I was sitting in my rocking chair tonight nursing Ian to sleep and was just staring at my "Trent" wall. I have a plague with his name and a bible verse, a little heart that says 'love,' and a bird that says 'hope.' In the months following his death I searched the internet for ways to remember him. I spent hours looking for the perfect ring to be my mommy ring. I went to every single etsy site that made baby loss items. I wanted the perfect things to have to carry on his memory. I also didn't want to go overboard. I didn't want too create a shrine...I just wanted a few things that included his memory in our home. I found a ring (which stopped fitting at about 7.5 months of pregnancy thanks to swollen fingers), I have the little plague on the wall, and then a framed picture next to his ashes in our bedroom. I really don't need "stuff" to remember him by. He will always be my first born.
Tonight as I stared at that little plague I got teary eyed at how different life is a year later. Here I am nursing my sweet boy. I spend hours every week shopping for baby stuff online now. I research about breastfeeding and developmental milestones. I spend my time snuggling the cutest little boy around. I am truly blessed. I get to do stuff for Ian all day every day...and I love it. God chose me to be his mom. He picked me to raise this sweet boy. He gave Ian to me to care for. I am grateful. I can't do a lot for Trent anymore. I remember him and think of him but my job is to raise Ian. Trent is whole. He is already at the feet of our Savior. BUT, I can do things in his name. I can do things that make my heart happy...knowing I am carrying on his little light.
After he was born and died my milk came in. A very normal part of having a baby...but I didn't have a living baby anymore. My heart knew but my body didn't. My body did what it was supposed to do...make milk to feed my baby...for seven long months. I was engorged with milk for a week or two but I continued to leak and have milk for seven months. I went to the doctor a few different times to see why my milk stayed around. I even had an ultrasound done on my breasts to see if something was wrong. I had read online during my pregnancy that some women with PCOS have a hard time making milk and I had worried I would be one of those women...nope. I researched donating my milk. I contacted a few agencies about it. But, in the end my heart could not handle pumping milk that was meant for my child...my now dead child.
Ian is almost 12 weeks old...happy, healthy, and 100% breast fed. I have almost 70 oz of frozen breast milk and I keep 10-12 oz in the fridge and any time for Ken to use. Ian only gets a bottle every few days so my stock pile continues to grow. I pump an extra 10-15 oz a day. I feel VERY blessed to produce so much extra milk. A few weeks ago I again looked in to donating milk. This time is different. This time I am sustaining Ian's life but still have more to give. I don't need a stock pile of 100's of oz ... but am on my way to that soon! I have found a non profit organazation that takes donated breast milk. They pasturize it and freeze it into 3 oz servings. These 3 oz servings are then delievered to NICU's in the Dallas area to babies that are born at 2.5 lbs or less. I have gone through the screening process...blood work, DNA sample, freezer temp, questions, interview...and finally TODAY got to start storing milk for these precious babies...in Trent's name. I will give this life saving gift in the name of my first born. These parents and babies will never know where the milk came from - and that is just fine with me - but I will know. I will know that the extra milk that Ian doesn't need will go to help another family never have to know the pain that I know. If ONE baby is given a better chance because of the milk I send it will be worth it. I am so excited to do it! Today as I filled my first two donation bags and put my donor number on the front I cried. Again, I am just a number to whoever the milk goes to...but I will know. I will know that because of my sweet boy I am giving what I can back.
Yesterday as I laid Ian down for a nap he started to cry. I am not talking about the normal 'fussing himself to sleep' kind of cry...the poor little guy had real tears coming out of his eyes...he was bright red and screaming. I picked him up and held him close to my chest. I knew he wasn't hungry as I had just nursed him, his diaper was dry and clean, and his crib was the same he always naps in. Yesterday he wanted me. He wanted to snuggle. I held him close to my chest and patted his little butt. I told him how much I loved him, I sang to him, I rocked him in my arms, I held on while he calmed down, I told him it was all okay. As he drifted off to sleep I cried over how precious and perfect he was. I started to think about my journey to have him here in my arms.
In the days after Trent died I was not just fussing...I was full out, tears in my eyes, bright red screaming. I needed to be comforted. I needed to know it was okay. I needed Him. In the days and weeks following the death of my first son God held me. He rocked me. He sang to me. He told me it was all going to be okay. I couldn't see it. I couldn't see through the pain. I couldn't believe that one day my heart would feel joy again. In the hours after I laid my son to rest nothing felt like it could ever ease the pain. I still hurt for Trent. I still can't say "Yes." when someone asks if Ian is my first. I can't not mention Trent. I still wonder what it would be like. But, there is joy again. God held me. He rocked me. He knew.
Yesterday as Ian drifted to sleep I thought of the deep love I had for him. I thought of how my world now revolves around his little life. I thought of the way God loves me. I am not sure I could understand the depth of the love God has for me until I had Ian. I hurt when he hurts. I laugh when he laughs. I rejoice in his newly acquired skills.
My heart is full.
My God is good.
I know that in those days and weeks that I cried real tears God hurt with me. I know that He held me. I know that He rejoices as I rejoice in the life that is Ian.
I am married to an amazing man. We have two sons together, Trenton James, our sweet first born was born too early due to my incompetent cervix. We had 22 minutes this side of heaven with him. I ache for him but, I know the next time I see him I will never have to say good bye. Our miracle baby was born on May 23, 2011. Ian James was born full term thanks to a cerclage placed early in pregnancy. He is a joy!