Your Due Date

Dear Hope,

I am sorry I have not written in a while. The dreaded month is here, October. I wanted to write on the first but couldn’t bring myself to do it. A month once filled with joy, excitement and happiness was now a month I didn’t want to come. Your due date was October 26th. That means as we go through this month, you could have been born at any time. You could have come early and I would be holding you on this very day.

Me and your dad’s first anniversary was on the fourth. He asked if I thought we would be able to get pregnant right away again. I started crying because this was not the anniversary I expected. I expected one with you there ready to enter the world. Over all I really enjoyed time with your dad. Although we see each other every day, I still miss him when I am at work or if he’s not home right away. This experience has definitely brought us closer than we have ever been.

I got lab results back yesterday. The high risk doctor ordered some tests to see if anything came back abnormal. I couldn’t even pronounce the names of the tests. Want to know some advice, don’t read results if you are not familiar with them. As soon as I got an email they were posted, I tried to read them. I convinced myself something was wrong. I called the doctor right away. The nurse said she would have to call me back because she didn’t get the results yet. Those twenty minutes seemed like a lifetime. She said they were still waiting on some results but everything that came back was normal. However, I wasn’t convinced. I came home crying and your dad called the doctor again. They assured us everything was normal. I am just afraid that I am broken.

Love,
Mom

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Support Group, Doctor Appointments, Birthday Card

Dear Hope,

Today (August 17) we went to a support group. I really wanted to go because we need to talk about you. Your Dad wasn’t completely up for it but he went for me. He is good at that, ya know. He is always putting us first.

Of course we got there almost an hour early. Your Dad is the King of early. We were the first ones there. I was getting nervous at 7pm because we were the only ones there. I wanted to talk to others.

Finally others showed up. We started off explaining what happened. I tried to tell our story but I just cried. Your Dad told everyone what happened. After that, I was able to talk. Maybe I just needed to hear from everyone before I felt comfortable. I actually surprised myself. I talked a lot more than I thought I would. It felt good. I felt comfortable enough that I want to go back.

On September 3rd we had our follow up appointment. However, the day before the doctor called with your autopsy results. We would call twice a week to see if they came in. We needed to know what happened. Well bad news, we have no reason for you passing. Although they thought it was genetic, your results came back normal.  The good news, medically we should be able to have a healthy baby when we are ready to try.

I think after we got that news, I became sad again. I was doing really well but knowing there was nothing wrong, made me back track. Why were you chosen to go to heaven?  There was no reason! Why??? We will forever have to live with not knowing why.

Later that week, we had your Grandpop’s birthday.  You know what was hard? How do we sign the card? I wanted to put your name but also couldn’t deal with him reading it out loud and saying your name. Your Dad had a good idea, put Kennedy Family. I liked that idea. I am not sure how we will sign future cards but it works for now.

The next day was Labor Day. It was the first holiday without you. While you would not have been here physically yet, you would have still been with us. I know you were there spiritually but it’s not the same. We spent it quietly at the house.

Another thing that week, our maternity shoot. I am sure I would have stressed out on what to wear. I am always finding outfits at the last minute. However, it was really rainy that day. I think it was a sign from you. You pulled some strings with Mother Nature so we wouldn’t be extra sad that day.  Thank you for that. It helped knowing the shoot would have been rescheduled. Not knowing when the new shoot would have been helps.

On September 16th we had our consultation with the high-risk doctor. We were anxious for this appointment because we had so many questions. We really liked this doctor. He was informal and sounded like he really cared. He really wants us to be able to bring a baby home with us. He thinks there may have been something with a clot so he has me taking fish oil and a low dose of aspirin plus the prenatal. I am starting to bring salads to work and having a glass of milk at night (sometimes twice at night). I am trying my best to be in better health. I am sorry I didn’t do that enough with you. I didn’t try hard enough to protect you.

I miss you BK (Baby Kennedy).

Love,
Mom

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The Start of “Firsts”

Dear Hope,

The first week was hard. Don’t get me wrong, every day is hard but it was the beginning of “firsts.” The first time pulling up to the drive way, seeing the dog or cats, lying in bed knowing you were never going to see these things. Your Mommom (on my side) stayed with us the first week. It was nice to have her help. Although I didn’t eat much, she made food and cleaned up the house. I did not have any energy for those types of things.

One night we went to Dave and Busters to get out of the house. We used all of our points to get you a dinosaur. It’s sitting in your nursery now. I hope you like dinosaurs as much as I do! You even saw Jurassic World with me back in June. You may have been a little scared but it’s all pretend, I promise.

