Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas... Right?


I know, for many reading this blog, Christmas this year just isn't the same. Thoughts of the baby that should be kicking in your belly or sleeping in your arms are at the forefront of your minds.

Last year, making a list of supposed things I "wanted" was a joke. I really wanted to scream at the vain idea of collecting more "things". How could I want more stuff that I didn't need? How could I make a wish list when the ONLY thing I wanted was for Hudson to be safely in my womb and my family to be living the dream I had hoped and prayed for.

If I couldn't have that, then what was I supposed to "want"?

I do remember it all so well.

Brady and I spent Christmas Eve night writing letters and weeping before bed. Reality had sunk in that our little boy in Heaven would never spend a Christmas morning on our living room floor. We would never hear his feet running down the hall in anticipation of new toys.

This reality coupled with the fact that Christmas has everything to do with the birth of a baby, well, leaves you in a whirlwind of emotion, doesn't it? This was the part of it all that I never anticipated to be so difficult.

Hearing the songs about Mary on that first Christmas night as she delivered the Savior of the World was a little different for me.

What did Christmas look like to Mary? I know it wasn't full of lights, presents, food and shopping. Maybe it wasn't as picture perfect for her as we try to make it for us. Can you imagine how she must have felt, looking in the face of Jesus for the first time? Surely she glorified God with excitement, and yet, surely her heart ached maybe just a little knowing this baby wasn't hers. She was chosen to carry Him, but she was also chosen to be the mother that would give her son away. That baby she loved was not meant for her to keep, but to give for a greater purpose than she could have fulfilled.

The purpose and the hope of this story is evident. There is a purpose and hope to yours too, dear momma. It's up to you to find it.

Don't completely lose heart during this season. Please though, feel free to have an imperfect Christmas. One where you cry, write letters, look at pictures and go through cards. Do what you need to remember your baby and honor their life. Don't feel obligated to pretend all is well just to keep your family and friends happy.

I pray that you'll find the purpose and the meaning and that it will provide a measure of peace during this time!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

So here it goes...

I assure you, I've not forgotten about this blog. Time and life have swept me away to other tasks, but I think of those who may type this address into their search engine often.

I think of you all so much so that my heart races a bit in preparation to make this post...

Do you mind my honesty? I'm afraid because I don't want to cause any more pain to the mother who may be wiping away tears today.

I do have something that I want to share, something I rejoice over daily.

Yesterday marked the beginning of my 3rd trimester with the rainbow baby God has graciously allowed us to love.

I'm sure that many who read this already know that I am pregnant. (Thank you to those faithful followers! You help make me feel that my typing isn't just to a computer) Others of you don't know me from Adam and maybe didn't expect to read a post like this on a blog... like this.

Brady and I have been blessed to experience the miracle of life for the fourth time. We are due in January to have a baby girl!

All frills and bows aside, this pregnancy has been remarkably different for me. Not necessarily the physical aspect, but the emotional.

Back in May when I took the positive test I read the results and threw the stick aside as if it were a cruel joke. I went back to folding laundry as if that trip to the bathroom was just like any other. That afternoon my mind continually tried to drift back to the plus sign but I would stop it. Walls were built and only getting taller.

Brady came home from work and his reaction was the same as mine. I was relieved. I didn't want a big to-do over it. At least not yet. I refused to say the "p" word for days. My heart wouldn't let me claim a pregnancy that I knew could be ripped from me at any minute.

Over the course of weeks and months I slowly opened the door to let a little excitement in. Brick by brick the walls have been removed. I wanted to be excited but I couldn't get Hudson and my early miscarriage out of my mind.

Thank God all is normal and well. I am only high risk in my heart on the worrisome days.

Yes, I said worrisome days. Thankfully I've felt peace most days. The times that I haven't felt peace I could probably count on my hands.

I think that the peace has come so easily for me because I've realized (the hard way) that I can't control any outcome. It's just not up to me. I still feel like I'm sitting back, my feet up with a big bowl of popcorn staring at a screen. I'm ultimately not the author of the comings and goings of life. I just get the front row seat.

Pregnancy has opened up a new area of grief. It's made it more tangible. I've revisited thoughts and emotions that have been sacred to me. I've revisited times and locations that have been devastating.

Hudson has become more real to me. Gosh, even that darn "chemical" pregnancy has become more real.

His absence is felt in a whole new way as I fall head-over-heels in love with this little girl.

