Monday, December 31, 2012

Bad Kitty Blues

We had our 16 week appointment last week the day after Christmas.  We found out that Baby Bear is another girl.  I feel closer to her knowing what gender she is, but honestly I would have been fine either way.  I am just so glad that she is looking healthy and growing well.  We saw her suck her thumb and try to pick her nose.  She is funny, so different from Grace, not as shy and more playful.  Grace would always shake her little fists at us, like I am sleeping stop pushing on me!  My two girls.  Now Mark and I just need to decide on a name!

I ordered her nursery furniture a few weeks ago and we have now assembled the changing table and the crib.  I guess I can order the sheets and decorations now that we know she is a girl.  I will post the nursery transformation pictures later.

I feel like I am the biggest drama magnet ever, but I think that I am just having a really bad run of luck.  Which honestly I can handle as long as Bear stays healthy and keeps growing and kicking (which she is actually doing right now as I am writing this).  My kitty Louie can no longer live at our house, and I am so sad.  He has been pooping outside the litter box for 6 months now, we have changed litter 4 times, added extra litter  boxes in the locations he was pooping in (Baby Bear's room), switched his asthma medications in case the pills were stressing him out.  We (well Mark) cleans both litter boxes daily.  We started to find cat urine on flat objects a few weeks ago, on the mat leading into the litter box and then a bag that was on the ground.  Yesterday I caught him urinating on the Christmas tree skirt.  I know that logically we have done all we can, and that we cannot live with a cat who uses our carpet as a litter box.  I don't want Baby Bear crawling on the floor of her room and finding a cat turd.  However I also feel like a failure for not being able to rehab him back to the box.  I contacted a rescue group yesterday and am waiting to hear if they can help find a new, less stressful home for him.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Missing her so much at Christmas

This was by far the hardest day I have had in a long time.  My grief was so raw and so fresh, like in the early days.  Just saying her name makes me cry.  I opened a few gifts and then just laid in front of the tree sobbing.  What I really wanted wasn't in any of those boxes.  I want my daughter.  I want my baby girl and I want her RIGHT NOW.  It hurts to breathe, it hurts to be, everything just hurts.  Why can't I just have my girl with me?  Why did I have to be the 1 in 2000 that loses their baby?  Nothing makes sense.  Nothing about this stupid day matters.

Grace,  I love you so much.  My world is so sad without you.  I wish you were here today and every day.  I wish you had presents under the tree and stuffers in your stocking.  I wish your ornament on the tree said Baby's First Christmas and you were here to have your picture taken with it.  My darling, no matter how long you are gone, my love for you will only grow larger and larger.  You will never be forgotten.  I am so sorry I could not save you.  I am so sorry you are not here.  My heart is broken....


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Acts of Grace

When Grace died we asked friends and family to remember her by performing acts of Grace no matter how big or how small.  Many people said they did, and would sometimes e-mail or tell us what they did, others we hope did something, but they never shared their acts with us.

We have made several donations in her name since she died: food for a food bank, bereavement materials for other BLMs and dads to the hospital where she was born, and monetary donations to March of Dimes and other baby centered charities.  This year for Christmas I spent the money that I would have spent on gifts for her to buy items off the wish list from the Banner Cardon Children's Hospital.  We went down about 10 days ago and dropped of the items.  They were greatly appreciated and I love the idea that they will brighten the day for a sick child or the parent of a sick child.  I would like this to become a tradition with the donations being targeted to kids who are as old as Grace would have been.  This year my gifts were for the NICU and infant patients.





Our good friend Sally also allowed us to share in her Act of Grace.  She bought a toy chest for a local woman's shelter called Seeds of Change.  They are a small organization for women in highly dangerous domestic violence relationships where the abuser or victim also has substance abuse issues.  They just opened a new transitional home for women who have children.  Sally decorated the chest and inside on the middle section she stenciled Grace's name.


She also bought toys to fill the bins.  We went with her to deliver the toys and the chest to the transitional home.  The women and kids were so grateful and it was a beautiful moment.  Sally shared that this was in honor of our baby Grace that died.

I will write an update on the situation with my  mother soon, but this one is just for my precious girl Grace.  I love you and miss you always sweetheart.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

This crap week is over and I still can't sleep

Woke up at 3:45 am, have not been able to get back to sleep.  I am worried about Bear, his/her movements were not as easy to feel yesterday and sometimes I was afraid I was just imagining them.  Why does this have to be so hard?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How to be when your world is crashing?

My mother is off the ventilator and breathing on her own.  She is apparently aware of her surroundings and can remember taking too many pills yesterday.  I have spoken to her nurse, but not to her.  I have nothing left to give her.  I am a husk, a shell of who I was before and there is nothing left.  I have to take all my energy and put it towards my baby.  My world is crashing down, drama at work, serious illness with relatives, losing my health insurance in 1 year, financial concerns.... I want to be nurtured and feel safe and secure and I do not.  I feel like I am standing on quicksand and have no way to turn.

I know I need to make some changes.  I cannot live like this.  I cannot be pregnant like this.  I want to retreat into myself for a year, but I cannot.  I have financial responsibilities.  So what else can I do?

I know that I have to terminate my relationship with my mother.  It is painful to do so, but I cannot allow her mental illness to affect me this way.  I cannot allow her to hurt me and therefore hurt baby bear.  I need to find a new place to work.  I need a change, a different environment and I need to listen to my heart and spirit telling me it is time to move on.  These are scary things, but they have both come to hurt me and I need to protect myself and my baby.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Here we go again: Mother drama

My mother called last night to yell at me.  She was mad that I sent a Christmas card and letter to my godmother.  She is mad at my godmother, for not being supportive enough to me after Grace died.  I admit that my godmother did not call or e-mail or visit (although she lives on the other side of the country).  She did send some nice cards.  I was hoping for more, since my middle name is Ellen which is her name and Grace has my middle name.  But she lost her son a few years ago.  He shot himself in the head one night at her house, he was 30.  He woke her up at midnight to say goodbye and apologize for what he was about to do, and then he went into his bedroom and killed himself.  She has never been the same since.  I have told my mother that perhaps losing her son and never really processing the grief has made it impossible for her to be close to us with our loss.  I think that she gave what she could and I respect that.  My mother does not.  However she never told her best friend of 40 years this, she just did nothing.

So last night I get told I am disloyal and a bad daughter for sending a Christmas card to the woman I am named after.  I should never communicate with someone who hurt my mother so badly.  WTF I thought she was upset about how I was treated, now this is about her?  I am not hurt.  I will reach out to whomever I want at this crappy holiday season without my baby girl.  I will tell whomever I want about Baby Bear.  We need love and hope and prayers and faith right now and I will take it from any and all corners.  I then got an earful about not driving 4 hours to see her Christmas Day (even though I work the day before and day after).  Of course last week she told me she was spending the holiday with my brother by choice.  Now I have abandoned her and am an ungrateful bitch.  I told her I had a crappy day and could not talk to her anymore and hung up, which was true I have euthanized 9 animals in my last 2 shifts.