On August 9th, I had a really bad day. That was the day I was mad at God. Why he would do something like this to us. All of my life, I tried to be a good person. Never cursing, saying please and thank you, apologizing for everything even when it wasn’t my fault. I prayed at night and when I wished upon a star, it was never something for me. I thought if I was this good person that God would never put me through a tragedy. I would be able to go through life without heartache. I was convinced we were being punished. Your Dad went to work a little and Mommom was still there so I didn’t want to get too emotional. However, if I was by myself, I would have just screamed all day. Screamed at God for taking you away from us. How can he let people who do drugs or mistreat their pregnancy have a baby? Why did he have to take you away from us? We were going to give you the world. I still don’t know why he did it and I never will. It’s something I’ll have to learn to live with. It depends on the day whether or not I believe “everything happens for a reason”.

The next day, both your Dad and I decided to go back to work. Our midwife suggested I take the six weeks and enjoy the rest of the summer. While it sounded nice, it wasn’t practical. I had a hard time sitting at home for a week, how could I do six? Things in the house made me sad, especially your nursery. It was painted but the door was closed. I wasn’t ready to see your room yet.

I was nervous to go. I didn’t want everyone to bombard me with “I’m sorry” or give me hugs. However, my first day back was nice. No one bombarded me and I was OK. I think work was going to be a good thing for your Dad and me. We could try and get back to a normal (new normal) routine. I think the first day went by fast because I had emails to catch up on and work that needed to get done. The next couple of days were a little harder. I found a little more down time to think about everything. It also didn’t help that I was on Pinterest finding quotes to represent how I felt. It was hard but it’s getting a little better each day.

On August 12th, I had dinner with two friends. I was able to talk about you and what happened without getting upset. I was surprised but also proud. I needed to talk about you but always stopped because I would get upset. It was great to talk about you and not get upset. The ride home was good, until your Dad called. I was about two minutes from home and he was calling me back. He apologized for not picking up and mentioned Tom was over. At that moment, I knew what happened. Tom was the funeral director in our neighborhood. He stopped by the week we had off work and helped us pick your urn. You were finally home with us.

I cried hysterically those last two minutes. Your Dad met me as I pulled into the drive way. I kept saying “where is it.” I didn’t mean to call you an “it” but I meant the urn. I wanted to know where the urn was with your ashes. Dad didn’t think I was ready but I needed to see you. We cried together for a little while.

We thought cremating you was the best idea. I still think it was the right move for us. We had a hard time deciding where to put your ashes. At first we thought the safe, how were we supposed to look at your urn every day and not cry? Then we decided to put your ashes in the family room, on the entertainment center. After we put your ashes there, we went upstairs. Your Dad asked if we could bring you upstairs with us and I liked that idea. You’ve been on Daddy’s nightstand ever since. Your urn is beautiful. It’s a moon that shines all day. Every day I kiss you and tell you to have a good day. It’s my way of telling you I am thinking about you. I also tell you goodnight every night. I hope you hear me.

Love,
Mom

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The Hospital

Dear Hope,

The week of July 27th will forever stay with me. We noticed you were not moving at all that week. We kept saying “let’s see what she does tomorrow.” Finally on Thursday, July 31st, we called the doctor. They wanted us to go to the hospital to get checked out. As we walked into those hospital doors, we didn’t realize our lives would forever change.

We knew you were gone when it took three people to come in and try to find your heart heat. I often wonder what the nurses were saying outside the door as they were coming in. Were they discussing how you were gone but they couldn’t say just yet? Were they sad?

While in that room, they told us what was going to happen. They mentioned they make memory boxes and we would have a chance to hold you. I am so sorry that I did not want to hold you at first. It wasn’t because I didn’t love you but how was I supposed to hold you and then give you to the nurses, never to be seen again??

There are not many times I’ve seen your Dad cry but that day he did. We both did. How could this happen? You were (and still are) perfect. Dad called everyone and they came to the hospital. By the time they came, we were already in our room. As family and friends came in and out, it was overwhelming. Now, when I say overwhelming, I mean it in a good day. We are so lucky to have a great support system.

I had so many emotions during that time. I was sad, angry, anxious, you name it. I wanted to give birth but at the same time I didn’t. As long as I was in the hospital, you were still with me. Maybe there was a chance this was a terrible, terrible, dream. At the same time, once we delivered, we could start the grieving process. It’s hard to say what we wanted at that time.

On August 1st in the early morning hours, the pain started to become unbearable. The nurse realized it was time to take us to the delivery room. I just remember staring at the lights as they wheeled me through, your Dad by our side. They gave me an epidural and we went to sleep for another four hours. When we woke up, the nurses and midwife came in to check on me. I thought we would be able to get more rest but they said it was time.

