Monday, December 26, 2011


Christmas on the beach was the best idea ever.

It was our first time seeing the Pacific Ocean.

Our dog, Austin, loved racing the waves and running around the beach like a mad man.

Austin's enthusiasm and pure happiness was amazing. And contagious. There was something healing about it. Magical, almost.

There's just something about the sand and the waves. I felt like a little kid again. Running as fast as we could in every direction and splashing through water and racing away from waves. Laughing so deeply that we couldn't breathe. Completely forgetting that the outside world even existed.

It was happiness, in its deepest and purest form. Happiness that I haven't felt in such a long time.

And of course, no trip to the beach is complete without writing your name in the sand. But instead, I wrote my babies' names. And some of the other babies that had been heavy on my heart all week. Austin even tried to help, deliberately stomping his paw print wherever I was trying to write.

Work starts again on Wednesday. I'd rather just go back to the beach.

Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Days.

Christmas is in 7 days.

I haven't been home for or had a real Christmas in 4 years.

Christmas used to be fun when I was a kid. We would spend Christmas Eve with the entire family at Granny's house. Papaw would make popcorn in the fireplace. Uncle Timmy would start a paper wad fight. One year my dad set the cat on fire. (The cat was ok, just for the record.) There was more pie than you could actually eat.

It was a great time for everyone. Until the grown ups started fighting. Money. Food. Being on time. What time to have it. This person wants to do this but that person wants to do that. Their fighting ruined our fun nights. They killed the magic of Christmas...especially at Granny's.

Christmas with my parents was still fun. The stockings were always my favorite part. (My first Christmas away from home, my dad made my mom mail my completely stuffed stocking to me.) And the pie. For breakfast, of course.

This year, it's just another day.

I don't want to see Santa. I don't want to see Christmas trees. I didn't get excited about seeing the light displays across the neighborhood. I even had a hard time motivating myself to send out Christmas cards.

It's weird. This unmotivated, not caring about the holidays, not wanting to indulge in any Christmas spirit or festivities hole that I seem to have fallen in. It's not about the babies. To be completely honest, nothing even close to "Christmas without my babies" has crossed my mind. It's not about not being home. I don't think it's even about not talking to half my family anymore.

I think I'm just that exhausted.

The most exciting part of Christmas this year is the 12 days of leave. 12 whole days of not having to be at work. 12 whole days of no uniforms or tight buns. 12 whole days of not dealing with people I don't like. 12 whole days of no flight line induced flashbacks. 12 whole days is the best present ever.

And to make these 12 days of leave even better, Bryan and I are spending Christmas in Oregon. In a beach front hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I can't wait to spend the weekend beach combing with the dog, enjoying a big hot cocoa on the cold beach, and falling asleep to the sound of the ocean. And hopefully, catching a good Pacific storm from the warmth of our room.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I had a York Peppermint Patty Hot Cocoa today while we were climbing around Mt. Baker with some friends. It was delicious. But it made my stomach hurt something fierce, and I don't really feel like writing tonight. So here's a picture from today's adventure in the snow. Just to prove that I can actually still smile. Sometimes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

It Has To Be Better Than This.

I probably don't even have to say this, but I'm miserable at my job. Completely-rather-drive-off-Deception-Pass-bridge-than-be-here-miserable. (Don't worry, I don't plan on actually doing that.)

Things got to the point that I couldn't make eye contact with or even look in the direction of my boss without my stomach lurching and feeling like I would puke. Every time I see him, I start feeling those contractions deep in my lower back, and I start hearing the ambulance outside my house, and I start hearing that conversation the day he told me that I had to move on.

I'm still trying so hard to not have hard feelings, but I still have hard feelings against the world in general.

I know that the biggest fault lies with the ER that sent me home without consulting an OB the night they said my uterus was full of blood. I know that work couldn't have known something that serious was going on, and I know that if he had any idea something like that would have happened, my boss would never have done what he did. But that doesn't ease the hurt or the fear of the future.

I'm terrified of pregnancy. I'm terrified of pissing in the middle of the night. I'm terrified of sex. I'm terrified of the possibility of watching another baby die.

I've lost what little motivation I did have, especially at work. I don't want to be there. I don't want to deal with people. I don't want to learn. I don't want to constantly defend or explain myself. I don't want to deal with another flashback on the flight line in the middle of the night.

I don't want to do anything anymore. At home, I don't want to put in the effort to get out of my pajamas unless I absolutely have to. Most days I just lay in bed, snuggled up with Brake's blankey and the dog, fighting nightmares and dreading reality. 

(Most days look a lot like this, except I'm in the Pacific Northwest, so those would be rain clouds.)

I can honestly say that I am in much better control of my emotions now than I have been in the last several months, but I am definitely in a lot worse place now than ever before. I have seriously all but given up. I can't say it's because of this new work/doc stuff because in all honesty, I knew what happened a long time ago. I might not have had a doctor tell me, but in my heart, I knew. I think I'm just that exhausted. Mentally. Emotionally. Physically.

I have 9 months and 1 day left in this place. My boss asked where my reenlistment package was a couple days ago, and I laughed in his face and said "Fuck that." I start preparations for separation this week. Transition-back-to-the-real-world classes. Separation physicals. All that nonsense. I told Bryan to start looking for a real job. I want him to be able to finish his degree, but I can't keep carrying the weight of being the provider anymore. I can't keep carrying the burden this place puts on me. I want out of this. I've already started looking at jobs outside.

I don't know how this is gonna go, but it has to be better than being as miserable as I am now.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Finding Peace.

Peace is not something you can force on anything or anyone...much less upon one's own mind. It is like trying to quiet the ocean by pressing upon the waves. Sanity lies in somehow opening to the chaos, allowing anxiety, moving deeply into the tumult, diving into the waves, where underneath, within, peace simply is.  -Gerald May

Thursday, December 1, 2011

8 Months Too Late.

My heart hurts.

