Doing Life With Less

Even though I thought that we had been careful with our budget and that our Christmas bonus would have easily paid off any other end of year expenses. When the month was over and I really analyzed what we’d spent I’d realized that our bonus was gone, but looking around we couldn’t really pin point on what it had gone on.

Even though I thought that we had been careful with our budget and that our Christmas bonus would have easily paid off any other end of year expenses. When the month was over and I really analyzed what we’d spent I’d realized that our bonus was gone, but looking around we couldn’t really pin point on what it had gone on.

Maybe all those Amazon boxes in the garage should’ve been my first clue to where it’d gone. Or that ETSY delivery I was mildly stocking the tracking of. Or maybe it was at the grocery store and restaurants for all the celebrating. Or maybe it just went to that great personal property tax bill. Thanks Missouri for that Christmas present! You couldn’t let us just pay that one in January????

So we assessed our habits looking back and really what needed to happen was a browsing ban. A ban on the mindless scrolling of emails with sales, strolling the aisles of box stores and suddenly spending $100-$200 and asking ourselves I really don’t know what just happened. So here’s our rules:

I’ve found that if I choose to browse I will of course be led to something I think “I need” or justify it. “Treat yo’self!” Because self-care and mama needs a break and deserves it.

Shopping is as much about emotion as it is about the action of the purchase. That is what has been the hardest thing to look at and realize.

Here are some basic steps to take the emotion out of an immediate reward purchase:

  • Removed credit card numbers from Amazon and anywhere else that’s easy spending!
  • Use something like ‘mint’ to see all of your accounts in one place to help assess spending, and savings.

The quality of your life is the quality of your habits.

Rachel Hollis

I knew that spending mindlessly had become a habit and not the good kind. This challenge is a reset to look at what parts of this habit we want to keep long term.

Is it always easy? NOPE!

Do I still miss Target? YES! But what I really miss is the perfectly organized and decorated home section. But I also know buying something here will not make my home into this same section, unless I do some major organizing and de-cluttering of the extra junk. And also a girl only has room in her cabinet for so many adorable coffee mugs!

But I also know that we have some big goals for ourselves. We have house projects and trips, and colleges and so much more we want to do! So everyday driving past the coffee place, I now can think “That’s $5 extra towards my mortgage” rather than thinking about all the delicious coffee I could be drinking.

Have you ever done a no-spending challenge for a day, week, month or longer? What difference did you see in your life? What clutter did you help free up and how did you feel afterwards?

Acknowledgment not sympathy

I may not be the the best room mom. The mom who has homemade snacks ready at all times. I may say we’re having chicken nuggets for the 4th night in a row, because sometimes I just value the silence and a kid who actually eats something.

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But when we’re playing at a park or pool with new kids I can’t help but be proud of this kid. She is the best big sister who introduces her baby sister to any kid and then quickly says, we have a brother and another baby sister, but they died.

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I’m sure not many of the kids understand what that means. But they accept the acknowledgement and then they all move onto play.

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I hope to one day be as good as she is at grief. She’s not always looking for sympathy, she’s looking for acknowledgment, there should be more kids here. They both acknowledge it and say well, let’s go slide instead.

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One day this kid will be blowing us all away with how she can talk to others!

Baby Love…you were here for a moment and loved for a lifetime

I remember staring at the wall of the shower as the water poured over me. Arguing with God that I had already given him my son. Why did he take my Hope too?

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Why was I suffering and losing another child? I talk so much about Logan, but 2 years ago I walked into the ER with my 3 year old on my hip, hoping the bleeding wasn’t what I’d feared. That this baby was supposed to be our renewal, our “Baby Love”.

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Instead we got the news we feared, there’s no longer a heartbeat, and baby love had stopped growing 4 weeks prior.

I thought afterwards that maybe having another baby in our house wasn’t something I was meant to walk again. If you’ve walked a miscarriage or infant loss, you know the fear feels are so real.

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Joanna I’m thankful that you helped me through my fears, my anger, my tears. If we’d had baby love we might not have had you. I wish I could be holding all 4 of you babies, and one day in heaven I will hold you sweet baby love!

Transformed Me

Is #transformationtuesday still a thing people do? I guess I see lots of posts of people at the gym and their physical body progress when they use this hashtag! Here’s mine…

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I have transformed from a shy girl who once had posters of Hanson and N’Sync lining her bedroom walls.

A girl who didn’t know her own voice. A girl who felt she didn’t deserve what she worked for. ⠀⠀

A girl who knew at the age of 7, I wanted to be an author, but didn’t understand how good writing was for my soul until 30!

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I’ve transformed from a girl who always went to church, but didn’t understand what truly loving God meant until 30.

I’ve transformed from a mom who used to be happy for every pregnancy. Now I silently pray extra for none of the heartache with it.

I’ve transformed so much in my now 33 years. This girl reminded me that rainbows 🌈 mean there’s still beauty in the storm. She reminds me to hug and rest more. She reminds me it’s ok to be happy/sad together and that love is complicated. ⠀⠀

I’ve also transformed by now needing 3 cups of coffee (usually cold by the time I get 1). I also now have everything delivered and ready for pick up!

I’ve transformed to a person who only gets 5ish hours of sleep and still does the dishes, activities, diapers, doctors, bills, and mountains of laundry 🧺

What transformation has blessed you most recently?

The Kids Who Made Me Mom

What a strange day this is. I think it’s usually full of expectations that rarely are all fulfilled. A day that’s hard for women waiting to be moms, wanting all her kids in a picture, babies that weren’t big enough to hold. If you are missing your child, longing for one wanting this day to be looking different, I see you, I feel you and I understand all the feelings of this day.⠀⠀

If you are blessed enough to have all of your children in a picture you have no idea how blessed you are. I am holding 2 girls who have taught me so much about life and my 2 in my heart ❤️ who have taught me more about love.

