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.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Late Night Rambling.

I'm stuck in the front office tonight at work. Eight hours sitting at a computer and a phone gets boring really quick, so I'm taking full advantage of this time to work out some more details with this non-profit.

I haven't talked about it much because I wanted to wait til everything is official and up and running. But that's taking some time, and tonight I just need to talk about it. Even if I'm only talking to a keyboard while the rest of the world sleeps. (That's what it feels like tonight, anyway.)

I'm both super excited and super scared at the same time. This is a HUGE leap of faith for me. It's also a lot to juggle with my crazy schedule and an upcoming deployment. I know I'm supposed to do this though, so it will be worth all of the hard work and sleepless nights and ridiculous stress.

I'm hoping to have everything up and running before October 15th. (National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.) In reality I don't think it's gonna happen, but that's what I'm pushing for. I'd like to put together a community event for the day, but that's really where the fear starts coming into play. I can put together care packages like it's nothing. But when it comes to a big public event, I'm terrified of putting everything in me into pulling it together, just to fall on my face when everything goes wrong or no one shows up.

Specifically, I'd like to do a balloon release that day. I want to attach the names of our babies to balloons and let them go. I wanted to do it from the top of Mt. Erie, but Bryan says it's too small. If families wanted to see the balloon release, there wouldn't be much room for many people. If I opened it up to more people, I have to find a place to do it. But if I have a bigger place and more people, they're probably gonna want more than just some balloons flying off. So I have to find something else to include for the afternoon. And I have to find a place to do it. But if I don't know how many people would be interested, I don't know how big of a place to do it. And since no one has ever heard of this organization before, no one is really gonna have any idea what it is or what's going on. I have no idea how receptive the community is going to be.

And now I'm rambling, aren't I?


Maybe I just think too much. Or just over analyze too much. Or maybe I just need to be doing something more productive than sitting in this damn office.

The fun part is coming up with ideas for care packages. I want to put one together, like a model package of sorts, to take to the hospitals here. I want to sit down with someone that I can talk to about donating them. Ideally, I'd like to get an idea of how often a family loses a baby in this area, so that I can gauge how many packages to have on hand each month. I'd like to have a package for any kind of loss. Miscarriages, stillbirths, infants, everything. (I hated hearing that my miscarriage wasn't like losing a real baby. In my eyes, losing a baby is hell, regardless of how or why or when, and none of that shit matters. It's all a loss, and it all hurts.) If I have a model package for them to see, they can potentially offer some ideas of other things that might be helpful to add.

I've been looking at blankets tonight. My mom made Brake a rag quilt, and I would give anything to have a picture of him wrapped up in it. Sometimes I pull it out and hold it, even though I'd much rather be holding him. It's been fun to look at blankets and think that some of them will be able to bring another family some comfort.

Even though it's gonna cost a little more and take a little more work, I'm thinking I might keep these care packages mostly handmade. Maybe handmade isn't the best word. Stuff from small shops and artists. Etsy type shops. Stuff made with love and purpose. Stuff with details that stick with you. I always liked those kinds of things better than anything you can pick up at a department store. I still have some of those kinds of things from when I was a baby.

I'm working on putting a website together. I don't know much about this online interweb mess, but I'm getting there. Hopefully I'll be able to share some of it with yall soon. If not, I'll just share some updates and pictures on here.

I already have an idea of how I want to do these care packages. But I'm still curious. What kind of things did yall find most helpful or comforting? What kind of things do you wish would have been available to you?

Friday, September 9, 2011


Today is my son's due date.

I'm doing better than I thought I would. But I'm sad.

I'm not thinking so much about the what ifs or if onlys or what might have beens. I'm just sad for what isn't.

The baby that isn't being born today.

The belly that isn't big and round anymore.

The crib that isn't being used.

The books that aren't being read.

I'm sad for the life that came and went too early.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


A few months ago I dreamed about my babies. I've had several of them, but this one stood out.

As in most of the dreams, there were ponies. Lilly and Brake and F. Running through big open fields of wildflowers and tall grass. Smiling, happy, beautiful. But this time they were joined by several friends. They broke off from their friends and rode up to me with handfuls of flowers. We were on higher ground, and Lilly pointed to something off in the distance. Below us I saw people crying, their faces horribly twisted in what looked like the most horrendous pain. She looked back at me and said "Mommy they need you. They need hugs like you needed. Share your hugs with them Mommy." She looked back at her friends, back to the people, and then back to me. "Will you please share with them Mommy?"

I realized that those people were crying because those were their babies up on that hill. And I was all too familiar with that horrendous, gut wrenching pain.

For Mother's Day, we went to a small ceremony of sorts that was held by the Tears Foundation. It was a sad day for me, but it was nice to be in the company of others, in the company of understanding. But it was a 3 hour drive (one way) for us. There is nothing like that in our area. I can find more pregnancy classes than I can attend in a month, but not one single breath about losing a baby. I told Bryan that it would be nice to just start something of my own. I didn't really think much about it again until I had that dream.

