Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Teaching Betsy

I have asked myself so many times how I will teach Betsy about her sisters. I know she is too young right now so I don't ponder the idea too much, but I do want to have a plan. She has a few shelves in her room that are dedicated to Grace and Olivia. One shelf contains their ashes and I almost dread the day she asks me what is in the box. I'm sure when she gets a little older I will move it somewhere else but I really love the way we have it set up in there and I like them all sleeping together at night. It's right next to the rocking chair and that is when I think about them the most.

I remember one time someone had contacted me when she heard about my story. She also lost two of her triplets. Her surviving daughter was now about 8 years old. One of the first things I asked her was how did she tell her daughter about her siblings. She explained to me how she told her little girl about her triplet sisters and that it kinda wasn't a big deal to her daughter. I soaked it all in hoping it would be just as easy for me to tell Betsy. I remember one time I was talking to Betsy, just toddler chit-chat, and just randomly I asked, "Do you miss your sisters as much as mommy does?" Naturally she just looked at me like I was crazy, but seriously, I wanna know. Do you?

It absolutely kills me to know that Betsy has no idea she even has sisters. She has no clue I love two other babies just as much as her and that there are two other names on our family tree that she will never know, yet they were so close to her, all growing in me at the same time. There are days I wonder if she DOES know. If by some miracle she has a tiny memory of them. How silly. Of course not. Of course she doesn't remember them. My heart breaks into a million pieces thinking about that.

So how will I teach her? The one time I mentioned to her about her sisters it made me cry. It makes me upset to even mention them around her because I want them all three to be together. So will I even be able to pull it together to teach her about her sisters. I want her to know all about them..every tiny detail and I want it to mean as much to her as it does to me.

At one point I thought about writing a little children's book for her to read that would explain how she has two little angels watching over her. But I'm just not emotionally ready to deal with something like that. Will I ever be ready? What if I never get to explain everything I want her to know because I can't handle it. I did journal. I have wrote down every detail since we started our fertility journey. I wrote all the way up until Betsy was a year old. That will mean alot to her when she is my age, but does nothing for her now.

I'm sure when the time is right I will find the right words. I can't expect her to know now because she is too young but I want her to know soon enough. The hospital I gave birth in has a PRIDE (Parent's Responding to Infant Death Experience) support group that we have attended since the loss of Olivia. They have a Christmas and a Spring Memorial that they put together to honor all the babies lost. It is such a moving tribute that they do and really go above and beyond to keep these babies memories alive. The hospital has a Baby Memorial Garden and my girl's have bricks there with their names on them along with so, so many other tiny ones gone too soon. There are quite a few parent's that come to these memorials and place roses on their baby's brick, yet some of the bricks from years and years ago will go untouched. It breaks my heart that over time parent's just quit coming to these memorials. It's like they have moved on but have chosen not to remember anymore. I don't know what goes on with them at home, and I am sure they haven't forgotten their angels, but it saddens me to see no one there to honor their baby after so long.

This year was only our second year and I can't wait until Betsy is old enough to understand why we come to these memorials. I can't wait for her to honor her sister's memories and really, really understand just how lucky and how blessed she is.

This is Betsy placing a rose on the bricks belonging to Olivia and Grace.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Catching Up

Just what has been going on for the past month...

Well, another Mother's Day came and went. This was my second Mother's Day and it seems to already get a little easier. I don't mean this in a harsh way at all, but Mother's Day is a little difficult. While I rejoice and celebrate getting to be a fabulous mommy to Betsy, I so deeply miss Grace and Olivia and wish that I didn't have to be a "bereaved" mother as well. My heart goes out to all the mommies who were missing a child on their special day. Here is me and my mom with Betsy.

Hard to believe Betsy is already 20 months. In just a few months I will have ((gasp)) a 2-year-old! It's so bizarre that it seems like so recently that I was in the hospital with all three girls. Seems like yesterday. But when I think back to Betsy being 7 months, or 10 months, etc...it seems like it was a really long time ago. Why is that? Is it because I cling to every little tiny memory I have of the triplets and don't want to let that memory fade? But I certainly don't want Betsy's childhood to fade. Maybe because the situation was so traumatic and so emotional that it seems like it wasn't that long ago. But you would think if you survive such a traumatic event that your body would automatically want to store the memory away. I read somewhere once that even if your mind forgets the anniversary of your child's death, your body will always remember. Seems as though my mind and my body want to hold on to the memory forever and ever.

Developmentally Betsy is doing wonderfully. Her eyesight is still perfect. Her hearing is still perfect. She isn't doing a lot of talking but she's working on it. She says "dada" and "uh-oh" and "na-na" and that's about it. She babbles nonstop and you can tell her little mouth is trying to form words but nothing comes out but "dada". She tries and it's so darling to watch. She repeats everything we say, even if it's not what we just said. So funny! She is still seeing Sooner Start for early intervention and we have added a speech pathologist into that mix. Just like with her Sooner Start nurse, they all think she is doing great. We have worked really hard on teaching Betsy sign language which counts as vocabulary. I did not know this. So even though Betsy is not "speaking" words, she is signing so that counts. Therefore, she is not behind in her speech development even though it may seem like it. Amazing, huh?!