There's a good chance that we have some answers as to what happened with Brake.

There's a good chance that, had the Navy's pregnancy instruction been followed correctly, what happened might have been completely preventable. Or it would have at least happened much later.

I'm trying really hard to not be bitter. I'm trying really hard to not be angry. I'm trying really hard to not throw blame.

I'm failing miserably.

Even if it was preventable. Even if it is sorta someone's fault in even the slightest way. I don't want to blame them. I don't want to put that blood on their hands. I don't want to harbor those bad thoughts and bad feelings. I don't want that in my heart.

But when said person walked in at work this morning, my stomach immediately dropped. I thought I was gonna puke. I can't look at them. I almost made eye contact once, and I immediately almost puked again. Now every time I even think about not looking at them, all I can see is my little boy struggling in his fluid sac. I can't even picture the good things anymore. His perfect tiny fingers. His beautiful smile. How absolutely in love I was even though I knew he didn't stand a chance.

I don't know what to do.

My heart hurts so bad. 

Sometimes when you finally get the answers you've been seeking, even if it is 8 months too late, you realize that maybe you were better off without knowing. Or at least that's how it feels right now.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Need Those Pieces Back.

February 2007, revisited...
 I spent several hours at the cemetery last night after work, and then I took a drive to clear my mind. I took a left off the main highway and followed the winding road as far as it would go. House. Farm. House. House. "Road Ends 1000 Feet." The long winding road dropped down to old gravel at a rundown cemetery with some of those flashy lights that I hate so much. The glowing eyes of a single grazing deer caught my headlights as the tree line and road slipped away into open darkness. A tiny sliver of a red moon seeped through the thick black clouds, illuminating the dark water just enough to bring fallen, withered trees and lonely wooden poles out of hiding. Dove cries echoed faintly from out across the water. The air was chilly and calm, with an abnormal stillness that just didn't feel right. Across the way, red lights shone dimly under the highway bridge like distant dying stars, the only sign of civilization aside from the quiet drone of the truck's engine. It was dark, desolate, and cold, unlike anything I've ever seen, even in those crazy sci-fi movies. I sat shivering and closed my eyes, choking on the still air and the tears freezing between my eyelashes. For a moment, my eyes were completely frozen and blind.

I heard her laughter from the hallway and looked up to see her moving about in the mirror. I could smell her favorite shampoo as her hair swayed when she rounded the corner. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw them talking and eating candy in the next room. She looked up and smiled at me, but it couldn't be. She couldn't be there. Her infectious laughter was shattered by the screeching of tires and busting glass. The smell of hot airbag and blood and burning oil seeped through the air like poison gas, thickly drowning out the shampoo of moments before. A loud, smothering scream, and all went silent.

My lungs got tight, and my frozen eyes shot wide open to find the same dark, desolate wasteland I'd been staring at for an hour. As my eyes once again adjusted to the darkness, the red of the moon got deeper, the air got colder, and those red lights under the bridge seemed even farther away than ever. The shadows of those withered trees were more pronounced against the reflection of the moon on the black water, but the whole world seemed to grow ever darker with every faint breath.

The end of that old ferry road felt like the end of the world....and except for the occasional cry of that lonesome dove, I was completely alone.
This was written 7 months after we buried F. That was truly the deepest and darkest time of my life. I used to drive out to the landing where the old ferry used to be and sit for hours at night. It was terrifying, to be completely honest. I didn't like the dark or that old cemetery...especially those damn flashing lights, and some really dark nights it was really hard to tell where the landing stopped and the water began. (But it was my favorite place to be.)

It's been 7 months (actually, 8 months next week) since we lost Brake. My heart hurts for my little boy. My nightmares have been getting worse, but lately, they have all been about F. It hurts, reliving all those horrible nights again, having all of those horrible images burned into my head once more. I get to the point that I don't want to go to sleep because I don't want to see it, to see her like that, to choke on those smells that aren't really there. I get to the point that I'm so overwhelmed that I'm angry. Angry at God for taking her. And then taking Andy. And then Lilly and then Brake. Angry at this out of control roller coaster that I can't get off and never wanted to get on.

I have found that I can no longer distinguish between the grief of one or the other. They are all so closely interlinked even though they were all so different, so completely separate. My heart aches. And this never ending roller coaster is wearing me down. 

I don't sleep, at least not very much or very well. I try to divert my attention to something but I lose my focus. Even when I can focus, I can't remember. I can't remember what I wore yesterday or what I had for breakfast. Nope, not lunch or dinner either. I try to study because I really do want to learn my job. But I confuse this system with that system. And then something stupid like a ladder causes a flashback. It's pointless to try to remember anything when I have those. Then one of Andy's favorite songs comes on and for no apparent reason I just start bawling. And then I'm angry because I hate crying. I cry myself to sleep and then wake up to nightmares and another vicious cycle starts over again. 

This sounds really stupid, but I think the trauma ripped out pieces of my brain, important ones that I need to function at least somewhat like a normal person. I really need those pieces back.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


A few posts ago, I told yall about the blue hydrangeas by our stairs that just refuse to give up their color.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It snowed briefly a few days ago. Winter is here in the Pacific Northwest, whether I like it or not. (I don't, for the record.)

And these guys?

Still there. Still bright as ever. Still not letting go.

They make my heart happy.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shot to Pieces.

Yesterday I was so upset about the hat that I completely forgot to tell yall about my visit with the hospital. Maybe that was part of what was upsetting me, in all honesty.

