Thursday, December 23, 2010

First Christmas

With Christmas quickly approaching I thought I should do a quick post. This is going to be far from an emotional post since I am just not in that kind of a mood today, thank God!!!

Olivia would have been 7 months this Christmas, the same age as Makayla and Hannah for their first Christmas. Obviously we have a thing for May babies!! We decorated a Christmas tree for the cemetery and chose to not post pictures because it looks so tacky (smile). It's ok to laugh at that, the girls put their entire hearts into it! It was a small tree with a little package of decorations, the girls decided they wanted more decorations and it is now filled with giant snowflakes. We loved watching them work so hard and of course we told them it was beautiful.

I try to imagine what it would be like with a baby this Christmas and I honestly cannot picture it. I watch Makayla and Hannah bounce all over the place and enjoy that this is the first year they are REALLY into Christmas. They love it all, they love hearing the story of baby Jesus, they love that Santa is coming and the presents under the tree. This might be the funnest Christmas with the 2 of them that we have ever had.

Makayla's first Christmas

Hannah's first Christmas



Another mother, Shannon, who lost her daughter Skylar to anencephaly this year made an angel tree. She sent a picture of an Olivia ornament. Thank you again Shannon, I am always so grateful to "meet" other mothers who have suffered loss, we continue to remember our babies together.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

December 11

Saturday, December 11th, marked the one year anniversary that we found out that our baby would not be coming home with us. It was a day that I allowed to pass without too much thought, the days leading up to it were difficult but we had Christmas parties that day so I pushed it to the back of my mind. The next day, all of the emotions from last year came flooding back.

December 11th will forever be remembered as the most significant day of my life. Before then, my life was going the way I wanted. Greg and I were better than ever, our girls were healthy and beautiful and we were expecting another baby. Life was great. The week before, my doctor scheduled an ultrasound because his heart rate monitor was broken. I remember him telling me, just like it was yesterday, "we'll get an ultrasound, then you can have pictures too." Little did I know that I would be walking out of that ultrasound with only one picture of her hand and have to make a decision that would change our lives forever.

Looking back through my posts I remember each heartache along the way. It still feels like part of our lives is missing. It is impossible to have a baby, go home empty handed then continue life as normal. There are reminders every day, I have just learned to live with them. In many ways my heart is healing. I do not know if it will ever fully heal but there have been blessings in our lives because of Olivia. I would love to say I would give up those blessings to have our daughter here with us but that is not the plan God had for her life or ours. One of the greatest blessings that has come out of the last year is Greg becoming a Christian. He always attended church with the girls and I, did his duty on Sunday morning then went on with his week. Over the last year, he has accepted Jesus as his Savior and his faith has grown immensely. I would love to say this would have happened even if Olivia was healthy but I cannot be sure of that. I have learned through this that faith grows during the darkest points of our lives.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving

I was hesitating to blog about how miserable the idea of holidays has been to be the last week or two but decided to anyway. As a general rule, I love to celebrate....well, anything. Holidays are no exception, until this year.

We were planning on having our families over to our house on Thanksgiving. Last weekend I allowed all negativity to set in and decided we were not having Thanksgiving at our house and I did not plan on attending dinner anywhere. I know that sounds incredibly negative, because it is. I decided that I would not be sitting at a table with my brother, who is in no position to be having a child but has a healthy one on the way. I was not going to sit and pretend that I am happy and avoid talking about my daughter because it makes people uncomfortable, no matter how supportive they can be. I was just depressed. I was reminded by a family member that I have so much to be thankful for. Excuse me? Yes I am well aware of how much I have to be thankful for but that DOES NOT take away my pain from the last year!!

With all of that said, I was content with the idea of staying home and avoiding any sign of Thanksgiving. Greg and I both probably would have if we did not have Makayla and Hannah pushing us forward and I thank God they are here. Greg's family agreed to host dinner with just 3 days notice. Our families came together once again and when the day actually arrived, the bitterness went away. I still sat at the dinner table imagining a high chair with a chubby little 6 month old or not even getting to sit with everyone else while entertaining a restless baby. Olivia was not there and it hurts. Someone had posted on the support group a story of thanking God for the thorns in our lives and it was the most needed post, for me, that I have seen in awhile. I will not paste the entire story but the best quote was at the end.
"Dear God, I have never thanked you for my thorns. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to you along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of your rainbow look much more brilliant."
This Thanksgiving, I am thanking God for bringing Olivia into our lives. Although there is more pain through this journey than I ever imagined I would have to bear, I would not trade her or what I have become for anything. I am thankful for my wonderful husband who has taken the brunt of the depressing holiday feelings. I am thankful for my healthy living children, Makayla and Hannah, who have kept us going every single day!



On a happier note, we put up our tree last night and the spirit of Christmas is alive in our household!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Six Months

"Grief is exhausting, and grieving your children is more exhausting. It's the job you didn't sign up or apply for and the job you can't quit...." ~Unknown~

This quote was posted on the Baby Loss Mommas facebook page this week, and it was definitely a week for me to see it. This last week has been by far the most difficult since the beginning of losing Olivia. It came as a huge surprise to me, not that any month has been "easy," 6 months has hit me like a ton of bricks.

I went back to the feelings of how cheated we all are. Greg and I will never have the chance to watch our 3rd daughter grow up. I watch Makayla and Hannah play and my mind drifts to how well Olivia would have blended right in. The girls look and play with other babies, they would be wonderful big sisters. Instead, they tell random cashiers and waiters that their sister is in heaven. I am so glad they do not feel the same need to hold back that I do so often.

It seems as if my grieving process has restarted all over again. Olivia died and there is no timeline on this grief, everytime I think things are going smoothly it all comes flooding back again. I have had a very difficult time finding time to just deal with my grief. I know that it is okay for my kids to see me cry but that is not the life I want for them so I push it back. I do not have a long commute to and from work to be alone with my thoughts or feelings. It seems as if I have to write time into my schedule to cry because it is just not convenient.

I am not looking forward to the next month and a half. I love holidays but I face each one knowing that part of our family is missing. We are also getting closer to the date we found out that we could love and nurture the life growing inside of me but we would not be bringing our baby home. I am not very eloquent today for an ending but please keep our family in prayers for this holiday season as we are keeping your families in ours!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

In God's Hands - The Rochesters

This song was shared with me through facebook. Thank you Allison for introducing it to me!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Losing weight after losing a baby

Along with the numerous issues that come with losing a child, losing weight has been a struggle for me. I knew that I would have weight to lose after having Olivia, just like my first 2 pregnancies, but I had no idea the emotional toll the extra weight would be.

I have a degree in exercise, I love to exercise and I work in a gym. So what's the problem? I have been working on trying to figure that out the last 4 months. After giving birth to Makayla, most of the weight just fell off. I exercised up until the day before being induced. Then I became pregnant with Hannah when Makayla was just a couple of months old so the idea of getting back into shape was on the backburner. Then just 12 1/2 short months after having my first child, Hannah came along. That girl ate like a champ and I never even had to worry about my weight (until she quit breastfeeding :P) I did not breastfeed Makayla, I tried but did not succeed. I never knew that it would be the missing link for weight loss, I'm sure it helped that I was doing my internship and blasting out over 100 squats per day.

Before giving birth to Olivia, I thought I would hit the gym full force as quickly as possible. I would exercise morning, noon and night to shed any evidence that I had ever been pregnant. At least when you are carting around a newborn, anything short of a pregnant belly looks skinny, this time I had no visual excuse for my muffin top. The first two weeks after giving birth, I had lost just over 20 pounds......and I stopped there. I have maintained exercising regularly but the motivation for that extra push was hard to find. The exercise burn that I used to crave was gone. I did not want to hurt more, the hurt inside was so intense and I did not want to hurt on the outside too.

I was also angry that I could not breastfeed the weight away. I thought I would try to pump and donate milk, through that I would be doing something good for another baby and I would burn some extra calories. That became a chore, I pumped just enough to keep myself from becoming engorged and hoarded the milk. I thought "This milk should be for my baby and if she cannot have it, no baby can!" I know how selfish that seems but I think I can allow myself some selfishness through this. I did not pump enough anyway to send into a milkbank so that milk eventually went bye bye.

I finally have reached the point in the last few weeks where I am ready to bust my booty back in shape. I am not sure what the new motivation is but I am done having no confidence in my body. I do not mean the physical appearance. What I mean is, my body failed me, I was supposed to be able to carry a healthy child and that did not happen. I am extremely excited to see what I can achieve, I have lost weight and toned my body before, I know I can do it again.

