Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year

A new year starts tomorrow. This is the first New year in the past 3 that we won't welcome a new child into our lives. 3 years ago I was pregnant with Emma and still blissfully unaware of her diagnosis, 2 years ago I was carrying Connor and last year we were awaiting Wyatt's finalization. This year I have to admit I am a little saddened by the idea that nothing like this will happen. I think it is made even stronger by the possibility that I will need a hysterectomy in the coming months. I know the pregnancy and I have not had the best relationship. After a miscarriage and 2 babies with fatal defects, you think I would never want to be pregnant again. But, the truth is I love being pregnant. I love carrying a child, feeling them move, experiencing emotions you never imagined could exist. If every woman had a pregnancy like the one I had with Anna I think they would all feel this way! I realize that the likely hood of me ever carrying a healthy child is very small, but at least that little thought is still there. With a hysterectomy there is no chance. No baby, no pregnancy, no chance. Sometimes I feel like I must be a little crazy because I actually think maybe I could carry another child to term, even if they were sick, at least I could feel that love. I know it is silly, but I can't tell you the emotions that come with the idea of not being able to conceive. Not being able to carry a baby. Not being able to give a child life, no matter how brief. It really makes me feel for those who have had trouble getting pregnant, carrying babies and feeling that realm of emotions. But, I guess I shouldn't get too far ahead of myself. Maybe this year my tests will come back normal and the hysterectomy can wait. Maybe something will change T.J.'s mind and we will welcome a new baby someday. For all I know someday in the next 5-10 years they will find a way to stop Anencephaly from happening and I can have a healthy baby. The thing I do like about the new year is the idea that you have no idea what will happen. As much as I may not like it, we also have no control over what will happen. The best we can do is love the ones we have and hold them close. I can look forward to having a big boy and a big girl who will start Kindergarten and preschool next fall and bring me joy everyday. I will be pushed to my limits by tantrums and fights and brought to my knees with hugs and kisses. I guess I really couldn't ask for more...

Friday, December 24, 2010

This time of year

Your stockings
hang empty
your tree
covered with snow
each year I wonder
how much
you would have grown
would you have
liked to see Santa
would you have
screamed and ran
would Emma run crazy
or would she like to hold my hand
would Connor be talking
singing carols all day long
would they like making cookies
would they leave the tree alone
all of these things we cherish
for the ones we hold near
little things I miss for you guys
especially this time of year

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Emma and Connor's Snuggle Buddies

Over the past year and a half we have had an incredible outpouring of support for Emma and Connor's Bags of Love. We have been able to help 100's of Foster children with bags, toys and other donations. T.J. and I have even been able to meet a few of the kids and see the appreciation and love they felt from receiving them.

To start the New Year off right, I have another project I need help with. This year we are going to not only continue collecting bags and personal care items for kids in foster care, but we are starting Emma and Connor's Snuggle Buddies. This year my mission is to collect baby blankets, new with the tags on them. These blankets will be taken to Cincinnati Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. When we were foster parents to Aidric, we spent a few days in the NICU with him in Columbus. Everything he had came from donations. When we brought him home he had blankets and toys that were sent with him. We were never able to bring Emma or Connor home. If they had lived they may have spent time in the NICU as well, either way I know a soft blanket is a comfort to all children. This is just another way we can help to do good in their names. Emma and Connor's Snuggle Buddies is something that we can do to bring a little comfort and love to each family in this situation. This is a brand new project and I look forward to helping it to become the success that Emma and Connor's Bags of Love has been!! I need a little help from Emma and Connor's Friends to help us along our way though. The next time you are out shopping and you see baby blanket on sale, pick it up and send it over. We will get them all together and drop them off at Children's. I have also received a newborn wish list I will add to the bottom. We will also be collecting these items to send with our blankets. Thank you so much for your support!

Wish List for Infant Population – Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

teething rings
rattles, plastic and vinyl only
Board books
baby theme stickers
12 x1 2 scrap book paper
12 x 12 scrap book albums
4 x 6 picture frames
4 x 6 unfinished wooden frames (these are at Michaels for $1.00)

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or ideas to help us on our way!

Sarah Caito

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

For Austin's Mom....

It has been one month since Austin passed away. I wrote this for his Mom.

So many things she longs for

the sound of his voice

the stomp of his feet

running down the hall

his giggle

his cry

the back and forth of bedtime

the smell of his morning yawn

him waking her each day

she waits for him

maybe he will come

maybe if she checks his room

just one more time

he will be there

this time

playing with his toys

laying with his doopy

watching his movies

so quietly that she just had to make sure

he was still there

no matter how many times

she checks his room

looks out the window

when a car door shuts

he still isn't there

it has been 1 month today

the longest month of this woman's life

she has made it here

without him

she sits and wonders

where this time went

how each hour has melted

into one big nightmare

waiting to wake up

praying this time

he will be there

while knowing in her heart

that he is gone

Monday, November 29, 2010

Big Brown Eyes

I wrote this tonight about our son, Wyatt. He couldn't fall asleep and as I rocked him it kind of flooded my mind.

Big Brown Eyes

I can't help but to think
when I look into your
big brown eyes
of the woman who carried you
the one who gave birth to you
who held you in her arms
who loved you with her whole heart
but made so many wrong choices
I am sure she thinks of you
longs for you
prays for you
I think of her often
as I rock you when you can't sleep
when I yell your first and middle name
about a thousand times a day
fearing you will hurt yourself
if going through with all of your ideas
when I run my fingers through your hair
and see the perfect smile across your face
see I know you are mine
I know you were always meant to be with me
but still somewhere in my heart
I hold a special place for this woman
this woman who was dealt a different life
who has gone on a different path
I may not agree with much of what she has done
but at the end of the day
she made you
so how could I think anything less
of this woman who gave you life

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving week....

Thanksgiving has been a very emotional time for us for the past few years. In 2007 we moved into our new house and soon after found out I was pregnant with Emma. In 2009 we had just had Wyatt officially placed with us days before. Such wonderful things to celebrate and be Thankful for but, the thing that I can't seem to get out of my mind is the year in between. Thanksgiving of 2008.

I was pregnant with Connor. I was about 16 weeks along and the week before I had my quad screen. This is the blood test that shows if you have increased levels that could mean birth defects. I vividly remember the day the blood was drawn. I think I always knew that Connor was sick, but that was the beginning of the end of the false hope for his health. I waited for days for the results to come in. I called every morning and every afternoon, praying that I was wrong. On the night of Thanksgiving I remember staring at my mom's fridge. Right next to each other there was my 7 week ultrasound and my sister's 9 week ultrasound. I looked over and over and I began to cry. I said aloud that my baby's head was smaller than hers. They all looked at me and said I was worrying to much and that my baby would be fine. I ran to the bathroom and sat there and cried for awhile. I pulled myself together and tried to believe them and enjoy the night.

