Saturday, December 10, 2011

And Still...

It gets me everytime.

I can't hang up Gabriel's angel baby ornament without wishing that he was with me, and crying because he is not.

I miss him. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SmartBoard makes me feel dumb...

Ahhh, the trials and tribulations of being a teacher...

When I graduated college in 2005, the only tech course required of me was an Internet writing course where I designed a web page and did PowerPoint, which is considered archaic by today's standards.  Then of course I have had the pleasure of working in relatively poor districts with overhead projectors from the 1970s.  Now, the National Council for the Teachers of English defines 21st century literacy as the following:

  • Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
  • Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
  • Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts
  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments

Meaning, that apparently if students don' know how to manage technology like blogging, Twitter, Wikis, Glogster, Prezis, IPADs, etc....and share learning with a worldwide community (such as YouTube) then really, they cannot be considered literate.  Hell, by these standards, I am not even considered literate. 
As a teacher, and as a smart person, I was offended when the PHD at the tech seminar I attended said this to me...that I wasn't literate. 

But literacy isn't reading and writing by book/hand anymore.

I have kids who don't even know how to type.  Or open Microsoft Word.

I have only 4 laptops in my room.  How in the heck do I make my students global media extraordinaries if I don't have any technology that makes them "literate" by today's standards?

So I get Smart Board.  Smart Boards are awesome because they are a huge interactive white board that really gets the students into the lessons.  When I went to the tech conference, I specifically chose the half-day seminar on Smart Boarding so that I could learn how to use it- never had before.  I still operate on a 1976 overhead projector.

So I go to this conference, get all inspired...and when I get back, I move the Smart Board into my room.

I don't even know how to plug the darn thing in.  I had cords everywhere...when I went to touch the board it did something funky instead of something cool like I was shown at this conference....and the worst part was all in front of students who I was trying to impress and make "literate" for crying out loud!

The kids told me to go back to training.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Time for a Change

Wow...I have really let blogging go.

Today I found myself really moping around.  I had some free time, and during that free time I did the same three things that I always do during my free time.  1) watched mindless television, although, Restaurant Impossible and Chef Hunter are incredible shows....2) folded laundry (completely miserable) and 3) lesson planned, at a half-assed level. 

Then I thought about all of the things that I would rather be doing (finally blogging, writing in Lulu's journal, organizing her photo album, actually lesson planning like the kick-ass teacher that I used to be, Christmas shopping/planning, etc).

See, I used to be a creative work-aholic, in all aspects of my life, until Gabriel. 

And now, even though I am completely happy,  I still can't get out of shut-down mode when I am alone.

Well, this ends.  Because of the cute little girl posted above, I am going to do everything in my power to just be better.  Starting with blogging.   Why is blogging important to me?  Well, I recently just went to a tech seminar for educators in which I was told that all sorts of technology, including the use of a blog, is important not only to read what others are saying, but to teach all sorts of learners, not just the ones in my classroom, but to anyone out there in cyberspace who just might stumble upon it, and think that what I am trying to say is interesting.  The world can be my classroom.

I believe I have something to say, not just to people who have suffered losses, but to anyone...anyone experiencing a hectic life...who can possibly relate to me.  Gabriel might have been the start of my NEW life plan, and now my blog has to reflect me actually living that new of the couch.

So, now my new blog, which will remain the same name because Gabriel inspired me to write again, will be about all sorts of teaching experiences, my learning experiences, funny stories, family laughter, thoughts on the nation, the world, my world, my life. 
Welcome to the Kosakowski classroom. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happy 2nd angelversary, my love.

"An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby's birth,Then whispered as she closed the book,"Too beautiful for Earth"-Unknown..

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Facebook Slapped Me in the Face

I enjoy getting on Facebook.  I am almost obsessed with status updates.  It really is a convenient way to catch up with everyone and know what they are up to.

Today I signed on and as I was checking the updates of my friends, I saw a tab at the right that said..see what Megan was up to this day in 2009. 

2009.....I was pregnant with Gabriel at this time in 2009. 

