Showing posts with label Mourning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mourning. Show all posts

One Point For Life

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I have high standards for myself and I know that.
I deeply want to feel "normal" in whatever capacity that is so I push myself, sometimes failing to recognize that even though I want to feel "good" at times there is just too much and that isn't obtainable. It is ok to be sad, to grieve, to feel the hurt. 

There are days, or even weeks, when life just wins.
This week, life is winning.

Sunday was Mother's Day and as much as I tried to tell myself that I was ok, I could feel the hurt and sadness and the weight of that day overtaking me. Through a smile, I stuffed the feelings down hoping that they would just go away and I could celebrate my momma. I was remembered by so many who have faithfully loved me and my role as a momma celebrated. But Mother's Day just doesn't feel like it should. I distracted myself with things...a garden to be planted, flowers to be potted, yard work to be completed, laundry to be done. I went to bed feeling drained and never stopped to address the feelings that were beginning to sink my spirit. 

Monday started off with a bang when I failed to secure the blinder and my morning shake went flying leaving my kitchen a sticky mess and me late for work. My day spiraled and so did my spirit. By the end, I was mad and upset and discontent and resorted to indulging in take-out. 

With suppressed feelings, my weary spirit unraveled today as I went back to my doctor for my yearly appointment. I haven't seen my ob/gyn for a year and let me tell you she is one of my most favorite people...of all time...forever. But sitting in the waiting room, walking the hall, waiting in an exam room that represented such sadness, and then filling my dear doctor in on where my life has gone since I saw her a year ago sent my emotions into overdrive. 

As I walked out, I sat in my car and could hold back no more. The emotions just kept coming. The sobs of sadness, the anger of a life I could not have predicted, the absence of "what should be," and putting myself back in a place that holds such deep feelings was more then I could bare.

A superhero I am not, yet I get upset when I can't handle it all.

I have to give myself grace.
 And to remember that I don't have to have it all together always. 
But mostly, to remind myself that He invites those who are weary and in need of rest to come. 

This week, I am weary.
But God is good and good things are coming...big, big things.
Praise Jesus that He can renew my weary spirit.

You Are My Sunshine

Friday, April 4, 2014

Addalyn's 1st birthday was March 19th.
To celebrate, I planned a small birthday party in her honor.

There were proud grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. 

 There was laughter, tears, and joy as her life was remembered through words and pictures.

There were fresh flowers, cookies, cheesecakes, and cupcakes. 

There were, much to my surprise and amazement, hundreds of books collected to bless other families who experience loss and to carry on Addalyn's memory (a goal of $1,000 was set and I am so humbled to say that the goal was met).

There were lanterns sent sailing into the sky as the familiar words of  "Happy Birthday" were sung. 

And, there was one overjoyed momma at the celebration of her beloved daughter. 

Oh Addalyn, you my child are deeply loved.

To the moon and back. 


A most heartfelt thank you to wonderful staff at Shoal Creek Golf Course and to my dear friend Diana from Switch Focus Studios. Diana did our maternity photo session, captured the beautiful photos that I have of my Addalyn on the day of her birth, and took all the photos above from Addy's first birthday party. Diana, a fellow grieving momma, will always hold a special place in my heart.

Addy's Birthday Week...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It was a year ago today that I sat in the front of a church for Addalyn's memorial service.
It was suggested that I record the service given that I was sorta in a fog and I found it to be a very strange suggestion at the time. I could not imagine myself rewatching the memorial service. But, I can tell you that I have so many times. It was a very beautiful and heartfelt service and rewatching it is oddly comforting to me.
It is hard to believe that it was one year ago that she came into and left this world. 
In some regards in seems like yesterday but in others it seems like a lifetime ago.
She was well celebrated this week. 
And, not one thing went unnoticed...I saved every card, printed every email, and screen shot every text to add them to Addy's scrapbook.  

I want to always remember all the love she (and I) received. 

Knowing that my Addy was remembered and well celebrated during the week of her first birthday warmed my heart. I am deeply grateful and truly blessed by the love and support. But deep within me, there is so much emptiness. When there were no more cookies to bake, cupcakes to decorate, or planning to do, the reality that she wouldn't physically experience her first birthday hurt. I miss her so much. 

When all is quiet, the tears flow thinking about how life should be. 

