Saturday, November 10, 2012


I never doubted that I would be a mother. Ever. I always knew I would have kids and more than one. I did start wondering if I'd ever have a daughter. And I did. But the one thing I never considered was that I'd be a mother to a dead child. A dead daughter. I can't wrap my mind around it. How did this happen to me? My heart hurts. So badly. 15 months ago, when she died I wondered how I was going to survive. I don't know how I have, but I have. Things are different this year, than last.. A year ago, I was a mess and there were days that I couldn't get off of the couch. My boys watched too much tv and saw their mom cry too much. Bills were paid late, simply because I was too much of an unorganized mess to remember to pay them. I've learned to deal with all of it and I don't sit around and cry, I hardly ever sit down, let alone do nothing but sit on the couch.Housework gets done and bills get paid.Things appear "normal". None of this is to say that it's any easier. I have found ways to cope. But lately I don't know why, but my heart feels so heavy. I feel the suffocating grief inching its way back...I don't know what is triggering it, it is only the last week or so, I just don't know. I long for my baby girl. So much lately. I just miss her.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Capture Your Grief Catch up.days 4&5

Wow, the days have just been getting away from me. We are just so busy and have had a few sick little ones. Thankfully everyone seems to be on the mend. Now to catch up.
Day 4. Most Treasured Item.
I had thought of this one a lot. I have so many treasured items of Grace's it is so hard to pick just one.
I picked this though, because I don't feel like I can ever be without it. I put this necklace on the day the funeral home gave it back to me after the cremation was finished and haven't been without it since. You see, this necklace is more than just a symbol of my love for her, it holds a small portion of her remains inside. It comforts me. It strengthens me. It means so much to me to have her so close to my heart.

Day 5. Memorial. Something that has been done as a memorial to your child.
In Grace's memory, we have planted a garden at our home. Our friends had a tree planted at a nearby park. Adam has a tattoo.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Capture Your Grief day 3. Self portrait after loss

This was just a few weeks after Grace died. Something that has always stuck with me was something my best friend said to me after Grace's funeral. She told me that even though I could smile, hold a conversation and even laugh, my eyes were sad. I've come to find out, over this journey that it's a lot easier to fake a smile than I ever realized..

