Happy 3rd birthday Lamar!!!

Happy 3rd birthday Lamar!!!

Wow, I can’t believe that we are here, at this day, 3 years later.   I still remember the specialist saying that “he will not survive birth, and their is a strong likelihood that he will pass in utero”.  At 9:57 A.M on July 14, 2012, they took Lamar out of me and showed him to me.  I remember everything so vividly.  I remember hurting so bad and at the same time feeling so full of love, and when I saw his hands curved inward and clenched and I knew in my heart that everything was true.  All of the appointments, and crying, and wanting to lean towards God but not knowing how, and wanting to ask for help or support but also not knowing how, just made for a very hard and trying pregnancy towards the end.

It’s crazy to think of what could be if he was here with us, and how our house would be so full with him and Rochelle, and of course Brielle. I know it would be so busy, full of lots of laughter, fishing, and so much LOVE.I thank God that Shane and I both have had the strength to stay together and grow with one another.  To think that most above 85% of marriages that involve the loss of child, end in divorce.  We couldn’t imagine life without our first born son, and can’t wait until the day we get to see him again.

This year we wanted to do something different and special. I thought cupcakes and a candle (the number 3) and 3 blue balloons that we will each write a note on and release in the sky.  It’s so amazing how much Brielle understands of the situation and she will continue to say that she has a brother and a sister in Heaven and that she loves them very much.  If only she knew how meaningful and powerful those words are to me.  It was so fun and I love that our family of three gets to celebrate our angel babies! 🙂

If each of us could say a few words to him right now this is what we would say:

Shane: I love and I miss you, I wish you here.

Brielle: I love you, give you a hug, and a high five.

Sheridan: I love you so much and I want to tell you that I’m sorry.

Grief is something that changes so often, that one day you may feel a certain way, and then the next day you may feel a completely different way about the loss of a loved one.  I feel like I wasn’t truly able to grieve with Lamar because of nursing school and getting pregnant with Brielle.  As I look back at my diaries, I was really in a dark hole that I just didn’t know how to get out of.  I am truly thankful for all of the support that our friends and family have given us, and continue to give us, that help us move forward everyday.

I will never forget those 23 weeks and 6 days, and we hope and pray that are prayers are getting answered, that he is having a blast with his sister Rochelle in Heaven.

R.I.P Lamar Grant Johnson 7-14-12 You will always be loved and cherished.

Our first ever sonogram.  His due date was 11-12-12 but then changed to november 7 (who would have thought God was telling us then that we would be blessed with Rochelle)
Our first ever sonogram. His due date was 11-12-12 but then changed to november 7 (who would have thought God was telling us then that we would be blessed with Rochelle)
Our precious baby boy.
Our precious baby boy.
the day we found out we were having our son!
the day we found out we were having our son!
his footprint.  I love this picture because my necklace is silver and it looks like such a pretty rose gold in this.
his footprint. I love this picture because my necklace is silver and it looks like such a pretty rose gold in this.
We love you so much Lamar Grant Johnson
We love you so much Lamar Grant Johnson
Can't believe you are 3!
Can’t believe you are 3!

What no one talks about

Since Rochelle passed away in January, I did not have the time to prepare my mind, or my body with what to expect during or after she actually left to be with God. There are so many things that you just are unaware of at the time of such a tragedy, that I wish someone would have warned me with what was to come.

I was pumping and providing nourishment for my baby girl around the clock when she was living, because she could never successfully latch on, I was providing her the good nutrients she needed.  What I didn’t know was how my body would still (even to this day) continue to make milk thinking that I am providing for my precious baby girl.  I got rid of my pump right after she passed, during one of my anger phases and I have not had the nerve to get another one so I can slowly wean my body off the way it should have been.

No one warned me that for someone who is an emotional eater,  that her passing really got to my core and I haven’t stopped doing it since she passed.  I am really trying my best to work out and eat better, but so far,no luck .  I was always so stressed when she was alive, not knowing that at any given moment she could have passed away, I didn’t want to miss much, so I just ate food and drank soda (really anything with caffeine) to stay awake as much as possible, not knowing how much time God would actually give us. It will take time, and like anything in my life I just have to slowly deal with it over a period of time.