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You have all made me a mom and made me understand and appreciate all the Mom’s in my life. Happy Mothers’ Day to the many amazing women and moms who have shaped me and my girls. To the moms that are watching my babies in heaven for me. #whatshehastaughtme is how to love and that love never goes away!

#TheStoryOfLogan

Have you ever cried so much that you ran out of tears? ? Your swollen eyes just give out and dry up while a current of unrest still gushes through your soul. And you look up toward heaven in utter frustration. That was us!

My soul was crying and pleading with God to take this away from me. Make this not my sons story. As much as I pleaded I couldn’t change what was happening.

It is finished. I feel just exhausted from all of the heart work this took getting put onto paper. It’s taken me 929 days to write this and put the full story from my perspective down. It’s raw and I could keep editing it for years more I’m sure.

I realized a few weeks ago, in all my writings I’ve never actually sat down and told my version of Logan’s story. It’s something so personal that feels like heaven has to come down to give me the words. I hope you find you know a little more about me and Logan after hearing his 14.5 hour life story.

I will spend the rest of my life looking for moments filled with Logan. This is the long version of our short hello, until we meet again in heaven.

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It started at a normal 36 week check up. “This position doesn’t feel right!”

Not words you want to hear from your midwife😟

“Let’s do an ultrasound. I’m pretty sure this baby is sideways!”

Sure enough, baby was side ways. I was told try spinning babies, look into acupuncture. And if I went into labor come in immediately. Babies can come out with heads and butts but not backs, so I’d be having a guaranteed C-section! Another ultrasound in a week was scheduled and a consult for trying to flip baby if there wasn’t movement before then!

Well a C-section just wasn’t what I wanted for my birth plan so I tried it all. Showed up on Friday 37 weeks hoping to not have to have them try to flip baby. Hoping the stretches and acupuncture helped baby move. I really have no idea if it’d worked, I felt kicks but how was I supposed to know a butt from a head in there🤷🏼‍♀️

The ultrasound tech told me, you’re baby is head down! You don’t need to see the doctor, everything looks good.

The next Monday I showed up at work and hearing from people “I was sure this was the weekend you’d be in labor!”

I was 38 weeks and felt ready for the pregnancy stage to be over, but my oldest went to 39+6 so I was pretty sure I’d still have another week at least with this pregnancy. I finished my day and headed home. We’d made lasagna and joked with my husbands brother that I’d had a few contractions that day. How he was on babysitting duty for the oldest until a grandma could come from across the state.

I’d had 2 contractions in our mealtime, but still felt really good. They were really spaced apart and then stopped. So I went upstairs and got Allison bathed and ready for bed. Then I decided I felt the need to lay down and told hubby he was doing stories. I felt like something might be happening and I needed to rest.

It was about 9 pm and I decided to try a bath. It was what helped me most in my 1st labor and maybe it’d help me relax. I finally got out and payed in bed while Kevin times my contractions. I still felt it was so early to time anything, but he wasn’t believing me.

By 10pm they were 7 minutes apart. We thought we’d give it a little more time to get to the 5 minute mark before coming into the hospital. Then laying in bed a contraction broke my water. It was a gush of water down my legs that had me questioning, did I just pee myself or was that my water😆I jumped out of bed and rushed to the toilet trying to wipe and checking for blood and meconium while Kevin called the midwife to let her know and that we were on our way. Contractions had already increased to 5 minutes apart.

In the few minutes it took to change and have our neighbor over to stay until Kevin’s brother got here the contractions just kept coming. The timer said by 10:30 they were already 2.5 minutes apart! We rushed into the car for the 25 minute drive to the hospital and called to have them meet us at the ER!

I’m sure by this point I was in transition, but had adrenaline going and was still able to talk through my contractions.

We pulled in and who knew there were 2 ER doors 🚪 we of course went to the one that they weren’t waiting at! We were met by the nurse who wheeled me upstairs while Kevin parked the car. My hair was down in front of my face and she grabbed a ponytail, whipped it in a bun and wheeled me upstairs. They skipped triage and I went straight to a labor room. They put me on a monitor and I thought thank goodness I didn’t have a baby on the side of the interstate!

I heard lots of scrambling and then they had the ultrasound over. “I’ve got a pulse on ultrasound, but it’s breech. Call the OB and OR. We’re coming NOW! She’s complete!” Right then Kevin was finally back. They had me switch on a moving bed. I grabbed his hand and said “what is happening?” He looked at me, “It’s breech, it’s going to be a C-Section.”

Because it was an emergency section and I was going under general anesthesia Kevin couldn’t come into the OR with me. He stood outside the doors with the nurse who had first wheeled me up to labor and delivery. He waited and called our moms unsure what to even say, he had no idea what was happening to either of us.

I was trying to keep it together and now think of anything I could to stall labor, but my body doesn’t like to labor slowly. All I know is I start having contractions and then in a matter of minutes I seem to have a baby.

It was a mess of noise in the OR, lots of moving and sounds while I closed my eyes and tried not to push. The OB asking my name, and what we were doing today. I remember saying we’re getting the baby out. Then I remember feeling the need to push and being told to stop. Then the nurse saying “she can’t help it she’s at a 10!” Then they counted down and I was out for surgery.

I’ve had people and medical records to piece together the actual birth part at 12:02 when he entered the world 🌎 Logan was indeed breech and lodged his head was also stuck in my rib cage. He’d also swallowed meconium. Then when he was out he wasn’t responsive. The threading heartbeat from the ultrasound was gone. They worked for 15 minutes on him trying to revive him, then when they were about to call it when a nurse found a faint heartbeat 💗

I’m not really sure how much time passes in surgery until I woke up in recovery I remember being fuzzy and seeing Kevin.

