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All that 2018 brought ….

As 2018 comes to a close I find myself reflecting on so much. Both a year of highs and joyful things and the hardships this year brought on through grief and new realizations to take me into the coming year.

This was the year that brought us Thomas Jo. The little brother Everlee sent us to have and hold in arms. BF5D8799-8177-41B7-B79E-89ECD1BEA75FHe looks so much like both Alice and Everlee, but I’m finding so many things of Everlee tied up in Thomas it feels like she’s here with us sometimes and that is such a gift. I’ll never forget that moment I first held him. Our Rainbow baby we had tried for for so long finally in my arms. And when I got to bring him home. A pivotal moment I’ll never forget.

Getting pregnant was one long step for us, and pregnancy after the loss of Everlee and miscarrying baby Joy, harder than I thought. Nine long months of fear. Fear to love him to much, fearing you would have to give him back. It was a difficult period to go through but it gave me Thomas. I would do it all over again to always end up with him. Something I’ve always said about Everlee too even though I couldn’t keep her, I would still do it all over again.

It took all a lot of faith, a lot of patience, a lot of hope in the dark, a lot of trusting in things you do not understand. But when I held that sweet boy in my arms, I understood it all. And the dark moments in waiting for this miracle of ours suddenly were surrounded by peace. Thomas has taught me, when I feel like giving up, to hold on to that little bit you have left, if you hold onto that little bit of hope, faith, and strength left it can grow into amazing things. I’m happy I didn’t give up. And we are here today with him. He’s such a huge part of this past year. We waited soo long for a year like this. I hope my story, and Thomas can offer someone hope that is still in that waiting period. It will be worth the wait, I promise.

This was also the year we welcomed Jorgia into our home.

She saved us in so many ways too. I wouldn’t change anything about her she’s absolutely perfect. And I can see Everlee giggling from heaven at her just as I so often hear Alice giggling and playing with Jorgia. She was exactly how we needed to start out the year. I swear the desiscion to get Jorgia and saying yes to her opened up so many other yes’s in our lives.

 

This year we remembered Baby Joy along with Everlee. The only comfort I’ll ever have knowing I have two children in heaven is they have eachother. Until we can all be together again. We planted a hydrangea tree for Baby Joy on the due date we had been given. We will always remember the baby that should have been our Rainbow baby.

Thankyou for the ones that remember Joy with Everlee.

With each year that passes I can feel that there are those in our life that move on from our time with Everlee. So I’m so grateful for moments when others speak Everlee’s name, or remember her in a sweet way, or bring her along on their travels. It’s one of my greatest fears that she’ll be forgotten by others. I know she’ll always live in my own heart but it’s a rare gift these days when others remember her openly too. So Thankyou to everyone who still carries her in your heart too and sharing these moments with us.

I’ve also taken this year to grow in my photography. Something I feel I’ve gained after Everlee. These moments we are given on earth are precious and treasured. I want to capture so many of them. Everlee has shown me this importance and opened my eyes to the beauty I never really saw till I started to look for heaven on earth. I’m hoping 2019 is the year I can start using this growing gift for other grieving families and give them these last moments with their children to forever remember.

I’ve never saw a sunset or sunrise the same way as after Everlee. 84E37934-358C-4B56-BB32-2C2B640935B0This sunrise I caught above the garden. It had taken me so long to learn to use my camera in that way to get all the right colors that I saw in person. It was my first picture I felt I had Captured the pure essence of . As pure as heaven is I suppose. As close to heaven we can get here on earth.

This year I took all my pictures of Everlee back into the beautiful color that was always her.

There was a time I needed them in black and white, but this year something changed. The room we held her in was filled with light and color just like her. She has shown me and added so much color to my life. She was not black and white but beautiful and colorful. This year was about finding the color she left us. The year of our Rainbow.

Another year went by, another year she turned three in heaven and celebrating this birthday was just as hard as all the others. If not more. The more time goes by the farther I know I get from the moment I shared with her. But we will always celebrate her, she will always be our daughter, or a sister, and celebrate the fact that she is ours. So we make her cake and September 8th will always be her day. The day we celebrate Everlee. 2291188F-9D10-4D2D-950B-56E9C0DD9EC2

 

With all the joys I can’t ignore the hardships of the year. This year I realized how little friends will stick by your side in pain with you. They turn around the pain you carry to somehow affect their lives. I somewhat get it. They simply just don’t understand. Or they wanted to old me back and that won’t happen. And I’m happy they don’t carry the lifelong pain of grieving a child. But why the outside world is so intolerable to this type of grief, and judgemental of how we decide to go through our pain or attempt healing , the only think is that same reasoning they don’t understand or care to open their hearts to try. And I hope to find peace with the betrayal that plagued my heart this year. Peace and forgiveness to move on from the ones that held my daughter and stole moments from me and then left without even a conversation as if years of wonderful friendship and memories didn’t mean a thing.