I had to see a doctor in Flight Medicine last week to check up on my asthma. After everything was done, I walked down to the other side of the hospital, where the OB clinic and Labor & Delivery are. I walked out three times before I could muster the courage to walk down their hall. I found someone that could direct me to the right person to talk to. My chest was so tight I'm surprised I could even talk.

"We already have a bereavement program in place. We even have a monthly support system."

Wait. WHAT?!

I tried to hold back tears as I explained to her that we had lost our baby in April and nothing had been available to us. (Or as it seems, nothing had been made available to us.) I told her about creating these memory boxes so that parents would have something.

She was nice. She apologized that no one told us anything was available for us. She showed me the boxes they have, and she told me I could keep one if I wanted, even though she knows it doesn't change anything.

But it seems like it's a no go on donating our boxes.

I'm super bummed. Probably about this more than anything else that's going on or making me feel crappy lately.

I'm trying so hard with this project. I felt like another face, a simple statistic, when I lost my baby. I didn't want to hear generic textbook "this is how grief works" references. I wanted to know that my milk was going to come in and that it was going to hurt like hell, and I wanted to know what I could do it make it stop. I wanted to know that I could at least try to find out what was possibly wrong with me or my baby and how to be more watchful for signs in the future. I wanted to know about funeral homes and services because I was terrified of how much that was going to cost to bury my baby with dignity. I wanted to know that therapists were available who had experience with this kind of loss, even if I chose to not talk to one. I wanted to know that I would continue to bleed and pass huge pieces of tissue for several weeks and that I would end up sleeping with puppy pads on my bed to keep from ruining my sheets. Most of all, I wanted to know that my baby was real. Not a fetus. Not medical waste. Not a miscarriage. A baby. A baby that deserves blankets, stuffed animals, and lots of love, just like any other baby. I needed to know that there was hope beyond this crippling loss.

I want to change that for other families. I want them to have the information they really want and need. The help that those pamphlets can't give them. The answers to so many questions they don't know to ask. I want them to know that they are not alone, that there really is hope in tomorrow, even though today hurts so damn bad and tomorrow seems so far away.

I feel like several months of hard work were shot to pieces in a matter of minutes.

But I'm trying to keep my head up. I have a check up next week to make sure things are still going well down there. At the risk of being shot down again, I'm taking one of my boxes in with me. The RN in the clinic is the one in charge of the support program I was told about, so I'm going to talk with her about it too. I've never been good at taking no for an answer. It's worth a shot, right?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

One Day at a Time.

I bought a knitting loom. I made a tiny baby hat with it. I was so excited and proud of myself. And then....I started crying. 

I hate this. Knowing that babies out there are tiny enough to fit this hat. Knowing so well what these babies look like. Knowing that when most people think of pregnancy and new babies, they picture a healthy, full term baby kicking and screaming its way into the world.....and when I think of it, all I can see is a silent, tiny baby just big enough to fit across both palms.

I hate being here, in this world of being a mother but not quite a mother. I hate that so many of you know exactly what I'm talking about because you are right there too.

I've been seeing a lot of prenatal issues and infant death articles in the news lately. I hate those too. I'm happy that someone is pushing the issue, don't get me wrong about that. But I get so mad when I read them because it sounds like the issues are being pushed for all the wrong reasons. And the statistics and facts sound so misleading and unimportant. I hate that I can tell the people writing them have most likely never lost a child.

There's an awful lot of hate in this post today. But it's the truth. Hate and depression. I don't have the energy motivation to get out of bed most days, especially on days that I have to go into work.

My flashbacks at work are getting worse. I started noticing a trend with them. The worst ones always happened when I was having to use a ladder. And then I realized that the last thing I did at work was on a ladder. My boss argued that I could do this particular job because it was in the hangar, since I wasn't supposed to be allowed on the flight line. He completely ignored the fact that I had been told I should be completely pulled from maintenance at this point, but he said I still had to do something since I was still in the shop, at least until they could find something else for me to do. So at five months pregnant, I spent about half the shift standing a ladder, trying to help them route a heat sensing element (it's a thick wire that runs through the engine compartment to sense an overheat/fire). It hurt so bad. I would get off the ladder to throw up and then have to go right back up. I hurt in muscles I didn't even know I had. I held my aching back and tried to hold back tears. I started spotting that night. The ER found loose blood in my uterus, but they couldn't tell where it was coming from so they sent me home. I followed up with my OB, who said there was no blood and that everything was fine. Within four hours of being home from the OB, I was delivering my son in my bathroom floor. I left work 5 months pregnant and miserable. I came back a month later not pregnant and even more miserable. And now every time I climb onto a ladder, that entire weekend replays in my head.

I really need a new job. But Bryan is still in school. Until he graduates and gets a decent job, my job is the only thing we have keeping us afloat. So I can't do anything but keep dragging myself out of bed and forcing a smile onto my face and making it through, one day at a time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Little Longer.

Yesterday I had to say good-bye to a friend.

I knew it was coming. I've been counting down the days with sadness and trying to prepare myself.

Good-byes are normal for us. It's just part of this life we've chosen. Moving every couple years. New friends. Old friends. Here today. Somewhere else tomorrow. It's always something new, but always the same old thing.

This one was different.

This was the closest friend I had on the island. The first person in our shop to try to include me and be my friend. The only person that cared whether I walked into work with a smile on my face, and if I didn't, made it a point to put one there. The only person to talk to me when my baby died, to acknowledge my baby, to talk to me like I was still a normal person when I returned to work.

I thought I was ready for it. I even made him some chocolate chips cookies for the long drive across the country with his dad, wrapped up with pretty tissue paper and ribbon.