If any of my fellow BLM's have felt the same way or struggled to lose the weight, let me know what worked for you (or what did not work!) I plan to update my blog with this new journey, this should be extra motivation since I would rather say I dropped a pant size instead of "I just tore up 4 cookies!"

1 Corintians 6: 19-20
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Acceptance

I have been wanting to type this post for over a week now but waited to make sure I would still feel the same way. Something changed in the last couple of weeks. I am no longer in that fog that surrounded me for so many months. I did not even fully realize how off I had been from myself. I am so thankful we are picture freaks because it helps me to remember how much fun we really had this summer.

I feel as if I have come to accept what happened to our lives, to our sweet little baby. It still hurts but I no longer think of it as what should have been. What should have happenen did happen. This is definitely not what I would have chosen for my life but God allowed this to happen and both Greg and I have grown beyond measure. When I begin to have my wishful thinking, I think of how it could have been with Olivia. I see sweet little baby girls that are about 5 months and my eyes linger a little longer. I do not want those babies, I want my baby but I enjoy seeing what stage she would have been at if she were still with us. My heart is longing for a baby but we will wait to see what God has in store for us. We have already learned that our timeline is much different from God's timeline.

Do not confuse this with me being "over it." I do not see how any parent could possibly fully get past burying their own child. I have had a peace through this whole process but it is as if the peace has moved me even further. As a parent, we want to raise children who make a difference in the world, children who change lives and impact people around them. Olivia's life outside of my womb was 58 minutes which may seem insignificant to some. In the short time she was with us she changed our world and our lives, she has made a difference to her parents, her life mattered. Aside from the obvious, what more could we ask for?

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

I have shared this verse before and probably will 100 more times but I love it. It has ministered to me so many times, I have continuously spoken about the peace we have felt through this process. I truly believe that God provides peace beyond understanding, I could have never walked this path alone and I am so grateful for the promise that God will never leave us alone.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blog Award


Thanks Kara for including me in this blog award! Your blog is a beautiful and loving tribute to your beautiful Karrine!


The rules for this award are as follows:
1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link.
2. Pay it forward to 10 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they have been chosen.
(although it's okay with me if you don't pass the award on - I know we're all busy!)


I have chosen to honor the following blogs of fellow baby loss parents:
1. Baby Jack-Brad and Sarah Lundell
2.Eli's Valley-Jennifer Hill
3.Emma and Connor's Page-Mom Sarah
4. Isabella Grace- Mary Smith
5. Olivia Kathleen & Harper Mae- Daphne Freeman
6. Carried Through Grief- Stephanie
7. Haas Family Blessings- Holly Haas
8. Amelia Grace- Melissa Lorang
9. Lilly Elizabeth- Elena Strode
10. Our Angel Ella- Penny

Monday, September 20, 2010

Olivia photo

I was sent another Olivia photo, it was taken in Cozumel Mexico. Olivia's name is doing more traveling than we are! Thank you Penny!

Not sure of a title!

This posting is bouncing all over the place but welcome to my thought process! I cannot seem to focus on one thing for too long and I am pretty good at interrupting and changing the subject, even with myself! :)

I just need to start out with a picture of me and the girls on my birthday.....I just LOVE them!!!!



As posted in previous posts, I have a real issue with saying I have 2 children when I have 3 but it is difficult for me to say 3. This weekend, when asked "how many kids do you have?" I simply answered, "I've had 3." Then I quickly say they are all girls and make jokes about how Greg cannot give me boys (poor Greg!). This allowed the jump right past th "how old are they" questions. I am not at all sure that I will always be able to answer "3" but I am just so glad that I did it even one day.

This weekend was great, I was able to go with some of my Lia Sophia ladies to a training in Chicago. It's so nice to be able to get away for a day or two and come home an energized mommy! I just wanted to add this picture because I like it :)




I have been thinking alot about comments said to me when I was pregnant. Not the usual sympathy ones that we all expect but comments on how happy I still seemed. People would tell Greg that it was great that I was still living life and smiling. I had also been told that you could not look at me and tell something was wrong. Although I was (and still am) going through the most difficult time in my life, I still have so much to live for and be happy about. Two friends in one week told me that I just "shined." I didn't think much of it at the time, I was kindof tan (just kidding!). I have been thinking of that more often lately though. At that point in my life I had put all of my faith in the fact that God would carry me through this. I would daily, if not several times a day, pray for strength and peace. That was granted to me time and time again. As anyone who has walked this road before would know, you cannot get through it alone. The shine that I had was radiating from God working within me and He continues to do so.

After I had Olivia I was afraid that my growth in God would take a backseat to other things in my life. It is so much easier to be faithful to God and share that love when going through difficult times. I want to make sure I can continue that path, whether times are good or bad. I want to continue to "shine" and know that it is coming from God and not from myself!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9 months

Nine months seems like a lifetime to wait for your baby after finding out that you are pregnant. Nine months of planning and dreaming and sometimes worrying. The fact is, having a healthy baby is lifechanging whether it's the first or tenth child in the family. There are hopes and fears about how this new little one will fit into the big picture, how you can manage juggling a carseat and 2 toddlers through a grocery store. Nine months seems so long but it is never enough time to plan or prepare for another little person to care for.

Nine months ago today we went in for a routine ultrasound at 12 weeks. Nine months ago today were told our baby would die. 0In some ways it seems so long ago, I feel like so much of the last 9 months was lived in a fog that I still haven't completely come out of. Tomorrow Olivia would have been 4 months old. Every month milestone I tell myself that I will not be affected by the date but I am. I do not want the 11th of every month to sting and the 12th of every month to be a reminder that our daughter is gone.

Even though tomorrow is the 4 month mark, I feel ok. I have a heaviness in my heart because she is gone but so far I have not felt completely crushed this time around. I will pray that I continue to not feel worse. I just want to be happy, I have been blessed with an awesome family.

Makayla and Hannah have been so awesome the last two weeks. They have been getting along, playing well together and they just keep doing so many cute things! I am one of those moms who brag about my kids and talk about them all the time, even when other people might not care. Since having Olivia I am soooo much worse about my gushing but I know now, more than ever, that they are the greatest gifts Greg and I could ever ask for.

Monday, September 6, 2010

How many kids do you have?

I have continually struggled with how to answer the question, "How many children do you have?" Or while in a store, "are these your only two?" when out with Makayla and Hannah. I find myself over and over saying that I only have 2 kids. I hate it, I hate that it comes out so easily but it rips my heart out every single time. I just want to be comfortable saying I have 3, I want to speak my daughters name without seeing a slight cringe from others. Not every person in my life acts uncomfortable with me saying Olivia but most people do.

I attended a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting for the first time last week. I had heard about it since having my first child but never actually thought I would attend one. I ended up having a good time and enjoying myself. I did however have to face the question "How many children do you have?" The first time I was asked there were only 2 other women with me, I said 3. That is a HUGE step for me, I do not think I have ever told anybody 3 that did not already know about Olivia. It quickly became awkward when asked ages. I said "4, 3 and one would have been almost 4 months." After that,I told anyone else who asked that I have 2 children. I wish I had the confidence to say I have three girls. I never would have imagined that the pregnancy, knowing how it would end, would be easier than walking through life without my baby. I carried her, I held her in my arms and hugged and kissed her. She is my baby, I love her but I still deny her to others almost daily!

I have been dealing with a different kind of grief the last month. Obviously I have been grieving for my child but also for myself. I have changed. It has been almost a year since I became pregnant with Olivia. I miss who I was before, I was carefree. I could talk to people and take in what they would say, now I find myself wondering what I had a conversation about an hour after I had it. My mind is always drifting, not always sad but thinking. I watch the girls play and picture where Olivia would be while her sisters run all over the place. The biggest stress when thinking about having a 3rd child was worrying about sleep or how many diapers we would go through. I really just miss being me, not the new me! I have become a stronger person than I knew I could be but I wish I did not have to know that strength.

If I could go back and change the outcome and have a happy healthy baby, I would do it. Since I cannot, I would still do it all over again. I have learned so much about myself, I have also learned that my faith is real. It is so easy to say "I believe in God" or memorize scripture and attend church every Sunday. When it came down walking through the darkest part of my life, I truly learned to lean on God and put all of my trust in Him, knowing that I would be ok. The pregnancy with Olivia was the most physically uncomfortable out of all pregnancies. The last couple of months it would hurt to lay down, to sit for too long, everything just hurt. At about 32 weeks I could not take it anymore. I had nothing left to do but pray. I prayed for my pain to go away or to just go into labor. I did not want to have my baby yet but my body had hit its limit. I begged and pleaded with God, telling Him I could not take anymore. From that night on and for the next 2 weeks, I felt great. I went back to having just typical aches and pains of pregnancy and of course heartburn!