And Jeremy took a job out of state for the winter. It’s been hard managing a family by myself but mostly I miss the constant companionship of him. But it’s made us more thankful for the moments we have, taught us even more how to be present with eachother and communicate better. It’s also taught me to find more strength in myself which I needed to find. And we are thankful for the family that continues to always help and support as a family unit was meant to do.

But when I think of the year as a whole, I can find more Joy this year then pain. It outweighs it, and that’s all a grieving mom can ask for.

I know the coming year and the years to come despite welcoming more into our family we will always find hard times missing Everlee. She’s simply not replaceable and our grief our pain surrounding the hard moments is just great love we have just for her.

Im leaving the year, with a rainbow in our arms growing, safe in our arms. Thankful for every smile, every snuggly moment even the ones he doesn’t stop crying, the hard moments of parenting.

I feel thankful I’m on the other side of a fearful pregnancy after loss.  Im thankful for the new friends I found this year and the ones that have stayed with me.

All in all I’m looking forward to what the new year brings, it’s been many years since I’ve felt that. I’m going to carry the love Everlee leaves us and bring it forward, with understanding of the hardships of grief but ok with it. Looking forward to finding more peace towards the further losses and continuing walking through the scared place of Joy alongside pain. Giving myself credit that I’m doing it the best I can and always following my heart through it all.

2018 had more Joy present than pain. It’s the most I could have ever hoped for.

 

A Christmas letter to heaven

Each year we all take time with our hearts and write letters to Everlee, so her stocking can be full in the morning, rather than empty. Full of love. 

This is my letter to her this Christmas. 

 

My dear Everlee,

You never travel far from my thoughts. So many of my thoughts each day are of you. And each Christmas I search for moments that lead me to closeness with you, the one my heart will always be aching for most this time of year.

I think of all that Christmas is to you in heaven. A celebration of birth. A story of a fathers love. A story that sings of Hope. A story of love. And when I see you celebrating up in heaven I can think of so many other sweet souls your surrounded by, warmed by each others spirits. I imagine sweet snowflakes floating everywhere around, so delicate, so perfect, each one glittering. And the glow of stars, something to mimic what we try to create here on earth by the glow of Christmas lights. I imagine sweet carols being sung by the sweetest of Voices. And so much love bursting from every corner of heaven.

Can you feel the love I send you? I send you some everyday baby girl and always especially on Christmas.

My heart feels more joyful this year as we soak up the blessing of your new brother to fill our arms. Thank you sweet girl, for picking out the sweetest little brother for us to have here. He must have a little of your sweetness you sent in him. I can feel it, when he smiles and talks to us in his little voice. And the way he looks at your picture, you must have told him so many stories before he got in our arms. Or maybe you visit him in his dreams.

We all love and miss you Everlee. There’s always this empty place where you should be. Every cherished moment we share together, there’s always a place for you, there always will.

I want to continue carrying you in love. Spreading The joy in my heart you have given to me being your mom. You didn’t happen to us but for us. You’ll always be for us. And I try to share the beauty I see now because you are mine. I love the sunsets and sunrises you send me, I always feel they are paintings from you. Just like your sister draws me pictures all the time.

And I’ll share the love you have opened my heart too. My heart has grown so much, Evey, you have shown me love is powerful enough to span from heaven and earth. Love is at the center of it all.

And in some days I sense the peace you send me. Where the aches remain calmer, and my spirit doesn’t feel tired but energized from all you have given us.

Your a giver, and your a teacher my dear Daughter. You have a tender soul I feel blessed to have felt entertwine with mine.

If I could wish for one thing each Christmas, it will always be you. Or even just for a dream to meet you in. One where I could hold you for another moment, this Christmas, with the snowflakes from heaven falling all around us.

I love you baby girl don’t you ever forget that. Hug Joy tonight for me. And sing Those birthday celebrations to Jesus loudly, for it’s the hope that he has given us that will reunite us together someday.

Merry Christmas Everlee. My daughter, My angel, my shining star from heaven.

All my love – your mama

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Christmas in Everlee’s Garden

It’s our fourth Christmas without Everlee, and I can tell you missing her especially at Christmas never goes away. Sometimes with the passing years I fear I miss her more as I feel further away from the moment we shared holding her in our arms.

Looking back on all these Years without her, her garden remains a constant place of peace and healing for me. I’ve always said you can feel the presence not just of Everlee but so many more. And that is why Everlee’s garden is a spot for so many and not just her. There’s magic there, if you had a chance to walk through the archway and sit on the bench, listen to the sounds of windchimes, of birds or bees buzzing in the summer, you would hear the sweet sounds of heaven I do, and open your eyes to each season there, each blooming flower, the butterfly’s and dragonfly’s swinging by. The color in fall. The white blanket of winter. The glow off the snow. Each sunrise and sunset. You would see heaven as I do. And if you sat and closed your eyes felt the soft wind swirling around you, you would start to feel heaven around you too as I do.