I almost didn't click on the tab.  It sounds awful, but I haven't thought about him in awhile.  I will always love Gabriel, and so much of me now is because of him and that experience.  Everything changed, the way I think, the way I believe, the way I love, the way I question, the way I whole being is different.  So because of that, Gabe is always with me.  But, I am not walking around in a haze anymore, so in that regard, I haven't thought about him. 

I did click on the tab, and it said, "Megan Cole-Kosakowski is exhausted from planning the school week. But on the bright side, my first ultrasound is tomorrow and I get to leave school early at 2 :-)"


I just sat there, staring at it.  Lucy was playing on the floor next to me, but its like..I heard no sound in the room.  I just kept staring at it.  This was the last day in 2009 that I was happy.  Ignorant bliss.  It was the next day that I was to find out that something was wrong with my baby.

Ever since reading that today, I have been walking around feeling like I have been slapped in the face.  Or punched in the gut......

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Lies we Tell, The Words We Keep

The sad part about my life right now is that most of it revolves around empty promises, negotiations, and making myself feel better with plans of good intentions.
I tell myself lies everyday.  I tell them to myself knowing that they are lies.  Let me start with the simple.  I will follow my diet tomorrow.  Heck no.  I still don't eat fruits and veggies and I am still living off of iced coffee. 

Here is another: Today will be the last day that I use my credit card.  I am 29 years old, and I am drowning in debt.  Maternity leave really set me back financially, so guess how I made up some income?  Using my good ol' Bank of America.  Who cares that they are charging me 24 percent interest....I don't at the time of the swipe.  I do when I make the payment, especially when I see that little paper statement that tells me if I keep paying that amount and only that amount, I won't be out of debt until the year 2045. 

Here is another: I am really going to work on my marriage.  Josh and I have a good marriage.  We are in no way headed for divorce.  But I live my life treating him badly.  I know it, he knows it.  I have too many expectations, and he is used to not meeting them.  So he doesn't.  And I get bitter.  And we live our lives as parents and hard working middle class people.   Every day I wake up and I tell myself, I am going to give him the best kiss goodbye before he leaves for work.  I am going to tell him how much I love him.  I am going to be better in my tone and not talk to him like one of my high school students.  Instead I wake up and I bitch him out about not letting the dog out in time and he pissed all over the carpet.  Then he doesn't want to talk to me the rest of the day. 

How many of us as new parents hate the way our marriages have become? (I do, I do!!  I am enthusiastically raising my hand here!)  I am 1000 percent in love with my husband, but as a new parent, I don't really remember what that feels like.  We live our lives taking turns taking care of the baby, and paying bills, and divvying up household chores.   We go to bed exhausted, and when Lucy drops her paci and starts crying in her crib at midnight after finally getting her to sleep there at 11, Josh and I have a pissing competition to see who worked harder that day and who really should get out of bed. 

I am ashamed of that fact.

The worst lie of all is after Gabriel died, I told myself that everything would be different. 

My son really put things in perspective.  I didn't want to get angry at the little things, because, really, was it worth it?  Josh and I lost a child.  We had to come together and go through something that many will not ever have to face.  We actually lost 3 souls, if you count the ectopic and the chemical, which we do.  When Gabriel was born, I looked at my husband crying, and I told myself that the marriage we had in the past was over.  Of course many people would say that every day, they fall more and more in love with their spouses.  Definitely after the birth of a child, a live healthy child.  But I really fell madly in love with my husband after the birth of our son, who we never saw fully developed, who is still termed today by my doctor as a miscarriage.  We saw each other in the most fragile state, and were there for each other, and helped each other through the worst possible pain.  We were the most vulnerable then. 

I tend to forget that promise I made to myself that day.  And  when I think of Gabriel, I think of how I was feeling about Josh. 

I want to make a promise to get back there, and this time keep my word.   I have seen the crumbling of marriages, and by gosh, that is not going to be me.

Thank you, son, for reminding me how much I love your daddy. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"They were wanted, were real, are loved, are grieved, and will be remembered forever."