I text him in the morning to remind him that I had something for him before he left. He was supposed to be dropping by work, so he was supposed to text me so I could meet him there after I left the gym. It just so happened that part of the base was on an unexpected shut down, so the gym was closed. I went home after work, determined to stay awake until I got the text that he was there. Around 11, he text me saying that he was back at his house and was leaving in an hour. I told him that I could just bring them to him, to make it easier on him, or that I could meet him on his way out. He has to come past my house anyway. But he insisted that he didn't have enough time.

He didn't have time for me or for cookies, and I felt like an idiot for wasting my time making them when I should have been sleeping. I tried to not let it get to me. I tried not to think about it. But I was super bummed. And when Bryan asked me what was wrong, I started crying. And then I got mad that I was crying. And then I got mad because Bryan didn't understand why I was crying about cookies and why I didn't want to talk about it because talking about it only made me cry more. So the afternoon ended with throwing the cookies across the room and crying myself to sleep.

Good-byes are normal for us, but that doesn't make them any easier....

On a brighter note, I took the dog for a walk this morning. Crunching through fallen leaves and chasing birds and bunnies in the early morning was so calming, especially after such a hard day and long night at work.

                                                              (I got those feet from here.)

                                                             He was watching the leaves fall from the trees.

You see that hydrangea up there? Those are one of my favorite flowers. I had some blue ones on our front porch after we lost Brake in April, so they remind me of him when I see them. When we moved to this new place in August, I was sooo happy to see these blooming outside our front door. They make me smile. If you notice in the picture, there's a huge blue one and the rest are all faded pinks and purples. This little guy has hung on for so long, through some really nasty cold nights, and it doesn't look like his color is going anywhere anytime soon. I noticed it one night when I was very exhausted and dreading going into work. I smiled when I saw it, and somewhere inside I heard this tiny little voice saying "Just hold on a little longer."

Yesterday when things were so bad and all I wanted to do was lay in bed and cry because I was so mad about crying in the first place, I found this laying on my front step in a pile of pretty yellow leaves:

And once again I heard that tiny voice, "Just hold on a little longer....."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Everything My Mother Taught Me.

My parents didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up. What they couldn't give us in money or things, they made up for in things that really mattered.

Like teaching us to read and fostering huge imaginations. Like teaching us to have dreams and never stop reaching for them. Like telling us every day that we were loved and that we were beautiful. Like teaching us about sharing. And compassion. And humility.

And one of my personal favorites, self-respect.

Looking back at it now, we didn't have the fancy toys and expensive clothes that our friends had, but I honestly believe we were a lot better off than a lot of them were.

Self-respect isn't something that just happens. It's not as natural as my dark brown hair or my thick Southern accent. It's not as natural as liking sweet tea or the color green. It was learned.

Yes. Learned.

My mother grew up watching her mother be beaten and threatened. She vowed that her children would never have to live through that. My parents have had their arguments, like any couple, but they have never fought in front of us. They have never raised their hands in violence toward each other. They taught us that we were better than that. Better than allowing ourselves to be taken advantage of. Better than allowing ourselves to be beaten or humiliated. Better than allowing ourselves to be overcome by peer pressure. Better than allowing ourselves to feel like anything less than what we really are.

Because we are strong. Because we are beautiful. Because we matter.

If you don't respect yourself, chances are others probably aren't going to either.

When my marriage went downhill, my pride didn't want to admit there was a problem. My pride didn't want to deal with people's comments and looks and gossip. My pride didn't want to hear all the "I told you so's" and "That's what you get for marrying young's". My pride wanted to hold its head high, pretending there weren't fist marks in the bathroom wall or guns hidden in the couch cushions.

My respect for a person, as a sister, as a daughter...told me to run. Because I am strong. Because I am beautiful. Because I matter. Because my parents taught me that I don't deserve that.

There is a woman I know.

She lives with a boyfriend that beats her, with anything and everything he can pick up. She stays because she says she loves him...and because she loves the high she gets from all of the drugs they do together. She says the bruises are okay because the high makes them hurt less. She says the cuts are okay because the sex is great when they are fighting. She says the pain is okay because no one else will love her as much as he does.

She has two beautiful young daughters.

Two beautiful, young, impressionable daughters who are watching her every move, watching to learn how to act and grow. Watching. Learning. Mimicking.

Everything my mother taught me as a child helped define the woman I am now. Everything my mother taught me, I would be teaching my own daughter, if she were still alive.

Everything their mother is teaching them will help them define the women they will become tomorrow. She doesn't even realize that, and it completely breaks my heart...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Home, In Pictures.


My visit home was...refreshing.

After 12 hours of traveling, horrible jet lag, low blood sugar, and just about every thing that could possibly go wrong going wrong, I made it back to WA. Oh, and a 3 mile walk from the shuttle stop to my house. In the cold. With 40 pounds of luggage. In wooden soled cowboy boots. After being awake for 24 hours. Traveling for 12 of those hours.

My feet were so swollen, bruised, and beat up that they were bleeding. And I now have a hole in my boots.

Real post coming soon.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Today is the Day.

Today is the day.

My flight leaves for home in about 12 hours. I should be sleeping, but I can't. I blame part of it on being anxious. I blame the other part on the 12 hour nap I ended up with after falling asleep while reading my book. But mostly, I think it's the anxiety.

I'm so very excited to see Andy's mom.

But...I'm so not excited about the mess of drama and fueding with my family right now.

I don't want to be part of it. I don't want to be near it. I don't want to hear anything else about it. I almost canceled my flight because that's how bad I don't want this.

I just want these people to realize that they are all adults and it's well past time for them to start acting like it. I live 3000 miles away. I don't like getting phone calls at all hours of the day and night because someone thinks I should be involved in their arguments or that I should defend this or confront that when I haven't been there to be involved. Even more than that, I don't like getting phone calls all hours of the day and night because some relative that doesn't even want to acknowledge my babies wants to bring them into their fight.

