Friday, December 18, 2009

8 months

Hey little guy,

Today marks the 8 month anniversary since you went to live in heaven. Christmas is right around the corner. We decorated the house a few weeks ago for Christmas and your brothers insisted on putting up a stocking for you and told me we need to buy you a present too.

I said something to Tony this morning about "your brother" and he said "mom, which brother, I have three of them". I am glad that they haven't forgotten about the little brother they never got to know.

Great Grandma Omdoll passed away a week ago today, so you have one more Grandma up there to love you and take care of you!

Mommy loves you

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15, 2009

I will light my candle tonight for my beautiful son Benjamin who was born sleeping on April 18, 2009. I believe Benjamin is now a guardian angel for his big brothers who loved him so much. They still miss him and talk about the little brother who lives in heaven. Last week we had some very strong winds. I feel asleep feeling very disturbed by all of the noise from it, and the first dream I had was that a tree fell on our house and killed Alex, my 5 year old! I woke up from the dream crying and immediately went to check on him..he was safe in his bed. The next morning I was up before dawn (normal in Northern Illinois on school days LOL). I went in the living room and looked outside..all I saw was tree! There were tree branches EVERYWHERE! I ran to the front door and realized that our entire yard was covered in tree. I walked toward my Alex's room, just like in my dream..I was shaking by the time I turned the knob. Instead of the scene of destruction I saw like in my dream, he was sleeping peacefully. I noticed a shadow on his window, and opened the curtains. A 200 year old oak tree greeted me. It had fallen at some time during the night, up against the house and only broke one pane of the double paned glass on Alex's window!! If the tree had fallen at a different angle, my nightmare may have come true. Both of my kids rooms (the two older boys share a room) are on the wall where the tree fell. It could have easily been a much worse outcome. I told the boys that we were very lucky and must have a guardian angel...Tony (10 year old) and Alex both said Of course we have a guardian angel, it's Ben. Now how can I argue with that? :)In a few days it will be the six month mark since we lost our darling baby. Has this grief gotten better? No, not really. But, I am learning to live with the grief and without the baby we dreamed of. We have decided that we WILL try one more time for a baby. I know that every minute will be terrifying, but like my husband has told me, nothing is guaranteed, and that is why every moment we have with our kids is precious.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

4 months

Dear Benjamin,

This 4 month anniversary is turning out to be much harder than the others. We are approaching the day you should have been born (8/20/09) and your actual due date (9/10/09) too. There are alot of people I know having babies right now and it hurts alot just to hear about it. I can't help but think about what might have been...

One of the ladies on my support group emailed this and I thought it was so fitting, it describes pretty much exactly how I feel every day.

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your family's life.

Normal is feeling like you can't sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don't like to sit through anything.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's & why didn't I's go through your head constantly.

Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.

Normal is having the TV on the minute I walk into the house to have noise, because the silence is deafening.

Normal is staring at every baby who looks like he is my baby's age. And then thinking of the age he would be now and not being able to imagine it.Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in my heart.

Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday,commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my"normal".

Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your child's memory and his birthday and survive these days. And trying to find the balloon or flag that fit's the occasion. Happy Birthday? Not really.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special my baby loved. Thinking how he would love it, but how he is not here to enjoy it.

Normal is having some people afraid to mention my baby.

Normal is making sure that others remember him.

Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives,but I continue to grieve my loss forever.

Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss,unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare.Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is taking pills, and trying not to cry all day, because I know my mental health depends on it.

Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.

Normalis disliking jokes about death or funerals, bodies being referred to ascadavers, when you know they were once someone's loved one.

Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone, but someone stricken with grief over the loss of your child.

Normal is sitting at the computer crying, sharing how you feel with chat buddies who have also lost a child.

Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying together over our children and our new lives.

Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did laundry or if there is any food.

Normalis wondering this time whether you are going to say you have three children or two, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that my baby is in heaven. And yet when you say you have two children to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your baby.

Normal is avoiding McDonald's and Burger King playgrounds because of small,happy children that break your heart when you see them.

Normal is asking God why he took your child's life instead of yours .

Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.

Andlast of all, Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal"for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are"normal".

Mommy loves you.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

3 months

My little Benjamin,

You have been gone now for 3 months. Sometimes it feels like an eternity, and sometimes I can still imagine you are kicking me, letting me know you are there.

Life has changed so much since we lost you. Your brothers speak of you often. They attended a bereavement camp for children who have lost family members. I think it really helped them to know that they are not the only ones who miss someone, and it's ok to cry. They had a lovely memorial service for you and all of the other missing family members. Daddy and I cried so hard.

