Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Got a Visit Today

This morning as I drove to work out a dragonfly very distinctly flew in front of my car. I had a thought that Claire was here. It was a bigger than normal idea that felt right. I wondered why today.
I work out in a church gym a few times a week. My 14 month old wanders around the whole time. He plays with balls and generally tries not to get clobbered by bigger kids. The cool down song is always "If I Die Young" by the Band Perry. Each time I lay there stretching to lyrics about a rainbow helping a mother know her baby is ok, I feel not just sweaty, but naked! "Not even gray but she buries her baby." I think, "Here I am. Not a stitch of gray. I recall the graveyard, the headstones. Just a cool song to so many, but powerful memories inside me.
My usual naked feeling today crossed over to sadness. Tears welled up and I felt so sad. I thought of Claire and missed her so. I felt the bitterness of having to let her go so soon after I had her. I stared at the floor and tried to stay stoic.
The next thing I know Trey is between my legs, clutching me in a bear hug. Then he lays his head down on my shoulder and pats my arm - PATS my arm like he's comforting me! And what a comfort a warm baby is when grieving the loss of your baby. I had a humbled feeling of gratitude for his little miraculous life. I thought that Claire was right there with me. She somehow communicated to Trey to love on me with those warm physical arms that she doesn't have right now. It was so sweet and tender, lasting several moments.  Around me were happy, light conversations. But in my tiny space was ministering by an angel, my angel. I felt grateful she was there for me in that moment.
When I told my husband, he said yesterday while watering the yard he saw both a butterfly and a dragonfly in quick succession. He never sees them in our (dead) yard.
A few hours later I had something pretty serious rock my world. Without going into detail, I needed some bolstering. I got a blessing and part of it said that there are angels right now around me, participating in our situation. Instantly I thought of my daughter letting me know she was here today. There were reasons she was here, some I may never know fully. I felt so lucky. Most of the time it's a quick passing, a brush with something magical. But rarely is it enough to stick with me in a way that I KNOW I had contact with the other side. Life's just not like that. So I will hold tightly to today, and feel most honored to be a part of my family, both here and on the other side.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Claire's 2nd birthday

We were in Colorado on Claire's second birthday. I was overwhelmed that it's been two years. I can't belive it. If time did not confirm this, I wouldn't believe it. Time in my life has stood still. I remember carrying her, feeling grateful each day as she moved, then worried sick when she stopped. I remember the progression leading to her delivery in the hospital all too well. The time with her, alive and dead, is too overwhelming at times to recall, though it is priceless for me.
When it comes down to it, I miss her. I had a relationship, subtle an unspoken, with her, and it's sad to go on without her here. I miss her little personality.
Luckily, we drove right by the graveyard on our way to Colorado. It felt really good to stop there. I certainly felt sadder this year than last.
I hoped to see a dragonfly on Claire's birthday, but didn't expect it. I guessed that being on vacation there would be a lot of distractions. Well, this is why we need our friends! My friend - who also lost a little girl, called me into the front room. She spotted the biggest dragon fly I have ever seen sitting right outside the front door! It stayed there for a while, when flew right at me before it fluttered around the yard for the next several minutes. It was really encouraging. Of course, I didn't get my camera in time! But, I cherish the memory, and it means even more that a dear friend looked for me. We all need each other!

Amaris gets a visit from her brother

My daughter starts third grade tomorrow. She's been pretty nervous about it all summer. She moved to a new school half way through the year and had a hard time making friends, as well as a less than sweet teacher. She just found out that her new teacher is the "mean" teacher in the school! I'm HOPING that rumor is nothing more than that. But still, she was scared as we went to meet her today. Guess who sits next to my Ami? A boy named Porter. And behind her? A boy named Jackson. Her brother in heaven is named Porter Jackson. I smiled, feeling like he was letting her know he'll be watching out for her this year, maybe hanging with her when she's lonely. Ami feels much better about starting school tomorrow now! She's convinced her teacher is 99% nice and she's got her backpack ready and her clothes laid out!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mourning Mama Gorilla

Blue found this most amazing story from National Geographic. A first time mother lost her two-week old baby.She wouldn't leave his little body. The photos caught were amazing. They show her grief, which I immediately connected with. But then there are photos of her community coming and sitting around her - at a slight distance, just watching, sitting. They are mourning with her! Wow, what a visual of "mourn with those that mourn." They are beautiful, though sad photos. I hope you get to see these pics before they are gone - they are so amazing.http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/05/pictures/110526-gorilla-mother-mourns-dead-baby-science-mourning-feel-emotions-animals/

