Thursday, November 15, 2012

It Takes a Village...

Today is one year we let our entire circle of friends in on what we had been walking through for almost 3 weeks.  November 15 is when we found out her heart had stopped.  Over the last year I didn't know what I would say on this day but then I have kept a notebook where I have written down the kind things that happened along the way.  The unexpected friends that lifted me up.  The unexpected strangers that came across my path, that God sent to us to help move forward. The moments that I couldn't walk and someone carried me.  I thought I would share them here.  When days were tough I would go back and read things that I didn't ever want to forget.  It simply took a village, and I am thankful that we had that.  (please know, there may have been more than listed....but these are what I found in my notebook)

I will never forget first hearing the bad news and grabbing onto a friend from work.  Melissa helped me navigate telling staff and seeing the road ahead.  She is also someone that sat with me on my birthday as my tears poured out and never judged.  never.  any of my process of grieving.

I will never forget how our OB stayed on her day off to deliver Juliette.  She couldn't leave us with a stranger, not for something like this.

I will never forget Liz coming to take pictures of our family shortly after I delivered and the way she extended her hand of friendship to me.

I will never forget text messages from Red while I was in the hospital having troubles delivering.

I will never forget Vernon calling and praying for us and we held Juliette for the last time.

I will never forget my kind, caring and patient husband.

I will never forget the care package that arrived from Shannon, my sister and  her kiddos.  It warmed my heart even over the miles. It was like receiving hugs in a box.

I will never forget Anthony putting together a swarm of people for food, groceries, lunches...to move us through the painful days that were the Holidays.

I will never forget the calls, texts, emails, letters that arrived for us.  I have saved them all to go back and read this Saturday.

I will never forget the kind message left by Tim Tracey.  An unexpected message that brought tears to my eyes and that he would take the time.

I will never forget Devon bringing over a Thanksgiving meal for us and looking down and seeing Eloise sucking the turkey juice out of the box and towel in the box.  I think it was the first time I laughed.  Devon left the towel with us and I always think about that moment.

I will never forget Leeah Taylor helping me to step on the mat and just breathe.  And always being ok with my tears in any of her yoga classes.  I gained such an amazing friend.

I will never forget walks with Desiree.  There was no pressure to talk or be anyone except for who I am.  That is priceless.

I will never forget New Years with my sister and her family in Virginia.  Her kiddos had endless hugs for me and snuggle time.  We had many great laughs around Just Dance and many tears over our loss.

I will never forget sitting with Brian and Angie Davis while in Virginia.  A family that has suffered much in the world of cancer and health. But took the time to sit with me and Sammy.

I will never forget Deniece.  I sang with her at Disney.  She was pregnant with her daughter, Akemi.  We reconnected over having just a facebook friendship for a few years.  I will never forget her allowing me to send some of Juliette's things for Akemi.  It helped clear out memories and helped me move on.  It made it better that these things were on another little girl.

I will never forget Tracie.  A college friend who just made herself available.  All the time.  I feel lucky to have reconnected with her just a few years back only a short time after I met Sammy.  She consistently reminds me that God can handle whatever it is that have on that day...including my anger and asking why over and over again.

I will never forget the card that arrived from my sister Erin on my due date in March.  She remembered and it meant a lot to me.

I will never forget Andrea Canny always being available by phone, always.  Thankfully...she's a night owl and so I know I can always ring her at the oddest times and she will pick up.  And she never tries to solve things, she just lets me get it out.

I will never forget Aunt Becky and her daughter, Andrea.  Aunt Becky rarely missed a 15th or 17th of the month to call me and she always made herself available.  Andrea sent me a beautiful necklace, and has often written me kind words.

I will never forget meeting Nicole at the mall in Orlando, FL.  She asked me about my tattoo and then I shared our story.  We talked for almost 30 minutes and are now friends that stay in touch.

I will never forget my first day at work at ZACH and turning the corner and the Juliet balcony being shown to me.  Insignificant to some.  Extremely significant to me.  My Juliette showed up, showing me that the arts wanted me back.

And even today...I will never forget a walk with a new friend, Claudia, that I was able to connect with through her sister, Maria.  Both of these women encouraging me to hope and wish for a different ending.

All of these people's.  All of these actions have pushed me, have pushed us to walk this very painful journey and see hope at the end of it.  It's true, the grieving never stops, it just gets a little less.  The pain in my heart will hang there forever and I am ok with that.  Juliette changed me.  Her heart changed mine, and for the good.  The small stuff, is just the small stuff.  Life is simply too short to not love recklessly and with total abandon.  You can hold me to that.