Each year at Christmas it gets decorated. And I realize it’s something I can physically do for Everlee that makes my heart so happy. There is so many things that are missed out of parenting when your child lives in heaven. This is how I like to spend time with Everlee. How I can love her from earth to heaven. The garden is our meeting place.

Out of all the gifts I give on Christmas, giving you all the gift of seeing your child’s name in Everlee’s garden for Christmas is my favorite gift to give.

This project keeps growing each year. This year I placed 150 names, and I found myself a bit overwhelmed at times, I know next year I’ll need help this project is growing bigger than just me myself handling it. Knowing this made me think about the importance of you all and the support we offer one another.

Mamas I know that we all feel like we individually are the only ones that remember our babies/children sometimes. And I know we all feel at times that we shout from the rooftop, their short lives mattered, they were loved, they are remembered, so missed, and they are always still apart of us. We don’t move on, we don’t forget. We lead by example hoping our friends and family remember the missing piece of our heart. Sometimes others listen, sometimes they don’t. They might not understand but I do. I know seeing their names is such a gift. Seeing their names make your heart skip a beat. Their names are a part of them, it’s who they are, here on earth and in heaven.

I remember them with you. I wrote out each name with care and love, I lovingly placed them in the garden and wished each child a merry Christmas. Each of these children have touched my heart along with the mamas that carry them.

This is my gift to you this Christmas. I wish I could give you each another moment with your baby but knowing I can’t I CAN give you this simple gift.

Why stars this year …..

I chose star ornaments this year, because I always feel like Everlee is shining through to me from heaven. Through sunrises and sunsets. She’s my star leading through the dark sky of grief. My star to wish upon and talk to in the heavens.

Did you know each point on a star symbolizes something. Earth, air, fire, water, and the top spirit. Every part of nature. And where I can feel her close to me most in moments in nature.

Stars for all our angels lighting up the heavens with its glowing light. Stars were perfect for all our angels still shining. Their lights are still so bright here on earth! 

I imagine a heaven is so beautiful, Filled with all our beautiful children. I imagine them all coming to the garden to dance together on Christmas is the sparkling snow, under the glow of the Twinkling Christmas lights.

Merry Christmas to you all. I wish that this gift leaves you with peace to fill your heart as I feel in the garden. I hope the joy of seeing your children being remembered puts a smile on your heart. And I hope you feel the love I’m sending you your way. And the love I sent to each child missed this Christmas.

The magic behind the tree 🌲

I think it’s time I retold the story behind this beautiful white tree that stands in my house at Christmas time. The one that shines so bright you don’t even need any lamps on at night. The one that glitters and twinkles. The one we call Everlee’s tree. Just like the tree itself has a story to tell so does every ornament that hangs on it. All stories of Everlee. Past and present. As she’s always near even from heaven.

Its our fourth Christmas, this year, without Everlee, and I wish I could tell you all it has gotten easier, But there is still so much pain resonating inside from missing her and a little more always at Christmas. A time for Joy a time for family. And there’s someone missing. My heart always feels it.

Christmas before we lost Everlee, I always enjoyed. It felt light hearted and still as an adult I found magic in it but more seeing it through my childrens eyes. Christmas became strikingly different after Everlee. more painful time than i could ever imagine. I remember that first Christmas without her very well. I just wanted to hide. Close the door and emerge after all these holidays. How could I celebrate be merry when I was broken as I’d ever been. And I would never be able to witness Christmas through her eyes.

The pain was soo raw that first year, so unknown, so hard to process what a broken heart felt like period but even more so at Christmas when everyone around me was bustling with merriment.

I remembered the Joy of Christmas’s past, I didn’t want to loose that. I had always loved Christmas, but I suddenly hated it. I saw the trees and decorations coming out and felt sick to my stomach. The hustle and bustle felt so meaningless, all the family’s that were happy and whole a reminder of how broken I felt. How empty our home felt without our youngest daughter. I remember praying for a miracle that year. I didn’t know how my broken heart would make it through the holidays. It was hard enough just getting out of bed back then. It still is some days. But I knew I needed a miracle to make it through that Christmas.

I would get asked what do you want for Christmas this year? And I would just blankly stare, this had to be a joke right I thought. I don’t want any “thing” , the only thing I really wanted was Everlee. Can you give me my daughter back, because’s that’s all I really wish I could have. And is still is. The one thing that can’t be given.

I was also so worried she would be forgotten that first year. That I would look at all these smiling faces and feel that nobody cared my heart was still broken. That there was another piece to our family. Everlee’s first Christmas. That needed to be celebrated so many worlds apart.

All I can Everlee knew I needed this tree, our own Christmas miracle. Maybe she was trying to share the joy of Christmas in heaven with us. Christmas through her eyes.