The next day we didn't have many plans. T.J. decided to go golfing (even in the cold) and headed out to the course. The phone rang and I didn't recognize the number. I vaguely remember the conversation that followed: Sarah, This is Dr. Schwartz. I received your results and the baby has tested positive for Trisomy 18 and neural tube defects....this is where I stopped hearing anything. I told him I had to go. I called T.J. who had just stepped onto the 1st hole of the course. I screamed to him on the phone. They baby is going to die...this baby is going to die too. what is wrong with me....why is this happening to us. He said he would be home. Not knowing what else to do I called my mom with the same conversation. I called my good friend and neighbor and asked her to come over. I met her and my mom in the front yard and dropped to my knees and sobbed in their arms. My friend took Anna to her house for a little while, so she did not have to see me this way. T.J. and my Dad were there soon after mom and we sat and cried together.

This is how I remember Thanksgiving. I wish it were different. I wish that I could focus on the wonderful things that have happened this week in history and I will be sure to try and focus on the wonderful things to be thankful for at hand. Most every memory I have involving Connor is so positive. This is my sadness surrounding him. These are the memories, the emotions and the flashes of my life that I can't shake. Sometimes I close my eyes and it is as if I am there again. It is amazing the things your mind retains.

For now I will use this blog as my therapy. Getting the thoughts from the circle in my mind onto "paper" has been the most therapeutic thing I have found. This Thanksgiving we will spend surrounded by the people we love, eating wonderful food and remembering those we have lost. Nothing makes you more Thankful for what you have been given, than knowing what you have lost.

Friday, November 19, 2010

One of those days....

It is one of those days today, when my mind keeps wondering. Today is my brother's 34th birthday. The 33rd birthday that he has spent in Heaven. He died when he was 22 months old. A perfectly healthy toddler one day and a sick dying child the next. I know after all of this time there are so many questions and unanswered “what ifs” that my parents have tried to look past. I know things like Austin dying bring all of their pain to the surface and make everything seem as if it were yesterday. As I think of these things, Mikey, Austin and even my own 2 babies in Heaven, I have a huge question....what happens in Heaven to how we look.

I have spent many years pondering this about Mikey. Since I was about 9 it has actively played in my mind if we would know each other. If I could only count the number of hours I listened to Eric Clapton's “Tears in Heaven” thinking to myself, he will know me. Then I would wonder if he would be the same. Would he always appear to be the cute, toddling child that he left this Earth as? I would imagine you don't age in Heaven, what about the old people that die? So in my 9 year old mind I came up with a plan to help me grieve this loss and to help me deal with my 9 year old emotions. Mikey would stay the same age. This way I could recognize him when the time came. In Heaven he would where the outfits that I had seen him wear in pictures. He would have the toys that I had heard about and still have the smile I had dreamed of. He would know me, because he had watched me from Heaven.

This all seemed to make a lot of sense back then. Now, however, I wonder. If this were the case for all people in Heaven, what would that mean for Emma? She was so small and sickly. A few years ago I came up with a new plan. This one to help my 28 year old mind to grieve and wrap my head around these things. Emma would be a happy chubby 6 month old baby in Heaven. She would be sitting up,playing with toys and keeping all of her great grandparents busy. I may have never seen her on this Earth, but we would know each other as soon as we met in Heaven. I am her mother, so of course she would know me, right?

When we lost Connor I had to come up with yet another plan. I had seen him and held him. I memorized the creases in his hands and the folds in his tiny legs, so how could I make him any different than the perfect angel that I held? Connor in my mind is just as he was. A perfect little full term, squishy baby. His only difference is that he is healthy.

I guess that brings me back to today. I bought a picture from the John Deere store online. I saw it and I couldn't resist. It is a little boy in a John Deere hat with pumpkins and a scarecrow. In my 30 year old mind this is Austin's Heaven. The way I see it the second he left this life he entered into another that was all that he loved here, even better. I guess in a way I am blessed that this grieving process of mine started when I was 9. I have spent more than 2/3's of my life trying to figure out little pieces of Heaven. Maybe the best part of all of this, is that I get to keep these ideas. The only one who could ever prove me wrong is God himself. Someday when I get to Heaven I know there will be a wonderful group of children who I love and long for daily, waiting for me. Maybe they will look different than I have imagined or maybe I am right. Either way at that point I will get to hold and hug them all, so it really won't make a difference will it?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In Memory of Austin Lee

Very good friends of ours lost their son tragically on Saturday night. As we prepare to say goodbye to him tomorrow I have been reflecting over his life and how he has impacted my husband, myself and our daughter. He was 6 months younger than Anna and we have always referred to him as her "boyfriend" hoping someday they would be married and we would all be family. Little did we realize that he would bring us even closer in his short life than we could have ever been made through marriage. I am not sure words could ever express how I feel for his family and their loss. This is the best I could do for now....

This Child made an ordinary man and woman

into extraordinary parents

This child made parents into Grandparents

and sisters into Aunts

This child had the gift of laughter

a smile of mischief and a heart of gold

This child knew no stranger

because he made everyone a friend

This child loved life

and spent everyday happy

This child was an old soul

and a farmer in Papaw Rope's garden

This child wore Green

because his mom let him choose

This child made the world to all around him

a better, happier place

This child has left those who love him broken

This child soars above us now

This Child will live on in our hearts forever

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How many children do you have?

Sometimes it seems simple questions in life make you think about all you have been through. I had my yearly visit this morning with my OB. I walked into the office with the medical assistant and talked about my 2 kids. She sat down to ask me the normal questions and said "You have had 4 pregnancies and have 2 children?" I answered, "No, I have had 4 pregnancies and I have 1 living child". I am sure at that point she may have thought I had lost it, but she entered the information as I had said it. It got me to thinking about such a simple little thing and how life is just not so simple for Moms who have had losses.

How many children do you have? Seems simple enough right? Not for me. Every time I am asked that question I struggle with the answer. In reality I have carried 4 children in my body and I have adopted 1. 4 of the 5 are named, so they could be listed easier than explaining an early loss, but still I usually say 2. Of course I have more than 2 children. I more than anyone want to acknowledge Emma and Connor, but sometimes it is like a can of worms. I could go from a one word answer to a very long story of the past 3 years. I guess it depends on the day I am having, the person I am talking to and the situation we are in. It is very easy to see that I have 2 children. They are laughing and fighting, pulling me away from the question at hand. It is the 2 who are silent that bring me this dilemma. Am I doing them an injustice to not mention their names, not to acknowledge their short lives? I guess this is a struggle that won't go away. I know I am so lucky to have these children standing in front of me. The ones who there are no questions of, they speak for themselves. I have friends who have lost babies and they have no one to hold. Not only do their hearts and empty arms ache for the children they long for, but when they hear these questions what do they say? They are Mothers. They have carried children in their bodies and lost them, as well as a part of themselves. They, like myself, will never be the person they were before. Such simple questions like, How many children do you have? Can bring up so many thoughts. Thoughts that I would have never even pondered years ago. Now I find myself squirming with anxiety at the mere thought of answering. Sometimes I say 4, sometimes I say 2, sometimes I just smile and walk away. I guess each day will bring a new answer, because I may never know the "right" way to answer everytime.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

All in God's Plans....

