Thank you for visiting my blog! If you are visiting because you have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss, let me say that I am so very sorry. I started this blog shortly after our Baby Grady was stillborn on November 12, 2008. Please visit the sidebar below called "Labels" to find the topic in which you are interested, or just read as your heart desires.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Boy With A Balloon Of Hope

Do you remember me telling you how awesome my friends are?

Awesome, amazing, wonderful, fabulous, thoughtful, kind, loving....those are just a few words to describe them. God has truly blessed me with an amazing family of friends, and I am truly thankful! Some "get it" more than others, but I love them all!

The week that school was getting out, I was at a local store getting gifts for Jessica's teachers. It is a cool store that has different vendor booths with all kinds of things to choose from. I was walking to the counter with my items, and something caught my eye. I stopped, picked it up, looked at it, thought about how nice it would be to have it, and put it back down.

On my way home, I passed my friend and neighbor, Yvonne. We rolled our windows down and chatted for a few minutes. I told her what I'd been doing and what I'd just seen at this store. We said goodbye and went our separate ways.

Fast forward about four hours. I came home from the grocery store and saw something blue at my mailbox. I just caught a glimpse of whatever it was, and thought, "Oh geez, something must have blown out of someone's recycling bin." So, after I pulled into the garage, I went to get whatever it was. As I got closer, I realized that it was a beautifully wrapped present.


I started opening it and about halfway up the drive, I knew what it was and who it was from. I marched myself right across the street, tears and all, to thank this beautiful, thoughtful, most kind friend of mine. She had gone to get the very item that I had just told her about. I can't tell you how this touched my heart!

I had passed a section in the store that had various Willow Tree angels. They are simple, but beautiful, and each one has a special meaning. I just LOVE them!

One in particular caught my eye...if you've read about Grady's balloons and the message of HOPE, then you'll understand why I liked it and why it means so much to me.

Here's a picture of it...

...a little boy holding up a balloon with the word hope in it! On the card that came with the angel, it says, "Hope lifts us up".

And that it does, my friends. It lifts me every day. I live with, by, for and because of the promise of HOPE given to us through our Lord, Jesus Christ. The HOPE that I WILL see Grady again, alive and well. The HOPE and promise that God will carry me through these dark and trying days...through this tough season of my life. The HOPE that God has plans for good, not evil, for my life (read Jeremiah 29:11 in the box at the top of my blog). HOPE is what helps me put one foot in front of the other. That and wonderful, loving, encouraging people in my life like Yvonne.

Thank you my friend! I love you!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY JESSICA!!! (updated with more pictures!)

An update on the birthday girl...

After softball camp, we hurried home to shower and headed to her Build-A-Bear party. (This is our third Build-A-Bear party since Emma Grace's birthday in March. Her BFF, Sidney, also had one in April!)

This birthday girl is not only beautiful...she's blessed with a sweet spirit and a big heart.

Here she is dressing her bear (which is actually a puppy - imagine that!) in a blue "sleeper".

She named her bear/puppy Grady. (I think she's missing him today...and, yes, the tears came for me!)

Then we headed down to the food court for some cake and presents.

Recognize the cake? Yep - it's the same one that Emma Grace had! (Publix didn't have the Littlest Pet Shop accessories to do the cake she wanted.)

Soooo thirsty!

The party gang...

We came home to open more presents.

(I don't know who's more excited about this "golden retriever puppy" puzzle, Jessica or Emma Grace!)

Of course, I had to get a picture of these sweet sisters!

After a little play time it was off to dinner. And as soon as we got home, these three promptly put on their matching frog gowns! Three "peas in a pod"...

It is currently 9:57 pm, and they are eating a cupcake for dessert, a late dessert at that! YES, I'm crazy, but it's her birthday after all! And summer too! Can it get much better???

I love you sweet girl! I hope you had a GREAT birthday today!!!


I can't believe my baby girl is 10 years old today!

Double digits from here forward....unless she lives to be 100, that is!

She just HAD to open a present this morning, and she ended up opening two. (I let her do that mainly so that I could wash her new gown so she could wear it tonight for her sleepover with her BFF, Sidney!)

She has softball camp again today, but Daddy treated her to breakfast of her choice this morning. Of course, she chose Chick-fil-A!

Here she is off to breakfast with Daddy...

She has a very "last-minute-planned" birthday party this afternoon, and we're going to dinner tonight.

I'll update this post more later today/tonight, with more pictures, too! Just wanted to say Happy Birthday wishes before the day got away!



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There Are Some Things In Life...

...that you just can't ask for!

Today's post was inspired by a conversation that I had with a good friend of mine a couple of months ago. I thought about it again yesterday, and it stirred something in me that I needed to write about today.

We were talking about people in my life who had hurt me during the time surrounding my mom and Grady's death. I was sharing why I was upset with certain people, mainly for not acknowledging the death of my mom and/or Grady. No card. No phone call. No simple, "I'm sorry". Even from people who knew my mom (unfortunately no one really got to know Grady but me), and people I was supposed to be "close" to.

