Saturday, November 1, 2014

Four Babies Later...

There's something I like to refer to as the fourth trimester body. In having four kids, I have met the fourth trimester body many times. In my last two pregnancies, there is only three months span between them and my body took a toll. My pregnancy with Linus was not easy on my bod after the trauma of Lucy's. 

Here I stand in the mirror looking at my naked body. I don't feel confident in the fact that I earned this shape. These marks. These hips. 

In fact, looking in the mirror I see worn out and tired mom. The mom who was playing basketball in the driveway with my kids and couldn't go after a ball like I used to. Or chase after and field that ball coming my way. Hips loose. Popping. Creeking. 

I'm only 33, this seems incredibly unacceptable. As I undress, I look at all the angles. I know every curve, mark, pinch. I analyze it with the most judging eyes. I treat it with the unkindness I would never treat someone else's. 

How did I get here? I'm not quite sure where my obsession with me body evolved. I know, I've always been tall; Nearly 6'. I know my weight growing up was always a topic of conversation like it was a "thing", a problem to wear a size 12 girls when I was 8. Or to have developed full cup size C breasts at 12. It's been a long road of being made to obsess and analyze the discussions of others involving my weight. 

It became my story. Still is. A story, I'm constantly trying to rewrite. As a Mom. Especially as a Mom of four, my body should hold so much pride. The life it's given and the life it's sustained should be enough to marvel. 

Marveling is what my husband does best. Marveling over the same areas I'm critizing. The compliments flood at me in mass proportions and as someone as adoring as him, I should be elated, boastful, and want to share myself with him. The body he covets, cowers when he does this. Becomes small. Embarrassed. Shy. 


I take pretty good care of my health and my body. Especially when I was pregnant. With Lucy I gained 9lbs in the 22 weeks of pregnancy and Linus I started at the same weight, only gaining 12. Since he was born, I'm 25 lbs smaller than before I was pregnant. This sounds like a great accomplishment. However, it was another obsession over my body. Being made to weight in each visit. Becoming the focus of my visit. It was torture until I switched providers to allow the tenderness I deserved. 

I recognized this thought pattern is something that needs rewriting. These thoughts were manifesting in my life, my body, and my children. This story that had been created for me as a kid. Turned into a real life thing. An unfair evaluation of my self worth through my size. As that story continued, the more it manifested. 

Now most who know me know... I can be very confident. I am very confident in lots of areas of my life. I'm confident in my marriage, friendships, my abilities, my parenting, and basically everything else. It makes zero sense to me to be so sheepish about my reflection.

A reflection that shows me how beautiful I am. Which I do ACTUALLY believe. I believe in my beauty. Reality and perception play an odd part where one day I'm overly confident and the next day, I'm broken. 

After losing Lucy, nothing could seem more painful than coming to grips with my own reflection. A woman. Mother of a baby who died. Who's body seemingly failed the ability to keep her daughter safe until she could live outside of her. 

In that reflection was guilt, was blame, and was more reasons to self deprecate a body that housed my broken soul. 

Where's the triumph in all this? The Renee that is resilient in seeing everything through to make each day new and better. 

Truth is, I'm finding her. I realized that in having children it becomes incredibly important for me to change my story, so that my story doesn't become theirs. For my daughter but, especially for my sons. 

I'm challenging myself to do some rebirth about my body, the house for my soul. It needs to be treated with care. With kindness. It needs to be treated with respect and love. 

My fourth trimester body, is the temple in which I have life, gave life, and live. I'm gonna start living like intended with a new awareness. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

My husband was "Married" when I met him.

This is one of those posts, people, where the raw and forthcoming truth is going to hit like a ton of bricks. 

Lucy's father was married to someone else when I met him. 

And so was I. 


We were both "technically" married. 

Never once when we met did we lie about our terminating marriages being a part of our life. We both had already asked for a divorce prior. Both miserable in our own skin and in our marriages. 

The day I "MET" him. He had already left his family, in Michigan. I had been a HORRIBLE wife to my Husband at the time and ready to find a happy place. But, we no longer resided with our ex-spouses. 

I never spent one day with him as the other woman. Not one. Even though, before our divorces weren't final, I was dating Lucy's father. 

In fact, he was divorced quiet possibly a year before I was. 


Now when relationships end there are two people's stories. I totally get that. There's a "truth" you take with you full of excuses of why your marriage ended. But truth is, your truth is the only one that mattered. 

