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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Welcoming 2011 and a New Decade

I hope that you all had a peaceful and merry Christmas!  I will post about Christmas as soon as I get pictures moved over from the camera.  For now, I want to reflect on the past year, the new year that is approaching, and the decade that we will be leaving behind.  There are some possible triggers below, so read carefully. 

I was more than happy to say goodbye to 2009, but I really have no opinion about saying goodbye to 2010.  It was a busy year, but it was actually pretty quiet in terms of big events.  Some of the ups and downs of our 2010 include....
  • We took advantage of the new year holiday, the full moon and the blue moon (and a little alcohol) to make a rainbow baby...it was the very first thing we did!  :-P
  • My BIL and his wife adopted a 4 y/o and 6 y/o brother/sister duo that they had been fostering for about a year.
  •  My DH turned 40.
  • We gave a loving home to a pooch rescued during a raid of a local Amish puppy mill.  (Carley was a 'pet' on the farm, not in the puppy mill cages...but she came to us after suffering pretty substantial emotional trauma at some point before being rescued.)
  • We attended monthly baby loss support meetings and made some friends there.  This has become a very important part of our coping and healing.
  • We participated in the March of Dimes March for Babies, and were later asked to be an ambassador family for the 2011 walk.  
  • We observed most of our 'year of firsts' without Gracie and celebrated her first birthday in Heaven.
  • We welcomed our rainbow, Jenna, who is sleeping on my chest as I type this.  :-)   She rocked my world right from the get-go by arriving after a brief 2.5 hour labor the evening before induction was scheduled.  
  • A former co-worker of mine became a BLM after her second child lost a 16 day fight with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and a brother firefighter became a baby loss grandpa.  :-(
  • DH's oldest nephew, with whom he is pretty close, graduated from high school and enlisted in the Navy.  He has finished boot camp, and his first step of A-school (he is now a sworn Naval M.P.), and is currently training to be a K-9 handler. 
  • We said goodbye to my BIL's wife, who is perhaps hanging out with Gracie and waiting for the rest of us.
  • My MIL had surgery to successfully remove colon cancer.
  • Jeff and I now own 3 burial plots that are part of the larger family plot...the one that Gracie is buried on, and one for each of us.  33 is much too young an age to own burial plots.  
  • We organized a collection of baby items to donate to the local NICU/PICU as part of remembering Gracie during the Christmas season.
  • I completed about 16 months of life with my sister living on a different continent.  

So there it is, 2010 in a nutshell.  Some ups and some downs, but overall, it was better to us than 2009 was.


I certainly wonder what the coming year will bring for us.  But more than that, I wonder what the new decade holds in store for us.  As we move into the new decade, I can't help but reflect on the last 10 years...almost in awe.  Ten years ago I was fresh out of college, and still living in a fairy tale land...completely naive about the curve balls that life could (and would) potentially throw my way.  Since then I have survived more ups and downs than some people endure in a lifetime (but certainly less than some others...)  In addition to the events of the last year, my last 10 years look a little like this (not necessarily in chronological order)...
  • My aunt succumbed to cancer and was the first of my father's 13 siblings to die. 
  • I made my first independent car purchase (without input or financial help from my father).  I bought a Durango that is a deep purple color, and was consequently dubbed the Pur.ple Peop.le Eater.  I am still driving that car, and as it turns out, it's really the Purple Deer Eat.er.  I have hit and killed 3 deer with it in the last 5 years, and the only damage sustained has been on tiiiiiny ding in the bumper.  I suspect that, eventually, my luck will run out unless I get a big grill protector installed soon. 
  • I became a homeowner, and subsequently a landlord.  We no longer rent, but are instead working on changing the house from two apartments back into a single family dwelling.  It has been the most slow-going process of my life, as each project reveals 5 other projects that must be completed in order for the original project to be completed properly...and each additional project costs money that we didn't plan to spend (and usually didn't/don't have to spend) when budgeting for the original project. 
  • I forged a friendship with my first tenant...a friendship that would eventually take a most unexpected turn...a turn that would lead to a likely unbreakable bond understood only by BLMs.  (Debbie lost her daughter, Sophie, on her due date not quite 3 years before we lost Gracie)
  • I visited Costa Rica after my sister finished a semester of college study there.  It's a beautiful country, and I hope to return there some day to see the things that I missed the first time.
  • A long-time childhood friend left my life for unknown reasons.  We have not spoken in about 9 years, and to this day I have no idea why.  I miss her lots, but have decided that it's probably not worth the hurt that would come in trying to reestablish contact.
  • I fell into a pretty deep depression that, to this day, I have difficulty figuring out.  Despite meds and counseling, it hung on for a couple of years, and ultimately almost cost me the love of my life.  Luckily, when it was all said and done, it resulted in only being apart for about 6 months.  Eventually I started to pull out of my downward spiral and we were able to fix things. 
  • I became part of PA's statewide Urban Search and Rescue system, and spent a few hundred hours cross training as a Rescue Specialist, Technical Search Specialist and a Haz-Mat Specialist.
  • I quit my first P.T. job (with nothing else lined up) during a confrontation with my boss after months after months of documenting ethical and legal concerns about the practice for which I was working.
  • I opened a private physical therapy practice.  Since physical therapy is a professional, and relatively specialized service, I honestly thought that I would never have to think about disciplinary action with my employees; since having that thought 6 years ago, I have had to fire two employees....by far, two of the most humbling experiences of my life.  Overall, it has been a super-challenging, but rewarding experience.  Sometimes I wonder if I am financially going to live to seen another day, but it's been 6 years now and the doors are still open and the lights are still on.    
  • I worked my way up through line officer positions in the fire department, ultimately reaching Deputy Chief.  I have 15.5 years (plus 1.5 years as a junior member) in as a member of the department, and I have been an officer for the last 11-12 years.  2011 will likely be my last year as an officer; I will likely return to the 'lowly' status of plain old firefighter in 2012.  This makes me sad, but it's time.  I'm tired, and I am ready to be a mom.  I don't have the time necessary to dedicate to running a business, raising kids and being an active department leader...and of the three, the being an officer is what will have to give.  
  • We said goodbye to a friend who suffered from severe bi-polar disorder for most of her life.  She has been gone for 3 years, and we hope that she is free of the agony that filled her life.  
  • We welcomed 2 new dogs and 4 new cats came into our lives, primarily as a result of losing 3 dogs and 3 cats along the way.
  • I was named as Pennsylvania's Rescue Technician of the Year in 2007.
  • Less than one year later, the friend/mentor who nominated me for that award succumbed to a sudden aortic dissection caused by Marfan's Syndrome and died at the age of 44.  Coincidentally, his widow is one of our midwives. 
  • I married the love of my life after 14 years (minus the above noted 'break') together.  After finally tying the knot, we took an amazing honeymoon cruise along the coast of Alaska.  I cannot wait to return to Alaska - to hopefully celebrate our 5th anniversary.  While there, I hope to visit my friend Dawn
  • I carried my first born child in my belly through 36 weeks of pregnancy, and she was born directly into heaven on August 1st, 2009.  She was buried next to her great grandmother on August 5th.
  • My relationship with my mother and step-father continues to be estranged, although honestly, it's probably better this way.  
  • My only sibling left US soil on August 18, 2009 for a 27 month Peace Corps assignment in Namibia, Africa.  
Although so many small details of life are not included in that list, that is a quick snapshot of my last 10 years.  Some of these things seem like they happened a lifetime ago, yet some of them still seem so fresh.  I look at this list of events and compare it to the mental list of how things in my life were supposed to unfold, and it's not even close.  It certainly makes me realize that even though we expect our lives to take a specific path, we really have so little control over most of what happens to and around us.  So many people say that we control our own destiny; sure, we absolutely have control over some things, but I think for the most part destiny really is just that...destiny.

