Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Looking for Hope and Peace


Broken Reflections

In the quiet stillness she waits
She waits for something, anything
A breath of peace, a hint of joy, even racking sobs, or engulfing anger
But all she finds is stillness, emptiness

Alone, the soft glow of Christmas lights shine through her, seeping through the cracks in her broken places
They make dancing shadows on the wall behind her, mocking her with their brightness and light
She wants to turn them off, to welcome the darkness, but there is something in those lights
Its just out of reach, but it seems to be calling her name

She wraps her arms around herself, covering the cracks as best she can
Settling in the for the long cold night, she decides to wait until the lights no longer dance behind her, but in front of her, reflecting the light in her eyes.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Some Things I Want You to Know

As we approach Emma's six month birthday I am at a point where I am able to look back and reflect a little. I am also able to see that others' interactions with and approaches to my grief have changed. In light of that, here are some things I want you to know:

1. I want you to acknowledge my baby. She was real and is my child. I want the opportunity to speak about my child like you do yours. If I'm having a bad day and don't want to talk about something I'll let you know.

2. I will never be my "old self" again. If you're waiting for that to happen you are going to be waiting a long time. I will welcome joy, hope, and light into my life again, but I will always be a new version of myself.

3. It's okay that I am still mourning my baby's death. There is nothing wrong with me. My baby died and I am sad.

4. I want you to give me the opportunity to say no. Don't exclude me from things because you think I'm not up to it, or because every single time before I've said no. Parenting a baby that has died is a lonely and isolated place, and if you don't include me I feel worse.

5. Everything in my life has been redefined. My marriage, friends, family, self-image, faith, values, priorities, career, and goals. Be patient with me while I figure things out.

6. I still need to know you care. As time goes on and I seem more "okay" on the outside, there is still a gaping hole on the inside. I don't want to feel like you have forgotten.

7. The death of your baby is a profound, life altering loss. There is nothing like it and no way to understand it unless you have lived it. Its okay for you to say that you don't know what to say or do, but that you are there for me in any way I need.

I hope that this list helps to validate you as a grieving parent, or gives you insight as the friend or family member of a grieving parent.

Peace and Light,

Sarah

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday's Thoughts

I haven't had much to say on here lately. I'm in kind of a weird place. I am now at a point where I can look back and see that I am no longer where I was, but I also have trouble looking ahead to where I'm going and where I want to be. I am stuck and time seems to be going so slowly. Here are some of the random thoughts running through my head…

I am beyond excited to meet in person tomorrow a new friend that I have connected with on this journey. Maybe that is why this week went so slowly, I actually had an event to look forward to. That hasn't happened much these days. In fact, I'm supposed to be cleaning my house right now in preparation…eek! Stacey, don't judge if you see any dust floating around! :)

I mailed my ornaments for the bereaved parents ornament exchange this week. It made me sad to sit down and make the ornaments. Sad for the family who suffered devastating losses, and sad for me that when I was done I had my own little girl to make an ornament for. It felt really good when I saw this afternoon that the mommy of these babies received her ornaments and felt joy in seeing them. I'll share the ornaments and how I made them next week on the blog. Hopefully my ornament will arrive and I can share that too!

Last weekend I wrote a poem. I woke up at 6:45 (yes, on a weekend) and it popped into my mind. The words started flowing so I wrote them down. That was a strange new development in my grief. I decided to submit it to an online magazine for the "loss, infertility, and adoption community". I didn't submit it because I think its an amazing piece that should be published, but because it is a reflection of my feelings and experiences and I want to share it with the people that are in this world with me. We'll see if it gets accepted. It's kind of kindergarten compared to the other pieces they publish, so if they don't take it I'll share it here. ;)

In two weeks hubby and I are traveling to Punta Cana, and I am so ready to be there. I am looking forward to unplugging and spending some time away with Britt. Since Emma died I feel like the routines and obligations of life are constantly squeezing in on me, demanding attention. I just want to get away. We are staying in an all inclusive adults only resort. I am ready for my only decisions to involve what I want to eat or drink, and if I want to lay at the pool or the beach. Earlier in my grief I wasn't ready for a trip like this, but now I am.

I've been thinking a lot about being pregnant again. Just the thoughts, fears, and happiness that could go along with that.

I guess that's all for now.

xoxo

Monday, December 9, 2013

Emma's Bracelets

I am happy to share that today we started taking orders for our bracelets (until we reach 40 and then I am closing it until I get the first round done). Right now we only have the one style, the women's Endless Love bracelet. This is our first design and was created in memory of Emma. We will be creating a men's Endless Love bracelet in the near future. Our first men's design idea didn't pan out so well, so we have another in the works.  

We are using a portion of the proceeds from the bracelets to create care packages for the parents of stillborn babies. We are going to start our packages at the hospital where Emma was born and then expand to other area hospitals. Calling the hospitals and making arrangements to deliver the packages is something I dread. I want the parents to have the packages, but I wish they could magically appear in the hospital for us. Arranging it means I need to call the hospital, usually getting in touch with the main operator. I have to give a generic outline of who I'm trying to reach and why so they can get me in touch with the right person. Then once I have the right person, usually a bereavement coordinator in the labor and delivery unit, then I have to explain again what I'm doing and then my story and why I am doing this. By this point it has felt like a huge runaround and I'm in tears from repeating several times that I want to donate care packages for parents experiencing the stillbirth of their baby. Phew, I am getting anxious just thinking about it. It will be worth it though when the thing we wish would never happen {but does happen to 1 in 160 babies}, stillbirth, terrorizes another family.

If we end up having more orders than are needed to keep the business going and make the care packages (the two items the profits go towards) we will donate the extra proceeds to organizations and projects that support grieving families and/or stillbirth research. No matter how we expand our business in the future, including in ways that personally benefit us, the Endless Love design will always be Emma's and will always benefit Emma's sweet heavenly friends and their families. 

You can visit us on Facebook or learn more on the tabs at the top of our website. 




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Traditions #1 and #2

Now that Thanksgiving is over (yay, we survived) it is time to look ahead to Christmas. I anticipate Christmas being a lot harder than Thanksgiving, and I am honestly trying not to think about it too much. I think I need to put my energy into making it through tomorrow, rather than worrying about something that is 23 days away.

Christmas is an especially hard time of the year because we had so many ideas about how we would celebrate, and family traditions we wanted to begin. Now we are left to try and create traditions that allow us to grieve, honor and remember Emma, and parent her even though she is not here with us.

