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,


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.


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:


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,