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.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It Is Well...

...With My Soul.

I wanted to blog today, but I really didn't know what to blog about. I can't blog about what is really on my mind, good or bad, so coming up with a blog post was a bit more difficult. I was listening to the music on my blog this morning and one song came on that I knew must be deleted. I love the song but for some reason the singer was off-key and it sounded BAD. I didn't really listen to it before adding it because I knew the song and I love it...turns out I don't love that version. So, while I was on deleting it, I decided to see if there was a rendition of "It Is Well With My Soul" that I might be able to add. If you've followed my blog for a long time, you know that is one of my most favorite songs. Ever. Well, to my surprise, I found one by Selah and added it today. I've set my playlist to start with it today since that is what I'm blogging about. (and yes, they begin singing in an African language...I'm not sure which one, though)

I know I've mentioned this song, but I'm not sure if I've ever shared why it means so much to me...

Emma Grace was born on Sunday, March 16th. I left the hospital on that Wednesday, the 19th, which was one of the hardest days of my life. The Sunday following her birth (7 years tomorrow), I was going to stay home from church to rest and let Gib take Jessica. I had been in the hospital a total of 15 days. My mom and stepdad had come over the day before to watch her so we could spend the afternoon at the hospital together, which was a rarity for me and Gib considering our schedules. It turned out that Jessica wasn't letting me out of her sight that Sunday morning. She wanted to stay home with me. I didn't want her to miss church, so I got up and went, too. It was hard. Emotional. Painful with my incision, especially since the doctor had told me, verbatim, "I pretty much had to do a rip and tear on you". OUCH! But she was alive at that point and it was okay. Into church I hobbled that morning...into a big church...with a long walk from the parking lot to the sanctuary. I found a seat, and thankfully my friend Amy (from my small group) sat down beside me. Gib was teaching a group of middle schoolers, and I didn't want to be alone.

I have always been ministered to through music. That's one of the reasons the music in church is so important to me. Aaron Keyes is the worship leader at our old church, and to say that he is amazing would be an understatement.

I managed to stand for a short time while least until they sang "It Is Well With My Soul". I got through the first verse, but as the song continued, I sat down and wept. And wept. And wept.

I'll continue in a minute, but if you don't know the song, it was written by Horatio Spafford in the 1800's after the Great Chicago Fire destroyed most of his investments, his son died and not long after, while on a trip to Europe for "rest", his family's boat (without him aboard) crashed and his four daughters drowned. Only his wife survived. He wrote this song as he was sailing to be with his wife. (If you're interested, you can read more here) Just for a little perspective, here are the lyrics (from this site):

"It Is Well With My Soul"

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul


It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin O the joy of this glorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and
I bear it no more praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
O my soul

And Lord haste the day
When my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and
The Lord shall descend
Even so it is well with my soul

I wanted SO badly for my little girl to live. I wanted SO badly for her to be okay. My words to Gib just the day before, after getting a call from the cardiologist and meeting with the neonatologist, were "I don't want to have to bury this baby".

But in that moment of worship at church, singing that song, I knew that even if I did indeed have to bury her, it was well with my soul. And it was well with her soul. And that because "it was well", I could get through the journey ahead, however long and hard it might be. And that one day we would be together again, because of the sacrifice and gift of God's son, Jesus Christ.

It was well.

Regardless of the outcome.

Turns out I did have to give a child back to Him, but it wasn't Emma Grace. I only got to keep Grady here on earth with me for short time. But it is still well. And it always will be.

And as a little side note, you should hear my little Emma Grace belt out the words to this song. Talk about heart-warming...doesn't even come close!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tidbits from T

It's a BEAUTIFUL sunny day here in GA! My girls are out playing in the woods, as I believe all children should do; my husband has gone to work for a while; and I'm trying to get my hiney in gear to get some things done. I really just want to sit outside. If I had a hammock, that would be perfect...stretched out enjoying the sunshine and warm weather, reading a good book, or maybe just listening to the sounds of my kids laughing while playing. Sounds great, huh? Well, no hammock here, so I might just have to settle for a plain old chair.


Before I get my chores done and enjoy the outdoors, here are some recent tidbits from T...

Tuesday I was grocery shopping for Emma Grace's birthday dinner. As I made my way to the check out line, I heard it. And the closer I got to the front of the store, the louder it was. What was it? A TINY newborn crying. There's no mistaking the sound of a newborn. I felt my heart start to beat a little faster. I tried to talk myself down. I wasn't prepared for an anxiety attack. It caught me SO off guard. As I waited in line (the baby was a couple of lanes over from me) and continued to talk to myself (and pray!), I realized that I forgot the broccoli that Emma Grace requested (which by the way she changed to green beans about an hour before dinner!). So, I turned around and headed to the very back corner of the store. I thought, surely by the time I get back up there the baby will be gone. But despite being in the back of the store, I could still hear the crying. By now, my heart was racing, my face was hot, my ears were ringing and my hands shaking. I leaned hard onto the shopping cart and told myself I would be okay. Unfortunately, the baby wasn't leaving any time soon. Something must have happened as they were checking out because when I got back to the front, they were standing at the customer service desk. Uggh. I just kept taking deep breaths, staring at the door. They finally left. When I got to the cashier, I must have looked bad 'cuz she said, "Are you okay?". My reply, "I'm much better now that that baby is gone." Her: "Yeah, crying babies can really get on your nerves". Well, friends, I spilled it all to her with people behind me. As I told her what happened with Grady, she remembered me being pregnant. She even commented on how big I was with him and how they always asked me when I was going to have him. Yes, that was me. And yes, he died. Luckily, she didn't crumble. She just said she was so sorry and off I went. I haven't been caught off guard or spilled Grady's story like that in a very long time. Grief is SO unpredictable! And while it has become a roommate and companion to me, it certainly was NOT my friend that day!!!