So today I am pissed and trying not to let this affect me, but it does.  36 years old and still wanting Mommy to love me, fat chance of that happening.  My Dad calls around 1:30 pm, he found her in her bed minimally responsive and covered in vomit.  He called 911.  She is in the emergency room where they had to take measures to save her life.  This is not the first time this has happened.  She was in a medically induced coma for 2 days on a ventilator in 2005.  She has been threatening to kill herself to me since I was 7 or 8.  She has been treated for drug overdoses again and again.  I have not cried at this news.  I have no plans to drive to Tucson or take time off work for this.  My heart is walled off and protected from this hurt.  Maybe it will sink in later, I don't know.  I have complete compassion fatigue for her and her drama.  I don't know how to help and even if I did I am not sure I would have the energy to do so.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My heart breaks for the families in Newtown, CT

The news this week just shook me to my core.  To know some of what those families are going through, to have your baby go to school one day and not come home.  To have them shot by a mad man for no reason on a Friday just before Christmas break.  I have lost a child, I have held her sweet lifeless body in my arms and kissed her and hoped that she knew how greatly she was loved.  Now there are 20 new mothers holding their children's lifeless bodies and hoping that they weren't scared at the end and that they knew they were loved.  My heart goes out to those women and their husbands.  I wish you did not have to join this sorority of baby loss and child loss.

I have always been an advocate for gun control, but after this and the Batman shooting and the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, why are there still people who think that guns are the answer?  We cannot keep guns out of the hands of man men, so let's keep the guns away from everyone.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hospice... Grandma.... New Grief.... New Guilt

I got a call today that I was not expecting, although I probably should have been.  I had a palliative care nurse go out to check on my Grandma and fix some issues with her medications.  She called back to say Grandma was doing very poorly, low heart rate, lowish blood oxygenation, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, she has lost 9 pounds in the last month, etc.  It was time to put her on hospice.  I knew that she was having some bad days where she did not want to eat and would sleep mostly, but after some adjustments to her Alzheimer's medications she seemed more alert.  Heck she called ME Tuesday and we spoke on the phone.  She wanted to make plans for Christmas, and we talked about what gifts she would like to give people.  How can she be dying now?  The nurse explained that towards the end they can have really great highly functional days interspersed with bad days like today.  I came home and called my Mom and then just cried with my husband.  I am not ready to let her go.  I know that she is old.  I know that her mind is not anywhere near what it used to be.  I know that her appetite is poor and she cannot do the things that she loves easily: go shopping, read books, do crafts... I know that her quality of life is declining.  But I am still not ready to lose her.  I know that I am being selfish, but right now I don't care.  I want her to meet her great grandchild who is growing within me now.  I want to have pictures of her with me and Bear and my Mom, four generations.  I have one of me when I am about 3, my Mom, Grandma and my Great Grandmother.  I wanted that so badly for Grace, and I did not get it, I though with Baby Bear I may get that chance again, but now who knows.

I know that end of life medicine is not an exact science, she could live a few more weeks, or months, or rebound and be here for Christmas 2013.  As I so cruelly know nothing is life is guaranteed.  Also the Hospice designation is not what I thought it was a year ago.  I thought about people with terminal cancer on morphine drips dying slowly in a fog to protect them from the pain their bodies emanate.  I my Grandmother's case it means she gets more visits from doctors and nurses.  She does not have to eat or take her medications if she doesn't want to and every effort is made to make her comfortable both physically and mentally.  I know that it is the right decision.  I don't feel guilty about that.  I do feel guilty about all the projects I wanted to do with her: labeling her collection of photographs spanning 60+ years, recording her stories, asking her about her pregnancy with my mother, her good memories, things like that.  I have spent so much time in the last 4 years running her to doctor after doctor that I did not have the time for these important things.  In the last year I have been pregnant and then a grieving mother and my energy for these projects was not there.  Now I may not have the time with her.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Faith

I had a really hard appointment with my hypnotherapist today.  She feels that my low grade depression and grief over losing Grace is negative for Baby Bear.  She says that the baby feels my sadness and anxiety and does not understand it and could feel that it is directed in some way at him/her.  It was hard to hear that grieving my sweet Grace could be bad for Baby Bear, but in a way I already knew this.  The unfettered joy that I felt all through my pregnancy with Grace has been absent with Baby Bear's.  I love Bear, I am so excited for this pregnancy, but it is different.  I don't want it to be, I don't want Baby Bear to always be the baby that came after our loss, but that is the truth.

We did something called EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).  You tap certain areas of your body while saying statements that you want to make stronger emotionally.  The first dealt with losing Grace and all the sadness I felt.  It is so hard because letting go of the sadness makes me feel like I am letting go of Grace, and I never want to let go.  Next we dealt with my fears that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, something will happen to Baby Bear.  I really don't feel like I am going to bring home a living baby in June.  As my therapist said like I am Charlie Brown and Lucy is going to pull that football away at the last minute.  I focused on being confident in Bear and myself.  I visualized hearing Bear's first cry.  I thought about how strong I was and how strong Bear was.  We call the baby Bear because during my self hypnosis to boost my fertility I always saw myself walking in a forest by a stream and this filtered light would come through the trees.  Who lives in the forest?  Bears of course!  I started thinking that my baby has such a strong spirit animal, a Bear, so my baby is going to be very strong.  Also we both have Grace looking after us, like a guardian angel, so I know we are going to be okay.

Bear is strong, Bear will live.  I am strong, I can be strong for my baby.  We have the greatest, strongest, sweetest spirit in the world looking after us.  I miss Grace and I love her so much, and as hard as it is I need to change my focus from my grief to baby Bear.  It does not mean that I am forgetting her, I could never do that, she lives on forever in my heart, but I have to let my sadness go.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Almost done with the First Trimester

So as of Friday I am 13 weeks pregnant with Baby Bear.  We have started to tell people about Bear and they are happy for us and praying and hoping just like we are.  I am starting to show just a little bit and my clothes, especially my jeans.  The Christmas season is upon us and last year I had so many dreams about how this year would be.  Of course they are just as shattered as my dreams of motherhood.  Baby Bear has given us something to hope for again, but missing Grace never stops.

I have been trying to memorialize this pregnancy even more than I did with Grace's: we take short videos of every ultrasound, Mark reads to Bear almost every night, we have told more people about Bear at this stage of pregnancy than we had told about Grace and I am trying to journal and keep a pregnancy memory book.  As much as I would like to say that this was for Bear to know how important he/she was to us, honestly it is for us, so if Bear dies we have a lot of memories and videos of his/her life.  I would do anything to have a video of one of Grace's ultrasounds. 