Kevin told me the midwife came and said there wasn’t a heartbeat. He wasn’t sure if she meant me or the baby. Then she told him it was a boy and that they weren’t getting him to be able to take a breath.

I think the first thing I asked when I woke was “where’s the baby?” Then hearing that he’s in the NICU. They were wanting to transfer him to a higher level nicu, but they were going to wheel him by my room before transferring. I learned we’d had a boy, and that the gender was no longer the biggest surprise of our night.

They told me it’d be 15 minutes without a pulse. I’d just refreshed on CPR and remembered after 7 it’s pretty much brain dead. And just kept thinking 15 minutes is too long. They told Kevin he could go to the NICU to see him and that our doula would stay with me. The pains of surgery were starting to set in and my legs were shaking uncontrollably and I was trying not to vomit 🤢 all over everything!

I remember thinking I’m high on morphine and going to have to make the hardest choices of my life.

I can remember Kevin calling and asking if Logan Michael was ok for his name. We’d been on the fence for days about a middle name and he needed a name to be transferred. Then when they were getting close to the transfer our photographer came back to capture us and baby meeting before transfer.

Then Kevin walked back in with the neonatologist. Kevin said he just kept having seizures and then the extent of the brain damage was explained. The doctor explained all his risks of a transfer and the amount of brain damage she was seeing. Then she carefully explained our 2 options for Logan.

Let him die with us and make him as comfortable as we could with us or try to continue treatments transferring him to a higher level NICU.

Our seemingly normal labor 3 short hours earlier these were not the options I was thinking of making for my baby. I knew that I couldn’t bear the thought of him dying away from me. I knew that it was a huge risk that he’d even survive the drive across town. I couldn’t let him be in someone else’s arms in that moment before I’d even met him. I couldn’t bear to put him through treatment that would still likely never allow him to come home.

We looked at each other and just felt the weight of what we were having to decide. Are we taking away his chance at life to be selfish and keep him near us? Was it selfish to try to continue treatment? I kept thinking about how long he’d be without oxygen and how much he’d already been through. Kevin had seen first hand how frail he really was and the beginning promises of transferring and getting me recovered to be discharged to be with him were a forgotten memory.

We knew that he needed to be with us. We wanted to hold him and have his death be a peaceful place not filled with machines and strangers. They told us they’d get me set up in my recovery room and then bring him in.

Then they asked us about who to call. Would our 2 1/2 year old be ready to meet her brother who was going to die? I remember thinking how am I going to explain this to her. She knew a new baby was coming, how do I explain death to her? My friend who was our photographer came to sit by me and asked will it be any easier to explain it if she doesn’t get to meet her brother? I really think she should be here. It was the push I needed to think about what her grief needs would be and we woke up Kevin’s brother and said get down her.

Around this same time my mom arrived, making the 3 hour midnight drive from Arkansas. I felt relief knowing she’d made it before he’d died.

We sat in post op calling Kevin’s parents, and trying to reach our pastor to see if he could baptize Logan for us. We didn’t have his number, so we tried Facebook, and calling all our friends to try to reach him. We finally found someone who had his number, but he wasn’t answering. So he ended up driving at 4am to his house to knock on the door to wake him up!

We finally got wheeled into recovery after what felt like days since I still hadn’t seen my baby boy. I remember wheeling me to a corner, and asking for more morphine as I was jostled around and felt like my stomach was going to split open again.

Then when I was finally settled, they wheeled in the bassinet with all the cords and machine noises and our little boy in the middle. 

They slowly unhooked him from the beeping machines and moved his swaddled body over to my bed. I held Kevin’s hand and held my breath. I knew these would be the precious few moments we’d have together. 

Then his doctor placed him in my arms and I felt my heart break over seeing his perfect face. And I heard his struggle of a squeak as he tried to breathe.

We held him and cried over knowing we’d be giving him back. We cried knowing that he would never know life outside of this hospital. We would never see him take a first step, or smile at the sound of our voices. We knew these small hours were his only with us.

Shortly after he was taken off of life support and in my arms big sister came with Uncle Justin. All she did was look with pride that her baby brother was here. I can’t even remember how we tried to explain death to her. I think she understand mommy had an owie from the baby coming out and that he couldn’t come home.

I remember her saying he’s not opening his eyes. It’s probably the part that stuck with her the most. My whole pregnancy with Joanna she kept saying “mommy, do you really hope this baby will open her eyes?” And when Joanna was born she was worried that her first picture she saw her eyes were closed.

She was the face of joy celebrating that he was born, reminding us that even though our hearts were being shredded into pieces that the moment of meeting him was still so amazing!

We had our photographer take our picture as a family of 4. I kept thinking I hadn’t showered, my hair is still in the sweaty bun the nurse helped me with as I was wheeled in. I’m a crying mess on morphine and this is my only picture as the 4 of us! How messed up is this right now?

We made footprint and handprints trying to remember every moment. We held him and just told him how much we loved him. Around 8 our pastors came and prayed over him and baptized him. We texted what we could manage to a few friends letting them know he wouldn’t be able to come home, not yet ready for phone calls. We called our bosses and told the short story that something went wrong, we were ok, but we’d be planning a funeral and wouldn’t be at work for a while.

Our nurse asked me if I had thought about my milk coming in. I surprisingly had, I knew I was going to pump and donate. I’d donated before and knew it was my one gift I could give from this mess onto someone else.