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Early Birthday Gift For Jackson

     Hooray! Two days ago we paid off our car! We bought the car the day Porter Jackson was born - just hours before we went to the hospital to deliver. We'd sold our Sonata and felt such a rush to get another vehicle for this exciting third baby. It felt so odd, so cruelly ironic, to be escorted out to that shiny new vehicle when I left the hospital without Jackson. Here we were with a bigger car and a car payment, which we hadn't had in years, but no baby to justify it.
     My mom tried to be positive and say we would need that bigger vehicle soon enough - we would have other babies. Certainly no one expected the road getting there to be much more complicated.
     I've always wished to pay off the car. I thought earlier in the year, wouldn't it be cool to pay it off in September, a way of honoring Jackson's - can you believe it - 3rd birthday? But it just seemed like too much of a stretch financially to get it done. But, Blue got on board with me and his support and fresh ideas led to much faster progress than I expected. And two days ago, with the help of a small but unexpected bonus, we paid off the car! I know it's me projecting my own ideas about money, but I feel like Jackson would be happy for us not to be in debt due to him. I'm so giddy - like a kid at Christmas - to tell him that we are not! Medical bills are gone and so is the car payment. Now if only he could step in and make gas for the car less expensive!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Something to Think About

“Should all prayers be immediately answered … there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death, and if these were not, there would also be no joy, success, resurrection, nor eternal life ...”

-Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Trey at 10 Months

10 months


5 months
10 months

I'm so happy Trey turned 10 months! You know how sometimes we have strange thoughts that we know aren't logical, yet we give credence to them nonetheless? For me it has been getting Trey safely past 9 months. I think because I know two wonderful people who both lost boys to suffocation in their cribs at 9 months. I think of them so often. If it could happen to them it could happen to me. While there is not a whole lot of logic to this, I am nevertheless slightly less worried for my boy than I was even 2 weeks ago. And when he makes his first birthday, I will be ecstatic at hitting this other paranoid milestone!
It's been different, certainly, raising a preemie. A big struggle is his slow weight gain. He's pushing 16 lbs now, which is not on the charts for a 10 month old and about 5th percentile for his adjusted age of 8 1/2 months. Underweight babies don't sleep as long a chunky babies, so I'm pretty ineffective at doing more than the basics!
I think it is mainly to do with him getting RSV around 6 months. That's when he stopped eating as well. Of course, all his energy went to fighting off disease. From then on it's been a fight to keep him healthy. But, I bow to the shrine of probiotics, which I have been giving him for the last month. He has not gotten sick since on them (he was getting ear and sinus infections).  I am hopeful that he will catch up soon enough and that it's nothing more serious. My doctor is ordering some tests just to be sure.
My family is having a ball with this child! We love on him constantly. I'm continuously surprised at the kids' patience when he's crying or needing something at the same time as they are needing something. I'm slightly surprised even at my own better attitude! I promised not to call him names when he was born - sound ridiculous? What parent would call their kid names? I know, I'm the devil, because I have! I remember when my others were little and keeping me up at night, or screaming in my ear, or making me late for some event, etc... I occasionally would let out a frustrated rant to them, knowing they couldn't understand. Or, I'd complain coarsely about them to my mom or some other trusted friend. But no way would I do that now. For one, I am more grown up! For another, I don't dare slap God in the face for my gift. Trey is a special gift, my life-saving gift, and I will NOT complain about the privilege of raising him (well, as best as I can!). This early resolution has affected the mood of our entire home. We are all more loving and happy. I'm so thankful for this experience of raising a baby again.
Where are Jackson and Claire in this mix? I think of them both every single day. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of them. There are many thoughts I can joggle that don't cut me, and I have learned which memories are still too traumatic to toy with in a normal day. So most days, I have happy thoughts of them. I am glad to be their mother, I am glad to know them, and hopeful to get to know them better in the future. I'm curious about them. I'm slightly obsessed wondering what went wrong in my or my husband and I's genetics... why do some cords not develop right? What can be done to correct this? How can I help expectant mothers and doctors be more aware and careful so less babies die in the future? I really want to get some kind of fundraiser for research going in the near future. And I want to write a book about it too. But, all this has to wait til I am not so tired that getting housework done doesn't take all my concentration (has anyone seen my keys, btw? Or my phone????!!!!).
Several of my friends are due at the end of this month. Most of them have lost babies previous to this pregnancy. I am anxious for them and excited with them. Good luck! I can't wait to see these teeny miracles!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to you all! There are, to me, no better mothers than those who have given their children back to their Father in Heaven. What a great sacrifice, what a hard road to go down.  I love all the mothers who did it before me, even thousands of years ago, leaving an example for me to try to live up to. I look up to each and every one of you. Thank you for finding a way to go on and be happy, and for sharing your stories that help others, like me. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Donations from Claire

