Thursday, December 31, 2009

One more...

post of 2009.  This is it.  The last day...the last few hours of 2009.  This will always be Shyla's year.  The year we found out we would be expanding our family.  The year we lost our daughter.  The year that our perspectives changed.  But, just becuase 2010 holds new opporutnities and possibilities doesn't mean that we love her less or don't think of her less.  Everyday holds new opportunites and possibilities.

Here's to a JOY filled New Year for all of you! 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

So we made it through Christmas.  No, we didn't just make it, we were carried through.  God brought us much comfort and joy.  That's not to say that no tears were shed.  There were.  But just like when a baby is comforted by the love in it's mothers arms, we too were comforted by our Father's love.
These are just a few of the things people had given us and we had picked out to help remember our baby girl this Christmas.


This is Shyla's ornament that we left on her stone.  Next year, we will hang this one on our tree and get her a new one.  I had a matching one with Mom on it on our tree at home.We left that pink tree there for her too.
We just loved this angel ornament with a pink dragonfly on it.  The picture really just does not give it justice.  It is really beautiful.
We gave these dragonfly ornaments to our family to put on their trees to remember Shyla.

This ornament was given to us by the funeral home that helped us with Shyla's service.  They held a remembrance service December 13. 

I participated in a secret Santa with other mom's that I met online who lost a baby due in November 2009.  This is one of the gifts from my "Santa".  Isn't it beautiful!  She also gave me a georgeous journal that I love!

This was a gift from a beautiful woman I am blessed enough to work with.  She painted this block as Christmas gift and I was so overwhelmed.  I'm afraid I could not adequately thank her for remembering my precious daughter.  It's rare for anyone to mention her, much less add her to our gift. 

These were made by my aunt.  Again, it meant so much just to have her remembered.

As the holidays approached, I really wasn't dreading them too badly.  Then, last Monday, my cousin's three month old baby tragically died unexpectedly.  The baby was the same age Shyla would have been and I was overcome with grief (I will have to write more about the revelation God gave me in this grief later).  So when Christmas Eve came, I just wanted to lay in bed.  Seriously.  I had been awake for a while, but didn't want to be.  I knew Ben was awake, but I didn't know what to say to him.  Ben must have noticed I was awake and simply said, "Merry Christmas Eve" and I broke down.  I cried so hard.  God was teaching me something.  For now, lets just say "lesson learned".  I will try not to question this pain anymore.  We went on with our plans for the day.  Christmas Eve lunch with my Mom, brothers, sis-in-law and 6 month old neice was the first thing on the agenda.  My older brother lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and daughter and my younger brother is away at college, so it was nice to have everybody together.  The last time we were all together was Shyla's funeral, so I can't say that didn't cross my mind.  We opened our traditional Christmas Eve gifts from Mom, new PJ's then it was off to the in-laws.
We made the hour and a half drive and had dinner and exchanged gifts with my husbands sister, brother-in-law, neice, brother, father and mother.  We had a good time and Ethan got lots of new toys and clothes.  He was so much fun to watch open gifts.  As he would tear into them he would say, "What is it Mommy?!?!?"  He was SO funny!  God has blessed me so much with him.  I don't know I would have gotten through without the love and excitement he had through Christmas.
We drove back home and stopped in at Mom's again to read the Christmas story from Luke and light our Christmas Eve candle.  Mom gave the kids some more gifts and then we went home.
Christmas Morning came and we read through all of the notes in Shyla's stocking.  You may remember we asked friends and family to help in filling her stocking by doing random acts of kindess.  This was such a beautiful way to begin our Christmas morning and I am so glad we did this.  We cried and laughed and had such joy in the kindess of others.  Thank you to everyone who helped to spread a little Joy in memory of our baby girl.

We woke up Ethan early and got started opening presents.  I got something really beautiful from Ben.  Keep reading to see what it was.  Ethan had so much fun!

We went to Mom's and my dad was already there.  My parents got divorced when I was about five, but he still comes every Christmas Morning to my Mom's house to be with us and now our kids.  We had sausage balls and muffins and breakfast cassarole.  We spent the afternoon playing our new Wii games with the family and then had Christmas night at my Grandma's house with my brothers, cousins, cousins kids, aunts and uncles.  There were about 23 of us I think.  8 kids from 6 months to 10 years old.  My brothers baby was the center of attention, and she should be, she was the youngest.  But Shyla should have been there.  That would have been her grand debut.  It hurt so much, not having her there.  I felt like everyone was a little afraid to speak to me.  I hope I didn't look as fragile as I felt.  I'm glad I made it through with relatively few moments where I had to compose myself.  It was hard, but I did smile and I was there, so I think I did good.
 Once, my neice was needing a nap and my Mom was trying to rock her, but there was just too much commotion in the living room.  I took her to the darkness of my Grandma's bedroom and I sang to her and rocked her and in moments she was fast asleep.  I took her back into the living room and sat in my Grandpa's recliner to rock her.  My Grandpa past away 2 1/2 years ago due to a massive stroke seven days before his seventy-seventh birthday.  I was really close to my Grandpa and the ache of his absence is still very strong, especially at Christmas.  So for me, this was a special moment.  Rocking my neice, this beautiful little girl, in my Grandpa's chair.  While she wasn't my daughter, I felt so close to Shyla in that moment.  Maybe my neice was dreaming about her or maybe God just was hugging me tight at that moment so I did not notice how empty my arms are.  Whatever the reason, that was just the most special part of the evening.  

Then, before my brother and his family left to go back to Oklahoma, I just had to get one more picture of the cousins together.

(Do you see the dragonfly they are playing with?  Cute, huh?)

I would post pictures of all of the sweet things my mother got me, but the post would go on forever.  The list includes a canvas print of one of the pictures I took of the flowers in Shyla's arangement.  It is beautiful.  She also got me th really neat dragonfly wall hanging and a frame.  As always, she got us all more than she should have, but she has such a giving spirit, she can't really help herself.

And while all of these gifts were great, Ben, my wonderful, caring, awesome husband got the most beautiful one.

Those are Shyla's footprints.

Like I said...BEAUTIFUL!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Written in the Stars

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Amanda at Written In The Stars for writing Shyla's name in a picture of the night sky.  Nights are my special time of reflection, prayer and talking with other mothers who bless me so.  Again, I can't thank her enough, this is just beautiful.

