About Cheerio

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In general I am a cheery and energetic person. But I am enshrouded in a cloak of iron. That cloak is the weight of greiving my son, whom I've lost to adoption.

Monday, November 23, 2009

our babies ...

Sep 13, 2009 at 11:30 PM
our babies are not supposed to fit in a box as small as the palm of my hand
and yet,
this weekend,
that is where it ended for our Little Flower Bud
it ended on Saturday morning, 9/12 at 3am

it was obvious what I saw, and I gently wrapped that Always pad and set it aside, instead of putting it in the wastebasket

i feel fortunate that he/she was not just dumped into a trash bin while at a hospital or that i passed him/her w/out knowing

grotesque some may feel,

but i needed to show respect to this baby, no matter how tiny he/she was

after he/she passed, the pain lessened, but the dr still wanted me to go to the ER

7 hours in the ER before I could come back home

I made sure my hubby knew why that one pad in the flowery yellow wrapper was on the floor and he knew to not throw it away

we talked about a 'final resting place', and agreed where that would be

I rummaged around in my craft room looking for an appropriate box for our Little Flower Bud, and found one that was heart-shaped. I used purple tissue paper to line the bottom, and covered the Little Flower Bud with yellow tissue paper

it was so hard i didn't really cry, it was more like whimpering as i arranged everything in this heart shaped box

putting the lid on the box was something i didn't think about ahead of time - doing so broke me
i just lay on the floor crying, weeping, and shaking

my husband comes upstairs and sits on the floor near me
he rests a hand on my shoulder

eventually i get up off the floor and walk downstairs
i tied a ribbon around the heart shaped box holding our Little Flower Bud

just before it gets dark, we walk up the hill
beside the Bleeding Heart seemed the most appropriate spot

while my hubby was digging, i stood behind him watching
watching and holding the heart shaped box and a fresh picked creamy pinkish-white rose
i am somber as he digs

he turned to me and asked if I thought the hole was deep enough, nothing can describe the pain that once again washes over me when hearing those words
nothing can describe the pain to peer into a dark hole in the ground
but this must be done and i step forward and kneel on the ground

i wrap the heart-shaped box and place it in the bottom of the hole
i also put in all the color swatches i was using to decide on colors for the baby blanket I wanted to crochet
once everything was in place i stepped back again

my hubby proceeded to refill the hole with the earth

on the freshly dug ground we placed a big heart shaped stone i unearthed this spring when expanding a flower bed
once again i kneel on the ground and lay the fresh picked rose on the stone that covered the final resting place of our baby
the tears flow freely
my husband kneels on the cold ground next to me
we hold each other as we cry and say our final good-bye

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

our "little flower bud"

our "little flower bud"

Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 6:40pm
today was another dr's appointment
i was not as uptight as last one and was looking forward to finding out if there was more than just one little flower bud in there i didn't have any reason to believe there would be
- except that my Grandma had a Twin Brother --
just another thing to mentally check off my list

so the gal who takes the weight, blood pressure, etc (i don't know if she's a nurse's aid or what her official title is?!?) asked a few questions then described the Doppler process

was relieved I didn't have to put on one of those flimsy hospital gowns

she couldn't find a heartbeat, which didn't freak me out, I've been doing my reading and they say it can still be hard to hear to at 10 weeks so the nurse practitioner came in and she couldn't find a heartbeat either, so they decide to try other methods, and took us to the ultrasound room...

the nurse practitioner called in the dr, and they talked a few moments she turned the screen my way and pointed to stuff as she talked I still was not freaking out, so far, it's all normal

"...either the pregnancy is much earlier than we thought, or the [baby] has stopped growing "

the words "stopped growing" stuck in my heart - this was not the norm I tried to stay calm all the while thinking, I cannot Lose Another one...not ANOTHER one! and with that very thought the tears started to fall

they sent me to the hospital for a 'better' ultrasound, and after a long time it only confirmed what the dr's office saw

our Little Flower Bud has faded, and will not grow into a mature flower that will become a vibrant blossom

I thank Every Single One of you for your Love for your Support for your Encouragement and Congratulations through this unscripted journey

Everything you ALL have said or written has meant so very much to me and my hubby and we just thank you from the depths of our heart for EVERYthing!!!