***As an aside, let me say that I have made amends with two very important people over this subject. I will not name any names, but they know who they are. I'm so thankful for that resolution, and the peace that has followed. However, there are a few people with whom I'm still very hurt because of the lack of acknowledgement and/or expression of sympathy toward me and my family. It goes as far as flat-out dismissal of our loss, acting as if it never happened (especially Grady). Maybe that's wrong, but I can't deny the feelings that I have.

Back to the conversation with my friend...

As we were talking, she voiced that my hurt was coming from unmet expectations that I had of these people. She suggested that I tell these people what I need(ed) from them. After all, if you don't tell people what you need, how are they supposed to know?

I agree 100%. People can't read our minds, so we must ask for what we need...

Except in the case of sympathy!

You CANNOT ASK for sympathy! You can't say to someone, "Can you please be sorry for me or show me some sympathy that my baby/mom just died?"

It is something that is given out of love and respect for the one who is deceased and/or to those who are grieving. It comes from one's heart.

(***Another aside, there are some who know but have chosen, for whatever reason, to remain silent...that hurts worse!)

I am so very grateful for the out-pouring of love and sympathy that we have received in many different ways. Maybe I should not have expected sympathy from anyone. Maybe my expectations were (and are) too high of people. But it is amazing to me that mere strangers, or those who are acquaintances, can be more empathetic and sympathetic than close family and friends.

If you have not experienced loss and/or death and in your life, you are very blessed!

However, I've learned a very important lesson through the deaths of my mom and Grady that I want to share with you. Even if you're uncomfortable with it, try your best to communicate these words with someone who is hurting...

"I'm sorry for your loss."

It doesn't take much effort, and it's a message that reaches far beyond the words themselves to let hurting people know you care.


Sunday, May 24, 2009


I haven't been much into blogging the last few days. I guess you've noticed...

Here's a quick (but pretty boring) little update on us...

The girls are out of school for the summer, and the boredom has already set in. Our neighborhood pool opened on Friday, but the weather has been far from "pool-friendly"!

Gib will be finished with work next week. The following week he will have a leadership conference, and then he'll be home with us until the end of July.

Jessica has decided she wants to try softball, so Gib took her to get a ball and glove yesterday. They've been throwing the ball in the backyard a lot this weekend. Emma Grace says she wants to do t-ball, but we've signed Jessica up for a softball camp next week, so she needed her glove asap. I have a feeling Gib will be taking Emma Grace in the near future to get her a glove, too!

We are getting our grass-fed beef tomorrow. My family, and two others on my street, are sharing a half of a cow. We've never done this before, but this type of beef is MUCH healthier and leaner than other beef. I'm looking forward to having healthy beef in the deep freezer whenever we want it!

I'm still trying to find a vacation spot that we like that is within our budget. I know if I keep looking, I'll find one, but it takes SO much time!

And last but not least, if you have time, please pray for me, AGAIN! Without divulging too much info, let's just say that tensions are running high in my house, communication is at an all-time low, and EVERYTHING is driving me CRAZY! I feel like I'm a walking time-bomb that will explode any minute. Satan is filling my head with a bunch of lies, and I feel like I'm in a constant, internal spiritual warfare. It is most unsettling, heartbreaking and nerve-wracking.

I have many things to blog about like, "a huge leap in a baby step", "the boy with the balloon of hope", "a picture that touched my heart" and "an unexpected gift". Stay tuned and check back...hopefully I'll get my "blog-groove" back soon!

Hope you're having a fun-filled weekend!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

Mother's Day 2009. It's one I'll never forget...

I started, and ended, the day with very mixed emotions. Bittersweet it was. Loving on Jessica and Emma Grace. Missing Grady and wishing he was here to love on, too.

We got up and went to church. The sermon was on love, how to love better and how God loves us just because He does. We don't do anything to make Him love us. He just does. 1 John 4:10 - "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." The speaker then went on to say, "God's love is one way, at His expense, for our benefit."

To clarify his point further, he used the analogy of a woman pregnant with her unborn child. This is not a direct quote, but he said something like, "Take a woman who is pregnant for example. She loves that baby unconditionally, even before he is ever born. That baby doesn't do anything to make that mother love him. She just does."

Tissue please...the tears just kept coming.

That is exactly how I feel about Grady. He didn't do anything to make me love him. He was my baby. My son. I loved him just because...still do...will forever!

Gib offered to take me to lunch wherever I wanted to go. Since our church time changed for the summer, I didn't feel like waiting forever with all the others who had just gotten out of church, so I opted for dinner.

We came home, ate lunch and the girls made me brownies - YUM!! They did a GREAT job!

We lounged around, and I tried to nap. I don't even know why I try because I am NOT a day-time sleeper. (Not much of a night-time sleeper either, oh well. Who needs sleep anyway?!)

We went for an early dinner at Ruby Tuesday's. I LOVE their salad bar.

Remember in my last post, I eluded to the fact that Gib did something very special for me at dinner on Mother's Day? Well, here it is...

As we were being seated, he whispered something to the hostess. We sat down and a minute later, she delivered another set of silverware. I looked around at my family, with no words, just a questioning look as to who might be joining us that I didn't know about. After all, we were sitting in a booth and one more person wasn't going to fit.

Gib picked up the napkin-wrapped silverware, put it in the middle of the table, and said,

"This is for Grady. This is your Mother's Day dinner and he's your son, too."

