Lydia Grace

Lydia Grace
Our first child, Lydia Grace

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Christmas was incredibly difficult. I am glad it is over. Now the year is coming to an end, what a year! So many things happened this year...good and bad, beautiful moments and painful ones (sometimes simultaneously), laughter filled and tear filled, the ending of some friendships, the beginnings of new friendships and being part of another family.

Focusing on the blessings of 2010, I want to share the five things for which I am most thankful this year.

1. God's sustaining grace and provision in trials and sorrow.

2. My faithful, patient, kind husband with whom I look forward to spending the rest of my life.

3. Our precious daughter whom I will see again some day.

4. The family and new friends who have supported us with prayers, kindness, and love.

5. Our son growing and healthy inside me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas with Family

    My husband and I celebrated Christmas with his family this weekend. He needed to go to H-town for work and I decided to go with him. We had Christmas with my mother-in-law andfamily on Friday evening, then Christmas with my father-in-law, his wife, and family on Saturday evening. How can I describe the Christmas gatherings? 

   Incredibly painful. It almost felt like that first week or two after losing Lydia. The loss was very pronounced, her absence keenly felt, any joy in the holiday completely gone. Being around so many people and children was overwhelming. It was nice to see family and would have likely been easier had it not been to celebrate Christmas. 
   I am thankful for a moment I had with my mother-in-law on Friday evening. Children, noise, activity became too overwhelming. I went to lie down in the guest room. She followed me in and laid on the bed with me, hugging me and trying to offer comfort. I was able to tell her how much I missed Lydia and how much this Christmas hurt without her. We also talked about the loss of her baby and how she felt the first Christmas after her loss 28 years ago. 
   Unless you have lost a child, I don't think you can understand how pervasive the pain is during the holidays. EVERYTHING is painful. Seeing parents with their children is a sharper reminder that you do not have your child with you. I could not watch the children exchanging and opening presents. There is a searing, unending, pain in my broken heart. All the parents are naturally focused on their children, their excitement, taking pictures. I am just as focused on my daughter, but I don't get to help her open presents, take pictures with her, share in her joy and awe. I felt so empty the entire weekend. 

Lydia's lamb in her crib
Then there were pictures of the grandchildren. I really wanted to throw a temper tantrum at that point, scream and break things. Where was my daughter? Is she not a grandchild? Aren't you forgetting her? This picture isn't complete! I couldn't be around for that either. It wasn't until that moment I thought of it, but I wished I had some symbol of Lydia to include in those pictures. Maybe her picture or her stuffed lamb. I just so desperately wanted her to be remembered amidst everyone's joy and focus on their own children. It was awful. I did not take a single picture the entire weekend. I usually take many for my scrapbooks. It felt to meaningless and  I had no interest or motivation to take any. 
   A relative with a newborn came at one point on Saturday evening. Within one minute, my husband and I got up and walked out of the house. IT HURTS SO MUCH! And the younger the child, the more painful (at least for me).  
   Another more soothing point in this emotionally exhausting weekend was when my husband and I opened our Christmas gift from his father and step-mother. It was a Willow Tree "Remember" figure. It made me cry. I don't want family who read this to think we hated seeing them and that the gatherings were terrible, we did enjoy seeing family, but it brought so much sadness and pain, it was a struggle to make it through. 
   I was relieved to arrive home Sunday afternoon. I did not want to get out of bed this morning. I felt listless, sad, brokenhearted. It feels good to be back somewhere safe. The weekend definitely reassured me of my decision not to celebrate Christmas with my family. Grieving parents need their own Christmas. People who haven't been there might think it's better to spend holidays with family for comfort. I found little to no comfort. I don't know what we were thinking attempting it this past weekend. I've never seen my husband that sad in public. Leaving the last Christmas gathering Saturday evening, his whole body slumped over in the seat testified to his emotional exhaustion and sadness he felt. To sum up the Christmas celebration, as my husband bluntly put it: It sucked. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

And we have a baby boy!
(with 95% certainty, I should say) A girl and a boy. Pretty perfect. I knew it was a boy. Just like I knew Lydia was a girl. Good intuition: two out of two.

Today was my perinatologist appointment at 13 weeks. It went very well. A DVD of the entire sonogram was recorded (30 minutes) and we have many pictures from the sono. Everything is developing normally...10 fingers accounted for, good heartbeat and heart formation, brain and spine and limbs look good (hmmmm....I feel like I was saying this just a few months ago about our other child...).  
The perinatologist also recommended the anticoagulant daily injections. We just need to figure out how to pay for it. She said she is more concerned not only because of Lydia's stillbirth, but also because I have two bad copies of MTHFR that coupled with low Protein S has greater potential for blood clotting problems.

I feel guilty for not being more excited. With each doctor's appointment I feel more relief than excitement. When I was pregnant with Lydia, each doctor's appointment, the sonograms, every time we'd hear her heartbeat, I was excited. Now I breathe a sigh of relief. And hold my breath for the next appointment. I am an anxious person. Add experience with that and these positive reports from the doctors are wonderful to hear, but do not alleviate my anxiety and concern. Every single one of Lydia's appointments went well. We had no signs of problems. Two weeks before she was stillborn, everything looked great.

