capture your grief – day 8

Day 8: Jewelry

This is a bracelet that my sweet sister made for my after Felix died. She had made one for me after each of the kids was born. She made this and gave it to me so I could wear it at his funeral. She chose the beads because they look like tears. I love it. So thoughtful and so representative of how we all felt.

capture your grief – day 7

Day 7: What TO Say

The most important… “I’m so sorry.” Or even “I’m sorry” will do.

The second most important… say their names. Talk about them. I always think and speak of them so you don’t have to be afraid to do it. You won’t drudge up hurts or anything – I wear those everyday. They are always on my mind. You won’t “ruin” my day. In fact, that is the best thing you can do for me.

Don’t forget them. They are my children. I carried them, dreamed about them and their futures and gave birth to them just like my other 4 little ones. They just didn’t get to stay.

capture your grief – day 6

Day 6: What NOT to say!

I almost can’t believe some of this but all these statements have been made to me at some point over the last 4 1/2 years. One of the most hurtful is comparing my son’s death to that of a dog. So wrong I can’t even express it.

The other is about loving her baby. This person doesn’t know I know about that comment. I had the same due date as another girl and declined going to her baby shower. I had learned my lesson after going to a baby shower on Mother’s Day weekend only 4-5 weeks after Felix’s death. I wanted to crawl under a rock and die that day so I thought I’d save myself that anguish this time around. Unfortunately it provoked the comment that I would learn to love her baby. Like somehow I was punishing this other baby for living, or something. I don’t know. What I do know is that it hurt and made me very angry.

I find that even the most loving people can say some of the most ignorant and hurtful things during times like this. Mostly it is because they feel the need to say something and the situation is just so unnatural that they don’t really know what to say and end up doing more harm than good. Then some people just don’t think.

I could come up with a longer list but I thought this was good enough. This was a good theme today. Pass it on!

And if I have ever said something hurtful to you I apologize from the bottom of my heart.

What have people said to you in times of grief that they shouldn’t have?

capture your grief – day 5

Day 5: Memorial

Pretty self explanatory. This marks the boys’ place at the cemetery. Other than the temporary marker we have at home this is the only “memorializing” we’ve done. I plan to put in some flowers and have a memory garden for them in the spring now that we are settled in our new house. Seeing this in person for the first time was extremely difficult. It made it feel very final. But it also brought some comfort knowing that people will see their names for years to come when they walk through that cemetery and they will know that my sons existed.

capture your grief – day 4

Day 4: Most treasured item(s)
Pictures of Felix

We only have 12 pictures of Felix. We don’t have any hand molds or locks of his hair. We were so stunned and didn’t know what to do. These photos are my treasure.

Gabe’s hospital hat and blanket

These two things are the only things that touched Gabe while he was alive (except for us). I treasure his pictures very, very much but having these things as a reminder that HE DID LIVE are a little more precious. It is easy for people to forget that he lived and breathed but these are a visual reminder that he really was here.

capture your grief – day 3

Day 3: Self Portrait After Loss

I chose this one because I did something I never thought I would. I rode along in an IndyCar with Mario Andretti.

Part of what I am striving for since my loss is to do things I probably wouldn’t have before. Like zip-lining and riding in a race car going 170 mph. I don’t have anything to be afraid of anymore except losing another child. There’s nothing scarier than that so there’s no reason for me to be afraid anything else. I won’t be afraid of spiders or dancing in public or haunted houses or of what people think of me. I might even go sky diving with Brian – something I told him he would do alone if he ever went.

That’s Day 3 for me.

To learn more about the Capture Your Grief project, click here.

capture your grief – days 1 and 2

Day 1: Sunrise. Well, in traditional style I forgot to take a pic of the sunrise. So, I just took a picture of the grey sky as soon as I remembered. It was a relatively fitting start to the project, though. I have started to feel more down as Gabriel’s birthday approaches. Reliving the last days I was pregnant with him as I have the previous 2 years.

Day 2: Self Portrait Before Loss. I found a picture of me from the first time Brian and I went to Las Vegas. No kids yet, not a care in the world. Just him and me. Little did we know where our life would go in the coming years. What I noticed about this picture is my eyes. Happiness with nothing hiding behind it.

Those are the photos to start. We’ll see where we go from here.

capture your grief

October, as you probably know, is a month of a lot of awareness; mostly focused on Breast Cancer and Down Syndrome. Those two things are very important to focus on, don’t get me wrong. Those are things that have affected my family and friends.

What makes me sad is that most people don’t know that October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Even the health care organization I work for (as far as I can tell from Twitter, anyway) has made no mention of it.

One organization that was founded to support families of little ones lost has begun a project to help make people more aware by having us share our stories. Project Heal, founded by Carly Marie, is sponsoring the Capture Your Grief project.

The goal: share a photo each day in October that shows your grief and the grieving process. I am participating in this through my blog, Facebook and Twitter.

I hope that by sharing these snapshots each day it will somehow help you to see a month’s journey through my loss. I will add mini posts to go along with my photos. I hope that this will start some conversations.

10 days later

Wow. What a 10 days it has been. My lovely girl is here. She is safe, healthy and beautiful. She’s slept for 6-7 hours 4 nights out of her 10. I am so in love.

Her delivery was… interesting. I mean, it went well… except for her being breech and then my scar from Gabriel’s delivery burst open all on it’s own. My OB said it was a good thing it happened in there and not outside of the OR. She also said that proves we made the right decision to be done with baby bearing. My body just can’t take anymore.

I suppose my scar opening up is pretty symbolic. I’ve had a few nights where, when I’m looking at my sweetie sleeping, I think of Felix and Gabe and all the hurt just stabs me. I really, really miss them. No more than before – it’s just fresh again. All the feelings and longings just burst forth like it all happened yesterday. I can see them in her face. I can remember their smell and their touch. And it hurts. A lot. Just like my scar.

But then something wonderful happens… my heart swells with thankfulness for my precious Hallelujah. For another chance to love a little person and raise her in our family. For the privilege of seeing her along on her own journey and watching God’s plan for her unfold. She has “old” eyes. I believe she’s seen things that she will know deep in her heart but not be able to put into words. She’s going to be (as her Daddy likes to say) “a big deal.”

So that’s been our first 10 days together. My sweet, precious, beautiful Hallelujah has begun to help heal and complete our family. It’s still going to be a long road but we’ll walk it together.

tired, hormonal and emotionally drained

Hello again. I’ve missed my blog. I wonder if you’ve missed it, too.

I’m not exactly sure why I seem to have avoided it for so long. Some of it has to due with our new arrival (coming Friday!) but I don’t think that’s the entire reason why.

I have cried daily for about the past 5 days. I think it’s because I’m tired, hormonal and emotionally drained. I have been dealing with SO many emotions over the last 2 weeks.

Excited: I’m so ready and excited to meet my new baby girl. Sweet Hallelujah!

Sad: We’ve decided Halle will be our last baby. The road of building our family has been bumpy, to put it mildly, and we’re ready for a happy exit. Plus, we’re not gettin’ any younger.

Worried: Another surgery, another delivery and another chance for something to go wrong. I can’t help thinking it. I don’t know how my body will handle a 3rd c-section and I pray that our sweet girl will come out safe and sound and absolutely perfectly healthy.

I’m also worried about how I’m going to react. I know I’ll be happy and so in love. But I’m afraid that all I’m going to do is think of how I missed all of this with Felix and Gabriel. I just hope that I don’t get so wrapped up in those thoughts that I end up missing out on the joy of getting to experience it with her.

So the struggle continues. It’s just a whole new set of struggles. And I suppose this is just life. And a new one will begin on Friday.