Sunday, January 31, 2010

Photos restored

A couple of babylost moms (Wendy & Brandy) have posted recently about photo restoration for your baby's pics. I actually requested to have one of Carleigh's done in September but then forgot about it when I didn't hear anything else. Seeing the recent posts about this service reminded me so I went and logged into my account and Carleigh's restored photo was there! I actually thought they'd email to me or something but it was a nice surprise to see! Thank you for the reminder ladies!

In the picture I chose (which is also the one on my sidebar), Carleigh's face is very dark and you can't really see her features too well. I think they did an amazing job! I can't believe how good her skin looks! I absolutely love it and am so grateful that this service is offered. If you have a photo you would like restored please check them out!

Jennifer and Christina also restored photos for me too, which I appreciate. You can see her face so much better! Thank you!!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

10 months

Wow, I've hit the double digits. It's been 10 months since Carleigh's birth. Today the sun actually shined. I honestly can't remember the last time that has happened. It's been so gloomy and cloudy lately with the occasional snow flurry. It was nice to see the sun. It was a bit windy and that put a little bit of chill in the air so I didn't go out to the cemetery to visit her. I thought the wind would've been too much for Kyndra to be out in. I know she would've wanted out of the van if we went. I hope that the weather is somewhat decent on Sunday so that we can go after church. I haven't visited in a couple weeks due to the weather and I'm ready for one.

I got to share Carleigh's story today. I won't go into detail about it right now but it had me reliving the day of her birth. I told it with love in my heart and when I got to the part when she was placed in my arms and my nurse Erin couldn't find her heartbeat I broke down. I remember it clear as day. Anthony had just cut her cord and then she was on my chest. I knew by looking at her that she was gone but I hoped that perhaps she just wasn't breathing but still had a heartbeat. Erin put her tiny stethoscope to her chest. She picked it up and placed it on a different part and she did that again and again. Then she looked at me and said, "I don't hear anything." Anthony started crying but I couldn't cry. I didn't feel like crying. Even though she was already gone I was so happy to have her in my arms. That happiness overshadowed everything else for me.

Anyway, reliving that day today brought back how much love was in that moment when we first met outside the womb. It was a little overwhelming.

My daughter has been gone 10 months from my arms. In the moments when it feels like it been so long I think about what it will feel like to not have her for 5, 10, or 20 years. A lifetime feels like too long to be without her. But I have the hope of seeing her again and that's what gets me through each day without her. Of course, my little family helps me too-my husband, my daughters, and this new little one.

Carleigh, mommy misses you with all her heart. I hope you can feel all my love in Heaven because I'm sending you a lot! xo

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Certificate of Stillbirth

I have always not liked having a birth certificate for Carleigh. I've always believed she had a right to one. I mean, she was born wasn't she? I get that birth certificates are for live births but I still wanted something to document her birth. I was able to find out that the Ohio Department of Health will issue you a certificate of stillbirth if you request one. So I put in my request months ago.

It was only only supposed to take a few weeks but the weeks went by and then months and I never heard anything or got anything in the mail. I thought about requesting it again several times but decided to just wait. Well, today I received an envelope in the mail from ODH and I was hoping that this was it. I wasn't sure as the envelope was addressed to Anthony.

I opened it up and it was indeed Carleigh's certified certificate of stillbirth. I can't tell you how happy I am to finally get it! All I have had is a death certificate and now I have a certificate that documents she was born. You wouldn't think a piece of paper would mean that much, but it means something to me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thanks and 'anonymous'

Thank you Emily for sending me pictures of Carleigh's and Jordan's names in the sand.
Thank you Betty for sending me pictures of Carleigh's name in the snow.
Thank you to Lisa (Jasper's mommy) for sending me pictures of Carleigh's name by a waterfall.
They are all so beautiful! I've added them to Carleigh's page in her name gallery.

Thank you Katy (Hannah's mommy) for the wonderful gift and for creating these wonderful pieces for so many mommies. I love it so much and it will be a treasured piece.

And to address the anonymous commenter.....normally I would ignore you because I don't feel that if you have to hide to speak your words you aren't worth acknowledging but I thought I would help you to understand what you obviously don't get.

To those of you who didn't see the comment (which would be most since I deleted it right away) the person said that my baby that I am currently pregnant with is only going to feel like a replacement child and that Carleigh is not a big sister because a deceased child cannot be a big sister to anything. First, I will say I feel sorry for you. You obviously have no compassion in your heart to come to a blog written by a grieving mother and say those things. It must be your intent to try and hurt and you must not have much self-worth to do so. I'll pray that God works on your heart so it doesn't turn completely black.

Second, you obviously haven't lost a child otherwise you wouldn't have said such ignorant things. This child I am carrying could never be a replacement child. My baby will be loved just as much if Carleigh was here with us or in Heaven. A mother's heart grows in love for each child she has. Each child has a separate and significant piece of it that is always theirs, whether they stay here on earth or go to Heaven.