I'm not saying I am not thankful each time. I am very thankful nothing is wrong with the baby; that the only problem identified is a problem with me, not him. I am grateful he is growing healthy and we are not having any serious complications. Thank You, Lord.

Wow, a boy! 
And how I miss my baby girl! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010


We are in the midst of the holiday season...

   This was to be our first Christmas with our daughter. Now it's the first of...15? 40? 60? without us together. I have little interest in any usual holiday traditions and activities. My husband and I did put up a small Christmas tree. I am hanging a stocking for Lydia. I plan to put some items in it. I also ordered a family Christmas card with a collage of pictures. I signed it with the names of those in our family (my husband and I, Lydia, Baby Curtis, and our two dogs).
   We attended M.E.ND. 's Candlelight Service on Tuesday. It was a smaller gathering with music, a message, and the opportunity for each family to walk to the front of the chapel, say the name of the child/children they had lost, and light a candle in their memory. I choked up and it broke my heart when I said our baby's name, but it means so much for her to be remembered. It was also nice to have a Christmas event with other parents who have lost babies, who understand.
   I have not decided what family events I am ready to attend this year. I do not want to see other people laughing and being happy and sharing Christmas with their family and children. That sounds very is not that I wish others to be unhappy, it is just painful for me to see their joy while being in such pain. Is that too selfish? Perhaps it is. I want to yell that I lost my baby four months ago and I am not happy this Christmas, that this is not the most wonderful time of the year, and I do not want to have to put a smile on to be social. I do not want this Christmas to continue as if nothing has happened when our lives will never be the same. Participating in the usual activities feels like Lydia's death is being dismissed, not honored, forgotten...I am not sure how to express it. I stated that incorrectly: I feel like Lydia, her life, her memory is being dismissed, not honored and forgotten. As her mother it feels like a betrayal.
   So I think my husband and I are going to stay at home this Christmas. I have always been a traditionalist about everything Christmas. None of that seems to matter now. I plan to attend our church Christmas Eve service and cook a nice dinner for my husband and I. Christmas day I do not know what to do. I have not shared my plans with my family (who will likely expect us for the holiday).

I'm filled with questions this Christmas...

What do you do the first Christmas after burying your child? 

How do you acknowledge the celebration of Christ's birth, but do not participate in any of the usual celebrations? 

How do you watch other families with their children when you can't hold your child? 

How do you watch gifts exchanged with none for the baby you expected but lost?

How can you sing carols when tears are about the only words you have sung for months? 

How do you talk with people who feel the joy of the holiday season when you have feel dead inside? 

When you should have a baby in your arms at Christmas dinner and they are empty?

When a stocking is hung in memory of your child rather than for your child's pleasure? 

When the plans you had months ago will never happen?

When your heart is broken but the world keeps moving on?

Friday, December 3, 2010


   Yesterday I needed to go up to the hospital, to the women's center. I was not thinking about the implications of where I was going until I saw the front of the building. I began to sob. I parked my car, sat in it, and cried. I had not been there since the day of Lydia's birth. 
   I had such a strong, unexpected emotional reaction. It was like reliving those memories. Walking into the building and down the hall was challenging. Once I arrived in the labor & delivery area, everything seemed unfamiliar. The locked double doors leading into the area were something I do not recall seeing. The hallways were hallways I'd never seen before. I did not recognize the nurse's station. It was a strange experience. Walking out the front doors after the visit brought up painful memories of the day I left without Lydia. Rough morning. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tear Soup

Let's start with good news: yesterday my husband and I heard our baby's strong heartbeat at 170 beats per minute! Praise the Lord!

Also at yesterday's OB appointment, results from the blood work I had done 3 weeks prior had arrived. I have two mutated copies of MTHFR. As a result I am on a different prenatal vitamin with a specific type of folic acid not found in your standard prescription prenatals to help with the folic acid problem MTHFR causes. I also have a protein S deficiency, treatment for that isn't as painless as a pill. I'll be giving myself daily injections for the duration of the pregnancy. We also discussed some other problems and issues. More testing and further decisions about treatment will be made soon after my perinatologist appointment. It is a pressure and a little anxiety provoking, yet I feel a sense of relief to have something to do that may prevent another loss.

My longsuffering, ever thoughtful husband gave me an early Christmas gift yesterday evening when we got home from the doctor. A book: Tear Soup. It is the best book I have read in a long time. It's an illustrated children's book with a deep meaning I could definitely identify. I love reading things that express how I feel when I don't have the words. The full title is Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing after Loss. I highly recommend it to everyone. If you can find it in a library or next time you are in a bookstore, check to see if it's there. It's short and can be read in the store. You should read it.