Celebrating Addy

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My heart overflows with all the ways in which my Addalyn was remembered and honored on her first birthday.  She is so deeply loved and missed.

I spent the wee hours of the morning on her first birthday with Addy's daddy. While we are no longer married, we have a child whom we adore and will always celebrate together.

At a later time, I will share about Addy's "You Are My Sunshine" themed first birthday party which was held the evening of 3.19.2014.

It was at her party, that I learned of some behind the scene work that my family and friends had orchestrated.  I am in awe of the way that they have created for Addy's memory and love for story time to be carried on to other families expecting very special babies. They created a Virtual Book Drive through First Book to purchase children's books which will be donated to families supported by Alexandra's House. In my living room, I have hundreds of books ready to be given out.  What an amazing tribute to my precious daughter.  

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

You can learn more about the book drive by following the link...

Happy 1st Birthday Addalyn Lane

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dear Addy,

I know it sounds cliche to say, but it seems impossible that an entire year has passed since the day you were born. I have envisioned the moment that I would give birth to my first born child long before you were in my womb. That moment when I first laid eyes on you was more than I could have ever prepared myself for. You were simply perfect…a true miracle indeed. Your head full of hair, your soft skin, your round cheeks, your long fingers and toes, my nose and my chin, your oh so special lip, and your perfect little eyes.

My greatest fear melted away and I rejoiced in my answered prayer as I looked into those eyes.  The stress of the pregnancy, the fear of the reality, and the worry for that moment faded.  I was given the opportunity to look you in the eyes and tell you how much your momma loves you. Oh Addy, words will never be enough to capture the depth of my love for you.

With the growth of my tummy, with every kick, every wiggle, every twist and turn, with each time I rubbed my belly or saw you on the screen, with every chat we had, every book we read, or song I sang to you, our bond grew. But in that moment of your birth, I was forever changed. A love that I have never experienced washed over me as you laid upon my chest.  As I felt your heart beating against mine, I knew that nothing could ever take back that moment. You existed. 

Addalyn I want you to know the impact that your life has had. You are remembered, not just by those who have gathered to celebrate you, but by so many who never had the opportunity to meet you. You are talked about, your pictures proudly displayed, and traditions rearranged all to honor your memory. I feel your presence and your absence too in a physical burn in my chest. I know that you are always with me.  And you always will be until we are reunited again.

Addy, you fulfilled a dream of mine by making me a momma. From the day I found out I was pregnant, I simply could not be more proud to be your momma. You have taught me the precious nature of life, a depth of love I had never before experienced, and a new found hope in forever until we meet again. What joy you have and always will bring to my life.

With every day that passes, I hope you know how deeply you are missed and how genuinely loved you are.  And today, on your first birthday, I hope you know how celebrated you are.   

Happy first birthday my little sunshine.

I love you to the moon and back,

Your Momma

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In preparation for the day I would meet my daughter, we had weekly appointments and close to 15 ultrasounds. Everything that could be planned in advance was. I was meticulous as to ensure that every detail was well thought out and what was best for Addy was always the focus. As meticulous as I was, I never considered the possibility that my water could break. We were planning to be induced (at the recommendation of my medical team) so it never crossed my mind that I would spontaneously go into labor.   

 It was one year ago that my water unexpectedly broke.

Hidden beneath that smile and those tear swollen eyes was fear. 
Fear of physically enduring labor. 
 But more so, fear of emotionally enduring what was to come.

Regardless of the number of appointments or the number of conversations discussing Addy's life, there was no way to prepare myself to face life and death in the same moment.

Even today, I would be without the words to adequately prepare myself.

Back To The Zoo

Sunday, March 16, 2014
...March 16, 2013...
I was 35 weeks and 2 days pregnant when we opted to take Addy to the zoo.

{ This was my very last maternity picture taken prior to my water breaking. }

Today, exactly one year later, I went back to the zoo to honor Addy's memory.


I hope she knows how loved and deeply missed she is. 
This momma will forever celebrate her. 


And a very special thank you to these two. 

When I asked them to go with (in 33 degree weather with a wintry mixed), they didn't hesitate.
I am overjoyed by their love and support.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Awe, it feels like I can breathe a little better. 

Sookie Jane received a little facelift because I craved less clutter and more simplicity in my life.  It went from this...

