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.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane

First of all, thank you so much for all of your sweet, encouraging comments and emails regarding my last post. I feel much better. I appreciate all of you who read here, whether you are an official follower or not. I'm really not about the number of followers... My main goal is sharing my life and heart with all of you. So, thanks again for reading!


Last week my girls had a mid-winter break. They have two days off every year in February which is nice. We didn't have really big plans, but we did take a little trip down memory lane.

We lived in Lilburn, GA for six years. We had a wonderful preschool where both girls attended. Jessica started in the 18-month-old class and continued until she was four, turning five, and ready for Kindergarten. Emma Grace only attended for one year in the two-year old class. But to tell you how special this place was, when we moved to where we currently live, I continued to drive her almost an hour each way to school two days a week. I didn't want to change her in the middle of the year. They loved Emma Grace and had helped us pray her through her severely premature birth. They knew and appreciated her and her life. I didn't want to just walk away from that. It doesn't hurt to mention that going down there two times a week really helped me keep my sanity. We had moved to a small town in what is definitely considered country for me. I would take my coolers and cold bags and shop at my old grocery store, meet my friend Mary Beth at our favorite mexican restaurant for lunch, and visit convenient stores like Target and Walmart to get essentials and fun stuff.

They are on a different school calendar than we are, so off we went for a visit.

Jessica's teachers, from her 18-month-old class, Mrs. Jill and Mrs. Suzanne, are still there! When we arrived they were hula-hooping with the littles because it was too cold to go out. Wish I'd gotten a picture of that!

This is Jessica's favorite teacher, Mrs. Dorothy.

She taught Jessica in the four-year old Franklin class. Franklin, the stuffed green turtle, would occasionally make a trip home with us for our adventures over the weekend, but not before he got a bath in the washing machine!

And this is Mrs. Kathy, the director of the preschool.

She took us in their teacher resource room/break room and hanging on the cabinets are all of our past Christmas cards and Emma Grace's birth announcement. Too sweet!

I love where we are now, but I sure do miss these sweet, wonderful people!

After we left the preschool, we drove by our old house in Lilburn. This was mine and Gib's first house.

When we lived there it had just a standard garage door. You know the kind with the square windows going across it. The new owners thought this one would look better. I don't.

This is Mr. Willy (the name affectionately given to the tree by Jessica).

Jessica used to love climbing in this tree and just sitting there. Literally, just sitting. She still gets a bit sentimental when she sees it.

We were then off to visit a very special person. This is Nanny Bill.

Her first name is Billie and all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren call her Nanny Bill. So do we. Gib and I rented her basement apartment for about 18 months right before Jessica was born. (We might still live there if we hadn't had children - we loved it that much!)

We loved living with her and her husband. He unfortunately passed away ten years ago, but we have great memories of being in their home. They took us in as if we were family, and we have kept in touch. She calls us her adopted grandchildren, and we call her our adopted grandmother. She's such a blessing in our lives. And I love to visit her house in the winter...I love the sound of the furnace when it kicks on. It brings back great memories. That may sound crazy to you, but certain sounds, smells, songs, etc just do that to me. (This is where we lived when I read The Notebook and have the great, rainy day memory)

We left her house, went to an appointment on the way home and then to meet another blog friend in real life. I'll blog about that soon. It was a full day, but it was a great feeling of tiredness when it was over.


Lord help us...Emma Grace is on a steroid (and an antibiotic). She had a cold a couple of weeks ago, and it has settled in her chest. Again. She coughed for three hours last night, after Hycodan cough syrup, Vick's rub on her chest, two breathing treatments and two hot steam showers. I took her to the doctor this morning, so thankfully we have some meds to help her start to mend. But steroids do not do her, or us, any favors when it comes to her behavior. This has been her hardest winter in about four years. Needless to say, I'm ready for spring!!!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Bothered By It

I don't have tough skin. At all! I would never make it in a cut-throat business environment. I'm very sensitive and wear my heart on my sleeve where everyone can see it.

When I started my blog, I hoped to have at least some followers. I didn't know if anyone would want to read my blog or not, but I knew that I needed to write about my feelings and emotions. I didn't want to limit my blog to just my grief for Grady even though he was the inspiration for me starting one. I wanted to blog about other things, mainly important moments with my girls and our life in general. Hence, the general name "Tonya Talk".

