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Archive for April, 2008

I’ve had a visit to our family doctor since my last post of concerns with dizziness and lack of concentration and the diagnosis was Generalized Anxiety Disorder. “A Disorder” is definitely what I have been feeling for quite some time. The doctor also suggested a touch of ADHD. Much of the time I am in a stressed and in a panicked state which I considered a normal feeling until now. My work and my life are suffering from my inability to concentrate and remember. I don’t know if this stemmed from the death of my stillborn son or prior.

My doctor is wonderful and suggested to get a second opinion. I will do so if his diagnosis is incorrect. My husband came with me to the appointment to verify my condition. I am the multi-tasker moving at a much slower rate. The doctor just told me to keep talking about issues bothering me and why I had lost so much weight. I told him it has been a stressful year. I have this panicky feeling to get our finances in order for fear that I will die of cancer before my husband passes. I have temporary relief of a stressful situation after walking through it only to find myself worrying about the next. I analyze situations without knowing all of the facts and get myself highly worked up and upset. Other symptoms include:

  • feeling of pin pricks on my skin
  • hot flashes
  • rapid heartbeat
  • loss of appetite
  • absolute exhaustion around 7pm
  • grinding teeth at night
  • thinking the worst of every situation
  • forgetting
  • cannot process verbal communication
  • head spinning
  • moving slow
  • short fuse
  • hit the floor running in the mornings

I am now on Lexapro, a medication prescribed to me for depression after Tanner died. The doctor said that Lexapro also treats patients with GAD because I assured him I was not feeling depressed. Unfortunately it will take 3 weeks to get into my system for some much needed relief. I remember being on this years ago and it really helped my depression. The one thing I disliked was the inability to cry and becoming desensitized. Crying for me is a stress relief. I will see what happens. Xanex is another medication for immediate results but creates a zoombie-like state, not condusive for work.

All my blood work came out negative for anything life threatening so we will work with what I was dealt. I know several of my girlfriends are on medication and I am wondering if this will be a life long commitment.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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For the past month processing information and retaining verbal communication has been a constant battle. My head is spinning and to move forward with daily tasks is a great challenge. This condition is now interfering with my work.

I just thought the work load on my plate was maybe overloaded. But this condition has been constant for a month. I have scheduled a doctor’s appointment today because I cannot go on like this. I have to take several small breaks to just sit and hold my head and think of nothing. It seems like the smallest tasks create an overwhelming and panicked feeling in my brain. I am not able to blog because I am easily distracted and loose my concentration.

I hope the doctor gives me a prescription to get me back on track to think straight again. I am a multi-tasker and needs that capability again. I have to be able to go in ten different directions and feel confident in doing so. This condition is disabling and makes me feel useless.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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Jewelry, pins, and ribbons have new meaning after the death of a baby. Bereaved mothers and fathers are walking memorials for their babies in heaven. We don’t have a favorite t-shirt or teddy bear with our children’s scent to hold onto at night. We have memories and trinkets to adorn our bodies, representing the everlasting love for sweet babies gone too soon.

My jewelry box is now filled with butterflies, angels,hearts, gemstones, charms with the letter “T”, pink and blue ribbons, a perfume vile holding my stillborn son’s ashes, and pins reflecting hope and faith.

When I was a teenager waiting tables at a restaurant, a woman named Agatha would come to my section once a week for coffee. She noticed a stone charm on my necklace and commented on how lovely it was. She then asked me what it meant. I told her it didn’t mean anything and that I bought the stone because I liked it. She sternly looked at me and said, “Everything you wear should have meaning”. I would have a different response for Agatha today.

My mother is an avid QVC shopper and always finds deals on jewelry for me. Years before Tanner was born still she would find charms with hearts, heart earrings or heart pins to give me throughout the year. I was very frank with her about my dislike of girlie heart-like jewelry, not particularly my personality. So my mother stopped giving me gifts with heart themes. My experience of losing my sweet baby has changed my feelings toward hearts and I now gladly accept them.