As we decide on some new family traditions I will share them here. In part to share our story and raise awareness about life after stillbirth, but also for the amazing bereaved moms who read this blog in hopes that our traditions may help you this Christmas season.

Our first tradition is having a stocking for Emma. We ordered one last night from Pottery Barn Kids. They are still having a 20% off sale on stockings, and free shipping which ends today.

If everything had gone as it should have, we would have been filling her stocking with teething or Taggie toys, or more realistically empty water bottles and paper towel tubes, which is probably what she would have really been interested in at almost 6 months old.

Instead, Britt and I are each writing a letter to Emma which we will put into her stocking. I think it will be a healing and positive way for us to connect with her at Christmas, although honestly I think that writing letters to our daughter who has died, instead of spoiling her with toys and gifts for a holiday she doesn't even understand yet is a crock of you know what, okay I'll say it…shit.

Here is the stocking we ordered:

Source

























Our second tradition will be hanging up Emma's special ornaments. We are not putting up a regular Christmas tree this year for a few reasons. First, we do not have the energy or desire to mess with a tree, and all of the lights, ornaments, and joy that are supposed to come with it. Secondly, and more practical, we are traveling for almost two weeks over the holidays, and because we always get a real tree it would be a dried up waste of money.

We do, however, have a really little pre-lit tree where I will be hanging Emma's special ornaments. As I shared in a previous post, I am participating in a bereaved parents ornament exchange this Christmas. I will have that ornament, as well as a few others to put on the tree. Today I received a very special ornament from a dear friend.


























This friend and I shared pregnancy together for a few months, and she just gave birth to beautiful twins a week and a half ago. All things pregnancy and baby related have been really hard for me to handle since Emma's death, and my friend has been amazing about giving me space when I need it (as in, if this was a normal situation I would be the world's worst friend). I am so thankful that she does not take my grief personally, and that I am able to be open with her and tell her how I am feeling. It takes a special friend to be able to wait on the opposite shore of my grief for me to come back to her.

If anyone here reading has other traditions to honor their baby at Christmas I would love to hear them.

Wishing you peace friends,

Sarah

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Giving Thanks

This week has been a hard week for me to actively recognize things that I am thankful for, although in the midst of everything there really are a lot.

When thinking of what I am thankful for, one of the first things that comes to mind are some people. Of course, first and foremost, my husband who is my partner in everything. Also, our friends and family who have been so supportive and loving.

But tonight I want to recognize some other people. I want to recognize the women who call themselves bereaved mothers, those who make up this broken but united community to which I belong. These women are the ones who truly understand what I've experienced and how I feel. Who understand the grief in carrying your child for 9 (or perhaps less) months and then giving birth to death. Who know what its like to be wheeled out of the hospital with empty arms and your baby's going home outfit still packed away in your bag. Who drove home from the hospital with the empty car seat in the back of the car. The women who had to pack away the toys, and pack and play, and swings that never felt the warmth of their baby's body. Who have an empty nursery in their home and drawers full of precious bitty baby clothes that will never be worn by their baby. These women are who I am thankful for. The women who I can share my fears, and thoughts, and heart aches with, and who can say "I understand" and mean it.

There are the women in my support group that I get to see every month, and one friend who I get to see more often for coffee and crafting. The women in my online support group community who support me, grieve with me, and uplift me anytime I need it, day or night. The women I have met through blogging who email with me and share their stories with me. And one special friend who I get to meet in just a few weeks when she and her husband come to visit! For you all I am thankful.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Ornament Exchange

Last night I signed up to participate in a Christmas Ornament Exchange for bereaved parents. It is being hosted by Only Love In Your Lifetime. Participants will be assigned another bereaved parent/couple to make an ornament for and they will receive one in exchange.

The holidays are an especially hard time, not only for the sadness we feel in this moment, but for all of the memories and moments we have been robbed of in the future. Having the opportunity to say out loud the name of someone else's baby and create a unique and personal ornament for that baby and family brings me peace. Knowing that someone will be doing the same for us feels really good.

The deadline to sign up and participate is this Wednesday, November 27. If you would like to participate you can email rememberthelove4@gmail.com with the following information:

Your Name:
Your Address:
Your Email:
Your Baby's Name (if named):
Baby's Gender (if known):
Special Dates for your Baby:
Things/Colors/Items/Animals that remind you of your baby:
Are you willing to ship internationally (in case there are international participants):

Your family assignment will be received by December 1 and your ornament should be mailed out by December 16. You can learn more about Only Love In Your Lifetime on their Facebook page and you can also view the event there.

Friday, November 22, 2013

This is Your Brain on Grief...

Do you remember this commercial?



This is me, and my drug is grief. Thankfully, because of the amazing women I have met along this journey who commiserate with me and validate me, I know that it is "normal" for me to have scrambled eggs for brains these days.

For those who have experienced "pregnancy brain" let me tell you, you've got nothing on "grief brain". I am constantly in a haze, and there are times when even doing the most routine mundane tasks really takes a lot of thinking to figure out. I feel like a total airhead a lot of the time.

This morning, and not for the first time, I messed up my own Starbucks order. Granted, I am one of those annoying people who has forty two requests with my coffee {sorry}, but seriously I can't even order coffee now. Tonight Chick-Fil-A did not have the soda I wanted, so I just randomly picked something else that I didn't even really want because I saw it and said it, which was easier than trying to think and make a decision about what I really wanted. I have always been a little indecisive and prone to flustering, but it is getting a bit ridiculous.

I know I need to be "gentle" with myself, and that my brain is reacting this way because there are times that it needs to shut down a little to protect itself, but its hard to feel confused and out of it a lot of the time.

Hoping for peace and clarity,

Sarah

Thursday, November 21, 2013

So Far Away



"Gone Away"

Maybe in another life
I could find you there
Pulled away before your time
I can't deal it's so unfair


And it feels
And it feels like
Heaven's so far away
And it feels
Yeah it feels like
The world has grown cold
Now that you've gone away



Leaving flowers on your grave
Show that I still care
But black roses and Hail Mary's
Can't bring back what's taken from me
I reach to the sky
And call out your name
And if I could trade
I would



And it feels
And it feels like
Heaven's so far away
And it stings
Yeah it stings now
The world is so cold
Now that you've gone away

I've always liked this song, but it definitely has a new meaning now. {Yes, Lilly loving, pearl wearing, Michael Kors bag carrying me loves rock, especially 90s grunge rock like Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden. Is that weird? Probably.}

This song came on the radio when I was on the way home this afternoon and it had me thinking about Heaven and Emma. I was thinking how it truly feels like Heaven is so far away. I know I will see Emma again, but it will be so long until I do. Thankfully the Bible says that time in Heaven is not like time on Earth, so I know that for sweet Emma it will only feel like the blink of an eye before her mommy and daddy are there with her.