At the end of it all though I am tired and grieving and feel like I am not doing a very good job at anything.  Not writing on this blog enough for Grace, not doing enough to keep myself healthy for Bear, not doing enough chores to help around the house, etc.  I am trying to give myself a break, but I feel like I keep promising to do everything better.

We had an ultrasound last week and I was so scared.  Scared that Bear would be dead.  The nurse asked if I was nervous and I said yes, she did not even check for Bear's heartbeat with the Doppler and just went to get the doctor.  I was even more scared then that this meant that she knew something and did not want to be the one to break the bad news.  The doctor came and started the ultrasound and there Bear was, alive, heart beating, kicking up a storm.  Then he measured Bear and Bear measured 13w 4d, but I am only 12w 4d.  I am 3 inches taller than the average American woman, but my husband is an inch shorter than the average American man.  So could it just be that Bear will be tall like me? Could it be that Bear is just ahead of some average growth curve and this is normal? My OB was not worried.  I resisted the urge to google possible causes of long babies.  What a mess.  I keep reminding myself most babies live and are healthy... sometimes in helps.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Can't Sleep

My mind races.... thinking about cases at work, my Mother, Baby Bear, Grace, everything.  My mind has run a marathon while my poor body aches for more rest.  It is Thanksgiving now, I am grateful I don't have to work, but I am bitter about so many other things.  I am bitter that I have had more than 9 months as a bereaved parent.  I am bitter that my Mother cannot be a support in my life.  I am bitter that I still care so damn much about my job, even though it feels like an abusive relationship most of the time.  I am bitter that I can have such vivid nightmares about Baby Bear dying, because I know how that feels.  I just want to get away from everything, like at a yoga retreat.  Just spend like 2 weeks on nothing but me and Baby Bear.

I am thankful for many things, of course: first and foremost Mark, Grace and Baby Bear, my little family is the world to me.  Friends that have stood by me during this year of grief and pain.  My dog for hanging in there for me at almost 14 she is such a light in my life and I still need her, so keep hanging in there girl!  I am thankful that for  the first time in 7 years I am not hosting Thanksgiving, and am only cooking 2 side dishes.  I do not have to worry about guests or getting the food ready all at the same time, or my family showing up hours late.  This holiday season is going to be so hard.  I know I need to pace myself and not have any expectations, but it is hard.  I have been running on this hamster wheel of perfectionism for so long getting off is a dizzying and disorientating experience.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tired

I am now almost halfway through week 11.  I am so tired, emotionally, physically, mentally.  We continue to try and bond with this baby and I think that is going well.  I sometimes think I can feel the baby move, which is silly this early on, but I love those moments.  I still have those moments I am so scared for this baby, scared that I will come home from the hospital again with empty arms.

The holidays are here and trying to deal with those is hard.  I am kinda ignoring Thanksgiving... I got an invitation to a friend's house and we just have to bring a couple of side dishes.  Christmas is more problematic since we will put up a tree and likely have some people over.  I decided to spend the money I would have spent on gifts for Grace to buy items for the Children's Hospital.  I made an order on Amazon and they should be here soon.  It was very bittersweet, wishing that those items could be for her and also knowing that they would make a really sick baby's day a tiny bit brighter.

So many conflicting emotions, maybe that is why I am so tired.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Worn Out

Sorry that I have been so quiet lately.  The Capture Your Grief project was really exhausting and trying to figure out how to make it through the holidays without Grace is weighing on me.  My grief has been really heavy lately, I miss her so much, the fact that this is my life without her just breaks me.  Then I feel so guilty for Baby Bear that he/she is coming into a world that is still so sad from losing Grace.  Then I get terrified that there is something wrong with Baby Bear, that they will die too.  Last night I started coughing and I was terrified I had a cold and that would kill or harm the baby.  This morning I feel better and I think it was just a little cough from allergies, but I was so freaked out.

Today I have a full day of trying to deal with my emotions and be a good pregnant lady.  Acupuncture, followed by yoga, then lunch then hypnotherapy.  Lordy I am tired just thinking about it!  It is all stuff I need though so I will take it one thing at a time and get through it all.

M has decided to leave his job at the end of the school year.  He is burnt out and is unsupported my the administration and in our stupid state the voters again failed to support public education so the truth is the situation in the classrooms is just going to get worse.  He is starting to look (i.e. think about) what else he could do or where else he could teach, likely part time to help supplement my income, but not be so stressed out.  The whole situation scares me, but I know it is what he needs to do to be happy.  I am jealous too, since this means he will get to spend a lot more time with the baby than I do, which kinda sucks.  I guess it is better than a nanny or a day care spending the time with them.

We have started some traditions for Bear that we did not do for Grace.  We light Guardian Angel votive candles for the baby every Sunday night one for each month of pregnancy.  M also reads to the baby at night.  The first book was one I had on my registry for Grace, but then just bought for Bear, Babar and the Art Museum.  After we are through with that one M wants to read Moby Dick, but I told him no way!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 31: Sunset

I was hoping for a more spectacular sunset for this post, but since this is the first day I have gotten home in time to take a sunset picture this is what I got.  I have to say that it has been really hard to complete this project... it was good to think about Grace and "be" with her for a little every day, but also emotionally exhausting.  The pregnancy hormones are also messing with me pretty good lately.  I spent a good portion of the movie Frankenweenie crying and I am pretty sure that is an atypical response.  A good friend of mine is having a concert in Grace's honor tomorrow.  So any of you that live in the St Louis area, check out the Muscial GEMS (Grace Ellen Manno) concert at the University of Missouri, St Louis with Stella Markou performing.

Grace where ever you are, please know that Daddy and I love you so much, and miss you every single day.  The greatest tragedy of our lives is not being able to parent you and watch you grow they way we thought we would.  Love you baby!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 30: My Grief

I want people to say her name, Grace.  I want people to remember her and talk about her not just with me, but with other people.  I want people to see her as a fully fledged member of our family.  I want people to remember that she brought far more joy into this world than sadness.  I want people to know that although losing her broke me, having her, being pregnant with her healed me in ways I cannot yet explain.  She is my first born, my much loved daughter.  I will never be the same because she came, not because she died.  

Baby Bear's First Prenatal Appointment

We had our first prenatal appointment yesterday.  I was terrified, I was worried all day, sick to my stomach, trying to prepare for the worst, thinking that I would have to say goodbye to another child.  Of course everything went well, Bear is measuring normal for gestational age, there is a beautiful flickering heartbeat and I felt like I could breathe for the first time all day.  This pregnancy feels more real now, but also still like a dream that I could wake up from.  So many years of infertility and then two pregnancies without any Western medical intervention in such a short time span....  We are so blessed.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 29: Music



This Grace's song.  I bought t it to play right after she was born, in my day dream birth plan.  The first song that she would ever hear.  So special since she was from Hawaii.  Instead we played it at her Memorial Service.  It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 28: Most Significant Memory

The bad memories of the night we found out she died still destroy my husband and me, so I don't want to write about them here.  The most wonderful memory was finally getting to hold her after 2 days of labor, seeing her beautiful face, kissing her, smelling her... knowing her outside my womb even if she was gone.