Luckily, Emma Grace has only complained of one other headache this week. They were starting to really concern me because she was having them every day. She took some of her steak in her lunch the day after her birthday, and I heated up the rest of her leftovers for her dinner that night. She didn't seem the least bit upset that we didn't get to sing to her on her actual day...maybe because we made it a point to do it the next night. She's really a pretty easy-going girl. Her feathers don't get nearly as ruffled as her sisters!


Speaking of her sister, Jessica got in a bit of trouble yesterday. She lied to me, which is a BIG NO NO in our house. She hasn't lied to me in a very long time (that I know of - and I do trust her). She came in with a bleeding finger yesterday afternoon and said she cut it on a branch. I didn't think much of it until I saw her put a certain "tool" away in the garage before softball practice. It was some sort of knife that closes up, but it wasn't like a Swiss Army knife. Emma Grace told me that was what she cut her finger on. So, in deciding her punishment, I would normally wash her mouth out with soap. But considering she's a bit bigger than she was when that happened in second grade, I decided she was going to write me a paper on why she should not lie. Doesn't sound like much punishment, does it? Well, take into consideration that the cut is on the thumb of her writing hand. It's not too comfortable for her to write. She asked if she could wait until it was better. You may think I'm mean, but I told her no. I've always been one to try to make the punishment fit the crime...this comes pretty close. She doesn't have to write it all at once, but it has to be at least 150 words, and she started on it today.


Gib has been working very hard getting ready to administer this test next week. It is the Georgia High School Graduation Test. He will test 890 kids Monday - Thursday. He and his secretary have had to count and organize 890 tests x 4. Not to mention all the other stuff that goes along with testing. I know he will be ready for Spring Break...but he tells me he has to work that week on getting ready for the Gateway. Is it summer, yet?


I had another meeting at the hospital yesterday. Things are still up in the air about the Perinatal Loss Coordinator position. But the leader of our group is a little more confident that even if the position does not get approved, they will at least start a support group which is very much needed in that area. I have to write a paragraph or two to be included in the proposal for that. It feels good to be a part of positive change, especially when it comes from such a devastating loss. I am determined to use Grady's life and death in a positive way...


I've been having my own little "church" since Wednesday. I bought the new Selah CD called "You Deliver Me". I bought it because of two songs called "Unredeemed" and "I Will Carry You". But it turns out that the whole CD is awesome! IF you like Christian music, that is... The title track brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it and the old hymns on the CD bring back memories of going to church with my grandmother, even though the hymns are a little more contemporary but still have an old gospel feel to them. I LOVE IT! And I truly think if you've lost a child, or are just plain going through a hard time, the songs on the CD will speak to your heart.


Before I go, I must share something with you. Emma Grace just busted through the back door to get a plastic Target bag. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: "Whatcha doing?"

EG: "I need a plastic bag 'cuz I'm collecting litter so the earth will be healthier. And we've already found a cookie wrapper!"

I cannot imagine there is that much litter behind my house and my neighbor's house, but I'm anxious to see how full the bag gets. I did warn her to be careful of what they picked up...


I've been at this computer long enough! It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so I'm gonna enjoy the sunshine today while it's here! Have a great one!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy 7th Birthday Emma Grace!

Dear Emma Grace,

I really want to write about your birthday party this past weekend, complete with pictures. But honestly, I'm very tired and too lazy (and impatient) for all of the pictures to load tonight. So, I decided to write you a letter instead.

Do you know how much I love you? I don't think you have any idea...and you probably won't even be able to process it until you have your own children one day. But as I always tell you and Jessica, "I love you to infinity and back!" That might not make sense, but it's okay. My love for you is positively never-ending!

I have been very emotional on this 7th birthday of yours. I have found myself tearing up more than usual. Especially when I think of what could have been... I do rejoice in your life, but it helps me to think back. It helps me to appreciate your life even more, as I remember how fragile your little body was. It helps me to see God's mercies anew and thank Him for protecting you, watching over you, helping the doctors and nurses have the wisdom to know what was best for you, and for blessing our lives with you every day. Each year, you become more of a miracle to me. I am in awe of how God truly spared your life seven years ago when you were born. I knew the majority of what could happen as a result of you being born so early, but I can definitely attest that God put some blinders on me, both while on bed rest with you AND while you were in the NICU.

I think you had a pretty good birthday today. I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast, which I know is a treat. Sure beats the typical breakfast of a waffle or cereal! You really enjoyed them and even ate two!