I had attended a griefshare group on surviving the holidays, there was a story a mom told about how after she lost her husband, her and her kids would put up a tree just for Dad, filled with dads ornaments and things he liked to do. She said it filled thier home with her husbands presence at Christmas.

Thats what I was looking for, I wanted to fill my home with Everlee too, Her presence too. I immediately ran to the store to get my Everlee tree. As I walked into the store that day my eye found these beautiful white trees, Something about these white trees, a feeling they gave my heart that day. I knew Everlee’s tree needed to be white. Not pink, not green, definitely white.

But those big beautiful white trees weren’t in the budget, so I decided to wait until right before Christmas when I knew they’d go on sale.

I waited patiently to get my tree I wanted. And The day those trees went on sale I loaded up Alice and headed to Target. The first target was all sold out of the white ones, and the second. By the time we got to the third and found no white trees I finally asked for help there, and someone called a farther away store. It was practically blizzarding outside but I would have drove through whatever. They had one left I was told, only one white tree but they would put it up at the front for me and hold it.

So we headed to the fourth Target that morning. By this time my nerves were through the roof driving in a snowstorm, anxious to get this tree. I knew I needed this tree at this point. My heart felt such a pull towards a tree it felt urgent and it was becoming a bigger ordeal than I expected.

We arrived at the the fourth store, headed to the front to get the tree we had put on hold. But there was no tree. My heart was pounding. The employee said well let’s go look back on the floor, thinking nobody had gotten a chance to bring it up yet. We went back to the holiday aisles, no tree in sight. I could barely think through the stress I was feeling from it. She looked everywhere in that store and nothing it was gone. At this time the tears were so close as I clutched on to Alice for dear life. I needed that tree. Maybe I couldn’t have Everlee but a tree I should be able to have that. She took me to the desk to check any other stores in the inventory, As she looked we both realized the particular white tree I was looking for was literally gone from every single target in Minnesota. All sold out everywhere. There were others but that was what I felt I needed.

Her manager walked over and asked us if everything was alright. I must have looked upset or something And she asked me such a simple question “ is everything alright” but it hit me no nothing was all right this Christmas. I wanted Everlee, I needed this tree. So there in the middle of Target at Christmas time, the tears came. They streamed. Everyone stared. I looked at her and apologized as I tried to control the river of tears coming out. I explained it was fine, I’m not crying over the tree, I said I just lost my daughter this year, she passed away and that tree was supposed to be for her this Christmas. I was trying to find a way to bring her into our home.

She stared at me for a minute and I thought great she thinks I’m nuts, I got ready to turn away and she said “I have one more white tree, it’s not the one your looking for but it’s white.” She led me to this beautiful white 10 foot Christmas tree they had on display. And besides it was one more box, one last white tree that matched the one on display. It was beautiful no doubt but even with the sale they had that day that tree I told her it was still out of my budget.

She looked at me and said “I would like you to have this for your daughter, and you can have it for the price of the other tree you wanted. It’s no problem.”

If anyone is familiar with Target they don’t just do that knock of insane amounts of money, they are a huge cooperation they don’t have personal costumer service like that. Or care if something wasn’t in your budget.

I told her my ceilings aren’t that tall either, let alone that box won’t even fit in my car. She assured me, the tree came in four pieces it would be ok to leave a couple out, and just like that she had someone disassemble it from the box and load it into my car nicely.

I left that day in shock, my heart overwhelmed being met with such openness in my historics, tather than blank uncomfortable stares I normally get. When she had taken my up the the register she never even charged me for the price of the original tree, I think she gave me the 95 percent off deal. I drove away knowing she had been my angel that day. Thankful and full of tears. My heart felt restored by this kindness I recieved from a stranger.

A little bit of the pain was replaced with this magic behind this act, a returned Joy, a Christmas miracle of my own I thought. I knew that was the right tree, to call Everlee’s tree, in fact maybe she picked that one all along. Everlee had sent me just the right one. Because the story of kindness this tree had behind it made it extra perfect. This was Everlee’s tree straight from heaven.

I cried the whole way home. My heart was so touched, and I felt Everlee close. I needed that. I got home and put it up right away. It was even more beautiful standing in my home.

This a picture from that very moment. Alice in front.

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The tree remains a staple in our home at Christmas. Each year it gets added to a little more. This year I added more color to it the colors of Everlee. Blue for the ocean for she is our island baby. Pink was added for this blush pink reminded me of the little pink hat we had on her in the hospital. And yellow in the sunflowers. And gold, for when I dream of her she has this golden blonde hair that shines.

I have ornaments on it that have been gifts to her. One ornament I made that first year, baby’s first Christmas in heaven it reads. There are Ornaments that  remind us of the beach and the story that surrounds her in that. Angels that I’ve found that remind me of her. Flowers adorn the tree representing Everlee’s garden and the beauty that garden brings to our lives. I found a tree topper made out of starfish. It couldn’t be more perfect. And we have picked up ornaments from each one of our travels, our way of bringing something home for Everlee.