My babies have done nothing wrong. My babies have nothing to do with their stupid fights. My babies don't belong in this mess.

I'm trying to remind myself that my parents taught me to be better than that, to not stoop to such lows, to not start or be involved in such stupidity. I'm trying to remind myself that it's just not worth it. I'm trying to remind myself that I have a lot of little kids that I love dearly looking up to me and watching every move I make. I'm trying to remind myself that they deserve a better example than that. I'm trying so hard....

But dammit, I'm so mad. Those are MY babies, and they don't deserve that.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Have a Problem.

So I have a problem. A really big one.


I know I've posted about work before. Usually venting my frustrations. But this time it's more than that.

I have busted my ass to get where I am with my job. Most people, on average, take about 6-8 years to get where I got in 3 years. I bust my ass in my shop to learn this job that is completely new to me and to get my qualifications done as quickly and thoroughly as I can. It takes an average person about a year to 18 months to get fully qualified in this shop, and I'm more than halfway there in less than 6 months. Aside from the work side of it, I show up to work every day with a smile on my face, nice as hell to people that I don't even like, in a perfect uniform and perfect hair.

Every day I walk into a place where until 6 months ago, my arrival prompted several loud, cheerful "Good morning Preggo!!" greetings. Every day I walk into a place where 6 months ago I left work for the day pregnant and miserable and I came back the next day without a baby.

I work Midcheck. 3rd shift. I leave my house at 10 pm and I get home around 8 am. I sometimes have time to stop at the gym, catch a bite of breakfast with Bryan if I'm lucky, get some studying in, and then try to get some sleep. I sleep during the day. When the sun is up and the house is always bright. When the dog and the cat are going stir crazy because they need someone up to play with them. I sleep during the day in between nightmares and flashbacks....which really means that I don't get much sleep during the day and usually don't even know what day it is.

I have to cross from one island to another to get to work. There are days that I would rather drive off that damn bridge connecting the two than go into work and deal with stuff. But I go, I bust my ass, and I fucking smile about it.

And then....

....someone says that I'm using my "babies and problems" as an excuse, as a crutch.


I can't even manage a response to that right now. It's like that one sentence derailed a speeding train and sent it crashing straight into me. I'm so overwhelmed with so much more than I even know how to explain, with so much more than I can even understand.

Several of you have dealt with similar things. I know you have. It seems like just another thing that comes along with this losing-a-baby-and-trying-to-find-a-place-in-the-world-again thing. 

How has your work been affected by your loss? How have you dealt with situations like this?  

There's not much stopping me from choking the life outta the next person that talks to me, so I'd really love some insight on this from yall. I know everyone's situations and reactions are different, but I think it might help to hear from some of you about your own experiences.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Going Home.

I've told yall about my friend Andy. I wrote about him a couple times, and I even shared a letter I wrote him on his birthday.

Well, in twelve days, I'm going home. Home. My heart shudders at the sound of that word.

I'm just going for a weekend. Just long enough to breathe in that sweet southern air. Just long enough for a girls night out. Just long enough to enjoy hugs and food and family. Just long enough....

I'm going just long enough to spend time with Andy's sweet mother. And as much as it makes my heart happy, it hurts me so very much.

You see, Andy's mother has struggled with her health for many years. Years of hospitals, surgeries, sleepless nights, and unending pain. When they lost Andy, her health started slowly fading. She never gave up hope in her Lord, and truth be told, her faith in losing her only child has given me strength and hope beyond imagination in losing my own babies.

But in the last few months, this slow fade has stepped up its pace. She's lost almost all of her sight. She had 14 bad falls in a matter of weeks, so now she isn't able to move around on her own. She's at dialysis several days a week. She cries and prays and cries some more. She's missing her Andy so bad. She's hating feeling so helpless. She's hating feeling like such a burden. She's hating being so sick and exhausted.

She's giving up.

I can hear it in her cracking voice. I can feel it in my heart.

She's ready to hand over her pain to her Lord. She's ready to find her Andy.

I loved Andy with every ounce of my being. I still do. And one of the greatest gifts I ever got was the beautiful friendship with his parents after his death. I love his parents like they are my own. I love surprising them on visits home, spending late evening sharing stories with them, laughing and crying with them, praying for them. I love their love story. I love their love for their only child, for each other, for their Lord. I love the idea of more visits, of more family gatherings, of more late nights, of one day introducing them to their "grandkids". They are my friends, they are my family, they are my home.

And tonight, my heart is breaking for them, for what could very well be our last visit. Our last hug, our last late night, our last story.

In twelve days, I hope my weekend is just long enough. To listen, to hug, to share, to laugh, to pray, to cry. To enjoy our time together, just in case it really is our last. To make sure that she knows she is loved, so very much. To just be there. Home.

I know that when she is ready, she will also be going home. I pray with everything in me that when she makes that trip, she finds him, her sweet, beautiful Andy, and gets to hold him in that strong, warm embrace she's been longing for. I pray that she finally finds that place where she can just be.... Home.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Butterflies and Balloons.

This was the sunset as we drove home from getting balloons last night. It's completely unrelated to this post, but it's pretty, so I wanted to share anyway.

Last night when I was preparing the balloons, I wrote each baby's name on one of these butterflies. Then I put a handful of butterflies inside each balloon, praying for each baby and each family as I worked. I started with my babies. And then I wanted to remember a few close friends' babies. And then my mom asked me to remember her friend's baby and grandbabies. And then I decided to go through my blog list and remember all of your babies. If I follow your blog and you have so much as mentioned losing a baby, your baby has a butterfly in that pile.

I woke up before dawn and drove to the top of Mt Erie. (On Fidalgo Island in WA, for those of you who are wondering.) I was hoping to get a few pictures of them floating off over the islands in the pretty, colorful sunrise....but it was foggy up there.