Capture Your Grief, Day 27: Artwork

My husband saw this painting at a restaurant while we were in Hawaii this summer.  It made him feel Grace so strongly we had to go back later to take a picture of it.


Capture Your Grief, Day 26: Their age

Grace was an amazing 32 weeks gestation when she was born still.  She was practice breathing, kicking and putting on fat just getting ready to be outside the womb.  Had she been born without the umbilical cord accident she likely would have survived.  The pointlessness of her death still haunts me.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 24: Siblings

Grace was my first child, and as you know we have been trying since she died to give her a brother or sister.  I was not planning on writing about this until next week, but with the topic for today it seems appropriate



These were taken on October 4th.  I am 7 weeks and 5 days pregnant today.  I feel blessed and overjoyed, and excited, and scared and I miss Grace so  much.  I have my first pre-natal appointment next week, I was planning on posting after that if things went well, but honestly I need support now and will need it even more if things don't go well at that appointment...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 21: Shrine

I have no one place in our home dedicated to Grace, I have a collection of angels on the entertainment center, her bear is on her quilt in the guest bedroom, her nursery is still the same as it was before she died, not quite ready for a baby, but still meant to be for one.

My grief has been heavy lately, hence me getting several days behind with this project.  The starting of the holiday season with Halloween decorations everywhere has just been too much.  I should have a 8 month old getting ready for her first Halloween in some ridiculously cute costume that I paid too much money for.  I just miss her so much....

Capture Your Grief, Day 20: Charities

There are several that made a huge impact on my life and grief journey.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, provided an amazing photographer who took so many of the picture of Grace that I share on this blog.

Threads of Love, provided the only outfit that she ever wore

The MISS Foundation, provided books and literature

I have given monetary support to Molly Bears, a group that provides weighted bears to baby loss families and to the March of Dimes one of the largest organizations that provides funds for still birth research.


Capture Your Grief, Day 19: Project

I have made some donations in Grace's name, but nothing that I would call an organized project.  My husband has done some some great artwork of her which is what I will share.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 17: Due Date/Birthday

I went to work for 11 hours and then went home and cried.  For her 3 month birthday we had her Memorial service at our home.  It was lovely and crazy emotional.  For her 6 month birthday we went to church and made donations in her name to several charities.  Her one year birthday is coming up in February, we won't work that day.  I would like to have a butterfly release at the arboretum.  We will have a cake, it will be chocolate, and we will eat grilled cheese sandwiches.  It was the meal I ate in the hospital after I gave birth to her.  She was in my arms and I was eating all high on endorphins, so that is the meal I will have every Feb 12.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 16: Release

Well I was not organized enough to release any butterflies, or birds... I even made a last minute call looking to see if I could get ladybugs at a local nursery to release, no luck.  So instead I will talk about an emotional release.  I was watching Dancing with the Stars last night and one couple was dancing to the Coldplay song "Fix You" while our candle for Grace was burning.  I started sobbing.  The lyrics just hit me: "lights will guide you home."  Will Grace's spirit be led home by the light we had burning for her last night?


Monday, October 15, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 15: Wave of Light

 Here is our collection of angels for our Grace.  I hope this wave of light for pregnancy loss warms the hearts of other baby loss parents.  Missing all of your children today as I hold Grace's spirit close in my heart.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 14: Community

Since Grace died I have found out the people in my life that are true friends and those who cannot be counted on.  However even the best of friends and family did not have the emotional stamina to keep up with my grief needs.  I needed 24/7 access to people who would listen about Grace, and how amazing she was, and how much my heart was broken, and did not have any glib one liners to shut me down: time heals all wounds, etc.  I tried an IRL support group, we went 3 times, 2 times too many actually.  It was not the right mix of people.  I tried three different online support communities, one immediately felt like home, the other two I struggled with and tried for a few months, and I eventually stopped posting and checking.

So I have no photos of the baby loss moms and dads who lift me up and hold me when I need it.  No faces to put to the names and the stories.  I have cried so many tears for their losses and struggles and I could not pick them out of a crowd.  They are my girls, my posse, my community.  They live not only all over the country, but all over the world.  I could not have gotten this far without them.  I thank the Universe, God, a higher power for them every day.  I hope that I give them the same love and support that they have given me.



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 13: Signs

After Grace died everything felt like a sign from her: every sunset, every time the light broke through the clouds....  As time has gone on I notice fewer of these signs.  Maybe she knows I don' need so many anymore.  Two of my favorite signs from her were at her memorial service a hummingbird was flitting in and out of the crowd of people in our backyard to honor her, the other was an amazing sunset the last night we were on the Big Island this summer.




Friday, October 12, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 12: Scents

I read once that a mother can identify her baby's clothes from other baby's clothes by smell alone.  I completely believe this.  Grace had a smell all her own, I have never smelled anything like her before and I don't think I ever will again.  She smelled like home and love and perfect new life.  It was intoxicating and I kept smelling her and kissing her trying to imprint those smell and touch memories into the deepest part of my brain.  I hope that Heaven smells like her.

Today is 8 months without her... it feels like yesterday I held her and smelled her.  Mommy loves you darling.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 11: Supportive People

My number one supporter through everything is my husband Mark.

M on our honeymoon

Next my family.  My Mother, Father and Brother were all able to come to the hospital and be with me in labor and all got to hold my baby girl.  It meant the world to me.  They have shared Grace with me in a way that is so special.

My Dad, my rock

Heartbroken Grandparents

My Mom and Grace

My brother Alex (he was sick and had to wear the mask)


Then there was our angel, my friend Kim.  She was planning to come after Grace was born and take care of us, like a post-partum doula.  Instead she flew from Wyoming with 1 hour notice and was at my side in the hospital.  She held my beautiful baby, and grieved with us and fed us and cleaned up after us for days after we got home.  I am eternally grateful.

Kim holding our girl

 One of the rays of light from Grace dying was finding out how loved we truly are... I just wish we could have discovered that another way.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 10: Symbol

My symbol for Grace is a butterfly.  I always think of her when I see them.  The background on my laptop is a series of butterfly pictures.  I am open to other symbols as well since when I see hummingbirds I also think of her.  There was a hummingbird that visited her memorial and I really felt like it was her visiting us.  I like the idea that her spirit can flit and float and wander wherever she wants to go. 


