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, August 29, 2011

A Divine Appointment

I went to a "Service of Remembrance" yesterday at the hospital where Grady (and Emma Grace and Matthew) were born. Grady was not being honored, but I was invited and chose to attend. I went simply to support the families of the babies who were being honored. It is complicated to describe exactly what this ceremony was about, but I'll do my best.

Until recently, and with many hospitals, when a pregnancy is lost in the early weeks the only option for the "fetal remains" is "hospital disposal". I hate both of those terms in quotes, by the way. Through the efforts of the bereavement committee and a few key individuals, they are now able to offer something more. Families may choose to have the baby cremated with other babies at a funeral home and have the ashes buried together in the memorial garden at the hospital. Yesterday was the first remembrance ceremony to honor those babies.

There was a good turnout of families, and I sat next to a lady who was instrumental in getting this put into action. I noticed someone's keys and program were in the seat to my right, and when the lady sat down, I made sure to ask if she was saving that seat for anyone else. She said no.

I continued talking to the lady to my left and finally introduced myself to the lady to my right. We had a short conversation as she was too upset to talk. The chapel began filling, and I was afraid they weren't going to have enough seats. I looked at the lady to my right, we'll call her "K", and told her that I was going to go stand in the back because I wanted someone else to have the seat if they wanted it. To my surprise, she said something like, "Oh you can stay next to me and be my support. I'm here alone and am not doing very good".

So I did.

I put my arm around her and gave her a little squeeze and told her I would stay and support her. Through our conversation that followed, I was amazed by the details of everything that happened surrounding her baby's death. The ceremony was the first thing she had done to recognize her loss, and she said she felt like she was ready to start doing more. I was able to share some suggestions with her and encourage her that it does get easier. It has been almost 11 months since her baby went to heaven.

After the ceremony in the garden, I thought I would go inside to find her gone. But nope. That sweet woman waited for me to thank me and say goodbye. I gave her my information and truly do hope that she will reach out to me. I told her that I don't always have the right thing to say but am a good listener.

I share this not to toot my own horn, but to share what a heart God has given me for bereaved and hurting people. Funny thing is that as I was driving to the ceremony yesterday, I actually questioned myself as to why I was going. And in that thought process, I realized my deep desire just to be there for others and provide a little comfort and encouragement if possible.

God, on the other hand, had a divine appointment for me and "K" to meet. And if we never meet again, I hope the time and words we shared left a little spark of hope in her heart.

Love,
Tonya

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Just Some Words

How can it possibly have been two weeks since I last posted?!?!

I just sat down to blog about Matthew's 12 (and 13) month updates, and I'm honestly too tired. I am frustrated with myself that it has taken me so long because I'm forgetting exactly what he was doing at one year. At least I have memories from the Bahamas to draw from to help me some. :)

I've been seriously considering not blogging anymore. I feel like I've lost my blogging "voice", and I have found it hard to carve out time to devote to it. I'm disappointing myself, and in many ways, I feel like I'm disappointing those of you who visit my blog, too. I feel like I used to have so much to say. And, believe me, I still do! Never at a loss in that department. But I feel like a lost sheep who can't find her way back home in this blog world right now...

I still grieve Grady and would love to share. However, I feel like I've said it all before.

I love my family and want to share about them, but haven't you heard enough about us all by now?

I still struggle with organization and keeping a clean house. Nothing new in that area of my life.

I'm trying to revamp my grocery budget and save our family some money, or at least have extra to apply to the more "fun" aspects of life.

My children are growing too fast, my husband still loves me (I think), my hair is still white as snow and I'm still trying to figure out this thing called life (which I know will never really happen).

Nothing new.

And truly I'm not complaining. Just trying to justify my absence from this blog of mine, and from you, my sweet blog friends.

One thing I do know for sure is that my hands are shaking so bad that I can hardly type this. Buddy started barking out the sidelights of the front door. As I approached the door, I could have sworn the door knob rattled, and I noticed the door was unlocked. Oh my! (Jenny, I'm thinking of you! HA!)

And the other thing I know for sure?

I'm going to bed!

Night Night!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (almost)


SO HAPPY TO BE ONE!









Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What is a Rainbow Baby?

I asked myself that question when I stumbled upon a blog once. I emailed my sweet friend Ebe to ask her, and she very simply explained that a rainbow baby is the one who is born after a baby/child who dies.

OK.

Made sense to me, but I took it to a whole new level with Matthew's first birthday. In so many ways, Matthew is our "rainbow". I cannot emphasize enough how much he is absolutely NOT a replacement for Grady. He never could be. Grady was his own person. He had his own heartbeat. He lived his own life. Granted he lived only inside of me. But he lived. And that's so, so very important to me.

While Matthew is not a replacement, he has brought such immense healing to our hearts. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wonder what life would be like with a 2 1/2 year old Grady running around. And it's strange...I don't often think about what if Grady was here and Matthew wasn't? I think that's because Matthew is physically here, and Grady isn't. (I hope that's not confusing) I think about having them both here. But the reality is that if Grady had been born alive, Matthew would not be here because my husband would have gotten neutered, and we would have been done.