No one warned me that my once precious little girl, would turn into a subject so many people are afraid to talk about.  It’s almost like once a person (especially a baby) passes, people just don’t know what to say anymore to you.  FYI it is ok to talk about Rochelle, and Lamar.  It is ok to talk about the all of the joyous moments I got to have with her, or if something reminded you of her, is it ok to tell me.  Or if you had a random dream about any of my children, let me know! I love to talk about them, so never feel like you can’t say or ask me anything.  🙂

The last thing that no one warned me about, was how hard it was going to be to walk back into my home, and continue my life and all of my precious memories without Rochelle.  It was so hard to look at my now empty living room (which was always full of her machines and all of her equipment) and know that life does go on.  That has probably got to my the hardest thing for me, knowing that on my couch was the last time I got to hold on at home when she passed out and I had to immediately put her on the floor and give her CPR.  Those are the horrible last moments she was ever in my house and she was whisked away by EMS and covered on one of our blankets from the living room which Brielle will now tell you it’s “chelle’s blanket, don’t touch”.

It is so hard to just keep living life like we were before Rochelle was born.  I hate how things change so quickly, but in our house the door always stays open for conversation when it comes to both Rochelle and Lamar and Brielle continues to talk about them every day and pray for them every night.

Thank you for those of you that have been there with us throughout this process and are still there for us now.  You don’t know how much we truly appreciate it

Haven Of Hope

Haven Of Hope

This past weekend  I went on a women’s retreat for mothers who have lost a child(ren).  I was so hesitant to go at first finding every single excuse in the world to not go (I didn’t want to go by myself, the weather was suppose to be terrible all weekend, I didn’t know anyone there…etc) but I knew I had to.  Laura Brown fb messaged me about this amazing retreat, and right away I signed up.  I didn’t know what was going to come of it, but I knew God has given her that message to pass on to me.

Friday night was filled with registration and getting all settled into your room, and then attending dinner once you were all settled.  I am not quite sure of the volunteers who made every single meal for us this past weekend, but I am so thankful for them (even though my waistline is not) the food was made with so much love and was delicious. After dinner we all gathered in the main area to have the welcoming and sharing portion of the retreat.  I heard the tragic story of around 40 other amazing moms who had lost one or more children and I knew in my heart right then and there that God took me to a place that I finally fit in.  We all went through trauma, and are all at different stages of grief with our children, but we all have that one thing in common that God brought of us strong women together to be able to worship, pray, and fellowship with one another.  Friday was a tough night and it took a while for me to go to sleep, but I was excited to see what the next day would bring.

Saturday started with an early morning breakfast, followed by praise and worship with everyone and let me tell you..the music brought so many tears and touched my heart so much as I watched us all singing and praying together, and it felt so good. Then we broke out into small groups and it was so nice to be just in group with us moms who have lost our babies.  Some in utero, some shortly after birth like me, and some living to be almost two years old.  I was amazed at how much we each opened up and got to truly know each other, hear each others weakness, and cry together.. this group just “got it”.  We each had such a strong bond together, that no matter what, we didn’t judge, we listened with our whole hearts, and just felt every emotion we each were having. After small group they had breakout sessions to attend and it was so nice to hear what other mothers did with their kids belongings and new and creative ideas to keep our children close to us and in our household.  I also attended grief and marriage and we had guest speakers Coco and Jeff Mullins come in and it was just nice to hear how to better help each other during this time in our lives.  According to statistics Shane and I are supposed to be divorced after losing two children, but we knew in our heart, we were not going to be another statistic.  We are going to work on each other and grow closer to God and one another during this time in our lives.  Afterwards we did craft and I made my first wreath which is not that great, but it’s done with love, and we had dinner, worship and fellowship afterwards.  It was such an amazing day.

