Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's Hard Not to Get Excited

When so many things are going right and are going to happen in the next few months. Everything with the Pepsi Grant is going to be amazing, I just know it! We should receive the funds sometime this week, along with a package full of goodies from Pepsi. I can't wait for this to happen! Once this does, then we will start ordering all of the things to put in our gift bags - $18,000 worth of stuff!!! We have figured that at absolute minimum, Project Sweet Peas as a whole will be able to donate 600 gift bags with the grant money. Think about this - that means that 600 families will be able to feel the love and comfort that we include in our gift bags! I am SO excited about this! There are so many other things that are the brink of happening with Pepsi - and I want to so badly announce all of them, but I don't want to get too excited and then something fall through. So I am going to simply let them happen and embrace them as they come. I don't want to set myself up for disappointment if something falls through. But they are super amazing!!

It is our goal as a Local Project to donate 50 gift bags and 35 Memory Boxes on August 29, 2010. This day marks the one year anniversary that we lost MJ - it is his Angel Day. So what have we planned for MJ's Angel Day? Something so amazing that I just cannot keep my mouth shut about it. We are planning a fundraiser in MJ's honor that day. We are planning a Butterflies and Balloons Rememberance Release. That day we will be releasing Butterflies and Balloons in his memory and for all of the angel babies that are no longer with us. Ten dollars will purchase one butterfly and one balloon to be released. Your presence is not necessary! If you cannot come to the Butterflies and Balloons Rememberance Release, then your butterfly and balloon will be released on  your behalf. A message will be written on each balloon and a photo of the release will be emailed to you! All proceeds benefit MJ's Memories, a local project of Project Sweet Peas. I am so excited about this! For more information on the Butterfly and Balloon Rememberance Release, please email me at

I think this is the most perfect way to spend MJ's Angel Day. At his service, we released 35 butterflies, one for each day that we had MJ with us. One of the butterflies landed on his twins face just before it flew away. I know that it was my baby boy saying goodbye one last time. I will never forget that moment when I looked down and on Will's cheek, a little butterfly kissed him goodbye. Butterflies will always hold a very special place in my heart now.

Monday, May 10, 2010

We Made it Through

The weekend, we made it through the weekend. I can't believe how fast Will recovered from surgery, it seems as though it never even happened, he barely missed a beat. We had to stay the night at the hospital because he was born at 36 weeks, but I swear it was only three hours post surgery and he was back to his normal self. A little cranky, but overall, just my happy, smiley baby.

Just a few hours after surgery and playing already!

So many things brought back so many memories of MJ. Being in the hospital, eating cafeteria food, waiting to speak with doctors about how the surgery went, all of the wires and such hooked up to one of my babies, so many little things made me think of MJ and our time with him. But they were good memories, ones that made me smile and think of my amazing little boy and how he fought so hard for a shot at life. And Will is so much like his brother! He hated having his blood pressure taken, and when it was taken, it would never work right, just like MJ. The wires attached to his chest were falling off every two minutes, just like MJ. So many little things that Will went through and how he went through it, well, it just made me smile because it shows that my little boys are twins, and are so much alike. I am so thankful for the 35 days we spent with MJ, because we got to know him, and I can look at Will and think, MJ was just like that.

For the first time ever I was able to think of MJ and smile, and appreciate the time we spent with him, instead of feeling my heart rip out.We were able to talk about MJ and smile, instead of cry. We had been having a few really good days, my husband and I.

And yesterday, Mother's Day, wow it was a whole lot harder then I ever thought it was going to be. Since we had been having good days, I thought it would make yesterday easier. I thought I would be able to smile and appreciate the time, the precious time we had with MJ. But that was not the case. Yesterday morning I felt like my heart was ripping out all over again. It seemed as though the entire last week that we spent with MJ went through my mind over and over again, and I broke all over again. The morning was really rough. We cried. A lot.

But we did manage to salvage the day and go on a picnic and then to the zoo. My husband made it a wonderful afternoon for us, and I am so thankful for that. I just wish I had two babies to do this with . . . .

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tomorrow is gonna be hard.

MJ's twin, Will is going to have surgery. It's a minor surgery, and we may not even need to stay in over night. He has a hernia in his groin that needs to be repaired. It's something that he was born with and didn't pop out until a few weeks ago. It should be a piece of cake.

When we saw the pediatrician and he said that Will would need surgery I basically lost it right there in the room. The thought of having to sign for another surgery for one of my babies just crushed me. In MJ's short 35 days, he had three surgeries, and each one got harder. He had one surgery to be hooked up to the ECMO machine (where they actually hook up cannula's to his corotad (sp?) artery to take his blood out of his body, pump it through a machine to oxygenate it, and then pump it back into his body), one surgery to fix his diaphragm and move all of his stomach organs out of his chest cavity, and one surgery to be disconnected from the ECMO machine. I remember signing for MJ's last surgery and walking out of the operating room and just feeling crushed. How on Earth could my little tiny baby endure so much in such a short amount of time? We lost MJ four days after his last surgery.

