Sunday, November 18, 2018


A good friend of mine sent me this post this morning and OH MY GOSH. THIS.  It is spot on.  It is exactly exactly exactly everything right now.

"The gap between those who have lost children and those who have not is profoundly difficult to bridge. No one whose children are well and intact can be expected to understand what parents who have lost children have absorbed, what they bear. Our children now come to us through every blade of grass, every crack in the sidewalk, every bowl of breakfast cereal, every kid on a scooter. We seek contact with their atoms – their hairbrushes, toothbrushes, their clothing.

We reach out for what was integrally woven into the fabric of our lives, now torn and shredded. A black hole has been blown through our souls and, indeed, it often does not allow the light to escape. It is a difficult place. For us to enter there is to be cut deeply and torn anew, each time we go there, by the jagged edges of our loss. Yet we return, again and again, for that is where our children now reside. This will be so for years to come and it will change us, profoundly. At some point, in the distant future, the edges of that hole will have tempered and softened, but the empty space will remain–a life sentence.

Our friends will change through this. There is no avoiding it. We grieve for our children in part, through talking about them, and our feelings for having lost them. Some go there with us; others cannot and, through their denial, add a further measure, however unwitting, to an already heavy burden. Assuming that we may be feeling “better” 6 months later is simply “to not get it”. The excruciating and isolating reality that bereaved parents feel is hermetically sealed from the nature of any other human experience. Thus it is a trap–those whose compassion and insight we most need are those for whom we abhor the experience that would allow them that sensitivity and capacity. And yet, somehow, there are those, each in their own fashion, who have found a way to reach us and stay, to our immeasurable comfort. They have understood, again each in their own way, that our children remain our children through our memory of them. Their memory is sustained through speaking about them and our feelings about their death. Deny this and you deny their life. Deny their life and you have no place in ours.

We recognize that we have moved to an emotional place where it is often very difficult to reach us. Our attempts to be normal are painful, and the day to day carries a silent, screaming anguish that accompanies us, sometimes from moment to moment. Were we to give it its own voice, we fear we would become truly unreachable and so we remain “strong” for a host of reasons even as the strength saps our energy and drains our will. Were we to act out our true feelings, we would be impossible to be with. We resent having to act normal, yet we dare not do otherwise.

People who understand this dynamic are our gold standard. Working our way through this over the years will change us as does every experience– and extreme experience changes one extremely. We know we will have actually managed to survive when, as we have read, it is no longer so painful to be normal. We do not know who we will be at that point nor who will still be with us.

We have read that the gap is so difficult that, often, bereaved parents must attempt to reach out to friends and relatives or risk losing them. This is our attempt. For those untarnished by such events, who wish to know in some way what they, thankfully, do not know, read this. It may provide a window that is helpful for both sides of the gap."

From My Special Angel: For Loved Ones Lost ❤️ 

I have re-read this at least 10 times and it resonates so much with me, especially today...20 days after our Clark was born.  Today has been really tough -- I woke up and just missed him, missed carrying him, missed everything.  I know there are good days and not so good ones (heck, good HOURS and not so good ones), but today I'm just really feeling it.  And that post really spoke to me.

But even though I've seen some 'friends' recoil, the continued outpouring of love and support from true friends and family has been wonderful and continues to lift us up.  Internet friends whom I've never met continue to shower us with surprises in the mail, like Clark's angel wing ornament...or photo clients turned friends that surprise us with the perfect (low maintenance (must know me and my plant-killing history! haha!)) little plant to decorate Clark's corner with...or amazing wonderfully awesome friends who shower you with wonderful conversation, chocolates, and the coolest car racer game for your kiddo when you pop by to say hi to them before dinner at their store. 

