Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dear Kaci 5 years old...

Kaci, I don't know where to begin. I cannot even begin to describe my emotions. 5 years ago you came into this world and started changing lives from that moment on. When you were born it was hard to imagine how much our lives would change. You always know your children will grow up but you just never dream that it will be quite as fast as it is. 5 years used to feel like a lifetime and now it seems like in the blink of an eye you went from a fragile little baby to a beautiful young lady, its not enough to just tell you how proud I am of you and how blessed I feel to be your mom. 5 years ago when you had your surgery I can remember the uncertainty of the future. I can remember the moment the doctor told us "we just don't know the extent of the damage to her intestines."...thinking that we may not see you grow up. We didn't know if you would see your 5th birthday but here we are. You surprised us then and you continue to surprise us. Your spirit and your love for life is so precious to me and gives me the strength to get through even the hardest of times. So much changed 5 years ago when you came into my life. I always knew growing up that I wanted to be a mother but it seemed like when it finally came time for me to become one I was so unsure of myself. I remember the moment the doctor told me that I was going to be going over to the hospital to have you, I felt my stomach drop. Before that moment I was sure I was ready and then the doctor dropped the bombshell on us and I panicked ! Laying in that hospital bed for 23 hours just waiting anxiously for the moment you came out was the scariest and most amazing time in my entire life. Its such a weird feeling to try to explain but any mother out there knows what I mean and one day you will understand when you have your first baby. So many people tell me they have seen a huge change in my since I became a mother, that I am a better person now. Well baby, if I am a better person its only because YOU make me one. You give me a purpose on this earth. I don't know sometimes how I even existed in this life before you. Imagining a world not filled with your laughter and almost too much for me to bear. I love you more than anything in this whole world. Its fitting that I post this on Mothers Day because the best Mothers Day gift I could ever get, is being your mom.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing...

Ever since the movie "Armageddon" came out I have loved the song "I don't wanna miss a thing" by Aerosmith. I was 9 when the movie came out but literally from the moment I heard the song at the end of the movie I said that song would be played at my wedding. I can remember planning it all out in my head. I would be walked down the aisle at my beautiful beach wedding by my daddy into my new husbands arms to the amazing words of that song. Obviously, that song is pretty long and the aisle at the church I ended up getting married at wasn't quite long enough to fit even 30 seconds of the song to lol. I haven't thought much about the song for the last few years. I will hear it and I still think of my dreams I had for it but I guess I never thought about how much it would truly mean to me now. We are nearing the time of the year that will leave 6 months until Kaci Jades birthday. May 1st is and will forever be the best day of my life and I try to make every birthday special for her. But this next birthday will be super special...My baby will be 5. I don't know where time has went but I just want it to slow down. When I was pregnant reality never seemed to hit me that I would have a baby that would eventually grow up. You always just imagine them being little forever and now here I am wondering how the last 4 years flew by without me even blinking it feels like. The point of me talking about the song is that now the words have so much more meaning to me. The very first verse of the song is powerful enough in an of itself. "I could stay awake just to hear you breathing. Watch you smile while you are sleeping, while you're far away and dreaming.". I can't tell you the countless nights I have stayed awake just to watch Kaci sleep. Listening to her breath, feel of her chest to make sure she is breathing(as all parents do especially that first year). Its those small moments as a parent that I think I will miss the most when she is all grown up. This song just has meaning behind it that I don't think would've served the way I needed it to at my wedding. My wedding was beautiful without that song and I was able to get my words out to my husband through something I wrote instead. Now that I listen to the words of this song it just says all the things I try to get out during my letters to Kaci. I want to stay here in each small moment we get together and just be for a while. "I don't wanna miss one smile, I don't wanna miss one kiss" those words are perfect. I live for her smiles and her kisses. I wake each day for those things. I say all the time that I sometimes wonder if Kaci is real. Did I imagine her into existence? If I could've hand picked her I know that I would have. Her beautiful smile, her eyes that are as crystal blue as the ocean, her voice that is the most precious sound I have ever heard, her outgoing and bubbly personality, her strong will to have things the way she wants the, her sassy attitude at times, and her gentle and caring heart she has for all humans and animals. I feel so proud and so happy to be her mom. I couldn't imagine my life without her and I never want to.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What makes a mother?

