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.


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.