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


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!


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


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.