I never expected to have a huge following like MckMama or Angie Smith or Kelly's Korner. And to be honest, I think that would be a bit overwhelming for me.

But instead of gaining followers, I'm losing them. I know I haven't been the best blogger lately. I have things I want to write, but I just don't make the time during the day to sit and blog. I'm trying to work on that. Really, I am.

However, since I announced our decision to try for another baby, I have lost three followers and one before that. I logged onto Blogger this morning and my heart sank when I saw that I had lost another. I don't have a list of my followers, so I really don't know who has left. I do know and understand it's a free country, and we can do as we please. I also know and understand that for someone who is struggling and walking down the dark road of grief that it may be too much to continue reading here in the face of exciting baby news to come.

I just wish I knew why they decided to leave...

Has this happened to any of you?

I know I need to just let this roll off my back and not take it personally. But I care about people in my real life and in my blog life. And that's so much easier said than done for me.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

From Me to You Award

My real-life and blog friend, Nicole, passed this award to me a couple of days ago. I feel so bad that I'm just getting it on my blog and addressing it. I couldn't copy and paste the image, and Gib just helped me get it done.

I'm supposed to tell you seven things about myself. This is kind of hard for me because I wrote these things a while back. Coming up with more stuff is challenging...well at least interesting or quirky things that you might enjoy...and things that I'm willing to share!

Here goes.

1. I'm a side sleeper. I can't sleep on my stomach and rarely on my back. Not only do I have to be on my side, but my fingers have to be curled up or tucked under the covers or my pillow. I had a recurring dream as a child that someone would cut off my fingers while I was asleep, hence the quirky habit of finger-hiding while sleeping.

2. I am a very social person. I love meeting new people and making new friends. While I don't mind being in a large group, I much prefer to be with you one-on-one.

3. My guilty pleasure is Diet Coke. I try to limit my intake. I'm not one who pops one right after another, but I do love me a good, cold fountain Diet Coke. And if it's from a can at home, I love it cold from the fridge and over ice, please!

4. Every time it rains, I want to curl up with a blanket and a good book. I have a wonderful memory from nursing school. I went to a then very small school, Georgia Baptist, which is now part of Mercer University. Our library wasn't much to write home about, mainly filled with nursing and medical books. There was a very small fiction area to choose from. I had just finished a really hard exam. It was cold and raining outside. I took my chances and browsed the small assortment of fiction. To my surprise, The Notebook by Nicolas Sparks was staring me in the face. I took it home, curled up on the sofa under a blanket, read the whole book in two hours and took a great nap when I was done. It is one of my fondest memories of a rainy day.

5. I love, love, love music. I think this comes from my dad being a musician. He was the lead singer and guitar player in a band for years before he died. I love all kinds of music. Country and Christian are my favorites, but I love anything with a good beat (I'm definitely a station surfer!). If a great song comes on the radio, I am notorious for turning up the volume several notches. If I'm in the car I really have to be foot gets heavier the louder the music is!

6. I hate, hate, hate to mop floors. I don't do it as often as I should because of this. If I could pay someone to come do just that for me, I most definitely would.

7. I'm not a big TV-watcher, but I do have a few favorites. Right now The Biggest Loser and Grey's Anatomy are at the top of my list. I also enjoy American Idol when they narrow it down to about 12. I DVR them so I can watch without the commercials. Commercials just annoy me!

There you have it. It's the best I could come up with today, especially because you already know so much about me! Nicole, thanks for thinking of me to pass this along to! I really do enjoy your blog!

It's a beautiful, sunny day here today. Jessica has softball evaluations this afternoon, but other than that, we don't have a thing going on. Very nice, I must say! I hope you all have a great weekend!


Thursday, February 11, 2010


This post was written July, 2008. We were trying to decide whether to try for another baby or not. I guess it's time to update you on the decision we made. So sorry it has taken me so long!

We didn't talk much about it after my consult appointment with Dr. Joe (explained in post linked above). Gib is a very relaxed, laid-back kind of guy, and it really wasn't a pressing issue for him.