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month & Capture your grief

 Did you know that October is Pregnancy and infant loss awareness month? . This is not something that in our society, we like to talk and hear about. It is easier for someone to acknowlege that a baby who lived, has died than people to talk about miscarriage, or stillbirth. I'm not sure why. This month, though we will strive to bring awareness to the fact that babies die, both inside and outside the womb and that mothers endure the heartache of pregnany loss, miscarriage.Two years ago I didn't know that October was PAIL awareness month. I had not yet experienced either one. And I was certain I never would. Two years ago, in October I was pregnant with my fourth child, my fourth pregnancy. I never would have imagined that now in October 2012 I would have four children at home, but have been pregnant 6 times. I have experienced infant loss, as well as a pregnancy loss. A short 5.5 weeks after Grace died, I discovered, on my birthday that I was very unexpectedly pregnant. If I'm to be honest, I was devastated. I had just lost Grace, I was not at all ready to have another baby. It was a Thursday and though it was such a shock, by Monday morning I was feeling much better. Over the weekend I had just thought and thought and let myself warm to the idea, I had started to be actually happy about bringing another baby into our family and felt that maybe I was strong enough to do it. I felt hope. Very early Tuesday morning, much like so many miscarriage stories, I began to bleed.On my daughters 6 month birthday, I miscarried my 5th pregnancy.  It was so so heartbreaking. Of course, I felt terribly guilty that it was happening because of my initial reaction.
It was a very early loss, only between 4 and 5 weeks likely but it was a loss nonetheless.
In this month, I encourage you to speak out about your losses, to let the world know you have babies, who you miss, who you love, who you wanted so very much. If you have not had any losses at all, acknowledge those who have. Do something nice for a friend who is suffering. Make a meal, bring coffee, send a card or even just a text or email. "I am thinking of you, and your beautiful babies". Any acknowledgement makes a difference.
During this month, I will participate in  Capture Your Grief 2012 at
I missed taking a picture yesterday, the subject yesterday was "sunrise" and I did not see the sunrise and though I could have taken a different picture, I did not. Today the subject is a picture of before loss.
This picture was taken just a few weeks before I became pregnant with Grace. We were so happy. We had decided on a whim to drive up to Boston for the weekend. We just had so much fun with our kids and I remember being so very happy. Feeling like our lives were so full. We were just a few weeks away from leaving the Navy and I knew our lives were going to change. So much. I had no idea how so very different things were going to become. I very very often think of this trip, it was a wonderful time. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I never intended on going this long without updating. I created this blog when Grace was a day or two old so that I could easily keep everyone informed about her, since I did not have the time or energy to relay what was going on numerous times. When she died, I decided to continue updating periodically when I felt like it, in hopes that maybe I might reach someone who needed it. That maybe even though, ultimately she didn't survive CDH, her story may help someone. I know there are many blogs that have helped me through this process. I haven't written in so long because I just could not. I have so many drafts that I haven't finished or published since March.
A lot of it has to do with time, I haven't had a lot of time or energy to update but moreso it has to do with me. I somehow became so angry, so sad, so scared and upset that when I would write on here, it was just anger and sorrow. I was so hopeless. I felt like anything that I typed, no matter what the actual words, just came out as a scream. That's all I felt like doing. Screaming. In pain, sorrow, anger, frustration, confusion etc.
My daughter died. I will never again, this side of Heaven, hold her, touch her, hear her beautiful cry. I have never heard the words "I love you mommy" come from her mouth. I've never heard a single word spoken from her. There are SO many things I never got and never will get and somedays it is SO hard to handle. I spent much of the spring and summer just focused on everything I didn't and won't get.It just doesn't make sense. With every fiber of my being, I love that baby girl.I wanted her more than words could ever explain. So, I got into a huge funk and couldn't get out. I would try and then something else would just knock me back into it. A well meaning stranger who would unkowingly comment on my 3 boys and obviously pregnant belly "I sure hope you're having a girl this time" or "all boys?! No girls?" and because I didn't want to make them feel bad, I'd just smile and say we were having another boy or say, yes all boys. And then desperately try to hold it together. Sometimes failing.
In preparation for our new son, we needed to paint Grace's room, to become his room. I couldn't fathom the thought at first, it made me sick. But as time went on, I grew excited because I could not wait to meet him, to bring him into our family. Always missing her, but already so in love with him. I was not at all prepared for the downward spiral of grief I fell into when we did paint the room. It was painful. I kept thinking "it's not fair, I want them both. I want this little boy so so much, but I want Grace too. I want to be trying to figure out how to fit 5 kids between 3 bedrooms, preparing for 2 kids under 2 again!" It was all just too hard. I was excited and happy for him, but always in the back of my mind I was so scared to lose him. I don't even think I realized how scared I was until, I was in labor and now.
I think I spent my pregnancy confused, how can I go on to have another baby, how can I be happy and excited and hopeful when my daughter is dead. That is for most mothers the worst fear, I know it was always mine. And now it is realized. So as I got closer and closer to my fifth child's birth and further and further from my fourth child's life, I became more and more confused and upset because I wanted, so badly to not let this baby live in Grace's shadow. How could I hold him and how could he CRY at birth, without me immediately thinking of her? How could I rejoice in him, without grieving her? They both are vital, they both need to happen, but how do they exist with each other? Would people think, would Grace think that because I was so in love with this little boy, because I was so happy and excited about him, that I had moved on? That the first thought in my head and feeling in my heart, always, was no longer her? The feeling of "it's not fair, I want BOTH of them" always always came back.
And then there was again the fear. Despite all the high risk ultrasounds I had with him, what if at birth it all went wrong again? What if they were looking so closely for CDH (Grace was not diagnosed until she was born, so we wanted to make sure it didn't happen again) that they missed something else? What if they didn't look at her heart closely enough because they were too focused on her diaphragm?
All of it, was just too much. I don't think anyone at all knew how hard of a time I was having, I couldn't let anyone know.. I couldn't blog about it, I couldn't talk about it. I couldn't even pray about it most of the time. Every so often I could type on messenger with a close friend about it, and I'm thankful for that. People would ask if I was nervous, or if I was scared or how I felt etc, and all I could say was "im fine" "i know he's healthy" but I didnt really believe it.
I had no need to be afraid. No need to even worry.
I was sent this gift, this amazing gift that was hand picked by God and Grace. A gift to show me, how much hope there still is, to help me out of the pit of grief that I had found myself in. The day my fourth son was born, I felt my daughters prescence stronger than I ever had. A friend has told me that Grace does not want her death to defeat me, and I had forgotten. During my pregnancy I was letting it defeat me. Grace reminded me of that, and every single time I look at her baby brother, I know both God and Grace have never once left me or my family. They've been by my side the entire time.
My grief and my joy, they can live together. Somehow, they do exist together and I am going to be ok. My family is going to be ok.
Caleb Gracen has been such a blessing to me. I began suffocating in sadness and he has shown me, it's ok to breathe. His sister lent him her cheeks and her attitude and I know that when he fixes his eyes on her pictures, he knows her. I know she helped him on his journey to our family.
                                                        Caleb Gracen 7/31/2012

                                              4 boys and 1 beautiful girl. I am blessed.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

He makes beautiful things..