That is the amazing quote that is on Gabriel's grave site, the grave site for all babies born too soon (under 20 weeks) in my area. 



We went for a visit on Memorial Day.  Josh and I had an interesting conversation about Gabriel recently.  I have been disappointed and offended for quite sometime, as Josh refuses to read this blog.  I write about our son, to our son, and even about our daughter, yet, my husband won't read it.  Strangers, friends, and family care about what I have to say, but my own husband can't stand to look at it.  At first,  I didn't understand.  It was hurtful to me.  But then he said it was just too hard.  He equated it to me not going to see Gabriel. 

I don't go to the site very often.  Its hard.  Its hard to know that there lies my son, with hundreds of others, who were just taken from loving parents because sometimes, life isn't fair.  Its hard to be there, and even when I visited on Memorial Day, I was there for only seconds.

To this day, I can't stand the thought of him being anywhere than in my arms.  So I get what Josh is saying.

On this day, we took a yellow rose to him.  Around Christmas, we took a green and yellow elephant.  I was happy to see that the same elephant was still there, several months later.  It made my heart happy to see that he still had his elephant and that the weather or groundskeeper didn't take it. 
It made my heart happy just to think of him. 

Someone said that Lucy was looking blonder by the day.  She is.  She is the spitting image of her daddy.  That same person then said, "maybe the next one will look like you."

Maybe Gabriel does.    Whose to say that he isn't sitting up there fishing with Great Grandpa Chet, looking like the spitting image of his mother?

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Power of the Pen

For a different kind of unit, I taught a Creative Writing course to my sophomores.  We did some silly poetry, some silly paragraphs and lists, and in groups they wrote children's books.  Then, I showed them the movie "Freedom Writers" (amazing that many had not seen it) and I assigned them to journal for 7 days.  Some kids wanted to write a recollection of things they did throughout the day, and I said I would rather have personal reflections about things that they have experienced.  They wanted examples. They told me that I could not expect them to get personal with me if I did not get personal with them.

So I talked about Gabriel.

This was on Tuesday. 

Whenever I talk about him, I still tense up.  I still feel a lot of pain.  I still feel ridiculous.  I feel ridiculous because Gabriel wasn't like Evan, my friend's baby who was carried to term with a bladder obstruction and then only lived for about 11 hours.  I never felt Gabe kick.  Was he really there?   Yes......

On Wednesday, I went to my parents to help feed the horses.  There are a bunch of barn cats there, as you can imagine, and a couple litters of kittens from said barn cats.  My mom showed me some kittens that were just weak..wouldn't nurse...and it was apparent that they were going to die.   This really upset me, because they were babies.  Later on, I was walking out of the barn and was trying to not step on cats that had gathered by my feet, thinking they were going to get fed.  My mom walked over to feed them, and as I took a step toward the exit..I heard a crunch.  I looked down, and there was a kitten, under foot, seizing.
I was so hysterical.  I didn't mean it.  I didn't mean it.  I didn't mean it.

I cried all night.  I knew that poor kitten was going to die, and it was all of my irresponsible fault. 

I don't know why it affected me so much.  It wasn't a pet, just a ferrel barn kitten for all I knew...but it was a baby that didn't live. And I caused it.

Maybe talking about Gabe the day before got me thinking about death...who knows.

I am so paranoid now about Lucy.  Josh and I talk of moving her into the crib, and I can't bear the thought, even with a monitor.  I want her next to me.  I want to make sure she is breathing...I want to lean over and just know she is okay. 

I am now in the stage of motherhood where I am petrified of SIDS.   How does one overcome that fear?

