Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where were you?

“Imagine a love so strong that saying hello and good-bye in the same day is worth all the sorrow.”

Where were you the day you were told your child would die? It sounds crazy but an unfortunate reality for many parents, some of which you might not even realize. If you have 3 or more children, imagine taking the 3rd child and completely erasing them from your family. The thought seems unimaginable. It sucks but we live with that every single day.

Most people have a significant event or day that defines who they are or how they continue their lives. December 11, 2009 was that day for us, D-Day (diagnosis day) in the baby loss community. Two years ago today, Greg and I woke up carefree parents, anticipating an ultrasound. We were going to see our little baby and confirm what we already knew, there was a life growing inside of me. We walked out of the doctor office completely changed. That little life growing inside of me changed how I viewed the world, my life and those around me. Every decision, every event and every milestone from that day on, somehow relates back to the instant we found out that our sweet baby was given a zero percent chance of survival.

There is nothing I would love more than to return to December 11, 2009 and change the outcome and view this as someone else's reality. I know I cannot do that. With that being said, I would walk this road all over again, just to have her as part of my life. Olivia's life is a constant reminder that this world is only temporary. Because of her I can look forward with anticipation, knowing the pain of this world is worth spending forever in His glory.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I was on the anencephaly group and one mother posted a poem that she had written. I do not know her but Tammy Hajdo, thank you for sharing this!

All I want for Christmas

"What do you want for Christmas?"
you ask me with a smile.
You don't really want to know.
I can see you're in denial.

"What do you want for Christmas?"
you ask me one more time.
There isn't anything I want.
Nothing will make me feel fine!

"What do you want for Christmas?"
Do you really want to know?...
I want my daughter here.
I want to watch her play in the snow.

"What do you want for Christmas?"
I can't believe you've asked again.
Ok. Hold onto your socks,
Here's my list. You want a pen?

I want my daughter here
in my arms where she belongs.
I want to hear her laugh and giggle
while I sing her favorite song.

I want to feel her arms hug me tight
while I kiss her sweet little head.
I want to smell her babyness, touch her hair,
and tuck her into bed.

I want to watch her sleep, watch her grow,
and hold her tight.
I want to hear her call me mommy
in the middle of the night.

I want to see my daughter's smile
and the twinkle in her eyes.
So you see there is nothing you could get me,
nothing that you could buy.

Please don't continue asking
for my answer will never change.
All I want for Christmas
is what Santa cannot bring!

written by Tammy Hajdo, mother to Jessica Marie

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I'm not sure what it is about Thanksgiving but the last two years I get very down and go to a very emotionally dark place right before. I have never really looked forward to the holiday. I enjoy getting together with family but it's just a holiday that never meant much to me.

The buildup is always so much worse than the actual day. I don't know if I dread it because it's the change of seasons, for some reason that is always rough for me. Or because the diagnosis day is right after or that we are approaching another Christmas with one less daughter. It could be a combination of all of the above.

I need to keep this short, Claire just woke up and is trying to pound the keyboard! Anyway, once Thanksgiving actually arrived, I truly enjoyed my day. I am so glad to be over that hump and look forward to Christmas. Although I am saddened when I think about what could have been, my heart is so filled up to have a baby during the Christmas season again!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Oh what I wouldn't give to make this aching go away. I keep expecting time to take it away but it's still here. Sometimes more dull than others but this time of year brings it on so strong that my heart just hurts. Holidays and approaching D-day all over again, right in the middle of it all.
Holidays are so difficult, there is so much joy but my mind cannot help but imagine another little girl in the mix of it all. It is not a far stretch of my imagination. We had lived through 2 kids so close in age, Makayla and Hannah are just over 12 1/2 months apart. We were watching home videos of when the older 2 were young and I am reminded of what Claire is cheated out of, what we all are cheated out of. Each time I think of Claire dangling out there without her sister close in age, it crushes me. Yes, I believe all of my girls will be close as they grow up but the special bond the older 2 have will be different than their bond with her.
I see pictures of Makayla and Hannah together as a 1 and 2 year old and wonder why that wasn't enough for us. Why in the world would God give us the desire for another child only to have her die in our arms??
We have a family picture of us I have yet to put up. I want to, and I think I will but with Claire in the picture I see a hole where Olivia should be too. I heard a comment a couple of weeks ago that we "waited awhile before trying again." I bit my tongue, if only this person knew the true waiting we went through. Waiting month after month to become pregnant the 3rd time. Waited to hear a heartbeat only to find out our baby would die the same day we heard and saw her perfect, strong heart. Waiting to meet our daughter while praying she would be born alive. Then after Olivia, waiting all over again to welcome our precious rainbow baby into our family.
Despite all of this aching, I have decided to find joy in the holidays this year and I do believe that is a decision we all have to consciously make. Last year was so difficult and I want to truly enjoy it this year, we have so much to be thankful for.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Is this your first?

