Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

My dear Lily, every year on December 8th I buy pink lilies for you. And for me, because they are my favorite flowers, after all. And this is the way I remember you. The world doesn't have any way to remember birth certificate, no photos, no headstone....nothing. But I remember!!

The flowers are beautiful. They give me something I like remembering. To tell the truth, I try to forget about that awful night 6 years ago when we had to say goodbye. I try not to remember the trip to the ER, that finals week, or all the things I hated about Christmas that year. There are a lot of things I try to forget. But you, my beautiful girl, I won't forget.

Today is a hard day. I miss you so much. I hope Grandpa Fred shared the hugs we gave him in his last hours on earth last week. I hope you are surrounded by a lot of people who love you today. I know I am cherishing every hug and snuggle I get today. It's not really like being able to hold you, but each one does seem to heal my heart, even if it's just a tiny bit at a time. I love you, Lillian Jane. I hope you have a day filled with love and peace and plenty of hugs from people who love love you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. The 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. I dread it every year. It hurts.

I find reminders everywhere I turn that I am missing my baby girl. And that others are missing their babies as well. I can't escape it. It hurts to be missing a baby. Somedays my heart is broken. With nearly 6 years behind us, there are way more good days than bad. But there are still hard days.

In the world of pregnancy and infant loss there is a term used for a healthy baby born after a loss; Rainbow Baby. I didn't know about this term when my own Rainbow was born. I was a mess of hurt and confusion then. If I could go back to any point in my life and change the way I lived, the first few months of his life would be what I would change. It was a really hard time for me. Looking back I realize now I should have sought help. I'm certain I had some postpartum depression and being barely a year out from my loss that I felt everyone expected me to just forget didn't help. I wish I had known about Rainbow Babies then. I wish I had been able to feel excitement of a new baby instead of just wishing for my missing baby.

There were days I would sit home with my new baby wondering why it was so quiet. Sometimes I felt like I should be searching for a toddler who was quiet because they were getting into something. It was the strangest feeling to me. And every time I bring a new baby home I have felt that same feeling that someone was missing.

When my next baby was born something changed for me. A lot of the hurting and aching were gone. There were, of course, hard days. But they were fewer and father in between. Shortly after his birth I heard the term Rainbow Baby for the first time. And it felt like he was my Rainbow. I didn't ache so much for my missing baby then. I guess I had come to terms with the fact that now was not my time to have with her.

This summer I got to bring yet another baby boy home. I was worried. I was so sick while I was pregnant I didn't care about much of anything. I felt so disconnected to the baby, my family, and everything else. We didn't find out the gender because I didn't want to hear people say they were sorry if we were having another boy. I was so sick that feeling sorry for myself was already easy. I didn't need more reasons to feel sad. I especially didn't want to hear that we needed to try again for a girl. I can't always explain that we already do have a girl, we just can't see her right now. I already avoid the pink sections of the stores as much as possible. I try not to look at all the little girl things I wish my daughter needed. I didn't even buy anything pink to possibly bring a baby home in.

Once baby was finally here all my worries slipped quickly away. How could I not be in love with this perfect little boy with the most gorgeous hair I had ever seen? He was perfect and wonderful and I was almost immediately done being sick. It was like he was my Rainbow Baby. I've decided that the term shouldn't just apply to the baby born right after a loss. It should really apply to every baby born after a loss. Because each one brings healing and beauty.

It's true, I have felt Lily missing a lot more the first few weeks after my boys have been born. This summer I even had a moment where I counted the kids and wondered who was missing. It only lasted a second or maybe two before I realized who was missing. I like to think she brings her brothers down to our family and stays to make sure they settle in. I like to think she is watching over us. Sometimes I feel her especially close. And I always miss her come October and Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. I miss her on December 8th, the day we lost her. I miss her in early July when the lilies bloom in my yard. She should have been born in early July. If she had been, she would have likely had lilies for her birthday every year.