Time to keep making my Tear Soup.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mother of Two: Part 2

 I felt pregnant before I had a positive pregnancy test. I could feel the change in my body. The first home test I took was negative. Five days later, on October 10, I took another test. It was positive! So begins months of anxiety and doctor appointments. We are very excited and joyful, more than I can express, but the fear is very real. 

   I have had 3 sonograms, 11 tubes of blood drawn, and 3 OB appointments thus far. I feel like I am checking things off a list: 
1. first sono showed very little, but we established the embryo was attached to the uterine wall, no ectopic pregnancy = in the right place - check
2. second sono we were able to see the heartbeat = heartbeat, things are going ok
3. third sono we were able to hear the heartbeat and see the arm buds and leg buds = our baby is developing

    I have had morning sickness. Extreme fatigue is plaguing me. I can sleep 10 straight hours at night, but half way through the work day it is all I can do to stay awake, much less focused. I cannot stop thinking about going to bed. I fight the urge to curl up on my desk and give way to sleep that my body demands. 
  Yes, I am enjoying every minute. Honestly, every day I am thankful to have one more day with my baby for I do not know when it will be the last. As far as I know baby is healthy and developing and I am grateful for throwing up and being exhausted and the other complications. 


Thanks for all the congratulatory comments and support!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mother of Two: Part 1

I'm pregnant!

  Yes, I am 10 weeks pregnant (technically tomorrow I will be 10 weeks). This sweet baby is due June 21st. We are incredibly excited and joyful for God to have blessed us with another child. We were going to wait to share our news with everyone, but (1) I am already starting to show and (2) the immediate family we did share our news with have already told more people than I would ever dream of telling. I needed to say something before others shared our news.

   "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15)

---you've got to be around for both---

   It is difficult to hear excitement from people whom neither my husband or I told we were pregnant and have not shared in our sorrow. One woman expressed her excitement to host a baby shower. She did not know about Lydia and I was unaware she knew I was pregnant. I am no where near a place to begin thinking about baby showers. (Can we do that after this little one safely arrives?) Then there are people with whom we have planned to share our news, only to find out they have already been told. It makes me angry and annoyed. More so when it is someone who is unaware of our loss or was not supportive with the loss of our child. Too much joy and excitement from others is too much for me. My husband said it was not fair to tell people and ask them to keep it a secret. So I did not tell anyone not to share our news, I just assumed (never smart) that others would understand it is OUR news. The emotions are really compounded with the loss of Lydia.

   The two most prevalent reactions I have heard are as follows:

Isn't it too soon? I've been asked if it is safe for me to be pregnant, is my body ready, is it alright with my OB, isn't it too early emotionally/physically, will being pregnant so soon increase my risk of loss...
You are neither my OB nor my husband, do not tell me when is the right time to be pregnant.

I'm so excited! I am so happy for you, this is wonderful, this will make everything better. No. I will never have my daughter I lost. I want her and this baby. This little one is her/his own person. She/he is not a replacement. Being pregnant has not ended my grief.

  Then there are both reactions from the same person: "Oh, I am so excited! Are you sure it's ok? This will be so great, things will be great! Did you doctor say it was okay for you to be pregnant so soon?"

   Ah, dealing with people.

I dislike reading extremely long blogs, so to be kind to me readers I am ending this blog now and will continue with my pregnancy story on the next blog post.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My favorite photos

I was really missing my baby today, so I thought I would post a few pictures.
Photos taken courtesy of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Not who I was

   I am working now. Yesterday was my first day. Yesterday? It feels much longer ago than that. The past two days have solely been orientation. I will not really start on my tasks until next week. I think I  will enjoy the job. The most draining aspect so far, yes, in my two full days of experience, is the social aspect. 
   I think I have changed completely in this area since I lost Lydia. I have never been a gregarious person, but I have been more friendly and outgoing than I am currently. It takes forced effort for me to make conversations with people. I would rather accomplish what I need accomplished and not have to talk with others, especially people I do not know. I have told myself in the past two days that I should make a comment or ask a question of interest to a co-worker to appear friendly. It is very forced. A pregnant woman has the desk next to mine and I could not ask all the socially expected questions of due date, boy or girl, baby names, etc. It is too painful. I think I am very quiet and withdrawn at work. I have no interest in small talk and I find it exhausting. 
   Not all social interactions are exhausting for me. I do talk at M.E.N.D. and when I spend time with close friends (the only friends who have wanted to spend time with me recently have been M.E.N.D friends) and with family I am usually fairly comfortable and more talkative. 
   I guess I am not very happy either (in general, not work specific). I drove away today wondering if I smiled. I remember forcing a smile on several occasions. These traits will likely not endear me to my co-workers. I doubt I'll be making friends. Making friends sounds like too much work, anyways. 
   Wow. These last two blogs have been so negative! I  know I am depressed, but I have not been quite this negative in my postings. I think this month and next will be emotionally trying since we have past Lydia's due date and the holidays are now here. The purpose of my blog was to share Lydia's story with others and share how I feel and grieve. Here it is. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Everything is a mess!