November 15, 2011.  Juliette, your heart stopped and I had days where I wanted mine too as well.  I kept my promise to you that I would take care of myself and I would look to love and faith to see us through.  My love is no less today, in fact, it is more.  Saturday, your Dad and I will remember and celebrate your brief but beautiful life and the 8 hours I was able to spend with you.

Thanks friends for seeing us through this first year.  We love you.

Colleen & Sammy

 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stillness, one year later

It seems very strange to write this.  It's been one year since we lost Juliette.  Tomorrow is the day we found out her heart had stopped.  Saturday will be one year since I delivered her at 9 am on November 17, 2011. I learned a new term this week, the death of a baby after 20 weeks is called 'stillbirth'.  The term couldn't be more appropriate.  I remember everything being very still once I delivered her.  The side of the hospital we stayed on was still, the nurses, Sam, and even myself.  We knew there would be no cry that came once I pushed her tiny body out.  At that moment, in the stillness, all I wanted was time.  Sometimes I would give my right arm to have those 8 hours back with her and make them last that much longer.

I think over the past year I cried out for....understanding, compassion and support.   My answers?  I will never understand, compassion comes in many different forms and getting through this takes a village.  I needed time to grieve, and time to adjust to the gaping hole in our family, in my heart, left by the death of Juliette.

It seems odd to write that in all of this there has been tremendous blessings.  I have seen that on the other side of suffering, blessings are revealed.  That doesn't make the pain easier, and as I continue to move through the grieving process with a willingness to be open to myself and God, I have become more aware of the blessings.  The losses and the grief that we bear are the means through which we grow more fully into our true selves and into God.  Today, this week, I can honestly say that I embrace my entire life with more love and gratitude.  To embrace ourselves with love in the midst of life’s suffering is to heal the heart.  I still cry over Juliette and the loss but my tears are not just about pain but also about intense love.  Love of her and love that has been woven in my lives through friends and family that have walked me through a very difficult year.

I am not sure when it happened but somewhere in this journey I started listening to things deep inside me, and when I became willing to the world of memories and feelings that exists in my depths, I started to have the capacity with God's love to heal what is wounded and understand that this particular wound will never be completely healed.

I write this to ask for just a few more prayers and love sent our way over the next few days.  Tomorrow will be hard.  Her heart stopped, there was nothing we could do.  Saturday will be hard.  That day was supposed to be different for us.  Delivery wasn't supposed to end in stillness.  Whatever it is that you do, send it our way this week, I will take any of that.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Good Grief.

Well.  It happened.  I got a surprise visit from grief today....she is a fickle bitch. I started to feel it a little last night in leaving work.  Felt extra weight on my shoulders, I could feel myself holding back tears, and then I realized that today would be one year from our anatomy scan when we found out that Juliette's heart was in danger and through many tests was diagnosed with Turner's Syndrome.  I will never forget sitting in the perinatal specialist office and hearing our genetic counselor say, "this will not be a good ending for you all, her heart is in serious danger.  It will only be a matter of time and you will need to come back every 2-3 days for us to listen for the heartbeat."  And so began our 3 week journey until they couldn't hear her heartbeat any longer.

I got up this morning and made my way to 715 am Yoga at Wanderlust Live.  The first 30 minutes of practice I felt strong, I felt like today wouldn't be so hard.  And then...out of nowhere...tears flooded out of my eyes.  The good news is there happens to be crying in yoga.....(and maybe in baseball because my Cardinals lost the NLCS on Sunday night) My breath became short and I couldn't place myself in one more pose.  My physical practice was done and my emotional/mental practice had to take over. I moved into child's pose oddly enough and let my tears fall.  Everyone once and again I would return to Ashley's (teacher) instruction but would find myself not able to handle any physical movement.  One of the things I love about Wanderlust is they are music first, yoga always.  About 45 minutes into class, Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah starts to play.  Yep, done.  I knew I had to surrender and just try to breathe.   As I sat with my tears I realized that I have come a long way from one year ago.  My natural tendency would be to leave class and escape before anyone saw me.  I wouldn't possibly want my tears to make anyone uncomfortable. That didn't happen today.  I stayed on my mat, I cried through the last 30 minutes of class, Ashley came over to check on me and make sure I was okay and I leaned so freaking hard into the pain that was happening that I was exhausted when the class finished.

