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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, 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 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 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. 

Remembrance, Awareness and Sharing

I have become such a BLM slacker.  I know that I have plenty of legitimate reasons, but I feel so shitty for disappearing from our community for weeks at a time.  I'll be honest...I don't miss the ever-present cloud of sadness that lingers here, but I miss everything else and everyone when I am gone.  I miss the constant flow of support and love that travels in every direction imaginable.  For now, I am back...hoping to find a way to better manage my time...a way that will allow me more blogging time than I have had in recent weeks and months.  I haven't been able to do much in the way of blog reading over the last month, so if any of you have any any big happenings or announcements, can you drop me a comment at the bottom to bring me briefly up to speed?  Thanks!  :-P

I know that most people who read here are aware of the Faces of Loss site.  If, somehow, you are not familiar with it, I urge you to check it out!   Gracie's story was posted on August 2nd, and since then so many more personal accounts have been posted.  I am constantly amazed by the vast number of men and women in our community...and at the same time I am amazed by the ways that members of this community find to offer support to others and bring awareness to our experiences.

Again this year, on September 25th, our hospital hosted a Share Walk for Remembrance and Hope as part of their infant and pregnancy loss program and as part of Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month.  Jeff, Jenna and I attended, along with our parents.  The walk was followed by a balloon release.  Although it is a simple observance, it is nice to be able to get together with others who understand exactly what it is that we are remembering.  Here are a few pictures from the day...


I received an email last week from the regional March of Dimes community director regarding the local 2011 March for Babies.  Although we did not personally speak with her at length at last year's walk, she heard a substantial amount of our story through some other people who were there.  She was apparently so touched by our story that she has extended an invitation for us to be an Ambassador/Mission family for the 2011 March for Babies.  Basically, they want us to be visible and they want to make our story visible.  Jeff is not sure how he will handle the media interview aspect of things, but we decided to give it a whirl.  Our local walk is schedule for April 30th, so Gracie will be a tiny angel celebrity during the early months of least within the reach of our local newspaper.  :-)    I was surprised that we were approached to do this, as stillbirth generally doesn't fit the profile of the MOD's Ambassador families.  That said, I am kind of glad to have the opportunity to bring a little more local attention to stillbirth.  I know that there are a few local people who follow Gracie's blog.  I urge you all to consider marking April 30th on your calendar.  I urge you to consider participating in the local March for part of Team Graciebelle, as part of another family's team to, or as your own team to honor and remember your angel.  I urge everyone else to consider participating in their local March for Babies in the spring.