When I began having pain again 2 weeks later I knew the end was coming. After 2 days of contracting I laid on my couch and prayed again, just like 2 weeks before. This time I prayed that if this was it, I was ready. I prayed for the strength to get through what was about to come and he delivered. I wish I could have had another ending to my story. That my faith was tested but Olivia still came home and we lived happily ever after. For now, I will truly believe that God knows why were given this path to take and just keep moving forward.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friends having babies

I have debated on whether I should post about a close friend having her baby or not. I will not lie, that has urned out to be one of the more difficult parts of this journey. I decided to post for any other mothers that might be facing the same difficult situation.

A close friend of mine was due 7 weeks after my due date, 7 weeks ended up being almost exactly 3 months since I went into labor at 34 weeks. I'm sure using her name would be no issue but I will still use only R, just incase. Greg and I knew 2 other friends that were due during the same week as me and I still have only seen one of the babies once since they have given birth. I have had some obvious issues with seeing babies, either in a carseat or being passed around and gushed over since having Olivia. The friend that most recently had her baby, R, seemed initially to be the most difficult. She has 2 boys the same age as Makayla and Hannah and was due with a little girl. The week R was due, she was due on a Monday and did not have her daughter until Friday. That may have been the most difficult week I have experienced. Not only was my friend due with a baby girl, she lives across the street from me. I did not know how I would be able to handle looking across the street, seeing her with her 3 kids knowing that is exactly what our family should look like right now. Our baby girls should have grown up being friends just like our older kids. I spent every single night laying in bed miserable just thinking that I would not want to lose a friend but not sure I could be around her anymore (for awhile at least).

The day she was due to be induced, she ended up going into labor on her own early in the morning. I almost called into work but somehow I went to work that morning. I thought that it would be a good distraction and I wouldn't have to face looking across the street for additional reminders of what was happening that day. Before work I received a text saying the baby was born. Suprisingly that relieved some of the pressure by not having to wait and wonder when she would be done with labor and delivery. It was an usually quiet morning at work. Only one person was in the gym at one point, the woman was best friend's with R's mother in law. I just sat behind the computer dying inside as she talked on the phone with the mother in law, gushing about the new addition to the family. Talk about having the worst luck in the world! I got through the day and went home. Greg and I were going to a baseball game that night so it turned out to be a great distraction.

The next day I was still not sure if I should go to the hospital, I had a meeting early so I knew I would be going after lunch so I had time to figure it out. I decided to go to the hospital. Before going I just knew that I would not hold the baby or probably even look at her. Greg met with me and we went together. When we go into the room, it was just R and the baby. I looked at the baby and thought, "okay, not too bad for me." It did help that she was cute and I was curious. After a couple of minutes I asked to hold her. I did not cry, I did not see Olivia or have a flooding of memories. I saw their beautiful baby girl, she looks like their family, nothing like any of our girls. It was wonderful to hold her and just feel okay being around babies again. I think the most difficult part of the whole thing was when her husband and sons came back to the room. To see them together with 3 kids, the family of 5 that we should be, stung at first. That sting is gone, it is just part of life now. I get to visit and hold the baby, the kids get to play and I do not have to sit around dreading catching a glimpse of their baby. People tell me they do not know how I handle things, I handle them because I face what is in front of me. There is no turning back so I say a little prayer and just keep moving forward.

I am only typing about this incase you are faced with this situation or have had to face it yourself. I think had I not gone to the hospital I would have never known that I could be ok with it. No part of this journey is easy but it would have been horrible to lose a friend because of my fears. I really encourage seeing friends or family that have babies, I'm not saying it is easy at all but holding that baby did the opposite of what I had thought. There is always an excuse or escape story you can plan if you find yourself falling apart! (I did not need to use it but I had one!!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Olivia's Name in Sand

A blogger friend, Jennifer, took a picture of Olivia's name in the sand. It was hidden in my mess of e-mail and I finally found it again! Thank you Jennifer, I love it!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Most days I feel like I am doing great. I know what I have lost and I will never get her back but I am so grateful for what I still have here. Then it all comes crashing down again. It could probably be contributed to finishing moving, going from 100 mph to having some down time.

I cannot explain the feeling the last 2 nights. I had the crushing reality once again that my baby is not with me. I layed in bed sobbing, unable to sleep. My arms were empty, I want my baby back. I NEED my baby in my arms, I need to be able to look into her room and see her sleeping peacefully. Instead I lay awake, alone with the aching for my child. I cannot explain the level of deep pain. I find myself looking at pictures of Olivia and wanting to hide them because it hurts so bad. Instead I keep them out and just deal with the pain. This is not how it is supposed to be. A mother without her child, and it happens more often than people know, more than people like to talk about it.

I think that in the 2 1/2 short months that we had lived in our house after losing Olivia, we had just become so accustomed to her belongings being around us. With moving, everything is packed and really looked at for the first time in awhile. For the first time in awhile I was also looking at the cribs broken down in the garage, the pink rocker that we had rocked Makayla and Hannah in. Just another harsh reality that they were never needed this time. I became very protetive of the few things we have of hers. I'm very upset that a couple of figurines were broken, they can be easily fixed since they were nice clean breaks but they were still broken.

We have a room that we are making into an office, I just shut the door half of the time, it should be Olivia's room. I don't want an office in there, I want a nursery. I would much rather try to find a place to set up our computer than have an empty crib stored above the garage.

Days like these are beyond miserable but I have to keep reminding myself that I am not alone in this. I do not have to carry myself through this darkness, even though at times I forget or try to do it on my own. I just keep praying, thanking God for the family I have been blessed with and Him continuing to carry me through this grief.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Busy Weeks: Part 2

Last Friday Hannah had to get her tonsils taken out. It was a much needed operation, she snored, choked on food and sleep was becoming an issue. As much as I knew she needed her surgery, and it is such a routine one, I felt terrible about doing it. I think all mothers are scared at the idea of having their children operated on. Over the last few months I have become paranoid about the safety of my living children, I will not get into all of my fears right now but there are more than enough of them!

Friday morning we took Hannah into the hospital bright and early. She was bright, happy, very active and actually excited for surgery. We did not tell her she would wake up in pain, it would have not changed the outcome and I did not want her going into it scared. She walked off from her little recovery room with a nurse and she did not even want Greg or I to go as far as we could with her. We were then moved to the family conference room. There we sat, it was only about 15-20 minutes but that was the longest 15-20 minutes of my life. I sat there in fear and guilt for putting my 3 year old baby through surgery. I kept thinking, maybe she was not that bad with her tonsils. Her tonsils were huge and covered her entire throat but I still felt horrible.

As I sat in that room, exactly one month past my due date and on the same floor I had given birth, I tried to focus on Hannah. It was impossible. The last time I was on that floor my baby was born. I kept thinking that I should be worrying about how to take care of a newborn and 3 year old that just had surgery at the same time. The last time I gave my child over in this hospital, her body was gone from me forever. My mind kept going places that I normally do not welcome it but I just could not stop it that day. I cannot fully explain how that waiting was except pure torture.

Of course Hannah came through surgery just fine, she was grumpy when she woke up from surgery which was expected. Now 5 days later she has very little proof that she was operated on and she is doing great!

Time to get back to packing, I have a new picture of Olivia's name in sand from my blogger friend, Jennifer, that I will post soon. Hotmail will not let me in the account due to maintenance right now :P

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Busy weeks: Part 1

The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy but probably will stay this way for another week or two. The beginning of last week I received a package in the mail from a friend Mary. I do not have pictures taken yet (but will soon!). She sent a book "Mommy, please don't cry there are no tears in heaven," and a super cute picture frame. The frame is yellow and white striped, has an angel charm and says "Every moment is a miracle." I have already put a picture of Olivia in it and had it hanging up. Also in the package was a card which highlighted the verse John 14:27. I had not realized how much this verse would continue to pop up after I had first heard it but it is welcomed each and every time!

I also had the opportunity to meet another friend, Sheena, who I had met online. She has had two daughters with anencephaly. We live about 5 hours from each other but met in the middle to have lunch. I cannot even explain the need to meet other women who have gone through carrying a baby knowing they were going to lose it. We all have a bond, an unfortunate one, but I am so grateful for the internet providing me with the chance to connect with others. There were times through this journey that I have felt so alone in my community. We have supportive friends and family but it is not the same as talking to others who just know.