I was reminded of something Anne Lamott wrote:
"You will lose someone you can't live without, and your heart will be badly broken, 
and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved.  
But this is also the good news.  They live forever in your broken heart that doesn't seal back up.  And you come through.  It's like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly- that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp."

It was Martha Graham who said that dance is the hidden language of the soul.  You may see a limp in my dance over the next month....and hints of it forever, but never doubt...I will keep dancing and face this grief as I remember one year ago.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Kramer's lullaby....Bernadette Peters

Last night Bernadette did an encore that I will truly never forget.  This was a lullaby for her dog as she is a huge supporter of Broadway Barks.  She shared this also for us to remember to hold those close to us, to squeeze your children.  Here are the lyrics.


Good night my pal
Good night my friend
Tomorrow I"ll see you again
Close your eyes, don't worry
There's no need to be in a hurry
Sleep deep my friend 
I am here

You are my dream
You are my wish
Tonight you'll sleep in total bliss
I will send you moonbeams
I will send you angels in your dreams
Sleep deep my friend
I am here

I always dreamed I have a friend 
Someone to love me who would send 
away my bad dreams, away my fears
Then suddenly you appeared
Goodnight ol' soul, goodnight my dear
I am smilng now from ear to ear
I will always love you
I'll always protect you
You are in my heart forever
Always in my dreams together
and tomorrow when you wake up 
I'll be here


As one can imagine, this set off the water works for me.  But it was powerful and cleansing.   I love how music continues to heal my soul and my grief.   I feel at some point I will get to sing this song.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Not A Day Goes By....

Got a picture of you I carry in my heart
Close my eyes to see it when the world gets dark
Got a memory of you I carry in my soul
I wrap it close around me when the nights get cold
If you asked me how I'm doin' I'd say just fine
But the truth is, if you could read my mind

The last time I posted was June 1.  It's almost October which means Christmas music is playing in the malls.  Here is a snapshot update....

Since June, me and the Sam.....
  • Almost made a large move to the Big Apple
  • Saw Idina Menzel in concert with a bunch of gals here in Austin
  • Spent 3 beautiful months unemployed and took much needed time for myself and my heart 
  • Offered a job (back) in the Arts (!) at ZACH Theatre here in Austin, TX
  • Started said job on August 7, 2012...exactly 3 months to the day from my last day at LAF
  • Started taking guitar lessons
  • Have committed myself to 60 days of yoga.  Taking all high intensity out of workouts.
  • Made plans for Sam and I to get away in a few weeks for a dear friends wedding

2012 will be gone soon and where most will start to reflect in December on the year that just happened I think my "year" has been changed from November to November.  So much pain, so much heartache and yet so much gratitude for those that helped me walk when I couldn't take another step.  I am already anticipating how hard November will be for me, for us.  Things have already started to feel heavy as I remember getting the bad news last October around our pregnancy.  Just last week I came across Juliette's blanket while moving something and it felt like someone punched me in the gut.  I felt paralyzed, I couldn't move.  I just sat and wept and really missed the entire of experience of wanting to be a mom.  I also realized that in the midst of life I had stopped dreaming and hoping for that. 

As you can see, we have not stepped into the direction of getting pregnant again.   Those of you who have been kind to not ask us this personally, thank you.  For others that asked, you probably got a very honest and awkward (for you) response.  I do not apologize.  When I say Juliette was a miracle in the first place, she was.  You just never really ask someone that information unless they bring it up and want to talk to you about it.  Period.  That is the etiquette.  There are many fears for us in moving ahead with this happening again.  As well, I did not have ample health insurance while unemployed to cover me and a pregnancy, so all things had to be put on hold.  Then in searching for a job....even though it would be discriminatory I could not risk BEING pregnant while looking for a job.  It's a lovely woman friendly world we live in.  Yes?  That is probably a completely new post.  We both still very  much want and desire to be parents.  This could be via adoption through foster or God willing, naturally.  We don't know.  I have watched many friends have children in the last year and as one can imagine it is difficult.  Baby showers are still not something I am comfortable with and walking past the baby department in any store is a task.  I just try to gracefully glide right by.