But it was for me.

To try and condense the story a bit, I got very frustrated and made him a consult appointment for a vasectomy in late August. I figured maybe that would help him start thinking a little more about things. (And what man, wouldn't, right?) He decided not to go for the consult...he wasn't ready to make that final decision.

And neither was I.

Fast-forward a bit to Sunday, September 13th. I had really been praying, asking and seeking God to lead me and guide me with this very important decision. I was so afraid I would lean on my own wants and desires. I was afraid I would miss the answer God wanted me to hear.

But let me tell you friends, it was loud and clear.

It was Sunday, September 13th, and we had the very rare treat of Andy Stanley coming in person to speak at our church. He is the lead pastor of North Point Community Church. Our church is a strategic partner with them, and most of our sermons are of Andy via satellite (which may sound weird unless you've experienced it and then it's really not). Anyway, we made it to the PACKED auditorium that Sunday with girls in tow. He had been teaching a series called "Why Worry". He was there in person to deliver one part of the sermon called "Switching Sides".

He was teaching out of Matthew 6:25-34. It is a powerful lesson in worry if you have never read it. The scripture is great, but one thing I love about Andy's teaching style is how he helps me apply the word to my everyday life. He makes the Bible very real and even fun to learn about. Imagine that!

The words he spoke to summarize landed straight on my heart...

"Your biggest worry is God's greatest opportunity to do something unusual in your life because it's the area where you've been unable to say, 'Thy will be done'."

When he spoke those words, it was in that moment that I knew we should try again. I knew if we didn't at least give God the opportunity to show us what He wanted for our family, we would squelch Him and cut Him off before He ever had the chance to reveal His will to us. We might just miss out on a great blessing that He had in store for us. (And let me just clarify that Grady was, and still is, a great blessing to us!)

They handed out business cards that morning as we entered. At the end of the sermon, Andy encouraged us to write what we had been worrying about down on the card and place it in one of the wicker baskets placed around the auditorium. I wrote, "To have another baby or not" on my card and made my way to the closest basket, tears and all. The song we sang to close was "Take My Life (And Let It Be)" by Chris Tomlin, which is song number 25 below on my playlist if you'd like to hear it. The tears really started streaming down my face. With Emma Grace in my arms, I thanked God for revealing Himself to me that day.

That night, Gib and I actually talked about everything. He verbalized that he "wouldn't mind having another little one running around one day". So there it was. The decision to try again was made. I was so thankful and felt like a huge weight had been lifted.

Hopefully I'll have more to come on this soon.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

One Year of Blogging

Happy one year anniversary to my blog!

I just realized that I started my blog one year ago today. What an amazing year it has been! I honestly didn't know what to expect when I started this blog...

Would anyone read it? Would it serve its purpose of helping me and others along our journeys of grief? Would it come back to bite me that I'm so honest with my thoughts and feelings? How many followers would I have? Would it be a good way to document memories and milestones in the life of my family?

I've had such a great experiencing blogging to date. I've connected with so many wonderful people and found some new and amazing friends. I've been able to work through so many things just by typing them here and receiving feedback from you, my sweet readers. I cannot tell you how much comfort I've found in those who can relate to my loss of Grady and how healing this blog has been to me.

So, a HUGE thank you to all of you who continue to read on a regular basis. And also to you lurkers who pop in and out.

Sorry I don't have some great give-away in honor of my one-year-blogging milestone. Wish I had something profound to say tonight. But I don't.

So, thanks again for walking this journey with me over the last year. Hopefully there are many more to come!


Saturday, February 6, 2010


I mentioned in a previous post how misunderstood I was by my family when Grady went to heaven. Before I delve into this, I need to back up and fill you in on a few things. And I need to say again that I do not know who reads my blog. I know that I have two faithful family members who read my blog, one on my side and one on Gib's side. This post is sure to stir up some controversy, whether you're a member of my family or not. Some will surely have strong opinions, either in opposition or support, of my decisions. But I stand firm that this is my blog where I share my heart. It is not intended to hurt anyone. It is my sounding board and life journal. So, here goes...

