It’s been a059 long time since I have written here.  In fact, I don’t remember the last time I sat down to share my thoughts and happenings.  A lot has kept me busy.  I am adjusting to life as a stay at home mom to my almost 1 year old.  Can’t believe my little rainbow baby is almost a year old already.  Then again, Samantha turned three this year.  It’s weird how time seems to be going by faster and faster.  At least, it is being filled with many wonderful moments.  Not to say that I don’t have tough moments still, but I am learning to deal with them.  I work my way through the emotions and thoughts, walking along this grief and healing path.  There are days when I must admit that I don’t have Samantha in the forefront of my mind any more.  She is always there, might be tucked away.  But she is always there and always in my heart.  I am blessed to have a wonderful angel watching over my family and I.  She has taught me much over the past years and given me a new perspective on life.  One day, I will introduce my little guy to his big sister.  But for now, I will watch him grow, giggle, and bring smiles.  He is touching our lives greatly and the lives of others.  Much the same as his sister, though a little different.  She touches lives through dragonflies and he touches lives through smiles.  Our family has grown, our hearts are full, and our memories keep building.

Going forward, I may occasionally post on here, but for the most part things are going to be left as is.  That being said, this is in a way, a final post.  The site will still be around as a resource, you can still request dragonflies, and you can always contact me if you need anything (support, questions that you are searching answers for, or someone to just listen).  Feel free to send me an email at liz@myinfantloss.com.  I would love to hear from you about your journey.

In the meantime, I will be focusing on my family, doing the things I enjoy, and hopefully once Spring actually arrives be out enjoying it.  I will continue to write when I get the chance and I will post my mama side at http://mymamaside.blogspot.com/.  I am continuing to capture many wonderful moments through the lens of my camera and when I get the chance to be creative I go for it.

Please know that I am grateful to everyone who has been there and continues to be there through this all.  I have had an amazing group of support from family and true friends.  Thank you to everyone who has helped along this path so far and thank you to all who have been following me and my journey through this site.  I hope that you will find your strength, your courage, and your joy.  One day your light will shine brightly again.  I send along the blessing of a dragonfly to you in hopes that it will brighten your day and let you find that little bit of peace and hope that you need.

(The beautiful photo is one of my favorites from my favorite places to visit.  It’s Bayfield, WI.  This is from when my husband and I visited Labor Day weekend the year we lost Samantha.  We hadn’t planned any vacations that year, but when that weekend rolled around we felt drawn to go somewhere.  It was our third time going there and we were going because it is a place we love, feel at home, and to relax.)

 

It’s been 7 months since Timothy was born into our world, forever stealing our hearts.  As time goes by, I am finding myself thinking often of Samantha.  There are a lot of things that I get to do with Tim that I don’t get to do with Samantha.  At first it made me really sad and the emotions hit really hard.

But then I began to take a different perspective on it.  I was blessed with four amazing grandparents, all which have since left us here on earth and our a part of the angels that watch over us on a daily basis.  Each of them moved on at different points in my life.  Unfortunately, my final living grandparent, my grandpa, passed away before we knew we were pregnant.  It all happened around the same time.  So, none of them got to meet Timothy.  But they all have gotten to meet Samantha.

So, when I am doing things with Timothy I picture at least one of my grandparents doing the same thing with Samantha.  I usually find myself thinking of this especially when I get to rock with Timothy.  As I rock with him, I imagine one of my grandparents rocking with Samantha.  The image brings a smile to my face.  As Timothy settles into my chest; comfortable, happy, healthy, safe, and loved, I know Samantha is in the same good arms wrapped around her.

Some day, I will find away to truly capture this image and bring it more to life.  But for now, I have the beautiful images in my mind and close to my heart.

 

In the past two years I have often wondered what Samantha would be like now.  What color would her hair, her eyes have been?  What features would she have had of her dad’s or mine? What would her personality be like?  Would she be laid back like her daddy or have his sense of humor? Would she have my sense of organization and creativity? Many other thoughts and questions have run through my mind over the many months.