I am overwhelmed.

My cousin, C, will be burying her three month old baby tomorrow.  I have no words, just tears.  I am putting together some things for her and am completely overwhelmed.  Shyla would have been the same age.  Please pray for peace for her and her family and that they feel the loving arms of the father holding them right now.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Where Are You Christmas?

I recently heard this Faith Hill song on the radio and began to cry.  This pretty much sums up Christmas for me.  At first, I was questioning how I would feel.  I knew Christmas would be different this year.  Then I came to a realization that Christmas is not about me, right?  Christmas is about the love of Christ.  God himself sent his son to be born, and to die.  God knew from the moment he sent his son to earth in the form of a baby that he would one day soon see his son die.  And he sent Him anyway.  For us.  What love has our God for us that he would send His son to earth to die for us so that we may spend eternity with Him?  So then the greater realization is that Christmas should not just be thought of as a day, or even a season, but as an act.  We are celebrating the gift of Christ himself.  That is something, once really realized will transcend all of our earthly circumstances and bless us this time of year and always.   

"Where Are You Christmas"

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play

My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too
Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go

Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time

I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love

Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love

So, I know where Christmas is.  It is here.  Inside me.  Inside you.  Christmas is not the gifts, decor and even all the get togethers with family.  Christmas is about a Father's love for His son, and all of His children.  While I still ache for Shyla to be here with us this Christmas, I wonder what it is like in Heaven at Christmas time.   My baby is celebrating with THE GIFT.  She is spending Christmas in Heaven and that is so much better than any present I could have ever bought her.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shyla's Collage

Thank you so much to Franchesca at Abiding Hope Collages for this beautiful reminder of my baby girl.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I feel a bit speechless the past few days.  Words want to come.  So many words.  But when I open my mouth (or touch the keyboard) nothing comes.  Maybe I'm a bit like Zechariah.  I know God can do amazing things through my life to give glory to Him, but at times, my big mouth might get in the way.  Zechariah's mouth was shut by God so he did not mess up during Elizabeth's pregnancy with John.  He doubted, so he became mute.  Maybe God has got the mute button on my mouth right now so I can't nay say what he is planning to birth.  I can feel something brewing inside me and new opportunities have been presented to me.  A door has been opened and I am really hoping this is what I have been praying for.  Sorry to be so vague, it's just that things aren't really clear yet and I do not want my mouth to speak where it has no authority to speak and I don't want to underestimate what God can do.  So for now, I will sit and wait on the Lord until he sees fit to let me speak these things. 
I know that God can and will make beauty from ashes and I feel like I am watching this process before my very eyes.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shyla's Stocking

Today is December 1.  Tomorrow will be 3 months since we said good-bye to our little girl. 

Christmas is my favorite time of year and I have been searching for a way to keep it that way, even in the midst of our pain.  I found this wonderful idea from another mom whose little boy is in Heaven and was really inspired to do the same thing she did the first Christmas without her baby.  The following is a letter I have sent to facebook friends, and will send to family in Chirstmas cards and email to other friends.  Please read, and if you feel so inspired, participate.  I know a lot of you are remembering your angels this Christmas, so feel free to do the same in memory of your precious child.

Dear Friends,

First, let me thank you all for your love, support and prayers over the past year. Thank you for sharing in the excitement of our pregnancy and in the sorrow of our loss. We know each one of you felt our pain during the loss of Shyla. We celebrate her life and, like a stone tossed into a pond, are now seeing some of the far reaching ripples of the donations made in her name to the Pregnancy HELP Center.

As the holidays are approaching, we are excited to spend time with family and friends and watching the excitement in Ethan’s eyes just overwhelms our hearts sometimes. But, we still feel the need to remember our daughter this Christmas. We have a little pink stocking, but really don't want to see it hang empty, so we have decided to enlist all of you to help us.
All that we ask is that sometime between now and Christmas, do something nice for someone, no matter how small or large. It doesn't have to involve money--just commit a random act of kindness. When you do it, think of Shyla and dedicate that act her. You can even leave a note saying, “This random act of kindness was done in memory of Shyla Joy", but you don’t have to. Please write down your act of kindness and send it to me through e-mail (at and put “Shyla’s Stocking” in the subject line or slip a note into your Christmas cards to us. I won't read it. I will print it out the emails and put it in her stocking. Then, on Christmas morning, we will open up all the notes and read them. Feel free to share this request with your other friends and family and forward to your facebook contacts, but even if only a few of you do this, we will have a really beautiful thing to share on Christmas in our sweet baby's memory and someone else (the recipient of your kindness) will benefit by a true example of the spirit of Christmas. I will pray that all of us will be struck by inspiration, that something will come to each of us, some kindness that we can share of ourselves, in Shyla’s name and in her memory, to benefit someone else.

Thank you so much for your participation and your continued love and support,

Ben, Mattie and Ethan

For idea’s and inspiration for random acts of kindness, visit

To read about how other moms remember their children spending Christmas with Jesus this year, visit Kelly at The Beauty of Sufficient Grace. 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful in EVERY remembrance!

Let me begin by saying that today was my due date.  The original one.  My Doc said the 23 after a few ultrasounds, but this is always the day I felt the closest to.  I was so excited to see our daughter would be due Thanksgiving Day.  Of course I knew she would be scheduled the week before, but just something about this day just really made my heart hover here for the due date. 
As this day has gotten closer I have dreaded it.  I have mourned it before it was even here, but today, I decided to look at this a different way.  BE THANKFUL!  Duh, right? It was so obvious!  This was her day because I am reminded to be thankful!  Thankful in every remembrance of her.  Thankful for my pregnancy and for the time I got to share with her.  Thankful that I have such a wonderful husband, who just happens to be such a wonderful Father as well.  Thankful for such an amazing son. Thankful for such a miracle of a daughter.

So, by now, you are either rejoicing with me or raising your eyebrow in question of how miraculous a baby that does not live and breathe outside her mother's womb can be.  Well, I will tell you.  She lived, so I live.  She lived, so her future siblings can live.  She lived so that others could see the power of God's love, JOY and faithfulness in and through our lives.  She was a miracle.  She is an inspiration.  I am inspired to reach out to others in their time of grief and comfort them with the comfort I have been given (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
So yes, while I am sad that I am not holding my daughter in my arms today.  And I am sad that this will be the last date to look "forward" (as in to the future) to.  And while the Thanksgiving I invinsioned a mere 12 weeks ago now looks completely different I hope that I can sufficiently say Thank You to my God, my Father and my Comforter.
So today and always, I will thank God in every remembrance of her, my beautiful Shyla Joy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Goodbye, dear friend.

