I have been a little nervous about writing on here for a while. That’s because I am pregnant again. And not “only just” but today I scheduled my c-section for July 15th.

I was nervous because I don’t want to drive anyone away who came looking for some comfort and reassurance during their time of grief. I know how much it hurts to hear that someone else is having a baby when yours was taken away. It stings and seems unfair. Even though you are happy sometimes you secretly want to slap them. (What? You know it’s true. I just said it out loud.) [Read more…]

An Evening for Ella and Friends – April 22nd, 7pm, Indianapolis, IN

If you are in the Indianapolis area please consider joining us for a luminaria on the steps of the Indiana War Memorial this Friday, April 22nd at 7pm. Event created and hosted by Ella’s mommy, Mel McMahon, in loving memory of Ella and all of the babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS and infant loss.

a lifetime

The 1st birthday.  Usually a joyous milestone.  Unusually celebrated at a headstone.

On Gabriel’s birthday, October 19th, all the kids were at school so Brian and I had some time to be alone.  I made a floral arrangement to put on the boys’ headstone and then we headed out to the cemetery.  We were there for the entire span of Gabriel’s life: 12:05pm – 12:37pm.  We stood there at the foot of his grave with our arms around each other and cried… and cried and cried.

After that we walked the grounds because it was a beautiful day and it’s a beautiful cemetery.  We walked over to the baby section and realized how thankful we were for not going with that area.  It was so sad.  And the more names I read the angrier I got and the harder I cried.  Why are there so many there?  And how many more who were cremated?  (by choice or not)  And so many without names.  So many families devastated.  Relationships and marriages destroyed by grief.  And for what?  Will any of us know why?

It is still just surreal.  How life has changed.  How the world looks different.  How I am still standing here after putting 2 babies in the ground.  I don’t know how that is possible.  I mean, yes, God has held me up but I still don’t know how.  And how does anyone survive without Him?

A good friend asked me last week what it is I feel God calling me to do.  I couldn’t answer him with absolute certainty but I do feel like it will come from this loss.  These losses.  I want to continue searching this out.  I feel it may be coming sooner than I realize.  I’ll keep you posted.

We spent 32 minutes with Gabriel Elliott on that beautiful October day one year ago.  Those quiet bittersweet moments the three of us had together will be forever ingrained in my mind.  Whispers and breaths and tears and kisses and prayers shared with each other and with our son.  Nothing but pure, unconditional love for those 32 minutes.  It seems like such a short time.  I guess it is a short time.  But it was a wonderful time.  It was a lifetime.

1 month away

Well, here I am.  One month away from Gabriel’s 1st birthday.

Things are starting to swell.  I noticed today that the tears are coming more easily again.  Co-workers whose babies were born just before Gabriel are talking of first steps and first birthday parties.  They’re talking of fun toys and frosting messes.

I’m thinking about whether or not to picnic at the cemetery.

This is one of those really hard times.  I want to be (and am) excited for them and their children.  I want to see the funny pictures and hear about the parties.  It just hurts right now.

I am currently scheduled to be off work 4 out of 5 days the week of Gabe’s birthday.  I fear, however, that I may be needed those days to circumstances beyond my control.  (I hate being the “boss.”  But you knew that.)  I am going to fight hard, though, if there is talk of needing me there.  I really need those days off.  I need to be gone from there.  I need to be with my family.  I won’t be worth anything anyway, plain and simple.  These circumstances were beyond my control.

So, there’s the short update.  Less than 30 days from now I will replay the events of Gabriel’s birthday as I have many times before.  But this time will be the day.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Rest in His Hand

(This is an original poem by [me] Amanda Groce – who is not a real poet, just a brokenhearted Mommy.)

I wish you weren’t beneath this stone;

in the ground, in the cold;

just being here makes my heart groan.

Only a short time you were in my life;

but what joy you brought, what love you gave,

though tinged with grief and strife.

I yearn for the coos and the wiggles,

for you walking and talking,

your smiles and giggles.

Your first trip to the ocean, your first day of school;

the skinned knees, the broken hearts,

driving your car, looking so cool.

Your wedding day… to see you look at your bride;

your sister and brothers and the whole family there;

and your Dad and me right by your side.

To then see you with kids of your own;

nurturing them and loving and laughing and playing,

and I’d secretly wish you weren’t quite so grown.

I hate this stone, I hate that it’s there;

I hate the vases of flowers and your names etched in the rock;

I want you here – it just isn’t fair!

But then I remember – you aren’t there…

You flew away Home;

into the safe and loving arms of Jesus,

you aren’t under that stone.

Someday I know we’ll again be together;

save a place next to you both, my little men;

and I’ll stay right there with you forever.

Though knowing why won’t make it better or clear;

I’ll still ask God everyday,

why it was He decided you wouldn’t stay here.

And in my brokenness I will stand;

I will love Him and praise Him,

I’ll rest in His hand.


I’m sitting here at the Blog Indiana 2010 conference.  None of the current sessions really have anything to do with me so I’m taking an opportunity to have some alone time.