Tonight there should be a wave of light as candles are lit for angels. At 7pm in each time zone for an hour there will be candles lit for angels all over the world. I've never done the candle lighting before. But I want to this year. I may have to light a few candles. I have met 16 angels since I joined Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep as a photographer in May of 2013. I have met countless people who have an angel of their own. These angels leave a mark on my heart. Sometimes they leave grieving marks and sometimes they leave healing marks. Sometimes they leave both. The little one I photographed last week was one that left both kinds of marks. It was my first session since my last baby was born. The first time I have ever had a little baby to snuggle when I got home. I held him close and stroked his face and thanked God for my new Rainbow Baby. I also cried for a Mommy who just had to say goodbye to her baby. I am really glad to be back with NILMDTS. It truly is a great blessing in my life to be able to serve families in a way few people can serve.

So here it is, October 15th in just a few minutes. I've been thinking about/dreading writing this all up for weeks. But now it is done. My thoughts and feelings in a jumble of words that maybe don't really make sense to anyone who hasn't experienced this. But I feel better. And sometimes, that's all that I really need from blogging.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's been a while...

It's been a while since I posted anything. And here's the reason:

Gavin Lewis
born 6/26/14
7:03 am
7 lbs 3 oz
19 inches

3 days old

1 week old

He is a nice combination of his brother's good looks. He's got looooong skinny feet, long arms, and huge hands. He is already sleeping 4+ hours a time every night all night long. He is greatly loved by his big brothers!! We are all so glad our sweet baby is here (and Mommy doesn't even have to take medicine any more to not be sick). 

Monday, January 13, 2014

When Mommy Has to Say Goodbye

The other night my husband watched a movie trailer; a movie that has been a huge hit in box offices this month. It is the story of a soldier who ends up being the sole survivor of his group. That preview made me cry, possibly thanks to crazy hormones...but I just kept thinking about all those babies who didn't return home to their mommies. And I cried. I cried for all those mommies who lost their babies that day. You see, I've come to the conclusion that no mommy should every have to say a final goodbye to her baby.

Just over 5 years ago we lost our first baby at what should have been 1/4 of the way through the pregnancy. It was Christmas time. Especially in church and in songs we heard a lot about the miracle of Christ's birth. In my grief all I could think was that it wasn't fair that Mary got to have her baby, and I didn't get to have mine. It was a rough Christmas. Shortly after Christmas I was listening to a song (at the insistence of some family members) about a soldier who didn't return home to his mother. Several of us were in tears. One mother in the room mentioned how hard it was to hear that song while having a son over-seas, not military related. And another cut in that it was even harder to have a son who had served in the military. I wanted to scream at them both. The one line of the song I remember talked about memories and pictures being all that was left to remember her child by. At least they HAD memories to remember their child by. I suppose grief is sometimes narrow-minded - I hadn't come to the realization yet that no mommy every wants to say that final goodbye to her baby.

A little over a year later a Marine from my hometown was killed in Afghanistan. I hadn't met him before, but knew his parents. I remember the moment the realization hit. Another mommy had had to say goodbye to her baby. My son was not yet 5 months old at the time and I remember going into his room and watching him sleep with tears streaming down my face. This time I wasn't crying for myself. I was crying for another mommy who had to say that final goodbye to her baby. He may have been in his 20s, but most moms will agree that their children are always their babies, no matter how old they are.

In the past 4 years I've met a lot of mothers who have had to say goodbye to their children. And I realize, even more strongly now, that no mommy ever wants to have to say goodbye to their baby. All of our experiences are different, and there's really no way to say what experience is hardest; a miscarriage, a stillbirth, a little one who couldn't live without machines, a tragic accident, cancer, war....and so many, many other things that take lives. Sometimes the mommy has passed on before the child, and I'm certain there are a great many reunions in heaven. But sometimes a mommy is required to stay on earth without her baby. And it just isn't fair. There are a lot of things in life that aren't "fair" and never will be. Today I'm specifically writing about one unfair thing that is especially close to my heart.