We (my family) have had to say goodbye to a dear friend, no, he was more like a family member.  Pepsi, a beautful Siamese cat that has lived for fouteen years in the care of my mother and siblings is gone.  We got Pepsi when I was in the 6th grade.  I remember sitting in my classroom and bragging to all of my peers about what a beautiful and fun kitten my mom had brough home to us. 

Pepsi had a very unique personality.  He was comical sometimes and serious others.  Growing up, I was know as his "squeak toy" because he would hide and unexpectedly jump out at me.  He would climb my leg, or bite my toe or do anything that would get a little squeal out of me.  It was all playful and funny after the shock of the "attack" was gone.

While Pepsi lived with my mom, I still saw him almost everyday.  Mom babysits Ethan while I work and I have to say that Ethan and he had quite the friendship.  Ethan's "chore" everyday was to let Pepsi out of "his" room.  Ethan would hardly eat breakfast until he let Pepsi out.  I don't know how he is going to handle going to that room and not seeing him there.  I guess we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

Pepsi always knew when I felt bad.  He would just cuddle up in my lap and stay for as long as I needed him.  Especially through my pregnancies.  He really wanted to lay directly on my belly.  Even before I knew I was pregnant, he would become more affectionate to me.  I think he may have even known when we lost Shyla.  On the Friday before we knew what had happened, I came to my Mom's after work to pick up Ethan and Pepsi walked up to me as usual.  He hopped up on the couch beside me and sniffed me a little.  I was anticipating him trying to nudge his way onto my lap, but he didn't.  Suddenly, he laid back his ears, hissed and smacked at me a couple times before running away.  He had never done that before to me and had not since.  Do you think he sensed something was wrong?

Pepsi had been sick for a couple weeks.  He had just stopped eating.  Mom had taken him to the vet a few times and at first they were hopeful some meds would help him.  But then they believe his kidneys started failing.  Pepsi was a big cat, but since he started getting sick, he lost a lot of weight.  He stopped cleaning his fur and we could tell he was getting weaker.

Ben had to work late lastnight, so Ethan and I spent some time at Mom's house.  I tried to get on the laptop to check my email, facebook and a few things, but Pepsi came over to where I was sitting and tried to jump up in my lap.  I knew he was having a hard time, so I put the laptop away and helped him up.  He curled up there and purred off and on for two hours.  Every once in a while, he was stretch his paw out, as if to hug me, and look up to my face.  I knew he would not be with us much longer.

It will be so sad not having him around.  The presence of a pet is so comforting to a sad soul and the loss of a such a pet is so hard.  I know some people may be thinking, "he was just a cat", but to me he was a dear friend.

These are pictures from Christmas 2008

Monday, November 23, 2009

Counting backwards.

When parents bring a healthy new baby into this world, they begin counting.  They count months.  They count milestones.  They count birthdays.  They count forwards. 
When parents don't bring their baby home, they count too.  They count days, weeks, months, since they last held them in their arms.  They count moments they are missing.  They count "angelversaries", or "anniversaries" or "angeldays".  They count backwards.
Today was the last due date given by my doctor.  It is here.  There is just one more day to look forward (as in looking to the future) to.  The first due date that we were given, and the one my husband and I recognize is this Thursday.  Thanksgiving Day.  We will be counting that day too.  Counting how many ways we are blessed because our daughter lived.  Counting how many people have been blessed by her short life.  Counting the many many many ways God has blessed our lives. 
After Thursday, it all goes backwards again.  No more "what should have been" dates.  Now there are only "what there are dates".  I pray that there are more blessings to come and that we never forget how blessed we are.  Even when we are counting backwards.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This is what you would see, if you Googled Me.

This week is International Comment Leaving Week in the blogosphere.  As a participant I am supposed to leave comments on a certain number of blog posts and that has really made me explore new blogs.  I was visiting missusgamgee and thought it looked like fun!  What you do is answer the following random sample questions by searching Goggle Images for the answers.  The only rule is that you have to link back to the blog where you found it.  So, for any of you from ICLW, this is me through the eyes of Google...

Where I live-On the banks of Lake Cumberland

Where I work - At School

My Hobby- Scrapbooking

Favorite Beverage- Mocha

Favorite Food- (at the moment) Any kind of good Fondue

First Car- 1993 Cavalier

Celebrity Look alike- At lease this is what hubby says (I just love him!)

Childhood Toy- Play Doh

Random Picture- Pink Dragonfly!

So, there we go.  A random sample of Me, through the eyes of Google.  I hope all my blogging friends enjoy this ICLW!  Have a great week!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tiny Little Snowflake

The other day I was looking at all the Christmas decor that has been showing up everywhere and really have started to let myself get into the Christmas spirit.  I saw this little tiny snowflake ornament and began to think about how those that leave us so early in life are so similar to these snowflakes.  Unique, fresh from heaven, beautiful.  Also, they are here for such a short time.  But in that short time they dance among us, almost unoticed at first, we appreciate their presence and beauty.  I wrote this the other day.  Thinking of my tiny little snowflake and wanted to share.

Tiny Little Snowflake
Like a tiny little snowflake,
In an unexpected storm,
How gently you blew into our lives
How quickly you were gone.

I would have held you forever
But it all would be in vain
My tiny little snowflake
You’d melt away again.

Just like a little snowflake
in the softly fallen snow.
How delicate you were
How I wish I could see you grow.

Silently you danced
A quite, sweet, ballet.
Then quietly you left
I wish you could have stayed.

I really long to see you
It hurts so bad, you know.
But happily I remember
That softly fallen snow.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mystery Flowers

Without getting into the details...this week may have been the hardest yet.  It wasn't like those first days of intense grief.  Even in those dark times, I could see light.  Even if it was just a glimmer, it was there.  This week has been more like the dreary fall days that are here.  When we can go days at a time without seeing the sun.  All that is there is the dull gray sky that can linger until we begin to forget what it was like in the darkness or in the light.  Cold.  Damp.  Ugly.  You know the kind of days I am talking about. 