As I was thinking all these thoughts I came to a stoplight, and this was the sky I saw in front of me:




















The picture is not as clear as it was in person, but in the midst of the gray cloudy sky there was an opening where the bright sun was shining through. I like to think it was a a little bit of Heaven and Emma shining through telling me that they are not too far away at all, all I need to do is open my eyes and look.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Saying No, or Not

This afternoon I read a great article from Still Standing Magazine about saying no. It talked about not worrying about others perceptions of you and your grief, and being bold enough to say no to anything that is too much for you.

It was a fantastic article with a great message, but here is my question, how do you say no to the things that the world requires of you?

Well, I have the answer, you can't, because the world moves on even when we don't want to or don't know how. I can't say no to getting up and going to work everyday, cleaning the house (I can stretch that for awhile, but major dirt puts me more over the edge than I was to begin with), or buying food. These are necessities that even at my worst I can't avoid, at least not for as long as I might like to. No matter how badly I want to stay in my pajamas and sit on the couch the world won't let me, and I'm a little irritated about that. So much for all the nonsense about not letting anyone put a timeline on your grief. I feel like the world has moved on and is telling me, get up, get out there, be okay. So, I get up, do my job, do fairly okay at being "fine", come home, and start all over again the next day.

Have you ever seen a scene in a movie or tv show when someone is standing in a city and everything around them is blurring by at super speed? That is what it feels like. I am stuck standing still, hyper aware of everything around me, while the world continues to rush by at crazy speeds.

I will end this by sharing that Britt and I are going to start seeing a grief counselor. I think that seeing her will give us some good tools to help deal with our grief, especially as the difficult holiday season approaches. For me I almost feel like the grief is getting harder rather than easier to bear, so I am looking forward to having someone who knows what they are talking about to offer some support.

Keep on trucking friends, tomorrow is a new day, or so they say...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Warning, It's a long and wordy one...

This week we have done a lot of traveling along our journey and I have been debating whether or not I felt like writing about it. We had 2 doctor's appointments this week, and sharing about medical things feels a little too personal. However, when I think about what this blog is its a little late to worry about being too personal. I think lately I have reverted back into my typical pattern of burying my feelings deep inside and occasionally pulling them out for only me to examine. So, in an effort to stick to the reason I began this blog: sharing my story for friends and family to follow along, facing and dealing with my own emotions, and to reach out to other parents of stillbirth, here goes….

On Monday we went to see a perinatal (high-risk pregnancy) doctor. Seeing this doctor was something we asked to do, rather than it being medically recommended to us. All of the testing and facts related to Emma's birth did not suggest that there was any complication or treatable/preventable cause for her death. That being said, living through this has been extremely traumatic, and getting additional support is something we really need.

Going to this appointment brought a lot of anxiety. The appointment was in a medical office at the hospital where we found out Emma had died and where I delivered her. Being there was very emotional. It was also stressful to know we were going to be rehashing Emma's death and delivery. I was so happy to have Britt with me. I always feel stronger when he is there.

The appointment ended up going very well. The doctor confirmed that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent Emma's death, as it was truly a cord accident. In his words, "we were struck by lightening." That's certainly what it feels like. At my request he ordered a panel of blood tests to be done for rare clotting disorders, in order to rule them out as a cause of her death. 5 tubes of blood this afternoon later, and we are waiting for the results. The doctor felt very strongly that the tests will not show anything.

One of the things I best remember from this appointment was talking about some regrets I have and him saying, "there are no wrong decisions here." Of course other people could tell me that, I could tell myself that, but hearing it from a highly respected and recognized doctor goes a little farther with me. Some of the best news of the appointment was his belief that there is no reason that this should happen in our next pregnancy. While that is comforting to my heart, it does nothing to help my brain. The trauma of your first child being stillborn leaves you to believe you will never have a living child, at least thats how I feel. Why should I think I will ever have a living baby when Emma should have been here and is not. Obviously life does not work the way it is supposed to.

The doctor agreed to see us through our next pregnancy, whenever we are ready for that step, and even though it is not truly medically necessary he will provide any extra monitoring possible. He also said he will likely have me delivered around 38 weeks. If the baby is developed enough to come on out, then next time around that's what he or she will do, no waiting for trouble this time. The doctor said that I would be a candidate for a VBAC, and I said….I am past the yearning for a natural birth experience, and I would really rather have a living child in my arms. Open me back up and give me my baby!

The doctor also recommended that I see a nutritionist, which was the appointment I had this morning. Heading to this appointment was another stressful experience. This time I went by myself and for some reason on the way there I started having major anxiety, like feeling like I couldn't catch my breath and being lightheaded. Once I got there I had to go into the main hospital (this was a different hospital). I tried unsuccessfully to ignore the signs for labor and delivery as I made my way to central patient registration. There at check in they made me a hospital bracelet I had to wear for my appointment, even though I was going to an outpatient center. That brought back the major anxiety. Last time I wore one of those I was in the hospital with Emma. Not okay. By this point I was barely holding it together, and as soon as I got in with the nutritionist and she asked what brought me in I burst into tears. The good news is, I always feel better after a good cry.

A little backstory on seeing a nutritionist. I have always (like my whole life) been classified as "underweight" based on my height and weight. Its nothing I can help and its always been that way. I always say I was meant to be a short person. I have small hands and feet, skinny arms and legs, and a small frame in general. If I was not so tall my weight would come out in the normal range instead. 4 months post-partum and I am back at my pre-pregnancy weight, which means I am back to being "underweight".

Anyway, starting my last pregnancy as "underweight" did not have any negative effects. I gained 36 pounds during the pregnancy and each week Emma measured as growing as she should. She was born a healthy (and hearty!) 8 lbs 3 1/2 oz.

However, the perinatal doctor understood that I wanted to face a subsequent pregnancy controlling every possible risk factor and making sure that I am doing anything and everything to help in having a healthy living baby. That being said, starting pregnancy at a healthy/normal weight leads to a healthier pregnancy and outcomes for mom and baby. Cue weight gain time.

The nutritionist was wonderful and spent a lot of time talking with me about healthy weight gain and ways I can achieve it (not cheeseburgers, fries, and milkshakes…dang!) The goal is 5-10 pounds which will put me on the low end of normal. To be totally in the "normal" range for my height I would need to gain 22 pounds…that would look ridiculous on my slender little self and is totally not necessary (the nutritionist agreed, by the way).

