March 5, 2013

Reaching Personal Goals...

I'm not one to pat myself on the back, or really even be proud of myself.  It's just not my nature.  But here I am, ready to toot my own horn!  I'm just so pleased with my accomplishment that I actually want to ingrain it my memory and the best way for me to be able to do this is by saying it out loud ~  I've successfully breastfed my rainbow for her first 10 months!!

7 months full of breast milk goodness!!  
(* Rainbow diaper from

You see, even before conceiving Stella I knew I wanted to breastfeed my children and offer them the very best possible nutrition for as long as possible.  But knowing myself and how life always seems to throw me obstacles I worried I wouldn't be able to properly feed my baby(ies), so I immediately broke it all down in to smaller, hopefully more manageable, time frames that I could still feel good about.  For some reason 15 months popped in my head and seemed like my ultimate goal, so I worked back from there:
12 months = Great Goal
9 months = Ideal
6 months = My Basic
3 months = A Must for Me Personally

Of course all these ideals were developed before I actually got a chance to breastfeed a baby, since Stella's life was tragically cut so short.  Once I finally was blessed with a healthy baby I quickly learned no one had prepared me for all the challenges of breastfeeding!  There were several breastfeeding bumps in the road in the beginning, but none were as significant as the horrible ordeal we endured when Iza was just 2 months old.  During those weeks I cried for so many different reasons … Iza's lack of nutrition, pain, missing my daughters, feelings of inadequacy as a mother, but also because I couldn't imagine how I would ever reach these important goals I had set for myself.  Most importantly, for my daughter's well-being and healthy foundation. Thankfully Iza and I had some wonderful people come to our rescue and helped us over the hump!

I've since read a mother describe breastfeeding like a dance.  The mother and child are partners who must get to know each other and the choreography of each dance.  This takes a lot of patience, time and practice.  Iza and I have tangoed our way through my 9 month goal and we are smoothly waltzing our way to 12 months. Over coming these trials has only made my success that much sweeter!   So yeah, I'm pretty damn proud of my resolve!   Chalk one up for being stubborn!  :)

Supplemental breast milk donated by a generous soul (on the left) and my reward from pumping every 4 hours to increase supply after my ordeal   

*** Now I'm crossing my fingers and hoping all this boasting hasn't jinxed me!!! ***

January 25, 2013

2nd Birthday Filled with Hurt…

December 23rd.  The date that strikes like a bolt of lightening cutting through my heart and leaving nothing but a puddle of  tears and frazzled nerves behind.  December 23, 2012 was Stella’s 2nd birthday.  The date also marks two years since I last held her in my arms praying to some Higher Power to give her the strength to prove everyone wrong.  She had inherited my stubborn streak and I wanted so badly for that quality to be her saving grace.  Stella did all her tiny, broken hearted body would allow, but after one hour and forty-seven minutes her body couldn’t keep up.  One hour and forty-seven minutes to be loved, held, caressed, kissed and beg for her future! 

It’s been nearly a month since then, but even though I knew I wanted to write about Stella’s Day my heart was filled with too much hurt, disappointment and anger to articulately express my feelings.  You see, Stella’s 2nd Birthday wasn’t as I had hoped. Instead of feeling the support and love of my family and friends, my family closest to me acted as if it was any other day of the week!  The real kicker was I had more of my family with me for Stella’s 2nd birthday than at her birth or 1st birthday, but not a single one ever bothered to even acknowledge Stella on her day!  No comments what-so-ever!!  They acted like this was just another typical holiday gathering of family rather than the special day I had planned in celebration of Stella’s short life and honor her memory.  Sadly, I, along with a community of Baby Loss Mommas whom I've never even met, were the only ones honoring my first born daughter by keeping Stella in their heart!

Like last year, we planned a silly Christmas comedy bus tour for the celebratory nature.  After all, if Stella were still with us we would be having fun, smiling, laughing and celebrating.  The plan was to then drive up to the Parkway at dusk and honor our daughter by releasing a sky lantern over the French Broad River and then all share a birthday dinner with our loved ones.  My first disappointment came weeks before while we were still in the planning stages.  Someone I love very much was coming to town for the holidays, but had no interest in joining us for Stella’s birthday.  I guess celebrating a family member’s birthday wasn’t their idea of fun and the concept of supporting someone you love never crossed their mind?  Though I can’t say I was surprised by this, it upset me greatly!  I debated changing our plans and trying to find some activity that was more likely to suit their ideals, but deep down I knew I could change everything and them still choose to abstain from Stella’s day.  I decide to focus only on what mattered most to me … Stella and our immediate family honoring and showering her with our love.

On December 23rd, along with a few close family members, we set our plans in motion only for me to quickly realize no one wanted to be there.  The sting of loneliness within the presence of others set in as I thought about everyone’s behavior.  Again, I tried to chug along and focus on my sweet Stella and the day’s activities.  As we moved closer to dusk the complaints started rolling in.  Once again I was put in a position to “fix” everything for others, rather then anyone thinking about my daughter or I on this difficult day.  We drove to our spot to prepare for our lantern release where we met up with a couple of other family members who were unable to join us for most of the day.  The sky lantern release was a complete failure!  The temperatures were dropping, the wind was shifting and Trey and I were emotional, so we misjudged when to light and release the lantern causing it to never gain the loft needed to soar through the sky and we watched it slowly drop down in to the water.  It felt like another sign ~ even the Universe didn’t care about honoring Stella!  Feeling extremely defeated and sad, we left the release spot to meet up with our dinner companions only to realize they had already decided the day had been too long, so they were on their way back home.  The special birthday dinner to honor my precious daughter wasn’t important enough for them to stick around for? The hurt and sadness quickly made way to anger!  How can someone who loves you have so little respect for your feelings?  My appetite had left, so the birthday dinner plans crumbled away with my emotions and we went home.  No cake.  No candle.  Just more tears!

While still trying to wrap my head around exactly what took place and what didn’t, I received a phone call from the bailers.  I made my feelings fairly clear, though for the life of me I can’t remember exactly what I said. (This is always an indication that my stress level is through the roof and my nerves are shot!)  With their poor attempt at an apology came a comment I will never forget ~ “It’s morbid to put Iza through this sadness year after year.  She’s too young now, but you can’t keep doing this to her!”.  So not only does my family not grasp how important it is to me to acknowledge and honor Stella, it’s morbid and wrong for me to expose my Rainbow Baby to her big sister’s memory???

It’s safe to say at that point I no longer wanted anything to do with any of them any more!  If they couldn’t acknowledge my first born daughter, why should I allow them to be involved with my second born?  Instead we should just plan on spending each and every one of Stella’s birthdays and Christmas seasons with just the 3 of us somewhere far away from their interference and negativity!  I’ve cast my votes for Maui from December 20 – January 2nd each year!  But now I’m stuck with the guilt of having a daughter here on Earth who wouldn’t get to spend her holidays with her extended family.  Is that fair to her?  No, but it’s not fair to Stella to be forgotten either!

So for the next 11 months I’ll be hashing this over non-stop trying to figure out what is right for us.  For Stella!  Why does this have to be so difficult?  Why can’t we celebrate her like we would any other child?  Why can’t my family and friends support me and help make an already painful situation better?  Will this ever get any easier?  Obviously I don’t have the answers, though I sure wish I did!  

Stella's Dragonfly Balloon

Releasing Stella's Balloon ~ New Years Day 2013