After my mom died in 2007, I was very disappointed and hurt by several in my family. The lack of words/actions, the absence of expressions of sympathy, worries about objects that belonged to my mom by extended family just days after she died, and the feelings of abandonment and loneliness sent my mind reeling and left my heart feeling very sad.

Some would say, DUH, just tell them how you feel! It's not that easy for me. When I feel that I've wronged someone, I'm the first to try to reconcile. But when I feel that someone has wronged me, it is very difficult for me to "call them on it". (I don't want this to turn into a post about reconciliation because that deserves a post of its own)

After a couple of months of pondering the whole situation, I decided to disconnect myself from my extended family. Please don't misunderstand. I do love them. I would do anything for any of them. I don't wish any harm or ill-will towards one of them. But an easy way for me to deal with this was to retreat. I didn't think it would be too hard because we don't get together very often, and I never talk to my extended family on the phone, other than my two aunts.

My mom's two sisters, my Aunt Helen and Aunt Juanita, hold a VERY special place in my heart, as do their husbands. I vowed, at that time, to attend family functions if they pertained to them and them only. Which was the case last year for two surprise birthday parties. But as far as Christmas or other times, I decided my family and I would not be present.

I was able to get by until this past Christmas. I guess because it was the third Christmas in a row that we didn't attend, it raised some questions and eyebrows. I never lied or divulged why. I simply said we would not be there. My heart was broken when I learned that my sweet Aunt Juanita broke down at the Christmas gathering because we were not there. After I learned that, I made it a point to go see her and talk to her the next day. My intention was never to hurt anyone!

In telling her about my decision after mom died, I told her that my decision was further validated after Grady went to heaven.

This is when I learned how misunderstood I was by my family when Grady died.

I made it clear that I did not want visitors at the hospital. I don't think this was too unreasonable of a request. Some honored that request, some came anyway, and some didn't know those were my wishes (the term "some" refers to family and friends). The only two people who came from my side of the family were my brother and my stepdad. And that was okay. I didn't want a parade of people in and out of my room. It was a very difficult and private time. I honestly didn't want to share it with everyone. And let's face it, I didn't want to be a part of it myself.

Fast forward a bit to when my aunts asked me if they could bring food for our family. I told them no because we had so much food we could hardly eat it all. Neither one of them are able to stand in the kitchen cooking, so I didn't see the need for them to bring food that possibly would get wasted. I didn't ask for meals. My friends coordinated them on their own, and before I knew it, we had six weeks worth of meals coming to our house, at least three times a week. This apparently hurt my aunts' feelings and made them feel that my friends were more important than them.

Stab through my heart.

I hated to hear that, and it literally made my heart hurt. But, somehow, along with the message that I didn't want visitors, went the message that I didn't want any cards, flowers, phone calls, etc. This was absolutely NOT true! I'm not sure how such information ever got passed around, and it's really not worth questioning at this point. But I never said that.

No, I was not answering the phone and didn't for about six weeks. Those who called always left messages to let me know they were thinking of me and praying for me, all the while never expecting a call back from me. I received a slew of cards from people, some whom I don't even know. And I still have every one of them. I only received flowers from two people, and I so appreciated that expression of sympathy.

A couple of people from my family sent cards anyway, and I appreciated them SO much. But the majority remained silent, never acknowledging our loss and grief, even when I saw them in person at the birthday parties (only one cousin said anything about Grady in person to me, and it touched my heart beyond belief! You can read about it here if you want). I understand that a little better now based on the information they were given. But I still wonder if that would have mattered...

This has all come full circle. I don't feel part of the family anymore. It would be really hard for me to step back into the family at this point and feel completely comfortable. And just yesterday my brother asked me if my aunt called me about the family soup day in a couple of weeks. Nope. No one has called, and I don't expect them to. Now that the truth has been revealed, I doubt that I'll ever know the goings-on of the family unless I'm told by my brother or stepdad. I'm not hurt. I see that as them respecting my wishes. Knowing that I wouldn't come anyway.

As far as I know, my relationship with my two aunts and uncles is in good standing. I've seen all of them since Christmas and there was nothing but love expressed during both visits. I plan to keep communication up with them and make it a point to visit them more often. Unfortunately, they're not getting any younger.