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Everlee’s tree definitely brings her presence into our home at Christmas. Her presence literally sparkles all over through it. Just what I had wanted.

Yes Christmas I believe will always be painful without her. But I’ve found ways to help my heart this time of year. This tree is one of them. Everlee’s tree, the tree with a story to tell and a whole lotta Christmas magic.

I realized as I gazed upon this year how many ornaments and story’s are on there now. The tree is getting over crowed. Her story lives on.

Good thing I have two more sections to this tree that I currently can’t fit. Now I just need  bigger cielings!

Everlee might not have lived long but the stories surrounding her, past and present are plentiful. Her story is not done yet. And we find her still in so many ways today. Although we can’t touch her, we feel her in such a huge way.

I now I’ll always wish for her at Christmas, the one I’ll always want home for Christmas. The one my heart Longs for. maybe she answered me that first year. That wish. In the form of a bright white tree. Sent straight from heaven by an angel so I could glimpse into the magic she finds there. So I could feel her so brightly fill up our home.

I cant wait to ask her someday when she’s back in my arms.

This is one of the many ways we feel close to the little girl we miss the most. Our Christmas traditions with Everlee. It’s how we survive. It’s how we find joy and feel a little magic again.

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Moments worth Remembering.

– A moment might last all of a second, but a memory lasts a lifetime.

I’ve been holding onto something. Which is right now mimicking my grief surrounding Everlee at the moment. I have been feeling entirely so much lately, so much has happened, so much is still happening,  but for some reason I find I am holding onto all my thoughts, my hurts, my grief, my new realizations, even my new joys and gifts close to my heart. And with that my heart has guarded this “new” something of Everlee I received for awhile.

A picture is worth a thousand words, a memory frozen in time. I ponder this thought as I have been devoting more of my time lately into my love of photography. Something I have newly found a passion in after loosing Everlee. Something that excites my heart now.

Something I know I could always want more of is pictures of Everlee. But I only seem to have so many. Not enough I always find myself saying. I only have so many, I know, because I only took so many, and because we only had Everlee for three days versus the lifetime we should have. But as I reflect back to those three days I AM missing so many photos that match the memories in my mind. Missed opportunities. I was in a state of shock, and  I understand this now, so I have to forgive myself, even though I think of all this often. How I want more. More pictures to remember Everlee of. Just a couple more.

There’s simply limited photos of me holding my daughter, as I look back. It really kills me. I wonder why no one else around me in that time thought to take any. This was the the only time this mother would have to hold her daughter. We should have taken more. I have four of me and her together. And It’s not enough. But better than none I know.

There’s limited photos of Everlee with her older sisters too. There were more moments in there I remember but the photos are missing. And we never cordinated getting all three sisters there at the same time for a family photo. It seems so silly now, schedules clashing keeping so many apart from this one opportunity we had for a family photo that we never got with her, because it didn’t work with everyone’s schedule. How silly. How dumb. A never ending heartbreak I’ll carry. Another missed opportunity. Another moment lost.

There were more visitors than we had pictures of and more memories we made that didn’t get documented.

Memories in mind but missed when I find myself searching through her photos.

It bothers me I never took a video, it bothers me we didn’t get many pictures of her not wrapped up, …… I wonder did we keep her wrapped up in the pictures, trying to hide the scars from her surgery. As a way of Hiding from reality? I know now those scars are beautiful. They make you who you are. I don’t hide my scars just like we didn’t need to hide Everlee’s.

Those scars, her wounds told her story. They never should be hidden I think now. I want to remember all of her. Everything inch of her that I held those days. Every part of her that made her beautiful.

All of this is why I now have ever since taken an over abundance of pictures, wanting to collect moments going forward in still form. Finding the hidden emotion in each one. Each photograph always has a story behind it. I want to find it. I want to tell each one. I want to remember each moment I have lived. Afraid I would miss more in these present moments I share now, I snap away. Never wanting to be left wanting more as I do with Everlee.

And just when I thought not ever would I get one more photograph of Everlee. I DID receive one more. One more I would take in, study every detail, and cry for hours. Simply the best gift.

When Everlee is missing from my arms all I have is these photographs. To remind she was real. That this moment I long to repeat wasn’t just a dream and all the pain I feel from missing her comes from these moments. Moments I had her here with me and why I will miss her for the remainder of my day’s.

How I was ever able to say goodbye and to leave that hospital without her I’ll never know.

Three years later I swear I miss her more each day. I stare at her photos often. Always wonder so much things I could have done different, always wish for more …. So receiving a new photo of Everlee, one I haven’t seen, haven’t studied for hours ….  Its simply the greatest gift.