Many new experiences came this week.  Some welcome, some not so welcome but came none the less.  When visiting the cememtary on Monday, we found Shyla's little grave had been covered with flowers.  And there, in the surprise silk garden was a little teddy bear with a note tucked underneath it.  The note read that the bear (and the flowers) were from children that attend school where I work.  One of the little girls lives next to the cemetary and must have seen me there sometime.  She is only in 4th grade and I am not sure how she knew about my loss or that Shyla was buried there.  The note also said that she and another 4th grade student visit my baby everyday and bring her a flower.  They also thought they would bring a little bear for my "terrible lost" (I just love how children spell).  The flowers the young girls have added are old, dirty, faded.  I pray they have blown off of other rocks and not been taken off on purpose.  There was even what looked like a large arrangement that had came off of another rock.

At first, I was touched by their thoughtfulness and sweetness.  But then, a new emotion krept in.  That was my daughter's place, it is my responsibility to decorate and care for it.  And admittingly snobbishly, I did not want old, used, hand-me-down, cast off florals to decorate the only physical place I can visit my child.  I had no idea what to do.  And why are eleven-year-olds allowed to play in a cemetary everyday, anyway, right?  I wrestled (and am still wrestling) over what to say and do.  I talked to the Elementary School Counselor (and close friend) and asked for her opionion.  She is going to speak to them from the angle that this is definatly weighing on their mind and they may need a different way to seek resolution.

I want these girls to know that they are thoughtful and sweet and do not want them to be offended if I removed some of the flowers.  But I also know that decorating is something I need to do.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Special Delivery

Tomorrow should have been the day I would deliver my Shyla Joy.  November 16th.  We were on the calendar.  The OR was reserved.  That was going to be her birthday.  Plans changed.  I wont hold my baby girl tomorrow.  Or the next day...or the next.  I will hold her in Heaven someday.  And oh what a special delivery that will be.  My God, my Father handing my baby girl to me.  I don't know how I am going to be tomorrow.  Well, actually, in ten minutes it will be tomorrow.  November 16th.

I know I wont be delivering my baby girl tomorrow, but I am going to deliver something.  At the hospital even.  Those baskets that I wrote about back in October, well, they have evolved into care packages/bags.  And we are taking them to the hospital tomorrow.  To labor and delivery.  And leaving them there.  It feels kind of backwards, but I am ready.  I pray that these care packages will point to God and provide some peace and comfort to other parents that suddenly find themselves in Ugly Shoes.  I pray help, hope and healing to each of the care package reciepients.

We are also doing some not so fun tasks tomorrow.  Like taking down the crib and moving the dresser out of "that room".  We will probably even turn "that room" into our 2 1/2 year old's room and his room into a craft room for a while.  I just can't see "that room" ever being what it was meant to be again and need a reason to open the door again.

The clock just flipped over to 12:00 AM, November 16th.  I don't know how I feel.  On one hand, I feel as if I could burst into tears at any moment.  On the other, I can't wait to see what is in store for today, November 16th.  Delivery Day.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Grieving Glory

While planning Shyla's celebration, I scoured the internet looking for quotes and poems that I could relate to.  As I read my Bible, my heart is drawn to certain scriptures that provide help, hope and healing.  There are songs that really ministered to my heart and helped me to worship in my darkest times.  Over the past few months I have started quite a library of books written by and for parents after the loss of a baby.  I have been trying to think of a way to have all of these things in one place, so I have started working on this new blog.  If you have poems, quotes, scriptures or songs that have provided help, hope or healing after the loss of a child, please let me know and I will add it.  I decided to call it Grieving Glory, inspired by the song Glory Baby by Watermark.  Please feel free to read, follow and comment on the posts there.  Thomas Jefferson once said, "Who better to softly bind up the wound of one, than he who has suffered the same wound himself?"  I hope I can help bind and heal wounds of parents like myself.

Friday, November 6, 2009


"An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and impossible to remain silent." Edmund Burke

While planning Shyla’s service, my husband and I asked that in lieu of flowers that donations be made to our local Pregnancy Care Center. After we took the donations to the center, the co-directors of the HELP (Hold Each Life Precious) Center asked if we would share our testimony at their 1st annual fundraising banquet.

The banquet was held last night. Over the past few weeks I tried to put the words I would say onto paper, with little luck. Every time I would sit down to write, the words would just not come. I prayed that God would give me the words to speak. I prayed that no word would leave my mouth that would not give glory to Him and be a witness to others.

I had many friends and family there to support me. Before I spoke, a lady sang the song “Beauty for Ashes”. I could not help but smile. That is exactly what those donations made in Shyla’a name were. Beauty for ashes.

As I made my way to the stage, I prayed again that my words would be God’s words. I gave the crowd of about 200 a brief personal history of my husband and I and how our family began. I then explained that with my job as a school social worker, I refer students to the center and see how needed this is needed in our community. I told them about the day I met with the ladies who birthed the center to talk about services they offer and telling them I just had found out I would be having my second child in November. I told my story of loss and how even though this was the worst experience of my life, I never felt as if God left my side. I AM BLESSED. I explained how my husband and I decided to share our blessings by blessing others. I read the lyrics to “Bring the Rain” by MercyMe and I shared my daughter’s footprints and the quote that is framed with them. “No foot is so small it cannot leave an imprint on this world.” Then I thanked everyone who had a part in making the center a reality. The center has helped Shyla leave her footprints on this world in a very real way.

After the banquet, a woman came up to me and wanted to share her story. Many years ago, she lost her baby and doctors advised her that she should adopt if she wanted to have children. She took their advice and began the process of adoption. When the process was complete and they had their adopted baby in their arms, they were also four months pregnant. They delivered that baby safely. Within five months they had two babies, one adopted and one natural. Doubly blessed. One of her children was my English teacher during my senior year of high school.

Many people thanked me for sharing my story. A lady who works at the school with me told me today that even though my story was sad, it ended with hope. They encouraged me that they were not sad when I left that stage, but full of hope.

