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