   It seems everything is going wrong. We have had stressful, discouraging things happen this week. Everything feels so overwhelming. One more thing cannot possibly go wrong. Unfortunately I know, that is not true. I feel like a bundle of nerves, very tense and irritable. Finding a hole to hide in somewhere, not reappearing for another, oh, two years, sounds like my best option.
   Yet time keeps passing and demands are not disappearing. Honestly, I feel no peace. No assurance. No comfort. I feel far from God. Despite logic and truth, I feel like I am being punished. I really want to give up. I know, so much pessimism.

Deep breath.

   On a positive note, I have a job! I interviewed for a position a couple weeks ago and was offered the position last week. I begin on Monday. I am looking forward to it. It's not exactly in my field or planned career path, but it's a job. It means a paycheck which we are in desperate need of currently. I enjoyed the women I met during my interview and think it will be a nice place to work. I'm glad I have not been working until this point, emotionally and physically I was not ready. Now I think it will be nice to have something to occupy some of my time.

   With things so difficult right now, I wonder if we would be in these same circumstances had Lydia lived. There are too many factors, but in my mind and heart I feel like all would be right, many of these problems would not be present (truthfully, several would not be), and the difficulties that would be present would seem more manageable. However, that is not reality.

Friday, November 5, 2010

November 5th

     Today was Lydia's due date. 
November 5, 2010

Now the day has arrived and has brought with it strong emotions, questions, and longing. Would today have been today if she hadn't been (still)born in August? Is this what her day of birth would be? A very cold morning and a sunny, cool fall day? Would the talk on the morning news been the same? The smell of the air, the touch of the breeze? Or would it be different had my Lydia been born today?

Everything about today feels wrong. My daily morning walk with our two dogs should not have happened today. I should be lying in the hospital bed in labor or holding her in my arms. My body shows no outward sign that I was ever recently pregnant. I should be 30 pounds heavier, with a healthy round belly, ready to give birth to a healthy baby girl. Until this point I have been not only counting the weeks and days since losing Lydia, but also where I would be in my pregnancy. I have such a strange feeling today. Marked on the calendar as our first baby's due date since the moment my doctor gave it to me, yet everything has changed. Instead of counting weeks of she should be here. Her crib should not be vacant! This house should not be silent! My arms should not be empty! My belly not flat. This week was to be one of excitement and anticipation for me, rather than filled with tears. Family should be here to celebrate her birth. 

I am very thankful for my husband today. Rather than leave to workout at 6:00, he stayed home and fixed us breakfast. He also gave me a "Mother's Love" necklace from James Avery. Very sweet. He took a couple hours off in the middle of his day as well. Together we went to visit the place where Lydia's body is buried. We sat together for a long time. I felt so hurt and sad and angry, I couldn't speak. My husband prayed for us, for which I was thankful as I felt like I could not. 

I miss my baby and grieve her loss especially today. I am trying to hold on right now, thought at times it all feels so dark and hopeless. I love you so much, Lydia Grace. I would do anything to have you here with me. I am trying to grieve with hope. 

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them, in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." 
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pictures and presents

   I had started Lydia's scrapbook during my first trimester. After she was stillborn, it felt too painful to continue to scrapbook her pictures. I felt like it would have to end with the pictures taken at the hospital. A woman in M.E.N.D. told me the pictures did not need to stop there. She had a scrapbook and included pictures from the Walk to Remember, from holidays, and birthdays. I was inspired to continue and have spent hours carefully scrapbook pregnancy pictures, pictures of Lydia in the hospital, and now pictures of her funeral. I will follow those with the pictures taken at the Walk. 
   Lydia's funeral pictures I just received a couple weeks ago from my mother. They are more painful for me to see than the pictures of my baby. It is difficult for me to look at myself in those pictures. I feel like my face displays the definition of sorrow and grief. And there are the pictures of the smallest white casket. Caskets shouldn't come in that size. 
   Scrapbooking has been good in helping me grieve. I've shared the scrapbook with others. Some have not wanted to see pictures, others mention the pictures are so sad, some flip through it quickly (yes, I take it personally). I've found all women who have lost a child (and a rare few who have not lost a child) look slowly, carefully, respectfully. They comment on the pictures; exclaim over the beauty of my Lydia Grace; point out her precious fingers and toes; study her face to find characteristics of my husband or me; ask about that day, her service. I like that. First for myself and second for those who care, I plan to keep scrapbooking and keep sharing with those who are interested. 

The mention of my child's name may bring tears to my eyes, but it never fails to bring music to my ears. 
If you are really my friend, let me hear the beautiful music of her name. It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul.

  Last week I received a gift in the mail from an unexpected person. A woman with whom I have never felt particularly close and I rarely see, sent me this necklace. I was touched and have worn the necklace every day since I received it. In this journey I have found it so interesting that those I may have thought would be supportive are different than those that are still around 13 weeks later. Thanks for the support and prayers. I appreciate it. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's a girl!!!