I don’t know when it happened or how it happened, but, I had a breakthrough. I am a different person today. I can honestly day I felt JOY today. It was like the sun has broken through the clouds and the warmth has wrapped around me. There was nothing especially exciting about this day, except I could not get the smile off my face. I talked about Shyla without wanting to run from the room and cry. The lump in my throat was not there when something was brought up in conversation about my leave or my dear daughter…there was only joy. Some one asked about her and I was not afraid of breaking down. I talked and I did not avoid eye contact. I laughed and did not feel guilty. I praised God and did not cry.

On Monday, Shyla’s headstone was delivered. I took a break from work and went to the cemetery to see how it looked. The ground was still broken and sad. The rock looked great. A beautiful pink gerbera daisy graced the front beneath her name and the image of baby’s footprints are on the back with the quote I mentioned before. There is also a little footstone with a dragonfly on it. That day I sat in the dirt and cried. Honestly, I wanted to lay there beside her and not get up. With the crumbled ground over her tiny plot I wondered if the earth could just open and swallow me up. I felt that would be less painful than sitting there at that moment reading my baby’s name on a headstone.

Fast forward to today…my mother and grandmother wanted to see the headstone. So after work, I met them and my husband and son at the cemetery. It was such a beautiful day today. Warm and sunny. I had a completely different attitude about the stone today. I saw such beauty in her name. I love to see it written and to say it aloud. Her pink daisy was beautiful and the footprints on the back look so much like hers, I just had to smile. My little boy looked over the rock and gave it his approval. He saw it yesterday, but he had to tell me again today he thought it was pretty.

Like I said, I think I have had a breakthrough. I’m not saying that the clouds are gone, but the sun is definitely shining through!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Shyla's Birth Story

This story is a long one. Usually when a mother sees the first signs of her baby’s delivery, she is holding her darling within hours. I, in a sense, labored for two days.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I finally had worried enough and decided to call my doctor. After hearing that I didn’t think I had felt my baby move all day, and possibly the day before, he advised me to go to Labor and Delivery, just to be sure everything was ok. Shyla was such a gentle mover from the beginning, so, I wasn’t really sure if I had not felt her or not. My mom insisted that I did not go alone, so she and Ethan, my 2 ½ year old son drove me the thirty minutes to the hospital. My husband was working and couldn’t get to his phone, but I left him a message letting him know what was going on.

As soon as I mentioned to the L&D nurse what was going on, she rushed me into a room, had me changed into a gown and was getting my vitals. There were three nurses buzzing around the bed trying to find her heartbeat with a Doppler. A sick feeling began to set in as one after another they would take their turn. “There it is! No wait, that is mine.” I thought as they kept checking. I refused to let my mind go any further. I asked that they do an ultrasound and they told me my Doctor would as soon as he got there. My husband had gotten my message and got to the hospital as soon as he could. Two minutes later, my Doctor arrived. As he entered the room, he asked that the blinds be closed. It was so dark in that room. The doctor turned on the ultrasound machine and touched the cold gel to my belly. In all honesty, as soon as her little body appeared on that screen, I knew she was gone. The once lovely “woosh woosh woosh” could not be heard and I could not see any motion in her heart. I knew. But I waited and I prayed. It only took the doctor a minute to take everything in and say, “I’m sorry, the ultrasound confirms…” I really don’t remember what was said after that moment. I began to weep uncontrollably. My husband was at my right side squeezing my hand and crying. My mother and son were at the foot of my bed. She was crying and he looked concerned. When my eyes fell on him, I tried to pull myself together enough to tell my mother to be strong for him. I asked her to take him out in the waiting area while we talked with the Doctor.

After looking over my files, my Doctor decided that I was too far along to try to induce with medication and I was showing no signs of being anywhere near going into labor on my own. (I was 28 weeks...I was seven months...I was in the last trimester.)  I had a c-section with my first child and the medication used to induce increased the risk of a uterine rupture, so a repeat c-section looked like the best way to go. There was blood work that needed to be done and the doctor wanted to see me in his office the next day just to double check for any signs of labor before proceeding with the c-section. So after scheduling with the OR for Wednesday, September 2, we went home. I can’t describe the emotions in my mind as I left the hospital. I was a different person at 9:30pm that night than I was at 4:00pm that day.

On the long drive home, my husband and made a few calls to those closest to us and made arrangements with work. We would stop between calls and just cry. We went home that night and tried to sleep. I was very unsuccessful at this task. I found myself wide awake most of the night and decided to get online. I found an online support group and read stories of women who had gone through was I was beginning to go through. This is my equivalent of laboring all night. I prayed. I cried. I tried to sleep.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I went to my Doctor’s office midmorning to be checked for any signs of labor. Zero. My Doctor spent a lot of time with us. At this point, there were no indications of what went wrong. He was full of condolences and questions. I tried to answer everything to the best of my ability. He conducted an ultrasound and said she had probably been gone for a couple of days. I felt so confused. How could I not have known? The Doctor ordered a huge amount of blood work that would need to be completed at the hospital and I would have to pre-admit also. He talked with us about contacting a funeral home and planning a service. He was as kind and as gentle as I could have asked for.

After leaving his office, my husband and I ate lunch with the Pastor of our church. He prayed with us and just listened. Then we made our way to the hospital. The pre-admit process was not as pleasant. The woman behind the counter was less than congenial and made a comment about having the baby. I had to inform her that our daughter would be stillborn. She offered her condolences and was a little nicer after that. Then on to the lab for blood work. They tied up my arm and proceeded to take twenty vials of blood.
After leaving the hospital, we began calling the funeral home to plan for the service. I cannot describe the pain of this process. We then picked up our son from my mother’s house and went home. We spent the evening packing for the hospital, loving on our son and rubbing my belly. My pregnancy was drawing to an end and I knew it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We took our time getting ready to leave for the hospital. We were instructed to be there around noon and would hopefully be in surgery shortly after. We dropped off Ethan at my mom’s and started that drive. On the way to the hospital, the Third Day song, Tunnel, came on the radio. The lyrics comforting and this became my anthem for the day. When I arrived, they hooked me up to an IV and I began filling out paperwork for the anesthesiologist. After a while, they noticed my IV wasn’t delivering fluids properly and began to push the needle around under the skin. They must have hit a nerve because I saw stars. It hurt so much. I began to sing the lyrics from Tunnel. When all of the hospital personnel were no longer in the room, my husband and I said very little. There was a peace and calmness that I could not describe that filled the room. We had a couple of visitors while we waited. But mostly we just sat there, holding hands.