A butterfly I caught while at the Desert Botanical Gardens this June.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 9: Special Place

Kauai is Grace's special place.  Where it all started.  I have been too sad to even think about going back to that island, but one day I will and I will do something special for my girl when I am there.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 8: Jewelry

This was the first Grace necklace I had.  I wore it non-stop for months until the chain broke and the charm was lost on the beach in Hawaii this summer.  I have a replacement, but the company made a mistake and it has the wrong stone in it.  It should have an amethyst, just like the one in the picture, the new one has a peridot.  They said that if I paid for return shipping they would make a new one, but I have not returned it yet.  Peridot is my birthstone and I like having her name and my birthstone too.  I also have a charm necklace with a pearl, an amethyst and a metal disk with the letter G.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 7: What TO say

She meant a lot to many people, but to you she meant the world.
 There is not one thing that I remember as a perfect thing to say, but the people who sent cards, called, listened to me cry, asked me about Grace those were so special for me.  If anyone needs advice on what to do or say for a BLM, just ask her about her baby, she knew that baby so well, she wants that baby's life to be important and mean something to more than just her.  Also don't just ask for the first few weeks, ask 3 months later, send a card for the baby's 6 month birthday, help celebrate a 1 year birthday.  Because the loss gets different with time, but it NEVER goes away.  Grace should be here with me now, that feeling that she should be here has not changed at all since the day she died and it never will.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 6: What Not To Say

I don't have a picture for today.  Yes people have said the same stupid things they say to all baby loss mom's: you'll have more, this was God's plan, Everything happens for a reason, she's in a better place...  They don't cut me the way they do some baby loss moms.  It's not that I am a bigger person, or anything like that, I just realize that I would not have known what to say and probably would have said something stupid too, before I became one of the people who know what not to say.  No the worst thing for me by far is the people who say nothing.  The friendships that I have given up on, the people that I have given up on are the ones who said nothing.  Like as if acting like Grace did not exist, or that my heart had not been broken into a million pieces makes it hurt less.  So no matter how misguided the things that people say can be, they were at least brave enough to say something, and that means at least they care enough to try.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 5: Memorial

We did not plant a tree for Grace or anything like that.  I was too terrified the tree would die and then in some way I would be losing her again.  I have some memorial jewelry which I love, but my favorite thing we have done so far was in honor of her 6 month birthday.  I purchased 2 stuffed bears and 10 books for the labor and delivery unit of my hospital.  The books were all about grief and baby loss and the bears were for bereaved parents to hold, the way I hold my Grace bear every night.  The bears had bows around their necks with one of  the kindness cards I made for Grace.  The books had labels in them saying this donation was made in loving memory of our beautiful daughter, her full name and the date she was born.  I hope that these books and bears can help provide a little comfort to other parents facing that awful news that their baby is gone...  I hope Grace's sweet spirit can bring some healing to those families.


Grace's Kindness Cards

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 4: Most Treasured Item

My most treasured Grace item is the bear I received from the hospital.  It was donated by another bereaved parent.  I held that bear while I was in labor and I held the bear with Grace.  I sleep with this bear every night.  It now has the very important job of carrying her urn.

Grace Bear carrying my baby


Grace and her bear

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Capture Your Grief, Day 3: Self Portrait After Loss

I could only find one photo that I had taken of myself.  It is of my feet on the beach in Hawaii.  I had been writing lost babies names in the sand with pebbles and I for some reason took one last picture of my feet.  They remind me so much of Grace... she mostly looked like Mark, but her feet and her hands were just like mind.  Long and thin with the second toe longer than the first.


Capture Your Grief, Day 2: Self Portrait before Loss

This one was harder, since I rarely take pictures of myself.  I did find this one from a trip to Maui in 2009.  It was before we lost Grace and before the Fertility treatments and testing had started.  So before loss of of my precious daughter and loss of the innocence about my fertility.


Capture Your Grief, Day One: Sunrise

So I read about Carly Marie's photography project through another BLM blog.  I feel like I have not done anything to parent Grace recently so I decided to join in!  A few days late, so pardon the multiple posts today to catch up.

Here is a link to the project rules:

Carly Marie's Project Heal
So my first assignment was sunrise


6:15 am Mesa, AZ October 3, 2012


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sometimes you just can't catch a break

So I had an abnormal pap smear in the months before I got pregnant with Grace.  It was the lowest grade abnormal (atypical), but an abnormal none the less.  I had a colposcopy a few weeks later which was completely normal and by OB didn't even feel the need to take a biopsy.  The plan was to have pap smears every 6 months from here on out. Of course then I became pregnant so no pap smear in 6 months.  I had one at my 6 week follow up from losing Grace and it was perfectly normal.  I even had to remind the OB's office that I needed to schedule another exam in 6 months not 12.  Well 6 months have gone by and last week I had my pap smear.  I wasn't even worried about it, since the last one was normal, but the universe has a crappy sense of humor.

It was low grade abnormal, so 1 level worse than the atypical I had previously, there are still 3 more levels of abnormal after this one, but it has hit me like a ton of bricks.  In 3 weeks I go in for another colposcopy, but even if that is normal they will likely biopsy and perform cryosurgery on my cervix since I keep having abnormal smears.  This just sucks, my baby died I should get a pass on all this crap, especially things involving my reproductive organs.  Seriously I have had sex with 3 people in my life, 3 and yet I have this to deal with.

I am sorry if this comes off as a complete pity party, but hey I reserve the right today.  Tomorrow I can be all adult and think about the people who have dealt with worse things than this, but not today.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

When your subconscious talks back

So a new day, less angry with my DH, and things are better between us.  Now onto what I really wanted to post about yesterday, my second hypnotherapy session with actual hypnosis.

Last time I was placed into a very relaxed trance state and then just had images come to me which I discussed with the doctor after coming out of the trance.  This week I was hypnotized and then my subconscious was asked to move my fingers in some way, first to indicate "yes," then "no," and finally "I don't know."  For me my right index moved slightly for "yes," and my left thumb moved for "no" and my left ring finger for "I don't know."  Then the therapist asked a series of yes or no questions to my subconscious about possible blocks to conception.  The first two questions she asked were nos, although I honestly don't remember what they were.  The strangest thing about this whole process is that she would ask a question and I would be thinking about my conscious answer and she would acknowledge that I had already answered the question.  Like I was observing a conversation that I was unable to participate in.