Tissue please...AGAIN.

I could hardly compose myself to order my food. I can't tell you how deeply those words and that gesture touched my heart. He made sure that Grady was represented even though he wasn't here physically. I will FOREVER remember that moment...the thoughtfulness...the love that my husband showed me in such a subtle but powerful way.

In my last post, I shared these pictures taken this year on Mother's Day...

A very special someone is missing and always will be. It was a hard realization this year that I will forever celebrate Mother's Day without one of my children with me. Even though it was a great day with my two beautiful, living little girls, Grady's presence was missing and the emptiness of him not being here was felt in everything we did that day.

Gib recognized that he was missing and made sure he was remembered and openly thought of...I will NEVER forget that!!! (Love you Gib!)


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Random Tidbits

I have a little to say about a lot tonight. Nothing deep. I don't have the energy to go there. Still, one day at a time. One foot in front of the other!

***Remember Jessica's trip to Tybee and my concern about her falling asleep at 4:45pm the day she got home. Well, Gib moved her to her bed at 6:30 and she didn't wake up until 1:40am. She went to the bathroom and changed her clothes and went back to sleep until 6:45am the next morning. I felt a hand on my back and she said, "Mommy....I'm staarrrving!" Gee, I wonder why?

***If you've been wondering about our dog situation, well we haven't solved it yet. I think we've gotten Gib a little closer to saying yes. I actually talked to a local vet on Friday about Golden Retrievers. I told Gib and he didn't oppose too badly. I'm hoping when we get back from vacation this summer we can add a 4-legged member to our family! Jessica also impressed her daddy by making her own power-point presentation about why we need to and should get a dog. How can you say no to that?!

***Remember the bird I posted about a while back? Just to let you never came back. BUT, it came at just the right time!

***Back in March, I posted about my new mission in life. I'm still working on it. I actually have two meetings this week at the hospital. It will be a tedious process, but I'm determined to use Grady's short life and untimely death to reach out to help other grieving parents! Keep praying!!! There is definitely a lot of work to do and some obstacles that need to be overcome.

***We are in the process of planning a much-needed vacation at the beach. We had planned not to go to Disney this year because of Baby Grady. In fact, we said we wouldn't go back until he was about three years old. We all need the beach this summer! We love to go to Navarre Beach in Florida but there's not much for kids to do. So, we're thinking of going back to our spring break days at PCB! That's Panama City Beach in case you didn't know!

***I have got to get my "you know what" in gear and get my house cleaned up. As I stated in my last post, my motivation is gone, but my house is driving me CRAZY!!! If you have any great organizational tips on what to do with papers from the kids' school and mail, I would love to hear them! They collect on my island making the whole kitchen look a mess!

***Last Saturday night, the 9th, was prom at Gib's school. Since he's part of the administration, he had "duty". Doesn't he look handsome?

The funny thing is that not long before he was supposed to leave, I tried to crank our van to pull it into the garage (I had left it out so the girls could play in the garage) and it wouldn't crank. It finally did and we determined it was the battery. So, all dressed up in his suit and bright red shirt, he went to Walmart on his way to prom and bought me a new battery. He installed it Sunday morning before we went to church. Happy Mother's Day to me!

***Seriously, for Mother's Day he bought me a digital picture frame. I love it, but we've got to get more pictures of Jessica for it. He also did something very special that night at dinner which I'll post about later. Here are a few pictures (not the greatest pics of me and YES, I'm wearing the same shirt!)...

Emma Grace's class had a Mother's Day Tea the Friday morning before Mother's Day...

Here are a couple of pictures from Mother's Day. Do you see someone missing???

***This past Friday was Jessica's Field Day. Did you have those growing up? I did and they were the highlight of the year. Jessica's teachers were some of the only ones to come. They were great! She has had a WONDERFUL year and I couldn't have asked for better teachers!!!! This is Jessica' homeroom teacher and Jessica smeared all of this shaving cream on her arm. What a good sport!!! We love you Ms. K!!!

***The last day of school for the girls is this Friday the 22nd. I can't believe I'm going to have a 5th grader and a Kindergartener! They grow SOOO quickly!

***We plan to go strawberry picking this coming weekend if they're not all "picked out". The girls and I went last year, picked four gallons and had lots of fun. However, my helpers tuckered out real fast and ate more strawberries than they picked! I'm planning to take Gib to help me this year. Plus, I was pregnant with Grady last year and still not feeling well, so I was moving a little slow! I hope to pick at least eight gallons this year and make jam and freeze some of them. Our jam didn't last long last year!

***How cute are these girls in their pigtails?!?!

***Soon, I will be adding a list of books that I recommend to my left side bar. I just read one yesterday that was incredible and recently finished another one that was GREAT if you're going through a hard time of any kind. Stay tuned...

That's all folks! Have a great night!


Friday, May 15, 2009


That word has been on my mind all day.....

How often do you feel productive?

Do you find it to be a relative term?

I keep that thinking I'm going to be a productive member of society again soon. But that day seems like it's never going to come. In fact, it feels like it's getting farther and farther away from me.

Why do I feel this way?