Is this your first? I had been asked this several times today, I want to say at least 4. I know that I have been different this time around but I do not think I realized how frantic I have become about my children.
Last week at church, I left Claire in the nursery for the first time for one service. I took her to first service with me while we were in church and put her in the nursery for second service while Greg and I helped in the bigger girls' class. There is a window that we can peek in from the hallway and I probably checked on her 10 times and made Greg look too.
This week we decided to put her in while teaching in the kids class and I did pretty well at first. Once we were getting ready to go to the service, I peeked in on a perfectly content little girl who was being cuddled and napping on a completely competent woman. During the songs I had almost started crying and could feel the anxiety building up inside me. Greg told me to just go get her, so I did. Before heading into church I changed her diaper. The woman asked "Is this your first?" We go to a large church so I didn't expect her to know about the other girls but it still shocked me. Was I acting that worried? Yes I was! I explained to her that I wasn't always this way but we had a baby die last May so I do not want to let this one go too long. Not sure where that boldness came from but it came out and I could tell she understood.
As I was walking out, another mom said "You act like this is your first one." I just kept going and wanted to shout, "It is the first one after having a baby die in my arms!" Luckily I had already calmed back down so I had plenty of self control. {I should insert that I was not having a mental breakdown or sweating or freaking out on anyone, just overworried}
After getting Claire back to church with Greg and myself, I was able to take in the sermon. The first slide that pops up shows the topic, Fear/Anxiety....awesome....couldn't be better timing. Then the pastor starts talking about fear/anxiety/worry and I am getting nudged by my husband, who then falls asleep :P Anyway, I get it God.
I have not always been this way. I considered myself a planner and goal oriented but not neurotic. I used to be carefree, spontaneous and alot of fun always. Some of that was tamed when having the first two girls but just the healthy amount, because who wants a mom that is jumping on motorcycles with total strangers? (another story for another day!) Then the unthinkable happened. I was told I was carrying a baby that was going to die, if not inside of me then shortly after she was born, and she did. This planted the seed of fear that I have been unable to shake since.
This verse was shared with us today, which I have heard before but today I actually HEARD it. Not only will I think back on this, I will make it my prayer for my life, not just my overprotective parenting.
"For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control" 2 Timothy 1:7

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Balloon Release and Baby Dust

It has been a long time since blogging on this blog, not that I have not tried. I have several posts that I started and one even finished but could not publish it. I don't know whether I am tired of sharing my grief or feel like others would be tired of hearing about it. The grief is not fun, some times I feel like it is so easy but then a huge wave comes rushing over me and in the end, I just want my baby here with us.
The entire month of October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness and Saturday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day. Originally we had planned to go to a big event in Minnesota but adding a new baby with poor planning does not make a big trip happen! Instead we planned a small balloon release at the cemetery which turned out very nice. There were several women that had been touched by miscarraige or infant death that were able to attend while others sent pictures of balloons they had released from other areas. We had gotten 10 balloons and they all ended up traveling together since the cards knotted up!