Only after the passing of my son Tanner was I told by my grandmother’s sister (Veronica) that her mother (my great grandmother) had a stillborn baby girl and named her Veronica. It is rather strange that a tombstone of her daughter reads Veronica and she also had a living daughter with the same name. Pregnancy loss was much different 80 years ago. I wonder if my great grandmother had special trinkets in her jewelry box for her deceased child. I don’t think the concept of jewelry with meaning has changed, but maybe the jewelry in itself has. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month has been established since 1987 by President Ronald Regan, helping to recognize the grief of losing a baby or early pregnancy loss.

My mother is now going through my other grandmother’s jewelry box and handing down these treasures to me. I wonder if anything means something I am unaware of. She has Alzmeimer’s disease now and I would be unable to ask her.

It is very difficult to part with anything from a jewelry box because there may be an angel remembered from long ago.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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Your baby is in a better place. It was God’s will. Heaven has another angel. You are still young, you can have another. There was probably something wrong with it, you wouldn’t want a handicap child. Everything happens for a reason.

The last statement is a big one many bereaved parents of pregnancy and infant loss struggle with. Honestly, I did believe that before our son Tanner was stillborn, but I don’t anymore. Does God allow other children to be neglected, abused, raped or murdered at the hands of another because there is a very important reason? I believe God knows the pain and grief we will endure after these horrendous acts, but does not intentionally inflict this upon us. This is not Heaven and we will suffer here. It is how we deal with the grief that allows us to walk in the sunshine again.

After the death of my son, someone offered me their insight. “Diana, I think babies have a choice before they are born if they would like to stay here with us or with God,” they said. I was in shock and the statement didn’t register with me until weeks later when I was sober again. They meant well, but how could that statement offer me comfort? I wanted peace, comfort and my stillborn baby back. Then I wondered why Tanner wouldn’t want to stay here with me. I know I had faults but I would love him with all my heart. I started to second guess myself.

At the time of Tanner’s death, I had several landscape jobs in the works. It was a few months after Tanner’s passing when I needed to collect payment from a client. She asked me to come in and her 9 month old was crawling around on the floor. I could look at babies, but it was still painful inside. My client then asked me to watch him while she went upstairs to get the check book. This was the same women who attended Tanner’s memorial service and left early because it was so painful. Was she thinking about how painful watching her living baby was for me.

I was obsessed with Heaven and seeing Tanner again, asking all my friends of different religious denominations of their beliefs of the afterlife. My girlfriend stated that we won’t be able to recognize family members, but we will know them. How scary that was for me to hear. I love her dearly, but there was no comfort from that statement.

If you are a bereaved parent and have additional comments that could educate supporting family and friends on statements best kept unsaid, please do below.

Please be considerate and tender during this fragile time. Here are some ideas for you to help your bereaved friends in their time of grief.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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There were no smiles, no flowers, no balloons or anything associated with a hospital room occupied by a pregnant mother about the give birth to her child. I really don’t remember any conversations at all expect with one of the few visitors that came to see me.

I had scheduled a landscape installation project for one of my long time clients feeling confident we could finish before Tanner’s arrival. However, Tanner decided to come 2 weeks early (38 weeks gestation). While in my hospital bed I had my husband call  and inform her I would not be coming to install plant material tomorrow (Monday) because Tanner had died. I never thought her and her husband would come to the hospital to see me.

What courage that took coming to the hospital room of your landscape designer surrounded by people intensely grieving a much wanted baby. It was so nice to see her and her husband even under the circumstances. Again, I don’t remember what we talked about in detail but I probably told her the information of what I had been told by the hospital staff. Before my client left she hugged me and whispered, “God is good, God is good”. Those words did not register with me probably because I was not spiritual at this time in my life. They did later.

At this time the room was occupied by my husband, best friend, mother and father-in-law and my husband’s aunt and uncle (mother-in-law’s sister). No one knew what to do so the only thing they could do is to be present and wait for Tanner quietly.

The Birth of My Stillborn Baby-Part 1

The Birth of My Stillborn Baby-Part 8

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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I loved him before he was conceived and his name is Tanner. My beautiful son was born still and 2 days before we would know of this horrific news, I decided to nickname him Tanner Nanner. His name was determined the day we found out he would wear blue and his name stands at the entrance of his Memory Garden.

plaque1.jpg

Hearing Tanner’s name, writing Tanner’s name and seeing Tanner’s name is important for me to move forward on my healing journey, with him in my heart.