The signs she knows are: eat, please, more (these are the easiest to learn and usually the first the child will learn. She learned these about 12 months). She also knows: drink, cracker, toy, play, book, help, ball, car, down, all done, hat, sing, no (although she won't do it very often), number 1, sleep and wash hands.

We are working on learning: thank you (she does it some but not consistently), bed, go, wait, potty, your turn, my turn.

She loves learning new signs and really catches on quickly. Tony taught her to do "number one" in literally 5 minutes. What a smartie!

She is coming along amazingly. She just seems so grown up lately and is really getting big. She was laying down the other day and put her head in Tony's hand and we both looked at each other and laughed. Her whole entire body used to fit in Tony's hand and now just her head does. It's amazing. She is such a good little girl. She never cries and plays so well. She is a busy body and never, never stops! Seriously, this girl is never still!! We have a hard time in church and when we are eating at restaurants because she doesn't like just sitting. But what toddler does, right!?

She has hit the climbing stage but won't climb on just everything. At our house she only will get on the couch and loveseat but hasn't figured out she can climb on just about everything else. Thank goodness. She also hasn't figured out how to climb her bed yet. Matter of fact, she still has her bumper pads in her crib because she likes to sleep up against them and since she hasn't even thought about using them as a stepping mat, we have left them.

She was incredibly easy to wean off the bottle. We did that a few months ago and it was like she never missed it. She never even cried for it. She sleeps like a champ, 12 hours at night and she takes a 2 hour nap during the day. She would sleep longer but I have to wake her up. She's just like me on that because I LOVE to sleep!! I am hoping she is going to be this easy to potty train. Since she loves doing new things I am thinking it will be easy.

She loves going to the park. She loves running and sliding. She has recently figured out how to go behind the slide, climb up the ladder, then slide down. So she really enjoys doing that.

Betsy also had her first dentist appointment. Her baby teeth had been coming in yellow and we couldn't seem to find an explanation of why. First of all, she did wonderful at the dentist. She was being cooperative and still and was very happy. We were anxious that it would be a scary experience but it wasn't and she left with a smile on her face.

Regarding the yellowing of her teeth, of course it is completely prematurity related. The dentist said that when your body is so sick and unhealthy, that it is usually the teeth that suffer since your body is fighting everything off. Well, since Betsy was fighting to basically survive, her teeth became neglected by her body. Also having excessive fevers weakens your enamel as well. Betsy natually had many fevers. She does have enamel, which is good, but the enamel is very weak and that is something that can get better. Structurally everything looks really good so our main focus is just prevention. She gave us some fluroide toothpaste to use and said even though Betsy cannot spit, it is safe to use because what tiny bit of toothpaste we use, any fluroide she injests will absorb in her body and help her permanent teeth. She said we may try to get x-rays next time to make sure the roots are growing normally. Since teeth grow in utero and Betsy did most of her growing out of utero we just have to really watch and make sure they will form normally. As of right now, her teeth are perfectly healthy, just discolored from being so small. Such a small factor as to what could have been...

We are blessed that she is such a happy baby. We wondered if she would be skiddish or afraid since she had such a rough start and was constantly poked and jabbed as a baby. Seems as though her temperment would be a little shy and reserved but she is just always in the best mood. I only hope she continues to do well in all that she does and continues to have such a great attitude. I wish I could "preserve" her like this forever so she would never have to know the stress and hardships of the world. It's hard to watch her grow up but so wonderful all at the same time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

March for Babies 2010

I promise I haven't abandoned my blog readers! It seems like I have been so incredibly busy lately. We have had something going on every day for what seems like a month! But finally...things are kinda slowing down and I can come back to my blog. I apologize for the lag.

On Saturday, May 8, 2010, we had our 2nd March of Dimes March for Babies event. This is always so much fun for Tony and I and last year since it got rained out this was our first time actually getting to walk. Our team raised $2,020 this year which is almost double what we did last year. So awesome! Next year we already have big fundraising plans so we are excited to make this a tradition of doing every year. I was sorry my dad and step-mom had to miss this year due to a surgery my dad had to have, but we still had a good turnout and it's always cool to see new people joining and some of the "committed" from last year. Here was our entire team this year (with the exception of two girls)

There were flags along the walk to represent who you were walking for, both survivors and those lost. Here are ours.

And of course, this year we won Best T-shirt contest...again!

I think this is the most fun thing we can do to remember Grace and Olivia. It's amazing how many people come to this event. So many people affected by prematurity. It's both sad and heartwarming all at the same time. I get emotional when I see my group there. How many people come out to support us. I'm sure it will get easier with time but for right now it's still so hard to remember. I wish we didn't have to do this event. I wish I didn't even know what March of Dimes was. I wish I didn't have to share this with so, so many people who had to say goodbye to their tiny angels like we did. But I'm also thankful. I'm thankful for these people who can pick up the pieces of their shattered family to help others. I am thankful for those families who have lost their babies so that they can help me heal. I am thankful for Grace, Olivia and Betsy for helping my friends and family realize just how precious life truly is.