***I am trying to catch up copying over the earlier posts I wrote on FB, the date and time stamps at the beginning of this post are accurate,I came home from the dr's appointment and wrote this***
our little flower bud

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Down with the movie, “UP”

August 27, 2009 Occasionally on my blog I mention my youngest nephew. I call him My Buddy. He is an absolute joy to our family. He has an infectious smile, alert dark eyes, and a memory that surprises us. Sometimes he will bring up an even that took place over a year or more ago, even though he had not even commented about it at all just after it happened. He remembers with great detail, even when we think he it’s having no impact or that he’s not even paying attention. He’ll be 9 years old this December, and they really do grow up too fast. I am afraid that I don’t spend enough time with him to make lasting memories, or for him to realize just how much I love him and how special he is to me. One weekend this fall I picked him at his house. He sat in the truck in the seat next to me as we drove. I suggested we could stop to pick up a movie at Red Box on the way to my house. He talked about the movie, “Up.” He wanted to see “Up.” Since I don’t have a tv, I had not heard anything at all about “Up” and figured that if it just came out, it wouldn’t be at the Red Box yet. Unfortunately I was right. There was no “Up” movie. We ended up with a Sponge Bob instead. But I didn’t forget that My Buddy wanted to see “Up.” The next day I searched on-line to find out more about it. Then I looked for theater listings. I noticed that it was schedule for showing at the $2.00 theater in just a few weeks. But this $2.00 Theater is special. It is a quaint old theater in a small town across the river. It has a very good sound system and they’ve kept up the building, and it still has that ‘olde time’ feel to it. My Buddy hasn’t been to this theater before. So I planned to take him there to see “Up.” I copied some of the pictures from the on line advertisements and pasted them into a word document to created a special invitation. To: My Buddy to go see the movie, “Up” – From: Aunt Cheerio. And that is what we did. The day of our movie date, my Hubby wanted to along too. It is so cute to see my Hubby and My Buddy together. You can see the love they have for each other. I sent those two ahead to pick out the seats while I stood in line to buy popcorn and the rope of Nerds that My Buddy spotted when we walked in. I made my purchases and set out to find the boys. The theater was fairly dark, but I was able to spot them in the middle of the theater. I tried to joke with My Buddy that they were all out of the Nerds, but he didn’t believe me. We sat there chattering and eating popcorn (My Buddy is a king of chatter, keeping him quiet is the hard task). We looked all around at the décor of the old theater while we waited. As the movie began it felt good to be there with My Buddy sitting between us. So often I feel like the world’s most boring Aunt, and I was glad to finally find something I knew he wanted to do. In case you haven’t heard abut the movie either, it’s an animated comedy. All the trailers and promotions for it show a chubby little Boy Scout and an old fellow who ties a bunch of balloons to his house and they float all away. But none of the trailers show anything prior to this scene. The ‘old fellow’ was just a nerdy kid at the start of the movie. They showed him and how his other nerdy friend met. They fell in love, and you know the progression. They did a good job in the movie of implying the progression without actual dialogue. They skillfully showed them growing up from kids, to teens, to a wedding, to thinking about having children, to decorating a room to be the nursery. Then she lost the baby. It showed her sitting in the Doctor’s office with face in her hands, while the husband stood outside the room. The tears just started to flow down my face, and my entire body tensed as I cried. The scene moved on to her sitting outside in the yard on a swing, as the husband stood inside watching her through the window. I don’t really know if My Buddy was following along with what all was going on or not. But he did notice me crying. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him several times looking up at me. When he asked me this past spring if I was ever pregnant, it was the same reaction – tears. Through the tears I told him that I was pregnant a long time ago, and suggested that maybe we could talk about it another day. We haven’t talked about it yet, but the tears, these tears and pain, they are all from the same place. They come from any reminder of the child I lost so very long ago. It can be a subtle reminder like seeing a blonde haired boy, or it could be a poignant reminder like in this movie of losing a child. Those reminders point to and make me look at the hole and empty spot in my heart. The scene of the wife sitting in the chair sobbing-- that is a picture of me to this day. Losing my son is something I will never get over. My heart is stuck there like a scratched record. It plays the same sad notes over and over again. Nothing has erased the pain of losing my son. Not even now as I sit here with my Nephew, who doesn’t know that I’m pregnant (again) and planning for our new little Flower Bud’s arrival. I still cried for quite awhile after those two scenes. I did not have the courage to look back at My Buddy until after I stopped crying. The movie went on, and there were plenty of funny spots once the Boy Scout appears on the scene. My Buddy enjoyed the movie and I was glad that I could take him. I wish it were as happy as a memory as I originally planned. I took him to see a comedy, but it pierced my heart. Now anytime I hear about the movie, my mind goes right to those scenes. It was a good movie, but I won’t watch it again.
Down with the movie “Up”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cheerio gets help ?