About 15 months ago T.J., Anna and I welcomed a baby into our home, our lives and our hearts. T.J. and I spent 3 days at the Columbus Children's NICU getting to know him and learning his meds until we were able to bring him home. In the first few weeks that he was with us we went to many appointments at children's cincinnati and spent much time snuggling, eating and getting used to being a family of 4. Our plan was to eventually adopt this wonderful little man. When we found out that he has significant medical needs that we were not able to care for we were devastated. Here we had come to love this child and he had been a part of our lives for a month. How were we supposed to make a choice to try and care for him, not knowing his life expectancy or how fragile he was, or to find a new family for him. Could we do this to ourselves just months after losing Connor and what about Anna, she had already been through so much. After much praying and many tears we decided we would wait until a good family for him was found and he would go on to a new placement. It was only a few days later I received a call from our adoption worker that they had found a placement. From the first phone call I had with his mom, Katie, I knew it was going to be okay. Within a day his new family was at our house to meet him, his sister, his Dad, his mom and he had another big brother at home. They decided to call him Aidric. The next couple of days were hard for us, knowing he would leave soon, but knowing where he was going was the best feeling. His mom is in school to be a nurse, his grandmother is a nurse and his brother has a wonderful nurse of his own! The day that Aidric went "home" was a bittersweet day for all of us. We knew that it was best for him, but we were so sad to say goodbye. Katie had said she would keep in touch, but you never know how things will end up. Lucky for us Aidric and his entire family are now a very big part of our lives. We are able to see him often and I call to check on him as well. I consider myself so lucky to have found friends in his mom and in his family's nurse, Misty. When I look back over the past couple of years, at the time I tried to figure out why all of these things were happening. Now I know, God knew what he was doing. He knew that Aidric needed the family he has and that we would find Wyatt. All of these things just fell right into place in their time. This Friday we will be at the courthouse to see Aidric's adoption finalized. I am so happy that God has laid the path for us that he has. We would have never known so many of the people we have met or been able to love the way we have. I remember throwing my hands up and saying "why" after we heard about Aidric's condition, I get it now God....all in your time.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A little of our life since Emma and Connor

A few months after we received Connor's diagnosis we decided to go ahead with the adoption process. We knew how long it could take and we started classes for the Foster Care/ adoption program in Late January of 2009. We went to 36 hours of training and started our homestudy. We made sure everyone involved was fully aware of our life, Emma's and Connor's. Our assessor was so wonderful and she made everything as comfortable as a Home study could be! We took a few months off around Connor's birth in April and then received our paperwork that we had been approved in mid June of 2009.

A few weeks after that we met our adoption worker for the first time and I immediately felt great about her. I knew she would be a huge help and that I could trust her, which was a great feeling to have in a situation where you have no idea what is really ahead of you! That day our assessor told us of a baby boy in the NICU in Columbus in need of a foster care/ legal risk placement. Legal risk is the term they use when the State plans on fighting for permanent custody of a child, but it hasn't happened yet. So the intent of this is for the foster family to care for the child with the intentions of adopting them. I was immediately ready for this!! Our adoption worker sent us the baby's information and history. He was in the NICU since birth, born with PUV (Posterior Uretheral Valves) which had been fixed with surgery. His prognosis was wonderful, antibiotics to prevent infections and a few other preventative medications. We were told (by the hospital, not the county) that he would need yearly follow up care with a nephrologist and a urologist and was otherwise doing great.

T.J. Wasn't sure about it from the beginning. It was only a few months since we had lost Connor and to be honest I don't know that he ever thought he could love another person's child. After listening to me beg and plead for what seemed like hours I am sure....he said okay. On July 17, 2009 we went to Columbus Children's hospital to meet our baby boy. We decided to name him Dillon. He was so cute and small, but huge for the NICU! He was doing great as well. We spent the next 2 days traveling back and forth to Columbus and brought him home on July 19.

The next few weeks were spent bonding with him, cuddling and getting used to a newborn again. Anna loved him right away. She called him Dilly, as soon did the rest of us. She was such an amazing big sister caring for him and showing him his toys and such. He fit in well with our little family and we were beginning to see what the rest of our lives could be like with him. T.J. Fell for him fast too. After 3 weeks of this new little family I took him for a full day of follow up tests at Cincinnati Children's. Dillon was so good, I even bought him a lamb chop puppet at the gift shop. The next weeks we were scheduled to get the results with his doctor's. We stood in the office with Dillon's foster care worker and discussed how great he had been doing and how well things were going. She told us about his case and his bio mother. Then the doctor's and nurse came in. They begin to paint a picture that we were completely floored by. Dillon had major kidney damage. The severe reflux caused by the PUV had taken his Kidney's down to 34%. He would need to be cathed every 3 hours for the rest of his life and there was a large chance he would need a kidney transplant in his childhood. When I ask for a life expectancy they said it was too soon to be able to give me one. T.J. And I stood in the office stunned. How could there be such a difference in these two hospitals? What were we going to do?

We went home and talked and cried. How could this be happening? We spoke with his workers, the head of the urology department, the home health care nurses and our families. We had come to love this helpless little child, Anna had come to love him as well. But, in our minds we knew we couldn't put ourselves in a situation like this. Not this soon after Connor. We made the agonizing decision to find him another placement.

It didn't take too long until we received the call that they had found a family. I was so scared that this family wouldn't be “good enough” for him. But, the first time I called his new Mom I knew that this was his family. They were young, energetic and had 1 adopted son and a soon to be adopted daughter. They came to meet Dillon and I saw the love in his mom's eyes. The same love I felt the first time I saw him, and I knew everything would be okay for him. The next week they came and took him home. I sent all of the clothes, gifts, equipment and toys that were his. We kissed him goodbye and that could have been forever. Thankfully, that hasn't been the case. I have become very close with his Mom and Anna with his sister. His name is now Aidric and they ware awaiting his courtdate to make that official. He has since had a surgery and a Urostimy bag put in and he is thriving! He babbles, he walks and he loves to climb stairs. Most importantly Anna and I see him once a week for play dates, she still calls him Dilly.