A couple weeks ago I ordered some Sunset Butterfly prints from Carly Marie. After I ordered them, I went back and ordered another one for Andy's mom. And then I ordered another one for my aunt, F's mom. And then I ordered another one for another dear friend of mine. And then another one for another friend.

And then I had another dream. I briefly saw Lilly's face and her pretty red hair. "Please Mommy." I woke up, but I couldn't get those two words out of my head.

So I decided I was going to share, just like she asked.

I got an email this morning from the Secretary of State office. I am officially the founder of "Lilly's Dream", a non-profit organization designed to provide support and resources to families suffering the loss of a baby. I still have a lot of paperwork left to do. IRS and bank stuff. But it's official. And I'm so excited!

I want to do care packages to send to the local hospitals. I also want to set up a support group in this area, so I don't have to drive 3 hours for one. I think it's really important to have community support in any area, but especially in a military town like this. So many families here suffer silently without any family nearby. And the military "suck it up and get back to work because there is a mission to accomplish" mentality makes these situations even harder. (My doctor tried sending me back to work the next day because "I had a 2nd trimester miscarriage. It's not like I had a baby.") Mostly, I want parents and hospitals to have resources readily available, like I didn't have but so badly needed.

I'm still working out all the details. And a website is in the works. Hopefully I'll be sharing it soon. Hopefully things are in place and launched in time to do something for the October 15th National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Actually, if I can get my brain to relax and get reorganized in time, I'm going to do something for that day anyway, regardless of launch status.

I'm so excited and so happy that I'm a complete nervous wreck. Or maybe that's the caffeine and lack of sleep.

Please keep me in your prayers as I figure all this out.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Days Three and Four.

I didn't post anything about the Muchness Challenge last night because my heart was too heavy from everything that went on at the party.

Although the day ended pretty roughly, it was actually a pretty good day. I was a little disappointed when Bryan didn't want to go to the beach with me. I wanted to pick up Subway for lunch and have a little picnic at the beach, just the two of us. He wanted to eat and take the dog out to the park. So I gave up and went to the dog park instead. We came back early enough for me to have a good nap on the couch, complete with cuddles from the kitty. (Those naps are the best.)

I also finished my new book, What Women Fear, written by the beautiful Angie Smith. I'm not a big fan of religious books, but this one was amazing. It's like sharing big cups of coffee over an early morning conversation with your best girl friend where you pour out your deepest secrets and worries and heartaches, and you are met with an understanding smile and friendly hug.

Today, Day Four, I started turning our spare bedroom into a studio, of sorts. The extra bed is staying in there, so that it can be used when needed. But my guitar, my paint stuff, my drawing pads, all my fun creative stuff is getting organized and set up in there so that I can get to it more easily than the storage bins it's been stuffed in for the past few years. Bryan has had his eye on a nice older desk that he wants to turn into a computer desk for the desktop he wants to get me. My laptop is on its last leg, and he wants to get something that will be better for my photography and stuff. That will eventually go in there too.

Today we found a nice dresser and hutch at a local thrift store that is sorta the starting point for organizing all the paints and stuff. While we were picking it up, I spotted an old dusty box that was buried under a pile of stuff in the corner.

It's an old model of my ship. (Yes, it's my ship. I was stationed on it, so that makes it mine. Bryan makes fun of me for saying it like that.) All the pieces are there. The guy even gave me a box full of brushes and paints for it, just to get rid of it. I realized how nerdy I am when I was telling Bryan how excited I was to get home and tear into it and see how historically accurate (or inaccurate) it is. The only thing I don't like is that the sails are pieces of plastic. I'm gonna see if I can find some fabric that I can make sails with instead. I can't wait.

I have some big, exciting news about a big project coming up, but I'll save that for another day.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fitting In.

Tonight was a coworker's surprise birthday party at a local bar.

Things were going great most of the evening. Great food. Great laughs. I would say great drinks, but I was having water. Then the guys wanted to try a game of shuffleboard. And it was just the wives left at the table.

Normally, that would be no big deal. I can get along with just about anyone. Or I can at least smile and fake it long enough to get through the night.

But tonight....I was surrounded by mom talk.

Choosing preschools. Shopping at this place rather than that place. This kid has this weird habit. That kid does that crazy stuff. What is a better Halloween costume. Photographers and cool pictures to take of this kid or that kid. Pregnancy this. Deployment that. Parenting this. Not parenting like that.

I really like these ladies. I really, honestly do. And I really want to have a good time when I'm out with them.

But how do I have a good time when I'm sitting through endless conversation about picking the best things for your kids?! I got to pick out a funeral home and an urn for my kid. That's the extent of my parenting. No potty training. No Halloween costumes. No afternoon snacks. No preschool. An urn. A horrible, heartbreaking, I wish I didn't even know what these things look like urn.

I can't even be the "So when are you gonna start having kids" girl in that kinda conversation.