Things got really interesting when my subconscious answered "yes" about a conception block.  The question had something to do with if I felt having a child would be harmful to me in some way.  I was thinking about my health and how I had no fears about carrying another child, but my subconscious answered yes.  She then asked if my subconscious knew why it felt having a child would be harmful, and I had all these images of my relationship with my mother, which has been extremely hurtful to me over the years, and how my mother was also very hurtful to my Grandmother.  My Grandmother had a terrible relationship with her mother as well.  Then I thought about the other maternal figures in my life: Mrs. Milo my high school Non-Western Civilization and Philosophy teacher and my Grandmother.  Mrs. Milo was a huge influence and during those difficult high school years, a much needed mother figure.  Our friendship continued beyond high school, until she took her own life my sophomore year in college.  My Grandmother also has been a huge female figure in my life, the person I called about everything, lived with while I was an intern, and just basically was the mother to me that my mother could not be.  Alzheimer's has stolen that relationship from us.  I of course still love her and care for her, but I cannot share my life with her the way I used to.  The last question was if my subconscious was open to removing that block and it said yes.

This was a revelation to me.  I really have no supportive maternal relationships in my life, and will likely never have any in the future.  Is my subconscious afraid that I will be hurt by my relationship with a child the way I have been hurt by my mother?  I knew that I did not want to have children for many years since I was afraid that I would have some of the mental health issues my mother has and that would not be fair to a child, but that the child could hurt me was not something I was consciously aware of.  I know that I am a good mother, a loving person and not at all like my mother, who is selfish and has the capacity to be extremely emotionally cruel.  The doctor, after we talked about this, recommended that I read a book called Mother Daughter Wisdom, about the often difficult relationships between mothers and daughters.

She also said something that really resonated with me.  I told her that I was not as affected by not conceiving as I used to be, or at least I felt like I was dealing with it better, but I also just felt numb about everything more often than not.  So maybe this is not progress, just another emotional defense mechanism.  She said that it can feel overwhelming when you think about the amount of time you have been trying to have a child, but I really have not been trying that long the RIGHT way.  Before with the fertility treatments and tests and everything, that was the wrong way and should not be counted as time really spent trying.  I have only recently been dealing with these emotional and subconscious issues around conception, so really I have just started trying.  I like that mindset.  I have only been trying the right way for a few months, that's way better than 4 years!

I will keep you all update on what my subconscious has to say as I continue on this journey.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fighting with the DH

Had a fight with my husband tonight.  I guess not really a fight, but he said something insensitive and then I said something mean and then he got his pillows and took them into the guest bedroom and is going to bed and we are not speaking.  I actually completely blame him for all this, which since I am still mad about what he said is probably not shocking.  I have been subtly and not so subtly asking for support and comfort all night and he has kinda been a pain in the butt.  I get so sick of being the steady support, the glue that holds our relationship together.  Sometimes I want him to do what I want and not ask 10 million questions about my choice or try to talk me out of it, or pout when he finally does what I want, or blame me for the dog eating a bag of candy he left out since I MADE him to something.  Jerk....  And seriously why would an almost 8 year old pit bull want to eat a bag of licorice all sorts?

The sad thing is I have been meaning to post about my most recent hypnotherapy session and now I am just to plain mad to write about it well.  So instead I will post a picture of one of my cats wearing a bow tie.  Why?  Cause he looks super cute and I don't have a living baby to dress in cute outfits so my cats are being used as substitute children.   That and it is a Tiny's Tie, so all the proceeds go to the Fredericton SPCA in Canada.



Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Formula for a Family

So when all of your dreams involve having living children you spend a lot of time thinking about how many ways you can build a family.  Of course there is the typical way: find a member of the opposite sex that you want to spend a lot of time with, marry them or make some type of long term commitment, then have unprotected sex, make babies = instant family.

 I tried to follow that formula, but it did not work out so well for me.  Got the husband, had the unprotected sex, no baby.  Took the next step saw the fertility specialist, had the tests, had the treatments, spent the money, no baby.  Had the miracle, unexplained, perfect pregnancy, with the beautiful daughter of my dreams, but no living baby.

Read all the books on natural or alternative formulas for family making.  Now I have seen the acupuncturist, had the needling, taken the Chinese herbs, been hypnotized, done the yoga, taken my temperature daily, peed on so many OPKs and fertility prediction devices, still no pregnancy.

So now what?  How far am I willing to go to build my family?  First I am not ready to throw in the towel on getting pregnant on my own, but I am thinking ahead to how I will proceed if I am not pregnant after another 12-18 months of trying.

So the next formula... another round of IVF?  Yeah I would do that again.  Donor eggs and IVF?  Yeah I would do that.  Straight up adoption?  Wow that is harder, but yes I would do that too.  So I guess there are a lot of formulas to grow a family, and I am pretty much open to all of them.

Hope is a tricky thing, but I am trying to hold on to it and see all the ways I could parent a living child.  They are all wonderful and someday one of them will bring a baby into our lives again.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Laundry

This last week I thought would be really relaxing, but the universe did not get the same memo I did.  We still had water pouring from our ceiling from a supposedly fixed issue with our air conditioner, the pool vacuum stopped working, the garbage disposal started leaking, the leak in the water line to the refrigerator that my husband thought he fixed is not fixed, my car went into the body shop to fix a dent my husband put in it, my mother decided she wanted to stay for a few days after Labor Day, the microwave stopped working, my FIL's car I was using while mine was in the shop had the check engine light on, when I finally got my car back the tire pressure light went on, when I used my DH's car the battery to the remote entry was dead and every time I tried to start the car or open the door without it the car alarm went off, then the gas light went on.... Ugh

I have been trying not to stress out, but honestly it is so much.  I did get the microwave fixed, the cars and their keys are all functional again with normal tire pressure.  I ordered a new garbage disposal, sent my mother back to Tucson, got the pool vacuum serviced and started shopping for a replacement.  Finally got a good HVAC guy out here who fixed the problem with the condensing pan so no more water in my living room.  That leaves me with a garbage disposal to install when it gets here, a hole to fix in my living room ceiling, a refrigerator with a bum water line, oh I forgot the leaking faucet in the kitchen and likely a new pool vacuum to buy.

So after all this stress and chaos, I was doing the laundry this weekend.  I started getting really emotional, since this was something that I wax expecting to do daily or at least every other day, and it is still a once a week chore.  Mark told me earlier this week that if it is just us and we don't have more children he is still so happy because we love each other so much.  I am glad that he loves me that much, and I would never want to be with any one else, but that desire for another child just echoes inside me.  I want to be using the crap out of the washing machine.  I want to have a babbling screaming baby while I deal with the joys of homeownership.  I just really miss her, really, really miss her.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to Make a Baby Loss Quilt

This week I have embarked upon a strange new journey... quilting.  My Grandmother shared quilts with me as a little girl, she did not make them (although I suspect that she would have had her life been different), but she appreciated them, bought them and had them made.  I remember going to the Kutztown Folk Festival with her in the summer and looking at all of the beautiful quilts that cost too much for us to buy, but were great fun to look at.

 I asked for a book on quilting years ago for Christmas and it sat on my shelf, unread, for the better part of a decade.  Until a few weeks ago.  I decided to read it.  I see other mom's making quilts for their babies, I see babies on quilts in my hypnosis sessions, and one of my favorite gifts for Grace was a handmade quilt in pink and green.  So I am going to try and make one myself.  I have the book, I ordered equipment on Amazon, I bought fabric.  I am ready... I think.