Until I figure it out, she stays right next to me in her bassinet. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gabriel's Outfit

Lucy-LuLu is finally in 3 month and 3-6 month clothes.  I washed a bunch of them the other night, considering I had any size that wasn't newborn or 0-3 months packed away.  Today, as I was rummaging through the sleepers to find her something new to wear, I came across the first outfit I ever bought for my precious Gabriel.  I wish I would have taken a picture of Lucy wearing it, ahh well, I will next time.  It has an elephant on it, and it is grey, green, and yellow.  There are a couple more outfits in there that I bought for Gabriel, I remember buying some as soon as I found out he was a boy.  I knew he was sick then, but I didn't care, I was going to have a baby boy, and I was going to bring him home.  I remember thinking that, as I bought those outfits at Kohls.  Life can certainly throw some curve balls, can't it?  Lucy looked great in the outfit, and I added a yellow bow to her hair.  One day, she will know she had an older brother.

This past weekend was my older sister's baby shower.  She is due at the end of May.  I love my older sister, but I do remember being younger and always thinking that it would be so cool to have an older brother.  Older brothers protect you.  Adriane wasn't really protective in our younger years, if anything, she wanted to get away from us, or so I felt.  Casey (my younger sis) and I were not very nice to her on many occasions...we were definitely the annoying younger siblings who would tattle and snoop through her room.  I always thought a brother would be more protective. 

I wonder if the child my mother lost was a boy. 

I want Lucy to know how protected she is, not only by her family, but by Gabriel, who walks alongside our Lord.  I want Lucy to think of him when the wind blows, just like I do.  You know, those soft warm winds that tickle your ears...when I feel those breezes, I know he is sending me kisses.  It's hard to feel them in the winter.   Sometimes I imagine myself explaining to Lucy why we celebrate October 2nd and how she has a big brother in Heaven, and I get sad to think that one day, she might think we are crazy, since he never developed passed a certain point.  In fact, technically he was a miscarriage, and not a still birth.  People don't create older brothers out of miscarriages, do they?  I think some people still think I didn't have a son...I had a miscarriage. 

Oh how I miss him so much sometimes.  I get to experience the most wonderful things with Lucy, and I wonder what it would have been like with him.  Would he be just as fussy at night?  Would his toes be ticklish too? 

I am glad I didn't pack those outfits away like I originally planned.  They look good on his little sis. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lucy - 6 weeks and a reflection on fathers

I can't believe my baby is 6 weeks old! 

I have really beat myself up about not blogging more.  I have always been a writer, so I thought that when my baby was born, I would be really great about recording things and writing everything down.  I think I am going to still, in letter form to Lucy, and give her the book when she is 18.  I am just waiting on my mother to give me the book she said she would get me, haha. 

I didn't want to stop blogging just because I have a baby and some people may think that those feelings of loss and grief aren't there-that I forgot about Gabriel.

It is crazy, I think about Gabriel now more than ever.  We just passed his would have been due date and I couldn't help but think what life would have been like had Gabe been here.  I look at Lucy and I see Gabe's profile in her, and always wonder what he would have looked like full term.  I sing her Gabe's lullaby or play it for her on my Ipod and I get a little choked up every time- she really loves it. 

I thought about Gabe a lot when I think about the role of fathers.  I have recently been a bit shocked at my husband, I always expected him to be a "daddy-dad," one who couldn't take his eyes of his little girl and would just want to hold her and be with her all the time.  Josh is kind of the opposite, he loves her with all of his heart, but I think he is scared he is going to break her, since he considers her to be so tiny.  His hesitance with her really broke my heart the first couple of weeks and it really got me thinking.  I want him to be a daddy, not just a father. 

My dad was a daddy.  Our protector, our disciplinarian, our playmate.  I see him with Lucy, and I knew he held me the same.  I have very fond memories of him being playful with me and my sisters when we were little, whether it was playing baseball with us in the back yard or surprising us with nachos and a movie, my dad was hands-on with us.  He would take us fishing and let us chew on one of his cigars (wrapper on, of course) as he smoked his, he would help us with our 4H wood-working projects and be just as wrapped up in what color ribbon we would earn as we were.  Now, there were moments that we knew we didn't want to be on his bad side, and I believe those moments, coupled with incredible values taught by both mother and father, are what kept me and my siblings out of serious trouble.  My dad is an incredible man, one who I love very much.  I admire my dad for so many reasons, and he always made everything better.  He could be strict and an ogre sometimes, but I always wanted to please him, to make him proud.  He took care of us, not only being the provider, but our, when I was 12 or so and my older sister didn't watch my bike when I was at book club at the library and it got stolen.  Dad and I drove around looking for it, and because I was so heartbroken, he went out the same day and got me another bike. 