Maybe the answer is because literally every room in my house is dirty. Maybe dirty isn't the correct word. Cluttered would be a better way to describe it. The only room that isn't cluttered is Baby Grady's room. Everything is where it should be, but even that room is going to have to be cleaned out at some point. (What a sad day that will be...) The pantry, the drawers, the cabinets, the closets, even my underwear drawer needs to be cleaned out! (That may be TMI, but you got it anyway!!!) Please don't misunderstand. We do NOT look like the homes on "How Clean Is Your House?". Thank God! But it needs some TLC for sure!

When I go to bed at night, I think, "Tomorrow will be better. I'll get more done...Tomorrow." I keep thinking I'm going to be productive around the house. I keep thinking I'm going to be more productive in planning healthy meals and a grocery list, so I don't have to go to the grocery store every day. I keep thinking I'm going to be productive in exercising again. I keep thinking I'm going to be productive in planning activities and spending more time with my children. I could go on and on, but I won't.

I think I feel like I'm not productive because I don't have anything to "show" at the end of each day. But I've lost my motivation. I hate it! Call it depression, laziness, whatever you want. But it's gone.

I have no desire to go to the gym anymore. I have no desire to clean out the clutter in my home. I have no desire to reorganize the pantry, drawers and cabinets. I try to make myself do things, and I achieve at times. But overall, it doesn't happen. And I feel extremely guilty for my lack of contribution to my house and family.

I have had a job since I was 14. I have always equated my self-worth with making money, even if it wasn't a lot. It was something. This is the first time since I was 14 that I haven't had a job. Well, I take that back. I didn't work for the first year after Jessica was born, but that's it. I quit my job at the preschool two weeks before Grady was to be born, and after he died, I had to quit teaching my classes to expectant parents.

Money isn't what is most important in life, and I know that. But I think my lack of contribution in that area adds to the guilt I feel about slacking in other areas of my life.

So, please pray with and for me that I can get my act together. That I can "shape up" before I get "shipped out". That I can wake up each morning with renewed strength and interest in what needs to be done. That I will have the energy and desire to get things done.

To be "productive" in this earthly life again.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Grady's Service, Part 3, "The Balloons"

I feel like I've been missing from Wednesday's Walk forever, but it has really only been a couple of weeks.

Today I'm writing to tell you about the perfectly amazing, awesome balloon release that we did at the end of Grady's service.

(If you missed the first two parts and would like to catch up, click here.)

I don't know about you, but I love balloon releases! We started them a few years ago on the girls' birthdays. We write a message like, "Thank You God, I'm ___" on a balloon and let it go.

Gib's birthday is on Dec. 4th. This year he came home with some balloons that he got from work. This was only a few weeks after Grady had died, and the pain was still so fresh for all of us. I remember Gib quietly got up from the table, got a balloon and started writing on it. He had tears streaming down his face (I don't see him cry often!). He wrote, "We miss you Baby Grady. We love you!" on it. My memory fails me as to whether we all wrote on a balloon, but we went out into the cold, dark night and released that balloon. It was a moment I'll never forget.

Having said that, I knew that I wanted to do a balloon release at Grady's service. The weather that day was less than ideal. It had been raining the night before, and it was overcast and misting. Not even sprinkling, just misting.

Everyone was instructed to get a balloon (we had blue and white balloons) and write a message to Grady on it if they wanted to. When everyone was done, we walked outside and gathered in a group.

I counted to three, and we released the balloons at once. We sang "Jesus Loves You" (instead of Jesus Loves Me) because, of course, I wanted us to sing it to him.

It was amazing what those balloons did. They ALL stayed together! Not one of them strayed. Dr. Joe made the comment, with his arms open wide to the sides, "It's like he's in heaven with his arms like this". That's exactly what it was like!

The shapes that those balloons made is what amazed me most. Now, remember, I had asked God the night before for a sign that Grady was with Him and that all was well. As if the message of HOPE and "the candle" weren't enough, those balloons formed the shape of a lowercase "g", a boy sign (you know, with the circle and the line coming from it and the other line going diagonal? - Oh, I wish I could draw it for you!), a baby rattle, and the Christian fish symbol. Someone else had my camera, so we only have a picture of the fish. But we have the rest of it on video (ancient video or I'd try to post it!).

Thanks for reading this part of his service and remembering that special day.


Please pray for Kayleigh's family. This sweet baby girl was born severely premature like Emma Grace (this picture reminds me SO much of when Emma Grace was born), but unfortunately, she encountered many difficulties in her short life. After 9 or 10 months in the hospital, she had complications from her last surgery that caused brain damage. Their only wish was to bring her home, but it was not meant to be. She went to be with Jesus Monday night. This family could really use your prayers today and in the days/months ahead. Thank you.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Half A Year

6 months. 180 days. 26 weeks. Half a year.

That's how long it has been since I touched his soft skin and held him for the first time.

That's how long it has been since I first kissed him.

That's how long it has been since my heart was broken and scarred in ways that I could never imagine.

Today, 6 months ago, my life changed forever. On one hand it seems like an eternity. On the other, it feels like yesterday.

It was right about this time that I got the news he was no longer alive. His heartbeat had disappeared. I remember that moment as clearly as if it happened yesterday.

