I Never Thought I Would Co-Sleep, Then I Had My Daughter

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When I had my boys, just 13 months apart sleep was very very important! Thankfully my boys were born with a love for sleep. Sleeping 12 hours a night at 2 months old, and 4 hour naps. It was bliss. Pure bliss. I love sleep, and I was over the moon excited that my boys did too. It made parenting two babies 13 months apart so much easier. I swear it was the only way I survived 3 years straight of teething, back to back terrible twos, and everything else my boys did!

Fast forward to my daughter. She didn’t get my sleeping gene. I learned this on her very first day. She was awake, wide awake, following noises and such for hours at a time. I never even got a good look at my boys eyes for the first few days, but her… oh she was awake, wide awake. When she was just a month old she could go all day, ALL DAY, with no nap and still be wide awake and happy. She just didn’t need sleep.

From day one she hated sleeping on her own. We thought maybe she was cold and would heat up her bed with a hot water bottle, warm blankets from the dryer, an extra heater in the room. Nothing worked. We tried rocking her to sleep, I would breastfeeding her to sleep, music while she slept, no music, lights on, night light, pitch black, bedtime bath stuff, car rides, putting her in her swing, and anything else we could think of. I re-read every sleeping and parenting book I could.

We managed to get her to sleep for a few hours at a time on her own, but she never slept all night and never on her own.

Fast forward again, my daughter is 2 and half now. And you may have guess she still sucks at sleeping. She can be up all day, playing outside all day with her brothers and cousins, and guess what?! She will still stay up till 11pm! The girl doesn’t like sleep. (I’m starting to wonder if she is even human).

So 2 and half years later and guess what we do? We co-sleep. If you can call it that. We lay with her till she falls asleep, because after 2 and half years this is what works. And no, letting her “cry it out” is not an option. After she is asleep whoever is with her sneaks out and sometimes a miracle happens and she sleeps all night, but 90% of the time she gets up, and I go in there and she’s right back to sleep and we both sleep soundly the rest of the night.

This is what we do because it works for us. This is what we do because it is what our daughter needs us to do. I don’t stop being a mom at night. IF my kids need me, I’m there for them. Do I wish all my kids slept all night on their own, in the their own beds? Yes of course. Does it happen? No. Does life go on? Yes. Will we all survive? Yes. Will this eventually be a thing of the past? Yes.

Sometimes co-sleeping isn’t even a thought, like with my boys, and sometimes co-sleeping is the only way to survive. One day, maybe one day soon, maybe in a year or more, my daughter won’t need me like this. One day she will be able to go to sleep on her own and sleep all night. One day I will miss this. Kids grow up too fast to stress about where I lay my head at night.

Never will I think a parent is crazy when they say they co-sleep. Sometimes its a last ditch effort just so they can function on some what normal level.

~ Michelle

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What should have been my due date 3 years ago…


A 3 year old.

I should have a 3 year old. But I don’t. I should be starting to think about kindergarten. But I’m not. I should have a small child out of the diaper stage and probably the nap stage. But  I don’t. My baby who I believed was a girl, I named her Lily, never got a chance to grow.

She was only with me for a short time, not even 8 weeks, but it was long enough to change me forever. I fell in love. My heart changed. My should changed. I changed. And then I lost my baby. And I broke. Broke so badly that I can never be put back together. It broke me to the point that it changed me. I will never be the same.

I blamed myself for the longest time. I still do sometimes. I know it wasn’t my fault. But I had to blame something, someone. I needed a reason, and explanation of the unknown. It is getting better some days, some days I don’t fully blame myself. Some days a small part of me believes I had no control over it. But some days, especially around this time of year, my due date… I can’t help but wonder, blame, cry, but mostly I just hurt. And I break all over again.

I hurt so much. I miss the baby I never got hold. My arms still ache to hold her. My heart is still broken, and shatters more and more. I didn’t even think it was possible, I never knew it was possible, until I lost my baby.

I can’t help but wondering what my baby would have been like, who she would have looked like, who she would grow into. Its the little things that get me, what music would she like, movies, cartoons, animals, foods. Would she sleep on her side with her hands under her face, or would she starfish. I’m always wondering.

But now I have my rainbow baby. I am so grateful that I was granted the chance to carry another baby and become a mommy to another beautiful baby. It was something I didn’t know if I would be strong enough to do again, the what if’s clouded my mind. But I did it, and I have her. I love her to the moon and back.

