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