Today is a difficult one.  And I'm taking time to grieve...something I feel like for the past few weeks I really haven't done a lot of.  I've been consumed by some other things (eff you insurance, being one of them) that have really made my angry and upset and hurt and everything under the sun and I've been so focused and consumed (and still am a bit, to be honest) with that that I really haven't felt like I've grieved our loss.  Our son.  My pregnancy.  All of that.  I feel like it's almost been put on the back burner because of my anger towards other things and people.  And today, for the first time I'm really just feeling down about it all.  About Clark and him not being here with us.  

And that is OKAY.

It is okay to be sad.  It is okay to grieve and be upset and if you're reading this, it's okay that I am feeling this way.  I'm not broken.  I'm just feeling all of the feels that are so perfectly illustrated in the post I shared above.

As I navigate these much unknown waters, and even more so of the unknown ones to come, I am finding SO MUCH everyday that this, this stillborn and loss experience, is something that is still such a hush-hush taboo topic even in 2018.  People don't like to talk about it (heck even acknowledge it) -- it makes a lot of people uncomfortable.  I don't know why that is, but dammit it needs to change.  There are so many out there just like me hurting -- and many hurting in complete silence -- and it shouldn't be that way.  So I'll continue to share my story, my grief, my feelings, my good days and not so good ones to give a glimpse into this hell that is life after loss.  Because maybe others will see and read my story and know they are not alone...that these things they're feeling are perfectly okay and hopefully part of the healing process for us all.  So let me be sad, let me vent my emotions, let me cry and cancel plans, but be there for me.  A message.  An email.  A smile and wave in public.  Anything.  Because losing a child shouldn't mean losing those who are close to you as well.  I've already experienced enough loss in the past few weeks to last me ten lifetimes, I don't want to experience anymore. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

I Miss It.

Every morning when I wake up I pull up Timehop to look at my social media memories from the past years.

And every morning I am greeted with another bump pic from 2 and 4 years ago (occasionally 6 years ago too...wasn't as good about documenting the bump with P as I was with the girls' pregnancies) and it just rips me apart.  I should still be pregnant now.  I should be approaching week 25, feeling great deep into the second trimester, taking bump mirror selfies with Annie, buying adorable gender-neutral baby clothes and swaddle blankets, even though we have so many, but each baby deserves to have a few new things, plotting out my c-section plan with a clear drape and immediate skin-to-skin and where Victoria will stand in the OR to get the best pics and just getting more and more excited each day about welcoming our little one in the late winter.

But I don't have that anymore.

And it greatly hurts.

I know some people HATE pregnancy and truly tolerate it because the end result is worth it, but honestly, I freaking love being pregnant, even the early months when I'm typically not feeling well.  I just love it, and every time I found out I was pregnant again, I was so excited for everything that came with it.  Unboxing my uber-comfy maternity clothes, festive holiday bump shirts, and maternity leggings that truly never really actually go away, pregnant or not.

But I don't have that now.  Clark arrived 17 weeks earlier than anticipated and he arrived sleeping.  Even after delivering the older 3 kiddos I'd feel a sense of yearning, missing being pregnant.  But it was okay, calmed by the notion that I had a brand new babe to care for now and cuddling that sweet little one was even better than carrying them on the inside.  And I always held onto the fact, after my last 3 kiddos were born, that we'd have another -- I'd have another chance at carrying another one so it wasn't going to be too long before I got to experience pregnancy again. 

Not this time.  My pregnancy was cut drastically short, and I don't have a baby to satisfy my missings of being pregnant this go'round.  And truly, I don't know if there will be another pregnancy.  I mean, I hope there will be, but mentally can I do it again?!  Physically I'm cleared to after letting my body heal and recover for 6+ months...but emotionally?  Mentally?  Can I do this again?  Can I get pregnant (and that's hoping it's as easy to get pregnant again as it has been the past 4 times) and chance doing this again, going through another potential heartbreak?!  I just don't know.  And truly, I don't know if I can even entertain answering this even remotely sanely right now, as we are still waiting on so many test results and answers to come back that will HOPEFULLY give us some insight into what happened and IF it could happen again.

