When I was younger I never knew October would be such a meaningful month to me. Summer is my all-time FAVORITE season so October’s chilly breeze and falling leaves has always been that un-welcomed reminder that my fav season is over. But slowly October is becoming a very important month to me. First, I married the most amazing man who happens to have a birthday in October — October 15th, actually. Secondly, we miscarried our first born son, sweet little Johnathan Edward Hehner. After our terrible loss of Johnathan at 17 weeks and 1 day we learned that October is the month that is committed to bring awareness to pregnancy and infant loss awareness. As a matter of fact, October 15th (my hubby’s b-day) is the exact day that is dedicated to bringing awareness to pregnancy and infant loss. Strange coincidence.
October 15th, 2016 – Doug’s Birthday
This year on my hubs’ birthday I had a tough time being as excited to celebrate as usual — for very obvious reasons. As much as I tried to avoid thinking about our sweet Johnathan, I also knew it was a day meant to think about him. (I’ve learned to compartmentalize feelings. For example, keep Johnathan thoughts at bay while I focus on making sure Doug’s happy during his bday; then after I’m sure Doug has a great day I can go away for a moment and think about my sweet boy who never had the chance to be snuggled, giggle, or say Momma and Dada.)
I think I did a good job managing this. We spent the day at a festival signing my book, Wifey 101, and selling my jewelry. When the festival was over we went to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate Doug’s bday with my in-laws. After, I had a surprise for Doug. This may be TMI (but you guys should know by now that we don’t keep much private in our lives and share way too much – ha!) I had a surprise lined up for Doug at home. Ever since we were first married Doug had asked me to wear the silky “Bride” robe that I wore before we were married (and before we even knew each other) with nothing under it. It’s a pretty skimpy robe — it barely covers my butt cheeks. I have other lingerie that I always think is a bit more exciting but he mentioned the “Bride” robe again recently. Apparently he always fantasizes about me naked in that robe. Sooo, two and a half years later my hubby gets his wish. I put that “Bride” robe on and was stark naked beneath. I also had a super fun, new game in store for him….we played a Sexy Truth or Dare: Pick-A-Stick game that was very ….ummm, kinky for lack of better words. 😉
By the end of the night I knew I made Doug’s bday memorable and fun for him. I felt really good about that. And finally, I had that moment to stop and think about our angel, Johnathan.
October 15th – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness
I haven’t blogged about our sweet boy in at least a month. My previous blogs on naming Johnathan, losing him, etc. were so therapeutic for me. I was in such a state of absolute and utter sadness after losing him. I felt so alone and like I had no one to talk to…it was through blogging that I felt I had someone to talk to. [And on that note I just quickly want to say THANK YOU to all of you who listened and read my blogs. Also, BIG THANKS for sharing your personal stories, encouragement, and love with me. You have no idea how helpful it was and how helpful it still is.]
Lately, I’ve found that I am more angry than sad. At this moment right now I would be in my third trimester. I had always envisioned my big, round belly with an adorable baby rolling around inside. I couldn’t wait to have a baby bump and feel his little feet kicking and his itty bitty body moving in my tummy all day! We would have had his baby shower this month and we’d be putting the final touches on his nursery. But it’s all been taken away. Our boy isn’t growing safely inside me. There is no baby shower celebrating his upcoming arrival and there is no nursery room at all.
I’ve just tried to avoid it all. I push his memory aside so I can go through a day without crying. I don’t blog. I don’t write at home. I don’t talk about him at all. No one asks questions and I don’t bring it up. (I used to talk about him whether people wanted to hear or not. I just didn’t want anyone to forget him or act like he never existed.) I felt like I’ve needed to stop forcing myself to make sure that his existence is known, it makes the loss that much worse at this point. I guess I began avoiding it all because I needed to pick up the pieces of my life and put them back together. I just wasn’t able to heal by always thinking of all that we lost and all that he never had the chance to become. Plus, we have too many other obstacles being thrown at us. If I am not careful I feel like I could fall into a deep, dark depression. Life as I wanted it, as I expected it is not what it is at all.
I don’t know if this is the “right” way to handle this situation and honestly, I don’t necessarily recommend it. It leaves me feeling an immense amount of guilt when I do take the time to think of him — it’s like I am choosing to forget him on purpose. That really isn’t the case (I hope you know that). I know in my heart that isn’t what I am trying to do, but it’s still so hard. Who knows the best way to handle this type of a loss?! If you have a good solution please, please let me know.
I have a memory box with all of Johnathan’s mementos. This is so helpful. I open it and look at his ultra sound pictures and we have a little video of him kicking and playing inside me. I have his little foot prints on a card. My mother in law, sisters, and even sweet fans have sent me necklaces and little objects to remember Johnathan. I cherish each of these. <3
Another thing that’s been helpful is to know that I have his photos from the day I delivered him. I don’t always look at them. It’s so hard to see his teeny tiny body so bruised and battered, too small to live outside of the womb. It’s just so nice to know that I have them and I’ll always have his memory. I’ll never forget his face or his tiny arms and itsy bitty feet.
