When we found out that Samantha’s heart had stopped beating and that we would have to be admitted into labor and delivery, I didn’t know what to expect or do.  Not to mention, at that point I wasn’t thinking very well as the emotions that ran through me were so strong.  I asked the nurse on the phone what we needed to bring with and one item she mentioned was a camera.  I didn’t really think much about it, I just tossed my point and shoot camera in the bag as we walked out the door.  I am happy to say, I am very thankful and blessed for that piece of advice.  We were able to get a few pictures of our sweet baby girl.  The nurses were great at helping take photos and doing different things.  Things at the time I had no idea why.  The only comment, “you may not realize it now, but down the road you will be thankful to have these”.

That nurse was right.  We are lucky to have photos, as many who experience a miscarriage or stillbirth do not have the chance to take photos.  We may not have many, but the one’s we do are a treasure.  I know now that there are organizations out there of professional photographers who come in and will take photos of the parents and their baby.  It’s a great service, however your little one usually has to be considered stillbirth age in order for them to come in.  For those having a miscarriage, especially early on, we are left to not having any photos or taking our own if possible.  It is my advice, that no matter how far along you are, take photos.  Take as many as you can or have someone you know help you out.

We recently had professional photos done of Timothy and us.  This is an opportunity we didn’t get with Samantha, so when the chance arose I jumped quickly at it.  One of the best parts of the session was that we had family photos done…family photos of all four of us.  Using some special items that were Samantha’s or reminded us of her, we were able to snap a few photos of all of us.  The photographer was great and even before I got started in showing what we had for “props” she was asking if there items of Samantha’s that we wanted to include.  I was in awe and felt blessed that she remembered, as well as recognized our daughter.  She even asked Samantha if possible to send a real dragonfly down during the shoot.  We didn’t see a real one that day, as our time outside was limited to small windows due to rain.  However, while taking photos outside we were surrounded by all the garden art dragonflies that we have.

So, when you have the opportunity take photos.  You can never have to many, as they all will be a treasure down the road.

 

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.

 

My doctor’s office is also connected to the hospital.  On our way in to the clinic I saw a couple walking out into the hospital area with one of the nurses from my doctors office.  If I had to guess, they were about to walk a similar path that Raun and I have been walking.  I don’t know what I looked like on the day I walked out of the clinic after hearing the news that Samantha’s heart had stopped and we had to return to labor and delivery, but I would bet I had a similar look on my face as well.

As we passed them, I glanced at them and my heart ached.  I so much wanted to say something, but wasn’t sure if it was my place to say anything.  Up to this point, when others have experienced a loss or know someone who has recently experienced a loss they have come to me.  I have never walked up to someone that has recently lost and said something, without them saying something first.  Is it my place to say something, to walk up to complete strangers and try to console?  What do I say?  How do I begin?  Especially when it’s obvious that I am pregnant.  I remember being very jealous of those around me who were pregnant after we lost Samantha and the last thing I wanted to do is be around someone who was.  I don’t want to intrude, but I want to help.  I am sure as time goes by, there will be more instances like this.  My hope is that one day, I can find a way to reach out to these people and let them know they are not alone on this path.

 

Gary Allen has a new song out called “Every Storm (Runs out of Rain)” that strikes a cord with me, especially deep down in my heart.  It is not only touching emotionally, but it also has a way of sticking with me mentally as well.  There are times when I find myself repeating the chorus of the song over and over in my mind.

“every storm runs, runs out of rain
just like every dark night turns into day
every heartache will fade away
just like every storm runs, runs out of rain”

Grief is kind of the same way, it runs out of strength so what ever storm you are going through slowly fades.  With the loss of a child, that grief does and will fade, however it never fully goes away.  It looses it’s strength and it’s hold.  I will forever miss Samantha, that will never change.  There will still be some what might of been moments, uneasiness with pregnancies, and some sadness around special days but as time passes by I will continue to heal and the storm won’t be so strong.  With healing I will be able to find joy instead of sadness on those days and a with a renewed perspective I will continue to grow.  This storm may never completely run out of rain, but it won’t stay a storm forever.  One day it will become a light rain, refreshing the surroundings around me and washing the memories over me.  Remember that with every storm things are different.  Each takes it’s own path and it’s own time to run out.  But, by surrounding yourself by those who understand and letting your voice be heard, you will begin to heal and you can find strength again.

Take a listen to this beautiful song.  I hope you can find the strength you need to work through your storm.

 

 

It’s been just over a year and half since we said hello and goodbye to our daughter.  The time has, in some ways, gone by quickly…yet in other ways, not so much.  I have seen how it has affected my husband, my family, my friends, my work, and myself.  When everything first happened, I kept trying to find the “right” thing in memory of our daughter.  I began to realize that some of these items are just things and don’t truly represent our daughter and don’t seem to have as much meaning.  I have the important things in a keepsake box, displayed on our family wall, and in my heart.  Every now and then I do try be creative and create something personal.  Recently, I created a family ring.  It has my husbands birthstone, Samantha’s, and mine.