I get to sit there with my glass of water trying not to cry because I can't comfortably fit in with a crowd like that because all I can think about now is that my baby is dead. I get to be the girl quietly choking down her water while her creepy lack of conversation makes everyone else uncomfortable.

I just realized my son's due date is in 6 days.

I don't think I'll be at any more parties for a while.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Day Two.

Last week Bryan needed to go by his school for some paperwork. Since the craft store is right down the street from the school, I got him to stop. I bought new paints. And a handful of clearance canvas. And an easel.

I finally got them out.

Bryan was still asleep. The morning was gorgeous. The dog wasn't being completely neurotic yet. So I set my stuff up on the front porch, turned on some beautiful piano music (Now I Sleep, by John Albert Thomas, inspired by the mourning of babies), grabbed my teddy bear, my Bible, and a huge glass of sweet tea.

I have this book called God's Treasury of Virtues. Or something along those lines. I don't remember where it came from, but it was on my bookshelf. I flipped to the section about Faith because that's what I've been struggling with so badly since losing my babies. The random page I landed on had a reference for 1 Corinthians 16:13, so I flipped through my Bible until I found it. I decided that's what I wanted to paint so I can hang it up as a daily reminder.

Not quite bad considering I haven't picked up a paint brush in probably six years. Regardless of how it turned out, it felt so great to be painting again. I could have just splattered random colors across that canvas, and it still would have felt equally amazing. 
I also finally talked Bryan into setting up the fish tank. I haven't had fish since I left Boston in 2009. (I felt so bad about not being able to take them that I gave them to my neighbor's kids. Tank. Food. Everything. $300+ worth of aquarium stuff just because I couldn't bring myself to flush a $4 fish.) I don't know what it is, but there is something very relaxing about fish. And "relaxing" is definitely something very needed in this household right now.

So far I've only got decorations and water, but I'm sooo very excited.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day One.

Several days ago I wrote about the 30 Days of Muchness Challenge.

Today is Day One.

I went running.

I didn't make it very far. I thought I was going to die at about half a mile. And then the dog needed to poop. And then he had to drag me across the road every time another dog barked at him. Finally, at one mile, I couldn't fight him anymore. I had to turn around and come home. (Note to self. Running works best alone.)

But I went. For the first time in a long time. And it hurt sooo good.

I have a little cousin, J, who recently turned 8. She has two sisters, and she is only one of many children back home that are the very center of my world. They were my reason for getting up, for smiling, for trying to make myself better every day. Those kids watched me so closely, learning, remembering, molding themselves in the image they saw in me. (One of the girls actually refused to wear her purple flower girl dress for her aunt's wedding because "her Nee-uh doesn't weaw dwesses".) I couldn't bare the thought of doing anything that would disappoint, hurt, or mislead those innocent souls that were looking up to me like that.

Christmas of 2005. I was shopping with my sister, two counties away from home. My mom called to let us know she was taking my Gramma to get J. She had been visiting her dad. She had really bad problems with her kidneys, which made her prone to frequent accidents. She had one of these accidents during her visit. And he beat the shit out of her. She was covered in bruises to the point that it hurt her to have a blanket over her. She was 2. I broke down in the middle of that huge mall full of Christmas shoppers.

A few months later, around April 2006, she was sent to Vanderbilt for surgery. Not only had he beaten her, he had been molesting her for quite some time. She was going in to have her kidneys checked again and to have her girl parts reconstructed. Yes. You read that right. She had her entire female reproductive section of her tiny little two year old body reconstructed because of the damage.

When she went into surgery, I was so overwhelmed with more emotions than I even knew existed that I couldn't function. I didn't know how to process what was happening to her. I didn't know how to process what I was feeling. I certainly didn't know how to keep from exploding and finding the man that caused this problem and ridding this world of one more piece of shit. So I prayed.

I prayed to God, begging Him to take her pain away, to let me carry her pain so that she didn't have to. I slipped on a pair of worn out New Balance running shoes, and I ran. And I cried. And I prayed. And I begged. And I kept running.

I ran so hard that I couldn't breathe, but I was crying too hard to even notice. I ran so hard that I fell down. I begged to carry her pain, and I pushed myself back up and ran some more. I didn't know what else to do. Nothing else would ease my own pain enough. So I kept running.

I think I ran about 10 miles that night. In the dark. With a busted mouth and a bruised up body from all those falls. But it was nothing compared to the bruised and beaten heart I was carrying. My pain increased with every stride. I thought I might die that night. Seriously. But it was the best release of stress, anger, pain, tears, everything that I have ever felt. It hurt so good to feel like I really was carrying that little girl's pain for her that night.

I thought of her this morning when I pulled on my running shoes and my Team Brake shirt. I thought of that night when my feet hit the pavement. I thought of how desperately I begged God to let me bare her pain. I thought of how desperately I beg God to just let me get through another day of my own pain.

I really need to run more often.