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A new moment I’ll have now to remember forever. ❤️

Your perfect my darling girl. Absolutely perfect. And my heart aches for you so.

 

A moment might last all of a second, but a memory lasts a lifetime. 

Take the photo, ALWAYS. Of these moments you witness of ones you love around you. Of yourself too, moments that are entirely yours. You never know when that moment is a last. You’ll never know when you want more but can’t. You’ll never know when you can gift someone one more just like I had been given …..

yes so much of life is living, but if you see me snapping away and you shake your head, just know I AM still living but capturing as many moments as I can along the way. Because I never want to be wishing I had taken more again.

Time blurs some of our clarity in these memories, but these photos always help us retell a story.

Everlee’s story will forever entangle with mine. I will always wish for more. But forever be thankful for what I have with her. Even if not much at all. What photos I was given even though far too few. But most importantly how Everlee taught me the magic in a single moment and the reason why you should capture it.

You never know how long it will last.

 

A year ago today … the day I miscarried

A year ago today I miscarried the baby we named Joy. ……. 

I remember the fears walking into the doctors that day, for this baby had already given us a scare and this was like the fifth time we had been back since we had been given the positive. Our treatment worked! We were pregnant finally!

As I walked in that day I kept thinking “But I saw the heartbeat last week.” Our baby that we tried so hard to get had had a heartbeat. Surely it was still there. Google said the likely hood of miscarriage was slim once we saw the heartbeat. 

That heartbeat I saw the week before, had told us it was ok to tell the girls, they were going to be sisters again. That heartbeat told us It was ok to celebrate. That this baby was here to stay. This baby we already loved. That we had already discussed names. That heartbeat was everything. 

But Our baby wasn’t ok. We would hear that our babies heartbeat was gone. The room would suddenly feel dense with thickness again. My joy my light taken from me once again. I looked at my husband, no words even needed to be spoken we both were thinking the same thing. How were we here again. More loss. We lost another baby. None of it would make sense. A insensitive midwife would tell us don’t cry you can have more I promise. I would want to smack her. Doesn’t she know we lost our daughter Everlee. Doesn’t she know we had suffered from secondary infertility. Doesn’t she know we went through test after test and to finally receive treatments to conceive this baby we just lost.

No I don’t know if I can have more. No I don’t know. Because at this point two babies have been taken from me. One I was blessed to still get to hold, my sweet Everlee, and make memories with. And this one was prayed for so long and so wanted and so tried for. No I don’t know if I get to have more. Because every time we mustered up enough to hope again, we would feel hopeless all over again. 

We went home numb. Familiar with the pain. Like a robot, I geared myself up to accept the next step which is Grief. More grief on top of what I already had. We would start all over again. This was Just Too much loss. 

I felt strongly that this baby needed to have a name. I did so much to honor Everlee with her name, this baby needed a name too. We named the baby, Joy, because for the short time we had this baby we immediately felt joy, joy for the future, Joy in the journey, so much joy. 

Baby Joy was supposed to be our rainbow. But the only comforting thought I still can think of, is the fact that Everlee now has a sibling to hold in heaven, until we can get there to be with them too.

While I think miscarriage is different from Everlee’s neonatal death. The emptiness that is left is the familiar to how I felt back then.  Either way our hopes were shattered. Dreams shattered all over again. And our arms still empty. Each time I questioned how I would pick myself up off the floor again. Each time I would question why me, why us. Each time I would find fault get and mad at my body for failing to keep my baby safe. Each time I would question God and say how could you. Each time I would feel incredibly alone.

We had been given so much hope after our infertility problems. Only to be left thinking what now. What now.

In the coming months I would wonder who was this baby I lost. I knew Everlee I held her, but this baby was a question to me.

I think I’ve shared this before, but I was given a dream where I saw a rainbow colored hot air ballon with a silloette flying upbove the sunflowers into the sky, where I saw Everlee holding her hand out as if she was waiting. From that point on I knew hot air balloons were meant for baby Joy just as sunflowers were for Everlee. And I would start to see these signs where ever I went. Heaven is amazing in that way I’ve found in these past years. Our loved ones find us through so many unique ways.

Even though I felt hopeless and scared to continue on our journey, we did seek out another doctor, muster up enough hope and try again. I’m glad I did because as I write this today, I’m watching my two week old baby boy sleep. If you told me I would have a living breathing baby in my arms now a year ago today I would not believed you.

Looking back at how hopeless, tired, and empty I felt, I can’t tell you what kept me going. I honestly don’t know how I continued, but whatever strength led me on, I continue to hold to today. I’m so thankful I didn’t give up.

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I wasn’t sure how I wanted to remember this day, but today I dressed Thomas in the one outfit and blanket set I had bought while pregnant with baby Joy. I had stuffed this outfit away immediately after miscarrying, mad angry, I pulled out Everlee’s things and put it with hers. More things I was never meant to see my baby in. When I went through that box before I had Thomas I had forgotten what the outfit even looked like, tears stung my eyes as I grabbed it, it had hot air balloons with rainbows on it.