Looking at this list makes me wonder what the next year and the next decade will bring.  The following is my wish list for the next year.
  • BFP some time in September or October so we can make Gracie and Jenna big sisters in June or July of 2012.
  • Continued forward progress on the house, with the hope that we can inhabit the second floor by the end of the year, or at worst, by the time baby number three arrives.
  • Continued forward progress for my business, which might financially allow more forward progress with the house.
  • Healthy growth and development for Jenna.
  • Good mental and physical health for my family and pets.
  • Completion of all projects that have been assigned to me at the firehouse, so whoever assumes my position in 2012 can start with a clean slate.  

And the next decade?  I anticipate that my life will be substantially different by the time we reach the end of the next decade, so my hopes and expectations for the next 10 years are really quite simple.  Most importantly, I hope that we have two or three healthy living children that are running us ragged with sports and other activities, and that Jeff and I still have our health and our sanity.

It is my hope that we continue to recover emotionally from Gracie's death, but at the same time keep her memory alive within our family.  I hope that I am able to continue to find ways to reach out and offer support to other BLMs, and maintain the friendships that I have developed with other BLMs over the last year.  It is also my hope that no one else we know will endure the pain of baby loss. 

It is my sincere hope that all major/structural renovations on our house are complete and that it is relatively the way that we want it.  Even better would be completed renovations, the purchase of a parcel of land somewhere that we can build the house that we really want, and sale of this existing house.  This would really make my DH happy.

It is my hope that we do not suffer the loss of any close relatives over the next ten years, but realistically speaking, that seems like an impossibility, since grandparents, aunts, uncles and parents are aging. 

It is my hope that DH and I are able to return to Alaska at least once, but preferably twice...to celebrate our 5th and 10th wedding anniversaries.  I would also like to be able to start traveling with our children, as I would like to show them as much of this country, and possibly places outside of this country, as possible before they go off to college.

I hope that my business is able to survive all of the health insurance changes that will be proposed and enacted as part of 'balancing budgets' and 'regaining control of the out-of-control' American healthcare system. 


My wish to all of you is a peaceful transition into 2011.  I wish you all much love, friendship, prosperity, health and healing in the new year and the coming decade.  My thoughts and love are with all of you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Blog

In an attempt to keep Gracie's blog space dedicated to Gracie and Jenna's blog space dedicated to Jenna, I have set up a new blog. I will use the new blog to post about things like cloth diapering, nursing, homemade baby food, cooking and recipes, natural childbirth, general fitness and nutrition, and other topics related to raising baby (and toddler and preschooler as I get to those stages).  While it certainly will not appeal to all, I know that I have some followers who are interested in similar subjects....  For those who are interested, my new blog can be found here



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winner!!

I know that I said I would leave this open until  9:00, but there have been no entries for the last 8 hours, and I am going to be super busy at work all day, so I am going to do this a little early.

I could not get the picture from Ran.dom.org to copy and paste over here...not sure what the problem is.  But there were 17 entries.  Random.org picked #11, which belonged to Maggie from Butterflies for Alexandra.  This is kind of ironic, since I won Maggie's giveaway a couple weeks ago! 

Thank you all for entering.  For those who were interested, the flag was purchased through this link.   Wishing you all a very blessed and peaceful Christmas!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

25 Days of Giveaways - Welcome to Day #21

I would like to welcome all of my regular readers, as well as those who are visiting Gracie's blog for the first time as part of Tina's 25 Days of Giveaways.  I would also like to thank Tina for putting the festivities together again this year!!!  It definitely is something to look forward to.  When I think about it, though, it's hard to believe that I have been part of this community long enough to be doing this for the second time!

Today's giveaway is open to BLMs, BLDs, BL aunts or uncles, or BL grandparents.  I had initially planned to offer a gift certificate to the Midnight Orange, however D. Antonia is on a bit of an artistic hiatus, so I decided to go a different route.


I know that many of you have special memorial gardens or other special outside areas set up to memorialize your angels, so I decided that I would give away a  garden flag that reads "We Remember Angelversaries." 


To enter today's giveaway, leave a comment to tell me what special thing(s) you have done or plan to do to remember your little one's angelversary.  If an email address is not readily available through your blogger profile, please also leave your email address in your comment.  I will leave things open until 9:00 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday the 22nd. Good luck to all who enter, and thanks for dropping by our little corner of the blogosphere!  Merry Christmas and much love to you all!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another Year Has Gone By

~* Possible triggers through this post *~

I have been walking around for the last two to three weeks with a rather lengthy post in my head, and I have simply lacked the time to sit down and get it out.  Of course, because I haven't been able to get it out, it has changed from day to day, based on what my brain remembers from day to day.

Before I go any further, I would like to congratulate my friend, Dawn, on the birth of her rainbow, Maddox, on December 7th!  Mom, Maddox, Dad and big brother are all doing well so far!!  Congrats also go to Jessica, who recently welcomed rainbow baby, Joshua!!  Please keep the following ladies in your thoughts, as they are all rapidly approaching the arrival of their rainbows within the three weeks... Katy, Heather, Malory, and Lori

So another year has passed since our first Christmas without Gracie, and what a difference a year can make...or not.  A year ago, my only child was dead and I put up Christmas decorations in a cemetery for the first time.  This year I have two daughters...one is still dead and we decorated in the cemetery again.  It didn't take long to decorate this year, since we knew what we were doing this time around.  Different, but the same.  

A year ago, I was simply dreading the arrival of Christmas.  Dreading it.  Christmas day came and went relatively peacefully, and I realized that the days leading up to the 25th were far worse than the actual holiday itself.  This year I am actually looking forward to Christmas with Jen.na, but it will just not be as it should be.  Instead of having a 15 month old running around tearing things up, I will spend Christmas with my 3 month old, who I expect will be absolutely fascinated by the lights on the tree and the dancing Santa figurine.  Just like last year, we will host Christmas Eve dinner and then release balloons for all of the angel babies. We will still be missing Gracie, and it will be the first Christmas without my BIL's wife. Everything will be the same and different at the same time.

