"Thank heaven there is tomorrow. Because there is tomorrow, all our yesterdays have meaning and all our dreams have hope."

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Backyard Has Grass!

While Jason's parents were here - his dad and my brother James helped us lay sod in a portion of our backyard. We couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. We even had our first family night with a picnic and sprinkler toys the other night!

(Roger, Jason, Jack and James)

Thanks boys for the fabulous work!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Visit With Grandma and Grandpa Bailey and Aunt Trish

This last weekend Jack's Grandma and Grandpa Bailey and Aunt Trish came for a visit. Jack sure loved all the attention he received and has since had a difficult time returning to our "normal." He thinks having 100% attention is a pretty cool deal.

We are so grateful for families who love our boys so much!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Anonymous' Question

Q: I was wondering if you felt different while you were pregnant with Jack than you did with Gavin. Did you have that motherly instinct that one boy would be healthy? I am currently pregnant and have a feeling that there is something wrong with my baby. I may just be overreacting.

Dear Anonymous,

That is a tricky question. It took us almost a year to get pregnant with Gavin. During that year I prayed and prayed for a child. When I found out I was pregnant I was so happy and nervous. I actually had some minor complications at the very beginning of my pregnancy with Gavin that led to quite a bit of worry for the first few months. After reading this question I went to look at my journal to see how I felt during those first few months. I came across a line that said, "I just feel like something isn't right."

That being said - I must warn you that I am the ULTIMATE worrier! After the first few months of pregnancy I relaxed a lot and felt very comfortable until my 36 week check up. During that visit is when I voiced some concern to my doctor about Gavin's movements. Because of that conversation I was monitored and we were able to get him here that night before anything drastic happened.

I can't say that I KNEW exactly what was wrong. However, I can say that I always had this lingering feeling that he was a special baby. I just didn't know what that meant. Now I do. I think mothers are inspired and prepared for a reason.

I felt fairly comfortable during my pregnancy with Jack and that was mostly due to the doctors and testing they did throughout my pregnancy. I had multiple check ups a week and that was mostly for my sanity. On more than one occasion I called my doctor and asked for an ultrasound just to check in on Jack.

I would say if you have concerns to talk with your doctor. Ask for tests if they will bring you peace of mind. I am not sure if you are religious - but I know that a lot of prayer helped me get through some of those feelings and helped me understand what God had in store for my family. Perhaps it may sounds trite, but ask Him. And ask for comfort if you shouldn't worry.

Good luck and have a good PMA. (That is my husband's acronym for Positive Mental Attitude. We ask each other all the time about our PMA for the day. ) You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Laura's Question

Q: I just lost my little girl Heidi in February at 23 weeks. Overall, I'm doing pretty well, but still having a hard time in some ways. How do you get over the feelings of jealousy for other people? I have friends who are pregnant and instead of being excited for them, I feel jealous of them that everything will work out for them. They get to look forward to having a new little baby in their home without any heartache. While I don't want others to have to go through the same thing I'm going through, I wish they had some sense of what I am feeling. Do you have any suggestions for dealing with these feelings?

Dear Laura,

Oh boy - how I understand jealousy!!! Before Gavin was born we lost a baby through a miscarriage. That was a very bitter and lonely time in my life. It is terrible to admit this - but I used to see pregnant women and just despise them. I know. That is so incredibly awful of me. However, that being said I think that jealousy is instinctive. Especially when is comes to a mother's desire for a child.

You have tasted the sweetness of being a mother. You know what it feels like to love something and not have it anymore. You see others who don't appreciate or love their pregnancy or child like you imagine you would. It hurts.

I had a very difficult time seeing mothers and babies after Gavin passed away. I used to be insanely jealous of the mother of three who got pregnant at the drop of a hat. My heart ached to see children the age mine would have been.

When you have an experience like you have had, you lose your innocence in a way. I felt that way when I was pregnant with Jack. Pregnancy after a loss is filled with anxiety and worry. Jealousy is part of that too.

As for suggestions - this is the biggest thing I have learned. Be patient with yourself. You are human and emotions like that are normal. It is how you deal with those emotions that determine what kind of person you are BECOMING. You have learned how much you love your children. Odds are that you will appreciate being a mother so much after having gone through this experience.

