Thursday, February 23, 2012


There are a lot of times when people will ask me questions about Evelyn. "How is Evelyn handling everything?" "Does Evelyn understand?" "Will Evelyn know her brother exists? " and many more.  The answers aren't usually simple "Yes" or "No" type answers, its more complicated than it may seem. We will always have to remember what stage she is at, how much can she comprehend, what is she ready to hear, is this going to make sense to her?  No matter what though, I will always remember to tell her that Gabriel knew her, Gabriel still knows her.

I believe that Gabriel knew his sister as much as he knew us. He wasn't deaf, he could hear. He could hear our voices, our cries, our prayers, our wishes and my heart. He knew we loved him, he listened to us talking to him telling him all about our lives.  He could feel the presense of our friends and family around us and could hear the voices of everyone that loved him so dearly.

Evelyn was less than a year old when we found out we were expecting again, she was only 18 months old when Gabriel was born. Yes she came to the hospital in the middle of the night to meet her brother. No she doesn't understand, she's far too young. In fact, when she was at the hospital she had a look of "What... is... that???" most of the time she was there.  So she's handling it fine, sometimes she seems to understand when we have tough days, or rough moments. Most of the time she is completely clueless.

We have every intention of making sure Evelyn knows that she does have a brother. We will take it step by step as she grows and as questions start coming. When she sees pictures of him we always say "Gabriel..." and of course she has no real response because she doesn't understand what that means... but someday she will. After that we can add the word "Brother Gabriel".  We will coontinue to add words as she begins to comprehend what we are telling her. We will always keep Gabriel as a very open and common topic in our household and lives. We want to ensure that she never feels afraid to ask questions or talk about him.

When she asks about him, we will answer in the best way we can, the best way we feel she will understand. Telling her that Gabriel is her brother and that he plays with the angels instead of here with us. Then we can explain that he was very sick and had to go where he could be healthy again.  Then we will explain what was wrong with him. Hopefully we can continue adding details as she is ready for them. Eventually she'll know the entire story.

We have shadow boxes, pictures, and other memorabilia in our home, she'll see all of that regularly. I love to scrapbook and when I found out I was pregnant I started one for him. Sadly that book has turned into a memorial. I can't get myself to work on it to get it finished... I want to, I'm just not ready yet.  I've created a folder where I keep everything I need to put in there, when I'm ready I'll finish it. Someday, she'll have that book to look at and see the entire story, every ultrasound, doctor appointment, flat item we've recieved, and all my blogs (I've been printing them and putting them in there as we go.)  She'll have plenty of things to remind her that he existed.

We hope that by keeping him very alive in our hearts and our lives, she will someday cherish having an angel brother as much as we cherish having an angel son. My secret wish is that someday - when she's old enough - she'll want to get a tattoo to commemorate him. (I love tattoos and that explains a lot haha, she may hate them and that would be ok too).

My point is that I hope she will feel his love, I hope someday she'll mention him to me, ask questions, or talk to other people about him. I have recieved emails, comments, and messages from people who have referred to their "angel siblings" and I hope someday, that will be Evelyn.

It would touch my heart to hear her say "I have a brother, he is all around me, he's my guardian angel..."

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Was thrilled when my sister mentioned that if you Google "moms blog Potters Syndrome" my blog comes up 5th on the list!  Thats crazy to me! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

A message from Gabriel?

Recieved a hello from Gabriel today, or at least I feel it was.  I was babysitting my neice and nephew today (as I do every Monday and Tuesday) after working an overnight shift last night. To say the least I was feeling tired and vulnerable. I was feeling emotional and reflecting on how much our lives have changed since Gabriel came into them. I decided to take the kids through the McDonalds drive through as a special treat. I ordered a kids meal for them to share.

When I pulled up to the window the kind lady asked "would you like a Star Wars toy or Build-A-Bear?"

 I stuttered for a second with flashbacks to the day we went and put Gabriel's heartbeat in a very special bear at our local Build-A-Bear workshop. What an important day that was for us, the memories we created building that bear with him. How important that little bear is in our lives. A fellow mother who lost her daughter reminded me when I was having a rough day "Hold and hug your bear, its not the same but it helps." I had shared my idea of putting the babies heartbeat in a Build-A-bear and she did it too. Its amazing how important that little bear, that sits silently on my night stand, is to me.  After a moment I responded, "Build-A-Bear."

After we got back home, I quickly opened the kids meal and pulled out 2 toys - a star wars one, and a Build-A-Bear one (2 toys??? It felt like we won the lottery!). Its a little dog, covered in hearts.  Exactly what I needed to get through the day, a gentle "hello" from Gabriel and a message filled with hearts and love. Was it for me? For Evelyn? Doesn't matter who it was meant for, it still meant the world to me.