I guess what I am trying to say and update you all in this is....we are here, we are okay and moving forward....but not a day goes by, not one single day where I don't acknowledge the pain and sometimes still press very hard into it.  Those of you that said time will fade this wound, you were right. Time may dampen the severity of a wound, but no true wound is ever completely healed.  I have also found that the wound is the place where light enters.....where God has wrapped Himself around me, our family, and help me put one foot in front of the other.  Our wounds are often the openings in the best and most beautiful part of us.  And what happens when you open those wounds and in turn, your heart?  You get better. My good days far outweigh my bad at this point. I will say that for the most part I have been good to me.  I have stayed true to my promise in my first blog after our goodbye that I would be kind to myself during this process and healing.  Especially taking note in the first year.  My mantra has been "wounds into wisdom" and to never feel like I have to be in this grief what someone else is telling me to be.

I may revisit this blog a few times over the next month as we approach one year without Juliette.  Thank you dear friends for helping our family move through this pain and be real during the process.  We are forever grateful and hopeful.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

C-O-U-R-A-G-E


I mean, its the face of courage, right?  That sweet cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz.  And his speech?  I can hear that distinct voice when I read it.

Courage. What makes a King out of a slave? Courage.
What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage.
What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist or the dusky dusk?
What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage.
What makes the Sphinx the 7th Wonder? Courage.
What makes the dawn come up like THUNDER?! Courage.
What puts the "ape" in ape-ricot?
Whatta they got that I ain't got?
Dorothy & Friends:  Courage!
Cowardly Lion: You can say that again.

I seem to be getting a lot of messages about this lately.  And honestly, without prompting, very unintentional. I haven't posted since the 4 month mark and we have now gone through 6 months since losing Juliette.  My bad days have more good days in between and especially in the last month, I have seen my depression become more manageable, if that is even possible (?).  To catch some of you up, but if you read this you probably know....I am currently in the job hunt as May 7 was my final day at LIVESTRONG.   Let's just say my eyes have been opened and this has been a huge learning time for myself and Sam.   I am proud of the work I did there for 4 years bringing the Team LS program to fruition and having a hand on raising over $16 million+ for those affected by cancer.  I met many wonderful people that I will stay in touch with.  I am still overwhelmed at the many people that stepped in for our family when we lost Juliette and even now as I move through being unemployed.  I don't know what is next, but I am excited.  I have some great possibilities for the next adventure and so in these few months of transition, I am taking time for myself.  Time to really heal from our loss.  This has been a gift more than what I expected because I was reminded no one should ever let their job define them.  I was starting to do that, and so the slap in the face is what I needed.  Family, love, faith and really good food & coffee is what matters.

Back to courage.  I was in yoga class yesterday with one of my favorites...Leeahhhhhh.  She started the class and ended it with this reading.  "Courage is moving into the unknown.  It is leaving the past behind and allowing the future to be."  Love. This.  For some reason in this reading, courage seems peaceful.  It is accepting what has been and what will come.  I don't know why, but it helped me jump a big hurdle.  Previously when people have mentioned courage to me, I have thought of it as "fighting through adversity"  That courage is a struggle.  I don't want to fight.  I am tired.  My sad days are really sad and my good days are really good.  There is really no in between for me.  It's from one extreme to the other.  It's who I am.  It's how I was made.  When I hurt, I hurt.  And if you try to shut that down.....well, good luck.  I woke up today with this new definition of courage.  My workout at CrossFit was killer.  I was focused and at peace.  I have found my smile again and the ability to dream.  I am singing again.  In fact, I saw my friend Crash last night and she wrote this to me later... "A smile on your face = a smile in my heart. Good to see it again. Love."   I was trying so hard to be brave and courageous in the wrong way.  Again, yoga on Thursday morning pushed me forward.  The practice of yoga has helped me breathe more in the last 6 months that I ever anticipated.  To just stop for an hour each day.  To move through a series of poses that help me connect with where my body and brain is.  And to know I don't EVER have to be perfect in that space.  It's not possible.  I am thankful for the instructors that have modeled 'courage' for me.  They don't even know what they have done for me in the last 6 months.

My goal is to wake up each day knowing that courage doesn't mean I have to win, but to keep trying and then let it be.  





Saturday, March 17, 2012

Four months. I am her.