Last week my husband and I ate sushi for lunch on his day off. He loves that stuff! When the bill came, there was a request for money for the Red Cross in Japan. There was a spot to write a name from the donor so we donated and wrote in Claire's name. I like to do that. It feels like she is living through me, she is serving on this earth. And it helps me gain valuable perspective when I am feeling selfish. Why not give money? I am not spending it on Claire right now. Why not give money that I would be spending on her to help others? She would like that. Don't parents enable their kids to make a mark on this earth? I love doing these things for my kids.

Salt River Sunday 5-1-2011

We went to the Salt River last Sunday afternoon. It was beautiful and breezy and we all had a great time. As soon as we got there my son saw two dragonflies. Later, when Trey and I joined him for a hike, he spotted a toy butterfly on the ground. He was so happy. So was I. We both felt like the 'babies' were there with us.
I feel like my heavenly kids accompany us a lot when we go places together as a family. This trip was spontaneous and short; simple to say the least. But there must something significant about spending time with your family, because it's on outings that I often feel for a brief moment that my babies are by me.
     To reinforce that, after we got home, my friend who I haven't talked to in almost a year sent me a picture of her with a butterfly fluttering just over her head. She said they seemed to love her hat and she thought of me. What a warm feeling I got when I got her text! On that day, after the other 'sightings.'  It is usually not just one little spotting that I will get - there are usually at least three at one given time, which helps my faith that is is a message and not just coincidence.
     I was especially happy Sunday at the river because my family felt whole, as opposed to earlier when we sat in church. Looking at so many unique, cute families, my chest ached. It felt like I was missing a very important part of my family. I missed Claire and Jackson. That particular pain lasted for hours. It's something I have learned to carry. Of course, Trey squirming in my arms certainly helped me ignore the empty place and get to work. I'm grateful for the reminder that Claire and Jackson still exist, and not so far away as I think.

my twins

my sorry attempt at a self portrait
toy butterfly found on the trail

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I've been wanting to post for so long. I read a quote about cracks and light and immediately thought of families who've been forced to endure the loss of a precious child. The magazine lay open on my ottoman for a few days, waiting to be transformed into something uplifting on this blog. Then I cleaned. The kids cut out pictures for their shoebox houses. I've spent the last 2 weeks trying to find that stinkin quote! I have about 6 Oprah magazines (recycled gifts from my mom) laying around and have no clue which had this perfect blog addition!
Fine! Forget it. If I spent half the time blogging that I do searching for lost articles, I'd have a book.
So here is the main point, in my own words and with my personal interpretation : Our hearts tend to be buffered, padded, locked up and hidden away from the world. They are like secret caves holding precious gems. It takes a crack in the structure to let the light shine in.
My heart has certainly been cracked open. But I hope that there is more light now, both coming in and flowing out of my heart now. This idea makes me smile. I think of it as a gift from my Jackson and Claire. I guess I needed their cracks to let some greater light shine into and through my life.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Bereaved Parents Wish List

A friend sent me this list today. What do you think? I am posting it in hopes it will speak to someone and make them feel affirmed in their feelings.
I miss my kids.

(Came across this on the Facebook site of Gail Mahar.... Thought you might like)

A Bereaved Parent's Wish List
~Author Unknown~
I wish my child hadn't died. I wish I had my child back.
I wish you wouldn't be afraid to speak my Childs name. My child lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that my child was important to you as well.

If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child, I wish you knew that it isn't because you have hurt me. My child's death is the cause of my tears.

You have talked about my child and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.

I wish you wouldn't "kill" my child again by removing my child’s pictures, artwork, or other remembrances from your home.

Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn't shy away from me. I need you more than ever.

I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you; but I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my child, my favorite topic of the day.

I know that you think of and pray for me often. I also know that my child's death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know things through a phone call, a card or a note, or a real big hug.

I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in six months. I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my child until the day I die.

I am working very hard in my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my child, and I will always grieve that she is dead.

I wish you wouldn't expect me "not to think about it" or to "be happy". Neither will happen for very long times so don’t frustrate yourself.