At about 1:00pm my Doctor came into the room talked with us then prayed.  Then they wheeled me into the OR.  I received my spinal (while again singing Tunnel) and the surgery began. It was so eerily quiet in that room. No one was talking. I began to shiver and they gave me another blanket. I felt the pressure move around in my abdomen. I knew she would be taken soon. Then the pressure released. There was no first cry or gasp for first breath. It was all over. 1:26pm is the time that was written on the bassinet card they gave me. They wrapped her in a blanket and handed her to my husband. This is when it became really real to him. I could see the pain in his eyes as he held her little body. He brought her too me and I was at such peace at that moment. Then they took her away to weigh her and dress her. That is when I began to cry.

In the recovery room, we got to spend about a hour with her. We held her and had a very good friend who just started volunteering with the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation take some photographs. I held her and tried to memorize how she looked and how the light weight of 1 pound and 11 ounces felt in my arms. Then it was time to say good-bye. The nurse gave us just another few moments alone, then took her away.

I feel I must add that after all that I experienced these three days and all I will continue to experience, I have hope.  I have hope because Christ has given me hope and I cannot grieve as those who have no hope.  My hope is for the future and for a time when I will hold my baby girl again.

"... we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope."  1 Thessalonians 4:13

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Reminders of Joy

As mentioned in an earlier post, October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness and Remembrance Day. I really wanted to plan a prayer service or a walk to remember in my area, but with my loss being so recent, my husband and I thought it might be better to attend one somewhere away from home. I randomly met a couple from Northern Kentucky who were planning a prayer service at their church and were nice enough to make sure I knew I was welcome. Since the church was about a three hour drive from home and the service was on a Thursday evening, we decided to make a weekend of it. My birthday was the 18th and I was going back to work the 19th, so a weekend away from home sounded like a great idea.
The evening of the 15th we attended a prayer service in Ft. Mitchell. It was beautifully decorated with delicate white candles and pink and blue balloons. Names of babies are now in heaven were shown on a screen. When Shyla’s name flashed for all the church to see I had such mixed emotions. At first, it hit me like I was hearing the news of her death for the first time. I held my breath and blinked. Maybe this was still a bad dream. The second time her name scrolled across the screen, I looked around to see how many people were thinking of her at that very moment. I was like any other proud parent. Her name was there and it meant something. The people in that room were acknowledging her life. It was such a odd emotion. There was a small sermon and lit the candles we were holding. We sang Jesus Loves me and said a prayer. I never thought I would be here. Wearing my pink and blue ribbon and holding this candle. But I know I am not alone. I do not walk this road alone.

The next day we went to the Creation Museum in Petersburg. We had a good time and Ethan especially enjoyed it. I really wanted to focus on giving him LOTS of attention this weekend. I just wanted to share a couple of photos from this day.

The dragonfly may have a very short life span, but look at how long the evidence of this ones life will be seen.  The symbolism just amazes me!
On Saturday, we went to the Newport Aquarium. Ethan was AMAZED! He would just run from one tank to the other. His favorite things were petting the sharks and seeing the penguins. And the Frog Bog. The Frog Bog is the children’s play area. There were giant frogs for kids to climb and play on, a jungle gym and a huge mural on the wall of a pond setting. I saw a ladybug painted on a giant blade of grass and smiled. Ladybugs have kind of always been my thing. Then, as we rounded the corner, I saw…

A dragonfly! So we posed for a family picture! Wow, I needed that. I was beginning to feel guilty for enjoying myself and then I saw that purple dragonfly. God knows just how to make us smile and give us joy just when we need it.
It was a great weekend.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention how sweet my husband is. While on this little trip he gave me the most beautiful birthday present. It is a diamond dragonfly pendant. It is truly breath taking. It is so special that I had all of these little signs to help me heal over this time. I know God sees my pain and is holding me closer than ever. I feel His presence and peace. Some days, some moments I feel like I cannot walk this road any longer, that I am not strong enough. That is when He lifts me up, hugs me and gently says, “No, your not strong enough…not on your own.” I am not strong enough, but with the Healer and Peace Giver at my side and in my heart, I will live the rest of my life with a peace and joy that passes all earthy understanding.

Thank you God for these moments that you have given me. The moments that I know you are near and holding my precious daughter until I can be with her again. Thank you for your peace. Thank you for your joy.

John 16: 20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy… 22Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


While planning the memorial service for my daughter, I decided I would like to have a piece of jewelry with Shyla’s birthstone, a sapphire. I looked online while I was still in the hospital recovering from my c-section and discovered there are actually pink sapphires. I found a necklace that held an angel charm and the angel’s dress was a pink sapphire. It was beautiful, but, there was no way I could get it in time to wear it to her service. I mentioned my desire for this memorial jewelry to my husband, and apparently, my mother, but told them it was ok if we didn’t find anything. You see, something beautiful about this already is that my wedding band contains sapphires, so, I was ok with not having something new, I guess.

The day I came home from the hospital, we stopped at my Mom’s house to pick up my son and to see my brother and his family who had come from Oklahoma to be with us. While there, my Mom and Grandmother ran out to pick up some food for everyone and when they got back, Mom handed me a little box. As I opened the box, I saw what I thought at first to be a delicate pink butterfly necklace and earrings. As I looked closer, I saw no, they were dragonflies. AND not only were they pink sapphire, my daughters birthstone, they also held two opals…my birthstone. I immediately knew that both my Mom and my Grandmother thought these were butterflies. They probably never would have bought them if they knew they were dragonflies. But I smiled. I knew this was a God wink. I told these loving women what I thought they were, and then they agreed, but were apologetic and wanted to return them if I didn’t now want them. No. I told them. They are perfect. I immediately began searching for the symbolism of the dragonfly.

This is what I found.

Dragonflies live a very short life. One of the shortest life spans among the insect world actually. From the time a dragonfly egg hatches, it can live anywhere from six months to six years…BUT it only lives about two months as an actual dragonfly. Most of the time is spent as a nymph in the water, unseen, before it “gets its wings”.

In some cultures the dragonfly is the symbol for new light and JOY! Other cultures believe the dragonfly to be the symbol of hope, change and love. I must say, this symbolism definitely means something to me.