Today is 4 months.  4 months since we said goodbye to Juliette.  Normally I am up for some good Irish fun, but I could barely remove myself from bed.  Did I mention I am away from my Sam?  Yep.  Been gone for work since Tuesday.  I fly back to him on Monday.  Right now is especially painful because this coming Thursday would have been our due date.  And Thursday is the day of the week we delivered.  My nightmares have been more difficult since the first month of our grief.  Today a few of my girl friends called and my Aunt Becky called on Thursday which has certainly help to not feel alone.  Although, the physical distance from Sammy and my normal surroundings makes me feel very alone.  I had a friend say today, "Colleen, sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts."  As I reached through my tears, I realized those words could not be more true.  Juliette at 23 weeks, so very tiny, has does more than take up a large part of my heart, she has stolen it.   I will be honest, I feel a lot lost right now.  The peaks and valley of this grief are really hard.  Many times I don't feel the emotion coming until it is right on top of me and I can't breathe. 

This is the first place I will write this.  It's no secret that I have postpartum depression.  I finally gave in to some medication and hope to feel the upswing from this within the next month.  I have since found out that I am also fighting symptoms of PTSD.  (post traumatic stress disorder)  Now working through some treatment options and looking into a counselor to help walk that line.

I'm seeing a lot of friends get their dream of motherhood.  I am happy for them, but it seems since January 1 there has been a new arrival every week.  So you are happy but you then doubt if you will ever have that ending.

I have kept a personal journal through all this and I was reading through some of that this afternoon.  I will say...I am lucky to have so many female friendships that work in my life.  By this I mean women that help me belong to myself.  They don't judge.  They just walk beside.  They don't provide an answer, they just let me ask the questions.  I also found one entry on just feeling shaky that I wanted to post here:

I want my spark back, but I am shaky. I am learning I have to respect the shaky parts. Even the shaky parts have a spark to them that doesn't fade.  I want to love my extraordinary self.  Because, yes, I do feel I am extraordinary.  I want to see every difficulty as a challenge and never be defeated by anything or anyone.   Starting today I am going to give myself permission to live.   It was Eleanor Roosevelt that said, " You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing you think you cannot do."  Yes please.  It is true that in the last 6 months I have known defeat, struggle and loss AND I am climbing my way out that, trying not to judge the days it takes.  From knowing defeat, struggle and loss I believe I can have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills me with compassion, gentleness and concern.   In time, I am her.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fighter.

I haven't posted in a while.  I will warn you.  There could be some profanity in this you don't approve of.  It's where I am. I am in a raw place and find myself putting on the gloves and getting ready to push my way out of this.  Not in a combative, I am going to hurt someonek ind of way, although a punching bag to our garage would be a nice addition for some of this angst.  I am simply put...over the bull$hit.  The pain got extensively thicker when I returned to the other parts of my life I had forgotten for 6 weeks.  I hated my birthday, it made me think of those I won't have with Juliette.  And it made me think the clock is certainly ticking...I am now 37.  That much closer to 40 and those words "advanced maternal age" haunt me every day.  I don't if there is an easy way to return to life after any kind of loss.   It's a process, a long one I am finding.  I am experiencing more change that I ever anticipated, things that are not connected to the loss of Juliette.  And then yesterday happened.  I didn't want to get out of bed and my depression felt like an extra 100 pounds on my shoulders.  Then clicked on a blog I read,  CrossFit Lisbeth.  Yesterday she posted about fighting and it was like she reached into my brain and pulled every word I wanted to say.  Those that know me, know I will not give up easily. It's not in my DNA.  I have a mother and a grandmother that were fighter's through life.   This was the beginning of Lisbeth's blog yesterday.

"You fight. I’m talking to you. Don’t let this world get the best of you. Don’t let it take you alive. Don’t let this world beat you until you give up. No matter what happens, you keep going. Sure, life is going to pummel you but dammit you better fight back. Kick, scratch, claw, do whatever it takes to keep breathing, keep going, to stay alive.


All you have — all you’ve ever had, really — is heart. A whole lot of f*8%#ing heart. Don’t give it up now.

Lots of people have given up on this life, on their loves, on this world. Don’t be one of them. Don’t walk this earth with a life foregone but not yet ended."  CrossFit Lisbeth

Then I read this today on another site, a testimonial of a guy who works out at my CrossFit gym.  "Struggle, I have come to realize, is not a talisman of weakness or failure, it is just a reminder that there is plenty of room to grow. I am proud of today, but I will always push for more tomorrow."

All the haters that think they can judge this thing I am walking through, that's shameful.  All the stabs in the back I have felt over the last 3 weeks, I am pulling them out and moving on.  All the nods of judgement that feel my struggle is a weakness and that I won't find a way to pick myself up again.  You don't truly know my heart.  You don't truly know the fighter I am.  For you, I have a front row seat to how this will all unfold.

