And he was so precious, tiny, and beautiful. I know I'm totally biased being that I'm his mother, but he was the most beautiful baby I have ever laid eyes on. I couldn't have dreamed of a more beautiful child. My baby angel.
Lately I have tried to say 'when Korbin was born' more often, and I'm finding it feels good inside to do so. Like I'm emotionally recognizing even more so the life he had, instead of the death that came so unexpectedly. Plus, I feel a warmer response from whoever I am talking to, like they are more able to engage in what I'm about to say compared to when I talk about Korbin's death. I'm beginning to see so much more love in his little life that he had. And so I need to continue to focus on that, no matter how short-lived it was, because I got a lotta love to give.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Today was a holiday gathering with some girlfriends to bake and decorate cookies, and do a gift exchange. Just thinking about being there gave me major anxiety because a pregnant friend was going to be there. We're all supposed to bake our favorite cookies together but the idea of being stuck there waiting for the oven, and the logistics of baking with six other girls and only two ovens, gave me major anxiety too.
I almost didn't go, but decided last minute to at least show up for a bit. I honestly was dreading seeing this friend, who got pregnant in September and is due in June. It makes me angry, her being pregnant and the timing of it all, and my anxiety is really from not wanting to be around happy gushing pregnant people or hearing any sort of pregnancy related questions. (Again, I realize that my pain has no bearing on any other person's life and their family building, it is just so in-my-face unfair.) This anxiety has twisted my emotions to feeling so angry about her being due in June because I'm afraid she'll have her baby on June 1st. All I can think is that if that happens, how dare she. How dare she take away Korbin's day, his day to be remembered and celebrated. Who will remember him when there's a living child to celebrate? Ry and me and our families of course, but others most likely not. And really, how likely is that? Any of it? It's all just negative made-up nothing's that spiral out of control in my head.
It was so awkward when she was there today. I couldn't wait to leave, so I could try and relax. To let the anxiety go. I didn't want a hug. I didn't feel excited about seeing an old friend. Still very much so jealous. And no, I am not okay with that. It sucks feeling this way. I don't want to feel so protective of a single day. To hide from happy people. Not feeling happy or excited for my friends. Because it's all because my baby died. And that's really what I'm not okay with.
I really pushed myself out of my shell today, and it was exhausting. But what I didn't expect was for one of my close girl friends, who so far has not seemed to understand where I am coming from with anything, to completely understand my wanting to leave early. Without having to explain a thing. I didn't realize how much I needed that from her too. Seriously. It so warmed my heart. And it helped me get through the most difficult part of my day today. Despite how difficult many things in life still are for me, I know that eventually I'll be able to show everyone and anyone around me that I got a lotta love to give.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Six months ago today I was given a journal. To write everything I thought and felt about the sudden birth, and even more sudden death, of Korbin. I wrote in that journal every night for a while, pouring my broken heart out on paper just to get the grief out. Writing starts the tears which need to fall because their falling brings a sense of relief, even if just for the night.
About two months later I began to blog what I would journal, which then switched to solely blogging as I was writing the something twice. There was no need to go through the same emotions multiple times each day. It's hard enough the first time around!
Now when I think back to the journal and how I began writing in it, I realize that I was essentially writing to Korbin every night. Telling him how much I love and miss him, seriously wishing I'd go to sleep and wake up to him alive and well inside me still. I read that writing a letter to my baby can help ease the pain. I think I wrote close to sixty extremely heartfelt letters. My letters to Korbin hold a pain so intense I haven't been able to even look at the journal since. I know what's in it, the love mingled with such agony. Though my heart still hurts the same, I am now managing my pain thanks in part to my blogging.
I lost a piece of myself when I lost him, a piece I don't think I can ever get back. A piece I can't even put into words to explain. Even with all my blogging there's still something so deep within my heart I haven't even reached it yet.
Six months ago today my heart broke. I'd never known a loss that cuts so deep. Six months ago today an angel was born, and forever in my heart he'll stay. Though my heart is filled with sorrow, it's also filled with the love I have for Korbin. And through all of this, somewhere deep within, I still got a lotta love to give.