We sprinkled little things with hot air balloons on it through out his nursery, to honor the baby we lost. The baby we thought was our rainbow. 04B25B7D-D309-4AEC-BCC9-908161A41A26

And as I had gone through Everlee’s things I had found a pack of newborn diapers I had bought in preparation for her. Three years ago. Before she was born. Before we suffered from secondary infertility. Before we lost baby Joy. Before I had my dream with the hot air balloon.

Before Thomas was born I finally decided it was time to open these diapers I had been hanging onto. I had numerous thoughts of giving them to my many friends who had babies between these years, but I never could. They were meant for Everlee and even just unused diapers I couldn’t give them up. So I finally did. And do you know what I found on them. A pattern of rainbow colored hot air balloons. I was so struck by this. This was years prior to my miscarriage. But here they were as if these diapers were somehow apart of this journey that lead me here.

So that’s how we honored baby Joy today. Thomas wore the outfit. Wore the diapers. And I sat and told him about this baby, as I often tell him about Everlee, we talked of baby Joy today and the hot air balloons that grace his room.

A year ago today, I had felt as hopeless as I ever would in my journey after Everlee. Completely defeated. Completely lost. Confused. And Heartbroken as I went home to wait to miscarry a baby I so desperately wanted but somehow my body had failed to see how my heart needed that child. It was unfair. It was lonely. My world stopped again as it had back when Everlee died.

And now today, I honor the baby that was part of my journey. The baby that was loved and wanted. The baby that gave us joy when our path had been so dark.

My heart still wonders about that baby. My mind still asks what if…. but my heart does feel happy when I look at Thomas today. Wearing the outfit I didn’t think would ever get worn. Our hope wasn’t all lost. I’m thankful I didn’t completely give up on hope. I’m thankful we found Joy again.

My cautious steps, to hope in our Rainbow

After experiencing the struggles of infertility after Everlee … I thought I JUST had to get pregnant. That was the path to Hope it seemed …. then I did, and all too shortly that baby was gone too, our baby Joy …. so the goal became getting pregnant and not miscarrying, staying pregnant …. and then after that milestone it went to passing the genetic and all other screenings, to learn our baby was free from things that could take them from us again. Healthy. ….  so yes all those goals and milestones have been met but I was naive in thinking that pregnancy after loss would be all rainbows. Or that the milestones ever really end to let you fully just enjoy this little rainbow.

Im almost 35 weeks now with a little baby boy that Everlee picked out just for us, is what I like to think. 35 weeks and I know that this is the first time I’ve decided to share on my blog about being pregnant or write in extent to what pregnancy after loss has been like for me.

I’m at a point now that I have officially been pregnant longer than I was with Everlee. It was  34 weeks 2days when my world changed forever. And we would loose the chance to bring our little girl home.

Now as I look back at this pregnancy I remember seeing that first pregnancy test, there was only guarded excitement with the disbelief from my struggles concieving but most of all I knew right away I was already afraid to let my heart run away with this baby when there were so many things to get through.  For the most part Jeremy and I kept the news to ourselves holding our breath really, waiting for another bomb possibily, afraid to get to excited. In a way I wondered if I expected or was waiting to miscarry again. Almost preparing myself or trying to “plan” ahead. After losing baby Joy I knew a positive pregnancy test was only the first step. And that my loss of Everlee didn’t make me immune to other struggles, or infertility, or another loss. At that point continued struggle was all to familiar to me. So as much as I wanted to be blissfully excited I also remained terrified to feel that defeat and hopelessness once again. It was a cautious hope I held at that point.

And even after I passed the point that I miscarried baby Joy, and we received a good report about genetics, and anotomy, and continued growth and thriving even into where we are today. I can tell you I know my heart is still guarded. I still catch myself saying IF we get to bring him home.

I’ve noticed I’ve dragged my feet on a lot of things, which is not like me, getting the nursery ready, moving Alice out of her room, buying things for him, and I know I try not to openly make plans for him after he’s here. For all the “plans” I had with Everlee were shattered. And it’s something I’ll never get over, what we were supposed to be doing with her.

I’ve even had a hard time with his name. I know full well we have picked out the perfect name but to announce his name feels like I’m stating everything will be ok. He’ll be coming home. And I know now that there is no way of knowing that. Things happen.

I remember when I was pregnant with Everlee and she got her diagnosis for her abnormality and what was ahead for her, I would tell myself when the worry got too much, “God sent you this little girl, so why would he take her away.  It will be ok. You were meant to have her.” And I know full well she was meant to be ours, I was right about that but not ours in the sense I was thinking in that worrisome time. My own reassurances could not keep her here.

So the phrase “it will be ok.” Is just meanless words now. It might eventually be OK but In a much different way that you ever thought.