But I can’t help but wonder sometimes. Wonder what life would have been like. What it would be like to not live with this pain every day. Wonder what it would be like to know the baby I lost. But it always comes back to the same thing, IF I hadn’t lost that baby, I wouldn’t have my daughter I have now. I can’t imagine life without my rainbow baby. But still… I wonder.

But you can’t live life wondering. You can’t live in the past. You just have to live with what it is and keep on going. Some things you can never change or escape, sometimes despite what you wish, no matter how hard you wish, you have to learn to live with it.

I love my baby I never held, and I love my baby I have now, a baby I would never had had the chance to hold if I didn’t lose my baby. It is the most ultimate bitter sweet situation ever. Words can not even describe it, and unless you have lived it, it can be so hard to understand.

Every day I live with pain and joy. My heart is full, but still a piece is missing. My family is complete with my children, but still always missing someone. My heart aches from pain and swells with love. All the time. Every single day.

I would have had a beautiful 3 year old, but instead I have a beautiful 2 year old.

My baby may never have stepped foot on this earth, but she was still my baby, she was real, she was still every bit loved just as my other children, and she will forever be in my heart.

~Michelle

 

Fabric Letters

I made these Fabric Letters for my toddler, and I have to share them with you! I love them! She loves them! They are awesome!

Each one is a different fabric, and each one has a plain pink backing so you can tell when one is not facing the right way.

I love them!

Find out more about them here.

Do you have a Wordless Wednesday post? Or a not so Wordless Wednesday post? Link up below and share!

~ Michelle

My Rainbow Baby

Right now I’m sitting here listening to my baby snore over the baby monitor. It is the sweetest sound ever. I can’t even count how many times I have sneaked into her room to look at her. I could listen to her all day and night, actually I did listen to her all night as I had to co-sleep with her.

As I sit here listening, tears are streaming down my face. I have so many mixed emotions. It is hard to explain.

My daughter is my rainbow baby. Every time I feel a surge of love, happiness, joy, any and all happy thoughts and feelings it is followed by guilt and sadness. She is my rainbow baby. I love her. I am grateful for her. But I’m sad. I’m sad for the baby I lost. Less than a year before I lost my baby, I lost my Lily.

It’s so, so, SO confusing when it comes to my emotions. I love my daughter, so beyond grateful for her. But I lost a baby, and I miss my baby, I loved my baby, and if I hadn’t lost her, I wouldn’t have my daughter I have now.

I don’t know the words to use. My daughter is 2 and I am still trying to figure out what it means that she is my Rainbow Baby. I am still trying to figure out my feelings. Wondering if the feeling of guilt whenever I am happy will fade?

My daughter is 2 and I still have a hard time talking about her pregnancy, a pregnancy that scared me out of my mind the whole time, a pregnancy that was so beyond bitter sweet.

I don’t know how I should feel. My daughter is my world, my sons are my world, but I’m missing a piece of me, I will never be complete again. Without that missing piece I wouldn’t have my daughter I have now. Yet if I had that missing piece I never would have known my daughter. My life could have gone down such a completely different path. See what I mean? I don’t know what to feel, or think.

I love my kids, all my kids, including my angel baby.

Will the pain of losing my Lily ever fade? Is it a part of me forever?

At this point I think I will always feel guilt over losing Lily. As if there was something I could have changed. But at the same time I am so over the moon thankful for my daughter I have now.

If there was a way I could have had both my baby I would, in a heartbeat. But there isn’t. There is no changing what has happened, there is no forgetting it, there is just living with it.

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~ Michelle

Why I Did Not Reveal My Baby’s Gender During Pregnancy

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Two years ago on this day, November 19 2013, I had my 20 week ultrasound scan. After having 3 boys everyone was excited to see what this baby would be. EVERYONE seemed to have an opinion, family, friends, strangers who after finding out I had 3 boys said I needed a girl, to everyone at the doctors office, to the staff of the hospital (that I visited way too much during my pregnancy). Like I said, everyone had an opinion.

Most of the opinions were the same; I NEEDED a girl. Some how the world viewed the fact that I had given birth to 3 beautiful, healthy, happy, boys as a bad thing. Apparently I had “paid my dues”. Apparently I had “too many boys”. I would like to call total B.S. on that.