After Dillon left we knew we needed some time to heal. We weren't sure if we could ever take another foster placement. In early September we received a call from our worker about a newborn baby boy. He was still in the hospital and ready to come home the next day. Everything told me no in my head, but in my heart could I turn down a newborn? We said we could take him, but then within the hour we had to call our worker back and I told her we weren't ready. I wasn't ready. After losing Connor and then everything with Dillon I just couldn't do it. We decided to ask our worker to take our names off of the placement list. We would let her know when we were ready and at the time we weren't sure if we would ever call her back. Then I happened to be on the website for our county one day. Looking at pictures of waiting children (those in permanent custody awaiting adoption). Most of these children are over the age of 7, or they have been placed in a forever family already. There was one picture that was different. I was immediately drawn to these big brown eyes. I read the description and saw he didn't have a placement yet. I called our worker and asked her about him. She said they were no longer accepting home studies, but she would call his worker. The next news was that she had our home study added to the other 40 families who wanted him as well. This was the only way I got T.J. To agree to put it in. He thought we had no chance, I however thought the opposite. In early October they had the first meeting with all of his advocates to narrow down the families. We received a phone call that we were a part of the 11 to be taken to Match committee. The next few weeks I tried not to think about it, but how can you not? The day of match committee we went to Sams on North Bend with my sister and the kids. I remember having a happy anxious feeling all morning. It was like I was waiting for good news. My phone rang as I walked into the the entrance of Sams. I was showing the lady my membership card and our worker gave us the news, he was ours! I was so excited I started crying and jumping up and down. I hugged the Sams employee and told her the great news. I told everyone who was looking at me as I created a scene. We are having a boy...he is ours! I called T.J. And I am sure the shock got him, here he had agreed to this thinking it would never happen and it has. We were so over the moon happy, and had a lot to get ready. We decided to name him Wyatt and we counted the days until we could meet him.

On November 19, 2009 we met our new son. He ran up to T.J. And grabbed his leg. As if he knew that Daddy needed a little reassurance. From that moment, he was a Daddy's boy. We played and talked to his foster Mom. We went back on Friday with Anna and her first time meeting him was amazing. He loved her as much as she loved him. We had two more visits, then a weekend visit. The Monday before Thanksgiving Wyatt came home forever!! we signed our paperwork on December 4th and that marked our 6 month waiting period to finalize. I have to admit that everything went much better than I could have ever expected. Wyatt was great, Anna was amazing and everything kind of just fell into place. It didn't take long until none of us could even remember life without Wyatt. Every time we had a visit from a worker or GAL they would tell us this is the smoothest, easiest transition they have ever had. I kept knocking on wood when they said it!

The months went pretty quickly with so many reasons to celebrate and life in general getting used to having a 1 ½ year old little boy around! We received our court date in June. On June 25th Wyatt became an official part of our family. I can't explain the feeling of relief, knowing he is our family forever! Anna has asked me so many times, now Mommy since Wyatt is our brother he doesn't have to go back to him's house ever again? Never again Annie, this is him's house.

So that is where we are. In a little over a year from losing Connor our life has been happily hectic. We wouldn't have it any other way though! We have been so blessed and our life is probably not near what we thought it would be 6 years ago when we got married. But, we are happy, we are in love and we have an amazing family. What more could you possibly ask for?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our story of Emma and Connor

TJ and I always knew we wanted children. I was pregnant on our first anniversary and we had Anna on Valentine's day of 2006. We loved every second of being parents and knew we wanted more children so began to try when Anna was about 18 months old. In August of 2007 I had a miscarriage. After that we decided to try again and I became pregnant with our daughter, Emma, in November of 2007. It was a normal pregnancy for the most part, except I had a bad feeling the whole time. In my heart I knew something wasn't right. At our 20 week scan my fears were confirmed. The doctor told us she had Anencephaly. We were devastated. My sister in law had her baby with this defect at 18 weeks in 2005 so we knew exactly what it was. I will never forget the day they told us about Emma, I can still hear see and feel everything that happened in that office. We had a second ultrasound to have everything confirmed. She was 2 weeks behind her due date and had other severe defects. Not thinking she would ever make it, and not knowing any other way we had her at 21 weeks. We didn't get to see her or to hold her. I grieved for my child and my pregnancy for a very long time. We had a service for her and her hand and footprints, but these were our only memories of her. After we had given ourselves some time to heal we decided to choose the path of adoption for our next child. We knew it was a long process, but were excited to start. We always knew we wanted another biological child too, but went with the adoption first. I was on a Folic Acid supplement just in case though. In August of 2008 we were reading the fine print of our contract and saw there was a clause where if I would become pregnant our adoption would be stopped. I decided to take a pregnancy test and we were so excited that it was positive! We found out on August 31, 2008 that we were going to have a baby!! We were both worried of course, but I didn't have that feeling I had with Emma. So we prayed, stayed positive and enjoyed every second. One of the gifts that Emma gave me was appreciating every part of pregnancy. I missed out on so much of my pregnancy with her that it made every little part so much better. We had our first ultrasound at 7 ½ weeks and told everyone the great news. I was getting big and showing right away and I loved being able to wear the maternity clothes I never really needed to wear with Emma. At 16 weeks we had the triple screen test to see if my risk was increased for another Neural Tube defect. This was when I started to get that feeling. From the second they took that blood I think I knew. Looking back, I think I always knew. I could have had an ultrasound at 11 weeks to tell us if he had the defect, but I never wanted it. We knew after all of the knowledge we had gained from Emma's life and death that no matter what, this baby was going to be with us longer. We got the phone call the day after Thanksgiving that something was wrong. My blood test wasn't good and we had to come in the next week. I think that gave me time to prepare myself some and our worst fears for our baby were confirmed on December 2, he had Anencephaly. We also had the most wonderful news on that day too, it was a boy. Daddy had his boy. He was also perfect in every other way. A few days ahead of his due date and thriving inside of my body. After much prayer we decided we were going to give him as long as he could make it and carry to term. We decided right away to name our son Connor. If we hadn't lost Emma the way we did I don't know that the next 5 months would have ever been as wonderful as they were. I was able to love every second, to appreciate every second in a way I never could have before I lost her. To be honest they were a wonderful 5 months. I was a big happy pregnant woman for the most part. We were so grateful to have this time if any with our son, that that played a larger part than our sadness on most days. Of course we had terrible moments when we cried together for the child we would never know. But there was always something that kept us strong. We prayed for Grace, for peace and for understanding and God blessed us with each of these things. We were able to have a 4d ultrasound at 28 weeks and see Connor moving and get some great pictures of him. We were able to share my pregnancy as a couple with Connor's many kicks and jolts and with our daughter. I will never forget her little words as she would move away from my snuggle saying “Connor kickin me too much”. Our families and friends were so supportive and so was our doctor (after a little talking to!). When the time came for my induction we were sad, but we were ready. On April 13, 2009 I went in at night to start the process. They weren't sure how long it would take and if he would ever push down enough and I might need a c-section. God listened to our prayers though and it didn't go as they thought at all. Our nurse, Kathy, was amazing and made everything that much better too. I started my medicine at 10:30 am on the 14th and was barely dilated to 1cm. By 11:30 I was 2, then at 1:30 I was 4. I had them check me at 2:00 and I was 7!!! We called our priest and made sure our family was close by and then by 3:00 I was about fully dilated. I knew when I was ready to push and after 20 minutes of hard work my doctor actually ran down the hallway to the room just in time to meet Connor. He was born at 3:34 pm. As soon as they laid him on my chest I knew he was gone, but it didn't matter, he was here and he was perfect. He was 3 lb 13.9 oz and 15 inches long. It is amazing the amount of love you feel. TJ and I had prepared ourselves for this moment and even though I felt him kicking up to the end I never expected for him to be born alive. He was so perfect ten finger ten toes and such big feet!! We held him right away and touched his face, his hands, his belly his toes. He was so perfect and so amazing. They say a mother never sees a defect, she only sees her child and that is so true. A little while later our family was brought in and our priest baptized Connor in a beautiful ceremony right in our room. There were a lot of tears, but TJ and I weren't as sad. We were so thankful to meet our son and so happy to be able to see him it took a lot of those tears from us. Someone told me God gave us “the peace that passes understanding” and that is exactly what it was. Everything we had hoped for and prayed for was given to us. Of course we wanted things to be different, but they weren't. This day was the best day it ever could have been for the day it was! Anna got to see her baby brother and touch his hands. Everyone around us held him and saw his face. We had our Now I lay me down to sleep photographer and she took over 200 pictures which we cherish everyday. I can look at a picture of my son, such a gift I never got with Emma. Coming home has been hard and his funeral even harder. But if I had the chance to go back to last August and have God come to me and say you can either become pregnant with this child who will not live, or not become pregnant again I would never change a thing. Connor has made such a wonderful impact on so many people and has been a true blessing. I cherished every second I was pregnant and every second I spent with him. I know God is taking care of my children now, I know they are healthy and happy in Heaven and I know I will meet them some day.