I don't know who this quilt is for.  It may be just for me.  It may be a representation of hope, that I will have another baby soon to make a quilt for.  It may be guilt that I never even thought of making one for Grace.  I don't know, but I know that I need to make it, I need to at least try.  I am hoping that it will be a meditative practice, that can quiet my mind and relax my soul.

The last few weeks have been so hard.  I miss her so much.  I actually had ghost kicks last week and they brought back such happy memories that I did not start crying for 5 minutes, but then the feeling of loss flooded my spirit.  I suspect that there will be many tears shed while making this quilt and that is okay.

Fabrics for the quilt experiment

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mini Breakdown

Had a small break down last night.  I was trying to do my self hypnosis cd homework for hypnotherapy, and everything just kept going wrong.  Mark pissed me off by something stupid he said, one of the cats kept jumping on me while I was trying to relax, then the pit bull jumped on me.  I started yelling and swearing at the dog, she jumped off the bed and looked really scared and then I just started bawling.  Deep, snotty, racking sobs for my difficulty getting pregnant, for losing Grace, for everything.  Mark held me while a cried it all out.

It all started at work.  A co-worker just had her son's 1 year birthday party on Saturday.  They live in a small condo and people were asking if they had room for all of his new toys.  She said that it was tight, but they were going to give away a lot of his infant stuff to make room.  Then the question came up if they should save any for future babies.  She said "no I am not going to do this again, too much work!"  They she said "well I told my husband we can think about it for a few more years, but after I turn 35 if we want more kids we will adopt."  I know that she was not trying to be mean, I know that she never meant to hurt me with her words, but she did.  I am now 36 and trying for another baby, adopting is not where I am.

Also since I stopped charting I am now obsessing over my underwear every time I go to the bathroom looking for signs of my period starting.  I have been cramping slightly and I am certainly emotional, so I will probably start my period in a few days.  Shit, shit, shit.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Little scare with Grandma

So I got a call from Copper Village (Grandma's new memory care facility), they said there had been an incident.  In my previous experience that means she has had a behavior break and is spitting, cursing, ramming people with her walker, etc.  I figured the "honeymoon" period with the new home was over and we were back to all the issues from the previous home.  Nope, this incident was medical.  I went from being elated that it wasn't a behavior issue to then being worried that she was not okay.  Turns out ot was failry minor, she got dizzy and almost fell, but was caught by the care worker.  Mark and I went to see her right away and she was good, alert, remembers about as much as she normally does.  We had a nice visit.

Unfortunately Mark was so worried that when driving out of the garage he dinged my car.  We got the bumper back on, but will have to see if more advanced body work is needed.

Also yesterday was my 36th birthday.  I worked which was a nice distraction and had really nice clients all day long.  Mark made me a sour cream blueberry cake which was very yummy and we had dinner at Blue Adobe with some friends.  It was a pretty gentle day which was what I needed.  Not having Grace here made everything seem hollow and incomplete.  So now when I get pregnant again I will be advanced maternal age... hey I'll take it if it means we have another baby soon.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hypnosis

Today I had my first hypnosis session with my therapist.  It was different and powerful and beautiful at the same time.  I had tears rolling down my face at the end I just wanted to stay the in world I saw in that hypnotic trance.

For those of you who have never been hypnotized, like me 4 hours ago, here is a brief description of what happened.  I was in a recliner, there was soft, relaxing music playing in the background.  The hypnotist described relaxing each part of my body, one by one, them becoming loose and heavy.  Then she had me picture a staircase with plush red carpet on it, that had 20 steps.  She had me mentally walk down the steps and with each step I became more and more relaxed, like my body was numb and floating away.  At the bottom of the steps I was bathed in this clean pure sun light, and then I honestly lost track of her voice.  Being in the trance state is kind of like the place you are just between sleep and wakefulness.  You can hear what is going on around you, but you just ignore it, and you can have visions, but you are apart from not in them like a normal sleeping dream.  I had several visions during my hypnotic trance today.  The first was of a forest, all the trees and branches were frozen, but the sun was shining on them and clear, pure water was dripping off them into a stream running through the snow.  All of the bad feelings and experiences of my life were just melting away from those trees into that stream.


Then the hypnotist lead me to "talk" to my reproductive organs, ask then what the need, thank them for working so hard every month.  I was having trouble since I could not feel what my womb needed and I felt like I might be doing something wrong and then I started to have a vision.  It was Grace's room, but not her room.  There was a big window and the sun was streaming in, everything in the room was bathed in this gentle, gauzy light.  There was a white crib (just like the one I had picked out for Grace) and pink, fluffy blankets and I was standing in the light, peaceful and happy, just waiting.  I wish I could explain better how peaceful I felt, I did not want to leave that place, but I had to.  I walked back up the red staircase, one step at a time, with each step becoming more aware of my body and my surroundings, until I reached the top step and opened my eyes.

I would have told you the whole experience lasted 10 to 15 minutes at most, but I have a cd recording of the session and it is almost 40 minutes long.  I awoke rested and relaxed, hopeful and so happy that I had decided to do this.

She asked me to describe any thoughts, feelings or images that came up during the trance.  I described the two I had and we talked about what they could mean.  She felt that I was the forest, frozen, but that the melting was Spring coming, which brings new life with it.  I felt like the nursery was how I really view my womb, safe, peaceful and a place of life.  I am waiting for a baby that I know will come, come from me.  I have said before that I know I will have more children, but I really KNOW in the deepest recesses of my mind it is my future.

For now I have my cd to listen to at home.  She said that the more often I practice getting into a hypnotic trance the deeper I will be able to get during sessions and the more work we can do to discover any possible sub-conscious blocks to my fertility.

For any readers who are on a fertility journey of their own, which like mine is anything but a straight line.  I would so recommend at least trying hypnotherapy.  Peace to you all.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Jane's Irish Stew

Mark has really be struggling lately, and honestly I am not doing that much better.  I still cry so easily, commercials, movies, songs, and of course baby loss blog posts can have tears pouring down my face in seconds.  The whole TTC journey is slightly less stressful as I take the advice of my hypnotherapist and acupuncturist, but the grief and loss journey is still so rocky.

Poor Mark had some bad news at work this week.  Honestly a silly clerical issue is causing the district to dock his pay to that of a long term substitute for 2 weeks.  Such a heavy punishment for a ridiculous paper pushing mistake.  He just feels so unsupported by his work and his friends lately.  I have been focusing on trying to nurture him and be there for him 110%.

