A rainbow quilt

IMG_3457I gave a sneak peak of this quilt in my last post but now I am formally showing off my rainbow quilt! This year, instead of doing another tree in honor of Charlie for Festival of Trees, I decided to make and donate a quilt to be auctioned off. This quilt is simple as it is many squares sewn together. But beyond it’s simplicity there is so much love and symbolism in this quilt!

As I began this quilt I decided to expand the love and dedicate the quilt to Charlie and his little angel friends in heaven. As I have a facebook support group for SIDS moms (feel free to contact me if you know someone who might benefit from joining), I invited these moms to donate fabric that represents their angels.

IMG_3460While you can’t see the detail well, the blue fabric with waves represents Charlie.

IMG_3452The yellow fabric with the chain links represents Linkin Hamilton.

IMG_3441The blue fabric that looks like it has propellers on it represents Nathan Yamasaki.

IMG_3446The orange fabric represents Carter Chipman.

IMG_3443The yellow flowers represent Jenivee Clawson.

IMG_3449The brown fabric represents Clayton Wadley.

This quilt is also dedicated in honor of little angels who’s mom’s didn’t provide fabric, including Dylan Valario, Atticus Cox, Trinady Baxter, Maxxton Bowman, Carter Gardner,  and Wilhelm Warnke.

I purposely designed a rainbow color theme to symbolize hope and healing. The rainbow theme is most obvious on the back.

IMG_3465I also had the quilt quilted with butterflies as butterflies are often used to symbolize little angels.

So while it is a simple quilt, it means SO much. It means so much to ME. This is by far my favorite quilt I have EVER made. I dropped it off at Primary Children’s Hospital today where it was collected with other quilts to be displayed and auctioned at Festival of Trees. I had a hard time handing it over as I desperately just want to keep it! But this isn’t for me. I’m doing this for Charlie. But you can bet if no one buys this quilt, I’m going to buy it back!

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Celebrating

IMG_3405Cami officially passed the Four Month and Two Day Milestone! We celebrated by getting her four month vaccines! We sure know how to party in this house! haha. Poor girl. But she was such a champ! This little rainbow didn’t even cry when they gave her the shots! She whined but as soon as I picked her up, she was fine.  We’ll celebrate for real with some rice cereal this week!

At her four month appointment she weighed in at 12lbs 3 oz. We are proud of our little 21st percentile chunker! 🙂

While I know we aren’t out of the woods regarding the SIDS risk, and while I still have high anxiety and nightmares, I do feel a large weight taken off my chest. It was sad to pass that milestone in a way that’s hard to describe or explain, but I’m more relieved than anything. I’m allowing myself to hope more!

I sure love rainbow Cami!

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Cami 4 month update!

IMG_3377Such an emotional milestone, as you can imagine. These three days just feel so loaded. Four months was the last milestone for Charlie to hit. Four months and one day, Cami is the exact age of her brother when he grew his wings, and four months two days will be the day Cami will be alive longer than her brother.

After some seriously painful days and moments, I want to acknowledge I have felt peace too. In fact I do feel peace, in the present tense. I remember reading in one of my psychology textbooks that there is empirical evidence that personal prayer is helpful. But that there is no empirical evidence that intercessory prayer helps. I strongly beg to differ. The last couple days I can feel that people are praying for us and sending us love.  It’s hard to describe how I know and feel that but I do. So thank you!

Cami is officially transitioning to size two diapers and 3-6 month clothes. While she kind of swims in 3-6 month clothes, 0-3 month clothes are way too tight on her! She is getting better at reaching for things and pulling them to her mouth. This morning she almost got her binky in her mouth by herself! She continues to coo and is expanding her babbling vocabulary. Chad got her to giggle yesterday by eating her neck. She smiles easily and loves attention.

We are on a pretty consistent eating/sleeping schedule, which is nice and makes days somewhat predictable.

I have a callus on my hand from how heavy her car seat is to carry. I often have a sore back at night from holding her all day. But I am so grateful to have her in my life and in my arms!

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Hard day

Here’s how my yesterday went.

I woke up to a hungry but smiling Cami. That was a good beginning. Then decided to be proactive and fight sadness with service. So after getting Hailee off to school I headed to the post office to mail off two angel mom quilts.

photo(39) photo(38)I was doing fine until I got up to the desk and the mail clerk informed me I needed to buy address labels and couldn’t use theirs. For no good reason at all this made tears spring to my eyes. I blinked them away. Moved on. Focused on good feeling of sending quilts to my fellow angel moms.

Went to grocery store to get food for dinner. Got the wrong squash. Thought it was spaghetti squash but it wasn’t. Got home, felt frustrated as I wanted to try a new recipe for spaghetti squash. Fought back tears again.

Consumed about 700 calories of dark chocolate covered pretzels to self-soothe.

Was also comforted by Cami’s smiles and coos at Charlie’s photo. She kept grinning at him and talking to him. Way more than normal. Can’t be coincidence.

photo(40)I then went to pick up Hailee from preschool. I drove through the roundabout. Waited. No one was coming out. A line of cars was building behind me. Decided to go in and get Hailee myself as the teachers were taking too long. Found Hailee and rushed back out to the car. Got Hailee in. Heard a knock on my window. Rolled window down. The director of the school proceeded to lecture me about parking in the roundabout and told me I was causing road rage. I tried to explain myself but she didn’t get it. I drove away and just started sobbing.