August 2009 If you’ve read the prior post, then I think you’ll easily understand why several people suggested that I “talk to someone” – meaning counseling. I’ve tried counseling before, and didn’t really benefit in the times I tried. Here is an abbreviated history on ‘ Cheerio gets help.’ ( TRIED to keep it brief, really I did!!!) Before I do that timeline, please remember that I’ve said countless times that I was in denial, and I mean complete denial for several years after losing my son to adoption. So complete was the denial that I never referred to him as “my son.” I felt like I was not ‘allowed’ to. After all, I was not the one parenting him, I was not he one tucking him in bed at night, I was not the one taking care of him when he was sick. You know, it’s all those things people say about why the aparents are the “REAL” parents. Yup, those are the things I believed. Part of the denial was that I believed he was ‘their’ son. Was that because I did not want him or not love him? No, that was not it at all! Him being ‘their’ son meant he could not be my son also. In adoption there is a great divide. There is a definite “us vs them” mentality. This great divide is also what is generally accepted and promoted by society. People forget (I forgot) that children are not possessions. Relationships are not inanimate objects. “Mom” is just a title, just a label for description, just as “Aunt” or “Cousin” is. People don’t freak out that a child would have more than one Aunt, or more than one Cousin. Yet in regards to adoption, there is a skewed thought, that a child can have only one Mother. This thought is not generated from love, but possessiveness and fear. There is much that could be said on that subject, but that would be going a completely direction from where we’re headed. My point in bringing this out was that SINCE I did not acknowledge him as my son, I did not recognize the adoption as a loss. At least not right away. It was not until the aparents stopped sending pictures that I was not able to keep a lid on all the feelings that kept surfacing. I literally felt like I was going to go crazy sometimes, and I finally decided to get help. At this point in my journey I was still very pro-adoption. And even though the aparents closed the door, I was still supporting the adoption agency, Bethany Christian Services. (what I know now, I do not view their ethics or practices as ‘Christian’, so I drop that from their name, leaving Bethany Services. I found that I could use just their initials, and from here on out refer to them as BS…a reference they rightly deserve.) #1 – I desperately needed help. I met with the BirthParentCounselor and the Branch Director admitting I needed help dealing. Whatever the aparents were going through was not really my concern at that time; I just needed help for me. That meeting is a movie burned into my memory. I recall sitting there with the director across from me. He was oh, so sincere and seemed caring. But his response was that he didn’t know how he could help. I asked if they had a list of counselors/psychologists/therapists that they could refer someone for me to see (and pay for it myself.) The answer was no, they didn’t know of any counselors they could refer me to. Recognizing my NEED for some kind of help, I threw out the question “Well, can you at least give me the title of a book, so I could at least try to help myself?” The director again slowly shakes his head from side to side and he says, “Gee, I can’t think of any.” That was very painful and depressed me even further. That meant there was no help, and I would have to live with this turmoil forever? #2 – My second attempt at counseling involved help from my pastor. There was a time when BS wanted to host a service at our church. The ONE person in our church that knew about my adoption experience made me tell my pastor about BS and about my adoption. He recognized right away that, yes, I NEEDED help. He vowed to help me find a Christian Counselor who had experience with adoption related issues. My pastor was frustrated when he came back to me empty-handed. He even went to the “crisis pregnancy center” that our church supported and asked if they could refer any counselors. That in itself is a great question, after all, this center promotes adoption – so they should in some way be able to provide someone with post-adoption help. But they could not. #3 – While my pastor was searching, I was also searching on the internet. I found a ‘counselor’ that was about an hour away. The first time I saw her, she gave me some little workbook pamphlet. That first visit, she was very very surprised by the responses I got from BS. She said she was ‘concerned’ because she referred many people to them