As time goes on with Emma and Connor

A few nights ago on T.V. I saw a commercial posing the question of what is the thing you are most proud of your father for? As I laid in bed thinking of the many things I am so proud of my dad for I could have made a mile long list. I am proud of him for the wonderful dad he is, the amazing Papa he is, the supportive loving husband he is. I am proud that he is a cancer survivor and a Vietnam Veteran. I am proud to say he was always my soccer coach, my biggest fan and a dad to all of my friends. He has always been someone I can be proud of.. The one thing that stuck out to me though, as my proudest moment, was a moment I never could have imagined we would share. In 1978 my parents lost their only son, my brother Mikey. He was almost 2 years old and passed away on Labor Day weekend. My father held his son's lifeless body as he told him good bye. Who would have ever known that the courage he showed over 30 years later would not only bring us closer, but be my proudest moment. When we found out Connor had Anencephaly we knew he would probably be born still. On the day he was born, he was born sleeping. My dad did not plan on holding him , knowing the feeling of holding his own son that way. As Connor was passed to our loved ones to be able to hold and see him, my mom took Dad aside and reminded him this would be the only time he would ever be able to hold his grandson. As Dad took Connor from my arms I could see the pain in his face. Having now held not only his lifeless son, but his youngest grandson as well. How cruel a twist of fate to put my parents in this situation, so similar, yet so drastically different. I have never been so proud of my Dad as I was at that moment. He put his fear, his anger and his sadness aside. He has probably never realized the magnitude that moment had on me. To see my dad hold and love Connor. To see the tears stream down his face and remind me of all they have been through. And most of all to be able to share something so special with someone I admire so much. I am so thankful to have been blessed with such amazing parents.


Anna and I were sitting at the computer looking at pictures of Connor. I asked her if she remembered him and she said yes. She pointed to all of the people in the pictures and talked about them holding him. She said that we looked sad and that Connor was cute. When we came to the pictures with her she pointed to herself and her "big sister shirt". She came to the one of her touching Connor's hand and I asked her who's hand it was. She said " That is my hand with Connor, I touched an Angel ". She may only be 4, but she is wise and compassionate beyond her years.


There I stood, tears streaming down my face, in the middle of Kroger's. As I stared at the balloon rack for minutes that seemed like hours I couldn't stop myself. I spun the rack around time after time, just praying that something would jump out at me. I saw Thomas for Wyatt, Littlest Pets for Anna, and nothing for you. How do I know what you would like? You would be 2. So being a girl you would certainly have a preference, so how is it as your Mom I don't know what that is? The tears were partly from sadness, partly from anger and mostly from realizing all over again how much I am missing with you. I picked up pink tulips and turned back to the balloon rack, at which point a nice woman working there asked if I was okay. I wiped the tears away and said yes and smiled. At that point I chose My little pony, because Anna likes them, Dora, because Wyatt likes her, and Abby Cadabby, because who doesn't like her? I took my choices to the register and told the woman about you. That helped a little to say your name and that you would be 2. Then we went to the cemetery. On the way Anna asked if we were “going to Emma's party”, I guess it is something like that. We sang to you from the car as the rain pelted the soggy ground outside. So fitting for your birthday, the same weather we had on the day of your funeral. Daddy and I got out to take your balloons and kiss your headstone. So many thoughts about who you might be today going through our heads. Two years old. Two years in Heaven. Two years without you here, but two years of loving you. Happy Birthday Baby Girl.
this was then written a few days later...
Maybe I know more than I realize about my babies in Heaven. I went to the cemetery today to take a few new things and clear out some of the old. I noticed the balloons we took for Emma had lost most of their air, so decided to take them down the road and throw them away. I put them in the can and turned back towards the car. Just then a big gust of wind blew and the Abby Cadabby balloon blew out of the garbage can and followed me up the street. Maybe this was Emma's way of telling me she did like Abby Cadabby. Either way it made me smile.


I have this bag of clothes I have been driving around with in my car. I can't seem to bring myself to do anything with them. I was going to donate them, sell them at the second hand store....but there they sit. New with the tags every one of them in a bag in the back of my van. I guess I am realizing that as much as I may think I want to get rid of them, maybe I can't. This bag is filled with the past 2 years of my life. The hope, the joy, the tears and the heartache. There are outfits that I bought and that were given to me with the intent of being covered in spit up and drool like all little clothes should be. I bought a few sleepers on clearance when I found out I was pregnant 2 years ago....then I had my miscarriage. I still had hope for a baby, so I thought I will just keep these in the spare closet for now. When I was pregnant with Emma I bought a few more things, I even bought matching x-mas dresses for Anna and the baby to wear....not knowing if it was a girl or a boy, I bought holiday clothes, sleepers and mom gave me a blanket. Then we lost Emma. The closet made me so sad, but still maybe someday I thought. When I was pregnant with Connor we bought a few things. By the time we had him my closet was so full....bargain hunting and holiday Clearance shopping after 2 years of pregnancies will do that. When we got Dillon I thought I can finally have someone to wear this!! I had a few of the outfits that would have fit him perfectly...even matching Jammies intended for Connor and Anna would have worked. But, with everything that happened that won't be. I sent a few things from the closet with Dillon. Mostly though, I am just driving around with them in my car. When I took my bag of brand new items to Once Upon a Child I was a bit nervous, but thought at least I could get some money. When they offered me $23 I told her she was nuts and took my stuff and cried. It was then I realized that it isn't the money she offered, it is the fact that even thinking of getting rid of these things is so much more than that. I told my mom about it and being the woman who after 23 years still has my Grandma's purse with her crumpled up tissues in it, she told me to save it. So what if it sits in my basement what if I never take a tag off of any of those things in my bag. I spent 2 years of my life filling that closet with hopes and dreams of a new baby. There isn't much to hold onto of my babies, so if I drive around for the next 5 years with a bag full of clothes maybe it will remind me that what I have been through has made me the wife, the daughter, the friend and most importantly the mom that I am today.