My sweet Grace, remains forever, the most beautiful girl in the world. Her life, everything about her, she was beauty. That He created. I miss her, every second of every day. This life without her gets easier at times and harder at others. Its really all very strange and hard to explain unless you've lived it.
When she was alive, I loved this song, I felt it was "hers". After she died, I still love it, it has just taken a different meaning.

All this pain..
I wonder if I'll ever find my way.
I wonder if my life could really change, at all.
All this earth..
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come up from this ground, at all?

You make beautiful things,
You make beautiful things out of dust.
You make beautiful things,
You make beautiful things out of us.

All around,
Hope is springing up from this old ground.
Out of chaos, life is being found in You.

He makes beautiful things. There is Hope, even in the chaos and in the pain. He is making this beautiful thing currently:
This is Grace's little brother. He is 20 wks 5 days along, growing exactly as he should. He is due only 12 short days before the first anniversary of his beautiful big sister's death. Expecting him, makes not having Grace so much harder but I am so much more aware of what a miracle he is.  I can feel him kicking, a year ago, it was her I felt kicking. I am thrilled, beyond belief that he is healthy, that we are not facing another NICU stay, another possibility of planning another funeral.
Preparing for him, means moving forward from Grace in a way I am not and haven't been ready to and never could really foresee a time when I would be ready. He can't wear any of Grace's pink clothes, he can't sleep in Grace's lavendar room. He can't ride around in Grace's pink and flowery stroller and carseat. All things I'm still clinging to, because they were hers. I don't know what I'm going to do with her things, but I know, truly that putting them away is important, a necessary step in the "healing process"
We are so so so thankful for this beautiful blessing. So thankful he is healthy, I can't wait to meet him.
Please continue to keep our family in your prayers.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

7 mos yesterday

Yesterday marked 7 mos since Grace died. I cannot believe how quickly time is going by. Her birthday is coming up and somedays, I don't think I can handle it passing without her. Somedays, I wonder how I'll even be able to do anything but cry that day. But I know I will. I miss her, I miss the weight of her in my arms so much. The feel of her sweet little head and chubby cheeks on my chest.I miss my arms going numb and struggling to stay awake after holding her for hours. That little girl was like instant sleep dust when you held her, she'd fall asleep and very shortly you'd find yourself struggling to stay awake unless you had something else to keep you occupied! I miss the way she'd wake up, and just look up at you, with the cutest look ever. I miss her smell and the way that she always would hold on to the hood strings of my sweatshirts, and the way that she would sit and finger the ruffles on the fronts of her outfits. I can't wait to see her again.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Miss her so much..

Just missing my girl so much and thought I'd share some pictures. What a precious baby she was.

But for comparrison, look how far she had come! She was truly the most amazing child I will ever meet.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

