We are the Spinda family (John, Shanna & Stella Mae) from Murray, KY... on February 1, 2011 at 10:27am our beautiful baby girl, Stella Mae Spinda, was born at 26 weeks gestation. She weighed 12.34 oz and was 9 in long - Stella suffered from Intrauterin Growth Restriction (IUGR) which caused both her extremely small size and her being born premature. Stella spent five days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Norton/Kosair Hospital in Louisville, KY. She passed away late on February 5, 2011 from complications of her extremely small size. This blog was started when she was 23 gestational weeks old and we discovered her condition. It's original purpose was to keep family and friends updated on Stella's journey - we now hope to use this blog as a way to continue Stella's journey by honoring her memory and also as a way to support others who are struggling with infertility or have lost a pregnancy or baby.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Directions needed to a lighted path.

So this is it, tomorrow is... well, tomorrow - Thanksgiving... the start of the holiday season. It's been a little less than 10 months since I've held Stella, since I kissed her sweet face, and since I had to leave her in Norton Hospital and walk out of there alone, with empty arms. I've been through a roller coaster of emotions since that day (Feb 5) but none as low as I've felt the last few weeks. I feel overwhelmed by Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Stella's up coming birthday, and up coming angelversary. It all seems to be happening so fast and I feel out of control. I have no idea what to do. I don't know how to act. I don't know how to incorporate my daughter into the holiday season in a way that I am able to handle. I can barely function, I'm crying all the time, the only thing that gets me out of bed is work and I'm off for the next five days. I'm not going to be shy about things on here... I didn't brush my teeth until after 5pm today and I only just took a shower because I couldn't deal with my smell anymore (but I didn't wash of hair, of course). I've spent most of the day on the couch somewhere between strangely calm to hysterical. I did call the credit counselor that the adoption agency recommended to us. Oh yes, there is some good news I should share: The adoption agency will not approve us until we complete a plan with a credit counseling agency and take a "get out of debt" class. So after taking a look at our checking account and finding that we have $200 to last us until John gets paid next Wednesday I promptly called to set up an appointment to get these finances straightened out. Like I pointed out on the phone with the counselor today, a full time professor and a full time teacher should not be living paycheck to paycheck!

Let's compound extreme money problems on top of grief and let's add in a little difficulty with our adoption agency -- sounds like a perfect recipe for dealing with the holidays! I keep trying to remind myself that people have been through worse! There are women who have lost multiple children or who have had their children murdered. There are families who are being put out onto the street because their house went into foreclosure when someone lost their job. There are couples who have been on the waiting list for a baby for years and years. I can recognize that there are others out there who are worse off then me - my question is, how do these people get up and continue to face the day?

John asked me what I really want to do tomorrow. He had to know that he was not going to like my answer! I'd like to lay in bed ALL day, watching NCIS, and pretending that it is just a regular day off of work.  I got that disappointed look and an "oh bun..."

We have been blessed with wonderful friends who have invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them tomorrow after our plans to volunteer at a kitchen feeding those in need. I wish I could be happy for what we have, I wish that I could be excited to spend my Thanksgiving this way. But all I can think about is how I want my momma and my brother and most of all my Stella! These thoughts have consumed me to the point that I am unable to do anything but think about these three things that I want so badly. Then as the wave of pain rolls in I cry uncontrollably when I realize that my momma and brother are not coming here for Thanksgiving and my Stella girl is never coming back here to Earth. How do I face the holiday then? How do I go through the motions of a day that is only bringing me pain? I need answers! I need to know how to function!

I miss Shanna... I miss the person that I was before my daughter died. I miss smiling and having fun. I miss my friends! I wish I could talk to my friends, I wish I could do something other than cry. I wish I had hope! I have lost my hope... hope that I will ever really be happy and hope that John and I will ever get to raise children.

If you know how I can get my hope back... TELL ME! If you have any idea of how to handle the holidays, please pass along the advice! I'm lost and wandering around a dark ally - I really need someone to find me and/or give me directions to a lighted path.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Days of Thanks!

Not too long ago in counseling I was crying hysterically because large chucks of my day consist of my wishing I was with Stella (in heaven). My counselor told me to tell her my blessings. I said loudly in a very funny Shanna cry voice, "I dooooon't haaaaave annnny blessssings!" I could tell by the look on her face that she wanted to laugh at me. If I wouldn't have been so heartbroken I probably wo...uld have laughed at myself. The truth is... my daughter died, yes. It is the worst pain that you could possible go through. Some days I want to die, some days hurt so bad that I can't think of anything but the pain, but I STILL have many blessings and many things to be thankful for. I'm starting this one day late, but I'll make up for yesterday:
11/1/2011: I am thankful that after 3 long years of infertility John and I conceived Stella. I am thankful for each and everyday of my pregnancy from the ones where I couldn't stop puking to the ones where I couldn't stop crying. And I thank God each and every day for giving me the opportunity to spend five amazing days with my daughter!

11/2/2011: I am thankful to be able to call the most amazing man I've ever known my husband! He is strong, sweet, loving, and the best daddy ever! ♥
11/3/2011: Today I am thankful for my seven rescued bubs...Precious, Zeppelin, Sammie, Magellan, Pumpkin, Carmella and Tony. I am sure that God brought us all together for a reason and I love them more than I can describe.
11/4/2011: I am so very thankful for an amazingly supportive family. I know I have a shoulder to lean on always. I'm especially thankful that my mom, Trav and I are so close. ♥
11/5/2011: Today I am thankful that if Stella can not be in my arms, that she is in our Lord Jesus Christ's arms. (9 months today... love you baby girl)
11/6/2011: Even though we have yet to meet her, she has yet to choose us, and baby may not even be conceived yet, I am incredibly thankful for our Birth Mother. I am thankful that she will choose life, I am thankful that she will do the most selfless thing a person can do, I am thankful that she will provide us with the baby that we so desperately want. ♥
11/7/2011: Today I am thankful that I did not have to drive to work in the dark!
11/8/2011: Today I am thankful for the beautiful friends that I have, all over the U.S. Friends who prayed for us while Stella and I were in the hospital. Friends who cried and morned with us when Stella passed. Friends who have helped me put my pieces back together. And friends who have shared in the joy of our adoption. You are all heaven sent. ♥ And I am thankful for you!!!
 11/9/2011: Today I am thankful for a new car and the ability to put gas in it so that I can drive to work, trainings, the grocery store, etc...as some people have cars but no gas or no car and no one to help them get around.
11/10/2011: Today I am so thankful for God bringing me into my kiddos' lives! I know they need me and I'm here to love and support them as much as I can. If you have been around me today you have prob heard me saying "I'm not your mother" several time. The truth is that I love them and treat them like I am. Thank you, God for my special kiddos!
11/11/2011: Today I am thankful to all those who are currently or have served our country! I very much realize that freedom is not free and we are lucky to live in this country. Thank you!! Happy Veteran's Day. ♥
11/12/2011: I'm thankful that I woke up, next to my husband, in a warm bed, under a secure roof - as many people do not have a warm bed or a secure roof above them. I am truly thankful for having our basic needs met everyday!
 11/13/2011: Today I am thankful for a very comfortable couch and the right to sleep on it ALL day!
11/14/2011: Today I am thankful for the strength that I have deep, down inside me to get out of my bed everyday. Lord knows it is a challenge and only He knows the pain that I face everyday.
11/15/2011: Today I am thankful for massages!