Back to my 20 week ultrasound. While there, my sweet baby was being shy, my technician gave me a 60% chance of having a girl. She couldn’t get a good look. With that I decided not to tell anyone. Not because I didn’t want a girl, but because after 3 boys I know certain people in my life would go nuts buying all things pink, and with the 40% of a boy, I didn’t want to have to worry about the hassle of returning stuff, or people complaining of wasted money. I also didn’t want to get people attached to a girl, and when a boy showed up, well lets just say I didn’t want to deal with stupid remarks that would be made. I have known people who got the gender wrong and got attached to a child that wasn’t really there in a sense. I wanted to avoid that if possible.

However I was back to the ultrasound tech 2 weeks later where she confirmed that it was in fact a girl. I was back about 3 more times, each time she said the same thing, girl, girl, girl. And she was right.

But here is the thing, I knew that whether I had a boy or girl, I would get the same comments. “You need a girl.” “Another boy?!” If I told them during pregnancy the comments would get worse, some how people think that when they baby is still inside a person they can say whatever rude comments they like and it doesn’t matter, because they baby isn’t “here” yet.

So I kept my mouth shut. When people asked what I was having I simply said “I don’t know and I don’t care”. That would end the discussion.

Truth be told, I did not care! My love would not have changed if I had a boy. If I was a mom of all boys I would be just as happy as I am now with 3 boys and 1 girl. My love for my children does not depend on their gender. The gender of my children never mattered to me, only my child mattered. The fact that I was carrying another human life inside me is what mattered, not what was between their legs.

~ Michelle

Keeping My Toddler Busy

I love play time with my daughter. But sometimes she doesn’t want to play with her toys, or read books.
I found this great activity for her. She loves it. It is fun. Best of all, it does not take any batteries!

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Who would have thought that a strainer and pipe cleaners could be so fun?!

~ Michelle

Do you have a Wordless Wednesday post? Or a Not So Wordless Wednesday post? Link up below!

Her name is Lily

In October 2012 my life was forever changed.

Society likes to think that because I miscarried early that my baby some how did not matter, that my pain and heartbreak was not real. I am here to tell you that all of that could not be further from the truth. My baby matters! My love for her is real, and my heartbreak for her is real. My baby matters. Her short life matters.

I believe the baby I was pregnant with in September – October of 2012 was a girl. Every night of my short pregnancy I had a dream of a baby girl, it was the same dream every single night. And her name was Lily.
I still have that same dream every so often, it both comforts me and haunts me.

Her name is Lily.
I love her. She touched my life and heart in ways only a baby can effect a mother.

Her name was Lily.
I loved her. I never got to know her. I never got to meet her.

Her name is Lily.
She taught me so much in such a little time, and continues to teach me life lessons and teaches me things about myself.

Her name was Lily.
She tested my strength and love in such a short time.

I never got to hold my baby, hear her cry, feel her sleeping body on my chest, I never got to see her first smile. I never even got to feel her move in my belly. But I loved her so. She touched my life in such a strong way in such a short time. I was forever changed in that moment.

I will never forget that day. The day I became a mother to a baby I will never know.

My arms have never felt so empty, my heart so crushed, my body so hollow and empty. Emptiness, I felt so empty, it was all around me. The emptiness crushed me.

It’s been 3 years since then, and my heart still aches for my baby. My arms still reach out to hold my baby.

Life has moved on, others have moved on, and some people have forgotten all about it. I haven’t. I never can. I am forever missing a piece of me, a piece of my heart.

I may not have been pregnant long, but that doesn’t change my heartbreak or the fact that I lost my baby. I am a mom to an angel baby.

Every single detail of that day is forever burned into my mind, it is on auto reply every so often. It comes to me when the light is just so in my room, and I remember laying in my bed sobbing and begging for the pain to stop. It comes to me when I look at my beautiful children and think of how blessed I am and then it crushes me all over again that one of my babies is gone forever.

Its been 3 years and I have a healthy happy daughter here with me now. My rainbow baby. I love her. I’m thankful for her. But my heart still aches for the baby I will never get to hold.

This is the first time I have said her name aloud to anyone other than my husband. It hurts so much to say it. Every time I do there is a gapping whole in my heart being ripped apart anew. But at the same time I take comfort in it. She was so very loved. She was not with me for long, but she still matters. She is still important. I will not hide her memory away because society says I should, because I miscarried before I reached 12 weeks. I had a life growing inside me, and she had a name, and I loved her, and she mattered then and she matters now. Her name is Lily.

On October 19th 2012 my baby grew her wings.

My family will forever have an angel watching over them.
Her name is Lily and I love her so.

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~ Michelle