I took cupcakes to your class and read the book "Albert the Bear" to you and your friends. You enjoyed pink & green cupcakes and Cheetos Puffs after they sang "Happy Birthday" to you. You picked seven friends to stand as candles, with their arms raised in the air, and you got to "blow them out" one by one. As you "blew them out" they fell to the ground. I had never seen this before, and I have to say it was really cute. I enjoyed coming to your school for that short time to celebrate with you. And I was so surprised when I picked you up this afternoon and saw that you were still wearing your birthday crown that you were given this morning at school.

Your BFF, Caroline, came home with you this afternoon. Y'all had a great time playing after you enjoyed a vanilla ice cream cone with Jessica (except she had chocolate). After Caroline left, you enjoyed this beautiful day by playing outside with Jessica and your other BFF, Sidney.

You requested a special dinner tonight. You wanted steak, mashed potatoes and broccoli. However, about an hour before dinner, you changed your mind and wanted green beans. Since it was your birthday, I obliged and went back to the store. But only because it was your birthday!

I was very sad, though, because when you came in from playing, you had a terrible headache. I gave you Tylenol but it hurt so bad that you couldn't sit at the table to eat your birthday dinner. You curled up on the sofa and promptly fell asleep. We didn't get to sing or anything. I hate that you weren't feeling well. But, I saved your dinner for you in case you want it tomorrow. And don't worry, we'll sing to you tomorrow since we didn't get to today.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl! I'm so happy to be your Mommy! I love you more than words can say!!!

Hugs and Kisses!

(To read her story of prematurity, click her picture on the left side-bar)

Monday, March 15, 2010


Today is a great day for me to join in on NOT ME! MONDAY from MckMama's blog. I've only done this once before. But I've NOT been up to much lately and there's NOT much to share.


I did not get Jessica's one and only pair of jeans out of the bottom of her dirty clothes basket and fluff them in the dryer yesterday morning for church. I keep up with my laundry much better than that, and we never wear things more than once. Nope, not us!

I did not kindly ask make my sweet husband blow up 58 balloons for a game we played at Emma Grace's birthday party yesterday. I would never ask someone to blow so much hot air at once! Especially not someone whom I love so much! Not me!

I did not use regular snap-n-seal bags and write names on them for the girls' candy from the party yesterday. I have waaay more class than that. I would definitely remember to buy cute cello bags for such an occasion.

I most certainly did not feed my family bean dip with chips for dinner Saturday night. Nope. We eat much healthier meals than that, complete with a serving from each food group.

I did not crack some eggs that I needed to make cupcakes for Emma Grace's class tomorrow when I rushed by the store to get them on my way to pick her up from school. I did not have the bag on my wrist when I jerked open the door to get in. Nope. I'm much more careful than that!

I did not waste the only day on my calendar that had not one thing written on it. Nope. I would be much more productive with my time and not waste the morning away by catching up on Grey's Anatomy episodes. Not me!

I did not trade in the gentle leader I bought for Buddy for a prong collar yesterday. I would never think of using anything like that on my sweet puppy who loves to greet people and walk nicely pull me around the neighborhood and give me whiplash (and pull Jessica straight down on her knees). Nope. Not me!

Those are just a few thing I have NOT been up to lately! I'm sure there are more...I just can't remember them right now!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Tidbits from T


Did you know that's my nickname?

Well it is.

T, that's me!

I wanted to post just random things today and was trying to come up with a name for my post. "Tidbits from T" popped into my head. So, from now on, I think when I have random things to say, the post will have this name.

I kinda like it.

First of all, thank you for enduring my post on Monday. I know it was heavy and deep. That's how I was feeling that day. My heart is still heavy for my friend, but I'm feeling better these last couple of days. Grief is SO unpredictable. It hits me when I expect it and even when I don't. It appears in ways that still surprise me and often catches me off guard.


It's raining here AGAIN! I'm thankful because we've had such a drought the last few years, but enough already! The good news is that I think we got the leak in our roof fixed. But, what a pain it is to put Buddy on the leash and go out every time he has to take care of business! I'm trying to talk Gib into an invisible fence but I haven't convinced him, yet...


Jessica is in her first play tonight. She doesn't have an actual speaking part...she's singing in the choir. This has been a great and fun experience for her, and I'm proud of her for even wanting to try out. Being in front of people has never been her "thing".

***Updated: Jessica will NOT be in a play tonight. She came home from school this morning with a fever and a sore throat. I took her to the doctor and she has strep throat. She has started her antibiotic and hopefully will feel better soon.***

We attended the rising 6th grader's parent night on Tuesday evening. YIKES! I CANNOT believe I have a child old enough for middle school. She is growing up SO fast. I'm proud of the young woman she's becoming, but I wish I could slow down time just a little. I'm not ready for her to enter this next phase. And the next. And the next. But it's coming whether I'm ready or not!