6 months

Today marks 6 months since my beautiful girl went to heaven. Six whole months without her. Six months is half a year. I don't know, it just feels like such a big thing. I miss her so much. I never will stop, but it's not destroying me daily and for that I am so thankful. Funnily, after I posted an update two posts ago, I started off on a rough patch. That's what grief is these days, going along with life and suddenly you've hit a rough patch. Might be a day, might even be an hour or it may last days or a week. Usually for me, it won't stick around longer than a week. It's really strange though, there are things that I might think would trigger a rough patch but don't and then things that just hit me out of left field! I had a dr appt about a month ago where the dr was not outright rude or mean but her comments and her overall attitude regarding Grace and her death was just so surprising and when I think about it, I am surprised that it didn't just set me off onto a rough patch but I was fine. Then the other week I saw a woman pushing her baby in the same carseat/stroller combo we have for Grace, that we never got to use. Now, THAT was hard. THAT did make me cry like a baby. In my van. At the park. Grief is strange.
Anyhow,  I mentioned helping other CDH families. In memory of Grace's 1st birthday, March 27 I am collecting items to donate to CHERUBS for their Hope Totebags. CHERUBS is a wonderful support for CDH familes and babies. When you sign up as a member with them, they send you a Hope Totebag, many people get them while still expecting but since we didn't know Grace was sick until she was born we got ours a month or so later? A Hope Totebag is a canvas totebag with the CDH awareness ribbon on the front and it is filled with things that are useful to us CDH families. Though the things are useful and great, the sentiment behind sending each new family this gift is wonderful. The bags are filled and funded by donations. Each item donated has a sticker on it that says "donated in memory of" or "donated in Honor of".
Since I won't be spending money shopping for birthday gifts or time planning a party, I'm spending my time and money to donate in her memory and if you'd like you can help!
Items collected are:
*Travel sized lotions
*Travel sized hand sanitizers
*Travel sized tissues
*small journals/composition books
*small baby blankets, any material but wool
*baby hats/booties/mits
*disposable cameras
*baby hand/foot mold sets
*small picture frames
*refillable water bottles
*small holders for a lock of hair
*onesies/front snap baby shirts
*small teddy bears/stuffed animals
CHERUBS also includes wristbands and a CDH baby book and some awareness pins.
Here is a link to the Hope totebags site.
I will gladly drive up to an hour to pick up any items you wish to donate! We will collect until March 15th to give me enough time to sort and box everything up to send it to get to North Carolina by her birthday! Feel free to call or text or email if you'd like to donate! Thank you SO much!
(419)450-0120 or

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The questions and the guilt.

The questions and the guilt. Boy are they both heavy. I am for the most part better about both of those things. But I do want people to know that they aren't alone and are normal for feeling both of those. When Grace was first born, wow were there immediately questions and immediately guilt. "How is it possible that she has what you say? I had ultrasounds and was told she was healthy" "What did I do to cause it" etc etc. The first day we were at U of M, one of her surgeons told us that we needed to know that nothing anyone did caused this and for a moment it helped the guilt but then it just came back. Guilt over EVERYTHING. I'm not kidding. I had someone tell me how silly I was basically for my guilt. Guilt over the amount of coffee or pop I drank while pregnant with her, guilt over how much stress I had or how many moves we made where I HELPED move things. Guilt over not simply saying "I have this out of left field fear that something is wrong with my baby, can we check one more time?" Guilt over not delivering at a hospital with a NICU, because then maybe she would have been intubated sooner and she wouldn't have worked so hard to try to breathe. It just goes on and on. Then came the guilt regarding my sons. Guilt that I truly was not there for them, even if I was home, my focus was not them sadly. I couldn't, as hard as I tried be what they needed. My husband was awesome, when he was home, he took them to the pool, to the park to play, etc. When I was home I was constantly hooked to my pump or doing laundry or learning about CDH, or calling the hospital etc etc. And boy did I feel guilty. Guilty when I was with Grace at the hospital and not with them. I had great nurses tell me not to be, and it helped for a moment and then the guilt came back.
The constant questions too about why in the world she didn't make it. Why did she live for 4.5 mos only to die? Why did I leave her the last night I did? Why when my husband texted me the night before she died and asked if I thought he should stay since she wasn't going to sleep or leave since it was getting late, did I tell him I was sure she'd be fine if he wanted to head home? Why didn't I tell him to just stay till she fell asleep? Why do some babies with even worse odds than her make it and she didn't? Why couldn't they get her PPHN to ever get any better than it had? Why wasn't anyone at all concerened with her completely unchanged ECHO's from the time she came off ECMO until she died?
These are all true questions and guilt that I have felt over the last 10 months and they are all normal and ok. The hardest part of them though, is knowing that there is nothing to be guilty over. Nothing at all. Things happen and what happened to Grace was totally out of my control, the plan for her life was the same whether or not I drank coffee during my pregnancy. The plan was the same whether or not we knew she had CDH. It was never my plan and I do know that. If at any point I had done something intentionally to hurt her, then there should be guilt but I did not.
The questions, well they aren't for me to have answered. I have for the most part totally accepted that I really may never understand any of it, and that's ok. I'm not meant to.
So, don't beat yourself up with the guilt and the why's. They truly help noone!
Moving on to a different subject, please check back in a few days, I have an exciting opportunity to remember my beautiful girl for her birthday next month for anyone who wants to help other CDH families!  Details to follow!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy 10 month birthday, Amazing Grace!