Last year we decided that our new 'tradition' would be to purchase at least one ornament each year for Gracie.  Last year she got several ornaments.  This year I have purchased two for her.  I will post pictures of them over the weekend.  This tradition already has me wondering...how long will this tradition go on?  It's likely that each living child will have a new ornament or two on the tree each year while they live at home with us.  But how long will we continue to look for Gracie ornaments?  At what point does that stop?  When she 'turns 22, graduates from college and moves out?'  When we stop buying or making new ornaments for the rest of our kids?  When we just cannot find anything new and/or suitable to be Gracie's ornament?  When?  And why?  And how will I feel about it?

Last  year we encouraged our friends and family who wanted to honor Gracie to purchase a 'gift' to donate to Doing Good In Her Name.  This year we decided to do the same type of donation, but we wanted to keep it more local instead of sending it out of state.  So we will be donating to the patients in the NICU and PICU of the children's hospital about 20 minutes away.  Again...the same, but different.  And again I wonder how long this will go on.  How long will friends and family feel compelled to make a donation in Gracie's memory to help another child/family?  How long will Je.ff and I feel compelled to do this?  Is is something that our living children will want to continue when their parents have no steam left?  Or will it simply die off gradually from one year to the next until it simply fades to black?


On Sunday the 12th, we attended a candle lighting service at our hospital.  It was our first year for this service, which is coordinated by the bereavement team and done in conjunction with Compassionate Friends, as last year's was canceled because of bad weather.  It was a nice, small gathering.  But it still sucks.  It's likely that this will also become an annual tradition for us, simply as another means of keeping Gracie alive within us. 

We continue to go to our monthly support group, and it continues to be quite beneficial for us.  A couple that attended a few times had their rainbow baby, Eleanor, on October 14th.  I had posted a prayer request for her a few days later, as she was in the NICU and having some substantial respiratory issues - she is home now and doing well!  Another couple in our group is expecting their rainbow in a few months; I am so excited for them, but at the same time I am as afraid for them as I was when I was pregnant with Jenna.  I don't think that particular fear will ever go away.  I have been putting a lot of thought lately into the perinatal bereavement support available from the three birthing hospitals in our region...specifically, in terms of what I/we can contribute to these programs that might make the initial 'black hole' of loss just the tiniest bit smaller for parents just entering the realm of baby loss.  A few months ago we donated baby loss ribbon pins for the memory boxes given out by our hospital.  Over the last couple of months I put together a pamphlet that can be included in the bereavement literature that our hospital hands out; it contains various online resources that might be helpful to new loss parents.  But these things seem to trivial in the grand scheme of things.  I received confirmation a few weeks ago that one of the three hospitals in our region does not do much for their loss families.  They give a copy of 'When Hello Means Goodbye' and they also give them a (donated) knitted outfit that is size-appropriate for their little one.  That's it.  This makes me feel so empty, and my heart breaks for all of the families that have left this hospital more or less empty handed.  I am hoping, with the help of a few other BLM friends, to change this.  I am ultimately hoping that in the coming months we will be able to provide memory boxes for these families.  We'll see how it goes.  

I have found myself having quite a few angry thoughts over the last few weeks.  It's relatively displaced anger, but I suppose it all has to go somewhere.  I am not sure if it has been sparked by continued changes on my hormone levels, by the impending holiday, by the anticipation of my sister's return from Namibia for a 3 week visit or by something completely unrelated, but has been pretty prevalent.  I keep thinking about our 35 week appointment with Gracie, which was the last time she was alive in the OB's office.  I keep thinking about the fact that I questioned Gracie's apparent slowing rate of growth, as well as my own weight loss at that appointment.  We had not had many dealings with the midwife that we saw that day; her response to my concerns was that we don't all grow 10# babies and that the ultrasound weights were +/- 1.5#.  She then said we would see how things looked the next week and form a game plan from that point forward if necessary.  That's what makes me angry.  She gave us the impression that Gracie's size/weight would be estimated during the next week's ultrasound.  We have since learned that the ultrasound tech in our OB's office does not do size measurements more frequently than every 3 weeks unless there is an obvious problem ...so there was no reason for the midwife to believe that Gracie's size would be measured the following week.  That fact alone kind of makes me feel like she was really blowing off our concerns and just saying what she needed to say to pacify us and get us out of the office.  The only things pointing to a problem at that point were my weight loss and Gracie's slowing growth rate...so there would have been no reason for them to have done growth measurements the following week, and she had to have known that.  Such a simple thing, but it's really been under my skin for the last few weeks for some reason.  This, too, shall pass, I suppose.  Sigh.  

I will close tonight with some music.  I have been waiting for months and months for this song to pop up on play.list.com, but no luck.  So I will include it here.  I think it's perfect for most of us.  Make sure you stop the player on the right side of the screen before you play this one. 



I would like to wish you all a merry and peaceful holiday season filled with friends, family and love.  Come back some time in the next few weeks to check out Gracie's 2010 ornaments, and perhaps see some pics of this year's Christmas Eve balloon release.  Stop back on the 21st to participate in the 25 Days of Giveaways!!  Much love to you all! 

I Never Win Anything...

...but this year I won an amazing piece from The Midnight Orange, via Maggie, who hosted a Day 7 giveaway!  It arrived the other day and it is simply stunning (my DH even thinks so, and he doesn't often have much to say about artsy things!)


Thank you, thank you, thank you, Maggie!!!  I love, love, love it and it will be a perfect addition to Gracie's shelf!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

25 Days of Giveaways & Free Christmas Cards

Hello to all.  I feel like I have been gone from here for so long.  I have so much to write here, and have been lacking for time to do so.  I am hoping to get some things written this week regarding Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In the meantime, I am sure that most of you are already aware of it, but in case there is someone out there that is not, I wanted to make you aware of Tina's 25 Days of Giveaways.  Last year was the first year, this year looks to be just as promising!  Check it out if you haven't already!!

 
 
Also, for those who do Christmas cards, but have not ordered yet or are in need of extras, Shutterfly is offering bloggers an opportunity to get 50 free Christmas cards.  After reading the information, I don't think it's a guaranteed thing, but it's worth checking out.  I glanced through their cards tonight and I really liked them.  Sadly, I liked them better than the cards that I ordered from another site.  I really liked the 'Noir Stars' card...I plugged a few of our pictures into it and I love the way it turned out.  I don't think I can afford to order too many of them, since I already spent my Christmas card money, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for the freebies to come through!

Wishing you all a safe and healthy week, and hoping to get back to see you all later in the week.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gracie's Dove

Many thanks to Jessica at Heaven's Dove for doing a dove for Gracie!



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

When Will it End?

When will babies stop dying?  Really.  When?  Will we see it in our lifetime?  We found out today that people that we have known for over twenty years lost a grandson to stillbirth on Friday.  It's bad enough that babies die...but it seems like it always happens to normal, mainstream people who want and can provide for these children...and the crack whores of the world get to take their babies home every day...babies that some how come out healthy despite living in the most toxic of environments for 9 months.  I just don't get it.  Please join me in sending up prayers, warm thoughts and strength for little Marcus Alexander, his parents and his grandparents as they all begin this long, winding and bumpy journey.