That is my short update for today and hope to post more soon. This may be the busiest 2 weeks I have had in a very long time. Hannah had her tonsils and adenoids taken out last Friday. We are also moving our entire house in less than a week, not sure where we are moving yet! Our walls are infested with bats and need to get out ASAP!

Prayer Request

Below is copied from a friends blog from yesterday, the scheduled c-section is the 28th. I am not sure any details but please keep this family in your prayers!


"Prayer Request
I am asking that anyone who reads this today will take the time to pray for Melissa and Amelia. Melissa is a friend that I met online and her daugter Amelia has also been diagnosed with anencephlay. Her husband Tim and son Noah also need your prayers. They are schcedeuled for a c-section tomorrow. Please pray that God will surround them with his peace and comfort them. I am also praying that they get to spend lots of time with sweet Amelia. They are an amazing family-and Amelia is an amazing little baby."

Monday, July 12, 2010

two months

Two months ago today, I was back home after giving birth to Olivia in the middle of the night. Normally, after having a baby, you are in the hospital for a day or two. You are fed, checked on at all hours and your baby is brought back and forth from the nursery. When your baby dies, it is a whole different experience. You are released a few hours later, empty handed. Not only do you not get the extra relaxation time (not that I wanted to stay there), you get the sad looks from some and others who just drop their heads and look the other way. I put on makeup before leaving the hospital and did not cry much there. Yes, every minute ripped my heart out but I did not want extra hugs or "I'm so sorry," I just wanted to go home.

Now I am home, I enjoy my time with my husband and kids but still wonder what it would be like with a baby. At 2 months Olivia should be laughing, cooing, pushing up. I try not to think about what I am missing out on, it will not bring her back and it does not make me feel better. The last few days have been unusually difficult. I cannot pinpoint what exactly is bothering me, not that I need to explain it away. My baby died and it sucks.

Yesterday at church, Greg and I were sitting alone waiting for church to start and I started crying. Not a noticeable crying, I am not a fan of being emotional in public (not anything wrong with people who are, it's just not me). If I were home I would have completely broken down though. I was in the bathroom before the service, washing my hands when a mom came in looking stressed with her baby carrier. She was going to change her daughters diaper, the baby was probably about a month old. I did fine with that until a woman said "I just love seeing you young mothers with your babies!" There I stand, completely left out of the "new baby club." I gave birth to a daughter I love so much and I cannot show her off with pink headbands and pretty dresses. I can carry her in my heart but that is not enough! I want my baby, and just like every other time I say this, I know it can never happen. Taking birth control daily is not helping me. I have an everyday reminder that I am trying to prevent a pregnancy even though everything inside of me is yearning for a baby!

Today we went to find a headstone. I have not been able to commit to looking for one, but I think we found the one today. It is a heart design, the lady from the monument company is sending outlines via e-mail of what it will look like with the wording on it. We decided we will have the flower holder installed so that maybe our flowers will not get mowed down! I was dreading doing this, up until we went looking. The first place we went, the prices were way higher for very plain headstones. The second place had beautiful stones for less than the first place and the woman working walked us right through everything. It was nice to have some guidance because we have never went headstone shopping and all I knew was what I did not want, and no ideas for what to look for.

I am hoping that getting through today, past the 2 month milestone will get me out of this mood I am in. It is such a downer feeling that, thankfully, I have not had to experience much but when it comes, it hits hard!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Crying kind of day

I have no idea what hit me this afternoon, I just started crying. There was no trigger for it, my day has been going great, I guess I just needed a good cry. So, I just cried until I felt that I was done and it felt good. Just yesterday I received an e-mail from a friend with the title "Go Ahead and Cry." The message is long so I will just take a few quotes from what was spoken by Dave Wilkerson.

"When you hurt the worst—go to your secret closet and weep out all your despair!.....Jesus never looks away from a crying heart. He said, "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Psalm 51:17). Not once will the Lord say, "Get hold of yourself! Stand up and take your medicine! Grit your teeth and dry your tears." No! Jesus stores every tear in his eternal container.

Do you hurt? Badly? Then go ahead and cry! And keep on crying, until the tears stop flowing. But let those tears originate only from hurt—and not from unbelief or self-pity.

Life goes on. You would be surprised how much you can bear with God helping you. Happiness is not living without pain or hurt. True happiness is learning how to live one day at a time, in spite of all the sorrow and pain. It is learning how to rejoice in the Lord, no matter what has happened in the past.

Look up! Encourage yourself in the Lord. When the fog surrounds you and you can't see any way out of your dilemma—lie back in the arms of Jesus and simply trust him. He wants your faith—your confidence. He wants you to cry aloud—"Jesus loves me! He is with me! He will not fail me! He is working it all out right now! I will not be cast down! I will not be defeated! I will not be a victim of Satan! God is on my side! I love him—and he loves me!"

The bottom line is faith. And faith rests on this one absolute: "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper…" (Isaiah 54:17)"

new name in the sand



Here it is again! Penny's sister Lorrie wrote our angels name in the sand. I don't think I will ever get tired of seeing these pictures! Thank you Lorrie!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My girls

I absolutely love that our girls can talk to Greg and I about Olivia without worrying what we will do or say. Yesterday, while making lunch, Makayla simply asked "Did Olivia die?" We were not talking about anything, it was just a quiet, calm time in our house (very rare!). I just told her "yes." There is not beating around the bush with them, they are not afraid of talking about death or heaven. Hannah asks about Olivia in heaven, she wants to know what she is doing. We talk about how much fun she is having and happy she is. She asked me "is Olivia not sad anymore?" Through this, I have the opportunity to tell her there is no sadness in heaven, just happiness and joy. What a wonderful place to be and our daughters at just 3 and 4 years old understand, they just get it! Just knowing that my beautiful little baby is there makes the idea of heaven that much sweeter.

When we were out yesterday Makayla wanted to drive by the cemetery to check on Olivia's flowers. She does not want to get out of the car usually but loves to drive by. The landscapers had knocked over the flowers when mowing and broke the little plastic vases. I was pretty upset for a minute and then decided that it really was not worth the anger and decided I would just have to get more! We do alot of checking on the flowers, there have been bad storms but each time we go to the cemetery, all of the flowers are intact. It's just comforting to know that even though we cannot physically take care of our baby, there is something we can do to "take care of her."

This morning Makayla came downstairs with a dress from their closet and asked if it was supposed to be for Olivia. I told her no, that was hers, Olivia will never need new dresses. She began asking what Olivia wore went she went to heaven. I explained the simple white cotton dress with little flowers that she would be wearing forever. What she is wearing in heaven, I have absolutely no idea, but her earthly body will be forever dressed in that tiny little dress.

Since she had more questions the 3 of us went to my room and pulled out what we had from the hospital. Unintentionally, I had not looked at her stuff after the first day of being home. A couple of times I had pulled out her handprints and footprints but left everything else alone. I showed them the little dress that she had worn, her hospital bracelets, her blanket and her little hat. We looked at her handprints and footprints again and her birth certificate. Both girls felt everything, smelled her stuff and just loved seeing each item.

I just love being able to talk about Olivia with my girls without reservation. It's never a sad time. To them, they love to talk about her, ask questions and do not worry about bringing up an awkward situation. It is wonderful to know that even though Olivia is not here with us now, she will always be one of my girls.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Name in the sand

I had a nice surprise this evening when checking my e-mail. A blogger friend Penny offered to take pictures with our angel's name(and many others)written in the sand.

Thank you so much Penny, I just love seeing Olivia's name written out!



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Due date- letter to Olivia

Olivia,

Today is your due date, the date that was planned to change our lives forever. I remember when I found out I was pregnant last October, I was so excited but it seemed to be a million years away. Little did I know, I would want time to slow down. Rather than wishing my time away, I began wishing for more time with you. Don't get me wrong, I hate being pregnant but would have stayed pregnant forever just to keep you with me.

You have changed our lives, changed our family. We were a happy family before but you have taught your Daddy and me how to love and care more deeply than before. You will always be a part of us, a part of this family. Your sisters are so proud of being your sister. This morning Makayla wanted me to come look at something that was yours. She showed me a plant that had been given in your honor, to help us remember you. She just sat there and smiled at it. Hannah is always telling people, "I have a baby sister, but she is in heaven." I have a feeling that when she is old and gray and it is her turn to enter the gates of heaven, you will be the first person she comes running to!