I had entered a drawing for a free signed copy of the new book Baby Dust by Deanna Roy. Saturday afternoon I came home and it was in the mailbox. I was so excited to get it and opened it to read just a few pages. Before I knew it, I was over 100 pages into it! I had to put it up for awhile to feed my family but after the girls went to bed I jumped right back into it. Greg was watching the Cardinals so he did not mind and I finished the book that evening! Needless to say, I really enjoyed this book. There were so many parts where I was just thinking, "I have totally been there!" It touches on the lives of 5 women who have all been affected by the loss of a baby in some way. All of their situations were different but they were united through the grief of their babies. Thank you to Honoring Our Angels Blog for the wonderful gift :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Olivia's 1st Birthday

Better late than never? Olivia's first birthday was May 12th and I have managed to completely skip blogging about her birthday. Blogger had been down when I first tried and my physically and emotionally demanding pregnancy has kept me away from blogging. Leading up to her birthday, the entire month before, I grieved like I had not grieved since losing her. I found myself crying and breaking down ALL the time, in the most uncomfortable of situations. Needless to say, I was nervous about her actual birthday and how difficult it would be. I had plans and ideas of how I had wanted the day to go and let them fall to the side because I honestly did not want to have to deal with it. In the end, I could not have been happier with how her birthday turned out.

When May 12th rolled around I was again refilled by the peace that only God could provide. It was wonderful to just have a day for her where it was nothing was expected of us as parents to do anything except think of Olivia. There were sad moments and tears but mostly celebrating her life and how great our lives really have become since she was part of it. Except Greg taking the day off, it was a normal weekday routine with our special remembrances of Olivia worked in as part of our day, just like if she were here with us. We sent the girls to preschool in the morning without reminding them it was Olivia's birthday, I was worried for the teachers trying to diffuse an awkward situation with 20 preschoolers asking questions about death and heaven without warning. Greg and I were able to go to Effingham to get balloons for the balloon release and the ice cream cake without kids. It was a miracle that the balloons fit in our car! I seriously underestimated how big 25 helium balloons would be and was so glad the girls were not with us for that!

We had just enough time to get balloons and cake in the house and then right back to the school to pick up the girls. I love that life still continues, no matter how some moments I wish it wouldn't! At the school Makayla did not have her glasses on her face (that we had just had fixed the day before!), the details are still fuzzy but too many kids going down one slide = glasses bent up! Thankfully the lenses were still intact! We also had another accident report for Hannah, she fell off of something on the playground. This might sound insensitive but I am immune at this point, I'm sure she set a record for accident reports sent home!

Once we got them in the car they were excited when we reminded them it was Olivia's birthday. I love that, to them she is their sister and they were ready to celebrate! We went to the cemetery after lunch for the balloon release. Hannah was too excited and let her balloons go early, she did get more though.

After the balloon release the girls went to dance class, where Hannah and another girl bumped heads resulting in a big swollen black eye for the other girl....did I mention that life still happened this day?? We went back to town in the evening and ate dinner out with just the 4 of us. There is a local restaurant that sends out coupons for birthdays and since May is our month, we had a coupon from Makayla's birthday. The waitress asked Makayla if she was the birthday girl and both Makayla and looked at us cautiously. Makayla told her "I'm not the birthday girl." I quickly diverted that and reminded Makayla that it WAS her birthday last week and the waitress was gone. After dinner we came home ate the icecream cake. The girls sang a sweet version of Happy Birthday to Olivia that they made up on their own.

Throughout the day we had received many messages, some cards and gifts that were so appreciated! It was nice to know that we were not remembering Olivia alone. My friend Yolanda brought by a copy of "Heaven is For Real." I also received an Olivia pendent from another baby loss mom, Kara. I plan to make it into a keychain but for now it's in my kitchen window so I see it everytime I do dishes (which is 2-3 times a day!).

