Tuesday, January 31, 2012

To The Stars

Another blogger has posted the poem below about loss. I think she wrote it herself and it touches me in a huge way. It's heartbreaking and beautiful and I understand it deep down.

For those who don't know, I graduated with an English degree and spent the majority of my four years in college writing - everything from short stories to poetry and songs. I love poetry. I wanted to post this one on my blog for myself to read and for others who have gone through a pregnancy loss or stillbirth. I think it's perfect and exactly what I would have written.

Someday soon, I hope to write something of my own, to share part of my art. That, paired with photography will hopefully help me continue healing as winter turns into spring.

hymn for him

my life
my other heart
my beloved
my most important creation
my transformation
my closest relation
my evolution
my progression and reflection
my expression of perfection
made out of all i had
i honor you with all that remains

you were my body and my future
you were wings
stretching from inside me
you were promise of life and flight
you were living, dancing Light.
you were mine
you were me.
not just part of me
but the best of me
all my life and energy
all my love.
all my love.
i’m told that i should just erase you
and the void will go away
and it’s simple to replace you
this is natural, they say
no one wants to hear about you
or the way it feels without you
but there has never been a more fierce love or bond

and now you’re gone

you were everything i wanted
now i’m empty, bleeding, haunted
but the whole world’s waiting for me to move on
and so
in my imagination
i release my great creation
to the stars
     to the stars
          to the stars

but i will never love another quite like this
i am your mother, you’re my wish
that very nearly did come true
and always, darling,
I Love You.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


(I stole the picture from my sister because I love it!)

My sweet nephew is 2 years old today! He really has been such a light in my life and I can't believe he has been with us for 2 whole years now. He is as ornery as a toddler his age is bound to be, but boy he can make me smile!

I love you Benny!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

All For You

A couple of special things happened recently. I have been gifted so much as of late - for both my healing heart and our babies' memory.

One of the people who has openly shared in my loss has been my mom. She talks about her grandbabies as if she knew them as well as I did. She reaches out and wants to keep their memory alive like I do. My mom recognizes M & A as babies, not a pregnancy or a miscarriage.

Having the twins' names written on a beach was something I thought of doing a while back. I came across a blog called Christian's Beach a month or so ago. It's written by a woman who lost her son and who wanted to reach out to others in pain by giving them a beautiful dedication. She lives near a beach in Australia and goes out each evening to write names in the sand to post on her webpage. It's a small but touching gesture to see your child's name somewhere beautiful and tangible. She does this for free, but requires a donation to have the jpeg photo sent to you for printing.

I never followed up on this, as I was still fumbling through my mess of a heart. Let's be honest, I still am.

My mom did this without my even mentioning it to her. She found the site all on her own and had M & A put on the list of children to be remembered.

On January 20th, Carly set out at sunset, in another part of the world, to honor our Michael and Alena. My mom made the donation so we could receive the rights to the prints for our memory book.

"At the end of the day, all the children of heaven come together to paint the colors of the sunset."

Thank you mom...for loving them as I loved them. For wanting them as we wanted them. For missing and remembering them in a way that touches my heart. M & A will live on as long as we give them time and space to be. You are helping me do that and I am grateful.

Also: one of my dear friends Katie was finally able to get us our belated Christmas gift. But moreover, it was a birthday present for the twins. A very thoughtful and heartfelt gift. Through it all, she's been a good friend and someone I have been able to open up to completely. She's let me talk about my pain and she's kept me distracted when I needed it. Katie was also one of the first people to ask to see pictures of the twins.

I wanted to give her a space on my blog to say Thank You for her continued support and care. And now for this beautiful gift to remember M & A.

I am gathering little by little, the pieces of my broken heart and with each tear I hope to come a fraction closer to being 'okay'. I will keep finding ways to love them and be their mommy even as they play as angels now. It's all I can do and it has to be enough.

Thank you to those who are helping me remember them.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

If I Could Turn Back Time

...I would do things better.

Looking back now on the time we spent with the twins, there are so many things I would do differently. Things that I wish I could have given them and words I should have said when I had the chance.

I have regrets about those short hours we spent with M & A. I just want to go back and do it all again.

If I had known ahead of time that they were going to be born that afternoon or if we had found them without a heartbeat at our next appointment, I could've had a little more time to digest all that would have to happen.