Lately, when I look at Timothy I can’t help but to wonder even more.  Our little guy is irresistibly adorable.  I know, I am his mom…I am supposed to say that.  But I am not the only one who has said it.  I wonder what features he has that his sister would have had.  I also wonder what kind of sister she would have been to her baby brother.

Day by day, I see Timothy’s personality starting to show through and I know that he has a great big sister.  I am sure there would be some similarities, but each have their own uniqueness.  Samantha has a big job…she is a guardian angel to her little brother.  He’s one lucky guy to have someone so special watching over him.

One day we will all visit the cemetery where Samantha is, take a few photos, and reflect a little.  Down the road we will share with Timothy about his big sister.  For now, I get to see a little bit of his dad, sister, and me in him.

 

As I am bouncing my new little guy, I am thinking about Mother’s day.  For those facing a loss, Mother’s Day can be hard to take in.  And when it’s your first child, then what do you do.  Is it still a celebration? It may seem weird to celebrate being a mom when your baby isn’t in your arms, but you should celebrate being a mom.  Honestly, it will be tough, it was for me.  Mother’s Day came just a few short months after we lost Samantha.  It felt right to do a little something, but I also wanted the time to reflect a little as well.  We spent that Mother’s Day enjoying the warmth of the sun (after a very long, snowy Winter), enjoying a coffee beverage & pastry from a local coffee shop, and sitting down by the Mississippi River.

That was two years ago.  It was my very fist Mother’s Day and my daughter was in heaven.  Now, I get to celebrate Mother’s day with her in heaven and our new little guy who arrived in April.  I am a mom times two, but it doesn’t look like it to most people.  We are blessed to have Samantha watching over us, like a beautiful angel.  It all just seems a little surreal.  I am a new mom, but yet I am not.  I have been a mom for two years, but have had different responsibilities than a typical mom does.  And yet, right now I am a first time mom because this is our first child that has successfully made it.  Some time down the road we will have the opportunity to explain to Little Guy that he has a sister.  But for now, I am relishing in the fact that I get to watch him grow…a little too fast it seems sometimes, but I get to watch him grow, change, and learn.  He is such a blessing.  We received a photo frame with a beautiful quote that really says it all: “We made a wish and you came true. And we thank god for the gift of you.”  We made a wish years ago to have children.  The path that we thought we would have taken and the one that has been laid in front of us are two very different things.  While there have been struggles, I wouldn’t change a thing.   I am a mommy x 2!

Happy Mother’s Day to all!  Even if you aren’t able to hold your children in your arms, they are always in your heart.  And even if others can’t see all your children, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t a mom.  You are, and always will be.  Be gentle to yourself today and try to find some joy in it.

 

A Treasured Item…hmmm, I have a whole keepsake box filled with items that mean a lot to me.  But the most important item that I have is Samantha’s hand print in clay.  She may have only been 17 weeks, but we were able to get an amazing print of her perfect little hand.  I put the clay piece in a frame with a photo of the peace lily we received.  It hangs with her name written in sand and photos of Raun & I, above our unity candle and her candle.

 

The past year and a half has been a roller coaster of a ride.  From learning how to grieve and begin to heel after the loss of Samantha, to deciding to try again to get pregnant, to the months waiting for our hopes to be fulfilled.  This ride has had many twists and turns, ups and downs.

After months, the pieces have all fallen into place.  We are pregnant again!  At this point, we are a little over 6 weeks along.  So far I am tired, hungry, and nauseous all the time.  From what I’ve heard, all are good signs of a healthy pregnancy.  As the months move forward I will continue to put updates up.  All my thoughts and how things are going.  In April we will have a little bundle of joy to bring home with us!  Our little rainbow

 

I have decided to take part in Let’s Blogoff.  A few times a month they put out a blog topic, then I get to think on the topic and create a blogpost with my thoughts.  These topics give me a chance to think deeply on topics I normally wouldn’t, expand my horizons, and delve deeper into learning more about myself and where I may be headed in life.  For example, the last topic was entitled “What is Home?”.  It is an opportunity to not give the short and sweet answer to the questions.  Instead, it makes you mull it over and share your thoughts.