In adulthood, my dad is still someone who just makes everything better.  I will never forget that after Gabriel died, Josh and I went to dinner at my parent's for the first time since the delivery...I was doing okay at first, just trying to have a normal Sunday dinner, but then it hit me...that I wasn't pregnant anymore and my baby was dead, and I was there, trying to carry on like it was all normal.  I had to get up and leave the kitchen because I didn't want my mom and Josh to see me lose it again..I had been crying so much.  I went into the living room and my dad was there.  He took one look at me, and just came over and grabbed me, and held me in the biggest hug and just let me cry it out on his shoulder.  It lasted only a minute, but he was there.  He was my daddy, even though I was 27 years old. 

I want Josh to have that relationship with Lucy.  I want her to be in her adulthood, reflecting on her father and childhood the way I just did here- very fondly.  I know Josh will get more comfortable...after March Madness of course...haha.

Back to my 6 week old precious girl, she is now a whopping 9 pounds, 11 ounces.  She smiles a lot in the morning after her feeding.  She loves the sunlight and her vibrating bouncer.  Her mommy is her best friend :-)
I love putting hair bows in her hair, and I could watch her nurse and sleep all the live long day.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't thank God for my incredible gift.  I am loving this new life of mine, and it is already going by way too fast- I had to pack the newborn clothes away last week.  She hates bath time at night, but on Sunday mornings, Josh puts her in the bath tub with me and we have the best time.  The jury is still out on her hair color- this morning it looked red in the light, but most of the time, it looks dirty blonde.  She sleeps very well at night, getting up twice, and she does have a fussy period every evening. 

She looks like her father.  I look like my father. 

I am so in love with her. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lucy Ann's Birth Story

Last Saturday, February 12th, I woke up and had my normal decaf coffee. Around 9 am, I felt what were like menstrual cramps. At first, I thought I was dehydrated, and that they would go away. Around 10:30 am, I told my husband that I thought I was having contractions because they were not subsiding. We started writing down times. By noon, they were still there, coming consistently between 7 minutes and 10 minutes apart.  I was scared to call the doctor and sound like an idiot, in case these weren't real contractions.

For peace of mind, I wound up calling. The on-call doctor told me that unless they were 5-6 minutes apart and painful enough where I couldn't walk, talk, or breathe, then I should just stay home.

So I did...My husband and I went to Olive Garden, we played Scrabble, I talked to my little sis on the phone for an hour, I read a bit of my George W Bush memoir that I bought in November and haven't had the time to read, and I worked on thank-you notes from my shower. I would just pause when the contraction came, but they never got super painful like the doctor described.

Around 11:30, my husband and I went to bed and put Saturday Night Live on. I got another contraction, but this one was extremely painful. I turned over and told Josh that if I got another one like that in 5 minutes, we were going in. Next thing I knew, I felt a pop. It literally felt like something disconnected from my body. It scared me, so I moved off of the bed and got on my knees. "I think my water broke..." I said. Upon standing, it was confirmed, I was leaking all over the place.

My husband immediately got out of bed. "We are going to have a baby!" He exclaimed. He put on clothes, he grabbed my bag, he started the car...I on the other hand thought I had plenty of time. I put make up on, as I knew my pic would be taken, (lol) and I continued to clean up after myself, as I was leaking all over the place. Then I got a contraction that really hurt....this is the kind the doctor described.

We got into the car. The contractions came faster, about every 2 and a half minutes, and they hurt.

We got to the hospital at 12:30ish Sunday morning. I got all checked in. The contractions hurt so bad that I felt like I was one of those wussy women in the movies...I was wailing and begging for drugs. I got Nubane, but all that did was make me feel drunk, but I felt the contractions too. I wailed so loud that I got moved up the epidural list, as I was third in line that night! haha!