Many people incorrectly assume that another pregnancy is the medicine for a "lost" one. They couldn't be any more wrong. Another pregnancy peels back layers of emotion and feelings that are untouchable by an empty womb.

On the flip side it has opened my eyes to a whole new way to love and a whole new way to appreciate. I'm so thankful for this!

I definitely haven't forgotten what it was like to see pregnant bellies or hear the news of expectant parents. The knives are gone, but wow, that's a feeling you just don't forget.

It's not that I'm not ecstatic, it's just that I tip-toe around complete public celebration because I don't want to be the person holding the knife.

For those of you feeling the bitter side of this post instead of the sweet, I am truly, truly sorry. I can't claim to understand every single person's feelings or situation and I know full well that I'm ignorant to a lot. My prayers and thoughts continually go out for the mommies that are freshly grieving.

I'm not one to put on a show or pretend to be something I'm not. (Seriously, I don't highlight my hair because of this!) For that reason I've wanted to share openly and honestly about my heart even in this phase of life. Not only that, but my baby is worth sharing and I wouldn't ever want her or someone else to think that I'm ashamed of this precious gift of her life.

So, I'll leave you today in eager hopes that my words haven't caused unneeded pain. Hopefully they've shed a glimmer of light onto the realities of this whole mommy and pregnancy thing.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Birthday Hudson

As much as I prepared mentally and emotionally for last week, it took me just as much by surprise. Who knew anniversaries and first birthdays could be so hard? I didn't.

I answered the "how are you doing" question fairly bluntly; at least for those that I thought could handle my answer. I have a tendency to respond to questions in a way that gives me a deer in the headlights look in return.

"It feels like the same pain and grief, only this time there isn't the shock."

A little dose of shock makes anything a tad easier to handle!

I was quite happy to be able to recognize little Hudson, and thrilled that my friends, family and people I didn't even know that well were remembering him that day too. I felt loved and I felt like Hudson was loved. What more could a momma want?








Hudson's birthday of course marked the beginning of my journey towards Hudson's Bands of Hope. I left the hospital that day wearing a hospital band that I had NO clue would become so important. Honestly, helping others was the furthest thing from my mind at the time, but I believe God began weaving the passion for this ministry into my heart even then.

I am forever grateful that God saw fit to use Hudson's short life to impact others. I sure am proud of my little boy!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Forever Faithful One

The sweetest old man came up to me to ask about the bracelets. I didn't know him and was a bit confused as to what interest he might have in this ministry. I listened as he explained why he wanted a bracelet...

"My wife and I lost a baby boy over 60 years ago. Sometimes I come home and she's sitting in the chair crying over him even today."

My heart broke for this man and woman. He still watches as his wife grieves a loss over 60 years old! He assured me how much the bracelet would mean for her because she doesn't really have anything to remember the baby by.

When does the healing come? Does it? What is it supposed to look like? How long does grief last?

Gosh, I wish I knew.

My very short experience with this has left me with my own thoughts...

There's never a point in time that you are completely "healed" and grief can last forever. The good news is some healing does come and grief changes shapes, forms and appearances. Literally.

Peace from the good Lord above is your best bet. It's what I've leaned on, clung to, prayed for and cherished in my moments of severe weakness.

The situation never becomes less sad or OK. Time and peace are what make a difference.

I have a pretty simple mind so comparing and contrasting makes a lot of sense to  me. Just like I was in elementary all over again...

Scar tissue will eventually cover that ugly battle wound and it will become less evident over time. But if that old wound gets agitated just the right way it can hurt and hurt bad.



My heart sunk into my stomach as I was unexpectedly  reminded, just now, of the lyrics to the song that held me together nearly a year ago.

"Even if the healing doesn't come
 Life falls apart
 and dreams are still undone
 You are God... You are good...
 Forever Faithful One
 Even if the healing doesn't come..."

I know I've shared this song on here before, but I had to again.

The words meant a lot to me then as I realized my life and dreams had fallen apart. Now, not only do the lyrics take me back to the emotion, it's another set of words that strike me...

"Even if the healing doesn't come"

A few days shy of a year later and wow. The healing really doesn't come. I guess I never thought then about what this song would mean to me in a year's time.

"You are God... You are good...
Forever Faithful One"

That is the line that holds it all together. Whether right now or 20 years down the road it is those words that will never change in significance.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

No profound thoughts... just my heart.