The way that it all happened, so quickly and suddenly, left me unable to come to terms with what was going to be our inevitable outcome. It felt like one second I was begging my husband to take me to the hospital and the next I was experiencing the end stages of labor, with the doctor telling me they weren't viable and wouldn't survive. And the next moment...I had my son and daughter in my arms.

I know I spent that morning and afternoon in shock and unable to process their passing. I cried, but it was in disbelief and confusion. In 12 hours I had gone from blissfully pregnant to handing over my children in a horrible goodbye. 12 hours may seem like a while to some, but I had spent the majority of it (until they were both sleeping in my arms) in denial. I thought up until the last moment that there was SOMETHING that could be done to stop the labor or save them. I didn't fully understand that they were gone: they had been alive on the ultrasound machine just before the delivery. They were there one moment and gone the next.

It was sort of like what my brain did during labor. It was a short labor, but the whole time my mind couldn't come around to the realization of what was really happening. I became dumb to all the things I knew about labor. The waves of contractions, the feeling of needing to go to the bathroom, the downward pressure. None of it registered with me. All I knew was that something was wrong and it was too early for me to be in labor. Any other thoughts were ignored.

I stayed in this denial through the end. They were too small...I couldn't be in labor...and if I was, then someone can give me drugs to stop it.

When they were born, I couldn't think straight. I let those around me make the decisions and tell me what was best. The only decision I remember making was that I only wanted to hold them together, not apart. They had to stay together. Even though at that point Michael was gone and Alena was still alive. They had grown side-by-side and they would be together till the end. That was the only 'fully aware' thought I could muster.

I needed to paint a picture of those hours so you can understand where my brain was at the time. It was fumbling around in my skull, refusing to accept that these two perfectly formed angels were no longer part of my living future. These two babies I had formed an intense bond with the moment I saw those two pink lines would never grow taller than 9.5 inches or weigh over 12 ounces. It wasn't something I knew how to come to terms with.

My time with them was a blur to me. I remember bits and pieces and how their tiny hands felt on my index finger. I remember my marveling at their tiny, perfect noses and sweet little lips. I remember the moment the nurse showed us their private parts and how I was so glad to know that they were exactly what we thought they were. I remember Mike holding them and the way he stared down at their faces, both in happiness and in grief - how he would go back and forth from crying to smiling. I remember telling the nurse that I didn't think Alena was breathing anymore when the life seemed to leave her. I knew it was coming after seeing Michael so still, but it broke my heart all over again to say goodbye to her.

We did take a little bit of time to take some pictures of them and for that I am grateful. But there are so many things I wish I would have done while we had the time. So many things I wasn't in the mindset to complete or even think of. Really all I could do is hold and look at them, trying to memorize every tiny feature. Anything beyond that would never have occurred to me.

And I wish it had.

Looking back now, I would have told them all the things I had meant to tell them at birth. I would have told them about their family, how they came to be, how long we waited for them and had loved them. I would have sang to them, just as I had while they were inside me.

I would have kissed them. I may have kissed my finger and pressed it to their foreheads, but I don't think I ever put my lips to their faces. I am not sure why and I wish I had that chance back.

I might have asked to bathe them or wrap them in their blanket myself.

And looking back, I should have allowed myself to be photographed with them. I just couldn't imagine looking back on those photos and seeing the grief and pain on our faces. I didn't think I could ever see my husband like that again, so I made certain we weren't in any of the pictures.
There are a lot of regrets about what I should have done, but I can't go back. I know that at the time, the shock was just too overwhelming to think so far in advance. I let myself off the hook for this, but I still wish I could turn back time.

Now I feel like I am trying to make up for it all after the fact. I am trying to remember, honor and love them in as many ways as I can. I've accepted that they're gone, but I still want to give them all of me...the way I would have if they had survived. I want to be the mother that I know I would have been, had they been able to come home with me full term.

Just because they didn't make it, doesn't mean that they don't deserve all the care and parenting I can give them now. It may not be the same attention and memories that they would have had, but they will be acknowledged and loved in every way I can imagine. It's all I can do and it doesn't feel like enough. It will never feel like enough, but each little thing makes me feel better.

This time in my life (3rd trimester) should have been all about them. Every purchase, every celebration, and every plan...that was what should have been. Even though they have passed on and my dreams have been irrevocably changed - this time is still all about them. That is not going to change.

My plans for the future have altered and I am no longer the same person I was just over 3 months ago, but this time in my life will remain theirs. As it always should have been.