Holly sent me a picture of Olivia's name.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mothers Day and First Birthday

I had no idea that Mother's Day would have become so difficult. It was a day that I found myself juggling the feelings of how lucky I am to have 2 beautiful healthy daughters and the pain of missing Olivia. I have found a way, in my daily life, to balance these feelings. Not a day goes by that I do not think of Olivia, she is just part of Greg and me but when I think of her it is not always sad or full of grief. The pain of losing her is so magnified on the special days like Christmas and Mother's Day.

It was difficult to even get out of the house on Sunday but I did it. I am so thankful for Makayla and Hannah, their joy for everything is what helped me survive Mother's Day. They were just excited to celebrate something. We went to church and met my grandma and Greg's parents for lunch. I found myself fighting back tears every time someone told me Happy Mother's Day (unless it was coming from Makayla and Hannah). Of course I did not share that with anyone, it's awkward and I really did not want to hear "At least you still have 2 healthy children." Yes, I have heard it and while I love them and so grateful I have been given the opportunity to raise them, we have had 3 children, not 2. It is not easier that I knew she was going to die or that she lived an hour instead of years, it still hurts.

I hope Mother's Day gets easier in the coming years. I'm sure since it was the first one without Olivia it was so much more difficult and her 1st birthday is the same week. Tomorrow is her birthday and I hope the day is peaceful for us. Greg is taking the day off and we are still not sure what we will be doing. I have ordered some balloons for a balloon release at the cemetery and will probably get an icecream cake because I am addicted to them. I would really love to just go somewhere with the girls and get away so we will see what we can do, weather permitting!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tired of Grieving

As we approach Olivia's first birthday I am overwhelmed by the feeling that I am just tired of grieving. It is something I have no control over. It does not consume my every moment but I know this will never go away.

Our little family is full of joy and happiness. We have continued with our lives, continued to move forward and LIVE while keeping Olivia's memory alive but I just wish it wasn't this way. We shouldn't be a "little family," we are having a fourth daughter, not a third! I refuse to leave her out when asked the number of children we have, something I was not always comfortable with. BUT I am tired of this. I do not want to have to skim over Olivia's age ("would have been 1 in May") and quickly change the subject as if it is just a trivial detail in our family's history. I do not want to get in a conversation every time I mention her to someone new about why she is not here with us. I just want her here.

I know I should be celebrating the time we did have with her, rather than focusing on how much we are missing out on. She had 34 weeks of life inside of me and 58 minutes on this earth! What a celebration, her life could have easily ended at 13 weeks based on the advice of a specialist. She could have passed at anytime before I went into labor or even not survived the trauma of her delivery but we were given so much more! She was the most active baby I have ever had, she continued to move throughout the entire labor, almost letting me know she was still here. I know that every life has a purpose but what purpose does it serve to be born to die so soon? And if there is a purpose for all of this, why was our daughter the one who had to be sacrificed for that purpose? Someday I will know, until then, I will hold on to that 58 minutes and know that her life mattered.

I just want so badly to be planning a one year old's birthday party rather than something to remember her on May 12th. I want to pick out a fun birthday cake and watch her eat it, not try to decide if we should have a cake for us and the girls. I want to pick out an outfit and special toy, not try to bring myself to work on the design for her headstone.

The grief always has a way of representing itself when least expected. I look at pictures of us as a family since last May and know there is one more and she is not here. Strangers will tell us that our girls are cute or we have a great family and I just want to scream "There is one more! This is not our whole family!"

I'm just so tired of it all, I do not want to be part of this family, the baby loss community. I love the women I have met through this pain, I am glad we have the internet to connect. I am glad we do not have to grieve alone or silently.

With all of that being said, I still believe I would do it all again. This is a whole different subject and post but as much as I HATE that this happened to our family, I know that the blessings from this will far outweigh the pain. I know that even if I do not understand these sufferings in this lifetime, God has a plan and a purpose and it is so much greater than I will ever comprehend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

11 months, Prayer request!