Anyway that's the story there. It feels really uncomfortable to share, as weight is something really personal to talk about it and has always been a sensitive subject for me…I drank Ensure in middle school to try and gain weight because I didn't like people making comments about how skinny I was. I always say I would not go up to someone who is overweight and say...jeeez you are so fat, do you eat all the time? Just as people should not say…jeez you are so skinny, do you eat? Discrimination works both ways. With that I am stepping off my soapbox for the night and snuggling up with my hubby. So glad tomorrow is Friday, this week has drained me.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Weight of Grief


Today's just one of those days. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to wake up in a year or so, when the grief is hopefully not so heavy, and God willing I will be holding a living child in my arms?

Friday, November 1, 2013

All Tricks, No Treats

I just started out this post with the words "for those who have not lost a baby", and then I went back and deleted it because the words of the wonderful woman who leads our support group came back to me. I didn't lose my baby, I know where she is, she is dead. It may sound harsh, but the truth is harsh. Putting this in terms that sound nicer or are easier to hear doesn't do anything, so I will start again…

For those who have not experienced the death of their baby it's hard to think like we do, or realize the thoughts and feelings we go through each day. For many, last night was a fun holiday where their children dressed up for trick or treating, or having no small children they happily opened their doors to neighborhood children while admiring costumes and passing out treats. For parents whose children have died Halloween is one of the many days we just have to get through. It is a reminder that our children will never dress up and get treats, that we won't get to hold their hand and walk them around the neighborhood, or sneak a piece of their candy after they go to bed (I know I would have done that!). Its a reminder that so many other people (even those who are seemingly undeserving) have what we can't. It feels like we rang the doorbell at the house that was passing out all tricks and no treats. We anticipated the excitement and sweetness, only to be greeted with bitterness and disappointment.  

Some people in the world might say…don't dwell, you can't project like that, you need to look forward, think of doing these things with your future children. And I say, I am looking forward. Looking forward to our life without Emma in it. I say, I'm sorry if my thoughts are depressing to you, but this is my life, how do you think I feel? I say, you just don't get it, because if you did you would know those statements are ridiculous. 

Now think of any other event in life and how it must be from my perspective. First day of school, any and every holiday, summer vacations, birthdays, anniversaries, and the list goes on. I truly wish that there wasn't a single person who understood this because then your babies would be alive, but because the statistics say otherwise I'm glad that there are people out there who know exactly how I'm feeling without me ever having to say it. It's hard feeling misunderstood. But for now, one more "event" is out of the way until next year. Time to keep plugging along.   

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Grief that Simmers

I feel like recently my grief has changed its shape. I haven't felt like it is constantly bubbling up inside me and spilling out as it did for so long. Maybe it is integrating itself into my life. 

These days my grief feels more like a deep and constant ache. It is locked inside where it bounces around all day long. Sometimes it bubbles out, but mostly it simmers inside where the outside world can't see it. I'm not sure which is worse. Emotions that bubble out without warning, or emotions that feel like I'm the only one in the world who knows they're there. 

On November 2 it will be Emma's four month birthday. Its hard to believe it has been that long already. In some ways it seems like yesterday, and in others it seems like it was an eternity ago. Most of the time though it feels like I am watching a movie and I still can't resolve the fact that Britt and I are the people in it.  A lot has happened in these last four months. One of the hard things has been watching the world slowly get back into its routine while Britt and I feel stuck where we are. Of course we don't expect people to stay in this dark hollow place with us, but its strange to see life go on seemingly as if nothing has happened. People and relationships get back into routines, daily rhythms continue, and life is going on. Sure its selfish, but part of me wants to shout STOP my daughter is still dead why is life going on, if I can't move on you shouldn't either. I realize that sounds terrible but its how I feel. This is a hard stage to be in.

I think that is one thing that feels so healing for me about starting Butterfly Wings. Knowing that anyone who buys one of our bracelets will be wearing Emma's butterfly around their wrist. Her memory will be carried by {hopefully} hundreds of people around the country. As her mommy that makes me so happy. Flutter on sweet girl, we love you! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 20: Hope


Hope is a hard one. I hope that our next child will be living. I hope that we will learn to find joy in every day and break out of this haze of grief. I hope that I can figure out how to be both the woman I was and the woman I am now. Really at the end of the day I just hope to have hope again.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This week has been a strange mix of emotions. A lot has happened that I had anticipated making me really emotional, but I haven't been the wreck I thought I would be. I've had some tears, and when I say my days are okay, fine, or dare I say even "good" there is still that heavy heavy weight in my chest that has not lifted. Even when I'm smiling or going through my day, everything is clouded with the weight of grief. I still want to come home, curl up, and take a break from the charade, but I am seeing positive change.

I feel like I am moving to a place where I have a better grasp on our new reality. For so long I have been in this crazy world where nothing feels right, where my brain really has trouble processing what has happened to us and that this is our real life now. If I really try and think things through those feelings still are there, but for the most part I am able to say to myself, yes this happened. I guess my brain is slowly allowing more in as it feels safe. Its amazing what the mind can do. There was even a day a month or so ago that I seriously thought to myself as I was looking in the mirror, maybe this could be a dream, maybe if I wish hard enough I could actually wake up and realize I'm having a bad nightmare. I truly thought this. That is sad.

The biggest hurdle was Wednesday, because October 16 was the date last year that we found out we were pregnant. Waking up Wednesday morning was such a sad and different experience. On Wednesday it was also my class's field trip to the pumpkin patch. Last year this trip was the day after finding out we were pregnant, so I remember that day vividly....walking around surrounded by all those parents, kids, and teachers, holding onto my little secret. It was fantastic! This year I spent the day hoping there wasn't anything that was going to trigger me into a meltdown...at the pumpkin patch there is not even a proper bathroom to hide in, just a nasty old porta-pot. I guess beggars can't be choosers, but luckily I had no need for the porta-pot and was fine all day. Pretty bad that my life now includes being on the lookout for the nearest emergency exit in case of meltdown.

Some other things that have been heavy on my heart this week:

Calling the hospital where Emma was born to see about donating care packages. Although I feel good to be able to do this for other parents it made me really sad too. I can post more about this project later, but for now visit our Facebook page for more info!!

Going in for my first haircut since Emma was born and having to tell my stylist that Emma had died. By the way she was so compassionate and amazing (and she's great at hair if you live nearby and are looking for someone new!). I have been in awe of the kindness and care from everyone, many of whom are practically strangers to me and Britt.