We never put him down his whole 14 1/2 hours of life. He was held in the arms of love for those short seconds of life. By the afternoon his breathing had weakened and his first bright rosy cheeks were becoming more ashen. We knew he only had minutes left. We asked everyone to leave and Kevin kneeled on the floor as we both held Logan and cried.

Have you ever cried so much that you ran out of tears? ? Your swollen eyes just give out and dry up while a current of unrest still gushes through your soul. And you look up toward heaven in utter frustration. That was us!

I felt the Holy Spirit winter in those moments more than any place I have been. I felt an anger at God that these were my only moments and that I was forgotten. I felt cheated. I thought of all my friends with babies that were in their arms and here I was giving my son back to God at less than 1 day old.

Our pastor came and prayed and sat with us as we said our goodbye saying we will see you one day again. We then let the rest of our family in and held hands and prayed and sung “Jesus loves the little children.”

After a while the nurse had asked if they could take him and we could get sleep. At this point we’d been up for about 36 hours straight. They assured me that if I wanted him back during the night they would bring him back. I reluctantly let him go, and tried to think of him going to the nursery rather than the morgue.

Our hospital did t have a cuddle cot which would’ve given him more time in our room. Now I’ve learned about these amazing devices that help keep the babies body cool and allows for less time saying repeated goodbyes as the baby goes to the morgue.

My nurse tried to help me finally move out of bed and I felt like my stomach was being ripped open again now realizing I’d still have recovery from the c section to get through. My midwife asked if I wanted something to help me sleep. I said, sure I guess I’ll take anything you’re giving at this point and finally drifted to sleep.

I still had to be waken up for vitals and the fun massaging of the uterus. Just another reminder my stomach was empty and this was an awful reality.

The next morning I asked for Logan back as soon as I woke up.

I’d asked my mom to try to pick up some more clay for footprints. I remember her getting to the hospital and saying, the clerk said “have a nice day, I just thought what is wrong with the world for still going on? This is not a nice day.”

We called our friend and photographer and asked if she could come back and do pictures of us as a family with him before the funeral home had to come to get him. We took more pictures and then after it was becoming more evident that his skin needed to go back into a cooler we reluctantly tucked him back into his crib with his blanket and teddy bear as the nurse wheeled him away.

Later that evening we made a call to the funeral home our pastor recommended and they came to pick up Logan and take him back to the funeral home. I spent the next days reading blogs and Pinterest finds about planning a funeral for a baby, looking for someone who had walked this path and was still functioning.

Meaning of a Rainbow

If you’re a part of the infant and pregnancy loss community you probably already know the term Rainbow Baby. A rainbow is a baby born after the storms of grief from miscarriage, still birth or death in infancy. It’s supposed to give us hope of new coming.

It’s hard for me to explain how a rainbow pregnancy/baby are not all happiness and smiles. It’s hard to explain how an expectant mother can’t be absolutely excited every moment, especially after enduring so much loss.

There’s the fears that now there is a new baby to focus on that everyone will think we’re better or now we’re normal again because we’re having another baby. It’s the fear that we’re having another baby to replace the one who died. And the biggest fear that now there’s a new baby everyone will have forgotten the ones who’ve died.

The anger that comes when people say, “Now you’ll know how hard it is with 2 kids.” or how they ask the living child “Are you excited to be a big sister now?” I don’t know how to answer these unknowingly curel questions. I do know what it’s like to have 2 kids. Do I answer with, ‘Do you know how hard it is to parent when one of them lives in heaven?’ Or do I answer, ‘I know how hard it is to be up all night crying for a newborn who isn’t crying?’ It’s questions during pregnancy that completely have forgotten there was another one in between.

It’s complicated because we fear being happy for this baby, while at the same time wishing our other child was here. It’s a fear that this child will have unreasonable expectations to live their life and the life for their sibling(s) who couldn’t.

The pregnancy after loss is nothing like the one before. The innocence is gone that every pregnancy ends in a happy and healthy mom and baby. We had hoped our first rainbow pregnancy would be this child, and ended in more of the storms of grief for what couldn’t have been.

A rainbow doesn’t come without the rain and the storms of grief. Just because you see a rainbow, doesn’t mean the storm is over. Even in the eye of the storm there is quiet for a moment to recognize this pregnancy as its own, not tangled in the memories of the past. It’s not always a long moment, but when it comes the moment of peace and rainbows is so welcomed.

Hoping For A Rainbow

There is no safe time of pregnancy to announce where loss isn’t a possibility. I know that no matter the length or outcome of this pregnancy we won’t get through it alone. It takes a village.

A rainbow is a promise of sunshine after rain. Of calm after the storm, joy after sadness, peace after pain and love after loss.

Well, it’s come time for the post I didn’t know if I would one day get to write or if I would decide to share with the world. This time felt calmer and I’ve enjoyed my time with just keeping the circle small. I’m to the point where I’m ready to share this new part of our pregnancies journey. We are hopeful for a different ending, but loving this baby every moment we are able to spend together.

The real fear for me has been what reaction or stupid thing will I hear someone say and pretend I’m ok even when those words crushed me. It’s not that anyone is purposely trying to hurt me. I think everyone sees a baby as nothing but joy and innocence and it’s harder to explain when you’ve gone through an entire pregnancy only to not go home with your baby. The list below is the questions I dread and the basic answer is because it’s complicated!

1. “Is this your first?”

Ok, you don’t know how many miscarriages, abortions for medical reasons, stillborn, multiples who couldn’t thrive a woman has already had. This is way too complicated, especially considering miscarriage is 1 in 4 pregnancies! Unless you’re her doctor this makes no difference to you so please just stop!

2. “How many kids do you have already?”