In the next month or so I anticipate my mind and heart to drift often with heaviness to thoughts about Hudson's upcoming birthday. I know it will be this way because it already has been. I've not only prepared my husband and calendar for the anniversary of  "the week" but I am already preparing my heart. As much as is possible I suppose.

You see, yesterday marked one month from the day that I said hello and good-bye, the day that a wheel-chair and the dizziness of my mind lead me from that hospital room to my car. I was supposed to just go home and figure out life. A large portion of my heart still hasn't found its way home from that birthing room. Though the sheets have been changed and the floors mopped they've felt my tears and somewhere my sorrow still lingers. As far as I know, it will never leave.

Right now my heart knows the days better than my head. My subconscious grieves as I near this bitter anniversary.

So in no time at all I'll be faced with September 10th,11th, and 12th. The day I anxiously went to my ultrasound and left with that horrible news, the day I labored to birth Hudson and then the day that he was born.

What am I supposed to do with these dates one year later? Part of me could just skip out on September all together this year. The other part of me wants to embrace it just like I do the month of May, when I met my first born.

My thoughts have ping-ponged back and forth with what to do and what not to do. This past Sunday I got it figured out.

I am going to "celebrate" Hudson's birthday.

Call me crazy. That's ok.

I celebrate everyone else's and I can't stand the thought of not throwing Hudson a birthday "party". Sure, this will take a different form than normal, but that's my baby boy and that's his birthday.

 

For me, avoiding obvious pain triggers seems to intensify the pain. Most people would likely suggest that someone in my shoes not encounter or partake in those things that cause pain.

But ignoring it doesn't make it disappear. It doesn't make me feel any better. What I honestly think is that it makes the other person feel better not to see me upset. If you've lost a baby or a loved one at all, you know what I mean.

I take pride in Hudson. I take pride in his little tiny life and what he's accomplished. My heart smiles to hear someone else say his name. I want to show him off. I want his name to be common to those who know him.

Needless to say when his headstone finally got set a few weeks ago I was crying tears of sadness, joy and pride. I never anticipated how I would feel when I first saw it in person. My baby's name on a headstone. Of course we were sad but we smiled too. We were proud! Just as if Hudson had slept through the night for the first time or just taken his first steps I called my family and so did Brady. We wanted to show off our son.

The moment took me back because I realized I've never had that proud, excited, mom moment where I get to show my baby off.

And unexpectedly this was it!

Our family was there as soon as we called and for the first time, I got to show off my Hudson with pride.
 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ways to Remember

I know from my own experience, and talking to countless other mommies that acknowledgement is sometimes all we need. Many people fear that mentioning something will only bring up pain, but that is not true! I feel so proud when someone randomly says something about my little Hudson!

I'm positive that I am not only speaking for myself here, but also for the other moms who wish desperately to hold and know their children.

 Even if you don't know what to say to that person who's just experienced loss, not saying anything speaks loud and clear and hurts worse. Just make a simple acknowledgement. You truly don't know how much that will mean.

I've compiled a list of some things that Brady, Dawson and I have done to daily remember Hudson. This list also includes several things that others have done or gotten for us. Please take these ideas and run with them. For you family members and friends that are searching for a way to provide comfort, many of the items on this list you can do!

  • Include a framed writing of your baby's name and birthdate/due date with the rest of your   family photos.
  • Donate to a local charity on behalf of your baby.
  • Buy Christmas presents for an under privileged child in honor of your baby. Feel free to search for a child that would be about the same age as your baby or the same gender.
  • Write letters to your baby.
  •  Create a photo album. You may have very few pictures, but you can include anything that reminds you of your pregnancy or baby.
  • Hang up a Christmas stocking for your baby with the rest of the family's. Add a note/letter to it every year. Brady and I actually took Hudson's stocking and letters to his grave and read them aloud.
  • Make or purchase a special Christmas ornament to represent your baby.
  • Fill out a baby book. There are actually baby books designed for angel babies. Just do a Google search for "baby books for angel babies". There are many to chose from!
  • Openly talk with your other children (if you have them) about their brother or sister. Every time we pass by a cemetery Dawson will say "Hi Hudson". Anytime Heaven is mentioned, he reminds me that Hudson lives there. Your kids are never too young to learn about their siblings.

Please share with us, what have you done in memory of your baby?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Reality Attacks

Instant tears today as the sweet lady on the other end of the phone says, "So you have a history of perinatal death and pregnancy loss. Is that correct?"