Maybe I’ll know more by the end of the day but I’m not sure where I fit in.  I don’t really consider myself a Mommy Blogger.  I think I’m more like one of those people who puts her diary out for the world to see.  (well, not the whole thing, but you get what I mean)  One of those people who just blurts stuff out or dumps everything out and leaves it there – not to seek attention but I can see how it may look that way.  It’s more therapeutic for me than anything else.
What I’ve been struggling with lately is my presence online.  As I’ve run the circuit of loss blogs I see so many moms who have done something for other people.  A grief site, special keepsakes with our babies’ names, care packages… the list goes on and on.  I thought I wanted to do something, too.  But I don’t know what.  I feel like I’m in some different category.  Most of the moms I’ve met have already had another successful pregnancy and are in a different phase of life.  There are also those who don’t have any children.  I guess I feel like I am in the minority having had my losses after 3 successful pregnancies and no more after the losses.  Which leads me to wonder – is there anyone out there like me?  Should I attempt to be a voice for us?  Do I even belong online?

I know that I would like to do something for people who receive a diagnosis of Limb-Body Wall Complex specifically because there are so few of us.  I would like to be able to talk with the parents who are not entirely sure they want to terminate even though that is (typically) the only option being presented to them.  I want them to know that it is worth taking the time to love their child while they cannot see them.  That their child has worth.

I have a site that I had tried to launch after losing Felix.  My thoughts were stirred again after learning about Gabriel.  So during this day I am going to think hard about whether or not to go forward with it.  And whether or not to change things around this blog.

I guess that, even though the hurt is still very real and the tears still come easily, I want this blog to be happy again.  Like it was 6 or 7 years ago when I started it.

So, if you think of it, say a prayer for me as I search out whether God is leading me this direction or not.

a year ago today

A year ago today my life changed forever.


It’s been a rough day. I remember the appointments. I remember the news. I remember the statistics. I remember the recommendations. I remember the phone calls. I remember the hurt and betrayal I felt.

I read through the post I wrote before we went for Gabriel’s first ultrasound. It made me remember some other things.

I am loved.

I am strong.

And I was able to love again with my whole heart.

In fact, I fell head over heels in love with my baby G.

the stone

Even though it is not in place yet due to the soggy conditions around here – I decided to go ahead and post a picture of our sons’ headstone.

We had the artwork done by a graphic designer Brian met through his consulting.  She did an amazing job creating the image from our description.  The words surrounding it are from the song “After the Last Tear Falls” by Andrew Peterson.

the summer begins

Well, let’s see… I now have a Kindergarten graduate and a new nephew! It’s been a busy week around here.

I can’t believe that Chloe has finished her first year of school. It just flew by! She is so excited to move on to first grade and to have her brother join her at her school next year. She has learned and grown so much this year it’s just amazing. I am so proud of her.

On May 26th at 8:56pm I became an aunt for the first time. My nephew, Sean, is just adorable. Just the right size with a head full of blonde hair. He is precious. Brian said that, even though it hasn’t been too long, he felt like it had been forever since he held a baby that small. (It didn’t look like he’d lost his touch to me, though.) I was so glad that I got to the hospital to see him less than an hour after he was born. It was so different to be on the other side. And I still can’t believe my baby brother is a Daddy! Over the last 5 days we’ve had fun getting to cuddle with Sean. The kids have each taken turns holding him. They have loved every minute of it.

Of course this brought back memories for us but it also brought back memories for the kids. One time when Dylan was holding him he said to me “Mommy, when you have another baby boy what is alive he will look like Sean.” (he says “what” instead of “who” or “that” – I think he’s watched too much Pirate stuff.) That was sad. Then when Chloe was holding him she cried a little. Not hard but just enough for a tear or two to run down her face. I know this had to be hard on her. She is SO excited to have a cousin but I can’t help remembering the tears she shed the night we had to take Gabe from her arms forever.

That being said we are all totally excited that Peanut is finally here; safe, sound and healthy! I’m going to have a good time spoiling him.

Other things I’m thinking about (or not)…

The boys’ monument should be here in the next week or two. I’m trying not to think about that.

I’m looking forward to the summer. Now that we’ll have 2 kids in school it’s really becoming evident that time is short and I don’t want to miss a thing. I hope there are some great adventures out there for us this summer.

I think people are starting to wonder (and may even be close to asking) if we’re going to have any more children. Honestly, I don’t know. And for the first time in many years I don’t even want to think about it. I’m taking the summer off and I’m not going to worry about it. I’m just going to try to enjoy life for a while.

So, here’s to summer 2010. Hope it’s full of joyful times.

the run-down

Here’s what’s been happening in the last month of my life:

– We signed off on the proof for the monument so it shouldn’t be too much longer before it’s here.
– I survived Mother’s Day. Pretty well. On the outside.
– My heart still hurts. A lot.
– I re-worked my flower beds and bought a plant for the boys. A Black Star Calla Lilly. I plan to put their temporary marker next to it.

Really, that’s the long and short of it. I may have a more thoughtful post in a day or two but I thought I should update you. Be back soon.