Thoughts on Carrying to term

Having 2 babies diagnosed with fatal Birth Defects over the past 3 years has given me a lot to think about. I have written a couple of different things based on my experiences....

May 29, 2009
Looking back at the past few years I often wonder if I would change anything. When I became pregnant with Emma we were so excited, there was so much hope for a new family of four. When we had our diagnosis with her it was like that all shattered. I knew what Anencephaly was, but I am not sure I knew enough. When faced with an awful situation like a fatal birth defect what do you do? The medical field is telling you there is no chance. Your child will not live, the birth could be a risk for your health and so on and so on. When we had Emma's diagnosis I was in shock. My husband and I did not know where to turn. We both wanted what was best for our baby and to keep me healthy. So it seemed the best decision was to have her and we did. We lost Emma at 21 weeks. The next 19 weeks I not only mourned my daughter, but my pregnancy with her. I thought everyday what I should look like, how big my belly should be and when I should be feeling her kick. I never once thought I did something wrong, but I always wondered if I could have made it a little more right. I don't think I even began to heal until her due date. It was like I needed to get to that point, when she should have been here, to allow myself to heal. When I became pregnant with our son I knew no matter what things would be different. I had learned so much about myself and my strength in carrying and losing Emma. When we had his diagnosis at 18 weeks with Anencephaly my husband and I both knew that we were going to carry him. I had done so much research after we lost Emma and with Connor's diagnosis. I knew that people had carried to term and that they were fine. Of course you have an increased risk of excess fluid, increased risk of c-section...but that could be true with any pregnancy. My pregnancy with Connor was wonderful. He moved all of the time and kicked and bounced around. I got the joy of motherhood for him by carrying him. I knew he wouldn't live if at all for very long, but it didn't matter. I spent 5 months longer with him than I was able to with Emma. Do I feel bad sometimes that I didn't give Emma that time. Yes and No. We did the best thing for our family that we could have at the place and time we had Emma. If we hadn't lost her the way we did we may have never enjoyed or cherished our time with Connor the way we did. There are things in life you can't change, and maybe they were never meant to be changed. I believe that God sent Emma and Connor both to us for special reasons. Maybe Emma was here to help us appreciate our time with Connor. We had 9 precious months with Connor and we were able to hold him in our arms. He was born to Heaven, but it didn't matter. He was here and he was ours. Any parents faced with theses difficult situations and terrible choices should always do what is best for their family. If I have any advice to give, having lost a child both at 21 weeks and at term. I would carry to term. For all of the things I think I might have changed with Emma, the thought has never crossed my mind for Connor. I know I gave him all of the life that I could and kept him here as long as God gave him. Being able to have my husband and daughter feel his kicks, enjoy my cravings and have the time as a family is something we will always cherish. Emma and Connor have taught us so much about life and about love. They have made our faith stronger and our family stronger. I have had so many people tell me that carrying to term is so brave and that they could never do it. You never know what you are capable of until you are in that situation. Love is a pretty amazing thing and the love you have for your children is powerful. Being a mother is the greatest gift that God can give us. Knowing that your child may not live past birth is a scary thing, but it does not make you love them any less. If anything it allows you to love more openly and more honestly. Emma and Connor have made a great impact on many lives in the short time we had them. I know we will meet our babies again and until that day I know God is holding them close.

In the past, I can't say I ever took a side on the pro choice/pro life debate. I thought of it as a decision that a woman would come to, that extenuating circumstances would play a major factor in. When I had a child with a fatal birth defect, I didn't even think of myself as someone having to make a “choice” into one of these groups. I remember my mom saying that my Aunt had mentioned it to her, but really didn't even get the concept at the time. It was in the months after that I realized that “termination” is a medical term that lead me into the “pro choice” realm of thinking. When I lost Emma, I never thought of her as “aborted”. She is my child and I love her with all of my heart. T.J. and I made the best decision for ourselves and for Anna. We thought we made the best decision for Emma.
All of the months I grieved for her I sat at the cemetery and looked at the other stones. If only I had thought of the Mother's who lost their children because they didn't stay in their wombs long enough. These babies that came too soon and couldn't be saved. What their mother's wouldn't give to have carried them longer. What I wouldn't give to have carried Emma longer.
I guess there is a turning point in every persons life. A place where they can stop and realize that they have changed. Sitting on a hot Summers day in that cemetery I changed. It was Emma's due date July 28. I had made it to when she should have been here. I was able to heal a little that day and I was able to see things a lot clearer. That was the day I changed my mind on what I thought was a “political issue”.
As I sit here and type this it is the day before Connor's birthday. The night I went into the hospital was one year ago today. I can sit here and think that I did everything for my son to give him as much life as I could. I can look fondly on my time with Connor. I was given such a gift to carry a baby for 9 months who was not able to survive outside of my womb. How can anyone not believe in God or in Miracles....without these things what was this experience! I felt every kick and hiccup and helped him to grow into a perfect baby boy. I was able to deliver him, hold him, kiss him, love him and he went to be with our Lord in his own time. I wish every mom faced with a diagnosis like ours could step into my mind for just a few minutes. I wish I could go back 2 years 1 month and a few hours and step into my own mind today. Would I have done things differently? I guess I will never know. One thing I do know is that my life has been forever changed by my two precious babies. I thank God and Emma everyday for the things they have taught me and the strength they gave me to carry Connor. What a gift to be given.

Happy Birthday Connor

Connor's Turn

I found out at 17 weeks that Connor would not survive. We decided to carry him to term and I was able to share 20 more weeks with him in my belly. These are some of the poems I wrote for him while carrying him and after we lost him.

I have been doing really well
but today I held back tears at the store
I was paying when I noticed a big wooden rocker
White with the Ohio State emblem
and I thought of you
how your Daddy would rock you in that chair
At first I would want a nursery of green or yellow
but Daddy would win with his scarlet and gray
That rocker would have been perfect
any room would have been perfect
if only we were able to need a room for you
as the weeks press on this will get harder
knowing that my time with you is getting shorter
most people want their pregnancies over
I wish mine could last forever
because as long as you are with me
I can feel you
I know you are okay
I understand it will end
that we will give you back to God
but things like that big white rocker
make me wish He had other plans

Have I carried you
because I thought it was right
because I expect a miracle
because I can change things
none of these are true
I have carried you
because I am selfish
because I wasn't ready to let you go
because I want to feel you move
because life has showed me
that I am stronger than I thought
because I want the chance
to see you
to hold you
to know you
because these things keep me going
because you are my son
because I wasn't able to do these things for your sister
because I know God will take care of you
because I know this is your life
and I want you to have all of the life you can
because I love you and
because I am your Mom

If things were different
I would be restless as these two weeks crept by
instead I am happy with the slow pace
if things were different
I would loathe the stretch marks surrounding you
instead I will cherish them as part of our time together
if things were different
I would be fixing up your room
daddy would be putting in your car seat
I would be worried that Anna would be jealous
instead I choose the verse for your prayer cards
if things were different
I would be organizing all of your clothes
instead I washed the one outfit we bought for you
if only things were different
but they're not
I have known this for 5 months
yet the closer it gets
the closer you get
the more I realize
if only things were different