Woah.

 Not that what she said was incorrect. Those facts are just so harsh. I did manage to hide my tears and cracking voice from this stranger.

She trailed on with what she was saying as I sat... frozen, trying to process how I, of all people could be classified that way. I can't hardly read the words I just typed without shedding a tear. Will these facts ever quit taking my breath away?

Amazing how you can be about your daily grind and there it is... out of nowhere, an attack, an ambush of reality.  You better bet, for the rest of the day my mind will be lingering on these thoughts... still trying to figure out how I am that person.

I would like to know, what are the reality checks that sink you deep into emotion? Please feel free to comment below. I am sure that we all have more in common than we think.

Thank you for letting me "journal" to you today.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When life falls apart...


It was just one year ago since I first learned that I was pregnant with little Hudson...
 
To discover you are pregnant is quite an emotional experience in itself. It is a good thing I didn't know at the time what exactly that pregnancy would give birth to.
 
Yea, I carried a baby and delivered a child. Although it was absolutely not the way I would've planned it, I am thankful to God for many of the things that have taken place since this day one year ago.
 
Sure, on the outside my life looks identical to the way it did the day that I nervously read the positive on that pregnancy test. But, in all reality, my life has changed more in the last year than at any other time.
 
 I was pregnant with a baby, a hope, a dream, a desire that seemed sure to be fulfilled. With a baby on the way, our house nearly sold, another one picked out, and a family vehicle in the works, I was proud and na├»vely confident that my own plans were going to succeed. Life seemed to be moving forward just like it should. I can say with confidence, I have never been more wrong about anything.
 
Ever.
 
See, God saw fit to take those desires and plans and one-by-one allow me lose my carnal hold of them.
 
So, what did that pregnancy test mean?  It meant I was about to give birth to life's darkest, most difficult and painful season. It meant my whole world would spiral out of control as I grasped to catch a piece of it and keep it within my control, my reach. 
 
What's better, it meant that the very core of who I am would change forever. My priorities would take new order, my world view a new shape, and my faith deeper roots. I gave birth to the reality of who I really am and a better understanding of my all Sovereign Savior.
 
Today, I live and breathe differently because of the severe disappointment and growth that I've been forced into. My hope is that people don't see me as a victim of life's unfortunate circumstances. I've become a student to my own shortcomings and the plans that God has mapped out for me. For this, I am eternally grateful.

 While I would do anything to be in the home that my heart once envisioned and hold my sweet baby boy, I've surely learned by now that it is not my own desires that are important. To really understand that my life belongs to God makes it so much easier to let Him be the keeper of my dreams. To surrender every aspect of my life and heart over to Him has to be one of the hardest things to learn, but in the end, it's worth the lesson.
 
If I can be honest about all of this, then I guess I have to be honest and admit that it all still hurts. Not just losing my baby, but losing everything I put my heart into for so many months. It still stings. Bad.
 
I wouldn't even know how to pretend that I understand why God would let all of this disappointment happen. In the last year I've had more taken from me than what's been restored. I don't get it, but I would sure like to.
 
I find myself, even now, searching for answers. But really, answers don't matter.

Ok, yea I do think they would provide me with a little more peace. But Jesus Christ has to be my answer. When nothing else makes sense, I know that He does.
 
It was the week after "the week". My husband was back to work, the burial service was done and I was home. Alone. Just as it had every other day, emotion swept over me the moment I finally allowed it to. I sat on my loveseat in the living room after putting Dawson down for his nap. I had my journal and pen in hand. I began to write about how angry I was that a loving God could allow his child to go through so much disappointment.
 
I was angry that seemingly everything had been taken from me.
 
What I understand now, more than ever, is that it wasn't mine to begin with.
 
As my pen scribbled on the tear stained pages of my journal, a song began to play on the radio that stopped me dead in my tracks. My heart froze for a moment as I realized the God of Heaven was speaking to me. I was astonished. Every lyric of that song found its way into my heart and mind as an answer. Just the answer I needed.
 
Today, this song still makes my heart race as it brings up such fresh emotion.
 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Break Your Silence


Ever felt a sense of shame for your situation?

A recent conversation often comes to mind. It was a simple, short conversation but it had a huge impact on me. Another mom probably my age or a tad older asked me how many children I have.

 "I have one here and two in Heaven. How many do you have?"

 "I have four."