We carry around our truths, giving them away as we please. Sometimes we give them less frequently as a part of our story, than the truths of the real world. 

I've never lied to anyone about the truth on how my relationship with my husband came about. But, realized I filled the conversation with excuses. Embarrassed that they might view me in an unpleasant light. 

I was terrified of judgement. Terrified of those who take the bits and pieces said here and run with their own truths. I was terrified because of my husband's story. 

But, today. Today that doesn't matter. Today that's all noise in a greater purpose of why I married my husband. There is no excuse I will give, because I don't have too! 

How freeing is that! 

I married my husband because we found each and fell in love. That's it. 


I see muddy tracks where he had been. But, I saw love. 

My mother in law told me a beautiful story about my husband as a small child. When his sister was born, he thought she was brought to this world for him to love. He loved so fiercely, his baby sister. He is still that man. They know. 

Love. This man that fought so hard for his son's safety that he possessed full custody at one point. 

Love. The love written in emails and letters saying how great a father my husband is/was. How his kids came first. 

Love. The love 4 people (us, my ex and his new wife) put into the effort to raise our kids together. In creation to build something unique for the kids we parent on a daily basis. 

Love. The only thing that Lucy knew in this life. Her whole life was summed up in

I get it. You may not agree with me. My marriage. My past. My love. 

That holds no reflection on me. To me. Excuse me , As I proceed in love. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What's The Matter...

Lucy's the matter. 

Yesterday was International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. For this day, like the last we ran. "Light One For Lucy (and Friends)". A social media campaign to lift awareness on our timelines. 

I'm overwhelmed by the response of over 100 candles lighting up my timeline in honor of the little lives that were so quick to touch our lives and leave us to soon.  

I had been slightly defeated going into Wednesday, for I had been directed to a trolls comments about how little, Lucy's life mattered due to my husband's past. 

To anyone who has experience loss of any kind knows that the pain can be unbearable. Losing a child is no different, except the pain is breakable. 

As all of those beautiful lights were illuminating my timeline, my husband and I became overcome with love. It became apparent to me that Lucy's life mattered so much and Lucy lives in so much of us. Lucy came at the exact time to touch the souls in the most perfect way. Life Changing. 

One tiny little girl has brought so much compassion, so much drive, so much love, and so much light to our world in a life of only 1 hour long. The lessons we've learned from her life have been boundless. 

Often a Mother's struggle in Infant and Pregnancy Loss is to help people understand their baby was life. They were wanted. They are your baby. Imagine that everyday you would have to fight to have someone recognize your babies lived. 

Lucy lives. Lives in Keegan, who was brought to tears over the lit flame for his sister, whom he's cradled in his arms. Lucy mattered. 

She lives in Gwyn, whom screams out for her sometimes in the night. Who sleeps with the blanket that wrapped Lucy 's tiny body as Gwyn rocked her. 
Lucy Mattered. 

Lucy lives in her Father, whom kept her wrapped tight in blankets so she was not to "get cold" as we spent 24 hours drinking in every part of her life. 

Lucy lives and LIVED in me. Where I refuse to let her Life and Death happen for lack of purpose or higher meaning. Bringing awareness and sounding off for mothers like me. 

Lucy lives in those with heart. That understands that her family isn't perfect. Her family was perfect for her. As she watches over, she gives strength to those who are weak. She provides love and she offers forgiveness to those who need it the most. 

I've never claimed to be saintly, but I live each day with Lucy in mind. How can I live in such a way to give her life honor. 

Because through Lucy , We Matter.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Mother's October

A Mother's October is a battle ground. A reminder of the thoughts we don't escape each day. As their mother, you get to have everything that comes with being their mom. Except, we don't. 

The worry, the guilt, the classic "mom" thoughts never go away. Some of us meet our dear ones and some imagine their beauty. Yet we all belong here, This October. 

October comes with leaves flying, pumpkins carved, apples baked, and yet, with all this nostalgia, it could be better. In celebration, we make those aware of our littlest's battle and to keep them living on in thier hearts, as they stay living in ours. Mothers don't let their babies go.

A Mother's October is a battle ground. A war to let us never forget the soul that touched us most, that broke our hearts, that left us with a hole. 

A Mother's October is to remember. 
Each year's tenth month will come, like the last. Just like the one before and before that. A whole month to encompass our love for our littlest's soul. 

Here were are, October. The month we were given. The month we gather to remember our babies.

31 days of awareness for their fights, and their lives. 31 days in this Mother's October where you, and her, and I stand up for our babies to remember that tiny heartbeat. The first sonogram. That booming kick. I stand before you on this October, with you, and as you. 