We were only in labor for about five minutes before you entered the world. Again, I thought maybe, JUST MAYBE this would be a dream and you could come out crying. However, that wasn’t the case. It was silent and they asked if we wanted to see you. We said yes and they put you in our arms. You were beautiful. I can still remember holding you and looking at your Dad. Then the nurses took you and clean you up. They put you in a cute little crocheted blanket and cap. When they came back, we held you again and our families came in. They each took their time holding you. There were tears but also laughs.

My OBGYN and midwife came to me later and said they think it may have been a genetic disorder. In a way, it helped with some of the pain. Perhaps there was a reason why you left us. At the same time, it made us worry. Could this happen again? Was it something we passed along? What do we do now?

We named you Hope Elizabeth Kennedy. We originally were thinking Aubrey or Isabella. I liked Aubrey and wasn’t sold on Isabella. However, your Dad was so I said I would consider it. After everything that happened, we wanted to choose a name with more meaning. We combined two spiritual names that meant, Belief (Hope), God’s Presence (Elizabeth). We had to believe that God was with us and your name meant just that.

We took a sneak peek at your hair. We often joked about what color hair you would have. Would you have Daddy’s dark hair or my blonde? I loss and you had dark hair. I am not sure how long we held you for. We did have a Priest come in and do a blessing. It was a very emotional time. Sometimes I wish we held you longer. I know we held you for a while and when we gave you to the nurses, we were ready. I don’t mean that in a bad way. We were never REALLY ready to give you away but at that moment, we had some peace and thought it was time.

I stayed at the hospital that night just in case anything went wrong. The next morning we were able to leave and begin this journey called life without you. As we left, of course people were in the waiting room with huge bears that said “it’s a girl” and “it’s a boy.” That made walking out (holding your memory box close to my heart) even harder.

I took one more look at the hospital as we drove away, without you.

Love,
Mom

PS. I have not copied the photos from the hospital yet. I want to post them here but I cannot bring myself to look at them just yet. I will though.

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The announcement, gender reveal and babymoon

Dear Hope,

The next day, I researched how to tell your husband you’re pregnant. I found a cute card and bought poppy seeds. At that time, you were only the size of a poppy seed so I figured it would be a good thing to put in the card. That night, I took another test to make sure. It was positive again and I filled out the card in the bathroom. I brought it down and gave it to Dad during dinner. He was mad at me that day so I played it off as an “I’m sorry” card. I think he knew something was up when I started taping him. I wanted to capture the moment and glad I did. He was so excited!! I was still nervous but to see the joy on his face was priceless.

The next day, we told your grandparents (your Dad’s side). Mark’s mom wanted to retire whenever we (or his sister) had a baby. We printed out some papers and stuck a piece of paper in the middle that read “Grandma’s mandatory retirement date fall 2015”. At first they didn’t get it but then it clicked and everyone was so happy.

We told my parents the next day by giving them a picture of our dog next to a sign that read “Big sister duty starts fall 2015”. My mom and sister got it right away but my dad thought we were telling him the dog was pregnant. He was super exited after my mom told him what it meant.

I was still scared of being pregnant. I wasn’t sure how life would be with a baby or what kind of mom I would be. As time went on, my fears lessened and I started enjoying the fact we had a baby on the way. My coworkers were excited for me and perhaps their reactions are why I was nervous about the pregnancy. I started the job in May (2014) and took two weeks off in October for my wedding and honeymoon. I didn’t want to them to think I was unreliable because I would be taking off to have a baby one year later. However, it was nothing like I imagined and I was nervous for nothing.

I had a pretty good pregnancy. We were low risk and I only had one instance where I had morning sickness. I had an achy back but I was use to that so I couldn’t complain. The first five months few by! We (mostly I) decided to have a gender reveal party. It seemed to be the thing to do so why not!? Mark wanted to know right away but I thought a party would be more fun. Our 5 month ultra sound went great. Everything was measuring normal and you were moving around. Before the tech asked if we wanted to know, she said how you were going to be a pitcher because you was moving around so much.

For the next couple of weeks, we guessed if you would be a boy or girl. Daddy’s birthday was on June 22nd and we had a doctor’s appointment. Once again, everything was normal. The next day, we had a terrible storm. Within minutes, our cute town was destroyed. We lost power for almost 5 days. One of those 5 days included your gender reveal party. We had family and friends gather in the house (and outside) with no power. Luckily we had a generator for the fridge and the weather was cool.

We were so surprised to find out you were a girl. I think Dad was a little nervous because he wasn’t expecting to find pink icing in the cupcakes. However, the next couple of days he warmed up to the idea. He even picked out the theme of your nursery, cherry blossoms. Looking back, it was ironic he picked out a theme that stood for how fragile life is.