I like to think of this little guy as my compass, leading me on and through. I was so lost after I miscarried. So hopeless. At my lowest ever since loosing Everlee. But then he came and pushed me through. Allowing me to cautiously hope again. Little does he know how he has allowed his mom to heal so much already.

Ive realized since being pregnant how I have set my grief aside for so long during our infertility phase. Being pregnant again has opened that up again for me which Has been a good thing in a way but also a waterfall of emotions to finally face. Anyone who’s experienced grief understands there is no boxing it up or setting it off to the side the only way through it is just that. Allowing it to just be what it is. Getting through it one emotion and step at a time.

This pregnancy has opened so many faucets connected to Everlee I had no idea I hadn’t dealt with. Pushing me forward in my grief.

Ive taken strides into returning to places and doctors that brought me right back to those days leading up to losing Everlee. And each step or emotion I deal with while hard has been healing to my heart.

It took courage to announce this little boys blessing. When I knew announcing him didn’t garentee we would ever bring my him home. It has took courage to share what I have on Instagram or Facebook, knowing full well my emotions regarding my pregnancy would maybe not be well received. Or seemed hurtful to those who still hope for a miracle. I have had people tell me I’m wrong in my feelings or thinkings and that I JUST need to be joyful for each day I’m pregnant. And I am, trust me, I prayed for so long to get here. And I’m also thankful for each day I was pregnant with Everlee. But like every step in life since Everlee with any of the wonderful Joys I experience, sorrow is also present. These two emotions can walk hand in hand. This is my reality now, and I’m accepting of this regardless of how others might view this.

Even though I have had this guarded heart throughout this pregnancy I’m happy It hasn’t stopped me from taking a million bump pictures, or relishing his kicks, or soaking up those moments when Alice talks to her baby brother or snuggles up to him. And even though it took me awhile I have enjoyed shopping for him and planning for him in small ways reminding me of the blissful times I shared pregnant with Everlee and shopping for her. Now picking out special things just for my little rainbow.

I wish I could tell you that now that we are to the point where I’ve been pregnant longer than Everlee, that the fears have subsided and I’m nothing but excited to meet this little guy soon. I wish, but I still can’t. I’m still feel unsure of what is ahead in so many ways. I’m still in a stage of cautious hope.

As time is ticking by, I’ve been forced to go through things and set them up in anticipation of his arrival home. But I find myself also packing things in my hospital bag that are special and very specific, and I do this knowing and thinking we didn’t have everything we wanted in our limited time in the hospital with Everlee. There’s so much I wished I had for her or would have done. So what I have packed for him I know is my way of making sure that doesn’t happen again, I’ll have every special thing I want for him regardless of any outcome.

I still harbor fears for delivery and if I’ll be plagued from traumatic events with Everlee’s birth. I’m planning for the unknown of emotions when he arrives, trying to think what it will be like to hold Everlee’s little brother after what it was like to hold her for the first and last time. What will it be like to hear him cry. When it was silent after I was finally given the chance to hold Everlee. Or to look into his eyes when I still wonder what hers look like.

Will bringing him home heal me from the nightmares I have from leaving the hospital with out Everlee in my empty car, no car seat, no baby, just tears and silence for the ride home. I remember bringing Alice home but those happy memories are so distant now it’s hard to think past the painful ones now.

Im fearful my grief will overcome me when I feel the joy of raising him. Reminding me of what I’ll never get with his big sister.

I just know this journey getting to him as been longer and harder than I ever thought. In a way it’s not over yet either. So I stand in disbelief at moments where I find my hope outweighs my fears and I think this is it, the moment we prayed for, the moment we wanted for so long, and it’s almost here. And there’s only joy for the future in those moments.

I am so aware that we would not have him or be here today if Everlee was with us.

So he is so much an added blessing to our family. That we are already so in love with despite our fears. But we also know he’ll never replace Everlee or take over the part of our hearts that remain hers forever.

So I leave you with this, be gentle to the mommas who carry a rainbow in thier bellies, be aware of the tug of war they face with joy and sorrow. Let them be however they need and don’t place judgements for emotions that are hard for them to understand themselves.

Mommas who have walked this road before me or are walking along side me now, I commend you for your braveness. It takes courage to repeat what has scared us and to give our hearts away again when we know it can be taken away. When our innocence has been taken to hope again.

And to those that still wait as I stood and waited for so long. Don’t give up. It’s worth holding on hope. I will hold space in my heart to wait with you still. And pray your moment comes at just the right time.

I’m going to try to soak up these remaining days of pregnancy. Be mindful of my heart as the next part of my journey is near. Anticipate continued healing with his arrival and the joy he’ll bring us. Knowing he’ll always know his big sister Everlee who came before him, and how she’ll always be with him too as she’s remained near to us.

“Be Joyful in Hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”   Romans 12:12