on a very regular basis. (Hindsight recognizes now that her business is based on promoting adoption.) Visit#2 – she was a no show. Nice a two plus hour drive round trip – for nothing. Visit #3. I don’t know why I remember this, but one of the questions in the pamphlet she gave me asked the question, “What have you learned from your experience?” And my answer was “To trust NO ONE.” But that visit got under my skin for a different reason. She asked how many other children I had. Which of course, I did not have other children. Then she asked why I didn’t have other children? I gave her all the reasons of why I ‘thought’ I didn’t have other children. I was not yet out of denial enough to realize the real reasons. Her eyes lit up, and she says very emphatically to me, “There’s your problem. Don’t you see it?” And she proceeded to tell me that “MY PROBLEM” was that I did not have other children, and this made the aparents afraid that I never accepted my adoption and moved on. This is evident by not having other children. They were withdrawing from me because I haven’t moved on yet. At that point in my journey, I didn’t even realize the “move on” part, because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I thought moving on was ‘normal’ part of the process & I that was why I was so frustrated by and didn’t understand all these feelings and pain that was constantly surfacing. But that was not the red flag to me. The red flag that infuriated me was her transferring the responsibility of the aparents onto me. If the AParents were withdrawing because they were afraid, that was not “My Problem.” It was “their problem,” and they had no right to punish me for their problem. It was Their Responsibility to deal with their own issues. So, as you probably imagined already, when I left her office that day riled up – I never returned. I later had another confrontation with the BS Director. He mentioned this counselor and I could tell by what he was saying is what I had told her. So this counselor also broke confidence and talked to the Director about me. Now, I understand that if someone shows signs of harming themselves or others, that confidence can/should be broken. But if it is a very real threat, you would go to authorities. Lovely, huh? #4 – Instead of a three hour tour, it was a three hour drive to and from the office of the next counselor I tried. It was very difficult driving over an hour crying all the way, crying an hour in her office, and crying all the way home and the rest of the night. She was a nice lady, but I didn’t know that what I needed was a counselor who had experience with Adoption Loss issues. I stopped going, because we never talked about the adoption. We talked about my family, about my husband, about my missing nephews, etc. But we didn’t deal with what I wanted most to deal with and it didn’t make sense to keep giving her money so we could talk about what SHE wanted to talk about. #5 – Last year, 2008, I finally got up the nerve to call the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) to try counseling again. This time I was aware that I needed to find a counselor that was experienced in adoption issues. It was mentally and emotionally draining. It was daunting to sit there with a list of ‘approved counselors’ and then pick up the phone to call and ask questions. I was not just questions about scheduling, but each time someone answered my call, I was opening the door in my heart where the adoption was ‘hidden’, and I had to look at it. I had to talk about it to a non-interested stranger. It was very difficult to do this, not just once, but repeatedly. It took me several days to finally make enough phone calls that I found a counselor who said she was “qualified.” Our first Session I found out that her “qualification” relied on her having a sister who adopted two children. I don’t remember much else about the session. I wasn’t convinced she’d be much help. She talked about getting on with my life. How adoption is a good thing, not bad. Before our second Session had even ended, I mentally checked out. I was tense and all my body language clearly indicated that I had closed. What did it? It was her complete lack of understanding of an adopted person’s struggles – from the adoptee’s point of view. Her adopted niece and nephew were both “well adjusted” and “happy adoptees.” She went on to say that the niece decided to search for her original family, but the nephew doesn’t need to. And she believed that façade, that mask, that “grateful mentality” that was projected onto those kids. The thing that caused me to close down was not her talk of her adopted family; but rather her comments about my son, whom she does not know. You see, the reason I went for