So today he did not want to even get out of bed.  I convinced him to go to church, which usually helps him, but then when we got home he slept some more.  We ran a few errands this afternoon and I made him Irish Stew for dinner and a sour cream chocolate cake for dessert.  He had an honest to God Irish nanny as a little boy and he adored her.  Hell he still adores her and she died 40 some years ago.  I did my best to recreate her stew and he said that I came close.  I told him while we were eating that maybe Jane was taking care of Grace in the afterlife, and he said that he hoped that was true.  Now he is watching his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers and we will eat cake, as soon as it cools.  I wish that I could do more for him, but this is all I have and I hope that it is enough.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Half Year Birthday

Today is Grace's half year birthday.  Six months have elapsed since I held her little body in my arms and smelled her wonderful smell, and heard my heart break into a million, billion pieces.  How can it possibly be so long ago?  Her life permeates my existence.  My husband calls her his personal deity.  She is the greatest experience of my life, and the saddest.  I wish that she were here crawling, sitting up, trying solid foods, teething and all the other fun adventures of those who measure their lives in months.  Instead she is in a heart shaped urn, wrapped in soft pink fabric and tied around the bear the hospital gave me to hold while I labored to bring her still body into this world.  The unfairness of it all has not changed in the 6 months since my heart broke and my dreams of motherhood shattered.

I replaced the necklace that I lost on the beach in Hawaii threefold.  Two of the Grace necklaces have arrived, I wore them both today.  We gave money to the church my husband has been attending today in her name.  We lit a candle for her at church.  I bought items for a homeless shelter today and will give them in her name.  I am doing my best to parent her memory, to let the unspeakable goodness of her spirit sing in this world even if her body is silent.

Some Native American cultures believe in spirit animals: they believe you have an animal that leads you through difficult times and guides you.  I love this idea.  I have been trying to decide what my spirit animal is.  I have narrowed it down to two animals.  The first being a Hawaiian green gecko.  We have seen them on our last 2 trips to Hawaii, they symbolize good luck.  The other is an owl.  An owl was the animal on April of my Calendar, the one that Grace's due date was happily circled on.  They remind me of Grace, wise beyond their years, smart and otherworldly.  While thinking about all of this I realized something amazing.  I have a spirit guide... my beautiful spirit baby.  I feel her near me everyday and I know that she has led me to embrace acupuncture and hypnotherapy, to heal my heart and body in ways I never would have considered before.  I know that she will lead me to bring another baby or babies into this world.  I know that she will help me become a kinder person, a more whole and complete person.  I know that she was born of the deep love Mark and I have for one another and that anything created out of that love knows no boundries, certainly nothing as small as death.

Please think of my baby girl tonight and think of an act of Grace, no matter how big or small, to perform tomorrow that will bring some of her goodness back into our world.

Spirit Animal?

My spirit guide, my darling, my Grace.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Surrendering to the Process

I had my first session with a hypnotherapist yesterday who specializes in fertility.  She is also a licensed psychologist so we spent the entire session just talking.  Next time actual hypnosis.  I cried a lot during the session.  The grief is so close to the surface lately, bubbling over at the slightest provocation, and talking about my fertility, Grace and other issues in my life that cause me stress was hard.  We talked a lot about giving myself over to the conception process, by stopping BBT and fertility monitors and surrendering to the conception process.  Isn't it strange that surrender and giving up look very similar, but are completely different at the same time?

This letting go stuff is so hard though.  I am pretty sure that this will be my last cycle with the fertility monitor for a while, both my acupuncturist and hypnotherapist have suggested this and I do get really anxious waiting for the results every morning so it makes sense.  The BBT though, wow I am not sure if I am ready for that.  I will take things a step at a time for now.

We also talked about what meaning I have for why Grace died, where Grace is and what I learned from her.  I like to think that we all have a purpose and once we have fulfilled that purpose our life is complete.  Grace , I believe, was meant to know the purest love, to never to be cold, or alone, to be enveloped in joy every minute of her life.  She had all that, never was there a baby loved more than her, never had a baby brought so much joy to her parents, so her spirit was ready to leave.  I don't know where she is right now, but I feel her with me all the time.

My therapist says that maybe Grace's spirit is trying to return to me, or perhaps lead a new soul to me to parent.  I love that idea.

Patience and surrender, not my strong suits, but if that is what I need to let Grace's sibling into our lives then that is what I will strive to do.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Travel Log: July 10, 2012

Today we slept in.  I had this dream of taking yoga classes on both sides of the island and even picked out studios to practice at on the Internet prior to our trip.  Unfortunately none of that came to pass, for many reasons, but mostly because I was accommodating what Mark wanted to do.  So since this is our last day here and no yoga yet, Mark offered to teach a private class for me in the condo.  It was the strangest yoga I have ever done, but it was so sweet of Mark and I loved every minute of it.  Afterwards I made our last Hawaiian breakfast of toad in the hole and stuffed papaya, which we ate on the lanai.

Last trip to La'aloa, M boogie boarded and I walked on the beach, took photos and read.  It was overcast so we skipped snorkeling and went back to the condo to start laundry, pack and clean up.  For lunch we went to the Kona Canoe Club and split a so/so chicken sandwich with a 1/2 order of onion rings.  They are very serious about half orders, ours was literally 2 onion rings.  We were right on the bay, so at least we had a nice view.  Next to KTA to redeem our $10 gift card, which we had won previously when shopping there.  We used it to buy more coffee.

Finished the laundry, packing the suitcases and cleaning the condo.  We checked out and needed to find an activity to occupy us until our 10:45 pm flight.  We decided on a drive to a beach in south Kohala just to explore and not to swim since we had no place to clean up afterwards.  We took a detour at Waikiloa Village and spur of the moment changed our plans and decided to have a sunset dinner at the nicest restaurant in the Hilton.

The Hilton was massive with three huge towers connected by, I kid you not, a tram.  There was a salt water lagoon, six dolphins, a gigantic chlorine pool with a sand beach, water slides and a rope bridge.  However the actual ocean beach was very rocky and not swimable.  It kinda felt the Disneyland, and although it was pretty, it lacked authenticity.  I'm glad that we had the vacation we had and not the easy, generic luxury of this place.

Our sunset meal at KPC (Kapuna Provision Company) was fantastic, the view to die for and the meal very, very well prepared.  The amazing photos at the end were taken here.

After dinner we fueled up the Crown Vic and returned her to the rental car company.  Then check in at the tiny Kona airport.

All in all it was a good trip.  As good as any trip could be in a world without Grace.  I know that she is always with me, but I would give anything to hold her, see her smile, hear her laugh.... I know that I will have more children, but that doesn't take the ache and hurt away of losing our first born.

M's Yoga student

Breakfast on the lanai

KTA Winner!

Feeling the Eastern Meditation vibe at the Hilton

Our dinner table at KPC

Last Hawaiian sunset

Wishing she were here

Mother Nature showing off