We never know how long we might get. It may be just a few days or weeks, it may be months or years, but ultimately, we never feel it is enough time. We feel cheated, I imagine, no matter how much time we have. Personally, I have only experienced one type of loss, that of a child we never got to see. And I know there are people out there who think a loss that early shouldn't matter that much, but it does to me. I picture her as a 5 year old with blond hair and blue eyes. She is sweet and kind and a perfect child who I have never argued with or been frustrated with. Perhaps they are silly daydreams. But she is real to me. And I fully believe that someday we will get to have her as part of our family. She inspires me and helps me to help other families who are having to say that final goodbye to their tiny babies as well. There are still hard days, days when my heart feels like it's been ripped out of my chest and I can barely breath and I don't know how I can go on missing my baby so much. But there are so many good days now. I often feel especially close to my sweet angel when I have a chance to visit with other angels though volunteering with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.

Sometimes I come home from a visit with an angel and I cry and cry. But I no longer only just cry for myself. I've been able to let go of the hurt I feel knowing other mommies got to hold their little ones, even for just a little while. It truly doesn't hurt me any more. I still wish my baby was here, but I know that just because I didn't get to hold my baby doesn't make my experience any harder or easier than these other mommies face. Having to say goodbye to your baby is a hard matter the circumstances.

And other mommies can, and do, understand this grief. Mary, the mother of Christ, can understand my hurt over losing my baby. The mother of the Marine from my home town can understand my heartache. There are mothers all over the world who have said goodbye to their babies, and they can all understand that grief. And of course, Christ understands better than anyone. How grateful I am for his sacrifice that he might be able to truly know each heartache we suffer. I don't know how it works, but I believe it does. I keep this picture to remind that even if I can't be holding my baby today, Christ is taking good care of her.
In the Arms of His Love - Del Parson

Someday we will all be together again, and what glorious reunions await in heaven for all those mothers and babies. I imagine it will be a truly beautiful day.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 in Review

2013 was a good and very busy year for us! If you want the short Facebook version - you can click HERE. But I thought I should probably type one out too, since I missed updating for both the boys birthdays this year.

2013 firsts:
First house bought (May)
First surgery - Emmett's tubes (June)
First dog - Lola (June)
First bike stolen - Sam's (April)
First stolen bike found - Sam's (September)
First promotion - Sam (August)
First Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep session - Stacy (April)
First Primary program with a participating child - Caleb (November)
First Utah Baby - scheduled to arrive July 2, 2014

Updates on us:

Turned 2 November 30th and suddenly started talking a whole lot more. Now his sentences include "Peese Mama, chocolate?" and "Wing da wosie bah dow fass" (Ring around the rosies, fall down, fast) and other things that sometimes need a lot of translation on our parts. He likes to say big words like "rototiller," "helicopter" and "chocolate" and he doesn't like leaving out syllables, but it does take patience on the part of the listener to wait for him to finish his big words. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment this year is that he finally sleeps through the night! Took tubes, a move, and putting him in a bed (all in about 6 weeks) but he now sleeps well through the night in his own bed! He has also taken up a love of dancing and music and singing Primary songs since his birthday. He still likes to climb on things but doesn't end up falling off them quite as much as he used to. He loves to follow Caleb around and do everything "brudder" does. He loves to eat food (except tortillas) and often finishes his brother's left overs. He has turned into quite the ham and loves to make people laugh by doing silly things. He also laughs very loudly when he thinks he's funny or someone else is laughing, even if he doesn't get why. He loves to say "hi" to everyone he sees in the store, and sometimes in the cars next to us at lights. He gets disappointed if they don't say hi back though. One of his newest favorite things is the movie The Sound of Music.

This is Emmett's counting face - it's hilarious!