I was paralyzed, literally in shock. Dr. Joe was so kind to let me just lay on the table for over an hour, despite the fact that his waiting room was full of patients. Gib was pacing the room, trying to process, in shock himself. Trying to console me that I didn't do anything wrong. That this wasn't my fault. That I didn't cause this to happen. (I felt so responsible - and still do at times) We came home to deliver the heartbreaking news to our girls. Jessica was sad and in shock, but Emma Grace immediately cried out that she "didn't want Baby Grady to die". I shared in her desire, too.

Oh, how I wish he didn't die.

What does grief look like for me 6 months later? It is still so very painful and complicated.

I've come a long way, but there are definitely good and bad days. I was at a point a couple of months ago where the good days outnumbered the bad, but at this moment, it has gone the other way. The bad days outnumber the good.

I still grieve for him. Although now it's different. It's more inward grieving. Right after he died, people expected me to be sad. It was okay to openly shed tears and show my hurting heart. Now, I don't feel "allowed" or that I have "permission" to openly grieve. Because it has been 6 months, no one really wants to hear about him anymore (there are a few, and I am oh so thankful for them in my life!).

It is still therapeutic for me to talk about him and tell his story. I think that is one of the reasons that I continue to drive 50 miles one way to a support group once a month. The people there want to hear about him. Those people still care about his story and don't tire of hearing it. There are times when I'll be checking out at the grocery store or talking to someone who doesn't know about Grady, and I have to fight the urge to just say, "Did you know that I have a son who died?" Even though he died, I'm his proud momma, and I'd tell the world about him if I could.

Like I said in a previous post, Grady is "old news" to many. That makes me even more sad because he isn't "old news". He was a person who was, and still is, loved and missed very much. People don't become "old news". Their memory lives on in those who love them, and we do everything we can to keep that memory alive, wishing there were new memories to make.

I still have concentration issues and am easily sent into sensory overload. I didn't have this problem before he died and thought I was really losing it, going crazy, at first. Then, thank goodness, I read that these are symptoms of grief.

I still have a terribly hard time seeing baby boys.

I still have an especially hard time hearing a baby cry. I've gotten up and walked out before because I honestly feel as if I'm going to have a panic attack.

I still long for him.

I still sleep with his blue and white crochet blanket every night.

I still sit in his nursery and rock in the rocking chair with empty arms.

I still think about him almost everywhere I go, wondering, "Would I have him in the stroller, or the Baby B'jorn?", "Would I even be here right now?"

Six months is such a milestone for me. Not only is it half a year, but babies are starting to do so much at this age - sitting up (maybe with a little help still), sitting in a highchair with the family at meal time, enjoying the activity center while watching the family or Baby Einstein videos, eating baby foods, smiling and laughing, rolling over, etc. I miss not being able to see him do these things and so much more!

The 14th of every month is also hard for me because that is the day I was scheduled for my c-section. That is the day that he should turn a month older, if he had lived.

Despite how it all sounds, I am not stuck in my grief. I am moving forward. I have learned to live my life without his physical presence as part of it. I am able to live each day and enjoy and count my blessings. I am able to think about the future without him, but wishing it included him. I am able to use his life and death to help and impact others. I am able to live my life in productive ways, just with a broken heart, without him.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and introduce you to Grady in a whole new way. The pictures that I've shared on this blog have all been from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. Gib took a few pictures of him with our camera. I'm going to post one of those pictures. Please keep in mind that he had been dead for probably 24 hours. He had a bruise on his cheek from the lack of blood flow and the way he was positioned inside of me. Despite his flaws, he's still beautiful to me. And check out those rosey red lips!!!

Dear Baby Grady,

I miss you with every breath I take! I wish you were here for me to hold and kiss and tell you how much I love you. You are my precious baby boy, and I long for the day that I get to hold you in Heaven. I am so thankful to be your mommy, the one chosen to carry you. I am so thankful to have the memories that I have of you, if only in my womb and shortly thereafter. When you died, you took a piece of my heart with you. I am glad that I'm still sad and missing you so much because that's the only way I can express my love for you here on this earth. Happy 6 Month Heavenly Birthday!!!

Love and hugs to Heaven!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day

This is a post that is heavy on my heart tonight. Not just because tomorrow is Mother's Day. Not just because I will celebrate it with my two beautiful girls. Not just because I have to face the emptiness of the day without my beautiful baby boy. Not just because I don't have my own mom here to celebrate.

My heart is heavy because there are so many women who are mothers that will not be acknowledged. At all. No one will think twice about them. They will be overlooked while their hearts break inwardly. Losing Baby Grady has opened my eyes and heart in so many ways.

If you've never thought about this, I'd like you to take a minute and listen. Do you know anyone who has ever suffered a miscarriage? So often we hear of this news and think, "Oh, that's too bad" and continue on our merry way. Because they are so common (I believe the statistics are 1 in 3 pregnancies will end in a miscarriage) we tend to dismiss it when we hear of one.

But have you ever had a miscarriage? If you have, like myself, you know that the pain is not so easily dismissed. The pain is real, and it is deep. My miscarriage was between Emma Grace and Grady. I already had two living children, and it was devastating for me, even though I was only 7-8 weeks along. I do want to clarify. Losing Grady was MUCH harder than my miscarriage for obvious reasons. I don't think it's fair to even try to compare the two. They are both a loss, real loss, but different.