I don't think there is a cure for jealousy - but try picking out and acknowledging the blessings you have in life. We all have our individual struggles and pains. Perhaps there is something you can do for someone to help them through a difficult time. It may help divert your feelings and help you focus on something else.

I am telling ya - I understand jealousy to a fault when it comes to children. Please be patient with yourself. I hope this helped . . .

Anonymous' Question

Q: What DON'T you want to hear after having a child pass away? I have a couple of friends/family who are dealing with their loss and I find myself saying nothing for fear of what I should and shouldn't say. I know that probably isn't the best thing to do, but I am guilty of it.


First of all, I think you are so kind to ask that question. So many times I have felt like the elephant in the room - people know what I am dealing with but are too scared to bring it up. I am so happy you asked this question.

Every individual is different, but I appreciate when people ask me outright about Gavin. That being said - I would try to read the clues the person gives you. If they bring up their child, I would recommend participating in the conversation. If the individual doesn't ever talk about the child, I would be more hesitant to ask questions or bring up the child. I say that only because I feel each experience with death is so unique and each person deals with it differently.

Unfortunately for those around us we keep them on their toes.

As for what NOT to say. . . I didn't like it when people would say, "At least you can have more." Or, "Having another one will make you feel better." No amount of children can compensate for the ache of missing one. It also hurt to hear when people would say, "At least he isn't struggling anymore." While I agree 100% with that statement - I felt like I was the one left suffering and they were disregarding the way I was feeling.

Unfortunately, grief is unstable. There isn't always the "right" or the "wrong" thing to say. It is a sticky situation for anyone around a bereaved individual. And I am so sorry for that.

My biggest suggestion is to kindly just ask how they are doing. You don't have to be specifically referring to their child. This way they can open up if they feel like it or they can avoid the subject if that is what they want to do.

Also, kind notes and emails are my favorite. I noticed that after Gavin passed away I didn't want to talk on the phone or have unexpected visitors. I kinda wanted to be alone. I received so many sweet emails and messages that made me feel thought of and loved. These people who did this were the ones I turned to later on when I DID feel like talking.

I hope that helps! :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Torn-In-Half's Question

Q: I don't mean to sound insensitive, but since Gavin had so many disabilities, do you think it was best for him, (and you), that he is not suffering in this life anymore? My daughter was born with bleeding on her brain, and died two weeks later. I ofter wonder if I would have wanted her to live with severe disabilities, or if I should be glad she passed on. Should I stop feeling sorry for myself and count my blessing that I don't have to raise a child with severe disabilities? Should I feel guilty for thinking that way?

Dear Torn-In-Half,
I have gone through these same thoughts so many times. There is such a range in the spectrum of disabilities. There are some disabilities that are mild and some that are life threatening. I wished and hoped that Gavin's disabilities would have been something we could handle and deal with. Unfortunately, his disabilities threatened his life. We now know that had Gavin lived, he would have been in a vegetative state and unable to do anything for himself. We know that he would have been in so much pain and discomfort as well.

Because of the severity of his problems, we truly feel like death was the best thing for him. We often comment that we are happy for him but sad for us. We believe that the existence after this life can be a peaceful and relaxing experience. Because of that belief, I have tried to set aside my own desire to have him here and accept that this was a better option for him.

Don't feel guilty for asking those questions. Only you know what kind of problems you would have been facing with your daughter. I also believe that we are given trials that we can handle. Some are given the trials of living with disabilities. Others are given the trials of grief and death. They are both difficult in their own way. I have come to learn that we have to make the best of our situation - not second guess our decisions and be the best person we can be with the information we have. Don't beat yourself up!

Brittanie's Question

Q: How long before Gavin died did you realize he was going to die? Was it a surprise or did you see it coming? Do you think that affected how you dealt with it?

Since no one knew what syndrome Gavin had, we acknowledged early on that his life expectancy would be shorter than normal. We just didn't know how short or how long it would be. To be truthful, I thought he would live a few years. As time progressed with Gavin at the hospital and his condition began to deteriorate quickly - I began to understand that he wouldn't stay with us long. The last week of his life I watched him struggle and change. I started to see that his time was going to be very short with us. Through a series of events Jason and I accepted what Gavin's plan was. The day we both came to that knowledge was the day he passed away. I didn't think his life would only last three months - but it wasn't a complete shock either.