To a more simple and clean layout...

2014 is a year of mind, body, and spiritual healing for me.
It is a year of new beginnings and change.
And change started with an overhaul of Sookie Jane.
Check that off the to-do list!

What to Say to a Grieving Parent

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I am rarely on Facebook but today I did log in and I saw this article trending. 
I found it to be pretty spot on. I share because I feel like it is a good reference for those who have friends that have lost a child and just don't know what to say to them. 

One Year Ago

Friday, December 27, 2013
There are very specific dates over the course of my pregnancy that I think will always be engrained into my memory. One of those days was the day that I went for the MRI...December 27, 2012. The sounds, the inability to move, the sweat running down my back, and a pure nervousness for what could possible be revealed...I remember it like it was yesterday.

You can reread my thoughts following the MRI by clicking here.

I vividly remember the conversation that I had with the perinatologist that day. I was about to walk out of work when he called. I remember what I was wearing, where I sat, and who was in the office with me.  I remember trying to write as fast as I could on a series of post-it notes. I could tell in his voice that Addy's prognosis was not good. I could hear his genuine and heartfelt concern. After explaining all the anomalies, he explained how he called every hospital in the nation that offer experimental in utero surgeries for babies with right sided diaphragmatic hernias.  None of the hospitals would accept our case but I was touched by his efforts. 

That conversation changed me.
I refused to give up hope but my momma instinct was not good.

Christmas 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I have always loved Christmas.
The lights, the carols, the decorations, the family time, and the birth of the savior.

But this year I didn't decorate my house. I just wasn't feeling the joy of the season.
But, I didn't want my Addy to think that she was not being remembered during the holiday season. So, I bought a couple of ornaments and made a few more and the only decor in my home this season is Addy's Tree.

And, I carried on a family tradition from my childhood.
Every year until I was well into my college years, we went to Crown Center at Christmas to see Santa. It was one of those traditions that I didn't appreciate as a child but long to carry on with my family.

I rehearsed what I was going to say over and over in my head, grabbed a picture of my Addalyn, and went to see Santa at Crown Center. I handed the picture to the man dressed in the red suit and asked him if he would take a photo with my daughter on what should have been her first Christmas. He smiled at me as I tried not to cry and told me, "Christmas is about what is in the heart and you my dear will be blessed." A few tears rolled down my cheeks.  I took my picture of Addalyn back and went to pay for her photo with Santa. The nice man at the checkout said that Santa paid for the photo and wished me a Merry Christmas. And the tears started rolling. As I was walking out Santa got out of his chair, came up to me, gave me a hug, and a kiss on the cheek. "You are going to be okay my dear," he said and then he asked if he could print one of the photos for himself so that he too could remember my Addalyn this Christmas season.  My heart was over joyed. He didn't look at me strange when I asked him to take a photo with my picture of Addalyn, paid for the printing of her photo, offered me encouragement, and then asked if he too could reflect upon my Addalyn's memory this holiday season. 

My heart overflows. 

To the moon and back my beloved Addalyn.

October 15th...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and it would have also been Addalyn's 30th week of life. My heart was weary and overcome with pain as I drove to work today. The song "Worn" by Tenth Avenue North came on the radio and the words brought me to tears...

Let me see redemption win 
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn
I have struggled with my faith over the years but I know that I alone can't overcome all the hurt. 

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left


There are a lot of amazing mommas that I have met over the course of the year who have lost part of what made them whole. Whether their loss was a result of miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death, their loss is real and their grief is felt.  Thinking of them all today and everyday.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

On a recent shopping trip, my 3 year old niece was in her own little world in the cart. 
She was making up songs about how much she "loves her mommy" and all about "riding in the cart."  As we continued to shop, I overheard her singing, "Baby Addy is flying in the sky with God and Jesus."

Proudly she continued, "I know how to swim but Baby Addy can fly!" 
And since she can fly, for Halloween, "Baby Addy is going to be a butterfly." 
Not just any butterfly, "Baby Addy is going to be the most beautiful butterfly with pink, purple, and sparkly wings."

"All little girls love sparkles," she declared!

I stood in awe.
From the mouth of a three year old, my beloved daughter is remembered. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Part of me was not sure I was ready, but a bigger part of me longed to go.