I absolutely hate this question! Do I say 1, since she’s the only 1 living. Do I say 1 on Earth and 1 in heaven? This is actually my 4th pregnancy, but my 3rd only lived inside me for 10 weeks and we know so little. It’s a complicated question, so just don’t ask.

3. “Do you want a boy or girl?”

Ugh, I really just want a baby that cries after delivery who is breathing. Boy, girl or alien doesn’t matter to me. It gets more complicated after loss. A boy can remind me of what I’ve missed with Logan. But I also don’t want a boy that lives in the shadow of a dead child. A girl can be complicated because I’ll be thinking what she would be like with Logan, or wishing she would have been a boy like Logan. Like everything, it’s complicated!

4. “Are you excited?”

This is really a moment to moment question. I know it’s hard for most to think of a pregnancy as anything but exciting. There’s mixtures of excitement, hope, fears, anxiety, terrified. They all basically live together right now. So if I go from smiling one minute to crying uncontrollably it’s probably a combination of all of this plus you know pregnancy hormones!

5. “It’ll all workout. You deserve this after everything.”

Although I’d like to think I deserve that, I’ve felt that before and been completely broken. I’ve had to be reminded in the hardest of ways that we live in a broken world. I’ve lost well past the 12 week “danger zone” and then loss upon loss with our miscarriage. Sometimes there is no silver lining. Sometimes life just sucks.

7. “Are you doing anything different?”

So by doing different, I’m assuming you’re asking me, what will I do to try to not have my baby die? Well my 2 losses did not occur through any faults of my own or my care providers.

In case anyone doesn’t already know how this is not my fault: Logan moves in labor, his ultrasound 2 days prior was head down and no problems. Come delivery he went breech and landed on his cord when my water broke. The miscarriage I will never truly know, but most likely it was just not the right combo of cells to grow. Miscarriage happens 1 in 4 pregnancies. When we had our ultrasound during this we were told we were the 5th one that day. So if you haven’t suffered this loss, be thankful, but you most likely know several others who have.

Wave of lightning 

Help break the silence and remember with us by lightning a candle at 7 pm for remembrance. Unfortunately our family is not alone in this unimaginable pain. No matter how small they mattered and are always a mystery of who they would’ve been. They matter because they were here, if only for a moment.


Today is a nationally recognized day of remembrance for pregnancy and infant loss of those lives gone far too soon. 

This month:

We remember the babies born sleeping. Those we’ve carried and never met. Those we’ve held but couldn’t take home. The ones who came home, but couldn’t stay. 

Help break the silence and remember with us by lightning a candle at 7 pm for remembrance. Unfortunately our family is not alone in this unimaginable pain. No matter how small they mattered and are always a mystery of who they would’ve been. They matter because they were here, if only for a moment.

The Missing Boots

As the seasons change and we enter into the crisper barren brown of fall, there’s something missing from it in my heart that cannot be filled.

Forever and always I will look forward to the fall. The change from the heat of the summer so heavily filled with Logan’s memory of his brief 1 day with us into a new chapter. It seemed fitting the first year after loss to watch the season change into a season where everything felt as barren and brown as I felt.

This fall I’ve smelt the crisper air and am once again hearing the cheers as the home football team scores a touchdown. I still am enjoying a new breath of fresher air from the summer heat. It starts a season that seems filled with kid-centric holidays and gatherings. From the pumpkin patches, to halloween where they seriously seem to knock down your door! And all of that just bleeds into Christmas and toys and innocence of Santa being able to grant a wish.

I can’t help but think as we move into the season it’s one more time without all of my children with me. As we walked amongst the apple trees I couldn’t help but see other families with siblings and wonder what ours would be like if they could have been here. There should be 2 on Earth and one still growing inside of me. That fact that any future child will be a 4th and not 2nd is a hard one to swallow. I know whenever someone asks me how many kids I have, they are probably not wanting the whole sad backstory. They mean merely to be polite and probably don’t really care whatever that number is.

It is something I still grapple with each day when to protect my heart from the pity stares of the truth or denying my true number of children. For me they know they are in my heart no matter what is seen in front of the world. I will always see another pair of shoes that should be filled.

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Not Where I Thought I’d Be

This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life. This most recent loss is not how I thought I would be introducing our third child to the internet world. We thank everyone who has supported us so much this week. I know many ask what they can do to help. Really I have no answer. In a state of shock I’m still trying to put my own oxygen mask on before helping others. Once I get some more oxygen I’ll let you know.

There’s so many days I wake up and think I can’t believe this is our life. This week has been a rough reminder that this has not been a terrible dream. It continues to be a nightmare from which we cannot awaken.

At the end of April we had found out that we were expecting our 3rd child. We were a complex emotions of happy, scared, nervous, excited. The beginning of this pregnancy was something we didn’t take as lightly as we had before Logan. We had decided right away we would be telling our close family and friends as soon as possible because frankly the ’12 weeks rule’ is the stupidest nonsensical rule.

Looking from the other side of loss I have no idea why people think it’s good to not make others uncomfortable should something happen. When really all it does is leave a couple isolated in grief because no one knew the joy there were expecting to have. It doesn’t matter how early it happens. There is a loss of plans, of hopes and dreams. There are birthdays, graduations, and sports games that will never happen. It’s not just the loss of the pregnancy, it’s the loss of what you hoped a new future with your child would be. 

This gets me to this past week. A week ago Sunday I noticed some bleeding. I prayed for it to be anything except for what we feared. It continued off and on and by Monday night we had decided for our own sanity we needed an ultrasound and went to the hospital. The doctor confirmed our fears that we would soon be losing this pregnancy too. Our child had stopped growing at 6 weeks and had no heartbeat. We were expecting it to have been closer to 10 1/2 weeks and be changed from the first embryo we had seen weeks ago. 