She loves this dog of ours more than ever. Emma Grace has grown very fond of him as well. Buddy has graduated from sleeping in his crate to sleeping in Jessica's room. NOT on the bed...beside her bed, in the corner, behind her reading chair. He's squished back there, but that's where he plops himself every night and I think it makes him feel secure. Emma Grace loves to love on him...a little too much at times. Grabbing him around his neck, hugging, pulling, you get the idea. And he just lets her do it. He still attacks people as they come in the front door (jumping on them), and he doesn't know how to politely walk on the leash without almost pulling me down (and literally pulling Jessica down to the ground). But overall, he's a good Buddy.

I wish I had a recent picture of Jessica and Buddy...I'll have to take one, huh?

She is gearing up for another season of softball and is very excited about it. She's not sure what position she'll play this time. She's had a private hitting lesson with hopefully a few more to come. She says she wants to learn to pitch...we'll see.


I'm getting ready for Emma Grace's birthday party this weekend. Both of my girls decided they wanted new bedding and room-makeovers as their gifts. Since bedding and accessories are not cheap, they agreed to have simple birthday parties. I usually go all out with a theme and games, but not this year. I'm starting to stress a bit about what games these girls are going to play. I have some ideas but if you have suggestions, please leave me a comment or email me!

This time of year, I always reflect on Emma Grace and her life. Each year, something new strikes me, and I become more in awe of her and her life. Of what a miracle she truly is. This time seven years ago, I was flat on my back in the bed on strict bed rest. My water had broken at 23 weeks and 4 days with her. There were NO pockets of fluid around her on each ultrasound. It's amazing that she didn't lay on her cord and compress it since there was no fluid for her to float in. It's a miracle that she had lungs to even work with after being without fluid for 12 days. It's amazing that she survived the prolapsed cord and a blessing that I found it when I did. (To read details of her story click here or on her picture on my sidebar). She is a miracle, and I can't believe she's about to turn 7. I went to the perinatal loss support group this past Monday night, and there were several couples there who had early losses around the time that Emma Grace was born. I rejoice in Emma Grace's life and the miracle that she is, but I couldn't (and still can't) help wishing those families had been granted a miracle, too. It breaks my heart for them.

I took this picture on March 4th, exactly seven years since my water broke with her. She's so crazy!


Just in case you're wondering about "my mission", I haven't posted about it in a while. I'm still on the Bereavement Committee at the hospital and attend monthly meetings. They have recently put in a proposal for a Perinatal Loss Coordinator. I'm pretty sure it will be a while before there is an answer one way or the other on the position itself, with the economy and budget constraints that all companies are facing. And, not to sound pessimistic, but I probably will not be chosen as the person for the job. I think there are probably a few current Labor and Delivery nurses who would like the position. But I won't back down easily. I will still apply if the position is approved. And if I'm not chosen, I will stay as active and involved as possible. And as Gib and I were talking, at least I was a catalyst in presenting the idea and helping to move things forward in order to assist these families experiencing such loss.


Gib is working long hours, as this is a very busy time of year for testing in the school system. He leaves home around 5am and we don't see him until around 6pm or later in the evenings. Spring Break is coming soon which he's very much looking forward to. However, he and the girls don't share the same spring break which is a bummer. Can't very well do anything as a family when that happens. Summer is right around the corner, too, and will be here before we know it.


I got the sweetest package in the mail yesterday from Aunt Barbara. She came across it while looking for another gift. It is a Precious Moments figurine with a baby boy sleeping on what looks like a cloud. It is titled, "Safe in the Arms of Jesus". Precious, perfect and heart-warming, huh? I put it on the piano beside Grady's picture. Here's a picture of it. It's a little dark because I had to take it without the flash or you could only see a big blob of white.

I love that she still thinks of Grady and lets us know it...through her words and actions. It warms my heart so. Thanks, Aunt Barbara! Here she is with my girls on New Year's Eve at a family luncheon.

And just for fun, here are Jess and EG on Valentine's Day with their little presents.

That's all for now, folks! Time to wake my girlies up for school. Have a great day!


Monday, March 8, 2010

I Remember...

*Warning: This is not a happy, funny, or feel-good kind of post. It's a pretty transparent account of my feelings and my life in the first few weeks following Grady's death. And it turned out to be long.*

I know there are hurting people each and every day, for many different reasons. I know there are mothers every day who are grieving the loss of their child(ren). I know this and think about it literally every day of my life.

Because I AM one of those mothers.

But my friend Rachael is SO heavy on my heart. Knowing what she's going through. Knowing the uphill battle she now faces. Knowing how difficult the days ahead are going to be for her.

And it has brought back a flood of emotions for me. It has brought me back, emotionally, to the time right after Grady went to heaven. I don't write this for you to feel sorry for me. I'm in a much, much better place now 15 months later than I was then. Time does have a way of healing. But it never goes away completely. And, today, I just need to write out these thoughts and feelings.

For me.

And maybe you, too.

When I walked out of the hospital without Grady in my arms, I felt sad and empty. And MAD. I was, no doubt, in shock. But I was clear-headed and determined enough to know that if I wasn't leaving with a baby in my arms, I was walking. NOT riding in a wheelchair.

I remember as I got into the van, I said, "This is the second *%!#@?^ time I've left this hospital without a baby in my arms, and this time there's no chance that he's ever coming home with us." I don't often curse. But I did then. It wasn't fair. It just wasn't fair.