If you're reading this and have living children, think back to when you got your positive pregnancy test. Did you not immediately start thinking about how your life would change to accommodate this baby? What would be his/her first holiday? What room would this baby take over in your home or would you need a new house to make room for baby? What would you name this baby? This list could go on, but my point is this... From the very moment we find out we are pregnant, we start bonding with, dreaming about and loving our unborn babies.

My belief is that life begins at the moment of conception. Yes, I understand that implantation must occur, etc. But I saw Grady's heartbeat at 6 weeks! That was the earliest ultrasound I had ever had, and I couldn't believe how fast, strong and evident it was that he was very much alive in my womb.

The point I want to get across is that those women you know who have had an early pregnancy loss through miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy ARE mothers! They need to be acknowledged on Mother's Day. Being a mother doesn't necessarily mean you have to have a baby physically here with you in your arms. I guarantee those women will think about their babies on this Mother's Day, but my guess is that no one else will. They will smile and wish others a happy day, but inwardly they are sad, wishing someone would acknowledge them. But even more, they're wishing they didn't lose their baby and could celebrate with them in the flesh.

I want to encourage you to reach out to those who have had an early loss on this Mother's Day. I'm focusing on early loss because I feel that those are the ones most often overlooked. I would like to think that a loss later in pregnancy would be given more attention, but I know this isn't always the case either. Just remember, a loss is a loss at any point in pregnancy. A mother is always a mother in her heart to her baby/babies that she had to give back way too soon. I found a quote today that says, "A mother's love is instinctual, unconditional, and forever." UK

It doesn't take much to reach out. Just a simple, "I'm thinking about you today. I'm sorry for your loss" goes a long way! People often remain silent because they don't want to bring up bad feelings or make someone sad. I guarantee they're thinking about it anyway and will be touched that you thought of it, too. (Read the poem on my left side-bar!)


I read Molly Piper's post tonight about Mother's Day. She stated so eloquently how I'm feeling in regards to Baby Grady this year. If you're curious and would like to read it, click here. I don't have the energy to go that deep tonight and don't have to. She said it for me....thanks Molly!


Mother's Day will definitely be bittersweet for me.

The sweet part is that I have two beautiful girls that I am SO thankful for to celebrate with and love on. I remember when Emma Grace was still in the hospital. That particular Mother's Day I had two girls, but I wasn't sure if I would still have two the next year. Praise God, I still do!!!

The bitter part is obvious. I don't have Baby Grady with me. I also don't have my little tiny one that I lost so early. I don't have my mom here to share Mother's Day with, either.

It is also bittersweet, because last year, on May 10th (which just happens to be Mother's Day this year), we told the girls we were having a baby. I'm tearing up as I remember that day. I can't believe it was a year ago.

I can't believe how our lives have changed in that one year.

We were so excited to tell them. I was 10 weeks, 4 days pregnant with Baby Grady. I wrote a poem for Jessica to read. We sat them together, and Jessica read this poem aloud. (now keep in mind that I'm NOT a poet, but it's the best I could come up with!)

Mommy and Daddy would like to say
How very much we love you.
Jessica is a big sister,
Now Emma Grace will be too!

In November we will gladly meet
The new member of our family.
It may be a boy or another girl
We'll just have to wait and see.

But there is one thing we know for sure
And that, sweet girls, you see,
Is that we will live together happily,
Forever as a family!

Love, Mommy, Daddy and Baby-to-be.

They were beaming with excitement! It was such a relief to tell them why I had been feeling so bad. Jessica had told me more than once that I needed to go to the doctor and find out why I felt like I was going to throw up all the time!

I wish that poem had come true.

Here are a few pictures from that very special, happy day one short year ago.

Waiting and wondering...

Reading and catching on...

Got it!

Beaming with excitement!


I searched today for poems and found two that I'd like to share with you. Because I have living children and a heavenly child, I'm posting two.

The first is for me and my other "Angel Mommy Friends". Happy Mother's Day to all of you!

* Best Angel Friends *
A beautiful little angel showed up to Heaven's gates
Confused and unknowing the plan that for him awaits.
Then another little angel walked up and took his hand
and said, "Please don't be sad you left, you're in the Promised Land."
"I'm glad to be here but I do not think I was to go,
Perhaps there was a mistake, for my mommy wanted me so."
The little greeting angel gave a sweet smile and said,
"My mommy wanted me too, but to Heaven I was led.
You see, we do not get to choose when on Earth it's time to go.
He gave us life, love and joy and a mother's womb to grow.
The Lord still needs new angels to guide them down on earth.
To watch over, comfort them, and help them see their worth."
"Is there still a way that I can sleep in my mommy's bed?"
The greeting angel grinned and said, "that luxury you'll keep.
I visit my mommy nightly and softly sing her to sleep."
The little angel replied, "then I think I'll like it here.
I'll visit my mommy nightly and weaken her pain and fears.
I love her and will keep her safe at night and in between,
And let her know with a sweet memory that she is still with me."
The greeting angel gave her new friend a big hug and said,
"Until our mommy's meet us here, let's be best angel friends."
"Okay," said the new angel, "that sounds good to me."
Then the angels sat and played keeping their mommy's in sight,
Humming the tunes to the song they would sing to their mommy's tonight...