Turned 4 October 10th. He's been loving Sunbeams and insists he needs to take his scriptures to church with him every Sunday. He still loves getting dressed up for church - especially wearing a tie. He is still a chatter-box and some days talks almost constantly. As he grows up his conversations have become deeper. Some of our recent conversations have included: Satan, the main bad guy who wants other people to make bad choices, why killing Satan isn't the way to get rid of that particular bad guy, and what things make Satan happy and Jesus sad; Weddings, and how you move out of your parents house when you get married; Commandments; Bing Crosby - the best Christmas singer; and many conversations including the characters of The Sound of Music - his favorite movie. He got the DVD for SoM for his birthday and it was a big hit. I think in Caleb's mind the people in SoM are as real to him as his extended family and friends. "So Mom, if you are 16 you can drive a car, right? Can Liesl drive a car, Mom?" "Do you know what Little Gretel likes? Bunny rabbits! It's her favorite thing!" Perhaps his biggest accomplishment this year is getting up to bear his testimony in Sacrament Meeting in October. Daddy helped him and it was a sweet moment! He has been practicing to do it again, though last time he practiced he said, "Joseph Smith went to pray to Heavenly Father about which church to destroy....and Heavenly Father told him to destroy them all." He is not too shy about getting up in front of people and when it was his turn to give his part for the Primary program he said it as fast as he could before anyone could help him, and he had a huge grin on his face the whole time. He loves playing with and taking care of his little brother and is excited about being a big brother again. This year for Christmas he wanted "a blanket with cheese on it - not real cheese, just pictures of cheese." He decided Emmett needed one too. They got blankets with animals on them instead. He has a great imagination!

Hit his year mark of working for Lifetime in August. He got a promotion, a raise, and a title to go with his job. Perhaps his biggest work accomplishment this year is a patent for a piece on a kayak. The job pays for the patent and all necessary work that way, but Sam's name gets to be on the paperwork. He went kayaking numerous times and sometimes would come home nearly complaining about falling in the river for his job. I don't have much sympathy those days. I can see his smug grin under the complaining, it really is a great job for him and he loves it. We rarely go a week without hearing about how wonderful Sam's voice is in our ward. He's sung several times and is asked to read quotes and 4 page articles in Sunday School. He teaches Elder's Quorum and is on the building cleaning management crew. He tried his hand at fixing sprinklers this summer and found something he really enjoys (and so do the boys - Dad lets them play in the mud while he works). He is loving having a large yard, fruit trees, and a dog (Lola). He spent a great week in the Wind Rivers with his parents and sister and brother-in-law in August. He enjoyed a work sponsored fishing from a kayak tournament this summer. He really does love kayaking! Lately he's been spending a lot of time taking care of the rest of us and the house when he comes home from work. He is pretty much super man and even got our jetted tub working today!

I finally got my application approved for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep in April. It was a long process, but mostly just a bit tricky getting my pictures ready for their specific requirements. Since April I've logged 12 sessions - one a twin session, and I went on one more shoot with another photographer for my first time around - so a total 14 babies for me this year. It was so wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time. It is nice to feel like I have found a helpful service, but also sad every time a baby doesn't get to stay on this earth. I also got a closet up and going for angel clothes, Lily's Angel Closet. And it has been quite the project. It is a closet filled with love and every time I open it up I can feel all the love people have put into these outfits, blankets, and other accessories just spilling out. It truly is a beautiful thing! Since November I have been putting all my energy into our July 2014 baby. It has been some of the hardest work I've ever done and a lot of other things (almost everything) has been neglected because of this work. This year my Christmas wish was to have a few days of not feeling quite so awful and I got that! New Years has been rough, but Christmas was wonderful. At 14 weeks today I am really hoping for more good days coming up! I have been serving in Nursery at church and I am trying to really love it. I got a chance to play my flute for the Christmas program and may have made my own mark in the ward - apparently they have several people who play the violin, but none who play the flute.

Family picture in our back yard - a photographer friend of mine came and took pictures for us - so excited to have such neat backdrops in our own yard!

All in all, 2013 was a good year for us and we're really excited about 2014 coming up, especially a baby coming in July!