  I had been really, really hoping for a girl. I have three brothers, no sisters. I felt certain the little baby in me was a girl. I had all these theories and reasonings, as well as my intuition...perhaps I was certain because I was so hopeful. The original day of my ultrasound at 20 weeks had to be rescheduled because my husband was at a conference in Oregon. We were both so excited for the ultrasound, I threatened (jokingly) to have it while he was gone.
   The day of the ultrasound, my mother and youngest brother (age 10 at the time) drove down from their home a couple hours away to be part of the moment. My youngest brother was just as certain I was pregnant with a boy as I was that we were having a girl. All the important things were checked during the ultrasound (all very normal and healthy, I might add). Then the ultrasound tech announced that this little one was indeed a girl. I was thrilled. My brother, however, was not. He asked how we knew. He stated that we might be wrong. Or that when the baby was born, it might really be a boy instead. He was not too happy when we assured him she indeed was a girl and would remain so. I don't think he quite believed us.
   Today I was reflecting on that day in June. It was so much fun. I loved being pregnant. We were so excited about the baby (girl or boy). It's crazy how much joy the news of being a mom brings. It was such a happy time for us. Now, I cherish all the ultrasound pictures as those were the last we have of her alive. I do not want thoughts of Lydia to be surrounded with sadness. I want to celebrate her life and remember the joy of her presence as well as the pain of losing her.
These are pictures of the television screen during the ultrasound.
Not as clear as the ones printed by the ultrasound tech, but easier to post.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Already October?

  I feel like I am waking up and realizing it is already October. Mid-October now. Where did the time go? Save the first few days of August, I remember nothing from August or September. I know we celebrated my youngest brother's birthday in September. Days just passed. I remember asking my husband at various times the day of the week and trying to remember what I had even done or eaten the day before (often unsuccessful without his reminders). Today is 3 weeks until what was Lydia's due date.
   Checking out of the hospital on August 1st some part of me was certain I was checking out of my life. Surely, when I was pushed out of the hospital in a wheelchair, my life would be done. Out the hospital doors and into heaven or at least somewhere other than where I had previously lived. Or into the life I had known before everything was shattered; I would be pregnant with Lydia and everything that had happened would be a terrible dream. Instead it was out the hospital doors into the oppressive heat of a Texas evening, trying to figure out the plans for our daughter's funeral. I guess I was going into a different life. A different or new 'normal'.
   We had so much support and care that first week. Most of our family are still very supportive. I have a wonderful sister-in-law, always ready to listen to me talk. Then there is the support from M.E.N.D. and new friendships I am forming. Old friends are mostly a different story. I won't speak for my husband, but I feel more abandoned by friends.  One friend whom I considered a close friend told me about a month after we lost Lydia that she wanted to be there for me during this time, to walk with me through my grief....I have not seen nor talked to her since that day six weeks ago (and not for lack of trying to reach her on my part). It feels like a very isolated time in my life. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's not.
   Thankfully, God is not like us.  I've had days I've prayed almost constantly, days my prayers were only tears, days I could not pray at all. I've questioned and been angry. Yet God is faithful. I am so thankful it is not contingent on my own attitude or behaviors. I certainly have not always felt His presence, but He is there.

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

Monday, October 4, 2010

Walk to Remember

It's difficult to see, but our M.E.N.D. shirts have
"Remembering Lydia Grace" embroidered on them

   M.E.N.D. (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death) has been an organization I have joined since we lost Lydia. Outside of family, I have received the most support from this Christian organization. Drew and I have both attended meetings and have found it to helpful and comforting. I enjoy talking with other mothers and not having the need to explain everything and how I feel. It's nice (in a strange sense) to hear other mothers talk about how life is a year...four years...eight years after the loss of their baby. No where have I felt as much support and understanding in a community. (Church should probably top the list here, but having been in church all my life, I have to say that I have not experienced the solidarity, support, shared experience, etc. with church members that I have felt with the women at M.E.N.D.).
   Every year M.E.N.D. has a special event, a Walk to Remember. It was on Saturday, October 2nd. Over 500 participated in this event.  Our family joined us to remember and celebrate our sweet baby. At the event, Rememberance tables were set out and I included Lydia's picture, her scrapbook, and her lamb.

my youngest brother and I 
The Walk is not an athletic event. From the church, we walked down to an area outside by the M.E.N.D. with chairs set up for the service.

The service was very nice: prayer, songs, a message, recognition of the babies, and a balloon release. Every couple who had lost a baby were given an ornament. During the service, the name of each baby already in heaven was called. As the name was called the family came forward and hung their baby's ornament on the M.E.N.D. tree. I loved how every single baby was named by name. I feel like there cannot be enough remembering  my little girl. 
Lydia's daddy hanging up her ornament 
Lydia's ornament on the M.E.N.D. tree
   The service was concluded with a balloon release. every one received a balloon for each baby they had lost: pink for girls, blue for boys, white for miscarriages when the sex of the baby was unknown. We wrote on the balloons, then sang "Jesus Loves Me", tears preventing me to sing. Then we released our balloons. 