I’m thankful that I have so many loss friends who had told me things to prepare me for my miscarriage. I wanted to scream at the doctor when he told me it would be ‘just like a period!’

Firstly hearing from any man about what women really experience in a period, hormones and the truly wife variations of my own normal cycle is truly laughable. I don’t care how much schooling he’s had. Unless you’ve personally experienced it just shut your mouth! 

Secondly, in typical periods I don’t have mini contractions that have me bed ridden, and eventually pass a placenta and fetus! I imagine most people reading this would say that is not a ‘normal period’ where the utmost beginnings of life are passed! I don’t normally experience my milk coming in like a period, or nausea that kept me closely confined to my bed and bathroom floor for 2 days. 

I should’ve screamed at him to stop perpetuating this lie! A miscarriage Is Not A Period! It is labor and birth and raw and is a loss of so many things! 


I myself will no longer be personally endorsing the ’12 weeks rule.’ It is true those are the most volatile weeks in a woman’s pregnancy. The risk of miscarriage dramatically decreases after this time, but really there is no ‘safe’ time where we’re guaranteed that the baby will be safe. 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage before 20 weeks. 1 in 4 babies die between conception to 1 year. 1 in 160 babies die stillborn or within 48 hours. 

This is not an uncommon experience to be kept in the corner. Although I cannot marvel over the wrinkles, toes and beautiful face of this child I will forever carry my short memories and excitement of their impending arrival. I will mourn the due date which will never come. The unfulfilled dreams for them I cannot share o this earth with them are forever missed. 

IS THE BUILD UP WORSE THAN THE DAY?

Some times the constant reminder you may have a trigger day coming is worse than the actual day. Some days it’s all around when you least expect it!

I was blessed enough to be born on Mother’s Day and was told for so long that I was the best gift for that day. I made her a “Mom.” It was a day that for so many years I’ve had shared with her. So many family celebrations of having to share my day with my grandmothers, aunts and mom’s. I enjoyed it even more when my first mother’s day as a mother myself happened to fall also on my birthday. It was a wonderful mix of emotions and outpouring of love for my daughter and celebration of this new stage of my own life.

This year these days won’t be celebrated quite the same. There will be a new worry of emotion. I’m working to remind myself that I am not only the noun of mother, someone who has born or adopted a child. I am looking at it as also a verb: something or someone as the recipient for my action. I give love, I give them energy, I give them my thoughts.

I can think of so many inspirational women throughout my life who have helped show me that what mothering truly is. Those Who have shown me grace and are my soul sisters! As I am getting bombarded with email ads for massages endless scented lotions and massages which I will never remember to book, I’ve been trying to think about what would actually make me the most happy in my celebration week of my life and Mother’s Day.

The realization of this year is that time is the only thing of true value that you cannot measure. It is the gift that gives me back the most. I know memories can fade but they  the best gifts I have received from others in these past 9 months. If you are wanting to know how you can help me this Mother’s Day this is my request:

-Show me where you took Logan’s memory today. Show me where you saw him, either in the stars, the wind, the leaves or maybe a rainbow.

-Light a candle for his memory 

-Acknowledge that this will be a difficult day and that your just thinking about me and Logan

-If you can visit with him. I love seeing when he’s had his friends stop by with a pebble or flower.

I think this day I will be surrounding myself with other mama’s whose arms are aching. I’m praying for peace and comfort during this period. I pray our children won’t be forgotten. I pray for understanding relationships and being surrounded by love.

Stepping Into The Great Unknown

The power of scent for memory recall has continued to amaze me. I have learned so much more from this and am taking steps to no longer sit aside as uneducated to what I am placing on and in my body. I am doing more of my own research and finding more sources. I know I am not alone, I am the 1 in 4 (miscarriage) and 1 in 160 (stillbirth) who have known infant loss.

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This week I stepped out into the great unknown. I finally found my Why in teaching oils and why I could no longer keep from teaching about what I’ve learned and benefited from these oils!

I started using lavender oil a few years ago when my first was born and someone told me it could help her sleep. At that point so sleep deprived I said YES! Only problem was someone told me about this, but no other follow up about how to use it or differences in oils or what a diffuser was! I eventually gave up and thought I don’t have time for research I can adjust to the no sleep and gave up on it until my 2nd pregnancy. I had done some more research on my own and knew what a diffuser was and really liked how Tea Tree smelled in my shampoo and made our stinky bathrooms smell so much better!

We actually brought our diffuser to the hospital and I was so grateful that I could make our room smell more like our home as we held Logan with us. Everyone who entered said I wish all hospital rooms smelled like this! This is way better than the stale air that is associated with hospitals. All I knew was that the smell was something I was familiar with and has brought me back to peace with Logan’s memory. I have loved lavender so much that I even placed some at Logan’s grave so he can still smell mommy when I’m not there. YLinddist_FBprofile3

Eventually after coming out of some of the haze and talking to so many other mothers of loss I now realize how common stillbirth can be. In the U.S. it’s approximately  24,000  which is an average of 1 in 160 births. Recognized miscarriage losses are even more common 1 in 4 pregnancies. With Logan we know it was a cord issue that was the ultimate cause of his death. Do I think making a lifestyle change such as reading more into chemicals in our household could’ve prevented his loss? No! But if there is a chance that I could’ve made healthier decisions for myself and my children would I change it? Yes!

I found out through some more research that some chemicals I have been using in my home could be linked to infertility. To me this was a total game changer. I went through my house with my Think Dirty AP and put in products throughout my house. Anything remotely associated with infertility I decided needed to be changed. The problem was what do I change it with?