And not only do we have to go through another surgery, but it's for a hernia. The words hernia and surgery mean horrible things to me. The words hernia, and surgery relating to one of my babies means this to me:

Can you find MJ? He is in the middle behind the bears.

This is the what we walked into each day as we sat by MJ's side, fighting with him. The day before his hernia repair surgery he was placed on this makeshift bed on the operating table. He was 16 days old. The only time he left this table thereafter was to be placed in my arms for me to hold for the first and last time. This is what hernia and surgery mean to me. Somehow, I can't help but blame my own inadequacies for the hernia's in both of my sons. Will is lucky enough to have a hernia in his groin, and MJ had one in his diaphragm. If both of my boys have them, then they must be related, right? And if they are related, then it must be something to do with me and my body.

I don't know if I am right or wrong, but I know that tomorrow as I have to for the fourth time hand my baby over to a doctor so he can operate on him, I'm gonna be a wreck. I hope that tomorrow goes smoothly and we do not have to stay the night. I hope that Will doesn't feel any pain, and that his brother will be right by his side throughout everything. And if you pray, it would mean a whole lot to me if you would think about Will tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sweet Little Moments

We got Will's nine month pictures taken last night. These moments are always so bittersweet for me. While I love getting those pictures and showing them off, these little milestones are one of the biggest reminders that there should be two little boys in those pictures, not just one.

We always have Will photographed with something of MJ's when we take him to get photos done. It's always hard, but for some reason I thought it would be a little easier this time. Yesterday was the third time we have taken Will for these milestone photos.

This time we brought along one of MJ's teddy bears. . .

Seeing Will play with this teddy bear, it just really got to me. I literally just broke down right at JC Penny. I remember when MJ got this bear. He got it just before his surgery. We got word that his surgery was planned, and so my dad drove down from Chicago with it. I remember so many things about this bear, and seeing Will with it just brought everything back. It's crazy how one minute I can be fawning over Will, excited because he looks just too darn cute getting his picture taken, and then a sweet little moment like the one above happens, and I feel literally as though I am swooshed into the past. I remember walking into the operating room they had set up for MJ overnight. You see, MJ was so critical that they didn't feel as though he could handle being moved to another floor where they do surgeries at. For babies like MJ, the NICU has a makeshift operating room, and the night before his surgery they moved him there. I remember feeling as though we were at the top of the hill, making our way down the hill and on to bringing him home. In mind, if he could survive his surgery, he had already done the hardest part. It never crossed my mind that MJ's battle would be too much for him to overcome.

I wish so badly that Will was playing with MJ, not MJ's teddy bear. Sweet little moments from my sweet little baby: they bring so much heartache. But the heartache is good, the pain is the reminder that it was all real. That I did have two tiny babies, that I am a mother of twins, and that my love for my son transcends death.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What a Wild Week!

I know I haven't posted in forever, but this week has just been very nuts for me. To start off, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone that voted for us and helped us win the Pepsi Refresh Everything Grant for $25,000!!!! We are still unofficial, as we are in a two week confirmation stage. Basically, Pepsi wants to make sure that we are a legit organization. After all, they aren't just going to shell out $25,000 to just anyone! I have been working on paperwork all weekend once they announced the winners Saturday morning - but I am SO glad to do it. Not only did we place in the Top Ten, we acutally placed FIRST out of all of the projects going for $25,000, which I think was around 500. I just can't believe it - it is such an honor to be able to carry out our mission! So once again, THANK YOU.

So back to my crazy past few days. Thursday was eight months since we lost MJ. Every month, when that number of months get bigger, it gets harder. Emotionally is just a lot for me to take in. It seems like it always takes me a few days to recover from going through all of the emotions of losing him again. I just ache and ache for my son. And those anniversary days make the ache worse. And even though its hard, and I cry and the pain is very, very real. It's a good thing. It makes me feel close to MJ. It makes me remember him and every little thing about him. Its how I know that I will never, ever forget him. Nor will I ever stop loving him.

So after an emotionally charged Thursday, Friday came and was the last day of voting. And I couldn't believe that we kept moving UP! We finished the voting in the top place, which really, just still amazes me.

Saturday morning we got up and headed out to Kansas City for the March of Dimes walk. We walked with Team Lillian. Lillian is the daughter of friends of ours. She was born at 24 weeks gestation and has been in the hospital for about two months. She has faced a lot of battles, but seems to be doing well and is one the right track to coming home. Lillian has a twin, Addilyn that passed away at 21 weeks gestation. We brought along 5 balloons that we walked with, one balloon for each week that MJ lived. At the end of the walk we released them. Here are a few photos from the walk. . .

Team Lillian

Releasing Balloons for MJ

Right after we did the walk, we headed over the Children's Mercy Hospital, where MJ lived, and donated 30 more care packages. We are so blessed to be able to do this in MJ's name. It means so much to us, I really just can't explain it. And, at the same time we are doing this for the families who were in the same situation for us. 

Willie with 30 PSP Bags!

Donating the Bags

After getting home on Saturday, we have been working so hard on the Pepsi Grant Paperwork. We are getting a lot of help figuring it all out from Pepsi, and we have a small amount of time to get it done in. But the work is completely worth it, and I couldn't be happier to do it.