Bryan popped two balloons while blowing them up, so we searched the truck to make sure we had every last butterfly and made more balloons. When we let them go, one got stuck in a I made Bryan climb up to get it and set it free. (I actually wanted to do it myself, but he refused to let me. So I made him go up.)

Praying for all of you, today and always.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Tomorrow, as many of you already know, is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I wanted to do something. Something simple, but something at least. I just don't have the energy to put together anything large scale for this. So I decided I would release a couple balloons for my babies. And then I wanted to include a few close friends' babies.

My idea is to drive to the top of Mt. Erie in the morning, just as the sun rises, to let them go.

I figured if I'm doing this that early in the morning, I should get everything ready for it today. So we went to a party supply store to get balloons and a helium tank. And I started preparing.

And just now, as my eyes and hands are itchy, and I'm fighting so hard to not scratch my eyeballs out, I realized that all night I've been playing with latex balloons.

I'm allergic to latex.

My body is cringing at just the sound of that word.

Maybe I should read the packages a little better next time?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

To Find a Friend.

On a normal work night, I leave my house around 10 pm. I usually get home around 8 am. I let the dog out, I have breakfast with Bryan if he's not in class, I attempt to clean or work on something for Lilly's Dream, and then I crash pretty hard for the rest of the day.

Today I had some work-related classes that lasted well after my normal work day. As in....getting out around 2-3 pm....when I should have already been asleep. I was determined to make it through the afternoon, so I choked down caffeine and sugar all morning. I made it through...and I was fortunate in getting the night off...but now I can't fall asleep.

I thought maybe I just needed to relax a little, so I had a good, long, relaxing soak in this awesome milk bath stuff. I turned up Pandora on my phone (best thing about my phone, or possibly EVER) and talked to the cat, who for some weird reason is obsessed with water/tubs/sinks/showers, until I was so completely bored that I almost fell asleep in the tub.

A Tom Petty song came on that I've never heard before, "To Find a Friend". It sounds like a song about divorce, but oh my heart, how the chorus fits so perfectly to life after my babies....

And the days went by like paper in the wind
Everything changed, then changed again
It's hard to find a friend
It's hard to find a friend
   [To Find a Friend, by Tom Petty]
I never imagined how much friendships would change after losing a baby. I never imagined how hard normal conversations could be. I never imagined how alone a person could feel in a room full of people, especially when surrounded by other moms. I never imagined how much more it would mean to find friends that know, that understand, that truly care.

[Now that I'm out of the bath, I'm wide awake again. Dammit.]

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Feeling Better.

After that crazy breakdown earlier this week, I tried to find more productive ways of venting this restless energy. So Friday morning when I got home from work, I started cleaning the house. And I kept cleaning until every inch of this place had been touched. It was tiresome, but awesome. And then, in keeping with my "slowing down" plan, I spent Saturday cooking pulled pork with homemade bbq sauce and painting. It was so good for my heart to sit there, watching the sun go down, with a paint brush and a huge cup of hot cocoa. I need to do that more often.

I realized Saturday how much I wish I could have a normal, housewife kinda life. I want that consistency. I want that routine of coming home, tidying up, cooking dinner that we can both sit down and enjoy together. That is what family feels like. Not this crazy working all hours of the night and random days of the weekend stuff. I can't wait for Bryan to be finished with school and working full time again. Hopefully then I can be done with this craziness, and be back in TN on my farm where I belong, where life is slow and life is happy.

On a side note, I got some work done on Lilly's Dream tonight. I finally got some time to take a few pictures and work on the Care Packages page. I'm determined to slow myself down and only do this small pieces at a time, so I'll probably work on it some more in a few days. I want to keep the simplicity of the page, but I think it's a little too simple right now. If yall can think of any good ideas for sprucing it up some, please let me know. :-)

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Many of you already know that I've been working on this non-profit, Lilly's Dream, for quite a while. My goal was to get 15 care packages ready to deliver by October 15th. I've been working so hard on this stuff. Since I'm still waiting on some of the paperwork to come in, I've been funding most of this project myself. I found a lady to make some blankets. And then I decided I wanted two blankets, so I made the others myself. And then I found someone to make some journals. And I ordered some "Now I Sleep" cds. And I started working on an information packet to put in the boxes.

Everything started coming in the mail this week. First the journals. Then the cds. Then those tiny crochet blankets. And I cried. I love this project. I love that I can do something to help. I love that I can feel like I'm doing something for my babies. But when I opened that boxes of blankets, it hit me really hard that there are far too many babies dying every day. No baby should ever need a blanket this tiny. Ever. It broke my heart all over again.

And then I realized that in pushing myself so hard with this project, I haven't been giving myself time for just myself. For relaxing. For thinking. For doing nothing at all.

I worked all Monday night and then had a class Tuesday afternoon, so I was given Tuesday night off. I fell asleep on the couch. I was having dreams about being in the hospital again. So many things playing over in my head. The images. The words. The pain. And then one nightmare would evolve into another. I was hurting. I was fighting myself to not wake up to pee because I was afraid of seeing blood again, like in my dreams. When I woke up, I was hurting and I was bleeding. And I went straight from nightmares to vivid flashbacks. I cried. I cried so hard I couldn't breathe. I cried so hard I couldn't move. I crawled into the shower, and I cried so hard I couldn't stand up so I just sat down. I had turned the water up so hot, trying to scald the bad feelings away, and I sat in it, crying, until the water ran cold. I have burns on my skin from it still.

That's not healthy. It can't be. I know it's just a part of the grief process, but it scares me. To scald myself like that. On purpose. That's crazy. I thought I was doing so well, but some random bad day pops up and things go to shit. I don't like counseling. I don't like medication. I don't like flashbacks or what I did to myself because of them. I don't know what to do.