counseling was that I was considering the possibility of having another child. This was a stormy sea I was trying to navigate. I was trying to undo the brainwashing of who I really am versus who I though I was – based off of the adoption. I shut down when she said to me, “He will never consider you his mother. You will always just be a stranger to him. He will never consider any of your other children as his brother or his sister. They are your children, but he will never consider them his family.” And that did it. I decided this lady smokes the adoption mushrooms, and I mentally pitied the other clients she tried to help with their adoption issues. She was no help. She would only muddy the waters more and make things worse. #6 – And so, August 2009 – here I am pregnant (not unplanned), and very distraught and struggling with all the emotions, fears, and feelings from 16 years ago, in addition to the new influx of pregnancy hormones. There was no denying that I should seek counseling to help me deal with the issues from 16 years ago, so that I won’t be a complete basket case when my next baby is born. And so I call the EAP and get another fresh list of counselors. I broke the list into sections and determined to call 10-15 counselors each day. This time, the question I asked was if the counselor was qualified to deal with the grief of losing a child to adoption? I talked to some receptionists who had to ask the counselor and get back to me, and some places I left a voice mail message. There were two counselors who returned my call. One said she has not worked with anyone who lost a child to adoption, and did not feel that she would be qualified to help. The other counselor who called me back surprised me. It surprised me that she called back herself, kind of late in the evening (and pathetically enough I was still at work), instead of having her receptionist do it. But what really surprised me is that she TALKED with me! – for 10 minutes or more??!!??. She said she felt like she could help me deal with the adoption trauma. She described that she has worked with numerous women who have lost a child to death. She suggested that I probably needed to work through some grief as well. When I hung up the phone with her, I sat in my chair and just stared at the phone. She recognized I was hurting. Unlike everyone else who associates adoption with celebration, it sounded as though she saw the adoption as a tragedy instead. I was encouraged that maybe she really could help. In my first session with her she thinks that what I need to deal with more than the grief is the trauma. Then she goes on to talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “PTSD” . . . “PTSD” ? ? ? “PTSD” . . . “PTSD” ! ! ! “PTSD” rolls around in my head like 16 lb cannon balls. I’ve heard so many references to original moms being diagnosed with PTSD from the adoption. I just can’t believe that maybe that is what the ‘real’ problem is with me too? 16 years of walking around with this “thing” affecting every aspect of my life, and it’s gone totally “un-noticed”? After talking with her, I did additional investigating on the internet and questions on forums, etc. And it all makes total sense to me know. Her simplified description of PTSD is that the body gets ‘stuck’ at the place where the past trauma occurred. Whenever triggers or other things that happen in the future that bring back reminders of the trauma, the body, by reflex, reacts in the same way as if the trauma were happening now, in the present. I think this explains all the descriptions in my prior post … when I saw an infant or an infant of a picture, my body immediately responded with the tense muscles, the increased heart rate, the change in breathing. That description was not at all limited to my OB visit. It was the reality of what happened every time I saw an infant. It would happen anytime I would walk by infant clothes at a store. It would happen whenever I would hear someone talk about pregnancy. So, here I am at counselor #6, over the past 4 years (2005 – 2009). For the first time, I am hopeful, that maybe she can “get my body to recognize the trauma as an event from the past” so that I do not continue experiencing the same physical reactions whenever there is a trigger. I know it won’t take the pain away. I know it will not undo the past decisions. My hope right now is to just do what I can to be emotionally healthy, for the sake of this new little Flower Bud. If I can be healthy for her/him, then when I reunite with my son, hopefully I will be healthy enough and strong enough to be there for him too. I don’t want him to feel like he is alone as he navigates the deep dark waters of the chilling Adoption Ocean.
Cheerio and Counseling