Once I got my epidural, they checked me and I was at 5 cm. I was told to get some sleep, that I wouldn't be a 10 until probably 9 am or so. However, when they checked me at 6 am, I was told I was ready to push.

It was 7 am before I actually started to push. I was told it could take a long time. And boy, it did! I pushed, and pushed, and pushed, and then finally...I was told that I had "too tight" of muscles and I had to have an episiotomy. Scared out of my mind for that, I hit my epidural button 10 more times...haha.

After the procedure, I pushed really hard again, and was told to stop. At 9:56 am, February 13th, my baby, Lucy Ann was born. Josh was ecstatic, and cut the cord right away, as I listened for her cry. Once I heard her, and they set her on my stomach...the feeling overwhelmed me. I have her...I have my baby. I was looking at someone my husband and I made...The nurse put her on my chest and counted her fingers and toes with me...I told her "I waited so long for you...."

They took her to clean her and weigh her, and I got stitched up. I said a thank you to God, kissed my husband, and thought of my sweet baby Gabe...and couldn't believe I was actually experiencing a birth that was ending on a positive note.  I have thought of Gabriel often, so often...wondering if he would have looked like his sister.  I have thought about him more than I thought I would...and have gotten sad even though I feel so happy and blessed.  I just wonder what life would have been like, if he were around too.  The first song I hummed/sang to Lucy was Gabriel's song- the Dumbo song that plays on this blog.  She loves it.  It calms her right down.  I know its her brother touching and warming her heart.  I can't wait to watch Dumbo with her.  I need to get it on DVD...well, I need to get it period :-). 

I have been truly blessed, and have never, ever, been so in love. I can't stop kissing her...

Lucy Ann Kosakowski | Facebook

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dear Gabriel,

Dear precious baby,
     When your daddy named you, I was skeptical.  We had a name picked for you as you know, and days after your body was born, I was beating myself up quite a bit about not officially giving that name to you, like I was hoarding it for some other baby.  But then your daddy told me that you were not meant to have that name, and that your name will be Gabriel, as Gabriel was an angel who stood in the presence of God. 
     Your name literally means, "God is my strength."  Gabriel the archangel was sent to announce the birth of John the Baptizer and announced to Mary that she would indeed have a son and to prepare for the birth of our lord Jesus Christ.  Gabriel then became known as the one who looked after future births, and was sent by God to do so.  After doing some research, I learned that in England, charms were sold of Gabriel to women as a comfort - that he was watching over them for fertility and safe childbirth. 
     I then fell in love with your name, as I knew you would one day, look over us.  I knew it was you calming me down after my ectopic- where I lost another.  I just remember waking up at home after surgery and just feeling peace- and I knew that was you, telling me that it would be okay, and I would soon have a precious baby here with me.  You made me feel so certain.  I knew you were directly delivering a message to me from God.
     And now I sit, almost 38 weeks pregnant, knowing that I will have your baby sister here by the end of next week.  Your daddy and I are so very excited.  In her nursery, we have our "elephant family" displayed.  Your aunt Casey got a family of ceramic elephants with all of our birthstones on them.  There is a mommy, a daddy, an October for you, and a February for Lucy.  Because of you, we were able to feel this joy we have for your sister.  I did get sad a couple of times at my shower, opening a ton of pink stuff, when I thought...last year, I should have been opening blue- but I never got that far. 
I only felt sad for a minute though, because I realize that its only because of you that I have Lucy.  Its because of you that I get to feel this great joy.  Its because of you that I already feel like a mommy, and its because of you that I feel like we are both protected.  I have an angel up there who stands in the presence of our Lord!   You know my prayers before I even get to say them, and you know my heart, since you were close to it for so long.  Someone who knows my heart is there in Heaven close to God...what a powerful feeling that is.
     I love you, sweet angel baby. 
                                  Love, Mommy