The drive home was somber. Quiet. Not many words were spoken between me and Gib. What do you say at a time like that? What do you talk about? I knew that we weren't long behind Chad from the funeral home who had come to get Grady. I wished he was with us. It may sound crazy, but knowing what I know now...people leave the hospital with their baby and take them to the funeral home themselves. I remember thinking, at the time, how that would have been nice. Just to spend a little more time with him. To hold him a little longer... If only I'd known that was an option...

Then we had the fiasco at our pharmacy. We went through the drive-thru to fill my Percocet prescription because I'd had a c-section. There were three prescriptions total to be filled, but that was the only one I really needed then. The lady at the window told us, sorry, they closed at 9pm (this was at 7pm) and they were already 3 hours behind. WHAT?! Are you kidding me!? First, I asked if my friend was working - nope - because I knew if she was, she would fill it. Then I said yelled, "My baby just died and I just had a c-section, can't you just fill that one?!?!?". Would you believe she said no and told us to go their competitor about 7 miles away??? Unbelievable! I said a few more bad words and was furious. Gib had to go back for something later and spoke with the manager. Shoot, my next door neighbor was so mad, HE called the manager, too! We received several calls apologizing, but I'll NEVER forget that woman's rudeness and insensitivity.

Then it was home to my sweet girls. They were so glad to see me, as I was them. My friend, Amy Ellen, had made dinner for us that night and she and my other friend Nicole had straightened my house. What a blessing. I walked into Grady's room and found the most beautiful basket on Grady's changer. My friends, Robin and Lori, had gone in together and gotten it for me. It was filled with angel items, chocolates and bath salts. Their thoughtfulness meant so much to me.

I don't remember if I cried when I first walked in Grady's room or not. I think I did, but it's terrible that I don't know for sure. I just remember feeling lost and in a daze.

After we ate dinner, and I pretty much sat watching them eat, my girls wanted to watch a movie. I was so tired but obliged. I pretty much slept on the sofa while they watched the movie. But we were all together and that's what mattered. They hadn't seen me in three days.

I really don't remember much about that weekend. I know all I really wanted to do was sleep because when I was sleeping, my heart didn't feel like it was ripping out of my chest. I religiously took my Percocet and Xanax just to get me through. Think of me what you want, but I needed my medication during that time. A few things about the weekend stand out...

We were trying to decide on cremation or burial for Grady. I decided to do a little research on cremation. First mistake. I then decided to find out how to talk to your children about cremation. Second mistake. "In order to talk to your children about cremation, you first need to understand the process yourself" is what the article said. I read it. Through my sobs, I told Gib, "I'm done for the day". It was only 12:00. I didn't come back out of my room until dinner time.

I also remember that Sunday my brother, sister-in-law and my stepdad came over for a visit. I was still a zombie. We sat in the family room, talking about stuff, all the while avoiding the "elephant" in the room. I remember either myself or my sister-in-law brought up Grady, and my brother said something like, "Okay, let's talk about something else." I knew it was hard for him and probably uncomfortable. I wasn't mad at all, but I remember thinking, "I don't want to talk about anything else...I want to talk about Grady."

Gib stayed home with me for the first three days of the next week. We made final arrangements for Grady, but other than that, I think I spent most of that time in the bed. The first day Gib went back to work was terrible for me. After the girls went to school, I was lost. I spent most of that time in bed. Not sleeping. Just lying there. Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Reliving every moment that had happened.

I had wonderful people who were taking the girls to school for me, but I would stay in bed until the last possible second before I had to get Jessica up for school. I would get her ready and go back to bed until I had to get Emma Grace up for school. I would get her ready and go back to bed.

Yes. I spent a lot of time in the bed. Again, not sleeping. Just holding Grady's blanket close to my chest. But I had no energy for anything else.

Had it not been for people bringing us meals, I would not have showered. I would have stayed in my pj's all day. And that's exactly what I did on the days we didn't get a new meal. I just didn't care.

But on the days when I dressed, it literally took me about two hours. Something that normally takes me 40 minutes, shower and all. I would shower. Get back in bed. Do a little make-up. Get back in bed. Dry my hair. Get back in bed. Get my clothes on. Get back in bed. Flat-iron my hair. And by then, it was time for someone to be bringing Emma Grace home from preschool. We would snuggle, read, watch tv, etc until Jessica got home. Gib usually wasn't too far behind Jessica in those early days which was a blessing.

I remember a week after coming home, going in the nursery to read a book I had been given by the social worker at the hospital. It was called, "When Hello Means Goodbye". She gave it to me the day I was discharged and told me to read it at some point. I found a little comfort in the book, but mostly I was furious that no one had given it to me when I first arrived at the hospital. It talked about making memories with your baby in the short time you had with them. It would have been nice to have that part of the book highlighted and the suggestion made to read it before delivery. And if we weren't able to read it ourselves, maybe someone could have read it to us.