Third, I do not look at things from an earthly perspective but a Heavenly one. I don't measure my life or my family's by earthly standards but by an eternal one. I have a daughter who will always be that to me-my daughter. She will always be a little sister and a big sister because that is simply what she is. I really don't understand why anybody couldn't understand that. Just because a person dies doesn't mean they stop becoming something. Sure, Carleigh can't physically be a little or big sister right now but she will always have that relationship. Just like if my mom or dad would die, they wouldn't stop being my mom or dad. If I had another child and one of my parents were gone that would still be their grandparent. Perhaps you are too dense to understand that but for me it is pretty simple.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Scrapping for Sufficient Grace

On Saturday, I went to a scrapping fundraiser for Sufficient Grace Ministries at Holgate United Methodist Church in Holgate, Ohio. I decided to go because I needed some time to just get some scrapbook stuff done, mainly finishing Kyndra's first year scrapbook. So I packed up my things and went!

The event started at 10 am and lasted until 7 pm. I hadn't planned on staying the whole time but I did! The time went by so fast. I was able to finish up December in Kyndra's scrapbook and now all I have left is her birthday. We also worked on a special project. We made a sort of memory cube and it turned out really neat. I gave mine to my mom.

Kelly talked about her story and her ministry. She had me tearing up as she talked about Faith, Grace, and Thomas. She showed us the things that her ministry offers, such as the Dreams of You memory book, comfort bears, baby gowns, and bracelets.

There were a total of 7 of us scrapping and it was funny to see all of our stuff spread out. There were tons of scrapbooking stuff for 7 people! We had lots of snacks and drinks and we ate Subway for lunch. We had a steady stream of music playing in the background from all my favorite Christian artists.

I got some good conversation (and a couple hugs!) in with Kelly and that was wonderful! And Kathryn, we know you really wanted to be there! ;)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Carleigh's gonna be.....


After 9 months of trying it has finally happened! I am PREGNANT!

This road of TTC has been trying for me. I thought it would be so easy for us to conceive but it wasn't. The months passed and each month we were left disappointed. I stomped my feet at the unfairness of it all. I have taken losing my daughter with a lot of grace in my opinion, so why couldn't God just give us this!? Conversations and scripture with Trisha helped me realize that I just needed to trust God's plan in all of this. I trusted Him with Carleigh and He brought me through it all. He could certainly handle this!

I hoped very much that this would be our month. I wanted to start the new year off with a new life. The day AF was supposed to come came and went. I took 3 tests over the next few days and they were all negative. It wasn't until a week later that I got my very faint positive. Thank you Christina for prompting me to test one more time.

I found out yesterday and in that moment I was very excited but also quite shocked! I wanted to cry but I couldn't! My body just couldn't! But then I also got scared. I don't want anything to happen to my rainbow baby and I'm afraid of that happening. I'm putting my hope and trust in God on this new adventure we are on. Pregnancy after loss. And I know it is difficult to read this if you are a mommy who is still trying for her rainbow or if your have lost your rainbow. My heart goes out to each of you.

Please keep us and our rainbow baby in your prayers. We would appreciate that so much!!

(If you wanna know more go to my family blog.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Learning to comfort in my own grief

You know that little saying 'time heals all wounds'? I don't think it's true at all. Sure, time can mend things but a broken heart from the loss of your child will never be completely healed. You can't fix something when there's a piece missing. You can try to fill the hole with other things-both constructive and destructive-but nothing will be a perfect fit in that missing piece unless it is what is missing in the first place.

As time has passed for me I have found grieving to be easier except for one day each week. Sunday. (Of course there are those out of the blue moments. You can't predict those.) Sunday has started to become an emotional day for me. And what's funny is that it's only at church. When I leave I feel pretty good. I don't know why this is really. I can only speculate that it is because it is from pent up emotion during the week being released. Maybe that's not even it.

I enjoy going to church. I like the fellowship, singing, and learning. I like going to God's house.

Last Sunday is when this realization came to me. We just started a new Sunday School class and while I enjoy it very much, I just don't feel led to participate talking wise. Sometimes I feel like I might lose it if I talk so it's better to keep my mouth shut. I had a few teary-eyed moments that service. Both my pastor and his wife noticed that it was a rough day for me and gave me some comfort. I appreciated that so much.

This past Sunday we had gotten some news near the end of our Sunday School class that a member of our church's wife passed away. We prayed for him and his family at the end of class and our assistant pastor was saying in her prayer that there wasn't a pain as deep as losing a spouse and then she added unless it was losing your child. I knew she said that for me and I was glad that she acknowledged the great pain of losing a child.