Balloons representing too many babies

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


     After losing Lydia, I immediately wanted to be pregnant. It was an intense, desperate feeling. It felt wrong not being pregnant. I wanted another baby. It was almost a feeling of panic, that I had to be pregnant again immediately. The intensity of these emotions have abated, but I still have a strong desire to be pregnant and have another child. (No, this is not to replace Lydia. I have read things written by idiots who suggest the desire to have another child is to replace the one who was lost. They have obviously not lost a child.)
    I long to have another baby; however, I am filled with anxiety. What if I cannot get pregnant? What if we lose another baby? What if something goes wrong? The questions, fears, and panic goes on and on. I want control of everything, but now, more than any other time in my life, I feel I have absolutely no control. I feel so little control in whether or not I will get pregnant, when, and if my next child will stay with us longer than 26 weeks. The Christian answer is to trust God, because He is in control. That does nothing to decrease any of my anxiety or fear. God is in control and He allowed my daughter to die. It certainly does not make it easy to trust. I feel like I am going crazy. I desire to control and plan and make things go well, but feel I have absolutely no power to do so. I feel I have nothing but to trust God, yet I resist that because I do not want to lose another baby. I feel hopeless.  
   Do not tell me that things will be fine. Do not tell me you are sure we will have other children. You have no control over any of it either. Many women have lost more than one child.                                                                                                            

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hurtful Words

             People can say such hurtful things. 

Do not tell me I am young and can have other children.

And yes, I am still "really shaken up by it [Lydia's death]". You are surprised? Hold your dead child in your arms then let me ask you 7 1/2 weeks later if you are still "really shaken up". 

Do not tell me that this is "a terrible thing that has happened, but..." 
  There is no but. Nothing that can follow that statement means anything to me. This is a terrible, awful, painful tragedy. Period. End of statement. You are not God. Do not pretend to give me an answer. Do not tell me how it will help me grow personally or in my marriage. In comparison to the death of my baby, I can conceive nothing worth the cost of her life. 

And how can people be so insensitive? I know I am just self-centered right now in what I am going through, but do people have any awareness of the feelings of others?
A mother tonight was talking about how she home schools her children and laughingly stated she was thankful no one has died yet. I know that it meant nothing, but really? Do you have to say things like that? 

I hate hearing people complaining about their children constantly calling for them and their attention. YOU HAVE A CHILD! Be thankful. I would give anything to hear Lydia say my name a thousand times. ( I hope some of these feelings and changes in perspective continue my entire life).

There is the stupid things people say, then there is those that just ignore or do not know how to talk to me.
  An awkwardness seems to exist in so many of the relationships and conversations my husband and I have had with friends and acquaintances who know of our loss. Many people seem to avoid the topic; they tip-toe around us, discussing trivial matters and keeping conversations short. Whether it is not wanting to hurt me or being uncomfortable with it themselves, I am not sure. Yet I am expected to listen to stories about their children. 
   Why can I not talk about my baby? Is it that hard for others to listen? Is it the depth of pain and lack of answers that makes it difficult? Are they afraid that bringing it up or asking how I am doing will...what?...make me cry? make me angry? hurt me? As if my heart isn't broken, part of myself gone? As if I do not cry driving in the car, grocery shopping, taking a shower, eating dinner, washing dishes, lying in bed? A song brings me to tears . A thought. A kind gesture. There is no confinement to my grief. When I am not crying it does not mean I am not hurting, not grieving, and to ask about it would suddenly make things worse. Nor does my lack of tears, my smile or laughter, my occupation with other things mean I am "over it".  It does not feel overwhelming and consuming at all times, but it's always present. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


  I am unemployed. Unemployed because I do not have a job and an unemployed mother because I do not have my baby with me. My husband and I decided that I would be a stay-at-home mom (exactly what I wanted) for at least the first year of Lydia's life (my plan was to keep staying at home, have more children, not return to work for another 10 years...). I resigned from my former job, so here I am. In the midst of a terrible time to find a job, searching for one. Compounded to the difficulty in finding a job is a very emotional reaction on my part on why I need to be searching for a job. 
   On the way to turn in applications or interview, I find myself having the same thoughts. If Lydia were still here, I wouldn't be looking for a job right now. Inevitably, the tears come. When I arrive to the prospective job, I wipe away the tears, put on a smile and head inside. During the interview, when asked about my interest in the position, I want my daughter back, not this job, runs through my head. Not the best attitude when trying to find employment. 
   Thus far I have not been able to find any work. It is very discouraging, considering I have a graduate degree. If I work in the field for which I went to school, the position requires the minimum of a Specialist degree (more hours than a masters with a year internship, but less than a doctoral degree) and licensure by the Texas State Board Examiners of Psychologists. Very specialized (perhaps that's the problem), but I cannot find a job. One would think, however, there would be fewer qualified applicants for such positions. 
   I have applied for other jobs out of my field. I've applied for jobs with much less education requirements, but still have not gotten the position. I am learning the other problem I have when looking for jobs outside my field is lack of experience. Prospective employers do not seem to care that I have a bachelor's degree and four years of graduate work (my first year of graduate school I was in a different program in the same field before switching programs. My program was 2 years of coursework followed by a year long, full time, paid internship in which I was still considered a student). Anyways, my education apparently does not represent any sort of skill or experience. As a result, I am not "qualified" for many jobs. 
   This morning I had an interview for a part time position. I thought the position required responsibility for toddlers in a childcare center, but I was misinformed. The position is caring for infants. The interviewer shared with me the number of infants at the center and the additional babies that would be starting (one having a due date in November, just like Lydia). As soon as she said the position was for infant care and began talking about babies who would be in the class after their births, my heart stopped. I don't know if I can do this. I don't know if I can emotionally handle that task. I have no problem working with my 1st graders at church, but infants are another story. I avoid mothers and babies every where I go. And a baby girl who would be so close in age with my daughter? All I would be able to think about is Lydia and how she would be developing if she were here. Since the interview was this morning, I have not heard whether or not I am offered the position, but it might not be the best place for me right now. 

