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Friday, November 27, 2009

25 Days of Give-aways

Tina's 25 DAYS OF GIVE-AWAYS began today.  Click on the button about or visit Tina's blog each day to find out which loss mama is hosting the give-away on their blog for that particular day! 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

#30 - THINGS TO BENEFIT THE LOSS COMMUNITY

I received 2 emails today about things related to the members of our 'club' and potential new members to the club.  I wanted to pass some of this information along. 


Chase Credit will be paying out $5,000,000 to various charities - recipients to be decided by votes cast by Facebook users.  Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is one of the eligible charities.  To vote for them, follow this link.  Vote for NILMDTS 


There is a group that has been trying to get Hallmark and other card companies to produce a small line of cards 'from a child in heaven' for Mother's Day and Father's Day.  They are collecting signatures via online petition until January.  Follow this link to sign the petition for the 'from a child in heaven' cards.
(donation NOT required)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

#29 - Weekly list - 4th edition

This week's list will be a bit early. Keeping with this week's holiday, I will be doing a list of things that I am thankful for - in no specific order. Ladies, what is everyone else thankful for this week?

I am thankful....

  • that I am generally able to live more comfortably than many people in this world. This includes having a job, food in my belly and a roof over my head - and said roof also including electricity & indoor plumbing with hot water.  Many of my worst days will be better than some of these folks' best days...
  • that my identity theft experience was not worse than it was. (Don't get me wrong, it's still shitty....but in all reality, it could have easily been MUCH worse!!)
  • for such a strong relationship and marriage with such a wonderful man. (I will forgive him for being a man, it's beyond his control!) Without him, my life would not be complete.
  • for the opportunity to carry and grow Miss Gracie for 8 months. I am still so sad that she was not chosen to stay here in an earthly form, but my life has forever been changed by the opportunity to experience and love her. She will live on forever in the hearts of her mommy, daddy, younger siblings, extended family and friends.

  • for my friend Debbie and the online friends that I have met over the last few months. The last 16 weeks would have been impossible for me to move through without these people.
  • for the unending love and support shown by my family and close friends (you know who you are) over the last few months.  I don't say enough how much I love and appreciate you all - I never have, and I'm sorry to say, but I will probably always lack in this area of acknowledgment.  
  • for internet in Namibia
  • for eggnog!  :-)  

Monday, November 23, 2009

#28 - NEED SOME PRAYERS, GOOD THOUGHTS and WARM FUZZIES

Okay girls....I need your help. I have pissed off one of the greater powers and picked up some really bad karma. It has been just one shit storm after another for me over the last 5 months, including Gracie's death. The latest in a long string of pleasantries came last night in finding out that someone has gotten their hands on the debit card number from my business account and helped themselves to a load of tools at Home Depot in Las Vegas (I'm in Pennsylvania).

I need some prayers and good vibes to get me out of this horrid karma funk. Please send some goodness and warm fuzzies my way....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

#27 - CONNECTING

Hi Ladies.
I have had a few emails over the last several days asking if I am on Facebook. If you are on FB and want to hook up there, shoot me an email (using the link on the right under my profile pic) and let me know what email address is connected to your FB account (and who you are if it's not obvious!)and I will add you as a friend. If you are comfortable leaving it in a comment below, that's cool too. :-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

#26 - OVER IT


So, I was in JoAnn Fabric this week looking for fabric for my next Gracie project, and I ran into a long-time acquaintance.  She is one of those people that you do your best to avoid when you see them in public, but are obligated to talk to once you’ve been spotted.  I did a really good job of avoiding her for about 10 minutes, but then she spotted me when I wasn’t looking.  She said hello, and then got right to it…. “So are you over it yet?”  She’s a pretty forward person, but this kind of knocked me back a little.  For a split second I thought that she was perhaps talking about something else – maybe she thought that I had been ill, maybe she was talking about some of the small town political BS that provides constant drama around here…  So I asked, “Over what?”  Without missing a beat, she came right back with “Are you over the baby thing?” 