I remember feeling like I had lead in my legs. It was hard to walk. It felt like I had a ton of bricks on my chest. It was hard to breathe. It physically hurt to breathe. I remember feeling sick to my stomach all the time. I wasn't eating like I should have been. But why should I? I wasn't nursing a baby who needed nourishment, so who cared? I lost 30 pounds in two weeks.

I would go in Grady's room, sit in the rocker, and just cry. I cried myself to sleep one night in the rocker which resulted in a terrible crick in my neck. Gib came in one day and asked me what he could do to help me. I know he felt helpless when it came to me. I said, "I just need you to love me". He said, "I think I can do that".

I journaled to Grady frequently which helped. Just to pour my thoughts and feelings out to him felt good. And during that time, I wasn't speaking to God, so I started a journal to God which has turned into my prayer journal. I didn't want to talk directly to Him, so I thought I would write out my feelings instead. It was a tremendous least until I had my first breakthrough.

I remember wandering through my house thinking, "I should have a baby in my arms", not knowing what to do with myself.

I remember the mailbox being full of sympathy cards every day. I would open each one, read it and put it in a pile. I still have them. I was so grateful that people were taking the time to reach out to me. But I remember thinking how I wished I was getting Congratulations cards instead. And how "not right" it all was. I got mad about it one day. But what could I do? Nothing. It was what it was, and it wasn't going to change.

I remember not answering the phone for at least a month. Even with caller-id. The only times I answered was when I thought it might pertain to Jessica or Emma Grace. I did answer Gib's calls, but other than that, I just let voicemail pick it up. I didn't really care to talk to anyone and if they really cared about me, they would just leave a message. Which most people did.

I remember the first time I went to a public function. It was Emma Grace's Thanksgiving feast/celebration at preschool. I wanted to be there for her, but I hated going. I walked in and felt like I wore a huge sign on my head that said, "Yes. My baby died". Whether it was true or not, I felt like people were talking about me, saying, "See that woman over there, the one in the black shirt, her baby just died". I hated that feeling, but it was worth enduring to see Emma Grace sing in her little Indian outfit.

I remember the first trip I made to the grocery store. I intentionally made a list and thankfully did not forget it. I was in the back of the store and felt like I was going to have an anxiety attack. My face became flushed. My heart started beating really fast. And my ears started ringing. I took some deep breaths, leaned harder into my shopping cart to hold myself up, focused on my list and somehow made it out of there. Luckily there were only three more items that I needed.

I remember the first time someone saw me who did not know what happened to Grady. It was at the preschool where I thought everyone knew...I felt safe there. But after Emma Grace's Christmas party, I was walking out the door and the woman behind me said, "I see you had the baby! How's he doing?" Not only was I caught off guard, but I just flat out didn't know how to answer her. I told her that he died and she felt awful. And I'll be darn if it didn't happen again later on that same day at Jessica's school. Except, instead of crumbling into tears like the first lady and me comforting her, this woman, while holding her baby, stomped her foot on the ground and said, "D--n it, I hate that. I hate that for you". I actually liked her response better.

I remember picking up "The Good Grief Club" by Monica Novak for the first time. I remember that I couldn't put it down because I was reading the words of someone else who was describing exactly what I had been feeling. Finally, I felt like I wasn't alone. Someone else knew what I was going through. Even if it was an author of a book and not someone in real life.

I remember sitting at the computer one evening after dinner. The dishwasher was going, the tv was on and the girls were running around playing. Loudly. I literally felt as if I was going to jump out of my skin! I thought, "What is wrong with me?!" I told the girls to turn off the tv if they weren't watching it and to please lower their voices. I then googled "symptoms of grief" and to my great surprise and sense of relief, "sensory overload" was on the list. It felt good that it was "normal" and that I wasn't going crazy. Even the sounds in the grocery store or in a large function with lots of people talking would just about put me over the edge. Eventually this subsided, but oh how I thought I had really lost it!

While I was completely consumed physically, emotionally, and mentally with my grief for Grady, I'm so thankful I had Jessica and Emma Grace. I honestly don't know what I would have done without them. I snuggled them and loved on them so much in those days that I'm pretty sure I suffocated them to an extent. I know they got tired of it, but they appeased me. Thanks sweet girls! It was hard to put a smile on my face at times, but I did. I know they were hurting and dealing with our loss in their own way. They knew how hard it was for me because they saw me acting differently than they had ever seen me before. I have cards they made me during that time that I will treasure forever.

After Grady went to heaven, I'll be the first to tell you that, YES I was depressed. I'm not one bit ashamed to admit that to you or anyone else. I think I was entitled to it, as is anyone going through such a significant time of loss. I had never known such depression before, and it was debilitating at times. Praise God, Dr. Joe asked me before I left the hospital if I wanted to go ahead and start on some medication. I agreed because my miscarriage in 2005 sent me into postpartum depression, which I didn't know could happen. I started Lexapro the day I came home from the hospital, and within three weeks some of the heaviness lifted. The gray cloud was still there but the fog had lifted some. I stayed on it until March of 2009 when I felt like it was starting to mask my feelings. It's terrible to feel the need to cry but you're just not able. And for the record, I didn't stay on the Percocet and Xanax very long. I traded the Percocet for Ibuprofen and the Xanax for some Unisom to help me sleep...worked fine and is not addicting...exactly what I needed.