I wanted to share a photo of Johnathan with you. I hope you don’t mind. Below is a photo of Doug and me with Johnathan. I know there is great stigma in sharing these photos, but to be frank: I don’t care. Johnathan was my baby. He was my dream come true. He’s my angel now. I cherish these photos. I want to de-stigmatize the sharing of these photos. There are far too many babies who have to be hidden and kept in private because it may offend someone. He was just a baby. He’s harmless and so helpless. How on earth is he offensive? The photos I have with him shouldn’t have to be hidden. I want to share him with everyone. I never want him forgotten.
I have heard that planting a tree in honor of your angel in heaven is a good way to remember him. I really want to do this. I want to watch a tree grow larger and larger year after year. To see my future children play around the tree that is Johnathan’s. I want this so badly, but Doug and I don’t have a yard—let alone a home—to plant this. And it doesn’t look like we will have it for a while now.
Where Doug and I Are Now
Doug and I have had a lot of tough set backs in life this past summer. (Huge understatement.) To put it in a nutshell, we began spring with a world of opportunity ahead of us. We had saved up a nice little down payment for a home, we were newly pregnant after trying for 5 months, and we found our dream home. Everything seemed to be going so smoothly, like it was destiny! We had put an offer in on this home and we were ready to begin this amazing new life. Then we suddenly found out we were going to lose our perfect baby. A few days later we lost our baby and within a couple more days we would get a phone call saying they declined our offer on our dream home (only to later accept it and then decline selling us the home again.) When we went to put an offer in on another home, we found out Doug has a $52,000 — yes, fifty two THOUSAND dollar — unpaid student loan that went into judgment on his credit. They said that this needs to be paid in FULL before we would be officially approved for a loan. We pulled out our offer so fast. There was no way we could buy a home now.
That’s obviously a lot of money. A lot of money we don’t have. As a matter of fact, it is literally every dime of the money we had saved for buying our home (and then some). After paying Doug’s back bills (there are a few more in addition to this on his credit report) we will be downright, FLAT BROKE.
We just can’t seem to catch a break these days. We will be moving in with my in-laws on November 1st. (They’re the most amazing, wonderful, loving, helpful people – cannot say enough good things about Doug and Bonnie Hehner.) It’s obviously not an ideal situation for so many obvious reasons but the funniest one being that we have two dogs and they have three — that will be 5 dogs living under one roof. Woof!
Cherry On Top
As if we don’t have enough of a complicated situation already, I’ve recently began fostering a rescue pup. This “pup” is probably the sweetest, most gentle Boston Terrier. She is about 3 years old (I call all dogs pups) 😛 and a pure bred according to the vet. Her owner recently died and my sister took the pup in only to have her dog, a great dane, attack the dog several times. There are pretty hefty, infected wounds on the pup but my sister couldn’t afford the vet bills. Needless to say, Doug and I now have this pup and we are nursing her back to health. If you know anyone who would like a Boston Terrier please let me know -Jamie@JamieOtis.com. I will blog more about this dog soon. Details and photos are on our dog, Lady Hehner’s, Instagram – yes, Lady has an Instagram. I am that kind of a doggy mommy. 😛 🙂
Long Story Short
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned today while sitting here in Dunkin Donuts (had to get out of the house – too many dogs swarming me for attention!) 😛 writing this blog is that I have a zillion things happening all at once, but I will never forget my sweet boy Johnathan. One day I will plant a tree in his honor. Every year I will watch it grow. One day I will make a piece of jewelry just for my boy. (I’ve already began designing this.) And one day, I will have a rainbow baby for Johnathan to look out for. But today I am just trying to stay above water. 🙂 And I am focusing on staying positive regardless of all the chaos around me. Life is too short not to be thankful for each breath.
My Message To Other Angel Mommies and Those Struggling With Infertility
First of all, I am SO sorry for your loss. Nothing makes it better because nothing changes the horrendous situation you’re in. Who knows why certain things happen in this world. But, please know that you are not alone. And if you have a trillion set-backs happening right now – know you aren’t alone in that either. The only thing we can do is breathe and love. Don’t let these terrible, awful, situations bring bitterness and negativity in you. And whatever you do, don’t feel bad for yourself. It will only lead to anxiety and depression. (I learned this the hard way – for another blog, another day.) I’m sending my love to all of you. And again, I want to thank all of you who listen to me and read my blogs. I feel like we have a little community of support right here. If you need anything at all please feel free to comment below or email me – firstname.lastname@example.org. I personally respond to all of your comments and emails…. 🙂
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