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.