I kept sobbing as we drove to Chipotle; our Wednesday tradition before gymnastics. I couldn’t stop crying. Hailee started crying too; she’s an empathy crier.

I called Chad and texted my friends to see if they could bring Hailee home from gymnastics. Chad came and met me and we dropped Hailee off at McDonalds with her friend Grace to eat and go to gymnastics. Chad took me to lunch where I was able to calm down. My good friend Ruki kept Hailee all afternoon, which allowed me to relax and crawl inside myself and do the grief work I needed to do. At home, I watched a chic flick and snuggled Cami.

After working out and making a yummy dinner, I felt better. I went to bed grateful for good friends who are so supportive, a husband who GETS it, a baby that loves cuddles and recognizes her angel brother when she sees him, and the calming outlet of prayer. But this week is hard. Period. I miss my Charlie and I’m terrified to lose Cami. My eyes are leaky and my heart hurts.

Raw

This week, I think, is going to feel raw for me. I can feel my emotions closer to the surface. I feel anxiety scratching constantly on my heart. I feel hot tears warming my eyeballs at unbidden moments. My mind races with feared scenarios. Memories are flooding back more than they have in a long time. Nightmares are plaguing my sleep. I feel the urge to hold Cami and never put her down. My prayers are becoming more pleading and desperate again.

This next Sunday, Cami will be the age Charlie was when he died. On Sunday, Cami will be four months old and one day.

photo 4For so long after Charlie died, I worked so hard to convince myself there was nothing I could have done to save him. Now that I have Cami, I am trying to convince myself the opposite: that I could’ve saved him. I need to feel some sense of control and predictability in our life. As a result, I’ve almost convinced myself that if only I could’ve kept Charlie from rolling over then maybe he’d be alive. So I’m doing everything in my power to keep Cami from rolling over. We keep her in the bouncer, the swing, the carseat, or our arms. But of course thousands of babies roll over in their sleep everyday and don’t die, so there is an unexplained element to Charlie’s death. Also the fact that the autopsy didn’t indicate any suffocation. So, we can’t really pinpoint why Charlie died. I’m terrified it was something genetic, and that if it was, Cami could have that gene or faulty wiring too.

But we don’t know. There is so little known about SIDS…it only left us with more questions than answers. And more anxiety and fear with our rainbow.

I know Cami won’t be past the SIDS risk after Sunday…But I feel that if only she will live longer than her brother, then I’ll start believing that maybe we’ll get to keep her. I know there are moments when I feel she’ll live. For example, I can imagine celebrating Christmas with her. I can imagine her crawling, learning to walk and talk, growing hair long enough for pigtails, and even starting preschool. There are even moments where I feel impressions of what she’ll be like as a teenager. There are times when I feel peace and reassurance about her. But I always wonder if I just want her to live so much that I’m convincing myself? That I’m somehow generating these feelings of peace? Then my logical side kicks in and says that, no, in all my anxiety and fear right now, I can’t fabricate those quiet whispers of peace. And I try to cling to that.

I want to believe that my Heavenly Father wants me to raise this little girl. That He wouldn’t give me another child to just snatch away again. But I don’t know the mind of God. I don’t know his plan for me. I learned a year and a half ago that His plan is obviously different from mine.

So I feel my task is to learn to trust Him. But it’s so hard when I want to keep Cami so badly and I don’t know if He feels the same way. I feel the need to convince Him to give me a chance to raise her! I want to believe He and I want the same things. But faith and trust in Him isn’t about getting what I want.

So I’m HOPING Cami lives and I keep trying to just breathe in each moment I get with her. I am hopeful that next Monday will come and we’ll celebrate Cami being four months and two days old!

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Happy Halloween

Since having kids, Halloween has become one of my favorite holidays. Who doesn’t love an excuse to dress up? And I just LOVE watching the pure joy on Hailee’s face as she trick-o-treats. I love her excitement as she runs from house to house, forgetting to say “Trick-o-treat” and just barges into people’s front rooms grabbing candy.

htrickotreat2013One of my favorite things about Halloween is coordinating our costumes. I know there are only a few years where Hailee will think it is cool that her parents dress in the same theme as her, so I’m taking advantage of it! We let Hailee decide what she wanted to be for Halloween and then we coordinated accordingly.

This year Hailee decided she wanted to be a beautiful, pink butterfly. IMG_3333So I decided to be a butterfly with her and little Cami would be a sweet little caterpillar!

IMG_3803I especially love that her caterpillar outfit is a rainbow! It’s too perfect and she looked so cute!

I think had I encouraged him, Chad would’ve been a butterfly too. That’s the kind of awesome husband I have! But I decided it was a perfect way to round out our theme by having Chad be a Hippie Butterfly Catcher!

IMG_3350We all had a delicious Halloween dinner with good friends and then went trick-o-treating around our neighborhood. This year it was fascinating to watch the energy Hailee had for the game! We hit almost every house in our neighborhood, Hailee on her little legs, running the whole way with her friends. It was a little sad to see her so independent. This year she didn’t need me to hold her hand to every door, or carry her in my arms as her legs got too tired. Our little girl is growing up! So, it was just a tinge of sadness, as she continues to just light up my heart every day! And it was great consolation to have my little caterpillar snuggling in my arms…until she wanted her Dadda to carry her. 🙂

Hope your Halloween was fun too!