I've been hanging out here in the baby loss blogosphere for over a year now, and it still saddens and amazes me how many people join this club every month.  I spend lots of time wondering how often baby loss happened to people around us before Gracie died...how many happened that we were/are completely blind to???  On the other side of the coin, I find it amazing that so many women here find a way to offer some kind of amazing service to help us remember our little ones and help bring baby loss (in general) to light.

It all makes me wonder about the BLMs who never look for or find online support of any kind.  They don't find BCC, Daily Strength, Still Babies or the baby loss blogosphere.  I wonder what their support is like.  Do they go to a real life support group that provides everything they need?  Do they go to counseling that meets all of their emotional needs?  Do they know other BLMs (in real life) that they can lean on?  Do they have some other kind of outlet or do they just wing it from one day to the next?  And what about the BLDs?  There are so few of them openly floating around online.  And how many of them are like my hubby, who with lots of nudging and encouragement, finally nosed around online for fathers groups/forums only to find that most of them had been infiltrated by women?  (And in his words, "what's the point of going online to have women tell me how to grieve?  I already get it everywhere I go...on a daily basis.")  Do most of them just suck it up in true man-style and have periodic meltdowns when no one else is looking?  Are they ready to explode?  Certainly, they can't all be as "okay" as they claim to be.

I think about the time that I have spent here in the blogosphere and a few other online support forums.  I have met so many wonderfully supportive women here, some of whom I have come to know quite well and communicate with on a regular basis.  We are all so different, yet we have one common and very unique bond - the death of our babies.  I sometimes wonder what my post-Gracie life and grieving process would be like if I had not met these women, especially the ones that I communicate with on a regular basis. Sometimes I wonder what life in general would be like without these women...with or without Gracie. 

I think about my grief and how it sometimes just spins.  There is no doubt that sometimes it spins because I come here and write or read and bring myself down; on the other side of the coin, there is no doubt that there are times that I come here because I am just spinning endlessly and can't break out of it.  Sometimes I wonder if the spinning would stop if I just stopped participating as a member of the baby loss community all together - blogging, support group, FB - and then I realize how utterly ridiculous of a thought that really is.  There is no way to not be a member of this community anymore.  It is a bell that cannot be unrung, and it is a bell that automatically starts the spinning. 

In closing, I want to send warm thoughts, hugs and love to Maggie, Margaret and Laura.  On a happier note, if you don't know about Tina's 25 Days of Giveaways, check it out!  It will kick off soon!  Wishing you all a peaceful week!!





Monday, November 8, 2010

Thank Yous

Many thanks going out to Jen @  Lily's Mommy Forever  for doing Gracie's name.  I love it, Jen!!
 


Thanks also to Casey for painting Gracie's Treasure Bean.  It's perfect!!




Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Last Few Weeks

Who gets to determine when the old ends and the new begins? It's not a day on a calendar, not a birthday, not a new year. It's an event --big or small, something that changes us. Ideally it gives us hope. A new way of living and looking at the world. Letting go of old habits, old memories. What's important is that we never stop believing we can have a new beginning. But it's also important to remember that amid all the crap are a few things really worth holding on to.

I have determined that I must watch way to much Grey's Anatomy, since I have been quoting it quite regularly over the last few months.  I have nothing specific to say about this quote other than it just seemed to fit perfectly at the moment I heart it, and it just seems to fit in general.  I feel like it provides that little porthole for someone to look through and perhaps begin to understand another person that they didn't previously understand.

We were not able to get to the cemetery on October 15th...in fact we have not been there in a month.  To observe the day, we did the wave of light and released 3 balloons from home.  My father and step-mom live less than a mile from the cemetery; I sent some balloons with her to leave in the cemetery when I relieved her from her babysitting duties...but it just wasn't the same. 



Gracie's wall



Continued prayers are needed for little Eleanor Joy.  I got an update at the end of last week that she is still in the NICU and that her respiratory status had been deteriorating instead of improving.  Keep up that positive energy, girls!  On the same front, a new couple attended our support group meeting last month.  There is always someone new out there...it's just not right.  As proof of the lack of support in this area, they drove about an hour one way to get to our group.  Also in the prayer department, the suspected cancer in my MIL's colon has been confirmed.  She will have surgery tomorrow to completely remove the section of colon that is left.  Keeping things in the family, my heart continues to break for my BIL.  His birthday was Friday, and we had him over for dinner.  Dinner was good, but he wasn't really here.  He was in the same place that many of us experienced on our first post-loss birthday.  Part of him is forever missing, and many other parts are permanently damaged.  During the dark and low moments, he leaves messages on her FB wall that just absolutely break my heart.  I so wish I could fix it all for him. 

In other 'news', I had an awkward encounter at Tar.get two weeks ago.  I ran into a speech therapist who works in one of the elementary schools that I am in every week to provide services.  I am known throughout the building by most of the teachers and at least half of them sent us sympathy cards a year ago for Gracie's death.  Anyway, this speech therapist started fussing over Jenna as soon as she saw us.  And then she looked at me and said "Your first was a boy, right?"  I said "no, a girl," to which she responded "Oh...well, how is she adjusting?"  Seriously???   Come on.  I stuttered for a moment, partly because her teenage daughter was also standing there, but then I said "Well, actually she never came home from the hospital with us, so there's not really an adjustment period."  The look on her face said "Holy shit...how did I not know this?!?!" but the only words to come from her mouth were "Oh.  I'm sorry."  Then we awkwardly parted ways.  Scarring encounter?  Not really...just bizarre.  I am in that building every week.  I run into that woman every week...it's been that way for 4 years now.  Half (no exaggeration) of the teachers in that building sent us sympathy cards, so I know people were talking about it.  The same people who sent us cards went out of their way to keep tabs on my pregnancy with Jenna.  How in the world did she not know that my daughter died?  How?  *sigh*

I have been missing Gracie a lot lately.  I love Jenna more than words can explain, but sometimes I look at her and my mind just wanders a little bit.  I wonder about all of the things that will never be with Gracie.  I look at pictures of the kids we know who are about the same age that Gracie would be, and I wonder.  There is one particular kiddo that hits me pretty hard each time I see her picture or encounter her.  Sucks.  Just sucks.  Some days I would really like to just turn off the wondering part of my brain. 

In closing, I feel like I need to include a little disclaimer just in case anyone reading here is in a sensitive place and having difficulty reading about certain topics.  I have worked hard since announcing pregnancy with Jenna to more or less keep Jenna in Jenna's blog and out of Gracie's blog.  Now that she is here and she is part of everything that we do, it's hard to keep her completely out of this space.  It's hard to draw a line and post Gracie only in this blog and Jenna only in Jenna's blog.  The line blurs a lot now.  So, here is the disclaimer.  There will be periodic mention of rainbow baby/living child(ren)/TTC in the future/pregnancy/Jenna here on Gracie's blog. 