My husband constructed a name plaque for Tanner’s Memory Garden. It is a simple memorial craft you and your spouse can create for your sweet angel baby. Materials needed:

  • Piece of pressure treated wood, 2x4x whatever length you need
  • A router tool
  • Copper pipe and fittings (connectors)
  • Strong adhesive, I think he used gorilla glue
  • A hacksaw
  • Table saw
  • Vice grip
  • Letter template to trace onto the wood

This project took a few hours because my husband needed the sign for Tanner’s name to be just perfect. He traced the letters onto the pressure treated wood and placed it into the vice to hold it still while he used the router tool to cut the letters. He then cut the access wood with a table saw. With the router tool he made a grove around the perimeter of the wood for the copper pipe to rest nicely. With a hacksaw the copper pipe was cut and fitted around the wood and connected by 90 degree elbows. Gorilla glue was used to permanently bond the pipe. We gently hammered Tanner’s name plaque into the ground and after a few months to dry (pressure treated wood needs to dry for months before you can stain or paint it) we will paint the letters. At the base of his name plaque are beautiful helleborus plants.  A name plaque can even be created for a memory garden at church.

This could be an activity for a grieving father. My husband didn’t talk much and just wanted to fix things with his hands. The mortared stone benches in Tanner’s garden, the name plaque, and the shadowbox were all his way of comforting me and also helping himself on his healing journey.

tannercopper.jpg

Naming a deceased baby loved before conception helps family and friends by enabling them to purchase mementos when they feel helpless. My brother and sister-in-law bought us a wind chime for Tanner’s 1st angelversary with his name and heartfelt words to blow in the wind, making angel-like music for our ears.

chime.jpg

Several girlfriends and women I have met through support groups have named their miscarried and stillborn babies. There are also bereaved families that chose not to give their children names. It is a personal decision.

tulipcross2.jpg

Another way to add your child’s name to their memory garden is on an engraved memorial brick.

brick.jpg

The names chosen for my children who have died are just as important as my living child for the mere fact of my belief and faith in heaven and the opportunity to hold my children again someday.

“While we were dreaming of your baby ways

God was planning your heavenly days”

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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Native wildflowers are very good choices for memory garden plants because they are already acclimated to our temperatures, soil structure and rainfall. Plants incorporated into memory gardens should be very durable and able to withstand harsh climatic conditions, ensuring survival. If you are placing your child’s memory garden into a natural area, or roadside, this is a wonderful location to incorporate wildflowers indigenous to North America. Most are drought tolerate, pest and disease free and attract butterflies.

I will only discuss those wildflower perennials available at your local plant nurseries. The first wildflower is Goldenrod or the scientific name, Solidago. Many people are familiar with this autumn blooming flower, usually found along roads. The color is golden yellow and brightens up the garden in September and October. “Golden Fleece” Goldenrod is sold at plant nurseries in 1 gallon pots. This plant will reach 18 inches tall with a spreading habit. The flower heads make great cutting or pressed flowers.

Giant Goldenrod

The next wildflower appropriate for memory gardens in natural areas is Black-Eyed Susan or the scientific name, Rudbeckia hirta. This perennial is different than the one commonly sold. This species grows on roadsides, fields and meadows reaching a height of 2 to 3 feet, much larger than Rudbeckia fulgida. The plant is spectacular in bloom and are also make wonderful pressed and cutting flowers. The yellow blooms are perfect for a touch of sunshine in your memory gardens.

Rudbeckia hirta.jpg

Another wildflower able to grow in adverse conditions is Amsonia tabernaemontana or the common name, Blue Star. This delicate wildflower bears star-shaped blue blooms in the spring. It will grow 2 to 3 feet in height and 3 feet in spread. Not only does this native flower have blooms of blue, the fall foliage turns a golden yellow lasting until early winter.

Amsonia nadrenska Amsonia ...

The last indiginoues wildflower I highly recommend is Baptisia australis, or the common name, False Indigo. The plant reaches a height of 3 feet and spreads to 4 feet. The beautiful purple blooms occur in April through August.

The False Indigo (Baptisia) is ...

All the above plants are sun loving and tough perennials for your memory gardens in natural areas and locations along the roadside.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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