Today you would have been 6 weeks old. You would be starting to smile at us, oh I can only imagine the joy that would bring to us right now. I wonder so much what you are like in heaven. Did you stay a baby? Are you being rocked by angels and cradled in the arms of Jesus? Are you in your permanent glorified heavenly body, free from any birth defect that kept you from growing here on earth? I just cannot imagine how free and happy you must feel, never having to suffer the pain of this world!

I went to the cemetery today to visit your grave. Grass is starting to grow over the dirt, a sign of new life in a place that should be so dead. It is so peaceful, one side of you has others that have passed. To the left there is a field of corn that gently blowing from the wind. Behind is a wide open field of grass that has not been dug up yet. I know that it is just your body there but I have comfort when I go there alone.

I cannot say or think enough how much I would love to hold you, rock you and comfort your cries. Since I cannot have you with me, I cannot imagine a greater place for you, knowing you are safe in the arms of the Lord.

I love you Olivia and miss you so much!

Love,
Mommy

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Social Security Card

In the mail today we received Olivia's social security card. I knew I would be getting it and wondered at times how long it would take to come. It's such a strange feeling. It did not make me depressed, I did tear up a little bit but mostly, I just stared at it for a long time.

I cannot fully explain how getting her social security card made me feel. It makes it more real for knowing that she was here, her life has been recognized by someone other than her parents, family and friends. It is so awesome to see her name written by someone other than me. I did not need a piece of paper to see that her life was recognized or validated by the government. I just cannot fully explain it. I know she had a life, 58 minutes was a lifetime for her. I was able to see her name, written out, a permanent record that she was here.

To me her life was so much more than that time after her birth, I had 34 weeks with her. I watched my belly grow as she grew inside me, I felt her kick and watched her roll around as she became bigger, she was living up her mommy and me time! I miss her, I miss the movements, I would even take the heartburn back just to feel her again. I never knew how strongly and deeply I was capable of loving until Olivia came into our lives. I know how precious life is, I have felt such a deep loss that has made me so much more aware of the wonderful husband and daughters that I have. We received a book in the mail this week "Lift Up Thine Eyes," a book donated from businesses in the community when you lose a loved one. One quote that stood out immediately was "Those who truly love will say that they have found in sorrow a new joy, a joy which only the broken-hearted can know." (W. Graham Scroggie) There is a new joy in our family, yes we still have our arguments and the girls have their tantrums but the way we approached them has changed. I would love nothing more than to have Olivia here with us right now, buying baby dresses, hauling around a pink carseat, packing 20 diapers for a 10 minute trip to the grocery store. I know I cannot have that with her and while sometimes it hurts so bad, I am so blessed to have learned from her life. Because of Olivia, I am a better wife and mother than I ever knew I could be.


Below is Natalie Grant's Held, thanks Yolanda for posting it yesterday! It is a song that has been present throughout this journey!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my awesome husband and all other dads out there! Just over 4 years ago, Greg went from being being my husband, the "boy" I fell in love with, to a Daddy. I would like to think that we have come a long way in just a few short years. I have had the opportunity to watch him grow from a "momma's boy" (he might kill me for that one) into a wonderful husband and father. He works hard every day for our family and I could not appreciate it more!



Greg has always looked forward to having kids of his own, even when I was not sure I would ever want any. I told him before getting pregnant that we would only have girls, so far, I have been right! Of course, he did not believe me, every dad wants their little boy to play catch with! Now 3 girls later, he has not completely given up hope for a boy but he will not hesitate to have a tea party or talk about Barbi movies with other grown men.

I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to watch my girls grow up with such an awesome Dad that loves them more than they will ever know!

Friday, June 18, 2010

My new life

I'm sitting here not sure what to even type as I feel like my heart is getting ripped out of my chest. This has not been an all day feeling. I had a great day with my girls. We went to a friend's house and played in the pool. We made it home not long before Greg came home from work. We decided against cooking and went out as a family for pizza.

Everything looks great from the outside. We have 2 healthy beautiful girls, we really enjoy our time together as a family. What strangers cannot see is the huge void in my life. Olivia died. I have to face this every single day. Every time I go into a store, into a restaurant, I leave feeling like I left something behind. My baby is not with me, her body is stuck in the ground and her soul in heaven. When I have a great day I just wonder what it would be like if I had my baby with me. I have 3 daughters and every day I feel that I am denying Olivia to avoid awkwardness. Whether I'm being asked, "Are these your only two?" or when the kids are not with me, "How many kids do you have?" I just want to say, no I have 3 but I cannot.

This was supposed to happen to somebody else. Miscarriages happen to people we know, it has never happened to us, but it still could some day. We did not have friends or even know of anyone who has had their newborn baby die. Why us? Why OUR baby? I feel like I'm on the outside looking in, like this shouldn't be my life. I didn't do anything wrong, I love and care for my children. There are so many healthy, beautiful children in the world that nobody wants. They go to bed at night hungry, neglected and abused but MY baby was taken from me? I know life is not fair. I know I will be disappointed again. I have had my share of pain in life but NOTHING compares to waking up every single day without the baby you loved and carried for 34 weeks.

So, with my lovely day, what could bring all of this pain to the surface all over again? Enjoying a nice post dinner drive with my little family and seeing a girl who was due the same week as me, loading up her kids and newborn baby. Such a simple little thing but that should be us too!

I know the intense pain and sadness comes in waves. Even as I type I am not hurting so much. Probably because our life continues to go on, Olivia will always be a part of me and the sadness is only temporary. Greg and the girls took the dog for a walk and they came running in excited and yelling about the lightning bugs outside. How could I not cheer up from that?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Babies everywhere

I do not think I ever noticed how many babies are everywhere! I know that this is not a new thing but since finding out that we would lose our daughter, pregnant women and newborn babies are everywhere I go!

I'm sure I look like I hate babies, going into the doctor office last week there was a lady behind me with her screaming newborn while we waited to get checked in. I had seen her in the waiting room and we were probably in the hospital within a week of eachother. When she was standing behind me I was torn between asking her to take her baby to the bathroom or just start crying myself. Instead, I just stood there, looking more annoyed than anyone else and I am really ok with that.

I was in Wal-mart and saw a lady with 2 daughters, both older than Makayla and Hannah. Her girls were also really close in age and I just stared at her pregnant belly. I was jealous, just over a month ago, that was me! People congratulating me, asking when I was due, what was I having. At first that was so difficult but toward the end I would just smile and answer questions. It was nice having that attention of being a new mommy again instead of the sad looks and "I'm sorry."

I am so tired of the way people act around me. I have people walking on eggshells around me, afraid to do or say something to upset me. Afraid to share their joy because of my pain. My pain is here, it is real but it will not go away just because people do not talk about their babies or pregnancies. If I do not want to talk about it, I will say so. Then there is the group of people who are almost rude with questions or comments. I do not want to know unending details of newborn babies that I will probably never see and from people I do not know. I'm sure they are cute/sweet/perfect, whatever, of course they are, they are babies!

Not all people fall into the paragraph above, probably not even most. The groups above upset me so they stand out and seem to have a larger impact. I have great friends and family that handle our "situation" well. I do not mind people asking me questions and talking to me about Olivia. Sometimes I will tear up, that is fine! I hate when I am asked how I am doing, immediately followed by "I didn't mean to upset you!" Tears to not mean I am upset, I am grieving, sometimes I am just going to cry.

Yes, this is a venting post. At first, I was wondering how I could avoid new babies, that could make things easier. Reality is, I cannot. I really do still enjoy seeing happy babies. How can you not smile at a baby who is smiling, it pulls at my heart because I am missing that with Olivia but the beauty of their innocence is so amazing. I am happy for all of these healthy new babies, I hope and pray that all of the parents are so aware of the gift they have.

I will end this post with a verse that seems to pop up over that last couple of months. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27. We used this verse in the memorial folders created for Olivia, it has shown up in devotions, at the end of a song. I am so thankful for this promise of peace, we were granted this peace throughout the pregnancy and after our loss. The peace and strength given to me were not manifested through myself. If that were the case, I would have never made it through. I like to be in control, my life is organized with planners, schedules and lists. When things to do work out that way, I tend to get a little stressed out. Anencephaly was not on my list, we did not schedule that into my planner! Without God guiding us through this journey, I do not want to think of how crazy my life would be right now.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

One Month

Today Olivia would have been one month old. I had dreaded this day all week, I think the buildup was worse than the day itself. I cannot imagine what she would be like if she was here with us today.

I remember when Makayla turned one month, up until that point she was a very fussy baby. I would cry because she cried and cried and....well, you get the point. Then, it seemed that as soon as she turned one month, everything changed.