Author Unknown


This next one is for me and my friends with living children. Happy Mother's Day to all of you!

Dear Lord, it's such a hectic day,
With little time to stop and pray,
For life's been anything but calm
Since You called me to be a mom--
Running errands, matching socks,
Building dreams with wooden blocks,
Cooking, cleaning, finding shoes
And other stuff that children lose,
Fitting lids on bottled bugs,
Wiping tears and giving hugs,
A stack of last week's mail to read--
So where's the quiet time I need?
Yet, when I steal a moment, Lord,
Just at the sink or ironing board,
To ask the blessings of Your grace,
I see then, in my small one's face,
That you have blessed me all the while --
And I stoop to kiss that
precious smile.

Author unknown


I hope that all of you find some peace and happiness on Mother's Day. Take the day as it is. Be thankful that God has indeed blessed you with another. Cry and be joyful, if that's what you need. Be thankful for what you have and even for what you don't - I am!


Friday, May 8, 2009

Quick Update - Jessica's Trip

She made it home! She had a great time! She's exhausted!

She got back around 2:15pm today and fell asleep with me on the sofa around 4:45pm. I tried to keep her awake but she just couldn't do it. It is now 9:50pm, Gib moved her to her bed around 6:30pm, and she's still sleeping! I've never before seen her as tired as she was. With my luck, she'll probably wake up right as I'm going to bed. My bet, if that happens, is that she won't be able to go back to sleep!

She told me a little about her trip, but I was holding out to really talk about it at dinner tonight so everyone could hear. Well, we had dinner without her, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear more details. What I know so far is that she put "marsh mud" on her face, which I later found out was crab poop - YUCK! (They apparently told the kids what it was AFTER they had it on them!) She held a snake - YIKES! She went to and into the ocean, collected shells, and took a tour of Savannah (the trip was actually to Tybee Island, GA). I know there was more, but that's what I'm waiting to hear about...

My wonderful friend, Jada, who took such sweet care of her (Thank You!!), has some pictures she is going to email me. I'll post them when I get them. I was worried about night time but she did GREAT! Praise God! She called me each night before she went to bed, and she slept with her lovies (those are 2 stuffed animals and a blanket of her baby brother's) and a picture of us as a family.

One quick, funny story... She called me from a friend's cell phone about 11:20 Wednesday morning on her way down. She didn't call to tell me she was there or that she missed me. NOPE. She called to tell me how bad she had to pee! Go figure! Someone had locked the door to the bathroom on the bus but no one was in it and they couldn't get it unlocked. I'm not sure what she thought would be accomplished by calling me because I obviously couldn't help her! It made for a great laugh, though! By the way, she was able to hold it because they were only about 10 miles from their destination.


I'm meeting Ebe and a new "angel mommy friend" in the morning. Gib has prom for his school tomorrow night. Not sure what else we'll do besides go to church Sunday morning. I plan to post again before then. If not before, I'll definitely post on Sunday. I have some thoughts to share about Mother's Day...

Hope you have a great weekend with your families!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Tough Morning of Tough Love

Yep. It's another Wednesday without a Wednesday's Walk. I promise the third part of Grady's service is coming, but something happened this morning that I have to write about instead.

Yes, this beautiful big girl named Jessica has gone on her first trip, six hours away from home. She has spent the night next door and at a friend's house not too far away, but she has never been away from home otherwise. Heck, she won't even spend the night at her grandparents' house! She left this morning to go on a school trip until Friday. (Yes, I had her cover up her shirt so no one could tell where she was going for safety reasons!)

This trip has been planned all year. We talked about it in the fall when I was pregnant with Baby Grady. She knew I couldn't be a chaperone because I would have Baby Grady to take care of. Well, that part of the plan didn't work out, but she insisted that she still wanted to go.

She had to be at the school at 6am this morning. We pulled up to see two big white charter buses, and her reaction was, "Whoaaaa!". When we parked I said, "Okay. This is your last chance to back out, are you sure you still want to go?" Her answer, "Yes."

So, we said a prayer, got her luggage on the correct bus and here she is climbing aboard.

I was standing around talking to some other moms (imagine that!) and she kept waving and blowing me kisses through the tinted windows. I was trying to fight back tears. Then I look up and she's crying and mouthed to me, "I miss you." I can't tell you what that did to my heart! Of course, I marched myself right up into that bus and back to where she was sitting. She said, "Mommy, I want you to go with me." We talked for a couple of minutes, and after lots of encouragement that she would be fine and have a great time once she was there and telling her that if she's absolutely miserable and can't do it, I'll come get her, I fought the primal urge deep within to scoop her up and bring her back home with me.

I turned around and left my oldest baby girl crying on the bus.


Talk about hard! I know it was the right thing to do, but there's a reason the "tough" is in tough love. It was HARD leaving her crying. I know she would have regretted it, and so would I, if she hadn't gone. She needs this as a growing experience and to gain some independence and self-confidence. Still, this morning was the hardest thing I've ever done with her other than watching her be placed under anesthesia and put on an MRI table when she was two. (And rest assured, if she IS miserable and CAN'T make it until Friday, I WILL go get her!)