I read something today. Something that really set a fire in my heart. I post on a message board some people on there are mothers and some are not. Someone who does not have children made a comment that hurt me so much it's almost to much to even think about. As I wrote in my last post my cousin recently lost her newborn son so its still very fresh in my mind. The comment this person made went along the lines of "a woman who loses a child during pregnancy or gives birth to a baby that passes away shortly after birth is not a mother...a mother raises their children. Changes diapers, wipes noses, feeds them, and cares for them and a woman who loses their baby never gets to do those things. They don't wake up and live to care for their baby." Can I just say how disgusted I was when I read that? I literally felt queasy just thinking how women who lost their babies would feel if they read those hurtful my cousin would feel if she read those words. I am here to say that changing diapers and wiping nose doesn't make me anymore of a mother than my cousin. My daughter had many health problems at birth and had to have surgery and we weren't sure if she would make it...but she did. Does that mean that I am more of a mother because my child lived? Does that mean I love my child more? NO. I'm blessed and thankful to have my daughter but there is no doubt in my mind that my cousin loves her son as much as I love Kaci. In some way maybe mothers who don't get a chance to raise their children love their children more because their hearts ache for their children. They still worry for their children. A mother who has her child here in front of her doesn't worry where her child is...a mother who lost their child wonders where they are all the time and how they are doing. They yearn for just one second to know that their baby is okay and in a safe and happy place. They long to kiss the booboos and sing songs with their babies. They yearn for those sleepless nights and dirty diapers that some people take for granted and complain about... If you gave birth and had the privilege of having a healthy child that you were able to raise and watch grow are a mother. If you saw those 2 positive lines on a pregnancy test and became so excited only to have that happiness ripped away from you early in the pregnancy by are a mother. If you made it through most of your pregnancy only to have to give birth to a baby that was are still a mother. And if you went through your entire pregnancy and everything was fine, you gave birth to a precious baby only to lose the baby to SIDS or birth are still a mother !! No one certain thing makes someone a mother. Downplaying someone's role as a mother just because their baby is in heaven is so wrong. I sincerely hope people think more before they make such hurtful comments.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The loss of a child...

There comes a time in life where everyone will grieve. Every single person on this planet will lose someone they once cared about whether it be a family member or friend. But, not everyone will know the grief of losing a child. I've never known this grief and I pray that I never will. But, in this past week my cousin(who is like my sister) gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Jackson. The birth did not go as planned and there were many mistakes made by doctors and nurses at the hospital that my cousin was at. Little Jackson was stuck in the birth canal for a while. He was without oxygen for a while. In order to get him out they had to break his clavicle and his arm. He was born quiet and still and not breathing. The doctors revived him a few moments later but I believe in all of our hearts we knew that this was the end. He was transferred to another hospital where his heart gave out 2 days later and he went to be with God. It was very sudden and unexpected because her pregnancy was so perfect, so routine. He was a healthy baby. We all expected to be at the hospital and hold him and love on him and shower him with presents he couldn't even use yet...but we stood in the hall listening to my cousin scream in agony. Screaming "I'm pushing as hard as I can !!"...she was doing what any mother would do in that time and that was fight for son. She begged for a c-section ,she pushed until she could not breathe, and she watched as her son came into this world already gone. I sat frozen in the waiting room. As I was walking down the hallway to go in her room I was trying my best to go over what I would say to her. When I got in there I grabbed her hand and told her "he will be just fine" even though I believe even she knew that he wouldn't be. She felt guilt that this was her fault, that she had not pushed hard enough. I think we were all at a loss for the right words at that point. 