I consider myself a pretty good communicator, but apparently communication wasn't my strong point during and after the time Grady went to heaven. But I'm not going to be too hard on myself. I was grieving. I was heartbroken. I wasn't thinking straight. And quite honestly, I can't take responsibility for the actions, or lack thereof, of other people. I cannot, and never will, ask for sympathy from anyone about anything. That is something that comes from the heart. I am truly sorry for the pain that I caused my two aunts, and I hope they can forgive me.

That's all for today. And I think that's enough.


Monday, February 1, 2010

A Meeting of Hearts

Last Tuesday was wonderful! There really are no words to describe what it was like meeting Sara in person.

I had just finished cleaning at 5pm and took Buddy out one last time before Sara and her crew arrived. I had talked to her a little before 4pm, and she wasn't too far away. I thought she would surely get caught in some traffic that time of day. But to my surprise, I was outside when her big white van rounded the corner. My heart did a little flip-flop. It was so exciting! However, it wasn't exactly how I had pictured our initial meeting...I was in Gib's big 80's ski jacket, hair pulled up, sweaty from cleaning with a dog doing the best he could to pull me down to get to them.


I wrestled Buddy into the house and got him in his crate. Then the proper hello took place. Sara and I hugged and cried. And hugged and cried.

It was a moment I will never forget.

Her poor kids were ready to get out of the van, and she was freezing in her short sleeves. The kids piled out, and we plopped on the floor in my doorway. Again, not exactly what I had pictured but wonderful all the same. It was easy-going, relaxing and just down-right fun! All the kids huddled around us for a while but in no time Jessica, Emma Grace and Anna disappeared into some sort of playing frenzy.

I showed them around so they would know where everything was. Sara and I were in Baby Grady's room when Ebe arrived (my girls let her in). I was SO glad Ebe could join us for this short visit. You see, if it weren't for Ebe, I would not know Sara. I found Sara's blog through hers. And if it weren't for Molly Piper, I wouldn't know Ebe. Ebe lives about 25 minutes from me. This was not our first time getting together, but it was the first time Ebe and Sara had met, too. They embraced in a huge hug, and I couldn't help but think of the irony of it all...

There we were in Baby Grady's room. His things still in place. His absence profound. But because of him and his early entrance into Heaven, along with Samuel and Owen too, there stood three grieving mommies, connecting with such a deep level of love and understanding for each other. Connecting in such a way that the general population cannot comprehend. Our hearts had already met through our blogs. Ebe and I had met in person. Sara and I had talked on the phone several times. But for all three of us to be together was amazing. And for us to come together in Baby Grady's room touched me in a way that I just can't explain.

We ate pizza and brownies, drank lots of sweet tea and chatted until very late. The time we spent together was way too short. Sara was only here for one night, stopping in on her way home from Florida. Ebe left around midnight, and Sara and I stayed up until about 1:30 talking more. I know we could have stayed up all night, but poor Sara had a 13 hour drive home the next day.

Sara's kids were wonderful! I felt like I knew them from her blog, too. Louis, the oldest, especially stole my heart. He was so good with Baby Hope. Sara had asked him to help her with Hope that evening so she could chat with Ebe and I. Sara still did plenty, but I was amazed at how Louis took such good care of her, making her bottles and such. The love they all have for sweet little Hope is evident, and I am praying, praying, praying that she gets to stay with them.

Here are my girls with Anna and JoJo.

Louis and Caleb were on the other sofa.

I hate that we didn't get a picture of all the kids together. Next time! 'Cuz there WILL be a next time for us to get together! Jessica is ready for us to drive to Oklahoma this summer, but I'm thinking that's gonna have to wait. I'm not sure what this summer has in store for us...

Before meeting Ebe and Sara, I was super-skeptical of meeting people on the internet. I still very much believe you have to be careful. People questioned me when I said my blog friend from Oklahoma was coming to stay with us. But this is the best way I can describe it, and I'm not even sure it makes sense...

It was like being with an old friend but meeting for the first time.

Amazing time together.

Amazing friendships.

Amazing how God brought us all together through the most devastating losses we've ever experienced.

Love you Sara and Ebe!