I think maybe I'm just overwhelmed with this stuff, the Lilly's Dream project, and work. I'm hoping that's it because that's an easy fix. 

I don't think I'm gonna have these 15 care packages together by the 15th, but I think that's a good thing. I need to take a break and take some time for myself.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do You See Her?

See that?

That's a woman with four years of amazing experiences, strong work ethic, and blood, sweat, tears, and hard work that paid off quite well. A perfect uniform with a perfect bun and a confident stride that "screams well-seasoned bad ass".

Look at her again.

Look beneath that perfect bun, that perfect uniform, that confident stride, that haunting gaze that never quite meets your eyes. Do you see her?

Do you see the young girl, broken, scared, and hurting?

Do you see the fear? Of bathrooms. Of dark shadows. Of babies.

Do you see the sting of words, like a cat-o-nine tails against the soul? Words of people that don't understand? Of people that don't care? Of people that thrive on negativity? Of people that condemn but don't listen?

Do you see the burden of friendships? Of friendships that are no more? That haven't a chance? That aren't even real except for the sake of a more comfortable workplace? That couldn't bare the weight of grief?

Do you see the shattered dreams? The babies that could never be. The friends that left too soon. The futures that will never happen? All because death and divorce got in the way?

Do you see the battle with weight? Not because she thinks she's fat, but because she is hated for being skinny? Because eating healthy means "dieting"? Because 128 pounds in full utility uniforms at 5 months pregnant is "not good enough"?

Do you see the red sunken eyes from a day of crying from pure dread of returning to another night of work? Crying to make the bruises feel better? Crying to forget the toll this job takes on the body? Crying in fear of the toll it takes on her ability to carry a healthy baby? A baby that has a chance to live?

Do you see the scalding marks from the hot showers trying to burn away the yucky feelings of insecurity, weakness, bruises, and failure? Trying to burn away every regret, every mistake, every nightmare? Trying to burn it all away until the water runs cold but the tears have made her so numb she can't feel the difference?

Do you see the loss of innocence, the loss of faith, from marrying her best friend only to be met with clenched fists and guns stuffed in the couch? Do you see the sleepless nights that still come from the fear of those angry fits, even though he is long gone?

Do you see the pain that drives her forward, just trying to prove she can make it through another day? Do you see the social anxiety she tries to hide with a smile? Do you see the effort it takes to bust her ass at work so that you will approve of her abilities and stop treating her like a child, when all she really wants to do is hide under her blankets and pretend this nightmare never happened?

When you see her, what do you see?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pink Ears.

Yesterday the fog hung thick and low over the bay. So thick we couldn't see the mountains on the other side. And it was cold. It was a perfect day to hide in the house under big fluffy blankets.

I made soup. Homemade chicken vegetable soup. It finally turned out how I wanted it, with the perfect balance of spices and flavor. I even made extra to freeze for lunches at work.

I decided it was a good day to paint. Or rather, my hands were twitchy and I was restless until I finally gave in and picked up my paint brushes. And then my twitchy hands were calm and happy.

It was peaceful. And warming. Or maybe that was the soup.

This is one of my favorite poems, for two of my favorite littles. Naturally, I had to hang it in the hall, next to their pictures. My mom has a hallway in her house with an entire wall filled of pictures of her kids growing up. I'm sad that this is the reality of my wall.

I also painted the dog by accident. Well, he sorta painted himself. He kept crawling under the easel and trying to crawl into my lap. All 65 pounds of him. It's his own fault. But he does wear the pink ears quite well. A black collie with pink ears. It's quite a site.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I'm spending my work night in the front office again. It's quiet in here, with the exception of occasion conversation seeping through the wall behind me and the occasion rumble of a jet engine. I usually enjoy these nights because I can relax. I like to take advantage of the time to work on reading or projects, like all the wonderful things going on with Lilly's Dream. But tonight, I'm just feeling lonely. So very lonely.

You are my rock and the strength I need
To keep me sane in this life that I lead
Now I'm not with you and my broken heart bleeds
I never knew lonely 'til you

I never knew lonely could be so blue
I never knew lonely could tear you in two
I never loved someone like I love you
'Til I never knew lonely 'til you

Those are lyrics to the song "Never Knew Lonely" by Vince Gill. I usually play slacker radio online when I'm in here, and that song came on earlier. It took all I had to not break down in tears. It so accurately describes everything I'm feeling tonight.

I learned what a truly broken heart was when we lost F five long summers ago. But when I lost my babies, that feeling was magnified even more. Pain. Heartache. Lonely. Silence. I never imagined how much worse those things could be, but I definitely know it now.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sharing Stories.

Someone recently told me that the online world of baby loss blogging is an unnatural obsession with death. People shouldn't share such intimate details with everyone else. Nor should people be so open to the floods of stories that come pouring in to them. This kind of stuff should be kept quiet because it's your own burden, not one for the people around you.

I've been thinking about it a lot.

I like people. I like stories. I think the stories people share tell a lot about who they are, where they came from, what kind of person they are. And they're just fun to listen to. My friend Andy loved stories. He loved how life is made up of nothing but stories. Good stories. Bad stories. Happy stories. Sad stories. Whatever emotion is attached to them, they are what keep the soul going, keep life interesting.

When I meet people, I want to know them. I want to know their stories. I don't want the obligatory smile and "So nice to meet you. We should do this again sometime." I don't want just the casual conversation to make time pass more comfortably. I want to know you. I want to hear about where you came from. The favorite shoes that you wore with everything as a young child. The favorite songs that make you sing and dance in the car on your way to work. The first love that broke your heart in high school. The goals you set and dreams you chase. I want to see and feel the same emotions you are feeling as you tell me.