Wishing you all a good week...and a good Thanksgiving if I don't get back here before then. 

The Last Six Days of Questions

I was not able to keep up at the end of October, so I did not get the last 6 questions answered.  Just so I can say that I did it, here we go...

Day 25 - your day, in great detail
No one really wants to hear about this in any more detail than this...  I get up, change baby, feed baby, pump, change baby, go to work, pull my hair out at work and spend as much time trying to figure out how to clone myself as I do treating patients (but with the new full time therapist on board it's not nearly as bad as it was a year ago...now I just have to get caught up!), eat lunch, pump, see more patients and do more paperwork, go home to eat dinner, pump, feed baby, change baby, feed baby again, change baby again, pump again and go to bed. 


Day 26 - your week, in great detail
It's like Groundhog Day at this point...you've seen one day, you've basically seen them all at this point. 


Day 27 - your worst habit since your child's death
Impulse buying...but only specific to Gracie.  If I see something that screams 'I am Gracie...buy me,' well, I buy it.  I buy it regardless of whether or not I have something specific to do with it.  I buy it regardless of whether or not I really have the money to spend.  I think that on some level I am afraid that if I do not buy these things, her memory will fade, even though there is really no direct connection between Gracie and these items.


Day 28 - what's in your handbag/purse
I am not a fan of the purse...my purse is really an overized wallet on a strap.  The 'cargo' compartment is just big enough to hold a 6 oz. baby bottle and my keys at the same time.  Oddly enough, when I was in high school I had one of those stylin' straw/wicker purses that contained about 5 pounds of loose change and everything but the kitchen sink. 


Day 29 - hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days
  • I am hoping that something very specific happens to give our financial standing a boost.  If that happens, we will be able to move forward from our present standstill on house renovations.  This would be HUGE for me.  We have been unsettled in this house for 10 years now, and right now only half of it is liveable. 
  • I am hoping to get caught up at the office so I can resume some face to face marketing and get caught up with some other professional necessities that have fallen to the wayside over the last year.  I would like this year to be the year that my business really takes off. 
  • I would love to go to Namibia (Africa) in April with my dad and step-mom to visit my sister.  In a month she will be coming home for 3 weeks, but I would love to spend a week visiting the place that has been her home for a year (and will be her home for one more year to come).  Unfortunately, finances and Jenna are more or less putting the kabash on that. 
  • I am hoping that death, illness and disease steer clear of my friends and family over coming year.  We have had our share over the last 18 months...we are all ready for a little smooth sailing.
  • I hope to see successful births of all of the tiny little lives presently growing in so many of my BLM friends. 
  • I am going to work hard to help my body heal from the damages of back to back pregnancies in hopes that in a year's time we will be in the very beginning stages of baby #3.
  • Last, but certainly not least, I am going to enjoy my daughter.  I am going to eat up every minute that I can get with her and shower her with all the love she deserves. 

Day 30 - a dream for the future
My dream is quite simple.... for my business to provide a steady and reliable income sufficient enough to make life comfortable for us.  By comfortable, I mean for it to provide enough funds for us to finish our remodeling/rehabing of our home, to maintain reliable vehicles, to provide the things that our children need and reasonably want as they grow up, to be able to travel with our children and expose them to life outside of this sleepy little town, to help our children with their post-secondary educations and to allow us a relatively comfortable retirement.  It's  not all about money, but it sure helps to make things more comfortable and take the worry out of so many things.  In the long run, it will all of these other things fall into place.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 24 - Where I Live


Yep...I live in Pennsylvania Amish country.  Just a hair northeast of the center of the state.  Although it's not as well known as the Lancaster, PA area, it's pretty much the same.  After college, I returned to live in the same small town where I grew up (my hubby grew up here, too)...a town that is about half of a square mile in size with a population of 1695 (according to the 2000 census).  There are no traffic lights in my town....yep...really.  No traffic lights in our town, and only 1 traffic light in the entire school district.  Enrollment in our school district (K-12, not including Amish children living in the district...they go to their own schools) is about 950 students and our elementary school has earned Blue Ribbon status.  I live in the largest county (geographically speaking) in the state, with a population of about 117,000 people.  There are two colleges about 15 minutes away, and 7 other colleges/universities within a 60 minute drive of here.  Our area is small enough that we will never have a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.  :-(   We do, however, have 4 major prisons within 5 minute of my house.

Our general area has been invaded, primarily within the last 2-3 years, by the natural gas industry.  Much of PA (except the south east corner), along with with eastern Ohio, southern NY and most of West Virginia are sitting on one of the world's largest pockets of natural gas; consequently, there are natural gas wells popping up everywhere.  Decent for our local economy, but not so great for long term preservation of our environment. This is what a remote/rural well site looks like during the 1-2 months of drilling...



Sometimes I feel like people here are so locked into one way of (backwards) thinking and couldn't find the outside of the box if someone led them by the hand.  It frustrates me and sometimes makes me wonder why the hell we stay here...but generally speaking, I like where we live...while there must certainly be 'better' places to live, I know that there are much worse places to be...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

They Fell Just a Bit Short...and a Question for Those of You with Artistic Talents

My husband and I were in my OB's office today for my postpartum checkup.  I guess I should say that, unlike so many women, I did not change OB providers after Gracie's death.  Unlike many women I have encountered after their experiences multiple losses or late term stillbirth, I love my OB's office.  They have been nothing but supportive since our loss, and I know others who can say the same.  Yet, today, I left feeling a little disappointed.

The office was like pink-a-palooza...there were pink ribbons and breast cancer awareness paraphernalia all over the office.  All over.  There was nothing visible...anywhere...about pregnancy and infant loss.  Nothing drawing awareness to how widespread and nothing to encourage remembrance for those lost and support for those left behind with empty arms.  I am in no way putting down or discouraging breast cancer awareness.  Cancer awareness and prevention is a huge thing...there is no question about it.  My aunt died of cancer, my uncle has been riddled with cancer for over 10 years, my MIL is embarking on her 4th battle with cancer, and my BIL had colon cancer at the age of 31 (none of it breast cancer, but cancer nonetheless).  And there is no question that every woman should be encouraged to do proper monthly self-breast checks...but in all honesty, if there are women out there who are unaware of breast cancer or unfamiliar with the concept of monthly self breast exams, it's more than likely because their heads have been shoved in the sand.  

That said, I was somewhat disappointed that my OB's office was completely without anything to at least encourage support for those who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss.  I don't know if the subject was presented to anyone there, but come on, they're an OB/GYN office.  I get the potential stand that "we don't want to freak out the preggos," but if you do it from a standpoint of supporting those that have suffered a loss, it's not going to freak out the preggos nearly as much.  I was really hoping for just a bit more from them, knowing how many of their patients have had a loss...and how many of those losses have been quite late in the game.