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Today is 11 months since we were blessed to hold our little girl. How I wish she were right here with me and I was blogging about how close she was to walking or already doing so. Makayla walked at 10.5 months and Hannah at 11 months so I have a feeling Olivia would be keeping up with them by now.

Even as I sit here trying to blog about Olivia, my heart is so heavy for other mothers and their journeys. Another mother, Daphne, is celebrating her twins Harper and Olivia's 1st birthday. Harper is here on earth, a continuous joy to her family while her Olivia, who also had anencephaly ,is celebrating her birthday in heaven.

There is another mother though, Allison, that just found out that her daughter has anencephaly today. I can hardly even type this part through tears because this is not the first time she is experiencing this. Her daughter, VeraAnn, was also diagnosed with anencephaly and was born in November, 2009. She and her husband have 2 healthy daughters so why this is happening for a second time, God only knows. Although I have not gotten to know Allison well, it still breaks my heart as if she was a sister that I was raised with. There is a bond between mothers in the baby loss community and our hearts ache for eachother as much as they rejoice over good news. Some people are already commenting "sorry for your loss." For now, as far as I know, her daughter is still growing inside of her. She is not lost, her life is still as valuable as any other, no matter how short it will be. I cannot imagine how difficult the next weeks and months are going to be for this family, preparing to bury a baby once again.

There is so much fear in a pregnancy after you lose one child. People that have not experienced it try to reassure you that it won't happen again, but it does happen again. I am trying so hard to not sit here and question God, I want to know WHY??? Why does this have to happen even once and after it does, why would the same family have to go through it all over again? I know his plan is greater than I could ever imagine and I will never understand "why" these things happen until I leave this imperfect world. Please pray that this family will be surrounded by God's love, comfort, strength and peace as they try to navigate this pregnancy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Remembering Together Bouquet Swap

I just stumbled across this page through Holly's Caring for Carleigh page tonight and I am very excited to participate in it.

The Remembering Together Bouquet Swap is for baby loss mothers to swap a floral inspired craft with eachother for Mother's Day. Check out the blog, there is plenty of info there. I am not the craftiest person but I love this idea and cannot wait for the name to be sent to me! The deadline to sign up is April 10th. If you cannot access the link, there is a facebook page that you can "like" and start there.

When I first saw this I messaged about 15 other mothers, then decided it would be easier to post this way.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


About a week and a half ago, a Saturday night, I decided for some reason to pull out Olivia's things that we had brought home from the hospital. I had been sitting on the couch, feeling Claire move and I suddenly became terrified, remembering leaving the hospital without my baby. What if it all happened again? What if this baby grows and thrives and suddenly stops? I was consumed with fear and every movement was making it worse. I did not want to feel her move, at that moment I did not want to become attached to this little person that was not even fully developed. I was afraid of loving her and losing her too. The truth is though, it is too late to worry about becoming attached or loving her, we have loved her since she was just 2 pink lines on a stick.

So I pulled out Olivia's belongings and stared at the tiny little pile in front of me. We have a little pink outfit that she wore that the hospital gave us. We had taken two outfits, one was too big and the other she was buried in. There is a blanket that came with her outfit, the hat she wore, her hospital bracelets, the hospital birth certificate, the card with her information on it and her hand and foot prints. I just stared at her stuff thinking about how horrible it is to go into a hospital with so much life still growing inside, when she left the hospital in was in a body bag probably the size of a duffle bag.

I took a hot bath, which usually calms me down but I could not stop crying through the whole thing. The pain was as real as the day we found out Olivia would die, the nights we would lay in bed and wonder how we would get through it. As real as laying in the hospital bed waiting to deliver her and just praying that she would be born alive.