When I close my eyes
I can see your face
I can remember
the feel of your hands
the length of your fingers
the weight of your body
I miss every part of you
When I look at pictures
I touch your face
I touch your hands
I can remember you
How I long to hold you
to feel your breath
to touch your skin
to smell you
I miss you

What I wouldn't give to need my double stroller
to feel the burn in my calf muscles
as I push you and your sister
up the bear hill at the zoo
to still have the things
I sold at the garage sale
just because
I was tired of looking at them
not needing them
having them fill with dust
the relief of having you is fading
into sadness and reality
I am so glad I had my time with you
but so sad it was so short
I want you here
I want to hold you
I have felt these things before
I know they will get better
eventually get better
but never go away

Lugging the car seat around
sore shoulders from your weight
laughing when you spit green beans
all over Daddy's face
Anna deciding what she wants
and what toys you can have
sitting up by yourself
enjoying your belly laugh
Buckeyes or Bearcats on Saturday
causing Daddy too many choices
wearing your Bengals gear on Sundays
worked up by all of the loud voices
babbling, drooling and teething
snuggling, crying and screaming
how amazing it would be
to watch you peacefully dreaming
so many things I can imagine
things I will never see
and to think you are in Heaven
getting to watch me

Has it really been 6 months
sometimes it seems
like it was only yesterday
sometimes it seems
like a lifetime ago
I can remember
the touch of your hand
I can feel the weight of your body
I have my precious pictures
to kiss goodnight
to look at your face
and to hold
when all I really want
is to hold you
has it really been 6 months
that we have been
without you

How is it the silly things
that make me miss you so much
Sitting at Frisch's
having my favorite thing
stupid onion rings
they made me want to cry
the last time I had them
was when we shared our last meal
the night before I had you
the night before we lost you
wonderful giggles surround me now
big blue eyes to my left
gorgeous brown eyes to my right
but still this sense of sadness
from missing you
stupid onion rings
maybe next time
I will just get fries

When they laid you on my chest
I knew you were gone
but I said over and over
It's okay
When they tried to revive you
wanting to give you life
I said It's okay
When I saw the pain in Daddy's eyes
wanting to make things better
I said It's okay
I told myself this
needing to believe it
Almost a year has passed
Not a second goes by
when you don't cross my mind
You have forever changed me
for the better
and now I can truly say
as much as I miss you
as much as I love you
It is going to be okay

It amazes me how
some days
are so hard
some days
I miss you so much more
so many firsts
that we never shared
blessed wonderful times
we never had with you
chubby smiling baby faces
beaming eyes
these things
make my heart ache for you
no matter how much time passes by

The Emma Poems

These are the poems I wrote for Emma. When I had her and lost her at 21 weeks I had no idea the emotions that would follow, especially leading up to her due date. I wrote poetry to help me heal. These are the poems I wrote for Emma.

I held you for awhile,
so close to my heart
Felt you moving each day
an unconditional love from the start
We had so many plans for you
such a wonderful life ahead
God can only know the pain we feel
and we trust Him to care for you instead
We will never understand why this happened
What it all means
But know one thing, that forever
We will love you Emma Jean
You are our child, our precious baby girl
You will be in Mommy and Daddy's hearts and minds
and forever a part of our world

3:30 am

Sometimes I wake at night
hearing your sister giggle or talk
Going into check on her not so silent slumber
and seeing she is asleep
Dreaming or thinking
so peacefully unaware
I lay my hand on her chest
just to feel her breathe
What I wouldn't give
to do the same to you
To just wake up at 3 am
to care for you and touch you
To hear you cry or laugh
or just to feel you breathe

Tiny Footprints
the size of my fingertip
Have left lasting impressions
on our hearts and our lives
Perfect features, ten perfect toes
how something so small
can create so much love
Something so fragile
so loved from the start
An Angel in Heaven
holds a place forever in our hearts

Your name in print makes a bad dream so real
Such disbelief so many emotions to feel
Emma Jean, Beloved daughter
I read knowing it is true
you are with the Lord instead
No matter how much we need you
You are in God's hands
You are able to be okay
These things we keep believing
they help us make it through each day
some day we will meet again
and I will finally hold you
until that time you will watch over us
and with your help we will make it through

It rained today
it's felt appropriate from the start
Your funeral was this morning
you were laid to rest with a piece of our hearts
Your life so short
made an impact so strong
The rain keeps falling
tears from Heaven all day long
Your sister doesn't understand
some day she will know
how much love she shares with you
and how that love will grow
For today she helped us
gave us a glimpse of who you might have been
We felt your love for us through her
Your gift to us from Heaven

I just want to hold you
feel your heart beat with mine
I just want to see you
have a moment to stop time
I have so many feelings now
I don't understand
I just need you here with me
I disagree with God's plan
I haven't had a chance
to let myself be mad
I haven't found the strength
feeling too sad
I just want to hold you
is that too much
I just want to know you
I long for your touch

Yesterday was Easter
sad but better than the day before
we went to see you at the cemetery
took you eggs and a pinwheel
your sister doesn't understand
she runs and touches the other baby's things
toy trains and bunnies
she hops from stone to stone
we tell her we are there to visit you
she repeats your name and nods
she doesn't know the pain
one of God's gifts to little children
she sees me cry and holds my leg
unaware of the reason
she knows that I need her
if only I had you to hold too
maybe the pain inside would go
for now I can talk to you in Heaven
and hope to see you in my dreams

I miss you
I think about you all of the time
the guilt is getting to me now
I feel bad if I am not thinking of you
I feel bad if I am not sad for a moment
I know I shouldn't
I know it is okay for me to be happy
Your sister and your daddy need me
they need me to be okay
but I feel guilty
I think of things I maybe could of done
what did I do wrong that made you so sick
should I have done something differently
I would, if I only knew
I love you
I want to go back and make things okay
but they aren't
they will never be okay
I know they will get better
I hope I will get better
if I only knew how to get there

We went to Grandma's house tonight
it was the first time since we lost you
I talked to Aunt Stephie
I felt a release in knowing she understands
Your angel cousin Avery is with you
like Logan is here with your sister
I look at the two of them playing
running through the kitchen giggling
I know you have the same gift in Heaven
I can't help but to see Logan differently
like I have new eyes for her
she is the miracle Daddy and I pray for
that we too can have a healthy child
she is covered in chip dip up to her elbows
her diaper running down her legs
but she is here
she is always smiling
and she gives us hope

I miss you more today
I don't know why really
some days seem to be okay
and then others are harder
your sister has been so fun
maybe that is part of the reason
I see what I could be missing with you
She has been giggling and dancing
snuggling and playing
all things I dreamt of you doing too
we went for a walk today
this summer I had plans
of taking the two of you in the double stroller
maybe you would have hated the stroller
cried and screamed
or maybe you would have been content
like your sister
just happy to be here

