Tuesday, November 16, 2010

3 months without Astro

Today marks 3 months since Allison died. 3 months since I held her little hand. 3 months since I last saw her cute little pout and chin, her dark wavy hair. Tomorrow marks 1 month since Casey came home. It's such a strange balance of sad and joyous milestones. We're still trying to figure out how to celebrate Casey when her life has been so entangled in her sisters. Her birthday is also her sister's birthday, and the day that we lost Rory. Even trying to fill out a baby book for Casey is hard, there's blank spaces for her first ultrasound picture...but her first picture is her and her sisters. The book asks to list her siblings and the only names we can put down are of the daughters we lost. It's not Casey's fault, she won't remember that when I carried her she played kicking games with Rory. That in the NICU, her incubator was across from Allison and when one's monitor alarm would beep, the other girl's alarm would answer just a few seconds later. The nurses used to say that they were playing with each other. Their lives are forever intertwined.

Even this blog is an odd mix of Casey's News and it's also a grieving blog, like this post today. I told Scott last week, Casey is worth anything we go through, there's other friends we have still trying to have children. I just feel like we had to pay such a high price to have her.

It has gotten so much easier over these three months. Our days have more highs and very few lows. The healing process has begun. There's just a few times that it rises back up, solo car rides and showers. Does it every time. But we're trying to move forward. Not letting go, just trying to move forward while taking our memories with us. It will be tricky. How do we remember Allison and Rory without taking away from Casey and everything she has given us? We don't know yet. Christmas card letters will be tricky. So will birthdays. We don't Casey to live with a shadow hanging over her. It will be a learning experience. One thing we did with Casey might have seemed insignificant to others, but it was huge to me.

When I woke up from my C-section anesthesia, I had three plastic bracelets on my left wrist. They corresponded with ID bracelets on our daughters. We kept Rory's bracelet on for a few days but water got into it when we washed our hands and was making it moldy. So a week after the girls were born and Rory died, we finally and reluctantly cut off our Rory hospital bracelets. Now we only had two bracelets on as a daily reminder. It was tough to see a physical representation of going from three to two.
When Allison died, we tried to pull the bandaid off quickly. We cut our Allison hospital bracelets off the next morning. After washing our hands at the NICU daily for almost 3 weeks, her name and info had been washed away and all we had left was her identifying number to know it was hers. It hurt to look down at my left arm and see one sad, lonely bracelet left. Where there was three, there was now just one.

You're supposed to wear your bracelet until your child is discharged. Since they're not meant to last for 3 months of wearing, the staff told us that we could take them off but we needed to keep them someplace safe in order to take Casey home. I refused to take mine off. The two times we cut off bracelets were for such devastating reasons, I made Scott keep his on until we could finally take them off for a good reason. People laughed at our grotesque bracelets. Scrubbing from elbows to fingertips for 2 mins to enter the NICU x going to the NICU 1 -2 times a day x 81 days= super washed out bracelets that squished when you pinched them.
You were supposed to take the bracelet off when you took your child home, not when you lost your child. And we had to cut two bracelets off for the wrong reason. I was determined to enjoy the day that we took our last bracelet off for the right reason.
So we wore them with pride. Well, I did. I don't think the symbolism was as big to Scott, he's just a great husband who goes along with my crazy notions. Then, we got so overwhelmed taking Casey home that we never actually got around to taking the Casey bracelets off. And when we did remember, I would keep postponing it. I wanted to make a big deal of it, take pictures. Finally a day came when we remembered to have the camera nearby, and we cut our Casey bracelets off. For the right reason.

Tomorrow, I'll post on our first month at home with Casey. She's so big now. We can't wait for her to get a little big and a little more interactive and then we want time to slow down so we can enjoy every second of it.


  1. i love and hate reading your blogs. i love to see casey growing like a weed. i dont like not knowing what to say to help you both feel better. all i can do is pray and pray. think about all five of you all the time...

  2. The time is passing quickly. I'm scared I'm going to lose those memories. The NICU seems like ages ago...

  3. Yes, what Footprints said. You guys know that you are all in my prayers every day.

    That's so awesome, what you did with the Casey bracelets! Sorry, I know I was totally one of the ones making fun of Scott's bracelet (but you gotta admit, his in particular was pretty narly looking!), but that's super sweet that you documented the removal. And I'm so glad you got to do it because she came HOME!

  4. Dear Keao, keep writing, keep blogging, though time really never heals, completely, your ministry through photography and the written word is more valuable than you could ever imagine. Thank you for always being so candid, "by your fruit they shall know ME".
    Love, Aunty Connie