Our babies are bigger than October. Surely their lives can't be summed up by a month. But, here we are. Celebratory for the lives we grew and the angels we gained. 

A Mother's October is a peaceful place where her baby lives and their soul soars. 
This October, while we remember our babies, honor their Mothers. For her heart is where her baby lies. 

For anyone who has Lucy's friends with her in heaven. 

All I can think is love.

I formulated an entire blog post in response to some comments brought to my attention in response to love celebrated for Lucy, just Lucy.

As I was writing I realized, release it. Write it out and release it. So I wrote it, than erased it.  Injustice and untruths really bother me. 

I'm protective of all that I love and especially, my family. I try to understand what it's like to be a sociopath by understanding how when someone envelopes themself in lies to hurt someone else, they can truly become the lie. 

Many have refered to it or them as "evil". But, I know that people have a story. Hurt envelopes people in different ways. Some are able to cope in a pleasing manner, while others can't. Everyone has a story, everyone deserves to be heard, loved, and cared for. No matter their story. These are exact words I say to my husband when he faces conflict. 

 As the case keeps building, I'm allowed to learn forgiveness.  

The comments are from those who do not even KNOW me. My story. Know my life, my love, my thoughts, my actions, my worth, or who I am. They may never get the privilege. To me that is sad because, generally those who know me, know me. 

So let me introduce YOU to truth, I am Renee. Renee, a woman who lives in Kansas with her family. I love. I breathe. I laugh. I cook. I bake. I advocate. I'm a liberal in a highly conservative state. I'm a college graduate. I'm a family studies developmentalist. I'm aware. I'm psychic. I'm beautiful. I'm clever. I'm a writer. A teacher. A speaker. A mother. I'm flawed. I've made mistakes. I'm free. I like carbs. I love bacon (which wasn't always the case). I love yoga. I swim. Sports is my thing. I paint. I walk the walk. I talk the talk. I still believe that albeit your story, love is always the answer. I've never been skinny, not that I care. I love my curves. I advocate for the side of these untruths more than realized. My marriage is not a product of divorce. My divorce is not a product of my marriage. I parent my children with three other parents, whom created a loving bond for all, no matter how our marriage/divorce came to be (Forgiveness works).  I've supported the unpopular decisions and actions within my own family. I've thought. I've acted. I've forgave. I research. I keep spirits alive. I'm the calendar that remembers every birthday, including yours. I'm the reminder to send that gift. That card. I'm the ally. I don't keep enemies. Words don't bother me. Lies do. I'm a Leo. I have 4 children. I have 4 step children, I may never meet (I hope that's not the case). I don't know them, but I know their father talks of them everyday. I know the circumstances to which my husband left his family. I don't praise his decision. Never have. I support his effort to do the right thing, in fact, encourage it. I don't believe the slander. I'm on top of and discuss frequently the outcomes of every change. I coach. Support and encourage love amongst the hate and despair. I realize. I nurture. I celebrate. I search. I mourn. I bleed. I'm human too. I'm full of heart among the heartless. I volunteer. I read. I educate.  I flirt. I'm spiritual but not religious. I'm intelligent. I'm as is...

Nice to meet you. These are the terms in which I'm referring to myself. My truth. The truth that will stand the test of time. The truth that keeps me happiest within my skin. Truth that pity's those who's skin makes then feel rage, revenge, or anything other than love. Those to whom also make many mistakes and contribute to the truths of others. Those whom cast the first stone. I honor your "story". I realize we all have one. Even if it doesn't pertain to love, forgiveness, and a better way. 

Truth. Freedom. 

I encourage you to live your truth. I invite you to build something from it, and start from a new place. People are not defined by their pasts. I won't define you. 

These are lessons losing Lucy has taught me. Don't learn these lessons by loss. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I hate Breastfeeding... Ok I said it.

We're three months into this relationship, son. You came into this world so fast, and ten minutes after your were born you were latched on, like a baby leach ready to suck the life out of anything that would go into your mouth.

Fast forward three months. We are in cruise control of this Breastfeeding thing. But, damn was that a road rocky. 

I was talking to your father last night about how just months ago we would be up in the middle of the night and I would cry and curse Breastfeeding mothers all over the world. "This is fucking stupid! People actually enjoy this? This SUCKS!"

There were times when your father exclaimed he was on his way to buy a can of formula, but I stopped him just in time to say, we can do this. 