Sunday morning I was ready to enjoy all that God has left for me at the retreat and after breakfast we had small groups, and each of us really opened up and got to the core of our feelings.  It was so nice to be able to speak so freely and not be judged. We had praise and worship after and then a guest speaker Pastor Sandra speak and her analogy of turning “ashes into beauty” which was our theme for this weekend was amazing.  She brought this huge box full of tissue paper and she said the box was our child.  We get so excited when we find our we’re pregnant and then birth (as she was speaking she started throwing tissue paper out) saying that we are so excited to have our kids and then sometimes we get mad at them and say things that we don’t mean (and she crumbled tissue paper up for these times) and then we get that phone call that our child is not going to live and they die.  Now we have nothing left in our box (as she starts pouring her ashes into the box) and all we have left is our ashes.  She said that will no longer be able to move on unless we close that box of ashes, pick them up and move on.  (she then brings over this basket of flower petals and throws them over her box and they represent blessings coming our way).  She said we won’t be able to receive or even see these blessings coming unless we close that box of ashes and move on and believe that God meant it when He said “I will never leave you nor foresake you”.

This weekend was so healing and powerful and it did so much to me heart, and brought me even closer to the Lord.  I needed it, even though I may not have known how much, I am so very glad I went.  Thank you so much to all of the amazing people that made it happen, I can’t wait to go next year!

outside of door :)
outside of door 🙂
our first bag full of goodies
our first bag full of goodies
My name tag with my precious children
My name tag with my precious children
The wreath I made
The wreath I made
My dinner table setting.. so special to me
My dinner table setting.. so special to me
Candle light ceremony in honor of our precious children.
Candle light ceremony in honor of our precious children.
Rochelle
Rochelle
Lamar
Lamar
The second nights treats they left on my bed
The second nights treats they left on my bed
my small group
my small group
Our amazing group of strong women
Our amazing group of strong women

 

Those sweet sentimental items

Those sweet sentimental items

Have you ever lost someone so close to you and look back and think “I wish I would have kept…”? I did not want to do that with either of my kids.  I wanted to savor everything I could so that I would not have to say that above phrase.

With Lamar, we had no time.  I did so much research and looked into everything I could to learn about Trisomy 18.  With him, I kept every single sonogram picture, I remember vaguely now the details of them, except for the one where they confirmed that he indeed had Trisomy 18.  I am so glad I kept all of my research we did, every appointment we had questions for the doctors and thankfully my mom wrote down every single answer.  Those are the things that I am going to keep for him, and I am so glad I will always have those to look at when remembering him, especially the video ultrasounds.. he looked like such a healthy energetic little boy on there!

With Rochelle, it was different. I still kept all of the research, all of the videos of the ultrasounds, all of the pictures when she was inside me, but I also got to meet her see her little personality blossom!  I dressed her up every day, I learned what outfits were acceptable in the NICU with all of the lines running all over her.  I got to keep her first diaper, and her first wristbands from the hospital, I kept all of her extra dressings that she used to hate it when we had to change and screamed so loud every time we did.  I got to keep the big sister and little sister outfits I made for her and Brielle to wear together, and especially the photo album we made for her memorial.  We got to have her cremated wearing her and Brielle’s matching sister/best friend bracelets and in the same outfit as Brielle wore for her newborn pictures.

I am so glad that I have all of these precious memories of both of my babies, and I am so thankful that I kept so many important items that tell their special stories.  I think life for many of us is so busy now, that we forget all of these little things that make each child so special.  Remember to save important items of your kids, to be able to tell their story later on in life! 🙂

Our baby boy will be forever in our hearts
Our baby boy will be forever in our hearts
Love our special area for our baby boy! (all of his cards are in a special box for him!)
Love our special area for our baby boy! (all of his cards are in a special box for him!)
All of her "first" items
All of her “first” items
Keepsake memories
Keepsake memories
Brielle's big sister/best friend bracelet
Brielle’s big sister/best friend bracelet
Rochelle's special area
Rochelle’s special area
Our favorite memories
Our favorite memories