And let's remember that judgement is never a good thing.  I would never wish this kind of pain on you. Never.  You couldn't possibly know how much I have wanted to be a mom.  You couldn't possibly know what it was like to deliver a child and leave the hospital empty.  You couldn't possibly know what it was to take down a nursery that you had dreamed about.  And YOU know exactly who YOU are. 

**I am surrounded and covered by so many that are letting me walk this journey and feel every minute of it.  They allow the ups and downs.  Thank you for being a shoulder for my many tears right now.  I am extremely thankful and will try to focus on those people now.  I just had to get off my chest that I won't allow 'YOU' to affect me anymore.  You won't take one more day from me.


 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Let the Creativity come....

"A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if she is to be ultimately at peace with herself." Unknown


Pretty excited about my day.  It may come as a shock that the picture above I created for a bride a few years ago when I was helping her with her makeup for her wedding. I am trying to return to my creative self right now.  I miss music and singing.  I miss playing with makeup.  It's funny, most people in Austin, TX know me as the girl that does non-profit work and has completed a few triathlons.  I would say the majority of my friends back in Orlando, FL where I lived for 9 years would say...oh, she is a singer, actor and part time make up artist.  It's true.  I love playing with color and see that come alive on other people's faces.  Don't be fooled, I am not someone who loves to wear makeup all the time.  It's a hassle.  I am good with some mascara, a dash of eyeliner and a good gloss or lip stick.  But when my husband and I take off on a dressy date night or when I get to return to my roots on singing and gig it up.....I love to bedazzle my face as well.  (and I do love my false lashes ladies)

That would return me to my day.  I am headed out on not one, but 2 makeup appts for some amazing ladies.  I am headed first to my friend Melissa's house to do her makeup for her Save the Date photos...which happens to be with one of my fave photographers in Austin.  Natalie of Hazeled photograpy.  She did mine and Sam's engagement shoot and are some of our favorite pictures in our home.  And then I am headed to an appt with a girl that is going to do trash the dress.  That is where a bride takes her gown that she surely won't wear again and does a daring photo shoot with it...I love this because I will get to use much color at this shoot.   She is doing something with finger paint and her 2 children, so I am excited for this consultation.  (Below is an example of trash the dress.)


I pulled a few more photos of past makeup I have done as I used to free lance for MAC Cosmetics.   
This was from a tribal event, hence the strange jewelry.


This is one of my favorite creations.  I did her hair and makeup as if she were a peacock.  So fun!

Trying to sing a little more.  Create a little more.  Love a little more each day....






Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Not Once, but Twice today...enough already.

Today I had to practice some serious courageous vulnerability.  2 different time.  I mean...I am already being stretched..ONE time is enough each day, I don't want any more than that. 

It went like this at the gym this morning... lady (who was not in the know): oh, are you Colleen that does yoga?  me:  yes, I am.  lady:  Oh! you had your baby then.  me:  No.  I didn't.  And then I had to swallow a thousand times to keep the tears from pouring down my face.  I was determined to stay and finish the workout for the day.  I then talked with said lady on our warm up run and explained to her in very quick details that I had to deliver...but the outcome was not what we had hoped.  She, of course, felt horrible and knew she had stepped onto tender ground. 

It was after that I had to fill out some forms for some counseling.  The question, "Do you have kids?" Gulp.  Well no, but yes, but no.  I guess that is why you go to counseling, huh?

It was a hard day.  No doubt about it.  I put on a smile at work and just got through the hours that I could.  Now I am home waiting for my Sammy to get done with work.   I am guessing moments like this will sting for a very long time.  They make me feel like we delivered yesterday.  They make me want to crawl into a hole. 

I try to return back to what I know about love and pain.  There is no safe investment.  To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.  If you want to be sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will not change. It will not be broken.  To love is to suffer.  To journey through love is to journey thru sadness.

Tomorrow is another day.  I will try again.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rescue me!

Rescue me
Oh take me in your arms
Rescue me
I want your tender charms
'Coz I'm lonely and I'm blue
I need you and your love too
Not much to say except we finally found a perfect rescue dog that fits into our home.  We have been looking for the right match with Pug Rescue of Austin and in December we met Thelma.  (formerly know as Trudy, Little Pug, Tootsie....) She is now home with us and her big sister, Eloise, is loving her as much as we are.  She is 2 years old and was abandoned with a horrible eye infection.  They couldn't save the eye, but she has enough love in the one eye for our entire family.