She found her voice, she cooed and gurgled and made so many noises. The nonstop crying had stopped, Greg and I were on cloud 9. That was when I decided I could easily have 6 kids, no problem (except babies cost money and I was still in college)!

When Hannah was a month old, she was the most pleasant little baby. She loved to be held, she loved to swing, sit in her bouncer, eat, sleep. You name it, Hannah was a content happy little baby.

This was around the time her feeding schedule leveled off, breastfeeding was a breeze and she would just wake up to eat and go right back to sleep.

I wonder if the first month would have been rough like Makayla or as easy as Hannah. Or maybe she would have been a mixture of both. When Olivia was born, while in the hospital, I did not think she looked like either of the girls. I was looking at a 2 month picture of Hannah that we have and I saw Olivia. I pulled up a picture of Olivia that would have been taken from the same profile angle. They have the same mouth, nose and cheeks. I can just picture a brown haired version of Hannah running around with the same curls and big blue eyes like her sisters. I would give anything to have her back, let her grow up with her sisters. The girls would have been great with her. Hannah was asking me earlier in the week when Jesus is going to bring Olivia back from Heaven. I had to explain that once you go to heaven, that is where you stay.

I miss her so much. There is such a huge void in my heart that just cannot be filled. I have tried to stay busy but nothing will fill the ache. I know that I cannot replace her or fill the spot in my heart that was buried with my daughter. I want her, I need her. I can remember holding her after she was born. She was so warm and had the softest newborn skin. I kept touching her face, I wanted to feel her cheeks, her nose and her mouth. I wanted to remember every inch of her. Then after her heart had stopped beating she changed. It was not a sudden change but we knew it had happened. Her soft little body was no longer warm, her skin was cold but I kept her bundled up with me anyway. I still, to this day, cannot hold a new baby. I cannot hold the tiny little bundle of warmth, it reminds me of how cold Olivia was in the end. I remember after she had been cleaned up and brought back to me I laid in the hospital bed with her in my arms. I had taken a short nap and woke up with her still there. That was the greatest feeling to have her with me, now my arms feel so empty. How I wish I could hold her again.

Losing her has given me the greatest appreciation for Greg and the girls. I am able to laugh at their uncontrollable laughter, worry less about most messes that are made and just enjoy the time we have together as a family.

I went to the cemetery today, just for a few minutes that I had to myself. I say this every time, but it is just so peaceful there. We still have not gotten a headstone for the grave. I looked at the flier once and never again. We need to go pick one out, price them and get it ordered. I just have not brought myself to do it yet. Greg and I have talked about it then I just avoid it. I do want to get a headstone, it's just another big decision and I'm not sure my decision making brain is back yet.



The flowers are still from memorial day. I was quite upset when I was looking at them earlier because they looked so faded. Then I took off my sunglasses and realized the brown lens tinting was making them appear yellowed, haha! I'm glad the fake flowers last more than 2 weeks! (the ground is not slanted like that, that is courtesy of my wonderful photography skills!)


I also had a very nice surprise at a meeting this morning but cannot figure out how to post 2 pictures on one posting so I will have to upload it later! Ok, figured it out!



Thank you Meredith, Melissa, Maria and Tamara! This made my day :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

5 year anniversary



Today is our 5 year anniversary! Even though 5 years seems like such a short time, we have grown up so much. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband to go through this journey with. Losing our daughter is something we could have NEVER imagined when we said our vows in front of our friends and family. Our marriage has been far from perfect but every trial we are faced with, we become stronger as a couple and as a family. We have learned and grown together and I am so thankful for that!

I thank God that all 3 of our daughters have such an awesome Daddy and I look forward to what our future brings! I love you Greg!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nearing one month.....

This week has many milestones that will cause emotional ups and downs. Wednesday will be 4 weeks since Olivia has passed, I have tried to not count the weeks but find myself thinking about it anyway. Saturday, the 12th, will be one month. It is so difficult, there are already so many signs of people around me that expect me to move on. I do not blame them, it's only natural for the rest of the world to move on. Nobody else carried her for 8 months, Greg was the one I made feel my belly that moved nonstop, she is OUR daughter and we are still mourning. I could be partly to blame on this since I am a do'er and since I do not have a newborn to keep me busy, I have figured out how to fill much of my time. Although nobody has openly said so and most people do seem fine when I bring up Olivia, I just want to wear a sign around that says "I just had a baby!" Most mothers that carry a baby, have their baby at home with them, they can go out to eat or to the store with them. I feel like I have to always appear up, especially to strangers, to avoid looking like a rude, grouchy person. When you have a healthy baby, there are no expectations on you. People expect you to be tired with no energy. It's easy to smile when you are tired and people are gushing over your new bundle of joy. What about me? I too am recovering from childbirth, I am also grieving and mourning the loss of my child!

Friday is our anniversary, Greg and I have been married for 5 years! We were married in June of 2005, pregnant with Makayla the next month (or two, I'm bad with keeping track but pretty sure it was late July). We had Makayla May of 2006, celebrated our 1 year anniversary in June. Then found out I was pregnant with Hannah just 3 months later. We were on track to have a baby every year that we were married. I sometimes find myself wondering why we did not keep going, but then remember when the doctor was cleaning me up after having Hannah I asked him if he performed vasectomies. Hmmmm, that be why we took a break from our baby marathon. I loved having my body back, it was so nice to fit into clothes again. I did not have my hormone rollercoater, I was able to go back to work, life was great. Then the magical month of May happened again last year. Hannah was turning 2 and we both had baby fever. Fast forward to May 12th and we have another baby girl to celebrate. May just seems to be our month, we wanted to get married in May but all of the reception halls were already booked (a year and a half in advance!).

We just started a class based from the book "The Faith of a Child" yesterday at church. The class was an answer to my prayers, I was not sure how to talk to my children about becoming a Christian. I know what I know, I know what I believe. Sometimes I can write it out but talking opening about it can be another issue. I truly feel the girls have learned from me but I am more concerned about continuing this as they get older. So, we found a great class to help us along the way. In the introduction, Psalm 127:3-5 is highlighted. We are told that our children are a reward from God. The feeling did not last long but I immediately thought, "then what did I do wrong, my child was taken from me?" I have to remember that we still had Olivia, we were blessed with her life. Because of her, I have changed. In the beginning I did not like it, I am not as carefree as I was before December. The changes are not bad though, at all. I look at my life as a gift, my daughter was not given a long life, but I have one. Because of her, I have chosen to set my life standards higher. As long as I live my life with dignity and respect for God and myself, then Olivia's short life is not trivial. Her life mattered, whether it was for one hour or if it would have been 100 years, she has made a mark on our family.

******This post feels random to me. We had such a great day together as a family but yesterday was just so crappy and I have the feelings/thoughts lingering. Please overlook the jumping around, I thought about editing it but my dear husband of soon to be 5 years, has been wanting me to come to bed for 20 minutes!!!********

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Prayer

I have not blogged for a few days, I'm not sure if it is due to the holiday weekend or I really did not have much to say! We have had a great weekend with friends and family surrounded with a lot of fun and happiness.

The girls seem to be transitioning back into everyday life and routine well, we did have a rough patch with both of them. Hannah is still testing us everyday but I have suspicion that this will continue until she goes off to college (or longer); she is the most strong willed, independent little girl that I have ever met.....EVER!

We took the girls to the cemetery for the first time last week. I was not sure when this would happen, I just wanted to make sure we were taking flowers for their first visit. We did not tell them that Olivia's body was in the ground, we told them that the cemetery is where we can go to remember her. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it would be for them to try to separate the idea of her body being in the ground but she is in heaven. They do love visiting the cemetery, it really is a pretty place. I have accepted having her buried rather than cremated. Now I really do like going there for short visits. I can cry, pray and just be alone with my feelings without an audience or distraction, it is such a peaceful place (when the landscapers are not there!)

I have been doing a lot of thinking this week. I was so focused on losing Olivia that I had forgotten all of the answered prayers I have received in the last year. I wanted to have a baby so bad. We started trying last May and we were both so excited at the thought of having another baby. There were tears each month that I was not pregnant, doubts that we should even try since it did not happen right away. We wanted this baby, our prayers were answered. Not in the form that I would have dreamed of but we were blessed with Olivia for a short time. I can remember the day I took the pregnancy test. I had never taken one without Greg home but decided to that day. Makayla had just gotten glasses. I shut myself in my bedroom crying and talking to Greg on the phone, telling him that her needing glasses was the worst thing that could happen. I was going to take down all of our pictures because I could not look at them knowing that I cannot see Makayla's face anymore without glasses blocking it. Sounds crazy right? Sounds like a hormonal pregnant woman to me! About ten minutes after hanging up with Greg I decided to take the one test we had in the cabinet. Of course it was positive, why else would I have been so crazy? I wish I could go back to the joy felt at that moment, I called Greg back since he was working. We were so excited but I would not let him tell anyone right away except his family. In that instant, Makayla's need for glasses no longer crushed me, it all made sense!