D.O.N.E. Done.

But that wasn't God's plan.

And I'm so, so very grateful.

As Matthew's first birthday approached, I contemplated the theme we would use for his party. I've mentioned before that he absolutely loves racing, so I definitely thought about a racing theme. I even ordered some race car invitations from Sam's with his picture on them, but when I went to pick them up, they looked awful. They were supposed to have an oil spill on them, but it made them look just dirty. So, I didn't buy them and chose something different. And they turned out great! This is the picture that was on his invitation...


The caption said "Roll on over to have some fun, Matthew [last name] is turning one." It had a baby wagon on it and was super cute.

A wonderful local woman makes the best cakes, so I contacted her for the job. I knew I didn't want to buy a store-made cake because I gave Matthew some of Jessica's icing from her birthday cake, and he broke out around his mouth. I'm hoping he doesn't have a peanut allergy!

I decided to go with a rainbow theme because it's his first birthday and I could get away with it! We have plenty years ahead to celebrate whatever he's into at that time, and a rainbow theme made me happy. Because, he is our "rainbow baby".

I'm a member of a facebook group for bereaved moms called Hope Mommies. Just the other day, a mom posted the following about "What is a rainbow baby?" I don't know who originally wrote it, but I want to share it with you...
Rainbow babies:
In some circles, babies born to families
after the loss of a child are referred to as "Rainbow Babies."
The idea is that the baby is like a rainbow after a storm.
"Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow
...does not negate the ravages of the storm.
When a rainbow appears,
it doesn't mean the storm never happened
or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath.
What it means is that something beautiful
and full of light has appeared
in the midst of the darkness and clouds.
Storm clouds may still hover
but the rainbow
provides a counterbalance
of color, energy, hope and love.
I just think that's beautiful, and a great description of our Baby Matthew. Matthew brings such love, hope, energy, laughter and joy to our lives. But it doesn't mean that Grady's death didn't occur or that his death doesn't still affect us in many ways today.

So, I had Tracy make cupcakes in a rainbow fashion for Matthew's first birthday. And, to bring a true element of personalization, I had her make his smash cake with a race car. I think they all turned out GREAT!


There's a story behind the next picture.


When I was pregnant in the fall of 2008, Emma Grace colored that picture in her 5 yr old class at preschool. It says, "The rainbow reminds us of God's promise to Noah." I was working at the preschool, and she brought it to me and said, "Mommy, this is for Baby Grady's room." I told her how beautiful it was and that we would definitely hang it up in his room.

Unfortunately, it never got hung. I did laminate it, we put it on the table at Grady's service and obviously still have it (and I do still have plans to hang it in Matthew's room...I've just got to get a frame!). It was sitting on Matthew's bookshelf in his room, and as I was dusting one day, I thought it would be a great thing to talk about at his party. I used Emma Grace's picture to try to explain what a "rainbow baby" was to our guests. I made it a point to say that a rainbow usually follows a storm, and that every time I see a rainbow it reminds me of Grady, and God's goodness, and the hope and promises we have in Jesus.

Grady's death was definitely a storm in our lives, but Matthew is certainly our rainbow. More later...

Love,
Tonya

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tidbits from T

Hi friends! Yes, I'm going to give you Matthew's 12 month stats and share part 2 of his first birthday celebration soon. But I thought I'd do a quick blog post and catch up on other areas of our life. Yes, believe it or not, there is more to our lives than Matthew! (But he's a huge part of it!) :)

***The girls started back to school this past Monday, August 1st. Matthew and I were sad to see them go and were quite lonely during the day. Yes, I made them pose for these dorky pictures.


Gib thought I was dorky for making them hold signs, so I got to be in one of the pics, too.


***Jessica tried out for volleyball at school this week, but didn't make the team. :( I think Gib and I were more sad for her than she was for herself. She wants to take gymnastics, and the class I signed her up for would have conflicted with her game schedule. It worked out for the best for now, but I hope she will pursue this again because she does have good hand/eye coordination.

I'm not sure I mentioned it before, but Jessica got braces the beginning of June. She looks great in them and has adjusted well to having them. We'll see how she does after getting them tightened for the first time on Monday.

She is growing up way too fast, but I'm so proud of the young girl she is becoming. She has started babysitting for the three children across the street, ages 3, 2 and 9 months. She is very responsible and has such a sweet spirit. I sure do love that girl!

She will probably kill me for posting this picture, but I took this picture of her sleeping the other night. I used to take sleeping pictures all the time when she was younger. I just felt like I needed a recent one. Even though she's getting big, she will always be my "baby girl".