Talking to the perinatal nurse to give her my medical history in preparation for my upcoming appointment...this meant talking about my pregnancy and Emma's stillbirth.

Getting Emma's Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth in the mail today. So happy that Virginia is one of the states that offers this, as it is an important document that validates Emma's life and presence, but sad to see her death officially in print.

I hope you all are having a peaceful week xoxo

Friday, October 11, 2013

Capture Your Grief Catch Up 9,10,11

Well I got a little behind and I'm okay with that. After all, Carly Marie gave us permission to only do what we were able and felt like. For once, I am not being an overachiever. ;)

#9 (music) and #10 (beliefs) are touched on in my post from last night, so I'm just going to go with that.

Today is #11, Triggers. Honestly this early on in my grief journey, what is not a trigger? Pregnant women, babies, anything baby related, pictures of myself pregnant, reaching milestones/holidays, Emma's room, Emma's clothes/toys/etc., my students accidentally calling me mommy before Mrs. Arthur, and the list goes on.

It depends on the day and my emotions, but it could be anything. Sometimes a trigger from one day won't bother me the next. I basically don't know what to expect, when to expect it, or how I will respond. A nice way to go through life, right? I feel like I am tip toeing around trying to protect myself at all times.

I find that triggers make me feel bad or sad but they don't cause a "griefburst" too often anymore. Days or moments when I am super emotional aren't usually triggered by anything, instead it is just my built up feelings and emotions coming to the surface. Some days I just wake up and feel like I'm going to lose it and I have to wait for the breakdown to come before I'm okay.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thoughts

Well it's been a little quiet around here. I guess I haven't felt like talking (or writing). Many of you here know that's not my strong suit anyway, especially when it comes to how I'm feeling. I like to keep everything neatly boxed up and work through it in my own mind and on my own terms. Not always very effective.

Tonight I visited with a special friend and had a chance to talk about Emma, have that good cry that was overdue, and even share Emma's picture. It all felt really good. Sharing her picture especially. There are a lot of feelings that go along with that, probably enough for a whole post, and I don't have the energy for that.

The other night the song Take My Hand, Precious Lord popped into my head. It is one of the songs we played at Emma's memorial service. Some of the words really capture how I feel right now, and they are sometimes the only prayer I can mutter.

"Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light..."

Worn is exactly how I feel. This week has been long and trying. It's been one of the weeks that I just want to be alone in the quiet safety of my home talking to no one. One of the weeks that I am in disbelief of my life and the weight of grief that I will always carry. It sounds dark and gloomy but that's grief for you.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 7: You Now


And when I say there I don't mean some kind of end point, a place of healing or closure or moving on. I mean a place where my grief and I can live side by side. A place where there are more good days than bad days. A place where the weight of grief is a little lighter on my chest. I'm not there yet, but some days I get a glimpse of that place. I'm on my way.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 6: Ritual

I don't really have a lot of rituals when it comes to dealing with my grief. I think the closest things I have to rituals right now are every morning I put on my necklace that is made with Emma's actual handprint and I have this blog to journal my feelings and experiences.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 4 & 5: Legacy and Memory

Day 4: Legacy

Endless love and a mission to connect with and reach out to others who are suffering the same pain of stillbirth.


Day 5: Memory

Pure and unbroken happiness. This picture is still really hard for me to look at...


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 3: Myths


Fact: Grief is messy and chaotic. It does not follow a pattern or have stages. It may have components, such as anger and denial, but they come on their own terms and often without warning. Stages also implies that there is an end point. My grief does not have an end point. It will ebb and flow, but the heartache of the death of my daughter will never travel neatly through five stages and then be gone.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 2: Identity

This one is hard for me. I want to talk about Emma and share about her, but today has been a really hard really sad day. Today is Emma's three month heavenly birthday. Its hard to think what my life might be like if my three month old was here with me. She would be reaching milestones, and I would be nervously anticipating taking her to the babysitter as my maternity leave would almost be over. Today the pain is too raw to even put into words. So, instead I share this with you...the most precious ten little toes.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Capture Your Grief Day 1: Sunrise

October 1 marks the beginning of Infant & Child Death Awareness Month. This is the term used by the MISS Foundation. Most others call this month Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. I was recently told by someone who is a part of the MISS Foundation that the reason they have chosen another name for this month is because words have a big impact and meaning, and the truth is I (and anyone else in my shoes) did not lose a pregnancy, I lost a child. My child. All beautiful 8 pounds 3 and a half ounces of her. She wasn't just a pregnancy, or even worse a "fetus"...that makes me cringe.

As part of this month I will be participating in Carly Marie's (an amazing inspirational bereaved mama) Capture Your Grief project. I will be posting my pictures here on the blog as well as on Instagram. Here is an outline of the project:

Image Source
If you follow me on Instagram you know that I have started photographing the sunrise and sometimes the sunset. It is really beautiful to me, and gives me a sense of peace, hope, and promise. Like Emma, I feel that it is perfect and beautiful, but can only be held onto for minutes before its gone.

I was excited for today's subject, Sunrise, and was then disappointed when I woke up to cloudy skies and a not so spectacular sunrise.


However, after looking more closely I decided that this sunrise is a good reflection of where I am today. Not too spectacular, just doing what I am supposed to do without any pizzaz. I love though that behind those dark clouds (they look kind of like mountains) some brightness is shining through. There is even a streak of light from an airplane flying by. I like to think of those bits of light as what lies ahead for me while I am stuck in these dark clouds.

Here are a few of the more spectacular sunrises that I have photographed in the last few weeks. All are without a filter and taken with the camera on my piece of junk phone (can't wait for my iPhone to arrive!)



And the best one for last. Anyone else think the cloud between the two trees looks like a little angel?


Friday, September 27, 2013

The Prison of Grief

On most days my grief feels like a prison. I feel trapped and isolated. I want to get out but I don't know how.

I am this new person and I am trying to find my way in my old life. Its like I am a ghost floating through my life seeing how things should be and trying desperately to make my brain realize how things actually are. Experiencing the trauma of stillbirth is a really hard thing for your brain to deal with.

My safe place is at home with Britt. Being here is the one place where my mind feels safe enough to recognize the reality of my situation. Where I can think about things and acknowledge my grief. Everywhere else I feel like a shell of a person just going through the motions of life.

I believe if you go through the motions of life for long enough, one day you will wake up and realize that you are living your life with out the conscious thought and effort...that you are naturally doing it all on your own. I look forward to that day.