I don't want pity for this post. That's not why I wrote it. I wrote this for myself because the memories hung heavily over me today. And I also wrote this for others who may be going through this very same thing right now. Maybe what I felt will make someone else feel a little less alone. I remember thinking, "I know I'm not the only one who's going through this right now". And I wasn't. Oh, how I wish I'd had my blog then...

If you're still reading...thanks for hanging on 'till the end! It has only taken me about four hours to get it done!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Day of Brokenness

I went to a funeral yesterday.

For a sweet, precious baby boy.

I'll never understand this side of heaven why parents have to endure such awful, deep heartache. Whether a baby or an older child, parents just shouldn't have to bury their children. But it happens every day. Way too often.

His name was David. He was beautiful. Precious. Tiny. With a head full of dark brown hair. He looked so peaceful resting in his tiny casket.

Dr. Joe put me in touch with this mom who is now a dear friend of mine. Her name is Rachael. I don't have permission to link to her blog, so I won't. I've met her, talked to her, and we've emailed numerous times. She had known since her 20 week ultrasound that, short of a miracle, her sweet baby wouldn't live long, if he was even born alive. He lived for about seven hours after birth. I know that was precious time that she and her husband will never forget.

The service was beautiful, and I'm so thankful that I went. At the graveside, I happened to be standing on the side of the family tent. I could see Rachael clearly. I couldn't stop looking at her. Praying for her. My heart breaking for her and weeping with her. I'm convinced that her big, black sunglasses hid eyes that were, and still are, the saddest they will probably ever be.

As they lowered Baby David's tiny casket into the ground, the funeral director asked her whether to start placing the dirt on top or to wait. I heard her mutter the words, "Go ahead". Her oldest little boy was standing next to his daddy saying, "Bye bye David, see you in a little while...see you soon". It broke my heart even more.

We were all given a white rose to place on top of his grave after the sod was replaced. As I took mine up, I wanted to grab her and just embrace her. But I didn't. There were too many people waiting after me.

God love her sweet self...she called me last night to thank me for coming. I wanted to be there for her and her husband and to honor Baby David's short life. We didn't talk long, but she told me she felt like she was in a fog. I know. She told me she just felt physically sick, didn't want to eat, but knew she had to eat something. I know. All I could tell her was that what she was feeling was normal and to take this road one day, one hour, even one minute at a time. The next few weeks will be extremely hard for her as the adrenaline slows down and the shock starts to wear off. Would you pray for her and her husband with me? They are both hurting.

It's a cruel, hard, awful time for a mom to live through. You grow a baby for 40weeks. You birth that baby. You hold that baby for a while but leave the hospital with empty arms. Your arms physically ache to hold your little one again. Your milk comes in, and you suffer through engorgement, but there's no baby to nurse. You bleed for who knows how long as your uterus gets back to it's pre-pregnant state, but you have no baby to show for it. I could keep going with the postpartum issues, but they get more unpleasant, so I'll stop there. There should be a way to stop mom's body from going through the normal processes after a baby dies. But there isn't.

I was broken for Rachael yesterday, and I'm still broken for her today. Praying for peace, strength and comfort that can only come from God above. She read a beautiful poem that I hope to post on my blog soon.

I heard a song for the first time yesterday. Funny, though...I heard it on the way to the service AND on the way home. Coincidence? I think not. The lyrics were perfect for the situation and spoke deeply to my heart. I'll leave you with those today.

Josh Wilson, Before The Morning

Do you wonder why you have to
Feel the things that hurt you
If there’s a God who loves you where is He now

Maybe there are things you can’t see
And all those things are happening
To bring a better ending

Someday somehow you’ll see you’ll see

Would you dare would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming
So hold on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

My friend you know how this all ends
You know where you’re going
You just don’t know how you’ll get there
So say a prayer

And hold on cause there’s good for those who love God
But life is not a snapshot
It might take a little time but you’ll see the bigger picture

Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory

It’s just the hurt before the healing
Oh the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

Praise God that morning is coming!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Grady's Service, Part 5, My Letter

This is the letter I wrote and read at Grady's service on January 24, 2009.

Dear Sweet Baby Grady,

Where do I begin? I guess I should start by saying I love you, I miss you and I wish you were here. You are my third child, my little boy. You have a Mommy, Daddy and two big sisters who love and miss you so much. We had such hope for you to join our family. We were ready. Your nursery was ready, the diaper bag was packed, your clothes were washed and ready for you to wear. The bassinet was set up in our room and the car seat was in the car. You seemed happy, kicking and hiccuping - everything seemed fine. We were so excited about your arrival and suddenly you were gone, just two short days before you were to join us. What happened sweet boy? Why did you have to leave us so soon? We won't know those answers until we are with you again in heaven. And I do look forward to that day!