Your brothers have been amazing trying to help me through my grief. I am so proud of them. Cris recognizes when I am feeling sad and is always there to give me a hug. Tony has been a little more reserved which is normal for him, but he's always right there when I need some support. Alex seems so old sometimes at his 5 years of age, if he sees me crying he automatically assumes it is "because of Ben" and gives me a hug.

These are some things your brothers have written to or about you:

From Cris (11 years old)

Dear BJ

What is heaven like? Is it shiny?!? I hope we'll see each other some day, I'll bring a soccer ball. Is heaven like earth? But on clouds and no bad people? Tell Grandma Marcie I said Hi! Ok here's a little phrase I heard from a man named Nick Vujicic: don't give up on God and God will not give up on you!!

PS: Tell God I said hi!

Your Brother Cris

From Alex (5 years old) a song he made at bereavement camp sung to the tune of You are My Sunshine

Peek a boo Benjamin I love you
Your older brother Alex
Wishing to ride bikes with you
Play on swings in the park and let you win all the board games
I would feed you and rock you
but never change a diaper-mom can do that
When you fall I'll give you a band-aid cause I'll love you forever.

We miss you and love you


Friday, June 12, 2009


Dear Benjamin,
I went and got this tattoo on Tuesday. I almost cried not from the physical pain, but from the emotional pain of not having you with me. It seems so unfair that instead of holding my baby, I get a tattoo in his memory.
Mommy loves you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Dear Benjamin,

I am sitting here waiting for the infant loss/bereavement group to start. It's supposed to be a group to help mothers and fathers deal with losing their babies. I almost had to laugh at the cruelty of it, when I discovered it is in the Labor and Delivery section of a local hospital. I used to work at this particular hospital, I know they have other conference rooms available in other areas of the hospital.

I wish they would come soon, I arrived too early and now finding myself wanting to run for the nearest exit. What if they criticize me for having three children already, but suffering so much over losing you?

I love you my angel.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

One month

Dear Benjamin,

Today is one month since you passed away. Life has changed in many ways for all of us. Your brothers and I are much closer. Daddy and I also have managed to weather this storm of emotions and become stronger. I have come to realize who is my friend, and who is not. And I have to say, I have alot of truly wonderful friends, I would not have made it through losing you without them. I have connected with a wonderful group of people that have really helped me out of some scary, dark places. I thank God for them every day!

I talk about you all the time, telling people how much of a fighter you were, and how I miss you every day. You will always be with me.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Cord

The Cord
We are connected, my child and I,by an invisible cord not seen by the eye.

It's not like the cord that connects us at birth,this cord can't be seen by any on Earth.

The cord does it work right from the start,It binds us together attached to my heart.

I know that it's there, though no one can see,the invisible cord from my child to me.

The strength of this cord it's hard to describe,it can't be destroyed, it can't be denied.

It's stronger than any cord man can create,it withstands the test that can hold any weight.

And though you are gone and your not here with me,the cord is still there but no one can see.

It pulls at my heart, I'm bruised....I am sore. But this cord is my lifeline as never before.

I am thankful that God connects us this way, A mother and child...Death can't take it away.

(Author unknown)

Dear Benjamin,

This sums it up so perfectly!

Mommy loves you!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Dear Benjamin,

It has been raining and storming here for the last few days. It fits my mood, but your brother Alex says it's because the angels are teaching you how to bowl. It's strange how much I miss you, I never knew how much I could miss someone I never saw until it was too late. I miss playing with the doppler trying to find your heartbeat and you kicking it...I think just to tease me. I tried everything I could to keep you. All I could think about was how to buy your more time to grow. Even when the doctors gave up hope, I didn't. I didn't believe that God would really take you from us after allowing us 19 weeks with you. 19 weeks to dream and plan. August 20th was to be your delivery date. Your brothers start school about a week after that. I thought what a perfect time to get to know my new baby. Now, my arms will be holding schoolbooks instead. This experience has reawoken my desire to go to school. I want to be the kind of wonderful nurse that took care of me in the hospital when it felt like my world was ending. I want you to be smiling down on me on my Graduation Day. Then I will know that I did not lose you in vain. I feel very empty without you doing kickboxing at 3 am. My belly is not round and full like it was 9 days ago, and that hurts so bad. My body waits for your kicks, but they don't come. If I could tell you only one thing, it would be this: You were so loved and wanted, by all of us! We are all grieving the loss of a son, and a little brother, so long awaited. I love you, my angel.