All of these thoughts surfaced this afternoon because I got my picture taken. It was 80's dress up day at school and we were taking a group picture. Unless you are living this life you probably don't realize that thats actually a big deal and a milestone. To pose and smile like everything is alright when its not. I wonder how I will look in the picture. Will I appear to be a normal happy person, or will the emptiness shine out of my eyes and be captured by the camera?

I wish I wasn't in this prison, I wish I was going out tonight with my work friends to a concert I have wanted to go to for years. But here I sit trapped in my prison in the one place that I feel safe, waiting for my best friend, my safe person, my love to come home.

This weekend marks one year since Emma was conceived, and so begins a long year of milestones to be  confronted. I hope in this next year I will learn to navigate my way out of this prison, and that I will find a day when I smile in a picture and actual happiness shines back at me.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Struggle

Britt has a friend at work who's new catch phrase is "the struggle is real." Well friends, I can tell you the struggle is real and it hurts like hell.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Faith, Questions, Fears

Faith is a funny thing these days. In my heart I know that Emma's stillbirth was not some kind of punishment or thing I could have prevented by thinking or doing something differently, but its hard to translate that to my brain, especially when there are so many unanswered questions.

I find myself praying for our future children, and as I am I suddenly fear that I am leaving room for some loophole that God will see and take advantage of. That its not good enough for me to pray that we will have another child, that I must clarify a living child, a child of our own, a child that I carry to full term in my own body, or any other crazy scenario I want to guard against. When I talk about having our second child I feel fear that God will think I am expecting something of him and I should be more humble, not just assuming we will be blessed with a second child.

I don't think that's the God I've known all my life, but then again I didn't think that God would deliver my lifeless child into my arms.

What a mess. It seems like God and I need to come to an agreement still.


Sunday, September 15, 2013



Photo credit goes to Kaley Donovan. Thank you for sharing your beautiful picture with me!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Why Stillbirth is not the same as Miscarriage

This beautiful piece was written by Lori Spray-Esteve who runs S.O.B.B.S. and is a wonderful support!

Why Stillbirth is not the same as Miscarriage. ~ by Lori Spray-Esteve

Can I just start by saying my heart goes out to each and every single person who has lost a child regardless of age, stage or circumstance. It truly is a pain deeper than the ocean and wider than the sea. However, I take issue with those who say to me I had a miscarriage and I know how you feel. Sadly, people just do not realize how such statements diminish each others unique and individual experiences. So, If you would extend to me a moment of your time I would like to explain to you why miscarriage is NOT the same as stillbirth. 

First, try to imagine the baby you have spent many months in constant company with, the one you have felt grow, move, turn and even hiccup, is suddenly gone. You feel so blindsided. As women we are educated early on about the possibility of miscarriage. But not this thing called stillbirth. And while the soul is gone the physical body remains. This body still has to be birthed. The body does not just disappear because the heart has ceased to beat. To come to the realization that you will be giving birth to death is something beyond compare. Now imagine laboring for hours fearful of what that birth may reveal. Maybe horrible birth defects or causes so terrible you can't even bring yourself to think about or even worse no known cause it all. And somehow you can't help but feel by birthing your child you are contributing to the very death. Then after hours of hard labor your little miracle is delivered to your arms, silent. Wrapped in tiny blankets. The sweetest face you have ever seen. The face of an angel. You unwrap the blankets and marvel at 10 little fingers and 10 little toes. Maybe he has your nose or maybe she has his chin. There are handprints, footprints and a lock of hair for keepsakes. The name that took you months to chose is recorded for the stillbirth "birth" certificate, the death certificate, the marble slab. A name that whenever you hear it, even in casual acquaintances, in the days, months and years to come will pierce your heart with an ache that will take your breathe away. Then you are asked to make decisions about burials, cremations, caskets, services, obituaries, all the things that mark the end of an earthly life, and you feel like the breath is being choked from your very lungs. You attend a memorial service with engorged breast and aching arms. They say your body will heal in 6 weeks but you know your soul never will. 

Having a stillbirth means you will always feel panic when your friends, sister or co-workers announce their happy news. Especially when they start off with “now that we are past the risk of miscarriage stage..” You feel like the dark shadow of experience has robbed you of the joy surrounding any impending births for the rest of your life. You feel like you owe it to other women to educate them but you don’t want them to look at you like you are the grim reaper. 

This is the reality of stillbirth. And while miscarriage has it own tragedies that I can not even begin to understand, they are not the same thing...they just aren’t. I can’t imagine the heart of a mother who never even got to know the sex of her child, the face or to cradle that child in her arms. One who had to send that child to Heaven without a name or one robbed the memories of those first gentle flutters that every woman cherishes. My heart aches for these mothers in ways you can not imagine. But still they are not the same. You don’t know how I feel any more than I could possibly know how you feel. Anymore than I know how a mother feels who had her child at home for hours, days, months or years.

As women we need not compare each other experiences but uplift and support each other in the face of these unimaginable tragedies. As women we must educate each other for potential signs, risk factors, or causes. We must strengthen our sex by uniting, no matter what the experience, not weaken it by comparison. In care, concern and in the name of healing ~ Lori 

“For this cause I write these things, Not for the purpose of tearing down but for building up.” ~ 2 Corinthians 13:10

Friday, September 13, 2013

THE Question

You know, how are you? 

Sometimes its just the generic automatic way of greeting someone, how are you? And sometimes I think people actually want the answer, how ARE you? Either way my response is usually fine or okay, and some days I am, but not most days. No, if you really want the answer I am not fine or okay. I am...

shattered
broken
empty
hollow
aching
damaged
grieving.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cliches

I don't get comfort from many of the sayings that are out there to ease the pain of bereaved parents. In fact they irritate me. "God needed another angel" "Too beautiful for Earth". Sorry, in my opinion that's a bunch of crap.

However, I do get comfort knowing that Emma never knew any pain or suffering in her brief little life. Her mom and dad lovingly talked to her all the time, she heard songs and stories, she felt loving gentle hands touching her little body as it stretched out from my stomach, she felt warmth and love all the time. Even in her death she didn't appear to suffer. It was as if she went to sleep and never woke up.

As a parent the only thing you want is for your child to be happy and free of any suffering, and I know that is what Emma experienced. It is only us shattered people left behind on Earth that feel the pain, and as a mommy I'm okay with that. As long as my baby is okay then I can handle the pain. I'll gladly be the one to suffer as long as she's not. It's just one of the ways I keep myself sane. At the end of the day Emma is okay and I'm the one that's not, and as long as she's okay then I can deal. Does that makes sense? I don't even know if the words in my mind are coming out the way I want them to.