2 days later he was still alive and even though he was hooked up to monitors and IVs everywhere I believe the fact that he made it 2 days had given all of us some hope. My cousin was finally discharged from the hospital that morning and made the long drive to the other hospital where her sweet boy was. It wasn't but a few hours later that we got the call he had went to be with our Lord. It was like he waited for his mommy and daddy to be there and he felt their presence and he knew he could go then. My heart broke into a million pieces thinking of my cousin and her husband. I looked over at Kaci and my eyes were welled up with tears as she asked me "whats wrong mama?". I wrapped my arms around her and hugged her as tight as I could. She wouldn't understand this even if I tried to explain it so I just held her and it's as if she knew I needed it at that moment because she usually attempts to wiggle out of my hugs but not this time...she just sat there and pat me on the back and let me hold her as long as I needed to while I cried. The pit in my stomach grew as we got closer to the day of the funeral. At this point none of us had actually gotten a chance to see little Jackson so this would be the first and last. I have been to 3 baby funerals in my life...and its been 3 too many. But, this was different. The others were my friends children and while it was horrible...this was Ashleys son. The same Ashley that I grew up with. Spent summer days swimming in our nannys pool together, spent nights building Barbie towns that were so elaborate by the time we built them we were so tired we could no longer even play, this was do I even begin to tell her how sorry I am. Will that make any difference in her eyes? I have a child and I can imagine what it would be like but I can never fully know what Ashley feels. I was quiet the whole ride to the funeral home. As I walked in and signed the book outside the door I knew that this was it, I had to think of something to say to her, something that was going to make all of this go away and she was going to feel better. When I saw her standing next to his tiny casket crying her eyes out I knew then, nothing that I say will matter. She turned and looked over her moms shoulder and saw me and held her arms open for me to come and hug her. I wrapped my arms around her and let her cry. This is what she needed. Just to let it out. We stood there and cried together and I heard through the crying her say "Brittany, I just want him back !!", all I could muster up was "I know, I know". After we stood there for a while she wanted to take me over to see her son. Like the proud mama she is she showed him to me and though she was crying slightly I could see her eyes light up when she spoke about him. She showed me his big ol hands, his soft hair, his tiny little lips, his chubby little cheeks, and his nose that looked just like hers. She rubbed his face and his hands and said "He is so perfect, isn't he?" Of course he was. He was beautiful. Other people got to the funeral home and wanted to see her and him so I stepped aside but periodically I would come back up and just hold her hand and look at him with her and we would talk about how beautiful we was. I would watch her from a distance and I would catch small moments where she would smile while she looked at him. That mothers love we all feel when we see our babies...she felt it. Even though he was gone she still felt it. I watched her as she stared off into space and I wondered, what could she be thinking?? The day passed all too quickly and he was buried in a plot next to his uncle Josh, Ashleys brother who had died a little over ten years ago. Now, as I sit here writing this its all still fresh in my mind so I can only imagine how fresh it feels in Ashleys. She now has a room where her healthy baby boy was supposed to be sleeping in, she has no pictures of her son, she has a mold of his hands and feet, and she has a hole in her heart. I'll never understand the purpose for things like this happening and maybe we will never know what Gods plan is but... None of this is fair or right. This is something no mother should ever have to go through. She wanted this baby, and her and her husband tried for almost a year to conceive him. He was going to be so loved and taken care of. She would have been an amazing mother. And in the future I hope that she gets that chance again. I know that it will not take Jacksons place but perhaps it will help fill that hole in her heart just a tiny bit. I hope with time Ashley can heal and be comforted knowing that she has a precious angel in Heaven watching over her. And though Jackson is not with us in the flesh, he will live on in our hearts forever. RIP Jackson Raymond 05/20/2013-05/22/2013

