Wednesday, December 4, 2013

12 Days of Christmas: Day Four

Written by Megan Skaggs

Hi! My name is Megan and I am honored to be apart of the 12 Days of Christmas this year! 

I am momma to twin boys Will, and MJ (Michael Joseph), and little sister Maci Jayne. In July 2009 Will and MJ were born at 36 weeks gestation and weighed 6lbs each.  Will was perfectly health and MJ was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, which happens when the diaphragm does not fully form. This allows the stomach organs to migrate and grow in the chest cavity and severely hinders heart and lung development. MJ had a severe birth defect and endured three surgeries over five weeks, but on his 35th day of life his battle was too much. He passed away peacefully in my arms on August 29, 2009. We have battled infertility our entire ‘trying to conceive’ life and when we tried for our rainbow had an even harder time conceiving. We miscarried in January 2011, and after much debate we decided to try just once more. Our rainbow baby, Maci Jayne was born January 2012.

I have a blog, which I wish I updated more frequently!  I also just joined the Still Standing writers as a regular contributor, which I am incredibly excited about. My husband, Willie, and I also formed a division of Project Sweet Peas after MJ died, called MJ’s Memories. We donate care package and memory boxes to families in the ICU, mainly in NE Kansas, and Kansas City, MO. You can find us here.

This will be our fifth Christmas without MJ, and sometimes I can’t believe we’ve survived that long. Our first year we knew we couldn’t handle anything, so we didn’t! We told our family no ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ gifts/clothes because I couldn’t imagine seeing only one of my twins in that outfit. I did ask my mom to buy an ornament because I knew I’d want one, but I asked her to wait to give it to me until the next Christmas. It felt surreal that day, our first Christmas without our son, but somehow we managed to get through. If you know your limits, I highly suggest telling your family those limits, and if you don’t know your limits, tell family ahead of time that you’re not sure how you’re going to feel, and to be prepared for a wide range of emotions. It’s completely okay if you don’t want to do anything! And it’s completely okay if you want to throw yourself into the holiday. I truly believe that all forms of grief (as long as not physically hurting you or someone else) are okay.

I am pretty sure that some family and friends think I should ‘move on’ by now, and I can promise that won’t ever happen. I can only move forward and for me, moving forward is to include all of my children in the holidays!

The past several Christmas holidays we’ve managed to get more in the spirit each year and truly enjoy the day. It has been hard, and I do find a room that day and have a cry, but I am able to find joy again. My husband and I have found solace in doing things that involve remembering and including MJ. We have a scrapbook that we write a letter to him each year. I simply bought a small scrapbook and some cute Christmas decorations and we each take a page each year to write him a note. It helps each of us quite a bit each year. And because I don’t want his stocking to sit empty each year, on Christmas Eve I put the scrapbook in his stocking. Our family stockings are pictured below. 

http://mjsmemories.blogspot.com/

I had these commissioned from someone on Etsy and I really just love them!

I also buy an ornament each year for all of my kids, MJ included! I like to think of MJ as a beautiful little angel sleeping on the moon, and so each year I look for an ornament in that theme. There are several babyloss organizations that host an ornament exchange and I just love participating in those! I’ve also met a few amazing people through them, and a few I’ve met in real life!

We’ve also purchased a brick for MJ at our local zoo, and a few other memorial items that have helped us heal. Anything, big or small is healing and helps get through the holidays. Even something as simple, yet beautiful as lighting a candle is a way to remember our babies gone too soon.

If you’ve found All That Love Can Do it’s probably because you’re part of this club that no one wants to be a part of. And as awful as the membership qualifications are, there are some truly amazing people here. Reach out to others and hold each other up! Somehow we can all find a little bit of peace and joy this holiday season. 

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Find more from Megan on her blog HERE, her Facebook Page HERE, and on Still Standing Magazine HERE.

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