The day felt the same as Sundays before and there were actually moments when I was feeling sorry for myself. I was just thinking of all the people in the sanctuary and how they were all so happy and carefree and here I am without my daughter and it's so unfair. Don't they know how much it hurts? Do they even care? Now, I know in reality that their lives aren't peaches and cream and that they have hardships too but I was content in throwing a pity party for myself in that moment. That is, until I saw a member of my church family crying because of the loss that had recently happened.

We have a time at the beginning of service where we get up and greet each other. Last week I wasn't feeling up to greeting so I stayed in my seat. No one besides her and my pastor and his wife came up to me. And now, no one was really going to her. My heart went out to her and I was thinking how can people not see that she is upset? Are they purposely avoiding her? So, I went up to her and I hugged her. You know what happened next?

She said, "I'm so sorry for not knowing what to say or do for you. I had no idea."

I told her, "A hug feels good, doesn't it?"

"Yeah, it does."

And with that I kissed her and held her face and just gave her a look that said, "I understand."

I took my seat but I kept an eye on her during the service and during prayer time I went up and prayed with some of the congregation for people in need. After all of this, I didn't feel quite so upset and sorry for myself. It felt good to comfort someone else. It felt good to know what would and wouldn't be helpful to her because I had been there myself. I felt more joyful during the service.

At the end of the service she thanked me and told me that she felt like she really gained a good friend that day. You know, I kinda feel the same.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Monday, January 11, 2010

Praising God

Walking With You is an outreach of Sufficient Grace Ministries hosted by Kelly at The Beauty of Sufficient Grace. We are a group of mothers who have lost a baby or child, who gather together each month to share our stories, to encourage, and pray for one another as we walk this path together. Our hope is that you will be comforted when you join us here...and maybe that we can offer some grace for the journey as we look to the Lord for comfort and strength.

For this month's Walking With You we are praising God no matter our circumstances. We can pick an attribute to praise Him for or write something of our own.

If I must say one thing about my whole journey with Carleigh it is that God is faithful. He was with me on the day we received her fatal diagnosis, through the months of waiting, when she was born silent, and He's been with me in these months after. I have felt His strong presence in my life through each of these moments. Although, there have been times in these months after where His presence has felt absent and it's been difficult, but I still know that He was there.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." Lamentations 3:21-24

That day we received Carleigh's fatal diagnosis is one I will never forget. Partly because it changed our lives forever but also because of the way I felt the presence of God during that time. Among the times I felt so broken and hurt, I also had hope. I knew that we had a difficult road ahead of us but I truly felt that God was assuring me that everything would be ok. It was because of this assurance that I never prayed that Carleigh would be healed. I prayed instead that God's glory would shine through above it all and that she would be born alive. Both of those prayers were answered but only one had the outcome that I prayed for, but God is still good

Looking back on the time of waiting with Carleigh, I am in awe at how God got me through that time with such a positive outlook. I'm sure He took advantage of my naturally positive attitude but there's no doubt it was His hand at work. There's a song that really sums up my time of waiting with Carleigh. I didn't find it until after she was already born but it really speaks to me.

Thank you, Lord, for Your faithfulness and Your mercy. You know exactly what I need without me even asking. How lucky I am to be Your child! You've lifted me up and carried me during difficult times. Thank you for being the calm in the storm.

God carried through her birth and her burial, never leaving my side. He stuck with me in the months after but then the feeling of His presence diminished and I began to struggle. I realized that I couldn't get through this without Him and I sought Him even when I didn't feel Him near. Eventually, I felt Him again. I've learned that it's during the difficult times that my faith grows deeper. It's easy to give lip service when things are going the way you want them, but tough times are a true testament to the genuineness of your faith.

My soul rejoices in your steadfast devotion! Your love is like the wind in the trees. I can feel it all around me. Many things will come and go in my life but You remain constant and true. I will forever praise the goodness of Your name!

Here are a few songs that I've listened to a lot lately that speak to me. Music always has a way of saying things that I can't put into words. I hope you take the time to listen to them. They just might speak to you too.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

Thank you to Marie @ My Expected End for giving me this award!

Here's the so-called rules. I am to post 7 things about myself, and pass the award along to 7 beautiful bloggers. But I'm all for breaking the rules tonight. I'm not going to share about myself but share 7 memories from the time of Carleigh's birth.

1.) The staff at the cafeteria made homemade muffins and bread for my family and also brought them drinks the morning of my induction.

2.) I was able to eat 2 cherry popsicles during labor. Flavored ice never tasted so good.

3.) My friend, Ashley, came and took pictures during my labor and the delivery and even after. It was actually the first time we ever met in person but it felt like we'd known each other for such a long time. The moments she captured are priceless. And she held my leg that was dead weight for a little bit for the nurses as they set me up to push.

4.) I had KLOVE playing on the radio in the background during labor just like I had during Kyndra's labor.

