Monday, April 28, 2014

Piper's Playlist: Birthday Song

Today is the day.

Piper Madeline will be born today.  My waiting is over.  My rainbow is here.

Today is going to be the Best Day of My Life.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Piper's Playlist #7

I'm Feeling Good

There's something about this song that makes you want to dance all sultry-like.  Hips swaying slowly, shoulders wiggling.  An old school kind of shimmy.

When I first got pregnant, I listened to several songs that kept me positive. This was one of them.  I needed to believe in a fresh start.  

When Piper is finally in my arms (tomorrow!), that fresh start will be mine.  

"It's a new dawn.  It's a new day.  It's a new life.  For me.  And I'm feeling good."  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Not that Easy

Everyone's excitement over the birth of Piper is almost palpable.   An electric buzz in the air - and just below that, a soft sigh of relief.   Finally.   Finally, I'll have my baby.  Finally, I'll have the happiness I deserve.  I am surrounded by love and support, and I am so grateful to have friends and family who will rally around me.   

But, I get this feeling that many people think Monday is going to be some magical moment that will wipe away all of my sadness forever.   Like it's going to completely fix things.   I've been sad, but once Piper is here, I won't be anymore and everything will be smooth sailing.   This couldn't be further from the truth, and I need to make this very clear.  

Piper is coming.   I am full of so many emotions, I really am not equipped to put them into words, which is highly unusual for me.  When she is here, I will feel an enormous flood of relief, joy, and love.  But, as much as you might not want to hear it, I will also feel huge waves of sadness and guilt.   It's just what happens when you have two children, but can only keep one.   Why Piper and not Kenley?  Why can't I have both of my girls?

Bringing Piper safe and sound into this world will not soothe the pain of being unable to do the same for Kenley.   Like I said in this previous post, there will always be a split of feelings.  Joy and sorrow will always go hand and hand in my heart.  There is no changing that.  No level of excitement will overcome it. 

I want you to understand this, but I know not everyone can.  I know the jumbled mess of my emotions is not easily deciphered, especially by those who haven't traveled this road themselves, but I need you to try.   As excited as I am for Piper's birth, I am equally devastated over my forever missing daughter.  That is not going to go away.

On Monday, when Piper's cries fill the delivery room, mine will too.  They will be the cries of a thousand feelings.  I have seen enough ultrasounds to know she's going to look like her sister, which will be both wonderful and heart-wrenching.   

I suppose my point to this post is this:  there is no easy fix.  You can't tuck my story into a box, wrap it with the bow of Piper's birth, and call it a day.  Her birth is not the end of my grief because there is no end to this grief.  I am no longer hopeless, but I am still sad.  I still lost my first born.   No matter how many more children I have in life, I will never have Kenley.   

I love both of my girls.  I always, always will.  Thank you for your support, your excitement, and your well wishes, but please remember there is so much more to this.   Please remember, Piper is a little sister.   

Piper's Playlist #6

We are the Champions

I'm sorry, but you simply cannot have a motivational playlist without a Queen song.  You are welcome to disagree, but you would be wrong.   From "The Show Must Go On" to "We will Rock You" to "We are the Champions", there's something for everyone.   

I'm just going to leave the lyrics right here, and you'll see how fitting this song is for today.   Scroll down for the video.

I've paid my dues
Time after time.
I've done my sentence
But committed no crime.
And bad mistakes ‒
I've made a few.
I've had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I've come through.

(And I need just go on and on, and on, and on)

We are the champions, my friends,
And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions of the world.

I've taken my bows
And my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it
I thank you all

But it's been no bed of roses,
No pleasure cruise.
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race
And I ain't gonna lose.

(And I need just go on and on, and on, and on)

We are the champions, my friends,
And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions of the world.

We are the champions, my friends,
And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Piper's Playlist #5

Roar it's really not like me to enjoy a Katy Perry song.  I fully admit this.   But then, I remember, I am also a closet Kelly Clarkson fan, so I guess I'm going to have to re-evaluate myself here.  

When 2013 ended and 2014 began, I felt a huge sense of relief.  A sense of freedom.  2014 was going to bring me joy - the joy 2013 so mercilessly stole from me.   I remember listening to "Roar" back in January and feeling empowered by it.   

"I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
'Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
'Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar"

I will not be defeated.  I will not give in to grief or hopelessness.  I will stand up against my demons and the lies they tell me and I will believe in life and love.  I will believe that Piper will arrive, safe and sound, on Monday.  

Because she will.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Piper's Playlist #4

Carry On

This song starts off fairly slow, and at first, the lyrics are completely unrelated to my journey. But then, with the swell of the chorus, I am reminded of what I need to do to get through each day.

"If you're lost and alone
Or you're sinking like a stone
Carry on
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground
Carry on"

I need to focus on taking one step at a time. Going forward. Carrying on as best as I can.

Then, near the end, you hear this verse:

"Carry on, carry on
Cause we are
We are shining stars
We are invincible
We are who we are
On our darkest day
When we're miles away
So we'll come
We will find our way home"

We are who we are on our darkest day. Those are the moments that define us. It's the darkness, not the sunshine, where we discover our true selves. And it is the triumph over that darkness that reminds us of what we are truly capable of - which is finding our way home.