You’ve got to be kidding me.  Am I over the baby thing? THE BABY THING?  This comes 2 weeks after I was labeled ‘creepy’ by a virtual stranger for carrying pictures of Gracie with me.  What the hell is wrong with people sometimes?  I like to think that I would never say something like this to anyone…  I looked at her and said ‘I’m pretty sure that it’s not something that we’re ever going to get over.’ She told me that we just needed to give it some more time, and we would get over it.  I really had no desire to be talking to her to begin with, and had even less desire to be tactful at this point in the conversation.  I bluntly told her that we are doing okay, and that we are taking one day at a time.  I told her that as each day passes, it gets a little easier to get through it, but it’s not something that we will likely ever get over.  She said – again – ‘Just give it time, you’ll eventually get over it.’  I was pretty curt in telling her that losing a child isn’t something that people generally get over – it’s just something you eventually learn to accept, something you get through and work around.  It’s not something that you get over.   I then excused myself to finish my shopping and said goodbye. 


My daughter died.  I often wonder if people would look at her death differently if she had died one day after she was born instead of one day before she was born.  There is really no difference.  In the end, I carried her for 36 weeks, gave birth to her and did not bring her home from the hospital. In the end, she is gone.  The moment that I realized she was dead began the worst experience of my life.  After that moment, I endured an ultrasound to confirm her death, delivered her lifeless body, gave her up to be taken to the morgue, came home from the hospital without her, and buried her body.  I do not like it, and I certainly will never get over it.  But I cannot change it.  All I can do is accept it for what it is (the shittiest thing that has ever happened in my life) and move through it.  I will move through it and deal with it at a faster pace than some people feel I should, and at a slower pace than other people feel I should – but it is my experience and it is something that I need to do in my own time.  As I move through it, I expect that I will continue to experience a roller coaster of emotions.  And as I move through it, I can make the conscious decision to be forever bitter about it, or I can make the conscious decision to find some silver lining.  I want to find the silver lining.  I want to find a way for some good to come of Gracie’s death.


They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  Gracie’s death, combined with some other recent life experiences, makes me feel like I will be ready for the World’s Strongest Woman Contest by spring – maybe sooner.  A friend who has walked this road told me that someday I will look back and be amazed by what I have endured and survived.  I am pretty sure that I will not experience that moment until after we have survived another pregnancy and brought home a healthy baby, but I am certainly looking forward to it!  Until then, I will continue to trudge through.  I will continue to lean on other loss mamas that I have met, and will continue to be here for them to lean on when needed.  I will continue to do what I can to make every minute of every day count, because life is too short to not.  But I will never understand what makes some people tick…



Friday, November 20, 2009

#25 - Weekly list - the 3rd edition

This week's list will be comprised of things that I am looking forward to - short term and/or long term.  Feel free to join me in sharing what you are looking forward to....
  • The incisions from yesterday's gall bladder surgery healing - although they are fabulous incentive to avoid a c-section at all costs in the future!
  • Finding and hiring a fabulous new physical therapist so I don't have to work a gazillion hours a week.  
  • Being surrounded by fabulous family for the holidays
  •  The completion of the new floor in my living room.  (We started this project in June, in anticipation of Gracie's arrival.  We ripped up the old, nasty carpet and purchased laminate flooring to hold us over until we start the big renovations on the first floor of the house in a few years.  Circumstances surrounding Gracie's arrival brought this project to a complete stand still, and the floor is still not done - but it's getting there!)
  • My husband continuing to move through his grief.  I am so blessed to be married to the love of my life, but we are definitely in two different places in our grief.  This makes it difficult to understand each other and sometimes creates tension.
  • My next pregnancy, which will most hopefully end in welcoming a rainbow baby into our family late in 2010!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

#24 - REUNION

I had posted earlier in the week that DH and I were hoping that today would be a good enough day for us to attend a reunion of the couples from our Bradley class.  Our class ended in mid-June and we haven't gotten together as a group since then.  As it turns out, it was a good enough day for both of us, so we went.    They had lots of questions for us, and I think we were able to answer them pretty well.  Overall, it was a good afternoon - it was a true exercise in strength, and I was definitely a little sad inside, but I am glad that we went.  A group picture of the babies was taken - I am so sad that Gracie couldn't be part of it....but they are a good looking bunch of babies.  :-)





Saturday, November 14, 2009

#23 - March of Dimes Fight for Preemies

Jill posted information on her blog about March of Dimes Fight for Preemies. I wanted to share the info with those who do not follow Jill's blog.



