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!