To see the people who helped to guide my pregnancy.
To say thank you to those who supported and encouraged me during the ups and downs.
To be in the presence of those who helped to bring Addalyn into this world.
To see those who tenderly cared for me during my moments of greatest need. 
To go back to the only physical place where my daughter ever was.

I needed this.

To celebrate what would have been Addy's first half birthday, I went back to again say thank you to the physicians, nurses, counselors, coordinators, and technicians who took my heartbreaking situation and helped me make it through.  

I will be forever grateful.

A 6 Month Reflection on Me...

Thursday, September 19, 2013
I have been told three different times this week by three different people that carrying out my pregnancy was heroic, admirable, and commendable.

I am none of these things.
I am a momma who's life took a journey in a direction that I could have never anticipated. A direction that I could have never prepared for or believed that I would have made it through. 

I am not a hero, I simply refused to give up hope on what I longed so desperately for.

I have been changed and have found that I am stronger than I ever believed.
And, reflecting back on my journey, I am truly proud of myself.
Does it sound conceded to say that I am proud of myself?
I hope not. 

I don't mean to be conceded but life handed me the unimaginable in the past year and I am truly proud of me.

There was a large needled stuck into my abdomen while I was awake to obtain a segment of my placenta.

My arms, legs, and head were strapped to a table and slid into a closed MRI for close to an hour so a better image could be obtained of her kidneys.

I watched an ultrasound screen close to 15 times trying to make sense of changes from week to week riding the ups and downs as things got better then bad and then worse.

I sat around a conference table and listened as her anomalies were presented and potential interventions/surgeries/transplants were explained believing in my heart that quality of life should outweigh quantity of life even if my heart was not ready.

After indepth conversations to discuss the pros and cons, we made a decision to not wear the heart rate monitor during my labor knowing that there was a potential my daughter would not be born alive.

I carried my child within me for 35 weeks and 5 days despite the fact that being visibly pregnant resulted in very difficult and emotional conversations with people who had no idea of my story.

I had painful conversations about comfort care, death, funeral homes, and cremation/burial.

I endured labor knowing that my joy in the end would be robbed.
 I swaddled my daughter one last time, ensured her hat was perfectly situated on her head, gave her one final kiss, and placed her body into basket and sobbed as she was carried away knowing that I would never see her again in this life.

I packed my bag and walked out of the hospital empty handed leaving behind the only place my daughter ever was.
I bound myself with ice packs for close to two weeks when my milk came in to help reduce the pain.

In a fog, I finalized plans for my daughter's memorial service and I sat at the front of a church to celebrate the life of a child I would never know beyond her first and only day of life. 

8 weeks after her passing, I returned to work and walk the halls of the hospital where I pass the cardiologist that did the ECHO and the doctors from the fetal health appointment. My heart stings a little with each siting.

In working to get myself healthy, I continue to see a counselor, find solace in my support group, have managed to drop the baby weight, and am finding ways to ensure that my daughter's life has purpose.

I am a better person today because of her. 
I did what was best for Addy regardless of my what it would mean for my body, regardless of how sad it made me, and regardless that it was not easy. I believe so much that I am forever changed that if I could roll back time, I would endure it all again. I would because I saw Addy open her eyes, I had the opportunity to kiss her precious lips, I felt her warmth against my chest, and because I am at peace with our journey.

I have never uttered the words, "I wish we would have" or "if I could do it all over again, I would change." I prayed for time with my daughter and that she would not struggle. I didn't want her to gasp for air, to struggle to breathe, or to be in pain.  To be honest, I am not certain when Addy passed away. The time of her birth and the time of her death are listed as 41 minutes apart but there was not a clear moment of her passing. She did not live long but she never hurt, she never struggled, and she never gasped.  She passed peacefully and prayers were answered.

I am proud that I am still standing after the journey my life has taken.
And more so, I am proud to be Addalyn's momma.  

To the moon and back.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I am convinced that there will never be a Tuesday 
that the first thought I have as I rise is, “today my Addy would be ….”
Surely I will be 90 and thinking, “my Addalyn would be 3,225 weeks old.”

Today, she would be 23 weeks old.
My heart still aches. It hurts, it burns, and it longs for my beloved daughter.