She then turned around, ending the conversation right there. Was she was put off by my reply? A few seconds later I see her turn back around to me…

 "I have one in Heaven too."

That was it. At that moment I decided to make my experimental reply to that question a permanent one. You see, this mom felt safe to acknowledge her baby in Heaven because I first acknowledged mine.

Pardon me to be so blunt, but if your mom or dad dies, do you pretend as if they never existed? No. So why should you if your baby dies during pregnancy or even shortly after? I see where this topic is so off limits in our society. It is cast out as inappropriate or uncomfortable. No wonder moms don't mention their children in Heaven. They are afraid to.  I believe that well intentioned people can say things to inadvertently inflict feelings of shame on mothers who've had pregnancy loss. Comments like, "well, at least you already have one." or "You can always have more." Only create shame and diminish the worth of their feelings or worse, their child's life.

Don't be ashamed! No matter where or when your loss was, you are still a mommy to a baby.

Maybe I'm just different. My husband and I had another loss in February. This was a very very early loss. No, I don't feel fear in acknowledging that loss. Yes, I do sort of dread the awkward silence it causes when I tell someone that I have two babies in Heaven. Possibly this acknowledgement comes easy to me though, because Hudson was my first loss. One that we couldn't hide. 

Isn't it worth it?

I have been amazed by the number of women that I've crossed paths with in life that have experienced loss. What’s even more amazing, is that I had no clue until I had my loss.

Don't you think that the loneliness of grief could be alleviated just a bit to know that countless other women have been there? Let me challenge you to boldly claim your baby.

I'm far from being a trend-setter, but I'm ready to set one. I will break my silence. I will see to it that other women have an opportunity to break theirs.

Will you?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

"Blessed are Those who Mourn"

It is true. You are blessed because you mourn. Don't get me wrong, the reason that you mourn may not be a blessing. The fact the you mourn makes you blessed. God says so in the book of Matthew, chapter 5 verse 4.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
I find a bit of comfort just in knowing that I will be comforted. God is our comfort.

This past Sunday at church our pastor spoke from this verse. I must say, I loved every moment of it. Not because it was an incredibly cheery sermon, but because so much of it is what my heart, and I trust yours too, longs to hear.

Contrary to many people's words, actions or awkward comments, grief is normal and it is OK. It is necessary. Doesn't that make it seem a little bit easier to grieve? I've never felt like I had to hide my grief around those that accept it, or better yet, understand it! However, those who are uncomfortable with it, I hide it. I bury it behind fake smiles and head nods so they don't see. It is then that the grief takes deeper roots and sets up camp in a more unhealthy way.

Be encouraged, if you are grieving a loss, just grieve and mourn. Don't let anyone try to fix it or take it from you. While not everyone understand the way you feel, you can know that our God, the God of all comfort understands. He has given you tears to cry and a heart that can feel pain. He sees every tear that falls and He understands.

Please, check out this sermon. I am sure it will encourage you. I am especially partial to it because my pastor shares a little bit about Hudson's Bands of Hope at the end!

Just click below and then click on the link to your right.
www.ecrossroads.cc

Allow me to sit with you and cry a tear or two.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Matching Challenge

If you clicked on a link after reading about the matching challenge, then you are in the right place! Thank you for your kindness in helping. What you donate today will be used to send bracelets and cards all over the country as well as supply new hospitals that we have not yet been able to reach. Please feel free to share this challenge with others. Remember, we are trying to match up to $500! This challenge will expire on Monday, April 22nd.  

   The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
                         Psalms 34:18




Monday, April 1, 2013

Welcome!

This blog is created for you! Learn more about what these bracelets are and how they came about. I am excited to share hope with other moms as they struggle through loss and pain. Know that you are not alone.

As these bracelets become more widespread so does the need to make this cause more known and understood. The purpose of Hudson's Bands of Hope is to honor my baby while donating bracelets and cards to hospitals for moms who experience stillbirth and miscarriage. Currently, the bracelets are in both Kokomo hospitals and will soon be expanding to Marion General, Methodist, IU North and St. Vincent, here in Indiana. I have commited to provide bracelets to these hospitals as funding permits.  Bracelets have also been mailed across the country as requested by family members and friends of those who have a loss.

I have included my story and the initial seed that God planted for this idea to grow. Since begining this ministry I have been completely overwhelmed by the support and willingness of others to help, as well as how easily things have fallen into place as God blesses me with resources and expansion.

I pray that this is an inspiration and a source of healing for many!