*I started writing this yesterday, so the very begining is not entirely acurate now!*

10 months ago, I spent the better part of the day trying to decide if I was actually in labor or not. Finally around 11pm I listened to my husband when he said "please can we just go to the hospital, I don't want to be the one to deliver this baby" thank goodness I listened because Grace was born seven minutes after midnight. So tomorrow she would have been 10 months old, but to me the 26th and 27th are both special.
Something that makes me sad is, when I see a 10 month old baby I cannot even picture that as her. In my mind I will never be able to see her as any older than 4 mos 13 days. Sucking on her fingers. It makes me sad because I know it's a total sign that the world is moving on without her as I know it obviously has to. Not a second goes by still that I do not think of her or she is not in my heart. She is honestly the best thing that had ever happened to me. Losing her was the worst. But someone said to me after she died, something to the effect of "i pray for the time to come when having an angel will bring you more blessings than pain" and it didn't make alot of sense to me at the time because I just could NOT see a day ever coming when I might be able to say anything other than how incredibly sad and terrible it is to not have that little girl in my arms. But somehow that is happening. In a way I cannot even figure out how to put into words, your grief DOES change. When Grace first died, I'd wake up and it would litterally hurt to be awake. Hurt to have to get of bed and do every day things like laundry, dishes, meal planning etc when every fiber of my being was screaming out, "your daughter has died" and all I'd want to do is cry. Everything moved me to tears. Watching my oldest son play soccer about a month after Grace died, there was a girls team playing in the field next to his and I was sitting in between them. Suddenly all I could hear was the girls coach constantly yelling "way to go Grace, good job Grace etc" (Grace was apparently a good player) and I could not stop myself and I just started crying, silent tears just running down my face because suddenly it hit me "my Grace will never play soccer". A song would come on that would just make me sob and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't stop. I felt like I was seriously walking around in a fog, or sometimes like I was just watching my life play out but wasn't really in it. I wasn't at all who I was and had no idea how I'd ever be.
But without being able to say when, things have changed and you never even feel them coming. I will never in my life stop missing Grace. I will never in my life look at my children and wish with everything I have that she could be lined up with them. But somehow? These days, grief is not slowly eating away at MY life anymore. Someone else's baby does not give me the extreme anxiety it used to. A song on the radio can make me miss her, but does not send me into hysterics, causing me to wonder how I stayed on the road..If next soccer season, soccer Grace is playing by Tyler, I'll be sad I won't have a pink cleated, pigtailed player but I'll be able to hold it together. Grief no longer feels like an Elephant who will not stop sitting on my chest. There are obviously still bad days, there will never cease to be bad days. But they are not nearly every single day. I can have an entire day where even though, yes my heart aches to hold her, the fact that I can't does not control my day. I remember a day not long before Grace was born, Adam had taken the boys into the backyard to play while I was cooking dinner. We'd only lived in our house for a month or so and they'd not really played out there since it was winter. I stood in my kitchen watching from the window and I was just filled with such joy, watching the 4 most important males in my life playing and feeling the kicks of the sweetest girl and just being overwhelmed by how LUCKY I was and feeling so THANKFUL to have this life I was given. After she died I would sometimes think of that day and wonder if I'd ever truly feel that way again. I can say that yes, I can feel that way again.
I say I have no idea when the shift happened and I don't. BUT I know without a doubt HOW it happened. I am surviving the loss of my daughter because of my God. Yes there are alot of people on this earth who are helping me survive as well but each one has been put in my life by God.
Psalm 34:18 says:The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. And it is so true. He has never left my side, He's never been closer to me than now. Of course I've had days where I did not want to admit that, where I just wanted to be angry and bitter and you know what? That is OK too, God knows I'm not perfect and He can handle any emotion I may throw his way. I cannot understand why He would give me the most perfect little girl to become so incredibly attatched to, to want to keep more than anything and then take her from me. But I do understand that though I don't know it, there is a reason for it. I will continue to believe and know that God is good, all the time even if it makes NO sense. There is a song, Blessings by Laura Story, and this one part stands out to me:
We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

He KNOWS my pain. He knows the screams of my soul "please let me keep her, please leave her here, I love her" Every question, "why did you take her?" "why couldn't she stay" He knows. And He knows how it plays out even though I don't and so He reminds me that when I cannot possibly answer the questions to just trust Him, He knows what he is doing. He reminds me who I am. I still have alot to learn, I still have a long way to go and I am still not even close to being "ok" with my daughter's absence but I DO know that I named her Grace for a reason, I do know that my Grace and His grace have never left my side and, never will so I'm surviving and sometimes even thriving and I know that because of Him, I will continue to grow and "heal" (I will never truly heal but I believe someday my wound will not be open, it will have scarred and it will hurt but it will not be the same) because of the biggest lesson in grace He has ever taught me.
Happy 10 month birtday my beautiful girl. I wish I could hold you today but I am the luckiest mom on the planet to have you for a daughter. Thank you for blessing me with your life.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Brave Little Soul

I found this poem elsewhere and just thought it was SO beautiful and so wonderfully describing of my Grace.