When Spring time rolled around this year I began to think of ways that I could honor Samantha on an ongoing basis, that held a strong meaning, and that could be done creatively.  I wanted to give back and to pass a little something along.  Dragonflies have always intrigued me.  With our pregnancy and shortly after, dragonflies seemed to be showing up here and there.  They became my connection to our daughter.  A blessing here on earth and something to let me know that things were alright.

Back in December I had some very special words that came to my mind that unfolded into a poem.  In honor of Samantha and our first Christmas we included the poem, along with a dragonfly with each of our Christmas cards.  That poem was the springboard that I needed.  I decided to make dragonflies.  Hand-beaded, bright colors, sparkle in the wings…just the way the show up in nature.  My hope is that as I pass them along, they will bring a sense of hope, comfort and strength.

Recently, my mom shared the completed project that she began working on at the beginning of the year.  My parents felt the need to do something in Samantha’s memory, so had a bench donated in a memorial garden through a local hospital near them.

There are so many ways that we can remember our angels.  If you are looking for ideas check out Beth Morey’s blog for an ebook for Remembering Your Child…http://www.bethmorey.com/2012/07/free-ebook-for-babylost-parents.html.  What are some ways that you have remembered your child?  What have you found that is helpful in honoring your child?  Share your ideas below

 

As we move throughout life there are always times we wonder.  It seems that when there is change it cause us to wonder more.  When the change is welcomed, the wondering seems to provide a positive exciting spin on things.  However, when the change is not well received or completely unexpected the wondering seems to take on a different spin.

When I found out that we were pregnant I was very excited.  That excitement lead me to wonder what our family would be like.  We were going from two of us to three.  What would our little one look like?  What would their personality be like?  What would it be like to be parents?  Were we really ready for this?  All of this provided excitement and joy, as well as some nervousness.  We were going to be first time parents.

When I found out that there was no longer a heartbeat the excitement turned into shock and denial.  I began to wonder what happened.  What did I do wrong?  How am I going to get through this?  How are we going to get through this?  What next?  As I began to move through the grief and healing I began to wonder what might have been.  As we approach a year from the due date, I can’t help but to wonder what things would have been like had Samantha made it to full term.  How different the past year and half would have truly been.

Now, as we have made the decision to try again, I find myself and my mind wondering a bit.  Or, more accurately, a lot.  I wonder what I can do to make things turn out differently.  As each month goes by, I wonder why it’s taking so long to get pregnant again and if I was meant to be a mother to children on earth.

There is nothing we did wrong and what happened was completely out of our control.  I’m not going to lie, it does suck.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I wish to have Samantha down here with us instead of up in heaven.  But as time goes by I am trying to learn from it.  I may never truly know why this all happened, but there is a lot I can take away from it.  It all has provided me with a different perspective on life.  I can’t change what happened.  And I will still wonder.

 

 

I am choosing to call this a hurdle.  Some see it as a “the dreaded question”, which is not to say that I haven’t thought of it that way.  I recently had a change of perspective after talking to a friend.  What is this hurdle?  This question?

Do you have any children?  It is a simple question which leads to a simple response…yes or no.  However when you experience a miscarriage or stillbirth, the question is no longer simple.  Sometimes you want to say yes and sometimes you want to say no.  It all depends on your own healing and grieving process.  It also depends on how you feel and your own thoughts on the subject.

For me, I hear myself screaming from inside yes, yes I do.  However, on the outside, with hesitation, out comes a um no.  It tears my heart to say that.  But, more often then not, if I don’t know the person I don’t want to get in to the whole story.  I am not sure why this has been.  It is probably because I don’t want to make someone uncomfortable.  It’s weird, I can put it into words and put it out on my blog.  But when in the moment, something stops me.  This is my hurdle.

I am not going to lie…part of me wants to just say screw it and when people ask, say yes.  But, the part of me that tries to not make people feel uncomfortable, is very hesitant about doing that.  Maybe it’s because of the slew of questions that could follow and how does one answer them.  Like, how many, how old,what’s their name(s)?  I know it’s best to be honest, but sometimes it is hard.  Miscarriages and stillbirth are not black and white.  There becomes a lot of gray that goes with it.

In my mind the answers are simple…yes, I have a child.  She was 17 weeks old and her name is Samantha.  Now, the hurdle…saying it to others, even if they don’t know our story yet.  Jumping this hurdle will be tough, but I believe that it is something that I need to do.  It is another step in the healing process of grief.  Who knows, maybe it will open up a connection as well.

 

When a couple is faced with the loss of a child and having to be in the hospital, the nursing staff plays a key role.  They can either be helpful or harmful to the whole experience.  There are a few moments which are still vivid to this day.  Some of the people we encountered, doctors and nurses, left quite the imprint-both in good ways and bad ways.

Today I would like to take a moment to look at the good.  We were fortunate to have an excellent nursing staff surround us.  If I could remember their names I would thank them individually.  We had one nurse who, on our second day in the hospital, pulled a double shift and stayed with us a majority of the day.  She was the one who was there when Samantha was born.  She was great during the whole process. She made sure to capture moments on camera, take measurements, and gave us time to hold our baby.  She treated us with a great respect.  She treated us like we were parents.  I hope that when it comes time to have another baby, she is there and I can get the chance to thank her face to face for all that she did.