I also found a children’s book called The Dragonfly Door. It is a book used to help explain death to a child. The story is similar to this one:
Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions. Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever. Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top. When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying. So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed. Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended. But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!

Isn’t God’s creation amazing? The symbolism of the dragonfly sometimes just brings a tear to my eye. I’m not saying that every time I see a dragonfly I think that it is my daughter’s spirit. I just love all of the symbolism, the analogies, the parallels.  Just like King David said after the loss of his baby, I know she can not come to me, but one day I will go to her and we will be together in Heaven.

I now have three different dragonfly necklaces. I am hardly ever without one.  When I am having a hard day I see my little dragonfly and remember someday I will get my wings and go to the other side of the water and no longer be a water beetle and be with my daughter again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Will Carry Her

I was reading Dr. Joanne Cacciatore's blog the other day and found something that really touched my heart.  Dr. Cacciatore, like me, is a social worker by degree and, also like me, has a baby girl in heaven.  She founded the MISS Foundation after the loss of her daughter Cheyenne.  Dr. Cacciatore recently wrote about a discussion with a colleague that spurred research into fetal microchimerism and what she found is amazing.

She found that research suggests that when a woman gives birth, she receives, in exchange for her sacrifice, a gift of cells that remain behind and protect her for the rest of her life.  These cells, like stem cells, may help repair damage when she gets sick.  One study suggests that women carry fetal cells in their blood for many years.  What she has to say is so beautiful, I may cry again just thinking about it.  Cells from both of my babies are in my blood and may help save my life one day.  I will carry Shyla in my heart both symbolically and literally. As a matter of fact, in Dr. Cacciatore's words, "Every mother who has lost a child has within her cells that belonged to that son or daughter."  Like I said, AMAZING!

Shortly after reading this, I found the song you hear playing (if you have your speakers on).  It is a song written by Todd and Angie Smith as they walked through the loss of their daughter, Audrey.  With the realization that I quiet literally carry both my children in my body, these words struck a chord in my heart that is hard to describe.  So I will let the lyrics talk for me.  Take a minute to reflect on the wonders of science that God is allowing us to learn and appreciate the beauty of His creation.  Listen to the song and read the lyrics. 

I Will Carry You
Written by Todd and Angie Smith
Performed by Selah

There were photographs I wanted to take

Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?People say that I am brave but I’m not
Truth is I’m barely hanging on
But there’s a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice

And He says…
I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen Me
To carry you

Friday, October 23, 2009

Over the Top!

Heather has nominated me for my first blog award!! It is called the “Over the Top” Award.  Thanks Heather!

Here are the rules for the Over The Top Award:
USE ONLY ONE WORD! It’s not as easy as you might think.

Copy and change the answers to suit yourself and pass it on. It’s really hard to use only one-word answers so try your best!

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse

2.Your hair? Brown

3. Your mother? home

4. Your father? lost

5. Your favorite food? chocolate

6. Your dream last night? None

7. Your favorite drink? Milk

8. Your dream/goal? Legacy

9. What room are you in? Living

10. Your hobby? Creativity

11. Your fear? loss

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? home

13. Where were you last night? Lexington

14. Something that you aren’t? Perfect

15. Muffins? ChocolateChip

16. Wish list item? Health

17. Where did you grow up? Kentucky

18. Last thing you did? email

19. What are you wearing? pajamas

20. Your TV? Movie

21. Your pets? Cat

22. Friends? Kind

23. Your life? Blessed

24. Your mood? Melancholy

25. Missing someone? Everyday

26. Vehicle? White

27. Something you’re not wearing? socks

28. Your favorite store? Lifeway

29. Your favorite color? Saphire

30. When was the last time you laughed? Today

31. Last time you cried? Today

32. Your best friend? Ben

33. One place that I go to over and over? Work

34. One person who emails me regularly? Ashley

35. Favorite place to eat? MeltingPot

I'm still new at blogging, so I think everyone I would tag has already been tagged!  So here is my challenge...if you don't yet have a blog, and you follow me...start one!

Jessica B.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back to Work

To die one's self is a thing that must be easy, & light of consequence;

But to lose a part of one's self--well, we know how deep that pang goes,
we who have suffered that disaster, received that wound which cannot heal...
It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man,
all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live.
It will take mind and memory months
and possibly years
to gather together the details
and thus learn and know the whole extent of the loss.
- Mark Twain, 1888, on the death of his daughter, Suzy Clemens

I went back to work on Monday. On one hand it was a welcome distraction, but on the other I never realized how mentally draining it would be to not have the freedom to let my mind wonder when it needed to. I find myself having to struggle to keep my attention where it needs to be. Monday was a busy 14 hour work day. What a way to start the first week back after almost 7 weeks off, huh? It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Everyone was so extremely nice and thoughtful. My wonderful coworkers brought me flowers and a cake (my birthday was Sunday) and I stayed so busy that there was not much time to think. But something just didn’t feel the same.

Some one once told me that a loss like I experienced was like an amputation. At the time, I really didn’t understand, but it is becoming clearer. Part of me is gone. I sit at the same desk, walk the same halls and see the same people, but things are very different. The last time I sat at this desk, I sat further away because my swelling belly would bump into it as I leaned in to answer the phone. It just feels so wrong. The halls feel different and while not one person at work has said anything rude or hurtful, there is still the knowledge that I am looked at differently. I will always be thought of as “that girl”. While, yes, I do look different than seven weeks ago, this is more like an amputation of me, of the person I once was. I still do the same things I used to, but I do them differently. I am re-learning everything. This I did not expect.  I remember how I used to think about coming back to work after maternity leave and how I would bring pictures of my new baby girl.  I had already made plans on where I was going to pump during my lunch break.  I try to avoid walking by that office now.  I know I will never be the same, but I wonder how long I will feel like I need twice as long to comprehend things.  I stutter and repeat myself.  I must sound really unprofessional.  Sometimes when people are talking, I feel like Charlie Brown listening to his teachers monotone "wha wha wha's".  Then I snap out of it and have to figure out what was just going on.  Ugh.
I bumped into a banister today and immediately grabbed my stomach. I don’t know what I thought I was protecting. All that is there now is stretch marks and a flabby tummy. When I realized what I had done, I looked around to see if anyone had noticed…I don’t think they did…I wonder how long I will feel like a crazy person

People say that time heals.  I disagree.  Time heals nothing.  God heals.  And God is with me.  He was with me at work today in all the hard conversations that I knew I would eventually face.  Although I did not think that three of them would happen in one day.  He has always been with me.  And always will be.  No matter how crazy I feel, I know God is with me and I will get to the end of this tunnel (or series of tunnels) in His timing and with the circumstances I chose.  God will never leave me or forsake me, so even in my craziness, I am not alone.  I find a comfort in that I cannot describe.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day of Remembrance

As I start typing this, it is still technically October 15, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness and Rememberance Day.  As I sat in a prayer service tonight and watched my daughters name appear on a screen during a slideshow of names, I thought about what I remember.  I do this often, so I wont forget anything.  There are some things I wish I could wipe from my mind forever, but so so so many things I never want to forget. 
It has been six weeks now since Shyla was taken from my womb and certain memories feel like they are already fading.  So tonight, I just want to think about what I remember.