Friday, November 13, 2009

#22 - A DIFFERENT DAY

I hope that today has been kind to all of you and that each of you reading here has had a somewhat easy day. I have found amongst my blog reading that sometimes we get caught up in all of the crappy feelings that we forget to mention the good stuff. I posted on Tuesday that the day had been simply hellacious; today was just the opposite! I woke up feeling good - tired, but good (tired is just a way of life for me). I enjoyed every single kid that I worked with today - they were all on their very best behavior! All of the adults were also in pleasant moods today.

While I was at my old school (as in where I actually attended school) treating kids today, I ran into my old phys. ed. teacher, who is retired now but still fills in occasionally as a substitute. We got to talk for 5 or 6 minutes and, while it was a brief conversation, it was fantastic. It lifted me up higher than I already was. She had not heard about Gracie, and seemed genuinely sad when I told her.

The sun is shining and the temperature reached 65 degrees, which is unusual for mid-November in Pennsylvania. Usually it is cold, rainy and miserable. I know that I will never be the 'pre-Gracie' me again, but today is the first day in the last 15 weeks that I have really felt like myself. It is so hard to believe that I feel like this on a Friday, which is the day of the week that Gracie died (today marks 15 weeks). I thought that when this day came, I would feel some pangs of guilt - but so far I am guilt-free - and hoping to stay that way.

The weekend looks relatively promising - decent weather, possibly getting together with some friends tomorrow night, and a little reunion on Sunday with the other 4 couples from our Bradley Method birth class. I am anxious to see everyone again, but a little bit nervous about seeing 4 new babies at once. Keeping my fingers crossed for myself and DH on this one!!

To balance this out, DH unfortunately informed me about an hour ago that his day had been 'pretty shitty.' We are off to our nephew's HS football playoff game, so hopefully that will bring him up a little bit.

Wishing anyone who reads this an easy and peaceful weekend...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

#21 - Every Life Has A Story - This is Gracie's

There was a bright spot at the end of my day today. I received the link to Gracie's new video from Malory. I wish so much that I did not have to want and need this video, but I am so glad to have it. Malory did a fantastic job, and I could not be more pleased with how it came out. If you have not checked out Malory's Butterfly Footprints page, I urge you to do so. 

Click here to watch Gracie's video






#20 - TODAY WAS NOT A DAY OF PEACE


Today had not been the greatest of days.  I guess I need to amend yesterday's Secret Garden post to read “most days I find peace….”   Today has not been a day of peace, but instead one of those days that you feel like everything around you is taking a big, fat header into the toilet.   I was sick yesterday and still don’t feel the greatest.  I am having my gall bladder removed next Thursday, and this morning was my pre-op testing.  It (inexplicably, of course) took longer for me to move through pre-op testing than it will actually take for the surgeon to remove my gallbladder and close me up.  I feel like most of the people that I came into contact with at work today took a big handful of stupid asshole pills this morning.  All day long an incredible urge to crawl to the top of the tallest building around and scream at everyone who pretended/s to understand what I am feeling right now…… ‘No.  No, you don’t know.  You are not carrying two full caseloads of school kids and outpatients, and trying to manage the business on top of it.  You are not searching desperately for another therapist to ease the load (without busting the checking account on advertising).  You are not having your stupid gall bladder out next week and eating up two days of the work week to do so.  Perhaps the best friend you've ever had in your life might live 3 hours away - or further, but your only sister is definitely not in Namibia.  You are not still working through the very recent loss of a baby old enough to have lived on the outside....and trying to figure out what is really going on inside your husband's head with regard to his own grief.  And since you mentioned it...no, 6 is not the same as 36!!!’  Top it all off with a major case of ‘Gracie on the brain’ and you have my day in a nutshell.  These days are becoming much fewer and further between, but today it hit like a category 5 hurricane.  I try to remember that it is all relative….someone else is always having a worse day because of worse circumstances….and I need to focus on sucking it up and moving forward when it all culminates like this.

All of that said, I needed something a bit positive to pick me up, so I did my weekly list today.  This week’s list is comprised of things that I believe or believe in.  