I don't want to have a "pity party," but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.

I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I'm feeling miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you.

When I say, "I'm doing okay," I wish you could understand that I don't feel okay and that I struggle daily.

I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I'm having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So please excuse me when I'm quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.

Your advice to "take one day at a time" is excellent. I wish you could understand that I'm doing good to handle an hour at a time.

I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I will never be that person again.

I wish very much that you could understand - understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. But I pray daily that you will never understand.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Twins Remembered

Dad, Mom, 2 yr old, and twins Georgia Haven and Jonas Emmanuel  
My friend has a little 2 year old girl, but also miscarried twins at about 8 weeks. Her family remembered them at Christmas with these adorable tiny stockings. I loved this idea! I wanted to share it with others for future memorials.
The twins were 'born' July 2, 2010. "Georgia Haven Allen and Jonas Emanuel Allen are deeply loved and terribly missed. We look forward to the blessed day when we will be reunited."-mom
Their due date was, ironically, my birthday: Feb 5. 
Thanks for sharing the great idea! We all who miss our own little angels are thinking of you during this time when they would have been full term. 

Christmas at the Graveyard

My good friend went with her family "up north" as we say in the Valley for a snow day for Christmas. I was so touched and appreciative that she stopped at the graveyard on her way home. She sent me these pictures. Said it had been snowing lightly that day in Rye and it only stuck on the graves. 

Thankyou! What a special thing, especially when I was craving being near their remains.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


     It's 11pm. I've just put my boy down in his bed. He was "up" past his bedtime. But he wasn't really up, was he? He was sound asleep on me. I love that. I love that he's on such a good schedule that I lay him down in his bed awake and he just goes to sleep softly on his own. There is no trauma, from me or me. But I love even more that when he's with his momma he can break all the rules and it's perfectly ok. He'll fall fast asleep on me and not care at all that he's "out late" and possibly not even in a comfortable position.
      I love that today as my step-dad was drilling into my tile there was horrific, ear-cracking racket and Trey didn't cry because I was holding him.
      I love that earlier tonight when I turned out the light in his room after changing him and the house was dark, he just tried to look through the darkness inquisitively, not at all afraid. Catch is, he's actually quite afraid of the dark. Hates it. We learned that on Halloween when we tried to sit outside and pass out candy with him and he would not stop crying until we took him in. He reinforces this night-fear fact when he screams in his carseat at night but not during the day. That's why it struck me after the diaper change - we were in the dark but he didn't care because he was sitting up on my arm, perfectly natural, happy.
     I love this kid. I love each and every scenario. What does this have to do with Jackson or Claire? Without them, I would not be able to experience life in this level. They ripped my heart out. Shredded it (sorry, kids, it's true). I have never been so broken. But as I bet other baby loss moms know, these special babies don't just take. They give you something back; a new and different heart. It processes life more deeply. It can hold more of others' sorrows. It can swell with pride or happiness for the raw, human parts of life. My new heart beats heartily for my baby Trey, and I am so thankful for him tonight.  I'm thankful to get a baby after the losses because I know what's important now, and I think it's helped me be a better mother than I was before. We have simplified. Continue to do so. We spend energy on the most important instead of least important things.
     What a special little guy. Does he know what he means to my family? If he could only remember life before he came he would see how much more angry and somber my son was, how erratic my daughter was. We ask our kids each day what is their favorite part of the day. Tonight my daughter said seeing Trey: "Of course that's my favorite part of every day- T-bone. He's so sweet!" Then she made funny noises to him and smiled and gushed all over him. He's like the ultimate cake topper to our family!

**Side note - last night I picked up a book we've had for years that my husband just took off the shelf to read. I read one page. There were two characters on the page. Can you guess their names? Jack and Claire. It was a coincidence maybe. But it was sweet for me. I love those babies. I felt a connection with them when I read that one page.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Trey is growing up!

I'm happy to report that for the first time in a long long time I feel happy! So happy each day to mother my boy. So happy to have him in our family, to see him light up my husband and kids with joy. I love my life. I love watching Trey, my miracle grow each day.
Of course, it still literally nauseates me to think of him choking on his cord, or of his brother and sister losing strength and health and dying inside me. I feel anger at the current OB world that won't recognize or research cord related deaths. I have to push out feelings of ache for my angel babies because wanting them here with me will only make me sick, since that is one wish I can not have.
But honestly, what a distraction caring for Trey is. I see his siblings in him each day and love on him more since I can't love on them. I love my boy!!!!