December 11th is a day that changed our lives forever. We found out that the child we so desperately wanted would not be for us to keep. From that day and through the next month, I would only pray for strength, peace and for us know that we had made the right decision to carry to term. I say the next month because that is how long it took for me to allow any negative feelings. We were crushed, I chose to focus on the thoughts that everything happens for a reason. I focused on the blessings we had in our lives with Makayla and Hannah. I could not allow myself to feel sorry for myself, anger or pity in the beginning. I was given the peace and strength that I had prayed for. I can say now that I did not always feel comfort in carrying Olivia until after she was born. After the initial month, I allowed the flood of emotions that would come with finding out such devastating news. I had moments that felt that we were doing the right thing, I also had moments that felt like I had made the biggest mistake of my life. Not only for me, but for Greg and the girls. That changed once I had given birth to her, I will NEVER question my decision again. It is a hard road either way but I was able to feel her grow inside of me, I was able to hold her, kiss her and tell her how much she was loved. The baby we prayed for, we were able to hold her in our arms. Sending her away after she had passed was the hardest thing I ever had to do but for a short time, she was just our little girl. Now she will forever be our little angel baby.

I now know, more than ever, that prayers are not always answered in the way we want them to be. I can also say with great certainty that I will probably question why this has happened all over again. For tonight, I am thankful for the strength and peace that I have been given through this journey. While it has not been easy, at all, we have had great support group to help us through such a difficult time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What am I supposed to do with myself?

The last 2 weeks have been a whirlwind of activity which I have loved to keep me busy. This week has been much slower and I have had more time at home. Today has been difficult, I feel fine then I just start crying without warning. I feel trapped in my body right now, I no longer look pregnant. That is fine with me but physically I feel great, I just get tired easier than I would if I did not just give birth 2 weeks ago. I cannot go have a hard workout since I am still technically healing, I dropped alot of weight the first week home and have not since then. I just want a good workout, that is my stress reliever and I cannot do it. I started walking again this week and that has helped a little bit. I am saying all of this because I have all of the normal restrictions but feel like I should do want I want instead of just sitting at home without a baby.

I have to look at pictures to remind myself all of this really happened. I just want my little girl. I see her pictures and cry because I just want to touch her skin again and feel her in my arms. It hurts so much and all I can say is "I want my baby," and that is the one thing I will never get back.

I try to put my extra energy toward cleaning but I have no interest in it. It's just a reminder that I should be taking care of a baby and complaining that I have no time to clean. I threw away all of the dead flowers yesterday for the first time since Olivia was born, that was hard. They are all dying, just like my daughter had to die.

I'm still at a point where I just do not know what to do with myself sometimes. I just keep thinking of right after Olivia is born. I had to ask if my baby was still alive, no parent should ever have to wonder if they will at least get the chance to see their child alive. December 11th, when we found out about the anencephaly, seems so long ago. Back then I thought that I just wanted it all to be over. Now I wish I had more time. Time for what, I do not know. I would have never been ready to say goodbye. There are things that I wanted to do before she was born that I did not get done but in the end, it really does not matter. I had what I needed the most for this situation was time with her inside and to see her alive. She was the most active pregnancy out of the 3 and she kept moving inside until the end. I just wish I could have that 58 minutes back at the hospital. There is nothing I would change that we had done, I just want her back.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Week of Firsts

This week has been a very busy week and I had a few firsts to experience. My first first I am very happy to have accomplished. For the first time I have sent out thank you cards! I was an awful bride and first time mommy with no wedding thank you's or thanks for the baby shower gift. I will go ahead and say that I was so thankful for all of our wonderful gifts during these life changing celebrations, I just let life get ahead of me and I never sent them out! So, in honor of Olivia, I am proud to say that I have sent out most of my thank you cards and if I missed anyone, I have REALLY tried this time and I am sorry! ( I should say "we" since Greg did help out )

My second first was going to the cemetery on Wednesday for the first time. We were going to take the girls but decided since I had not been there, Greg and I would go alone. We walked there together and it was a peaceful visit. I have been struggling with the idea that my baby was in the ground right down the road since her burial. And not just a little struggling, haunting my sleep struggling. I know deep down that it is just her body there. She is no longer in that body but all I could think of is her in a tiny little casket covered in rain and mud waiting for us to get her out. I asked Greg after the first night if we could have her pulled out and cremated so that I wouldn't have to go through this forever, he convinced me that it would not be a good idea so I decided against calling the funeral home the next morning. I am so thankful that we did go on Wednesday, since the visit I no longer think of her being stuck in the ground. I can go to the cemetery and remember her and the time we had with her, and decorate with the pinkest flowers that I can find! :)

Makayla is already asking when we will have our "baby baby." She knew that we could not bring Olivia home and she has been patiently waiting. I keep telling her that we might not ever have another baby but she is so persistent anyway. I hope she either gains an understanding if we do not ever try again or it will not matter to her so much.

Overall this week has not been horrible. I miss Olivia everyday, I have cried everyday but the grief is not consuming me. I know that it is possible that it will happen, maybe even when I wake up in the morning. Right now I am focusing on trying to get Makayla and Hannah back into a routine, their lives were also completely turned upside down with this and they do not understand why.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One week

One week ago today we were at the hospital finding out that we were going to meet Olivia that night (or very early the next morning). I have had a week of ups and downs which is to be expected. I am needing a routine back, I feel like I am just floating around wondering what to do with myself when I don't have anything planned out for my day.

I miss my daughter, my heart and body ache for her. How do you tell yourself to go on with your life when every instinct as a mother is to care for your newborn child? I do not sit around and cry all day, I cannot do that for my own sanity. There will be certain moments that just hit me so hard that I just tear up. Makayla asked me one day why I was crying. I told her "Mommy is sad," and she of course wanted to know why. I told her that I miss Olivia, which was followed up with so much hope and faith for a 4 year old. She told me, "I do not miss Olivia because I know she is in heaven and God and Jesus are taking care of her." Both girls are so proud to be a big sisters even though they do not get to see Olivia now.

Thankfully, physically I can get around. I still get up every day and do my hair and makeup, even when I am not going anywhere which is for my own comfort. I have to fight my guilt, I know a lot of mothers feel so much guilt after losing infants. I had a jewelry party scheduled for tonight and went back and forth as to whether I should do it or not. Sunday I decided that I would. It was across the street from my grandma's house so she came to help me set up. I knew that making myself get out to do anything for the first time would be hard so I just jumped right in. I had a great time and do not regret doing it so soon at all. I am struggling with myself now though. I do not want to feel guilty for getting out so soon and I do. I love Olivia and miss her so much but once again, I just do not know what to do with myself. I need to find things to throw myself into because I have more energy than I should. I should be complaining that my baby is up all night or pooping all day. Instead, I'm getting a full night of sleep, have kids that can be self entertaining (not complaining, they have plenty of needy time too!) and the strongest urge to take care of someone or something that is not there.

For now I will try to find new things to look forward to. Yes, I am sitting here trying to tell myself that it is okay to work and enjoy life. I know that it is, I am just so afraid of the guilt that is felt after I do enjoy myself. I'm so afraid of little things. I'm afraid of when Greg is back into the full swing of work and I need him. I'm afraid of having a meltdown and being alone with my kids, I want to be here for them and take care of them. I'm afraid of letting the girls go somewhere with other people, I do not want to lose them too. There is always going to be a part of me missing, I know that these fears will lessen with time. I do not think you can heal fully from losing a baby but the guilt, sadness and fears I hope will become smaller with time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Olivia's Birthday

As many people know, Olivia Ryan was born May 12th at 1:03am. It has taken me awhile to post any details, I have started, stopped...then started again so I'm not sure how much I will actually get into this post but I'm determined to get it posted this time.

After having such a great day Saturday, and really the last 2 weeks before Mother's Day, I knew something was about to change. I was in the bathroom talking to Greg Saturday evening and I told him that the day had been so great that I just knew that I would be going into labor soon. I really had no reason to think that, I was 33/1/2 weeks pregnant and had no extra aches or pains for 2 weeks, everything was great!