You were perfect as far as we could tell. I will never forget the first time I saw you. You were wearing the white smocked gown and you were absolutely beautiful! You looked like a perfect sleeping angel, which is what you are. I just kept hoping that you would wake up... I will never forget what it felt like to hold you and snuggle you on my chest under the blanket. I will never forget how soft your skin was, softer than the finest silk, I'm convinced. I will never forget your rosiest red lips. I will never forget your long fingers and big feet, just like your daddy! You looked like your sisters when they were born and your hair was the same color as theirs. You had your daddy's nose and my mouth. I would have loved to see your beautiful eyes open, but you looked so peaceful with them closed. You weighed 6lb. 11oz. You were big for your gestation. The important thing about these numbers is that you had weight in this world and you mattered. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wonder what it would be like to have you in my arms. I tell your Daddy that I just want to hold you again. They physically ache for you at times. My heart has hurt deeper than I ever thought it could. You were an extension of me. You grew inside of me for 36 weeks and 5 days. I knew you like no one else. My scar constantly reminds me of where you were, and I'm proud of it. You will always be a part of my life, my heart and my soul. You will always be a memory - a memory that I love and love to think about, even if it hurts in the deepest part of my being that I never knew existed. Instead of feeling like I had a brief encounter with you, I feel like the world stood still.

We talk about you all the time, especially your sisters, and I can assure you that your memory will forever be alive in our family. I am determined to honor your life, to turn this tragedy into something positive, to not let your life be wasted or in vain. You were and you are too special for that. You have forever changed me and you've touched my life in a way that words cannot explain. Your life and death have opened my eyes to a whole new world of hurting people just like me. I thought I had a good perspective on life but I was wrong - you made it better. I promise that you will never be forgotten and that I will be your voice here on earth. God knew you were only going to live inside of me. It was never His intent for you to be born alive. Your days were numbered before you were ever conceived. God has a purpose for everyone's life and your purpose was fulfilled while you were inside of me. I recently realized that I am PRIVILEGED to be chosen as your Mommy. To be the one to give you life, if only for a short time. To be the one chosen by God to help Him fulfill your purpose. For that I feel blessed beyond belief. It will always be an honor to be your mommy. And if asked if I would do it again, knowing how it would turn out, I would honestly say yes. Because at least I had the chance to know you.

As much as I wanted, and still want, you here with me, one of the things that has brought me comfort the last 10 weeks has been that you will never experience any of the hurt and sin of this world. You went straight from being safe in my womb to safe in the arms of Jesus. I will do my best to keep your memory and light alive here on this earth, but I look forward to the day that we are together again. The day that you greet me in heaven and I get to hear you call me "Mommy" and I get to see how truly beautiful and alive you are.

I love you more than words can say. I will carry you in my heart forever.


To read the other parts of Grady's service, click here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grady's Service, Part 4, Poems

When I was planning Grady's remembrance service in January, 2009, I had an idea of what I wanted. That was one of the advantages of not doing a service right away. The shock had somewhat worn off, and I was in a better place to plan emotionally. Not great, but better.

I did not have a blog then, but I had found a great group of women on a stillbirth message board. I sat for literally hours after Grady went to heaven and read stories of other losses. Although my heart broke with each story I read, in a twisted way, it brought me comfort. I guess just to know I wasn't alone. I posted a discussion to ask others how they had celebrated/remembered their precious babies' lives.

I knew that I wanted to read a poem, but it couldn't be just any poem. It had to feel right and express what I was feeling in my heart. I had already written a letter. I couldn't muster a poem, too. A sweet angel mommy suggested the following, which I was able to choke through and read in its entirety. I keep a copy of it in my Bible and saw it last night...hence the inspiration for this post today. (I just found out it's actually not a poem but a song)

"Angel Unaware" by Shari Buie & Tamara Miller

Oh, the longing we both had
To be your mommy and your dad.
We put our hopes and dreams in you,
He hoped for pink, I dreamed of blue.
But for you God had a different plan
One we may never understand.

We were visited by an angel
Though we didn't know it then.
You were the answer to our prayer
Our Angel Unaware.

We hardly got to say hello
Before we had to let you go.
God breathed your name and called you home
So briefly here, so quickly gone.
But in the stillness of the night
My empty arms still hold you tight.

In my mind I see you running,
Chasing bees and butterflies.
Soft hair gently blowing,
Healthy cheeks, laughing eyes.
In the quietness of the morning
When the mist hangs in the air,
I hold you close within my heart -
My Angel Unaware.

How can I miss someone so much
I barely had the chance to touch.
Yet as you grew inside of me
I learned how strong a love could be.
I knew you for a lifetime
I'll love you all of mine.

I asked Jessica and Emma Grace if they wanted to write something to read at his service. To my surprise, Jessica not only wrote something, but she actually read it when she lit her candle for him. She's very shy, and granted there weren't that many people here, I really thought she would chicken out...but she didn't! I was SO proud of her! Here is what she wrote (unedited from her copy - it's much more special that way).


My Little Brother

Roses are red vilotes are
Blue you are my sweetie
Pie and I love you

You comfort me when stuff
is bad and even when it is

You mean more to me than anyone
because you are my little brother
my very, very speacil brother

I love you for who you are
not because you are not here
but because you are in my heart

I was going to also include the letter I wrote to Grady and read that day, but it's honestly too much for one post. This is enough for today. To read the other parts of Grady's service, click here.