It just really sucks.  A lot.

And I am genuinely so happy for my friends who are expecting -- absolutely no ill-feelings towards them as they are celebrating their pregnancies and welcoming a new one into their families.  Honestly I'm thrilled, because for many that means opportunities for me to snap their new addition and we all know how happy taking pictures makes me.

However, it hits me whenever I see announcements or bump pics or heck even my Timehop ones: I feel such a longing and missing of my pregnancy, of carrying Clark, of all of the dreams about adding #4 to our family and everything that comes with it. 

I can't stop looking back at these pics we took 24 hours before Clark was born.  I am SO SO SO glad we did them (because I still very much remember not wanting to get out that evening) and I will forever cherish them.  But man, I miss that bump.  I miss his little {big} bump.  I miss knowing that he was in there clearly growing away (cause how big was I for 22 weeks?!??!) despite not ever really feeling him move.  I miss it so so so much.

This has been one of the physical gut-wrenching things for me: not only the postpartum things I've talked about before, but also the actual missing of my stomach and what was there and the constant mind-racing of what could have been.  It is so consuming.  And I hate it and love it both.  I hate that it makes me so sad to think about my little boy not being here anymore and not growing away in me like he should still be doing, but also love that I did get to carry him for those 22 weeks and did get to be his mama for the time we got with him and will forever be as he looks down on us from Heaven.  It is so bittersweet and almost hard to really put into words here everything I'm feeling about it.

I guess I just want to put it out there how much I miss it.  All of it.  And I feel like I got cheated out of something I love doing so much and it just hurts.  It stings.  It makes me yearn for my bump and belly and little baby boy growing away in there and all of the exciting anticipation of his late February arrival.  And even with how open I've been, there are some people that still don't know what happened -- they just saw me with a huge bump one day and now it's gone...and those looks, the questioning "what happened but I don't want to ask" looks just are like ice daggers through me.  So friends, if you're reading this and I am not up for doing something or bailed on plans, please understand it's not you.  It's me.  And it may take me a bit of time to get back to myself, but I promise I will.  It's just so hard for me now, in a spot that I feel like I got cheated into being that I wasn't suppose to be (well, in my mind wasn't suppose to...obviously I know that my plans aren't always THE plans in the grand scheme of life). 

Truly, these past 19 days have been so so so hard.  And there are so many reasons they have been, some of which I haven't even hinted at here...that are honestly, too painful and hurtful to even open myself up to a blog post about right now.  But perhaps in time I'll get it all out.  Just know that they've been tough.  But, as I've said in the past, and will continue to keep saying, I'm hanging in there.  I know time will help, and even at 2.5 weeks out it is still very raw and fresh, but I keep on trucking.  Keep on trying to focus on the good, remembering the good, celebrating the good, and have positive thoughts and sights on what's to come in the future.  There's a reason for all of this, and I'm slowlyyyyyyyy starting to get glimpses into what it is.  But is still doesn't take away from my feelings and, like I've said here, my missing of things...a lot of things.

So hug those babes of yours, take pictures, share them, celebrate the good right now, and I'm going to do my best to do the same.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fall into Winter

Earlier this week we had a light dusting of snow and Patrick thought it was the BEST THING EVER.

He and Annie had a blast playing in the not even 1/2 an inch of white stuff on the ground.

Welp, the weather called for a much bigger snow storm Wednesday night into Thursday and we were suppose to get 6+ inches!  WOOOOOOOT! (Well for Patrick...I'm still holding on to fall!) -- so with that in mind, I knew the last bit of fall was probably on the way out so Wednesday morning before I took Patrick to school we snapped a few pics of him his new hat that he absolutely HATED when I bought it for him but then changed his tune and now loves because it looks like a fighter pilot's hat! HAHA!

I'm sooooo biased but golly he's cute!!  His hat is amazing and it's my new favorite accessory of his. And I just love the fall colors hanging on desperately in the background of these pics.