·        I believe that every childbirth preparation class should have at least a short segment dedicated to pregnancy and infant loss.  I have heard the same thing over and over during the last 3 months – “We don’t want to freak out the pregnant women.”  I’m sorry – that doesn’t cut it.  I agree that there is no reason to freak people out, but there is a big difference between freaking them out and making them aware that it can happen to anyone – at any time – without warning.  At very least, every expectant parent should know about NILMDTS.  Memorabilia is all we have left of our babies, and these incredible photos have the potential to be a huge part of that memorabilia. DH and I took 13 or 14 pictures with our own camera, but I wish so much that we had known about NILMDTS when Gracie died.


·        I believe in signs.  Big fat screaming signs that jump out at us, itty bitty subtle signs that we have to look a little harder to see and everything in between.  Many people say ‘not a sign, just a coincidence’….but I believe that there are specific signs for all of us.  I got a grandiose sign this weekend – I cannot go into detail about it in case my husband decides to pop into my blog (I turned the sign into a surprise for him), but I am quite excited about it!

·        I believe that every life is put on this earth to accomplish something specific.  Obviously, my tiny peanut fulfilled her specific purpose quite quickly, but I wish with every fiber of my being that I knew exactly what that purpose was.

·        I believe that everything happens for a reason.  I am so tired of hearing this from people, and it has been difficult for me to swallow over the last 3 months – but deep down, I truly believe this.  (It sure would help if we could eventually know the true reasoning for some things, though, instead of just guessing……)

·        I believe that we all come into this world with a ‘pre-stamped’ expiration date.  This completely contradicts everything I do in life and everything else that I believe in.  I think that I have always felt this way, but I cannot say for sure why.  I believe that everything in our lives simply lays the groundwork for getting us to that final moment on our predetermined day, and that our cause or mechanism of death is simply a formality that keeps life ‘interesting.’  To this end, I always wonder about the lives I have had a hand in ‘saving.’  Did we really save their life or was it simply not their time???


·        I believe that I will find true happiness when we welcome a rainbow baby.  Gracie cannot be replaced – no other child can ever be our first born, no other child can ever be our first love – but I believe that the living children that are yet to come will fill us with happiness.  I believe that Gracie will live on in each of them.  I hope with everything that I have that this happens sooner than later for us. 




Monday, November 9, 2009

#19 - October Secret Garden Meeting

So this meeting we would like to talk about where you are. Where are you at in your grief. Has it been years or just weeks since you lost your baby. How are you feeling. How do you hope you will feel in the future. Have you found any peace at all?

This is my first Secret Garden Meeting post. I am truly sorry that any of us have to be here. We unexpectedly lost our first born at 36 weeks just 14 weeks ago. Some days the 14 weeks seems like years, other days it seems like only a few days have passed. Some days are good, and others are a little rough; overall I think better days are starting to outnumber the rough days. Rough days now seem to have specific triggers instead of just creeping up at random. I usually have a few ‘funky’ days each week that fall somewhere between anger and sadness….just kind of blah, I suppose. I am looking forward to more good days and associating Gracie’s memory with love and all things good instead of sadness and grief.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace…

I feel that I have fully accepted Gracie’s death. As much as I hate her death, I know that it cannot be changed. The only thing I can do is accept it and find some peace in hoping that after DH and I have allowed ourselves a little more time to heal, we can use this experience to help others as they join this most undesirable club. I have found more peace than I imagined in knowing that this horrible event has created an even stronger bond in my marriage (although it can sometimes be frustrating to accept the way men handle their grief…), and that together DH and I will be able to weather anything life throws at us. There is also much peace in knowing that Gracie will always be part of our family, and that she will live on in all of us, including her younger siblings.

Over the next month or so, we will be moving into the ‘not preventing new pregnancy’ stage. There is some definitely angst as we get closer to that point. I remain frustrated that we will likely have no further answers about Gracie’s death. The medical professional in me needs that explanation to satisfy my brain. The mother in me needs that explanation to satisfy my heart and quell some of the nervousness that will come as we move through our future pregnancies. I am looking forward to the day when I no longer feel the need to have that answer.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

#18 - GRACIE'S HOPE COLLAGE & BUTTERFLY

I remarked not long ago about some of the amazing women in baby loss blogland who offer other grieving parents a route of expression and remembrance as they make this journey.  Below I have posted pictures of Gracie's hope collage and Gracie's butterfly - both provided by some of these wonderful women.  Thank you, ladies, for your amazing work!