Here is the link incase you haven't read the story of us at Build-A-Bear.  

Saturday, February 11, 2012


A couple weeks ago, I found a website that produces personalized items: coasters, jewelry, coozies, stickers, SHIRTS... you name it they have it to be personalized. So I found some things I wanted and then realized a person can customize their own shirts! I was VERY excited.
A few days later, my mom came over and had offered to pay to get us each a shirt to have. So we spent a little time customizing them so they'd look as best as they could. Derrick wears his ALL the time, he loves feeling like people know what he's going through.

Evelyn's Shirt
Front of my shirt

Back of my shirt

Front of Derrick's shirt

Back of Derrick's shirt

When we went to the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group Derrick proudly wore his shirt. They LOVED it. I gave them each the website where they could get there own if they'd like to do so. They all thought it was something worth every penny it cost and something of incredible personal value for us.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Support Group Experience.

Last night, we did something no parent should ever have to do, we experienced our first pregnancy and infant loss support group.  We travelled to St Johns Hospital, completely unsure of where we were going, after wondering around the hospital for a short time, we managed to find the location only 5 minutes late. When we arrived there was one other couple there who was also a new-comer. They lost their baby 2 weeks ago, the heart randomly stopped beating for no apparent reason.
It was nice that it was only one other inexperienced couple to talk to. It made it less intimidating for us and more personal for all of us. The other couple were a lot like us, in many ways. Recent losses, similar interests and hobbies... It was very intimate.

Because it was such a small group we were able to do much more talking and sharing, we were able to focus on eachother and our stories. It would have been nice to be able to have someone with a long time in the greiving process so that we could have an idea of what is to come, but we were at least able to help the other couple with the little experience we have.

The facilitator was very nice, she gave us information and resources for grief and infant loss. She mostly let us talk amongst ourselves and share information and stories with eachother - only piping in when she had something important to say or some valuable input.

She did confirm one thing for me, that I wouldn't regret having Evelyn woken up and brought to the hospital to meet her brother. That even though she was too young to understand, someday she'll appreciate knowing that she had in fact met her brother.  She gave us confidence in knowing that we are on the right path in our grieving process and to keep going the way we are.

Its been 2 whole months
Today, Gabriel would be 2 months old. Its been 2 months since we met our sweet little son, 2 months since we had to say goodbye. Its been 2 months since my world shattered and reality started kicking in. But, its only been weeks since we began to recover, weeks since life has felt somewhat normal. I still haven't had a single day when I didn't cry. I look everywhere and I see him. Other kids, other parents, the moon, the stars, the sun, even things as simple as an article online can trigger my memory of him.

Some days it feels like it has been SO long. Like this has been our life forever. Other days it feels like it was just yesterday, so fresh, so raw.  I suppose it depends on the day, whats going on, and how I'm feeling. Time is such a funny thing... Sometimes time drags, sometimes time flys by. I guess there are too many variables to really try to explain it or figure it out.

All I know is this: I love him so much, I miss him every single day.  I long to hold him, to hug him, to kiss him and to hear his cries, his laughter and his whimpers. I wonder what he would be like, what life would be like with 2 kids right now, I wonder what foods he'd like, how breastfeeding would be going. I always think about the fact that I'll never know. I'll never get to see him learn, grow and explore.

I'm grateful that I have such a special little man watching over me. I have an extra special angel with me all the time - how lucky am I?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The mention of Gabriel.

"I woke up this morning carrying a heavy heart. Most days I'm ok, I'm feeling strong and feel joy at the memory of Gabriel and knowing that he's with me everywhere I go. I don't struggle with looking at his pictures and cherish the memories we have of him.

I think its because yesterday, when I was babysitting my neice and nephew, Cheyenne (who's 3) said something completely out of the blue... "Auntie... remember when I came to the hospital and I saw your baby?" For some reason, her mentioning him brought tears to my eyes.  I choked back the tears and asked her, "Yeah, I remember, he was really cute wasn't he?" She seemed sad and replied "Yeah...."  so I said, I miss him very much and love him even more than that. Do you miss him?" She got a little more cheery and said "Yeah, I wish he could play with me..."  At which point I couldn't continue without crying. So I simply said "Me too hunny..." and we went back to playing.

Perhaps that's why I'm feeling the way I am today, I don't really know.  I just feel sad. Usually I am happy when someone mentions his name, its confirmation that people haven't forgotten about him, that his story lives on.  Maybe it hit hard because she's so young, but she remembers. She knows I had a baby.

I need to put my emotions aside for the day because soon, I'm going to work to start my first day in my new position... Hopefully I won't seem so sad when I get there, hopefully the feelings will subside while I'm there and the excitement of starting a new job will overcome the emotional storm thats going on deep inside my heart.