After their original due date (a tentative Feb. 26th), I will try to look forward to a new chapter. A new plan.

I'll never be able to change what happened. I know that I will never for a moment forget the family we were supposed to be and I plan on keeping their memory alive, but I'm also hoping I can find a balance. Right now, that seems difficult and there is a lot of guilt involved in moving forward. So perhaps its just not the right time yet.

My eyes are searching for something ahead of me, while my heart is still firmly planted in October. It's a strange place to be, but each month that passes brings a few more smiles and some fragile hopes.

I will never 'get over it', but maybe I can get through it. With time, support, and memories of Michael and Alena, we will find the balance.

* Now is the time for de-lurking. If you read this blog and haven't commented, please do so I know you are here for support. I would love to know you are there.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Angel Tree List

Memory Trees

A tree will be planted by the Arbor Day Foundation in the Shasta-Trinity national forest for each Angel family on this list. In honor of my twins Michael and Alena – these ‘angel’ trees will grow together strong and beautiful, just as we will always see our children.

Some of these precious souls were lost in miscarriage while others were born pre-term or still. No matter the stage of loss, each child was wanted and loved with parents who are missing them every day. In memory and celebration of these perfect babies, a donation was made to dedicate 40 trees.

"There is no foot so small it cannot leave an imprint on this earth."

Baby Lily B . – October 2011

Baby Wolf – March 2010

Christy & Randy’s babies - 6/21/06, 6/20/07 & 6/8/11

Baby Elliot – March 30, 2011 to April 16, 2011

Baby Nathan, Malia, & Anthony – August 28, 2011

Baby Livvi – April 1, 2011

E & R’s Baby – July 25, 2008

Baby Scott ‘sprout’ – August 10, 2011

Baby Miller – August 22, 2011

Baby Vaux - April 2008 & two ectopic babies - Sept. 2008, July 2011

Baby Gavin – May 19, 2011

Baby DeFrias – December 12, 2009

Baby Allen – April 11, 2011

Baby Sofia & Avelina – August 1, 2011

Baby Shaw #1 and #2 – November 7, 2008 & September 10, 2009

Yagur babies – July 2008, October 2010, April 2011

Baby Gray – September 27, 2011

Aitken babies – October 2009, May 2010, December 2010

Baby S – December 3, 2009

Baby Aliya & Bennett – August 5, 2011

Baby Caleb - December 2008 & Caleb’s siblings – February 2011 & June 2011

Baby Isaac – April 3, 2011

Kelley’s babies – February 2011 & October 2011

Baby Astin 4/2010, Baby Ember 5/2010, Baby Poppy 2/2011, Baby Echo 6/2011, & Baby Raven 7/2011

Baby “Bean” – December 2011

Baby Andrew & Benjamin – October 12, 2011

Baby H – April 6, 2010

Rebecca’s babies – November 2011

Baby Hope – February 22, 2011

Baby Sara Elizabeth – June 26, 2006 & Baby Olivia Michelle – December 31, 2006

Baby William & Ethan – December 4, 2010

Shafer babies – August 2010, October 2010, November 2010

Robin twins – March 16, 2011

Baby Nathaniel, Kade, & Roanin – March 2010

Baby Goddard – August 12, 2010

Baby Lauren Joy – October 2011

Baby Colton – April 3, 2008

Hattie’s baby – December 2011

Denise & Adel’s baby – October 2011

Cristy & Grey’s baby – January 2012

"These are my footprints,
so perfect and so small.
These tiny footprints
never touched the ground at all.
Not one tiny footprint,
for now I have wings.
These tiny footprints were meant
for other things.
You will hear my tiny footprints,
in the patter of the rain.
Gentle drops like angel's tears,
of joy and not from pain.
You will see my tiny footprints,
in each butterflies' lazy dance.
I'll let you know I'm with you,
if you just give me the chance.
You will see my tiny footprints,
in the rustle of the leaves.
I will whisper names into the wind,
and call each one that grieves.
Most of all, these tiny footprints,
are found on Mommy and Daddy's hearts.
'Cause even though I'm gone now,
we'll never truly part."

This list made me sad just compiling it, but unfortunately it's our reality. I know the number of lost children out here in the blog world far exceeds the ones I've named...and I wish we were holding our babies instead of planting trees in their memory. Since there is nothing to be done about that fact, I'll have to find peace in doing what I can to show my love.
This is just the beginning.