SOOOOOOO, with this last little bit of fall foliage on display, in came the snoooooooowwwww!  And man we got a ton, and for November 15th it was definitely an early and memorable one!

Patrick had his first official Kirkwood School District snow day so we had to make the best of our day home together while daddy slept...because ^^^ for some reason they don't give the police department snow days!! HAHA!

First off, I snapped one of my favorite family's holiday pics (see here) -- they turned out SO GOOD.  I love that it was legit snowing their entire session!  And this was my first session officially back after Clark's arrival and damn it felt so good to get out and snap.  I have another one this Sunday and then I am officially BACKKKKK to work next Monday with oodles of sessions (and 3 births! WOOT!) planned for the remainder of the year.  I cannot wait.  I've missed it so much and it is such a positive outlet for me to channel my energies into.

Anyways, so after I finished up with that fam's pics, out came Patrick and Annie (and Mike for a bit!) to play in the snow!!  Rosie is still YOLO-ing it up in DC with Kate this week so I'm sure she'll get some snow fun when she returns.

Literally the only pics I took in the 3 minutes I had my camera out -- it was snowing pretty good and getting my camera wet and I didn't want to chance having it out any longer.  So no sledding pics or anything playing with our wonderful neighbors...use your imaginations for what those were like.

And this gem from when they thought I was taking a pic. HAHA!

We had a great rest of the day with potato soup for lunch, hot cocoa for Patrick and I, and naps all around until the kiddos got up (well P never slept...haha!) and played in the snow some more before dinner while I got some work done.  Definitely a great snowday and one for the memory books!

I hope everyone else around STL (and heck, if it snowed where you are!!) had a great day and stayed nice and warm and dry! 

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Light Dusting

Seriously.  That's what it did today: a light dusting of snow.

Like not even an inch.  Maybeeeeee half an inch.  Maybe.

But, that's all it needs to do to get Patrick so hyped up to play in the snow and literally that is ALLLLLLL he talks about and focuses on until he can get out there.

No amount of reasoning or explaining that it's not really the type of snow you play in (yuck so dirty and muddy on the not frozen ground underneath) gets through to him: he sees the white stuff and wants to gooooooo gooooooo gooooooo.

When Mike and I picked him up from school it was snowing (again, read: light dusting) and he could not stop talking about getting home and putting on his boots and gloves and playing in the snow ASAP.  He kept telling Annie they were going to play in the snow and it was going to be the best day everrrrrr (side note: Rosie is on a girls' trip in DC this week so she missed out on this snow fun...but if the November 12th early snow is any indication of how this winter is gonna go I'm sure it's not going to be the last we see of the white stuff.

They seriously couldn't get out there fast enough.  And in super appropriate snow gear (oops.) -- but they didn't seem to care -- they both were loving playing in the 'dusting' we got so naturally Debbie Downer here decided to embrace their good time and grab my camera and snap some pics of the kiddos enjoying the winter weather.

Completely carefree and enjoying that dusting to the fullest.  Gosh I should take some advice out of their innocence and really enjoy every little thing -- even a dusting of snow.

Now, I have to add these in too....we tried to get some pics of Scoots in the snow and can't you just tell he HATED IT?!  Poor old man, he was NOT having it at all.  He wanted back inside the warm and dry house onto his spot on the couch ASAP.  HAHA!

HEHEHE, oh Scoots!  You tolerant old pup!  How we love you so!

And I'll leave you with these pics of Annie and Mike -- gosh they make my heart melt.  She wouldn't smile at all for me but would for Patrick being silly and dancing behind me.  Oh Annie girl, always keeping me on my toes!!

If you got some snow today I hope you enjoyed it as much as these guys did.  I'm not going to lie I was so irritated when it started falling but now, sitting here writing this up and seeing the joy in their faces from playing outside makes me happy it did snow today.  Trying to find the little good things in everyday like these guys are.  Constantly learning from my littles each and every day.
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