The Brave Little Soul
By: John Alessi

Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, "Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?"

God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people's hearts." The little soul was confused. "What do you mean," he asked. God replied, "Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone."

The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, "The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this - it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer - to unlock this love - to create this miracle for the good of all humanity."

Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied. "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's hearts! I want to create that miracle!"

God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you". God and the brave soul shared a smile, and then embraced.

In parting, God said, "Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed." Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God's strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love.
Priorities became properly aligned.
People gave from their hearts.
Those that were always too busy found time.
Many began new spiritual journeys, some regained lost faith - many came back to God.
Parents hugged their children tighter.
Friends and family grew closer.
Old friends got together and new friendships were made.
Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together.
Everyone prayed.
Peace and love reigned.
Lives changed forever.
It was good.
The world was a better place.
The miracle had happened.
God was pleased.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year.

Wow 2012. When we rang in 2011 I was very pregnant with Grace, and so full of hope and joy over the new year. We had only just bought our first house, we were slowly settling in and we were getting ready for our baby girl. I thought 2011 was going to be such a GREAT year! I never in a million years could have envisioned how it really was. There truly were moments of greatness. I never thought that such a simple thing as holding your baby would be so highly emotional and amazing. When you sit by a baby's side for hours and hours a day for 7 long weeks and then the day comes you get to hold that baby it's amazing. When the day comes that it doesn't take 3 people to get that baby into your arms, you are allowed to just pick up your child as you please, well that's absolutely amazing. We celebrated things I'd never even knew were worth celebrating, never knew exisisted to celebrate. No more Versed, celebration! No more ECMO? Celebration! I never ever knew that anyone lived the life we did. Obviously I knew babies were in the NICU, obviously I knew babies were born with birth defects. But never once until I had Grace did I take it to heart, to understand at all what any of that meant.
2011 was a year of tremendous change. I will never in my life look at things the way I once did. My eyes are painfully open to the fact that babies are born already in heaven, that babies are born and are never taken to thier families home, babies are born and are never held in their loving parents arms until it is time to say goodbye. For a time, I couldn't wait to get out of 2011. To wash the bad taste out of my mouth and start anew. But you know what?
I wouldn't give a second of it back. If I woke up tomorrow and was somehow back to March 27th 2011 through August 9 2011 I'd do it over and over again. I got to spend an amazing 4.5 months with the absolute most amazing person I've ever been blessed to know. There's no way that throughout the rest of my life I will ever meet someone like Grace. There was so much more pain in those 4 months and 13 days than I have ever known but also so much more joy. Things that never brought joy, like sufficient urine output after days of just drops, or a chest tube output of only 10cc per shift instead of 100cc! An open lung! To some those things may sound silly but until I had Grace I never even thought to appreciate something as simple as a working human body. It's so effortless for us.
Usually when I look back on the year, I have memories and some or more prevalent than others. Some I'll remember longer than others. This year, 2011 has so many things I just will never forget. Not just the events but as I look back, I remember vividly as if I'm still there, certain conversations with certain surgeons, certain nurses, certain procedures and surgeries and I can remember without a doubt the exact way I felt. I can remember exact thoughts that were going through my mind. I will never forget them. 2011 was life changing. I can't say that for each and every year of my life.
Today I am stuck on one night. It was not long before Grace died. I had put her to bed and was getting ready to leave. I was gathering my things when I heard her, the absolute most beautiful sound, a sound each one of my babies has made and each time I just want to pick them up and snuggle them and never let them go. In her sleep, she laughed. Just a quick chuckle with a smile on her face. I will never forget that sound, so beautiful. I will never forget her beautiful cry, how amazing it was to hear it after so many weeks of being intubated. 
2011 was a year of great sadness but also great joy.
I can only hope that 2012 is a year of less sadness but just as much joy.