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dear Kaci 4 years old !!

Happy birthday Kaci Jade !!!!!! I cannot even begin to describe to you how I feel right now !! It doesn't feel like its been 4 years since I have given birth to you but looking at you and seeing how much you've grown I guess I have to come to terms with the fact that you are growing up right before my eyes !! Here lately you have been extra sassy and you definitely are showing that you are turning 4. We had your birthday party on April 27th on the Saturday before your actual birthday so that your family and friends could all come celebrate with you ! You had a Spider-man themed party and as per usual on your bday it rained like CRAZY !! We had a bounce house booked for the day to come out to the house so that you and your friends could jump in it but since it was raining so bad we decided to cancel the bounce house last minute because you just wouldn't have been able to enjoy yourself because it was cold outside as well. But, the day turned out to be great still because you had all the people you loved in one place and that is honestly all that matters on days like that. Seeing all the love that everyone has for you and wanting to celebrate the day you came into this world with us means a lot ! Spider-man actually came to your party and you were so excited !! We got all sorts of pictures with him and you had on a spider-girl dress so you just looked so adorable ! You are really into super heroes and dinosaurs lately and I think its pretty adorable !! I made your birthday cake and some cake pops(my very first try at either) and even though neither of them were perfect it made it so special to know that I was able to do that for you for your birthday !!! I just can't believe you are 4. Its so funny how I can't remember what I did last month but it doesn't take much for me to remember everything from the week you were born 4 years ago. Every single move and feeling that I made and felt that week is so vivid in my mind it's scary sometimes. I can remember every time the doctor came in the room to check my progress when I was in labor. I remember the every push it took for you to make your appearance into this world. I remember the tiny little cry you made within the first few seconds of your life on the outside. I remember the look on your dads face as he watched me push you out. I remember the moment you came out he leaned his head down and hearing him cry slightly into my ear and whisper "I can't believe she's here!". I remember your Mimi bending down to give me a kiss after you were born and feeling her teardrops hit my cheek. I remember feeling so overwhelmed with this crazy amount of love I never knew could exist. I remember when you were a day old you spit up a small amount of blood and the nurse told me it was completely normal. I remember going home a few days later and feeling so scared. I remember getting home and you not wanting to latch on to eat and telling your dad and mimi that something just wasn't right. I remember struggling the next 2 days and feeling so helpless because I knew something was wrong but everyone kept telling me it was nothing. I remember taking you to the doctor to get your jaundice levels checked and them telling me you needed to go back to the hospital to be admitted for the night because your levels were so high. I remember crying the whole way to the hospital and feeling like this wasn't just a small case of jaundice. I remember seeing you laying in the bili bed and thinking how funny it was because it was like a mini tanning bed, you had cute little sunglasses on and everything. I remember going in your hospital room to feed you that night and you didn't want to eat at all. I remember the nurse telling me you absolutely have to eat a few ounces per doctors orders. I remember crying and telling her no. I remember it wasn't a moment later that you projectile vomited an enormous amount of green bile. I remember looking at your dad in complete horror and feeling my stomach drop. I remember asking the nurse if that was normal and her exact words were "No ma'am that's not a good sign". I remember us anxiously waiting for the doctor to come in a few hours later. I remember them taking you back for a CT scan. I remember the doctor coming in and sitting down and saying "It's not good". I remember him telling us that you would need to be rushed to Vanderbilt Children's hospital 45 minutes away and would need emergency surgery because your intestines were twisted cutting off blood flow and that they weren't able to see the full extent to how much bowel had died. I remember him telling us that if all of your bowels had died off then we had no other options. I can remember as he walked out of the room my eyes welled up with tears and I felt like all the blood drained out of my face. I remember your dad just holding me and being so strong telling me that everything would be fine. I remember almost blaming God and wondering why He would do this to you. I remember the Angel Ambulance techs coming in to start your IV and put you in the incubator for transport. I remember up until this point your daddy not shedding one tear. I remember as they wheeled you down the hall and into the ambulance as soon as you were out of sight your daddy fell to his knees in the hallway of the hospital and cried like I have never seen him cry before. I knew he had to let it out. I remember the feeling of waiting for you to get out of surgery the next day and how scared and anxious we all were and just pacing the floor waiting for them to call us back. I remember when they called your name and sat us down in the room the doctor came in, sat down, and said "Everything went spectacularly and we did not have to remove any of her bowel !!". I remember him calling you an "absolute miracle" because most babies he has seen that went 6 days before surgery had a large portion of their bowel removed. I remember dropping to my knees and thanking God and saying how sorry I was that I ever blamed Him or doubted Him. You stayed in the hospital for a few more weeks getting bile removed off you stomach and then you finally got to come home. It was the hardest and scariest week of my life but it was also the absolute best. I wouldn't trade anything that we have been through because its brought us to where we are now and shaped you into this amazing little person I have loved from the very second I knew you existed. Seeing you come into your own and growing into this independent preschool age little girl has been so amazing. I use the word bittersweet A LOT in the letters I write you but there is no other way to describe you growing up. I love watching you grow and I love every moment we share together but it's also so hard to watch you grow up and know that you will be starting school soon and then you will be in middle school and then you will be in high school and then after that you will be grown and going to college and having a family of your own... I feel like I just had you yesterday and now you are 4... what will it feel like when you are 18?? I feel like I blinked and you became this little lady who is scared to get her hands dirty and is SOOOO picky she wants to eat nothing but strawberries, yogurt, grilled cheese, and macaroni (of course you eat more than that but if you had your choice you wouldn't). You have been fully potty trained for almost a year now, you clean up after yourself, you always use your manners, you want your mommy at all times especially when you are sick or don't feel good, you love spending time with your daddy so much and get so sad when he has to go to work, and boy do you love your Mimi...she is your favorite person in the whole world and I hope that even if she doesn't live to see you grow a whole lot older that you will always know how much she loved you and remember all the amazing times and moments you have had together because Kaci she loves you more than you will ever be able to understand and so do I. I am going to go ahead and end this because as always I am getting misty eyed talking about all of this. You gotta stop getting so big on me, kid. I love you so much more than I could ever explain with words and I hope you feel that from me always. Happy Birthday my sweet little's to many, many, many more. Love, Mommy