It's funny, you rescue the dog but let's be honest....it's me they are rescuing.

Here is Thelma.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's only fear...

It's been an interesting couple of weeks.  I haven't posted anything on here since December 27 about our journey through this grief, however, I am filling up a journal each and every day.  Transferring all of those thoughts and realizations might make me seem really neurotic and today is the first day that I have had some down time.  On December 29 we flew to Virginia to visit my sister and her family, we flew back on January 4th and January 5-6 were my first 2 days back in the office.  This morning, Sammy and I went to church to what ended up being one of the most profound messages we have heard in a long time.  (coincidence?  we don't think so)  Immediately in the car, Sammy and I had a very emotional conversation around approaching the 2 month mark of losing Juliette.  What God has taught us in this and how do we continue to move forward.  It was nothing short of an incredible dialogue with him.  I love that Sammy.

In the last few months I have noted every mother that has experienced a similar loss.  You have bravely and kindly shared your experience.  You are what gave me my mantra for 2012.  (I am not resolving to do shit this year.....except to continue to move through the shit)  Every day I wake up and see the words..."Practice courageous vulnerability"  As these women have called, emailed, or left messages your sharing does breathe some strength into my soul.  You have continued to walk the path set in front of you and you have courageously shared it is not easy and that the loss will fade, but never go away.  You see, whether you miscarry or lose during pregnancy in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd trimester, it is a LOSS.  What has saddened me is these women usually start off with, "I didn't tell anyone, but I miscarried at......"  And one woman even said to me, "When I miscarried, the Dr. said this happens often.  I wish I would have known."   Before now, I have just seen the wait until the 12 week mark to tell people as normal, but now I think its crap.  Why is it so secret?  Why do women hide with this pain?  I am sure that deserves a much larger post....but I have no answers right now, it just angers me that women are embarrassed when they miscarry.  WHY?   How can we all change this conversation so that women feel supported through such a significant loss?

I still struggle with immense emotional pain.  I still struggle with lost dreams.   And to be honest, many moments that are quite obsessive.  **note: I didn't expect this to be gone by now, I am just stating the obvious.**  So many questions for us, for our future.  That question mark has turned upside down like a fishhook in my heart.  And then there is fear.  And sometimes that fear is a fog that I can't even begin to walk through, afraid of what might be on the other side.  Because, WHAT IF it really isn't what I want, what we want.   And then I have moments where the dreamer in me takes over...I long for a new adventure, another pregnancy, and a different outcome.  and then...I read something I have read a hundred times....

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace."  Buechner


And that is where the message at church this morning came into play.  Our pastor talked from Genesis 22, Abraham and the sacrifice of his son, Isaac.  The faith of Abraham in trusting.   We sat and listened and then sang these words....
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if Our God is for us, then what could stand against?


Is this easy to fully believe for us right now?  No.  But this is a huge part of our journey.  I won't silence my longing.  I won't stop dreaming for us, even if that means more pain down the line.  Life goes on, right?  And so must we.  And as Alexi Murdoch wrote so beautifully in his song...It's Only Fear...


Don't hold your head too high,
Don't be afraid to cry,
Because you know my dear, it's only fear, it's only fear,
Yes my dear,
Do you hear,
It's only fear, only fear, it's only fear
Keeps you locked in here.



Sisters, Sisters....


Sam and I just went to Bridgewater/Harrisonburg, VA for 7 days to see my sister and her family.  Shannon and I are 1 year and 12 days apart in age.   During some time at home in December I had a project of labeling and cleaning my external hard drive as I hadn't labeled pictures properly and they were hard to find when I went in.  I found many amazing gems from growing up with Shannon.  I am going to post some pictures as well from our week in Virginia with her and her family.  It was some much needed time with my side of the family.  A BIG thank you to my Aunt Becky for offering her Southwest miles for us to fly up to see them.  That was really really helpful.  Shannon is the best older sister a girl could ask for.  She has always been supportive in every area of my life. And this time has been no different.  She has allowed me to vent when I needed to, called to check in on me and cried many tears for Sam and I.  I just wish we lived closer.


During my wedding weekend


On a church retreat in high school


Evening gowns. yes, we did pageants. very briefly.


On a visit to Hburg to see Phoebe get baptized