My gratitude and deep thanks goes out to the nursing staff that was by our side for the two days we were in the hospital.  In a way, they helped to make things just a little easier.   Thank you!

 

But I am grieving, how can I be happy?  Is it possible to do both?  If I am happy, does that mean that I hurt any less?

Have you had these questions cross your mind throughout your grief journey?  I sure have.  When I was first on this roller coaster ride called grief I would wonder how could I ever be happy again.  Once those little rays began to push through…the smile here, the laugh there I began to wonder does this mean that I am  hurting any less or that I am done grieving or am I taking something away from Samantha.

The short answer to this is..yes, it is okay to be happy, to smile, to laugh.  You need to let yourself be happy, it is okay.  It doesn’t mean you aren’t still grieving and it won’t take away from the memory of your little one.  Your little one will forever be apart of you whether it is a good day or a bad day, whether you are smiling or crying.  Learning how to be happy once again is a part of the journey.

This combination of laughing while feeling like I was about to cry, being happy while being sad was…well it was kind of weird.  It is amazing what we feel and how quickly it can change.  I remember many years ago after my grandmother’s funeral we had just finished up dinner with all the family at the family bar.  We had so many tears in the morning and so many laughs that night.  When we left dinner my brother and I got into a snowball fight that later had my dad joining in.  Yes, we said good bye to a family member but there was a burst of happiness that made it’s way through that day.

As you go through the days little burst of happiness will begin to come through.  Find the things that can make you feel happy-a hobby, a book, a cup of coffee.  Whatever it may you need to let yourself be happy too.  Those around you who truly support you will understand and recognize that it is okay to have the grief and the happiness.

After loosing Samantha my comfort was a cup of coffee.  Now, when I say coffee I mean one of those fru fru coffees.  It didn’t matter how terrible the day was, getting my hands on that cup brought a small sense of peace.  All be it a brief moment at first, but it was something.  As time went by and the weather turned to Spring my happiness was found in photography.  Then through writing and photography.  Seeing a dragonfly ever now and then was the best source of happiness.  It meant Samantha was closer by.  My healing and happiness has come through taking pictures and writing about my journey.

Some day, down the road you too will find the things that can make you happy again.  It is there just waiting to push through.  When you are ready, let yourself be happy.  It’s okay.

 

I have always believed that those who leave Earth go to heaven.  Family, friends, and pets all have a spot in heaven when their time comes.  I have come face to face with loss over my 30 years of life.  I have lost three of my 4 grandparents, my baby girl, and several pets.  I have learned that things change when you loose someone close to you.  I have also learned that grief is different depending on who you loose.  For my grandparents I was in a state of shock for part of the time, attended the funeral, felt sad, and continued on with life.  When I lost pets I was sad, but moved forward rather quickly.  I was comforted to know that they were in heaven now, a safe place.

When we lost Samantha the grief was totally different.  A year later I still grieve.  It has taken on many different shapes and form, but it is always a part of me.  There was a part of me that knew she was in good hands, she was in heaven.  However, it was hard for to accept that she was there.  Unlike like my grandparents’ lives or even my pets, her life was much shorter.  Even though her life was shorter, she deeply touched me in ways that only the loss of a child can do.  At the cemetery there is a special place for all the children who are buried, it made me wonder if there is a special place for all the little one’s gone way to soon to heaven.

I was given the following poem by a good friend of mine.  She has helped me a great deal through all of this.  She lost her little one many years ago and one of the helpful things she said to me right away was “Benjamin is up there helping Samantha.  She will be in good hands.”  The  poem “Heaven’s Nursery” has helped to create a visual perspective on what it is like for Samantha up in heaven.

Heaven’s Nursery

Author: Unknown
In Heaven there must surely be
A special place,a nursery
Where ‘little spirits’ not fully grown
Go to live in their Heavenly home.The angels must attend with love
Tiny spirits on wings of doves,
The choir of angels must sing lullabies
Maybe quiet their tiny cries.

The Father must come by each day
To cuddle and play in a special way
These tiny spirits left earth too soon
Little ones called Home from the womb.

These sparks of life did not perish
But came to the Father’s love to cherish,
To grow and be taught in his own arms
Safely away from all earthly harm.

The comforter was sent to earth at once
To the parents who lost their little one
Their hearts so ache,their arms feel empty
The question ‘why’ seems so tempting.

Then all at once in the midst of tears
There comes a peace that stills the fears
The parents share the Father’s own need
To hold their tiny spirit being.

They relinquish their own desperate hold
And release their baby to the Father’s fold,
Then comes an angel to whisper the truth
Of a nursery in Heaven bearing rich fruit.

Of tiny spirits chosen to worship the Father
A place that couldn’t be filled by another,
Called to be spared from the struggles of earth,
Chosen to be one of Heaven’s births.

So Father,whisper words of love from me
To our unborn ‘life’ in your nursery

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