Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Walking With You ~ Finding Hope and Healing (With or Without a Rainbow)

Week 6 ~ Finding Hope and Healing (With or Without a Rainbow)
For this post, we will share our experiences with longing for another baby to fill our empty arms. Some experienced a subsequent pregnancy after loss. Some may be fearful of embarking on that journey again. Some may not be able to have another child, whether due to infertility or other reasons. Some may have found that having another baby, however precious a gift, was not the key to healing the grief. Can you experience hope and healing…even if there is no rainbow after the storm?

Losing my daughter, Carleigh, has been life-altering but I knew while I was still carrying her that I wanted more children. It may seem odd to some that I would decide while my baby was still alive but husband and I had time to prepare and think what we wanted in many areas and this was just one of them. While I was afraid of lightening striking twice, it was worth the risk to me. I knew that if we lost another children that we would not regret having tried and knowing our baby for as long as we were given. I must mention that while my heart ached to be filled, I did have my older daughter to hold and love and that did help ease my empty arms. I think it would have been more difficult if I did not have her.

After my 6 week check-up we began started trying to conceive. Month after month it didn’t happen and I would be sad and frustrated that I wasn’t pregnant yet. I really started to think that maybe something was wrong because it only took 3 months to get pregnant with Kyndra and 1 month to get pregnant with Carleigh. After trying for 9 months, in January 2010, I decided to just let it go and let God handle it. That very same month I found out I was pregnant. At first I didn’t think I was because I was a week late and still testing negative but a friend suggested I take one more test so I did. It was positive! Evidently I just ovulated later the previous month. I was so excited but also wary too. I know some loss moms wait a certain amount of time to tell anyone but we shared the news right away. I wanted prayers for our baby right from the start from as many people as possible.

My previous ob had closed her practice so I had a heck of a time finding a provider I felt comfortable with. I remember driving home from a few appointments in tears because I felt like my concerns weren’t being heard and that my loss wasn’t being acknowledged. Then I had an appointment with a certain doctor and after meeting with him everything changed. I don’t know if he put something in my chart but from then on everyone was wonderful. He was so kind and acknowledged and validated what we had been through. I knew that we would be well taken care of from then on.

My due date was October 1st and week after week went by. My emotions were up and down. I was so happy and loved my baby so much but I was scared, anxious, and worried that something might happen and I’d lose this little one too. I  bought a doppler to use to be able to check on my baby whenever I felt I needed to and I’m so glad that I did. It really helped me! I’d breathe a little sigh of relief after each milestone, knowing I was one step closer to bringing this baby home. We found out we were having another little girl and I was beyond excited because I hoped that we would have a girl.

As my due date came closer and closer my emotions became a little more unpredictable. I worried that we were getting so close to the end and something might happen to take it all away. I stayed very aware of her movements and checked with my doppler often. I remember one day I had a scare and hadn’t felt her move for 5 hours. I went into the office and they did a NST and an ultrasound. I was in tears during the NST because I was so afraid. Luckily, the same doctor who assured me earlier in my pregnancy was there that day and he really helped me. We did regular NSTs at the end of my pregnancy not because I really needed them but just for my own peace of mind.

At 38 weeks 5 days I had my first rainbow baby. The birth was so healing for me. For Carleigh’s birth I was induced and had an epidural in a hospital. We hoped to meet her alive but she was born still. For my rainbow Lainey’s birth I had a natural water birth in a birth center and she was born alive and healthy. Her birth was the amazing experience I wanted and needed it to be.

Almost a year after my first rainbow was born I conceived our second rainbow and found out in October 2011 and was due in June 2012. My second rainbow pregnancy was much easier on me than the first. I felt a little more relaxed and not so on edge with my emotions. I had some insurance snafus and I didn’t get to go back to my same provider til I was about 24 weeks and had some issues before then, but I was so relieved I got it all worked out and was able to go back to them. I got NSTs again for my peace of mind and kept better track of kick counts to help keep myself calmer toward the end. I had my second rainbow baby girl at 40 weeks. For Evanee’s birth I had another natural water birth at the birth center and it was another amazing birth.

My sweet rainbows have been the best healing balm for my heart. They restored some of the joy that was lost when Carleigh died.

Pregnancy is never the same after you have lost. The innocence you had before died when your baby died. Pregnancy after loss can be filled with so many overwhelming emotions. It is normal for fear, anxiety, and worry to be present, but you don’t have to let it take over your life and steal the joy of your pregnancy. Enjoy every moment you can with your baby. You don’t want to look back with regret wishing you had cherished it more. Find someone who can be your listening ear when it gets tough.

It is so important to have a good support team behind you, both personally and professionally. It may sound harsh, but if someone cannot support you then you don’t need them, at least not right now in your life. If friends or family criticize or minimize your feelings then take a step back from them. If your care providers won’t listen to you or treat you with extra care then find a new one. Surround yourself with as many positive things and people as you can.

Having a rainbow does not mean you will ever forget about the baby or babies you have lost, despite what some people may think. I still think of my Carleigh every single day. Watching her sisters grow up is bittersweet. There is always a little girl missing from the picture, a void that can never be filled. Carleigh is a little and a big sister and she will always be a part of our family. Her sisters know who she is and speak her name.

I know it isn’t easy for everyone to have their rainbow. For some it takes years and for some it never happens. My heart aches for these mothers and families. Can healing take place without a rainbow? I believe that it can. I believe God can bring healing no matter what.