So now, to the question.  I am not artistically gifted, nor am I really creative or artsy with the very basic programs on my computer.  I have looked around online each year and not found much in terms of awareness 'posters', and I am wondering if those of you who are creative and have the appropriate programs have ever thought about designing a 'poster' of sorts for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month or Remembrance Day.  Either something that those of you who are set up for online financial transactions could have printed and then actually sell online to the rest of us, or something not bigger than legal size paper that the rest of us could download and print off on our end and distribute as we saw fit.  Anyone have any thoughts on this???

Monday, October 25, 2010

Days 19 through 23

So I haven't managed to keep up with this every day, but I'm not doing too bad.  Here are a few days worth of answers to catch me up!

Day 19 - a talent of mine
I'm pretty good at quite a few things, but I don't know that I have one specific talent that stands out.  Kind of that jack of all trades, master of none thing.  I am relatively musical, I am a decent athlete, I can cook and bake pretty well, I am okay with a camera. 



Day 20 - a hobby of mine and how it changed since my loss.
I don't know that this is really a hobby, per se, but since I don't get paid for it, we'll call it a hobby.  My involvement in the fire service, and how I look at and approach everything has defintiely changed since losing Gracie.  I am suddenly not nearly as excited to run into a burning building as I once was, I think primarily because I can no longer say 'that won't happen to me' about anything in my life with any certainty.  So the possibility of being injured, or worse, while fighting a fire suddenly seems very real.  I also look much differently at the people we help.  I used to have a 'disconnect' switch that allowed me to disconnect my emotions when dealing with critically ill or dead people, but now...not so much.  It's still there, but it's harder to reach the switch. 



Day 21 - a recipe
I found this recipe online and it looked really good.  I had it for a while before I made it, because I had trouble finding raspberry vinegar.  It is a good blend of flavors...even my husband liked it, and he's not big on chicken.  Reviews and the original recipe can be found here. 

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Fresh Strawberry Salsa
  • 4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
     
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  1. Pound the chicken breast halves with a meat mallet until 1/2 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper and place into a resealable plastic bag or small baking dish. Whisk together 1 serrano chile, garlic, chili powder, and 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil until incorporated, then pour the marinade over the chicken breasts, squeeze out excess air, and seal. Place into the refrigerator, and marinate for 2 to 3 hours.
  2. While the chicken marinates, toss the strawberries with the mint and sugar in a bowl. Cover, and refrigerate 1 hour, then fold in the remaining serrano chile, red onion, and 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the salsa stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil grate.
  4. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade. Cook the chicken on the grill until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Serve with the strawberry salsa and a dollop of sour cream.


Day 22 - a website that has been meaningful since my loss
During the first week without Gracie, I found a few online support forums for those working through infant and pregnancy loss.  I spent the most time in a few forums on babycenter.com, and from there found my way into the BLM blogosphere.  Interestingly enough, when I got pregnent with Jenna and joined some pregnancy groups.  I found the women in the pregnancy groups/forums to be ridiculous and caddy, and ended up steering away from BCC all together.  Because of that and time constraints, I haven't been to the loss forums in months.  I feel bad about it, becuase there were so many women there to support me in my early days, and I woul like to be there for others just starting out on this journey. 


Day 23 - a youtube video that makes you laugh.
Yeah, I've got nothing on this one.  There are a couple videos that I can think of off the top of my head; I have searched for them for a few minutes and cannot find them.  All of the others that come to mind are not overly appropriate for this type of forum.  

Another Name Picture

I would like to thank Missy from Alexandra's Angels for doing Gracie's name!!  I love it!! 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another Prayer Request

I don't very often make public prayer requests, yet here I am making my second request in less than a week.  We could use some prayers, good thoughts and colorful vibes for my MIL.  She has had two bouts of colon cancer in the last 15 years and also had a kidney removed two years ago because of cancer.  She had a colonoscopy this morning and the doctor is 'pretty certain' that her colon cancer is back.  We don't know much more than that at this point, as the pathology reports are obviously not back yet, and she will not see an oncologist for 2 more weeks.  In the meantime, we will take all the help we can get from the rest of you....

Day 18 - My Wedding

Our wedding was a long time in the making, since we were together for about 14 years before finally tying the knot!  I really did marry my best friend that day.  It was one of the two best days of my life.





Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Helping Bereaved Parents

I stumbled across an interesting publication (not sure if it's actually published in print or just virtually) tonight.  While some of it is perfectly applicable to all of us, much of it is written specifically for those interacting with and supporting bereaved parents.  Wonder how we get the rest of the world to read something like this...


There have been several sites pop up in the last year that provide lists of suggested memorial music, suggested readings, bible verses, poems, etc; this publication contains an extensive collection of these things...  



Day 16 and Day 17

Day 16 - A song that makes me cry, or nearly cry...
There aren't really any songs that spontaneously move me to tears anymore unless I am already having a rough day...and then it's a crap shoot.  That said, there are 26 songs on the playlist here on Gracie's blog.  They are all there for a reason.  All of them have some sort of significance to Gracie, and each of them moves me in a different way.  I can't really narrow it down beyond this...  The significance of many of them is probably pretty clear, but if you want to know the significance of a particular song, just ask.

Day 17 -  An art piece that moves me...
For Christmas last year I asked for and received a family sculpture from The Midnight Orange.  The significance of this piece is also pretty self explanatory.  I have decided that I will have a new piece made after each of Gracie's younger siblings is born to more or less chronicle the growth of our family.




Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 15 - What I Like About My House

My house is about 110 years old and it's huge - about 3300 square feet.  I love that it has lots of history, and I love that it has lots of space for us to fill it up with kids and still have room to move without tripping over each other.  I love that, in addition to a full basement, it has a full attic...lots of room for storage and plenty of space for an attic bedroom should it be needed in the future.  There are two staircases from the first to the second floor - both are still original oak.  Should Jeff and I still be in this house when we get old and decrepit, we can put a lift chair in one stairwell to allow us to still get up and down without blocking or detracting from the main staircase.

What I don't like is that this house sits about 10' from the street (so no front  yard at all) and the outside gets very dirty very quickly.  It also needs a complete makeover inside, which we are slowing working on (donations accepted!!).  Many of the rooms still have horse hair plaster walls, some of which are covered up with drywall.  Some of the electric is new, some is really old.  The house is far from being air tight, and nothing is level or square.  We might get everything finished by the time our youngest child, which has yet to be conceived, graduati

Friday, October 15, 2010

Remembering and Prayer Request



 Taking time today, along with the rest of you, to remember our little ones with unending and unconditional love....and continuing to appreciate the support and friendship that I have found her in the blogosphere.  I really wish that none of us had to meet this way, but I do truly feel blessed to have met all of you, and I look forward to years of continued friendship.  

Remembering the babies that will forever be in and on our hearts...