Tonight, I watched the recording of Addy’s memorial service.
Is that strange? Perhaps
Is it healthy? I have no idea.
Is it some part of the blessed grief cycle?  Probably
Is it needed for this grieving momma? I believe so.

To hear Jim beautifully reflect on Addalyn's precious life, or to hear Michael sing “All Of Me,” or to hear letters written to Addy after we had the opportunity to meet her, or to see her life displayed in pictures…it is all needed by this momma...even though it hurts. Her life may have been limited but it will be my life's work to ensure that she is never forgotten. 

I wept as I remembered back to that day…the day she was born and the day she passed and the days to follow after I parted with what made my heart whole.
It was and will forever be one of the very best and the very worst days of my life.

I have been forever changed.

To the moon and back my beloved daughter. 

And so it begins...

Friday, August 2, 2013

August 2, 2012
 I had my very first positive pregnancy test one year ago today.
I had been feeling tired at work so my dear friend Casie convinced me to take a test. 
I took it more as a way to prove her intuition that I was pregnant wrong.
This was the series of text messages that followed... 

(I included a picture of the test for Casie's viewing pleasure)

I see a slight pink line! Are you sure?

The second line is so faint that I think it is negative.

Ok, I just showed Jason the test and before I said anything I asked what he thought.
He goes, "oh yeah there are two lines!" 

And just like that, I was a momma.
I will never forget the overwhelming amount of joy that I felt in that moment. 
Joy and disbelief...I took a test on the 3rd, 4th, and the 14th just to be 100% certain!

There are life alternating dates that will be ingrained into my memory forever and I know it will be difficult as those dates resurface this year. What I have certainly learned through the grief process is that life does not stop, it will not even slow down, it just keeps on going whether you are ready or not. 


To the moon and back my precious Addalyn.
Momma loves you and misses you beyond words.

18 Weeks

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I hit my highest weight when I was working nights in the Pediatric ICU. 
It was a stressful job where I faced life and death on a nightly basis (perhaps forshadowing for what was to come in my life?).  It takes a special nurse to work in the PICU and after a year, I realized I was not one of them.

When I would have a stressful night, I would go to the cafeteria during my lunch (mind you it was 2am) and get a plate of fries and a grilled cheese know one of those really good grilled cheese...texas toast rolled over the cascading butter and then fried in even more butter. It was so good that I used to eat them with a fork because I didn't like the butter saturating my fingers. 

After a shift change and a job change, I took up boxing and dropped my PICU weight. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I continued with the workouts. I tracked my heart rate at my OB's request and scaled the workouts back to stay in a safe zone. Once things got complicated around 12 weeks, I struggled to keep up with the workouts. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted so I gave myself permission to stop boxing.

I only gained 35 pounds throughout my pregnancy which I felt pretty good about since carrots don't constitute "comfort food" in my book. When we had a bad appointment, we would cope with good food...Mexican, Flea Market Burgers, Mac&Cheese from McCoy's, Stroud's, etc. Why is it that food has a way of making us feel better?

After Addy was born, I started walking and by 6 weeks post baby, I had dropped 15 pounds. With the blessing of my OB, I started boxing again after 7 weeks and slowly my clothes are beginning to fit again.

Most days, I find that I am exhausted from trying to feel normal in a very unnormal world. My emotions fluctuate, I feel drained, and a good nights sleep is few and far between. So, I am getting serious about getting healthy...physically, mentally, and emotionally. I started seeing a counselor weekly to help me work through the grief, am making an effort to attend the monthly support groups at Alexandra's House, made a 'bucket list' of things I want to accomplish in the coming year (perhaps I will share as I begin to cross things off the list), continue to go to my boxing classes, and am trying to avoid processed foods to refuel my weary body with natural, clean foods. 

Sad, Depleted, Heart Broken, Weary, Bitter, Devastated, Angry, Jealous
Grief is a process and I have felt the gamut of emotions...sometimes all in just one day. There are days where the tears will not cease, some days my chest burns without avail, and some days I find myself being so angry and frustrated that everything just makes me mad. 
This year, I have to focus on me and restoring my brokenness. 
When I turn 29 next July, I want to be able to look back and know that despite how difficult the year was, I can hold my head high and know that I made it though.

Easier said than done? Sure. But I have to start somewhere.
Here is to turning 28.

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