I think that I began to accept Gavin's shortened life expectancy from the very beginning - and I think that did help with how I dealt with his death. His death was very peaceful and very calm. I think that being able to hold him and love him as he passed from this side of the veil to the other was a very comforting experience. I think that overall I was able to deal with his passing better because I saw it coming and I was there. Even though the knowledge helped ease me into the idea of his death - the grief is still heart breaking and gut wrenching. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of eternal families and the comfort I find in the time I did have with him.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bereavement Panel (Part Two)

At first, I was going to write about the questions asked to the panel. On second thought - I decided it would be better to not.
I found that so many of us who belong to this "club" have the same questions. Everyone deals with things differently and grief is an individual process for each person. I recognize not everyone may feel the way I do. We are all entitled to our own way of dealing and grieving.
Therefore, I decided that if you have a question, please post a comment and I will answer. You can ask anonymously or by name. You don't have to have lost a child to ask a question.
Nothing is off limits.
You can ask anything.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bereavement Panel (Part One)

(Our precious Gavin James Bailey)

This past Saturday I was asked to help participate on a panel for Primary Children's Medical Center's Bereavement department. There is nothing I love more than volunteering to help others - especially during trying times like the ones these parents were faced with.

This panel consisted of four women (including myself) who were there to answer questions for bereaved parents. Most of the parents had had a child pass away at Primary Children's Medical Center within the last year. It was basically a Q&A type of deal.

I was nervous wondering how I would answer the "healing" questions or the deep "why me" questions. About a minute into the panel I realized that these parents were just trying to survive. They were literally living minute by minute and asked so many questions that I have had myself. I remember trying to survive.

With the help of the other three amazing women, I found myself trying to comfort and advise these parents. I was so impressed by the other women on the panel and their insights. So many times I felt like I was going crazy or having odd thought processes. It was very clear that night that many parents who have children pass away have the exact same thoughts.

Even three years later I still question and wonder if I am going crazy or losing it. This is a unique club we belong to . . . and I know there are many other parents out there who have the same questions as I did (and do) as well as the questions asked by these grieving parents in attendance at this meeting.

I have found that time has helped heal me more than I thought it would. I also realized that I am no longer trying to survive. That is a gift that time has given to me as well. I am now still learning to accept my new normal and be a better momma than I would have been before this experience.

I will not let this experience and the life of my precious Gavin go to waste.

I decided to write about a few of the questions a grieving parent asks. The answers are a combination of the panel's answers. I forgot how basic the questions are when you are attempting to survive the initial impact of grief. I have such a deep love and respect for the families that were there Saturday night. I pray for all those with broken hearts.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Backyard Project

I guess we decided it was time to take on another massive home project.
The backyard.
The Dreaded Backyard.
When we moved into this house, the previous owners had desert landscaping with a small putting green of artificial grass.
Not exactly kid friendly.
We have plans for this yard.
BIG plans.
Like grass, a bike path, planters and a fire pit area.
But of course, all that takes time and money.
So, we have started a small bit at a time.
Jason's wonderful brother Craig volunteered to come help prepare the yard and set up the sprinkler system.
How awesome is that?!
So as of today, our yard is cleared of desert plants, leveled, top soiled and sprinkler ready.
The sod is being delivered this Saturday.
Can someone remind me why we take on such ginormous projects?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Four Eyes

Isn't this a darling picture of Jack with Grandma Cindy's reading glasses on?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Precious Privilege

Happy Mother's Day to all of you women out there! Whether you have your own children or not, you are an influence to all those around you. I admire you and learn from you.
Motherhood . . . it is such a precious word to me. A word that implies a sacred obligation. I have been blessed in my life. I have been blessed with a multitude of mothers in my life and I have been blessed with two precious boys who call me mother.