The hope collage was done by Franchesca Cox, whose first born child, Jenna Belle, lived only 13 days.  Her story and other collages can be found by visiting Abiding Hope Collages





 The butterfly was done by Bree, who lost her daughter Ella at 23 weeks in March.  Bree's story and Ella's parade of butterflies can be found at My Baby Butterfly Ella






Thursday, November 5, 2009

#17 - Ugly Shoes

The poem below was posted on Heather's blog this week.  It's fitting - very fitting - so I wanted to share it with anyone who has not yet read it.

AN UGLY PAIR OF SHOES    
 
I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable Shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in the world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by
before they think of how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of the shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.
Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

#16 - Weekly list - the 1st edition

Okay...so here we go.  I figured that since most of us are more or less strangers, I would make this week's list an introduction.  It's a pretty easy way to get started.  So here are the things that make me me... 
  • I am married to the love of my life.  Lots of people say it and don't really mean it, but I definitely mean it.  We were together for 14 years before we finally got married last year, and during that time we have weathered more storms than some failed marriages see.  I believe, from the tips of my toes, that he is my soul mate.
  • I am a physical therapist.  I work with special needs kids, but also own a private outpatient practice.  (I am currently looking for a full time therapist, so if you know a therapist who might want to work in central PA, let me know!)
  • I am a volunteer firefighter.  Over the last 15 years I have worked my way up from junior firefighter to assistant chief.  I am also into Urban Search & Rescue and I am part of PA's statewide US&R task force.
  • I have one sibling - a younger sister to whom I am pretty close.  Exactly 2 weeks after Gracie's funeral, she left the U.S. for a 27 month assignment in Namibia, Africa with the Peace Corps.
  • I have a very, very, very soft spot for animals.  I treat my pets better than some people treat their own kids.  


#15- GREEN LIGHT

We had our follow-up / pre-conceptual visit with the 'higher risk' guy in our OB practice tonight.  It was a good talk - he answered most of my questions before I asked them, which is always a good thing!  He went over everything step by step with us again, with everything culminating in a big 'We just don't know.'   We did get a bit of new information about the placental infarct - I had a 25-30% infarct of the surface tissue, which is just a little different than what we had originally been working with.  At the end of the 3rd trimester, it is normal to have up to 25% infarct of the surface tissue, as opposed to the deeper tissue.  So I had, perhap, a bit more surface tissue death than is considered to be 'normal,' but infarct itself was not nearly as note-worthy as we had originally thought.

In addition to the Lovenox avenue that I had discussed in previous posts, Jeff and I had also discussed just trying baby Aspirin during subsequent pregnancies.  This was the Doc's suggestion prior to me even asking any questions.  We did discuss the Lovenox option a little bit, but he felt that it was not really necessary unless we were to identify problems developing during the next pregnancy.  We discussed the referral to the MFM docs; he said that if I wanted to see them, that it was an option, however he did not feel it necessary.  After talking with him tonight, I agree...but if Jeff and I change our minds at any point and decide that we want to schedule a consult, we won't have a problem getting the referral.

Essentially, I am medically cleared and we have the green light.  It was made quite clear tonight that they will be watching me like hawks during subsequent pregnancies, as anyone with common sense might expect.  We will be free to schedule with the midwives, with just a few extra physician slots next time around, so that makes me happy.

I had another appointment yesterday - one that I have been dreading and avoiding for the last 13 weeks.  The salon.  I live in a small town where everyone knows about Gracie, but unfortunately I don't get my hair cut here - I go to the next small town, and no one at my salon know about Gracie.  I was prepared for the questions, and did okay.  Most importantly, my mop feels a lot better!!


Turning the corner from the appointments to the school psychologists......my job has me in contact with several school psychologists on a regular basis.  They are all women about my age or a little older, and they are all so funny.  Every time they see me they check to see how I am - they like to shrink my head a little bit.  It's cute....and actually kind of helpful sometimes.  I talked at length with one of them a few weeks ago, and she told me about something that she did when she lost a close relative.  I wasn't sure at first - it seemed kind of hokey - but the more I think about it, the more I like it.  People who know me will love this - she made lists.  (I am totally a list maker - for everything)  She made a list once a week to remind herself about all of the good things in her life.  One week it was things she was thankful for, one week perhaps people she missed - and why, one week it was good things that the future held, etc.  She kept her lists in a journal, but I don't have a journal.  I do, however, have this very handy little blog.  So....I am going to give it a shot.  Once a week, starting tonight.  You are all welcome to join me, either here or in your own blogs.  