I did my own research into companies and guidelines in what chemicals and products that I could use to replace those associated with the funk I was trying to rid my house of. A friend had told me that she felt the same way about the stuff in her household and had been using the Young Living line of products for cleaning and diffusing around her house. I looked through their catalog and how they made their products. I was so amazed. They don’t use pesticides, they harvest by hand and have a promise of how the products are made from the Seed to the Seal they are ensuring their safety.

This week I was able to lead my first of hopefully many classes in teaching about making yourself educated as to what is in your home. I am so excited for this education journey and can’t wait to see what more I learn from others as I grow on this journey. If you have any interest in learning more or setting up a time to talk please comment below and I would love to get in touch!

If you would like more information about enrolling see my earlier post Why Essential Oils

One of My Grief Writing Inspirations

untitledI cannot say enough how inspiring Sheryl Sandberg is personally and professionally as a woman teaching other women to Lean In. In May 2015 Dave Goldberg, then CEO of tech company SurveyMonkey, husband of top Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg and father of their two children, passed away unexpectedly while on vacation in Mexico. The way that she has been very open about her grief and teaching empathy in the midst of her own pain has amazed me. Sheryl has shown me that it’s ok to address the elephant. That although the standard time for mourning is over that we have to continue to learn how to live life differently.

Following the end of the 30-day religious mourning period in Judaism known as sheloshim, Sheryl Sandberg posted a note on Facebook, reflecting on her grief and her learnings.

Here are a few of the thoughts she shared publically on her Facebook page which has since gone viral:

_________________________________________________________________

“Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not.” Sandberg says she finally understood that telling people facing challenges that “everything will be okay” is not actually helpful. Sometimes, acknowledging what is happening — the pain — is what people truly need.

“Let’s all move out of the way. Someone’s parent or partner or child might depend on it.” Sandberg was referring to the cars on the road while the ambulance drove her husband to the hospital, but the call for less selfishness can be universally applied.

“I have learned that resilience can be learned.” A friend of Sandberg’s told her about the three elements to resilience: personalization (it’s not your fault), permanence (these feelings won’t last forever), and pervasiveness (this doesn’t have to affect every area of your life).

“One of my favorite cartoons of all time has an elephant in a room answering the phone, saying, ‘It’s the elephant.’ Once I addressed the elephant, we were able to kick him out of the room.” Sandberg realized that people close to her, especially at work, were terrified of saying anything that could hurt her, and the only solution was for everyone to openly ask questions and share their feelings. Addressing that elephant in the room is the only way to move forward.

“Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.” These wise words came from a friend of Sandberg’s, about acceptance — and making the best of the situation. Goldberg might not be there for their children anymore, but she can commit to making the best from the alternative.

Busting Some Only Child Myths

only
The ‘Problem With Only Children’

Why is the status of only child seemingly only associated as bad? As a society we have a tendency to say ‘your baby is so cute, when are you having more?’ or “Is this your first?” These questions lead to an automatic assumption that a couple having 1 child must want more babies, or we say things hoping to urge them to have more babies. The idea that having an only child will leave that child spoiled and unable to deal with society.

The big question is ‘Why is this any of their business?’

Those who don’t know how long the couple may have been trying for the first pregnancy. They don’t know how many rounds of fertility shots which were already endured. How many tears were shed on the bathroom floor when they realized that they had failed yet again. They don’t see the depression that followed their last pregnancy. How it is just a struggle to keep breathing and the thought of another pregnancy and post-partum brings shortening of breath.

Outsiders don’t see the miscarriages and tears because they may have wanted more or even struggled to get to one.

Speaking for myself as an only child I hope I can debunk some of these myths. I’m now on the other side as a parent. I have one child on with me on Earth and one waiting for me in Heaven. Because people can only see her they use her being only child to explain any and all behavior.

I’ve heard remarks ranging from you know she’s going to be selfish or she will never learn to interact in society. I have to try my best to punch them and not point out that I also am an only child. In fact 1 in 5 American families have just one child, but we still are seen as black sheep.

So here are some common myths I’m going to try to debunk for you:

  1. Only Children Are Lonely.
    1. Yes, only children spend more time alone than children with siblings. Being alone does not automatically equal loneliness. Studies have shown that spending time alone strengthens character and only children often know themselves better as a result. What’s more, only children have just as many friends as children with siblings do. So all the alone time doesn’t have a negative impact on the only child’s ability to make friends
  2. Only Children Are Selfish.
    1. In depth studies have been done on only children over the course of the last 20years and research overwhelmingly agrees that only children do not exhibit more negative personality traits than kids with siblings. Only children are no more selfish than children with siblings
  3. Only Children Are Spoiled.
    1. Most think that because there is only one child, that he or she gets what she wants all the time. This simply isn’t true. Any child can be spoiled or overindulged whether they are only child or not. Experts say it is the parenting that determines this much more so than the number of children
  4. Parents Of Only Children Are Selfish.
    1. Parents of only children are often on the receiving end of criticism and scrutiny as people think they are selfish for only wanting one child and what they perceive as “easy”. Others assume that the marriage isn’t a happy one and that’s why the couple only chose one child. People need to understand that having an only child is a valid family choice. Happier parents means a happier family overall-regardless of the number of children.

There are also some benefits to having an only child. Parents have more resources to devote to that child including money and energy. As a result of having more resources to devote they often have higher intelligence and achievement rates than counterparts with siblings, which could lead to them contributing more to society. Only children often have higher self-esteem than kids with siblings.

So now you know only children are no more spoiled or selfish than the rest of the world. Please leave your personal opinions about how many children the couple should to yourself. Unless you are going to be a parent involved in the equation of raising the children you are not allowed an opinion on what the appropriate number of children is for any family. 

