Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Food

So for Ellie's birthday we asked people to bring food to donate to the food bank. People keep saying what a great idea to turn a sad day into something that benefits other people. First of all, yes I was sad Ellie wasn't there to celebrate her 1st birthday, but it was NOT a sad day. It was a day for celebrating Ellie. Secondly, I must admit that my reasons for collecting food to take to the food bank are rather selfish.
For the last three months, we have had three cans of unopened formula, Nutramigen at that, sitting on the shelf in the basement. Along with a can of organic oatmeal cereal. Just sitting there. I swear I could feel them burning holes into the back of my head when I was doing laundry. They were yet another constant reminder of what Ellie would never need. We also had a few cans of baby food in the upstairs cupboard, but at least they were hidden from sight.
I knew I couldn't just throw them in the trash, especially the formula, thats almost a $100 worth of formula! And I couldn't just waste it when someone could use it. I knew it would break my heart to walk into the grocery store and drop a single bag of Ellie's food into the donation bin. I decided if I had a bunch of other food to donate, it wouldn't be so hard. It might even be good. Another way to spread Ellie's light. While driven by selfish motives, it was nontheless an excellent idea, or so I thought...
That is until I had to go through our cupboards and collect her things. It wasn't so bad putting the formula, cereals & jars into the donation box. But throwing the half used or expired stuff into the garbage can was literally painful. When I reached into the cupboard and grabbed her half used can of Nutramigen from next to her basket of bottles, and threw it into the garbage can, my eyes went black. For a second, I couldn't see anything. When I reached into the freezer to throw away the baggies of homemade baby food and leftover breastmilk (yes, I had to throw away 9.5oz of liquid gold) I nearly threw-up.
I knew it would be hard. Putting the smallest thing of hers makes my eyes well up with tears and my chest tighten with guilt. But for some reason it was excruitating to throw away her unused food. Maybe it's because some came from my body, just like she did. Or maybe because some of it was made by hand, just for her. Or maybe because it is such an instinct to feed your baby that being faced with the reality that you will never again feed your baby is unnatural, it literally goes against nature.
Sometimes letting go of little things feels like losing Ellie all over again...

Which brings me to what Ellie's cousin (well second cousin, or first cousin once removed, however that works...) said on Friday. Since we lost Ellie, there have been many instances where I am reminded how refreshing the honesty and innocence of children truly is. I was in the party room with Max and Jon (who is one of the most hilarious little guys I have ever met) and Jon just laid it out there for me. He summed what up what has been happening to me for weeks...

Jon: Play the piano?
Me: We can when we come back down to decorate for the party after dinner.
Jon: Decorate for what?
Me: For Ellie's party.
Jon: (he looks around) Where is Ellie?
Me: Remember, Ellie died.
Jon: AGAIN?! (look of complete horror on his face)

I feel you Jon... I have this feeling several times a day. Especially on days like this...

Memories from
January 18, 2010
First full day home!

Waking up at our house with our two babies was wonderful. And having no where to be or anything to do was even better. I made pancakes and bacon for breakfast and we spent most of the day in our pajamas. We read stories, watched Wonder Pets and got used to being a family of four. Max definitetly had a hard time sharing Mama and Dada. He would stand across the room from us whenever we held Ellie and he didn't want to even look at her. There were plenty of extra tears. (From me too- I felt bad that he was upset!)

Taking in her surroundings. From the very beginning Ellie was so curious about the world around her. She spent every waking moment closely observing everything and everyone. She really loved watching Dave, Max and I.
This is how we spent much of our first week at home. Just sitting and staring at each other. Is there anything better than that?
Ellie and Daddy. During the first few weeks, Ellie could and would fall asleep anywhere and in any position. I believe Dave was trying to wake her up so she would eat. Wasn't she perfect?
As soon as we put Ellie's room together, Max started wanting in her crib, all the time. He was a little surprised and somewhat miffed when we put Ellie in HER crib.
The two teddy bears Max is holding are special teddy bears. As soon as we had our confirmation ultrasound with Max and with Ellie, we went to Make-A-Bear and made a teddy bear for each baby. The two Max is holding are Ellie's and B's.
After getting cleaned up for the first time at home. Her umbilical cord stump was still attached so she just had a little sponge bath. In this picture you can see that she was starting to get a little jaundice. Fortunately this is the worst that it got and we never had to have it treated.
All clean! I had to break out the cute headbands. I love the little googley eyes that newborns have, you can tell that they aren't focused on much yet.
Max sitting in Ellie's bouncy seat and whining. He was such a sad little guy for many weeks :(


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