Where was my bonding moment? I hated everything about this feeling and the struggle WAS REAL! 

Everything! I mean everything bothered your tummy. (Inherited from your father, I might add). You would fuss with gasses and we would just look at each other numb like we hadn't dealt with baby tears at least three time before, each! 

You have silent reflux. You have since the day you were born. Supposing it was being born early, I guess. But, everyday is getting better. Thanks Zantac! 

You were born with a tongue and lip tie! (Another thing you can attribute to you father). At one month old you were already having reversional surgery. The pain this caused was punch your momma in the throat kind of pain. I remember crying through breastfeeding sessions each time, knowing it wasn't suppose to be this way. 

Support groups, while they were there for support.... Ugh. Meltdowns. 

Chiropractors, gripe water, energy work , and gas drops. You had been through the gambit before you were two months old. 

Today, mild Thrush. Caused by the fact I no longer use dairy for your tummy. We are beating it, it's really the least of our problems up until this point. 

I questioned myself everyday, son. Was all this bullshit we've gone through worth it? I had been told by friends it was ok to just switch to bottles or formula. But, maybe I'm stubborn. (I know I'm stubborn) I don't give up. I just don't. It's who I am. Without bonding, through screaming and crying, I wasn't giving up. 
(Personal decision, it's ok to stop!) 

For the first two months I loathed this role. Every hour and a half you wanted to eat. I just felt nuts. I felt like a bad Mom. I felt, where was my bonding moment? This was suppose to be about bonding, that's what they tell me. I wasn't getting that .... 

And then, you smiled at me.

 That moment your dimple showed itself. Instantly the last two months were erased. You smile at me like your Dad does when he's adoring me. My heart was hooked. There was our bonding moment. It happened, it's finally here. My struggle realized it was  gone. No more fussy gasses. No more pain. We got this thing beat. 

Three months in, my dear Linus. I still don't LOVE breast feeding. That's ok. I love you, and that's why I do it. Why any Mom does whatever they do for the best interest of their child, formula and breast milk alike. 

Happy third month to us, cheers! 

This fox says, ah-goo!

I mean. How handsome is he!


Best Friends!

He loves his Nana and Grandma Kathy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Birthdays Come But Once A Year...

And We're here Lucy to bring you cheer... But you're not here.

As I look to the sky, searching for you I have to wonder, can you hear me? We are here and you are there?


Where is this there? Your sister calls it Heaven, your brother does too. I am not so sure about this place called heaven that collects our loved ones like some big party in the sky. Is it easy for you there? Do you see me? Is your Grandma Jennifer caring for you?

This is all a very hard concept for me to grasp because this is the place where "they" say my daughter is "living". Which seems completely unfair to a mother who yearns to do the caring for her own daughter, especially on her Birthday!

It's your Birthday, Lucy! Do you know that? We are here to celebrate you, are they celebrating you too in your new home? Your day you made it to your final destination in this "life". Is you soul beaming for joy because today is your day?

Your brother says you are huge! I believe so.. as huge as a spirit can be. Your sister says you are 35lbs there and you can walk now.  Oh Lucy, How I long to see that. 

Today is your birthday. It's my birthday to, yea? That day that I gave birth to you was so much bigger than me and this life. That day was the day I was to meet you and the day that I never stopped loving you even when you couldn't be with me. It was that moment in my life where my work began to keep you "alive" as alive within me as you could be. We kept you with us for 24 hours, Lucy. We kept you with us, to know you. We would wrap you, watch tv with you, snuggle you, and touch your nose. Every now and then, I would unwrap you to remember your features. I slept with you near to keep you warm. All that until "they" had to take you.

Oh that moment, Lucy. That moment I had to hand you off to a stranger (funeral home) might have been the hardest moment I have ever experienced in my entire life. I wasn't ready, but I had to do it. I cried tears so ferocious that I couldn't breathe. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I have never felt pain to that degree before. I remember trembling and screaming for you. Outbursts that have never left my leveled body before. Being ripped from you... My daughter, knowing I would never see your precious face again, only to settle for memories that we captured in photographs. What misery.

But today, my angel... You are one year old. Although those memories are so recent the haze has settled in slightly of that day. I long to remember your smell, your skin, your face, and oh...that nose. That nose your brother shares with you.

Today there will be a moment; once a year. We will light your candle on your birthday cake and we will send you messages to heaven (where your siblings think you are) from the last place you lived on this earth. I love you my sweet girl. Hear my message. Happy Birthday.