Friday, January 6, 2012

101 Things

I am finally done with my list of goals for the next 2.75 years! It took forever.
I stole a couple ideas from bloggie friends and made-up a bunch of my own. I may end-up changing a few if I think of something way better since a couple of them are a little lame.

But my list is complete. I now have something healthy to focus on instead of the grief day in and day out. I want to continue to do things for my babies - things that I can remember and honor them by...but I need to do things for myself too.
Thus, the 1001 list.

I'll post a separate tab on my blog to store the list so you can continue to check on my progress and see what I have accomplished. I'll report some of these items on posts as well.

I hope that while I am in in this never-ending waiting game, I'll find some peace, joy, and healing.

101 in 1001 list!

The Mission: Complete 101 pre-set tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria: Tasks must be specific with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and somewhat challenging. They should be something you want to accomplish or that will benefit you or others in some way.

Why 1001 Days? Many people have created lists in the past – frequently simple goals such as new year’s resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a good amount of time because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as trips and outdoor activities.

Some common goal setting tips: 1) Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it. 2) Stay Focused. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress. 3) Welcome Failure. It presents the opportunity to learn and makes success more worthy. 4) Write down your goals. 5) Keep your goals in sight.

Here are my 101 ~

1. Make a pie from scratch. Crust and all.

2. Clean out and organize all closets in the house.

3. Organize our garage.

4. Lose 10 lbs.

5. Lose 20 lbs.

6. Bring home a baby.

7. Go to a Ballet or a play/theater performance.

8. Whiten my teeth.

9. Buy a new camera or new lenses.

10. Volunteer.

11. Get one massage a year (3 total).

12. Go to at least 5 counseling sessions with a therapist.

13. Spend a weekend in pajamas and watch the extended versions of LOTR.

14. Finish M & A’s memory scrap book.

15. Visit a firing/shooting range.

16. Buy some kind of home security ‘weapon’.

17. Host a holiday meal/party at our house.

18. Landscape front and back yards.

19. Replace the light fixtures in the house.

20. Invite family from Ohio to come stay with us.

21. Join a book club, even if I have to start it myself.

22. Donate clothes we no longer wear.

23. Don’t use the snooze button for one week.

24. Learn how to knit or crochet and make something for someone.

25. Update the picture frames for our walls, to be hanged.

26. Go one month without fast food.

27. Take a train somewhere.

28. Send a friend a surprise in the mail, just because.

29. Get new tires for my car.

30. Re-watch LOST.

31. Cut hair short again (about shoulder length).

32. Compliment one person a day for two weeks.

33. Go to one concert a year.

34. Donate at least one dollar to charity each time the option comes-up (like at the grocery store)

35. Go to Chopsticks dueling piano bar.

36. Buy a screen for the back door.

37. Make lunch for yourself for two weeks straight.

38. Walk Charlie every day for a week (at least 30 mins).

39. Write and send someone a letter.

40. Buy new knives (block set).

41. Take a vacation out of state.

42. Don’t log onto Facebook for two weeks.

43. Meet a blogger friend in person.

44. Make homemade cheesecake or Key lime pie.

45. Take a yoga class.

46. Take a short class in something (cake decorating, pottery, etc).

47. Drink at least 6 glasses of water a day for two weeks.

48. Read three non-fiction books.

49. Cancel Macy’s card.

50. Paint our upstairs bathroom.

51. Make photobooks for California and Mexico trips.

52. Replace front and back outside lights.

53. Plant veggie/flower gardens into new beds.

54. Start a conversation with a stranger.

55. Go to dinner at Teatro ZinZanni.

56. Make your own pizza.

57. Sponsor a needy child.

58. Go on a road trip.

59. Replace our front door.

60. Donate Blood.

61. Try three new foods.

62. Buy 5 “just because” gifts for people.

63. Make a point to celebrate a pregnancy announcement by someone I love.

64. Talk to an acquaintance about my story.

65. Raise money for a worthy cause.

66. Help husband build new computer.

67. Reconnect with someone I lost touch with.

68. Stay one night in a “tree house” hotel.

69. Get Charlie’s teeth cleaned by the vet in his 6th year.

70. Write a poem in my babies’ name.

71. Make a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of the babies lost.

72. Cook a nice/romantic dinner for Mike.

73. Sort through M & A’s things to be donated, sold, or kept.

74. Come out of the infertility closet completely.

75. Join a gym.

76. Offer to babysit my nephew once a month (for 6 months) so my sis & BIL can go out.

77. Forgive myself.

78. Learn a song on the guitar.

79. See a dermatologist about a couple of moles I have.

80. Make jewelry for someone.

81. Sell some of our DVD’s on craigs.list

