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...


Wednesday, September 11, 2013


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.


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.