One month ago today
we found out your fate
it seems like a lifetime ago
yet it seems like yesterday
I can still replay the events
like a movie in my mind
I can hear the words
I can see the moments
frame by frame
word by word
They haven' t gotten any less clear
maybe they never will
I can hear myself screaming in the doctors office
I can see the pain in your daddy's eyes
I can feel Anna laying on my chest
not knowing what is wrong
will these things stay so vivid
will they fade
do I want them to fade
maybe not
they are my few actual memories
of you

I sit here today
thinking of you
imagining how it would be
to talk to you
to touch you
to know you are okay
I talk to you all of the time
when Anna sees an angel now
she says Emma
every night we say goodnight
to the stars
to the moon
and to you
we will forever love you
we will forever miss you
she will forever know
that you are a part of us

Today was Mother's day
it was a good day
we spent time with family
we didn't go to see you
Yesterday we did
Anna ran and played
today I was selfish
I didn't have the strength
You should be in my belly
moving around from all of the food I ate
You should be here
drawing on a Mother's day card from Daddy
I still don't understand
I will never understand
the days and weeks go by
some better than others
but the pain is still there
my heart is still aching
I still need you

Your sister loves the cemetery
she chants “meema”
as she dances from grave to grave
she understands now that you are there
someday she will really understand
our childhoods so parallel
looking back at the things I remember
being little at the cemetery
running from grave to grave
only knowing my sibling
by rubbing my hand against his name
never could I have known
Anna's relationship with you will be the same

I opened your closet today
I know I shouldn't have
every time I see your things
my heart aches
I told myself not to buy anything
as if I knew all along
but I did it anyway
and now it sits with tags
alone in it's place
with my memories
of who you might have been
I can only imagine you
I can only dream of you
you were my child
I felt you move
but I will never see you smile
I will never hear you breathe
these clothes are my memories
my tangible pieces of you

In my mind
in Heaven
you are about 6 months old
you are chubby and smiley
no where near
the tiny sick version of yourself
that you were with us
you babble and laugh
and smile down on us
In my mind you are happy
In my mind you are healthy
In my mind is the only way
I have ever known you
so I can keep this memory of you
no matter how made up it is
In my mind
it is you

It's been a hard week
sitting here I realize
maybe it's going to be a hard month
Less than a week until July
somehow the months have passed quickly
would they have gone this fast
if you were with me
I am sure I would be complaining
ninety degrees
so big and round
I would probably be miserable
how amazing it would be
to feel so miserable
to be counting the days
instead of the months
that stood before we were able
to see you
to hold you
to know you
now I sit on this bench
across from your grave
I guess this is me
getting to know you

Maybe I am going crazy
because I can't deny
that I haven't thought about
digging deep
beneath your grave
just to hold you
maybe I am not alone
have other mothers felt the same
thinking maybe
wishing maybe
that holding you
that seeing you
could somehow ease the pain

I have heard
that time heals
as much as I want to believe it
I feel like I am
going in reverse
maybe it's that you
have the day
we had you and lost you
and that day
which should have
brought us joy
when you should
have been born
when we should
have heard you cry
time heals everything
then I should start feeling better
shouldn't I ?

Tonight I sat in your sister's room
she was sound asleep
her fan louder than
her quiet breaths
I just needed to sit
to think
to be near her
I came into
your room
what should be
your room
I try to imagine
what would it look like
if it were waiting for you
if it wasn't this office
if it was for you
now I sit and wonder
waiting to sleep
wanting to sleep
trying to quiet
my sleepless mind

Eight days and counting
I can't imagine
that the time could go slower
if you were still with me
Each moment passes
as if it were standing still
I knew it would be hard
I was hoping
it could pass quickly
I guess life doesn't work that way
I remember how I felt
before Anna was born
excited and scared
would it be the same with you
would I have ever known
just how lucky I was
just to have you

Looking back
I realize I have
so few memories of you
I heard your heartbeat
I felt you move
but in reality
most of them were filled
with fear
and tears
looking back
what I remember isn't good
Maybe someday
that will change
someday my actual memories
will fade
then someday I can
look forward
to looking back

There were two little girls
when I came to see you today
As I walked up to your stone
one turned to me and smiled
she asked if I liked coming here
without even thinking I said yes
it is the only way I can see her
They walked from stone to stone
reading each name and date
Two little girls
they sat beside me on this bench
the three of us lined up in a row
they made me think
of you and Anna
a few years down the road
as if you knew I needed something
maybe you sent them
no one else around
but me and two little girls

Today is mommy and Daddy's anniversary
for some reason
I always thought
you would be born today
Anna on Valentine's day
and you on our anniversary
that way Daddy
would never forget
now we sit together
missing you
he tries to make this
a good day for us
your Daddy
such a good man
your sister
such a wonderful girl
she hugs me
he holds me
because they know
I need them
as much as I need you

Last night
I had an awful dream
I couldn't remember
your face
you and your sister together
holding you
I searched everywhere
for pictures
for movies
there had to be
something to bring
my memories back
the dream got worse
when I woke up
realizing there was nothing
no movies
no pictures
no memories of you

I almost feel
like I'm losing you
all over again
only this time
I am not as numb
this time things are clearer
I am no longer in shock
I am no longer in denial
this time I almost feel
my heart breaking
this time the staunch reality
has had time to set in
maybe in a few days
I will be past this place
I pray that this time
is the last time
I feel this way

Here we are
we have made it to this day
a few months ago
I thought
it would never come
yet here we are
you in your place
in Heaven
me in my place
on Earth
I held you
for awhile in my body
I will hold you
forever in my heart
regardless of how
mommy wants it to be
no matter how much it hurts
this is it
this is where we are

Emma's 1st Birthday
It has been a year now
so much has changed
looking back at it all
some things are still the same
we still miss you
we still love you
we still think of you
Looking back I realize now
how much you have taught me
how my time carrying you
and the time I couldn't carry you
have made me who I am today
you have made me
a stronger person
a better mom
a more caring companion
you have taught me more
than anyone who has
stepped foot on this earth
you have taught me more
about love
about faith
about devotion
you have given me the strength
to carry your brother
to have hope
to carry on
You are our Angel
Happy birthday Emma
We love you.

Two Years Ago

Two years ago tomorrow
my world was forever changed
I went from blissfully unaware
to painfully knowledgeable
I went from a soon to be mother of two
to the mother of a child destined to die
I realize now
how much I have learned
how little I really knew
how much you grow as a person
when you feel as though you
will shrink and disappear
two years ago tomorrow
I sat so happy in an ultrasound room
my daughter on my lap
awaiting the wonderful news
two years ago tomorrow
our world came crashing down
those same 4 walls surrounding us
how much life has changed
in these two years

as fast as it goes
day to day
week to week
as much as I know
I have healed
there are moments
when it is as if time
has stood still
there are visions
set in my mind
refusing to leave
the snow outside falling
as we found out your fate
it is snowing today
as if time has stood still
taking me back
to 3 years ago
making it all
that much clearer
that much more real