But for now it's time to go to sleep, and hope that tonight will be one of the nights that I sleep so heavily that I don't even remember my dreams in the morning. That even though my mind is probably not getting a break I won't remember either way. Goodnight friends. <3


Monday, September 9, 2013

Random Thoughts

Today was hard. I am never a fan of Mondays anyway (who is?) but now they are even worse. Monday means putting my mask back on, using every bit of strength I have to fit myself back into the routine that is life, making sure that I am good at my job and loving on these kinder babies all while knowing I can't love on mine, putting one foot in front of the other.

This morning someone who did not know Emma was stillborn came into my classroom and asked to see pictures of her. That was the first time it had happened, and it felt like someone had knocked the air out of me. In a way I was almost glad it happened though. Every one is so careful around me (which I truly do appreciate) but saying it out loud felt like I was doing Emma justice, acknowledging her life and in turn her death.

It's so hard parenting a stillborn baby. This blog has been one of the ways I have been helping myself grieve. I have a few other ideas swimming around in my head too. Those who know me know I like a project. I thrive on taking on responsibility and attacking a project no matter how big. I kind of have an annoying need to accomplish things.

I've been brainstorming a bit about a way I can continue to share Emma with the world, and how I can reach out to other parents who have just lost a baby to stillbirth. How I would have loved to feel like there was someone else out there in the world who knew what I was going through when I was in the hospital waiting to give birth to my stillborn daughter. I don't want other people to feel lost like we did.

I don't want to put my ideas out there just yet until I figure out if and what I truly want to do, and how I am going to go about it, but little Miss Emma Clair may have her very own non-profit one day. If you're the praying kind, in addition to all the prayers we already need, I would ask that you pray about this. That the path we are meant to take for our own healing and the healing of others would be revealed to us.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

After The Storm

This song just started playing on my Pandora station. Jeez...message received loud and clear.




"After The Storm"

And after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up, I look up,
on my knees and out of luck,
I look up.


Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won't rot, I won't rot
Not this mind and not this heart,
I won't rot.

And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall,
And remembered our own land,
What we lived for.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And now I cling to what I knew
I saw exactly what was true
But oh no more.
That's why I hold,
That's why I hold with all I have.
That's why I hold.

And I won't die alone and be left there.
Well I guess I'll just go home,
Oh God knows where.
Because death is just so full and man so small.
Well I'm scared of what's behind and what's before.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

Hope?

I made this from one of the pictures I took for my #findingbeauty project...


Friday, September 6, 2013

Hoping for a Rainbow

Just a quick post to share that today, for the first time, when I thought about getting pregnant again I felt hope and excitement first before paralyzing fear.

It doesn't mean the feeling will last (although I hope it will), as I have found that grief=a severe mood swing problem. I can go from sad, okay (I hesitate to say happy at this point), guilty, scared, etc in minutes. As some might tell you (eh hem...I know you are reading) I always could "turn on a dime" anyway.

The love and light of Emma will always be present, but here's hoping for some rainbows in the future too.

P.S. A living baby after a stillbirth is called a Rainbow Baby...a rainbow after the storm

Thank You

I've realized I've been terrible about responding to comments left on the blog, as in I have responded to zero. But, please know that I have read them all and so appreciate your kind words, thoughts, and prayers. Thank you for being here and supporting me and Britt as we find our way through this thing called grief. xoxo

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Why, why, why

The question that I will never have the answer to. I've been feeling really mad and sorry for myself the last few days. Mad that there are mothers who give birth and stuff their baby in a dumpster, parents who are abusive, idiots who don't know how to use birth control and get pregnant when they don't even want a baby. And all these people got their babies and I didn't. Me who hoped and prayed for a baby, who followed all the rules and never drank coffee or ate lunch meat while pregnant, who exercised and drank tons of water, who has a strong marriage and a loving home to raise a child in. Instead I spent my lunch break today behind closed doors sobbing to myself while trying to choke down my ham sandwich. Tell me, where is the justice in that...?

Monday, September 2, 2013

No Words

The last few days have been rough...really rough. I don't even have the words to piece together how I'm feeling. Tonight I came across a post from one of my favorite resources...Still Standing Magazine. The author's words capture exactly how I feel. It's amazing and heartbreaking that there are other people out there who truly understand my grief. Here is the post.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Change

So tonight I changed my Facebook profile picture. For a regular person that's no big deal, but for me it ended up creating a crazy flood of emotions. I chose a picture I had used before. It's one of my favorite pictures and it is a really happy memory for me.


This picture was taken last July at a family reunion in Clarion, Pennsylvania. We had the reunion at my great grandparents farm where my great aunt now lives. I have good memories of swinging on this tree swing on the farm when I was a child. At the reunion Britt and I walked down by the woods to the swing. I got on (even though my butt was practically scraping the ground) and Britt pushed me on the swing.

In the moments that I was swinging I felt so carefree and happy. I remember laughing and smiling and having the best time connecting the memories of my past to a new moment and memory.

After I changed my profile picture to this photograph my first instinct was to wish I could go back to being that person. That was such a happy time. Britt and I had just been on vacation to the beach, we were on a trip with my family for the reunion, and I was getting ready to go on a girl's trip to Las Vegas. I was also off of my birth control and we were getting ready to start trying to get pregnant. I had so much happiness and hope and excitement for the future. Now I look back at that person and I wonder who she was.

As soon as I have the thought that I want to rewind and go back to being that carefree (naive) person I get a reality check. No, I don't want to go back because that would mean erasing this past year. I absolutely loved being pregnant and I love being Emma's mommy. As painful as this is I wouldn't ever give those things back.

The truth is I am no longer that person in the picture and I never will be again. I have read so many things recently about finding your "new normal" that its becoming annoyingly cliche, but its true. I feel stuck now between the person I used to be and the person I have been forced to become. I feel like I need to get to know myself again and find my way.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Confident Heart

Losing Emma has made me look more closely at my faith. Unlike so many others who have been in my place, I am not at a point where I feel like I have lost or am questioning my faith. During all of this I haven't even felt very angry at God (yes I've been mad and had plenty of why me's but I haven't felt that raging anger). I feel more of a sad resignation. I don't know why this happened or how God fits in to all of it, but I know that I can't change it and I will never have the answers I want. So instead I am trying to find a way to move forward, and for me personally I feel like thats easier to do with God than without him.