On Sunday evening I was having shooting pains and cramping and told Greg that I did not want to go to church and do games for the kids program. He was concerned and did not want me alone so I went and sat with my feet propped up on a chair talking to my grandma for the hour and a half. The pain and discomfort lasted the rest of the evening and we had a doctor appointment Monday morning. I posted in my "Mother's Day" post that everything was normal, maybe the pain was coming from a UTI but nothing else was wrong.

Well, to make a long story short, I was in pain all day Tuesday and ending up sleeping half of the day while my grandma took care of the girls. (Have I mentioned how amazing my grandma is??? She is wonderful!!!) Greg came home that evening to me laying on the couch, covered in sweat literally from my head to my legs. I was miserable but never had a UTI so I thought, "well, this sucks but the antibiotics would kick in." Too bad they do not stop labor pain though because I had started contracting and did not even know it.

Once I was in the hospital and hooked up to monitors, I was told my contractions were about 2 minutes apart. It was the real deal this time and of course had NOTHING packed for the hospital because I just thought I would be going home a couple of hours later. Once I realized that we were not leaving I started crying. I knew that we would soon meet our daughter and say goodbye too quickly. I was not ready, but can you ever really be ready for this?

After a typical labor, Olivia Ryan was born at 1:03am. She weighed 3 lbs and 3 oz and was 15 1/2 inches long. She never took a breath but had a heartbeat when she was born. The only movement I saw was a brief move of her left hand as I was moving her arm. I would have loved to see her breath and kick and be with us so much longer but I prayed and prayed that we would see her alive, and we did receive that blessing. I was able to see that she has brown hair. I was afraid that I would never know her hair color because of the anencephaly but she had hair around her ears and the base of her neck. She had long arms and legs and tiny little shoulders. I had been afraid of what she would look like but she was beautiful. I had heard so many mothers say that they were afraid of how their baby would look and when they were born, they did not care. Greg and I were the same way. Yes, she looked different from our other girls but she was our baby and we just saw her beauty. We were told at 2:01 am that she no longer had a heartbeat. We kept her with us for about 4 more hours before calling to have her taken away.

I wish I had my baby home with me right now, I wish that everything had been perfect in the pregnancy and we could have kept her with us to watch her grow. Even though we only had a short time with her, I love her so much. All she ever knew in her life was the love she had while inside of me and the love of her family's arms. Olivia was only given 58 minutes on this earth but her whole life was love. Although we have this pain to learn to live with, she will never have to suffer in this world. She is safe in the arms of Jesus until we are with her again one day.

I love you Olivia!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

I had a wonderful Mother's Day with my family. For me, I claim that it started on Saturday. Greg and I woke up about the same time, which never happens. Usually he is out the door as my eyes are opening but since going to bed earlier, I can actually wake up in the morning! We had a dog between our heads, Hannah laying across our feet and Makayla in the middle of all of us. Normally, I am irritated to wake up to so many people in my bed but they snuck in so quietly and slept in! Greg and I had the opportunity to lay in bed and just talk. I cannot tell you what it was about, but it was nice :) Throughout my entire Saturday, the girls were just good. We had a few toddler tiffs but they were just good this weekend. We ended the day with a breakfast style dinner with my grandma. It was just a good day! Sunday was great as well with my family but not as good as MY Mother's Day, haha.

My body is retaliating again though. I will be 34 weeks this week. I have had the most amazing last 2 weeks with pain until Saturday afternoon. The pain I have felt has been the normal pregnancy complaints but now my body is just worn out. I have pain that puts me in tears and leaks that I won't even mention (gross I know). I do not know why this is happening. After a long weekend of it, I called my doctor and went in for my scheduled appointment a day early. I have a wonderful doctor, he has checked everything he could think of and still, everything is normal. I do not understand but keep praying to God to take care of me.

Honestly, I am scared to death. I HATE calling for help, even from my own physician. I know I should not care but I feel like I am wasting so much time, my own included when nothing is wrong. I am the kind of person who likes to be in control of my own life. I feel like I have learned to give up a lot of control with this pregnancy but maybe the lesson has not been learned as I continue to have more unexplained issues that I have to place in God's hands.

Church on Sunday was nice, I was late as usual. (I really wish I could figure this problem out!) The first thing my great grandpa told me after we found out that Olivia has anencephaly was part of the verse Romans 8:28. All things work together for good for God's people. I have tried to think on this verse when I do not know what good can come out of this. I have to believe there is a greater reason for our family to suffer through this or I would have probably lost my mind by now. The sermon yesterday brought this verse up again. It's one that is reoccurring through this pregnancy and will probably be prominent for the rest of my life. When I heard it yesterday though, it made me bitter. How can this be good? How can it be part of the bigger picture? I will probably never understand and if I do it will probably take years to come to terms with it.

Please continue to pray for our family. Please pray for strength for me, both physical and emotional. Some days I think enough is enough but I am cautious when saying that I cannot take too much more, I would hate to find out the hard way that I can.

************Update: I do have an infection, getting antibiotics tonight! I just got a call from the doctor. I am just excited that maybe this will take care of this extra discomfort!***********

Monday, May 3, 2010

Doctor appointment tomorrow

We have a dr. appointment tomorrow, but it's not for me! My oldest daughter will be 4 tomorrow. I cannot be sad about her growing up because she is just so happy that tomorrow is her day! So happy birthday Makayla!!!

We have had a good last 2 weeks for both girls behaving very well (for the most part). This has been a wonderful blessing since I am getting bigger and it's not so easy to keep up with a 3 and 4 year old while 8 months pregnant!

I have been reading less and less on my support group the closer I get to the end of this pregnancy. I opened one of the messages tonight though and I'm glad that I did. Some days it is very hard to know if we have made the right decision to carry Olivia to term. I worry about myself, both physically and emotionally. I worry about Greg who has a lot of driving time with work and wonder how much this really weighs on him throughout the day. I worry for our girls, how are they supposed to cope with such a big loss at such a young age. I trust that as long as we do our best to keep both Makayla and Hannah informed (age appropriate of course) that they will be better off in the end.

Okay, back to the support group. A lady posted something she heard a preacher saying today :

"God chooses people to do his work. He chooses people with character. This character may not be evident to everyone or anyone but himself. His work is not always fun or popular. (Think Abraham, Moses, Jonah, etc.) those jobs weren't fun, they certainly weren't the popular thing to do.

Carrying our little ones isn't popular, it isn't fun, but God picked each of us for our willingness to obey and the strength of our character."

Some days I really question myself as to why I have decided to take this journey rather than walking into a clinic to "take care of the problem." The truth is, I would not have been able to go through with an early termination. I pray that women that have chosen that path have peace, that they know their babies are safe in heaven and they made the best choice for them at that stage of their lives. I have trust in God that he will provide me the strength to keep moving forward, as much as I would love to run away from what is to come. But until that day comes, whenever it will be, Greg and I will continue to celebrate the life we have been given with all 3 our beautiful daughters.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Blog Award


I got a blog award and thought I would post it. Thanks to Elena at http://ourmiraclelillyelizabeth.blogspot.com.

The rules of this award are:
1. copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. list who gave the award to you and use a link to her/his blog (or hyperlink).
3. list 10 things that make you happy.
4. pass the award on to other bloggers

Ok, in no particular order, here are 10 things (besides the obvious God and family) that make me happy…

1.) Exercise!!!! This is my all time favorite past time, hobby, you name it. I love the feeling of an awesome workout!

2.) Reading. I cannot start reading a book unless I have time to read the whole thing at once, I do not like waiting for the end!

3.) Singing alone in my car. I do not sing in front of people, even the Happy Birthday song. Only my car and kids are privileged to witness this disaster!

4.) A clean house. Please do not mistake this, I do not always love cleaning but I love walking into or waking up to a nice clean house.

5.) Organization. Yes I am anal but I like to have a plan, lists and order to EVERYTHING.

6.) Date nights with my husband. I love him so much and we NEED our refresher time with no kids to keep us sane!

7.) Makeup. Superficial, yes. Necessary, yes. I love makeup! Total life saver, every.single.day.

8.) Big Sodas from the gas station. No matter what size, they are all 95 cents with tax. Beautiful invention.

9.) My dog. He loves me, he follows me around the house, cries when I leave the room and will take a nap with me anytime. He's a pathetic 3.6 pounds and the best lap dog ever!

10.) Explanation marks!!!! I overuse them!!!! Most things in my life can be summed up with a simple (!!!) at the end of the sentence!

I am passing this on to:

Jennifer @ Eli's Valley
Holly @ Caring for Carleigh