So I am still searching for a job. Wishing I had my daughter instead. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Little Miracle

   It was six weeks ago today we had Lydia's graveside service. I went to see her site this morning. It's a beautiful little spot. The service six weeks ago was so sweet. It was in the morning. Only close family had been invited. Our pastor gave a beautiful talk then a friend played his guitar and sang the song I had picked, Hillsong United's "You hold me now". I cannot recall much of what our pastor said. Some words of reassurance I can recall, but mostly I remember crying and aching and staring at disbelief at the little coffin before me holding my baby.
   She is buried in an infant section of the cemetery, which I really like. At first I hated going out there. It didn't seem real, it made me so angry, and for the first few weeks her stone hadn't arrived so all that marked her grave was a make-shift metal sign stuck into the ground. I didn't feel any sort of connection or closeness there. I felt, and really still do, closer to Lydia while at home. At home is where I was pregnant and would talk to her during the day, feel her kicks, decorated her room, etc.
   Now I am able to go to Lydia's site and it not be as negative as a place as it was. I enjoy it in the morning stillness. I pray and talk to her.

  "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; 
they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23

   I frequently think on the day she was stillborn. It may sound very strange, but part of me wants that day again. Not all the emotional pain and exhaustion, I do not want to relive that specifically (as if I don't relive some part of that daily). But I want to hold my little girl again. And looking back there are things I wish we would have done. I am satisfied; we did do many things that I am so happy about. Talking to other women who have experienced stillbirth, they have other regrets. I am so glad we took photos with our own cameras and had them professionally taken. I'm glad we saw her and held her. I wish it could have been for longer, but I don't think it would ever have been long enough. 
   What I had really been regretting was not taking anything of hers. We have her hand prints and foot prints. She is buried in the little dress we had for her and wrapped in a pink blanket. I have felt almost a panic in the regret that I did not save anything she had worn or the blanket wrapped around her. We were given a nice keepsake box from the hospital with her prints, the hospital arm bands, some little knit hats, a book, etc. I had looked through that several times, but none of the little hats were the one she had worn. 

   Then on Sunday night I went through the box again and saw the bonnet-style hat that went with the little dress she had worn. We have pictures with her in that little hat. I was so excited and so relieved. I know it is so simple, but it means so much to me. I do not ever remember seeing it in the box. I have looked through it so many times, have looked through it with the hope that something in there would have been something she had worn. My husband cannot recall if it was in there before or not either. Maybe it had been there, but I am saying it is a little miracle.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I saw a rainbow
and thought of you, 
wondering if from heaven
you could see it too.

A rainbow of promise, 
the thought made me cry, 
and overcome with anger: 
there was no promise you wouldn't die.

From heaven, I wonder
if these things you can hear, 
but my pain is too much 
for a place without a tear.

I love you, my sweet baby
I don't know how to make it through
I dream of the day 
when I again will hold you.

Delivering my baby

   People seem shocked that I went through labor and delivery after learning Lydia's heart was no longer beating. I receive looks of pity, hear apologies, and watch other's reactions. It seems like the most terrible thing to them. But it wasn't.
   When I first learned I would be induced and deliver the baby, I was shocked and panicked and it felt like it would be impossible. I was told it would be the best thing for me (physically) and a C-section was not an option. I just wanted my nightmare to end. We had just been told we had lost our baby, I felt like that was enough. However, as I was in labor, my view of it changed. And looking back now I am so glad I went through the labor and delivery. I am not sure how to explain it, but it felt right. 
    It brought some sense of peace. Pride. It was a connection with Lydia. I felt like I was doing it for her... I feel like all these words and thoughts cannot articulate the emotions I feel. I cannot express them. But I wanted to state that delivery was not the worst part. Do not pity me for it. It was emotionally painful, but it was beautiful. I lost my baby, that is where the sadness and pain is, not with delivering my precious girl.
I love looking at her pictures. Isn't she beautiful?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yes, I am a mom

A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. But...there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that's how awful the loss is!        