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dear Kaci 3 years 8 months,

Happy new year sweet girl !!!! Its officially 2013 and you are only a few short months away from being the big 4 !! I will go ahead and start with Christmas !! It was a tough year financially for us. We were worried that you wouldn't have a good Christmas but we somehow pulled off an awesome haul for you...umm err Santa managed to ;-)! You, of course, got the Barbie bike that you have been begging for for months !! I can't even tell you how bittersweet it is that you have outgrown your tricycle and now can tide a big girl bike. You have been super obsessed with Barbie for months now and I couldn't be more exciting about that. When I was your age I became obsessed with all things Barbie and Disney (specifically Beauty and the Beast) and you are following right in my foot steps !! Although, recently you have developed a love for The Little Mermaid instead of Beauty and the Beast but I can't complain cause thats definitely one of my favorites as well. You also are really into Monsters Inc. lately so for Christmas you got Mike and Sully stuffed animals and my personal favorite toy you got was a Boo doll. She talks and says all kinds of cute things !! Funny thing is you somehow pulled her head off the night you got her and your daddy,mimi, and I tried for about 30 minutes to get her head back on and then finally it just popped right back on lol. It was funny ! You got a bunch of new figurines to add to your collection. You already had well over 150 but now you have over 200 easily !! You are obsessed with them. We went to the Disney store and they always have these 2 figurine sets for 20 dollars so we ended up getting you 4 sets. You got the Monsters Inc set, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Phineas and Ferb. You really aren't that into Phineas and Ferb but you love Perry the platypus!! You got 2 different play tents. Uncle Michael got you a Barbie tent. It pops up and folds up easily so when you are done with it it doesn't take up room !! You love it so much and had a blast putting all your new toys inside it haha ! Your Aunt Ashley(technically I guess she is your great cousin but she is more like a sister to me so yea) and uncle Daniel got you a castle tent. Its big enough for you to get in and stand up and it has windows also. It doesn't pop up and down you have to take the little poles out but its AWESOME !! You love dressing up in your princess dresses and playing in there. You've really been into playing blocks with your daddy guys build a castle out of your blocks and then play with your figurines in it !! You sure do love your daddy and I love it !! We can't deny that Mimi is still your favorite person in the whole world though !!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I lost it today...

It's been almost a week since we all learned about the tragedy that happened in Sandy Hook and I am just now feeling halfway able to put my feelings into words. As a parent this has taken a huge toll on me and I would expect that it probably has on every other parent around the world. We shouldn't have to hear about school shootings at all but when you hear about them you almost always know its a high school...but when I heard it was an elementary school with kids all 4th grade and under I was shocked. What kind of a monster could do this? Only a certain kind of evil could walk into a school full of small children and hear their screams and see their terror and open fire on them. Not only do I feel so much grief for the parents and families that lost loved ones but I feel sorrow for the children who survived as well...because even though they lived through this awful tragedy their innocence has now been taken from them. School is no longer just a place where they will go to learn and play with their friends but its now a place where some of their friends were killed. School will no longer be safe for those poor children and they will carry this with them the rest of their lives...and that is something I find so heartbreaking its just to much. I decided today was the day I would write my feelings down because I was at the mall earlier today with my mother and my 3(almost 4) year old daughter Kaci. This mall has a carousel in it and of course my overjoyed toddler went running to it and had to ride. We were standing in line and these 2 beautiful sisters were in line behind us with their mom and we of course made small talk about which animal they would ride on the carousel and how pretty they both were. Then I felt compelled to ask them how old they were. The first little girl spoke up and held out 4 little fingers and gently said "4" and my daughter was so excited to tell her that she was about to be 4 as well. Then I asked the other little girl and she softly spoke with a lisp and she said "I'm 6", and with those words I felt the tears start to well up in my eyes and I looked and her mother and she looked back at me and her eyes began to tear up to as she knew 100% why I was crying and she felt the exact same thing as I did. The innocence of this little girl struck me. She was not much bigger than my daughter and she still looks at the world like my daughter a safe place. They don't yet know the ugly and evil things that this world can sometimes bring with it. 6 is supposed to be such a joyous and wonderful age where you are just getting into the groove of going to school, you're losing your front teeth, your really starting to find your best friends, you still think the opposite sex has're just starting to live and these children never got a chance to. They will never get to be in that awkward preteen stage where they aren't sure of themselves. They will never get to go through the teenager stage where they think their parents are the enemy and the world will end if they don't get to go to the movies on Friday with their friends. They won't get to graduate high school. They won't get to live in a dorm or go to college. They won't get to meet their soul mate and get married. They will never have children of their own. Those things are so hard for me accept because I look at my daughter and I see her future. I paint beautiful pictures in my head of what her future looks like. I look into her beautiful blue eyes and I cannot imagine not ever getting to look into them again. I hear her sweet angelic voice and I feel like if I couldn't ever hear it again I would go insane. If I couldn't feel her arms wrap around my neck, if I couldn't hold her hand, if I couldn't give her eskimo kisses...My world would be over. I will not pretend to know what those parents feel but as a parent myself I can only imagine the heartache. Our hearts are heavy as we struggle to come to terms with this senseless tragedy and somehow move on. But, I can speak for myself and my family we will NEVER forget the names and faces of those lives lost that day.