I had almost completely written off doing any Bible reading or devotion but decided it couldn't hurt me anymore than what I was already feeling. I'm not even sure it was the right day but the verse said "Do not be afraid, for I am with you (Isaiah 43:5)" Since the devotional I had opened was for couples, the extra stuff had nothing to do with how I was feeling so I went to that verse in the Bible. To my surprise, when I opened to Isaiah, the page I was going to was marked with the ribbon bookmark. I read the verse then went back to the beginning of the chapter and stopped when I read the 2nd verse:

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze
(Isaiah 43:2)

I instantly knew that God had provided that verse for me to read that night. I laid in bed thinking about my biggest fear with this pregnancy, losing another baby. I decided I can either allow my fears to consume all the joy that this new life is bringing to our family or I can enjoy my baby now. I am choosing to enjoy this pregnancy, Claire is kicking the computer as I type! I do not know what will happen tomorrow but for today everything is good and I will be satisfied in knowing that even if the worst would happen, the waters will not sweep over me. Greg and I, along with too many other parents, have walked this road before. We all come through in the end because that is what we have to do and God provides the comfort and strength to allow us to move forward as many times as we need it.

It took about a week to push my fears out but each time I began to worry I thought of these two verses. Whatever fear I might have with our children, work, finances I remind myself of Isaiah 43:5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I know that I cannot navigate this life alone so now is not the time to start trying!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's been awhile

It's been awhile since I have posted on my blogs. Over four weeks since we have announced the expectany of baby #4 on our family blog. For some reason, it just seems more difficult to seperate the feelings of grief and the feelings of pregnancy but I think they might just have to coexist, they are both a part of me.

I am now 16 weeks and 3 days pregnant with this new little bundle which we are overjoyed about but also very guarded. We do know that this baby does not have anencephaly. This has been followed up with comments of "you must be so relieved now," "now you can start working on the nursery," "I bet you are hoping for a boy," and the list goes on and on of comments that I can respond to and really make an awkward situation.

"You must be so relieved." That's a loaded one, while I do feel relieved that this baby does not have anencephaly, I also am very aware that I have a long road before he/she is born and how many other things could go wrong before that. I almost feel as if I am doubting that God will bless us with another living child. I know that I am not, I just know that nothing in this life is gauranteed because we want it to happen or we "deserve" it. One bad outcome will not shield us from further pain this side of heaven, we are in a fallen world and there will be suffering even if we do not "deserve" it. So yes, while I am relieved, I continue to pray that this baby will be born healthy and our faith will not have to be tested again by losing another child.

That seems to roll right into the next comment "now you can start working on the nursery." Definitely not. I am not sure I will want to put it together before we bring the baby home quite honestly. Some days I am just ready to buy stuff and get started but most days I cannot imagine putting together a nursery just to come home empty handed again. In less than 4 weeks we will have another ultrasound to determine all other organs are fully functioning, rule out other NTDs and the GENDER. I am so excited to know, I am not a supporter of waiting till the baby comes out. Do not tell me it's the one last surprise in life, I am still surprised when I come home and Greg has cleaned up the house, I do not need to wait for a baby to come out for to be surprised. (No offense to others who prefer to wait, that is your decision, go you!) I think knowing the gender will help me move forward in preparing for this baby whatever it may be!

How appropriate to follow with my final comment, "I bet you are hoping for a boy." I know that nobody means anything by this but it stings every single time. This is the first time I can honestly say I do not care what this baby is as long as it is healthy. With Makayla and Hannah, I wanted girls, period. And I have my girls. With Olivia, I/we really wanted a boy, preferably twin boys but one would have been fine. Looking back, I would have taken 100 girls as long as they were all healthy and in my arms. I think it's about time to start buying some blue in our house but if pink is once again in our future, that will be perfect too. We have already picked a girl name, but cannot figure out a boy name (I have my boy name but Greg is not completely sold).

I'm not sure if this post is completely tied together but I have missed my blogger world and cannot wait to catch up with everyone. I have not forgotten you guys, I have just needed to step back for awhile.

I feel as if I should add that I am indeed excited for this pregnancy, it just comes with a whole new level of emotions when following the loss of Olivia. The due dates are about a month apart and the milestones almost fall together on the calendar. The reminders are there daily but I am sure they would be whether I was pregnant again or not.