PS It cleared up here for a few hours today and the sky was so blue. I imagined that you were looking down on us from Heaven, I could almost feel you.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My beautiful boy

Dear Benjamin,

Before we knew you were a boy, before we knew how you would change our lives, you already had a big impact on us. Daddy and I were so happy to find out that we were adding a new addition to our family of 5. Your brothers Cris, Tony and Alex were so happy. Tony actually cried when he found out you were coming. Time seemed to creep by, we waited for each ultrasound, every doctor's appointment.

When I was around 11 weeks, I started having complications. The doctors kept reassuring us that everything was fine, and we believed them. I was put on bedrest, then taken off, then put back on. It was a trying time for us all, but we managed. Your brothers tried to help as much as possible, bringing me cold water, and keeping me company. When things took a turn for the worse, and the doctors stopped giving us hope, we still kept our faith that things were going to turn out ok.

On April 17, life changed forever. We lost you, to umbilical cord prolapse caused by Premature Rupture of Membranes/Chronic Placental Abruption. I was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where the doctor confirmed our worst fears, you had passed away. I was calm, I think mostly because I was in shock. My body kept waiting to feel your kicks, to prove them wrong. On April 18 you were taken from my body, but not from my heart. After you were taken, we had you blessed and baptized and then brought to us. We said our final goodbyes on Sunday April 19, after the sedatives the doctors gave me had worn off. I marveled at your perfect little body, and thanked God for the time that I had you with me. When the nurse wheeled you away, I felt my heart breaking.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

The beginning..and end

I had a Dr's appointment the day after I PROM'd and was told there was no amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. I was devastated, as I never suspected my membranes had broken. I had had very heaving bleeding since 11 weeks and apparently the fluid was mixed with so much blood it wasn't possible to tell. The doctors suspect that I PROM'd the day before my appointment because of a huge gush of blood I had, which soaked through two pads.My doctors did not give me any hope that my baby would survive. They did not give me any instructions of what to do when I got home, except call them if I developed a fever or went into labor which they said would happen within a week.

I came home and immediately started searching the internet for options. By the grace of God, I found a support group for women with Premature Rupture of Membranes. I read the stories, ok I admit, mostly just the positive ones. I was inspired and encouraged by the stories I read and was convinced that I could have a positive outcome too. I joined the group and put myself on bedrest and increased my fluid intake. I read support group emails on my cell phone, I didn't have a laptop. Responding or sending emails from the cell is very hard, so I settled on just reading their words.

On Friday 4/9, I remember that I had read somewhere that IV fluids can be helpful in reaccumulating amniotic fluid, I called my dr and slightly stretched the truth about some stomach issues I was having. The nurse thought that IV hydration was a great idea, unfortunately, the doctor did not. She refused to allow me to come in. My husband and I visited a local Emergency Room later that night and I received 2 liters of fluid. They also did an ultrasound (at my request) and we found that the fluid level had increased from 0 to 3.96cm. I had not had any leaking of fluid, which was so encouraging.

Tuesday 4/14 we had an ultrasound appointment and the fluid had increased to 4.5 cm. The baby was looking great and the heartbeat was a strong 163 beats per minute. We were so encouraged!

Wednesday 4/15 morning I started bleeding profusely, I was soaking pads every 15 minutes and having cramps. I called the doctors office and was sent to the Labor and Delivery Department of the hospital (which was an hour away from home). I was told they had no rooms available and put in a waiting area. They never inquired into how much I was bleeding, or how much pain I had. We sat there for 1/2 hour before my mom arrived and raised hell (sorry). I was immediately put into a room (funny how it magically was available!) The nurse and the residents (it's a teaching hospital) were awful to me. They kept telling me that my baby was going to be deformed, that I should terminate the pregnancy then and there.

I requested an ultrasound which a resident performed all the while saying "I'm not seeing a heartbeat" he repeated that like 6 times and I kept telling him I could feel the baby moving. He finally begrudgingly said "oh there's a heartbeat" and got up and walked out of the room. By this time my bleeding had slowed, but the pain was still pretty bad. The resident came back in the room and said "well you have two options, I can keep you here and do nothing for you, or I can send you home" I told him go get my discharge papers ready, I'm getting dressed.