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/20/opinion/martin-single-child/index.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/only-children-lonely-and-selfish.html?_r=1&

 

Music Monday (What Kind Of Day Has It Been?)

Some days it’s just easier to start a day with a song. It’s good to remember that life is wondrous and beautiful. I think it reminds you that following your heart will get you to a new place of Love. That we never imagined we’d end up here, but we followed our hearts and has led us to this place.

The question “What kind of day has it been?” is one Aaron Sorkin asks on almost everyone of his shows. It’s a question that I’ve been trying to be more mindful of asking. What can I look at from today that was the high point? Not everyday has more highs than goods, but taking time to reexamine each day has become increasingly important to me. We were reminded in church this morning that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. That is a lesson I continue to learn and attempt to appreciate each moment of each day.

 

 

Never EVER ask a woman this question!

PSA of what you should never ask of a woman!

Don’t ever ask!I just want everyone to hear in case no one else had given you the education there are a few questions which you should never ever ask a woman!My least favorite included:

  • “How many months are you?”
  • “You haven’t had that baby yet?”
  • “Are you having twins?”
  • “Are you pregnant?”

I’m here’s to give a PSA to anyone who will listen. Don’t ever ask any question of a woman related to this? Chances are you aren’t funny or original. It is as if a woman should only be remarked on for her ability to bear children and it seems like oftentimes our other accomplishments and accolades never get this same attention. 

The worst of these comes when you ask it and the woman isn’t pregnant! It is insulting for the woman who now feels fat and the asker feel embarrassed! 

For me it’s an even worse reminder that I no longer have Logan with me all the time. That I wish I could go back and still have Logan with me everywhere. It’s a reminder that I have no newborn at home and therefore no excuse of not going to the gym. Reminder of how I have made decisions neglecting my body in favor of my grief. 

I’m sure that this PSA won’t reach everyone and I’ll be asked it again. I’m trying to think of a better response than “I’M NOT PREGNANT!!!!” Until then I’m just going to hope some other mama’s will pass the word on to keep your questions to yourself!

No Ruler to Measure Grief

So many people who have contacted me since I started writing with their own stories. These are stories of old wounds, vulnerability and reopened scars and the memories that haunt us at night. They usually start with a disclaimer “it doesn’t compare to what has happened to you” or “I wasn’t as far as you were.”

These disclaimers make me think that at some point our society decided that we need to rank measures of loss. That for some reason some hurt was worth more than another hurt. We try to minimize our hurt and be a martyr. I’ve learned that to rank a loss is just cruel. The worst thing that could happen did and that’s all that matters. The weight of your loss is not transferrable and not measurable. If it’s heavy for you it should be acknowledged and that’s really all that matters.

I want to thank the many people who have opened up and shared stories of their scars. They are all special and unique and part of what bind us together. We all have struggles and are all trying to persevere.

There is enough suffering to go around and it can be overwhelming. We don’t need to put comparisons or disclaimers on our emotions.

Some of best advice in those darkest first months was to try to talk to myself like I was talking to my best friend. She let me acknowledge I was in the trenches and to remind myself to be kind while I was trying to fight a war with myself.

If your waiting for a permission slip to feel complicated things all at once here it goes. Remember your allowed to be happy about good things while your sad about good things. Your allowed to be proud of every mountain you have climbed. You are not obligated to justify your feelings. Especially feelings of grief. You are not obligated to minimize your loss.

We are all here to bear witness to one another. To lend a hand when we see someone slipping. I hope that you know this is not a competition of who has it worse. No one really wants to win that competition.

Remember to be to yourself. To talk to yourself as if you were your own best friend and not the guilt tripping enemy you maybe listening to in your head. I’ve found that grief is a complication of emotions of sadness mixed with happy mixed with another sadness about feeling happy. Remember your not crazy, it’s just grief. And anyone who thinks grief is a smooth transition of checkmarks is probably living in some crazy sub-universe!

Mention of a name 


I love having family and friends who are so open about telling me that they miss Logan too! Please know that each time it makes my heart so happy. Although I might cry missing him too, it makes me so happy to hear his name every time! 

Your Irreplaceable

Time will not change that. Time does not heal all wounds, it allows for a different perspective.

No matter what stage in life our children are not replaceable. No matter how many others I hold in my arms they will not be the one I lost.

I’ve talked to other loss mama’s about how we could all write books of the stupid ‘helpful” things we’ve heard since our loss. One of the top is: “Your young you can always have more.”

It truly aches hearing that.

It assumes that children are interchangeable.

This is usually not meant to be said in a hurtful manner. It’s thought to be look on the bright side. But really it is just minimizing the loss.

Would you say to your grandparent who just lost their partner of 50 years “Don’t worry you can always get married again?”

NO! That would sound completely insincere. You know that although they could get remarried it doesn’t mean that time is forgotten with their loss.

Although our time was shorter than we had wanted with Logan. Having a living child or any possible future children do not replace his place in our family.

The moment that those 2 pink lines show up your life is changed. You make plans before the child is fully formed. You alter your life choices and prepare space in your heart and home for the future you hope for.

Time will not change that. Time does not heal all wounds, it allows for a different perspective.

No matter what stage in life our children are not replaceable. No matter how many others I hold in my arms they will not be the one I lost.

I have heard other loss moms judging me by reminding me to be thankful for my living children. Which I am. But that does not mean I do not mourn the one who is not here.

I’m asking for a stop in the mommy wars.

We are all broken. You may have good intentions. I do not think anyone who has said this has said it purposefully trying to be hurtful. I just ask you to remember: children are irreplaceable.

No matter how long their stay was on this earth, there will never be another exactly like them.