At one time in my life, motherhood was not an idea I wished to consider. I thought I would be better fit pursuing my chosen career of choice. After all, that was how I was REALLY going to contribute to society. I thought there was no satisfaction in changing diapers, battling at meal times and sleepless nights. I maybe even thought that those who chose to stay home and be mothers were taking the easy road. A predictable road. A boring road.
Oh, how I was wrong!

Please don't judge me. I was only 19 when I married Jason. Not nearly mature enough to comprehend the privilege of motherhood.

Nearly three years into our marriage we decided we "should" have kids. I had no intentions of staying home with a child. But at least I had a desire to love someone other than myself. It was the beginning of a life long lesson.

I became pregnant after only one month of trying to conceive. I was happy. I was scared. I knew there was no going back. At a doctor's appointment when I was 11 weeks pregnant I heard words I will never forget.

"I am so sorry to tell you this. I can't seem to find a heartbeat. It looks like the baby stopped growing about three weeks ago."

I walked out of the doctor's office alone, scared, shocked and surprisingly heart broken. Absolutely devastated I called Jason and sobbed into the phone. Somehow, I had grown to love this baby without even realizing it. I was completely in love with this small child who was no longer going to be a part of my life.

It was there I learned one of my greatest lessons of motherhood. Love. Unconditional love. I wanted to feel that again.

Almost one year later after a battle with multiple attempts to have another child I discovered I was pregnant again. The baby was due around the same time of year as our first would have been due. My heart which ached so badly for a year was now beginning to feel joy again. This time when I saw the positive pregnancy test I knelt in prayer. I wanted Heavenly Father to know how grateful I was that I was allowed another chance. I prayed to keep the baby this time. I told Him that I would give up everything for this child and that I would teach it how to walk in truth and righteousness. I was beyond excited.

By our fifth year wedding anniversary, I thought life was pretty much perfect. We bought new home and were expecting this wonderful child. I knew I wanted to be a mother. I still had no idea how hard it would be.

Then it happened. My world was turned upside down with the birth of our sweet Gavin. I say upside down - but I do not mean it in a negative way. Gavin's birth and eventual death shook every bit of me. I loved this tiny, sick baby boy beyond description. I remember praying and asking for Heavenly Father to heal him, and then to just help him survive, and then finally for understanding and then to take him home. I felt - and still feel - that Heavenly Father required a lot of me as a mother. He gave me this sweet baby boy and then asked me to give him back. I knew that Gavin was a precious gift. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on him that he was going to change my life forever.

Now, how I would think that mothers were taking the easy way out is totally beyond me now. I mean, how could THAT be the easy road? And there are so many mothers who have been asked to go through similar trials. Not easy by any stretch of the imagination.

After Gavin's passing, I craved for a child. I wanted to hold, kiss, rock, nurture and love like I had once before. We were given that special blessing very shortly after Gavin left our arms. Jack entered our lives 18 months after Gavin did.

And I will say it once again . . . being a mother is NOT the easy road! I say that with all the love in the world. My crazy little Jack man keeps me on my toes. I have agonized through sleepless nights, raged in the battle that is called meal-time and changed a million diapers. And while it is exhausting and sometimes even frustrating - I am over joyed that I have him in my life. I have more patience than I ever have before. I have more gratitude than I ever have before.

It is not easy being a mother. And there are times I feel like I could break for one reason or another. Sometimes it is over being purely exhausted. Sometimes it is over the grief I still feel. Sometimes it is over guilt - wishing I could do some things over again and wanting to do it better. However, I know that at this moment I am doing the very best I can. And even if I am not out in the world working and contributing to society in that manner - I am creating a home and raising a son who I hope will be wonderful, honest, faithful and a loving man. There is not a more wonderful "contribution" to society than I can give than children who will make this world a better place.

That is why I consider being a mother a precious privilege and a sacred obligation.
I mean, what is not to adore about these two precious faces?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

James' UNLV Graduation

WOOHOO! My younger brother James graduated yesterday with his Bachelors degree from UNLV. We are so proud of you Jamesy! What an awesome accomplishment! Keep up the hard work! Ruthie (Lauren's mom), James and Lauren
My mom, Me, Lauren, James, Grandma Molly, Becca and my Dad

Lauren and James

My Mom, James and my Dad