 I found this quote and have been pondering it. There is no one word to explain. How could one word hold all the pain and loss? (Not that other losses are not also great, but the loss of your child is something else entirely). When others ask questions, yes I am a mommy...then what? The inevitable question: how many children? how old?  boy or girl? There is no simple answer to give.
 "Yes, I'm a mom." I gave this reply last week. Fortunately that was the end of the conversation at that point. But I know the question will come again. I was asked recently about my identity of being a mom and how that has changed. How does it change? How can it? I did not cease being a mother. When I held my daughter, I felt it more strongly than before. I am still a mom, though my responsibilities for my daughter are not the same as other moms. Losing a child when he or she is three years... twenty-two years does not take away that role, that identity. 
  Yes, I am a mother. A mother with no baby to hold. No baby to nurse or rock. There is a crib in the bedroom next to mine and it is empty. I am a mother. A mother with empty arms.
A mother with part of myself in heaven. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


   Some moments seem unbearable. I have times I feel just desperate in my pain. Pulled apart. Unable to see how I will continue, as if the grief itself could kill me. Then there is guilt. Guilt at times when I am not consumed by thoughts of her. When I am completing tasks, talking, laughing even. Sometimes I think I am doing well, other times I feel the pain overcome me so I feel I am shattered in a million pieces; it is so intense. It is as though I cannot "look" all at once at this pain, this loss. Only for brief periods of time can I feel it so intensely, "look" so closely. Even in my dreams I have lost my child and am missing my baby.

 We received Lydia's pictures a few days ago. A non-profit organization who takes photographs of an infant after their loss came to the hospital. My husband and I watched the DVD in tears. We have a DVD of photos with music as well as a CD of still pictures. I can't believe she is gone. I am so glad we have the pictures. Not that the memories I have of my beautiful baby will ever leave me, but to be able to have pictures is wonderful.

  I have been praying more these past couple weeks. When I feel overwhelmed, my tears are my prayer. When I see pregnant women, small babies, baby items...I have to start praying. And God is merciful and loving. He is my only hope. The constant, unchanging One. I do not know how people who do not know the Lord continue in times like these. My only hope is in Christ and without Him, how would I survive?

   " 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall their be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' And He who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' "  Revelation 21:3-5

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lydia's Story

    The pregnancy was completely unexpected, but received with such joy. I found out I was pregnant with my first (currently only) baby on February 26th 2010. My husband was thrilled as well.
    Every day we prayed for our baby. Each day we thanked God for giving us this child (we know so many dealing with infertility and miscarriage) and each day we thanked God for the healthy pregnancy I was experiencing. And we prayed for our baby, asking for her salvation and praying for continued good health and delivery.
    A regular runner, nutrition-conscience, young, well-educated, never smoked or drank, prenatal care from 4 weeks pregnant...there was nothing better I could do. Losing my baby had not even crossed my mind. For 26 weeks, every doctor's visit was short and positive. My blood pressure could not have been better, I was told. Lydia's heartbeat was consistently good. Other than some mild morning sickness during the first trimester and the difficulty of finding comfortable sleeping positions, I had absolutely no complaints. I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant.
   My husband and I had both been hoping for a daughter. The ultrasound at 20 weeks confirmed we were having a baby girl. Her heart, lungs, spine, brain, fingers, toes, the placenta, umbilical cord---everything looked great. We decided to name her Lydia Grace. Her nursery was ready. I was ready. I decided not to work because I wanted to stay at home and breast feed and care for our baby. Her due date was November 5; I was counting down the weeks to meet my precious child.

Life turned inside-out
   At 26 weeks pregnant I noticed I had not felt Lydia move for awhile. I was concerned as she had been a very active baby in my womb. I knew something was wrong.
   My husband and I went to the hospital. No heartbeat was found for Lydia. An ultrasound was done. Our baby was gone. It was unreal. Shock. Pain. Confusion. Questions.
   I was induced. I did not think I would be able to get through the labor and delivery knowing my baby would not be living when it was done. Somehow I did. Family came. Friends dropped by. Our pastor came and prayed with us.
   My baby Lydia Grace was stillborn on August 1st 2010 at 11:38 in the morning. She weighed 2 pounds, 6.4 ounces and was absolutely beautiful. She was flawless. She had a dimple in her chin, matching her mommy and daddy's; rosebud shaped lips; perfect fingers and toes; perfectly shaped head. Nothing was found wrong with her. No cord accident, no infection, nothing. No reason can be given for a death far too early.
   We took pictures. We held her. We cried. Holding her I wanted to give her my heart so hers could start beating again. I wanted her to open her eyes. I wanted her still body to draw in a breath. It didn't seem possible that my sweet baby girl, the daughter we had rejoiced in and prayed for, was already with God.
  Leaving the hospital with empty arms, broken hearted, crushed, exhausted, overwhelmed, and with an unbelievable pain in my heart...