On another note, I received an email this morning that originated from the nurse who coordinates the infant loss support group that Jeff and I attend.  One of the couples from our group, who lost a full term son to placental abruption last fall, delivered their rainbow - a baby girl - yesterday morning.  Eleanor Joy was delivered early due to the risk for repeat abruption, and was ultimately transferred from our hospital to another local hospital for NICU care due to respiratory complications.  Her mother (who is a physician) is reportedly pretty optimistic at this point, but they have requested lots of prayers for little Miss Eleanor Joy as she continues to gain strength in the NICU. 
Love and hugs to you all today and every day....






Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 13 and Day 14

Day 13 - A fictional book that is meaningful since your loss
Day 14 - A non-fictional book that is meaningful since your loss

I used to read every second I got...anything that I could get my hands on.  Sadly, I don't do a lot of reading these days, so I am going to hit both of these subjects in one post.  The reading that I have done since Gracie's death has been either professional in nature or subject matter than I cannot connect to her loss in any way.  There is, however, one small thing that I have pulled out a handful of times over the last year.  I am not sure if it would be classed as fiction or non-fiction...as much as it would be classed an inspirational combo of both.

About five years ago I was doing some genealogy research and stumbled (via Google) upon an excerpt from the book "Chicken Soup for the Nature Lover's Soul."  I had seen lots of Chicken Soup books, but I had never seen this one.  The excerpt that I had stumbled upon was about/based on my grandmother.  At that point, she had been dead for 20 years and this excerpt had been floating around for at least 10 years...yet I was somehow unaware that this publication existed, as was most of the family.

Although it is not entirely about my grandmother, I have pulled the book out and read the excerpt probably 8 or 10 times over the last year.  There is one phrase on the second page speaks to me in a very loud voice..."triumph of spirit."  I try to draw from that.  After all, that's what life after loss is all about, right?  Triumph of our spirits over the pain and heartache.  Triumph over what we so often feel can never be survived or conquered ....  Individual triumph that most of the world will never understand.  The pain of Gracie's death and absence will never go away, so it is up to me to handle it and manage it in the very best way I can.  It is up to me to let my true spirit triumph...and to let Gracie's spirit triumph in the most positive way I can (Although there are some days that the positive side of our spirits doesn't win out, these days are becoming much fewer and much further between).  Sometimes I think that much of my tenacity and somewhat unorthodox approach to the big events in my life...and my tendency to occasionally give life the finger (in the most refined manner, of course) was inherited directly from my grandmother.  As much as I hate it when people tell me that Gracie is hanging out in heaven with her great-grandmother, deep down, I have to admit to myself that they are probably right...

For those interested in reading this excerpt from "Chicken Soup for the Nature Lover's Soul," it can be found through this link...pages 92-96


Day 12 - Something That I am O.C.D. About

High Fructose Corn Syrup is NOT the same as cane sugar.  It is NOT natural.  And moderate consumption of HFCS cannot be realistically achieved unless you make every possible attempt to completely eliminate it from your diet, because it is in everything.  (Just for the record, the corn is so chemically altered in the process of making HFCS that the body actually has a tough time processing and digesting it normally...)

That damn commercial makes me twitch every time I see it!  :-P

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 11 - A Recent Photo of Me...

...and how I feel looking at it now

As with Sunday's post, you may not want to scroll any further if you are not up to viewing pregnancy or baby photos...












 Four days before Jenna was born, we got together with a local NILMDTS photographer for a belly shoot, despite the fact that I absolutely hate having my picture taken.  My husband was very opposed to doing this, because he was convinced that it would jinx things...but it appears that nothing was jinxed and we came away with some pretty good photos.  This is one of my favorites.  Looking at this photo now, I am so happy that we were able to squeeze this session in (we had to reschedule a few times and almost ran out of time!) so we have these reminders of our pregnancy with Jenna.  I am also sad that we did not have the foresight to do anything like this during our pregnancy with Gracie.  I would give just about anything to have just one more memento of our time with her.



Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 10 - A Photo Taken Over 10 Years Ago

...and how it makes me feel now...

It was difficult to choose a picture for this post.  I ultimately decided on a this...


This is a picture of me with my grandmother, whom Gracie was named after and is now buried next to.  This picture represents a lot of things to me, including love; lost time and opportunities; and determination.  My grandmother was killed when I was 8, and while I have quite a few memories, her untimely death took away the opportunity for her entire family to create more memories.  The untimeliness and pointlessness of her death will always cause me to feel a little vengeful against those who drive under the influence of controlled substances.

At no point in her life did my grandmother ever have much in terms of worldly possessions.  Like the rest of us, she was not by any means a perfect person, but she was certainly determined; she did what she had to do to get herself and her family through to the next day.  She raised 14 children and then began her college career.  Sadly, after her death, worldly possessions and greed began to divide her children, and the family has never been the same.  While our parents waste precious time bickering and giving each other the silent treatment, my generation has worked hard to hold the family ties together so that our children will have the opportunity to know their cousins.

I am proud to say that I am her granddaughter, and I like to think that I inherited some of her determination and tenacity, and that a little piece of her lives on in me...and perhaps my children.



More pictures with Gracie's Name

Many thanks to Tami for including Gracie in Corrine's beach party.




 Many thanks to Maggie for including Gracie in Alexandra's trip to the pumpkin patch.  :-)
 




Last, but not least, thanks to Emalee over at Project Kj for doing a picture with Gracie's name.  




Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 9 - A Photo Taken Since My Loss

I couldn't decide on just one photo, so I am posting two...  If you are sensative to postings with mention of or photos of rainbow babies, please do not procede any further into this post. 

I took this picture in June.  For some reason I feel Gracie's presence very strongly when I see sun breaking through the clouds like it is in this picture...  I can't explain it.  I just feel like she is there with me.


I have been waiting for a year to take this picture.  I don't believe an explanation is needed.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 8 - A Photo That Makes Me Sad


This photo represents a lot of emotion.  It was taken as part of our observance of Gracie's first birthday on August 1st.  So that, by itself, is enough to make me feel a little down.  It is not the kind of family picture that we should have had from Gracie's first birthday celebration.  I am also a little sad that we could not get a picture of the entire family...someone had to run the camera, and for this picture, it was my hubby. 

The guy in the green and blue shirt standing next to me is Jeff's younger brother.  Right now my heart breaks for him in a way that I cannot describe.  The girl next to him on the end (in the blue) is his wife.  Two weeks ago, on September 22nd, she attempted to end her life.  Ultimately, she was successful, as she was declared as being without brain activity less than 48 hours later.  This was completely unexpected.  Just like baby loss, this is something that you never expect to happen within your family.  It's something that happens in other families...to other people. 

My brother-in-law is completely heartbroken and lost, and for now stuck in that land of surreality that we all know so well.  Just as he does not truly understand the pain that we experienced in losing Gracie, I cannot pretend to know or understand the pain and helplessness that he is feeling...but I do know that he, like us, has suffered an inconsolable loss.  His loss is one that Jeff and I cannot imagine walking through, and ours is one that he cannot imagine walking through.  Even if his finds another partner in life, he will carry the weight and pain of this loss with him for the rest of his days, and there will certainly be a piece of his heart that never mends.  