This time the topic is “What did you want to be when you grow up?”  This for some can be a fairly simple recall and easy to answer.  Well, I have been thinking on this topic on and off for the past couple of days.  I can get back to the high school years pretty easily, when I can remember coming to the conclusion that I either wanted to be a teacher or be involved in interior decorating.  I also remember having someone tell me that as long as they could remember I always wanted to be a teacher.

Alright, now to look back even farther in the years.  I very vaguely remember playing teacher as a little kid with my friends or family every so often.  I don’t remember ever saying outright, “I want to be ______ when I grow up”.   Thinking about it now, I don’t recall really thinking about it much at all.  In my mind, I was just being a kid, doing kid sort of things.

Well, seven years out of college and I am a teacher.  However, over time I am beginning to change the direction I am going in.  I am changing my focus.  I wonder sometimes what it would have been like if I went down the path of interior decorating.  I get my feet slightly wet in that area by decorating my own house, as well as helping my folks decorate areas of their house.  For me, honestly, getting my feet slightly wet is enough to let me know I made the right choice at the time. 

Looking down the road I am not so sure I will still be a teacher when I grow up.  I am one right now, but I do think that will change as I get older.  So, looking forward…what do I want to be when I grow up?  I want to be a mom and raise our family.  I want to do more with my photography.  Photography is what strongly pulls me now and I want to continue to grow that.  I want to find a way for me to take my experiences from this year of losing our daughter and help others who are walking the path of pregnancy loss & infant loss.  If I can find a way to combine all three of these desires into one goal, then that will be what I want to be when I grow up.

I don’t know exactly where my meandering path is going to lead me, but I do know what direction I am heading in as of now.  So, what did you want to be when you grow up? or what do you want to be when you grow up?

 

In all of this a person can’t help but to ask “Where is God?”  With this question come a whole slew of other questions.  Like:

Why me/us? or  Why? or What did I/We do to deserve this? or What did I do wrong?

And the list goes on and on.  With all of these questions we strive to find answers, to be able to put the pieces of lives back together and to find a sense of peace.  The only thing…we may not find the answers to the questions.   There is a chance that down the road we may find some answers to our questions, but there will still be many left unanswered.  When we can’t find the answers we are looking for then we start turning towards someone to blame.  For some, they blame someone close to them; like their spouse, a friend, anyone in their path at the moment, even their own self.   When the answers still aren’t there then the blame ends on God. 

 Am I guilty of this?  You bet, I have blamed myself and I have blamed God.  I’ve asked these questions over and over; when I couldn’t find the answers I began to blame myself.  When I still didn’t find the answers, I turned to something that I thought had control over everything.  I turned to blaming God. 

Believe me; I blamed God for this for a while.  At first I blamed myself.  Then I blamed myself and God.   And last, I just blamed God.  To me, I wondered how could God put anyone through this and why would he.  If he could do this, then he could fix it right?  I also began to wonder if God really existed.  Because if he truly existed, then why did I feel like he walked away from me and left me stranded, filled with so many questions.  Above all, why when I begged, pleaded, and called out did I feel like I was alone and my thoughts and prayers were no longer being answered. 

After reading a book recommended to me from someone who had walked the path of miscarriage, “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People”, my perspective has changed greatly.  I have learned that God doesn’t choose to bad things or good things to people.  He doesn’t look at you and say you were good here you go, or you were bad here you go.  That’s karma.  Instead God takes what happens in our lives and uses those experiences to shape us.  Those experiences are what guide us down our path. 

We didn’t do anything wrong.  Our miscarriage was something that was totally out of our control.  In fact, it was bit of a fluke and the chances of it happening again that way are even more less likely to happen.  Have I turned away from God during this time, no not really.  But, I have gotten mad at him, yelled at him, begged and pleaded, unloaded on him, and been at a total loss for words on what to say.

I know we all have our own beliefs.  With loss the beliefs may change, weaken, get strong, or go away completely.  Other than holding on tightly to my family, especially my husband and the strong relationship we have, I have been holding on to God.  Though sometimes my spirit was frayed and I questioned God (a lot) he was still there.  I encourage you to rebuild and strengthen the relationships you have and can believe in.  Now is not the time to turn away from those, no matter how angry you may get.  Hold on tight to what is steadfast in your life.