On Thursday 4/16 I felt pretty good, until about 7 pm. The bleeding started again, and so did the pains. I had diarrhea and attributed the pain to that. It didn't feel like uterine pain, as it was in my lower right side only. I fell asleep that night praying to God that if he was going to take my baby, for him to please do it, as we had gone through 8 weeks of thinking we were going to lose the baby already and my mental state was not really good.

At 3 am on Friday 4/17 morning I woke up to go to the bathroom and I felt better, but I also felt like something was different. I remember the last thing I thought before I fell back to sleep was that I didn't feel pregnant anymore.

At 6:45 am I got up to use the bathroom again and when I wiped I felt something. I wiped again and still felt it. I reached back with my hand and felt, it was the umbilical cord. It felt cold, and I knew that this meant the worst. I started hyperventilating. My mom lives with us, and she was still home, so I sent my older boys downstairs to get her. I called my dr's office and waited for a call back...I had to call twice to get someone to call me back. In the meantime, I called my husband and told him to get home as fast as possible.

When the doctor finally called me back, she advised me to come to the hospital right away, when I told her it was rush hour and it would probably take me 3 hours to get there, she advised me to go to the nearest hospital, by ambulance. Once my husband got home, we called 911 and within 5 minutes the paramedics arrived. That was the first time I have ever been in an ambulance.

Their procedure called for pressure on the pubic bone to try and take pressure off of the cord, it was very strange to have a stranger with their hand up my "nether regions" for about a 1/2 hour. When we arrived at the hospital, we went right to Labor and Delivery (a different hospital than where I was Weds.)

The nurses were great from the moment I arrived. The doctor on call that took care of me was caring, compassionate and very human from the start. She performed an ultrasound and told me that she was very sorry, but that my baby had passed away. She told me that since I was not having any contractions and my cervix was not dilated at all, that she would start giving me Pitocin to induce labor. I have had three c-sections with my older sons, so there was significant risk in laboring, but I wanted to at least try.

I received pitocin for 24 hours and never dilated at all. The doctor could not understand how the cord had even come out since I was not dilated even a little

On Saturday 4/18 I asked the doctor to please assemble her surgery team so we could perform the c-section. I was in excruciating pain, more than I ever had been in, in my life. The anesthesiologist came to see me and informed me that I would be asleep for the surgery and I said that I preferred to have a spinal and be awake. She said ok, since I had already had spinals 3 other times. I was in the OR within an hour of making my decision to have the surgery.

I told the nurses and my doctors that I wanted to see my baby and wanted to have a priest baptize and bless the baby. The surgery started and it was so quiet. No one talked, I could only hear the heart monitor (mine) and the clink of surgical instruments. Once they took the baby out, the priest came in and asked if the baby had a name.

I told him that I didn't know what the baby was, and he said it was a boy. I cried and told him Benjamin. He blessed and baptized Benjamin, then left. I was disappointed, because I wanted to be present, but was glad that it was done, as it was very important to me. Benjamin Joseph weighed a mere 9 ounces, and was 9 inches long.

Anatomically he was perfect, which was a huge relief to me, after all of the warnings of deformation from the doctors.I was given a sedative after the surgery and spent the whole day in a drug induced stupor. I was not able to see Benjamin until the next day. He was beautiful to me, and I marveled at how perfect he was. I kept him with me until Sunday afternoon, just having him in the room was comforting somehow. The priest came back and performed the blessing over, as I really felt that I needed it as part of my closure.

The staff at the hospital was absolutely amazing. I thank God that I ended up at that hospital instead of the hospital I was originally going to deliver at.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Four children

When I got pregnant I felt like I was carrying a precious gift from God. I felt extremely blessed to be given another child. I was so careful right from the beginning, eating right, taking vitamins, cutting down on caffeine. When I started having problems, I held strong believing that God would help us. I did everything the doctors said and tried to stay strong during all of the ups and downs. I dreamt often of what life would be like with four children, I couldn't wait! My dreams have been shattered. I never imagined that we would have four sons, but one would be an angel.

I love you Benjamin and I miss you so.


Monday, April 20, 2009

How do you say goodbye, before you've said hello?

To My Angel Benjamin,

From the moment I knew of your existence, you brought me such joy! The first time I heard your little heartbeat, it made me cry. You were our dream come true...a miracle. I felt like you were fragile, but over and over you showed us how strong you were. I know that the fight got to be too much, you were just a wee little guy, 9 ounces and 9 inches long. I will always dream of you, and what your life would have been like had you been given time here on Earth with us. It hurts me that God had other plans and now instead of holding you in my arms, I have to be content with holding you in my heart.