After that, we started getting clothes from our online community yard sale and the occasional store bought clothes. Before we knew it, we had tons of clothes for you. The following week we went down to Pittsburgh to visit your Great Grandparents. It was a nice vacation and you moved all around when Jeff (your Uncle) played the guitar. You even did great on the five hour car ride!

The following week wasn’t great. I woke up with a UTI (or thought so). I had to go to the doctors right away. They gave me a prescription and sent me on my way. The pain was so bad! I could hardly move. The nurse said I may experience some contractions and that scared me. I could not take this pain, how was I going to deliver?  That Friday, I had to get another ultrasound to check my kidneys. Everything turned out good and we go to see you again on the screen.

That was a great way to start our babymoon. We were heading down the shore to have one last vacation before you came. It ended up more like a familymoon when your Grandfather and Aunt came down too. It’s OK though, we still had a great time. You went to the zoo and boardwalk. Dad even won you a small dolphin by throwing darts at a balloon. It was such a nice time.

It these moments that I am going to cherish forever. When I am sad, I need to think of the happier times to get me through.

Miss you ton!
Mom

 

How we old your Grandparents (on my side)

How your Dad wanted to tell the Facebook world

How I told the Facebook World

The moment of truth……

GIRL!!

Dinner during the Babymoon

You, Dad and me with the zebra

Me and you with a giraffe

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The Background

Dear Hope,

Your Dad and I were always on different pages when it came to starting a family. He wanted to start a family as soon as we were married. I on the other hand, wanted to wait. We were still young and had our whole lives in front of us. I wanted to travel and see the world. It sounds cliché and I don’t mean we needed to visit every country but I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower or Italy. I wanted time to spend with Dad because I knew a baby would change everything. It’s all about the baby when you start a family. I did understand your Dad’s point of view though. We are high school sweet hearts so we had plenty of time together. We did go on vacations and spent many days (years) together as just us. I think I was just being selfish. I think a part of me was afraid of change. I knew our lives would never be the same and I was slightly scared. I had a routine and I enjoyed that routine.

During our honeymoon (October 2014) we talked about waiting a year to start a family. I think Dad was just saying that to please me but I thought it was sincere. We did get into little arguments after the honeymoon because he admitted he only said that to make me happy. He really did want to start a family right away. Your Dad is great with kids and maybe that is another reason why I was scared. I didn’t have much experience with kids and never connected with them as I got older. My mom had a daycare when I was younger and I loved it. I was great with babies but when she went stopped the daycare, I was never around little kids anymore.

The beginning of January (2015) was rough because I was extremely sick. Usually I get sick once or twice a year and I am done. I think this was the first time I was ever this sick. On top of that, we were dealing with house issues. At that moment, I thought I was being punished because 2012, 2013 and 2014 were such amazing years.

Finally at the end of January, I was starting to feel better. I was also off of birth control because we discussed starting a family at some point in 2015. We weren’t trying but also weren’t preventing pregnancy. I remember the day we conceived you because I was hesitant and Dad said “we will be fine”. We often joke about it because it only takes one time sometimes. This was the first time we were together since I was off birth control and wasn’t sick.

For the next month, I had really bad pains. I thought my monthly friend was coming because I wasn’t use to cramps. While on birth control, I hardly got my period. So I just assumed it was cramps. On a random day, while at the gym, I got dizzy and felt like I had to throw up. My first reaction was, I just came from a good Zumba workout and didn’t have a snack earlier. However, a part of me thought maybe I was pregnant. Even though I was use to no periods, I never got one in February. I bought a test that night and sure enough, I was pregnant!

The test was flat out positive. I think deep down I thought it would be questionable. Sometimes you hear about people taking tests and not being able to tell the answer. Not for me! The test was 100% positive. I didn’t tell your Dad that night. I wanted to take another test just to make sure.

Until next time,
Mom

fishing
Fishing – 2006

West
Our Wedding Day 10/04/14

HawaiiOur Honeymoon 10/06/14

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My First Post

Dear Hope,

I am starting this blog for many reasons. The first reason is to document this forever journey we will have. The second is to help with the grieving process. Perhaps if I write down my thoughts (or others if they want to) then maybe it will make it easier to realize you are gone. As for the third reason, maybe this blog will help someone else who lost a child. Reading blogs helped me realize there are others out there who went through this and it’s not that uncommon.

You may see several posts in a row. I want to be able to write a blog post as my day is happening. The last month and a half was eventful and I want to share that. Therefore, I will write about everything that happened and hopefully I will catch up.

Love,
Mom (something I am still getting use to)

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