She told me that she wanted me to go ahead and leave. She thought that would be easier for her. I told her that I would, but I couldn't leave completely. She didn't know, but I pulled across the street into the middle school parking lot and waited until the buses pulled out promptly at 6:30am.

I've been super over-protective of my girls since Grady died. I was overprotective before, but now that I've lost one child....... Well, I don't think I need to say anything else.

She is with some great girls and also a great friend of mine, Jada, who will love on her and take great care of her. In fact, Jada has already called me once to update me about where they are and what's going on. I know Jessica will be taken care of, and I know she will have a great time.

Even though she's my oldest, she'll always be my baby!

I'm a bit anxious about bedtime the next two nights. That's our cuddle and talk time together. I'm hoping she's so worn out and distracted by her friends that she'll conk out! If you think about it and have time, say a couple of prayers, for her and me! I'll let you know how it turns out!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Grief & A Ball of Yarn

What could those two things have in common???


Today has been one of those days where I've had a lump at the base of my throat all day. The tears wanted to come, but I wouldn't let them. Although, for some reason, I almost fell apart at Kroger tonight. No trigger. Nothing. Just almost started crying. But I composed myself. I fought it hard. The tears didn't come.

I haven't had a good cry in a long time. I let the tears well-up in my eyes and then blink them away. I keep swallowing until the lump doesn't feel quite so big. I keep taking very deep breaths so that I can get some air to help me not feel like I'm suffocating so much. It just takes soooo much energy to grieve. It takes soooo much energy to have the kind of cries that the love and hurt and lost memories of Grady bring about. There are times that I just don't have it in me to let go. And there are times when I don't feel "safe" to let it out.

You see, what I've found with this grief, is that it is somewhat of a personal thing. Yes, it is great to share my feelings with those who love and care for me. Yes, it is great to share my feelings with those who have walked a similar road. No, it is not good for me to keep it in. But the truth is this.....the ugly cries that really need to come to work through something like this are best done in private. Not just so no one sees how truly ugly I am while crying but for me to get the maximum benefit, or release, out of that sob session. And for me, that's literally what it is.

I think for many people they don't grasp the depth of the pain of losing an unborn baby. People say things like, "At least you didn't get to know him", "Something might have been seriously wrong with him", "At least you have two other children", "There's a reason". I don't know why, but one of the things I hated MOST to hear after Grady died was, "Well, you look good!" To me, that implied that I must be doing good if I looked good. Sure, the fact that I dropped 30 pounds in two weeks probably had something to do with it, but PLEASE! That is not the kind of weight loss regime that one desires! Anyway, I got so tired of it, that one night, when some poor soul (and I honestly can't remember who it was and if it was you and you're reading this, I do sincerely apologize!) brought a hot meal to our house, that person made the mistake of saying, "Well, you look good!" I know everyone who said this desperately just needed something positive to say to me and they were trying to make me feel better. But to this unfortunate person I replied, "Well that's a good thing because if the outside matched the inside, I'd look like sh--!"

So, what do my grief and a ball of yarn have in common?

When I went to my RTS Bereavement Training in March, we did an eye-opening exercise. We stood in a group of 6-7 people holding a ball of yarn. We were instructed to hold a piece of yarn in one hand and throw the ball itself randomly around the circle. Each time you threw the ball of yarn, you held onto a piece of it and you had to name how a mother (and/or father) bonds with the baby before that baby is ever born. So, our ball of yarn got thrown around the circle several times. Some ways mentioned that bonding occurs were hearing the baby's heartbeat, seeing the baby on ultrasound, feeling the baby move and kick, feeling baby's hiccups, preparing the nursery, naming the baby, baby showers, buying clothes/diapers, imagining life/holidays/vacations with the baby, etc. You get the idea.

All at once the leaders told us to stop. We then raised our arms over our heads and held up this "web" of yarn. It looked pretty cool from the bottom looking upward at the intertwined pieces of yarn. Then they told us to drop our yarn in front of us. It didn't look so cool anymore. In the middle of us was A BIG MESS! It was then explained to us that this is what grieving parents, who have suffered a loss, EVEN BEFORE BIRTH, have to unravel. As we were trying to "wind up" the yarn back into a neat ball, we kept encountering knots where the yarn would have to be more carefully worked with.

This is much like the grief that I have been, and still am, working through. From the viewpoint of an outsider, it shouldn't be that hard to lose a baby before he was born. After all, "I didn't get to know him". But nothing could be farther from the truth. I knew Grady very well. I knew him better than anyone else. And I knew him for 36 weeks and 5 days.

And I'm trying to clean up that mess and unravel the tangled yarn internally. You see, that tangled yarn is a good depiction of how my insides feel. It tells the story very well that my heart is broken. That even if I can work through some of the heartache, I will encounter bumps or "knots" along the way that may take longer to straighten out. That yarn is the clean-up that I'm trying to tackle every day. That mess of yarn represents the memories that I have of Grady, the memories that I won't get to make with Grady, the deep love that I will always have in my heart for Grady.

He's my son. My baby boy.

And I will never forget him!

And I will never let anyone else forget him, either.

And although I can't physically carry him here in my arms...

I will always carry him in my heart, forever and ever!