As for the future, there are no more rainbows for us as Anthony had the big V. Of course, I am fully aware God could totally change that and I am very open and willing if that is His will for us. Even if there are no more children for us, I plan to be a surrogate for a family who can’t have a child of their own at least once perhaps more. Maybe I’ll even be able to give a mother the rainbow she longs for.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Name Pebbles

I wanted to share the name pebble I got from Forever My Sweet Pea. They are something small to carry if I want and pretty too.


Monday, February 04, 2013

Walking With You ~ Mirror, Mirror-The Comparison Trap

Week 5 ~ Mirror, Mirror ~ The Comparison Trap
Mothers often fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to one another. This is a trap many women fall into. We compare our families, mothering styles, fashion sense, careers or lack thereof, bodies, etc. Even mothers with babies in heaven compare the way we grieve our children. I know…sad…but we do it, if we’re honest enough to admit it. So, how can we find freedom from this? Sharing is a start…telling the truth…admitting the struggle. I think, then, we will see that we all love our children, regardless of how we choose to remember and honor their lives…whether publicly or quietly…with big parties or simple moments of remembrance. Be real on this week’s post, and let’s free ourselves from the trap of comparing!

It’s so easy to compare how you are doing in your own grief with others. You wonder if you are doing it wrong because you are too happy, too sad, or too whatever. The most important thing that anyone who experiences grief needs to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Even if two people had the exact same set of circumstances their grief would still be different. Just like each person is unique, each grief experience is unique.

The pressure from others and even ourselves to conform to a certain way of grieving can be intense. You can have family and friends wondering when you are going to get better, thinking that after a certain period of time everything should be ok. In the months after losing Carleigh I had those wondering why I wasn’t the same person. They longed for the person who existed before the loss of my daughter, but I couldn’t bring back a person who was essentially dead. The old me died when my daughter died. Eventually I found more of myself again but it took time and those around me just needed to have patience.

It is easy for others to compare your grief to someone they know (or even compare with how they would have handled it) saying that this person handled it so much better than you, which only makes you feel like there is something wrong with you. I had this happen to me just in this last year. It wasn’t said to my face but I was told that someone said that so and so was doing so much better than I was in handling the loss of my baby. It was someone that should have known better than to say it at all.

Most of the time when people have compared or judged my grief it has been behind my back because they know if they said it to my face I would let them have it. I think what they fail to realize is that I always find out about it through someone else. I definitely could confront them about it but I choose to let it go. It is important to remember to keep your words supportive and kind for those grieving because anything that is said is likely to get back to the person you are talking about. (I think that is something to remember about everything you say.)

I know that some people don’t get why I do some of the things I do. (Heck, my husband doesn’t even get it sometimes.) I have a need for my daughter to be remembered and honored. I want her memory to live on even though she is gone from this earth. I am sure some think I am a glutton for punishment holding loss so close in my heart. The thing is, I couldn’t shake the loss of my daughter from my heart even if I wanted to. It is so ingrained in me that nothing can get rid of it. So instead of drowning in the sadness of the loss of my daughter, I choose to create goodness out of it. Some people will never get that the things I do for my daughter isn’t me lingering in grief or wallowing in self-pity, but finding healing and my own way of keeping my daughter present in my life. I’m sure it would be easier for them if I would just forget her but that is physically impossible for me to do.

Do I compare myself to others? Absolutely.

I have compared myself since getting Carleigh’s fatal diagnosis. I have wondered if there was something wrong with me for not being sad enough, for not crying enough from the moment of getting her fatal diagnosis to now. This is even coming from someone who knows it is perfectly ok to happy and who found many joy-filled moments in such tragedy. We all have different levels of wanting to remember and holding onto things. We experience different levels of happiness and sadness with grief. I think what all the comparison comes down to is that we are just searching for someone who feels exactly the same as we do. We want someone who gets it. We want someone who understands when words aren’t possible. All of us who have lost a baby have a general understanding of each other, but we long to make even deeper connections within the babyloss community. We want to find that loss soul mate so to speak.

Never forget that even if no one on this earth gets you, God does. He knows exactly how you feel and will never minimize your feelings. You can take all your anger, hurt, frustration, and so much more straight to Him. He is a big God and He can handle anything we throw at Him. God will never judge you. God will never let you down. God will walk beside you even when everyone else has left you.

Psalm 139:1-10

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

What’s Mine Is Yours

I found this song through a BLM friend sharing it online. It’s so beautiful and it makes me cry.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Born in Silence

Approximately 3 million babies are stillborn each year throughout the world. In the US, that's one baby, one family, every 21 minutes.

Amazing video about stillbirth and just babyloss in general.

Friday, February 01, 2013

February Babies

♥ Remembering February babies ♥

Nicholas ~ February 1, 2008
Noah ~ February 2, 2012 
Michelle ~ February 2, 2007
Corinne ~ February 4, 2010
Cayden ~ February 4, 2010
Luke ~ February 6, 2009
Riley ~ February 10, 2006
Gabrielle ~ February 10, 2010
Sydney ~ February 10, 2009
Leah ~ February 10, 2009
Riley ~ February 11, 2010
Ethan ~ February 13, 2008
Akul ~ February 13, 2009
Haven ~ February 13, 2004
Sophia ~ February 16, 2008
Faith ~ February 19, 2009
Elijah ~ February 21, 2010
Lilly ~ February 22, 2010
Aubree ~ February 22, 2010
Asher ~ February 22, 2008
Alyssa ~ February 23, 2010
Audrey ~ February 23, 2009
Lily, Paige, & Rylan ~ February 23, 2009
Brenham ~ February 29, 2008

I'm sorry if you're baby is not on the list. Please leave a comment to have your baby added.
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