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

#14 - Footprints on Our Hearts

Footprints on our Hearts

This tiny set of footprints is all we have of you.
When you were taken from us, our hopes and dreams were too.
We miss you oh so much, Our precious little girl.
Our lives are filled with sadness now, instead of filled with joy. 


Our arms are empty, our eyes are filled with tears.
You were what we'd waited for, for oh so many years.
You were so very beautiful; perfect hands and feet, tiny nose and eyes.
What we would have given though, just to hear you cry.


Coming home without you wasn't what we'd dreamed.
Looking at your empty crib makes me want to scream.
We had so many plans for you, so many things to do.
Now we're left with shattered dreams, crying without you.


We wish you could have stayed with us, we loved you from the start.
Now all we have are memories, and your footprints on our hearts.
 

~ Author unknown

Monday, November 2, 2009

#13 - BECOMING A LEPER

I knew they were out there – I have seen some of their scathing threads online – but I never thought that I would meet one in person. Today, I met one in person. Who have I met, you might ask??? I met a dead baby hater. That’s right – a dead baby hater. I can’t quite figure out what makes these people tick. I would like to believe that they are just scared, or at a loss for the ‘right thing’ to say, but a large part of me really believes that their souls are just defunct for some reason.

Today’s experience went as follows…While I was at a preschool to provide P.T. service to a little guy, an acquaintance asked if I had Gracie’s pictures with me since she had not yet seen them. I obliged. She asked a substitute aide in the room if she would also like to see the pictures. This lady's response was ‘I gather from the conversation that those are pictures of a dead baby?’ When that was confirmed, she looked at me and said ‘Don’t you think it’s creepy that you’re carrying around pictures of a dead baby?’ I was stunned. I told her that I did not find it creepy – Gracie was my first born child, and I did not choose for her to be stillborn. I asked her if she carried pictures of her children, and she said ‘Yes, but my kids aren’t dead.’ I suggested that she would not stop carrying the pictures of her children should something happen to them, and she said that she would not stop carrying their pictures - because they had been taken when they were alive, not dead.  I told her that the situation is what it is, and suggested that if she were placed in the same situation, she would likely have the same inclination to carry a photo or two. She emphatically disagreed, and the left the room, leaving everyone else to apologize for her.

Did it really hurt me? Not really, but it did sting a little…and it does make one feel a bit like a leper. On some level it causes me to mentally re-validate Gracie’s existence. I reprocess the thoughts….she was real. I did carry her for 8 months. I did give birth to her. I did hold her in my arms, feel her incredibly soft skin and kiss her goodbye on the forehead. I did cry on my husband’s shoulder during her funeral. I did not bring a baby home from the hospital. I have nothing left of my baby except her footprints, her pictures and incredibly vivid memories.

A couple lighter notes….
Jeff and I visited the cemetery yesterday. We cleaned up around my grandparents markers and planted flower bulbs around all three stones. I am ‘excited’ to see how the flowers look in the spring. I have given some thought to Thanksgiving and Christmas d├ęcor for the cemetery. I don’t want to do anything tacky, but I do want Gracie to have a few of her own holiday decorations. For Thanksgiving I am think I will stick with a couple little pumpkins with ‘Thanksgivingy’ bows on the stems. For Christmas…..I have two little Christmas trees with spikes on the bottom to put them in the ground – the trees are about 18” high. I was thinking about using these with a string of solar Christmas lights – one tree between my grandparents’ markers with a few bows and two simple ornaments – one for grandmother and one for grandfather; the other tree between my grandmother and Gracie with a few bows and a ‘baby’s first Christmas’ ornament.

I have scheduled my follow-up appointment with the ‘higher risk’ OB in my practice for Wednesday evening. I have learned that there is a MFM group from about 90 minutes away that started doing an ‘outreach clinic’ at my OB’s office a few months ago, and that the setup has been working pretty well. I am excited by that news, and I am hopeful that Wednesday’s appointment will have positive results.