***The school put Emma Grace on the wrong bus the first day of school. I only freaked out a little. Gib, on the other hand, my mild-mannered husband, just about flipped a lid. He was livid. Turns out there is another subdivision with a street name the same as ours, and Emma Grace and two other little girls got put on that bus. Emma Grace spoke up to her teachers several times, they checked with the office several times, but the transportation department was to blame. I know we all make mistakes, but I put our subdivision name on her form, so there should have been no confusion. The bottom line is that she made it home safely and has come home on the correct bus since. I spoke with the assistant principal and her teacher called to apologize and check on her. It's all good.

Emma Grace will take gymnastics on the same day and time as Jessica. That couldn't have worked out better! I'm excited that she is getting involved in an activity again. She really is happy just hanging out, playing with friends, Matthew, her sister and Buddy. And talking. That girl of mine talks nonstop. Wonder who she gets that from? *wink*

She has started sleeping in these eye covers. Do they crack you up as much as they do me?

This is how I find her a couple of hours after she goes to bed.


She had her first official sleepover recently. Well, I can't really say that. She has spent the night next door several times (but that's next door and in many ways like a second home to her), and she has spent the night at MeMe's house. But, another sweet friend of hers invited her to go to the American Girl store, out to dinner and to spend the night just before school started. She did great and had a GREAT time! Thanks, Reagan!

***I'm contemplating running a half marathon with Gib in October. CRAZY!!! I am so out of shape that I get winded walking up my driveway. Not sure what I'm gonna do yet, but I've got to decide SOON!

Our grocery bill is out of control, and I absolutely HATE going to the grocery store. I'm thinking about making a monthly menu, shopping for the main ingredients and only going once a week for milk, fresh fruits/veggies, lunch meat and bread. I found a blog called Grocery Shrink and she blows my mind on how she can feed her family of seven on $350 a month! And they don't eat a lot of junk or processed food. Hmmm. Makes me think for sure. It all overwhelms me but if I could feed my family for $600 a month I would be thrilled.

I'm continuing to work with Rock Goodbye Angel, a local organization that provides support for bereaved families. We are currently searching for a meeting place near the hospital where Grady was born to start a support group, and we are also praying for funding to hire me on part-time. Exciting!

What's not so exciting to me is leaving Matthew. I have never had to put any of our children in any type of childcare setting other than the church nursery. I always said, though, that if an opportunity came along for me to use Grady's life/death to impact others that I would do it part-time. I can make phone calls and work on the computer while he naps, but when we really get into the hospital, I will have to leave him to go educate providers on our services and be present for bereaved families, if the so desire. I found an awesome lady to keep him one day a week, so that makes my heart happy! He will be with three other babies right about his same age. Granted, he is behind in his development, I think it will be great for him to see what they're doing.

***Speaking of Matthew, he's army crawling everywhere and is into everything! Like this box the other day.


He blew me kisses with just his mouth yesterday morning while we were strolling around in Target...melted my heart! He loves to sit in the buggy and look around.

We are for sure going to have to take him to a race when he gets older. As I was leaving the dentist the other day, he was enthralled with the cars that were passing by on the busy street. I can only imagine how he would love the loud, fast cars at a race track.

He got a wagon for his birthday from MeMe and GranDave. It's been a huge hit, for Matthew AND the girls! What's wrong with this picture?


He is feeling much better this week. He had an ear infection, fever and a cruddy nose last week. It turned into a cough and wheezing. Thankfully, I had the nebulizer and medicine already. I hate that a cold can't just be a cold for my kids.

Matthew loves Buddy, but I'm not sure the feeling is mutual. Buddy is great with him, though, and every now and then, they "play" together.


***Grady has been on my mind more than normal lately. I think about him everyday but I've found myself really thinking about him and missing him so much. I think a lot of it is the fact that he would be old enough to start preschool this year. He would have turned three this November. It's hard to believe he's been gone almost three years!

***Gib is back at work. Thankfully he does NOT have testing again this year. People at work have commented that they've seen him smile more lately than they ever have before. We are all hoping to see him more and spend more time with him. We got spoiled having him with us so much this summer.

He is wrapping up his summer classes at UGA and only has two classes left to finish his specialist degree. He mentioned a doctorate program the other night. Please, Lord, not more school!!! In all seriousness, I'm very proud of him. I simply have no desire to go back to school. Ever. Unless I absolutely have to for some reason.

***We are looking forward to a visit from Gib's brother and his family in early September. They have not visited in four years! We loved spending time with them in the Bahamas and are looking forward to them coming for a few days. The kids have a blast together, and so do we adults! Speaking of the adults, we will be going to the UGA vs. Boise State football game at the Georgia Dome while they are here. It has been a long time since I've been to a Georgia football game. I'm looking forward to it! I just wish it was going to be in Athens to get the full effects of Georgia football!

***So much for being a "quick" blog post as I mentioned in the beginning. Now I'm realizing why I don't blog much. I started this post Friday morning...it's now Saturday morning, and I'm just finishing it!

Have a great weekend!

Love,
Tonya