5.) Almost everyone who came down to be with us that day stayed the whole time. We had over 20 people (family members and a few friends) there to support us. Our support team took up a couple waiting rooms! They were quite the troopers sleeping in chairs and sticking it out with us.

6.) The day after Carleigh's birth I walked the halls of the mother baby floor with her cradled in my arms so that I could get out of my room for a little bit.

7.) I'll never forget the moment she was placed in my arms. While I was gazing at my beautiful daughter, my nurse was checking for her heart rate with a tiny stethoscope. But she couldn't hear anything because she was already gone. I wasn't really aware of anything else that went on around me because I was so focused on her.

Seven people I nominate for this award. (I can only nominate seven, so I will try to nominate people I have not nominated in the past, but to all my readers consider consider yourself nominated!)

1.) Trisha @ Looking for Blue Sky
I first met Trisha when she visited my blog and then I visited hers. The first post I read of hers was her Drowning post, which is excellent. Trisha's son Nate was born with a heart defect and graced the earth for 25 days before leaving for Heaven. She's given me a lot of support and for that I am so thankful!

2.) Jenny @ His Grace Is Sufficient
I met Jenny through Walking With You (hosted by my #3 person!) and began following her journey. Jenny has a son, Isaiah, who went to Heaven on August 3, 2008. You can feel the love she has for her son in her words. Plans are in the works to meet some day!

3.) Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace
Kelly's ministry (Sufficient Grace Ministries) is one that is close to my heart and helps so many grieving parents. Her words are always so comforting and well written and the love behind them always shines through. I had the privilege of meeting Kelly over the summer. She is mommy to twin girls, Faith & Grace, and to a little boy, Thomas, in Heaven.

4.) Mary @ Our Angel Amiee
Mary and I met on the anencephaly yahoo group ABFA. She has a beautiful daughter, Amiee, who was born with anencephaly on July 25 and lived for 43 hours. We were able to meet in October and it was wonderful! I feel a connection to Mary as we have a lot in common so hopefully I haven't annoyed her yet! lol

5.) Caroline @ The Croley Gang
Caroline has been a part of my journey since the very beginning as we were both in the same due date group. She's given me a lot of support and shown me much kindness over the past year and has become a great friend. Her daughter is even named Carly too! She has 2 little angels that await for her in Heaven.

6.) Kate @ Called Out One
Kate is my cousin so she is automatically cool. :) She is a pastor's wife and has an adorable little girl named Molly. She's down-to-earth and very lovable and I'm not just saying that because I love her and she's family. Watch out for her because she's gonna do great things for the Lord!

7. April @ Desires of the Heart
I found April through Lynnette's old meme Wednesday Walk Down Memory Lane and I couldn't help but love her! She's a beautiful mommy to her little boy, Jackson. She makes some really cool hats and jewelry too! She's a mommy I can relate to so well and is a great mommy/blogging friend.

There are my 7 fantastic nominees!

Angel shirts

I got a surprise in the mail not too long ago from my friend Mary @ Our Angel Amiee. She had made angel tshirts for both me and Kyndra. I love them! They are so cute and we wore them for the first time on Saturday. Thank you so much Mary for making these for us!!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Written In The Stars

Just wanted to bring you attention to a wonderful site called Written In The Stars created by my friend Amanda. Amanda is a babylost momma who lost her daughter, Ireland, on March 14, 2009 at 14 weeks 4 days.

These are her own words:
Written in the Stars in something I started after losing my daughter at almost 15 weeks pregnant. I have nothing from her, no photos, no prints, nothing. I came across the site To Write Their Name In The Sand where they will make you an imagine with your child's name written in the sand on a beautiful beach on sunset. It made me wonder if there was something I could do and one summer nite I took a picture of the sky that I really like. Looking at the stars always makes me think of Ireland so 'writing' her name in the stars seemed like a fun thing to try. I loved it, and it was one more thing I could have to remind me of Ireland and I wanted to offer this to other grieving parents.

Here is the photo she created for my Carleigh. I absolutely love it since stars make me think of her. Thank you Amanda for doing this for us all!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Back in Business

Just a little note to say our internet is back up and running! Hooray! Anth was able to restore our computer after several attempts and we are now free of viruses. Miraculously, the computer even seems to be running better so we may be able to put off getting a new one for a bit longer. I'm in the process of catching up on all your blogs. I may not comment on all the old ones but I'll be sure to read them all!
Remembrance Jewelry, Memorial Keepsakes
My Forever Child - Remembrance Jewelry, Memorial Keepsakes, Sympathy and Decorative Gifts to comfort those touched by the loss of a Child. Personalized, Engraved & Handcrafted Miscarriage-Pregnancy Loss Bracelets, Baby-Infant Footprints Charms, Custom Necklace Pendants with your child's Footprint, Handprint image or photograph.