* I remember taking a pregnancy test last March and just knowing it would be negative...but surprise!  Two little pink lines! 
* I remember taking a 2nd test because there is just no way the first one is right...but there it was again!  Those two precious pink lines.

* I remember the feeling in my stomach when I showed my husband those positive tests and the happy tears that followed.
* I remember trying to keep it a secret from my co-workers, making excuses to why I shouldn't lift that heavy box, or eat that lunch meat and sneaking out to my van to call and make the first Dr. appointment.

* I remember finding the t-shirt that my 2 year old would wear to make the happy announcement.

* I remember each persons reaction to that shirt after it finally sunk in.  Hilarious!

* I remember how sick water made me.

* I remember the relief I felt when I finally pasted the first trimester.  I thought I was in the clear and there would be smooth sailing from here on.

* I remember combing through baby names books and keeping lists of names I liked everywhere.

* I remember Ethan rubbing my belly and asking about "baby".

* I remember going to Oklahoma and standing under the survivor tree rubbing my growing tummy and thinking about the little one inside.  It was so peaceful there.  So odd that a place that was once torn apart with devastation could ever bring such peace and beauty.  I really thought about the term "beauty from ashes" in this place.

* I remember feeling her move so gently that I almost didn't recognize it.  It was like a quite ballet being danced inside.  Such soft motions made me think this just had to be a girl.

* I remember going to all of my doctors visits with a lump in my throat.  This pregnancy was just so different from the last. 

* I remember how when Ethan would climb up into my lap she would push on him.  It was like she knew it was her brother.  I knew I could expect sibling rivalry, but already? 

* I remember taking Ethan with us to the Doctor for the gender seeking ultrasound.  He was getting impatient so we gave him a sheet of stickers...he was covered before we left that office.

* I remember my husband's face when the Doctor said the baby is a girl.  He was so proud.  He is such a great dad to Ethan and now was going to get to have a Daddy's Girl.

* I remember deciding her name would be Shyla...but keeping it a secret.

* I remember just sitting and rubbing my belly.  All the time. 

* I remember the swelling.  It started in early August and before the month was half over, I had cankles and could wear only flip flops.

* I remember starting to get concerned, her little movement had stopped...what if...something is wrong?

* I remember telling myself it was in my head.  She had to have moved and I just missed it.

* I remember the 30 minute drive to the hospital to get checked out.

* I remember the three nurses buzzing around trying to find a heartbeat with a doppler.  There it is!...No, thats mine...

* I remember the doctor entering the room, asking for the blinds to be shut and touching the ultrasound to my belly...there is no red and blue pulsing...but maybe it was just my eyes...

* I remember hearing, "I'm sorry, but there is no..."

* I remember crying. 

* I remember so much being said, but no explanation.

* I remember making all those phone calls.

* I remember prayers.  LOTS of prayers.

* I remember not sleeping that night.

* I remember meeting my pastor in the parking lot of my Doctor's office the next morning to pray with us.

* I remember picking out a preemie outfit for her.  A white with pink polka dots sleeper that had, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" Embroidered on it.

* I remember actually sleeping that night.

* I remember the ride to the hospital the day she was to be born and hearing Third Day's Tunnel on the radio.

* I remember the peace that passes all understanding surrounding my husband and I as we waiting to be taken into the operating room.

* I remember the surgery, everything about it.

* I remember how eerily quiet it was.

* I remember the Doctor telling me when she had been taken from me, 1:26 pm.

* I remember seeing my husband hold her.

* I remember seeing her for the first time.  She was so tiny.  1 pound 11 ounces and 13.5 inches long. 

* I remember holding her.

* I remember hearing all the stories from women that had lost their babies.  We WILL hold our babies again!

* I remember saying goodbye to her.

* I remember planning her celebration and trying to find the right songs, and being ministered to so much my two in particular.  The two we played.

* I remember God's comfort during the hardest times.

* I remember the kindness of strangers.

* I remember going to church the morning of Shyla's celebration and singing my heart out.
* I remember so many prayers that day.

* I remember carrying her casket across the cemetary for the service. 

* I remember the beautiful balloon release.  28 balloons.  One for each week I was blessed to carry in my womb.

* I remember my son saying, "Bye Bye Shyla!  See you later!" as those balloons drifted up and away.

* I remember seeing so many people who love my family and I at her service.

* I remember so so so so much about her, even though her time here was so short.

* I remember feeling so blessed to have a healthy son.

* I remember telling God I was ok if I never knew the medical cause as to why she is gong.  I know there are going to be spiritual blessings from her short life.

* I remember asking that in leui of flowers, donations be made to the Pregnancy HELP Center in our area.

* I remember the day that we took a lot of these donations to the center. 

I know in the big picture of things, these are not a lot of memories, but you see, I am not done making memories of my daughter and ways she has affected my life and the lives of others.  I know this is still just the beginning of things that I will be remembering on October 15ths to come. 

Today I put on my pink shirt and proudly placed my pink and blue ribbon with a gold footprints pin on my shirt.  This is my day to brag about my daughter.  She is beautiful and she is in Heaven right now crawling around the Throne of my Abba Father.  I know He will take good care of her (and me) while we are apart.  But we will be together again someday.  I am so homesick when I think about that.  Getting to Heaven and having Jesus place my baby back in my arms!  I am glad we have October 15th to remember, but I am also so excited to know that there is so much more to look forward to!