In order to help me explore my faith and hopefully strengthen it I have decided to join an online bible study. I am doing the study through Proverbs 31 Ministries. I learned about it through a friend who participates in their bible studies and has shared positive things about them on Facebook. I got curious and decided to look it up.

The next session (starts in October) is based on the book A Confident Heart. When I looked up the book I felt like it really spoke to me. Here is part of the description from Amazon: "Often the biggest obstacle to living out our faith is our own doubt--about our worth, our abilities, our relationship with God, and situations in our livesA Confident Heart gives voice to the questions, doubts, struggles, and hopes so many women have. Author Renee Swope shows us how to identify, overcome, and learn from our self-doubts so that we can live confidently in God's assurance, truth, and grace." (I bolded the parts that jumped out at me)

source
This book seems like it will not only help me deal with situations and feelings I would have had before July 2, but when I think about all of the fears and uncertainties the future holds now, especially in regards to trying to have a baby again some day, this book seems like exactly what I need. 

If anyone wants to do this along with me the only thing you need to do to participate is buy the book and then you just sign up for free online. 

*I'm sure you already know this, but I feel like I have to do the blogger thing and let you know that this is not a sponsored post. 

Be Ok

My current theme song:

"I just want to know today...know that maybe I'll be ok."


Monday, August 26, 2013

Rough Day

Have you ever seen the children's book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? It has this grouchy little guy laying in bed on the front cover. Yes. I think I felt like Alexander today.

Today was my first official day back to work. There's nothing like going back to work when you are supposed to be on maternity leave. The last time I was in a faculty meeting and interacting with my co-workers was on the last day of school when I was itching to start my summer vacation (that was going to last until October) and make my final preparations for Emma's arrival just a few weeks later. I guess the good thing about today is that I've had tears building up for a few days now and today I finally got them out.

I still have a lot of anxiety about getting through the next few weeks of transitioning back into work, but there were some things that made today easier: coming home to my amazing husband, talking to my mom on the phone, getting some cards in the mail, friends who ask if you need a hug and then let you cry on their shoulder, coming home to a surprise present from a thoughtful friend, a supportive community of bereaved parents who check in on you to make sure you're okay, friends who are able to tell you that they don't know what to say but they are there for you, people who are willing to spend their time and money to bring us dinner so we don't need to cook, and right now most of all....being tucked in my cozy little house, wearing my pajamas, and being snuggled in on the couch.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fears

Part of this journey of grief is dealing with fear.

Being 41 weeks pregnant means you are supposed to be well past the "dangerous time". Nothing bad is supposed to happen when you make it that far. When you are 41 weeks pregnant you are making sure all of the clothes are washed and the nursery is complete. You have your hospital bag by the door where it has been waiting for the last 4 weeks. Your baby is not supposed to die.

When the unthinkable happens everything becomes fair game. If I can be that statistic what other statistic will I become? I fear that some other crazy bad thing will happen to me or my family, that I will never have a normal pregnancy or baby. It may sound crazy but those are the thoughts that lurk in the back of my mind.

I worry that as I continue on with my life that people will start to think I am okay, or worst of all "over it" or "healed". That people will forget that I was pregnant and have a daughter named Emma. It makes me afraid to enjoy things again, to go back to work, to put a smile on, to have fun with friends. Just to put it out there...I will never be "over it" or "healed". I will learn to manage my grief, to box it up and acknowledge it on my terms, but there will always be an Emma shaped hole in my heart.   

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Best Piece of Advice

As I travel through this journey, something I have dealt with is guilt. No it's not rational, but that's just the way it is. I worry about my choice to have a c-section and the risk that carries for my body in future pregnancies, I hate that we did not get a picture of Britt and I holding Emma (this one is really tough to let go of), I wish we would have taken her hat all the way off to look at her perfect little head instead of just peeking under it to see her hair, I wish we would have asked the hospital to dress her in her going home outfit instead of the outfit they provided. The list goes on and on.

Recently in one of my online support groups a mom was venting a lot of her feelings and guilt, much of which mirrored my own. Someone else left a comment which was the best piece of advice I have gotten so far, be  gentle with yourself. This experience is something no one plans for and certainly something no one should ever have to go through. As grieving parents we did the best we could and made the choices that seemed right at the time. That's all we can do. When it comes down to it Emma is happy and at peace in heaven, and she knows that we love her.

From one grieving mom to another I give you permission to be gentle with yourself. Forgive yourself. We all did the best we could in the absolute worst of situations. We love our babies to the moon and back and would have done anything to save them. That has to be enough.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Butterfly Effect

"Every single thing you do matters. You have been created as one of a kind. You have been created in order to make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world."

Andy Andrews
The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is both an exciting and frightening concept. Scary to think how one little action could impact someone across the world, but exciting to think about the positive change and impact we can make in other people's lives. 

I like to think that Emma will inspire me to do something that makes a difference, something that will make sure she is always honored and remembered. I know for sure that I want to donate items to local hospitals to be given to other parents who will face the tragedy of stillbirth. Books or keepsakes in Emma's name to help them in their journey and let them know they are not alone. 

As I finish this post the positive motivational words are quickly fading and I am getting mad. Yes this is a wonderful idea and can help so many other people, blah blah blah. Emma should be making a difference by spreading her light and love through the life she should have. I guess this is the new war I have to fight...the battle between finding positivity and wallowing in reality.


Monday, August 12, 2013

#FindingBeauty


I recently came across a blog post that was really inspiring to me. Lindsey of Still Breathing blogged about allowing room for beauty and joy. Lindsey shares about choosing beauty, and how appreciating the beauty in the world around us can soften our grief. I love Lindsey's use of the word soften, because I'm sorry to tell you that I don't think you ever get rid of your grief, instead you learn to live with it.

I am not at a point in my grief where I can find much joy, but I can recognize beauty. I have enjoyed spending a lot of time outside and find peace from what I see in the world around me. I have decided that if I force myself to consciously appreciate one beautiful thing from the world around me each day that slowly I will not only be finding beauty, but moments of joy too.  
Lindsey documents her moments of beauty and joy on Instagram using #joygrief. I have decided that I will document mine using #findingbeauty with the hope that one day I too will find the #joy{in moments of}grief. Click here to follow me on IG.

A Rude Awakening

Shit, shit, shit this is my life. (Sorry for the language. My husband will probably be proud when he reads this. He tends to have a colorful vocabulary and I tend to nag him for it. But, sometimes a curse word conveys what regular words cannot.) That is my thought when I open my eyes first thing this morning. I am a mother, but my arms are empty and the nursery down the hall is silent. Shit, shit, shit. Time to find my way through another day.