I will find my way home - with Piper in my arms.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Piper's Playlist #3

Inner Ninja

I admit, the title of this song drew me in first.  Kenley was my little ninja, active and crazy.  When I listened to the lyrics, I knew this was a good fight song for me.  

"Hey yo, I've been high and I've been real low
I've been beaten and broken but I healed though
So many ups and downs, roughed up and clowned
We all got problems, but we deal though
I'm tryin' to do better now, find my inner peace..."

And the chorus:
"Nobody's gonna see me comin'
Nobody's gonna hear a sound
No matter how hard they tryin'
Nobody's gonna bring me down

Nobody's gonna see me comin'
Nobody's gonna hear a sound
No matter how hard they tryin'
No stoppin' me since I've found
My inner ninja"

Through this last year, Kenley has been my inspiration.  She has shaped me into the mother I will be for Piper.   She is, and always will be, my own inner ninja.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Piper's Playlist #2

Losing a child plunges your world into blackness.  Cold, terrible darkness from which you think you'll never emerge.  Some people don't.   In order to escape, you have to work damn hard.  You have to be willing to be happy again, which is no easy task because at first, you feel that by being happy, you are betraying your baby.  Every smile, every joyful thought, feels like a slap in the face to their memory.  

You have to somehow overcome that and start believing in life again.  And when you do, it's like winter slowly melting into spring.

I have been working very hard to be happy again - to figure out how to carry Kenley's memory warmly and safely in my heart while carrying her sister warmly and safely in my belly.   To say it's been a difficult journey is a massive understatement.  

Piper's arrival is just a few days away.   The darkness is lifting.  Here comes the sun.  

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
It's all right, it's all right

Monday, April 21, 2014

Piper's Playlist #1

Here we are.  One week until she's here - in my arms.  Alive!   Who would have thought that one word would hold so much power.   Alive.   I just need to make it one more week.  She needs to stay away from that cord for 6 more days.  And then, she'll be here.  Screaming.  Crying.  Squirming.  Alive.  

This week is going to be one of the hardest weeks of my life.   As much as other people are trying to keep me encouraged, it's really something I have to do on my own.  I am terrified of repeating the past.  Kenley died just before my 36 week check up.  I had that check-up for Piper today.   Bless her beating heart, she was wiggling around in the car on the way there - as if she knew I needed her to reassure me she was still in there.   Still with me.

I've decided that I need to actively do something to keep myself focused and on track.  So, I have begun making a Piper Playlist.  A song a day until she is born that inspires me or keeps me positive.  

The first song is one from my teenage days, "You Gotta Be".   The chorus is:

You gotta be
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day

I have been all of those things.   I can continue to be all of those things.  And love WILL save the day.  

For some reason, blogger won't let me embed, but here's the Youtube link

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Naming Bean

I've been playing a game on Facebook and posting clues to Bean's name.   For the last month, I have been posting a clue for either her first or middle name.  My plan was to reveal her name in our maternity pictures, like we did with Kenley.   It's been fun watching people squirm with anticipation.  Some came up with some pretty weird guesses too!

So, Bean's name is....

Here's how her name connects to the clues:

1. Her middle name is found in children's literature.   
While, technically, the book Madeline is pronounced Made-LINE, Bean's middle name will be pronounced Made-lynn.  

2. Her first name can be associated with the numbers 40, 115, 126, and 11.
-The New Zealand Piper is a fish that can grow to be 40 cm long.  
-Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper is a NASA astronaut who was a mission specialist on STS 115 and 126
-And, obviously...11 pipers piping!

3. Her first name has connections to Pink Floyd and ABBA
Piper at the Gates of Dawn was Pink Floyd's debut album and "The Piper" is a song from ABBA's Super Trouper album.

4. In a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon like thread, her first name connects first to a character in The Hunger Games and then to a company with ties in Florida.
Seneca Crane is the first gamemaker in The Hunger Games.  The Piper Seneca is a lightweight aircraft designed and built by Piper Aircraft, which has a facility in Vero Beach Florida.

5. Although not named after anyone, her middle name is related to a character in the bible.  Madeline actually means, "Woman of Magdala", which connects to Mary Magdalene.

6.  If you took both of her names and laid them across a scrabble board horizontally, going across the center star, you would earn 60 points.  
This one needs a picture to explain:

If only I'd used the French spelling, I could have gotten triple word score!
7. Bean's names have the same amount of syllables as her sister's.  This one is easy.  Piper Madeline and Kenley Evelyn.  Boom!  Phonics!

Naming Bean was no easy task.  When we named Kenley, we went through so many names that just weren't unique enough - or too unique.  I threw out so many, and I didn't want to resort to my "trash" pile to name Bean.  If they weren't good enough for Kenley, they weren't good enough for Bean.  Every name I came across just didn't fit her quite right.  One day, Mike tossed around the name "Piper".  While I liked it, I thought at first it would be better as a middle name.  However, whenever I found another name I kind of liked, Piper sounded better as the first.  With a quirky name as a first name, I wanted a classic name as a with Kenley.  Long story short, we decided our Bean would be Piper Madeline.   

Here are a few other beautiful images from our photo shoot, courtesy of our wonderful photographer friend Jeanee James:

The magic of photoshop shows my ninja and my rainbow together.  I love my girls.

Bean's birthday is scheduled for April 28th.  I am terrified, excited, and overwhelmed.   I just want her to get here already.  I can do this...