82. Go back for acupuncture treatments.

83. Do something special every October 12th.

84. Go ice skating.

85. Catch a fish.

86. Organize our file cabinet.

87. Mount tv & move media to new storage.

88. Only buy U.S. made products for 3 months.

89. Play a video game all the way through.

90. Take Charlie dog on vacation with us.

91. Go golfing.

92. Be part of a flash mob.

93. Hike to see M & A each summer.

94. Go see the Titanic in 3D (April 2012)

95. Go to a county fair.

96. Fix and use hot tub.

97. Eat breakfast for dinner.

98. Eat dessert for dinner.

99. Watch favorite childhood films: Dark Crystal, Never Ending Story, Labrynth, Princess Bride & Drop Dead Fred.

100. Make 5 CD's for people you love and mail it to them.

101. Take a walk in the rain with someone.

Start date: January 4, 2012 End date: October 1,2014


Monday, January 2, 2012

Forward Momentum

Happy January everyone.
Just wanting to check in while I've got a day off and let you know that despite a difficult Christmas, my New Years celebration went well.

Mike and I met up with some close friends for a low-key house party about an hour away. The food and drinks were plentiful and the conversation flowed.

I thought about the babies often but made a point to keep the loss out of conversation for one full evening. Even when a friend asked me how I was doing, in that all-knowing tone. I haven't seen her since September and have not been able to go over the details of what happened with her, so I know she was probably concerned and curious about it all. But for just one night, I wanted to put my focus elsewhere and avoid the waterworks. So instead of answering, I changed the subject back to what our group had been discussing previously. I hope it didn't seem like I was shooing her away, but that question always leads to more of the same.

Something I was determined to avoid so I could attempt a joyful holiday.

Besides that, it was smooth sailing.

I was lucky enough to be surrounded by individuals who were all either single or married without kids. It's tough to come by these days, but I was grateful that I could avoid pregnancy and kid talk for a few precious hours. I miss the days when all conversation centered around vacations, home projects, books and entertainment. It was a nice break from the overload of sad topics I usually find myself in.

I don't really have resolutions this year, as it hasn't really worked well for me in the past. I have a few general goals for myself in the short term and I've been working on a list for the next few years. A couple of other bloggers I know are concentrating on 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days.

I like this idea! The list helps you to focus on doing things that you've wanted to complete for a while such as projects or goals. It also should benefit you in some way by either being practical or perhaps some sort of indulgence you have been denying yourself. Many of the things are going to push me to do something I can be proud of or maybe force me to experience something new and interesting.

It's a great idea and should give me plenty to look towards and achieve over the next 2.75 years. Something to focus on besides the all-encompassing 'baby making'. I can only control so much in that process...so having other things I can work towards to help me complete this next year (with or without a baby) will be beneficial.

Last year at the same time, I was trying to find my way back to happy. I was feeling out of control and sad...so I thought to myself...why not make a point to do things for myself on a regular basis? Things that will lead me to enjoying life again.

This 101 list is just what I need. It's true that some of the things may not be exactly 'enjoyable', but they will at least be something that I will be glad about accomplishing.

I will post this list as soon as I can get it finished. I am hoping for this week.

Beyond that - I am just getting my other list ready to send off to The Arbor Day Foundation. The one that will honor all the lost babies of those I know and love.

It's a bit sad how long that list is in fact growing. I hate that so many of us have had to lose something as precious as a baby.

If you have lost a pregnancy - whether it be by miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss - please comment below this post with the name of your baby(ies) and their date of 'birth'. I'll be having trees planted together in a national forest for each baby loved and lost. I'll be turning in my list and donation to ADF in about a week's time.

I want to include as many of Michael and Alena's friends as possible so their trees can all grow strong a beautiful together.

The Christmas decorations are put away, my surgery is scheduled (yes my uterus now needs surgery)...and all I can do at the moment is focus on little things to bring happiness right now. Losing a few pounds and completing a couple of projects are already on my short list, so I'll start with that.

Thank you for your amazing encouragement. I still have a long way to go in this process, but I am ready to move toward hope...little by little.
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