Although there was a 'silver lining' of sorts, in the fact that she was a Gift of Life donor and many, many different organs and tissues were able to be gifted to others in need and save several lives, my heart aches in ways that I cannot explain for my BIL and for his wife's mother (she was an only child, which absolutely compounds the loss for her).  Knowing that they are more or less inconsolable at this point makes me incredibly sad.




Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 7 - A Photo That Makes Me Happy



This picture was obviously taken on our wedding day.  With the exception of one other day, this was the happiest day of my life.  Looking at it makes me feel almost as happy as I was that day, at least momentarily. 





Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 6 -- 20 Things That Calm Me

  1. My husband (as long as he is not the aggravating factor!!)
  2. Music - listening to it or making it
  3. Walking
  4. My dogs and cats (as long as they aren't the aggravating factors!!)
  5. A hot shower
  6. Sitting in front of a warm fire
  7. A nap
  8. Crossing things off of my list of things to do
  9. Successfully finishing a project
  10. Peace and quiet
  11. A nice, big, frozen fruity adult drink (and the one that comes after it...and the ones that come after that...)
  12. Fluffy white death - I try to avoid processed sugar and white flour as much as possible, but I won't       lie...sometimes anything can be fixed with a homemade cinnamon bun, homemade apple dumplings or pie, jellybeans or a box of Dots. 
  13. A nice long drive (as long as I don't encounter drivers who should have never passed their driver's test)
  14. Sitting in a quiet room illuminated only by the Christmas tree lights
  15. An appointment with my massage therapist
  16. Someone else stepping up to take things off of my plate
  17. A clean house (but only after it's clean...definitely not during the cleaning process)
  18. Sitting with the office lights off and watching the aquarium before I leave for the day (but only when it's clean)
  19. Hypnobabies.  Well, Hypnobabies practice.  :-)
  20. Last...but certainly not least...cuddling with Jenna
I don't know about the rest of you that are doing this, but figuring out 20 things was kind of hard!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 5 - Favorite Quote

Day 5 - Your favorite quote

Pre-Gracie, my favorite quote came from a good friend of mine, who happens to be the husband of one of my midwives.  "No physical therapist will ever go to heaven."  It's not a famous quote, but it will always stick with me.  Unfortunately, all physical therapists of the world are screwed, because the friend who constantly reminded me of this died unexpectedly almost 3 years ago, so he's got a head start on getting all of us banned from passing through the pearly gates.

Since Gracie's death, there is one quote that sticks with me and always seems to be in the front of my mind.  (Its long, so it obviously doesn't stick there verbatim, but you get the point.) "It doesn't matter how tough we are, trauma always leaves a scar.  It follows us home, it changes our lives.  Trauma messes everybody up, but maybe that's the point.  All the pain and the fear and the crap.  Maybe going through all that is what keeps us moving forward.  It's what pushes us.  Maybe we have to get a little messed up before we can step up."   It's from Grey's Anatomy and just feels so fitting at this point in my life.



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October Posts

So we all know that this month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  As I perused several blogs this morning, I noticed that quite a few of you are going to be doing daily posts this month. 

Debbie is going to be writing about a different stillbirth resource every day. 

Virginia is going to be writing daily about stillbirth facts and issues. 

Angie is doing an 'all about me' theme and has invited the rest of us to join her.  She has posted a list that has the topic for each day, just to make it that much easier for the slacker in each of us!  :-)  Since Debbie and Virginia have resources and facts covered, and the wheel can only be reinvented so many ways, I figured that I might jump on Angie's wagon.  Perhaps it will get me back into blogging a little more regularly...

Day 1 - a song that reminds you of your child, or one that you can't listen to anymore and why.
Day 2 - a movie that helped you get through the hard times, or one that jumps out at you after your loss.
Day 3 - a television program that helped you either get through hard times or that moves you.
Day 4 - your favorite book. has it changed since your loss?
Day 5 - your favorite quote.
Day 6 - twenty things that calm you.
Day 7 - a photo that makes you happy.
Day 8 - a photo that makes you angry/sad.
Day 9 - a photo you took since your loss.
Day 10 - a photo taken over 10 years ago of you and how it makes you feel seeing it now.
Day 11 - a photo of you recently and how it makes you feel seeing it now.
Day 12 - something you are OCD about.
Day 13 - a fictional book that is meaningful to you since your loss.
Day 14 - a non-fictional book that is meaningful to you since your loss.
Day 15 - what you like about your house.
Day 16 - a song that makes you cry (or nearly).
Day 17 - an art piece (drawing, sculpture, painting, etc) that moves you.
Day 18 - my wedding/future wedding/past wedding.
Day 19 - a talent of yours.
Day 20 - a hobby of yours and how it changed since your loss.
Day 21 - a recipe.
Day 22 - a website that has been meaningful since your loss.
Day 23 - a youtube video that makes you laugh.
Day 24 - where you live
Day 25 - your day, in great detail
Day 26 - your week, in great detail
Day 27 - your worst habit since your child's death.
Day 28 - what's in your handbag/purse
Day 29 - hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 - a dream for the future 



I am going to do days 1-4 today....that should catch me up.  :-)

Day 1 - a song that reminds you of your child, or one that you can't listen to anymore and why.
I listen to all kinds of music.  Much of what I listen to on a daily basis just goes in one ear and out the other unless I really like it or it has meaning.  That was the case with Remember When it Rained by Josh Groban.  I have no idea how many times I listened to this song before Gracie died, but it never struck me until after she died.  Had the weather been different on the day she died, it probably would still mean nothing, but it rained most of that day....  Now I think of her every time I hear it, and I have added it to the playlist here on her blog.

Day 2 - a movie that helped you get through the hard times, or one that jumps out at you after your loss.
 I can't really say that any specific movie helped me get through the weeks and months after Gracie's death.  There are certain movies that, for whatever reason, are comforting to me - probably because I can associate them with happy memories or happy periods of time.  I don't necessarily sit down to watch them, but I will watch them if there is nothing else on, and I have watched quite a few of them over the last 13 months.  Fools Rush In, Top Gun, Save the Last Dance, City of Angels...

Day 3 - a television program that helped you either get through hard times or that moves you.

I don't have a lot of time to watch t.v. anymore.  There are a select few shows that I make time to watch or DVR...The Closer, Grey's Anatomy, Rescue Me, Damages...the rest is all reruns just to pass or fill voids of time.  As a whole, I can't really say that any of them specifically helped me or move me with regard to Gracie's death, but there have been several episodes of Grey's Anatomy that deal with ill or dead children (one was a late term stillbirth) that have hit home a little harder than they would have before Gracie died.

Day 4 - your favorite book. has it changed since your loss?

Although I should, I don't make time to do much book reading.  I don't have a favorite book, nor do I have a preferred author.  Since Gracie's death I have read just a few books.... Cesar's Way; Food, Inc.; and a breastfeeding book.  I have thought about reading a book or two about infant and/or pregnancy loss, but I just haven't done it.