I won't always remember your name. I won't always remember your face. But I will always remember your stories.

What does this have to do with baby loss blogging?

Absolutely everything.

When we share a story with someone, especially a story of sadness, we are making ourselves vulnerable. We are opening the depths of our souls to another, where pain, fear, love, and hope all meet. When we listen to these stories, I mean truly listen, we open our own souls to those same depths. We allow ourselves to truly care about another person, to acknowledge and feel some of their pain. When our own hearts break with the pain of another, even if there is nothing we can do to fix their pain, we are, in a sense, sharing the load of their burden.

When I was in Sunday School as a child, I remember our teacher telling us that when Jesus came to the world, He felt the emotions of the world. When he was on the cross, He felt the pain and anguish of man's sin. He listened, He felt, He shared a burden. Sometimes sharing this burden with others can be overwhelming for us, feeling so much sorrow and pain that isn't even ours.. There are days that I've read so many posts and so many emails filled with pain, sorrow, and misery that I can't stand to be awake anymore, and I literally hide under my covers and cry myself to sleep just to be able to not feel that pain anymore. On days like that, I sometimes wonder if that's anything like what it felt like for Jesus. (Obviously grieving for a handful of people is a lot different than grieving for an entire world of people, but I think it's a fair concept.)

As overwhelming as it can get, I think allowing ourselves to feel, to listen, to share that burden.... I think it makes us better people.

I think the world needs better people.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bruises and Heavy Hearts, Revisited.

My heart is heavy. My hometown is heartbroken. My little brother is heartbroken. And there's nothing I can do about it. I hate being so far away from my brother needs a shoulder. I hate being so far away and missing him growing up.

I was framing pictures from Carly when I got word of Kainen's life support being pulled. His situation was so similar to F's, and it hurts my heart so much. I immediately emailed Carly to do a sunset butterfly for Kainen. I emailed it to his brother today. I know it can't fix the pain, but it's all I can do from 3000 miles away.

(In the video, they mentioned something about 300+ students visiting. There are only 500 in the school, so that's a much bigger deal than it sounds. There's less than 2,000 people in the town and only about 12,000 in the whole county. )

On a happier note, I met and had smoothies with Ayla yesterday morning. She's a great blogger friend who, as it turns out, lives in the same town. And by the same town, I mean the same tiny town on this tiny island. How fun is that?! It was so awesome to spend time with such a wonderful person. And she brought me some stuff to make my bruises better. It's only been a day, but they do seem a little lighter. I hope that means it's working!


That last one was taken with better lighting, so you can see the yuckiness a little better. That's just my left arm. It's the worst one, and I keep hitting it on everything. I think I should invest in one of those bubbles.....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Update on Lilly's Dream.

I was wide awake at 5 AM, so I spent most of the morning working on some of this non-profit stuff. Still a long way to go with finishing up all the paperwork and legal stuff, but I'm getting there. I did start a WordPress based website, but I'm still trying to figure WordPress out so that might be a while before it's up and running.

I did get quite a bit done on a Facebook page though. That is still a work in progress as well, but it's showing the most progress....

I'm still working on putting together a community event for October 15th. I should have something posted with details later this week, as well as have it in the local papers.

I should have my sample care package together by the end of next week. Hopefully more of the legal papers and bank stuff will be set up by then. I'm hoping I can get some volunteers together to help make some of the blankets and memory books so that it will help keep the costs down. I'll post more about that later, but if you know anyone that would be interested, send them my way please.

Oh, and my bruises are looking better. I still feel like I've been hit by the plane, but some healing is better than no healing, right?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bruises and Heavy Hearts.

It's 8 AM. I've been wide awake for an hour, staring at this blank screen, with a hurting body and a very heavy heart.

About a month or so ago, I wrote about how I hate my job because of the hell it puts my body through. I'm not actively trying to get pregnant again right now. But when that time comes, I want to be healthy and strong again, with my body as perfect as it can be to safely carry my baby as long as it possibly can. I can take some bumps and bruises, and I'm clumsy so I do hurt myself a lot. But when I come home looking like this:

I can't take that quite as well. The lighting in the bathroom isn't very good for pictures, so these don't even begin to show you how deep and dark these really are. I'm bruised from wrist to armpit on both sides of both arms...some of them are the size of my hands or bigger. My ribs, both of my legs, and my right hip are bruised. My chin is bruised. I have abrasions on my neck. I have cuts and knots on my head, hiding under all that hair. My fingers are stiff and sore and full of cuts. It hurts to move. It hurts to lay down. It hurts to breathe. It hurts to wear clothes. And when I sleep, I curl up and my head hits my arms and I wake up screaming.

That's not the first time I've come home from work looking like this. It's the first time it's been this bad, but this does happen fairly often.

So what did I do? I was reaching and crawling into the engine bay on an airplane to replace some wiring harnesses. Yes, I look like I've survived a plane crash just because I work on those damn things.

And I hate it. How am I supposed to stay healthy and strong when I look like that on a regular basis?! The thought of going in on Sunday night makes me cringe and cry, even though I know we won't be doing this same task for a while.

To add to all this mess, things on the home front aren't going so well right now. Communication sucks. Attitudes suck. The "I'm an adult and can do what I want which means I'm doing nothing" mentality sucks. The "I'm gonna make fun of everything about you that I can so that I can laugh and feel better about myself" game sucks. Feeling like I'm the only grown up in this place sucks.

I know relationships take a lot of work, but lately the work feels very one sided. I'm tired, weary, and depressed. I can't carry this load by myself. I don't want to be the grown up anymore.

I wanted to paint this morning, but it's cold outside. I have some studying to do, but I can't stand the smell of the dishes he promised to wash four days ago. I want to run, but my body hurts too bad.

I think I'm going back to bed.