 

Stepping out…what does this mean?  Stepping out the door to take in a breath of fresh air…Stepping out onto a new path-weather it be career, school, big life events…Stepping out of your comfort zone…Stepping out of your normal routine…Stepping out to help someone out…So what does stepping out mean to you?

For me, stepping out means stepping out of my comfort zone.  Admitting that some times, you just can’t go at it alone any more.  You need a little extra help, help that can only come from those who are walking the footsteps you are or have walked those similar steps before.  I am surrounded by a lot of people every day.  But having people who really understand you and will walk with you, instead of people who will only walk with you can go a long way.  I am finding, that being on this new path, I need to have both in my life.

I have no problems opening up to others around me through my blogs or in occassion back and forth on a social media sight.  That’s me, a behind the scenes kind of person.  The struggle comes into play when the thought of putting myself out there with a group of people I don’t know face to face.  Now, that is a whole different story.

However, it is a step deep down I knew I needed to take.  The timing due to my work schedule just didn’t work well and it wasn’t a match.  When I decided to take a step back, give up my classroom, and become a building sub, then the pieces seemed to fall into place better.  Now, I had the time.  But that meant, that now I had to take that step.  With each step, it will get easier and I will get stronger.  One day, the step will not seem like such a big step.  It will merely be a bridge to the next place on my path.

What are you stepping out on?

 
Are you willing to take risks? 

This was a question that came across my email (http://www.pursuingyourcalling.com/take-risks-in-your-calling/?gseaftercommentingmodal) from a group called “Pursuing Your Calling” that I joined.  I joined the group months back when I began to think that I needed to take a break from teaching.  However, taking a break from teaching meant having to figure out what I would do instead.  Hmmm….what would I do instead?  I had learned and acquired a lot of skills through my years of teaching I could easily transfer, but what would I transfer them to?  That seemed to be the magic question.  So, through 48 days.net I came across the group and they send out weekly emails, as well as blog post questions and stories.  After doing some deep searching and a lot of thinking I came to the conclusion I wasn’t ready to completely give up teaching and working with children.  I knew I needed to find a happy medium between what I was doing, what I wanted to do, and where I wanted to go with it.  Not to mention, what I what I wanted and need to get out of it. 

Woodbury Days Parade celebrating my teaching achievements

With teaching comes a lot of responsiblities, some stress, and some worries.  This can all be taken in stride, but doing it for 10 hour days, 4 days a week was getting to be a little too much for me.   Don’t get me wrong though, there are definately rewarding sides too, but I was beginning to loose sight of these.  So, after many talks with Raun and many talks with my bosses we came to many conclusions.  I say many because we would come up with an idea, that in theory, sounded good but in all praticality wasn’t going to work.  Finally after spending an evening walking down by the river and talking Raun helped me to come up with a great idea.  Why don’t I switch over to subbing and on call?  We both knew that it was something that my work needed.  I am able to go into any room and do what is necessary to help things get through the day.  Plus, I have my bus license so I can help out with school bus runs and field trips.  It seemed like a great idea.  It would give me the flexibility to choose my schedule, as well as give me what I feel I need.

What do I need?  I feel that I need more me time, more time with Raun, more time with family and friends, and time to share my story.  Having the flexibility in my work schedule will allow me to do this.  My bosses were on board.  They liked the idea, but also didn’t.  They understood that this was something I needed, but they were sad because they feel that my skills are best utilized in a classroom.  That’s where I am at my best.

On the North Shore

At my best?  Well, maybe before the loss of Samantha.  As the Summer months wore on, my best was slowly going downhill and I was loosing sight of why I wanted to be a teacher.  This, will give me the break I need to refocus and better understand this new path I am on.  To be honest, when back to school time came around I was okay with not having a classroom of my own any more.  A friend and co-worker said to me “then it means you have made the right decision and you are ready”.

Ready or not…my subbing schedule now goes into affect.  After having made the decision a month ago, this up coming week it goes into effect.  Honestly, at first I was like “oh crap!”, but then after taking a deep breath and remembering why I decided to do this I was okay again.

Here’s to taking risks!  What risk or risks are you taking or have you taken recently?

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